I calculated that I had enough yarn for an 8" scarf but discovered that I actually had enough for 10" and kept winding. Once I saw it in the reed I realized that 10" is a *really* wide scarf and I couldn't imagine wanting to wear it so I tore out enough for 7 1/2" and tossed it over the back. I thought I'd wind it onto a spool and use it for something later but I wasn't quick enough and Maddie turned it into a cat toy.
Once I started weaving I could see I was right. I was a little concerned about the hairy alpaca yarn but the tencel weft seemed to tame it nicely.
I decided that the fastest way to get more roving for blended batts was to dye up the 8 ounce bump of BFL/silk that's been sitting around here. Cindie Kitchens had sent me a great link to Design Seeds, a color inspiration web site. I chose these colors from one of the palettes but didn't like the options for a fourth color. I had enough roving for one more color but was stumped.
It's probably been two years since I've dyed anything and I felt really awkward. I had asked Nina at Odette's Obsessions for help on kettle dyeing roving and in response she sent me a chart of dye strengths to WOG (weight of goods). I followed her chart but decided to steam packets so I could get four separate colors. I had the perfect ratio of dye to wool as the dye completely exhausted and there was nothing to rinse out afterwards.
These are my results. I only blended two colors together, as though I were blending to paint. I can see that on my next set I need to blend at least three colors to get more complex results to tone these down. This is a good starting point though.
The scarf is finished and I absolutely love it. I have come realize that patience is required throughout the entire process because it a scarf isn't a scarf until it's wet finished. It looks horrible until then. After a press on the mini mangle, it's an entirely different thing. Between the alpaca and tencel, this is all about drape.
I finished spinning the last of my blended batts. I don't have a good color to use as weft so finally took the time to put together an order of weaving yarns. When you order more than $200 from Yarn Barn of Kansas, you get a 20% discount which saved me over $50. I ordered teal tencel for the weft on this and I'm sure I'll use it for other things later.
Maddie discovered yesterday how to get up on the counter. I was sitting there, eating breakfast, when suddenly she hopped up on the stool next to me. She sat next to me for about five minutes and then curiosity got the best of her. As you can see, nothing will ever be safe again. I was trying to full my yarn and she wanted to help too. Actually, she's fussed at me all morning to go up and work in my studio. I've made it a routine to weave mornings and if I don't get up there as soon as she thinks I should, she turns into a complete feline nag. She goes up to the balcony, sticks her head through the posts and mewls at me.
I don't have time today to start anything as I need to get ready to leave pretty soon. Today is Tommy's memorial, or Thomas as his family calls him. I'm stuck in time as he was just a boy when I last saw him. It hasn't even been a month since he died of pneumonia after catching a respiratory virus, dead at 38. He leaves two children and heartbroken parents.
Actually, it's March 5th. I went to yoga this morning for the first time in two weeks. I had a wonderful session and am getting that much closer to full mobility of my neck. I stayed indoors for that two weeks and have bested the sinus infection, though I suspect a cough will hang on a bit longer. I know tomorrow will be a rough day and I'll count on taking a muscle relaxer. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I had planned to drive to Barnes and Noble for a new world atlas when I realized that our local indie bookstore is right across the street. After my yoga hour, I walked across the street and bought the only world atlas they had, a National Geographic Concise Atlas of the World. My old one has a unified German, but it also has Yugoslavia and the USSR. It's definitely time to update!
On my way home I stopped for a picture of the Shoe Tree, which is once again at about full capacity. Right about now someone will come along and clear it out. I don't know who that "someone" is, but the tree is in California - a Californian?
I had finished weaving this yesterday, washed it and hung it to dry and fluff up. After I got home I trimmed the fringe and pressed it on the mini mangle.
The scarves from handspun yarn are turning out better and better so that after each one I say - this is my favorite yet. But this really is! I love the pops of white from the undyed silk noil.
I was knitting on this scarf while Ian drove me to physical therapy and finished it quite some time ago. It's from two skeins of a cashmere blend that were gifted to me years ago. I know I'll never wear it even though it feels heavenly. I've decided to set it aside for that time when I'm asked to donate an item for a silent auction fund raiser.
I'm getting bold and reckless on scarves. I spun up some hand-dyed alpaca that I got from Bhakti Banning at Spindle Camp last summer as part of a fiber exchange. It's really hairy so I plied it with 16/2 bamboo. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Meanwhile, after all the mass of stash that Melissa left behind last August, I'm finally to the bottom of it. This is the last 2.5 ounces and I blended up everything together.
