Category: Blog

Off to a Good Start

Hey y’all. Happy New Year.

Welcome to 2023.

I always consider it a good new years day if I can spend some of it outside doing garden stuff.

Earlier this week we got our garden seed order from Baker Creek, and it’s gotten me really motivated!

Super excited about some of the things we’ve going to try this year- here’s the list

Still have squash, peas, beans and many other things from last year, so focused on getting some new interesting varieties of tomatoes, melons, peppers, etc.

And today if was not freezing, and not raining, so seemed like a perfect opportunity to get the rest of the garden bed extension dug and amended!

Also planted a couple of little rhody offshoots that have been hanging out in pots for the last year or so.

Hopefully they will get established and eventually start to fill the gap in the rhody wall that was left when that purple variety gave up the ghost. These guys are white, so will bring a different look to their space in the rhody forest.

And,,, in woolly news, weaving is coming along- been working in a chevron type twill pattern. I just love to watch the play of the colors against each other.

And, I’ve worked up a couple pairs of fingerless gloves. This was driven by a special request from someone at the Alger holiday market a few weeks back. I had some fingerless mitts available that day, but they were interested in something that had separation of the fingers.

I generally don’t make that type, just because they are more fiddly (working small diameter rounds on DPNs, lots of yarn ends, etc.) I kept thinking that there must be a better way to approach it. And I’m pleased to report that I finally figured it out. Don’t want to dive into the weeds on this post, but it you can check out the details on Ravelry if you’re interested.

Worked at a fairly firm gauge they are cozy and practical Workin’ Mitts.

Have a great week everyone 🙂

Oh hey- almost forgot to mention, I finally figured out how to set up a “subscribe via email” function for the blog. So if you’re interested in having posts sent straight to your inbox, you can find the sign-up form at the bottom of the Contact page

Warm Woolly Wishes

Merry Christmas from the pasture gang 🙂

(Thankfully our frigid weather has passed and the snow pictured here is no more!)

Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful last week of 2022.


Been off work this week, and my main goal was to do a bunch of Christmas baking.

(i just love the sheepy springerle cookies- the finely detailed mold can be a bit of a pain, but the results are worth the trouble )

But somewhere along the way, I finally felt motivated to re-warp my floor loom. It kind of hit me all at once, and I was compelled to act.

It had been quite a while since I’ve had a warp on. Looking back through the blog, is it possible that the loom has been sitting idle since 2017? Geez. Time flies!

Since I hadn’t done any warping in a long time, I had to refresh my memory on the process. And sadly, the video I found so useful the first time I did this (back in 2013) is no longer available online, so I had to find some other resources.

I was glad to have the photos I took of the different steps last time as a general guide, but I hadn’t documented all the bits, and so needed to fill in some gaps. A bit of searching turned up this video from the Woolery, which was a big help.

I had already wound the warp

tied and chained the warp

and rough-sleyed the reed before I found the video.

If I’d found the video sooner, I could have saved myself a little time and backstrain by rough sleying the reed off the loom since that bit is removeable. Such a smart idea. Will plan to do that next time.

I used a front to back to front type of process to get this warp on, which was pretty manageable for be doing it alone (with help from a few props- wood elements of a deconstructed quilt stand, clamps, foamcore board, lease sticks from reclaimed molding).

After winding and securing the warp in a chain, I prepped the loom by placing the long wooden rails from the quilt frame from front to back on each side and clamping them to the front beam. These provided a base upon which I placed the lease sticks that are held the cross in the warp (tied them down so they stay put)

In pre-sleying the reed, I didn’t cutting anything- just pulled each loop through the reed, distributing strands across the whole planned width.

I pulled each loop (in order) through the reed and then placed on a stick to hold them open and keep them tidy.
After all the loops are pre-sleyed, I pulled the wooden holder through the gap I made in the heddles to the back of the loom and set it on a foam core board that I had rested on the quilt frame rails in preparation for transferring the loops to the bar on the back beam. And here are the loops after being moved.

Then I removed the foam core and put a little tension on the warp so that it wouldn’t flop around.

So then I was ready to beam the warp.

Front the front, I unchained the warp a bit at a time and gently snapped it and combed it with my hands to keep it even and untangled, and then held it with one hand out to my left while winding it on with the crank at the back right side of the loom. The two lease sticks holding the cross and the reed helped to keep the warp orderly and evenly tensioned as it was winding on.

Once there was a foot and half left in front of the reed, I stopped winding and loosely tied off the ends to keep them from escaping. Then it was time to transfer the cross in the warp from the front to the back.

Sorry, forgot to take a picture of this bit. But basically, I turned the lease stick closest to the reed on edge to create a shed, and inserted another thin piece of wood through the shed on the back side of the loom, then removed that lease stick from the front. Then I repeated that with the second lease stick. And voila! Cross moved to behind the shafts.

(that photo is actually from later on, once the heddles are threaded, but you get the idea). The reason you need the cross at the back now is because you need to make sure that the warp threads are in the correct order when you are threading the heddles and sleying the reed (for real).

Notes: Heddles- if you are working left to right, make sure that you have enough heddles held off to the right side to accommodate whatever proportion of your total warp threads your pattern calls for! And re: reed, good idea to mark total planned width with painters tape on reed to ensure that warp is centered.

In order to do the threading and sleying, you now need to cut the loops on the loose ends at the front of the loom and pull them through the reed (which is totally safe to do now that the cross is secure in the back)

Fast forward through slow and tedious threading and sleying (and also double and triple checking the threading).

Once you’re satisfied that the threading and sleying is right, it’s time to remove the lease sticks from behind the shafts and secure the cut ends to the rod at the front of the loom, taking care to ensure that the threads are evenly tensioned.

and here is the view from the back

After advancing the warp a bit past the breast beam, I’m finally ready to weave!!

Feels really good to have the loom dressed again. I’ve got about 4 yards to play with different colors and patterns. Should keep me busy for a bit. Will figure out what what to do with the fabric at some point later.

Have a great week folks!

Homegrown Holiday

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Alger Holiday market today!

It was fun to see folks and talk wool, and I got some spinning done as well- took my little upright wheel, Sophie with and almost filled a bobbin

Been a long time since Sophie had gotten some exercise, so she seemed happy to be back in action.

And speaking of wool processing and spinning, the WSU Country Living Expo is back to in-person classes this year, and will be held Saturday, January 21 at Stanwood high school.

I’ll be teaching two two-hour classes, Basics of Wool Processing (sessions 115 and 200) and Yarn From Scratch: Handspinning on a Wheel (sessions 513 and 613).

If you have a wheel (or can acquire one) and need help getting started, come on down. I’ll have some time available ahead of the afternoon classes to do some basic wheel adjustments and troubleshooting.

Ok, gotta get back to my cookie baking!

Have a good week folks 🙂