Monday, September 28, 2020

Saying goodbye to summer

 The Color Confidence workshop with Sarah Jackson ended last Friday and my head is stuffed with information.  She is my favorite designer in Handwoven and I hope to put what I learned to good use.  Our summer and winter sampler had a section of colors we chose from a inspiration photo and wrapped yarn on a cardboard strip to help us plan placement and value.  Another time I'd choose something less vigorous than zinnias, maybe.

I finished Sarah Jackson's prayer shawl weave-along, my first time to weave with the shadow weave structure.  I've warped my loom and am weaving another one to help cement what I learned on this one.
I think is going to become a gift as I'm just not a shawl person.  Maybe I can weave this as cloth?

Our kitty is seven years old now and has always eaten Iams dry cat food but lately her coat has looked ragged and her vomiting more frequent.  At the suggestion of a friend we switched her to grain free food, the logic being that cats are carnivores and wouldn't eat grains if left on their own.  The improvement is remarkable.
Ian also read that raising their dish helps to eliminate vomiting and promote digestion.  I can't tell how helpful it is since we've also changed her food, but she's a less messy eater now.
The same friend who suggested the change in our cat's diet also got me turned onto making my own kimchi.  My first batch was cabbage and chard from our garden.  I'm soaking the greens in saltwater in this photo.

It turned out so good that I made a second batch today.  If you're interested, the author says the recipe is from her mother-in-law and you can find it here.  
The earwigs were ferocious this year.  I want to plant cabbage again next year but set out soysauce/oil traps right at the beginning.  One of my friends insists she killed thousands with the traps.  I find that hard to believe but any would be better than this.  I'll figure out a way to avoid the raccoons next years - maybe just cottage cheese lids.  If you're wondering why the cabbage head is in water, I'm drowning earwigs.
The geese are gone, much to my relief.  They're pretty to look at but miserable to share a trail with.  The canal is still flowing, but I noticed this morning on my walk that there's a drop in water level.  It's been a rough water year for farmers so no doubt they're filling their stock ponds anticipating the end of the irrigation canal for 2020.
We've had the first killer frost and said goodbye to the garden.  Our maple tree is an early harbinger of autumn and October arrives this Thursday, my favorite month of the year.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Bringing color indoors

Our sunflowers can't thrive without sun and I think they exemplify the feelings in our hearts.  Photos from the Valley are shocking.  Fires continue to burn and at the governor's briefing this afternoon we were apprised that containment is at 20%, but perimeters are holding and in some areas evacuees have been allowed to return, Canby being one of them.  Black Sheep Gathering will have a place to gather next year; the fairgrounds were spared.

I knitted this sweater for Delaney before she was born.  The morning was chilly so it was packed in along with her clothes for the day.  I love this color so much

She is trying to process what is on her arms and after careful consideration decided she didn't like it.  It's been bare-arm weather in her recent memory.
She liked it much better as a toy.  There's plenty of room for her to grow into it so maybe when it's cooler she'll have more patience with sleeves.  It's Malabrigos Rios yarn which is worsted weight wool and I have a feeling will always be too warm for casual wear.  
I've completed two days of the six sessions of my Color Confidence zoom class taught by Sarah Jackson.  This is my sampler using colors pulled from a color inspiration photo.  There are 23 of us and the potential for chaos has been thwarted by the establishment of simple ground rules. We mute ourselves during the instruction period, and if we have a question, we just say in the Chat field, I have a question.  It's the closest to normal anything has felt in a long time.
I got some of my homework done after the morning guild meeting and class session yesterday afternoon.  I squeezed in some more during Delaney's nap this afternoon.  I'm not going to weave any more until tomorrow afternoon's lecture so I make the best use of remaining warp.  This part of the sampler is in summer and winter, a draft I'm still trying to get my head around.
These are the last towels I finished and they're in summer and winter.  I like the thick cloth which is ideal for towels.  I think my next towels will be single shuttle crackle weave with at least six colors.  My expectation from this class is that I will make informed color decisions.


