I'm a lifelong knitter who came to weaving later in life, thanks to my kind husband who gifted me with a rigid heddle loom one Christmas. I started selling handwovens for the home, such as tea towels, placemats and runners, as well as intricate, silky scarves and shawls.
Spring has finally sprung here in the northern New England area, at least on the coast. It is so heart-warming to finally see color!
Our 3-yr old creeping phlox;
To think how tiny they were when we bought them! I have two of these, and they are doing nicely.
We also have tulips up, as well as some cute little yellow and purple flowers, maybe violas?? I can't remember. And please ignore the background of the tulip photo - we haven't started painting yet this year.
Last year we purchased another phlox, and it is still quite small. It also flowered a week or so after the other two. The flowers are more pink than purple;
There has also been a wee bit of weaving happening around here! I finally got the warp threaded and sleyed, but wasn't sure about which wefts to use, so I, gasp, sampled!
Top to bottom - light grey, medium grey (which definitely has brown undertones), charcoal and black.
I asked for and received a lot of input on Ravelry, then decided to start with black. The recipient is quite young, and loves pink, so I added some pink accent stripes.
Even though pink is not one of "my" colors, I really like how this looks. I think she'll be pleased.
The plan is to weave 4 towels as a wedding gift, and 4 for the shop. Next up may be charcoal with pink stripes, then 2 towels without a stripe, I think. I'd love to hear your opinions out there as well!
I know, I've been missing for quite awhile now. I would love to tell you that it's because I have been totally absorbed with weaving, finishing countless projects, but that would be untrue. All I've managed is to finish another set of infinity scarves and finally putting a warp on the loom for some special towels. Not much, right?
I had a request for a scarf done in purple for a gift for someone, so I decided this was the perfect time to try a snake skin pattern that I had kicking around for a long time. Several people on Ravelry had woven versions of it, and their projects were amazing, so I was definitely inspired! I decided to use two shades of purple, eggplant and red/purple. Tencel was agreed upon for the fiber, and the project ended up being fairly quick to complete.
Although the colors are truer in the above images, this one taken when it was still on the loom shows the pattern the best;
One scarf was safely delivered to the gift-giver, the other is available in my shop.
I also have a special, time-sensitive project almost ready to be threaded. Randomly warped, which is a HUGE challenge for me, shades of gray with black, white, and natural added (favorites of the recipient), they will be some Bumberet towels, some of which will be a gift for a friend's wedding, and a few for sale in the shop. Not much to look at yet, but I'm just glad I don't have to wind anymore warp - lots and lots of cutting and tying.
Other than that, I'm not sure where the time has gone. There has been babysitting once a week with a very sweet but getting very headstrong baby, trying to deal with the endless bouts of rain and cold, as well as a broken 3-yr old refrigerator. A first-world problem, I know, but it's amazing how much it can disrupt your life. It happened at the first of the month, with the freezer gradually getting warmer. The tech said it must be a leak in the closed-loop freon system, and that the guy who could fix it would be out for awhile. I'll say - I just got the call today that he will be out next Tuesday, maybe to diagnose it for sure (it was a process of elimination before), maybe to fix it. Eventually, the whole thing died, fridge and freezer. We got a very small loner, which is in the garage, and just the other day, we received these in answer to a query on our small town's FB page;
Two dorm-sized fridges, now in my dining room. A neighbor bought them when her fridge went out a few years ago. They are small, but make such a difference, having some food in the house instead of having to cross the yard to the garage can really streamline cooking. I couldn't even go shopping because the other one was full. I do LOVE living in a small town! Anyhow, in the scheme of things, not a huge deal. Maybe all this rain is affecting my mood...
Also, not to my credit, Maine Health, the big corporation that I work for, came around last month to get photos for National Nurses' Day, and they ended up choosing one taken on my unit! I'm second from the left, and have to say, I actually like how it came out. It's nice that they did that, and put something in newspapers around the state, as well as our computers at work. The fact that our hospital, which is part of the Maine Health system, has chosen to designate National Nurses Week as National Healthcare Workers' Week - well, don't get me started!
I just finished weaving the two infinity scarves in polychrome echo weave, and boy, was that a work out for my treadling feet. The draft only required 4 shafts and 6 treadles, but both feet were in play on different tasks. My left foot alternated between two plain weave treadles every other pick, and my right foot went across 4 treadles in varying patterns. A bit confusing at first, but once the pattern was cemented in my head, it flowed fairly well.
To review, the warp is tencel in four colors - lemon drop, grayed teal, eggplant, and burgundy. One scarf used a black tencel weft, the other eggplant. Here are some shots on the loom.
Black weft on the loom;
and purple weft;
The colors aren't quite true, but close.
Today I got them off the loom, sewed the felled seams, washed them, and here they are hanging side by side drying.
Beauty shots soon to come!
