Sunday, June 30, 2013

New kiss clasp change purses

Hello, friends. I finished weaving the fabric for purses (the herringbone twill & one of its derivative patterns). The fabric turned out nicely. I used 5/2 mercerized cotton for the warp sett at 20 ends per inch and crossed with a variety of weft yarns (other mercerized cottons in different colors). Here are a couple of examples:




A few months ago I purchased some larger clasp frames and finally got around to drafting a purse pattern for these. The lining will include a small pocket. Hopefully I will be able to put one of the larger purses together this week. It is hard to decide which fabric to use first. I'm leaning toward the red herringbone twill, but the black twill looks pretty nice, too.

Oh, and I finished sewing my black & white polka dot spandex running skirt! It worked out very nicely. I used a Jalie sewing pattern. If I am feeling very brave, maybe I will post a photo of the skirt in action. :)

Be well,
Kate


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Adventures in Fiber Art"

Hello, friends. I have such exciting news! My friend and colleague, Elena Rosenberg, has written a lovely article about the fiber arts for the Etsy Blog. The post is a visual treat! I am very fortunate to have one of my items featured in the article. I hope you'll have a look at the article, "Adventures in Fiber Art" - you will really be amazed at some of the fine pieces that are spotlighted.

I have finished weaving the handbag fabric that I chatted about the other day. It is drying right now and then I will be preparing a couple of new handbags with some of the twill fabric. I have finally conquered my fear of zippers after much trial and error and made a small coin purse featuring a zip closure:


Next on the loom will be some cheerful yellow waffleweave dishcloths. Yellow always seems to work very well for kitchen textiles.

Be well,
Kate K.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Handbag fabrics

Hello, friends. Some new fabrics are underway this week. The loom is warped for herringbone twill and one of its derivatives. I am really pleased with how things are shaping up. Here is a look:



The red mercerized cotton is waiting in line to be used next for the weft. I like both of the designs and can't say that I prefer one over the other. The herringbone twill is easier to weave with just a 4 step treadling pattern (photo 2); the top photo has a 16 step treadling pattern.

In either case, I think that a clean, simple handbag design will work for either fabric. I have kiss clasp frames in a couple of different sizes and my trusty drawstring bag design, too. An envelope-style clutch is something I'm considering, which brings me to my next question: what sort of handbag do you prefer to carry? Or, conversely, is there are style that you absolutely would NEVER tote around? Just curious to know!

Be well,
Kate

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Permission to play

Hello, friends. What a lovely June we are having here in NH. I hope that you have sunny skies wherever you are today.

So. As a weaver it took me many years to become comfortable with the idea of weaving cloth that did not have an intended purpose. I felt as if I weren't weaving, for example, fabric for a table napkin or a bookmark or a scarf, that it was somehow wasteful to spend the time and materials needed to weave cloth for its own sake. Well, I've gotten over this opinion and will now allow for some extra warp on a given project for sampling/experimentation purposes. Weaving a few additional inches (or feet!) of cloth allows me to play with color and pattern and to try something new without a huge commitment. (Warping the loom is, for me, a commitment!)

I recently switched up colors in a plaid fabric. I weave plaids all of the time and find great comfort in their regular, predictable patterns. This is the fabric I was working on:


and then I decided to swap the orange for white and white for orange in the weft pattern and this is what happened:


It is kind of like an inside-out plaid. I'm not sure I really LIKE the results, but there is still value in seeing the change in the fabric.

So, weavers, what do you do with that last bit of warp? Do you give yourself permission to play around a bit after working diligently on a project? I would love to know!

Cheers & be well,
Kate

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Arugula Pesto

Hello, friends. We have been having a long-term argument with our neighboring woodchuck, who has helped himself to all of our broccoli plants, sugar snap peas, beets, and a handful of lettuce heads. He has not, however, taken to the taste of arugula. Arugula is one of our favorite salad greens to grow. It can be planted in the early spring, germinates reliably, and is a tasty and peppery addition to the table. The downside to this plant, however, is its tendency to bolt in hot weather. When the plants bolt, the leaves turn tough and really bitter.

This year I decided to try to make the most of our arugula harvest before the hot weather arrives. I made this pesto on the weekend. We put it on fingerling potatoes and fresh bread and really liked it. I made enough to freeze, too.

Here is how I did it. This will make enough for about 1 cup of finished pesto.

Arugula Pesto
Ingredients:

2 cups washed and stemmed arugula leaves
2 - 4 T. walnuts, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or whatever nut you happen to have
1 t. salt
2-4 sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
2-4 T. shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese
1/4 - 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

Roughly chop the arugula, any larger-sized nuts that you might be using, and the tomatoes. Put the garlic clove through a garlic press or mince it up. Put the first 6 ingredients into a food processor and blend. While the motor is still running, slowly pour in the olive oil until you end up with a creamy mixture.

I varied the olive oil amounts here. Some people like a pesto that has a thinner consistency for topping a pizza. Others simply want to monitor their calorie intake, and olive oil offers plenty of calories, so you can be the judge of how much you want to add.

So, my freezer is packed with wee jars of pesto. I think these will come in handy, especially during a snowy day next winter.



If you don't have arugula on hand, basil will, of course, do just fine!

Happy cooking, friends.
Be well,
Kate

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lingerie sewing

Hello, friends. I've been weaving steadily these days but when time allows and if I need a change of pace, I like to indulge in lingerie making. I still consider myself a novice at this stage, but have learned a lot and have found a few pattern designers that I tend to revisit. Here is one designer that I am particularly fond of and one that you may not know about!

Ohhh Lulu sells her hand-drafted sewing patterns, as well as ready-to-wear lingerie, on Etsy as well as other sites. I recently purchased the "Jasmine" soft bra sewing pattern. (The pattern files are digitized and you can print the pattern right from your own comptuer). The instructions are pretty easy to follow, but it is helpful to know some lingerie sewing basics (i.e. attaching elastic bands and putting together a ring/slider strap). Having some confidence sewing with knits is also beneficial. Here is my first "Jasmine" soft bra:



I used white stretch lace for the shell fabric and lined with single knit cotton jersey, also white. Fold over elastic is used on the top band, and I put on a handmade ribbonwork violet, just for fun. I'm looking forward to making another version, maybe with some floral jersey cotton knit that is languishing in my stash.

Do visit Ohhh Lulu and take a peek at Sarah's lovely lingerie & sewing patterns!

We're getting rain here in New Hampshire - lots of it. Flood warnings are in effect! Yikes! It will be a good day to stay indoors tomorrow and weave. Or sew. :)

Be well,
Kate K.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Blooms & blue

Hello, friends. We've had a heat wave here in New Hampshire - 95 degree temperatures! Our yard demanded a lot of our attention and extra watering because of the extreme heat. Here is a peek at our yard, though. I took these photos this morning, while it was still early in the day.

We love old fashioned roses and peonies. Aren't they pretty?



And here is a clematis and lupine in a garden that is turning into a "blue garden" (we also have false indigo, lilac, and muscari here, but these flowers are finished for the season):



Speaking of blue, I just finished up two new plaid towels in cobalt blue & wedgewood blue. I sort of stepped out of my typical color palette while weaving these fabrics, but I guess that is an okay thing to do every so often!



Well, that is all for now. Next up on the loom is a custom table runner. And on the dinner table tonight, arugula/walnut pesto with spinach fettucine. Yum.

Be well,
Kate K.