2011 in Review

Master Bedroom Mosaic

We became homeowners on Dec 31 of 2010, and a lot of this year was learning the in and outs of being homeowners. We removed what didn't want and started building in what we did. We peeled wallpaper and painted walls.

Snowpocalyspe 11:30am

Shoveled snow and learned the importance of roof-rakes.  (Hint: don't pile that much snow that close to your house)

Gardening Station in the Garage

Perennials were planted in the spring and bulbs were planted in the fall. Lawns were moved and leaves raked. Floors were swept and appliances replaced. And at some point along the way it stopped being their house and started being ours.

Karen & Chris

Starting the day after we moved in, we filled our home with friends: Pie Day, poker games, dinners and documentaries. The highlight was inviting over all our friends for a summer time barbecue and concert.



And we saw a little doggy online and decided to invite him to stay for the long-haul.


During Lent I wore skirts for 47 days and visited Washington D.C. for the first time.

Cherry Blossoms

Korea Memorial

In sewing, I got my own studio space and made a thing or two.


My creation

Fiber-wise, I learned how to dye and needlefelt.



I bought a loom and made a total of one scarf.

The pattern appears

I also did a fair amount of spinning, but haven't quite met my knitolution of knitting anything with handspun yet.

Tour de Fleece Skein One

Knitwise, this has been a huge year for me. I've released three patterns with Quince & Co., one with Twist Collective, and six on my own. I started a mailing list.

My creation

It's amazing to me how much has happened in one year, and how quickly that year has gone. There's snow on the ground outside now and it's a few days to Christmas. It's been a helluva year in the best way possible.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year!


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Everybody's Weavin' on the Weekend

Measuring the Warp Thanks to loaned warping board (Thanks Mags!), I got the loom all set up and and started weaving on Saturday!!

Yarn selection

The loom came with a bunch of yarn cones, and I chose this neutral-toned mid-weight one (20 wraps-per-inch or wpis) as my first warp and chose an eggplant-colored thick-and-thin yarn for the weft.

Sleying the reed

Lacking a sley hook for getting the yarn through the reed, I improvised with an old club card, which worked really well.

The pattern appears

I wanted to step it up a bit from my first woven scarf, so I chose one of the example draw-downs from Deborah Chandler's Learning to Weave. The hardest part was figuring out how to read the draw-down chart, after that the necessary threading and treadling is no more difficult than for a plain weave.

Point Twill

I'm working on getting a rhythm for treadling and beating, which is probably the most difficult part of the process for me at this point, but thus far, I've got about one foot of weaving done. I do think I may have made the sett (or spacing between the warp threads) too wide, but we'll see once I take it off the loom (and wash it).

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In My Studio: Before & Now

So one of the best things about the new house? I have my own studio.

(And whenever I say I'm going to my studio, I immediately think of this random reality tv moment I saw last summer. One, be forewarned, it'll get stuck in your head.  And two, it's worth it to watch to the second half of the video to see how context can change a song.)

I've co-opted the first floor bedroom, which used to belong to a baseball fan.

Downstairs Bedroom

Thus far, we've only had the opportunity to remove the wallpaper (fortunately one easily-removable layer), so the room is far from finished, but I needed to set up and do some sewin'. So I figured I'd show it in it's current state.

Studio (for Now)

The bears really make it.

Studio (for Now)There's great natural light during the day and there's plenty of space for my cutting table and all the other stuff. There might even be extra space, except...

Studio (for Now)

there's one thing more: New additionI bought a loom.


It's a 36inch four heddle Harrisville that I got used at a really great price on Sunday, thanks to a tip from Bristol. I haven't done anything with it yet except drool, but soon and very soon.

I'm so excited!!!

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Roadtrip: American Textile History Museum

Textiles are Special

On Sunday my knitting group took a field trip out to the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts. Tucked in the back of a former mill along with the Lowell Sun Newspaper and some loft condos, this jewelbox of a museum winds through  textile production, fashion, history, and innovation.

Our Intrepid Band

Some exhibits made more sense than others (I guess bicycle frames are a textile...), but it was a fun afternoon and I learned  how baseballs are tested and how linen goes from plant to fabric (Winnowing! Retting! Scutching! Heckling!).

Loom Room

The loom room.

Spools of color

Measuring warps.

Like Jewels

Circular Knitting Machine

A circular knitting machine.

Lacy Underthings of Other Eras

Bloomers and bustles.


We went to the museum specifically to catch the last day of a special exhibit "Aprons: Fifties Functional Fashion." We all wore aprons in honor of the event (and got a surprise $2 off admission!)

Apron Exhibit

The exhibit consitsted of about 50 or so aprons and I was glad to see the majority of pieces in the exhibit were homesewn, and some were quite dashing,



Christmas Kitsch



or busty!

Because sometimes your apron needs boobs.

