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Archive for 2013

I am leaving tomorrow for a week-long weaving conference in Bellingham, WA.  It is the NW Weavers Conference 2013, sponsored by ANWG – the Association of Northwest Weavers Guilds.  I am taking a 3-day pre-conference workshop on Tuesday-Thursday, then the conference itself starts on Friday.  It included some mini-workshops (I signed up for 3 half-day workshops on Friday and Saturday) plus a whole slew of other events.  So I will file a report in a little over a week!

Meanwhile, here are some pictures of the three rugs I finished this week, plus some shots from our exhibit at the Lost River Winery tasting room in Winthrop.   It is on the North Cascades Hwy just west of Winthrop (26 Highway 20).  Hours for the summer: Thursday through Monday 11-5 pm.

Here are pictures of the three rugs I took in the studio before taking them up to the tasting room yesterday.  They are all woven with a mix of smooth (“wooly worm”) scraps and fringed selvages I get from the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store in Portland, OR.  I pretty much have to pick these out whenever we are down there, as you never know what they are going to get in from the mill in Pendleton, OR from week to week.  The “wooly worms” are just dumped into a big rolling bin, and I have to go “dumpster diving” (a very dusty affair) to pull out wads of the colors I like.  The fringed selvages come packaged in plastic bags, but as I said, you can’t predict what they are going to have at any moment in time.

R140

R140

R141

R141

R142

R142

and here are some pictures I took this morning up at the tasting room:

back wall behind the tasting bar

back wall behind the tasting bar

main wall to right of tasting bar

main wall to right of tasting bar

on the left as you enter the tasting room

on the left as you enter the tasting room

Rick's entry table from live edge Western Bigleaf Maple and East Indian black walnut

Rick’s entry table from live edge Western Bigleaf Maple and East Indian black walnut

Do notice the beautiful display hangers Rick made for me, using cherry, for both rugs (using drapery ring clips) and scarves.  They are suspended from the picture railings above with fishing line.   He will finish up the wine cabinet (in clear vertical grain fir) this week, so I will get a picture when I get back from conference!

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Name That Trailer

Rick was calling the new/old Airstream”Moby Trailer” but I wasn’t really keen on that.  This past week, I have been referring to it as the “Mother Ship”.  But on the way over to Spokane yesterday, we came up with “Battletrailer Galactica”.  Probably too cumbersome, but amusing!  And I guess you have to be a fan of (or just know about) the sci-fi series “Battlestar Galactica” to even appreciate that.

It towed well just on the ball, but we will get an equalizer hitch to use going forward.

He said the exterior is in good shape, except where the clear coat has failed of course.   No major dents or dings, which we already knew, but that can affect the value of an older Airstream.  Similarly, the interior was deemed to be in good condition “except for the tambours”, which we already knew, as they are mostly missing.  It originally had tambour doors on all the overhead and under-bunk storage areas, plus the kitchen cabinets under the counter.  But those mostly fall apart with time on all the older trailers.  However, I know a woodworker who can make new ones….someday.

They will do a thorough check-out of all systems, but it seems likely we will want to update the water heater and power inverter to modern standards.  He said the old transformer is what is causing a buzzing noise we can hear when plugged into shore power.  Also it may not provide a steady 12V.  The vent fan in the “living room” is kaput, which we knew, and we are going to have them put in a Fantastic Fan instead.  This will mean sacrificing the original ceiling light which is part of the vent unit.  But they can come up with something else for lighting and we would really like to have the newer fan (we have one in the Aliner and it is great – works both ways, either drawing in cool air or expelling warm air).

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Why yes….

I have been weaving.

Rick and I are exhibiting our work at the Lost Rivery Winery tasting room in Winthrop from mid-June to mid-September.  Toward that end, I have been trying to build inventory!  Down at the weaving guild room, on my 40″ Macomber, I wove another set of undulating twill towels, 13 out of a 12-yard warp.

