Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Presents - Part 2

I spun and wove coordinating scarves for my sister and her daughter. This is the first project in which I've used all handspun yarn. The warp was a blend of wool, mohair, and angora. At least I think that's what it was. When I bought it at Greencastle this year, the vendor didn't have the fibers written down, so she told me that from memory. I think she dyed it with kool-aid since it smelled a little fruity whenever I spun it. Even though it was dyed with kool-aid, the colors were nice and soft pastels, pink with a little green and orange. The yarn wound up around 18 wpi, and I wove it at 10 epi. If I were to do it over again, I would probably weave it at 12 epi because the end fabric was a little loose for my taste in many places. Since I had a limited amount of yarn for warp, the scarves were a little narrow, but not bad. The weft was handspun corriedale cross. I used a point threading. For the first scarf, I used a straight treadling, and for the second, a point treadling. The main thing I learned from these scarves is that my spinning needs practice to become more consistent. I'm sure that will come with time. The scarves turned out nice, soft and warm. My sister and niece liked them. I think they will appreciate having them during their first Indiana winter after years of living in Texas!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Presents - Part 1

Since Christmas is over, and all the gifts have been given, I can now post pictures of some of the gifts I made. For my dad and boyfriend, I made scarves of 8/3 Jaggerspun heather. For heavier yarns, I think four shaft patterns often work best. For these scarves, I used the Herringbone Plaid #2 threading from page 27 of Davison's green book. I was going to use the first treadling, which was tromp as writ, but when I wove the sample, it seemed that there wasn't enough contrast to make the pattern stand out. It just looked kind of cluttered. So I wound up using a straight treadling for one scarf and a point treadling for the other. Here they are before fulling:

And here they are, thick and soft, after fulling:

Now I feel compelled to share an irrational pet peeve. Occasionally, as I am finishing a project, or shortly thereafter, I will see something similar in a new Handwoven. In this case, while I was finishing with these scarves, I got the new Handwoven, chock full of articles on fulling. Last year, I wove several tencel scarves in huck lace and then saw an article the new Handwoven about tencel scarves in huck lace. When that happens, I feel like I have to tell everyone that my projects were my own ideas and that I did not get them from Handwoven. I think Handwoven is an excellent publication, and I am always excited whenever a new issue comes. I have thought about why this would irritate me when I should be proud that some of my ideas are in league with those published in my favorite magazine. I realized that before I began weaving, I had no creative outlet and did not consider myself a creative person. Now that I have discovered this creativity within myself, a creativity in relative infancy, I feel like a protective mother, needing to always defend it (and sometimes brag about it, the way mothers do). I have concluded from all this that to mature, I need to be more open about sharing my own ideas and about receiving ideas and inspiration from others' experiences.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thoughts on Megado

I had the opportunity to weave a scarf on the Megado in our local weaving shop last weekend. I think it's always interesting to try out different looms. Here are my observations about this one:

First, I LOOOOOVE Louets! I was already prejudiced on this point. I have a Louet Kombo and a Louet Spring myself. They are quiet, well engineered, and they look nice. I know that appearances aren't really a big priority for looms, but I see it as a nice bonus. Anyway, the Megado fit all of those expectations. The only noise I noticed was a click each time the (computerized) dobby prepared for the next shed. The shed was nice and clear. The tension stayed very even with the floating breast beam. Treadling was easy, even on such a big loom.

I found weaving on the Megado to be a little slower than weaving on a plain ol' treadle loom. This is because I generally tie up my treadles in a walking configuration. That way I can raise one treadle, lower another, and beat all at the same time. With the Megado, the rhythm wasn't as fast. It was lower the treadle, throw the suttle, beat, raise the treadle, and so on.

