My Wonderful New/Old Floor Loom

Recently, I have spent a lot of time on eBay and Craigslist searching for looms. I had several items I was hoping to find and one day an exciting listing on Craigslist appeared – someone was selling several Schacht Spindle looms. When I replied, I was very surprised (and delighted) to see that the asking prices were low. I told the man I’d like the Baby Wolf loom, but the last hurricane prevented me from getting to Black Mountain NC in time and he sold it to someone closer. I was disappointed but decided that the standard 36″ loom would do nicely. He felt badly for selling the previous one and lowered the asking price…yow! Peter and I got in the truck the next day and headed north. It was a beautiful Fall day and the drive there is a scenic one. After an inspection, we thought the loom was in A1 shape and handed over a big wad of cash. Happily the seller was not a widower (as I had assumed) but a young man who worked for the local home for at risk kids. The looms had been donated and they decided that they did not want to fiddle with them. The happy part in this was that he was able to help Peter hoist the loom in the truck bed. ;-D

Peter got her secured and after stopping in town for some of the best soup I’ve ever had, we took a wind-y, circuitous drive home.

Happily – again! – our young neighbor across the street was blowing leaves when we got home. He helped Peter get the loom up a long, straight set of stairs.

My intention is to sell my amazing, huge Macomber loom next year, but much to my surprise, they fit very cozily together! It will be fun to be able to use both of them for a bit.

Here is the first hand towel being woven on Tiny!

Do let me kno – does anyone need a wonderful wide loom???

Nick is Home for Christmas!

Nick has spent the last year at Island Quilters located on Hilton Head Island. He evidently traveled with Owner Beth to several quilt shows and talks, though he hasn’t said much about that. I must thank Beth for giving me the pattern and many of the supplies. Fusing is not my favorite thing to do, but he was fun to make.

After lots of measuring and engineering, Peter got Nick hung in the great room! It is so fun to come into the room and see his funny self. I’m not sure the reason, but this is the first time we have ever hung a quilt over the fireplace. Next year I have several quilts that can rotate in this area.

Let the celebrations begin!

Hand Piecing Workshops!

Although I’ve been quiet on a daily dose, I’ve been working! It’s been a year full of deadlines for classes and workshops. All things that I wanted to do, but it’s kept me very, very busy.

I finally got myself in gear and offered two Summer workshops at Greenville Center for Creative Arts, where I volunteer. Much to my delight, I got enough students to run the class! I wasn’t at all sure – at present, most of the classes are of the fine art variety and who knew if anyone would be interested in making quilts.

The first workshop I offered was Hand Pieced Quilts – Grandmother’s Flower Garden. This will be no surprise to any of you who have been followers for a while – I love to sew hexies! I had a lot of samples and ideas and it was perhaps a bit much for the five women who hadn’t had much exposure to the world of quilting.

Olivia was a very enthusiastic sewer. She told us that she sewed a lot and enjoyed making dolls to sell. I am confident that she will get a throw made with the speed that she sews.

Sarah designed a very striking flower, didn’t she? It is fun to see how people put together fabrics.

The second workshop was Hand Pieced Quilts: 60 degree diamonds (or tumbling blocks or baby blocks). I have offered this before and wasn’t very enthusiastic about it. Though I like baby blocks, I’ve never enjoyed sewing them.

As I prepared for the class, I perused Pinterest and was reminded that a setting for 60 degree diamonds is called the Seven Sisters pattern. I noodled around with that and discovered that I really liked this version! (Perhaps because it makes a giant hexagon….)

Here is a starry, blocky setting for the diamonds. I like this variation as well.

Just about everything needed is included in my workshops. When working with new sewers, I don’t want them to have to run around and buy a lot of supplies. The quilt patterns I am offering are traditionally scrap quilts and goodness knows that I have a lot of fabrics! It’s been fun sharing my stash and seeing others incorporate the fabric in their own work.

I am very fond of holiday themed quilts so I was delighted to see that Shawn brought a Halloween selection to make baby blocks.

It’s been interesting to offer quilt classes to novices. In the past, I have taught in quilt stores and generally my students have had some sort of experience or exposure to quilting. Most of my students at the Art Center were very, very new! In the Grandmother’s Flower Garden class, I presented way too much material and I am learning to scale back what I initially present and see where the students want to go.

