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Archive for 2012

2012 Okanogan Fair results

The Okanogan County Fair was held last weekend (Thursday through Sunday, actually).  I had filed my entries online before I left on the road trip, but one of them wasn’t finished before I left – namely, in the category “fleece to finished item”.  This must be something you made in the last year, starting with a fleece, so it could be a felted item or something made from yarn spun after preparing the fleece for spinning.

So anyway, last week I was seized with the determination to pull this off!  I was working from a Corriedale/Shetland fleece that I had washed and carded into batts.  I decided to spin up enough of it, and then make a 3-ply yarn, to knit a hat.  I only got to the knitting stage 2 nights before I had to take my entries over to the fairgrounds, but with one very late night I managed to get it done:

Temptation’s fleece as a finished knitted hat

I picked up my entries on Sunday afternoon and here they are after judging:

handspun yarn – blue ribbon

woven scarf – Blue & Grand Champion

woven shawl – Blue, Grand Champion & “Special Award”

woven throw – Blue & Grand Champion

Fleece to Finished Item – Blue & Special Award

I am not quite sure what the “Special Awards” are all about – there isn’t any mention of them in the fair premium book that lists all the departments and categories and how to enter, etc.  I’ll have to ask at our guild meeting this week – maybe someone knows!

I have been working on some of my “Mosaic Mojo” hats as a simple carry-around project.  Here are the two that I finished in the last couple of weeks (one on the road trip, and the other going to and from Seattle last week).

Noro “Silver Thaw” and gray Rowan “Kid Classic”

Noro “Silk Garden” and blue Rowan “Kid Classic”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Scenes from the Road

I am home again – arrived here Friday late afternoon, 2800+ miles and 5 days of driving later.  We saw a lot of beautiful country – it was like watching a slowly unfolding movie as we passed from state to state.

We had one layover day in Lancaster, PA before picking up the car and heading west.  We were staying at a lovely B&B in Lancaster, the King’s Cottage B&B.  Our hostesses were welcoming and informative, the breakfasts were healthy yet gourmet quality – in all, “elegant but casual” as advertised.  Also a big “shout out” to Janis and Ann – I lost an earring but didn’t realize it until almost home, and they found it and are sending it to me!

We had a loaner car from the dealership so were able to explore the surrounding countryside that Sunday.  It being Sunday, most businesses were closed, including Amish crafts etc.  But we still enjoyed the sights and the lovely countryside.

Beautiful farmlands around Lancaster, PA

Covered bridge on a back road

On Monday morning we picked up the car and headed for the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Actually, we followed the turnpike through multiple states until hitting I-90 west of Chicago the next day.

We spent the first night near Lake Pokagon in Angola, IN.  There is a wonderful state park at the lake, with historic Potawotami Inn on the park grounds.  We took the time for a walk there in the morning before driving again – the Inn would be worth a visit, or at least dinner, sometime in future.

The second night we spent with a friend in La Crosse, WI.  She got a spin in the car, of course!

in La Crosse, WI

The third day was our longest one – we drove up along the west side of the Mississippi River, which was quite lovely and reminded me a little of the drive along the Columbia River Gorge.   Skirted Minneapolis/St Paul and then got onto I-94 to head across Minnesota and North Dakota.  Neither of us had been in North Dakota before.  It was flat, but a lot greener than I expected, with farm lands and pockets of trees.  We saw huge crops of sunflowers there.  Made it almost to the North Dakota/Montana border and spent the night in Dickinson, ND.

On day four we drove into Montana and spent the night in Butte, MT.  We had hoped to see a lot of mountain scenery, but because of multiple wildfires it was all grey and smoggy and you could hardly make out anything in the near distance, much less the far distance!  The roads were more fun to drive, though (and yes, we were behaving ourselves speed-limit-wise).  We had a fabulous and inexpensive Montana beef steak dinner that night in Butte.

