A few photos

Here are a few snap shots taken at the spring TACA fair by Tammy Gentuso. She walks around photographing all of the booths, vendors and sights at TACA fairs and happily shares the images with the artists. If you’re a facebooker, you can check out TACA’s page for more shots from the show. And you can also check out more images of my work on my facebook page: www.facebook.com/orchardhousestudios


My hand dyed Bronson lace shawls and infinity scarves


Felted wool clutch bags


Hard at work at my loom demonstrating.


My sister-in-law and booth helper extraordinaire!


Brief update

My goodness it’s been busy around here!

Three weeks ago was the spring TACA Fair in Nashville. It was a windy, soggy affair but there was a huge sense of commraderay amongst the vendors. Although I would have thought the rain, wind, and chilly temperatures would have driven people away, we still had quite a decent turn out and it somehow ended up being the best spring show of the three I’ve done! (In terms of sales) setup went smoothly too. Mom and I knocked it all out in about 2 hours. Impressive!! Definitely a fun weekend. And I received notification that I have been pre-accepted to next year’s spring show! I got a respectable 5.6 out of 7 on my on-site score. Last year I got a 4.5, the absolute minimum you can receive in order to be pre-accepted.

Since TACA went so well, I’m now out of most of my inventory. Unfortunately, so are most of my galleries… so I’m currently working on making up some summer weight infinity scarves but I’ve had a few problems with sett.  I’m using 10/2 tencel and intentionally setting it very loose for a lightweight, almost gauzy look. I did one warp sett at 18 epi and after wet finishing and ironing, I’ve decided this is just a touch too loose. I have resleyed the reed to 20 epi to see if that will fix the problem. I think one of the problems on the 18 epi warp was that I was using a 6 dent reed triple sleyed. I think it left reed marks and caused some wonky spreading and separating in the warp. I believe I’ve woven with 10/2 cotton at 20 epi and been happy with the results but I can’t remember. So I’ve changed to my 10 dent reed double sleyed and hopefully that will help fix some of the problems.

In farm news, it’s nearly June and I have yet to shear my sheep. It’s been an unusually wet and chilly spring so I don’t feel too horrible. At this point since we’re so close to moving them to a new pasture by our new barn,  I’m considering waiting until they are moved and I can get them into the new barn and shear them there.  We shall see.

In the personal department, Ben and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary yesterday! It seems like no time at all and at the same time, it seems as though we’ve always been married. We didn’t do a whole lot yesterday. Our big celebration is going to be buying cabinets for our kitchen!! I am so excited! One big step closer to finishing the house. 🙂

So there you are. The past month in 4 paragraphs. 🙂


On shuttles

I was reading an article today by the well known weaver and writer, Madelyn van der Hoogt. It was an answer to a question about end feed shuttles. Madelyn gave the pros and cons of using an end feed shuttle but at the bottom of her answer she said that she prefers using a boat shuttle simply because she likes the sound of the bobbin rattling as the yarn pulls off.

This resonated with me because I’ve experienced the exact same thing.  A few years ago I began researching end feed shuttles. Particularly Bluster Bay Woodworks end feed shuttles. The biggest problem that I found at the time was that they only made end feed shuttles in a 15″ size and I was weaving mostly scarves at the time and preferred 11-11.5″ shuttles. Then Bluster Bay began making mini end feed shuttles, 11″ size. I bought one with a gift card and was very excited to test it out! I will admit that I sturggled a bit with the tension hooks and have since decided I may prefer a spring loaded model. I didn’t mind it though. As I threw the shuttle, it pulled evenly and consistently leaving nice selvages. But I really just missed the rattle that you only get from a boat shuttle. Hearing that lovely sound helps me develop my weaving rhythm more quickly and brings back fond memories of the weaving studio in college. I loved the sound of many looms working, each with its own rhythm and pace. Each loom making its own music. Each weaver conducting the piece. Without the sound of the boat shuttle,  part of the music is missing. I’ve been told by several professional weavers that they use only end feed shuttles and that those are the only type of shuttle you really need but I just can’t bring myself to give up my lovely,  well worn LeClerc boat shuttles.


A little tip I picked up

A few years ago, I was reading a blog by a lovely weaver. Sadly, I don’t think the site works anymore or I’d post the link…Anyway, she posted about a workshop that she attended and one of the “jewels” she got from it was a technique for beaming a warp easily with one person.

As a weaver, you are constantly trying to figure out how the heck to do everything by yourself. You’re a one-man (woman…whatevs. I’m not super politically correct about these things) studio. You work pretty much solo. Warping a loom can sometimes be daunting.

So the instructor of this workshop did something very simple to make the tension more even while beaming a warp. A brilliant and simple thing that I can’t believe I never thought of before. When you have finished sleying, threading and tying to the back apron (I’m a confirmed front-to-back warp-er…), you remove your lease sticks (GASP!!) and toss the warp tails over the back of your loom. Then, you stand at the back of your loom and hold the warp tails on tension with one and crank the beam with the other hand. Here’s a few pictures to help explain.






On a Macomber loom, if you’re facing the back of the loom, the brake is on the left side. So my right hand is holding the warp tails, my left is cranking the back beam and my left foot is controlling the brake pedal. I have found that the warp winds MUCH more smoothly than how I learned to wind in school.

I should note that I have not been able to duplicate this technique on a LeClerc loom. The brake pedal can’t really be depressed from the back of a LeClerc loom. I have not tried it on my mom’s Schacht Mighty Wolf, but it works great on my two Macombers and on my mom’s small Dorset loom. Try it the next time you warp. It might make your life a lot easier!

I tried it because I kept breaking ends if I left the lease sticks in and also because it was taking me 20-60 minutes to simply BEAM the warp! This way takes me about 5-10 minutes. For a 10 yard warp. (I never really do anything shorter than 10 yards) I have been doing this for several years now and it makes warping the loom SO much less intimidating! It’s also a big time saver which is great when you’re a production weaver. Efficiency is absolutely the key to production weaving!