Have Ewe Any Wool?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


The owner of Angela’s Happy Stamper is not only a very talented artist, but she’s also a bookbinder – and very knowledgeable in a wide variety of bookbinding methods.  I took one of the beginning classes this past month and learned two types of book binding.  I found the class to be absolutely fascinating!

IMG_3918The first one has an accordion fold binding that’s held tight by a ribbon.   It makes a lovely book – perfect for a small scrapbook or memory book….or perhaps a small  photo album.  The second book didn’t involve any gluing.   Creative folding made it “self-sealing”.   Isn’t it cute?


IMG_3921 I love how these turned out – especially the inside where I had to fold the outer page and glue down the “inner cover”.   I just wish I’d had more time so I could take some of the other book binding classes Angela offered!



 bound_books_open IMG_3917

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weaving….the Finished Objects!




Saturday, I was back at the studio to finish weaving the Chenille scarf.   I just love it!   The yarn is quite fine – 1450 yds. per 1 lb cone, so it makes a lovely finished scarf.






As you can see here….I’m nearly ready to cut it off the loom. 





Once off the loom, all I have to do is twist the fringe and then wet it down and throw it in the dryer to “finish” it – it will really soften up once it’s been tossed around in the dryer!




finished_scarf_closeup Here’s the finished scarf….up close and from a distance.   (Sorry….with the white wall, the camera automatically adjusts, so it’s making the “distance view” a bit dark for the scarf.)



And….I’ve finished the towel too!   First, I hemmed it.  Next I had to trim all the little threads you see hanging off the back.  You can see the threads in the photo on the left.   By trimming them prior to washing, the edges will be hidden.   So much easier than weaving the ends in like you have to in knitting!   Finally, I tossed it in the washer for a good wash….and then into the dryer for the final finish.   I love how it came out (right)!

 towel_finished_and_hemmed towel_reverse_side after_hemming






     warp_claudette warp_lana

Oh….while I was at the studio today, Claudette and Alana came in for their class with Beth.  They both had projects that needed to be planned and warped – what fun!  Claudette got hers warped right away on her rigid heddle loom (left)…don’t you just love the colors!  Of course, she dived right into weaving.   It reminds me of fall….and the gorgeous colors the leaves will soon be turning.   Alana’s project is a more neutral brown and I believe she’s got it nearly all wound on (right).  I think the warping mill is quite lovely – what a fabulous tool!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Weaving – Day Two

The weaving experience continues at the Barefoot Weaver’s Studio…just in time for day 2 – warping the loom.

warp1_bestHere’s the “raw warp” – bundled nicely and ready to be put on the loom.  Looks like a bit of a tangled mess, but it’s actually very organized and ready to lay out on the loom


We warped from front to back – it was relatively painless….just a bit time consuming.   I had no miss-threads – hurrah!   As a result, I was able to start weaving right away. 














Ready to weave….the warp is tight, and I have the “guiding clamps” on the opposite side to help keep my scarf the same size throughout the weaving process.









I didn’t get much accomplished as it took me until 4 pm to get the loom warped!  Luckily, Beth is very flexible….and we all were able to schedule time during the week or next weekend to finish our projects. I’ll finish up next weekend…..


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Weaving - Day One…



Wahoo!   It’s finally time for my first official weaving class!   It was held at Beth’s studio in Round Hill.  




weave_3 weave_2

Check out the close-up shots of the finished valances that I helped weave way back in April.   They’ve been finished and hung and now adorn the windows of Beth’s studio.  Don’t they look great?   It definitely took a “village” – several very experienced weavers, inexperienced but enthusiastic weavers (like me), a fabulous seamstress (Chantal) from the finishing and a wonderfully organized and talented weaver (Sandy) to pull it all together!

Here’s a peak at Beth’s (The Barefoot Weaver) studio.   It’s a wonderful space.   It’s a pleasant ride out to Round Hill…and you can just feel your creative juices start to come alive as you look around the studio!  There were three of us taking the two-day class…and we couldn’t wait to begin!









Beth had a little booklet with the information about our projects and some weaving basics and references.   She had pre-warped the looms for the first project.    Thank goodness!   The first project was a towel….and there were so many warp threads!   If I had to warp it myself for this project, it would have taken several weekends…just to get to the part where I’d weave!  

I started by practicing before starting on the actual towel by weaving in plain weave.   Just when I started to feel confident, I had to change bobbins….and I forgot to change the treadle when I started the new one. (You can see two threads following the same path in the middle of the picture on the right – click on the photo for a closer view.)










Next, it was time to start the towel.   I Wove a border in plain weave, and then started on the pattern.  This was sooo exciting!   I made my first plaid!   I never knew how plaid was made, so this was especially thrilling!  It was like magic!





Well, I’m finally finished with the towel and ended the last plaid rows.   I then finished off with some more plain weave for the hem of the towel.   Wahoo!   I’ll have a finished object in no time!


weave_11weave_12Before I cut the towel off the loom, I did some more “practice weaving”.  Beth taught us how to do twill.   You can see may experiments on the left.   I’d always wondered what twill was vs. plain weave.   This too was an “aha moment” for me!   The diagonals and v’s are all twill patterns.   Hmmmm…I’d always thought that “twill pants” were a “style” of pants….little did I know it’s actually a weave pattern!  My towel “off the loom” is on the right. 

