Monday, January 30, 2012

"A Twill Sampler....."

I decided to begin weaving a few samplers to give me some experience outside of plain weave/tabby. After weaving the twill scarf/runner, I figured I'd continue with variations of twill. So....using my new book that Don had given me for Christmas, the Handweaver's Pattern Directory, by Anne Dixon, I began my experimenting.

Using the threading as seen drawn on my notes, I had 9 variations to work with.....this page of 3 and 6 more on the following 2 pages, each one using a different treadle sequence.

The next 2 pages of possibilities, each using a different treadle sequence.

I was also able to try out a new method of weaving in the beginning header. I had dressed the table loom the day before reading about this new method on one of my Yahoo weaving groups. Since I'd not gotten too far with my weaving, I decided to un-weave what little I had done, plus the old header, then redid it using the new method. It worked perfectly! I had parallel warp threads, at the correct width, in 6 picks! 6 picks!! Fantastic! My thanks to Laura Fry for sharing her method. Here is the link to her method:

A closer view to the new header and the beginning of my sampler. The darker area at the beginning of the weaving is hem stitched, which locks in the warp/weft threads, so I won't have to do anything to the ends after cutting the sampler from the loom.

Don took this photo as I began another variation in treadle sequence, which would give me a new pattern.

The finished sampler, also hem stitched on the other end, in white this time. I've really not woven too many samplers. The only ones previously were from workshops. It took me a bit of weaving and a couple of variations, before realizing I should separate and tag each one after completing them. This was made clear by the larger space at the bottom of the weaving, which also is a somewhat confused area. The beginning was controlled then I became confused and have no idea what I was doing. :) After floundering a bit, I ended that section and began again.

I've decided to continue my weaving/practice with another sampler. The next few pages in my book call for a different threading, and give 6 variations of treadle sequences. I will measure out a long warp this time that will give me enough to weave numerous samplers. Each one will be woven similar to the 1st one, using its particular threading, hem stitched, and cut off, so that I will be able to begin anew and re-thread for the next. This will save me from having to measure out another warp and wind it onto the warp beam.

In my earlier post about adding more heddles to the back 4 shafts of my table loom, my hope had been to try using all 8 shafts. I took a closer look at that goal and figured I should know more about what 4 shafts can do before I get into using 8 shafts. We'll see how long this "practicality" lasts, eh? ;)

Friday, January 27, 2012

"A Little Loom Prep....."

Don took this photo of the colored heddles with the sun streaming through them from the front room windows. The brightness of the sun really does bring out the jewel-like colors.

Some of you may remember my Ashford Table Loom has 8 shafts. So far, I've only been using the front 4, but I want to expand and try a pattern which uses all 8. I also wanted the table loom to be able to weave a particular pattern for kitchen towels, which forced me to move the few heddles I had on the back 4 shafts, onto the front four. Having bought 4 hundred more Texsolv heddles for the back 4 shafts, I went about adding 100 to each shaft, then marked each shafts heddles a different color.

The shafts are quite easy to take off and put back on, as I marked the slot in the Texsolv cord with the color of the heddles that fill each shaft.

Starting with shaft number 8, who's heddles are now marked with dark green, shaft number 7 is brought to the table where I added the heddles and then marked with orange.

Here are all 4 of the shafts ready to go back onto the loom.

All 8 are now on the loom and each with its own color of heddles. Seems I got a bit more carried away when marking the back 4. All the easier to see, eh? ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Hotel Red Open House"

Hotel Red ( is a newly opened hotel not far from our house. They had an open house for the "neighbors" a few weeks ago, so off we went to check it out. :)

Jyoti, one of our neighbors from down the hill, works at the front desk. Although not working that day, she was going to meet us at the open house. Here is Don sitting not far from the front desk....Regent Street is behind the front desk......Monroe Street is behind us.......Camp Randall Stadium is across the street from the hotel. Location, location, location. ;)

A view from where we were sitting, through the lobby to the bar.

Yes.......sigh, Don had to take my photo, too.

Lights in the lobby which are kind of cool.

Here I am with of her coworkers took us on a guided tour of the 4 styles of room accommodations they offer. They were all very nice.

I'm sure the hotel will do very well because of its location. The staff, some of whom we met during the open house, were all very friendly and welcoming......a HUGE part of any businesses success.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Something New"

Actually, I should have titled this "Something's New".

The 1st thing new to me was using this home made temple to help make sure my scarf (or in this case, perhaps a small runner) stay an even width with no draw in at the sides. The temple idea came from Sara and Hans of Woolgatherers Weaving Shop, in Fond du lac, WI, where I bought my Oxaback floor loom. I should say, it came from their website,, under "Free Temple Plans". I did tweak it though, by using mitten clips and fishing weights instead of what was suggested.

It is a very simple and ingenious idea, AND gravity does the work. It is MUCH easier to use than my larger and wider metal it doesn't have those nasty sharp teeth! ;) The temple is moved along the piece as the weaving progresses. It wouldn't be possible to use this temple when weaving on all looms. On some looms, the support bars are low on the sides and the temple line/weight would draw the weaving down on an angle too steeply.

The 2nd thing new to me is another home made idea, and my thanks goes to Juanita, of Vavning Weaving Studio, in Shopiere, WI, for this little idea. Using a piece of flat styrofoam, cut from the bottom of a meat tray, and a stick pin, allows a weaver to keep track of their pattern without writing down each treadling sequence. write it down once, then keep track of where you are by moving the stick pin. ;) I learned this little tip when I took the double weave class from her last November. (

The 3rd thing that was "new to me", was the use of a "floating selvage". I'd heard of floating selvages before but had never seen one used nor knew much about them. For some reason, I was intimidated by them.....why? Because I was ignorant! ;) They are one of the most simple things to use! All they consist of are 2 "extra" warp ends on each side of the piece of weaving that are part of the wound warp, but not threaded through any heddles! That's it! Then, when weaving, you, the weaver, decide how you will use them.....either by having the shuttle go over it on one side of the piece and under on the the other side, or vice versa. As long as it is done in the same sequence throughout the weaving, it locks the sides in of the woven piece all along its edges. I "think" part of the reason I was intimidated by it was because I have mainly done plain weave/tabby for my woven pieces, and with that, no ends are ever left on the edge that weren't locked in with each treadling sequence.

And it was because I was moving from plain weave/tabby that I forced myself to read and find out more about "floating selvages". I was planning a scarf using "twill". As seen in the photo below, twill creates directional lines in the woven piece. If I hadn't used floating selvages on this piece, I would have had warp ends not caught on some of the treadling sequence.

Here is the piece after I took it off the loom. I had planned for a scarf, but I used 3/2 Tencel as warp and weft. It may be too heavy or stiff for a scarf and not allow enough drape in the piece, thus my comment about a "small runner" earlier in the post. ;) I am pretty sure I'd seen it used for a scarf before, but could be wrong about that. I'll know more after wet finishing it.

Yesterday, I took time to twist the fringe on these 3 pieces. Today, I'll wet finish them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Snow Fun......"

My oldest son, Patrick, and his wife, Julie, each have their own snowmobile. This past weekend was the first time they had enough snow to get them out of the garage. It was also a gorgeous sunny day and great for photos, too. ;)

This is Julie's snowmobile.

And this "pull behind sled" will be Abigail's mode of transportation when she is a little older, or now, for that matter, with her Grandpa, Great Aunt Sandy (my sister), or Julie's family.

But on this beautiful day, she was to ride with Patrick on his snowmobile around their yard. Here they are with Patrick giving her last minute instructions before leaving to go on a nice slow ride. By the way, that is my camper in the background.....their "guesthouse", which has comfortably accommodated both sides of the family.

They live in the Manistee National Forest and have access to snowmobile trails, but for Abigail's first time as a snowmobiler, their yard was just fine........

Julie did an excellent job of photographing the event. ;)

Can't you just hear Patrick telling Abigail to "Get ready to wave to Mommy"!

Unfortunately no wave, probably in hopes they would keep on going.......

Abigail is probably thinking...."Uh Oh.....Here we go again....Mommy with her camera.....maybe if I look bored, then Daddy will take me for another ride". ;)

I'm sure she was not bored by any means, but was ready for more!

My thanks to Julie for posting these photos on Facebook. That sure makes it easy for Grandpa to download them for his own folder of photos. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Beer and Cheese Fest"

Last Saturday, Don and I went to the Allaint Energy Center to attend the Beer and Cheese Fest. We, of course, had to support the local microbrewery's of Wisconsin.

Here is Don with his first sample of beer. I have not a clue as to what brewery it was from........there were so many brewery's! As many brewery's as there were.....there were just as many producer's of cheese, too.

We'd gotten to the event early. This is what the crowd looked like about 30 minutes after it opened. Later in the day, the hall was packed and no open patches like this were seen.

I'm not a beer drinker, but I did taste a number of samples. I have to admit there a couple I did enjoy. But cheese.......there wasn't one that I didn't like. ;) So many and all good!

Don likes beer and enjoys a good microbrew, but there were a few that he wasn't too excited about. Thankfully, there were buckets around for emptying those samples into. ;)

We stood in line with these 2 guys who were quite the chatterer's. :) They were very enjoyable and seemed well acquainted with quite a few of the brewery' us pointers and what we could expect from some of them. A couple of friendly, Wisconsin beer loving characters. ;)

One thing that was spontaneous and hilarious during the event was when someone inadvertently dropped their little sample glass, which of course would break on the concrete floor of the hall, the people near them would say "awwwwwww", which was taken up by the crowd and within a second, the whole hall was resounding with "AWWWWWWWWWWWW". As time passed, there were more "AWWWWWWW'S" and more often. Gee, I wonder why? ;)

Friday, January 20, 2012

"January's Crank In......."

Our local circular sock machine group usually gathers monthly at Madison's Hawthorne Branch Library, but it seems that in January, the room used by the group is never available. Barbara, one of the organizing members, for the past couple of years, has offered to host the group in her home, which is located outside of Mineral Point, WI.

