Friday, August 16, 2013

Incorporating Tablet Weaving into Garments.

In other words, weaving on a tablet woven band as a selvage as you go. The class was taught by Master Weaver Inge Dam of Schomberg Ontario.

This is weaving the selvage on after the cloth has been cut off the loom. Each thread is placed individually.

However, we set up the cards as part of our loom so the edge band was woven contiguously and seamlessly with the cloth.  I didn't take a photo but the cards are behind the beater bars. So it's step on a treadle, reach and turn the cards, throw the shuttle, beat twice and repeat. 

Card weaving was predominantly done in Ancient Egypt, Scandinavia, Medieval Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Inga mostly talked about the the work of Iron age Scandinavia. You know, Vikings. The reason I took the class. Here is a site that shows the warp weighted looms they used and some talk about fabric and card weaving. Instead of rocks we weighted the backs of our looms with plastic bottles full of water. 

The class samples showing the eleven embellishing techniques we learned. Velvet, several kinds of beading, brocade, tassels, split work, and a few more. While I spent three long, careful, days at it I haven't been bothered to take photos of my incredibly beginner work.

However Inge's work is a whole new level.

She dyes the yarn and the lining fabric herself. Designs the patterns sews the garments. She said working on it for 8 to 10 hours days, 5 days a week, it takes her three months to finish each piece. I can believe it. In the 21 hours we were in class I barely completed 24 inches of fabric.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Three Hour Class

I may not have been buying yarn but I have been spinning. I may not have taken Jennine Glaves three day class at Midwest but I did take her three hour class.

The class samples showing what we were to learn.

The sequin fabric, silk ties, nylons, plarn (plastic yarn) from shopping bags, and Kapok were easy.

Then came out the challenging fibers.

 Christmas tinsel spun worsted.

  Christmas tinsel spun woolen.

Easter grass spun any way we could.

Monday, August 12, 2013


I have just mentioned again that 2013 is another year of not buying yarn. That means it's time for a blanket check in.

I stated this blanket in January to distract myself from the blanket I really wanted to knit. The blanket that I would have to buy yarn to knit. Since this blanket wasn't THAT blanket knitting was a bitter and sweet experience.

The bitter part it wasn't the blanket I wanted to be making. There was a little anger toward this one for not being THE blanket. Also, I was using stash yarns and scraps so I was bitter that I didn't have the chance to pick out the exact colors I wanted in the exact yardage this blanket needed. Every time a color ran out early, every time I had to make new plans because it was clear the current plan wasn't going to work, I would throw it down in disgust.

The sweet part was the light bulb moment every time I came up a new plan after I had to abandon the old. The using up of the yarn I already had. Of jamming things together and forcing them to work. Instead of coming up with a blanket like other knitters have knit I have an original piece of folk art. I just love the way it came out.

It didn't stop the obsession with the Ten Stitch blanket. I didn't want to knit the Ten Stitch because I needed a blanket I wanted to knit it because it's perfection in yarn and it had taken hold of my mind.

In April for my birthday I did it. I ordered the yarn. While a blanket worth of Noro is an obscene amount to spend on a blanket, if I take the amount and dive it over the 5 months I had been obsessed with it and the 5 months it would take to knit it... well monthly that comes to less then the cost Netflix so as entertainment value it was down right a bargain. Yeah. That's it. A bargain.  At least I bought the lot of Noro Furisode on clearance.

 10 squoosy balls of love. I'm going to squeeze it, and hug it, and call it George.

 It's so very pretty. A sliver of sunset in yarn form.

Knitting it is everything I thought it would be.

One ball from local dyer Nerd Girl Yarns at the Maker Faire and three skeins of hand dyed sock yarn at Midwest Weaving Conference is the only other yarn I've bought this year.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


So I should say why I have an Aeronautical Chart of my home state. 2013 is another year of extremely limited yarn buying and that holds over to all crafts. I'm definitely not buying anything to craft a Nerd War project. The Aeronautical Chart came from this years Midwest Weaving Conference.

My roommate was talking the three day spinning class with the Keynote speaker, Jeannine Glaves, and they were spinning non traditional objects into yarn. I was asking for nightly updates since I traditionally take the three day spinning class but passed this year for Inge Dam's Incorporating Tablet Weaving into Garments. A technique much used by Viking but using modern equipment. I had hired Inge Dam just so I could take this class.

