No Guts No Glory redux…

Back in 2013 I wrote a post with the same title.  I  reread the post in prep for using the title again, and yeah, this one should be titled, “Hold my beer…”

As the story went, “back in my college days, I befriended a nun who worked on campus. We all called her Sister Fran.  She had an old station wagon.  She use to drive students around to wherever they needed to go off campus, and we’d pile into the back of the wagon and head off into the town.  When Sister Fran would come to a rather busy intersection, especially one without a light, she would barrel on through  shouting , “Fran, no guts no glory!”  I learned a lot about life through that mantra, and learned a lot about driving in NJ.”

I recalled that mantra this past couple of weeks as I embarked on a rather risky use of fabric from my box of yarn that Silk City Fibers encouraged me to play with.  This fabric featured a very muted orange Cotton Bambu, one of their newer yarns, heavier than I would normally use in any weaving, and I combined it with some of their old standby’s, and came up with this…

The draft and notes are available for free in my shop, since they gave me the yarn, I feel obligated to share anything I come up with for free.  Click here.

As I’m weaving this fabric, the vision of a leopard skin coat, that has been living in my closet for many many years, I’ve lost count, kept swimming into my head.  At one point I pulled out the coat and looked at it with the fabric still on the loom.  This is one of those times when “No Guts No Glory” came into my head.  I knew I wasn’t going to have much fabric, net maybe 3 yards if I was lucky, I only have what yarn Silk City Fibers gives me,  so a vest made sense.  What if I lined the vest with the fur?  It could be either really really cool, or really really awful.  I voted for “let’s find out…”

So I finished the fabric pictured above, and brought the coat to the sewing studio in the basement.  The lining had been pulled from the coat a long time ago, I seem to remember it was disintegrating.  Maybe not, maybe I was just curious. I also remember loaning it at one point to the HS for a costume for a production of Little Shop of Horrors.

If you have never been inside a vintage coat, it is really something to behold.  All those skins are strategically stitched together into an amazing pattern. 

Please, no letters.  I would never purchase a fur coat now.  But many years ago, having used vintage fur in a couple of art pieces, here and here, I have this vague recollection of someone giving me a coat, thinking I might incorporate it into a garment some day.  It was a long time ago.  The problem is, a number of animals died for this coat, and it is old, out of fashioned, dry rotted in places, and what do you do with something that should probably be tossed but I don’t have the heart.  This was once a living breathing thing.  So if I can give it yet one more life, I feel like I have maybe brought some good karma into my own life and saved something precious from the landfill.  

I started to dismantle the coat, and found in one pocket a name and address.  Kris Kolber, if this is your coat, it is being put to good use.  The other pocket was full of sunflower seed hulls.  I’m not going to comment on that, except to say that at one point, in the old studio, where this coat hung for years, I did have an issue with a couple of mice who secretly hoarded a stash of bird seed in all the yarn cones on my shelves.  They apparently made it to the second floor via a baseboard hot water heat pipe…

Meanwhile, I didn’t want to put patch pockets on this vest, but I did want pockets.  So I designed a welt pocket.  The goal is to write the directions for it, so it can be used in my jackets and vests.  Please be patient…

I also debated whether to leave the fabric as is, fuse with a fusible underlining, or quilt the fabric.  I needed the fabric to support the weight of the fur lining, so I opted for the quilted body, and underlined collar.

Working with old fur coats is a challenge (and no, I’m not looking to acquire anymore), mostly you are trying to salvage areas that are brittle, torn, cut for design purposes, and of course, there will be fur EVERYWHERE!

I’ve spent the last few days in massive handwork, sometimes with a pair of pliers, but I’m completely loving how this is coming out.  The real challenge will be the armholes, and I have an idea how to finish them with the fur.  Meanwhile, I’ve looked at many button options, and come up with these.  I’ll be using Scunci hair ties as the stretch button loops.  I think.  I won’t really know until I try it.  

This vest is my 800 vest pattern, without the zipper of course which wouldn’t be practical. You can purchase the pattern here.

