Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Clear Sailing

The package that I mailed to Redding California on the 10th arrived yesterday, the 28th.  I can’t imagine how that happened but it’s there and I’m relieved.  And there hasn’t been any further problems since Instagram took down in the imposter account.  All things considered, it’s been a great month and I can hardly believe there’s only one more left in 2017.  Holy cow!!

Monday, November 27, 2017

A wrench in the works

These new colors from Brassard are even better than I could have hoped for and man, does the yarn have a nice feel.  I won’t be replacing my UKI cones as I use them up even though I love the colors.

These are the cones I’ve selected for my first foray into Summer and Winter and I’m going back to warping from the front.  I just think I get better tension but at least I’ve done warping from the back enough times that I can consider it one of the tools in my toolbox and would thankfully use it for patterns using finer yarns.

We are still having warmer than usual weather for this time of year, still no snow on the ground though it’s sure nice not to have to drive on it!  This was Thanksgiving morning.

We went to Josh and Missy’s again for Thanksgiving dinner and were joined by a herd of eight deer and here are five of them.  They really are fun.

My group critique is this coming Saturday.  Pat Clark has offered a class a month from September through November to help us find the inspiration to create our own work.  She calls it “Creating with Intention” and the November theme was “You.”  She gave us a list of questions to help direct our ideas, like “A sense of place you feel most comfortable in.”  It took me about a week to pull my thoughts together but from the beginning I knew that books had to be a part of it, and initially I had tried to incorporate actually printed book pages, but in the end I realized that I wanted it to be my big chair in the corner of the living room where I snuggle down to read every evening.  Another question was “Do you recall any memory of a place or events that were important to you as a child?”  Music!  My mother played piano in our home and at church.  We couldn’t get a radio station out where we lived so she bought me a record player and a dozen LPs of classical composers which was the music I grew up listening to, my music appreciation.  So this is the “self portrait” that I will be presenting to the class.

I’ve enjoyed posting pictures of my work on Instagram.  That’s it’s purpose, just to share photos.  Wednesday morning my messages blew up with people informing me that I’d been hacked in Instagram.  My moniker is sagecreekfarm and the imposter was sagecreekfarm1.  The content of the imposter’s messages was all over the place, one involved a money scheme.  They were repeatedly reported to Instagram by me and by my friends, and it wasn’t until Friday that I got a message from Instagram that the imposter’s site had been taken down.  It was an unpleasant experience and I went through my Followers to make sure I knew who everyone was and deleted those I didn’t know.  That’s when I discovered that Melissa, who had visited me in October, also had a clone account which we both reported.  I promptly made my account Private and continue to post, but the experience has left me very wary.

Meanwhile, on Veteran’s Day weekend I mailed off a package for Ian’s brand new great grandson, a handwoven baby blanket and bath towel.  I hadn’t heard anything from the kids so messaged Darrah, the mom, to see if they had received it yet.  Nope.  I thought it got lost over the holiday weekend and hadn’t saved the email with the tracking number and was fit to be tied.  Cindie Kitchens explained that we have access to our shipping history on the USPS site.  In small letters in the upper right of the page is a message, Hi Sharon.  When I hover my cursor over that, the shipping history appears in a dropown menu with complete information on all my transactions.  And it had been delivered on the 16tth, delivered but not received.  I have to assume that the package is gone and am working on another gift for the baby that I will mail to his grandmother in Susanville.  It’s a disappointment.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Keeping busy

I finally finished the autumn colors warp and cut it off the loom.  They’ve been through a wash and dry cycle and are cut apart now, waiting for me to hem them.

It finally occurred to me to work on warps ahead of time on sunny days.  I’ve been winding my next warp a little at a time so it’s all ready to go on the loom.  These are the wild colors I just got from Brassard, and I love the feel of the yarn, soft and silky, and so unlike the harsh UKI.  Some of you commented that I should find a way to use those bouts of colors that didn’t fit in the last warp, but unfortunately I don’t have enough yarn for ten more towels.

I bought an ebook with Sarah Jackson’s Summer and Winter towels after seeing her post on Facebook.  Many weavers have done this in their own colors and I think it’s time for me to try it.

I’m going to use colors I already have since I’ve never done this weave structure before.  That way I won’t feel terrible about making mistakes which no doubt I will.  A couple of these cones have been around so long that I had to dust them.

I was making great progress on Alexia’s sweater and had knit past the waist shaping, with only 6” left in the body.  Two things bothered me.  I had gone up a needle size to get the correct gauge and the knitted fabric just looked sloppy to me.  The other thing was the shaping - even with waist decreases the sweater was looking like a sweatshirt.  So I ripped it out.

I bought this Heidi Kirrmaier pattern on Ravelry instead.  Sammy got anxious while we were at grandson Evan’s band concert and ate all seven pages of the pattern, all but this piece.  I’ve since reprinted it and we’re working on Sammy’s anxiety - poor girl.

I havie to do some serious knitting to make sure this is done in time for Christmas, but it’s knitting at the gauge recommended by both the yarn and the pattern and the improvement is worth it.

I took a two-day photo-etching class at the Bend Art Center this weekend.  I really like the process and since photography was the first art that I took classes in, this is much more comfortable for me than electro-etching.  In fact, I just don’t think I’ll continue with electro-etch. I’ve learned a lot of different techniques this past year and am trying to pick what I want to focus on.

Yesterday we learned how to make a plate through a photographic process.

And once the plate is made, it’s good for about a hundred printings.

We spent most of yesterday learning the process and today was all about application of it.  These two prints are from two different plates.  The lighting is very low in the “dark room” which makes it difficult to register the transfer film with the treated plate.  The transfer film has the image of the photograph on it and has to be made in advance by a local print shop.  I truncated the ships masts on the print on the left, so I made a second plate with the same photograph on the right and this time got everything in the frame. The class was four hours yesterday and four hours today, and in that time I was only able to learn the process, make four plates and print them on the press.

