Archive for the ‘woodworking’ Category

Done & Delivered

Yesterday we delivered one of the dining tables that Rick has been working on.  It is for our friends’ cabin up in Mazama.  The style is a “Dutch drawleaf” and the method came from a 1977 Fine Woodworking magazine.  He has done 3 tables before using this method, including our own Oregon walnut table.  This table was done with afromosia.   The leaves store under the ends of the main top, and when pulled out the center section drops into place between them.

Higgins table 2

Higgins table 4

I finished a sweater last week.  It is based on the pattern Lightweight Pullover from Knitbot (Hannah Fettig).  This is a plain stockinette stitch sweater worked all in one piece from the top down, starting with the cowl neck and then into raglan shaping.  I used 7 balls of Rowan DK Soft from my stash, which is no longer available.  It’s a brushed wool (no mohair).  I decided the plain stockinette would be a little boring so modified it with a twisted stitch pattern after doing some swatching.  It required a bit of tweaking of the stitch counts especially for the raglan shaping, but I am happy with the result!

Knitbot Pullover Feb 2105

Our weaving guild always has a gift exchange at the February meeting.  This is a chance to pass on some materials, books, tools, or whatever that you have in your stash.  Chocolate is always welcome, too!  We do it “white elephant” style, so a package can be taken away from someone else 2 times before it stays with the recipient.  Much hilarity ensues.



I also got the new rug warp on the loom and wove a black & white rug for someone who wanted an 8 ft runner (she bought another B&W rug of mine at the Confluence Gallery late last year).  I thought I had enough material left to pull it off, but I was wrong – it came out 16″ too short.  I even called down to the Woolen Mill Store in Portland to see if they had any more, which was a really long shot since I bought this particular blanket selvage several years ago.  Oh well, someone will want it some day.

R215 - black & white - 32" x 80"

R215 – black & white – 32″ x 80″

Off to spinning camp on Orcas Island tomorrow!


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We had an inquiry here about the construction of one of the tables Rick made for the various shows in the valley, and it made me realize I had never posted pictures of the two pieces he finished for our exhibit at the Lost River Winery tasting room in Winthrop.

Entry table with Western Bigleaf Maple live-edge top and shelf, and East Indian black walnut legs:



The legs on this piece were done a little differently than on the bench and small table shown in a previous post.  On those, the maple legs were formed in a V-shape using 2 pieces of wood at each end.  For this entry table, he used black walnut; the end pieces are single pieces of wood and are angled so as to make a parallelogram, with a shelf connecting them.

He also made a lovely little wine cabinet out of clear vertical grain (CVG) fir:


All photos were taken by Teri J. Pieper – Reflected Light Images.

Last week I finally got around to making a flyer for our exhibit to post around the valley.  If you are here visiting, come by the tasting room – it will be there until mid-September.

WW&W flyer

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Over the winter, Rick agreed to make pieces for 3 different shows in the valley this summer, on top of his regular workload.  He was thinking that the first one didn’t open until mid-June.  So it was a bit of a shock when we read the Methow Valley News Summer Guide about 3 weeks ago, and realized that the Garden Art Show at the Methow Valley Inn in Twisp opens this coming weekend – May 12th.

So he went to work on some ideas he has for working with some beautiful wood that has been in the stash for years.  It is Western Bigleaf Maple with lots of character and live edges.  He got it about 10 years ago from a woodworker friend in North Bend, WA, and the friend in turn had it for 17 years (we think).  So the wood was milled and dried for about 25 years, possibly longer. When the pieces were milled out, sanded and finished grain patterns emerged that amazed both of us.

The first piece is this bench, which will go into the Garden Art Show:

bench 1

bench 2

It has a natural curve on one edge, which makes for a very comfortable seat.  There is another matching board, not quite as curved, that will become a second bench when he gets time!

Next he went to work on a small table using two matched planks.  It seemed like a natural thing, since he wanted to retain the live edges and all the character in the wood as much as possible, to have the split down the middle – the live edges approach each other but do not quite meet.  The base is similar to the one for the bench, but the stringer runs at a bit of a diagonal because on each leg, one side is wider than the other, and the narrower side is on the left on one leg, and on the right on the other leg.

table 1

table 2

table 3

This table will be shown at the Inside Out show (“an exploration and celebration of designed interior and exterior space, and the objects and forms we use to define them”) which will run from August 3 – September 21 at Confluence Gallery & Art Center in Twisp.

