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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. 🙂

On Giving

Howard Zinn quote

I firmly believe in what Zinn is saying in that quote. It also fits in with my “It’s a Wonderful Life” theory of life: we will never really know the impact of all of our actions, behaviors, and words on others. This is true whether they are positive or negative.

I also know that what I have done since January has definitely felt right to me and has encouraged me to keep doing it and to do more. Giving – of my time, my energy, my humanity, my possessions – helps me, too. It strengthens my spirit, makes me happy, allows me to believe that being kind in my own little way makes a positive difference in the world, creating ripples that I will never see.

What have I been doing? I’ve been using my albeit limited talents to make things to give away. It all started with an inspiration from another member of my Guild. At the December evening meeting Suanne encouraged us to make things to donate, and told us she was knitting hats, scarves, and mittens that were being distributed through her local library. As soon as my Christmas gifts were made I started knitting, and ended up donating 1 hat and 15 pairs of mittens.

Then I started sewing. I made 10 bags to donate to the local pediatric hospital for use in their Beads of Courage program.

In fact I just finished my second batch of 10 bags. I made shopping trips to 2 local craft thrift stores for the fabric and ribbons, so I also supported their donations to local organizations with my purchases.

2nd batch of bead bags

Next I was inspired by another weaver via Facebook. (If you’re in my Facebook Second Wind Fan Group you already know this, but I’m repeating it here for those who are not.) She was donating ‘woven hugs’ – shawls – to people with cancer. I warped up my loom and was off and running.

Rainbow hug warp on the loom

My inspiration weaver and I had some conversations while I was working and decided we were better off to each do this independently, not to try to actually partner on the project.

So I did some thinking and decided to honor a dear friend of mine by offering my ‘woven hugs’ to people dealing with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. They can go to the person with the disease or their caregivers/loved ones. I plan to weave 3 of these hugs per month. Here are the 3 finished hugs for this month, all 100% mercerized cotton. (Note: I mailed the one in the first photo – the red one – out this morning.)

Rainbow hug, red

The hug below has a golden ‘flake’ weft, for a thick & thin texture.
Rainbow hug, golden

This hug has a *very* dark purple weft, reading navy or black, depending on the light.
Rainbow hug, dark purple

Every batch will be different, with colors and fibers that strike my fancy. As an added benefit to me, these hugs will allow me to use up my stash in a new way. Win-Win! I am offering the hugs at no charge, but will appreciate being reimbursed for shipping.

At this point, I am making this offer to people in my Facebook Fan Group and blog readers only. So if someone in your life has dementia and you’d like one of this first batch hugs, let me know. You can certainly email me directly instead of leaving lots of personal information in a comment to this post.

If I have any left in a few days I will make the offer to a wider group, perhaps on Facebook, perhaps in another way.

As I was finishing those hugs, my daughter texted me with what I thought was a brilliant idea. I could weave towels in yellow and blue, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and donate proceeds from them to support Ukraine. I ordered the yarn almost immediately. I ordered 2 different yellows and blues, partly because I wasn’t sure which would be closer to the flag colors when I saw the yarn in person, and partly to enlarge my design options.

yarns ordered for Ukraine flag towels

It hasn’t arrived yet, but I’m *psyched* about this project! Because I had to order the yarn, I don’t feel like I can donate 100% of the sale price, but will cover my actual yarn costs per towel and donate the rest.

In between all of the above, I was finally almost finished with the socks that had been on my needles since November, so it was time to dye the next sock blank. I decided I wanted multi-colored stripes, so here’s what the yarn looked like immediately after applying the dyes.

multi-striped sock blank

And here’s what it looks like after rinsing, drying, and winding into balls. It remains to be seen how it will look as it’s knit into socks.

multi-striped sock yarn wound into balls

Whew! Finally done with this post. Thanks for sticking with me. Maybe I’ll remember to post more frequently so each post can be shorter. But maybe not. 😉

Still busy

I have woven some new towels but I’m still working on hemming them so no pix yet. I have, however, completed some other projects.

First, I finished my knitting of mittens to donate for this season. Here are the last 6, all kids sizes. This brought my count up to 15 pairs of mittens and one hat. I’m happy with that, even though I used all worsted weight yarn so each item went pretty fast.

6 pairs of mittens to donate

I liked the colorful nature of using a different color of yarn for the cuff. And although camouflage is never my aesthetic, I thought it would likely appeal to some of the kids so went with it.

Then I finally went to the local craft thrift store and bought some fabric to make myself an apron. I like the fact that the ‘front’ fabric is a little fancy with that bit of gold running through it. (That doesn’t show up great in the photo, but it does in real life.)

close up of my apron fabric

It was a bit of serendipity that the store had the perfect coordinating fabric for the back. It’s sort of like an old-fashioned mattress ticking. After having made 6 for Christmas gifts, my apron came together quickly.

my apron

Since I was in the sewing mode, I jumped on a project that my Guild learned about. A local pediatric hospital, specializing in children with cancer and other serious illnesses, participates in a program called Beads of Courage. Basically, the children collect beads throughout their treatment, one for every medical event. The beads are collected in a cloth bag until they have enough to make a necklace. The hospital always needs people to sew bags, and I was happy to go through my fabric stash (most from all those masks I made) and come up with enough appropriate fabrics to make 10 lined bags.

10 Beads of Courage bags

Interestingly, it took me about the same amount of time to open the seam and thread the ribbons as it did to do all the sewing.

I just learned that the local hospital gives these bags to about 30 kids a month. While it’s really sad that so many kids needs them, it inspires me to make more. I plan to make 10-12 a month. So the next time I go to the craft thrift store I’ll pick up fabric and ribbons specifically for this.

That and the regular activities of life have kept me busy enough. Plus I’m updating my Etsy shop, piece by piece, if you’re interested in checking it out. Some changes will not be obvious to you; they’re things mostly designed to drive more traffic to my shop. But I like the new banner at the top of my page.

Use what you have

What we have here in Rochester, NY is snow. So use that snow!

I purchased a dozen plain, undyed, 100% cotton towels specifically for this purpose.

Then I used the formula of Kathrin Weber for snow dyeing. 2 cups soda ash to 1 gallon water for soaking. Lots of snow, dye on top. No drainage; let the towels sit in the muck as the snow melts. Leave them sitting there for a day after the snow is all gone.

I have to tell you, my reaction to the towels immediately after dyeing was quite different from what it was at the end. I dyed 4 in the first batch and rather hated them when they were done, so I only did 2 in each of the next batches, trying different techniques. As it turns out, those first 4 are stunners! Here they are, and the dyes I used…named Into The Fire.

Into The Fire snow dyed towels

dyes used for Into The Fire

The next batch? Too bright, too…just too much for my tastes. Here’s Bright Reflections and their dyes.
Bright Reflections snow dyed towels
dyes used for Bright Reflections

Then I wanted the colors to ‘break’ and to complement each other, so purposely chose dyes that I knew were mixes of several other colors. I got lots of muddiness, IMHO. Dark Woods and their dyes.

Dark Woods snow dyed towels
dyes used for Dark Woods

These last 4, although dyed in 2 different batches with slightly different colors, look similar enough. And are lovely to my eyes. Spring Will Come – and the dyes I used for the 2 batches.

Spring Will Come snow dyed towels
dyes used for Spring Will Come 1
dyes used for Spring Will Come 2

I will be posting these towels in my Etsy shop later today or tomorrow. Who knows if they’ll sell? If not, I’ll have a bunch of new towels in my closet – thinner and stiffer than my handwoven towels but they dry well.