Day 5, Friday, it was on to Idaho and Spokane, WA and the air quality did clear up and allow us to enjoy the mountain scenery a little better.  From Spokane, the most direct route to the Methow Valley follows smaller state highways, which were a lot of fun to drive with little traffic (still being good about speed!) with ups and downs and curves.  That Porsche has plenty of power, and really hugs the road.  Because of the time zone change, we made it here by 4:30 and had time to wash the car and enjoy a salmon dinner that Rick was ready to cook for us.  Sweet!

Here is a parting shot from Saturday morning, as my friend headed off on her last leg of driving to the Seattle area, over the gorgeous North Cascades Hwy (Hwy 20 from Winthrop in the Methow Valley).

Back home in the Methow!

Also this weekend was the second annual Feast of Field & Stream, a fundraising dinner for Trout Unlimited/ Washington Water Project that honors area farmers who have earned their “Salmon Safe” certification for their farming and water management practices.  As with last year, it was a fabulous meal using locally sourced food & wine.  We met friends there and had a perfect early-autumn evening with the moon still almost full.

Feast of Field & Stream 2012

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Thelma & Louise

I found out a week ago that I am leaving on an Adventure with one of my best friends. She just bought a pre-owned 2004 Porsche Carrera S but it is located in Lancaster, PA and she wants me to fly back with her to drive it cross-country to Seattle.  So I am leaving this evening from the Wenatchee airport to join her in Seattle. We will fly out of Seatac to Philadelphia the next morning, and will be gone for about a week. The plan is to come back via I-90 and she will bring me home to the Methow on her way through to Seattle.

This is the Porsche, a pretty midnight blue with soft grey interior:

It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!  A number of people have remarked it sounds kind of like the movie “Thelma & Louise” – but hopefully without the driving-off-the-cliff part at the end.

I finished up 3 more of the collapse weave scarves – the warp had soft blues, greens and pinks for the cottons with a dark hot pink (“Chanel”) for the wool grid that shrinks more than the cotton and causes the puckering.  The weft colors were lavender, turquoise, and a soft blue-green.

One of my neighbors wants to learn something about weaving, so to get her started (and to have something new to do myself) we wound and tied a cotton towel warp onto the existing setup I have for the scarves on Kingston.  So now she will weave a couple of towels and I will finish up the rest when I get back from the road trip:

I also finished spinning and plying some dyed New Zealand Corriedale that I bought at least 10 years ago from a place in Victoria BC.  The preparation was interesting – it looked like a roving in the bag, but was actually a narrow batt with stripes of about 6 colors running side by side the whole length of it.  I didn’t want to spin it from the end and risk having the colors get all muddied, and I also wanted a more woolen, rather than worsted, prep.  So I tore off about 1-ft sections of the narrow batt, spread it out, then rolled it from the end to something like a rolag (warning … spinning terminology).  Then spun it from the end of the “rolag”, after attenuating the fibers a bit.  So for each of these “rolags” I was spinning across the colors, so they came and went in the singles in a more or less regular pattern.  Clear as mud?  Then I made a 3-ply yarn and just let the colors from the singles work against each other as they came without trying to plan that part out very much.  I am quite pleased with the result!

I have about 650 yards which should be enough to knit a vest:

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Since my last post, we have continued working on outside infrastructure projects.  About 2 weeks ago, our plumber came and completed the hookup of water lines and sewer to the shop building.  On the same day, we had 8 dump truck loads of topsoil delivered and dumped around the perimeter of the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The plan is to spread this out on top of our very rocky soil before planting a “Dry Site Lawn Mix” in the late fall, just before it snows.  This should then sprout in the spring.  It won’t exactly be a lawn, but will provide a grassy ground-cover around the house that we can mow, but should require little watering once established.  We also had some crushed rock and gravel brought in to make some improvements to the driveway and create a new parking area near the house, across from the carport.  Rick plans to build some steps that will come up from that area to the corner of the deck.

New parking area, and topsoil spread ready for planting

Somewhere in there, I finished up the 3 collapse weave scarves in brown/reddish tones.  Traded one of these with my friend at Backcountry Coffee Roasters for a “coffee credit”!

