Passing Down Crazy

Because Sometimes the Best Thing You Can Give Your Kid is an Addiction…To Yarn


The Saga of a Blanket

The first week in December I made my second trip to Vavstuga, a weaving school in Shelburne Falls, MA.  I was there to do the Vavstuga Treasures class.

Let me back up a bit.  I first experienced Vavstuga in July, when I took the Basics class.  I fell in love with weaving during that week.  It’s a place like no other and is so inspiring.  While I was there, Tom from Leprechaun Sheepskin stopped in to show Becky some of his new samples.  I fell in love with a a lush, deep teal sheepskin and signed up to come back in December and weave a throw.

I arrived at Vavstuga on Sunday night.  There are dorm rooms upstairs and they’re so uniquely Swedish.  I met my 3 roommates and headed to bed early.  (It’s a bit different living in a dorm when you’re not 18 any more.  We didn’t stay up til all hours!)

On Monday morning, we headed downstairs to start our projects.  The looms were all pre threaded and ready to go.  All we had to do is pick out colors and start weaving.  By the end of Monday, I had two repeats of the pattern completed.

Although I loved what I had woven, I was a bit disappointed, because I really wanted red in my project and I’d tried it along with the teal and it looked like a cheap coloring book.  On Tuesday morning, I woke up with a way to add red, and it really worked.

On Thursday morning I’d finished weaving my blanket and was ready to start weaving the band that would go around the blanket.  I played with color and pattern and warped and threaded it up.  Look at all that color!

On Friday morning I started weaving my band.

By the end of the day on Friday, I’d woven 10 meters of band.  I did it!  It was a push to the end to get it done before the studio closed on Friday night, but I did it.  I headed out for dinner with Devorah, the apprentice at Vavstuga.  After dinner and a long visit, I headed back to the dorm and crashed!

I got up Saturday morning to head home.  My hands were so swollen I couldn’t even make a fist.  And my triceps…I couldn’t lift my arms above my head.  I got home on Saturday and didn’t do a lot for a few days.

On Monday, it was time to sew the band around the edge of the blanket.  I sewed a few inches on by hand and quickly realized that if I wanted it done in 2015, I needed to sew it on by machine.  Besides, if they’d had sewing machines in the 1800’s they would have used them!

I sent my blanket off to Tom the next day to have the sheepskin fit to the blanket.  We decided not to ship it back over Christmas, so it arrived back home this afternoon.

Wow!!!  I still can’t believe I made this.

Yes, it’s as soft as it looks.  The whole throw weighs close to 10 pounds.  I wish I’d taken a photo of My Hero wearing it like a Superman cape around his office today.

So….details for those of you who weave.

Stjerne Overshot

  • Warp 16/2 cotton
  • Weft 16/1 linen for tabby, Faro 6/1 wool for pattern
  • Band 16/2 linen (I think!  It may have been 16/1)

This truly is a Treasure, and I won’t forget the week I spent at Vavstuga weaving it.  Thanks to Becky, Bettie, Kim, and Devorah for making the whole experience so perfect!






It’s A Wrap

Yes, we’re all alive and well!  Because I haven’t posted since April, I think it’s time for an update on the family.

We’ll start with The Genius, on the far left.  She spent 3 years in California, working as a visual effects artist and another totally unrelated, but rewarding job.  In July, she made the trek all the way across the country, and is now gettting an MFA in Fibers.  That means she’ll get paid do do what the rest of us spend tons of money doing.

Next up is Superblonde.  She’s second from the right.  She graduated from college in May, got a job as a 2nd grade teacher, and bought a house.  She also has a goldendoodle named Stella.

Dreamboy, the big guy with his finger in Santa’s nose, is in his second year of college, pursuing a business degree.  He’d much rather work, and takes any chance he can to see what Dad is up to.  But that degree has to be had!

Miss In Charge is on the far right.  She’s a junior in high school, and just loves to study (not!).  She can be found a lot of the time with a camera in hand, doing a photo shoot.  She also loves being on two different worship teams at church.  She also has a part in a musical at our local community theatre.  Oh, and there’s also a fair amount of babysitting.

Frankie, who is hiding behind the rest of the kids, is in 9th grade.  He specializes in being a huge pest.  He’s perfected the art!  Most of the time he has us all laughing at his antics.  Case in point: the night I heard a bunch of noise in our back yard at midnight.  Frankie had jumped out of the hot tub and was chasing around the back yard with Arnold the goldendoodle.  In the snow!  Frankie then jumped back in the hot tub.  I’ll bet our neighbors just love us.

