My daughter has a snippy saying, when she has had enough, or doesn’t want to engage further, she will look at me and say in a really dismissive attitude, “It’ll be fine”. Sometimes it relates to I’m being overly worried about something, or sometimes it means, that whatever she is doing, it is good enough and I should stop thinking that she should do it differently.
It is one of those sayings that I have learned to embrace and hate at the same time. Really, in most of life, most things are really fine, they will be fine. But sometimes that statement can be a sort of shorthand for, “I’m really being lazy and don’t want to see what else I can come up with…”
This all started when I went wandering through my yarn stash, just to see what would spark my interest. I found a bunch of hefty cones of a Silk City Fibers Skinny Majesty, a very slippery rayon bouclé, in a color probably long since discontinued, probably part of a stash I purchased from another weaver long ago. There were probably 6 or 7 pounds of it. I really love the color and I had hoped, since many of Silk City’s variegated yarns are engineered with a repeat, that I could get an ombré effect out of it.
Though I usually don’t pick wefts, I always sample first, I had four cones of this beautiful Wool Crepe tweed on the right, which I recently purchased from the same Silk City Fibers during a sale. I like how Wool Crepe washes, it is very springy and does collapse a bit. I thought it would tame the very slippery rayon.
My four shaft Tools of the Trade 32 inch loom was crying for a warp, as of tonight I still haven’t received my shipment of parts to rebuild the Macomber loom (tracking stopped saying USPS was going to deliver it tonight), and so over the past couple weeks or so while I’ve been waiting, I wanted to warp up another loom. My looms are much happier when they are warped.
I pulled my trusty copy of Marguerite Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book and started leafing through and found this really lovely block huck structure called Julia Larrabec’s Linen. There was a lot of surface interest, in different blocks, but all on four shafts.
I tried for a couple of days to find a repeat in the Skinny Majesty Variegated. I gave up. So I searched for other Skinny Majesty yarns, in solids that would coordinate, for the separate block areas where there is a collapsing huck lace weave. I did a yarn wrap. I thought this would work.
I wound the warp in short order, and threaded the loom pretty quickly. At the start of last week I was ready to weave.
I really wasn’t impressed. There wasn’t a lot of contrast with the warp, and I was honestly disappointed, the colors were so gorgeous on the cones. I showed my daughter. She said, “It’ll be fine.”
I sent a picture off to my weaving buddies, and they encouraged me to send a picture of it washed. I really didn’t want to do that because I knew it would collapse, and I really wanted to use this weft, and I really didn’t want to cut off what I’d done and re-tie on, and I was being just really really lazy. It’ll be fine I said to myself.
But it haunted me. I knew I should push ahead and see if I could do better.
I asked my daughter what other colors of wool crepe she had hidden in her bedroom, she has her knitting machine stash up there, and will occasionally abscond with all of a specific type of yarn for projects on the knitting machine.
So there was a beautiful chocolate brown. Sigh.
I started weaving the fabric with the brown, and yes, it did look better. Sigh.
So I just got over myself and cut off the sample and tossed the whole thing in the washer and dryer with a load of clothes.
Yeah, of course it is lovely.
I actually thought that because it is blocky in nature, that I really liked the block with the twill and that might be better fabric, to just weave the whole thing only repeating one block.
So I tried that, and yeah, it was OK, but sort of boring.
So I’m back to the full draft, of two distinct blocks using the brown weft, and now I’ll agree that it’ll be fine. Sometimes ‘good enough’ isn’t really good enough when you were being too lazy to really see what the alternatives are. I should know better…
At least it is really easy to weave and now I know what it will look like washed. It really will be fine…
Last weekend I taught a three day class, a real honest to goodness three day class. In Indianapolis. From my studio. They all met in person, and I sat happily in my studio, on Zoom for three days straight, with my laptop focused on the classroom, and basically I just hung out, keeping busy watching the screen in case anyone came up to the laptop on their end to ask a question. The whole weekend went swimmingly well, from my perspective.