I was able to attend the gathering this year. Last year, I made it as far as the other side of Verona, which is just outside and southwest of Madison, before I decided to turn around due to the weather. That was not a problem this year. The day dawned bright and beautiful and we only had a small amount of snow on the ground.

I stopped and took this photo of her home, which as you can see, is nestled in it's own small, shallow valley.....a truly beautiful setting.

Inside I found some of the regulars, hard at work already, and set up in various areas of the house. At one end of the dining room, 3 stations had been set up. Renice and Martha are at their machines and busily working. A side note, at this gathering, we were also celebrating a couple of birthdays, Martha's being one.

Another 2 work stations were at the other end of the dining room. Here is Pat, taking a break from her machine. Pat is the other birthday celebrant, and because of this, she caused another reason to celebrate.......perhaps the biggest reason. Her retirement! Her last day at work had been the day before our gathering! Oh Happy Day! ;)

The last work station area had 3 set up to work. Here is Ingrid being productive. The other members of the group were all upstairs, having a tour of Barbara's studio area.....which is where I headed after taking these photos.

The attic of this huge old farmhouse is Barbara's studio. She has a number of interests. She is a seamstress, a flat bed knitter, and a circular sock machine knitter. I took this photo from one end of the area, standing between 2 windows. This area held her computer and bookshelves full of resource material. In the center area, is her large table for laying out material, and to the sides, "in the wings", are more storage areas.

The third room, and this photo was taken with me by the window, is her knitting room. She has 5 flatbed knitting machines, and 2 circular sock machines. I, of course, am green with envy. What a space! To have all of your yarns at your finger tips.....AND arranged by color, truly "this" fiber addicts dream come true. ;)

We had a wonderful day at Barbara's. She is a gracious hostess and everyone felt very welcome and at home. Thank you Barbara!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"A Couple of Scarves....."

This is another sock yarn scarf. The yarn is from a German company named Lang, and called Jawoll Magic (75% new wool/25% nylon). I saw it at Wisconsin Craft Market, a local craft supply store (, when I'd gone in for another yarn, and it was an impulse purchase. It comes in several color ways....all designated by numbers from what I can tell.
(By the way you local "Craftaholics", if you go to the Wisconsin craft Market website and click on the Madison coupons links, you can print out a 25% off coupon for your entire purchase! It isn't a one time deal either, you can print one out any and every time you plan on going in.)

The semi-completed scarf. I was undecided about twisting or leaving the fringe as is, but have decided to twist the fringe, thus the semi-completed description.

Another sock yarn scarf, this time the yarn is from Knit Picks, from their Stroll collection (75% Merino wool/25% nylon), and called "Kindling Tonal".

This doesn't show the true color due to lighting, but it allows you to see the pattern created by the color variation in the yarn. I plan on twisting the fringe on this scarf, too.

I forgot to mention, both yarns are superwash, so there won't be any shrinkage when washed/dried.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Pendleton Selvage Rugs Re-Visited......"

The Pendleton Wool Blanket Selvage Rugs are FINALLY completed. I wasn't able to use all 4 colors, 1 not having enough to weave a long enough 3' rug, but the other 3 have been hemmed and wet finished.

This rug was the longest of the 3, ending up at 63" long. Don and I are going to actually use this one to hang on the wall, replacing one of my 1st rugs that we hung a few years ago. I was happily surprised to find that as long and bulky as it is, it wasn't hard to hem. Perhaps I'm just getting the hang of hemming rugs, eh? ;)

A close up of my 1st fold over for the hem. The "Jazz String" will be pulled out before I fold over once more and sew across, to complete the hem. There is a bead of Elmer's School Glue along the Jazz String and warp header, which will wash out during the wet finishing process.

Here are all 3 of the completed rugs.

Don couldn't resist lying down on them (they are soft!) and of course, Copper joined him, not being able to resist having someone who will give her attention, especially on her level. ;)

I took this photo of the 3 rugs after they had been machine washed (delicate)and the dryer! I checked care instructions for Pendleton's Wool Blankets on their website, and found they all said "dry clean". I figured that weavers before me have used these selvages and I doubt they "dry cleaned" their selvage rugs, so into the washer they went. Next decision was, do I put them into the dryer, hoping that the selvage wouldn't shrink and loosen the warp, which is a poly cotton, and wouldn't shrink? What helped me decide to put them in the dryer was a comment from another weaver who also belongs to the Ravelry weaving group called "Warped Weavers", who said that she'd seen rugs woven from these selvages before and that they had even "felted" a bit. Wool will felt when it is wet and heat is introduced, so remembering her comment, into the dryer they went. I am so glad I did! They came out somewhat felted and are even more soft and cushy than they were going in! If you'll look closely at the before and after photos, you'll notice less warp showing after wet finishing. The hot dog commercial jingle, "They Plump When You Cook'em", seems to be true for wool selvages, too. ;)

I even made the decision to use one under the computer area where I have since sat barefoot enjoying the feel of the rug. ;)

I will definitely be ordering more of these Pendleton Wool Blanket Selvages. Having looked online at their blankets and seen the many, many color combinations, who knows what could be in my next order? ;)