Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stylish Blogger

Theresa at Camp Runamuck nominated me for this award. I guess she likes my style because I'm a little short on the commercial concept of the word.

So here is what comes with the award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who sent you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award

I've been dragging my feet on putting together this blog because I have had trouble thinking of seven things that you don't already know, so this will be a repeat for some of you.

1. My parents were really old when I was born. How old? Daddy was born in 1898.
2. They lived in Fairbanks when I was "made" but because Mom was a high-risk pregnancy, she went to stay with her mother in Tacoma until my birth. Thus was I robbed of bragging rights to having been born in another country.
3. I was a sickly child. My folks came outside Alaska in pursuit of warmer climes, ending up in East San Diego County.
4. I grew up on an small organic farm.
5. I don't like chocolate
6. My hair stayed blonde until I was 30.
7. I played the accordian.

Now, I have to pass this on to 15 other bloggers, but since I don't read that many, I think I'll try for seven, to match the first part. This is hard because I enjoy all the blogs I read - that's why I read them! I'm going with this group - I like their style!

A Caffeinated Yarn: Jodi is one of the new generation of energetic young fiber artists who are changing the face of knitting. She lives in Chicago and has so much going on, I don't know how she finds time to blog.

Crazy as a Loom: Hilary is a prolific rag rug weaver in upstate New York. Her interests are quirky and broad, plus she's a bit of a philosopher. She sent me a book and answered questions by email and phone when I was flailing in rag-rug land - my guru.

Renew: Julie blogs about life in a small economically challenged town in South Dakota, finding ways to make ends meet, and finding ways to recycle things for the many rugs and bags she weaves for craft fairs to supplement her income. She does it all with pluck.

Two Guys and a Loom
: Kent blogs from Ohio about the wonderful cottage he and Chris bought as-is and are restoring, plus they're environmentally responsible landscapers - and they weave. This is a new blog and I'm in love with it already.

A Sweet Thread: Maggie is a weaving pastry chef in Knoxville, Tennessee and the only blogger besides myself that I know of to have cats in her loom. She's got sweet style.

I'm leaving for an Academy Awards party soon. I was stumped at five anyway. I hope these might be bloggers you haven't met yet.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I've cut the warp; the rug is done. I couldn't help think how comfort-
able I was with this one, my fourth. The first rug was so confusing to me and really, there's not much to it other than cutting and sewing strips.
I'm shuffling rugs around. In spite of the tremen-
dous amount of work that went into this rug, it has to go. The last time I washed it I had to constantly stop the drier and unload the lint trap. I had more than a lunch sack of lint by the time it was dry. It has less body after each washing and it's not serving it's function as a rug.
I like the new rug. I used plain weave and I think the stripes of yellow are quite cheerful.
I put the new rug where this runner used to be and now this runner is replacing the denim rug. I'm already looking forward to my next rag rug, but I've wound a short warp so I can sample Rosepath for dishtowels. I could kick myself when I think of all the dishtowels I've woven and had I added an additional 18" of warp, I could have samples in my notebook of everyone of them. Doh.
Meanwhile, now that my sewing machine isn't buried in cloth strips, I've cut out this pattern from some cotton I purchased last year. I'm testing the white blouse because I want to make it from huck lace but I don't want to test the pattern on handwoven cloth! Plus, I need to remember how to sew. It's been so long that all my patterns are size small, which I obviously am not.
My cardigan is coming along nicely. Charlie is testing it for warmth.

