Settling In

A busy summer of finishing my move, unpacking, and finding there is a lot more I will need to dispose of. I did manage to get warps on the Standard, Regina, and one band loom, and am currently working on a warp for woven shibori scarves.

The summer Northwoods Art Tour was in late July.

August was filled with DIL Char not doing well, doctor visits, and worries. Plus, an offer was made on my house in July, which I accepted, then after weeks of waiting for buyer, with house being off the market in prime time up here, and moving closing date up at their request, 24 hours or so before closing day/time, they told the realtor they had decided not to purchase. They were given another 24 hours, then I signed the cancellation document after no communication from them. I am seriously unhappy with all of this but at least the house is back on the market. No courtesy or integrity.

So now I am weaving again and thinking ahead to the fall art tour, October 11-13. I hope to be indigo dyeing again in a couple weeks.

I have the Mirrix Zach loom ready to warp, just need to watch the video again while warping it the first time. There is a postcard to weave and mail!

It is September 1st, summer is nearly over, autumn is on the doorstep, and a young buck that visits already has a thick coat. I am hoping that is not an indication of winter arriving early. Meanwhile, I will make it a point to enjoy the autumn weather and colors.

Moving Forward

Conover Home
Our Conover home for 23 years.

I had lived in our log home in the WI northwoods for 23 years, with my husband, who passed away nearly 15 years ago, and our children, who grew up and are now off living their lives, as they should.  Over the past few years it was too big a house to live in alone with just memories, and maintenance of it was more than I could continue doing.  Loneliness, depression, and sadness were taking a big toll.  I had stopped weaving or doing anything.

Suddenly, in April, things changed,… it was time to move, and move forward in life!

My daughter and daughter-in-law called and asked what I thought of moving in with them, an idea they thought would be good for all of us.  They had talked it over for three days, then called and made the offer saying they thought it would work fine for everyone.  I took two or three days to consider it, decided I had lost my mind, and accepted.

Then came serious downsizing, moving from a 2,600+ SF house to a bedroom in a small house and my weaving studio in a building across the driveway.  So began the packing, selling, giving, donating, and disposal of about 40 years of belongings.  I am still not done, there is now a storage unit full of stuff, but I am working on it.

Moving – first load was looms and equipment.

On Mother’s Day weekend I moved my personal belongings into my new bedroom/sitting room.  Myself, 2 dogs, and 2 cats, now living together with two other adults, their 3 dogs and 2 cats!  I need to continue paring down to essentials, and that will include selling 3 looms and a few other items.  The house will be on multiple listing today, so  hoping someone likes it enough to buy it and enjoy living there as we did.

Disassembled looms, shelves, equipment, everywhere!

The first truckload was all the looms, equipment, shelf units, and so on.  Looms were quickly reassembled after figuring out which would sit where, taking into consideration height requirements (ceilings aren’t as high here), ability to use a trapeze for warping, and so on.

New studio signs for all three of us!

The building was originally built by a potter, and what is loosely termed “the garage” was where his kiln was located.  Over the years there was also a sign business, then a real estate office.  The most recent reincarnation has been “Eagle River Gallery” owned and run by my daughter-in-law Char (woodworker, sign maker and more – Heirloom Custom Wood Designs) and daughter Sarah (stone jewelry maker – Celtic Wolf Studio).  And now home to Shuttle Works Studio!   Thanks to Char, we now each have our own sign hanging under the large Eagle River Gallery sign, at 836 W. Pine Street, (Hwy. 70 W.), Eagle River, WI 54521.

Gallery space for Shuttle Works Studio, Celtic Wolf Studio, and Heirloom Custom Wood Designs.

My looms and work area take up most of the building, but we are keeping the room you enter as the gallery space to display and have our own work for sale.

There is a tiny “kitchen” area.


The Library, showing a tiny portion of the weaving resource library.

In the studio portion I have a long workbench, part now used as the “office,” the rest for sewing, cutting, or other creative work.  There is a tiny kitchen, and a room now known as “The Library,” where my weaving/spinning/dyeing/felting/fiber art reference library lives.

Glimakra looms, all in need of warping and weaving!

The Northwoods Art Tour is coming up fast, July 26-28, and I have no weaving to display and sell!  Clearly I need to get the Glimakra Standard warped and some weaving done to have for sale.  The Regina tapestry loom and a band loom will also be warped and weaving in progress in time for the art tour.

The drawloom will be a “work in progress,” as I expect I’ll be making the upper and lower heddle “bits” for the maillons and lingos to hang on, then add the heavy counterweights.  Right now it is doubtful the drawcord and weaving warps will be wound and on the loom, let alone be threaded, but as I say, in progress.  I have samples here to show what can be woven on drawlooms.  By the fall art tour, Oct. 11-13, weaving will  be underway on that loom, too.  Spinning and sock machine demonstrations will also be available.

I still have some things to remove from the old house, but overall, that is nearly done.  I will be keeping regular studio hours, 10 AM to 4 PM, Wednesday through Sunday, giving me a couple days available for any appointments or necessary shopping.  Mondays and Tuesdays are by appointment or change, meaning, if the lights are on and Open sign lit, we are open!

I just heard the studio doorbell, turned around, and it was a guild member who knew I was moving but didn’t know the new studio location.  She also said she had someone in her knitting shop last week asking about weaving instruction, and that I should consider teaching.  And I am considering it,… weaving, spinning, wet-felting. and indigo dyeing.

Shuttle Works Studio new location, 836 W. Pine St., Highway 70 W., Eagle River, WI.
Flowers and old chairs for outdoor decor this year.
Welcome to Shuttle Works Studio!

I am really looking forward to regular daily hours in my new studio space, accomplishing a lot of weaving, and learning.  If you are in the area, please stop in and visit!

A Very Late Start

Fluids, lots and lots of fluids.

January in the WI Northwoods brings snow, ice, subzero temps, and occasionally, whatever virus is going around.  My family had a late (Jan. 7th) Christmas get-together with three grandchildren, who I found out later, had been sick over three weeks.  Within a few days of that gathering, four of the six adults present were sick.  I was the first.   For days my life was sleeping, sitting, water bottle, a little TV, kleenix, and cough drops.  It has taken me 17 days to get over this and finally feel almost back to normal, just a bit of cough hanging on.

16″ plus snow waiting to be shoveled.

During the time I was sick, it snowed three times.  My stepping outside the door was limited to taking the dog out 4-5 times a day,  So, there is currently a good 16″ of snow on my sidewalk that I am starting to deal with today.

One of my snow gauges, the stump from what was a beautiful red pine.
Icicles I had previously knocked down are back!
Single Unit Drawloom.

At the start of the new year I set a few new goals for the studio, including weaving on my drawloom, daily, even for just a few minutes.   On better days while sick I did manage to add a few rows.  There are new weaving habits to be created, and this is one.  Right now, it is a bit of practice, tweaking, deciding whether to re-sley.

Reorganizing weaving, spinning, felting, and other fiber-related books.

A lot of my weaving books had migrated up to the second floor living room over the past 4 months or so, and are now back in the studio.  To provide breaks from  chairs and loom benches, I’m reorganizing my weaving/spinning/felting/fiber books, keeping those I will want to refer to within easy reach.  Some will be packed for the move as I have run out of shelf space.

Time to get back to sorting, packing, tossing, and trips to the thrift stores.

So as I write this, it is January 26th, the month nearly gone, and I am so far behind on what I’d hoped to have done.  Looking ahead, I am planning my work, and aiming to keep a balance between creative work/studio, and work on home, deep cleaning, packing, etc.  Yard work will be waiting for me in spring.

Now, there is a warp to beam on the band loom, a new scarf warp to be made for the Standard loom, a warping trapeze to learn to use,  and a lot of weaving to do.  I’d best get to it!

P.S.  Right after posting this, a five minute phone conversation with my daughter-in-law left me once again with almost no voice, thanks to whatever has been ailing me.  Her last words were “Mom,… call someone!”  So I did, and was able to get in 45 minutes later.  The nurse practitioner is calling is bronchitus, and I returned home with an antibiotic and something for the cough.  I’m hoping in a few days this will all be a distant memory.

New Year, New Opportunities

Woven shibori in rinse water.

The old year went out not at all as I had planned, and I’m attempting to start this new year by making good on a few resolutions.

On Dec. 26 I received an email, which I didn’t see until the 28th, from Hand/Eye Magazine (online) asking if I would like to contribute a piece to be published.  My work had been seen on TAFA – The Textile and Fiber Arts List.  The deadline was January 2nd as the next publication date was  today, January 4th.  After my initial shock I replied yes, and the next day was thinking about what I could possibly write, followed by three days of rewrites, revisions, tweaks, and locating photos, all sent off to the editor just before 9 PM on January 1st.  My thanks to Rebeca Schiller, Hand/Eye Online Editor, for this opportunity!  The article is titled “Mystery Weaves.”  An exciting way to begin the new year!   Visit Hand/Eye Magazine at

I’ve spent days thinking about what I would like to weave and accomplish in 2018, what to continue, what new areas to try.  Lists are in progress, deadlines are on the calendar, and it is a matter of keeping it fun, interesting, and a healthy dose of self-discipline to make it all happen, something I was lacking last year.   It is time to change that!

Woven shibori and embellishment possibilities.Years ago someone I knew told me I needed to focus on ONE area of weaving, forget everything else, create a body of work in ONE area, create my own style.  I’ve never forgotten that discussion, and that is what I’ve been attempting with woven shibori.  I will be continuing to explore that technique  in scarves/cowls and other items that I sell.  I also hope to take it in areas new-to-me, larger works, and continue that body of work on a new level.

I will also  be incorporating some Norwegian/Scandinavian weaving, into my year.    And by “Scandinavian,” I a using that word in a very broad sense.  Traditional and contem- porary are both of interest, as are the looms/traditions.  My drawloom has long been neglected and that must change.  And woven shibori can be woven on a drawloom!

A Rosepath table runner, I wove long, long ago.

This table runner was woven from a project/recipe in a Swedish weaving book.  It has a seine twine warp, and was woven with Berga wool weft yarn from Sweden.

Bandweaving, particularly Scandinavian, has become a stronger interest,… plain weave bands, inkle, Norwegian pick-up, Sami, tablet weaving, so many areas that can be explored over time, and again, can be used in combination with other types of weaving.  Right now, I need more plain weave bands to use in the studio.  For example, to tie the trapeze uprights to the loom to stabilize them, my preference over clamps.

New color sequence for a plain weave band, ready to beam.

At the same time, I rebel against being told to only have one interest and work only in it.  I have never been able to do just ONE thing!  I like to learn, and tapestry weaving has long been at the top of my list.  This may not go anywhere beyond learning basics , or may go into some depth, but until I try, I will never know if I could learn it, become competent.

Many, many years ago, knowing nothing about tapestry, I warped a Schacht tabletop tapestry loom with navajo wool warp, spun and plied the yarns, and wove two small tapestries.  That was the beginning of my wanting to  learn more.


