Heddles on Bamboo Skewers

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I always dread having to add or remove heddles on my looms, not to mention finding I have a few backwards in the middle of the harness!  I have read about keeping them on strings so they stay organized, but that just doesn’t work well for me.  They want to tangle and I have given up before and painstakingly put them on one by one.

HoldDownCablesBefore starting a new project on my Harrisville 8-harness loom,  I decided to take off each of the harnesses, count and inspect the heddles (I had managed to bend a couple), and get everything ready by counting out 90 heddles on each harness.  If you have a Harrisville loom, you know that if you remove the harness frame, the cables attaching the swinging harness may slip off the roller if you don’t tension them.   So I first decided to tie them down with a string to the back beam so they’d stay in place. Here’s a picture of one of these cables that held a harness frame, simply tied around the back beam to hold it in place until I reattach the harness.  I do this with all eight cables (on the left of the loom, looking from the back of the loom).  With other looms, this step most likely will not be necessary when removing the harness frames.

Now with the harness removed,  I slid the heddle bars loose and was ready to slide sections of “good” heddles off on my bamboo skewer to hold them neatly organized while I accessed some bent or backwards heddles for correction.  Here’s where the skinny bamboo skewers really helped.   They easily fit between the heddle and the heddle bar making the transfer easy.  Notice I put a little clip on one end of the stick.  These clips are made by Clover and help keep me from inadvertently letting the heddles slide off the skewer.  Once I slide those off, I’ll put a clip on the other end, both top and bottom and set it aside until ready to slide heddles back on.  In fact, I’ve started to store my extra heddles on these skewer with the clips on each end.

Transferring Heddles from Heddle Bar to Bamboo Skewer:

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Extra heddles, stored on skewer with clips on the ends.

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Now, I have all harness bars ready with 90 heddles (divided in groups of ten) ready to go back on the harness frame and on the loom. Notice I put clips on the heddle bars too!  You can tell I’ve had a few accidents!

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Purcellville Tag Sale

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We had a fun event Saturday at the Purcellville, VA tag sale.  It was a bit of a rainy day, so it’s good we had an indoor spot!   The damp conditions didn’t seem to deter the crowds too much.

It was really good to hear positive feedback on some of the items we’ve been making.  We had some interesting suggestions as well.  For example, we had some requests to make something similar to our Baby Bloomers for dogs, and a special version for disabled dogs.

Thanks to all our customers for a great day!

Halloween!

It’s almost Halloween.   We are getting into the spirit this September, and will not limit our Halloween fun to just the last day of October!  

Ok – it’s not a costume, but I love the  Halloween baby bloomers. I think they look great any day of the year!  hallow3

Starting with the table –  we love the table runners, placemats and napkins.   Not only for your dinner table, but think of setting up a Halloween Treat table using one an inexpensive smaller table runner.   Pair it with a few spooky signs around the treat bowl for a complete effect.   

I plan to make my ScarlettPinesCaramelCorn (click to launch pdf) recipe for my Halloween time guests – who needs to limit Halloween to just October 31, I think I need to make this today!   This Caramel Corn is really good.  I’ve made it for the last 30 years, and people always ask me to make it again.  It’s sort of addictive, so be careful when you make it.  It’s hard to stop eating.  It will look great in a big bowl with the Halloween table runner and signs.

Here are some of the Halloween items we have for sale on scarlettpines.etsy.com  (including the baby costume bloomers and table linens mentioned here).

We found a new hobby – BLOOMERS!

There are three new grandbabies, all girls in the family.  My daughter-in-law made bloomers for one of my granddaughters.   They are unbelievably cute!    Here she is in one set 🙂

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Here are some of the variations she made,  I love the combination of the 3 fabrics and ribbon!   These two are actually posted on Etsy right now.  Here are the links: https://www.etsy.com/listing/199747605/ruffled-fall-sunflower-and-pumpkin-baby

and https://www.etsy.com/listing/199862858/blue-chevron-red-and-blue-paisley-red

Ruffled Fall Sunflower and Pumpkin bloomers2 

I am more of a knitter, weaver an spinner than a seamstress.  Somehow I managed to make this cute Christmas version of the bloomers, with some careful sewing coaching from my daughter-in-law.  It was actually fun!  I used techniques that would have frightened me before.   All you sewing experts will laugh, but here are some of my new skills:

Using Bias Tape –  Bias tape was used around the legs and waist for a neat way to conceal the elastic and make I soft for our little girls.

Ruffles –  I’ve knitted ruffles before and now I’ve made fabric ruffles.  I used two basting threads on each of the three ruffles.   The basting threads allowed me to gather the ruffles to the correct width.   Next the ruffle was sewn to the diaper cover.  Several passes of stitch lines and zig zag stitching took care of the rough ends. Next, a cute coordinating ribbon was sewn over the ruffle top with the assistance of a piece of double faced sew-in tape to aid in the process. 

Here’s a picture of my first pair of bloomers.  So I have 2 more to make so all three granddaughters will have these for Christmas time!  

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Wet Felting Fun!

