Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Last Minuting

Petie called to say he was in Carson City at Costco - did we need anything, I said no, we're covered - we need you. Then he asked if I had anymore soap. He said everyone loved the bars he had gifted so he needed to buy more - did I have more. Yes, I have more soap but not wrapped in labels ready for sale. I hung up and got to work.
In making smaller batches of soap at a time, my soap cutters are leaving me with the last group of soaps too narrow for a bath bar. My son is going to adjust that when he's here this weekend, but I have a lot of extra little soaps.
I've saved old calendars so I decided to make some origami boxes and put the little pieces in and see if I can't move them that way.
The box on the right is from a Historical Nevada calendar. I forgot to take a picture of the finished boxes - they look pretty cool. I hope someone else thinks so. It would be nice to have these little soaps find a home.
Our first guest has arrived for the weekend. He and Ian met at com-
munity college, and now Petie is a retired professor turned banjo player who follows the blue grass festivals. He has chosen us over the Strawberry Festival - wow! We had a lovely quiet evening of visiting and just being together.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fitting It All In

I finished the walkway yesterday. I've had these pavers all summer and wanted to get it laid before the Labor Day folks arrive. Can you say Procrastination? And of course, I couldn't do it in the cool of the morning.
This is the end of the trail so I need to find some more stones. I didn't realize how physical this would be but it's up and down for every stone placement and then some areas needed total rearrangement. My heart rate got way up there on several occasions, so I would sit on the bench, drink iced tea and enjoy my labors until it came back down. I was sore this morning!
I planted this climbing rose next to an old barn loom frame for it to climb on. At this point, it has pretty much engulfed the loom frame. It came as a twig from High Country Gardens seven years ago - pretty impressive!
I spent the morning working on the jackalope. I finished the second foreleg and just kept going, hoping I could keep up the momentum. I now have the underbelly on needles and the next instruction is to Kitchener all these 100+ stitches. I've since noticed that this pattern is the only one in the book designated Expert. I have become a better knitter for it, I can tell you that and I have also learned some new stitches I didn't even know existed. I can now M1R (make one right) and w&t (wrap and turn). I wonder if I will ever come across these stitches again.
The gym and pool were crowded today. I saw this sign as I was leaving the parking garage and thought - thanks, I needed that! I did let my lane go earlier than I had planned and had a nice exchange with the guy I was sharing it with and the guy I let it go to. I had planned to kick some laps but wasn't unhappy to have an excuse to stop - they said they've used that excuse themselves.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Craft Fair - Horsey Style

This was my portion of our booth - that's Kerry. It's the second time I've shared booth space with she and Carol. It has worked well and we're planning for the future.
They make bird feeders from thrift store dishes - add wires and beads and they are fabulous. They sold seven while we were setting up from people milling around before the equestrian events even started.
Yesterday was the hunter pace event and today the compe-
tition was jumping. The arena is at the very top of the property.

I was thrilled to catch this jump with my point-and-shoot camera. This is a junior rider. His horse balked at the first attempt, so he rode back around and did very well on the retry.
The VFD were there selling lunch - I got a cheese-
burger, chips and beer for $10.00. Bargain! The RFD put out a lightening strike at the foot of our property a couple years ago. The burger was dry but I'm not complaining.
This is the ranch and the equestrian ring is where I'm shooting this picture from. Our craft fair tents are down there by the ranch house, on the other side of the cottonwoods. Carol, Kerry and I did well in spite of being at such a distance from the action.
This is a first time event - we went from 8:00 to noon - just four hours, pretty early for me, but I'll be in line to do it again next year. The noon cut off is because that's when the winds kick in, and they were actually a little premature. We were ready to quit at noon!

I've never done a craft fair before where I sold no soap. We laughed about that a lot - hmm, why? It was so hot today - it seemed too early for hats, but I brought some anyway and was pretty surprised when Ron and Ali's daughter clamped one on her head and thus it was so. I was thrilled at the two placemat sets I sold as well as the interest from those who didn't buy - makes me want to weave!

