Friday, May 22, 2015

Weaving the day away.......

 I got to spend quite a bit of time at the loom today on a painted tencel warp - first scarf I used a chartreuse weft - a favorite color of mine....... scarf a medium teal weft........ scarf a dark teal weft........

Has anyone else watched any of the new Netflix Original Series Grace & Frankie?  It stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston. A friend and I spent yesterday afternoon noshing and watching the first four episodes. We both got tickled over it and will get together a few more times to watch the rest of the 13 episodes. It was really nice to spend the afternoon doing something decadent.....usually I'm way to driven to spend an afternoon watching tv.....I'm looking forward to the next get together.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This and that...........

I finally got the fringe twisted on these 3 scarves recently woven - they have a hand-dyed silk warp and tencel wefts. The center one is listed in my etsy shop for sale - the other two will eventually make it in the shop, if anyone has an interest in one of them please contact me......takes me a while to get the photography work done to get them listed in the shop.

This felting landscape kit is available in my other etsy shop.  I grabbed a kit before I went to my spinning group yesterday, grabbed my blending board and started making rolags using all eight colorways. I've got 5 other colorways of felting landscape kits available for sale, bet they would be fun to make rolags out of on the blending board too.

 Here are a few of the rolags........I've got a total of one pound ready to spin, can't wait to see what the resulting handspun yarn looks like.

 It started out as a nice walk on the inlet beach looking for seashells and seaglass until that danged log showed up........

 .......Yikies - it moved - better back up fast.......

 .....whoa, that thing is alive......
.....better watch it carefully and definitely not turn my back on it........such are the perils in the life of a beach dog......

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Ok, I was way down on the ground, in the house and this sight still gave me vertigo. I took this picture from my studio window trying my best to get him way up there in the sky as it was very close to the house. We had 3 giant trees taken down that were within 5 feet of the house. This guy worked his way up the tree wearing spikes, chainsaw hanging from a rope, cutting off limbs as he went - he reached the top and starting cutting off 2 ft chunks and letting them drop to the ground - thud, thud, shake the house thud. I was in awe of him. This tree was 100 ft tall - that's really tall. The entertainment factor was almost worth the money paid to have it done......almost.......

This afternoon another painted warp went on the it was supposed to, effortlessly, no tangles, no halo'ing. This is a view from the back of the loom, it's sitting in the raddle, the cross through the lease sticks.

Here it is from the front of the loom as I'm getting ready to thread the heddles and reed. Unfortunately, once again, my camera isn't catching the color - it's a great chartreuse/lime color  combination - one of my favorite colors.

Here I'm auditioning wefts for the 3 scarves. I'm thinking the blue green near the start, definitely the chartreuse next to it and then I'm not positive, maybe the light teal on the other side of the chartreuse. It's really hard to know how the others will look as they cross other colors in the warp - in the area where the sample is woven I'm not thrilled with the other three blues.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Things always get better.......

Things always get better. After dealing with that tangled painted warp yesterday I got to weaving it today and no issues weaving - phew......I don't think I could handle another day like yesterday in the studio. Unfortunately the camera isn't capturing the color on these accurately, hopefully it will do better when I take pictures of the finished scarves once ready to sell.

First scarf using a lavender tencel warp

Second scarf - fuchsia tencel weft

Final scarf using a charcoal tencel weft
I think the next warp on this loom will be another painted warp in greens & blues then I'll move on to something else as all my other painted warps are in autumn colors and I want to weave more summer things at the moment. I'll work on dyeing more in the next month or so and will make sure to be more varied in my color range.
We had around 30 minutes of steady rain this afternoon, a welcome sight in our third year of drought. It's going to be another ugly, very long, fire season, it may drive me to drink........if so I'll have to find some fun fruity tropical drinks to make.........

A test of my patience......

Yesterday my patience was tested. I'm really a pretty patient person but this silk warp almost did me in. It's an 8 yard warp I painted last fall that somehow got tangled in the dyeing/rinsing process even though I choke tied the bejeezzes out of it. I'm not quite sure how the tangles happened but they did - I've never had this issue in the past with painted warps but a few I dyed that day got tangled. I did have to cut the cross out of a couple sections - hopefully that won't come back to bite me in the butt as I'm weaving.

