Addy's Coming!

Rachel and Addy arrive about 11 tonight via Santa Barbara airport - which turned out to be a lot cheaper airfare-wise than either Burbank (no surprise) or LAX (big surprise).

One of the top things on my agenda - other than introducing Leanne to her big cousin - is to have pictures taken of my four grand girls. Since Naia is the hardest to fit, she and I took a quick trip to the mall this afternoon.
After some negotiation, and some fitting room time, we settled on these outfits. Matching dresses for the middle girls, Addison and Leia,

the cupcakes are pockets - so cute!

and coordinating dresses for Naia and Leanne. Can't wait to get them all dressed up tomorrow.


Going, Going

Leia was super cranky all evening and the thumb in her mouth signaled a very tired baby (we've taught her that thumb in mouth = bed time). PopPop took this series of photos of Leia watching teevee in my craft room . . . .

Cranky or not, she's sure cute!


Bobbin' Around

Someone asked what a bobbin lace pattern looks like.
My pillow collection.

In addition to a picture of the finished project,
Naia's butterfly project

each pattern has a pricking, printed on (usually) blue cardstock and pinned to the lac
e pillow, that shows the placement of pins and direction of work; and the "directions" - a term I use very loosely. For Naia's butterfly lace piece, the entire directions look like this - Helpful, yes?

Here's the pattern for my fan and spider lace -
It does have some written instructions, but for the most part they say 'follow the diagram'. The scary part is that, with a little instruction when I started this piece, I almost understand what I'm supposed to do. With lots and lots of unlacing when things don't go the way I almost thought they should.

The latest additions to the pillow collection -
a roller pillow by Simon Toustou of Canada, in burgundy and walnut, with three nice deep drawers. And a small travel pillow with interchangeable block, roller and circle for working different types of lace. I bought this one for Naia, but it's too small for her to work on comfortably. Hope she's happier with the cookie pillow I ordered for her last night.


Lace Madness

Naia and I are both totally hooked on bobbin lace. I'm starting to understand the little dots, slashes and squiggles that constitute patterns, and scarier still, I'm reading lace how-to books for recreation.

This is the most complicated piece I've tried so far - fans and spiders.
There are lots of mistakes in the first two fans - to be expected on a learning piece - but I'm getting better and more confident the further I go.

This afternoon I showed Naia how to start a new bookmark using the bright colors she picked out last week on our trip to the "good" thread store.
As I've come to expect, she got it after a quick explanation, even though the pattern includes two new-to-her stitches.

And at our bobbin lace class tonight, Vibs started Naia on her first butterfly, using metallic yarn and a borrowed pillow since the ones we have, that didn't have projects on them already, were too small.
And yes, that would be pillows plural. A new-to-me roller pillow (with drawers!) and a small (too small, I think) travel pillow for Naia came home with us tonight. And as soon as I post this, I'm off to order a cookie pillow for Naia so we can return the one on loan. Oh, yeah. We're totally hooked.


Tools of the Trade

I love finding new-to-me tools, even when I don't know for sure what they are or if I'll ever use them. I've lucked into some great stuff that way.

I found this at an estate sale earlier this year.
I was pretty sure it was a winder for bobbin lace bobbins but I wasn't positive. Guess what? I was right!


Gramma's Closet

Naia's 4th grade class is celebrating Gold Rush day tomorrow and the kids are encouraged to dress in character. As soon as she got home from school today, we hit my closet, looking for potential costume pieces.

This straw hat was the first thing Naia spotted -
and we based the rest of our design around it. One flannel shirt, one wool shawl, one leather belt, and one crocheted purse later, we had what I think is a darn cute costume. Naia was so thrilled, she wore this to knit night this evening. She's a little worried about wearing the costume to school, but not enough to not wear it. I think she looks adorable, very miner chic.


