Archive for the ‘family & friends’ Category

Last weekend we made a trip to the Coast to pick up materials for one of Rick’s cabinet jobs, and visit with friends and family.  On the way to and from Anacortes, in the Skagit Valley, we saw large flocks of snow geese out in the fields.  They are quite a sight!  Then when we arrived home, it was obvious that rain and/or thaw had set in.  We still have snow on the ground, but it is soggy during the day, becoming icy at night.  Yech!  Navigating our driveway on foot from house to carport is a bit treacherous.  Although now, in the late afternoon, I look outside and it is…. snowing!!

Having dropped the ball entirely on blogging the last couple of weeks, I will attempt a bit of a catch-up.

My weaving workshop a couple of weeks ago in Seattle, with Margaret Roach Wheeler, was marvelous.  Her website is Mahota Handwovens – the type of weaving we were learning is shown in her clothing line.  She uses the summer-and-winter weave structure to weave decorative bands that emulate Native American beadwork and quillwork.  Here are a few pictures from the 2-day workshop:

Margaret discussing a finished sampler

A shirt with decorative work on collar and facings

A beautiful dress - note subtle colorwork at the very top

Our samplers were worked in 10/2 perle cotton.  She gave color value and contrast guidelines, but every warp was different and the colors chosen for wefts were up to the student.  There is a lot to explore and learn there – what works and what doesn’t!  But I am pleased with my sampler and will use it both as a guide for future work, and as a wall hanging in my studio:

My washed sampler from the Wheeler workshop

Meanwhile, the last few weeks I have written up the pattern for the “Mosaic Mojo Hat” and have taught 2 groups of intrepid knitters the techniques used there – short rows (including hiding the wraps in garter stitch), garter stitch grafting and mosaic knitting.  No-one left crying so it must have been OK.  I taught it as two 2-hour sessions with a week in between to get some knitting done, and will be teaching it again in March down at Uptown Woolery in Chelan.  Inevitably, some errors in the pattern were found and I still need to tweak it a bit.  Eventually I will offer it as a PDF download from my Ravelry page and will put a link here on the blog.

I made a commitment to have some woven pieces for the next show at Confluence Gallery in Twisp – the theme is “Lacuna”, which they said “can be described as a gap, an absence or a void, but the meaning is much more nuanced and evocative”.  It has different meanings depending on the application.  The show opens the first weekend on March so time is running out, especially as I will be gone to spinning camp on Orcas Island all of next week!

So this week I am trying to bring an idea along and I am not sure it is going to work.   The basis will be some woven and felted wall-hangings, which I plan to embellish further.  So here is what I was doing the last couple of days:

Sleying the reed off the loom -first time I have tried this, and I like it.  Much more comfortable.

I discovered the Hans Wegner “Wishbone” chair is perfect for sitting over the sectional warp beam to thread from the back.  [As an aside, we were thrilled to find the set of 4 chairs at a used-furniture store in Ballard a couple of years ago, for a very reasonable price.  Hans Wegner is one of Rick’s heroes, a famous Danish furniture designer.  We had them down at Benson Creek but now they are in my studio along with the smaller oak dining table]

Here is the first piece almost done:

What will this odd-looking blob become?  Stay tuned!


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Yesterday morning started with a moose sighting!  Rick was downstairs making coffee and he saw it running right by the house.  By the time I got downstairs, it was heading towards the fields across the road, so we didn’t have a chance to take a picture.  We have heard of moose occasionally being seen on the valley floor, but I think it is still a very unusual occurrence.

Our long-time friends who now live out at Lake Quinault on the Olympic Peninsula were our second set of visitors for the week.  They have owned a small, rustic cabin resort on the lake for 30 years (originally with partners, and more recently as sole owners).  Last year they retired from their jobs in the greater Seattle area (3rd grade teacher and landscape architect), sold the house in Bellevue, and moved to the Peninsula.  They basically tore down the old house and rebuilt it and now that is their home.  So check out Lochaerie Resort – 6 rustic housekeeping cabins, most built in the 1920’s and 1930’s, on the North Shore of Lake Quinault in the Olympic National Park.  It’s like stepping back in time – but very clean and with hot showers!

