Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Whidbey Weavers Guild Uncommon Threads Sale - Over and Done!

Last Thursday morning, I loaded my car and took the ferry to Whidbey Island to start the 3 day adventure that is Uncommon Threads, our annual sale of hand crafted items. As in years past, we held the sale at Greenbank Farms in the barn.

Finished items have to have at least 50% "interlacement" or applied surface design and be of high quality to pass our Standards Board. We also accept raw materials that have been altered, like prepared roving. Vendors have to be a Guild member to sell. Other than that, the playing field is wide open!

So what do we make and sell at this wonderful event? The majority of the items are handwoven, knitted, crocheted, felted, commercial cloth that has dyed, overdyed, shiboried.  There is handspun yarn, roving for spinner and felters. We had scarves, hats,  handwarmers, rugs, towels, table runners, tree ornaments, finished garments, ruanas, shawls, placemats, napkins, felted sheep and gnomes, jewelry, woven yardage, greeting cards, temari balls and more. There were over 3000 items brought in for the sale, and the variety was staggering!

I was the Inventory Chair for this year's sale. I had no idea how much work it entailed but very much loved it so I will be next year's Chair as well. While it was a lot of work, it also afforded me an early peek at what people would be bringing in beforehand, and that was fun.

Thursday morning was check-in. All of the vendors brought in their inventory and our team checked them in and passed them on to Set Up and Display. That team worked tirelessly for the next several hours to create the sales floor.

The doors opened at 10 am Friday, and by close at 7 pm, we were bushed! We reopened on Saturday at 10am and the last customer left the building at 3:10pm. Our team had a station in the barn loft and were tasked with updating vendor's inventory as their items sold. This was totally dependent on our terrific cashiering team removing inventory tags and routing to us for processing. There are bound to be misses in a manual system, but yesterday morning, the Cashier Chair and I resolved the last of the mismatches, sent our files off to the Treasurer, and checks can now be sent out to our vendors. The books are CLOSED!

I sold all of my blue and white pinwheel towels, but not the boucle scarf :(

However, I got feedback from one of our master weavers regarding my fringe. I'm going to rework that and give the scarf to my daughter. She really liked it.

Now to start planning for next year! Since the pinwheel towels sell so well, I am thinking of sticking with that, changing up the colors, maybe using borders, and trying the trick I read about that carries color changes through the interior of the towel. That still hurts my brain, but I have 11 months to figure it out and weave some lovely things to sell.

Happy Wednesday!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Let the Twisting Commence!

The two rayon boucle scarves are off the loom!

This was a gifted cone of yarn. All I know is that it's a boucle and I'm 99.9% sure that it's 100% rayon. I'd describe the color as desert pastel. I used this for the warp and a celery & a coral rayon embroidery thread for the weft. 

EPI = 24
PPI = Hmmmmm. The boucle is so bumpy and the weft so fine, it sometimes dragged and snagged on the warp. I actually have a few holes created by this in the scarf with the celery weft. Once I realized that, I was very careful to keep this from happening. 

This is right off of the loom, hanging over the curtain rod with what little light that's left today showing through the weaving. I have no idea what it will look like once I've done the wet finishing.

But before I can do THAT, I have to do THIS:

Twisting the fringe. Made so much easier using the twister crafted by my son for my Christmas gift in 2012.

So I am off to finish twisting, wet finish the celery scarf and see what happens!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

In Praise of a Useful Husband Pt. 2

Back in January 2011, I was sang the praises of my Husband's generosity in sharing his woodworking skills with my sewing habit.

He continues to surprise me with tools whenever I mention something I've seen, want, need.

Here is part of my bounty in this past year for my sewing and weaving habits:

Double ended, hand turned exotic wood seam rippers. I love that I can remove the blades and stow in the handle.

This is a combination raddle / supplemental warp support that mounts on the back beam of my Baby Wolf loom.

