Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weaving wise... a thrilling video...

I discovered this video recently and it had me completely spell bound. I think it's an absolute thrill to watch, and I continue to be mesmerized by it--just wish it were an hour long documentary instead of a 2:45 minute clip!

I was at Versailles around the mid '90s for a day trip from Paris where I was spending a week's vacation. It was a glorious trip, one I will never forget and hope to perhaps repeat some day. I was completely taken in with the textiles in Versailles. The fabrics in the King's and Queen's bedrooms were astonishingly beautiful--let's face it, the fabrics throughout the palace were mind boggling. Such riches.

So stumbling upon this video was special. Getting a glimpse of how those glorious fabrics are created is quite special. I would like to investigate further into this type of weaving. I also like the shots of the woman and man using a flying shuttle to weave velvet--it comes towards the end of the clip.

To leave no doubt I was actually at Versailles, I will post 3 pics (of several I took while there:

Post note: Apart from the trip to and fro--I'm not that keen on flying--the trip to Paris was a dream. I stayed at a small hotel on Ile de la Cité named Hotel Henri IV. It was post-season so it wasn't terribly crowded and the weather was cooler. The hotel rooms were dirt cheap (~$50/night) but didn't include tv (I wasn't there to watch tely!), ac (it was September and didn't need it!), and the shower was shared (as I was usually later to rise, it didn't matter!). The location of this hotel can't be beat, it's just down from Notre Dame snuggled inside a quaint little square (triangle, really) on Place de la Dauphine, gobsmack in the middle of Paris! Ah.... lovely memories.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NY Sheep & Wool Festival... 2012

What does one say about their fourth visit to the NY Sheep and Wool Festival? For starters, it's as great as it's always been! ...

The experience that comes from multiple visits gives me an edge in planning my day. I had a pretty good idea how long it would take to stroll through each of the buildings so I didn't feel at all hurried. I arrived right at opening time and left at closing time and that gave me plenty of time to see everything I wanted and more...

This year I stopped to watch the fashion show billed as "NYS Make It With Wool". All entries had to be designed and hand sewed, and most were worn and modeled by the crafters themselves. The participants ranged in age from 6 or 7 years old (sewing dresses already!) to adult. There were some very lovely garments. It was fun to watch and the craft involved was awe inspiring.

I also made time to watch a sheep dog demonstration. It was sheer delight to witness the dog's eagerness in working the sheep. Those dogs really do love their job don't they?

There's a pic of the fashion show and a few of the sheep dog demo below.

At 4pm I had arranged to meet up with a couple I met online last year. What fun! It is wonderful to have real bodies to replace the imaginary pixel images I had of them. We traded show-and-tell of our day's purchases then headed into downtown Rhinebeck for a lovely dinner. It was a bit of a miracle that we made it to the restaurant given the bumper-to-bumper traffic leaving the fair grounds, but we persevered and dinner was devoured over great conversation. I was subsequently--and generously--chauffered to the train station where I caught the 8:01 Amtrak back to NY. I was pretty tired when I got into my apartment shortly before 11pm, having arisen at 5am to catch the 7:15 train to Rhinebeck. But worth it, ever so worth it!

Yes, I did manage quite a haul! Two of the items: the teal/grey colored top and the handspun, handknit fingerless mittens were gifts from my friends from Canada. I picked up some top for spinning, lots of silk hankies for spinning, a CD of recorder music (it's lovely!), hand made soap, a soap dish, and a tahkli...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weaving wise... the loom is warped...

I had lots of time to work on threading the loom today, the result being the throw is now fully warped and waiting for the shuttle to start flying. That, plus I need to keep spinning more yarn for it.

This warp is the full width of my loom: 45". After eyeballing it this evening I realized that the colors don't come out even on each side so I'm going to remove the rightmost 20-something warp threads. That will create a balanced pattern. So the throw will be a tad less wide than I planned, but not much: a couple of inches.

Here is the loom all warped up:

(See the two pelargoniums in the background? They were given to me this week by a co-worker who picked them up from one of the lower Manhattan development organizations. They were giving away 4,000 plants! I'm pretty sure these are the pelargoniums that were planted in Bowling Green this summer. The blossoms are a deep red color.)

I came up with a nifty (to me) system yesterday while threading my loom, and it is a real time saver. I was so excited about it I decided to make a short movie, and here it is:
Keeping warp threads tidy while threading the heddles

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Needless to say, life has been a little hectic since learning that I'll be moving to NH in the spring.

I made a trip up to the Granite State this weekend to look at some houses--7 of them in one day! By the time the 6th came around, I started having difficulty remembering which rooms belonged to which house!

It was so absolutely gorgeous up there in the country. The leaves were colored, the temperature cool, the air crisp, and it all proclaimed autumn in exuberant abundance. I went to visit an orchard with my brother on Sunday and snapped several pics which I'll post below.

The good news is I have pre-approval for a mortgage. Yippee! More good news is I saw a house I'd like to purchase. It's in a town called Groton, not far from Canaan and Dorchester, just below the White Mountains. It comes with 3 acres, an excellent tax rate, and most importantly, peace and quiet. I'll post updates (and pics) on that as the process transpires.

Weaving has been very temporarily on hold but I do have the 3rd and final warp chain to sley and then I can thread the entire warp. It is 45" wide, at 10 dents per inch that means 450 yarns to thread. Eh. Not bad! :)

I finished the main body of the knitted stole and started the edging whilst in NH. Haven't got too far on it yet, but once I get going I think it's going to progress quickly. The edging is not very wide.

I'll have to continue spinning for the woven throw and will probably start treadling again tomorrow evening. (It's taken a whole day to catch up with myself and much time was needed today to fill out forms etc. for the house. I do not like paper work.)

I took my cello to NH with me and it was terrific to practice while away. I spent over an hour and a half on Sunday upstairs in my brother's house practicing in front of the window, overlooking the most serene autumn view. There's a picture of that below.

(Click on picture to enlarge)

Natural abundance:

The blueberry patch:

From my brother's house:
Wooden hen:
Fresh donuts and warm cider:
Corn leaves:
Dripping with fruit:
Easter eggs:
Beautiful flowers for picking:

More apples:
A small view of the corn maze:
The color of these apples gives them the appearance of plums:
Did I really walk the entire maze? You decide! :)
Nature's weaving:
In the orchard:
Practicing cello (it doesn't get any better than this!):

Raspberry patch:
Very tall corn: