Search This Blog

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

On the Road with the Traveling Bunnies

Previously on Traveling with Bunnies...

As you may have seen in the previous post, two young 4-Her's blessed me with two fuzzy bunnies.. Sabastian and Oscar at my first fair of the year, Hennipen Fair in Minnesota back in early June.  They were so little, so soft, so cute. I had many offers from fairgoers to buy them right then and there.

Roger and I got them a nice dog crate that came with a bag of gourmet rabbit chow with bits of dried fruit, which, when I ran out and I bought them Walmart brand, they got finicky and would not eat the common chow for days after I switched. No more gourmet.  I made a lovely dark green leaf patterned fabric cover and tray cozy.

Every day we would carry them to my tent where they would eat a rectangle of grass and be fondled by small children. They were always right near my potters wheel where I could keep an eye on them as I worked and now I could discuss angora bunny fur and weaving with the customers.

Then I would put them on the front seat of my little blue truck, clip the purple fan above them (it was around 90 degrees all summer out there), and we would travel to the next fair.

dark green leaf patterned tray cozy

In the evening, after a fair was over for the day, the bunnies would be released from their dog crate in the camper and be allowed to do some binking. Binking is what bunnies do for fun. The bunnies run wildly back and forth and do mid-air twists and turns before flopping over like they just had a heart attack.

We had a few days off in Minneapolis and the bunnies binked around Rogers back step. I have a video of this.

Eventually, they needed a hair cut.  They are half angora and half something else. In spite of the heat this summer the loving little bunnies got very matted from snuggling with each other. I decided to give them a trim. Kids at the fairs now wondered about their misshapen fur, so I would pass around the fur clippings I kept in a paper lunch bag and the children would put their little hands in the bag and oooh with delight over the softness of the fur.

During the three months on the road together, my bunnies kept me company. I had to live a few days in the back of my truck... my truck hovel as it has become known... We woke up together, and I mean together. The back of my S10 pick up is just long enough for my cot, my coffee and food shelf, my work table, my spare tire (too rusted underneath to hold the spare) and my bunny crate.  On the good side, I can sit on the center of my cot and reach everything without moving! And in the evenings, the bunnies would bink around our space and I just sat back and smiled.

Spending a night in an occasional motel bathroom

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Transferring Needlework Pattern to Tape Loom

I found some wonderful Latvian embroidery patterns on Pinterest.  I love Pinterest. We can share photos of each others works, projects and interests.

I transferred this pattern I am calling simply Snowflake, Birds and a Heart. With the simple way of pick-up patterns on the Tape Loom, we can combine different design features to create beautiful one-of-a-kind gifts.

The book mark above is about 12 inches long, including the fill-ins and tassels. The pattern below measures out to 7 inches long x 5/8 inches (without the borders). I used 8/2 cotton thread, much like standard crochet cotton.

Above is the original Latvian pattern set for embroidery squares (do not follow this as your draft).  I had to test it out a couple of times, as the blocks for embroidery do not translate perfectly to a weaving draft.  The pattern threads in pick-up weaving are such, that I had to change the pattern to fit into a weave.

Here is the pattern draft to follow. This pattern uses 13 pattern threads plus borders of your choosing. Be sure to start on the bottom row shown on the right, and that you start your first row with 7 pattern threads up.

UP-DATE:  This is European (Baltic) style of weaving bands, not South American (Pebble). Thanks for the comment for me to clarify this.

Need any help or further explanations? Post your comments or check out my book on Amazon, Tape Loom Weaving, simplified.... and have fun!

Sign up for this blog for upcoming pattern transfers and visit my web site for class information and where I will be demonstrating, selling looms and sharing my weaving with all at..

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Storrowton Village, the quiet place at the Big E

Anyone who has seen the movie "The Village" can relate to the few of us who escape from the hectic world of the fair to live in a world set apart from the noise and chaos for 17 days every September... this little spot of land nestled inside the 175 acres of the Eastern States Exposition.
Helen Osgood Storrow
Every September, I and several others don our early American garb and go to live in our Village. This years escape was my 9th year. I demonstrating pottery making in the Village. The Village of Storrowton, is a collection of 18th and 19th century buildings abandoned or set for demolition on their original sites throughout the area and brought to this spot in West Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1927 Helen started moving these buildings to the Exposition site. A church, a village hall, a country store, a tavern, a smithy, a lawyer's office and several homes and carriage sheds make up the little village today. Perfectly restored to their original use, they make this spot a wonderful place to enjoy the quiet life of times gone by. 
Tradesmen and women have been demonstrating pottery, broom making, paper marbling, wood carving, tools, bowl turning, spinning, tinsmithing, blacksmithing, quilting and cordwaining here for many years. The buildings are filled with treasures from the past. Interpreters will tell you all about rope beds, candle making, cone sugar and herbs. Members of the friendly staff will be cooking and baking on a kitchen hearth. Children will be hoop rolling and sack racing on the Village green where lots of folks picnic, relax and enjoy this little bit of peace with us. 
The Potter House in the center of  The Village... 1929
I drive up from Connecticut every morning and open up my demonstration tent on the edge of the Village green. The Village is especially quiet at 9 am and I breath in the morning air as I meander across the green to the Potter house. The 1760 Captain John Potter house, originally a private home where John raised 15 children, has a ballroom on the second floor. I know of two other old homes that had an upstairs ballroom where our ancestors entertained guests, the Burlington Tavern in Connecticut and the New Boston Inn in Massachusetts. Here my fellow early New Englanders' and I can entertain each other too, share some tasty morsels and enjoy a cup of coffee and conversation before we get ready to let the outsiders, the public, into our domain. 
Four pretty mini pots about 1 inch tall
I am a potter. I have been making pottery for over 30 years. I make beautiful mocha ware, but lately I have been making literally thousands of mini pottery to sell every year. People come back to buy more and more of these tiny pots and I just can't seem to make enough. Everyone's favorites are the tiny piggy banks and the tiny face jugs. Half gallon to gallon face jugs have become very popular too. 

I have two daughters who come to visit. My eldest brings her three girls. The girls dress in their own early costumes too and you can image how many "oh how cute" comments are made as cameras click away at the little ones' quaint appearance. Children really add an extra spark of realism to our village life. My little ones demonstrate too and get the visiting children to make clay marbles and weave. Isobel is almost 6 this year. She and Meta, three, help make pots, wrap and bag little pottery and help to rearrange my shelves. Isobel has started making good little pots herself and sold her first mini at this years fair for $3. 
Days are long in the Village. I greet visitors all day. I teach them about pottery and weaving. They teach me about potatoes, horses and gardening. We share a million other interesting bits of information about each others lives in the outside world, outside the Village. I learned some new things this year. I met old friends and made some new ones. I jotted down ideas for next year's 17 days in the Village.  I have lots to do in the next 12 months, but I look forward to my 10th year at the Village and I can't wait!

An interestied friendly visitor to the Village