Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Weaving, Yes I'm Still Weaving

We went to the High Desert Museum this week to see the Art-in-America exhibit which features the WPA era, and by going in April we still got the winter rate.  We also got rained on.  The bronze statuary is all through the landscape but this one is a favorite of the kids as you can see.  Their little bottoms have burnished it and my two grandsons have contributed to that.
The last disiplay area was a recreation of a hotel room at the Timberline Lodge, a WPA ski lodge build on Mt Hood and furnished by local artisans.  All the bedspreads and draperies were hand woven.


I don't know if this loom is original to the WPA artisans but when I posted this on Facebook, I learned that all the bedspreads and draperies are still handwoven and the Portland weavers help out with that when the need arises.
 This is my very first sample woven only following a profile draft.  It's 4-shaft Atwater-Bronson and really unremarkable cloth in this putrid green which is why I'm sampling with it - use it up!
I started with a two-yard warp so Patty Huffer, our study group leader suggested that I cut it off and rethread it for eight-shaft turned twill.  The sett is 24 because I thought that's what you're supposed to use for twill.  I elongated the center just to see what it would look like and got the idea for some "heritage" towels.
We went to the nursery yesterday on our way from tai chi.  Just these plants were $65 so I'm going to have to pace my ambitious plans.
It's going to be cooler with chance of showers over the next three days, so we rolled up our sleeves and got back to cleaning up.  Ian went to the dump with the last load of stuff we cleared out and came home with a half yard of bark mulch which is sold at the dump. Ian took the hedge trimmers to the nasty creeping bush and we've leveled it.  It's throwing out creepers as fast as we can pull them.  The Cooperative Extension wasn't able to identify them so we're trying this in an attempt to avoid poison.
I planted the three Basket of Gold by the rocks near the water feature.  They're really common here and are often planted in rock gardens where they like to cascade.  In order to plant I first have to pull grass but I can't dig with a shovel since the drip lines are buried.  I know because I cut a line, and after that I switched to digging with a trowel.  The soil is very nice and drains well so the towel worked fine. I have a Stella de Oro day lily, a Munstead lavender and three creeping phlox still to plant - another day.
This is what I'm working on now - it's the 4-yard warp for my profile draft dishtowels.  After an email from Linda Gettman, another dishtowel weaver, I realized that all my calculations were based on 24 ends per inch, but in reality most dishtowels with 8/2 cotton are woven at 20 epi. I had to recalculate everything which is a far as I got yesterday.  I really wanted to get further today but already it's time to get the chili on the stove.  It's a good thing I'm retired and have all the time in the world, so I can lose track of it a little bit every now and then.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Moving Right Along

Shannon, my granddaughter-in-law, sent me this picture of Owen posing with his blanket.  Babies don't get any cuter than this!

My procedure was last Friday and the hardest part was waiting without water or food.  The directive was nothing by mouth after midnight but I couldn't imagine going over 12 hours without water so called the office for clarification.  They told me that I could drink clear liquids up to four hours before the procedure so at 7:59 I had my last glass of water before my noon appointment which ended up being 2:00 and boy was I thirsty in the recovery room.


I dressed my loom and started weaving this Friday morning to kill time and keep my mind occupied.  Tomorrow I can return to full activity as my energy allows, so it's nice to have an easy project that I can sit down to.  This is Walls of Troy in 8/2 Tencel.
But this is what I'm really excited about.  My weave/study group is doing a year-long study of block weavers and profile drafts.  I'm hoping to finally make sense of profile drafts since I just came out of a year-long study of them with the Reno Fiber Guild.  We watched the first half of Madelyn's DVD last meeting and a chunk of the puzzle fell into place when I heard her say that profile drafts are for block weaves and don't necessarily work for all weave structures.  Light bulb!!!

I threaded this sampler directly from a two-block profile draft and I knew what I was doing.  I didn't push my luck though and wrote the threadings for both blocks on a sticky note and stuck it to my loom.  Block A:  1,3,1,3,1,2 and Block B: 1,4,1,4,1,2. The structure is Atwater Bronson which is also new to me.  Note to self:  Next time check heddles before starting to thread a block weave.  Atwater Bronson uses three heddles on the first harness for every single block.  That's a lot of heddles!!!!!

