Sunday, December 23, 2007

New Toys

I'm such a happy camper right now! My husband took my inkle loom plans and turned them into reality! Look at this little guy! The maximum warp is about 40", the minimum somewhere around 20". I think this will work great! (That's my test band on it from last night!)

There's a good you-tube video out that starts with the phrase, "When I first started weaving although I had no room, I got me a second hand loom." Well, I am adding to my collection one loom at a time. This one is cool 'cause it was built for me! (Here' the "Twelve Days of Weaving:

And here's a photo of another project--pj's for the entire family. Whew! I think I finished just in time!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Dangling What?

Add this to my list of loom experience...I forgot to latch one side of my back beam after I warped. It didn't cause any trouble until I adavanced the warp, then it skewed my warp slightly. Dooh! At some point I stood up and looked at the loom and realized that the brace wasn't on it's peg, and fixed the problem, but the lining of this little bag suffered from severe tracking issues!

Here are the rest of the bags I've been working on. They are all gifts, and I've finished them just in time!

The fabrics, with two exceptions, are samples or scraps of handwoven fabrics. Anyone recognize my curtains? The black-ish bag near the center is a new piece woven just for this bag project. The solid blue at the left is a recycled sweater sleeve (from one of my favorite old sweaters).

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Camera? What camera?

I thought I reverted to my pre-digital self and didn't take pictures of my work. Fear not! I really didn't forget!

This is my handspun warp of many colors. It is made up of three different skeins of yarn (all hand-dyed)--forest green, lime green, pink, burgundy, a touch of yellow... I measured each warp on the warping board, sprayed it with spray starch (these are singles. I was worried they might not hold up to the tension required of warp threads), and then warped front to back.

My sampling to date has been uninspiring. The white diamonds looks good on the reverse, but it's too different on the two sides for a nice scarf. The black...I like some of the black, but again it has two distinct sides. The third and fourth colors (added after this last picture) are a handspun natural tan/grey and a commercial wool/acrylic blend. The blend looks terrible. The tan looks ok--in fact the tan shows off the warp colors the best. But I'm not excited about spinning more yarn to do this project!

I may be taking the yarn out of the reed and using it as a card weaving warp. At least that way you could see the pretty colors in the warp!

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I met the owners of two alpaca farms recently. Beth Sheets owns Heritage Farm Alpacas ( and JoAnne Skelton owns Fuzzy Faces Alpacas, LLC--both near Flora, IN. Beth and I spoke a bit about spinning and she sent me home with some of her alpaca roving. It is a dream to spin! I loved it! It's the white fiber in this photo. --Interesting to note, it spun up as a faintly tan yarn. My two main "white" wools both have faint color to them when spun--the Cotswold has a slight blueness, and the Romney tends to be a yellow-white.--The other roving, the black, is baby alpaca roving called Handspinner's Dream. I took the picture of the two of them together because I hated spinning the black and I've been trying to analyze the difference between the two.

Thing one: there are two different types of alpaca fiber, Suri and Huacaya. Suri is slippery and high sheen. Huacaya is fluffy. Check out Beth's newsletter for more details ( I think her fiber is Suri. It matches the animals listed on her web page, and my experience as I was spinning. (Also, I'm pretty sure that JoAnne's "Fuzzy Faces" are the Huacayas.) I don't know which type of alpaca is in the Handspinner's Dream. It just lists is as "baby alpaca".

Thing two: the black alpaca is a thick roving, the white is thin. I know that this shouldn't make any difference. I enjoy reading Abby Frankemount's blog (, including her rant about being able to spin from any preparation. I believe in being able to spin a fiber regardless of the preparation...but I couldn't control the black roving. It was like a tug of war between the fiber in my hand and the pull of the wheel. I switched to spinning from the fold (and dividing the width of the roving) and it was much less of a fight. But I didn't have any of that struggle with Beth's alpaca fiber.

I don't have any "real" answers yet to the difference between these two. But I know one thing--I'm going to spin more of Beth's alpaca fiber!

Cotswold yarn

This is my latest Cotswold yarn. It's a fine yarn--fine enough for lace knitting...but I don't see myself wearing a shawl this color. It may end up as the socks I intended (or should I weave with it? Hmm.)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Steeking Success!

This is a close up of the sewing job I did on my daughter's sweater. If you remember, I chose to knit it in the round to avoid color/dye lot issues. I knit 4 stitches in the armhole space, then did two rows of straight stitching with the sewing machine on each side of the 4 stitches, and then (gasp) cut my knitting!

After the sleeves were knit (I picked up stitches around the armhole and knit the sleeve onto the body) I trimmed the yarn around the machine stitching.

Then I picked up more knitting stitches and created a little cover for the "fringe". This photo has about two rows of knitting on the needle. (I forgot to take a photo as I picked up the stitches!)