Installed on the back beam of the loom, you can see the nails used in the raddle. Can you imagine how long that took!? With the board on top of the raddle, I can hang weighted supplementary warps over the top. 
Two beautiful exotic wood boat shuttles. These just fly through the shed!

Needle case for my mending and hemstitching needles.
And of course, what weaver or seamstress can be without beautiful things to write with?

Inlaid, hand turned and so very sweet.

The fact that he does these things without any push from me makes them all the more precious. He if fully invested in these things I do and that is perhaps the best gift he could ever give me.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Completed Towels + UFO Report

I've been busy!

Here are pictures of the towels folded in half after finishing. They had been tri-folded, and I didn't press them after folding. The selvedges are actually pretty straight IRL.

There are 2 each of the star patterns, 1 of the striped "bonus" plainweave striped bread cloth. I had one more draft to weave and could have done that for the 7th towels, but I was kinda sick of them by then :)

Pinwheel 1

Pinwheel 2

Pinwheel 3

If you enlarge the photo's, you can see that there are red threads running through the sides and borders areas of the star towels. I thought this would make them look like sparklers shooting off red sparks. Ummm no. It lends a pink cast to those areas. But it's okay, I can live with it.

Close up of experimental red

With the towels completed, I can go back to the boucle scarves. Yeah!

On the UFO front:

First up is a doll dress that my daughter started in a class she took with me when she was 14. She's 26 now. Her's is the dress on the right, mine is the one on the left. I finished mine a couple of years ago and completed hers up to the point of attaching the skirt to the bodice and finishing the back opening. Done! 

Fit For a Princess with Judith Adams, started in 2003.
 Next is a 6"x 6" commemorative mini-quilt I started after our puppy Sophie was put down in Jan 2014. She had several large cancerous tumors in her chest pressing on her heart. Losing her broke my heart. It's square IRL. Looking at it makes me sad but happy that we got to have her for 8 years.

That's it for now!


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mangled Towels

I'm finally getting into the swing of this retirement thing :) That's a whole separate post but it's what makes all of these possible. I highly recommend retiring as soon as you are able. It's awesome!

I've had the Louet Spring loom for 3 - 4 years, but have only had 2 warps on her. The first, a "holly" dish towel design, was a limited success. I had a lot of tension problems and the selvedges were pretty terrible. When I put the second warp on, I re-read all of the materials, watched the Jane Stafford video, and I'm pretty sure I didn't lock the breast beam when I put the 1st warp on. This was an enjoyable weaving experience.

I wove 2 towels each of 3 different pinwheel tie-ups. I've looked all over for the drafts, but I may have (gasped) tossed them since I got it off of the interwebs and would be easy to find them again. Not. I did put them in Fiberworks. That's something.

Fibers (used in warp and weft):
Blue 8/2 Mercerized Cotton
White 8/2 Unmercerized Cotton
Red 10/2 Mercerized Cotton
White 20/2 Mercerized Cotton for plain weave hem warp

24 EPI in 12 dent loom

Width on loom:
Used Glimakra temple

Things I did different:
  1. Well, warped it right... locked the breast beam, back to front, lease sticks, raddle.
  2. Used a temple. This kept the weaving from pulling in, no shredded floating selvedge.
  3. Advanced the warp more frequently.
Things that needed improvement:
  1. Those red threads were not the effect I was looking for. I need to really work on color theory.
  2. Uneven PPI. All the pinwheels should be the same size. You can tell my mood by how packed the weft is. Not a good feature.
  3. Left too much hem between towels, so the last towel was a little short.
  4. Not totally happy with my method for carrying threads up the selvedge for color changes. There was a method explained in Handwoven last year and it made my head hurt. I'll have to revisit that. (
Things I learned:
  1. The red mercerized warp and weft didn't shrink at the same rate as the other fibers. 
  2. Each weave structure shrunk at different rates. Each towel was the same size on the loom, but each structure ended up different sizes after finishing.
  3. Finishing is more than washing, hemming and pressing.
Hence the title of this post.