MEANWHILE…

I have some really big news here, I feel like I’ve just given birth.  Bri, my daughter and I have been quietly filming and editing footage for a YouTube channel,  We launched the channel for real, though I should say she launched the channel, because without her, this would never have happened.  She has been tirelessly slaving away at the Adobe Premier tutorials online, learning how to edit multi camera and sound footage, and for a novice, I’m really impressed. We call the site “The Weaver Sews“. (And yes, I’ve applied for a trademark)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmz2mYvnteUP11-LvK8-eNg

So I now have a YouTube channel, which will hopefully contain a weekly upload of a short video that pertains to sewing with handwovens.  We have shot four videos, two are launched, two are waiting for edits.  We write our own close captioning, so it is accurate and sync’d.  Please check it out, and if you feel like this is something you will benefit from, please subscribe.  It is free.  As I add content, you will be notified.  

And I gave one of my first remote lectures since the pandemic began last March.  It was incredible to be able to turn on my computer in NJ, and give a presentation to a group in the Pacific Northwest, almost on the border with Canada.  I know many of these ladies.  Last year this time I was on Whidbey Island with many of them doing a private retreat sewing event.  Seems like a lifetime ago, now.  All the pre planning, monies spent on upgrading my equipment, video, sound, ethernet speed, it all worked in the best way possible.  This is a completely viable way of sharing my knowledge without dragging 170 pounds of luggage 3000 miles away.  I’m hoping that this can become the new normal in much of my life.

I’ll continue the handwork on the vest tomorrow, and hopefully work out the armhole trim, and start a new week with hope and confidence that all will be well.  Because I know deep down that all is not well in the world, but I can only wake up each morning, do what I can with my day, and hope I get to learn something new and share that with someone else.

Stay tuned…

 

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One thing led to another…

Wednesday night my guild had their first meeting of the new year, and sadly it was remote.  Still.  We won’t be back at our regular meeting place for while.  But a healthy amount of members tuned in and  we got through the business meeting in short order.  The program was actually put together by our program chair, because it was discovered that our guild was celebrating its 40th anniversary and she had requested last spring for older members and those with early archives to come forth and share stories.  She did a wonderful job on the PowerPoint and shared her screen, and there were lots of good remembrances…

So I got to thinking and doing some remembering of my own…

About 10 years ago, I was asked to be the keynote speaker for the Syracuse, NY weaving guild as they celebrated their 50th anniversary.  I put together a short slide show of the weaving world in 1960, which is when the guild got its start.  I knew it was somewhere in the archives, and it was a pretty cool presentation even though I’m not sure it had the effect I wanted since most of the members in attendance were students in the weaving program at the University.  They wouldn’t appreciate the ad for a Peacock Loom.  They wouldn’t appreciate the gossip columns and who was who.  

I started to think, well damn, I have the means to make this public, and so I started searching and found the presentation and posted it on my site.  It is a short PDF, but if you’ve been weaving awhile, you’ll enjoy it.  The link is here.

On Tuesday I was the guest on The Shi Show, which is a daily live broadcast on the Lion Brand Facebook site.  It was huge fun, and I copied the link to also post on my site. (You probably need a facebook account to watch it, I come in about 6:50).  Trying to figure out the best place to post stuff like this, I started actually looking through my website.  Hmmmmmm……..

Whenever I have special events happen, articles, exhibits I’m a part of, major teaching venues, etc, I try to enter them into my resume when they happen so I remember things like who the juror was, where the gallery was, where the conference was held, etc.  I wanted to enter the link for the Shi Show into my resume and to my complete horror, I haven’t updated it since last fall.  I know I haven’t gone out much, but still…

And the Published Work section of my About Me, on my website hasn’t been updated since 2017.  My bad…  And the Exhibition section, same thing.  So I spent a number of hours trying to update pages that haven’t seen the light of day in awhile.

It was then that I discovered  that I hadn’t entered all the videos that I did for Threads Magazine Insider.  It is a subscription service, modest yearly cost, and totally worth it if you make clothing, of any kind.  I kind of lost track because they were shot in October of 2018, and slowly over the next year they were released.  I know we shot 9 segments over the two days I was there for filming, but I really did lose track.  I have a vague recollection that the bound buttonhole segment was broken into 6 parts.  So I started doing a search and found all kinds of things I was missing in my resume, and to my complete surprise, the last of the 9 segments, featuring crocheted edge finishes, was released February of this year, and I completely missed it.  

