Friday, June 29, 2012

Back at the bookmark factory...

After making the first set of 100 bookmarks, I realized there were  a few things I could fix to make them look even better, even though the first round was already really good!

First, I am going to put some "garbage yarn" between each bookmark so I have more time to sew the edges when I take them off the loom, and then just cut out the "garbage yarn" after sewing the edges.  Second, I noticed the one inch work space was a bit small when I used 8-shaft patterns.  I can squeeze less than 2-4 repeats of a pattern in each bookmark.  I noticed the 4-shaft patterns I did use on a few of them looked really neat, so I am going to go with a few more of those, although I do plan to use the 8-shaft for most of them because it looks so neat!

Here is a really cool picture I received over email of how the bookmarks are being used: 

And a few progress pics... you might recognize these from my movie!  The movie was all about making these bookmarks.  I sent a movie link to the people I am weaving these bookmarks for and they loved it!!!

I am really thankful for this weaving job as well as all the other summer jobs I have been able to find.  We have been able to power through one credit card of debt from Brian having to go back to school, and now we just need to start paying off one last ENORMOUS flight loan and we will be free of debt, except for the house, of course!  Also, with all of this summer work, I have finally paid for my 8-shaft loom I bought last year!  It's officially mine!!!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's just a little Texas dirt!

Now that I'm all caught up on some major projects, I can focus again on stash-busting!  I have gone back to the alpaca from Texas I purchased several summers ago when I went to visit my sister.  We found this yarn store randomly on our way to sight-see near Louisiana.  It's pretty dirty alpaca!  It sure doesn't look this dirty, but my hands are pretty greasy and grimy afterwards!

In my opinion, alpaca is very hard to spin.  It's very slick and breaks apart so easily.  I decided to mix it with wool, 50/50.  I really like the original color best, but it's SOOO much easier to spin when it's mixed with half with wool!  I think I will go with the easier to spin... plus, it will make it last a little bit longer.  Great... just when I need when I'm trying to stash-bust!

Go stash busters!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


They're on their way to Seattle!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Aunt Katie's table napkins are finished!

I love pulling stuff off the loom!  It's always so crisp when it comes off, then when you wash it, it's so soft and fluffy!  Tomorrow they will be washed, finished, and maybe even in the mail!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Crooked by 1/4"

For some reason, my weaving was coming out crooked on Aunt Katie's table napkins by about 1/4 inch.  The right side was slightly taller and it was starting to bother me. Upon investigation, it's hard to say why exactly it was doing this, but I think it's because I tied on with a different tightness on one side than the other.  So... I cut off the piece I was working on and washed it up!  I know I have plenty of warp for 4 napkins, so it's kind of a treat to see it early... although, according to the literature, this is the "right" way of doing things!

So, here is a sample all washed up.  It's SOOOOO soft!!!

And here are the seams done by machine.  The machine stitches are so sturdy and fast!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Weaving Video

My first online movie worked out just great!!!!  I'm so excited!!!  Here is the full 8 1/2 minute version:


Friday, June 22, 2012

Up close & Far away

The thing about any craft is you have to consider both the up close details and the far away big picture.  It's kind of cool that way!


The whole picture

This is weaving up so quickly!  Don't you just love the pink?!  I think it breathes lots of life into these napkins!  I'm hoping Aunt Katie in Seattle likes the combination, too!

I'm trying a video as an experiment.  In fact, I'm trying to make a whole weaving video that will be about 10 minutes!  This title is one of my favorite parts so far!!!  Sorry my head is cut off... I was trying to get the feet and the shafts, but just ran out of room for my big head.  Oh, and although you may believe I move this fast, I don't normally... the video has been sped up NINE times faster! 

 And now, I'll close with some garden updates:

Future Pumpkin pies

A random potato from last year

Random and unknown plants from compost seeds... ooops... mental note to self, remove the seeds


More random and unknown plants

More future pumpkin pies

the apples, so far

the half living-half dead peach tree, so far

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The first few inches

You can always tell within the first few inches if it's going to look good or not... and this one's going to be great!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stash-buster Rug

I can't get Zip off this wool rug, not that he's a nuisance about it or anything. And it really IS a project that he CAN sit on!  Scout really likes it, too!

It ended up being a really cool rug, even though it's made out of stash-busted materials!  I really like the pattern.  It reminds me of an Indian rug that my grandma purchased on the Navajo Indian Reservation in the 1950's or 60's.  The rug I'm thinking of is in black and white, and it's a lot thinner than this rug.  But my stash-busted rug is so nice and squishy!!  AND... it only used 4 balls of yarn.  I can make a lot of rugs!

