Saturday, February 17, 2018

New babies, and some updated pictures

New babies!  Hubby told me for Valentine's Day that I could get some baby goats, and I've been waiting to pick up these babies since then.  I wanted specifically a boy and a girl, and I wanted large breed dairy goats.  (I do not want to breed Nigerian Dwarf goats, cute as they are, nor do I want to cross-breed mini goats from a ND buck crossed on a full size doe).  I needed to get a boy, to breed my girls this fall, and wanted him to have a companion his own age.  As I definitely do not need two bucks, the companion needed to be a girl.

Meet Vinnie and Katie!

Vinnie was born Jan 17 and is a Saanen/Alpine cross buck.  Katie was born Jan 23, and is 1/2 Toggenburg, and 1/2 Nubian/Alpine.

I also took some updated pics of the other hoofed barn denizens.

This is Jenny.  She is an 11 month old LaMancha doeling.  Note, no ears!  (She actually has tiny, tiny ear flaps.)  It is difficult to get a picture of Jenny because she is either running or else standing right next to me (makes for some awkward photos).

Jenny with Margot, 2 yr old Alpine doe.

And the last two are my Jacob sheep, Talullah and Daisy.  They are about 7 or 8 years old.

I took a brief video of the critters being silly while I was out in the pasture.  Besides seeing silly critters, you can hear a rooster crowing, dogs barking, and the baby goats hollering.

DIY tablet weaving cards

Yesterday I was at a dollar store and came across some cheap playing cards!  These were labeled "Seconds", but hey, they were $1.00 a deck!  I grabbed two decks - one red, one blue - to make into tablet weaving cards.

I posted about it on Instagram, and someone asked how to make tablet weaving cards from playing cards, so I made a quick photo set to illustrate.

First you have to square up the cards.  I overlap them at right angles, making sure two sides line up, and draw a line.

Cut on the line, and round the corners.  Some people purchase a corner rounding punch - apparently there are such things, among scrapbooking supplies at craft stores.  I saw some and could not figure out which corner rounder I wanted - they do cut slightly different shapes - so I just judge it by eye and do it by hand with my scissors.

I then use a ruler and mark a set of lines half an inch in from each corner.  This is where I will punch the holes.

I punch the holes where the corners are marked. 

After that I mark the A-B-C-D on each corner with a Sharpie marker.  Some people don't mark the A-B-C-D, but I find it makes it easier for me to follow where I need to stop and start in a pattern, as well as letting me know where I stopped.  When I'm doing tablet weaving, I try to stop after one full repeat - so if I start with the A at the top away from me, I want to do my 4 forward, 4 back, and end with the A in the same place.  I suppose the card number could serve the same purpose, but it doesn't take me long to write on the cards.

Someone else said she colors the edges to help her keep track in a similar manner.

Resurrecting an old project

I was rearranging some stuff in the basement this week and came across a few abandoned projects.  I pulled some out to reclaim the yarn, and came across some that I want to pick up again.

The first is the Rose Trellis Shawl, in a local indie-dyed yarn.  This yarn was purchased in 2008, and the shop closed in 2012.  I probably started this shawl around 2008-2010.  When I came across it, I decided that I wanted to go up a needle size and I ripped it all out.  I am now past row 50, and making good progress.

I'm using my KnitCompanion app to track the rows on this.  When I started this shawl, KnitCompanion wasn't available, and I was tracking with post-it notes on paper copies.  It's much easier this way!

I found another abandoned project as well - my 2-Ply Grey Shawl, from Heirloom Knitting.  According to my Ravelry queue, I started this in 2009, although there was mail in the knitting bag dated 2004.  Who knows.  It's been sitting a while, anyway.

Yesterday I took the paper copy (covered with post-it notes, and numbers, and calculations) and scanned all the pages with my printer, so that I can keep a copy on my computer and import it into KnitCompanion.  The paper copy is in a bit of rough shape.  The envelope is tattered (I taped all the edges, and there are some coffee stains on the edges of the pattern.  All the instructions appear to be intact, however.

