Wednesday, August 31, 2011

P2P2 big reveal day!!!!!!

Today is the big P2P2 reveal!!! 

Well, it was originally scheduled for tomorrow, but then changed to today so I decided to schedule this post for midnight!  Too bad I will be fast asleep, but other people around the world will see it at "normal" times!! 

Anyway, I can hardly contain myself because I'm excited to show what I've done but I'm also super excited to see what everyone else has done!!!

Okay, to get started, here's the six pictures I was sent by Judy in Australia.  I could imagine myself using any of these beautiful pictures.  In fact, I have ideas to work on for future projects based upon these pictures.

The very first picture to catch my eye was the seaside picture.  It's so relaxed, and so tranquil.  But at first glance it's almost too relaxed and tranquil.  Right away after P2P2 started, I felt incredible pressure within to make an extraordinary super-high energy project that would push my 8-shaft loom to the max.  I wanted color, and lots of it.  I wanted something obnoxiously complex, and mind-boggling difficult.  I wanted to push my skills and color load to the max.  I became drawn to the garden picture because of its bright colors and interesting lines happening in the picture.  I instantly thought of doing a double weave blanket.  However, looking back I realize that this was WAY too much for me to do in our time period.  I would first have to experiment and learn about double weave before I could attempt something like that.  And time is always ticking.

Then I got this idea to investigate complex twills to go with the garden picture.  However, when I started designing with one, I noticed it had a 13-thread floater in it, and someone suggested turning it and making into summer and winter.  I realized right away that I am lacking in those skills and besides, it just wasn't feeling right.  Even though I loved the high energy in the garden picture, I kept getting drawn back to the tranquil seaside picture.

The seaside picture was relaxed.  It wanted something a little bit more cozy, simple, and strait forward... one of those lazy, brainless weave.  And in this day and age, sometimes simple IS better.

At first glance, I could see myself sitting on a lovely park bench enjoying the scene under a lovely plaid blanket on some cool, crisp autumn morning.  And the idea just stuck so heavily that I couldn't forget the image.

It was almost enchanting how it stuck with me all the time.  I really kept trying to play with something that had wild colors.  I'm a sucker for wild colors!  I tried messing with this picture's colors to get what I wanted.  But that was the problem, I was trying too hard to manipulate the picture to get what I wanted instead of having the picture bend and mold me into something that it wanted to be.

From the start of this design, I saw a plaid.  I just needed to narrow in on what kind of plaid.  I wanted (or the picture wanted?) the colors to come from the original overall tone.  So I started with a simple plaid.  The cream and green and blue were so good together, but it didn't account for the overall tone of the picture.  The original picture almost has an overcast feel to it.

This yellow seemed to solve that problem well.  But then I was missing something for those little copper roof-tops you see scattered throughout the background.

So I added those little roof-tops to the plaid design.... and...  Yes!  This is it!!!  The copper color added just enough contrast and tension to set it all right.  It also make the plaid look and feel a little more complex without over-doing it.  Later I understood why the plaid fit so well, when my husband pointed out all the right angles in the picture.  There are right angles in many of the buildings, right angles in the ships, right angles in horizon to structures and ship masts.  There are just so many right angles and lines crossing!  No wonder the plaid felt so right from the beginning.

But just out of curiosity, I tried off-white again in place of yellow, and it didn't feel right. So definitely the previous one was going to be my plaid!

Starting the project was a bit messy.  In fact, it kind of stressed me out at times.  I even measured out too much blue warp and had to set it aside for another time.  At this point, my loom constantly looked like a rat's nest.  My mom was over at my house at the time and I felt her starting to tense up about this project when it looked like this.  But "no worries, mate"...

As I got it all threaded and put into order, suddenly it started to become more peaceful and organized.

It felt so good to start to see those stripes appear!

One of the things I love about weaving is how organized it both looks and feels.  Each thread here is just held by friction, but they are all going where they need to go.  It's just so beautiful to feel and see!

And I remember that super relieved feeling when suddenly it looked like it was supposed to!

I'm glad I stuck with the plaid.  I almost chickened out at the last minute and wove stripes, which would have also been pretty and a lot easier than a 4-color change plaid, but I think I still like the plaid a lot more!  Plus, it was what I first saw in my mind when I was looking at the sea picture.  Then later when my husband made the discovery about all the right angles, it really  made sense.

When the fabric came off the loom, it sewed together so easily.  However, I did had trouble matching up the plaid segments, but I think it would be nearly impossible to match up lines in any handwoven project that was woven over 3 weeks of time. The tension would just be impossible to keep perfectly consistent.  The plaid washed up beautifully, and made the softest material I have ever felt come from my loom!  The material also feels nice and hardy, perfect for those crisp mornings.  My husband immediately claimed this blanket as his as soon as it came out of the dryer.  He says I can use it every now and then...

So... where do I want to go from here?  Well, I want to try some of these other complex ideas I was inspired by but too afraid to do on such a small time scale.  For example, I want to try some double weave to get the idea from the flowers out.  I also want to try a twill I was playing with that had too long of floats.  After those projects, I may go back to my original list and pick out a few more to do.  I had some cool ideas for each picture and would like to explore more of those along the way, without a time limit of course.

But for now, I will imagine myself at this beautiful location at the seaside somewhere half way across the world in Australia.  I will be the one on the park bench just behind the bushes snuggled up with my beautiful plaid blanket on a cool, crisp autumn morning.... with work long behind me.

So long P2P2 of 2011.  What a good friend you became over the past few months!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The first 50 lbs of apples!!!

