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Archive for 2013

It’s all kind of a blur…

I haven’t posted in about a month and now we are leaving this morning for a week in Seattle – but I will try to make a quick update!  Since we returned to the valley at Thanksgiving, I have been a busy busy weaver, making the final push for the galleries and a holiday gift show in Twisp.  I already had warps set up on my two looms at home, so the first order of business was to weave those projects and do all the finishing work.

On Kingston (40″ Macomber) I had 12 yds of warp for a final run of the Lace Bronson placemats.    I used the same warp colors as in one of the first versions of these mats, since I had a potential buyer for up to 12 of them.  Found some fabric at JoAnn’s in similar colors, so here was the basic colorway:

warp colors and "bird fabric" to match the older mat pictured

warp colors and “bird fabric” to match the older mat pictured

I wound up making 12 of these:

"bird fabric" placemats

“bird fabric” placemats

4 of these:

blue floral placemats

blue floral placemats

and only 3 of these because I ran out of warp:

lavender floral placemats

lavender floral placemats

Moving back to the 48″ Macomber, I had a warp for 5 more plaited twill scarves in what I am calling the Pomegranate colorway.  I used 8/2 Tencel from WEBS for all of these:  black, shale, taupe, eggplant and navy.  They all turned out great!  It takes me as long or longer to twist the doubled-back fringes on these, as it does to weave them, so that gets a little tedious.

Taupe tencel woven on the Pomegranate warp

Taupe tencel woven on the Pomegranate warp

Navy tencel woven on the Pomegranate warp

Navy tencel woven on the Pomegranate warp

Black tencel woven on the Pomegranate warp

Black tencel woven on the Pomegranate warp

Eggplant tencel woven on the Pomegranate warp

Eggplant tencel woven on the Pomegranate warp

Shale tencel woven on the Pomegranate warp

Shale tencel woven on the Pomegranate warp

These pictures were taken rather hurriedly down at Local 98856 in Twisp, where I was setting up for the “Handmade for the Holidays” gift show which runs Dec 14-24.  I have a nice spot in a corner window, and there are a lot of really nice handmade items plus garden-oriented items (Local 98856 is normally a gardening business).

P1030400

So by the second week of December I had finished placemats and plaited twill scarves, and was ready to move on to some of my “mixed warp” scarves.  I decided to make them a little wider than the ones I did last year – 8 inches on the loom, finishing out between 7-8″ after weaving and washing.

I also had Rick install the sectional warp beam on Kingston so I could use my AVL warping wheel in the way it is really intended – to make a 2″ section of warp at a time, then wind it directly onto the sectional beam under tension.  I had been a little apprehensive about trying this, but it turned out to be ridiculously easy and I was able to put on a 21-yard warp in a matter of hours!  It is 21 yards because the warping wheel has a maximum 3-yard circumference, and with 7 winds I get the 21 yards.  I would never attempt to make a warp this long for conventional beaming, especially with the sticky yarns I was using.

The first warp I called “Blackberry” and I got 9 scarves, each 72″ long plus a 4″ fringe at each end – and one more shorter one.

16 yarns used for Blackberry mixed-warp

16 yarns used for Blackberry mixed-warp

Blackberry warp on the loom

Blackberry warp on the loom

finished Blackberry scarves

finished Blackberry scarves

more finished Blackberry scarves!

more finished Blackberry scarves!

This past week I decided to go for one more set of mixed-warp scarves, to be sure I have plenty of inventory out there before we leave for the week.  I started winding the warp on Sunday night:

16 yarns used for the Bright Autumn mixed warp

16 yarns used for the Bright Autumn mixed warp

winding one 2" section onto the beam from the AVL warping wheel

winding one 2″ section onto the beam from the AVL warping wheel

the Bright Autumn warp ready to go

the Bright Autumn warp ready to go

finished Bright Autumn scarves #1

finished Bright Autumn scarves #1

finished Bright Autumn scarves #2

finished Bright Autumn scarves #2

finished Bright Autumn scarves #3

finished Bright Autumn scarves #3

I had these woven, off the loom and washed by Wednesday night (as a result of long days…) and yesterday had them trimmed, pressed, labeled and out to where they needed to go.

Somewhere in there I also made about 20 lavender eye pillows, using samples and leftover bits of handwoven fabric from past scarf projects for one side, and with silk fabric on the other side.  Didn’t get any pictures, though.  I am using a mixture of brown flax seeds and lovely organic lavender for the filling – the flax gives them a little heft and drape so they lie across the eyes nicely.