Anyway, on day 2 my roommate mentioned that everything was going great but the class had decided that spinning maps was an impossible feat and nobody had gotten more than a yard or two. I made a mental snort and thought Well, I can spin maps. I can spin anything! How hard can it really be? It's just paper. I've been playing with paper since... forever... I have an art degree based off the use of paper. Surely I can spin a map even if ten other people couldn't. It's important to note that I've never spun paper. I've never wanted to spin paper. I've never contemplated spinning paper before that moment.

That night at dinner I asked Jeannine Glaves for a map so I could try. I just love the Midwest Weaving Conference even when I'm not one of the people running it. Everyone there has intimate access to thirty of the top fiber artist/authors/instructors in the country. I can even say the world since each conference has at least one instructor from another country.

Jeannine gave the map to me at the Native American Flute exhibition that night and I immediately started crumpling, crushing, folding, and kneading to break up the fibers and the sizing to make the stiff waxy paper malleable. I then started cutting it into a long spirally strip. About an inch wide since I was thinking a thinner strand would be easier to control. Jeannine would walk by once and a while and give me tips to cut wider or in the directions to cut and to try samples and my thought was pttth This will work just fine and this will be my one and only sample since I'm only proving to myself that I can do this.

That night I was exhausted, as I was every night since I was taking classes while being a concierge to three hundred people, but I stayed up in the lobby slowly and carefully spinning the yarn. It went well enough except that every fifteen inches I had to stop and hand wind it onto the wheel. It wasn't until I went to knit it that there was issues. It just wasn't flexible enough or strong enough to manipulate into stitches. In printmaking we would soak the paper so that it could flex and mold into the etchings. At that point, having nothing to loose, I gave my paper yarn a bath in the sink.

Knitting it while soaking wet was fiddly but worked fine. One doesn't knit with paper yarn to make anything but art so I needed a real project. It needs a reason for existing to be worth the extra work and the more delicate end product. Being a map I wanted something useful for travel. Earlier in the day I had mentioned needing a new bag to hang the oil bottle off of my spinning wheel. Perfect. By midnight the knitting was done but it wasn't enough. I wanted this project to fully represent this conference.

The next day I went around my class asking my classmates for scraps from their projects. I received the the green thread that I used to embroider the the contour lines of a map and the jasper rock beads to symbolize the rocky slops of the flint hills. I used silk thread from my bobbin scraps to embroider the dotted line that ends with the X on Emporia where the conference was being held and the tassel since I had learned tassel making that morning.

By dinner that night, just 24 hours later, I had a finished object to show. At that point it was already known that I had successfully spun the map so the class had tried again, spinning it wet, and had even better success than I had.

The bag in action.

That white blob is a  handmade glass sheep that has graced every one of my spinning wheel oil bags. It's become my wheels' totem.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Harder than it Looks

Nerd Wars

Challenge (Encyclopedia): VOLUME C: CARTOGRAPHY

People have been studying relative positions in geographical space for millennia. From wall paintings to global satellite networks, maps have expanded in scope and technological sophistication, but they remain a way to make sense of and gather knowledge about the physical world around us.

Craft an item inspired by maps.

my submission: 

Team Browncoat
Spinning and Knitting

Whenever I travel I always have 2 things close by, a map and my coffee. My favorite travel mug is not insulated so when I put in hot coffee it burns my hands. I won't stop using it because it's the only one i own that won't leak even if it's upside down in my knitting bag. It’s time to join the two into a useful and exciting cozy. I want a cozy that looks like a map. No. I want a cozy that IS A MAP!

 I started with an Aeronautical Chart of my home state Kansas. I liked the heavy waxy paper. I like that I know all the roads and towns as I start to cut.

Cut it into one long strip. Helper is not helpful.

Spin map into yarn. This is harder than it looks.

Knit a cozy to keep fingers unburnt while driving. Knitting paper is much harder than it looks. Use a piece of Nephrite Jade from a  Arizona as a button. It was a gift from the Hometown Swap.

Team tie in:

Mal is carrying a huge bouquet of the Kansas state flower, the Sunflower. It’s perfect as part of my identity to this place and map.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

I call him Max

Nerd Wars

Challenge (Discovery): RISE UP, RISE UP

In 1852, Elisha Otis was hired to convert a building from a sawmill into a bedstead manufacturing plant. He devised the safety elevator as a way to move debris from the floor of that building into the overhead storage lofts. He thought so little of his device that he neither patented it, nor did he ask his superiors for any sort of bonus for creating and implementing it.

