End of the Year Wrap-up

I don’t usually do this, a year end post, but for some reason I wanted to wrap up some of my latest projects. Unlike many people, I did not get loads and loads of things done this year. I spent a lot of time fretting and eating and drinking and read lots of books. But I’ve had a creative spurt this Fall.

This was one of my favorite projects – candy cane towels! I’d seen the pattern on Pinterest and then I discovered it was on Ravelry. I made an appointment with my local weaving store, Lofty Fiber, to have a refresher class on warping the loom. Dawne is a great teacher and it was so much fun to be with weavers and talk the talk. And I am very pleased with the results! The hand of the towels is very nice and absorbent. I may have to weave some more.

And look at all the beautiful fibers on the wall. It is so nice to have a B&M weaving store. Colors never look the same on a monitor and there is nothing like fondling fibers ! I have lots of ideas for next year.

Another weaving project that I completed was hand towels from Handwoven magazine. I started them in the Spring and it was a long warp. After washing, the fabric has a wonderful, sort of spongy texture. They will make good handtowels!

In November and December I had the great pleasure of teaching some workshops at Tryon Arts & Crafts Center in North Carolina. They are celebrating their 60th year of offering wonderful, traditional crafts classes to the area. I wish I’d found them sooner as they are a perfect fit for the type of classes that I like to offer. One workshop was how to piece hexagon or Grandmother’s Flower garden squares. The second was a lot of fun – making potholders on the wonderful Harrisville Design looms. I really enjoy making them – it’s all about color after all, and I was pleased that they did too.

When I asked if they would keep their potholders or give them away, they all replied that they were keeping them!

And I am about ready to sew binding on the dogwood quilt, that I started in May! It is a Melinda Bula pattern, and she kindly did extensive videos about how to make it.

I had all sorts of problems with the quilting – thread breaking, erratic tension, skips… In desperation, I went to Walker Quilt Company, a HandiQuilter dealer in North Carolina for some lessons. Although some of it was operator error, Andrea discovered that the bobbin was defective! I have been wondering ever since, how long it has been that way. Quilting has been wonderful ever since that visit.

So that’s that! I am sure we are all delighted to see an end to 2020.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Weave a Potholder!

About a year ago, I bought an inexpensive loom at a big box store. It was not called a potholder loom and when I opened the box I realized why – the loopers are nylon and would melt if gotten too hot! The loom is smaller than I remembered and I had forgotten how much the fabric “shrinks” after it is taken off the loom. It results in about a 5″x5″ square. Really too small for getting hot items out of the oven. The colors are very pretty and it certainly will work well as a mug rug.

Recently I broke down and bought a big Harrisville Designs loom. My excuse was that my niece and family were planning a visit and she always likes me to have a craft project for them. Peter and I both wove one and he didn’t think he had ever made a potholder before.

My niece had planned a busy weekend of college visits for her youngest and I thought there would be little time for play. I had this basket on the kitchen table when they came home one day and they all said “what’s this stuff???” During the weekend three of them found the time for weaving.

This size loom makes a very useable square – about 8″. And this project is a two-fer; it’s both fun and useful! A friend commented that the loopers are expensive. Yes, they are, but they are knitted in the US and they are cotton and they come in gorgeous colors. I bought the brights colorway plus white and black; you can also buy bags of single colors or several mixes. Harrisville sells loopers in the small size so you can order lovely loopers for the loom you have.

One of the boys used the colors of SC State for his potholder. I told him that he could say that his great aunty made it, but he said, no, he would certainly tell his roommates that he had made it. Good man!

If you are a weaver, you can use the potholder loom to play with color & weave effects. The green, black and white potholder (in the Philadelphia Eagles colors!) is a 3 strand repeat, for instance. And to make this design process even more fun, Harrisville has a potholder designer! Check it out here, it’s lots of fun to fiddle with.

When was the last time you wove a potholder? When you were small, did you have a potholder loom? I do recall making them, but can’t remember where or when. If you like to make pretty and useful items, then I do suggest you buy yourself a loom – they are not just for kids. And if you have fun-loving relatives, then you must get one. I have already started a new one…

{N.B. I am not promoting Harrisville Designs for any reason other than they make a great loom! And they are the only ones who make a large size loom.}

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