Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Winter of my Discontent

The Morton’s neuroma in my left foot has become so painful in the last couple of weeks that I have to limit walking to what’s absolutely necessary.  Which means I’ve been doing a lot of knitting and reading.  This is the sweater I’ll give at my granddaughter-to-be’s shower.  I’m pleased with how it went through the washer and dryer - Malabrigo Rios.

I’ve started another sweater from Swans Island wool which is machine washable in cool water but the instructions say to dry flat.  I’m disappointment and would not have bought it had I realized that ahead of time.  I’ve decided to dry it on low and accept the results.  A baby sweater needs to be easy care.

I got the Bartlett yarn skeined and washed.  This is actually weaving yarn so you can see the spinning oil on the skein in back makes the yarn look like linen or twine.  After washing it blooms and doubles in the volume.

I’m in the process of swatching now.

The first week of my drawing class is over and we have nine weeks left.  It seems like a tall order to become proficient in that short space of time but Bill Hoppe assures us we’ll be happily drawing by the time the class ends.  Last Wednesday we drew lilies and our shoes.  I was wearing snow boots that day as you can see  The hike up to Pence Hall is murder on my foot.  I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon this Thursday and hope he’ll at least give me another cortisone shot for some temporary relief.

I’ve finished the Classic Drall towels which is simply Turned Twill in little squares.  They seem drab compared to the turned taquete towels I like to weave.  I think I’m going to use a profile draft and come up with another configuration of them.  The towel on the right is variegated yarn that I bought when I first started weaving.  I bought three cones thinking they’d be so useful and versatile.  I have yet to find a way to use variegated yarn in a way that I find pleasing.  I still have two partial cones left and they’re going to the thrift store.  The dust on top tells the story.

This Christmas cactus didn’t bloom in December, but it did bloom like this in October for my birthday and now again for the new year.  My son was impressed and wanted to know the secret to my success.  I have no idea.  It’s lucky to be alive given how often I forget to water it. It’s so pretty.  I really need to be nicer to it.
We’re going to see the matinee showing of Kiss of Spiderwoman at the theater where we have season tickets.  None of our friends want to see it and I’m not sure I do but it won six Tonys so it did something right.  This is the theater company’s most ambitious production to date.  They’re even going to have a ten-piece orchestra - don’t know where they’re going to put them in that little space but it’ll be memorable for sure.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Much better!

Our weave/study group is studying block weaves which was our topic of study about two years ago. Many of us, myself included, still couldn’t claim to have a clear understanding. At our last meeting we submitted for comment our profile draft, weave structure and choice of yarns to Patty, our study leader. I chose 8/2 Tencel and turned twill for my project. She said she thought it would be pretty, but when I came home and put the profile draft in my weaving software, it was absolutely too busy to be an attractive scarf. I was stumped and that’s when I decided to weave the overshot table runners.
This last month has been pretty busy but our group is meeting this week, tomorrow in fact, and I don’t want to lose to opportunity to solidify my understanding of block weaves, so Saturday I found a profile draft in Strickler’s eight-shaft book and put it in my software. Then I wound a dark purple warp and got it beamed on.  Sunday I threaded and sleyed the reed and by then it was too dark to see. Monday morning I wove this far and I absolutely love it! II had to idea what it would look like.

I had some time this afternoon so started on a new towel.  I chose a weft with the exact same value instead of a lighter one, and these are much more pleasing to my eye.  I might even try orange on the third towel!

Monday afternoon I went up to the local community college to attend an art class. I knew it was full and I was five on the wait-list but I just threw myself on the instructor’s mercy, and hallelujah, I’m in! For the first time in twenty years I am attending college, and I even have a parking permit to keep tickets off my windshield. Yes, I got one.  The class is Drawing 1.  I’ve put off learning to draw long enough. The next ten weeks are going to be very busy.

I finished this sweater for my granddaughter-to-be and will gift it at the baby shower next month.  It’s Malabrigo Rios and while I love the look of the yarn and enjoy working with it, it seems too heavy for a baby sweater.  The yarn I’m knitting now is from Swans Island, gauge 25 stitches to 4” and I like it much better.

I just ordered another cone from Bartlett Yarns in Maine.  I like the hand of the cloth when it’s finished and I like the feel of the wool in my fingers.  The hitch is that I have to skein and wash all of the yarn before I can start knitting.