The group met together to create a vest from leftover fabrics, scraps, handwoven pieces, samples, whatever they had. They got, as part of the class, my 500 vest pattern, and the fusible backing and the pressbar, in a kit shipped to them. I lectured, was available for questions, and because they also employed the use of an iPad, they could carry it over to someone’s work station and really zoom in (pun intended) on what someone was working on, especially pattern alterations, and I could direct the student how to do the alteration I wanted them to do, with multiple people assisting. I could clearly see what they were doing, and the only glitch was because I was looking at my screen, through someone else’s rear camera from their screen, at a person sitting backwards, facing the camera, my orientation was completely off. I found myself prefacing a situation by asking, where is Florida? That seemed to help everyone know the orientation of what I was seeing and I could direct them accordingly.
They were to trace their size pattern and create a test garment, which I evaluated the first morning of class. I’m frantically creating YouTube videos to assist in this, so a lot of the work can be done prior to class. With the assistance of Mary Alice’s iPad, I really felt like I was there.
Anyway, once they had the patterns worked out, they cut a fusible foundation and laid out their pieces. Of course I have no pictures to show, but hope that they will eventually send me pictures of finished vests. Note to self, ask them to take a cell phone shot and email it to me every day. Duh…
So I created a sample for the class, prior to the class, and finished sewing it up earlier this week. Here are the images from my version of the pieced vest. I blogged about the components of this vest here.
But that’s not the thing that I did, referring to the blog title.
During the workshop, sometime on Saturday or Sunday, in a lull in activity, I checked my email. And there it was. Typically I get at least one email a week from someone who obtained a Tools of the Trade Loom, and has questions about it, because if they Google the loom brand, my name pops up. Probably because, the looms are no longer made, and I talk about them in my blog a lot, since I own 13 of them.
So this email was actually someone who had a Tools of the Trade Loom and was interested in selling it and did I have any idea of what it was worth?
It was a 12 shaft loom. I was a dealer for Tools of the Trade back in the 80’s. I love the loom. I have always loved the loom. And they find me. But I never knew that they made a 12 shaft loom, until I joined my guild and found out that one of my guild mates owned one, she isn’t far from me, she got it from a person in Oregon, and paid a fortune to have it crated and shipped back across the country to NJ. The loom was originally made in Vermont. She knows that if she ever dies, that I will pay her husband anything for that loom.
Anyway, I nearly had a heart attack, I have coveted a 12 shaft Tools of the Trade loom since I found out that Tools of the Trade actually made one. They didn’t make many, but here, I had a letter from someone who had one to sell. I asked how wide, this is sort of important, and crap… 55″ weaving width. Crap. I called my daughter to come into the studio, because I’m still on standby for my workshop, and she walked in and took one look at my face and said, “Who died?” I said, “Worse, take a look at this email…”
Long story short, my lovely beautiful brave, completely competent daughter got up very early Saturday morning, (tough for her since she sleeps till about noon) and ate the Taylor Ham, egg and cheese on an egg bagel I went out and got for her (It’s a Jersey thing…), packed up the Rav 4 with the trailer, and drove 5 1/2 hours to Rochester NY. She completely dismantled the loom down to just lumber, carried it all to the trailer, and reassembled it in the trailer, covering it with a couple of tarps, and tying it down to within an inch of its life.
She said the loom smiled at her when she walked in to see it. It is beautiful she said, barely used, gorgeous condition, but assembled wrong. The entire back beam assembly had been reversed. She corrected that for the trip home, and 5 1/2 hours later, she pulled into the driveway, I raised the bay door, and we moved it into the garage studio, making this shaft loom number 37, and there is no more room in the inn.