I did like the computerized dobby. I usually plan my drafts out on the computer anyway, so it doesn't take any more time to set up the dobby than it does to tie up treadles. I can see that pegging dobby bars would take much longer, especially for a complicated draft. Also, with a manual dobby, you are limited by the number of bars you have. A couple of ladies in our guild have Octados, and they are quite often borrowing dobby bars from each other because they don't have enough. With a computer dobby, there are no such limits.

The other thing I learned was that I love treadling. I don't really see a dobby loom in my future. I got a little bored with just one treadle. Up, down, up, down, same treadle, over and over. Not that a dobby doesn't have some real advantages. Without a dobby, you can easily run out of treadles for many drafts, and a dobby allows you to weave many more interesting patterns. I have to admit that the pattern I wove was realatively simple. It was a straight threading and treadling on 16 shafts. I think that weaving a more complicated pattern (maybe something in the vein of Bonnie Inouye) would be much more interesting. But as for me, I weave for fun, and I think that a big part of the fun is treadling.

In summary, I think the Megado is a fabulous loom. It's not something that would make sense for me to buy, but I am really glad that there is one available for me to use occasionally if I so choose.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

'Tis the season

Last week I finished the last three rayon scarves for Grandma, but I forgot to take a picture of them before I gave them to her. They were shades of blue. Grandma was thrilled. She plans on putting them in unmarked gift bags and letting each sister pick a bag, so she won't have to choose who gets what.

Now I'm busy weaving Christmas presents for me to give. I'll post pictures after Christmas. I love weaving for others. It's so much fun picking out the right yarns, colors, and patterns for each person. It's also nice to know that they are appreciated. I'm really looking forward to finishing and giving them away!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Last night at Kokomo Urban Outreach, the kids were asked what they were thankful for. Most answered that they were thankful for parents, home, and Jesus. I began to think about what I am thankful for... The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; a good family; a very comfortable home; a kind boyfriend; a good, stable job; a good, reasonable boss; a dependable car; beauty in nature; caring friends; nice looms; a practical spinning wheel; plenty of yarn and fiber; warm clothes; nourishing food; a fabulous local weaving guild; an exceptionally nice local weaving shop; my pet rabbit, Iris; music; my health; a good church nearby; freedom; art... I could go on and on, but you get my point. I truly am blessed, and I am so grateful for it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Baby Blanket

Finally, I finished the baby blanket I began in September. It's been off the loom for a while, but I wasn't too excited about finishing it. Well, my friend's baby is due in less than a week, so I had some motivation to get it done. It's a block twill in bambu 7 warp and weft. I'm not too thrilled with the finished product. It's nice, but it doesn't really excite me. It does feel nice and have a nice drape. Maybe blankets just aren't my thing. I am mostly glad that it's done, so I can move on to the next project.
So what's on the looms now? The Spring is half-way dressed with a lace-weight alpaca warp for a shawl for me. It's only half dressed because I realized last week, rather suddenly, how close Christmas is. So I hurried and wove off the warp that was on the Baby Wolf, a scarf that will be a Christmas present, and dressed it with the warp to make the last three rayon scarves for my grandma. I really am getting bored of the variegated rayon warps. I think it will be a while before I do any more. But, it was a good way to quickly make nine scarves. I don't think my grandma realizes quite how much time is involved in doing these, but her excitement definitely makes up for it. She is so excited to give these scarves to her sisters!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Betsy Blumenthal Workshop

Our guild hosted a workshop with Betsy Blumenthal last weekend. The topic was Fuzzy Bumpy fabrics. This was a round-robin workshop in which we learned about creating fabrics with different textures by using weave structures, differential shrinkage, and overtwisted yarns. Betsy was a warm, enthusiastic teacher, and we all left with heads full of information and new ideas. We also came home with lots of fun samples:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Guild Exchange

Yesterday we completed our guild's yarn exchange. Each participant had brought a bag of yarn to exchange. Then we had to weave something for whoever supplied the yarn we used. I got Nancy's huge grocery bag full of yarn. It was hard to decide which to pick, but some brightly colored variegated slubby rayon silk blend kept calling out to me. There was also a cone of purple zephyr that looked nice with the slubby yarn. I really liked the results I got when I used an advancing twill with a slubby rayon earlier this year, so I decided to use the same draft. It didn't work with these yarns.