This is the sweater I’ll knit with it, another Heidi Kirrmaier design.  I’ve gotten spoiled with the perfection of her patterns so when I first started knitting the Swans Island yarn, I chose a sweater pattern from Ravelry.  It was cute and seemed to have a lot of happy knitters.  The errors by the time I had knit 2” made me throw in the towel.  Instead I’m going with a pattern from Garn Studio called Baby Fir Jacket.

It’s much easier to follow and this is how far I got starting this morning.  Much better when the instructions are better!
Tomorrow is going to be a full day, weave/study in the morning in Redmond and art class in Bend in the afternoon.  I’m going to eat cold pizza in the car for lunch, I hope it doen’t snow!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Happy New Year!

The take-up and shrinkage on my runners took me by surprise.  I’m going to repeat this in different colors and figure out how much warp I need to get the results I want.  This is too narrow and too short.

I liked the colors on this runner, just not the size.

In fact, it’s the size of a towel.  I’ve woven the same dish towels for way too long, and I have a long way to go to knowing what I’m doing with this overshot, but they were fun to weave.  I want a runner and placemats.  Back to the drawing board!

I saw these guys on a morning walk last week.  There are bowls on the walk there which I assume have been left for the deer, maybe water? I’m still having problems with my left forefoot and have an appointment to see an orthopedic surgeon January 17th.  It hurts to walk but having cabin fever hurts more.

It started snowing on Christmas Eve, which we celebrated here with family and friends.

And we awoke to a White Christmas, celebrated with family at Josh and Missy’s.  The new tradition is king crab legs and green salad.  It’s very good tradition :-)

I’ll leave you with this New Years Wish.

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.  I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're swonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.  And I hope somewhere in the next year you surprise yourself.”  Neil Gaiman


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Winding down the year

Last Thursday was the final day of Smart for 2018 and I almost didn’t make it.  My add oil now!! light came on in my car and lucky me, I was only a mile from the Subaru dealership. They scanned it and found a faulty sensor so gave me a loaner, this 2019 Subaru Ascent, mileage 1974, and my ride for 24 hours.  They understood my need for haste so had me out the door in no time.  I was only five minutes late and my little guy was still picking out his books.  Twice a month we have book giveaway day where they get to select one of the books to write their name in and take home.  BTW, I loved everything about this car except it’s size.  It was huge and I could barely get it in the garage.

Smart gave each of us readers a Christmas card and one of my kinders made one of her own for me. “And did you see that it says Happy Holiday?” she asked me. She was as proud of her work as I was delighted to receive it. I was so thankful to Subaru for getting me there on time.  We only have four payments left on Jainey so I know the loaner wasn’t purely altruistic, and yes, I was tempted, and no I didn’t bite.

Last Sunday I took a name from the “giving tree” in the narthex at church of a 17-year-old girl who wanted a scarf, hat and gloves, in pink and yellow.  I knew I have woven this scarf last year so after church went downtown to Wool Town and bought the closest colors i could get to knit a hat - not as close as I would have liked.  I wrote her a note to say that I hope she’s not disappointed in my rose and gold interpretation of pink and yellow.  The gloves were from Costco with the sensitive fingers that allow use of mobile devices, so at least she won’t be totally disappointed.

I put enough warp on for three table runners and have finished the first two in this colorway, one for our table and one to sell.  This is my first Overshot project and I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

The pattern yarn in the last one is apple green, also for sale.  I think I might want to make three more in different colors.  I certainly have plenty of 3/2 mercerized cotton that I bought on sale and have never known what to do with it.

I really do seem to be on a blue kick.  I’ve finished reknitting my “blue ribbon” yarn and sewed the ends together in a cowl.  I’m very fond of cowls these days.  I can’t spit toothpaste on them when I’m wearing them in the house.

I don’t like this picture of me, but then I don’t like any pictures of me.  That said, it shows off the subtle color changes that I love so much about this yarn.  I hope I fall in love with spinning again some day, but that day is not now.

Ian and I go to the same dentist as my son’s family so when a crown came off Sunday morning, I called and left a message on Dr Grieb’s answering machine, letting Marci know that I’d be calling her first thing in the morning, which I did. Fortunately someone cancelled and I was able to slip into the 10:00 opening. We were about half-way through fixing my tooth when Dr Grieb realized that my son would be coming in to get his teeth cleaned. He thought it would be fun to call Mo out and have me put on a mask and slip into Mo’s place and act like I was another hygienist. I slipped into her chair and rolled around, when Josh says, “Hello Mummy’.” I realized why we couldn’t surprise him when I got into the parking lot. He had parked right beside me.  In fact, I could park my car IN his truck.

