Archive for the ‘weaving’ Category

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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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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This is shaping up to be a spectacular year for wildflowers, one factor being all the snow we had last winter.  It has warmed up quickly and melted off fast – the Methow River is a raging brown torrent this week.

Our signature wildlflower, the arrowleaf balsamroot (called “sunflowers” by the locals) have come out strong on the hillsides this past week.  We knew we had to get out to see them before they started to fade, so this morning we did the Lewis Butte hike not too far north out of Winthrop, off the Gunn Ranch Rd.  In addition to the balsamroot, the lupine were well along.  I’ll let the pictures say the rest…

Lewis Butte 4-20-16 a

Lewis Butte 4-20-16 b

Mt. Gardiner in the background

Mt. Gardiner in the background

We did it as a loop, with the steepest part (an old jeep track) at the beginning.  We aren’t in the best of shape but we made it!  Maybe next week we will try Patterson Mtn, as we were told it is a little farther behind Lewis Butte in flower development.

Weaving update

I took 7 plaited twill scarves off the loom at the guild room over a week ago, and have been doing the finishing work at home.



Then over Sunday and Monday I wound a new warp onto the sectional beam, tied it onto the old warp (the blue/green colorway) and started the first scarf.  I haven’t done these particular colors for about 4 years and I am excited to see it again – I call it “Sea Scallop”.

sea scallop warp

sea scallop started


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Rick just finished a walnut coffee table using a plank of Oregon claro walnut that he had kicking around the shop for about 25 years.  For the legs he used leftover pieces from a kitchen he just did for a house in Twisp.  These were from a homestead tree down in Wenatchee that had been through a wildfire.  One of the pieces had a big split down the middle which he had to separate to keep the leg stable.  When he did that, he found an actual walnut embedded in the crack – the tree must have grown around it.  He managed to glue it back in there when he fashioned the leg!



P1000830Our friends in Wenatchee stopped by last weekend on their way into the valley for some skiing.  They fell in love with this table and are buying it, so it will never see the inside of a gallery.  We are taking it to them tomorrow when we go down for a medical appointment.

On the weaving front, I put a warp on Kingston, the 32″ Macomber at home, to do my guild “challenge” project.   It needs to be finished by the April 15 meeting and this year it is a color challenge.  We each drew an envelope with a color photograph, and the challenge is to weave something using at least 4 colors from the photograph, and no others.  My picture is of cherry tomatoes on the vine, laid out on a wicker basket.

I had colors in 8/2 cotton from WEBS that worked but it took me a while to decide what sort of thing to weave.  I didn’t want to do a towel for some reason.  Then I remembered a project in Handwoven magazine last Nov/Dec that used a Bateman Boulevard draft to make fabric for a tablet sleeve.  I really liked the mid-century modern look of that fabric and decided to accomplish 2 things – my color challenge, and an exploration of the Boulevard weave to see where it might lead me.

I wound up with 4 napkins for the challenge part, and have warp left on the loom to try some variations.  There are 4 colors in the warp – 2 greens, a warm brown, and tobacco.  When weaving, I used the red-orange for the pattern weft and one of the warp colors for the tabby weft.  So the four napkins are each a slightly different color, and it was good to see what changing the tabby weft did to the overall color of the fabric.



I have also kept up with spinning, inspired by my time up on Orcas Island in February.

A 3-ply yarn using 3 rovings from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks.  Two of them were merino/tencel and one was wool/bombyx silk, but all three were dyed in the same Autumn colorway.


A 2-ply yarn using 4 oz. of Bluefaced Leicester purchased many years ago from Chameleon Colorworks.P1000833

On Saturday we are off for a week-long vacation to Lake Quinault on the Olympic Peninsula, and then to Port Townsend and LaConner.  Can’t wait!!

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One more round of scarves…

I just finished my fourth “mixed warp” set of scarves, just in time to get them into the galleries before Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekend, which brings a lot of folks into the valley for the long weekend and cross-country skiing.  Next week I will be on Orcas Island for spinning camp with Judith Mackenzie.  Yay!

