Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Back in the studio!

Well, it's still not ready for some magazine doing a layout on people's workspaces, but, it's beginning to look a lot less like a bomb-site.
Took a VERY deep breath and turned on the "Little Weaver" and heard the welcome clicking sounds.  Next is to put the shafts back in and connect up to the laptop, to make absolutely certain it's still working.
Turned on the heater, loaded in some wash in the "laundry corner," put some cookies in the little toaster-oven, made some coffee, mopped the floor and even got some weaving done on the Macomber warp.  Home, sweet home!
I need to get all the trash piling up outside the studio out for the trash pick-up and things will REALLY be back on-track.
I also need to start getting a "care package" ready for somebody who can use some of my surplus cotton for a new effort she's developing.  So glad somebody can use them!  I am seriously thinking "de-clutter" these days!!!!
Thanks to so many folks for their expressions of concern and sympathy over what shall henceforth be known as "The Great Flood of 2014.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Angels among us

Working on drafts for taqueté angels. I used to use Lillian Whipple's lovely cards of a little woven angel, framed, as special gifts to mark a milestone or help somebody thru a rough time, but, it seems I got the last five. Decided it was time to "roll my own" I'm really happy with the first design, a blue-robed angel holding a candle, for 16 shafts. Working on a 24-shaft design with some colour-mixing.
Picture to come.  I had worked on the first "export fabric" in "Preview" and find that it saves changes whether you want it to or not, so, the angel has a "cartoon bubble" sitting there that I "added" just to see what that tool does.  SO, have to go back to scratch. 
And..a few mouse-clicks later, here is her tiny self.  Might do some bookmarks.  This is the 16-shaft version. 
It will be fun to do the sampling for this on the 16-shaft Structo!  It's the time I get to use some of those many spools I own of the cotton!  I have about 60 of the things..(no, they're not for sale.  I sold a few a while back because I felt kind of like the "dog in the manger," but, that's it for now!  If you're desperate, we can talk.)
I am been doing my taqueté drafting in Weavemaker, which I find terrific for free-hand designing as you can get a real-time version as "fabric view," that is more true to the appearance of the finished fabric than the other programmes (I have them all...except the really pricey "Arahweave") The cool thing about the WM "view" is that you can export the fabric as a tiff. I open it in PS (or "PS Elements," which is all you really need for this). First, change the mode to RGB, then use the "blur" filtre two or three times and you get a richer colour. You can also use the other editing tools for the colours, but I find the "blur" does it for me. The advantage of this is that you see the image as a graphic-design and immediately see what's wrong or right about it and you can go back into the draft and change it. I keep a folder called "scratch" to save these so I can see how the changes are happening.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Subscriptions and memberships!

Well, scratched a long-standing "itch" and took out Costume Society memberships for both US and UK, as well as subscribed to the "Textiles" journal from Maney Publishing.  Great stuff..you can DL articles of interes.  The American "Costume" I had to accept print versions, but, hey, I get a scholarly-looking mag to leave lying around the house  LOL
Looking forward to expanding my horizons!
They also offer a Conservation journal.
HMMMM, best that I don't load myself up with too much reading...
But, fun...assuming somebody else shares my definitions of "fun."

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Super little publication

This is a self-published mag and is absolutely super.  HIGHLY-recommended.  I keep one or two "extras" of some issues around!  Whether you are an advanced or beginner weaver, she has a lot of great information in these mags!


from her "home page<: p="">
"Weaver’s Craft, a quarterly publication by former Handwoven editor Jean Scorgie, features well-designed projects with special emphasis on creative expression in color and design. The projects are for beginning and intermediate weavers on four- to eight-shaft table or floor looms, with most of the projects for four-shaft looms."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A new deadline

