Sunday, January 31, 2016

January's Playground

Winter months are fertile months for plotting, planning and all sorts of fiber pursuits. As snow disappeared I started scanning the High Country Gardens website for new plants and old favorites because who knows what made it through the winter? That Black and Blue Salvia is always iffy even though I mulch the heck out it.  I've also been thinking of ways to have a small deck herb garden that could be wheeled in for the winter since many herbs are annuals here. Any ideas?

The Gilmore Gem has been dubbed Happy. DH likes him because he is very quiet to weave on. I can get away with weaving on him while naps are being taken. That of course, makes everyone happy! ;-) I am working on color combos for a small run of turned taquete towels.

 I've almost got too many options, but it is fun to drag the cones out and play with color groupings . A weaver's sandbox.

Before last Thursday I wouldn't have had room on that big buffet.

 Everything was a bit untidy from the holiday rush to get stuff done. Items had been pulled out and were scattered across the length of it. I spent Thursday morning, cleaning up and paring down. The inkle loom got dusted off and put in easy reach. In fact it was pared down further on Saturday. The Schacht Sidekick spinning wheel made it downstairs and has a place on the top too. Easy to grab and spin downstairs or travel for an out of the building adventure.

 I *really* want to make some pretty bands. I have ideas for a linen fabric blanket and of course it will have a center seam. What a pretty way to make it a design feature by using a handwoven band?

I've finally started in on the experimental warp on Nora. There is nothing fancy about the threading or tie up, it's a classic rose path, but I'm playing with Boutonne

and further along, rosepath inlay and then paper yarns, tying in pieces like rya or making flowers with them in the warp. I have 6 yards to practice on. It's like the adult version of having a roll of craft paper and a box of 64 crayons. Come to think of it, that still sounds fun too!

Turkeys have been making the rounds. The two Toms strut and gobble away most of the afternoon in the back 40.

They have a captive audience, both human and canine.

The humans are quieter. Much quieter.

There hasn't been much sewing, but there has been a bit of cutting. More on that next post as there should be something to actually see. Suffice to say the sewing that has been happening also uses handwoven fabric.

Parting shot: Jack photo bombing boutonne.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Well, That Wasn't Very Super!

And so the football season ends for this New England fan. A field goal shy of a championship. If we had to lose, I'm glad it was to Denver, another of my favorite teams. They outplayed the Pats this year plain and simple. Peyton Manning has always been a class act, on and off the field. These old style QB's know a thing or two about modesty, humility and sportsmanship. A lesson some of the younger players would do well to learn. Congrats to Denver! I'll be rooting for you.

While not super I did manage to get good and am going for better from those Tina Givens patterns.
Yeah, I still did some more eye rolling and grumbling, but I liked some of the design features and was determined to make them work for me.

 I used some cute cotton I had gotten half price at FOV earmarked as working muslin fabric and I'm glad I did. The print is a bit young, but so sweet and the cool cotton works beautifully for warm weather wear around the house. I smile when I look at that King Bear and the little fairy girl. I did this as a pullover and loosely drafted the lower portion.  It was a bugger lining up the lower pocket portion to the upper and next go round I'll do a tissue piece with actual marks so you can gather or pleat it correctly and evenly every time. This is a bit big so I'll be grading it down a tad. I rarely pre-wash my fabric. RTW stuff isn't and unless I think something is going to shrink excessively I put that buffer in at the cutting table. So far the sewing police have not arrived at my door and the truth is, I deal mostly with cotton and linen and they are pretty predictable.

The next TG Peplone up will be from these two leftovers. A mid weight cotton canvas and about the same weight linen. That cotton canvas western print has been in my stash for YEARS and its time has come!

The second make last week was a Middy Blouse in a handkerchief petal pink linen.

 Girlie summer wear, it felt nice to work with this happy cool fabric while it was snowing outside last week. It will be doubly nice to pull this fresh from the closet on a hot spring day.

The threading on Nick goes slowly. I am over half way through but not by much. It was a busy week. The little Gem has been emptied of his scarf/shawl warp though. I need to secure the edges and twist the fringe then give it a good soak to wet finish. I think it's going to be marvelous though. Pictures next post.

Saturday friend Cindie and I finally got together. We'd been trying to line up our schedules for ages and weather and commitments kept getting in the way dang it! I drove over to Grants Pass, we did the Kitchen Company ( I spent more than I should have), and a couple of other places, had lunch, caught up and exchanged Christmas gifts. Cindie makes beautiful things and these bags are delightful (as is the lovely handwoven sample on her card).  So cute and useful. The perfect gift.

 The top of the bag is held closed by using a tape measure. How clever is that? There is a 3rd larger bag, but I had already snagged it for a knitting project. Look at those foxes. :-)  But wait! There are more foxes!!!!

 This cute calendar is on my dresser. At the end of the year I will find some small pretty frames and frame them all.

I know just where to hang them all too. Thank Cindie, so much!

Parting shot: Two to a bed please!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Stayin' Alive

Well I suppose I could have also titled this "Saturday Night Fever" and if you need a nudge (or are much younger than I), for that ear worm here you go!

What I'm really referring to is yesterdays New England Patriots win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Now I haven't bored you with football this season, but suffice to say, there was no talk of deflated footballs ( Indy and Baltimore I have one word: karma), but it has been an injury riddled season so the Pats winning anything post season has not been a given, not by a long shot. And for the record, I really wanted to see Green Bay win last night in their divisional match up. Damn! Today we have the popcorn, beer and knitting ready for Seattle (boo hiss) vs. Carolina and Denver vs. Pittsburgh.
I don't play fantasy football, I root for teams, real teams. Today I'm rooting for Carolina and my heart is with the Steelers, they have fought so dang hard to get to post season, but like many a football fan I wouldn't mind seeing a Denver/New England match up.  This might be Peyton Manning's last year.

Okay, enough of that football interruption stuff! ;-) The Gem has a warp that has been about 2 years plus in the making. I wound this and then stuck it in a box. Looms got moved along, others arrived and this beautiful warp got forgotten until last week. It took less than two hours to have it wound on and threaded.

The next day I sleyed the reed and rounded up weft. Thankfully I had put everything together in a plastic bag. No notes of course, so I went with a dimity threading, random across the warp, some I doubled and left the treadles tied up as they were. This warp is confection of very soft merino with some sparkle, a SW merino and silk blend and a bit of cotton/merino and sparkle in the green. It's weaving up beautifully.

I also discovered that my chest at the foot of the bed is the PERFECT height for weaving on the Gem.

 That sort of thing just makes my day.

I will admit to doing a bit of last chance shopping at Fabric of Vision. While much has been sold there is still treasure to be found and these fabrics are some of my most recent purchases.

 The wild orange soft cotton knit is destined to be PJ bottoms, beyond that who knows?  There are still some beautiful fabrics to be had at FOV!

Our weather has been winter like and for that we are grateful. We have had more snow and our mountains are looking foreboding and majestic. I love driving from a greenish valley floor up into the mysteriousness of our cold and foggy grey white world.

The fog sometimes seems like a living thing swirling and shape shifting itself into things you can almost, but not quite, make out.

Parting shots: Expressions.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Technical Information Matters

Now I don't rant on something too often but sometimes, it is deserving. So is the case with the Tina Given's patterns. Would it take away from the ruffle and free form style to actually do a technical drawing to show back and front? If there had been that, heck if there had even been a few clear shots of the garments, I might not have bought literally two of the same pattern.

The top bodice portion is for all due purposes EXACTLY the same. The difference; one gives the facing as a pattern piece, the other tells you to cut a strip on the bias.

 One has a short ruffled lower section, the other long.

Sleeves, exact, side panels, exact, back exact.

 On come on now! If I am going to pay $15.00 (thank heavens I bought these on sale!), for a printed pattern don't you think I should get all the pieces actually PRINTED in the pattern?  Not a set of instructions telling me to cut two rectangles, cut one in half and pleat? Pleat where? And even that wouldn't be a problem if there was a clear picture of where the pleats go, how much pleating etc.
There are little drawings that accompany the "instructions", but gosh, lining up pleats and ruffles evenly with no clear markings is a tough task. I could have bought one pattern and made the lower portion any length/width I want or both versions, long and short could have been included in one pattern!!!!. It seems to me to be a great big old rip off to avoid giving any technical data at all. Oh and let's not forget finished garment measurements! There are none. Such trivial things I guess as knowing the finished size should be of no concern........

