Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Random Stuff and Kumihimo

So, Sox fans, how about that Jon Lester?? Whoo-hoo! So proud of him! (For those of you who aren't part of Red Sox Nation, lol - Jon Lester is a very talented, *very* young pitcher (21? 22?) for the Red Sox who was diagnosed with cancer - lymphoma - last fall. He underwent treatment over the off-season, made a complete recovery, has been working his way through our minor league system and made his first start last night against the Cleveland Indians - and he did great!)

OK, onto other topics. This little guy visited us again yesterday:

That's a woodpecker, attacking our garage! LOL - I was wondering where those holes in the trim came from... How weird. Wonder if there's something living in there for him to eat?? Yikes, there's a scary thought. Another thing to add to the list of repairs we need to do in our copious spare time. HA.

Lastly, something fiber-related! So, I've always thought Kumihimo (Japanese braiding/cord-making technique) is really neat. Finally got around to making some cord from some of my bamboo yarn:

Hmm. Well. Ms. B decided she wanted to be in the picture, so it's kind of hard to see the braid, lol. That's ok, it's just kind of ok. Trying to think of what to do with it. So far, it's made an excellent cat toy, Madeline loves pouncing it. I am thinking of making a bracelet and earrings out of it - exactly the sort of thing I'd wear...

Sunday, July 22, 2007


How fun!

Today, I attended just one day of workshops at NEWS - the New England Weavers Seminar. Weavers from all over New England converged on beautiful Smith College this past Thursday evening through today, for classes, seminars, a fashion show, all sorts of fun stuff.

I just signed up for a couple classes for today, thinking it would be a bit much to leave sweet hubby Carlos alone with the kids all weekend. The classes were so good, I'm wishing I had signed up for more! Next time... (It's held every other year, in the off years from Convergence, the nation-wide weavers conference, run by the Handweavers Guild of America, which I'm really hoping to attend next summer in Tampa Bay, Florida. Even thinking of maybe trying to plan a project to submit to one or the exhibits, GULP.)

Always wonderful to be in the company of fiberholics... And although the classes I took were more business oriented (a marketing seminar and a tips & techniques seminar, both taught by the wonderful Robyn Spady), they were still full of inspiration. Can't wait to get started on some of the projects she inspired!

One comment/question. Robyn talked a bit in the second seminar about how to rectify threading errors. I just don't get it - it seems so simple to me to just check your threading as you go! I thread a maximum of 1" of ends through the heddles, stop, check them to make sure I've got it right, tie off the bundle and move on.

I get the impression that lots of weavers will thread *all* of their warp before checking for errors. Why would a weaver ever do this?? Am I missing something?? Seriously, when I check every inch or so, I have made a grand total of maybe two threading errors in nearly seven years of weaving! (One documented in all its glory right on this blog, lol.) Maybe it's easier to check more often when you warp form the front to the back? I don't know. It's a big ol' mystery to me, but it seems like such a simple way to prevent a huge amount of annoyance down the road...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chelmsford in Money Magazine!

Wow, just had to make a quick post - our town made Money magazine's Top 100 Best Places to Live list! It's number 21...

How neat. Never would have thought it. It's a nice little town, with a small, walkable business district (if you can even call it that, lol, though it has a couple nice independent shops, including a quilt shop that I tend to spend too much money in), a wonderful new fish restaurant, an old-fashioned greasy spoon diner, a traditional New England common (complete with white church) and a really nice library. Wicked low crime rate, decent schools, a mix of blue and white collar families, which I like. And it's in a good commuter location for people going in to Boston.

Very neat! Wish I had a pictures of the Town Common to post!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ms. Madeline

Who's the pretty girl? :) Meet Ms. Madeline, latest member of the household. Calmer heads prevailed (mine, lol) and we just adopted one kitty cat. That's enough for our sweet Iko cat to handle for now - he's a good guy but he's very shy.

Happily, Madeline is about the sweetest cat I have ever met. Seriously. She loves everybody, even the baby. Iko has worked up to approaching her and touching her nose with his before he takes off to hide under the dining room table. She hasn't so much as said 'boo' (or 'hiss') to him, she's very willing to be friends, so I think they'll be great together eventually. She even spent most of last night on Bella's bed - great cat! Very talkative, constantly purring, and in need of some exercise (a bit pudgy).

We didn't chose her name - she already had it at the shelter (she's an adult, 8 years old). Not sure if I should change it - we have friends with an absolutely lovely daughter named Madeline, so it's a little weird to have a cat with the same name...

Saturday, July 14, 2007


So, I just finished a lace (huck) scarf for a customer, using Tencel:

It has three huck lace stripes that run the length of the scarf, with plain weave between and along the borders, to stabilize the fabric. So much fun to weave! It's sett at 20 epi, so you wouldn't think it would be a particularly quick project to weave, but it didn't feel slow, somehow. Maybe because it's fun to watch the little lace windows appearing as you go.

And Tencel is another one of the man-made fibers that I love! Like bamboo, it is an all-natural fiber (not synthetic) and made from wood cellulose in an environmentally-friendly process. It takes dye gorgeously so the colors really sing, and it has lovely drape when it's finished.

I'd been meaning to get around to weaving some lighter-weight scarves that are good year-round so it was nice to have a customer request one and light a fire under me, so to speak... I have a draft of a turned twill scarf in my notebook that I need to get back to - it's going to use six colors of tencel, that will be fun! I also put on extra warp for this project and am in the midst of making another scarf using a slightly different purple tencel for the weft this time, and weaving different size windows of lace instead of a solid lace panels the length of the scarf.

