Monday, February 13, 2017

Snowmageddon!!

We are in the midst of a brutal blizzard that has been burying us with snow since 4 PM yesterday, so 9 hours. The winds are howling and the snow flying sideways.  It is supposed to last until 8 or 9 PM, with totals locally 18-24 inches are more.  I have to say, I am happy that I did not have to get to work this morning, though I am sure the roads will be a mess tomorrow as well.  The not-so-great news is that this is not the end of our unbelieveable week of snow.  We're supposed to get at least half of our yearly amount during this week alone!

Last Sunday, the ground was dry without a speck of snow.  We have had 5 storms since then, with another coming Wednesday into Thursday.

This photo was taken out my bedroom window yesterday morning, before the blizzard arrived, so the snow you see had fallen over the past 6 days, equaling ~15 inches.


Here are some taken this morning, blizzard still roaring;

Inside our den.  These windows are 5 feet off the ground, and as of now, the snow is already higher than in these pics.



Looking through a larger den window at some suet we put out yesterday before the storm.  We have had several birds come for food, both here and at the adjacent seed feeder, to which they cling as it flies around.


This one was taken through a door recently, right after a plow went by;


You can't really tell where our piles stop and across the street begins!

So what to do on days like this?  Well, I needed to wash some of my hand knit socks, and they helped brighten up an otherwise dreary day.


The hat is the one my hubby was using while he went out shoveling and picture-taking this morning.  Shoveling was useless, by the way - the snow has already filled back in and gotten higher.

In weaving news, I finished up my tencel scarf warp while home all week with a terrible cold.  At the last minute I decided to sew them into infinity scarves instead of keeping them straight.  I also had enough warp left for a bonus, smaller cowl.  I really liked that pattern, and can recite the treadling in my head, so I may wind a warp for another batch, if I can come up with a good color combo.




For the first time, I had one of my floating selvedges break twice, so I decided to try to weave without it, and it worked out nicely.  Good to know for the next time.

Surprisingly, when I closed up my loom after taking the scarves off, there was a large amount of tencel fuzz under and on the loom.  Personally, I've never had anywhere near this much after a scarf warp, so I wonder why this time?


I never thought I would say this, but thank goodness for vacuum cleaners!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Slowly Moving Forward

Since my last post I been making an effort to get to the loom, at least a little bit, every day I'm available here at home.  I'm also really trying to not feel pressured to reach a certain goal, or spend a certain amount of time weaving, but to weave until I just don't want to anymore.  I'm easily driven and competitive with myself, but that never leaves me feeling good about myself, so at least for now, I am trying to take my foot off the gas, just a bit.

Here is a photo of the finished tablet-woven band that was in progress last time:



I really enjoyed weaving this, and plan to keep exploring this craft.

The double-faced band project that I cut off the loom last time is still languishing but in the queue.  If you remember, there were terrible tension problems, some of my own making, and some because of the tension peg's ability to be pulled off parallel with the other pegs.  My hubby, ever the tinkerer, listened to my frustrations and saw the problem, thought a bit, then took my inkle to his shop and came back with this modification:



A tension peg that is larger and oblong instead of round, so it has better structural integrity.  He also replaced the wooden, circular knob with one that will be easier on my arthritic thumb.  You'd think that I would have jumped at the chance to try this right away, especially because the resultant key fob was supposed to be for my son's birthday, but I had already started some tencel scarves and wanted to continue to weave those on the Baby Wolf.  He won't mind a late gift.

The scarf draft came from a Weavezine article by Bonnie Inouye, and the treadling sequence is definitely giving my brain it's exercise every time I sit down!



Eight shafts, progressing twill, I think.  I warped enough for two scarves, but I think I want to use a different weft for the second one.  I'm thinking silver, but would love some input!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tablet Woven Band

After my last attempt at tablet weaving, following the samples in John Mullarkey's workshop DVD, I decided to try to weave a threaded-in design from his blog.  True to his information, the set-up took awhile, as each card has to be threaded individually, both in color and direction of the threading.  After tying on, the warp looked like a tangled mess.



