Ended up going to Solvang twice this past week. Once with hubby for date day Tuesday and again on Thursday with three-quarters of the Yarn Mafia (missed you, CG!)

While hubby and the little girls napped on Friday,

Miss Leanne

I took pics of my new treasures.

Leia and the blanket she calls "Baby"

On the drive up with hubby, I carefully made a list of all the things I needed from the weaving store, totally forgetting they are closed on Tuesdays.

But that kinda worked to my benefit; we walked around after visiting our favorite antique store and found a needlepoint shop that sells bobbin lace books and tatting thread. Score!
Lily, 30 seconds away from getting smacked
for batting the thread balls around

Thursday I was able to get everything on my list and more (of course.)
More bobbin lace bobbins, three packs of felting fiber (for a really neat felting idea I had on the Tuesday drive; pictures soon, if it works out), cones of red and natural 8/2 cotton for more towels, and four cones of 3/2 cotton to make an inkle band for my Appalachian basket. That ought to keep me busy, for a few days anyway.


Almost All Done

The towels are off the loom, as of about midnight last night. I fought the narrowing shed until the end knots were almost to the heddles, getting those last few inches I needed to make towel #3 the same length as #'s 1 and 2. Today, I zigzagged the ends (the thin blue line is where I'll cut the towels apart), measured them, and tossed them in the washer and dryer. Measured them again when they came out (shrinkage was 1" in width, 3" in length for each towel) -

cute grandchild provided for scale

and spent tonight cutting them apart, pinning the hems and hand stitching the first towel.
Hemming them on the machine would be faster but, even with my not so even stitches, I think hand hemming looks nicer. Project details are on my Ravelry page here. (you don't have to be a Ravelry member to view this project.)

Coming this weekend (fingers crossed) - winding a new warp and tying it onto the old one so I can weave companion towels. Or I may be lazy and read a book instead. Depends on how ambitious I feel after Saturday's guild meeting.


Bobbin Lace

Monday was bobbin lace night. I missed a session while we were on vacation and was anxious to get back to it.

This time I learned to turn a corner -
which is a very big deal when you realize all the pins must be removed so the pattern can be turned, and then at least one repeat's worth have to be put back. Nerve wracking to say the least.

And I started a butterfly, a new type of bobbin lace for me.
See the writing on the top left of the pattern? Mostly in German? That's all the instructions there are for this motif. Basically it says use 5 pairs of bobbins and thin thread (I'm using size 80 tatting thread.) My teacher looks at the picture, both pattern and finished, and decides what stitch(es) I need to do in each section. There is no way I could figure this out for myself. But with Vib's help, I'm having a ton of fun with this.

My buddy, Cherie, finished her bookmark last night too. Of the five (six?) of us that started bobbin lace, she's the only one that's continuing on with me.
Don't know if you can tell from the lousy cell phone pictures, but we are using almost the exact same colors in our projects. Could be a reason we were best buds in high school (along with her sister, Colleen, who loves these colors too.)



The backpack basket is done - even if it's not a backpack. I decided to leave the straps off; thought they detracted from the whole handmade vibe of the project. I'm planning to make an inkle woven band to go around the top rim. Just need to pick my colors (and remember how to use the inkle loom . . . . )

My basket is 2nd from the left. Only 1 person used the backpack straps.


Backpack Basket

I'm taking a 2-day workshop to make an Appalachian backpack basket. It should end up looking something like this - By early afternoon on Day 1, mine looked like this - Not quite as impressive.

In the beginning.

The weaving part is pretty easy; the part that's killing my hands is adjusting each row of reeds so they are packed tight together.
The bottom is the only part that's not packed together.

Tomorrow we finish weaving, sew the straps together and wear our backpacks home. In theory.


Baskets and Trees

Took my second basketry class yesterday.

In the beginning

This one focused on using natural materials; dried leaves and garden trimmings - things that usually get thrown in the waste bin.

My basket on the left; Edie's on the right

I almost didn't go because I was feeling so icky (bronchial asthma. Thank you, confederate jasmine.) but I'm really glad I did. So. Much. Fun.

The replacement for my poor downed orchid tree arrived today.
We paid the nursery to install it - definitely was worth the extra $$ for hubby not to hurt his back again - so it is off to a good start, with two deep watering pipes and a 1 year will-not-die guarantee. I'm thinking it will be a few years before this little thing provides the same view as the old one, but it's a start.


Pretty Baby

We took Leanne for her 3 month pictures today. Isn't she a cutie? She started off pretty well, but by the end of the session she was very tired of flashing lights going off in her face. I think we got some pretty good shots - and won't she just love when we show these to her boyfriends some day.


3 Reasons

Top three reasons it's good to be home:

Naia - in her school play
Leanne - she's grown so much in 10 days!
Leia - loving the stuffed bear we brought her


Journey's End

We spent our last morning back at Biltmore Estate, visiting the Conservatory

and gardens.

I got lots of photos of flowers,

and gardens,

and more flowers,

and gardening vignettes,

and gargoyles and statues,

and yet more flowers.


Then we took the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville to the Great Smokey Mountains. Beautiful drive that included more tunnels than I could keep count of, waterfalls,


and a partially restored grist mill.


The last part of the day was spent driving 5 hours back to Atlanta, where we'll catch our flight home early Thursday.

It's been a wonderful vacation, but I'm ready to be home.

Ode to Jasmine

See this little beauty? Confederate Jasmine.

I've never liked the smell of jasmine; getting just a whiff makes my throat start to tighten up. Since it's everywhere in Charleston and Savannah it's pretty hard to avoid.

Wish I'd tried harder. Can't wait to get home and see if my doctor can make the cough and burning in my lungs go away. Yuck.

So pretty to look at,
Such a strong smell,
And if you inhale it,
You feel like h*ll.


Plan B

The scenic drive we'd planned on doing today turned out to be not so scenic. Fortunately, the covered bridge I really wanted to see was close to the beginning of the drive.

Campbell's Bridge, built in 1909, is now the centerpiece of a pretty little park. I wanted to walk through and get pictures of the historical sign, but after a bumblebee the size of a hummingbird chased hubby away from the entrance,

I decided a long-distance shot was plenty good enough.

What we really wanted to see was the Blue Ridge Mountains, so Plan B had us heading up into N. Carolina. We thought we'd drive partway back to Atlanta - our plane leaves from there Thursday morning - then spend the night somewhere in the mountains. We didn't get far on the driving part, but we found one heck of a place to stay.


We'd been to Biltmore Estate once before when the kids were little and have always wanted to return.

I called while we were on the road and got a reservation for the night at the Inn on Biltmore Estate, less than 4 miles from the Vanderbilt home. We spent the afternoon touring the house, had a great dinner at Cedrick's Pub, then came back to our room to watch twilight fall over the mountains.

So peaceful and beautiful.

Tomorrow we really do have to head toward Atlanta and home. But tonight, we relax in the grand tradition.