February Freeze

If you’re in the northeast this week, you know it is C.O.L.D!! Wind chills hover around MINUS 20 degrees (F) today! The perfect opportunity for me to take some photos and post to both my blog and Etsy.

Although today is February 3, I did manage to finish the promised (to myself) 10 Beads of Courage bags for January.
Bead bags for January

I succeeded in making 10 bags in each of 6 months in 2022. I’m shooting for more in 2023. In fact, I got 20 more cut out, so bags cut for both February and March. I find it easiest to cut the fabric when I’m hosting at the Weaving Center as their tables are larger than mine, so I’m happy to have a bunch more cut and ready to sew.

I just finished hemming another batch of Fibonacci towels last night. So today I got them photographed and the listing up in my Etsy store.

Here’s a shot of all 8 towels.

8 Fibonacci towels for February

That multi-colored one was inspired by the fact that I’d auditioned various weft colors in my weaving software. I liked the way it looked on the computer so wanted to try it in real life. I wasn’t sure if I’d like at much woven up, but I do. We’ll see what potential buyers prefer.

To see all of them in their individual beauty shots, you’ll have to go to my Etsy store, as I didn’t want to resize each twice – once for the size needed for my blog and once for the size needed for Etsy. I call it a way to both minimize my time in front of the computer and maximize my laptop storage space.

As far as my hugs go, I ended up posting the offering of the last remaining hug from January to my wonderful BuyNothing group. I now have 9 people on my list, so I’ll be weaving more hugs, probably starting next week.

For now, my loom is taken up with my traditional February activity – my Christmas cards for 2023. I’ve taken some on-loom shots, but don’t want to spoil all the surprises. They’ll come off the loom this weekend, and I promise I’ll take photos then and post again soon.

I’m going to leave today with a group photo from the most recent class of the Grateful Line Danze Krew. These women provide me with more joy, love, and support than I can adequately express. I am truly grateful to have them in my life.

Grateful Line Danze Krew

It’s a new year

Wishing everyone the time and ability to identify and find peace and joy throughout the year.

wet snow on cornus kousa

As I get older, I do find it easier to let go of (most) negative things, see the beauty around me, and be truly grateful for all that I have.

I plan to get back to my much-more-regular blog posting this year. Sometimes I’ll have things to share, sometimes I may just blather, but I’ve found that the blog is somewhat important to me and have actually missed recording my work and my thoughts on a regular basis. So this is the first of a yearful.

I made & sent lots of Christmas cards from the weaving I did last January, but didn’t get a photo of even a single card. Too busy.

Then I set about making some gifts. Which I obviously couldn’t show you till they’d been given. And then, of course, I didn’t get photos of them, either. Still too busy. But here’s a photo of the prototype I made for myself.

my bowl cozy

It’s a bowl cozy, making it possible to heat your soup or stew in the microwave without burning your fingers when you retrieve it. I made them using the template and directions from sewshecan. I actually made 16 of these. People who got an apron from me last Christmas got bowl cozies this year, with one side made from their apron fabric. I also gifted a good friend and neighbor, as well as six of my besties from my line dance group with cozies.

Then I saw something else that I thought was too cute not to try. Although I definitely think they should have a different name since they are nothing like dragon boats, these wrapped ornaments were fun to make and look much more complex than they actually were. I got the directions and template from CraftSanity. I gifted 8 of these to people, but only managed to snap photos of these 2. The one on the left is purposely not made of ‘Christmas colors’ so that the recipient can display it for longer.

2 dragon boat wrapped ornaments

The last few I made were much easier than the first few, and looked nicer, too, IMHO. (The photo is of two near the end of my work.)

As a Christmas gift, my daughter gave me this jigsaw puzzle.
jigsaw puzzle box
She’d given me one for my birthday in June that I hadn’t opened yet, so I figured I’d better get on it! I chose to start with this one. It’s an interesting concept, in that the picture on the box isn’t what the completed puzzle will look like. Inside the box there is some printed material that gives you clues to the finished image. At least that’s the concept. It didn’t do me much/any good. But I realized that the box image itself provided some decent clues.

