Friday, June 29, 2012

Not too hot to weave ...

Arletta making rag placemats
With the Studio and Garden Tour 2012 now behind us and a hot, dry summer settling in, things are getting  back to normal at the weaving studio. This week, Chris has three women from Illinois who are spending four days taking weaving lessons and producing their own treasures.
Keena weaving a dish towel.

Myrna making huck placemats.

The gardens were affected by the drought and nighttime visits from our deer friends. Chris notes that the weather must make it tough on the deer, too, so we're cutting them a little slack and a day lily snack or two.

Temps around here have hit 107, and it's been weeks since we've had significant rainfall. Fourth of July fireworks locally have been postponed until Labor Day. We are managing to keep the veggie garden going with water from the green tank in the middle of the picture below. The tank fills from the gutters and downspout at the back of the studio (when it rains) and from the pond on our property when it doesn't.
Part of the back garden ... tomatoes and kale.

We met some interesting folks on the tour, with the first visitors being from Edinburgh. Scotland, that is, not Indiana, and lots of folks from Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio and Louisville, Ky. Visitors trying their hands at weaving produced two "community rugs" which will be given to local charities as fundraisers. We raised about $80 from the sale of Chris' mug rugs to be donated to the Brown County Art Scholarship fund. And some funds were raised by selling peace flags which we created on the tour last year. We are suggesting a donation of $10, all of which goes to the local Habitat for Humanity. (We can ship them for $15, and it's an ongoing project until all the flags have found new homes.) 
Peace Flags for your garden - visitors to the studio tour wrote messages
on the fabric which was then woven into flags.

Guest artist Doug Runyan sold several of his paintings and pastels and created one of his best drawings while demonstrating pastel techniques.
"Consider the Lillies of the Field" by Douglas Runyan

Chris just finished several scarves, some of which will be going to the Columbus (Ind.) Visitor's Center. 
We're also preparing a group of rugs and clothing to be listed on the Indiana Artisan's new virtual marketplace website. More on that later.

The studio will remain open throughout the summer, booking day weaving classes as weather permits. Visitors are always welcome.
Bob (and Chris)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Big doin's at the weaving studio

With just two days left  before the 14th annual Brown County Studio and Garden Tour, last-minute preparations are under way. This year's tour features nine working studios and 23 artists.  Again this year we will have Doug Runyan of the Fort Wayne area as a guest artist. Doug will be demonstrating pastels and promises to have a sale bin of his artwork.

Chris' inventory for the sale is probably at its best ever. Last week she removed her inventory from the Brown County Craft Gallery in Nashville, and much of that will be available for sale at the tour.  Her new retail outlet in Nashville is Spears Gallery, where some work is already on display. 

Some of Chris' newest creations, including wall hangings which were on display at the recent Earth Day show at The Gallery at Hotel Indigo in Columbus, will highlight this year's tour.

 About a dozen of her popular Mobius shawls will be available

and many shaggy rugs made from Sunbrella fabric selvedge.

A late-spring drought and nocturnal visits from the resident deer have left the flower gardens less colorful than usual, but we're hoping the zinnias poke their bright multicolored heads out in time to greet visitors. Tomatoes are just beginning to set on the 60-plus plants protected by fences behind the studio, and a couple of the new crops include Margherita tomatoes, Russian kale and Swiss chard. (We're becoming an international vegetable garden.)

Our studio special for this year's tour will feature 10 percent off on all sales over $100, a mist fan for those who want to cool off, the return of cotton plants to the Weaver's Garden, a sale basket to benefit Habitat for Humanity, and the usual demonstrations, good music and Freeze-Pop treats. (Plus a freshened inventory and Doug Runyan to boot.)

The tour runs 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Get a map at the Brown County Visitor's Center, many local businesses and any of the nine tour sites. Or visit for more information.

Hope to see you here!

Bob (and Chris)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

So nice to be able to help ...

So, I had an email from a woman in Michigan last month with an unusual story. She had a friend who was going to move last fall and had a yard sale where she sold a Cranbrook loom. When she finished packing, she found that she had a couple of pieces left (specifically the cloth beam and the stand for a warping mill). She posted it on C****'s list but didn't get any response so she moved and left her friend, Sandra, with the pieces and the mission to find the rightful owners.

