Change

OK, so we are moving to the Austin area. We are caught in a Catch 22 so it feels, between what the Relocation gal wants, the realtor here wants, and what we can do about it all without going insane. So despite movers are to come and pack us out when the time comes it ends up we have to shift, move, “pack” half our stuff ourselves. Or as they would think nothing of – have someone else come in. She wants us to do so much and as Mark says, “with her money or mine?” Well, as it turns out we are getting new carpet upstairs so had to shift, move, “pack” my fiber stuff all off to the garage and dining room – for the time being. So here is why I had to get that last warp off the loom.

Loom in pieces

Loom in pieces

Tonight I did this to my loom. Alas that took a bit out of me and now I am resting. Of course this has been one of those wonderful Gulf Coast Texas days. Sunny, 100F, 10,000% humidity. I have sweat so much and I really hate to sweat. Did I say I hate to sweat? I really miss Arizona on days like this when the sweat would just evaporate the second it comes to the surface. You never feel it. Just remember to drink your water. I have bathed, changed clothes, I don’t know how many times and I’m sitting here all wet yet. But anyway the loom is in pieces and we will see where will be its new home and when the next warp goes on.

That last warp I did get off and it is in a box. I still haven’t washed it yet. I need to take some time with it sometime and document it here but will see when that happens as miles to go before I have that kind of time and room again. It is funny as what I wanted with it didn’t come out the prettiest. I of course being me, ended up doing three shuttles and three different colors alternating every 4 picks for the last part. That slowed me down some for a project that needed done fast but it was the prettiest of the lot. Must get pictures.

Ok one last thought. I had seen how to do a “bulletin board” on my sloping wall and so for not very long had my bulletin board of bookmarks and pictures and whatever hanging over my shelves and table. I really liked it but alas it is no more.

My bulletin board

My bulletin board

Took the picture too quickly before it came down so it is fuzzy but I will remember it.

Side note. The triaxial box is staying out and easily accessed during this upheaval so hopefully I will get to do some weaving along the way.

Categories: Tidbits | Tags: , | 6 Comments

First Framed Triaxial Piece

I have finally done it. I have framed one of my triaxial pieces. Now this piece I did back at the beginning with a mix of the ribbons so that it was one piece. But then how was I to do anything with it? Well, I recently found an article on mounting a tapestry piece and thought that would be a good place to begin. I modified it a bit and learned a bit while at it but I came through with a decent framed piece.

My only piece up to now that the color pattern changes across the piece.

My only piece up to now that the color pattern changes across the piece.

The pictures aren’t perfect. I had a time getting a picture without flash in the glass and reflection of what as around the room.

Angles make a difference in how it looks.

Angles make a difference in how it looks.

I am not unhappy with how this turned out and plan to try some more. I learned quite a bit doing this and have a better idea of what to do next time.

Categories: Weaving | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

A Find While Cleaning Out

OK, so Mark got laid off in June. The Lord was so wonderful to us, and it has been amazing to watch the whole thing play out. How God cares for us and gives us what we need when we do not deserve it, still is a wonder that we even touched on in church this morning. But providentially God had the perfect job for him posted in April and a friend could get him in on it. He interviewed and they really want him. So he starts in August. Alas, it does entail a move which means cleaning out, painting,  fixing those things that have been hanging around forever needing someone to care – eventually. Eventually has come.

In working in the kitchen the box of Volksmarche plates were found in the cabinet over the refrigerator. Now most of these Mark got before I was around to go on volksmarches with him. But in looking through them again, I found one to catch my eye.

Der Weber

Der Weber, Wanderung 1995 in Bockenau

I actually went on this one. A ten kilometer walk. And the “prize” was this plate from their series on crafts. Now if you study that loom too much you may come away as puzzled as I. I don’t think a weaver actually drew it or at least one that cared about it looking like it could actually work. Still an exciting find though.

Now to go get weaving on my own loom as this yardage has to get done before movers come and want to take my loom apart.

Categories: Fiber | 2 Comments

Glittery 7 Colored Triaxial Star

I was in great need of a fairly quick weaving project to feel like I could still accomplish something. So to the triaxial ribbon box I went and dug out these six glittery ribbons and then an iridescenty whitish ribbon. You see I had seen a picture online of a triaxial star pattern in which all six points were a different color and then surrounded by a seventh color. I was so entranced and wanted to copy the idea and see if I could get six colors in there. So I studied the picture and thought I had it figured out.

