A Beautiful Display

Last weekend was the Methow Valley Spinners & Weavers Guild annual show & sale.  As usual, our guild meeting room was transformed into a beautiful display of our work.  We often fret that “we won’t have enough stuff” – ha!

We did a good job on the advertising this year – newspaper ads, newspaper article coverage, radio ads, and many flyers put up around Twisp and Winthrop.  There was a good turnout and it was quite successful!






2015 Show & Sale

Well, it’s been a race to the finish but I did get everything done for my weaving guild’s annual sale this weekend.  So here it is… I will post some pictures of the event in a couple of days.  We also have friends from Ashland, OR coming to visit for 2 nights so it should be a busy and fun weekend.

2015 annual sale poster


Yesterday we made a run over to the west side with the truck and utility trailer to get some birdseye maple from a friend who lives in Maple Valley (SE of Seattle).  Rick needs some of the wood for a job that he hopes to complete before Christmas, and we were running up against winter weather for getting over the passes.  In fact, there was a storm forecast to come in by last night.  We had smooth sailing – bare and dry over Blewett Pass and bare and wet over Snoqualmie.  We left at 8 am and got home around 7 pm.

Ken Richards is an incredible woodworker.  Way, way beyond almost anything I have ever seen.  Check out Ken Richards: The Art of Fine Furniture for a closer look!  He was working on a commission for a client that he estimated would take 13 months to complete.

Rick & Ken Richards with the piece underway

Rick & Ken Richards with the piece underway

When we reached Winthrop last night it was just starting to snow.  There were a couple of inches on the ground when we went to bed.  This morning we awoke to this:

First snowfall for winter 2015!

First snowfall for winter 2015!

Fortunately, in the last week or so Rick finished stacking and storing the extra cord of firewood we had delivered:


And just a few days ago he finished clearing out the center bay of the carport and backed the Airstream into its winter home:


So we are all ready for winter.  Bring it on and we hope for a good snow season and plenty of cross-country skiing!  It is supposed to rain later today and be clear at the end of the week, so I suspect this current snow won’t last, but it’s a start!

New Tie-Dye Silk Scarves

After we got back from Vancouver BC, I went to work on a new round of “Tie-Dye” silk scarves to get ready for the holiday season.  I pre-dyed 24 silk charmeuse scarf blanks about a month ago, so had a supply of different base colors.  I have gotten to like this better than using just a basic white scarf.

The frustrating thing about this is that I can’t always tell which neckties will transfer their dye well.  I will lay out a scarf, roll it up, put it in the vinegar water bath (6 at a time, actually) and then when I unroll it one or more colors may be just kind of anemic looking.  So I have taken to making a second scarf using just the necktie pieces that worked well the first time around, but adding in one or more new neckties and maybe doing some re-arranging of the layout.  This gives me two different but related scarves, and makes efficient use of the material.

In all of these pictures, the original scarf is on the right, and the second scarf is on the left.

Oct 2015 1

Oct 2015 2

Oct 2015 3

Oct 2015 4

Oct 2015 5

Oct 2015 6

Oct 2015 7

Oct 2015 8

Oct 2015 9

Oct 2015 10

Oct 2015 11

I got these done in time to take to an annual event I attend out in Port Townsend.  Whatever is left, I will disperse to the 3 galleries (Winthrop Gallery, Confluence Gallery, and D*Signs Gallery in Twisp).  I ordered more scarf blanks from Dharma Trading Co. and have plenty of silk neckties left, so I may do another round of these in early December.

Workshop Weekend

This past weekend our weaving guild brought in Mary Berent from Eagle, ID (near Boise) to teach a 2-day workshop on “Combining Common Cottons”.  It was set up as a round-robin format, where each loom had a different setup and then we took turns weaving a sample on each one.  We had 10 people and 11 looms setup, so it was busy and kind of intense, but we got through it all.


The idea is to combine commonly available and relatively inexpensive plain cotton weaving yarns with other types of yarn (novelty knitting yarns, more textured or heavy cotton yarns, linen, and other fibers – including mohair!) for a variety of reasons.  These could include:  making a more interesting fabric, making a fabric better suited to its purpose, saving money when using expensive yarns, not having enough of something you really want to use, etc.

