Thursday, March 26, 2015

Another casting call........

 Another casting call for weft auditions, this time on the rayon warp on the AVL. Still thinking on which 3 I want to use for the 3 scarves but am leaning toward the taupe, the goldy yellow and the buttercream yellow.

 I got back to working on a tote bag - isn't it cute?  A couple weeks ago I met Theresa over in Ashland for a day of walking through shops and lunch. We went to 'her' fabric store, Fabric of Vision, and I was looking at the tote bag kits. Well, there were only a few left and I wasn't thrilled with the fabric but then I saw this fabric - I had to buy it and I was given the pattern to go with it. I got most of it sewn on Sunday but didn't like the black webbing I had for the straps that I found in my stash, it was too black so I waited until I could get to JoAnn's yesterday to pick up an oatmeal colored webbing - I love it.

Here's the inside lining. On the outside there are 3 pockets on the front and on the back. I'm going to make myself a few more of these to use for shopping bags but first is another tote bag pattern that I got as a gift - hoping to get to it soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Just too cute......

Ok, so I've seen this commercial what must be 100 times so far..........and probably the rest of you have too but I'm sharing anyhow just in case someone out there hasn't seen it. I'm a sucker for cute animals.......

A novelty.....2 looms warped.......

 Yesterday I got a couple of warps wound.  This one is a 9 ply rayon, hand-dyed by someone else, it's lovely. It's the same type of rayon I've used in the white wedding shawls recently. For non-weavers this view is from the back of the loom after I've wound the warp on, awaiting threading the heddles and sleying the reed.

 Here's the same warp, view from the front of the loom all threaded and tied on. I'm auditioning wefts for 3 scarves. I love the coral/peach color. Am torn on the pale lavender, fuchsia and light pink........leaning toward the fuchsia but not sure about the others so I'll start weaving the first scarf using the coral/peach and think on the other 2 scarf wefts. It's looking like I'll end up with tencel wefts, one bamboo is too thin, the other too thick. This draft is from the Strickler book - I've used it many times, just love this undulating twill.

 I also got a warp on the AVL - it's all rayon, a random mix of 2 colors of yellow and two of peachy/tan.

This draft is using 32 of my 40 harnesses. After some lunch I'll either start weaving on the pink warp or I'll audition wefts for this 3 scarf warp.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Woven Assomption Sash

I have a friend who is a part of the mountain man experience, sorry Gary, I don't know what it's officially called.  Anyhow he's looking to weave an assomption sash, his wife Diane is a weaver, and he weaves on an inkle loom. Traditionally these sashes are finger woven but this reproduction (above) that he bought was machine woven and that's what he would like to replicate, he would like to weave his own. This machine woven one was part of a wider piece of cloth because if I look closely at the one selvedge it is not a selvedge at all, it was cut and serged with black thread that barely shows up - I can't imagine it will last very long before falling apart along that edge.  It's slightly under 5" wide and very long. I hate to admit this but for some reason I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around analyzing this to come up with the draft........maybe it's the Tylenol PM I took last night that's left me with a brain fog hangover today (I rarely take it). I'm fairly sure it's a 3/1 twill, definitely warp faced. I do think I can get the color order easier by unknotting the fringed end and looking at it thread by thread, color by color. So, before I do that and tax my brain too much I thought I'd ask the other weavers if they know of draft somewhere out there for an assomption sash. I have found tons of information and book references to finger weaving them but I'm looking for a draft for a 4 harness loom as Gary doesn't want to spend years finger weaving one. I've found Carol James's website, she's written books and teaches but it looks like it's the traditional finger weaving technique (wow - incredible weaving) So, if anyone has come across this it the past and has a draft or knows where I can find information on one it would help me out and save my brain cells..........

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

One of those days........or maybe weeks......

It's been one of those days, actually week or couple of weeks......I'd just love to hibernate in the studio and do what I want but life doesn't have that in store for me........ 