Sandra did her best, but to no avail, and finally wrote me with the story. I composed the following message and posted it on my used equipment page, not expecting too much, because that would be a slim chance for them to read it:
Missing loom parts? Did you buy a Bexell Cranbrook loom, model J-45-7912-573 from a woman named Jane in Michigan last September? If so, you might be missing a couple pieces of the equipment which Jane found when she moved. The pieces are a cloth beam and a stand for a warping reel. If you are the original buyer of this loom, you can contact s******@**** and make arrangements to pick them up in Troy, MI, or pay for shipping. 6-27
Yesterday I received an email from Sandra with the following good news:
Your Classified Ad worked like a charm.
I just turned over my orphan loom parts to the current owners of the Cranbrook Weaving Loom Model J-45-7912-573 who found the information on your website's Used Equipment Ads just last night.
The current owners got the loom off e-Bay last September from the people who bought it from the Moving Sale.
Thank you again for your help in finding the owners; it was a long shot that paid off.

It just made my day.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

With temperatures hovering above 90 degrees and the humidity feeling about the same, Chris has decided it's a good time to clean out the studio's back storeroom.
All sorts of lost treasures have been found in this process, and, feeling a little overwhelmed, she has decided to part with some of these goodies, many of which she stuck away long ago for future use. Among the items she'll be listing for sale on in the next few days are:
2 lamm sets from a Baby Wolf loom. Not sure where these came from, but they appear to be functional. $25 each/$50 for the pair.

a homemade tension box with one reed, $25:

a funny little knitting board for making bags, $5 with current project.

A specially made device we think is used to increase tension during sectional warping:
Oak wood with aluminum pegs, $15.
Leclerc tension box, with instructions, almost new condition, $125.
Meanwhile, the Indiana summer goes on, with the sunflowers which survived deer snacktime opening up to soak in some of the rays, and a hibiscus we had all but forgotten about bursting into bloom.
On the looms are rugs, loopy mohair for shawls, mixed cotton/rayon in cool blues and purples for clothing, and a jeweltone scarf warp.

On the CD player is an obscure little classic album by Terence Martin called “Even Trade” and a new release called “Wilderness Songs and Badman Ballads” from Tim Grimm, an excellent singer-songwriter who lives in Columbus, Ind.

The thought of the moment is from poet William Carlos Williams:
"So much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

Ah well, back to the storeroom and a favorite loom. Oh, yeah, if you're interested in any of this equipment before it goes up on the used equipment page, leave a comment ... or leave a comment anyway just to say hi!

Monday, July 4, 2011

After the tour

We're recovering from the 2011 Studio and Garden Tour, which was last weekend, and we enjoyed visiting with about 200 people who came to the studio over the three-day event and during the week since then. The numbers were down from previous years, but we had some nice conversations and met some good folks.
Some of the visitors came all the way from Fort Wayne to catch a live painting demonstration by Douglas Runyan, who lives in that area but was a guest artist at Homestead Weaving Studio this year.
Doug specializes in pastels and oils, and we're fortunate to have a nice sampling of his paintings on display and sale at the studio through October.
We are hoping we can convince him to come back during the fall tour for a weekend pastel workshop. He finished a couple of landscapes while demonstrating during the tour.
Fiber artist Marla Dawson also had a guest artist spot at the studio for the second year
and provided weaving demonstrations throughout the weekend. Marla is a superb weaver, knitter and teacher.

Among the tour guests were a half dozen who arrived in a pair of snazzy Model A Fords.
We spent much of the time weaving "peace flags," a variation of Tibetan prayer flags.
Visitors wrote their thoughts and prayers on strips of fabric which were then woven into a small flag. Here's a sample of those. The gardens were in bloom
with a special attraction being this stand of hollyhocks which graces the side of our house.With the studio tour completed, we're able to take things a little easier until the fall tour comes around. But in the meantime, we're thinking about our next show, which is Chautauqua of the Arts in Madison, Ind., in September. If you've never been there, give it some thought. Madison is a quaint little town on the Ohio River, and each year hundreds of artists and food vendors set up shop along the streets. It's a pleasant vibe, and a good way to spend a weekend. The town itself is dotted with historic buildings and artsy little shops, so there's something for everyone.

On the looms at this point are placemats and runners, rugs and clothing. We're about half done with a big six-foot wide rug being woven on the two-person loom, a shaggy black and white piece with accents of brown. It will end up being about 6' x 10' long.
Chris is about to finish up special orders from the tour (hopefully by the end of the week).

The newest addition to our family of looms is a 50-year-old Norwood 22-inch four-harness loom, made of cherry wood in Baldwin, Mich. Does anybody know when Norwood moved from Baldwin to Fremont, Mich.? This would help us date the loom with a little more precision. It was purchased from a weaving friend in Nashville, Ind., but the loom saw a former life at the University of Wisconsin's weaving classrooms. This becomes Loom No. 24 for Chris, with about half of them in use for current projects.

