Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Loose Ends

We're leaving on vacation early Friday morning and I'm desper-
ately trying to tie up loose ends. Here are the last six hats that I've finished for this season and I need to get them in the mail to the Brewery Arts Center. I liked Amy's suggestion about using some artistic license when naming my projects, so I've decided to start with this batch.

Beginning with the pink hat on the right and going clockwise, I named my hats: Raspberry Pie with Cherries, Wild Iris in Spring, Clouds at Dusk, Red Sky at Night, Spongy Earth and New Grass, and House Finch Songbird. I'll get better with practice. Suggestions are welcome.

I had finished one more more bag, but the other day when I went to put the ties on, realized that it wasn't felted enough and so gave it another run through the washer. I finished it today. Twice I've been asked if I have anything in browns. I don't know what is meant by "browns," but this is very brown. I spun the yarn from Icelandic roving that I've had hanging around for years. Brown Bag - brown .

One of the wonderful things about these bags is that I get to dig into my oh-so-deep, deep stash. Did I mention that my fiber stash is deep?


This is why the bottom of my bags are square. I stuff them with books while they are drying, in case you missed an earlier blog on my maniac method of shaping my bags. These books are deaccessioned library books so I don't have to feel guilty about producing damage. I realize that it apears that I have had a flurry of finished projects - not so. I've been working on them for quite a while and am now tieing up the loose ends.

I'm facing the crisis at hand - what to take for trip knitting. I have enough for two bags but given the driving we'll be doing, that won't be enough. Oh what to do. What to do?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Marketing Bags

At the end of many projects, I have ended up with various partial balls that are similar wools and enough yardage that I decided to see I couldn't use them up in a bag. After all, the colors seem to be reasonably close.

But I have to tell you it was nerve-wracking to knit and not know if I'd be rewarded for my efforts. I stopped when I ran out of yarn.

This is my partial balls bag. Some of the yarns in the middle drew up more than the other yarns, but they all stretched out when I stuffed the bag with old books.

I have tried both eBay and Etsy as a point of sale and been unsatisfied with both for a variety of reasons. Last week I finally took the time to order business cards from Vista Print. My hair dresser recommend them to me and I figure he knows what he's talking about, since he owns his own salon. I ended up ordering three different styles, but when the information included my blog address, I started thinking about how I could link my inventory to my blog. The bags very often sell as gifts and I've been aware for quite a while that I need a way to promote what I have available. People ask. I decided to upload pictures of the bags that I have into a set on Flickr. I added it as a link to my blog, called Hand Delivered Bags. I anticipate this to work well, and I tell you this in the event that you too are trying to promote inventory. I anticipate that I this will work well, but it's too soon to tell.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Walkin the dogs

My first mobile blogged picture

Friday, February 20, 2009

Constantia Ranch

This is Constantia Ranch in Long Valley, California. I just finished reading "Twenty Miles from a Match, by Sarah Olds, a history of homesteading in northern Nevada. Their place was close to Pyramid Lake, north of Reno, and Contstantia, California was their post office, 18 miles away. I drove up there today. It's eight miles from our house.

The drive took just minutes, where it took them all day by horseback and this task was done by their children - the adults had work to do. It is still a working ranch - all of Long Valley is occupied by working ranches.
Ian and I had driven up here a number of years ago and the thing that struck me was the layers of history that are still visible. You can see that this structure was once someone's home. maybe late 19th, early 20th century.
The compound is a litany of ranching history. This house also abandoned is from a later time, though I'm guessing that the garage is a much more recent addition. Always, these ranches are surrounded by poplar and cottonwood trees for important summer shade.
This is another of the abandoned residences in the compound and it seems more recent than the last two. I wish there were a story teller somewhere, because you know there have to be a lot of them. Mim's husband Bob asked me if I knew anything about this ranch. I wish I did. He's the one who told me that it's pronounced Con-stan-sha.
So here the ranch sits at the foot of Virginia Peak, conven-
iently located next to the railroad, which I wonder if it's secret to it's survival. Ironically, it's only one mile from the highway and might as well not exist as far any traveler is concerned.
Driving away, my eye is caught by something. Do you see it? Just to the left of the speed sign? It's a prong-
horn antelope. I had heard a tractor fire up just before this. Did it spook him or did I???

But wait - there's more. About a half dozen more. No wonder I didn't see any evidence of a garden. And if there were one, the antelope would be most grateful. They are great fans of gardens.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Keep Chickens

You probably don't know this about me, but I keep chickens in our bathroom. As this affliction, I mean collection, has grown, so has the need to find places for them. I was terribly afraid of chickens when I growing up. I went to collect the eggs when I was about five, and my father's rooster was waiting for me inside the hutch. I stepped inside and he flew at me from above, where he had apparently been waiting. He became stew.

About five years later, I went out to collect the eggs and ran afoul (pun intended) of another rotten rooster. My 70-year-old grandmother came out of the house and beat that bird off of me wth a broom. More stew.