The other news is that the awful old aluminum siding on our old house is finally history! We started the project probably 10 years ago, with the plan to do a side per year. Hubby, being a wooden boat guy, really wanted wooden clapboards put on, to return the house to it's original siding. Tyvek and blue board insulation were installed on the first two sides, which we did ourselves. Then several years went by, and we hired someone to do the third side. In this iteration, blown-in insulation was used, and some had to be taken out because our old plaster walls were bulging. There were some disagreements about aspects of that job, so for the final side we didn't want to hire the same contractor. We found another one that we absolutely love - he's courteous, efficient, has a great crew, and the work got done quite quickly. They were very good about cleaning up every day, and the whole job took less than two weeks.
Here is the before photos - you can see that some of the aluminum has blown off in storms;
job the following day;
Then came some thin blue board. We already have a bit of blown-in insulation on this end;
Soon the clapboards went on;
The last step was the sanding and priming of the old trim. They got that all the way down to wood, which can be tricky with the angles and curves in the trim.
I'll be doing most of the painting this spring/summer, plus we have plenty of other painting to do if there's time. I just so happy to have gotten this done so quickly and well. Originally, Hubs had said he would do it. He is very capable, but time management is not a skill he possesses, plus he kind of hates working on the house. He's also very happy with the outcome, so a win-win!
I also finished a little knitting project for my favorite guy, but no pics yet in case his parents ever read this. I got to spend some quality time with him last week, and will be spending time with him weekly going forward. He's such a happy kid!
I always chuckle at that phrase, from the time we heard Eddie Murphy say it as Donkey in Shrek. I don't think that it is entirely true, at least as far as the food goes, but it just may be true regarding waffle weave!
When I first learned to weave, waffle weave towels were high on my list of things to try. I just loved the texture, that 3-dimensional aspect of the little cells that are produced; it was like magic. I tried to weave a towel, and mostly it worked, though there were quite a few errors. A few years later, I tried a different version, which also mostly worked, but this one seemed to have floats that were a bit more worrisome, though I can't tell you why now.
I then found an eight shaft pattern that had a more subtle texture, but no long floats. I loved this one and made several. The last towel on that warp was a shortie, so I kept it and keep it at work to dry my lunch dishes.
Recently, I've tried to come up with something a bit different to weave. After a recent run of 12 towels, I needed a break from that particular item, and I have been ruminating on a new scarf design, but that was't quite ready. So, back to waffles I went and wove a long warp of wash cloths!
I wove 16 in all, measuring 12.5" square. One became a casualty of the teeth of my temple, which somehow broke the weft in two places, so that one stays here. I used natural Supima cotton for the warp, and that plus some colored cotton for the weft.
There are 4 all natural-colored ones"
Seven solid colored ones;
and 4 natural with stripes;
Here you can really see the nice, deep waffles;
They are very soft, but durable, and can be used as a face cloth or dish cloth.
And that scarf design I was mulling over? I ended up deciding to try a 4-shaft version of Echo weave using rich colors of tencel. I'm shooting for two more infinity scarves, but you'll have to wait a bit to see the cloth.
Here's a shot of the yarn being measured, one thread at a time;
and off the warping board, waiting to be put on the loom;
That's all the weaverly news for now. The weather seems to be starting its slow crawl toward spring, and with the time change, it is light so much later that one can forget that it is well below freezing in the morning. Soon, though. Soon.
As of now, I have put my Etsy shop on hold so I can focus on my online store found on this blog. Etsy has changed leadership and some policies that make it that much harder for a small fish like me to be found by shoppers. I'm will continue to provide quality handwoven textiles to all who would like them, and using this site will allow me not only offer my goods on this site under the "STORE" tab, but also on some social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram. And, as always, I would love to work with customers to design their ideas and wishes. Just contact me through this site or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The waffle weave washcloths are coming along quickly. Eight have been woven, with four more to go. They will then come off the loom for their beauty treatment (i.e. wash/dry/press) and photos.
When they are completed, the next project will be a definite change of pace. Stay tuned!
The twelve handwoven towels that I've been teasing you with are finally finished and ready for use!
We're going to try something different this time, offering them for sale here, through this blog. The following will be the description, measurements and photos. If you are interested in purchasing one or more towels, you may contact me via this website through the "Contact me" tab above, which has links to my email, my Facebook page, and my Etsy shop, although in this instance I would discourage you from using Etsy. I will then communicate with you to make sure you get what you would like, and then I will either send you a Paypal invoice, or ,if you prefer, you can mail me a check. Once that is paid, your towel(s) will be on the way to you as soon as possible.
I am trying to gradually move away from Etsy, if I can, as their costs have gone up significantly. I thank you for your patience as I try different ways of connecting with my customers in the ever-changing electronic world we live in.
