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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

oh Boy something Lucky

I just found out I won one of the Designstyleguide 12 days of Christmas giveaways.

I have a sister who has collected elephants ever since she was a little girl and now is a teacher who celebrates National Elephant day with her fourth grade students. I hope she will love this beautiful elephant as much as I do.

very nice to have this happen the day after my horrendous slip on the ice. typing is sort of hard for me today, but for this I will make the effort :)

thanks so much to all the artists who donated their wares.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fiber Sculpture

I have been inspired to begin fiber sculpture again after a long long interval.

I first learned to crochet from my high school art teacher. He had just come back from a summer art studio and had learned free form crochet. It was very freeing to have learned to crochet free form objects rather than being held to the restrictions of a pattern for mittens or a scarf. Later I learned to do those as well, but I have always felt I could crochet a house with the right materials.

It feels good to be back in 3-D again after so many years of flat weaving, which has it's own challenges.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

some of the new rugs just off the loom

I have been remiss in Blogging

I have been filleting a huge mass of bluejeans. My husband has graciously volunteered to cut them into usable strips while he stays up late watching and re-watching movies. It has taken almost the whole month to get them done. As I was taking them apart I got to thinking the zipper pulls looked very interesting. I have always saved all the labels from anything I took apart, but zipper pulls are new. I dug out the zippers from the bag I was tossing things into and clipped them out too.

My daughter and I are both of the opinion that one of something is rarely cool, but dozens of something are automatically awesome. I gave the pulls to her and she made three lovely necklaces out of them. I have convinced her to sell one on her ETSY site and I hope she can get some more done before she goes back to college soon.

I finished off the blue warp. Log cabin is a very strong warp and tends to overpower intricate patterns. It is great for playing with and I did get some nice checkerboard effects on a couple rugs. I will post pics when I get them photographed.

I got a nice long green warp wound onto the loom. I have enough rags to put on 55 yards of warp. I will be doing green for a long time I think. Most of my time now is spent cutting the rags. I sort of like to have them all in front of me when I design. I pull out this group and that group and ponder what will look best together.

I photographed half the new rugs and got the pictures squared away. My knees sort of gave out though so I will have to try to get the rest in tomorrow. I then have to get them uploaded into ETSY or Artfire.

Well back to work I guess

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The summer is just flying by

I think I heard somewhere that this is supposed to be summer vacation. Ha! so far I have caned 5 chairs and one chair back and felted between 80 and 100 balls. I cannot seem to stop. Wound on 45 yards of blue and natural log cabin and with Maddie's help got it sleyed and tied on as well. Have woven three blue jean rugs and a couple flannels. I love how flannel packs down. One of the blue jean rugs I wove in a checkerboard pattern, which is very time consuming, but the result is quite lovely. That is the beauty of log cabin. Well I am off to fringe those rugs I took off the loom and maybe cut some more blue sheets.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Painted Bull

Check out Painted Bull on Artfire. She has such passion in her work and is a weaving goddess. I find her enthusiasm inspiring. I love the historian in her as well. Her weaving is certainly unique to her. I have never seen another weaver do what she does. She keeps this old weaver young :)

thanks Kid!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Spring Green show and other stuff

The show in Spring Green over the weekend was pretty good. Not quite as good as last year, but still considering the detour and the intense heat on Saturday it was a great show. I sold two rugs that I have been hauling around for 10 years now... they were not quite the oldest rugs I have, but darn close. I sold my last rug just after we had packed almost everything away.