Two tapestries woven on Navajo wool warp, using my own handspun yarns for weft.

I  know I’ve mentoned it on this blog perhaps  two or three years ago.  After years of searching I even found and purchased a Regina tapestry/rug  loom nearly three years ago,  signed up for Rebecca Mezoff’s 3-in-1 tapestry classes, began working through it, then put the entire thing on hold.  Some people just dive into new ideas and projects, I quite often seem to need time, often a large chunk of time before beginning.  I believe it is mostly fear or failure.  Well, the time has come to sit down at the loom and begin.  I’ll share the good, bad, and ugly with you.   I have added a medium Hokett loom and signed up for Rebecca’s Small Tapestry class.  Also a Mirrix Zach loom, so I have no more excuses.  Tapestry weaving will be for my own enjoyment and learning.

And now, it is time to make a warp for new woven shibori scarves, I have new ideas to try!


My Woven Shibori works, as well as Scandinavian weaving will again be available at Eagle River Gallery,  836 W. Pine Street, Eagle River, WI.   Please check this link for days and hours open.  The gallery will be on the Northwoods Art Tour in 2018,  July 27-28-29, and Oct. 5-6-7, 10 AM to 5 PM.  Gallery artists will be present on these dates providing demonstrations of their arts.

I will also have work again very soon in my online Shuttle Works Studio shop on Big Cartel.

I will also have five Open Studio weekend,… May 19-20, June 16-17, July 14-15, Aug. 18-19, and Sept. 15-16, 10 AM to 5 PM.  Shuttle Works Studio is a working weaving studio with several Glimakra looms, as well as spinning wheels, and a 1908 Gearthart sock machine.  Demonstrations will be available on those weekends.

The only thing that would remove these dates is if my home/studio sells, and I move during that time period.   When that happens there will be a big announcement on the Home Page, my FB  Page and more.  I suggest before driving any distance, just make a quick check to confirm the date you were planning to visit is listed.  Otherwise, I will be here, weaving!


Finding Focus

Home and studio, in Autumn.

My word, I’ve been away from this blog for a long time, so it is time to remedy that.   It is mid-October, getting to be late autumn in the WI Northwoods.

Autumn color.

After a couple brief periods of unusually warm temps for this time of year, we have now settled down into cool, crisp days, and frost warnings some nights.   The cooler temps are a reminder that snow is coming and there is outdoor work to be done,  including splitting wood for the kitchen woodburning range, before the snows arrive.

View from the lakeside porch.

Back in February I had cataract surgery on my right eye, followed by a few restrictions, in the dead of winter,… no snow shoveling, no carrying wood, no chopping ice, which was then followed by inflammation and more drops.  This was over a couple months.  A new right lens in my glasses and I was told my vision was 20/20.  I could decide before the surgery where I wanted my focus to be, so I decided the fell line on the loom would be good, 16″ from eyes to that point.  Except, in the words of the opthomologist, “your eyes didn’t cooperate with our computer model.”  It ended up more like 10,” so I can read my tablet and books fine, up close, without glasses, but the fell line and beyond is fuzzy, and reading my laptop screen is a challenge.

The left eye wasn’t yet bad enough to change my vision/ability to see, so she wanted to wait.  I called regarding an October re-visit and was told she was leaving that clinic in two weeks, someone else would have to see me.  Then I was told I couldn’t get in to see him until late February.  Wonderful, because for the past month my vision is getting fuzzy again.  I tell you, getting two cataracts taken care of should not take up  1.5 years of anyone’s life.

So, I’d been procrastinating for months, needing time to think about my future, the rut I felt like I was in,  and trying to balance commitments with determining what I want in the coming years.   I am not young, and in another week will be another year older.  I had pretty much come to a standstill with everything in my life, but happily now getting out of that rut and back into the studio, ready, well, ready in a couple days, to weave and create again.

I’m having an open studio this weekend  (Sat. & Sun., Oct. 14-15, 10 AM to 5 PM) and the studio is nowhere near ready.  I’m expecting perhaps two people, if they want to make the trip down from the UP, a woman who wants to take up weaving and wanted to visit and see/try my looms.  I haven’t advertised it much, and tourist season is over in the WI  Northwoods.  I couldn’t  schedule it last weekend,  no one would have stopped by as it was Cranberry Fest weekend, I was demo’ing the sock machine at Eagle River Gallery for three days, and it was also the Northwoods Art Tour.  Hence, postponing it to this weekend, rain or shine.  Whether anyone stops by or not, I’ll be working at the looms, perhaps a bit of spinning, and there are socks to be made.

The loom is waiting.

Tonight, I’m finishing up some cleaning in my studio, wiping dust off looms, noticing that after this warp I’ll be taking all the heddles off the Glimakra Standard and giving them a wash and rinse in the kitchen sink, they have turned a not-so-lovely shade of light gray.  I’m also decluttering, … moving boxes that had been packed for a possible move next year, moving spinning wheels upstairs, leaving one in the studio.

Woven shibori, soon.

Tubes of 16/2 Bockens Cotton from Sweden, for more woven shibori scarves, which reminds me, I need to revive the indigo vats early this coming week.

Bags of fleece waiting to be washed, carded, and spun.

There are packages of fleece that I’ve ordered waiting to be washed, not to mention two big bags of alpaca that my younger daughter brought here months ago, possibly last year?  They all need to be removed, too, temporarily.

Henry’s Attic Yarns.