This warp was “purple-ish” – I mixed in some maroons, warm brown tones and a bit of pink to come up with 16 different yarns, but it worked out fine.

purpleish warp Feb 2016

purpleish on loom

purpleish scarves

The challenge this time was coming up with good weft yarns for 11 scarves.  I went to my knitting yarn stash and came up with some good ones, plus some coned wool and rayon chenille.

I think we are seeing the spring thaw coming.  It has warmed up and giant landslides of snow have been thundering off the roof.  There is still lots of snow on the ground though, and when I worked at the Winthrop Gallery yesterday, folks were saying the skiing was still good.

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s already January 31.  It has been a productive month in the studio for me, so here are the things I have been working on.  Warning, this is a weaving-centric post!


I finished the first set of “mixed warp” scarves using a discontinued Missoni yarn called Bombay which I picked up in a stash reduction sale, who knows how long ago!  I only had enough for about half the warp so I alternated 2 strands of Bombay with 2 strands of coned rayon Rik-Rak in 2 colors.  Here is the warp as it shows in the fringe:

Bombay 1 fringeand the 9 scarves that were woven using a variety of DK weight handknitting yarns and rayon chenilles.  These are all out at the Confluence Gallery in Twisp and the Winthrop Gallery.  There was a 10th scarf at the end of the warp that came out shorter (about 54″ not including the fringe) and I am keeping that one.  It was woven with Elspeth Lavold Baby Llama, and is quite yummy feeling

Bombay 2 Bombay 3 Bombay 4I put a second warp on using 16 different yarns in reds, browns and some gold.  I am weaving these 8″ wide at 8 epi so I need 16 ends (threads) in each 2″ section on the warping beam.  I rotated through groups of 4 yarns in each section to mix up the colors and textures some.  The warp is 24 yards long and I can comfortably get 11 scarves woven to 70″ under tension from that.  They shrink about 10% in each direction once off the loom and washed and pressed.  There is a 4″ unwoven section at each end of each scarf for the fringe, and I am hemstitching the ends in groups of 3 or so threads to keep the edge wefts in place.

Red Brown warpI used a lot of Henry’s Attic natural color superfine alpaca as weft on these, as well as some rayon chenilles.  Here is the first one being woven, using black alpaca and beat gently (more of a press, really) to get about 8 ppi.  I also used a light gray, light camel, and chocolate brown in the alpaca.

Red Brown black alpaca Here they are drying on the rack yesterday.  Today I will trim and press and label and then they will be ready to go out to the galleries.

Red Brown scarvesNow I have put on a third warp using blues and greens and again a mix of 16 yarns in a variety of textures.  I am finding it is best to put a thinner smooth yarn in between the stickier and larger mohairs and boucles.

cobalt warp Jan 2016

Cobalt warp on loomI wove the first one yesterday afternoon using a teal Rowan DDK wool and it is really pretty!

Cobalt underway

Ah, almost forgot.  A couple of weeks ago I finished 4 more rugs using Pendleton selvages, to re-supply the galleries.



R246 & R247 (two alike)

R246 & R247 (two alike)




Here are the most recent Mosaic Mojo hats.  I have knitted 22 of these since early November and am now ready to give it a rest!

These 2 were done using a solid Cascade 220 wool yarn paired with Noro “Haniwa”, which is 50% silk and makes for a nice, light-weight but warm hat.

16 - 1535

21 - 1541These two were done with some yarn I got in a door prize drawing at spinning camp on Orcas Island last year.  It is a handpainted Clun Forest (sheep breed) from Solitude Wool in Virginia.  They had a booth at the Madrona Fiberarts Winter Retreat in Tacoma last February, and will be there again this year.  The Clun Forest is a little scratchy but I paired it with Cascade 220 for the solid color, and using that for the rolled edge worked really well to keep it soft against your forehead.

19 - 1539

20 - 1540

This last one I made for myself!  I used 2 colors of Cascade 220 for the solid color, and Noro Silk Garden Sock held with a strand of Rowan Kidsilk Haze for the variegated yarn.  I picked through the Noro yarn to pull only colors I wanted in this hat.

22a - mine

22b - mine

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