Friday, January 27, 2012

Last Week's Happenings

the view outside...not much snow, but definitely winter

Lynnette busy winding spools for a big warp

Zoe finished up her canvas and we had a big birthday lunch for her

Susan O working on finishing up her new blanket

Stevie working on a bright birdseye dishtowel warp

Sandra's new wool/alpaca throw beamed on

Susan W's cotton dishtowels

a short warp to test the new carpet yarn made from local sheep's wool

my latest adventure with tape

Stephanie working on her overshot piece

one of Stephanie's BIG rag rugs

Stephanie's rag placemats with different fillers

Stevie's dishtowels fresh off the loom

While this hasn't been a "typical" winter as far as snowfall goes, nobody seems to be too upset about it. We've had less than average snowfall, and perhaps more freezing rain and sleet than snow, and much milder temperatures on the whole. The driveway has been more like a skating rink than a snow fort. But in some ways it's a nice break, especially after all the snow and deep cold we had last winter.

We had a busy week...Lynnette has been occupied with winding spools for a big warp. Zoe finished up her roll of canvas over the weekend, and we had a big potluck birthday lunch for her: soups, salad, roasted potatoes, homemade applesauce, kale chips, with raw jersey milk, gluten-free compost cookies, green tea ice cream, and poppyseed pound cake for dessert. We always have a great time with birthday lunches and festive occasions around here...a lot of us like to cook and we enjoy making and sharing the things we love to eat. It helps to also have access to great local foodstuffs here in Vermont. So Zoe had a good send-off. It seems the month of January slipped by so quickly while she was here.

But the looms have been busy. Susan O has been finishing up a really nice twill blanket in Jaggerspun wool...she has such a great sense of color, and her work is always easy on the eyes and easy to imagine living with.

Stevie has been weaving a run of very brightly colored birdseye dishtowels in 8/2 cotton, playing with color relationships, which are always more challenging when most of the colors are bright ones.

Sandra has an uncharacteristically BRIGHT warp on for a wool/alpaca throw for a young relative of hers who requested certain colors that Sandra probably would never dream of putting together! So it is one of those exercises in working with colors that are not your own, and working on a project where what's going on is not necessarily pleasing to your eyes. An interesting experiment for all of us to witness!

Susan W has been working on some short warps to become more comfortable with the process of warping, beaming on, and all the set-up. Her most recent project is a 4-towel cotton dishtowel warp, and she's putting in some other color (reds) than is her usual way (neutrals).

There's been a short rug warp on to weave up a few samples using the new carpet yarn from a local sheep farmer's Romney and Border Leicester wool. Last summer Zoe skirted some 300# of assorted fleece from Bill's sheep and sent it off to Green Mountain Spinnery in Putney VT, who made beautiful yarn out of it. Kate dyed enough for this warp so that we could see what a finished product would be like, Lila wove them off on Wednesday, and we have to admit, we love the results! The new yarn is soft, durable, and takes the dye color so beautifully.

I've been socked in with tape projects lately...I finished up the last of four 7 yard warps of undyed wool galon for St. John the Divine's Textile Conservation Lab in mid-January, and then started right in on another project = 14 yards of heavy linen strapping for the Fort Ticonderoga Museum, to be used in the reproduction of some military satchels. It's very different from the galons, as the warp is stretchy and finicky and we've had to rig the tensioning of it a bit differently than we might on a shorter warp. But it's fun...having been admonished so continuously to watch my selvedges by my mother when I wove as a young girl, I somehow find this particular challenge to be very enjoyable on tapes.

And last, but certainly not least, Stephanie has been here from Old Lyme, CT for a week of setting up and weaving overshot. She is an experienced weaver, having expertise in several arcane specialties, such as Tibetan rug weaving. She has a huge 12' wide Glimakra at home that she's been weaving the most FABULOUS rag rugs on...which she brought out for a show-and-tell on Thursday, much to everyone's delight. This week was her first experience using a traditional barn frame loom, end delivery shuttle, and tenterhook, in addition to the whole process of learning to weave overshot. What a lucky dog...she can weave overshot coverlets on a 12' loom without having to make two pieces whose pattern sequences have to match up to be sewn on a center seam! It's been great having you here working with us, Stephanie, and we look forward to seeing what you'll come up with in your further adventures with overshot projects.

On to February...

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