Saturday, October 29, 2011

Playing with Color

I went over to Mim's on Wednes-
day and came home with six fruit jars of Procion dyes mixed in a 10% solution, three warm primaries and three of the cool. I decided to play with color this morning. I've not been satisfied with those two skeins so decided to try a little color tune up. I started by putting samples in a weak dye bath of the warm blue (on the right) and didn't care for either result. I did the same with the warm red and was happy to find a cure for the plastic lavender. However, it turned the green sample orange and I decided to leave that skein alone. I had started a hat with the multicolor in the foreground, using an olive for contrast. Boring. I'll rip back and substitute my new pretty color as soon as it dries.
While she was mixing up my dyes, Mim talked about the DNA method she uses to dye roving. She says she learned it in the Charlene Schurch class we took at least ten years ago. I was there, but I don't remember this at all. She mixes 60 cc of one primary and 20 cc of the two others in a cup and then pours them over 4 ounces of prepared roving and says that the different colors strike at different times. I've had a bump of Panda for at least a year so decided to dive right in.
I was well into this before I realized that it's been so many years since I dyed this way that I don't have any plastic gloves. My hands as a pale shade of this roving, slightly darker around the cuticles. It's in the steamer - 30 minutes to go.
I had used 60 warm blue, and 20 warm red and yellow. This was certainly a surprise but the roving took up all the dye and rinsed clear. For the first time, I didn't felt my wool and that is a major victory for me.
And there it is, ready for action. It looks like I'm going to get a gray and pink combin-
ation but I won't know until I see it drawing on the bobbin. It's sitting right by my wheel. I think the element of surprise is the attraction for me. I have no idea what I'm going to get - like Christmas.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weaving a Tale

I ordered rug warp from Leesburg Looms a number of weeks ago. She told me they were out of the stock, but we were just leaving for Oregon and I knew it would be weeks before I would have time to use it. Plus I had Robin Spady's workshop in there too, but I now really need to weave more placemats for the next crafts fair. I decided to wind what I had and hope it would be enough - it wasn't. I called Leesburg Looms and she said it had shipped last week.
I heard Ian come home, so I went down-
stairs. He brought me a package from the gate. It was already there when I made my panicked phone call. Just in time, saved by the bell, a stitch in time, yada, yada, yada. I'm back in business!
I wound the warp in three bouts this time. I just think it's easier to work with that way. I'll make a cross from the existing warp I'm tying onto and I think I'll probably just hold the new warp cross in my hand to knot. I know - it's Greek. It used to be Greek to me too!

The shipping is so expensive, so I ordered enough to last for a while. The cones were $3.55, which is about a dollar cheaper than I've paid anywhere else. I ordered from them on Hilary's recommendation. I envy anyone who lives close enough to a supplier to just walk in and shop.
I warped Maudie Mae for the second sampler from Robyn's class, this time in twill tie-up. I was able to squeeze in an hour of weaving this morning before leaving for town. The first two samples look like nothing because that's exactly what they are. I was following the wrong instructions. The next one and the one I've started look like something because I followed the right instructions. I'm working on the overshot pattern right now and can see how that would make a nice border on a hand towel.

I was trying to get ready for the next two craft fairs and have decided that I'm not going to get my panties in a twist over what I don't have made yet. I'm only going to do holiday craft fairs next year and when they roll around, I'll be ready to roll with them.

As always, I had a day full of errands in town, but the best news was my bone density test. Normal! Totally normal with me from a high risk history. I rewarded myself with the gym - 25 minutes on the eliptical trainer and 35 minutes in the pool, which is how long it takes me to swim a half mile. I crawled to my car and to think I used to swim a mile before work, work all day, and then cook dinner.