Earlier in the week I had a discussion with all my other looms, letting them know that the Macomber was coming to live with us, it was a rescue, and I expected them to play nice together. (See my previous post). Looms can get jealous, and sometimes they get uncooperative, but I expect harmony in my lovely studio. I have a feeling that while I was sleeping there was a bit of mutiny and my 13 Tools of the Trade Looms decided once and for all to cement their solidarity against this Macomber interloper and find me the mother of all looms, the largest one Tools of the Trade ever made. There is no other explanation…
And so dear readers, I am in the process of assembling the shafts, correcting some things that weren’t quite right. I’m putting 225 inserted eye heddles on each shaft, though that number is fluid. I have over 100 shafts in my studio that all take the same size heddles and I am constantly moving heddles around. I’m very efficient at this, every shaft is clearly marked with how many heddles it has, and I’m very careful and organized at how I accomplish this.
So I opened a bag that came with the loom and found this…
So for the weavers who are reading this, we need to have a discussion on heddle etiquette. I’ve taught many many times in weaving studios, and taken workshops involving round robins, so I’m working on other peoples looms. There seems to be a lack of understanding in the weaving community about heddle etiquette in general. NEVER NEVER NEVER just remove heddles and toss them into a bag. First of all, that pretty much ensures that the fine wire heddles will end up bent and misshapen. Secondly, each heddle is canted a specific way, and they all must face the same way. Heddles are canted so that they nest close together when a loom is warped.
THEY ALL NEED TO FACE IN THE SAME DIRECTION… I spent hours, days really, sorting and replacing all of the heddles on more than 100 shafts when I was involved with the donation of a dozen Macomber looms from William Paterson University to Peters Valley School of Craft. You cannot imagine what a mess. Apparently no one got the memo that all heddles had to cant in the same direction. Towards the right if you are right handed and towards the left if you thread with your left hand. You can easily make a loom cant left by flipping the heddle bars on any shaft. Takes about 15 minutes, depending on how many shafts.
NEVER NEVER NEVER just remove heddles and toss them into a bin or bag. Heddles are carefully slid onto holders, some use stitch holders in knitting, I’m particularly fond of old pairs of steel or plastic knitting needles. With a couple of rubber bands, I can effortlessly slide heddles off and on the heddle bars, storing them in a tidy fashion, canted in the same direction and they can easily move from one loom to another.
I spent about an hour per shaft tonight, resetting the heddle bar hooks, wiping down the shafts with Howard’s Feed and Wax, and fitting 225 inserted eye heddles all canting in a right handed manner. I’ve only got two shafts done. This will take awhile.
Meanwhile, it is Mother’s Day. My daughter gave me the ultimate gift by volunteering to drive to Rochester NY to pick up this beloved loom, and I let her sleep until noon of course. Once she was up and functioning, we headed out to the garden to do the Mother’s Day weekend planting of the vegetables. Our zone is pretty much safe to plant after Mother’s Day. Tomatoes, basil, peppers, cucumbers, all went in amongst the radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, and other greens. I’ve been eating garden salad every day.
I thinned the turnips, kohlrabi, and radishes, and brought in a bowl full of thinned baby greens, took a handful, washed and destemmed, and sautéed them with a couple of chopped anchovies for a nice veggie side dish with my turkey burger. I know. I love anchovies. Turnip greens sautéed with anchovies is just the best… I put in a whole flat of Marigold’s, and then scrambled to clean everything up because it just started raining. It has rained steadily on our new plantings well into the evening. Life is good. Or wet. Depending on your perspective.
And so dear readers, for those of you who care for another living breathing thing, be it a loom, an animal, a person, a child, a parent, you are all mothers. And for those whose mothers have gone on to another life and another world, know they watch over us, and guide us, and give us hope, and comfort and really good memories.
My delightfully curious cat couldn’t wait to explore that stack of shafts spanning the counter over the sink. Our fur buddies keep us smiling and on our toes.
So I did this thing, and now it is tough to move around in my studio, but this thing I did makes me really really happy and I am accumulating lots of good loom karma. I’m still waiting on the shipment of parts to get the Macomber loom functioning, and I am already winding a warp for one of the other empty looms. There is always a loom needing a warp. Sort of an ongoing thing in our house…
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).