Hard to believe that anything orderly could come from that!

I very carefully followed his draft, started weaving, and....failed miserably.  Instead of getting the white, snow-covered trees against a dark blue sky with yellow stars, I got misshapen dark blue trees with spots of yellow, against a white sky.  And because this is a threaded-in design, the opposite side of the band is not the exact opposite of the front.

So, I went through and changed the cards, one at a time.  Tried to weave again, and failed.  Now, I'm pretty hard on myself, and my gut said to walk away, cut if off, put tablet weaving in the "I can't do this" scrap pile.  But I decided to give it one more try, and went one card at a time, making sure that it followed the draft exactly, and to my amazement, it worked!


It was such a joy to see the trees appear, one after the other.  (Now, I know that you can still see blue trees with yellow dots and a white sky, but the earlier attempts were not this).  I even got to the point where, when I got off track, I could see what I needed to do to fix it.  The weaving almost became mindless.

As the band progressed, I got a good look at the underside, and almost couldn't believe my eyes. Does anyone else see the blue Tardis, from Dr. Who???


Now, I'm not a fan, necessarily, but my second son went through a phase where he was all about Dr Who, so he "had to" show me some episodes.  As a matter of fact, for one of his birthday/Christmas gifts that year, I knit him a Tardis sleeve for his Kindle Keyboard, and he loved it.  The few places I posted this photo did generate excitement amongst Dr Who fans.

The band is off the loom, wet-finished and dried.  It really makes a difference in how flexible the band is, I have to say.  The pattern calls for 30 cards, so 120 ends, and I used Astra 10/2 cotton.  The band ended up being 7/8" wide, by 51 inches, warped around the shortest distance on my Harp inkle loom.  Here's the link to the page on John Mullarkey's blog where you can find the drafts for this and other holiday bands.

After this, I made an attempt to do a double-faced woven band for a key fob for my first son's birthday, but had a major problem with the tension peg not staying parallel after warping.  As a matter of fact, you can look at the second photo, you ca see the tensioning peg is off parallel.  Unfortunately, the letter draft I wanted to use requires 44 cards, so after attempting to work around the problem, I ended up cutting it off the loom and tossing it.  Hubby is now trying to modify the tensioning peg, and I'll have another go at the draft soon, I hope, though not in time for his birthday.

I'm also warping for some network twill scarves that have been on my to-do list for ages.  Tencel, 242 ends, 2 scarves, which I will weave on the small Baby Wolf loom.  Also on the horizon will be some turned taquete towels.  I seem to be slowly getting my weaving mojo back!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

This and That

I've been moderately busy since the last post, weaving off the planned-for rug, and playing a bit with tablet weaving.

The rug was certainly a quick project, but it was fraught with indecision and uncertainty.  I had based my calculations on a similar project on Ravelry, which had 30% shrinkage.  I also messaged the weaver, who assured me that she did indeed have 30% in both length and width once the rug was completed.  I hemmed and hawed over the angle, wondering if it really would fit the space once the rug was off the loom.  I took a large piece of cardboard and cut it to fit the space, only to discover (er, remember) that not only would that not account for shrinkage, but that my big loom doesn't have a space over or under which I could hold the cardboard as a template - too many strings.  So I thought some more, did a bit more math, and came up with the brilliant deduction that a 45 degree angle should just entail decreasing in length at the same rate as in width - duh!  So, an inch of warp equaled 10 ends, and an inch of weaving equaled 6 picks; I just had to decrease by both of those equally.

Then my true nature, which is really quite hesitant and chicken-like, prevailed, and I just wove the rug straight to the warp's end, which ended up being a good thing.  I only had 8% shrinkage length-wise, and almost none in width!  I don't know why it varied so from that other project, but I now have a rug measuring 65.5" X 26.5."


