Monday, August 27, 2012

So Close to Sparking Boy

Our neighbors Tom and Carol came down this morning with tables, chairs, a bin for recycling cans and the gift of the bench on the left. A coworker had given Carol some benches which she is refinishing and she gifted us with her first project. We moved an old bench to join it and Carol showed me how to tighten it up. We have more which she's promised to help me refinish next month. Meanwhile, our gathering starts the day after tomorrow. Petey arrives first and will help Ian put up all the tents we have at this point - I think seven. Trailers from Utah and Oregon arrive Thursday and thankfully, stepson Dougie has offered to cook the spaghetti on Thursday night, after driving all day from San Diego.

I've appointed him to the food committee for next year and he has accepted. Right now I am the food committee but everyone pitches in. We expect close to a hundred on both Saturday and Sunday, but so much is barbeque and potluck sides that I'm not worried. The homebrewer's tasting will be about 4:00 on Saturday, and if you're reading this and you live within driving distance, this is your invitation. Come. Anytime. Oh yeah, I need to write name tags on the shopping list tomorrow.

About the truck, Ian called and spoke to a sheriff. He said since the insurance company already has referred us to a body shop, that means the other driver has admitted guilt. Nothing is going to happen this week but at least it's good to know we're not hanging out there - I hope resolution is coming.
I am trying to get a warp on Maudie Mae. I think it would be fantastic to be able to demonstrate weaving which is especially dramatic with a two block weave. I've wound another sea glass colorway, but I amped it up with cobalt blue. It showed up a lot in Google images of sea glass and though I don't have it my sea glass collection, I can see that it belongs. I still might sneak it on the loom - I hope.

I was supposed to submit placemats this week to the Artist's Coop for their September show, and I feel terribly unsupportive but I'm out of time. I did finish the annual budget for our fiber guild late this afternoon. Our guild board are all freshmen, we are learning by the seat of our pants and I'm thrilled to have such eager smart people supporting me. I'm the prez. I said that before, right?

I did the itemized shopping list for tomorrow right after that. Out of all the prep for the Gathering, I've arrived with a seasoned committee, kinda like a board, only I told them, they're not elected, nominated by me and I'm the prez. Ian and I are ready and we can't wait to see everyone.

A friend from my book club sent me this. If you're an NPR junkie like I am, I'm sure you will appreciate this fresh face of Fresh Air host, Terry Gross. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Meanwhile, I'll be back in a week - after Sparking Boy. That's what friends affectionately call this weekend, since it's the same weekend as Burning Man and we have a campus of trailers and tents.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


These photos from a recent Sunset magazine article were my inspiration for an Aloha colorway series for my towels. I discounted some of the brighter colors because they already appear in the Fiesta ware series.
Then at our book club potluck luncheon Saturday, one of the ladies brought mango halves with chicken salad. That's exactly the color I was thinking of and the dish was delicious.
Tuesday I rode into town with Ian to pick up my car after it having been serviced. I had some errands to run including a dental appointment but on Tuesdays I often end up with time to kill before picking up our CSA box at 3:45. I know if I go to a store, I'll buy something and I really don't like to shop anyway. I have always loved the Wilbur May Arboretum so now I'm always careful to pack a book and knitting. It's not killing time at all. It's a walk in the park!
This was our CSA box this week. The box was so heavy that the delivery driver wheeled it to my car on a dolly. I split it up between our household and Carol and Harry's, but it's still a lot of food to eat in a week. It's the deal of the century - $417 for fresh produce weekly, from April to October.
So these are the completed towels. There are ten but I wove two in the same warp colors. As much as I want to see mangoes, pineapples, hibiscus flowers and tropical lagoons, I think they're just too close to Fiesta ware colors to repeat in the future. I've started winding a warp for Sea Glass which is a nice departure.
And we're onto a new adventure. Returning from town Monday after dropping my car off, a car rounded one of the corners on our two-lane road, in our lane. He was fully in our lane but Ian has very fast reflexes and was able to leave the road for the field. This left the front of his car sliding along the side of our truck. Our damage is minimal but he was picking up pieces of his car from all over the road. I'm not sure I could have reacted as quickly as Ian.

We didn't file a police report and now the driver is saying to his insurance that the nice driver lady said the damage to the door was minimal and she wasn't going to pursue it - after all he was barely in the other lane. The insurance agent wanted to know if there were any passengers. Red flags! We are going to file a police report tomorrow with the sheriff's office, since this is county. And here we are, less than a week from our family gathering. It's always something isn't it?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

And so,

First of all, I want to thank everyone for your support by comments and emails. Neither Ian nor I realized how deeply Charlie was entrenched in our lives, and I know that no cat that finds us in the future will replace him, but also I'm sure that another kitty is out there for us, but not just yet. Charlie was a replacement for my cat Robin and it was too soon afterwards. I've learned that lesson.

