Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sagecreek Madness

The lady from Florida who bought my "Fiestaware" towels sent me a photo demonstrating that I had indeed nailed the colors. Even though she also is a weaver, she has her mothers classic Fiestaware and knew the towels would complement them, and thus she complemented me.
I finally got my looms dressed. This scarf is the Walls of Troy draft in 8/2 Tencel coral and pink, the same as my all white one.
I had more mistakes just on his towel warp alone than I have had all this year and maybe even longer. It's made me think that perhaps it's time to try warping from the back again. I haven't done it in five years but after being refreshed through the guild on the technique to teach our newbie weavers, maybe the time has come. And just when I thought all was well, I discovered these two blue threads, side by side. I can't remember the last time I was this frustrated.
I've been second guessing myself on these colors for a "seaglass" colorway and then with all the errors, I finally reached the point where I considered cutting it off, all ten towels worth, and throwing it in the trash.

I've gotten past that and I'm proud that I stuck it out. I do think the light pink is going to be okay. I used Google images of seaglass and light pink was clearly one of the colors.
I had a table at our local farmers market today but before I went I chained my two painted warps - my painted ladies :) It's going to be a couple of weeks before I have time to do anything else with them as I have a school library sub job this week and part of next. More hurry up and wait.
Maddie says she doesn't know anything about a ball of yarn.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Painted Warps

I went to Rae's this morning to learn how to make painted warps. I've wanted to do it for a long time but learning how to mix and use fiber reactive dyes and also the mechanics of applying the dyes to chained warps was just too intimidating for me. This is one of her examples - I love her fringe!
This is a 9" wide scarf but she wound the warp in 1" bouts before dyeing. The color movement up the scarf is wonderful.
I took the dyes I had purchased from Dharma,, and Rae showed me the Dharma catalog where she had marked the dye powders she owns. This was an older catalog and she gave it to me. Her teacher had recommended no more than three colors and I can tell you that picking just three colors was torture. That took the most time of all. I borrowed moss green from Rae and need to order some of my own.
I ultimately mixed up four colors and when I still couldn't select just three, I used them all. She uses 1/2 teaspoon per one cup of water. The hot water is the only hot part with fiber reactive dyes, so different for me than dyeing protein fibers like wool and sillk with acid dyes. I just realized one disappointing omission - I changed out colors and rearranged so much but didn't write down my final choices and I can't remember now what they are. I think the above are Cayman Bue, Plum, Bronze and Moss Green. Or not.
We started first thing by immersing my two warps in soda ash water, which is a mordant of sorts. It's recommended that you soak for at least a half hour and it was longer than that because I was stymied by color.
I had wound my warp in 2" bouts for an 8" scarf and labeled them 1 to 4 to keep them in order for later when it's time to weave. Once the soak was completed, we opened up the three yard warp chain and slipped both ends through dowels. I'm using 8/2 Tencel, a form of rayon.
We blotted the excess dye from the plastic wrap and covered the top with a second sheet of plastic wrap. This is to keep the color from unintented bleeding. It's rolled up tightlly to keep the yarn wet for the next day or two.
The color on the yarn is really dark and looks terrible. These are the colors that I blotted up so I'm hoping my results will be closer to them.
I chose analogous colors for my second warp and just a word of caution. When mixing dye powders, it's imperative that you wear a dust mask. You may not see anything in the air but the risk is serious. I think the colors here are Raspberry, Lilac and Fuchsia Red. Or not.

We put the warp ends on dowels again but this time I scrunched them together and then painted sections on the diagonal. I'm trying hard not to focus on how ugly the warps look at this stage and just believe the colors that are on the paper towels. This is definitely not for someone who requires immediate gratification.
The two warps are wrapped securly in plastic wrap and are batching in the garage. They recommend at least 24 hours and 48 is even better. I'll probably rinse these out sometime tomorrow afternoon. I'm going to our local farmers market on Sunday then have a school library sub job all next week so I wanted to write down the steps that we took today while they are fresh in my mind. And then I need to do it again as soon as I can.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Doyle Days

