Friday, February 26, 2016

Taking Care of Business

Thursday was a rare sunny day and I enjoyed my walk all the more for it. There's some construction going up on the corner and the more they work, the more we realize that our neighbor is building a marijuana grow house. I have no idea what the implications are for that.
It was so nice when I got back that I dug out some of the roving I just dyed. Time to try the wheel on the deck.
The weather could not have been accommodating so I spun all 3 ounces. I was planning on a Verde Gris effect though I won't know until it's plied.
Yesterday was another lovely day so I devoted the morning to yard maintenance and clean-up. No one has pruned anything in years so the bushes are misshapen because their branches can't hold the weight. We've had two branches splint just this winter and clean up is slow. The good news is that at least one of the daylilies that I brought from our yard in Red Rock has made it. I also brought two Catmints (Nepita) from our yard and they too are growing.
Susan Wilson's book on crackle weave arrived on Tuesday and my favorite thing in it is this baby blanket. She had said during the class and said that she used five colors in the warp and the tabby weft. The pattern weft is "softball" cotton. I decided to make my last sample emulate this using some 3/3 cotton I have.
The hardest part is keeping all the shuttles untangeled and off the floor. There's no place to put them on a little loom with a harrow warp. I'm optimistic that it will be easier on a standard floor loom.
My lap juggles a couple and I often hold two at once. This is the baby blanket sampler on the last bit of warp. I'm still trying to decide what to weave for great grandson Owen. I need to hurry. He's already turning over.
I was especially anxious to finish my sampler as I have encroached on Ian's hobby room in an overwhelming way. The other half of the table is covered with my new project which is to pull photos from about six places into one album, or two.
I had lost a box of photos in the move and could hardly stand to think about it. Ian's Valentine's Day present to me was to open the wardrobe box of his clothes still unpacked in the garage to see if the movers had put the box in the bottom. They had.

When this space opened up under the window I ordered a sewing table so I can leave my machine set up all the time. It won't take me long to finish up this project but it's also not a priority. I bought commercial fabric and cut it according to Anita Luvera Mayer's book, Cloth from the Hands that Weave. It will be my test kimono.
Yard work is starting to take up some of my weaving time and I still have ten towels to weave. It's raining as I type and will for several days so the decision is made for me - this time. Tomorrow Ian and I are attending a four-hour "Plan your Garden" class at COCC. We just finished the five-week tai chi class called Tai Chi for Diabetes that we started last month, also through COCC. Monday we will join the Oregon Tai Chi Wushu studio so we can continue because we can only get better at it. At the moment we look like gawky birds with injured wings.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Crackle Weave Workshop with Susan Wilson

We were very fortunate to rent the beautiful Diocese of Baker retreat center for our workshop. It's in Powell Butte, a rural community in Central Oregon 18 miles from our house.
The multi-purpose building on the right is where we set up 17 looms for a three-day workshop on Crackle Weave with the delightful Susan Wilson who has also written a book on the subject.
With all the natural light, it's certainly the best facility we could have arranged for a weaving workshop and the price is right. Oh, and you can rent it for family reunions - check their website for more information.
Even the kitchen was top notch with everything we could have wanted including two refrigerators.
These are some of Susan's samples to show what Crackle looks like. She calls it a squishy draft that you can push around and make it do what you want it to. I just know I want to weave something like that baby blanket on the left for my new baby great-grandson.
Each session went from 9:30 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon, though many of us came when Patty opened the room up at 8:30 and stayed until 5:00. Subtracting the four hours of lecture each day, that left a whole lot of weaving time.
Susan provided the threadings in advance and each of us came ready to go, with our looms warped according to one of her five options. She asked us to use 10/2 perle cotton for warp and gave suggested yarns for weft. With our different yarns and the varied threading we produced quite unique results. This is Cindy's loom and of course I love her bright colors.
Laura chose subtle colors that were very close in color and value. Periodically I walked around to see what Crackle looked like on other looms.
This is my sample of Crackle woven as Overshot. Nothing subtle about my colors. I still have a difficult time recognizing the grist of yarn and I thought my warp was 8/2, however it was in fact 5/2 which is pretty fat compared to the 10/2 that she asked us to use and so my samples were different from the get-go.
This is my little Dorset which has turned out to be a great workshop loom. (Thank you Dee Jones for finding it for me!) I had sticky notes everywhere. Yesterday morning Patty sent out an email that she was up early and was going to open up the place and be weaving by 7:30. It was just 6:15 and I was on my first cup of coffee. I hustled and got there at 7:45. It was a long day and my brains are still scrambled.
One of the things that distinguishes this structure is it's tie-up. On four shafts it must be 34,14,12,23 as opposed to the standard tie-up we all know and love - 12,23,34,14. She insisted we stop saying 14 for the last in the sequence and use the correct 41 - more confusion for me. All of us with direct tie-up looms including table looms had to write charts showing the two harnesses that had to be lifted. We had lam envy!! After writing a dozen conversion charts for direct tie-up I will never forget this. Repetition is a great learning tool. I've struggled to understand profile drafts and drawdowns, but with each sample and new conversion chart, it started to make sense.
I wish I had ordered Susan's book in advance of the workshop. She's a superior teacher and she wrote the book to supplement her teaching, so she referenced page numbers for those who had brought their books. I ordered a copy Wednesday night after I got home and plan to order 10/2 perle cotton and do another sampler on one of my Gilmores (so I don't have use conversion charts). I took copious notes including page numbers for when my book arrives. This is only my third weaving workshop and how lucky I am. I learned a ton.
This is another sample with different threading, different colors and different results but it's still crackle. Mary Meigs Atwater introduced this weave structure and also gave it it's name. She thought it looked like the crackled glaze of salt fired pottery. Yeah, I don't see it either.
These are more of Susan's samples. Crackle has tremendous potential to blend colors together and the variations seem to be endless. However! It requires at least two shuttles. It was difficult to manage multiple shuttles on our little looms so you could hear shuttles hitting the floor at random times.
I took four shuttles, two which were Little Man. I bought them at Black Sheep Gathering from Mr Howell while he was still alive but I rarely use them. Gillian adored them and bought them from me so I can now buy that second Schacht end-feed shuttle that I've been wanting. We were both happy. After she packed up she came all the way back in to give me a big appreciative hug. Which is ironic since I couldn't stand the shuttles but felt responsible for them because of their history.
Linda stopped by the Newport Market yesterday morning to pick up some more snacks and bought these to our great amusement. Anything from Newport is good but these had that little added something. Oh I do love living in Central Oregon - so so much.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Dye Day

Laura called me as she was leaving her house in Prineville which is about an hour from here to say she'd be over as soon as she was done at the Social Security office, however long that might take. It took no time at all and she rolled in the yard as I was cleaning up my breakfast dishes.

Set-up took a while, partly because she was instructing as she went. Ian found a six-pack of "ketchup" squirt bottles at Cash-and-Carry which were invaluable. Laura measured the dye by eye, pouring into the squirt bottles and mixing at the same time. She did samples in a cup using syringes so she could measure cc.s and so I could write down "recipes."
This one of the colorways, ready for the steamer.
In order to keep the dyes from contaminating each other, we had to blot the daylights out of it before rolling up the plastic wrap. The paper towels were so pretty, it was a shame we had to throw them away.
It really was a beautiful morning so we weren't in a hurry, but we should have been because by the time we were finished, it was cold and windy. That's when we went Ian took us to lunch.
We hung the roving still in plastic to let it cool down and then after we got back, removed the plastic to let it continue to drip. I draped the rovings over plastic coat hangers and left them in the garage overnight.
These are my results. Instead of doing the five single solid colors as I had planned, I followed some of the colorways that Laura has already created. The two on the left are the same, as are the two in the center. The one on the right is all the mixed dye that we had left. I had planned to use the colors in these to blend with other dyed wools but I may spin one of these as is and ply with with a silk thread - just to see what happens.
My great granddaughter Alexia cradles her new baby brother. I now have a great grandson - Owen - and he's every bit as beautiful as his sister.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Dying to Dye