I had to steal some from the 8th harness and move them to the 1st harness and now I need to remember to put them back.  My plan is to finish the sample, cut the warp and rethread on eight harnesses for Turned Twill.  At least that's the plan - I'm feeling mighty big for my britches right now. And of course, I'll do that as energy allows.  I see my surgeon for follow-up May 10th.

The landscaper who installed this waterfall and the entire sprinkling system came last week, got everything turned back on and repaired one broken sprinkler head.  He knew the Triplets quite well and knew that over the past several years they had lost the ability to keep up with the yard so had let it go.  What wasn't damaged by neglect was damaged by their dogs.  We have a lot of work on our hands but since we both enjoy yard work, there's plenty of it for both of us.  He also showed us where the septic tank is - good to know.
This shrub is proving to be my nemesis.  It spreads through a system of invasive roots that are nearly impossible to pull up.  I took pictures of it and have sent them to the Cooperative Extension hoping that they can identify it and tell me how to eradicate it.  Even Laura was flummoxed and said that as much as she hated to think it, there are times when Round-Up is the answer.  I hope not.

I had to make an emergency trip to Macy's Thursday afternoon.  I wanted to do all the laundry before my procedure just in case I was left with some limitations, which I'm not.  I had just put fresh sheets on the bed when I noticed the yellow spot on the duvet cover that I thought I laundered out a couple weeks ago.  A sniff test revealed it was skunk stink - still.  As always, I seem to find what I need at Macy's.  The clerk helped me find this set marked down to $35 from $300 and the funny thing is we like it better than the set it replaces.

I have a large sack of wildflower seed so my yard task today is to rake, broadcast the seed and rake again.  It's rained the past two days but today is a break in the weather and then it's supposed to rain for the next two days.  April showers bring May flowers - fingers crossed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Books, Books, Books

I was astonished to see that the last time I posted about books was last November and I've read some really good books since then.

The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck.  I picked this up at Costco last year.  It's written in the style of William Least Heat Moon whose "travel writing" is across the US by road and then later by waterways. Buck's trip is with mules and a covered wagon. It's an interesting juxtaposition of travel and American history.

Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt.  This quirky Western was recommended by two people in my book club and was nominated for the Booker Award though it's totally unlike any Booker I've ever read before.  The brothers are hired killers with a job assignment which doesn't in any way go down as they had planned.  The O'Henryish ending was the frosting on the cake for me.  It's almost a spoof but not quire.  From one review:  “A gorgeous, wise, riveting work of, among other things, cowboy noir…Honestly, I can’t recall ever being this fond of a pair of psychopaths.” 

The Boys in the Boat:  Nine Americans and their Olympic quest for gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown.  My sister-in-law gave us this book for Christmas because she said that she had loved it.  Three stories are braided together: The Seattle team were underdogs in this predominantly East Coast Ivy League sport; Hitler was building his empire and wanting to display it; and the iffy position of Joe Rantz who takes a front-and-center seat in this book. It's been around for a while now though it's still considered a best seller.

Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild.  This debut novel is a pretty inane romp across the world of art and art dealers.  After Annie finds a lost masterpiece in a junk shop and once the authenticity is established, she finds herself bombarded with a wide array of interested buyers  It gets pretty wacky.

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende.  Allende is such a well-known author that you've probably already come across her newest book, but just in case...  The setting is San Francisco in 1939 shortly before before the Japanese were interned.  Alma is Polish and with the Nazis soon to invade her country, her parents send her to stay with her rich and loving aunt and uncle.  Unnoticed by all, she forms a close friendship with the gardener's son which continues throughout their lives.  It was one of my favorite books last year.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.  Ove is such a cranky old guy that I was surprised to find that I liked him.  No one seems to take his gruffness seriously.  Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

Georgia by Dawn Tripp.  I've been an O'Keefe fan for as long as I can remember so was looking forward to this fictionalized recounting of her art and her relationship with Alfred Stieglitz.  It was everything I hoped for.  I came away with a different opinion of Stieglitz.

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin.   I read this after I saw the movie and for once I'm glad I did it this way. Usually I want to read the book first but Toibin's lovely prose simply doesn't  translate onto the big screen.

