Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Wednesday

Hello, friends. Things are looking up. The rain has (mostly) stopped, we don't have to visit the orthodontist again (hopefully) until May, and two of my wedding garters have found new homes today. My cornflower blue garter is going across the pond to a UK bride, and my little blue birdies garter has flown the coop for Tennessee after only one day. So, I am cutting more fabric for more of these little lovlies as time permits.

I'm finished threading the loom and am in the final stages of warping. I get all anxious to get weaving after threading, but there are still several steps that have to be completed. And I've learned the hard way that rushing through this process only leads to headaches and unevenly tensioned warps. (I confess that I have chopped off two warps in total frustration over the last 18 months).

I'd like to find a nice "forget-me-knot" blue cotton for my next set of garters. Or perhaps a fabric with butterflies. I may find myself in Center Harbor, NH before too long.

Be well, Kate

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Little blue birdies wedding garter & a new warp

Hello, friends. I am writing this and pretending not to hear rain drip on the floor of our front hall entrance. After many days of driving rain, our house is no longer waterproof. Sigh... I'm debating calling my husband at work to let him know about it, but I think I will just wait it out and do my best with towels.

But here is something cheerful. I found this fabric today and couldn't resist buying a bit. I just thought that it was too sweet to pass up and think that it makes a whimsical garter which I'm calling "Little blue birdies wedding garter." Here is a picture:

I'm warping the loom to make more of these kitchen towels. They were quite popular about two months ago, and I've got a client who requested one of these for herself:

I hope that you are safe & warm & dry, wherever you are!
Be well, Kate

Monday, March 29, 2010

Patchwork garters

Hello, friends. I was warping my loom this morning and my mind started to wander (this often happens while I'm sleying the reed) about possible items for my wee shop. I am still tweaking the meausrements and colorways, but here is my new Patchwork garter in sage green:

I'm working on a "something blue" version right now. These will definitely not satisfy the style of every bride out there (especially those who are drawn to wedding garters with feathers and fluff and football team logos), but I think they might appeal to the bride with traditional/country wedding sensibilities. What do YOU think?

Off to the orthodontist today. I am bringing my knitting! Soft foods are on the menu for the next few days.
Be well, Kate

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Huck lace ring bearer pillow

Hello, friends. Here is a new ring pillow that I put together yesterday. I couldn't decide what kind of ribbonwork to feature in the center -- it looked nice with a wee folded ribbon rose and also one of my Celtic knot violets. The center band is huck lace. I went with this option here:

Today I'm putting together a second flower girl basket and winding a new warp for kitchen towels. And I am going to the optometrist. I'm having difficulty seeing ribbonwork, embroidery, and music. It was time to make the appointment...

Andrew and Don had loads of fun at the Celtics game and ate a bunch of junk food. Nathan and I had dinner out -- more junk food. I hadn't had a root beer in quite some time! Yum!

Be well, Kate :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Waffles on the loom

Hello, friends. Spring has definitely arrived. How do I know? Because we have already had a trip to the ER for xrays after our 14 year old wiped out on his "wave" (a 2 wheeled skateboard). Lots of roadrash and a splint. More xrays on Friday, possibly. Sigh...

After a long run of delicate lace I like to mix things up a bit on the loom. I'm weaving a run of fabric for waffleweave dishclothes. Simply, homey, practical. The weave structure is really interesting; it shrinks up a lot after it has been removed from the loom and washed/dried. Waffleweave makes for a super-absorbant cloth. Here is a picture of it on the loom so far:

Half of this warp will be crossed with a weft of white cotton, the other half is going to be a nice grassy-green. Just for fun.

We got our peas, lettuces, spinach, carrots, and arugula into the dirt this weekend. Don still ran into some frozen clumps of earth, but that is to be expected. Now all we need to do is wait!
Be well, Kate

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I took the handmade pledge

Hello, friends. I have had the good fortune of being featured in a new blog today. It is really fun blog written by a California Etsian, Like a Lily Among Thorns. The author is doing a weekly feature called "Wedding Wednesdays." It is nice to have one's work noticed!

"I Took the Handmade Pledge," and that is the title of today's blog entry. We really do attempt to support artisans in our house when it comes to gift-giving.

Here is really nice set of handthrown pottery ale glasses that I bought on Etsy for my husband last year. These beautiful pieces were handmade by JR & Kristen Page from PagePottery. I love the green color. And, to make them even more wonderful, they hold a pint of Guinness (or one of my husband's home brews) just perfectly. The Page's customer service is unsurpassed as well.

Today I made a field trip to the fabric shop. I resisted the urge to by yards and yards of fabric and made it out of the store with a mere 3 yards. I bought fabrics to coordinate with my handwoven lace, and also two nice styles for toss garters. I'm calling this "Country wedding cornflower blue toss garter"

We're headed to the gym tonight so dinner is already in the works. No "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" tonight!
Be well, Kate

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Handwoven lace dress hanger & sachet

Hello, friends. Hope you were able to enjoy some nice weather yesterday. The skies were clear here. We had a great view of Orion's Belt last night when we were outside with the dog.

