Archive for 2016

Built-ins and Boucle

This coming Saturday, July 23,  I will be at D*signs Gallery and Twisted Knitters in Twisp in the first of the “featured artist” events they are planning for Saturdays this summer.  I’ll be there from 10-2 (ish) so come on down if you are here!  109B Glover Street, across from Cinnamon Twisp Bakery and Glover Street Market.  D*signs carries my rugs, and Twisted Knitters has my patterns, handknit items and some of my handspun yarn.  I will be bringing some other things that aren’t usually there, like the new woven shawls I talk about below.

First the “shopcam” update – Rick finished the built-in chest of drawers and bookcases in our master bedroom.  The chest of drawers is deeper than it looks, as it extends back into the storage area behind, which is accessible from the walk-in closet.  The wood is cherry and he made his signature Macassar ebony handles for this one.

bedroom built-ins July 2016 1

I am currently weaving some shawls using lovely hand-painted kid mohair boucle yarn for the warp.  From deep stash!  The first set of 4 shawls was in tones of blue, with black alpaca as the weft on 2 of them, and blue organic wool as the weft on the other 2.  The yarn was a handpaint from Naturally of New Zealand that has long been discontinued.  I also put in stripes of Kidsilk Haze (or equivalent) every 3 inches.  I think it makes them more interesting.


Yesterday I put on a new shawl warp using mainly Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Boucle, which appears to be discontinued now.   This has been in my stash for a while and I think this is a good use for it.  I used 4 different colorways plus one of the old ones from Naturally of New Zealand.  I didn’t feel I had the best colors for the wefts so am waiting on an order from Jaggerspun to arrive next week before I start actually weaving these.


And here are some yarns set out for contemplation for a third set:


I haven’t done this type of shawl for about 3 years and it has been fun to get back to them again.  Once my stash of handpaint boucle and mohair yarns is used up, though, this will be the end of it.

I have also woven some rugs using my new selvage material that I got down at Pendleton, Oregon on our recent trailer trip.

Custom order runner - 11 feet long!

Custom order runner – 11 feet long!

Fun with bright colors

Fun with bright colors


Custom order for another friend

Custom order for another friend




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Airiel on the road

We just returned home from a 10-day jaunt to SE Washington and NE Oregon with our 1973 Airstream trailer and 2 cats.  Not too ambitious, but we saw some beautiful country and had a great time.

First we spent 3 nights at Sun Lakes/Dry Falls State Park in the Grand Coulee country north of Moses Lake.  From the website:  “Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park is a 4,027-acre camping park with 73,640 feet of freshwater shoreline at the foot of Dry Falls. Dry Falls is one of the great geological wonders of North America. Carved by Ice Age floods that long ago disappeared, the former waterfall is now a stark cliff, 400 feet high and 3.5 miles wide. In its heyday, the waterfall was four times the size of Niagara Falls. Today, it overlooks a desert oasis filled with lakes and abundant wildlife.”

We did a couple of day hikes and a bike ride while there.Deep Lake 1

Deep Lake 2


Next we drove south and east to Palouse Falls State Park, not to camp but just to see it.  There we ran into neighbors on our loop here in Winthrop, who were on their way home from a trip to Utah.  Small world!

Palouse Falls SP

Then we kept going to Clarkston in the very southeast corner of Washington, and down WA Hwy 129/ OR Hwy 3 to Enterprise and Joseph, OR in the Hells Canyon and Wallowa Mountains country.  This was an incredibly scenic drive and involved a lot of steep twisty downhill and then steep twisty uphill sections, but the trusty Toyota Tundra pulling the 27′ Airstream did very well.

We didn’t get into Enterprise until early evening, arriving in a downpour which fortunately cleared off before we had to set up the trailer, and then went to Terminal Gravity brew pub for dinner and beers.  Excellent beer and food!  We stayed at a small place just north of Joseph that was recommended by my brother and sister-in-law – Mountain View Motel & RV Park.  They only have about 10 sites for short stay, with water and electricity (no full hookup), but it was immaculately clean & tidy and had a great view of the Wallowa Mountains and surrounding open country.

Mtn View RV Park 1

Mtn View RV Park 3

sunset 2

trailer cats

Stormy & Juno at camp

The first couple of days were cool and alternately cloudy, showery and sunny.  The first day we drove north to the Zumwalt Prairie, a large section of which now is owned and managed by Nature Conservancy.  A friend had lent us a book, “The Prairie Keepers”, which led us to visit this place:

