Weaving

I Finally Started It!

Well, yes I did, but not the way one is suppose to. I am talking about my Lena dress that has been hanging over my head for a year now. I’ve been trying to make a muslin of the dress to make sure I get it all the right way before cutting my handwoven fabric. Now, I am working from a pattern, but I am also changing the sleeves somewhat. Can I do this? It’s looking like it might take me down.

But I decided that I was going to at least start sewing, I had to succeed somewhere, and the way to do that was to start with the skirt which is pretty straight forward. Sewing four rectangle panels together. Ok, so that sounds easy, right? Well three of them were very easy to connect together. But then I needed a split in the fourth down the front in the middle to help get it on and off. Done! Then there are these gussets at the bottom of each side to give it a bit of a flair. And to add onto that piping down both seams. So after getting the cut done and sewed up, I worked on the gussets. Got them cut and one attached to the center panel. Then had to stop and go back to the house as Mark was home.

So yes, progress is taking place and even under a bit of a less than ideal set up. See this picture with three outlets along that wall?

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Three non-working outlets in a messy room

None of those three had power. I checked the other side and no power. Yes, oddly this space up above the barn has an outlet about every three feet along the walls. Not sure what was done up there before us. But what good are outlets without power? So after checking around. Thankfully the ones with the air conditioner and the fan in the other room were working. So I moved my mom’s sewing machine in there on a small wooden box and was able to sew.

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Sewing set up

I have sewn in this manner with the machine in the other picture before so this was nothing new. Just not as easy as doing it on the table.

But can’t you see the excitement? Or maybe not, but that is a seam being sewn to connect two panels of the skirt of my Lena dress. Yippy! After I get the fourth connected (and I may do part of it by hand just so I get it all manipulated right), I will gauge the top of it and be ready to tackle the bodice and sleeves again. I’m pretty sure that none of that will affect what I’ve done on the skirt or vice versa. The last thing to do after the bodice and sleeves will be hemming and making sure the length is correct.

I have finally started sewing. So there is that for this project. And Mark is going to check the breaker box and whatever may be happening with those outlets.

 

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My Lena Dress – Not Forgotten

I just realized that I hadn’t recorded about the progress on my dress. I began this way too long ago, Lena’s Dress is on the Loom, but here we sit still with an unfinished dress. The cloth has been all woven and off the loom and the eternal wet finishing of a long piece completed. But, then things didn’t go so well. Not that they started so well – either.

There were problems with the beginning and some of it was broken warp threads and … well just a bunch of boogery things to drive a soul crazy.

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One reason we cut off and started over again. What is going on with that white warp thread?

Yep, I ended up cutting off and rechecking the threading and starting over again. This time things looked much better alas was it “let’s drive her crazy” free? No, not even.

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CHT goody bag gifts come in handy in this loom room

But we were moving and getting cloth that was working out pretty well. There were lots of little bits that made the wet finishing go longer as I fixed problem areas, but considering the start, we were happy.

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A favorite sight. A cloth beam filling up.

Then we were getting near the end and I was hoping for another half yard at least but then things went really wonky and one bout on the back beam broke free. Not sure why they were so unhappy back there, but they decided being tense was too much and thus put a stop to my weaving. I wasn’t about to try and fix that for just an half yard more, when I should really have enough for the dress.

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The end in sight! Alas, right before the freedom lovers broke loose.

So what next? The scissors came out and it was cut off. All that cloth was done with this first bit of the journey.

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Off the loom!

What Next? Well, to make the dress like the original, I needed to weave a solid blue piece for piping, buttons, and false buttons for adornment. But I had enough of this battle so the decision was made to just use the same fabric for these other jobs as well. I knew it wouldn’t look as nice but I was tired of this project, and, for me, the worse was yet to come as I really don’t enjoy sewing. Alas, every time I tried to work on a mock up of the dress before cutting into this cloth, I got frustrated and then said to self, “I can weave better than work on this.” So slowly a solid warp ended up on the loom to weave the extra bits I needed. Now it went rough as well, but it took my husband walking past, me complaining, to come up with the simple reason for some trouble and soon that was fixed. So we got some length for the accent cloth.

