Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year! Ringing in 2016

Funny, that 2016 is easy to type.....

2015 was a year of ups and the beginning of the year, I had decided I was going to give up my fiber business, and just lay low for awhile.  That made me sad, but I decided to embrace it.  I wanted to be more creative, and I did that.  I didn't do as much as I had hoped, but honestly, looking back, I really did a lot.  I started out going to a Saori weaving class at the beginning of the year, and that inspired me.  I got a Saori loom, and have had fun on it.  I got better at knitting, and can now knit continental style.  However, I can only do hats, fingerless gloves, triangle shawls and rectangular things.

2015 was also a year of challenges.  I started out wanting to get healthier. I  started with P.T. for my knee, which turned into P.T. for my posture as well.  I ended up having the 2nd knee surgery on my right knee (first one was a long time ago).  I got cleared by the oncologist as far as the uterine cancer I had (along with a hysterectomy 5 years ago).  However, realizing that I was having more and more trouble with my breathing, especially feeling breathless, I decided to pursue that by requesting a chest x-ray be done, which led to a C.T. scan, which led me to a Pulmonary specialist, and a diagnosis of  Bronchiectasis.

I lost one of my (2) older brothers in August. I'm still sad and come very close to crying every time I think about him, and the loss.  He was the one person in my family I was closest to, though not as close as I would have liked.  I was never close with my parents.  I am not that close to my oldest brother who lives in CA with his family.  But Mike was my bro, we thought a lot alike, but he was way smarter than I am, and he knew what he was doing in his life.  He was brave.  He wasn't always the smartest when it came to his health.  I do wish he'd taken better care of himself.  He might still be around, if he hadn't continued to smoke after his quadruple bypass heart surgery about 20 years ago.  He accomplished a lot of good in his life, he touched many lives, and his legacy lives on in Portland, Maine.  I miss him though.....

On another note, my in-laws are treating their son/brother (my husband) like crap, and I feel bad for him.  However, it's not my burden, and I'm working on staying out of it, and not feeding into the drama.

I worked on my weight.  Embarrassed as I am, I am going to admit here, that I was up to 238 lbs.  I'm only 5'2" tall.  I carry my weight all over my body - even my toes were fat.  I've worked hard on losing, have cut out all bread, rice, pasta, and a lot of other stuff that wasn't good for me.  I still indulge in ice cream once in awhile, and I'm addicted to chocolate....and wish I could cut it out completely.  I may be able to do it in 2016....but I'm not committing to that just yet.  I'm down to 205, but have gotten down to 201, but can't seem to get that off for good, and keep going down.  I really was hoping to be below 200 before the end of 2015....but it isn't happening.  I have gone to the gym more, I'm doing well most of the time in my eating, I've been going out and shopping (walking) more, but the breathlessness and exhaustion catches up with me.  The doctors like to say it's stamina, but it isn't.  I've tried to explain what it feels like, but no one understands.  So I am keeping my mouth shut, and hoping that I can continue to fight the weight battle, and to fight the exhaustion, and fight the breathlessness, and be strong.  I will continue to work out at the gym, both with weights (light weights, not trying to build muscle, but lots of reps with light weights to tone and still lose weight) and in the pool - I'm not a swimmer but I am working with foam dumbbells and a pool noodle with my arms and legs, and running and walking laps in the pool.  In 2016 I plan on spending more time in the pool, and working longer.  It ends up with me being too exhausted to do much else during the day, but I will fight that as well.

For 2016, I also plan on going through each room in the house, and totally cleaning out and dumping as much stuff as I can.  I can't live in the clutter anymore. I want a house that has space, that I can be comfortable in, and that I am proud to be in.  That takes work.  Today, I worked on the bedroom, and the bedroom closet.  I still have the bathroom to tackle, and hope to do that tomorrow.  Under the sink and the bathroom closet really need it.

I am going to focus on doing more projects in 2016.  I want to work on something every day.  For now, I've laid off knitting because my right arm hurts, from my fingertips to my shoulder blade.  I have a feeling I have another bone spur in my shoulder.  I had one removed about 8 years ago, and I think it's back.  The only way for it to go away is surgery....not looking forward to another one, but I'm not sure how much longer I can take the pain.  Getting old ain't for sissies!

I am going to work on my photography more.  I will weave more.  I will conquer my sewing and embroidery machine and become good at what I want to do with it.  I am going to quilt again.  I have bought fabric that will make adorable ornaments and can't wait to get some done for next Christmas.  Those projects are small and quick and will be easy to work on while it's hot during summer.  I want to spin more yarn, then knit it into fun stuff.  I want to sell more of my hand made items, and make some money this year.

I will also work on myself. I want to accept what is, live in the moment, and make my moments more meaningful.  I want to enjoy what I'm doing, when I'm doing it. I will be stronger, and fight harder, to be healthy and feel better.

There are many things I don't want to give up - like the hope of traveling to Maine again; moving to a neighborhood and having a one story home; becoming successful with my business in another form; and feeling well again.

Meanwhile, I hope you have the best New Year ever, and a happy, healthy, and successful New Year.  Thanks for being out there.  I appreciate it.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas 2015 Week

Seriously, how the heck did that happen????  I mean, holy cow!  I can't believe Christmas is almost here.

I'm enjoying getting things made and I don't plan on stopping after Christmas.  In fact, I hope to continue making things throughout the year.

I'm currently working on a project for the grand daughters.  We got to see them this last weekend but as usual, I was having so much fun, that I forgot to get pics!  Christmas day, we will once again trek up to Northern VA to see the kids and spend a bit of time with them, and give them Christmas gifts.  I will get some photos then - and good ones, if I can remember to take the gosh darn camera!

I've been playing some with my new embroidery machine.  I'm working out the kinks, but slowly.  Everything I do, is a new experience.  I did use it as an actual sewing machine and it was really nice!  :-)   I enjoyed sewing on it a lot.  Smooth, quiet, and easy.  I didn't do anything worth showing here, just a bit of stitching to fix an ankle brace that hubby wears.  He tore it, almost to shreds.  Sigh.  Luckily I had some nylon webbing in black, so it's very sturdy now.

I've given away a few sets of my hats and gloves for the holidays.  It was fun making them, and fun seeing people get them and be happy with them.  Shhh,  I made a black hat for hubby.  I worked on it right in front of him, so he's seen it, but it's going under the tree on Christmas.  teehee

I will continue to knit, because I find I get lost in the process.  It's portable, especially since I don't make anything big.  Maybe some day.  We'll see.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

What's New?

Well, around here, there's always something.  I get bored easily - did you figure that out already?  Ha!

