Sunday, November 20, 2011

T10 and T11 Learn to Make Mama Bear's Porridge

T10 and T11 missed out on some fun activities that the other bears did, so I told them that Grandma was going to teach them how to cook.

"Yippee," they both shouted, and started jumping up and down.  "What are we going to make, Grandma?", they wanted to know.

So I told them about our family cookbook, and the recipe for Mama Bear's Porridge.  I was glad I was only cooking with two bears, because they wanted to get their noses and paws into all the ingredients.  It's a good thing I didn't get the honey out till the end, or everything would have been a sticky mess!

I put some water in a saucepan, and T10 got to add a couple pawfulls of raisens and T11 stirred them.
The milk jug was a little bit too big for little bears, so I added some milk to the pan and T11 stirred some more.
T10 shook some cinnamon into the pan after T10 put in some scoops of oatmeal.
Hot stoves are dangerous, so Grandma had to help them stir.  It made T10's tummy too hot, so she let T10 have a turn.
T10 thought she was just being a sissy, but when he stirred, he touched the pan and realized that hot does mean HOT!!  After that, they were both content to let Grandma Jenny do the rest of the stirring while they watched.
Next to go into the pot was some vanilla for some nice flavor.
And now for the secret ingredient, that makes it taste so creamy--a couple eggs that are beaten in to the hot cereal. 
Grandma got out the honey bear and squeezed some into their bowls.  Of course, they wanted LOTS of honey, because bears are like that, you know.
That porridge was a big hit.  They both cleaned their bowls, and would have licked them if I had let them.
Here is the recipe out of our family cookbook.  I used to make it for all of our children, and they cleaned their bowls too, and would have licked them too, if I let them get away with it!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

T10 and T11 Join the Griswold Bear Family

Poor T10 and T11 had to sit around for several days looking like this because I was too busy with work and meetings to be able to finish them.  In the meantime, T10 got pretty good at lip reading!  He is holding his ears, eagerly awaiting their attachment.  T11 is for our newest granddaughter Elisabeth, so I am going to stitch a nose on her.  The eyes are pretty secure, but the nose, not so much.  I don't need to worry about the other grandchildren, since they are age 6 and up.

After T10 and T11 were finished, their Aunt Patty Bear and Uncle Bear, who were visiting with Edwin, taught them the fun game of Kings in the Corner.  They played long enough for each of them to win at least one game.  And there was no whining about anyone cheating.

I think they will have to have some more adventures later.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Never So Thankful To See A Warp End!

This was one of my most hated warps!   I didn't have too much trouble with the paw fabrics or the first fabric, but this last fabric for T11 was nothing but trouble.  There were so many warp breaks, that I decided to measure another warp just in case I decided to throw in the towel with this one.  It sure was tempting, but I don't give up easily.  This was a very welcome sight, though, when I finally had enough woven.  Thankfully, the fabric is fulled and then fused with interfacing on the back, so it should be pretty stable when finished.
All these weights dangling off the back of the loom except for the two on the edges were weighting broken warps.  It's a good thing I had lots of hooks and fender washers.
The whole time I was weaving T-11, I was thinking I would use the side that I could see, but after finishing it and getting it off the loom, I decided the backside would be more suitable for a young man (my oldest grandson).  So here is what it looks like.  I was able to pull all the broken warps to the back, trim them fairly short, and then got the interfacing fused.  Marking, cutting, and sewing will come later this week.

 I dislike using table looms for anything but workshops, because they slow me down.  Someday, this little Glimakra Victoria will get a set of treadles, but for now, I'm doing what I can to make the weaving simpler.  Table looms have such a short area to actually weave, about an inch at best, that I was having to stop to release the ratchet too often.  Thank goodness I took a class from Kati Reeder Meek and learned about live weight tensioning.  It's such a sweet technique, especially for table looms.

I used a small cotton cord (less than 1/4" diam.) from the hardware store and some barbell weights that were not being used.  The cord is wrapped three wraps around the backbeam with no overlaps.  The heavy weights are hung on one end of the rope and a lighter counter weight on the other end.