We're in the middle of wildfires and yesterday an electrical storm came through, leaving us without power until last night. It started a fire on the mountain behind Mim's and they didn't have a phone to call it in. Thankfully the rain came and extinguished it. We were left without phone service until late this afternoon. We have a generator for power outages but can do nothing when the phone is out. This all has been stressful, not only for us, but also for the dogs.
And so I wove, no power needed. It was so miserably hot that it didn't matter whether we were indoors or out- no power, no fans, no air conditioner. I found throwing the shuttle to be comforting.
I wasn't sure if buying the UKI light orange from Michael would be that different but it's all the difference in the world. The left one says mangos and papayas and the right one says fiesta.
Buster kept me company and at one point, I found him wandering out of the bathroom and into the guest room. I had to finish the laundry this morning that was cut short by the electrical storm yesterday. Buster dug all through it. Charlie always slept in the piles of laundry. Buster keeps trying to find him.

I wove 2 1/2 towels this morning before the heat came up. I realized how much time I spend online during a day when I found myself doing other things. I caught up on reading the last six issues of Vogue Knitting magazine and I wound off some skeins of coned yarn and washed them for knitting.

The eighth color is silver and I almost elected to not use it for a weft. It's pretty pastel, though trying it out, I think it's a little like tropical shaved ice. I'll think about it tomorrow. By this point the temperature in the studio had become insufferable.
I finished for the day and realized that I had not one but two dogs with me. They never used to accompany me as I'd weave. That was Charlie's job. Sammy has moped for the past two days, but then Charlie was her cat. Often we'd find him with the fur on his back licked by her and sticking up like a mohawk. Charlie was smaller than Sammy's head, and that's how Sammy loved on him. Sammy has never figured out how to ask at the door to come inside, but Charlie would cry out when she was there to alert us, taking care of her dog.

I cannot imagine not having another kitty and as painful it is to lose one, I know I'll put myself right back in these shoes as soon that next kitty finds us. Now if I can just stop crying. Again, thank you so much for the love you've shown me. I am keeping his banner.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The End of a Chapter

When we got home from the Nevada County Fair on Friday and read the concerned note from our house sitter and saw the altered state of Charlie, I picked up the phone and made an appointment for yesterday morning at 7:30. They ran lab tests for the status on his kidney disease and did a treatment to flush them. The lab scores were abysmal but I elected to try another round of antibiotics and see if Charlie might rally. He did rally but it was only from miserable to okay. We decided to let him roam the front yard this morning, a longstanding forbidden fruit because out here it's much too dangerous for cats - too many predictors.

He loved it and I followed him around with my morning cuppa. He checked everything out, rolled like crazy in the dirt and bossed the dogs. When Ian opened the front door, all the dogs wanted in and Charlie trotted with them, like that's what he always does when he's outside with the dogs.

Once inside he promptly fell asleep, obviously worn out. We have been talking the past couple of days what to do, and decided that since that outdoor visit was probably a high note, we should make an appointment with our vets and let Charlie go. He was clearly suffering. Since today is my book club and also CSA box pickup, I was the delegate. I'm thankful for that because he and I had a sweet parting. He loved me all over the place and thought he was just going for a lie down. We've said goodbye to pets before but apart from one dog, I'm not sure we've ever had a pet command such a presence. I know I need to change my banner. Give me a couple of days to process that and find something meaningful.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Nevada County Fair

Ian and I drove over to Nevada City on Wednesday. We decided to take Hwy 49, because even though it's longer, it's the scenic route through Gold country and we had time. We stopped in Sierra City to have lunch and enjoyed a delicious meal in this unexpected garden restaurant.

I had a four hour shift that evening at the Nevada County Fair in Grass Valley, demonstrating spinning with the Foothill Fiber Guild. We have two points of demonstration, one in the livestock area and one indoors. My first shift was in Ag-sperience and even though it had been hot during the day, it cooled down for a fantastic evening. We were swamped with interested fair goers.

My second shift was Thursday afternoon from 2:00-6:00 and I was glad to be indoors for that. The displays in the guild room were effective and people again were interested and engaged. I felt like a Chatty Cathy doll, pulling my string and repeating the information over and over - for four hours! I love it that people are interested and want to learn, adults and children alike.
I was excited to receive the first place ribbon in the hand knitted garment category and the competition was stiff - even better. I'm really happy with it. It looks good and it fits me well. The cowl was added for display purposes and was knitted by someone else.
I also won the blue ribbon for my scarf. The skein won a blue ribbon last year so this is a double winner. It's silk, alpaca and merino and feels every bit as lovely as it looks. The towels didn't place but the competition was crazy stiff.
I had the added treat of hooking up with an old friend whom I've connected with on Facebook. He and his wife life in Yuba City and said they've always wanted to come to the fair, just haven't done it. They came up Thursday after Barbara got off work, and even though it's the first time I've seen John since 8th grade, I recognized him immediately. We ate some fair food for dinner and had a brief and wonderful visit. They took off the see the fair and I left for our cottage as I was exhausted from eight hours of nonstop spinning in the previous 24.

