September 1

11 cones of yarn in a bag

That probably looks like I broke my vow and bought more yarn. But I didn’t! Back in January I won a gift certificate to Daft Dames, a local yarn store, at the Weavers’ Guild 75th Anniversary Show. As I mentioned in my last post, I was in the mood to weave more circles, and wanted to make towels to bring to the Holiday Sale, but didn’t have colors that moved me. So I decided it was time to go spend that gift certificate.

I looked at my stash of unmercerized cottons, made a list of colors I needed/wanted, and took a ride. This is what I came home with. I plan to start winding a warp tomorrow.

Today I’m making paper…some series of 4 similar pieces to insert into aperture cards to sell as sets at the Holiday Sale. These pics are for 3 different groupings of 4. From the top, geranium petals, thread-leaf coreopsis petals, and cedar imprints.

paper with geranium petals

paper with coreopsis petals

paper with cedar imprint

More pressing of these sheets is needed. Had to leave to go host Open Studio at the Weaving & Fiber Arts Center. Plan to make more when I get back home. And I had to totally guess at how to position things on the paper, as only a portion of each sheet will show in the cards, so maybe they’ll work well and maybe they won’t.

While at the Center I’ll be hemming those towels I cut off the loom on Tuesday – you saw the stripes in the last post. No pix of finished towels yet.

Time keeps flying

Somehow I feel like time is moving faster and yet I’m accomplishing less. Everything seems to take so long! And I can sit at my loom, or in front of this computer, for just so long before I have to get up and move around. My bottom, back, and focus don’t last as long as they used to. I’ll tell you what I have done, completely out of chronological order, just what hits me as I sit here typing.

I have been getting some things finished. Easy peasy are the 10 bead bags for August. They work up quickly and give me a sense of accomplishment.

August bead bags

I do love my BuyNothing group. I got this large quantity of Mirabelle plums. I didn’t even feel piggy, as this was a small portion of the plums available.

Mirabelle plums

I went online, found a few recipes for plum jam without pectin, and made 11 half-pints, 1 pint, 2 peanut butter jars, and a half-mug of Spiced Plum jam. Spiced with cardamom, ginger, and star anise. YUM.

several jars of spiced plum jam

I’m guessing that plums have a fair amount of natural pectin in them, at least when you use the skins as well as the fruit. I did add 2 grated apples, as the recipe called for. But here’s the thing…the recipes I found said to boil the fruit-sugar-spice mixture to 220 degrees. And let me tell you, that was the PERFECT temperature. This jam is better jelled than most of my jams, which are made with pectin. My canner was full so the peanut butter jars just sat on the counter and will sit in my frig. Of the 12 jars in the canner, 11 sealed beautifully.

My urban soul line dance group had our 1-year anniversary. I worked with another member of the group to package 16 raffle baskets and 8 door prizes, making them all look beautiful. They included everything from handbags to scratch-off lottery tickets, tequila to barbecue tools. I was happy to donate two of my handwoven towels that went into baskets with other items. 🙂

Another reason I love my BuyNothing group. Members were so grateful to receive the August hugs. It’s such a pleasure to hand them over, being able to look into people’s faces and hear little bits of their stories. Here are the August hugs. I used what I call a huck-ish weave structure for them. (For you weavers out there, I threaded for huck and treadled just half of the lace blocks.)

The first one has a space-dyed weft that is a blend of rayon & cotton and is sort of a boucle and sort of a flake. An interesting yarn. The kind that I prefer or warp, but I used it here for weft. While not my personal favorite, it was scooped up first. 🙂

Mixed berries August hug

This one has a Tencel weft, also treadled in half-huck.

Blueberries1 August hug

And the last is a 20/2 cotton weft, doubled. Treadled plain weave.

August hug, blueberries 2

As I was finishing them, realizing how much I am *not* getting accomplished, I saw that November will be upon me before I know it. The Weavers’ Guild’s annual sale is in early November, and towels are great sellers there, so I needed to get on the stick and weave towels. I really was in the mood to weave more circles, but I didn’t have colors that moved me. So I switched gears to another well-liked draft – 728 from Strickler for you weavers. I got a warp measured and threaded yesterday.

Towel warp being beamed

I also really want to make some more paper for cards to sell at the sale, too. Small items go quickly. But so does time. We’ll see what I can actually accomplish.

Finally, I hemmed and listed a shawl in my Etsy shop that’s been sitting in my house for too many months waiting for me to get motivated.

Oh yeah, and I want to weave a rayon chenille shawl or two to send to the Copper Shop Gallery to sell.

I’ve gotta go spend some time with my little dog now. He’s feeling neglected.

August already?!

Honestly, I have no idea how I can seem (to myself at least) so busy and have so little to show for it. How does an hour, a day, a week just fly by?

Within two days of posting about my handwoven hugs in my BuyNothing group, I got 10 requests! The three July hugs were picked up by their new owners or family members by the end of two more days. And I have people waiting for my August & September hugs, plus the first person in line for October. I’m SOOOO glad I posted there!