Maddie sold almost all her felt balls and I sold a great many of my needle felted balls. One woman bought $134.00 in felt balls. I only had to take three credit cards so that was good. I am terrible at remembering all the stuff I need to call in the card transactions later so they always make me nervous. Not to mention the fact that the credit card companies nip off a little more profit each time. One guy actually bought a felt ball with one. I could not talk him out of it. Oh well. The cost of doing business. Maddie needled another 10 balls over the two days and was a nice attraction for people. I hope I can hang onto her for a while for shows. It is good to have a decorative fixture in the booth LOL (some guy called her a fixture and she asked me if I thought that was a compliment)

Puck had to work on Sunday night so it was just Maddie and me for Sunday. The weather was much cooler, but the wind was horrendous. I hung up all my heavy rugs on the tent so it would not blow away. I was nervous the whole time... On one side was a glass artist and on the other was an expensive potter... talk about being between a rock and a hard place :)

we all survived and it seemed like people were buying. My good friend Michael stayed with us for most of the day so we got to visit when the booth wasn't too crowded. He also helped us pack up, which was wonderful. He is nice and tall and can reach all the things that we short people struggle with. I forgot to bring my nice step stool. I will have to add that to the show list.

we got packed up in a little less than an hour which is great timing. We drove home and I smelled burning rubber faintly. We had the windows open so I wasn't sure it was us. I didn't see any smoke or anything so we pressed on. We stopped at McDonald's for our end of show vanilla shakes and the van was sort of burbling like it was overheating. A little steam was escaping, but the overflow tank was pretty full. I added a little water to that. We headed for home again and got on the final road to home which is a curvy back road when the heat light came on. "Oh Shit" I exclaimed and pulled off to the side of the no shoulder road. We were right on a curve. I popped the hood and checked the over flow... it was still full. bummer. I did not want to open the radiator when it was hot, fearing an explosion. I had poured most of our spare water into the overflow tank.

We waited a few minutes. Finally I decided I better try to let some steam out of the radiator. I grabbed one of my cloth utilitarian bags (grocery and whatever) and set out to open up the steaming monster. I gingerly unscrewed it and waited for the gushing water that usually boils out. Nothing... Yikes! The radiator was completely dry. Now we had a completely different problem. Maddie and I scrambled to find extra water to pour into the radiator. We had half empty water bottles that we had drunk at the show so we emptied those in. Dumped the last bit of our designated radiator water in, still not full but could at least see water in the radiator. I decided to chance it and turned the van back on. No light so I drove slowly home. We made it and it appears I did not completely wreck the engine.

I tell you if it is not one thing it's another. I spent most of the evening deleting the things I had sold off of ETSY and cursing myself for not having a better system for locating the dang rugs. It took hours to figure it all out and I had sold a rug off of Artfire too. That all is way too complicated for my poor brain.

I finally decided to create a spread sheet with all my goofy names, the descriptions of the rugs and my id numbers. I spent Monday completing the spreadsheet. Now I am ready for anything. Oh and I had sold a book from my vintage shop too so I had to get that packaged up and sent out.

Yesterday morning I steeled myself to call in the three credit card sales. I called the number followed the instructions and punched numbers in as fast as I could. The nice little automated voice told me I was not a valid merchant number and transferred me to a human. She asked for my merchant number three times and finally told me I was not valid either and to call my merchant account person to straighten it out. I called him and left a message... he called back two hours later and told me my number had worked fine when he tried it (gee I hate that) I took a deep breath and tried it again.

I apparently am too slow for the automated telephone deely and they transferred me to a person again. This time my account number went through, but it had been my first sale and I had forgotten to get her street number and zip code so that her number could be verified. In my notes it mentions that I can just use my own number and zip for stupidity like this. The girl said I couldn't, I said it was in my notes and she said what the heck. When it came to the sale amount I gave her an amount, but did not include the tax since on my crib sheet it looked like the tax was supposed to come later. She started to give me a verification and reference number and I asked if she needed the tax amount. She sounded a little confused, I explained that I had not added the tax on the amount I had given her. She claimed it would be fine, but I have a feeling I lost the tax amount on that one.

I went to do the next two on my own. Dialed the number for the fourth time... got all the way through one and got a message that it was declined... Panic!

