Monday, June 29, 2009

Dragonfly Dreams

For our guild's entry at Midwest Weavers' Conference, we all wove baby blankets to donate to a local hospital. The hospital suggested that blankets in deep and bright colors were welcome, as many would be going to African American and Hispanic families. To me, that sounded like an invitation to step outside of my box and have some fun. So I went to my local weaving shop, bought three cones of cotton in some of the brightest colors I could find, and played with some design ideas on the computer. I was delighted when I realized that using two of the colors (Pacific Blue and Caribbean) in the warp and the other (Magenta) in the weft resulted in iridescence. I took a draft from the Strickler book, turned it, and took out a few ends to come up with a heart shaped twill because the theme of the conference was Weaving in the Heart-land. I called the blanket "Dragonfly Dreams" because of the iridescence and because I love alliterations. Here are a couple of views of the blanket on the loom and one of the finished blanket:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I love my Ladybug!

When I went to Greencastle earlier this year, I sat down and took a Schacht Ladybug for a spin. And I was hooked. So a Ladybug finally made her way to my house. Here she is:
No, I didn't need another wheel. In fact, I've noted an alarming trend: In the three years I've been weaving, I've collected three looms, and in the two years I've been spinning, two wheels. Anyway, my other wheel is an Ashford Joy, which is fabulous for taking places. Recently, I took it on a business trip to relax in the hotel that evening. The Ladybug will be my stay-at-home wheel. She is so stable and smooth, a real pleasure to use. I love that the functionality is similar to that of a Matchless. The only drawback I can find to this wheel is that it's not pretty, like a Matchless. The red plastic isn't traditional, but with my background in materials engineering, I feel almost as if I need to defend the inexpensive but funcitonally similar materials, even if they aren't beautiful.
So far, I've spun some BFL, some merino-alpaca blend, and some silk hankies. I've really enjoyed it. I had forgotten how much I looooooove silk hankies.
Here's one last parting shot, showing the little enamel ladybug on the wheel. Sort of cheesey and cute all at once!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wedding in the Smokies

Last month, I got married. We went to Gatlinburg and had a very small ceremony with family and a couple of close friends, and stayed in a nearby cabin for our honeymoon. As I was planning the wedding, I had planned on weaving a silk shaw to go with my dress. That was the plan until I picked out the dress. I found a lovely dress on clearance, and it fit me perfectly. The problem was that there was so much going on with the dress, beaded motifs and such, that I didn't think a shawl woud go with it very well. So I decided to make a necklace and earrings to go with it instead. They are made of pearl, swarovski crystals, and sterling silver.
While on the honeymoon, my dear husband was kind enough to go to a few fibery places with me. One place was the Smokey Mountain Spinnery. There I picked up some merino cross top, some soy silk top, and a hand-held bookmark loom. We also went to Spinning Wheel Crafts, where an older lady sells some handwovens and her husband does woodworking. She had a beautiful loom in her shop. When I asked her about it, she asked if I was a weaver. She told me that her father built the loom and asked me to weave a few picks on it, which made my day. :) So I couldn't leave without at least buying a couple of mug rugs from her. The warp is 10/2 cotton, and the weft is peaches and cream.
One of my favorite places that we visited along the arts and crafts trail was Cliff Dwellers gallery. They carried the work of several different weavers. Upstairs from the gallery, several of the artists were at work and demonstrating their crafts. There I met a woman who spins and dyes, a woman who does marbling, and a couple of women who paint. They were all so friendly and seemed to really enjoy answering questions about their work. Back downstairs, one of the owners of the gallery was weaving on an inkle loom. I bought a bookmark that she made, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the national park.
And now a few pictures from the honeymoon. First, the view from our cabin the morning after the wedding:
A view from the trail to Clingman's Dome:
Finally, my husband and me at the observation tower atop Clingman's Dome: