Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Yarny Randomness

Several years ago, the husband built a playhouse for the younger daughter in the very back of the yard where there are plenty of trees and shade.

As he is an avid deer hunter, this playhouse is also the size and shape of a deer blind, approximately four or five feet off the ground.  It has stairs leading up to it and windows on three sides.

The younger daughter decided a long time ago, but only after it was built, that she is an inside kind of girl. Despite begging her father for the playhouse, I doubt she has collectively spent more than ten minutes in it.

However, I have used it frequently over the years as a backdrop for photo shoots for many of my finished knitted projects!

Time has done a number on the abandoned structure with the stairs losing their supports and the bottom rotting out of it.

The husband observed the other day he needs to tear it down.  At the mention, I asked if he would save a wall with a window for me, so I can continue to use it as a backdrop.  He consented, but no further movement has been made to deconstruct.

Although, I admit, I immediately took a screwdriver and removed the door.

At barely five feet tall and twenty inches wide, it's not much of a thing, but I have moved it into my office/craft place/yoga sanctuary.  It now sports a cool hook to hold yarn, which enables me to photograph yarn inside...

Happy, Happy!

Wanton Fibers Flourish fingering in Damselfly.

Wanton Fibers Wanton DK in Ladyslipper.

Blue Moon Fibers Marine Silk Sport in Fade to Black.

Even the lowly Cascade 220 sport in Camel looks nice against the weathered wood.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Christmas in July!

The second (and final, I might add) needlepoint stocking is complete!!

Almost ten years in the making...

This is kind of a long story, so, please bear with me.

The older daughter was born in February 1993.  By Christmas that year, her paternal grandmother made a needlepoint stocking for her.  It was lovely, thoughtful, and very special.

The younger daughter was born three days before Christmas in 2000. As wonderful and talented as my mother-in-law was, she did not complete a stocking for her in three days; however, by Christmas 2001, the baby had one all her own, and it was every bit as lovely, thoughtful, and special as her sister's.

Here is a photo of them in 2004:

(Older daughter's on the left and younger on the right.)

Unfortunately, on July 4, 2006, our house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Everyone got out and there was no loss of life, but we basically lost everything.  The neighbors took us in until we could secure a place to stay while we rebuilt.

On the heels of one tragedy, followed another. 

My mother-in-law died just weeks after the fire.

The stockings were gone, and so was she.

In addition to a myriad of other things, i.e., finding a place to live, creating normalcy for the family, rebuilding a house from the slab up, and replacing everything we had, I got it in my head I needed to make each of the girls a needlepoint stocking in honor of their grandmother and all the love she poured into the original ones.

With that in mind, I bought the hand-painted canvases and had the nice ladies at Yarn Barn in San Antonio select all the threads and fibers for me. I spent a small fortune on them.

I worked on these in fits and starts, but just could not get anywhere with them.

Although, I thought about them... a lot.  In March 2014, I worked on them a bit.  Last summer, the younger one asked me to finish it for her, and I was finally able to push through and get it done.

Since then, I have worked diligently on the second one.

The deadline to have it made into a stocking for this Christmas is September 1st!


Now, I can finally move on with my life...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Quickie!

One of my lovely friends has a birthday this month!

When I showed her the fabric I had woven and the bag I made for myself a few weeks ago, she raved about it, so much so, I knew there was more than enough left to make a project bag for her, too.

No gift is complete without a little yarn thrown in...

I think she was thrilled, I know I am!!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Creative, but not craft related

I had a birthday last month.

To celebrate, the husband has two additional harnesses on order from Macomber to bring the total loom harness count to six!

Silly me, I thought they had these things in inventory, I did not realize they were made to order and usually take six to eight weeks to ship.

So, while I continue to wait for the loom upgrade, I decided to spoil myself a little.

First off, I bought a cute little cross-body bag in a bright color.  It was cheerful and fun. Fortunately, it is big enough to carry all my stuff and so easy to wear!

Secondly, I tend to cycle through my obsessions over time.  I will enter a reading phase and do nothing but read for several weeks.  

Then, I will transition into a knitting/needlepoint/cross-stitch/weaving chapter, which may last a year or two.  

Lastly and least often, I will hit an intense writing phase wherein I constantly have pen and paper in hand. I say intense, as I will wake up at one in the morning, get out of bed, and write until almost dawn.

In the last few years, the knitting has carried over into the other activities, as I have been able to knit rather continuously.

As the writing muse has been elusive for a very long while, I am not completely surprised to find the itch has begun to return.

Normally, I am not temperamental about when and under what conditions I write. If the story is dynamic and pulsating, I could sit in the middle of Grand Central Station with a pencil and a stack of brown paper bags to write on with no problem; however, more often than not, it is the feel of a nice pen on thick, smooth paper, which carries the story along.

I could absolutely type, but as a crap editor of my own work, transcribing from paper to computer forces me to edit, at least once.

Thus, my birthday was a decent excuse to find a refillable journal to carry along with me.

This is what I found:

It is the Fillion Tri-fold from Little Mountain Bindery. It uses Moleskine Cahier-sized journals, but it came equipped with similarly sized Piccadilly Pocket Memos from Barnes & Nobel (which are currently on sale at 3 for $2.99!!!!). 

After watching a tutorial video from Little Mountain Bindery, I have on order Patricia's Trifold Pocket with Magnetic Closure and a set of book connectors, not to mention a Moleskine weekly planner to slip in there, too.