I also took a quick trip to a local yarn shop, YarnSong, for a new circular needle in a longer length.  Now I just need to figure out where I stopped and what I was doing.  I know I was in the rows of gray feather and fan stitch edging, just don't know where or how many more I needed to do, or where the color changes occur.  Obviously I will need to read through the pattern before I begin again.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Dates and Old Acquisitions

This morning I saw a post on Facebook that said Schacht has created a page on their website to register Schacht equipment.  I registered my Schacht Matchless double treadle spinning wheel, and went looking through old blog posts to find out when I got it.  I remember buying it second-hand, and driving up to Maine to meet with the seller.  Apparently that was on October 15, 2011.

This led to a search for the purchase date of my antique Canadian Production Wheel.  I remember that it was in the early 2000s, and we drove up to North Conway, NH to get it.  The lady had an awesome Border collie as well.  According to an even older blog, that was on January 25, 2003.  Both of those dates have now been entered into my records.

I also started reading through a book that my youngest son got me as a gift last year - Handwoven Tape, Understanding and Weaving Early American and Contemporary Tape, by Susan Faulkner Weaver.

I have a reproduction tape loom (based on plans in an old issue of Early American Life magazine) that I got from a friend.  I haven't done much with it (yet!) but just like the inkle and tablet looms, it does hold some interest.  These photos are from August 2014, and the loom looks pretty much the same now as it did then.

I'm contemplating a display and demonstration at our library of weaving and looms, and this would be part of it, along with the inkle loom, the tablet loom, my Baby Wolf (after it arrives and is warped up), and associated books.  The library would like it; I just need to decide when I could do it.  I'm thinking about a weekday/weekend two-day demo.  The library is not open on Fridays, but is on Saturdays so I am considering a Thursday/Saturday demo.  I could have the three small looms set up with projects (maybe even a Weave-It, with one square done and the Weave-It loom partially warped with the next one) as well as the Baby Wolf, and have the applicable reference books on the table next to each project.  I would plan to do most of my weaving on the Baby Wolf, but could demonstrate the others as requested.  I don't know nearly as much about weaving history as I do about spinning history, but it would still be fun and might entice a few more people, especially if they see what you can do with smaller looms.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Day Out

Today I got to spend the day spinning at the New Hampshire Farm & Forest Expo!  Coincidentally, this was the event where I first saw someone spinning, 20 years ago, and bought my first spindle and roving to learn how to spin!

On the way to the Expo I stopped and bought something I've been considering for a while:  a portable wagon.

It holds everything I need to bring to a spinning demo, and folds up quite small when not in use.

This was our set-up at the Expo.  In this photo, my wheel is the light-colored one on the far left.

And this is the whole group.  Two people are absent from this photo.  (Well, one actually, as I am taking the photo.)

The expo was fun.  There were baby goats, baby chicks, some wild creatures (hedgehog, possum, giant toad, and a snake), two booths had ponies, there was at least one angora bunny and a bunch of different breeds of chickens, and a couple of farms had some alpacas.  There were feed dealers, farm insurance agencies, maple syrup equipment vendors, several state agricultural agencies, some food (and ice cream), tractors, solar equipment distributors, fencing vendors, and I'm sure others that I'm not remembering.

Besides lunch, the only thing I bought was this shirt.  Freebies, however, included several pens, some post-it notes, some dog bones, and some black oil sunflower seeds for my bunnies.  Oh, and some Norway Spruce seeds!  I'm looking forward to planting those in the spring!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Tablet weaving news!

We've been pretty busy around here lately, and it mostly feels like putting out one fire after another (figuratively, thank God).  There hasn't been much time for weaving.  I did manage to finish off the Rosepath Plaid towels on the loom, and got them hemmed and washed.

I then started warping for a Goose-Eye Twill baby blanket, in Sugar & Cream worsted weight cotton. The draft & instructions are in the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of Handwoven magazine.

I haven't gotten very far.  The draft calls for 286 ends, and I think I ended up with 260-something from the cone I bought.  I'll make do with what I have.  I have about 100 ends threaded through the heddles so far.

I also cut the scarf off the Structo, rewound that warp (smoothing out the paper separator much more neatly), retied, and restarted weaving.  I'm much happier with that one now.

