Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Welcome to the Wonderful World Virginia Marie In Tennessee!

I think I'll get rid of that utube connection here on my blog. That one dumb pottery video keeps playing; very irritating. (3/07/09 edit - I did change the Utube to feature KIVA, microfunding, please take a look).

A friend of mine just became a grand aunt, or is it great aunt? She is very excited and so it the new grandmother. Welcome Virginia Marie to the world; she was born in Tennessee; welcome Virginia, maybe by next year when you have a baby brother I will be able to weave him a blankie!

My warp is on the loom again, I'm unclear as to what my teacher is doing since it isn't in any of my books the way he is having me prepare but I keep thinking that maybe its one of those "wax on; wax-off" exercises. I do hope you remember that Karate Kid movie!! He doesn't seem like one of those types of teachers but then again, who knows?

Instead of destashing such a large portion of my Tibetan beads; the repousse ones, maybe I'll go ahead and make myself more jewelry using it. That is what is was all about in the first place and I do love the designs!

Next week I hope to have some photos of a fish, a surprise is certainly surprising me, it has almost outgrown the kiln!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Practicing The Calm

I keep trying to slow down...everything; time, my thoughts, life, growing up, growing old...all those things and more. I think I've said this before and I'll probably say it again!

Anyway, my weaving has sure slowed down, I was away for a week so I just started again, I learned how to measure out my warp on the warping board. I really tried to just lay the yarn onto the warping board but I kept getting it quite snug, my teacher said that it is what beginners do; so I guess that's ok for now. (My first project was all ready for me, being given to me by a kind benefactor!)
So the dishtowels begin!!! I purchased the 8/2 cotton; white and several other colors. The first 2 dishtowels are for one of my sisters who requested purple in her dishtowels (I have added a small yellow stripe too). My friend sjs has requested some dishtowels too since I am going to be making so many, thank goodness she isn't picky about the color and is willing to be surprised since I may just go color crazy! Me, who wears black in August...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

So Many Weaving Plans Dancing In My Head

What I plan to make after I have practiced making dishtowels for however long it takes to get sick of them:

I want to make myself a simple jacket. Am I crazy? Well, maybe yes and maybe no. I hope no one will say, "You can't do that yet". Because then; what if I NEVER feel ready? I know the 1st color, I love electric blue. What other colors? Hmmm, a lighter blue, and something else; black? I don't know what fiber (or is it fibre?) to use I am thinking something washable.
Ah, bamboo! But is it suitable? Tencel? So many choices really!
A lot of synthetic materials make me itch anymore, is this common? To develop food intolerances and allergies relatively late in life??? In any case, that's the case.

What I learned from my sampler:

To remember that the piece will shrink and it isn't necessary to thread my 8" reed with 3 per dent to make a nice evenly woven piece. When I wash my sampler I expect it to crinkle up because I threaded so tight...that's probably why it looks so even!

That I don't have to be fearful of color: why didn't I order larger cones of the yellow and purple? Oh, well.

That my hand swells up doing that itty bitty fringe stuff. At least the towels won't have fringe!

I got my teacher by contacting 2 local weaving guilds, asking for a teacher to teach me the basics of dressing my loom. I'm not sure what he feels his role is but I do find myself racing ahead, reading books, buying books (I didn't promise not to buy books, only yarn), selecting drafts I want to try, etc... I hope that he understands that I'm a self-starter most of the time. Unfortunately I was stuck in neutral without him!
One thing I have found is that many of the drafts I feel I must try require more harnesses than 4.
Note to self: "I will not fall into wanting **more**more**more*** than I have.

Weaving Sampler Finished

My first weaving is 24" long and 10" wide. Once I finish the fringe I'll wash it and see how much shrinkage I have. Although I don't know exactly what fibre content and size the warp was I am hoping to develop good habits. At least in this one small portion of my life maybe I can be disciplined!
My teacher is pleasantly surprised at my weaving; I didn't expect that. Made me happy:)

Taking off a couple of weeks while I gather the yarn and other supplies I need. I will get 8/2 cotton; bleached white for the warp and a couple of colors for stripes and commence to learning to calculate and measure the warp for my many dishtowels I plan to make for practice. I am getting unmercerized cotton from Halcyon. They had a nice color chart and the shipping was within reason. Have I mentioned I have a thing about shipping costs??? Ha, don't we all? Well, I've run into quite a few that don't but more do than don't...

