Summer Show Season 2018

Hello, friends. In addition to readying our currently over-sized home to move to a more reasonably-sized home, I am weaving in anticipation of the summer and early fall fine craft show season. There are no shows on my calendar for June or July (the business of moving can really mix up your schedule), so my first big event will be the League of NH Craftsmen Summer Fair, Newbury, NH, August 4-12. I will be in Tent 1, Booth 105, same as last year.

Here are a few pictures of some of the pieces I have been working on recently for the Fair:

IMG_2694
Alpaca silk scarf with log cabin borders

 

I’ve done a few variations of this log cabin scarf, a design I drafted last year and wove in bamboo. By reworking the thread count, sett, and beat for the finer alpaca and silk yarn, I believe I’ve crafted a lightweight, insulating piece for those of us who reside in colder climates.

 

IMG_2740.JPG
“Orange Peel” overshot with my bubbly treadling variation

My centerpiece-sized tabletop textiles found many homes last year so I’ve added a few more of those. I did the circle-y treadling in royal blue, garnet, and black. (I’m waiting to work on hemming while my loom is out of commission during the move).

 

IMG_2745.JPG
Summer and Winter placemats!

I love weaving these summer and winter placemats! I put on a pretty long warp for these, which seemed like a fine idea at the time, but now that I’m half-way through the weaving of my intended project, I have found that I might be running low on 5/2 mercerized cotton. In my semi-state of panic in trying to get everything packed before the movers arrive to load our lives into a truck, I have already stuffed my yarn inventory into boxes.

(Maybe I will just order two cones of 5/2 white cotton and make my life easier. Don’t tell.)

One last picture…

 

IMG_2726
Harrisville, New Hampshire

Here is just one lovely view of the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire, our soon-to-be new home. Weavers and other fiber enthusiasts will most likely recognize “Harrisville” as a most familiar locale. Yes, we are moving to Harrisville, THE Harrisville, of Harrisville Designs. The historic mill complex and lovely shop are a mere one mile walk from our new home.

 

How did I get so lucky?

Signing off for now. Be well, friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home selling preparations. Staging the loom room.

Hello, friends. My husband and I are knee-deep in preparations to sell our home. While everyone faces the same challenges of making sure living spaces are de-cluttered and tidy and prospective-buyer ready, I have found it especially puzzling to “stage” my weaving studio. I need to keep weaving while our home is on the market, but this area had to undergo some big changes before it is realtor-ready.

First: why am I writing about this? While I found a lot of information about how to stage living rooms, kitchens, and even home offices, I didn’t find much about staging creative working spaces.

Where to being? Here is an overview of my strategy:

  1. Sell unused equipment. I had two small looms that were mostly idle and so while it was hard to part with them (we weavers tend to get attached to our equipment, don’t we?) it made sense to find them new homes.
  2. Move the yarn. I have an entire shelving unit stocked with cones of yarn. I moved this from my primary work space to allow for easier movement in the weaving room.
  3. Off-site storage. I’ve stored all of my booth equipment in an off-site storage facility. Pipe and drape, canopy tent and weights, folding tables, booth lights and flooring are all currently accessible to me but out of the house.
  4. Put away sharp and pointy things. While I love to have little ones come through a demonstration area and pet yarn and soft and lofty textiles, scissors and pins are off-limits.
  5. Put away lightly-used items. Reeds, jersey mannequins, and other fiber-related equipment are stored in a closet, an old antique dresser, baskets, and even my loom bench.
  6. Limit display textiles to 1-3 pieces. While it seemed tempting to use the studio as a makeshift pop-up sales floor, I didn’t take this route. I kept things light: a small table runner on an antique dresser and a neutral, textured lace shawl on the mannequin lady.

Here are a few photos of the way things stand right now (apologies for the rather dark photos as they were taken very early in the morning):

 

IMG_2647
Loom (note the cleared off castle)
IMG_2646
Antique dresser houses tools and other equipment
IMG_2649
Trunk also houses additional equipment
IMG_2651
A neutral piece for textural interest 

 

Feel free to share your own strategies for staging a creative workspace area! Thanks for reading!

Be well,

Kate K.

 

Weaving a favorite

Hello, friends. I’ve woven a fair number of placemats using my “Cityscape” design and have moved onto kitchen towels. I love to weave kitchen towels! “Farmhouse Plaid” towels have been a customer favorite since I designed them nearly eight years ago:

 

IMG_2574
Farmhouse plaid towels on the loom – red and ivory

 

IMG_2562
China Blue and ivory cotton kitchen towels

 

For these towels, I sett the 8/2 unmercerized cotton rather closely at 24 ends per inch. This results in a cloth that strikes a good balance between drape and thickness after finishing.

In addition to weaving in anticipation of summer and early fall exhibits this year, my husband and I are embarking on a rather big project. Here’s a hint:

 

IMG_2565 (1)
And so it begins…

My husband and I will be “right-sizing” now that our children are grown and flown. We’re looking for a place that will allow for ample opportunity for gardening, cheesemaking, baking, and, of course, weaving.

Be well,
Kate K.

PS: Be sure to stop in at the latest League of NH Craftsmen exhibition, “Fairy Tales & Fantasies” in Concord, NH. The exhibit runs through June 15, 2018. My handwoven “Truffula Trees” placemats are part of this exhibit.

IMG_2559

 

 

“Truffula Trees” and “Cityscape” weaving

“Truffula Trees” and “Cityscape” weaving

The “Truffula Trees” placemats are finished and I’m pleased with the results. A set of four mats will be my entry into the next League of NH Craftsmen exhibition, “Fairytales and Fantasies,” which opens April 6, 2018 in Concord, NH. In case you’re not familiar with “Truffula Trees,” I encourage you to read “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss! It is a wonderful contemporary fairy tale and has a message that is relevant for our times.