In all fairness, Tina Givens isn't alone (and likely is a very nice person), in her lack of technical information, (and I knew going into her patterns there is an appalling lack of information). A discussion on Ravelry about looms sent me looking for technical information on Louet looms, I wanted dimensions and measures, mostly breast beam height. Couldn't find it anywhere. Now Macomber puts it on their website, hard to read (way over to the right), but at least it's there. And it is important stuff as anyone who has bought,and then sold, a loom because it wasn't comfortable. Even for creative endeavors, technical information is important and often, sadly, forgotten. Reminds me of schools putting all the emphasis on "creative writing" and forgetting that sentence structure and spelling are just as important as content. If it makes no sense, who's going to bother to read it?

Weaving is a place where the technical and creative meet, often times in wonderful ways. However you set up a loom, the end result should be a well beamed warp, even of tension, mistake free on threading and sleying and treadles tied up to offer the best shed.

 Beyond that what your warp is,

 the threading order,

 the spacing of the reed and the treadle tie ups

 offer endless creative possibilities. It is not a fast process, but enjoyable all the same. In this immediate society it is nice to sit down, slow down and have time to reflect. Much in weaving offers that.

I promised a give-away of some patterns. You may need to bigify for the pattern numbers.
I assure you, these most likely have finished measurements! ;-)

 If you want one (or more) let me know in the comments section and please make sure I can contact you for a mailing address. If two or more people want a pattern I will draw the winner from the pool of names out of a hat, or maybe Stella will. These all start at size 14 I believe and are uncut and ready to go. I will end this give-away next Wednesday, the 20th of January.

Parting shots: Bring in the Tom's!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

It's a Goldilocks Thing

My favorite fabric store "Fabric of Vision" is closing their doors. It's sad and it's also happy. Good friend Sandi can start a new chapter and who knows where that will take her. What an exciting start to the new year! And while I won't have that special fabric store right at my fingertips, I do have the knowledge and confidence to look and find fabrics I want and need in the future. Thank you Sandi for the years of great fun, heavenly fabrics and kind education in all things sewing.

So what's Goldilocks have to do with anything? Well, I got a little chair I had admired for many years at FOV.

An old metal folding chair that had been quilted. I bought it to go with my new Schacht Sidekick spinning wheel and the height and portability is just right for that, but I also found out it is the perfect chair for threading heddles on the Macombers.

 Just right and so cute too.

The Sidekick was a gift from my folks and what a fine spinner it is!

I am so impressed with this little wheel and I can leave the  heavier Matchless at home.

 DH Gene gave me a fiber club membership, so something wonderful to spin arrives at our mailbox once a month. What a great Christmas I had.

On New Years Day I organized my fabric stash. I did a lot of shopping at FOV, everything is being sold at 50% off, everything and who can resist a good buy.

Gratuitous ear cleaning shot
 It certainly made some fabrics obtainable price-wise. My shelves are stuffed with beautiful fabrics and good memories!

New patterns have also found their way into the stash.

Tina Givens had a half price sale on her printed patterns and while the drafting is rarely great, these are two I really wanted to try and they look easy enough to correct or modify. I have some Vogue Designer patterns that will be available in an upcoming giveaway. Next post!And some sewing finally happened in the newly organized sewing salon. This is my own pattern far removed from its beginnings as a Grainline Scout Tee.

I used some handwoven fabric as details.

The fabric is a cotton/poly/? blend with a woven leaf texture on it. I don't usually use black but everyone needs at least one good black garment and this is mine.

The Murphy loom weaves again. Prayer flags for Charlotte and a few others who have lost beloved pets. This is the new style of flag.

 I will bind it in while silk top and bottom. The colors are represented by the stripes in yellow, green, red, white (tan in this case) and blue. The prayers are in silver and colored silk. The binding will give me an opportunity to sew things to it.

Right before Christmas I got two Ina Garten cookbooks and have had great fun cooking from them. I love her style and the simplicity of her recipes.

 I even found the most perfect lemon cake dessert. It's made with yogurt instead of butter and is divine!

We've celebrated Christmas, my Mom's 78th birthday and our 16th wedding anniversary in the span of 7 days. It has been a busy time. I hope the start of 2016 finds you all energized and excited for whatever the year may bring. Lets hope it's a good one eh?

Parting shot: Don't be afraid to adopt seniors. They are simply the BEST! Just ask this guy who came to us as a nine year old. He'll tell you. ;-)