Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Source

 I'm tired.  It's only 9:38, and I am really tired. I baked bread, wove for 3 hours or so, went out to breakfast with my Wonderful Husband, and set up a death trap for a bunch of fruit flies (dang fruit flies!).  So really, a slow day. So why am I so tired?
  Am I coming down from a sugar high(s) from the candy I've eaten today?  Or is it the time change? Or both?
  I need to go to bed. Oh, and by the way, I'm not dead.  I'll give you a real post tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What She Did With What I Made For Her

   Okay, last August and September, if you look back in those posts of mine, you will see my struggles with weaving rainbow-colored twill linen for a lady through Etsy. This is what she made out of it.
   It's on Olives and Applesauce's Facebook page.  I'm really glad that she ended up happy with what I made for her.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


  I went to the antique store down the street last Saturday and found this:
  That is an antique spinning wheel with most of it's parts and no broken pieces for $120!  I told God if He wanted me to have it He would 1) have my Wonderful Husband be okay with me getting it, and 2) it would still be there for me to buy when we got paid next, six days later.
  Yesterday, with ten minutes before the store closed, I went to the store and bought it!  Thanks, God!
   I am so happy I can barely restrain myself from using all caps!  I feel like the little girl in Despicable Me who shouted, "IT'S SO FLUFFY!"
   I am no expert on spinning wheels, antique or not, by any means, but I am pretty sure this one is only missing the hooks on the flyer and a drive belt.  There is no maker's mark, so I have no idea who made this.
   First thing to do when I got it home was to get out the Murphy's Oil soap and clean off the bit of mold/mildew/whatever that was on it. This is the after picture.  Such a beautiful color of wood!

   Do you see the holes in those top and bottom arms? Hooks go in those to guide the yarn onto the bobbin. Fortunately, really small cup hooks will work on there. Below is what it should look like.  That is my modern spinning wheel, an Ashford Kiwi.
  The drive band on my Kiwi, which connects the wheel to the bobbin to spin it, is made of a clear rubber/plastic that is just stretchy enough to work but not too stretchy that it doesn't move when the wheel does.  I'm pretty sure the antique wheels had leather drive bands, so I tried to make one.
  It doesn't work very well.  The leather band keeps popping off the wheel after a few turns. As much as I love this new wheel, I'm putting it aside before it vexes me too much and coming back to it later.
  I have some spinning to do on my Kiwi so I can get the shawls done on the loom.  But first, I'm pretty sure my girls want me to feed them. Kids, always wanting food! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I Love My Rigid Heddle Loom

   I finished the scarf for my co-worker. It's a little thicker than  scarf really should be, but J liked it.

   With that done, I warped the rigid heddle loom again with variegated purple/pink/brown/cream wool of a thick weight. No need to put stripes in it since it does that naturally. Yay, less work for me!

After only two or two and a half weeks, I finished that one too.
    Aren't those some lovely stripes?  I had a bit of a hard time getting the camera to get this color right, so I had to take it out onto our wet balcony.
   Don't get me started on the rain lately. I can't kayak!
   Moving on.
   I'm still working on the Pennsylvania Dutch Twill shawls but I ran out of the grey merino wool I was using as weft.  I am having to hand-spin the wool.  Unfortunately, my spinning wheel is having a recurrence of a child-related injury (Thanks, Neighbor's Brat!) and I am letting the wood glue set.
   It's a good thing tomorrow is Monday. My spinning wheel will have another three days until I will probably try to use it.  I think I will work on figuring out another project for the rigid heddle, perhaps something with a thinner yarn.  Maybe a table runner?
  PS: My thumb is all healed up now, thanks for thinking of me.  There's not even much of a scar, but the skin there is weirdly sensitive.  It is lower skin that was exposed because the skin layers I cut through died and peeled off. Everything feels prickly.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Reader, Beware!

  I was making dinner last night, cutting up onions and other veggies from our local co-op farmer for soup, when my thumb got in the way.
   Yeah, that's four stitches, one of which is in the nail. OWWWW.
   I hadn't done much weaving before this happened, and I can't do any on the big loom until I get the stitches out.  The shuttles I'm using on the shawls are too heavy and I would have to reach into the shed (and catch the stitches).
   I can't have idle hands. I don't like being bored and I can only do so much puzzle game playing and reading.
   I got out my rigid heddle loom, warped it with some lumpy red and sparkly white acrylic/polyester yarn I had bought to make a scarf for a co-worker, and got to work.
    One of the things I love about the rigid heddle is, because you only have two positions the yarn can be in, you can weave very quickly. After forty minutes, I had about eight inches done.
   Another thing I love about it is that I can weave from the comfy easy chair instead of a hard bench!
   I may just have end result pictures of this scarf next time.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

This Yarn Makes My Fingers Happy

   I love everything about this yarn: the texture, the strength, the colors are all wonderful.  I didn't mean it to, but it kind of looks Mardi Gras-y.
   This is an alpaca/silk blend yarn, so it's very soft.  I'm weaving a twill pattern called Pennsylvania Dutch. These will be a pair of shawls with two different wefts.  The first shawl is getting a weft the same as the warp, and the second one will have a weft of a handspun wool that I have had for a while.  I currently plan to make the fringe very fancy, either with beads or just multiple knots, it depends on how much patience I have with it.
  Want to see something else pretty?
   It rained the other day and when it was done I went out on our balcony and found my hanging plants with some lovely raindrops hanging on to them.  To the right is a begonia of some sort, below is an asparagus fern my mom gave me.
  Just ignore the car in the background.
  Have a good week!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Dreaded Task of Cutting

  It's really, really hard to cut into what you have woven.  One, because Whatifitunravels!!!!!!!! And two, I spent a month weaving these threads together and now I'M GOING TO CUT THEM APART?!!  I imagine it's rather like a baker who makes a glorious, four-tier wedding cake with all the decorations and fondant, takes it to the reception hall, and hands someone a knife to cut into it. Just kinda breaks your heart.
  But, as they say, you have to break the eggs...