I did get some weaving done today but between the loom bench almost dumping me backward onto the floor (it happened once before when it fell apart) and the dedicated laptop for the AVL and embroidery machine going wack-a-do I was slow at weaving and I made a treadling error that wasn't found until the shawls came off the loom - ACK. So, one of the shawls has a bit of a zig zag at one end rather than a diamond. I don't often make mistakes like that but since it was white on white it I didn't catch it while weaving.....and I was terribly distracted trying to deal with a wack-a-do laptop at the same time. What a shame. So I guess I now have a white rayon/cotton shawl in my wardrobe unless I decide to sell it for very little as a second.

Sam will be doing a repair job on my Macomber loom bench, in addition to gluing this time he'll be adding screws. I had to weave using my AVL loom bench today - not comfortable at all - how can one wooden bench feel so hard???  And it has 2 pelts on it in comparison to the way more comfortable 'broken' bench that has only 1 pelt.

Hoping the laptop is now working as the next warp I want to weave will be on the AVL. Sam said it's time to think about a new laptop as this one has the Vista operating system. I turned it on and off a few times later in the day to make sure it booted up ok.  It has never been an issue but the laptop is getting older so it's probably best to buy a new one before it crashes - I only use this laptop for weaving programs, the AVL and embroidery machine......and to check emails while in the studio.

One good thing did happen this past weekend - the taxes are done and filed - phew, so glad to have that horrendous job done. For some reason Turbo Tax Home & Business seemed more user friendly this year than in the past.

Spring has sprung here.......we actually had no winter - no snow in the valleys, very little snow at higher elevations - it's going to be another very scary fire season this year. I'm already having bad dreams about fires.......

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


I finally got around to working on taking photos of a couple scarves and a shawl for my etsy shop. I really dread this part of the job....I struggle with it.....if I ever find more hours in my day taking a photography class would be a good thing for me but I'm already short on time for the things I really want and need to do so it won't be anytime soon.

This scarf is tencel, an 8 harness twill, a few beads to add some bling along each end. I used an olive weft in this one, the warp is hand-dyed.

This scarf came off the same warp, I used a taupe weft for this one, it also has a little bling on each end. I also wove one using a rust weft but haven't taken pictures of that one yet.

And here is one of the cotton/rayon lace shawls. It's hard to see in this photo but I did add beads as I was hemstitching.  I like it although I'm not sure I like it quite as much as other methods of adding beading. This shawl feels so yummy........

I'm not sure where the past 2 weeks have gone but I've spent very little of it at the loom and am starting to get grumpy...........what has happened to life, when did it get so busy where I don't feel like there's time to enjoy..........with that said I'm hoping to pick up the knitting needles tonight to get back to working on that shawl that I've made so little progress on, I might get an hour of knitting in........

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Shawl on the needles....

I've just started knitting a shawl using the handspun from the blending board rolags I created.  I found this free pattern, Prism Shawl by Tanis Lavallee, on Ravelry. I want to knit something I could do while talking and visiting, something pretty mindless.  This fit the bill and it's pretty.  Random stripes of stockinette stitch, purl stitch rows and then a lace row thrown in every once in a while.  I'll decide what goes where as I'm knitting - love it. The only time I'll need to read a graph is for the border at the very end of the shawl.

Saturday, February 28, 2015


 I decided to do a little beaded embellishments. Above I used some green and gold glass beads. I'm using Nymo beading thread as it's very strong and the beads won't cut it, I have several colors of it.

 Here I've used some gold and clear/gold glass beads. On the final scarf off this warp that had a rust weft I added some seed beads to the twisted fringes but forgot to take a picture.

