Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

After reading one of my favorite blogs "Thrums" where Susan shares her wonderful Christmas ornaments with us,  I thought I would take few shots of my own Christmas tree to share with you.

For those of you who might be wondering why there is a red and white ribbon trailing down my tree let me explain.  The ribbon is actually a pennant, it is flown on US Navy ships when they are returning to their homeport from a cruise.  That particular pennant flew on my husband's ship many years ago when he was returning from sea - lots of good memories for our family surrounding pennants just like this one.

Hand blown glass ball in one of my favorite colors, Scarlet red.  I have a lovely collection of these hand blown glass balls on our tree in cobalt blue or the hard to find reds.  It sort of glows in the tree lights.

At the top of our tree is our traditional tree topper made from yellow ribbons, a US Flag and a gold star - all these items are from a wreath I made and displayed in our home when my husband was deployed overseas in support of the Navy's mission in Operation Desert Storm/Enduring Freedom and several other deployments.  It would not be Christmas in our home without these dear-to-us decorations.

My little Pooh Bear, I designed and hand sewed this little guy out of wool felt scraps.

54 years young!  My Mother beaded and made this stocking for me when I was born.  It has seen a lot of Christmases in it's life.  Seems most of my most favorite presents have been hidden in this stocking.

In case you are wondering I am actually weaving, this is my current project on the Glimarka.  This table runner is woven with a nice Jaggerspun wool as the weft, the color is a dark burgundy that doesn't seem to photograph well.  Love this pattern of Roses.

Hope your holidays are enjoyable.

Happy Weaving!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Homestead Studio Day One

I am proud to tell you that the entire house is unpacked, everything is in it's place.  Today is the first day I get to actually work in my new studio here in my new home.  Whew, it has been a journey and I am so glad to be back in Illinois and living on our own land.

Without further ado, may I show you around my weaving studio?

Thistle the Glimarka is being warped with my trusty warping trapeze.

Rose is sitting right next to Thistle - my beater for the Glimarka is perched on Rose's bench waiting for me to finish warping.  Love all the light I get from the french doors that look out on my soon to be paddock area.

This area is behind my weaving benches.  Holds my collections of yarn, shuttles, many weaving books and a rather large collection of books about Renaissance England.

This is the far right-hand side of the bookcase wall and is my sewing area and warping board storage  area.  One of my inspiration bulletin boards is centered inside the warping board - my husband's idea.

This little guy has been in storage for a few years, I now have room for him in my studio.  He is a rather old but very sturdy Kessenich - built way back when Kessenich looms were made in Wawatosa, WI.  Have an old warp on him that one of these days I need to weave off.  Thinking about selling this guy so I can hopefully purchase a 12 or 16 shaft table loom.

And finally, my favorite thing about my new studio - a working fireplace with a real mantle!  Love it, love it, love it.

Hope I have not bored you all to death, but I wanted to share my new studio with my fellow weavers.  I send holiday greetings and warm wishes to all.

Happy Holidays!
Happy Christmas!

Happy Weaving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Home Again Home Again - Jiggity Jig!

After many trials and tribulations we have arrived at our much dreamed of country home here in rural Illinois.  I am in the midst of many unpacking boxes and crates trying to make sense of it all.  Who knew two world travelers could have accumulated so much stuff in 24 years of marriage?

Of course all the pics of the house don't want to load onto this blog site, so you all get to see a picture of myself and hubs on one of our last nights in Utah.

As soon as I am able to get pictures of my new studio I will post them.  I am having severe loom withdrawal.

I wish everyone a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving.

Happy Weaving

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Little Shop has a new name!

My Etsy shop name has been slightly changed,  decided to go with Thistle Rose Weaving.  It is shorter and hopefully easier to remember for my customers.

Today I posted a message on the front page of my shop telling customers I was moving and that the shop was closed until November 18th.  Did not want to put the shop on official etsy vacation mode because I have heard through various venues this is a very bad idea and can cut into your sales.

Here is my new shop and blog banner, thought it shows my love of country, simplicity and of course shabby chic Victorian.  

For a change of pace, I thought you guys might enjoy a shot of dear husband and myself taken this summer in the high Uintas of Utah.  Hard to believe that we have been together for 24 wonderful years.  Personally, I think my hubby is most handsome man I have ever met - just sayin'

A great shot of my dear friend Lori and myself taken while shopping last month, don't you just love our shades!

