Category Archives: weaving

Pegging Dobby Bars….

It’s been a good, productive day.  I actually posted on Archie’s blog for the first time in longer than I will admit (although the dates are there for everyone to see….to my shame!).  He and I have been working on things all along….just not posting.  If you love tapestry check it out!

And I wove some plain weave on my huck threading to look for threading or sleying errors.  All is well so it was time to peg up 50 bars for my pattern.

2014-05-31 15.20.01Notice anything wrong with this picture?  I certainly didn’t…..until I’d gotten about the 2/3 through the pegging and ran out of pegs.  So I went scavenging through my bars to undo some pegs.  And that’s when I noticed that the pegs go in the flat side, not the angled side.  So….out with the bad and in the the good.  Almost twice the work, but at least it’s done now….

Just started to weave and the bars are not advancing well on the dobby arm.  I’ll have my devoted handyman Bob take a look at it.  Be back shortly…

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Now it’s Monday…  Bob got the dobby arm to work in one direction, but not both.  The manual says not to fiddle with adjusting the dobby arm, but to call AVL for advice.  Well, they are in California and I’m on the East Coast, so I could not call over the weekend, and cannot call until this afternoon.  So, moving forward only, I tried the pattern.  There were lots of misfires with the bars, but I managed to get two pattern repeats by going forward only.  After wet finishing these diamonds will soften into rounded flowers.  I am happy!  Now, hopefully I can get the dobby arm to work properly so I can speed up a bit!


Spring on the Farm….circa 1750

Yesterday there was a lovely event at a local historic farm in Old Saybrook.  It was a wonderful way for me to celebrate being home and to enjoy the glories of spring!

The house at Bushnell Farm was built in 1678, and is the third oldest house in Connecticut (now I want to find the two older homes!).  Isn’t it a beauty?

It is privately owned by a couple who live in my town, and they are doing a fantastic job of maintaining this property as well as continually bringing various areas of the farm back to the conditions of its early history.

Several times a year they open the property to the public free of charge.  The spring opening celebrates the farm’s production of textiles which was such a vital part of life at that time.

One of the barns has a large loom in it dressed with linen toweling.  There are a number of flax wheels, lots of tools for spinning and weaving, along with all the other tools and equipment that would be in use on a farm of this age.  The Clarks have done a stellar job of collecting the daily items that would be in use on this farm.

For yesterday’s event the Clarks had arranged for two spinners from New Hampshire to come demonstrate at the farm.  The first demonstration was on processing flax into linen, and it was the main event for me.

Gina Gerhard does 18th century textile demonstrations throughout New England and she certainly knows a great deal about growing flax, harvesting it and processing it for spinning into beautiful line linen.  While I know the various stages of preparing flax stalks for spinning, I had never seen the entire process done live, right before me!  Gina made it look easy, but she has had a lot of experience, and she was only processing one bundle for us. I’m sure an entire harvest would be a huge undertaking.

Amazingly, she grows her own flax, starting with about 5 lbs. of flax seed.  In her area of New Hampshire an historic flax pond has been identified, and she hopes to use it in the future to rett (or rot) her flax bundles.  At the moment she uses a large outdoor tub to rett her flax, and it takes about 4 to 6 weeks.  Having a pond that can be dammed with shallow, still water with a bed of stones at the bottom gets the job done much faster, perhaps only 4 to 5 days if things are perfect.

Here is Gina holding one of her flax bundles.  First the bundles were dried and then retted and then dried again.  In her northern climate she harvests the flax in late Sept or Oct.  Since that is not a great time for beginning the retting (rotting, and it does get stinky as it rots!) process, she lets the bundles dry over the winter and begins the retting process when the weather gets warm, like now!

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The first step in preparing flax for spinning is breaking the flax stalks, which removes the outer and inner harder ‘straw’ that protects the fibers.

2014-05-24 10.38.26The next step is scutching which also removes more of the tough casings that protect the flax fibers within.  Gina is standing next to a scutching board with her wooden scutching knife.  The technique is to lay the bundle against the board and beat the bundle in a downward motion with the knife.  It is a motion of beating and scraping down the stalks.  She mentioned how often she sees these tools mislabeled in antique shops.  She said the scutching knife is often labeled a toy sword!

2014-05-24 10.43.39Then she moved on to her hackle stand, a saw horse with three hackles attached to it (with bench dogs, my first exposure to these marvelous tools.  Why has the modern world switched to C-clamps when bench dogs are so much faster to use and so much prettier too?).  The first time I saw hackles I understood our phrase “getting one’s hackles up!”   Sometimes an image is worth more than a thousand words!

This photo shows Gina’s three hackles (all up!), getting finer as she progresses through the hackling.  Aren’t her bench dogs great??  I talked to the blacksmith in one of the nearby barns about getting a set.

2014-05-24 10.47.19When Gina was done hackling, she had a beautiful linen strick to spin.  She could twist it into a bundle and continue processing other flax bundles, or she could put the the strick on her distraff and begin to spin.

The great take away lesson for me during this demonstration came now, dressing the distaff.  I have never understood how to dress the ‘birdcage distaff’ that we see all the time.  It just seems to me that after preparing this perfectly combed strick of linen putting it around the birdcage just gets too many of the fibers out of alignment.  Then spinning only messes up the aligment further.  Well, clearly I don’t understand it because it is the traditional way of preparing  flax to spin.  Luckily there are other traditions, and Gina uses a straight distaff on which she ties her strick so that it stays in a straight bundle.

Here are the two distaffs:  birdcage on the left, straight on the right

Here you can see how she has tied her strick to her simple distaff and is preparing to spin by pulling out just a few fibers.

2014-05-24 10.58.06Gina describes her flax as good quality (and that is easy to see!), but not as fine as the linen grown in Belgium or northern France.  She says farmers there have mastered what is necessary for producing the finest flax fibers, which includes sighting the flax field in a very sheltered place, safe from wind.  Flax plants have very shallow roots and the plants can get knocked down by wind or driving rains.  Once they are down they cannot be staked up again.  In general, in northern Europe, summer weather is mild and rains are not violent in the way that our summer thunderstorms in New England can be!

Gina spins a yarn that would make a wonderful heavy weight smooth linen fabric.  You can see just how few fibers she draws in to her yarn.

2014-05-24 11.00.40Along with her demonstration she had a lovely display of linen items.  It was such a treat to see her working, to see her display and to get to know her.  I hope our paths cross again!

Linen socks!  I’m not sure I believe these are handknit!

2014-05-24 11.13.53And a close up of each of these beauties!  First, feather and fan (okay, close up I can believe this was handknit):

2014-05-24 11.14.00…but not this one! Boy, I would love to try these on!

2014-05-24 11.14.07She had a plenty of linen fabrics to see and touch to show the difference in fineness and color.  In the stack of three fabrics at the top of this photo, you can see a set of very fine, bleached linen handkerchiefs, followed by quite a coarse fabric woven of  linen singles (perhaps tow linen), and last a heavy weight fabric of line linen which I believe is very similar to what Gina was spinning for us during her demonstration.

2014-05-24 11.14.44At the very bottom of this photo you can just see a bit of embroidery and the folded part of the fabric behind the embroidered edge.  This fabric was wonderfully soft to the touch;  it is a length of antique linsey woolsey.  Wow!

So, that was the highlight of my visit!  And of my Memorial Day weekend.  I just want to get back to my linen spinning project!  Gina has given me some great ideas on how to improve, and I’d like to get to it!

Meanwhile, other things were going on on the farm.  Wool preparation and spinning, horsedrawn wagon rides, sheep shearing.  Most of the out buildings on the propery were open.  One of them has been set up as a general store, which is not original to the farm, but makes an intriguing display of 18th century items that the owners have collected.

Some of my fellow guild members were on hand demonstrating and showing their wares.  It was great to catch up with them and watch them talk to onlookers.  There was a great turn out for this event.

The sheep shearing was almost as thrilling as the flax demonstration.   Certainly it was very thrilling for the sheep….they did their best to avoid it. The shearer was a woman, of very slight build, and rather young it seemed to me.  She handled herself with such confidence, the sheep never gave her a moment’s trouble once she corralled each one.  She sheared all the sheep, but I only documented the first one.  She never made a knick on the sheep, and the two year old ewe was perfectly calm.  Who wouldn’t love a face like this?

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And so the shearing begins…. 2014-05-24 12.28.45

Moments into the shearing I realized I was watching a master, so I had to tape it!


Now it’s Sunday morning and I am full of ideas and inspiration from my day on the farm…. although I want to spin some flax, I am partway through making that colorful warp for yardage for the napkin and lunchbag fabric that is due at next month’s guild meeting.  I’d better stick  to that today!

It’s nice to have enthusiasm for so many fun textile projects!  See you later, hopefully with photos of my finished warp!

A Month Aboard

As I write this Bob is ashore doing our laundry…..yes, it’s almost unbelievable, but I promise….it’s true.  How lucky is that?  We are in Black Point Settlement on Great Guana, where you can get a haircut and do your laundry and have conch fritters, all at the same place that overlooks the little bay where all the boats are anchored. I am suffering from a cold, the last person onboard to get it….just when I thought I had missed the nasty little germ.  So I get to stay aboard and take a nap. Oh well.

This is where you sit to get your haircut while your laundry is going inside


After Chris left last week we had big plans to sail up to Compass Cay and spend a day or two shelling.  On the morning we wanted to depart our anchor would not come up. While we were wondering what was wrong a large power boat arrived and anchored right next to us…..very close, which worried me because I had a bad feeling we’d get tangled with them undoing our anchor problems.  The short version is that after trying to get the anchor up from different angles, Bob put on his shortie suit and free dived down about 25 feet to take a look.  I have to add that he was in the throes of his own cold then so I know this was not his first choice of how to remedy our situation.  He discovered that the anchor was caught on a limestone ledge.  A second dive allowed him to tie a rope around the anchor (he was intending to pull it out by tying the rope to the dinghy and driving forward), but then, while he was down there, he thought he might as well see if he could just free it  by lifting it with his hands.  That worked….so when he hit the surface he let me know that the anchor was free.

In the fast moving currents, it didn’t take long for us to start skimming our way over to that big powerboat.  So there you go!  I was onboard alone at the wheel, Bob was in the water quickly getting left behind as he struggled into the dinghy and got the dinghy anchor up.  I’m headed toward a 70-foot luxurious powerboat, and I’m dragging along a 65 lb.  Bruce anchor as I go.  Well, it was a lot of excitement, and I’m happy to report that there was no loss of life, or any other irreparable damage.  Whew!

But all the yanking on the Bruce anchor before Bob went down to look a look, did cause some damage…. that long shank on the anchor used to be straight!


So instead of heading out, we motored a short distance to some nearby moorings and picked up one.  Then Bob spent a couple of hours undoing our damaged Bruce and replacing it with a gargantuan Fortress that we keep onboard as a spare.  By the end of that, with his cold raging, he was too tired to think of going anywhere….and that was fine with me too.  I can only handle so much excitement in one day.

So, when we did finally tear ourselves away from Staniel Cay, we headed south to an idyllic spot that doesn’t seem to attract many visitors.  Lucky us!  We were the only boat at Bitter Guana, and it is quite a spot.  I hope it continues to be unpopular!  We were alone with a stunning white beach, a large limestone outcropping, and about 16 wild iguanas.  The winds have been pretty calm, after a week or so of too much!



Speaking of wind: I have a love/hate relationship with it.  Yes, a good breeze is just what you need when the temps get in the upper 80s F…. but far too often it just blows too hard down here.  At anchor the boats roll from side to side and buck up and down (at the same time) and it’s about as challenging as being underway in rough conditions.  It’s no fun.  And the sound…. There comes a point when I’d give anything to turn down the volume.  I just want some quiet.  So wind is often the thing that is most challenging.  Anyway…..just had to whine a bit about wind.

