Thursday, January 22, 2015

Adding beads to a fringe

After weaving for a while today on the towel warp I decided I really needed to stop so I could watch this past Sunday's episode of Downton Abbey but I can't just sit and watch tv so decided to work on twisting the fringe on a couple scarves while it was on. I added some beads to the fringes and want to share an easy way to get seed beads onto the warp threads - I use a big eye beading needle, this particular one from Beadalon and I buy them from Shipwreck Beads although I'm sure any good bead store would have them.

The very long, very thin needle is like 2 needles connected at the top and bottom so the center of it can be opened up and the warp thread slid in. I then pick up beads with the needle and slide them right up onto the warp end. I'm using size 8 seed beads. (Sorry the pix aren't real great - didn't feel like running upstairs to get the camera and used my phone, color is off and pix a bit blurry)

Then I twist the fringe like normal - love the little bit of sparkle it adds to the fringe without being overwhelming for those who might be shy about wearing too much bling...........although I can't quite relate to that......

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New towels on the loom......

I got a new towel warp on the loom - plain weave and 3/1 twill. The colors are to coordinate with the recently woven table runners (still waiting to be hand-hemmed).  Above is actually the backside of the towels - less harnesses to raise if I weave it upside down.

Here's what the front side will look like - this 12 yard warp will weave quickly if I get the time at the loom. These are very springy/eastery looking.

I also pinned up the hems on the tulip table runners today - they're now set aside waiting to be hand-hemmed when I'm sitting watching tv in the evenings.......except right now I'm in the spinning mood in the evenings.

This technique for getting a sharp hem is one I learned from Marcy Tilton. She lives south of me by around 45 minutes - until we moved closer to town she was only 5 minutes away. She uses manila folders cut into different widths to use as a pressing tool when turning up a hem - I adopted this practice well over 10 years ago and love the results.

For these table runners I used the 1 1/4" wide manila guide. Here's the first pressing with the iron. (yes, I should have been more careful taking photos, it's looks cockeyed but the hem really isn't)

Here's the second turning of the hem.  Ignore my ironing board cover - I could replace it every week the way it stains.

And here's the table runner turned over, you can see where I pinned it from the other side. I have a stack of 8 of them now ready to hem.

Here are all my manila folder guides - I made them from 1/2" up to 3". I punched holes in the ends and hang them on a ring up on my bulletin board in my sewing room. Maybe in another year or so I'll make new ones, in over 10 years this is only my second set.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Playing with wool..........

I've spent the better part of 2 days playing with wool.......well, in my case it's actually working with wool.  I had a big order I had been ignoring so decided it was time to weigh, bag, label, put into inventory and relist sold out colors in the etsy shop. It's a time sucker and one of my roadblocks in getting as much time at the loom as I used to..........good income but takes much time.  I also did some inventory work and bookkeeping work........not the end of the year bookkeeping work that I should be doing and will wait way too late to work on but regular daily stuff........

I put together new felting/spinning kits. This merino kit used to have 12 colors and was around 6oz, now it has 16 colors and is around 8oz. I used some of the colors of the original kit, some new. Great sampling of colors for needlefelters, wet felters and those who are blending roving on blending boards.  It was tough to fit it in the containers I use for the 6oz kits.....kind of like sitting on a suitcase and quickly closing it. These kits along with some others can be found in the Felting/Spinning Kit section of my shop.

This is a limited offering from Ashland Bay Fibers of 80% Ecru Merino blended with 20% Black Tussah Silk. I haven't had a chance to spin a sample yet but it feels lovely. It can be found in the Silk Blends section of my shop.

It's a rainy weekend - good for weaving - heading to the loom now..........and hoping for no interruptions...........