Alas I did make one miscalculation and when I couldn’t get the third layer to work I dug out my instructions and found I did the second layer wrong – white should cross itself and it wasn’t, naughty white – so pulled it out every strip one at a time and rethreaded it throw. So a bit longer to complete.

First two layers completed correctly

First two layers completed correctly

I really wish I could memorialize this better in picture as it will probably find its home somewhere else but for all the pictures I took, what is on the computer doesn’t show the changes that play with light and color from different directions. This was a fun piece to play with in the light. And the white ribbon would reflect what was going on around it. So much fun if you are easily entertained.

The third layer went in pretty easy. And as the stars started forming up I was excited that I had made it work. You see, in the end it is rather easy to get six different colors in the stars but this brain doesn’t always work well, and I was excited that I did make it work.

The stars forming up

The stars forming up

The one thing I wish to be different is that the darker colors and lighter colors were mixed up instead of beside themselves. The silver, pink, and green need to be interspersed between the blue, red, and brown. I was a bit nervous using the brown as to whether it would look out of place with the others, but it worked fine.

Oh and just the one miscalculation wasn’t the only hold up on this,  I ran out of ribbon before being done so had to go buy more. The first time I have ever bought ribbon at full price. My box is full of half price sale week ribbon. But I needed that bit more hardly a yard of each color and so it was buy more rolls. And the white? Well, yes, I ran out of it by the third layer so used a light pink. It isn’t real noticeable that there are two different colors there as both reflect the others a bit and really aren’t much different.

When it was done and I was ready to stabilize the piece. I turned it over and found the back of the ribbons very interesting in their muted colors. You see, the ribbon is actually (I didn’t realize at first) a bunch of glitter all attached and easily rubbed off. But the base ribbon made a quite interesting piece on its own.

The muted backside

The muted backside

Well it is completed now and ready to be made into a piece that I have in mind. Hopefully I’ll get two good ones out of it. But if you can tell close up there is a bit of it that is out of kilter. Not the whole thing but just a bit. Oh well, I never could do anything perfect. Good thing I’m not a perfectionist or I would totally drive myself insane.

One side left to trim even

One side left to trim even

 

 

Categories: Weaving | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Fun with Family History Again – Sheep

Philip Clark's (4 great grandfather) 1860 agriculture census with his 18 sheep and 25 lbs. of wool.

Philip Clark (4 great grandfather), on row 5 of the 1860 agriculture census with his 18 sheep and 25 lbs. of wool.

I discovered that http://www.familysearch.org has the 1850 – 1880 agriculture census’ for Illinois. Too excited to see what all my farmer ancestors actually did, I have wasted a lot of time sitting here over the past week. When one thinks of farming, one tends to think more of crops. In my case anyway. But alas there is so much more to traditional farming centuries ago. One didn’t specialize like they do today. They did the gamut. I actually believe more of my people tended to be subsistence farmers as opposed to being out to see how rich they could get.

It was rather amazing to see all that these families did have their hands in. My 4 great grandfather, John Cummins, (son of Daniel Cummins of the Cummins Historical Note entry) was farming in Jasper County, Illinois in 1850 and here is what it says about his farm. The dollar numbers were current value. The bushels and pounds are what was raised in 1849.

50 acres improved
110 acres unimproved
$800 cash value of farm
$50 value of farming implements and machinery
4 horses
3 milch cows
2 other cattle
18 sheep
25 swine
$235 value of livestock
600 bushels of indian corn
100 bushels of oats
5 bushel of Irish potatoes
75 lbs. of butter
$15 value of homemade manufacture
$25 value of animals slaughtered for personal use or sale

So can you guess which of those lines attracts me the most? Yes, it is the 18 sheep. I was amazed at how many had sheep. It seems most did in the 1850, 1860, and 1870 census but few in the 1880. I really would love to know what was happening to influence this. Were they taking care of personal needs if only enough wool to knit socks, mittens, and hats? Did they know going west that they would need to supply more clothing needs for themselves? Were they actually selling the wool off? Most seem so little to make it worth to sell. I did find a reference once (and can I shoot myself for not keeping a record of it) that there was a carding mill in Greenup during the 19th century. Next county north but most of my people lived on the north side of Jasper County.