In the sample above, I wove sections of twill and plainweave with a single strand of weft and a double strand of weft. There was so much going on with color, texture, and pattern in the twill areas that I didn't really like them. I wound up choosing the plainweave with a single strand of weft. It turned out OK, and Nancy seemed happy with it.

I had brought some bambu 12 and some 20/2 handpainted silk for the exchange, and Sue wove them into a beautiful scarf. Here is the front:

And the back:

Both sides are lovely, but I think I prefer the back. The scarf has such a nice drape and hand. I'm looking forward to wearing it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An exercise in patience

My latest project on the Spring is a baby blanket of Bambu 7 in a block twill at 24 epi. I was excited today because I figured I would finish threading the heddles this evening. I almost did, but as I came to the last few ends of warp, I realized that I miscalculated the number of ends in each repeat. Argh! So enough for tonight. I think I'll spin a little to wind down. And then start re-threading again tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

High Tech Spinning

I was really intrigued today when I read this article in SAE's aerospace engineering publication. A company called Nanocomp has developed a method for creating very long carbon nanotubes ("very long" in this context is a millimeter), which, in itself, is quite impressive. Then, one of the things they are doing with these millimeter long nanotubes is spinning them into yarn on an electrically controlled spindle. I cannot even imagine spinning millimeter long fiber. I would love to see their process. The mechanical and physical properties of the nanotube yarn are amazing. A quote from the article, "These spun conductive yarns exhibit breaking strengths up to 3 GPa, with fracture toughness that is higher than aramids (such as Kevlar or Twaron). They also show enhanced electrical conductivity with the ability to carry more current with better conductivity than copper at high frequencies. " To put that strength into context, the metals I am familiar with have room temperature tensile strengths of less than 1 GPa. This product could have some awesome applications. I hope I hear about it when it does!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

State Fair

I went to the Indiana State Fair today with a couple of girlfriends and had a great time. Since I was raised on a hoosier dairy farm, I always like to buy my fair food from places that support local agriculture. So I started the afternoon with a milkshake from the Dairy Bar and ended the evening with a ribeye sandwich from the Cattlemen's Club. Both had crazy-long lines, but in both cases, the wait was worthwhile. There wasn't really time to see all that we wanted. We did spend some time in the animal barns, where we saw the world's largest boar (man, was he big!) and some very cute and friendly shetland sheep.

We also spent a lot of time in the Home and Family Arts building, which housed exhibits of painting, photography, glass work, and, of course, fiber arts. The spinners were well represented. There were lots of beautiful skeins on display. I entered one skein, which didn't look too awfully bad among the others, but I could see that I still need a lot of practice in that area. My biggest disappointment was in the turnout of weavers. In the non-professional-weaving-of-things-other-than-rugs category, I saw only five entries from three weavers. Yes, only three weavers! We have more than ten times that many talented weavers in our one local guild. Anyway, two of the pieces on exhibit were mine. One was a deflected double weave scarf woven of tencel and mohair, which won first place. The other was a crammed warp plainweave scarf of wool and silk, which recieved an honorable mention. Second and third place were taken by Nancy, who entered a painted warp scarf and gorgeous shadow weave scarf.

I was more gratfied than disappointed, though, as I looked at the display. While I was admiring Nancy's work, a woman came to the display, pointed at my deflected double weave scarf, and said quietly to her daughter, "This one is gorgeous. The colors are beautiful." I was tempted to tell her that I had made it, but I decided not to. That simple praise was more than enough. My friends always say nice things about my work, but I tend to think that friends are supposed to say nice things. To hear such kind words from someone who didn't know me, or even know that the work was mine, validated me in a way. I feel as if I can say that I am a weaver or an artisan with more confidence and not feel like an imposter.