Our neighbors bought the Winge's grocery store/hotel in Doyle in January. When we stopped by to see what they were doing, Eileen talked me into signing up for a booth at Doyle Days. And now it's Doyle Days.
The day begins with a parade. Doyle is a Northern California railroad town that time almost forgot, but not quite. Lassen County is populated with the truly forgotten towns - Termo, Wendel, Standish, Ravendale. At least Doyle still has a post office. It's in California. We live right on the stateline in Nevada and are ten miles south. If you look at a map, we are where California and Nevada abut.
All parade participants toss candy and everyone scrambles for it.
The parade is at 10:00, followed at 11:00 by the three-man outhouse races. This team is the winner this year - The Reading Room. The rules declare that a crew shall consist of 3 members: 2 pushers, driver, rider, and/or 2 alternates - All of whom should be of basic humanoid ancestry. No dogs or other animals that cannot make a reasonable choice may not ride in or push/pull the outhouse. There is a long list of specifications but I like: Minimum size - 8 square feet; Outhouse must be completely enclosed with an operating door - Curtain closure OK; Outhouse must contain a toilet seat, roll of toilet paper and be a functional outhouse; Steering and brakes are optional.

Lizard races follow at noon, and it's all about boys and lizards.

A boy releases his lizard onto the black disk in the center of the ring and at that moment the timer starts. When the lizard reaches the ring wall, time stops. I heard times varying between 1.7 seconds, upward to 12 seconds. This event went on for over 90 minutes! I was starting to feel sorry for the lizards.
The next event is the frozen t-shirt contest.
The first person to thaw and wear their frozen t-shirt is the winner, not as easy as it sounds. A couple dozen people tackled this challenge.
I got a kick out of this craft booth. We give ours away.
I realized quickly that it was not a good venue for crafters. At the last minute I had tossed some wool and drop spindles into a basket so ended up doing more spinning demonstration than anything else. I met fun people and enjoyed the day, but I was really happy to be home and put my feet up.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Nevada County Fair

Wednesday morning I loaded Jane up for her first trip over the Sierras. What a difference that trip is with this car! No more deafening road noise or down shifting. This is the first of all my four-cylinder cars, and they've all been four-cylinder, that hasn't required down shifting on the grades.
I dropped my stuff off at Sue's first, and because I arrived at the fair in the afternoon, parking was horrible. I ended up parking at the far end of the lot near the exit and would have had to go further but managed to squeeze in next to this rock. It was close to a half mile walk with my load and I would certainly do it differently another time. One of the young parking attendants said - I love your license plate! My dad does libraries. We both laughed. My plate says BOOKIST.
My first demonstration shift was in the Ag-Sperience area. It's an ingenious use of farm pens to expand the fair display area and my favorite of the two areas that Footfhill Fibers Guild sets up to demo weaving, spinning, felting, knitting and basketry. We are next to the Master Gardners and FFA.
This is our area. Everyone was getting food when I thought to take this, and let me tell you that the food on Treat Street is not your usual fair fare. Shan is teaching her six-year-old granddaughter Tula to spin.
One of the huge hits in Ag-Sperience is the chick incubator. Kids keep come back to it all the time they're at the fair to check on the hatchlings. Shan also had her 12-year-old grandson with her. He came racing up to his cousin and said - Come on, let's go check out the chicks. Oh man, we laughed. He'll be saying that soon enough but with an entirely different meaning.

One of the things I love about this fair is the vintage farm equipment display.
It shares an area where hobbyists display their gas-powered, belt-driven machines. Grass Valley is in the heart of Gold Country and many a mine required pumping from something like this.
This is a whatchmacallit. On the left you see a stone sharpening wheel and on the right in the back you see a hacksaw, which was sawing back and forth into the air.
Looking through my pictures I realize that my bias toward spinning in Ag-Sperience is reflected in my absence of photos of our magnificant display area in Ponderosa Hall - beautiful tihings! I had two shifts yesterday, the last ended at 10:00 in Ponderosa when we closed it down. My favorite part of the entire day was my afternoon Ag-Sperience shift. We get a lot of families with children and have baskets of fleece to feel and storyboard that that explains shearing. On occasion one of the kids will ask if they can try our equipment. We direct them to the display and suggest they visit Ponderosa where they can actually weave.
This little girl stropped by with her family. She watched me on my drop spindle for quite a while and then with an intelligent open face asked, Can I try it? Most kids want to try a wheel. Of course you can! I explained what she needed to do but she had been watching and intuitively got it. Her family went photo mad, taking pictures, and told me that she has been displaying an interest lately in fiber arts. Later she returned to thank me and then - can I do it again? Of course! They had to drag her away. In all my years doing this, that was a first and it was awesome.
And yes I did enter something and yes I got a ribbon. I came in behind Ingrid Knox who took first place but she is such an accomplished weaver and warm friend, I was busting buttons on my proud chest when I saw this hanging on my scarf. I love this fair so much and am so lucky to be able to be a part of it. I love it all - staying at Sue's and talking into the night and then getting up in the morning and talking again over dark coffee.
I got home this morning and after lunch (cottage cheese and beautiful tomatoes that Sue sent home with me from her garden), I got things ready and packed the car for the Doyle Days craft fair tomorrow. It should be interesting - lizard races and three-man outhouse races?