Not too many details at present, but, invited to submit for a future issue of "a magazine"....trick is coming up with something original to do with stripes and tea towels.  What the heck has NOT been done with those ideas?  Oh well.  I've come up with some I like...then, went to try and print out the tiffs of the drafts I came up with so I can look over them all in one spot..took three hours to get the damned thing to print anything CLOSE to the actual colours....blue kept coming out ORANGE.
Well, onward...at least the yarns arrived.
If you do anything involving selling your stuff (or publishing it) you really do need to get sample books from your regular suppliers.  I get the WEBS book every two or three years.  In between brand new books, you can always order updated colour-cards from them with swatches of any new additions to their line.  The colours on the websites are close, but not all that accurate, and, when colour is the important part of the project, well, you need to see the actual stuff.
I also made myself my own little "inventory" book of what I have on-hand, which SORT OF helps.
All this did was show me that, even with almost every known example of yarn carried by WEBS, I, of course, DID NOT HAVE THE COLOURS I NEED FOR THIS ONE.  Even with the madness of the season, they shipped the three cones to me PRONTO.
I thought about using the natural cotton offered by Fox Fibres, but, this involves using yarns that are easily-sourced by any weaver, anywhere, and, for one of the colours, I would have had to commission dyeing, so, approximating the colours with readily-available yarns seems the way to go.
Oh well..I am going to make not only the samples for the submission, but a "set" that I can sell later.
Have to write a little historical background on the "tradition" I'm working in.
Intriguing, non?  Well, all will be revealed in the New Year..well, Spring...
For some reason, the "Keep" part got cropped out here. hmmmmmmm

Had a lovely surprise when I opened up, for the first time, the "duplicate copy" I have of "Keep Me Warm One Night."  I had had two of them and gave one to Lucinda Grisham after she took the time to adjust my big AVL!  It was so kind of her and a HUGE favour and I wanted to make her as happy as I got after she fixed all the settings and explained a few things for me.  Anyway, I had not looked at this one and, in the back, was a manila envelope containing a swatch from one of the "Cross-Country Weavers" swatch-exchange projects...using, of course "KMWON".  It is an "M's and O's" pattern (page 132 if you have the book) and is 40/2 linen sett at 64 ends per inch.  So delicate and exquisite.  I might frame the thing.
I have about four collections of "CCW" swatches and those folks did the most mind-boggling weaving!  VERY fine setts and virtuoso execution.  It's so inspiring.  I love having the swatches..it's like having a conversation with the weaver.
If you ever get a chance to get a copy of "KMWON" GRAB IT...no matter the price...mortgage your house, your car, tell your kids they are on their own for college tuition and GET IT.  It's a treasure.  Amazon has some running from around $70 to $158.  I see it listed on several other sites.
End of rants du jour.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Felting it

Well, time out for holiday gift-making and cooking!  I did a wonderful needle-felting workshop at Yarnhouse Studio in Opelika last month and just fell in love with it!  I like things I can do as "downtime" projects. As much as I enjoy some TV programmes, just sitting and watching leaves me rather "fidgety" so, having some knitting or something else portable is a real "save."  
Here is a "mousie" I made in the class...so tickled with it..and an "angry bird"...which, sadly, got captured and eviscerated by Teddy Dawg...need to fix him..the bird, not Teddy.  Note Cedric, who is "photobombing" the second pic.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Up from the "Luddite" and back into the 21st c again!

AHHHH, the "Little Weaver" is here.