I’d already decided that I needed to weave some colorful towels for my Etsy store – I haven’t been able to update that with new items in months. 🙁 So I decided on returning to the polka dots designed by the talented Susan Pogue.

How fun does this twist of thrums looks? All I can think of is Fruit Stripe gum. Although I liked their commercials, and could still sing their jingle for you, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the actual gum flavors.

fruit stripe gum thrums

Anyway, it didn’t take me long to weave those towels, but it took forever for me to hem them and photograph them. I was too busy! (Don’t ask what I was doing.)

I did get them listed in my Etsy shop today.

Lime Sherbet Dots towel

Oh, yeah, and I spent 3-4 days learning about loom-controlled shibori. First was a full day in class at the Weaving & Fiber Arts Center with a great teacher. Then there was the time at home: measure the warp, beam & thread the loom, and weave. I used three different threadings, so that meant threading the loom three times. And the pickup I did was MUCH slower than lifting shafts, even though this was all done on my little table loom.

After the weaving, the pattern/pull threads all had to be pulled, really tightly, and tied. I was amazed at how long that process took. Here’s what my 9 samples looked like when that piece of work was done.

9 shibori samples tied

Then back to the Weaving Center for the second day of class to do the dyeing. Then, of course, opening them up, rinsing, drying, pressing, and photographing. Ok, maybe it was more like 4-5 days all told. Anyway, here are my results. In each triptych you’ll see what the fabric looked like after it was taken off the loom, and then both the ‘front’ and the ‘back’ of the cloth. My warp and most plain weave weft was an undyed 5/2 bamboo. The pattern wefts were mostly embroidery floss. I’ve noted differences from that in the appropriate photos.

1st shibori sample

2nd shibori sample

3rd shibori sample

The blue pattern weft in the samples immediately above and below is rep weave filler.

4th shibori sample

5th shibori sample

The dark plain weave weft in the next photo is navy mercerized cotton. Then there’s some ribbon yarn for the pattern weft.

6th shibori sample

7th shibori sample

8th shibori sample

The darker weft below is a variegated cotton flake in tan-to-brown.

9th shibori sample

This was quite a learning experience. Will I do more shibori at some point in the future? I don’t know. But I think can assure you it won’t be in a piece I intend to sell – there’s way too much of a time commitment involved, and I don’t know that I could charge enough to make it worth it.

I also get the warp wound, beamed, and threaded for the August hugs. I’m loving it!

Beaming the warp for my August hugs

July updates

We’ll start with a bit of the natural world. Yesterday morning I was heading back from my walk and came upon a man who was staring up into the trees. It was clear he was watching something, so I stopped and quietly asked what was interesting. There was an adult pileated woodpecker (mama? papa?) and 2 juveniles up in the tree.

The adult was very busily working on the trunk, making a big hole and digging out bugs or larvae, and the juveniles were sort of hopping around and trying to imitate the behavior. Emphasis on trying. The adult was seen to feed one of the tasty morsels (s)he uncovered to a juvenile.

Can you see the juvenile poking around the side of the tree near mama/papa?

adult & juvenile pileated woodpecker

On to some sewing. I realize I never showed you the bead bags I made in June, so below you have 2 sets: first June’s 10 bags and then July’s. I don’t love the skull fabric, but I’m hoping they’ll appeal to some of the children in the hospital.

10 June bead bags

10 July bead bags

As for weaving, since I didn’t finish them until several days ago, I’ve decided that I’ll not call these June hugs. That boat has sailed and I have to admit that I simply missed that target. These are July’s hugs.

July woven hug-black feathers

July woven hug-crackling fire

July woven hug-Out of the Flames

Personally, I prefer the bright ones – the second two – but I’m trusting the first will suit someone. These hugs are a combination of bamboo, cotton, and tencel or rayon.

Because I’ve somewhat struggled in distributing these hugs to people with dementia or their loved ones, I added another potential avenue for these. I am a member of my local BuyNothing group, a Facebook based group. As the name implies, the concept is to give away what you don’t need or want and get what you do. I’ve both given and gotten several things. I’m hoping posting in that group will reach people I haven’t yet had contact with.

So as always, do contact me if you know of someone who could use a hug – a woven one.

Now for the closing. I take an urban/soul line dance class weekly. This is an important part of my week, and never fails to raise my spirits. The group is SO positive, so encouraging, so welcoming, so great. This week, one of the core team wore a T that struck me as perfect, so I asked for her permission to photograph it and her. I love the sentiment and this woman.

Flawesome Tshirt


Today is June 26th and I’m just getting started on the June hugs, but I couldn’t resist posting this early tease. This is the first hug on the warp. Out of the Flames. Combination of several hand painted warps I’ve had for years. Bamboo, cotton, Tencel, and rayon.

Out of the Fire June hug

As always, I’ll be gifting this to someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, or one of their caregivers/loved ones. Let me know if you need a woven hug.