This and that

Spring is absolutely my favorite season. I LOVE seeing all the new little plants poke their noses through the soil, watching the colors of the spring blooms, the cooler temperatures of spring vs. summer, and I even like doing the spring garden cleanup. That last item does take time, however, even when I did a bunch of garden clean up in the fall. So that’s my excuse for why I haven’t blogged in 3 weeks.

I’ve moved some plants, making a new garden area. That’s always hard work and takes time. I’ve prepared the soil and planted seeds. I’ve weeded most of the garden and areas and mulched. Here’s just one pic that I like (I should take more).

silver dollar plant flowers

This is a silver dollar plant. Also called money plant and honesty plant. And those 3 common names are why I learned the Latin names of lots of plants. So this is a lunaria. After these lovely purple flowers it’ll make seeds, with pods that look like silver dollars and work beautifully in fall arrangements.

I had to take a photo of this house. During Monday’s wind, virtually all the blossoms on their tree blew down, carpeting their lawn and driveway in a vibrant pink.

raining pink blossoms

I believe the tree is a double-flowered crab.

And then there’s this:

New plant table loaded with plants

For Mother’s Day my sweet and talented son made me a planting table. He’d heard me whine about how the multitude of bunnies eat all the young plants I put in the ground and decided to do something about it. This table is 2′ wide x 6′ long. And it FOLDS so I can reasonably store it in my garage over the winter!

In the pots I’ve put a summer squash and zucchini, yellow wax beans, sugar snap peas, lettuce, and my favorite sweet pepper, Carmen. Then, just for fun I put in a pot each of green and red/purple sweet potato vine and a red-orange lantana. I stuck some nasturtium seeds in with those non-food pots, too.

Back in the house, I finished what I call my happy socks. I knit these from the sock blank I dyed in March.

hand knit 'happy socks'

Don’t they make you smile?

Here’s the ball I’m using for my next socks. I didn’t dye this but like the color shifts.

ball of sock yarn, blues & greens

As I was nearing the end of my 3rd warp of the Ukraine support towels, in my head I was planning what I’d do for the May woven hugs. But I wasn’t in any rush, as I still had 2 of the April hugs in my hands. (Only 1 left now.) That feeling – no rush – felt good.

Then, OH NO!! I remembered that I had promised to weave a shawl for the upcoming Alzheimer’s Association fundraising auction. Preferably in purple, which is their signature color. I looked up the date of the auction – May 20!!! It was already May 12 when I remembered, so there was no time to lose!

I knew I could always give them a piece I’d already woven if I had to, but it wouldn’t be purple. I went to my stash of Tencel yarn. I didn’t have what I consider to be a clear/straight purple, but I had lots of red-violet, so that would be the majority of the shawl. I threw in some random stripes of yarns that I had tiny amounts of to finish up those cones/bobbins, and set to work.

Unlike my usual practice of warping for at least 3 pieces, I warped for only 1. Gotta get this onto and off of the loom quickly.

I auditioned at least 6 different wefts for this one, and was surprised at how ‘fussy’ the warp was. Few of those weft colors looked great with it. I ultimately chose a medium blue, trying to shift the overall away from the red a bit and toward the blue. Then weave, cut off the loom, twist the fringe, wash, dry, & hard press.

Someone is coming to pick it up momentarily, so I snapped some shots quickly.

Alzheimer's donation shawl, wrapped

showing 2 sides of the Alzheimer's donation shawl

Alzheimer's shawl, 2 sides, closeup

And this morning I dropped off my 10 bead bags for May at the Weaving Center.

bags for Beads of Courage

Hawks and Hugs

Before we start talking about weaving, I have to share info and pix about nature. Apparently not an uncommon occurrence, especially during migration season, I have never witnesses a ‘kettle’ of hawks before. And it was completely by accident that I saw this group on Sunday. I just happened to go outside and look up.

kettle of hawks, 1

There in the clear blue sky were red-tailed hawks. Literally hundreds of them. Every speck in this image is a bird, and I certainly didn’t capture them all in one shot. I know this isn’t a wonderful photo, but it was the best I could do, as these birds weren’t going to stay above me forever.

I am used to seeing a red-tailed or two, and I’m familiar with their calls. This group of hundreds? Not a sound!

kettle of hawks, 2

So if I hadn’t decided I needed a break from the loom at this precise moment, and hadn’t happened to look up instead of at my phone, I would have totally missed it. WOW!!

Ok, on to more fiber-y pursuits.

