Saturday, April 29, 2017

Spring is slow coming

I've posted pictures periodically from the dirt work going on in the subdivision next to us, getting ready for their final stage of construction.  They've gone from a rocky uneven area to flat land with parcels demarcated, ready for homes.  What captures my attention is their ability to dramatically change the landscape.  This is the end of the line of development for the time being.
The field where we enjoy our walks is slated for development but I'm enjoying it for now.  I startled this couple who were scurrying to get away from me.
The road runs along the irrigation ditch and that's where they went to escape me.
And off they went.  I enjoyed having their company and I'm sure the feeling wasn't mutual.
I still have to put my packing paper in a sling at the back of my loom because Maddie is still in love with tearing it to shreds.  I can't remember who suggested this hack for I am grateful for it nevertheless.
I was still pulling this off from the cloth beam and was surprised when I stepped back and realized that she had already fallen asleep on it.  She loves to help me weave.
That warp was for a commissioned table runner but I liked it so much that I made a short one for us - the colors of spring.
Our yard is slowly showing signs of spring but it's not fast enough for me.  I bought this hanging basket at Costco even though it'll be another month before we can start hanging them outside.  We're hanging it outside on days that are warm enough and otherwise it's in the house.  Their happy faces make me happy.

Today was International Tai Chi Day so our school held the Saturday morning classes in the park.  It was pretty blustery and cool when we first started but we started shedding layers after the first hour.  I've always wanted to do Tai Chi in a park.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Making Color

 Here are a couple of the finished pieces from my color reduction class that ended last week.  This is from Shari who is a fine arts painter.
This is Jim's, a former graphic artist.  We're given a piece of wood to carve and the rest comes from inside.  I thought their work represented them very well.
And this is my big red rooster, Mr Doodle Doo.  I want to do him again and increase the number of reductions but my attention has already been snagged by something else.
After standing on concrete for 2 1/2 hours the night before, I further punished my feet by attending Liz Moncrief's warp painting class the next day, from 9:00 to 3:30.  She sure made warp painting simple and not fussy at all.  The two colors on this are lemon yellow and aquamarine.  She showed us how to use pressure to squeeze the colors into a middle area where they blended to make a third color, in this case green.  It has a tidepool look.
We worked in teams and Heidi and I were just flying by the seat of our pants.  We chose Pagoda Red and Amber Waves for our second warp.  As Liz was mixing up the solution she commented that we were going to get a sunset.  After blending the color, I absolutely did.
This odd yarn was imported from France for Crystal Palace yarns and is 44/40/16 rayon/cotton/polyester.  I bought it from Mary Wonser last year for $1 at the guild's Weftover Sale and I no idea what possessed me to buy or dye it.  It loved dye, was an absolute sponge!  The dye struck instantly.  There was no negotiating with this warp!

As if I hadn't punished my feet enough, I went to Earth Day.  Ian had been there all day setting up and volunteering in the March for Science booth.  I came with my friend Joanie just for the march.  On remarkably short notice, we had a turnout of close to a thousand people, lots of kids and families.  Marching through town we had further support as the cars drove by, honking and drivers calling out their support.  Boy, were my dogs barking.
Joanie and I came at 2:30, the last half hour of Earth Day.  We were sporting our Team Campbell t-shirts at the March for Science booth.  The main Team Campbell was in Washington DC with subgroups in Boston, San Francisco and Bend.  Team Campbell was organized by Jim Behnke, editor for Neil Campbell, author of Campbell's Biology and also Ian's brother, which is how there came to be a March for Science and Team Campbell in Bend.

I was wearing my knitted wool headband that says "science" on both sides and itched like mad.  What a terrible idea!  Our "scientist" was Dr Chaput, professor of infectious diseases and anatomy and physiology, and she was great sport, answering random questions off the cuff.

I rinsed out the warps this morning and hung them over the ladder to drip dry, hoping to beat the rain.  They look pretty shriveled and pathetic at this stage.

They only look marginally better here, half dry, hanging in the guest shower.  I'm pleased with the tidepool and sunset colors.  The splotchy purple and gold is even uglier in real life.  I cannot imagine it being any less ugly after woven and I absolutely don't know what to say about The Coat of Many Colors on the right. Several weavers have assured me that the most disappointing painted warp often is the happiest result when woven.  I realize as I look at this that I have eight scarves to weave which sounds like an awful lot to me.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Printmaking and new toys

Last Thursday was the second session in the Color Reduction in Block Printing class.  I knew we were going start carving our 8 x 10" wood blocks so I came prepared with a tracing of this greeting card.  I traced it in the same orientation as the card so it will print in the reverse - the bird will be looking East.
I finished carving and inked it with yellow, going from light to dark.  The areas that I have already removed will be white on the paper.  Half the class was doing linoleum cuts and when they were all done, the press settings had to be changed so wood block folk could print, but unfortunately the jig wasn't deep enough to work with wood.  Julie our instructor promised to make a new one before the next class.  It's just as well as I can see a lot of chatter and noise - need to remove more wood.
Since all A6 Ambassadors (volunteers) are part time now I have every other Monday free, so Ian and I decided to go out for lunch.  There are so many good places to eat here, but we try to hold it to twice a month, motivated more by body mass than the wallet.  We ate at Broken Top Bottle Shop (yum!) and the business next door is a yoga studio.  One wonders how this works with a couple feet of snow!

