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This & that

I have been doing a variety of things lately. Some fiber-related, some not. Let’s start with the not.

A woman who lives a few blocks away has 2 pear trees in her backyard. This was a great year for the pears and she posted on a neighborhood connection that anyone who wanted could go to her yard and pick pears. I did this 2 years ago and the pears were great, so I walked over there with my basket.

basket of pears

I put them in a brown paper bag and waited for them to ripen. Meanwhile I bought an 8-quart basket of local peaches. Of course both were ripening at about the same time. 🙂 I made a batch of spiced pear jam, which turned out super yummy. I also tried a new recipe – honey vanilla peach butter. It tastes fine but I wouldn’t make it again – LOTS of standing in the kitchen and stirring. After this picture I also made a batch of peach jam that didn’t gel properly, but is great for baking cobblers and such.

homemade pear jam and peach butter

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I live on a corner – a fact that serves me well. I have a chain link fence in my backyard – a fact that also serves me well but neither looks attractive nor offers any privacy. In the 5 years that I’ve lived here I’ve tried a few different things to improve the look and function of the fence, but all have been major fails and didn’t last more than a few days at best.

chain link fence & plants

This year I had yet another idea to try. I put out an ask on my local BuyNothing group, seeking old lace curtain panels. I was quickly gifted with 3 panels. I got out my seam ripper to remove the casings and hems, then sewed casings along the sides. 7/16″ dowels in the top casing provided the rigidity I needed. A few ties of carpet warp at top and bottom of each panel, a quick zip of hand work up the seams between panels, and this is the new look.

fence with lace panels

It works and looks about as well as I envisioned, which is all I could ask for. I’ll leave it up for the next several weeks and take it down before winter. Then I’ll decide if I’ll put it back up next spring.

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A friend and I have organized a towel exchange for our Guild, both as a hopefully fun activity and to promote community while we remain physically distanced. I knew I would put on a warp of towels for this exchange.

Sort of simultaneously I was taking an online class from one of our Guild’s teachers on incorporating Fibonacci or other number series into weaving. As I’d not successfully done this in the past, I knew that I wanted to do this for the towel exchange towels. I also knew that I was going to use yarn I already had — no purchases for this project.

Although I usually use 8/2 for my towels, my stash of unmercerized 8/2 cotton was getting quite low, but I had a bunch of 10/2 I could use for warp. (Note the cone on the right isn’t the accurate color – it’s leans much more toward brown than is shown. The on-loom image below is reasonably accurate for color.)

turquoise and maroon cotton on cones

So I spent way too many hours planning a stripe sequence, eventually choosing a random Fibonacci stripe pattern. (The teacher had told us that the eye likes Fibonacci even when it’s applied randomly.) My towels have approximately equal amounts of the turquoise and the brownish-red yarn, with 3 ends of pale gray separating the stripes.

I threaded the loom in alternating point twill, knowing that there were a variety of tie up and treadlings that I’d used previously and liked. So I set off weaving.

Fibonacci striped towels on the loom

I finished the weaving yesterday but pressing and hemming remain before I can take beauty shots or show you all of them – as usual for me, all a bit different.

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Warning: If you don’t have a Macomber loom, this section may not make sense or have any interest for you.

I do love my Macomber loom. But I don’t love the tie ups. I have both the older super hook style of hook and the newer smaller hooks. Both have issues for me. The super hooks tend to either grab onto the next lamm while I’m weaving or be almost impossible to remove when I want to change the tie up. The smaller hooks tend to pop off while I’m weaving.

So when a fellow Guild member told me that she had Texsolv tie ups made for her 12H Macomber, I was all ears! She kindly showed me a photo of her loom and gave me a sample of the tie up. I exchanged emails with our local Loom Magician (that’s what he calls himself) who had made her ties to find out if he used the regular or heavy duty Texsolv cord (regular), placed my order, and set myself up.

Macomber with Texsolv tie ups

It’s a bit of a different process to do the tie up, and at this point is a bit slower for me than my old process, but I’m betting that will change as I go forward. I’ve now used the Texsolv tie ups for 2 different 9 yard warps and LOVE IT! Not a single problem. No worries about things popping off or grabbing the neighboring lamm while I weave. YAY!

7 comments to This & that

  • Alma

    My dear – Fruiting, fencing, fibers – you’ve done it all this time. I’ll bet the spiced pear jam is beyond wonderful. I wouldn’t worry too much about the peach – honey certainly differs from sugar in how it sets, and I’ll bet that made all the difference.

    Who would have thought of a lace curtain fence? No one but you! Turned out well visually. Was it a pin to hang? Will the wing and weather play havoc with it?

    Now to the weaving – BOY, do you have some visual motion going there, with the black pattern overlaying the turquoise and brown stripes. If a person’s glasses need adjusting, this is quite mystifying. I had an art teacher who, in her section on colors, would have us make positive/negative items from plain old construction paper in secondary colors, to watch them
    VIBRATE. The red/green worked almost as well as your towel!!

    • Peg Cherre

      The honey was in the peach butter, which thickened appropriately – but there’s no pectin in that, it’s just boil and stir, boil and stir, boil and stir. I’ve made peach jam before that set fine, just not this batch. C’est la vie.

      It wasn’t too bad to hang the curtains on the fence, although it would have been easier if I didn’t put one up, put a second up, take the second down and do all the seam ripping and casing-making on that and the third, take down the first, do the above work on it, and then hang all three.

      As for the colors, they don’t vibrate much in real life. Maybe when you see them all when they are finished…

  • Kathleen Nystrom

    I’ve got an 8S Macomber, & I can sure agree on the tie-up problem. I have super-hooks, & I use a tiny hammer to get them off, but it’s still a pain. I changed chains into Texsolv on my 4S Norwood, but hadn’t thought of doing that on the Macomber. I notice you have marked the Texsolv in red–is that to mark which hole to use the “poker thing”[brain fog on the correct term] to have the treadle hang at the right level? I’m wondering if the Texsolv will wear through on the top, too, since the lamms seem like they might be kind of sharp for a fiber product.

    It’s an intriguing idea, & I might try it. You still have to get down on hands & knees, which gets harder all the time, but the actual change of tie-up sounds easier. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Peg Cherre

      Yes, I made the red marks on the Texsolv with a sharpie to be where I stick the arrow pegs – all at the appropriate height for harness lift and all the tie ups be the same height. Works like a charm. Will the Texsolv wear through? Only time will tell. But for me, it was well worth the initial investment to save my brain and prevent problems while weaving.

      Yes, I still have to get on the floor for the tie up, and like I said this is currently taking me a bit longer than the hooks, but SO worth it!

  • Steve Baker

    We all learn the sound of the hook hitting the floor but if the musics too loud… So I’m going to try this but I see you’ve left out one piece of info. Is it the regular or the heavy duty? I’ve never used the stuff and don’t know if the heavy will fit the slot?
    Thanks.

    • Peg Cherre

      I did say in the post but I’ll happily repeat here, Steve – I used regular Texsolv cord.

      Also, my loom is on a very thick rubber pad, so I can’t hear the hooks hitting the floor. 😉

  • Steve Baker

    Thanks, I looked right past it. I’m going to try this.

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