Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Projects Galore and Then Some

My spinning is turning into yarn but since I'd like to make this into a cowl, I'm thinking about how to overdye it to make it a more flattering color.  Don't get me wrong, I love it as it is - just need a more face friendly color.  I am diligently wearing cowls and scarves to keep my neck warm and my neck thanks me for it.  My neck doesn't care about the color, but still.
I knit this as a scarf in the Falling Leaf lace pattern which actually is the only lace pattern I've knitted, but when I needed more cowls,  I sewed the ends together and now I wrap it around my neck three times.  It's my absolute favorite and it's what I am planning for this developing yarn.
And on the subject of knitting, I finally hauled out the almost completed Norwegian cap and knitted the last ear flap.  I couldn't understand the instructions for the ties so I winged it.  I warned Ian that it wasn't going to be pretty and probably the two flaps wouldn't be the same length, he didn't care.  He wore it this morning in 22 degrees and said he "had a warm head and ears."
 And another getting back to it thang, I tackled back-to-front warping again this morning but with the assistance of the YouTube video from Webs, God bless them.  I'd watch a little, do a little, watch a little, do a little and I finally got the warp onto the warp beam.  I learned a ton!  Here is where I decided that in the future I'll start winding my warp on the opposite end of the cross.  I have always started winding at the cross but I realized that those ends were dangling unsecured when I got to this point.  No one has addressed this in anything I've read.  I know I'll reverse my orientation next time and other than that, it went well.
I had started threading the heddles before it was time to head off to physical therapy, and since I go twice a week, I head off there more often than I'd wish.  I got to this point with relative ease and should be able to finish dressing my loom tomorrow.  I need to do it several more times before I am confident.  Recently I was looking at my receipts for yarn orders which date back to 2010 and all that time I've been warping front-to-back. It's going to take some muscle-memory retraining.
Ian and I stopped by the A6 gallery to drop off my framed print for the show. I love the energy of this place.  I've been asked to attend the fundraising dinner tomorrow evening and the luncheon Thursday "to say a few words" about my experience at A6; My visit to the gallery, to taking classes, to being an "Ambassador" (volunteering for a shop shift each week), to having a piece selected for the juried show.  Dawn, the director, feels that potential donors respond well to a face and story.  The next couple of days are going to get hectic. I can work back here during my shift and I have stuff to do, but I expect I'll be talking to folks coming to the new show - I hope so.  It would be good for the gallery.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Keeping Busy

I had a pleasant surprise last week.  I got three separate email requests for towels and sold ten more in one week.  My inventory is seriously low right now.
But instead of being productive, I'm trying to learn how to weave Crackle.  I took that two-day class from Susan Wilson last February and haven't done a thing with it.  I was stumped a couple of months ago when I tried to figure out how to do it using my notes and samples.  I'm quite foggy on the steps. When Sarah Jackson had a pattern in Handwoven recently I decided to weave-as-written to refresh myself, homework if you will.  When I that to Sarah, she said - Oh, I hope they're more fun than that! It's coming back to me finally but this towel is mine.  There are plenty of mistakes already and I'm just not going to fret over them.  I'll reserve judgement about Crackle until after I've completed the fourth towel.


Monday night was the final session of my monotype class.  I'm absolutely fascinated by the process but there's really no way to do it other than standing and after standing on concrete for three hours I was in physical pain.

I cut a pair of scissors out of graph paper and another from the foam sheet you see in the bottom of meat trays.  I wish I had taken the time to cut some from other materials.  It would have been fun.

The term monotype is misleading because you get more than one image from an inked plate, though you're free to amend the plate with more materials and other ink and in doing that I got six prints out of the night.  I wouldn't have chosen these colors for myself but they're the ones the class got out, and after all, I can learn with any color.
I don't have any place to hang wet prints yet so we ended up "enjoying" them for a couple of days until I could put them away.
And just a little bit ago our mailman delivered this box right to our door.  It's my first order of woodcut supplies including the wood.  I'm really excited but after I finish blogging I need to start on Thanksgiving prep - it's tomorrow!!