Sol, adventures in weaving: hauled all the near-50 pounds of this "portable" loom into the workshop.  Got it unwrapped, downloaded and printed out the manual, plugged it in, connected the cable, turned it on, launched the software...NADA.
Well, supposedly it works from either a USB connection, which I had set up,  or WIFI...ok..try the wifi
Download and print out the NEXT set of manuals (happily, one download, at least)
OK....maybe it needs to be closer to the router...y'never know.  Load the nearly-50 pound OBJECT back into my garden wagon (how did I live before I got that wagon???)  Drag it back up to the house...while trying to manoeuvre the wagon onto the back-porch ramp, the wagon starts to turn over, headed for the POOL...I grab it just in time..SO, have to pick it up again...get the wagon onto the porch and put the nearly-50-pound THING back on there and into the study, where I have to set up another table...now, getting around in there is sort of like learning to tango.
I trash the whole project, rack up some online tv on the computer, then go back to listening to "12 Years a Slave" audiobook and playing with my jigsaw programme...did some really nice jigsaws.  BTW, recommend reading this book!  Yeah, I know, the movie is out there, but, this man's writing is wonderful.  This book is on the level of "Anne Frank" and should be MUST READING in our school system!!!!
Have tea...more jigsaw..have some supper
Make a REALLY strong, sweet cuppa tea and rev up the loom again, trying the USB connection again, with no hope.
BINGO!!!!!!!!!!!!  Popped on right away!   WE HAVE LIFTOFF!!!
I really didn't want to use the WIFI, so, having it work directly off the USB cable is Effin' ACE!!!
NOW, I need to load it BACK on the wagon and take it BACK to the workshop, where I want it to "live"  (not stumbling over it, better light, etc...)  Good thing I just refilled my "big-ouch pills!"
The day I stop finding humour in these things, I need to "get a life"...seriously.
Early verdict..I think I'm going to love it.  I opened a .wif and went through about a hundred picks (no warp on there yet) and it's very smooth..no shafts "hanging up."   Not enough heddles provided...there are about 16 per shaft, so, ordered more from the "Yarn Barn" (one of my fav sources for equipment..very reasonable prices).  Can't wait to get a warp on there!!!
Just have to wait for more heddles :-(
I am sure that a call to AVL would solve the WIFI problem, but, as I say, I prefer running off the cable connection.
Nice video of the loom in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0rewViLpBU

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The "Luddite Special"

Well, thanks to Greg Bjelke for stopping by to help me unload the rather-heavy old sewing machine and get it set up in the weaving-shed.  If I can figure out how to get the bobbin working, it will be fun to use.   Pumping that treadle sure gives your legs and bum a great, aerobic workout!!!
Got to get some more scarves done.  I think it's time to thread up a few of the painted warps, although I'd like to do a super-long warp that I can make several on....hmmm, decisions, decisions...then, I want to do some yardage.  
In case I got behind on things, have bought an old "Wheeler and Wilson" treadle-operated machine off ebay.  It will "live" in the studio in place of one of my rather-valuable "Featheweight" machines.  I want to have the studio give any breaker-and-enterer a "WTF!!???" reaction and have nothing out there that is easy to steal except cheap, easily-replaceable items, like my really cheap printer, etc.  I have carefully-concealed the copper pipes leading to my on-demand hot water system.
Now to work my way through all the laundry that has piled up!  On a housekeeping note: time to start making up some bundles for Goodwill, the local library and EBAY!!!
Going to take some books and equipment to the "swap" at the next Fibre Guild.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

sometimes, you gotta back off...

Well, I have decided that this silk project is NOT going to be submitted.  It is just not coming out to my satisfaction and to GET IT THERE, will take more time than I actually have.  Bummer, since I love silk, but, perhaps choosing something less labour-intensive would have been wiser.
THAT SAID: there are bright sides...once finished, I will not only have a gorgeous new piece of clothing to wear...with some "bragging rights" imbedded in it, but, I can get back to my COE project.
I do plan to finish off the blouse/jacket before the weekend.
Sadly, the weather is going back to yucky-hot, so probably won't be wearing it OR my cotton sweater, which is just a few steps away from finishing, any time real soon.
I had originally planned on using the "shirt warp" for a baby blanket and had gotten the warp for that partially beamed, so I had to add warp on either side of that.  I added less yardage for the shirt, leaving me with the "middle portion" giving me about 3 or 4 yds...just wide enough for a nice scarf or two, so, am weaving up scarves with the leftovers.
So, all is NOT lost.
I'm looking at future-issue themes with an eye to coming up with something for those.
It bites to realise I won't be seeing my name in print for that one...LOL, but, better to know when you need to back off and re-think/re-do, than barrel ahead and do a so-so job.
En route, tho, I did learn a vast amount about sewing handwovens that I had forgotten.  Mostly, I think that Daryl Lancaster's excellent comment about weaving things with a somewhat denser sett for sewing is a good one.  Next time I do this, I will sett the warp more closely.  I DO want to churn out some yardage on 60/2 silk, which was my original conception on this, so, next time!!!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Luddites rejoice...