We’ve done a little shell collecting and illegal iguana feeding, and I’ve been suffering through my cold.  Last night’s sunset gave us another green flash!  That makes four so far!  Last year we only saw it once!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Here’s what you miss when you sleep in due to being in a Nyquil-induced fog.  It turns out there are lots of tropical long tails nesting on Bitter Guana along with the iguanas!  They fly out in formation first thing in the morning and return at dusk.  Sorry I slept in….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA And about my projects:  things are not as good as I’d first thought.  In fact, I’m wondering if I am going to end up starting every single one of them over.  I guess that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  I do have the one Oktoberfest sock.  And I have these two newly finished embroidery projects.  They hardly count though, because each one only needed a few areas of work to be finished.  I think both these little cross stitch projects have been languishing in a bag for about a decade …. And now they are finished!


I am on the fence about the tapestry.  It has too much black space, meaning the space between the spools.  That might work out for being at the top of the piece, but it seems to me that the spools on the bottom of a shelf are the ones that are the most crowded and perhaps even squashed into less round shapes.  They are bearing the weight of all the other spools. I realize I could turn the piece upside down when it’s finished, but I’m also not happy with my first two spool colors, which are in the lower left so they would be upper right if I turned it upside down.  I love to blend colors on the bobbin, but now that I’ve done a bit of work on this piece, I think what’s called for is unabashedly blazen, full saturation color.  It’s a very graphic piece, lots of circles and circles within circles, and I think the shapes are quite happy shapes….so it needs happy colors.  I’m not crestfallen about undoing the weaving….I’m just sad that there is so little time when the waters are calm enough to work. It’s a shame to spend a perfect, calm day un-weaving rather than weaving.  Oh well.

When all else fails, I bake!


On the Road Again….

We have slipped our land moorings and are on the road to our vagabond life on Pandora.  I will miss my looms over the next few months, but I’ve brought some fun projects to keep me company….knitting (of course!), and this time some embroidery and a small tapestry loom. I’m intrigued with this image, and hope to play with it a bit.  It will give me lots of practice with circles, won’t it?  Circles are considered the hardest shape to weave…..I’ll deliberate on that while I weave a few dozen of them!


As you can imagine I’ve brought just about every color imaginable….small loom, big bin of yarn.  I really wanted to design something with minimal colors, but my time was spent elsewhere over the past few months….and I’ve always been a sucker for color! It has been such a hectic fall and winter, and I have struggled to find a balance between weaving and designing while also enjoying the holidays and spending precious time with my husband’s parents during our last wonderful month’s with Bob’s dad.  It was a tremendously moving time for both Bob and me. One week ago we moved Bob’s mother to her new assisted living facility, into a one bedroom apartment with magificent views of Long Island Sound.  It was one of those days with gale force winter winds, and the views of the Sound were quite dramatic.  She likes it!  Her belongings look very pretty in her new place, and it already has a nice sense of home. On Saturday she told Bob that he has taken wonderful care of her since his father died, that she loves her new place, and that she felt he should take a well deserved, long vacation. So, although we hated to leave her so soon after such big changes in her life, we have hit the road for Florida where our boat Pandora has been waiting for us since November. Honestly, I was in no big hurry to return.  I have grown quite complacent to be home in our quiet little town on the Connecticut River, even with the single digit temperatures and the snow.  I got a fair amount of work done over the summer, and this most recent project is finished pretty much to my liking.  Surprisingly, the first painted warp is the one I prefer.  I could not have known this until I did the second one.  I have made two braids that the piece will hang from, and I am happy with them as well. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here is a detail of the braid….a fiddly process of making a tiny braid in the middle of the strands of silk, and then closing the braid into a loop and adding in more silk to continue with a bigger braid.


We have rushed down the East Coast in order to stay ahead of the ice and snow that has shut down Georgia and the Carolinas.  We spent a wonderful night with Rob and Kandice in Baltimore before we hightailed it for Florida.  We are in St. Augustine now, and although it is a nippy 40 degrees F with wind and drizzle, we don’t dare complain!

We are staying in this pretty little inn right in the historic district.  Our balcony overlooks the Lightner Museum.  We managed to sit out and enjoy the view for a few minutes before the chill drove us back inside.  Here is a shot of our room with the railing outside of the large window and the little balcony for sitting just off to the right of it.