Until mid - November, be well my friends and Happy Weaving!  See you in Illinois!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Much To Do and Much Ado

Life has a way of throwing curve balls and for my family that little statement is getting to be a fact life.

We are moving from Utah and returning to northern Illinois in about a month.  Our Utah house went on the market, it sold in 10 days - thank goodness it sold quickly I did not relish the thought of staying here by myself while the hubs was in Illinois working.

For some time now I have been contemplating changing the name of my shop.  Think that the the name Thistle and Rose Handweaving is way too long.  Etsy has just sent out messages that we will be able to change our shop and user names on the 18th of October - perfect timing wouldn't you say.  I am thinking that now is the time to make some big changes to my name.

Names I am considering:

Thistle Rose Weaving
Farmwife Weaving
Prairie Girl Weaving
Martha Weaves
Prairie Weaver
Plain Weaver or Plains Weaver

Not sure what I will pick, any ideas or suggestions or help would be most appreciated.

Have 2 warps on my looms I am desperately trying to finish before the looms need to be dismantled and packed for shipping to our new home.  Pulling apart my weaving studio is not something I relish, but something I have done many times before.

I will be back on line to read and enjoy all my favorite blogs sometime in mid November or so - hopefully with a new name for myself and my etsy shop.

Sam is pretty sure he is looking forward to the farm life in Illinois.  What's not to like about chasing chickens!
Until we meet again, happy weaving

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dark Towels mean kid friendly towels

Just completed a set of dark navy blue and black marle towels and put them up for sale in my Etsy shop.  This warp had been waiting for me to get around to weaving it up for quite some time.  I cannot even remember when I warped this particular yarn, could have been as long as 2 years ago.  Even worse I am not really sure what the warp was supposed to be for, thankfully I had a little note taped to the bag it was in with the length and the amount of ends.  Knew I had enough to make towels, so off I went - threw it on the loom, threaded an overshot pattern and got down to the business of weaving.

If you look closely you can see that the overshot bands are slightly different in each picture.

Ended up with 5 sellable towels, 2 towels in one pattern and 3 towels with the other pattern.   Always like having a wee bit of variety in my life.

Ended up with a 6 towels from this short warp, towel number 6 is about 3 inches shorter than it's cousins - so it will be considered a finger tip towel and is not listed on my shop site.  I will most likely use it as a thank you gift for customers or to give as a gift during the holidays.

The marle yarn was a mill end and for the life of me I cannot remember where I bought it.  There is a good possibility I bought it at Old Mill Yarns in Eaton Rapids, MI, but I would not swear to it.

Need to go and figure out what is next on the agenda, Christmas is creeping closer with each passing day.

Happy weaving

Monday, August 29, 2011

Christmas Table Runners & Home Canning Adventures

It has been a while since I have posted anything of note, sorry.   I have been weaving and of course canning up a storm around here.  Think I might have a few more tomatoes than I expected to actually have to deal with.  Yes, this is a good thing but it does cut into my weaving time.

Today I canned a nice thick tomato paste to use as the base for home made spaghetti sauce this winter, it turned out really well.  Learned a new trick to make thick sauce, let it cook in a 350 degree oven for a few hours this method gets rid of the excess water and leaves a nice thick paste - yummy stuff.  Also canned some lovely black sweet cherries, had to make brandied cherries for the holidays (this is my second batch, wonder if that is significant)?

Finished weaving some Christmas table runners in what I think of as Dala Horse red and snow white merc cotton.  On this particular warp I had three 70 inch runners and one shorter runner of 40 or so inches.  Much to my dismay one of the the long red and white runners had a treadling error on one end - why did I not see this error when weaving!  Needless to say that particular runner will not be going anywhere, thinking of using it as material to make a tea cozy.

This is the red and white runner that has no treadling errors, just love it!  Think my Dala horse looks splendid sitting on the runner.

Here you can see the snowflakes and the Christmas trees a little bit better.

In this version I choose to weave the pattern in gold thread and the body of the table runner in red plain weave.  It reminds me of traditional Swedish Christmas table runners, very simple and elegant.

Like the pattern in the gold thread, don't you?

Etsy has changed a few things on how people are able to search for hand made items on the site.  Hope this helps my little shop and sales start to pick back up.  Have any of you noticed a slow sale month this month?

Need to get busy and figure out what to weave next, back to the looms.

Happy weaving!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pot Holders or Hot Pads What do you call them???