These were the first four, I am not sure I ever put up a picture of them finished:

soft gray stripe Apr 2013

and these are the ones I just finished:

turq. stripe Apr May 2013

At home on the 32″ Mac, I wove another round of placemats on a blue warp.  I got 17 out of a 12-yard warp.  Eight of the ones on the left, and eight of the ones on the right, plus one other I did with a different fabric but did not get a picture.  Four of the ones on the right have been donated for a fundraising “gala evening” and auction on July 13 for Confluence Gallery & Art Center in Twisp.

blue warp May 2013

This week on the 48″ Mac at home, I finished 3 rugs that are the ones I really wanted to do for the Lost River Winery exhibit.  I finished the third one around 10 pm last night, and today hemmed and washed them, so they are drying as I write this.

We set up the exhibit at the winery tasting room this morning and it looks good.  I hung 3 rugs as temporary place-holders for the ones drying now, and on Saturday we will go up and swap them out.  I will get pictures then.  Rick brought up his entry table made from the beautiful western bigleaf maple log, and he has a wine cabinet underway that won’t be finished for another week or so.

Airstream update: Rick took the propane tanks up to Okanogan County Energy (our electric and propane suppliers) and had new valves put on the tanks so they conform to current standards.  Then we had the propane technician come by yesterday and check all the gas appliances in the trailer.  Everything works!!  Water heater, 4 burner cook-top, wall oven and refrigerator/freezer in propane mode.

Tomorrow we tow it to Spokane to the Airstream dealership for a checkover and possible repair of some things, depending on what they find and how much it costs.  We will leave it there for several weeks.

 

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The last couple of weeks have passed in a whirlwind of activity.  It was all for the good, but still kind of intense.

My dad decided to move from his home near Anacortes to a retirement inn located in La Conner, and set a 2-week timeframe to  do it.  Moving Day was set for May 31.

Initially, Rick and I went over with truck and cargo trailer and helped him do a lot of sorting and packing, things he was taking with him and things he wanted to get rid of (he wanted to empty the house).  We hauled a load of furniture back to the valley that he would no longer have room for, and that we would love to have.  Then we rented a storage locker in Winthrop and moved some of our things there, as this involved a change-out of our living room furniture.

My sister from Colorado, my brother and sister-in-law from Camano, and Rick and I converged on Anacortes on May 30 and we were all there for the big event – Moving Day!  Dad had hired a mover but it still took all of us to do the last minute organizing and packing, setting more things aside for Goodwill or equivalent, and then the unpacking at the other end.  But it went very well and we got a lot done in just a couple of days.

Here we are, tired but happy, at dinner that evening in La Conner:

Moving Day - May 31, 2013

Moving Day – May 31, 2013

During the week we were at home between Packing Day and Moving Day, I had some appointments and shopping errands to do in Wenatchee (about 100 miles from home, so I try to organize as many things into one trip as possible).  On the way home, I passed a vacant lot on the outskirts of Twisp where people put vehicles for sale by owner.  There was an Airstream trailer that looked to be in decent shape, so I peeked through the windows and was sufficiently intrigued to tell Rick about it when I got home.

Now, I have been saying for years that “some day” I wanted to have an Airstream trailer for when we are able to take longer trips to see more of the USA and Canada. Or maybe take it south for “winter breaks” of a month or two.  We have looked at new ones and I have studied the floor plans.  But I really knew that we wouldn’t be able to afford one – even used ones at dealerships (10 years old or younger) are pretty spendy.  I figured that a bigger trailer than our pop-up camping trailer, with more room and amenities (a bathroom!) would be in our future, but not an Airstream.

Anyway, long story made short, we met the sellers that evening and looked it over.  It is a 1973 International Overlander (the latter meaning the 27′ long model).   It looked pretty good and the price was WAY right.  We decided the next morning to go for it (this was the morning we were leaving for Anacortes).  It turned out there was another interested party that had made an offer the night before, so we had to counter somewhat, but in the end it was ours and we agreed to meet with them after we got back from Moving Day to close the deal.

Sorry, dear family, for springing this on you!  It all happened so fast and then we were embroiled in moving.  We just put it out of our minds over the weekend.

