Sunday, December 23, 2012

I did it again!

This weekend was the Christmas event for Jill and Eric to come down.  We had a great, great time, but I forgot (again) to take a picture of the two of them.  I get so excited about having them here that I can have the camera right beside me and STILL forget to grab a picture.

So I am sharing one that they shared with me from their Hawaiian trip.

Other than forgetting the picture, things went very well.  They came down on Friday night with the “boys” and we visited for awhile before hitting the hay.  The next day I got dinner ready (ham, scalloped corn, fruit salad, mashed potatoes, etc); Candy and Wayne came over and we had a good meal, if I don’t say so myself.  Jill helped prepare and we visited while working.

The rolls didn’t turn out - I followed a recipe to make the rolls, freeze them, thaw them out and bake.  Well, the insides were nice but the outsides were tough ... not doing THAT again!  It would be better to make the rolls, bake them, freeze them, thaw them out and warm.  The left over rolls will be cut up to go into the dressing (stuffing? ... what do YOU call it?).

Candy and Wayne headed home early because it was cold and windy and starting to snow some.  The rest of us sat around the wood stove and opened our presents.  Norm and I got a really nice picture of the family cabin my folks had had in the Black Hills while the girls were growing up.  It was done by printing a picture on a laser printer then put onto a board with some special glue.  Looks really different, really neat!  Norm got a wonderfully warm sweatshirt (he says he was really warm in church, kids).

And me?  I got a website of my own!  Yup, boys and girls ..... my very own page.  Eric is planning on what to do but this blog is now able to be connected directly by typing in ... cool, huh?  Exciting!

It got cold overnight, and will be getting colder as Christmas gets closer.  Most of us stayed inside, nice and warm, while Norm bundled up and did chores and worked outside.  We had a great visit; they showed us the Hawaiian pictures and some videos; we played with the dogs and talked.  I bragged and showed them Freya, my new loom.  For non-fiber folks, they seemed impressed (she’s impressive to anyone, even without any weaving on her!). 

Fortunately, I’ve gotten almost all my weaving presents done.  I have one last towel to make but I won’t see the recipient until this next week, so I should be able to get it done in time.  I still can’t show the ones that are wrapped until Christmas is over but I can show you the one that is on Freya at the moment.

The temperature this evening is a “warm” 11ยบ out with a lovely covering of snow on the ground.  The moon “on the breast of the new-fallen snow gives the lustre of mid-day to objects below.” 

And so I leave you on this Sunday before Christmas with wishes of warmth, love and peace.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Now, THIS is why I wanted an eight harness loom!

 Yes, I know it’s been awhile, again!  But I’ve been busy.  I have gotten 1 bread cloth, 2 towels and am on my 3rd towel on Freya.  I tell you, people, she is a DREAM to weave on!  I have been neglecting my other looms because of her, but promise them, faithfully, that I will get back to them when I am done with Christmas presents on Freya.

Other than weaving, let’s see what has been happening.  Not much until December 7th. Then we headed up to the cities for the weekend.

We got to Joy’s on Friday in time to pick Bitty up from college.  What a strange feeling, to watch all these college students coming out of the door and then see my favorite granddaughter (with brown eyes) come out the door!

Joy had shopping to do and took me to Trader Joe’s.  Now, I’ve heard of that place but have never gone, so it was a new experience!  It’s just like almost every other grocery store, yet different.  I was impressed with the produce department and the meat department.  Organic and yet not very expensive, comparatively!

As Joy was running errands in several stores, the girls and I sat in the car visiting.  And saw the first snowflakes coming down.  By the time we got home, the ground was covered with snow.

We were a little concerned about the traffic and visibility because Norm and I went over to a restaurant just off Highway 35E to meet Jill and Eric for dinner.  We had a great meal, great talking and a great time.  By the time we headed home, the snow had lessened and we got “home” to Joy’s faster than we had gotten to the restaurant.

Saturday was busy, as Joy’s father-in-law, Bill, was getting married.  He has been a widower for 14 years, so it was nice to know that he now had a partner in life again.  The wedding was at the church, then the reception was at the senior apartment building that Bill and new wife Cely are in.

Saturday night was just collecting thoughts and energy.

Sunday was church.  The snow had started up at midnight on Saturday and was still coming down.  Ken decided to drive the car as it carried more people than the 4-wheel-drive.  Coming home, he couldn’t get the car out of the parking lot so caught a ride home with someone with a 4-wheel-drive, got his out and transferred people a few at a time - luckily the church is only 5 minutes away.

Ken got out the bobcat and cleaned the driveway and road, loving every minute of it.  The rest of us counted inches of snow and decided that we would NOT go to the ballet (Nutcracker) that afternoon.  Instead, we rented a Nutcracker from Amazon Videos and enjoyed the music and dancing while safe at home.

Norm and I had planned on heading home after the ballet on Sunday night because Norm had a dental appointment on Monday morning.    I called the dentist and canceled.  We called Candy and she said that she didn’t even know how much snow they got but the roads had to be closed .... she couldn’t even see the road from her house.

