Summer camp with a detour

I sat down this morning to write about my new toy. I purchased a Schacht Zoom Loom to play with.

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I’ve got tons of yarn leftover from socks and thought it would be fun to use it with this loom.

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Getting the hang of it

I’ve got a little corner in my new studio with a view of the pond and the trees that surround it. I’ve been spending a bit of time there the last few mornings, weaving squares and listening to the birds call. I feel a bit like a kid at summer camp. Doing crafts and making something that may or may not be useful when I get it home.

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A finished square ready to pop off the loom
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Fun with color in a 4″ square 

I have no expectations of these squares. No project in mind that they’ll become. I’m just playing. Spending a little quiet time in the morning before I get started with my day.


I took all my photos before sitting down to write, launched my photo browser and nothing was there! 30 or more minutes later I’d checked settings on phone and laptop, consulted tech support forums and stomped around the kitchen muttering under my breath. [Note to self, the latter doesn’t really fix any problems.] Still, no photos.

So on the advice of my expert technical consultant I restarted the computer. A few minutes later the new photos (and a whole lot more I didn’t realize were missing) started trickling in. My blog post is saved. My sanity is saved. I can stop being mad at my devices. I love technology, except when I don’t. It’s pretty amazing what we can do with these powerful computers we carry around in our back pockets. And when it doesn’t work right I just feel helpless and dependent.

Now it is time to put the computer aside and do some work. I’m weaving scarves. On a loom made of wood and metal. Moving parts that I understand how to use and to fix when they get cranky. No computer assist, no wires. Just feet on the treadles, hands on the beater and my imagination to dream up something to make.

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Tencel scarf in luxurious shades of rust, yellow and maroon

When I’m not stomping around the house muttering at technology I make lovely scarves and socks. I play with color and let my imagination run wild. Looking for something low-tech to brighten your day? Check out my Etsy shop and see what speaks to you.

 

Welcome to my Etsy Shop

What do you do on a Thanksgiving morning while waiting for the turkey to roast? In my case, open an Etsy shop.

This was a move I’d been contemplating and researching, but had thought to defer it until early next year when life was a bit slower. The Square store had worked adequately as a storefront to which I could point customers, but didn’t have any marketing reach outside of what I could do myself. I have no illusions that being on Etsy will suddenly result in tons of orders. I think those magical discovery days are over given the vast number of sellers there. But getting my work in front of browsing shoppers and into the Etsy search results surely wouldn’t hurt.

But I had some time to kill so, armed with my trust iPad, I set out to see how much I could accomplish. The configuration went swimmingly. Nobody owned my store name yet so I snapped it up and set up the bits and pieces: description, location, bank account (for the sales revenue deposits) and most important: scarves!. By the time the turkey was ready I had a store with two listings.

I spent the next few days taking pictures, adding stock, and getting the store ready for a soft launch. The final step was to point heronponddesigns.com/shop to Etsy and start marketing. I’ve had a good response to my instagram feed and my shop already has some likes and favorite items.

So, pour a cup of your favorite hot beverage, get cozy on the couch and come browse the store for socks and scarves at heronponddesigns.etsy.com. I still do custom orders, so if you don’t see what you want, don’t hesitate to ask.

Avoiding burnout

Scarf production has been in full swing for a few weeks now. I’m weaving for a new show (for me), Craft Vermont, which is the weekend before Thanksgiving. I have just a few patterns that I weave regularly, one being this huck.

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Huck in hand-dyed alpaca silk

I switch up the materials between alpaca silk and tencel. I shift from variegated (as above) to solids with funky accents.

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Orchid tencel with fringed accent yarn

But underneath it all, it’s the exact same weaving pattern. I have the counts memorized. I know how many threads to wind for the warp. I can practically thread the heddles in my sleep. And my feet know how to treadle the pattern repeat.

And suddenly I was bored. No color or texture change was enough. I avoided eye contact with the loom. It holds a warp for 3 scarves in the huck pattern. I wasn’t going to throw away the materials, so I started bargaining with myself.

Just weave those three scarves. They’ll go quickly and then you can do something else. I’ve got two of the three done and it is true that the third will go quickly. Meantime I’ve gotten out the Merino/Tencel yarns and I’m planning the next scarves.

The yarn is soft and yummy with a slight sheen from the tencel. I’ll use it to weave some heftier warm scarves using a Pebble Twill pattern that I really like. Here’s an in-progress shot of one I did a while ago.

