Saturday, December 22, 2007
May you all be well and very blessed during this sacred time of year.
Friday, December 14, 2007
The word for today from Cate at Beyond the Fields We Know http://kerrdelune.blogspot.com/ is Turnings. Cate is talking about the turning of the year and the seasons and life in general. For me turnings have to do with the fibers that become the yarns I weave and knit. It is the turning of the fiber that makes it strong and hold together and not just be bits of fluff hanging around. Life is like that too because it is the change/turnings that come when we least expect them that makes our lives hold together and be stronger. In just a couple of weeks we will have the turning of the year with the Winter Solstice. The new year always brings change, some looked for and some not.
May all your turnings be toward the light.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
November went by in a whirlwind of activity. We had 10 people to dinner on the holiday itself and an abundance of snow. There was much to be thankful for. We opened the Christmas Gallery the day after Thanksgiving and it has been humming along ever since, it will be up and running till Christmas Eve.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Absent Friends, Memory Still Bright. All Hallows Eve is traditionally a time when the veil between the world of the living and the dead thins. We are visited by memory and spirit of times past. It is a time to look back on the accomplishments and trials of the year, time to look behind the veil for hidden messages. Weaving is my metaphor for life: disparate things collect, come together to form a new whole. This was a year of distractions as both husband and father were ill for long stretches of time. Though the weaving was slow to finish, the act of throwing the shuttle, threading the loom brought sanity to an otherwise barren place. And the absent friends? Their counsel was much missed. As the dark of the year comes upon us may you find still water in that deep well within you that reflects the face of the great goddess. Blessed Be.
Monday, October 29, 2007
The red shawl that is on the TriLoom in the previous post came out of the wash and looks great. Here is a picture on my new/old dressform. The dressform is new to me but fairly old. A good friend knew I was looking for another one and found this in the attic of a friend of hers, it became mine for $10! The body form is made of paper mache and goes from the neck to the ankles and is covered with a dark brown strechy cover. The white lines are from when the friend used it to make clothes. On the base were the words "Fashion Savings Clinic, Los Angeles, CA" I just love it and have named her Viola for the friend who found her.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
What fun would it be to go somewhere neat like the Taos Wool Festival and not come home with something new and different (if not necessarily needed). This is a picture of my new TriLoom. It is 7 feet across the top and is used to weave triangle shawls. When I was at the festival there were quite a few people selling the triangle shawls, but of course why buy a shawl when you can buy the loom? I found a nice older man who was working on a loom outside and asked him about it. He told me he made it and offered to sell me one. You can see from the picture that I took him up on it. He was very cute when I asked for the directions to put it together, he said "Oh
Honey, It only goes together one way!" And those were the only instructions it came with! He was right, it does only go together one way and I could not wait to get home and try it out. So here on the loom is the first shawl. The black yarn is wool and the white threads are silk - kind of a rough natural silk. I learned a lot just making this first shawl. For example: You had better like the color you are using because you will REALLY get tired of it otherwise. I think this got black yarn out of my system for a while. When it first comes off the loom the holes between the threads are pretty big (by my standards, I usually think in terms of 12epi).
But when it washed up the wool fulled (like magic I always think) and it came together nicely. This picture makes it look much smaller than it actually is, it still is a large shawl. I'm working on a brown one now and will post pictures of it soon.
There is a great group of people out there working on these TriLooms and they have formed a Yahoo group. Go to Yahoo Groups and put in TriLoom if you are interested in joining and knowing more. I was amazed at how inventive these people are with something that comes out basically the same size and shape every time. They make blankets, bags and even a beautiful jacket using this very loom. Their imaginations put me to shame!
Monday, October 08, 2007
I also visited the Taos Sunflower shop that is located in Arroyo Seco, NM just a few miles out of town from Taos. The town is set among a grove of Cottonwood trees that are vibrant yellow this time of year. The air was full of leaves and it was cool and inviting. This shop is worth the drive to Taos even when there is no Wool Festival going on.
