small looms

small looms

The weavers guild meeting on Saturday was a potpourri of small looms and projects made on portable equipment suitable to carry along on summer vacations. I am thinking along those lines for myself and was happy to be one of the presenters and bring a bag of my pin loom projects. Naturally, I forgot to dig out some of the projects I’ve made over the years like the two inch wire samples (hard on the fingers), and my personal favorite – the two inch squares of ribbon with beads at each bump glued to the top of a painted gift box.  Easy to weave; perfect sett.

Mostly my projects are about using one square since I am not fond of most of the suggested ways of joining the squares and all those beginning and ending yarns are such a pain to hide. Recently I read about a method and only just tried it out this morning. Too late for the meeting…. I really like it! The squares are lined facing the same way. The ending tail is used to sew the loops on the edge.  Now if I can just figure out a way to magically weave in all those ends so they don’t show or wiggle loose.

Along the edges, there are bumps made of two overlapping weft turns. Each joining stitch goes under the two middle parts of that bump. Makes a nice flat join with notches if the squares are not the same color. The seam would be hidden completely if only one color yarn is used. I’ve tried the baseball stitch, joining as a seam, crocheting, cross stitch.  Ick, none are pleasing to me.

I may actually plan some larger projects now. Especially since I got a larger pin loom. Eight inches on a side, the pins are spaced wider than on the four inch loom, so yarn sampling was required.

I had to use the yarn doubled to make a sturdy fabric on the larger square.  I used it singly in the four inch square and singly in the eight inch square on the left below.  I can see the doubled yarn square on the right as a potholder, but I would back it with insulation batting and a cotton fabric on the other side. Good sale item!

Thanks to my fellow guild members for giving interesting presentations and to Charlene for the program idea. My creative juices start flowing when I see so many fabulous projects and ideas just start piling up in my brain.

glorious mornings lately


Spring weather is teasing us again.  Cool and clean air after the rains.  The morning glories are reclaiming their territory at the Guild House.  Unloaded all the stuff from the Gathering of the Guilds at the museum today and was greeted by a fence  full of flowers.

Meanwhile back home, I’m waiting for the coral vine to bloom this year.  It’s small and still in a pot.  Maybe I should let it loose this year.

This amaryllis advanced to a bigger pot and I’m anxiously awaiting the grand opening.

Time to collect the pecan tassels for dyeing and maybe pull some weeds out of the moss ground cover.

This gardenia is a bit behind the others as it is shaded by the tree.   The bigger one by the back door has yellow and brown blossoms past their prime.

Watching and waiting too for the lemon tree.

cabinet of curiosities


This is a pamphlet stitched book with an origami cover.  The graphic was a poster sent inside the magazine from the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  We are a member since they opened a branch museum in Sugar Land.  Love to go to the member events.  See posts here and here.

This page lists the premiere date (probably a member event) as today! The opening is listed on the website as May 6, 2016. I think I must plan a visit but not today and not tomorrow nor the next day.  My calendar is crowded for now.

Inside my book you can see the blank ivory pages I added and the folding done to accomplish the cover.  This was a book idea presented at the Houston Book Arts Guild recently. There’s also a Facebook group for the guild that is more current. I have been searching for large sheets of paper to fold into book covers ever since.

There is a little v-shaped opening on the inside front cover where loose things can be tucked in to save. The cover has a neat fold-over feature and, serendipitously, it looks like the fellow is looking inside a cabinet.

When you fold a stack of papers and nest them inside one another, there is always a waterfall effect on the edge.  I never like that so before stitching in the signature, I took a metal ruler and an Exacto knife to trim them squarely to the right size for the book.  Now you can fan the pages from front to back easily.

The one weak point in the book was the original center fold where it was stapled into the magazine.  I wish that I had reinforced that before beginning my folding.  I had to mend a split, hopefully, invisibly with tape.

Linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

a lick and a promise

a lick and a promise

My mom must have been very pleased with this school photo of me.  Not a hair out of place.  I blame the braids for my thinning hair – lol – it was so tight that some mornings, she didn’t have to undo them from the day before, just a lick and promise** and I was off to the bus stop.

Barnum, Diane (1954)

When I went to the family reunion last month in Arizona, I got an old album that my grandmother had kept with photos from my dad and all his descendants until her death.  I scanned them and sent links to the private cloud to my relatives.  A few of them are not too computer savvy so I’m sending out CD’s of the photos, too.  Each of the scans has the name(s) and the date (or at least the decade).  So many digital photos floating around in cyberspace with no identification at all.  The software that came with one of my cameras had a great download ability where I could put the date taken and then it would automatically append a number.  It was easy to go back and add a name or event notation.  I also keep my photos in albums that refer to the date and event.  Back in the day, I wrote on the backs of my photos and I was pleased to have that information on at least half of the photos in this group.  Don’t fail to document your history.

