Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Bake Oven Memories

Bee Hive Ove

In May I found myself back at the Depreciation Land Museum with my other son for a Bee Hive Bake oven cooking class.

Class getting to know each other.

With a small group of six and our teacher we spent the better part of a day inside an old log cabin doing prep work interrupted only by trips to start the                                                                                              wood fire in the oven, then feed and                                                                                                               maintain it.

Our Teacher
Mopping out oven

By the warmth of our fireplace we were rolling out, letting raise, peeling, kneading, cutting, washing, and doing water runs. The comradery of a mutual goal and a shared task brought smiles, laughter, learning, and an occasional snitch of a sample.

My son helping out.
Oven Ready

We observed the magic that happens when the inside of the oven goes from sooty to clean. After placing our various offerings inside the oven's dome and waiting for the baking to be done, we pulled up chairs to our previous work table sharing together in a feast. There were even enough leftovers to divide and send samples home for our families to try along with copies of the receipts (old fashion word for recipes) to make them again.

Is it Done?
Closed for Baking


Proud Bakers

Washing Station

If you were to ask my son what he remembers the most from the bake oven class, his answer would surprise you. One the way home we made a modern food stop to fill up my growing boy. I got myself a milkshake. By the the time I got home I was miserable with food poison. So what he remembers most about that day is that his mother could handle all kinds of weird old style foods, but not a modern milkshake!                           

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Metamorphosis of a Knitting Project

Handspun Wool Knitted Slippers

It all started out after Christmas two years ago. Mom deserved a project for herself after making so many gifts. I dreamed of having a pair of spats or leg warmers that would classily cover up my too short pant leg syndrome caused by God blessing me with long legs.

Knitted leg warmers seemed like an easy project to work on while I waited for kids here and there so I chose my pattern and hand-spun wool. Even though it was a well written pattern and fun to knit as I neared the end reality struck. I tried them on and low and behold I remember never liking leg warmers years ago. Unfortunately, I hadn't changed.

Wool Slipper

What to do now? Turning them into slippers sounded reasonable, But you have no pattern! Ah, I pulled out an old pair of knitted slippers that someone had given me years ago. I wore them out and saved them for a pattern. There are days seeing possibilities in junk pays off.

Black Welsh Wool Felted Sole

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As I knitted the foot part of the slipper I realized that I had no desire to pick up stitches and knit a sole. So again I pulled out something stashed away, a felted sample of Black Welsh wool. Thick, warm, and easy to cut out and sew on for the sole.

Felted Sole Sewn On

 A leather sole over the felted wool would make them last much longer, but life intervened so that throughout the winter the slippers were tested and worn. Very comfortable, toasty even, causing different family members to request their own pair or try to steal Mom's.

Sewing On the Bark Tan Sole

However the felted soles were showing wear so putting a bark tanned sole on them became a summer project for me. Why summer you might ask; because if I wait for winter they will find their way onto my feet long before they are at the top of my mending pile.

Hand-Spun Wool Slippers with Bark Tan Sole

Of course there is always a few things I would do different if I did this project again. However, the biggest thing I would change would be the color of my wool. Some days when I look down at the plain, dark brown wool slippers on my feet which are covered with bits and pieces of things I didn't even know were in my house let alone on my floor. I wonder if I am just wearing a new style of dust-mop. Could there be a market for these?

Looking Down at Happy Feet!
The silver stars make me smile and were a surprise found in my stash bought on a clearance sale in the distant past and then forgotten. The wooden beads were from something I took apart and saved. Only one thing left to do on them and that is to add some silver weighted beads to the ends of my fringe ties. These will have to be picked up whenever I get close to a bead shop because I couldn't find any in my stash. Ah! My stash let me down.... : )

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Stepping into the Past ( Davis Hollow Cabin)

Dear old house I wonder what stories your walls of stone and log could share about the people who proudly build you and have taken refuge in you over the years. Maybe this short, long weekend in June of 2017 our group of five Carol, Myra, Bonnie, Susan, and Liza have taken you on a trip back memory lane as we moved spinning wheels, wool picker, looms, and many other fiber related things into you for our weekend crafting get away. Your sprawling space and gracious time worn feel so added to our weekend.