After I left, I began to think about what it was, specifically, that so disappointed me about the poor showing of weavers. I think that exhibiting in the fair is a great opportunity to present weaving in a contemporary context to the community. When I was younger, I remember many times seeing weavers in old-fashioned costumes weaving plain vanilla rag rugs, and each time I thought, "It's nice that people used to do that." It wasn't until I saw weaving as a contemporary art that I realized that I wanted to weave. That's why I think it's important to show our work and let others know that weaving is still relevant.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Up and Running!

I remember the first time I ever rented a Lincoln. I was traveling for work, and there were no mid-size cars left. I couldn't understand why the rental car agent was in such rapture over this car. It didn't look *that* fantastic. I didn't understand... until I drove it. The way it felt was almost indescribable. There was a smoothness and ease to that car that I had never felt in any of the budget-friendly cars I had always driven. Weaving on my new Louet Spring is like driving that Lincoln. I finally finished assembling the Spring this week. I dressed it and wove off a sample, and the entire process was amazingly smooth. I am so pleased with it.

The sample I wove was sea-silk warp in plainweave, 18 epi. I am trying to decide between two different wefts: natural 20/2 silk and silver 8/2 tencel. Right now I am leaning toward the silver tencel, but I'll wait to see how they look after wet finishing. I chose plainweave for the first warp on the loom because I thought it would show most clearly if I needed to make any adjustments to the loom.

I've also been spinning. Right now I am working on a llama / merino / tencel blend that I bought at Franklin. I don't remember who sold it to me; their name isn't on the receipt :( I am really pleased with it. The little bits of turquoise really set it off.

I also recently met some friends at the bead store. I had been wanting some turquoise to go with a couple of my summer outfits, and I found just the thing. I made this necklace and bracelet of turquoise, silver, and brown glass beads. The large beads on the necklace are ceramic. I wasn't sure how I felt about the necklace at first, but it's growing on me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Phoebe's first skein

I just completed my first skein from Phoebe, a cormo fleece that I got at Greencastle. There are a few slubby spots, but all-in-all, I'm pleased with it. It is a nice clean white color and, of course, very soft. This was my first real experience with flick carding. I found it to be rather time consuming, but I liked the control it gave me. I felt I could spin a more consistent fine yarn this way, and since I prefer to weave fine, I am trying to practice spinning fine when I do spin. I haven't measured the wpi on this, but by eyeballing it, I'm guessing I could weave with this at about 20 epi or so.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Straight draw scarves

At Saturday's guild meeting, several of us presented a program on straight draw. For my part, I focused mostly on the versatility of straight draw on eight shafts and the many looks that can be achieved just by changing the tie-up. I started off with the second set of three rayon scarves that I wove for my grandma. These are all 5/2 rayon, threaded 1 - 8. The one on the right is a waffle weave on straight draw, which was fun to weave. The one on the left is my favorite; it looks the most fluid.
Then I showed this scarf, with a buffalo warp and a handsun alpaca/shetland/silk weft. It is herringbone, but I threaded it as a straight draw on eight. I don't usually weave with wool this heavy and started weaving with a much too heavy beat. I was then so conscious of not beating too hard that my beat became progressively light. The other end wound up rather sleazy. You can see the difference between the two ends in the picture. The lesson I learned from this scarf is that when I am unsure of my beat, I MUST NOT be too confident to get out the ruler and check the ppi.

The last scarf I wove, just for fun, in plainweave with a crammed warp, following a recipe in an old Weaver's magazine. The structure is so simple, but the scarf turned out so nice. The crammed stripes are handpainted 20/2 silk, the remaining warp was 20/2 Jaggerspun Maine Line, and the weft was 20/2 silk noil. This turned out to be a nice, airy, light-weight scarf. I am really pleased with it. If I were to do anything differently, I would beam the wool and silk warps separately. Toward the end, there was a definite difference in tension.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I've been busy the past few weeks, but I did find some time to weave. First, I completed the towels on the lymon warp:

I used the threading from the March/April issue of Handwoven. I used cottolin instead of bamboo, added a couple repeats, and changed the treadling slightly. I'm really pleased with the way they turned out.