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I am looking forward to dinner in the cozy, intimate dining room later today.  Yesterday we enjoyed a glass of wine in the bar.  A cocktail in the evening and a full breakfast in the mornings comes with the room.

old city house dining room

Stocking up on a few luxuries for our time onboard, like blood orange infused olive oil and some good books from the used book shop!

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 Later we will visit the Lightner Museum and tomorrow we will do a little more touring before heading down to Ft. Pierce where Pandora awaits.

Round 2, Ready to Weave!

Teacher knows best!!

Repeat like a mantra:  Teacher Knows Best, Teacher Knows Best….

Yesterday, after painting the warp, Bob set up a heat lamp over the warp to keep the temperature as close to 70 degrees F as possible for its curing time and overnight drying period.  It worked like a charm, so this morning I have wound the warp back onto the back beam, tugging the warp firmly after each revolution of the beam.  There is no significant shifting!  Hoodah!  What a thrill to actually learn something from this process.

I now have two cardinal rules:
1.  Always blot the warp before painting, even if I cannot see any excess water.
2.  Always tug the warp when winding back on the loom.

I hope to complete the weaving today since it is only about a yard. I hope to paint the 3rd attempt tomorrow….. ever hopeful!


The word journey has been foremost in my mind for months now…. my father in law’s major journey (his life) has just ended.  He led a beautiful life, and he was as much a father to me as he was to his three biological children.  He was a great man in all the best ways possible…. devoted to his wife, his children, and a consumate volunteer which means he was devoted to all the causes he he championed.

Lately my own journey seems fraut with anxiety, too many deadlines, too many places to be in such a short time.  I feel like I’ve just returned from our long journey down the Eastern seaboard of the US and across to the Bahamas, and now we are to leave again in just a couple of weeks.  Where has the time gone?

Well, mostly we’ve been spending some very special time with Bob’s father.  It hurts to know you are losing someone, but in the long run I feel it has been a gift to help Bob, Sr. through the last months and a gift that we could be with him as much as possible for our own needs…. I think this is far better than losing someone you love without any warning at all.

During this last summer/fall/winter of my father in law’s journey I’ve been thinking about the Moirae, whose names are Clotho (the spinner), Lachesis (the measurer), and Atropos (the one who holds the scissors and cuts the thread of life).

I love Sarah Swett’s rendition of these fates “The River Wyrd.”  She has done a great job portraying them having a laugh at our small lives, our loves, our passions. At this moment in the grieving process, I’m much too bogged down in the sadness of missing him, and wonderful memories, and nostalgia and schmaltz…. to treat this subject with humor.  And I am searching for a way to find voice for the respect and love I have for my father in law’s life.

So I’ve been rather focused on images of the thread of life.   My father in law, the original “Bob” in the Osborn family, had a wonderfully long life, although not nearly long enough for all of us who loved him.  He was connected to many people, a life long best friend with his brother who died just weeks ahead of him, and a life long friend of a surprising number of others.  How many people do any of us know who can get together regularly with friends they’ve known since before a marriage of 60 years?

Anyway…. my own recent journey has been in trying to depict images of a beautiful, long life.  I’m not there yet, but impatience led me to attempt a less than fully developed idea, with a technique I learned a couple of decades ago from Betty Vera and revisited this summer with Sarah Saulson.

The technique involves dressing a loom with a warp, then pulling out the warp onto a flat surface, under tension, and painting the warp with dyes thickened with printers’ paste, or  sodium alginate.  Here are some photos of my first attempt at this.

My warp is silk crepe which I wound onto two spools for easier handling.

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I made a stencil of my design on a manilla folder.

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 Here is the warp after painting.  The dye is ProChem blue #402 mixed for full saturation with a little “New Black” added.  You can see the stencil brush I used in the lower left.  It is a wonderful tool that I found at Long Ridge Farm’s booth at Rhinebeck one year.  It is made of very tightly packed natural bristles, but I don’t know anything else about it since the attached tag is in Japanese, and Nancy Zeller did not have the information on her when I bought it.

The dye required four hours to set with moisture at a temperature of 70 degrees F.  After that the plastic film is removed to allow the warp to dry before being wound back on to the loom.