The storm moved on after dropping another foot of snow, and by late afternoon, it looked like this. It's one thing to pop out the door for a quick picture.
It's another if you're a llama and are trying to find your poop pile. In case you didn't know it, they always poop in the same place, which is very handy when it comes time to clean up.
The thermo-
meter registered zero when I stepped outside this morning to take this. It was so cold that moisture in the air was freezing and drifting to the ground. The sun was just coming up so the air literally was twinkling. Ian and I were both stopped in our tracks by the lyrical magic.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Choose Cuddly

Little Sharon had a project to work on while they were here, just as she did last February. Noah attends Waldorf School and this is when the classrooms create fundraisers for tuition. Last year Sharon was knitting for a farmyard. This year the project is a rug braided from roving.
She got a helper she hadn't bargained on. Sir Charles had to be manually removed - behind closed doors. He became very stimulated by the movements on this project.
I made this bomb while the kids were here and sent it home with them. I asked Little Sharon to install it somewhere in her neighborhood and then send me a picture.
Meanwhile, I got this one up. All the while I was sewing, an occasional bank of snow would slide from the roof. I'm thrilled we all survived. I hope my bomb survives this hibernation period because no one will see it until it's warm enough to go outdoors.

And the forecasters prediction for another foot and a half of snow which I have been in total denial about? I choose cuddly, as being happy by the woodstove. I won't look outside and see that there's already an inch of snow on the deck. It's just an inch - it won't be joined by another 11" just like it, surely.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Weaving Apprentice

We have had company. Our San Francisco family, Little Sharon, Michael and grandson Noah spent three days with us. They arrived Sunday evening, having stopped at Squaw Valley on the way for Noah's ski lesson. Noah and Sammie became instant best friends - she loves any boy she can lick.

Noah loves loves loves the snow. He said, Grandma Sharon - I wish I could live with you. We had to drag him back in the house - more than once and more. The dogs love to be outside but even they begged to come in. Not Noah. He begged to go out.
Ian had to work yesterday and Mommy and Daddy wanted to shop for winter gear. Noah announced that he was staying with me. My surprise, and well, okay. He is the most verbal child I've ever experienced. He wakes up talking and doesn't stop until he falls asleep at night, a new experience for me. He said - Grandma Sharon. I'm so glad I stayed with you -it's just the two of us and it's quiet. I'm still chuckling at that. I was threading and sleying a warp and his chatter was welcome diversion. When I'd go downstairs to add another log on the fire, I would suddenly would have a wee hand in mine - my shadow. Such a boy - I miss him already.

I couldn't catch a picture of him not talking because he is always talking. It takes some getting used to, because it's a steady stream - serious. When I told Melissa about it lunch today, she said - didn't I tell about our son Kyle? He always talked and and everyone stopped listening. One morning he came upstairs talking like usual, and when we finally realized what he was saying and went downstairs, there was a fire!
Instead of winding my strips into balls, I decided to roll them into pin wheels and I have no idea where I got that idea - obviously not original. It's easier to keep track of for me, and I get an average weight of 3 ounces per wheel. I measured one as 4 1/2 inches of woven rug. In guestimation, I need six more wheels. Melissa and I went to Mill End Fabrics today and I bought supplementary cottons.
I have about half the rug done already, thanks to the Noah diversion, but now I am stopped until I can add in the new colors in the middle. Melissa said, it doesn't matter, they're random, right? Kinda, but mostly not, and actually no. Poor Noah - he was desperate to share my weaving bench but I was vigorous with the beater bar. It was a tad noisy.
This is the petticoats of weaving, the unfinished behind-the-scenes elements. So the red c-clamp holds my floating selvedge and the film canisters hold the ends for the warp that I whoops on. It was a winding error on the warp, and I'll end up treating it as a broken warp - whoops.
Charlie surprised everyone by bestowing his favors on Michael. Evening moments will change and grow with time but for now, they're in short supply with the wee young lad. Better than none at all, I say.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Efficiency Studio