Your challenge this month is to craft an item that in some way depicts or emulates an aspect of “elevators” as they appear in another team’s nerdery.

My submission:

Team Browncoat

The lift in the Doctor Who episode The Long Game from Team Tardis. Rose and Doctor are headed up to floor 500 where the “walls are made of gold”.

 I dyed merino fiber in the blues and faded red of the lift doors. The silk is from a silk brick I’ve had in my stash since 2004ish.

I then spun it into 154 yards of aran weight yarn. It’s not that pink in real life. Although, admittedly, it didn’t spin up as red as when I dyed it either. So maybe just take a look at the blue. Yeah, that’s it. The blue.

Team tie in;

The bulkhead behind Kaylee is the same blue (and faded red).

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Lip Ferret

I'm still playing in Nerd Wars because it gives me a change to feel clever and smug. Things I try to keep to a minimum in real life so I enjoy letting loose with the knitting. The goal is to knit something to the challenge and then link it back to your team .

Challenge (Nerdology): GEEK HOLIDAYS!

Your challenge this round is to create something inspired by or in honour of one of the many Geek Holidays.

So I searched the internet for the silly days like talk like a pirate day, Pi day, stay in your pajama day, no pants day and here is my submission for the challenge:

Team: Browncoat
Craft: Knitting

National fake moustache day in the United States is on 24 February

Kansas City has been said to have the premiere fake moustache club in North America. The Kansas City Fake Mustache Club has over 500 members throughout the world, including KCFMC Chapters in Chicago, Salt Lake City, and Pittsburg, Kansas.

Since I live in Kansas City how could I choose any other geek holiday?

Team tie in:

The Message

We couldn’t even move him. So, uh, Tracey just snipped it right off his face.

And you never seen a man more proud of his mustache than Colonel Orbrin. In all my life I will never love a woman the way this officer loved that lip ferret.

Big walrussy thing, all waxed up…

Did he find out?

Another burst of laughter from Mal and Zoe.

Oh! The next morning, he wakes up, it’s gone, and he is furious, but he can’t just say, you know, “someone stole my mustache.” So he, uh, calls together all the platoons --

We thought he was gonna shoot us --

And, uh, oh, he’s eyeballing all the men something fierce, not a word, and he comes up to Tracey… and Tracey’s wearing the gorram thing on his face.

He had glued it on.

Staring the old man down, wearing his own damn mustache. Huh. Uh. Oh god…

Friday, August 02, 2013

06.25.1913 to 06.09.2013

The one thing I remember most about Grandma is the cooking. Every meal she made was a feast. Every time we visited she was pulling hot cookies out of the oven. Every time anyone visited she was pulling hot cookies out of the oven.

The year I lived with her I learned that she kept cookie sheets with cookie dough all laid out in her freezer so when she received the phone call that someone was coming over she could pull them out to thaw and start preheating the oven.

Every time we left her house all those cookies, along with fresh cinnamon rolls, were packed into coffee cans and ice cream tubs and sent with us.

At the holidays there would be acres of homemade candy and all that pie.

I started collecting recipes when I was 12 and when I was 15 I sat down with Grandma for a long afternoon of copying out my favorite recipes of hers. As she leafed through her own large stack of recipe cards she told me stories about her life and the cooking was wrapped through it.

There was the cookbook that Grandpa had bought when solicited by a local woman's group. They had assembled it as a fund raiser and at the time Grandma had not wanted him to buy it since as a young couple it wasn't in their budget. However, it had turned out to be the best cookbook she had ever owned and become the only one she still turned to.

It was because of this story I started looking at the cookbooks put out by church groups and other organizations in used books stores and found my own best cookbook. Mine was assembled by an English as a Second Language class in Topeka and has wonderful, tasty, exotic recipes using easy to find local ingredients.

There were many other stories, such as the one about how Grandpa would ask for Marshmallows when she would offer to buy him candy at the store. About her children cooking and about the gardening. About the babies and the farm dog in the garden undoing the work she had just finished. How she liked onions but Grandpa didn't like the onion breath so she avoided them.There were more about the Divinity candy and the Date Pudding but I don't rember them now. Maybe they will come to me later.

She didn't stop with the new recipes either. Later in collage I sat down again because she had added two new cookies that I just loved. One was low sugar Pumpkin Cookie and the other was a sugar free Oatmeal Fruit Cookie.

A cross stitch greeted us a we walked into her home, made by one of her daughters, that had the end line

My Grandma is best by far because she has a cookie jar.

So true.