Called the number for the fifth time and did the other transaction... yippee that one went in just fine, grabbed the other one and tried it again... barely beat the automation timing, but this time it went through just fine so it only took me 4 hours to enter three credit card transactions. I sure hope I get better at that


Dyed some wool for felt balls and got Maddie's balls and some of my own into the washer. All that wool and balls are now drying. Took picture of the rugs that are not yet on ETSY this morning and got them edited and resized for the site.

Ordered 35 more little connectors for my grid display system. We discovered after we were at the show on Saturday that we were about 25 connectors short. Maddie and Puck zip tied the heck out of the grids and it held together pretty well. I will be prepared for the next show. The problem is that because I now am selling online I need to be able to find the dang rugs if I sell them so we set up a rack in the basement. That used up my connectors and now I am short.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Blasted through that red warp

I finished the red warp a couple days ago. I think I got 12 rugs off that warp. It was not a very big one. I am pretty low on red rags right now. Next I think will be a yellow and orange warp. I only have a couple yellow rugs in stock so I really need some more with shows coming up soon. I ordered a mess of color from Edgemont yarns which should be here in a couple days. They are very quick at shipping.

I have been cutting yellow and orange rags as quickly as I can.

We were up north over the weekend to see our daughter in a play. We stayed with my baby sister who gave me two garbage bags full of blue jeans. Tonight I am cutting the seams out of as many of those as I can so Puck can cut them into strips. My business is really a family affair :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Out with the Blue in with the Red

Finished my blue warp a couple weeks ago, got them finished, priced, measured and photographed. Spent the next few weeks listing and now finally have all but about 7 rugs listed. Now it is on to the next warp. I am pretty low on Red rugs right now so that will be my next batch of rugs. I have my first art fair at the end of June and need to build stock.

This is the truest picture of the warp wound on the the sectional beam of the loom. It is a red and black Log Cabin pattern

This shows the warp all laid out. After I wind on the required amount of warp I pull the threads up over the beam and double check to see that they are all accounted for. I arrange them in the correct pattern and tape the threads to the beam to keep them in place

My husband or daughter help me pull the threads through the heddles and we can get it done fairly quickly once we get into a rhythm. Once that is done I sley the reed. That means pulling each of the threads through the reed. It has gotten to be rather challenging now that I am relying more and more on my glasses to see the dang slots. I did mess up and skipped one slot, but it was close to and end thank heavens and after I took everything apart it was not terribly difficult to fix. They always say that if you want to teach someone to weave have them do the weaving first to get them hooked and then teach them to warp up the loom. If you had to warp up a loom before you had ever woven anything I rather think no one would take it up. :)

I just added this little picture to show the lovely gears on my loom. It is dusty and industrial looking, but I really love my loom.

In between warping I have been sewing rags together and cutting rags on my Fraser cutter. It is a hand cranked cutter which uses human energy to work :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lots of stuff to do

Started off early and got another rug named and described. It is such a dang process.. I will be ever so happy to have it up to date. I have been cleaning up some of the earlier rugs I uploaded and adding their invoice numbers so that it wont be total chaos if I sell any at my art fairs which are fast approaching.

Got a wild hair up my you know what and decided to take some ETSY advice on business cards. The claim is that people just stash cards and never take another look at them. I guess I do the same thing and I have been handing them out for years. A suggestion was made to be creative and one idea was making magnets to hand out. I decided to investigate the idea today. I had to drive to Janesville anyhow to get kitty food and some other things so I planned on Hobby Lobby.

found some magnets at the local Outreach along with some sheets that will be great in my next batch of rugs, bought some paper to print off some designs and ended up finding some printable magnetic paper at Hobby Lobby after all.

Got home and put all my stuff away then set about making my magnets. They turned out pretty good so I hope they end up being useful. One batch was a little off color until I cleaned the nozzles on my printer, but after that they looked pretty good.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Finished my Blue Warp

Got my blue warp finally off the loom this past week during Easter Break. Managed to weave a couple nice long rugs. A Hit or Miss 9 foot runner and I think my biggest blue jean rug ever at 16 feet.