I opened a bin I’d moved to the studio, with beautiful Henry’s Attic yarns purchased in the early 1980’s, just as fresh, clean, and beautful as the day I bought them.  They are whispering, calling to me, and I have a project in mind.

Towels waiting to be woven.

This picture does not show the true colors of the navy and variegated blues yarn, that will become towels for MY kitchen.

More towels waiting to be woven.

A few years back I did a series of towels, using bleached and natural Swedish cottolin, 22/2.  Some towels were 100% cottolin, others, I used different wefts from those large cones on the top shelf.  There will be more of those towels, also for my kitchen, and likely some for the Eagle River Gallery next spring.  As you can see, there is a LOT of weft to use up!

Missing books.

Over the past few months, quite a number of weaving books migrated up to the living room, and now must be carried back down and re-shelved.

1908 Gearhart sock machine.

And last, but not least, the 1908 Gearhart sock machine seems to be workiing better again, though still a bit temperamental.  I did get two pairs of socks made this past weekend, so hopefully the sock-making drought is over and that will be more to accomplish this winter.

So, back to the studio, where, to finish the cleaning up and decluttering.  Then, I need to make a warp yet tonight (it’s 11:02 PM right now), that should have been on the loom a couple days ago.  I may be up all night, but whatever, I need to get these things done.   I ordered a warping trapeze awhile back, it’s time to give it a try, then get the warp threaded, sleyed, and  tied on, so I can begin more woven shibori scarves.

After that,  I am finding a new focus in my weaving, to  new-to-me areas, which I’m really looking forward to trying.  They may or may not work, but it’s good to try new things and keep learning!

It’s late, there is an entire night of work ahead of me, and a little sleep much later would be nice.  I’ll be back!

Challenges Come Along

Ready to pin under a goo light.
Ready to pin under a goo light.

A couple months ago, or more, I was trying to finish one of those never-ending warps, and I had what I hoped were two  scarves, Because I hadn’t made notes, and didn’t remember if I’d left warp for fringe at the beginning or not, I mistakenly didn’t on the second end, of both, Wrong!  I ended up with two cowls, which is fine, not everyone likes the longer scarves or fringe, even when nicely finished with hand-twisted fringe.   The almost-cowls have been waiting a long time so tonight, very late, I sat down and took care of the seams, my variation of a flat-fell seam.

Edges are off-set.
Edges are off-set.

After machine-stitching both edges, about 1/8″ from the edge,  to prevent raveling, and wrong sides together, I off-set the two, and machine stitch about 1/8″ from cut edge.  If they were lined up, I would have to trim the one down to 1/8″ inch, this way I don’t need to use scissors close to the handwoven. threads.

Fold over fabric and pin.
Fold over fabric and pin.

Now the fabric is folded over, enclosing the raw edge, and is stitched down.  Then I open the scarf, lay the seam down and machine stitch again (sorry, forgot to take a photo).  It makes a nice seam, three layers of fabric, not including the little bit of raw edge that is enclosed.  On these two, I did not give it a half-turn, mobius style.


Cowl, ready to be worn.
Cowl, ready to be worn.

I was going to add small beads to the edge of one of these two cowls, but my cataracts have gotten worse and threading a needle has gotten to be a challenge.  Beads will have to wait a few weeks.

The cataracts are one of the reasons I haven’t been doing much weaving recently.  My right eye is worse than the left.  I’ve had to enlarge print on my laptop screen again, and can’t really read print on the TV screen (Netflix program descriptions, for example). Because things are blurry, I was getting little loops on my formerly nice selvedges.  I couldn’t see those little loops unless I took my glasses off and looked closely, not easy to do while weaving.  Thankfully,  surgery has been scheduled in early February, and I’m hoping the second one will also be in February.  It will be nice to see more clearly again.  I’m told I will still need glasses since my right eye has a “wrinkle” on the back side, but I won’t complain about that.  I just want to see again to get back to my weaving, be able to read, thread a needle, and all the things we take for granted.

I know these photos are a bit blurry, too.  Between using my tablet to take them, a bit of shakiness, and the cataracts, I end up taking many photos of the same thing, then going through them and choosing what looks to be the clearest to my eyes.

Growing stack of indigo dyed swatches.
Growing stack of indigo dyed swatches.

Before immersing my handwoven scarves and cowls in the indigo vats, I “test” the color with small swatches of PFD cotton.  These (above) are what I have left after using several for sachets.

Shades of indigo.
Shades of indigo.

I try to get various shades of indigo, some solids, some mottled, by scrunching the fabric up in my gloved hand and immersing it once or twice, different lengths of time.  They are being used for smaller items.  When I have more specific ideas and plans, I’ll do some proper shibori.

I’m finishing  weaving a warp, hoping it is long enough for a scarf and fringe, so I can hand-stitch a design on, then indigo dye.  Hopefully I will get it completed before the cataract surgery and show it here.   If I do an overall free design instead of just on borders, it will take longer to stitch/gather/tie before dyeing.   I’d like to have a new warp on the Glimakra Standard before the surgery, too, so when I can see well enough, I can sit an weave again.  So that warp and ideas for the scarves are in the planning/sketching stage.

If you have followed my blog for three years or so, you know I have a lot of Coopworth roving that I was spinning during two Spinzilla’s. With that, I knit a cowl for myself.  About three weeks ago, I looked at a partial ball of that 2 ply yarn, wondering what I could do with it. A hat!  I’d o the same “pattern” from the cowl pattern but make a hat.  I started it, making it up as I went alone, and it was a little too small, so unraveled and started over.  Now, it might be a little too big. If that is the case, I’ll have the pleasure of knitting it twice.