So now my work is done and I can relax, enjoy time with family and friends, and let my body recover.  See you in the New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20 Towels in 6 days

I had a weaving marathon going on down at the guild room this week.  I had previously wound an 18-yard warp for my undulating twill towels, and last Sunday (a week ago) I went down there and starting tying on to the previous warp.  I got it about 80% done, but had to wait until Tuesday to resume, since Monday was my day this month to staff the Winthrop Gallery.  So Tuesday I finished tying on, and beamed the warp, and wove the first 2 towels.

Yesterday (Saturday) I finished the weaving – ending up with 20 in all!  Each one about 32″ long before washing, excluding hems.  Here they are, laid out on the floor at the guild room, as one long length of cloth:

 

with my trusty 40" Macomber loom in the background

with my trusty 40″ Macomber loom in the background

I brought them home, stay-stitched and cut between every fifth towel (so I could break up the long run of cloth somewhat), and got them through the washer and dryer last night.  Today I am finishing the stay-stitching, cutting them apart, hemming and pressing, and getting ready to put labels on them for the annual guild sale coming up this week.

I don’t know if I would always want to work at this pace, but it is kind of interesting to know I can do it.

I think I forgot to post pictures of the placemats I finished a couple of weeks ago:

10 like these

10 like these

and another 8 like these

and another 8 like these

 

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Got My Mojo On

I have a backlog of weaving and knitting projects to report, but it seems time for blogging is scarce these days.  Anyway…. while on the road trip, I finished up the twisted fringes for 5 plaited twill scarves, which I took to the Seattle Weavers’ Guild sale on Oct 24-26, and then out to Port Townsend for an annual event.  The upshot is that I only have this one lousy picture, and only one of the scarves left (which is good!)

5 scarves completed in October 2013

5 scarves completed in October 2013

Also on the road trip, I got started on knitting more of my Mosaic Mojo Hats – see sidebar, pattern available on Ravelry.  Good thing, because I had 8 of them left from last winter, and sold 6 of them at the Seattle Weavers’ Guild sale!  So here are the new ones to date:

Cascade 220 "Soft Sage" & Creative Fibers hand-dyed from New Zealand "Schist"

Cascade 220 “Soft Sage” & Creative Fibers hand-dyed from New Zealand “Schist”

Cascade 220 & Cascade Cloud (wool & alpaca)

Cascade 220 & Cascade Cloud (wool & alpaca)

a discontinued Noro silk/wool yarn bought at stash reduction sale, and Rowan Kid Classic in rust and sky blue

a discontinued Noro silk/wool yarn bought at stash reduction sale, and Rowan Kid Classic in rust and powder blue

Dream in Color Classy handpaint bought at stash reduction sale, and Rowan Kid Classic in sky blue

Dream in Color Classy handpaint bought at stash reduction sale, and Rowan Kid Classic in sky blue

For the upcoming annual Methow Valley Spinners & Weavers Guild sale next week, we can only have knitted items for sale if we used hand-spun yarn.  So I rooted around in the hand-spun yarn box in my studio and came up with some good stuff.  At least 5-6 years ago at a spinning workshop with Judith MacKenzie, I made a multi-colored cabled yarn from these materials:

5 colors of merino top, a commercial rayon yarn, and samples of finished cabled yarn

5 colors of merino top, a commercial rayon yarn, and samples of finished cabled yarn

The dyed merino top was spun in a repeating color sequence, then made into a 2-ply yarn.  The colors randomized together in the 2-ply, usually one color with another different one, but sometimes the same color with itself.  The 2-ply was made to have the same direction of twist as a commercial rayon yarn (dark raisin color).  The final yarn was a cabled yarn of my handspun 2-ply with the rayon yarn.  I have had this around for years and never did anything with it, so now it is finally going into some hats:

Two hats from handspun yarn

Two hats from handspun yarn

The one on the right was knit with my cabled yarn plus a Rambouillet yarn which was made from fiber I got from Judith MacKenzie.  The one on the left was knit with my cabled yarn plus some natural gray Cormo which I spun up the past summer.

I am also on a roll with weaving projects.  I have another warp set up at home for more plaited twill scarves, and for more placemats on the other home loom.  This week I spent mostly at the guild meeting room getting another towel warp set up – 18 yards!!  I started weaving yesterday and have 7 of them done already.

new towel warp at the guild room

new towel warp at the guild room

 

"Treebark Towel" underway

“Treebark Towel” underway

It’s that time of year…holiday gift shows at both Winthrop Gallery and Confluence Gallery, plus I have signed up for a holiday gift show the last 10 days before Christmas at Local 98856 in Twisp.  I will be too busy to spit for the next month – oh, except for a certain wedding in Austin, TX and then Thanksgiving with family.

 

 

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The Lone Riveter Returns!

