Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Charlie loves Buster's new dog bed.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Guest Room cum Weaving Studio

Our guests have gone and we aren't expecting any for a while. I have no excuses. I have owned this Nilus Artisat since last summer. Amy helped me find the rest for the arm that advances the warp when she was here for my birthday in October. Laura went over it with me when she was here at Thanksgiving.
I have only woven on Gilmore looms so everything feels different. As much as I love the ease of changing tie-ups, I dislike threading the heddles. They are thin wire things that tangle with each other and don't slide well. Gilmore looms have removable beams so you can get right at the heddles without having to reach over the beam. On the other hand, the loom has a great wide shed and nice action. I notice that it tensions nicely so will try a rag rug next.
I had hoped that the first project off the loom would be something I could give Ken. It's been six months since I agreed to weave something as closure for his loss of LeeAnn and her weaving life. I chose this llama that I had overdyed in the turkey roaster to weave in rosepath twill. Llama is more hairy than I realized and makes for some pretty sticky warp. I think it's probably going to be scratchy. I'm also going to run out of weft. Other than that, it's the perfect project.

The loom is very light weight but this arm that helps provide stability has fallen away because the screw stripped the hole. I'm not going to weave on it again until I get some liquid wood and get this secured. So I'm winding some warp for the Gilmore.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas Eve was at our house. It was unusually warm and the roads were fine. In spite of all our weather worries, the conditions couldn't have been better. I love my family but my favorite part is watching my grandkids.

Christmas Day was another story. The power was out when I woke up, and as I have mentioned before, no power, no well pump, no flushee flushee. We missed our traditional Christmas Day dinner but son Josh graciously offered to eat my crab legs for me. We also missed three plus hours on the road in snowy conditions.
Ian dug out the garage and around the house. He also dug paths to the bird feeders. A lot of song birds winter over here. We feed them because we enjoy watching them. Color me selfish.
I took this from our bedroom window this morning. So many different kinds of birds, but my favorite of all are the quail. I love their call and silly little plumes. They run up and down the bank but because their little legs are buried in the snow, it looks as if they are skiing.
I was folding laundry on the bed this afternoon.- yes, on the day after Christmas. The tyranny of laundry knows no holidays. Suddenly I realized that there weren't any birds and went to the window to check it out. Nope,there weren't any birds and here's why. An American Kestral, also known as Sparrow Hawk, was sitting expectantly on top of a bird feeder. Sorry chump. My song birds are smarter than you are. Note the quail tracks on the bank. Run away, little quail. Run away.

Monday, December 22, 2008

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

This is a family greeting from a Christmas Past, and I hope you'll take a moment for a holiday greeting as expressed by Lola here. Lola is the four-year-old daughter of a friend. I have watched this clip seven times, made all my co-workers watch it and after viewing it seven, did I mention seven times?, I'm still laughing. In the words of Lola, Merry Christmas every one.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Mighty Wind

How hard did the wind blow during this last storm? Ian told me about finding a bird feeder in the brush and the top to our composter down by the well. We put this toy that our grandkids had outgrown in with the sheep so they could butt something besides the shed.

This is where the toy ended up after the wind storm was over. Gusts were predicted up to 50 mph and I don't know what kind of gust picks up a Tuff Stuff jungle gym and sends it over a shed and fence. I can tell you that it's hard to sleep through a wind storm because every time the power goes out, the telephone beeps to wake you up and let you know that the power just went out. Now that might not mean much to you, but when the power is out, the well doesn't pump and the toilet doesn't flush. That's what it means to me.
I wrapped the presents for our grandkids today. We have our family here for Christmas Eve. I treasure it more than any present - everyone goes their separate ways on Christmas Day. That gold wrapping paper with Christmas stockings is something Ian picked up. I wonder if it's supposed to be for vendors because the roll is enormous. Coming from someone who used to wrap presents in Sunday funnies, I will use the whole roll, even if it takes till 2011. I won't need to buy labels because everyone will be trained to know the paper.

And speaking of Grandkids, here's one. Every one of our grandkids loves to draw, so we have an art kit. I had to buy more watercolor paint pots after this visit.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Pogonip is a type of fog consisting of ice crystals suspended in the air. The name "pogonip" is an English adaptation of the Shoshone word meaning "cloud" ('payinappih')[1]. Pogonip only forms under the right conditions, the humidity has to be near 100% as the air temperature drops to below 0°C, allowing ice crystals to form in the air. The ice crystals will then settle onto surfaces. (Wikipedia)

This is a weather condition specific to our area, hence the Shoshone name. (The Shoshone are the largest of Nevada's three Indian tribes, being Shoshone, Paiute and Washoe. Washoe is the name of our county.) This weather condition doesn't occur every year, but when it does, it's ethereal.