Yesterday, post-moose-sighting, we put the cross country skis in our truck, drove up to Sun Mountain Lodge, and skiied back down to the house.  It was very foggy in the valley yesterday, so the only sun and views were up at the lodge at the beginning of the coast downhill.  It was a lot of fun and took us about 3 hours (we took the long way around at the end).  On the way down the Winthrop Trail, at a spot where we can look out across the valley to our home, we noticed large cloven hoofprints in the snow along the ski trail.  About the size of horse hooves, but definitely cloven.  So the inescapable conclusion is that this where the moose came up out of the valley after it crossed the fields from our place.  Too cool.

We met a friendly skier along the way, and he took our picture:

On the Winthrop Trail

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16 Scarves

After we returned from Christmas on the coast, I wound 4 warps for the plaited twill scarves – that is, 4 different colorways, 2 of which were new ones I had in mind but hadn’t tried yet.  I can get 4 scarves from a 10-yard warp so I have been weaving away and now have 16 scarves woven:

but not finished.  I still need to twist the fringes, darn in ends and wash and press them.

I wanted to get this many done because I sold most of what I had before and during the holidays (not complaining!).  It saves me a lot of time if I can tie on each new warp and pull it through the heddles and reed, so I don’t have to re-thread etc.  But I am going to have to take this warp setup off the loom I am using because I need it for a workshop I am going to the end of next week.

The workshop, which will be held over in Seattle through the Seattle Weavers’ Guild,  is with Margaret Roach Wheeler, a native American of Chickasaw-Choctaw descent.  Do check out her website (Mahota Handwovens) –  I think her work is stunning.  She will be teaching us how she uses the Summer & Winter weave structure to interpret native American beadwork and quillwork patterns in her clothing line.   There are many beautiful examples on her website.  I am really excited to have this opportunity to learn from her.

Speaking of the loom I am using, I was having a fit around scarf # 10.  It is my Macomber “workshop loom”, the model CP portable.  Tie-up hooks were constantly popping off the lamms (the hooks connect the pedals or treadles to the lamm, which is a bar that connects to the jacks which raise the harnesses).  Also the harnesses themselves were hanging up and not dropping and I was getting messed up areas in the pattern and having to take work out and fix it constantly.  And it kept making a lot of loud creaking and squeaking noises.

Finally the light bulb went off in my head and I looked on the Macomber Looms and Me blog (also in my sidebar at right).  Sure enough there were a couple of entries about cleaning old grunge and dust off the jacks, and about Spiffing up your Loom.  I am not sure but my loom may have been sprayed with some WD-40 during a workshop last fall at our guild room – turns out this is a big No-No for Macomber looms.  So anyway, I cleaned up the jacks and the wooden slots the lamms slide in as best I could with a warp on the loom, using acetone and a rag, then applied silicone spray and vaseline (recommended for wherever brass parts touch steel parts).  The result was a much happier loom and a much happier weaver!  The last scarves went off without a hitch as fast as I could go.

I also include a picture of the handspun yarn I finished up a week or so ago.  This was from a multi-colored grey Corriedale fleece I washed, carded into layered batts (dark, medium and light in 3 layers to preserve some color variation in the spun yarn) and then spun over a period of time, mostly during the last year.  I finished it up as a 3-ply yarn and definitely have enough for a sweater (maybe 2700 yards of sport weight).  I am thinking traditional gansey style but need to do some swatching.  It is the most yummy, squishy and springy, soft yarn – I love it!

We will have 2 sets of visitors this week, so glad to see them!  Our first visitors arrived Friday night from Seattle.  Yesterday was a gorgeous Methow day and we went snowshoeing up in the Rendezvous area out of the Gunn Ranch.

Kristin is with child, due mid- to late-March, but she looks just like…. Kristin with a basketball on the front!

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We returned from 6 days on the Coast last Sunday, and our dear friends who are currently living in Southern California joined us here for 3 nights before heading back south.  We celebrated a 59th birthday:

They brought their 2 new cats, Tatti (a Maine Coon, still an adolescent and a big, sweet girl) and the Siamese kitten, Neko.  I’m not sure why my best picture of Neko was taken when she was asleep, because that was rarely the case!  She was very playful and hilariously entertaining.