Carol, Kerry and I need to pow-wow. In the meantime, I had a terrific time visiting with friends and meeting new neighbors. Is this a dream? Pinch me.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


All the strips are cut and rolled for the next warp.

The studio is cleaned, the looms are put to bed and pushed back to make room for an queen-sized air mattress.
I've brought down the photo albums to allow for browsing over Labor Day. The problem is that, other than numbering them in sequence, I have no idea what the contents are. My first task was to go through and date the events. Oh, and dust them off.
I wanted to get all photos into albums. Let me qualify that. Several years ago, DIL Missy, a serious scrapbooker told me that the magnetic albums destroy photos by leaching the images into the glue. I painstakingly removed all the photos by slicing them from the glue with dental floss. They've been in a photo box ever since, but last year at the gathering, the box got passed around and my carefully ordered photos were inadvertently rearranged.

I have gone into overdrive to get this accomplished. I ran out of albums and pages yesterday so we decided to do our Costco shopping today so I could get more supplies. I've finished the most important chunks and will deal with the other photos later. I didn't do anything fancy, just pasted them to the pages, typed up captions in Word and glued them in place.

So many of the kids friends from grade school and on will be here this year and I know they will enjoy them. I have 12 albums in all now, and nothing more recent than 2003 when we started keeping a record digitally. The regular photo albums dating from 1995 could use more labeling, but people browsing will know what they're seeing.

The weather has started to change a little, with more humidity bringing in clouds. We had sprinkles this morning which I sat on the deck and knit to.

We had a fabulous sunset this evening, though we're a little concerned about the increase in humidity since a lot of people will be sleeping in tents.

The car is packed and I'll be out of here about 7:00 tomorrow morning. This craft fair is a stab in the dark. It's at a horse show which goes from 8:00-noon, with lunch to follow. We decided to test the waters - can't know if we don't try.

Meanwhile, Michelle just emailed this today of grand godson Solomon. We get to see them next week - they'll be here Saturday!


On the Kindle: Don't Tell Mom I Work on the Rigs: She Thinks I'm a Piano Player in a Whorehouse by Paul Carter

From the Library: Burnt Mountain by Anne Rivers Siddons

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gearing Up

I've started stacking and spreading my fabrics to get a sense of what sequences I'd like for my next placemat sets.
I cut these yesterday. They're quite pastel and all but one has a stripe of some sort. I'm curious to see what all the stripes will look like when woven.
In between loads of laundry I was able to get all the strips sewn together and then while watching Design Star last night, I got the first six rolled into pinwheels. I know they're not mandatory, but having that crease pressed in the folded strips makes the weaving go so much faster.

I cut these strips this morning before I went into town. I'd love to get them sewn tomorrow and get the next two sets of strips cut and sewn. I'm working on a deadline here. I need to get everything cleaned up and put away soon.

We have a Labor Day gathering here and if you haven't seen in pictures of it in the past, there will be a whole new set next week. Because it's the same weekend as Burning Man, it's been dubbed Sparking Boy. We turn our home into a campground for a weekend with family and friends, simply put.

The other deadline is the jackalope. I've knitted two more legs and am ready to assemble the body. I don't see how I can get it done but I'm not giving up just yet.
My Tuesday schedule now is to go to the gym and then pick up our CSA basket afterward - it's the same parking garage. I went to grab my bags from the back and realized that the "emergency" roll of toilet paper had freed itself from it's nitch and essentially toilet papered the whole back end of my car!
I've started using a different entrance and just noticed this sign today. I wasn't frowning.
This is the contents of our basket this week. The water-
melon flesh is yellow and is called Yellow Doll. We've had it once before this year and it's absolutely the sweetest a melon can get. We got more hot peppers so Ian promises he'll make his fantastic salsa tomorrow. I have some cilantro left over from last week - yum!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Close Call

I was so close at the end of my warp - the blue strip represents how much I needed to weave and in the background at the heddles you can see the knots where I tied onto the previously existing warp.
By the time I had done the hemstitching on the last placemat, that's all the forgiveness I had - maybe 8" or so. I'll add another yard to the warp next time. I would prefer more loom waste. This was too close for comfort.
I washed the placemats last night in a continuous group and also dried them. The lint was prodigious. I had to empty the filter half way and still there was more lint. While they were still partially damp, I cut them into sets and laid them out to finish drying.
LouAnn at Loomy Tunes told me to tie the warp ends in overhand knots before washing. I forgot and this is why she warned me.
I threw the two placemats in the wash that we use all the time - I thought I should know what the fringe will look like so I can tell potential buyers. They washed up great!

