Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Bounty of Bars, Books and Booty

blank bar is the third down from top

Yes, finally, the dobby chain is on Big Sal. The pattern requires 30 passes and I added an extra blank bar at the end so I would know the first throw in the start of the repeat.

 When I come to that I'll know not to throw the shuttle, just treadle through since none of the shafts will be lifted. Today, I'll start winding the warp on the warping board. Flesh toned pink yarn here we come. The warp will be 18" wide, sett at 22 epi (ends per inch) and 8 yards long. I don't think I could stand anymore of that particular yarn. Hopefully by the end of 8 yards I'll have both the bugs out and a much better understanding of the mechanics of the loom. Of course while I'm weaving I can also be plotting and planning the next pretty warp. I'm thinking a basic white cottolin or linen warp with some hot colors in the weft for a much needed run of towels. I need to build up a different weaving protocol with this loom since there are only two treadles and a fly shuttle to deal with. The weaving experience will be different and the timing between treadle, beater and fly shuttle all has to be mastered. Yes, it sounds like walking and chewing gum, but it's a little more difficult than that. :)

Since books have been mentioned in the subject of this post, I want to get right to them. In December I acquired quite a few. Some sewing and some weaving. Gjeani had asked about one of the books in my last post. I think she was referring to 16 Harness Patterns: The Fanciest Twills of All by Irene K. Woods. The pattern I pegged for is out of this book, #66, but there are many, many beautiful patterns to pick from.

 Also on the weaving side of things I was able obtain Bonnie Inouye's Exploring Multishaft Design. Now OOP and expensive on the secondary market. I found it in stock at Shuttleworks in Canada at the Canadian list price.

On the sewing side, I just couldn't resist picking up some of the newer Japanese pattern books.

 They have been released in English and I love the simple and concise instructions.
Nothing earth shattering design wise, most are loose styles, easy to sew and easy to wear.
At about $18.00 per book (less through Amazon) they contain between 20 and 26 patterns that can be traced off. Even if you only use two or three out of each book, it is still a pretty good deal considering the cost of some single patterns. And oh heck, I love to add to my small sewing book section when I can! I also picked up a very nice book of designs and history of patterns from the 1940's.

 I have always admired the details from that period and this was so nicely done I could not resist throwing it into the cyber cart!

So I guess that leaves us with booty. Simply put, I received many beautiful gifts, both from family and friends. I feel quite spoiled and blessed. My folks outdid themselves. Two beautiful king sized heavy linen sheets from Rough Linen

They are interchangeable, either top or bottom, like sheets use to be before they made them fitted. Our bed is low, so instead of sheet drag on the floor, I have made a linen top sheet. A seam is not so important on a top sheet and I can make pillowcases to match. See!

 Linen sheets are such a luxury, I feel like a queen getting into bed each night. A dear friend (who is also very talented), surprised me with a lovely quilt.

 She knows how I love white and color ways with a 40's kind of flair and this beauty took my breath away! The quilting is amazing, the back as beautiful as the top.

Even Gene got excited over this joint gift, a little telescope, just perfect for hauling out onto the deck railing and doing some stargazing.

 We have little to no light pollution up here, such a perfect gift, the night sky eyelash close. Thank you Dad!

 Finally, the golden tickets so to speak. Not one, but two gift certificates to my favorite fabric store.

 My Mother has been sucked in along with Gene. :) They both know about the January sale Fabric of Vision has on every fabric in the shop. They also know I keep a list of fabrics to look for during that sale. Some have sadly been sold out, but it is a long list and those are hefty gift certificates. They give joy whenever I pull a fabric I bought with them and make something and then too when I wear it. Yes, many times blessed and in so many ways!

Parting shot: Santa Paws!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Meanwhile, Back in the Pegging Parlor...

There isn't a hobby that doesn't come with its own set of accoutrement's, and that certainly is true of individual pieces of equipment also. Each loom I've owned came with its own set of goodies, be it extra heddles, nuts and bolts, pre-cut texsolv, lease sticks, etc. Much of it only works with that specific loom. The exception has been the lease sticks that came with the Murphy loom. A fine set that I have kept and used with all my other looms.

