Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Smoke gets in your eyes

I thought that this warp would be a good time to try BtoF warping again since I've been away from towels for over two months.  I was pleased by how well it went though I did have to refer to the Webs YouTube video throughout.  It wasn't until I had woven a bit that I saw this glaring error which had nothing to do with warping and everything to do with operator error.

I couldn't think how on earth I was going to remove and replace that stripe of red with 10 ends and nine yards of the turquoise and then I remembered the Supplemental Warp class that I took from Linda Gettman last year.  It made a tricky repair manageable.  I was able to do this without referring to my class notes and was back on my way in no time.  However it was time for my volunteer shift at the gallery so weaving had to wait until today.

i took this photo from the front of the Bend Art Center in the Box Factory.  You can't see the iconic smokestacks of the Old Mill in the distance and my car had a layer of ash.

This is what the sun looked like at 4:00.  It's as dark and gloomy as winter and outdoor activities with parks and rec and also the school district have been cancelled.  It burns your eyes and throat and you can taste it on your tongue.  The hospitality industry which banks on tourism over the Labor Day weekend has taken a big hit.  I'm sure the trickle down will be felt by more than just hospitality.  I mean who wants to go to the nursery in this or call a landscaper or an irrigation guy or repair the fence or deck that you wanted to take care of before winter.  The smoke at this level will be with us into next week along with 100 degree temperatures.  I have no idea how firefighters work in these conditions day after day after day, but I'm so glad that they do, and I'm so glad we bought a house with air conditioning.  Our Tacoma family visit planned for this weekend is cancelled and if we can get a house sitter, we'll go up and see them instead.

 My scarves feel stiff and I remembered Cindie Kitchens telling me that they respond to fabric conditioner, and though I finished weaving these scarves a week or two ago, I couldn't remember to buy the conditioner.  I finally got some, washed and pressed these and am really happy with how soft and drapey they feel.  I'm now washing previous scarves to see if they respond as well as these did.  This was the last warp from my painted warp workshop and I expected to like this one the most and I like it the least, too much contrast in color.

Since I was trapped indoors today I decided to warp Arthur with some of the chenille that I bought from the Yarn Barn mill-end club.  I've heard a lot about the yarn and like the way chemille scarves feel so jumped in with two feet.  I called them to get their advice on sett because I've heard lots of different opinions on how to work with it.  They said to use 15 epi and plain weave.

Because I had warped from the back I felt confident that I could go through the steps without the video this time.  I'm so glad I stuck with trying to learn this method.  There are more steps but once you get to this stage, the yarn is tensioned while sliding through the lease sticks plus through the raddle with the rubber bands.

The first I encountered the famous "worming" characteristic of chenille was right here and I knew this wasn't going to be as easy as I had though.

This is what "worming" looks like and it's a pill.  With every throw of the shuttle I have to verify that the yarn has passed through the shed without folding up on itself and it happens a lot.  I had to unweave several times to straighten the yarn and it really slows down the progress.

This is what it looks like and if it's as soft as other scarves I've felt, I think it will be worth it.  If not, I have a lot of yarn that I need to figure out how to use.  There's always the Guild Weftover sale next July.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Post Eclipse

We sat on our deck and watched the eclipse which wasn't total here but it still was a really cool experience.

We were surprised at how quickly the temperature dropped and even though it only seemed like twilight, it fooled our yard lights into turning themselves on!

I've suspended knitting on my sweataer and am working away on my miniatures for the guild holiday sale.  They're pretty quick and still pretty fun but I'm a long way from my goal of at least a dozen.  I was going to buy some heavier gauge wire to make the hangers but have decided to make due with the 27 gauge that I do have and even though it's annoying to twist the two strands together.  I'll do them a few here and there.

We're stuck with a summer of smoke as they don't expect the Chetco Fire in SW Oregon to be out until sometime in October.  It's the largest fire in the US, and at this point is 0% contained.  Some days are worse than others so then we just close up the house and hope the next day is better.

Yesterday was a nice day at the High Desert Museum, and since it wasn't an especially busy day, Ethan decided to practice with the rawhide lariat, inviting the children to give it a try.  It's an authentic piece and is so impossibly long and heavy, I can't imagine it being useful or manageable.