Coopworth roving, spun into 2-ply, becoming a hat.
Coopworth roving, spun into 2-ply, becoming a hat.

I knit until I ran out of yarn, and need to search my studio to see if there is another skein of this 2 ply.  If not, I’ll be spinning more and plying more.  Yes, there is still more roving.  It was a big, clear, trash bag filled with beautifully coiled roving.  I’ve enjoyed working with it so much that I bought a Coopworth fleece a couple weeks ago.  Lighter in color, I need to wash it to find out exactly what it will be, and the staples are 3″ to 3.5″ in length so I’ll be able to hand card it before spinning.

Three weeks or so before that, I saw a Gotland fleece on a FB raw fleece sales group, silvery gray, and ordered it.  Before it arrived, another was listed, similar in color, by the same seller, an that was ordered, too.  I’ve never washed/carded/spun/knit with Gotland before so I’m looking forward to that.  There will be photos in future blog posts.

Tape Loom Weaving book.
“Handwoven Tape” by Susan Faulkner Weaver.

This book had been in my Amazon cart for months before publication and release near the end of December.  I wanted to learn about the history of tape looms, and because I’d bought a tape loom back in November because it was small and very portable.  It’s a lovely book, good history and photos of many different styles of tape looms, and I’m looking forward to reading it an putting it to use.

My Glimakra bandloom warp was finished about three weeks ago or so, and is in need of a new warp.  I recently added a warping trapeze to my weaving studio equipment so I will be able to warp my looms alone.  I recalled Becky Ashenden, at Vavstuga, had tied the uprights of her trapeze to the loom with handwoven bands.  I have one, now need another soon.   I know I can use clamps, or bungee cords, but prefer the idea of using handwoven bands.

Meanwhile, I am looking ahead to the weaving I want to accomplish in 2017, once I get past the cataract surgery, including a couple new (to me) directions to take my woven shibori in.  I’m very excited about the possibilities, and the learning curve!

Winter has also been keeping me busy, shoveling snow, clearing in front of my garage for doors that open out, not up, raking snow off the roof, and chopping inches of ice that has formed when it warms up.

I hope you are all doing well, wherever you are in the world, and are weaving up a storm!

Preparing for Winter

Woven shibori, indigo-dyed, two scarves nearing completion.
Woven shibori, indigo-dyed, two scarves nearing completion.

This photo is of the two scarves written about in the previous post.   Actually, they will be cowls as soon as I sew a flat-fell type seam on each.

Wood was cut and waiting for the log splitter to work properly.
3 loggers cords or more of wood was cut and waiting to be split and stacked.

It feels like a long time since I’ve done much weaving, partly because of fall/winter preparations.  I should have been splitting wood for the past month, but my log splitter has broken down twice, parts ordered, partly repaired, only to find not all parts were sent and one piece didn’t fit.  So, waiting on parts again.  I have the awful feeling I’ll be out splitting wood long after the snow finally comes.

Two double wood racks full, in the garage.
Two double wood racks full, in the garage.

We did manage to get these two double racks full of split wood, in my garage, and there is another single rack for kindling, along with three or four trash cans full of short ends and other small chunks.

There are oil lamps ready, candles, I’ll have extra food in the house along with drinking water for occasions when the power goes out, extra pet food on hand, too, for my three cats and one dog.

Time to clear the lakeside porch.
Time to clear the lakeside porch.

Hanging flower pots , lawn chairs, and my fleece washing pots have all been removed and stored.

The porch was swept, and this week windows will be washed.
The porch was swept, and this week windows will be washed.

Storm windows were put on all the windows,… this lakeside window is to my weaving studio.

Pine bough hanging pot.
Pine bough hanging pot.

While in town a couple days ago I saw hanging pots filled with pine boughs and brought one home to add a little winter cheer to my view from the kitchen window.  I’ll be picking up a 24″ wreath for the entry door, and a 36″ wreath for the garage doors, the day before Thanksgiving.  They add a nice, cozy touch to home/studio.

Tape loom by J.K. Seidel.
Tape loom by J.K. Seidel.

I’ve had a tape weaving book on the Amazon wish list for some time. The release date is Dec. 28, 2016 for “Handwoven Tape: Understanding and Weaving Early American and Contemporary Tape” by Susan Faulkner Weaver.  One evening I saw an email come in from WeavingSalesAds for a tape loom, so in anticipation of this book, I bought it.  It’s a lovely little loom, from J.K. Seidel Tape Looms. 

Cotton band woven on Glimakra bandloom.
Cotton band woven on Glimakra bandloom.

At long last, I finally wove off the cotton band I had originally set up on my Glimakra bandloom.  It’s time to design stripes for a new band using the same colors in a different configuration.  I’m going to be adding a trapeze to my studio equipment and will use the bands for tying the uprights to the looms.

My winter sewing area.
My winter sewing area.

I have sewing to do!  Not only finishing on some handwovens, but there are valances/curtains to make, quilts begun many years ago that I would like to get back to, and I may venture back into making simple pieces of clothing.  All this, of course, is after the wood is split and stacked.

Preparing for winter is often practical things like those I mentioned,… wood, matches, candles, oil lamps, food, water, pet needs.  I have a long winter ahead of me,… building a fire every morning in the woodburning range in the kitchen, feeding it wood through the day and evening, carrying ashes out, shoveling snow, raking snow off the roof valleys and moving it, keeping paths open to the LP tank and the woodshed, along with the usual tasks.