We have had more visitors.  Juno loves visitors!  My cousin Ernie and his wife Mary, who live down near Mt. Hood in Oregon, came through on a loop up to Anacortes/Camano and then over the North Cascades to see us:

Mary, Ernie & yours truly

The following weekend, our friends who own the Real Mother Goose Gallery in Portland, OR came for 2 nights.  Somehow I failed to take pictures, but they had not been over this way in a long time and had not yet seen our home here on Wolf Creek.  It was also their 40th anniversary so we took them out to the Arrowleaf Bistro in Winthrop for a nice dinner.

More “visitors” – all the bucks are hanging out together these days.  Some of them are in our yard almost every day.

Last week we went down to the Twisp River Pub for the Wednesday evening “Jazz in the Beer Garden”.  My brother had told us the visiting guitarist, John Stowell (from Portland, OR) was really good.  No kidding!  He was playing with Terry Hunt, who isn’t too shabby either, plus a bass and drums.

Last Friday we went to a moving sale down in Carlton and came home with a little Ryobi electric log splitter.  We tried it out this morning on some rounds that refused to yield to the splitting maul last year.  It is fabulous!  and not scary or dangerous.  It just slowly presses the log against a wedge at the right end.  Irresistible force meets (as it turns out) moveable object!

We still have to get one or two more cords of wood for the winter, which come cut to length but not split.  This is going to make life so much easier!

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I can’t believe it has been a month since my last blog post.  We have had a lot of things going on, but none seemed particularly blog-worthy or picture-worthy at the time.  But anyway, here’s the news from Wolf Creek.

In early July, we went over to Seattle for family birthdays (Rick’s on July 6, his sister’s on July 10).  Rick’s daughter and son-in-law came up from Medford, so we had a nice long visit with them and Rick’s mom and sister.  Here’s a shot from dinner at his mom’s retirement home:

Towards the end of July we were guests at a paella dinner by the Twisp River.  Our friends had bid on the dinner at a charity auction last winter.  It was a beautiful evening which was actually a lull between thunder and lightning storms (complete with downpours and even hail), so we lucked out:

On July 23rd, the featured-artist exhibit at the Winthrop Gallery came down and I spent a fair amount of time moving things around, rearranging the gift shop area, and bringing some of my work down to the Confluence Gallery.

Meanwhile I have kept moving new weaving projects forward.  I finished off the plaited twill scarves down at the weaving guild room and finally removed that warp setup from the loom.  One of the other women in the guild is going to use my loom for a 12-harness project, then I will figure out what to do on it next.  At home, I set up another warp for the polychrome summer & winter series, this time in shades of blue:

On Kingston, I set up another warp for three of the collapse-weave scarves, which I just finished weaving yesterday, but they still need to be washed and finished.

The past week and a half has been taken up with the 17th annual Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival.  There were 5 main concerts between July 27 and August 4, and my Dad came over from Anacortes for the whole festival.  He “camped” in our front yard in his RV:

Last Thursday, my brother and sister-in-law came over from Camano Island for the last 2 concerts.  We had a great 3 days together:

family dinner at Twisp River Pub

Dad & Andy hanging out on the porch

At the Thursday concert, we re-connected with old friends from Seattle (they were actually one of Rick’s very earliest woodworking clients, so we are talking 30 years ago or so).  They have a cabin up Cub Creek in the Rendezvous.  Well, it turns out they also know my sister-in-law Patti from a long time ago (Harriet taught and mentored one of Patti’s daughters), and Harriet was the officiant at Andy & Patti’s wedding (she was a Superior Court judge in Seattle, now retired).  So on Saturday before the concert we had a wonderful picnic dinner together:

We will definitely all be doing this again next year!

