I Gotta Just Do It and a Rug too!

“Make two homes for thyself, my daughter. One actual home…and the other a spiritual home, which thou art to carry with thee always.”

~Catherine of Sienna~

I think I’d like to try something. I want to post a saying, a thought, maybe a proverb, or a bit of wisdom, along with what I am trying to do in my life every day.

I don’t know how this will go, or if I will manage to do it. But I think I posting more often wouldn’t hurt. It may even be therapeutic as a way to get me focused each day.

I guess it would be a way of helping myself to build my spiritual home, which no one can take away from me. It would be part of who I am, and things that I learn from God and from living life.

In the meantime, I am making a rug out of my own handspun yarns. I am weaving it on my rapid warp rigid heddle loom. I love being able to weave with my handspun; its my all time favorite yarn!

It’s inevitable that I will be doing demonstrations in public as a historical (hysterical?!) reenactor, particularly in the Society for Creative Anachronism. I wanted to craft a sturdy throw rug for purposes of having under my wheel or loom when I do public demos, especially demos outside. I hope to do more to protect my wheel or loom from the damp ground, whichever of them that I take with me.


The warp is crafted from white Romney fleece that I purchased at the Simmons farm near Troy Kansas. I processed it, dyed it, and then spun and plyed it into different colors. The warp is quite sturdy, which can be very important is making a rug. The warp must withstand the high tension necessary for the warp in order to weave a rug.

I had not realized until I had the warp on the loom that I was weaving a double rainbow. It was something of a surprise! I had been very focused on having good color in the warp to contrast with the neutral colored weft.

The weft is a naturally colored Iron Gray from another Romney fleece, one of four, that I purchased from Tina Ulbrick at Ewephoria Farm near Lawrence Kansas. I filled four bobbins about two times and plyed up four good sized skeins. The resulting 4 ply yarn is quite bulky.

Both yarns are from older Romney sheep, so they feel a bit harsher and rougher. But that is ok for a rug!

I had to argue and fight with the weft to get it to pack down more closely. The yarns were very resistant. I finally tried doubling up the weft when winding my shuttles and that helped it to pack down better.

I also used the technique of beating the weft very hard into place with a handheld tapestry beater, and then additionally with either a batten or a shed stick in the next empty shed to really muscle it and pack the weft down. I found that if I used the heddle itself to beat the weft into place, that it forced the yarns apart too much.

Its almost done. I am quite thrilled with it! The bright colors of the warp contrasting with the darker gray weft are a delight to my eyes and it makes me happy, both in making it and seeing it. It makes my heart sing. I hope this rug makes other people smile too. ♥️

Romney Shrug with Cuffs Part 2

After a nasty round of bronchitis through most of October and early November that involved much coughing and staring at my weaving loom, I finally figured out how to weave up the center portion of this piece of weaving. I wanted to attempt something a little more challenging than just plain weave.

I figured out the mechanics of weaving using tapestry weft interlock, where the two colors of weft come together in one of the spaces between the warp, loop around each other and then go back from whence they came. This is done all the time as a common way to join different colors in tapestry weaving without leaving holes. Basically, I am interlocking my weft loops in the space between the warp yarns.

I had to move over almost all of my weft I had already woven. My gold diamond shape precluded having to skip nail pegs on top, so I had to rethink the construction a bit and double up some of the weft loops on nail pegs on the bottom for the stripes I had already woven. The new section has weft that was much closer together snd the rest of the weaving had to match that.

A closer sett of weft worked better and I found the fabric much nicer anyway. But then I had to add more green to the stripe that preceeded and surrounded the left corner edge of the diamond.

So I have been laborously continuing. I haven’t hit a rhythem of doing it yet, but I feel certain I will soon. In the meantime, it’s still progressing.

I really want to get this piece done! I am eager to see how it looks once it is off the loom.

Striped Romney Shrug with Cuffs

I have been working and preparing for doing this piece of weaving for over a year. I was able to finally begin weaving August 9.

The hot muggy August heat doesn’t encourage me to weave. I usually have been weaving mornings and evenings.


It took two tries to get the warp on the loom. I tried at first to go around 2 nail pegs, but that didn’t seem to work well. The resulting warp sett was too far apart but might have been ok if my handspun yarn was thicker or if I had doubled up on the warp.

I hate having to double my yarns though. It makes the weaving go much more slowly because each pass you make with the weft you must constantly fight the warp to keep it from twisting so much.