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Done as well.

So once I finished this, I was happy I went ahead with it. But now it is time to get back to that mockup. Yikes! Still not feeling confident about it, but I did talk to a lady who knows a bit about sewing, and so I have some idea of what I need to do next. I have a pattern that will work for most of the dress but really need to change up the sleeve a bit, so must go and work on it. Today! Maybe typing those words will help me get out there and at it. I can really put off a job that I’m not enjoying. I will head out into the heat and hopefully get something accomplished.

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Fiddling with the mockup. Close but no award yet.

 

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Lena’s Off the Loom

I finally have cut the material for the dress off the loom. Now, I will admit I was hoping for at least another foot woven, but alas and alack, this warp just decided to give up the ghost, and die on me, and I decided not to fight it any more let it rest in peace.

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Solution to increasingly bad tension

I had two inches of warp that decided all of a sudden that tension was for the birds and seemed to just totally loose it. So I tried many things before suddenly grabbing spools and tucking them under. Alas, I needed a bit more height and they wouldn’t stay stacked. so a bit of cloth wrapped around kept everyone where I wanted them and it worked. The far right was a minimal tension problem that got taken care of at the same time.

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Broken warp with the end in sight

So all was going well for, oh, how about two inches. Then I noticed a broken warp thread. In a pattern like this you just can’t throw it out and say, I will pretend I never noticed and pretend it never happened. So do I consider it done? The end is so close. Or try and fix it? I tried and fixed it, only to discover that there were two broken threads. So we fixed both – or should I say, I thought I fixed both. I went back to weaving. Wound a bit more blue on the bobbin and wove a bit more only to realize that the new warp threads weren’t being caught by the weft threads. I swear they came through perfectly. They should be exactly as they should. Oh well, so much for confidence. Obviously they weren’t right so what to do now?

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Cut off the loom

I finished off both shuttles which ran out at the same time and considered it done. The on loom length came to just four inches shy of 11 yards. Cry. I would have loved to have made those last four inches at least. But no more fighting this warp. So it is cut off and on the table downstairs now. I am going to be spending a bit of time now going over it to find what I can fix in problems. There are many that need a needle to help out. Despite my best efforts at wanting a perfect piece of cloth, that didn’t happen here and probably never will.

So for this project we are a step closer to the end. Albeit that end is still far in the distance.

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A Pretty Scarf

I did finally finish a scarf I started not too long ago. You see, my mother had a friend who gave her some spools of yarn. Yep, the kind fiber people like but what on earth was she going to do with them? So she held on till I visited her and gave them to me.

Now I loved the colors in this one and thought I would just play with it on my Zoom Loom and so started making a square. Not the easiest as this yarn (Which has a fancy name for its style, but not being one to use these types I don’t remember what it is.) has little loops off the sides of it which just are begging to get in the way. But then to compound that, I decided to weave them together into a scarf. I had played with this idea before, and have posts on it, but have never made an official good enough to use project with the method. So besides the little loops getting in the way, I was also trying to catch the loops of one while weaving the next. I can just be a glutton for punishment.

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The finished scarf

In the midst of creating, I needed a handmade gift for a friend, so decided that is what I needed to get me to finish it.  So I got a few more squares added and then promptly forgot to take it to give away. YIKES! How me is that? So, back home I added a another square (couldn’t decide how long to make it) and then sent it in the mail.

I will admit it is far from perfect as it was hard to keep tract of what was where. But in the end I loved the colors which are much more jewel-toned that show here on my computer. I did add a single crochet edging around it to help hold it all together so that it didn’t get pulled out of place somewhere. You can ask me how I know it can get pulled out of place?

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Three squares joined with crochet edge

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A Tale of Two Towns

So this last week I have been between two towns that their names come from back east and from much more famous places. First lets look at the trip I took.

