Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Dread Locks On The Farm

It is has been a long fall around here,  I have been recovering from a difficult eye surgery.  I have not been able to weave for almost 3 months, my Glaucoma Surgeon made it very clear that I would have to rest my eyes or risk problems.   The enforced ban on weaving just about killed me.  I would walk by my looms and pet them, sigh and move on.  Of course I did purchase more yarn during the wait, no one said I couldn't add to stash!

Lots of things have been going on here at our farm, this is but one new addition.

We decided to have a farm sign made for our property.  WHC Farms - Witcher Highland Cattle Farms. It isn't like that many people drive by the farm out here in sticks, but any advertising is good advertising.  

We added a guardian Llama to help protect our little herd of alpacas.  She is a Suri Llama, with long dark black dread locks and very gentle eyes.  This girl came to us from a Llama farm down state.  Her registered name is Debutante but I have renamed her - please meet Floki.  

Floki is 10 years old and is adapting to our farm nicely.  She came from a huge flock of over 70 female Llamas and was ranked towards the middle of the flock and we suspect she was pretty lonely.  Floki now is queen of the pasture, she towers over the alpaca and looks very much like a Viking ship prow when she glides around the pasture taking in all the sights.  I adore her and her little alpaca friends.

While recovering from eye surgery luck would find me in the form of a new to me loom.  Meet my new 4 shaft Leclerc Nilus, circa 1980's.  The loom came from the estate of weaver who lived downstate in the Grand Rapids area.  The loom's owner had passed away and left a huge weaving studio full of looms, books and yarns.  The loom is in wonderful shape as is the matching bench.  I am always impressed with the quality of Leclerc looms, they are made to last and it really shows.  

Not one to sit around once I had the okay to weave again, it was off to the races.  My first warp on the new to me LeClerc loom is a broken twill woven in cottolin and cotton yarns.  It sure does feel great to be at the loom again, makes one happy to be alive.

Happy Weaving!

Please visit my Etsy shop -

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Four New Beauties

Four new beauties arrived this morning bright and early.  These lovely ladies add a special note of grace and beauty to our farm.

From left to right

White alpaca far left- Caress
directly behind her - Leena
next to her - Nincasi
far right - Rella

These beautiful girls were purchased from Crystal Lake Alpaca Farm in Frankfort, MI.  
David Nelson, D.V.M, his wife - Chris, son - Stephan and daughter-in-law Kristin all went the extra mile to ensure we made wise decisions concerning our purchase.

We are so delighted to have our alpacas and have had a wonderful experience getting ready for them to move onto the farm.   

Nice shot of Caress and Leena, both the girls are watching our chickens with intense concentration.

Mike and I want to thank the Nelson family.
Their personal attention to our needs and answering all our questions while we worked out getting our farm ready for the girls is very special to us.  What a special and wonderful way to begin raising our Alpaca girls and make some new friends.

Thank You!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Between Chores

Between chores around here I actually had enough time to sit down at my loom and weave up some towels for my Etsy shop.

These towels were done in an 8 shaft waffle weave draft I adapted slightly, thank you Susan!  The cottolin yarns used were in various shades of magenta and purple, sort of reminds me of blue berries.  Very hard to photograph these towels!

Next up are some twill towels woven with bright oranges and various citrus shades.  

For those of us who are interested--  a new picture of our first baby Highland coo - Tweed.   He is growing fast!  Still no signs of what will be his giant horns (I think the horn buds are hiding under his bangs).

In the foreground is Miss Charm, our youngest heifer.  Charm is still a growing girl, her bangs are getting very long.  She is the apple of my husband's eye.  A bigger flirt you have never met.  In the background is Ivy,  Tweed's crabby Mom.

Lots of chores around here!

Live is good!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Hint Of Things To Come



I am very excited...

Photo credit:  Crystal Lake Alpacas, Frankfort, MI

Monday, August 27, 2018


Yesterday afternoon was wonderful, we got to experience our very first new born calf here on our ranch.  Much to our surprise Ivy one of our registered Highland cows decided to have her baby with as little fanfare and fuss as possible.  According to the farm we purchased Ivy from she was not due to have her calf until early November.   Ivy had other ideas!

Much to our surprise Ivy delivered a strong, beautiful young bull late in the afternoon.  We are delighted to welcome Tweed to our growing fold.

Ivy helping Tweed learn to stand on his own four feet.

Tweed helping himself to his first taste of lunch.