Doubled or trebled yarns do not matter so much in tapestry because none of the warp would show; it would be a weft faced weave in that all of the weft would cover the warp.

But in this type of weaving that I am doing for fabric to wear, much of the warp will show.

So I had to change the way I warped up the loom. I went back and forth up and down the length of the loom with just 1 strand of my 3 ply semi-worsted yarn around each single nail peg.


I also found I had to stop to change the settings on my loom for the long sides to the next hole out. That allowed me more yardage since I was finding the warp was much more stretchy than I thought it would be; Romney isn’t normally quite that stretchy, but I suspect that might be due to the fact that I had gotten finer shearling fleeces instead of fleeces from adult sheep. The extra stretchiness will make it relax and pull in when the weaving is taken off the loom. And I can tell the take up effect is already making the yarn stretch tighter.

I had to go back inside at one point during warping because of the heat. That was ok since I had to wind the more colorful weft into center pull balls on my ball winder.


I wound a marled yarn color of 1 skein each. I knew I would not use up as much of the marled gold as I would the other colors. So I started with the smaller bits of gold skeins, created from the yarn left on the bobbins toward the end of plying two big skeins of the other 3 colors. This winding interlude also gave me some ideas on how I could plan the basics of my desired vertical striping and thier sequencing.

I am so glad I am a weaver! Vertical striping is much easier to do sucessfully with weaving than it is with knitting or crocheting.

I want to emphasize my height rather than my great girth. Vertical stripes will help me do that. The dyed colors of the stripes of marled yarns will glow out against the natural darker brown gray colored wool.


The weaving was started the next day, August 10, with only 3 full shots when I was interrupted by a family member. She needed help with finishing up cleaning out her garage that somone else set on fire. I knew it would suck up the rest of my day and felt fairly truculent that I had to carry the big awkward loom back in the house along with the loom stand.


After working so hard in the heat for a few hours, my feet were throbbing as though they were on fire. I was exhausted from the heat. I couldn’t weave until the next day, Saturday August 11. I gave up going to 2 social things that I had scheduled. I decided that if Christ came back that day, He was just gonna have to wait while I finished up this piece of weaving!


Yeah I know, these pictures are kinda dark. Either I have blnding glare or I am in strong shade for pictures on looms on my front porch.

I got a brighter picture inside the house with the loom leaning up awkwardly against a wall.


Hopefully, I will get more woven today. By 3pm it will only be 90*F. That isn’t as bad as it could be. I have cold ice water to drink as it melts from the freezer and from cold bottled water sitting in the fridge.

Tour de Fleece 2018 part 2

The Tour de France started this year on July 7 and ended on July 29. Of course I had to spin my wheel along with those who were racing, though I really do it in in effort to get a huge amount of spinning done.


This year, I was able to spin a total of 3,993 yards including plying. If plying is not to be added, then I spun 2,199 yards. And I spun just a little over 3.8 pounds of fiber. Of course I was trying to spin thicker yarns on purpose which helps to do more fiber. I spun it all this year on my Louet S10 Concept Wheel, mainly using the jumbo flyer and bobbin.
Either way its counted, I think I did all right.


I admit my total yardage could have been much more. I was a bit distracted. These lovely spattered and hand painted Lincoln locks caught my attention and I couldn’t resist stopping all the power spinning I was doing and combing the locks in my big combs to blend the colors. I hope to use these for tapestry weaving.


I hadn’t ever tried spinning locks of wool that had more than 1 color down the length of them, and I was amazed that with just a few passes of the fiber back and forth from one comb to the other, how homogenized the color became for that one combful!


Other parts of the spinning for the Tour de Fleece went very quickly for me. I found with spinning thicker, I could spin up an entire 4 ounces in a few hours, and then ply it the next day. Of course, I was plying from both ends of a center pull ball so then I had no leftover yarn wasted on a singles bobbin, which seems to suit my sense of completion. I hate having leftover singles yarn like that; handspun yarn is too preciuous to waste!


So the day after the Tour had ended, I just had to start soaking, drying and blocking all this wonderful yarn!

So here is some eye candy for all of you yarn and fiber lovers!

I soaked and rinsed other yarns too in order to get ready for some weaving I have long planned. But that will be another blog post as I get to the weaving.

Spinning and weaving are such tactile experiences. Its wonderful to see and feel the fiber and yarns moving through your fingers, and watching the colors pour out onto your loom or bobbin.

