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Archive for 2015

Last week I finished the next 3 towels after fixing the warp on my loom at the weaving guild room.  There are 3 different treadlings given with the pattern instructions so this represents all of them.

P1000227

Here is a closer look at the one that was offset by one thread (on the left) compared to the correct version (on the right).P1000225I have been down at the guild room a lot this past week, weaving more of these and using different color combinations for the wefts – so all of them will be a little different.  Should be able to finish up today and then, of course, there is the hemming and washing and pressing to do – but I should have more pictures coming up.

Last night there was a really fun event down at TwispWorksBluebird Grain Farms had its 10th anniversary celebration and organized a Farm to Table Paella Feast featuring paella made with their emmer farro as the main dish.  There were about 300 people in attendance!

The paella dinner was designed by Cameron Green (she is a local chef and caterer).  John Sundstrom of Lark restaurant in Seattle, one of Bluebird Grain Farms’ earliest customers,  came over for the event and prepared his signature seafood paella dish.  There were three huge paella pans going over wood fired outdoor cookers, plus several salads, bread, desserts, and a no-host bar featuring local beer and wine.  Almost all of the food was sourced from local farmers, bakeries, coffee roasters, etc.  and some of the proceeds went to support the Methow Made program (in 2013, TwispWorks started Methow Made as a collaborative marketing program to help Methow Valley food and beverage producers reach new customers).

Here are some pictures from last night’s event:

seafood prep

seafood prep

John Sundstrom from Lark restaurant

John Sundstrom from Lark restaurant

one of the wood-fired paella pans

one of the wood-fired paella pans

Cameron Green, chef & catrerer extraordinaire

Cameron Green, chef & caterer extraordinaire

a beautiful evening among friends at TwispWorks campus

a beautiful evening among friends at TwispWorks campus

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Crackle fixed… and more

On Saturday I re-threaded the towel warp, re-sleyed the reed and started a new towel in the same colors as the last one.  It’s much better!

P1000212

Here is the next towel underway – different treadling pattern and different color weft:

P1000215

The published pattern has three treadling variations and weft colors (always using some of the  colors used in the warp).  Once I finish the third one, I will take those off the loom and hem and wash them to see how they truly came out.  Then go on to making some others using different colors for the wefts.  This is getting to be fun!

I found a great little place in Wenatchee called Pins & Needles – they do custom sewing including upholstery, alterations, wedding ensembles, etc.  I have intended for several years to turn some rug samples into pillows – even bought the fabric, cording, zippers, etc. in the delusion that I (a non-sewer) could do this myself.  The samples were from a rug workshop I took from Judith MacKenzie out in Forks, WA before her studio fire out there.  So I brought everything down to Pins & Needles and they did a beautiful professional job for a very reasonable price.

P1000217

And recently I finished another other weaving project on Kingston, the 32″ Macomber at home.  They are table runners or mats intended to (a) use up materials I have, and (b) be a practical mat that is thick enough to set hot dishes on.  I used some of my many spools of left-over rug warp for the warp, and cut strips from corduroy fabric for the weft.  Actually there is a thick weft (the corduroy) alternated with a rayon/cotton slub yarn, which adds some texture and a little shine to the final mat.

P1000218

I am setting up Kingston to do another round of these, but I will make them a little wider and a little longer the next time.  I have some cotton print fabrics to use up as well, so the next ones will look a little different from that standpoint.

Rick and I are on a Methow Valley artist studio tour in 3 weeks, so I am trying to get some work done in anticipation of that event!

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Before I go into the weaving saga, let me just say that things have calmed down considerably here at our home since my last post.  There was an article on regional fire activity yesterday (Saturday August 29) on Methow Valley News Online if you want more information.  There is still some bad stuff going on in the lower Methow Valley, over in the Okanogan Valley, and around Lake Chelan.  It was terribly smoky here this past week and we had to stay inside as much as possible and not leave any windows open.  But our area is back to level 1 “be alert” and we have moved back in and brought the Airstream home. We had some rain and wind yesterday and the air this morning is lovely and clear.  They are hoping to open the North Cascades Highway today, although there may be occasional closures due to mud and rock slides, continuing fire fighting efforts, etc.