 I got a warp on the loom for 3 cotton/rayon shawls in a lace weave structure. I decided to try out adding beads while hemstitching. Worked just fine although it's tougher to get the thread (5/2 size) through the beads, many reject beads but I'll have enough for this shawl. (For non-weavers - ignore the turquoise woven part, was just quickly spreading out the warp and making sure all the heddles were threaded correctly)

Here's the start of the shawl with the beads hemstitched on. I'm considering cutting this first shawl off the loom (when finished) to wash it and see how I like the beading before I weave the other shawls. I may or may not want to use this beading technique on the others. I don't usually do this as to not waste warp but since the warp ends to tie on and spread out will be used as fringe I won't actually have any loss.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Beach decor

In 4 days of painting kitchen cabinet doors at the beach cottage we found a little time to go to second hand stores. I found some wonderful silver trays for $2.00, $1.50 and another small one (not pictured) for 25 cents!  Above is a work in progress on the dining table. I have a little silver bowl to add to the mix next time over. I love the mercury glass pieces I found for less than $10 for the two of them. I have fabric set aside to sew some quilted placemats for the table - just need to find some time for it.

This tray is on the coffee table, will look for some old silver candlesticks I've had for eons to add to this.

As I was painting cabinet doors I was dreaming about getting back home so I could get back to my current spinning, get a shawl warp on the loom, twist fringe on scarves, design and sew quilted placemats...........then reality set in - way too much administrivia to deal with including pulling together all tax 'stuff', personally and business, so I can sit in front of the computer for even more hours with Turbo Tax.  Ah, the downside to having a business..........

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


 I've been spinning those colorful rolags I made on my blending board. I'm thinking the handspun is looking very tropical. I'm making rolags as I'm spinning until I get enough yarn.

 Here's the first monster skein.  I haven't counted up the yards yet to know how much more I need to spin......guess I better do that soon. I'm thinking of knitting or weaving a summer tropical shawl - wearing it will make me think I'm in the Caribbean with a fruity drink in hand.......instead of on the cool Oregon coast.

I recently finished spinning a spiral yarn from a couple batts I bought at OFFF last year that were black baby alpaca with a rainbow of colors of silk. I plied it with a thread to get the spiral effect.  This will eventually become some sort of shawl. The picture really doesn't do this yarn justice - it's a really dark intense black and the shiny silk is beautiful.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

Three scarves.........

 Some weaving today - scarf #1 using a deep rust I found hiding on the shelf, it's  a bit darker than the rust I auditioned yesterday.......

 ........scarf #2 using the sage green weft........

.......scarf #3 using taupe for the weft.  I really had wanted to go with a medium brown but I just don't have any in suitable fiber......which is hard to believe.  This one really doesn't look this washed out in person.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The 8 yard warp that felt like 80.......

I'm not sure why it happens but occasionally on these painted warps when I go to wind the warp on the back beam I find a host of 'haloing'. As the warp is sliding through the lease sticks it stops in a tangled mess where there are halos around the threads catching them on their neighbors. I haven't figured out why this happens because it doesn't happen with every warp dyed using the same tencel, same dyes, same dye day. 

Anyhow, it was a challenge to say the least, getting it on the back beam.........very slow going.  But it's on now, heddles threaded, reed sleyed and weft auditions in the works. The first weft, purple, is not being auditioned, it was just what was left on a bobbin that I used to spread out the warp.  The next weft color is a sage green, I like it. The rust is looking pretty overpowering, the gold a bit too gold in the picture - not quite as gold in person. Next up is taupe, very pale but I like it. Finally the tan which I don't like at all. I couldn't find a medium brown tencel in my stash - tomorrow I'll look through my rayon stash to see if I've got some. I might try a darker green too. I've got 3 scarves to weave on this warp and would like to use 3 different wefts so there are no two alike........I'll see what I can come up with.........

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


I finally got around to taking pictures of some scarves and shawls (both hand-dyed silk and woven) for the etsy shop - one of my dreaded chores as I'm not very good at it.  These two scarves are off the same hand-dyed warp - the top scarf I used a teal weft, the one below a fuchsia weft.

