Tag Archives: the woolery

Project Spotlight: Karen’s Pampa Loom Vest

pampaloom-2We’re starting something a little new, a project spotlight series! Every few weeks we’ll check in on the progress of a project and hear how things are going. The project we’ll be following first is Karen’s Pampa Loom vest!

Karen is our Order Fulfillment Specialist here at The Woolery and she is quite the accomplished fiber artist. She attended Berea College for ceramics and is generally a very awesome crafty person!  Karen is currently working with the Pampa Loom VESTO Kit, which is a unique kit that allows you to weave a garment. You get a front piece, back piece and sleeve loom. These looms can be sized to 5 different sizes to get a good fit. Then you just crochet up all the different pieces and you have a completed jacket or vest!

pampaloom-3

Karen has half of her vest warped up and has started weaving away. After warping the loom Karen highly recommends that you watch the videos that come as part of the kit before warping. She threw caution to the wind and went right for it but after watching the videos she felt like they definitely would have helped her if she had warped after seeing them.

The yarn she is using is her own handspun from a blend of Romney and Welsh.  She even made the blended rolags herself using hand carders, that’s a lot of carding for over 900 yards of 2 ply yarn! We’re super excited to see how this project grows in the upcoming weeks!

 

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Perfect Travel Projects

Perfect travel Projects

We’re getting into the tail end of Spring here which means we’re about to enter full Summer mode. A lot of us and probably you will be taking Summer trips. It seemed like a great time to do a rundown of some of our favorite projects to take in planes, trains, and automobiles. Plus, a few of them aren’t bad for distracting bored kiddos who are home for the Summer.

Of course, knitting and crochet are great projects to come with you on-the-go but we’re going to feature a couple lesser known options in this post! Also most of these options are super quick to learn so if learning to knit or crochet seems like an impossible task to you, this might be more up your alley.

First up let’s look at some options for extremely portable weaving:

Schacht Easel Weaver

Schacht Easel Weaver

This new Easel Weaver from Schacht is a great travel tapestry loom option. It features a kickstand so you could easily set it up somewhere like an airplane tray table. Or you can just hold it in your hand to weave too. It comes in three sizes; 6″, 8″, or 10″ so you have a little wiggle room in terms of the size of project you can make. This little loom is made out of sturdy maple/apple plywood with strong warp teeth so it’s durable enough that you can stick it in your travel bag and not be concerned about it breaking or losing your warp. We also have a YouTube video up featuring this little loom if you want to get more details on it!

Purl & Loop Wee Weaver

Purl & Loop Wee Weaver

Really, we love all of Purl & Loop’s products and they would all make excellent travel projects. We decided to focus on this Wee Weaver because it comes with everything you need to weave teeny tiny tapestry projects on the go! You get the loom, two needles, a pickup stick, a comb, and a carrying pouch. So just add some scrap yarn and you’ll be all set to weave on the go. This one is also so tiny (4″x4.5″) that it can be carried around in a purse quite easily.

Schacht Zoom Loom

Schacht Zoom Loom

If you want to weave, but tapestry weaving is not your thing, then the Schacht Zoom Loom is a great choice for a travel loom! Like all Schacht products, it’s very sturdy so you can take it with you without worry. It’s a 4×4 pin loom so you can create coasters or collect several squares and then sew them together into a bigger project. We have a few different kits available for this loom so you can also have some ready made project ideas!

Weaving isn’t the only travel project option, there are lots of different things to try like braiding!

Lucet Braiding Tool

Lucet braiding tool

This nifty tool lets you make a square braid out of a single strand of yarn. As you can see above, we also think it’s fun to use up fabric scraps to make big chunky braids. This can be a neat way to make ties or belts for other projects.

Spinning can be a good on the go project too! If you have a wheel that doesn’t travel well, or can’t quite get the hang of using a drop spindle in the car then you’re not completely out of luck.

Support Spindles

Woodland Woodworking Spindle

We have several different support spindle options, which will be a little easier on the spinner for car ride spinning than a drop spindle. If you’re not familiar with a supported spindle, it’s very similar to a drop spindle except instead of you letting the spindle hang free, it rests in a little bowl or stand. We think a lap bowl works best for the car because you can easily hold it in your lap and keep it secure without it moving around from the car. The spindle shown above is a bead spindle from Woodland Woodworking.

There is no reason why kids wouldn’t love some of the options we have above but we also have some projects that are specifically suited to younger travelers.

Loome Tool and Knitting Nancy

Kids travel projects

We like the Loome because it is an all in one tool for pom poms, tassels, friendship bracelets, cords, and small weavings. If a kid gets bored making pom poms they could switch over to making some bracelets for the pom poms to go on. Knitting Nancy is another good option for kids because she is colorful and fun. It’s basically a tool to create a knitted icord that could be used for belts, bracelets, or doll scarves. Knitting Nancy also uses a very simple repetitive motion so it’s an easy project even for kids with low attention spans. Both of these are small enough to tuck into mom’s purse for emergency entertainment situations.

It’s also important to have a place to put all of these tiny tools and projects when you’re traveling so don’t forget a great bag!

Guatemalan Shoulder Bag

Travel projects in a bag

These bags come in three sizes; small, medium, and large so there should be an option for any size project you have. They two zippered compartments in the front that are great for keeping notions. They’re great to stay organized on the go but they are padded so they will also offer your tools some protection. Also, they feature a panel of unique woven fabric so they are pretty and functional.

Are there any travel projects you love to bring with you that we missed? Let us know in the comments. Also we’d love to see your summer projects! Share them on social media with #wooleryshop

 

Thank you for your support of The Woolery Weave-Off!

As I write this blog entry, it occurs to me that every day, everywhere, we are surrounded by bad news. Wars. Fiscal crises. Crippling poverty. Water accessibility. Hunger. It is a tumultuous time in the world, and it is safe to say that the inundation of upsetting daily news is exhausting to everyone. Compassion fatigue, some call it. When do we get a break from the bad?

For me, the break in the bad has been this contest.

Woolery Weave-Off Entries

Every day since February, we have received envelopes carefully sent to us containing hand woven dishtowels. Some are bright. Some are neutral. Some are from beginners, and some are from experienced weavers. They vary in size, in pattern, in colorway. Some have fringed edges, some are hemmed. Waffle-weaves, crepe-weaves, twills, and plain-weaves. They are all as different as the ways of the wind – there are not two that are similar. What they all have in common, though, is the obvious love with which they were woven. Beautiful notes accompany many of them expressing the delight to have a reason to warp a loom for a good cause. Some entries recount time spent in unsure housing circumstances themselves, and the frustration felt at having next to nothing, and definitely not much ‘nice’. One entry confessed that she wove it oversized so the owner, clearly in a tough time of life, might be able to use it for something other than just dish drying (that one caused me to burst into immediate tears).  A generous donation came from a sweet 12-year-old weaver, who acknowledged that she was unable to officially ‘enter’, but wanted to contribute alongside her mother’s submission. A school in Pennsylvania sent in a box of beautiful towels, despite many of the weavers being under 18 themselves. Some entrants added matching wash rags, some sent duplicates and multiples, just to bolster the donation amount.

The break in the bad.

As a woman and mother myself, I understand how stressful having young children can be, even on a good day, in comfortable circumstances. To add in the enormous stress of being housing insecure, feeling untethered to a stable life, must be overwhelming. As women and their children move out of The Simon House, into new apartments, they often do so with nothing. What they do have is usually donated, having once belonged to another family. Bare bones, and precious little luxury, but a new beginning. So lovely, well made, practical, and prettyare these dishtowels, that despite how utilitarian they may seem, the women who receive them will confidently possess at least one beautiful, brand new, high end thing that is hers. In the mundane tasks of putting away dishes, bathing the baby, wiping down the high chair at the end of a long day, there is guaranteed to be a bright spot when the owner gets a flash of a lovely, fun pattern, pleasing colors, and quality that gets the job done, only softening and becoming better with every wash. How many of us have a favorite dishtowel? I know I do. One small, reliable bright spot in the day.

A break in the bad.

The generosity, and more importantly, the empathy shown in these wonderful donations have been heartbreaking in their beauty, kindness and love, compassion, and obvious understanding of a less-than-ideal situation. One nice item, made just for them, that will last, wear well, and always be something enjoyable to use and look at. A break in the bad.

On behalf of the entire Woolery staff, the McFarlands, and our extended Woolery family, I thank you all from the genuine bottom of my tear-soaked, but now much larger heart. To be reminded of the love and generosity that exists in this chaotic world is a morale boost I desperately needed, and am so glad the ladies they will benefit get to experience, too.

Your true, warm colors all came shining through with this act of generosity. Thank you for this break in the bad.

~Katherine

Woolery Weave-Off Entries

Weaving Retreat in Historic Berea, Kentucky

Berea Weaving Retreat

Weaving classWe like to offer a weaving retreat in beautiful historic Berea, Kentucky twice a year. It’s a make & take experience taught by our veteran weaving instructor, Nancy Reid. She brings over 20 years of fine weaving instructing & experience to the table. You can learn to weave or perfect a new skill on a beautiful Schacht Wolf Pup loom.

The location of the retreat is Boone Tavern, which is owned by Berea College. Part of Berea College’s requirements is that students are required to work at least ten hours per week at any one of the 140+ college departments and work areas across campus. Boone Tavern is one of these establishments. Students earn money for books, room, and board at the College – but pay no tuition – thanks to the generosity of donors who support Berea College’s mission of providing a high-quality education for students primarily from Appalachia who have high academic potential and limited financial resources. Berea students make up about 50% of the staff at Boone Tavern.

Historic Boone Tavern

Weaving on the Schacht Wolf PupThe retreat is a two day class; on Day 1, students weave and complete a sampler, and on Day 2, students create a set of mug rugs or scarf. In addition to learning a ton you’ll have a lot of fun and make new fiber friends. Nancy is a fantastic teacher and even if 4-harness weaving intimates you, you’ll feel like a pro by the end of the retreat.

 

The class costs $475 and includes: cost of class, materials, breakfast, daily beverages/afternoon snacks, a copy of the class text Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler, and use of a Schacht Wolf Pup loom (room and meals besides breakfast not included). The class size for this experience is extremely limited (we only accept 6 students for each session) so you will have lots of individual help from our instructor, Nancy.

Berea Weaving Retreat

Our next Weaving Retreat is going to be over Memorial Day Weekend on May 27th and 28th, 2018. We do still have space available but it fills up fast so give us a call at 502-352-9800 to book your spot as soon as possible. If you want you could also book for Labor Day Weekend on September 1st and 2nd, 2018. These two weekends will be the only times we will have this experience available for all of 2018, so call us to reserve your space now. We’re so excited to weave with you!

 

 

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Handmade Gift Giving at The Woolery

You probably already know this, but we have some talented people working here at The Woolery. Not only are they talented, they’re generous too! So many of our team members have made beautiful handmade gifts this holiday season, that we felt we had to share them with you. Theses gifts span all sorts of different fiber arts including; needle felting, weaving, knitting, and crochet.

Handmade plaid scarf

Some absolutely beautiful woven gifts have been floating around the shop. Our Customer Service Manager, Dani, has been weaving some plaid scarves on our floor model Schacht Wolf Pup.

We love the color schemes Dani is working with for these scarves! Also, the plaid patterns all all Dani’s own unique designs. How lucky are the members of Dani’s gift list?

Weaving on the Schacht Wolf Pup

Then, of course, our own Weaver Nancy has her own woven gift to show off! This beautifully textured towel was made on her Schacht Mighty Wolf using Maurice Brassard Cottolin Yarn in the Natural Lave color. The texture is a 5-thread huck lace 4 shaft pattern. The final effect is so stunning.

