Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You Have To Be Warped To Weave.

This is another type of loom that I've been learning to weave on. It's called and "inkle loom". It is a very simple loom, and is used to make narrow pieces of woven fabric. The warp threads go in a continuous circle around the pegs, so as you weave you simply advance the woven straps around until you have woven all the warp threads.

The dark threads are the headles that are used on this loom, and they are made from string. To achieve the over under action of a loom you simply push or lift the threads with your hand to make a shed for the shuttle to pass through.

This type of weaving is a "warp faced" type of weaving. Meaning you mainly see the warp threads and not the weft. The weft thread is the thread that goes back and forth across the warp threads. As you can see the thread on my shuttle is green, but the warp threads cover that thread, and you see the color pattern of the warp threads.

The reason that I made this strap is to go on the little carpet bag that I made. Remember the loom that I bought back in September? Well I got all the replacement parts, thoroughly cleaned the loom, and reassembled it. I didn't want to test the loom out on really good yarns, so I chose to do a simple rag rug.

The loom works wonderfully, and this is the result. I made this little bag out of fabric scraps and one of my husband's old worn shirts. It turned out quite nice.

I know your mom or grandma had rugs just like this in her house.
But I bet they didn't have a really cool computer bag like this.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My First Completed Weaving Projects

Before I tell you about my latest adventures in weaving, I wanted to share this little project with you. My daughter has a black and tan Pomeranian named Jack. She collected Jack's undercoat when she would brush him, and brought this small bag of hair for me to spin. I did so and got this really pretty and soft yarn. I have plans for something, but I will tell you about it when I get it finished.
This is my first finished, usable project from my weaving class. I think it turned out quite nice. The warp was a soft black wool fingerling yarn, and the weft was some ugly sock yarn that looked better on the monitor than it did in real life, but it looked much better as a woven scarf. It just goes to show you that even ugly sock yarn can be made into something beautiful, you just have to find the right project. There are some beginner mistakes in this project, and I'm sure they will glare at my teacher when I take it into class, but it's not to bad.

After I finished the above scarf, I decided to try it again while the corrections from the previous scarf were fresh in my head. I'm please to say that this scarf turned out great without any of the mistakes that where in the last scarf.

At the village, the artisans that work there sell their hand made items in the gift shop. I have many different items in the gift shop, and this will be added to the inventory. It is made from a soft wool, so it will be very warm and comfy around someones neck.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Warp or Weft??

I am learning to be a weaver. This is the a small table loom that is teaching me the ropes before I go on to the floor loom that I purchased a month ago.
So far the experience has been quite delightful. I learned how to warp the loom, and then did so all by myself. I do have to admit I was a little nervous. All those loose ends, (119 to exact) that needed to be strung through the reed ( see that metal grate below) one by one and do it so that not one of those threads gets out of place or tangled.

Then it's on to the heddles. See those wire type things below? Well this loom is a 4 shaft loom and you need to know if your going to thread the string through shaft 1, 2, 3, or 4. After all the threads have gone through the heddles on one of the 4 shafts then you get to pull them tight and tie them to the beam. To check your work all you need to do is raise each shaft one at a time and make sure that no unwanted threads are in the shed. Lucky for me the shed was clear, so onto weaving.

This was a sampler that I made to get a feel for how the loom works. My homework was to use different types of yarns, different pressure on the beater bar, and lifting the shafts in a different order to make different types of clothe.

This was my second sampler. The one above is simple weaving, this one was using "twill patterns". I really liked how all the different patterns came together.

This is a close up of a pattern call "goose eye"

My next class is tomorrow, and we will start learning how to plan and design our next project. I have finished cleaning and refinishing my floor loom. I'm just waiting for the replacement parts to arrive. They should be here sometime this week.

Monday, September 28, 2009

That Was a Nice Goose

Up at the village we regularly have schools come up for field trips. The kids get to go to different sites and see how things where done in the 1860's. I was doing just that when half way through my last group all of a sudden it sounded like a goose parade was coming around the corner of the house. It was only one goose and three ducks but, it sounded like alot more. After the kids left I gave the flock a cob of dried corn, and we became fast friends.
I went back to my spinning, and heard a commotion behind me, it was the goose. He settled down behind my rocker and went to sleep, that is until someone came up to the house then he jumped up and sounded the alarm.