Shortly after my last post I gathered some yarns from my stash and designed a warp for my April woven hugs. Gradations of pink, lilac, blues, and cranberry. All warp threads are cotton, mostly 3/2 and 5/2 – thicker than I usually work with.

warp for April hugs, chained

I measured and beamed the warp, happy with what I’d done. As with March, I decided on a simple point twill threading and treadling.

beaming the woven hugs for April

After I was about half-way through the first hug I noticed this:

skipped dent in April hugs

I’d missed a dent in my reed. Since this part of the warp is mostly 3/2 cotton, I decided I would let it ride through the end of this hug, repairing it prior to starting the second piece on the warp. Which I did.

I don’t have great process shots for you, but here I just cut all 3 off the loom.

3 April hugs fresh off the loom

I wove the first one with a variegated rayon-cotton rick rack yarn, for lots of both color and texture. The second is a bright peacock 3/2 cotton, and the third a nice 3/2 turquoise. Right after this photo I took them to my sewing machine for the bit of straight stitching to secure the edges. They’re in my washing machine now. Then to the dryer, then my hand hemming.

As with all of my hugs, I will happily gift them to someone struggling with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. The hug can be for the person with the disease or their loved one/caregiver. Based on what you can see in this photo, let me know if you’d like one of this batch.


8 Ukraine support towels, swirled

People can surprise me in wonderful ways as well as in horrid ways.

On Tuesday I listed a batch of 8 Ukraine support towels in my Etsy shop. Yesterday I took one of them to my Guild meeting for show & tell. Told them I’d already been able to donate $250 and would keep weaving these towels as long as people wanted them.

Before I left that meeting, I had orders for 6 of those 8! WOW!!

So I just placed an order for more of that yellow and blue yarn. And now I have to figure out how to show them as ‘pending’ or something similar in my Etsy shop, since I want the listing to stay visible while I weave more. Anyone know how to do this?

8 Ukraine support towels, folded


On a completely different note, a friend of mine went to visit her brother who she hadn’t seen since before Covid. I offered to watch her dogs (Shih Tzus) while she was gone. She’s coming home today and I’m sure they’ll be really excited to see her. But I had to show you pictures of these 2 cuties.

Here you can see them comfortable in their beds.
Bella & Gunner asleep in their beds

Even this shot doesn’t show their little faces, but I put their sweaters on for the morning walk when it was snowing a bit.
Bella & Gunner in sweaters

Although I think Jack will be happy to be an only dog again, everyone got along well.

More towels coming

I finished the 10 towels on the Ukraine Support warp. Eight of them are in their new homes; I’m waiting for a check to arrive for the last two. I was able to donate $250 from these towels – yay!

finished Ukraine Support towel

But I started a new warp of 8. Almost the same, but I had to warp with the lighter yellow and blue this time to make sure I have enough yarn. I’m weaving with the darker colors. So they’ll ultimately look the same. I think. Let me know if you want one of these.

I also finished a shorter length at the end of the warp and stitched it into a flag for my yard. I’m happy to have this outside as a visible statement of my support.

Ukraine Support flag

I also finished and dropped off 10 Bead Bags for the month of April but forgot to take any pix of them. I’ve been thinking about my April woven hugs, but haven’t started formal planning yet. Gotta get the second towel warp off the loom. In fact, I have to go back there now. 🙂

Ukraine support towels

The yarn I ordered to weave towels for Ukraine support arrived on Thursday.

Ukraine support yarn arrived

Before it even got here I’d spent some time at my computer planning the weave structure I’d use for these towels. I decided to keep it simple, and to use a structure I’d used before and found both easy to weave and pleasing to my eye. Plus it kept the blue and yellow as stars of the show, with no other colors interceding.

So on Friday I measured out the 464 ends I needed. I made my warp just under 12 yards long, so I can get 10 towels out of it. Life intervened and I got the warp beamed and partially threaded on Saturday.

I purposely chose to use the darker blue and yellow in the warp, knowing that my wefts would tone it down a bit.

beaming the warp for Ukraine support towels

Finally today (Sunday) I finished threading, lashed on, and started weaving. This is as far as I’ll get today, but I’m really liking the decisions I made to this point.

start of weaving on Ukraine support towels

I’m not yet sure if I’ll make them all have the alternating wefts I’m using on this towel. I may. Or I may decide to do a towel in all yellow or all blue weft. Only time will tell.

My goals is to weave 2 towels/day. So in 5 days I’d have this warp woven. Then at least 4 days to do all the off-loom finishing.

I already have orders for 4 of these towels, before they were even on the loom. I haven’t yet figured out the actual yarn costs per towel, but I’m guessing I’ll be able to donate $15+ per towel to Ukraine support. 🙂