Friday, December 31, 2010

Night, Day, Old, New

I am not big on resolutions, but I have no problem with intentions and completions.
For 2011 I have decided to devote a loom to nothing but white and naturals this year.

Concentrate on structure and techniques. The loom of choice for that is the Hollandia with her 14 treadles. The Julia will stay with Prayer flags of which I have more requests coming in. Mostly Rainbow Bridge Flags. I would fall on my knees in thanks if someone requested a New Companion or some other happier flag although I am blessed to be able to offer the RB flags to so don't not ask. You all know what I mean no doubt.

The Delta loom will be the playtime loom. Short warps, color experiments etc. In fact I have a new warp planned for when the pillowcase warp comes off. Only 9" to go. Next time you see them, they'll be on the pillows!

It's time to refine my sewing skills. While years spent quilting, little time was spent on tailoring techniques and pattern fitting. A local quilt store is having a multiple Saturday pattern fitting course, but the final class takes place when I'll be on my New England visit. Might take it anyway.

More riding, more riding, more riding! Also as much time with my inside crew as possible. Dennett turns 18 this year (Jan) and Peter 16, Bea is getting up into the mid teens too.

For completions, no new knitting projects until I can get a handle on the ones started, same goes for spinning. The kitchen will be done and that pesky upstairs hallway painted. I need to clean out a closet and tackle the numerous "junk" drawers that seem to have multiplied in the last couple of years. I want to pare down to beautiful essentials. Mostly at the end of each day, I want to have a sense of accomplishment.

The pictures of night and day through this post were taken yesterday, feeding time (4:30a.m.) and just after sunrise, a little before eight a.m.

Happy New Year everyone, I wish you all the best in 2011, heath, happiness and lots of laughter.
And Mom, Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Asked For It

In fact I taunted and begged and double dog dared Old Man Winter to muster up a little snow and that he did. He also decided to add a great deal of wind and oh what the heck, let's throw in some stinging freezing pellets too. Gene's comment as he got himself zippered into snow pants was, "This is YOUR fault." "Of course it is Dear, I am woman,I am all powerful. I control the universe." I even put on my very best maniacal laugh! It was impressive I thought. The door whooshed open and DH was gone in a swirl of white with a "Hummmphhh!" let hanging to the cold blast. Needless to say, he's out plowing and while I may control the weather, his driving of that plow in deep snow doesn't make me want to go out and stand in the driveway for pictures. Trust me, we have snow. Everything is well covered in white. It will be there when I decide to go get pics.

The upside is I've had a fair amount of time to do some thinking about the coming new year. Resolutions, no, but things I want to accomplish, sort of a fiber guideline for 2011, yes. There will also be another give-away in January. Books are pulled and yarn awaits culling. I know I want to get more riding in during the nice weather and hopefully can find a schedule that allows that to fall into place. I always do best if I have portions of my day planned out. Another item on my wish list is to try at least one new creative medium. Not to take up another hobby, but to bring a new perspective to the ones I already enjoy.

Come New Years Day, I'll do a yearly picture inventory of my fiber equipment. It helps me sort out what's working and what it isn't and combine it with what I'm hoping to produce this year. So, what's everyone else thinking, planning and dreaming of for 2011?

For parting shots: There were two in the bed

The little one said Roll over, roll over
So they both rolled over

and the little one said, Wake up, wake up! ;)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New and Improved

Besides still feeling like a bloated tick right now from taking the notion of "Make Merry" to heart, I have managed to accomplish an upgrade on the Julia loom.

One of the many wonderful gifts I received was a kit to turn Julia into a countermarche loom from her original counterbalance status.

Of course, I had to untie her, again, and unthread. And I forgot to put the cross back in, but rethreading proved easy and it is only a nine inch warp. Here are some pics of the finished upgrade showing the CM head and jacks that have replaced the bar and horses.

The upgrade took a bit of careful reading and certainly some measuring of the bundles of pre-cut Texsolv, but the one thing that was truly brilliant was the treadle tie method. Best of all, it worked perfectly and I have the best shed I've ever gotten on that loom. Basically you take the treadles off the bar at the back,

rest them on top of the rear support and do your tie-up. It grades the harnesses perfectly. I've fallen in love with this loom all over again.

The snooperviser/weaver in training had to do a thorough inspection to make sure all was up to his lofty standards.

The same weaving Santa who gifted the loom upgrade also included other thoughtful weaving gifts. A McMorran Yarn Balance and a wonderful sley hook from Vavstuga, there was a perfect German made hand drill too and all can be tucked in with shuttles and such into this very handy heavy canvas Boat Riggers Bag.

Not to be outdone Mrs. Claus, sent along a beautiful quilt that matches everything perfectly. It made snuggling in Christmas night extra special. It's beautiful!