I went to the yarn story last Friday on my way to return the loaner car and pick up Jainey.  I’m going to knit the green yarn (Malabrigo Rios) in size three months for Julia’s baby shower in March and then the lavender into a six-month size for the baby’s birth, April 1st.  I cast on this morning.  Time to get this show on the road.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Some days are like that

Last weekend found our family once again standing on Wall Street for the Christmas parade.  I have visited the Columbia outlet store several times and now have adequately warm clothes to do this and enjoy myself.

The trombonist on the right is grandson Evan and the instrument is the same one my son played in high school.  I find that touching.  Tomorrow night is Evan’s high school Christmas concert and that about wraps up the year for him.  This Thursday is my final day reading to kinders through the SMART program and that wraps up the school year for me too.  My kinders have been a pleasure this year - I can understand what they say!  Sometimes I forget how young a five-year-old really is.

Saturday was about getting the tree dressed and ready for Christmas Eve company.  I don’t know why we didn’t think to put our collection of Woof-and-Poofs under the tree before but they look like they belong there.  And I still had time to do half of the Christmas cards.

I think they’re just as festive as wrapped packages, and since we stopped exchanging gifts years ago, the tree needs a little something under it - besides my cat.

Yesterday was our last play of the year at Cascade Theatre Company.  It was a radio play of A Miracle on 34th Street which we thoroughly enjoyed, but then we’ve enjoyed all their plays.  Ian and I had arrived a little early so were delighted when part of the play was watching the cast and crew get ready, as though this really were a radio broadcast, like announcing “15 minutes to air.”  They even had an Applause sign that lit up when it was time to applaud. Afterwards it was out to eat with our friends, talk about the play and laugh.

My first priority today was to finish the Christmas cards.  We’ve sent photo cards from Vistaprint for the past five years.  It’s pricey but we also enjoy receiving them.  This was a double-sided card so I used this shot I took in our front yard for the front side.

It took us FOREVER to pick the three photos for the back side, wanting them to say something about our year, and these were the winners.

There was still some time in the afternoon by the time the cards were done so I finished warping Arthur for table runners but the light was beginning to dim and since this is my first try at Overshot, I need better light, a fresher outlook and more patience because these pics need to come out.  By the time I had gotten this far I understood my mistakes, which is good sign.

I thought the light at least would be sufficient to clip the threads on the tartan scarves but it was a close call when I nearly clipped the scarf.  It’s time to let unfinshed things remain unfinished today and let them go. The scarf will be received by Christmas but the table runner won’t be ready.  Some days are like that.

Friday, November 30, 2018

I am so blue!

We are having another mild winter so far, just a couple of dustings but finally enough snow in the Cascades that Bachelor Ski Resort was able to open yesterday - finally!  I bought some winter sports gear from the Columbia outlet store and it makes morning walks so much more comfortable.  I was overwhelmed by the overheard activity on this frosty morning.  I’m not sure that jet contrails are healthy for the environment but they were sure pretty that day.

I popped into the Art Center last week to show it off to a couple of visiting friends and was introduced to a young guest artist who had rented space for two days to print his four-plate relief print of Mont Blanc in France.  We chatted briefly about the Gomuban he was using for his relief blocks and because it’s so soft, how easy it is to carve right through it.  We also had a short conversation on tracing techniques.  Nice guy, super handsome.  It wasn’t until a couple days later that I learned that it was Tommy Ford, the Olympic downhill and slalom racer who was here for a couple of days visiting family and to ski Bachelor before returning to his competition in the SuperG in Europe.  Our studio was able to acquire one of the seven prints which will be used as a fundraiser a little later.

I knitted a scarf from handspun yarn and entered it in the Nevada County Fair about ten years ago where it won a blue ribbon.  The fiber is a lucious blend of alpaca, silk and wool, a gift from Laura Cunningham which she called “fiber porn.”  It really was lovely to spin and I dyed it various shade of pink - don’t know why.  When she saw it she told me to overdye it with blue.  The scarf was super narrow and long so I never wore it.  Remedy that!!

Fast-forward, here is the scarf. I chose a Feather-and-Fan pattern and am really pleased with how the color gradations are showcased.  It’s hundred times better than it was.  I think I must have won the ribbon due to lack of competition.