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Looks like spring

Yesterday I didn't get as much time at the loom as I would have liked (phone rang off the hook) but I did get the two coral tulip table runners woven (after unweaving back to my mistake) and two yellow/lavender ones.  Doesn't this one make you think Easter?!  Working with these spring colors makes me smile while sitting in all this bone-chilling fog.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fun DIY earring holder

Recently I decided I needed a place to hang my earrings other than in my wonderful jewelry box that does have great fold out earring holders...........but if something is in the jewelry box it's out of sight, out of mind and I keep the 2 pair of diamond studs in my ears never changing them. So on the wall adjacent to the mirror and where my jewelry box sits in the bathroom I put up this. First I had this fun little shelf I bought at a thrift store where I can hang bracelets.....I can put other 'jewels' like pendants and pins in the little drawers.  I picked up a white frame at Michaels using one of their 50% coupons. I bought some wire at Lowe's, Sam cut it and stapled it in the back of the frame.  Now I can hang (certain types) of earrings on it in full view - I love it. I've bought some cup hooks I'm thinking of putting on the sides of the frame for a few necklaces. This is all the earrings that have made it up there yet, will get some more on it soon.........when I open that jewelry box.......

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Well shoot.........

Well shoot..........this afternoon I got this warp on the loom for 8 table runners, I'll be weaving two of each colorway. Do you see what I did?  The first row of the flower stems at the bottom of the border motif has some little dots of green where they shouldn't be - argh.  A mistake in tie-up for that treadle. I didn't notice it while weaving, just saw it looking at this photo on the monitor so quickly ran downstairs to the studio to check it out - yep, it's wrong. This is all I got woven so not a big a deal - tomorrow I'll be unweaving this few inches and starting the tulips over.

I wove these table runners back in 2003 and they sold very quickly. I don't know if that will happen again but I'm willing to see if anyone is interested this time around. There will be coral tulips (above), yellow, lavender and pink. It's hard to see but I am using a very pale peach for the weft on the white warp.

This is all a part of me trying to think ahead this year with seasonal/holiday weaving - I'm thinking spring/Easter right now.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Second scarf

Here's the second scarf on the warp I got on the loom yesterday - I went with the teal weft.  Now starting to think about the next warp to go on the loom - thinking I should do some spring table runners......but we'll see........

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Let there be light........

A couple of weeks ago my track lighting over the looms frizzled out. We spent a lot of hours looking for new lighting but none of it was over 6 ft long or else it wasn't remotely affordable. Sam finally found this lighting at Lowe's, an 8ft track. He had to wire in a switch with a chain so I could turn it on/off as it's hardwired in. He got it up, pulled out the lights to put them up and they were the big lights, not the cute little dainty pretty lights he thought he was grabbing off the shelf. He was ready to take them back right then (a 50 minute drive) but I said "wait a minute - let's give them a try". Wow - I could do brain surgery at the looms with those big lights - I love them.  So style to the wayside - I'm going for function. I've never had this much light over the looms - whoo hoo.......

 This was the painted warp I got on the loom today after the lighting was put up. It's 8/2 tencel. Here is it coming up over the back beam into the raddle.........

.......after heddles are threaded and reed sleyed.......

 .....auditioning wefts for the 2 scarves......definitely going with the first color, fuchsia - still trying to decide between the second color, black or the third color, teal for the other scarf.......

......first scarf using the fuchsia tencel as's half woven now, hoping to get some good weaving time in tomorrow. I'm still figuring out how to juggle life - my weaving time has been suffering the past few years, I've got to figure out how to remedy that but I seem to run out of hours each day........also want to make more time to spend with friends too...........hmm, where is that big clock with the hands that move slower when I need it???

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Best laid plans.....

Since getting back from the coast I have been swamped with activities that don't include spending time in the studio until today. Today I finished up embroidering some more towels and got them listed in my etsy shop.  The chicken towels sell quickly - folks love chickens. I decided to stitch up some cows because I think they're cute - hope others think so too - I've still got some cute sheep in the shop. Also stitched a couple of fancier dainty heart towels.

I had hoped to get a painted warp on the loom but ran out of time - the phone rang off the hook all day, had some nice visits but ended up running out of hours in the studio. I did figure out the twill structure I'll be using so I'm ready to get that warp on.......maybe time on Sunday.........there's another huge Ashland Bay order of  roving that arrived today, needs weighing into bags, labeling, putting into inventory and in my other etsy shop.........might have to leave that until next week...........

Hopes for a wet winter have gone down the tubes for the time being - very little rain and snow. Local ski resort closed again, never opened last year (first time in 50 years). But we do have fog, bone chilling damp frozen fog......on the upside we don't have the artic air much of the rest of the country is dealing with........

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Back to reality......