The Summer before the War by Helen Simonson.  The is a second book by the author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and I saved it for last because it's my favorite book so far this year.  It's 1914 in Sussex England and the book opens with arrival of the new school teacher who is also the main character.  If you do read it, Aunt Agatha is my favorite character.  “A novel to cure your Downton Abbey withdrawal . . . a delightful story about nontraditional romantic relationships, class snobbery and the everybody-knows-everybody complications of living in a small community.” so saith the Washington Post.  



Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Let's Do This

Things are beginning the grow so we can see what's alive and what's not.  Ian held out hope for the shrub that was here but finally conceded that it was very dead, probably had been for a while.  He talked to a neighbor the other day who said the previous owners hadn't done much the past couple of years and then their dogs destroyed what was left.  The bushes on the right are going to get aggressive haircuts this fall.
And this is what the shrub looked like after Ian got done - another $4 trip to the nearby dump, the same place our compost came from.
I received a surprise package in the mail a couple days ago.  Malinda, a friend from Reno, moved to AZ with her husband the same time we moved to OR.  These pillow covers are handwoven wool tapestries which she said were too warm for them now.  They're gorgeous and even prettier in person.
Owen's blanket is finished and fabulous.  I want to report on the yarn I used, and I confess that I chose it because it was cheaper than Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece which I successfully used for the last two blankets I wove in this pattern.  This is Knit Pick's CotLin which was questionable in the washing process.  It left lots of lint in the washer and then filled the dryer trap, twice.  I suspect it will shed again on the first and maybe second washes.  The other downside is that the blanket is heavier than I had anticipated which should be fine for Owen since he lives in Massachusetts.  I think that it's undesirable in a warmer place and I don't recommend it for weaving.
Ian and I went over to Josh and Missy's Saturday afternoon.  The boys wanted to brew that day and then turned it into a barbecue.  We only all get together once a month and seem to have so much to say that we all talk at one - except for when we were eating and what we were eating were stuffed hamburgers.  Josh tied out his new hamburger stuffer press - most delicous.  Making beer gets pretty athletic at times.  They think it's less expensive but it would take years of brewing to break even on equipment and I know all about equipment :)
This empty utility bucket was sitting in the work area and it caught my attention.  Let's Do This indeed.  I requested last week that the surgery be moved up and got a call yesterday morning that we're set to go on Friday the 22nd, 10 days from now.  Yikes!

I met with Dr Chang my radiation oncologist at the St Charles Cancer Treatment Center yesterday afternoon where I learned a ton of good stuff.  My cancer is noninvasive so I won't need any of the lymph node business or chemotherapy - happy about that.   A side effect of radiation therapy is fatigue - not happy about that.  I can see that taking care of all this is going to be a part-time job for the next eight months.  I think this means my weaving is going to slow way down and I'm finally going to get a leg up on my backlog of reading.

Dr Chang went over the results of all my tests and in careful detail.  She thinks the source of my cancer is the hormone replacement therapy I was on for 18 years as a hedge against osteoporosis that had plagued both my mother and grandmother.  I've been off of it for probably five years but not soon enough. The good news is that the Center offers free massage therapy, reiki and acupuncture during the course of treatment and one month after.  Let's do this!!

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Making It Ours

Yard work has taken over our lives it seems.  The dump sells compost for $30 a square yard which is all that the back of the truck can handle.  One raised bed holds one truck load.  One bed is done, done to go. We're trying to pace ourselves and only do one hour of yard work a day.  We really don't have the energy or stamina to do more.

If you know what this tree is, I would really like to know.  It's filled with honey bees so I assume it's some sort of fruit tree.  Everything was dormant when we moved in so we still don't have leaves to help us identify our plants.

I've been struggling to blog as the Blogsy app for iPad is gone - kaput.  They said the last IOS didn't support their program.  It's taken me forever to figure out how to get my pictures from my iPhone onto my Microsoft computer.  Apple, Google and Microsoft hate each other and make it hard for us lay people caught in the middle. I didn't figure it out.  Ian did - phew.
We had the kids over Sunday for a late Easter dinner.  It's the first time we've been able to enjoy our deck and we enjoyed it very much.  The boys played catch, Evan with his LaCross stick and Logan with his baseball mitt and Sammy loved every minute of it .  Me too!
Over the winter Josh saved some of his garden potatoes in buckets in a dark garage closet.  He's getting ready to plant too and when he opened the closet, he was greeted by these creepy long pink tentacles.  This bucket is for us and will be the first thing we plant.  Pretty wild.

