a tapestry leaf


Just so I don’t fall into a pit of boredom and find myself with nothing to do … I’ve designed a tapestry.  It’s a stay-in-place project.  Can’t put the loom in my purse, but wait! It could fit into a large bag.  Well, then maybe it is a portable project.  I’ll have to try that the next time I need to demonstrate.  Certainly easier than loading the Baby Wolf in the mini-van.

The impetus to go down this road began with a call for entry – no selection process, all pieces will be hung! Good for me, I hate those letters you get.  Naturally there was a hefty fee plus shipping.

The photo is one I took in my garden of a sweet gum tree leaf just turning from yellow to red.  I don’t want to do realism and I don’t want to do traditional shapes so I decided to use photo editing to get a more abstracted design.  I pixelated the photo – that’s the faint grid you see.  Then began to think about the yarns I would need.  I have no arsenal of 1000’s of colors of wool in my stash.  I lean more toward cotton when I weave but it’s just not first choice for beginning tapestry.  Wool is forgiving, squishable, blockable.  Needlepoint yarn was the answer.  Sold in small amounts in 100’s of colors and it’s three plies so blending colors is practically mandatory!

The smaller printout shows that I took a copy of the sample card and cut out the colors that theoretically matched the printout and taped the color numbers on to make ordering easy.  I wanted to be sure I had picked them all out.  Only 23 colors and some will be combined for shading.  I needed a bigger cartoon for the actual weaving so there was a struggle with the printer to size it up the way I wanted.  Mathematics didn’t seem to help.  I tried doing it by sketching but that wasn’t going to give me the colors to follow as I weave.  So I began playing Russian roulette with the enlarging function and only allowing a few lines to print before I cancelled in order to save ink.  Finally got a cartoon in about the right size.  Challenges are good but learning to accept the almost perfect is good practice, too.

I was a little miffed about the supplier sending some colors as 8 one-yard lengths of wool while others arrived in 8 yard skeins as ordered. Notice the balls in one pile in the photos and the twists of the one-yard cuts. Needlepointers would be fine with the cut lengths and I will make it work but that is a lot more ends to hide in the tapestry.  I will be voicing my disappointment.

I’m getting excited.  I have to set up the loom next.  Maybe tomorrow.  Less than two months to the deadline but it will be only ten inches square.  I think I can.


too much green


Can you have too much green?  Really?  I only added a little to the letter “D” – the fourth in a series.

My 2016 theme for the Bead Journal Project is illuminated letters.  I love big old leather bound books with gilt edges.  The first letter of the first paragraph on the first page is always decorated extensively and amazingly detailed.  Love ’em.

This is a “C”… I know, I know, it’s a weird font.  Just go with it.  Wait till you see the “E” and “F”.  Anyway, I went a little overboard on the green for the C.  Reminds me of our fence.  It’s turning green in this weather and it doesn’t face north but it is mostly in the shade of the garage.

Here’s another woven linen spa cloth almost hidden by the sketchbook I’m sending along with this gift.  This person makes her own soap so sending her a washcloth with soap would be like taking coal to Newcastle.



another way to dye

another way to dye

Soy wax crayons are available in thirteen colors from Jane Dunnewold’s store online.  She also sells a special soy wax to mix your own colors with MX powdered dyes.

It’s a good idea to do some sampling with any new art supplies.  I rubbed really hard and laid down a lot of color in the top sample of each color and then a single mark below.  I wanted to get an idea of how much variability I could get with the quality of the mark.  The colors came out bright and strong even in the light application.

Before-and-after shots of one part of the sample cloth so you can see the texture of mark remains clear and permanent.

The full sample done by rubbing the cloth with a soy wax crayon while some texture items were under the stretched cloth.

Another before-and-after.

I’m thinking about trying a landscape using a photo as an inspiration, but of course, I will be coloring with many layers to get the colors I want.  As you can see, the crayon colors don’t mix on the cloth but I’m hoping I can achieve at least some visual color blending.

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

sunset and letters

sunset and letters

Oscar and I ran out quick to check out the sunset this evening.

Beautiful bright colors glowing through tree skeletons.

Then we turned right around and the moon was looking through the dark red leaves of the sweet gum tree.

This year one of the projects I’m working on began with cleaning out the bead cabinets and filling up some new boxes for storing beads.  These are so much better than the mess I had before.  I can see immediately what I have to select the right beads for a project and maybe I’ll use some of these up!

Already I have finished two in the illuminated letters for the Bead Journal Project.  I’m using fabrics with surface design experiments on them.  At this rate I might finish the whole alphabet this year.  I did twelve pieces last year but I didn’t follow a good plan and the result is pretty disjointed.  Looking forward to more letters.  Don’t ask me what I will do with them after this – haven’t thought that far ahead.

carrots and onions

carrots and onions

Yesterday’s grocery shopping included carrots with tops.  They are always so much fresher and carrot-y tasting.  The tops make a good material for contact dyeing.  I added some circles cut from yellow onion skins.