For whatever reason the chipmunks were especially inquisitive and pesky.  I'm told that off all the animals at the HDM, children vote the chipmunks as they're favorite.  They kept trying to enter the ranch house so as soon as we'd run them out one door, they'd scamper to the other and scoot back in, and repeat.

Ethan took time to oil the lariat with linseed oil with the help of a friend.  At one point he had his front paws on my wheel and was investigating my work.  The smoke and heat were tolerable yesterday so we kept the living history ranch open the whole schedule time, from 11:00-4:00.  I ended up spinning all the wool I had washed and prepared so need to work on getting more done this week.

Late in the afternoon it got really quiet so Hayden brought out a writing desk from the cabin and worked on the love letter he had been writing.  I asked if he would mind reading it to us so you can hear it here if you'd like.  Mind you, we were pretty tired by that point.

Ian I went to Art in the High Desert today, which is supposed to be one of the top ten art shows in the country.  I enjoyed visiting with weavers and printmakers alike.

We went to lunch afterwards at Level 2, a fusion restaurant in the shadow of the Old Mill smoke stacks.  After resting my feet and filling my stomach, I felt like I want to go back for round two.  All of the prints I saw and especially those of one printmaker were really calling my name.  Then I told Ian that, nah - let's just go home, which lasted until we got to the footbridge when I decided I wanted the one print that we had both liked.

Her name is Susan Hestrand and all of her prints are etchings which is the process I'm learning right now. We had chatted quite a bit and she gave me a couple of tips and suggested several books.  I love her work!

It seemed to fit nicely into the last remaining blank spot on our walls.  I had been saving it for some of my work but I can see that there's still plenty of room there for me too.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eclipse Eve

It's been an interesting month.  For weeks we've been preparing for the total solar eclipse tomorrow morning.  Officials anticipate an additional 200,000 people will converge on Central Oregon and have repeatedly warned us that there might be food and gas shortages, to stock up in advance, and indeed, the pumps and grocery stores have been very busy this past week.  Prineville was sorely tested until Thursday as cars traveled through bringing 30,000 world music fans to the Symbiosis eclipse concert to the Ochoco National Forest east of there.  It's hoped that egress won't be as bad since many plan to continue south to Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.  People have come in from all over the world for this concert.

Compounding matters are the wildfires and smoke from them.  The Milli fire burning southwest of Sisters exploded on Thursday and caused the evacuation of 600 residents near McKenzie pass, and at this point is approximately 8,500 acres with 0% containment.  This shot is taken from our backyard, and the smoke is worse to the southwest of us in the Sun River area.  I went to the museum on Friday but the smoke was hanging on, seeming to cling to the trees, so Linda had us go in after a couple of hours leaving only two to staff the Miller Ranch area.  Visitors were down anyway though almost everyone told us they were visiting for the eclipse.

I've been concerned that we might not be able to see the eclipse after all this build up, so I took this picture from our driveway at 10:20.  We'll be fine - phew!

I started weaving my hand painted warp with the lavender, and while it was neutral and showed up the warp, it also saddened it.  I didn't like so much that I tore out the 8" I have woven and substituted this blue which I think made is come alive.

I had planned to weave the second scarf with magenta but I think the bleakness of the fires got to me because this is what happened instead.  It depends on the winds and movement of air but some days we just have to close the house up to keep the smoke out.  I haven't been able to walk in the morning for a couple of weeks and my body misses it.

I was going to finish weaving it yesterday but I had this photo album project right in the middle of my work area.  I've procrastinated on this album for the past year.  The album I did before this one dragged on for a month so I just went for it and finished up about 6:00 last evening.  I don't know if my kids will ever look at the albums but at least they're labeled and in approximate chronological order, unlike the photo albums my parents left behind.  It feels great to have finally finished!

My attention got diverted from weaving once again, but this time by these tiny sweaters.  I feel like I need something catchy for our booth at the guild holiday sale November 4th.  Mary, Gillian and I are going to share a booth again this year, and when Mary told me she's working on some new ideas, I realized I hadn't even thought of it.  Now I have and I'm pretty excited about these. My first sample was on size 2 needles and just too big.  I switched to 1s and now it looks like an ornament to me.  I need to get some better wire for hangers.

The pattern is a free download on Ravelry, easy to follow and knits up pretty quickly.  My plan is to knit up a dozen or so and hope I don't burn out before the sale.  I think they'll be good attention getters.