There was only one “moment” when Tatti sneaked upstairs past our barrier and encountered a hostile Teasel (our female Bengal cat).  There was a lot of hissing, screaming and scrambling around.  We raced upstairs to find Tatti cowering in the bathroom, little fluffs of Tatti fur on the landing, and Teasel puffed up to about 3 times her normal size.  No harm done, though.

Rick and I went out for a fairly long ski on Monday which took us onto the Winthrop Trail and a view back down to the house:

Since then it has turned really, really cold – but clear and beautiful, especially in the mornings.

The carport is finished and we have both trailers (the Aliner travel trailer, and Rick’s utility trailer) and both our vehicles safely parked out of the snow now:

carport finished Dec 30, 2010

While away on the Coast, I finished the fourth of the swirl top hats.  This time I used a mosaic pattern from Barbara Walker’s Mosaic Knitting for the band and I am quite pleased with the result.  The yarns are Noro Silk Garden (the one showing color graduation) and Rowan Kid Classic in the same dark brown I used on the first hat.

And this week I warped up my small loom with a new scarf warp colorway that I had prepared before we left for Christmas.  I have finished the first 2 of 4 scarves I will get from this warp, and am working on the third one today.

Autumn warp with eggplant chenille weft

Autumn warp with black tencel weft

Tonight we go down to Twisp to join a group of friends for potluck dinner and ringing in the New Year at the Methow Valley Inn.  Safe travels to all who are similarly out and about tonight, and Happy New Year!

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We have returned from a road trip with our little camping trailer, down to Sacramento and back for a family wedding.  It was great to get away for a while, see some sights (even though we had to keep moving each day) and have what amounted to a family reunion down in Sacramento.

Near John Day, Oregon (southeast Oregon) we pulled into a state park, circled the loop to find a spot, and spotted another Aliner trailer.  So of course we decided to camp in the adjacent spot.  After we set up, I walked over and realized it had Florida plates.  Gosh, didn’t the guy we met at Capitol Reef National Park in Utah (back in 2007) come from Florida?  The one who gave us the grand tour of his Aliner and more or less sold us on the idea?  And didn’t he tow his trailer with a Jeep Cherokee…HEY, this guy has a Jeep Cherokee the same color!!  It’s the same guy!!

Aliners at Clyde Holliday SP near John Day, OR

That’s us on the left, Jack’s rig on the right.  He is a retired schoolteacher and travels the country for months and months at a time, doing a lot of digital photography.  We had a nice visit and all marveled at what a small world it is.

Also in John Day, we visited the Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum. To quote from the link I gave,  “Preserving the legacy of the Chinese workforce in Oregon, the museum contains artifacts and displays that share some of the trials of everyday life of these people.  Chinese businessman Lung On and herbal doctor Ing Hay worked out of this building. Dr. Hay administered care to the Chinese gold-mine workers, pioneers, and others from the John Day area and beyond by using traditional Chinese remedies.”  Part of the museum is actually the building where they lived, operated a general store, medical office and apothecary, social center for the Chinese community, quasi-bed&breakfast, etc for decades, and when it was locked up in 1948 everything in there remained untouched for decades more.

So what you see now is what was actually there, although cleaned up and protected now, of course.  Even dessicated fruits and glasses of juice that Doc Hay left on the altars throughout the little building, the day he left.

John Day also had a wonderful knitting, spinning and weaving shop:

The owner’s tastes and mine definitely align.  The knitting yarn selection was good but not tempting to me, but I did get into some trouble back in the book department:

Came away with some new weaving titles, and a great little book called Twist & Knit, self-published by Miriam Felton.  Follow my link and read the review from Knitter’s Review.  It’s geared to handspinners who want to get the most from a few hundred yarns of a special yarn, or those of us knitters who may indulge in a few skeins of something fabulous but worry about starting a project with it and not having enough to finish.  Very well done little book.

