Friday, October 30, 2009

Busy, busy, busy...

Hello, friends. What a busy week we have had here in our house. My two boys are both getting orthodontic treatment, so we have started the string of appointments that is required. The expense is considerable, but we're looking forward to seeing our youngest son show his teeth when he smiles and to having our oldest son stop fretting about his "fangs."

I was tickled pink yesterday to learn that my handwoven ivory lace capelet will be worn by a bride on November 21st! The capelet is all set to make its way to NJ -- pressed and carefully packed, and also sent with a special freebie for the buyer (a handwoven sachet with lavender).

Yesterday I wove 6 table napkins and am very pleased with how they turned out. I will load up a picture once they're off the loom, washed, cut, and hemmed/finished. They feature a lace border; it is a "boxy" lace, not a fussy, frilly lace. More of a textural design.

One more piece of good news here, I have an audition with the NH Philharmonic next month! I am practicing as much as my fingers will allow! I'm still at the blister stage right now -- callouses come later (sooner, rather than later, hopefully). My Andrew fell asleep yesterday afternoon while I practiced. It was after his ortho. appointment; it reminded me of when he used to nap as an infant.

I have 4 lovely items selected for 4 Friday Favorites today, but I am having trouble uploading the pictures. I'll keep tinkering with this and will maybe be able to have them up later today or tomorrow!
Be well, Kate :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Handwoven Home

Hello, friends. What a lovely day here in New Hampshire. It is crisp and clear. The colors are almost overwhelming!

Speaking of color, here is a picture of one of my new designs. It is not a wedding-related item. I came up with an idea for a table napkin "cuff" (i.e. napkin ring). I like these because they're different, colorful, and full of possibilities for embellishment and personalization. The fabric is a 8 shaft diamond twill. Lots of jewel tones in this set of 4. The fabric in these cuffs goes very nicely with my Fiestaware table settings. What do you think?

Sleyed my 15 dent reed today and twisted the fringe on a forest green shawl. I ordered more 5/2 cotton as well this weekend. Also selected a rayon boucle scarf to be auctioned off at my boys' middle school for a fundraising effort. Busy!

I am so pleased that Heifer International has featured me in their "Pay It Forward" section of their newsletter this week! I am going to design a few more cards and post them on my site, so keep your eyes open!

Be well, Kate ;)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Monogrammed Ring Pillow

Hello, friends. I am right in the middle of beaming a new warp of wintergreen-colored threads for a shawl and some purse fabric. It is made from 5/2 mercerized cotton. I am really thinking about taking the plunge and investing in enough silk for a shawl to see how what kind of reception it might get. Maybe I'll get up my nerve to order a couple of silk cones this weekend, after my green shawl is completed!

I'm still having fun with buttons. Here is a picture of a ring pillow in my "Simple Gifts" style that features an embroidered initial button. This has received an Etsy "heart" already, which was very encouraging!

Off to play with yarn!
Be well and TGIF!
Kate :)

P.S. I hope to have "Four Friday Favorites" back next week! Warping the loom has taken precedence today! :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hand embroidered monogrammed buttons

Hello, friends. While the rainy/snowy/cold New England definitely has its disadvantages, it does tend to make me a bit more introspective, which gets my creativity motor running. In addition to the dress hangers that I added to my line this weekend, I did some brainstorming about personalizing my wedding items even further. The solution: hand embroidered buttons!

I use metal button covers a lot on my ring pillows and petal cones as embellishments by covering them with my plain ("tabby") handwoven fabric. As it turns out, this same fabric also works well for embroidery. I am using wastecloth over the handwoven lace, stitching the initial, and then removing the wastecloth. It works really well! I imagine that this technique would work nicely on any fabric, handwoven or not.

So, here is a picture of a monogrammed tissue holder. I also have a ring pillow on my Etsy site. I am so excited about these buttons! Let me know what you think!

I am off to warp my loom and trying to figure out how this will go, given that I have a splitting headache. I may need to take periodic breaks to avoid threading errors.