These are the finished sets and I am thrilled. The hem-
stitching and separating with a rotary cutter took away so much of the work. The set on the left is the "go loud or go home" change-up I made after Theresa's comment.
This is how I will have them on the table at the craft fair. There's no space to display them flat and this at least shows their color range. I was surprised to find that I liked the peach-colored set after all.

I'm no longer bothered by the traveling warp showing up as uneven threads. I think it demonstrates the personal part of me invested in the work - not hecho in china.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weaving Midwife

I went by Gail's before leaving town. Her new-to-her loom is massive. She had finished the warp to the point of tying on. I've been where she is and I know exactly how she feels. Weaving isn't hard but the steps can be confusing at first.

She has come a long way already and has carved out this corner of her husband's office for her studio. We discussed options - tying on versus lashing - and she called me this afternoon to say that she had started weaving! I feel like a weaving midwife.
I didn't want to get on the freeway which is under major recon-
struction so took surface streets and ended up going by our old house. I actually drove by, then made a u-turn on Ives and went back for this shot. That pine tree was such a miserable little living Christmas tree that my kids dubbed it the Christmas shrub. No shrub now.

I joined the St Mary's Fitness Center on July 26th and am trying to get in to use it three times a week. Because I've been enjoying it so much, Melissa, who had dropped her membership because she never went, has rejoined. Friday we went to the gym together and on checking in, I was informed that I was entitled to a $75 voucher. Melissa had referred me as her reason for joining. Long story short, we signed up for three semi-private swimming lessons, paid for by the voucher.

So Sundays, I go to church, stop at the convenience store for a San Francisco Chronicle and then drive on in to the gym, which is why I was able to stop at Gail's. The swimming coach just happened to the staff person in the training room when I was there, so Melissa and I are officially signed up for our first lesson, from a Serbian Olympian swimmer and certified coach - yikes!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This is not a plucked chicken, in spite of appearances. This is the current state of the jackelope from the Amigarumi Knits book. I had embarked on this project last fall, intending it as a Christmas present for Alexia. She selected the pattern and dictated the colors. I got a text yesterday from DD Chris, saying that Alexia was anxious that I finish this in time for her birthday, since I missed her 5th and 6th birthdays. She'll be seven this month. Relative time does get better, but I admit, I had lost track of this project. I spent three hours today, locating my place in the work, trying to understand the source of the error, reknitting the error and going back again, but now I'm to the point I was had it been done correctly. That was enough for one day.

Yesterday was a little off-kilter. I had to go see the surgeon for a revisit on a mammo that apparently no one liked. He said, go forth and do good or something like that and I intend to. I snagged lunch at Walden's and a quick visit with Melissa. Afterwards I went to meet Gail, a lady who had contacted me on the Internet. She had taken a weaving class in Arizona, bought a loom and was looking for a weaving studio. Since we have none, I offered to come by - pay it forward all the help I've received.
Melissa loaned me this video on Monday. I had pulled off a crown over the weekend and after getting it reseated, called her to see what she was doing - putting on a warp. We had a nice quite visit and I told her about Gail, so she sent me off with this DVD to share. Gail and I watched it and the went upstairs to start her project. I couldn't spend more than three hours and it flew by. I was thrilled to help her and stunned to realize how much I have learned. Her homework is to finish winding her warp, sley and thread it. Her enthusiasm is fantastic.