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Washington, Arkansas

Last week I went to Washington, Arkansas for the Stepping Back Accurately Women’s American Civil War re-enactors meeting. It was an interesting time to learn more about how people lived and dressed in the 1860s. And to meet ladies just as crazy as I am. It was held in an old 1914 School House that is in Washington. A town that time bypassed when they didn’t want the railroad, but it didn’t totally die either. It did, however, survive with many old houses and buildings and is now a state park as an historical town.

What would I find so interesting there? Of course ,many things, and I would love to go back and see more of the town. But one morning Peggy and I skipped the meeting and went on a tour. Our first stop was the Trimble house and after telling the docent we were with the group at the school and lovers of history; and that I was a weaver and Peggy a seamstress for the Alamo, he said he thought he could trust us and we got to leave the red runner and walk over to things to get a close up look. So what does a weaver spot ever so quickly? Three wonderful overshot coverlets.

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First coverlet

The first one I didn’t get a good shot of just it as it had a dress laying on it. But here it is in such beautiful perfection. I must admit to drooling over it. But on to another room.

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Second coverlet

Oh,  this one was a dream. It was wool and linen and woven in three panels which were sewn together. It was incredibly wonderful despite the fact that the panels didn’t all line up perfectly. The actual weaving was something to behold. I did actually get to touch this one quickly. The docent folded it just a bit back so we could see the back and then told me, I could lay it back right. What a pleasure! I probably took more care and less touch than most of the docents in getting to touch this gem. It so spoke to me in my language. It was quite stiff and rough to the touch. I would assume it is the drying out of the linen over so much time but maybe I’m wrong, and it is just the age and wool and linen get rough with it.

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Closeup where it does line up pretty well.

Then one more coverlet came into view in a cabinet. It was an eye catcher as the colors weren’t just the natural and green and blue that the other two were but was in a red/brown and rust.

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Third coverlet

This quilt though quite common in pattern (if I was near my books, I could look it up quickly, but I haven’t learned the pattern names though I can recognize so many and think I should know their names) to me was quite unusual in these colors. I just wished it wasn’t in the cabinet so I could get a better picture.

So had a great time in Washington, but was soon back in good Lexington. So what is happening here? Yes, I’m still weaving away on my Lena dress fabric. I have officially today crossed the 8 yard mark and have 4 more to go. Yippy! Two thirds of the way done. I do have several things that do keep it at a slower pace than it would be. Not the least being that the brake release has frayed, and so I have to get up and do both the front and back brakes separately. Must go to Ace and see if they would have what I need. Also, still dealing with some of those cantankerous warp threads but all in all it is going along and looking pretty good except for my left hand selvedge. Hard to accept that the handed side you are is the worse one. The right looks quite nice.

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8 yards headed on the cloth beam

I am happy to be this far along, albeit, I had hoped to have it all woven before Washington but, alas and alack, what can I say, it didn’t happen. But it is moving along.

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The big fat sections are loosing their girth.

So, I got to see some wonderful coverlets that make you wonder who wove them and their personal stories. And I have made more progress on my own weaving, albeit, not an overshot at this time, but I feel one coming on soon.

I tend to love those two shuttle patterns best. So now I am doing Color and Weave which I love and next it probably will be an overshot.

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Lena’s Dress Oh Dear, Me, Oh My!

Well, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since I started this project, and no it didn’t get as far as I had wished. After posting last, I looked at my beautiful warp and start and had the biggest groan. There on the right side was a white line so out of place it was glaring. Why didn’t I see it sooner. As in a lot sooner. As in from the very first.

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Wildly out of place white and blue warp threads

So do you cut your loses and start over? I did. I really hate not being able to make something work, but I guess pride does go before the fall as I thought after all it took to get started, I had done it well, and now looking me right in the eye, was this line that couldn’t be ignored. So yes, I took out the scissors and with great sadness cut the cloth off, fixed the warp threads, retied again, and started over. Not getting very far very quickly at all.

So we headed back to weaving again only to keep discovering little problems here and there. Even to the point of not cutting off again, this was a time eater, adding in threads and taking out and doing warp thread fixes to the already started cloth.