So this past Monday, we closed the deal.  Tuesday morning we got the new license plate and tabs and registration.  The first thing we did is tow it 2 blocks to Coyote Ridge Automotive and get a new wiring harness put in that is wired directly for the receptacle on the truck.  The trailer had some kind of old 7-prong plug that we had no adapter for (neither did the sellers, and the tabs hadn’t been renewed since May 2006 – they had used it as a “guest cabin” – but how they towed it without turn signals etc I don’t want to know).  Anyway all the exterior lights (brake, turn, running) and the electric brakes are in good working order.  Then we brought it home:

as found 1

as found 2

This is going to be a Project that we will work on for a couple of years.  We took it on faith that “everything works” except for the air conditioner, but we are taking it over to Airstream of Spokane at the end of next week for a check-over.  The interior is in pretty decent shape, although very 1970’s (can you say “orange formica”?)  The carpet is tatty and we will probably put down Marmoleum (old style linoleum) eventually.  The windows have a film between the 2 layers of glass that has cracked and glazed, so that will be our major project.  We have already found a lot of info on the web about removing and renovating the windows, including new window tint film.  In fact, the DIY (Do It Yourself) Channel had a 10-part series a couple of years ago where they completely restored a 1970 Airstream, and they are available online as YouTube videos.

At 27′ it is probably the longest model I would have considered (new or old) – a 25′ would have been my ideal – or even a 23′ would have worked.  But when you are inside it sure feels comfortable, and there is a ton of storage.  So for long trips or staying one place for an extended period, it should be great.

Stay tuned for periodic Airstream postings with before and after pictures!

As for the title of this post:  we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary this year – March 17, 1973.  This being a 1973 Airstream, I told Rick this must mean the 40th anniversary is the “Aluminum Anniversary”!

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A little over a week ago, we were able to borrow back our little John Deere tractor, “Deere Prudence”, from the guy who bought it when we moved from Benson Creek about 3 years ago.  We had a few projects to do around here that required some heavy lifting.

Last Sunday Rick fetched some rocks which were originally pulled out of the alfalfa fields, and now line an S-curve about a quarter mile up the Wolf Creek Rd.  We of course asked permission to take them, and they were more than happy to get rid of some of them, although we barely made a dent.  We will be using these in the area in front of the house where we want to do a little landscaping – mostly grasses and perennials.

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The last couple of days, Rick has also used the tractor to haul what remains of our pile of gravel over to where he can spread it around the perimeter of the deck.  And yesterday he also used it with some chains to pull up some small pines and bitterbrush that were growing in the right-of-way along our section of the community road.  There has also been some miscellaneous cleanup of areas where we had burn piles in the last, and hauling some piles of small rocks to an area where we are going to create a rock mound.

So handy – but she is going away again this weekend.  As are we – heading to the Coast for Mothers’ Day, seeing friends, and visiting my Dad up in Anacortes.

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Over the winter, Rick agreed to make pieces for 3 different shows in the valley this summer, on top of his regular workload.  He was thinking that the first one didn’t open until mid-June.  So it was a bit of a shock when we read the Methow Valley News Summer Guide about 3 weeks ago, and realized that the Garden Art Show at the Methow Valley Inn in Twisp opens this coming weekend – May 12th.

So he went to work on some ideas he has for working with some beautiful wood that has been in the stash for years.  It is Western Bigleaf Maple with lots of character and live edges.  He got it about 10 years ago from a woodworker friend in North Bend, WA, and the friend in turn had it for 17 years (we think).  So the wood was milled and dried for about 25 years, possibly longer. When the pieces were milled out, sanded and finished grain patterns emerged that amazed both of us.

The first piece is this bench, which will go into the Garden Art Show:

bench 1

bench 2

It has a natural curve on one edge, which makes for a very comfortable seat.  There is another matching board, not quite as curved, that will become a second bench when he gets time!

Next he went to work on a small table using two matched planks.  It seemed like a natural thing, since he wanted to retain the live edges and all the character in the wood as much as possible, to have the split down the middle – the live edges approach each other but do not quite meet.  The base is similar to the one for the bench, but the stringer runs at a bit of a diagonal because on each leg, one side is wider than the other, and the narrower side is on the left on one leg, and on the right on the other leg.

table 1

table 2

table 3

This table will be shown at the Inside Out show (“an exploration and celebration of designed interior and exterior space, and the objects and forms we use to define them”) which will run from August 3 – September 21 at Confluence Gallery & Art Center in Twisp.