So, we headed home on Monday morning, after rush hour traffic was over.  Joy’s place got a total of 12"!  The roads were reasonably good .... didn’t take much longer than normal - well, about an hour longer - and had very little trouble on the roads.

When we got home, our road had been plowed and our lane was not too full of snow.  Norm figured we got about 5" but more wind that the cities.

Now we are home; I have the wood stove cooking warmly and the loom clicking along speedily.  And today is 12/12/1212!  What do you think about that?

Here are some pictures of the wedding to share with you.

The family with Bill and Cely

The girl cousins


 Bitty was the second girl born in the extended family.  Her cousin in purple was the first.  There are a lot of boys, but just look what Bitty started!  A whole gang of girls!

Snow at Joy's

 It’s a beautiful snowy, sunny day today.  You have a beautiful day.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Back again

Guess it’s been a while ... my mom has been fussing about the lack of posts here.  But I HAVE been busy, so that might be an excuse, right?

Norm and I went to my weaver student’s house a little over two weeks ago and got my loom, who will be called “Freya.”  Freya is the mother goddess of the Nordic gods and is the goddess of weaving and spinning.  She is made of maple wood and is nearly brand new.  Darlene used her a bit but not much and they have taken great, GREAT! care of her!  They wouldn’t let her out of the house unless we brought a trailer because (unlike Norm’s assurances) she would not fit in our mini-van.

So we went down with the trailer and got her in.  Norm was surprised at Freya’s heaviness.  But Nordic goddesses are not light-weight in body or powers, so I wasn’t surprised!

We got the loom up into the studio and set up (I had worked hard to re-organize the studio so that there would be room for her without having to tear down any other loom) and I sat and grinned for the rest of the day.

There were a few things missing ... the most important were the tie-downs.  Now, to those of my fans who understand weaving, this would not be complicated but to the other million fans who don’t, let me try to explain.

A harness loom has harnesses and heddles and treadles (or levers) to make the patterns that are so enjoyable to weave.  Freya is a “Mighty Wolf” and has eight harnesses and ten treadles.  To make the whole contraption work, you take tie-down cords and connect them from the harnesses to the treadles, so when you press your foot on one treadle, a complicated (or not) set of harnesses go up to allow you to put your weft yarn through your warp yarn.  Understandable as mud, isn’t it?  Trust me ... it works.

But Freya, having eight harnesses needed enough tie-down cords to connect to the ten treadles, making eighty tie-downs!

I ordered them, and while waiting, got my warp ready to put on the loom.  I went through the reed, then through the heddles and got the warp tied to the back beam and ready to roll.  It takes two people to roll as you need someone in the back rolling and someone in the front holding the yarn to keep the tension properly tight.

Norm went to Rapid City to be with family for Thanksgiving - his sister Betty was celebrating her fiftieth wedding anniversary to brother-in-law Ed.  I could have had Candy come help roll, but I wasn’t ready, so Norm rolled when he got home.

I got the tie-downs and had to lie down on the floor to get the cords connected to the treadles and harnesses.  That took two days (or parts of) because I couldn’t stay down there very long.  But the hardest part is done and I won’t have to do anything but change the tie-downs for different patterns and that isn’t has hard as putting the cords on.

So now the warp is rolled on, everything is working well and I am actually weaving!  Freya is a work of art!  The Schacht company that makes the Wolf family (Mighty, Baby and Pup) have been working on these looms for over thirty years and have gotten them so very finely tuned that I can’t find anything to complain about except that I need longer legs to stretch from treadle one to treadle ten.

Now I am already planning what’s next on for Matilda.  I have the project planned, have ordered the yarn and am almost ready to re-warp her.  I am working on a patriot runner on Cherry and am tying on a wool warp on Harriet-Dare.  So I will have much to do (and little time to do it) up in the studio.  I am so grateful that: 1. We have a large room for my studio and 2. Norm allowed me to claim and use that room.  We have good lighting, with spot lights on each loom; we have a good wood floor that is bright to help reflect light; we have a large west window for light and pretty yellow walls.  The whole room is bright and cheery and pleasant to be in.

I have been asked by some if I’m going to sell a loom.  NO!  NO!  NO!  I have rearranged the room to fit everything in with no crowding.  I was willing to sell Harriet Dare if I had to purchase Freya.  But because I am trading lessons for Freya, I don’t need to sell any looms to pay for her.  I have five (count them, FIVE) looms; they all have projects on them and I can go from loom to loom to loom to loom to loom, if I want or if I get bored (what, me bored?) with one project.

The true happiness in life comes from being happy in what you are doing and what you have.  My sister Cara told me that in a dream last year, to remind me of what I have.  And I am truly happy.  I have time, I have tools, I have ability and I CAN WEAVE!

It’s a beautiful day today for anything you want to do.  I am going back up to weave again.  You have a beautiful day.

Darlene is saying goodbye

It's bigger than he thought!

In the trailer, covered well.

Home and getting it out

Set up ... blanket was used to slide into place.  Do NOT look at the mess!

Treadles and tie-up to harnesses ... 1/2/3/4/left-tabby/right tabby/5/6 etc

My bread cloth