Archive for the ‘home life’ Category

Last night we went to the opening for the new show at Confluence Gallery in Twisp, titled “Reflections on Water”.  There was a pretty good turnout.  Daughter Gretchen is visiting from Medford, OR so she was with us, and we went out to dinner with good friends afterward.

Reflections on Water exhibit

I submitted three pieces for this show.  It seemed to me that what I have been weaving since spring just naturally lent themselves to the theme.

Handspun throw (weft is handspun, warp is organic wool from Jaggerspun) and a rug woven with Pendleton selvages:

Tencel and cotton shawl:

As for the smoke part, we are smothered in it right now owing to our 2 local fires and all the smoke coming down from the widespread, terrible ones in British Columbia.  Not looking like it is going to let up any time soon.


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I finished the first set of woven lace scarves using my hand-dyed wool warp and Jaggerspun Zephyr for the weft (18/2 wool silk blend).  I used the first 2 skeins that were dyed purple going into dark red, and dark red going into medium red, and got 3 scarves.  Left: woven with Deep Purple Zephyr, Right: woven with Iris Zephyr.

I have one more in Deep Purple to twist the fringes on, and then wash.  Yesterday I wound the other 2 skeins (medium red and kind of a salmon orange/brown) onto the warp beam and will hopefully get it tied on and ready to weave sometime this week.

Also finished up 2 more rugs:



Yesterday a doe with her 2 new fawns came though the yard.  Adorable!



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We know spring has really arrived, and not just because it is greening up and the wildflowers are coming out on the hills.  Many of our nesting boxes have new residents!  The bluebirds are back, third year in their chosen box – ditto, nuthatches.  There are lots of swallows around and we moved the “duplex” to a better location and think we have takers there.  A Say’s Phoebe is nesting on one of the rafters in the carport.  We aren’t true birders but we do so enjoy sitting out on the deck with the binoculars, watching all the activity.

I finished off the handpainted warp from the Kathrin Weber workshop with a couple of table runners using the repp weave.  I am supposed to give a presentation tomorrow at the guild meeting about my experience, so it was a good motivator to finish these and then clean up and put away the workshop loom.  I didn’t know how much warp I had left so that is why one came out shorter.

Also finished the first 3 scarves using the ombré color transition idea and WEBS merino/tencel yarn.  I am very happy with these (they feel wonderful) and have tied on a second warp and have started another set.  It may be hard to see in these pictures, but the front and back are both attractive.  On the front, the black warp yarn forms the predominant pattern, and on the back it is the weft yarn that predominates.

The colorways below are:  Plum & Elderberry, Whipple Blue & Silver, Grey Teal & Grey Olive.











I also finished spinning up two Polwarth/Silk handpainted braids I bought at The Artful Ewe (Heidi Dascher) in Port Gamble last November.  One of the braids I split in half lengthwise, the other one into quarters (so the color transitions came more frequently).  Those 2 singles were plied with fine kid mohair, also hand-dyed by Heidi.  I have 2 skeins, with a total of about 600 yards.



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When it snows…

In a push to finish UFO’s, I completed a knitted scarf that I started sometime last year.  It was about 2/3 done but falling farther and farther towards the bottom of the knitting bag.  The pattern is Noro Knots by the Irish designer Kieran Foley.  I knit one of these about 3 years ago using Noro Kureyon Sock and have found it to be very wearable, so I decided to make another one using Noro Silk Garden Sock in a colorway I really liked (#272).  For both of these I did 6 repeats of the charts, not 5 (well actually, on this one I worked only through chart C on the 6th repeat).  Very happy with it!


In January I bought a WooLee Winder for my Jensen Tina II spinning wheel.  I like the wheel but was having trouble getting used to having to move the spun singles from hook to hook on the flyer.  I haven’t had a wheel with hooks for a long time.  The Majacraft Little Gem has a sliding eyelet, much like a Lendrum, and for the Hansencraft Minispinner the standard flyers have a sliding eyelet (you don’t even need to pinch and slide, just give it a little nudge with your finger).  I also have the WooLee Winder for the Hansencraft spinner and love it, especially for plying.

I was kind of on the fence about ordering this for the Jensen wheel, as it had gotten mixed reviews on the Jensen Ravelry group.  Some people love it and others have had trouble getting it to work right.  The flyer has a level-wind mechanism in one arm, much like a fishing reel, and it moves up and down evenly feeding singles onto the bobbin as you spin.

Anyway, mine works great in both double-drive and Scotch tension modes and it is making the eternal spinning project go much faster and more enjoyably!  I only bought 2 bobbins as I always wind the singles off onto plastic storage bobbins anyway, for later plying.


We got a lot of snow the last couple of days, at least 10 inches I would say.



Cats roasting by the (not so) open fire….


I decided to put a short warp on my 32″ Macomber and do our weaving guild annual “challenge” project just to put it behind me and be ready when we share our efforts at the April meeting.  The theme this year is Lace and everyone signed up for a different kind of woven lace, breaking into study groups.  Three of us chose to do a project based on an article by Jane Evans in the May/June 2000 Handwoven magazine.  It allows you to weave motifs in Bronson lace using a “split shed” technique on 3 shafts, instead of pickup sticks.  You can either weave a lace motif against a plain weave background, or a plain weave motif embedded in a lace background.

It sounds intriguing and definitely a challenge!  But after reading through the method again I realized I will never in a million years actually choose to use this for a project, so have decided to do just a small sample to try it out and fulfill my obligation for this year’s challenge.  That meant putting on only a 1-yard warp in 20/2 pearl cotton.

These days I almost always warp my looms using my AVL Warping Wheel, which allows me to put a warp on the sectional beam with even tension, and without needing a tension box and multiple spools, then thread and sley from back to front.  But I can’t do that for a warp shorter than a couple of yards.  So I decided to try out Laura Fry’s method for putting a warp (wound on a conventional warping board or reel) onto the back beam under even tension, then threading and sleying from the front as I am used to.  This is shown in her DVD The Efficient Weaver.

Quickly realized that this warp is too short even for that, as it will not be wound onto the back beam at all.  So there seemed no point in trying out her way of rough-sleying a reed to act as a raddle and warp spreader at the front of the loom as you wind on.  I wound up just tieing the cross end onto the back apron rod so I could pull on it as I thread.  The lease sticks are suspended from two string cradles – actually the stick closest to the back rod is suspended, then the two are fastened together so as not to fall out.  Got this idea from Nadine Sanders’ “Warping on a Shoestring” DVD.






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We had friends over for dinner recently and D. gave me a bad time about the blog, pointing out that my most recent post was from the end of October.  Well OK, I guess you have a point.  It was a busy time up until the end of December, and I guess I have fallen out of the habit!

20 rugs and counting

Since my last post, I have woven 20 rugs.  Mostly these were in a push to have more things for sale at the 2 galleries over the holiday period, for our annual weaving guild sale in November, and also Rick and I were invited to have work up at The Gallery at Sun Mountain Lodge by our friends who curate that space.  Rick had a live-edge walnut mirror up there which subsequently sold, and I have 3 rugs hanging on the walls.  They will be there through sometime in April when the lodge closes for the shoulder season.


Did 4-5 in these blue & gray colors:


Got into some black & white and bright colors (more than one rug):


These 3 are from just last week and are now at Confluence Gallery:r305



8 More shawls… and some placemats

I finished the 4 purple shawls towards the end of October, then put on one more warp to weave another four of the blue/black shawls that had proven to be very popular….




After I finished the shawls, I put on a warp for more placemats using the “thick ‘n’ thin” method with cotton fabric strips and a slub yarn.  During December and early January I wove 12 placemats and a runner on that warp, but haven’t gotten any pictures yet.


Once the weaving push was over, I realized I had only a couple of my Mosaic Mojo Hats up at Winthrop Gallery for the holiday sales.  I hadn’t knit any of these for a year and it was fun to rummage through the yarn boxes and come up with a few new ones.  Well, six to be exact.  I worked on these in December and when in Seattle for Christmas week.







