Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weaving and Spinning at Skylands Manor

skylands manor 1 My local weaving guild, the Palisades Guild of Spinners and Weavers, will be setting up a weaving/spinning/dye-ing studio at the New Jersey State Botanical Gardens that has a Tudor Revival Mansion on the property called Skylands Manor.  This opulent building was built in the 1920s out of stone that was quarried right on the property.  It is completely out of character with the image of a weaver’s studio, but that’s what we are going to create!

skylands manor 3

Here is the room that will become a fiber studio!  Like no studio any of us will ever see in real life!In any event, I will enjoy sitting in the room to weave all day on Thursday!  The open house will take place from Thursday, December 2, through Sunday, December 5, from 10am until 4pm each day.  Then there will be evening wine and cheese events as well.   Someone will be weaving at my loom each day, and others from my guild will be spinning, knitting and doing some bobbin lace! So if you are anywhere nearby, drop by!

skylands manor 4

And here is the entrance to our studio.  I’ll have the loom set up at the window near the fireplace to take advantage of natural light during the day. We are setting up tomorrow!





kithcen towels guild demo3 12.2010

This is what I’ll be weaving: kitchen towels in Monk’s Belt, which I hope to use as presents later in the month!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Projects

Don’t most of us return from summer travels full of ideas for new projects?  It’s hard to implement all the new ideas that crop up from even the shortest weekend away from home.  There is something about a change of scenery that always makes me start brewing up ideas for what to do when I return.

On top of spinning, weaving, and knitting projects that I’ve dreamed up, I am also currently taking two new classes.  Once a week I take a bobbin lace class from a group of women who are expert lacers.  I’m so lucky to live in an area with an active guild of lace makers.  They are a gold mine of experience and help.  I’m on my third lace exercise now, and terribly smitten by the process.

This weekend, at the annual Lace Day (with classes!) I learned how to move my lace up in order to keep weaving beyond the length of the pricking card.  What you see in the photo is my re-attached weaving. Now I can continue down the length of the card to make the little lace edging longer. 

bobbin lace 11.2010 001

bobbin lace 11.2010 004

Once a month I drive up into the hills of Putnam County to a basket maker’s house where we work on Nantucket Lightship baskets.  I’m making a medium size oval, and I’m quickly discovering how much more effort it takes to place the staves in an oval than in a circle!  I may never get the staves ready, so I truly may never weave this basket.  The camaraderie is wonderful so as long as they can put with my inexperience I will be going back!

Nov. 2010 003

Nantucket basket Karyn

The top photo is my basket in progress.  I have more staves to shape, and you can see that the staves change shape as they get into the sharper curves of the ends of the oval.  The basket in the lower photo is what I’m striving to achieve and was made by one of the women in the group!

Beading and sewing are two other areas I’m dabbling in this fall.  These small projects are destined to be Christmas presents.  I haven’t focused on making the the majority of my presents in at least a decade.  Right now it feels good.  I might not be so chipper when the deadlines get closer! 

Russian netting pearls2 11.2010

bracelets 2 Nov. 2010

I pruned back my bay tree in order to bring it in the house since we have dismantled our greenhouse this year, in preparation for possibly selling our house.  I’ve saved all the cuttings and am drying small sprigs as well as individual leaves.  These will be gifts also, to all my cooking friends.  Look out, Martha!

The leaves are mostly down here, the clocks have turned back, we had a killing frost recently.  It’s time to cozy up in the nest and keep the fires burning, both in the furnace and in the creative process.  I’m ready…

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall Brewing

It’s time for planting garlic, harvesting root vegetables, and brewing up the dyes from summer harvests.  I harvested my weld in June and again in July when we were home briefly, then left it to dry in Bob’s workshop.  This weekend I made the dye solution at a friend’s house.  She mixed up more colors of ProChem acid dyes than I could count!  Three of us had a great time painting skeins of handspun and commercial wool yarns and sock blanks! 

Between gathering in the herbs from the season and making dye, I feel a bit of bewitching power!  Look out!

Sept. 2010 005


My skeins drying in the garden






dyeing sept 2010 The acid dyed skeins and one sock blank skeined double. Colors used in these skeins are “bright red,”  “cranberry,”      “maple sugar,”
“saffron,” “moss green.” These are unknown skeins from KnitPicks, possibly “Palette,” and a Knit Picks sock blank of superwash wool/nylon.

dyeing sept 2010 001

Both skeins dyed with weld, with one skein handpainted with “saffron” and “mustard.”  Sadly, you cannot see what a lovely pear green the weld made.  I love it! Both skeins are “Texas” by Henry’s Attic (50% wool, 50% mohair)

dyeing sept 2010 003

Last (and least in my mind), blues, violets and charcoal. This is another unknown Knit Picks skein with a lovely twist.  Merino? It’s fingering weight, about 400 yds per 100 grams.