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Archive for 2014

A Wedding Day

One of our main reasons for this trip was to be at the wedding of our granddaughter April. It was held at a lovely little county park out beyond Jacksonville, OR on a perfect, warm day with cooling breezes. Grandson Brandon, who is executive chef at a restaurant in Ashland, catered the lunch that followed the ceremony. We got to meet even more members of the extended family, and had a great time.

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We are staying on for a few days for more time with the family, and to see our longtime friends who live in Ashland. Then on to the Oregon coast!

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Airiel on the Road

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Last week we were sitting at the table eating dinner and talking about the upcoming trip, and a name for “the trailer” just came to Rick – “Airiel”. We both knew immediately it was right. Maybe now that she is all cleaned up and feeling like home, it was time.

Anyway, we are settled in at Valley of the Rogue State Park north of Medford, OR, and saw some beautiful scenery on the way down here the last couple of days.

I am trying out some blogging apps for my iPad so I can include pictures. A new challenge!

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The Final Wrap-Up

I finished the “Handspun Wrap” project last week, and have taken that set-up off the loom.  I’ll be moving on to rug weaving when we get back from our trip to Oregon.

Below is the 7th one, spun from a roving from Taylored Fibers in Quilcene again – a wool and alpaca blend that was white, brown and black.  I knew I didn’t have enough of it so I once again had to spin up some more yarn!  Last year I combined a fine, very crimpy black wool fleece (that I had gotten from Island Fibers on Lopez Island at a spinning camp on Orcas several years back) with some beautiful cinnamon colored alpaca fleece I bought at the ANWG conference in Bellingham last June.  The black wool was from a sheep named “Burt” who I think was a bit of a mongrel.  The alpaca’s name was Potsdam – I just love knowing the names of the animals whose fleece I am spinning.

I sent them off to Morro Fleece Works, a custom carding business that I have been using on occasion.  I knew they would do a good job with these finer fibers, and it came back as a lovely roving, about 30% alpaca and 70% fine wool.  Overall it is a dark cinnamon bark color and I have a lot of it – spun up some for this shawl, and have plenty more for a sweater and maybe something else as well.

Suede warp with tweed and cinnamon alpaca/wool

Suede warp with tweed and cinnamon alpaca/wool

For the 8th and supposedly final one I used some yarn I spun years ago – 30% qiviut (musk ox down), the rest unspecified wool – a light warm gray color, and very soft and springy.  It was not as heavy/thick as the other yarns I have been using for these shawls, so once again I wasn’t sure I had enough, and I thought it would be nice to have a slightly contrasting border.  So I spun up some baby camel & silk roving to use for that.  I am pretty happy with this shawl, which I am hoping to keep, except the camel/silk yarn had a lot less elasticity than the qiviut yarn, so the borders are somewhat wider than the body of the shawl.

Black warp with 30% quiviut and baby camel/silf

Black warp with 30% qiviut and baby camel/silk yarns

Then just as I was getting ready to take the last warp off the loom, I realized this was the perfect time to do something with a warp I have had for a couple of years.  Our guild does a fiber exchange each April, by drawing numbers and opening “mystery packages” (you can also take something away from someone else).  One year I got a prepared hand-spun wool warp in my package from one of our members who spins most of the yarn she uses for blankets.  I mean it was all wound, with a cross and everything!  It had slightly fewer ends than the warps I have been using, but I only had to take off 8 on each side and the pattern was still balanced.  So I tied it on in front and pulled it back onto the sectional beam through the reed and heddles.  Then I pulled out some handpaint mohair boucle from New Zealand that I used to get from Fiber Trends, to use for the weft.

And here is the result!  Shawl/wrap #9 and now I am truly done with these.

Lucy's hand-spun warp with handpaint mohair boucle

Lucy’s hand-spun warp with handpaint mohair boucle

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Fawn Season

We have seen these 2 brand new ones in the yard the last couple of days.  There’s not much else to say – just wanted to share!

fawns 1

fawns 2

fawns 3

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Airstream Update June 2014

We are leaving next week on the “maiden voyage” to southern Oregon for a family wedding and camping along the way.  I thought I would show our progress to date on the Airstream upgrades and refurbishments.  The windows are mostly cleaned up, the screens are back in with new “fuzzy bug seal” around the slots where the window opening arms penetrate.  The new Marmoleum floor is beautiful, as are the new drapes and re-upholstered cushions.