Early August now.  We have diggers and plumbers coming to complete the hookup of the water and sewer lines to the shop building.  The water and sewer had been run over to that building at the time the house was built, but not connected. We also had them move one of the frost-free hydrants from under the breezeway to a spot behind the shop building, and dug a long trench so we can get another frost-free line out to where we plan to put the vegetable garden.  This made it an interesting experience to get in and out of my studio for a few days (I had to walk a plank).

long trench to the garden area

where it all comes together

Also on the home front, Rick finished up the new vanity for our main floor bathroom.  He used straight-grain fir and we are both pleased both with the new look, and the much improved storage space:

He is feeling great and back to work in the shop.  First up were 3 sets of bedside tables, two of them in cherry with ebony handles (one was an order, the other he did on “spec” to put out in the galleries) – the third set he did in afromosia for us!  They are gorgeous:

This is the same wood he used to make the beautiful front door for our house in Seattle (no longer our house, we sold it in 2006 to move here to the Methow Valley).

And finally, the kitties have been doing great and really seem to enjoy having company as much as we do!  Juno is into everything, including this basket:

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Yet more scarves…

I finished up some new scarves, both the “polychrome” and the “collapse weave”, over the course of the last couple of weeks.  Just trying to get ahead of demand a little bit…things really pick up in the valley during “tourist season” (AKA summer).

A new polychrome summer & winter scarf:

Shades of black, grey & white on a grey/brown warp

and three new ones of the collapse weave scarves on a warp I think of as “Spring Meadow”, with weft colors of berry, chartreuse and daffodil yellow.  It is really amazing how the weft color changes the overall perceived color of the scarf!

Weft sampler for the “spring meadow” warp (and how it looks before washing)

Spring Meadow with Berry weft

Spring Meadow with Chartreuse weft

Spring Meadow with Daffodil weft

These are all up at the Winthrop Gallery right now (as I sold some pieces and needed to provide replacements).  Show is on until July 23.

Off to Seattle tomorrow for family birthdays and a visit with Rick’s daughter and her husband, who will be coming up from Medford, OR to see us and Rick’s mom and sister.

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We were over in Seattle earlier this week, as my husband was scheduled for some surgery on Monday at the UW Medical Center.  While there, we stayed (mostly, I stayed) with friends in Montlake near the hospital.  They have a sauna in the basement, which doubles as the guest shower, and in the sauna is a stained glass window that I did 30 or more years ago.  It was kind of cool to see it again, and remember my “stained glass” phase, which actually lasted for quite a while.

Here’s a picture:

“Marine Mammals” (for lack of a better title)

Now we are back at home in the beautiful Methow Valley, and I am taking care of my convalescent (who is doing quite well, thank you!) and getting back to some weaving today.

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Tonight is the artists’ reception at the Winthrop Gallery for a featured-artist exhibit, one of whom is me!  This is a cooperative gallery and a couple of times a year they feature the work of 3 members in the front half of the gallery.  This time, it just turned out that we were 3 women working in media other than painting and photography – most of the work on display is usually in those 2 categories.

Here is the show card:

And here are a few pictures I took last Tuesday when we set up the show.

wall-hangings and totem figures by Susannah Young

We put Susannah’s embroidered silk blouse, one of my polychrome scarves, and one of Linda’s pins on a mannequin in the front window as a collaborative display.

the collaborative display

There was also a nice article about the show in this week’s Methow Valley News:  read it here

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Hawaii travelogue

We have been home from Hawaii for about 10 days, but work and life events have been more pressing than blogging.  However, I am determined to catch up a little, so for today, here are some images and impressions from our vacation.  We were on the Big Island of Hawaii (the island is called Hawaii, as is the state, so it gets a little confusing).   The weather was perfect – high 70’s to low 80’s, sometimes overcast, even a few showers – but so warm and comfortable and lush.  The water was incredibly warm and we swam and/or snorkeled almost every day.

The first week we spent on the Kona side (drier side), mostly at a house rental south of Kailua-Kona.  Specifically, it was down Napo’opo’o Road below the town of Captain Cook, at the south end of Kaleakekua Bay.  This is the bay which has the Captain Cook monument at the north end.  The north end of the bay is accessible only by boat, or by a long and very steep trail from the top of the cliff – but it is home to spinner dolphins, and has some of the best snorkeling in the state (clear waters, beautiful coral reefs, and lots and lots of fabulous fish to look at).

