Friday, July 25, 2014

Weaving in July

We have just finished a week of unusual weather, overcast and muggy with some rain. In fact we got heavy rain one evening which continued as a gentle soaking rain for almost twelve hours - most unusual for July. That doesn't ordinarily happen until the end of August, if it happens at all.
I finally finished the bougainvillea towels. I've decided to only weave two colors instead of eight. I'll stick to eight colors in the weft since that lets me do a little color mixing of my own, but it's much easier and cheaper to list just two sales in Etsy, rather than eight. I hand hemmed one of the red ones and have sent it in as one of my two entries in the Nevada County Fair.



I came across this scarf in Cindie Kitchen's Etsy store and was flabbergasted when she noted it was a four-shaft weave called Wall of Troy. I decided to weave this draft myself and asked her permission to share this photo in case someone else wants to give it a try.
This is the Wall of Troy draft.
I decided to weave it white on white since I have three cones of white tencel that I bought to use for painted warps - that I haven't even tried. I figured if I'm going to make a mess and waste yarn, it might as well something I have a lot of. I'm pleased at how well it's going but I have to say that warping white is hard on the eyes.
I'm astounded at my ability to find new mistakes to make. This time I left a bunch of heddles right in the middle of the heddle bar. It's more cosmetic than anything. It's not affecting the weaving but it's not pretty.
I had to get my car serviced so walked across the street to Grassroot Books and came home with these. I realize it's been a while since I've written a post about books. Next time.
Ornery cat - she snagged the bag my books were in. Check out her ears. Tomorrow is our guild's first learn-to-weave workshop and I've got the Dorothy warped and safe from Maddie under a quilt. You know how I'll be spending my Saturday.

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!