Monday, December 13, 2010

New plaid dishtowels

Hello, friends. The loom has been humming away here in Londonderry. I am working hard to replenish my ready-to-ship supply of dishtowels. After two Etsy Front Page features last week, almost every handwoven kitchen item that I had for sale has found a new home. Yea!

Here is what I have been working on today:

My husband really liked this color combination. And by the way, check out those yummy looking snickerdoodles in the photo! These were made by my very talented mother -- I snagged a few cookies for the picture before my boys got home from school to devour them.

Be well and stay warm,
Kate ;)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Contemporary kitchen textiles

Hello, friends. December 1st already. Egad. Time does fly.

I've been experimenting with color on the loom lately. Honestly, I have too many partially used cones of 8/2 unmercerized cotton and need to whittle down my stores before we get choked out of our home. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Here is a sample of one of my newest fabrics:

I may keep this fabric in mind should I ever decide to venture into the apparel arena. Who knows....

Weaving, weaving, and more weaving is in store for me for the remainder of the week. I miss my waffleweave, so have plans to make friends with this weave again soon.

Be well,
Kate :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy (early) Thanksgiving

Hello, friends. I suspect that I will not be doing a blog entry over the course of the next few days. Tomorrow our oldest turns 15 years old. He is terribly excited and has reminded us - repeatedly - that in 6 months he can start driver's training. He has requested mud pie for dessert, which also happens to be one of my favorite treats. What a smart boy. Then, on Thursday, I will be cooking a turkey and watching the New England Patriots play football in Detroit and probably drinking too much wine. I am not a Black Friday shopper. There are few things I despise more than shopping at malls. Or Walmart. I'm more of a homemade Christmas type of gal anyway, as you could probably guess.

Yesterday I ordered my first run of custom sew-in labels for my handwoven items. I am really looking forward to these. The run is small, but it is sometimes best to be conservative when trying something new. Just another tiny milestone for my emerging cottage industry.

I was tickled to have another item featured in Etsy's blog, "The Storque" again this past week. My handwoven hazelnut plaid towel found her way into this weekly feature:

Lots of weaving going on here, which is a very good thing.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Be well,
Kate ;)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas ornaments

Hello, friends. Lots of weaving here these days! I am almost finished with a run of "M & W" point twill towels -- most of these are custom requests. Here is a picture of one in white and colonial blue:

I have been bitten by the Christmas ornament bug. I have a few examples listed in my Etsy shop. This is one of my favorites so far:

actually I like this one, too:

After a somewhat frantic October and November, I've decided to spend the early months of 2011 building an inventory. There is always something to learn!

Be well, Kate :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sage green

Hello, friends. We had loads of fun celebrating my youngest's 13th birthday yesterday. Andrew had a "wicked good dinner" - tacos, Buffalo chicken wing wraps, Caesar salad, and a chocolate peanut butter bundt cake withh chocolate fudge brownie ice cream. I'm still recovering from the sugar high.

There is a new towel in my shop this week:

I love this sage green cotton. I made 8 of these towels, but I'm thinking about hoarding a couple for myself. :)

Lots of warps ready to go on the loom, and I have plans for a new holiday ornament. Life is good...

Be well, Kate ;)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Harvest plaid kitchen towels

Hello, friends. Here we are in November already. I'm trying not to dwell on the fact that my youngest boy is going to be a teenager next week. He is terribly excited.

My loom has been humming away, as has my sewing machine. I have a couple of new things in the works. I am particularly pleased with the way my latest run of plaid towels shaped up. Here is a picture:

and I have a new Christmas tree mug mat, too:

We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of a French press coffee contraption, which we ordered this weekend. Upon the suggestion of a client, I am going to make a stab at desigining a coffee press insulating wrap.

Keep your eyes peeled for the world's first coffee press kilt. :)
Be well,
Kate ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy October

Hello, friends. I have missed my blog for a while. It has taken quite some time to reorient ourselves here after our computers were hacked by the Nigerians. Trust me -- this is a major HEADACHE!