I finished the warp off on Wednesday then spent the afternoon knotting and pricing. My husband Puck helped me get all the rugs photographed along with some of the runners I have not been able to get pictures of on the dining room table... I only have so much length on the table although it is pretty under the rugs. I like the outdoor light, but the weather has not been cooperating too much lately :)

Now I have a nice big pile of rugs to get loaded on to ETSY. I figure I can do two or three a day and keep my creativity going although I am running out of names for green rugs LOL

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Finally Back in the Studio

Now that I am finally finished with the play I was co-directing and have put away most of the costumes I loaned out I have spent the past weekend working on rugs again.

Yesterday I spent 9 hours sewing rags and weaving. I was working for the most part on a batch of shirts that I had cut up a few months ago. I love hit or miss rugs, but they are way labor intensive. It took most of the day to get that batch of rags sewed up. I keep pieces as short as 5 inches because I hate to waste anything, but it does take time.

today I did a little more sewing and more weaving. I have a total of 5 rugs finished now and am tying fringe tonight. Feels good to be back in the saddle again. Need to get some product finished for my summer art and craft fairs.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I joined a new Team

I was invited to join Design Style It is a website that is promoted to designers. I made an application and was accepted. It seems like a very good fit for my work and I look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration.

In other news I have not been weaving at all, but am getting closer to listing all my rugs which has been quite a task. I still need to photograph some runners, but my dining room table is not long enough to do them justice. The weather outside is rather prohibitive when it comes to photographing right now so I may not get to them until spring.

I have gotten some doll house rugs made in some new and fun colors and hope to get pictures up soon. I have some rainbow, mint green and a darker blue.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Tale of My Loom

The acquisition of my first loom was quite an adventure. When I first decided to leap into the breach of rug weaving I knew I had to have a large heavy loom. I was frustrated in High School when two of my best friend inherited old hand carved Swedish looms from family members, but did not weave at all. The women in my family had worked. My paternal grandmother had been a teacher, nurse and eventually a chiropractor. She kept her practice almost to the day she died. My maternal grandmother had also been a teacher and when her husband passed away very young she began work as a bookkeeper for the county, a job she stayed at for the rest of her career. As far as I knew there were no hidden looms haunting any barns in my family. This meant I would have to hunt for my own.

I quit my job at the drapery factory where I had worked for almost 10 years and received a small amount of profit sharing, which I planned to put towards fiber endeavors. I had already purchased a spinning wheel. I bought a lovely fleece after a friend showed me the basic mechanics of spinning, and I ordered the Ashford wheel and a book. After much trial and error I finally figured out how to spin so one dream was accomplished… That left me with $300.00 to spend on a loom.

Someone advised me to look in farm auctions… that there often were looms sold that had lain around unused for a long time and that I might find a bargain. This was in the early 80’s. I hunted all the farm newspapers for months and finally ran across an auction that listed a rug loom. I was so excited. I drove quite a distance and waited anxiously in the cold for the loom to come up on the block. They sold all the little stuff and finally moved to the furniture. After several hours the loom finally came up. I was ready. I clutched my number and was ready to do battle. The auctioneer began and started the bid at….. $300.00. I was crestfallen. I shouldn’t have, but I had put all my hopes and dreams into that one loom.

I had bid on a couple pairs of earrings, which I had won, sort of a consolation prize I guess. A gentleman approached me and asked if he could purchase one of the pairs. We struck a deal since he wanted the pair that I was not interested in. We got to talking and I poured out my tale of woe. He told me that he had seen a loom much like the one that had been at the auction at a garage sale he had attended. He happened to still have the address and figured the guy might still have the loom. Oh boy, I thought, a second chance. I thanked him profusely and went home in high spirits.