I’ve had some struggles with dyeing on cotton but I am determined to persevere.  Here is the roll after two hours of boiling, I’ve taken off the rope I tied it with.  Good color from the boiling water which had a lot of onion skin scraps and a chunk of aluminum foil.  After the first hour, I decided to add a spoonful of aluminum acetate which is mordant for cotton.

The onion skin circles are wonderful golden yellow and the carrot tops are bright greenish yellow.  I am feeling confident again.  I have more onion skins and more carrot tops!

Here is the cloth drying outside in today’s lovely sunny afternoon.

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

wool and silk


The Jaggerspun Zephyr yarn is so fine and soft, it’s taken me a while to get used to it.  It’s a straight draw and I’m using the same tie-up as I used for the Breaks and Recesses.  Too lazy to change that.  I may have sett it a little too closely but … moving on.  I figured out that the pattern draft I picked from Groff p. 59 is the same tie-up just in a walking order rather than from left to right treadle.  Score!  This is one of those patterns that will look better off the loom after wet finishing.

But then it became very clear that I needed a floating selvage.  I hate floating selvages and so that was another thing to mess with my rhythm.  Thank you to Ann and Blaine for the idea to raise the floaters so they are easier to see.  Since I’m changing shuttles every 8 shots, I also have to carry the non-working yarn along one selvage so it doesn’t loop out unattractively and perhaps get snagged by jewelry or pet toes.

This will be slow going.  Sticky fine wool.  Floating selvage. Two shuttles.  Really glad I’m not doing ten of these scarves.  It’s such lovely fabric, I may even wear it myself.

Sorry this is another all weaving, all the time post.  But let’s face it, one of my goals for 2016 is to actually BE a weaver and not just call myself one.  After a long morning of sampling and cutting out wefts and re-sampling, I’m crawling back under the covers for a nap with Oscar.  Besides which, I just said yes to another volunteer job.  I regret it already.

linen wash rag


About as exciting as a paper bag, I’ll agree, but I’m quite pleased with the linen wash rag I wove. I wanted something rough and natural looking and this is finally it. Hemstitching at each end. I had planned to do a whole bunch of these as gifts to be wrapped around handmade soap. But I started out putting too many weird thick yarns in the warp and the fabric is too cushy and would take forever to dry. I will make some hot pads and table protectors out of that part of the warp. Or maybe a dog bed for Oscar, he seemed to like it a lot.

When I was allowed to go out in public, it was pointed out to me that civilized people called those items “wash cloths” not rags. At our house, by the time they made it to the kitchen for use, they were usually raggedy so it was an appropriate name. I was amazed that people actually bought special cloths specific for washing dishes and they matched the decor of the kitchen. Now I’m much more sophisticated … and I know that people buy handwoven dishtowels and never use them except as kitchen decor.

Here it is after washing and drying. I think it’s the perfect size now.

the seeker

the seeker

A Christmas gift from the grill king.  Perfectly suited to announce my word for 2016.  Calm.  My life has calmed down quite a bit since I retired and I like it.

I dream about being this flexible and returning to the practice of yoga.  I have to be careful as I occasionally get dizzy and many poses are just not possible.  In the meantime, I have planned some things to keep me busy and calm during 2016.  I’ll be weaving more.  Moving slowly and deliberately through my yarn supply.  This Jaggerspun will make a lovely scarf.  I resisted the urge to put on 20 yards to weave a dozen for the sale.  Thank goodness, it was a sticky one to wind on the back beam – I’m more used to the simple, smooth beaming of a cotton perle warp.

And I see in the photo I forgot to balance the stripes so I will have to drop off the dark stripe on the left in the photo.  Or maybe not.  It’s a sample.  I have a couple of options for the structure, actually dozens of options since it’s going to be a straight draw; but two that I am going to try out at first.

Breathe in, breathe out, enjoy the feeling of calm.  Trying to stick to my goal of at least posting two photos on Tuesday.

dinner for one


Celebrating the New Year with sweet chili scallops with rice.  Since the grill king is not at home, it’s safe to cook seafood.  Because of a head cold, I stayed home instead of road tripping north with the family to visit relatives.  I’m feeling better now but it’s been three days of chills, coughing and sneezing.  A lot of time napping with Oscar at my side.

I keep thinking I should try to accomplish something, but so far not much done.  A little planning for 2016 projects so maybe I will hit the ground running tomorrow as the sun rises on a fresh new year.

Or not. Well, the sun’ll come up tomorrow but whether I will hit the ground running is less certain.