I know myself well enough to know that once I start a jigsaw puzzle I really can’t do anything else until it’s completed. For 2 reasons: I am obsessive-compulsive about this kind of thing; I want to finish the challenge. But also, it takes up my entire kitchen table, leaving me just a tiny corner for eating, so it really can’t take months, or even weeks, to be done. Once I started, I completed it in five days. Here are days 1, 3, and 5 for you.

jigsaw puzzle, day 1

jigsaw puzzle, end of day 3

Fair warning – if you might want to do this puzzle, don’t look at the next image; it’s what the completed puzzle looks like.

jigsaw puzzle, completed

Then it was time to get back to some weaving…use up some more stash! Although I don’t have a single towel for sale, my heart told me I needed to prioritize making a warp of my handwoven hugs. After all, I hadn’t been able to weave any since October, and I definitely wanted to use up some of my rayon chenille and now was the season. So I warped up the loom in earthy colors and set to weaving. I finished the hemming yesterday and have sent out the photos to the next 3 people on my wait list.

This is the first one I wove and it turns out to be my favorite. Rayon chenille in both warp and weft, the weft is mostly dark brown with random stripes of golden brown along the length.
January hug-random stripes

Next I wove one with a cotton weft. I used a 20/2 mercerized bright orange cotton. It is the lightest weight of the three.
January hug, orange cotton

Finally I returned to rayon chenille weft. Mostly dark brown, I wove a few subtle stripes of reddish-brown, symmetrically at the ends.

January hug, subtle red stripes

I expect all three will be leaving my house to hug someone within the coming week. I only have 1 more person on my wait list, despite the outreach I have done, so this year will expand my target audience. I will continue to offer a handwoven hug to individuals and/or their families dealing with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and I will also offer one to a person suffering from depression or his/her loved ones. If you fit into either of these categories, don’t hesitate to contact me to get on my list. I plan to get back to weaving 3/month.

Next up, however, I will weave another batch of Fibonacci towels. I enjoyed making them and people enjoyed seeing them, so that’ll be fun.

In the not-so-fun category, I managed to complete my dreaded year-end inventory AND all my record-keeping for the accountant. As soon as I receive my 1099s I’ll be ready to send things off to the tax professional. That makes me REALLY happy!

Closing with another shot from my yard of the beautiful snowfall we had on Friday morning. The quality of the light and the way the snow outlined everything…ahhhhh.

wet snow, 1-13-23

8 Weeks Later…

You just have to trust me when I tell you that my life has been crazy busy for the past 2 months. Family always comes first, and it has…again and again and again. That’s just the way it is. So I have barely had time to do the ‘must do’ list; the ‘should do’ has fallen off the priority list, and forget about the ‘like to do’ list.

Although I can say that at this stage of my life, the ‘must dos’ include taking care of myself. It’s like that message you get on an airplane – put on your own oxygen mask first. So I’m now going to my wonderful urban soul line dance class twice a week instead of just once, and maintain my weekly zoom guided meditation group as well as my morning yoga and walking, eating healthy and drinking water.

But blogging? It’s been an endangered species of late. Hopefully my life will settle down soon and I can get back to my regular weaving, blogging, reading, and other routine activities. (Fingers crossed, but in reality I expect more craziness to come.)

So I won’t spend lots of time on any one thing that I’ve been doing since my last post (October 18!!!), just give you the highlights. And not necessarily in chronological order.

That pastel multi-colored warp I was winding way back then…this is how they turned out. I didn’t get closeups. And I sold all 6 of them at the Weavers’ Guild Holiday Sale on November 4-6.  I liked the fact that they weren’t really very pastel because of the wefts I chose.  That pastel warp gave me so many options.

pastel towels - not really

The Guild Holiday Sale was good for me. I sold 7 of the 8 pins that I’d made, all of the towels I’d brought (19), a rainbow chenille shawl, and a few other items.

