Monday, August 31, 2009

South End Open Market

Yesterday I sold at my first ever SoWA Open Market in Boston's south end. I shared a space with HeatherJeany to give it a shot and see what the set up is like. Overall, it seemed a little slower than I expected, but I still did OK. Plus, it was fun to catch up with Heather and have a day to hang out and chat. The parking/unloading was not nearly the chaos I (for some reason) envisioned. You drive right up to your spot and unload, easy! It was also great to meet JHill Designs, whose work I absolutely love. (Remember these, and then this one?)

My new banner made its debut (thanks, Dad!) and looked good. Only one joke about Rhode Island being actual size.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The final step

So, there's one thing left to do before I can actually start weaving. Basically, now that my warp in on the loom and threaded, I need to be able to open a shed to put a weft yarn (pick). To refresh, my loom is threaded with ends going through heddles, those heddles are attached to harnesses. Now I have to make certain harnesses lift up, while others stay down, this will make a shed. Which yarns go up and which stay down depends on how I designed the weave structure, so I need to tell the loom which ends to raise and in what order. For each pick I add, different ends will raise. This is what makes fabric, the interlacing of two systems of yarn, warp and weft (aka: ends and picks).

To do this, I tie up my treadles. Treadles are the pedals that I'll operate with my feet. This involves these handy little hooks that I put on each treadle, according to the weave structure. Then I can press down on the treadles with my feet, in the correct order and weave away with my hands. (Is this too techy for non-weavers and too boring for weavers?)

Have a good weekend, readers! Hopefully I'll get some weaving done this weekend and show you some experiments.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Design Blog

Keeping with the theme of cousin blogs, this summer, my cousin in Scotland started blogging and it's fast become one of my must reads. I always knew Sarah could wear pink like no one else, but in recent months have learned that she loves to buy handmade and has a great eye for good design. Now, she's sharing her design advice and shopping finds with the rest of us over at Apothecary Fox. Definitely check it out!
Inspired by a post she did last week on Modern Trophies, I had to do a quick follow up with this super cute product at Craftland, an Indoor Cat Hunting Trophy by Headless Press. These are small, each one is different and they crack me up.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thank you, Suffragettes!

I'll admit it, I love voting, I really do. 89 years ago today, women won the right to vote. Women weren't granted the right to vote by some guys in Congress who had a change of heart and thought they deserved it, they had to fight for it. They rallied, they marched, they shouted . . . and, might I add, they did it in corsets. Special thanks today to all those women who fought hard for me to be there on November 4, because I had a lot of fun that day.

Guest Post at 10engines

Last week I was invited by my Boston-area cousin James to write a a guest post on his blog, 10engines, which he describes as "food/family/rural/library/transatlantic/vintage." That about sums it up, it has fast became one of my daily reads.

The guest post I did was on Aran knitting and is up today. Thanks to James for the chance, it was a lot of fun. Go on over and have all the myths associated with Aran knitting debunked.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Warp Threaded

My loom is officially ready for weaving. I got the warp threaded, the reed threaded, and the whole thing tied on and ready to go. Here are a few pictures of the process. For those weavers out there, my warp is an 8/3 mercerized cotton, a nice cream color. I decided to thread it in a straight draw, over 8 harnesses. It's been a while since I've thought in terms of weave structure, so I purposely limited myself so I can enjoy the process and get back into the feel of weaving. I've tried to explain what each photo is for the non-weavers out there.

These are called heddles, there's one for every warp end. Each end needs to be threaded through one heddle. Heddles are attached to harnesses (except in jacquard weaving where they're each independently controlled).

Taking a break from threading for a photo op. I have 560 ends total. Basically the warp is traveling from the back beam, which I wound it on to, to the front beam.

After the ends go through the heddles, they come through the reed. I'm getting close!

Warp tied onto the bar attached to the front beam. Tension all nice and even.

Winding my first bobbin. To start, I'm using the same yarn in the weft as I did in the warp. (I usually refer to my warp as ends and my weft as picks.)

The wound bobbin with my weft, goes into a shuttle. I'll use this shuttle to carry the yarn across the fabric. I put a few pieces of paper towel in first, just to get past the knots, so when I start weaving, the ends are all nice and next to each other.

First few picks, I stopped there for now. Love that my shuttle has my name on it. That one's from college, I had my name on all my tools back then!

