Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Dying to Dye

I was browsing Cindie Kitchen's Etsy store to see what other kinds of fiber she has (for future reference) when I came across this bump of roving that she had dyed way back when she dyed roving as a business.  It's Merino and Tencel and some of my favorite colors at a discounted price.  It's does need a little purple I think.
Nobody in our family drinks juice so I finally broke down, went to Bi-Mart and bought eight of these priced at 2/$4.  I really want to dye my white roving this week.
Glug, glug, glug, down the sink went the "juice."
Today was the day.  I've only ever dyed with Procion acid dyes and was flummoxed by these "primary colors" from Jacquard.  I crossed my fingers and called Laura, hoping she would pick up the phone!
She tried to explain some of her favorite blends and I was madly jotting note when she asked if I could just mix the dyes today and when she comes to the Social Security Office in Bend this Friday, she'll come over and help me blend the colors I would like to achieve.
The painters mask was miserable.  I think I had it on wrong but I once got started, I wasn't willing to take a risk and mess with it.  It's old and if the elastic broke, I'd be stuck and I really don't want to breathe these tiny little dye particles.  All instructions on dyeing warn you to wear a mask and I'm not a risk taker.
In the end the final result almost looks like the original bottles.  I have eight dyes:  golden yellow, teal, cherry red, turquoise, yellow sun, brilliant blue, hot fushsia and gold ochre.  If I need black I'll just use a couple grains of my Mother MacKenzie black dye powder. Between now and I Friday I'll get to the dollar store and buy some squirt bottles and mesh laundry bags.  More hurry up and wait.
The Navy blue and white roving that I blended is turning into a really pretty scarf.  I'm pleasantly surprised and especially like the pop of white from the soil noil.  I probably should just have stuck with weaving towels in this short time period as I'm not going to have a lot of either scarves or towels.
These towels bring my total count up to 43.  I had planned to make my current "desert sunrise" warp be the last one before the fiber show and even though I'm following from my notes, it's a disappointment.  I blame bad note keeping - not the first time that's happened.
We've had several unusually warm and lovely days.  It was 65 yesterday which set a record, but that is changing today.  My back hurt after I finished standing on the tile floor mixing the dyes so I made time for a visit to the hot tub. The birds were singing and the sky was blue.  Much better now :)

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Get 'er Done!

Ian and I attended a Bend High band fundraiser Saturday night.  The theme was Mardi Gras and the dinner included a dance floor and 22-piece Big Band band.  The band hasn't gone on yet in this shot, but when they did, we were astonished at how many couples poured onto the dance floor.  Apparently the band has a following with local dance clubs.  

Josh and Missy were two of the five planners for this first-time event.  The goal is an instrument library for kids who can't afford to purchase them, and they had a businessman promise to donate an amount equal to what they raised.  A table seated eight but there are only six in our family so our realtor and his wife got roped in.  
Gen is Missy's running partner so they were pretty agreeable.
Lots of people got roped in as the frantic planners looked at disappointing ticket sales and hustled everyone they knew.  To their surprise they nearly sold out during the three days prior.  And in fact, people showed up that night and some parents forfeited the seats they had paid for so they could be sold again.  This is a very nice Elks Lodge and I'm sure the venue helps.
I'm going to push to make as many scarves from handspun as I can in the next six weeks so I ordered this Panda roving, a blend of Wool and Tencel from Cindie.  I think it will dye nicely and I'm anticipating a soft yarn.  Cindie included a cute little bag as a "thank you" gift.  A piece of metal ruler forms the closure so it opens and closes with just a pinch.  I promptly put my tape measure, eye drops and dental floss in them so I can find them easily in my purse, and yes, I use all three equally.
It's been a frustration to me that these prints that I'm so very fond of hang in the bedroom where I only see them with I'm going through or going to bed.
At the same time it has frustrated me that this giant wall has just a single picture.  We didn't want to poke nail holes in the wall when we didn't know what to hang and three months have passed.
I got on a picture-hanging kick again this morning and reloated the prints here.  The oil painting belong to my kids' great grandmother and they thought I should have it, so I have dutifully hung it.  The only room where we haven't hung pictures in the guest room and if we hang everything we still have it's going to look like a salon, floor to ceiling.  It's time to start culling the herd and I hate to think about it.
We got our license plates this morning.  We applied for Oregon registration on December 10th because Nevada notified us they were cancelling our registration.  Boy were we annoyed as we just renewed it in August at $335 for one year with no rebate.  The cancellation date was December 23rd and it was because we no longer had Nevada insurance.  Oregon is $187 for two years with no smog check, and it's a one-size-fits-all.  All cars pay the same fee.

We had called DMV several times over the past six weeks as we drove on a temporary pass which expired today.  In the call Ian placed last week the guy said they were lacking proof of our VIN inspection.  Ian told him he had a copy in his hand and that seem to get the ball rolling as our check was cashed.  Yesterday when Ian called they couldn't find our application for registration.  He had to go in this morning, time was up.  What a mess but it's over and Jane is now an officially registered Oregonian.  Me thinks their old system can't handle the rapid rate of growth in this state.
These came off the loom this morning.  I washed and dried the cloth and have cut it into towels to hem tomorrow.  MaƱana!
I couldn't resist sharing this cheerful Macy's employee.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

And Just Like That - Three Months!