I'm not truly completely out of stash. She also left this 50/50 silk/wool roving. I haven't wanted to spin it until I was sure what I wanted. She left me another one that spun up last year and plied on itself. The colors turned to mud and I have no idea what I'll be able to do with it. I have clear plans for this - it's gorgeous!
Maddie finds the darndest things to crawl into. I ran into the bedroom to grab that scarf and found her curled up inside Ian's jean for a nap. I sure do enjoy my kitty, lucky me.
A guild challenge has been issued for the May Conference of Northern California Handweavers. We are challenged to make purses with a unifying theme. When this came up last September, I thought - I'm in! I've wanted to make a purses from my board stiff scarves that I wove before I understand how to get a good sett. Today is the 5th month anniversary of my surgery and all of that healing and recovery kinda took precedence. Now the deadline to submit photos of the finished purses is here.
Friday I set to work. I can do this, even I don't know how. Seriously - how hard can this be?!!
Isn't this fun? My bag is going to be great. I finished sewing it up and couldn't wait to turn right sides out, Only there was no way I could and I didn't know how to fix it. It's like sewing origami, only I don't have the instructions. Plus the straps were attached weird and the bag wouldn't hang.
And then it was only big enough for a pair of sunglasses. I want a bag for cash and my phone to wear when I'm working a craft fair. I cut the straps off, cut another section of the scarf to make a sideways rectangular bag. I couldn't decide how to close it so installed a zipper. It looked like a cloth money bag at a bank. I ditched both in the trash and started cutting on another scarf.
After three hours of thrashing around, I cobbled this together and stopped for the day. It's the photo I'm required to submit but the straps and pin are just laying there. I couldn't think how to attach them and was just too tired to think about it. It's all from rayon including the Kumihimo braid strap. Our guild theme is winter and all our bags have the deciduous tree pin attached.
I ended up dreaming about it and I decided, in self defense, I had to finish it yesterday. The lining is muslin but I had no idea how to machine sew them together so ended up hand stitching it to the bag in teeny tiny little stitches. I dreamed how to do the straps and it actually worked. It's a good size and it hangs well. I'm actually pleased but I won't be making another purse until I get some instruction.
Maddie surprised me by jumping on top of my loom. She tried it once before but jumped right back down because it's not quite solid. It's just the top of the harnesses covered by a quilt, there to protect the loom from the sun when I'm not working on it. At first I thought she was after the warp chains I have heaped up out of her way.
Her interest was actually the tree that I'm trying to keep up and out of her destructive path until I can plant it this spring. It's a hospital gift and it should do well here in our yard, if I can keep it alive for a couple more months.
There is a virus going around and my doctor says it's highly contagious and rampant throughout our area. Since I have a normal low-white-blood count, I haven't felt threatened. I can't tell you the last time I've caught a virus. Until now. Ian was down with it two weeks ago and since the incubation period is two weeks, I suspect I caught it from him. It's been over a week and I had no idea it was possible for the human body to produce so much mucus or for a throat to be so raw. A foreign county could take over America by simply giving everyone this bug.
I've had to miss yoga but the gain I've made in neck flexibility seems to be holding. At least my neck doesn't hurt as the rest of my body melts. Because our guild has a big weaving outreach soon and it's the first one, I am serious about getting well. This virus seems to last two weeks and I'm especially nervous since it seems to make people prone to pneumonia. That means it's been a cycle of rest, gallons of hot tea, Mucinex, water, and repeat. Which is why this blog post is more books. When I could stay awake I knitted or read.
And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini - This was my book club's January selection. While still an important book, I felt it was over-reaching and didn't have the impact that his first two did. Still, it's a window into life in Afghanistan and it's harsh.
Good Evening Mr and Mrs America, and All the Ships at Sea, by Richard Bausch - This was a best seller in 1996. I had picked up the hardback from the library book sale and it's been on my shelf ever since. Time to either read it or take it back to the library. It's the type of book I'm most fond of, told through character development against the backdrop of contemporary events, ala Anne Tyler. It's out of print now but available on Kindle for $3.79.