Next up:  a hall table using this beautiful top, which he actually constructed by cutting 2 boards along a diagonal and then gluing together.  That diagonal looks like a fault line running the length of the top. The 2 pieces were cut off of the pieces used to make the benches –  there was a split (or crotch) and these pieces were separate branches.  When removed from the larger slabs they were about two inches wide at one end and nine inches wide at the other end, with a big knot.  Rick thought they would be waste but then realized he could join them end for end and came up with a nine foot long slab with great grain and shape.

hall table top

This is not the base for the hall table!  Just something to set it on for the picture.  He has an idea, but these things more or less develop as he goes along making them.

The hall table and one other yet-to-be determined piece will be for an exhibit at the Lost River Winery tasting room in Winthrop (they also have a tasting room at the north end of the Pike Place Market in Seattle).  They will be featuring both of our work there for 12 weeks, mid-June through mid-September.  I am calling it “Wine, Weaving & Woodwork”.  So we both have a lot to do to get ready for that!

So far, Rick has used only about a third of the lumber from this tree so there is still the potential for quite a few more pieces.

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Two new warps, actually!  Blogging has lagged behind all the activity around here lately, but I will try to catch up this week.

First, here are pictures of the placemat sets I finished a week or two ago.  These were woven using the Bronson lace threading with alternating shots of thick (1/2″ fabric strips, light cotton fabrics) and thin (8/4 cotton carpet warp).  All were woven on the same warp, again showing how much the color of the weft determines the final look.

burgundy fabric

burgundy fabric

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rosy brown fabric

rosy brown fabric

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lilac, cream, beige floral print

lilac, cream, beige floral print

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I also knit up another Shawl-Collared Cowl by Alano Dakos in Cascade “Cloud”, a heavenly blend of merino and baby alpaca – but unfortunately one skein was not quite enough to make the cowl, so I had to buy another one.  Therefore I also made a pair of fingerless mitts using a pattern found on Ravelry:  Integral Mitts by Danielle Chalson.

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The set was donated for the upcoming dinner and auction to raise funds for Little Star Montessori in Winthrop.

So on to the new warps!  At home, on Kingston the 2nd, I put 12 yds of 8/4 carpet warp in blue tones, for another round of placemats:

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And at the weaving guild room, on my 40″ Macomber, I put on a towel warp to try out a new idea I found in Handwoven magazine.  It is an 8-harness pattern, using 8/2 matte cotton and cotton flake yarns, with a straight twill at each side and an undulating twill of irregular shape, across the middle section.

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an undulating twill towel - underway!

an undulating twill towel – underway!

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I just finished and took off the 4 towels from this warp yesterday, got them washed and dried, but still need to hem them.  Pictures coming!  The warp set-up was a bit of work, but they are relatively quick to weave.  I plan to get some mileage out of this setup by tying on one or more additional warps in other colors, as I really like how they are turning out.

 

 

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We went down to College Station, TX two weeks ago to meet up with my sister’s family and see their younger daughter defend her dissertation and become a Ph.D.  Her subject has to do with Lyme disease, and she is in the Dept. of Microbial & Molecular Pathogenesis – needless to say , we didn’t understand half of what her talk was about!  But it was a great visit with family, my sister and brother-in-law, both nieces and one of their best friends from childhood.

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And of course, no matter where you go, there it is:

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It was a pretty nice little wool shop, actually – had some local alpaca products, although none of it came home with me – I need more knitting and spinning fiber like I need a hole in the head.

Since we came home, spring is definitely coming along – bunch grasses growing in the yard, lots of shooting stars this year too.  Our friends from Lake Quinault came over for 4 nights and brought their bicycles.  The day they meant to go out for a long ride was, of course, the day a storm moved through!  Lots of wind, cold, rain and sleet down here in the valley and snow up higher.  We made a fire and settled down with books, instead.

