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 :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My new favorite blue

Hello, friends. Hoping this finds you well and enjoying your day. I have a new favorite color: colonial blue. Maybe I like it so much because I am itching to get to the coast and this blue has a somewhat nautical feel about it. Anyway, here is a picture of the colonial blue that found its way into one of my table napkins:

I'm actually keeping this one for myself! I like to see how new colors wash up after weaving before trying to sell something that is made from a new yarn. If this one passes the "Kate Test" I will probably use this in some new kitchen textiles.

Today I am going to do some sampling. I have a namedrafted pattern ready for a 50th anniversary gift, and I'm sampling to see how it works up on the loom. I will keep you posted!

Have a lovely day.
Be well, Kate :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A new towel

Hello, friends. I hope that you all had a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend. We have done lots of gardening over the past few days.

There are some new items in my Etsy shop. I've been playing with color these days and experimenting with some new combinations. Here is an example:

1)Latte and white kitchen towel

Today I need to restock my supply of padded dress hanger forms and replenish my ribbon supply. I may also treat myself to a latte at the coffee shop in celebration of my 150th sale this morning.

Have a splendid day, everyone.
Be well, Kate :)