Wednesday, October 31, 2012


The mornings are miserably dark and we can't wait until this weekend for the time change.   Why don't they pick a time and leave it alone like Arizona?  Anyway, I've dug out my "happy light" (multispectrum light for S.A.D.) and am back to morning spinning once again.  This is another attempt at art yarn.  It's some silk I had and then I plied the single with 60/2 silk to make it strong enough to go in a warp.
I wove another sample scarf, but this time it's 20 ends per inch and so the warp is evenly distributed at two threads in each dent.  I wanted to compare it to the sample I wove at 24 ends per inch which produced some interesting striping.  I also measured to know how much I was losing to the loom so I'd know how much longer to weave it.  You lose so many inches when you remove the tension and again and when you wash the scarf.
Here they are side by side.  You'll have to click for big to see the striping on the blue one, but even though it's hard to put on the 24 ends into a 20 end reed, I really do like the striping on the blue.  I'm ready to put on a long warp and weave away.  Pink?  Sorry Amy.  It's Alexia's favorite color so you know where this scarf is going.
And speaking of Alexia, I got to have lunch with her and her parents yesterday.  She has a new and wonderful haircut.  After lunch we went shopping for my much anticipated purchase, the one I've been saving all my craft money for.
I came home with an iPad 3.  It was so late by the time I got home that I really didn't get to play with it much but I did play with enough to know that it is going to be everything I had thought and probably more.  All the recipes that I've indexed in Pinterest will be right here for me when I'm cooking.  The keypad was an extra.  I bought it today at Best Buy, recommended by both Grover and Lindsey Cleveland, my iPad pushers.
I caught this on my way to town early this morning.  In a crazy mad turn of events, I got an email from Substitution Services at the school district and suddenly found myself in an interview yesterday morning, was fingerprinted and scheduled for an orientation this morning, which is where I was going when I took this picture.

I have a classroom management class next week.  Technically I could start subbing tomorrow but I realized that I was the only one in the orientation who hasn't had classroom experience and though there is plenty of information online, I'd prefer to have that additional session under my belt. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Plein Air Class

Erik took this picture on our way to his plein air class.  He had a book of Mark Twain quotes on the table where he had been reading when I picked up on Saturday.  I told him about the paper I wrote on "Roughing It" in college, so when we stopped for nosh at a mini-market with this statue, well you get the story behind the story.  It was too funny not to share. What is it he's whispering in my ear?
Long story short, I wanted to buy a painting of Erik's but when I saw in for real and realized it was in oil, I balked.  He's pretty expensive but said he could sell it in a local gallery and would paint mine as a commission.  The price was a significant discount, so I said since he's without wheels right now, that I'd offer him a ride to paint plein air. 
He said, as a matter of fact, I'm teaching a class for the art museum, and BTW, you can be my pupil and I'll critique you as if you were enrolled.  So here I am with his easel.
And here's my piece.  I know I'm a rank amateur but it was absolutely fantastic to push paints around in the outdoors - so much different from trying to force a photo into a painted image.  I pretended to the rest of the students that I knew what I was doing and they included me without qualification.  Meanwhile, Erik has just messaged me about another class and it appears that I can trade gas and transportation for instruction until he once again acquires wheels.  I've needed this to get me back to painting.
That was yesterday.   I've looked forward to today for months.  This is Chris and me - where to start?  She and I grew in in East San Diego County and went to 8th grade together.  Thanks to the network of Facebook and our mutual friendship of a certain Stan, we connected and today was possible.  She and I were in 8th grade choir where she sometimes played the piano.  She decided earlier this year to be a seasonal worker for Amazon here in Fernley and the plans for today were seeded.

She took an entire album of photos that she posted to Facebook.  Maureen took this and it's all I have.  I knew Maureen would enjoy Chris and I wasn't wrong so they ended up meeting me for Mass, followed by this lunch and then an afternoon walking through the arboretum.  The day and weather were lovely.  We walked and talked and finally sat and talked.  I cannot think of a more lovely present than friendships. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Getting My Bearings

This is what my part of the booth looked like.  I realized after the fact that my stuff really wasn't in keeping with the other items for sale in the courtyard.  We were next to a guy making kettle corn and the wrestling team had a barbeque on the other side of him.  This space was perfect for Carol and Kerry's  bird feeders as it was open on three sides so the sun was always on some of them.  I've signed up for an interior booth for next year.  I'm excited by the challenge.  I didn't do great but I did okay and know I can do better.
I've never been bitten by the scarf bug but the three other weavers at the craft fair all had scarves and I suddenly wanted more than anything to make some too.  All three of theirs were different so I put on my thinking cap and decided to weave up some of the Rayon/Silk that I bought from Laura about seven years ago.  I didn't know what to do with it so it's just been gathering dust.  She and I talked about dying it since the two fibers would take up the dye at different rates.