My other recent accomplishment is a sample for our guild's advancing twill study group this weekend.

I used a 5/4 rayon slub mill end as the warp and 5/2 rayon as weft. I tried it with both black and blue wefts, and I like the black the best. The sett I used was 16 epi, which seemed a little too close. I think I will re-sley the remaining warp at 14 epi. I wound enough warp for several samples and a nice scarf. The colors in the warp are so much fun to work with. These pictures don't do justice.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Playing with Silk

I had so much fun playing with the silk hankies that I bought last week that they are all spun up.
I really like these colors together, and, all-in-all, I'm pleased with the way it turned out. Of course, it will take some more practice before I can produce really nice yarn, but I think that what I have now is pretty darn good for a beginner. I plan on weaving a small scarf with it and some silver-colored tencel yarn in my stash.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Another Fiber Festival

Yesterday several of us made a trip to Franklin, IN to the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival, and a good time was had by all. It was a smaller festival, but there was still a great selection. I came home with some fabulous fibers, but I did excercise enough restraint to come home without a raw fleece. A couple of vendors who particularly impressed me were Sandy's Pallette, where I picked up some nice hand-painted merino/tencel roving, and River's Edge Weaving Studio, where I found some beautiful silk hankies and merino/alpaca roving.

One reason I enjoy fiber festivals so much is, of course, the awesome fiber for sale. But the other reason is to see lots of fiber people. I thought about this and wondered why I'm happy to meet other fiber people. What makes them special? One answer is that we share a common interest, but I think it goes deeper than that. Working with fiber is a tactile, time-consuming, and, let's admit, sometimes tedious practice. This experience yields fiber artists who tend to be gentle and patient, both of which are qualities that define love in I Corinthians 13. If you combine that with the warmth and genuine interest that fiber people show in each other's work, it's easy to see why it's such a pleasure to be around other fiber people.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Summer's here! Also, more about me than you may ever want to know

I was so excited to see the first rose blossom of the year greet me as I left for work this morning. That's a good sign that summer is here!
I have the Louet about half-way assembled now. One small part was missing, so I'm waiting on it to come in before I go any further with it. I've finished everything I was weaving for the guild's straight-draw program. Now I just need to finish a wedding gift and an advancing twill sample for the guild's study group due the same day. I began to weave on the wedding gift yesterday. I wove several inches in plainweave, and everything was looking great. Then I began weaving the pattern and found that four warp ends were threaded on the wrong pattern shaft. So once I fix that, I should be good to go.
Cally had some questions to share. I'm not sure I have five answers for each, but here goes...
What were you doing five years ago?
I was working in a different department at work, living in the old apartment, baking a lot more than I do now, and not weaving at all.

What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?
Pick up some clutter, vacuum the floors, wash the dishes, and hopefully weave a little.
What are five snacks you enjoy?
Ice cream, fresh fruit with vanilla yogurt, homemade bread, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, dried cherries.
What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?
Quit my job, weave a lot more, invest in IDES, buy new houses for some of my family, and replace all of the windows in my house.
What are five of your bad habits?
Procrastinating, daydreaming too much, not picking up after myself, forgetting to water my plants, and keeping to myself more than I ought.

What are five places where you have lived?
The family farm, dorms at college, off-campus apartment in college, an apartment in the town where I now live, and now my first house in the same town (all in Indiana).
What are five jobs you’ve had?
Produce clerk, cafeteria worker, library clerk, summer factory worker, engineer.
I won't tag anyone else just now. I've got to get moving and work on that to-do list!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's Here!

When I came home for my lunch break today, I saw several large boxes on my front porch and shouted for joy. I had been expecting my new Louet to arrive any time, and there it was. Can a 36" loom and its accessories really fit in these three boxes?We shall see... :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lymon Warp

Remember when Sprite ads always used the word "lymon"? I kept thinking of that as I wound this warp of fun, bright colors that I wouldn't generally think of using for myself. That's why it's such a blast to weave for other people.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What I've been up to...

I've been quite busy weaving lately but can't post any photos. I just finished a scarf that I will be using as an example in our guild's program on straight draw in June. It was really simple, and I'm quite pleased with it. I have a scarf on the table loom right now for the same program. I'll post photos of them both when the program is over.

Right now, I'm working on designing some kitchen towels for a wedding gift. I picked out the yarn for the towels several months ago, but only recently decided on a weave structure. I was inspired by the last Handwoven to use a mix of colors in woven lace. I'm using Donna Muller's book Handwoven Laces to help design the fabric. This is such a great book. It is clearly written and makes designing lace drafts so easy. I also love Muller's style of writing, which is simple and clever. She seems to enjoy using irony and plays-on-words when the opportunities arise, which is more often than one might think with this topic.

I'm very excited to note that I'm making an addition to my loom collection. I will be getting a new-to-me Louet Spring within the next couple of weeks. I've been drooling over the Spring for some time and had the opportunity to get one at a good price. The Louets are engineered so well, and I'm really looking forward to weaving on this one. I did notice a rather disturbing trend; I've bought a loom each year that I've been weaving. I think the engineer in me has gone a little crazy collecting tools. But this will be the last loom for a while.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Spring Harvest

I've never been mushroom hunting before. I never really thought about going mushroom hunting, and I certainly didn't expect to today. But as I was walking along the edge of my yard, I noticed a big morel underneath the crabapple tree. I looked closer and saw another and another...
I wandered back through the woods a little to look for more but didn't find anything beyond the crabapple tree. That's okay because what I found will be plenty for me. I am pretty happy with this spring-time gift from God!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New Placemats

In a recent episode of Weavecast, Syne Mitchell discussed the drudgery of finishing your weaving, and I could totally relate. I get so excited about the transformation that takes place on the loom that I kind of forget to look forward to the transformation that will take place in the washer and dryer. I took these placemats off the loom weeks ago and just finished them today. Although I've woven and wet finished quite a bit, I am still always amazed by the appearance and texture of the finished fabric compared to the web.

This was my first attempt at overshot. I used M.P. Davison's Valley Forge Dogwood with a just-okay border that I designed. I used 10/2 and 5/2 mercerized cotton, so they would stand up to some abuse. I'm not thrilled with the way the border turned out, but I haven't had much experience designing drafts. If I had to change anything about the placemats, I would change the sett (27 epi is a little close) make them a little shorter. They're not bad though, and all-in-all, I'm pleased with them. I enjoyed the rhythm of overshot, and it was a lot of fun to watch the pattern develop. I can't say that overshot is my new favorite weave structure, but it is something I'll do once in a while.

Also, I wanted to share some of the view from my backyard:

Since I don't have much room on my property for growing things, I was so excited to see the crab apple blossoming on the land owned by the county. I'm having a lot of fun seeing what kind of plants are popping up around the house; although, I seem to have an over-abundance of hostas already...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Poor Naked Looms

I feel like I've been neglecting my looms lately. I don't feel too guilty, though, since I have a couple of good reasons. First, I bought some awesome fibers at Greencastle a couple of weeks ago.

First was this beautiful silk from Robin Edmundson. She had so many great yarns and fibers in so many beautiful colorways, it was hard to choose.

I also bought a raw Cormo fleece from Westfield Woolies. I decided to process it myself. I have never washed a fleece before. I have washed this one now, and it's still drying. I am going to flick card it since it has a nice long staple. I have already learned one important lesson: Be more careful about skirting. What I have isn't too bad, though, and I'm excited to see how it turns out.
Last, I bought this beautiful roving from Greyside Farm. It is alpaca, shetland, and silk. I have already spun quite a bit of it, and it's turning out very nice. I am going to use the yarn in a project for our guild's straight draw program in June. After the program is over, I'll post more about it.