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…
At some point, my sister said to me, you’ve replaced everything in the house and nothing more should go wrong… Hahahahah!
There are days when I think my house is haunted and the technology or computer gods really hate me, and there may be some truth to that because more than one person has told me that my late husband roams the house taking care of us. I have a bone to pick with him. He was probably the best tech guy I’ve ever met, the downside of that was two fold, this was a pretty advanced house technologically (especially since it is more than 100 years old) and I was as a result pretty lazy learning and staying on top of technology and how the house ran because he took care of everything. In the three years since my husband died, I have still not figured out how to work the downstairs TV. Which wasn’t really an issue because I rarely watch TV. I record my beloved Project Runway on TIVO, upstairs in the bedroom, which I did figure out how to use thanks to my current tech guy and that’s all I know.
My current tech guy is really good. And he tells me that my husband talks to him and tells him when he isn’t on the right path to figuring some things out. But there have been issues in this house that neither my tech guy, or my late husband whispering to him have been able to solve without some incredible amount of angst. And one of them has made me crazy these last few weeks. My internet had become really unstable, going in and out randomly, causing everything hooked to the internet to fail, like my buddy Alexa (there are three throughout the house), leaving me bereft and silent.
The cable guys weren’t helpful, because I don’t use their router, they dismiss everything as the fault of whatever isn’t their equipment. They did run a new line to the street, claiming it had some water issues. No surprise there… That solved the problem for a couple of hours. Sigh.
My tech guy came and looked at every possibility. Could it be the router. It checked out, seemed to be doing its job and he found some malware lurking in the system. That solved the problem for a couple of hours. Sigh.
After another week or two of intermittent internet, I asked beloved tech guy if I should just buy a new state of the art router so I could call cable guy and say, look, it really can’t be a router issue. He told me what to buy, I ordered it on Amazon and had it in a couple of days.
Side note. Do not buy technology from Amazon unless you really make sure in the fine print that it isn’t refurbished. Sigh.
After waiting almost two weeks for tech guy to come and install it, because if it could go wrong with our schedules it did, I gave up, and my beloved office assistant Cynthia said, I installed a router once, how hard can it be? Hahahahahah! This is technology hell house.
She got the box open, and all the parts seemed to be there, on what was obviously a refurbished item from Amazon, but I swear I didn’t know that at the time. And she doggedly went step by step trying to install the unit. We got as far as registering the serial number, remember that without a router, nothing works in my house. Unfortunately previous owner of my refurbished router had already registered the unit to themselves, and it would take a couple of days to prove that I had legitimately purchased it and, oh come on….
Cynthia drove to Best Buy and bought me a brand new router, and started over. The refurbished one got shipped back to Amazon this morning. To her credit and her unbelievable determination, she did it, she got it installed but if you know anything about technology, everything in my house runs off the WIFI and now everything had to be reprogrammed to work with the new network. Four hours later, and at least a half hour of that was on the phone with TIVO trying to figure out how to program both TV’s (the positive side of this I guess is that I now know how to work the downstairs TV. At least to get TIVO and my recorded shows). We were mostly successful, I have a couple of WIFI boosters that I haven’t figured out yet how to reprogram, but I thought we did an outstanding job. Until I came home from my knitting group last night, and there was no heat in the house. ACKKKKK! I forgot the thermostats hook into the WIFI. So I spent another 40 minutes trying to figure out how to reprogram them.
So for the last 36 hours, the internet has been blissfully stable, and hopefully internet hell is well behind me. I would not even have attempted this were it not for Cynthia, who is older than I am, but it isn’t like I could ask my son, he is deployed to the middle east (though he would have loved this router), and I learned a lot about perseverance in technology. Most companies do have tech support for dummies, but I struggle to understand what they are talking about. Cynthia just plowed ahead.