Later that week I called the guy and he told me that yes he did still have the loom and if I were interested I was welcome to come see it. I was very interested and apparently felt over confident. I called a friend who had become a weaver in college to help me evaluate it and we drove the 50 miles or so to look at it. When we got to the guy’s house we found the loom in pieces. He said he was a potter and that he had purchased it a few years earlier from an elderly rag rug weaver. That told me the loom was at least a rug loom of some kind. He had never gotten around to putting it together though, but said all the pieces were there plus a couple shuttles (that looked hand made)

I asked him how much he wanted for it and he countered with “What did I want to offer?” I blurted out that I only had $300.00 to spend and he accepted. I probably could have gotten it for less, but weaving fever took over I guess.

My friend and I packed up all the pieces to the loom and crammed them into the Dodge Colt I was driving back then (they just barely fit) and we hauled my new treasure back home. My friend Michael helped me set it up and low and behold the darn thing had no treadles. Well that was weird. Every big loom I had seen had treadles. Not only did it not have treadles, but it had all this cast iron stuff that didn’t seem normal for a loom. Bravely I pushed ahead though and set it up the best I could. I knew I needed more information about this industrial looking monster so I hunted for clues all about the loom. There was a fading label that read Newcomb Loom Company, Davenport IA. Being the resourceful woman that I am, I called the Chamber of Commerce in Davenport. I was told that the Newcomb Loom Company had gone out of business the previous year (Drat the luck), but that a man had bought the rights to their patterns and designs. His name was Menno DeBeachy. I got Mr. DeBeachy’s address and wrote him. I included several pictures of the loom and the dear man wrote a nice long note back with instructions on how it really was put together.

He told me it was a flying shuttle loom that had had its side arms cut off (the flying parts). He also told me a little bit of history about my loom, which was called “The Weaver’s Delight”. They were each numbered and the Newcomb Company was very careful not to sell too many looms to any particular area and also that when a loom passed into another weaver’s hands that that new purchaser was recorded. He very sternly also told me that I had several pieces on backwards. His instructions were very helpful and I used him as a resource for several years. I bought some replacement parts from him and got the loom warped up and began weaving. A few years and a few rugs later I wrote to him looking for a replacement part and received a note back from his wife telling me that he had passed away, but that the designs had been purchased by another gentleman named Garland Tickle. I was beginning to think that one needed an unusual name to own the company.

After a few more years and many more rugs passed I purchased a second Weaver’s Delight and cannibalized my old one to repair the newer one. I registered my looms with the loom registry and found a list of the previous owners and the years they had been produced. My first loom was built in 1918 and the second 1942.

The most recent person I contacted about my loom and replacement parts was Sharon Outlaw and so the interesting name chain continues. This has now been a few years and I wonder if the Outlaws still own the business? My Weaver’s Delight turned out fortuitously to be just the right rug loom for me and we work together like clockwork most of the time. It has it’s own personality just like me and we both have our off days, but most of the time we work great together and hopefully will for a very long time to come

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My other Weaving

Besides weaving with rags and felting with wool I cane and rush chairs. It started when my husband and I were setting up housekeeping and were given four lovely chairs from his grandparents. They had come from the old ice cream parlor that his family had run. The only problem was that they were dried out and had absolutely no vestige of seats left in them. Well free is free and I said "Oh I can figure that out" and we brought them home.

It took me a little while to find someone who sold cane and that particular company enclosed a free sheet of paper explaining how to cane a chair. I ordered enough cane to weave four seats and leaped bravely into the breach.

I suppose I should preface this a little with some background information on my confidence. I grew up the oldest of seven children. My folks were strong believers in doing for themselves. They were both very creative and inventive people. They also instilled in us children a great respect for the earth and for reusing and restoring things that could be rescued.

I watched my mother learn how to cut glass to replace broken panes. She repaired many a toilet. We canned much of our own fruits and vegetables. I learned never to be afraid to try to learn how to do something no matter how daunting it may seem.