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In my haste to work on this project (I had envisioned this piece hanging from the lectern during Bob, Sr’s. funeral…pipe dream!) I did not take any photographs of the weaving process.  My 8 shaft Baby Wolf was threaded with an undulating twill, and I used a natural colored, smoothly spun silk thread for the weft.  I think both warp and weft are in the range of 20/2 silk, but neither of these silks, in my stash for decades, were labeled.  I threaded the undulating twill at 30 ends per inch. The seredipitous surprise after weaving and wet finishing was the amazing sheen of the silk crepe!  It glows.

Here is the finished piece.  It shifted more than I expected when I wound it back on to the loom, which is when I discovered that some of the heddles were not oriented properly on the shafts.  A number of heddles were upside down, and I think this opposite orientation caused a bit more drag on the threads which resulted in significant shifting.  I tried repositioning these threads by adding a bar at the back of the loom with these threads pulled around it….but as you can see from my photo, it did not help.

This is not what I had envisioned for the finished piece, but I am not unhappy with it!  Yesterday I made a new warp (and used up all the rest of my silk crepe!) and dressed the loom so that I will probably be ready to paint again tomorrow.

thread of life 500 dpi

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Weaving Adventures

I’ve neglected mentioning some of the events that have inspired me this fall.  First would be the 18th century tapestry series titled “Weaving the Myth of Psyche” on display at the Wadsworth Atheneum.

There are some stunning images in these tapestries.  Look at this donkey….

And the spinner….

And Cupid’s wing….isn’t that something? I am going to have some fun with this image!

The museum asked for some guild members to demonstrate tapestry that day, and three of us participated.  Here one guild member is luring in the children with her spinning.

A couple of weeks later, the state guild meeting featured the boundweave work of Rebecca Arkenberg, called “Tales from the Loom.”  Her boundweave figures are whimsical and creative, and it is obvious she is having a great time combining boundweave with a sense of humor.  She said that people often can’t see what she is portraying, and she’s learned to let that go and just enjoy herself.  What terrific advice!

Rebecca has a great knack for reducing world wide cultural images to the barest essentials.

This one is particularly fun!  Navajo women, rugs, and Churro sheep!

And how about bunnies with angora tails sitting in rows of carrots and beets?

Cat and mouse….

A highlander in kilt!

The Scarlet Letter….

I had so much fun at this guild meeting and came away buoyed with ideas for returning to my own boundweave project that has been neglected for some time now!

Knitting is Catching Fire!

Oops!  See note at end the end of this post for why this post is badly titled!

Bob and I went to the movies last night.  It was an escape from the very sad and very stressful time we are going through, which involves a loved one’s serious health condition.  Bob has been not-so-patiently awaiting the release of the second “Hunger Games” movie so we dashed out to see it last night on his return from the daily hospital visit. I was mildly intrigued, but definitely looking forward to an evening’s distraction…

No one warned me there would be KNITTING!  The whole first segment of the movie held me captive, and I was craning forward in my theater seat to get a better look at the unusual knitted designs that Katniss wore!  It was a visual feast!  I swear there were three knitting garments, but I must be wrong…

….because these garments are already all over the internet, and there are only two:


This garment does not look knitted to me.  It made me think of nalbinding or some other rather ancient technique that predates what we call knitting today.  I’m intrigued!  I’d love to see the real garment.

Then there was this lovely cowl in luscious shades of berries/trees/water.  There is something really interesting going on in the stitch pattern. I tried to magnify this image to get a better look, but it just got a bit blurry! Hmmmmm….

Okay….enough about Katniss!  Here are a few things I’ve been working on lately.  Mostly, I have to say that I’ve been curled up in a fetal position for several weeks now….sleeping too much….

My English friend, Lesley, just finished this sweater in a deep garnet merino wool. I bet it is breathtaking!  I was so intrigued that I had to have one too…. in medium blue cotton (Cascade’s Ultra Pima in color #3772).  I have finished the cables around the neckline, and now I’ve put it aside…’s a lot of plain stockinette for the rest of the body….sigh…. I do love the way the longest cable comes down below the garter stitch area, which you can see on the right side in the photo.  What a beautiful design!