When that visitor left he came around and started checking out my spinning wheel. I didn't stop him because I wanted to see just what he would do. I kept on spinning and yes, he did stick his beak in the spokes of the wheel, but I wasn't going very fast and it didn't seem to scare him. We had a nice afternoon together, he let my pet him all over. At one point I sat on the front steps and he walked up to me, and stood right beside me. I gently put my arm over his back and continued to cuddle him until he fell asleep. Then it was time for my to go inside. The squawking resumed when I left his sight. I called to him and and next thing I knew he was in the house looking around.

Lucky thing for me he didn't have an accident on the floor. (I hate cleaning up goose and duck poo). He took his time looking around, made sure I was okay. . .

Then turned and walked back outside.

I hope he comes back for another visit.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Oxen in Training

So in the last post I mentioned that there are 3 little steer calves that live in the corral at the back of my site.
Well, here they are!!!

This cute little brown and white baby is "Bones" yes, from the t.v. show. He is the smallest of the three, but the most lovable. I can almost put him to sleep just by brushing him with the curry comb. You need to be on your toes though with this little guy, cause if you stop brushing and turn you back on him you will get a head butt to your backside. Don't ask me how I know this.

This next little man in "Booth", and again from a t.v. show. I think I was told the name of it is "House" but I don't watch it so, I could be wrong. As you can tell Booth is laid back and has a very full tummy. He just loves it when I come into the corral and brush him while he is napping.
This guy is named "Gibbs", and yes you guessed it, he was named after a t.v. character as well but, I do watch NCIS so it was easy for me to remember this baby's name. He also loves to be brushed. His favorite place to be rubbed, is around his ears and where his horns are pushing through.
The only way I can tell the difference between Booth and Gibbs is, Gibbs has a small white spot at the base of his tail.
These three calves have a long way to go before they will be ready to pull any type of load. They are closer to 300 pounds than the 3000 pounds of a mature steer. They do have healthy appetites though, and spend most of their days with their heads in the feeders.

The second thing that they do the most of is sleep, but that is what all young babies do. Right now they are only about 6 months old, but they are getting bigger each day.
They do have a small yoke that they are getting used to, and they are learning voice commands. They love to be around people, and I see kids petting them through the fence daily. It won't be long and these little boys will be showing off their skills to visitors that come up to the village.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Utah State Fair

I was asked to demonstrate at the Utah State Fair this morning. My spinning guild put the guilts on us members to not only demonstrate spinning, but to also enter some of our hand spun yarn and or an item that we had made out of our hand spun yarn.
So here is a picture of my entry, and guess what I won sweepstakes for this little baby christening dress. It was my first time entering any hand spun knitted item in the state fair, and I'm really pleased.
After I finished with my turn of demoing, I headed out to the livestock barns. I wanted to see some different sheep types, but on my way to the sheep barns I came across this beautiful animal. I don't know the women or her children, but they made good scale so that you could see the size of this big boy.
As you can read from the sign this is an ox. Now I have three little calves in the corral at the back of my site at the village. They are our oxen in training, so on Monday when I go to work I will take a picture of them so you can see my little "beef cake boys".

When I did reach the sheep barn, I was dissapointed to see that the only sheep they had where suffolks. Maybe the others had already gone home. All in all it was a good day at the fair.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday September 12th part 2

Okay, so here is what I did the morning of the 12th.
Early in the morning I headed out to the equestrian park in West Jordan to join in on the fun at the Great Basin Fiber Arts Fair. I wait for this day all year. It's the time when I get to have fiber christmas. This year it was sunny and warm, and these three boys tried to stay cool in the shade. They are three Churro rams, . . . .

and their owner makes these wonderful items out of their fleeces. The bags of fiber are the natural color, and the rugs are hand woven on the frame looms that you can see on the bottom left of the picture.
My friend Judy Gunn also had a great selection of colorful fiber to purchase. I have to admit I bought several bundles of her dyed roving. This picture is just a small sample of what she brought to sell.
My other friend Christine, owner of Three Wishes Fiber Arts store located in West Jordan had her tent with all kinds of goodies set up as well.

There where many other friends, and vendors set up, and I did my best to spread my money around. This is the result of my shopping spree.
The above picture gives a little better view of the amount that I bought, but the lower picture shows the colors much better. I plan on having a lot of color in my house this winter when it's snowing and grey and white outside.
This was the surprise purchase of the fair. I start my weaving lessons in two weeks but, I saw this loom with a sign on it that said, "Make an offer". Not knowing what I was looking at or anything else about looms I sought out the counsel of some of my friends that do. They all agreed that it was a good little loom, and in good working order other than it needing a little cleaning and some bolt tightening.
I bought it for a very good price, and brought it home. Here is a picture of the manufacture of the loom. I will be contacting them for an instruction booklet and any other little goodies that I will need for it. I already know that I will need shuttles, hooks, and maybe a new reed. The price was so very good that I have more than enough money left over to easily afford them.
The loom is a 36" wide, four shaft loom. I'm sure I will be able to do whatever I want to with my weaving on this little loom.
It was a great day, and I'm ready for fall and winter to set in.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

This weekend at the village there is a wonderful event happening. We are having Civil War re-enactors come to the village from all over the place. This time of year it gets pretty slow, so to have something like this to look forward to is very exciting. This is a picture of the north lawn at my site. Right know it empty but after only a few hours. . . .
The tent is set up, and the comedy troop of Spenser and Jackson are ready to entertain. They did a great show like the ones that would have been done for the soldiers during the civil war.

The peace didn't last for long though. With the sound of steel being unsheathed, the union soldier was ready to battle with the confederate soldier.

In true fashion the Union won the fight and the confederate was forced to retreat.

The men were not the only ones that came out to play. The village was full of beautifully dressed women. This lady was using a western side saddle, which is a little more substantial than an english one. She was dressed in a lovely red velvet gown, which looked stunning against her magnificent mount. This horse was huge. Standing 16.2 hands.

It was a very busy day in the village.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Some of My Animal Friends

Working at the base of the mountains does have some benefits. Namely the wildlife that comes to visit me at my site.

This is a little cotton tail rabbit. She has been in my flower garden and in the surrounding area all summer. I noticed one day that she has a gimpy left front leg. I'm not sure what happened, but it looks to me like she might have broken it, and then it healed in a misshapen form. Anyway it doesn't seem to slow her down much.

And if your wondering how I know it's a she, well here is one of her two little babies that also is hopping around the yard.

Just so you can see how tiny this little guy is, it's sitting next to a 4x4" fence post.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Well That Was A Surprise

Okay, here is dye pot number 2.
See these pretty red little Snap Dragon flowers? Well they were the base for dye pot number 2. The dye pot color was a very pretty deep red (the bottom picture is closer to the true color). I placed the wool into the dye pot, turned on the heat to set the dye. Then I let the wool set over night to cool and soak up as much color as it could.

Next morning I rinsed it and it turned this color.

Yea, I was surprised as well. I really thought that I would get a pretty light pink, but this is still a nice golden color. The yarn spun up very pretty and I think it might be one of my favorites for this year. I have a little of this color, and a little of the wool from the marigold pot, so I am going to spin these two together for a slightly variegated yarn. I'll post pictures when it's done.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall Flowers

A couple of weeks ago I did three different dye pots using plants from my dye garden. Here is the end result of the first pot. The color is a soft baby chick yellow. I think there is about 3 oz's of fiber that's ready to spin.

I used the marigold flowers from these very plants to make the dye with.

This skein is 150 yards, and is quite soft and nice. I'm very pleased with the end result. I did have a little of the fiber left over and I'm planning on blending it with whats left over from the second dye.

What is the second dye pot? You'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thrum Mittens

Last year in my spinning guild meeting we learned about "thrums" and how to use them to add insulation to our mittens. I decided to try this technique and made this pair of mittens.

The mittens are made from a hand spun dark grey Corriedale fleece that I purchased about a year ago. The pink stitches are made from unspun Merino fiber that is made into thrums. You can see in the basket the unspun pink fibers that are made into a bow by twisting the ends toward the middle of a 4 inch length of fiber.

I then knit these little bows into the work so that the ends remain loose on the inside of the mitten. These loose ends inside make a wonderful wool lining that gives added warmth to the mittens.
As you wear these mittens the friction from your hand causes the loose ends of the thrum to felt slightly, so the unspun thrums will not come out or fall apart.