I didn't set out to collect chickens, but they really are pretty and I loved watching them running free at my brother's house. One collected chicken became a whole flock before I knew it.
Ian started hanging my fair ribbons in with the chickens. More irony, I'm thinking, since my chances of a chicken ribbon are nonexistent.

Recently I was at a neighbor's house for an association committee meeting. Afterwards she brought out her clown parrot, Kisgus, whom everyone enjoyed and now it was my turn to put out a finger. I realized I wasn't ready and told her so. Poor Kisgus kept bobbing his head and saying, "Come here to me." I'm working up to it, Kisgus. It's nothing personal.
This is the latest chicken. Amy found it at the UNR bookstore, and at the rate I'm getting dishtowels finished, this may well be worn out. It's handwoven in India and makes me appreciate those indigenous weavers. My new hen has plenty of company here. It's all chicken scratch.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

25 Random Things about Me

This meme comes via MiniKat. The rules are: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to publish a blog post with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose up to 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you.

Here are my 25 random things:

1. My parents lived in Fairbanks Alaska when I was born, but since there was no hospital, my mother had to go stay in Seattle until my birth. I was almost an Alaskan.

2. I was a late life surprise, so the year I was born, my mother also became a grandmother.

3. My mother learned to knit from the Red Cross as part of the war effort – the first world war! She taught two Sharon Campbells to knit, me and my step daughter, Sharon Campbell.

4. My family is long lived. I have a 97 year-old-uncle and a 102 year-old aunt. Frankly that scares me.

5. My grandmother was a camp cook in the Yukon gold rush and so hiked the Chilcoot Trail. The gold bracelet I wear was made from a single nugget. My mother wore it until I was in high school, then she gave it to me. It’s so tight that I can’t get it off my wrist. It bleeps in security scanners so I’m always wanded as a potential terrorist.

6. My father built our house in East San Diego County out of recycled lumber. For the first year, we had no running water. We had to take baths in a galvanized tub in the kitchen and use an outhouse.

7. I had to walk a mile to the school bus, uphill both ways. Okay – kidding, just one way.

8. My father’s hobbies were working in his huge garden and raising honey bees. My mother kept chickens and goats. We ate what we grew and it was all organic. We didn’t eat goats, just goats milk.

9. My mother played piano in church but send me to accordion lessons. I can play Beer Barrel Polka and Lady of Spain I Adore Thee….

10. I lived in the Philippines for two years and my oldest son was born there.

11. He graduated from high school the same year I graduated from college.

12. I fidget.

13. I weigh what I weighed in high school. Then I was the fat kid, now people tell me I’m thin. Sadly I’m stuck with the image of the former.

14. I like salty foods. I don’t like chocolate. Our fridge if full of different kinds of pickles.

15. I like strong dark-roast coffee and I like beer, especially India Pale Ale.

16. My mother and grandmother were cooks. It’s not hereditary.

17. My grandmother taught me to make pie crust. I can’t cook but I can crust just about anything.

18. I can’t bear to knit only one project at a time, ditto anything else.

19. I decided to learn to weave because my mother wanted to but couldn’t afford a loom. I now have three floor looms.

20. I am a hand spinner and start every morning at the spinning wheel with a cup of coffee, see #15.

21. The hardest thing I have ever been though is when my daughter lost her baby.

22. My most favorite woman on this planet is my daughter. She lights up my life every day.

23. I walk, knit and talk fast, but I drive slow. Okay, I drive fast, kinda.

24. I love to read and just wish I could read faster.

25. I was a white blonde until high school. I once met a girl who looked like me and my feelings were hurt because she didn’t talk to me. Mother explained that she was a Mexican and an albino. I think of her when I hear Johnny Winters.

I'd like to hear from from some folks but I'm not going to tag 25 - that's the Facebook version of this Meme: Robin, Barb, Vickie, Mim and Becky. If you read this and I didn't specifically tag you, I'd still like to see your list of 25 random things and I hope you'll post a list. I've really enjoyed reading the lists on Facebook. Even my SIL posted one. Please play - it's fun to read.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

We Got It Done

Recently a neighbor donated a vast quantity of processed roving to our guild. She has raised a variety of fiber animals including Cormo, Romeldale and a couple of alpaca, but chronic carpal tunnel syndrome has prohibited spinning and knitting. She and I serve on one of our association committees, and at the last meeting, Nancy brought so many bags of fiber that she filled poor Eleanor up to the gunwales. I opened a couple of the bags and was simply overwhelmed.
I called Amy and told her the situation and prevailed on her to come out so we could go through all of this together. We went through all five bags, evaluated and weighed everything. Her librarian skills went to work recording fibers, weights and processing. I weighed, she wrote.
As you can see, she has a very capable assistant. I don't know what we would have done without him. He inspected most of the bags and appeared to give his approval. Our guild meeting is next week and we'll try to establish a time for the sale that will be good for our members and our guild. This is especially important to me since it's all at my house right now. It's a heap o' fiber.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Walking the Dogs

I took the dogs on a walk this morning. You have no idea what goes on behind the scenes when I say that. First of all, this is my day off and they will not let me sleep past 7:00. Five minutes after seven has a dog on my chest and another one slurping at my face. I must take them for a walk or they will make my life miserable.