Monday, August 14, 2017

More summer sun

Brewfest is a big fundraiser with local volunteers pouring samples from 85 breweries.  Admission is $20 which gives you a cup and five tokens, each token represents a 4 ounce pour.  Ian's son flew in Wednesday night and his daughter and granddaughter drove up the next morning for Susanville.

We went Friday afternoon for about three hours and I sampled ten breweries.   Ian doesn't drink and Margi doesn't drink beer but the music is fantastic and the weather couldn't have been nicer.

We came back to the house, the kids changed their clothes and floated the river in these "inner tubes" that Ian bought at Costco last year.  And got photobombed by another floater.  Dougie and Margi went back to Brewfest that evening with both my sons and their wives and Sis got to hang out with cousin Logan.

I neglected to put Brewfest on my calendar and had signed up for a two-day workshop in Advanced Electroetch, from 9:00-4:00 both Saturday and Sunday.  While everyone went to breakfast Saturday morning, I rolled up my sleeves, literally. The technique is a green way to etch in copper without using chemicals and heavy medals but there are lots of steps to completing a plate.  The good news is once a plate is prepped it can be used over and over again.  Helen is helping Ana get her plate ready for the etching bath.  Julie our teacher wanted us to use the large 8x10 plates for the class since it's (after all) an advanced class.

This is my large plate simply etched without any further embellishment. And my plate with the contact paper and blocking paint before I cleaned it.  I have a lot of work left to do, and the problem is that my introductory class was two weeks ago only three hours long.  I had to go into the studio on my own to finish working and etching my plates, but I hadn't printed them so still didn't know what kind of image my marks would make.

This is my very first plate I made and then with chine colle added for some color pop.  It doesn't look like much but it took me all day Saturday to make the large plate and after Julie showed us how to do chine colle, something I've wanted to learn for a long time, I decided to focus on that technique on Sunday and finish the large plate later.

This is the second plate I made with yellow chine colle, a collage technique using thin Japanese paper.  The bottom print is both plates printed together, the second one added as chine colle.  I really like adding color this way and want to focus on that technique for a while, until I feel more in control of it.  I really like electro-etch but I still like relief printing and have a linoleum-cut reduction print in process also.  Helen said she has discovered the secret to being a really good artist - time!!  All I need is more time!!!

Ian texted me yesterday afternoon that son Josh wanted to go out to dinner last night, Dougie's last day here.  I had been standing for seven hours the past two days and could think of nothing nicer than putting my feet up but out we went to the Tumalo Feed Company.  It was delightful, fun conversation and excellent food.  Ian and I feel so fortunate that our kids actually like each other.

Dougie's flight was this morning and we have a break in company so I'm going to spend some time today and get at least one of my looms warped.  They've both been nekkiid for the past six weeks and they've started whimpering when I walk by them.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Quiet House

Alexia and I finished up her last day with us at the High Desert Museum. Her parents and brother came up the night before and DD Chris came along with us. The air was filled with choking smoke but we managed to stay four hours before it was just too hot and uncomfortable. Most of the public had gone inside by then anyway. She was a wonderful ranch girl.

We had a big birthday celebration that night and the next morning we rounded up the troops and went out to breakfast. I randomly ended up sitting with my three grandsons which was an extra treat since I haven't had the opportunity to spend more than 10 minutes with Kiernan, seated on my right. 
We spent the rest of the morning in Bend Brewing's new beer garden, right on the Deschutes River, a time of relaxing conversation with lots of laughs. DS Josh showed me an app called that tells you what plane is in flight overhead, where it's from, where it's going, how fast it's flying and its elevation plus the plane manufacturer. We had a lot of fun with that since the Redmond airport is just 20 miles north of here.  We decided this has to be a tradition in future visits.

It's very quiet now and I'm enjoying the mornings with knitting, books and coffee on the patio in spite of the smoky air. My blogs have been infrequent because it's become so difficult and time consuming to post from my laptop. I take my photos with my iPhone, than have to download them from the iCloud and save them in my MyPictures. Microsoft and Apple just don't play nice together!  I used to have an iPad app but the company went out of business. I just found a new one without any reviews and bought it anyway. It's called App for Blogger Blogspot and the developer is Tuyen Dinh. It was $2.99 and this initial post has been trouble free - so far.  The next step is to Preview and Post.