You've heard of an efficiency kitchen and an efficiency apartment and now I want to tell you about my efficiency studio. I have long bemoaned my LeClerc stuffed in the guest room dormer. The lightening is poor in the there and I barely have room to get around the loom when I'm weaving. Plus, it's a guest room and I'm loath to initiate a project that I can't finish quickly, because after all, it is a guest room.
I talked to Mim on the phone yesterday for about a half hour and we discussed my quandary. She was convinced there was room in the studio for it and offered to come over and help me figure it out. I dreamed about it last night and this morning was anxious to get to work. I cleaned up, rearranged and got rid of a couple chairs. Then I had Ian help me move in my third loom. Of course, I'll have to pull it out to warp it, but it's doable. My warping board is barely visible behind the utility table which holds my umbrella swift, sewing machine and bobbin and ball winders. I will have to pull out the table to use my drum carder but it's on casters.
This rolling work station is key. I can roll this to whichever loom I'm working on, and I can only work on one at time - lets face it! I've decided that I can also only occupy one weaving bench at a time so will only keep this one in the studio.
I don't have wall space to hang a warping board so it was important that whatever I did, I be able keep that wood crate by the door and still be able to get out the door. Does Charlie look a little annoyed to you?
This is how it works, and it works well, though I have to always remember that it's only balancing on the box. I've thought about nailing in a couple of brads to prevent it from sliding forward, but it's only done that a couple of times and I'm sure I would catch yarn on the brads more often than that.
The LeClerc bench is useful in the guest room. I can't get rid of the giant pillow yet, as when both Alexia and Kiernan spend the night, it protects Kiernan from her thrashing, kicking sleep. And neither one of them wants to give up the stuffed animals, even if Buster did eat one of the rabbit's eyes.

I worked hard to keep Charlie's sunny studio spot. He took his time, sniffing all around the room and then His Charlieness stalked off in indignation.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sneaker Storm

I took this picture yesterday afternoon, partly to show you the sun catcher that I've hung in the window to cut down on bird suicide and partly to show our amusing bevy of quail. I'm very entertained by our little community of birds.

I took the same shot this morning to show you what 4" of overnight snow looks like. There was a whole lot of snow shoveling going on - again.
How do I know how much snow fell last night? Because I measured it when clearing off the back deck. It's supposed to get down to 13 degrees tonight and would be a sheet of ice in the morning - plus, I need a little exercise.
Look at this little ice sculpture. The barberry is right below the end of the gutter. It was a bad place to plant but it's been through this before and I'm sure it will make it again.

I'm back to enjoying my Lendrum again. A wonderful fiber nut from Maryland named Melodye left a comment that Gordon Lendrum has a reputation for answering the phone and not email, so I called yesterday. Sure enough. He picked the phone up on the third ring and chatted with me for about ten minutes. When I worried that I had worn out my wheel, he chuckled and said that all things wear out, ourselves included, however, he was sure my wheel has many miles left. I told him that my old fast flyer has a very deep groove it, which is why I had ordered the new one. He chuckled again, saying that yarn is like water, following the path of least resistance. He told me the first thing I should do is adjust the guides with two pliers. I'm still going to get the replacement mother-of-all as he says new flyers don't fit the old M-O-As. What a nice man - no wonder he makes such a wonderful wheel.
Lots of shoveling here - that is the path to the power box and needs to be clear in the event of a power outage, as we have to wheel the generator to it from the garage. The power was out last night but we read with our book lights and pretty soon it came back on. It's the protracted outages that are troublesome as we can't get any water from the well and can quickly go through what's in the pressure tank, i.e., can't flush the toilets.
That's our firewood. We didn't get enough dry wood into the garage and now we're faced with a whole lotta wet wood. They missed the prediction on this storm. It ended up coming through in several waves, leaving us with about a foot and a half, maybe more - I've lost tract. Anyway, it's over and gone.