I finished Owen's zippered hoody from Malabrigo superwash.  It's really yummy and will certainly be much cuter on him than on this rabbit.  I've almost finished his sister's sweater too, so after that I can move on to other projects.
Like this.  The other day I was visiting a weaver who lives near me who is also a knitter.  We had a bit of show-and-share when she handed me this kit, saying she bought it in Denver but really likes to knit her cowls in the round. It's called Berroco Bento Box and when it's assembled it really does look like a bento box.  The kit has had an interesting journey, as the clever designer is a friend from Reno, Kristen Helmreich.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2016

It's a Fiber World after All.

I keep meaning to update on my experiment with sewing thread for weft.  Since it's so thin I didn't think polyester thread would matter but it does.  The hem is rippled and when my weave/study group suggested I use a basting thread to draw it up, then pin and steam it,
 I did.  It was still pretty puckered but after another wash and dry and steam press, it's not bad.  Another time I'll weave 1 1/2" and use cotton sewing thread for the hem but otherwise I'm pleased.

My second monotype class was Monday night and Julie started by demonstrating how to roll multiple colors on one plate at a time.
You can how it works on the inked plate to her left.  Our instructions were on how to use found materials to create pattern.  It's nice to have three others in the class because we learn from each other.  The first week we used the reduction approach, the second week was the additive approach, and this coming class we'll combine it all together.  I forgot to take pictures of our completed projects but I found it much more time consuming and frustrating.  Anything laid on top produces white space on the print, unless you ink it which is tedious.  For instance on my first print I inked the plate with burnt sienna and scattered leaves on top which produced a burnt sierra print with white leaves all over - not interesting!
The next night we met up with son Josh and DIL Missy for Evan's fall band concert.  Sitting on those hard backless bleacher seats is not for the faint of heart!  Nevertheless, I was grinning half the time and smiling the rest.  This is the intermediate band and to the left of them is seated the intermediate orchestra.  Next up were the advanced band and orchestra- so many kids in music and so many musical instruments!

Wednesday was our guild holiday meeting /party and now we won't meet again until January.  We pack so much into three hours, overindulging ourselves since we won't see it each now for two months.  I sat with Lindsey who just moved here last February and started taking weaving lessons from Patty Huffer.  I had met her at the double-weave workshop that Patty taught, so she in turn introduced me to Bobby, who was a brand new member, had just joined that day.  In the course of conversation I realized that Bobby was the woman who came my table at our show-and-sale and said she had just finished weaving a set of towels from my pattern.  We laughed about that and then she whipped out her phone to show them to me.  Beautiful!!
After a long spinning drought, I have finally pulled out my wheel and I'm back at it.  I realized that the five scarves I sold were all with my handspun yarn as warp.  I had forgotten how enjoyable it is to spin with my cup of coffee in the morning, certainly more pleasurable than reading Facebook.

Thursday evenings I "sit the store" which what I call my volunteer position of "ambassador" at the A6 gallery.  But it's more than just tending the store, you need to be prepared to answer questions and show visitors around, answer the phone and ring up sales including credit card sales, which is a first for me.  Last night was super busy.  There was a large origami class in session when I got there at 3:00.  We cleaned up just as the evening's OSU college students started to trickle in to get an early start.

Somewhere between then and 4:00 when the lecture started a woman popped in to drop something off for the fundraiser auction next week.  She introduced herself to me explaining that she's on the board, so I said - oh, are you a printmaker?  She's a potter who fell in love with prints.  I told her that I'm a weaver who has fallen in love with prints.  Do you spin? she asked.  We had an interesting exchange about spinning as she's a former spinner who stopped, lost interest and got rid of her wheel.  But she wants to spin again and someone has loaned her a wheel which she can't get to work.  The short of it is that she's going to bring it in to the studio in two weeks when I'm there again and I'll bring oil and fiber.  I'm not an adept wheel mechanic so I hope I can get her up and running.  What a coincidence!