In the remote northeast corner of Oregon lies the ruggedly beautiful Zumwalt Prairie. A wild expanse of untilled ground covering nearly two hundred square miles, the Zumwalt is almost entirely managed by cattle ranchers. It also is home to one of the highest concentrations of hawks in North America, including red tailed, ferruginous, and Swainson’s hawks. Strong and beautiful, these buteo hawks usually depend on uncultivated, unpeopled prairies. Marcy Houle, a wildlife biologist and student, first went to the Zumwalt in 1979 to discover what attracts and sustains the buteos there in such startling abundance. Houle explores the vast prairie on foot and horseback, and by truck, cataloging its hawks, studying its complex ecosystem, and meeting its people… Her findings, eloquently reported, show that ranchers and grazing and wildlife not only can coexist, but in some instances must coexist if we are to save the last of the native prairies. In an epilogue to this new edition, Houle returns to the Zumwalt to look at how the prairie is faring two decades later. The American West is undergoing tremendous change and a historic way of life is fighting for survival. But Houle finds reason for hope in the Zumwalt—in the hawks and ranchers that are still there, and also in creative new partnerships. For example, the Nature Conservancy bought 42 square miles of the grassland in 2000, with a plan to encourage sustainable cattle grazing and let ranchers play a role in the stewardship of the land.

On the drive in we saw quite a few hawks.  We went on a 3-mile loop hike and saw fewer hawks but many wildflowers.  Not a spectacular landscape, but very pretty and restful.

Zumwalt Prairie 1

Zumwalt Prairie 2

Zumwalt Prairie 3

Zumwalt Prairie 4

Zumwalt Prairie 5

Zumwalt Prairie 6

Zumwalt Prairie 7Then we drove further north to the Buckhorn Overlook of Hells Canyon, and saw several large elk herds along the way.

Hells Cyn Buckhorn Overlook

The next day was rainy and even kind of cold, so we visited Joseph, which has an active arts scene with an emphasis on cast bronze sculpture – there are at least 3 foundries in Joseph and Enterprise.  Sculptors from all over the country send their work there to be cast, most often in limited editions.  There are a number of large outdoor bronze sculptures all over the small town of Joseph.   Phinney Gallery was the high point for us, with beautiful paintings and sculpture, and the owner/artist Malcolm Phinney is a very personable guy.

Then we drove down to the very small town of Imnaha and had lunch at the little store there, followed by a drive up to the Hat Point Overlook of Hells Canyon.  We arrived just in time to see the fabulous views before a big rain/hail storm moved in!

Upper Imnaha River valley

Upper Imnaha River valley

Seven Devils Peaks in Idaho

Seven Devils Peaks in Idaho

lookout tower at Hat Point

lookout tower at Hat Point

The third day brought beautiful sunny weather and we drove up past Joseph to Wallowa Lake, intending to take the tram ride up for views and a short hike.

Wallowa Lake 1

Wallowa Lake 3

However, we were discouraged by the number of people, and the cost, and decided to go for a hike along the upper Imnaha River instead.  The trail goes to Imnaha Falls inside the Eagle Cap Wilderness, but we went only as far as a spot called the Blue Hole, where the river emerges from a narrow gorge.  Absolutely gorgeous scenery, an easy hike, and solitude.

upper Imnaha River

upper Imnaha River

The Blue Hole

The Blue Hole

Imnaha Falls hike 3

On the morning of our 4th day, we took the foundry tour at Parks Bronze in Enterprise.  We saw the whole process and also a huge blue whale sculpture they are fabricating for a town in Alaska.  I mean, HUGE, and with water jets.  It was mind-boggling.



model for blue whale sculpture

model for blue whale sculpture

big blue whale

big blue whale

applying patina in the finishing room

applying patina in the finishing room

limited edition piece with patina applied

limited edition piece with patina applied

That afternoon we drove up to Walla Walla, WA with the intention of staying 3 nights and doing some wine tasting over 2 whole days.  However, there are limited options for “camping” in a trailer there, and the RV Park was surrounded by strip malls and motels (although quite clean and nicely kept).  After being in the country it was a downer.  So the next morning we drove 40 miles down to Pendleton, OR to visit the Pendleton Woolen Mill and check out what they might have on hand for rug-weaving selvages.  Last time we were there they had very little, but this time I hit the jackpot!

Pendleton mill 2

truck full of good colors!

We did a little wine tasting that afternoon in downtown Walla Walla, spent a second night, and then came home a day early.  Great trip, glad to be home!






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Watch This Space

We are about to take off for 10 days with Airstream and cats for a wander around SE Washington and NE Oregon.  I will report when we get back.

Meanwhile, here are a few projects underway & finished.

Rick finished updating the master bedroom closet, which was not finished when we bought this place 5 years ago.  It hadn’t been painted and only had sub-floor, no finished flooring.  We found some very nice bamboo flooring at a building salvage place in Mt Vernon a month or so ago.  He moved everything out of the closet, moved a light, moved and expanded the opening to the under-eave storage area, patched wallboard, painted the walls and ceiling, and put down the bamboo flooring.  It was a mess up there for about a week, but so worth it!  Can’t really get a good picture, and anyway this is the sort of thing probably only we will appreciate.  But it is so much nicer, and a project that seemed like it would never get done.

