Monday, February 25, 2008

Deal of a Lifetime!

OH my Goddess!

One of my new friends from the Northern Neck Spinners and Weavers Group knew I was looking for a floor loom. She has a couple of looms in her studio and on Saturday a fellow came by and said he had seen a similar loom to her large Macomber in a house that was for sale. It was his understanding that the loom was available to go to a new home or would be sold with the house.

Turns out the house belongs to a couple that she knew because they were buying carpet for their new home from the current home owner's store located in Kilmarnock. I knew there was only one carpet/flooring store in Kilmarnock and also remembered that this couple used to live in my parent's old neighborhood. So I called my mom to help me remember their names and other details. Mom did remember this loom and said it was a nice one.

Since serendipity works the way it does, it just so happened that I was in Kilmarnock getting my hair cut on Saturday when my friend first called me and I called my mom. So I went by the carpet shop and spoke for a long while to the lady working there. She apparently decided I really wasn't a nut case and actually gave me the loom owner's home phone number. She suggested that I wait until Sunday to call her. (Turns out this was a very good move.)

So I called Sunday afternoon about 1 p.m. The loom owner remembered me and my mom and agreed to meet me at the house for sale. She could not remember the size of the loom but thought it was a Schacht. She agreed to meet me at 4 p.m. and said it would be okay to bring my weaving friend. She told me she was selling the loom and all the stuff that came with it (bench, bobbin winder, shuttles, warping mill, swift, ball winder, rattles, etc. for $500). She said she had had it for sale for a while and was planning to go to the Williamsburg Weaving Guild in a few weeks to see if anyone there wanted it.

I called my weaving friend who, blessing upon her, agreed on this spur of the moment late Sunday afternoon outing.

I knew as soon as I saw it I would buy it even if it didn't fit in my studio because what she was selling for $500 was a complete weaving studio including some yarns with the center piece being a pristine condition Schacht 46" 8 harness floor loom!

Well, my weaving buddy about dropped her teeth I think. I knew this was worth far more than $500 and asked the lady if she was sure. She said that she was.

Well, I wrote her out a check and we carried out most of what we could carry and transport in Ken's little pickup. We got back to my house and my weaving friend called her husband. Double and triple blessings on him, for he got up from his Sunday afternoon of relaxation and went outside and hooked up his open trailer and drove down to my house. There he picked up my weaving friend, my husband and myself and after doing a masterful job of turning that long thing and van around in a very tight driveway, helped load my new loom onto the trailer and transported it safely back to my house.

He also was a huge help in reassuring my husband that I really had made an outstanding deal and he would have bought the thing if I or his wife had not. Considering he is not a weaver, that says quite a lot.

So now I have this wonderful weaving studio! I think the guest room/fiber studio idea is shot... but perhaps I can make it up to friends by learning to weave and making wonderful, fibery gifts.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

New and old projects

I finally finished the mittens for Allison (GD #1). I think this took me forever because once I figured out that I had two different dyelots, the whole project just seemed a bit flawed. I got tired of getting blue fingertips everytime I picked up the second mitten. But I finished it and washed both mittens in hot water several times and then added vinegar and let it sit for a while. The last rinse finally came out clear.

Ken has been helping me by picking the wool from Curly as I get it washed. He is also helping me get it carded as he fills grocery bag after grocery bag of the picked fiber. We have about a pound and a half done up in pulled batts now. I don't know if "pulled batt" is an actual term but what I've been doing is pull the batt off the carder then carefully pulling it out with my hands spaced about 6 to 8 inches apart until the whole thing is a nice thick bit of roving like snake. Then I've been wrapping the snakes up into nests. Each one is weighing in between .8 and 1.2 ounces.

Out of curiosity I spun up two of the snakes and plied them together and got something around dk weight at about 87 yards. I knitted up a swatch on US#4 needles and got 5.5 stitches per inch. I'm seriously thinking about doing the Mary Burr pattern Cinxia from Knitty.

The only question is whether I should do it in white or dye the fiber another color. The yarn is coming out a nice cream color, so it's not bright white.

The only problem is that I have issues with white clothing. I have managed to ruin every single white shirt or sweater I have every owned. I don't want to invest umpteen hours into something I will dribble coffee or catsup onto. I know I will wear this sweater a lot.

So color choices.

Well, I look great in red. But since becoming involved with gang investigations, I'm very leery of wearing red very much. I also look good in turquoise but I don't have many outfits with that color simply because it's hard to tie it into other colors. I'm wondering if I want to try something completely different and go with a baby blue? Bloods are into red and Crips are into royal blue (both colors I love, but must steer clear of for work). Purple? Green? I look ill in some greens and all yellows... but I wonder how interesting it would be to go with a heathered look including purple, green and yellow?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A List

I was impressed by the list of goals for 2008 posted by Fleece Street and have decided to make up a list of my own. Some of these goals will be easier to do than others:

  1. Save up the money to purchase a floor loom.
  2. Buy a floor loom. (I'm looking seriously at a Harrisonville 4 harness but haven't decided yet).
  3. Knit completely a sweater for myself
  4. Prep all raw fleeces currently in my stash (this includes washing, picking and carding or flicking)
  5. Each month throw or give away at least a laundry basket full of stuff I don't use anymore
  6. Declutter/Straighten and dust at least one location of the house a week even if it's just a drawer.
  7. Complete two pairs of socks (one of one pair is finished)
  8. Complete at least five holiday gifts by making them by hand (One scarf is already finished) and complete all of them by November.
  9. Spin enough fiber to knit a sweater (that would be about 3 pounds of one kind of fiber)
  10. Make Ken a knitted hat
  11. Update the Hoot Web Page by the end of February
  12. Take more and better pictures of my knitting and other fiber projects
  13. Post to this blog more often and with more pictures (see #12)
  14. Learn to spin cotton on the wheel
  15. Learn to spin flax on the wheel
  16. Spin more silk or silk blends
  17. Make some "art yarn"
  18. Get the wing back chair in the music room re-upholstered
  19. Work in the garden at least twice weekly starting in March
  20. Vacuum the whole downstairs weekly
  21. Continue on Weight Watchers and remain positive even when there is no loss for a week
  22. Pick up the Mandolin again
  23. Take the dogs to a groomer in the Spring
  24. Go to local craft shows and support the Farmer's Market more
  25. Visit Stratford Hall and George Washington's Birthplace
  26. Walk at least 1/2 mile at least 3 days a week starting in April