Well, I have scratched a long-time itch and bought a foot-powered old treadle machine.  If we ever experience a total failure of the power-grid, I CAN STILL SEW!!!  The seller is going to put the belt on for me, and says it's in great working-condition.  It reminds me of the old Singer I grew up with, which had been converted to a motor.  I am no stranger to the old "bullet" bobbins.  Can't wait to play with it!

Plus, it's a beautiful piece of furniture.  I am thinking of parking it out in the studio.  I can't see anybody breaking in there trying to steal it, unlike my beloved little Featherweight.  I try to keep stuff out there that is either too weird for anybody to want to steal (like looms) or under $100 so it wouldn't be too hard to replace.



AND THE USER MANUAL...this is such a great find!!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

the "Rosie Project"

Reason for the name of this project to be revealed later.
Nearly 5 yards woven.  I'm going to weave a couple more, just to be on the safe side.  I couple of construction "issues" to be solved, mainly making the back of the shirt-to-be in two pieces, rather than one, cut on a fold.
Real bummer about the newer editions of "Folkwear" patterns: they are now printed on that same nasty tissue paper that the standard pattern-companies use.  I really prefer the older, stiffer paper as it stands up to repeated usage.  But, they're still wonderful patterns.
Brief respite to make costumes for the "studio elf" who is competing in a scholarship thing...singing a song from "Once Upon a Mattress" so, we're making her some old-fashioned sleeping-things.  Fun.
Got the new "Salmon" colourway of 20/2 silk from WEBS.  It's GORGEOUS.  I'm ordering MORE to make ME a nice little blouse out of it!
Meanwhile, back to the various grindstones....

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

COE on "hold"

Well, so much for a quick start.  I have a deadline-type project, so need to spend the next six weeks doing nothing but that.  It'll be worth it, tho.  Also scratching a long itch and getting the studio knocked into shape.  I keep looking at the picture I used for the "banner" on my "Selma Handwovens" FB page and sighing, remembering how neat and uncluttered it USED to be.  SOOO, thanks to Miss Liz, in her "studio elf incarnation," things are getting sorted out, thrown out, found, moved and generally tightened-up!

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Just thought I'd do a look back, since I don't think I mentioned the "Handwoven" article before.  AND we all need to toot our own horns sometimes.
I've been published three times so far...Birmingham's "Portico" magazine in a piece called "Lost Arts"  (SERIOUSLY????)

and Syne Mitchell's brilliant online mag:


And most recently, the May-June 2011 "Handwoven" magazine...more taqueté work.  I'm working on a submission for some upcoming 'Handwovens"  It's kind of a challenge to work on something for 'only" eight shafts.  They haven't had a "theme" that grabbed me, but some upcoming issues look good.  If you publish with them once, they send you the projected themes for the upcoming year or so.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Another goodie on Google books


another antique "ladies'" mag!

The Delineator

Several years ago, I shared digs in Brooklyn with a budding costume/hair designer.  She introduced me to "The Delineator" magazine, which was published by Butterick Patterns from the late 19th century  thru the thirties.  A Googlebooks version


even has an article about Ebenezer Butterick himself.

But what caught my eye after downloading and saving this, was that my grandmother Lea, who was a fabulously-gifted needlewoman, and known for her exquisite crochet, probably read this same issue!  She would have had a subscription, I'm sure.  It's given me kind of a kick in the butt to try one of the lace patterns in the issue there.

