Jan 29

Last Friday, I came down with what ended up being a sinus infection and bronchitis.  Both Scott and I had this, although his started a few days earlier.  It as a very quiet several days (i.e. lots of sleeping).  But I went back to work today, still coughing, but even that is sounding lots better.

Jan 24

-8 at 6:30 this morning.


Couldn’t have said it better myself.  Thanks Frazz!

Jan 23

Well, it got colder.  It was -3 when I got up this morning – too cold and too dry for there to be frost on the car.  And it’s supposed to get down to -9 tonight.  It’s really hard to keep the house warm in these temperatures, especially if the wind is blowing as it has been.  It’s even cold at the office.  And it’s supposed to remain this cold through next week at least.

I know that compared to northern areas like Toronto, Minnesota and Wisconsin, where I am may seem balmy, but for me, this is bitterly cold.  Thank heavens for wool sweaters, socks, mittens (2 layers), hats and scarves.

I sure hope the groundhog does not see his shadow in a little over a week.  I am more than ready for spring.

Jan 22

Today is the day I draw the name of the winner of the Trip Up The Nile Sock Kit.

Kit photo

And #9 out of 11 comments was drawn:

KathrynA Says:

Wow this looks like a really fun thing to knit!

I love history, so it’s hard to pick one time period, but I think it would have to be Medieval history. I’m a sucker for the knights and swordfights (and yes, I know much of that is sensationalized, but still)!

So, KathrynA, drop me an email at basicallybenita AT yahoo DOT com to claim your prize.  I’ll need your mailing address so I can ship this sock kit to you.  And Congratulations!!!

Thank you to everyone who commented.  The favorite time periods was all over the board, but I think the Elizabethian period won out.

Keep your eyes peeled because I intend to post another new sock pattern next week sometime.  And another new one sometime soon after that.  Still working out some details on the written instructions for one pattern, but I think I know how to get it done.

Jan 21

I keep calling this a class, but it really is a private lesson.  We are 2/3rds of the way through it and right on schedule.  Sue’s own loom needs a bit of work before it can be used, so I left my Dorset for her to use this next week.


Meet Sue.  She quickly got the hang of weaving and was working on her sampler here.


Of course, being her first time, she still needs to work on selvedges and draw-in.  But that will come with time.

Meet Eddie

And meet Eddie.  He’s a sweet 7-year-old kitten.  His love of play has never left him and there is nothing aloof about this boy.  That intense look is him watching Sue’s hand go back and forth as she measured out her scarf warp on the warping board.  While Sue threaded the loom and we wound the warp on, Mr. Eddie had to go to another room so he wouldn’t… err… help us.


Ahhh…  Tying the warp to the front apron rod.  So close to starting the scarf.


First repeat of the pattern.  And Oops!  Two dents got skipped.  Before she started weaving, I asked if she wanted to resley the reed, and she said no.  It’s wool.  It will full, and if there is a bit of a line, that’s okay.  She knows this is her first project and it will not be perfect.  Her homework for the week is to work on consistency of beat, picks per inch and selvedge.  After getting through the treadling sequence once, I believe she will be able to concentrate on all of these.  I can’t wait until next Sunday when I go back and see how she has done.  If all goes to plan, she will be threading her own loom with the next project.

Jan 20

My new weaving student, Sue, is a gem.  She has a very mechanical mind and picking up weaving is proving to be a cinch for her.  Not too far into it, she already figured out how to read her weaving to fix mistakes or to figure out where she was if she stopped in the middle of a sequence.  And the math for calculating warp and weft – piece of cake!

Her new-to-her loom is a 4-harness, 6 treadle LeClerc Nilus and she will begin weaving on it today.  Her homework for last night was to finish weaving off the sampler on my Dorset using yarn similar to what she is going to be using for her scarf, paying special attention to selvedges and beat.  Her scarf for today is a M & W, 22-step treadling sequence 2-2 twill, and it’s going to be lovely.   Normally, I’d not let a beginning student something so complex, but I don’t think Sue is going to have any problems with it.

Sorry for not having any pictures, but I left my camera at her house and will get it when I go there again today.  I’ll show you what she is doing tomorrow.

Her cat, Eddie, helped us by making sure no yarn was lonely.  *;) winking

Other news: We have our first YARNO winner, so please check this out if you are playing YARNO.

And, remember, you have until midnight Tuesday the 21st in order to comment on this post in order to win a Trip Up The Nile Sock kit.  The winner for it will be drawn on Wednesday.


Jan 19

The trouble with getting things into focus is deciding what to focus on.  This could pertain both to life and photography.  Today, I am talking about photography.

I will be teaching a private student how to weave, beginning today if the weather holds out.  When I teach weaving, I pre-warp a loom for each student to help familiarize them with the parts of the loom and weaving techniques before they advance to warping their own loom and weaving on it.  I’ve done this for every class I have ever taught and, while it certainly is more prep for for me, I think it offers the student a better experience. And let’s face it, I teach for the student and want that student to continue with what they have learned and not give up out of frustration because of having to warp a loom first thing when they don’t even know what a warped loom is supposed to look like. (Stepping off my soap box now.)

prepping for class

The light coming through the west window off to the right was bright enough that I could see much better than if the overhead light was on and the curtains closed.  Several years ago, when I first began teaching, Scott made me several 3-yard warping boards using a very old, handmade warping board I was given as a model.  These little warping boards are very handy.  They have felt glued to the bottom so they can be set onto any surface and won’t scratch it.  Using the 3/2 perle cotton that I use for my students, I can easily get 100 ends per batch measured out on them.  I love them.