Friday, November 11, 2016

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

I loved the woodcuts class so much that I jumped at the chance to take an introduction to monotype class offered by Julie again, this time on three successive Monday nights.  I've been interested in monotypes every since I saw some of Richard Diebenkorn's at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  Monotype differs from Monoprint in that only one print can be made from a prepared plate.  Julie is instructing on how to apply the first coat of ink to the plexiglass plate.

I inked the entire plate in black and then experimented with different implements and spatulas to see what effect they would make.
I liked the effect I got by using a sideways stroke with a spatula so extended it until I had a cityscape.
Here they are, hanging to dry.
I liked the effect I got by scraping the ink off with the spatula so used it to make flowers.
I liked the ghost print I got in woodcuts and had one more piece of paper so ran the plate a second time. I really liked the unexpected and really cool effect from the wrinkled felt pad on the press.  You'll see it if you click for big.  We are printing on wet paper here where we did the woodcuts with dry paper.



There were three other students in the class and this is their work.  This coming Monday we're going to be print using layers of ink and found items like feathers and leaves.
This is the piece that I submitted to the members-only Holiday show next month.  It's the same way I feel about entering weaving into the Fair - it gives me ownership of the event.  I sat the studio yesterday from 3:00-7:00.  Dawn came in about 5:30 to get ready for her OSU class and was terribly agitated.  Two students were expelled from her son's middle school on Wednesday and on Thursday two more were expelled and six were suspended - for taunting the Latino students, making fun of them and telling to go back to where they belonged!  The news covered it today, with the teachers and administration saying that it would NOT be tolerated.  It's only a couple of days since Americans elected a bully to the White House and it's already starting in the schools.  

The good news of the evening was that my piece is one of the 20 that the juror selected.  I titled it Saturday Night because it's the excitement of the weekend when you're young, going out on a date, dancing, meeting new friends. The show is titled Red and you're supposed to complete the statement "Red is......."  I said "Red is what you paint the town!"
We took it in to be framed before the Veterans Day Parade today.  Most of the members take their work to Denise and I learned the hard way this morning that in the future, I need to take a piece in and get an estimate of the cost so I can include it in the price.  If this sells my profit will be $6.00! 
I'm pretty excited that my first piece to show is in there getting framed along with the pieces from the legitimate artists.  I think I'm the only student submission.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

First Annual Show and Sale

The Central Oregon Spinners and Weavers held our first annual Holiday Show and Sale this past Saturday in the Environmental Center in Downtown Bend.  The building is this lovely old house which by it's nature had limited interior space and light, but that didn't seem to be too serious a problem because between 10:00 and 4:00 about 250 people came through.  The vision and planning came from Linda Gettman, one very organized and energetic woman,  She divided the room up into individual spaces marked with tape so all we had to do was show up and install our stuff.
The corner is the 6'x9' area that I shared with Mary Wonser and Gillian Burton.  The entire show had a boutique feel to it, something several of the public commented on.  My little table is under the window but my booth-mates made space for my scarves on the center display and boy did I appreciate that.  Booth fee depended on the size of the space and our area split three ways was only $42 - cheap!
By placing Mary's shelving display unit at an angle Gillian had a small table in this wedge on one side and I had the wedge on the other, and Mary's stuff was on Mary's rack.

This was my domain.  It was a little difficult to get in out out of the area but I appreciated the bright window as the lighting in the interior of the room wasn't the greatest.  One woman was looking at my towels and commented to me that she had finished weaving this draft.  I said yes, that's my pattern.  She said, no - I got it out of a Handwoven issue. I laughed and said yes, it's my article!  It tickles me when this pattern appeals to other weavers because I love it still.
Mary rearranged her scarves and offered me the hangers on the left.  There was a ton of excitement and positive energy during the show and I was glad that my side of the shelving managed to attract some shoppers.  Actually I think the towels drew them in and then when they turned around they got a face full of scarves.