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Getting Warped

This is the storm system that has been slowly moving over our house for almost 24 hours now. It's coming from the east so hasn't lost any moisture crossing the Sierras. In the winter we call this system a Tonopah Low and it dumps a couple of feet of snow on us. This is the first time I've experienced this system in August and it's most welcome.
I rely on natural light to work in my studio and it's been so dark that the only thing I've been able to do is wind warps. This warp will be my next set of dish towels.
I agonized over colors for about a week, adding and taking away cones, and I had some misgivings about this pink but all the Google images I looked at of "seaglass" had a pink glass. I think it looks better in the warp chains.
And I wound enough of this coral 8/2 Tencel to make two scarves. One of my favorite sample scarves at Webs used coral and pink. I'll use the Wall of Troy draft for both.
The last warp, actually two warps, I made today are undyed Tencel. Melissa is coming up next week and Rae has offered to show us how to make hand-painted warps. Rae suggested I wind in small bouts so I made four 2" bouts for an 8" scarf for each of us. I've wanted to do this for a long time and am really looking forward to it. I can't get my head around how fiber reactive dyes work so I'll get two lessons at once
I'm leaving in the morning for Grass Valley and will spend a couple of nights with my friend Sue. I have looked forward to this trip and visit for months. I enjoy the Nevada County Fair and to showing the public the art of hand spinning. It's a wonderful fair and wonderful fairgrounds, always a pleasure. I especially look forward to seeing old friends.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Crisis Weaving

Tuesday I took this picture of a weed in our garden and posted it to Facebook. It's kind of attractive and I was curious to know if anyone could identify it. Several people said they thought it might be a watermelon volunteer. Amy, my fabulous reference librarian friend, came back with the low-down. It's Buffalo Burr, related to the nightshade family, and is classified as a noxious weed. Those burrs can be nasty. So sorry pretty weed, you gotta go.
The plumber we found on Angie's List came out on Wednesday - I heard him comment to Ian that it looked like he was bringing the storm with him. What storm? I had been reading but when I looked out the window, I saw an onminous black cloud creeping down Petersen Mountain - the storm was coming from the south. By the time the plumber went to get his stuff from the truck, the sky opened up and dropped buckets. We opened the garage door so it would be closer to his truck but still Ian had to loan him his Oregon rain jacket - pouring rain, the stuff flash floods are made of. I got caught up with the plumber so it was several minutes before it dawned on me that my south-facing studio window was open.
I raced up the stairs to see rain pouring into my studio, blowing in laterally like a movie studio special effect. The sill was covered in water and it was cascading down the wall. The carpet was soaked, as were the blinds, my packing paper, the warp and my loom. The first order of business was to sop up as best I could with bath towels. The wet warp on my back beam really upset me and I didn't know what else to do but to weave until I could advance off the wood and also cut the wet paper away. I'm lucky it was a short warp for two baby blankets. I wove the project off today and orange-oiled the whole pathetic mess.
This is the main reason we called the plumber. The right side of the sink is very deep and too hard to reach for Ian's damaged back. This is the most awesome faucet I've ever had. Even the plumber was impressed. Ian looked up kitchen faucets in Consumer Reports and then bought what they advised - Granite Bay, under $100.
I decided that instead of making fringe on these baby blankets, I'd do a hemstitch and then hem them. I've never done that before. I'm concerned that the hem will be awfully heavy for such a small blanket. I'm always trying things out to see what happens. I look forward to having enough experience to actually know what happens.
And I finished my first scarf from Tencel yesterday. It was really stiff at first but Cindie said she always uses fabric softener, so after this photo, I washed it again with fabric softener and steam pressed it. It made a world of difference.
I'm really pleased with my first Tencel scarf and am already planning a second warp with this same draft, ony for two scarves this time. I'm sure I need a weaving 12-steps group. Hi, my name is Sharon.....