That little box of tools is what each student gets to work with during class.  Two boat shuttles with lots of bobbins, an end-feed shuttle to try out, notebook, scissors, heddle hook, tape measure, pen, calculator, scotch tape, mini binder clips, ruler and some rug warp to tie the choke, cross and other places on the warp before removing it from the warping board.  This also comes in handy if a string heddle has to be made.  Depending on the size of loom being used, it could contain a sley hook as well.  For little looms like the Dorset, I pull the thread through the heddle and reed all at once.  It saves time.

While I was measuring out the warp to pre-warp the Dorset loom, I realized that I liked the tableau in front of me. Tools, warping board, yarn, paper for when I wind on the warp and glimpses of other equipment like my big warping board, and the bases of two looms.  So, I took this picture.  While I was measuring off the warp and then again while threading the loom, I kept finding myself humming little songs.  What were the songs?  I have no idea because I doubt if there was a real tune involved.  But I was so happy and content to be in my studio, playing with looms and weaving equipment that I was humming.  I need more days like this.

Once I had the loom warped, I decided to play around with focusing on different areas and moving the camera before taking the picture.

loom & carder

This first attempt was focusing on the drum carder in the background, then moving the camera down so that part of the loom’s castle was in the shot.  Then going in the opposite direction, focusing on the castle, then moving up so that the carder was in the shot.  Hmmm…  Not bad, but I wanted more from this.

threads & reed

So, I used the warped loom.  First focusing on the threads in front of the reed, then moving the camera up and taking a picture.  Then focusing on the reed and moving the camera down to take the shot.  Better, but there was still something else to be had.

Reed & Carder

Putting these first two concepts together, I came up with these two shots.  Focus on the reed with the drum carder in the background and taking a photo.  Then moving the camera way up, focusing on the drum carder, then pulling the camera back down and taking the picture with the focused drum carder through the reed.  This last shot was really what I was hoping to get and I really love it.  The blur of the reed closest to the camera, the semi-focused threads in the middle and the focused drum carder in the background.

I can see more experiments on this subject of focusing coming up.

Jan 18

I will be teaching a Beginning Weaving Workshop at Moontree Studios on June 20-22nd in Donaldson, Indiana.  If you are interested, please contact Moontree Studios to sign up, but do so s0on because this class is limited to 4 students.


Come and join this weaving experience and learn how to make cloth.

Jan 17

People who think that making or doing anything is work are missing out on some of the greatest pleasures in life.  Work can be play, and so can learning.

Wednesday night, there were two students in my intermediate spinning class and we played with blending and prepping fiber for spinning.  Pat brought her own drum carder, which she had not used yet, and I took Sandy’s and my Patrick Green, which worked out nicely because both students had a drum carder to work with.

Caeli, like Christy of Tuesday night’s class, is a bit more freer with color and her batt showed this.  Then she split her batt in half and reblended half of it to see what the difference would be.


The top half batt was the first time through the carder and the bottom one was run through twice.  I wish I had gotten a picture at how these spun up.  The top one was bright with wonderful pops of color.  The bottom one definitely was duller and there were flashes of color, but nothing like the top one.  It was a very interesting experiment and Caeli mentioned seeing how one could blend a fiber too much and create a muddy mess.

Pat was a bit more controlled with her color choices.  Her first one was a third gray, a third blue and a third cream.  We dizzed it off to make roving for her to spin.


By spinning these in order, her single will shift from one color to the next gradually.  I hope she Navajo plies this to keep the color sequences.

Next, Pat wanted to make a batt to spin.


Here she went half red and half cream.  There were some yellows in the cream as well.

Once Pat had the batt complete and while Caeli was spinning her sample batts, Pat wanted to learn how to make rolags (or as we were calling them wool punis because we just love saying “puni”) on her hand cards.

pat's product

So, all in all, Pat had a very productive evening.  And she learned that, unless you want some unexpected color on your batts, it’s best to clean the carder before going to a different color. 🙂

Next month’s class ought to be interesting when Pat brings what she carded back all spun up.  And I have the feeling that there is some carding and blending in Pat’s immediate future.  She really loved making the rolags.

All this has done is give me the itch to make some blended batts and see what I can come up with.  We only have three blended batts left in the shop, so we need more anyway.  Yes, work can be play!

Jan 16
Can you help me, please?
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Support Your Local... | icon4 01 16th, 2014| icon33 Comments »

If you are Ravelry, can you go to my Trip Up The Nile sock pattern and favorite it, please.  The more it is favorited, the higher it is ranked and the more it will get noticed.

Here is the link for it: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/trip-up-the-nile-socks

Thank you!!!


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