You can see how washed out the colors became, but I still kind of like it.  Unfortunately, the cats also like it, and even with a pad under it, I keep finding it bunched up in any number of configurations. So, for now, it is upstairs in the spare bedroom, where I store my yarn and smaller loom.  As for the problem corner, my hubby went to a local Job Lot and bought a small, inexpensive oval "braided" rug that fits the space nicely and seems too inflexible to be bothered by the cats.  Wish I'd thought of that before.

I also dipped my toe into tablet weaving.  I borrowed two of John Mullarkey's DVD's, "Tablet Weaving Made Easy," and "Double Faced Double Weave."  I watched them twice, and first decided to try the double weave because the warping procedure is waaay easier.  This is the resultant sample band, woven in 10/2 mercerized cotton.



I started with the Greek keys design;


I really love how the design is mirrored on the opposite side;


I then worked on some diagonals.  The first diamond needed to be restarted when I realized that I was weaving wrong side up (not shown).



After that, I tried broken twill but got confused about the set up, so I just wove a few more designs and a couple of letters.


That undulating twill-ish design in also woven wrong side up, by the way.  Here are a couple of letters along with some diamonds and the Greek keys.  I'm not really sure why the "w" is so elongated...


One of my goals is to weave a key fob for my son's birthday using tablets to weave the letters of his name, but since his birthday is on the 26th, I may miss that window.  I'm not sure how many ends will be required for a band to fit the hardware, and the different fonts available require anywhere from 24 tablets to more than 50!

Today I started to warp for a "threaded in" tablet design, which is slow going for me and a bit frustrating.  The weaving part should be easier and quick, once it is warped.  I'll have to blog about that next time.

That's all the weaving news I have for now.  My next big project may be some huck baby blankets, or more towels.  I'm really trying to slow down a bit since the big software update at work is happening soon and the stress level is through the roof over there.  I don't need to add to that here at home.

No photos, but a slightly amusing story.  I was at my computer the other day, when I heard that very distinct meow that cats make when they've caught a mouse and want to show you.  Now, my cats are indoor cats only and neither one has ever caught anything.  (I know that meow well from our years with outdoor cats).  So I looked over, and Dinger, my former father-in-law's cat, was coming from the bottom of the stairs with something dangling from his mouth.  He kept meowing, and came closer so he could carefully set down his prize.  He then looked up at me ("Look, Mom, look!  See what I brought you??), and then carefully pawed it a bit.  It was  not a mouse, thank goodness, but some leftover dyed cotton from my last wrap warp, complete with the numbered tag still attached. Turquoise, no less.  Somehow, he had gotten into the spare bedroom and decided this small, loose bundle of soft, turquoise cotton was a thing he should conquer and deliver to me.  Gave me a chuckle.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Belated Wish

Hello again.  I have been quite remiss in my efforts to keep blogging of late, but I think for good reason.  There were the upcoming holidays, of course, but also a slight shift in my thinking about my weaving future.  I wanted to take some time to really consider where I was and in which direction I was headed.  Though the thought processes are still not totally solidified, I do feel confident that I am getting out of the baby-wearing realm, except for gifting or perhaps a favor here and there.  The new regs are finally being considered, and though there is to be a 12 month grace period. my life and all that is required really doesn't allow me to be as active on social media as I have to be to succeed. I was finding myself pulled in too many directions, and always trying to cram in more weaving to keep the business active and exciting, along with everything else that one has to do with a full time job and a house to run.  This past year was my most successful as a business, mostly because of the several wraps and slings that I sold, and I do love that my creations are out there, snuggling babies to their moms (mostly).  One of the reasons I did have a bit of success was the addition of a helper for my FB page, and she was HUGE in driving interest and sales.  She now has her own online weaving business to attend to, and does some amazing work with hand dyed warps.