The AVL production loom is no exception and has probably broken the record for loom specific extras. The fly shuttles (I received two with this loom and after looking prices up, realize what a deal it was!), have their own special bobbins,

 the dobby bars and pegging system complete with a special pegging wrench, heddles for the tension box along with its own little reeds. Big Sal does not travel light!

 Christmas eve day, after the dobby box had been adjusted

and the loom jacked up and the bench removed, I was standing in my now very messy studio. I can't concentrate on ANYTHING when a space is a mess, so it was organize time for the loom room.

 The clean-up didn't take too long.

 A drawer needed to be cleaned out for dobby bars,

 a jar or two for pegs and other small parts. Heck, I even got the last bits of Big Sal on her in the form of this tension arm track and a wonderful homemade back shelf. Both attach easily with no bolts or screws needed. Whew, that's easy.

 She dwarfs the Murphy loom even though there is a scant 6" difference in weaving width.

 When I came down the stairs Christmas morning, a nice neat and clean loom room was the first to greet me. Oh the possibilities!

After the bounty had been shared, (and there was an excess of bounty this year which I'll share next post.), I made my escape up to the sewing room and the long extra table I added up there. A perfect place to pick and perfect my dobby pegging plan!

 There are over 100 bars with this loom and most, pegged from long ago patterns. I needed 31 bars and sat down and cleared all the pegs out,

 wrote my pegging plan in both a graph and with just numbers for ease of pegging, attached all the bars into a chain and set to work.

I got 1-10 done before I realized, dogs needed to be fed, horses and goats too and I hadn't even started in on our own dinner prep. YIKES, where did the day go? Learning anything new just takes time. I noticed when I looked at the pics I took there is a mistake in my graph which I will fix today and carry the corrections through to the written plan.

I also want to find a better way to attach the bars into a chain. Those wire oval links are a PITA. I know I've seen a discussion on one or two boards somewhere using other methods, maybe zip ties?

I didn't spend the day completely alone. Gene was downstairs fooling with his follies, he and the dogs all wandered in from time to time, bringing cheer and new chew toys and I had my ever faithful twins, Jack and Charlotte. Jack on his own bed in the bedroom and Charlotte at my feet, my best little shadow for many a year now.

I hope you all had just the holiday you wished for, filled with a little magic and a lot of laughter. We certainly did.

Parting shot: Sweet Charlotte, Christmas Day 2013.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Follow That Sleigh!

Jack's ready!

Yep, the folks at NORAD (that would be North American Aerospace Defense Command) are going live once again and tracking Santa Claus on his epic annual journey.

If you want to keep up with St. Nick's progress and play with some of the new features while you wait for the sleigh to get packed, here is the link!

To all my blogger friends and their loved ones, a very happy holiday to you all. Thank you for your words of humor, encouragement and support in the past year and I am looking forward to "seeing" you all in 2014. Now go, make merry! :)

Parting shot: Wake us when the goodies arrive!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Books, Forever and Always A Perfect Gift

Year after year, decade after decade, electronic, audio, picture or print, there is nothing so satisfying as a good book. For under thirty bucks you can send someone to another country or another world, on an internal journey with the Buddha, into a sports huddle, to the moon or on a mystery solving adventure in the 1700's. There truly is something for everyone. Teach a kid a love of reading and you have opened up an infinite number of worlds to them for life. Thanks Mom and Dad and Grandmom and Pop Pop, for the red cowboy boots AND the pile of books under the tree every year. My heart still thumps when I see a Billy and Blaze book, when I find an out of print copy of The Bat Poet, when I see The Story of Ferdinand and Make Way for Ducklings still in print. I don't remember any of the cheap toys I no doubt had on my Santa list, pirated directly from the Sears toy catalogue. I spent countless hours perusing that retail marvel. It is a wonder my parents didn't toss the damn thing out when it arrived in the mail. But the books I remember. The days spent outside in play with Martha and Chris and the other neighborhood kids, making snowmen and forts, sledding and having snowball fights. Kids could have a secret life back then. One rarely needed to watch them and all was well as long as they showed up by dark or dinner time. The evenings on holiday, bundled into a new "Grandma made" flannel nightgown with a warm coverlet, plump pillows, a big dog or a purring cat, a good reading light and a new book ready to instantly transport us somewhere else. It was heaven on earth even though I didn't know it then.