That first chair took me almost two months to complete, but 30 years later we are still sitting in it. When I compare it with my work now I am a little embarrassed at the lack of skill, but someday I will reweave them all. It is, I'm afraid, a little like the cobblers children always going without shoes. Anyhow I have since caned hundreds of chairs and even restored chairs in the historic home of Henry Sibley at the Sibley House Museum.

I have become a very good seat weaver and am presently working on a beautiful rocker. I finished the seat and am presently working on the back of the chair. It is a big chair and is using a great deal of cane, but so far no sneaky little problems. I have finished the horizontal and vertical canes and am now working on the diagonals. After those have been completed the chair is finished with a binder that covers the holes and finishes the piece.

This is the current chair I am caning... It has a total of 190 holes drilled around the edge. Re-weavers of chairs charge their customers by the number of holes. This particular chair is woven using fine cane. I just finished one that used super fine cane and man was that a pain to do. The holes are very close together and the cane is much more fragile to work with.

Here is me working in the living room. I do most of my caning while sitting on the sofa. I have a nice soft area rug on the floor there and since I have to flip the chairs so much it provides padding and keeps the chairs from getting scratched

Here is a pic of the cane waiting to be soaked before weaving. I wrap it into little curls and clip with wooden clothespins. It fits more easily into the bowl that way

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What's up at WebWorks

I'm afraid all my time lately has been spent trying to get my rugs photographed and up on ETSY and ArtFire. I only can get about four done per day and when you have 200 rugs that can be a daunting task.

I do not weave 200 rugs a year, but over the last 20 or so I have managed to build up an inventory which I can then add to as I sell. That way I usually have something that will suit the customer. Not always though. Every now and then I need to do a batch of rugs that will take a long time to sell. Turquoise, Pink, Orange... all of those need to find just the right people to take them home :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What Is It?

I own so many odd fiber tools that I think I will start trying to figure out what the more mysterious ones might be or even whether my guess has been incorrect and they are not actually fiber tools.

This is a good start since I simply have a feeling that these might be fiber tools. When my grandmother passed away a couple years ago I found a small paper bag with these beautiful tools. They spoke to me somehow and I asked if I could have them. No one else had a clue what they were so I acquired them. Now my grandmother was not a weaver, or fiber person that I know of. Her mother had been a milliner briefly, but my grandmother had been a bookkeeper for most of her life after being a school teacher.

If anyone can help me identify these little critters I would greatly appreciate it. The lines around the tops of the bulb part are small grooves

oh and as a side note I did weave the matt that is sitting underneath the bowl :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Showing off a bit

My daughter Maddie is easily a much more basically talented artist than I am. I can only take credit for some of her genes and allowing and encouraging her to explore anything and everything her artistic heart desires. My mother studied commercial art and was a prize winning rosemaller. My dad was also very artistic. My great grandmother was a milliner (something I only recently discovered) She has been part of my rug weaving her whole life and it has been exciting this year to have her take "Intro to Fibers" in college where she is a Theater major with an Art minor. She went above and beyond the call of duty in the class. Her professor was Morgan Clifford, an internationally acclaimed weaver in her own right, and Morgan has already asked her to continue in studio fibers. The following are two felt pieces that she did for her final project in the class and subsequently gave her to her dad and I for Christmas. (She got an A)

This is Maddie's felted rendition of one of my favorite works of art. Marcel Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase" it called Nuno Felting which means the bits of colored wool are needled on to a sheet of silk. Scarves are often made this way.

This is the one she made for Puck. It is Monet's "Water Lilly's"

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A New Year, a New Blog

My first post in my new Blog. I wish that I could say that I have been weaving up a storm, but most of my time has been spent photographing my current inventory and trying to get things posted on Etsy and Artfire. So far so good, but I still only have a small portion of my rugs posted. Every day I do a few more. I hope to be able to keep up with this blog. I will try to post at least once a week.

Oh today I did manage to get three sheets filleted and cut into strips. Now I just need to move all the Christmas stuff out of the studio so I can get at the sewing Machine and the loom.

Happy New Year