Happy Halloween

Last FO (finished object) of the month.  I was surprised I was able to get this done.  Here’s the first of the scarves for E.

I used Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel (Colrain Lace) from Webs, set at 16 epi.  The draft is from The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory on page 50, top left corner.

Being as I had the Harrisville all fixed up, I used it to weave the scarf.  I wanted to test it out, see how well my fixes actually worked.  That was how I found out that the ratchet on the back beam was put on backwards.  This made for very slow going weaving because the back brake kept slipping, causing the beam to roll and tension to be lost.  If I had used the Gilmore, I’d probably have had this done in a day.  I wound the warp on Wednesday night, got it on the loom (using f2b) and wove a little over 3 feet on Thursday, and finished weaving and twisted fringe on Friday.

Normally, I pick my work to death, finding every little flaw.  I’m happy to say, you’re not going to see any picking with this one.  I think it’s my favorite FO to date!  There are a few more pics on my Flickr page if you’d like to see them.

Dear Time, please slow down

Things are going so fast in my head that I don’t really know where to start.  I went to Small Town to visit daughters and grandsons this past weekend.  Daughters both picked out things they’d like to have made.  Daughter E is coming to stay with us this weekend and part of next week and I’d like to get her two things made before she leaves.  I’d also like to get Daughter K’s things made so E could take them back with her on the plane, but it just ain’t gonna happen.  So much to do, so little time.  If I wasn’t working, it would be so much easier.  Of course, trying to get caught up on blogs and emails isn’t helping either.

I made the spare bedroom a loom room, because we hardly have anyone spend the night.  I now have to get all my weaving crap out of the loom room and the bed back in there so E will have some place to sleep.

This weekend is WeFF, which I was going to possibly help out with, but that ain’t happening either.  Spending time with E is more important.  I’ll still stop by there, though I won’t be spending as much time there as I have previous years and I definitely won’t be helping out.  That’s probably going to put me on a shitlist with someone.

I’ve got one warp wound and hope to have it on the loom today.  I’d also like to have at least part of it woven but it takes me forever to get a warp on the loom so I won’t be surprised if I don’t get that far.

Pictures of the stash enhancements and FO’s next week.

Sometimes I’m an airhead

Remember the 22″ Harrisville 4s/4t I picked up a couple of weeks ago?  I finally got off my duff and started to work on making it usable.  It was missing a brake cable, harness cables, and a crank.  After I got it home, I realized the beater bar was out of kilter.

I added harness cables.  Don’t knock them, a girl uses what she has on hand.

After putting on a new brake cable (you’ll see that in a minute), I went about figuring out why the beater bar was only touching the castle on one side.  On the other side, it was a couple of centimeters away.  My first thought was that the wood for the beater bar was warped.  I layed the beater bar on the floor, no warping.  I put the beater bar back on the loom and looked for other causes.  Finally, I found it.  The piece of wood on the left that has the bolts that the bar sits on was different than the wood on the right.  The one on the left didn’t come all the way to the edge of the front frame, the one on the right did.  The bolt hole on the back was further away from the end than the bolt hole on the front.  I was a tad irritated, someone drilled the holes wrong.  How would I decide which bar I wanted to drill new holes in?  Which one would set the beater bar in the right place?  How would I handle the bolts the beater bar swivels on since they don’t come out of the other side of the wood?  I thought about this for a good 5 minutes.  Then it hit me.  The bar was put on backwards, or upside down, depending on how you look at it.  I didn’t have to drill any holes, I just had to flip the bar front to back.

Here’s the bar view from outside the frame.

Here’s the view from the inside of the frame.

This is actually the right side bar, which looks the same as the left.  The front of the bar was to the back on the left side.  With the bolt hole closer to the end, the bar didn’t go all the way to the edge of the frame.  With the bar turned around, the swivel points weren’t at the same place on each side, which is why it was only hitting one side of the castle.  Once I flipped the bar around, the beater bar is hitting the castle perfectly.  And there’s the brake cord I mentioned earlier 🙂

For now, I think I’m going to keep this as my workshop loom and put the table loom plans on hold.  I only paid $50 for this loom, which is a lot cheaper than the table looms I was looking at.  The only thing is, is that this will be a bear to haul around.  I’m thinking about putting some wheels on it so I could tip it and roll it along.

What do you think?  Purple wheels?  I wish 🙂

I bought it from a guild that it was donated to so I didn’t get to ask the previous owner any questions, and now I wonder.. did the previous owner abandon this loom because he/she thought the loom was warped?  (I mean, warped in a bad way. Ha!)  All it took was a little time and effort and this loom is now in working condition.  It might not have the “real” parts (brake cable, harness cable, etc) but it works and that’s what matters.

I still need to get a crank substitute, which I have some leads on.

