Monday, November 16, 2009

Cleaning up the Sticky Bits

In the last week there have been requests for information on rugs and recipes, so here you go!

For rag rugs I like to use Harrisville cotton twine. I've used Maysville rug warp and linen for wool saddle blankets but this is my favorite for simple rag rugs. It's sturdy and has some body to it. The Maysville comes in a lot of colors but looking at the twist, I don't think it is quite as sturdy. The cotton twine I sett at 6 epi, the Maysville at 8 epi. Plus the twine is handy for tying the bits and pieces on and around the loom, like lease sticks or saved thrums for the choke ties on the warp. Works for tying up a turkey too! Now, there is a poly cotton rug warp, may be a Maysville product may not be. I haven't used it, but likely it will be stronger than the 100% cotton and more color fast and less stretch on the loom. Not as many colors, but about 10 or 15 to chose from.

For shuttles I use a variety of rag shuttles and keep one larger Jenkins boat shuttle loaded with warp for hems/edges between rugs.

It takes a 6" bobbin. I also have one ski shuttle, which while pretty is not my favorite to use. I own no stick shuttles but I'm sure the larger/long ones can be used on a not too wide rag rug warp.

Now, the Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe.

Other than the usual pantry stuff you'll need a large can of pineapple slices, walnuts or pecans and a small jar of maraschino cherries

Heat oven to 375 degrees

1 stick unsalted butter melted in a cast iron skillet
add 1 cup dark brown sugar and let it bubble away until no longer gritty. It will never
truly mix with the butter but whisk it until you are happy with it. Take off the heat
and let it start to cool just a little while you do the cake part.

dry part:
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

wet part
3 egg yolks ( save the whites!!!)
5 tablespoons pineapple juice ( or rum or a little of both)
1 cup white sugar

Now that both parts are mixed go over and slap 6 pineapple slices onto the brown sugar and butter in the skillet. Add those bright red jarred cherries in the pineapple holes and some nuts stuck into the skillet mixture in the open parts. I prefer pecans, but my mother uses walnuts.

Back to the bowls, take the wet egg yolk mix and add it to the dry flour mix, mixing well. It's a very dry stiff mixture. Now, to those egg whites you saved. Go beat them until stiff and holding peaks well and then fold into the cake mixture. Plop the whole thing on top of the stuff in the skillet and throw it in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
Check with a toothpick around 30 minutes.

Once the cake is done pull it out of the oven. Find a plate that will fit over the top of the skillet with room to spare. The flatter plate the better and no plastic! Put the plate over the skillet, get your mitts on and flip it so the cake comes out onto the plate. Hold the skillet on for just a wee bit to let all the butter and brown sugar release and then lift it off. While hot we like to sprinkle rum on the top. It doesn't matter if you do or don't.
My family likes rum on it but then again, my family believes that alcohol is in many instances, a necessary ingredient or condiment! Let it cool and don't cover it. Let the brown sugar harden to make a nice chewy top. It's a cake that should be eaten quickly as the top gets mushy if left stored for more than two days max. So, let them eat cake, but fast! ;-)

And for my daily sticky bits, here's the blanket warp, rolled on and ready for threading.

It was not a pleasant time winding on the warp. Harrisville Shetland at 30 epi was difficult. I broke 6 threads, but the winding looks good and those 6 in the scheme of 930 are something I can live with, I'll just thread as if they were never there. I would be hard pressed to find them now anyway. :-) As I was winding on I was thinking about some things I can do to make the next blanket a little easier. I think I'll increase the width some, sett at 8epi tripled to 24 epi and allow the finished blanket to full more to make up for the wider sett. Or if the sett is so lovely at 10, I'll just suck it up, plan on spending an hour with Gene hovering around to help and do it the same. To be determined later because now I have 924 ends that are ready for threading. The threading pattern is not a straight draw and requires a little more thought. It's 6-4-2-5-3-1 and then repeats again and again....


  1. Thanks for the shuttle scoop!! I recently received a retiring weavers set of shuttles, and there were tons of stick shuttles, and some ski shuttles and rag shuttles I guess you'd call them.

    Good to see your review of actually using some. I've cleaned up the ski shuttles - they're made of fabulous and beautiful wood. But I was wondering how effective they'd be. The rag shuttles might take a little glue to salvage them, but it looks like it will be worth it.


    The blanket warp looks great. It makes me want to wrap myself up in it and take a nap. Great color combo!

    Tricky threading combo....Good luck!!!


  2. Wow that is a lot of ends. I have some harrisville shetland and was planning a doubleweave throw as well. I will watch you do it first if you don't mind!

    The rag you fold them? sew them together? Just wondering.

  3. Thanks for the information on the rug rags. I've been wanting to weave one and had looked at the maysville but I will take a look at the harrisville.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Sue, Try your ski shuttle, you might like it. I've seen others that I like the looks of much better than Schacht, but I don't like a lot of Schacht products. MHO but I think the shuttles are too light and poorly finished for the money they charge. I do like their end feed shuttles, they work well, but the finishes are poor.
    Warps always look so nice just sitting on the loom, then of course you have to go wreck everything and weave on them!

    I am a very lazy rag rug weaver, mostly because these are rugs that have a very short life expectancy in our house. Some dog will either chew it or from heavy washing ( weekly or more) they simply wear out. I just lay the rags in, unfolded, rough edges and go. If the stripes are short I will sew them together, but I'm none too neat about that either. To me, agonizing over the rags themselves is coounterproductive, I mean their rags! ;-)

  5. So I was drooling while reading the cake recipe, and I got to this line:

    "Hold the skillet on for just a wee bit to let all the butter and brown sugar release and then lift it off."

    I read the last bit as "lick it off". Totally what I might do, and then wonder why my tongue was burnt...

  6. Thank you for the recipe! I love cast iron skillet corn bread, so this is just my kind of recipe.

    I have some Harrisville Shetland yarns that were given to me. They seem a bit weak for warp, but still I've contemplated it. After reading your description, I may have to reconsider.

  7. That's a ton of heddles! I just bought 400 and used very one of them! I thought 400 was a lot but I can see that's it not. My carpet warp and rag rug shuttles came with my used LeClerc. I'll compare the shuttles to your pictures to see what they are. I hope the warp is labeled! Thanks for the information.