So that's one reason I've been spinning so much instead of weaving. The second is that I've been spending time trying to bond with my new bunny. She lives in the basement, so I can take my wheel down there and spin while I hang out with her. Iris seems to really like the wheel. If I leave it unattended within her reach, she thinks it would make a fabulous chew toy. This makes me think it would be a very bad idea to take one of the looms to the basement to use while I spend time with her. She also seems to find my spinning relaxing. One evening as I was spinning, she hopped to the end of the room and stretched her whole body across the floor. It was relaxed as I have ever seen her. Another time she sat behind my legs and kept bumping my ankles as I spun. She seemed to think that was a fun game. I wound up with a rather slubby skein that time! Anyway, I think I'll have to keep spinning while she's around because she seems to frighten so easily at any other time and especially when I run the washer and dryer. Hopefully spinning will be a way to keep her increasingly calm and friendly.

Friday, April 18, 2008

My New Housemate and Creativity

First, let me introduce Iris, who I adopted from the Indiana House Rabbit Societey:

I'm having a lot of fun getting to know Iris. She came from a rough background, so she has a hard time trusting people. If I sit or lie on the floor, she likes to come sniff me and check me out, but if I try to reach out to her she quickly runs away. She is really curious and likes to explore every corner of the room. She is also really active and likes to sprint around the furniture and do "binkies," happy bunny leaps. I have a blast watching her, and I think we'll get along quite well.

On another topic, I was home sick from work today and passed some of the time reading old issues of Handwoven. One article in particular caught my attention and made me think. It was about a Navajo weaving class. The Navajo instructor asked her students what was the source of their creativity. The students gave answers such as the land, the ocean, opossums, and turtles. The instructor replied that the source of her creativity was her clan, Reed. My first thought was: Opossums? Seriously??? Then I began to think about how I would answer that question. What is the source of my creativity? It didn't take long to realize that the source of my creativity is God. Anything I have ever made has been inspired or influenced by something that He has already made, either in nature or through someone else's work. The more I thought, I realized that He is the Creator of All Things. Nothing exists that He didn't create. So in all reality, I don't create anything. Rather, God creates through us. He created each of us individually and gave us skills, talents, passions, resources that yield beautiful things. He is ultimately the source of it all.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spinning Silk in Spring

I was so excited to discover this behind my house when I got home from work today:

Yeah! Spring is officially here! It looks a little bare to me yet. If nothing else pops up this year, I'll plant some tulips in the fall.

So, Greencastle is coming up this weekend, and I'll be going for the first time. I'm pretty excited about it. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned to Alice, my spinning teacher, that I planned on looking for some silk since I'd never spun it before. She offered to send me some to try, so I could see what I liked before I spent any money on it. Two or three days later, a silk hankie, a cap, some recycled sari silk, and a couple of types of sliver showed up in my mailbox. It didn't take long before I had spun it all, and I really enjoyed it. Here's what I wound up with:

Some of it is pretty slubby and inconsistent, but practice makes perfect. You might be thinking, "Hey, I don't see any recycled sari silk there," and you would be right. It turned out awful, with lots of tangly slubs that got caught at the orifice and on some of the flyer hooks. Before I realized it was caught, I tried treadling faster to make it take up, and I wound up with some "yarn" that was more overtwisted than anything I had ever made before. More practice is definitely in line!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Home Sweet Home

It's been a long time since I posted for two reasons: First, I was preparing to move and settling into my new home. Second, it took a month for my ISP to reconnect me after I moved! Prior to my move, both looms sat naked for a good month, so, naturally, I've been weaving like a madman since then. Here is my new weaving space. It's a lot of space for two small looms, but I plan on upgrading within the next couple of years. It's a really pleasant room, with old hardwood floors, windows to the east and west, and plenty of storage space.

