Thursday, February 28, 2013

Farewell to February

I stopped at Costco yesterday on my way home and picked up yet another shelving unit.  At $30 I knew I couldn't go wrong.  I had to stop ignoring the failure of that dresser in the closet as fiber storage.  The moths were having a picnic. And I love the library catalog on top - where would it go? 
It got really messy.  I had to pull everything out and I found a lot of needles in stalled projects that I had forgotten about.  It was time to get serious about what I was storing.
It spilled out onto the landing and into the guest room where I was relocating the dresser.  I was about three hours into it and realized that I had to finish it off.  There would be no weaving today.  I can't believe I thought there would be.  My goal was to get wool into plastic bins.
At this point I thought I was done and then I noticed that the very heavy library catalog was bowing the shelf and had to be relocated.
I'm not sure this is the permanent arrangement but it's the solution for today.  I threw a lot of stuff away.  Yesterday was trash pick-up and I've half filled the garbage can already.  I just stopped thinking about it and let stuff go that needed to go.
The library catalog has been relocated to the cart that my drum carder sits on.  That may not work in the long term but at least the boxes under my sewing table are gone and I can actually put my feet under it.  I don't use the carder very often.  We'll see.
There's no room on the walls to mount my warping board so it sits behind the table with my umbrella swift and both the bobbin winder and ball winder.  I did find a place to stash my mini-mangle between this table and the one with the card catalog.
When I need to use it, I set my warping board on this crate, angled at a slant against the wall.  It has worked well for me over the past couple of years.  When I'm done I return it to it's spot on the floor.  It's what you do when you have a studio the size of a postage stamp.

Books read in February:

Dove Keepers by Alice Hoffman
Papo Pago Tango by John Enright
A Gift of Hope by Danielle Steel
Hard Laughter by Anne Lamott

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fixin' - Again

I've been fooling around with colors, looking at Google images for both crocus and hyacinth.  After pulling off the sea glass green towels, I'm ready for some spring color.
After endless weeks of grey days, the sun is finally here.  I haven't walked the dogs in the cold days because it hurts to breath so was thrilled to finally have a chance to get out again.
We walked down to the mail boxes and then came back again.  This is the school bus stop, I find it ironic that the vehicle attached to the bike rack is a quad.  That's the vehicle of choice out here - you won't see any bikes.
Self portrait.
After our walk, I went back to work on the rag rug.  I figured I could knock this one off in no time and was appreciating this shuttle.  It's one of those that Laura gave me after her mother passed away.  I haven't used it before and it's perfect!  And then I noticed that a couple warps had broken, so I mended them and then noticed that a couple more had broken.  I had only woven 20" and had eight broken warps.  I saw the handwriting on the wall.  This was old warp and was probably further weakened by the hot tea I used to stain it.  It sickened me but I knew I had to cut it off.
I needed to do something happy so I wound a dishtowel warp in a hyacinth colorway.  I love to dress the loom just as much as I love to weave on it so enjoyed seeing these colors come together.  And then I quickly wound a five yard warp for three looper rugs, which I probably should have saved for another day.  At least that's what my back is saying tonight.  So I'm fixing to weave two projects and wish I had space for a third loom.
I have never received a box from UPS in this condition before. 
It's a good thing this is what was inside.  I'm so excited about these colors.  I have to be in town tomorrow but you know what I'm going to be working on this Thursday.  

I can't weave on Friday either because good news - I'm a library sub at Traner Middle School that day and again next Monday and Tuesday.  I knew that there would be no library subs until the entire catalog conversion was completed in February.  I started this journey last August and the wheels turn slow.
 I have new books in my fiber library, courtesy of Benita Story.  She had an extra copy of one and included the other as good measure.  I cannot think of a good reason to weave rag rugs and I don't understand why they get under my skin.  They do not sell well at craft fairs and yet I am compelled to weave them. 
These are two brand new books.  The one the left I purchased for our guild and it will be part of a scholarship fund raiser.  I don't get to keep it but I get to read it for a week until I have to pass it on.  I buy, they pay.  The one on the right just came from Amazon today and it's all mine.  It's perfect for me and my four-harness loomdom. 
This is me visiting with Laura.  She called tonight and so I put the phone on speaker and pulled off the rag weft that I'm salvaging from the failed rug warp.  I have to say that if you have to savage (note that savage and salvage are only one letter apart) a warp that it's good to have a friend along.

