Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chosing Colors

The first baby blanket is done. I'm still in the dark as to this baby's gender so wove baby colors to be safe. Yesterday I learned the baby's name is Taryn and that still makes me feel uncertain of gender.
Hem stitching has been a mystery to me, but I couldn't image a baby sucking on braided fringe. I found instructions on hem stitching and used it for the first time. I can't do anything more here until my next yarn order arrives with blue for the second blanket. It's a lot fast to weave a blanket than to knit one, I can tell you that.
This afternoon I started to wind these yarns for my next set of dish towels. I do color by the seat of my pants and after I chose these, I immediately had second thoughts. I wound several bouts before dinner and when I looked at them hanging from the front beam, I thought. You know Sharon, you don't do so bad.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Female Bonding Day

The golf ball as core turned out to be a slick idea. They wound up easily while we watched Project Runway. I'm glad that Ian is as fascinated by it as I am. I can't explain why we both enjoy this show so much. It's almost embarrassing.

Last night I was thinking about putting a warp on Maudie Mae for these rag strips. That changed today when my Webs order came today. I need to put on a warp for dishtowels instead. The dishtowels have a birthday deadline. The placemats are on my DIL's wish list. Either way, I'm thrilled to have projects in the wings.
Today, however, was spent thrifting. I left here at 9:00 and got home at 7:30. DD Chrissie, her longtime friend Mary and I dedicated the day to thrift stores. I didn't think it was possible to do it for a full day, but with a Ethiopian lunch in the middle, we were pushed for time. We only hit two thrift stores and one consignment store and are already talking about "next time."
I had to buy this thingie. It took Mary and me about five minutes to sort out the parts and get it on me, all the while giggling like school girls. I am a very bright and happy vampire, coming to suck your blood. Worst case, it could be rag rug strips, but I'm thinking Halloween costume.
We collected Lexie Lu from school and she got to spend the last store with us. This is her favorite thing, and the jewel in the middle lights up. We wound up the day at Cold Stone Creamery which was dinner for me and yet an hour from home. The best chick day ever.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What's Up

I went over to Mim's yesterday for eggs and a visit. I love how beautiful fresh eggs are and they taste as good as they look. I'm using them a little more quickly now that I'm making Ian's chocolate chip cookies. They're cheaper to bake and have better ingredients. I have a line on palm shortening - will know in a couple of weeks.
I came home with this beautiful alpaca fleece. She said she's cleaning her studio, making more room and has decided she's done working with this fiber. I gladly took it off her hands. She has so many sheep that she is literally drowning in fleece.
The first baby blanket is about half done and I'm can't make the second until my yarn gets here. I've ordered blue weft since I know the gender of the baby. Charlie is thrilled that I've stopped working since that means he get so keep his place in the sun.
In the meantime, I've turned my attention to preparing the strips for DIL Missy's rag rug placemats. I was done making the strips in short order with the rotary cutter and mat, and thanks to Sue's directions, the strips are sewn and ready to wind into balls. Golf balls? What are they doing in this picture?? Ian found them at one of the abandoned houses and I'm going to try using them as a core to wind the strips on. Getting them formed into a ball is the hardest part. Each golf ball weighs 1.6 oz. I plan to wind them tonight while I watch Project Runway.

My woodworking friend Dale came out today to see my shuttles and spindles. He wasn't enthusiastic about shuttles and he explained why. Spindles,on the other hand, he fell in love with. He's going to take another look at the link I sent him for Ken Ledbetter's spindles. When he left, his mind churning with possabilities. Amy and I are going to visit his studio next month with her spindle collection. I only have three.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

University of Nevada, Reno

Ian and I went to town today. It's my first time out of the valley in a week. I emailed DD Chris to see if she was available for lunch - she was. We eat on campus where she works and then Alexia, who goes to the University kindergarten, can also join us. The photo is of Manzanita/Juniper Hall, a dorm.
I worked on campus for six years and my second position was in this building, Frandsen Human-
ities. In the irony of ironies, the woman who hired Chrissie was someone whom I had hired. I loved working on campus and so does she.
Clark Admin-
istration, across from Manzanita Lake, is the first building inside the original main entrance. It's named for Walter Van Tilburg Clark, author of The City of Trembling Leaves and The Oxbow Incident. I'm disappointed in the quality of my photos. The battery life was nearly dead and I hadn't brought a back-up. Lesson learned.
This is a layover area for Canada geese, and while they're petty to see and hear, they make a mess of the lawns and walkways, as you can see. Be careful where you step!

