Sunday, February 22, 2015

Great Fun

We didn't realize it until the next day but Robyn was touring The Oscar Exhibition at the same time we were and they compressed their visit into 2 ½ hours.   Our allotted time was 90 minutes but we just couldn't see it all in under two hours. I will never watch a movie or commercial in the same way again.  Robyn’s program was on how to make jewelry and embellishments from our stash, but what I loved the most were her lectures on embellishments in historical garments and in costume making. Having just seen the exhibit the day before, I soaked it all up.

I really enjoyed the Southern California Handweavers Guild.  They were friendly and open and were welcoming to visitors.  They were meeting in the newest space they've managed to arrange – the San Fernando Valley Arts and Cultural Center.  They meet in an open area of the gallery which is simultaneously open to the not-so-quiet public.  Saturday morning was taken up with their meeting and an hour talk from Robyn, but we rolled up our sleeves and went to work for the next day and a half.  She brought all kinds of colorful stuff to play with and play we did.

My other favorite thing was earrings from novelty yarn.  Melissa and I became obsessed with them and I confess we made them when we were supposed to be making embellishments and sometimes when we were supposed be listening.  Anything with Robyn is fun.  Somehow we began singing songs from the Music Man because Robyn said she always wanted to do, “One Grecian urn, two Grecian urns” which she demonstrated for us to much laughter.  Our group was “of an age” to remember this musical.  Someone decried the loss of the classic musicals - like South Pacific, so we started singing “There Ain’t Nothing Like a Dame.  One annoying male artist who was installing his work, chimed in from with back with Ezio Pinza’s part.  We laughed and forgave him his noise, because there ain’t nothing like a dame, especially a weaving dame.
Melissa lives in an area called Canyon Country.  It's 2700' in elevation, so it's hot in the summer but cools off at night.  It's very pretty in its own way.Their house looks out over the Vasquez Rocks which is where a lot of movies have been shot.  I was surprised to learn that even an episode of Big Bang Theory was shot here.  

Because Monday was a holiday, the flight was twice as expensive as the same thing the very next day so I flew home Tuesday.  Melissa had to work Monday morning and I used the beautiful morning to sit on the deck and finish my book.  We played Shanghai Rummy that afternoon instead of doing something or going somewhere.  It was the perfect end to a perfect visit.

I really like the Bob Hope Airport.  There are nice pieces of art like this cast bronze of Amelia Earhart and it's small and friendly.  A friendly airport?  Imagine!!  Neither of my flights were full and we accessed the plane from the front and rear with stairs and ramps, the old-fashioned way.  As I was flying both into and out of Burbank I couldn't help notice the many turquoise rectangles of swimming pools in residential backyards which seems odd in a time of drought.  Please tell me that the farmers aren't denied water in favor of pools.

These are the earrings I finished at the workshop.  They are crazy fun to make.  I especially like the odd-shapes on the top right, made by wrapping 18 gauge florist wire with novelty yarn.
I'd like to finish up the towels on Maudie Mae and I really need to make a yarn order soon. This is all the yellow I had left when I finished this towel - close!  I got really anxious near the end, hoping for a towel and not just a bread cloth.  Next I want to try some of the Turned Taquete blocks that I've seen on the Iowa Weavers blog. Still no winter here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Southern California Visit

Aside from changing planes in Las Vegas, hiking from the C terminal to the B terminal which I swear is a quarter of a mile, my flight to Burbank was effortless.  Melissa and I spent Wednesday afternoon playing cards and just visiting.  Thursday was our day to go shopping which we followed up with lunch, eaten on the outdoor patio - in February!  We split a burger and got the $.95 Cajun fries to go with it.  These could be a meal in themselves - fantastic!
Melissa bought us 1:00 tickets to view the Hollywood Costume Exhibit at LACMA on Thursday. A friend told her about it, but neither of us knew what it was - maybe the Red Carpet gowns?  We were allotted 70 minutes to view the collection but it's impossible to see it in under two hours.  It turns out that Robyn Spady, our workshop teacher, was viewing the collection at the same time as we were and she said they felt rushed at 2 1/2 hours. 