This past week, I went back to the Pulmonary doctor for my second appointment. I've been diagnosed with Bronchiectasis.  It's a disease that has no cure, but there are many levels to the disease. I've been told I have a very mild case.  That's a good thing.  However, they want to know the cause of it, and that hasn't been found yet.  We will continue to try figuring it out, but there are about 50% of the cases they never really know what is the cause.

I've also been told they "think" I have asthma.  I've never had an asthma attack.  I do have some wheezing.  I've tried 2 different inhalers, and they don't really make a difference.

Leave it to me to get a disease that is somewhat rare (1 in 200,000 people have it).  If I don't start getting better help/answers from the hospital, I'll find another doctor. I do like the hospital, but, the one downfall is that they have you see the Fellows or residents for certain things, instead of seeing an experienced doctor.....and I'm not in this for guessing games.  As happened with my heart, I don't want to be a practice patient.  I want to see a doc that's been around the block and has a way of finding answers..........

I've been knitting up a storm.  I don't know why.  I get in this mood, and I want to knit. I want to become a better knitter.  However, I realize I will never be a knitter that does beautiful lacy shawls, or scarves, or follows a pattern.   I'm a free-form sort of person.  I don't like to follow rules - if you read my blog, you know this about me already.  So I sort of make up my own rules and ways of doing things that don't involve things like using 4 dpns for getting to the small part of the hat.  Hats and fingerless gloves are what I've been making, for friends and family.  I don't normally do Christmas gifts, but I feel generous this year.  And for goodness sake, what else am I going to do with several sets of hats and gloves????

Excuse the crappy photos. Taken inside, with light from behind, by camera phone, by husband......need I say more?

That's about it for this post.  Dinner is cooking and I'm starving - as usual. I'm down by 31 lbs.  I don't think I've mentioned that.  For my next goal, I need to lose 6 lbs.  That will be a BIG goal.  Then, I will have 50 more to reach the goal of the highest weight I want to be at.  Eventually, if I can pull it off, I would like to lose between 50 and 80 lbs....although I'm not sure I'll live long enough (mostly because it's going SOOOOO slowly!) to get 80 lbs off !  I'm no spring chicken.  Just realistic.

Take care.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Am I Crazy or What???

Or am I glutton for punishment?  Who knows!  However, I've taken on a new craft with a new, very expensive, very technical sewing/embroidery machine......

Yep, that's right.  I bought a Janome MC15000 v2 machine at the Quilt and Sewing Expo in Fredericksburg, VA.  Call me crazy!

I've sewn before, and coveted the really nice, fancy, many feet involved, sewing machines.  I've even quilted before, and liked it to a certain extent.  However, I have no desire to do all the math, or cut huge pieces of cloth into small pieces of cloth then sew them back together.

Besides, it's only fun if you have a LOT of different cloth of all colors.  Right?  And I can't really afford that.  I also don't have the space.

Speaking of space, I had to reorganize my space to accommodate the new machine.  It's pretty large, not to mention that the embroidery arm sticks out the back of it at least a foot and a half.

The machine, all lit up.

It's a beauty for sure.

I finally (after weeks) got brave enough to try a design.  It's a built-into-the-machine design.  Mostly, people pay and download new designs.....which is certainly something that could certainly get me into a LOT of trouble.....

Although it doesn't look like it, this is blue thread on a white background.  It's a terrible cell phone pic taken at night, which I tried to fix both on my phone AND on my computer.  This is the best I could do.  The design with the words is about 6.5 inches height and width.  It's a bit puckered, but I've been told if I used more stabilizer behind it, that could be remedied.

I'll be working on some more but I am researching and trying to find answers to questions I can't find anywhere else.  I've asked if there is a really good, current book, that is similar to the Quilters book I have, which has all sorts of excellent info in it, for those of us that need hand holding from beginning to end.  No one has suggested a good book yet.

I do feel that I will be getting back into some sewing though, eventually. I have to get up enough stamina to pull the bins of cloth that I have stashed away in the basement and see what I have.

I attended a class yesterday, which actually consisted of watching a slide show giving information about stabilizers.  It was informative and something I had questions about.  Now, I just need to put the information into action.  The class also referenced a vest that was made, and embroidered.  The style of the vest appealed to me, as well as the way it was sewn together, so I purchased the vest pattern.  It'll be a good vest pattern to use for hand woven fabric.  The instructor suggested using embroidery on pockets and adding the pockets to the vest, which gave me the perfect idea for using my hand woven for the vest, then using commercial fabric to embroider on, and sew onto the vest.  I woke up thinking about it.  Now I have to get busy weaving fabric to make the vest!

The weather has been quite strange lately.  Last week, it was 80 for 2 days.  It's November!  I don't mind too much, but when it goes from 80 to 54, it's a drastic change and my body doesn't love it.  I don't like heat, but it did feel good since we'd had some colder days and nights as well.

That's about it for today.  I can't believe Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away, and Christmas is only a few weeks after that!  Yikes!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Getting Back To Normal.....

I think I'm finally getting back to normal.  Well, as close to "normal" as I can, after a death of a loved one.
In the last six weeks, we've driven from central western VA, to central western FL.  We took care of all my brother's business while there.  Heat, humidity, wicked thunderstorms.  Ugh. I have been to FL a few times.  I must either visit at the wrong time, or the wrong places, but I've never said, "Oh, I'd like to move here."  Ever.  Never ever.  I just do not like it at all.

Last week we drove to Maine.  South Portland to be exact.  We rented houses in both FL and Maine through  The homes in both places were okay, both owned by women.  Both pretty much represented accurately.  However, staying anywhere away from home is stressful to me, husband, and the 2 dogs we took with us.  It's just not the same.  Sleeping in different beds, not mattresses we are used to, and who knows who else has slept in those beds!?  Using utensils and dishes and cups and pans that aren't always clean when you get there.  The pool at the house in FL was filthy and I was hoping to relax in the evenings by spending some time in it - which never happened.  But, we were able to take the dogs, and feel secure about them staying in the homes, and they didn't come home infested with fleas.  So, there are the plus points.

In Florida, as I said, we took care of a bunch of business which went, for the most part, smoothly.  In Maine, we attended a dedication ceremony for my brother Mike.  He had worked for the Portland Housing Authority for a long time.  He was responsible for creating the four study centers which are accessible to under privileged students.  He wrote the grants, got everything approved, and kept them up and running during his tenure.  However, there was a LOT more that he did.  Only a few people were there to state the things that Mike had done for them, but I know for a fact, there are hundreds of people currently out in the world, that have been touched by my brother's caring and heart.  He literally took one student (well, there were probably a lot more than one) and literally took him to school every day, picked him up every day, took him to the study center, and took him home at night.  Mike helped this young man avoid being in a gang. The young man's brother had been killed in gang-related violence.  This young man was heading down the same road.  My brother helped this young man stay out of danger's way, and helped him through school, and to get into college.  Mike helped so many students do what they were told was impossible for them to accomplish - go to college and get careers.  He helped them fill out scholarship applications, college applications, and sometimes drove them to the college.  He helped them study for tests.  He helped them get where they needed to go and do what they needed to do.

