Sunday, September 22, 2013


Working on my second runner. The red band is an experiment.

Now that I'm on my second runner, I am being extremely careful about mistakes.  I lost concentration a couple of times while weaving and had to backtrack. So far so good.  I've made it through about 15 inches of weaving without a mistake.  I find that it takes me a foot or two of weaving a new pattern before I am familiar enough with it to know when I've gone astray. It is easy to let my mind wander and find myself lost in my treadling, not sure where I am in the pattern.  Now that I've woven it for four feet, I can look at the design and know exactly where I am or if I've gone astray.

I'm using a different weft thread on this runner. Rather than the 8/2 dark green Tencel, I'm using a 3/3 Rayon in a brighter green.  It isn't that obvious in the picture, but the green is a bit thicker and I like how the design shows up. I found the cone in a re-sale shop, likely left over from a weaver's estate. This rayon is super slippery and took a bit to get used too.

The draft I'm weaving has some properties of overshot.  In the red band in the front, I tried weaving it as an overshot, using some glitzy red thread as the tabby (weaver talk for plain weave). This did not work out, because I needed a wider set for it to work out. So I abandoned the experiment and went ahead with my original plan. It will be interesting to see how the cloth turns out.  I don't expect it to be sturdy, but it's a decorative item so I hope it will be okay.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Three looms, three wheels, one Rose

I was up early to weave some red towels
The downside to OLAD--Obsessive Loom Acquisition Disorder-- is an obvious one.  You end out with a lot of looms.  I'm glad I've been cured as my floor looms have spread around the house like weeds ina] neglected garden.  Except I don't want to neglect my looms! I do love my looms.

Which begs the question--three looms and one WeavingRose!  How do I get around to all of them?  Yesterday, I wove on the Fanny.  I was tired of the purple towel and wanted to get it over with.  This morning, I woke up before dawn and wove what you see in red.  I also carded some alpaca, and I'm glad to say, I'm finished that carding project.

Three more skeins of roving to spin!
The alpaca will follow the colorful Montadale I've been spinning for a future weaving project--a throw, which I'll weave on the large loom upstairs.  I don't use that loom in summer because the room is kind of warm, so now that the weather is cooler, I'm ready to start weaving some big stuff.

But I haven't left Lulu behind, and the sparkly project I showed you last week.  I've been weaving on that today, and have about another foot to go.  That is a fun loom to weave on and I'm loving it.  My two smaller looms share a bench, so I plan to do a couple days of weaving on each one before switching the seat over.  Good thing I wove on the Fanny yesterday as I was having serious brain farts in terms of treadling and it was easier to fix my mistakes as I'm more familiar with the design.

Freshly dyed Jacob fleece
Plans to make throw rugs from handspun is also keeping me busy.  I dyed a Jacob fleece Iris hoping to get a nice heathery color with the two toned fleece.  This is going to be a great project once I get to weaving it.  I plan to use my favorite linen warp and a warp faced rosepath motif in this violet with natural sheep gray and tan.  I have hairy Karakul and Icelandic to spin up for those last two colors.

That's about all of the fun on the Craftstead.  Lot is getting done this weekend!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Timeless Weekends

Finally! Weaving my Holiday Place Mats on the new to me loom!

What I love the most about weekends is the opportunity to live without the clock--to wake up, to eat, to craft or even clean as the mood strikes and to mix up these tasks in a bit here and a bit there.  No catching a few minutes of spinning while keeping one eye on the clock so I know when to charge out of the how to head to work.  No eating lunch at a prescribed time. On weekends, I can graze among my craft projects--weave some on one loom, do a bit of carding, weave on another loom, maybe throw a load of laundry in.  No time constraints.

We do run errands on the weekend, but even those are done when we get to them. The DH just asked me when I wanted him start the charcoal on the grill, so I asked him when did he want to eat?  Of course, asking me is husband-code for "I'm hungry. I want to start the grill now." I've figured out the correct response.  Who needs a clock to tell us when to start a grill? Stomachs work fine.

Hand painted Montadale that will become weft for a throw for my sister.
Of course, we are surrounded by clocks even on weekends.  Ever notice they've managed to put a clock in absolutely everything?  This does come in handy when I'm keeping track on workdays, but really it is rather silly.  At night, I can wander the house by the lurid green light of all these LCD displays offering to tell me the time.  Darkness is a luxury we only get to enjoy when camping.

Yep, there is nothing like a timeless weekend to help me enjoy my crafts.  And when there are free minutes during the time constrained workweek, I can still carve out niches to relax and enjoy.

My back is much better now! It was a slow start this week but now I've pretty much resumed all my favorite activities---you know weaving, spinning, carding etc.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Reading and recuperating

Work stopped Tuesday evening halfway across the reed.
Back spasms brought crafting to a painful halt on Wednesday afternoon.  I stood up from my desk at work and realized I was in trouble when my back went crazy and it was difficult to walk.  So much for life in the rat race.  I was out for the weekend only feeling good enough today to sit and write my blog--both sitting and walking were on my "ouch" list.  I had hoped to have finished sleighing the reed (weaver talk for threading) have everything tied to the cloth beam and be able to actually start weaving. I hoped to be enjoying some weaving this weekend.

Instead I was flat on my back on an icepack.  The time was not wasted as I caught up on napping and reading.  Having just been to the Northwoods, we had picked up quite a few books. One of them was by the late Justine Kerfoot, a Gunflint Trail old-timer, Woman of the Boundary Waters. It is a book formed from her columns in the local newspaper about life up north back when the Gunflint was a trail, and not a wide, paved and plowed road.  She started there in the 20's so her memory ranged far back.  I kept with my Minnesota author theme by reading Kent Nerburn's The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder's Journey through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows. This is the sequel to Neither Wolf nor Dog. Both gave insight into a culture trampled by the stampede of Western "civilization."

As I was in Minnesota, I couldn't miss a few books by Sigurd F. Olson.  Right now I'm in the middle of The Lonely Land about a canoe trip (not sure if it is up or down when a river flows north) on the Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan some 50 or so years ago. I am glad to learn this environmentalist left behind quite a few books to find and read.

There is nothing the DH and I love better when we travel than finding a local bookstore, or a shelf of books for sale as is the case at Sawbill Lake.  I especially love books filled with the natural history of an area.  It is difficult to find these books at the local bookstore unless they are by a particularly well known author.  It is the bookstores in places like the Boundary Waters, or Estes Park on near Yellowstone or Acadia National Park that are filled with interesting books about the region.

I have to admit that besides weaving and other craft pursuits, I love to travel and read books.  So though I was incapacitated for several days, and though I didn't get anything done in the way of crafts, I certainly enjoyed some good books.