In trying to get back to my tablet weaving project (which is on the tablet loom in the living room), I decided I was unhappy with the 2-inch cards from Palmer Looms (nothing wrong with them, I just wanted something a little bigger) so I decided to cut off the beginning of that project and rethread on cards from Malarky Crafts.  This photo shows the size difference between the two cards.

And I started making some cards of my own, using materials I've been saving for that purpose!  The ones on the left are made from oatmeal box lids (I'm also considering lids from coffee canisters and raisins).  The ones on the right are from gift cards, store loyalty cards, etc.  The left ones are 2-1/2", and I used the Malarky Crafts cards as a template.  The ones on the right are about 2-1/4" and are the height of the plastic cards cut square.

I got my cards changed out and restarted the Santas band.  Unfortunately I also discovered that one part of my loom had come unglued.  I blame our cold winter, with its low humidity levels.  The glue just dried out, I'm sure.  So now it is glued and braced.  I may decide to drill a small hole and put a nail in there to keep it in place.

And the Santas are looking good!

In other tablet weaving updates, I ordered Kris Leet's tablet weaving theory video, "It's Not Magic, It's Mechanics" from Taproot Video.  It comes with online streaming for 30 days (until the DVD arrives, I assume).  I'm already learning a lot from this!  I saw that she also has an Introduction to Tablet Weaving video as well.  Even though I think I may finally be inching my way beyond the raw beginner phase, I may need to get that one as well.  There's always something new to learn!

Speaking of something new to learn, I signed up for two tablet weaving classes with John Mullarkey (of Malarky Crafts!) at Stitches United!  These will take place Thursday and Friday, March 22 & 23, in Hartford, CT.  I even get to stay overnight, two nights!  I am so excited.  We rarely go on vacation (last one was Colonial Williamsburg, 7 or 8 years ago now).  I got to go to Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool 2 years ago, and last year I went to Pennsylvania to go to the IOLI Convention - another unprecedented move, although I didn't get to take any classes.  I am grateful that we can afford the time and money so that I can attend these classes.

The first class is Thursday - Tablet Weaving: Ram's Horn and its Relatives.  I was just obsessing over a particular Ram's Horn pattern the other day!  

And this is the pattern I came across, and wanted to find a draft/instructions for.  Maybe after this class I'll be able to figure this one out.  

I took a screenshot of this band from this YouTube video.  

And the second class, on Friday, is Tablet Weaving: Two-sided Delights

I also signed up for Franklin Habit's lecture Thursday evening!  

I am so looking forward to this!  

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Yesterday I received three new reeds for my Structo loom, from Gowdey Reed Co.  I am delighted with the quality of these reeds, and the service received from the owner, Jim Wilson!

Here is a photo of one of the reeds, in the spare beater for my Structo (the other beater is currently in use on one of my current weaving projects).  It fits perfectly!

They arrived in perfect condition, despite UPS's attempts to do God-knows-what with the box.

I also received a new handle for my Structo last week, ordered from an Ebay seller.  I had one handle, and was using it on the back beam.  I came across this on Ebay, and am delighted.  It fits and works perfectly!

I have been making progress on both of my weaving projects.  On the Structo, my challenge has been using levers instead of treadles to operate the harnesses - a very slow process at first, but I'm getting a little faster.  I've also had to learn to be gentle with the warp.  I am learning to beat gently (or, as some say, to place the weft rather than beat the weft).  There is an obvious difference in the scarf fabric where I decided to try something new.

I've made significant progress since then.  I also had a problem with the cardboard I was using to leave space for fringes.  The cardboard collapsed unevenly around the narrow breast beam, resulting in uneven tension in the warp.  I unwound the cloth beam and rewound it without the cardboard, and I'm much happier with the tension and progress now.  I'll plan to make the first scarf (and possibly both scarves now, as there should be enough warp for two) without fringes.

On the Macomber, I have now finished the third Rosepath Plaid towel, and am working on towel #4.  I am not sure how many I will have, as I am making them shorter than the original draft intended.

No sign yet of my Baby Wolf loom.  It's not due until about Feb. 2, but I can hope it shows up early!