It should only take me about a year.....if I get lucky and really stick to it.  LOL

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dead in the Water and doggie caca

Well, actually, quite busy, but, not with weaving.  Hitting the road tomorrow for a few days in Florida...heads up to the pet-sitter: enjoy the satellite tv etc.   Make yourself at home!
I did order some more reference materials.  This means that, shortly, a bunch of my older and duplicate items will appear either on ebay or a "heads-up" note on weaving sites I visit.
Cats have a brand-new, fancy-schmanzy litter-box, and some "gourmet" grain-free foods.  Karlie seems to be thriving on the grain-free regimen.
SOOOO, a whole lotta knitting will be going on this week, while visiting.  Got my summer tunic jumper to finish.  Have put away the "Noro Ayatori" sweater since I realised that Summer had arrived ahead of my flying fingers, but just the sleeves to do.  When I get a whiff of Autumn in the air, will pull that out again, along with the cardigan that lacks a button-band and get back to the warm-cozies.  As it is, I should have concentrated on the Summer jumper.
Oh well, picked up light tees at Wallyworld.
Packing snacks for the road, as well as "real food."  Strafed "Earthfare" yesterday for healthy stuff and am going to turn out some deviled eggs for my lunch-stop.  Also packing doggie treats for my road-buddies, Daisy and Howie...also got them new name-tags.  The rest will be "sat," so they can drive somebody else nuts for a few days.  Thankfully, the sitters don't mind cleaning up the "fallout." When "Mom" gets back, we are going to retry crate-training.  I've had about all I can take.  Why Teddy and Daisy have it figured out, and the others don't, is beyond me.  Cedric is sort of hit-and-miss.  Whenever he gets himself off the bed and outside, I praise him extravagantly.  Dogs respond better to positive than negative, altho "no-no" gets through to them.  Teddy has gotten SOOO good at "bring it" and "Drop it!"  Again, extravagent praise.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I am starting to feel like Sue Grafton with this numbering thing...
Got out the tapestry loom and started setting it up.  I am using one of the "school looms" by Schacht.  They are light, portable and do the job.
I have a dryad that I want to refinish before I put it together...I think it will eventually be sold, once I've restored it, since I got a wonderful tapestry loom off ebay not too long ago.  Handbuilt and very well-designed.  There's a picture of it somewhere around the blog.  
I was dismayed to see that moths had gotten to a cone of my wool yarn.  Most of my yarn is sprayed with a combo of oils: citronella, mint, cedar, lavender and whatever else seems like it might be effective, and it really keeps them safe, as well as making the studio smell nifty.  I must have missed this one.  I also have cedar blocks all over the place and have put a lot of the wool and silk into "space bags" or other airtight containers. 
One thing I need to get back to is the habit of working out there in the studio!  A little background:  I have broken my back about five times over the past six years and have had to do a good deal of enforced lying around and found it difficult to sit at my loom for more than a few minutes.  I still have a good deal of discomfort when I'm standing, which makes beaming tricky.  I've been getting better and working out ways to deal with the deficits, but, having gotten into the bad habit of lying around and working inside the house...mostly on knitting...I need to get over that and get out there.  
I find that, if I set myself a schedule of "going to work" and "coming home at the end of the day" I am far more productive.
Of course, right now, I have a pair of sox to bash out before leaving for Florida, so, most of my COE efforts will consist of photographing and, hopefully, doing some sketching, for colour ideas and  potential tapestry images.  I plan to write up some of this and get back into THAT good habit!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day Five - COE

The first sampler is a tapestry-techniques piece.  Assembling written references, tools and planning it out.  I think I will do one of those "diary" deals with something for each day.  That might be fun.  Got a great book on colour interaction.  Looking forward to digging into it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Day Four...

Of doing damn-all except knitting.  Determined to finish this sweater.  Back to the COE tomorrow.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Part One Samples/Day three

Well, I was going to leave things like the tapestry sampler to last, but have decided to tackle the assignments in order.  The first is, of course, a tapestry sampler.  I think I will use the little Schacht looms I bought for the old Art Camp project.  For what it requires, those will work just fine.  The thing is, rather than just slapping out some sections of each technique, I'd like to design something that would incorporate them all.  I haven't done any tapestry since I took a class two years ago.  When you think about how much I did when I was in Michelle Lester's studio, it's kind of stupid to have let all that experience sort of dribble away.  SO, back to the colour pencils and the sketch pad.