So the gears have been churning and I have a theory on part of it but need a way to test it now. In the 1850s, Illinois was still fairly frontier and we are talking about a part of it that isn’t near major cities. It is just off the National Road though so there would be traffic passing by just a few miles north. I can see the need to have more to supply for yourself. More self-sufficiency needed at this time. But by 1860 we are more settled but still quite a few sheep around. Then 1870 still quite a few. Now theory. During the Civil War cloth becomes precious on both sides of the war. In the South, as the blockade didn’t allow any in except by blockade runners and there were very very few mills in the South. So cloth became incredibly precious. On the flip side though this also hurt the North. With the blockade, the Northern mills weren’t getting any cotton from the South and many were closed before the war was over. So there was a cloth shortage in the North as well. Not as drastic as the South but still. Could they be helping themselves out in this time of more need and less for sale?

Greenup Moore Wilson 1880 agriculture census. 5 sheep, 5 lambs dropped, 5 sold living, 1 died of disease.

Greenup Moore Wilson 1880 agriculture census. 5 sheep, 5 lambs dropped, 5 sold living, 1 died of disease.

Side notes besides the sheep. Almost everyone had an enormous amount of butter they made. I hope these women had a good book to read while churning away. Or maybe it was a good chance to sit and relax though the arms would get tired. Also it would seem to me that they would sell the large amounts of corn and oats but everyone’s potatoes seem so little that I would think that they kept them for themselves. Interesting how Irish potatoes become larger in quantity over time and sweet potatoes fewer. I would think these sweet potatoes were the white ones I’ve just learned about and actually like. Not the yams that so many call sweet potatoes today and I really don’t like. The idea of potatoes being that sweet is just wrong.

 

Categories: Tidbits | Tags: , | 1 Comment

A First that is a Now

Today I will be at the loom most of it as opposed to the deep cleaning that has been going on around here. The dust bunnies that have been re-homed have had their revenge in the process and my sinus’ and chest are not happy campers today. So no re-homing of dust bunnies today. Any of the still present ones can stay put for the time being.

But as I don’t have great current pictures of a project, I wanted to go to where the current project on the floor loom began.

Back when Jane got me started weaving she gave me some yarn and Marguerite Porter Davidson’s book, and I picked out a herringbone and basket weave stripped pattern to weave. I wove up this long bit of warp in it and then was done and what was I to do with it? I did a table runner out of a bit of it, then placemats, and napkins. Alas as it wasn’t very pretty, it rarely got used.

Table runner and two of the "napkins"

Table runner and two of the “napkins”

Fast forward a few years and my kitchen cloths were worn out and desperately needed to be replaced. Not wanting to spend money on something so menial, I remembered the “napkins” and pulled them out of the drawer and tried them out. I loved them as cloths! I was happy and those couple of dollars were saved.

So a year or maybe a bunch more later, my mind is running while working in the kitchen, and I see the cloth in the light of the window, I really liked the pattern and got to thinking how nice it would be to have the stripes in different colors so they showed more.

The pattern in the window

The pattern in the window

Oh and yes, at first I was rough on these rags (and yes I grew up calling dishcloths rags and try to be more proper at times, but it is still a rag to me) and know what caused so many distresses so quickly. I have remedied that problem but alas they do look well loved and used as a result.

But back to the project, I went to the stash and found enough red and blue to make another warp and some very light sage green I want to try as weft. But alas it is still a work in process so decided to go ahead and remind myself of where this latest project had its roots.

Categories: Weaving | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Xang 34 – Don’t You Love the Name

I wove my corded petticoat and still had quite a bit of warp left on the loom so I went hunting a pattern and settled on Xang 34 in Helene Bress’s The Coverlet Book. I do love looking at this 2 book set and there is a star pattern I love but alas and alack it is for 8 shafts and I only have 4 so had to settle on the lesser star pattern labelled Xang 34.

When you see the draft from a distance, you can’t see (or maybe I should say, I can’t see) the star pattern at all but rather these squarish boxes. but up close a nice star sits in the midst of those boxes.

But anyway, I rethreaded the heddles and started weaving. Oh, did I say the rethreading went really south and gave me tons of troubles? I almost gave up before it even began. But anyway, I was finally weaving and it wasn’t going well so cut it off and started over again. Selvedges were to drive crazy through this whole project.

The start that wasn't great so cut off.

The start that wasn’t great so cut off.

