Friday, January 29, 2010

Etsy Wedding Team fundraising efforts

Hello, friends. I have freed myself from the loom for a few minutes to a)catch up on laundry, b)pet my pooch, and c)tell you about the Etsy Wedding Team's fundraising efforts for Haiti Relief. Team members from EWT have generously donated all sorts of items to help to raise $$ for Haiti via the American Red Cross. I'm chipping in one of my "Signs of Spring" tea towels. There was a nice story about our team's shop here:
http://www.handmadenews.org/article/index.php?id=4596

Our shop's name on Etsy is:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/etsywedteam

Here is picture of the item I'm donating:



I'm weaving away on this chilly New England day. It is really windy out, and the wind chills are sub-zero. A good day to spend time with my loom!

Two more tea towels found a home last night. The robin's egg blue tea towels have sold out, but I have plans for more once I catch up on custom requests!
Be well, Kate

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winding, warping, weaving

Hello, friends. It is good to be busy! My big yarn order arrived yesterday, and I have been busy winding warps and getting threads organized on the loom. I am doing my best to get through my list of custom requests. People have been very patient, though, which is lovely, and so I am able to work carefully and not feel rushed.


The loom has a run of tea towels right now and will include towels in robins egg blue, willow green, red, and possibly yellow. Here is a sneak peak:



I sold one of my custom monogrammed ring pillows yesterday and it is headed to Virginia. I like the purple embroidery floss color. Here is a picture:



We have been enjoying our backyard circus. The squirrells have found our birdfeeder, and this morning I counted six different types of birds. The squirrells are a bit of a nuisance, but they are funny to watch.

Be well, Kate

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A new tea towel

Hello, friends. I am delighted to have a new digital postal scale sitting on my desk as of this morning. It will weigh up to 52 lbs., but most of my parcels are not quite so large. I hope that it will save me a trip or two to the post office. Now I just need to figure out how to print shipping labels. The printer and I have not been getting on very well lately, so I may have to have the man give me a hand with this. I also got 4 lbs. of unmercerized cotton in natural yesterday so I am busy winding new warps.



Here is tea towel that I just finished this morning. The colors make me think of spring. What say you? I will be donating at least one, and possibly two of these to our Etsy Wedding Team's shop that seeks to raise some $$ for Haiti relief.

It has stopped raining here so I am going to take the pooch out for a walk today. It is a blustery day, but sunny.
Be well, Kate

Monday, January 25, 2010

A bobbin winder fix

Hello, friends. I feel like a true example of YANKEE INGENUITY as I came up with a workable solution to my broken bobbin winder. (A bobbin winder is a gear-driven tool that allows yarn to be spun onto a spool for use in a weaving shuttle -- very similar to a bobbin winder on a sewing machine, except mine is hand-cranked). Here is a picture:



Yes, it really works. It is a bit loud, though, which is about the only drawback. Having a power tool permanently installed in our bedroom/loom room seems a bit unusual, but until my new gear arrives from Sweden, this is about my only alternative because I HAVE A SUBTANTIAL BACKLOG OF WEAVING REQUESTS!

I never thought that a year ago I would have a backlog of orders. I have 6 towels to make, three scarves, a set of placemats, and an inquiry about a tablecloth came in last evening. I have 13 lbs. of unmercerized cotton on the way and it will arrive none too soon. Still waiting on that postal scale, too. Hoping it arrives early this week.

The man and I visited Vermont on Friday and took a tour of Long Trail Brewery, which, of course, included a nice glass of ale with pub food at the conclusion. I was surprised at how loud the brewery was. It was a nice excursion, though, and we came back with a case of great beverages and a couple of big drinking glasses.



My oldest son, Nathan, has been pouring over his high school course offering book that we picked up at our first school meeting for parents of soon-to-be freshman on Thursday night. The options that he has available to him are nothing short of astounding: web animation, ceramics, writing for classic film... He is so very excited, which makes us happy.

My youngest son, Andrew, continues to drain my finances at Monopoly. He has about 8 hotels right now. He tried to argue that the rules should allow for multiple hotels on the same property. I drew the line there and have put up with days of humiliation for the sake of making him do all of the $$ calculations in his head.

Off to make ribbon rosettes and package up some earrings who have found a home in California before rousting the boys from their beds.

Be well, Kate

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What to call this towel?


Hello, friends. I've been selling on Etsy for a little over a year now, and I've learned a lot of things. One of the things I've learned is that, along with some decent pictures, an item stands a good chance of being picked up if it has a catchy title. So here is my dilemma:

I'd like a descriptive, clever title for this tea towel (something other than "Handwoven tea towel in orange and blue), but I'm really struggling. (Granted, I have a few days -- I'm still weaving my first one on a 6+ yard warp).

Here are some ideas so far:
1. Sunny clear day
2. Morning glory......
3. Robins egg blue and Etsy Orange Tea towel
4. Bluebird (not exactly the same blue as an Eastern blue bird, but you get the idea...)
5. I Love Etsy tea towel (look at their home page - these colors dominate)

Ideas, anyone??? Drop me a note with your input in the comments section!

We may take a road trip tomorrow to VT to visit Long Trail Microbrewery. We'll see how the weather is. At least there was no shovelling/snowblowing on the to-do list today!

Be well, Kate :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blue thread + woven lace = pretty fabric


Hello, friends from snowy New Hampshire. We have been told that the snow is going to stop. Soon. This round was light & fluffy, though, which makes for good skiing and lighter work with the snowblower.

Here is what is on the loom right now. This is a lace weave, but not an all-over lace weave. I designed the fabric to have a lace "frame" which will be used to center rings on a ring bearer pillow.

