Wednesday, September 21, 2011


LouAnn suggested that I take photos of the sheets before I cut them into strips so I can remember what they looked like when I compare them with what they wove up into. Yeah, that was a bad sentence.
They are right in the middle here and not contri-
buting a thing. The orange is pushing the colors away, so I'm thinking these are going to live in inventory, kinda like purgatory, only not. I'm planning to do a set with this sheet and the solid red and that's all. I think it will be hot.
This is the set I'm weaving now and they've already been paid for - I just need to finish and deliver. I appreciate Theresa's "go bold or go home advice." She was right.
Drum roll please - this is what was in the box. Eighteen pounds of cotton from Benita in Illinois. She said she had Scott stand on the box so she could seal it. She apologized in an email that some were in pieces and a lot were pink. I didn't see a problem on either score. Pieces are the rag rug tradition, though I did rip some of them to true them up. Pink is great in rugs as it's light but not not dirty looking.
I washed and ironed them all today, and as I did, I found myself discover-
ing potential color arrangements. I'm a stickler for prewash after reading the Finish American rug weavers book. Some of them didn't prewash everything and it's obvious. No thanks - not with all the work that goes into a set of placemats or a rug. I'm a hobbyist, not a production weaver.
And there they are, ready to work with. We're leaving Sunday and I didn't want to leave our house-sitter with a mountain of fabrics in the dining room, nor did I want to come home to that mountain. I have enough warp for another round of placemats using my dummy warp, and then I'm going to order more carpet warp. After that, I'm moving placemats to Maudie Mae since she's only 23" wide, thus freeing up Miss Millie. I hate to say goodbye to that dummy warp - it's been a good friend.
This is the little Gem Gilmore loom that Jeanie has loaned me for the Robin Spady workshop. It's such a sweet little thing. I need to get the required warp on it between now, my Washington trip and the workshop. No pressure.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Good Day to Dye

I'm spinning the fiber I won at Spindle Camp in May, Blue-faced Leicester and silk. I haven't been spinning lately but need yarn for hats as the season is approaching. That's just an excuse. I love to knit hats! I've not been excited about this but it's taking on a the appearance of washed denim and I find I really do like it now.
I decided yesterday was the perfect day to dye some wool. These are pretty much the same colors I used to dye my skeins the other day, but the blue took over that dye bath. I'm using Gaywool Dyes and mixing the colors together I have. For instance, the gold is pumpkin and olive green. I poured on the color in stripes, covered with water and baked in the oven at 300 degrees for an hour. I'm sure a half hour would have been adequate but I got sidetracked.
I like white in the roving and think of it as a color. The roving is Panda and I'm thrilled with my colors - good guessing on my part. All three colors are mixes that I couldn't possibly repeat.
There's no guarantee that these colors will blend into a pretty yarn, but I'm chomping at the bit to get started. I love spinning Panda - it just throws itself on the bobbin.
While the roving was in the oven, I was kettle dyeing yarns that I'd like to use for color splashes in the hats. The three skeins on the right are the ones from last week. The four on the left were from yesterday. These are all from our Shetland wethers.
I'm really pleased with this experi-
ment. I put two skeins that were originally the same as those on the left into the same dyepot and got two different shades of blue. I'll be doing more of that again.
Ian brought this box in just as I was filling my water bottle to head into town this morning. He said it came yesterday but he didn't pick it up until just now. I know what's in the box but I'm saving the exploration of the contents until the morning. I didn't get home until 6:00 and I want to savor the contents when I'm fresh and not exhausted like I am now.

It was yet another full day in town. I got to the farmers market at 10:00 and spent the last of our CSA bucks on beefsteak tomatoes and pickling cukes, then picked up the loom that Jeannie is loaning me for the Robin Spady weaving workshop in two weeks. It was at the new Jimmy Beans location so I also got a facility tour. Then I was just in time for my eye appointment where I got fabulous contact lenses that let me see both near and far, had lunch with Melissa, we shopped and bought more used clothes - got a brand new pair of Sofft shoes for $18 that retail for $100 and even though they were new, they were in a used store allowing me to keep our "no new clothes in 2011" vow - had a great workout and swim and came home with more fresh produce in our CSA basket. I'm reminded once again that life is good, in spite of the shadows.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's Been a Hard Week

Death toll rises in Reno air show crash

Our church is in the base chapel for the old Stead air force base, which is where the Reno Air Races are held. Whether or not you like air races, this is small community of fans who have suffered a devastating loss. The church was packed this morning. We even had an AP videographer and photographer - and why. They shot pictures for the first 15 minutes of Mass. What did they hope to get. People camp on our church campus for this event and have for years. Two of the traditional campers are among the dead. Our cleric was a first responder. He said people mobbed him when they saw his Roman collar.

