Archive for 2011

Fair results

I will be gone from home for most of the rest of September, so blog activity will be scanty at best.  But, I will take pictures!  First up is a rug weaving workshop with Judith MacKenzie out at the Rainforest Art Center in Forks, WA (on the Olympic Peninsula – yes, that Forks, with the vampires etc.)

Meanwhile, I got some nice recognition for my 4 entries to the Okanogan County Fair:

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Rick’s daughter and son-in-law drove up from Medford last Thursday to visit us and see our new home at Wolf Creek.  It’s a long drive, about 12 hours if done straight, so we really appreciated them making the effort.  We didn’t “do” much, just took it easy and had a nice visit.

But it turns out Duane loves to split wood.  Who are we to argue?  Now all the firewood is split and stacked neatly away for winter!

On Sunday we drove up to Hart’s Pass – actually beyond, to the base of Slate Peak.  From there is it a short walk up to the fire lookout at 7488 feet.  Gorgeous views all around of the North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness.

on top of Slate Peak, Mt Baker in the background



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Peerie blankets

I’ve been reading a series of mystery novels by Ann Cleeves which are set in the Shetland Islands,  a place we visited 11 years ago.  They have reminded me of the use of the word “peerie” which means little, or small.  I am used to hearing it in association with the small filler-type patterns in Fair Isle sweaters, but it has more general use, as “when I was a peerie boy…”.

So here are the peerie blankets or lap robes I have been weaving during July and August.  I finally got around to the finish work last week (braiding the fringes, then fulling them in the washing machine).  For the most part I am still working my way through my vast stash of 2-ply Shetland knitting yarn – I have it down to a science how much I need of 8 colors for the 3-yard warps!  Sometimes I have supplemented with Harrisville Shetland on cones, or other wool knitting yarns.

This one is different, though.  I was given 2 skeins of hand-dyed, hand-spun Romney yarn in shades of purple at knitting retreat last year.  Not the softest yarn for knitting, but she thought maybe I could “do something with it” weaving.  Indeed!  I used the hand-spun for the warp but did not have enough for the full width of the blanket/throw, so I supplemented it with Satakieli (a wool yarn from Finland) and also some Harrisville Shetland in the center section.

#6 with hand-dyed, handspun Romney yarn

This one was done with 2-ply Shetland left over from a kit I bought many years ago from Tomato Factory Yarn Co.  It was for the Alice Starmore design called Luskentyre, which is also found in the pattern book called The Scottish Collection (long out of print).  They must have given me a lot of yarn in the kit, because I had a lot left over.  I did supplement it with other similar colors I had in the stash.

# 7 Luskentyre

Here it is with the sweater.  The blanket was woven with a purple weft so it isn’t nearly as light in color as the sweater, which also included a lot of cream colored wool.

Here are two more. One was done in shades of black to mid gray with a light gray weft, and the other in shades of brown with a cream weft.

#8 grays

#9 browns

And finally, another blue one:

#10 shades of blue with teal weft

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Lochinver finished

It’s done, the hand of the knitted fabric feels great, and it fits as well as you can expect from a drop-shoulder design.  The extreme taper to the sleeves seems a little odd, but I will wear it for a while before deciding if any adjustments are needed:

I found these 3 buttons in my stash and they are perfect.  I don’t plan on buttoning/unbuttoning as it pulls over my head just fine.  But they make a nice decorative finish to the neckline:

I’m entering it in the county fair next week in the “Fleece to Finished Item” category.

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Down for the Count

We’ve been on sick leave around here the past week.  Rick came down with it first – congestion, lots of coughing and hacking, then a fever that kept him in bed for a day and a half.  I thought I had avoided it, but no – although I seem to have a somewhat milder case of the congestion part.  I spent all day yesterday in bed with the fever, chills and achiness, and am still a little wiped out today, but pretty sure I am on the mend at last.  Hopefully normal life resumes tomorrow!