Welcoming coolness of the porch

Ready to dig in

                   The days flew away all to quickly
                    as we feasted at your table
                    shared our lives with each
                    other and you.

Set up for spinning

The shade of your porch hummed with spinning wheels, the clicking of knitting needles, the swish of looms changing sheds, and the silent fluttering of the opened, cleaned wool from the picker.

loom in waiting

As we go back to our busy lives and families you will hold a cherished  spot in all our memories. Once found your stately peace and tranquility refreshed us and will never be forgotten.  We are already planning and hoping to revisit you in the years to come.

Learning pick up
Wool fresh from the picker

As we slowly walked through your hallowed walls one last time before leaving, our overwhelming thanks went out to all the silent and unseen ones who have kept you in good repair all these years so that our lives could be touched by your charm.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Proudly Out Woven by My Offspring

Son's Twill and M&O Sample
The last Saturday in March found my eldest son and I at a weaving class held at the Depreciation Lands Museum. I know, I know, you say, "Why don't you teach him yourself?" But the sad truth is I would never get around to it. Besides it has been awhile and I could use a refresher course. Just maybe it will inspire me to get more of my projects to the finish line too.

  My son has always been a natural at weaving, but the speed of which he caught on to the M&O patterns, the twill, and the double weave just blew his mom away. He was off and running (weaving,) and leaving me choking in his dust.

Mom's Twill Sample

Now, in my defense, the first loom I wove the M&O on had two separate warping mistakes. (I was glad I got that loom and not a newer weaver.) The instructor and I had to take time out to correct and minimize the mistakes.The second pattern was a twill weave. I was the only one on a table loom so the process of weaving goes much slower than on a floor loom with treadles. (Second excuse. lol)

Son's Double Weave Sample showing  weaving on upper
and lower cloth that was woven at the same time on the loom.
                                                                                                                                                By the time my son reached the double weave he had found his rhythm, sprouted wings, and was flying right along.

Son's Tubular Bag (No seams)
Double Woven

Outside  view of Son's Tubular Bag Sample

The funny part was that the instructors were so impressed they would tell me to come look at something he was doing or being taught. Can't even count the times I was totally lost as to where I was in my pattern when I returned to my loom, but what parent wouldn't want to stop and enjoy observing their "child prodigy" (Said tongue in cheek.)

Mom's Double Weave Sample Photo-bombed

       The instructors voted him their star pupil, and asked if he planned to go on to be a master weaver. He just smiled shyly and said "I doubt it."

Mom's Double Weave Sample showing  weaving on upper
and lower cloth

I would have enjoyed the day even if I didn't weave anything, because of the fellowship with the unique individuals weaving draws. However the magic of double weave has bitten me. I came home and pulled out my one and only book on it. Double weave has always amazed me because that is how they think Jesus's robe was woven. His robe had no seams, causing the soldiers to barter over it instead of dividing it. The quality and fineness of the bye gone eras of weaving is humbling.

Son's Double Weave Sample showing weaving twice the
 width of you warp.

I know that the instructors are already working on choosing three different weaving structures for next years class. Hopefully we will be able to attend. Will we see you there?
Mom's Tubular Bag (No seams) 
Double Woven

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Finger Weaving Tidbits and Images

Every time someone sees one of my a finger woven projects I am asked the same questions. "How did you learn to do that? Who taught you?" These are simple questions, but the answer to them are never quite so simple. If I am honest, I say, "I really don't know," and then I get an interesting yet varying array of looks.

But the truth is, I really don't know. I braided horse manes, my hair, cords, and yarns, and even did Macramé as a kid growing up. Somewhere in that mix up maybe I learned, but I don't ever remember doing a project with it. When my husband brought me one of his first braintan hides, placed it in my hands, and asked, "what do you think of this?" I replied that I would love to braid with it.

