Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dye Day at My House!

My friends Lawre and Rattlefox (not her real name!) came by today to dye some fluff. We all had a half pound of the same fiber, some drool-worthy Blue Faced Leicester and silk blend that came from Carolina Homespun. Really pretty stuff, white and glowey.

I arranged my roving in a zig-zaggy pattern. Lawre's was in long lines, and Darcy made a spiral with hers.
R. picked the colors and we all did something different with our roving. I can't wait to see how each batch spins up. We used a variety of dyes, mixed in a very unscientific method. (That yellow too bright? Here, throw some of this in it!)  The roving was arranged on plastic wrap, and after we'd each applied our dye with syringes, smooshing to soak in the dye, we wrapped them in the plastic and popped them in the oven while we went down the hill for lunch.

Here's how mine looks hanging up to dry. Dry faster, dry faster! I want to spin this stuff up!

Visit Lawre's blog and Rattlefox's blog to see the photos of their dye projects! I'm sure they'll have their posts up real soon now :-)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Catching Up

So, it's been a while. Ok, it's been months. But now I'm back, and I wanted to give an update on the bean tapestry. I finally got back into the studio this month so some progress has been made. Really, there's not that much more to go, maybe two inches or so. If the weather stays above freezing I just might get it done before New Years eve.
Coming down to the end - the eggplant and the background...

In other news... here's a brief tour of what else I've been up to since July. (Just so you don't think I've been sitting around twiddling my thumbs.) If you want the captions and some sketchy details, you can also view this on my Flickr page.

Of course there's been more day to day stuff than I can write, or that you'd probably want to read. If anything else of interest occurs to me I'll post again. Really!

Ta ta for now!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Loom for Sale!

Update 7/31 My loom is now SOLD! and will be going to it's new home very soon!

I have decided to sell one of my floor looms to hopefully fund the purchase of a tapestry loom. If you know of anyone who might be interested please feel free to pass along the details.

Schacht Spindle Company
46" Standard High Castle 8 shaft Jack Loom - Maple :
   12 treadles
   double warp/ back beam
   Loom Bench with side storage bags
   1200+ Inserted eye metal hedges

    Price reduced!!! Asking $2,800 for the whole package. (Pick-up only. Loom is located about 30 minutes south of Roanoke, Va)

    Weaving width 46"; Overall width 53"; Depth - open  44"; Depth folded  32"

    The loom alone currently sells for $4030 new. With the extras (extra treadles, double back beam, bench & bags) adding an additional $1,070 to the price. I have also replaced the original flat steel heddles with over 1200 inserted eye hedddles ($300 value).
    (click on images for larger view)

    8 harnesses, 12 treadles

    Double warp beams/back beams 
    and raddle

    Loom folded for storage
    12 treadles, easy tie-up!
    Lamp, included, mounts to 
    the right or the left
    Tray is handy for 
    all sorts of things!

    The loom has a storage tray and holes drilled in the top of the castle uprights for the swivel pin of an extension lamp. (Lamp also included) The double back-beam is handy to facilitate different warp tensions for weave structures such as warp pile, supplementary warp, Bedford cord and double weave. Each beam has separate tension. The loom bench can be adjusted for height, and has a storage shelf below the seat. The bags are mounted on both sides of the seat and are very handy for keeping shuttles and tools close at hand.

    The loom is in overall good condition and works very well. There are a few cosmetic scratches/smudges (see photo), but nothing drastic that would affect working or value. I have enjoyed weaving on this loom for many years, but my weaving interests are now moving in other directions, and I want it to go to a good home.

    If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at teashanty at verizon dot net.

    Sunday, March 28, 2010

    With a little help from my friends

    Well, it's been a while hasn't it?

    Yesterday I taught an Introduction to Tapestry workshop for some wonderful and talented folks at Reynolds Homestead. This was the first time I taught this particular topic, and I'm still pretty new to tapestry myself, so saying that my stress level leading up to the class was a little high would be entirely accurate.

    But it went really well! At least I think it did. So before I write about the class and post some photos I want to thank everyone who made this possible and helped me keep what's left of my sanity.
    • First of course, my husband Eric, who endured less than stellar meals and housekeeping for the past month, and who was very supportive, as he always is.
    • My friends Darcy and Karen, who let me use them as guinea pigs and gave very good suggestions for making the class go more smoothly.
    • My pal Lawre, who always offers good perspective and encouragement, and who can find some humor in almost every situation.
    • Otto Strauch who has at least one of every tool known to mankind and knew just what to do to make the little loom legs.
    I'd also like to send a shout-out to Caroline, who's idea this was in the first place;  Mary Kay who got everything organized and kept us on track; and the nice ladies at Yarn Explosion in Roanoke who patiently let me rummage through their Paternayan and Brown Sheep tapestry yarns.

    It really was a fun day, and I learned so much myself preparing for the class!  As soon as I've recovered, I'll post some pics.

    Sunday, February 28, 2010

    We're in the purple... and a great knitting resource.

    Yes! I'm finally weaving the eggplant. Also, lots of tan background.

    You probably can't see it in this photo, but I'm blending three shades of tan in the background in various combinations. I'm also weaving random "shapes" with the colors so that, hopefully, the background won't read as one flat color, but will have more visual "texture".

    Due to the wretched state of my sinuses, I only had one afternoon out in the studio this weekend. Most of that time I was doing some prep work for an introduction to tapestry class I'll be teaching at Reynolds Homestead at the end of March.

    I've started on a sampler for the class, using leftover yarn from the bean tapestry. Now that I'm looking at it though, I think the colors are dull as dishwater. Perhaps I'll start again. I'm working on my Schacht Tapestry Loom for the first time. It wasn't dreadful to warp, and I've skipped the part about making heddles entirely. It's a 4 inch warp, so picking up my shed by hand isn't the least bit bothersome. I'm doing it on the bean tapestry so plenty of practice there.

    In other news, I've been working on a little knitting project. Kirtland's Yarn Barn in Dillwyn, VA is participating in a project to knit helmet liners for our troops in Afghanistan. My friend Lawre already has hers done, and I'm plugging away on mine. There was a tricky bit (for me, anyway) after doing the neck ribbing where you cast on extra stitches for the hat part. No matter how I did it, it looked really bad. So off to Google I went and found this wonderful explanation of casting on additional stitches at TECHknitting. What a great resource this blog is! Especially for knitting-challenged people like me.

    Sunday, February 21, 2010

    Signs of Spring!

    Spotted just this weekend in my front garden -- the first sprouts of the year. Go daffodils!! Makes you want to shout and do the happy Spring dance, doesn't it?

    We had balmy temps here all weekend, in the 40's. Just enough to get a good melt (and the daffodils!) going. 
    In other news, work continues on the tapestry. The beans are done, and I've moved on to the background. I'm not entirely happy with the last bean - looks sort of lumpy to me - and I may re-weave it next week. We'll see.

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Here chicky, chicky, chicky....

    Those of you who know me personally know that I harbor a not-so-secret love of chickens.  I think they're just swell. They make funny little noises. They're pretty to look at. They eat bugs. And oh, those eggs!

    Today I found the coolest thing EVER for keeping backyard chickens. The Eglu by Omlet USA. So, incredibly cute, clever, and cool! Great for just a few hens, I think it would be fantabulous in my garden.

    Also, check out the Eglu Cube - for those with grander hen-keeping aspirations. Both models come in different colors too! Red, pink, blue, orange, and green.

    Urban chicken keeping - the wave of the future. Cluck on, baby!

    Sunday, February 7, 2010

    So, here we are. Just those two tips of beans on the right there to go, and then we're into the eggplant and background. My friend Kristy suggested that some people snap the tips off the beans. But as anxious as I am to get to the eggplant, I think I'll keep those bean tips right where they are. Besides, if I don't have to unweave too much they shouldn't take too long. Right?

    We had a whopper of a snow this weekend. OK, for us 12" of snow is quite the thing. I'm still enjoying the staying home, the sleeping in, the baking and eating of treats. The shoveling, not so much, even though my husband did most of it. Today we spent an hour chopping and digging out the pile that the town's snowplows thought fully dumped in our driveway.

    Just a few more photos : the Teashanty, as it looked this morning just before the rest of the snow slid off the roof; and Pyper, the old dog was soaking up the sun while sister Freya ran circles in the snow.

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Yarns with potential

    I spent part of my snow day today at the frog pond, ripping out some knitting. I turned two scarves, one ill-fitting hat, and a vest that was too heavy and too big back into yarns with potential. (That's Gracie behind the pile.)

    It was a pretty satisfying activity. I uncovered the knitwear (or unwearables) in my recent studio cleanup. Instead of washing them and finishing them properly when I was done, I just bound off and put them in a bag, inside a box. They just weren't good!

    As soon as I can dig a path through the snow to the studio to get a skein-winding device I'll skein them up, steam out the kinks and...start again.

    The blue yarn was knitted into a vest. I liked the pattern, but my handspun wasn't anything like the commercial yarn it called for. The rib pattern and the weight of the yarn made it very heavy. And of course the whole thing came out too big.

    The multi-colored yarn is so crazily spun that the scarf changed width halfway along and just looked poorly knitted. Of course, I'm not really the world's best knitter. But I know I can do better than that!

    The purple stuff I quite liked, but the scarf was too heavy and fat, and the hat was too loose and not quite long enough to cover my ears. So, rip-it, rip-it, rip-it.

    In other news, I baked some carrot-apple bar cookies and added the spiffy little penguins to the blog page. (Be sure to have them follow your mouse around. You can even click on them and move them individually! And yes, I know that I'm easily amused.)

    One last picture for your amusement: A sleepy Buhund. I guess she had too much fun out in the snow today!

    Sunday, January 31, 2010

    Baby, it's cold...inside!

    Ok, I know it doesn't look like I've made much progress since last time. I did get the start of that top bean in the upper left corner started. Also, there was some un- and re-weaving done. And, I spent some time trimming up the loose ends on the back of the piece.

    We had more snow this weekend - several inches - and it was just too darned cold out in the studio on Saturday to spend much time sitting still. Some days it warms right up in there and gets very cozy. But other times it just never really gets warm. Probably it would help if I finished insulating under the floor of the building and covered up the sub-floor with actual flooring. Maybe this summer. If I sell the spare loom.

    Here are a few other photos for your amusement:

    A corner of the studio, showing the Glimakra. I've been weaving those linen napkins forever, but had to quit a few months ago due to a bum knee. I start physical therapy next week, so hopefully I'll be throwing the shuttle again real soon now! Also, you can see the tapestry in the background there, part of the Stash, and my desk.

    The last photo du jour was actually taken last week - before the current snowstorm upgraded us to "Winter Wonderland." Again. This is the view I get every time I drive to work at Strauch Fiber Equipement Company. We call it "Happy Valley." It really is lovely there.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    The beans progress. The bubble remains.

    Lest you think I've been idle for the past two weeks, here is an update on the tapestry.

    The beans progress. The bubble remains.

    Oh, there's been the usual fits of unweaving and reweaving and unweaving again, but all in all I think it's coming along ok. The egglplant is in sight now, and I'm looking forward to weaving with purple yarn, just for a change of pace.

    In other news, I have a new weaving student to look forward to beginning in February. New weavers are always so much fun. All that enthusiasm is contagious.

    The thought of having company out in the TeaShanty prompted me to clean and rearrange the studio a bit. I thought it would be nice if she actually had space to sit at a loom. It took me two and a half days, and there's still a little bit of putting away to do. It occurs to me that I might have too much stuff.

    Part of the stuff includes too much yarn (of course), tools, books, and twenty-eight years worth of weaving samples - mine and other peoples. You know, guild sample exchanges, samples from workshops, and that sort of thing. Some of them are lovely little snippets, others are less attractive. Unlike some people who are avid and enthusiastic samplers, and swear that they are the most useful things in the world, I rarely look at mine and almost never find them helpful. Every once in a while I think about just throwing them away. But that just seems wrong somehow.

    I've got them all in binders now, labeled. And I've sorted out the worksheets and samples of things that I've done myself into a separate notebook. I guess I'll hang on to them for a while longer. Perhaps my new student will find something there of interest....

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Bubble, bubble! Oh what trouble!

    I have a bubble in my tapestry. This is distressing. Can you see it? It's there in the top green bean on the right where that black line zigs and zags. Here's a closer look:

    Now you can really see it, right? I think this all started to go south when I was weaving the tip of the green bean just below there. I really struggled with the colors in that section, so perhaps I wasn't as conscious of proper technique as I should have been. I though it might get better, but alas, it seems to be getting worse! I have a few options here, none of them particularly happy.
    • I can unweave nearly half of my tapestry and re-weave the offending section.
    • I can leave it be and hope I can block it out when I'm done.
    • I can live with it and use the "this was my very first tapestry" and "it was a learning experience" excuses.
    I will ponder over this until the weekend. Then I'll have to go back into the studio and make a decision.

    Any thoughts? Advice? Offers to come in the dark of night and re-weave it for me?

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    Winter via Photoshop

    It's very Winter here today. Cold, cold, cold! and spitting snow. It's lovely outside, with all the snow still lingering on the ground and sprinkling down from the sky. But darn it, it's cold! I'm not even taking the dogs for their weekly outing at the Flying Fur. Pyper tells me he'd rather just snooze in the closet anyway....

    This picture is from a photo I took after our big snow in December. I ran it through Photoshop. I think it needs a red cardinal on the fence post. Maybe next year's Christmas card? Or a tapestry? Or maybe it will just stay right here on iMac.

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    Happy New Year! a few links, and a baby in a basin.

    So, here we are in 2010! How the heck did that happen?

    It was a studio day today! Hooray for that. What a great way to start the year -  doing something that I absolutely love!

    The tapestry is coming along nicely. Or at least I think it is. I have a few concerns about some ridges that have developed, but not enough concern to want to do a significant amount of unweaving. Hopefully it will settle down in the blocking. We'll see.

    I hope everyone has a joyful New Year. Here are a few little things I've happened upon that I'd like to share:

    First, a neat tapestry from Tommye Scanlin. She wove a tapestry diary of 2009, committing to weaving a little bit every day. Today she cut it off the loom.

    Another great tapestry link: Joan Baxter - Tapestry Artist (Note: the site has music playing - you might want to check your sound before heading off in that direction.) When I grow up I want to weave like Ms. Baxter! I love, love, love her stuff! And she lives in Scotland - my favorite place on the planet.

    And if you want to see what my studio looks like - with bagpipes - check out the Teribus website. That's my friend, EJ Jones, in the yellow shirt, playing a bagpipe that he made. He's also a brilliant knitter. (Hi EJ!) There's a movie to watch there too. Bagpipes = bliss :-)

    Finally, there's this: Something for Everyone

    Happy New Year everyone.