Next up:  a hall table using this beautiful top, which he actually constructed by cutting 2 boards along a diagonal and then gluing together.  That diagonal looks like a fault line running the length of the top. The 2 pieces were cut off of the pieces used to make the benches –  there was a split (or crotch) and these pieces were separate branches.  When removed from the larger slabs they were about two inches wide at one end and nine inches wide at the other end, with a big knot.  Rick thought they would be waste but then realized he could join them end for end and came up with a nine foot long slab with great grain and shape.

hall table top

This is not the base for the hall table!  Just something to set it on for the picture.  He has an idea, but these things more or less develop as he goes along making them.

The hall table and one other yet-to-be determined piece will be for an exhibit at the Lost River Winery tasting room in Winthrop (they also have a tasting room at the north end of the Pike Place Market in Seattle).  They will be featuring both of our work there for 12 weeks, mid-June through mid-September.  I am calling it “Wine, Weaving & Woodwork”.  So we both have a lot to do to get ready for that!

So far, Rick has used only about a third of the lumber from this tree so there is still the potential for quite a few more pieces.

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Last weekend Rick finished and delivered a king-size bed for some clients in the valley.  He did a lot of cabinet work for them last year when they expanded and remodeled their second home on a ridge just north of and above Winthrop.  Since then they have had various furniture projects for him, which makes a nice break from cabinet work.

They had a chair that they purchased at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, or one of the outlets.  This is the detail that they wanted Rick to capture in the headboard and footboard of the bed – sort of a “branch” motif.

detail of bedroom chair from Pendleton showroom

detail of bedroom chair from Pendleton showroom

He roughed out the shape then finished it with carving chisels.  The frame was dyed and stained maple, to match the chair as closely as possible.  The panels are blued pine from the valley (the blue is a naturally occurring color that happens sometimes in standing dead pine trees – he says it is a mildew that comes along when the wood is starting to rot).



There will be two bedside tables coming up soon, using the same wood combination.

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The Old Guard

We went over to The Coast last weekend for 4 nights, for a variety of reasons.  One of my reasons was to spend a couple of days down at the Madrona Fiberarts Winter Retreat in Tacoma, WA.   It started off small in Gig Harbor many years ago, and I used to go every year.  Learned a lot there (classes were mostly knitting-oriented).  It got big enough to move to the Hotel Murano in Tacoma at least 5 years ago.  I haven’t been for a while, because I have chosen to go up to Orcas Island for a spinning week with Judith Mackenzie immediately following Madrona – can’t do both!  But this year I didn’t go to “camp” so I thought it would be fun to head down to Madrona, not to take classes, but to see my friends and go to the market.

I was totally lame and took no pictures.  But I did have lunch with friends and go to the market on Thursday and Friday.  Mostly behaved myself, although I did buy Sarah Anderson’s new book, The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs.  Sarah was in the demonstration area outside the market on Friday, and I spoke to her at length.  Lovely woman with boundless energy and lots of good ideas.  She showed me several pieces of woven cloth which she is doing with over-twisted yarns that got my creative juices flowing!

There were many great vendors there – independent, small dyers (Sincere Sheep was a favorite, Dicentra Designs, Chameleon Colorworks, also The Artful Ewe), yarns sourced from local, small flocks and/or rare breeds by Jorstad Creek and Toots LeBlanc & Co.  I almost bought some Gotland/Finn Sheep cross yarn from Jorstad Creek – it had the most amazing luster and hand.  But they are in Olympia, WA and I see them at knitting retreat, so there will be another chance in the future.  Some of the “big players” were there, and some of my favorite local yarn shops (Acorn Street Shop, Churchmouse Yarns and Teas from Bainbridge Island, who were sharing a booth with the designer Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed).  It was great fun.

While I was down in Tacoma, Rick spent some time with his mom and sister, and got together with some of his woodworking buddies from the Seattle area.  On Saturday evening, there was a special event at Northwest Woodworkers’ Gallery in downtown Seattle, to honor Evert Sodergren.  Rick was one of the founding members of this gallery back in the day (late 1970’s).  They moved from Pioneer Square to a new location in Belltown last year, next door to Urban Hardwoods.  It is a much better location for them, we think.

