Report: The Gathering
I’ve been in catch-up mode for a week now, ever since I returned from the NHA’s Gathering in Vermont. Two days of driving each way (5-6 hours a day, I don’t like super long driving days) with overnight stays at Jen’s house in Syracuse, for a weekend with a great group of spinners, knitters, dyers, and weavers. Worth every sucky rest-stop meal! (The below is not one of said sucky rest-stop meals, of course.)
Plus: Vermont, I love you. Your hills and streams and trees and people are beautiful.
At the Gathering, I took Sara Lamb‘s all-day class on cut-pile weaving. I’d taken a longer version of this class last spring, but I didn’t practice and I didn’t take notes, so when I wanted to finish my little sampler from class, I couldn’t remember exactly how to do what. So this was a refresher, and it just made me love weaving, colour, spinning, silk, and Sara more than I already did!
I managed to finish one sample and make a second one, thus helping to solidify things in my wee brain. Plus, the class was full of awesome people like Lynn (enallagma9 on Ravelry) and Jekka (jekka) and Marcy (habetrot).
I feel like I got so much more out of the class the second time around, as I knew what made sense to me already and what I had questions about. I even got an idea or two for an original design for cut-pile, should I ever get the time to do a full project.
On Sunday, I took Sara’s half-day braids and bands class, also as a refresher.
This class rocked my world so much that I couldn’t WAIT to get home and try it out. I think it fills the spot in my weaver’s heart that beadweaving lives in; the spot occupied by the chart-loving, pattern-seeking synapses that inhabit my brain. Making cloth is fun; making cloth with patterns in it is a delight!
I warped my Cricket (a tiny loom, for the non-loomy amongst you) yesterday, and started weaving…but no pattern showed up where there was supposed to be a pattern! Whaaaa! (Warp and weft is #10 crochet cotton; pattern warp is STR Silkie sock yarn.)
After a bit of struggle and not a little whimpering, I decided to do what I do so routinely in knitting: Rip it out and start over. Why not? I mean, I rip out ALL THE TIME in knitting; but somehow, in weaving, it seems a much more Serious Decision. (Maybe it’s because casting on is WAAYYYY easier than dressing the loom!) So snip, snip, went the scissors, and off the loom that warped warp came.
I went back, re-read all my class notes and handouts, and studied the photos in Sara’s extremely super uber awesome book which I cannot recommend highly enough: Woven Treasures.
My Cricket (Below: I. Love. This. Tiny. Loom.) (Today seems to be Link All The Things Day, sorry.) is now re-warped (as is, no doubt, its owner). I doubled the pattern threads this time, per the instructions, using Tahki Cotton Classic instead of STR just in case the STR was too fine to have a pattern show up.
Stay tuned. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the brainwork that weaving requires upfront, combined with the ease of the weaving itself. Plus: Such deeply satisfying results. Handwoven fabric…there are few things more decadent.
For Lynn, Naomi & Others:
The Molasses Cookie Recipe
The week prior to the Gathering, I baked a few cookies.
Ten dozen, to be exact.
Yeah, that’s a lot, considering I never bake anything, ever. I don’t know what got into me. But lately I’ve had a hankering for my favourite childhood cookies, and I just had to see how close I could get.
My fave cookies from childhood were Molasses Raisin Chewies, made by a bakery on Ocean Avenue in Carmel, California. My grandparents lived in Carmel for many, many years; then they moved up the road to Pebble Beach. We spent summers and Christmases in the Carmel area for nearly two decades, and that’s a part of the world I consider home.
The bakery was sold many years ago; the new owners do not make the same recipes, so my childhood cookies are forever gone. I’m not a good enough cook to duplicate the cookies, which were rich and chewy and spicy and just the best on the planet. I wish I knew how to track down the old bakery’s recipe, pay for it, whatever.
I made these wonderful tasty goodies. They were not as chewy as I wanted them to be, but they were very, very, very good. (I added cardamom and extra of all the spices.) They kept well, too, staying a bit chewy in air-tight plastic boxes.
(Ten dozen. You’ve been warned.)
And now for…The Craft Room of Doom
Your comments on my last post cracked me up. Of course, all of you want to see the craft room. What was I thinking? Who exactly did I think was reading this, antique car enthusiasts?
There’s a couple of problems with me showing you the craft room however. Here’s the first:
Busted doorknob. Busted 120-year-old door workings, to be exact. I fixed it once before, but this time it came off in my hand and I need a pair of locking pliers just to open the door. (We keep the door closed at all times because the cats are MUCH too helpful in wanting to sort through and re-arrange all my craft goodies.)
The second problem is a deeper one. I’ll give you a hint:
(That’s Bertha, wearing the qiviut shawl I designed for the new Spin-Off Winter 2010. End Shameless Plug.)
As you can guess from the photo, the craft room isn’t really set up yet. It’s actually kind of a disaster zone, boxes and bins and more boxes everywhere, oh my.
Yes, I know we’ve been here a year. But setting up a studio takes time, money, and effort, and it’s been a hard year here at Chez Wiseheart. Thus, the craft room looks like we just moved in last week. There’s no proper storage furniture, no proper lighting, no proper organization…nothing. There’s a work table with my beads and sewing machine laid out, there’s Bertha, ready to model at my latest whim, and there’s my blocking board, balanced on boxen.
In other words, the craft room isn’t ready for its internet debut yet. I need to get cracking on it. I know. I think I am waiting for the IKEA Fairy to hit me with a jolt of inspiration, some free shelving, even a holiday sale. (That’s part of the problem. IKEA stuff is swell, but it’s a lot more expensive here than it is there, plus we pay 15% sales taxes on top of the cost. Yeah. Daunting. See why I’m stuck?)
However, as usual, you people are my inspiration. Perhaps I ought to start SOMEWHERE, anywhere. I’ve wanted this for so long, it’s just silly not to make my studio dream a reality now that I have the space.