Video: Threads Insider PRO TECHNIQUES FOR APPLYING BIAS BINDING February 2019
Video: TIPS FOR CUTTING BIAS STRIPS March 2019 

Video: Threads Insider BIND SEAM ALLOWANCES WITH BIAS CUT NYLON TRICOT May 2019
Video: Threads Insider COVER AND INSTALL SHOULDER PADS July 2019
Video: Threads Insider UNDERLINING TECHNIQUES June 2019
Video: Threads Basics Video STAYSTITCHING BASICS August 2019
Video: Threads Insider FITTING A FULL BUST October 2019
Video: Threads Insider BOUND BUTTONHOLES: INTRODUCTION (Pt. 1) January 2020
Video: Threads Insider BOUND BUTTONHOLES: MARKING THE BUTTONHOLE PLACEMENT (Pt. 2) January 2020
Video: Threads Insider BOUND BUTTONHOLES: CREATING THE BUTTONHOLE LIPS (Pt. 3) January 2020
Video: Threads Insider BOUND BUTTONHOLES: ATTACHING THE LIPS TO THE GARMENT (Pt. 4) January 2020
Video: Threads Insider BOUND BUTTONHOLES: COMPLETING THE BUTTONHOLE (Pt. 5) January 2020
Video: Threads Insider BOUND BUTTONHOLES: FINISHING THE BUTTONHOLE’S WRONG SIDE (Pt. 6) January 2020
Video: Threads Insider CROCHETED EDGE FINISH February 2020

Hopefully that’s all up to date, it all started because of my guild meeting Wednesday night…

Meanwhile, Silk City Fibers is looking at a new yarn, and they had samples in two different weights.  The yarn is a tencel, one an 8/2 and one a 6/2.  I was asked to run a quick test to see what they could do.  Well, actually weavers can’t really run a quick test on anything.  Because you have to set up a loom, weave it off, and wash it before you can make a judgement.  

Sidebar, one of the looms in my studio is a small 12 shaft Leclerc Voyager I purchased last year from one of my guild mates.  For some reason she didn’t want it anymore, and I didn’t really have a 12 shaft loom, and the price was fair.  It still had a warp on it from her last workshop she took.  The warp was a 12 shaft point twill, 10/2 cotton in white, 24epi.  It occurred to me that I could wind a one yard warp combining the two tencel yarns, because I’d probably sample them at 24epi, and I could just tie into this existing warp, and make quick work.  I sat down at my computer and knocked out a draft.

The yellow is the 8/2, and it is a little meatier than what I’m use to seeing in an 8/2 tencel.  And definitely a little meatier than a 10/2 perle.  I love the yarn, the finish on it is slightly overtwisted and not as shiny as other 8/2’s, but silky smooth.  The red is the 6/2, and it is slightly thinner than many of their standard yarns, like the Nomad and Bambu 7.  Both have their place, but I think they are trying to pick one.  So I spent Thursday tying in the one yard warp…

And Friday afternoon I started weaving…

I cut the sample off and headed to the washing machine and loaded in a bunch of towels and washed and dried this little sample on high, within an inch of its life.  I like to see how far I can push a yarn.

Wow.  The point twill threading gave a bit of a waffle effect, but I had about 20% shrinkage.  The yarn really bloomed and filled up the spaces.  Tencel usually doesn’t do that.  The surface is smooth and silky, typical of a tencel, and I’m loving both of the yarns.  I’ll let you know what they decide to go with but this was a fun exercise.  

Saturday night I blew out an article for my local chapter of the American Sewing Guild.  That request came in earlier in the week, so I had actually a couple of days to think through a topic I thought appropriate.  Like how to work with digital patterns!  I get a lot of emails on the subject, I’m sure you can imagine.  And I realized that I have to go back and reformat all the intros to include my new logo, because nowhere does it say, Daryl Lancaster Pattern Collection!  Mine is the second one in from the left.  Yeah, I need to add the logo… (And before you start sending me letters, each of the patterns here were downloads that I printed and put in a catalogue envelope with the lead page taped to the front. I talk about that in the article.  My patterns are only available as downloads.)

