December 9, 2009

Weaving is Weary

Six weeks ago, I started a loom weaving class. I had been wanting to learn how to use a loom for almost 4 or 5 years, and I found a cute little place near White Rock Lake that offered classes at a reasonable price. I signed up for a five week session which focused on creating a sampler of 12 different weaving patterns that when finished, could be worn as a scarf. Awesome!

So basically the way a loom operates, you have foot pedals that have different strings attached to them. When you step on a pedal, certain threads are lifted so you can pass your weft strings through easily with a device called a shuttle. Then you pull a metal comb (called a rake) towards you to tighten & push the threads into your woven piece. Step on a different pedal, different warp threads are lifted.

What I didn't anticipate was how long it would take to set up the darn thing. First we had to do some maths to figure out how long our warp threads needed to be. These are the threads that are threaded through the loom lengthwise. Then we figured out our weft thread length; the weft is what is woven through the warp threads. Next step was to measure out the warp threads, we needed 72 threads that were 72" long. Luckily they have a nifty doo-dad peg system to (somewhat) quickly do this.

After measuring and cutting the warp threads, we had to weave each string through the loom one at a time. But there are about a million little steps in doing just this part. Here's a summary: First you have to tie the threads to the loom, then you thread each one through this metal comb called a rake. Then you thread them through these metal strings that have a "needle eye" in the middle; the threads go through these eyes. Then you pick up groups of four strings and tie them to the back side of the loom. All the while you have to make sure that you keep your threads in order and do not let them drop or get tangled.

Oh and we are not ready to weave yet, nope. Next step is attaching the foot pedals. This part was frustrating for me because the strings that hold up the pedals were made of a metal chain. So I had to guess which link on the chain was the one that would bring my pedals to the same height. Also, you have to pull the chain up through a hole in the pedal, and of course you can't get a chain to stand up straight on its own, so I had to use a makeshift hook that a previous student had jimmied up. Thankfully, once I got the pedals right I was ready to weave! Yes! Only took me 8 hours worth of classes! And this is typical. Set up is very tedious. But once I was set up, weaving went pretty quickly.

I was determined to finish my project within the 5-week class frame, so I rushed it a little quicker than I would have liked. Apparently I did well anyways though because when I finished, the teacher rang a bell and the advanced students were saying I did well on my edging. Apparently that is a mark of a good weaver.

So now I have a scarf! I still need to soak it in a tub of fabric softener to relax the threads, but I haven't done it yet because I am still recovering from the set-up. I enjoyed learning how to weave, but truthfully, I do not think I will do it ever again unless I can find a loom servant to do all the set-up for me.

December 2, 2009

P-Dub comes to Big D

I met the Pioneer Woman tonight. Pioneer Woman, aka Ree Drummond, lives on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma. She has a blog that features tons of fantastic, fool-proof recipes. And now she has a cookbook. Ree has been touring the US for the past couple months and tonight she came to Dallas. To celebrate, I made Ree's Baked Lemon Pasta. Delish!


My friend and I went to Borders and waited in a very long line (very long). About 800 people showed up, and luckily, we were in the first 200. Most people gave up and left, but we stuck it out! Here we are, sticking it out:

That's Ree in the green circle. At this point, we had waited about an hour and a half. Someone behind us compared it to waiting in line for a ride at Disney World. But with less sweat.

Finally, we meet! She was really sweet, and knew how to pronounce my name (which is no small feat for first-timers). She even knew that Waterford crystal has a series named Maeve. I felt so awesome.

A bonus we weren't expecting: Ree brought everyone shirts!

All in all it was definitely worth the wait. Maybe now that I have met her I can telepathically connect to her mind the next time she has a KitchenAid Mixer giveaway. *hint: I like the cornflower blue one :) What a fun night! I heart PW.

November 30, 2009

The Cutest Little Things

It's snack time!
I've been gradually trying to get into the routine of being more environmentally-conscious, and one of my recent endeavors is giving up plastic baggies in exchange for sewn cotton pouches. I made this little guy this morning with some leftover fabric from a dress I made this summer and some velcro I got at a craft store. I found the pattern here from reprodepot, but changed the dimensions to my own liking. And I am already in love! So much cuter than ziplocs and I feel better knowing that I can reuse them.


November 14, 2009


My friend gave me this awesome purple cake stand for my birthday. Along with it, a mix of spice-flavored cupcakes from Sprinkles! They were fun to make, but were slightly more complicated than your traditional Betty Crocker mix ~ you just need to be more patient with them because the recipe calls for adding ingredients a little bit at a time. However, the recipe does not mention that this will cause the mix to poof all over your face. Aside from that, everything seems to have gone well. I like that they included their trademark "modern dots." They don't taste like anything but they sure are cute!

Some of my friends are coming over soon so we will be able to see if these taste as delicious as the store-made kind. Au revoir!

edit: They were delicious and almost as good as the store-made kind :)

October 25, 2009

Mohawk Paper Letterpress Show

Last Wednesday, Mohawk Paper hosted a letterpress show featuring the art of seven artists local to Dallas. Each of these artists treat the art form in different ways, either by using traditional wood and metal type, carving images into linoleum, or using a polymer plate, which allows the designer to create an image on the computer that can then be translated onto a raised printable surface.

I happen to be lucky enough to work with one of these artists, Rhonda Warren of Color Box Design. I have been practicing letterpress and other forms of relief printmaking for about 2.5 years now, and I started working for Rhonda a few months ago. We began preparing for this show a while ago and it was so much fun seeing everything come together. It rained all day Wednesday, but that didn't stop people from showing up. The show was hosted by The Apartment, a very posh venue full of white leather sofas and lucite tables with glowy blue lighting everywhere.

I think the show was a great success. Everyone had fantastic work, and this experience has reinforced my desire to have my own press. Even if I have to turn my living room into a studio, it's going to happen soon.

To see more on this show, and work featured by all of the artists, check out Samantha Reitmeyer's blog, style/Swoon. She also took all of these great photos.

October 16, 2009

Daily Drop Cap


y recent inspirations are coming from the extremely talented typographer and illustrator, Jessica Hische. I've been following her work for about a year now and some of my favorite things that I see often in her work is delicate line work, charming character in her illustrations, and the ability to capture detail in simplistic forms. One of her recent ventures is Daily Drop Cap, a site that is dedicated to creating drop cap letterforms (how do you like the M?) She writes on her site, "Each day (or at least each WORK day), a new hand-crafted decorative initial cap will be posted for your enjoyment and for the beautification of blog posts everywhere." I think it's a fantastic idea and I will be checking back often to see what she comes up with.

September 26, 2009

Greetings and Salutations

Today was a beautiful day. I got up late, spent some quality time with my plants on my patio, and took a ride on my scooter with my boyfriend on his motorcycle to White Rock Lake. This place never ceases to amaze me with its beauty. The lake is always calm and serene, with lush trees and flowers everywhere, with gaggles of geese and ducks all around. I had never visited White Rock until a few months ago, and was sorry I had neglected it before. This past summer, riding around the lake has been almost a weekly ritual and in part has inspired me to start this blog.

So what is this blog about? Color Theory will serve as a place for me to show you what inspires me and in turn what I am inspired to make. I also want to experiment with color palettes, and would love to get your feedback.

To start things off, this is me at White Rock Lake with my scooter:

And here is a photo of the lake, with a palette to go with it:

What are your thoughts? I think these colors feel very serene and remind me of brisk fall mornings. I'm happy fall is coming. Right now the weather is getting to the stage where it is cool in the morning and uncomfortably hot by afternoon. Maybe I will use this palette to knit a light scarf.


Edit: As it turns out, this blog is not going to be at all about color, but more about the things I enjoy making and doing, and about enjoying the little things in life.