Friday, September 11, 2020

And it gets worse

I'm sure it hasn't escaped your notice that the West Coast is on fire.  We have been blessedly free of wildfires in our immediate area and until today, we have also been free of smoke.  It's the "wind event" blowing from east to west coupled with low humidity and dry conditions that have caused these fires to blow up.  Downed trees pulling down power lines have contributed to the explosive situation.  Fully 10% of our citizens are under evacuation orders, and as I type this, Estacada, a suburb of Portland, is being evacuated.  Many towns have been erased and the death toll is mounting.  

Because personnel have been occupied with public safety and marshalling effective evacuations, most of the fires are at zero containment.  According to the state fire marshall, they would be able to finally fight fires today.  Ashland, home of the Shakespeare Festival, has 2,000 residents without homes tonight and the nearby towns of Talent and Phoenix are gone.  Parts of Lincoln City on the coast have burned.  It's sickening.  Our leaders didn't take global warming seriously and it's serious business. 

 I took this photo from our back door this morning.  The winds have shifted to the normal west to east pattern, sending us choking smoke and bringing in some marine air and increased humidity which should help fire crews.  Our AQI this afternoon is 515 and we're not going outside unless we have to.  Fire storm?  You better believe it.

I don't get a lot of anything done on the days we have the baby but now that she can occupy herself better, I am able to knit enough to finish some projects, like this one, another cotton sweater from a Heidi Kerrmaier pattern called Purl Strings.
This cotton sweater from a Churchmouse pattern was a project last spring and it finally fits.
Grandpa and Delaney are watching the Muppet Show as a step in winding down before a nap.  She's at one nap a day and it's usually around 2:00.  I had planned to take her to the park today but we didn't even go outside to the patio.  Visibility is still very low this evening and I am very sad.


Friday, September 04, 2020

Entering the sixth month with Covid

I got my materials for the Sarah Jackson workship, Color Confidence, and have been warping my loom as the heat upstairs allows.  Each of us got a packet of five colors, no two are the same.  This is the image that inspired my colors.

You can see how closely they match.  We were instructed to choose the color packet we were least drawn to but I liked them all but one, and I didn't pick it.
The warps arrived already wound but without a counting thread.  I tried to improvise and finally just decided to spread the yarn as evenly as I could.  I reminded myself that this is a workshop sampler.
We started this month off with a birthday - Matt's 40th!  He also started off this month running his own company.  This has been a dream of his ever since he got into setting tile, so in spite of his very successful run as a project manager for a construction company, he got his contractor's license and as of this week is Double Diamond Tile.  Julia is the vice-president and office manager.  She has to continue working two days a week so we now will add watching Delaney every other Tuesday so she can focus on paperwork.  You can't focus on anything and watch a toddler!!

A friend told me that she had solved her earwig problem with soy sauce/oil traps so I read about how to make them online and installed one using a cottage cheese container.  I never thought about the raccoons.  So I'm back to the old way of putting a head of cabbage in a pot of water and drowning dozens.  I do a final bath to make sure they're all gone and use the half of a head that they didn't eat.
I planted some sunflower seeds months ago.  I wanted those saucy blooms that look so pretty in a bouquet, but what we got our these monsters that we have staked up with a tomato cage.  The finches have loved these, eating the leaves, and when the seeds mature, the jays will eat them.  We want to feed the birds so next year I'll plant these again and also plant the saucy ones for cut flowers.
The only thing I have to weave on right now is the Prayer Shawl from Sarah Jackson's weave-along.  This has stretched me the most of anything yet even though it's only four shafts, but I know now that I like Shadow Weave and will weave it again.  Between the heat upstairs and the hours babysitting, I am weaving very slowly on this.
I finally finished something - ten more towels for inventory.  I have always had Christmas sales opportunities but in lockdown I don't know how that will go.  Often I'm contact directly and am able to sell towels that way.  I don't want to be caught unprepared.
The weather is hot all this week and I know how much Delaney loves to be outside so that's how we started today, on the patio, knowing that we would be in the house for the rest of the day.  It's scorching and yet our maple tree has already started to turn red for autumn.  Mixed message!