And today, I sat down to actually sew the top I cut out last Monday from the Summer Rain yardage I wove using Silk City yarns.  I blogged about what went into this yardage here, and the draft is available for free as a PDF download here.  The top is a combination of my 1000 Swing Dress and the armhole and sleeve of the 200 (C) jacket.  Many of you probably already have the patterns from my classes.  The goal will be to do a series of videos that show how to combine patterns.  We are working on it!

I’m just coming up for air, and realized that tomorrow is a federal holiday.  Somehow I missed that. Can’t go to the post office to ship orders.  I live in a world now surrounded by fiber and light and color and assignments and the chance to explore, and yes, I’m still quarantining because it just isn’t worth going out and risking anything unless I have to ship an order.  So I forget that there is a big world out there, with a lot of turmoil, and a federal holiday thrown in.  Oops…

For my US friends, enjoy the holiday.  Fall is coming.  My favorite time of the year because I get to break out the cool sweaters and handwoven garments.  And I can’t wait to turn on my gas stove in the living room.  Stay safe, wear a mask, and stay tuned…

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My new favorite place…

I blogged a lot about the major studio changes last winter, HVAC was installed as I was walking out the door to teach in Oregon the beginning of March.  I returned from Oregon just as the world was beginning to shut down and so embarked on a five month effort to convert all my patterns to digital downloads.  So though I had this brandy spanking new shiny place for all my looms and fiber equipment, with the basement as the new sewing room, I never really got a chance to use it.  It kept calling me.  I felt really guilty.  I kept thinking about all those gorgeous magazine worthy studios in houses where I stayed, and their owners admitted that they didn’t actually do much in them.  I hoped that wasn’t the case with mine.  Most of my days since the quarantine began have been sitting right here at my computer in my office generating some kind of content.  Sigh…  Creative in a way, but not what I really want to do.  

Enter an email from Silk City Fibers.  I’ve had a very long relationship with them, and I’ve blogged about recent encounters with them, but this time they wanted me to consider being a “weaving influencer”.  My discussions with the head of Lion Brand Yarn marketing turned into, send me yarn and I’ll see what I can do with it.  And blog about it, or write about it, or give them usable content, or whatever.

What a shot on the arm that was, and in one of my last posts I blogged about the fabric Summer Rain that I got on and off the loom in record time.  It was the first time I had set up a loom since I built the new studio.  I ran into a lot of, gee, where did I put that tool…  but ultimately the studio did its job and created a brightly lit, comfortable and easy place to do what I do best.  So as I wrote in my last post, the Summer Rain fabric is finished and sitting on the cutting table in the basement waiting to be cut and sewn into something fun.  The draft is available in my store, and any of the drafts/fabrics that result from the relationship with Silk City Yarns, especially if they are giving me the yarn, will be available for free.  Add it to your cart, and there won’t be any charge at checkout.  You’ll get a link in your inbox and you are ready to go!  Find the PDF notes and draft here.

Meanwhile, having discovered the joy of my new studio, and having finished the scarves that were on the 8 shaft small floor loom, I decided to wind a new warp, this one called Autumn Harvest, based on a forecast from my Handwoven Column back in 2004.  It is on the loom, and it just glows!  The draft is available here.

I got more yarn from Silk City Fibers.  A lot of it.  I think of nothing else…  I gave them a general idea of what I’d like to work with based on what they want to promote, mostly their newest yarns, and I gave suggestions of color combinations, but I get what I get.  Which is just wonderful fun.  I work best designing with what’s immediately in front of me.  

Right out of the box I grabbed this orange Cotton Bambu, (one of their new yarns) which is a little heavier than I like to work with for garment yardage, but I successfully used it in the Summer Rain fabric in a 4 shaft mock supplemental, and I thought I’d like to expand on that for a full yardage.  So I added Saphira, a viscose and polyamide variegated with very cool slubs, and a gorgeous copper metallic called Radiance.  The weft is a beautiful cotton yarn called Nomad, which I actually prefer to Bambu 7, it has way more body and the same 2100 yds/lb yield.  Under the studio lights the fabric just glows, but it doesn’t really show in the photo.  Trust me it is head turning when you see it in real life.  It is a 4 shaft structure, and I’ll eventually post the details as a PDF download like above.  I’m calling it Confetti.