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Lilac on black pebble twill Merino Tencel scarf

I still work towards my inventory building goal, but I get a change of scenery in the process. I’m looking forward to watching the subtle patterns emerge.


Mark your calendar to visit Craft Vermont at the Sheraton Burlington, VT November 18-20. Or shop online where the store is always open.

What if: Color Exploration

I started with this alpaca silk yarn, hand-dyed by Ellen’s Half Pint Farm which contains purple and two shades of blue.

Hand dyed alpaca/silk yarn
Hand dyed alpaca/silk yarn

In the first scarf I used the alpaca silk as an accent against aquamarine tencel. The alpaca silk is so subtle in this scarf that you can barely see it unless you are up close to it.

Hand dyed alpaca/silk and tencel scarf
Hand dyed alpaca/silk and tencel scarf

Next I did the same accent pattern, but used baby blue tencel for the background yarn. The alpaca silk really stands out in this scarf.

Scarf detail front & back
Scarf detail front & back

This last scarf uses the alpaca silk for the full warp (the vertical strands) and navy tencel for the weft (the horizontal strands.) I love how different the two sides look in this scarf. On one you can really see the navy floating across. On the other the navy yarn is much less visible.

Hand dyed alpaca/silk and tencel scarf
Hand dyed alpaca/silk and tencel scarf

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Snippets

It’s been a busy week here in the studio.

I made some socks:

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New socks

I finished weaving a scarf:

Birds eye twill scarf detail
Birds eye twill scarf detail

and started the next one:

Huck lace scarf in progress
Huck lace scarf in progress

And I finished a sweater:

Sweater for a customer
Sweater for a customer

A fellow weaver asked me if I was freaked out at the fact that Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival is in six weeks.  “Not at all” was my reply. Then I thought about what she said and realized “heck yes!”.  I’m nowhere near ready for it.

This is my first year having my own booth (as opposed to sharing.) So in addition to making socks and scarves to sell, I need to design my booth layout. I’ve wanted a bar-height director’s chair, which I purchased this weekend. I’m pondering hanging displays for the scarves, what tables I want to use and thinking about different promotional materials to advertise my services.

Soon I’ll set up the tent in the yard and do a dry run.

If you are at all nearby please plan to visit the festival. It’s October 3-4 at the Tunbridge, VT Fairgrounds. I’ll be in the vendor pavilion.

I’m now on Instagram! Not sure I know what I’m doing yet, but I expect I’ll figure it out eventually.

Now back to some business planning…

Meet the weaver

Do you ever get so deeply involved with something that you forget to step back and set some context?  I’ve been posting here for a while about weaving and knitting and I’m not sure I ever introduced myself!

My name is Jennifer and I’m a weaver. (Well, and a knitter, but that’s for another day.) I weave scarves which I sell in galleries, at my local farmers market and at artisan shows. I weave some other things occasionally (like that baby blanket that isn’t done yet), but mostly I make scarves. I love weaving scarves. I’m not about the speed of the thing, so I mostly make one at a time.  Each is a little self-contained art project. I grab some yarns off the shelf and play “What if?”. I don’t always love what I come up with, but usually somebody does.

I just had a finishing binge and here’s some of what will be going to the gallery soon.

I’m so in love with this scarf that I don’t want to sell it.

Tencel with locally hand-dyed alpaca silk accent

Another spring inspiration

Tencel with pastel multicolored fringed yarn accent

Subtle and elegant

Olive tencel warp with variegated tencel weft

A little more pizazz  

A diamond twill pattern: solid tencel warp, variegated weft

 

  I love the color changes in the accent yarn

Mauve tencel with locally hand-dyed alpaca silk accents

Next time: about the knitting

p.s.  It is officially “Spring according to Jennifer”. The red-winged blackbirds are back!

Life imitates art

Deep in the throes of frigid weather with feet of snow on the ground, I needed to weave a scarf that said Spring.  I don’t have a lot of yarn in a spring palette, but I found some orchid tencel and a fun cord yarn with pastel fringe.  As I was weaving the scarf I glanced up at a shelf in my studio and realized that I was weaving the colors of a piece of art I’d just acquired.

scarf with art piece

 

The art is from a local artist, Meg McLean, who does these fabulous paintings of sheep in various settings.  I’d been wanting one for a while and as soon as I saw this one with the flamingoes I got out my checkbook.

The scarf is huck lace in Orchid 8/2 tencel accented with a neat cord yarn with tiny fringe every couple inches.

Well, I’m ready for spring, even if the weather isn’t cooperating!