Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Last year when my guild hosted Sara Lamb the writer of Woven Treasures for a program and a workshop she mentioned that weaving was not experiencing the same popularity that other fiber crafts had over the last few years and many fewer weaving books were being printed than knitting & spinning books. She told us we should buy weaving books and said the loom manufacturers were making a big push to get their rigid heddle looms out to knitters. This is a great idea! The looms are smaller, they have less waste and are much more affordable.

When I started spinning and reading Interweave magazines in the 1990's Handwoven was the much bigger magazine and Spin off was just a little sister magazine. It's interesting how these things go in waves I guess they take their turns in popularity.
Weaving is great so it's about time! Is all I have to say!

.Currently on my loom is an combination of handspun novelty yarns & chinelle. I was inspired by the Saori weaving I saw on Ravelry. Even though the pieces I saw were being made with black warp, I decided to use my handspun in the warp and for weft I'm using dark blue wool. This is a really great way to use up all that random handspun that may not be enough to make an individual project AND really! Sometimes you have to ask yourself "Do really need to make another pair of fingerless gloves?" This is a good way to get the fiber into a bigger project.

There are some yarns in here with vintage sequins spun into them that I really treasure but I have to be careful to manipulate them through the eyes in the heddles because naturally they get caught. Also I've combined some more delicate yarns that I wouldn't put on the loom alone. I love the way the warp looks before it's woven, and it's sad to cover it up with the weft...but I tried to give it a spider webish look by setting the yarns wide apart with an epi of 4 and beating it lightly, hopefully that will retain some of the look of the unwoven yarns. Mostly likely I will full it a little before sewing it into a finished object. So far I like it but we'll see how it turns out in the end!

I use a 4 harness Schacht 36" floor loom most of the time, so that's what you see in these pictures

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rip it rip it!

When I first started knitting garments I was really young and didn't know any other knitters- except my mom who mostly quit knitting after we moved to Southern California from the Netherlands.
As far as I knew knitting was not very popular, I didn't know about yarn stores and they still sold yarn at department stores in the mall. I would go there with my mom sometimes and buy yarn (they even had fabric in the department stores too) you could also buy it at nickle & dime stores like Woolworth. Really I was completely on my own with this fascination. My mom would occasionally come home from a trip to Holland with a batch of new knitting magazines, which I would study until they fell apart, and I got a bunch of old needles from her too. Funny thing is that even though I don't speak or read Dutch very well any more, my first knitted garments were out of those Dutch books.
So I would visualize what I wanted to make, get the stuff to make it, copy a piece of clothing that fit me well (it was helpful that I was good at sewing) and I almost always would end up with things that I liked to wear.

Over the years I had more money to spend, started reading knitting magazines and books and going to yarn stores and I learned about patterns. Reading patterns became an interesting thing in itself. But I often encountered a problem when I followed patterns exactly instead of my intuition-the finished product didn't always look good on me. And that brings me to the point I want to make. I'm kind of tired of spending hours of my time making beautiful things that don't look good on me or the intended wearer. And yesterday as I was working on the Brussels Lace Camisole that I mentioned in my blog and I decided to rip back and re do it in a shape that I think will be more flattering to my body. I am still following the stitch pattern but instead of having a really low neckline in the back I am raising it up about 4 inches and then I'll start the straps. I think it will prevent the straps from eternally falling off of my shoulders as often happens with this style of top.
I must say I'm feeling somewhat empowered by this decision!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm such a creature of habit, not too different from most people I would think. Maybe it's from childhood training of going to school, not to mention having a drill sergeant for a mom...but I seem to get the most work done when I have a schedule. My life has changed a lot over the last two years, my schedule has been disturbed by the fact that my husband works at home most of the time now. Added to that my two grown daughters moved back into our house, one with her little girl and although I adore having them here, we had spread out in their absence. So even though they are helpful I have more people to clean up after in what seems like less space.

To combat this situation I have to make a schedule for myself that forces me to get things done. One of the best things on my schedule is going to knitting group every Tuesday morning. It absolutely guarantees that I will knit consecutively on something for 2 hours one day a week. Naturally this group is comprised of belly dance friends, since the only people I know are belly dancers but anyone is welcome to sit with us and work on their projects.

I have made significant progress on my two toe up red socks. I may need to do another pair of toe ups before I make a decision on whether or not I like this technique. Right now I would say no but it may be that I didn't like the way the pattern was written that is really the problem. Also I think it's hard to judge the correct length of the foot on socks when doing toe up, they seem to be a bit long.