Maybe it depends where you are from,  what do you call them....hot pads or pot holders?

These pot holders wove up fast and were a lot of fun to weave.  Of course I did not follow the directions, ----when do I EVER follow directions----.  What I did was to throw 30 pics of plain weave first (first diversion from the directions).  Next I then wove the pattern using yarns totally different than the pattern directions called for (are you surprised yet).  Next veering from the planned pathI threw 60 pics of plain weave and wove the pattern again.  Ended the pot holder with 30 pics of plain weave.

30 pics plain weave
60 pics plain weave
30 pics plain weave

4 shots of different color yarn wove in plain weave - used for a cutting line

start the process all over again

Why you may ask did I weave these pot holders in this manner....well, I am a process person and I wanted to weave double sided potholders so that they are hefty enough to keep a person's hands from being burned while they use them.  The other reason is speed of production, yes I could weave them in a double weave pattern, but that takes way more time than I wanted to spend on the project.

I sewed the potholders together by folding them in half, making sure that the they were square.  The unfinished edges on the top and bottom of each unit was turned to the inside.  Then I stitched down both sides very close to the edge in matching thread.  Ta da, they are done.  Easy project.

On another topic, have you read the new HW magazine?  I was very disappointed, fashions...really?  Guess I am not all that interested in making baggy and boxy clothing.  Much prefer Daryl Landcaster's jackets, they are better fitted and the handwoven material she weaves is up to date and not so "old lady" looking to me.  HW is starting to lose my interest and come to think of it - it has been for some time.  Wish I could afford a VAV subscription.   Also wish Jean Scorgie's magazine came out a few more times per year, now that is a talented lady.

Okay, off my soap box and back to the loom.  

Happy weaving.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Colorful Handwoven Pot Holders

Needed to come up with a fast project that had to be completed and ready for gift giving very soon.  Had left over 8/2 cotton from my bright multi colored huck towel project and an empty loom....so off to the races I went.

Wove a four foot warp off with 9 pot holders as the finished result.  The fronts are the pattern you see above which is from the Davidson book of patterns.  The back of the potholders were done in one inch plain weave boxes of the assorted colors I had on hand.  Used red commercial bias tape to finish the edges of each pot holder.

Taught myself how to miter the bias tape corners so that the resulting pot holder looks professionally finished.  The color is way off in this picture, way too yellow for some reason.  The real colors are better represented in the first picture.

The above picture is the current pot holder project I have going on the Gilmore.  Using a project pattern I found in HW issue May/June 2005 and making it a little more my own by changing the yarns, epi along with changing construction of the finished project.  So far they are weaving up quickly and I think will be great when they are completed.  Love overshot patterns so this is an enjoyable project to weave.

Wish the heat wave would end soon.  

Happy Weaving

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rustic Barn Red Handwoven Towels

Finally finished the warp of barn red and khaki 8/2 cotton that has been lurking on my Glimarka for a few weeks.

First up is towel number one, a good old fashioned twill with a neat wavy border.

Number two towel is one of my favorites, like the broken twill pattern in this one.

Towel three, alternating twill boxes.  This was a fun towel to weave, although I had to pay attention and not mess up on my treadling.

Fourth towel, good old fashioned tabby.  Don't you love my cow, she is made from cast iron and sure wish I had a herd of these girls.

Towel five was the experimental towel of this batch - decided to try something different for the warp.  Used a linen boucle on the warp.  My hubby likes this towel the best out of the lot.

Sam helping me shoot the towel pictures.  

Sam listening to hear his favorite words..."it is time for supper".  Such a sweet boy.

On to the next project....

Happy Weaving!

Monday, July 18, 2011


Do you collect sheep?  I think a lot of fiber artists collect sheep of some type, some of us are actually lucky to "collect" living breathing sheep - oh how I wish I could!  These guys are a small section of my little herd, the guy in the back is hand made from what looks like pine.  I bought him  about a dozen years ago at a yard sale for a quarter.  Love the guy in the extreme front, he was found when I lived in Japan, I believe he is hand carved.

This is not part of any of my collections, but is it a really neat piece.  My father made this sewing ciscrine (how do you spell that word) out of a set of drawers from a very old worn out treadle sewing machine cabinet.  I have hauled this great piece from pillar to post for the last 25 years.  She holds a ton of sewing stuff, vintage accessories for my very wonderful old Singer sewing machines and an assortment of thread and needles.

