Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Beginnings

It starts on the solstice, the turning of the year. The days begin to lengthen, but the nights are still long and cold:

fire 2

Lindsey had a solstice bonfire this year. We ate and laughed and burned the dark night away. Old things need to be cleared out, so I took the opportunity to burn a few things in the flames.

There was still the crowded run-up to Christmas, busyness, cooking, shopping, travel, clearing up and preparing for visitors. But the day comes and goes, and then the twelve days begin, the quiet time between Christmas and Twelfth Night.

Time for reflection, clearing out, planning, setting up. I have been re-arranging the studio, getting rid of things unnecessary, clearing away for a big project on the horizon.

In the past, I have used New Year's Day as a day to clean up, clear out and set up my studio. This year, friends will come. They will keep me on track, help me decide, and eat and laugh at the same time.

The dark of winter is a lovely time, a chance to reflect, to plan and to prepare. It sets the tone for the year ahead. It helps me to write things down, I remember them better. It's always a surprise to look back on last year's list, and see how much has been accomplished. Then it needs to be burned, and a new list begun.

A new year, new beginnings, a new plan, in a new light.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007


Christmas Day:

Albion 2007

This morning:

yurt in snow

The breadth of the state, a full measure of weather, and a new camera :).

Friday, December 21, 2007

Back By Popular Demand

OK: Bag instructions.

Start with piece of fabric:


Iron on piece of interfacing. I don't know the name of this stuff, but it is non-woven. I went to the local fabric shop and asked for *heavy* interfacing:


(Note to self: in the future, cut straight if you plan to put pictures up for all the world to see)

Step three: cut lining, and sew to edges with zig-zag (also re-read the cut straight note):


(sorry for the blurry photo too, sheesh)

Step next, fold this sandwich in half, and sew the side seams (5/8" seams):


Press open seams:


Fold corners into a triangle, and stitch across (helps to have lining fabric with stripes, a built in stitching line). This corner seam is about 2" from the corner:


Trim corners off and zig-zag the raw edges:


Cut narrow fabric in half lengthwise for handles:


Fold the raw edge under, the selvedge edge over, and stitch down several times:


Fold top of bag over twice, tuck handles in and stitch several rows to hold top firmly. Then fold handles up and stitch in place:


Fill and enjoy:

gift bags 2007

Note to self the third: try to stitch the handles on so the seam is on the underside when one picks the bag up. Sheesh. Two out of three stitched upside down. Luckily, I am giving them to good friends who will tease me about this failing forever :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gift Bags

The fabric from this post is done, and another narrow warp from the same (ancient) batch was warped and woven:

gift bag strap

This year, the favorite gifts I'm making are gift bags:

gift bags 2007

Each bag is is filled with a selection of local products, mostly edible, some very unique. We all seem to have too much stuff anyway, but everyone eats!

There is a variety of foodstuff grown or made here in the foothills: chocolates, mustard and pepper jelly, wines, and wines and wines, coffee (well roasted here, but not grown here), olive oil, and local baked goods.

Of course, inside the bag there are a few other handmade surprises, including this years' hand towel incarnation:

towels2 2007

And then there's the bag:

gift bag 2007

Who can't use one more? Everyone needs a project bag, or a bag to hang on the coat-rack for mittens, or a small market bag for those delicate things you don't want smashed under all the other produce at the Farmer's Market. These are made to be sturdy workhorse bags, and will stand up to much wear and tear.

Planning what to put in the bags for each recipient has been a good part of the fun for me with this gift. I thought of each person as I was weaving, and custom filled each bag with things I thought they would like. I had so much fun in the process I know I will do this again, looking for more local products and planning a new version of the gift bag.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Bonnie Tarses is a very good weaver, a friend and one of the funniest people I know. Here's proof:

The Twelve Days of Weaving


Wednesday, December 05, 2007


red silk yarn 2

Thank you for all your concern, best wishes and comments on the sad state of my red silk yarn yesterday.

As you can see, it has recovered, and I can't believe I put that beautiful silk yarn on that funky TP core and then posted it on the internets for all the world to see, yikes.

Friend Lindsey has taught me that working with fiber is working with fiber, and untangling is a part of working with fiber. I have that Virgo streak too, which will (mostly) not be defeated in the untangling of yarn. It was surprisingly easy, there were four ties after all, and they did their job (sort of).

Thanks for all your offers of help, and no, no laundry was pinked-up in the process, the dye held very well. The yarn is slightly the worse for wear:

red silk yarn 3

a little fuzzy in places, but will suffice.

And such pretty yarn deserves a little encore, eh? despite the core, (groan here).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Word to the Wise

If one chooses to use the spin cycle of the washer to spin out their freshly dyed reeled silk yarn:

red silk yarn

One should check first before then adding a load of clothing and running a full wash cycle.

You now have the benefit of my recent painful experience.

We move on.