Tolerance, what is that? The Concise Oxford Dictionary tells me that to tolerate is:
" endure, allow to exist without interference or molestation (esp.) allowing of differences in religious opinion without discrimination". 

In these times you may be forgiven for misunderstanding the real definition of tolerance, as with so many other English words, the meaning has been misused, twisted and abused. When a person labels me as "intolerant" they are usually indicating that because I don't agree with their opinions I deserve to be ostracised and persecuted. Isn't that the opposite of real tolerance?

Which brings me to another word that has been modernised. Bigot. I refer to the Oxford once again:
"Obstinate and intolerant adherent of a creed of view". 
Well, I adhere strictly to the teachings of the Catholic church and am faithful to the papacy, but there is that word "intolerant" again. 

In the past few days since homosexual marriage was legalised in all states of America I have seen enough hate to last me a lifetime. And I don't mean from those opposed to it. I have taken the step of leaving Facebook in order to discern whether it is the right place for me to spend my time. It has been ugly, hateful. 

Christians have been verbally abused, have had obscene and pornographic material posted on their pages by those who have different views, have had email campaigns against them circulating after writing blog posts explaining their views and a priest friend on Facebook was spat on by two men as he happened to walk past a pride march in America. This is just the beginning of the persecution for Christians and I believe the situation is going to go from bad to worse.

All this sounds pretty negative, but I trust it is all part of God's plan. He knows what he is doing and we don't have to worry. But I think it's important to keep talking. To tell people that we love traditional marriage and why. 

I'll leave you with this quote to ponder.

Hand woven shawl, poncho, wrap???

I had this fabric sitting around and wasn't sure what to do with it. Yesterday, inspiration struck, I tried some pinning, then some sewing and finished up with a beautiful, warm and drapey garment that I'm quite taken with!

Here is the back view.

I said to my husband "if I was thinner I could wear it with a belt". He said "wear the belt anyway". Awesome husband :) 

It's a versatile piece - it can be a wrap, a poncho, a shawl, it's pretty cool!

And what would a photo shoot be without Lou (aka Noodleberry).

I posted the garment on Facebook and a lot of people want details, so I will try to recall what I can!

The cloth: Woven in 2 panels 140cm x 50cm (one panel was slightly longer)
Both panels were hemstitched on the loom.
I used 4ply merino (grey) and my hand dyed handspun in the warp for the stripes.
I used a 10 dent heddle on my rigid heddle loom.

The construction: I lay one panel on top of the other. Taking the top panel, I made a full twist in it (like a mobius scarf). Woven fabric is reversible, so both sides look good, major bonus ;)
Leaving a neck hole, I pinned the panels so that they would be joined for 24cm. I tried it on numerous times, adjusting the pins to get a good fit. Then I sewed the panels together on the sewing machine, pressed the seams open, then topstitched the seams down to strengthen them. 
Apart from wet finishing the fabric and cutting the fringe straight with a rotary cutter, that's about it.

If you have more questions, ask away!

Weaving sampler

I've always avoided doing samples of just about anything, I'm a "just get me to the good part!" kinda girl! But I finally bit the bullet and decided to warp up the rigid heddle loom with cotton (so I can sew them into dish cloths and make the sampler useful). Armed with Jane Patrick's "The Weaver's Idea Book" and a couple of pick up sticks I just leafed through, picked a pattern I wanted to try and started.

What a surprise! Weaving patterns is not hard. I repeat. Weaving patterns is not hard! Why did I have this in my too hard basket for so long? Most of these patterns were made with one pick up stick, then once you're used to that it's easy to introduce a second stick.

Above you can see a honeycomb pattern, some lace variations and some grouped and paired warp floats. Unfortunately I didn't write down the patterns as I went, so lost track of a few. 

As I wove pattern after pattern I realised just how many patterns are possible. Hundreds. 

See the diamond shapes? I did a little surface embellishment with different coloured cottons and a tapestry needle. So effective!

Some more surface embellishment on the orange weave here, just tying in little knots for fun. The pink and blue you see here is a windowpane weave, which is gorgeously textured. 

And now for the super cool part. Flip your work over and you have a completely new set of patterns - yes, most of the patterns are reversible and look different on each side. 

The back of the honeycomb weave becomes a series of curved weft floats.

The back looks just as good as the front but totally different!

I've learned so much from weaving this sampler and it was well worth the time investment. 
I discovered things like if you're weaving different patterns on one piece you need to be aware that individual patterns will have their own draw in rates, so you need to be aware of that unless you want wonky edges.
I learned that my humble rigid heddle weave is capable of much more than I gave it credit for and I still have plenty more to explore.
I learned not to be so afraid of trying something new.
I learned that making great cloth is not hard and is fun and interesting.

So, now I'm settled on a pattern to use for the scarf I'm doing to enter into the Melbourne Show. I'm working on it right now, can't wait to show you when it's finished!

Making for cold weather

We've had a cold snap this week, Winter is really here. My oldest girl has nearly worn out her handmade tops, so it was time for a new one. The beautiful navy floral print is a gorgeous Stenzo knit from Zebra fabrics, it's so incredibly soft. Other prints from Crafty Mamas.

The loom is always dressed these days! For this scarf I used hand dyed merino and also my hand dyed, handspun. Simple placement of colours gives such a great effect!

Thin stripes of solid colour paired with a variegated handspun makes a party of colour dots, I love it.

This is a sampler I've been working on. I thought it was about time for me to see what this rigid heddle loom can do, I've been lazy with all this plain weave! Using Jane Patrick's book "The Weaver's Idea Book" I've tried out about 8 different patterns using pick up sticks and it's really not hard!

I posted this photo on the Facebook rigid heddle weaving group, encouraging members to have a go at making patterns and the response was huge! It seems I'm not the only who was stuck in the plain weave comfort zone.

I'll be utilising some of these newly learned techniques to weave a scarf to enter in the Royal Melbourne Show weaving section, can't wait to get started!

Make do and make a start

I thought I'd share with you a little reality check today. It is easy for us to imagine that people we see on social media, on websites...