The weather varies quite a bit from year to year in the mountains. This year the trees had not started turning at 'ground' level at all when we arrived in Gatlinburg but by the time we left the first maples and ashes were turning bright red and yellow. The temperatures were very nice - mid70's to mid80's - and mostly blue skies with passing clouds. The very last morning we were there, the day we had to pack up and leave, it was raining and looked very Autumnal. :) Good day to leave.
Hugh and I ate lunch in Johnny Rocket's hamburger joint on Parkway (the main street :) the day we went out walking through the shops. The food was delicious and classic American - burgers, sandwiches, pizza. Very atmospheric. The background music was what I would call classic rock - early Buddy Holly style. :)
Thursday (I _think_) we went out to visit the local fiber shop which I had never found on any previous visits. Sure was a treasure find! We saw this nature weaving near the shop before we spotted the Smokey Mountain Spinnery. Got my attention. :)
The shops has fibers for knitters, weavers, spinners, rug hookers .... I got captured by their handmade pin looms and had to buy one. Agonizing over what yarn to buy consumed a lot of energy - and my son's help, too. :) He decided (via extensive touch testing) that he really is allergic to wool (even fine merino made him rash) ... and likes silk and alpaca a lot. :) Doesn't like the slippery feel of rayons ... was interesting to me. :) He also had a clear preference for blues and greens (I tend toward the red-orange-hot pink flavors myself:).
We thought we might take a ride on the big gondola that goes across the valleys but could not find any parking near the stop that was close enough for me to walk. Parking is an ongoing issue in Gatlinburg. The town is in a very narrow river valley (The Little Pigeon River) and space is at an extreme premium. Sigh. Maybe I will be more mobile next year?
Here is the swag I brought home to the unit:
The Pin Loom book turned out to be a great buy. Full of advice and patterns about all the historic commercial versions of small looms as well as directions for making your own (if you feel handy:). Pin looms were very much 'the rage' in the 20's through 40's. I remember Grandmother Schiffer (for whom I named my firstborn child:) making many 4" squares on her loom and at least two afghans with said squares. One of them she cross stitched on top of the squares after assembly (the 'weavies' are pretty much even-weave fabric when complete).
The shop had a huge basket of various sizes of hand made pin looms including two sizes of heart shaped ones. I went straight for the small heart loom (will have to order a square one, now, too:). I think I will be making fiber broaches with this new toy ... and might even try to use crochet edges to create afghan squares. :) Right now I am just enjoying the play.
As you can see from the photo, I finally settled on two balls of yarn to experiment with on the loom - the 'bright pastel' (maybe 'candy' colored) one is made of cotton and viscose (artificial) in a kind of 'shoelace' knit tube. Some of the colors are matte and some shiny. This yarn has produced quite a variety of hearts - I think the amount of yarn needed to make one heart is about the same as the color sections of the yarn.
The other ball, to the right in the photo, is a linen-cotton blend with a sage green base and bright flower colored slubs. I thought it looked very Fall-ish while still beiing bright. The weaving itself put quite a lot of stress on the yarn (you use one long strand for both warp and weft) - I think I will try using a warp of plain colored cotton with this yarn, too.
I have been making little hearts ever since I got home ... made several while riding home on Friday, too. Here is what I have produced (be kind - these are my first efforts:) ... I was experimenting with different edge finishes, too.
Remember I told you that I visited the Arrowmont School earlier in the week? I found a close up photo of one of the silk artist's works in the gallery show that I especially liked. Here is the creator's name/info:
And the close up view:
This artist has been working with silk painting and textures (including three dimensional structures) for years. Take a look at her work online! Worth a visit. :)
As I said earlier, it rained on Friday as we drove home (it is about an eight hour trip). Very pretty drive - through the Shenandoah River Valley - and we saw at least one gorgeous rainbow. Mostly it rained, tho.
This rainbow was a full arch across the sky, somewere near Winchester VA. My photo does not in any way do it justice.
I feel very happy to be home with my famiily ... just made reservations and paid for a plane ticket to go to Kansas later this month. Now I'm off to eat Chinese carry out and open my piles of snail mail.