I hope you have all enjoyed the little yarn tour of my Tour de Fleece experience. I had fun and I hope you got some thrills out of seeing all the colorful yarns I made! 😍

Tour de Fleece 2018

Today is the first day of Tour de France 2018. Its also the first day of Tour de Fleece 2018 on the Ravelry website. The Tour started today and will run until July 29th.

The idea is that while the bike racers spin thier wheels racing, we as spinners spin our wheels or handspindles.

I managed to get signed up with 2 teams; Team Mirkwood is for those who are handspinners using handspindles, and Team Front Porch Spinners is a laid back low pressure sort of group that is welcoming to anyone who spins thier own fleeces they process, rovings, combed top, dyed goodies from independent dyers, and any type of fiber batts, whether on handspindles or spinning wheels. I knew the second group was definitely for me cuz my favorite place to weave is my front porch! 😃

So I started off with a bang by about 9am this morning by spinning some Corriedale combed top, colorway Tangerine Dreams, hand dyed by Bugbear Woolens in Massachusetts. This fiery looking colorway is more like a sunset to me than a fruity tangerine!


It was only 4.6 ounces of fiber, but wow, doesn’t it look like lots more?!

So I got it spun as single yarn by about 3:30 pm while visiting at the East Hills Mall foodcourt, wound it off my bobbin using my ball winder, and then plied it from both ends of the ball back onto the bobbin on my spinning wheel.

I started the other sister braid of Tangerine Dreams. I only had 2 braids of that colorway. So far I have about 1/5 of the 4.9 ounces of this second braid done.


Whoo hoo! Its a good start for Le Tour! It won’t take long to get this one done. Yarn takes up much less volume of space than unspun fiber. My Louet S10 Concept wheel is doing very well so far. I hope I can get a lot of this unspun fiber spun up so I can get to weaving!

Life Keeps Happening

Good and bad, life keeps moving on.

Yesterday, just two days after Christmas, I found when checking my bank balance before beginning to pay another round of monthly bills, that some scumbucket had stolen my debit card numbers and charged $424.14 to my bank account for a goatload of makeup from a company called Too Faced Cosmetics in Irvine California. I caught the charge as pending. Due to that mess, my water this icy cold winter had been turned off since I had no money left to pay my bills.

Yes, I have already talked to my bank so the card is now defunct. I have been checking my credit to keep my identity from being stolen as well. My particular bank happens to be very protective of their customers and will be fighting the payment for me. But until it goes through, the fraud department cannot begin its dispute. And it will take about 10 days before the bank can give me provisional credit so I can pay my bills. In the meantime, I have been draining all my pipes to hopefully help keep them from bursting without water moving through them. To my dismay, that didn’t work and I have been without water for about a week. I find out today if indeed I will have running water again.

I suspect that the person using my debit card numbers was a woman who obviously must have needed some serious help in the beauty department. Personally, I would never have even thought to purchase anything from a company with a name like that when it makes them sound untrustworthy. I cried a lot last night and this morning; then today, I thought I had better come to the library and have some quiet in a corner with my hardly used laptop. At least my stress headache is better.

A dear friend of mine gave me a 3 gallon container of water with a spigot on it and insists I should come over any time she is home to take a shower. That’s pretty awesome! How comforting to know I have a friend who is concerned for my personal well being. Its also encouraging to know I am not facing this all alone.

I explained the entire situation to my church and they helped me. However the people in charge of the church finances were not around what with the holidays. So help from my church with my water bill has been covered people who got together and pooled some money for me to use to pay the bill to have my water turned back on. But then it froze anyway.

My best friend of over 30 years passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in October. I keep thinking I should call her and tell about what I am spinning or knitting or weaving, but I can’t. I miss her, but I know she and my dear sweetheart Jim are up in heaven, kicking back laughing and talking about old times. ;/ I still miss my dear sweetheart Jim so much. I can’t help but feel that way. ;(

I know God has a plan for me. But I am in the dark concerning it. This long dark hallway of not knowing God’s plans for me really sucks. I hope to see the light soon. I know I must have faith, but it can sure be scary.

Ok, my whining is all done! I want to get on with the good things happening in my life.

Little Hats Big Hearts
I have been knitting cute little baby hats for the American Heart Association. Did you know that the most common congenital birth defect that babies have are heart related problems? Often due to poor cardiac performance, they are often born underweight or prematurely. Since they have difficulties controlling their temperatures and keeping warm, much of their heat is lost through their heads.

