Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Log Cabin Table Runner series

The newest series on my Weaving Lessons Channel is a beautiful table runner that utilises the log cabin technique. This is a colour and weave technique on a rigid heddle loom that looks very complicated but is all about the colour order and arrangement.

The exciting news is that this project is also my first PDF weaving pattern in my Etsy shop! Hopefully it will be the first of many patterns for me.

And if you don't fancy a table runner, how about a gorgeous scarf? 
So many possibilities with a striking pattern and simple loom!

Sunday, March 12, 2017


It's been quiet here because we have been away. 

           A blissful beach holiday with no phones or internet.

            Days of walking and watching, fishing and resting.

So peaceful, just the beautiful sounds of wildlife and waves to listen to.

It was really hard coming home, particularly when we hit the city traffic. But I do feel rested and restored and ready to get back into daily life. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Houndstooth sampler placemats

I present you with the newest lesson on my Weaving Lessons channel!

I haven't really delved into colour and weave in any previous lessons and I thought it was high time to explore these fascinating techniques with you.

Like much of rigid heddle weaving, houndstooth is deceptively simple. The weave structure is plain weave, the wow factor comes from the threading of colours. The lesson includes detailed video instructions as well as a printable PDF with extra information and calculations.

Perfect for beginner weavers and a quick project for the more experienced, I hope you can join me for this one!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A little glimpse into creative family life

I filmed this yesterday afternoon because it felt like a bit of milestone. In steaming hot weather, with a pedestal fan blowing on us, my 9 year old, set up and weaving mostly independently on the rigid heddle loom while I was weaving at the floor loom. It's funny how things can happen so naturally and then you suddenly realise you're living a dream moment. I posted it on Youtube, thinking it would probably be largely overlooked as viewers seem to prefer my instructional videos to anything else.

But what a response! Quite a few commented that the video had brought tears to their eyes, for different reasons. For one subscriber, it was that her parents had never invested the time in her that she craved. For another, the video brought back wonderful memories of her own creative homeschooled upbringing. Many commented on the simple beauty of the video. 

Wow, was I surprised. And so pleased. It reminds me that I am so blessed to be able to share with others in this way. It encourages me that, even if I feel like I don't do a good enough job as a parent, others think I do. And it gives me joy, that God has much work for us to do, if only we will co-operate, love and trust.

I hope you are all having a most blessed week, until next time :)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Project patience

I am working on the most beautiful shawl. After a run of towels I felt the need to weave something really beautiful. I love shawls, the drape, the practicality, the loveliness, so it wasn't a hard choice. I had this stunning tencel that I had hand dyed ages ago and wound into a warp ready for a scarf.

But, I changed my mind and decided I needed it for the shawl instead! Plenty of time and unwinding later, I was ready to wind a shawl warp instead. The warp went onto the loom like a dream, in fact tencel itself is rather dreamy.

The threading is the part that takes me the longest and I'm hoping my speed will increase eventually. After pusing myself to work late one night, I finally had the reed sleyed and the warp tied on. I was ready to weave!
Except I wasn't.
I had put the reed and beater on backwards. Yes, I actually did that! Untie the warp, unsley the reed, remove it, turn it around, re-sley the reed, re-tie the warp and presto, I really was ready to weave this time.

I chose another hand dyed tencel that I thought would contrast well and began. Uh oh. The tencel I had chosen for the weft was variegated. The pattern got lost in the busy-ness of the warp. I realised this was a possibility when I chose it as weft but decided to chance it anyway. It took me a couple of inches of weaving to realise it wasn't going to work. Enter un-weaving (not nearly as fun as weaving, trust me!)

So.... (this is starting to read a bit like a drama and it sure as heck started to feel like one!) I chose a lovely mercerised cotton in Peacock as the weft and away I went. Ah, much better.
Then I realised. Some selvedge warp threads had broken and fallen away from the reed. When had that happened? I had no idea, but it was definitely a problem! My selvedge on that side was looking quite un-perfect. 

Fortunately this was a fairly quick fix and I was back into the weaving. I'm about a quarter of the way through now, I wonder what other treats and surprises the next three quarters has in store for me!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sketch Tuesday - on a tree

I thought it was high time that we got back into joining in Sketch Tuesday over on the Harmony Fine Arts blog.

The girls were reluctant to have a go - I think they are too used to drawing what they want rather than within a theme. It's a great way to challenge your drawing skills and expand though, so I told the girls that I intended to draw a picture and so they could too. It worked!

This week's theme is "on a tree". The youngest decided to draw a tree in bloom.

My 9 year old girl drew a kite stuck in a tree.

My 11 year old drew some Barn Owletts. 

And I drew a Fairy Wren. Do you know how long it's been since I actually sat down and drew something? Me neither! Too long! 

I think I will try to do this more often. Maybe you and your children want to join in the fun too?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Planning to NOT fail

Last year was a bit of a doozy in our little homeschool and it's only in the past couple of weeks that I've figured out what went wrong.

I was trying to juggle the demands of family, homeschooling, activities outside the home, volunteer roles and a growing home business and so I assumed that there was simply too much for me to do on my own. This lead to exhaustion and a definite lack of hope - how could I get through everything that needed to be done?

Towards Christmas and in the holidays afterwards it started to dawn on me. Each day would start with that overwhelmed feeling, knowing I would be chasing my tail until I fell into bed that night. You would think after 12 years of doing this, I would have systems in place, but life is ever changing as people grow and every year is different to the last. I started thinking - does it have to be this way? What positive changes could I make to avoid another year in this state?

Well, a few years ago, I decided that I hated planning. I felt that if I spent the best part of my day educating the children, why should I spend my precious evenings planning for the next day? So I did away with all planning and I think that is where things started to go wrong, though at the time I felt I was freeing myself of a great burden. I think also over this time period, the kids, whether consciously or sub consciously, began to lost confidence in me. And I definitely began to lose confidence in me!

But now I was ready to give planning another try - not in the way that I used to. At the start of this year, I bought a planner from Homeschooling Downunder and printed out the pages I felt would be relevant. I bought colour coded folders and boxes for each child. 

I sat down, mostly amongst the noise and interruptions that come with having your children with you 24/7 and I spent hours writing lists and schedules. I didn't like doing it. I would much rather have been weaving! But now, as our homeschool year has begun, I am already seeing the fruits of having a solid plan.

The kids have learned how to find their own schedules in my planning folder so they know what is expected of them. This worked perfectly yesterday morning when I had to sit in a medical waiting room for 2 hours. Under the supervision of their older brother, my 2 middle children worked independently, while I had the youngest child with me doing our current read aloud.

There is a new jobs roster too - ensuring that everyone pitches in to help because it is written down and followed. I've scheduled morning tea teams, which I'm hoping will lead to lunch teams and eventually dinner teams - lessening the time that I need to spend in the kitchen each day and teaching the children to work together responsibly in food preparation and clean up. 

I do a quick 10 minute prep each night to ensure I have materials ready for any experiments or activities the next day. I'm finding that the children thrive on this organised schedule and they even admit that the day goes more smoothly when they get up early and are at the table ready to go. I've also decided against some activities outside the home this year - our home is our hub and should be treated with love and respect!

Is it perfect? No way, nothing ever is! I still have very full days, I still have to deal with poor attitudes sometimes, I still don't love planning! But, there does seem to be more time in the afternoons for me to focus on my weaving and business and the children are much happier with a set routine. So, for now, this is how we roll.

I wish you all the very best in your homeschool this year, may it bring you many blessings and much joy!