This past week I have been down at our weaving guild room putting a towel warp on the loom I keep there.  It is a project from a 1994 Handwoven magazine called Country Rustic Towels.  This was re-published by Interweave Press in “Best of Handwoven – A Dozen Projects in 8/2 Cotton” which I purchased as an eBook (PDF download) back in 2012.  So that was the source I was using to set up my project.  It is a Crackle Weave structure, which is something I have not done before.  There are 4 blocks or units and each color stripe is a different block, with what is called an “incidental” or transition warp end between blocks.

I brought my AVL warping wheel down there and wound a 12-yard warp onto the sectional beam.

Country Rustic warp on the loom

Country Rustic warp on the loom

Threaded it, sleyed the reed, tied it up and started weaving the first towel yesterday morning.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Country Rustic shifted

The pattern is shifted by one thread!  I went over and over what I had done, and yes, it matched the published instructions perfectly.  Then I went to our guild library shelves and got out the original Jan/Feb 1994 Handwoven magazine.  It turns out they edited the original pattern and did indeed add some useful information.  But they got one thing backwards – the warp color order chart!  Actually it is just a little thing – it should start with 13 blue threads on the right, and end with 12 blue threads on the left, not the other way around.  It is correct in the original instructions, but not in the Dozen Projects in 8/2 Cotton book.

I consulted with another guild member, and we agreed it is most obvious in the light gray stripes.  She suggested that I finish the first towel, then selectively replace some of the warp threads on either side of the gray stripes to at least improve the appearance (I have 10 towels to go, mind you).  That would mean having extra weighted threads hanging off the back for the rest of the weaving.  When I left last night, that was my plan.

But at 3:30 this morning, during an awake period, I decided to bite the bullet and re-thread the darn thing.  That will fix all of the blocks, not just make the gray ones look better.  And it won’t be as hard as the original threading, as I already know it is threaded correctly.  I will have to remove the left-most blue thread, then go through from left to right moving all the rest of the threads over one heddle.  Then add one new blue thread on the right.

If only I knew more about crackle weave, I would have realized when I started threading the heddles that the transition threads were the wrong color.  That would have been the chance to remove the left-most thread and add one at the right, before I started threading.  But no, I was being a “blind follower”.  Live and learn!

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Twisp River Fire

We just went through a big fire event and I thought I would post a few pictures.  It was a fire up the Twisp River Road that started last Wednesday (August 19) and just blew up in a matter of hours.  Both Twisp and Winthrop were put on level 3 evacuation (which means “get out now”).

From our house Wednesday afternoon, looking south towards Twisp

From our house about 3 pm Wednesday afternoon, looking south towards Twisp

Some folks have asked how we knew about the evacuation level.  After some neighbors came around and told us we should start preparing to leave, we started to listen to our local radio station KTRT.  Then we got an automated call on the home phone from Okanogan County Emergency Management with the evacuation notice.  Later, around 6 pm, a state patrol car came around the neighborhood.  By then, we had most of our things out in the car, pickup truck and cargo trailer.  We wound up staying 2 nights with friends about 6 miles south of Twisp.

Looking up Twisp River Rd about 7:30 pm on our way south

Looking up Twisp River Rd about 7:30 pm on our way south

Things were just as bad or worse over the hill in the Okanogan Valley, by the way.  A lot of this was on the national news.   Three firefighters died and another one was terribly burned last Wednesday when the fire first broke out – that is the worst part of this whole thing.

On Friday they seemed to have things under control near Twisp so we decided to head back home but leave our things packed up in the vehicles for the time being.

Smoke column north of Twisp on our way back into town

Smoke column north of Twisp on our way back into town

There was still fairly active fire in a wildlife management area north of Twisp River Road, and Friday afternoon they started up with the DC-10 fire retardant planes and water bucket helicopters.  That seemed to knock it down quite a bit but they are still working on containing that end of the fire as I write.

Friday morning

Friday morning

Friday afternoon about 4 pm from across the valley

Friday afternoon about 4 pm from across the valley

There was a good update on Methow Valley News Online yesterday (Sunday, August 23).  The Twisp River Road fire is just part of the bigger Okanogan Complex and is being managed by a Type 1 Incident Team as part of that bigger complex.

We are mostly moved back in now and I actually got to spend some time weaving yesterday.  We know we are very fortunate compared to what some other folks have been through this past week.