The hats cannot be made from yarns that are wool or wool blends due to flammability (those struggling youngsters are on a lot of oxygen!) and skin allergies or irritability. The hats can be made out of cotton or acrylic red yarns.

After completing one hat and starting another, I met a lady who had an 8 month old child who had been born with cardiac difficulties. His lips were tinged blue one evening and she and her husband raced him over to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City. She told me that it was a wonderful blessing to her as a parent to one of these little red hats that somebody had made was put on her sweet little baby’s head in the ER. She was greatly comforted by that small simple thing.

I hadn’t thought of the parents of these children, but if it blesses worried stressed out parents as much as the baby, then I need to knit a whole lot more of these hats! I am such a slow knitter; weaving goes so fast by comparison for me. Its taken me weeks to make 6 hats. It didn’t make me more productive making baby hats when I caught a nasty head cold the week of Christmas.

I have a picture of the five sweet little hats that I have spent 45 minutes trying to download to my blog here from my cell phone. So far I have not been very successful.

Sonia’s Shrug
The shrug that I first posted on my triloom has long been woven. Again, I am having difficulties in posting a picture. Sonia has been too busy with school, the holidays and finals to help me fit it to her. But we will get the final touches put on it soon.

Blending Dyed Romney Wool in my Combs
I have been inspired by one of my other blogging friends, Jennifer of JenJoyce Designs, to play with and blend dyed locks of white and naturally colored Romney. Again, I am having trouble downloading the pictures of the wonderful colors I have been creating when making my combed top in the sharp tines of my Indigo Hound double pitch combs.

The Iris, together with the Magenta, and just a small bit of Bright Blue is making a stunning lavender purple blend. I also made a combination of the orangey Mustard yellow, Bright Red, overdyed natural brown Romney with Bright Red. It was just like fire!

Though I feel that knitting the little red baby hats is important, I want to do more weaving. I have ideas cooking around inside my head. So today I started weaving on the grain instead of on the bias on my smaller 14 inch continuous weave square loom with some variegated purple and white cotton from Sugar and Cream. I want to spin and/or weave things that I can wear so bad, I can almost taste it!

Aftermath of Spinzilla 2017


Spinzilla ended last night at midnight Sunday October 8. I think I did a credible job. Just look at all that Romney yarn! 🙂 I  finally getting my spinning mojo back on my Ashford Traditional Wheel. Halelujah! Jim would be so proud.

So here is the yardage in order of its creation.

Blue and purple skein: Spun from 3 color combined batts for 246 yards and 3.9 oz

Pink skein: Spun up from handcarding dyed wool for 122 yards and 1.7 oz

Large green skein: Spun up from 9 batts for 536 yards and 7.2 oz

Smaller green skein: Spun from 3 batts for 260 yards and 3.7 oz

Large brown and gray natural skein: Spun from 7 batts for 710 yards and 7.6 oz

Smaller brown and gray natural skein: Spun from 6 and 1/4 batts for 254 yards and 3.2 oz

My totals: 2,128 yards of 2lbs and 11.04 oz Romney wool.

I was so tired last night that I kept falling asleep. I had such a long day of singing that once I got home and started spinning, I couldn’t stay awake! Thank goodness I got some spinning done in between both the services I had to attend to sing with the choir earlier in the day. But I needed to spin to deal with my panic attacks that I kept having about the rehearsal for the huge Reformation Festival Choir in Kansas City. If I hadn’t had the calming effect of spinning, I would have lost my breakfast and that would have been very counterproductive for the rest of the day.

Although I didn’t spin all 27 batts, (I had 2 and 3/4 batts left of the brown and gray) I did manage to spin more than the expected quota of 1 mile, but did not achieve my personal goal of 2500 yards. However, I still think I did pretty well.

I didn’t bother with plying since I wanted to do 3 and 4 ply yarns out of these singles. They count plying as part of your yardage credit with Spinzilla, but I want to do lots more batts and ply later.

I wonder if I could do 5 miles of yardage if I participated in Tour de Fleece next year? Things that make ya go “Hmmmm!”



Spinzilla: Same day Oct 3, 2017

I counted up my first skein for Spinzilla. It’s yardage is 246 yards. Purple and blue is very pretty together.


I started spinning up the first batt of green carded Romney wool. What a bright strong green!20171003_152651

I hope I can get at least half of this bobbin filled with about 4 batts today.

