Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tofutsie Knit along

Hey Tofutsie Fans! Just a quick note to tell you about the Tofutsie sock of the month club. Woven Art is a praticipating shop. Every other month, SWTC will ship a limited edition color way of tofutsies, along with an exclusive pattern. There are already knit-alongs on the web! Like here:
Deby Lakes new Yahoo Group for Tofutsies
We are really excited to find out that Deby Lake, Tofutsies Sock Designer extraordinaire has started a fun new yahoo group for Tofutsies fans. In addition to having a great forum to discuss your projects, you'll have Deby's attention on patterns and questions. She'll also offer occassional insider information just for fun! To join
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/tofutsies_sock_club

If you want to play along, you can get your yarn from me - just give me a call at 517-203-4467.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ripple effect

Since my last post:
Son - in -law graduates, leading to a fun but quick trip to Chicago. Dine and Dash has new meaning.

doggie has an eye emergency

Baby daughter, is an emerging artist at the East Lansing Art Festival

The Art Festival! Always crazy, busy, fun.

Doggie has eye surgery.

I drive my tapestries, coil baskets and leno scarves up to a gallery in Baldwin. The Pamela Tripp Gallery. Nice place, lovely lady. $50 in gas.

So it's not too surprising that in the middle of this I had totally forgotten my anniversary. "Shit", I said in the middle of writing up a sale on Saturday. "My anniversary is tomorrow!" My lovely customer kindly pointed out the door and said "There's an art festival out there." Later that afternoon I reminded my Gary - confident that he had forgotten too. "No!", he said. "It is the 23rd!" Wrong - that is a daughter's birthday - oops that is today!! Happy birthday sweetie! I'll call you later! Your present is in the mail! Or scroll down to some previous posts, and you can see your present on little sis.
I digress.
We have a tradition that Gary buys a red rose for every year that we have been married, and presents them to me on our big day. He was hosed. No florist would be open Sunday. But a friend tipped him off - Meier has bunches of roses:





















He grabbed three bunches, thinking each bunch had one dozen roses in it. Look what he got!
No, we haven't been married anything like 72 years. He claims that guys can't count. I am just happy that he tends to over do it!




















I have joined a Ripple-along!


















A crochet student gave me the idea of a Ripple Blanket for a wedding gift for the daughter of some special and very generous friends. So I went to visit the no-end-in-sight ripple along, and loved what I saw. Mine is made from Henry's attic Inca Organic cotton. The colors are all natural - the cotton actually grows this way. It is soft and lovely. I believe it is also machine washable. I am really enjoying the process a lot - anyone want to ripple with me?

The wedding is June 23. I think I'll have plenty of time, if I ripple daily. This is all done just since last Thursday!

P.S. I got Gary a cool, bowl shaped chopping board and round shaped knife. He likes to cook! Almost as much as I do! I am trying not to use his present before he does - but man, it would have been great for the tuna salad yesterday.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Leno Lace and Shrugs

See? I do make stuff. Above is a leno lace shawl. I am doing a bunch of them, because it is easier to warp up the loom through all the little beads, one time, and then tie on a new warp when a color change is needed. Here is a pale pink and gray warp, plus a pinkish silk mohair weft paired with gray "cork" from Habu Textiles. I think it is very graceful.
And this, above is the substitute project for the Savanah yarn. The shawl wasn't happening for me - and then Unicorn sent me the shop model, so I felt even less of a need to complete the pattern. This bamboo yarn is light and soft. It is very well suited to Shrug Me Tender from Just One More Row, that calls for a very drapey yarn. They recommended a rayon yarn, but that it before they knew about Bamboo. Must have been. I have at least three outfits this will be perfect over. Good thing I don't need another shop model for this yarn!


This is a woven shrug. And my toe. The yarn is Sunshine from Trendsetter, Aton from Needful, Diamusee from Dancing Fibers, and the same gray and oink warp that was in the first shawl. I folded it up, sewed the sleeves, and crocheted around the front opening. It actually fits me pretty well, and feels good on.


This is a close up of the yarns and the weave structure - loom controlled leno, done with beads.

14 Stitch Challenges went out the door today. Granted, a couple of people were catching up and buying the whole series. I am so happy that people are enjoying this! Advanced knitters just find it fun, I think - while newer knitters are actually learning some tricks. If you are one of those people enjoying Stitch Challenge - you won't want to miss "Yarnival!" Each person who comes will be given textural, multi color stitch patterns to try out. First you'll choose which yarns to use, then you'll be given your pattern challenge. There will be lots of surprises! Of course Woven Art will be supplying the yarns - with a wide variety of texture and color choices. All you'll have to bring is a range of needle sizes. Call the shop (517-203-4467) and reserve a spot - spaces are limited.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

These Socks need legs!

I am loving the sock yarn thing! This week already, came Mega Boots stretch from Lana Grossa, with beautiful colors in long gradations - not at all stripey. Any of you remember my fingerless gloves? This yarn would be perfect. Also in this week is the Pro natura Trekking Yarn in very lovely earthy tones. It has Bamboo in it, and is soooo soft. I want to make myself one of those sock yarn sweaters in this batch! And yet to come due on Friday, are all the new colors of Tofutsies! Woven Art regulars know that the Tofutsies have been flying out my door - because the yarn is so soft, the colors are fun and pretty. I am pleased to announce that Woven Art will host Tofutsies "Boot Camp" June 8 to 18. There will be lots of socks in various stages of doneness, sock class, tips and techniques, plus of course lots of Tufutsies on hand to sample. This will coincide with my return from TNNA, "Yarnival!", and the East Lansing Jazz Festival. More details on the SWTC website. Good times! Also in the works is a Dye Your Own Tofutsies workshop. I have succeeded in buying a limited edition of undyed Tofutsies. We will wind them into very long skeins, and dye stripes! Dates and times TBA soon.

