Saturday, November 24, 2012

Weaving on the Craftstead

Warp on the back beam--nearly perfect.
Since watching a number of YouTube video's on how to warp a loom, my warping success has improved. I was able to very neatly wind the warp on the back beam by separating one inch segments of warp while I wound. The results are nearly perfect on this cotton and rayon blend. I am making curtains in plain weave at 18 dents per inch--a bright posey-pink cloth with yellow stripes.
Snarled at the cross
Sometimes I think warp is like unruly children--running every which way. As you can see above the yarn snarled up at the cross--the  very area designed to keep the threads neat and in order.  This pain was fixed by gently teasing the threads apart.  The yarn has turned out to be linty, the lint will twist and form bonds between the fibers making them stick.  Pulling them apart isn't something that should be rushed. Good thing I decided to slow down!
Snarled spot has been cleaned up.
Perseverance paid off and I was able to pull all the yarn through the snarls, and tease the lint bonded threads apart. I got all the warp threads to line up neatly.
Threading heddles.
Now, I'm threading the heddles in a classic straight twill. I've threaded 1/4th so far and should be weaving by next weekend.
These tomatoes ripened indoors.
  My lifestyle change--ie, diet and exercise routine--has been developing smoothly. Like warping a loom starting a program takes time and numerous steps.  I signed up for Spark People and started tracking my food and exercise.

Tomatoes being made into sauce.

I've been doing a lot of healthy cooking, which makes me glad I invested in a good set of stainless steel cookware from Sur La Table.  This store has The Best Brands At Great Values! Shop Cookware Under $150 at!  I started with their house brand by buying a small set and have since added pieces as I find I need them, one by one.  My kitchen has limited space, so I try not to buy things I won't use regularly and make do with what I have.  And I want quality.  Whereas other cookware hasn't lasted or pieces  have broken off, etc., my Sur La Table pots will last me even longer than my stash will.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Taking my own advice

Picked fiber in eye popping colors I will blend separately with Firestar,
Slow down is going to be my theme for the next year.  Yep, I'm taking my own advice. As it turns out I have to. Yep, the years of poor eating and not staying up on my exercise has come back to bite me. Fortunately, it was only a small nip so I'm back in business, more or less.  But slower than I had been.  Which is not a bad thing, really.

Craftsteading continues.  Some time back I divide a Border Leicester fleece in three and dyed each portion an eye popping color. I pick by hand and above you can see some of my progress. This will be my next carding project--I will blend each separately with glistening Firestar to make some fun yarns.
My on-loan Ashford Scholar is back on the Craftstead.
To be honest, much of my thoughts will be on diet and exercise. But don't worry, though I will talk about my diet in this blog, this won't become a diet blog because all work and no play makes for yawning readers.  After all, Fiber is my passion! And I have weaving to do and more handspun to make.  I got my old Ashford Scholar back from long term loan!  I'm happy dancing as I forgot how fun she was to spin on and how light and portable she is.  She needs a first name as I think "The Ashford" kind of stinks. Anyone have ideas for a first name that isn't " The?"  I would like it to start with an "A."

One thing I am doing different in this diet though, and I'm proud of myself for this, is that I'm not going to wait until I lose weight to buy new clothes.  This is going to be the slow and steady diet and I'm not squeezing into stuff I grew out of in hopes of  actually fitting into it.  So, I've been on-line at one of my favorite stores Lane Bryant Free Shipping on orders $125 or more which has really great jeans for the (clear throat) Full Figured Woman.  Now, I personally like the curvy jeans, and I like the choice of inseam length. What is even better is the fabric is stretchy and comfy and yes, I can exercise in them--at home, of course--and not have to change my clothing nine-million times just to ride a stationary bike or do 10 minutes of light weights (I did say it was the slow and steady diet). 

That's about all for now.  I'll be writing more later.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Slow and Steady on the Craftstead

Blend of merino and alpaca goes into the carder.
Creating slow cloth reminds me most of the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.  I feel a connection to that hard shelled little guy, plugging steadily along the road while the Hare hops around as the consummate multi-tasker--visiting, partying, along with racing and assuming he'll win. The Tortoise stays focused on one task--racing--and wins. Youngsters gain a lesson on patience and perseverance.

The to-be-carded fiber pile goes down slowly.
I suppose this lesson was best learned in the days when patience and perseverance were needed for just about any job--in the days when all our clothes were hand sewn from handspun and handwoven cloth, back before machines took over the work.  In our fast clothes, fast food, fast getting around, multi-tasking, high-speed everything lifestyle, the simple pleasures of slowing down and getting things done are sadly lost.  A new version of the Tortoise and the Hare, could have the Hare following the race on his I-Pad so he could leave the party in time to dash past the Tortoise over the finish line.

Finished spinning that purple alpaca. It still needs to be plied.
Such is the lesson of our hurry up, get everything NOW lifesyle. At times it would be nice just to slow down and be--to get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy process.

I think that's why I love Slow Cloth so much, the chance to savor each bit of the process and enjoy the finished project.  Of course, it is impossible to keep up with the hopping-hare productivity of the machine.  If I only wore handspun, handwoven, handsewn clothes I would have about three things in my closet.

A hat being knit from handspun.  This wool started as raw fleece, was dyed, carded and blended.
I'm not advocating some year of wearing homemade or other stunt.  But I am advocating slowing down, savoring. Turn off the TV,  computer, cell-phone whatever that allows us to "multi-task" and enjoy moments of quiet contemplative knitting, spinning, carding and weaving. No, we are not "wasting time" by just knitting and not also catching up on the news. We are instead gaining a necessary moment of peace and connectedness with a reality we've forgotten.

Live for the moment in the world of the Tortoise, surrounded by the peace of ambient noise, and let slow and steady win the race.