Spinzilla 2017 with Team Sue’s Stupendous Spinners


Yesterday, Oct 2, started off with a bang for Spinzilla, a world wide fund raiser for the National Needle Arts Association in the United States. This group teaches embroidery, knitting, crocheting and other related yarny things for free to people across the country.

Spinners pay a low fee to be on a team that can have up to 25 spinners, and the resulting funds go to the Association for thier teaching supplies. Our stated goal is to have each spinner work up a mile or more of unplied handspun yarn to create the yardage during the week that Spinzilla runs. It ends Sunday Oct 8th.

To get ready for this event, I have been scouring wool fleeces, mostly from Romney sheep, all summer, and dyeing up 1 pound batches, and then carding it into sheets or batts for spinning. I was able to prepare 27 batts in time for Spinzilla by the end of Oct 1st.

So I spun up all 3 of the bright blue and Iris (purple) batts. It should make some wonderful weaving this fall and winter. I hope to whip up at least 12 more batts after Spinzilla to add in order to make 3 ply yarn for weaving on my continuous weaving triangle loom.

Our wonderfully talented and esteemed Captain, Sue Olson, is a spinner, weaver, knitter and crocheter. She coordinates the team through a forum on Ravelry.com. Sue has a store in historic Jamesport Missouri called Sue’s Soft Stuff. She uses a contact page on Facebook so people can speak with her directly.

We have some folks like me (13 in all) who are local to Missouri on our team and may or may not know each other, which is just great. I find it amazing how people who have never met us in Missouri have jumped on our bandwagon to be on our team. How cool is that?! Besides spinners from New Jersey, Massachusetts and Arkansas, we have 3 Canadian spinners and 6 of our spinners hail from Sweden. This has truly become an international worldwide endeavor!

I better get back to spinning. Gonna do the green batts next. Whoo hoo! Go team, go!



1504800418289-1759583634I have been weaving a shrug (a shawl with armholes to insert your hands and wrists) on my adjustable triangle loom at the 6 foot setting. This is an item for my friend Sonia who took care of my house and kitties while I had to be in Kentucky dealing with some issues of my father who has dementia.

I hope to finish it soon. I was so occupied with helping her to find a colorway she liked in something that would work and weave up well on my loom that I did not realize until I started weaving that it would look like a bath mat. Imagine my surprise!

Right now, I am at the shuttle stage where instead of continuous weave, I switch over to weaving on the horizontal warp threads using weft on two shuttles.

With this thicker chenille-like stuff, it’s a battle. What a mess! Every time I put a shuttle through that teeny shed, it rolls and twists and sticks like glue. Ugh yuck!

I need a thinner skinnier shuttle. Then it wouldn’t be so crazy difficult to squeeze the shuttle loaded with the bulk of weft wrapped around it through a tiny small shed. My head hurts with fighting this uphill battle.

So while I figure out how to deal with my weaving, I have been washing and rinsing all these fleeces that I have been storing. All summer, every chance when it’s not been raining, I scour up another big kettle full of Romney wool. Yes, it’s true; I admit it. I am so addicted to spinning and weaving. What a high fiber diet!

If I ever want to accomplish anything, I’d better get moving, right?! It’s not bad strength training. It can definitely improve those core muscles, hefting around a big hot kettle full of wool and dirty scour water.

Thank God I can take a lot of breaks while I wait for wool to either heat up on the stove or cool down in my bathtub in big buckets so I don’t scald myself. But that’s what a washing machine is for; I get laundry washed up and hung out to dry on my front porch along with the clean drying wool. This is my version of multi-tasking.

Jim would want me to do things I enjoy so here I am preparing lots of wool for the big yearly fundraiser sponsored by the National Needle Arts Association to teach children textile crafts. World wide Spinzilla 2017 is almost upon us! It runs for a week, Oct 2-8. This year, I hope I can spin much more than a few skeins. I am shooting for that mile of just over 1700 yards.

I am washing and scouring wool to prepare it for drum carding many batts (or sheets) of ready to spin fiber. My goal is 25 to 35 batts total.  Most of it will be Romney wool this year since I want to weave it. I am now on fleece #8 of brownish gray (grayish brown?) to begin scouring today. It’s only 4 pounds of raw smelly fleece.

I have got to get my day started. Time to feed the kitties, get some eye drops in my eyeballs, eat breakfast, and start scouring. Jim would be proud of me. I miss him so much.