Sunday, April 23, 2017

Making Color

 Here are a couple of the finished pieces from my color reduction class that ended last week.  This is from Shari who is a fine arts painter.
This is Jim's, a former graphic artist.  We're given a piece of wood to carve and the rest comes from inside.  I thought their work represented them very well.
And this is my big red rooster, Mr Doodle Doo.  I want to do him again and increase the number of reductions but my attention has already been snagged by something else.
After standing on concrete for 2 1/2 hours the night before, I further punished my feet by attending Liz Moncrief's warp painting class the next day, from 9:00 to 3:30.  She sure made warp painting simple and not fussy at all.  The two colors on this are lemon yellow and aquamarine.  She showed us how to use pressure to squeeze the colors into a middle area where they blended to make a third color, in this case green.  It has a tidepool look.
We worked in teams and Heidi and I were just flying by the seat of our pants.  We chose Pagoda Red and Amber Waves for our second warp.  As Liz was mixing up the solution she commented that we were going to get a sunset.  After blending the color, I absolutely did.
This odd yarn was imported from France for Crystal Palace yarns and is 44/40/16 rayon/cotton/polyester.  I bought it from Mary Wonser last year for $1 at the guild's Weftover Sale and I no idea what possessed me to buy or dye it.  It loved dye, was an absolute sponge!  The dye struck instantly.  There was no negotiating with this warp!


As if I hadn't punished my feet enough, I went to Earth Day.  Ian had been there all day setting up and volunteering in the March for Science booth.  I came with my friend Joanie just for the march.  On remarkably short notice, we had a turnout of close to a thousand people, lots of kids and families.  Marching through town we had further support as the cars drove by, honking and drivers calling out their support.  Boy, were my dogs barking.
Joanie and I came at 2:30, the last half hour of Earth Day.  We were sporting our Team Campbell t-shirts at the March for Science booth.  The main Team Campbell was in Washington DC with subgroups in Boston, San Francisco and Bend.  Team Campbell was organized by Jim Behnke, editor for Neil Campbell, author of Campbell's Biology and also Ian's brother, which is how there came to be a March for Science and Team Campbell in Bend.

I was wearing my knitted wool headband that says "science" on both sides and itched like mad.  What a terrible idea!  Our "scientist" was Dr Chaput, professor of infectious diseases and anatomy and physiology, and she was great sport, answering random questions off the cuff.

I rinsed out the warps this morning and hung them over the ladder to drip dry, hoping to beat the rain.  They look pretty shriveled and pathetic at this stage.

They only look marginally better here, half dry, hanging in the guest shower.  I'm pleased with the tidepool and sunset colors.  The splotchy purple and gold is even uglier in real life.  I cannot imagine it being any less ugly after woven and I absolutely don't know what to say about The Coat of Many Colors on the right. Several weavers have assured me that the most disappointing painted warp often is the happiest result when woven.  I realize as I look at this that I have eight scarves to weave which sounds like an awful lot to me.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Printmaking and new toys

Last Thursday was the second session in the Color Reduction in Block Printing class.  I knew we were going start carving our 8 x 10" wood blocks so I came prepared with a tracing of this greeting card.  I traced it in the same orientation as the card so it will print in the reverse - the bird will be looking East.
I finished carving and inked it with yellow, going from light to dark.  The areas that I have already removed will be white on the paper.  Half the class was doing linoleum cuts and when they were all done, the press settings had to be changed so wood block folk could print, but unfortunately the jig wasn't deep enough to work with wood.  Julie our instructor promised to make a new one before the next class.  It's just as well as I can see a lot of chatter and noise - need to remove more wood.
Since all A6 Ambassadors (volunteers) are part time now I have every other Monday free, so Ian and I decided to go out for lunch.  There are so many good places to eat here, but we try to hold it to twice a month, motivated more by body mass than the wallet.  We ate at Broken Top Bottle Shop (yum!) and the business next door is a yoga studio.  One wonders how this works with a couple feet of snow!

We ran some errands ending at Costco and since we've been talking about updating our three-year-old iPhones we went to the cell kiosk to see what the current options are.  It turns out that 17th was the last day of Costco's rebate offer - $200 for your old phone.  These are the 7s and the old ones are in the mail.  The papa bear phone is Ian's - New toys!
Last night I was able to print my first two colors. I removed all the bits that at I wanted to stay yellow and then  inked it with red and ran it through the press again.  There's a whole system of "registering" the paper so that the block strikes in the same place every time but I'd have to do that as a separate whole post!


We each are making four prints but the one the second from the left is pretty much ruined by excessive ink on the brayer - a disappointing lesson that I won't repeat.
This is it's state after the second run through the press.  Tomorrow night is our final class where we will finish carving, then print and critique.  I knew I would feel rushed if I waited until then so brought it home to remove everything that I want to stay red and yellow.


When I ink it with black, the only thing that will get inked is what I haven't carved away.  I also cut a little deeper into the areas where I don't want the black to reach.  I need a couple of additional tools plus the sharpening stones. New toys!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Still gloomy, still busy indoors

Last week I wound five warps for a warp painting workshop next Friday.  We are only supposed to bring four warps but after I finished this one, cone from origins unknown and person not remembered, I had cut out six knots and was having serious misgivings.
I dug through my stash and came up with these three balls of cotton knitting yarn, also "donated."  It's 100% cotton and a little bit stretchy for weaving, but it's a cellulose fiber class.  I wound a back-up warp just to be safe.
This is another rayon/cotton novelty yarn but without the texture.  A additional warp is already in a baggy, three 3" bouts of undyed Tencel to be painted.
I bought this cone of Crystal Palace for a $1 at the Guild "Weft-Over" sale last summer.  Liz Moncrief is the teacher and she suggested that one warp be already dyed, pastels preferred.  The yarn is 44/40/16 viscose, cotton and polyester, imported from France.  I suspect this cone has been around for quite a while - it came from the stash of a retiring weaver..  I'm really interested to see if there's a swan in this ugly duckling.

I'm happy to report that I have finally finished my NCAA sweater.  The pattern is called Quick Sand - click to go to the Ravelry link.  The gauge is 15 st. = 4" but I used Cascade 220 on size nine 9 needles and still got 16 stitches so went up a pattern size.  I like it so much I bought the designer's pattern called Fine Sand, gauge 22 st = 4" and have already started.
And I quickly knit this headband for the March for Science next Saturday on Earth Day.  The pattern is also on Ravelry.  Click here for the free pattern.
Last night was the first class of four on Color Reduction in block printing.   We used these 3" square pieces of Gomuban, (a malleable rubber tile) as an introduction to the technique.  First we carved out the white so that when the plate was next inked with yellow, the white would be preserved.  First it's yellow, then red and then blue, light to dark.  We carve on the block four times to get our final print and each "incarnation" gets inked and run through the press on the same paper, three passes through the press.
The blue over the red produces the appearance of black and is what makes it pop.  I really enjoyed the process.
I seriously didn't know what I was just doing - carving with no plan and on the last carving I got a bit over-zealous and carved away a part of this soft plate - oops.  I'm not as fond of my second try and see that I'd like more structure.  Tomorrow night we begin the first of three sessions to carve and print one print on 8 x 10" tiles.  We can chose Gomuban or Sheena wood and I've opted for the wood.  I've already got my sketch ready.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Here Comes the Sun

We paid a visit to First Street Rapids Park last week on one of two sunny days.  Bend has 72 parks and we're going to try see as many of them as possible this year.  One down.
 The river has signage long before rafters get this far.  They have to get out and portage along the trail that we were on, nicely paved and wide.
It's just a placid river until it isn't!
We treated ourselves to lunch afterwards at Spork, a family-friendly hipster restaurant serving Mexican/Asian/fusion cuisine.  Their original place was a food truck, hence the name.
The supplementary warp workshop last weekend was taught by Linda Gettman as part of our weave/study group.  We came with our looms already warped with the ground warp and the pattern warp in a baggie.  We all had the same yardage of  5/2 mercerized cotton so only our colors were different.  It was a (very patiently) led group exercise.
Actually the other thing that varied was how many times we treadled the two sequences of the Monks Belt draft.  

This is a really fiddly process so we had to have extra bits like the dowel across the back and above the ground warp.  It's bungied onto the back beam with the bag clips inserted between them to keep the two different warps from intermarrying.  My supplementary warp was weighted with 18 ounces of fishing weights, 9 ounces on each bundle and it absolutely needed that much weight.  Obviously I hadn't intended to ignore it this long.