And this is what it looks like after I knit 4 rows, cast off, and sewed the cover down. No more fringes on this sleeve!

All that's left now are buttons and the afterthought button holes. I have no idea what kind of buttons to use! Any suggestions?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thankful Fiber Day

I just wanted to show off one of my new towels in use. Check it out--behind the pie, hanging on the stove is Ryoko's towel. And just so you know, Phyllis' towel is in use right now too. It's the perfect size for my guest bathroom! Thank you both for your wonderful towels!

Instead of shopping today, I'm home feasting in fibery goodness! These are three rovings I dyed recently. The aqua-blues are probably going to find their way to my etsy shop, but the sunshine orange and yellow may just be mine!

Happy Holidays, everyone! Thank you for all the day to day good things you do!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yetsy Treasury

There is a new "Street Team" on Etsy (a great place to buy and sell handmade items). We are "Yetsy" and we are fiber fanatics!

Searching for wool to spin? Yarn to knit? Type in "yetsy" in the search bar at etsy.

And, to top it all off, that's my ball of purple roving in the treasury! Woo-hoo! I am so amazed and excited! Come and see: treasury_list.php?room_id=16020

My etsy shop (also in the side bar) is

Thanks to for choosing one of my rovings for the treasury!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Towel Exchange Results!

Oh, I was a happy camper on Friday! Not only did I get to attend the guild meeting, but my children were wonderfully well behaved, and I got two beautiful new towels!

The solid blue one was woven by Phyllis Ferrero. The pattern is overall diamonds with a center decoration in each diamond. The picture doesn't to the towel justice!

The blue and natural towel (dish size) was woven by Ryoko Marti and is the structure known as M's and O's. I love it!

Both of these towels are going to be used this weekend--the diamond towel in the guest bathroom and the M's&O's in the kitchen! I can't wait to show off the work of my friends!

This little red and white piece is a bit of tape that I am weaving from sewing thread. I have never woven with threads so fine. It was a challenge to thread the heddles in my little loom because the thread was so fine I had a hard time seeing it to keep track of my position! If all goes well this pretty little tape may get used for holiday creations. If not, I still like it. Perhaps it could be hair ribbons or shoe laces!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Beginning, Middle, & End (in one post!)

My weaving guild (Wabash Weavers) is having a towel exchange on Friday. I got them on and off the loom this week --and they are marvelous! But it was an interesting challenge to limit my project to a manageable size.

The yarn is 10/2 cotton (unmercerized) in a white and a two-tone blue. Most of the threading is a point twill, with a section near each edge of straight twill threading. The threads are sett at 30 ends per inch, or three per dent in a 10 dent reed.

I had a hard time making decisions about these towels. The only thing I knew I wanted was "decent sized towels". I ran my calculations to give my 20"x 30" towels, and I was really pleased to see how close they ended up to those dimensions!

Towel #1 is plainweave with two colors to make a checkered pattern. The weft didn't pack as tightly as I expected, but it still looks nice. Towel #2 is waffle weave with a single color (white) weft. I loved running my fingers over the towel as I wove! I could feel where the waffle edges were going to be!

Here's a photo of the two towels. They have been wet finished and ironed (don't tell anyone that I ironed!). I had enough warp left to make two sample pieces--one in plain weave and one in waffle weave. The waffle weave piece is now a washcloth and the plain weave is an eyeglass case. :)

I love the feel of these fabrics! I can't wait to make more with the 10/2 cotton I have!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Cat Bed

Our poor kitty needed his own bed. He's been kicked off the woodstove (his favorite summer hangout) and we didn't have another spot just for him.

My oldest (age7) sewed the center circle and stuffed it with half-felted wool for me. The outer ring is just a gathered rectangle--stuffed with old knitting swatches that I'll never use otherwise!

I don't know if the cat has used this yet, but at least it's his!

Tension Issues

I enjoy reading the weaving blog of Bonnie Tarses ( One of the things she comments on is the fact that weaving is a process of making mistakes and learning from them.

This is my latest warping mistake. (My last one was not blogged--I let extra dummy warp threads wrap around the back apron bar and the bar couldn't advance more than an inch off the beam.) This time, I tucked the extra dummy warp threads under the back apron. Voila! Now they can't wrap around the beam!

Do you see the problem here? The warp threads under the back apron created a "bubble" on one side of the back beam. I saw the bubble, but thought that since the warp wound on smoothly that all would weave well. Ha! The bubble made one side of the warp longer than the other and as I wove, the tension on my fabric loosened--but only on the left, the side where the bubble was on the warp beam.

I came up with a "non-elegant" solution. I inserted pencils and other smooth objects into the fabric wrapping on the front apron. This helped take care of some of the tensioning difference across the piece.

The final fabric still has some horizontal tracking (even after washing), but it will work ok for it's intended purpose.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lace & Slippers

This is my first attempt at weaving Huck Lace. The sampler pictured here is from "The best of Weaver's Huck Lace". I'm using that book along with Handwoven Laces by Donna Muller as my references. With things like this, I wish I could weave faster! I really want to see what these weaves will look like off the loom!

I made a pair of slippers for my four year old. The red/blue fabric is a handspun wool that I wove into a sample. The blue/grey striped fabric is another sample piece. Now instead of little bits of fabric I have a finished object! Hooray for finished objects! (FYI, the heel is a piece of suede. I'm not sure why the pattern suggests just that small piece of suede. It was hard to sew the binding on it!)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Odds and Ends

My four year old pulled this book off the library shelf and said we needed to take it home. Who was I to argue--it looked interesting! The polymer clay caricatures in the book are amazing--so detailed, so life-like.

"Gollum" here is made with yellow & white Sculpey III polymer clay. It was the end of an old stash of polymer clay. I spent a pleasant hour at the kitchen table playing with him while the kids played and did homework. An extra half hour or so, and he was as done as he was going to get!

I learned lots of things about the human head by working on this guy--for instance, did you know how deep the eyes are set in the head? (I obviously didn't!)

After making this head, I had to purchase more clay--And it's a good thing I did too! My mother was visiting over the weekend and read the book and made her own head to take home with her! Her head even has a beret! Too Cool!

Curtains are almost finished! Do you recognize this fabric? I finally dug out my sewing machine and got these up on rods. All three sets need hemming, but I wanted to get them up before I tried to hem them!

And here is the "next" project (at least the next one I've photographed!) This is a wool quilt batt in muslin. I am tying the layers together with cotton yarn and will make a duvet cover for my four year old's bed.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Doll Trio

Fiber art happens here in odd ways. When my four year old says, "Mom, I'd like to make something. How about these yarn dolls?" what can I do, but say "Yes."?

The narrow side of a DVD case was the right size to wind these dolls. An inch of windings made the bodies and a quarter inch for the arms.

Aren't they great?!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Pictureless Posts

This is yet another pictureless post! I hosted a fiber party on Friday and didn't even think to bring out the camera! Ann and Melanie came down from Lafayette. Brenda drove in from Darlington. And Goldie came with her beautiful wheel.

Most hands held knitting (but not me. I was finishing the second bobbin of burgandy for the sweater of previous posts). Brenda, Ann, & Melanie tied in the "Guess the fiber game" and we had to drawn a name out of a hat to see who got to take the hand-dyed roving home! Brenda won!

Thank you to all my fiber friends who help make this wonderful addiction so much fun!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


No picture to go with this post! The guild loom that I warped for use at an upcoming festival has already been delivered. And guess what? It turns out I warped it incorrectly! I didn't go over the back beam.


Sunday, September 30, 2007

Card Weaving Help

I used the leftover warp from the failed hot-pad project and warped a new card weaving belt. The threads got a bit tangled, but eventually everything was all set and I started winding the warp onto the back beam of my new rigid heddle loom.

The warping didn't get too far before a helper appeared! Isn't she cute? The loom is big enough that she can sit inside it! So, the warping slowed down for a bit.

Eventually, the warping could progress, and the weaving went quickly. Now I have about two yards belt fabric!

This is a 4-hole card weaving pattern. The two cards at each end have the same color yarn in each hole. The center cards have two grey and two blue threads in varying positions. The front and back of the belt fabric is shown.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Right Tool

I once had a co-worker tell me the importance of using the right tool. Even if you knew how to use a hammer really well, it just wasn't the best tool for cutting, say...window glass.

Well, I have a new tool. My little rigid heddle loom is awesome! It's like the first loom Martin made for me, with all the bells and whistles added! The heddle is only semi-rigid, though. It's made with texsolv heddles that can be shifted from side to side. That becomes important later on!

I got the loom two weeks ago. I used the leftover warp that was on it to get the feel for the loom, then warped to make a bag handle. I am really pleased with how it turned out! And the loom, while it is bulky, was portable and I took it outside and wove while the kids played.

Last night I warped and wove project #2 on the new loom. I had made some knitted I-cord with some handspun yarn and wanted something ala potholders to show off the color variations.

(I'm only mildly crazy. The 16 yard skein of I-cord was knit with a mechanical cord knitter.
I couldn't do that much I-cord with double points!) I was hesitant to try this. Using a warp this thick would be like rag weaving which requires lots of beating. But, what could I do? I'm using the floor loom to hold 15 yards of muslin fabric for a few days, so it was unavailable!

Well, the project produced one potholder. I had warped enough for 8, but it was a painful process. The texsolv heddles moved just enough that the warp threads would bunch together. The comb that I was using to pack the weft in worked, but I couldn't pack it tight enough. And on and on!

I will try my potholders again in a week or so on the floor loom. In the mean time, I wonder what pattern I should make for my next belt?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Knitting Lessons

I am knitting a sweater for my oldest. It was originally planned for a birthday present, but is now online for Christmas (I hope!).

It's a cardigan from a 1999 Knitters Magazine. I really like the style of the pattern. See all the neat little stitch patterns? They are easy to do and look so nice in the picture!

Do you see any such stitch patterns in my work? Hmm. That's why this post is titled "Knitting Lessons". I'm learning a lot about knitting. Lesson #1 is stitch definition. There is no stitch definition in the biggest piece in the picture--it is knit on US7 needles. The middle piece, on US5's is better, but it's not until I used the US2's that the piece started looking, and surprisingly, feeling, like a sweater. (My photography skills leave a lot to be desired here. There really is stitch definition in the small swatch!)

One of the reasons why this sweater wasn't finished in time for the birthday was a concern about sizing. The big piece of knitting on the right is not a swatch. I was knitting the sweater and the body is halfway done. I got to looking at it and realized that it might be too small.

Lesson #2. Body measurements are not always the same as finished sweater measurements. Knitting Daily ( had some great comments about ease--positive and negative ease--in sweaters. I had inadvertently forgotten to allow for ease in this sweater! The big piece is headed to the frog pond.

Since I was going to redo the knitting anyway, I decided it worth my while to do a better job at swatching. I did swatch before...but I think I knit a sample on the US7's and said,"Oh. That will work!" and started knitting. This time, I want stitch definition. I want this sweater to feel comfortable cozy! I want the finished project to be worth the amount of time I'm about to invest in it! I think I've set myself up to do a cardigan on size 2 needles!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tiny Shed Trouble (and resolution!)

I was having a "wee little bit o' trouble" with my handspun warp. The fibers were just hairy enough that they stuck together! So, I changed from a 20 ends per inch threading through the reed to 10. That put one end through each slot in the reed. But I was still having trouble. When I lifted each shaft by itself I got a decent shed. When I lifted two together I got 1" tops and the resting threads went slack. Ick.

My weaving group at yahoo came up with some good suggestions on how to improve the shed. But the real solution came from another pair of eyes.

I had called my husband over so he could have a good laugh with me. I had made some adjustments to the warp, forgot to put the front palls back on the ratchet and tried to weave. The warp threads went into a wild dance of semi-organized chaos! While we laughed together, he peeked at the back of the loom and said, "Why did you take the back beam out?"

???! This was one of those wonderful moments where you realize you didn't plug the dumb appliance in! I hadn't warped the loom correctly! The warp was going directly from the back apron to the heddles.

In retrospect, I know how this happened. This is the first time I used a dummy warp. When I tied my handspun warp to the dummy warp, I forgot to put the dummy over the back beam.

Now I know.

I was so happy to discover (1) that my loom worked just fine and (2) real 4" sheds that I sang my way to the end of the warp. The scarf/shawl is soaking now as I type.

Here's a shot of the weaving in progress.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Frogs and Finished Items

I needed a "quick" project. No particular reason, except that I needed to feel like I had accomplished something and actually finished a project!

This is a worsted weight superwash merino yarn that I spun from one of Amy King's (aka. Boogie) rovings.

The first photo is a set of mittens that got frogged. The one on the left was a wee bit to small for the baby, and the one on the left had an odd thumb--too balloony!

I frogged back to the the ribbing. It's a k2,p2 rib with a cross over in the middle (see the darker photo. It was hard to catch the pattern with the flash.) The final mittens had decent looking thumbs and I think they will fit the now sleeping babe.

There's a little hat to go with the mittens. I think it may get a pompom tomorrow.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


These are the yarns I took with me to the Monrovia Fall Festival. I was invited to demonstrate spinning for the Indiana Traditional Arts Center. The yarns are just extras from my own collection that don't currently have projects. I had hoped to sell a few skeins. None sold.

A couple of people did stop by to talk and learn more about spinning. At least two of these people then took tours of the Arts Center! Hooray! The demo was successful!

And, at the end of the day, I had two sales. Two young girls (maybe 12 years old) to see what I was doing and fell in love with the color of some of my rovings. So they each bought a little ball. I don't think they know what they bought, but they sure thought they were pretty!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bag, Baby!

This is my last minute bag creation. It's 6 1/2 inches tall and about 5 inches across. The fabric is handwoven (it's a piece from a sampler I made last year!) with a small piece of purchased fabric for the base of the lining.

The warp is a cotton (perhaps 5/2). The weft has a gold boucle mystery yarn, a tan chenille mystery yarn, and a red mercerized cotton (perhaps 20/2).

The warp threading is a combination of tabby and basket weave.

Here's the bag with it's lining showing.

This is the fabric still attached to the sampler.