I took a ridiculous number of pictures yesterday and tried to take advantage of having decent daylight. I'm experimenting with backgrounds and places in the house where the light is best and the time of day that I take snapshots. Here is a sample photo from yesterday.

When I started the whole Etsy endeavor, I had no idea how much time I would be spending with my camera!

It is lovely here today, and I'm going to make time for a run outside. My plans to do so yesterday didn't materialize because I spent the better part of the late afternoon preparing "Coq au Vin" from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." My youngest, Andrew, ate onions for the first time EVER! I guess soaking pearl onions in a puddle of butter in the oven for 40 minutes is the key. He said that he really liked them because they didn't taste "sting-y." Nathan made a good show of trying it but really he was stuffed full of cereal, which he tends to eat in insane amounts after coming home from school. Ahh....boys...

My Coq au Vin:

Be well, Kate

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How to Make Your Own "Very Tiny Pincushion"

Hello, friends. The rain and wind have stopped and the sun is out in New Hampshire. Hooray!

I had a request to post directions for my "Very Tiny Pincushion" project. In case you missed it the first time, you can see the pincushion here.

Nutfield Weaver's Very Tiny Pincushion

6" square cotton fabric
sewing thread
sewing needle
wool roving or polyester fiberfill
a nice button, at least 3/4" in diameter

1. Trace a circle on a piece of paper (I used an old CD!). Cut out the circle.

2. Pin your pattern to your fabric and cut it out, too.

3. Using a generous amount of sewing thread, thread your needle. Knot one end. Using a running stitch, sew around the entire perimeter of the circle. Use about 6 stitches per inch. Don't knot the end, though.

4. Gently pull/gather the beginning and end of the thread together to draw the fabric in. Leave a small opening. Don't knot anything yet.

5. Stuff the pincushion with wool roving or polyester fiberfill or, if you're running low on supplies, cotton balls!

6. Pull your threads together to cinch the top of the pincushion. Take a couple of stitches to hold the opening together. Now you can knot the ends.

7. Cover the hole in the top of the pincushion using a spiffy button. I have a collection of nice vintage buttons from my grandmother. Just make sure your button is generously sized, so as to disguise your threads and pincushion fluff. Sew on your button well.

8. You're done! Find some pins and put them in your Very Tiny Pincushion!

If you make yourself one of these little pincushions, by all means send me a picture and we'll share all of our lovely creations here on the blog.

My boys will be home soon, so it is time to sign off for now! And it seems like a good day for a short run outside.
Be well, Kate :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lace on the Loom & Two Giveaways

Hello, friends, from rainy & windy New Hampshire. Another Nor'Easter has hit our state hard this weekend and into today. We feel fortunate that the power is still on and that we are not flooded!

My work is being featured on two separate "giveaways" this week. A blog giveaway is basically a nice way for artisans like me to market their work in an affordable way -- by giving it away for free! My fellow Etsy Wedding Team members are hosting a Winter Giveaway, and this week my lace petal cone is being given away. You can find out how to win the petal cone by clicking here on the Etsy Wedding Team blog. Remember, this is also a nice decoration for your powder room! Liz, from Put The Kettle On blog, who writes about all things "tea" is featuring my herb garden towel on her blog this week. All you have to do enter is write about what you like best about spring. How easy is that?

I snapped a couple of pictures of the lace that I have on the loom right now. I've only had one broken warp thread so far, so I'm pretty happy with the way things are going. The first picture shows the loom from the front, the second, from the back.

Back to the loom and, unfortunately, a pile of laundry and a kitchen sink full of dishes! :)
Be well, Kate

Friday, March 12, 2010

Purple Rose Dress Hanger

Hello, friends. TGIF! My husband and my boys have ventured north to get some skiing in before the snow completely disappears. Downhill skiing is not my thing; I was happy to stuff them full of breakfast and load up the cooler with snacks and wish them safe travels! I'm more of a cross-country skiing gal. Plus, I have a very long and late rehearsal this evening with the NH Phil.

Here is a custom handwoven lace padded dress hanger than I put together for a bride. I really like the plum rose; it works nicely with both the plum ribbon or ivory ribbon for the accent.

I will be typing up directions for my "Very Tiny Pincushion," since someone out there in the Blogosphere would like to make one, too. I hope to have those posted by Monday. (My digital camera went with my husband to the White Mtns. today).

All 890 heddles are threaded on the loom. I'm tying onto the back beam right now. Tensioning a warp of this width is a bit tricky and is a lesson in patience.

Be well, Kate :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Playing with yarn

Hello, friends. I've been threading heddles with 10/2 cotton for the last hour and decided it was time for a break. While I was waiting for my kettle to get my tea water ready, I was treated to a nice view of a group of hooded mergansers on the marsh. I checked our guide book; last year we noted their appearance on the 24th of March. They have made an early visit to our neighborhood this year.