We spent this past holiday week on the coast. Now it's back to reality with a crazy re-entry period - sometimes 're-entry' does me in. I have stacks of orders to pull, box up and print postage for so they can go out in the mail Monday.  One order is for some roving that sold out a couple days before but Etsy relisted 21 of them - I've never had 21 bags of any single roving in stock at one time - argh. I saw that a few others had this same issue the past few days. I'm hoping my customer will be ok with waiting for me to get more in - I wasn't planning on placing an order with Ashland Bay for 3-4 more weeks but looks like I'll be placing one Monday morning.

I did some more painting of kitchen cabinets at the beach cottage.  I didn't get a picture of the two sections of upper cabinets I painted but I did take a picture of the new shelf Sam made and I painted to hang under the high kitchen cabinet. I love it.  The kitchen is going to look really nice when we're done - eventually we'll have new countertops if we can ever get a contractor out, then we'll put in a glass backsplash with some color. The only thing in the house we can't do is the countertops (unless we do tile) we've been trying since August to get contractors to respond. We're giving it one more try before we decide to install tile (which we've picked out at Lowe's) - we don't want tile but if we can't get someone out to put in countertops that's what we'll resort to.

Here's a close-up of the side of the shelf. The seahorse sides were actually from another shelving unit I picked up for a few dollars but didn't know where to hang so we took it apart, cut part of it off and used it for this shelf.

I love all the texture in the sand at low tide
This makes me think of collapse weave
Hmm, wonder who lives down here - my guess is shrimp since I've seen a fisherman digging up shrimp for bait. Originally I thought clams but Mr. fisherman said nope, it's shrimp in this spot.

The lighthouse on a perfect sunny, blue sky kind of day..........although very cold with a good stiff breeze coming off the ocean.......I was bundled up.

Bailey was having a grand time
Life is good.........

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's that time.....

 It's that time of year again - new calendar time. Look at this fun one I found that I get to have fun cross stitching. I also bought one for a gift but a different stitching design. It's from Heather Lins Home - one of the winners of the Martha Stewart American Made contest. I've included the link to her website but just looking at it I see she's sold out of the calendars but one can check out the retail establishments she has links to in case they have any left.

 I thought I'd stitch one as each month neared but then thought again.......I'll get too busy and it won't happen, I'll get a month behind, then another, then I'll just put them up without stitching. So, this week I'm taking a week off from the etsy shops so I'll get to work stitching them. January is done, February is started.  I took a week off from my etsy shops but shoppers have not......and today everyone is shopping.......

I had leftover pumpkin puree so I looked for a pumpkin muffin recipe. Made 24 of these late this afternoon - definitely a keeper recipe - they're yummy.  Pumpkin Muffins with Streusel streusel topping doesn't look like the picture but they taste great so who cares.

A safe and happy new year to you all.  We'll be asleep long before midnight, as usual, just how we like to celebrate the evening..........

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Magic yarn ball

I got this fun gift from a dear friend. She made a magic yarn ball. Start using the ball of yarn from the outside in and find treasures.

Here's the first treasure to fall out - a cute bee button
There's a little flower button peeking out from the ball
Another flower peeking through but this one is pink
Here's everything found in the ball - lots of fun buttons and a bee hive in the center.  What I was crocheting wasn't going to use the entire ball so I took liberties leaving a few colors out - I'll use them in a future project. The crocheted project - The Artfully Simple Infinity Scarf which can be found fro free on Ravelry. Mine still needs blocking (maybe) it will be a great neck warmer, it can be worn around the neck as is or doubled up as a cowl. Now to find a fun project to use the buttons for.......

What a fun gift - I'm going to use this idea for a gift in the future.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


I finally got the hand-dyed silk and tencel scarves cut off the loom and look what I found - what looks like uneven beating only my beat was perfect. I've figured out what happened - as the scarf went around the front beam the weft threads got distorted as I tightened the warp back up. I'm sure this happened because I was just placing the weft and the silk was very slippery. So, what did I do - I sat down with a needle moving the wefts back where they should be.......on all 3 scarves, in many places.....but they look great now, ready to sell in my etsy shop.

 Here's the one with the fuchsia weft
 Red weft used here
Wine weft in the final scarf

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Eve - the success and wise.......

