October Scenes

November 1st already, and I haven’t entered a post for October.  It has been a busy month. Some of the things that I have been doing this past month include teaching a weaving class at the Lewis Senior Center in Midtown Memphis, a three day art show and sale held in a private home in Germantown, a mini-reunion with a college classmate whom I haven’t seen in over ten years, a short break for R & R to the National Shrimp Festival in Orange Beach, AL, going to the season opener of the Memphis Grizzlies, and celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.

And here are a few photos of what went on in October.


2010 National Shrimp Festival - Alabama Gulf Coast

View from our hotel room, Orange Beach, AL

Sea of Art and Craft Booths at the National Shrimp Festival

Some of the food offerings at the festival

Boardwalk at the National Shrimp Festival

One of the many shrimp platters we enjoyed

Surrounded by Parrot Heads

Back to work at home, weaving a bamboo scarf

Display of my handwoven scarves and purses at "Kaleidoscope" an annual art show and sale in a private home in Germantown, TN.

My college classmate, Betty visited me from the Washington, DC area and we spent a day at the Memphis Botanic Garden.

Irene, my weaving student at the Lewis Senior Center with two of her handwoven scarves woven on a rigid heddle loom.

Bertha, my weaving student at the Lewis Senior Center with her handwoven vest woven on a rigid heddle loom.

Katherine, my weaving student at the Lewis Senior Center with her handwoven scarf and purse woven on a rigid heddle loom.

10th season opener of the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum on October 27th which coincided with the 10th anniversary of our family's move to Memphis!


The Bar-Kays another Memphis institution performed at halftime.

And we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary at Restaurant Iris in Memphis!

More weaving classes and more shows to come in the months ahead.  And also of course, more music, food, reunions, celebrations and winning games ahead as well. As the t-shirt says, “Life is Good”.

A Cheater’s Lace

The song says “A Cheater’s Love Will Set You Free”.  Don’t really know if it’s true, but I was thinking of those words when feeling the pressure to produce appropriate gifts for this Mother’s Day show:

The Spring Show

Much of my scarf inventory was diminished with the recent show less than a month ago. And with the weather warming up, tightly woven scarves were out of the question.  So I decided to weave some lacey scarves which really hadn’t been in my repertoire that much.  After much research and deliberating, I settled on a weave pattern based on a modified Atwater-Bronson lace.  The end product was a lightweight airy fabric that draped beautifully and was perfect for cool summer evenings, a rare occurrence here in Memphis.  So this shawl really had to be pleasing to the eyes.

The warp is a 10/2 perle cotton which was sett loosely at 20 ends per inch (epi).  These three colors were used in the warp.

10/2 perle cotton in natural, bleached white, and pale pink

I threaded a simplified variation of the more traditional 6 thread unit of the original Atwater-Bronson lace pattern. I used a 4 thread unit instead which utilized only 3 harnesses on my 8 harness loom. Sweet! Threading was easy.  In a 10 dent reed, I threaded 2 ends per dent and in the heddles, threaded in this order:  shaft 1, shaft 3, shaft 1 and shaft 2.  This 1-3-1-2 threading was repeated for the entire 15″ width of the shawl. Treadling and tie up were even easier.  I used only 4 treadles:  treadle 1 raised shaft 1, treadle 2 raised shaft 2, treadle 3 raised shaft 1 and treadle 4 raised shafts 2 and 3 together.  And so treadling was an easy to remember 1-2-3-4 !

Cotton/bamboo lace shawl on the loom

The weft was 100% bamboo yarn, Bambu 7 from Silk City Fibers. Here is the detail of the lace weave with the Bambu 7 weft of  “Rice”.

Detail Atwater-Bronson Lace weave with Bambu 7 "Rice"

And here is a detail of the lace weave with a weft of the Bambu 7 yarn in the color “Tide Blue”.

Detail Atwater-Bronson Lace weave with weft of Bambu 7 "Tide Blue"

The finished lace shawl on my faithful model Velma who accompanies me to every show:

Handwoven cotton/bamboo lace shawl

So, was this simplified version of Atwater-Bronson lace weave a cheater’s lace?  Definitely yes!  And did it set me free? Absolutely yes! And Velma looked pretty good in the finished shawl.

Planning Ahead

When I first met Mr. MemphisWeaver, one of the things I remember him saying was  “Man plans, God laughs”.  This from a well known Yiddish proverb,  Mann traoch, Gott Lauch. We’re all laughing now, because at that moment we weren’t planning on marrying and being together for at least 26 years.  But it’s true. Yes, it’s true.

And now I am planning ahead for some projects that will keep me busy for awhile.  Short term are two art and fine craft fairs where I will be selling my handwoven scarves, accessories and handbound books.  One is happening this weekend, February 20 at the Hutchison School in Memphis. The second show will be at Christian Brothers University in Memphis the last weekend in March (26-28).

Some of the items that I have been working on to include in these shows are handwoven scarves woven with bamboo, cotton and ribbon yarns, and also a series of handbound books made with hand made paper.  The book bindings are varied ranging from herringbone, coptic and long stitch.