We ran some errands ending at Costco and since we've been talking about updating our three-year-old iPhones we went to the cell kiosk to see what the current options are.  It turns out that 17th was the last day of Costco's rebate offer - $200 for your old phone.  These are the 7s and the old ones are in the mail.  The papa bear phone is Ian's - New toys!
Last night I was able to print my first two colors. I removed all the bits that at I wanted to stay yellow and then  inked it with red and ran it through the press again.  There's a whole system of "registering" the paper so that the block strikes in the same place every time but I'd have to do that as a separate whole post!

We each are making four prints but the one the second from the left is pretty much ruined by excessive ink on the brayer - a disappointing lesson that I won't repeat.
This is it's state after the second run through the press.  Tomorrow night is our final class where we will finish carving, then print and critique.  I knew I would feel rushed if I waited until then so brought it home to remove everything that I want to stay red and yellow.

When I ink it with black, the only thing that will get inked is what I haven't carved away.  I also cut a little deeper into the areas where I don't want the black to reach.  I need a couple of additional tools plus the sharpening stones. New toys!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Still gloomy, still busy indoors

Last week I wound five warps for a warp painting workshop next Friday.  We are only supposed to bring four warps but after I finished this one, cone from origins unknown and person not remembered, I had cut out six knots and was having serious misgivings.
I dug through my stash and came up with these three balls of cotton knitting yarn, also "donated."  It's 100% cotton and a little bit stretchy for weaving, but it's a cellulose fiber class.  I wound a back-up warp just to be safe.
This is another rayon/cotton novelty yarn but without the texture.  A additional warp is already in a baggy, three 3" bouts of undyed Tencel to be painted.
I bought this cone of Crystal Palace for a $1 at the Guild "Weft-Over" sale last summer.  Liz Moncrief is the teacher and she suggested that one warp be already dyed, pastels preferred.  The yarn is 44/40/16 viscose, cotton and polyester, imported from France.  I suspect this cone has been around for quite a while - it came from the stash of a retiring weaver..  I'm really interested to see if there's a swan in this ugly duckling.

I'm happy to report that I have finally finished my NCAA sweater.  The pattern is called Quick Sand - click to go to the Ravelry link.  The gauge is 15 st. = 4" but I used Cascade 220 on size nine 9 needles and still got 16 stitches so went up a pattern size.  I like it so much I bought the designer's pattern called Fine Sand, gauge 22 st = 4" and have already started.
And I quickly knit this headband for the March for Science next Saturday on Earth Day.  The pattern is also on Ravelry.  Click here for the free pattern.
Last night was the first class of four on Color Reduction in block printing.   We used these 3" square pieces of Gomuban, (a malleable rubber tile) as an introduction to the technique.  First we carved out the white so that when the plate was next inked with yellow, the white would be preserved.  First it's yellow, then red and then blue, light to dark.  We carve on the block four times to get our final print and each "incarnation" gets inked and run through the press on the same paper, three passes through the press.
The blue over the red produces the appearance of black and is what makes it pop.  I really enjoyed the process.
I seriously didn't know what I was just doing - carving with no plan and on the last carving I got a bit over-zealous and carved away a part of this soft plate - oops.  I'm not as fond of my second try and see that I'd like more structure.  Tomorrow night we begin the first of three sessions to carve and print one print on 8 x 10" tiles.  We can chose Gomuban or Sheena wood and I've opted for the wood.  I've already got my sketch ready.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Here Comes the Sun

We paid a visit to First Street Rapids Park last week on one of two sunny days.  Bend has 72 parks and we're going to try see as many of them as possible this year.  One down.
 The river has signage long before rafters get this far.  They have to get out and portage along the trail that we were on, nicely paved and wide.
It's just a placid river until it isn't!
We treated ourselves to lunch afterwards at Spork, a family-friendly hipster restaurant serving Mexican/Asian/fusion cuisine.  Their original place was a food truck, hence the name.
The supplementary warp workshop last weekend was taught by Linda Gettman as part of our weave/study group.  We came with our looms already warped with the ground warp and the pattern warp in a baggie.  We all had the same yardage of  5/2 mercerized cotton so only our colors were different.  It was a (very patiently) led group exercise.
Actually the other thing that varied was how many times we treadled the two sequences of the Monks Belt draft.  

This is a really fiddly process so we had to have extra bits like the dowel across the back and above the ground warp.  It's bungied onto the back beam with the bag clips inserted between them to keep the two different warps from intermarrying.  My supplementary warp was weighted with 18 ounces of fishing weights, 9 ounces on each bundle and it absolutely needed that much weight.  Obviously I hadn't intended to ignore it this long.

Linda took a workshop last year on this subject and what we did was based on her experience.  She has since then branched out.  These scarves are inspiring.
This is mine after being sent through the washer and dryer.  The entire thing was a sample.  This is my go-round with Monks Belt and while I like the appearance of the blocks, they've got long floats that could easily snag.  I don't expect to try this draft again but I absolutely will try supplementary warp again.  There are a lot of options!