Evert Sodergren is a 4th-generation studio furniture-maker, now in his early 90’s and (finally!) retired.  In the late 1990’s he was profiled in one of the Living Treasures videos produced by Northwest Designer Craftsmen.  They showed the video at the gallery on Saturday, to an appreciative audience of at least 150 people who had turned out to greet and honor Evert.



Evert Sodergren with Rick and some of the "old guard"

Evert Sodergren with Rick and some of the “old guard”

And here is a scan of a postcard from the early days of the gallery in 1983.  Can you tell which of these people are me and Rick (we are not standing next to each other), and Evert?

NW Woodworkers 1983 color

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Weaving & Woodwork

First, a “shopcam” update.  Rick built this beautiful walnut table for some neighbors.  He got the matched boards from a friend in the valley who has had them for a long time and was threatening to cut them up for the stack laminate, sculptural work he does.  Rick rescued them from this fate and replaced them with some “regular” walnut that will do just fine for our friend.

We were in Seattle for 4 nights, three weeks ago, for many reasons including my participation in the Seattle Weavers’ Guild annual sale up at St Marks Cathedral.  It always amazes me how quickly they put it all together, and how much work is on display in the room.  I sold all 7 of the dishtowels I brought, plus 2 scarves, and had a good time just hanging out and socializing with the other weavers.

hundreds of towels on display

one of the four “scarf tables” arranged by color

We also had good visits with Rick’s mom and sister, and got together with several friends for dinner and/or visits over the course of the long weekend.  On the way out of town on a Monday morning, we picked up a U-Haul trailer for a one-way trip from Seattle to Twisp, so that Rick could pick up some wood at Specialty Forest Products in Algona-Pacific (Kent Valley south of Seattle).  He got a fabulous deal on a big pile of cherry rippings, among other things.  These are cut-offs from lumber when a customer order wood cut to a specific dimension.  The pile turned out to be even bigger than he expected, and many pieces were 12-14 ft long but had to fit into a 10-ft trailer.  So he spent many hours at their cutoff saw getting it all to fit.

Rick and the big pile of wood

The following weekend found me out in Port Townsend for my annual knitting retreat, an event I have been attending for over 25 years.  It was great to see my Seattle friends, as well as some folks from all over that I only see there once a year.  The weather was warm and dry (enough) for long walks to the beach or into town.  I sold 6 more of my scarves, plus a blanket and some “pre-owned” sweaters.  Picked up some great bargains, mostly for use in weaving, at the stash-reduction sale that has become a treasured part of this event.

Two of my friends had ordered Hansencrafts miniSpinners so I went along for the ride to pick one of them up at the Hansen’s new manufacturing plant on the outskirts of Port Townsend.  When I picked mine up 2 years ago, they were still operating out of a side room in their home.  This new building takes it to a whole new level – they are obviously enjoying a great deal of success!  Much of the operation involves computer operated machinery and their dust collection systems are fabulous – the place was incredibly clean for a woodworking shop.

computer operated routing table for end pieces

drill station with jigs

computer operated lathe

finished e-spinners waiting for a happy buyer

with my buddies at the Hansencrafts manufacturing site

By the way, I just love my miniSpinner and use it for almost all my spinning these days.  I picked up a third Wooly Winder bobbin during the visit, and a cleaning kit.  Got a lecture on not cleaning or oiling my spinner for the last 2 years (oops! sheepish grin…) so now I will be sure to take care of it a little better.

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I can’t believe it has been a month since my last blog post.  We have had a lot of things going on, but none seemed particularly blog-worthy or picture-worthy at the time.  But anyway, here’s the news from Wolf Creek.

In early July, we went over to Seattle for family birthdays (Rick’s on July 6, his sister’s on July 10).  Rick’s daughter and son-in-law came up from Medford, so we had a nice long visit with them and Rick’s mom and sister.  Here’s a shot from dinner at his mom’s retirement home:

Towards the end of July we were guests at a paella dinner by the Twisp River.  Our friends had bid on the dinner at a charity auction last winter.  It was a beautiful evening which was actually a lull between thunder and lightning storms (complete with downpours and even hail), so we lucked out:

On July 23rd, the featured-artist exhibit at the Winthrop Gallery came down and I spent a fair amount of time moving things around, rearranging the gift shop area, and bringing some of my work down to the Confluence Gallery.