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Finished Object Round Up

If you're one of my friends on Ravelry, you might have noticed that for the past several months the top half of my project page seemed pretty empty. I had no photos of anything I made in the past 4-5 months - oops!

I blame this on two things - one: I didn't feel like putting on woolly things in the middle of the summer to take pictures of them and two: something I affectionately call That [email protected]#n Sweater.

Chevron Cardigan

That [email protected]#n Sweater is the achingly lovely Joy pattern from Rowan's vintage knits - my second and not last project from that book. It's a perfect lightweight cardigan that goes with anything and I wear it probably three times a week these days.

Chevron Cardigan

So why the name? Three reasons, it's black, textured and involves the following US needle sizes: 1, 2, 3. All of this is to say, I started it January 28 and finished around July 5th. A nearly six month labor of love.  That said, I'm a huge fan of the finished product, my only caveat is that I wish I had used better quality yarn, it's made from Knit Pick's Palette, which doesn't feel as nice as I'd like and it's already doing some serious pilling, but in any case I'm sure I will wear this cardigan to the bone.

My Pillow

To make myself feel better, this is a project I completed from start to finish in about three days, one which involved a marathon session of watching The West Wing.

Pillow Pieces

The project was inspired by a similar pillow pictured in SouleMama's book Handmade Home, which I picked up at a local book signing a few weeks back. The "bluework" pattern is free on a site called Pattern Bee (which as of 9/10/09 appears to be down for maintenance - the link should be re-activated around 9/16). The fabric is from a fat quarter pack I picked up at Z Fabrics a while back. The whole thing looks very nice on my sofa.

Woven Scarf

This one you've seen a lot of, but here's me actually wearing that scarf I wove earlier this summer (June). The ladies in my knitting group like to mock me for my consistency in color selection. Looking at the items in this post and my current (unpictured) knitting project, I'd be the last one to deny it. What can I say?  I like the colors of the ocean!

Book Jacket Photo

Another scarf photo, in a long tradition of what I like to call the"Book Jacket Photo."

Ishabel Shawl

This is Ysolda's Ishbel shawl from Whimsical Little Knits, which I picked up back here and knit in  some hand-dyed lace weight from Pine Star Studio that I got at the Maine Fiber Frolic. I knit it in about 10 days and took about 2 months before I got around to blocking it, which really does make all the difference in the world.

Ishbel Shawl

This is my new favorite picture of myself. All of the knitting/weaving photos were graciously taken by Mr. Cleaver while we took a walk around Mackworth Island this Labor Day. Mr. Cleaver joined me in creating the final FO ofthe post, of contribution to Mackworth's village of Fairy Houses.

Our Fairy House

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The Learning Continues

I finished weaving my scarf this past week, which means my weaving class is sadly over, but it doesn't mean I'm done learning.

The first thing I did after Lent when I had use of my credit card again, was to register for a pattern-making class at the Maine College of Art (MECA). Since then I've been eagerly awaiting this weekend for the two-day intensive workshop.


It was well-worth the wait. Over the 12 course hours, my 12 classmates and I learned how to make a fitted sloper, how to adapt commercial patterns to fit better, how to recreate existing clothing and a teensy bit of draping.


Obviously we couldn't cover everything in such a short amount of time, but I felt I was solidly introduced to each of the methods and am hungry to do some research and practice and learn some more on my own.

Draping Detail

I'm eagerly waiting for college to publish the fall continuing studies catalogue to I can pick up some more art/design skills. But hopefully we may be seeing some Ms. Cleaver original designs gracing these pages soon!

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Weaving Week Three

Weaving Progress: Week Three

This week I learned several things in weaving class, how to change colors (cut and insert), how to make a repair (there was a knot in the warp), how to get more even edges (practice and a light tug after beating), and that after set-up, the weaving part really flies! I actually told myself to stop some I can draw out the enjoyment of this first project.

Weaving Progress: Week Three

That said, this thing is really starting to look like a scarf! 

Weaving Progress: Week Three

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Weaving Week Two

Warp set-up completed, weft colors tested and chosen, weaving begun!

Weaving Progress Week Two

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Because I Need More Hobbies


When I staged-managed Sueno, I took my stipend and bought a sewing machine. When I signed on to stage manage The History Boys, I made a promise to myself that I'd use the stipend to take a class. What kind of class?

A Beautiful Mess

A weaving class!! A relative of mine is a fantastic weaver and I've always loved the look of handwoven items, so when I saw that the Portland Fiber Gallery offeedr weaving classes, I knew exactly what that stage management money was going to months before the check made it to my hand.


Tuesday night was my first lesson (taught by one of my knitting buddies no less) and I'm about a third? half? I've never done this before so I don't know how far I have left? -way through setting up the loom.  I can't believe I have to wait a whole week to work on it some more! I'll be posting progress as we go along.

Here's to learning!

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