I eventually got it untangled so I could get it on the back beam but then I had to deal with halo'ing. I tried to capture a picture of it but it was tough - it's the fuzzy section you see. What happens is as the warp is coming through the lease sticks fibers fuzz from one thread grab the thread next to it and stop it from moving like a log jam. I could only advance the warp a foot at a time before dealing with 'un-halo'ing' the threads from each other - ack!  All I kept thinking is if I dressed the loom from front to back it would have been worse to deal with going through the reed and heddles which would have already been of the many reasons I'm a back to front warper.

Finally the warp is wound on the back beam and I'm ready to thread the heddles - I'm almost to the end and realize there are extra warp ends.........well, I always leave extra warp ends hanging from the back of the loom on a painted warp in case of a broken thread....only I forgot after the fiasco of dealing with the tangles.  So, I pulled the warp out of all the heddles, pulled those extra threads to the back and rethreaded - ack again!

At the beginning of the day I thought I'd get that warp on the loom in no time and be well on my way weaving but instead it took all day to get it on the loom. If it had been $5 worth of tencel I wouldn't have spent the time on it and would have sacrificed it to the weaving goddess but it was around $50 worth of silk so I wasn't willing to give up on it.

Finally on the loom so I could audition wefts (above) - hoping to weave today. And yes, you weavers out here may spot a few errors in the weaving, I had one tie-up hook that kept falling out as I was sampling - I replaced it several times with others and finally got one that would stay put. This is not a problem I usually have with my Macomber but it seems like with this warp I'm having all kinds of issues.......hopefully today I'll weave away with no issues at all..........

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Handwoven Shawls

Handwoven cotton/rayon shawls finished and listed in my etsy shop - above is all a lovely lavender color, below is a lavender warp with a pale lilac weft. On to the next project which I think will be scarves woven from one of my hand-dyed/painted warps.

Update:  the top lavender shawl sold within minutes of being listed to a wonderful customer of mine.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

New shawl in the shop.......

I had put this shawl aside in the studio last fall after dyeing some silk/rayon devore shawls and scarves.......maybe I thought I'd use it, maybe I would but I haven't yet so up in the etsy shop it goes. I'll be dyeing more of them this summer so there's many more opportunities to dye one for myself. I just love the colors in this one.

This afternoon I spent some time twisting fringe on the rayon/cotton huck lace shawls that just came off the loom. Crisis when my battery fringe twister (Conair hair twister) stopped working and it wasn't low batteries. It's working intermittently now, hopefully Sam can fix it. In the meantime I did have a back-up so I finished the fringes. Maybe tomorrow I'll get the photography work done so they can be listed in the etsy shop and I'll put photos up here on the blog at that time too.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A mini weaving studio

I finally got a small weaving space carved out at the beach cottage. This bedroom used to have 2 twin beds but there have never been 2 guests staying in here at the same time so only one bed has been used at a time. Out goes the second bed and in comes my small Macomber loom.

It's turned out to be a really comfortable, welcoming guest/weaving room. I hung the quilt that was on the other bed and love the way it looks. There's even room for my extra spinning wheel in this room. My shuttles and other small tools are stored in the two little boxes on the magazine table. Bigger weaving items are hidden under the bed and will come out when I'm weaving.

I put all my little Cape May, NJ houses up on the quilt rack, they look so much cuter there than in the window seat. From the age of 13 thru college I spent my summers in Cape May Point, NJ at my parents beach house - my fondest summer memories are from those years and I get to be reminded of them seeing these and some books I have on Cape May even though I'm on the total opposite coast. I can't wait to get a warp on this loom, it's going to be a lovely space to weave in. I've brought all the cottolin over there so towels will be on this loom for quite a while.

I started knitting a new shawl using the black baby alpaca/silk blend I spun recently. I'm stuck. I'm not so sure I like it but I don't think it's the pattern, it's the handspun. It's much hairier and fuzzier than I was thinking it would be and I don't like that. So for the moment this will sit until I decide if I want to continue on or rethink how this handspun will be used.

