Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wagon Hill Park

A warm sunny day, when most of the snow has melted? Perfect for a walk at Wagon Hill Park in Durham, NH.

As we walked in the woods near the shore, I saw this old beauty of a tree. I didn't dare stick my arm and camera in that hole to see who's denned up there.

This man-made spit was probably once a bridge across the Oyster River.

We sat on the rocks while Bailey had fun wading and getting generally mucky.

Ahhhh, spring!

Heading back through the fields, clouds and fog began rolling in.

The scenery here reminds me of Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World.

Wyeth painted over 100 miles northeast of Durham, in Cushing, Maine.

This walk is our first time walking on non-snowy trails since mid-December. It's so much easier to walk when you don't have to contend with snow!

Bailey would love this park even more if dogs were allowed off leash - but as there are many dogs who visit, on-leash is wise!

Monday, March 30, 2009

About that Towel

Remember when I cut the first towel off my huck warp to make sure I was happy with the results of finishing it?

Here's that towel just off the loom hanging in a window so you can see how lacy it is. (Have no fear about the snow in these pictures! Most of it has melted by now!!)

You can see that the weave structure is open and somewhat wiry in appearance.

I washed it with a few brave shirts and a trusty Color Catcher (available in the laundry section of your grocery store.) A Color Catcher is a sheet you put in the washer with your load of laundry to capture fugitive dye.

My real life weaving buddies swear by Color Catchers.....the only time one of us has had a mishap was washing a red and white quilt for the first time with only one Color Catcher. Even in that case, my weaving friend firmly believes that if she'd added several color catchers instead of just one, she wouldn't have had any running of red dye.

In this case, the Color Catcher was still pure white after the load of wash. That doesn't happen if I'm doing a regular load of wash - I was pleasantly surprised by the colorfastness of this yarn.

I usually use a brand new Color Catcher the first time I wash something handwoven, and if there's much excess dye, I'll use new Color Catchers, or re-use the same one, until the excess dye isn't a problem anymore.

I dried it on normal heat in the dryer until it was just slightly damp.

Ironed it on the cotton setting. (It is cotton.)

The fabric is puffier, feels more absorbent, and looks more like something you'd want to dry your hands on.

So the first towel from this warp is ready to use!

I love the colors of this towel in my kitchen! It almost makes doing the dishes a pleasure.....almost!!

The yarn I'm using is Halcyon Homestead Cotton, an un-mercerized cotton. The original project in Handwoven used a UKI un-mercerized cotton. My towels did not shrink quite as much as the towels in the article, so the panels in my towels are not exactly square. I'm beating the subsequent towels just a bit harder to get closer to square. I still love the towels, even if they don't become perfectly square!

I have been using the first towel and washing it with my regular laundry, causing it to shrink just a bit more.

In the end, this towel shrunk 14% in width and 25% in length.

Related posts:

Taking this towel to meet the towel designer
Cutting off a single towel: One Stick Trick
Worrying at the start of the warp
More start of warp worrying
The beginning of this project

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tapestry Sampler: The Long and Winding Road

When I post about a project on my blog, I like to have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

For the beginning, I like to write about what inspired me and what motivates me to create that project. At the end, I like to wrap-up the technical information and highlight what I liked about the project and what I learned.

That leaves the middle. Some of my projects end up with several middle posts because of technical hurdles I have to jump.

For my tapestry project, started years ago, I felt like I might not even post about the middle of the project. Technically, I just followed the sampler pictures and instructions in Kirsten Glasbrook's Tapestry Weaving and the sampler grew and grew.

But this project did have a lot of middle that wasn't technical. It stalled badly and for years, not for technical reasons, but for emotional ones.

When I started this tapestry, I was inspired by sights I'd seen on a trip to Chile, and yarn I'd purchased there. I envisioned learning to weave tapestry and then designing and weaving a tapestry of the Chilean fjords, using that Chilean yarn.

I warped my rigid heddle loom and got to work learning to weave tapestry.

Then health problems struck both me and my mother....grinding any creative progress or energy I had to nearly a complete halt for several difficult years.

During those years, I did take a drawing class - thinking that an organized class pursuing my dream of being able to draw would be a good idea. Not such a good idea for me at that time it turns out! I was fine in the class, but at home alone in my studio trying to draw was pretty much impossible for me. I didn't have the emotional wherewithal to be such a beginner in an area that I cared about. I didn't have the support or camaraderie of other artists. I didn't have the emotional energy to let myself make the many mistakes I'll need to make to be able to draw.

What does this have to do with tapestry and why this project stalled? Fast forward to August 2008 when I decided it was high time to have a more disciplined approach to making things.

I surveyed the projects I had underway, and chose those that I felt the most positive energy toward and got rolling. Then I realized that projects that I was lukewarm about - for example, projects for workshops, or projects for guild challenges - just didn't motivate me to get to my studio. I decided to move toward the projects that motivate me, and set aside the idea of doing projects that I felt like I "should" do for some external reason. Only projects that really resonated with me in some way would get time and effort.

I worked in that mode until January of 2009. In January, I added the idea of one 15-minute segment at the start of my time in the studio, when I work on the designated UFO (unfinished object). Since early February, that designated project has been this tapestry sampler.

