Thursday, February 04, 2016

Hurry Up (Slowly) and Wait

I put on a long (for me) warp as an experiment over the Christmas Holidays.  I thought that I was going to have lots of time to sit and weave and that this project would fly off the loom.  It turns out I was wrong...all around!

It's February and I am beginning to see the light at the end of my seven yard tunnel.  The piece is deflected double weave, 36" wide, in 10/2 cotton and fine wool (18/2??).  And, I am embarrassed to say, the entire piece is a sample.  I want this to shrink and puff to make some shawls, and I think it will, but I haven't proved it yet!  I am slowly making progress...between 4" and 20" a day.

The current challenge is that I'm not finished with this piece and I have already warped the next loom.  Here are the dobby bars...

...and the threaded loom:

 And everything is waiting for me to free up some shuttles!  Here are the five I am using on my plaid project!
Gah!  Guess it's time to get back to weaving!

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Christmas Quilts, part "finale"

I've been working on these quilts for some time now.  It was 2010 when I realized that my children were growing and we would someday no longer be able to fit all five of us on the couch comfortably and snuggle under the Christmas Quilt.  That's when I decided that each of my children needed their own quilt.  These are small--~60"x70"--but big enough to snuggle under while we read from our advent story book.  I took a year and made all the blocks, one pattern each month.  Then, one per year, I made the quilt tops and quilted them.  Yesterday I finished the last one.  
Each of the quilts is unique...the backings are different, the order of the blocks are different, even a few of the blocks were intentionally put together in different ways.  I love having each of the kids snuggled under their quilts.  I love how they carefully fold them when they are done and choose which pattern will show.  I am grateful for these peaceful moments!

Here's a piece that I've just started to weave.  It's a wide piece--~34"--about as wide as I like to go on my 36" loom.  The plan is to weave differential double weave and have the cotton colors form bubbles as the wool (it's a tan--four threads between the cotton colors) shrinks.  We'll see if things go according to plan!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Green Projects

This photo is green, but in reality this project has lots of, green, white.  It's my daughter's Christmas Quilt.  The odd pin-like-thing is a basting pin.  The top and back are done.  The two are pin-basted.  Now it's time to decide if I'm going to quilt with or without a frame.

This green project was a gift to my daughter.  She designed a doll recently and the poor doll had no clothes.  So, I used some quilting scraps (see project above) and made a pair of pants for the doll, then found a bit of t-shirt ribbing and made a shirt.  Viola!  Green outfit!

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Yesterday was a good day to harvest tomatoes and peppers from our garden.  I got over 5 lbs. of orange tomatoes!  These are roughly baseball sized fruits and taste wonderful!  I chopped everything up and made salsa.  The photo above shows everything except the 4 cups of onion in my pasta pot.  That was when I realized I needed a bigger pot and brought out one of my big applesauce pots!

Here it is already to cook (in the bigger pot!).  As I filled canning jars I was asked, "Have you tasted it?".  True to form, I hadn't!  We tasted some right then and declared it good! Whew! I do love the bright orange color that these tomatoes give to the salsa!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Lichen Dyeing


This is a summary of my first experiment with lichen dyes.  I scraped the lichen (a flat, blue-green lichen that is common on our maple trees here) off the wood with a knife, then let it soak in a 50:50 ammonia:water bath for 6 weeks.  I used a few tablespoons of the ammonia/lichen concentrate in ~2 cups of water to make a dye bath and inserted a mini-skein of border leicester wool yarn.

Dye on left, concentrate on right.  Dyed mini-skein on ball of un-dyed wool.

The result?  A very pale, unsatisfying yellow. The dyed mini-skein is on top of an un-dyed ball of the border leicester yarn in the picture.  The mini-skein did not take up much color.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dress Stand

This week I am getting ready to take new art to my local gallery.  I have to make sure that I get all my tags made and everything labeled right.  I also have to make sure I have all my display props ready.

I'm the only fiber artist currently at the gallery.  They do a really nice job of displaying wall art and sculptural pieces.  They aren't so good with the textiles.  

I decided that I needed a dress form to use to display my scarf.  Have you ever priced dress forms?  Ai-yi-yi!  They can be expensive!

Thankfully, we have an antique store in town.  The owner let me buy this beauty for just the right a way to support the art gallery!  If you are looking for an antique store to visit, come to Crawfordsville and visit "La Rose on Main" (she's on Main street).
 And then, come visit Athens Arts (on Washington St.) and see how this lovely dress stand is being used.  The new art will be up on Aug.1st.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Natural Dyes--Rhubarb Roots

I've been working with plant materials as dye stuff.  My main resource is "Wild Color" by Jenny Dean.  It includes an reference for dyeing with the roots from the rhubarb plant.  My rhubarb plants went to seed last year and I have a number of unexpected new plants in the yard.  So, I decided to remove one older plant and experiment with it as a dye source.

Of course, I harvested the rhubarb first, and got rid of the leaves.  Then I dug up the roots, washed the dirt off them, and cut them into small pieces.  The roots were a strange texture--very spongy!  

The dye was prepared two different ways.  #1.the tea method.  Pour boiling water on the roots and let them steep overnight.  Use the liquid as the dye stuff.  After dyeing, dip in an acidic solution (vinegar works great).  The resulting color--pale yellow.  #2. the boil method.  Place the roots in a pot with water and boil them for 30-60 minutes.  Remove the roots and add wool fibers to the pot.  Return to a simmer and cook for about an hour.  Dip the fibers in a basic solution (ammonia) after dyeing, and the color turns a pale pink.

For both of these, I used approximately equal weight of fresh dye stuff to prepared wool fibers (Falkland wool roving).

Rhubarb roots and dyed Falkland wool.