I have been dyeing yarn and roving, of course. Below is a sampling of what I have been up to:


This is Lavendar Nassau, a silk and cotton blend.



Pony 2 ply - 100% lace weight merino wool.


And this is about 2 pounds of merino superwash roving. I'll put it up in 4 ounce bags.

And this link is for your amusement. What will those Italian Grannies think of next? www.ananova.com

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Boomer Moment

Yesterday enjoyed the most perfect weather. Sunny, blue skies, felt like 84 degrees. And, "Taking Care of Business" was playing on my car radio. I had a flash back to how much fun it was to dance to this, back in my bar days, and for a moment I was 18 again. Until another memory snapped into place. Last September my own daughter did the Alligator, to "Taking Care of Business", in her bridal gown. She wasn't the only one - there were many "alligators" rolling around on the floor.

But, this is a fiber art blog. I have given up on making the Salina Shawl.. I started it 6 times. Then the shop model came. But I continued, with a life line to start it again, because I really like the color I am using. But, God didn't want me to make this shawl. It is the only explanation I can think of. Lace doen't faze me. The pattern is not that complicated. It is OK to own two, in different colors. But then I made a little bitty mistake, pulled it out, confident that my life line would save me - only to find that I had left two or three stitches off line. I gave up and began my search for the next perfect project for this yummy soft drapey yarn. After much searching, I found in my pattern pile "Shrug me Tender" from Just One More Row. It is a perfect match. And a fun knit. There should be a finished shop model soon!

I am also working on yet another sweater for my tree. I have a tree outside my shop, and I have been putting tubes of knitting around it. This next one is made of a series of two color patterns that we will be using at "Yarnival" coming up on June 15. That is a Friday night, from 6 to 9 p.m. "Yarnival" is a fun night of knitting up new patterns, in a variety of yarns. The game is that you choose two or three yarns (supplied by Woven Art), and then you get a card with the stitch pattern on it, and see what happens! I will have just returned from the annual trade show, and should have some new yarns for us to play with. Everyone will be working on something different- so we'll have lots to see. If you are a beginning knitter - have no fear - there will be plenty of tech support. Join the fun for just $15 - call Woven Art (203-4467) to reserve your spot.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Sock Monster



More from Monday's Dye pots - this is Montana wool - the same stuff we are doing the stitch challenges in. Very soft, very nice merino wool - in a worsted weight. It also felts. Imagine this animal print in a felted bag! Fabulous! I have three skeins, 560 yards each for $22.6o apeice.


And this? A Sock Monster! The yarn is Tofutsies from Southwest Trading Company, the pattern is Tidal Wave, free off their website (www.soysilk.com). This is the sock I took to Boston. It has a friend, but still in the ribbing stages - perfect project for the two hour Gray's Anatomy tonight!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Spinning Fiber

Some of what I dyed on Monday!


Merino Superwash in iuntense reds, golds and black. 8 ounces for $21


Merino wool in soft warm Tuscan Countryside colors. 8 ounces for $19

If you want either of these give me a call at the shop - 517-203-4467, or drop an e-mail to Nancy@McRayWeaving.com

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

It's May!

It's May - the lusty month of May! Remember that scene from the movie Camelot? Wasn't that Vanessa Redgrave? How old are you? To celebrate May I offer you a stitch challenge. Stitch challenges are only available by coming into the shop , on Grove Street.






For those of you who don't know, the stitch challenge is a little bit of fun from Woven Art, the yarn shop/Textile Education Center and Fiber Art Gallery in downtown East Lansing. We began offering Stitch Challenges in February of this year. For $1, you get a pattern, and a ball of yarn to try to knit the 7 x 7 inch square. Each month there is a new design. Isn't this one adorable?






I also have some weaving pictures to share. Off loom!


This is woven with 10/2 tencel from Textura Trading Company and diamusee (?) from Dancing Fibers. It has marvelous body and hand. The pattern you see is caused by diferential in the rate of twists in the warp threads. In the more open spaces, the warp are twisted around every pair. In the more closely woven spaces, some warps twist, and some don't. You can see this more clearly in the next weaving:


This is on the same warp - but woven with kasrui - a silk and mohair blend from Habu Textiles. See how some twists are long and some are short? You need 8 harnesses to do this. Finally, I have to share the progress I have made on Gary's coin basket. It is about 4 inches wide and 5 inches tall. Or maybe the other way around. I hope he gets more use and enjoyment from this Father's Day present than he did the last one - socks with his Boston Marathon time knitted into them. In offical Boston Marathon '06 colors too. But they were too big for him. A coin basket doesn't have a size it needs to be. When it has too many coins in it, then you have to put the coins elsewhere, like into a coin machine. Or a parking meter.


I did dye yarns and fiber yesterday - I am waiting for them to dry , and hope to post pictures of them later this week.