Meanwhile I have kept moving new weaving projects forward.  I finished off the plaited twill scarves down at the weaving guild room and finally removed that warp setup from the loom.  One of the other women in the guild is going to use my loom for a 12-harness project, then I will figure out what to do on it next.  At home, I set up another warp for the polychrome summer & winter series, this time in shades of blue:

On Kingston, I set up another warp for three of the collapse-weave scarves, which I just finished weaving yesterday, but they still need to be washed and finished.

The past week and a half has been taken up with the 17th annual Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival.  There were 5 main concerts between July 27 and August 4, and my Dad came over from Anacortes for the whole festival.  He “camped” in our front yard in his RV:

Last Thursday, my brother and sister-in-law came over from Camano Island for the last 2 concerts.  We had a great 3 days together:

family dinner at Twisp River Pub

Dad & Andy hanging out on the porch

At the Thursday concert, we re-connected with old friends from Seattle (they were actually one of Rick’s very earliest woodworking clients, so we are talking 30 years ago or so).  They have a cabin up Cub Creek in the Rendezvous.  Well, it turns out they also know my sister-in-law Patti from a long time ago (Harriet taught and mentored one of Patti’s daughters), and Harriet was the officiant at Andy & Patti’s wedding (she was a Superior Court judge in Seattle, now retired).  So on Saturday before the concert we had a wonderful picnic dinner together:

We will definitely all be doing this again next year!

Early August now.  We have diggers and plumbers coming to complete the hookup of the water and sewer lines to the shop building.  The water and sewer had been run over to that building at the time the house was built, but not connected. We also had them move one of the frost-free hydrants from under the breezeway to a spot behind the shop building, and dug a long trench so we can get another frost-free line out to where we plan to put the vegetable garden.  This made it an interesting experience to get in and out of my studio for a few days (I had to walk a plank).

long trench to the garden area

where it all comes together

Also on the home front, Rick finished up the new vanity for our main floor bathroom.  He used straight-grain fir and we are both pleased both with the new look, and the much improved storage space:

He is feeling great and back to work in the shop.  First up were 3 sets of bedside tables, two of them in cherry with ebony handles (one was an order, the other he did on “spec” to put out in the galleries) – the third set he did in afromosia for us!  They are gorgeous:

This is the same wood he used to make the beautiful front door for our house in Seattle (no longer our house, we sold it in 2006 to move here to the Methow Valley).

And finally, the kitties have been doing great and really seem to enjoy having company as much as we do!  Juno is into everything, including this basket:

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Rick was commissioned to build a secure display cabinet for the antique gun collection at the Shafer Museum in Winthrop.   He special-ordered a sheet of polycarbonate (bullet proof, better than safety glass) which will be installed in the door, with locks on both sides.  Here’s a photo taken from a ladder in the shop (the cabinet will be mounted on a wall):

Some of these came from Simon Shafer’s personal collection, and others have been donated to the museum over the years.  I think the oldest gun dates to 1832.

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ShopCam: Treasure Box

I just wanted to show some pictures of a beautiful “treasure box” that Rick completed in December for a dear friend’s 60th birthday present.  I had purchased a small enamel piece called “Cat Heaven” from Gloria Spiwak, who is a fellow member of the Winthrop Gallery.  I suggested to Rick that he use it in the lid of a box, imagining something the size of a shoe box.

Well, he found some special woods (wenge and quilted maple, for the most part) and got a little carried away.  The bottom of the tray, lower drawer and the inside of the box itself are water-ski veneers from the 1960’s that he had laid up on core stock.

Photos by Teri Pieper, also a member of the Winthrop Gallery.

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We’re off to Portland, OR today to deliver and install this:

Twisp River Headboard #2

It is a custom order through our friends’ store in Portland, The Real Mother Goose.  It is the same as the headboard on our bed which Rick made a couple of years ago – based on a picture from the headwaters of the Twisp River.  This version will be hung on the wall using a “French cleat”, at the head of their bed.

It has warmed up 25 to 30 degrees, just at or slightly above freezing, causing much of the snow on the roofs to slide and curl off:

And they got the trusses up yesterday – hopefully sheathing today so it will be covered.

Dec 9, 2010 - trusses in place

We’ve got to run!  It’s a long drive to Portland from here.  See you next week.

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