My loom has been happily humming away after a couple of nice features on Etsy. One of my handwoven towels was featured on the Front Page (here is a picture of the towel):

On Friday of last week, Etsy was kind enough to feature my "Handwoven Kitchen" section of my shop on their Facebook page. Wow! That was exciting!

The loom has some handwoven waffleweave dishcloths in the works right now:

and I have warps all ready for some more acorn coasters. I sometimes wish that there were just a few more hours in the day (or a laundry fairy).

Be well, Kate :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Front Page Feature & Fingerless Mitts

Hello, friends! Nutfield Weaver was featured on Etsy's Front Page last night which happily resulted in several sales and visits to my site. Etsy seller GlistenbyErin curated a lovely Treasury, which I will attempt to display below:

I have caught the fingerless mitten bug and have been spending the time I have at my son's weekly soccer practice putting some together. I think that they'll be perfect for those 40ish degree days that are soon to arrive in New Hampshire. Here's a picture:

Lots of warping in sight for this afternoon. It is really rainy here today, as we're getting a bit of a Nor'Easter, but this is the price we pay for living in The Granite State.

Be well, Kate :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cinnamon spice and everything nice

Hello, friends. TGIF! I had so much fun weaving my new fabric that my 8 yard warp is already a thing of the past. Weaving the 4 shaft point twill was thoroughly enjoyable and the time just flew by.

Here is a towel woven in white & a lovely cinnamon spice:

and here is one in shale and white:

I'm thinking about weaving just a few more using a natural/ivory colored warp. This pattern is just too much fun to weave, and I'm not quite ready to let it go just yet!

Have a delightful weekend, all.
Be well, Kate ;)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New dishtowels!

Hello, friends. I am having so much fun experimenting with some new point twill designs. After many hours of threading the loom, I finally got to throw the shuttle and weave, which is always a big moment for me. The first few pattern repeats tell me if I've got a major warping disaster to deal with or a correctly threaded loom. It was a happy day here at Nutfield Weaver - no mistakes!

Here is a picture:

The turquoise is really rich, and there are plans for more towels in red, orange, blue, and chocolate brown. I think that the brighter colors work well with the white weft.

Busy night here at home, so I'm off to get the troops fed & watered.
Be well, Kate :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Going nutty

Hello, friends. Did my blog entry title grab your attention? Seriously, Nutfield Weaver is not going nutty -- she is just a bit obsessed with weaving acorns and enjoying time at the loom. I realized that my Etsy shop "shelves" were a bit depleted, so I've been slowly getting some new things made and photographed.

Here is a new pocket tissue holder:

and here is an acorn mug mat for fall -- handwoven, of course!

I've got a nice warp going for some kitchen towels. There will be new pictures soon! Here's a teaser: I'll be using a "M & W" point twill design. I love point twills....
Be well,
Kate :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Autumn kitchen textiles

Hello, friends. While there are technically a few more days of summer for us, it is really starting to look and to feel like Fall here at Nutfield Weaver. It is currently 43 degrees (Farenheit) and the leaves in our marsh are starting to turn. My son, Andrew, asked me yesterday what my favorite season is, and I told him that it is Fall. How can a person not be in love with Fall in New England?

I have been spending a great deal of time with graphing paper, pencil, and (lots of) eraser to draft some new weaving motifs. Now that the lace is finished and off of the loom, I finally got to start tinkering with my designs. Let me tell you that weaving designs look a great deal different once they're woven vs. when they're on graph paper! I do have high hopes for a few of my designs, however, and am inspired to try some more after my first attempts. Here is a picture:

My favorite so far is the acorn. How 'bout you?

There is an ugly pile of paperwork next to my computer that is begging for attention. I'm stalling. It is more fun to play with yarn & write about my weaving projects, but such is life...

Be well, Kate

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weaving & weddings

Hello, friends. Hope you are having a happy Tuesday!