I have recently been experimenting with making felt.  My son made a beautiful custom table, and we thought a handmade piece of felt would be a nice touch.

Here’s a picture of my second attempt at wet felting.   The piece on the left can easily yield a 10X12 piece for the drawer lining.

I was amazed at how much I love these pieces of felt.  The pictures cannot convey how light, soft and airy they feel.  Now I want to make felted clothing!  Why did I think felt had to feel “itchy”?

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My first attempt at wet felting resulted in a nice piece of felt, but it was too thick.  Also, it was a bit uneven.   I’ll definitely find a creative use for that piece of felt.  But here I’ll describe my second attempt that produced the felt shown above.

The most time was definitely spend on fiber preparation.   My fleece was especially dirty.  It had quite a few sticks and plant matter and many second cuts.   I teased it by hand over newspaper to catch the dirt.   Teasing is just pulling it apart and starting to fluff the fibers.  Ok,  I may have told it a joke or two.

After teasing,   I ran some fiber through the drum carder. I also experimented with handcarding and combing first.  I’m really not sure what I prefer.  All seem to require about the same amount of work.

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I tried dyeing some of the wool after carding, and decided I prefer to dye it first, then tease and card it.  I used a dye that is suitable for animal fibers and followed the directions from the dye manufacturer.

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Dyeing turned out to be very easy.  I bought a pot to use just for that purpose in case any of the dyes weren’t safe to eat. I dried the newly died wool on a towel.   As mentioned earlier, I then carded the wool.  Here’s what it looked like.  You can see some variation in the color where some fleece looks blue.  That’s where I was “exhausting” the dye bath.  I like the effect.

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Next I cut a couple of pieces of netting and started laying out my first layer of fiber.   I pulled the fiber out into a very thin layer on top of the netting. It is important to put the next layer with the fabrics aligned at a 90 degree angle.  Repeat this process as many times as you want.  For this thin felt,  I used only three layers.

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With all my layers added, I put a top piece of netting over the fiber and did a quick basting around the edges so that I had a little packet ready to felt. As you can see, I’m not going to get a seamstress award.  I used a plastic needle and cotton warp yarn to loosely secure the netting.   You’ll pull this out when you are done.   Don’t use wool yarn for the basting or it will become a design element in your felt!

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Finally, it’s time to do the felting.

I mixed soap flakes and water into a plastic bottle.   I put approximately 1/2 cup of flakes to 2 cups of hot water into a container and mixed well.

Now, I’m going outside because I know I’m going to create a mess.

First I put down a big tarp in the driveway.

Next, I heated a big pot of water in my dye pot, found a ladle and took the pot of hot water out to the driveway.

I laid my nice little packet on the tarp and drizzled my soapy mixture over the wool.  Not too much, just a few swirls.

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Taking ladles of hot water, I sprinkled over the packet to start to wet the wool.  I did not worry about soaking it thoroughly.  In fact, too much water will interfere with the felting.

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Starting in the middle,  I GENTLY started rubbing with a circular motion.  The water was too hot for me at first so I used a rag until it cooled a bit.  I continued to rub in circular motions the fingers of both hands.  As the wool started to feel more like felt, you can increase the pressure somewhat, but be careful not to create holes in the felt by moving the fibers too much.  This sliding action of the fibers against each other works to felt, not so much the pressure of the rubbing.

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Continue this for at least 30 minutes.   I flipped the packet over after I had the fibers totally wetted and rubbed down to a dense mass, continuing to rub in circular motions.

Once I was tired of doing this, I tested it a little by poking my fingers into the packet to see how much it was holding together.  Happy with the results,  I started the “fulling” process.

I rolled the fiber packet in bubble wrap, pressing and rolling repeatedly.   I would occasionally rotate the fiber pack to do the compression from multiple direction.

For the smaller felted item,  I started with approximately. 19 X 16 inches of fibers, and after felting had a piece measuring 16 X 13 inches.

I plan to sell some started “kits” soon on www.scarlettpines.etsy.com

 

 

No More Grungy Baby Seats!

All parents have experienced this.   The pristine new baby car seat, at some point, becomes disgusting with milk, juice, food and who knows what kind of grunge and germs.   So we remove the removable cover, wash, and it’s a lot better. But the straps –  they never really look clean. You can’t put them in the washer!

Here’s a great idea.   Attach really pretty strap covers that easily velcro on.  They are padded for extra softness, and you can WASH them!  

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These are handmade by a Mom who appreciates nice things for her Baby.  The listing for these is at https://www.etsy.com/listing/197868767/car-seat-strap-covers

You can select from these fabrics, or if you don’t see what you like, let ScarlettPines know and they’ll work with you on a custom option!

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Diaper Covers for your Favorite Babies!

Choose the fabric of your choice for a soft and cute diaper cover. Shown in the small size, a number of additional fabric choices are coming soon. A small size should fit most infants from about 2 to 6 months old by adjusting the Velcro. Soft elastic around the legs allows for a comfortable fit, providing extra security against diaper leakage. Diaper covers work well with shirts, onesies, and dresses for little girls.  These are listed on our Etsy site.
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