We decided to have lunch first in downtown LA at Canter's in the Fairfax district which is a famous deli. We thought we had plenty of time but the traffic was horrific.  I was trying to track our route on my iPhone but somehow I plugged in 877 Figueroa instead of 877 Fairfax which is just two streets away.
Which lead us to the Original Pantry where I have always wanted to eat.  I use their coleslaw recipe from the LA Times Cookbook and swear it's superior to most deli slaws.  We were so surprised to see this and it wasn't until after lunch that we realized my error.  I'm pretty happy with my mistake. We cut the time really close but weren't late.
Edith Head's nine Oscars were the first display and also the only photo permitted.  The rooms were pitch black with the only illumination coming from the displays.  Guards had flashlights if you needed help. Room after room was filled with the costumes, like Harrison Ford's from the Raiders of the Lost Ark, including explanation and a quote from the designer.  A whole section was of gowns worn by actresses playing Elizabethan roles and another with Meryl Streep costumes, including integrated video of her interviews.  I will never watch a movie or commercial the same again.
This display of restored streetlights greeted us when we exited the exhibition.
A short walk away was the La Brea Tar Pits which neither of us has ever seen.  The whole complex is Hancock Park and when I told Ian, he said that made sense.  Hancock used to be an oil company,  In the center left of the photo, note the ring from a bubble of gas.
There is a large ring of concentric ripples in the center of this photo.  Gas burps up and then leaves these rings but my point-and-shoot isn't fast enough to catch the bubble.  This is pit #9 and to date they've dug 100 and are actively excavating #91.  It smells like a gas station, i.e., it stinks.
I always thought the pits were tar but this says they're actually asphalt and the bubbles are methane gas.
The weather was perfect and the park was beautiful.  I realized that this just looks like a houseplant so asked Melissa to provide some perspective.
Thanks to my model Vanna, you can see they're huge.
This is the Levitating Rock which was touted in the information we read online.
We were parched afterwards and thought we could buy a bottle of water at what appeared to be a concession stand but turned out to be a bar, so we ordered vodka/tonics and took a breather.  
I would say it was perfect except for one thing - traffic.  It took us an hour to get through Hollywood to the freeway.  No comment.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Books, Books, Books

I subbed last week and sometime right after lunch, Ian texted me that the power was out and suggested I pick up sub sandwiches on the way home.  A front had come through that morning with terrific winds clocked at 130-150 mph over the Sierras.  Trees and power lines were down throughout the area and over 200,000 were without power.  All of Doyle and Susanville as well as areas of Nevada City were affected.

It started to rain on my way home and the wind buffeted my car so badly that it was wrenching my shoulders.  I passed an overturned semi-truck and knew it could be much worse.  We have a princess phone so we have phone service when power it out.  The recording stated that it would be 24-48 hours before power could be restored.  I am so thankful for those linemen who work in miserable conditions of pouring rain and blistering winds.  We had to resort to our generator as the freezers were starting to melt.  The man we hired to install the transfer box for our generator randomly connected power sockets so this is how we had to plug in our refrigerator from across the room.  We're going to find a licensed electrician on Angie's List this year and have it done right!

This meant that we did a whole lot of reading and looking back I realize that it's been six weeks since I mentioned books.

Here's a list of the ones I enjoyed and would recommend:

A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Twenty Miles from a Match: Homesteading in Western Nevada by Sarah Olds  (This was especially near and dear to my heart since their homestead was so close to where we live)

Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande (I think is a very important book for anyone caring for a parent)

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (Her best yet!!)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - there is a reason this book is nominated for a National Book Award!  The setting is WW II Germany and France but the subject isn't the Holocaust, but rather the citizens who are struggling to stay alive.  This is the February selection for the Tuesday Book Club and I expect lots of discussion at tomorrows meeting.

Okay, the power is on and laundry awaits.  I need to pack my suitcase for summer as I'm flying to SoCal to spend a week with Melissa and she says it's short-sleeve weather at her house.  We're signed up for a Robyn Spady workshop this weekend, and while the time will fly, I know we will have fun.  We always do!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Moving Right Along