Wait. I did cook dinner. We're getting a stash of CSA veggies and I'm struggling to find creative ways to use them. Tonight I boiled a large turnip with two large potatoes and then mashed them up with some roasted garlic I had roasted this morning. Then I made a mushroom gravy. We had shallots in our basket today, so it was just them, the mushrooms, and then a rue with chicken broth. Oh my gosh, was it fabulous. I had picked up a rotisserie chicken. Next I tackle the butternut squash - hmmmmm.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

All in a Days Play

One morning several weeks ago we came out the front door to discover that rabbits had climbed up into these pots and completely chew off the vines - they're nothing but stalks at this point. This morning I came out to discover that a ground squirrel had left his calling card.
I was looking for Ian but ran back in for my camera. I had packed my car last night for a craft fair today and wanted to let him know I was leaving. He was unloading firewood and I thought Buster in the front seat was just too funny. He stays there until Ian is done and then rides with him into the garage.

We had a little trauma with Buster and Charlie a couple nights ago. Buster acted like he was attacking the cat. When we unraveled the sequence, here's how we think it went: Ian cleaned Charlie's litter box and poured in fresh litter stored in the garage. We use wheat litter and there was a mouse in it, which Ian then delivered to the cat's box. Charlie's eyes must have bugged out when that mouse appeared. When I flipped on the lights, he was crouched with the mouse in his mouth and Buster challenging him for possession. All was well after Ian disposed of the unfortunate mouse. Now every night Charlie lays in front of his litter box, watching the opening, willing another mouse to appear.
The craft fair was at our local POA Ranch House and it was entirely valley folk. This is my space - pretty tight. I think the display rack Josh make for my placemats is genius. I wasn't sure how profitable this would be but there was no booth fee so I looked at is as opportunities to meet my neighbors and visit with the ones I know.

We talked a lot about the house that burned. The folks were moving out and so little was lost in personal effects, but the house was totaled and is being dismantled. So now we know. We talked about community involvement and support - it makes me glad that I'm signed up for the county's Community Emergency Response Team training in December.

This is not a pigeon! A half mile from the house, a red tailed hawk drifted over my car and swooped up to this post. His wing span was easily three feet, so I waited, thinking I'd be ready when he flew off.

This what I got. My camera is only two years old and when I got it, I thought it was magic. My old one was so slow that when I'd hit the shutter to take a picture in New York, someone would have walked right into the picture, even though they were yards away when I depressed the shutter. I was in love with this camera - two years ago. Now I'm totally frustrated. I want something small and fast - I need to talk to Amy. I think she likes her new Nikon Coolpix. Technology is so frustrating.
Here's a technology that's been around for a while - weaving. I watched Madeline's DVD on warping, so I cinched the death grip tie on the other side of the cross. It wasn't my DVD so I couldn't go back to get the explanation so I just did it. This is warp for my second sampler. I've threaded the left side and look at what a tidy housekeeper that knot it. I'm sold, even if I still don't actually understand why it works.

Oh, and I did well at the craft fair - thanks and howdy to my neighbors.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I was hoping we would be able to see Lori and Joe while we were in San Diego. We had some free time on Sunday so I texted her and we ended up going to their place. This is where they live, The Locura. Lori tells me the name comes from the Spanish word for loco or crazy. Joe is the captain and Lori is the cook. The owner got a deal when he got them!
It was warm and sunny so Joe had the canvas over the glass. Otherwise, it would have been a 360 view of the harbor. This is where he drives the boat when he's operating on autopilot.
The ship has double helms and it would be driven under sail from here. My father in law was a Navy captain and he delighted in saying that he was a boat driver, instead of a ship sailor.

This is Joe. He's the boat driver. We met as neighbors close to 30 years ago. They always said that when they had an empty nest, they were going to sell everything and live on their boat in Richmond, California. They are originally from Florida and love sailing. Who knew their journey would end up here?!
Lori couldn't wait to show me this. It's the hot tub and also sail storage. We have a long hot tub history which I won't go into, but I can remember cross country skiing the mile from my new house to theirs after we moved but yet were still nearby, and enjoying their in-ground hot tub with the snow flying and the steam rising. The worst part was skiing home - uphill! She texted me on Saturday to see if we wanted to hot tub and I thought she meant at their hotel.
This is Joe's newest baby, thanks for the digital airwaves. He's been without a television for six years, and in Puerta Villarta he'd have to watch games in the bars for three hours while ordering their beer, which he said got to be hard on the body. The TV is mounted so it can be swung out and visible to everyone in the seating area. That white thing that looks like a woodstove to me is actually the mast.
This is Lori's galley and when the owner is on board and the ship is crewed for sailing, she has to cook for ten. There's a grid over the stove top, if you see it. The stove on their own boat, Dos Amantes, is on a gimble, so cooking when the craft is pitching and yawing doesn't send pans to the floor. This stove has a grid that lowers over the stove top to keep the cookery in place, if they fit. I can see why she's taken so long to buy pots and pans. I enjoyed chatting with her over her rough menus and how she will provision before she they sail on November 12th.