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More problem threads

Well, two more here fixed. Alas if you look closely at this cloth you will probably decide that there are other threads that could be fixed as well but we are leaving the rest. Nothing glaringly noticeable.

So we are weaving and we have just over 6 yards woven on a 12 yard warp. Sounds pretty good to be half done. Alas, again, I had wished to have it finished and wet finished by this weekend to take to an event this coming week to get advice on making the dress and getting it started. Alas, and alack. It will not be going though I am tempted to cut off where I am and do what I have. Alas, we all know that I will undoubtedly cut it right in the middle of the bodice or a sleeve and will be at a lose for fabric then. Alas and alack. Yes, this is an alas and alack sort of feeling.

But we must continue on and get it done. It is going better than the stumbling of the first yard that has quite a few problems in the weft, and that ever fussy left selvedge that always tells me I have a ways to go to be good at this. I did manage to start weaving better, the selvedge is better, and the cloth is looking better. I will still have some fixes to make when it is cut off but all in all I am much happier with it, and it will be wonderful when finished, and I can’t wait for the finished dress whether it takes me a decade to finish it.  –  Lord have mercy, I hope it doesn’t take a decade to finish it.

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The pattern of the fabric for the dress

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Lena’s Dress is on the Loom

For some time. Probably since I started weaving and saw the first picture. Found the first description. I have had a desire to create a dress that would be a copy of Lena Dancy Ledbetter’s that she spun, wove, sewed while 14 years of age during the American Civil War. I won’t have an exact copy to say the least but I am hoping for something that will be close. I have the skirt and bodice figured out but not the sleeves yet. But then that is getting ahead as we still have 12 yards of cloth to weave first.

It has been a bit of a trial to get it on the loom. Getting the yarn ordered and here. Then while dressing the loom realizing that I am very short on heddles. Yep. Confirmation this is my biggest project yet. So ordered more and loaded the shafts and continued on.

Today I finally finished threading the reed and started weaving.

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All dressed. Yes one problem found and fastest fix was to pull a thread and add a thread.

So we are ready to weave. How will it go? I’m hopeful with this warp and was so careful dressing the loom. Thankful that it seems that there was only the one problem. This is a Basket Weave as Lena called it, but today we call it Log Cabin pattern. So every other thread was a different color. But then I had to make that harder as I wanted the dark thread to bookend each square so the squares are 13 picks each. Same as Lena’s. So, somewhere I ended up with three dark blue together. Oh dear, such mustn’t be at all. So, checking and yes, there should have been a natural in the middle so just pulled the middle blue and added a natural. As this was found when threading the reed, I didn’t want to spend the extra time moving threads all the way to end to make it work out right without adding the thread. So here it is. Hope it doesn’t drive me bonkers but then I usually have something hanging off the back before completion so won’t be much different.

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Header woven

Excited to start and see if it was looking right. I had thread from my last project still in the shuttle so used that for the header. It spaced out quite easily and looked pretty good. So went and wound four bobbins with my natural and navy blue yarn. Just a side note. Lena’s dress was black and white. I just didn’t want to be exactly the same in color. Not that I don’t like black and white, as I do. But then I wanted it to not be quite so jarring so was going to do a grey and natural, but in the end, it ended up navy blue and natural. I think it will look rather nice.

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A start at 12 yards.

So yes there are a few things to see here. I do think this is my widest piece and at first had a bit of a time getting the wefts to be smooth. A few bits wrinkled up and poking out there. But the last three sets are looking good. It seems like I do need to go back and look at one line again. I noticed it before, but it looked like it was just illusion and it was right. But looking at the picture the same warp line is looking too distinct. Need to check that out again. After that, 12 yards of counting to 13 over and over and over and over and over again. I think this will take just some of my music to listen to and not stories.

But this isn’t the only fibery thing around here. Finally, was able to pick up my last Gulf Coast Native lamb. It is a ram that has the color gene and boy is he lovely.