 

The mats feature hemstitching so that the mats are reversible. (I like both sides!) I used 5/2 mercerized cotton in the warp, as the tabby weft, and also as the pattern weft (used doubled). The mats are machine washable in a gentle cycle.

The following mats, named “Cityscape” thanks to our son, Andrew, are a variation of the same threading. Andrew noted that the interlacements reminded him of the bricks on Bay State Road in Boston, where he is a university student:

 

IMG_2496
“Cityscape” placemats in turquoise and purple

I liked these mats so much that I decided to keep two for our table! They pair nicely with our Fiestaware dishes.

The placemats are so much fun to make (and feel so substantial!) that I have decided to see how a more traditional design would look and feel. These mats (and possibly companion table runners) feature overshot weaving:

 

IMG_2498
“Square and Compass” overshot

The color in the chart is a little underwhelming (I was trying to conserve printer ink by using a muted shade). It will be interesting to see how these go together.

That’s all for now, friends. Happy weaving to you!

Be well,

Kate K.

 

 

 

Making a case for placemats

Making a case for placemats

Hello, friends. What’s on your kitchen table? (If you’re like me, there is usually an assortment of mail, laptops/electrical cords, and the occasional mug of half-drunk tea. Guilty!) Come dinner time, though, I clear off the mess to make room for our evening meal.

While I love table runners (to make and to use), I took note of some of the conversations I had with visitors to my booth at the League of NH Craftsmen Summer Fair in 2017: “I can’t remember how long my table is.” “I like this runner, but it might be too long.” “I like this runner, but it might be too short.” Yep, kitchen and dining tables vary in length. I’ve woven custom sized runners in excess of 14 feet to meet the specifications of a particular table. What is a weaver to do?

Last year I had a log cabin placemat design available which, incidentally, sold well:

Log cabin placemats in garnet

This year I aspire to offer the log cabin design along with two summer and winter versions. Here is the latest (i.e. version 2 placemat) still on the loom:

In case you missed the other summer and winter placemat that I designed late in 2017, here is a picture:

Blue summer and winter placemats
Summer and winter mats, version 1

I’m pleased with the results of the summer and winter mats because they meet the following criteria for use:

  1. they are machine washable (cold cycle, gentle spin)
  2. they are reversible
  3. they stay “flat” on the table, thanks to the heft of the 5/2 and 3/2 cottons

Summer and winter, like overshot, is a multi-shuttle weave which means that it is not “fast weaving,” if there is such a thing. The hemstitching, while also time-consuming, allows for the mats to be reversible. It is worth it, in my book, to get a piece that has this 2 for 1 feature.

I hope to have a few sets of 2 each available in my shop soon and possibly stocked in some of my retailers. And the placemats will also be available for your perusal at this year’s fine craft events!

Thanks for checking in. Feel free to weigh in on the great placemat debate! I enjoy and appreciate your comments.

Be well,

Kate K.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving the loom, made a bit simpler

Hello, friends. A major reorganization effort at home has made it necessary to relocate my loom. Again. I just have one loom, a Nilus II Leclerc (8 shafts, 10 treadles) but she is a bit of a beast to move.

 

IMG_2408
Pieces and parts…

Some of the pieces are manageable, just awkward (see above). But then there is the center “castle” portion, which is quite heavy. These nifty “Super Sliders” made moving the castle much easier! We have used these under all manner of furniture, but I had never used these to shift the loom.

 

IMG_2413We bought an assortment of these at a local home improvement store. They are worth every penny! Four large sliders placed under the legs of the center of the castle allowed me to push the loom into her new room. Here’s the proof:

 

IMG_2412
Super sliders slid the loom down the hall…

 

I hope to get the loom back together this weekend. I have a new warp ready to go on the loom and am anxious to see how the draft below translates into the real thing:

 

IMG_2414.JPG
Draft of a new placemat design

Do consider using furniture sliders should you have to move your loom! It is not an easy job, and anything that can simplify the process, even a tiny bit, is worth considering!

Be well,

kate k.

 

“Gavotte” overshot is on the loom

The loom is dressed with a new warp this week, a self-drafted overshot design using four shafts. It is always fun to see how one’s sketch (or in my case, computer draft) translates into cloth.

After sampling several inches of fabric, I decided to double up on pattern weft picks to give the pattern a little more definition. While this approach elongates the pattern somewhat, I am not displeased with the results.

IMG_2349
“Gavotte” in garnet and ivory

I’m planning table runners with this pattern and started a second variation in a lovely moss green this morning:

 

 

IMG_2354.JPG
Major mistake! Snip, snip!

One would think that after all of the overshot weaving I’ve done over the years that I would remember how important it is to remain focused while treadling! I ended up cutting out about 6 inches of overshot fabric, which was no party, especially given the fine 10/2 mercerized cotton that I used for the tabby weft and the warp. I will venture to limit distractions the next time I am working at the loom. Maybe weaving to the “Wonder Woman” soundtrack wasn’t such a good idea. (It is a great soundtrack, though, especially if you need a pick-me-up).

 

It is fair application season for summer and fall 2018! I’ve submitted my work for consideration at Codman Estate (Lincoln, MA) and Roseland Cottage (Woodstock, CT), which are both Historic New England venues. Right now I am committed to the 2018 League of NH Craftsmen Summer Fair at Mt. Sunapee and will even have the same booth assignment as last year! This takes place in August. Stay tuned!

 

My shop will enjoy a brief hiatus as I take a family trip to visit my parents to celebrate a very special birthday.

Happy weaving, friends and be well.

Kate K.