We had rented a cottage at the Nevada City Inn and shared it with Little Sharon and grandson Noah who drove up from the City. Sharon and I stayed up after Ian went to bed and visited for a couple of hours, just the two of us. Ian got to spend a lot of time with them both while I was demonstrating. He also had the pleasure of meeting up with an old friend and spending some time together, with their reconnection again being through Facebook.

We got home to a crippled air conditioner and blazing heat. Through Angie's List, Ian located a plumber who came out yesterday and got everything back in working order. He had to replace something in the fan and replace the thermostat. In spite of it being a Saturday and having to travel an hour one way, with parts and mileage, it was under $300. And he was a really nice guy on top of it!
I'm trapped in the air conditioned indoors until the weather cools which isn't supposed to be for another four days. The Aloha towels are underway. On the last series I got spots of color and I'm getting blocks of color now instead. I wanted spots again but I can see why I'm getting blocks. There's so much to learn about the interplay of color!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Nevada to Nevada County and Back

Lindsey met me at the fair-
grounds. I went with her to grocery shop, then she returned me to my car and I followed her home. This is an automated gate. She drove up to it, pulled to the side and told me to drive on in while she guarded it from the goats. Huh? Guard and goats? So I drove through and then she asked me come back and do the same for her.
These are the free-range goats. She was protecting our vehicles. The picture I missed in the shuffle were the half dozen goats standing on her Prius. I've only seen goats on a vehicle in photos from a third world country and having never raised them, I didn't know they would really do that. They're busy little creatures. Lindsey and Grover have a large number of rescue animals.

It was a fantastic visit. I'm so glad she invited me. We worked together professionally with our respective library systems before we ever met as fiber artists. I find that ironic, but I can tell you that books were part of our discussion, along with knitting and chatting. I had never met her husband who is an photo artist and iPad devotee. In fact, they are a His and Hers iPad family. Grover spent a considerable amount of time showing me how he photo edits on his iPad. It's not a hobby. He has an article coming out in the Nevada Magazine next spring on The Lincoln Highway for it's 100th birthday and a book along the same lines in progress. He knows of what he speaks.

I left with the huge question of whether I need one or if it would be a duplicate of devices I already own. Tomorrow is my in-town day and I'm thinking I might just have to schedule time to visit the Apple store for a test drive and further questions.
I stopped in Nevada City on my way home. I knew about the Nevada County Craft Fair - Ingrid had posted it on Facebook and I haven't seen her since last October. I'm terrible about pointing the car toward home once I start to drive, so I made the decision that I would stop. Finding a parking stop in Nevada City was half the battle. This is the Miners Foundry which has been refurbished into an events center.
I didn't realize that she and Beryl were sharing a booth. I stayed and chatted for at least an hour. I always learn so much from both of them, so it made me sad to see the quality of the booths around them. It was a juried craft fair, yet the organizers had permitted vendors who were selling "fair trade" items to sell as hand crafted. Not fair. I told Beryl and Ingrid that they need better signage. Hand woven in Nevada City!

When we go "over the hill" on a weekend, the "hill" being the Sierras, we have a single advantage. The traffic is always going the other way. The drive was a breeze both directions, and being the weekend, no construction delays! The only traffic I experienced was strings of cars coming towards me. So my items are in the fair. I left my tags with Beryl for pickup and I'll get them from her later. I learned that they both have entries in the Inspired by Nevada County category, so I can only say - it was a fun exercise.

Deb asked me about the weaving draft I'm using on my towels. I got it from Beryl and if you'd like it, please email me. I'd be glad to send it to you , but not all comments come with reply emails.
Speaking of the draft, Hermi sent me a photo of how she wove it. She's going back home to Switzerland for a visit next month and will be giving towels to her family as gifts. I love seeing all the different uses of this simple four-shaft draft of a two-block twill.
I came home yesterday to a very large box - the latest shipment of yarn from the Georgia Yarn Company. Two colors are backordered so I worked with what I have and what I just received. I came up with what I think is an island time colorway. I'm calling it Aloha and started winding the first warp this afternoon. I had to jump ship when it got to be a zillion degrees upstairs but I'll be back at it in the cool of the morning. I can't wait to see what my imagination came up with this time. I know there are all kinds of programs to help predict colors, but the feeling of risk and satisfaction when I do it myself is all mine. I may change my tune if I tank big on this one.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Last Minuting

I struggled today to determine which towel to submit tomorrow to the Inspired by Nevada County category. It's an entirely open category and brand new. The moment I heard about I knew that I wanted to weave towels inspired by the Yuba River. It's the most amazing and beautiful river with unique blues - there's nothing like it. I've loved it since I was in high school.
These are the four tea towels that I was trying to choose from. Each one represents the Yuba River canyon but my submission said Yuba River. I really loved the golden ones but asked Ian to help me pick. Using my three reference photos, he ultimately chose the one on the right. I think it probably most matches the photo I'm submitting with it. This has been a wonderful challenge.