Remember flocked trees? We get our Christmas ornament-
ation from nature. If you click for big, you can see that the branches are covered with ice crystals that stand on their ends like iron filings on a magnet. It was -5 the night before when I dropped into our valley from the highway. That's just too cold. I guess pretty is a nice apology.
I've closed the gate and I'm off to work. Adios home-

BTW, I took those last bags from natural dyed wools to work to show Diane. Someone bought the yellow one but I think I have enough yarn to make another.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Natural Colored Bags

My friend Diane encour-
aged me to use the natural colored wool that I thought I should weave with to make some more bags instead. She has been an unbelievable customer and since she doesn't read my blog, I feel safe in saying that the silk scarf on needles is headed her way. But first I have two more Christmas commissions to finish. These bags are ugly in process and aren't very gratifying to knit because they look like malformed blobs.

I'm shaping them with deacces-
sioned library books and I already appreciate Diane's idea. She's a costume maker and quilter so has a wonderful eye for color. She suggested that make them deeper and I did. Charlie was looking at the birds in the bush outside but the flash caught his attention. He's so nosy, just like me.
The colors on this bag are madder on the bottom, the green is cotton-
wood over-dyed with indigo and the top is just rabbit brush. If I don't sell this bag, it's mine. I loaded it with all my stuff and it has a really a nice shape. I love the colors. Diane was right about making it deeper.
The colors on this bag are madder over grey Romney on the bottom, rabbit brush over indigo in the middle and madder over oatmeal fleece on the top. The beige is walnut which is also in the unseen base. Yup, the yarns are much better in bags than tapestry. I don't always take suggestions, because I've learned that it doesn't always pay off, but I'm so glad I did this time.
It was like this all morning. I finally called work and told them not to expect me. If you look carefully you can see a dark llama-shaped figure. They just hate this weather, dontcha know. I feel vindicated because it is still snowing - I'm not such a slacker after all. BTW, the term slacker appears in Lost Horizon by James Hilton, published in 1933. It meant the same thing then. We're not as edgy and original we thought.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Unexpected

This week has been full of the unexpected. Some haven't been so good and some have been awesome. I've deliberated about whether to blog about the "other" side of unexpected, and am still thinking about it. We bloggers tend to write about our triumphs and joys. This bracelet was certainly one of the joys.

I facilitate our library's book club. It is part of my job and I get paid for doing it. It's also the favorite part of my job. I agonize over books to select, trying to find good books with enough library copies and I agonize over the questions and prep materials and I love every minute of it. The ladies who have formed themselves into this book club are awesome, smart and funny. One is blind and listens to books on tape, and what she contributes to the discussion from her memory is absolutely stunning. Last week they surprised me with this killer bracelet. I swear I only take it off to sleep. My bracelet is the top two rings and the titles are considered young adult, though To Kill a Mockingbird is still one my most favorite books.

Today began with the unexpected - a layer of ice on the road and a 30-mile drive at 40 mph. Mim and I made the most of it and got plenty of visiting in. We saw two roll-overs and the other two members from out here in the north forty saw four. I'll just go slow, thank you very much. We plodded on in Eleanor, my Forrester, and let the large testosterone, big-boy trucks do their thing, including roll over.

The Christmas Guild meeting was very poorly attended - that was unexpected, as this is the one meeting we all try to attend. I think the roads had a lot to do with it and I was very happy to see everyone who did come. I am so lucky to be a spinner because I would never have made these wonderful friends otherwise. The temp never rose up to freezing. A nice unexpected thing was a gift and handmade card from our outgoing president. She wanted to thank her board and I'm the newsletter editor. This appears to be a life appointment, but the gift certainly was, well, unexpected.
Amy provided the major unex-
pected event of the day. Our beautiful sign is completed and it simply is spectacular. Did you get the pun in the background color? She says it has five coats of spar varnish but it's going to be hard to hang that piece of artwork on the fence in the elements and I'm not doing it until it warms up to freezing.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What's under the Tree?

We cut a tree that is too tall. Our tree topper is our ceiling. I don't care because every ornament on here is a memory so it's beautiful to me. This year I put our Woof 'n Poofs around the bottom. We have a small collection and not much space for display. Since we don't have presents any more, I thought this was the right place for them.

Each Santa has a music box and Grandson Kiernan thinks it would be cool to wind and play them all at once. He's nine.

Ian's brother loved at and laughed at their faces. This is one of their typical lively expressions.
Wait a cotton-pickin' moment - what's with that Santa in the back - he's orange. Christmas is red. This is an unauthor-
ized Santa. Alert, alert. There is an unauthorized orange Santa lurking amongst the legitimate Woof n' Poof Santas.
Charlie takes exception - this is his house and these things are all intruders. He is the authorized one, all eight pounds of him. Poor little boy - this tree is all the outdoors he's going to get.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Repurposing Hand Spun Yarn

I showed Laura the sweater that I made from some yarn that we had dyed at her house when we both still lived in town, probably close to ten years ago. I knit it up in this jacket and because it was so uninteresting, I never wore it - not even once. It's lived in a drawer it's whole life.