On other fronts, we visited the local ASPCA shelter (Nevins Farm) to meet some kitty cats today (poor boy cat Iko is looking very forlorn with Little Girl gone for the past week or so). Looks like we might actually wind up adopting TWO. Good grief. A lovely tortoise shell girl cat and a black and white boy cat, named Madeline and Lucky. They're both older (8 y/o) and very mellow and sweet - they both reacted really nicely to Ms. Bella and were very lovey to us. And they're both living in one of the shelter's communal cat rooms so they get along fine with each other and with other kitties. So, we'll go back tomorrow and who knows, maybe we'll come home with three. (Just kidding. Yikes!)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Little Girl

So, we have kind of a small yard, and we live pretty much in the center of our town (Chelmsford has about 30,000 people in it - a lot bigger than where I grew up, but not exactly huge, either), but I have a small garden, helped hugely by my mother (who has a crazy gorgeous garden), and there is a surprising amount of critters around here. Last year a wild mother turkey and her babies trekked across our yard and across the road to a small wetlands - Carlos (hubby) actually hopped out in the road to stop traffic so they could get across, wish I had taken pictures! A tiny little bunny rabbit has taken up residence in the brush pile and under my day lilies.

This year, the chipmunks are crazy, must have been a good year for them baby-wise. Iko the cat spends his days glued to the big french door that looks onto our backyard, watching them run across the deck and pouncing the screen ferociously. He used to be joined by Little Girl...

There she is, sweet kitty. She passed away this past Sunday, of renal failure (her kidneys just shut down, the vet said - for anyone out there with an older cat, this is quite common, and can be treated if caught early enough, one of the few warning signs is large urination in the littler box, wish we had known!).

She was quite an old cat, we adopted her when she was already grown up and she lived with us for ten years. She was one of those cats that likes to ride around on your shoulders... And, although the shelter we adopted her from had labeled her as a problem child with behavior problems, with lots of love and patience, she wound up being one of the sweetest cats I've ever owned. Definitely a two person cat, though, she never really got along with Bella. Poor little thing was pretty sick at the end, but it's never easy to say goodbye to a very loved pet.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Productive Day

Does anyone else have just crazily productive days? I feel like I've been doing six things simultaneously all day today. Probably because it's a weekend day, Carlos is watching the kiddos, and I'm dizzy with the possibilities.

I worked on promos this morning (more of those buttons), made a trip to Michael's for fabric paint to have some fun with some boring plain t-shirts for the kids that are lying around, and have been managing to get quite a bit of weaving done, too. This may not sound like a lot to some folks, but for me, it's an amazingly productive day!

Check out a few of the t-shirts:

Two shirts for Ms. Bella (the poodle and the Eiffel Tower - she loves the Eiffel Tower since our trip to France last fall) and a cute Scottie Dog for Mr. Conall. I had way too much fun doing these.

I also have lots of yummy new tencel yarn waiting for me!

The front two purpley colors are going to be a custom huck lace scarf for a customer, and, as usual, I ordered a bunch of other colors while I was ordering those.... Baby toys and the latest Halcyon Yarn catalog as well and that pretty much sum up my day.


Hey, I was interviewed by a fellow etsy person (Less Than Three Designs) for her blog!

Check it out here!

She has interviewed other folks, too, I had fun browsing through the interviews.

Check out her shop, too, if you have a minute - she makes really neat/unique cards. And she has a sale going on today!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Bobbin Winder

So, I got back from vacation and my bobbin winder is busted. ARGH. Makes it kind of hard to get any weaving done...

New bobbin winders are pretty stupidly expensive ($75 for just a hand winding one, the electronic ones are $200 and up!) - but I've always wanted an electric one, my shoulder would appreciate it greatly.

Brilliant hubby had a great suggestion - my sewing machine has a bobbin winder! Yup, sure enough, my bobbin fits on it just fine, though it oscillates pretty wildly when I start it up. So, I snagged a chopstick and held it in the center of the bobbin - voila! A bobbin winder made from my cheap-ass Sears sewing machine (that cost about $80), complete with foot speed control, it's great! LOL

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Home Again!

We are back from camping in Maine! We had a lovely time, killer mosquitoes notwithstanding. (Maine skeeters make Massachusetts skeeters look really wimpy in comparison).

We camped near Camden, in Camden Hills State Park. Camden is so lovely! A beautiful little port town, complete with Windjammers (have to wait for the kids to get quite a bit older, but I've always thought a Windjammer cruise would be a fun thing to do...). A picture of Camden Harbor:

Bella had a great time finding snail and mussel shells right near here (where a river empties into the harbor over some lovely falls, so its a pseudo-fresh water/marine environment).

We visited the Owl's Head Lighthouse, too:

We also hid in the really nice Camden Public Library quite a bit on Wednesday and Thursday - it was WICKED hot out and the (excellent) kids room had air conditioning...

OK, one more picture...

Yup, that really is a stripey cow. :) They are Galloway Belted cows and they live on Aldermere Farm in Rockport, Maine, next door to Camden.

On a fiber-related note, I tried to stop by the Hope Spinnery to check out their yarn, but nobody was around - probably should have called first, but my phone was dead, rats. I really like the idea of a wind-powered spinnery... Maybe I'll order their color/sample cards.