My list:

yarn for warp: 1 cone

yarn for weft: 2 small cones

weight for loom apron

thing to hang over the door to put my warping board on

The dragonfly teapot is drying nicely, no one has broken it yet. That's the disadvantage of working in a space with so many other people! Things get broken, lost, stolen, all that. The advantages are there too though and most of the time the advantages outweigh the dis...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Teapot in the Making....Again!

Once more I find myself making teapots, this time I may have gone too far. I mean, teapots AND dragonflies? Well, it's too late now, the damage is done.

I feel it is time once more to de-stash my various supplies of crafty items, maybe the grandchildren would like some. I'll have to run that by my daughter quickly we accumulate too much "stuff".

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bobbin Winder Search

I have been winding my bobbins by hand, my husband actually would one for me. Well, about 1/3 of one, then he handed it back to me...

I tried to make my sewing machine wind the bobbin but it isn't cooperating. I have read that some people use a power drill; I'm having trouble visualizing myself with that drill, it is really heavy, when I use it, it goes kind of crazy in my hands.

A Swedish bobbin winder is the tool to get I'm told. Eventually I'll get one even if it isn't the perfect Swedish one. Darned things cost about $100.00. They just look like a fishing reel for Pete's sake!

Making a teapot with a dragonfly on it, carved into it. A dragonfly, what else? I wanted to do something different but my hands started carving the dragonfly, so there you are.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Weaving Sampler Continues

Little by little my selvedges are improving. I read that as I weave I am establishing a style if you will and that it is good to establish good weaving habits. Being so stubborn and independent I want to finish up my project all by myself and learn by doing and all of that. However I am going to wait to end my project. My teacher left me after we tied the warp onto the front apron and got the tension right the best I could...
So, the next day I took off like a new skiier; wildly careening down the slope....look at me, I'm weaving!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


It was so nice to hear from other weavers that blog, yesterday 3 of them encouraged me to keep at it, I plan to keep abreast of their weaving also! I've decided to use my first weavings as dishtowels since I plan to use cotton on my experimental pieces which should be the first 50 or so I imagine.

So much to do, so little time, the less spent on my computer the better. I forget that I want to treat it like a tool and less of a toy. The lure is like a siren song beckoning me to come turn it on and look up odd bits of useless trivia.


I registered at the tournament desk and my friend kt showed up to do the same, I sat her down and pleaded for help, I looked at all of the mahjong sets, they did not have English on them anywhere. My set has both chinese and english. I look at the pretty Chinese designs on my set and utterly disregard them as to being useful as far as play is concerned. These people played mahjong like the room was on fire. In fact I think we would have had to finish the game before anyone bothered to put out any fires....

kt wrote down the numbers 1-9 and the winds, N,S,E and W so I had my cheat sheet. The play started and I thought, well, I will just save the bamboo and circle tiles and last for as long as I can. Yeah, I drew a handful of characters (numbers); to me it looked like scribbled tiles, not so pretty anymore. And they weren't the easy ones to remember either, the 1,2 or 3. Since it would be considered impolite to vomit on the table or cry or even whine I just kept faking it. If I had a wind that didn't match another - out it went, who cared if it was my wind? I looked at a 7 bamboo and my head said 5 bamboo. Ha, I had mahjong only I didn't have mahjong. OMG, there was no place to run or hide. I thought about the books I'd read where silly people do things among other cultures and the thoughts that run through the mind of them - were they thinking, "Stupid Caucasian woman thinks she can play Hong Kong mahjong?" Or, "Why is she here ruining our fun?" Things like that. Well, during the bathroom break I thought about hiding in the bathroom for a very long time to eat up tournament time so I could go home but I returned to finish up the last hour or so.

By the time I went home I had nearly all of the 9 Chinese numbers burnt into my brain; the winds...not so much. Well, I went for an adventure and I sure got one. I better stick to learning how to weave!