Next up; workshops that I hope to offer this Winter. ;-D

Just a Few More Trip Pictures…

Hope you’re not too hungry as the next batch of pictures includes a lot of food. Though we always enjoyed the shore excursions, as Peter said “We’re always about 15 minutes short ” of the time needed to sit down and have a snack. We did have time one morning. Here you see a lovely German latte and a poppy seed bun. Poppy seed bakery goods are very popular and I want to research some recipes. It seems in the US that we just sprinkle them on things.

And the bakery window where we bought it…. Doesn’t everything look delicious?

Also on that street in Passau was a traditional clothing store. The windows were full of dirndls, lederhosen and everything you’d need to accessorize. Our guide in Vienna said that traditional dress was popular again and that she had several outfits that she wore to weddings and special occasions. Should you wish to drool some more, here is the store website.

And what’s a good German beer without a pretzel and amazing mustard? One of our favorite excursions was to Gut Aichet, a German farm, that the same family has owned for 500 years! The current owners have made it into an incredible enterprise – they board horses and have all sorts of fields and arenas for practise and competitions, they have a sawmill, a tile making business and they are a wedding venue. It was the most charming place imaginable. The pictures that I took don’t really show all the wonderful details. After the tour, we sat down in one of their venues where they opened a keg and we enjoyed the beer and music.

The big treat was when the owner of the farm came and danced for us. His daughter was our guide and said that her father loved dancing first and his sawmill second! Nothing like a man dressed in lederhosen dancing, huh?

Nuremberg, despite it’s World War II history, is a gorgeous city. Much of it was bombed, but everything has been re-built. I believe these roof lines are original. We kept wondering what sort of rooms were behind all those tiny dormers.

Here is a fantastic house sign, located in a square in Nuremberg. Or perhaps it indicated a business.

And more wrought iron signs….I am forever reeling down the street, looking up to see and photograph them.










And this last shot is of the incredible fence around the Beautiful Fountain (Schoner Brunnen) in Nuremberg! It was the end of a very memorable holiday.

And this concludes my trip pictures. Thanks so much for looking at them.  ;-D

A Cruise on the Danube!

On this rainy-windy-the-hurricane-is-blowing-through-us-day, I have decided to take a break from all my deadlines and write! Peter and I took another Viking River Cruise two weeks ago and enjoyed it very much! Despite the river being low and the fact that we had to change ships midway through, it was a lovely vacation. I’d like to share some pictures with you; some random ones. I do not take many cathedral or famous buildings shots because I know when I get home that I will not look at them. I like to take pictures of quirky things, that I found interesting or amusing.

We sailed from Budapest to Nuremberg, adding some new countries to our list. Budapest was really beautiful and we did not get to see as much of it as we would have liked. Both Budapest and Vienna had wonderful tile roofs that looked suspiciously like quilt patterns.

We had lunch in Budapest and I spied this charming stained glass window! How funny that we have the drinking dogs in the US and they have drinking roosters in Hungary.

In Vienna we took a carriage ride around the famous Ringstrasse. It was cold, rainy and windy but it was a memorable ride. Our carriage was pulled by Lipizzaner horses that must have failed in the Spanish Riding School. Aren’t they gorgeous?

We had lunch at a cafe before our ride. I found this sign in the ladies’ room, just in case I wasn’t sure of what to do…..

Cruising on the Danube one afternoon, we saw so many amazing castles, churches and ruins.

This is what the hall looks like when everyone on the ship is switching ships on the same day! Organized chaos, but Viking handled all the details with ease.

I didn’t mean to go on so long and I do have a few more fun shots to share, so I will stop now. To be continued….



Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week – More Rugs!

There were shows within shows at Rug Hooking Week. Ellen Banker curated one dealing with words and I’d like to share some of those with you, as well as some of the many rugs in the show that included words.

This is one of my favorite Ellen rugs, called Lost Cow. Can’t you just see that hanging in a bookstore or coffee shop?

Another Ellen favorite – A Rug Hooker’s Sampler. What a fun idea to make each letter a separate design. I also really like the asymmetry of it.

This rug, which Ellen brought to class, was particularly intriguing to me. You can see Baltimore hooked quietly into the background, but do you also see that Baltimore refers to the designs? The rug is made up of bits of Baltimore Album quilt patterns. I just love this idea and may have to steal it one day.