Then I signed up to do a one day, brand new small-ish show set for December 4. Only 40 artists/crafters. But I liked the location so figured I’d give it a go. And it turned out GREAT for me!!

Based on the Guild Sale, I definitely wanted to weave more towels. I barely managed to get 2 warps onto and off of my loom. Another batch of circles, focusing on blues…

circle towels, focusing on blue

I only sold 1 at the December show, so just listed the remaining 7 in my Etsy shop, if you’re interested. They were okay, but I think I’m done with circles for a while.

I did, however, have great fun both planning and weaving a set of 8 towels based on Fibonacci numbers. They were twill blocks, with units of 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and 13 in both the warp and weft. I sold 7 of those 8 towels (5 at the December show and 2 when I brought them to the Weaving Center with me to photograph for Etsy posting), each with a different color weft, so only have one left. I do plan to make more of these…sometime.

Fibonacci twill blocks towel

I was unable to get either bead bags or handwoven hugs done in November. I have a tiny twinge about that, but it couldn’t be helped. Doubt that I’ll get them made in December, either.

I did get a bit of a dyeing bug, so hand painted 2 different bamboo warps to use together. They are bright, for sure. I wove them in huck lace, and sold the Blue Parrot at the December show; the Green Parrot is up on Etsy.

Green Parrot bamboo shawl

I also did a bit of double-knitting for a Christmas gift, but haven’t yet taken any photos. And because I find it relaxing in the evening, I’m knitting yet another pair of socks for my tootsies. And spent more time than I like to devote to such things doing all the computer entry for the Guild show and the December show and filing my quarterly sale tax report. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to get started on making my Christmas gifts.

May your days be merry and bright!

P.S. Someone asked, so here’s a section of the draft of that Fibonacci towel. Make the blocks the sizes that work for your desired finished piece, just use the Fibonacci numbers for your block sizes: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,etc.

section of Fibonacci weaving draft

Autumn joy?

kousa dogwood fruits

Cornus kousa dogwood leaves and fruits in Autumn

If your life is like mine, Autumn brings beauty – gorgeous fall colors, crisp temperatures, beautiful sunrises and sunsets. It also brings some not-so-pleasant things. In this case, I’m referring to some serious family challenges. Thankfully, I have support from many quarters, which makes the problems easier to bear. We face the struggles together, carry the burden collectively. And for that I am very grateful. I also really appreciate the relief and support I get from my (Zoom) meditation group and my urban soul line dance class. So much so that I’m going to start going to line dance 2x/week instead of the 1x I had been doing. It does both my mind and my body good.

On the weaving front, I finished the ‘September’ hugs…in early October. (A handwoven hug is a shawl – I call them hugs to indicate that my intention is wrapping the wearer in a hug.) I’m pretty clear that I’m not going to get any October hugs woven. And I’m okay with that, since I’ve just cleared my existing list of people who want them. So I just put the offer back out to my BuyNothing group, and have 1 request so far. I’m sure I’ll get more.

Here are the 3 September/October hugs, in the order woven.

The first one happens to be my favorite. It’s a solid pink cotton weft, woven in plain weave, so it really shows the hand painted warp (not my work) to its best advantage.
Sept-Oct hug #1

The second one I wove used a rich purple bamboo weft, and I treadled it in a zigzag pattern. No, actually, I’d threaded the warp in a point twill, so just treadled it 1-8. It feels great, and I love purple, but somehow this one didn’t speak to me the way I thought it would.

Sept-Oct hug #2

For the third hug, I used various colors of weft, randomly changing colors. This type of weaving is so outside my usual comfort zone – I’m much more of a symmetrical/planning-type weaver, but I liked the finished product. And this was the first one chosen. You just never know.