Stop me if you've heard this one.  So a knot walks into a bar.  I mean this guy is totally frazzled, at the end of his rope.  He doesn't know which end is up.   "Are you ready to order?" asks the barkeep.  "I'm a frayed not." he responds.  (It helps if you read it aloud.)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Messy Weaving Life

I've gone back to spinning with my "happy" light each morning.  I've knitted in front of my happy light for the past couple months but find that it's the combination of spinning and the light that seem to energize me.  This morning the inevitable day came.  I had to put on a new drive band, something I've put off for years.  I've draped the old one there to show how pathetic the old band had become.  I had built up in my mind how traumatic the change would be, and of course, it wasn't.  Isn't that so typical?
I've decided that what I really need to do now that Lilith is a free loom is to weave a rag rug runner.  It should be a quick project to weave with most of the time involved in cutting, sewing and folding strips. I want to get the prep done so I can put this all away.  My work area is a mess and I hate it.  The cardboard box is loopers - an upcoming project.
It doesn't help that the studio is a mess too.  I've finally finished the warp that was on Maudie Mae for two months.  This winter has been a fog for me.  I'm in the process of hemming ten towels.  I find the easiest way to turn the hems is to lower the ironing board and sit at it.  The towels are a frightful mess until they're finished.  I'm always amazed how they clean up - ugly ducklings, they are.
This is the beginning of my new rug.  I'm just not capable of totally random colors so have selected blues and reds with a touch of yellow.  We rented the movie Argo and watched it this afternoon.  I wound eight pinwheels of sewn strips - I cannot watch with idle hands.  I am not a fan of suspense movies so was putty for Life of Pi.  I was surprised at how much I liked Argo.  Tomorrow all will be revealed.  We liked Beasts of the Southern Wild but I'm afraid it's too artsy for the Academy. 
This is what the looper rugs will look like.  I'd like to have at least a half dozen for my October craft fair.  I was sorting and cleaning the loopers that Hilary sold me and realized I needed more yellow. She sold me two bags of just yellow and I'm not going to start weaving until they arrive.  I think yellow is the ticket.  I love looper rugs.  This is ours, a bathmat.  It's as functional as it is beautiful.  

In the past month I joined OLLI, and through it have a library card for the university library, have already checked out my first book, and have enjoyed 12 hours of a fabulous geology lecture series.  And I also decided after spontaneous deliberation that my Lenten fast would be Facebook.  I'm rather sorry because I can't undo it and I miss the interaction a lot.  On the other hand, I cannot believe how much time that has freed up.

Monday, February 18, 2013


I finished with the first scarf in plain weave, using multi-
colored warp and a solid weft from stash yarns.  I decided that since Log Cabin is a patterned plain weave, I'd warp for that and weave a sample to demonstrate future options.  Oops.  I didn't have any idea how clueless I was in using two different threads in a continuous warp.  I wish I knew someone who had a book because our library doesn't have anything on rigid heddles and I don't want to buy one.  As you can see, I had serious warp tension problems.

I know it can be done because I've seen the fruits.  I'm not teaching this technique but will at least take the scarf to show the potential.  I unfortunately used a really stretchy superwash merino knitting yarn that was ill-suited.  When the tension was removed, it shrank by 30% - yikes - but I can turn my mistakes into teaching opportunities.  The class in scheduled for next month.  I plan to get out to Jimmy Beans this week to select yarns for class materials, if the snow storm coming in tonight isn't too bad.  I know what *not* to use.  It's like - I'm so glad we had this conversation!
Our kids from San Francisco came out to spend the weekend with us.  Michael has a new job - you know how that goes - they weren't able to confirm until earlier this week that they were coming. Ian just bought this battery-operated kids quad from Neighbor Tom, whose grandsons have outgrown it.
Tom's boys hadn't used it in a long time and the question was - would there be any juice in the battery.  Noah was so anxious - you can see the anticipation.  No pressure, Grandpa.
And it was all systems go.  Noah lives in the Mission District in a second-
story walk-up.  He does have a bike but he can only ride it one block at a time and then wait for this parents to catch up before getting the go-ahead.  You can see what this means on his face.  His patient daddy spent a couple hours over the time they were here, walking along side as Noah puttered along our dirt roads.
Over the last four years, Noah has developed a very special relationship with our neighbors' daughter.  He wanted us to call her the evening they got here and then was anxious all through breakfast.  I called Joe and said, I have a very excited little seven-year-old boy who desperately hopes Hiroka is available for a play date.  He said - Hiroka would love that!  

We went hunting for arrowheads, which ended up being a collection of pretty rocks.  Both of them came home with a couple pounds of different colored pieces of chert.  It's like collecting rock Easter eggs.  They played hard for four hours, finishing with a indoors game of hide-and-seek.  Hiroka always hid on the sofa under afghans which had us giggling so hard that Ian took a picture and sent it to Joe.  The kids were shrieking with laughter and we were caught up in the joy of that simple game.
Joe emailed back a while later - I think Hiroka doesn't quite grasp the concept, but she had a great time and arrived home very tired.  It's those little sweet nuggets, hidden in usual places that make life so rich, dontcha think?
And to top it off, I received a mailer on Saturday with this gem in it.  My friend Stephanie had said on Facebook that she had discovered something very pleasant after moving a stove.  The person who guessed it would win a prize, and that person was me.  Steph has an Etsy store where she sells hand-dyed rovings and yarns.  There are 435 yards here and I will do the math to turn this into a woven scarf.  This picture doesn't do it justice but there's a fleck of angelina which provides a subtle sparkle.  Almost forgot.  I said dead mouse?  She said -half a dead mouse!