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We finally found a great guy who is an experienced carpenter, but only looking for small jobs when he is in the valley.  We have a couple of projects to do around here, and first up will be exterior stairs to parts of the deck.  The house wasn’t quite finished when we bought it 4 years ago, and the “steps” were very temporary.

These are designed to match the stairs for our main entry under the breezeway, that Rick did last fall.  Those have wooden treads, as they are under cover.   The rest of them will get snow and ice, which we don’t want to pile up all winter on wooden treads.  The stringers are done and awaiting metal stair treads which we are getting from Alpine Welding in Twisp.

Off the front corner leading to guest and trailer parking

Off the front corner leading to guest and trailer parking

Two stairs off the back porch, one from the French doors and one leading to the woodpile

Two stairs off the back porch, one from the French doors and one leading to the woodpile

Weaving rugs again now, to get some inventory out to the galleries for the summer, and use up my stash of Pendleton wool selvage material.

R216

R216

R217

R217

 

R218

R218

R219

R219

R220

R220

R221

R221

And I finished knitting this lovely shawlette, using my silk/wool handspun yarn: “Magrathea” by Martina Behm.  I had very little yarn left over!

Magrathea 1

Magrathea 2

 

 

 

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Earlier this week, a friend came by who has started a business making Nice Nests, “breeding boxes made from salvaged scrap wood and reclaimed hardware, designed specifically to provide functional breeding habitat for cavity-nesting birds. He also offers installation and consultation services for landowners interested in enhancing breeding habitat for more than three dozen species of cavity nesters in the Methow Valley.”  The quote is from a recent article about him in the Methow Valley News.

Rick had quite a bit of pine soffit material to give him (left over from building our house), and also a big box of miscellaneous hardware, some of it old.  Patrick was really excited about the hardware – he uses “found objects” and cool old stuff for perches and handles.

Yesterday morning he came by with 4 Nice Nests for us!  They will go up on pine trees around the house next week, and hopefully we will get some bird families to move in.  They all are easy to open up for cleanout, and he uses rough wood or scores the inside face of the doors so the little hatchlings can get a grip to climb out when it is time to leave the nest.

The hole on the green one is 1-1/8″ and he said it would only be used by wrens, chickadees or pygmy nuthatches.  The orange one has a 1-1/4″ hole and would be for red or white breasted nuthatches.  The two bigger ones have 1-1/2″ holes and would attract western bluebirds and also tree or violet-green swallows (but these boxes are also the most flexible, as some of the smaller birds could use these too).  Now we are going to have to get out the bird book and binoculars and learn to recognize these species!

Nice Nests

Here is Nice Nests on Facebook and also his Nice Nests website (very well done, by the way).

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Last week my back-door neighbor did a “tie dye” silk scarf day with her Friday bicycle group, and I went over to help out.  It was a lovely sunny day, and they were very nice women who were a little trepid about the whole thing.  The main concern was if they were choosing colors and arrangements that would work – we told them you couldn’t necessarily tell what colors were going to transfer anyway, so just go for it!  They all turned out well and of course I was so busy I didn’t take any pictures.

But it did inspire me to do some more myself, using the silk ties I had picked up over in the Skagit Valley when I went to visit my Dad, brother and sister-in-law a couple of weeks ago.  Some of these were from “second use” tie pieces, and although the scarves came out somewhat paler in color, I think it worked.

May 2015 set 1

May 2015 set 2

I have these for sale at the Winthrop Gallery in Winthrop (obviously) and down in Twisp at the new D*signs Gallery (that is how she spells it).  No website yet, but it is an added location for one of the partners in Methow Gallery at Twispworks, where she will do her graphic design and sign painting, in addition to running the new gallery space.  It’s really well done and a great addition to the arts scene in Twisp – you locals, go check it out.

This week I am pre-dyeing some scarf blanks a variety of colors, so will have some more on a colored background (instead of white) sometime in the next week or so.

After several days of chilly, cloudy weather, we are back to sun!  It is supposed to be in the low 70’s for the rest of the weekend at least.  Lots of flowers out now, and we hope to get back up in the hills while the arrowleaf balsomroot are still glorious, and the lupines are coming on.

This coming weekend brings ’49er Days in Winthrop and also the annual Sunflower Marathon and Relay sponsored by Methow Trails.  We will miss all that fun because we are headed over the mountains for Mother’s Day weekend and family visiting.  It should be a glorious trip over the North Cascades Highway, with snow still in the high peaks.

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