Has anyone seen my mind

On the loom, rayon chenille:

I’ll get a better picture once it’s off the loom.  I hope.  Once again, I’m reminded how much I don’t like alternating 2 shuttles.  It takes so much longer to pick up a shuttle, throw it, put it down, pick up the other shuttle, throw it, put it down, than it does to pick up a shuttle, throw it throw it throw it.  I stopped weaving 3 inches short because I was just plain tired of it.   I still have enough warp on for another scarf, where I’ll only be using 1 color for the weft, and it will go much faster.

Yesterday was the Ventura County Handweavers & Spinners Open House.  (Scroll down if you want to skip my blathering and see the yarn I bought.) This is the 3rd one I’ve gone to.  One would think that you could go, spend a half hour or so browsing, then be on your way home.  Not me.  First thing I did was see Elisa and spent a few minutes resisting her trying to talk me into a spinning wheel.  Evil spinners, always trying to lure us poor unsuspecting souls into their evil spinning lairs.  I walked around the vendor booths.  Then walked around the booths again.  Oh my gosh, you guys, I could stand in the RedFish DyeWorks booth for hours.  I practically did.  I stared at the 60/2 silk in all it’s beauty.  I stood on one foot, then the other, and drove the poor vendor crazy asking questions.  How many ends per inch?  How many skeins for a scarf?  And I didn’t do this just once.  I stopped at that booth 3 times while I was there.  I wrote down some colors that I liked, then told them I would see what kind of plan I could come up with, and order online.  After I left the open house, not a mile down the road, I realized I should have taken a picture of that booth.  I thought about going back.  A little farther down the road, still thinking of all those lovely yarns, I realized that hey, I had just bought a book at Village Spinning & Weaving’s booth, and it likely had something in it that would give me some ideas for the silk.  So I took the next exit, pulled into a parking lot, and looked through the book (Twill Thrills).  I found something I liked, and headed back to the open house, where I proceeded to buy 60/2 silk.  60/2!  The draft I’m going to use says to use it at 48 ends per inch.  48!  Has anyone seen my mind, because I seem to have lost it. At least I stayed away from the 120/2 silk.  And I still forgot to take a picture of the booth.

Yarns added to the stash.  I have actual plans for some of it, but not all:

And the winner is….


Thank you, everyone, for entering.  I wish I could give one to each person who commented.  Maybe when I win the lottery.

The next time I do a contest, I’m not making the end date so far out.  I wanted to give people time to enter but it was hard for ME to wait that long!

Edit to add:  John left a comment to this post.  Make sure you read it 🙂

Sheep herding

On Sunday, hubby and I went to the Ventura County Fairgrounds to see the Highland Games.  This isn’t something I’d normally go to,but a cousin’s husband was playing in the bagpipe competitions so we went to show our support.  I’ve never seen so many men in one spot wearing plaid skirts before so it was quite interesting.  The most interesting thing for me, though,  was seeing the Border Collies herding sheep.  I could have stood there all day.  If the dog wasn’t herding, sometimes the sheep just stood there as if to say “Well?  What now?”  It was so neat to see the dogs do their thing.

They told us that this is something the dogs are born with, they aren’t really trained to herd.  They brought out a 9 week old puppy and put him near the sheep.  He was more interested in chasing the bigger dog, and at one point showed the person in the ring that he could hold on to her pant leg pretty well 🙂  Seeing all of them made me want a Border Collie.  They’re gorgeous dogs and the way they worked was so neat.  However, with the warning that “If you don’t give a Border Collie a job, then they’ll make one”, I think we’re better off sticking with just the one dog we have.  She tries to herd the cats enough as it is.

CNCH Conference

Anyone planning on going to the CNCH Conference in April?  I think hubby and I are going to make a trip out of it.  I’ve picked out the classes I want to take, each on a different day, of course.  In the evenings, we’ll do some sightseeing touristy stuff.  I’ve been wanting to visit the Winchester House since I first heard about it several years ago and it’s close enough that I’m hoping we’ll get to go there.  Anyway, I’m not planning on going to the banquet.  I’m going to see if I can give my spot to someone else so if you’re going and need the extra ticket, I might have one.

Anything else anyone recommends seeing or doing while we’re there?  Restaurant recommendations are welcome too.

Too much thinking, not enough weaving

Thank you everyone for visiting Tools of the Loom and for entering  the giveaway.  Thank you, also, for those who linked and did shout outs.  I wish that I hadn’t set the end date so far in advance.  I’m excited and want to pick a winner now!  I did set a date though so I should stick to it.