I set my next warp on top of my loom with two prospective Tencel yarns for weft  and then left them for a couple of days until I could decide which would best show off my handspun yarn.
I was leaning toward the neutral thinking it might go better with more garments, but in the end my favorite, the rust won out.  I plied it with 60/2 silk so it's uber drapey.  I keep saying everything is for sale but I might have to keep this one for myself.
So I've finished two of the four scarves intended for Fiber Market Day in March, and I've ordered a pound of Panda to dye in a variety of colors so I can blend more batts.  I need to get some jars so I can make so dye stock from the dyes Laura loaned me six weeks ago.  It's weird not to have dye in solution after more than ten years of always having some at the ready.   And it's weird to have to order fiber after 13 years of just driving across the valley and buying it from Mim.
I'm still weaving on the "Tidepool" warp with just a few towels to go, and I've have started winding the next warp from these cones.  I call it "Desert Sunrise."
About three years ago Cindie Kitchen (from the Eweniquely Ewe blog and Etsy store) sent me a packet of materials from a class she was teaching.  At the time the idea of "overshot" made me break out in hives - two shuttles?  No way!  But I've joined the COSW Overshot study group and thought I'd go through this before the next meeting to kind of get an idea of how it works.

I worked through the materials for a couple hours yesterday but when I got to this part, decided to let Fiberworks, my weaving software, do the work.  My sheet matches Cindie's example with all the twill pairs carefully circled, then entered onto the treadling grid.
I like to lie in bed after I wake up and mull "things" over before I launch into the day.  I was thinking about the exercises I did yesterday.  Cindie provided four "secret codes" and I did every one of them.  But laying in bed I could clearly see my worksheet - absent the circles around the twill pairs.  I wanted to do it agian to see what if changes would occur by doing it correctly.
This is the incorrect one.
This is the correct one.  Can you see any difference?  Me neither.  But I will say that the hours I invested in this guided exercise gave me a lot of insight into weave drafts and this one in particular.
This folder has been in my file box since I put it there three years ago.  She included a lot of materials including a hands-on exercise with paper strips and this cute little pillow.  I was focused on the material and didn't realize until just yesterday that the cute little pillow is a Heath candy bar cleverly wrapped in a photocopy of her draft.  Cute!  

It's hard to believe three months have passed since we moved in.  We had the kids over for one of the playoff games and pizza.  Last weekend we had a playoff-game barbecue at Josh's and will get together again for the Super Bowl.  I haven't watched football in years and I can't believe I'm saying it, but I'm going to miss the games and the social gatherings that go with them.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Call It A Day

I have already put the warp on my Dorset for the crackle-weave workshop next month.  I've never had a problem- free warp on this loom so I started early in the event I need to call for help, i.e., Laura.  It was another gray day but because the loom is so small and light, I set it up in Ian's stamp room underneath the skylight.  Before I knew it all 8" of warp was threaded.
It's ready to go and so am I!
This is a blend of eight fibers including Starfire. 
I still have a lot of stuff from Melissa including this yarn that I'll use to ply with.
Oh my, easier said than done.  The skein was a tangled mess and took me an hour to unravel with the hank draped over my knees.
I wound the yarn around a felted dryer ball and took it to the COSW meeting yesterday to see if anyone knew what it was.   I showed my skein at show-and-tell, then asked for help IDing my yarn.  Patty Huffer, a local weaving teacher, (in front of white board with back to the photo) used it as a teaching moment and told us to Google "burn test fiber" and then burn a sample.  

I couldn't tell when I just burned that yarn so I lit a candle and burned fibers that I knew what the content was.  Dharma has a great sheet of information on doing a burn test.  My yarn is definitely silk.  I tried to break the thread last week with my hand and it cut into my finger deeply.  I should have known right then.
These are the other skeins Melissa gave me.  The one on the right is 60/2 but the others aren't labeled.
I lashed on the towel warp on Maudie and after getting the first towel underway, I decided to just wind my warp.
I put the warp on the front of Arthur and thought, I'll just sley it so I can see how the colors look, and, well, you know how the rest went.
I was just going to hem-stitch it, but then thought I should weave a couple inches to check the pics per inch and then I thought I should make sure the selvedges were even. By 2:00 I was starving and knew I really needed to call it a day.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

How I Spend My Mornings

Once I sent my booth fee and application, I knew it was time to get serious and stop fooling around with six yard warps.  My target used to be 70 towels before a show.
The "Desert Sky" towels are done,
And the "Tidepool" warp is ready to be lashed on and woven.
That gave me a little breathing room.  I have a few scarves I'd like to put in the booth but I'm almost out of the ones that sell best for me - made from hand blended and hand spun yarns.  I started pulling colors together and selected these for my first bats.
And done!
I chose more muted colors for the second batch and acquired a second helper.
These are all wool/silk blends, mostly from stuff people have given me.
Melissa gave me a big bag of navy blue roving that's simply labeled "Australian wool" but it feels like Merino top to me.  I blended it with alpaca, white Merino, tussah silk and silk noil.  
This is the iffyist of the three batches.  It's either going to be great or groan.
A week ago our yard looked this.
Today it looked this so after my fiber play I took a couple bags out to do a little clean-up.  I could have filled four bags - or more.  I bet I threw away the equivalent weight of two Yorkies - in poop.
Two big bags of poop is significant when your trashcan is this tiny.  Bend is very serious about living responsibility and recycling is mandatory so that bin is twice the size of the trash.  It's especially significant when the trashcan is 3/4 full, it's Monday and pick-up isn't until Friday.