I'm very proud of my brother.  He did good stuff for other people. I only wish that he had been alive to see the dedication, hear the stories, and know how many people he really helped and how they will never forget him for it.  Success through education. It's something Mike believed in.

A few pics of our trip to Maine.  We got to spend a small amount of time seeing a few light houses, and going to this little tiny beach near the house we rented.  If I could afford it, and I could talk my husband into it, I'd move there in 2 seconds flat.

Yep, I enjoyed it.  I would rent this house for an entire season if I didn't have 2 horses and a cat at home that need caring for.  The dogs go with us, so that's fine.  This house had a for rent sign out front, and it was mere steps from the beach.

It's one story, steps from the beach.  Sigh......

Well, that's it for me for now.  I have a lot of things to talk about but will save them for another day and another post.

Take care,

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Life and Death

I've been a bit MIA lately.  Last week, on August 12th, I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of the library, preparing to return a book I'd read, and select another to take home and read, when my cell phone rang.

It was a number I didn't recognize, but I answered it as it was Florida, and my brother, 8 years older than I, lives there.  A woman commenced to ask if I had a brother, Michael Wilson who lived in the trailer park she was calling from.  She told me that neighbors of my brother had phone the police, because they believed my brother had passed away in his home.

Of course, I was in shock at first.  She told me the police were there. I asked, could she confirm my brother had passed.  She said no, I'd have to talk to the police. I asked her to please go ask the police to call me as soon as they could.  So the struggle to understand what was going on, began.

I took the book into the library, while my mind was going a million miles an hour.  I didn't know who to call, or how to find out exactly what was going on.  I didn't get another book, because I wasn't sure what my immediate future held.

I drove home trying to pay attention, meanwhile, just overwhelmed with sadness and frustration.  My brother Mike was eight years older than I.  We have another brother who is two years older than Mike, therefore, ten years older than I.  He lives in California with his wife, near his kids and grand kids.  None of us are spring chickens.

Mike was not the healthiest guy, but he lived a life full of love, friendship, laughter, joy and sharing.  He was very smart, held a Masters in Education.  He lived in Maine a good part of his adult life.  My entire family, except for myself, was born in Maine.  My parents moved when my brothers were small, to Rochester, N.Y. before I was born, for my father to accept a job at Kodak, where he worked until he passed away in 1975 of heart failure.  He had been diagnosed with lung cancer and had survived the removal of a large part of his lung, but his heart gave out a few years later.  Smoking. The hidden devil.  You don't see the damage it does, because it's mostly on the inside.  Both of our parents smoked.  Mike also smoked.

Somewhere around 15 years ago, I had received a phone call from Mike, but the caller ID said Portland Hospital.  I asked him why caller ID said that.  He'd had a stress test and other tests, and said the blockage in his heart was so bad, if he walked out of the hospital, he could drop dead.  His quadruple bypass surgery was scheduled for Monday.  He called me on a Friday.  I was able to get on a plane on Saturday, and get to his house, then to the hospital to see him, before he went in to surgery.  I ended up staying with him for about two weeks at that point.

My brother wasn't married, and didn't have a partner.  He was a joyous person, and had tons of friends.  He recovered from that heart surgery pretty well, and was diligent about seeing the cardiologist on a regular basis.  Unfortunately, he did not stop smoking. I was after him all the time to stop.  He just couldn't.  We both struggle with weight issues, and he was a recovering alcoholic, and he felt he just couldn't give everything up and be healthy - it was just too much.  He was trying.  He lost weight, gained it back, lost it, gained it.....but never gave up the smoking.  Sigh.....

It seems, after speaking to the police (finally), that he passed of natural causes.  I was able to contact one of his friends, who told me that another friend, had not heard from Mike for 2 days.  He grabbed a friend, and went to Mike's trailer, and they found the back door unlocked.  They went in and called out, but no answer.  They found Mike on his couch.  He'd had breakfast with this friend on Monday. He'd told his friend that he was going to go to the pharmacy, pick up a prescription, go home and take a nap.  It seems he never woke up from his nap.

I tell ya, if you're going to go, that's the way to do it. Go take a nap, go to sleep, and just never wake up.  No suffering.  No lingering.  No tubes.  No one hovering over you waiting for you to die.  Just go peacefully.   This was exactly how Mike wanted to go. He had made sure that I knew in no uncertain terms, he was not to be resuscitated if something happened to him.  He didn't want to suffer, be hooked up on life support, or anything that would make him linger or suffer.

Just a note here:  There are lots of ways to put in place, what you want to happen to you in a medical emergency, and also, in your last stages of life.  Mike was adamant about all of it, so much so, that everything was put into writing.  Every.  Last.  Step.   Not anything was left to question as to how he wanted to be treated should anything happen to him.  However, I have a different viewpoint on things.  Back in 2007, I had a massive heart attack (are you seeing a pattern here in this family???).   I was at home, and my husband drove me to the hospital. Probably NOT the best thing to happen, but we live in the country, and the rescue squad is all volunteer, and it would take longer for them to get here, than it would for us to get to the hospital.  There was no traffic, it was early evening in May, and my husband drove like a bat out of hell.  He got me there, and I died within a minute of getting there.  The hospital staff was able to shock me (twice) and get me back, although they told my husband that usually doesn't happen.  They drugged me, flew me to UVA Charlottesville, and I had a stent placed in the Lower Arterial Descending artery.  That's the one most men have when they call it "The Widow Maker."

I have to say, I'm grateful I did NOT have a "Do Not Resuscitate" because had I had that, I would not be here today.  I would have died, and still been dead.  Because of this, I did not agree with what my brother had set forth, and we had some discussion about it.  He asked me to respect his wishes, and since I was the one he was entrusting with the decisions, I told him I would respect everything he asked.

We don't know exactly what happened to Mike.  There is no autopsy, and no way of knowing.  He did ask that his body be used for medical research, however, because he wasn't found for at least a day, probably two, it was too late.

Not being there, it was really difficult to feel in control of what was happening, but I made sure I kept my head about me.  I pulled out the copies of all the paperwork he'd sent me, and I read everything several times to make sure I didn't miss anything.  I have to say, Mike had everything spelled out directly, and didn't mess around with anything being questioned or opened to questioning.  Cut and dry.

I called his attorney, the one that had prepared his paperwork, and that evening, she called me back.  She had his paperwork in front of her, and she told me that it would be a piece of cake.  He'd had everything in order, spelled out clearly, and that I would be able to take care of everything very easily.  Thank you Michael for that.

