Easel Weavers

Recently Schacht released a new loom called the Easel Weaver. It’s cute, compact, easy to use, ready for fun, and ready for travel. You can hold it in your hand, lay it flat on the table (it’s got little rubber feeties on the back to keep it from sliding around), or use the kick stand to have it standing up. These are now sold with a great range of tools including a beater, shuttle, and weaving stick. Choose between three sizes: 6″, 8″, or 10″.

If this looks like something you might be into, that’s great! These are available for you to take home or give as gifts this holiday season. But maybe you want to play around without making a commitment. Perhaps you and your friends are looking for a new crafty endeavor to share.

Join us next month for a Mini Weaving Session! We’ll be working with a 6″ Easel Weaver and lots of different types of materials. Just $35 per person and that includes your supplies and nibbles.

(re)energize!

Home again from the annual time-traveling pilgrimage to Pennsic War in Slippery Rock, PA. Each year I long to continue that life when I return home, but it really is impossible. Stop pining away and enjoy it while you can! Purchases this year were typical: fabric, a few new pins, some trim. Nothing wildly exciting. I did splurge on a new card weaving book. When I first joined the SCA, I played around with card weaving a bit. Because I would tie the yarn to my belt for weaving, I found it difficult to travel (or answer the phone or get a snack). Eventually I purchased a small rigid heddle loom that removes these problems. About two years ago I bought a new pack of cards and this year I got a new book. It’s going to happen this time!

When we got home on Saturday, one of the first things I did was dig out my little loom. It was buried in the corner under about 10 fleeces. Since inkle bands are a little easier to jump into, I started with that as a refresher. The first one was rather wonky, the second looked better, and by the third, I wasn’t too bad. I’d like to get a little more consistent, and then I can weave my own trim and straps and thingies galore!

inkle bands
My ultimate goal is to make myself a new belt to fit the new buckle I bought from ThorThor’s Hammer (the best place ever!). In the SCA we tend to rely heavily on leather belts, turning them into the “Batman utility belt” with many pouches and dangly bits. I’m trying to get away from this and going towards a woven belt. Usually when I see them, they are tied in a big knot. I do not like this look. Why can’t I use a buckle? Who says they didn’t? Are there any definitive sources stating otherwise? I’m doing it. But not today.

buckle

 

2011 Revisited

While everyone else out there in media-land is doing year end countdowns, recaps, reviews, and best-of lists, I thought I’d try that myself. So, what happened this year? I can’t remember off the top of my head, so it’s a good thing I’ve got Flickr to help jog my memory. I’ve gone through all my photos for the year and selected one or two of the most meaningful for each month (so, lots of pictures to follow). How was your year?

JANUARY

blocked shawl
My first shawl. Knit from handspun/dyed BFL. I use this almost every day at work.

birthday cake!
The most amazing birthday cake I have ever put together. It was for Rich.

FEBRUARY

table set-up
Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival.

MARCH

Olive
Olive, our little black cat.

weaving with roving
This is Rambouillet that I hate spinning, so I wove a giant rug.

APRIL

Table set-up
A Knitter's Fantasy, Youngstown, OH.

April & Dad
April & Jeremy's wedding in For Lauderdale, FL.

MAY

new mitts on new hand
The new hand model with Vertical Veins mitts.

Great Lakes Fiber Show
Great Lakes Fiber Show, Wooster, OH.

JUNE

matched set
A matched set knit from Cosy-dyed Falkland.

JULY

wool room
Organizing the wool room.

AUGUST

front gate & sheetwall
Gryphon's Rest camp at Pennsic XL.

SEPTEMBER

helios
Helios, handdyed Corriedale roving.

OCTOBER

me & my table
Fall Festival at the Apple Castle, New Castle, PA.

spinning
Showing off the Wristler.

NOVEMBER

booth at Indie Knit & Spin
Indie Knit & Spin, Pittsburgh, PA.