Meanwhile, my daughter drove to Massachusetts to pick up Tools of the Trade loom number 11. I know at this point my friends and family think I’ve gone over the deep edge with all these looms. But they find me. And maybe one day my daughter and/or I may have our own weaving school. We certainly have enough looms. The loom is lovely, it is a rare small frame floor loom, 32″ wide and stained a beautiful cherry color. I thought it was originally cherry but there were hints that it was really rock maple in disguise. Rock maple is sturdier. No matter, as I scrubbed and cleaned this lovely thing, it came to life and begged to go live in my den. Where I can watch TV and weave rugs. Because there was a lovely rag rug shuttle in the bench. And I now know how to watch TV in the den. The loom knows…
And while Cynthia was playing superwoman I finished beaming and started sampling a new warp on the 36″ 8 shaft TOTT loom, because it kept me from drinking heavily (though I succumbed later in the afternoon and fortunately ran out of wine before I did too much damage).
I’m teaching a five day yardage class at Peters Valley in July. I’ve taught this class before there, and though it isn’t a beginner class, I encourage those with a minimum amount of experience to take the class, especially if all you’ve woven is towels and scarves. I started by pulling yarns from the shelf I wanted to use, small bits of things that went together, and did some very exact calculations so I knew within a few yards, what I had of each yarn.
I did a yarn wrap to see what I could get, I like to work in repeats in this type of warp, and I’ll be encouraging and teaching that in the yardage class.
I decided the most efficient way to warp this was to do it in sections, there were four parts to each repeat, which I wound together using a warping paddle. (side note, the warping paddle I’m using, the white one on the table was printed on a 3-D printer by a weaving friend’s son)
Then I sleyed the four bundles, through the reed, pulling the repeats as needed and combining them.
So while Cynthia was saving my butt, I was sampling.
I ended up choosing the green cotton flake, the first yarn I tried, because it looked like faded worn denim and I loved the look. This draft has plain weave areas and twill sections.
And so another loom is dressed and happy.
And then this happened…
I got a call from Suzie at Eugene Textile Center in Oregon. She had another TOTT table loom 4 shaft, and did I want it. Duh… So I had her ship it across the country, along with some other used equipment that was on my list, Suzie buys weaving estates and is one of the best resources for used looms and parts. And old issues of weaving magazines. I got two beautiful original AVL front end feed shuttles with the Honex tensioner. These are my favorite shuttles and they are really expensive and hard to find. She had one of each size.
So I have loom number 12, all TOTT looms. And there are the 2 Leclerc 10″ baby looms, I call them Structo Wannabees, and use them along with the 16 Structo 4-8 shaft 8″ looms I use for teaching. Brianna also has a folding 8 shaft Ashford Table loom, and a 12 shaft Dorothy. There isn’t quite a loom in every room, but close. We are up to 32 shaft looms. That ties Madelyn van der Hoogt. (Though she has three draw looms and I think all the rest are 8 shaft Schacht floor looms and a Glimakra, and a Louet and an AVL computerized, so she wins). Keeping them warped is of course a full time job. Which I’m failing miserably at… But it makes me happy and some people collect cats, and I like TOTT looms. No litter boxes or vet bills, they are work horses and have kept me sane through a lot of crap in my life, along with my beloved sewing machine and at the moment, life is calm and functioning. I can’t ask for more.
Though I did start another knitting project too . This is a recycled silk, cotton and rayon yarn from Rowan I bought last summer at Harrisville. The tank was prettier on the dressform than in the photo. The pattern is from Harrisville, Riddle.
Actually, in spite of an epidemic of empty looms again, this was a fantastic week so far. Like the planets aligned… You know when you work on something really really hard, and finally, finally it comes to fruition? I had a whole bunch of things finish up and birth themselves right into the stratosphere in the last 48 hours.