Already the blue sky is beginning to open up. Our kids are coming up from San Francisco tomorrow so grandson Noah can have a snow day. If you were reading my blog a year ago, you might recall that we got a sneaker storm when they came last February and they ended up snowed in here an extra day. Noah loved it! The pass will be open with no controls by tomorrow. A new dawn, a new day~

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hunkering Down

So we got close to foot yesterday morning, and then we had blue sky and sunshine for most of the afternoon. The weather here in the high desert Sierra rain-shadow is just nuts and certainly a challenge for the NOAA weather guys.
It started snowing again late in the day and all night, so we awoke to this. You probably can't see the difference but you sure know it if you're the one wielding the snow shovel, and wouldn't you know it, the snow blower is on the fritz.
This is how the front yard looks. I couldn't quite stand in my "usual" spot because there was a foot of snow there. We called a neighbor and had him plow us this afternoon. The temps are frigid and the snow will turn to ice overnight.
I decided this was a perfect day to spend in my studio. The snow makes it extra bright and the rising heat from the woodstove makes it warm and toasty - the best spot on the house.
I decided this was the day to finish weaving the baby blanket. I'm at the point of hem stitching here. I'm getting better at it. It's such a pretty finish and great for a baby blanket so that there's no fringe for a baby to suck on.
These are my remaind-
ers, but if you look at the stripes on the blanket and remaining yarn, you can see that I ran out of royal blue in the last set of stripes. I think Brown Sheep might be having a little quality control issues. I might have been a little off, but I couldn't have been that far off. I needed 15 picks and you can see by the blue on the bobbin that I didn't have more than two or three.

It's supposed to snow 5" tonight and 7" tomorrow. I am so hoping our weather guys were looking in the wrong crystal ball.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spinning Despair

Our guild meeting was at Bartley Ranch so Allison said she'd come by with her horse, since she's stabled nearby. Amy and Shasta are having a special moment. Shasta is a sweet quarterhorse, the one you wished that you owned. We're meeting in a historic schoolhouse which back in the day would have had a hitching post for Shasta.
Our weather continues to be unseason-
ably nice. I showed Ian this photo and he said, oh - pretty. It shouldn't be, was my response. The forecasters promised us a storm, starting 4:00 today and they didn't deliver.
Many of the folks in my guild own multiple wheels. This is my only one, though I had a couple before it. I've loved spinning on this so much that I've never felt the need to buy something else. Allison, who teaches spinning, noticed a couple of years ago that the wire guides were connecting with the platform on the mother-of-all. She told me that I had a developing problem, but since it only was when I was drawing onto the top part of the bobbin that this happened, I let it slide.
I have logged in hundreds of hours on my wheel. After the second knee surgery following my mountain biking accident I realized that morning running was out of my life forever. I substituted spinning 30 minutes to an hour each morning. It's my zen time before my brain catches up with my body. Look at the wear on the treadles.

My wheel stopped spinning at the guild meeting on Saturday. Marilyn graciously loaned me an antique wheel to tide me over. It spins great but it's not the zen experience I have enjoyed. I starting shopping for replacement wheels and realized that is not even an option. I cannot buy a wheel I haven't tested. Allison told me to bring the wheel in and she'd see if she could determine what would make it work again.
So I dragged my wheel into Jimmy Beans yesterday because Allison was working at the moment. She assessed the situation and got me back to functionality though I think I'm going to have to purchase a replacement mother-of-all. The glued end with the orifice must be moving toward me so that the added washer to create distance and letting the shaft sit at the other end with just the tip in lets me get back to spinning. That probably doesn't make much sense. Laura told me that I needed to email Gordon Lendrum, which I did earlier this evening. I am lucky to have a go-to crew like Allison, Amy and Laura.
Meanwhile, out of sight is not out of mind. I'm still stitching and winding strips for my next rag rug. We've got company coming this weekend so I needed to clean out the dining room, i.e., sewing studio.
I've finished another yarn bomb that I am planning to install on Friday. It's easy to be so elaborate when it's a public but protected environment. The more I read about guerrilla knitting, the more I realize that vandalism and removal have to be expected. I haven't gotten my head around that yet. I emailed Artown, an event that takes place here in July and asked what would happen if we anonymously placed yarn bombs in the downtown park. She responded with this video, saying check it out which you can see here. I now belong to a guerrilla knitting crew and we're trying to decide if this is a nod.