Scrap Happy, Interrupted

It was to be the perfect scrap happy project. Scraps of leftover handwoven fabric, scraps of leftover commercial fabric, scraps of sweet-smelling filler what had been languishing a long time.

And, yet, it has not come to pass.

It seems that whenever I weave multiple kitchen towels, from lovely cotton and linen, I inevitably end up with a piece of pretty fabric that is too short to be a towel.

IMG_3632

I’ve tried passing them off as bread basket liners or small table mats but discerning folks seem to know that they are simply too-short towels.

What to do with pretty scraps? I mean, it’s woven by hand and I can’t just throw it away!

Well . . . how about combining them with scraps of white cotton fabric, leftover from some long-finished quilt project, and adding some balsam or lavender or even cedar shavings, all of which I have on hand (I know—that’s odd, isn’t it?) and making sweet sachets?

I love this idea. Easy to make, cute to behold, perfect for a little gift.

Off I went to make a prototype. I had fusible web already cut in 5-inch squares from another project. I stabilized and cut my handwoven fabric, I cut my backing, I sewed them together, I clipped the corners, and turned it all right side out.

I cut the top off a plastic soda bottle to make a little funnel.

IMG_3636

And I went to dig out my bags of balsam, lavender, and cedar shavings that had been languishing.

Languishing far too long, as it turns out.

They all, every one, have lost their scent. Nothing sweet, or spicy, or woodsy left at all.

And what is a sachet without a scent? Just a bag of organic matter . . .

The scentless stuff won’t go to complete waste—it will add depth to my compost pile, I’m sure.

I know where to get more balsam, and lavender, and cedar shavings. Scraps of fabric, both commercial and handwoven, seem to multiply while I sleep.

This scrap happy project has not come to pass. But it will.

IMG_3637

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Email Kate at the address on her Contact Me page. She welcomes new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let Kate or Gun know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so they can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen and Connie

Advertisements

Autumn Respite

It seems the internet and airwaves are awash with bad/crazy/scary news. I care about it all and am paying attention and cannot wait until next Tuesday, when I will be pressing my nose up against the window at my local polling place, eager to vote.

And yet . . . one needs a break. One needs a reminder that our world isn’t only bad/crazy/scary. You, my blog friends, offer many and excellent reminders of that. And I want to contribute my own, from my lovely part of the world.

Autumn has been awesome this year. It’s always my favorite time of year, here in upstate New York, in the Adirondack Mountains, near Lake Champlain. But this year the color of the trees, in addition to being bright, has persisted longer than usual or so it seems to me. A few trees fade and more have taken their place.

I can’t give you the freshening breeze that makes the leaves dance and sparkle. I can’t give you the tang of woodsmoke or the crunch of dry leaves beneath your feet. I can’t give you the snap of an Autumn Crisp apple or the sound of the snow geese as they make their raucous way south.

But I can give you the sights of autumn. Many, many sights of autumn. You can click on them as you choose . . . I just know I feel better having been out there, in our pretty world.

 

 

An Autumn Pet Peeve

I love a field of autumn corn. The stalks all golden brown, lined up, and waiting to be harvested. It’ll be cut down, chopped, and used for silage to feed cattle during the long winter. (Silage goes in a silo and that’s what most farmers call it. I grew up on a farm very near the Quebec border and never heard the word silage until a few years ago. We used the word “ensilage” exclusively–the French influence, I guess.)

IMG_2535 (1)IMG_2534 (1)

I even love a field of mown corn. It looks restful, harvest finished, and its sere, muted shades make the surrounding foliage seem all the more radiant.

IMG_3555 (1)IMG_3520 (1)

But this? This make me peevish. Who does this?

IMG_3338

Who harvests an entire field and leaves one last corn stalk standing? So untidy . . .

(And can you see the blue jay photo bombing the picture?!)

Happy Weaving and Spinning Week!

I’ve recently learned from Chris, at Acton Creative, that this week is Weaving and Spinning Week!

How did I not know that?! Heaven knows, after the news of the last couple of weeks, I need something to celebrate . . .

And it seems the perfect excuse to show you what I’ve been working on since the last update.