The ship just got a new owner who retained Joe as captain. They were getting the ship ready to be weighed for handicapping so everything was in disarray. Lori begged me to make that statement. She said it would literally be ship-shape otherwise. They were offloading everything and staying in a hotel until after the measurements were completed - sheets, clothes, deodorants, etc. Joe was exhausted and wanted nothing more to watch football. I left Ian with him in front of the simulated-3D TV football game with their special glasses while Lori and I went to Mission Valley to buy pots and pans.
Lori is a fabulous cook, published cookbook author and a huge influence on me. She had done a lot of research on the cookery she needed and it was just a coincidence that we happened to come the day she was ready to make her purchases. We had so much fun spending $1300 of the owner's money. I think Lori is the only person I know who laughs as loud as I do. (I embarrass myself in theaters.) Parking is a problem in a marina and cookery is heavy. The guys met us at the gate and we schlepped it all in.
Ian took this picture for me. I swear they haven't aged at all, except for Jake since he wasn't born when I met them. He was sick and had a Coast Guard physical the next day. He's also a licensed captain so I know we're all crossing our fingers.
Lori pointed out the "commuters." There's a dory being rowed to dock on the left and near right, there's a red dingy doing some sort of personal delivery. It's quaint in the sunshine but I can't imagine it having the same allure in fog or rain. Hmm, I guess I sound like a desert rat.

Ian and I finished the afternoon with a lovely quiet visit with Carlos and Kristie. The next morning we crawled out of bed early, drove in the fog to return our car rental and then were delayed by said fog for another couple hours. I only took one book and no Kindle. I figured we'd only be in the air a couple of hours, so I snagged the newest Chris Bohjalian book, The Night Strangers. It was in the last Random House box of books and Amazon was giving it 4 1/2 stars. I had started it and he really does write well.

I gave it a review of two stars when I got home - what a disappointing read to be stuck with in the airport. I wasn't about to buy another book since it could be just as bad, so I finished mine. Nothing happened until I finished the first half of the book and then it was just weird. On a happier note, we can now check out books from the library on our Kindles. I checked out my first one this morning - it was easy, even for me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cutest Little Kid at House Warming

This is the house we flew to San Diego to "warm." I'm envious of their placid dog Walter, content to lay in the front entry and observe life. Their house is in Kensington, a really lovely little community of southwest style homes built in the 1920s and to which Pasadena planners looked for inspiration. It was nice to be back in San Diego - this is where I grew up.
These are the happy owners. We are so proud of all our kids. These two both have large families, the housewarming was family only, and was full of happy well wishers who all live in SoCal, so we were the only "guests." It could not have been better - honestly.
They lost control of their party in the late afternoon when the Oceanside Baezas arrived with Solomon, the iPhone king. My phone was the second to fall - that's Alexia on the right phone.

And then there were three.

And lookie, now there are four. Two people who still had their iPhones made videos, which I wish I had access too, but now I'm working on a old point-and-shoot.
This does appear to be the sixth phone he's collected.
And now he's solicited another one, bringing the count up to seven.
And his final collection totaled eight. If there were more, no one was letting on.
He was also an able assistant to his aunt-to-be, unwrapping the housewarming gifts. Actually, he got the action going. Too many presents and too little interest! I heard the paper rip and his little voice, "and I don't know what it is." We agree later that the star of the housewarming wasn't the house, it was Solly. Every family needs that cutest little kid and he's doing a great job of filling the slot!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lest I Forget

I watched Madeline Van der Who's video on warping a loom. It was a borrowed copy and has since been returned to its owner in SoCal. I remembered on this warp to make the very tight tie on the other side of the cross she had demonstrated. I can't remember why she said to do it, but I did it anyway. Now I see why. It's just a good bit of housekeeping.