This is a Vellela vellela jellyfish. Starting last year I was seeing the clear sail/cellophane looking top of these jellyfish all over the beach but I thought it was trash, not from a living creature. Then I saw photos of them on two different blogs from beaches north of us.....and this past weekend I saw an intact one so I snapped a photo. Apparently the clear cellophane looking part acts as a sail on the ocean. These aren't anything like the giant jellyfish from the east coast that I got stung by more times than I'd like to remember.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Handspun handknit shawl

Here's the finished handspun, handknit shawl after blocking. Too bad the morning light doesn't do the colors justice out on the covered deck. Colors are more true to life in the photo posted two days ago when it was being blocked. You can see an excellent photo of the handspun here. I knit it much bigger than the original pattern because I didn't want a little shoulder warmer, I wanted a full fledged shawl. This is my finished item for the fair display challenge but I'll be wearing it between now and August.

I'm trying to decide between knit shawl patterns for the black alpaca/colorful silk blend I spun up recently. You can see a photo of the handspun at the same link as the handspun above - it's the second picture down. I need to get something on the needles - I like to knit while we watch tv in the evening.

This morning when I went downstairs to the studio to wind the alpaca/silk yarn into balls I got sidetracked in the sewing room. My machine just came back from being cleaned/yearly maintenance but in the 2 weeks it was gone I had filled up the space with piles of 'stuff'. I started in on the piles, reorganized some other things to get them off the table for good but I left it in chaos as I've got other pressing things to do - will get back to it soon which will make me happy when I start sewing some quilted placemats for the beach cottage, so much nicer to work without the clutter.........not to say there won't still be some clutter as there's not enough room for everything but it will be a vast improvement. Now what to do with that pile of Altoids tins that were for a project that I no longer want to do........maybe someone else will want them.........they're great for storing needles, stitch markers, etc for my knitting bag but I have what I need.......

Thursday, April 30, 2015

New roving colorways

Yesterday morning and then again today I started dealing with a big Ashland Bay roving order - photographing, weighing, bagging, labeling, listing in the etsy shop and putting into inventory records - way too much administrivia for my taste, would rather be weaving. Above are some lovely new colors of Superfine Merino. Here's the section of the shop with all the superfine merino including the variegated discontinued colorways I have left.

And here's a limited offering of a merino in natural, brown and grey. It's lovely and I keep eyeing it wondering if I should spin some.

The shop is also restocked with some sold out merino colorways in addition to ecru merino and ecru superfine merino.  And now I can move on to something that's a little more fun.........

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lace of a different kind.....

 Last night I finally finished the shawl I was knitting - I'm very slow at it as I just do it here and there while watching tv or while visiting at my spinning group. This morning I got it blocked - it's still pinned to the foam blocks drying. The pattern was a free one I got via Ravelry called the Prism Shawl by Tanis Fiber Arts (Tanis Lavellee). It's a great pattern to knit while visiting as it doesn't take very many brain cells. I have around 600 yards of this handspun left as I went a little crazy while working on the blending board and spinning it - eventually I'll come up with another project for the rest of it. It will be great to wear over on the coast where it can be pretty chilly in the summer, especially early morning or in the evening.

Yesterday a box of shoes arrived via UPS - whoo hoo.  These are one of my favorite shoes these days - Jambu. I already have the red and chartreuse ones with the cut out flower design. I was actually looking for a navy pair but they were sold out in my size so I got the light tan and two different styles of black (I wear a lot of black). I'll keep a lookout for the navy to come back in stock. Jambu's can be bought on Evine and Amazon - I'm sure lots of other places too. Evine has great prices on them, that's where I bought these. Gotta love cute and comfy shoes.......

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


This morning I decided to get another warp on the loom for cotton/rayon shawls. It started out to be something in the sand/beach colors since I've sold the last of those but then I spotted these two lovely lavender cones, one a pale sweet lavender, the other a very light lilac. I decided I could get two lace weave shawls out of them. Hopefully others will appreciate the lovely colors as much as I do and want to purchase them.

In-between winding the warp and threading heddles I had the embroidery machine going as a customer who bought 3 embroidered towels wanted another sheep towel. The machine is in the sewing/craft room so I have to listen for it to make sure there are no hiccups and also for when it stops so I can change thread color. I ended up stitching 4 more sheep towels, my customer bought an additional 2 of them and I just listed the other 2 in the etsy shop for sale.

It's been great to be home and nesting once again in the's where I belong........

Monday, April 27, 2015

Vintage finds.....

It's was a busy two weeks, every day out of the house and studio, makes for a grumpy me except that Saturday & Sunday I did get weaving in at the Robyn Spady workshop, which was great, much new knowledge gained. This was my second workshop with Robyn and I knew I wouldn't be disappointed with this one. She is the most well prepared workshop teacher ever, has the best handouts (small books) of any workshop I've ever taken and she's very fun to boot.