Melissa came up from SoCal for the SOAR (SpinOff Autumn Retreat) conference at Lake Tahoe. 
 She came a day early so we could spend some time together.  While I waited for her, I finished weaving the scarf sample.  After dinner we knitted and watched the Giants game.

Today we put the scarf sample into a dye bath and had a delightful surprise come out.  It did take up the dye at different rates and the silk is a much deeper shade.  Also, because I put 24 ends per inch into a 10 dent reed (it has 10 spaces per inch) I couldn't put two into each space so four spaces had three threads and that's what created the striping effect.  I love it but am going to do another sample with 20 ends per inch before I warp up for multiple scarves.  It's just Plain Weave but it doesn't look plain to me.
This morning we got out our spinning wheels and made yarn.  I haven't spun in several months.  I just haven't had a vision for what to spin, lacked enthusiasm and direction.  Melissa bought enthusiasm and direction in spades.  She's excited about the classes she's signed up for at the conference, showed me the art yarn she's made and also a book of how to make art yarn.
I dug out this bag of fiber I bought from Sue Flynn at Spindle Camp in June.  It's from Cottage Creations and is a mishmash of all kinds and colors of fibers.  I was finally ready to spin and glad to be interested and excited again.
This is how the first bat spun up.  I used long draw to allow the slubs to come through and then plied it with a 60/2 fine silk thread that I bought years ago.  It's fantastic.  The excitement and anticipation are back.  I'll use this for a contrast thread in a scarf warp.  Now I have to decide what that warp will be - not wool!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kick Off Tomorrow

The Country Garden colorway is what I hoped for.  I posted a picture of my warp fresh off the loom to Facebook and asked for feedback as it was looking pretty "rainbow sherbet" to me. The consensus was that the colors were faithful to "country garden" but one punny friend suggested I call them Rainbow Schubert because they're music for the eyes.
The Harvest Fields palette is so much more subdued than anything else I've done.  I'm looking for feedback this weekend before I make another yarn order next week.  I'll be curious to see how these go. 
Not all of us will be in the booth the whole time but it's going to be a tight fit when we're all three.  I had emailed the event coordinator with a question about our site and got a corrected map. We had gotten together on Sunday to draft out the space.  We learned that we're tucked against a planter in the courtyard which will affect traffic and access.  Erase.  Do over. 
I got an email the day before yesterday from the event coordinator saying we were four days and counting!  She had some reminder points but one threw us for a loop.  Table drapes are required to be to the floor.  That wasn't in the original information and left us scrambling.  Carol had sewed up our table covers but they certainly weren't floor length.  Kerry found these plastic ones at a party supply place on her lunch hour and they match.
Note to self.  Dress nice tomorrow.  Kerry took this one of our drafted space.  We moved tables and moved them again but this is the final arrangement.  Eight square feet for three people and inventory isn't much, but we decided we can fit in two chairs.  One of us gets to stand and that's where the Ibuprofen comes in - thanks for the suggestion Benita!

This is a major craft fair in our area and it also benefits the high school my kids attended.  It's a massive undertaking and completely managed by volunteers.  We're excited!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I realized that I haven't photographed my rag rugs because I've been so focused on getting the tea towels done.  These are three of the five I was able to finish, all from recycled cottons.  They measured 2' x 3' on the loom but because of their being from different cottons, even though preshrunk, each is all slightly different. And remember, I only started building inventory in June.
I pulled the last warp off the loom today.  I knew I was pushing an almost impossible deadline since I started winding the warp last Friday.  It was close but I did get them hemmed and done.  I won't do that again - ever.  These are my Country Gardens colorway.

I've appro-
priated the dining room for my staging area.  I bought a cash box yesterday and went to the Bonanza Casino on my way home to get change.  We're going to use the Square so I have no idea how much change we'll need.  This is my first major craft fair and the first time to collect tax.  

I love the whole idea of self suffi-
ciency.  While I'm weaving and weighing different craft fair venues, Ian is up in the Sierras cutting firewood. We have a furnace, but we elect to heat entirely by firewood.  Our woodstove and the open construction of our two-story house are ideal for this.  I don't know how Ian figured it out, but if you know him, you won't be surprised.  There's a naturally occurring black-oak stand within the NFS permitted area and that's what he's cutting from here. 