Winter preparations also include my weaving, threads/yarns to weave with.  I’m nearly out of Bockens 16/2 cotton, but still have cones of 16/2 from Lunatic Fringe.  Fleece to process (two new Gotland fleeces just arrived) for spinning, not to mention several Icelandic fleeces stashed away.  I have some knitting projects half-done (or more) that need completing, before starting any new ones. Books to learn from are always good.  These are recent additions!

A book for learning how to spin for specific projects.

My spinning so far has been hoping the yarn I spin will work for the knit project I want to make, so far, cowls.  It’s time to learn more so I can hopefully spin what I need for perhaps a sweater?  We’ll see!

"Circular Knitting Workshop."
“Circular Knitting Workshop.”

All my knitting in previous years was on straight needles.  I finally tried circular needles on the cowl pattern I have knit a few times. But I have questions and need answers.  Hopefully answers will be found in this book.

"Knits from the Heart of Norway."
“Knits from the Heart of Norway.”

My father had an aunt who, like his parents, emigrated here from Norway.  We met with her one day and I tape recorded the conversation during which she reminisced about life in Norway before they came to the U.S.  I recall that day she told us she had knit over 100 “Norwegian” sweaters.  That planted the seed in me to one day learn to knit Norwegian style.  So I added these two books to my growing stash of books on the subject.

"Nordic Knits."
“Nordic Knits.”

Good incentive to get those unfinished projects done!

"In the Company of Women."
“In the Company of Women.”

And for what I believe will be a good read, in bits and pieces, “In the Company of Women – Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs.”

I’m also reading “The French Chef in America:  Julia Child’s Second Act” by Alex Prud’homme, co-author with Julia Child of “My Life in France.”  Sorry, no photo.

Reading takes me longer these days, cataracts are becoming noticeable, particularly in my right eye.  They are interfering with my weaving, and I avoid any driving at dusk or after dark.  I’m hoping they can be removed before too long, must wait to see what the surgeon and insurance company have to say.  I do what I can, whether outdoor work, wood, weaving, reading, or getting back to decluttering and packing.  All in good time.  And if all goes well, I’ll be ready for another long northwoods winter with more than enough to keep me pleasantly occupied!


Missing the Studio,… I’m Back!

Woven shibori, fresh off the loom.
Woven shibori, fresh off the loom.

Last Thursday or so, another woven shibori scarf finally came off the loom.  I also found another, in a plastic bag, which had a pattern row treadling error.   The offending thread was removed, and a new plain weave row was needle-woven in.  Thank goodness for my Ott floor lamp with magnifier!  Cataracts are making themselves known and without the magnifier, I would not have been able to see well enough to replace that row.  Both were now ready for the next step in the woven shibori process.

The start of gathering pattern threads on first long edge of scarf.
The start of gathering pattern threads on first long edge of scarf.

Before dyeing, the pattern threads (green threads, above in pic) were gathered along one long edge, then the loops on that edge are clipped and tied into tight knots.

Gahters made, now tying knots.
Gathers made, now tying knots.

When one side was completed the same was done along the other long edge, making sure both gathers and knots were very tight, as that is the “resist” to keep the dye from penetrating through.  This warp is 10″ wide at the reed, but when ready to dye was less than 1″ wide.

Saturday morning, a new indigo vat was mixed.  It was made with warm water, causing it to produce a great amount of “flower” which I had to continually be removing.  In the video above, made tonight, there is less flower as the temperature has gone down, both outside and inside my home/studio.  I’m stirring it twice daily and it continues to have both flower and the green color that  you want in the vat.

Air-drying (with help of fan) after indigo dye vat.
Dyed scarves and squares air-drying (with help of fan) after indigo dye vat.

After giving it time to work, I tested color with four squares of PFD cotton, followed by two woven shibori scarves.  I’m keeping those squares, setting them aside for a future, but as yet unknown, project.

Right after clipping knots on one edge, pulling pattern threads out from other side, revealing the pattern.
Right after clipping knots on one edge, pulling pattern threads out from other side, revealing the pattern.

When the woven shibori scarves were almost completely dry, they were opened to reveal the pattern. They are about to be washed, well-rinsed, then air-dry again, followed by pressing and finishing.  I am hoping one will be a scarf with fringe, the other will be a cowl.

I had let guild members know I would be dyeing that morning, and Deb and Liz dropped by to watch the indigo dye process, and Louise (friend and guild member) was here to also indigo dye a few pieces.

There is still a bit of warp left on the loom, which I am weaving off in plain weave for pieces to hand-stitch designs on, along the lines of dragonflies, bamboo, done previously.

Meanwhile, I am deciding on the new warp,… more scarves? Less width for narrower scarves?  Or a few inches wider for a first garment?  I’ve been collecting a few patterns, and researching width needed for panels, and decisions on design, and pattern(s), in other words, threading and tie-up, need to be made.

White phlox growing near the apple tree.
White phlox growing near the apple tree.

Meanwhile, outside the studio, it has been a fairly rainy summer and early fall.  The phlox were better than usual this year, their beauty and fragrance take me immediately back to my childhood, and the phlox my mother had in a flowerbed.

Toadstool, early autumn.  Poisonous I was warned.
Toadstool, early autumn. Poisonous I was warned.

Another result of these rainy weeks has been more than the usual number of toadstools this year.  I posted this photo on Facebook, and at least a couple people warned me it was poisonous.  I never pick fungi of any kind, not being a fan (except for  dyeing in future), and leave them for the wildlife that can safely eat them.

