Here we go again, Lessons learned – 1/2/2020

I am a relatively new weaver. Having used a rigid heddle loom briefly a couple of years ago, one that I had help warping. Getting a 5′ Tri loom in 2018 and weaving a few shawls and wraps on it. Borrowing a small rigid heddle loom for a 4th grade demonstration event on spinning, weaving, and colonial clothing in early December, I wove off the small amount of warp on it, warped it myself, used it and wove off the remainder of the warp after the event. For Christmas, I was given a 16″ rigid heddle loom and the announcement of another expected grandchild.

Christmas night, after waxing and assembling it, I warped that loom following my memory with guidance from the booklet that came with it and wove the sampler wrap pattern in that booklet. I felt like I had the confidence to tackle a cotton woven baby blanket. I had only woven wool, wool/acrylic blend up to that point. The cotton was purchased after Christmas and again I warped the loom, using white warp. The weft that was purchased was variegated and about 6 inches into the weave, I realized that the variegated yarn wasn’t strong enough color and the blanket would have looked washed out. Back out the next day to pick up a dark solid from the colors in the variegate and a plan to make the blanket color blocked. As the panels from the 16 inch loom aren’t wide enough alone, the plan and warp was to make 3 panels to be sewn together, hemmed and a crochet edge applied. The weaving was progressing much more quickly than I thought it would and I was marking every 6 inches, checking off my sketch. I was on the last panel and put it aside to go to the New Year’s Eve party at Mountain Lake. Yesterday, I pulled the loom table over to finish the weaving and realized I had a fair amount of warp left. Not wanting to waste it, I put a spacer in and wove a 12 X 12″ wash cloth. Carefully cut everything off the loom and carried it in to the sewing machine to secure the ends before I cut the panels apart, layed it out on the ironing board to cut it and DRAT, I made one panel one color block too short, that is 9 inches. I was disappointed that I had made such an error, but the 12 by 24″ panel will make a small towel to go with the wash cloth. But that meant the loom had to be warped again to weave the final panel.

Since I had to go through the steps again (I’m getting quicker at it and more efficient), I warped enough to make a second towel while I’m at it.

Lessons learned: 1) I don’t like weaving cotton very much; 2) make sure your pattern is accurate and pay more attention to it; 3) practice improves.

Since the loom was requested to take some of the burden off my joints from knitting, to add some different styles of garments and accessories to my shop, and to make some gifts, I guess the extra weaving gives me a head start. I need to get lining fabric and rope or twill to make bags/purses out of some of the earlier wool weaving and finish this blanket, SOON!

Happy New Year to All – 1/1/2020

There I did it! I wrote 2020 for the first time. The old calendar is down, the traditional new one is up. For several years, daughter had a special calendar made for us each year with family photos, some years of current pictures, one year of photos or our children and grandchildren from years before. When she moved back to Virginia and we could see them regularly, hubby began getting a calendar published by a local artist with his paintings from around our rural, mountain region.

Most years of our married life, we have stayed home, watched the ball in NY Times square drop, snacked on the traditional cheese, sausage, and crackers, shared a toast of the last of the season’s eggnog at midnight and gone to bed.

Prior to having children, we often left the day after Christmas with the local ski club or a ski shop trip and went to Vermont to ski, often having a New Year’s Eve Party in whatever hotel we were booked and returning home on the bus on New Year’s Day. Once we were retired and living in the mountains on our retirement farm, we started seeking out a local party, making reservations, to spend New Year’s Eve with others. The first one of those we did was a poor meal and a poorer party, leaving shortly after the toast and driving home.

We are fortunate to live just a few miles downhill from Mountain Lake Resort, of Dirty Dancing fame. Three years ago, I spotted a billboard for a New Year’s Eve Party there, that included a wonderful meal in their Harvest Restaurant, party with band, favors, and champagne midnight toast, room, and breakfast also in their Harvest Restaurant. We booked a reservation, went and had a great time, meeting new people as you sit at round tables seating 10 and getting to know other folks that came to party. No drive home after midnight and a couple adult beverages, just a walk upstairs to your room. That year our daughter and her family were living with us prior to purchasing their home and they took care of the dogs.

Last year, the management decided the event required a 2 night stay. Living so close and the increased cost, we decided to skip it, instead going to a movie, having a snack at the theater’s restaurant, coming home to watch the ball drop once again. Apparently, the management’s decision cost them many other partiers besides up and this year they returned to a single night stay requirement. We made our reservations several months ago and figured that if we fed the dogs before we left, hubby drove back down the mountain between dinner and the party to let them out and lock them back in the house, and took advantage of the breakfast on the early end, that we could go and have fun.

Lots of age variation sharing an evening of frivolity. Entirely too much adult beverage consumed by many of them. Party hats, tiaras, and party horns, a DJ with the whole gamut of music from rock and roll, disco, R & B, country, rap, you name it, and a champagne toast after the count down. We had a great time, awoke to cold wind and snow flurries, a hot breakfast, and a drive halfway back down the mountain to our home. The dogs survived as did the chickens that didn’t get locked up last night.

We are grateful for the health to enjoy a fun night out, the means to afford it occasionally, the company of old and new friends. We wish you and yours a happy and prosperous year ahead.