Homemade Christmas Ornament

I love the holidays! This was the first year that we purchased a full size tree and the first time I did so since I moved out of my parents house many years ago. We had it cut fresh and hand delivered by the farmer from Silver Star Tree Farm near Mt. Rainier. You cannot beat the smell of a freshly cut tree. 

DIY Christmas Ornament / warporweft.com

I recently learned how to make Baumschmuck, which is traditional German tree jewelry. This is a super easy ornament for older children to make. All you have to do is: 1) glue a piece of yarn around the outside of the ornament (enough to cover the outside and also have a loop to hang the ornament at the top); 2) wait a minute or two until the yarn is somewhat secure and then put glue all over the top of the the wood piece (you can use a paint brush or qtip, etc) and then add any seeds or other decorations that you like. You may have to add more glue if it dries too quickly. I recommend adding cloves so the project smells good.  

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Learning to Warp

Somehow I twisted the warp after I removed it (or as I removed it) from the warp board and did not realize it until I threaded the heddles. What a frustrating situation. It is often hard to admit that I messed up especially because it takes me hours to warp a loom. I feel like I am from a generation where you act as if you know what you are doing at all times. Fake it til you make it. Unfortunately, that's not how it works with weaving.    

twisted warp / warporweft.com

I realize that it is more important in weaving to correctly warp the loom so that there are no problems with twisting and tension, so I undid the threading, straightened out each warp strand and then re-thread the heddles. The warp is much smoother now and the tension is even. I am finally ready to start weaving.

Warp / warporweft.com

An advanced weaver told me it would take two years to get to a place where I can weave at a steady place and without major complications. I can't wait for that day.  

PS - Did I tell you that I bought a table loom so I have a loom to take to classes? It's a well cared for, used, 25 inch Rasmussen. The company was based in Seattle, but is no longer in business (sold to Montana Looms, which went out of business). It seems really dependable and was much easier to figure out how to warp than the floor loom.   

Pink Pillow Progress

We recently purchased a new gray couch and I am making a pillow to go with it. Working with this pink, sparkly yarn is a delightful treat. It is Aura by Trendsetter Yarns combined with Cascade 220. This is my first brand new couch and it is super exciting to create an item to go with it.

Pink Pillow / warporweft.com

I am keeping track of the pattern and will let you know when it is ready. I was never a huge fan of pink until my niece was about five years old and she influenced me to appreciate how great a color it really is. I have to admit that it brightens my day to work with such a bright color yarn and I am happy to be able to have it in our living room year round. 

Embroidery and Temari Ball Classes

Over the summer, I came up with an idea for something that I want to make in the future (when my weaving skills improve!) which involves embroidery. Now, I have to share that other than basic chain stitch on a laptop case I made for my husband, I have not embroidered anythings since I was about 12 years old. Fast forward to last month: my friend, Kate, signed us up for an embroidery class at Stitches in Seattle. After two sessions with Kelly, I feel confident that I have the basics down. I definitely need a lot more practice (I almost did not share my wonky circles and uneven stitches), but I am on my way.  I am waiting for her to schedule an intermediate class, so I can continue to learn and go forward with the project that I have in mind.  

First embroidery attempt / warporweft.com

Last week, I took a class on how to make Japanese Temari balls with Marilyn Romatka of Taproot Folkarts at The Weaving Works. Marilyn is well-known in the Folk Arts community and the class was a lot of fun. Can you believe that the ball is entirely, and I mean entirely, made from yarn and thread? We spent a little over an hour making the core of ball - it seemed like endless winding, but was also pleasant at the same time - and then moved on to the decoration. One of my favorite parts was that she encouraged us to add a little sparkle to our projects. In case you haven't already noticed, I love sparkle!   

Japanese Temari Ball / warporweft.com

I would am planning to make another ball and it is also a great project for children. Marilyn teaches all over the United States, so check out her website for information on class and the other crafts that she teaches. 

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Atomic Laptop Cover

Here is the Atomic Laptop Cover that my husband requested. He hardly ever asks me to make him anything, but was super excited about this when he saw the Knits of Tomorrow book by Sue Culligan at a local yarn store. I used Cascade 220 even though the pattern calls for Rowan Creative Focus yarn. 

Atomic Laptop Cover

I had to modify the pattern to fit his much smaller laptop, but since the base is mostly knit, it wasn't hard to do once I measured my gauge. It ended up a little large after blocking, so I sectioned off a pocket down the side (you can see the line about two inches from the end on the left in the picture) where he stores his mouse. If I made it again, I may not block the finished pocket or I would try to felt the case before adding the embroidery on top so there was more structure. I used Word to make templates for the circle and oval, then pinned them on and stitched around them for the embroidery. 

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Warp Board Maintenance

Now that our wedding and the guild sale are over, I was finally able to pull out the warp board and get back to weaving. You may remember that I purchased it in a bundle with the loom and other supplies from a lovely woman in Bellevue, Washington. The warp board was handmade by her husband many years ago and had some loose pegs, so I glued them into place earlier this week and started warping last night.

warp on warp board / warporweft.com

I learned that it is problematic to have a loose warp peg because it will mess up the tension on your warp, which is never good. I used tacky glue to stabilize the pegs. For some reason, tacky glue is my go to for fixing things around the house. 

the cross of a warp / warporweft.com

Now the cross on the warp lines up perfectly. This is half of the warp for a pillow pattern that I am going to try to weave. It will be my first project on my 40 inch Macomber. I'll post more photos of this project soon. I hope you have a great Halloween! 

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Cowl Scarf in the Making

Halfway through this reversible cowl scarf. I went pattern-less and am trying a few different things for shape, size, length...you know, the whole thing! I love how it is knitting up. One side has separated ridges and the other has connected ridges.

reversible black cowl scarf / warporweft.com

We had to take our cat to the emergency room last week and I grabbed this for something to do while we waited. It turned out to be perfect because it is an easy knit and the thick yarn is a bonus. I am so glad to get back to working on it after working on the sweater for so long because it is for me, and I rarely knit for myself these days. 

Seattle Weavers' Guild Sale

The 2014 Seattle Weavers' Guild Sale is not to be missed! With over 3,500 locally handmade pieces, it's great for early holiday shopping, finding a treasure for yourself or your home, or finding a bit of inspiration.  It's this weekend in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. I hope to see you there!

Seattle Weavers' Guild Annual Sale

Locally handmade and unique:

scarves ● jewelry ● garments ● hats ● tapestries ● rugs ● blankets ● art

children's items ● yarn ● pillows 
 linens ● fiber ● gifts
and more 

swg-sale.com 

Parking and entrance to the sale are free. Proceed to the back of the parking lot for entry. 

Check out more items on the Seattle Weavers' Guild Facebook page

Work on Photo: Scarf by Teresa Ruch; Basket by Marilyn Moore; Waterside by Gay Jensen

Yellow Brick Road Cardi

In the home stretch of this sweater. It's always such a relief when the body is finished and I can move on to the sleeves. This pattern has been a delight to knit - the Yellow Brick Road Cardi. It's probably not best for an absolute beginner as it is written in sections without rows and requires some skills that are not exactly "knitting 101", but it isn't that difficult either as it is knit from the top down in one piece except for the sleeves and button section. It was great to learn the "wrap and turn" short row technique as well as remember how to make one left and make one right without looking it up every time.

Yellow Brick Road Cardi Detail / warporweft.com

The yarn is from Hickory Hills Farm in Nelson, Wisconsin.  My good friend, Sarah, was given a bunch of skeins of this yarn when she worked for the farm owner.  She asked me to make something for her after I knit a sweater for her daughter last year. At first I was a bit wary of this yarn because I had never used anything other than commercial before and was not exactly sure about the weight or yardage, but I have been converted. And this yarn is thick enough to keep Sarah warm through a Wisconsin winter without being too bulky.  

My New Loom

I bought a full size loom!! It's a vintage Macomber 40 inch loom made in 1968. It only had one previous owner, is in incredible shape and I can't wait to use it. I also got a bunch of supplies - boats, shuttles, yarn, a bench and warp board.

40 inch Macomber Loom

The original owner wanted it to go to another loving home after sitting idle for many years. She emailed the Seattle Weavers' Guild and they put an announcement out to the membership and I got it! Now to figure out how to warp it...     

Fiber Farm Tour Weekend

When we saw that the weather forecast for last weekend called for absolutely perfect weather, we made a quick decision to get out of town and made a reservation at the Resort at Port Ludlow on the Olympic Peninsula. It was everything you would imagine about a small resort on a cove of Puget Sound: quiet, picturesque and good food. I was extra excited when I found out that our visit coincided with the Olympic Peninsula Fiber Farm Tour and Jefferson County Farm Tour

Resort at Port Ludlow / Olympic Peninsula on warporweft.com

Everyone was super friendly and happy to talk to us about their craft and raising sheep, alpacas and llamas at the six farms we visited. There was A LOT of fiber and now I am considering getting a spinning wheel or at least a spindle. If you have a recommendation, please let me know!

sheep at the fiber farm tour on warporweft.com

We purchased a felted Icelandic sheep pelt from Compass Rose Farms and the Dirt Rich School. The cat loves sleeping on it. 

Cat on sheep pelt on warporweft.com

We also purchased four skeins of hand-dyed wool/mohair blend yarn and two silk scarves that are felted with alpaca from Mystic Beach Studio. I can't wait to wear the scarves and knit something wonderful with the yarn. 

Yarn on warporweft.com

And the highlight of the weekend was meeting these piglets who were less than 12 hours old. So cute. Thanks to the folks at Dharma Ridge Farm for sharing them with us. 

piglets on warporweft.com

It was a great weekend. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, keep an eye out for the tour next year. 

Adventures in Yarn Farming

For a brief moment during my childhood, my grandfather owned a farm in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. It was great to play outside in the fresh air and learn about the hard work farm life requires. Ever since, I have been interested in farming. When I saw Adventures in Yarn Farming by Barbara Parry, I couldn't resist.

Adventures in Yarn Farming / warporweft.com

The book is a wonderful overview of what sheep farming for yarn production entails. It covers an entire year in a season-by-season account of what she does to care for her sheep and farm without going into too much detail. The information about lamb birthing was particularly interesting. There are plenty of adorable pictures of sheep and the book also includes a few projects for knitters, weavers and yarn dying enthusiasts. Barbara keeps a blog called Sheepgal, which is very interesting, but infrequently updated as she seems to be busy with her farm. I recommend checking out the book and blog if you are interested in the fiber production process. I was inspired to pick up another, more detailed book about sheep farming. 

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