So back at it again and going by the pattern, the number of picks it was asking for gave me very elongated stars.

The loooong stars

The loooong stars

So I decided that I would use fewer picks for the weft. I then had to finished one repeat of the stars and wove some plain weave and then could start over again with 2 less picks in each block.

Squared up stars

Squared up stars

So it seemed to look better and off we went again weaving and hoping my notes were good for finishing off the border the same on both ends. Then I had a great thought after this went over the breast beam and took the camera under there and took a picture of the beginning border which in the end was the best way I had to get the borders to look the same. Yeah, for belated thoughts that help!

Well, I eventually hit the end of the repeat without enough to do another but still some more warp left so gathered up my leftovers to just weave plain weave with color. I have wound off the ends of bobbins onto cut cardboard from hangers and stored them for some time (no, I don’t through very much away) And now I just started putting these onto the shuttles and started weaving. Alas, this really shows some of the troubles I was having with this warp all along with this project but as my thoughts were on cutting this part up, I didn’t sweat that it wasn’t perfect. So I just imagined what these colors were forming and in my head it was a field of wildflowers with trees above and the sky and at the bottom reflection in water.

My color and weave plain weave with leftovers.

My color and weave plain weave with leftovers.

Boy it really shows troubles by this time that were getting worse with this warp.

Anyway, it is cut off the loom washed and pressed and now to decide what it will all become as I don’t really think it is quite good enough for my first idea.

The squared piece and you can see part of the border.

The squared piece and you can see part of the border.

The bit with the long stars

The bit with the long stars

Categories: Fiber, Weaving | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

When Projects aren’t Going Well

OK, so I have warp on the loom that refuses to cooperate. 7 repairs hanging off the back with other broken threads. The sad part is that this is the same warp that I made the corded petticoat on with really no trouble. Why it is going south now is beyond me. But alas the end is in sight and I must get back at it today.

My corset is needing help as well so decided I really need to do a third mockup before cutting out the real thing so here goes. My big goal today. Must, though, watch videos again.

But during this time I have done a couple fibery things. I made more squares with my Zoom Loom and was running out of ready early handspun with color. So Saturday afternoon threw two small skeins of white in a crock pot with some Easter egg dyes of unknown color. It came out a bright green and not all fitting to current project so added some cherry kool-aid. Actually I think it was Wyler’s which is cheaper. So it came to a darker color. One skein took in the color wonderfully and I actually really like it though it did show a spot where a tie was too tight and no color got under but it doesn’t show really in the squares. Actually just little spots in the swatch and looks good. I think. Alas it would be nice to replicate this color but will never happen. Who knows what colors really went in that pot and how the skein became somewhat heather in its look. So the couple of squares I get from it will be in a special place.

The green skein and swatch

The green skein and swatch

Now the other skein I threw in at the same time took none of the color except for one of the plies on a short bit. Hmmmm…. I’m sure they are both wool and the same type as in my old stuff was all from the same place pretty much. So once again I threw in some more tablets of unknown color and a good glug of vinegar for good measure and cooked away some more. Now I have some pink yarn. Hmmm… At least it will blend in to the other squares somewhat.  As you can see in the photo just a bit of one ply did take on the darker color but that was all.  A mystery I would love to know why it happened but not enough to really spend my time now figuring out. Anyway both skeins can be used now, so I am happy with the results and will be dyeing more white wool for said project. Up to 62 squares for it and as the project has done a normal in my head – it is evolving and I need more than I planned in the beginning.

The pink skein and weird section of ply that did take the darker dye.

The pink skein and weird section of ply that did take the darker dye.

Now with all this going on and my actual favorite thing to do in the world is research, I started building up a Pinterest board with spinning and weaving. Now I was very picky as to what I pinned to it. Starting out with old painting then evolving into old photographs. It has been a fun journey and I would love to know more about some of the pictures out there. Some are so common and come in different forms. What was the original one? Was it all staged? Did said woman really spin or just look good? I also found some old postcards with spinning wheels like I haven’t seen before. There are a couple from France that are downright interesting. And of course so many different styles of wheels. Who doesn’t love a Norwegian wheel with all its craftsmanship and beauty? But being me of course my favorites are the ones from Ireland that are so simple and plainly cobbled together and similar in Appalachia.