Going, Going, Gone

We got a break in the rain yesterday, so hubby and youngest son broke out the chainsaw and chopped up the toppled tree in our front yard. I thought hubby would keep some of the wood and dry it out to use in his woodworking, but he said the quality of the wood wasn't worth storing it for a year while it dried. Not enough grain and the root ball - where burls would have been - was mostly rotted out. Now we need to decide if we want another orchid tree or one with better grain/burls so that, when it inevitably blows over, hubby can harvest the wood. How's that for lemons to lemonade?


Weaving and Weather

I know people just about everywhere else on earth laugh at what So. Californians call "weather" but we actually had a storm yesterday. It was raining when we got up about 7:30 a.m. and continued raining hard almost continuously until almost 11 last night. Fairly early on, a sharp gust of wind took out the orchid tree in the front yard - fortunately no cars were parked near it so nothing was damaged except the view out my front window. I loved that tree; it blooms in the winter when most everything else is dormant and bare.

But rainy weather is great weaving weather. I got half of my towel warp threaded last night and finished it up today. Made a silly rookie mistake (hey, it's been a year since I warped!) and wound the warp the wrong way over the back beam. Couldn't understand why the brake kept slipping as I wound on; the loom was trying to tell me what an idiot I was being. Finally listened, unwound at least 3 of the 4 yards, and rewound it, correctly this time. Tomorrow I'll - hopefully - start the actual weaving and see if I made any threading errors I haven't already caught (found 2 as I was tying on). Crossing my fingers . . . .
My weaving assistant. Cute but lethal to any stray threads.


Naked No More

Out with the old warp - and, after a quick dusting and general tidying, in with the new. The 442 threads I wound on the 16th made the transition to the loom today - not bad after letting it sit idle for the last year. I got half the reed threaded tonight and hope to finish that part tomorrow night, after I teach two back-to-back crochet classes. Or I may just come home, put my feet up and relax.

Today was also the first session of our local rigid heddle study group. Our first project was to put a small amount of carpet warp on our loom and weave coasters with cut-up t-shirts. I didn't have any shirts I wanted to part with, so I used some thick, colorful yarn Edie brought to share.
I'm hoping I have enough yardage to make a small bag to hold weaving tools - most of which I forgot today. (And I started to warp my loom backwards yet again. When, oh when, am I going to figure that out???)

Since I had warp left on the loom, I brought it home for Naia to finish off. We'd cut up some levi's awhile back, so I started threading the strips together as she wove.
She didn't get very far today - the lure of the Disney movie marathon was greater than the call of the loom - but she wants to finish it up tomorrow. I love having another fibernista in the house.


Everybody's Irish

For today, anyway. Found these matching shirts last night and couldn't resist getting them for the girls, who both love pretty, sparkly things. Leia didn't want to have her picture taken until she was in the "official" photo spot - and she drug Naia up by the flowers, sock-feet and all. Happy St. Patrick's Day!



It's been over a year since I've woven on the big looms. I made a threading error when I put the second overshot potholder warp on Alice, the Baby Wolf; I couldn't decide whether to fix it or scrape the whole thing, so I folded her up and let it sit. But thanks to Deborah, my weaving mentor, who said 'dump it; it's keeping you from weaving," that warp is history.

Tonight, while the little girls lay on the floor
and watched Disney's Robin Hood (another of the classics), I started winding the 8/2 cotton warp for a set of kitchen towels. 442 ends, each 4 yards long - that's a lot of yarn and a lot of winding. Every time I wind a warp, I'm so grateful I bought a warping mill rather than a warping board. So much easier on my arms and shoulders - and spinning the mill is very meditative and soothing. For someone who had no clue what she was doing at the time, I made a darn good decision.
Tomorrow . . . . Phase 2 - on to the loom!


Grandma Present

On Sunday, Naia came racing into my bedroom - "Gramma, gramma, come quick, Leia and I made you a present."

She made me close my eyes as she lead me from one end of the house to another (I peeked; I love the child but I'm not sure I totally trust her where my toes are concerned) where I found this:
a frame of building blocks around a handwritten note.

Here's a close-up (click the pic to enlarge) -
Want to guess how much I loved it?