These two are my favorite children.  They don’t argue or fight. On the left is Georgie.  She can’t figure out why we have to have such a huge dog around.  Arnold is a goldendoodle who at present is 60 pounds and we don’t think he’s done growing yet.  Stella, Superblonde’s dog, is his sister, so we have 3 dogs around most weekends.

My Hero is still my hero!  He works hard and is still the best husband and dad around.  He still doesn’t have any hobbies, but he’s smart enough to ooh and aah appropriately over my projects.

I’m still knitting, quilting, spinning, weaving, and cross stitching.  Yes, you heard that right.  I got the bug and started cross stitching again this summer.  I did lots of it in the ’80’s and ’90’s.  I’ve also made two trips to Vavstuga this year, and my knowledge of weaving has grown immensely.

Here is a collage that I posted to Instagram of some of my projects this year.

We’ve had one change this year.  We bought a lake house a little over a year ago.  It met its demise with a bulldozer this fall, and we’ll be building in 2016.  I’m having a blast making stuff and dreaming about color and texture and how we’ll use our home.  I’ve pieced several quilts (machine quilting is high on my list of things to do in 2016), woven some things, and done 4 cross stitch items that will be part of our decor.  We’ve lived in the same house since we got married 30 years ago, so this is such a treat for me!

I’m still trying to decide if I want to get back into blogging or not.  I love having all my projects documented, and I’m not sure why I got out of the habit.  Instagram is just so easy!

I guess it’s time to hit the grocery store.  We have no plans for New Years Eve, except to sit around and be lazy!  We traveled a lot over Christmas, and we’re just ready to be home.

Happy New Year!

Romans 15:13.  Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.



Big Quilting Update!

Waaaaaaaayyyy back in February, or maybe it was even January, Heather sent me some photos of quilts she was working on.  I immediately texted her and asked if I could please test some of them!!!  By the next day, I had copies of several of the patterns.  I started with Petals on a String.

Please go over to Heather’s blog, Anka’s Treasures, and take a look at her photos.  They are so much better!

I got a big surprise earlier this week when I was cruising though Instagram.  My quilt is on the cover of her new book, Angles With Ease 2.

I also tested Radiant.  I absolutely love this quilt!!!

The fabric is Moxi, a new line from Moda.  My plan with this one is to put an applique border on it with some bold flowers.  I can’t ever just leave something alone!

I also pieced another quilt for her that I forgot to photograph, so I’ll save that for another post.

Heather’s book, Angle’s with Ease 2, will be available soon.  I love every quilt in the book.  You’re going to want it!

And now I’m going to go outside and enjoy the sunshine.  It’s that sunshine that made the first quilt very hard to photograph!


Where Do I Start?

I haven’t posted since February.  I’m not sure where to even start!

I went to a Hill Country Weavers retreat with my mom the end of February.  One of the highlights was finally meeting Christina.  We’ve been blog friends since 2007!

After that was a trip to Florida where My Hero worked and I did lots of spinning.

Then I went back to Texas to DFW Fiber Fest with my mom and The Genius.  We took spinning classes with the fabulous Jacey Boggs.  The Genius and both learned a lot.  And, if you’re in the market for a spinning magazine, Jacey publishes Ply Magazine.  Go subscribe!  There was also a fabulous marketplace there.  Miss Babs and Western Sky Knits got most of my money.

And I got a nasty cold.  A cold that I’m still fighting four weeks later.

Between naps and fevers and a running nose, I’ve done some spinning and knitting.  Rather than describe all of it, I’m just going to do a photo dump.

As of today, I think I’m going to survive this stupid cold.  Maybe I’ll blog again before May!


So, We Have This Puppy…..

Our new puppy Lola is adorable.  She’s smart.  She listens well.  But she’s still a puppy.

She went potty on this quilt soon after I took the photo.  I yelled at her.

Anyway, I’ve been spending a lot of time in my sewing room because I can keep her contained there.  Needless to say, I’m getting a LOT of quilting done.  I have enough stuff to write several blog posts.  I’m just not doing it.  I finished the quilt that Lola is sleeping on.  I will have to photograph it soon!  I’m working on two moron projects that deserve their own posts.  And I started two BOMs.  I’ll blog those next week when I work on the next month.

I’ve been wanting to change my quilting style for a long time.  I’ve always bought a fat quarter bundle of a line of fabric and made a quilt with it.  The photo above was done that way.  I want to start making scrap quilts.  It probably means I’m going to have to take apart my fat quarter bundles and sort them by color.

I started another project last night.  I decided to do the APQ quiltalong again.  Here is the info if you’d like to know about it.  I’m going to do this project.  (I borrowed the photo from Lissa’s blog.)



