Saturday, July 19, 2014

Red Rock Hounds

I was invited to Ross Creek Ranch Sunday afternoon for a social event and fund raiser for the Red Rock Hounds.

The hounds are used in an American version of fox-hunting and Lynn Lloyd is the Hunt Master - it's her ranch. She brought out a sample of dogs, which in turn brought excited horses from the field. They love fox (coyote) hunting! Note the bird on the boy's shoulder. Her name is Apple and she can imitate a horse whinney. She wasn't getting her usual share of attention so was whinneying a lot :)

The weather has hovered near the century mark for the last week. We were in the shade of huge cottonwood trees and even so it was hot. The dogs figured out how to cool down!


They take between 75-100 dogs on a hunt and the dogs absolutely love it!

Right now the ranch has about three litters of puppies. We were invited to cuddle, fall in love, name and sponsor a dog. My friend Lynne fell in love with this puppy.

Nancy Brown, one of our neighbors is a professional photographer and captured this image of contentment.

I finished the log cabin lap robe and in spite of all the struggles I had with the edges, I could not be more pleased. I've decided to weave two baby blanket next and hem them instead of fringing. I'll weave in inch, do a row of hem stitch, weave the blanket and finish it the same at the other end. The hemstitch row will be my turning row and will make a picot edge. It's a brilliant idea. The idea came to me while I was shampooing my hair in the shower this morning. Raise your hand if you've ever had a brilliant idea in the shower :)
Meanwhile, it's full-court press to finish these towels. This is the warp I wound before I went to Massachusetts and I'm only weaving red and purple towels. My inspiration is the Red Hat Ladies but I'm not going to say that - I learned my lesson! I'm calling them Bougainvillea.
I have entered one in the fair but I have to finish weaving all ten in order to hem one and get it in the mail. My friend Sue is going to take my entry in when she takes in hers, but I have to allow for time in the mail. I'm on the 7th towel now and weaving every morning.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Weaving Woes

Our guild held a warping party on Friday to prepare seven looms for our first ever learn-to-weave class in two weeks.  Beryl posted about it on the guild blog and if you're interested in what we did, you can read about it here.  We wound warp and got it onto the looms but each of us brought one home to finish up.  I came home with this one.
This is a 15" Dorothy made by LeClerc and for someone with size large hands like mine, threading and sleying it was a challenge at every step.
The wire heddles are thin twisted wires with an eye that's about 3/8" and can only be threaded with the bent hook provided.  On top of being tiny, everything is very close together.
It's too hot to do anything outside so I've done nothing but get this loom ready.  I think Maddie was a little jealous.
I had no idea how to get the reed sleyed but Suzanne came up with idea of using a paper towel roll to stabilize it.  It's a good thing we're starting these students with the weaving experience.  I would be completely turned off if the first thing I did was warp this loom.  I told Suzanne that if we do this again, I'll lend my Dorset floor loom for the workshop.  That I can manage.
I found and fixed the errors and that was no small feat because at this stage, everything is jammed in so tight tight tight.  This loom is already assigned to a student named Sheila and I'm pleased that I'm providing her with a good solid warp for her first experience.
It's been a rough weaving week for me.  I'd like to finish these towels because I've entered one in the Nevada County Fair.  I don't have much time to finish because I have to mail my towel and scarf to Sue in time for her to get them in for intake.  And of course, that means that I've got trouble.  I managed to get an uneven tension on this warp and kept having to redo mistakes because the chisel-nose shuttle kept scooping underneath the loose bottom warp threads.  Then I remembered that Ingrid had told me that a quick fix is just to turn the shuttle sideways.  It's the perfect fix.  Problem solved.
If you have a Schacht end-feed shuttle and find this helpful, be sure you put the eye on the top.  I learned that the hard way after having the eye snag and snap one of the bottom warp threads.

I went down to Red Rock Hounds last night for the puppy socialization evening, but this post is too long already.  Next time~

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Back to Routine

About 15 years ago - oh my goodness, that seems like a lot - Allison Judge fostered a knitting group in the Carson Sierra Spinners and Weavers guild using a book of slip-knit stitch swatches to make an afghan.  I have had this box of swatches ever since then.  I'm very serious about getting rid of dead weight in my studio and have decided to see if I can turn these into felted bags.

So far these are my two attempts.  Their i-cord handles are pretty stretchy so I'm exploring ways to make them sturdy, including running a line of monofiliment through, and then pulling a cord behind.  The yarn is Lamb's Pride worsted and it felts very well.  I'll figure out something.  
And then there's this.  I thought I'd just put on some cotton and weave a couple of baby blankets in Log Cabin - so basic, so simple.  Good night!  I could not have been more wrong.  I put the temple on in self defense since the sides were drawing in.  I'm convinced that you don't need to use a temple if your weaving basics are intact, and obviously mine are not.  I finally added a floating selvedge on the right and next time I'll have them on both sides.  And yes, I'm going to do this again.  I really need to practice using two shuttles.  I was a complete klutz.
And while I was gone, I left the studio door open for cross ventilation.  I made my studio as cat safe as I possibly could, but Maddy has a thing for my packing material.  Can you see the slash marks in the paper from her claws?
Can you see it now?  She managed to pull several warp threads through and broke one.  She missed me.

