Weaving apprentice program update

First sampler

I have just finished week 13 of my weaving apprenticeship!  I can’t believe that we have been going for this long already.  I am having a great time and learning lots of good things, many of those things through mistakes, as is true of most learning experiences.

(Samples above on a straight draw threading)

In exploring weave structures I am working on things with Nancy at her studio, as well as doing things on my own at home.  At the very  beginning she reviewed efficient warp dressing methods on which I needed a refresher (every time I warped my loom I did it differently, which never helped me to get projects going).  We very quickly moved to the study of weave structure, starting with a two-part sampler threaded with a straight draw.  Very simple, but even with that there are a gazillion weaves you can achieve by simply using different treadling patterns.  After I had experimented with that for half the warp, Nancy had me begin to use some of the treadling patterns I liked the most from the first half to experiment  with weft texture and color(s).   That was wild!  Lots of very unexpected results from that.  (It really helps that Nancy has a studio filled with amazing and crazy yarns of all unusual textures, colors and materials).

For my second sampler Nancy assigned me a project which I warped with 6 different wool color stripes.  Some of the stripes are solid colors, and three of them are pairings of two alternate colors.  Each stripe is threaded in different Rosepath twill patterns from p16-17, and a Goose Eye from p22.  (I am using Marguerite Porter Davison’s book A Handweaver’s Pattern Book, revised edition, 1944).  The results are mind-bogglingly fun, and again, having access to all of Nancy’s yarn collection has made this a great experiment.  I have a lot of new ‘favorites’ in that sampler.

Scarf

At home I began by using some of our farm yarn, a millspun Coopworth/Border Leicester cross, for a warp (hand dyed), and some hand spun and hand dyed silk/wool weft (mostly silk).  It was a scarf I designed and wove off in March.  Lots of fun, twill threading. colorful!  (Although another lesson learned is that I made it wider than I really wanted it to be because I calculated take-up for when it came off the loom.  With all the silk in the weft, it did not lose even a quarter of an inch!).

At the moment I am weaving a series of 5 cotton towels at home.  I designed them as samplers using a 6 thread herringbone pattern (Davison, p25).  I don’t have a huge supply of yarns at home, but I do have a nice range of 8/2 cottons.  I used most of the colors I have to create warp stripes.  As opposed to the 6 different threadings that I used for the sampler at Nancy’s studio, I simply used the one herringbone threading across the whole warp.  My one mistake, that I did not see until I had woven quite a bit into the first towel, is that on one of the sections with two alternating colors, I accidentally placed two white threads next to each other, which switched the pattern of colors from white/turquoise, white/turquoise, to turquoise/white across.  Which has managed to insert a white stripe down that section of warp.  (There was no threading mistake, just a color bungle).

Color placement mistake is very evident here in the turquoise and white!

Despite the color placement mistake, I am loving the way the towels are shaping up!  They are a lot of fun.  So far I am in the middle of the third towel and have experimented with a lot of the different colors, and a lot of different treadlings.  Turning the herringbone direction makes a nice effect, and I took one of the Rosepath treadlings and applied it to this threading and came out with a very nice turned twill pattern.

I am also working on a bit color interpretation project at Nancy’s, but more about that another time :*)

 

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Spring, finally!

Feeding frenzy

And today is an out of the ordinary one for Maine.  85 F here this afternoon, although we have a nice breeze so the bugs are not too big a problem.

Love Betsy in this photo, talking a mile a minute with her mouth full of hay!

The babies are growing like hotcakes, and the scrum around the feeder is incredible in the morning.  We can barely get the hay in there before 3 or 4 not-so-little ones are jumping on and in.  It’s nutty, but they are so much fun at this age.  Everyone has cleared 35 lbs so far, and we are nearly ready to send some of our sweet ones out into the world with new families.  Almost empty nest :*)

And so it goes.  I will have to do a separate post to update my weaving apprenticeship.  I have been very busy with that and have a lot of photos to share.  Nothing earth shattering that any of you weavers out there couldn’t throw together in a jiffy, but the experimentation is teaching me a lot.   And I am having a great time with it!

Enjoying

It’s that time of year when I try very hard to delight in the baby goats, and ever hopeful, delight in the weather as well.  I have to say that nature has been more than cooperative, but the humans are not the only ones enjoying it…  the black flies are as well.  Gotta love May in New England!

All our babies are at least a month old now.  They are a gang of very fast moving parts who are just delightful to sit with and to watch.  They are a good tonic for the long winter and the crazy slow spring.  I spend as much time as I can out there with them, and of course we also have bottle baby time which is fun as well.

We still have 4 babies that have not been spoken for, and I have them listed in the tab here on the blog – 2018 Babies for Sale.  I have to get my baby time in as much as I can, because before too long they will move on or grow up.  Ah, and so it goes.

Bottle babies

Little Red and Little Blue

Our girl Saffron, who had the mastitis, is doing quite well.  Her girls, Little Red and Little Blue, are also doing well.  As with all bottle babies, it’s very difficult to get a good photo of them because they are always crowded around the humans in the paddock, wanting to play and also check out why we are in there with them.

Little Red

I am lucky to be getting about 3/4 of a gallon a day mostly from Battie, our doe who lost her babies.  I am also milking Eleganza’s right side because her boys seem to think the milk bar is only on the left side.  I am milking once a day in the afternoons, so things are pretty relaxed, and we are getting more than enough milk to feed our little Red and Blue.  And my son has milk for his coffee.

Little Blue just won’t look up when I need her to!

And so it goes!  Our two little bottle girls are already spoken for, and will be going to live with a lovely family in New Hampshire sometime in June.  Our little girls are growing up!