I also knit something for myself!  Brush Creek Cowlette by Carina Spencer using hand-dyed yarns from Marianated Yarns that I bought at knitting retreat the first weekend of November.  The yarn base is Scrumptious HT (80% merino, 20% cashmere) – she had yarn kits that had been broken up and I was able to choose 1/3 skeins (33 gm) of 3 colors, which was just comfortably enough.  I also modified the pattern by adding 2 more pattern repeats to make the neck opening bigger before joining in the round for the second and third colors.  I love this thing and wear it all the time!


Annual guild sale

Methow Valley Spinners & Weavers Guild annual show and sale was the weekend before Thanksgiving.  As usual, Sara Ashford did a wonderful job of organizing and decorating and the room looked so colorful.  It was a big success and is one of my best opportunities to sell directly to the public each year.






It has been a dry winter but very cold (like getting up in the morning to -17F).  But a few weeks ago we finally got a decent amount of snow.  Then it warmed up and melted off the roofs in great thundering WHUMPS!! but we still have at least 2 ft on the ground.


Squirrel Cowl Published

I finally took the time to publish my cowl pattern for sale on Ravelry a couple of weeks ago.  Last fall I wrote up the pattern, and taught a class down at Twisted Knitters in Twisp.  Just hadn’t gotten around to the final step on Ravelry.  It is a “sequence knitting” project and is called Squirrel Cowl.  Somehow the phrase “sequence spiral” morphed into “squirrel” in my brain!  Now I think of it as watching 2 squirrels chase each other up a pine tree, around and around and upward they go.

and on into 2017…

Still have rug warp on the big loom.  The small loom at home sits empty but I am contemplating a new scarf project.  The loom at the guild room also sits empty but I think I will put a towel warp on that one – just not sure what yet.   I “frogged” (rip-it, rip-it) 2 sweaters that just weren’t going anywhere, re-skeined and soaked the yarn to get the kinks out, and now one of them is in the process of its new incarnation.

Trying to take time for TLC on the old body and its lower back issues!  Enjoy our home in the Methow, cope with family issues that have been ongoing since September and keep looking forward and upward.

Take care, all.




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So as previously noted, last Saturday our home was included in this year’s Methow Valley Home Tour, which had the theme “Firewise Homes: Fire Adapted Building and Landscaping.”  We had gotten a good rating when we had the free Firewise evaluation done last fall, but still had some projects to complete outside, including setting up more of a green lawn perimeter around the house with a sprinkler system.  We worked with Eric Carlton of Carlton Landscape Construction in Twisp.  Rick had met him before on some jobs he worked on, and we know his wife’s parents.

Pavers leading into the house and down the side of the shop/studio building

Pavers leading into the house and down the side of the shop/studio building

Front plantings with dry streambed

Front plantings with dry stream bed – should fill in nicely in a year or two

The dry stream bed is more than decorative – it serves as a catchment basin for water that drains off both the house and the shop/studio building, and the pavers are set so that they drain into it as well.  Trust me, this came in handy the last couple of weeks when we had the heavy thunderstorm downpours with hail!

New green grass perimeter with automatic sprinkler system to keep it that way:



On the day of the home tour, we also had the house and our studios open (some of the homes on the tour only had their yards available for visitors to look at).  I am not sure how many people came, but at a guess 100-150 or so.  It was an opportunity to show the work Rick has done here so far, and I made a display board and had business cards out.  There were folks from the Confluence Gallery here to monitor the house, and someone from the Firewise program as well.  It was really pretty fun but we were exhausted by the end of the day.  That is more than partly because of all the cleaning and de-cluttering we did beforehand – yard, deck, house, studios.  Cleanest it may be for some time!

Yesterday we slept in and then took a day off – what a concept.  We went on a 4.5 mile hike to Blue Lake up in the North Cascades National Park just west of Washington Pass.  Someone was kind enough to offer to take our picture with my phone….




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This is the time for the annual Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival.  We usually get season tickets, and attend with my brother and sister-in-law from Camano Island (and up until recently, my Dad as well).  This year we only got tickets for the first 2 concerts, because of other obligations for all of us.  But it was still good, and I got to go to the third concert a few nights ago with a friend who had an extra ticket.

