Visiting Mattawa Part 2

I promise these are my last photos from our trip to Washington - it seems too long ago already! 
Now that I live in flat Houston, TX I've realized how much I took for granted the beautiful Northwest. I couldn't help but take too many photos of the landscape as we travelled from Seattle to the east side of the state. The difference is amazing, but both are amazing in their own way. If you want to see what I mean, scroll down - and feel free to wish you were back in Washington also.
Some of my favorite memories were boating, picnicking, swimming and golfing near the Columbia River. Our section of the river is beautifully framed by cliffs and hills so that on clear days there is a perfect reflection of the mountains on the water. 
Even though our brief trip was two weeks ago, I have loved taking my time to go through my photos and remember how much fun we had. I can't wait to go back!


Weaving How To: Setting Up Heddle Rods & Leashes

I've had a few questions lately about how to set up a heddle rod. 
When I was first learning how to weave, I searched for a heddle tutorial high and low and couldn't find anything! I had to do some experimenting before I understood exactly what they were. See those two dowels at the top of my loom? Those are heddles... and they will change your weaving life.
Before you can set up a heddle rod, you need two things. First you need to create a number of leashes. These are pieces of string that are tied in a loop so that they all have the same diameter. To make it easy I put two nails into a piece of wood and tied of my string to be sure that each loom has the same measurement. I keep this wood around so that I can make more leashes whenever I need.
Now comes the part to set up your heddle!
1. On your warped loom attach about four leashes to the warp. Using your finger to hold them in place, slide the middle of a leash underneath a warp string and back up so that both ends are together. When you pull up on both ends of your leash the warp string will come up as well. Be sure to skip every other warp string as your are looping the leashes on.
2. Slide the ends of the leashes off of your finger and onto your heddle rod.
3. Using the same technique described in step 1, slide your leashes, one by one, skipping every other one, through the next couple of warp strings. Use your finger to hold them in place.
4. Slide the ends of the leashes off of your finger and onto the same heddle rod.
Continue doing this until you have reached the end of your warp and every other warp string is attached to your heddle with a leash.
Do the same thing with your second heddle. This time be sure to attach the opposite warp strings (the ones that weren't attached to the last set of leashes).
As you can see below, when you lift up one heddle, the first set of warp strings lift up with it. They leave a gap that makes it so much easier to slide your needle through. Likewise, when you lift up the other heddle, the opposite set of warp strings will lift up as well.
The first thing to know about heddles is that they are completely optional. If you work on a small loom they might even be unnecessary. If you prefer to use a shed stick (the brown, wide stick at the top of my loom below) then you only need one heddle. You can see with my first frame loom that I used a knitting needle as my heddle and taped the leashes so they wouldn't slide off. 
It all depends on what works best for you!


Visiting Mattawa Part 1

Last weekend we jumped on a plane for a quick trip to my hometown in Washington state. 
When you think of Washington I know what comes to mind: space needles and Sleepless in Seattle. While we do love our Puget Sound, my version of Washington is about 3 hours inland where things flatten out a little bit and we are known for our wind, not our rain.
My grandparents moved to the state decades ago to start their apple orchard farms. I'm a little biased, but you haven't really eaten an apple unless you picked it yourself on a cold, crisp, Mattawa morning.
 Mattawa is a tiny town, fueled by the agriculture along the Columbia River. Since we hadn't been back to visit (WA is a little out of the way...) since the beginning of my blog (it had been waaay too long!), we made the most of our couple days.
We lived out our Friday Night Lights dream watching my brother, who is a captain of the football team, play his heart out! I reminisced of my own high school career as a cheerleader and was surprised that I could still cheer along with the squad!
We ate lunch at my favorite place growing up (the taco wagon) and stopped by Estudillos for my absolute favorite candy in the whole world. I should have grabbed more because home is the only place I can find it! We even searched every candy and grocery store in Mexico during our trip last year, and couldn't find Slaps anywhere.
The reason for our trip to the Northwest was because my brother had been serving a two-year mission in the heart of Navajo country in New Mexico. During his mission I only spoke to him twice! Once during Christmas and once on Mother's Day when he accidentally called me instead of Mom. I am so proud of everything that he learned and all of the service that he gave as he taught people about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though he was an amazing missionary it is sooo good to have him back so we can chat whenever we want.