If there's any advice I can give you, do your will.  Have any advanced directives signed.  Make those decisions so others in their grief, don't have to.  Make copies of any financial investments, bank paperwork, wills, advanced directives, and anything that you want spelled out directly and give them to the person(s) you will appoint as your executor.  If you are married, and something happens to both of you at once, spell out exactly what should happen to everything you own.  If it is spelled out in black and white, and there is NO question of what should be done, and where things should go (pets, jewelry, furniture, house, cars, etc), then you've made the job a whole lot easier for the person who has to take care of those things in their grief.

We thought we were going to have to get in the car right away, and drive to Florida.  With 2 horses, a cat, and 2 dogs, that was going to be so overwhelming for us.  After I spoke to a couple of people, I realized, we wouldn't have to go right away. When this stuff happens, there is a process.  You have to arrange with the funeral home exactly what you want done with the body.  Mike had made clear to the point, what he wanted done, so that was easy enough.  The funeral home gave me choices of what to do from that point - funeral, viewing, or a celebration of life ceremony.  Mike didn't want any of that.  He was not a traditionalist.  So that part was easy too.  Next came the processing of paperwork - and that takes time.  I was sent paperwork (thank God for the digital world we live in), I filled it out, got it notarized, and returned it via fax.  Then we waited.  Before anything can be done, you have to have a death certificate.  That takes a bit of time.

I had to make hotel reservations, but with two small, yappy dogs, we decided to rent a house near everything we need to do.   Driving from Virginia to central Florida takes a bit over 13 hours and that's if you don't stop along the way.  That's a LONG drive, especially for two people who have hip issues, and ain't as young as we used to be, not to mention also having two dogs along for the ride, one of which doesn't do well in the car at all.  We will stop along the way and stay overnight in a hotel.  Once we get there, the real work will begin.  We have to pick up the death certificate, then get to the trailer, then go from there with everything that will need to be done.

We're hoping a week is enough time, but overall, we will be gone quite near ten days.  It's going to be a working trip, but also a sort of vacation for us, as we haven't gone away for at least eight years.  Horses are hard to get help for, and we don't like to desert the cat for that long. Someone will be here taking care of the horses and cat, but it's not the same as if we did it ourselves.  We are very attached to our animals.

I know my brother is at peace.  He was an amazing person, brought a lot of joy to many people, accomplished some wonderful things, and he was a good guy.  That amazing smile of his will be missed by many.  I love you bro.  I told him that often, and I'm glad I did.  Everyone should live the way Mike did.  He gave so much of himself to so many.  His Facebook page is overwhelmed with tributes that make me cry every time I read them.

Rest in peace, dear brother.  The celebration of life on Saturday should be a great celebration with many friends there, and I'll be there for you.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Summer Days

Hi there.  Happy August.  This August has been a bit different from most in the past.  It's actually been not very August-like at all, as far as weather.  Cooler than normal, and so far, a couple of beautiful, low-humidity days.  Very unusual indeed.  I hope this doesn't mean September will be awful.....

I haven't been doing much as far as photography, but I have been back to weaving and spinning.  The spinning isn't anything special, just the mixed BFL I am working on in order to make a new shawl.

The latest weaving I've done is of a very spring/summer style skinny scarf.  I used lots of funky yarns, which I learned, were very sticky to use in the warp.  I used a few bits of cotton also which did make it a bit easier.  I used cotton, tencel, silk, and I think a cotton/linen blend (no label).  It started out very spaced apart and very loose.

When I finished the scarf, I wanted to see how it would turn out if I stuck it in a mesh laundry bag, then put it in the washer and dryer.

There is still some lacyness to it.  That's not a word that the computer recognized, but it is my word.  It's not nearly as lacy as it was when I made it.  However, I like the way it turned out.  I'm good with it.

This scarf will be for sale in my Etsy shop soon.

You can see the slits I've made in this scarf and how I've threaded the ends through the slits.  The slits make the scarf fun to wear without worry it'll slide off.  It's a perfect scarf for someone who loves to wear them as an accessory.

I have another one on the rigid heddle loom already.  This time, it's autumnal colors, will be all cotton and tencel with no fun yarns, and will be narrower.

I've also been losing weight.  I started about 9 weeks ago, and have dropped 16 lbs.  That's about 2 lbs a week.  I have to say, however, that it hasn't been easy or quick. I realize that quick is not the right way to lose.  I am very impatient - when I put enough effort into something, I want instant results.  That's not the best way to lose weight though, and I know that, in my brain.

I have cut out SO much of the bad food I used to eat.  I'm not eating bread, biscuits, rice, pasta, or anything that has flour in it.  I'm not even using flour made of other things at this point.  Maybe in the future, when I've reached my goal weight, I will learn to bake with other flour, but not now. I don't want the temptation of goodies sitting around and tempting me (like muffins or whatever I may bake with different flour).

One thing that has bothered me is that I have cut out SO much of the bad food I was eating; french fries, chocolate chip cookies from Panera (if I eat a salad, I can cheat with a cookie, right?  Wrong!), brownies, cake, sandwiches, burgers with buns, and candy....lots of candy.  I thought that not eating all that food, would have me dropping the pounds by the tens.......but it hasn't happened that way.  It's extremely frustrating, but I believe I've finally gotten past that.  I realize now, no matter what I've cut out, I have to move more, and eat less, and eat better, and that the weight falling off me isn't going to help me in the long run.

I know that when I reach my goal weight, I will not be able to fall back into eating the way I used to.  No matter what, I'll never be able to enjoy the food I used to.  However, I'm learning to make healthy food, and instead of everything being boring and tasteless, I know now that I can use things to flavor the food, without adding a bunch of calories.

When I started this new way of eating, I had 107 lbs to lose.  I'm down by 16, and to reach my first major goal weight, I have to lose another 22 lbs.  That's a LOT of weight just to reach my first goal.

Interestingly enough, I started using an app on my iPad to track what I was eating and my exercise.  When I started doing that, I stopped losing weight.  The app told me to eat less than 1400 calories a day.  I was hungry, I was hyper-focused on everything I ate, and I was hyper-focused on the exercise/steps/etc.  It stopped me in my tracks as far as losing.  Go figure.

I stopped using the app about a week later, and I've lost a pound and a half.  I'm staying away from the app, and I'm not counting calories.

I'm not following a specific diet. I'm eating lots of proteins, and a lot fewer carbs.  The carbs I am eating, come from veggies and fruit, and more natural things.

I'm eating some potatoes, but only once or twice a week, and usually yams.

I'm also struggling to keep enough fiber in my diet.  I'll let you figure out the rest of that story....