I stayed an extra hour today and dabbled with adding some color to the plate, but we had to clear out in hurry to make way for a class at 2;00. I had six photographs printed on transfer film and really would like to make plates of the other three.  I think we’re going to do a group buy of the plates which will bring the price down and pay for shipping.  It’s the best way to get supplies, the only way!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Dark days are here again

Alexia’s sweater is on the needles.  I started a larger size and realized that it wasn’t going to fit her for years!  This is the smallest size and will probably be snug but that’s in now instead of the sweatshirt baggy fit.  Even with the setback, I’m confident I’ll have it completed in time for Christmas.  The color is growing on me.

I sold 16 more towels through Facebook after the guild holiday sale so am once again trying to make more towels.  This is my busiest time for sales and I only have about a dozen left with nothing in my favorite color ways, so I thought I’d do another neutral fall palette.  It got a miserably slow start when I realized how deficient I am in cones of those colors and completely out of chocolate brown!

It’s hard to judge color on dark days and I finally had to admit that these two bouts are dogs and pulled them out.  Both of the greens have too much blue so may end up in the landfill.

I’m on the third towel but they’re so lackluster, I’m having a hard time wanting to sit down and weave.

Meanwhile I have these waiting in the wings.  I participated in a group buy of Brassard yarns from Canada through my guild.  Enough of us shared the order that the cost came out to about $7 for an 8 ounce cone which is $14 a pound.  The yarn is every bit as nice as Valley Cotton from Webs and the colors make me weak in the knees.

I bought seven colors and will use six of them in my next warp.  They remind me of zinnias.  Such happy colors.

I’m down to about a half dozen pairs of shoes and that’s because in the past couple of years my shoe size has gone from 40 to 41.  I think of shoes as an investment and keep them for years and years.  The two pair of Danskos that I just had to part with were 20 years old and still had at least another 20 years of wear.  But I digress.  I picked these up at Macy’s this week.  They’re a new line from Clarkes called Cloudsteppers, so named for the cushiony insole.  I’ve wanted some multi-purpose winter shoes and I’ve got them.  My tall boots still fit but after two years of tai chi, my calves have grown and they’re too tight!  I’ve been feeling besieged!  Ian suggested I take them to the shoe guy and see if the calf can be stretched since they’re leather.  It’s worth a try.

Meanwhile with the shorter and colder days I have turned once again to relief printing and just started this Lino cut today.  It’s part of a challenge to create a piece inspired by myself and from the list of thoughts I chose this one.  What best describes your comfort zone?  That’s easy.  Reading in my overstuff chair!

And speaking of books, I came across this in the latest BookPage while eating breakfast this morning.  I finished “Seven Days of Us” just yesterday and absolutely loved.  The setting is a family of four who are quarantined for a week at Christmas.  The holidays are a notorious challenge for most families under the best of circumstances, right?  This family hasn’t had a Christmas together for quite some time and the hope was that this one would be special.  It’s special all right.  To ensure nothing goes wrong, each has a secret that they feel they can’t share, to ensure that nothing spoils the holiday.  But the secrets have a way of leaking and finding each other.  It was absolutely delightful and I was so sorry when it ended.  Two thumbs up!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Holiday show and sale

I finished Heidi Kirrmaier’s Fine Sand sweater pattern in sport weight yarn from Bartlett’s in Maine.  It’s just the right weight to wear in the house and I’m really pleased with it.  The pattern called for 3/4 length sleeves but I made them full length.  Now it’s time to start the sweater my granddaughter requested for Christmas.

The yarn arrived and I’m glad to see that the Electric Blue she chose isn’t as electric as it looked online.  Kraemer’s doesn’t do the shipping.  They job it out to yarn stores that carry their yarn.  Mine came from The Skein Shop in Cincinnati and was here in four days.  The yard is cotton/acrylic and goes in the washer and dryer, perfect for a 13-year-old girl.

I was down to the wire, getting that last set of towels completed in time for the guild’s show yesterday.  I took my stuff in Friday night to the Environmental Center and helped Mary set up our booth.  She has all the wire walls and hangers and I was glad she freely shared.

I used the fruit boxes to show off the towels and also to conserve table space.

I even managed to make a bunch of dryer balls.  Because they were so small I ended up selling them at 4 for $10.00.

It was a beautiful day, crisp but sunny.

Business was brisk all day which meant no chance to sit down and somehow I managed to eat my sandwich, a bite here and a bite there.  I looked at my Fitbit sleep record for last night.  It shows that I got up to go the bathroom twice and apparently I didn’t even turn over all night.  I was exhausted!

It was a one-day show, from 10:00–4:00 and it was already busy when Ian came by about 10:30.  I made that bag years ago to hold my cash and phone with the PayPal scanner.  I know I should make more because I keep getting asked for them but I just don’t like to sew anymore.

Mary arranged this unit by color.  It drew people in but they the only thing I sold from this area was a table runner.

The two scarves I sold were from here on the coat rack.  These were heavily browsed but it’s the towels that were the star.  I only have a couple dozen left which means I need to get right back to work since I often sell through Facebook at this time of year.  I moved the Christmas tree and mini-sweater ornaments to this end of the table but even so sales were underwhelming.  Nevertheless, they drew people in and that was the point.  I’m glad it wasn’t any longer than it was because it was busy and loud - not complaining, mind you.  People even came after 4:00 when we were tearing down.  We sure didn’t expect that!

We awoke to snow this morning. Weather is really just a lottery over which we have no influence.  I am grateful for yesterdays sunshine.