I didn't feel like I was getting the finished look I wanted from simply pressing with my iron. And I pressed HARD. I decided to try cold mangling as demonstrated by Laura Fry in this YouTube video.

Laura uses a much larger rod than I had. DH had a closet rod and that was good enough to test the process. I was mostly concerned about the trauma to my hands.

I have Dupuytren's Contracture in both hands, but it's worse in the palm of the left hand. After rolling one of the 6 towels, it was apparent that this qualified as trauma. To protect my left hand, I wore the brace I have from the last procedure. This worked well. For the right hand, I held a 4" x 4" x 1" block and rolled the rod using the block (kinda sorta like the Swedish method on a very small scale).

The results were worth it as far as I'm concerned. I don't know if these pictures really show it:

Before mangling
After mangling

The motifs look crisper in the "after", as they do in IRL. The hand of the cloth is softer, drapier, and more cohesive. The threads don't seem to shift withing the motif as the cloth is handled.

I'll be headed to the hardware store to look for a large maple round this week. We'll see what I find! I've heard that Vavstuga will be importing powered cold mangles from Sweden. I sent off an email to them as I WANT.WANT.WANT!


P.S. I am a big fat liar about UFO's. I found "a few" more. I'll share as I work them off.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Whidbey Weavers Guild Challenge - Complete your UFO's

Nancy is a spinner in our guild and is in charge of coming up with a new challenge every year. I've been with the guild, in the most peripheral way, for about 4 years. Now that I'm retired, I plan on being a fixture.

I actually completed the challenge 2 years ago, to weave something using that year's conference colors. But I completed it late so my weaving wasn't included in the display. Last year, I didn't even try. I just stared at the sample given in a white bag that supposed to inspire me but didn't. Fatigue.

This year, Nancy brought in a sweater she started to knit several years ago. Our challenge? Find your UFO's and finish them. Can be sewing, weaving, knitting, spinning... as long as it's fiber related, and it's incomplete, finish it up and share it.

This goes well with the relocation of the sewing room. It was surprising to see that I didn't really have that many unfinished things. Of the few things I found, these are the only things I kept.

  • 2 jackets that don't fit any more just need hems in sleeves and body. I can't bear to toss these as I *might* lose this weight, right?
  • Sarah's Fit for a Princess heirloom doll dress. I finished this up to the point of joining the bodice to skirt and completing the placket. That's an hour's work.
  • The little commemorative quilt block for Sophie. I lost the charm but found it in the move.
  • 2 quilts. WHY? I don't know. But they are boxed up and organized and I might finish them someday. I'd rather keep them and work on them sporadically so I will remember always that I am not a quilter. This might prevent me from replacing all of the quilting books, patterns and supplies that I just got rid of. Preventative UFO's shouldn't count as failures, should they?
  • That AWFUL bishop dress that I smocked for the Seamless Bishop correspondence class. Everything about it is unappealing. The fabric I loved at one time, but once the smocking was applied? UGH. Why have I kept this? Why didn't I throw this one in the burn pile? Why is it in a box labeled "UFO" still, to this day, moved upstairs with my PRECIOUS things? Whatever the reason, I've had this since about 2005 and I am going to finish it and it will still be ugly but it will be complete.
  • The pin loom bear. I need to stuff the head and create the features, then join to the sad little body. I think this is a tosser but need to keep an open mind. It could be a save.
  • Cold finish and hem the pinwheel towels.
Knowing that this is the extent of the backlog, especially exempting the jackets and quilts, makes this feel like a perfectly reasonable task! I've actually completed the block for Sophie in the past couple of days, with the exception of the rod for hanging, so I am 1/5th there!

Here's to closing out unfinished business! We won't talk about the personal list. That's another post on a different blog ;)


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Weaving with ME Thread as Weft

In my experience, when you start weaving, fellow weavers come out of the woodwork with yarns to donate to your cause. I got a LOT of fiber, most of which I had no idea of what do with. When you really don't know much about weaving, it all looks foreign.