DECEMBER

gwenerin logo
New logo designed by Erin Flynn.

craft sale booth
SAA Fine Art & Craft Sale, Youngstown, OH.

back to the loom

Last Friday I decided to stop daydreaming about weaving and actually weave something.  So, I got out my Harp and the new stand I got last year at Maryland (which I hadn’t used yet) along with a big box of Rambouillet roving that I had no interest in spinning…

weaving with roving

And got the loom warped up in just about two hours or so.  The next day I had a lovely group of ladies over for spinning and knitting.  I worked on this throughout the day and finished by evening.

weaving with roving

weaving with roving

It ended up being at least 4 feet long. Honestly I’m not sure what to do with it.  The fiber is very fine and short, so I’m worried that so many little tufts will pull out that eventually there wouldn’t be anything left between the warp threads!  Rachel suggested I felt it lightly to help it hold together better.  My favorite part is how quick it was to weave!

woven wool rug?

festival recap

Had a good time at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival this past weekend, despite the heat, dust, humidity, and crowds.  It was our first time going, so I didn’t know quite what to expect, just that it is big and busy.  And it was both those things.  Saturday morning my first stop was at Zeilinger’s to drop off the Romney fleece, but on the way I ran into Cosy and we went through the competition fleeces.  I bought a 8.5 pound Corriedale and left that with Zeilinger’s too.  In a few months I shall have some new pretty white roving to dye and spin!  The funny thing about having your fleeces processed is that you spend a lot of money, but you have nothing to take home with you.

I remedied that however, by purchasing a few items.  For instance, I picked up four bars of soap from Got Soap?; purchased the Greener Shades starter kit, something I’d been eyeing for a while; a fluffy lambswool duster; a bottle of Power Scour; a jar of maple cream; two balls of undyed Jacob roving to satisfy my customers’ need for dark mittens; a Coopworth roving sampler; a small clay sheep; and a MDSW apron from a previous year and the current year’s lapel pin.

goodies!

The grand prize of the weekend was the stand for my Kromski Harp rigid heddle loom that Rich got for me as a ‘house-warming’ gift, plus he bought the adorable little niddy-noddy from Kromski too.  Now I am ready to get busy this summer! (when I have no free time because I’ll be moving!)

grand prize!

home again!

Returned once again from War. Nothing much to report, although, considering our history (broken leg, burned foot, spider bite), that’s probably a good thing. Initially the weather was not good. Rain rain rain. Which turned into mud mud mud. Dark, gooey, and thick. Not to mention stinky. We decided to try out a new block this year and the end we wanted was the “flood” end. It didn’t flood, but we did have to dig a trench for drainage. It was so wet in fact, there were crayfish popping up in the middle of camp!

I didn’t try to attend a lot of classes this year. There were a few that I really wanted to go to, but as with previous years, I made it to about half. For the past three years, I’ve wanted to go to the basket-weaving class. First try, missed it, second try, missed it. This year, I finally got in, not without some drama, and made my first basket! It wasn’t really that difficult. Now I’m going to use the kits I got at Christmas to make more!

my first basket!

Usually I’m not that great at budgeting myself, but this year I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Luckily, I didn’t find a lot of expensive things I wanted, so I didn’t have a problem. I bought a mini nostepinne, fabric, spinning fiber, books, pottery, a brooch, a sock (yes, just one), and that’s it. I think.

Overall it was a good year.

golden geometry

Thanks to everyone for your enthusiastic congratulations on my news. So far we haven’t made any specific plans, and frankly I don’t know where to start. But whatever we do, it’ll probably be weird! I’ll keep you posted. 😀

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Whenever we go visit my friend Laura, we always stop at these two funky junk shops (my dad doesn’t like that I call them “junk” shops) that have not been restocked since 1975. They sell a lot of stuff, but a large majority of it is fabric. One store has mostly quilting stuff and the other has draperies. Since I was there last weekend, and in an appreciative mood for the unique and vintage, I picked up a few yards of this stuff:

golden geometrics

The plan is to make into a bag for my Kromski loom. I realize it’s not going to be padded, but then again, I’ve been bumbling around with the loom for a month or two with nothing protecting it. Mostly I need something to keep everything together. I wish it had a date printed on it!

golden geometrics

something finished-finally!

