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.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Lament of a production weaver ...

The trouble with being a production weaver is, well, sometimes you get tired of some of the projects. I'm there right now.
I haven't made baby blankets in years and, after getting some requests, put on a thin cotton flake warp last summer. About 20 yards. About 12 baby blankets. What was I thinking?
I am SO SICK of this warp. I'm not having any problems with the warp, I'm just over it. Pastels. Who would have thought it? I actually have changed my focus on this warp and I'm making shawls on it instead of baby blankets ... that's helping some, but it's still slow going.

I'm not allowing myself to cut the finished pieces off because I know if I do, I won't want to go back to it. As it stands, with 7 or 8 pieces already woven, I'm *slightly* motivated to keep going. I really want to use this loom for my next clothing warp. I love this loom. It's in the living room with all the family pictures and a nice little TV for entertainment or music. Only 6 yards to go ... give me strength. Or maybe just another cup of coffee ...
Weatherwise, I'm still stuck on the hill, or at the top of the luge run, however you choose to look at it. Perhaps just a touch of cabin fever ... I haven't left here for over a week. My sweet hubby brought home a pair of Yaktrax for me yesterday so I will be able to walk on the ice now. What a guy!
There is hope of an early spring, if you believe groundhog prognostication. Here's the view from my back deck this morning.

The studio is closed for business for the time being ... no rugs being woven on the porch this week for sure. I think the cow needs a scarf.

Ok, back to the loom. At least I'm inside.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cairns and giving thanks

Two years ago, we had to pull a tree down because it was leaning and almost fell on the studio. My husband worked on cutting the base and then put a tow strap around it so we could pull it down. Once it was on the ground, he cut it into chunks, which he placed around the meadow by the studio.
Around here we have many wonderful rocks. A heavy rain a year ago broke a whole bunch of them loose from the creek bed so my husband brought them up the hill and built cairns. I had just been waiting for a nice snow to take a photograph. So these are Bob's cairns ... don't they look like statues? Pike likes them.

While weaving today, I found myself ruminating about things for which I'm thankful. Yes, I did that in November, but I'm doing it again.
So as not to belabor the point, I'll just name a few, in case you're interested.
I'm thankful for my family (my long-suffering husband, my doctor-daughter and brainy son), for my weaving business and the good health to continue to pursue it, for the wonderful piece of heaven where we live, both house and land.
I'm thankful for my friends, especially the ones that don't sound peeved when I call them on the phone.
I'm thankful that although I could draw Social Security, I don't need to so I'm not. And I'm thankful that I am able to ask for senior discounts and not be doubted.
What are YOU most thankful for? Does it change as we age?

So, here is the rug that was woven yesterday ... blues for an early spring. With just a hint of snowflakes ...


Saturday, January 29, 2011

A brief breath of spring

It was a nice winter day. Some sunshine, warmer temperatures ... enough to thaw some more snow. I had projects at the studio, and one of them was on the porch.
Since I weave A LOT of rugs, I try to keep the mess outside the studio ... as in outside-on-the-porch. It's easier to clean up when I'm done weaving, and often I just get out the green leaf blower and round it up that way.
But today the porch panels were shut tight and the only heat you get is that which you make yourself. In my case, it's an old heating pad on the loom bench.
The rug I wanted to weave was shades of blues, greens and lavenders; just what I needed for this time of winter. I was determined to finish it and I did. I had on three pair of wrist warmers and a pair of those tiny stretchy gloves. I must have looked pretty funny, but it got the job done.
Never mind the cold feet.
The cats wanted to see what was happening at the big bird feeder ... here's Smitty having a conversation with the birds ...Perhaps tomorrow a picture of the rugs that came off the loom today?


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thoughts for a snowy day

"Weaving is a handcraft which, with a comparatively small expenditure of money, can give almost limitless outlet to a person's creative urges, and, at the same time, the creation is thoroughly practical since every throw of the shuttle helps produce something both beautiful and useful. It has the advantage over many crafts of appealing to almost countless types of personality and interest. The current enthusiasm for the craft almost proves the lightly made statement that handweaving is a highly contagious disease for which there is no known cure." ~ Harriet C. Douglas, Handweaver's Instruction Manual, 1949

Amen, Harriet!

While many months have elapsed since I last posted, I have been keeping busy. We have had an unusual winter, with snow coming earlier, after months of drought late last summer. The birds have been prolific and here is one of my favorite, the Pileated Woodpecker, although he's usually hard to catch with the camera.
If you have never seen one, these guys are BIG!

I have been doing some weaving, too. My plan was to retire my plastic bag rugs in 2010 and the last of the old bags were woven last week. After working with the bags for 12 years, I've noticed a difference in how they "hold up" and while I'm glad that steps are being taken to help the bags biodegrade more quickly, I don't want them to do that in a rug. If you want to know more about why I even bothered to weave plastic bags, here's the scoop.
The last batch of rugs were very colorful, here are two of them:

These will be kept as examples of plastic bag rugs along with a wallhanging which has not been completed yet (but I will post pictures when it is).
On another note, my work and mission has been turning up in numerous blogs recently ... here is an example. This is thanks to the blogging of Delia Montgomery of ChicEco so thanks, Delia!

It would be very easy for me to keep going today, posting pictures, bringing this blog up to date, but my office calls ... come do your filing! Come clean off the desk! Come sew (yes, my sewing machine is in the office)! So, hopefully it won't be another six months before I return ...