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Jacob

I had already decided to name him Jacob as I had Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah. So he needed to be a Patriarch. I thought. Alas, the only one that thought sounded good as a name for a lamb was Jacob, so Jacob it was going to be. After I picked him, and they asked if I had a name for him, it dawned on me he was well named. What better for a colored sheep. Now his color shows strong in his face and legs but maybe it will move to the wool in bits with his offspring.

And I can’t end without a Sarah picture. She is growing so fast. No longer getting a bottle. Alas, she would like to argue that point. We sit and sing in the evenings together. My sweet baby that is already looking older than this picture but still such a sweet, white, child-like face compared to the rest of the flock.

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The sweetest of babies. Little Sarah.

Categories: Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep, Weaving | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

CHT Conference 2017

Have you spent two years waiting for something and then suddenly it’s here and gone? That’s how I feel about the conference this past weekend. Two years of seeing the planning and helping in a small way, and it is all gone and past so quickly.

I think one of the fun things with a conference is seeing others responses. I watched as a new member realized we got goodie bags and what wonderful things came in them donated by vendors and guilds. Yes, these bags are worth a bit on their own.

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My goodie bag haul along with table favors and door prize

The last conference I took a picture with all my accumulations in one shot. Alas this year was a bit much for that. So above is some quite practical goodies along with some just wonderful creations with woven fabrics, felting, and dyeing. The bag of fiber is a silk and baby camel mix that I received as a door prize from Red Fish. I got their door prize at the Austin conference as well. Such lovely fiber they turn out. I talked with the gal and learned a bit about spinning this particular blend. It will be dreamy and will need a special project. I could say something about each item, but for space I won’t, but I do enjoy looking at all these items here.

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Class items and money spent

Now for the picture of what came home with me otherwise. I do highly recommend if you are a spinner or lover of touch, watch where you stick your hand. Now I like black and white and grey and seeing some fiber with such coloring, I went over and touched it. (Don’t you love an obsession that vendors want you to touch because … well follow on.) I stuck my hand in a tub full of wonderful softness. Touching clouds of silk and merino. Such loveliness that, yes, it didn’t take two seconds to look at the price and say, “I’ll take three ounces of that.” Then while waiting, yes, there was a tub of some brown lusciousness. Mistake again. I stuck my hand in it. It was Yak and silk. Lord have mercy (aren’t we thankful He is merciful), I added an ounce of that to my order. So have three new bags of wondrous spinning fiber when I didn’t mean to bring any home. As per weaving fiber, I also bought some more navy blue and natural cotton for a project that will need more.

Now I might add that I only used my egg money (plus some demonstration money) for any spending while at the conference. Don’t you love having chickens and people who will buy eggs and then you get to be old fashion and use your egg money to buy what you would love to have.

The color card and color-aid sheets were from a class that was great in the sense that, yes, I had heard a bit of it before, but actually messing with colors hands on was a revelation in many ways. I was amazed at what happened and want to actually do all the exercises over again. Great mind blowing day on Saturday. Also got to play with embroidery ideas for textiles on Friday. That was fun to experiment outside the box as I do quite stay in a box there. Many of us in the class had done needlework in our distant pasts and all agreed that dipping our fingers in again made us want to delve back in on our own created textiles.

Now if ever I wanted a raffle basket it was this year. Tall Pines was the guild I began my fiber journey in, and I have several friends there. We gathered at this conference and roomed together, ate together, gad-abouted together. It was great seeing them again. They put together a basket to dream about. It had a log cabin theme and was full of foods as well as log cabin woven textiles of different types. I wanted that basket. Alas, when the name was called it went to Jane. It stayed in the group but not to me. It was a bit disheartening. Alas afterwards as we were getting to see it all together, Jane shared the wealth as there were things in it she couldn’t eat or was gracious enough to share. So she gave me the three small cones of cotton as well as some whole wheat flour that missed the picture. The small log cabin bag was one she had woven for the basket so she gave it to me as well. I loved the way the pattern looked in it. I love log cabin and all of its various variations. Could you just weave it the rest of your life and never repeat a pattern?

Now I went this whole conference without taking pictures. Never thought to take a single one until after the fashion show, and I wanted a picture of us all together. So asked Marian if she would snap it and here we are after a wonderful day and evening. Thanks, Marian, for a great picture.