I was using a the PayPal Now scanner on my iPhone but after I had rung up four sales it froze my account saying that suspicious activity had been detected.  I get that I haven't used it since last March but since I'm putting money into the account, I don't understand their worry.  Mary covered for me and let me put $200 in sales on her Square.  I've since gotten that resolved and it was the only hitch in the event.
I took this to display with the rest of the scarves which I had modestly priced at $50.  When I got there I change my mind and added a 1 in front of it, making it $150.  I figured that way I could display it and still bring it home to wear this Christmas.  It sold early and was the transaction that froze my PayPal account.  Mary to the rescue!  Laura Fry chided me on Facebook saying that she starts her scarves at $100.  I've learned my lesson.  I will raise the prices on my scarves before I show them again.
I had the surprise of my life when our two friends from Reno, Celia and John, popped into my space.  I had checked into the Environmental Center on Facebook which also provided the location and address.  They were driving from Seattle to Reno, saw the post and thought why not?  They stayed about 15 minutes, long enough for a quick visit and a towel, and then got back on the road.  Our first guild Christmas sale was a hit.  Now we need to do it again next year.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Another Hobby?!!

I took a woodcut class over the weekend at A6, a local printmaking gallery.  This is the fruit of my labor on Saturday, my sketch on graph paper, my carved block and my first print.

This is Julie Winter, our instructor, no relation to Joe Winter the potter.  We used this press to emboss our images.  The student woodcut is there in the gig and Julie is getting ready to add printing paper.
We hung our prints on this magnet board as we finished them.  It's a green studio so everything has to be environmentally sensitive.  My experience years ago was with oil-based inks which were beyond messy and difficult to clean up.  I found these soy-based oils to be a dream by contrast.
The other four students in the class have prior experience and art degrees.  I felt like a poser when Lisa sitting on my right whipped this out from a sketch she spontaneously did of the display area of the studio.
This is mine in contrast.
MaryJane on my left really fought with her print so these three were the only ones completed and printed on Saturday.

Jim, a graphic artist, took his home to complete and printed it on Sunday.  The idea was to complete and print our first block on Saturday and then to carve two complementary blocks and print them on Sunday. 



These were the steps that Sue's prints took.  The images are bottom to top.  (Sorry - my laptop has lost it's cursor so I'm managing with touch screen which I've never done before.)  She carved a block for red and a block for green but when she printed them together they became brown.  We weavers know what it feels like to accidentally cross complementary colors.  Brown!
This was my second block when I stopped to eat lunch on Sunday.  I'm so glad I took a pad of graph paper or I would have been lost.  I decided since I'd done diagonals on my first block that I'd do circular shapes on my second one.  I outlined the circles with my water bottle.  I think that's where the pattern started - I reached for a drink of water.
This is the results of my three blocks.  The top print is my first one and then because Julie stayed an extra hour after class, I ran my prints again but reversed the original black block which is the bottom image.  It really changes things.  I held up my graph paper to the light as I was planning my two blocks and my plan held up.  I'm glad I stayed the extra hour even though I was beat because it was a good lesson on orientation, something Julie brought up earlier in our class.
I only own one brayer so was thoroughly entertained by this collection drying by the sink.  I think I'm hooked.  I'm lucky to have a print-making friend in Reno who is fielding my questions.  I've ordered a catalog from McClains, a printmaking supplier right here in Portland.  

I'm not replacing weaving but I am supplementing it as a hobby.  I'm no longer able to weave for hours on end - bummer!  Weaving does pay its own way which is a big plus in a hobby, that and the love of it. I can't explore printmaking any further until after this weekend though.  It's our guild's first annual holiday sale - someone needs to tag and price all my stuff.