Gifts-11

We don’t just weave here, Business Manager Mistene made a whole collection of incredibly intricate crochet doilies as a present for her mom and sister. The detail work on these is fantastic. They are so tiny and lacy!

Group of three crochet doilies

Detail of Mistene's Crocheted Doily

Handmade crochet cup cozy

Debbie, our Shipping Manager, has also been crocheting up some gifts. How adorable are these little canine inspired cup cozies? Debbie makes all sorts of different custom styles based off of different dog breeds. We are obsessed with the fuzzy eyebrows on the Yorkie one in the photo to the left. Too cute.

 

Debbie with her crochet dog cup cozy

Handknit shawl with tasselsOur knitters are not to be outdone, they have been working on some gift projects of their own. Annie, our newest Customer Service Representative, knit up a cozy shawl and cowl for some lucky recipients. Annie is going to be teaching some beginning knitting classes next year at the shop so if you’re wanting to make some gifts like Annie’s check out our class schedule!

Annie modeling her cowl

Socks are one of our favorite gifts this time of year and David, who is also a Customer Service Representative, has been knitting up some fabulous socks for his daughter. What an awesome dad! They aren’t quite done yet, but we’re confident he’ll finish in time for Christmas.

Handknit socks

Gradient Knit ShawlEmily, who works on our Creative Marketing (including writing this blog) has also been knitting away to finish some gifts in time for Christmas! The shawl to the left is for her grandma and if you’re curious, the pattern is Shaelyn on Ravelry.

Emily also has branched out into weaving since starting working at The Woolery (you can’t work here without wanting to try ALL the fiber arts)! And even wove up a scarf or two on her new Schacht Cricket Loom.

Handwoven scarf

And finally, our Customer Service Representative Anna, worked some needle felting magic to create gnomes for some of her Customer Service co-workers! They are one big happy gnome family!

Needle felted gnomes

Have you already made some gifts this year, or did any of our projects inspire you? We would love to hear about any handmade gifts you have been working on this season! Share your projects below or in our Raverly Group! We can’t wait to see your creations!

Woolery Favorites – Thanksgiving Recipes

wooleryfavoritesthanksgiving

We love this time of year, the leaves are changing and we are all anticipating eating some delicious food for Thanksgiving. Some of us here at Team Woolery are impressive chefs so we’re sharing some of our favorite side dishes to go with your turkey!

Our first recipe comes from our resident weaving expert, Nancy! Story time; NPR’s Susan Stamberg used to call her mother-in-law, on air, every year to get this recipe for Thanksgiving and her mother-in-law would read it to her. The first time Nancy heard it she was on a construction job site (she was an electrician in those years) and she grabbed a handy chunk of 2×4 to write it down. Later she copied it down on an index card so it would file more easily; this was before computers. Still later, Susan’s mother-in-law confessed that she had actually gotten the recipe from Craig Claiborne, so it has a long pedigree!

This really is a delicious relish and it compliments the turkey beautifully. Nancy notes that it does have a kick, so be sure to warn your diners of that. Nancy’s brother nearly choked after taking a large bite of it and, eyes watering, he gasped out, “But it looked so pink and innocent!”


Nancy’s (and Susan Stamberg’s and Craig Claiborne’s) Cranberry Relish

Ingredients:

  • Fresh cranberries – 2 cups
  • Small onion – 1 onion
  • Sour cream – 3/4 cup
  • Sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Horseradish – 2 tablespoons

Instructions:

  1. Put the cranberries and onion through a food grinder or use the food processor; chop finely.
  2. Combine the mixture with the sour cream, sugar, and horseradish; mix thoroughly.
  3. Refrigerate until serving time.
  4. Stir again before serving.

Our next offering is a very festive and delicious soup from our Business Manager, Mistene! Pro tip: this will go great with one of our recipes from last month, Perri’s Favorite Sweet Potato Cornbread.


