Archive for 2015

Yesterday I had time to hem the towels I took off the loom last week.  I really like this colorway.  The Valley Yarns 8/2 cotton is from WEBS and so I am using their color names.  The warp was stripes of Shale, Willow Green, Madder Brown and Alabaster.

It is still amazing to me how different they look depending on both the pattern and tabby weft colors.  In general, I found a darker tabby was more effective than a lighter one.  Shale and Baked Clay both worked well as tabby.

Left: Baked Clay pattern and Shale tabby. Right: warp colors only.

Left: Baked Clay pattern and Shale tabby. Right: Madder Brown pattern and Alabaster tabby.

Lime with Shalae tabby; 2 different treadling patterns

Lime with Shale tabby; 2 different treadling patterns

Left: warp colors as pattern, Alabaster tabby. Right: Alabaster pattern, Baked Clay tabby.

Left: warp colors as pattern, Alabaster tabby. Right: Alabaster pattern, Baked Clay tabby.

Burnt Sienna pattern with Shale tabby on left and with Alabaster tabby on right

Burnt Sienna pattern with Shale tabby on left and with Alabaster tabby on right

Black pattern with Baked Clay tabby, 2 different treadling patterns

Black pattern with Baked Clay tabby, 2 different treadling patterns

The big Workshop Weekend is finally here – we go down to Wenatchee today to pick up our teacher, Mary Berent from Eagle, Idaho.  She is flying Boise to Sea-Tac, then catching the short hop to from Seattle to Wenatchee.


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Sequence Cowl

Last spring some friends turned me on to the new book “Sequence Knitting” (subtitled “Simple Methods for Creating Complex Reversible Fabrics”) by Cecilia Campochiaro.  This is more of a methods and ideas book than a pattern book, although there are directions for some of the sample projects.  It is also self-published and beautifully done – she created all the charts and I believe did all the photography herself.  The section at the end on working with variegated yarns, dyeing methods to get successful variegated yarns, and understanding color mixing and contrast, is excellent.

I started two projects back in June.  The first was a 2-color parallelogram similar to her Robson scarf but using a different sequence.  I have been stalled at about the halfway point for months and finally decided I just wasn’t happy with the edge where the colors are carried up, and that I probably wouldn’t wear it much.  So I ripped it out yesterday – so freeing!

The other project was a cowl using the Spiral method (knit in the round).  I chose the sequence (K4,P4,K2,P2) on a multiple of 12 plus 2.  This means the sequence pattern shifts by 2 stitches on every round, thus forming the spiral.  This particular sequence and stitch count yields a row repeat of 6.  Since I wanted to use 2 colors, I did knit an in-the-round test swatch to see how often I wanted to change colors within the 6-row repeat.  I wound up changing colors every 3 rounds.


Here it is laid out flat:


and as worn:


I used 80% merino/20% silk fingering weight yarn dyed by Heidi Dascher at The Artful Ewe in Port Gamble, WA (she calls this yarn “Clackamas”).  302 sts CO on a US 5 needle.

I am so happy with this I am starting another one.  I also find cowls more easily wearable than knitted scarves that need to be draped or tied somehow to stay on.  There are variations of the same sequence with a shift of 1,2,3 or 4 stitches and it is AMAZING how different the fabrics look.  This time I am going to do the same sequence on a multiple of 12 + 1.  Stay tuned!

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Weekend Visitors

Some long-time friends from Seattle came over to visit this past weekend (we have known them for 40+ years).  They hadn’t been over to the Methow Valley since 2007 or 2008, before we moved to our current home near Winthrop.  It was great!

Yesterday morning we went up to Sun Mountain Lodge and did a short hike around the upper loop above the lodge.  The weather was gorgeous and we all enjoyed the views.  The fall color is getting underway.  Here is a shot looking down on the beaver ponds:


And a good one of the four of us:


Back in the saddle again this Monday morning.  I will go down and finish warping my loom at the guild room for my workshop threading assignment, then come back home to continue weaving some placemats I started last week.

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The Okanogan County Fair was postponed this year because of the fires over in the Okanogan Valley to the east of our Methow Valley.  It is usually the weekend after Labor Day but there was a big fire camp set up there, and so the fair committee decided to postpone by 2 weeks rather than cancel.  It was last weekend (Sept 24-27).

This was a problem for kids back in school, and especially those raising livestock, as they aim to have optimal weight and condition by the usual projected date.  But it’s still better than cancellation!

Our guild (Methow Valley Spinners & Weavers Guild) put together our usual display, which features items woven for our current year’s challenge project.  This year the challenge theme was “Twill” and we had a wide variety of items, which made it kind of hard to display – but the women who put it together did a great job.  We got a “Special Award” for the display.  I am sorry I do not have a picture – I didn’t make it over to the Fair and seem to have deleted the picture that was sent to me by email.

I submitted 4 items for the spinning and weaving departments.  I got blue ribbons on all and some other ribbons on 3 of them.  The purple ones are Grand Champion and the yellow and green one is what they call a Special Award.