I am trying hard to make friends with our new Canon EOS digital camera. My husband has been using it regularly for the past several months. It has taken me a while to warm up to it. However, I have been very happy with the quality of my photographs and plan on using it for my shop photos.

Here are a few pictures from Old Home Days this past Saturday:

(me, inside The Morrison House, Londonderry, with the loom)

(standing with Heather Rojo, from the Londonderry Historical Society)

If you're interested in genealogy, be sure to visit Heather's blog, Nutfield Genealogy.

This week I am making pew cones for fall weddings and weaving more towels. Here is a picture of the finished red/natural twill towel:

That's all for now!
Be well, Kate :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Red kitchen towels and Londonderry Old Home Days

Hello, friends. I hope that you are having an enjoyable weekend. I had the privilege of doing some weaving for the Londonderry Historical Society this weekend during Londonderry, New Hampshire's "Old Home Days." A small table loom was set up in one of the front rooms of (what I think is) one of the very oldest homes in Londonderry, The Morrison House. The Londonderry Historical Society has taken great care to preserve the home, which is now filled with historical artifacts, including some pieces of "Londonderry linen." It was a real treat to meet so many new people and introduce members of the community to weaving. My husband took some pictures of the house and the demonstration area, which I will try to post soon.

For now, here is a bit of eye candy...

This cloth will be for towels and is woven in a balanced/straight twill. I love the cherry red and natural cotton colors together. I have one more towel to weave like this, and then I will tie on a new warp for another run. My towel inventory is a bit depleted (a good problem to have!), but it will be replenished soon since school begins this week!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rustic burlap petal cones and a vineyard wedding

Hello, friends. This has been another busy week at Nutfield Weaver. I am soooo excited about creating some burlap wedding accessories for an upcoming celebration that will take place at a vineyard. Can you imagine a more enchanting venue? I've been doing a fair amount of custom work this week -- fall wedding planning is in full swing! Here is a picture of a burlap petal cone with sage green accents that I put together for a flower girl:

The plaid table runner is finished! It takes a while (at least for me) to get a good rhythm going when weaving with two shuttles. In general I am a one shuttle kind of gal -- but it is good to branch out. Here is a photo of the finished runner as it is drying on our deck:

Next on the loom will be a warp for kitchen towels. I have been winding a lot of warps lately and did a count today: 6 separate warps for kitchen towels + 1 warp of mercerized cotton for more spot weave lace. Maybe this says something about my psyche, but really, I think it just means that I love my warping reel.

Let me know what you think about my latest creations!
Be well, Kate

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pretty plaid

Hello, friends.

I hope that this finds you well and enjoying your days! It is a bit humid in New Hampshire today; 'tis the season I guess.

Here is what is on the loom today:

This will eventually be a table runner. It is made from mercerized cotton weaving yarns in robins egg blue and white. Weaving is a bit slow, as I'm carrying the weft threads up the left selvedge to avoid cutting and joining yarns with each color change (a nuisance when weaving with 2 or more shuttles/colors). I'm enjoying the challenge, though.

The high humidity made for a painfully slow jog this afternoon but the forecast is looking up!
Be well, Kate ;)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Burlap and lavender twig sachets

Hello, friends. Burlap and I continue to get better acquainted, and today I have a new item in my shop. Here is a sneak peek:

I guess you could say that I have been bitten by the burlap bug, which to some extent is true. Actually, the sachets are a result of having too many scraps of burlap lying around after cutting out pew cones, and I really despise having to throw too much fabric away.

Here is a photograph of what is on the loom right now:

These are going to be placemats, and they are going to be for us! I can't wait to see how my brightly colored Fiestaware looks on them. It is sort of a summer-y color, being turquoise/aqua, but I am fairly certain that they will add a bit of sunshine to those wintery days that we have here in New England.

Let me know what you think of the sachets! I am thinking about making some with acorns for a decoration, too, but I have to check out my supply in the backyard before I forge ahead.

