Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Capes of Eleanor Bostwick

Eleanor Bostwick, a fellow guild member, is a lovely woman and an amazing artist. Watch the You Tube video "Art Over Your Shoulder: A Chat with the Woman Behind the Capes."


One of Eleanor's capes

Monday, December 5, 2016

Finished Poncho

Back on September 26, I posted that I was going to make a poncho from yardage I wove some time ago. I finally did it.

Handwoven poncho with knitted collar

Close-up of fabric

The fabric was longer than I needed, so I cut it and fringed the cut end, thus avoiding the need for seams. I made a template for the neck opening, pinned it onto the fabric, and zigzagged around it with my sewing machine. (The tissue paper template kept tearing and shifting, so next time I'll outline the template with tailor's chalk and sew around the markings.) I then cut out the fabric inside the stitching.

Next, I decided on an appropriate gauge for the yarn I was going to knit with and picked up stitches around the neck opening accordingly. I knit twice as much distance as the width of the collar I wanted and then turned the extra knitting inside and sewed it to cover the zigzagged edge of the weaving.

To maintain the V-neck, I decreased a stitch on both sides of a central stitch every other round for three sets of decreases. After knitting one round even, I increased one stitch on both sides of the central stitch every other round to return to my original number of stitches. That way I was able to turn the knitting inward and sew it without the fabric puckering at the V.

The sides of the poncho are open. I may leave it that way or add a button on each side so the wearer can fasten it if desired. I'm quite pleased with the result.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Tarkhan Dress: The World's Oldest Extant Woven Garment

A linen dress found by the British Egyptologist Flinders Petrie in 1913 was thought to be the oldest woven garment known, but until recently scientists were unable to determine its age. Radiocarbon dating has now established that the dress was made approximately 5,000 years ago.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Soft Furnishings

The pillow top is woven in overshot with an 8/2 cotton background and a slightly heavier rayon/wool pattern yarn. I made the piping from the same material as I used for the pillow back, and I inserted a zipper at one end. The pillow's 12" x 16".

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Knitting in the Fresh Air

This morning I was sitting on the deck knitting the second of a pair of mittens. It was pleasantly windy, a refreshing late October day. Logan, my dog, had come over to be petted and then wandered off to lay on the other end of the deck.

The mitten was progressing nicely, and I had almost finished a round when a gust of wind caught the ball of yarn at my right. The skein flew into the air, passed between the vertical metal uprights of the railing, soared over the water tank, and landed out of sight on its other side.

I took a moment to contemplate the recovery operation and decided my best alternative was to toss my knitting onto the tank and retrieve everything from below. It was highly unlikely I could throw the ball of yarn back up onto the deck in that wind. So I walked down, picked up the skein from the ground, and rescued my knitting from the top of the tank.

Although it was still very pretty outside, I decided knitting in the house would be a good idea.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Animals can be so entertaining.

Last week I bought a couple bales of hay. Since my back was hurting, I didn't want to unload them, so I parked the truck a short distance from the barn and left the hay in it. I've been feeding the sheep out of the truck the last few days.

My hen, Miss Kitty, is free range. She doesn't need chicken feed, but she enjoys it, so I usually give her some every couple days to supplement what she chooses to eat on her own. The hay was in the truck, so I didn't need to enter the barn to feed the sheep since Tuesday, which meant I hadn't given the hen any chick feed since then.

Apparently Miss Kitty decided to protest. She was waiting for me near the house when I came out this morning and, clucking, followed me to the truck. She was obviously letting me know it was past time to refill her bowl.

In the meantime, Logan, my dog, spotted Miss Kitty. Chasing her from the truck to the barn, he could have easily caught her. Instead, he kept about two feet behind her the entire way, clearly enjoying the game.

He's quite extraordinary. He weighs 60 pounds and is perfectly willing to jump on me without holding back. But with the hen, he's gentle. When he catches her, he nudges her with his nose and even drools on her and then lets her go. She's not real thrilled with the experience, but there are times when she could avoid him but doesn't, so maybe she likes the attention.

I have enough trouble trying to understand dog psychology. I can't even begin to understand the thought processes of a chicken.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Originality...or Not

"What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original."

"If we're free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it."

From Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You about Being Creative, pp. 7 & 8.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Bronze Age Textiles Discovered in Eastern England

"Excavations,  30 miles north-west of Cambridge, have unearthed the earliest examples of superfine textiles ever found in Britain. They are also among the most finely-made Bronze Age fabrics ever discovered in Europe as a whole – and are of huge international significance."


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Tying on a Warp

In more than 25 years of weaving I have never tied on a warp. I always beam a new warp and then thread and sley it. Usually I weave a variety of items--towels, scarves, purses, etc.--which is a prime reason to not tie on.

However, this time I decided I would weave another set of towels following the same pattern as the last batch but change the weft color. I'm going to use the same warp yarn because it blends well with a variety of colors. I'm using unmercerized 8/2 cotton for both warp and weft.

Winding the warp

Two of the warp chains

The old warp onto which I'll tie the new one