I am always a sucker for a sheep! Marian Hall designed and hooked this wonderful sheep rug, entitled Herdwick Tup. She also dyed to wools for it, and was our official wool supplier in class.

Ellen and Marian designed this magnificent rug together, Speaking Shakespeare. That is a lot of small script in narrow wools to hook, and it is done beautifully.

You may remember that I took a class some years ago with Donna Hrkman. She designs and hooks the most amazing rugs! They are often monochromatic and usually include words. I happened to run into her at the show and she said that she had finished this incredible rugs just days before she needed to deliver it.

Donna had so much to say about this rug, which is called Best Friends, that here are her words: (And isn’t the Dayton Public Library lucky?)

This concludes my reports from Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week! I hope you enjoyed seeing it through my eyes.

Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week – the class!

Though I love looking at hooked rugs, Archbold OH is a long way to drive. Several years ago I went to Sauder Village and took some workshops. I’ve been hoping ever since to find a class I liked and was delighted to see this one by Ellen Banker – The Unconventional Rug Hookers Guide to Samplers. If you read Rug Hooking Magazine, you have seen her work and read her articles. I’m a big fan so I got signed up.

As part of the class, all the hookers {I know many of you are smiling…} got a sampler to practise on. Ellen demonstrated a variety of techniques and then we hooked them on our sampler. Another project to be continued…

For the next part of the class, we could work on a design of our own or use one of three sampler designs offered by Ellen. Most of us decided to work on an Ellen Sampler. {Though I do have a sampler design, I thought it best to work on Ellen’s and play with mine another time.} Here is one of Ellen’s sampler designs….No. 10. I debated getting this one as I very much like the big carrot and the bunnies. Aren’t the carrots delicious looking?

But in the end, I chose Sampler No. 3 because I like the flower pot and all of Ellen’s quirky birds. I’ve been trying to hook a bit each day and have been playing with the flowers and stems and leaves. The birds are under design review right now. There is a lot of background and I am also wondering if I might add a border. I have done lots of counted cross stitch samplers and they usually have a border. {Less background to hook!}

Should you be interested, Ellen has written a book, Hooked on Words.

As well as a how-to guide, it’s filled with wonderful and quirky samplers she has made. She also researched rugs hooked by other artists and so many inspiring examples are included. An interesting rug often has a story behind it and Hooked on Words is a good read!

Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week – the show!

Wow! What a great time I had at the epicenter of rug hooking last week at Sauder Village. Classes, rugs, wool, fun people, rugs and more rugs….

The show was wonderful and full of all sorts of mini shows and exhibits. Let’s start with a rug I was DElighted to see in person – – – The Conspiracy by Marion Sachs. I’d seen it in print but nothing compares to viewing the real rug. The rug is adapted from a painting by David Galchutt. Do check out his website to see more incredible work.

The Royal Couple was designed by Pris Butler and masterfully hooked by Sibyl Osicka. I’m not sure which tickled me most – the authenticity and realistic hooking, or the fact that she hooked sheep faces!

And isn’t this rug charming? Gypsy Mice was also hooked by Sibyl Osicka and designed by Pris Butler from a painting by David Galchutt! He must be the new darling of the rug hookers and with good reason.

Alexander and Stuart was designed and hooked by Patricia Merikallio. I am really drawn to the colors and the wonderful paisley border. Patricia said in her description that she started with a painting from 1810, substituted her granddaughter’s face and added Stuart the cat.

Off the track of antique-looking rugs, here are two travel ones. I adore this one – the colors, the car, the maps! I’m sure many of us remember these days… (We had a station wagon and I as the littlest sat on “the hump”.) The rug is called Red Lodge and was designed and hooked by Anne Bond of Visions of Ewe.

The second travel rug is by Shawn Niemeyer who designed and hooked Life is a Beautiful Ride. The rug has such rich colors and the circles all along the border are a fun touch, and probably not very easy to finish!

I will end with this rug, terrifically different from the previous rugs. There were so many different sorts of designs to admire in the show.  Martha Rosenfeld created Cafe Shadows. It seems quite elegant to me.

Hope you enjoyed a few of my favorite rugs. I’ll be back with more of my week in Ohio with the other hookers….