This quilt was designed by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts.  I love her quilts.  She does scrappy projects with lots of little pieces.  I started with a line of fabric, Nell’s Flower Shop, an old line from Moda.  I’ve added a whole bunch of fabrics to it, and I like it so far.  I’m feeling so brave!!!

There are 444 blocks in the quilt.  If I decide to be a moron and do the quilt king size, I’d have to do 1,188 blocks.  I have one block done.

These little blocks finish at 2 inches.  I’m planning to make the smaller quilt and if I’m not sick of it, I’ll go for the king size.

I have all the strips cut and sewn for the four patches.

It’s a start!  We’re doing a quilt retreat next week, so I’ll have lots of time to sew.

And now I have a puppy that needs to go outside.  After that, I think I’ll go sew four patches while she plays.


I Love Cherries!

I’ve always loved cherries.  Almost 29 years ago, I picked out a dress for our rehearsal dinner.  I only ever bought clothes that were on sale, but this dress was expensive.  Anybody remember Carole Little?  Anyway, it was white with cherries on it.  My dad actually went with me and bought it.  It was a great dress!

Fast forward to last week.  I had to make this!

This is Mini Cherry Pie from Fig Tree & Co.  I pulled some fabric scraps, and by the next day it was pieced, quilted, bound, washed and dried, and hanging in my sewing room.  I found the cute little shelf on clearance at Target.  And yes, I love wild wallpaper!

I also finished a spinning project.  I think I started spinning this in November.  I was going to leave it as singles, but I hate single ply yarn.  I just have to remind myself of that occasionally.

It’s a little bit under plyed for my taste, but I may just be too lazy to fix it.

Speaking of single ply yarn, I have another weaving fail.  I chose an alpaca, wool yarn to weave, and it has problems!

I had a terrible time working it through the lease sticks.  See how fuzzy it’s getting.  I’m starting to break ends.  I’m going to go as far as I can with this.  Maybe I’ll at least get a couple of pillows out of it.  No more singly ply yarn for me!!!  My only consolation is that it would have made a horrible sweater.  It would have pilled the first time I wore it. Now it’s out of my stash.

By the way, if you’re a weaver, you probably just groaned and said, “Well, duh”!  Please feel free to offer advice in the comments.  I won’t be offended.  This weaving thing is kicking my butt!

I’ve been spending the bulk of my time in my sewing room, because it’s the easiest place to contain this little girl.

I actually heard myself say, “Lola!  Don’t eat the sewing machine”.  She was quite interested in the foot pedal cord.  She listens well, but has to be watched all the time.  Todays lesson was to not chew on my knitting.  She is the sweetest little thing and hates being scolded.  It will all take time!

And now it’s bed time for me.  Having  toddler in the house again is hard work!

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The Learning Curve

I’m finding out that there’s a pretty steep learning curve with weaving.  The Genius seems to be having less trouble with it than I am.  I’m struggling with picking out yarns to use.  They look great in my head, but in real life, they’re lacking.  I’m also having trouble figuring out the tabby, selvage thing.  My brain is tired.

Over Christmas, I gave up and took my project off the loom.  I’d call it a failure, but it isn’t, because I learned a lot. There are some long floats.  My width went wonky right from the start.  Warping Noro yarn is not for a beginner.  And I’m not even showing my selvages.

Yep!  Fringe is a wonderful thing.  It makes a so so project look pretty decent.

I warped that loom last night.  I’ll update soon.  I’m not sure if it will be a win or a fail.

In a previous post, I mentioned that The Genius was converting my Glimakra to a countermarch loom.  Here is the fabric she wove to test it.

Not bad for a new weaver, huh?  We call her The Genius for a reason.  Neither one of us has these colors in our homes. She was just using up some cotton that I inherited with a loom.  What is true red in this photo is really burgundy, which is my very least favorite color.

So…..I had a brilliant idea.

I made two knitting project bags with the fabric.  She spent countless hours over Christmas working on my loom.  It was the least I could do to thank her.  This way we both have the memory of her contribution to my weaving.

There is quilting going on as well.  I’ve found out that with a new puppy, I just park myself in my sewing room.  She’s easy to contain that way.  A few minutes ago the words, “Lola, don’t eat the sewing machine,” came out of my mouth. She was ready to chew on the pedal for the foot cord.   She’s now sound asleep in her kennel.

If you’re really curious about what I do every day, there is a link to my Instagram at the top right of the page.  I post a photo almost every day.

And now I get to pick out fabric to test some quilts!!!