My tapestry progress was slow but steady. The book's instructions were excellent. I had a few days when I questioned whether I should pick a different project to finish - but used my "less thinking, more doing" motto to just power through that. (How do I end up with 15 stalled projects? By thinking that I have some very good reason for moving on to some other project. So once I commit to finishing one of these projects, I want to actually finish it.)

Finally, last week, I finished!! Woot!

Related Posts:
UFO Strategy
Tapestry re-start

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rocks and a Hawk

Granite, moss, lichen, trees

Red-tailed Hawk

Glimpses of New Hampshire this weekend

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kreativ Blogger

While I was galavanting around the blogosphere this week,

The Dragon's Lair, Scarf A Day , Strikke - Og Vevebloggen and A Winding Thread nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger award.

Accepting this award means following some rules:

  1. copy the Kreativ Blogger award to your blog
  2. put a link to the person from whom you received the award
  3. nominate 8 other blogs and
  4. link to them
  5. then leave a message on the blogs you nominated

Here are some blogs to visit:

(Many, many of the blogs I read have already received this award - which is how I could make my list shorter than 8!)

Finding the Real Me Jennifer and I have some unusual things in common including being engineers, having our houses built for us, and a fascination with tapestry

Hawthorne Works Weaving, woodworking, inventing - is there anything Tim can't do?

I Make Fish and Other Things Talented potter turning toward weaving in 2009

Macomber Looms and Me where Sarah plans to tell us everything about Macombers!

Shuttle Works Studio Drawlooms & other cool stuff in the north woods of Wisconsin

Wrapped in Threads New to blogging, but not to weaving!

Even though I would never forward an email chain letter, I find blog lists like this one very helpful in building our online weaving community - just another thread linking us all together.

Thanks for the award! Please visit my blogging buddies and blog on!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Vivid color. Vivid Memories. Vivid Dreams. Vivid Emotions. Vivid Imagination.

My current assignment at Digital Photography School was just called "Vivid". I immediately thought of vivid color, the focus of my pictures for this assignment.

It's a pale time of year here in New Hampshire. No flowers yet. Brown grass. No fall foliage. (No foliage at all.)

Here are some pictures of some of the most vivid things in our house:

Stained Glass Mobile by Jennifer Mitchell

Japanese Figures from an Exchange Student

Sewing Thread

Puppet from Jim's Trip to Cambodia

Magnets on the Refrigerator

Stained Glass Window Panel

Bailey's Brightest Dog Toys

Surprisingly, my brightest weaving yarns didn't make the cut for this assignment. Not quite vivid enough!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

3 Weaving Milestones in 1 Day

That never happens to me.....Since it happened today, I just had to post about it!

Ta da!!! I have two shafts up and running on my Toika Liisa!! I just need to get a project on there now....but having the loom ready for a project is wonderful!!

I cut my tiny twill sample off the table loom.

Plus, I finished my tapestry!!!

I like to do a wrap-up post about each project - so you can be sure that more details are forthcoming on all three of these milestones!

Wow! What a day!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Restaurant Week Portsmouth

Today is the start of Restaurant Week Portsmouth. Many local restaurants are offering special menus for 3-course meals.

Tonight we had dinner with friends at the Dolphin Striker. Crowded and yummy!

Not sure we'll fit any other restaurant visits into our week - but I overheard a couple who had selected four different restaurants where they'll dine. Don't miss out!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

2 Good Not 2 Share

2 orange things that brightened up my Saturday....One involves yarn, the other food!

First, the yarn. Look at the size of this kit I ordered from Knitpicks.com!! I pictured teeny tiny balls of yarn, but this is substantial! Bailey is having fun in his job as model! Too much fun!

What is all this yarn for? These cool knitted tote bags. Each kit makes 2 bags....and there are 3 colorways. The kits weren't available for the last month, but they're available now. Knitpicks says this is our last chance! So I wanted to let you know because I think these bags are so cool. (And no, I have no relationship with them except as a satisfied customer!)

As if that weren't enough orange-y goodness for one day, I also tried a new recipe in my bread machine for tomato olive bread from King Arthur Flour. Smells good and tastes great!!

Orange yarn, orange food - quite a nice Saturday!! Hope your world is bright today too!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vernal Equinox

The vernal equinox occurred this morning, when the center of the sun was directly over the equator.

In our tiny corner of New Hampshire, today we had 12 hours and 10 minutes of daylight, and 11 hours 50 minutes of twilight and night.

The equilux, when day and night are equal length, typically occurs several days before the equinox in the northern hemisphere.

Today is the first official day of spring, but it takes some work to notice actual signs of spring during our walk in the woods.

Bailey can find running water instead of just ice. (He loves to wallow!)

The ice is melting slowly.

Woodpeckers are searching for or building nest cavities.

Hungry woodpeckers ripped this tree apart, leaving a pile of splintered wood as insects started moving around in the tree.

Snow melts around the trees first.

Conifers and moss are the greenest parts of the woods right now.

An arrow left over from bow-hunting season is revealed when the snow melts.

OK, those of you who live where you have daffodils and green grass and budding leaves can feel just a wee bit smug. But spring is here now too!!