I am at the half way point and I think it's time to turn around and go back. Clearly, it appears we are going get some kind of weather. I'm freezing and there's spitting snow.
Uncle! We have passed our turn around point. The peculiar fence you see is an enclosure for wolves. These folks live a half mile from our house - one would not want to be any closer. In the summer with open windows, we can hear their howling wolves.

I find it interesting that when I drive by here at night, this is the spot where all the rabbits jump into the road, trying to commit suicide in front of my car. I assume that coyotes keep their distance from the wolves and this area - that's why there so many rabbits. I also see a lot of white owls here at night. Mere speculation~

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Eco Arnie

This is Todd, our Tech, with Eco Arnie. You see, our library director, Arnie Maurins, was named one of the ten most watchable men in Reno. When our administrative office acquired a new book truck, the administrative staff decided that the library to receive it needed to send in a replica of the 10th most watchable man in Reno. An Arnie contest was spawned.
Please to notice the details of most humble public servant - ID badge, geek eye glasses, newspaper head and Oscar de la Renta tie. And not to miss rolled up magazine limbs and book-end feet. All and all, a spectacular efford by our staff. This picture is my only participation.

I called my dentist Tuesday morning because a month-old toothache had kept me awake all night. She decided I should come right in, so I called work to say I was starting my work day at the dentists but would be in after that. She took x-rays and decided I needed to see an endodontist - #3 tooth needed a root canal and she didn't know what was going on with #2. So I called work to say that I would be right after my endodontist appointment. I went to lunch at a nearby Chinese. Daughter Chris says it was my last meal. The endodontist said I had a couple of things going on - #3 needed a root canal, but number two was a "failed tooth" and needed to come out. So I called work to say - I won't be in today. I got all dressed up to see dentists and have my tooth pulled.

I went home without tooth #2. It's part of our venacular to talk about pulling teeth, but I've never had a tooth pulled before. One, it takes a lot of tugging to get it pulled out and it's not as simple as the phrase makes it sound. I was absolutely fascinated by my poor failed tooth. I asked to see it and now I wish I would have kept it. My body had absorbed one root. He said I probably could go back to work, and BTW, did I want an Rx for pain. I said yes, since it was hurting at the moment. I'm not sure what his pain experience is, but I was thankful to have the Percocet, because I work up every four hours, just in time to take the next pill.

It's done and I'm on the road to healed, but I missed all of the creative fun that went into Eco Arnie. There is an explanatory note pinned to his dress shirt. It ends by saying that if nothing else, he is recyclable and if needed, he can be burned for heat next winter. Say it won't be Eco-Arnie!!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Talking about Selvedges

I'm going to tie up the rest of this warp on Friday and weave it off. I plan to follow Madelyn's advice from the January/February 2008 issue of Handwoven. I would recommend you find the article and read it in full, but the things that struck a chord with me are the following. If you don't weave, the rest of this post probably won't be of interest - just an fyi.

Warp Tension: Tie the warp onto the front apron rod in small (1/2") groups at the same width as the warp in the reed. Large groups create draw-in and differences in warp tension. Make sure tension is even on all the groups. If it is not, the fell will not be straight and the selvedges affected.

Weft Angle: A weft angle steep enough to accommodate take-up in weft-faced weaves would place more extra weft at one side where the shuttle exits. Close the shed before beating to avoid pulling weft straight as you beat. (She shows close to a 45 degree angle in the photo.)

Pull of the Weft: So that the only drag on the thread is the rotating bobbin, the thread must be wound evenly, smoothly, and tightly on the bobbin. The "tightly" part is critical. If the bobbin is wound loosely, as you throw the shuttle the unwinding thread will sink into the loose threads, stop the bobbin, and yank on the selvedge.

Do not start by winding a lump at the ends of bobbins with flanges. Smooth and straight is your goal. The unwinding thread will catch on any lumps, stop the bobbin and yank on the edge threads. When the bobbin is full to the edge of the flanges, continue winding only in the center, without overfilling.

I've extracted just a portion of the two page article. I has excellent illustratory photographs and is the the most helpful treatement on selvedges I've read - recommended reading.

I also found a 2007 blog post from Peg where she offers this advice:

First, to have a consistent amount of draw-in, the warp has to be moved forward frequently, probably every 1-2 inches. Consistent draw-in is very important for consistent beating. Consistent draw-in may not guarantee even beating throughout the cloth, but it will definitely help.

Second, a decision has to be made as to where to maintain the fell. Close to the front beam? Halfway between the front beam and the shafts? Close to the shafts? I tend to keep the fell close to the front bean. Doing this allows me to beat in more weft yarn and to beat more closely. As the warp threads on the edges get closer together because of draw-in, it becomes more difficult to beat as closely as I want to. That is the main reason that I often use a temple.

You can read the complete post here - more recommended. Thank you all for your suggestions and advice. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I would not be weaving were it not for all of you in the virtual weaving community.