Sunday, December 30, 2012

Etsy's Home for the Holidays Event, Exeter, New Hampshire

Hello, friends.

I hope that you have been enjoying the season. We have a lovely amount of snow here in New Hampshire, which has made for some excellent cross-country skiing. I confess that my loom has been quiet over the last several days so that I can spend time on my skis! This morning was cold and windy, but I took a photo of a pretty spot in the orchard at Mack's Apples (Londonderry). Here is my trail-blazing husband by "The Poet Tree."



On Friday, we made our way to Exeter, New Hampshire to participate in Etsy's "Home for the Holidays" event. It was a nice way to meet Etsy staff and fellow sellers and artisans from New Hampshire. I met some very nice people, including Morgan and Bethany from Etsy. Amy is an artist from Portsmouth; she paints lovely floral pieces. Here is one of her items:




Jennie, who owns Etsy shop, "Selkie Mum" was also there. Jennie stitches and designs items for mums and babies! Isn't this sweet?



I also met Lauren, who crafts a variety of items for her shop "Long Eared Designs." Her shop includes hair accessories, sashes, and painted trays. Here is one of her very pretty satin and organza hair combs:


There were at least a dozen other folks in attendance, many of whom are members of Etsy's New Hampshire Team. What an enjoyable evening!

The loom is just about ready for weaving. The warp is on the loom for some new towels using one of my favorite colors, antique rose. I've made a run of these before and they turned out like this:


I hope that you'll check in to my wee blog during January, when I anticipate sharing some exciting news with you! (Hint: my work is being featured in a very special print magazine!)

Have a happy and healthy 2013, friends!
Be well,
Kate 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December at Nutfield Weaver

Hello, friends. Yes! I'm still here. It has been far too long since my last post. Nutfield Weaver is still plugging along. I've been weaving some old favorites for the holidays (read: tea towels) and trying out some new approaches to using handwoven fabrics. Just yesterday I finished a sample clutch purse with a metal kiss clasp frame. Drafting sewing patterns is not a forte, so this takes some determination on my part. (Note to self: spend more time with protractors). The pattern worked out relatively well on "regular" fabric, so I hope to have a handwoven fabric version finished sometime this week.

Sage green and ivory towels are on the loom and there is warp left for just a couple more in this color combination:


And I took a leap and made some towels using non-neutral cottons as the primary color in these fabrics:



I sort of like the emphasis on the robins egg blue and the red in these fabrics. What do you think?

Waffleweave dishcloths are next up! Have a great week.
Be well,
kate

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Handwoven scarves

Hello, friends. Fall is in the air here in Londonderry! It is lovely today -- sunny and cool. It is a picture-perfect New England day all around.

The loom has been wearing scarves lately! I love weaving for the home, but I also enjoy weaving for people. Most of my "wearables" have been made for family and friends, but I have decided to make a few scarves to take to the Windham Craft Fair this coming Saturday.

Here is a turquoise scarf made using an 8 shaft point twill:


and here is her sister scarf in raspberry pink:


I love this 8 shaft twill pattern, and I especially love the silk and merino JaggerSpun yarn that is used in the weft. It is soft and fluffy -- not at all scratchy.

Looking forward to Saturday and my last show of 2012. And then onto the holidays!

Be well,
Kate

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October plaids

Hello, friends. It feels like Fall today in New Hampshire. It is cool and damp. While this makes for a rather dreary day, I look at it as an opportunity to avoid garden clean-up and spend time at the loom!

Plaids are not certainly not seasonal, but I tend to be drawn to them, especially for autumn. I've been working on table runners & pillow covers this week. Here's a peek at what's happening at Nutfield Weaver:




I'm working on a red variation of the plaid as well. These will be posted in my Etsy shop, and I'll be taking these on the road as well.

Well then. I guess it is time to get back to the old girl upstairs and start throwing that shuttle.
Be well,
Kate

Friday, September 28, 2012

Wood crate tabletop display for craft shows

Hello, friends. Nutfield Weaver is participating in two more artisan shows this fall and with every event I seek to "tweak" my vending space and presentation. I really need to get my items off of the table and "up" where people might have a better chance of seeing them. Here's my latest low-cost idea.