The happy weekend hit a snag on Sunday.  DD Chris alerted us that her brother-in-law was being careflighted - would we please pray.  Unfortunately, he never made the flight.  He was dead on site of a dirtbike accident in his favorite recreational area with his brother and a group of friends. Our newspaper reported him as being found by a search and rescue team and identification was withheld upon notification of next of kin.  I know newspapers are struggling to retain relevancy,  but that release was painful to an already distraught widow.  The family is in a state of circling the wagons.  Family.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I Really Don't Know What I'm Doing

I was antici-
pating a delivery of sock loopers so when I left for town and Ian offered to pick up the package from Lynn's ranch (where Jan, our mail lady leaves large packages so we don't have to drive back into town for them), I wholly assumed they had arrived.
I got home after 10:00 from my guild meeting Wed-
nesday.  Thursday morning Ian had gone in early to the union office.  I realized the moment I grabbed the  box that it was heavier than the 10 pounds of loopers I had ordered.  It was this nifty kitchen cart I ordered from the Costco online store and I forgot about.
I loved the cart from the moment I saw it in the Costco Connection magazine and knew it would be perfect for our kitchen -  a relief to the congestion in the cabinet shelves.

The loopers arrived and I essentially got what I paid for, factory waste. It will take weeks to get these sorted out but the bathmats will be beautiful.

And on the rigid heddle loom journey,  I got a warp on and experi-
mented with weft.  I want to have educational samples for the class next month.  This was what to do and not to do sample. I hope my next sample is all "what to do"

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Hello February

We went to the Nevada Historical Society on Saturday to hear Eric Holland talk about his Frederic Delongchamps installation.  He was a prominent architect in Nevada history, responsible for nine courthouses and many old respected buildings of his are still in use. 
This is the Wadsworth School in Wadsworth.  Eric reminds me of a Nevada Wayne Thebault.  If you're familiar with the popular 20th century artist, I'll bet you can see why.  This painting was marked sold.
This was my favorite in the exhibit.  It's of the old art deco post office, right on the river.  Eric painted it several times but this one spoke volumes to me.  The building was recently purchased by developers and will be preserved as a commercial venue.  We're all pleased to see it rescued from the fate of so many buildings past their prime.

Ian was really pleased that his friend John MacDonald drove over from Grass Valley to spend the weekend with us.  They used to work together in the reference department at the main library and have many MacDonald/Campbell jokes between them, if you're familiar with the history.  If not - don't bother.  It's bloody.

We had our first ever Super Bowl party on Sunday, most retired library folks, but it was a fabulous first, even if our chosen team didn't earn rings.  I obviously forgot to pull out the camera.  Marian - yes, the librarian - makes insane BBQ.  She comes from a long line of the tradition and brought what she learned from her daddy.  She started preparing it three weeks ago.  Is that possible?!  I thought I didn't like BBQ, too greasy, too sticky, too sweet.  Wrong!  I was wrong.  She says she's going to bring it to The Gathering this Labor Day.  I'm already counting the days.

I didn't know John and didn't meet him until the Nevada County Fair last August.  Ian and John visited for hours.  It was confusing since Ian was meeting up with his old friend John MacDonald and I was hooking up an old school chum, John McConnell.  Thanks to Facebook, we've made these reconnections.

Sunday morning John and I were chatting, and realized we're both children of German immigrants.  I know he's passionate about genealogy and suddenly we're ferreting out where my dad's grandfather came from - same place as John's.  And they came to the same county in Iowa as John's - I know he's sniffing on this trail.  We might be related.  No, no, no.  I'm not going to take up genealogy.  But it's interesting. 
I managed to finish the baby blanket yesterday.  I thought the shower was last Saturday and when I realized it was this upcoming Saturday, I did my best to weave it off.  It's wider than my shoulders like and I struggled with the 16-treddle pattern.  Chrissie bought baby clothes yesterday and was going to overnight them today.  I was motivated.
There's so much behind the scenes stuff in weaving that I'm most people don't think about but you need to cut the fringe.
You need to twist the fringe, and thanks to the battery operated Conair braid twister, a blanket this size only takes a little over an hour.
Then it gets a trip through the washer and dryer.  This tweed yarn is a cotton/acrylic blend.  It will launder beautifully over time but hand weaving always looks a little raw at first which why traditionally weavers have the final task of "wet finishing."  It's where you iron the wet product dry.  Groan - very loud groan.
This is where I tell you now much I LOVE my mini mangle from Singer.  I haven't used it much since I bought it but the time I save in finishing one project makes it worth it in my eyes. 
Today was one of those all-day in town days.  I left here at 9:00 in the morning and got home after 10:00.  I won't bore you with the details but one thing I came home with was this.  Jimmy Beans has loaned me this Cricket knitters loom from their inventory.  They now carry the Schacht Cricket rigid heddle looms and have asked me teach a class next month.  I'm so excited.  Melissa and I Facetimed on our iPads yesterday and she showed me the three scarves she just finished on her's.  I think this is an excellent gateway for knitters who think they might want to weave.  I hope so!