It was a draining morning and I'm so glad I had a great lap swim. I took a sandwich and was eating it at my favorite regional park when Amy called. She lives right by the park and I availed myself of some friendship. Two fires in the valley last week, the air race wreck and then a memorial celebration party last night for a friend much too young to be the subject - it's been a hard week.

I don't want to end on a down note. I do love this album. I bought it several years ago and I see it's been amended to include Bob Marley. Hope is good.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Autumn is Upon Us

I put three skeins of our different Shetland boys in the same dye bath and got three different results, as I expected. I'll dye some solids to go with them to knit up as hats in a couple of days.
Under this ignomi-
nious wrap is the fabulous batch of soap I made this morning. The washed plastic bottles are draining so I can make dye stock solution and store them in clean containers - thanks Chrissie for drinking all that juice.

I haven't sold a felted bag in a while so haven't been thinking about making more, but I sold two in the last week so this is my first replacement in the works. I'm always happy about anything that is stash reduction.
The weather is changing so quickly, it makes my head spin. Ian takes the dogs for a ritual drive every morning and has for years. He has driven by the house that burned yesterday and waved to the owner working in the yard. He said today the house is boarded up with plywood. I wish the owners well.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just Another Day in Paradise

Yesterday was my first swim lesson since I was pregnant with my grown son, okay, 40 years ago. I bought a suit from Costco and dove right into this thing, really. About ten days ago the suit began to fail and Ian encouraged me to get online and order one immediately, which I did. I found suits on sale at Lands End and ordered two, but they took a week to get to me, three days to get to Reno and four to be delivered, which included UPS transferring the package to the USPS for delivery. By then you can see the shape my old suit was in. On my last swim, it was literally trailing behind me. You get what you pay for. The lesson was awesome. I learned a better way to do the free style and stayed another 45 minutes to practice, using a whole new set of muscles. I can hardly move today.
In addition, I'm still a little tired from Labor Day weekend so slept late this morning. I was having my coffee and working on the jackalope's ears when the songbird activity arrested me.
There was a crowd in the birdbath and the water was flying every-
where. We've seen as many as twelve in there at a time from the bedroom window. I got the DSLR, filled the basin back up and sat down to wait for them to return. Ian came out about then and asked if I had our neighbor Ken's phone number (he's on the VFD) as there was a fire across the valley.
I walked around the end of the house, and saw this - and panicked. For two minutes I'm sure I did nothing but run back and forth and hyperventilate. Finally I realized I had my cell phone and called 911. I was stunned at how shaky my voice was. Ian called Ken who called the fire chief.
And we waited. It was painful as the minutes stretched and the flames rose. Click for big.
My phone says I called at 10:21 and at 10:45 the first fire truck rolled up, our little VFD crew. The thing with VFD is they are all volunteers and many have day jobs. Ultimately eight trucks in all attended the fire. I finally realized their priority was to extinguish the fire, not save the structure. It could have been devastating, a mini-Texas, but for once, we had no wind. Cindie just wrote me that Theresa told her that fire departments are just here to save lives and keep fires from spreading, not save our houses. I can see the reason of that, but it scares me. In this case, the news has reported, the fire started in garage. I've never seen a house burn down before, but losing my house to fire scares me to death. I think the most likely threat to the rest of us is wildfire caused by lightening, as Carol and Harry experienced earlier this week.
Otherwise, it was a lovely day - thankfully so. We get such serious winds this time of year that Mark Twain coined them the Washoe Zephyr, always the pundit. Our normal winds could have ignited the entire side of the valley. It was a sobering day. Our HOA logo is Red Rock Valley - Just Another Day in Paradise. This is the first house fire in the valley and that no other structures went with it leaves us with tomorrow, another day in Paradise. I am resisting the soapbox about cutting funding to police and fire protection, because I'm drained enough already.

Monday, September 12, 2011

In a Day - or Two

I took LouAnn's suggestion and went by Goodwill after my swim yesterday. They charge according to size, from $2-$5. I came home with six flat sheets and spent $20.

She also recom-
mended that I take photos of the sheets so I can compare with what they look like when woven. I think these three will end up in one set.
These are the pinwheels for my current warp. I'm weaving the last placemat from the pinwheels on the bottom right. There is waaay too much pastel going on here. The red pinwheels are sold and paid for. I get the message.

I let me weave until 3:00 today and then I had to finish my book club book. I have to do it as facilitator, mixed blessing - It makes me read the book and it's also made me read outside my comfort zone. It's only the third time in five years that I haven't enjoyed our selection: A Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. I have my wonders about the book and they would start why she didn't write the end first. I would rather she wrote the end into the whole story. I will donate my copy to the library.

Ian and I were reading on the front porch and enjoying a Northern Harrier, who instantly eliminated our bird population to zero. He was focused on the voles and I was rooting for him, when a thunderstorm cell rolled in from the east - always serious business from that direction.
Ian ran upstairs to close the windows and saw this fire from my studio window. He knew it had to be close to our friends Carol and Harry, where just last evening we had enjoyed a Sunset Magazine style dinner on the front porch. He called and left the message that we'd be there in a heart beat, let us know. Carol called about 20 minutes later.
The fire was right by their house but neighbors with shovels had showed up until the VFD trucks arrived. And then the sky opened up and gave them a hand.
I think they call these gully washers. I have a feeling our driveway will have some new contours, come tomorrow.
Just last weekend we had dozens of folks camping in this now building lake. How capricious is the high desert weather!!
It's a puzzle. Can you see the llama shape who is adoring the rain? And yes, the fire is out. We got lucky. Dry lightening is the fear of us all. Phew.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Um, and More Weaving

I was tired from last weekend and wanted to get a warp on so I could have some weaving therapy. I'm doing yet another set of four placemats, tied onto the same dummy warp. After watching the Madeline Van der Hoogt video, I put a cross in the dummy warp as well as the new one. There's a cross on both sides of the reed. Zounds Batgirl! That's the ticket. I had it tied on in about an hour and a half.
DD Chris called this morning to say that Alexia had decided she didn't want to go to gymnastics. She wanted to help Grandma with her farmers market craft fair. Oh, and she'd like to spend the night. Okay on both counts. This is my craft fair helper.
She was terrific. She put one of my felted bags on her shoulder and went over to the farmers market area and said, you should see the things my grandma makes - she made this and she makes really stinky soap. It helps that she's adorable and voluble.
The lady who bought the bag is visiting from Tuscon and her host in the turquoise top, trying on one my hats, bought placemats from me at the Hunter Pace event two weeks ago. Word of mouth is good. I didn't sell any soap at the Hunter Pace, and that's what I sold today.
We made cookies this afternoon. They're orange because the only Jello I had left was orange. The cookie stamp on the right is hearts, a gift from Amy last weekend, and it quickly became her favorite - it doesn't stick.

I talked her into only putting sprinkles on the top of the balls and then stamping them. It's self preservation. Sprinkles are like edible glitter. I cannot believe I have so much patience with her when I had none with own three children.
After cookies, we decided we'd weave for a little bit. I asked her to model the bag she had shown around the farmers market this morning. What amazed me is that she did it completely on her own. I'm sure it looked like I was hustling my granddaughter. She came with money and wanted to spend it. She kept telling me what was for sale and for how much. I finally let her buy a jar of homemade apple butter for $3.50. She came with $18.00 - Kerry helped her count it out. Yikes!
We decided that we grrls should spend some time weaving. The knitting has fallen out of favor for the moment. I'm looking for a rigid heddle loom for her. I think she's ready.
This is the set I'm working on right now. It's very pastel. I think the fabrics are shirting materials - they all have stripes. It occurred to me today that I should try Marshalls or Ross and see if I can find a single flat sheet that's an orphan for cheap. I can keep my price low if I can keep my costs low. I hope this is the brilliant idea of the year.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

5th Annual Gathering III Fini

It was a near-full moon and my daughter put Christmas lights on their tent for a nice light show. I think there were six tents in a row there but I forgot to take a picture. There was a lot going on in a short amount of time! I woke up this morning with the realization that this was the first time all eight of our grandkids had been together in one place and I didn't get that picture either.
We had an appoint-
ment at Joe Winter's pottery studio Sunday morning at 10:00. Marsh led the way in his Polaris RZR (pronounced razer) and Alexia's face lit up. She wanted to ride in the "go-cart." Bev invited her to ride on the back with her. Marsh drove really slow and told me later it's because Lex got really scared, but she rode back on it nevertheless.
Ian and I both are fans of Joe's work so it's always a pleasure to bring our friends over. He's the only person I know who is making a living at his art. Our crowd doesn't seem to mind helping him with that.
This is one of two working areas of his studio - he has two show rooms and an outdoor woodfire kiln, plus a raku work area, which is galvanized cans on fireproof brick. This is the room where he throws the pots. I wish I could remember how many thousands of pounds of clay he throws in a year, and then there's the 13% shrinkage. Why can I remember one number and not the other one? I'm blaming a wrinkle in the gray matter. They're everywhere else!
Joe always throws a pot for those who are interested in seeing the building process. Here he explains he is wedging the clay.
He's making another pot like the one behind Alexia's shoulder. BTW, she's wearing a shirt I had embroidered all over with flowers for her mother with her name over the breast pocket - I had just found it. It's too warm but Lex won't take it off and thus acquired the nickname "Mini Chris."
Some folks straggled in a little later as they chose to walk. The weather was warm but absolutely beautiful. We're starting to get a little tropical moisture this week - it rained a bit on Saturday night. One tent learned why you put up the rain fly *before* you go to bed.
This is grand-
nephew Solly who was in the YouTube video I posted about a week ago, showing how he can watch a video on the iPhone, make a phone call and then go back to the video - he's two. Just ask him. I asked him to show me what he had in his hands. Both his parents are engineers - hmmmmmm.
Cooking on the propane burners is always messy. Everyone pitched in when it came to clean-up but I do love Angie's black hand. I think that's part of the community feeling - everyone shoulders a part of the work and contributes to the play.

I've been begged for a family tree posted somewhere, explaining all the relationships and connections. I'm not sure it's possible. Angie is married to Don Don, which distinguishes him from his father Don and his son Don, also known as Don Don Don, or Junior. Stepson Carlos nicknamed him D-Cube this year. Not blood relatives but very important people in our lives. The picture I posted yesterday of my SIL Rochelle and friend Yvonne, friends from high school? Yvonne is married to just-one-Don. See what I mean???
And this is the 2011 Gathering jigsaw puzzle. I'm so thrilled they finished it before leaving. Last years puzzle was so hard that I was trying to get it done so I could decorate for Christmas. Amy spent a couple hours then getting it straightened out before she left or I would never had gotten it off the table before this year!
This is Amy's vintage trailer that she has had restored, adores and makes wonderful use of. It was almost the tail that wags the dog as she had to acquire a truck to pull it with. She's heading out. She camped with us in Oregon in June.
DS Josh told her that she had inspired him. He found this trailer with a for-sale sign in a bank of snow. He was able to acquire it for $250 and has since put $3,000 and a lot elbow grease into making it a working unit. This was the inaugural run. It's a far cry from the massive fifth-wheel that helped tip them into bankruptcy. They've learned about the power of paying cash. They've decided this looks like a 1950s kitchen appliance so have named it the Road Toaster - a label is in progress.
It's also given them the oppor-
tunity to back up and discover how to be more creative. Josh used the spring-loaded power outlet cap on the trailer wall to install a brewer's tap instead. There's a pony keg in a special cabinet inside that he built just to house it and he's pouring me a beer. It was a big hit.
Their fifth-wheel was twice the length of the truck, which BTW Josh calls Big Stinky - I think we're a family of nicknamers - and I like the Road Toaster twice as much. It's always so hard to say goodbye.

I was grateful that Bev and Marsh stayed behind - Bev is SIL Rochelle's cousin - she and our friend Holly tackled cleaning the house like Merry Maids. Carol and Kerry came back to pick up some stuff, and Petie was staying another day. It was fabulous to sit around garage in the ring of chairs and chat - I come from a long line of storytellers and I married into another one. We were telling and retelling stories - there's really a lot of power in them - no batteries required.