Lexie's lunch was a plate of pasta noodles and a huge bowl of ice cream. She is posing for me because I told her she moved too fast for my phone camera. The rest of the pictures were worse. It was such a nice visit. I helped me forget about the fatal rollover we had seen on our way to town.

The rain started last night and the snow is just about melted, leaving our yard and road deep in mud. Our world was one of ice this morning, and on the pavement, black ice. I'm glad we waited until it warmed a little before making our grocery run. How icy was it? Ian's truck slid on the driveway ice and you could see the grooves from his studded snow tires. That's how icy. And when we left in Eleanor, he put the emergency brake on at the gate and she started sliding back down the hill. Icy!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Colors of January

Sue has called for the Colors of the Month. I realize now that I don't tend to venture out with camera in extreme weather. It's been nicer here and it's been not nicer here. Colors of January from Northwest Nevada.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In Between Storms

I woke up this morning and saw that the sunshine was still with us. The wind hadn't started yet, and I knew I had one more nice day to walk the dogs. The below-freezing temp meant the road would be easy to walk on. The rains last week left us snow free for several days, but the slush was just about impossible to navigate.

Pink Panther Clerk (who just suffered a dog bite: "You said your dog does not bite." Peter Sellers: "That is not my dog."
That is not my dog.

These however are my dogs and they are nearly beside themselves, trying to be outside dogs when the temps say - stay inside. It's still below freezing. Peterson Mountain looked so pretty this morning. As I type this tonight, a bank of storm clouds is crossing with tomorrow's storm. But for this morning, it was very pretty.

My Franken-
stein sock form! I bought a pair of cedar sock forms last year from Carolina Homespun and was terribly disappointed a couple of pairs ago to pull one form out in two pieces. The wood is discolored along the site of the split which indicates to me that it was flawed. Today I stapled it together, though I don't know how long it will hold.
I finished DIL Missy's socks after my walk this morning. The kids are down from Oregon this weekend and are going to stop by here for a while in the morning - last stop on the way back home. Missy is still knitting and has some projects she wants help with, and grandson Logan is excited to spend some time with Grandpa on his newly begun stamp collection. I hope Missy and I will have time for a purl lesson. She knits up a storm though she has never learned to purl. But boy does she have that knit stitch down!

And the disaster warp is sleyed.

Friday, January 22, 2010

One Step Forward

The dogs have serious cabin fever. They want to come back in if we let them out, and then they turn right around and stand at the door, begging to go out. We're fortunate to have received minimal precip from all these El Nino storms that are pummeling California. They just don't push up and over the Sierras, which is why we live in the Rain Shadow.
We were thrilled to see the sun today. The wind has been teriffic, causing the power to go out seven times yesterday. The important thing is that it came back on. We are Project Runway fans and were stunned when we lost power mid-way through the show. Ian found another time and has it on Tivo for us tonight.
The coyotes are abundant and vocal these days. It drives the two herding dogs crazy. For the bird dog, as you can see, it's a big ho hum. Buster and Eddie bark their lungs out. They make us crazy. Yesterday Ian and I watched three coyotes playing at the bottom of our property. They were where I haven't been in years. It's hard to get down there and I have no reason to.
I went upstairs this morning to see if I could weave the warp. I couldn't. I was going to cut it off but Ian looked at it and said, you can always cut it off. Is there anything else you can do? I walked away, did some laundry, made the bed and realized that, yes. I could try but it would be horrible. It was. I pulled the warp completely to the front into a tangled heap, clamped the raddle back on, re-spread the out-of-order warp and then slowly wound it back on, detangling every couple of feet. I'm too embarrassed to tell you how long I spent on it. But I will be able to put the reed on tomorrow and get to serious woik.