Next step will be to wash and hem my towel.    Washing will help make the weave even tighter.   Notice how once off the loom, the weave has already tightened up quite a bit.

Tomorrow….day two.


Monday, July 16, 2012


IMG_3787DH and I took a little weekend trip to Shepherdstown …I was thrilled to be back!   (I was here about 3 weeks ago, but there’s so much to see and do here that it really takes about 2 weekends to check out all the shops.  I had to leave my anniversary flowers at home, but they’ll still be fresh when I return!


Of course, we stayed at the Bavarian Inn – fabulous food and wonderful lodging.   The Chalets have a lovely view of the water…and on the other side, Maryland.  I even managed to get some spinning in…and can use my yarn to “show off the view”.   Here’s the deck…and a view from the deck…








Now, just the view – isn’t it gorgeous!  









yarn_with_applesFinally, the yarn.   This color is a little brighter than the true color…whereas the natural light views seem to mute the color more.   The true color is someplace in between – bluish-with-a-hint-of-purple. 




One of my favorite places is the “Lost Dog Cafe” – they have fabulous coffee…imaginative coffee and tea based drinks…and comfortable and eclectic decor.   This was my favorite chair.   Love the skull and cross bones!




No trip to Shepherds-town is complete without breakfast at Betty’s.   It’s always packed and provides a good homemade breakfast at a reasonable price.   The portions can be outrageously large.  I had their special…pecan pancakes.  It consisted of two huge pancakes that totally covered my plate!   I could only manage to eat about half!   (They were absolutely delicious too!!!)









I shopped at several wonderful shops!   They’re all fabulous in their own way.  ALL the proprietors/proprietresses were helpful, knowledgeable, and most of all friendly.  I had a FABULOUS time!  These are the main ones I shopped at…

  • Sky’s the Limit – found some fabulous moose earrings
  • DIckinson & Wait Craft Gallery – Compiled a great selection of hand crafted greeting cards, earrings, wooden boxes, soaps, and hand knitted items.  (Got a great start on my Christmas shopping!)
  • German Street Coffee & Candlery – need I say more?  (They also have great giftware, kitchenware, wine,candles, table linens, and towels.
  • On the Wings of Dreams– All sorts of hand crafted goodies – I went a bit wild here!
  • D’Accord Boutique– a fabulous and interesting array of goodies…from spices, to kitchen ware, to toys.   Yes…another place I went wild and got a good start on my Christmas shopping!
  • Don’t remember the name – it’s near D’Accord…or at least on the same side of the street  – Interesting rustic wooden items and baskets – managed to get a few interesting pieces.

artist_2Aartist_1s a bonus at On the Wings of Dreams, one of the local artists was being featured that day!   I had a lovely chat with her and purchased several of her “goodies” – she even signed some of them for me.  The  artist is Erin Ewer - More info about Erin (Sorry…no pics of the goodies I purchased….don’t want to give Christmas “sneak peaks”!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Spin, Span, Spun

I purchased some “easy to spin” cotton roving at the Manning’s Spinning day…and watched while a craftsman with a regular wheel seemed to easily spin some even, thin, balanced cotton yarn.  It looked so easy!  Of course, when I tried it myself this past week, I found it was anything BUT easy!

First off, I had trouble getting it thin enough….it was either very thick, or would briefly “behave” and then either spin right out of my fingers or clump up into thick bundles of fiber.   Sigh.   Every time I THOUGHT I’d finally gotten the hang of it, I was quickly brought back to reality.  I’d manage only about 5-10 inches of “perfect” spinning.   Once I’d think, “Hmmmm…..I’ve finally got it!”, the roving would suddenly become uncooperative and go back to spinning our of my hands or producing ugly clumps of poorly formed yarn.  








In the end, I had produced a two-ply 4 oz skein of very “artsy” cotton yarn.   It’s incredibly soft, and will make a fabulous wash cloth.   HOWEVER, it’s will be a VERY dense wash cloth – the 4 oz skein is ONLY 66 yards in length! 

cotton_2 cotton_1






wheel_1wheel_2On a sad note, my workhorse wheel, the Louet S-77 affectionately known as “Louie” needs some repairs.   The point where the bearing casing at the wheel  connects to the wood that leads to the footman connection is worn out….the screw no longer holds.   I took it apart and reconnected tightly and it seemed to work, but it held for only a short time.   I believe I’ll need to do some “minor surgery” on my trusty wheel to get him spin-worthy again.   Rigth now I’m thinking that I’ll need to fill the hole in the wood with liquid wood and then once it’s hardened, I can then re-set the screw.   So sad.(Thankfully, I have other wheels, so I won’t be “wheel-less”, but this is my favorite for plying as it has nice large bobbins.

thistle flower Ah…..here we have some of my favorite sights of the summer…the thistles and flowers.   I just love the thistles like the ones on the left – I call them “ballet thistles” as they look like they’re wearing little tu-tus. 

Tonight’s sunset was absolutely gorgeous!   A bright explosion of colors as day passed on to night.