** an implicit promise to do a better job next time

before and after


Cut off three woven yards of the more than ten.  I have to make some gifts and weaving has fallen fairly low on the list of to-do’s. This is the washrag warp of nubby cotton yarn. It has washed up to be just the kind of cloth I dreamed.

The gardenias were loaded with buds last week and today they have opened up beautifully.  This show goes on for weeks and toward the end I am always so tired of the aroma.

A lizard seems to be holding this cardamom bud closed … but he eventually lost to the forces of nature.

Linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday – a great way to generate traffic!

a weekend in the country

a weekend in the country

Usually bluebonnets are the fleur de jour when we are in the hill country but this year, the grasses were so tall that they were hardly visible from a fast moving car.  We did pull over for a huge swatch of poppies planted along a barbed wire fence.

Misty mornings in the hill country.  Worth rising early.

An indigo pot was one of the featured events.  It was crazy good a week before, but died on the way to Art Camp.  We searched for Rit color remover to wake it up but there was none to be had in rural Texas.  Finally some was found in the big city of La Grange and that a pot of really hot water brought it back to life.

Here’s how that clamped fabric looked after one rather long dip.  I lost it at the bottom of the post and had to find a stick long enough to scoop it out.

As it oxidized on the grass and finally after washing and drying below.

Eating is a high point at the B & B where we stay.  Another reason to get up in the morning.

Lion’s tongue (Leonotis leonurus) from Susan’s garden.  It’s a perenial I think I need for my yard.  The root has been used for making cough drops.

While hunting for the color remover, we found a huge display of delphiniums at the local Walmart.  Didn’t fall for it, they don’t thrive in Houston.

Another project on my list was mixing earth pigment with soy milk and guar gum to paint onto soy milk soaked fabric.  Pretty successful but we ran out of time.  I need to finish this piece.

For the illuminated alphabet series, I finished the G and began the H.  I also finished up a beaded kumihimo project begun by Pat and then liked the process so much, I threaded up for a beaded necklace and mostly finished it while binge watching Outlander on Monday during the monsoon.

On the way home, we stopped at the Belleville meat market where they have this moose head on the wall – I bought some sausage.  It’s a good thing I did because the pantry was pretty bare and we survived the Monday’s monsoon  on hot sausage and mustard.  Please, sir, may I have some more?

I always enjoy road trips and sleeping in strange beds.  But it’s nice to come home again.

One more classic scene from the weekend.  Look at all the wine cups and tradescantia in the meadow – just before they were mowed down.  You have to be fast on the shutter to catch spring in the hill country.



indigo dipping day


Just a taste of what I did this weekend.  An indigo dipping party with a couple of friends.  Started with the 1-2-3 henna vat but it pooped out and failed us so we mixed up a pot of indigo crystals.  Shazam!  Pitch dark blue with a copper sheen that wouldn’t quit.

This piece of cotton had been dipped in another life and needed more work.  I used hair pins and was hoping for something good but not too confident.

Shockingly better than I expected.

Pressed and dry, I love it but now I will do it again with symmetrical folds so that that glow is in the middle of the piece and bordered by the pins pointing inward.  Thank goodness I took a good photo of the original folding and pinning.

More indigo experiments will be on the “and then we set it on fire” blog in September.  Much work to be done in the meantime!!!

camping weekend

camping weekend

It was a beautiful weekend during the day – freezing cold during the night!  Next time, more blankets for me and then … it will be a heat wave.

I have to say the flag project was a success!  They each cut designs out of the dye painted papers to iron onto the flag and were very enthusiastic to make small flags for themselves.  Above two scouts are considering where to place their designs while the one in front is ironing on her small flag design.  That’s me in the Girl Scout logo shirt.  I’ve cut off their faces on purpose.  They are all beautiful girls but I try not to post faces of minors.

I was particularly thankful that we had two parents along to help with the supervising.  They were very open and each contributed a lot to the weekend.  I didn’t have to do all the activities which was a huge relief to me.  Let’s hope this trend continues.

Not all of nature is beauty and light… this little guy on the cot frame is an asp.  If I had touched that during the night, there would have been caterwauling from here to Kansas.  I’ve had an asp sting before and they are horridly painful.   He was removed from the tent before I finished packing up my bedding.  The night before my daughter had to call out the Volunteer Ranger to spray the wasps in the tent next to mine.  The girls were preparing to bat the nest down with a broom.  Yikes.  I sat on the cot and held my Epi pen at the ready.  Fortunately all we came away with was mosquito bites and one splinter.  Easy weekend for the First-Aider parent.