The other thing I've been working on is the Brussels Lace Camisole pattern from Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick. I may decide to redo it, it looks a bit wide to me at this point, but it's hard to say until I try it on. So I will just knit the entire top and if I don't like it I'll rip it out and do it I weird?

On the spinning front, I've been working on cleaning the world's greasiest ever EVER fleece! It's a corriedale and I'm not happy with it. The wool is very clean it's just so greasy and has gotten tacky from sitting in the bag. I washed it once a few months ago and thought it would be able to just jump in and card and spin it, but it was like play dough! I'm not even exaggerating we were able to mold it into shapes it was that sticky!
So I've been washing it in small batches with boiling water and there seems to be some progress. I am seriously rethinking the wisdom of preparing raw fleeces! Corriedale fleeces anyway. The Romney I recently did is spinning up just beautifully.

Also, I've gone and got myself involved in a SAL of Sushi batts (they look like sushi which I don't eat since I'm a vegetarian) with the Fun Onion group on Ravelry. They were made by Mikki of Funhouse fibers btw and are very pretty. I am planning on making a lariat scarf with the yarns. It has nothing to do with sushi!

The BIG news is that I was in Spin Off! Yay! Also due to a SAL/KAL on Ravelry I entered the Helix scarf challenge and my scarf was chosen to be in the magazine. And it was on Knitting Daily the day before yesterday if you look at that. I'm proud I guess!

Last but not least my student troupe Tandava and my daughters, granddaughter and I all performed in a St. Patrick's day show at one of the community centers where I teach!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

VIDEO: America Is NOT Broke |

Please watch this video it is really important!

Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined.

Thank you Wisconsin! Thank you Madison! Thank you Michael Moore!

yes I have been knitting-spinning-weaving a LOT!

For that last several weeks it may look like all I've done is belly dancing but it's not at all true! My fiber work has been so consuming that I haven't been able to spend the time to sit down and talk about it on the blog.

So indulge me while I track backwards a bit...

Every New Year I make a list of the marvelous plans I have for the year and one of the things that is a repeated theme in my life is my lack of discipline required to finish projects. As a result I have many Un Finished Objects aka UFOs in my home. These UFOs happen because I am easily fascinated by a new technique or I have an inspirational idea that starts off with a bang but as soon as I find the answer to the puzzle or learn the technique, boredom strikes and it's not interesting any more. Maybe I have ADD. Anyway the project gets stuffed into a basket with other UFO's, it's such a crazy pattern (no pun intended)! I'm embarassed of it and am sure it is the most horrible feng shui ever! From what I can tell this is a common problem among crafters so at least I am not alone. But I am now committed to finishing more old projects than starting new projects. What does that mean exactly? That I have to have at least one old project actively in the works at all times.

The other big issue I have looming (also no pun intended) is my sock yarn stash. It's gotten really ridiculous and I am committed to knitting one pair of socks every month for the remainder of the year. Like a little bird looking for pretty things to feather my nest I am constantly attracted to all those pretty multi colored sock yarns especially of the hand dyed variety. This is not something that you might consider a problem, but if you are a sock knitter you know that there are so many interesting and challenging patterns that call for single color yarns. So the socks I would like to knit don't really match the yarns I have in my stash. Before I buy any more sock yarn I must destash it would just be wrong otherwise. This self imposed rule will have the side benefit of having many beautiful birthday and holiday gifts handy at a moments notice for friends & family.

In keeping with my new rules I have been working hard on finishing this rather boring pair of socks for my husband. Boring because the cuff required a k1 p1 rib (making for rather tedious knitting) and the colorway was a dull olive green/brown/beige on small #2 needles. And I was so optimistic about my progress that I gave him one finished sock and the unfinished sock on the needles as a Valentine's day gift. As I was in the end stretch I was so determined that I began carrying that sock with me every where in my purse. And guess what happened? My purse was stolen!!! grrrrrrr!!!!! So that project is done now! Unless if Lois (LYS owner) has any more or that yarn in her shop then I suppose I could start sock #2 over again.

Here you see a picture of Robert's unfinished socks (R) before Valentine's day that were almost finished the day of the burglary.

On the left are the socks I am working on now...2 at a time from the toe up-I don't like this technique and don't think I'll be doing it again.

Along with my promise to finish making things I am also dedicating myself to blogging regularly every Wednesday at LEAST! So please check back in soon!

Friday, March 4, 2011

She'enedra at Tribal Cafe 2007

She enedra performs at Tales of Desire

I just found out this is on Youtube! This is our troupe She'enedra in the Tales of Desire show!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

She-enedra 2008

I guess it's post a video day!

That's me

I may have posted this one before but I just ran across it and I love that skirt! I MUST wear it again soon!!