He also removed the gas fireplace that was in the master bedroom, as we never use it and plan to move it downstairs next year to replace the wood burning insert.  He has almost finished new cabinets for the room, which will be a built-in chest of drawers where the fireplace was, and bookcases on either side.  This should be finished shortly after we come home from the trailer jaunt.

bedroom cabinets 12Jun2016

I finished a few rugs recently.  One was a custom order for a 7-ft rug similar to one she had seen at the Confluence Gallery, but she wanted one orange stripe at one end (to work with the slate floor in her bathroom, I understand).

R259 Mackey b

and some for the galleries:









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We set up the new show at Winthrop Gallery this week.  The official opening is this coming Saturday, June 4, and it will run through July 25.  The title is “Obliquity:  Our Tilt Towards the Sun”.  The four of us wanted something general that we could work around, and because the summer solstice occurs on June 21 in the middle of our time period, we thought a “summer” theme would be good.

The seasons are caused by the angular offset or obliquity between the Earth’s axis of rotation and a perpendicular to the Earth’s orbital plane with the Sun.  As a result, at different places in the Earth’s annual orbit, the northern hemisphere is tilted towards or away from the Sun to varying degrees.  When the northern hemisphere is most tilted towards the Sun we have our summer solstice and the longest day of the year.   So hopefully this explains the title!

Obliquity posterHere are a few pictures I took at the gallery yesterday:




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4 Generations

We have been gone a lot the last couple of weeks, mostly for family visits.  After Mother’s Day weekend in Seattle, we flew down to Medford to visit Rick’s daughter and her husband, her “kids” our grandchildren (all adults now!) and the great-grandchildren.  We had not yet met the new baby girl born last September, so that was pretty great.




Four generations!

Last week my sister and her husband were visiting from Colorado and staying with my Dad, so we headed back over the mountains for a visit.  For some reason I took no pictures!  But it was great to see them.

Had a birthday last week.  I loved this card a friend sent me, along with a sweet little pouch she embroidered with a blue sheep!  You have to realize that there was a period when I was a little girl when I insisted on being called “Cowboy Aberson Carr”.  Not sure how I came up with that in the first place, but I had chaps and still have a picture of me on my trike wearing them.


I am in the final week of getting ready for the show at the Winthrop Gallery that goes up next week.  Here is a picture of four of the plaited twill scarves, all finished and ready to go.  I still have to twist the fringes on three more of them, but this is definitely a start…

P1000946 edit

This week I am weaving more placemats – liking these black & white ones quite a bit.  These are all plain weave, but “thick & thin”, alternating picks of cotton fabric cut in 1/2″ strips and folded to 1/4″, with a rayon/cotton slub yarn as the alternate pick.  I like the way this keeps the fabric strips always in the same shed, creating vertical lines in the warp threads that run the length of the mat.

placemat 2 fabric

placemat 2 May 2016

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I finished weaving the new set of plaited twill scarves this week and took them off the loom at the guild room.  There are seven of them, each with a different weft color on the “Sea Scallop” warp – this is a colorway I did once before, about 4 years ago.  Really, it has been that long.

They still need to have fringes twisted, and then be washed and pressed, but I am pleased with how they turned out.  I need to get at least some of these completely done by mid-May for photography, as I am hoping to use this for the poster for the show at Winthrop Gallery that opens June 1.  It will be a bit of a challenge since we are going away for a week, but some way or another it will be done.

sea scallop woven

I also got a warp onto Kingston, my 32″ Macomber at home, to start some placemats (also for the WG show).  The warp is leftover rug warp – I have many little spools with some warp left on them from winding the 50-yd warps I use for rug weaving.  These will be plain weave, but alternating 1/2″ strips of cotton fabric with a novelty yarn.  For the first ones, I am using a length of fabric I must have bought decades ago under the delusion that I would actually sew myself a shirt or blouse!  I am alternating this with a rayon chenille.

placemat fabric 1

placemat 1 May 2016

The flowers continue to come out in the yard – larkspur, some yellow flowers (sorry, I don’t know what they are!) and the bitterroot are just getting started.   Rick took some pictures for the home tour booklet this week:

20 PV May 2016 1

and last week we saw a fantastic sunset with Mt Gardiner in the background:

sunset 28Apr2016

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How We Work

The Winthrop Gallery put up a new show this week, with the official opening on Saturday.  Open to all members, it is titled “How We Work:  Winthrop Gallery artists & the creative process.”  Those of us who submitted a piece or two were asked to provide a statement to be mounted on the wall, which could include photographs.  It was left very open so it will be fun and interesting to see what people came up with.  We can’t make the opening on Saturday because we are headed over to La Conner and Bellingham for the weekend, but I will stop by there today to see how it looks.  Here’s the poster:

How We Work poster

I finished off a rug warp last week and have wound a new warp onto the sectional beam, although it isn’t threaded yet.   Here are some of the recent rugs:



R252 & R253

This is the one I was weaving when we took the picture for the poster – and one of these is in the show




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