I purchased 4 wooden crates at a local craft store for about $8 each. They measure approximately 18" x 12" x 9". I raided my husband's workshop for a length of dowel (this measured 7/16" in diameter and I cut it into 8 3/4" lengths) and some metal cup hooks. The cup hooks can screw right into the body of the crate; I'll use them for hanging towels and some other things, like a hand-held mirror or a chalkboard sign or two. The only tools needed are a ruler, for placing the cup hooks in the right places and a small saw to cut the dowel. Here's what I have so far:




I really like the cup hooks. I might even place some on the inside of some of the crates to create more hanging space on the interior of the box. And it would be spiffy to paint or to stain the crates or even stencil my shop name on the sides. But I will start with this for now. And I can pack all of my wares on the inside to tote them around. Not too bad for a $35 investment.

My "weaving vacation" officially began today. Since the wedding season has come to a bit of a slow-down, I am taking two weeks to just be with the loom. How fun is that?

Be well,
Kate

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hello, Fall

Hello, friends. The calendar says that Fall is still a couple of days away, but it sure feels autumn-y here in New Hampshire. September in New England is hard to beat! Cool days and clear skies are with us today, and it is nothing short of perfect.

Here is something new that I'm taking up to the Concord Arts Market on Saturday. (Saturday, September 22, is the first day of Fall). I've made these little greeting cards before, using a heart motif in the center, but the lovely colors outside inspired me to craft something a bit more seasonal:


I have some worked up in dark red ribbon, too. This is my favorite way to use up small pieces of handwoven fabric. (I use a 2.5" square here in these).

Nutfield Weaver will be taking a short vacation from online sales during the first two weeks of October. After a busy wedding season, I've decided to spend some much needed time at the loom, pick apples, and pickle those beets that have been waiting patiently in the garden for attention. What are your plans for the season?

Be well,
Kate

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Craft Fair on a Shoestring. Part 2. Signs & jewelry display idea.

Hello, friends. Some of my readers know that I have taken a rather bold leap into the artisan show circuit this summer. I am learning the ins and outs of outdoor market vending. My second event was last weekend, and I took notes during Saturday and Sunday about how to tweak my booth for the next show. There were 2 things that I really wanted to fix.

1) Inexpensive tabletop signage.

Some of my customers weren't quite sure what my sachets and/or tissue holders were, and I was fortunate to have a couple of people who came right out and asked (made me wonder how many people DIDN'T ask for whatever reason). Some written explanation was in order! Not wishing to spend more money on my booth for this year, I came up with this visual aid/sign idea:


This is one a 1 lb. cone of cotton weaving yarn. I used a scrap of cardstock, cut it to around 3" x 4", and punched 2 small holes near the top. These Martha Stewart Home Office "chalkboard" stickers were picked up at Staples. They come in packages of 6 (or maybe 8, I can't remember). I wrote out a brief description for the item on the label. A length of the cotton yarn was threaded through the holes and into the body of the cone and knotted to stay in place. And here's the neat thing: the cone/sign does double duty as a visual aid ("What sort of yarn do you use?") AND a paperweight! (Handy on windy days when you're outside!).

2) Simple, inexpensive jewelry display.

I had my few pieces of handwoven fabric jewelry (earrings & brooches) flat on the table last weekend. For future events, I wanted to have my pieces more visible to passers-by. Again, not wanting to dip into the piggy-bank, I used what I had on hand:


This is a 6" wooden embroidery hoop holding 18 count Aida cloth (for counted cross stitch). The cloth is just rigid enough to support the weight of the earrings. You could probably use a bigger or smaller hoop, depending on your needs. The French hooks on the earrings slip right through the holes in the cloth. Easy as pie!

So, that's all for now. I'm getting ready for a trip up to Concord on Saturday, September 22, for the  Concord Arts Market and hoping for sunny skies.