So, I'm doing better.  No one that knows me, has noticed the weight loss.  When you're obese, more than 100 lbs more than you should weigh, twice the weight you should weigh, those first 20 lbs or so, aren't noticeable.  I know people will start noticing soon enough.  For me, however, I've already noticed a change in my body, and also a change in my energy. Though I still feel tired most days, I feel more able to deal with everything, and walking has become so much easier - I'm not huffing and puffing.  My allergy symptoms have improved though they aren't totally gone - the weather still affects them.  My nails have become stronger - for the first time since I was pregnant and taking iron pills, my finger nails are growing.  It's weird.  I have to cut them!  They seem a bit stronger.  My nails have always been really soft.

So, there's that. I am not going to give in or give up this time.  Last time I lost weight and exercised, I lost 40 lbs, then had a major heart attack that killed me - luckily, when my heart stopped, I was already at the hospital.  It's always in the back of my mind that it happened, and praying that I haven't screwed myself up enough by gaining all that weight, plus more, back and didn't take care of myself for the last 8 years......I sure as heck do NOT want a repeat!

That's about it for this post. I'll be back later this month with the next scarf and anything else I can pull together.
Take care,

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What's New? I'm On A Roll !!!

I have gotten my mojo back!  Yippee!!!!

I'm weaving, sewing, washing fleece, dyeing fleece, and spinning again!

I hate slumps.  However, it seems that once I've worked my way through the slump, I seem to do better on the other side of it.  Nothing wrong with that.

I finished weaving my black and white cloth.  The warp was cotton, the weft was all tencel in black and white.  It was a learning experience for me.  I've woven with tencel before, and I know how it feels when it's finished.  However, I haven't sewn cloth made with tencel, and that was a learning experience for sure!  That stuff can challenge a person with good sewing skills, let alone someone who manages.

I tried to get good photos, but on the gray background, it looks a bit washed out.
Five yards.  I only used 4 in the sewing so I have those "plain" sections left over.  I can always combine them with something else to make a new project.
Here is the finished shirt.

This is the first time I didn't have to add fabric to the side seams.
The tough part, was sewing the hem.  Holy cow, that thing gave me some problems!  I got it done though.  I'm pretty proud of this one. It's much prettier in person.

I do wish I could get my husband to take better photos.....

I did a special technique on the shoulders.  It's fun to wear and fun for others to notice it.


I took the fringe ends, and tied knots in the ends of them, then sewed them by machine, onto the back from the front.  This made the shoulders be open.  The photo on the left, the fringe is much longer than the photo of the right.   Again, photographer could have gotten better shots.

I've been doing some spinning also. I started some mixed BFL, which is lovely.  No pic right at the moment.

I've also been dyeing fleece.  I bought 2 of these really nice BFL/Wenslydale fleeces from a wonderful shepherd on Facebook.  The fleeces are really soft, and crimpy, and make pretty lock spun yarn.

Isn't it gorgeous?  Since it comes straight from the sheep, it's dirty.  It has hay bits, grass bits, and dirt.  Hey, sheep live outside, what do you expect?  Though I have to say, this is some of the cleanest fleece I've ever gotten.

I did dye some of it.  Here is the yarn I spun from what I dyed.  I didn't do a good job on the dyeing and the colors are sort of pastel.  More so than I like.  Supposed to be purple, gold and teal.

However, it is a really pretty yarn. I haven't washed it or set it yet, so these photos are the unfinished yarn.

I also did some solar dyeing.  I did gold (yeah, I love this gold color) and spruce.  However, I felted the gold fiber.  I will have to use it in another project, and dye some more of it gold.

I can hardly wait to dive into this and spin it!

I have lots of other fiber that is commercially prepared, which also needs to be dyed.  That will come.  This solar dyeing is quite fun.  It has to be quite hot out, and I have to leave the jars in a black plastic bag, for 2 days.  The variations in the dye taking to the fiber is fun too.

Well, that's about all the news I have for today.  Time to go to the gym (yuck).  Have a great day and I hope you enjoyed all the photos.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Standstill? Slump? Redirected Energy?

It could be any of the above.....I haven't wanted to weave, or sew rope bowls, or much of anything else. I have, however, worked on getting a website - well - sort of.  I went to Word Press (I know, shame on me for turning my back on Blogger).  I paid for a .com - but I find Word Press SO difficult to deal with. I feel like I go in circles, trying to get to the page I need to blog from, only reaching that after about 30 minutes of going in circles.  It's NOT my favorite place to play.  I like Blogger SOOOOO much more.  More better.  Better.  Whatever.

I really WANT to get back to weaving. I want to finish my black and white Tencel on cotton and make a shirt.  Or a tunic.

I'm in a slump because I'm trying (I REALLY am!) to lose weight.  I'm moving more. I'm eating a LOT less.  Yet, here it sits, on my legs, belly, butt, boobs, and well, generally, all over my body.  Almost 2 weeks now, and I've only lost 2 lbs.  My weight keeps fluctuating.

Back in 2007, I lost about 40 lbs over 5 months.....then commenced to have a major heart attack and died.  Thank God, my husband had gotten me to the hospital (rural living means you KNOW the way to the hospital, but there's no guarantee that the Paramedics will know the way to our house in less time), before I actually died.  The hospital personnel brought me back to life.

Since then, I have struggled with energy, stamina, and weight gain.  I do blame some of it on the fact that I was also going through menopause at the same time.  Then, in 2011, I had to have a hysterectomy - which of course, slowed me down even more.

So what's a woman to do?  I'm missing all the chocolate, sugar, and biscuits I was eating, and yet, I'm NOT losing weight. I'm not eating potatoes, or rice.  No bread.  No sugar.  I just can't figure it out.

I'm upping my water intake to see if that helps.  If it doesn't and I continue on in this manner, the doc and I are going to have something to talk about!

Today we did go to a local lavender farm.  It wasn't huge, and it wasn't anything like what you've seen in photographs of rows and rows of huge lavender plants that are just purple everywhere.  This is a small, local farm.  Nicest people.  The teenagers were helping out and they were very sweet, and the young man knew his stuff about lavender.

Here are some of the photos.  ©Martha Manigross

Butterfly on Lavender.
©Martha Manigross
 They had bunnies.  This one LOVED being fed the clover from outside the pen.  It was my favorite.
©Martha Manigross
This yellow butterfly kept flitting away if I got too close so it was difficult to catch a good photo.  I love the gold on the lavender though.
©Martha Manigross
 See the bee in the flower????
©Martha Manigross
Can you see the black and yellow bird?  I think I need to get a better distance lens for my camera.  Hubby will be SO happy to hear that - NOT.
©Martha Manigross
Maybe well go back next spring. Did you know that most lavender is harvested by the end of July?  Yeah, me neither!

Till next time, take care.

Friday, June 12, 2015

What's Happening!©

I've been busy again.  I love making and the more I make, the more I love making!