I wove my first set of three rayon scarves for my grandma and took them to show her at Easter. She was thrilled. I am happy with how they turned out. They feel great, and they were so quick to make. I used a straight threading on eight shafts and used a different tieup and/or treadling on each scarf.

Next I wove a set of placemats in overshot. I just cut them off the loom this week. I'll post a picture after I finish them. Now I've started the next set of Grandma's rayon scarves. Here's a preview:

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Spinning Novelty Yarn / My First Knitting Project

A couple of months ago, I took a class in spinning novelty yarns. I learned to spin slub yarns, boucle, and Navajo ply. I initially learned to spin because, well, it looked like fun, and I thought it might be interesting to weave with hand-spun yarn sometimes. Some of the yarns that I was spinning did not seem like weaving yarns to me. In fact, they seemed to shout, "I am a knitting yarn!" The only problem was that I did not know how to knit. So Alice, my spinning teacher, generously taught me to cast on and knit, loaned me a pair of needles and a knitting book, and sent me on my way. I began working on a scarf made of slub yarn that I spun from a corriedale cross and a wool / silk blend. Here is the work in progress:

It's okay to laugh - it IS pretty funny looking. I doubt it will ever be worn much, but I keep working at it. It will be nice to have something that I made from start to finish (okay, I did use commercially prepared fibers), and besides, practice makes perfect.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Silk + Bambu Scarf

The silk warp bambu weft scarf is complete. It feels awesome. Enough said.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Painted Warp

Today I finished a scarf from a pre-made painted warp (made by Interlacements and sold by Tabby Tree Weaver). The warp was made of cotton with strands of slubby rayon. I wasn't thrilled by the way the cotton and rayon behaved together in the warp, but I am pleased with the result. The sett was 24 epi, which might
have been a little close for this yarn in plain weave in most cases, but it worked well here, showing the colors of the warp nicely. This is going to be a birthday present for my cousin Joy, and I think these colors will
suit her.
I wove another scarf from this warp in a twill and gave it to
my grandma for Christmas. She loooooooved it... So much, in fact, that she asked me to weave some scarves for her to give to her sisters and a couple girlfriends for next Christmas. How many are some? In this case, nine. Yes, that's a lot! But since it was for my Grandma, and since she was giving me a year to do it, well, I couldn't really say no. Besides, I have a plan. If I weave them all in 5/2 rayon, straight twill, and three scarves per warp, it should be doable. I'll post more on that as I get it done.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mmmmm..... ginger....

Although today's post has nothing to do with fiber arts, it is releated to the other kind of fiber... dietary fiber. One of my Christmas gifts from my mom this year was the book King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. This is a fabulous book comprising recipes for cakes, cookies, quiche, pies, pizza, pancakes, muffins, and, of course, breads. This weekend I made ginger bread (not gingerbread). This is a yeast bread made with whole wheat flour, oats, and three forms of ginger (dried ground, syrup, and crystallized). The first step is to make the ginger syrup. This was done by boiling equal parts of sugar and water with a TON of sliced fresh ginger. The resulting syrup was awesome, not to mention the scent it gave the whole apartment. The recipe made plenty of syrup, so I'll be watching for other uses for it. Anyway, the bread turned out great. It was sweet, chewy, and moist, with a noticeable ginger flavor. I'll be making it again.

Monday, January 7, 2008


Hello, and welcome to my new blog. Here I'll primarily be talking about what I'm weaving and spinning, but I'll probably also include other things I want to share.

Right now, I'm weaving a scarf in twill, draft 202 in the Strickler book. The warp is handpainted 20/2 silk in Fresia from Claudia Handpainted Yarns, and the weft is Bambu 12 in fig. So far, it's going well - the silk is soooo nice! I just need to be conscious about keeping an even beat.