Thursday, November 29, 2012

In Praise of Captain

My Neighbor moved his cattle tonight.  They gather in the pen in the corner of the field across the street.  Once they are in there he opens the gate and they amble across the street through my field and then directly into his field.  It has happened so many times in the last 12 years that they know exactly where to go and what is waiting for them over there.  (fresh grazing!)  At least most of them do!

Each year when the calves are born there are one or two exciting passages across the street, until finally even the calves get the idea and go calmly.  They may kick up a heel or two, which I love to see, but they rarely stray from the path.  (I am really good at standing up the road, just close enough to keep them going but not so close to spook them.

This year we had a really late calf.  It has to be about 3 weeks old max!  The cutest little thing, but she spooked and headed back up into the fields.  My Neighbor went looking for her, but couldn't find her.  He came over to ask me to keep an eye out for her.  He has already lost a calf to the coyotes this year.   I asked him if he wanted us to help him look for her.  Dear one got on his bike and headed up the road to make sure it didn't go beyond the pasture, and I got Captain, (my Great Pyr who was a stray last spring) out and we met my Neighbor in the field where he had last saw the calf.

I let Captain off the leash and he started galloping around the field.  He followed my general direction for awhile and then he took off after my neighbor for awhile.  Once I saw him eating another neighbors dog food.  I thought, "Great, you are doing such a good job!"  In fact the next time I caught sight of my Neighbor I said as much!

About that time Dear One came back along the road, and we headed off to the farthest field and Captain thought it was great fun following along with the bicycle.  We searched a little while longer, but the sun was slowly sinking, and we were calling our thanks and good nights as we headed back, when I flushed the calf out of the brush!

I hollered to everyone that I had found it!  Captain was with Dear One and it took him a minute to realize what he was looking at as the calf literally high tailed it down the field toward the corner pen.  When he did, he took off!  There they were running full tilt, a black calf and a white dog!  I yelled at Dear One to go by the road on his bike and open the far end of the pen so that they could go across the street.  We could hear that calf complaining a little.  I wasn't sure exactly what to expect from Captain really, he had been practicing with the goats, but this was totally new.

I was still on my way when I saw them cross the street and straight to the proper field!  Dear One saw it all.  He said that when he got there they were staring at each other.  Then the calf went under the fence and the dog follow right behind him!  He chased him across the street and into the field and then he peeled off and started sniffing around at the cow patties that were there.  His job was done!

Dear One, my Neighbor and I are impressed with Captains skills.  Maybe next time he will know what we are doing from the beginning, and help us find the calf in the first place.  It is so nice to be able to help!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Good Sett

One of the things I have promised myself I would do, to kick start my production plans for next year, is to weave the scarf that my daughter and I started on the rigid heddle loom months ago.  It suffered some technical difficulties in transit for a weaving demonstration, and had to be re - wound.  I took that opportunity to put it on a delicate loom in the hallway of my upstairs studio.  Turns out I am not a fan of the rigid heddle, but with 6 looms in the studio, why on earth would I need one!

Today after my day at the Center with the other weavers, I came home and started in almost immediately on the scarf.  It took several tries to get the beat, or should I say lack of beat right.  After much unweaving, I finally got it right.

It really was a matter of nudging the weft into place very carefully.  By dinnertime I had finished the scarf, and I cut it off, checked for errors, twisted the fringe to keep it safe during the washing fulling process.

(It is funny how the light blue in the warp stands out in the photo more than in real life.)

After the dishes were done, I soaked, and then fulled the scarf.  It didn't full quite as much as I anticipated, though.  The sett is still good, just not as filled in as I had hoped.  I wonder what the fiber content is in this yarn?  I will have to ask my Daughter tomorrow.  Anyway, I am very pleased to have finished something, that has been in the back of my mind!

 I will be putting some of my own handspun yarns on that same loom, probably later on this week.   Maybe some of that silver Romney that I have been slowly combing and spinning this year.  That is the fleece that I thought I had ruined in the washing process, only to find that I could save most of it by using my Viking Combs.  It is a lovely 2ply yarn and I can't wait to try it out.  I know that it will full quite nicely!

Tomorrow, a few of us are going to R & M Yarns near Cleveland Tn.  I have some yarns I need to buy to complete some of the projects I have lined up.  It should be a fun day.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Friday, November 23, 2012

Eye Opening

The Craft Show was an eye opening experience for me.  I learned that even though I had a tub full of products to sell, of a certain dollar amount that I deemed enough,  it didn't really mean that people would be interested in buying any of it!

That is right, at the Foothills Craft Guild Show, I sold nothing.  Big fat zero, nada, zilch, un bel niente!
I got to looking at what I had brought, and what I realized is that I had dropped the ball this year.  A couple of our weavers really worked hard and produced a beautiful array of scarves.  Several different styles and lots of each style.  I realized that I hadn't produced enough of the same things to be viewed as a serious merchant.

It has gotten me thinking really hard about how I spend my time, what I am producing and why.  It is true that I sold quite a bit of my production between the last show that we did in October and a special order, but I had enough Bread Cloth warp on the loom to have woven a stack of them for this show!  I just didn't do it.  I thought I had enough!

This year, I am going to put on a long Baby Blanket warp, 80 yds or so,  finish up the Bread Cloths that are on the Leclerc, and slap another Bread Cloth warp on there and keep going with those, because they sell well.  Then I am going to wind another "Hollywood" warp for placemats, a long one!  At one show I sold all three runners and 4 placemats that I had done with this pattern.  One customer however bought 1 placemat from one of my sets of 4, that left me with 3,  sigh.  (Now if I had had 12 or 24 of them, and priced them in 2's instead of singles, I would have been fine.)

