Well, isn’t this unusual, a post from me! It has been quite the year 2014. After having lots of death and negative things to deal with in 2013, I was really looking forward to a nice year in 2014. Well, I started something that has kept me VERY busy and happy at the same time. Yes, I’m still weaving, I will post photos, but this is much bigger than my weaving.
BLACK HILLS CRAFTERS NETWORK was born in January of 2014. It started out small and now has 52 shops on the website! I am pleased that it has gotten so big. The website has started me doing other things, like marketing some of the shops that are presented on the website. And I have begun selling products for my dear friend Cindy who has recently become widowed and needed help keeping her craft business going. We are doing well with her products and my mouth! I LOVE selling good product!
Another place I have been spreading my time is with Arts Rapid City another new website that features artists, crafters, events, businesses and organizations. I love going to their workshops and adding my crafters to their website.
If you are in the market for wonderful crafts please check out Black Hills Crafters Network. If you are looking for something awesome to do in Rapid City, SD go to Arts Rapid City to see what is happening.
I received a weaving “sampler kit” for my birthday in July and I am slowly learning how to make all the great patterns included in the sample. This is great fun and I will post photos later, hopefully sooner than later, later!
Here are two pieces I completed over the summer. The red, green and blue one is a fabric to become a vest and the blue, yellow/orange one once finished became a stole that got 2nd place at the county fair in August!! Both use handspun yarn for the weft and commercial yarn for the warp. Both woven on my wonderful Macomber Baby Mac.
Time. We all have 24 hours of it every day. Up until this last weekend I was using my time very unwisely: working and sleeping with a little eating and knitting in there too. So, now, today, I am gearing up for using my time a little better. I just spent about an hour and a half carding my lovely silver grey mohair fiber, and winding a warp for a completely handspun scarf.
I finished carding the mohair and was ready to drag my spinning wheel downstairs when I looked at the plastic “dresser” that holds my handspun yarns, 3 large drawers full (as well as some hidden in the closet!). The drawers are see through plastic and the yarns taunted me- ‘weave with us you said you would on your vacation’. Well, they are right, I decided. So I asked all the yarn what it wanted to be and unusual for me, (I am a blue and purple kind of gal) the reds and pinks jumped out of the drawers -‘make us a scarf’ they said. So, I sorted them by shade, sorta, and by yarn weight, sorta, and then wound a short (2 yd) warp. I just received my warp beam apron from Macomber and need to attach it to the warp beam, before I can use the loom, so I came downstairs, with the yarn, to see what I need to put on the apron. Then my computer called me, “Hey! Did you see the posts on facebook?” So, here I am writing a post about my soon to be warped on the loom pink and red scarf. Sigh, did I hear someone say, “shiny object!”?
My poor cotton warp has been through some trauma since I put it on. It was twisted, cut, stretched, re-threaded, cursed at and finally works. I am playing with variegated cotton from Peaches and Creme and really like it. I am not sure what kind of towels these will make, but that’s ok, I WOVE IT! And right now, that is all that counts. I sprained my ankle a couple of weeks ago, so the weaving wears me out quicker with the brace on my leg. I have many ideas running around in my head about the next warp, so I will just have to finish these and get going on to the next thing.
Finally got the warp straightened out on the Macomber. It was threaded wrong for the first towel and I was too anxious to weave to fix it. Dumb. So I did the heddle/harness thing described in the last post and now it is ready to go.
I decided that I needed desperately to re-thread my towel warp on the Macomber. I looked at the first 20 heddles and saw 3 mistakes, in the middle of these 20. Then I looked at the next 20 heddles and saw many more mistakes, in the middle! Why couldn’t they all be on one end or the other? I know, learning curve. So, I took a very close look at my threading. Ugh. There were heddles turned the wrong way in the row, so that the warp thread was twisty looking. There were already serious tension problems that I needed to fix, so I decided that I had better un-do all the threading and re-thread this warp. After I un-threaded (this is kind of like un-sewing, or un-knitting) all the warp threads I thought now is the time to make sure that all the heddles face the same direction. Dumb idea. I mean, I only had a few hours of time today to do this because I work tomorrow but I started out anyway. Hmmm, there are little brass brads that hold the long, flat metal pieces onto the harness. Onto these flat metal pieces are attached the heddles. Well, most of the heddles were attached, I noticed that there were many un-attached (this is NOT like un-threading, entirely different). So, I un-bent the ends of the brads and removed the heddles and their flat pieces from the harness. On the first harness I pulled all of the heddles off the flat pieces DUMB! Don’t ever do that! It took me an hour to get all the heddles to line up properly and slid onto the flat pieces. Then I had to put them back into their clips on the harness and re-attach the brads. My fingers are sore. Fortunately for me, I was able to get 4 out of the 8 harnesses done before I had to go to the grocery store and get supper. After supper I tackled the rest of the heddles. Thankfully I only have 8 harnesses full of heddles. I just finished getting all the heddles lined up so all the eyes face the same direction, cleaned the harnesses and the slots they travel in, and replaced all the heddles into their proper harness – it is 10pm. Ugh. BUT now, when I re-thread my warp all the heddles will face the same way and hopefully I will thread it correctly this time. Maybe I am too old for this learning curve stuff, maybe a learning nap?
Here are photos of what I was working on:
Heddles on their flat pieces from two harnesses
The harness from the back side of the loom
The Brass Brad (they kept falling on the floor)
The hole where the brass brad goes to hold the flat piece full of heddles onto the harness
The Brad inserted
The Brad fastened (or bent)
Another view of the bending of the brad.
Finally! all put back together, now the re-threading begins so the next towel won't be full of mistakes!!
I finally got a whole day in my studio last week to “work”. I enjoyed myself thoroughly even though I began many things and didn’t finish anything!!
I carded some lovely Wensleydale wool:
Then I warped the rigid heddle loom with some hand-spun warp and weft:
I finished warping the Macomber a few days ago so it now looks nice and neat, even though I found some threading mistakes that must be fixed. Oh well, part of my “learning curve”!!
I had also finished spinning some lovely blended wool and silk from C.R. Yarn and had it on the little kniddy knoddy waiting to be washed:
I have spun up some lovely roving from Castle Fibers featured at C.R. Yarn into some interesting yarn. I have it for sale at the shop. So my next spinning project is more of the lovely roving.