I've noticed that there is very little shade in the yard but now that the weather is warmer, it's becoming an issue.  I looked around for a spot to put my chair and noticed that this pine tree was casting shade.  I dragged my chair over expecting to sit in dirt.  I often did that in Red Rock - dirt was all we had.
I was surprised to see that the flagstone continues all the way from the deck to the shady spot.  It's hard to see because of the overgrown juniper bushes.
I showed this area to the kids and they got really excited.  They've only ever seen the yard from the inside of the house - too cold - so they wanted a complete tour.  The entire area is flagstone covered by some sort of creeper.  Josh says it's a weed, Ian thinks it's not.  Either way it needs to come out so we can use this area in the afternoons.  The junipers have grown over about 2 feet more of the flagstone. This is going to be a very nice area for us, cleaned up in one hour increments.  It's really too early to plant much of anything anyway.
This is how the back of the truck looked this morning after our one-hour stint, and next time we need to use sunscreen!
I still haven't received my order from Webs so just kept working on this project, mostly for the practice, and to my surprise it is turning out to be quite attractive.  This might be my Owen's blanket after all.  Boy am I going to have a of 3/2 cotton.  Maybe it's time to make baby blankets for sale.  Of course, I've never worked with 3/2 cotton so I am talking out of the top of my hat.

We've received some unpleasant news this past week.  We're both establishing ourselves and our medical history with new doctors.  I was six months overdue for my mammogram since it was supposed to be last October, the month we moved.  We've been nothing but impressed by the high quality of care we are receiving here including the technology in use.

My recent mammogram (done as a tomogram) revealed a suspicious area  The thing is that Reno Diagnostics doesn't even have the equipment to do tomography.  I asked them because my Reno GYN recommended it. My scan required further images and a biopsy.  As a result I have been diagnosed with ductal cell carcinoma in situ or DCIS.  My surgeon informed me that one in nine women will receive this diagnosis in their lifetime.  This is an early diagnosis and the cancer is still noninvasive.  I've been given two options:  mastectomy or lumpectomy followed by radiation which is what I've elected.  It will be done as an outpatient surgery on the 29th - a blip and then we'll back on track.  I know, I know - you're thinking that I would do anything to get out of yard work.  We'll get past this and move on.  Yard work awaits.


















Saturday, April 02, 2016

Welcome to April!

It's April and the deep dark winter is behind us. I know there's more inclement weather ahead but the nice days are more frequent. I took this picture of Mt Bachelor on my morning walk and it's still doing a land office business with skiers.
COID (Central Oregon Irrigation District) has released water to the irrigation canals two weeks early this year. This 100-year-old system is not only pretty to look at but provides water to an otherwise arid area. This is still the high desert after all.
Josh came over after work on Wednesday with his saw and in 50 minutes had the pieces for our raised beds cut and assembled.
We watched the sun this past week to find the best location for the beds and this cha-ching is the winner. Josh put 4x4" posts in the corners to secure them after stacking the two layers and still was in the house enjoying a beer within an hour of arriving. We realized the next day that the bush was dead so it's gone. We're still watching some other questionable bushes for signs of life.
The seller paid for their landscaper to come last fall to blow out the sprinkling system and shut it off for the winter. Ian gave him a call and he'll be here this week to turn it back on and install a new pump in the water feature which the sellers also paid for. We're reluctant to plant anything until we know what will get watered.
Meanwhile I started warping for the baby blanket and realized that I hated these colors. It's not the colors so much as it the navy blue that goes in between the blocks of color. An important rule in mixing color is to keep everything in the same value which of course the navy does not do and it's overwhelming. Plus the sett was too tight at 15 epi so I've started to resley at 12 epi which seems to be much better.
Just the same it's not the baby blanket I want to give to Owen. Yesterday Webs announced their big anniversary sale which included 3/1 cotton so I ordered five cones in approximately these colors. I know I'll be much happier with bright colors for my adorable great-grandson.
We had a nice surprise visit with our friends John and Celia who were driving through on their way back to Reno. Ian picked Crux Fermentation Project to meet at for lunch since it's dog friendly and they're traveling with their Yorkie. They moved back to Reno two years ago but Celia said she is totally disenchanted and open to change. They asked a lot of questions.
I wish I could say that the skunk odor is gone but alas it lingers. We got hit last Thursday morning and there are still places that stink. With the warmer days we've been able to open the windows which is a huge help. Celia said they had a family of skunks under their house in San Rafael, and when they got alarmed they all sprayed. The family that sprays together stays together I guess. It really could have been a whole lot worse.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Springing into Spring