After actually braiding the leather, doing some research, and showing it to others, I realized what I was doing was called fingerweaving. I searched out and bought several books on the subject and through them, I've studied how others do it. The resources share that in Canada, many years ago, they secured the strands at both the top and the bottom before braiding. Curiosity about this drove me to connect with a fingerweaver in Canada and ask if he did it this way. His answer was yes. Hmm... that is not how I do it.
After reading another book, the author's way sounded so complicated that I gave it a half-hearted try, then shook my head, and went back to my way since the results look the same. There are still a few books out there on fingerweaving that I would like to buy because they are not something my local library carries. However, I am not sure just when or if I will pick them up. I can get good results fingerweaving, so I am always pulled to buying books on other subjects that interest me first. Somehow, I always run out of that green paper stuff that people want in payment for their books, before I run out of books on my bucket list.

The books have helped me stretch and reach out to try different patterns other than the basic diagonal fingerweave which comes so naturally to me and is my favorite to do. But some of the other patterns look cool enough that they are worth the effort.

The following are a few pictures of some of  the many different things I have fingerwoven. I tend to have my own style, and often mix leather with wool or braintan leather with bark tan leather. Are you surprised? ; ) A couple of times a year I will fingerweave a small sample project out of yarn so that I don't forget how to do different weaves. It may not be perfect, but I want to do enough to know that I could pick it back up when needed. Unlike my beading projects, where I often feel like I let too much time pass between them so that I am constantly relearning the same things.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Small Catch of Felted Fish

Enjoyable! Pure fun, that is what these fish are. I actually have no idea how many of them I made, because I gave so many away. All the stages involved in making this fish are delightful. This project started because I wanted to learn to knit with more than one color. I figured that a knitted toy would be a safe project because even if it wasn't perfect it could still be loved. So the pattern was bought, the needles found, and the 100% wool yarn chosen for its felting ability.

The total freedom to mix and match bright colors in the fish was exhilarating. Added to that was the ability to change colors whenever I felt like it. I tried many different two color patterns, liking some enough to use again and only doing others once. I even made a mistake when doing the tail that I reused in designing other fish. It made the fish tail much fuller and more fan like.

Because you felt these fish they are knitted bigger than you want.  You then add them to your washer with a load of towels being washed in hot water. I loved letting the children put the fish into the washer themselves, and also letting them find the fish in the load of wet towels that was taken out of the washer. Their eyes would grow big as they realized the fish had shrunk in the felting process. Many big fish were knitted and given away to friends so they could have the fun of felting the fish themselves with their own children watching.

The last step is stuffing the fish. Usually this job went to the children. Their small fingers work perfect for poking stuffing through the fish's open mouth until it went from a flat fish to a plump fish. Usually much giggling went along with feeding the fish in this manner.

A optional step was to add eyes so that the fish could see the child who love it. Buttons worked for this as did just some yarn and simple embroidery skills. Whether the fish had eyes or didn't seem to matter to the children who loved them. They would often run off with them before I had a chance to get the eyes made.

My goodness, I think of have talked myself into digging out this pattern and making some more fish. I wonder if my children would think they were to "old" for felted fish fun. Ah, maybe you are interested in making some too. The pattern can be found here.
Though I bought mine through a yarn shop so you might be able to find it in one too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Weaving for Bears

These pictures are years and years old. As I look at them I am pretty sure they are from another era of my life when the children were small and projects done at home by ourselves were satisfying. These handmade items were woven by my children for the very bears that model them.  Easily contented models are such a blessing.

All were woven on a little Brio weaving loom that I picked up off Ebay, I think. I had it for years and the children had done many projects on it when a weaving friend stopped in and said the magic words, "You know that loom folds up right?" No, I did not.  It was shipped to me unfolded and I never thought to even check if it would fold. lol What an extra blessing that is! It stores much easier, and with less chance of damage. Of course now the children have moved on and are no longer concerned about dressing teddy bears. The little loom sits quietly folded up on the shelf now, but hopefully the memories made beside that little loom will last a lifetime.