Thursday, December 17, 2015

A little unplanned crafting

The blog has been neglected as life has been lived, work has been worked and my loved ones loved.  I spotted this Land's End  100%wool Fair Isle vest at my local Goodwill.

I felted in the washing machine and dryer. Then, I cut it up.
Then sewed up this cushy little project bag.

My goal this week was to work on my zipper skills.  I might have made six project bags in two days.  Tomorrow, I need to go in search of more sweaters to felt.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Field Trip - Penland Scool of Craft

Today I had the opportunity to take a tour of The Penland School of Craft with a small group of weavers from Tapestry Weavers South.  It was a beautiful drive up the mountain and a very inspiring day.

Stunning views were in abundance throughout the campus.
It was a special treat to visit the tapestry class.  All the instructors for this session at Penland were from Australia.
 The entrance to the Lily Loom House.

 Tapestry samples.
 The tapestry classroom.
There was more than just weaving, this is the painting studio.
What an inspiring view.

 Creating beauty can be a messy process.

Clearly we visited the wood turning classroom as well as glass blowing, photography and metals.  Our tour guide was Edwina Bringle.  She began exploring textiles at Penland School of Crafts in the early 1960s. For 24 years, she taught weaving and textiles at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte until 1997, when she retired, returning to Penland.
This is the original dye studio, also referred to as the Toll House as it had the only telephone on campus for many years.
"Penland is a stimulating, transformative, egalitarian place where people love to work, feel free to experiment, and often exceed their own expectations. Penland’s beautiful location and historic campus inform every aspect of its work."

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Focusing on Tapestry

I became intrigued with tapestry after seeing the work of one of my guild members. 
It was a small tapestry of a black cat walking away down a path.  It was striking and memorable.  I did a few samplers and looked unsuccessfully for local workshops.

On Ravelry there is a tapestry weavers group and much discussion about an online tapestry weaving class.  Rebecca Mezoff has a variety of classes and I have jumped in with both feet.

I love the way Rebecca has structured these classes.  There are videos, handouts and instructor feedback.  Above is the very beginning of my class sampler for the Part One class.  You are actually seeing the back as I am weaving from the back.  Rebecca weaves from the back and splices her ends as she weaves.  This results in a very flat tapestry with a very clean back.

This is my tapestry thus far, see how neat the back looks.  This is a sampler with each section demonstrating a different technique.  After reading the handouts and watching the videos you weave a section.  In order to complete each skill you post a picture for Rebecca's evaluation.

I am using my 12inch Mirrix tapestry loom warped at 8 ends per inch.  The warp is 12/6 seine twine and the weft is Harrisville Highlands 2 ply yarn that I dyed with Greener Shades.  I am enjoying learning these new skills and very surprised at how well this online format works for me.


Throughout my life I have always believed I cannot draw.  It is true, I can't.  However, all these wonderful ideas for future tapestry are rolling around in my brain and I need them on paper. So I splurged and spent all of $6.99 on a visual journal kit to try my hand at  sketching and water colors.  What have you told yourself you couldn't do?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mt Holly Farmer's Market

The Piedmont Fiber Guild did a demonstration at the Mt. Holly farmer's market today.  It was a beautiful day to be outside spinning and talking fiber.
Good Morning!  Unfortunately this involved getting up and out early on a Saturday but it was worth it!
Our creative space for the morning.
We had weaving, spinning, knitting and wool prep demonstrations.  Sallie got some youngsters spinning on her wheel and Maurice had quite a lot of interest in his loom.

Spinning on my Jacob fleece.

Working on a tartan.

This evening I warped my Mirrix tapestry loom for my online class with Rebecca Metzoff.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Saturday is Dye Day

I have signed up for Rebecca Metzoff's on line tapestry class which starts on Monday.  She recommends using Harrisville Highland for weft.  Unfortunately The Mannings did not have a wide selection of colors in the skein and I did not want to buy several cones.  I bought two cones of white and purchased a Greener Shades organic dye starter kit at MDSW.
First step was to wind off 50 yard skeins.

Next, I washed the nine small skeins in Synthrapol.

Drying in the sun.

Because I wanted to do nine small skeins I used mason jars set in the dye pot.

The Greener Shades dye instruction sheet was very clear and concise.  For the majority of the colors I used only 1/8 teaspoon of dye.  For the reds, black and orange I used 1/4 teaspoon.  I used bamboo skewers to stir the dye and wool gently.  After the temperature of the water inside the jar reached 175, I added 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid to each jar.  I let the temperature get close to 200degrees and then turned off the heat and let the jars cool.

The yarn was dumped out of the jar into a strainer and the washed in Soak.

Drying in the sun.

Monday, May 4, 2015

MDSW goodbye until next year

The highlight of the trip to Maryland was a class with Judith McKenzie on spinning for socks.  She is so knowledgeable and encouraging it is hard to describe her class.  I learned so much about not only spinning for socks but also spinning in general.  I took copious notes and will reflect on many of the things she shared every time I spin.

Judith explaining some carding basics and how to spin off of cards.
My Maryland purchases, including a beautiful cherry tapestry loom from Stephen Willette, combed top from Reflections at Roclans, a dye kit, tapestry combs, a bump of flax wool blend from Wild Hare and some tapestry beaters.

Below is my travel project, a scarf project from Victorian Lace Today out of a handspun wool and flax blend from Wild Hare.

Goodbye Maryland until next year.

MDSW-Sheep to Shawl

Two of my guild members participated in the sheep to shawl contest.  Their team, Spin City won last year at Rhinebeck.  The competition involves shearing a sheep, carding and spinning the wool and weaving a shawl in the allotted time.  I was lucky enough to tag along Friday during some of the preparation -choosing the sheep and shearing a sheep for practice.

The Fearless Spin City team.
John and the team examine the two sheep he brought to determine which fleece is best for the competition.  These beautiful sheep are from John and Kate's farm, Reflections at Roclans.

A lot of preparation and practice are involved in this competition, not only for the spinners and weavers but also for the shearers.  Geof of Ruppert's Corriedales and John prepare to shear the practice sheep.  Geof shared that he believes the sheep to shawl competition is the most important part of the festival as it brings all the parts together - the shepherds, the sheep, the spinners, the weavers and the final product.

The sheep was surprisingly docile during the shearing and it was a quick process, just several minutes.  Below the 3.3 lb. fleece is examined by Lynn and John.

 The Spin City team's theme was The Wizard of Oz.  The costumes were great and the decorations included a yellow brick road, munchkins and the wicked witch's broom and ruby slippers.  The crowd was delighted with this team's theme and creativity.

Christina and Dawn holding the completed shawl.  Sadly they did not win the competition but their shawl was the most prized.  The shawls are auctioned off after the competition and the Spin City shawl got the highest price at $1475.00.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


My friend,  Nora and I headed out bright and early Thursday morning for our fiber roadtrip.  Our first stop was The Manning's in East Berlin Pennsylvania. This is a wonderful destination for all things fiber.
Beautiful natural dyed yarns.

Cones and cones of weaving yarns for students.

One of many looms.
 Nora had a class Friday so I wandered the fairgrounds talking to farmers and petting cute sheep.

A local guild yarn bombs the entrance to The Howard County Fairgrounds.  It adds to the sheepy ambience.

These two sheep were waiting their turn in the corral for the sheep show.