I was browsing Cindie Kitchen's Etsy store to see what other kinds of fiber she has (for future reference) when I came across this bump of roving that she had dyed way back when she dyed roving as a business.  It's Merino and Tencel and some of my favorite colors at a discounted price.  It's does need a little purple I think.
Nobody in our family drinks juice so I finally broke down, went to Bi-Mart and bought eight of these priced at 2/$4.  I really want to dye my white roving this week.
Glug, glug, glug, down the sink went the "juice."
Today was the day.  I've only ever dyed with Procion acid dyes and was flummoxed by these "primary colors" from Jacquard.  I crossed my fingers and called Laura, hoping she would pick up the phone!
She tried to explain some of her favorite blends and I was madly jotting note when she asked if I could just mix the dyes today and when she comes to the Social Security Office in Bend this Friday, she'll come over and help me blend the colors I would like to achieve.
The painters mask was miserable.  I think I had it on wrong but I once got started, I wasn't willing to take a risk and mess with it.  It's old and if the elastic broke, I'd be stuck and I really don't want to breathe these tiny little dye particles.  All instructions on dyeing warn you to wear a mask and I'm not a risk taker.
In the end the final result almost looks like the original bottles.  I have eight dyes:  golden yellow, teal, cherry red, turquoise, yellow sun, brilliant blue, hot fushsia and gold ochre.  If I need black I'll just use a couple grains of my Mother MacKenzie black dye powder. Between now and I Friday I'll get to the dollar store and buy some squirt bottles and mesh laundry bags.  More hurry up and wait.
The Navy blue and white roving that I blended is turning into a really pretty scarf.  I'm pleasantly surprised and especially like the pop of white from the soil noil.  I probably should just have stuck with weaving towels in this short time period as I'm not going to have a lot of either scarves or towels.
These towels bring my total count up to 43.  I had planned to make my current "desert sunrise" warp be the last one before the fiber show and even though I'm following from my notes, it's a disappointment.  I blame bad note keeping - not the first time that's happened.
We've had several unusually warm and lovely days.  It was 65 yesterday which set a record, but that is changing today.  My back hurt after I finished standing on the tile floor mixing the dyes so I made time for a visit to the hot tub. The birds were singing and the sky was blue.  Much better now :)

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Get 'er Done!

Ian and I attended a Bend High band fundraiser Saturday night.  The theme was Mardi Gras and the dinner included a dance floor and 22-piece Big Band band.  The band hasn't gone on yet in this shot, but when they did, we were astonished at how many couples poured onto the dance floor.  Apparently the band has a following with local dance clubs.  

Josh and Missy were two of the five planners for this first-time event.  The goal is an instrument library for kids who can't afford to purchase them, and they had a businessman promise to donate an amount equal to what they raised.  A table seated eight but there are only six in our family so our realtor and his wife got roped in.  
Gen is Missy's running partner so they were pretty agreeable.
Lots of people got roped in as the frantic planners looked at disappointing ticket sales and hustled everyone they knew.  To their surprise they nearly sold out during the three days prior.  And in fact, people showed up that night and some parents forfeited the seats they had paid for so they could be sold again.  This is a very nice Elks Lodge and I'm sure the venue helps.
I'm going to push to make as many scarves from handspun as I can in the next six weeks so I ordered this Panda roving, a blend of Wool and Tencel from Cindie.  I think it will dye nicely and I'm anticipating a soft yarn.  Cindie included a cute little bag as a "thank you" gift.  A piece of metal ruler forms the closure so it opens and closes with just a pinch.  I promptly put my tape measure, eye drops and dental floss in them so I can find them easily in my purse, and yes, I use all three equally.
It's been a frustration to me that these prints that I'm so very fond of hang in the bedroom where I only see them with I'm going through or going to bed.
At the same time it has frustrated me that this giant wall has just a single picture.  We didn't want to poke nail holes in the wall when we didn't know what to hang and three months have passed.
I got on a picture-hanging kick again this morning and reloated the prints here.  The oil painting belong to my kids' great grandmother and they thought I should have it, so I have dutifully hung it.  The only room where we haven't hung pictures in the guest room and if we hang everything we still have it's going to look like a salon, floor to ceiling.  It's time to start culling the herd and I hate to think about it.
We got our license plates this morning.  We applied for Oregon registration on December 10th because Nevada notified us they were cancelling our registration.  Boy were we annoyed as we just renewed it in August at $335 for one year with no rebate.  The cancellation date was December 23rd and it was because we no longer had Nevada insurance.  Oregon is $187 for two years with no smog check, and it's a one-size-fits-all.  All cars pay the same fee.

We had called DMV several times over the past six weeks as we drove on a temporary pass which expired today.  In the call Ian placed last week the guy said they were lacking proof of our VIN inspection.  Ian told him he had a copy in his hand and that seem to get the ball rolling as our check was cashed.  Yesterday when Ian called they couldn't find our application for registration.  He had to go in this morning, time was up.  What a mess but it's over and Jane is now an officially registered Oregonian.  Me thinks their old system can't handle the rapid rate of growth in this state.
These came off the loom this morning.  I washed and dried the cloth and have cut it into towels to hem tomorrow.  MaƱana!
I couldn't resist sharing this cheerful Macy's employee.