And I wanted to share with you the list that our book club selected for next year. We pick all twelve of our books in October - do it, and be done. We've gathered nominations for the last three months, I compiled them in alpha order and also added number of pages. We finished the hour of discussion for Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler, and it was time to vote.

We had about three dozen titles to vote on. I put the title of the books on a table along with plastic cups and then gave everyone 18 pennies. They had to vote for 12 individual books and then had six pennies to spend on their favorites. I wanted to read So Big by Edna Ferber and was afraid that it wouldn't make the cut, so gave all six of pennies to it. Once we had our final twelve, we assigned them to months based on brevity for holiday months and then by levity, interspersed with more weighty tomes. Drum roll please.......

A Dog’s Purpose, W. Bruce Cameron January
The Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens February
Stones from the River, Ursual Hegi March
Honk and Holler Opening Soon, Billie Letts April
Falling Leaves, Adeline Yen Mah May
Crazy in Alabama, Mark Childress June
The Postmistress, Sarah Blake July
So Big, Edna Ferber August
Half Broke Horses, Jeanette Walls September
The Paris Wife, Paula McLain October
My Antonia, Willa Cather November
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Murial Spark December

We catch a 7:30 flight to San Diego in the morning to celebrate Ian's youngest son's new house. Peace, out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Fiberist

This was the work area that I created. This tiny little Gilmore Gem is something that Mr Gilmore himself made, and I'm grateful to Jeanne for sharing it with me so I could participate in this workshop. It is so tiny that it walked and I kept telling Gayle, the weaver set up in front of me, that she was in danger of being rear ended.
One of the last weave structures we did was deflected weft. I didn't have anything dramatic and Melissa decided I needed to use the Robyn's sari silk that she had offered to the class. That's dramatic!
I had taken this skein of handspun to show Melissa how it turned out - raspberry, teal and gold. She insisted that I not relegate it to a hat - she thinks I need to weave a panel of deflected weft and then take it from there. We'll see.

I handed Cathy my camera and asked her to please take a picture of me with Robyn. I want a record of my connection with this fabulous woman. I am so fortunate to have this workshop at this stage of my weaving journey. I can read drafts - finally!
Today is my birthday and the weather handed me a perfect day. I cannot remember a more lovely day in October in years. I have several advance copies, thanks to my book club connection to Random House, and today I started Chris Bohijalian's newest book. I have so many to chose from but this one swept me right in.
Honestly, I cannot think how it could get any better than this. Happy birthday to meeeeee.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Robyn Spady's Workshop

Our workshop was held in the Wolf Run Golf course meeting room. Robyn lectured in the morning and the twelve of us wove all afternoon. Wolf Run provided a continental breakfast with endless coffee, an outstanding lunch in their dining room and then afternoon cookies and more coffee. This picture is after lunch. Things always picked up after the warm cookies appeared.

That was my little borrowed loom in the center back of the first picture and I was weaving Double Weave Dukagang. That's such a fantastic name for such a simple weave - it was favorite of all the 17 structures we wove. I had a blah warp, but the 20/2 slubby white and the 10/2 blue made a fabric that I instantly fell in love with - I could make yardage and sew it! I'm pretty sure this means I'm not a structure/weave person, but a color/pattern person instead. Heck, I'm a huge fan of plain weave, only not in towels. Plain weave towels are not thirsty towels, and I cannot wait to put on a huge warp and see what towels I get.
I really got what we were doing but I realized looking around that I've not acquired interesting yarns and colors.
Melissa on the other hand was cranking out colors like this. The one thing I learned above all else is how to read a draft. I am confident that I can read any draft I come across, no matter from what time period. Thank you Robyn!
Saturday night after the workshop, I grabbed a Port of Subs and was a able to catch grandson Kiernan's last home football game. His team is terrible but he plays very well when the coaches put him in. Once the sun went down, the temps followed to below 40, at which point SIL Mikeal appeared with hot cocoa for Alexia and me. We held the hot cups in our hands and slurped. After the game, I complemented Kiernan on some of his plays and, in front of his teammates, he rewarded me with a big hug. Warmed me right up :)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Last Leg