Speaking of cherry Norwood looms, our daughter Erin, a child psychologist living in Minneapolis, has decided to give up her four-harness workshop loom, a great little loom with artistic lines and great portability. It's listed for sale on our used equipment page on

Check it out: You can't buy these anymore, and there are few available in this nice condition.

Chris has also been busy handing out free advice to new loom owners who like the idea of weaving and buy a loom but don't have much of an idea how to do it. She calls it the Weaving Crisis Hotline, and it's open on an as-needed basis. It goes hand-in-hand with her used equipment page, where individuals wanting to sell a loom can list it free of charge and make a donation when it sells.

Stay tuned, and remember that we wouldn't have naught to wear if it wasn't for the work of the weavers. Or something like that.

People visiting at the studio during the tour ...

A common sight ... Chris weaving and talking~!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Too busy to blog?

It's been months, faithful followers, and we apologize. Did I say "we"? Yes!

I (Chris) now have a RETIRED husband and he has jumped in to help with the studio. I'm thrilled. He's also agreed (since he was a newspaper editor in his pre-retirement life) to help with this blog so you'll be hearing from the Homesteadweavers more often.

We're almost ready for the 13th annual Brown County Studio and Garden tour, which we'll be a part of for the 11th straight year.
The forecast is calling for cool afternoons and only a small chance of rain (YEAH!) for the tour which goes from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
We'll have a full selection of rugs, placemats, clothing and all things woven, including the Mobius shawl, named after the famous Mobius curve, which is a two-dimensional plane with a twist in it, meaning it has no beginning, no end, no inside and no outside. The shawls are finely woven pieces made of carefully selected cotton, rayon, bamboo, silk, and polyester yarns. Stealing a line from The Who, this year we're encouraging people to "touch them, feel them" and enjoy them.
We'll have two guest artists again this year: Painter Doug Runyan from the Fort Wayne area, who will be demonstrating his plein aire style during the tour, and weaver Marla Dawson from Ellettsville, who specializes in clothing items, including hats, scarves and gloves. Doug, who recently had work accepted into the prestigious IHA show, has an impressive assortment of his paintings on display, while Marla will have a full contingent of her work available.

We'll be demonstrating weaving for anyone who's interested, and we're making peace flags, our own version of Tibetan prayer flags, as a special feature this year. These are weavings with messages. All who are interested can write their thoughts on a strip of cloth and weave it into the flag. We hope this is a meaningful work of positive energy to wave in the peaceful breezes of Brown County.As usual, we'll have the "community rug" set up on a loom where all who are interested can take a shot or two at weaving. When completed, the rug will be donated to a charitable cause and auctioned off, with all proceeds going to the charity. In the past, the rugs have been given to auctions for Habitat for Humanity, UMC missions, and the annual soup bowl benefit, which funds Brown County's "Mother's Cupboard" soup kitchen for those who otherwise would not have nutritious meals on a daily basis. Most years we end up with two or three rugs to donate.
As usual, our gardens are in bloom, with red, orange and gold day lilies, multicolored zinnias and hostas, and a few surprises thrown in. Look for a new shade of zinnia in the front yard, and some new additions to our plate garden, with the border collected from garage sales and thrift stores.

A whole wall of hollyhocks is attracting the bees and butterflies ...
Free goodies include chocolate chip cookies, healthy turkey and ham wraps around lunchtime, iced tea, chips, trail mix, and as always, freeze pops for the young and young at heart. If the weatherman is wrong and it turns hot, we'll have the misting fan going to cool you off. And we're offering a 10 percent discount for cash purchases, plus a free mug rug for each $50 spent on rugs.

We're one of 12 studios on the tour this year with 27 artists to meet. It's a free, self-guided tour and the drive is gorgeous this time of year through the gently rolling hills.

We hope to see you out here sometime this weekend. Visit the website for the tour and print off a map or pick up a brochure at one of the map pickup sites listed on the website. Don't be intimidated by our steep driveway. It seems to be a little easier to navigate this year than in some other years (less gravel on it!), so just put your car in low gear and come on up.

See ya here!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Out from under the blankets!

Are you sick of snow/ice/winter pictures yet???

The dreaded baby blanket warp is finished. The shawl above is my favorite piece off the warp.

These two are adult-length shawls ... peach is cottolin and rainbow is acrylic.

These five are the actual baby blankets and there were two more that were woven at the beginning. These are cotton, cottolin, or acrylic. I'm very pleased to be able to move on with my next, very belated project which should have been started in November.

I hope we all have safe, happy, productive days this week because I know spring can't be far off now.