Be well,
Kate K.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September weaving

Hello, friends. I had such fun exhibiting at the Apple Country Craft Fair in Londonderry, NH this past weekend. I met many lovely people and had lots of fun. (Well, putting up the canopy tent and lifting sandbags isn't all that much fun, but I suppose it goes with the territory of outdoor vending). I am looking forward to next year.

Wedding season is gradually slowing down and this allows me to spend a bit more time with the loom. I have excited about adding more tabletop items to my shop and to have available at artisan fairs. Here are some  mug rugs:


I've never been a big fan of weaving with fabric strips, but I like the canvas weave here in the mug mats. The weave structure allows you to discern bits and pieces of the calico pattern and just seems to be a bit more interesting than plain weave/tabby.

Two pearls of wisdom that I'd like to share after my outdoor show this weekend:

1) people like red!

2) consider your wardrobe carefully. I wore my new wraparound skirt on Saturday and it got rather blustery by the afternoon. Alas, I wish I had had my kilt pin available!

Be well,
Kate K.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Apple Country Craft Fair 2012

Hello, friends. Happy September. I am really looking forward to exhibiting at Londonderry's 25th annual Apple Country Craft Fair this year. We have attended for years, but this is the first year that I will have a booth of my own. I hope that you'll stop by to say hello!

While I plan to take many of Nutfield Weaver's more popular handwoven items (like the farmhouse plaid dishtowels) to display, I have made a few things that are new, most notably placemats and sachets.

Here is one of the placemats:


These are available in sets of 4. The yarn used here is a soft but sturdy mercerized cotton in sage. I made a second set in chocolate brown, too.

Here is my favorite new little thing:


This little sachet is made from spot weave lace and filled with organic flax seeds and essential oil of lavender. I made up a baker's dozen or so of these. They smell quite nice!

Hopefully the weather will hold for all of us who are out and about this weekend.

Be well,
Kate

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Concord Arts Market & Londonderry Old Home Days

Hello, friends. I hope that you are having a pleasant August. Summer has sort of slipped away from me, but I have been keeping busy with custom work and my first public event at the Concord Arts Market. My first show was a real learning experience, and I am happy to have jumped in with both feet. My upcoming shows in September will hopefully be even more successful than my first show on August 4th.

The little change purses that I have been making from handwoven lace and other fabrics did well at the market in Concord. Here's a sample of one of my latest pieces:


Kitchen-y pieces, such as my dishtowels and dishcloths, also caught the attention of people strolling through the market:


I got some really interesting feedback from people who visited my tent (i.e."Did you buy the fabric for the towels and hem it?"). These sorts of questions prompted me to invest in a sign/banner to display on my canopy, and it is due to arrive this week. Pictures to follow!

On Sunday, I will one again be demonstrating handspinning at Londonderry's Old Home Days in The Morrison House. If you're in the area, I hope that you will pop in and say hello!

Be well,
Kate

Monday, July 2, 2012

Adventures in purse making

Hello, friends. Happy Independence Day (almost). People here in New Hampshire love their fireworks, and most nights (and some afternoons) have been filled with banging and booming!

The kiss clasp purse frames arrived!  I had a hard time not dropping everything to work on a change/coin purse design that would feature my handwoven fabric. Here is the first one!




I had so much fun drafting the pattern. It has been a long time since I needed to use a protractor! The fabric here is an 8 shaft twill and I used a variety of jewel-tones in the warp (teal, gold, purple, etc...) and black is used in the weft. The little purse is lined with black cotton. Sewing the purse onto the frame is a bit tedious, but not wishing to smell or to deal with gloppy glue, I think that this style of clasp frame works just fine for my purposes.

Now for the hard part -- keep it or put her up for sale? Maybe my second one will find its way into my shop or at the arts market.

Be well,
Kate

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Baby bibs and a guessing game

Hello, friends. I was thinking the other day how grateful I am that my mother took the time out of many of her days to show me how to sew. I remember the first "big" project that I made -- a yellow & blue flowered short sleeved shirt. There were no buttons & there was nothing too complicated about the pattern (probably 4 pieces all told), but there was some trim around the neck and sleeves. I wore it with extreme pride! I think I was 10 years old, maybe 11.

Knowing how to sew came in extremely handy the other day when I felt compelled to produce a baby gift for a family member on rather short notice. A few basic search inquiries led me to a couple of good sewing patterns which I sort of merged together to make my own set of baby bibs. A healthy fabric stash is also helpful in instances such as these! Here's what I came up with:


I have been thinking about new ways to use my handwoven fabrics. With the holiday gift-giving season less than (gasp!) six months away, those of us who embrace "handmade" can never really start thinking too soon about these things. I've been doodling and sketching while waiting for our son, Andrew, to finish his 9 holes at the golf course. Here's a teaser:



Can you guess at what these are? I can't wait for the postman to deliver them!
Be well,
Kate

Monday, June 25, 2012

Custom burlap pew cones

Hello, friends. Happy summer -- at least for those of us who are in the northern hemisphere. We've had lovely garden treats recently: sugar snap peas, greens, and herbs. There are a few beets out there in our veggie bed who are begging to be pulled. My husband and I love to eat oven roasted beets with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I've also found a use for some of the "rattier" spinach leaves that we have -- fresh spinach pasta!

I've been working on custom requests for burlap wedding decorations. This week I've been preparing a lot of cones (or "pew ends," as I've found that they're sometimes called in the UK). Here is one of a set of a dozen pew cones that are headed to British Columbia for a late summer wedding:



The loom is humming away. She has some red and ivory/cream plaid dishtowels in the works right now. A yellow and white warp chain is patiently waiting its turn in the weaving line.

Be well,
Kate

Monday, June 18, 2012

Custom table linens and baby birds

Hello, friends. We had an eventful weekend here at home in New Hampshire. Our baby robins have decided to leave their nest. The first baby, who was a bit bigger and more assertive than his sibling, took off on Sunday night. The smallest baby left this morning (Monday). But here they are on Friday night, eagerly waiting for their dinner:


Aren't they sweet? I will miss watching their daily antics but am glad that they both appear to be thriving. (And also very glad that they avoided the neighborhood hawk's greedy eye).

I finished a rather sizable custom weaving order this weekend as well. It was great fun to design the table runner using sunflower-y colors. The table napkins are made from 10/2 mercerized cotton and feature a lacey, textured border -- the neutral color will work for just about any occasion.


And now for a new warp - new farmhouse plaid dishtowels are in the works!

Be well,
Kate

Friday, June 15, 2012

Theme & variations on a burlap basket

Hello, friends. Things have been pretty busy here at Nutfield Weaver. Wedding season is in full swing! I've been making a lot of little burlap baskets lately, and it has been interesting to see how different ribbon colors affect the appearance of one of my pieces. Same pattern design, same kind of fabric -- different looks! Here is a sampling:


Brown burlap basket with moss green ribbon


Khaki burlap basket with pale blue ribbon 

The basket with the pale blue bows was made for a beach wedding. What a lovely place to tie the knot, don't you think?

The loom is waiting for a new warp - I have several dishtowel warps who have been waiting patiently for their turn in line. White & robin's egg blue farmhouse plaid! 

Be well,
Kate

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nutfield Weaver's new sewing pattern

Hello, friends. Interest in my Nutfield Weaver burlap rustic wedding decorations has grown and as such I have put together sewing patterns for some of the more popular pieces. I am really excited about my latest pattern, which is for the burlap pew/chair cone with tying ribbons!


There a lot of brides-to-be (and their mothers, sisters, aunts, friends, etc...) who embrace the idea of crafting for weddings. My patterns are fairly straight-forward and require only basic sewing skills and tools. I've even received news about a few "cone making bees," when moms and friends get together to make decorations for an upcoming wedding. How special is that?

And here is something special, too. Our baby robins are growing, thanks to their adoring parents' unceasing efforts to feed them. Here is how one of the little ones appeared today:


Life is sweet.