Be well, Kate :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dress hangers with handwoven lace

Hello, friends. We woke up to snow this morning! It is not sticking to the ground, but just looking at it makes it feel colder than it is! There were plenty of things to do indoors, however! My husband is brewing a new batch of beer. I love that grainy, hoppy smell that is coming from the kitchen.

I'm working on padded dress hangers that will feature my handwoven lace. I am not working from a pattern, so there is some trial & error involved of course. I can't decide if I should shirr the fabric when it is placed over the hanger, or if I should leave it as is, to highlight the texture of the fabric. I think that there are a lot of possibilities with this particular item! It would make a really nice bridal attendant gift. I'm thinking about adding a small drawstring pouch to hold small items, such as buttons, and possibly a sachet as well. I will be getting nicer hangers, too. I picked what I could find from our local Wal-Mart this morning while running errands, and as you might guess, the selection was a bit limited!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. We'll be watching Michigan football, hopefully!
Be well, Kate :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Heifer International & Nutfield Greeting Cards

Hello, friends. I am so excited to have completed the design for my Heifer International fund raising effort! If you aren't familiar with Heifer International, please visit their website to learn more about their mission to end worldwide hunger and caring for the Earth.

I hope to raise some money for this worthy charity by selling holiday/seasonal greeting cards using pieces of my handwoven lace. A set of 2 cards will be sold for $7, with $5 from each sale going to Heifer International. $2 will be kept to cover material and shipping expenses. I would love to be able to raise funds to buy some honeybees or tree seedlings. Who knows? I hope that I sell enough to keep things hopping around here and will put my boys to work helping me out at the post office!

I finished weaving my shawls, and should be getting off of the computer so that I can hang the shawls to dry. Halcyon Yarn also delivered my latest order today as well -- willow green weaving yarn. I can't wait to see how it weaves up! The color looks yummy.

Be well, Kate

Monday, October 12, 2009

Scarves & Photoshop

Hello, friends. I've really been enjoying my visit with my folks and my grandmother, who had her 87th birthday on Friday. Yesterday I had the good fortune of giving my grandmother a weaving lesson! We've enjoyed lots of good conversation and good food.

I'm slowly learning how to use Adobe Photoshop. I got version 8 last week. It is making a difference in my pics, although I think I will probably need to use a tripod for some shots, to help with the wiggles. Here is a picture of a scarf that I photographed on Thursday and tried to "fix" with the help of the software.

There is a "mix" forecasted for tomorrow, which is really just a nice way of saying "snow." It will probably be a good day for some soup and hot bread.
Be well, Kate :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Save the Children video - The Children of the Loom

Hello, friends. As you know I have a passion for handweaving. I am proud to carry on the weaving tradition of my family and in this part of the country.

As I continue to make my way in the online fiber arts industry, I am increasingly concerned to see items for sale by handweavers claiming to be from the United States and selling shawls and rugs made from luxury fibers at VERY low prices. Yesterday I saw a "handwoven pashmina shawl" for sale by a U.S. seller for $18. What is pashmina? Here is an explanation:

The name comes from Pashmineh, made from Persian pashm ("wool".) The wool comes from changthangi or pashmina goat, which is a special breed of goat indigenous to high altitudes of the Himalayas. Pashmina shawls are hand spun, woven and embroidered in Kashmir, and made from fine cashmere fibre. -- Courtesy, Wikipedia).

The old adage comes into play here. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Before you buy something that claims to be handwoven, consider this: children in Asia are put to work as weavers at very young ages. I hope that you'll take a few minutes to watch this "Save the Children" video entitled "Children of the Loom." It will make you think twice about buying that "bargain" that you've found online.

What can you do? Before you buy something "handwoven," consider asking a few questions of the handweaver/seller in question.

Here are some suggestions:

1)Can I see a picture of your loom in your studio?
2)Do you warp the loom yourself?
3)How long does it take you to warp your loom?
4)What is the weave structure that you use to make this item?
5)How many people work in your studio?
6)Can I see a picture of your studio?
7)I'd like a fabric swatch. Can you send me one?
8)What is the brand of loom that you use?
9)Where do you get your weaving yarn?