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So here is the Friday to Sunday Tall Pines contingent who hung out together at the conference.

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The Dog is Off

I am usually very conscious of what tools and items I am using cost. I really don’t like to waste anything. Alas, it has been ages since I posted about what was on the loom. I just checked, now I feel really bad. It is better to not look at dates, I posted about this project in September of 2016. Has it been on the loom that long. No wonder not much has been done. I checked that link and there was one before in MAY for starting this. Can I cry over this.

This warp should have been just cut off at some point, but I couldn’t see wasting all that yarn. So on it went once in awhile. I knew I should just cut it off but couldn’t.

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Notice a problem here?

Then this showed up. I wound more on the center two inches than any other of the inches. Well, I just thought I would weave up close and then cut the edges and still weave the center into just a narrow strip. But… the outside bouts broke and came loose. Wasn’t easy to redo and have tension so just dropped them. But after a bit that was the end of my patience with this warp and the scissors came out, and I cut every last one of those inches off. I probably should have done it sooner. But it is done now.

I threw it in the wash and then laid it out to dry and still not pleased with the project, but I was going to go ahead and give a shot at its original purpose and see if it would still work.

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Still not happy but washed.

So all seems ok. Did notice that one of the reds in the thin lines puffed up a bit and shrunk a bit different than the rest of the yarns. Nice little variation to the overall look. Nice chance addition to this cloth. Oops. Did I say something nice about this piece?

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Where did that come from?

But I won’t let that last long. Today I went in and discovered this down the backside. I was finally half pleased to weave this as a 3-1 twill so the stripes showed well on the front and then most of the white was on the back. So though this doesn’t show on the front it has more than a bit of a befuddling about it. There is yellow all about. Actually, just down the two lines. Splatterly. I never noticed it before, and I don’t see it in the above picture. A mystery to add to the misery of this piece. What happened? Not fun to discover on a day of things going south fast. Actually, I did finally start to half laugh today. You can’t have all that happened and just cry.

So anyway the piece is off the loom and I have planned a new project that should be more fun. Just have to order a bunch of yarn. With all I have, I need more.

Now I feel the need to remind myself that this hasn’t been all the fiber I worked on in its time. I have been spinning with my Golding spindle. I also received some yarn at the guild Christmas party. I wove them up on the Zoom Loom and am trying to crochet them together into a vest. Alas, not real happy with it either. Sewed some thrum scarves. So there are other things happening.

But still – YELLOW?!?! I don’t even like yellow. As in I don’t like yellow. My first thought was that the Boys (now named James and John) got in and did the deed. Alas, despite their knack to get to whatever they want, I doubt they’d have gotten up there without destroying the world around them in the process. By that sentence, I guess we all know they have made it into the house on a few occasions. We need a large place, not a pasture size space yet, to contain them now, but alas it is still the backyard and so yes, we have learned that our back door doesn’t latch. Who knew? Not that they get in on their own but they do follow Sam and Mattie inside.

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Two Projects

I did get a hat woven off loom style that actually fits my head. Not only that, it was a bit big. So I’ve crocheted on it and it still is a mite big but works. May still do another single crochet round taking in again but it is good for stuffing all my hair in when going out to do chores.

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Wearing the hat

My usual hat model refused to model a hat again. Did get a picture of Mattie laying down with it on but can’t find it now. So here I am wearing my hat. For as little as I could enlarge the pattern I have to think it has to do with the alpaca that it came large this time.

Also recently at the guild Christmas party, we learned to make Dragon Boats. Of course, I had a bit of getting it going but once I got it, it was rather fun winding it and seeing it grow and cover the whole model without having to change a thing you were doing. I absolutely love the yarn I used. Still need to make a proper hanger for it, but here it is.

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Not perfect but pretty

Oh, and a big plus to today. As I was coming back in after chores I checked the coop, and we have our first egg. Totally wasn’t expecting it so a very nice surprise.

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One of the girls was busy

 

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