We're having an Indian summer.  That's rabbit brush which should have finished blooming last month.  We haven't had a freeze though the first one is predicted for tonight.  Ian swept through the garden this afternoon and pulled the late bloomers. I'd be worried if I weren't happy for the open-air conditions this weekend at the craft fair.

Big expense today.  We had to have the garage door replaced.  It was damaged and in spite of our trying to get the door to limp along, we realized that a replacement was eminent, and hopefully before the snow flies.  Out with the old, in with the new.  Whimper.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


These are the cones that I selected for my neutral colorway.  It's was an order but I decided to weave it once for the craft fair and then weave it again to fill the Christmas order.
It was an adjustment for me, working with such subtle colors, but after a while I found myself getting into it.  After all, mixing and building color is interesting.
I pulled the warp off the loom this afternoon.  There are some really pretty color combinations.  I've been weaving 3-4 hours a day to get this done.  It would be really embarrassing to show up at a craft fair and have no craft!  That pink roll in the background is my yoga mat and that's what makes it all work.  At some point I take a yoga break and let my back stretch and relax.
I've been pushing so hard these past couple of weeks that I hadn't come up with a new color combination to start warping today.  The first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning was that I really needed some inspiration. I phished though Google images while I sipped my coffee, trying to think of something that would have a palette I could fill from my cones, and then I thought of Country Gardens.
So this is my Country Garden palette.  I started winding the warp while the hemmed towels washed and dried.  I still had to iron them to wet finish, but I'm cheating a little as they still slightly damp and under a stack of books.  I'm not sure what to think of my warp chains because right now they look like the colors from a roll of tropical lifesavers.  Ian says he has faith in me, that I'll be able to pull it together. 
The weather, she is a'changin'.  We've been overcast for the past couple of days and today was first day since summer that it was too cool to weave with the window open in my studio.  Even with it closed, I still get beautiful light and a fantastic vista. 

We were going to drive up to our favorite restaurant in Beckwourth tomorrow to celebrate my birthday, but I told Ian tonight that I'll take a rain check. until after the craft fair when I can breathe and feel celebratory.  This is the BIG one and I'm celebrating that I still can weave 3-4 hours a day.  That's a gift in and of itself.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


Erik Holland is a local artist whose work I'm very fond of.  He's also the teacher I took acrylic classes from last spring.  He posted on Facebook some of the plein air work he's doing and I fell for this one of the Virginia Street bridge, which is marked for demolition at some point in the future.  When he said he was putting in Ryrie's, I knew it would be priced out of my range and said so.  He messaged me that he owed me a favor and named a price I couldn't refuse.

He messaged me yesterday that it was done and it was ready for pick up so while I was in town today, I went by his studio.  I was really disappointed.  It didn't occur to me that he would have painted in oil.  He was fine with that and said he'd go ahead and put in the gallery and paint one for me in acrylics, same price, he'd treat it as a commission. 

He lives in the Riverside artists lofts and doesn't have a car so I said as I was getting ready to leave that I could do him the favor of transportation to paint sometime.  That sometime turned into a concrete time.  I'm going to drive him to a plein air class he's teaching for the Nevada Museum of Art the end of this month.  The bad news is that I have to pick him up at 8:15 in the morning.  The good news is that I get to participate in the class and he'll loan me an easel.  I need to pull out my sketch pad and warm up before then!
I got the reds and purples warp on and going but I didn't have a clear idea of what I was doing.  The purple clearly is wrong for the colorway of Red Hat Society.  The first towel looked enough like Strawberry Shortcake that I did a pink, ice lilac and lilac before I decided to weave off the rest entirely in red.
And that's exactly what I've been going, alternating between the two reds in the warp.  I'm hoping there are six ladies who would like to buy their Red Hat Society friends a Christmas gift. 

These are the two reds and they're different enough that I decided to use both.  I wish I had done all ten towels in reds - oh well.  I took samples from both to ask Erik for their real color names since obviously Lipstick is merely a catalog name.  The left one is scarlet and the right is alizarin crimson. 
 I had to find time to make soap Friday.  I was really low on Lemon Bar and since soap takes three weeks to cure, that was the last day I could make it and take it to the fair.  I stopped by the Artists Coop today to see if they needed more.  Their back stock was gone so I left a dozen bars and can't make any more until I order more supplies.  I will never again enter a major craft fair with only four months to prepare, starting from scratch.  Never!

October is here.  I love this month.  It's still warm due to the high pressure system over the West Coast, but that's supposed to change tomorrow and bring in the real October.  Our CSA box now has pumpkins and squash.  It's been too hot to turn on oven and bake them - ham and acorn squash coming right up - and I'll finally be able to bake break again.  I love this month!!