The house was right on the bay, and near the old pier where we could get in and out easily at high tide to swim or snorkel.  People also rented kayaks there every morning to explore the bay.

Our house near Napo’opo’o pier

First night’s sunset

Morning view of the pier with kayaks

There was an outdoor barbeque, so Rick grilled fish or chicken almost every night for dinner.

From there, we explored south along the coast.  Found some great beaches, and visited our friend Jennifer Schwarz, who we know from the old days of Northwest Fine Woodworking in Seattle.  She has moved to Hawaii, with all of her woodworking machinery and everything, and is doing some beautiful work.

On my birthday, we went to South Point, the aptly-named most southern point of the island.  It is also the most southerly place in the entire United States, farther south even than the Florida Keys.  From there, we did a 4-mile round trip hike along the coast to a green sand beach.  The sand washes down from a “littoral cone” which contains a lot of olivine.  We decided not to scramble down to the beach, although many people were doing it without problems, but just sat and ate our lunch and enjoyed the beauty of the place before heading back.

Here we are at windy South Point, Hawaii

Approaching the green sand beach

Looking down on green sand beach

Twice we rented kayaks and paddled to the north end of the bay.  The spinner dolphins would swim and surface around us as we neared the monument, and even jump straight up out of the water, spinning around and then flopping onto their bellies.  It was really magical to hear them breathing and see them so near.  Near the monument, we pulled our kayak up onto the lava rocks and then explored up and down the coral reefs with our snorkeling gear, enjoying the wonderful sights and fish.

I tried to take pictures of the dolphins, but because of all the bobbing up and down, got mostly pictures of the sky, or the cliffs, or my paddle – or else dolphins doing something not very interesting.

Looks kind of like Batman coming up from a swim.

After we left the house, we drove across the Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, to the Hilo (wet) side of the island, and then up to Hawaii Volcanoes Nat’l Park.  There we stayed one night at Kilauea Lodge, which also has a pretty decent restaurant.  Part of the road around Kilauea crater is closed due to sulpher dioxide fumes from the current eruption (Pu’u O’o vent).  But we did some exploring and short walks the first afternoon, and the next morning went for a short hike to a hill in the midst of a 1980’s lava flow.

On the way to Pu’u Huluhulu

We saw a flock of nene’s (pron. nay-nays), the wild Hawaiin geese.  Why they live up there at the  volcano, I do not know, but there are “nene crossing” signs everywhere!

We also dropped in at the Volcano Art Center Gallery near the visitor center – well worth the visit.  Really wonderful, high quality art.  We saw some beautiful woodworking in particular, and our friend Jennifer has some of her small tables there.  Here is a koa bench that we particularly admired:

The last 3 nights we spent at the Kona Tiki Hotel in Kailua-Kona.  Built in 1953, it isn’t fancy, but it was clean and friendly and all rooms faced the water.  We had a kitchenette unit so we could still cook our own food, and they had some barbeques down by the pool area so we could grill yet more wonderful fish!   From there, we explored the northern tip of the island and found some nice art galleries along the way.  Also searched out some wonderful small beaches where we could go for a swim and hang out and relax.

Kohala north coast on an overcast (but warm!) day

A small Kohala beach, only 10 cars let in at a time

The view from our balcony at the Kona Tiki

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Aloha!

We are heading out on a little vacation for the next 2 weeks.  So it has been a frantic scramble to get things wrapped up in the woodshop and the weaving studio before then…but we are coming down to the end, and then it is off to something “completely different” – Hawaii (the Big Island).  We are so looking forward to it!

I had my first collapse weave scarf purchased right off my back the day I finished it.  Pretty cool.  This last week I put on the warp for two more:

Color sampling for 2 more collapse-weave scarves

and here they are done.  I was experimenting with length (woven, and after shrinking in the washer) and also with degree of shrinkage (how long I agitate them).  I actually like both of them for different reasons.

Collapse weave scarves in “American Southwest” colors

I’ll be back at the end of May!

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