The only problem is that the rug is REALLY slick on the tile floor, so I'm going to get some non-slip mat to go under it.  

This rug is for Brian because he doesn't like the cold tile on his feet when he first gets out of bed in the morning.  But I don't want the rug to slip out from under him!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Go Stash-Busters!!!!

Here's another balloon picture from the launch on Sunday morning!
This was actually the only balloon that launched due to the wind.  And we heard they pretty much landed in a field somewhere.  It's been fun participating in some of these local festivities!

Anyway, moving along into weaving stuff:

I've done very few rugs before, so I don't really know what I'm doing!  
But this is sort of an experiment so I can learn the basics and then maybe next time make adjustments.

I started out with my 2 yard warp from this luxurious French crochet yarn... from the thrift store and in my stash.
I sett 2 strands at 8 epi.  Then I put both strands through 1 heddle...
yes, I broke a weaving rule!  Or did I?

The weft yarn is brittle wool from my stash that is really only good for rugs.

And here it is so far!

It's really quite cool looking!  So far, the rug is very soft and I think it will give some great cushion on our tile floor.

By the way, this little amount was 6 bobbins of yarn!!
Holy cow... I think I should be moving faster than I really am, but this is it!  This is definitely a project which will take some time... but that's ok.  It keeps me busy and out of trouble AND it is a stash-busting project!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

More on Stash Reduction

My hubby and I had a fun evening last night watching the balloon glow festivities!  We took a night bike ride over to the event and everyone thought we were workers!  Riding a bike is just not a common thing to do around here, so when people see it, they wonder why you're doing it!  We did fool a few people.  I started yesterday morning with a bike ride down a street that had a "road closed" sign on it... Silly me, I figured it didn't count for me since I was on a bike.  Little did I know it was the start of a parade!  Yikes... lets just say there were a lot of eyes watching me and people thought I was working that event, too!  I guess I was the parade pre-show!  Anyway, yesterday was a great day filled with great events, and it was fun to be really out on the town!

I'm so glad that Linda's projects all turned out so well.  It's now waiting to be packed up and head off to the post office!  The little armadillo will have a new home!

So here is my stash reduction, day 2.  I was able to work on spinning up the rest of the bag of yarn I started in December... I think it was December!  I have more yarn from this somewhere, but I spun that as 3-ply.  I also gave some to my mom and this stuff down here is 2-ply.  The bags of batt have so much in them that they will each produce quite a bit of yarn.  I am excited to possibly use this as a shawl or woven blanket for the winter.  I know the cats will be all over it, and I do want to make it so it can withstand use from them, too.  So, I'm thinking something with very small floats, like a 2/2 twill or even hopsack weave.  I love hopsack!  I am thinking it would be beautiful to make a plaid design just out of natural colors. 

Remember my alpaca from Texas?  I'm still working on it!  Here are a few skeins from the last time I was spinning this yarn.  I still have half a bag of alpaca to card and spin through.  This will be my next spinning stash reduction activity!

As far as weaving projects go, I'm still waiting to hear back about the bookmarks, which is ok because the other 1900 isn't needed until December... not that I want to procrastinate that one.  But I'm going to leave that to simmer on the back burner for awhile while I have a few other summer projects going on right now, like some sewing stuff and a few private sewing lessons for teenagers around town.  We have been making a few quilts and clothing!  It's been fun.

Another project I have up my sleeve right now is something for Brian's aunt Katie who lives in Seattle.  She wants some nice napkins to use at the dinner table, because the ones she has now are very old and just falling to pieces!  So, I sent her some samples and some colors a few weeks ago and she replied by email what she liked and didn't like, so now I have some direction.  She wants me to stick mainly to purples, although I can put in a few more colors as I see fit as long as it's not orange!  Also, she really liked the feel of the P2P2 sample I sent, it was a 2/2 twill.  It's so soft!  She likes the feel but doesn't want something so structured.  She also liked the basket weave sample I sent and the lace weave sample I sent.  So, I know that leaves some huge doors open, but I think I can narrow it down to something she will like!  I always get a little nervous before a big project like this for someone else, because I don't want to disappoint them!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Peanut butter Caramel Corn

Peanut Butter Carmel Corn
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 250°.
  2. Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray.
  3. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add popcorn; cover and cook 4 minutes, shaking pan frequently. When popping slows, remove pan from heat. Let stand until popping stops. Uncover; add almonds.
  4. Combine sugar, syrup, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla; stir until smooth. Drizzle over popcorn; toss well. Spread mixture out onto prepared pan. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Friday, June 15, 2012

I'm a weaving Goddess!