This picture pretty much shows all the new furnishings.  The drapes were a bit of a chore to install, as she makes them a tight fit top to bottom in anticipation of some future stretching.  That’s the old arm of the sofa on the left – Rick had in it there to take measurements.  He is going to re-do them with cherry ply and solid cherry arms.  The top lifts off to reveal some plastic storage trays underneath.

front lounge/bed

front lounge/bed

I spent several hours out there a couple of days ago, cleaning up the kitchen.  The stovetop was rusty and dirty.  You know there has been a problem when you find D-Con and seed pods under the burners.  Now it as cleaned up as I could get it, and sanitary!  Rick will need to pull out this cabinet to re-do the tambour doors next year.  For now we will just have to use it as it is.  That’s one of my handwoven rag rugs on the floor – corduroy and gray denim from jeans.

kitchen - clean but not re-done

kitchen – clean but not re-done

The twin bunks:

bed 1

bed 2

The bathroom:

bathroom

Looking back towards the kitchen and front lounge from the bathroom door:

twin beds

We also got the water hook-up and gray water drain figured out, and the hot water heater going, so I could use the kitchen sink for my cleaning – instead of hauling buckets from the house.  We are so new at all of these modern conveniences in a trailer that we have to figure every thing out.  Yesterday I turned on the 40-year-old refrigerator (on electricity. still have to test out the propane mode).  By golly, it works great!  Holds a steady temperature in the correct range, and makes ice cubes that stay frozen.  It came with 3 cute little ice cube trays, the aluminum kind with a lever you pull to pop out the ice.

But, we managed to SHUT OURSELVES OUT of the trailer last night.  The screen door had been missing its slide bolt, and Rick got one that worked from Builders’ Hardware last week.  So the last couple of days we have left the main door open but the screen door closed and secured shut during the day.  Last night he closed the main door before coming in from the shop for the night.  Well it turns out that the 2 doors clicked together but the screen door was still bolted from the inside.  So we couldn’t get the door open!  He tried taking the hinges off, but there is one screw that won’t come out, probably for security reasons.  Fortunately we had left the window beside the door open – but you can only remove the screen from the inside of the trailer.  So we had to cut a large enough opening around the edge of the screen so he could reach in and un-bolt the screen door.  Sheesh.

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It’s a Wrap

As mentioned in a previous post, I have been working on a series of warm shawls using my handspun yarn.  The warps and fringes are Jaggerspun Zephyr 4/8 (50% silk and 50%wool, but the DK weight version) – I ordered 8 cones last fall and pretty much use one full cone for each shawl.  I debated about what to call these weavings, as they are shawl shaped but come out more of a lap robe weight.  So I am calling them “wraps”!

The first three were for the show at the Winthrop Gallery and are there now.

Black warp & fringe with handspun lambswool & alpaca blend from Taylored Fibers in Quilcene:

1 Black warp lambswool alpacal

Mushroom warp & fringe with gold handspun merino/bamboo/silk from Taylored Fibers:

2 Mushroom warp merino bamboo silk

Plum warp & fringe with handspun merino/alpaca/BFL/silk noil from Taylored Fibers (BFL = blue faced leicester wool)

3 Plum warp merino alpaca BFL silk noil

The next three were finished more recently, and I took them down to the Confluence Gallery in Twisp yesterday.  They are setting up a new show this week:  Our River – ” A Natural and Cultural Perspective on Our River through Art”.  So the pieces needed titles and to be “river-ish”.

Indigo warp & fringe; handspun 3-ply from different fiber sources (1) 100% black alpaca from Ashland Bay, (2) 50% alpaca 50% BFL in a tan color, (3) a variety of dyed merino tops spun in color sequence.  The result was roughly half alpaca and wool with subtle color changes running through it.

Side Channel

Side Channel – shimmering stones under a slow moving current

Peacock warp & fringe; handspun from a beautiful handpaint BFL top I bought at the first Sock Summit in Portland, OR a number of years ago.  Very soft and subtly colored.

Like a Trout Moves Through a Pool

Like a Trout Moves Through a Pool

Sable warp & fringe; the yarn left from the first shawl above, plus some charcoal lambswool/alpaca from Taylored Fibers:

Log Jams - providing habitat for the river creatures

Log Jams – providing habitat for the river creatures

The opening reception for the “Our River” show at Confluence Gallery is this coming Saturday June 7th, from 4-8 pm, along with the Twisp Art Walk.

I have 2 more of these wraps in the pipeline.  One is warped and ready to weave, but I had to spin some more yarn to augment what I had!   Fortunately I had some nice roving of the right color and quality and should finish it today.

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Tactile Tangible Tonal posterIt’s up and the opening reception is tonight!  I worked the gallery last Wednesday and took some pictures.  Although there are three distinct types of work, I think they go well together and make for a very interesting show.  P1030865

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Here are a few closer shots of some of my pieces:

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I am still working on some more of the shawls using my handspun – I promised at least one to the Confluence Gallery in Twisp for the new exhibit they are putting up next week, titled “Our River”.  So I will have some more pictures in a few days.