Afterwards, I went to the gym for my best workout and swim ever. My goal has been from the start - a luxurious continuous quiet lap swim. I don't know how to express what a joy this is. When I hop out at the end of my laps and sit there catching my breath, I think I might possibly be the luckiest person on earth.
I made a side trip to Mill Ends Fabrics again. I found some new colors and was at the register chatting with the employee, whom I recognize from when I first started shopping here in 1975 - different location. We had a couple of laughs but when she realized what I needed she showed me a dolly of rolls of the $1/yard fabrics. I bought the last of the roll of this fabric on the bottom. It's from a baby factory, Beatrice Potter themed, stained and stitched but it's 72" wide. I bought 2 yards last year. She said - my name is Kenna. Call periodically and I'll run back and check to see what's on the dolly and let you know if anything is new. How cool is that?!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Nevada County Fair 2011

Ian and I drove over to the Nevada County Fair in Grass Valley today. Let me make it clear. This is a county in California. It's a three-hour trip one way but I have roots over there that date back to high school, and it's a joy to me that I can connect to them through my membership and participation with the Foothill Fiber Guild.
That building is Ponderosa Hall and it's where the fiber arts are displayed. Just recently we've been able to exhibit in this air-conditioned building instead of the hot and open-air fair buildings. This was my first year to demonstrate spinning in this space. I was signed up for the 10:00-2:00 slot and I was the first thing people came across when they entered the room. I talked non-stop for four hours and pretty much got the thing from shearing, processing, spinning and wool breeds into a six-minute spiel, and new people would come through the door and I'd start over. I'm not sure I've ever talked for four hours and for those of you who know me, you must be shocked.
I thought the fiber arts exhibits this year were over the top - the knitting, hats, sewing quilting, felting and sewing - I'm not sure it's ever been this keen. I couldn't help wonder if the sewing weren't up a notch as an influence of Project Runway. It certainly influences me!
I wanted to see the other spinners at Ag-
sperience but I absolutely wanted to see the belt-driven engine display. It's one of my favorite parts of the fair. This is where the 49 gold rush happened and these machines are local history.

These are the machines that made industry happen. They pumped water out of the mines, they drove the shop tools. The tractors gave us modern agriculture.

Ian and I drove down to Stockton to pick up my eight-harness loom that I had ordered from Gilmore. Bob Allen now makes the looms and gave us a tour of the plant. He was then still using the built-driven equipment that Mr. Gilmore had used. The equipment was very much like this.
The owner started up his 1948 John Deere tractor and he had me at hello. I love these silly machines and that tired Massey-Ferguson next to him. I know my father would have been equally enthralled.
Ian held me to an hour for exhibits since we had another three-hour drive home: the machines and Ag-sperience were my two choices. I demonstrated here last year. Today was relatively cool - under 90 - but last year Birdsong and I were cooking at Ag-sperience. Demonstrating in an arts community isn't a cakewalk. You are teaching every second. Cooking? Cakewalk??
All those old bars have themes this year, a repur-
posing since animal entries are down. The cooperative extension, FFA, 4H, Forest Service - like entities are here so it's good that we have another opportunity to share the fiber-arts application. I see Rowen and Lucy.
I have some bragging rights. This skein is from Sven, Kathy Lefrevre's wether from Flagstaff, Arizona. I've already reserved his fleece for next year. He'd been injured in an attack by neighbor dogs so she didn't have an intact fleece for sale. She knew I wanted a black fleece so said Sven told her to do it - she boxed up the fleece and sent it to me. Kathy, Sven did good!!
This what I'm especially calling bragging rights on. It came to pass when I had won some felted silk as a door prize and thought I might be able to make something with it if plied it with another color. And this is where Benita spoke up and I have an idea. You should ply it with brown, and BTW, I just happen to have the fiber you need. She sent me brown Merino roving which I plied with the silk, and when I ran out of silk, I plied it with itself. The pattern is from Catwalk 2. That's what I love about the fiber community. We are a community. Thanks Benita. Thanks Kathy. I hoist these blue ribbons to you.

Ian surprised himself by having a wonderful time for the four hours I was demonstrating. He chatted with DD Little Sharon and I do believe we'll be making a family event of this next year. We have a favorite place to stay - hmmm. It's halfway to them in San Francisco. Grandson Noah would love it - hope we can make it happen.