Ian and I were driving east on Hwy 84 along the Columbia River when I started thinking about rest stops. We realized three aren't any along the route we were taking and the towns were few and far between. Enter the sign for Bonneville Dam with "tourist facilities." I said, Ian get off here! He was taken aback but he did exit. This the fish hatchery part of the facility. I told the guard I was more interested in a rest stop than the power plant so she suggested the hatchery.
The first fish we saw was this display of rainbow trout. I thought they were thick at Fanny Bridge in Tahoe City!
I'm so glad I needed to stop, because I never would have elected to come here and it's worth seeing. That is just one of the many tanks that serve as salmon nurseries. I forget what they called them, but it's where the fish grow up. We also went to the fish ladder - that's really interesting and complicated.
When the guard suggested we try the hatchery, she mentioned that they had a 400 pound sturgeon. We were walking to the car when we suddenly remembered her suggestion and followed the signs to their pond. Whoa! But wait, there's more.

That was Mama Fish. Supersize it. This is Papa Fish. He's as big as a dolphin and he lumbers through the water, if that's possible. I've never seen a slower moving fish.
We went outside to see the fish in their pool and he obliged by floating by. He's ginormous - the biggest and ugliest fish I have ever seen. He's lucky he's protected. Sturgeon is delicious!
We were excited for our Friday night plans in Bend. It was Missy's first paycheck and she wanted to celebrate at the the Pine Tavern Restaurant, note the pine trunk behind Logan. She's wanted to eat there but it's a two-paycheck family kind of place. Logan really liked it. Plus we'd gotten to see one football game and would be able to see his next one. He and I sat on the deck one afternoon and just chatted - he's of that age. He told me he liked it better since they moved because when we come to visit, we come for days. That's a gold star, oh yeah.
Josh texted me while we were in Washington to say that we were going to be back in time for the Fall Festival downtown. There are booths with vendors from all over and the attendance isn't deterred by fall temps, though some have it easier than others.
For Evan, the attraction was the kids street and the pumpkin painting area. Notice all the drying pumpkins against the wall. He got his pumpkin, his brush and his paint and he just froze. He is so my grandson - I remember that feeling. He did an abstract and all was well.

This booth caught my attention. That is the very same loom that I donated to Reno High School. He's weaving dishtowels. He said that he usually has a student weaving while he works the booth so was doing double duty.
I was struck by the sectional beam. He had impro-
vised and couldn't remember where he got it. It's not original to the Artisat, nor are the Texsolv heddles. I was stunned when I saw them. I told him that I had put them on but it was murder to thread so went back to wire heddles. He agreed, but said that he never threads - it's a dummy warp and when he gets to the end, he just ties on a new one - a man after my heart!
I had asked Josh to think about turning this towel rack into a craft fair display for placemats. Melissa was going to leave the rack in her rental so I snagged it. I always have things for him to do - he calls it his "sonny do" list.
It's going to be great and free up a lot of table space. We had a long confab at the hardware store. When I told him I was thinking about an easel display, he was thinking floor easel. Communication and assumption - dangerous mix. It was fun watching him put it together on the fly. Yeah, I'm a proud mom.
We got home late Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning I enjoyed the front porch with my spinning wheel and coffee. It was cool, I had to wear my down vest, but the birds were in full song.

It poured Tuesday night night and we awoke to this Wednes-
day morning. I think October has arrived. Hooray - it's my favorite month. Ian is at a library conference so I'm getting to tend the first fires of the fall season.
I spend the afternoon getting a warp on this borrowed loom. I'm leaving at 7:00 in the morning for a three-day weaving workshop on warping makeovers with Robyn Spady. I'm so excited. I chose the huck pattern option. Jeanne forgot to give me the crank so I stole the one from Maudie Mae, but they're both Gilmores so it fits. My crank is really heavy and might be a problem.

I cleared the first hurdle - getting it into the car by myself. It was late and I was tired so I'll check for threading and sleying errors when I get there. First order of the day; caffeine for me, hay for the fluffy ones and kibble for the rest.