This is my latest wall hanging.  Titled: Fall Into Winter
This wall hanging is based on what I see when I'm looking out my window in the middle of late Fall into Winter.  Trees that have no leaves; brown leaves sitting on the ground; brown grass; cold; barren; then, eventually, snow.
Materials include: hand spun yarn, locks; commercial yarn, cotton and wool; wooden beads; hung from a Japanese Maple branch.

©Martha Manigross
I've also been going NUTS with making rope bowls/baskets.  I made one with a cover on it.  It's perfect for hiding that extra roll of toilet paper.  All neutral colors so goes with anything/everything.

©Martha Manigross
I've also chosen to change the name of my business. I think it still has to be under Spinning My Wheel Fibers, but I'm going to go by "Martha Manigross, Fiber Heartist."  I need to work on getting another website built, and it's going to have to include a shop to sell from.  Doing the research for this overwhelms me to no end......but I'm going to have to dive in as I have a TON of stuff I really NEED to sell, and Etsy just isn't doing it for me anymore.

I'm setting up a new photography area.  I have the foam backing, the neutral (gray) fabric to cover the foam backing, the pins to hang items from, the light bulbs which are 35W but have 5000K (whatever that is) which you can't buy in stores, so have to get online. What a freaking joke that was - it took from May 19th to June 8th for them to arrive!  Once I get it set up, I'll take photos (appropriate, no?) to show the setup - IF it works.  It's based on a tutorial I found online.  Guess I'll have to find that again so I can reference it here (if it works).

My Saori loom is empty of a work in progress right now, because I took the last project off (see photos below). I'm contemplating what I want to make next, with a specific idea in mind - I just have to figure out the yarn I want to use in it.  I think I'm going to start working on Fall and Winter problem is, I want to do just ONE more summer top as the ones I've made are too heavy for the really HOT weather we're now having.  I realized, after reading someone else's post, that I'm beating WAY too hard, and that makes a heavier, thicker fabric. DUH.  Beating hard has always been my way.  I need to lighten up!  So maybe I will work on that first, then start the Fall and Winter wear.

©Martha Manigross

©Martha Manigross
The shirt above is one of my favorites.  I am still working out my body shape and how to fit myself.  A WIP in itself.

I also have been having a blast watching the Hummingbirds outside my office window, and living room window.  The birds are INSANE!  Chasing each other around constantly.  Crazy!  Here are just a few of the 100+ photos I took and most of them are really amazing.
A male and female sharing:
©Martha Manigross
This male is very protective of this feeder - he chases absolutely everyone else away!
©Martha Manigross
©Martha Manigross
I have to say, I'm really liking the photos I took, especially how the background is very blurred and looks like lights shining (to me).

That's about it for now.  I'll be busy "making" again so I'll get back when I get back!

Take care and thanks for letting me share.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Forever Evolving.....

It seems I've only been able to post something on my blog about once a month.  Mostly, lately, because I'm still healing from the knee surgery, but that only explains the last 2 months.  Ha!

I've become addicted to a new craft.  Making the rope bowls/baskets.  I guess they are sort of a combo basbowl?  Bowlbask?  I dunno.

Here is a photo that has most of the things I've made since starting:

©Martha Manigross
There are coasters, bowls, baskets, and one little handbag style.  They are all useful.  Some I've made, aren't in the picture. I have one holding my headphones over by the t.v. (where I use my iPad and sometimes want to hear something on YouTube).  I have one very small one holding my Ikea measure tapes I use to measure when I'm weaving.  I have one that I use on the floor, that holds the rope I make these with. I have to unwind it from the holder it comes on, so it's not all twisted while I'm trying to sew it.

The one on the far right, holds 4 bathroom type hand towels.  PERFECT size. I'll be making more of these to sell.  The one on the far left under the other bowls, is with black thread.  I don't like it at all.  Someone might.  I dunno.

There are some coasters there in the front too.  They are nice - work great.  I have a couple we use ourselves.

A friend asked me to make one she could put 4 prescription medicine bottles in to place next to her bed.  I sent her one and it fits perfectly. She's happy with it.  :-)

Most of these have been sewn with regular quilting thread from the large spools available in some stores (like Wal Mart and JoAnns).  These things go through thread like crazy!  One or two have been sewn with upholstery thread, that is very strong.  I did, however, figure out the hard way, that those spools of thread have a lot less on them, than the average spools of thread.  DUH.  I went through 2 spools (winding bobbins included) making 2 small bowls!

I also tried some variegated thread on one of them, and it's quite subtle, which I don't mind.

However, I tend to like the thread that blends in the most - a cream or beige thread.  The zig zag actually is shown INSIDE the bowls, where the outside shows the underneath part of the zig zag.  I like the neutral look of this.

I have not sold any yet, however.  Sadly, I've put a couple on Etsy but no takers yet.  People are still going to my Etsy site to view fiber stuffs.  Since I'm getting out of the fiber selling side of things, it doesn't really do me any good to have the views.

I'm convinced that evolving my business to the "made things" side is going to be even more difficult to market and sell, than the fiber selling side was.  If it were up to me, I'd still open a physical shop, and sell both types of things.  Of course, for the optimum advantage, I'd have to open the shop in a well known, well shopped area - and that - I can't afford.

So evolving from reselling the fiber, to selling made goods, is going to be even more challenging than I thought.  However, I'm enjoying MAKING so much more than I was just reselling it's all a trade-off.

Now, I am trying to find events I can sell my items at, that won't cost me an arm and leg to attend.  I'm also looking for galleries I can submit to, for juried shows that both show and sell.  It isn't easy!

I'm almost finished with a 5 yard weaving that will be cloth for another garment.  It's sort of an eclectic mix of patterns and colors because I was in various moods while I was weaving.   I'm not sure how cohesive the look will be of the cloth, but I decided not to worry about that!  Isn't that the entire idea behind Saori???  Why, yes, it is!

I'm also working on changing the name of my company.  It needs to be something more......evolved....more general....more......I dunno.  Since my first and last name both begin with M, I'm thinking of a large M and the rest of my first and last name after it.  I'm pretty sure I can't do it here, which will also make it difficult to do on a business card but it can be done....  I've seen it elsewhere like that.

Anyway, that's about it from me.  I'll try to keep up better from here on out, but no promises.  No one really reads this anyway.  It's sort of an outlet for me, that's all.

Take care,

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


May is my birthday month.  I don't get all crazy about it, but I still like that I have a birthday.  It's a celebration of ME.
I have a new friend that also has a birthday this month, on the exact same date!
There are no special plans.  There never are.  The other half, doesn't even think about doing something special for me.  That's okay. I've gotten used to it.  It's sort of like living with the Bah Humbug master.

In June this year, we'll be married 40 years.  I'll turn 59 this month.  You do the math.  Ha!