Success:  Cousin Jim's fish soup which he had tweaked since this new recipe was first sampled last year - it's outstanding.  Jim brought all the ingredients and made it here at our house. My grandmother's traditional fish soup recipe is how we start out our Feast of the Seven Fishes.....sorry Nani but Jim's soup is much better, if she were still with us I think she'd agree.  Recipe for this incredible soup is at the bottom of this post - I'm thinking we may have to try it sometime adding some shrimp, crab, mussels & clams - yum.  We'll be eating leftover soup tomorrow - yum.

Failure: Cousin Jim decided to try his hand at Sugar Plums because he'd never had them.  These were not good - list of ingredients sound like they should be super yummy......but they weren't, they really weren't, they really really weren't good........leftovers were going in the trash if he couldn't find any takers.  But we tried something new.

Bailey had a grand time opening a present from Cousin Jim last night - hard to get a picture of him he was so excited - we think he's as excited at carrying around a wrapped gift as actually getting the gift.

He sat still for a picture with it this morning.......that was until he saw what Santa brought overnight.


6 rashers of bacon, chopped (learned a rasher is a slice)
2 tbs butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced fine
3 tsp Old Bay seasoning
3 tbs fresh chopped cilantro
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2/3 cup dry vermouth or white wine
2-3 cups fish stock
11 oz potatoes, diced
1 1/2-2 pounds skinless white fish fillets cut into chunks (he used cod)
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry the bacon to browned but not crisp. Remove from pan.

Add butter to pan and cook onion and celery until soft, add garlic and herbs and cool for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, stock and wine and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add potatoes, cover again and simmer for a further 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are almost tender.

Add chunks of fish and bacon pieces. Simmer gently uncovered for 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked and the potatoes are tender.

Garnish with additional fresh cilantro and lime wedge if desired.   I throw on a few spoonfuls of oyster crackers because I love them and rarely eat them......

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

A bit of time at the loom.....

We decided to go over to the coast for a few days in spite of the forecast.  We did get a beach walk in Friday afternoon in-between the rain squalls but after that there was torrential sideways rain, lots of wind, soak to the bone rain. We came home earlier than planned on Sunday due to the forecast of the river reaching flood stage later in the day - 42S along the Coquille River was starting to flood as we drove through, the road closed this morning - we were really worried about rockslides on 42, so glad there weren't as that detour would have added 1 1/2-2 hours to our drive home.

Back to that painted silk scarf warp - above is scarf #2 - I used a deep red weft.
Here is scarf #3 which I only had time to get started today - a wine weft is being used.
I did get some time to work on the knitted felted intarsia tangled mess bag project but I've run out of the blue wool just short of the final strap - ack. I bought exactly what the pattern called for and I knit tight so there should have been plenty.  I found a skein online - it's on it's way to me now but has put this project on hold for a while......dyelot will not be the same but hopefully close enough. Next up is to knit the tulips to felt - I read through the directions and decided I need lots of fresh brain cells before starting to work on those - they look to be a challenge to say the in I don't understand the instructions at all.........
Pure torture today shopping for Christmas Eve dinner stuff, forgot the lettuce for the salad so back to the store for me tomorrow along with waiting in line at the post office for 2 packages - ack. Think I'll need some chocolate to compensate.......but that means I'll have to remember to buy some when I pick up the lettuce.......... 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I do love pumpkin........

Last night I called neighbors C & M to ask if they'd like to come over to share a big pot of pasta de fagioli. This morning I decided I needed dessert, looked in the pantry and all I had was strawberry cake mix and pink frosting with sprinkles for cupcakes or a yellow cake mix. Hmm, I had a big can of pumpkin too. Out came the Pumpkin Streusel Cake recipe. You can find the recipe in a post from back in 2010 HERE.  The best part is I had one of those huge cans of pumpkin so there's lots left - I'll have to make some muffins or bread, maybe a smoothie or two with the leftovers. It's super easy, quick to make and super yummy.  So the pasta de fagioli turned into more of a minestrone - put potatoes in it rather than using pasta - it's in the crockpot - the house is smelling incredible.......but dinnertime is many hours away.........

For the weavers out there - don't you just love my platter?  I found it at our local kitchen store a few years back. Not long after I went back to get a few for gifts and they no longer had them.