It is filled with yarns and rovings and enticing magical bits of string that seem to whisper how wonderful all your weavings would be if only you had these sublime fibers at your fingertips. The ladies at Taos Sunflower http://www.taossunflower.com also hosted a workshop with Lexi Boeger, who wrote Handspun Revolution. http://www.pluckyfluff.com Their workshop space is huge and filled with light and someday I'm going back there to learn something fun with those delightful gals.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Happy Mabon to you all! This is the Autumnal Equinox and although it is still warm most days here in the southern part of New Mexico, the days are noticeably shorter. My favorite change in the seasons here is in the grasses. The wild grass along the roadside and trail have long seed heads that turn rust and brown as the grass leaf parts turn an old gold color. We don't have many trees and the ones we do have don't do much color dancing. Mesquite celebrates autumn quietly. In the park where I walk the Cottonwoods are a dull brown and leaves already carpet the ground, too much rain lately for a golden show. But Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year and I'll take brown leaves over green any day. It is time to celebrate the harvest and get out those great scarves and shawls to wear. Sometimes we are the colorful leaves in the gathering. Blessings to you all.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
A gift for a friend. Summer is underway and the show I worked on for so many months will come down this week. It is time to pay back the people who helped and supported all of us in getting things to look wonderful. This short sleeved vest/sweater is made from novelty yarn that is acrylic and has long eyelash fibers that hang out all over. It is woven in plain weave and made from two panels sewn up the back and on the sides. It is an easy way to make a garment that is forgiving to most body types. The orange/purple scarf is silk that I dropped in the dye-pot this week along with some yarn for a new warp.
Today I'm trying out the solar dyeing for wool yarn that was featured on http://knitty.com . It involves putting all the ingredients in the pot (with glass cover) out in the sun until the temp inside reaches 250. Since it is 90+ here in NM right now, it shouldn't take too long. You can find more detailed instructions from Symeon North who wrote the article and also featured it on her super website http://pippiekneesocks.com.
Summer blessings to you all!
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Here is a silk recycled sari scarf that I've been working on. The colors are great. I used this image when I ordered new business cards from http://www.moo.com In case you don't know about them, they are a company in the UK who makes little cards the size of a stick of gum. You can upload your own photos to be printed and they will put your contact info on the back of the card. 100 cards for $19.95 and that includes shipping. They are great quality cards and the service is quick.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
This one turned out well enough to inspire me to do some more for the upcoming show.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
This blog has been silent for several weeks. My apologies to all of you who keep up with my ramblings, fiber and otherwise. While I have enjoyed having a husband at home instead of overseas, it has created claims on my time that did not used to exist. He will be leaving again to go off and do corporate things and I will soon have more time.
This red yarn was four skeins that I spun and then hand dyed in reds and browns for a shawl that played in my mind for several weeks before it became a reality. In one of the skeins is a mystery fiber that I could tell when I picked it up with the rest was not quite the same. Not having crossed that bridge before, I spun it into the wool and went on my way. It dyed up just fine but the disaster occurred when the shawl was complete. I put the entire yardage into the water to soak with the Eucalon and when it came out that little bit of fiber did not shrink the same as the rest of the wool. I had a space about two inches wide that ran the width of the shawl. Over a week of effort nullified quickly. Of course, I did not realize how bad it was at first and attempted to repair the area by reweaving into it with yarn and needle, but it is clearly not the same. A difficult lesson and the shawl is otherwise very beautiful. Not to be daunted I have begun another one in blues/greens/browns. There is something so wonderful about making a shawl from the handspun yarn. I never know exactly what something will come out looking like and so far I have been thrilled with all the colors.
It is good to be back at this. Happy weaving to you all!