   I, of course, zigzag stitched the edges, because of number one above.  The pillows are suppose to be 18 inches square, and what I wove was too big, which made me have to cut off two corduroy stripes on each end.  I was not happy about that.
   On one hand, yay, unexpected sampler! On the other hand, I could have saved those materials!
   Too late, moving on.
   The plain-woven back is in two pieces, with a zipper sewn to connect them. I had everything cut, pinned, reinforced, sewn, turned right-side out, and the pillow form inserted in a matter of hours.
   Baby Girl was amazed that I could just sew up a pillow like this, when I hadn't ever done it before.  This is the only child who still sees me as Mama Miracleworker.
   Here's the finished project:

  Next time on Nicole's Weaving Art: Alpaca/silk/wool shawls.

I've Never Woven Pillow Covers Before

   I saw something in a Handwoven magazine recently on pillow covers with corduroy stripes made of embroidery floss, so I thought I would do those next. The warp, thank God, was easy enough to put on, it being entirely perle cotton and I was done with them in a month.
   It helped that most of it was in plain weave, no delay in keeping track of a pattern, and I had no tension issues.
   There were six rows of two sets of embroidery floss, with one shot of the background perle cotton in between to keep it stable. Then I had to cut the long floats of floss to make the corduroy.  It didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would. If I wasn't distracted I could cut a stripe 20 inches wide in fifteen minutes.
 Thank goodness for those skinny-bladed stork scissors I bought a long time ago from an antique store.

Cut and Uncut
    After the weaving came the hardest part for any weaver.....
   Cutting up what you spent so much time putting together.  I'll leave that for next time.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What I'd get from Etsy if I had the money (and no husband)

  ZoMG, I LOOOOOOOVE the colors this woman uses!  They are absolutely gorgeous!
   Her name is Elisabeth Maurland, and I'd like to support her like the artistic patrons used to in Medieval times.  If it weren't for having to feed children, and pay bills....

Platter with Crane

It started so well, and it all turned out okay. Eventually.

  So, ALL that warp fell onto the floor behind my loom and I had to get it back on.  I pulled all of it back through the reed towards the front, and then wound it back onto the back beam. This is what it looked like:
I used a ruler to try to keep the former tension.

That's how much I had already woven.

  And that's the lovely tension I had to fix. I had to untie and retie it on the front beam several times.

  Aren't they pretty?  I called them the Providential Color Cotton towels. I love the texture of them, too. My fingers like the up-and-downness of it.
  So, that's done. Next is a pair of corduroy-striped cotton throw pillows.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What I'd get from Etsy if I had the money to spare (and no husband)

  Okay, I know this isn't really weaving-related, and I haven't finished the story from last time. Soon. Promise.
  The problem is that I don't weave every day. Most Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, I don't go anywhere near my loom for various reasons. (I do have a Day Job, ya know.) So what is there to say?  "I worked today", "Oooh, I wove 2 more inches!"  Yeah, thrilling stuff.
  So I'm branching out a bit. Hence the title.
 Unakite Earrings - Beaded Earrings - Stone Earrings - Natural Stone - Gift For Her - Gift Under 20 - Dangle Earrings
  Are they not gorgeous?  I love the colors and the simplicity of the beads.

Monday, March 11, 2013

It Started So Well....

    The next project to be worked on is a set of four cotton towels, using leftover yarn of differing thicknesses and and textures.  The colors are chosen randomly to be put through the reed.  Speaking of the reed...
    See the tape?  To put in the amount of ends in an inch I need, I need to put it in 2 in a slot, then 3, 2, 2, 3, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3, etc.  To keep track of that, | is 2, and - is 3.  So easy, I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier.

Here you can better see the colors.
    It was all going so well. I got it tied on to the front and the back, loaded 3 shuttles with dark purple, sienna, and very light lavender, and started to weave.  I wove a good eight inches and then....
    The ratchet on the back came loose, and the weight of the bamboo shades I put between the layers of warp brought them and all FOUR YARDS of carefully-tightened yarn to the floor.
    I about cried.  I had to take a break before I started screaming. 
    What I did about it next time.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Better Pictures. And something extra

    I finished the scarf for my co-worker on Christmas Eve, took it off the loom, finished it, and took it to her the same day. She was very happy! 
    I ran out of the red Orlon three-quarters of the way through the second scarf, so I finished it with a linen that I happened to have of the exact same shade!
    I was worried about shrinkage differences with the two different materials, but it doesn't seem to have mattered.  This was hand washed and hung to dry and didn't seem to shrink at all.
    And I still had three feet of warp on the loom.
    I really suck at math.
    I continued to weave and now have a table runner to sell on Etsy!
Now THAT looks red!

    Too bad I didn't have this done before Christmas, someone would have loved to use this to decorate!  I just hope that is not ALL they think of when they see these colors.
    Coming soon to the loom in my living room: random-color waffle weave cotton towels, because the other ones I made sold out.