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Lochinver progress

I’m in the home stretch on the Lochinver sweater from Alice Starmore’s Fishermen’s Sweaters.  Here it is with the body, collar and one sleeve done:

I have modified the sleeve patterning from the pattern as written.  In the book version, she alternates pattern bands with plain stockinette stitch sections.  After looking at pictures of finished “Lochinvers” on Ravelry, I wasn’t crazy about the look.  I also looked in some of my books on traditional fishermen’s sweaters of England and Scotland.  They tended to have patterning at the top of the sleeve (ending either above or below the elbow) then finish with plain stockinette stitch before the ribbing.  I think this was because they tended to snag and wear more on the lower arm – these were working sweaters, after all.  It would be easier to tear out and re-knit the lower part of the sleeve this way, to keep the sweater going.

Anyway, after the first pattern band where you decrease away the underarm gusset, I continued with 3 of the body charts and the same 8 rows between them as in the body, making for double purl bands between patterns.  Had to keep track of the decreases every 3 rows but that wasn’t so bad.  Then finished with a short section of stockinette and the final ribbing.  I was able to try it on to get the sleeve length just right for me, which is always nice.

Hopefully I will be done with this by next week – block and sew on the 3 buttons for the collar – and post one final picture!

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Last week our grand-daughter took a week of her vacation to come up to visit us from Medford, OR.  It was her first long road trip by herself but she seemed to enjoy it, and we had a great time.  The first 3 days we stayed in the valley and just sort of hung out and visited – but she did tell me she wanted to learn to knit, so I also got her started on that and she was making real progress by the end of the week.

The night before we left for Seattle, we had dinner down at Twisp River Pub:

In Seattle we visited with Rick’s sister and mom (April’s great-aunt and great-grandmother!)

and did touristy stuff, like visit the Space Needle and the Seattle Aquarium.  The weather was perfect and it was actually nice to be doing some fun things in Seattle instead of being focused on errands and so forth, like we usually are.

at the Space Needle

We all thought this modified sign in Ballard was pretty funny:

We parted company after 3 days in Seattle, her heading south to Oregon and us heading north to visit my Dad and brother and sister-in-law before coming home over the North Cascades Highway on Sunday morning.

Sunday evening we went to a wonderful outdoor event at Bluebird Grain Farms up in the Rendezvous area.  Called the “Feast of Field and Stream”, it was a dinner showcasing the products of Bluebird Grain Farms, Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards in Chelan, and the Okanogan Producers Marketing Association, all of whom had earned their Salmon-Safe certifications.  All proceeds went to Trout Unlimited and the Salmon Safe program.

The dinner was catered by Cameron Green and Molly Patterson of Glover Street Market in Twisp, and featured huge pans of farro paella cooked over outdoor fires, quite impressive:

that's a pan full of mussels in the background

cheeses from Glover Street Market

A good time was had by all and we hope they do it again next year!

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Roll like an Egyptian

So we decided to move the two woodsheds that Rick built late last fall, mainly to get them farther away from the house and propane tank (for fire safety reasons) but also because we thought they would look better in that location from the house and the road, and to allow for an easier way to drive all around the house.

Rick built them as free-standing structures, but they are heavy.  What to do?  Last week he inquired down at Methow Valley Lumber about their boom truck.  Expensive and maybe hard to get into the back yard to even do it.  But Larry suggested we just get “peeler logs” which are used for fence posts, and roll it on those.  That’s how the Egyptians did it, says he.

Rick actually moved the first one last week all by himself.  Worked like a charm!  But the other one was partially filled with firewood, so this morning we transferred all that wood to the one in the new location, commingling it with some of the two cords of fir that we had delivered about a month ago.  Then we moved the second shed.  It was kind of fun and so much easier than I would have thought.  Alright, I actually did help – just not when I was taking the pictures!

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Sea Scallop

As promised, here are pictures of the latest plaited twill scarves in the warp colorway “Sea Scallop”.  For those of you who are not weavers, the warp is seen as the threads that run lengthwise through the scarf, and which you see in the twisted fringes at each end.  The weft is the thread or yarn that is woven back and forth across the width of the scarf, forming the pattern.  All of these were woven using the same tie-up (how the treadles are attached to the harnesses on the loom) but I used two different treadling patterns (the order in which the harnesses are lifted for each shot or pass of the weft) so that’s why you see two different patterns.

