Monday, October 17, 2016

Peppermint Done, Now on to Zephyr!!

Just a quick note to say that I finished baby wrap #2, 4.5m using hand dyed peppermint weft!  It's been fun, and once I had some time to spend at the loom, it worked up fairly quickly.  Yesterday I ended up weaving ~80-ish inches, including a very long bout of unweaving twice in the afternoon.

It's amazing how the actual pattern is so hard to see at times with this weft, but up close, like in the above photo on the cloth beam, the pattern becomes more apparent.

And my usual "hyperspace" shot:

The Zephyr (wool/silk) weft coming up is in the indigo colorway, so the pattern should be apparent, and I can't wait to weave with that soft silky stuff!!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Weft Dyeing

The weaving on the Paradise Cove warp came to a screeching halt last Monday when I finished weaving the first wrap with the black tencel weft.

The next semi-custom slot holder wants hand dyed peppermint yarn for her weft, which arrived in the mail last week.  The decision was made to have the yarn speckle dyed, so I planned to do as much as I could on Wednesday, knowing  would be away the next day for a nursing conference, and then have to work today and tomorrow.

Being the way I am, I ended up completing the process all in one day, which is a lot.  I set up the table in my garage, adding plastic and bringing out the dye powders that I would use.  Mind you, the night before the temps had dropped into the 30's, and the garage is unheated, so it was very chilly out there.

The skeins had been already wound, so I put them in hot soapy water (I used Synthrapol) for about 30 minutes, then rinsed and soaked them in a soda ash solution for another 30 or so.  Then one by one I set them on the table and began to sprinkle dye on randomly.  When one side was done, I flipped them over and did the other side, then wrapped them in plastic wrap.  I did a non-traditional speckle dye, in that I decided to try to cover most of the yarn instead of leaving a lot of the natural showing. The yarn has a slight grayish tone, and the slot holder had wanted color, so I left little undyed.

When all 4 skeins (and one mini skein) were done, I placed them all in a couple of foil roasting pans, then set them in my oven.

I turned the oven onto warm, but only for a few minutes, then left the yarn in there for a couple of hours.  That afternoon, I soaked the skeins in cold water for an hour, then a hot Synthrapol solution for another hour, then rinsed, rinsed, and rinsed.  Finally, I put them in a hot soak with Milsoft, to help the yarns be more soft and easier to manage once they dried.  By the time that was done, it was 3 PM and too late to put them outside to dry, so I set up my old laundry rack upstairs and laid the yarns out on that.

This morning, a day and a half later, I found the yarns still slightly damp, much to my surprise.  So they are now on the line outside, and I hope they dry before I have to leave for work this afternoon, or they will one again have to come inside.  The days are expected to be relatively warm, but nights are quite cold and dewy, so leaving them out won't help matters.

I can't wait to start weaving with this yarn and see how the patterns and colors change!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Paradise Cove!

Weaving has finally commenced on this, my first hand dyed warp!  I'm still waiting for more yarn to arrive, and as always, I have a busy work schedule this coming week but this morning I wound some pirns and began the adventure.

As a refresher, here is the photo that inspired this warp:

And here are the first few inches woven with a black tencel weft:

The draft is from, and the draft is #63044.  The treadling sequence is 146 picks long, so I'm still using a small post-it note to keep my place.  I feel like I'm learning it bit by bit, and I'm sure I will have it memorized relatively soon, but for now, no music or podcasts, just some slow, methodical weaving.

and a bit of a close-up:

This first customer chose the black tencel to help highlight the weave structure.  The other wefts will be a speckle-dyed peppermint yarn (yes, I typed "peppermint!"), and Zephyr wool/silk in the "indigo" colorway.  I can't wait to see the way the different yarns affect the warp!

In other "news," the weather has turned colder here, finally.  Though overall I'm happy about that, we are still trying to keep our heat off until the arbitrary date of October 1.  Last night it got down to 39 degrees F outside, and today there are clouds and sun, so the house isnot warming up much, just staying steady at 65 degrees.  When I was weaving this morning, I was quite comfortable, but sitting still, I am wearing a headband and some hand spun fingerless gloves, while having a folded quilt on my lap.  Yeah, I'm apparently not very cold-hardy!  Great that I live in Maine, right????

And thanks to the suggestions about painting the doorway between the living room and the dining room from the last blog.  I think I will paint the living room side white; it's just a question of when at this point.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Living Room

Here are some quickly snapped photos of the living room after being painted.  They were taken in the middle of warping the next project onto the loom, and none of the pictures/paintings are up, but you get the idea.

First, pre-paint.  This is how the living room has looked since we bought the house many years ago.

You can see the bit of green where I got the excess paint off of the brush after painting the stairwell.

And today:

I'd love to hear people's opinions about that double entry with the brown painted trim that you can see on the right.  The dining room, which is on the other side of that entry, has all darkish brown stained trim.  This entryway is stained on the dining room side and the underside that is parallel with the floor, but the side that faces the living room is painted brown.  As I was painting the ultra white trim in the LR, I voiced that I thought we should paint over the brown paint, and leave the stained parts unchanged.  Two members of my family voted that down, saying that it would look "weird."  In my mind, the brown paint looks awful.  What do you all think?