I have been weaving away on the Bronson lace style of placemats to finish up the warp I put on before we went to Texas.  This time I am using cotton quilting type fabrics, cut in 1/2″ strips and used singly.  The placemats are coming out a lot better, not as thick and with more pattern repeats.  I should finish them up today or tomorrow, meanwhile here are some “progress photos”.  I used my “new” Wolf cutter to cut the strips – it slid through 8 layers of fabric like a hot knife through butter.  Lovely.  No distortion, goes as straight as an arrow – I love it.

fabric 1 being cut

fabric 1 being cut

fabric 1 being woven

fabric 1 being woven

fabric 3 and cotton yarn used for tabby

fabric 3 and cotton yarn used for tabby

fabric 3 cut into strips

fabric 3 cut into strips

fabric 3 being woven

fabric 3 being woven

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Last weekend Rick finished and delivered a king-size bed for some clients in the valley.  He did a lot of cabinet work for them last year when they expanded and remodeled their second home on a ridge just north of and above Winthrop.  Since then they have had various furniture projects for him, which makes a nice break from cabinet work.

They had a chair that they purchased at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, or one of the outlets.  This is the detail that they wanted Rick to capture in the headboard and footboard of the bed – sort of a “branch” motif.

detail of bedroom chair from Pendleton showroom

detail of bedroom chair from Pendleton showroom

He roughed out the shape then finished it with carving chisels.  The frame was dyed and stained maple, to match the chair as closely as possible.  The panels are blued pine from the valley (the blue is a naturally occurring color that happens sometimes in standing dead pine trees – he says it is a mildew that comes along when the wood is starting to rot).

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There will be two bedside tables coming up soon, using the same wood combination.

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A year ago I bought a 32″ Macomber loom from a woman in Kingston, WA and blogged about it here.  I named it “Kingston” because that is where it came from, and I liked the sound of it.  I have really been happy with Kingston, it is a great weaving width for doing scarves, towels, shawls etc. and then I can devote my wider 48″ Mac to rugs, blankets, and so forth.  But I have been a little frustrated with the fact that it only had 4 harnesses (4H), thus restricting the types of patterns I can weave on it.  In fact, I have had to use my “Baby Mac” model CP portable workshop loom, which is 20″ wide and has 8 harnesses, to do the polychrome summer & winter scarves, and the placemats I have been doing lately, for exactly this reason.  It is a lot smaller (not as comfortable to sit at for a long time) and just not as beefy as a full-size loom, so really wasn’t what I wanted for a long term solution.

Most B4/B5 model Macs can take up to 10 harnesses (10H), and I intended to add 6 more to Kingston “eventually”, but that is a big chunk of change and I just hadn’t taken the plunge.

Then about a month ago I got wind of someone in Seattle who had a 32″ Mac with 12 harnesses for sale.  In other words, exactly the same loom as Kingston, but with 12H instead of 4H.  I emailed her to explore the idea of buying hers, and selling mine, but I wasn’t sure if this made any kind of sense, or how hard it would be to sell Kingston.

It turns out she is getting a wider, multi-harness countermarch loom (new) but she really liked the 32″ Mac and she suggested we swap looms as she would be happy to have a simpler version (plus some money, of course).  So for a fair amount less money that it would cost to upgrade Kingston to 10H, I now have a “new” Kingston with 12H!  Also, it is newer – Kingston was built in 1961 and this one was built in 1995.  And, she didn’t care about having the sectional warp beam, so I was able to keep the one which came with Kingston!  Regarding the history of the new loom, she bought it from a young woman who graduated with an arts degree and an interest in textiles, who later moved on to other things – this loom had been a graduation gift.  So I am the third owner at this point.

So right after we got back from Port Townsend and the Olympic Peninsula, we made a one-night trip over to Seattle with the cargo trailer and made the exchange.  Both parties are quite happy!

I had a warp on the Baby Mac to finish off, but yesterday and today I put the first warp on the new loom.  It may be called “Madison” (it came from Madison Valley neighborhood in Seattle) – but I really like the name Kingston, and they look so much alike, it may just continue to be “Kingston”.

new Kingston 1

new Kingston 2

a "California Rags" placemats underway

a “California Rags” placemats underway

from this fabric:

fabric 3

Here are the fabric and resulting “California Rags” placemats I finished up on the Baby Mac last week:

fabric 2

fabric 2 all four

Wierd weather department:

After some lovely sunny days, bringing on lots of new green grass and shooting stars coming up in our yard, we awoke to this today:

April 7, 2013 spring snow!

April 7, 2013 spring snow!

It did all melt eventually….

 

 

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