It came with two leather bookmarks to which I added a couple of charms.

The one on the right was attached to a package from a dear, sweet friend of mine.

The one on left is the tag from the dog collar I have hanging in my office. It belonged to my faithful Remy, the Standard Poodle I lost to lymphome on September 22 of last year.

Even though we have a house full of delightful dogs, my heart still aches for my Remy. In fact, last night, Bane was causing a ruckus in the other room and without thinking, I called out "Remy," instead of "Bane." It kind of shocked me, but the heart and the mind are funny things.

Initially, I had no idea how to attach them, but after a few failed attempts, I remembered how to tie on a fishing hook and used that method.  Success!

Off to use and enjoy the new journal purchase!

Anyone care to share their indulgent "to me, for me, from me" purchases?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Every so often

Things work out better than originally planned.

Back in January, I pulled a piece of test fabric off the LeClerc 36" floor loom I had. I wanted to see how different weights of wool (fingering, sport, dk, and worsted) worked as weft with some Brassard 8/2 Cotolin warp.

At the time, I was thinking of making a skirt from the test fabric; however, I never wear wool skirts, and I never got around to doing anything with the fabric, other than occasionally petting it.

While surfing Pinterest yesterday afternoon, I came across a picture tutorial for a Hobo bag.

I thought it was cute, and it looked easy enough. Then, I thought my woven fabric would be perfect, if I could find something to put on the bottom of it.  Honestly, I did not relish the thought of sewing a bag from handwoven fabric and just sitting it on the ground.

A quick stash dive brought up some remnant denim, and I was off and running.

After a couple of hours, I had a pattern (I wanted a bigger bag) to which I added extra seam allowances and quickly cut out the outside fabric, as well as the lining.

In an abundance of caution, before I cut the woven fabric, I ironed some heavy duty fusible interfacing  to it, then serged around it.  I also serged the extra fabric, as not to waste it or risk it coming apart.

By the time I went to bed, the outside and inside pieces were complete, including a pocket on the inside, which the original was lacking.  All that remained was to attach them and top stitch the openings.

The woven fabric is quite thick and a little more difficult to sew, especially with heavy interfacing attached, than lightweight upholstery fabric. Thus, it took another couple of hours to complete.

The finished dimensions are 14.5" wide x 20" tall x 5" deep.

Now, what to put in it?

Friday, June 17, 2016


The knitting has been rather slow and sporadic around here for a while now. There are a lot of distractions:  life, weaving, needlepoint, the day job, new puppy, etc.; however, there is nothing quite as soothing as the feel of lovely yarn in one's hands.

Two years ago, I went to a retreat with Hill Country Weavers out of Austin, Texas. While there, I won a prize or two!!

One of the prizes was two skeins of Shibui, Silk Cloud lace and Baby Alpaca dk, both in the Grounds, a lovely deep, rich brown.

They were accompanied with a pattern for a slouchy beanie called Shibui Mix No. 6.

This is a design I have been wanting to try for ages, but it required size US 5 and 7 16" circular needles and when I had one pair in my hands of one size, I never could find a pair in the second size. I ended up buying another pair of the US 7 needles (12" circular this time), the second I remembered where I placed the US 5 ones!

There is nothing nicer than a simple, quick pattern in luxury yarns!

The only drawback:  the yarns are a little pricey for a hat. But, I was so taken with the yarn combination, before I was even finished with the first hat, I ordered the yarns for three more in different colors.

There may be a bonus, too!

The finished hat weighs 59 grams.

The Baby Alpaca dk was originally a 100 gram skein. I have ~51 grams left.

The Silk Cloud lace came as a 25 gram skein, and there are 15 grams left.

There appears to be enough to make another one!!!

Far more bang for the buck, if I can get two hats out of this combination!


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

June Already?

The first project is off the new loom!

It is a throw approximately 50" wide x 65" long!

The warp is made up of an assortment of fingering weight yarns, most with silk and/or cashmere along with merino.  There are 676 warps.

The weft is about 2,000 yards of Italian Grignasco Merino Gold dk in a lovely medium purple. 

It took me about two days to dress the loom properly and about two weeks to actually weave it.

I machine serged the raw edges before gently rolling the hems over and taking them down by hand.

The new loom is a dream!  I really love it.  Macomber certainly designed it with the weaver in mind. Unlike the LeClerc floor loom I had, the front beam unfolds all the way down to the floor to allow me to actually sit in the loom, if I wanted to thread it from back to front.

Alas, I warped it from front to back.  However, the back beam moves forward to allow easier access to made threading the heddles a more enjoyable experience.

My back beam is plain and not sectional. Instead of paper to separate the warp threads, I discovered that replacement pvc vertical blind slats fit perfectly on my beam.  My weaving width is 56".  The beams are free and clear for about 59 inches. The vertical slats are 58.5" long and 3.5" wide.  They are also much easier to place, wind, and keep straight, than paper!  

Bonus:  while you can reuse paper, the paper eventually wears out...these can be used indefinitely! 

Besides, the slats cost just as much as a roll of 60" kraft paper that I would have had to cut down to fit.

That actually makes me feel a bit clever.

As the following pictures will illustrate, I really need to work on my photography game.  It is obvious I have no idea how to take pictures of handwoven fabric.

At least, the dogs tried to help sweeten the shots.

Next up, the loom is already warped again and ready to go.

The warp is gold tencel and the weft is Miss Bab's Yowza in Ruby Spinel.