So, after some thought, I have decided to scale my weaving back a bit, starting with actually trying to weave somethings for myself and family!  To start, I am warping for another try at a rug for my kitchen to help cover up the ratty floor near the sink and prep area.  The sink is set at an angle, and so trying to weave the 45 degree angle the correct length will certainly be my challenge, but, hey, it's just cotton.  As a reminder, this is the space I am trying to cover up.



I've just finished winding the warp on my board, and I found that trying to remember how to feed warps through the tension box strained my brain a bit - that Warping Square has spoiled me!  This warp is only 3.5 yards long, though, so using the Square really didn't make much sense. And, this is my first time warping with cotton rug warp, and I can see how it could be used for baby blankets - it's much softer than I imagined.  Photos to come.

After that, I think I will warp for some huck baby blankets using 12/2 Supima cotton.  I'm thinking I will weave three - one in all natural, and two with different colored wefts.  One (or more) will be for a hypothetical grandbaby that supposedly will be coming sometime in the near future.  In that vein, I am also spending my evening craft time doing a counted cross stitch Christmas stocking for said baby.  I purchased two, and this is the first one I am working on:


It is from Dimensions Crafts, and is called Welcome Santa.  I've done counted cross stitch before, and I'm sure it will be fine, but I miss knitting socks!  I may have to take a bit of a break along the way, but I'm not one to have projects languish, so I'll have to dig in.

I also bought myself a larger inkle loom, from Windhaven Fiber and Tools on Etsy.  I want to try tablet weaving, and have borrowed DVDs from John Malarkey to try to learn how.  I'm thinking of some more keys fobs for craft fairs, as well as gifts.  The problem is, I also think I need to actually DO the warping and weaving with the DVDs before I have to send them back in the middle of the month.  There really never is enough time, is there?

So, here's to more frequent blog entries, and a less stressed out weaving experience in the future.  I wish you all a happy, healthy, and joyous New Year!  See you on the other side!!


Monday, December 12, 2016

My First Inkling (Pun Intended)!

As promised, here is the outcome of that new inkle band project I last wrote about.  Aren't they cute???


The idea is from Handwoven Nov/Dec 1993, and they are called Inklings!  Pretty easy to make, and oh so appealing, at least to me!  




The inkle band was cut into 4-10 inch sections.


They are then sewn into a loop and turned inside out.  (I don't have any pictures from here on out of the process, because I was too excited to stop and take any!).  The folded edge is brought to the sewn edge, and then you stitch up the seams, keeping them flat.  Leaving a space open, they can be stuffed and a head can be inserted. Several people have used felted wool heads, or wooden beads with faces already imprinted, but I decided to go with small styrofoam balls inside nylons.

Though the inklings  are a bit fiddly to sew up, I really enjoyed making them, and cannot wait to give one to my Christmas-obsessed DIL!

I've also finished the Baby Surprise Jacket project, another quickie.  You remember how amorphous it was pre-stitching;




Here is a photo of the sweater blocked after stitching;


Pretty amazing, right?  That Elizabeth Zimmerman was a genius!  (The colors in the above photo are pretty true to life.  They are NOT, however, in this next one, with the buttons sewn on).


I will probably make more of these as the need arises, I think.

Floor loom weaving is still on hold, because the loom room is still semi-torn apart for electrical work. Hubby seems able to work only in short bits here and there, either because he is still tired from his pneumonia, or he is easily distracted, which has been the truth his entire life.  It will get done eventually, I hope!  In the meantime, I'm enjoying slowing down and relaxing.  'Til next time!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Next project underway!

Just a quick post to show progress on a new (to me) and different sort of project.


I didn't create this draft; it was kindly shared on a Facebook Inkle group.  Isn't it great?  And the bands themselves weave up so quickly!  I started the actual weaving yesterday evening, by mid morning today, I had 4-10 inch bands, separated and sewn.

The elastic you see was necessary, as there were 121 ends in this draft, and that really stretched my mini inkle to its limit.  I'm still waiting for my larger inkle loom to arrive.

Next, finished objects, I hope!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Talk about lag!