You live and you learn don't you!  Now, back to work!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, (whether you feel like it or not!) Tina

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Step Towards Reconciliation

I have always said that we were barely on speaking terms, and it is quite true, we don't really get along. I don't know if it is because I can be impatient at times, or it might be the language barrier.  She is soooo complicated, and unforgiving!  She doesn't smooth over my mistakes at all, they are right there taunting me the whole time!

It all started years ago when I was just a kid.  I was just trying to get to know her, and she would just freeze up at the worst possible times.  I would get so frustrated that I would have to call my Mom in to try to fix it.  You see my Mom could do anything with her, she was like putty in my Mom's hands.  It was ok as long as Mom was in the room, but from then on I began to have a tense relationship with her.

 She was, after all, my Mom's sewing machine.  Mom can make her machines do anything! ( or that is how it has always seemed to me, the non-sewest!)  Mom is quite the seamstress, and seems at ease with the whole process.  The choosing of the fabric and pattern, the prep work, the cutting and fitting of the garment, and there I was stuck with a machine that would jam up on me without the least bit of provocation!  Also, the garments that I have tried to sew, really left me with no desire to continue.

I ran across a couple of sewing blogs a couple of weeks ago, and when I have a few minutes in the evening, I have been reading them. ( When I find a blog that interests me, I almost always start at the beginning post, and work my way to the present. )  There are 2 blogs in particular that have caught my attention.  One is "The sewaholic" and the other is "Gerties blog for better sewing"  Both of these girls are much younger than I and they are really into the fashion of the 50's.  They even go as far as to buy old patterns in their approximate size, sew them up and wear them!  I can dig some of the 50's fashion but other bits are just not in my future. (girdles for one!)  One thing however, that they have been talking about it how to make what you sew fit your body.  That is something that has always been a mystery to me, and I want to know how to do it!

I have been able to serge and sew the straight seams that my weaving project requires, so maybe it isn't "her" fault at all!  I just need to learn the process of fitting the pattern to my body!

So I have been flirting with the idea of trying some of the techniques that they use on their garments.  Before I do that however, there is the Foothills Guild Fall Craft Show next week.  That means there are a few unfinished items that I need  finishing, so that my inventory isn't just plain pitiful.  (It is a good thing we are doing this as a group, I don't think I could do it on my own!)  I have successfully made myself stay away from any new ventures until after the show.  But, I have been eyeing a few hand sewing projects that need my attention, just to warm up to the whole idea.  You know buttons that have left their proper place, seams that may have fallen to pieces on that old work shirt, and of course things that need shortening (one of my least favorite things to do!)

I decided to start with a gray wool skirt that I purchased at the Cleveland Tn Goodwill.  ( which is well worth the trip!)  The skirt is too long by several inches, this does not surprise me at all because, at barely 5"1' everything from skirts to pants to sleeves is always too long by several inches!

I took the photo on my striped couch so that we could compare the length when I finished.
This skirt was handmade by someone, who knows how long ago, but she was just almost my size, just a little taller maybe.  See the lovely hem tape!  I was careful to save the tape, and I reused it!

Recently, I wore the skirt to my Daughters house and while I was there, I pinned the hem up  2 inches all the way around.  (My granddaughter was fascinated!)  I  took a look in the mirror, and my Daughter and I agreed that it needed to go up more.  So I tried 3 inches.  "Nope",  she said it needed to go up even further!  3.5 inches?  "Up,Up,Up" she said!  I went up a full 4 inches, and it hit me at that sweet spot on your knee, where you can see the calf begin to curve in.  "There" I said, and I was happy.  She still had her doubts, but she let me be!

 That evening, I pinned up the hem at 4 inches, and basted it down by the new hemline.  Then I placed a pin at 2 inches all the way around the hem, and cut right along the pinned line.
Holding my breath the whole way!  Oops, looks like a basted after the cutting!

 I should have used a contrasting thread for the basting but you get the idea.  Then I reapplied the hem tape and sewed the hem with what I call a catch stitch, and finally, took out the basting thread!  Finito!  ( I took the picture below before I pressed the hem, but you get the idea.)

I realize that this project was all done by hand, and that there was not a sewing machine in sight, but I hemmed a skirt that actually ended up the length I wanted it to be, folks!!!  That is huge!

Baby steps, baby steps!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Moving right along!

Life has been very busy lately, hence the non blogging!  Not much weaving going on since just before the Museum of Appalachia Homecoming.

One commitment after another is claiming my attention.  First a conference in Denver, then we had a Son and his family in last week and this week my youngest daughter and her Husband are in for a couple of days.  To accomplish something, I finished the baby blanket that I had woven for their upcoming adoption and it was waiting for them in the guest room!

To top it all off, today we moved my MIL from her efficiency apartment into a one bedroom apartment!  It was great to have the kids in to help.  We got everything moved in, and even got the pictures hung!  We made plans about what else should come from her storage unit now that she has a little more room.  I think that may happen Saturday afternoon.  She is thrilled with her new digs!

I am planning to get to the looms on Saturday morning, right after the kids get on the road.  I have several pieces I would love to finish for the Foothills Guild Craft Show.  I have a very colorful looper rug to finish weaving with a cool black and white fabric one under it.

I also would love to weave up a couple of the Bread Cloths I have on the Leclerc, and I could possible weave up the last of the Baby blankets on Lillian.  I have a placemat warp on the little no name loom on the landing, it has one runner already woven, with warp for more.   I can't start something new on the little Leclerc as I am waiting for the specifics on a custom order. ( Hopefully, I won't hear from them until after the show!)

That is about it for me, the weather is getting progressively cooler, we have had a fire in the wood stove morning and evening for about 4 days in a row now.  I think there will be a warm up this weekend, but I have enjoyed the fires.  (I even rearranged the furniture so that I can see the fire from the couch!)

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina