Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wonderful Etsy Resource

I just found Etsy is For Everyone, a wonderful blog written by etsy seller Strumpfkunst (who makes the cutest darn sock monkeys with attitude that I have ever seen - I may just be getting one for Bella for Christmas - Buy Handmade!).

Check it out, great info/resource if you are a seller! She talks about using Stumble Upon today - I've had Stumble Upon sitting in the toolbar of my Firefox Window for ages and have never thought to use it to promote my shop. Duh. :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Purple Scarf Needs Some Love - and Cordoba, Spain, for Something Completely Different

Well, phooey, my blogging roll ended with a resounding thud. So did Cyber Monday thus far. (Though last week went very well for my little Etsy shop!)

But, I did manage to take some better photographs of this poor purple scarf:

The poor thing was posted in my Etsy shop pretty early on - before I sort-of got the knack for taking ok pictures of textiles. So, it wasn't getting many views. Or maybe it's just a really homely scarf, lol! Poor purple scarf needs some love.

Natural daylight really does seem to work the best for me...

I have kind of an old digital camera - an Olympus C-3030. We bought it in September-ish 2000 to take on our honeymoon with us, and digital cameras were still pretty new then - and it was state of the art (and wicked expensive, no way would anyone pay $1000 for 3.3 Megapixels now, lol!!). Amazing how fast technology changes, isn't it?

At any rate, I remember we were in the Mosque in Cordoba (Spain), and this (American) guy walked up to me while I was trying to take pictures of the arches (beautiful) and was amazed at how you could see the photos *on the camera*! LOL And our kids will all grow up saying - you mean you had to wait to get the photos developed?? And what exactly *is* an "album"?

There are those beautiful arches. Also took this photo from the window of our hotel room in Cordoba:

Yup. travel bug is biting. Niece Timothea was in Paris this past week for her 30th birthday (she's living in the UK at the moment, lucky kid), took some *fantastic* pictures and has me all jealous.... Maybe by next fall Mr. Conall will be big enough to travel. Can't wait!

Friday, November 23, 2007


So, one of my eternal struggles is trying to push myself on the color front with weaving. Structure is pretty easy for me, but I tend to fall into ruts/easy color combinations when I let myself. For example, I'm working on a dove grey/teal scarf in a Wall of Troy twill pattern on my little loom right now. Very nice (and I like the twill very much), but not particularly adventurous of me! (Weaving it mainly because I feel like I need some more "masculine" type scarves in my shop, and also because this yarn has been sitting around looking forlorn about not being used for quite a while now).

Anyway, we took a family walk over to the local library for storytime this morning, and I sneaked down to the art section while Carlos read to Bella and watched Conall play with toys in the children's room. Love the art section.

And I found a fabulous little book! The Color Scheme Bible by Anna Starmer. It's meant for interior decorating (helping you choose color palettes for your house), but it's great on the inspiration front! I've been sitting in the dining room pouring over it, color cards in hand, figuring out possible new designs and combinations.

I feel a yarn order coming on. Uh-oh. There goes the budget...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dead end!

OK, this picture requires a couple explanations. That's Conall, the ten-month-old, and he's "walking" around the kitchen, pushing this stool in front of him, sticking his tongue out to crack me up at the same time. Funny little man. Sister Bella didn't walk until 15 months, so this is really a surprise! We're thinking he might be walking by Christmas (he'll be almost 1 at Christmas). That would certainly make ski season a lot easier for us...

The other part of the explanation is about the stool itself, which has a neat little backstory. My big brother Tim is the head librarian at theTown of Oxford Free Public Library, in Massachusetts. What a great job, huh? He also really loves woodworking, and has made all sorts of fantastic furniture for my Mum. (Trying to talk him into looking into Etsy, but I don't think it's going to happen.)

A couple years ago, the town of Oxford voted to expand his library dramatically, and in the process they replaced a lot of the old shelves (the original library building is reasonably old by U.S. standards, from the early 1900s, IIRC, and they found all sorts of neat historical documents - including a time capsule - during the renovation).

At any rate, Tim salvaged the shelves and made everyone these fantastic little footstools out of them! I actually have two. :) One is down behind my big loom - I sit on it while threading heddles.

This one has gotten kind of beat up over the years... Stickers put on it by Bella, paint dripped on it by me, cat prints tracked across it by Madeline. But we use it every day! Bella uses it to reach the computer, I use it to reach things stored way up high in the kitchen, Conall loves to push it around. Great present. Hooray for big brother Tim. :)

Thanksgiving is about family, after all, right?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hooray!!! A Very Happy Tuesday!

It's official - the Red Sox have signed Mike Lowell (3rd Base) for three more years!! (In case you missed it, he's my absolute favorite baseball player - and he won the World Series MVP this year! Whoo-hoo!)

Apart from his excellent playing, he just seems like such a class act, a real team guy. Doesn't crave the spotlight, quietly gets his job done, works hard, and is a wonderful liaison for the Spanish-speaking baseball players (he's Puerto Rican, just like my hubby and kidlets).

And, here's another reason to be happy:

Snow! And Stowe is open for skiing! (Man, I hope we can manage to move to Vermont sooner or later... Or at least build a little ski house/yurt up there.)

Oh, and I sold a scarf yesterday. :)

Monday, November 19, 2007


I seem to go on knitting jags. I just started a scarf with some gorgeous silk/wool Manos del Uruguay yarn.

I bought the pattern from Sand & Sky Creations, a fellow member of EtsyFAST (street team). She did the scarf in a lovely soft grey yarn - I'm thinking her looks better! :) You can see the cabling better with the plainer yarn; having cables and all this color may be overdoing it a bit. But I still like it (more interesting to knit cables than just a plain old moss stitch or rib or something).

At any rate, check out her Etsy shop! She makes really lovely knitted items and sells patterns, too...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

On a Posting Role...

I seem to be on a role with the posting thing lately, so I thought I'd keep it up.

Here's a picture to keep you a little interested, lol:

Somebody thinks his big sister is the best thing EVER.


On weaving fronts - Carlos was at work today (sigh) so I got zip accomplished. Managed to sew up another pillow during the goofball's (very short) naptime, though, using interfacing this time and it is much much better. It will be in my shop as soon as I can manage photos of it...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Front Page *AGAIN*!!

Good grief! This is the third time - wowzers!! This Treasury was picked by the Etsy folks because the Fiber Arts Street Team's trunk show is tonight - so it's all fibery goodness!

Itsy bitsy again, sorry, but that's my scarf in the middle of the top row. :) Most pleased!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

EtsyFAST Trunk Show

The Etsy Fiber Arts Street Team is having a trunk show at the Etsy labs in Brooklyn tomorrow! The labs are located at 325 Gold Street, 6th Floor, in Brooklyn.

The actual trunk show is from 6 - 8 p.m., and it's a great chance to stock up on finished products (knitted, crocheted, woven, etc.), hand-spun and/or hand-dyed yarn, etc.

Also - lots of the team members that can't attend in person are also having a sale in their online shops (including me!) - just do a search for "etsyFAST" and you'll find them...

We are also running a treasure hunt (and, again, I'm participating - hint, hint, lol) - several shops from the team have posted a picture of the EtsyFAST trunk show flier (that's it, above) in one of their listings. If you can find the people with the flier in their shops, you can win a prize!

Here's the Storque article with all the details of the contest.

Have fun searching, and if you're in Brooklyn (hi, Lexi and Ernesto!) and have the time, stop by the trunk sale!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

PlayDoh and a Pillow

I managed to make this pillow last night from some bamboo fabric I made a while ago... It's cute but the corners are really wonky. :) Bamboo fabric is stretchy! And I'm not the best seamstress in the world, so the corners came out goofy.

It's my own fault. I got lazy and didn't put interfacing on the fabric before sewing it up. I learned that lesson! Still, though, I like it, and it was fun to make. Lots of fabric left, I'll give it another whirl - with interfacing this time - maybe tonight.

In the meantime, Conall is down for a nap (hooray!), and Bella and I made her some playdoh. Can't remember where I found the recipe, but it takes about three minutes to make and it actually lasts longer (and has a nicer texture, I think) than the commercial stuff. I cut the original recipe in half, which still makes a nice sized ball. So here's how we make it:

Combine in a small saucepan:

1/4 c. salt
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 c. water
1/2 Tb cooking oil
a couple drops of food coloring

Stir over medium heat until the dough comes together into a ball. Turn it out onto a cutting board and knead a couple of times. Let it cool, and, ta-da! Long-lasting playdoh. We wrap it up in freezer paper and it keeps for quite a long time. She has a great time helping me measure out the ingredients.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Midnight Air

Whoof, what a morning. But I did manage to get outside to take photos of three scarves while Bella was at preschool. Conall had a great time crawling in all the leaves and grass and getting muddy...

Here's one of them:

It's rayon chenille - I don't weave with it very much anymore, but the yarn always works up so soft and cuddly, I probably should use it more often. I found the hand-dyed novelty rayon yarn (it's kind of boucle-ish, with little twisties in it, very pretty) at last year's New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival and it's been hanging around since then, waiting for inspiration to strike. I used it both as normal weft (the stripes) and as a supplementary weft (the middle designs).

Here's another picture:

It really was fun to weave. Maybe I *should* do more rayon chenille!

Current projects on my looms:

- on my little loom: overshot fabric (with bamboo warp, organic cotton tabby weft, zephyr for the pattern weft), probably for pillow, but I'm not sure yet

- on my big loom: just starting to wind warp/thread a bamboo/zephyr combination in warm browns/rust/copper/curry colors in shadow weave, also probably for pillows.

I'm on a pillow kick, I guess. Nice to be doing something a little different!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Weavers Guild Sale - Pictures

Finally a few pictures from the Guild Sale:

Hey, there's one of my scarves, lol! (The rolled up green one on the left side of the photo - I re-rolled it with the other side out, and somebody bought it!)

Here's a gorgeous wall-hanging (huge amount of work, the picture kind of sucks, but there are all these fabulous woven pleats in it):

Three-dimensional weave structures (either by weaving in pleats, working with high-twist yarns, or playing with differential shrinkage, not sure yet...) are next on my list of things to try, once I have a little time to play around. I missed Anne Field's free lecture, but I'm looking forward to buying her book on collapse weave.

And, finally, here's why I don't have a ton of pictures from the show:

Good thing she's cute. :)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Raining Leaves!

The Weavers' Guild of Boston sale went really well (I sold more than I expected to!), and I will post photos, but, for now, I had to post about the crazy leaf rain out back today...

The leaves are a bit later this year than normal, and we have a Norway maple in our back yard (they have been classified as a weed species, eeks - a normal looking maple, shorter and more full than sugar maples, terrible root system - can't plant anything anywhere near them - and the leaves do change, but not as brilliantly as sugar maples).

ANYWAY. The Norway maple out back has been really slow to change this year, but it finally has, and this morning, after a couple cold nights, as soon as the sun hit the leaves they started just *pouring* off the tree! It was hilarious! About 1/3 of the leaves fell in the space of about a half hour!

So, I plopped Conall into them - we have a set of photos of Bella from right around the same age, also sitting in the leaves, but, here's a couple of Mr. Conall (ten months old today!):

OK, let's see if I can find one from Bella... This is from October, 2004, and she is eight months old, just about on the nose:

That was fun. :) The light was better in the pictures of her. And I probably should have cropped a couple of the ones of him (lazy)... But I do think they look alike, though she had more hair than him! :) (And it was red then, too, obviously, his is light brown, but I think it will wind up darker, more like mine.)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Jurying the Weavers' Guild of Boston Show

So, yesterday's jurying experience was fantastic!

The amount of handwoven items was unbelievable - when I first saw the sign-up sheet for the jury, I was surprised at how many people were acting as jurors. Now I see why! The only way to get through everything in a three or four hour time frame was to have about 10 teams of jurors going over items...

My partner and I only got through three people's work - we did get one of the *very* prolific weavers, though, who does really beautiful work. (And I can't remember her name, argh, I can't believe it! I'll find it and post it here - with some photos of her work, too.) She works mostly with rayon chenille, done in plain weave, with supplemental warps of novelty fibers (ribbons, boucle, etc.).

It's her color sense that makes her work special - just out of this world beautiful combinations of color in her warps, where practically every thread in a scarf, e.g., is different from the one next to it. And to top it all off, she dyes most of her own yarn. Wow!

Her art-to-wear coats were fabulous - I tried a couple on, how fun! My jurying partner was like - "you *have* to have that coat, it's fantastic on you" - tunic length, with wide sleeves, fantastic antique/ethnic buttons, etc., I can't really describe it. $1200. Eeks. Definitely a fair price for the amount of work that went into the item - but at this point in my life, $1200 would buy a whole heck of a lot of yarn! LOL. Maybe someday... I would absolutely *love* to have lots and lots of extra money to spend on things like that, and to support artists. (Buy Handmade!)

** Edited to add - hooray for people with better memories for names than me! :) Maureen identified my mystery weaver for me - Barbara Willis. I do believe she also shows her work at the Cambridge Artists Cooperative gallery in Harvard Square, as well. (59A Church Street, Cambridge, MA). Thank you! **

I completely forgot to bring my camera. Duh. I am hoping to scoot down for part of the sale tomorrow before it's over, though, so I'll bring my camera then and take some pictures and get them on line.

The variety of the work was astounding - and very inspirational! You'd think that after my mad rush of weaving/finishing/getting ready for this sale, I'd take a night off... But, nope, I spent the evening warping some merino yarn I dyed a while ago to give a Wall of Troy twill scarf a whirl, just to see how it comes out.