I've really let this blog slip more than I intended to.  I could blame the holidays or work, but that would only be partially true.  I've simply lost the urge to weave at present.  A big debate is raging in my mind (again) about the future of my weaving/crafting, and more and more I am leaning towards getting out of the babywearing biz.  As much as I love creating something that brings moms (and dads!) and babies together, there are aspects of that business that are becoming more difficult for me to engage in.  I've always been "behind the curve" as far as generating excitement on social media, and now there seems to be some other conversations, expectations, and "drama" (for lack of a better word) that make future prospects seem unappealing.  I still have that last piece I wove available, but for now I think that I will weave a few non-BW things and see how I feel after that.

First on the list will be a simple kitchen rug that needs to fit into an odd space.  My kitchen needs redoing, but especially my floor.  In front of the sink it is worn through, and though my hubby keeps saying that he will put down a new floor, I'm not holding my breath.  We've had the replacement bamboo for several years now!  Our sink is in a corner of a U-shaped space, so of course making a rug that will fit in there is challenging my brain cells.  Here is a photo of the space, warts and all.



The counter towards the right is the one that leads to the stove and where most prep is done, so I would love to have a rug that fits this odd corner and continues to the right.  I have some cotton warp and mop cotton at hand, but wonder; can I somehow weave the rug into this shape on one end by bringing the shuttle up between the warp at increasingly shorter lengths?  Then maybe weave the warp ends back in once the rug is off?

Mind you, the only rug weaving I have done was a small square rep weave piece for this very space, but the rug was too thin and wouldn't stay in place, despite a "non-skid" mat and double-sided tape.  I'd appreciate any advice more experienced rug weavers can give me on this.

After that, my next project may be some huck baby blankets.  I seem to be feeling a bit of the "nesting" urge that some pregnant women get towards the end of their pregnancies, but mine isn't for me, but my hypothetical future grandchild.  Elder son and his wife recently bought a house, and say they may start trying soon, so all of a sudden, I have the urge to weave and knit things for a baby.  Kind of crazy that a baby wrap may not be one of them...  I have plenty of Supima cotton for the warp, and I may weave several and offer some up in my Etsy shop if they come out like a hope.

I also just ordered some counted cross-stitch Christmas stocking kits for said future baby.  I have made crewel-work stockings for everyone in the family in the past, so it only seems right that I should continue the tradition, but my eye-sight is certainly not what it was, plus stitching may take a lot of time away from other things. Hopefully I can start working on them in the evenings when I don't really weave much anyway.

On the knitting front, I've finished the knitting on the Baby Surprise Jacket, and it is blocking at the moment.  I need to find some cute buttons, and it will be done!  Here's a photo of what it looks like when the knitting is done.


So hard to imagine that this amorphous blob turns into a cute baby sweater!  I ended up knitting an i-cord around all the edges except for the cuffs, and it really gave it a nice finish.

This morning I just finished warping my mini inkle loom with a holiday-colored band, hopefully to be woven quickly for a really cute Christmas surprise.  The pattern has 121 ends, which barely fits on the loom, so I've put some elastics on the ends of the pegs to help keep the warp from slipping off.  I ran out of heddles half way through, so I made some new with some waxed cotton that had been recommended to me quite awhile ago. Well, THAT turned out to be a mistake!  I can't even get the ends to move past them to make a shed.  What was supposed to be a quick weave will end up being a struggle, I fear.  Photos to follow, if I can get it done on time.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Pardon the Lag

I realized I haven't posted in awhile, but, well, life has been even busier than usual.  At first, there were added responsibilities at work, as we are prepping for a medical records software changeover in January.  I am among many SME's, or subject matter experts, who are folks who have a fairly good grasp of using electronic medical records already in the day to day care of hospital patients.  We were to receive training in the new system early on, so that we can practice to become more comfortable with the changes and then be a resource for everyone else as they learn and after the switch.  These classes were 4 hours long, and we had 2-3 of them a week, along with our regular shifts.  This past week was the end of them except for one, which happens after Thanksgiving, and is basically how to teach people the skills necessary to document in the new system.