Here's our first 50 lbs of apples!!!!  We are so excited because last year we got 2 apples total... this year is so much better!!!!  The trees bloomed after a spring snow, so we actually lost the peaches to the snow but thankfully the apples weren't around to get frosted.

 We wash them...

And cut them... 
They are kind of small so I decided to cut them by hand instead of with the apple slicer.  I figured that we would lose too much apple if I did it with the slicer.

 Very little loss!!

Soak them in lemon juice and water to keep them from browning... 


My apple cutting station... 

 If I fill up one side of the sink with cut apples, it means that my 20 quart stock pot will be full to the brim!

And yes, it is quite full!

After cooking them for awhile, I blend it in the blender.  These are my applesauce holding stations... 


 Then add it all back to the pot with the sugar and spices...

Fill up the jars and boil in a hot water bath... this is what I had left after 7 quart jars!  So I will have to do another batch.

And store it away for the winter and spring!!!

Yum!!  I love canning season!!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Oatmeal cookies

These were the softest and best oatmeal cookies ever!  And the recipe was just on the bottom of the oatmeal box!!  They are a definite repeat!

We froze half the batch and they were still chewy and fresh after they thawed.  Yum, yum!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Weaving in my spare time

Sometimes I get up a little bit early so I can weave before school.  It beckons to me!  

I dislike how I've had to slow down, but I am still squeezing in my necessary weaving time.... somehow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

P2P2 peeks

 I think this is going to make a great blanket when I'm done weaving it!  And surprisingly, a 4-color change plaid isn't as bad as I feared it would be, especially when I get into my grove.  It's actually going really fast.  With a lot of focus, I can weave about 2 feet of cloth in one day!  So on a weekend, I can get through about 6 feet at a time, which is one panel.  I need 2 panels, so no problemo!

I wish I could show you more of P2P2, but the big reveal is still a week away!!  I am loving this project so much.  In fact, I was thinking of entering it into our county fair, but I found out recently that it was CANCELLED.  Yes, CANCELLED.  I am so bummed out.  I have been looking forward to that fair for a year now after last year's big win.  Apparently some people are trying to hurry and put something else together, but they may not take adult entries.  So bummed....... 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Shadow Weave

 I'm really excited about this book:

I've never actually done shadow weave, but I want to.  I think it looks really neat.  This is what the pages look like:

They look a little confusing until you sit down and really study them.  The explanation on  how to use them is at the beginning and it's very detailed.

Hopefully it will be fun and easy to use when the time comes!  Has anyone else out there tried this book before?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Orange rolls

These were a delightful treat!!

Orange Rolls
4 Tbs yeast
2 cups warm water
2 cups milk
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups margarine
4 tsp salt
4 eggs
13-16 cups flour

1 stick margarine
2 oranges
powdered sugar

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl.  Stir in milk, sugar, margarine, salt, eggs, and about 6 cups flour.  Beat until smooth.  Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.  Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Place in greased bowl, turn greased side up.  Cover, let rise in warm place until double.  

To make glaze, place margarine in bowl, and add finely grated orange peel and juice from two oranges.  Add powdered sugar until the mixture becomes smooth frosting. 

Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.  Slide dough onto floured surface.  Shape into long rectangle.  Using a spatula, spread 1/2 of mixture over rolls and roll up.  Let rise for 15 minutes and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Take remaining mixture and pour on top of orange rolls after they cool. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Garden update

Our garden is wrapping up nicely this year.  We enjoyed our many cobs of corn over  the summer and TONS of zucchini and cute little potatoes!  It was a lot of fun to eat our feasts of garden food.  Next summer we have some big plans to plant more garden in our backyard.  

Our apples are growing a lovely shade of pink and some are even ready.  I've picked a small box full and started to dry them with the dehydrator.  Just a few more weeks and we will be swimming in canned applesauce!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

2nd issue in a row....

For the 2nd issue in a row, my name has appeared in Handwoven magazine!!!!  Look me up on page 9!!!!

 You will see my "creative interpretation"... i.e. the design flaw because I wasn't quite paying close enough attention and didn't have enough warp to just start over... and also that wrinkle in the fabric that I didn't take  the time to iron out!  If I would have known it was going to be in a magazine, I would have been a little bit less lazy!!!!  It's kind of embarrassing...

... but also FANTASTIC to have made it again!!!!  YAY!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Look at these gorgeous stripes!!!

When I was threading my loom, it looked kind of ratty and tangled.  My mom happened to be over at the time and she was SO worried I wouldn't be able to get them organized. She almost lost it just looking at the loom from across the room while we each worked on our own things.  So... this picture is to heal my mom's worrying soul!

Look mom, look at how organized it ended up being!

This was just a garbage piece to get the threads to space out correctly.  On the bottom is plain weave and the little top portion is some twill.  The reason why it's wrapped in thread is because if I chose to wash it before I finish the ends, the threads don't unravel in the washing machine.  So ignore that little part holding it all together and focus on the weaving underneath!  After I wove this header, I really liked the plain weave and became tempted to weave the P2P2 project to make these stripes appear. Not only would it have gone super fast because I would have only had one weft color, but it also would  have been really cute!  But Brian convinced me to at least try the plaid.

Good thing I did!  I love it so far.  Here's a sneak peek of the first few inches:

I love the stripes, but those will probably have to be saved for another project another day.  When I first saw my P2P2 picture, I really saw a plaid blanket and so I want to stick to the original goal.  So far, I love the plaid, but it is super slow weaving with 4 colors!