Meanwhile Silk City wanted to know if their SuperMerino yarn would work in a Rigid Heddle loom with an 8 dent reed.  I don’t do Rigid Heddle weaving, but I have a table loom with an 8 dent reed, and I can set up a two shaft plain weave.  There is enough for two scarves, the first one we doubled the yarn (Brianna did the grunt set up here).  She has a heavy hand with the beater, so I’ve taken over and using a double weft, the effect is quite lovely.  I believe their SuperMerino is superwash, but I’ll let you know once the scarves are off the loom.

Meanwhile in the bag of yarn from Silk City were these two, Nile cotton tape in Onyx, and Skinny Majesty variegated in a color called Antique Jewelry.  I wound the 6 yard warp alternating one of each, and after it was wound, I changed my mind.  Nothing like redesigning after the warp is wound.  I used every inch of both cones, which is always fun, to have no leftovers!  And if you are wondering about the contraption on the back beam, I use the Harrisville tensioning device for perfectly tensioned warps every time.  (I’m a front to back warper).  Problem is, this is the new to me 32″ Tools of the Trade loom, one of his really old ones, and I have tensioning rods made for the 45″, the 36″ and the 25″ looms.  Not the 32″ loom.  So using the second back beam from the 36″ loom to support the set up of the tensioning device with the 36″ rods, and a number of C Clamps, we got the job done.  (I confess it was all Brianna’s idea).  

So I threaded the updated design, beamed and then began to test a number of wefts they offer that have a wool/protein content.  I’m a big fan of putting something in the weft that will give a modest amount of fulling to really keep slippery rayon fabrics under control.  I have used Zephyr merino/silk from Jaggerspun, and Webs Colrain Lace Merino/Tencel, but wanted to try out some of the Silk City Fiber offerings.  Left to right is Nature’s Way Merino doubled, Eco Cashwool, SupraMerino doubled (which I believe is a superwash), Baby Alpaca doubled, and Wool Crepe Deluxe (80% Wool and 20% Viscose Rayon).

I kept the first sample right off the loom (top), the middle sample shows some hand washing in warm water, and the last sample was thrown in the washer and dryer with a load of towels.  I love knowing what a yarn can do.  I’m ultimately going to use the black Wool Crepe for this particular fabric, but the Nature’s Way Merino (far left in navy) is awesome.  The Baby Alpaca (the ivory one) didn’t shrink or full, but it is fluffier than an angora rabbit’s butt.  I’m not a fan of superwash, so I probably wouldn’t use the SupraMerino (the middle one) unless the goal was a washable baby blanket, it is really lovely for that kind of purpose.  And I liked the Eco Cashwool as well.  This was a test I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.  

And of course, this loom still has fabric on it that I really should weave off, but there is something about full looms that make me smile.  My babies have been naked for far too long.  This is a wool warp with Noro Taiyo Lace weft.  January of 2019 to be specific. I’ve blogged about it here.

Assuming the internet gods are cooperating on Tuesday September 1st, I’ll be the featured guest on the Shi Show, which airs live at noon daily on the Lion Brand Yarn Facebook page.  I’ll post the link when it shows up on Youtube or you can tune in at noon EDT.  I say if the internet gods are cooperating because three times in the last week, there was an area outage, and though I still have some unresolved internet issues, Like I can’t get my printers to connect, the tech guy came yesterday morning and the whole system went down as he started to work, area wide I was told, and so he could accomplish nothing.  He is supposed to come back today.  He texted me that he is having issues at his house, different carrier, but his power and internet are failing.  And there are no storms, nothing that should cause these constant outages, but there are seriously weakened trees and limbs just randomly fall and take out the grid for whatever period of time you need it.  We were successful last weekend in running new lines in the walls, upgrading switches and network cards so all the important rooms and devices are hard wired for ethernet at 1GB of speed.  Brianna ran the last line herself much to her complete amazement and satisfaction.  She is her father.  

And so, I’m looking in corners of the studio to see where I can pitch a sleeping bag.  This is my new escape, a place that the world stops spinning out of control, actually the only place in the whole world where I have some control, and nothing in there needs electronics or power to actually operate.  Maybe the bobbin winder, but I do have hand cranks for that…

Stay safe, wear a mask and stay tuned…

 

 

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Balloons and Fireworks…

I should be celebrating, this is five months of hard work, and it is finally completed.  But I’m already onto the next adventure, so much to cram into this quarantine that doesn’t seem to be going away.  Oddly enough there are deadlines looming, pun intended, more about that later.