So every year I gift myself with a book, something special for the holidays. To honor those memories and to give me a plausible excuse to be buying something other than a literary tome of "great importance". This year we're going to Paris with Hudson, a little Norwich Terrier.

 We're even going to learn a few words in French.

 At 55 I am still as charmed and excited over picture book as I was at 5.

To those who still are shopping, pass by the plastic gadget of the moment, buy a book to delight every time the cover is opened. And one (or two!), for yourself of course.
There is magic within.

Parting shot: What do you think Jack, maybe a walk to Terabithia today?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bring on the Ugly

No, not  Big Bad Sally herself, but the yarn I'm using for the first warp certainly is.

 This yarn was a freebie a number of years ago.  I just couldn't figure out a way to use flesh pink colored yarn in anything. So there it sat waiting for its chance to "be" something. Finally, a purpose for the fugly yarn! A maiden warp, likely full of mistakes and adjustments. A no tears solution and it's now the perfect cone to have on hand. :)

This is how Big Sal is looking these days.

 The flyshuttle/beater is on,

 the brakes and weights on,

 the dobby box is waiting on it's fine adjustments and I need to wedge the loom up and have Gene help move the bench over to the shorter holes on the right side of the loom. Having the vertical support bolt for the bench under the footboard is a stupid set up and no doubt in later models has hopefully been relocated. But it is what it is.

Its previous owner was not as vertically challenged as I and it is important that I get the correct weaving height for myself. If the holes there don't work, I'll go with a free standing bench or chair. I only have two treadles to worry about and the half length bench offers no structural support to the loom frame itself. Christmas week will be a quiet one around Runamuck, and will allow for some slow, thoughtful learning as I start in on my first warp.

There has been some sewing other than gift stuff. I am ashamed to say something left here without a picture, but that is what happens at holiday time. As always, we are down to the wire with shipping the Christmas box out and it just had to get wrapped and packed and GONE.  But this lovely wool blouse is on Rhonda waiting for antique brass snaps and hemming.

 I used Sewing Workshops Zigzag Top (now OOP), for this cold weather favorite of mine, with it's high snug collar and wide A-line shape. Perfect for a turtleneck or long sleeve T underneath. I wanted a pattern I knew well for this beautiful Italian wool. I opted not to do pockets. If they are there I will use them and over time, they drag a top down. I did have a bit of fun with back detail and elbow patches.

 If I grow tired of it, it is easy enough to remove and/or replace. This was all done in wool that I had felted down. A heavily modified Scout Tee is done.

 There is a story behind this. I had wanted to order Tessuti's Lily Dress/Tunic pattern. Then I thought about the cost, the printing and the endless taping all for what?

 Basically a long T shirt dress with some hem pleats and pockets. Did I REALLY need a new pattern for that. No, I didn't. I modified what I had (which is really one reason why one sews to start with.), and did my own thing.

 The fabric is Brussels Washer, a linen/rayon blend with great texture. A great pant fabric and also a wonderful tunic fabric with it's season spanning weight and drape.
Linen without the excessive wrinkles!

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season so far, with family and friends near and far checking (or rolling) in and the cheer is all good!

Parting shot: Cat on a Cold Stone Porch!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

And neither has my AVL production dobby loom, but we've made progress.
Here is the day in a few pictures.

Today, I'll hang the harnesses and try to start to make some sense of the inner workings of what has been dubbed Big Bad Sally.

Parting shot:  Robin, first day home at 8 weeks old. Time flies. He'll be 3 next spring.