At the Reno Fiber Guild board meeting, we talked about the idea of a Nevada color challenge. We're being asked to submit items for a scholarship fundraiser at the Conference of Northern California Handweavers next spring. I know a color challenge would be fun, but now its about selling the idea. We're a pretty small cast of characters.
I finished the sweater jacket today. It needed to be steam pressed and have the button sewed on. In the pattern book, neither photo of the sweater showed the jacket actually buttoned. There's a reason why. The cowl collar continues to roll all the way to the hem. I doubt I'll ever button it either. Dang. If I'd only known. I could have eliminated the button hole and the drive all the way out to the JBW storefront for a button, which I'm guessing will never get used. There's a lot of spinning in this thing. It's triple-ply hoggit Rambouliet and alpaca, which I had blended at Morro Bay. I hope I like it and wear it lots because it cost me a bundle, between the fleece purchase and the processing. Words I need to say: No thanks, I'm trying to cut down.

All items are in the car and I'll leave in the morning to deliver them to Grass Valley, 2 1/2 hours away. Thank you Lindsay for keeping me overnight so I don't have to drive back the same day!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Glutton for Punishment

I'm a glutton for punish-
ment. I realized last Tuesday that I needed to weave 18 towels before tomorrow. I had another warp on of the Fiesta ware, which brings me up to 30 towels in this colorway. Time for something else for a while. I needed to clear the loom for the Yuba River towels since I have a fair entry deadline and, man did I weave a lot to get that Fiesta ware lot done. I finished the 10th towel, pulled them off, cut them apart and broke for lunch about 2:00 - starving! I'm always starving. When I came back I was appalled to realize that I hadn't zigzagged between the towels. And you know what? It really didn't matter. I was just careful not to pull any threads. It took a half hour off the finishing time - at least.
I finished the towels and warped again. The deadline is that I have to have these off and ready by Saturday, i.e., day after tomorrow after tomorow. Thankfully, Lindsey saw that I'm driving my entries over and called to offer me her guest room Saturday night. Otherwise, it would have been a five hour round trip. You have local fairs, be thankful. This *is* my local fair and it's in another state.

Laura reminded me when we were at lunch in Bend that I can reduce loom waste by using larks head knots with leads. I knew this but hate messing with the knots. Meanwhile, Melissa emailed me an article about using Texsolv to eliminate tying the larks head knots altogether. It makes sense. You slip the warp knot through the hole. And then at a guild meeting Monday, Beryl and Igor were stunned that I hadn't changed my Gilmore tie-ups to the Texsolv system. I sense there's an expensive order in my future, but first I need to finish towels for peace of mind. Then I need to sell them to pay for my Texsolv order since I spent my last towel sales on more yarn from the Georgia Yarn Company.
This is my warp as I interpret the colors of the Yuba River and its canyon. I had a terrible time getting started. Monday and Tuesday both I had to make trips to town. Monday I'd woven several inches before realizing I had missed a threading error. I tried to remove as much as I could before leaving for my meeting.

Tuesday morning I got it fixed and started weaving. The first towel is always rough because there's so much tie-up stuff underneath for the warp to snag on. This towel was snag on steroids! What should have taken less than hour took two. I've warped for eight towels so I need eight hours of weaving time.
Doubting Thomas. I didn't believe that I could get by without a right floating selvedge so added one on this warp - again. After thrashing my way through the first four towels, I tore the floater off and the right warp thread so I'd have an uneven number of warp threads. I knew that I'd catch the right thread every time if I did that. Look at the difference. I went from amateur to machine finish. I'm no closer to having an answer to this phenomenon, but I'm a convert. No more right floaters for me. The left floater is really pretty so it gets to stay.

I wove all day, took a break to drive over to Mim's for eggs and just visit - always a welcome interlude. She suggested I buy more eggs at time but then I wouldn't get to see her as often. Then I came back, wove until 4:00, showered and called it a day. I have to go to town again tomorrow. Ian's truck has a new clutch and is ready to come home, but that's two weaving hours I won't have. Three more towels tomorrow, then hem and wash so I can wet finish. I want to put them under weights for a least a day to press out all the wonkiness.

Meanwhile, I got an email from Michael. He's shipped my UKI cones and the next warp will either be my newly devised Serape or Aloha color ways. I can't wait to try them both! Hello, my name is Sharon and I have an addiction.