So, which end gets the heavy weight?  On my loom, the warp is winding off from the inside of the loom, so that end of the rope gets the heavy weights.  If the loom had the warp coming off the outside of the loom, the heavy weights would go on that end of the rope.
Here is a closer photo.  The beam has to have a clear space in order for this to work.  This warp, which is only about 12" wide, has one five pound weight, two three pounders, and one two pound weight on the heavy end, and one two pound weight for the counterweight.  I tried eight pounds at first, but it wasn't enough.  Once the weights are installed and dangling, then the back ratchet can be released.  Now when I need to move my warp forward, I just turn it from the front.  I don't have to release anything, and it stays a constant tension.  I love it!  Thanks Kati!
Since this was my first time using the loom, except for a doubleweave class, I looked through my book of eight shaft patterns and picked a dornick twill because I liked the looks of it, and because the treadling had leavers grouped together.  I figured that would help speed things up, and made for a logical progression of leaver pulls.

I am quite happy with the resulting fabric, and am probably destined to add another bear to the Griswold bear family. 
This photo is more accurate for the color.  For scale, the woven black area is only 1" deep.  The fine gray yarn came from my Alice Griswold collection, and the black is from my stash.  It is a 9/2 size wool and is a bit thicker than the gray wool warp.  I need to weave about 52" for a bear, not counting the paws, and so far, I have almost 18".

Next photos will probably be when I finish T10 and T11.  Hopefully soon!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Griswold Bears, T8 and T2, Get Spruced Up

T8 and T2 (above) looked a bit skinny, and then I remembered that I needed to brush the nap of the mohair.  All the pressing and fusing really flattened it. Talk about squealing!  I had to hold them between my knees, just to make them hold still!  Grandma told them that they just had to put up with it once with the stiff brush, and they they would be sooo pretty.  Well, with a bit of protest, we got the job done.  Now all it will take is a gentle brushing to keep it looking fluffy.  T8 decided to try it on T2, who is looking pleased with her soft fur.

I am still struggling with my last bear fabric.  The warp has slubs, and they keep catching in the reed and breaking warp threads.  It doesn't help that the yarn is a single ply.  It is about half done, and I just had two more warps break side by side .  I'm getting sick of repairing warp threads!
I was frustrated enough to wind another warp, just in case.  I decided to cut off a doubleweave sampler on my 8 shaft Glimakra Victoria table loom and thread it with the new warp.  I picked a dornick twill, pattern #202, in A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns, edited by Carol Strickler.  I don't particularly like weaving on a table loom, even with it on a stand.  It is too slow.  Maybe, since this is my first real experience with 8 shafts (except for the little I did with the doubleweave), that won't be so bad.

I love my little gadget for holding my lease sticks and cross.  Unfortunately, I am unable to use it on all of my looms because the back bar is too thick.  It works perfectly with this loom, though.

Getting out the gadget, which I purchased at an estate sale of weaver Alice Griswold, got me thinking about the yarn I have been using for all the bears.  I have wound four warps, and all of them came from the same sale.  Most of the weft for the bears also came from that sale.  I think there are only three out of the twelve that didn't.  Griswold sounds kind of like grizzley, so I think I am going to name this line of bears the Griswold bears, in honor of a prolific weaver from the Lansing, Michigan area.  I never knew her, but I am sure there are many out there that did.  Her great stash has given me much inspiration!  Thanks, Alice!

Friday, November 4, 2011

T8 is Finished and T9 Joins the Group

T8 was finally finished last night as I watched  Sense and Sensibility.  He feels much better with a mouth and permanently attached ears!  Shortly afterward, T9 joined the family. It was late when I got both of them finished, so I let them sleep with me, so they wouldn't wake the other babies.  They really liked the cozy flannel sheets and big fluffy pillow.

There was a lot of excitement this morning when the bears found out they had a new sister, and then, when they looked outside and saw the ground all white, they couldn't get the sled outside fast enough!  They didn't know that it wasn't snow, and only frost.  Poor babies.  They were a bit disappointed when I told them it was going to melt as soon as the sun hit it.  I told them we could have some other kind of fun later, once the ground was dry.
Front row: T1, T6, T4, T9  Back row: T2, T3, T7, T5, T8.  T8 feels so much better now, since I gave him a mouth and permanently attached his ears.  He looks a bit skinny.  I think he needs a good brushing to fluff up his mohair.

I let T8 and T9 get on the old swing in the front yard.  They thought that was fun!  Then they got to go out to the orchard and I let them climb one of the pear trees.  They climbed just like pros!  
Now, I better get going and finish the fabric for T11.  I feel bad that T10 and T11 are missing out on all the fun.  Stay tuned for them to join the family!