Down in Sacramento, we met up with my Dad, both my siblings and their spouses, my 2 nieces (one of whose wedding we were celebrating!!) and a whole bunch of other folks, some of whom were from the groom’s side of course.  We had three days of fun together, including a visit to the Old Sugar Mill out on the Sacramento River delta, which now houses a collection of wineries.  We brought a picnic lunch:

On our last evening there, the bride and groom hosted a lovely outdoor reception and dinner at their new home:

Dad and us "kids"

Three of my favorite men

The Shaws with a new addition to the family

Also, Rick showed them how we open wine bottles up in the Methow Valley:

A particularly stubborn cork doesn't stand a chance....

On the way back we camped near Mt Shasta, visited Gretchen and grand-kids and great-grand-kids in Medford, then wandered up through central Oregon and Washington to home in our little valley.

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It’s been such a varied week, I thought I would just do a kitchen-sink kind of post today.

In anticipation of the upcoming Okanogan County Fair, and also a new round of teaching the top-down raglan sweater class, I finally got the little cardigan finished that I knit over the summer.  I still needed to darn in the ends, sew on the buttons, and block it.  It was knit using Rowan Yorkshire Tweed (about 7 sts/in), which sadly is a discontinued yarn.  I only had so much of the main color and couldn’t find more anywhere, so I had to get creative towards the end.  It is knit in one piece from the top down, and for the borders I used a mosaic pattern called “Sanquar Check” from one of the Barbara Walker books (1st Treasury of Stitch Patterns I think, am too lazy to go out to the studio and check…)  I had to go with 3/4 length sleeves due to the running-out-of-yarn problem, but I think I actually like them that way.  So, finished object:

On Sunday of the Labor Day weekend, I set up my booth at the Winthrop Artisan Market.  It was very windy, overcast, and a little cold!  We had to tie all the pieces of my display down so they wouldn’t blow over.  I did sell one rug and 2 shawl pins, so it wasn’t a complete bust…but nicer weather would have helped, I think.

Also that Sunday my Dad came over from Anacortes in his little Rialta motorhome, with his cat Squeaky, and spent 3 nights with us.  Sadly, the weather remained cool and rainy, with occasional sun breaks, so we couldn’t do much outside.  But still, we had a good visit.  Took Dad up to see one of the houses Rick built cabinets for last year, and also went up to see the job site for an upcoming job this fall.  It’s in a beautiful location up the Lost River valley.

Tuesday was Dad’s 91st birthday and we went up to Sun Mountain Lodge for dinner.  We had one of the best tables with a beautiful view up and down the valley below, and it had cleared up some so the views were spectacular.

Thursday was the opening day for the Okanogan County Fair over in Omak.  A group from our guild, Methow Valley Spinners & Weavers, had organized a “fleece to shawl” event.  We had a loom already warped for a shawl with handspun yarn that several of us had supplied.  We brought a washed fleece, a natural colored Romney from The Pines Farm in Maple Valley (south of Seattle).  We hand-carded the fleece, spun the rolags into singles, then I was the “designated plyer” and made a 2-ply yarn.  This was handed off to the weavers, who wove the shawl.  We actually finished it in about 5 hours – I was amazed!  Thursday was also the day that a lot of school groups came through, and the kids were really interested and asked a lot of questions.

That’s our guild display on the wall that my friend Diana puts together each year (with some help, but it is mostly her effort).  We usually show what the guild challenge project was for the year, and as I last blogged about here, this year it was to “do something” with some emerald green and camel brown cotton yarn that we had been given an abundance of some time in the past.

The rest of this week, I’ve started on a new round of scarves on my little workshop loom.  Last night we worked late and decided to go down to Twisp for dinner at Tappi.  It turned out one of our favorite groups was playing jazz:

And here’s John with part of our dinner just out of the brick oven – it’s the “Malandrino” burger.  Calling this a burger is more than a little misleading.  And yes, we split it.  It’s a full pound of beef, with grilled onions and grilled tomatoes, melted blue cheese, on a homemade pocket bread.  Best eaten with knife and fork!

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Family Photos

Here’s a family:

These three went through a lot together earlier this year, when Clara fell and broke her arm.  It’s great to have everything back to normal!  This was taken at a birthday dinner a couple of weeks ago (Rick & Kathy).

Clara – 91, Rick – 62, Kathy – “59” (same as Jack Benny)

And here’s another family that wandered by off our back deck a couple of mornings ago:

So cute!

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