I have been using Texsolv as the cord to lash onto the front apron rod because I'm terrible at tying knots and the Texsolv is quickly secured by the pin.  But it's annoying to loop through a wider warp so I've gone back to cord that I wind on a bobbin.  I feed the bobbin end through, releasing more cord as I need it and just make a lot of terrible knots at both ends.  I have already checked for sleying and threading errors but one final check I make is to slide through two venetian blind slats in opposite plain weave sheds to make sure that I haven't reversed any of the colors in the pairs.  Ready to go.
This might be the warp where I went to far with crazy colors. It's bound to happen sometime.
I finished the scarf from handspun yarn and I think it's sold.  It really is pretty and has encouraged me make time to spin some more.
I'm starting with this fiber that I blended together - more crazy color. The reason I blend so many fibers together is to get to about a 50/50 blend of wool and silk or alpaca so the scarf won't be scratchy.
 I don't really feel like taking the time right now to blend more so I drove over to Mim's to see what she had in stock and bought 4 ounces of Panda is a pastel palette.  Panda is a blend so I'm not worried about making a scratchy scarf.  Now I have to decide if I want to ply it on itself or ply it with a 16/2 bamboo.

An unforecasted storm slipped through yesterday and gave us a very good rain, the first precipitation of 2015.  Unfortunately it was a warm storm so also rained on what little snow is in the mountains.  I got a last-minute call to sub yesterday morning and rain days with indoor recess are always a challenge.
I got a free iPad app for Maddie this morning called Cat Toy 3D on the recommendation of Robin Hasty.  It's just a mouse running around making a periodic squeak and at first she wanted nothing to do with it.
I just left it running on the sofa, counting on the curiosity of a cat.

It didn't take long at all for her to become completely engrossed.  At one point she jumped off the sofa to look under it.  Every so often she'd put too much pressure on the screen and close the app but otherwise, she was in mouser training.  And after I took it back, she spent ten minutes looking all over for the mouse, then went into the bedroom for a long siesta.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Color in Winter

I used to spin in the mornings with my coffee, but now I have my coffee while I hold the heated pillow on my neck alongside my S.A.D. light and check email and Facebook for that same period of time.  Recently I decided to see if I can't get my spinning mojo back and put on a warp of some existing handspun yarn.  I've finished this scarf, posted a picture on Facebook and someone has expressed interest.   I've already started spinning some new yarn!
That left me two nekid looms so I'm first warping Maudie Mae for more towels.  My friend Ingrid says she never chains warp, but rolls the bouts onto paper towel rolls.  She even sent me pictures to illustrate.
Then she puts the rolled up warp into a plastic baggie.   I've been saving rolls and even though I don't have enough, I decided to give it a try.
Four bouts are rolled and three are chained.  I think this will be good test though I'm not going to know anything until I get it threaded and start to wind on.  Already though I can see that the chains twist and the rolled warp stays in place on the tube.
I have no idea what my inspiration was for these colors other than that I'm tired of winter.  If it's going to be cold then we should have sort of precipitation.  This is the closest I've ever come to running out of a warp color without having a backup cone.
These are the towels I just took off Arthur.  They're 3/2 unmercerized cotton and have been through the washer and dryer twice, and both times they filled up the lint filter, and boy did they shrink.  I have no idea if they will appeal to anyone looking for dish towels and if they don't, I won't make any more.  

I'm going to be in town all day tomorrow.  I always try to get as many appointments in on the same day as I can and this trip is going to include lunch with my daughter, which I'm very much looking forward to.  I'm also looking forward to my guild's first huck lace weave-study group in the afternoon.  I have wanted to learn this weave structure for years.  Something tells me that the next warp that goes on Arthur will be huck.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Taking Care of Things

I spent two more hours organizing my studio space and have painfully removed some books and magazines.  That row of magazines on the right is now all my Handwoven issues in volume and date order.  That was a hard sentence - I had to decide what the subject is.  Is it row is?  Or magazines are?
It's going to be a lot harder to find a home for these, my Vogue Knitting issues dating back to 1988.  I still haven't found a taker, and if my local library isn't interested in putting them out on the free table, I'm just going to have to close my eyes and let them go.  I need that space for large cones of yarn.
 This is what's going out - two sacks of magazines and a stack of knitting books - all have been taken.
I still have my parents ashes upstairs.  I've tried to get my three kids to agree on what we should do with them, with absolutely no consensus.  A couple weeks ago son Josh suggested me put them on the top of our pinnacle that overlooks the valley, so this morning Ian and walked up there to reconnoiter.
When the guys from Fire Safety Council did the fire abatement treatment about three years ago, they started up here but decided it was too steep for their tractors, but they left us a nice blazed trail.
I was surprised at what an easy walk it is.  I expected steep and rocky.
This is the top and the rock is a favorite of red tail hawks, looking for a meal.  Buster had a tough time negotiating the rocks with his stubby little legs but the dogs had a blast.
The spot we're looking at is this protected basin in the rocks at the top.  Josh suggested that we make a memorial by placing the ashes in it and then covering it up with rocks.  We can continue to add other rocks as time goes on and perhaps some pieces of tile.
It's already like a nest, and yes, that is a golf ball.  The crows stole a bunch of them from an abandoned house thinking they were eggs.  They showed up all over the place for a while and I haven't seen any in a long time - until now.
It's not far from the house so will be an easy walk for anyone. It's time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lots of Surprises