Speaking of wildlife, Wild Instincts called me last Friday evening, could I pick up (and possibly catch) a seagull with a fishing lure through its beak.  Certainly, and off I went.  Before arriving, a call came to let me know the gull had been caught.  Thankfully, Mark N., rehabber, was able to quickly cut the small curved end of the lure, pull the larger part out of the beak.  The gull was only slightly underweight, and it was placed in a cage and put in a quiet space to recover and be cared for.

And where have I been since February?  I was emptying cupboards, drawers, closets, boxes, going through endless amounts of “stuff,” over 35 years worth,… giving some away, tossing quite a bit, and packing boxes.  Two family members moved out in early June so then I had the adjustment to make of living alone, again.  I am not done going through everything, summer flew by, and the year is nearing its end.  The new plan is over the winter, finish going through things, packing, finishing up work on the house, and do my best to be ready to list the house by May 1st, 2017.

With all this, very little weaving was getting done, which was expected.  I had been missing weaving and dyeing, and will be making it a priority again.  I’ve joined ArtizanMade and will also be part of the ArtizanMade Market  so I’m looking forward to a more time in the studio.

And not is it autumn!  There is a woodburning range in my kitchen, providing about 60% of my heat from mid-to-late October through mid-April, except there is no firewood ready!  I had someone here last week to cut the 8′ lengths of wood (3-4 loggers cords) for me. Now it is my turn to spend a lot of time outdoors at the log splitter, and stacking wood in racks in my garage, and then the woodshed.  A year ago, our first light snow was October 16th!  That gives me very little time to get a big job done.

I’ll be back in a day or two with photos of the finished scarves, and the tiny bit of recent progress with the Regina loom.  See you then!

Life Changes

February Frost.
February Frost.

Changes are coming, I hope this year.  I can’t see them all clearly yet, but I’m moving forward, hopeful that things will fall into place, and new opportunities will be found.

The end of 2015 was approaching, and I had been making plans for the coming year,… the Northwoods Art Tour again, Artistree Gallery, and Art Gypsies.  I had just joined The Textile and Fiber Arts List, and my Shuttle Works Studio shop on Big Cartel had just opened.

And then the phone rang,… it was my Dad calling to tell me he had fallen and fractured his left arm radius and middle finger.  This was his second health issue in the past year.

The night before I drove down, the decisions began,… the first one, to finally put my northwoods rustic log home up for sale in the spring and move back to southern WI to be closer to my father.  I have spent these  past 24 years enjoying silence, the sound of wind in the trees, sights and sounds of the wildlife.  I am so thankful for the life I’ve had here.

I drove down and stayed two weeks to help out, do laundry, cook, and clean, went home for Christmas, then back down for another two weeks until he was pronounced nearly healed.

Thankfully, his arm is now healed and he is bowling again and looking forward to spring and golfing and gardening.  Dad also made the decision while I was visiting, that after I have moved back, he will sell his home and move in with me, a suggestion I’d made quite awhile back.

When my mother passed away four years ago, Dad, who will be 89 this year, was a little worried about what would happen to him.  I assured him I would take care of him.  He likes his independence, likes to come and go as he pleases, and pursue his interests – golfing, bowling, and gardening, so he continued living on his own as he wanted.      The two of us in one home will allow him to continue this.

The decision to move was quickly followed by others.  With no idea when my home will sell, when I’ll be moving, I couldn’t stay on the Northwoods Art Tour.  They print 50,000 brochures which are distributed all over WI and northern IL, and I could not, in good conscience, be listed on there with even a slim possibility of not being here for the summer and/or fall tours.

Given the amount of work to be done on the house, preparing to move, packing and so on, time for weaving will be limited, which meant leaving Artistree Gallery at the end of March 2016, and not being part of the Art Gypsies art show/sale this year.  Cutting ties with groups of people I have been part of for 16 years or so has not been easy.  I’m feeling rather adrift right now, leaving this life behind, and as yet, nothing to be part of at my future home.  I am looking at possibilities for 2017.  For now, my online shop will be the outlet for my work, and I’ll be adding scarves to it in a few weeks.

Kitchen updating in progress.
Kitchen updating in progress.

So, we are busy now, doing some work on the house, and I’m busy starting to clear out 40 years of stuff and clutter, determined to not take all of this with me.  Of course, I will be taking the looms, spinning wheels, yarns, fibers, books, fabric, and so on.   Don’t ask how many bins and drawers.  Let’s just say the movers won’t be happy!  Studio contents, a lot of books, and a few pieces of furniture I want to keep will be on the moving van, not a lot else.

I’ve finally begun the huge task of sorting through drawers, closets, bins, boxes, almost a lifetime of belongings.  Wondering how much I can let go of without experiencing a huge amount of guilt.

I’m keeping an eye on homes for sale, looking for one with plenty of “elbow room” for the two of us, and room for my weaving studio, not to easy to find.  Realtors show me homes with a small family room, “you could put your loom in here,…” they really have no clue!  Now, I have photos of my looms on my tablet so they can see them and understand the size of looms and space I’m talking about.

Time to move on and create a new life, move into a new future.

Old and New Challenges

"Bamboo 2," woven shibori scarf. (Sold)
“Bamboo 2,” woven shibori scarf. (Sold)

It has been a couple weeks of challenges,… design, dyeing, time, energy, mechanical, and more.

After the circle/cowl scarves were finished and delivered to Artistree Gallery, along with the sachets, it was time to weave the custom scarf ordered by a woman in WI.  She had seen a different “bamboo” scarf during the fall art tour, and after looking at a number of scarves, decided she wanted one with a bamboo design on it.   The photo above, “Bamboo 2” was just completed and mailed this week.