An independent handweaver should be able to answer all of these questions to your satisfaction.

Here is the link to the Save the Children video. Please watch!

Be well, Kate

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wish Me Luck -- handwoven lace wedding garter

Hello, friends. We have a brisk fall day here in New Hampshire. The trees are really lovely right now!

I finished weaving my first of two bridal shawls. The first one will have a hemmed edge and possibly a few beads. The second one will have fringe -- and possibly some beads. They'll each measure a generous 72" and are about 20" wide. The pattern is a diamond lace, similar to the one I made for the "Diamonds & Pearls" ring bearer pillow. (Which, by the way, I submitted to last night -- we'll see if they like the pictures!).

Here is a new wedding garter. I'm calling this one "Wish Me Luck," in reference to the violet flower on the front. I really like this one. Garters are such an important tradition during the wedding celebration. So many of the garters out there look like they belong on the set of "Moulin Rouge," which of course if perfectly fine if that is one's personal taste. I am hoping that mine fill what I perceive to be a bit of a gap! Here is a picture.

Off to work on that shawl!
Be well, Kate :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

First wedding garter sale!

Hello, friends. It was a busy weekend here. My youngest son had a soccer tournament here in Londonderry most of Saturday & Sunday. He took an elbow to the eye in the last game and has the black eye to prove it. He told me that had he been playing football that he would have been wearing a helmet and it wouldn't have happened. I think I'll be sitting at the football fields next fall. Sigh...

I was very pleased to sell my first handwoven lace wedding garter this weekend. My "Celtic Connections" ivory garter with crocheted lace edging is off to Illinois to a bride-to-be! A pillow is making its way to Boston, and a tissue holder is off to Williamsburg, VA as well.

Since I spent most of my weekend at the soccer fields and canning pears and jalepeno peppers I did not get much weaving in. However, my plan is set for my Christmas ornament. Warping will begin soon for this!

Be well, Kate :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Four Friday Favorites

Hello, friends and happy Friday. I hope that you all had a splendid week. The leaf colors here in New Hampshire are lovely, as usual for this time of year. Here are today's Four Friday Favorites inspired by the theme, "Harvest Wedding." Lots of burnt orange and gold to be had here today!

First is AmoreBride. This EtsyWeddingTeam member is a resident of Michigan, my former home! AmoreBride has other Etsy shops as well, where you can find an array of carefully crafted items for your home. Here is one of her lovely autumn wedding bouquets:

Second is Beadz2Pleaz. This Etsy artisan makes beautiful cake servers. The beading colors can be selected based on your color palette! Aren't these nice? This EWT member also has special serving ware for holidays (think Christmas!)

Next is MackensleyDesigns. This lovely pomander just says "Fall Wedding!" to me! There are countless other selections in this seller's shop, so be sure to stop in for a peek. MackensleyDesigns has an impressive offering of wedding card boxes as well.

Fourth is Tara from CuttheCakeDesigns. Tara has recently set up her own website recently, which is very exciting! Her items includes recipe boxes and other useful organizing tools -- something for everyone!

The bridal shawls are all set to weave. I'm also working out a project for handwoven Christmas ornaments. I plan to give proceeds of the Christmas ornaments to Heifer Project. More on this to come! Check back for more updates!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Celtic Keepsake

Hello, friends. What do you think of my Celtic Keepsake tissue holder? I think that this would be a really nice gift for attendants or special family members. I like the practicality of a tissue holder as well since you can really use it AFTER the big day.

The bridal shawl warp is threaded, so I am ready to beam now. This is a very enjoyable part of the warping process, provided that the threads don't tangle too much. I am keeping my fingers crossed in this regard! I'm using 3/2 mercerized cotton, and after doing so much weaving with 10/2, which is considerably fine, it almost feels odd to work with this yarn.

There are several pounds of jalapenos on my kitchen counter, so it is back to the canner for me today.
Be well, Kate :)