The elf crew here also did themselves proud and the sewing room got a new addition.
A late 50's Singer Red S Featherweight 221. She may be small (they really are very small, almost toy sized), but oh what a sweet little machine she is.

Manufactured right around the time I was and I might add, in almost mint condition.

I would love to say we got lots of pics of the dogs and their stocking stuffers, but the truth is with 8 dogs and many toys, it was all we could do to keep the squabbling down. There is always "that" toy someone has and another wants and we needed to keep watchful eyes and ears tuned to negotiate delicate treaties between terrier clans. It's never easy and even Stella was vying for something other than a rubber ball. I can offer up these though.

Who wouldn't want this under their tree, or in our case, on the loom bench!

We capped off the day with roasted beef tenderloin, mashed, gravy, greens, tangerine mousse and a lovely bottle of wine.

While the holiday was bountiful in so many ways, the magic of it (and every day really) is this parting shot. Two good old friends, sharing a walk. Priceless.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Silver Lining

This isn't the post I planned to write the day after Christmas, but then again, blessings come when they come and in all forms.

This post is for a very dear friend of many many years, who on his holiday morning woke up to find his much loved Scottish Terrier Lorna had crossed over to Rainbow Bridge. Lorna was old by Scottie standards, 14 and a half. Although I am sure she was huffing and chuffing as only a Scottie can do, she hadn't been feeling well. Every pet owner dreads the time when they have to make that decision to euthanize an ailing companion. Believe me, I know how we wrestle with this one.
Instead, while it's hard to imagine, he was saved from that final act by Lorna, passing along, in familiar surroundings, near her loved human and in her sleep. It's what we would all wish for. Not all Christmases can be merry, and in this one, bereft of joy there was still a blessing and a gift.

I lit a candle for Lorna, she's got good company waiting. While you left us in tears, you've also left many many good memories and they will bring a smile to us in all the days to come.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Don't Forget

NORAD is the place to be.

Parting shot: Charlotte watching fireplace for Santa Paws.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Some of This, Some of That

Today will be spent cleaning (UGH) for the holidays, but I treated myself to a very fibery weekend all in all. Let's start with the sewing. I was just itching to get into my sewing closet and start on some pants.

I decided not to go with the Marcie Tilton pattern and instead went with a Sewing Workshop pattern that is almost exactly the same but not cut so full.

I loved the pattern and the instructions were first rate and made assembly quite easy, at least until it came time to get elastic in the waist. Boy, do I hate threading elastic through anything and this was no exception. There has got to be a better way.
Anyway, this was my very first pair of pants ever and while next time I will go down a size( or 2) on the pattern and do different pockets, I like the way these went together.
They really are too large, but elastic helps and they are terribly comfortable if not as fashionable as I would have liked. I wouldn't hesitate to run to town with them on and a nice top.

I also liked the way this pattern has you do a fair amount of finishing on the pieces while they are flat.

It makes it so much easier when the finishing is well thought out.

Hannah Hollandia did indeed get her warp wound. It was an easy warp to get on really. 8/2 cotton rarely needs to be tamed into submission like say, mohair!

I need to get threading on this. I do want to mention the one thing I don't think Louet improved between the Hollandia and the Delta and that is the warp beam. I love Hannah's large linen covered beam compared to the Delta's smaller plain wood and metal beam. I wonder if the Hollandia beam is still available and if it would even fit on a Delta?

Out of all the little single prayer Prayer flags, this is the only one left.

All have been gifted which is as it should be. The Julia got her warp retied this weekend also so I can start weaving on her again this week. I'd like to get a new set of small flags ready to go out on our property. Some of the older ones are looking a little battered now and while I won't replace them, I like to add newer ones. Some fresh prayers for a fresh new year fast approaching.

I decided not to cut the little tree I had earmarked. Between the decorated mantle, the big wreath on the door, holiday music, Christmas books and cookies baking, I have plenty of the spirit of the season without cutting that little tree. Maybe instead I'll drape it in a cranberry and popcorn garland for the birds. :)

Parting Shots: Toad in the Hole & Do You See What I See.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What Ever Happened To....?

Since my weaving time has been cut out due to a wrist sprain ( left one and I'll no doubt live), I figured I would catch you up on some weaving that has been done!

Remember the alpaca/linen/mohair warp that was on Hannah Hollandia when my folks came to visit? Well, I decided it was too open and weak for a long scarf, but it would make a fantastic and artsy short little collar type scarf/dickie and that's exactly what I did with it.

I folded it over, left the ends (although some do need a bit of trimming), did a loose knotting, found a vintage button that my Mom had actually saved at one point and there you have it. It feels softer on your neck than I ever would have thought too.

Some of you readers might remember that my Dad received some very fine silk while he was visiting and spirited it up to his bag to make a scarf when he got home. He did indeed do just that and what a beautiful scarf he made!

This is done in a light silver grey and gold. The warp was the silver silk, the weft the gold and the pattern is a snowflake design from Twill Thrills if memory serves. I didn't want to show it earlier since this was a part of their annual holiday dessert party and the scarf was given to the person whose name was drawn from the hat. Since it has gone to it's new lucky owner I felt it safe.

I was sorely tempted to send a lot of paper scraps with my name on them believe me!

It's interesting to see the different styles of weaving isn't it?

Now the shuttle throwing is out for a week or two, but sewing is not. I've been busy on gifts which I can't show and getting my ducks in a row for when I can start on some sewing for myself again. I've made use of some sales both over the Internet and locally. The medium weight denim (with a tad of stretch), is earmarked for pants.

The lovely 100% silk grey and white daisy print is for a blouse. The black that is next to it is some old fabric I had that is close in weight.

I will make a test blouse before I cut into that silk since there is none to spare on a mistake. In fact, I will have to make the blouse collar-less, which is fine by me. I'm also opting not to do the sleeve cuffs as I don't really like them on short sleeves.

The Heather Ross Kokka fabric has yet to decide what it wants to be. I have some options but haven't settled on one. The scene on the blue is The Owl and the Pussycat. I just love it.

I think I can thread this up without problems.

Its a town day today, the sleigh needs to deliver this down to the lovely ladies at my favorite store, The Webster's.

There's stocking stuffers for critters to get and I suppose I will have to decide on a holiday feast pretty soon. I'm thinking tenderloin. Parting shot: Fodder for Gene to Photoshop no doubt as he too might be thinking tenderloin!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Story Behind the Story

Every Christmas holiday season I add to my collection of children's books. Last year it was a delightful retelling of Don Quixote and I enjoyed every tilt and windmill of it. The books are coming out of their year long hiding and being rediscovered all over again.

This holiday season brought me a very special book indeed. One that lives in my memory of favorite stories being read by a much loved and missed Grandmother.
In my childhood this book rarely ever migrated from the current reading pile and I am sure my Grandmother would have loved to have branched out to other books or maybe not. We both loved the stories, mostly from Russia, contained in this book titled The Snow Queen and Other Tales.

Some of the other tales I've never heard since. Winter's Promised Bride, Melito and His Soul, The Cat Who Became Lord of the Forest and a beautiful retelling by Alexandre Dumas of The Story of the Nutcracker. I almost passed it by while doing some other shopping in the antique mall, and then something familiar about the cover drew me to check it out. I realized once I opened it (and fell in love again with the first color illustration by Adrienne Segur),

that not only was this the collection of my memory but the exact printing, from 1962. It never left my hands and last night, I allowed myself one bedtime story. I want to savor this one in so many ways.

So back to the real world. Sunday was spent wrapping and more wrapping. Gifts are flying out of here like geese on migration and still more to do. No weaving, but some sewing. I may have gone a little over the top with the latest project. I let my inner girlyness come out. If I had been near the horses they might have ended up with sparkle hooves and pink ribbons in their manes and tails, but thankfully (for them), it was Stella I was sewing for. Instead I settled for feminine fleece fabric (say that 3 times fast), ruffles, decorative top stitching in deep raspberry and flower appliques cut from the same fabric and pieced over the belt.

It was all I could do to keep from putting some leftover white eyelet lace on this confection. But I managed. It was after all, white and not terribly practical. LOL, like any of it is practical! It does have a sweet baby wale cord lining in a heavenly light blue.
The belt is also the same fine, soft corduroy and I love the combination. Gene commented that it didn't make it any less girly. We both did a little eye rolling over it all but enjoyed watching Stella prance and show off in it none the less.

Parting Shot: I've Got a Crush on You.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

She Wore Red Velvet

Years ago I had a request to make a Little Red Riding Hood cape from a dear friend for her young daughter. I think Susan paid for the fabric and I made up the cape. Susan's daughter is now looking at colleges if you need a time frame.

Well, yesterday while checking the old fabric stash for any more boxer yardage ( hard to find in quilters stash of fat quarters),

I found that large leftover piece of red cotton velvet and what to my mind did spring? Why visions of stockings all hung by fire. One for Peter and Pogo and Dennett and Bea.

For Stella and Smoochie and Charlotte and Jack.

One even for Rodger,

the black and white cat.

I set to creating in my little workshop, something different for each and I did not stop, until the ninth was finished, and sitting on top. The pile complete we slogged out for the greenery.

Then ornaments and yarn to make up the holiday scenery.

So along with cookies and milk for Santa Claus, we'll need biscuits and cheese for Old Santa Paws!