Monday, November 26, 2012

Towels On The Loom

Since I've been traveling so much, I haven't gotten much weaving done in the last six months or so.  I have some wonderful projects in the design phase, but few have made it to the loom.  I've had a "dog on the loom" going for almost a year.  A dog on the loom is a project that the weaver has lost interest in and just can't seem to work on.  The dog takes up space on the loom that could be used for a more interesting project.  Well, I decided that I'd finish the dog - two scarves that really should be pretty and kind of aren't.  The scarves were overshot - my favorite weave structure.  Normally, overshot uses a pattern weft twice the thickness of the warp.  In this case, the warp (the variegated yarn) and the pattern weft (the red) were the same thickness.  The tabby weft that kind of holds it all together was khaki sewing thread.  I wasn't happy with how the red weft formed large blocks.  I was hoping that the colors would fade from one to the other.  Nope!

Red Dog on the Loom
But since I was on a Dog-Off-The-Loom mission, I got the red scarf woven.  I was planning on cutting off the rest of the warp and saving it.  But hey.  It was already on the loom and why not just weave it off.  So I started the purple pattern weft.
Purple Dog on the Loom
I'm glad I did, because I think it's much prettier!  I still need to finish the scarves, but I had the purple woven off within a week or two of starting it.  So, that freed up my good old Schacht 4-harness loom.

My daughter wanted dish towels for her university apartment.  She chose a kit from Halcyon Yarn.  Normally, I don't weave with kits, but I wanted to try out their 8/2 unmercerized cotton.  The jury is still out on how well I like the cotton, but the towels are coming out very pretty.  This is the first time I've woven waffle weave.  The waffles will show up better when the towels are off the loom and washed, but you can see them forming now.  There will be three towels when I'm finished and each will be a different color in the weft.  Here's Towel Number One, woven with a light green weft:

Towel Number Two is woven with a dark green weft - almost a grey-brown-olive color:

Towel Number Three is woven with a teal weft.  I'm scared about this one because I don't think there's enough weft thread.  We'll see!

I've finished some projects that were woven earlier in the year.  I think I like to weave, and hate to hem!  Here is a set of four towels in a Barleycorn weave.  I love barleycorn almost as much as overshot.  It's very similar, but not quite the same.  These were woven at the General Sam Houston Folk Festival this past April.  Such fun!

Well, I'd better get back to the loom and finish Towel Number Three!  I have at least two towel project lined up after this one!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Look For America Trek

So what is this Look for America Trek?  At the end of October I drove my parents to the Blue Ridge Mountains to visit family.  This is THE time of year to do it, so we did.  Since I wasn't totally recovered from my Disney adventure and illness, we took it slow.  Day 1 was from San Antonio to Lafayette, Louisiana.  Not much to report there.

Day 2 - Montgomery, Alabama
Day 2 was from Lafayette, Louisiana to Montgomery, Alabama. About halfway through the drive we came to Mobile, Alabama and the beautiful Bellingrath Gardens.  This was maybe the fourth or fifth visit for my parents, but my first visit.  Technically, this wasn't the best time to see the gardens.  However, the flowers were well into their autumn bloom cycle.  The roses were blooming as were some azaleas, and a few camellias.  The mums were set out for the huge November festival .  A few had started blooming, but most were still in the tight bud stage.

Let's face it.  I love roses.  Anybody who knows me, knows I love roses. Of all the photos I took of them, here are three: Sadly, I don't know the name of this rose.  But it's gorgeous!

Here is a Wild Blue Yonder rose.  It's kind of purple, not blue, but who cares??
Wild Blue Yonder
And the last is a Moonstone rose.  I'm not usually a fan of modern roses, but I might just have to get myself one of these!  The rose retains the pink edging to the petals throughout its life, although it fades as the rose matures.  It's beautiful!
Moonstone Rose
I could go on forever about the flowers in the greenhouse.  There were pineapples growing and hibiscus and all manner of tropical flowers.  However, the orchids really caught my eye.  Here's just one of them - a classic cattleya.
Cattleya Orchid
The house fascinated me as well.  It's not a huge place in an ostentatious style, but it's big and comfortable.  I couldn't take photographs of the inside, but here's one of the courtyard from the outer walk.

Here's the same courtyard from the other side. (Standing inside the arches.)

Here's the last flower photo - a camellia we saw on the walk out.