SeaScallop with soft pink chenille weft

Sea Scallop with chocolate brown chenille weft

Sea Scallop with eggplant tencel weft


Sea Scallop with Pompeii (rust) tencel weft

Sea Scallop with taupe tencel weft

I’m taking two of these to each gallery tomorrow (see sidebar) and setting one aside for the holiday sales.  Which one do you think I will set aside?  I haven’t actually decided yet!

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Lots of new projects underway here lately, but the blog has lagged behind.  I have had start-itis, wanting to start many things all at once!

I started a new sweater using some yarn that I spun last year.  Actually I brought this one along all the way from the fleece, which was from a multicolored Corriedale named “Tsuku”.  After washing, I separated the fleece into 3 color groups (gray, white-to-pale gray, and dark-gray-to-black), carded them separately and then put the 3 colors onto the drum carder in layers.  The goal was to preserve some color variation in the final yarn, which more or less worked.  Spun it up as a 3-ply yarn sometime last winter and wound up with quite a lot, maybe 2800 yards or so.  So now I am knitting it up as a traditional gansey style sweater, using the pattern Lochinver from Alice Starmore’s book Fishermen’s Sweaters.

Lochinver sweater completed to the underarm

As of today, I have almost finished the front and back yokes and will be moving on to the collar and sleeves soon.  More pictures to come!  It’s going amazingly fast and it feels good to be knitting an actual sweater again.  I had kind of gotten stuck on hats and small projects there for a while.

I started spinning some merino/cashmere and merino/tencel fiber that I purchased at a conference several years back.  Dyed by Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks, both in the same colorway called Copper Slate.  Taking an idea from last February’s spinning camp on Orcas, I am alternating the two fiber blends in the spun singles (instead of alternating colorways of the same fiber) and hope to wind up with a 2-ply for a lace project.  No pictures yet but I will get some once I actually have produced some yarn.

Started another round of plaited twill scarves down at the weavers’ guild room.  I am calling this warp colorway “Sea Scallop.”

Sea Scallop with chocolate chenille weft

Sea Scallop with taupe tencel weft

These are actually off the loom now, fringes braided, washed and pressed and trimmed.  I’ll get pictures today or tomorrow and show the finished product.  I have wound the next warp and it is ready to tie on, which I may get started on today.  I’m on a roll, trying to build up some stock for the galleries and holiday sales.

At home, I have been working on more of the small blankets or lap robes.  I have interim pictures only, as I am just concentrating on getting them woven and putting them in a box to be finished up later (twisting the fringes, fulling in the washing machine, etc).  It’s been really fun though, sorting through my Shetland yarn stash and coming up with combinations that work together – and getting rid of some stuff kept in storage for way, way too long!

This one used some handspun Romney yarn that was given to me at knitting retreat last November.  She dyed it the variegated purple color and then spun it as a 2-ply.  I had to use some commercial yarn in the warp as well (Harrisville Shetland) to get the full width, and also for the weft:

# 6 using hand-spun, hand-dyed Romney

This one used up yarn leftover from a fairisle sweater I knit several years ago (Luskentyre by Alice Starmore):

# 7 Luskentyre, on the loom

#7 Luskentyre, off loom but not yet finished/fulled

I finished one 2 days ago in shades of brown, and have a new one on the loom in shades of gray to black:

# 9 underway on the loom

On a completely different note, last Friday we attended the “soft opening” for my friend Sara’s new studio down at the TwispWorks campus in Twisp.  She is calling it “Culler Studio”, a play on “color studio” but Culler was her mother’s maiden name.  Rick and I had been down there the week before helping her paint the walls, and it was amazing to see it transformed:

Culler Studio at TwispWorks

This will be primarily a work space (Sara is a natural dyer, painter, weaver) but for this event she had a showing of her own work, plus that of her 2 daughters Eva (print-making) and Grace (jewelry).  It was certainly well-attended and a good time was had by all!

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