Sept-Oct hug #3

After I got those hugs off I quickly warped my loom for a run of towels. Again, outside my comfort zone. 🙂 Some time ago (a year??) I’d acquired a cotton warp from another Guild member. It was already measured out and chained, and was in baby pastel colors. How long was it? How many threads was it? I didn’t know, so had to start by doing a lot of counting of threads (couldn’t get the same number twice, LOL) – it seemed there were about 320 threads – nowhere near enough for a towel width, so I’d have to supplement it with threads from my stash. But how long was the warp? So I set up my warping mill and attempted to stretch it on there, knowing that I couldn’t get a 320-end warp to stretch as much as a more narrow warp. So I picked some coordinating colors and wound them, 5 ends at a time, longer than I figured I’d need. 10 ends of my warp, 20 ends of the purchased warp, all the way across the width of the piece. Here’s the warp going on the loom.

beaming baby pastels towels

The towels are off the loom now and I’m hemming, so will take pix after that.

Now it was time to decide what I would bring to my guild’s Holiday Sale. You’ve seen photos of some of my handmade paper before. I made some more, in sets of 4, and used them to make inserts in cards. Almost all of the paper was created using old brochures from our Weaving Center, a twist I particularly liked. I don’t have pix of the completed cards or sets…maybe another time but I want to get this post up.

I also used an idea from another weaver I saw on Facebook, and created little pins from foam core board wrapped with leftovers of my handpainted yarn.

wrapped pins

I got my dates mixed up and thought all the paperwork had to be in by the 15th, so I was flying that last week. I realized at the last minute that the deadline was the 27th, but I’d made my pieces and my decisions, so submitted on the 15th anyway. Now I don’t have to keep obsessing on that. I will just have some tagging and pressing to do in the next few weeks. Easy peasy.

Oh, yeah. Then I sewed my 10 bead bags for August. October bead bags

And suddenly it’s October

An entire month. To the day. With no post. How does this happen, especially when I’m feeling so busy? Obviously too busy to blog. 😉

But then I should have a lot to show for it, shouldn’t I? Alas, that is not the case.

In chronological order – or something close to it…

Way back in late August I showed you the striped warp I was beaming for towels. They got woven and listed in my Etsy shop. A few have sold. Trust me when I tell you that part of me hopes that none of the towels I weave at this point sell, as I want to have plenty of towels to bring to the Weavers’ Guild Holiday Sale.

8 Striped Beauty towels

So why do I put them up on Etsy? Because a sale is a sale is a sale, right?

After those towels I put another warp on with all those luscious new colors. More dots.

September dots towels

That lightest colored one? It’s not dots – or at least not just dots. I really sort of hated it on the loom so didn’t make any more with that type of treadling. Off the loom? I like it and now sort of wish I’d done more. That’s how life goes, right?

Then I quickly put on rayon chenille warp for 2 rainbow shawls.

beaming Wrapped in a Rainbow shawls

Seeing these colors just makes me SO happy. And these will be my last rainbow shawls. This is the end of my yellow and orange rayon chenille and I won’t buy more.

Then I wove the two shawls, using black rayon chenille as I’ve done before. After the fact I wish I’d just used black rayon, which is substantially finer than the rayon chenille and wouldn’t have covered up so much of the warp threads. The black rayon chenille darkened everything up more than I would have preferred.

Wrapped in a Rainbow shawl

Instead of doing a self hem, I machine stitched on a bias binding I’d made many months (years?) ago of dupioni silk. Then I hand hemmed that down. You can just see the corner of it in the photo.

I sent one of the shawls off to the Copper Shop Gallery in East Aurora; the other will go to the Holiday Sale.

While those shawls were in the washer & dryer I stitched up the September batch of bead bags.

September bead bags

Then I planned, measured, and beamed a warp for my September hugs. On September 28.

beaming September hugs

On the 30th I got 1 and 1/3 woven. Today I’ve woven 1 full one, so about 2/3 left to weave. I had to leave the house for a few hours for another obligation, and *hope* I can get that last hug woven before the day is out. I’ll still be late for September, but that’s the best I can do. Besides, this is a self-imposed deadline, so….

Closing shot. While Florida & South Caroline are dealing with Hurricane/Tropical Storm Ian, we’re having pleasant weather here in western New York. Look at last night’s stunning sunset.

a lovely red sunset