“Handknit from handspun cowl” and one of the crackle weave towels I just finished:


Extended manifold twill shawl in fine cotton and tencel:


I wrote a blog post back in April which shows and explains the shawl and the cowl.  You can find it here.

Down at the weaving guild room, I put on a third and final warp for the crackle weave towels and have been weaving away.  Took it off the loom today.




This may be my favorite of the 3 colorways.  I will post pictures once they are finished!

I had to clear off my loom there because we have a workshop coming up in about a week and half and I will need my loom for one of the projects.  This has been my other major activity – I am the chief organizer and it has been a lot of work.  We are having Mary Berent from Eagle, Idaho (just outside Boise) come to do her “Combining Common Cottons” workshop and also give a slide talk for our guild and the general public down at TwispWorks.  It is a round-robin style workshop and we have 10 people signed up.  Each person has to set up one of the projects, so I had to make sure we had the right number of looms with the right attributes in the room – some of them are there now, some have to be brought in.  Also needed to make sure we have the right materials, and order what we didn’t have, etc.  This has been going on for a month and I am so ready to have it finally happen and be over with!

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A Fine Weekend

Well, the studio tour has come and gone.  It was a lot of work getting ready but we had a good time and enough, but not too many, visitors.  We had a mix of neighbors and friends, people visiting the Methow for the weekend, and “part-timers” here for the weekend.  It was kind of quiet both mornings, but picked up in the afternoon, and never so busy that we didn’t have time to really show people around Rick’s shop and my weaving studio, and get into some interesting conversations.

studio tour 2015a

I set up a display of my work under a canopy out in front of the woodworking shop.  Sales were actually pretty good, so I was pleased!

I did finish hemming the second set of towels on Friday night.

set 2b

set 2a

It was really quiet on Sunday morning, so I set up my big electric dyepot on the front deck of the house and started pre-dyeing the silk scarf blanks for another round of my “tie dye” scarves, which I hope to get to work on pretty soon.

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This coming weekend, Rick and I are participating in the 2015 Artist’s Studio Tour presented by Confluence Gallery, Methow Arts Alliance and TwispWorks.  27 Artists. 18 Studios. 2 Days. SAT & SUN, SEPT 19 & 20, 9-5pm.  Profits will benefit non-profit artist programs here in the valley.  The idea is to buy a ticket at Confluence Gallery or TwispWorks, for which you will receive a wristband and map.

2015 Studio Tour Postcard JPEGRick has been consumed with a major cleanup of his shop, which was badly needed anyway.  I have been consumed with weaving and finishing towels down at the guild room, as well as cleaning up my workspace.  Even if we don’t get a lot of visitors, it is a good thing to have an excuse to reorganize and clean!

Last night I finished hemming the other 7 crackle weave towels from the first warp.  There are only 6 pictured here because two of them are quite similar.

set 1f

set 1g

set 1h

Last week I wound and tied on a second towel warp in a different colorway, and have been weaving away on those:

crackle set 2 underway

I took them off the loom yesterday afternoon, brought them home and washed and dried them.  They are stay-stitched and cut apart, but whether I get them hemmed or not for this weekend is kind of up in the air!

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We made a trip to the Skagit Valley and then to Seattle last weekend, to visit family and friends.  While on the way over the mountains, someone sent me a link to the Bellevue Arts Museum concerning an exhibit that is currently on display there.  I didn’t think we would have time to do this, but as it turned out we had about 3 hours Sunday afternoon, after the Seahawks game (Rick’s mom, who is 96, is a rabid Seahawks fan, so he went to watch the game with her while I met with some of my knitting friends).  It was well worth the visit!

The exhibit is called “In the Realm of Nature: Bob Stocksdale & Kay Sekimachi”.   It is a retrospective of the work of Bob Stocksdale, a master woodturner, and his wife Kay Sekimachi, a master weaver.  Bob died in 2003 but Kay is still a working artist.  The exhibit was first shown at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego (Sept 2014 – March 2105) and the only other venue is the Bellevue Arts Museum (July 3 – Oct 18, 2015).  There is a beautiful accompanying book with the same title, which of course we bought, but they allowed photography so here is a tiny flavor of what we saw:

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As long as we were there, we decided to wander up to the third floor to see the other current exhibit.

Counter-Couture: Fashioning Identity in the American Counterculture

September 4, 2015 – January 10, 2016

Counter-Couture celebrates the handmade fashion and style of the 1960s and 1970s. Often referred to as the hippie movement, the Counterculture of the era swept away the conformism of the previous decade and professed an alternative lifestyle whose effects still resonate today.

This turned out to be FABULOUS (well, maybe you had to be there in the 1970’s, which we were).  What a hoot!  Wait a minute, where are those embroidered workshirts that I stitched in the early to mid-70’s?  Trust me, they don’t hold a candle to most of the gems we saw at the museum, but I have never been able to part with them.  Looking in the closet…here they are!

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