Tea towels are proving to be popular. I sold another one yesterday afternoon. Yea! I am winding a warp for a new set of towels as time permits.

The last few evenings have been filled with a marathon Monopoly game, which has been great fun. My youngest, Andrew, says that he is "going to drive me into the ghetto" with his wheeling and dealing and big stakes real estate transactions. He has been quite impressed that I'm still hanging on, though. Maybe he is just taking it easy on me.

Be well, Kate

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tea towels & postal scales



Hello, friends. With at least 12 inches of snow and the ground and 3 more expected today, I finally broke down and bought a digital postal scale. I found one on sale for $23 (and free shipping!) and now I can't wait for it to show up and to start playing with it.

Some tea towels and tissue holders have found new homes over the last couple of days.
All of my diamond twill towels have sold out, so I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of two pounds of unmercerized cotton in white so that I can put another warp on the loom. I can't decide which one of the towels I like best. I think I like them both!

Off to work on a custom order and finishing threading my heddles on the loom.
Be well, Kate

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Snowy Day


Hello, friends. Winter is still with us here in New England. Our Norwegian Elkhound, Ingrid, still enjoys a cushy pile of snow to rest in. Here is a picture of her from this morning.



How do I come up with my designs? Well, I usually start with colored pencils and graphing paper and a couple of cones of yarn for inspiration. Weaving entails a fair amount of math (not highly complicated math!). I like to assign a single square to a fixed number of threads. Here in this design for a new tea towel, I have one square equal to six threads that will measure 1/4" wide in the loom's reed (or, 24 ends per inch or "24 epi"). Once I work out my graphing arrangement, I can start coloring away! I like these two colors together. How 'bout you?

The boys are home to day for MLK Day, and if they weren't scheduled to be at home, they would be anyway because of the snow and road conditions. My two strapping young lads can help their mother clear the driveway today. When the snow stops. If the snow stops.

Be well, Kate :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Robins egg blue tea towels


Hello, friends. Despite the fact that my bobbin winder is not functioning very well, I still manage to spend a good deal of time at my loom. Here is my latest project: a run of tea towels in robins egg blue and ivory cotton yarns. I have a narrow plain weave selvedge on each end, which is helping the weaving to proceed a lot quicker!
What do you think???

A new ring pillow is in the works. I've been sketching and graphing and have a basic weaving draft for a pillow that will include a lace square "frame" in the center of the fabric. My hope is that the lace square will be a nice way to showcase rings. Pictures will follow!

Have a lovely day. It is the gym tonight for us!
Be well, Kate

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tea towels & buttons & a new warp chain


Hello, friends. Hope you had an enjoyable weekend. I was a tad under the weather, but am doing better now. It's back to the loom for me today!

Five of the tea towels that I made & listed last week have already sold. Woo hoo! I have plans for several more, since these seem to be grabbing some attention. My next set of towels will be made from ivory & robins egg blue yarns in a twill design. I'll be putting a simple plaid border on each end. Can't wait to get started on these!

My clan MacQuarrie tartan turned out to not work entirely well for ring pillows. I think that the pattern is just too bold for an item such as this. However, the fabric does make for nifty buttons. What do you think of these? I think that these would look great on, say, a little girl's jumper or dress (or on a handbag, or on fingerless gloves, etc...).


Off to the post office and to shop for a few supplies!
Be well, Kate :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Clan MacQuarrie Tartan


Hello, friends. TGIF! Aside from the fact that I have a headcold and was engaged in a continual argument with my loom this morning, it has been a good day. Just about everything that could go wrong with my weaving did:

1) I kept dropping my shuttles on the floor and making a racket.

2) My second shuttle did not cooperate and wasn't unspooling very well (when it wasn't falling on the floor).

3) I broke a warp thread.

4) My selvedges look like they belong to a beginning weaver.

Aside from that, the fabric turned out reasonably well and is in the washing machine at this very moment. The threading/pattern is a traditional tartan named for Clan MacQuarrie. The threads are red & green. Working on a 4 shaft twill was good for me; sometimes the "basics" are not so very basic! I'm toying with the idea of using this fabric for a ring pillow or to cover buttons.

It is snowing right now. I am hoping that my head clears enough so that I can get out on the xc skis this weekend!
Be well, Kate :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Can weaving be considered exercise?

After two days of some intensive weaving, my answer to my own question is a resounding, "Yes, weaving can be considered a form of exercise." Granted, it depends on a lot of things. I've been weaving some pretty dense cloth the last couple of days, and am using all 8 shafts of my loom. Several of the lifts require that 6 of the 8 shafts be lifted simultanously. I am sure that I can include weaving as part of my new weight loss regimen for 2010!

Just to prove to you that I've been busy, here are some new pictures of some of the tea towels that I've worked on today.

Here is a lovely orange. It reminds me of habanero peppers and it also happens to match my nice Fiestaware everyday dishes:


Since I was growing weary of weaving the diamond twill pattern, I altered the tie-up of my loom to create waffle weave fabric. Waffle weave is interesting because it really shrinks up after you cut the fabric from the loom and wash the cloth. Here is a picture:

Monday, January 4, 2010

Treasury trove of tea towels

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Hello, friends. The kiddos are back in school today which means that I can spend time at my loom after their Christmas vacation. I've spent the day warping the loom with cream/ivory unmercerized cotton for an 8 shaft point twill. Weaving is a tad slower than I am used to, since the pattern has a fairly long repeat and the twill forces me to use floating selvedges. I am not a huge fan of floating selvedges, but they do help to make a neater edge (mostly).

Here is a sneak peek at a couple of the towels so far!


Enjoy the wintery weather!
Be well, Kate