I just pulled these two scarves off my small loom.  I want to enter something in the Nevada County Fair and I need to decide what to do soon as entries close Friday.
Meanwhile, I went with Ian to get hay the other day from Birdflat Ranch.  They have the best grass hay and best prices but they sell to California so we need to buy hay while it's still here.
On the way home we stopped in Doyle.  Our neighbors bought this old grocery and hotel last year and have been working to restore it since January.  We were really impressed with what they've done.  It's only 12 miles door-to-door, and it offers an option to folks who might like to come to The Gathering over Labor Day but don't want to camp.  And before we left, Eileen talked me into signing up for a booth at Doyle Days on Saturday, August 9th.  It kicks off with a pancake breakfast, followed by lizard and outhouse races.  What's not to love?!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

It Was a Beautiful Wedding

It was a beautiful wedding. The decorations were ideas that Shannon found on Pinterest. She bought her dress on eBay for $130 and paid to have it shortened. The caterer and DJ were free, gifts from friends, so the biggest expense was tips. The minister was free (John's dad). Even the house on Cape Cod was loaned to them for this week. John's dad Paul laughed that neither of their adoptive sons have a smidgeon of Italian but are the bearers of that long name

I present to you, John and Shannon Sorrentino, parents of my beautiful great granddaughter.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Time Flies

Christina and I drove up to the top of Mt Sugarloaf yesterday, all 654' above sea level, for a birds eye view of the countryside. The Connecticut River flows at the base and in the left distance you can see U Mass. Click for big to see the brick library tower that can only be used on every other floor. The architects forgot to account for the added weight of the books!
Directly below and across the bridge is Sunderland, a community older than Nevada. Church spires are part of all communities and I think this one is a Congregational church.
We are staying in the group of houses on the left bank of the river. It's like living in a park.
The soil deposited from glaciers and river overrun is about 30 feet deep in Franklin County and ideal for farming. The landship is dotted by farms, and part of Historic Deerfield is still engaged in active farming.
A Victorian summer house occupied the "summit" until the 1960s when it mysteriously burned to the ground. A Frank Lloyd Wright inspired observation tower was built in it's place.
After the ceremony tomorrow afternoon, the wedding party and photographer are coming up here for photographsto take advantage of this unique setting.
The weather promises to behave with a forecast of 83 degrees and 37% humidity.
Olivia had roseola earlier this week and felt terrible, but she's a happy baby now with Daddy (my grandson John). She's still feeling a little clingy so will probably be passed back and forth at the altar.
The tent was delivered this morning. Time to put all the plans on paper into action. Yikes Shannon!
There aren't enough lights for the whole tent. It's time to go to Target and buy some more. Once again, I'm so glad we rented a car. The rehearsal dinner (pizza) is tonight and we will be ready!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Deerfield, Massachusetts

John's parents moved into this house when he was six months old. Later they adopted another boy, so this is where he and his brother grew up.
The yards are unfenced in this small development so it feels like a park to me. In fact, I'm sitting on that deck right now with a cup of coffee accompanied by at least a half dozen different bird songs.
The ceremony will be right here in the backyard with Sugarloaf Mountain as a backdrop. John's dad Paul will officiate the wedding on Saturday, and tomorrow is when we roll up our sleeves to make this happen. Chrissie and I bought the cupcake fixings and will bake tomorrow, frost on Friday.
Everyone was otherwise occupied yesterday so Chrissie and I spent the day in Historic Deerfield. It's a fastinating museum of American history, beginning in the 16th century. We got there at 10:45 and started on a walking tour at 11:00. Main Street is a mile long and the only time we got to sit down before we left at 4:45 was our lunch break here. We had four guided tours. During lunch a main-office employee overheard us and offered to answer questions, which turned into a fifth guided tour!
We were in MA last year for a week after Olivia was born, and spent a Saturday here, during a historic reenactment. We wanted to come back. I think the draw for me is that it's a microcosm of American history. It was already established and suffered a devastating raid in 1704 during a French and Indian Wars raid. And during the Revolutionary War, their Yale-educated minister, Pastor Ashley, was one of the main community leaders and also a strong British sympathizer. He hung a picture of King George over the mantel - not too subtle. History and dates come alive when you can put a face on events. Even after six hours, we couldn't see it all. It shares space with the Deerfield Academy and the movement to establish a museum didn't begin until the 1940s. They currently own 54 structures. Great fun!
The Flynt Museum has a textile exhibit and unfortunately we "saved" that building for last, when we were almost too tired to talk coherently. This suit is a plain weave taffeta, with a pink warp and yellow weft creating an iridescent cloth. I'm taking an iridescence workshop in October and was fascinated by it.
Because of the glass and lights, I was unable to get a better photo of this waistcoat. It's Broadcloth, a plain weave wool, which is fulled so the tailor doesn't have to hem the cuffs or bottom. The fad was to fit the body to the gentleman so carefully that below the waist, the material had to be cut away. This only left the coat tails and is how that fashion came to be. I had no idea!
Everyone kept telling us we absolutely had to drive to Shelburne Falls and see the Bridge of Flowers. This is it - a trolly bridge turned into a walking path and garden by volunteers. I'm reminded of the High Line in Manhattan.
There are two separate communites, one on either end of the bridge which flows over the Deerfield River.
We ate at the West End Pub, the yellow structure on the left, and had a window seat next to the bridge. Great view, good food. The bathroom is through the kitchen and down a long flight of steep stairs. It has to be close to river level - the west wall is just rock. I noticed a high water mark at the top of the lintel, noting the water level from Hurricane Irene on August 28th 2011.
I did fit in a visit to Web and bought six cones of yarn. I realized this morning that it doesn't matter if they fit in my suitcase. It can't exceed 50 pounds, so I might end up with of these in my carry-on bag.