Here's spool of rayon boucle that was gifted to me in that first month of trying to figure out the craft:

This is what I had left after winding off a 7 yard warp for a couple of 9 inch wide scarves. After 6 years of pondering weave structure and weft, inspiration struck in the form of Anita Luvera Mayer. She's a national treasure, and I'm lucky enough to be in the same weaving guild.

Anita has a long history of weaving and garment construction. She's widely known in weaving circles for her artistic views of cloth and garments. She is NOT a weaving structure person. When she weaves now, it's generally plain weave. I was in a class with her earlier this year and she showed a dress she made for her son's wedding and there it was... She didn't want to lose the beauty of the warp, so she used sewing thread for the weft. BEAUTFUL and BRILLIANT!

I wasn't thinking of practical applications in my life, only how clever Anita was.

Fast forward to last month. I REALLY wanted to warp and weave SOMETHING. I wanted a scarf to wear with my dark coral sweater. I wanted to weave with THIS BOUCLE, but the weft had me stumped. Everything I had would overpower the cascade of colors on this spool.

So I warped it anyway, threaded for 24 EPI plain weave and then went on to work on organizing the room and setting up the sewing room. I did the ME towels. I put the new thread spools away. I spied the celery green rayon ME thread. That was yesterday.

This is today:

The fell of the cloth is just past the breast beam. See how little the warp is affected by the weft? It's exactly the effect I was looking for.

There are challenges, both with the boucle warp and the ME thread weft. To begin with, the boucle hangs up on itself. The warp can't be tensioned too tight or I don't get a clean shed. There were a couple of places I had to "unweave" to because there was a hole created by the weft getting caught in that "unclean" shed. I ran my fingernail over the fell every time I opened a new shed and this seemed to help.

Because the ME thread is so slippery, it comes off the spool when it wants to and even with another spool of thread in the shuttle as a spacer, the thread kept winding around the spool pin. I solved this by making an endcap that hugged the end of the spool, snug against the thread.

I also had to really watch my right selvage. Weaving along at a steady pace resulted in quite a few loops at first, mainly because of the texture of the boucle or the way I throw from the right, I think. Whatever the issue, I just have to pay attention.

I'm a wee bit anxious about the fringe on this because of the nature of the yarn, but I'll figure it out!

I've only got about 9" left to weave on this scarf. I may switch to blue on the next!


Friday, September 18, 2015

Monogrammed Towels for T

My favorite gift for people headed off to college is monogrammed towels. Keeps them from walking off on their own, I've been told.

I just finished embroidering these yesterday. The young man is headed to the University of Washington next week. He used to sit on my lap when his sister and DD played soccer together so long ago.

4 large bath towels, 4 hand towels and 10 washcloths (which I didn't monogram).
U of W colors, he chose the monogram.
I'm not a novice at this. I've done around 15 sets of these in the last 7 years. I've always used the same stabilizers, same bobbin thread, same polyester brand of thread. I'll admit I've had problems with stitch out at times, and when there's a little bobbin thread showing, out come the Sharpies. I have a rainbow of colors and this has always worked out well.
So. I found a lot of embroidery products that I'd forgotten I had when I moved upstairs. One of them was water soluble paper stabilizer that "dissolves in 10 seconds". That sounded like a better idea than tear away and would help keep the monogrammed area a little more pliable, I thought. I used a black tear away I'd never used under the letters. And I had a sample pack of Solvy that I thought I'd use up. One less thing to store, right?
On to the embroidery. I have PE-Design V7 which allows you to use imported true type fonts for monograms. I used a font that mimics a style used by U of W years ago. The stitch out was ugh... not good. I normally used the few fonts provided with the design software, or one purchased from Embroidery Arts and hadn't had this issue before. So I pulled out the manual. Added an underlay stitch, increased the density, fixed the tension setting on the machine and that fixed most of the problems. But once in awhile on just about every stitchout, there was that rouge bobbin thread pulling up. Out with the purple Sharpie.
Once all of the embroidery was done, I pulled off all of the excess stabilizer and Solvy, clipped all the threads and threw them into the wash. When I pulled them out of the washer... Okay, my Dad was military and my Mom could cuss like a truck driver. I put words together in combinations that would have made them blush.
Pink. Pretty faint, but the diamond area of the monograms was streaked with pink on almost every towel. DH suggested I blot them with rubbing alcohol to get an idea of how much more they would run. I did. No longer faint pink, but BLEEDING PINK LIKE A RIVER. I ran a full pint of rubbing alcohol over the monograms and still... At this point, I felt like I had nothing to lose. I knew the poly thread would be colorfast, filled the washer with hot water, threw in 4 packs of Dylon Run Away (which were over 10 years old btw), threw in towels (literally and figuratively) and then crossed my fingers. Which was a trick as both middle fingers just wanted to stick STRAIGHT UP in frustration.
Because the running pink was not my only issue. The "dissolves in 10 seconds" stabilizer or the "sample" Solvy had NOT dissolved into thin air, it had balled up and was pilled all over the vicinity of the monogram in the nap of the towels. I have NEVER had that happen in the 20 some years that I have been doing ME. 

The Dylon appeared to take care of the pink problem, but I spent the next hour picking those little stabilizer balls off of the surface of the towels.

But hey, they look nice now! In the end, that's all that matters. I learned some new tricks for working with true type fonts and I learned to stick with my standard products for monogramming. I will also ALWAYS run a sample with the Sharpie markers and test for colorfastness and will test any new stabilizer or cover product extensively before adding it to my stash.

Another high note in this "learning experience" was doing it in the new space. I really love this new room. I knew where everything was without hunting and the entire stitching process was really quite enjoyable.

Now I'm going to weave. I have about 2 feet completed of a rayon boucle scarf. It looks good on the loom so far!


Monday, September 14, 2015

September "Pimp your Sewing Room": Sewing Edition

Caution! This is a long post, and maybe a little repetitive. I apologize in advance!

Let me just say this. I have sewn since I was in grade school, although I didn't get any formal training until the 9th grade. Mrs. Sanders taught me a lot of things and I will never forget her gentle patience and straightforward manner. I owe her a lot.

In those years, I've sewed in many places: my bedroom with the machine on the floor flat on my stomach and then later, my desk, the kitchen table, a plywood makeshift counter in my dorm room closet. On a Singer that ran off of batteries, a sweet 60's Brother that I sadly traded away, another Singer in a cabinet in the basement of a shared house. Later, when DH and I hooked up, I always had some sort of dedicated space until the kids were born. Then it was back to the kitchen table and a tiny little area behind a screen with room enough for a desk and a bunch of Rubbermaid tubs in his home office. (Like how I capitalize "Rubbermaid"? Respect.)

When we moved into this house, I eventually got a HUGE area in the daylight basement. It's probably 700 - 800 sq feet including the walk in closet. Most of the time it had a guest bed in the alcove, I had a dedicated "gift wrap station", there was a TV in there for awhile and the treadmill eventually ended up in the room as well. When I started weaving, there was more than enough room for both looms. Thing is...that room was supposed to be part of my parent's apartment. They both died before they ever lived there and for awhile, that made it a special place for me. There was room for the kids to hang out with me, and room for me to get away from them :) Win win.

And then it was down to DH and I. I didn't much like being down there any more. We didn't heat it in the winter and I worked so much, there wasn't a lot going on down there anyway. I felt stiffled. I wanted to take over our son's room on the main floor for a long time before I finally did it. I started seriously clearing his room a week ago last Saturday.

I wish I had a before picture, but really. No. The room was a disaster. Our son has lived with us off an on since he graduated a few years ago and it's not what you would call picture worthy. So no.

The after will have to be enough. This is a mirror image of the loom room, same 12' x 10.5' footprint.

Here it is:

This is walking in the room and looking north. In the far left corner, I have an older IKEA kitchen cart that I use for my ironing station. just forward of that is my embroidery thread rolling cart that is stored in the closet to the left, with a portable ironing surface on top. This is AWESOME and was not planned. I was piecing something and did NOT want to haul out the ironing board (stored in the closet to the left so not a real chore, I'm just lazy.)
The back wall has 2 IKEA cabinets, with the IKEA kitchen counter sewing table in the center, shelves between the cabinets. There are two holes in the top of the counter with grommets so the machine cords can pass through. There is a powerstrip mounted under the table, cords are routed with 3M carriers so they are pretty organized and out of the way.  Behind the cabinet doors, there are shoebox sized Rubbermaid containers that hold all of my zippers, elastic, bias tape, piping etc and my coverstitch machine, all in the left cabinet. The bottom of the right cabinet houses all of my embroidery supplies and the serger.
My sewing thread rolling cart fits under the north end of the table, the small blue cabinet on the table top holds my hand sewing and needlework needles by type, sewing machine needles, safety pins, snaps etc. The white itso storage cube next to it has pins, scissors, ribbons, seam rippers etc.
The storage at the south end of the sewing table has all of my smocking supplies: Plates, pleater, magazines and books.

This is the south wall. The corner in the left has a rather inexpensive "crafting center". Holds all of stabilizers, interfacings, cutting and marking tools and some other things. Right now, all of the "stuff" on the cutting table came from the top drawer in the crafting center. I apparently didn't assemble the it properly years ago and it is down in the garage with a good dose of glue and clamps. Rolls that are too long to fit in the drawers are in the basket right next to it. The mat that covers the cutting table when it's fully extended is rolled up and standing on end.

The cutting table is over 20 years old and I love it. It's 36" x 72" when fully extended. There are two drop leaves, so it can be small, one leaf up (as shown here), or really big. There is also a smaller cutting mat that covers a single leaf, and it is stowed under the leaf when not in use. There's one small drawer in the center of the cutting table on one side and it's open under there. I've asked DH to box that area in and build a drawer for the other side. So greedy.

This is the west wall. Door into the room on the left, closet on the right. You can see the cutting table in it "collapsed" state. What you can't see in the closet is the fabric stash. Each side of the closet has 4 shelves, about 3 feet deep. This is where the fabric is stored. The top shelf is primarily children's fabric and individual projects I've started and not completed. Ironing board and embroidery unit are on the floor. Behind the other closet door, more fabric. Plus I've stored all of the gift wrap and some gift boxes. Compact, but so workable.

So how do I feel about all of this? Because really, that's all that matters, right? I feel SO GOOD. See all this bric a brack?

Every single thing on these shelves makes me so HAPPY! They all mean something special and hold so many memories. You can't really see it, but there is a wind chime hanging off the bottom shelf on the left. I bought that for my mom in the year before she died and when I brush against it, it makes the best sound ever. That old iron? My DAD of all people... I found it sitting in a box of his tools after he died. That man loved to iron but this makes me smile. There's a story attached to EVERYTHING and it brings me peace and makes me feel creative and loved. I sewed today. Really sewed. I'm making a tiny pieced wall hanging (about 6" x 6") that I started when we had to put our beloved schnauzer down a year and a half ago. All I have left to do is bind it. Another story, but a sign to me that I am on the mend, in more ways than one.

I told DH that this is the best place I've ever stitched.

End of this missive. Next post I'll share some towels I cut off the loom last week and hopefully will have started on a scarf and will have my little square bound and shareable!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

September "Pimp Your Sewing Room": Weaving Editon

Most of what had to be done in the room with the looms was organization. There were things stowed in there that belonged in the sewing room, as well as surface embellishment paints, dyes, stamps and the likes that were downstairs - and forgotten. So that's all taken care of now!

For reference, this room runs 12ft north to south, 10.5ft east to west. The closet is a standard depth, 2 sliding door type common in 1970's builds.

This is what you see from the doorway, looking to your right (south). That wall will eventually have a line suspended across it with clips to hang bits of inspiration. The loom you see is a Louet Spring. The cabinet belonged to my husband's great Aunt Grace.

This is taken from the SW corner of the room. That loom is the Schacht Baby Wolf.  I'd like to put the warping board on that north wall. The BW is easy to move out of the way so I think this is a better solution that some of DH's ideas.
The sewing machine and cabinet under the window belonged to my husband's grandmother. I keep bobbins, boat shuttles and repair heddles in the drawers. There's a lamp that I use when I need additional task lighting, my warping sticks are in the corner, guarded by the koala. Thank you, Marsu! (Her name is meant to remind that she is NOT a bear...)
The closet is next. This is on  the west wall of the room.

Nothing too earth shattering except there is a LOT of extra room in that closet, don't you think? You can see a really primitive rigid heddle loom hanging out on the top shelf with the inkle loom. The metal rack in the center of the closet has some yarn, books, magazines and instructional a back issue Handwoven magazine DVD's. But you can clearly see I need more yarn, right?

Most of my yarn is stored in this cabinet. Bottom two drawers and hutch are packed. The box on top has some yarns collected for a special project that is alternately mocking me and then waving me back in. I'll have to give up and do it at some point, but I want to make sure I have a really clear plan before I start it.

This is a secretary and folds out into a desk. The top drawer holds all of my office supplies. When I work with my weaving software or watch a DVD, I sit at this desk with my laptop.

So that's it! Sewing room is in order as well, but no pictures till later. I have a bridesmaids dress to alter and I've put it off long enough.

I know I have issues because just looking at that cabinet with the open doors and drawers makes me want to run back there and shut them!

STILL having fun with fiber! Hope you are too!


Thursday, September 10, 2015

This Just Happened!

Well it didn't "just" happen. There was work involved ;) It's so bright! And clean! Look fast and remember this...

I hit the road to Ikea at 8am this morning and by 8pm, it looked like this! About 50% complete. You can't tell, but the room was painted yesterday. I chose a green gray, but the color I actually got was a bit lighter than the color card I took in. Since DH LOVES white paint, I think this was easier for him to handle anyway.

I purchased 2 Borgsjo book cases with doors (these are really cheap, but meet my needs... They were about $40 less than the cheapest alternative, and on closeout, so I grabbed and ran). My serger is in the bottom of one, the coverstitch in the bottom of the other. Lot's of open space down there, but believe me, I have plenty of "crap" to fill it ;). The shelves between the two were already there. The table: I am really proud of this! It's an 1-1/2" thick 74" Saljan countertop ($59) with an Oddvald trestle on the wall side ($15) and a Klimpen table leg ($69) on the other end. For $143, I got a rock solid sewing surface with storage. I can slide my rolling thread storage under the Oddvald so it's close at hand. The intent with the Klimpen was to put my serger and coverstitch there, but wouldn't you know it... I was about 1-1/2" short on height and that's why they ended up behind the doors. But don't worry. I'll have it filled up in NO TIME.

I already had the other pieces of furniture - The white cabinet by the window has all of my stabilizers for embroidery, interfacings, cutting and marking tools and all of my rulers and fitting books. There's also a drop leaf cutting table in the corner of the top picture.

Here's the challenge. I have a lot of things left down in the basement sewing room. My self imposed rule is that if it doesn't fit in this room, I have to let it go. I have a walk in closet with yeah, fabric. It needs to fit in the regular sized sliding door closet in this room. Along with a few other things. The other challenge is the system I have used for books, patterns and magazines. 2 full size Hon filing cabinets. Those are not coming into this room, so I have to sort and only keep what I need. (I am laughing on the outside, terrified on the inside - HA!)

So that's what I am going to be doing for next few days (along with a weaving study group tomorrow and finishing up DD's bridesmaid dress alterations).

I oh so loved that sewing room downstairs back in the day of a full house, but I cold not be productive in there any more. I really wanted to be upstairs, close to the looms and with there only being the 2 of us left here, I hated being so far away from the part of the house we actually live in.

I sent a picture to my son today, wondering how he felt about the transformation of his former room. He approves. He's lined up a couple of hemming jobs for his pals. Kids :)

Then there is the gratitude thing. Good Grief. I feel so lucky. And happy. And relaxed, really, even with the culling in my future. I mean seriously! How can you feel anything other than grateful when your biggest problem is that you have TOO MUCH?

Still having fun with fiber!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I hope to return to some form of regular posting now that I am RETIRED. It was a bumpy road for awhile there, with my mother-in-law being admitted to the hospital the very day after I quit working. The hospitalization resulted in surgery for colon cancer and then a follow-up stay in a rehabilitation facility so she could regain her strength. For about 2 months, almost all of our time was spent attending to this and my father-in-law, who has never in his life EVER lived alone.

I've only FELT retired for the past week or so, now that things are leveling out. That sounds a bit selfish, I know, and I am working on being more accepting and generous with my time.

On the sewing and weaving front, there have been some changes around here. I've moved both looms to a main floor bedroom. It's been a bit tight as I keep moving more and more sewing things upstairs, but I'm managing. I thought it might curb my spending on yarn and fabric. Hasn't been the case entirely, but I am being more targeted and prudent in my purchases.

This is a good thing, I think. When we move to a smaller place, I won't have the luxury of room that I enjoy in this house. My neighbor went through a similar change, moving her living quarters into her remodeled studio. She said it was freeing, and in a way it is as I make bigger piles to donate, recycle and toss.

The Spring had been warped with pinwheel dish towels for months and I finally finished and cut them loose. This will be the 2nd project I've put on her and by the end of the first, I felt like I might be coming to terms with this loom. I've woven this pattern before, with the exact same warp, so it was a good way for me to note the differences and adjustments I have to make between the 2 looms.

I wove 3 different variations, so in addition to the weaving side of things, I got to do 3 different tie-ups. Oy vey. This is a countermarch loom so every shaft has to be tied up to the treadle twice. That's a lot of work! But the shed is so nice, I'm thinking I won't complain too much!

This 2nd warp went on a lot easier. I warped back to front, used lease sticks AND the raddle. What a difference. I also re-read all of the instructions and I am pretty sure that I never locked the breast beam when I put on first warp. This explains all of the tension problems I had with that warp. These towels wove without a hitch, technically. I made a color choice that may be questionable, but we'll see. If they sell, great. If not, I like them enough to use them.

The Baby Wolf is warped with a rayon boucle scarf and I am going to test the weft sometime this week.

And then it will be placemats in 3/2 cotton. I'm not sure yet what pattern, maybe even simple plain weave. I just know it's time to start weaving some things that I can enjoy, and not all for sales and charity auctions.

Sewing is another matter. I really WANT to sew, but I am cramped and cutting has to be done in the living room and cleaned up when I'm done. Because of that, I have cleared out my son's room and will be taking over. I have a portable table set up to do some alterations on my daughter's bridesmaid dress for an upcoming wedding and once that's done, it's on to paint and some new furniture.

Really excited to be moving forward on this finally!
I am also focusing on GRATITUDE. Why? Because there is no reason NOT to and in addition to enriching my own life, it's contagious. What if we all lived a life of gratitude? What if we found a way forward no matter what came our way? To be happy, joyous and free ~ what would that mean in your life every day? As I attempted to dig an old rotting tree stump out of my yard today, I felt a gratitude like never before, that I had the strength to work the soil, that it was warm and the sun was shining, that I could take a visit with the neighbor, that my delightful husband prepared an awesome dinner...
As I work on change, in our home and in my life, I am grateful. I hope you are, too!
Still having fun with fiber :)