A closer look at "Bamboo 2."
A closer look at “Bamboo 2.”

Weaving was begun, hemstitching, the border with a center area for the design to be hand-stitched on.  Then the center plain weave, and repeat the border.  It takes awhile to hand-stitch the design, and even longer to gather/tie all those stitched lines.  While working on this, I was also reviving the indigo vat by placing it (in a 5 gal. stainless steel pot) on the woodburning range in the kitchen to warm it up a bit, and added more indigo and Thiox, stirring it well a couple times that evening and letting it work overnight.  I’d forgotten how long, and it was a very long day and late evening, and finally ready to indigo dye the next morning.


Indigo dye vat ready to go (flower removed).
Indigo dye vat ready to go (flower removed).


"Flower," set aside in a bowl, and returned to the vat after dyeing done.
“Flower,” set aside in a bowl, and returned to the vat after dyeing done.

The dyeing was done, three dips in the vat, and after giving it plenty of time to oxidize, it was rinsed, water squeezed out, and draped over a wood drying rack in front of a fan turned on high.  By early evening, it was dry and I sat down with scissors and my new OttLite (LED with magnifier) which has been saving my eyesight, to very carefully snip the knots and pull the pattern threads out.  Then down to wash and rinse (multiple rinses), and let it dry overnight.  In the morning the scarf was pressed and I took it to the gallery to hand-twist fringe while I spent the day working there.  Mid-afternoon a lot of sleet came down, and after the rug hooking group left, I closed up and went home to finish the fringe.  Another pressing in the morning, and the scarf was mailed to the client.


Close-up of hand-stitched design.
Close-up of hand-stitched design.

I received an email from her, she is VERY happy with the scarf and will be wearing it over the upcoming holidays.   Enjoy wearing it, Jill!

I took a couple days off after the intensive hours on that scarf, and the other day set up the sock machine in the afternoon.  I had the machine ready, the lights focused down on the needles, the yarn standing by, the scrap yarn threaded, was about to turn the crank to start a sock, when,… the lights went out!  The timing was incredible.  It was all put away and I took a nap.

This morning I set it all up again, knowing I had to work on an issue with the tension knob,… the last time I made socks, the last two pairs ended up too big and were returned to me this fall (local guild member).  I’d made them the same number of rows, leg and foot, as I always do for her (repeat customer).  So I need to figure out if the whole knob had somehow been turned so the old setting wasn’t going to work?  If so, I’d need to figure out where it should be set to achieve the stitch size/rows for each size (S, M, L, X-L).  I wasn’t expecting the sock machine to have every problem it had ever had plus a new one.  The machine was taken apart three times today, cleaned, greased, reassembled, new needles swapped in for any that showed a problem.  But this new problem?  When I start the heel, the yarn doesn’t knit and all the needles for 3″ or so throw the stitches off, all in the blink of an eye.  I have no clue what is causing it and I can’t do heels/toes until it is resolved.  Tonight I described it on a sock machine list in hope someone might have an idea.  I’ll be back at the sock machine in the morning,… I think we need a little time away from each other tonight.

After those sock orders are finally completed and mailed/delivered, I’ll visit my father again for a few days.  We are hoping his two fractures will be healed by Jan. 4th, and he can leave the splint off, and return to his activities.


Glimakra Regina tapestry/rug loom in the studio.
Glimakra Regina tapestry/rug loom in the studio.

When I return home, I’ll be focusing first on the online tapestry weaving class I am participating in, taught by Rebecca Mezoff.  The next time you see a photo of this loom, my tapestry “homework” will be on it, something I am really looking forward to.  In winter, I like to stay home where it is warm and cozy, there are fewer distractions and outside deadlines, and it is a good time for me to delve into new areas of weaving or other fiber areas.

It will also be a good time to take woven shibori in new directions, and there are many ideas and plans for that.  And I’m not forgetting the Norwegian style weaving I need to get back to, including drawloom.  I have weaving to do for Shuttle Works Studio (on Big Cartel), Artistree Gallery, and for TAFA.  As part of the changes I expect to take place in 2016, I took myself off the Northwoods Art Tour, my participation in Art Gypsies and Artistree Gallery are undecided, and I am re-thinking my goals.  A couple days ago I went to one of those Facebook “game” pages where you type in your name and it gives a word for the coming year,… my word was CHANGE.  How fitting!

We are also going to be working on the house again,… kitchen cupboards and counters will be refinished, a new kitchen sink put in, and hopefully new lighting.  Upstairs, the floors will be taken up, planed, stained, and finished.  I turned 65 a few weeks ago (how did that happen!), and decided I need to simplify some areas of my life to lessen self-inflicted stress, make upcoming changes easier, and make my creative life more pleasant.

In late September I started sponsoring a 14 year old Tibetan nun through the Tibetan Nuns Project.  A couple weeks ago I began sponsoring a second Tibetan nun, this young woman is in her mid-20’s.  I am a firm believer in sharing blessings, and through TNP, these women and girls have safe housing, food, clothes, and are getting an education in an area of the world where very few females are provided that.  I am happy to give up a few extras each month to make this commitment to them and TNP, and I’m hoping we will be able to exchange an occasional letter.  For now, their photos and information hang on a bulletin board in my studio, where I see them daily.  They are a good reminder to be thankful for what I have, to give, and to stay focused on what is important in life.

There is much to look forward to in 2016!

Studio Life of a Weaver, Spinner, Dyer