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Gray & Brown

Here’s a little weaving progress report.  I will be in a 3-person “Featured Artist” show at the Winthrop Gallery – it hangs on May 27 and the opening reception is May 31.  The other 2 artists are a photographer who is planning a series of black & white images, and a woodturner.

I finished seven of the 12 towels in the doubleweave check pattern which have 8/2 Shale and Madder Brown doubleweave, and a khaki 16/2 for the plain weave.  I tried several permutations and it was really fun!  I did several as true doubleweave, i.e. same color weft as the warp in the top layer, and ditto for the bottom layer, so they come out distinctly different colors on each side.  Then I did one with all Madder Brown (solid brown on one side, brown interlacing gray on the other side), one with all Shale (solid gray on one side, gray interlacing brown on the other side).  Then one with alternating weft stripes of brown then gray (mix of solid and interlaced on each side, but with brown predominating on one side, and gray on the other).

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Last week I put on the first warp for a series of shawls I have planned using some of my handspun yarn.  I am using Jaggerspun Zephyr 4/8 (DK weight) for the warp.  This is 50% wool and 50% silk, so lustrous and strong.

handspun alpaca & lambswool with black Zephyr 4/8

handspun alpaca & lambswool with black Zephyr 4/8

The pattern is an 8-harness 2-line manifold twill.  I chose it for the strong diagonals but there are other effects I can get by treadling the current tie-up differently, and by changing the tie-up (i.e. different effects, but all on the same threading).  I finished weaving it the night before we left for Seattle, and worked on the fringes over the long weekend.  I washed it when we got home on Monday, and today trimmed it up and got it photographed:

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The handspun was bulky and also has the extra weight from the alpaca, so this is a heavy, warm wrap.  What I can’t show you is how it feels – so soft and cushy, it is really heavenly!

 

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Airstream progress

I think when I last wrote about our renovation work on the Airstream, we had just started cleaning up the windows.  With spring coming on, we pulled it out of the carport and into the parking area near the house, hooked it up to electricity, and continued the work.

ready for workWe had some rain not long after we pulled it out, and this was a blessing in disguise, as we were able to locate and seal the spots where water was getting in (mainly around the VistaView skylights, the front window, and a place to the right of the door where someone had done a poor job of “repairing” the lower trim and had penetrated the wall into the main cabin).  We knew there was leakage because there was obvious water damage to the subfloor in the front of the coach, and the old front sofa infrastructure and upholstery were all stained and mildewed.

The new flooring (marmoleum, like old-fashioned linoleum) was scheduled for installation on April 25.   So we had to get the cabinetry for the front lounge and twin bunks out of there, plus the toilet, and clean before that happened.  When Rick pulled out the bunk cabinets, we discovered large quantities of rodent droppings underneath.  It was disgusting!  So glad to get all that cleaned up.  I also washed the walls down and washed all the screens.

On the window front, it turned out all the inner panes were plexiglass.  Rick managed to remove those inner panes from 5 windows that had the deteriorated UV film and we then cleaned up the outer panes (safety glass) using razor blades, solvent and lots of elbow grease.  He also removed all the screens from those windows and I gave them a good scrub down.

So here is the new flooring.  It’s a blue gray with swirls of brown colors.  The installer was grumbling about the tight quarters and difficulty, but he did an outstanding job!  We had him run it under the bunks and the front lounge, too.

new floor 1

Most of the cabinets had tambour doors which have long since disintegrated.  Tambour?  Think roll-top desk.   Rick also wants to upgrade the “look” of the cabinetry from dark walnut to cherry.  He figured out that most of the cabinets are just frameworks with pieces of plastic laminate that can be pulled out and replaced.  While he was on a wood-buying run to Specialty Forest Products south of Seattle, he picked up a 4′ x 8′ sheet of thin plastic laminate that is meant to be used on vertical surfaces.  It is a wood grain pattern and color very close to the natural finish cherry he often works in.  Then he figured out how to turn out the slats for new tambours and contact-glue them onto a lightweight canvas backing.

Here are the new platform and storage areas for the front lounge.  When I say “front lounge” this is the Airstream name for the unit that is a sofa usually, but can pull out into a double bed.

front loungeThe tambour doors cover storage areas that have brown plastic bins in them.

front lounge with binThere are four under the front lounge, 3 under each bunk, and 2 wide ones over each bunk.  He decided to do away with the tambours under one of the bunks, so we can just lift up the platform and store bigger things under there (folding chairs, tent, BBQ, etc.)  So he just put flat cherry panels in the front of that bunk platform.

back side bunk

back side bunk openBack to the windows.  There had been strips of some kind of foam weatherstripping between the inner plexiglass and outer safety glass panes, and this was all disintegrated and ugly looking from the outside of the trailer.  But it was also nearly impossible to get to, to scrape it off and clean it up.  We were trying to stuff some new weatherstripping down into the space just to try to cover it up, but that wasn’t going so well either.

weatherstrip disintegratedPlus, we hadn’t removed the inner plexiglass from the large front and rear windows, so this stuff was trapped between the 2 panes and we had no way to get to them.