Tuesday night I cut the two woolly seat cushions from the loom! Yesterday I finished tying the fringe and securing the edges, although there are a few loose ends to sew in. I’m glad to have these off my plate, as the loom as been warped and waiting for months. Making Tuesdays weaving night was the best decision ever!

I’m pleased with how they turned out, although the first one isn’t as dense as the second, meaning it might not be as squishy. I can’t say what the wool is that I used because it was unmarked when I bought it. Whatever it is, it doesn’t have a lot of lanolin in it. I thought the locks had been washed because they weren’t greasy, but after I had my hands on them for a few weeks (and gave them a sniff), I think they are actually dirty. Mostly they just seem dusty and stinky, so I’m going to wash both rugs before officially calling this project complete.

brown rug

white and brown rug

This weekend is the first BIG camping event of the summer. AETHELMEARC WAR PRACTICE at Cooper’s Lake, where we go for Pennsic War (hence “war practice”). Some of our household is going out tonight, but I have to work Friday morning, so I’ll be heading out in the afternoon. I’m bummed. I’m very curious about which merchants are going to be there. Will I come home with fiber? Fabric? Nothing? One never knows.

works in progress

Still rolling along on the Frock Camisole. I’ve now incorporated the pink and light green yarns. Technically I could say the stripes were pre-planned. In that I meant to do the bottom in dark green, the middle in pink and the top in light green. But I wanted to connect the top with the bottom, so I placed a green stripe in down there. Also I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough yarn. Actually, I still don’t know. Frankly, the balls of yarn looked better together than the knitted stripes. I’m hoping that the longer I look at it, the more they will meld together. Sometimes colors look weird initially, but over time they settle in.

frock cami cont.

frock cami cont.

I’m still taking my Kromski Harp to shire meetings Tuesday nights. I’m probably close to halfway done on the second one. Which means that the first one is complete, since I warped the loom with enough yarn for both. Once this is finished, I’m going to make a bag for the loom. It will help protect it and keep all the little bits where they belong.

woolly rug

a weaving to-do list

I’ve been rebitten by the weaving bug. After making up my mind to weave at Tuesday night SCA meetings, and therefore realizing not every project has to take 6 months to complete, I’ve become reenergized by the possibilities before me. This weekend I pulled out my two best (and only) rigid heddle weaving books. Hands on Rigid Heddle Weaving by Betty Linn Davenport gives you the broadest idea of what you can do with this sort of loom. There really are more options than some people let you believe.

Speaking of, I find it very frustrating when veteran weavers try to make you feel bad about buying a rigid heddle loom. Every time I talk to someone (who has many years experience) about them, they always tell me, “As soon as you get it, you’ll want a bigger loom.” Well, I’ve had this loom for almost two years. Sadly, I haven’t made a lot of things on it, but that isn’t the loom’s fault. It’s mine. But more importantly, I do NOT want another loom. Ididn’t want a giant 4-harness thingy-bob floor loom two years ago when I decided on the Kromski Harp. Maybe with the single heddle, you can’t do crazy weave patterns, but I can still make impressive things and I won’t need half the state of Ohio to help me warp it!

So, what do I want to make? I want to do something using the full width of the loom, 24 inches. Perhaps a shawl? Also, I want to use my handspun yarn at least for the weft if not warp. And I need to make a bag to put the loom in when traveling. I had thought about weaving the fabric, but that would take a while and for all the time I’d be weaving it, I wouldn’t have the bag to use for transportation! So maybe that ought to be priority – of course, after I finish the woolly cushions.

Logically speaking, I can’t invest 100% energy into every interest I have, otherwise I might spontaneously combust. So, it seems as though weaving might be snatching a higher percentage of my time in the next few months. Weee!