As soon as those classes were done, my husband got sick.  I got home from my regular shift on Thursday night and he was on the couch, complaining of being cold and feeling lousy.  He didn't have a fever, but definitely had other signs of the flu - body aches, malaise, no appetite, a terrible headache.  I encouraged him to hydrate and watch the temp, but had to work the next day, so I got up before him and headed out the next morning.

When I got home he wasn't any better, but he wasn't any worse, either.  Still thinking it was the flu, we went through the weekend without too much change, until Sunday, when he seemed a bit better. He had a bit of an appetite, and was up and around.  That all changed on Monday, when I took his temp again and it was 103+.  We ended up in the emergency department for hours, where the doctor was sure it was a tick-borne illness, only to discover it was a very bad pneumonia.  He was so dehydrated that his lung sounds were not junky at all, but the x-ray was impressive, I heard.

Long story short, he was admitted and spend the next 7 days and 6 nights as an inpatient, getting heavy duty antibiotics, nebulizer treatments, and other supportive care.  He showed signs of improvement after a couple of days, and just came home this noon time.  What a relief!  He will be on oral meds for a few days, and have to check in with his PCP soon, but should be able to start slowly building back his strength and stamina.

In weaving news, I forgot to take photos of the baby wrap woven with the dyed peppermint weft, but here are a couple of shots of it that the customer took after she received it.




The third piece, woven with indigo Zephyr (wool/silk), ended up being 2.81 meters long (unhemmed) by 29.25 inches wide.  I've offered it up as is, hemmed, or converted to a ring sling.  It has still not been claimed, and so it sits, awaiting its forever (or not!) home.


As for other weaving, that may or may not happen for awhile.  After all of the extra responsibilities and running around, I feel the need to take it easy for awhile.  I may change my mind, since the weaving bug usually doesn't take too long to strike.

Oh, and I'm knitting my first BSJ, or Baby Surprise Jacket!  For those of you who don't know. it is a baby sweater that is designed in a most bizarre fashion, but gets folded and sewn into an adorable little sweater.  Here's a photo taken yesterday.  I am just at the point where I start increasing.  More photos to come.



I hope everyone has a wonderful, drama-free Thanksgiving with family and friends!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Number One Done!

I am so happy to announce that the troublesome baby wrap will be winging its way to its new owner tomorrow morning!  I spent most free of my free time over the last two weeks hunkered over it with magnifying headgear on in order to needle weaving the repairs for over 80 threads.  Happily, once the wrap was wet finished, the repairs are pretty much invisible.


This pima cotton is so very soft, I just wanted to bury my face in there, but I refrained...



There did end up being a single mistreadle that I couldn't repair well, so I gave the customer a small discount after showing her photos (error is marked by clips).

The outer side;



and the wrong side;


Another interesting "feature" is the slight scalloping of the selvedges that seem to be common with these so-called crackle drafts.  The draft, #63044 from www.handweaving.net, isn't a true crackle but a close approximation created by a mathematician who was fascinated by weaving.  In conversing with other weavers, most if not all experience this anomaly in their selvedges when they weave drafts from this collection.

I'm so happy to have "weathered the storm" of this particular wrap.  I can't wait to see photos of it in use, snuggling a baby up to its mama.

The second wrap, woven with peppermint weft, has been waiting patiently for me to inspect it, but it will have to wait just a bit longer, since my work schedule is going to keep me busy until the weekend.  We are starting our training for our new computer system for electronic medical records.  It is very different than the one we've been using, and there is a lot to learn.  I can easily get ahead of myself and feel overwhelmed because I don't "get it" right away, but I've only had one day of training out of six, I think, so I keep reminding myself to relax.  Hard to do, and health care is complicated enough, but you can't stop progress, so train I will.

A couple of parting shots of Paradise Cove, and I'll see you next time!