Be well, Kate

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Little burlap petal cone on Etsy's Front Page

Hello, friends. I'm still jittery with excitement about having my little burlap petal cone pictured on Etsy's Front Page today not once but TWICE in two different features. I can't believe my good luck. Here is the picture of the little guy who has made his mommy so proud:

My shop views really spiked between 11 am today and 1pm. I am very pleased to have had the free advertising!

I've done a lot with burlap this week, but have also managed to wind several warps for lace yardage, kitchen towels and placemats. I'm really itching to get at the loom!

It is very humid in New Hampshire today and overcast. It is a good day for a swim at the pool with my boys.

Be well, Kate

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Some burlap pew cones

Hello, friends. How are you today? It is "wicked hot" in New Hampshire. My boys had the opportunity to see the thermometer climb to 100 degrees Farenheit on Monday. It was terribly exciting...

I am so fortunate to have so many brides-to-be place their confidence in my work. I have been busy, busy, busy! Dress hangers have been very popular this week, as have my burlap pew cones.

Here are some pictures of my first substantial order of pew cones. These were made out of ivory/natural burlap and apple green ribbon:

and these were made out of the same fabric with grape ribbon:

I photographed the cones on my warping board, which is used to measure warp threads. My warping reel gets the most use these days, but I still find the board to be useful in a variety of ways.

Lots of table napkins are still to be woven over the course of the next few days! There is always something to do. Like water the vegetable garden. Now. Everything looks droopy and tired!

Be well, Kate

Friday, July 2, 2010

Playing with power tools

Hello, friends. TGIF! I hope that this finds you well and enjoying your day; the weekend is not far off at this point!

My boys and I have been engaged in a top secret project for my husband's upcoming birthday on Monday. I don't want to give away the big surprise in the off chance that he will actually see this post, but I will say that the project involved my having to acquaint myself with a jigsaw and an electric drill. The tools and I got to know each other pretty well after a few days. I now wield both tools with confidence!

My growing self-assurance in the power tool department led me to make my first set of wooden buttons. I found a white pine limb in our yard today -- it was probably a victim of the severe wind storm we had earlier this year. I decided to make some buttons. Here's a picture:

I put these on a burlap ring pillow and was pretty pleased with the results.

My loom is ready to be "beamed." This means that I have to wind 12 yards of 500+ threads around the back beam of the loom. It is part of the "dressing the loom" phase. This just means that I am one big step closer to actually sitting down with the shuttle, which is one of my very favorite things to do.

Have a safe and splendid weekend!
Be well, Kate

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New towels & burlap wedding accessories

Hello, friends. I have been swamped lately! I guess it is a good problem to have. The August & September brides are starting to look for accessories about now, and I got my first request for Christmas gifts this week! It is never too soon to start weaving for Christmas, actually.

I had the pleasure of creating some custom kitchen textiles this week. Here is a set of kitchen towels in shale & white:

and here are some towels in white and ochre and white and yellow:

I'm gearing up to weaving several sets of table napkins -- also custom requests -- between now and next Wednesday. I like to weave table napkins as they are just a tad smaller than kitchen towels!

And the burlap lovers have been coming into Nutfield Weaver pretty regularly. Here is a custom ring bearer pillow for a delightful young bride-to-be:

And now I need to tend to my laundry and water the front garden. And my two boys and I are engaged in a TOP SECRET project for my husband, who has a birthday coming up very soon.

Have a lovely day.
Be well, Kate :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

New kitchen textiles

Hello, friends! Happy Friday morning to you. It is a lovely day here in Londonderry -- sunny and clear. It will be hard to spend much time at the loom today, especially since I discovered an angry hoard of Japanese beetles in our garden yesterday. But our borage is blooming, our cabbages & broccoli are ready to harvest, and our prickly pear cactus is blossoming. (Yes, we have a prickly pear cactus in our garden. They are hardy to Zone 4!)

