Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The End is Near

I can't believe the time has been passing and I have not been getting anything on the blog.  I had wanted to get a couple done each month, but I have really lost that race. 

Winter Solstice, a time of new beginnings...the days grow longer and the sun shines on us longer each day.  

We have had a slow start to the winter weather here.  We actually had some days in the 60's during December, so it is hard to be in the spirit of the season.  I'm not complaining about the weather...I like the fall and spring, and dislike the winter and summer...so the mild December has been great.  I do like the look of snow on the the trees, I enjoyed it for a few hours last week, and I'm sure that I will be sick of it before long, so I need to just enjoy the days as they come and be grateful for each day.
Frosted Leaves from a previous December
I have been having more than a few changes and happenings that have been going on.  I worked on my weight (the doctor said I was on the road to diabetes, and the knees were having trouble with moving that weight) and lost the first twenty pounds.  I hope after the holidays, I will be able to continue the loss and be on the road to better health.  I really felt better on the diet and have continued to be careful...but holiday eating means lots a great food and lots of sugary treats.  I have been able to maintain the loss, but not lose any more.  That is what I was hoping for during the season.  It would be nice to get a little more energy in my life.  

I tried some weaving sales this winter.  I participated in the Holiday Craft Sale at Pioneer Craft house and the Holiday Art Crawl started by a friend.  Both of these were rather small venues, just a backdrop area to display.  I managed to do quite well on the sales and sold all my towels and many of the scarves.  I have not been trying to sell much for several years and decided this year to get started.  It took a while for me to get going but I was happy with the results this year.  I need to consider other venues for sales next year.

I have been getting some work done.  I have been enjoying some spinning.  I joined a SAL/KAL (spin-along/knit-along) and I almost have a short sweater done.  It was with the Greenwood Fiberworks group on Ravelry.  I had bought the roving as a treat this summer and spun it up.  It is almost knitted.  It ended up very orange in color (one ply of the painted roving and one ply of a solid rust), but I think over a green or purple dress, it will look great.  Maybe I need a long sleeved shirt in those colors to wear it with jeans...  
Just need to finish the sleeves

I looked at a bobbin of spun yarn that I had done with another of the wonderful rovings from Greenwood Fiberworks.  On this one, I only had four ounces, not enough for knitting much.  And the yarn was too course.  I had spun this a while ago and I don't know if I had any plans for it.  At least, I didn't write anything down in the bag it was stored in.  I decided a scarf/shawl in a chained 3 ply yarn, so I unspun and respun the yarn finer.  (I just re-spun it the other direction, then chain plyed it.  Now it is a slightly finer yarn and is 3 ply instead on singles.  I think it will work up well in a knitted scarf/shawl.  I know I do not need another one of these, but maybe I can put it in a give away box for a future gift.
Original Yarn

Re-spun Yarn
I also finally got the blanket off the Leclerc loom.  I found that the back beam needed to be higher (I just had to attach the side cross piece to a shorter notch, and the cross piece below the back beam needs to be filled and re-screwed (the screw hole has been striped).  I also found that the eight dent reed we have at the studio is too thick for the beater.  I managed to use it, but I should try to have the top section of the beater routed out.  I need to have that opening larger.  The wood workers at the craft house may be able to do it for me.  It is a good loom and I was surprised how well I was able to weave 60 inches wide.  I learned how much to throw the shuttle so that it stopped before flying across the room.  Of course, the first few inches of weaving saw me chasing the shuttle all over.  I did get into a rhythm of throwing and leaning the opposite direction to catch the shuttle.  Not a fast rhythmic weave, but a pleasant weave.  It turns out my DD likes the blanket (she should she picked out the yarn for a sweater some years ago...she then decided that she wanted different colors for the sweater and this yarn got put away to ripen some before use).
Errors corrected and ready to full

My classes progressed well this year, only a couple of hick-ups.  I hope to add more classes this year, and get some additional teachers at the craft house.  We added felting and spinning this year.  I had a great time with the felting class.  We did a needle felted bear and when I was finished it was recognizable as a bear!  My previous attempts were not as successful.
Beth also taught a felt class that we made a picture.  I have always loved this technique, both Beth's work and some that I had seen years ago with another felter.  I was excited with the picture I did.  The wonderful sunset picture I based it on is my nephew's work.  I hope to frame it somehow to show the piece off.
My little Bear

Felted picture with original behind
I still have to work on emptying a couple of looms that have been sitting forever for too long. That needs to be one of my goals for the first part of the year.  The local weaver's guild gave a challenge for the year...Weave at least 10 minutes each day.  I'm sure my first few days will be spent cleaning up around the looms so that I can get to them.  I need to focus on the Big Mac and the Baby Wolf to get both of them emptied.  I want to replace all the heddles on the Big Mac (16 shafts) I already bought the heddles and they have been waiting quite a while.  And I want to design and weave some new towels on the Baby Wolf to replace those I sold this month.