Be well,
Kate

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Handwovens in action

Hello, friends. I've found that one of the nicest rewards as an artisan is receiving a photograph or two of a Nutfield Weaver item in its new home. Brides frequently forward me photos of their pew cones, and just recently I received a photo of one of my table runners:


This table runner is a "summer & winter" pattern and features red and ivory cottons. It looks quite at home in this lovely, traditional dining room, don't you think?

After receiving an invitation to exhibit at an historic farm in Massachusetts this September, I got to thinking about taking steps to "define" my handwoven items. To start, I'm mulling over color choices. There are several signature pieces that I'll continue to weave, but weaving "one of everything in every color" is getting to be a bit impractical.

Red, sage, and colonial blue are in my top three spots for now, at least for table runners. I'd love to hear your thoughts! What are your favorite colors for housewares?

Have a lovely weekend!
Be well,
Kate

Friday, June 1, 2012

June blooms

Hello, friends. June 1st always feels like the first day of summer to me. And our weather in New Hampshire today was lovely - sunny and low 70s. It was a perfect day for birds and blooms, and I couldn't help myself from taking just a couple of photos in between warping the loom.

Here is our "Dortmund" rose. It is a climbing rose, is very vigorous, but does not have much scent. No matter -- the multitude of rose blooms makes up for any perceived deficiency:


And here is a new neighbor:


This red-bellied woodpecker has been visiting off and on for about 2 weeks. He is still quite skittish (unlike the chickadees or downy woodpeckers) and doesn't appreciate people nosing in too close for a look at his splendid feathers. I daresay he will return tomorrow, though -- or at least until the suet runs out.

And here's a nest update: there are still 4 eggs in the nest. No babies yet!

Have a lovely weekend & be well,
Kate

Friday, May 25, 2012

A sunflower plaid

Hello, friends. Mother robin continues to look after her eggs. Yesterday I noted that there are FOUR eggs in her nest. She is a busy bird! I will keeping a close eye on her activities this weekend.

Nutfield Weaver had to make a rather significant business-related purchase this week. I decided to purchase a heavy-duty, burlap-only sewing machine. The amount of work that my 10 year old Janome was expected to do, especially with the heavy fabric, was beginning to take its toll. So my Janome is taking a well-earned vacation at the sewing machine spa. She will most likely appreciate having a more relaxed work schedule on her return and will be used for sewing my handwoven fabrics.

And speaking of handwoven fabrics, here is a photo of my latest plaid table runner. The design is a variation of my grainsack-inspired fabric. The colors here remind me of sunflowers and honeybees.


I hope that my US friends and family have a splendid Memorial Day weekend! We will be gardening and, of course, watching the nest.

Be well,
Kate

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A nest at Nutfield Weaver

Hello, friends. I have exciting news! Our new garden visitor is going to be a mommy. There were several days last week when the nest outside of our front window was seemingly ignored by the robin who built it. Then, on Monday morning, I looked down from our upstairs window and saw two lovely blue eggs! By the end of the day there were three.

Here is a picture of mother robin sitting on her nest:


I am reluctant to pull up the glass window to get a better picture. I am afraid it might startle her, and she has enough to worry about, such as unmannerly blackbirds who have been harassing her regularly. (Father bird is on top of the situation, though, and has been chasing away unwelcome intruders).

And here is something special. The northern orioles and Eastern kingbirds made repeated visits to our pea trellis on the weekend to gather up bits of cotton yarn that was left over from the loom. Here is picture from Saturday:


Aren't they sweet? I can honestly think of no better way to use thrums!

Be well,
Kate

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Craft Fair on a Shoestring. Part 1: Bags on a Budget

Hello, friends. I am really looking forward to participating in my first public event in September as Nutfield Weaver. Getting ready for your first show can be a tad overwhelming and, when you start to think about it, potentially expensive. So, in order to keep expenditures to a minimum, I have been researching affordable options for booth set up, display, and other odds and ends. While there is little to be done about entry fees or the cost/rental of a canopy tent, I hope to find creative ways to make my first show eye-catching and fun without breaking the bank.