It's nice being on the top pedestal, eh?

My biggest fear with this project has been the total width and length.  The person who ordered it was very precise about the measurements.  In fact, my aunt had to go over and help.  It was very exact, and the project needed to be very exact.  I almost laid awake at night fearing I couldn't make it this precise.  I carefully made all my measurements 10-15% bigger than they needed to be, and you know what?  It ended up exactly-right-on-perfect!!!!  Wow, I can't believe I did that!  Even the FRINGE was perfectly the exact right length, even after I twisted it!  I didn't have to cut off a single fiber from the bottom!  I have never been able to be that exact in weaving sizes before.

As you all know, it's sometimes a gamble!

 Ahh... now I can finally rest assured that it's perfect and I'm done and I can move on with life now!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Linda's project is done!

Just finished Linda's project!

According to my calculations, I should have had more warp leftover, but the little knots were right at the heddles when I finally finished!  I thought I calculated everything correctly, but I am SO GLAD I was finally able to finish this project!  It has been a little bit stressful since February when Linda asked me to weave it.  I mean, first the yarn fiasco when it wouldn't come in, and then I found out it might be discontinued after I get started, and then I ran out of red right in the middle of the table runner... now I just have to hope it shrinks down 10-15% in the washing machine and dryer, like I originally calculated it would do!

Soon, it will be on its lovely way to Kansas where Linda can enjoy these beautiful pieces on her dining room table!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Almost there!!!!

I've been making major progress on Linda's table runner!  I'm about 2/3 of the way done with the runner, plus I think I have a little extra warp left on my loom for a very small piece.  BUT... I ran out of the lipstick yarn!  I even calculated everything very carefully!  And this yarn is so impossible to get! 

Luckily, I can get the very last tube available in my entire city!

Monday, June 11, 2012

And Linda's project continues!

 We're half way and making progress everyday!!!

This little guy is also scheduled to go with these placemats and runners.   His new name is Armando!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pieces of my closet

I have decided to go on a yarn and fiber fast, until I can get control of my closet again, and I want it to take about a year to get through it.  It's actually 2 closets now... and maybe a few shelves... but I will start with the worst of it all!

Maybe I should start like an AA meeting... but it can be a YA meeting (Yarnaholics Anonymous)

Hi, my name is Amanda and I'm a yarnaholic.  This is my closet:

A few weeks ago, it was looking pretty good.  In fact, it looked so good that my husband complimented me on it.

That was in March.

I don't know what happened... a little of this, a little of that... and this is what you get.  A culmination of clutter. 


Before you rip into me about my clutter or my crazy challenge, let me assure you it's just this one area.  I have spent a lot of time and effort de-cluttering the whole house!  And it looks real good!

But this one closet.

Here is the color-coded tour:
  • In light purple, we have my favorite 12/2 cottons... those will be preserved and saved!
  • In light blue, we have some wool for scarves, same story as the 12/2 cotton!
  • In light pink, we have one of those UFO projects that has been moved to 3 different housing areas.  Might be time to do something about it before it makes it to a 4th, which won't be for a long time... hence the reason it's time to do something about it!
  • In baby blue, we have some rug yarn, so that needs to get used up.
  • In red, we have some alpaca to spin.... LOTS AND LOTS OF IT!  In fact, I'm sure I could whip up 3 or 4 shawls from it!  I need to wash it first and then I can card it and spin it and then weave it!!
  • In yellow, we have a mix of 8/2 and 8/4 cottons that will make great towels.
  • Behind the spinning wheel is more rug yarn.
  • In green, is my new cotton and linen I just got recently, and I'm not sure how to use it yet.
  • In orange, I have my finished projects, they are being saved as gifts.  So when Christmas comes, look out family and friends!!

But as you can see, it IS time to do a yearly stash-reduction exercise and get through some of this stuff!  NO MORE BUYING until I can do some PROCESSING! 

And you know what?  This isn't all my stash.  No...

This closet doesn't even include the shelves...

Yes, THE shelves...

Ay, yi, yi!  Floor to ceiling of yarn, fluff to spin, and a few supplies...


It's almost overwhelming to have too much stuff.  I can power through this!