We had some sun this morning so I took the opportunity of natural light to wind a warp from this cobalt blue yarn, a new color to me in weaving.  I going to weave overshot table runners but can’t start until my shuttles are freed up.  I have an Ott lamp I can use for the threading.  I’ve learned the hard way that I make mistakes when I don’t have adequate light when making a warp.  It feels good to have this on standby.

This is what I have to finish first, a Christmas gift for my daughter and a second one for me.  She asked me for the first one I wove, but I put it in the holiday sale with a steep price tag so no one would buy it, and they did.  It’s so pretty, I don’t mind weaving it again. I can’t believe how much fun it is to weave tartans and how easy they are.

I’m using four shuttles but only the black and blue stay attached.  Before this I had swapped out bobbins when I changed colors.  This is so much faster and easier.  And I’m actually making peace with my Bluster Bay shuttle.  I had planned to sell it to a guild member but am going to keep it for myself.

Linda Davis who taught the class I took has recently published a book, which is pretty much her class notes.  I wasn’t sure if I needed it but it’s only $12 on Amazon and I’m so glad I bought it.  There are some shortcuts and tips that I had forgotten.  She also gives tips to help you match your patterns if you weave cloth to sew, and I might just do that.
In proofing this post I couldn’t help notice how much blue is in my life.  And of course, my daily wear starts with blue jeans.  How could I have not noticed that before?!!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Passing the Baton

One of my assignments for Thanksgiving dinner is cherry pie.  Years ago when we all lived in Reno we would have quite the crowd and I baked three pies - pecan, apple and cherry.  This one is everyone’s favorite, and since I’m only making one pie I decided to make the crust with butter.  I had no idea that the characteristics of the crust would be so different than when I make it with Butter Crisco.  Someone told me that the chemistry of fat is different according to the fat.  This crust held together well and was pliable and malleable, and boy was it delicious.  It was a hit and I brought home an empty plate. I’m a believer.  Bye Bye Butter Crisco!!  I’ve always made good crust and I think the hand-thrown pie plate by Joe Winter is part of my success but there’s no comparison between my old crusts and the one we ate yesterday.

Son Josh and family went to Reno earlier in the month for a football game between UNR and Boise State, where grandson Logan attends on a band scholarship, and of course the band traveled to the game too.  They had a visit with my daughter who gave them a Christmas present for us that she had lost and recently found while deep cleaning in the house.  It’s from 2015 and is the names of our eight grandchildren.  Since then Gavin became a big brother to Rhett (Everett), and Matt and Julia are expecting Delaney Jane in April, which will bring the total to ten!  My kids went way too long before having their own kids, and just I thought I would never be a grandmother.  Happily I was wrong.

Logan told me recently that he’s decided to declare a visual arts major to go with his criminal justice major.  He told me yesterday that he has signed up for a basic photography class in January.  They’ll be using old fashion SLRs and developing their own film.  My first art and long-time hobby was photography and I even tried my hand with darkroom developing, even took a college class in it.  I asked him if he be interested in my old equipment and he leapt at the chance.  He has to go back to school today so came over this morning to check out my stuff.  He was really pleased and slung the Canon AE-1 around his neck like an old pro. He was surprised at the short strap and was looking to lengthen it, but I explained that it’s short for a reason - closer to your face and doesn’t get bumped around as much.

These are the lenses that fit that camera, and now they’re going to live in Idaho. I laughed at the two packets of lens wipes printed at .21 cents a packet.  I’ve had this stuff for awhile.  My original Canon died a slow and agonizing death.  It had a pin-hole light leak in the cloth shutter so periodically I had to put a drop of India ink on it, but when the tower broke and wouldn’t wind the film, it was time to retire it.  Sadly the film in the camera that day were the shots I had taken of my son’s high school graduation and they were ruined.  And there were four rolls of unexposed film.  I told him I only wanted the canisters to use in weaving for weighting broken warps or floating selvedges.

I also found the folder with some of the work I’ve kept.  I could only develop black and white and so focused on buildings and structures with texture, and old mine buildings were perfect for that.  I got derailed when I discovered Photoshop Elements.

I took a lot of shots of water towers and street lights when we visited New York City and this is one of my favorites.  I’m so happy to hand down my equipment to my grandson and I hope he enjoys it as much as I did.  Meanwhile I need to sign up for a Photoshop class.