Last week I found some treasures (in my mind) at a estate quilting/craft sale. I really didn't need a single thing but I found some vintage linens and did get some rayon embroidery thread for my embroidery machine.  The fabric pieces above are actually intended to be sewn together into pillow cases. I don't know if I'll make pillow cases or perhaps pillow covers, or who knows what. I'll get them washed and put on the shelf until I decide.

And then I found a Ziploc bag filled with embroidered pieces - I love these types of linens. I'm not sure exactly what the blue set was made for - there are several small embroidered rectangular pieces. not square like a hankerchief and too small anyhow, way too small for napkins, even cocktail napkins. Any clues?  I love the toaster cover (red trim) - hard to believe they ever made toasters that small. I'm going to have to find something very fun to cover with that. These also need some washing which I'll do sometime this week. If I had a window needing caf√© curtains some of these pieces would be perfect......but I don't.

Now off to the table loom - I still have some warp from the workshop on it so I thought I'd do some more sampling before cutting them off and washing them to put in my notebook for future reference.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Mohair roving

Just got some new Young Adult Mohair listed in my etsy shop (in the natural color fibers section of my shop). I don't usually carry it, not sure why but someone here locally requested it so I bought a bit to test it out, if it sells ok I'll order a larger quantity and stock it on a regular basis. It's lovely, very silky and shiny, long 5" staple length. I'll get a sample spun up soon.

I got this weighed, bagged and labeled this morning but the rest of the huge roving order will be sitting there until some time next week when I have time, or make time to deal with it. There are 14 new colors of Superfine Merino Roving that I can't wait to unearth and spin samples of - those will be listed in the shop as soon as I take photos and get it weighed out.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hitting the beach.......

We hit the beach last weekend, it was lovely. We walked the beach, found treasures, and I finished painting the kitchen cabinets - whoo hoo.  Of course, there is more painting to come, window & door trim and doors through the cottage - ack.  Not much fibery happening here the past 2 weeks other than some little crocheted gifts for a few of my fiber peeps, there have been too many appointments and commitments away from the studio........going through fiber withdrawals......

Bailey is all smiles at the beach......

....tons of seagulls visiting on the rocks.....

.....I call these little condo's, sometimes they're on rocks, sometimes on mussel shells......

.....and he's still smiling......

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cottolin galore

Today I had Sam pull down all the cottolin I had that was way up high on a shelf. My goal was to get some other cones of yarn off the floor and up on shelves - a number of them found homes but there are still some cones on the floor.  So, now that the cottolin, stacked 4 layers high, is sitting in a mesh bag on the floor my goal is to weave it up into towels and hopefully get them sold. In addition to all this I've also got two 4 pound cones in an oatmeal color.  First warp on the loom will be the oatmeal in a twill pattern, I'll use different colors for the weft woven in pairs of two. Ok, so I don't think that will really make a dent in all these spools so I'll have to start thinking about the following warp where I'll use color and hopefully empty many spools. I may tire of weaving towels before it's used up, if that happens I'll just have to take a break and weave something else in-between.

I put a couple new items for sale up on my 'Other Stuff for Sale' page - check them out if you're interested. As I go through my stash I'm sure I'll find more........

New scarves........

I finally finished twisting fringe on newly woven taken of 4 of them and they're now listed in my etsy shop for sale.

Sand Castles Buttercream
Sand Castles Taupe
Raspberry Cream - Lavender

Raspberry Cream - Fuchsia

Monday, April 13, 2015

This and that.........

We had a little different program at our weaving guild meeting on Saturday - we made bead bracelets. Fellow guild member Thalia was our teacher - she had decided since the nylon thread was woven around the leather cord and beads that it was technically weaving. This is my finished bracelet in my favorite color - unfortunately the camera didn't capture the sparkle.

 Here's a view showing the button used for the closure.  Of course the gal at the bead shop steered me wrong on the side beads to use - everyone else had beads twice this size (most buying kits from Thalia). So I put 2 beads side by side.  Was a little tough getting it started but then it was a breeze.  I'll be making a few more of these.