And I’m spinning my first “Tsarina of Tsocks” kit called “Kitri.”  The body of the sock is a lovely claret red merino/silk blend.  I’m doing a test spin for a 4-ply by topping off a few bobbins with the tsarina fiber so I can ply just a short amount to check my knitting gauge.

A couple of weeks ago Bob set up my large Shannock tapestry loom.  I’m ready to start two tapestries and need to decide which one comes first!  The full size Flax Spinner or “Into the Night,” which is a new cartoon I recently made…

Isn’t she an impressive loom? Cartoons are draped on the treadle bar, including a really old cartoon that I never wove.  In the foreground you can see an umbrella swift with a skein of silk draped on it.  I just finished using that silk to make a warp for my next painted warp project.  It will be a small wall hanging based on an image Bob took while we were in the Bahamas.  If all goes well, maybe I will bring it with me in January and hang it on the wall of our main salon.

And speaking of making cartoons…. I borrowed an opaque projector from an old friend.  It’s quite a relic from the 50s and makes quite a roar when I turned it on.  In fact, it blew a fuse, so I haven’t actually gotten to use it yet.  Here’s Bob setting it up for me.

So, I guess I’m doing more than just sleeping my days away, and I’m glad I wrote this.  It helped me see that I am progressing on work….just at a snail’s pace… and that (in reality) is not much slower than I normally work.

NOTE:  It has been 10 months since I posted this, and clearly interest in the Katniss fashions from “Catching Fire” is still running high!  Many thanks to Kristin from who sent some links to the two designs I wrote about.  It turns out neither one was knitted!  They are both woven! …and the green cowl is a beauty in what looks like deflected double weave! Although that makes my post title inaccurate, I am quite thrilled to learn these garments were woven.  You can take a closer look here and here.

Try This at Home

Well, I have managed to use synthetic dyes completely unsupervised in my own house.  It’s taken me at least 20 years to get up the nerve and confidence to do this.  I know….  there has never been a logical reason for this, but it’s been a huge hurdle for me to attempt this at home!

I sectioned off about 1/2″ of warp at both selvedges to paint a solid color with the burnt orange.  And then I sectioned off an inch to paint in a pseudo-ikat effect.  Each of these sections was wrapped in it’s own bit of cling wrap to prevent any co-mingling of colors.  Finally, I painted the main, center section.

After a curing period of about 6 hours wrapped in plastic, I uncovered the warp to let it dry.  The far end of the warp is now suspended off the table for better air circulation.

Project Hiatus…

Life, again.  You never know when life is going to take over and make all your plans seem positively ridiculous… impermanent as a shadow in fading light.

So Bob and I have been at a standstill for the past few weeks.  He’s behind on getting Pandora ready for its next season of long distance sailing, and I’m behind in using my precious land time to fulfill my own projects.

In honor of Labor Day we are having a quiet day at home (it’s raining so there is no pressure to be out at a picnic or parade this year).  I am returning to my silk warp from the NEWS conference.  I have prepared my folding table and loom with drop cloths to protect everything from dye, and I have been looking at my MX dye charts from decades ago…  Unfortunately, today is not serving up the best light for choosing colors.  Hence, I’m taking a break here to document this project!

What is left of my warp is not long enough for a scarf.  I would have bet money on this being the case, so all along I’ve imagined this last piece being a narrow wall hanging.  My design choices are limited by the threading I’ve already established which is an advancing twill.  I can weave it in sharp advancing points or in undulating advancing hills.  I want to try separating out an inch of warp at each side for an ikat-effect black and white block design to frame the main design in the center.

Now I will begin mixing colors.  I am considering several reds, from a cool cherry red to burgundy to a plum type of red/purple and a deep dull orange in the pumpkin range.  I also want black, and I’ve got the ‘new’ black….hoping it is deep and true as advertised!

And here is a gift from my not so friendly weaving cohort that greeted me on my morning walk.  She also waited out the onslaught of life (in the form of a violent thunderstorm and heavy rains last night) before creating her glorious web sometime early this morning.  I hope I will be as successful!