Healing from knee surgery has been.....up and down. I had some bad days.  I had some breakthroughs.  I had some very good days.  At this point, I can walk with a small limp, in the house, with no assistance.  No cane.  The crutches and the walker have been relegated to the basement.  The cane resides here, but only gets used when I go out.  That's only because I feel insecure still, when I'm out.  Plus, I get tired.  Which means, I have to start working on my stamina again.  I'm hoping that by next week, there will be no cane.

I've been weaving.  I have not been spinning, but the "need" is there, so I know I'll be setting up my wheel and getting to it soon.

Let's see....I think  I showed you the white one last, so I'll see what I've done since then....

copyright Martha Manigross
This is "Black and White and Red All Over"  - even though it sort of looks green in the center where the red runs through it, it's black- thin black.  So the green background shows through it.
Copyright Martha Manigross
Copyright Martha Manigross
Copyright Martha Manigross
I really like this one, as well as the others I've made.  I find a peace in weaving these wall hangings.  Some call these prayer flags, wall hangings, or banners.  I'm not sure I go along with prayer flags.  I think something more like zen flags.  That's the mindset I get in.  When I start one, I must finish it and I work on it till it's done --- unless, I feel like I'm not focused on what it wants to be -- then I have to take a break.  When I return, I always know what it's meant to be.

I don't have a vision when I start.  I have a sense.  I pull out certain colors, and sometimes I stick with that, other times, as I move along, it tells me that I need another direction.  So I search around, and figure out what that direction is, then get right back to it.

These come from my heart.  It's really hard to describe.  I'm not sure I've ever felt this way before about something I create.

I believe there is one more I haven't shown here also.  Let me go get it!

Copyright Martha Manigross
This is called "On The Beach"   It's been so long since I've been to a beach.  I'm not one to lay in the sand for hours, but I do love the waves crashing into the ocean, and the gulls overhead.  I long for a nice quiet vacation, where I can walk on the warm sand, hear the ocean, and just sit and soak it all in.

The above pieces have been created on my Schacht Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom.  I find a peace with weaving these on the little loom, manipulating the yarn, playing with the colors, and just playing with the senses.

I've started a new piece on my Saori loom also.  This is going to be more cloth, I believe, for another garment.  I fight with myself on the Saori loom sometimes.  I want a certain cloth, but then I fight in my brain that the cloth I want, is just too traditional.  I need to work and letting it be free-flowing.  More Saori.  More from the heart, like my wall hangings. So there is a battle going on, and the cloth isn't always what I think it should be, while it's still on the loom.  However, the last cloth I made that I struggled with, I ended up liking very much, when it came off the loom.  So, I'm pushing forward.

It's also time for me to start spinning. I  just get an urge.  A need.  Something that needs fulfilling. Too difficult to describe.

I'm also enjoying the warmer weather, although, it warmed up way too fast and immediately felt like summer - hot, humid and oppressive!  The next 2 days are supposed to be beautiful though, so I'm going to enjoy them.

The studio/office is going to be rearranged again. I have to be able to take my photographs and the setup I have now, is blocking the only wall that I'm able to take decent photographs on.  Everything is going to have to shift.  I'm not happy about it, and neither is the other half.  He bolted the grids into the wall even though I was trying to avoid that.  I really WANT a bigger room, but since one doesn't exist in this house, it isn't going to happen any time soon. I just make this work the best I can.  Which means it's constantly changing.

That's about it from me.  Take care, and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What I've Been Up To.....

I can't believe we are at the 20th of April already.  April has been......well.....different for me this year.
I'm certainly glad spring has arrived.  It's still cool most days here in central VA, but the birds are singing outside my window, the flowering trees are blooming everywhere, and at least for today, the sun is shining, though we've had a LOT of rain.  The rivers are muddy and flowing and the creeks are almost out of their beds.  The grass is SUPER green, so much so, we've had to limit the time the horses are on it.

On March 31, I had arthroscopic knee surgery.  I had been looking forward to getting it done because my knee was so painful.  Though I'd had this same surgery, well, almost the same, 25 years ago, I guess being not so heavy, and not so old before, the healing is taking it's time this time.  WAY too much time!   I'm 3 weeks out (today) and I'm a bit frustrated.  I think at first, I pushed it too much, knowing what the doctor expected of me.  When will I ever learn to take care of myself, and not CARE what I think someone else expects of me????  Sigh.....

I won't post what my knee looked like, 2 days post surgery.  I don't want to gross anyone out.  It's just swollen and puckered and 3 little stitches.

I haven't been very creative during the last 3 weeks.  Which makes me unhappy.  I've been tired, and trying to recuperate, and now, I'm going to PT too.  That takes time and energy.  Hubby has been very good to me, and takes me out.  It's good that he does.  I get cranky otherwise!

I also read a good book, by Barbara Delinsky, called Sweet Salt Air.   It was distracting and that's exactly what I needed.

Yesterday, I decided I just had to do something creative, so I sat down at my little Cricket 15" loom, and this is what I made.




Black cotton warp, naturals for the weft.  I used beads, and some silver sparkly bits, commercial yarn, and hand spun yarn, and a bit of white nylon fiber I had.

I have to say, I LOVE this wall hanging.

I will be doing MANY more of these wall hangings.  There is just something about them.  Freeing.  I let loose, and the fiber talks to me, and tells me when it needs more, when it needs less, and when I need to add something special.  I sometimes wonder, if I'll lose that somewhere along the way - the freedom to create, and not care whether anyone else will like it or not.  I just love this feeling and I hope to hold onto it, and not over think it each time I approach another hanging.

Tomorrow will be my first time driving in 3 weeks.  I hope I don't get anxiety over it. I'll be going to my massage appointment, which I really am desperate for, which is going to be a challenge, with the place I go being on the 2nd floor and no elevator.  I'm stubborn.  I'll make it!

That's about all the "news" from me.  I hope you are enjoying life, and taking it one day at a time!

Friday, March 6, 2015


This morning is yet another morning of the last few, that I've awakened with a feeling of disconnect.  There is a lot going on in my little brain - that's not anything new.  The thoughts I'm having aren't all that new either, but I can usually shake them off within a day or two.  Not so much this time.  That's ok.  Being reflective is a good thing for me.  I just know that anyone that knows me, can tell what's going on with one look into my face.  That part, I really wish I could hide.  I am who I am, and there's no hiding anything.

When I'm feeling this way, I tend to either veg a lot, or be creative. I've been doing both.

If you remember back a few months  almost a year ago, I said I was involved in the Journey to the Golden Fleece course.  This course sort of opened up a lot of feelings for me, and it also taught me about following my heart, not my brain.  The heart says do "this" and the brain says, "no one will ever like it."  This thinking, along with some other things that happened, led me to the year I'm having this year - all about finding Martha.     This has been good in most ways, but it has also made me realize some things I've been stuffing inside.  Which then makes me face those stuffed things.  Which isn't easy............more on this down the page.