One of the goals I have for 2015 is to walk the dogs each morning and so far I'm sticking to it.
My turnaround is just as Joe Winters pottery studio comes into view.  And for those of you who read the 2014 Nevada Reads book, Twenty Miles from a Match, the Olds' homestead is on the other side of those distant mountains.  I realize both photos have those peculiar low clouds.  Huh.
I'm still struggling to learn my electric bobbin winder.  It goes really fast and my coordination doesn't seem to match it's speed.  Nevertheless, the results are fantastic - a firm bobbin or pirn.  One advantage I didn't expect is that the yarn winds on in the opposite direction from the Schacht hand-powered winder.  In other words, the thread comes off the bottom of the pirn and has eliminated any of the tangling problems I was having with my new Bluster Bay shuttle.  That's a nice surprise.
Another nice surprise was that Lorene had more cones of this soft 3/2 cotton so I can easily finish my towels.  She doesn't remember where she bought them, only that she bought a lot and I'm glad she did.  I drove over before acupuncture on Wednesday and I'm back in the towel business.
And speaking of towels, these ten are the first I've woven in 2015, and the first of anything I've finished so far this year.  I wove about 110 last year and gave several as gifts but sold the rest.  I have six left so hope to weave a set a month before the Christmas craft fair season.
I had to do some rearranging to make space for the large bobbin winder.  It's so wide that I had to turn the table around and lost storage space on either side of the table in the process.  As you can see I'm low on coned yarn.  I'm trying to clear out things like old magazines and books I no longer use to make room for yarn storage.  It's painful but if I can't find someone interested in the magazines, they're going out.  I have Vogue Knitting back to the 1980s and I thought surely someone would like them but they don't even sell on eBay.

I found space for my "mini mangle" between my rolling table and the sewing table.  The stuff under the sewing table is headed to the thrift store.  I'm getting ruthless.  The cones on the table are my next set of towels.

I had a much dreaded appointment with the endodontist Thursday morning to remove an old root canal because the dentist who did it left some root above it which has become infected.  It first started bothering me when we were in New York in October.  I endured the "rubber dam" and all the drilling to learn that the root is cracked and the tooth couldn't be saved.  I'm so tired the day after acupuncture that Ian decided to drive me to this appointment.  Then he had to drive me to my own dentist for the painful and protracted extraction.  I'm still stunned that I'm short a tooth and cannot believe how much it hurts when it's not even there.

I was feeling a little sorry for myself this morning as I was awakened early by the throbbing.  I'm on penicillin for the infection but it's the dentist's excavation for the tooth of many pieces that is really the source of discomfort.  I finished my coffee and decided to give my friend Melissa a call before walking the dogs.  I think I just wanted to hear her voice.  She moved four years ago and I still miss her.  I jokingly said that probably the only way I was going to see her would be to fly down.  And then we started making plans, just like that.  We both decided it should be February and then she said I should come the 14th and 15th and take a Robyn Spady workshop with her.  After many phone calls and emails, I'm leaving the 11th and returning the 17th.  Only Southwest Airlines could route you from Burbank to Reno via Phoenix but that's the plan.

Somebody on Facebook asked me what Robyn is teaching and I thought - who cares?!! Melissa and I took a three-day weaving workshop from her about five years ago and I would take anything from her.  I just looked and it's Making Jewelry and Trimmings from Your Stash, offered through the Southern California Handweavers. I have to take "Leftover yarns, ribbon etc. Scissors and old-fashion style clipboard" which will handily fit into my suitcase. This cancels out the bad tooth karma.