I have listed a few new kitchen towels in my shop this week. I received some very nice compliments on this one yesterday:

and this one is up for sale, too:

Now I've got a white warp ready to tie on to the front beam for customer requests (more new colorways, which is always exciting) and a big 'ole 12 yard warp ready after that for custom table napkins. I'm doing a lot of work in the early mornings these days, since my guys are on summer vacation, and we try to stay occupied.

Life is good...
Be well, Kate

PS: My picture of the eyelet petal cone is STILL on Etsy's Front Page as of this morning! Woo hoo!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Yankee weaver takes a courageous leap

Hello, friends. I confess that I have been neglecting my blog. We are finding our new rhythm here at home since my boys have started their summer vacation.

Maybe it is the heat or the fact that I needed a break from weaving with ivory yarn, but I have taken a bold leap in the color department. I actually have a black warp on the loom right now and am experimenting with new colorways. Here is a picture of a towel that was inspired by the honeybees in our garden:

This next one is in the same pattern but reminds me of the butterflies in our yard:

I have plans for another using a burnt sienna weft -- the new gallardia plant that my husband purchased yesterday will be my muse.

It is "wicked hot" here in New Hampshire today. The air conditioning unit for the second floor has broken, so I now realize that I am a very spoiled weaver and find that weaving in the heat is less than desirable!

Let me know what you think of my latest weaving adventures, or just drop me a note to say hello!
Be well, Kate

Monday, June 14, 2010

Handwoven lace shawl

Hello, friends. What an exciting day at our house for a Monday. I watched a fox trot through our backyard as I was puttering in my herb garden this morning, I sold another kitchen towel to a household in NYC, AND I finished weaving the first of two lace shawls that are on the loom right now. I like the way the shawl looks on the loom. Here is a sneak peek:

The ends will be hand hemstitched and have a hand-twisted fringe. The shawl will be light-weight, which is nice for cool evenings. And the best part is (I think) that the item can be passed on to a bride's family member and size/fit doesn't matter.

My boys are almost finished with their schooling for this year. I will have a high schooler in the house in just a matter of days.

Be well, Kate :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Namedrafted table runner

Hello, friends. We are moving slowly this morning after a night of baseball. This weaver also doubles as a scorekeeper/dugout mother for a group of 11 and 12 year old boys. After three hours of standing in the pouring rain with a clipboard and a gaggle of adolescent boys, I started to think about how cozy it would be to be working at my loom with a cup of steaming hot tea beside me.

I realized I never posted final pictures of my namedrafted table runner. So here it is:

It is always exciting to see how a design comes together. The first "draft" for this runner was done on a paper napkin on an airplane when my family and I were making our way back to New England from our spring trip to Arizona. I'm already thinking about other namedrafted patterns that I can make for friends and family, and have a "made to order" listing in my Etsy shop for folks that are interested in a table runner for themselves.

Today I will be working on a lace bridal shawl. It is overcast and misty, and after yesterday I think I will refrain from standing in the rain for too long. My loom misses me.
Be well, Kate

Friday, June 11, 2010

Waste not, want not

Hello, friends. TGIF! This has been a very fast week. I hope this finds you well today.

Weavers spend loads of time creating fabrics, and we many of us dislike discarding even the smallest pieces of handwoven cloth. I had a few odds and ends lying around that weren't making much sense to me at first -- they were small, seemingly useless scraps destined for the trashcan. Fortunately, after seeing a picture of my very-pregnant-cousin on Facebook yesterday, I was inspired to try something new and ended up with a handwoven cloth baby block. It is a bit larger than I think I would prefer but I'm going to show you my prototype anyway. Here it is:

A set of three small blocks would be kind of a nice baby gift, don't you think? I used 4" squares to put this block together, but I'm going to experiment with 3.5" squares next and see how those work. The fabric pieces used in the block were woven from 8/2 unmercerized cotton, which is machine washable (a very good thing). In theory, you should get a 3" square block if you start off with 3.5" fabric squares. That is if you don't rush and take care with your seam allowances. Like I said: this is the theory.