Day 3 - Blue Ridge, Georgia
We got a late start from Montgomery and decided to take a detour around Atlanta to visit Stone Mountain Park.  I'd never been there before and had always wanted to.  Okay, I'll be honest here.  The park is amazing and I'd love to come back sometime, but the carving is not quite up to what I expected.  Here's the best shot I got of it.
Carving on Stone Mountain
Day 4 - In the Mountains!
We visited quite a few places around north Georgia, but I took the most photos at Amicalola Falls State Park.  It's difficult to get the waterfall.  It's the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi (although I can't believe Niagra isn't higher), but it's impossible to get a clear shot of the entire fall.  Here's my best try:
Amicalola Falls
Here's a photo of the lower falls:

After visiting the Falls and having a wonderful lunch there, we visited a pumpkin farm and an apple farm.  The apple farm was dangerous!  I walked out with a half-bushel of the best Pink Lady apples I've ever tasted, a jug of apple juice and a bottle of sparkling apple cider.  Didn't get any photos, but the pumpkin farm was awesome!  People take their little ones to be photographed there the same way we take ours in the spring to photograph them in the bluebonnets.

That's my shadow in the lower left.  It's as close as I have to a photo of myself.

Day 5 - More Mountains!
Again, we spent the day visiting places around North Georgia.  It's been a dream of mine for years to hike the Appalachian Trail.  We stopped at Mountain Crossings at Neel's Gap which has the distinction of being the only covered part of the trail.  I left my parents and cousins at the store and hiked a little way up the trail by myself.  I wish I could have gone further, but at least I got my boots on the Trail!

My cousins know all the best restaurants.  The following photo is one I'd have never thought I'd ever take.  It's a mural on the wall of the ladies' room in Antonietta's in Blairsville, GA.  It's a great restaurant, I must say, but who would have ever thought to disguise a vent so cleverly??

After driving through the National Forest, we came upon this wonderful old bridge.

I don't know if it exactly qualifies as a piano bridge, but it's very small and rattles quite a bit.  However, the views from it are awesome!
Upstream, I could see a man fly fishing.  I've never actually seen anyone fly fish before.  It's fascinating, but I don't think it's my sport!

Day 7 - Johnson City, TN
On day 6, we left my cousin's house, heading to Johnson City, TN.  I've wanted to visit my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather's farm, the Tipton-Haynes Historic Site.  My parents visited it several years ago and told me about it.  We got there too late to visit the site, so we spent the night and visited the site the next day.  Dad forgot to get a photo of COL John Tipton's grave when he was there, so I insisted we find the cemetery and get a photo.  COL Tipton had quite a bit to do with the founding of Tennessee as a state.  Apparently, he was a strong-minded, rather colorful old character.  I do love his home and am proud to call him one of my ancestors.
Tipton-Haynes Farm
We got to share the site with several classes of second-graders.  Even so, the staff of the site was very kind to us.  I'm especially interested in an overshot coverlet in the museum.  I'm working on figuring out the draft and hope to have a sample woven before too long!

And yes, we saw the cemetery.  What a quiet, beautiful place!
COL John Tipton's Grave
The grave is at the lower right of the photo.  The marker is hard to see as it's sideways to the photo.  They aren't really sure which of the two (or possibly three) graves there is COL Tipton's.  He is buried alongside at least his second wife.  I'm descended from his first wife who may or may not be buried there.  It's such a beautiful place, though!

After leaving Johnson City, we drove through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg on our way to drive through the Sequatchie Valley.  My mother's family lived there and migrated from there to Mississippi.  Okay, just forget Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.  For years I've wanted to visit the big October craft fair in Gatlinburg.  No.  The place is so heavily commercialized, it just isn't fun at all. However, after fighting 10 mile-an-hour traffic through both cities, we did get to drive through the Smokies.  Again, a beautiful, beautiful place!
The photos need no commentary!

Sadly, by the time we got to the Sequatchie Valley, it was dark, so I didn't get to see it.  After a rather grueling trip across lots of mountain passes and up (and down!) Signal Mountain into Chattanooga, we couldn't seem to find a hotel for the night.  We finally found a Days Inn in Trenton, GA.  Trenton is in the extreme northwest corner of the state.  I didn't even know it was there, but they had a hotel with two rooms remaining, and we got those!

The next two days were the long drive back to San Antonio.  Day 8 was distinguished by crossing five states in one day.  Okay, we were almost out of Georgia when we started and we spent the night in Tyler, Texas, but that's still quite a bit of driving!  Day 9 brought us home to San Antonio.  The worst part of the drive?  IH-35 between Roundrock, north of Austin, and home.  The traffic was awful!

But this was a wonderful trip and one I look forward to making again sometime.

Since this trip, I've been staying home and am back to my looms again.  But that's a story for the next post!