So we launched the last of the 12 patterns I use for my classes.  At this point, you can purchase my  patterns, all of them, on my website.  This has been a huge deal, we have never worked so hard.  It took a team, I created the content, my daughter created the layered files that actually created the patterns, and I hired a tech editor for the instructions.  The instructions are, as always available for free on my website.  There is a lot of great information in there about sewing with handwovens, but I’m really looking forward to creating YouTube videos on specific areas of support.  Like how to actually print and create the full size patterns.  

Because so many have written me and asked, and many in the handweaving community haven’t ever purchased a downloadable pattern before, I want to do a video explaining how to basically print and tape together all the sheets into a full size pattern.  Yes, you have to print them yourself.  Yes, you can have a place like Staples print the file for you.  Yes, you have to tape all the pages together.  And no, I don’t sell the printed pattern.  Only the download.  I’m even wanting to get away from printing and shipping the monographs which at the moment are available digitally and in print form.  Printing and shipping costs are ridiculous, and with the delays in the post office, I’m wanting to get away from shipping altogether.  

Anyway, huge celebration.  The last of the patterns is up.  This is the 1800 jacket which is like the 800 vest only with sleeves and waist darts.  There is a look book available here.  There aren’t a lot of images in it because the pattern is only a couple years old.  But you’ll get the general idea.  You can purchase the pattern here.

Meanwhile, my relationship with Silk City Fibers continues to grow.  I’ve always adored their yarn, and I’m getting to really play with styles I normally wouldn’t have looked at.  And really loving the possibilities.  I wrote in my last post about the yarns that they sent me, new yarns to the collection for me to explore.  So refer to the last post about what I actually used.  The fabric came out fantastic.  I called this Summer Rain, because I was weaving it during tropical storm Isaias, and lucky for me I was one of the few that never lost power. So I kept weaving.  The fabric is exactly what I envisioned.  It has been washed and dried, and is a gorgeous drapey but stable rayon, cotton, linen, and bamboo fabric that will make a great summer top.  I’m thinking I want to combine my 1000 Swing Dress with the 200 Jacket for the armholes and sleeves and make a basic top with short sleeves.  At this point, I’m having fun seeing what my patterns can produce by combining them.  

Silk City has promised me more yarn.  Oh, goodie!

Meanwhile, I finally cleared a loom that has had a bunch of my handdyed scarves on it for more than a year.  I was able to move the loom to the new studio with the warp intact, so there it sat.  I ended up netting six 2 yard scarves from a 14 yard warp.  I love these soft retro looking scarves.  They are mostly all handdyed rayons and cottons.  The weft is tencel.  Actually three of the scarves have a tencel weft, three have a bamboo weft.  It is hard to tell the difference. 

Normally these scarves would be donated to arts organizations for fundraisers and tricky trays, and whatever makes me feel like donating a scarf worth a couple hundred dollars.  I’m really careful whom I donate to.  But sadly all of the arts organizations I support have had to cancel major fundraising events this year for obvious reasons.  And even my lovely guild show and sale in November has had to move online.  So I’ll be populating my eShop with whatever scarves I have, and things like totebags from scraps, that’s my project for the next couple of weeks.  We are setting up a lightbox and photography area in one of the guest rooms.  Since I can’t have any students or guests, one of the rooms can easily become a photo area.

With that loom cleared, and more yarn from Silk City Fibers coming in the next couple of days, I’m wanting to get another warp on the loom I specifically use for these scarves.  It has to have a second beam for the 14 yards of supplemental warps.  So I looked through my huge binder of all the color forecasts I developed for Handwoven Magazine, back in the early 2000’s and picked one that appealed to me.  Mostly it appealed to me because it was called Autumn Harvest and fall is coming.  And I can’t wait.  Normally fall means I live on planes and travel and I’m not doing any of that this year.  I’m doing different things.  I have a huge amount of bookings for guild remote lectures, and some remote workshops and I’ve had to rewrite most of my prospectuses to indicate what can be done remotely.  Actually most of them so far.  You can look at what I have to offer for remote learning here.  I just have to figure out how to do some of my garment classes remotely, especially now that you can buy the patterns… 🙂 

So anyway, here is the Autumn Harvest palette drawn from a 2004 column in Handwoven Magazine, and I pulled some yarns to see if I had the right combinations. 