I'm going to play in my garden and try to undo the damage that the red squirrels have done to my basil plants.

Have a lovely weekend.
Be well, Kate :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

DIY Tutorial - Fresh Herb Bundle Bouquets for Petal Cones

Hello, friends. Thank you for visiting. Today I have a very fun and eco-friendly activity for all of you DIY brides out there or anyone who would just like to try a quick, satisfying project using fresh herbs. I have spent a lot of time nurturing my herb garden this spring, and love to use my herbs in new ways.

1. Select a small bunch of herbs. I used lemon thyme, rosemary, sage, and oregano. I used these herbs because that is what is growing well right now. Don't have access to your own herb garden? Try visiting your farmer's market or even your produce aisle. Just make sure that your herbs have a stem of at least 6 inches. (Say, check out that really nice handwoven tea towel that is underneath the herbs!)

2. Rinse off your herbs, especially if they are freshly cut. Gently shake off the excess water.

3. After removing any blighted leaves or trimming stems as necessary, arrange your bundle into a pleasing fashion. I put the taller sprigs toward the back. Using a small length of sewing thread, wrap your herb bundle. It should be snug enough to hold the "bouquet," but the thread shouldn't cut into the stems.

4. Dampen 1 paper towel. Squeeze out the excess moisture so it doesn't drip everywhere. This is going to be wrapped around the stems of the herbs to help keep them fresh.

5. Tuck your paper towel-wrapped bundle into your petal cone. Admire your work! Your bundle should look fresh for a few hours.

6. Wait! There's more! Don't throw away those yummy herbs. After you're finished with your display, consider using them to make a savory herbal infused vinegar. You could even write out the directions and enclose them with your herb-filled petal cone. Your guests will love this thoughtful favor.

Here are the directions for the vinegar:

"Mixed Herbal Vinegar"
1 bunch herbs
5-10 whole peppercorns
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 c. red wine vinegar

Place herbs, garlic, and peppercorns into a clean glass jar.

In a nonreactive saucepan, heat the vinegar until hot, but not boiling. Pour hot vinegar over the herbs in the glass jar.

Seal and allow to stand in a dark corner for about 2 weeks. Strain the vinegar using cheesecloth and place into a clean glass bottle. Enjoy your savory vinegar!

Consider using fresh herbs as part of your decorating endeavors. You won't be disappointed.

Be well, Kate :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Adventures in namedrafting

Hello, friends. Happy Monday to you. We had some "wicked severe storms" here in New England yesterday. We were fortunate that the power stayed on at our house.

I am tickled pink with the outcome of one of my first efforts in designing my own overshot weaving pattern. I used a technique called "namedrafting." In namedrafting, you take a name or a combination of names, assign each letter in that name a shaft on the loom, and develop a "code" to generate your weaving pattern. This particular draft was made using two first names (I'm not telling you whose names they are, because I was asked to weave this item for an anniversary gift). I'm going to be running with this idea a bit in my shop on a custom order basis. I hope you'll tell me what you think! Here is a picture of the table runner in process on the loom:

It is lovely to see something come together on the loom. It never really looks quite the same on graphing paper.

My garden needs to be inspected for storm damage. There are a few foxglove casualties, which is always annoying.

Have a lovely day.
Be well, Kate

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Garden wedding ring bearer pillow

Hello, friends. I hope today finds you in good spirits.

I spent this morning working on a new ring bearer pillow design. I am pretty pleased with how it appears. This one is made from huck lace. Here is a picture:

Hopefully there is a bride-to-be out there who might find this to be a suitable addition to her garden-themed wedding. The lovely shrub rose I used for the background in the photo is one of the rugosas that my Donald tends. He is a fine gardener.

Today I am winding a warp for a table runner. I did my sample yesterday, found my mistakes, and am now ready to venture forth with the real thing. Weaving samples are kind of like practicing your piano scales -- it is kind of a pain, and a bit boring, but it really does help in the long run!

Have a splendid day.
Be well, Kate :)