Linda took a workshop last year on this subject and what we did was based on her experience.  She has since then branched out.  These scarves are inspiring.
This is mine after being sent through the washer and dryer.  The entire thing was a sample.  This is my go-round with Monks Belt and while I like the appearance of the blocks, they've got long floats that could easily snag.  I don't expect to try this draft again but I absolutely will try supplementary warp again.  There are a lot of options!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Marching On

Yesterday morning we awoke to this.  This winter just doesn't want to let go!
Just one year ago yesterday (according to Facebook memories), Josh stopped by after work and knocked together our planter boxes.  They tell us that every winter is different. Today, the last day of spring break, was blessedly sunny and people came out of the woodwork to enjoy it!
I moved a peony today which is no small feat when the ground is rife with lava rocks  I ultimately dug up a rock and used the cavity for the plant.  These guys are preparing the ground for the last section of the nearby Bridges subdivision.  First they have to do something with the rocks.  Click for big and you'll see a small pile of them on the right.  The big tan thing is a rock crusher and there are two. They've been keeping them both  busy for several weeks now.  The rocks are fed in from the right and crushed gravel spills from the left.  A front loader scoops it up and dumps it into a truck.  I have no idea what happens to it after that.
The Fiber Market Day event was disappointing this year in terms of sales, plus spring is not a good time to sell scarves.  People are looking forward to summer.  So what am I doing?
I'm weaving more scarves and still playing around with iridescence.
Things have changed at the A6 gallery as far as ambassadorship positions go - that's what volunteers are called.  It's pretty sweet.  The $80 monthly fee is waived in trade for four hours once a week.  Interest in the gallery and classes has increased membership and more people would like that opportunity.  We are all now half time but that frees up a block of four hours for me, so I went in the other day to work on my own.  I didn't know what I wanted to do and hoped inspiration would come.
Last week I had painted a piece of cardboard with acrylic medium to seal it.  So I decided to start with a print of that.  I cut up some pieces and laid them around, including a strip of the netting vegetables come wrapped in.  I printed on newsprint as a proof and wish I had used Rives BFK, a mistake I won't repeat.
 I cleaned up my cardboard plate and inked up a plexiglass plate instead.  I pretty much used the same elements and ran it through the press, this time using Rives.  Much better, but I used graphite black since someone already how it out on an inking plate and I am unfamiliar with how it works.  It's transparent and just not quite black.
Beal was working next to me and asked me if I was going to print the ghost.  That's a print with the remaining ink and a few new elements.  I told her I didn't have any paper in the soaking tray.  That's okay, she said - use mine.  I'm leaving and you can just have it.  She saw that my previous print was very close in value and suggested I introduce some this time.  I inked my template with carbon black this time and holy cow, it's a punch in the face, but I like them both.
I'll leave you with this.

Friday, March 24, 2017

First Craft Fair of 2017

I am semi-frantic.  I really don't know where the time went, because here I am today, one day before the Fiber Market Day show tomorrow and I'm finishing towels.
With the help of my demented assistant Maddy, I was able to get these hemmed and into the washer while I ran errands.  I ran four errands including picking up some cash for tomorrow and still was back home within the hour.  I could get used to this small town living!
I'm making lists and piling up the things I need to take.  Maddy is looking on with displeasure.  She does *not* like change of any kind.  They're drying now, then need to be pressed and labeled.  And from there into the car.  I need to leave here at 6:30 in the morning so need everything done today.  Prineville is only an hour from here and to think that's what I drove one-way to work every day until I retired.  I can hardly fathom that.
I am taking a warp-painting class in four weeks.  These yarns are all a variety rayon/cotton that I've been given over the years.  I'm going to ask for help in determining the sett so I can get started winding these guys.

This is the forlorn warp that's been hanging from Arthur for the past couple of weeks.  I'm anxious to try some other laces and scarves are a great way to sample.
My workshop loom is ready and in the garage awaiting a Supplemental Warp workshop next Saturday.  I'm proud to say that I warped this from the back following the Web's YouTube video on  my iPad, pausing between steps.  It was helpful that the loom is so small but I do want to try it again on one of my Gilmores.
I was feeling flush with the anticipated sales tomorrow (probably deluding myself is more like it) that I took my print down to Denise to get it framed.  She did various combinations but I couldn't get past the traditional standard white mat - so she brought out her "white" samples.  Holy cow!  I finally opted for a minimal mat with painted bevel and a minimal frame.  It's going to hang in the bedroom so most people won't see it anyway.

I started this day with an hour video chat with my daughter who is in Massachusetts visiting her oldest son and his family.  Her daughter-in-law Shannon told her this morning that FaceBook has a video/chat option, it's how she talks to her sister.  It's not as smooth as FaceTime but Chrisssie doesn't have an iPhone.  I got a tour of their house and lots of kid action.  Olivia was happy to help with the tour.  Owen was just happy - he's one :)

Okay, 'nuf of this.  I'ts time to label the towels and pack the car.  Then it's pizza and NCAA basketball.  My bracket isn't dead yet!