In case my fellow weavers are wondering, no Tweed is not named after a weaving draft.  Tweed is named after the beautiful Scottish river.  All Scots are proud of their homeland you know.

Welcome Tweed!

Happy Weaving!

Please visit my Etsy shop -

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

It Was A Very Good Year...

1953 was a very good year for a young farm wife to buy herself a brand-new Singer Featherweight 221 sewing machine.  This little sewing machine lived a good and useful life in the farm wife's home.  The machine was put to good use by sewing clothing and making repairs for it's family for many years.

Fast forward to the present day, the little machine has come to live in my weaving studio.

Pre-reconditioning, she is not in bad shape.

After a through cleaning and oiling, next on the agenda to bring this little girl back into service was to replace a few parts.  I replaced the missing bobbin case with a vintage bobbin case (don't ask how much that set me back), several worn out screws were replaced as well as the replacement of the old style lightbulb with a new much cooler LED lightbulb.  The old lightbulbs burn really hot and can actually heat up the body of the machine causing problems.  A new belt, four new rubber feet, several new washer felts, a few more bits and bobs later and I have an almost restored machine.

The only thing left for me to do was to replace the electrical brushes, set the bobbin and thread tensions correctly.  Also had to adjust the machine's timing, now she is humming along and ready to work.  For those of you who know these machines and are wondering if she came with the original case the answer is yes.  The case stinks but I have been treating it to sunshine baths to help with the smell.

Isn't it great when a 60+ year old sewing machine can be brought back to life?  Today's machines do not hold a candle to the old girls.

Post-reconditioning, she is glowing and ready to get to work.

My little girl will be known as Vesta.  Vesta was the name of the farm wife who first brought her into our family.

Welcome Vesta!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Studio Space & Over Confidence

As you can see my new weaving studio is a lot smaller than those of the past.  Every square inch of this one-time guest bedroom has a purpose, including the closet.   My Gilmore reigns as Queen of this space without an inch to spare.  Most of my yarns (other yarns are hidden all around the house, don't let-on you know about this hidden yarn stash to my husband), reference books, weaving magazines and weaving equipment are stored in this room.  This view is taken from the room's doorway.

Next door to my studio is my husband's ranch office.   Not having anywhere else to place my Glimakra Ideal he graciously allowed me to share his space.  I tried to tuck the loom into as small a space as I could.  Did not want to put undue pressure on the husband's work area.

The warp that is on the loom has been waiting for me to thread and weave her for a long time.  One of these days when things here on the ranch slow down just a bit I will find the time to enjoy this loom.

Some of you may wonder what happened to the other four looms I had before we moved to our ranch.  Well, long story short all but one were sold to other weavers.  The Macomber loom went to live with a lovely young woman in Detroit.  The Mountain Table loom went to live with a long time weaver in the Grand Rapids area.  The Schacht Baby Wolf 8/10 went to live with a weaving teacher who lives in Central Michigan.

Loom number 4, the Glimakra band loom will stay with me - currently she is residing in one of our guest rooms.  I have yet to put a warp on this loom, she might have to wait until winter before I find the time to sort her all out.  I miss the looms I sold, but, with no space to fit them into our new home they had to go to new weavers where they will be used and loved.

This is a tale of over confidence and not reading my own draft notes from a weaving project I did a few years ago.

If you look closely you will note the the carrots on the bottom of the fabric appear to be longer and slightly fatter than the carrots on the top area of the fabric.  Fellow weavers will appreciate that the epi - ends per inch - are different between the top and bottom of this fabric swatch.

Apparently I am unable to follow my own weaving draft notes and felt the pull of over confidence in my ability to recall the correct reed size and epi for this project and yarn choice.  The bottom carrots are woven using a 12 dent reed at 18 epi for a 8/2 cottolin project.  They were not working for me - looked too skinny and sickly.

The upper carrots and veggies were woven using a 12 dent reed at 24 epi for the same 8/2 cottolin project.  These veggies don't work for me either - too little and smooshed together for my taste.

Sigh...  really, Martha - can't you just read what you wrote about your first experience weaving this draft?  Okay, okay, I read my own advice and discovered that I like the draft to be woven using a 10 dent reed with a 20 epi.

Here are the carrots woven using my preferred epi, the carrots look the way I think they should look.  All the time and effort it took me to get this far on the project could have been saved if I just took the time to read my own weaving notes.  Sometimes over confidence is not a good thing.

Choose Joy!

Happy Weaving!

Please visit my Etsy shop -