Saturday, May 27, 2017

Not enough hours in the day!

I was really disappointed that the yarn I dyed in tidepool colors in our painted warp workshop was pretty much unweavable.  The slubs got caught in the heddles and I cut it off in exasperation after completing the first scarf.
I put on a 2 1/2 yard Tencel warp and used the pieces as weft.  I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I've been rather stalled on the knitting front since I finished my NCAA sweater so am playing around with knitting bears from this basket of various colors of Cascade 220 superwash.  One bear down, I haven't decided how many to go.  The pattern is available here.
I've been stalled on the spinning front for longer than I care to admit but our guild program this month was on drop spindles.  I had a spindle with some wool/silk on it and it's been on it for at least a year.  I picked it up and started trying to spin again, to the point that it was full.  I have it plied and am working on the second half of the roving which should yield this much yarn again.  I won't mess up my head trying to figure out what to do with it.  Once it's all spun I'll calculate yardage with my McMoran yarn balance and try to enjoy myself until then.
Our friend Petey is visiting us this week so we've been doing some touristy things. The Metolius River is reputed to be the prettiest river in Oregon so we drove up yesterday to check it and it truly is spectacular.
The minerals in the water make it this spectacular color.  This was at Wizard Falls next to the fish hatchery.  The river is fly fishing only, catch and release.
The hatchery was built in 1947 and has dozens of concrete ponds, some no longer in use, and raises both trout and salmon. Water is piped from the hatchery ponds into this settling pond where the sediment settles down and brings the water into purity standards before being released into the river.  All of these fish are escapees from the ponds. When we walked up, people were leaning over the rails to watch the fish and I was reminded of Fanny Bridge in Tahoe City.
I took this picture after Petey tossed in the handful of fish food he bought from one of the vending machines.  These guys are huge.
This pond was the baby fish, ready to stock streams and lakes.  The water is dense with them as best seen in the foreground.
We wanted to get photos of the Cascades but the forest is so dense up there that it was just about impossible, plus the traffic was pretty heavy at the start of a holiday weekend.  The only picture I managed to catch was this one of Three Finger Jack
On the way home we stopped in Sisters for lunch at the Three Creeks Brewery.  I got a kick out of this sign on the window looking into their brewery.  I'd recommend the fish tacos and Ian gave the Thai Chicken Rice Bowl two thumbs up.
My Yarn Barn order of 8/2 cotton arrived along with the chenille I got from their Mill End Club. I've never woven with it but that's about to change.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Road Trip

Friday morning Ian and I drove to Susanville for his granddaughter's graduation from high school, our first trip south since we moved here 18 months ago.  We are totally inexperienced with driving in agricultural areas in summer.  Our car and most importantly our windshield was slathered with bugs.  At times we had to run the wipers at minute intervals just to maintain visibility.  Other than that, it was an easy drive.
Margi asked us to be there by 4:30 for pictures and we were there in plenty of time.  We have a very blended family so this is Margi, Elise, Yolanda and me, the stepmom.  The celebration party was the next day so Ian and I called it a day shortly after the ceremony.
We returned from breakfast Saturday morning to find that our maid was midstream in cleaning our room so we went for a little walk.  It turns out that our Best Western was right next to the Lassen County Fairgrounds and they were having a swap meet.
I don't know why it was so much fun but it was.  I found this Edward Hopper print in a bin of pictures. The glass was missing and the print was dirty and badly damaged.  The documentation on the back said that it was from the New York Graphic Society and at one point had hung in the Burlingame Public Library.  It made me sad to see the neglect.  I ended up buying two brass candlesticks at $.50 a piece.
Our friend Liz Blaustein and her friend John drove up from Lake Tahoe to have lunch with us.  Margi invited them to the party but they just wanted to visit and then head back: a one-hour visit for a four-hour drive.  Ian and I have never stopped in historic Susanville because we were always on our way somewhere.  We ate lunch at the Lassen Aleworks in the old Pioneer Hotel building.  The food was fantastic as was the visit, plus the restaurant was charming.
My daughter Chris and her husband Mike both work at the University of Nevada, Reno and because they had to work graduation ceremonies both Friday night and Saturday morning were unable to come up until afterwards.  They were starving when they rolled into town so we met up with them at Frosty Mill where Elise works.  Table for six please!
Ian took this picture of Elise with two of our shakes.  She's planning to attend the local community college in the fall.  She loves horses, loves to ride and plans to major in agriculture.

The caterer made an impression spread as well as this cake.  Ohana means family in Hawaiian.  And truly the party was a celebration of family in addition to celebrating Elise's milestone.
Goofball Alexia put on her mom's sunglasses and declared herself to be six eyes.  She wants to come up for a month this summer so she and I can knit and weave.  I got permission today from Master Chen to bring her to Tai Chi classes and she's really excited about that.