Mary brought lots of examples:




At the end of the second day, we took the entire length woven off each loom and discussed what we were seeing, before cutting them apart so everyone could take their sample home to be wet-finished and stored in our notebooks.



We also asked Mary to give a 2-hour lecture Sunday evening that was open to all, not just our guild.  The topic was “Inspiration, Color & Design” and we had about 22 people in attendance down at TwispWorks.  This was the community outreach part of the grant we got from ANWG last year (Association of Northwest Weavers’ Guilds).  Again, she brought lots of samples for people to pore over.  I think everyone, including the non-weavers, found it interesting.




I took her to the airport in Wenatchee this morning and am now home – tired, inspired, and ready for a vacation.  We head off for Seattle and Vancouver BC for the rest of the week, so that should fit the bill!

Yesterday I had time to hem the towels I took off the loom last week.  I really like this colorway.  The Valley Yarns 8/2 cotton is from WEBS and so I am using their color names.  The warp was stripes of Shale, Willow Green, Madder Brown and Alabaster.

It is still amazing to me how different they look depending on both the pattern and tabby weft colors.  In general, I found a darker tabby was more effective than a lighter one.  Shale and Baked Clay both worked well as tabby.

Left: Baked Clay pattern and Shale tabby. Right: warp colors only.

Left: Baked Clay pattern and Shale tabby. Right: Madder Brown pattern and Alabaster tabby.

Lime with Shalae tabby; 2 different treadling patterns

Lime with Shale tabby; 2 different treadling patterns

Left: warp colors as pattern, Alabaster tabby. Right: Alabaster pattern, Baked Clay tabby.

Left: warp colors as pattern, Alabaster tabby. Right: Alabaster pattern, Baked Clay tabby.

Burnt Sienna pattern with Shale tabby on left and with Alabaster tabby on right

Burnt Sienna pattern with Shale tabby on left and with Alabaster tabby on right

Black pattern with Baked Clay tabby, 2 different treadling patterns

Black pattern with Baked Clay tabby, 2 different treadling patterns

The big Workshop Weekend is finally here – we go down to Wenatchee today to pick up our teacher, Mary Berent from Eagle, Idaho.  She is flying Boise to Sea-Tac, then catching the short hop to from Seattle to Wenatchee.

Sequence Cowl

Last spring some friends turned me on to the new book “Sequence Knitting” (subtitled “Simple Methods for Creating Complex Reversible Fabrics”) by Cecilia Campochiaro.  This is more of a methods and ideas book than a pattern book, although there are directions for some of the sample projects.  It is also self-published and beautifully done – she created all the charts and I believe did all the photography herself.  The section at the end on working with variegated yarns, dyeing methods to get successful variegated yarns, and understanding color mixing and contrast, is excellent.

I started two projects back in June.  The first was a 2-color parallelogram similar to her Robson scarf but using a different sequence.  I have been stalled at about the halfway point for months and finally decided I just wasn’t happy with the edge where the colors are carried up, and that I probably wouldn’t wear it much.  So I ripped it out yesterday – so freeing!

The other project was a cowl using the Spiral method (knit in the round).  I chose the sequence (K4,P4,K2,P2) on a multiple of 12 plus 2.  This means the sequence pattern shifts by 2 stitches on every round, thus forming the spiral.  This particular sequence and stitch count yields a row repeat of 6.  Since I wanted to use 2 colors, I did knit an in-the-round test swatch to see how often I wanted to change colors within the 6-row repeat.  I wound up changing colors every 3 rounds.


Here it is laid out flat:


and as worn:


I used 80% merino/20% silk fingering weight yarn dyed by Heidi Dascher at The Artful Ewe in Port Gamble, WA (she calls this yarn “Clackamas”).  302 sts CO on a US 5 needle.

I am so happy with this I am starting another one.  I also find cowls more easily wearable than knitted scarves that need to be draped or tied somehow to stay on.  There are variations of the same sequence with a shift of 1,2,3 or 4 stitches and it is AMAZING how different the fabrics look.  This time I am going to do the same sequence on a multiple of 12 + 1.  Stay tuned!


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