So pretty! Now, to get weaving! More as I go!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Three Things I Love in Providence

I had a fun birthday weekend. (Thanks to everyone who sent me good wishes!) I spent the weekend doing lots of things around town and by Sunday night was definitely feeling the love for my little city and the things that are so unique to Providence. Here are three of my faves:

1. Movies on the Block. If you haven't been to this, you don't know what you're missing. Sort of an urban drive-in, it's right downtown in an empty lot. They show a movie on a screen on the side of a building and people bring chairs and blankets for viewing. Best part, it's free! We saw For Your Eyes Only.
2. Venda Ravioli. Friday, we enjoyed a delicious birthday lunch here. Venda serves lunch all year, but it's best enjoyed in the summer when you can sit outside in DePasquale Square. It has the best antipasto ever and is such a relaxing and delicious way to spend a few hours. Hands down, best lunch in town.
3. Waterfire. Worthy of an entire post, but for now just know that if you haven't been, go soon. It's something equally enjoyed by locals, tourists, and people coming in from the suburbs. (What's the Providence equivalent of bridge and tunnel people?) Saturday night was also one of the dancing nights, the theme was swing. How cool to have a live band, a street closed off for a dance floor, and people of all ages and backgrounds dancing their hearts out on a summer night? You won't find an event like this anywhere else in the country. It's so unique and so enjoyed.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Warp on!

Ok, so maybe it wasn't too unrealistic to say I'd have a warp on by my birthday. As of this morning, it's officially on! Yay! I'm glad I made the decision to use yarn that wouldn't be difficult or problematic. I wanted my first one on to be fast and smooth, to get me back in the groove. Now that it's on, the next step is threading it. I should be able to get the right number of heddles on the right harnesses, but don't think I'll get to start threading today.

I'll confess, I'm feeling really happy about it.

Step 1
Step 2, ready to start cranking
Step 3: All cranked on and ready to go! Next step is to start threading.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Step 1: Plan & Wind Warp

I need to be honest, readers, Friday is my birthday and I'm one of those people who loves birthdays. My year revolves around my birthday, it's my own personal New Years. Reflecting on my year, making goals, all that happens for me on August 21. It's also often a self-imposed deadline for me. I often have things I want done "by my birthday."

This year, one of those things was having a warp on my loom. I was trying to think when I last wove something and I'm horrified to think it was probably 2002, and then from 2006-2009 it was stored in a basement. (Granted, at the time, I was employed full time designing woven fabric all day, so I think I was less inspired to come home and weave. Now, with fabric far from my day to day life, I miss it.) When we were looking for a new place, one of the requirements for me was having enough room to have my loom out of storage. Once moved, I started with the "I'm going to have a warp on by my birthday." Which only changed slightly to "I should at least have a warp wound, and in the process of being on my loom."

I'm happy to report that yesterday I planned out a super easy first project and wound a warp. I decided I wanted to weave something for our new home, so I'm going for some easy placemats. I was secretly a little worried that maybe I'd forget how to do it, or forget some steps, but it was as if I'd done it yesterday. When I showed the finished warp to D last night, he said "Interesting, now what do you do with it?" I think he's excited to see how the above cone of yarn, will turn into placemats.

I'll be sharing this first project as it progresses. For now, enjoy photos of the warp winding. I wish I had a photo of the warp still on the warping mill, but I got anxious to get it off and forgot to take a photo!

Figuring out my ends per inch. Same ruler I used back in college.

Warping mill set up. This was previously owned by my weaving teacher from college, Bhakti Ziek. I love that it has its own history. I also love this photo of it set up on the rug I brought back from Istanbul, a trip I went on with Bhakti.

Warp ready to go! Next step, put it on my loom.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Craftland, sneak peek! Part 2!

As promised, here's another sneak peek of what's new at the brand new Craftland. (I've also gone back to last week's post and added links.) Be sure to come on down to the corner of Westminster and Union Streets to check out the permanent Craftland. If you're interested in being part of the Holiday extravaganza, fill out an application now!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Farmer's Market!

I'll confess, I'm not the chef in the house. While I love eating, the cooking is not so fun for me. Thankfully, I live with a foodie and can enjoy all the goodness without having to learn how to cut an onion properly or how to reduce things.

Still, I love going to the Farmer's Markets here in Providence. I usually hold the tote bag with the goodies, and snap photos with my camera. It's such an overload to the senses. Everything just looks so pretty and fresh. The colors are gorgeous, the smells overwhelming and the little tastes go a long way. It's also great to see how bustling the market is, helping our local farmers and getting excited over salad greens and beets.

These photos are from the market that's on the East Side at Lippit Park on Saturday mornings. Check it out next week!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Craftland, sneak peek!

Craftland opened this week in downcity Providence as a permanent, year round, shop. It looks better than ever, full of gorgeous product. Previous Craftland shoppers will recognize some of the artists, but there are also lots of new artists present. Here's a sneak peek. (I forgot to write down the artist's info for these photos, so I'll do that when I'm there next and revise.)

Come on down to the corner of Westminster and Union Streets to check it out! Check out their website for all the Craftland info you need and put Friday, September 18 on your calendar to come down for the Grand Opening party! Shop local and support independent artists!