Granddaughter Alexia has a new celebratory word. Hah-lay-YOU-lah! I think that just about sums it up.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Miss Millie and I have had a time of it. I thought that I should finally warp from back-to-front, so got out my Chandlers and followed the directions. Where she said some people make two crosses but we're going to use a counting thread - that's where I stepped off the cliff. Getting warp spread through a raddle without a cross is impossible to do well. I got it spread as close to order as I could approximate. In hindsight, I should have put my one cross in back and could have made a dummy cross in front.

I'm not sure this warp is weavable, but Miss Millie and I have become pretty good friends in this process. I've ordered more cotton for birthday towels so don't want to dress Maudie Mae until it gets here. The way I see it is, I have more time than money. Were I still drawing a salary, I would have cut this off and chalked it up to experience.
I decided that I needed a project with a rewarding end in the interim. This handspun is from a couple years ago. I don't remember the wool and I don't remember the circumstances of the green dye bath - not mine. My started project stalled because the pattern isn't showing off my yarn. I need something that's working, while I work on something that's not.
To that end, I've knitted a swatch this afternoon. I saw something in Ravelry that I liked but the gauge is different and I don't feel like paying for a pattern that I'm going to have to recalculate. I've decided to see how close I can come with Sweater Wizard. The one thing I know is that I want a one-button cardigan.

Amy brought back this terrific button for me from a Black Sheep Gathering a couple of years ago and I still haven't put it to use. The flash negates the green, but it's there. This is the winter that I could use another cardigan. I'm wearing one of my sweaters right now!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lost in Space and Time and Snow

First of all, I want to thank you all for your sugges-
tions. They were thought provoking - just what I wanted. I wake up each morning with my mind in full gear - most irritating. This morning I awoke knowing that her name was Miss Millie. I think the Miss is result of my discussion last night with Lindsey, a nod to Mr. Gilmore. When I picked up my loom in Stockton, Judy Allen of Gilmore Looms told me that not even she knew his first name. So, a little formality is the nod. I have no idea where Millie came from.

I was stunned when I came back to Compose to see that I hadn't uploaded a picture of socks, but of firewood. I have decided to leave it since it's what we're all about these days, around the clock. I had intended to show you the unmatched pair of Noro socks from while I was spinning this morning. Only spinners take off their shoes in public, but you already know that so you get firewood instead.
On another sock front, DIL Missy's socks are this far and they are coming down from Oregon this weekend. Knit or weave? Knit or weave? Or sleep? She vill take zem home mit her dis weekend.
A fiber aside, I want to share Jan, our mail lady with you. This morning Ian found this now half empty dish of cookies in our mailbox. When we need packages mailed, we leave them for her in our box with an envelope and money. (We are in a locked clusterbox.) She ships them and then leaves the change in another envelope. Ian loves honey. When he runs out, he leaves the clean quart jar in the box with $12 and Jan delivers a full quart of honey from another person on her route. She delivers through snow, sleet, etc. For all of this, Ian always leaves her tip at Christmas. Today she brought us cookies in thanks. Ironically, there are two kinds: chocolate chip - Ian's favorite and Mexican wedding cookies - mine.

Earlier this week I discovered a problem with getting updated blog notifications. Bloglines just won't update some of my subscriptions, but those same blogs seem to show up in my Blogger Follows. The ones Blogger won't display, Bloglines does. I don't get it. It's like quarreling prom queens. I have missed so many posts, I don't know where to begin. I've been playing catch-up for days. I wondered where you guys were and some of you had anything to say.

I have been asked if I still play the accordian, and alas, I no longer own one. Maybe that's - thanks God she no longer owns one- I don't know. It does seem to be having a come back. For a long I refused to tell anyone that I had taken years of lessons. I could play Myron Florin polkas, oh yeah baby.