I just couldn’t come up with enough of the right muted dusty purple.  Everything was too blue, and I needed something softer that leaned warmer.  So I dug out the dyepots and for the first time used my new dye sink/area in the new weaving studio.  Lots of firsts here.  I did have to ask my daughter where we put stuff, but this worked remarkably well.  The sink was built high enough so I didn’t have to lean in.  It is stainless so I don’t have to worry about stains.  And I can hang skeins to dry right over the sink.  I think this color will work, if not, I’ll dye another batch.  I’ve got plenty of white yarn…  And you can purchase the 8 shaft draft I use for all my scarves here.

And the push is on because I’m booked to be the guest on the Shi Show, if you aren’t familiar with this, it is a half hour daily live show on Lion Brand Yarn’s Facebook page.  Shira is a descendent of a long line of family that owns Lion Brand Yarns.  She is young, and savvy and enthusiastic and represents the next generation of makers.  I’ll be the guest host on the September 1st episode that airs 12 noon EDT, I’ll let you know when we get closer, but I need my YouTube channel up and functioning, and the page in my eShop as well, with my lovely scarves and other items that I would have sold at the guild show and sale.  This year has been about reinventing myself in fast forward timing.  I’m doing my best.  

And speaking of my best, my daughter and I came up with a new logo for the videos I want to produce.  I’m pretty proud of this.  I designed the concept and my daughter turned the whole thing into a vector drawing in layers in Illustrator.  Everything is falling into place.

Stay tuned for more adventures of “The Weaver Sews…”

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A Saturday in August…

First, I’d like to take care of a little business, please bear with me and read this through.  This has been an expensive and trying week.  I have been writing this blog for more than 10 years.  Many of you enjoy it and have subscribed so you’ll know when I post.  I have about 800 subscribers.  Know that I do not ever send an email to any of my subscribers unless I have posted a new blog, which is what you signed up for.  I don’t sell or otherwise share the email list.  Unfortunately, there was a handful of you, 17 to be exact, Google knows who you are, that for some reason, innocent or whatever, labeled my subscriber notifications as spam.  I know for some, there is a habit that you want to clear the inbox, maybe want to read my post later, don’t want to trash it, so maybe store it in the spam box.  My own sister admitted to that.  Or maybe you aren’t interested in my posts anymore.  Cool.  It is easy to unsubscribe.  Really, each email from me has that option.  PLEASE don’t ever mark something as spam that isn’t.  See, Google keeps track of this and shares info with Yahoo and all other providers.  And when they reach a certain algorithm of reports, they blacklist the entire domain.  That means that orders from my store don’t get to inboxes, they go directly to spam.  Orders from my store go directly to my spam box so I don’t know you ordered.  Post notifications that you subscribed to go into spam.  I know this because, well, I can’t say how I know this but this came from head of Google security and that’s all I can say.  I know someone who knows someone.  If you don’t want something that you subscribed to in your inbox, please unsubscribe.  It was a challenging and expensive week to undo this, having to pay my tech guy for assistance, and I know none of my readers would intentionally cause me this much grief.  Please watch what you label as spam.

Now, onto the good stuff…

First a side story.  Most of you who have been with me awhile, know I collect Tools of the Trade looms.  I think I have 13 down there in the studio?  They find me…  My first one came in 1978, I bought it right out of college.  And if you Google Tools of the Trade looms, my name comes up, probably because I mention them regularly in my blog posts.  So I get all kinds of queries, such as, “I bought this loom on the internet, and I don’t think it is working properly, can you help?”  I do my best, and usually, with photos I can get looms up and running or identify the problem.  Since I have just about one of everything Art made back in the 70’s – 90’s, I can provide a picture of what it should look like. 

So I got this email from a woman in the Michigan or Minnesota area, somewhere up there.  She found in a closet a second warp and back beam for a Tools of the Trade loom that she had ordered.  She forgot she had it, sold the loom long ago, and came across the beam in a downsizing move.  Fortunately she googled and reached out to me, and asked if I wanted it, for the price of postage.  She shipped me the beams.  I figured it would go with one of mine at least.  Oddly enough, when I opened the box, it was for a 30″ width loom.  I didn’t know he even made looms in that width.  Mine are 25″ and 45″.  And I have a rare 16″ in thrown in the mix.  So I put it in my closet and forgot about it.  