Handwoven bamboo scarves

Handbound books with Thai mango paper covers

The long term projects I will be working on are the eight ceremonial prayer shawls that I will be weaving  by commission for a large synagogue.  The shipments of  yarns required for this project recently arrived, and I will be warping my looms as soon as my production for the art/craft fairs has calmed down.  The warp for this project will be 8/2 undyed natural tencel yarn from Webs.

16 pounds of undyed 8/2 tencel yarn

The background weft will be the 8/2 tencel, and the pattern weft will be Bambu 7 from Silk City Fibers and a luscious hand painted 5/2 tencel from Yarns Plus. The friendly folks at Yarns Plus were especially helpful in guiding me in the preparation of the hand painted tencel, particularly in light of the fact that I will be weaving it with undyed tencel.

Bambu 7 Yarns to be used for the prayer shawl project

Handpainted 5/2 tencel yarn

I’ve wrapped the yarn and color sequence around a foam board as a way of planning the pattern design.

Yarn and color sequence for 2 sets of prayer shawls

The first set of four prayer shawls needs to be completed in time for the High Holy Days in early September. My goal is for this to happen! These are my plans and I hope no one laughs…

The Big Muddy

“Waist deep in the Big Muddy” – the lines from Pete Seeger’s Vietnam era protest sang has been playing in my mind for the last 24 hours. I was at the Pink Palace Craft Fair in Memphis, TN for the last 4 days. The weather was perfect the first 3 days.  On Sunday, the last day of the fair, the weather forecast had predicted some light rain and occasional thundershowers.  That turned out to be wrong. There were downpours all day long, and the visitors at the fair which was held in a city park had to dodge small rivers and floods around, and sometimes through, the tents. Several of us upon leaving became stuck in the mud and required the assistance of a front end loader or a couple of strong young men to become mobile again. It was an adventure! But needless to say, the faithful and die-hard shoppers were out in full force, and of course all the craftspeople and vendors were there to the bitter end!

My mud covered sneakers at the end of the day!

My mud covered sneakers at the end of the day!

I shared a double booth with several other craftspeople from MACA – Memphis Association of Craft Artists. There were  potters,  jewelers, and I was the lone fiber person.

MACA booths at the Pink Palace Craft Fair

MACA's booths at the Pink Palace Craft Fair

Pottery and Jewelry in the MACA booth

Pottery and Jewelry in the MACA booth

Fiber and Jewelry in the MACA booth

Fiber and Jewelry in the MACA booth

Our group received several positive comments on the appearance of our booth, and most of us did quite well in sales. Of course, it was also a pleasure to educate the public about our group and our craft work.  And my booth partners and I will have something to talk about for awhile as we shared a leaky tent, a little flooding, a lot of mud and a lot of muscle as we all helped push each others’ cars out of the mud!  It wasn’t bad at all.

Scarf Update

My last post had a  photo of the 5 warp chains that I managed to prepare during my week of being stranded.  I was able to warp my Leclerc 4 harness floor loom with the turquoise warp.  The weave structure is plain weave with warp floats of a bulky slubby cotton yarn.  The warp is a 16/2 cotton that was gifted to me.  I fell in love with the rich turquoise color of this yarn but while warping, several threads broke.  Clearly this yarn was not strong enough to withstand a long warp.  With a bit of tweaking and keeping a close eye on the brake while tensioning, I was able to wrestle control of this yarn. It was worth it.  I used Bambu 7 (there it is again, I love the stuff!) from Woodland Woolworks in the weft.  Bamboo yarn is a bit slippery especially when using it as both warp and weft, but combined with another non-slippery yarn, it weaves easily, and provides a  lovely drape.

cotton and bamboo scarf on the loom

cotton and bamboo scarf on the loom

The warp floats of the slub cotton gives the scarf added texture and color.  The bamboo weaves very quickly.  There is enough warp — 5 yards —  to weave two 72″ long scarves with about 4″ of fringe at each end.  These scarves will be the last projects I will complete before the “Celebration of Fine Craft”, a 3 day show and marketplace at Christian Brothers University in Memphis.  It takes place this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 17 – 19. The hours are 10 AM – 7:30 PM Friday including an opening reception beginning at 5:30, 9 AM – 6 PM Saturday, and 12 PM to 5 PM Sunday.  Memphis Association of Craft Artists is partnering with the University to sponsor the fair with the intention of it becoming an annual tradition.

MACA show and marketplace postcard

MACA show and marketplace postcard

There will be over 35 local craft artists showing and selling their products.  Media represented include pottery, jewelry, wood, fiber, clay and metal.  I will be the only weaver there!  The fine art students will be hosting a silent auction of fine craft items donated by the artists to benefit the Fine Art Department’s scholarship fund.

My next projects are just waiting in the wings.  The UPS truck just delivered this:

11 cones of cotton/rayon flax yarn for my next project

11 cones of cotton/rayon/flax yarn for my next project

And, look at this  fine bottle of wine waiting for me.  Love the graphics on the label!

Luchador, a 2006 shiraz

Luchador, a 2006 shiraz from South Australia