Shopping bags

I am not interested in buying 1000 merchandise or gift bags. I may not participate in many fairs in the future after the first one, right? And what would I do with a big stack o' bags? Here's what I did instead.

1) Purchase a package of Avery round labels in kraft paper brown, 2 1/2", item 22808. I got mine at an office supply store. They were on sale AND came with a $5 mail-in rebate. Cost: $7.50 for 225 labels.

2) Find a template on the Avery website that is designed for the size of your sticky labels. (If you're a graphic designer, all the better! Make your own!). I have limited skills in graphic design and so took the easy route. I found a template I liked, changed the text a bit, and VOILA! Nutfield Weaver labels!

3) Go to the grocery store and buy a package of brown paper lunch bags. I have 2 sizes (regular and large). Cost: about $3.00 for two packages for a total of about 150 bags.

4) Stick your labels on your bags!


The smaller sacks will work for greeting cards and Christmas ornaments, and the larger ones will work for dishtowels and mug mats. I'll probably have to purchase a few larger gift bags for table runners and scarves, but that's okay.

Granted, these are not fancy. But they are simple and functional, and that suits me just fine.

Please feel free to share your budget-friendly show ideas here!
Be well,
Kate

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mrs. Robin's nest, day 2

Hello, friends. Mrs. Robin continued to work diligently on her nest yesterday. Today she appears to be lining the nest with grass. Here is a photo of the nest as it appeared around noontime:


We noticed that she did not hang around the nest at night and seemed to disappear around 6pm. Perhaps she had a private rendezvous with Mr. Robin? Perhaps she wanted to rest elsewhere since she'll be in the nest for a very long time?

Stay posted! I may have to have my oldest son break out the video camera. This is a science project in the works!
Be well,
Kate

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Building a nest: 101

Hello, friends. Many family members and friends know that I just love birds. I love watching birds, listening to birds, and learning about birds. When I was eight years old I learned that parakeets do NOT grow up to be parrots, which was a bit disappointing, but my love for birds remained.

On Sunday (Mother's Day!) we saw a robin frequenting one of the evergreens outside our front living room window. I kept an eye on her throughout the day and was pleased to see that she came by again on Monday. And, indeed, Tuesday (today) proved to be an exciting day as she began to build her nest.

I was able to get a few pictures of her hard at work. The first of the photos was taken around 7a.m. this morning, and the last was taken at approximately 11 a.m. (All of the pictures were taken from the inside of the house, through a window, hence the blurriness around the edges.) The male stopped by occasionally, too, but primarily he seemed to be "standing guard" and making sure that the blackbirds didn't get too close to his beloved mate.

Here is the beginning of her nest:


here is the second photo:


in the third picture, she appears to be sorting things out a bit:


and here is the last picture, taken a mere 4 hours from the first photo:


This tiny bird is certainly an inspiration! I had no idea that robins could build their nests so quickly. It is interesting that the amount of time she took to select and to inspect the site took longer than the actual construction of the nest. (There has to be a moral in here somewhere, don't you think?)

I hope that you will follow along as I document the adventures of our newest neighbors.

Be well,
Kate

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A blue loom

Hello, friends. I hope that this finds you enjoying your day! It is raining at Nutfield Weaver's house today. Our garden looks very happy, though. And I saw our first hummingbird this morning! I keep hoping that our new little friend will think about building a nest here.

"Summer & Winter" is still on the loom. I am enjoying blues lately. Here is a nice colonial blue:


and here is a robins egg blue:

These will be little table squares.

I am very pleased about some news I received this week. I will be exhibiting at a small artisan fair here in Londonderry in September. This will be my first "public" event beyond demonstrations with the Londonderry Historical Society or in the public schools. How fun will this be? My boys are very excited about it, but I suspect that this is because I will need to purchase a smartphone that will accomodate a credit card reader. They have strong opinions on these things, and I am sure that I will be given lots of information about "what is best."

Be well,
Kate