We asked the kids to keep an eye on the house and to check on Maddy to make sure she had food and water and, oh by the way, please scoop her litter box. I knew they were looking forward to the hot tub but I wasn't expecting this! They posted these pictures to Facebook while we were gone and we're still laughing about it. It was all staged but it reminds me again how much this move has given to me.
This is what the First Day of Spring looked like at our house. We're still weeks away from planting anything but want to get our raised beds ready to go. And I'm putting my peonies into the ground this week no matter what - my first ones ever!
Last week was really hectic for me. I decided to finish the towels and the last two scarves from the dyeing that Laura and I did last month.
This is the last of the scarves and it's from the roving that we poured all remaining dye onto, which turned out to be our favorite. I was done with everything except pressing the last two scarves late Wednesday afternoon. I planned to press them the next day and start putting labels on everything, but alas it was not meant to be.
Early Thursday morning Sammy barked at the back door and half-asleep Ian opened it for her without first turning on the light. Oh my. There was a visitor on our deck of the skunk variety who let loose a volley of stink of the first order. Sammy's head and right shoulder got it and because Ian was naked, it got onto his skin too. We gave her two separate baths in Dawn and then Ian went to the farm supply place for Skunks Etc, an enzyme preparation that was very effective. Unfortunately when Ian drove to the store he introduced stink into the car. We let it sit out with the windows down for two days to clear it out. Sammy was sick in the living room and then slept almost all day.
We turned the furnace down and tried opening the windows but that let me more of the stink that was still outside. A friend suggested that we place small bowels of vinegar throughout the house and since I'm a dyer and buy it by the gallon, I placed them liberally throughout the house, about a gallon's worth. Ian assures me that he will turn on the light before opening the door in the future.
That means that I wasn't able to start labeling things until Friday. My tags were Mini Moo cards which I punched and threaded with a thin hemp string. It took four hours of hunching over but I'm glad I did it. It really payed off when we got busy and people got all the information they needed about the item on the tag.
The car was loaded from the night before so I left here about 7:00 for Prineville, 45 minutes from here, though I know now that I needed to leave earlier. We were still setting up minutes before the doors opened and tweaked it as we went along. I'm pleased with how much we got out of a 5 X 10' booth though another time we'll absolutely get a full one. It was an interesting location, right after the Information Booth and the first vendor that people came across. The morning was slow so I was surprised when the afternoon sales picked up, and very often they were people who had come by a few hours before.
The towels did great, but while the scarves got lots of appreciative comments and feels, only two sold and they were Tencel, not my handspun. It makes me think that it wasn't the right audience. By law studded snow tires must be removed by April 1st so Fiber Market Day is always the last Saturday in March to allow people who want to over from Portland to comfortably make the trip. But this year that neato plan got tripped up when it fell on Easter Weekend. I was pleased with my sales but heard that others weren't so happy.
I had a little fun with this which I posted to Facebook. My daughter quipped "Park yer rear right here." I used PayPal Here to scan credit cards from my phone and couldn't have been more pleased, though surprisingly a lot of people paid cash. I have kept my towel prices at $20 because I think people are more willing to whip out a single bill. But I must say, the skunk distraction plus ten hours of standing on concrete with very few breaks has left me utterly exhausted.
This is what's next on my horizon though I am going to take a few days off to let my lower back rest. That gives me a chance to start putting photos in albums.