Monday, March 29, 2010

Piles of Fun

So....I am exhausted and I can't even imagine how our instructor feels. And she is still on the flight home. It was Sara Lamb. I met Sara a few years ago at SOAR and then 2 years ago I took her Knotted Pile intensive 3 day workshop. It was fun and somewhat easy to learn. The results are also spectacular.

So I invited Sara to come and teach the technique at my shop. When I asked her I wasn't even aware that her book would be out by the time she would be teaching. I just invited her because my SOAR project wasn't finished and I lost my instructions and needed a refresher.

So her book came out and it has all of the information I needed! This is a book for everybody. I think that some people may discount it as "just" a weaving book. It is not. It also is not just knotted pile. All fiber people would be interested in these techniques. The loom used is a rigid heddle as a frame. It is easy to warp and easy to do. Really, get the book and then try it.

Sara got in late on Thursday night and then we had all day Friday to get ready for the class which started at 6PM on Friday. To fill time Sara taught me some wire wrapping techniques.
So I made this lovely Tiara. I think I need to add something in the center and I still have some beads and wire left so I can. We went to dinner and came back and got to work warping.
Saturday morning the warping was done and we got down to business. See how intent they all are? Let's go around the room and see who was lucky enough to be there!
Pat and Carol worked hard and were delightful. They were two local girls.
Debbie and Ayse worked hard the whole time. Debbie is from Michigan and Ayse drove all the way from California. (So I don't want to hear anyone else complain it's too far or Ayse will hunt you down:-)
Mary Lee came from Ohio. She is a weaver and has taken lots of weaving workshops. Also she's very cute and said I am feminine. I like that.
Abby and Denny did nothing but argue the whole time. I wanted to split them up. Abby made good progress despite the frequent breaks and periodic icing of her aching hand.
Sandi Wiseheart came from Ontario, Canada in her green Volkswagen Bug and made great progress.
And Rachel and Stephanie chauffered Denny from Toronto but for some reason spent the whole class in the naughty room.
Sara is a fun teacher with lots of knowledge and she would like you to buy her book.
Isn't she cute? I finished my project and we began warping my loom again for the next project. Most of the students in the class were using Schacht Cricket looms. I was using a copper pipe loom. It's more complicated to warp and you have to make string heddles.
On Sunday Sara also showed us how to make the handle for a bag using card weaving which was so much easier than we all imagined!
I didn't manage to get photos of everyone's projects but here are a few. First they did a sample to figure out how many treads they wanted to hold together for each knot and see what would happen, then they began their projects and most were making bags. I didn't even take a picture of my own project!

I don't know how to run the shop anymore without Chelsea. And to her right, Sandi is trying out her new Matchless.
There was spindle shopping by many.
And I happened to have a bag of silk that matched Stephanie's outfit perfectly. I got it at SOAR in the silent auction and it was dyed by Sara Lamb herself. I hope she will spin it and use it in her next pile project.
Sunday night many of us went to dinner at the Blue Fin which is a Hibachi restaurant.
We talked a lot and I ate too much.
And little Maggie was so happy to have some one on one time with her favorite person.

This class was delightful and fun and I will have the lovely Sara Lamb back in a moment. If you have a chance, take her class.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I think I am finished except for some floor cleaning and that kind of stuff. Ryan's room was moved to where my fiber room was. The fiber room was moved downstairs and the room that Ryan was in is now a guest room for when my kids come home or I have visiting teachers.

We will start with the new fiber room. Ikea is my friend and all the fiber is in the Ikea cubes.
Most of my spindles are on top of the cubes in front of the window. I am one of those people who can't remember what I have. So if I don;t see it I don;t have it. This is a good system for me because it is all out there now. not to say i won't buy more but I won't duplicate as much.
The kids can still eat breakfast at the counter and we are all happy.
The closet holds all of my yarn in those sweater holders that hang in the closet. There are 4 of them. I also have 4 kitchen garbage bags full of fiber and yarn and bits of stuff to give to Denny when she gets here.
This is the new guest room. I like it but think something is missing to make it more comfortable. This is the room that has all of my craft books and my fabric is almost all in those closets and the cedar chest. The dress in the corner is part of my wedding dress.
The mural on the wall was painted by my mom. She is very talented.
Just a shot of the window wall.
And a picture of a wedding picture if you want to see what the whole getup looked like. Brittney was a bridesmaid and Chelsea was my flower girl. In April they will be 24 and 23. And Lousmith is still just as handsome.
My mom made all the dresses and my hat and the flowers. Some of you will meet the crazy woman next month at the retreat. (Which, by the way, has 2 spots still open)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sheep Shearing.

First a photo of Maggie in a scarf made by Abby and a hat made by Abby and a tiny purse that Abby gave her. She's cute. Just had to put her in there.
But today was the sheep shearing at my favorite shepherd's farm. We got there a little before the shearer and so had time to visit with everyone. Last year they added some Scottish Blackface to their flocks. It's the first time I've seen these sheep up close and personal. They are smaller than I expected but when i think about it now I don't know why I was surprised. They are along the lines of the primitive breeds with their little horns and dual coat.

They are about the same size as an Icelandic. Stocky bodies and short legs. Their outer coat can be wiry but this flock is more on the medium side. the undercoat is nice but not as silky as Shetland. So cute.
And there were plenty of babies. Four of the ewes had twins but one baby died so there are 7 lambs and they are adorable. 5 ewes and 2 rams. One ram will stay at the farm and the other will be sold when he's old enough.

I have a fleece from the fall shearing of one of these moms in the webstore if you are interested in trying it out.
Then there's Sarah the Clydesdale. I love her. She has to bend down to sniff my head.
A mama Wensleydale with her 2 three day old lambs. Whenever I got closer than this she stomped her feet at me and looked very menacing. I think she could have hurt me so I kept my distance.
The shearer arrived with 1500 pounds of wool he had sheared that day. I wanted to climb into those bags. I didn't but I did pull out a lock. The crimp was lovely and I found out it was from a Shropshire Wensleydale cross....I wanted that fleece but it was not to be.
Everyone looks expectant.
The Jacobs are a little nervous.
The shearer gets right to work.
First most of the white Wensleydales are sheared. Then the blacks. Then the Jacobs. Blacks first then the lilacs. 22 sheep in all were sheared today at this farm.
Cy was the shearer and as far as speed of shearing he is ranked 3rd in the US. And he didn't disappoint today.
I was skirting along with Char who went with me to see all the excitement. This came home with me as well as a few others.
Naked Wensleys mix with the ones still dressed. they will stay dressed until after the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.
Naked Jacobs are so cute.

It was a fab day and I can't believe that over 20 sheep were sheared, fleeces were skirted and everyone was going home in about 2 hours. Amazing. That even includes sheep jumping fences and sharpening blades!

There will be another shearing in mid March and we are thinking of having a party and inviting a few of you to play. Keep watching for details.