My latest find is this school desk seat, with wonderful cast iron legs.  The jointed mohair bear sitting on the seat is Oliver, he is part of my bear collection.  The bear collection used to be huge but I have since weeded it down to a manageable 6 or 7 bears.  Love the seat, washed it down with Murphy's oil soap to get years of grime off the wood and then applied Howard's wax as a finish. 

Back to the collections, on the sewing bird you can see some wonderful Victorian hat pins I have collected for several years.  If it is Victorian you can pretty much guarantee I will like it.  The bunnies in the picture also part of another collection and of course the gnome in the foreground is part of a small collection I started back in the early 90's.  Like to think he is working on a loom or possibly a harp. 

Last but not least, is my newest collection - vintage-like German mica glittered birds.  These birds hang from the ceiling above my Glimarka loom.  Why birds you may ask, they look Victorian to me because of the mica glitter and I love that look and they just appeal to me.

Well, as you no doubt have surmised I have no weaving to show for myself this week.  Rats!

Enjoy your week.

Happy Weaving

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

1940's Apron Sewing Fest Continues

Finally finished sewing all the aprons I had in mind when I started this journey.  The pink and brown apron below turned out really cute, sewed some cute little polka dot bows on the pocket.

Hopefully you can see the little bows when you click the picture to make it bigger.

This next apron has been brewing in my mind for a long time.  I inherited a rather dumpy old 1940's table cloth, it had been my Grandmother's and I am sure it has not seen a table in eons.  Did not want to throw the table cloth out, what to do....recycle of course.  

 Did some creative cutting so that most of the pattern showed up on the skirt and ties of the apron.  Even used a retro button from my collection on the pocket.  Also had to make a little flower patch to cover a hole, thankfully the hole was small and the patch blends in.

Sam my ever faithful studio assistant decided he needed to remind me it is almost time for dinner.  Hmmm which apron should I wear?  Actually most of these aprons will be gifts for family and friends this Christmas.  Think I will keep the table cloth apron for myself.

Last, but certainly not least is the last apron I have sewn this session.  Kind of reminds me of I Love Lucy, it has 50's vibe.  Love the giant red rick rack.

Also like the cherries on the pockets.

The neck ties also have the cherry pattern on them.

Okay, I am now up to my eyebrows in sewing threads and fabric cuttings all over the studio floor.  Time to clean up the mess and get back to my first love, weaving.  Poor looms are waiting patiently....

Happy Weaving.

Monday, July 11, 2011

1940's Kitchen and Chore Helpers

This week has kept me busy sewing with my "new" 60 year old Singer 201 sewing machine.  Love retro kitchens especially those from the early 1940's and all they entail, so of course that would include aprons.

 This apron really was a joy to sew but attaching the bias tape was no mean feat.  Tried using my vintage bias tape attachment that attaches to my machine, but alas it seems that modern bias tape is wider than the tapes of yore.  Whats that you say, why didn't I made my own tape....wait, for it I did ... well not on this apron but on one yet to come.  

On the reverse side I like the piece that goes between the straps it really does work to keep the straps from sliding down your arms.   Thought the bow was nice and girly too.

If you biggify (is that really a word) the picture by clicking on it you can see how I trimmed the pockets and the little front kick ruffle with some lace I had in my sewing stash.  

This apron is what my Grandmother Fran would have called a chore apron, it goes all the way around you and has no ties on it to get caught in barbed wire, wringer washers, screen doors - you get the picture I think.

This apron actually looks much better in person than it does on my dress form.  The lace I used is from Ireland, which is fitting as my Grandmother was too!  As mentioned before, this is the bias tape I actually made myself.  Bias tape is a pain in the you know what to make, but it turned out lovely.

Apron number three is my take on a vintage 40's kitchen/entertaining apron.  Loved the pink paisley print and the cute little ruffle that goes all the way around the apron.  Used my ruffler attachment to make the ruffle along with the rolled hemmer foot to finish the edges of the ruffle.  The old attachments may look strange but they really do work perfectly!

The back of the apron illustrates how well this apron really does cover you up, the ties are extra long and make a nice big bow.

Note the three different fabric patterns.  The pocket is just the right size for a handkerchief and not much else.  Sorry, the colors are not true to life, the camera is not reading the pinks very well.

There are 2 other aprons waiting to be constructed, so it is back to the machine for me.  

Happy Weaving!