Thursday, July 28:chamber music 1Tuesday. August 2 – after another day of thunderstorms, heavy rain, wind, cold.  Maybe that’s mist not a crummy photo:

chamber music 2Last Friday my brother and I hiked up to Cedar Creek Falls – only 1.7 miles, but it was in the 90’s and thankfully, mostly in the shade.

cedar creek fallsWe found the geocache, one of the first ones from the 1980’s I have been told:

see der falls geocache

We are in the final stages of getting ready for the 15th annual  Methow Valley Home Tour.  It is this Saturday, August 6, and the theme this year is “Firewise Homes: Fire-adapted Building and Landscaping”.  The website says it will “look at valley homes from a more practical, rather than purely aesthetic, standpoint.  How can smart design, layout and construction choices make our homes more resilient in fire country?”

Ours will be one of 8 homes on the tour – all had good ratings from the Okanogan County Firewise program last fall, and 3 of them are on our loop road.  Of those 8, only 5 will also have their homes open (the usual model for the tour).  This is one reason Rick has been pushing to finish up projects in the house!  and we have also done more work in the yard.  I will take pictures on Saturday and post on the blog.


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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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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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I am so far behind in blogging it is hard to know where to start.  Part of it is laziness, part of it is lack of picture-taking.  I don’t know!  Anyway, since we last met in early December, we have been to Seattle for a week for the holidays, and then settled back in over here in early January.

I have a new spinning wheel!  It is a Jensen Tina II and belonged to a friend of mine in Seattle, who bought it in 2002 but hardly used it.  The finish was rather dry, so Rick put 2 coats of Profin on it and now it looks wonderful.  It spins like a dream.



On January 7th, my friend Sara organized a “Roc Day” spinning day at Twispworks.  About 20 people came and we had a fabulous potluck lunch, in addition to the general cameraderie.  From Wikipedia:

Distaff Day, also called Roc Day, is 7 January, the day after the feast of the Epiphany. It is also known as Saint Distaff’s Day, one of the many unofficial holidays in Catholic nations.  Many St. Distaff’s Day gatherings are held, large and small, throughout local fiber communities. The distaff, or rock, used in spinning was the medieval symbol of women’s work.

In many European cultural traditions, women resumed their household work after the twelve days of Christmas. Women of all classes would spend their evenings spinning on the wheel. During the day, they would carry a drop spindle with them. Spinning was the only means of turning raw wool, cotton or flax into thread, which could then be woven into cloth.




We have lots of snow this year.  It is going to be the best ski season, maybe ever!  The folks at Methow Trails are keeping it well-groomed as always.  We have one of the top Nordic ski trail systems (120 miles or 200+ kilometers) in the country right here in our little valley.  It is divided into four areas, all connected by the Methow Community Trail.

We had more fresh snow yesterday and last night, and here was the scene this morning from our back deck:

P1000590Piling up on the deck:

P1000595Curling off the roof of the shop building:


I have been knitting more Mosaic Mojo hats.  Still haven’t gotten tired of these yet, as long as I have nice yarn to work with.




And I finished a sequence knitting project, another cowl:



A week or so ago I put a scarf warp on my 32″ Macomber loom, using some Missoni “Bombay” novelty yarn that I picked up at a stash reduction sale, and some rayon rik-rak on cones.  I put 21 yds on the sectional beam, enough for 10 scarves about 70″ long plus fringe.  Finished the last one yesterday, washed them and cut them apart, and they are hanging to dry.  Pictures to follow!

This past Saturday, we had our annual community association progressive dinner, which is always held on the ML King holiday weekend.  I was the organizer, and we hosted the main course at our house this year (appetizers at one house, main course at a second house, desserts at a third).  There were 41 of us and it was a challenge to fit it into our dining and living room!  We moved most of the living room furniture out to the shop or upstairs, set up 5 tables, and borrowed a bunch of folding chairs from the Winthrop Gallery.  Lots of fun!



This seems to be a social time of year – we have had many get-togethers with friends and neighbors since returning home at the end of December.

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