Real Happy Family by Caeli Wolfson Widger - This is the second book I've gotten through Kindle First, and again it's not one I would have chosen, but I read it anyway and was thoroughly entertained. It's not literature but it's the kind of book I like when I need to read something easy since I don't ready Cozy Mysteries. The premise is a star-struck mom who desperately wants her daughter to make to the big time, at any price. Sick and wickedly funny.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - This has been this on the NYT bestselller list for quite some time so when Amazon offered it cheap, I snatched it up. Once I realized it was about childhood cancer, I couldn't bring myself to read it. Stuck here with limited books, I decided to read the first 20 pages and was hooked. It's oddly like Moyes' Me Before You, in that somehow the author has taken a morbid subject and left you feeling uplifted in the end. I gave it 5 stars.
The Autograph Hound by John Lahr - Lahr is a staff writer for The New Yorker and I've loved his writing for years. This is his first work of fiction and I'm sure it's appeal is limited to denizens of Manhattan. The story unfolds during one week in June 1969. Again it's a character development story against the backdrop of current events. The character is a mentally retarded busboy with a Walter Mitty imagination who is passionate about collecting autographs. Quiet and quirky.
The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning by Hallgrimur Helgason - The author is well known in Iceland but this is his book book published in English. Again, it was one of the Kindle offers where you're invited to pick one of four books. This particular offer was all suspense genre so I asked Ian to look at the selection and see if any appealed to him. He picked this one and it's me who's read it. Once I started, I got swept along. It's really an international tale of the trickle down effects of war, profane and funny.
I'm on hold for 14 Kindle books at the library but I have limited books here and don't want to buy any more. I suspect I'm housebound for another week. Boy will I ever be glad to see an end to this winter!
Little Sharon, Michael and Noah have made it a tradition to come up from San Francisco for a visit in February. This got started when they wanted Noah to have fun in the snow and until this year the weather has obliged. This visit was cold and dry. Sharon loved my blue-ribbon sweater from the fair a couple years ago and I told her I'd knit her one if she'd buy the yarn. I haven't worn the sweater one time since the fair and decided it would be a greater good to just pass it on to her. I don't think she took it off the entire time they were here. It's too big but that's the way she likes it she says.
Noah anticipates a visit with Hiroka, our neighbor's daughter. They only see each other twice a year and in spite of only being eight years old, have become good friends. They played for about five hours with a lunch break and continued until about 3:00 when the "she/he won't share" started. They'll see each other again at Labor Day. The February visit is a very good tradition.
The kids left early Tuesday morning so I finished up the Springtime Medley towels and loaded them into my Etsy store which has been empty for five months. I realized when checking the sales and stats that I neglected to load search words. Groan. Etsy wears me out. I'll get back to that later - not this week.
This is the last handspun I finished for warp. I thought blending 2.2 ounces of fiber was ample to get enough yardage for an 8" scarf but when I wound this warp, I had less than 6" - so disappointed. I guess I'm still learning and always the hard way.
And I did finish the white cotton sweater. It ended up being 3.5 stitches to the inch, i.e., really open and not warm. I put it on to go somewhere but the second I got out of the house, the cold bit right through. It's still awaiting it's debut. It looks great but there wasn't enough yarn for a shell after all. I thought I'd making a cotton scarf. - see how that goes
Today is Thursday. Yesterday was my yoga studio day. Carol introduced me to two new poses and I'm pleased with the flexibility and strength I'm gaining. When Ian visited our GP for his annual visit today, our doc knew the studio I'm using and the teacher and he himself a yoga practitioner approves. And then there's Thursday. I climb out of bed like a decrepit old woman, which I am, and recognize that this day has to be one about recovery. I've returned to my Robaxin prescription and take my muscle relaxant mid-morning.
This seemed to be a good day for knitting. I thought I was out of knitting but found the project (pictured above) in the closet. I had made a mistake that needed to be torn out and instead, just quit working on it. I've fixed the problem and started back to work on it.
And while I was fishing around for knitting, this box literally fell out of the closet. It's some cotton/linen that Melissa left last summer. I'm swatching it but it feels like knitting with macrame hemp. At least it's something to knit on and that means I'm not out of knitting - yet.
The Reno Fiber Guild weaving outreach is fast approaching. The program is a partnership with the South Valleys Library - they're providing the space and advertising. If you're in this area and would like to see what weaving is about, check us out here.
I finished spinning up the black and white fiber that I blended together and showed in this post. I experimented and plied one skein with 60/2 silk and the other with 16/2 bamboo. The bamboo was by far more stable. I had four broken warps with the silk and while I'll use silk again, I'll make sure I get a lot more twist in the ply.
This scarf is much different than the others I've woven so far and I love it. It's only 4 ounces and drapes really well. It's warm and not scratchy at all. I think I'm going to stop worrying about the itch factor.
I've left all my carding stuff in the dining room for the past couple of months but our kids are coming up from San Francisco for the three day weekend. We're going to need the dining room to eat in! I blended up another batch of the black and white and then put this mix together. Melissa left me a lot of stash last August but I'm coming to and end of that supply.
I had planned to add silk, bamboo, mohair locks and dyed silk noil but at the last second decided to just use undyed soil noil. I really like how those white slubs pop in contrast. I talked to Melissa yesterday. She's trying to nail down a date when she can come up for a play date this spring. She said that a friend had cleaned out her stash and left something like nine garbage bags in her backyard. She's bringing some of this loot to split -\Christmas!!
Maddie has been creating new ways to entertain herself lately. She put a tore up a papertowel she found and put it in the dog water bowl, then fished out the wet clumps. Fortunately that seems to have bored her because she hasn't done it again - yet.
Oh my goodness. However did toilet paper get on the stairs?!!
Paper seems to be the new toy. I cut some of the worn out weaving packing paper from the roll and tossed it over the rail to take to the trash later. I let her play with it as long as she was interested. I know when our kids are here, she's going to go into hiding. I wish she weren't a shy cat so other people could enjoy her but that's just how she is.
The days have been gray for the last week so I decided my antidote would be to weave up my colorful wool/silk/alpaca yarn. I had sett it for twill but when I saw how pretty the colors worked with the black Tencel weft, I changed my mind and went back to a very open plain weave to showcase my yarn. The problem is that I also had floating selvedges which aren't needed and a pain in the neck with plain weave, but I had woven close to a foot when I realized that and it was too late to take them out. I won't do that again!
It turned out beautifully and only weighed about three ounces. I told Ian that it was my new favorite thing I've ever woven. I was in a hurry to finish it because I wanted it to be part of the library display next month and the intake was yesterday. We have three display cases we can fill with handwoven related items as part of our outreach program at the library March 22nd. I posted this picture on the Carson Sierra Spinners and Weavers Facebook page because I want to encourage them to weave with their own handspun yarns. While it's not a private page, I was surprised to have three offers to buy it. So I sold it and mailed it off to Denton Texas yesterday to one of my best friends from junior high and high school. Holy cow!
The Reno Fiber Guild met at Gayle's home yesterday. Last year she said she'd like to offer a Crackle Weave workshop because she's been wanting to know more about it and the best way to learn something is to teach it. Several of the members met over the past couple of weeks to warp two Schacht Wolf Pups and three 8-shaft Baby Wolfs for this.
All three of these ladies are experienced weavers but there is always room to learn in a teaching opportunity.
All five looms had different weave patterns. Suzanne is working on one that makes blocks and looks a little like Summer and Winter.
Darla's is working on the easiest pattern and also my favorite. It's the first draft on p.131 of Anne Dixon's book and it would make a great jacket fabric. The one thing in common with all the drafts that I understand is that like Overshot, there's always a shot of tabby after every pattern shot. That's all I understood and given that there were about a half dozen books there written solely on the subject of Crackle Weave, I'm not going to beat myself up over it. If you're interested in more information about Crackle Weave, there's a great blog post here.
I learned so much and tried to weave as much of the five hours I was there as I could. I had no idea that eight shafts are so much heavier to lift than four shafts, but I learned that yesterday and again this morning when I climbed out of bed with sore legs. I'm so thankful to all the weavers in my guild who spent the time to put this together.
The only mar on the day was when I started to drive home in the pouring rain and a warning light came on my dash. Even though we've had the car since September, I've only been driving it a month and this was a totally strange symbol. I called the dealership and she said it indicates low tire pressure. By the time I got there, my right rear tire was nearly flat. I had picked up a nail. They had it patched and ready to go in an hour and was I ever thankful for this new sensor that Subaru has implemented or I would have been alone on the side of the road with a flat time in the rain. I'm also thankful for the rain and glad I got to enjoy it from inside the car.