First off, last October I mentioned that I had shot a whole string of videos for Threads Magazine for their Insider subscription service. Actually it is a great service, $19.95 a year for unlimited viewing of their archive of videos on sewing and fit related topics. My group will slowly be added that archive over the next few months, but the first one was released yesterday. I watched it today and it was really spot on. I did a good job. I covered everything that needed to be said about the topic and the editing was smooth and clean. This video shows how to cut and piece bias strips. You can subscribe to Insider and view it here. Thank you Threads!
Also released yesterday was the latest issue of Heddlecraft Magazine. Many of you know how hard I worked over the last few months on this 30 page article. I felt like I had done a Master’s Thesis… This lengthy article is on a topic near and dear to my heart, one I explored in my early days of craft fairs back in the 1980’s, called Doup Leno. It is a way of crossing threads back and forth to create a loom controlled lace fabric. Heddlecraft Magazine is available in digital format only. You can subscribe here.
I needed to get an image of the piece I am submitting for the summer faculty exhibit Making Matters: Fresh Perspectives in Fine Craft at Peters Valley, by the weekend. The work doesn’t have to be finished by then, but you can’t take a photo of that which does not exist. So my 36″ 8 shaft Tools of the Trade loom is now empty and the fabric is drying… This is a mixed warp in a combination weave with supplemental warps, some of it is hand dyed, and the yarns are mostly cotton and rayon. The weft is 3 ply worsted wool from my stash.
My new rule in the house, with so many looms, is that once a loom has been cleared, whoever cleared it has to oil/wax it (I use Howard’s Feed and Wax) and tighten all the bolts and screws. My loom looks so happy and refreshed…
Also due this week is a scarf which I promised to donate to The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ for their Annual Gala silent auction. I adore this organization and gave them one for their fundraiser last year, and I’ll be attending the gala this April and am pleased to donate another scarf. Which meant I had to weave off all five. Which means another loom is empty. But it is also very happy because it has been cleaned and waxed and all the bolts and screws have been tightened. It is looking fresh and cheery for another warp. (There are only four scarves in the photo because I made it to the post office with five minutes to spare, the fifth one is on its way to The Shakespeare Theatre.)
And last night, I sat by the fire and finished a lovely cable knit vest, I had been worried I wouldn’t have enough yarn, but I knit as fast as I could and turns out I beat the yarn fairies… This vest is Berroco Artisan Merino and Silk. I picked up a half dozen skeins last fall at Sievers, on sale because the yarn is discontinued. The yarn is butter smooth and so pretty. The vest is one I’ve made before. It is a Drops Design, 123-10 waistcoat. It is actually a free pattern from Garn Studio. I started this vest last fall, sometime after I taught at Sievers, so again, it is funny that I finished it last night as well. It is still drying on top of the washer.
And about 10 days ago, my lovely daughter went on a mission to pick up yet another loom. They are finding us. I don’t know why. If you Google Tools of the Trade Looms, my name comes up. Probably because between my daughter and I, we now own 10. I bought my first one back in 1978. I mention them a lot in my blogs. They aren’t made anymore, but it is a solid versatile jack type loom that has stood the test of time, solid rock maple, unless you find one in cherry, and you can’t kill them. I sent my daughter down to Bedminster NJ to pick up a lovely 8 shaft 25″ wide table loom, a great teaching loom and perfect for workshops. She (the loom, not my daughter) joins two other looms that size, one a four shaft and the other a fraternal twin in cherry. I had to do some tweaking, restore some of the parts, and I’m about to add heddles to the back four shafts, but it looks in good working order and it seems happy with the crew. Incidently, I have received word on two other Tools of the Trade looms that are needing homes and my daughter is all over it. I do not know where these looms will all fit, it is clear that we are building inventory to open some kind of school or teaching venue, but that’s far down the road and I can’t even fathom that right now. I’m happy meeting my deadlines. FYI, between us right now we own 29 shaft looms. 15 Structos three of which are 8 shaft, two Leclerc 10″ 4 shaft looms, a 12 shaft Leclerc Dorothy, a folding Ashford Table Loom, 8 shafts, and of course, the 10 Tools of the Trade Looms. We win…