Friday, March 09, 2007
your mind can think up. I love the colors of the Southwest and have wanted to make something that seemed very New Mexico. I spun this single from domestic wool roving and dyed it. Then I had the idea that I wanted to weave with my own handspun. The warp I used was a shetland in green, blue and rust and the pattern is a twill with a basketweave stripe (the rust). It all seems very NM now that it is finished and drying over the gate in the backyard. I'm planning to sew it into a vest to wear to an art opening this weekend at the local Center for the Arts in greater downtown Hobbs.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
Sometimes in February here we get these perfect days when there is no wind (a rare thing) and the temperature is in the upper 70's. I've been sitting out on the back porch in the sun spinning wool for several hours. If there is a better way to spend time I don't know what it is.
The yarn on the left was spun first and then dyed and the yarn on the right was dyed as roving and then spun. The difference is subtle. I like the way yarn looks when it is dyed as roving first but sometimes the roving is so fragile that I end up felting it instead of dyeing it, hence the yarn on the left. I have read recently a lot about people dyeing roving in their dishwashers. I just use a heavy bottom canning pot on the top of the stove. If any of you out there have done both and would like to share the pros and cons with me I would like to hear it.
I'm just about to start the weaving on a shawl that will have all handspun natural browns for the weft. I'm cheating a little and using shetland for the warp.
Whatever you do with yarn I hope you are enjoying it!
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Art yarn from yesterday's post, finished and dried. It is wool, cotton and rayon, 116 yards.
This evening I've been knitting. This seems such a decadent pastime to me as I always feel like I should be spinning or weaving. However, my house is full of this beautiful hand dyed, hand spun yarn and my fingers just itch to get into some of it and make something before it flies out the door. I am making a hat. It is orange and olive greens and much nicer color combination than it sounds like it would be. Autumn is my favorite time of the year and this yarn is like having Fall in my hands. Of course where I live it was in the 70's today and not very Fall like, but I'm an optimist and I'm hoping someone will see the hat and decide they want to make one of their own, using my handspun preferably. I love to see people wearing hand made hats, or really hand made anything because I think things made by hand are a thousand times better than stuff made on machines or by slave labor overseas. I believe all gifts should be hand made! Let's start a revolution!
Saturday, February 24, 2007
It is a gold and purple with eyelash and cotton boucle all twisted around an antique gold colored thread. Will try to post better pictures soon but it is now drying in the bathroom.
We had a wind storm out here in Eastern New Mexico today. The wind got up around 65 mph this morning with lots of dust in the air. It was a good day for staying in and working with wool.
If any of you have experience working with the Country Spinner I would love to hear what you think about it.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
The only thing more exciting than spinning up beautiful singles from hand dyed wool is making it into fun art yarn. The yarn on the left is a single in pinks, reds and purples that I call Heart's Desire and the one on the right is Pink Party Yarn, that includes wool, eyelash and small pom poms all coiled around gold lame thread. While I like them both there is definitely more going on with the yarn on the right. Art yarns are taking off all over. I was in London in January and saw people everywhere wearing scarves made from hand spun wool with all kinds of stuff woven in. I think an accessory item knitted up with art yarn is just the thing to chase off the winter blahs. Look for both of these new yarns on my website: http://www.quillinfiberarts.com .
Also for all of you who emailed me about not posting more, I will try to mend my slothly ways. After four years working overseas my husband returned home this past weekend. While he is trying to decide what to do next I am working on building inventory for the show in June and spinning as much yarn as my fingers can! It is great to have him home.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Happy Candlemas to you all! This is the day in the old pagan calendar when people would celebrate the return of light. The days were perceptibly longer and there was new hope for spring to come. The goddess who had been featured as an old crone at the end of the year has changed herself into the young girl in white emerging from the woods. A lovely image to begin the new year. With new things in mind I am beginning the update of my website http://quillinfiberarts.com with the addition of a page for my yarns. I'll start by posting them six at a time and should anyone want one, emailing or calling me would be best, to make sure they are still available. This yarn is a single ply in Romney in spring green and violet, there are 143 yards, so enough for a hat or other smallish project.
Warm thoughts of spring to you all!