Just a quick post to say that our 1973 Airstream Overlander trailer is finally home after spending 5 months at Airstream of Spokane.  We were going to go get it last Tuesday, but with snow forecast for both here and Spokane, we postponed to Friday.  Forecast was accurate, by the way, although the snow didn’t last.

So Friday we got up at 4:30 am, were out the door by 6:15 and had an easy, although occasionally foggy, drive to Spokane.  We had a walk-through with the folks there, and found out some things that we will need to do in the spring – like seal the seams and around the windows.  We got the products we will need to do that.  We had an Equalizer hitch installed on the trailer and truck, too.

Had lunch with our friend Austin who is now living in Spokane, then headed off for home around 2 pm.  Rick was very pleased with how easy it was to tow.  The drive home was beautiful with clear skies and late afternoon sunset colors.

A friend came up with the name “The Lone Riveter”, which we find amusing even if we don’t always use it – we tend to be pretty pedestrian when it comes to naming vehicles.  But here she is back home:

The Lone Riveter... and Tundra!

The Lone Riveter… and Tundra!

This is as far as we could get it into the carport.  24-ft carport, 27-ft trailer including bumper and tongue.  But it is pretty well under cover for the coming winter:

return from Spokane 2Note the spiffy new “sunglasses”.  This is a rock-guard to protect the front windows when towing, as they would be very expensive to replace.  But when we are camped and it is lifted up, it will act as a sunshade or awning for the front windows, too.

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Tour of the Mountain West

We have been back from our 2-1/2 week road trip for over a week, so I apologize for not posting sooner.  We have been busy!  But more about that later.

Here are a few highlights from our trip, which took us through Montana and Wyoming, down to Colorado to visit my sister and brother-in-law, back up to Sun Valley, Idaho for the Trailing of the Sheep festival, and then out to Medford & Ashland, Oregon to visit more family.  It was a lot of driving, but we enjoyed all our stops along the way and saw some beautiful country in full fall color.

Out first night was in Butte, MT and it was snowing when we left there the next morning.  A large snowstorm was moving across the region, which made us actually glad we were shut out of Yellowstone National Park (government shutdown) and heading for Cody, WY instead.  In Cody we spent most of a day at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.  This is a complex of 5 museums and definitely worth a visit.  A couple of years ago we saw the Plains Indian and Western Art exhibits.  This time we saw the Buffalo Bill exhibit (just re-done last year, they said), also the Firearms and Greater Yellowstone Natural History exhibits.

It also snowed the first night in Cody, but started to clear the next day.  By the time we headed south it was quite gorgeous – clear blue skies with snow on the ground – but cold and windy until we got to Colorado.

antelope south of Cody, WY

antelope south of Cody, WY

Wind River Canyon south of Thermopolis

Wind River Canyon south of Thermopolis

We made it to Boulder, CO by late afternoon, in time for my planned visit to Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins, where I browsed the mill-ends and came away with some nice cones of cotton weaving yarns.

The next day we drove down to my sister and brother-in-law’s house south of Pueblo, CO where we had a nice long 2-day visit before heading back north.  We stuck to the back highways and saw some oddities

Bishop's Castle along Hwy 165 out of Colorado City, CO

Bishop’s Castle along Hwy 165 out of Colorado City, CO

and mile after mile of beautiful fall color mixed with evergreens:

P1030639In fact we saw so much beautiful fall color throughout this trip, we kind of gave up on trying to photograph it!

Favorite stops that day were Salida, CO (lots of great shops and galleries) and Leadville, CO (at 10,000 ft with 14,00 peaks off to the west).  The whole drive up along the east side of the Rockies was splendid and we will need to go back and spend more time.

Eventually we made it up to Hailey/Ketchum (Sun Valley) Idaho for the Trailing of the Sheep festival on Oct 10-13.  I first read about this a year ago in Wild Fibers magazine – in fact the running of the sheep through Ketchum on the final day was their cover photo for the Winter 2012 issue.  We stayed in Hailey, which I would recommend – fun town, lots of options for places to stay and eat.

On Saturday there was the Folklife Fair in Hailey, featuring many booths with wool-related fiber crafts

P1030073sheep camps both on display and for sale

P1030068

interior of a restored sheep camp

interior of a restored sheep camp

and a second one

and a second one

Music and dancing by groups representing the many cultures that have worked as sheepherders in the region:

The Polish Highlanders

The Polish Highlanders

“The Polish Highlanders of North America present the folk music and dance of their families, shepherds from the Tatra Mountains of southern Poland. Their dance is found only in this region of Europe. Their singing was once used to communicate from mountaintop pastures to valleys below. Now living in Chicago, the group keeps its distinct identity and traditions to pass on to its children.”