I remember back when I first started this journey of spinning, I joined a spinning group online and not long after someone in Kansas asked about spinning in a historical context on the frontier. Right away many women in the northeast responded that no one was spinning at home any more after the mills were build in the early 19th century. Well, a few of us had done research and we immediately responded that yes they were spinning and gave sources. Looking at all these pictures sure backs up the fact that women were spinning in America long after there was available mill cloth.

But my thoughts also go to the lives these women lived. Some of these pictures come with stories and would we today, no matter how much we love the past, really want to live their lives? For a time I would say yes, but I would miss my modern conveniences I’m sure. Actually I would probably only really miss this computer I am sitting at right now with its access to a world of knowledge. And of course indoor plumbing on cold winter nights. These were not wimpy women such as myself.

Categories: Weaving, Spinning, Tidbits | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Projects Abound

Well, I am still working on the loom but as the left side kept getting worse, I decided that the best action was to cut it off and start fresh with retying it and making sure all the broken warps are in good order in the back of the loom, so here is where it sits at the moment. I am really liking what is happening in it if it would just go well.

Starting over with same project

Starting over with same project

I have also been weaving on my zoom loom with my handspun. Have quite a few swatches done and I am liking how these are looking. These are a great project for something easy that takes up little space and is fun to do. I am getting better at them as well which is a plus for liking more of them. I am hoping for enough that will go together that they will make a nice shawl or something of the ilk. With these it would be thick and warm so maybe something else by the time I start putting them together.

Zoom Loom swatches

Zoom Loom swatches

Then what is taking so much thought with time right now is my corset. I won the class from http://www.historicalsewing.com. Boy am I glad I didn’t tackle this on my own or I would be already headed to the looney bin. I have made two mock ups and still have it too tight in the waist. So just took pictures and am about to send them on to get an expert opinion on the problem. Not the easy fixes I was hoping for that wonderful fit.

But as I came up to my room one day this week, I just stopped and took this picture of my table. Can’t remember now if that is corset one or two but the way it is laying should have been a hint. About how it stretches around my middle.

Trying to make a corset.

Trying to make a corset

So anyway, now back to all three projects. First to watch video and read about the corset sizing and then posting pictures for advice. Then maybe get to the loom if my brain isn’t fried and finish tying on and start weaving. And to relax this evening making some more Zoom Loom Swatches.

Categories: Sewing, Weaving | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

I wrote I could weave better than I can sew?

Just yesterday I wrote, ” Yes, weaving comes a bit easier for me than sewing. ” Alas but, “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen.” Ok so when weaving, a general rule is that most troubles are of your own making but despite so much care on this project – it isn’t going well. My last two projects were a straight twill and plain weave. They went quite well all in all, and I am happy with them. Alas to finish off this warp I wanted something more exciting so decided to go with my favorite (well tied with shadow weave) overshot. So of course there is the threading of the heddles that one must keep in very good order.

Rethreading mistakes in threading.

Rethreading mistakes in threading.

I know this pictures doesn’t say much to most but even with my careful copying out of the pattern in easy to keep track of pairs and sequences I still messed up the left side and had many corrections to make. Adding time to the overall project. Then….

Actually looking good for the border.

Actually looking good for the border.

We are finally weaving and the border is looking good. This is a star pattern and It just fits perfectly in the warp I had already on the loom. I love the color and it will be interesting to see how it looks when wet finished. Then…

How many problems can there be in one picture?

How many problems can there be in one picture?

Thankfully the selvedges don’t show well here but they aren’t going well. Then those two T pins on the left are holding inserted warps for broken ones. And to top that off the note is telling me that I just decided to walk away from it all for the time being and when I return, I still need to take out the lavender at the top as I was using treadle 3 when I suppose to be using treadle 2 for 9 picks. And yes, I realized it when the next set was suppose to be treadle 2 and I went to it and – OH DEAR ME OH MY!!!! So taking out. And if you can tell the selvedges aren’t any better but not worse though with the troubles on the left side not sure it is going to completely recover.

So my prayer now is that when I return in a great state of mind, I will get the rest taken out easily and the weaving next will go smoothly and look lovely. There really isn’t a lot of warp left here. Not like I’m looking at yards of this but I hope I survive it. When I post pictures of the finished shawl (hopefully that is what I’ll have when finished) I will remember the troubles I’ve seen and the triumph over them. Now to move on to planning and getting everything for my corset class. Anyone think that can go better?

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