Yesterday we had a snowstorm blow through.  Thor.  Thor was interesting.  Thor started out with mild temps and rain, then turned to freezing rain as the temps dropped, and finally, dumped about six inches of snow on us.  The previous snow had just melted and gone away, literally, the day before Thor arrived.

The ground is white, and pristine looking.  It won't stay this way, but for now, it's absolutely beautiful.  Yes, I'm crazy.  I love the look of fresh fallen snow.  That's probably because I don't live in a snow belt, and haven't had feet upon feet of snow fall on me, like my friends and family in New England have had......on the other hand, watching the snow fall and blow around and the peacefulness it causes, is magical to me.  I have no other way of explaining it.

So after hanging out on the computer for awhile, and having a couple of conversations, I decided to do some weaving.  I had done a wall hanging, my first with weaving, a few days ago, because I needed to finish up the Journey course.   During the course, I'd fall behind, then do a couple of modules at once, creating the yarn I needed for those modules.  Then I'd fall behind again, and catch up the same way.  It was my creative process, so I told myself, however I got through it, was what it was going to be.  I made some pretty plain yarn, and some really fancy, colorful yarn, and I  made corespun yarn with wire, and I made yarn with colorful feathers sticking out all over.

I was going to weave it on the circular loom that we got to work on during the course, but because my yarn had some special features, I couldn't see myself tearing it apart by pulling it in a circle and possibly damaging some of the yarn, and I figured it would also cause me to struggle, and I didn't want to struggle while weaving.  I decided to weave it on my 15" Cricket loom which was warped, and I had enough black cotton warp left on it, to weave this wall hanging.

©Martha Manigross
This wall hanging used each of the yarns I made during the Journey course, and I wove them in all in a row.  Although I feel like no one else would understand the cohesiveness of this piece, that's not what this is about, and I'm extremely happy with it.  The weird thing is, it felt SO good to be weaving a wall, it is meant to be that I do this.  It's been a long time coming.  Something I realized just around the same time I completed this, is that it brought me back to high school, when I did an art piece in macrame'.  I was told at the time, the piece was accepted into an art exhibit that would be photographed, put in a slideshow, to be shown in schools across the country.  I never got the piece back.  That makes me sad to not have it, and no one else really ever knew it happened, and I never got to see the who knows what really happened to it.

At any rate, I felt grounded to have made this piece.  Which led me to making another piece yesterday during Thor......

©Martha Manigross
I call this piece, roots.

I'll be making more wall hangings.  Which means I'll be spinning more yarn, to get the textures and colors I'm looking for. It was very calming and meaningful for me to do this wall hanging and there are MANY more in me to do.

Well, that's it for today.  I have much more I could say, but I have PT this morning and many things to get done.

Take care,

Sunday, March 1, 2015

New Project!

Since I've been in this new mode of weaving and sewing clothing from the cloth I've woven, I was poking around the basement and found some cloth I'd woven a few years ago, on one of my "other" looms.  I think it was the newer Baby Wolf 4 shaft.  I did NOT get along with that loom at all.....I had so much trouble with it, all the time.  Previous looms I owned were: an older model Baby Wolf, a 45" Leclerc 4 shaft loom, and a 24" Kromski Harp rigid heddle loom.  I loved the Leclerc, but it was HUGE and took up too much room.

I have to say,  I LOVE my little Saori loom. It's SO easy to do everything with. It's easy to thread, slaying the heddles and the reed; it's easy to flip around if I need to get to the back.  It's got the little shelf built in on the top, as well as the bobbin winder built in.  It's quiet, and easy to play with.  It fits in perfectly in my little office/studio.

©Martha Manigross
You see the purple cloth hanging over the back of the chair in the photo above?  It is the fabric I spoke of above, the fabric I'd woven on the Baby Wolf.  I wound the warp and used the same yarn for the weft.  There were lots of long floats where the threads didn't catch when I was weaving.  It's okay though, I'm good with that.  It's got great drape and I love the colors.  I decided to make a shirt out of it.

I did what I always do with my hand woven cloth ~ I sewed it together in rectangles.  That makes for a very basic, boxy top.  Not exactly flattering.  Like this one:
©Martha Manigross
This is fun, but it has NO shape to it and on my body its quiet unflattering, but it's my creation and I love it.  I'm thinking of re-working this one to make it a bit nicer for me to wear.

So the adventure began when I decided I was going to be brave, and try to make the new one look more fitted, more like a real shirt, one I'll be happy to wear.  Once I got the center front and back sewn, by overlapping the selvaged edges, I decided to sew up the sides.  It was really HUGE on me as this cloth was wider than the cloth I'd recently woven.

I put it back on the dress form, and I let it sit there overnight.  I had to take my time and decide what I wanted to do with it.  Sleeping on it, and seeing it sit on the dress form, helped me not rush through the process just to get it done.  Yeah, I do that.

The next day, I got up and I decided I was going to be brave.  I pinned the sides of the shirt, making it more fitted.  I tried it on - carefully - and took it off and decided to sew the sides up along the pinned lines.  I tried it on again, just to be sure, and I liked it!  I actually ended up sewing the sleeves to look like real sleeves - I sewed up the sides, then did an upside down L across the sleeve.  It fits SO much better!

Of course, then I had to cut all the excess cloth - and that hurts!   It's really hard to cut the cloth you worked so hard to make.  Once I did it, it was SO freeing!  The shirt actually fits me so nicely. It's not REAL fitted.  It fits loosely and it is airy and comfortable.

©Martha Manigross
Ta Da!  This is the shirt.  It's a pull over.  The next is boat shaped with a bit of a V in the center. It's difficult to tell in this photos because I have my arms up and it's not ironed.

I did learn a few things from this project.  I had to sew all the cut seams down, or they'll come totally unraveled.  I hemmed it by rolling the hem up and sewing, but ended up taking out the stitches, and using a lace hem tape.  The hem lays much flatter.  My dress form is invaluable for hemming straight.  I would never have been able to get the hem straight without the dress form. I think this is one of the best investments I've made!   Too bad I waited so long to do it.

I'm very happy with this shirt. I'll be making more with future hand woven fabric.

I bought some Valentine's day fabric on clearance at Wal Mart.  I am going to cut out a fabric pattern based on the above shirt.  Then I can just cut my hand woven fabric and sew it together without it causing me so much stress.

I've put a new pre-wound warp on the Saori loom, and I've started weaving. I will get some weaving done today, since the weather is making this a stay-in type of day.  I over-did it a bit yesterday anyway, so I'm glad I get to lay low today.

Thanks for letting me share.  Take care.