Looking towards the west wall with the new windows:

You can see that it is a vast improvement over how it looked before.  And that the loom pretty much takes up the whole room.  There's an old wooden rocking chair nearer to the corner that you can't see because it's behind the warping Square, and on which one of the cats is usually napping.  This other chair used to be by the entry into the room, where the spinning wheel is now, and my hubby would sit in it while on the phone occasionally.  I like the new location, mostly because it makes the entry less cluttered.

As for that warp, it is on the sectional beam, and so far, I'm loving the colors!

Threading is up next - not my favorite part, but with these colors on this soft Supima yarn, it might be a bit more enjoyable!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Been Busy, Very Busy, But...

I've nothing impressive to show for it.  Well, not online, anyway.  The hand dyed warp is being wound onto the back beam, and as of this moment, 9 of 16 sections are done and nicely even.  I haven't taken any pictures of the process, though why, I'm not sure.  Perhaps too busy working, both on this warp and at my nursing job - lots and lots of babies have decided that September is a great month in which to make an appearance!

Our weather, which has been so hot and humid all summer, is showing glimmers of change.  Today is blessedly cool and comfortable, starting the day in the mid 40's, now hovering in the upper 60's with a nice breeze.  I made a point to get outside, just for a short walk, because this is the weather that I long for throughout the year.  The air seems clearer, the colors more vibrant...I just love it.   Unfortunately, my walk was quite short, as my legs are feeling a bit rubbery today.  I worked non-stop 12 hours day shifts on Friday and Saturday, then a non-stop 12 hour night shift last night (Sunday), and, as seems to be my usual, I have not yet gone to bed.  Ten o'clock tonight will suffice, but my legs are quite tired.  Winding the warp requires 90% standing, then 10% crouching, and that after so many hours of standing and fast walking at work have done the old gams in, at least for today!  I don't have to return to work until Thursday, and hope that the yarn will be on the sectional beam by then. Pictures, I promise.

I did post a draw for semi-custom slots on this warp, with the winners able to choose the length of their wrap and the weft they would like.  One customer, the one who submitted the photo chosen as inspiration for this warp, has decided she would like a 4.2 meter piece with tencel weft.  For now, the rest of the warp is open.  Perhaps some shots of in-progress weaving will inspire someone else??

Here's the collage that I used for the draw:

The renovations to the west wall are (mostly) completed.  The contractor's work is done, but we are still completing some finishing work ourselves.  There was an issue with incorrect caulking being used on the clapboards, such that the paint won't adhere despite attempts at scraping the offending silicone off by the contractor.  He returned again and replaced some of the clapboards, but there may be some issues higher up.  My hubby is spending some time scraping the old trim and trying to get the exterior ready to paint.  The living room is painted, and as much as I think I like that sort of thing, after 4 days of it, I.was.done.  All that is left is to rehang some paintings/photos, but the warping process has taken precedence.  Again, next time!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

All Balled Up!

The yarns that I dyed for the upcoming baby wrap are dried and wound into balls!  It was so much fun to see the colors emerge and run through my fingers.

Next stop is to reload them on the Square, this time using the mini-reeds and feeding them onto the sectional beam.  I can't wait, but will have to for a bit as the living room renovation is completed but still needs a light sanding and then painting.

I really want to paint the north wall before I move the loom back there.  The wall needs a good scrub before that, but hopefully I can work on that tomorrow or over the weekend.

The craft fair went off without a hitch.  We got up at 4:15 and hit the road by 5:30.  Congress St in Portland (Maine) was closed off, and there was a sea of white tents by 9 AM.  The Maine Crafts Association, which put on the show, had two city blocks, and there was an adjacent sidewalk art festival going at the same time on the next two blocks down. so four city blocks of white tents and vendors.  It was a very hot day, and though a breeze was present for most of the day going down the middle of the street, the sides of the tent prohibited them from wafting in our direction, so we sweltered.  Later in the afternoon, our nice neighbor vendors took pity on me and lent me one of their portable fans for the rest of the day - what a life-saver!  I ended up selling more than I had last year, so over all it was a positive experience.

Towels were definitely the most-purchased item, but I did also sell a few scarves.

Portland has some interesting architecture in its old buildings.  These two were looking over our shoulders all day;

And also on watch was this tiger in the window right behind us!

On the way home we stopped at our son's house and had dinner that he cooked for us.  It was yummy, but I was also so happy to visit for a bit and be out of the sun.  We got home at 8:30 PM, so it made for a very long day, plus it took most of the next day to organize and put everything away.

It is now the end of my very busy but productive vacation, but I have Labor Day off this year, so will spend much of that with family.  I hope everyone enjoys a nice unofficial end to summer!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dye Day Redux

Today was the day I set aside to dye the skeins for the next baby wrap warp.  The skeins had soaked overnight in an initially hot Synthrapol wash, then rinsed and set to soak in soda ash this morning.  I then made up the dyes, laid the skeins out on plastic-covered plywood on the porch, and proceeded to color!