Yolanda is a high school counselor in SoCal so Mike took the opportunity to talk through an incident at Alexia's school with her.  Some of the conversations were serious like that but mostly we talked and laughed.  There just aren't that many opportunities for our families to get together and we made the most of it.
Yesterday was the first day of summer weather so today between Tai Chi classes I finally was able to sit out and read for a bit.  The Smart program of reading to kinders is over for the year and I need to step back from taking art classes so I can spend more time at home and finish some of the projects that have been on hold.  But for now we're looking forward to a visit from our friend Petey who is driving up from Davis, California tomorrow.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Scarves and Art

Monday morning I went into the studio for my volunteer shift an hour earlier than normal.  I was scheduled to assist with two 3rd grade classes of 22 students each class and this was the lull before the storm.
The current main exhibit in the gallery is 20 woodcut prints of Central Oregon reptiles, a program in conjunction with the High Desert Museum.
Dawn, the gallery director, spent about 15 minute talking about these reptiles and their characteristics with the students.  She really gets them engaged and then its time to make their own snake.
She showed them how to make their own snakes on a plexiglass plate with a 1.5" brayer and gave them some tips on shaping and pattern.
My job was to help the students run their plates through the press, my favorite part.  They are apprehensive when they start cranking the press and then their faces light up when they see what they made.
Meanwhile I was successful with the remaining warp.  The weft on the left is gold and on the right it's fuchsia. I like the way the gold one shows off both colors.
Flush with success, I went to work on the next warp, also a slub yarn.  It's Henrys Attic Scheherazade and according the website the sett is 10-12 so I went with 12.  What they didn't say was 12 ends, two per dent in a 6-dent reed.  I got it all done and went to beam the warp and the slubs simply would not go through the dents.  If I had warped from the back, resleying would have been a quick procedure.  As it was I had to cut off the first yard or so just to free it, and without a choke tie, this was yet another monumental mess.
 I spent a ridiculous amount of time on this and will only get one scarf.  I'm trying to decide if I'm going to be using any more novelty yarn because if I do, I need to order an 8-dent reed.
I started Pat Clark's second half of the American Abstract Expressionist drawing class.  She gave us a 90-minute lecture on the artists who were movers and shakers.  Then it was time for our drawing exercise.  We had three minutes to put one hand in a brown paper bag and draw it with the other hand.
Each bag was numbered and we put that number on our paper so we could compare results.  It was a very fun exercise.
The assignment is to select an image from an artist of that era and trace the lines of one of their works with tracing paper.  I chose Georgia O'Keefe
This is my tracing and we're supposed to marry lines from one of the "mystery" drawings with the lines of the tracing. I was very confused by the instructions so went to Pat's open-studio yesterday after book club.  There were about five of us there, equally confused as I was.  Pat said she wants us to draw texture, not forms.  She doesn't want to see any recognizable shapes.  When I said that I hadn't even started, she laughed and asked, "What have you been doing?  Weaving?!"
I started late yesterday afternoon with the one on the right.  It's in acrylics and I really like the palette but my brushes are crap.  I did the one on the left this morning in watercolors so I'd have something to show to the class, then I went to the art store and bought some good brushes.  I had planned to repeat the acrylic piece this afternoon but the paper I'm stretching is still wet.  I can't believe I left this to the last day!

So I finished weaving the blue scarf.  The next two warps from the workshop are tencel and they're smooth yarns.  The weather is still dreary and we've had frost the past three nights so there's not much point in yard work yet, and with the Smart program (reading to kinders) concluded for this year, I've had a little bit of free time lately.  I just haven't used it very well.  Last day.  Good grief.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Keeping busy

I've started a series of root vegetables, or at least I'd like to think this is going to lead into a series.  I'm doing my best to juggle printmaking and weaving and not getting very far on either front.
Now that Maudie Mae is cleared of her last project, I've also started to weave the warps I dyed in the workshop, and since I think this is the worst one, I've started with it.
And anything that could go wrong, did.  I spaced setting aside a couple warp threads to use in event of breakage and the first thing I got was a broken warp.  Great I thought, I'll just shift everything to the right, and it went downhill from there.  Don't ask.  The repair took hours and I ultimately had to put the left threads onto the lease sticks and rethread those heddles.  I cannot tell you now many times I came close to just cutting it all off thinking of my mother's old expression - throwing good money after bad, only for me it was throwing time.
The loosely spun cotton was badly battered in the group buckets and the front ends were in pretty bad shape from me pulling them free from the knots. When I finally got the warp all set I advanced it and cut off about 15" so not only will these be skinny scarves, they'll also be short with just 4" of fringe.  The good news there is I won't have to twist it.
We just said goodbye to Ian's old friend John who was our first visitor of this summer, well almost summer.  Last year we took visitors to the High Desert Museum five times so this year we joined.  It was still too cool for the otters to be out and cavorting so these were the only ones we saw.  Attendance was good in spite of the drizzle.
It's really a pleasure to walk on the path along the irrigation canal and I'm trying to take advantage of it as often as I can.
Before long these geese will strong-arm their way into possession of the paths, to say nothing of the copious goose poop and it looks like there are going to be a lot of poopers very soon.  Click for big to see how many! Plus you really need a dog on a leash to avoid conflicts with the possessive males.
Like everyone else here, I'm struggling with spring fever and learned from last year that if you plant too soon, the last frost will get the last laugh.  So I hope I'm demonstrating patience by planting seeds indoors:  heirloom cucumbers, basil, tomatoes and next week I'll add zucchini seeds.
I swore I wouldn't buy any plants until June, but that was before I went to Costco and saw these pansies, day lilies and petunias, and against my better judgement, they are all in the ground.
I'm not the only one with spring fever.  Maddie loves sitting on the sill closest to the bird feeder.  This is the closest she'll ever get to it and she seems to be okay with it.
I ran down to the library after my art class this morning for some reference books to help with my project.  For whatever reason I looked up and noticed that there are different quotations on the building.  My favorite:  "Access to knowledge is the superb, the supreme act of truly great civilizations."  A man entering the building at the same time as me also stopped to look up and said - How about that?  They even used a living person!