Mistene’s Fall Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • Bacon, chopped – 1lb
  • Celery, diced – 2 stalks
  • Onion, chopped – 1 onion
  • Garlic, minced – 3 cloves
  • Red potato, cubed (peel if desired) – 8 potatoes
  • Chicken stock – 4-5 cups (enough to cover the potatoes)
  • Butter – 3 tablespoons
  • Flour – 1/4 cup
  • Heavy cream – 1 cup
  • Dried tarragon – 1 teaspoon
  • Chopped fresh cilantro – 3 teaspoons
  • Salt and pepper – to taste
  • Optional cheese and green onions – for garnish
  1. In a dutch oven cook bacon over medium heat until done. Remove bacon and save 1/4 cup bacon grease.
  2. Cook celery and onion in bacon drippings until onion is translucent.
  3. Stir in garlic. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add cubed potatoes, toss to coat. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add just enough stock to cover potatoes, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender.
  6. In a separate pan, melt butter over medium heat.
  7. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Whisk in cream, tarragon, and cilantro.
  9. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  10. Stir cream mixture into potatoes. Puree 1/2 the soup and return to pan.
  11. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with bacon, cheese or green onions.

Natalie, our Purchasing Manager, has an adorable story to go with her recipe. Natalie’s niece sent Natalie a random text that read, “Aunt Natalie, I would love to bring your Sweet Potato Soufflé to my friend’s Thanksgiving, it’s my favorite! Would you be willing to make it for me?” Natalie was very flattered that her niece wanted her to bring the dish that she obviously loves so much, and she was excited she thought of her when they don’t see each other often.

Just before Natalie was going to fall for this sweetness, it hit her; her niece is 21 years old AND went to culinary school! After Natalie’s big head came back to reality, she turned the tables. The new offer was Natalie would buy all the ingredients and cook it at her house but her niece had to come cook with her! Natalie says “It was so nice to have her there and do something with just the two of us. We never had that before. It was a memory we made together and hopefully she enjoys sharing this story as much as a I do!”

And for even more sentimental value, this recipe is from Natalie’s own aunt who she misses dearly and the dish brings her memory back each time Natalie makes it!


Aunt Natalie’s Sweet Potato Soufflé 

Soufflé Ingredients:

  • Sweet potato – 3 cups
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Butter – 1 stick
  • Eggs – 2
  • Milk – 1/3 cup
  • Vanilla – 1 teaspoon

Topping Ingredients:

  • Brown sugar – 1 cup
  • Butter – 1 stick
  • Flour – 1/3 cup
  • Optional pecans
  1. Cook potatoes and mash them.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well.
  3. Pour into baking dish.
  4. Mix all topping ingredients together and pour on top.
  5. Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Turkey

We hope you enjoy your holiday! Let us know if you use any of our recipes, we’d love to see your creations. Also a reminder that our store will be closed on Thanksgiving day so our staff can enjoy the day with their friends and family.

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Artisan Spotlight: Constance Hall

constanceConstance Hall’s passion for fiber started at an early age , when her mother taught her to crochet at the age of five. Since then, she has been exploring the world of fiber arts, enjoying the process along the way and making creativity a way of life.

Constance has expanded her fiber arts exploration into the worlds of knitting, spinning, weaving, sewing, and felting. Along the way, she has studied with some of the top names in the fiber industry:  Jacey Boggs,  Celia Quinn, Sharon Costello, Jane Patrick, Liz Gipson, and Margaret Bouyack, to name a few. She is also a passionate and knowledgable instructor in her own right, delighting in sharing her knowledge with student and watching where it leads them as they embark on their own creative journey.

Dyeology Yarn

In addition to her work in the world of fiber, Constance has worked for 30 years as a glassblower, using a centuries-old tradition to create unique pieces of art. She also dyes yarn for Dyeology, which sources fiber from local farmers as much as possible. She is an active member of the fiber arts community: Constance is on the Spinzilla committee and leads several weaving, felting and other workshops throughout the year. We’re fortunate to have had Constance teach several workshops with us in recent years; she’ll be returning to The Woolery to teach a Nuno Felting Workshop this Saturday, July 13th!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team