Just Read:
by Kent Haruf, a National Book Award finalist. I loved that such a complex story could be told through a handful of characters. Wonderful characterizations; prose spare, yet rich. I went to read the sequel tonight and realized immediately that I was disapointed. I decided to let it be a stand alone book for me. Plainsong is one of my favorites this year. I know it's only January, but I still think it'll hold. I almost said the prose was lyrical but after reading the book below, I realize just how over-used that term is when applied to fiction.

I also just finished How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely. While I consider this to be a Nick Hornby-ish book, i.e., dark comedy, at the same time, Hely parodies big name authors and the book industry as a whole. The writing is insanely brilliant. It is a one-man show where he has to all the characters, all the voices. I laughed, and while I'm not sure it's funny, I can tell you I will be thinking about it for a very long time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Think Think Think

said Winne-the-Pooh. This is my eight-harness 40" Gilmore. I am in the process of winding a warp for it today. I have only used it for the width and each time it was plain weave. I decided to stop calling it my big loom and name it. I hope I will feel more engaged with it if I assert ownership. I've been thinking for weeks now. The list as of the dog walk this morning was Hilda, Judy Sue, Precious and Sweetie Pie. I looked through some of my favorite books after I got back and added Aunt Ida from Yellow Raft in Blue Water. Then I saw a book that I enjoyed so much that I read it again last year - The Eight by Katherine Neville. The story is about chess and eight chess pieces, but it struck a chord with me since my loom also has eight harnesses. I have added Sophie, Minnie and Sister Nim to the list. Any suggestions???

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Deadline Met

Margi's birthday is one week from today so I put the pedal to the metal, well sock to wood, and finished up the towels today so I can get them in the mail. Towels look absolutely terrible until they're finished. I was a wreck, waiting for them to come out of the dryer and show me that I hadn't spend hours making ugly.

The first two towels are in the 2/2 twill that I as experi-
menting with. I thought they were really different while I was weaving, but from a distance, I can see that, not so much.

I really like the plaid on the third towel and took Valerie's suggestion for the fourth to make it straight twill. I hope the plaid doesn't break up the set idea too much. It's quite a departure from the other three. I'm always nervous when I give a gift of something I've made.

This week is Retro Photo Week on Facebook so I'll leave you with the blast-
past photo that I scanned and posted today.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It was an Expensive Day

Out with the old. I have never owned a set of pots and pan and certainly hadn't thought I ever would. Earlier this month I read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain - recommended reading! He said that a sauce pan needs to be heavy enough so that if you hit someone over the head, it will knock them out, and if your's doesn't - throw it away and buy one that does. Just days after reading that, I decided to cook some rice and finish off the Hawaiian meatballs that someone brought Christmas Eve. I used the little Revereware pan in the front and completely burned the rice and the pan. I had an ah ha moment and decided that after Christmas, I could probably pick up said pan on sale at Macy's.
In with the new. I'm not sure what tipped the scales in my judgement since I haven't bought pans in all these years. The sale price was tempting of course, and I opted for plain stainless. I decided to go with what I know. Any one could be a weapon. DD Chris wants the old Dutch oven which was my mother's.

Also also wik (think Monty Python), once I lost control, I also bought the enamel-
clad cast iron pot. It replaces one that I got as a wedding gift back in the dark ages and that wore out years ago. It makes great rice. The pan on the right was a freebie - don't what its use is.
At Hancocks, I got the cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutters and also fabric to make DIL Missy's rag-rug placemats. She asked if I would make some to match the towels. I pulled some of the thrums off the loom this morning and these fabrics come pretty darn close. I'll preshrink them tomorrow when I do laundry. I also bought two cheap Venetian blinds at Home Depot, 23" and 36", to use as packing when I weave. You'd think I had a job the way I was spending today.
I ran into Jimmy Beans to drop off a Hand-
woven for Jeanie. She was on the phone and held up a finger - wait a minute. We've become a mini-study group of two, both learning. It's neat to inch forward together. I should have tossed the magazine to her and run.