A long time ago (May, in fact), I showed you this project of two scarves in pink and white while they were still on the loom. It’s a good example of how the weft color changes the overall look.

Let me explain a little—in weaving, the warp is made up of the long threads that are attached to the loom and are vertical when I sit facing the loom. The weft threads are the ones that come out of the shuttle as I weave and are horizontal.

In this project, one scarf is done in just two colors—rosewood and white—for both warp and weft.

IMG_2842

The other has those same two colors in the warp but the weft is lighter pink.

IMG_2816

Pretty cool, huh?

I’ve sort of been in placemat mode, too. It turns out that buyers like placemats and I like making them. I get the satisfaction of achieving a “finish” pretty quickly since each individual mat is fairly small and quick to weave up, even though the entire project may be on the loom for a while.

I did this pattern in off-white—it uses two weights of thread in both warp and weft, which creates the nice texture.

IMG_2792

I liked the results so much that I went ahead and did it again. The second time, I used two shades of blue. The effect is tweedy and interesting.

I keep thinking of other color combinations I could try. Maybe dark brown with the lighter-weight thread in a bright yellow-green? Or bright orange?

And, of course, I’ve made more towels. I wove the striped ones I’ve already shown you and six of these.

IMG_3121

And this boring-looking bunch of threads will turn into towels, too. I hope they’ll be more interesting soon!

IMG_3350

Some of my projects have been repeats of ones you’ve seen before. I know weavers who never, ever make the same pattern twice because they want to move on to something new. SO much to weave, so little time!

As much as I like new, I do have some favorites and I really like doing them over. (I’m the same way with books—I love re-reading my favorites, as visiting old friends, and will cycle them through my reading every few years.)

So, my weaving re-dos are more of these placemats (buyers like placemats!) I hemmed them this time, instead of leaving fringe. I like the look of the fringe better but it means the mats can’t go into the washer and they are white, after all.

IMG_1719

And I making more of these Christmas towels. This shot is a good demonstration, again, of how the weft color can change everything. You can see the unwoven warp on top, then, going around the front, a towel where I’m using white as weft. Underneath the loom, you can see what that same warp looks like when I used red as the weft.

IMG_2519

Here’s another view of the red weft and the obligatory photo of the weaver’s apprentice.

IMG_2486

And that’s it for this update, with many ideas percolating in my mind! Thanks for celebrating this special week with me!

The House at Pooh Corner as Tonic

IMG_2343On the drive and then the commuter rail, I checked my phone for updates. She testified he tried to rape her. He, he who wants to be a justice on the US Supreme Court, shouted he never did.

In the hotel, the next day, I watched angry women confront a senator, him in an elevator, with nowhere to hide. They cried and told him about their own experiences with sexual assault, and he averted his eyes. But he used his power to do right.

Arrogance, angst, animus, and more have been all the news.

High drama, all too common in the US these days.

What to do? How to escape, for a bit, the bad news about embarrassing elected officials and women mistreated?

The Hundred Acre Wood.

IMG_2358

The House at Pooh Corner.

IMG_2393

Winnie the Pooh.

Yes, sweet, steadfast, good-hearted Pooh was the antidote we chose.

The Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston, offered this respite. Their current show, “Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic,” includes dozens of drawings and letters and early editions of the books by A. A. Milne and illustrated by E. H. Shepard.

Escaping into this world was a balm.

It was lovely to see the inspirations for our Poohish heroes—the real-life Christopher Robin, the toys he so loved.

The exhibit is perfect for children, with a few interactive spots, but nothing too tarted up or technological to take away from the simple joys of reading and being Pooh.

And it was fun to see how Pooh and pals have evolved and become a part of popular culture, not just in the UK and US but all over the world. It seems we all understand the bear and the tiger, the piglet and the cranky donkey (my personal favorite).

The best part for me was the drawings. The way Shepard experimented and played and created expression and movement with just a few pen lines.

Eventually we had to say goodbye to Pooh and Christopher Robin and the others and head back to Trump and Kavanaugh and those others in the ickier, messier world we live in.

“But, of course, it isn’t really Good-bye because the Forest will always be there . . . and anyone who is Friendly with Bears can find it.”

Thank goodness for Pooh.

IMG_2384