A Shawl or Table Runners?

Those of you who are weavers will groan, at my ________________ (stupidity, naiveté’, lunacy, you choose). Perhaps even those of you who don’t will understand why my latest weaving project was a recipe for disaster! 

The Greenville Center for Creative Arts where I volunteer and teach, has a members’ show each year. Last year I submitted a little framed quilt. This year, I decided I would like to submit a handwoven shawl; a lovely lacy one for Summer in the South. Much to my delight, in the May/June issue of Handwoven magazine (which I probably got in April…) I found a project that was perfect for my needs – a Swedish Lace shawl! (It’s what I call a recipe, with all the math and details spelled out.) When weaving was all I did, Swedish lace was one of my favorite pattern families.

Notice the date of said article – – – did I start the project back then? No, I did not. A few weeks passed and I decided that perhaps I should get going. (Part two of the fiasco begins here!) I have a lot of cones of yarn from decades ago that I keep moving around and I decided to use those. After all this time, the labels had fallen off and who knew what the ply was or the fiber content. I thought I’d use a smooth mystery fiber for the warp, it looked about the right size, and weave with the tiny boucle’ mystery fiber.

If you read my posts, you know that I have only woven rag runners for years and years. No threading issues with those; it’s one – two – three – four – repeat. There’s a lot more to a Swedish Lace weave. After the warp was wound on, I drew out the threading on a piece of graph paper. Then I began to thread. There were 330 ends to thread, and then I had to get them 2 per dent in a 10 dent reed. I was so careful!!! I really was.

Of course there were endless mistakes, despite the fact that I was so deliberate. I spent the better part of two days finding and correcting them. Finally everything was as it should have been and happily the tension seemed great and so I started to sample. The tiny boucle’ did not work! I was surprised and disappointed. It was just fuzzy enough that the pattern didn’t show. I tried an even teenier one with the same result. In eyeing the cone of the mystery smooth warp thread, I decided that I had enough of that to use…

Everything went smoothly for several days. And then (yippee!) I finished the first shawl. The deadline for my entry was looming so I decided that I should cut the first shawl off and re-tie the warp for the second shawl. I wanted to make sure that I was happy with the result. (Gizmo was!)

I was not. At first, when I tied the fringe and wrapped it around me, I was ever so happy.

Then I hand washed it several times to get the many years of dust off it and make sure that the fabric would be smooth.

I dried it. I pressed it. And then I wrapped it around the mannequin that I planned to display it on.

I wandered around it. I re-wrapped it. I tried draping it a different way. But still, the lovely lacy shawl of my dreams looked like a hand towel. Or a table runner. Or perhaps napkins? Cotton always blooms when washed and the feel of the fabric had completely changed.

The end of this tale is that I did not submit anything to the show and I am very sorry. The rest of the warp on the loom awaits my decision on how to proceed. The picture below shows what I thought this shawl should be like. It’s the 5 yards of Swedish Lace that I wove when I was a student at the Worcester Center for Crafts. It’s fabulous. The weave is perfect and the warp is a fine, crisp linen. It’s airy and light, wonderfully etherial and drapes beautifully. I can hardly believe that I wove it.

It’s the shawl of my dreams….




















My Design Wall is Full!

Here is what my design wall looks like today! There is a lot going on…

The right hand side has to do with my two upcoming workshops at Greenville Center for Creative Arts. The first, covering hexies and Grandmother’s Flower Garden is on Saturday. Six pointed stars is in July. Click here to get more info.

At the top right, you can see a quilt emerging, made up of (hand pieced) half hexagons. There are many ways to sew them together, but this is by far my favorite. It’s such a strong graphic design. The two plain colored areas in each block are my hand dyed fabrics and I have them strewn all over the floor as I pick them out.

The black stars in the middle are six pointed stars hand pieced in a Seven Sister sort of design. Below them is a pattern, first published in Godey’s Ladies Book in the mid 1800’s, called bricks. It is also a 60 degree diamond, but the “sides” of the brick shape are elongated.

The left hand side of the board is devoted to a deconstructed lone star. Using Moda precut fabrics, I have cut out stacks of 2.5″ x 5.5″ fabrics to sew on a Quiltsmart base. I hope to be giving a talk about how to make this amazing design at Island Quilters this Fall. Lots more coming about this project!