 An order of tencel arrived last week, it was on sale at Webs.  I was running out of some colors and then bought a few new that I haven't bought before - love the seafoam color, not sure about that baby blue but someone else will like it. Webs was out of black, which I use a lot of, so that's back-ordered. If you could see the shelves that house tencel in my studio you'd wonder why I bought more.......I have every color Webs carries now that I filled in a few.  I buy most of my yarns wholesale but I haven't found a good source for tencel and I go through a lot of tencel. If any other weavers out there know of a good wholesale source for tencel I'd love to know - the Webs sales are pretty good so I haven't put anymore energy into looking for several years.

Yesterday I warped up my table loom for an upcoming Robyn  Spady workshop. She's always well prepared and full of knowledge to share.  Yesterday I also wove the final scarf on the AVL warp and got those scarves washed.  Now I have a pile of scarves that need the fringes twisted - pictures to follow once that's done. But today I need to sew a tote bag for a birthday gift so my Bernina can go in for it's cleaning/maintenance tomorrow.  It's been really nice to get a few fiber days in my way too busy schedule..........

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Incredible bamboo

Yesterday after coming home from my spinning group I got around finishing weighing, bagging, labeling a big fiber order - it's been sitting for weeks waiting for me to get around to it. It's not one of my favorite jobs so I chose to ignore it but the roving won't sell if it's not listed in my shop. Out of this order there are 5 colors of bamboo roving/top (in addition to the natural and black) - it is incredible. It's a special offering by Ashland Bay which means it won't be around forever - I'm not quite sure why I hadn't already ordered it. I've set aside some for myself to blend in with other fibers on my blending board or on the drum carder. The colors are so intense and beautiful.

Today, after I put away all the roving weighed out yesterday that is covering the floor of the studio, is my day to be at home to weave. So far this morning I've spent time packing up orders and relisting roving in my shop. As soon as Bailey and I go for our walk I'll be heading to the loom - whoo hoo.

Monday, April 6, 2015

I got nuttin'

Hard to believe I haven't posted in a while but I got nuttin'. My time has been lost going in directions I'm not always happy with but can't do anything about at the moment........and the April calendar looks to be a killer. I can remember the years that I used to weave at least 5 days a week, pretty much all day, now I'm lucky if I get one day - it's very depressing, so depressing several times last week I was teary eyed over it.

In the evenings, here and there, I am still working on my shawl knit out of my handspun - I'm getting close to the border, which means I'm almost done, then comes blocking. I way overestimated how much handspun I might need from my blending board rolags so I may be knitting a matching hat, fingerless mitts or socks with the leftovers. Here's the rolags I spun - and here's the start of the shawl. I still have those 2 scarf warps on the looms - hoping to at least get one day of weaving in this week.

This past Wednesday I presented a guild program to the Webfoot Weavers over on the coast in Brookings (near the CA border). It was a program I had given my own guild around 6 years ago on beaded embellishments.  What a fun group they are - I always have fun when I go over there. Friend Pat went over with me, we stopped at a few thrift stores on the way home, the liquor store (cheaper in CA) and Taylor's Sausage in my former town of 11 years. I stocked the freezer with some yummies.  So, yes, there was some fun this past week even though not much weaving.

As a side note on Taylor's Sausage, not to be confused with Taylor's Pork Roll from the NJ area. Most of the products there are from home grown pigs (sounds nicer than hogs) that were raised a few miles from our previous house. Around 18 years ago (that's a guess) the barn burned along with all those cute little pigs - we could smell bbq'd pork at our house. Ok, so you probably didn't need to know that but it just came to mind when thinking of Taylor's. Anyhow, they make the best pork products around - when they expanded they added many other products to the big country store they built - it used to be that we went to where they actually do the butchering to shop (a few blocks away from the store) but that's all changed now - progress.

We spent this past weekend on the coast - more kitchen cabinet painting - I've only got 4 drawer fronts and the front of the lazy susan to go - whoo hoo........of course then it's on to painting windows, window & door trim - it's never ending.  But we did pick out flooring (above) - a waterproof laminate with a cork backing - it's going to be so nice to get those stinky dog pee carpets (previous owner's dogs) and ripped up linoleum out of there......probably a summer project. I did take time out from my painting to go visit the spinning group in Bandon at The Wool Co. - always a fun group to see.

So, yes, some fun here and there in-between the other not so fun duties on the calendar.........but not much weaving.........