Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Everyday Inspiration - Earthy Abstracts

Just to show I'm still interested in photography, and that that there's "Inspiration Everywhere," I submit these abstracts found on a Sunday morning from an otherwise mundane source.

These are pretty much straight-outta-the camera with no post production manipulation other than cropping and straightening.  These were NOT run through any filters or apps to create this effect.

Hmmmh ...  This could be a new weave pattern!

Any guesses as to where these might have come from?

Scroll down for the answer ...

A flower vase!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Kessenich Floor Loom is here!


It's here!  The Kessenich Floor Loom is here!  Sitting pretty in our guest room ...  Even unrolled the nice woven rugs for its feet. 

I have a mind to clear out everything else possible as THIS BEAUTY is the guest of honor.  That might mean getting a smaller bed for the space, and using this room less for storage.


Last weekend, Lynda and I finished warping the loom.   Here the warp strings are running through the heddles of 4 shafts in a very standard set-up.  A set of 4 strings, running through the first set of heddles in all 4 shafts.  We did that all the way across the loom ...   We warped from front to back, as this is what Lynda knows and seems to work well on this particular loom.

Warp tied on in bundles all across the warp beam apron at the back of the loom.

 Warp is secured to the breast beam (bottom of pic) so we don't pull it through while we're winding the warp, and loose all our good work.  The reed makes such lovely order of what looked like a tangled mess while where were working through the process.  Amazingly, all those tangles fell right out as we worked.  

Ta-dah!  All warped.  
We wound on about 8 yards.  Since I need the practice, I didn't want to put on too much.  This is set up for weaving rugs with a "looser" reed.  Since the supposed rags will be course, I didn't need such a fine reed as you'd need for weaving lace or towels.   

We tried a few "test" runs, and it works beautifully -- as Lynda said it would.  Only 2 threading errors, and they were pretty easy to fix.  
From the bottom :
Set 1) The initial runs just to space the strings out evenly for weaving.
Set 2) Common weave
Set 3) 1-3 Twill
Set 4) Common Weave
Set 5) 2-2 Twill

The common weave and the 2-2 Twill will be good for making rugs.

We changed the tie-ups for the treadles so they would make more sense for me, then she showed me 2 versions of Twill that I should be able to weave, along with a simple common weave (which I'm used to on my little loom).    Who-hooh!   

Folded and ready for transport, even with the warp intact.   Secured with a few bungees.

After we folded it up, it JUST FIT in CL's car (for future reference : 43 inches wide x 52 inches tall x 17 deep, folded)  Whew!   There was even room on top for the warping board.
It spent the night in CL's car.  We got back after dark, and didn't want to try and move it without good light.  Too many moving parts. And heavy.

I'm so excited! Now -- what to make first? 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Spinning at Sabamba

On Saturday, Oct 1, Lynda and I went out to Sabamba Alpaca Farm in DePere, WI,  for their Day-on-the-Farm Open House.   They invited spinners to come and spin fiber into yarns for visitors to see what can be done with the alpaca fibers.  

There were 4 of us spinning under a tent just outside the barn, with the alpacas within site.  It was very Scottish weather yesterday, so we were grateful for the makeshift shelter.    Visitors stopped by to see what we were doing, and to ask questions about spinning, the fibers, etc.  We were happy to explain ...

The 2 ladies from the Fox Valley Spinning Guild who'd been there all day had these Woolee Winder fliers on their spinning wheels.  No hooks on the flier.  Instead the Wollee Winder loop moved up and down the arms of the flier and deposits the yarn onto the spool evenly, so you don't have to stop and move the yarn down the hooks when one section of the bobbin gets full.  Kind of a cool innovation! They sell for about $225 and can be fitted for many different spinning wheels -- including my beloved Louet S90.  I'm not quite convinced I need one yet ... but who knows?  It solved a problem I never knew I had!

Lynda was spinning a swanky "Tail Spin" yarn where she plied curly locks in with 2 strands of yarn.  The idea is that the resulting yarn can look like a swanky 1920s (or would that be 1940s?) collar with the kinky/crimpy locks falling out of the yarn.  Would be a great collar ...    [Sorry--I couldn't get the camera to focus on the locks.]

I was working on a simple yarn from an old bag of angora fiber that I won as a door prize when I first started getting interested in the Fiber Arts way back in 1999 (or so).  It's about time I did something with it!  Very soft creamy fiber to work with.  Maybe I'll even have enough for a hat this winter?

Clouds of angora fiber.  Ahhh!  
"Drift away on a fluffy cloud ..."


It was neat talking to Sally and Tom Schmidt, the owners.  Although they raise the alpacas, they don't do the "finishing" or crafting the fiber into finished products--although their shop is filled with mittens, hats, gloves, shawls, etc, they send that off to a mill to be made for them.  Lynda has a fleece from Abraham, a beautiful gray alpaca -- who just so happens to love having his picture taken with visitors.  She wanted to get more of his fleece, and was happy to meet the old fellow.   Tom and Sally were genuinely moved to see the gorgeous yarn Lynda had made from Abraham's fleece. 

I was looking for a black fleece to go along with Maggie (Newfie) fur.  Sally did not have any raw fleeces on display or for sale on Saturday, as most of these visitors were looking for finished products for Christmas presents.  Although she did introduce us to Abraham, and the couple of beautiful black alpacas in the herd.  She could easily rattle off their family lines.   Lynda and I will have to go back another day after Sally pulls those fleeces out of storage.  Another road trip!

I also got an invitation to join The Twist of Fate Fiber Arts Group that meets at Menasha Public Library on the 4th Wednesday of each month.   I'm hoping this might replace the whole in my heart when Conversations in Cloth died.  I think they meet in the very same room!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Threadpainting at Lake Lucerne Quilt Camp 2016 : Part 2

I made progress on several blocks from the Day at Loon Lake Quilt :

Threadpainting the background landscapes from Loon Lake

Threadpainting the Jumping Fish from Loon Lake

 On Friday, I decided to "warm up" by securing some of the fusible appliqued landscapes by using some of the fancy stitches on my machine.  Good thing I brought all my thread boxes, too!

 It's good to test your machine, settings, thread, stitches on a practice piece BEFORE trying to do it on the real thing.  You can see some of the stitches did not like the thinner embroidery thread on the bobbin.  I needed a heavier weight-thread for these fancy stitches -- once I made that change, they stitched beautifully!

Then there's the fish :

 THese are most of the colors I used to thread-paint the jumping fish.
I was glad I brought a long my thread boxes!

 Here's the back-side of the fish, so you can see all the stitching I added AFTER the initial applique.

 Here are the backsides of the landscape pieces.  You can really see the outlines of the stitching without all the color on the front side.

Wild Quilting at Quilt Camp at Lake Lucerne 2016 : Part 1

 Just back from another weekend at The Quilting Friends Quilt Camp at Lake Lucerne.  October is always a lovely time of year to make the drive west of Oshkosh.  Only a few trees starting to turn colors so far ...

I made progress on several projects :

Threadpainting the background landscapes from Loon Lake

Threadpainting the Jumping Fish from Loon Lake

Wild Quilting a Pillow Top (This post)

10-Minute Table Runner (It actually took more like an hour)

Borders on the Disappearing 9-Patch (almost)

 The Wild Quilting Pillow Cover.  A little difficult to photograph as the thread matched the fabric so well--I was going for under-stated here.  The fabric come from a rayon skirt and top that had been nicely dyed by someone.  The waistband of the skirt was toast, though, and not wearable.  But -- oh, what a dye job!

Here's the back-side after the quilting was done, but not yet turned into a pillow cover.
I used an old mattress pad for the batting.  
It gives a nice "puff," and it's been well-washed over the years.

This is a project I've been wanting to do ever since I saw The Quilt Rat's pillow ...  and more recently took the online Wild Quilting Class at Craftsy with Christina Camelli. 

Here I was auditioning patterns and designs on a whiteboard BEFORE I tried to stitch them out.

Me and Laura Ramseier.  Laura organizes and runs the wkd, along with Jolene Stadler.  I get the distinct honor of sharing a table with Laura.  She is a veteran Quilter, and I so enjoy spending time with her.   I heard all about her chickens -- She's been quilting chickens for years, but now she has 3 live chickens at home -- with a coop and everything!  She made a Carolina Log Cabin quilt last year in honor of her daughter who died too young of breast cancer.  The quilt will be raffled off next month -- I bought some raffle tickets for a chance to win one of Laura's amazing quilts.  ;-)

Here are some scrappy stars for the quilts she was working on this weekend : 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New Yarn Spun and Plied

I've been working on this fleece literally for years!  But I wanted to finish off these spools so I can start a new batch with the fiber I purchased this past week : Black and Blue Merino

Monday, September 26, 2016

Baa Baa Black Sheep Have You any Wool?


Fall is the perfect time for carding wool -- Outside, so the bits of grass and hay and other debris left in the raw washed wool can fall outside.

 This is the carding machine.  Basically the point is to comb the wool fleece, and to get all the fibers going in the same direction.  Also helps to fluff things up, and make it easier to spin.  This carding machine makes the work go a whole lot faster than using the hand combs (basically these are kind of like dog brushes -- That's what the carding cloth is like : Lots of metal needles that combs the wool.

You lay the raw washed wool in the feeder tray and turn the crank.  It pulls the fibers onto the rollers.  The small roller sorts out the shorter fibers -- the ones you may not want to keep, while letting the longer staples through to the bigger roller.  After a while, the big roller fills up, and you can peel off the fluffy newly combed batt :

I worked at it for about 3 hours -- great exercise for upper-body strength, and have a box of newly carded wool ready for spinning.

Detail of one of the newly carded batts.
Like soft clouds!

All that work, and I still have 2/3 of that fleece to process.