Then yesterday we had both an “AHA!” and an “OOPS!” moment.  All of a sudden we noticed the screws holding the frame of the plexiglass panel into the larger window frame.  Went to work removing it from the small window next to the door, and away it came.  So then we could get to the yucky weatherstrip residue and clean it off the outer safety glass using razor blades.

window finally all cleaned up!

window finally all cleaned up! and with screen again

But the “OOPS” is that we didn’t have to bust out the inner plexiglass panes after all.  We could have just removed them IN THEIR FRAMES… clean up the crackled UV film on the outer pane, clean off and replaced the weatherstrip, and put the plexiglass inner panes back in.  Arrgh.  At least we can still do this on the large back window in the rear bathroom, and the large front window over the front lounge.

So at this point, it is finish the other bunk platform with tambours, pull the plexiglass frames off and finish cleaning the windows, get the new fuzzy bug seal on the screens, and re-install the toilet and do some other cleanup in the bathroom.  There was a slight hangup with the upholstery fabric (a dyelot issue not worth going into in detail, but I have to say I have received excellent customer service from Material Things in Wenatchee).  The fabric should be here by the end of this week or early next, and then the cushions can be finished.

The new drapes arrived a few days ago, but we can’t install them until we finish with the windows and screens.  But look how beautifully packaged they are:

drapery package

I can hardly wait!  It will all come together before we take our first real trip to southern Oregon in mid-June.  Yes, there is still lots to do (the kitchen cabinet, for one) but that will just have to wait until later this year, or even next year.

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Totally Towels

I am up to my 4th warp for the doubleweave check towels, and the current one will be the last for now.  Each one has come out quite differently, and it hasn’t been boring!  I just need to move on to a new project on Kingston.

So, to recap, the weave structure is a mixture of plain weave and doubleweave, the latter creating little thick checks throughout the fabric.  The warp alternates 16/2 cotton for the plain weave stripes, and 8/2 cotton for the doubleweave stripes.  When I am weaving plain weave, the weft is 16/2.  When I am weaving doubleweave, the weft is 8/2 and it weaves as plain weave in the 16/2 warp stripes.  Clear as mud?  You have to be a weaver…..

The first set used a natural 8/2 cotton and a periwinkle 16/2 cotton for the warp.  I played around with changing the colors of the 16/2 cotton for the weft, but only used the natural 8/2 for doubleweave weft.  These are all 6 towels from this warp:

Set 1 - doubleweave check towels

Set 1 – doubleweave check towels

The second set used a light gray marled 8/2 cotton and and black/green marled 16/2 cotton for the warp.  Again I used the same 8/2 cotton throughout for weft, but played around with different colors of 16/2 cotton for the wefts.  I put on 9 yards this time, and got 9 towels (some colors were duplicated, so the picture shows the 5 variations).

Set 2 - doubleweave check towels

Set 2 – doubleweave check towels

closeup of towel with red 16/2 weft

closeup of towel with red 16/2 weft

For the third set, I decided to try stripes of four different colors of 8/2 for the warp, with a single color of 16/2, which was a nice gray/blue/green variegated cotton that served as a basis for the other color choices.

Seahawks cones

It wasn’t until I started winding and beaming a 12-yard warp that I realized these are kind of “Seattle Seahawks” colors!

Seahawks warp all beamed on

Seahawks warp all beamed on

This time I played around with changing the colors in the weft for both yarns, the 4 colors of the 8/2 cotton and some other colors of 16/2 that seemed to work with the overall color scheme.

green 16/2 with gray 8/2

green 16/2 with gray 8/2

I finished up 12 of these last week, and only a few were duplicates.  Here are four of the variations:

Four of the color variations

Four of the color variations

Because all of the above towels had single colors of 8/2 cotton in the doubleweave areas of the warp, they look the same on both sides.  That is, both the top and bottom layers of the doubleweave checks are the same when woven.

Yesterday I finished putting on the 4th warp.  This time I alternated 2 colors in the doubleweave areas of the warp so I can weave towels that look different on each side.  Those colors are “Madder Brown” and “Shale” 8/2 from WEBS.  The 16/2 is a khaki color.  I wove the first towel last night, using Madder Brown when weaving the top layer, and Shale when weaving the bottom layer.  I also need a third shuttle for the 16/2 cotton, so it is a little slow going managing 3 shuttles, and figuring out how to run the yarns up the selvage neatly.

But as you can see, it is working.   Doubleweave is truly magical!

Two-color doubleweave underway

Two-color doubleweave underway

 

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