I am still trying to make a decision on a table loom.  It’s between the Louet Jane and the Woolhouse Tools Carolyn.  Here are the thoughts as they run through my head

  • Jane is lighter (+) than Carolyn (-) (but is it really a minus since carrying Carolyn is still doable?)
  • I think Jane would be easier to take on a plane (+) than Carolyn (-) (not that I fly that often, I’m thinking if I were going to go to a conference or similar for classes.  How many times is that going to happen?  Is it even worth considering?)
  • Jane has wood heddle bars (-), Carolyn has metal (+) (on the one loom i had with wood heddle bars, it was a drag (ha!) trying to slide the heddles across the bars)
  • Jane is smaller in width (I’d get the 15.5 inch), which is fine since I’m not planning to do anything other than sample or workshops, Carolyn has more width in case I do want to weave something wider.
  • Carolyn’s stand folds (+), Jane’s does not (-) I could put Carolyn and her stand in the closet if I wanted, Jane’s stand would take up more space when not in use
  • Carolyn’s stand has shelves on the side (+), Jane’s does not (-)
  • Carolyn’s loom and stand is cheaper (+) than Jane’s (-)
  • Carolyn’s company is up for sale (-), Jane’s company isn’t (+)  (Nobody plans on having to buy repair parts 2 years down the road but poo happens sometimes)
  • Both have good reviews (I’ve been told I can’t go wrong with either one), both have front levers, both fold, both have 8 shafts
  • Carolyn comes with 400 heddles (+), Jane comes with 200 (-)
  • Jane comes standard with an overhead beater (+), Carolyn comes with a regular one (-) which isn’t really a minus because a regular one works fine.  I could pay a little more for an overhead beater for Carolyn.
  • I like the look of the Carolyn (+) more than Jane (-). (I’m not a fan of light colored wood.  Jane would look nicer if she had some color, that’s only my opinion.)
  • But the stand folds but the Jane is lighter weight but Carolyn is prettier but Jane’s width is fine but Carolyn has metal heddle bars but but but but but but butbutbutbutBUTBUTBUT  ARGH!  It may come down to flipping a coin!

If I spent as much time weaving as I did thinking about this, I would be out of stash yarn and we’d have a house full of finished projects.

    Not-a-contest Contest

    In order to win, you have to read a few words first.  Then we’ll get to exactly what you can get for free!   I’ll make this as short as possible because I know you want to get to the good stuff as quick as possible.

    I have a friend (shocking, I know!) that’s a woodworker.  We were discussing his wooden toy business and, selfish person that I am, I asked him about making some stick shuttles and pick-up sticks for me.  I wasn’t talking about cheap mass produced stick shuttles, I wanted the good stuff.  Pretty woods.  Things that I would love looking at as much as I would enjoy using.  I knew he would take pride in them, using the same care as he does with his wooden toys, and that I would get nicely sanded, smooth, splinter-free woods.  He did not disappoint.  I now have a gorgeous purpleheart stick shuttle that I will cherish.  I loved it so much that John has opened a new shop on 1000 Markets and will now be selling them in a selection of woods.  And, to quote from his shop page, “And just like my toys, for every 5 weaving tools sold, a tree will be planted through a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation .”  How awesome is that!

    To celebrate the opening of John’s shop and to help get the word out, I’m giving one** away for free!   What’s even better is you get to choose the wood, the size, and whether you want a stick shuttle or pick-up stick.  First you have to go to his shop, Tools of the Loom, and take a look at the items.  There’s a list on the left side of the page that has the different woods grouped together.  After you’ve decided which would be the perfect stick or shuttle for you, leave a comment on this here blog.  You don’t have to type anything specific.  You can just say Hi!,  you can say which one is your favorite wood, you can say Boo, or you can just type a number.  Anything works.  (I’ll be using the random number generator to pick the winner.)  The only thing required is you need to leave a valid email address where I can reach you if you’re the lucky winner. The winner’s item will be shipped directly from the shop.  Contest ends at midnight PST on October 15.

    **I’ve been doing some thinking about this and have come to this decision – it almost seems unfair to have to choose between a $5 item and a $28 item so the winner can choose however many items they want up to a $28  limit.  You could get a combination of  pick-up sticks in different woods, combo of pick-up sticks and shuttles, a 24″ shuttle, etc.

    I would love it if you would help spread the word, whether it be by blog post, Twitter, Facebook, whatever you choose.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to decide which one I want next.

    Trouble letting go

    I’ve had my current cell phone for a couple of years.  I got it when we still lived in Georgia and still have the same numbers programmed into it.  I’ve added a couple of course but most of the contacts in there have been there for a long while.  Hubby and I are getting new phones this weekend.   Being as I don’t have a way to magically zap my contacts from the old phone into the new one, I have to either write them all down, or I can enter them as contacts in Gmail so I can zap them into the new phone.  As I was going through them, a sadness came over me.   There’s no reason to have Happy Wok still in there.  I mean, they are still in Georgia.  And Dog Recess?  The one place that it didn’t bother me to leave the dog.  I don’t need that number either.  Still, I didn’t want to get rid of them.  They were a part of my life.  I feel like it’s one more thing that I’m losing, even though I’ve already lost them.  But I need to let go.  I need to move forward and stop holding on to those things.  Better to let them go now than to go through them another day and feel the loss.  They’re just phone numbers.  Phone numbers that I can’t use, that serve no purpose other than to remind me that they’re no longer useful.

    On the bright side, I’m getting a new phone!

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