I showed her my Sonnet sweater and told her that I had the same frustrations with it that Michelle had. It's the sweater that never stops growing. Laura started verbally redesigning and I started ripping the virgin jacket.
I don't want to lose this yarn. It's triple ply and it's probably Border Leicester, which was what I was spinning almost exclusively at that time. I remember that it was brown and the teal was leftover dye Laura had in a milk jug. The yarn wasn't taking up the dye, so Laura walked over with a partial bottle of vinegar and soused the dye pot. The yarn took up all the color. It's a yarn and it's a memory.

I reskeined the balls so I could wash the yarn and relax the kinks. The unfor-
tunate kink was that moths had visited the sweater and eaten through an area where it was folded. I'm going to have to weave in more ends than I had planned on. The damage was marginal, but it reminds me that I will always have to protect my yarn and fiber.
My yarn is prepared and ready to be knit - again. Laura's idea is to knit the body of the Sonnet sweater, but to make the neck smaller. I'm also going to take her suggestion and assemble the front and back, then pick up the sleeve stitches and knit them from the armholes down. My complaint with the Sonnet as written is that sleeves are huge, ginormous in fact. I think by knitting from the shoulder down I will be able to make them the size that I want - after Christmas.

Monday, December 08, 2008

My Webs Order Is Here!

This is my first real weaving order. I mean "real" in that I knew that I wanted 8/2 cotton and these colors which I think will make nice towels. I look forward to learning more about interlacements of warp and weft with different threadings and tie-ups. And Marie, those two cones of white are 8/4 rug warp. There is a rag rug on the horizon, distant though it may be.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Belly Dancing at TMCC

Here my daughter's students from her advanced belly dance class at Truckee Meadows Community College.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Thanksgiving weekend was so full of family, tree cutting and memory making that I didn't think there was room for one more thing and I was wrong. We were putting up the tree, trying to align it in the stand when the phone rang. It was Laura. She had come down to have Thanksgiving with her family, was headed back up to Oregon but was having car problems - could she spend the night. Does the bear sleep in the woods?!

This is Laura and this is our tree. We fell into bed early from exhaustion but got up early and visited the heck out of about two hours before she had to hit the road. It was wonderful and the frosting on top of a very rich cake.
I showed her the cones I had been weaving with and she ended up helping me sort out the cones that I have acquired over time but don't know what they are. I have three of these red tubs and now, while I don't know what I'll weave, I at least know what I can weave. Somewhere sometime I acquired two very large cones of white 8/2 unmercerized cotton. I placed an order with Webs before Thanksgiving for 8/2 cotton which I'm still waiting for. I might finally have my very own stash.

A lot of this stuff came from Robin and Russ's buying club, when there was still a Robin and Russ. Laura said that I could knit with these two cones. The left one is silk and right one is cashmere. I'll need to skein and wash them first. I guess I could dye the silk, but first I need to see a swatch before I decide anything else. I'll do it next year.
With all the driving for Thanks-
giving and tree cutting, I had plenty of time to knit and the socks are done. I decided you all were right, but I had knitted too far for the corrugated rib so just added the contrast heels and toes.
The UNR sweatpants notwith-
standing, I think these socks turned out to be quite nice. The pattern is Double Eyelet Rib from The Harmony Guides, volume 2.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

For Birdsong

Birdsong has tagged me for a photo meme.

The directions are:

*Go to your sixth picture folder and pick your sixth picture.
*Pray you remember the details.
*Tag five others.

This is Charlie chasing my smelly garden Birkenstock shoe around the living room. There's nothing more to say.

Tagged: Lee, Leigh, Valerie, Marie, Jodi

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sign of Things to Come

Our contractor made this address sign when he began work on our house seven years ago. I have always meant to buy a "real" sign but somehow have never followed through. It's such an ugly sign for such a cute house.

When Mickey Mouth won reserve grand champion fleece at the state fair a couple of years ago, Amy made this sign for Ian. He loved it so much that he screwed it right into the side of the house. She was well into her wood burning stage at that point, having decorated a spinning wheel, matching lazy kate and the interior of her vintage travel trailer.
She had offered to make a sign to replace that old scruffy one, but she has been buried up to her ears in alligators this year getting the new library open. Recently she sent us this picture of the sign in progress. It is awesome! I'm so glad I didn't get antsy and buy something because I never could have found anything as cool as this. I am happy to wait for this sign to come. Nothing could be better.

I discovered yesterday that Blogger has not been displaying all the blogs that I follow. That was disappointing. I spent about an hour rebuilding my Bloglines index so I can check up on everybody. Look out - I'm coming.