Cooking With Myra: Cool summer treats
By Myra Starkey
May 21, 2013 at 12:21 a.m.
I like to think of myself as a weaver of fibers.
I took a weaving class last year in Waco at the Heritage Homestead Fiber Center and left with a small blanket and eight coasters.
I spent a wonderful week with Rachel learning to warp a loom and weave several patterns.
Problems occurred when I arrived home and realized that without Rachel by my side, I was not a very good weaver.
Like most things in life, the secret to success is practice. I arrived home after my week long class laden with books and dreaming of textures and colors.
I cut out pictures of shawls so I could be inspired. I would like to be able to make shawls, scarves and baby blankets, except I don't have any grandchildren yet, so I don't really need to make any baby blankets.
My first project was less than perfect. Rachel helped me warp the loom with white pearl cotton. This process places the vertical yarn securely on the loom.
The threads that run right to left are called the weft, and that is the part you mainly see when you see something that is woven.
My first weaving project resulted in a 10-foot-long shawl because I didn't know when to stop weaving, so it ended up extra long. I had to separate it into two, so that worked out.
My main problem occurred when I tried to put more warp on the loom for my next project. I could not figure it out.
I called Rachel. I looked at YouTube videos. I read a book. I ordered an instructional DVD. I had no success.
My varied efforts lasted for well over a month. I knew I had no other choice than to drive back to Waco with my loom for another lesson.
At this point, many of you might be asking why I would spend so much time trying to learn how to weave. After all, it would be so much simpler to just go to the mall and buy a shawl or scarf if I needed one.
That is, of course, true, but it would miss the point. My goal is to learn to weave because I love the unique things I can make. It will be my creative outlet, my art and my personal expression.
Rachel is a young woman about 30 years old. She is bright and creative and spends a good part of her time weaving. She works two or three days a week at the weaving shop at the Homestead Heritage Farm. The farm is a group of peaceable and patient Christian folks who generally own their own property yet work together as a community to grow crops and make crafts.
Look on their website, and it will give you an excellent idea of their philosophy and methods.
It is their goal to live a life that is as self-sustainable as possible. They raise their own animals and grow the foods that they eat. They have chickens for eggs and cows for milk. They make their own bread, butter, ice cream and cheese. They grow the wheat and grind it into flour and don't add preservatives.
They are all about relationships with others, so even when they are busy with their tasks, they are more than happy to stop and talk about meaningful topics.
They don't watch TV or read People Magazine, so they couldn't carry on much of a conversation about sports or movie stars.
I have never met a more content group of souls. Their lives seem so simple compared to mine, and they don't have half the things I own, yet they are perfectly happy.
I spent the whole day with Rachel, and that helped me figure out how to warp the loom. The lesson was at Rachel's family home. They started out my day with an incredible breakfast of homemade bread, homemade butter and yogurt from the family cow and strawberries from their garden.
Rachel was excited because Petunia, one of her family's pigs, was about to have piglets, and as expected, they arrived that afternoon. There were 10 wiggling little babies, and I even got to hold one. Rachel tried to give me one, but I declined her offer.
She showed me her garden and introduced me to her two donkeys and her cow, Maple.
Most of the day, she just taught me how to weave and for that I was most grateful.
Rachel and I have become good friends during this last year, and I look forward to spending time with her again, perhaps wrapped in my new shawl.
When my daughter, Hannah, was young, we used to make a dessert which heralded in our summer months. Sometimes, the simplest recipes are the best.
The sherbet dessert is a perfect end to a summer meal and fun for children to make.
Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.