The Oinkari Basque Dancers

The Oinkari Basque Dancers

“The nationally acclaimed Oinkari Basque Dancers were started by a group of Boise Basque Americans after a trip to the Spanish Basque country in 1960…They play Basque music of varying styles and rhythms using traditional instruments including the txistu, button accordions, accompanied by pandareta and other Basque instruments. The music they play could have been heard coming from a Basque hotel or boarding house in Hailey, Shoshone, or Boise over 100 years ago.”

Sheep shearing demonstrations (hard to get close enough to get a picture)

please don't shear me!

please don’t shear me!

Lots of food booths featuring – you guessed it – lamb, lamb and more lamb!

lamb vindaloo - I think....

lamb vindaloo – I think….

And what do you know, there was Linda Cortwright, editor and publisher of Wild Fibers Magazine!

 

Wild Fibers booth at the Folklife Fair

Wild Fibers booth at the Folklife Fair

My new BFF, Linda

My new BFF, Linda

Later that afternoon we went a little ways out of Hailey to watch the sheepdog trials, which went on throughout the festival.

 

a hard working sheepdog

a hard working sheepdog

Trying the "pen" the sheep - only managed once in 4 years, they said

Trying to “pen” the sheep – only managed once in 4 years, they said

The next day (Sunday) was the big parade up in Ketchum.  All the dance troupes and wagons, etc from the day before were in the parade.

Oinkari Basque Dancers

Oinkari Basque Dancers

Peruvian Dancers and Musicians

Peruvian Dancers and Musicians

The Boise HIghlanders

The Boise HIghlanders

more sheep camps

more sheep camps

The “grand finale” is when they bring about 1500 head of sheep through town on their way to winter pasture:

P1030132

P1030136

was so much fun!

was so much fun!

After leaving Sun Valley, we headed across southern Oregon on our way out to visit more family in Ashland and Medford.  Beautiful warm weather and good times.  Thence north to Portland (to pick up more rug weaving materials at the Pendleton outlet – Woolen Mill Store) and Seattle (to do a few errands) before finally wending our way back to the Methow Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We both made trips to the coast last week, but not at the same time!  I took a few pictures on my drive over the North Cascades:

Fresh snow on Liberty Bell, just east of Washington Pass

Fresh snow on Liberty Bell, just east of Washington Pass

Sunset on the way back home, looking north into Canada

Sunset on the way back home, looking north into Canada

We are off on a road trip!  Friends from Seattle will stay here and have a Methow Valley vacation, take care of our kitties, and keep an eye on the place.  So it was a win-win situation.

I will attempt to blog from the road, but we shall see….

 

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Fall Equinox

Today is the fall equinox, and we have been busy getting ready for winter.  The firewood is all split and stacked.  A big windstorm brought down lots of dead pine needles last week, and Rick has been raking them up and getting ready for a yard waste run to the dump.  And finally, after nearly three years, we are getting stain on the cedar shingle siding for the shop addition and carport!  The fellow doing the work also power-washed the original shingles and put new stain on them.  The color isn’t a complete match (since the same color was put over old weathered shingles and new shingles) but it sure looks a lot better than it did before.

shop stain Sep 2013 1

shop stain Sep 2013 2 - Copy

carport stain Sep 2013

Up in the studio, I put a new warp for plaited twill scarves on the big loom.  I haven’t done these for a couple of years now – how time flies!  I promised one to someone almost a year ago, and it has to be done by the end of October.  That seems like a long ways off, but since I will be gone so much in October, it really won’t be.  And it won’t hurt to do some of these for the upcoming guild sales and holiday season.

perle cotton warp and tencel weft

perle cotton warp and tencel weft

Part of the process was doing some loom upgrade and maintenance on the 48″ Macomber loom.  This is actually the first time I have used the 4 additional harnesses I added to this loom, and I needed to replace the chains that the original four heddle frames hung from off the jacks.  Now all the frames are hanging at the same (and correct) height.

new chains hanging the heddle frames from the jacks

new chains hanging the heddle frames from the jacks

I also had a lot of trouble with the tie-up hooks popping off the lamms when I first started weaving the scarf.  Since it mostly seemed to be happening with harnesses 5-8, I knew it had something to do with using those for the first time.  My theory, which proved to be correct, was that the slots in the treadles were not completely smooth and were binding on the shafts of the “superhooks”, making them pop off the lamms.  (Don’t you love this weaving terminology?)

tie-up hooks connect the treadles to the lamms

tie-up hooks connect the treadles to the lamms

So I took the time to smooth down the slots in the treadles with sandpaper, then smear some paste wax inside each one with a thin stick.  Now it is all working as smooth as can be and I am a happy weaver, not having to get down and crawl around under the loom every 5 minutes reconnecting a hook or two.

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