While not reading Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, a birthday gift from my son, Andrew, I've been working on a cables & lace scarf at night. Here is a picture:

This is not "fast" knitting, but having that yummy "Manos de Uruguay" yarn in one's hands, which is spun from Merino wool & silk, makes it easy to take things slow.

I'm going to go make sure that the marsh's gang of mallards is not bullying our mergansers. They are guests, after all.

Be well, Kate

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Warping on Wednesday

Hello, friends. My loom's reed is filled up with 890+ threads, so now it is time to put all of these through the heddles! I'm starting this tomorrow.

Today I finished a custom scarf for a client in Massachusetts. It has nearly 200 beads on the fringed ends and drapes nicely. Rayon boucle is just super for scarves -- soft, warm, non-scratchy! Here is a picture:

I am working hard to improve the quality of my pictures. So many of my good shots seem to be the result of luck. Fortunately, I have a trusty tripod now (many thanks to my sister, Amy!) which is helping to reduce the blur. I'd like to get to the point where my pictures can be of a consistent quality. I'm practicing on my Celtic Knot Ring Bearer Pillow. Here is a picture from a few months ago:

And here was today's picture of the same item:

I just keep plugging away at the whole picture thing as time allows!
Be well, Kate

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A new petal cone

Hello, friends. My embroidery work has led me to add a custom monogrammed button option to my petal cones. I really like the way that they turned out. Little girls love to see their initials on things -- well, who doesn't really?

Please let me know what you think! Here is a picture:

I am toying with the idea of tweaking my toss garter pattern and making it available in my shop as a downloadable file. The pattern is very simple to do -- only basic sewing skills are required. My favorite thing about it is that is entails no handsewing! But before I conquer this, I really need to set to warping my loom for spot weave lace. I'm almost done winding the warp for this. Almost.

Enjoy spring! Our yard is loaded with critters. We get a new bird at the feeder nearly every day.
Be well, Kate :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New toss garters and a trip to the yarn store

Hello, friends. It has been a busy week. I've been chipping away at my custom order requests and working on a new, affordable garter design. There is a new section in my shop, "Toss Garters," in which I will offer affordable companions to my handwoven lace garters. What I like so much about these garters is that they are pretty enough to stand on their own, too. Here are some pictures:

My husband and I took a quick trip to Concord on Friday. We visited a yarn shop, The Elegant Ewe, which is truly charming. Don picked out two different yarns for new socks, and I picked out two new patterns (cabled mittens and a cabled and lace scarf). I selected a yummy merino/silk blend for the scarf. It feels lovely.

Spring is slowly making its way to New Hampshire. Yesterday I saw hints of our tulips popping out. It was the perfect day for a run outside.
Be well, Kate

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A very tiny pincushion

Hello, friends. I've been doing a lot of monogramming lately for buttons and found that I needed a small pincushion for a pin or two and a sharp needle. I looked for one at the fabric store yesterday, but couldn't bring myself to buy something that was made in China. What is a girl to do? Make her own!

I made this from a small circle of quilter's cotton that I had on hand and stuffed it with scraps of wool roving. I put on a special button, too, one of a collection of vintage buttons that my Grandmother gave to me. It measures about 2.5" in diameter and is perfect for a small space. What do you think? If you like it, let me know and I'll put the directions on the blog.

Off to play with yarn.
Be well, Kate ;)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Apple blossom towels

Hello, friends. March blew in like a lion yesterday, which is no great surprise. At least the power stayed on! So many homes are still "offline" in SE New Hampshire.

Here are some new towels I made yesterday. They have a simple pink and spring green narrow plaid design. The fabric washed up nicely; it feels soft. I really like the 8/2 unmercerized cottons that are available from Webs. Here is a picture:

Today I'm working on placing the finishing touches for a lace wedding garter for a bride in North Carolina and have a couple of towels headed to Maine. I'm starting to wind the warp for my lace yardage -- anything over 800 threads requires some resolve.

Be well, Kate

Monday, March 1, 2010

Three scarves

Hello, friends. The wind is howling here this morning, which is making me a tad nervous, so I'm using the computer just in case something wacky happens with the power again!

There is a lovely warp on the loom right now and I'm anxious to weave this week's kitchen towel design. After these towels are finished, I'm starting a run of some ivory lace spot weave for wedding accessories and keepsakes. Summer and fall brides are starting to make regular inquiries and requests, so I am thinking that it would be a good thing to have a generous supply of lace on hand. Just this week, I received custom requests for 2 flower girl baskets, 2 petal cones, and a scarf in rayon boucle with beaded fringe.

Speaking of scarves, here is a picture of some work I just completed for a friend in Michigan. These are also rayon scarves with beaded fringe. They feel just yummy.

Let me know what you think!

I'm off to prepare breakfast for my boys. Feeding Nathan and Andrew, ages 14 and 12, has turned into a FULL TIME JOB.
Be well, Kate :)