There is that gut-clenching, will-this-turn-out-the-way-I-envisioned-it moment, but then there is nothing to do but just go for it.  Guess we will see after it batches!

The yarn for the origami shirt has been warped onto the loom.

The purple is definitely a disappointment, but since this is all an experiment of sorts, I'm just going with it.  The yarn is so unbelievably soft, even after dyeing - I can't wait to see how the final cloth feels.

No new pictures of the house.  We've puttied some of the nail holes, and today they came and took the excess insulation out, but we still have the plastic dust wall up in the living room, so not much looks different.  I can't wait to get my living room back!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Dye Day Plus One

This is the yarn I'm going to weave into cloth for a shirt, and I thought I would test out some of the colors that I will use on the upcoming dyed baby wrap warp.  The purple is NOT correct in several ways, as it was leftover dye from another project, and there wasn't enough powder for a deep color. There is also a deep navy, and bright blue, and a turquoise.  Not included in this warp are some pinks and a yellow. I'm hoping these chains will dry this afternoon, so I can see what the final results will be.

Yesterday I tried to soak the chains of the Supima 12/2 cotton in the soda ash mixture, but they wanted to float on top, so I left them in for about an hour and kept pushing them in.  I did soak them while still chained, and I think that was a mistake - maybe it trapped too much air?  After that, I placed them on my dye table, unchained them, and started the experiment.

After rolling them up in the plastic, I let them lie in the sun on the porch until the temps started to cool down, then brought them inside and upstairs to finish batching overnight.  I have to say, this dyeing business is quite a project!  No one stage takes a huge amount of time, but allowing for all of the time needed to complete everything does really eat up the clock.

And here's a photo of the house after they finished putting on the last of the clapboards.  The insulation truck showed up on Tuesday morning, and ended up putting a bit too much into the space between the two windows, so someone is supposed to come here soon and cut the sheet rock so that some of the extra insulation can be taken out.  Hate to lose that, but the wall is bowing outward at the moment. I started to putty some of the nail holes today, but there are an awful lot of them, so really finishing this is going to be an ongoing process, I fear.

'Til next time!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Finishing Touches

The craft fair is looming (ha ha!)!  Only a couple of days away, so I've been tagging and finishing up the last few details.

One thing that I wasn't sure I would do was to make straps for the remaining NCW clutches.  These machine-woven ones haven't sold, and they still may not, but I know I find mine indispensable.  I wear mine crossbody, so it's totally hands off, allowing me to select my produce at the grocery store or whatever else I need to do without worrying about my wallet.

I had some material that would match the purple clutch, so I sewed a long, crossbody strap for that. Darned if I can find the photos I took of it, though!  I guess you'll have to imagine it, because the clutch is tucked away - so sorry about that!

The blue calico clutches were another matter, since I had absolutely nothing that would coordinate well with them.  Instead, I wove up wristlet and small D-ring holder straps for the two of them on my small inkle loom.  I was making it up as I went along, but everything worked out well, I think.

I riveted the D-rings onto the clutches - always a gut-clenching moment for me, but they work surprisingly well.

I also took most of the last Western Skies scrap and quickly sewed up some more key fobs this morning.  I think they turned out well, and are surprisingly cushy!

They really highlight the variations in color and design that are present throughout the warp.

The renovation is continuing, and coming close to completion, I think.  Today they blew in insulation and put trim around the inside of the windows.  Right now the carpenter is installing the remaining clapboards over the spaces that were left open for the insulation.  Pics of that next time.

At the end of day 5;

and the end of day7;

There will be a lot of painting going on soon, but what a relief to get the job done and get my house back in order.  And the cats will be soooo happy!

Wish me luck at the fair!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


We are now 3 days into our limited renovation of the west side of our house.  The old aluminum came off a week ago, and then work stopped until this past Monday.  Most of the work has been outdoors, but our weather pattern is changing and today it started to rain.  The poor worker packed up and covered everything, then sat in his car for 10 minutes, then came out again to start work, then had to abort again.  After awhile, he'd had enough and came indoors to do a bit until quitting time.

On Sunday, this was the exterior of the house (note the old leaky picture window);

Monday, this was the interior view at the end of the day.

Windows that actually open!!  I haven't had that option since we bought the place in 1987.

This was the exterior, mid-day;

He did cover everything back up with Tyvek before he left.

Yesterday, day 2, this was the exterior at lunch;

We're going with real wood clapboards, because, well, we're weird that way.  My hubby is a traditionalist.  I'm sure this will come back to bite us with the upkeep, but it sure does look good.

And today, day 3, this is the exterior;

and the interior;

Our poor kitties are having a hard time with the noise and a stranger in their midst, but in the long run they will love having more windows from which to watch birds.

How did I spend my day today, you ask?  Winding skeins of 12/2 pima cotton for dyeing the next baby wrap warp.  I used my mini Square, and the job got done very quickly.  16 skeins, each with 64 ends 16 yards long.

They are so very soft!  I can't wait to see how they look after I dye them.  I still have to wait for a bit to get my supplies and figure out the logistics, but I think the project will be started soon.