Last year I got a call from someone in New England who had a Tools of the Trade loom she didn’t need anymore, Googled it and got me.  She just wanted to find a home for it, my daughter drove to Massachusetts, and though the woman wasn’t expecting to get money for the loom, I think we offered her $400.  It was only fair.  It was a four shaft floor loom and get this.  It was 30″ wide.  Turns out it was one of the original looms Art made, stained with a cherry color, including the bench.  The loom was pretty lightweight, built off the small floor loom specs, but we threw a linen warp on it and my daughter decided to weave some rag rugs.  

You have to know my daughter is a pretty strong kid, having hauled around 800 pound cows in college in her animal science program, a loom is nothing.  This particular loom’s warp beam winds backwards than our other Tools of the Trade looms, and had a ratchet and pawl brake, as opposed to a friction brake.  About 15 minutes into her first rug, she overtightened the beams, in the wrong direction and split the warp beam.  With about 10 yards of linen on it, I was not a happy camper.  Clearly the loom was too lightweight for rugs, but we had to wait for the heavier ones to be cleared, for the great studio redo that happened last fall/winter, and for a time we could address the issue.  

She was able to carefully weave a few rugs off the loom, but it was clear that we needed to transfer the warp onto one of the heavier looms so we could repair the beam.  So we did.  By putting two looms breast beam to breast beam, it is easy to transfer one warp from one loom to another. 

Once the warp was safely transferred, I could address the split beam.  I thought originally that the 30″ second beam could replace the ratchet and pawl warp beam that split.  The original beam was so long that it went through a huge hole in the side of the side supports, so in reality, I couldn’t substitute.  I thought maybe the heads on the two beams could be switched.  They weren’t drilled the same.  Disappointed, I repaired the split beam, wood glue is pretty solid.  and put the beam back together.  My daughter and I spent a long time in discussion and we realized, that though the loom wasn’t drilled for a second warp beam, we could, using the same templates as our other looms, drill it ourselves.  Though we have some woodworking equipment, we don’t have a drill press.  So I called a really good craftsman friend who is a fantastic woodworker, who lives in the next town, and dismantling the entire back of the loom, marking the side supports well, she donned a mask and headed over there this afternoon and got Gary to drill four holes through the rock maple. 

And now, this lovely original loom, has a second back beam and I know exactly what I’m going to put on it.  I love when the planets align and things find their way home.  I can’t wait to set this loom up and get it working again.

Meanwhile, my garden overfloweth.  In anticipation of the storm Tuesday (devastating storm, for some bizarre reason my street did not lose power or internet, but the rest of NJ did) we harvest a lot of basil.  This is the second go round this summer, I have a freezer full!  Now it is even fuller!  I make basil pesto, freeze it flat in little freezer bags and break off what I want.

And I’ve worked hard all week to finally clear a loom, which has had a scarf run on it way too long.  I think there are six 2 yard scarves on this loom, and I just have to hemstitch the last one, pull the fabric and wash it.  

And the fabric called Summer Rain is beautiful.  I’m really happy with how it looks.  Will be interesting to see it finished and find out how it washes up but for now, this was a lovely use of the yarns I got to try from Silk City Fibers.  This fabric features their new Nile cotton tape, and their new Cotton Bambu yarn, along with Linen 14, Bambu 7, and a couple from my own stash, rayon slubby Saphira and Skinny Majesty variegated.  The weft is Bambu 7.  The specific yarns are all listed with links in my previous blog post.  

And just as a tip, I find that using heavy carabiners on the two last selvedge threads, whether they are floating selvedges or not, really helps keep the selvedges tidy. I have lots of these and I use them on everything I weave. 

And today, I had my tech guy come and run an ethernet cable to the new garage studio, so when I do zoom meetings or live demos, I can be hard wired in the studio instead of using WIFI which can be unstable.  I now have two ethernet cables coming from the ceiling.  Why two?  You never know…

So remember, unsubscribe, don’t label things as spam that aren’t spam, and use weights on the last two selvedge threads.  You’ll have better selvedges!  

Stay tuned…

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