Now, back to the towels!! I wove these thick and thirsty towels in a pattern called pebble, or crepe weave, which is a combination of plain weave (single threads alternating over and under) and basket weave (pairs of threads alternating over and under other pairs). I chose this design because the towels have a great texture and absorbency, leaving you with a interesting and useful towel that is sturdy enough to use every day. And when I say sturdy, I mean it. My handwoven towels are nothing like the towels that you buy at the store. These towels will last for many long years of daily use. The hems are securely machine sewn, so you can just toss them in the washer and dryer without worry. I've pre-washed and dried them twice, so there will be no shrinkage. Use it, wash it, dry it, and use it again – it will only get softer and more absorbent with time. I've had some of mine for many years, and they are still going strong.
I designed these to be over-sized, which is what I like in a towel. It gives you plenty of material to work with, so even if you have a large amount of wet dishes to dry, this towel can handle it all. It would also make a lovely housewarming gift, or look great as a guest towel. You could also wrap up some fresh baked cookies nicely in a basket – yum!!
Finished size: approximately 25" X 17.5"
Materials: 100% unmercerized cotton
Price: $28 plus shipping, unless otherwise stated. If more than one towel is purchased, there will be a 5% discount!
At present, there are 4 deep purple towels,
One has a small darker line where two yarns overlapped in a more notable way than usual, which will be discounted. This error does not effect the quality or functionality of the towel.
There are 3 turquoise towels, shown here fanned with the one navy towel;
The colors are truest in the fanned image above.
There are a couple of, um, eccentricities in the turquoise towels. I am human, after all.
One has a line similar to the purple towel, but across the entire width. This towel will be discounted.
The second towel has an interesting band across its width. I found a different treadling I wanted to play with, so this band is a design element that sets this towel apart from its siblings.
Here's a close up of the navy towel. This shot really lets you get close to the weave structure.
The last four towels I wove are shown in this grouping, two green and two bright blue.
If any of these towels appeal to you, I would encourage you to contact me so we can arrange the sale. Towels not sold will be going to the Portland Fine Craft Fair in August, and if experience is any teacher, there will be no towels left at the end of the show!
On the non-weaving front, I finally finished and gifted the second set of Northman mittens, these for my older son. Lucky for him, there is still plenty of winter left in which to use them
I'm sure there will be more in my future, but I am ready for a bit of a break.
That's what I see when I look at yarn neatly wound on cones, waiting to be measured. Or yarn, fresh on the loom, wound tightly on the back beam, awaiting threading. Or when weaving finally begins, and I pick that first color, throw the shuttle a few times, and see how it reacts with the warp.
Even after the cloth has been woven but not yet cut and sewn into whatever it will be, I still see possibilities. Will the size be acceptable? Which colors might be most popular this time? Will the new way of wet finishing the towels make them even more absorbent?
And all along the way, it's nice to take a step back and see what's really happening. Just looking at these cascading folds of cloth today made me smile, even though I've woven towels like these many times before. I took string. And I made cloth!
There are so many possibilities during the process of weaving. One just has to be patient and observant.
This old image came across my screen today and it gave me a chuckle. It's Son #2 when he was a wee boy, trying out a trombone that we had in the house. This kid is now grown, and plays clarinet beautifully, but as a boy, he would pick up any instrument in the house (and we had many) and figure out how to play it.
I just finished weaving the twelfth towel on my pebble weave warp. Let me tell you, that last one was a squeaker! The end of the warp was right behind the shafts, and the shed (the opening through which I throw the shuttle) was quite small by the time I was done. The long piece of cloth was then zigzagged at each end and is in the wash. This time I used some washing soda along with the detergent, which is supposed to increase the towels' ability to absorb water. I've heard that from several sources, so I'm anxious to see if it's true.
All told, I wove 4 purple towels, 3 turquoise towels, 2 bright blue ones, 2 emerald green towels, and one towel using a color called "jeans." After the wash and dry, these will be ironed while still in one long piece, then all of the edges of the hems will be zigzagged, cut apart, folded and hemmed. The individual towels will then be washed a second time, ironed, then photographed to put in my shop. Phew! That's a lot of work for a net income of ~$22.00/towel. I sure wish I could convince folks to buy things through means other than Etsy, as they are taking a fairly large chunk of each sale and shipping now.
Here's an image of the cloth all rolled up on the beam of my loom, waiting to be pulled off;
Who doesn't love a nice, neat roll of cloth?
I've also been working on a second pair of Northman mittens, this time for my older son. I'm happy to say that the first mitten is done, lining and all! I've started the second one and am a few inches in, but it will be another week-plus before I see the light at the end of this tunnel.
The finished palm side:
and I shot of the lining, which is a bit over-exposed:
Have I mentioned how much I'm loving working with color?? We are having a very atypical day, weather-wise, with the sun out and temps near 50 in my area. It felt so very nice to be able to go for a walk and not freeze my face in the process. It's back to reality tomorrow, but I'm enjoying it while I can!