One of the badges the girls earned this year was at the Archery range.  They enjoyed it this year and some were hoping for bull’s eyes.  Their pose is a dance move called “dabbing” and it’s perfect for posting on my blog since they mostly covered their faces. I know it looks like they are all sneezing into their elbow but they tell me it’s a popular dance.  I just smile and nod knowingly.  I’m hip, ya’know.

Some spring flowers appearing along the trails.

The campfire just before skits.  We did one this year.  The girls were enthusiastic to say the least.

Golden hour on the pond.

dyeing two ways

dyeing two ways

The Girl Scout Community Campout is this weekend and I offered to teach a dyeing technique to the girls.  Each troop has to decorate a polyester flag at camp!  Yikes, what about cooking, hiking, campfires, s’mores, skits… so much to get ready and pack into the car along with one fourth of the girls.  Ours is the biggest troop going!  But wait, I also wanted to “whip up” an indigo pot to have it ready for dipping in a week or so….

So, here’s the hydrated indigo and I’ve just poured in the heated and hydrated henna.  It looks great!  Feeling pretty good, I can’t tell you how times I’ve reviewed my notes from the class last year at Arrowmont and the DVD by Michel Garcia.

Then I added the pickling lime.  Uh-oh.  White specs floating on the surface.  Reread my notes: no need to do anything before hand, just sprinkle it in.  I even have photos of that being done in the workshop.  Melted right in, no problem.

Well, I skimmed and stirred and packed it in a bigger pot with the heating pad around it and waited.  Next day, it was looking better with a purple sheet on top.  I think it’s going to be okay but it will definitely have to be diluted or we will be scrapping the henna off of our cloth.  We’ll see how it’s doing when I get back from camp.

Meanwhile, back at the Girl Scout flag project.  I mixed up the transfer dye powder with water and began painting it on to plain ole’ printer paper.  It rolls up and crinkles as it dries.  You can’t always tell what color you’ve got if you mix things up, so I started with the primary colors only.

Then kinda got crazy and mixed it up on the paper and in the pots. Now I’m not really sure what the transfer is going to look like for each of the dark pages.  What with all that was going on around here, I didn’t document the color mixtures very well.

So I snipped off a corner of some of them to test them on polyester and pinned the paper I used to the cloth beside its ironed image  Red is kinda pink, the red and yellow mixture is a nice orange, yellow is lemony, red and blue mixture is a nice purple, what I thought might be brownish is actually kind of a nice sage green.

You can cut out shapes and glue them onto a plain sheet of paper of glue stick in an arrangement.

Then flip it over and iron it with the dye color against polyester cloth for about ten seconds, moving the iron to keep the steam vents from marking the shapes.  If the dye is thick enough on the paper, you can iron these little collages several times for multiple images almost exactly the same.  Please ignore the condition of my ironing mat – it’s my craft one; not suitable or starched white shirts!  As if I iron those anymore.

Then peel the cloth off the paper to see the final image.  Letters and numbers have to be drawn on the back of the colored paper and glued down in reverse order so they print correctly.

Here’s a little sample I’m taking to show the girls.  I have no idea what they will design for the flag.  I do have a small piece of polyester satin ribbon for each of them to experiment with. I just hope they enjoy the magic of the process cause I know I will enjoy the no-mess aspect of the project.

When I cut out the blue shapes around the tent, I thought it was a sheet of the green mixture I’d made.  But no, a perfect of example of “you never know what you’re gonna get.” Please pass the box of chocolates.

Linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

weekend away


A weekend away.  Perfect gift from my daughter.  Bad timing.  I was a bit distracted because I dropped Oscar off for surgery the morning we left. My granddaughter came with us; a girls weekend.  Once I knew that Oscar was at home recovering with the grill king, I could relax and enjoy the time away from home.  The weather was perfect, I got some beading done, we laughed a lot.

We had a comfortable two bedroom cabin with a full kitchen so we cooked some meals and ate out for a couple.  There was a game / crafts room for kids and a playground, paddle boats and planned events.  Quite a vacation destination.

Near the tent camping area which had a building with showers and a laundry, there were these two chairs.

I just couldn’t climb up on the chair in order to swing my legs like Edith Ann / Lily Tomlin used to do.

After we packed up, we drove around the area and visited the marina.

Saw a family of ducks on the dock.   This pair had two fluffy little chicks that were huddled together on the boat slip.  They stood guard just a few feet away.

For lunch on our way home, we stopped at this Mexican restaurant.  A cool place, decorated with authentic music and great service.  The carnitas were great.  Easy drive home on the afternoon before Easter not a lot of folks heading for home that early.

Still time for the bunny to hide the colored eggs before brunch at our house.  Oscar enjoyed the company and walked around the yard for the egg hunt.