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
What to do with all that hand spun yarn? I've been spinning for quite a while but with little to show for it besides a lot of yarn in hanks or skeins. So this little project came out of Spin to Knit, by Shannon Okey. I was curious about how much yarn it takes to make something like this and it took about 50 yards. So much of the hand spun yarn I see on the internet is sold in small skeins of less than 100 yards and I've wondered who would use just a little yarn. Now I realize that a hat or a small scarf (just finished one of those too) are perfect for a small bit of special yarn. I always think in terms of a sweater or an afghan or something woven. For one of my short jackets it would take at least 500 yards of handspun in this sport weight to make up. Soon that will be my project, to show some garments made entirely (or at least the weft) from handspun hand-dyed yarn. I have to admit that this project was very satisfying in that it let me handle and work directly with the yarn. In weaving the yarn goes on the bobbin in the shuttle and doesn't pass through the weaver's hands like it does in knitting -- and with handspun I really wanted to touch it all I could.
We had snow this evening. We have had more so far this winter than in the last couple of winters combined. It is pretty neat. The dog had to go in the backyard and check it out. I really think she just likes to be dried off with the towel when she comes in!
Happy spinning to you all!
Monday, January 29, 2007
Weaving on the four harness Harrisville. This shawl is a twill mixed with basketweave. To emphasize the basketweave I've made the stripes a variegated color in the warp while the twill warp is solid blue. The weft for this piece is kid mohair from Brooks Farm http://www.brooksfarmyarn.com These people had a booth at the Taos Wool Festival last October and I indulged in some fantastic yarn. Their colors are subtle and their yarn is of the finest quality. This shawl is the first weaving project that I'm making for an upcoming show in June here in Hobbs, NM. I will be showing with two good friends who are also members of our local Llano Estacado Art Association. The show will be called Earth, Fiber and Color. The other two artists are John Lathrop, professor of ceramics at NMJC and Carrie Swenson, pastelist and oil painter. I want to make some really fun things for this show that use my skills and imagination because my fellow artists produce such high quality work. Now that the holidays are over I can focus on building the inventory back and getting ready to show my work.
Thanks to everyone who emailed me about the Sock of Happiness. The spaniel herself is doing just fine, currently laying upside down on the couch with her feet in the air. She has a hard life.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Late yesterday afternoon my friend Frisbee, the English Cocker Spaniel was laying on her favorite large chair in the room where I work. She had herself flung across the chair and every so often a dramatic sigh would come from her direction. It was almost time for dinner, but not quite yet. I was spinning and trying to ignore her when I finally gave in (not that she is spoiled or anything) and went to cut up some chicken to put on her dry kibble for dinner. I put her bowl on the floor in the kitchen and went back to the spinning wheel. A few minutes later I saw her parading happily around the house tail up, head held high, with yes, a sock in her mouth! She danced around the house then asked to be let out. I stood in the doorway and watched as she pranced around the yard, the Sock of Happiness held in her mouth. She brought it back in and layed it on the youngest of the cats, Murphy who was trying to sleep. He raised his head to look at the sock that had been layed across his body and went back to sleep. At some point in the evening I returned the sock to the laundry hamper but I noticed that after her noontime snack (not spoiled) it has been retrieved and sits now, an offering of happiness at my feet.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Plied with itself.
This is the latest spinning project. A lot of gold, yellows rusts and reds went into this skein. It is a mix of domestic and UK Corriedale wools and there are actually two skeins for a total of a little over 200 yards of this that I will call sunset. It took forever to spin the singles but plying them went faster, as it always does.
The dyepots have been in constant use for the past couple of days and there are new rovings drying, so more yarn to be born soon. The website has been made obsolete by the holidays and everything on it was sold and then some. It will take some time to make more of the kind of things I would like to show on there, and in the meantime I hope to have an update by the end of the week with a few new things and a new page that will have yarns on it.
The snow was beautiful around here, we got a couple of inches and it stayed on the ground longer than I thought it would but it is melting fast today.