Update on my other etsy shop with fibers - I'm having a sale on all hand-dyed roving and yarn until it's gone. As I've said recently here I'm no longer going to be dyeing roving for sale, it's taking away from my weaving time. But I will continue to sell the Ashland Bay rovings. I'm anxious to empty the bins with the hand-dyed rovings so I can reorganize the others and hopefully have room to set up the treadmill again. There are a lot of bins - the biggest bins that can be bought........

And an update on the shawl that has been mailed off to the Lyric Opera in Chicago.  It's going to be worn by a lead in the new production of the Mariachi Opera called El Pasado Nunca Se Termina which plays on March 28th.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

New countertops

Thursday we had to rush over to the beach cottage, in a big rain/wind storm as new formica countertops were being installed on Friday..........we've been trying to get someone out to do them for 6 months so we couldn't postpone a sure thing.

First we had to pull off the old countertops which was easier said than done - here they are ready for the new. The old had been glued and screwed with the formica installed on top of that. We had to chip off the old formica to get to the screws and then try to pop the glue to get them off........many places they had to be sawed off.  What a job - we were worried we wouldn't be ready the next morning for the installer.

Here they are - formica with the look of marble. Where the old backsplash was removed is a mess - drywall work up next to repair before we put up a new backsplash.

This morning before heading home I taped brown kraft paper on the wall to audition how we want to install a glass backsplash. Now we have to go shopping to look for something in a glass tile maybe with a green seaglass look......we'll see what strikes us........that's affordable.

Now I need to get back to painting cabinets - I didn't want to start on the lowers until the countertops were installed. I still have doors to paint the second side of for over the fridge and the pantry cabinet that can't be seen in this pix. There was no painting this weekend in this storm, just too damp for it.

The kitchen looks so much bigger now - but you get more than one person in there and it still feels just as small as always........

Friday, February 6, 2015

A shawl goes to a night at the opera

This cotton and rayon summer shawl was purchased from my etsy shop yesterday. As usual I wrote a personal note to the buyer and then was pleasantly surprised to get a note back.  He said he was the costume designer for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and my shawl would be worn by a lead in an upcoming production.  How exciting.  I hope he gets back to me with which production as there's a big long list of them on the website scheduled for 2015. I always like to send a personal note to a buyer instead of them just getting the automated thank-you - sometimes it pays in me getting to know where my wovens are going........

**Opera Update**  It's going to be worn by a lead in the new production of the Mariachi Opera called El Pasado Nunca Se Termina which plays on March 28th.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


In April I'm presenting a guild program over on the coast to a small fiber guild. It's a program I've given in years past for my local guilds - beaded embellishments for weaving - a focus on fringes. Today I decided I must sit down and update my handout and make sure the beading kits were all together as it's a hands-on program. I don't like to leave things like this until the last minute and I do have to start pulling together all the tax stuff, personal and business, and struggle through doing our taxes (argh) so I thought it best to get this done and out of the way. I have a number of scarf examples to share but needed something that wasn't woven as only half the small guild are weavers. I decided to put a sweet little fringe on one of my ice-dyed silk scarves.

Here I'm attaching the beads to the scarf using a size 12 beading needle, size 11 seed beads and green nymo beading thread.

And here's the first end finished, other end of the scarf didn't take terribly long to do. I love the little bit of bling the beads add. This scarf is one I put aside for myself when I did the ice-dying - it's going to be fun and cheery to wear this spring.  I can't wait to do more ice dyeing.

Check out this video of winter on the Oregon Coast - this is why we love it so much.  Of course we know better than to stand that close to the edge with huge waves - the ocean is very unpredictable and can sweep one into the water in a second.

Monday, February 2, 2015

More blending board fun

This afternoon I spent a little more time with the blending board. I added some Ashland Bay Peacock color roving to the mix I was working on the other day and am happy with it now.  Before I made more than one board's worth of rolags I spun a quick and dirty sample.  It's really colorful but I like it. So now I've got lots of rolags to make and start spinning.......very fun activity and it's something I can sneak in here and there in-between other projects.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Towels finished......

I love these towels - they look retro, kind of 30's/40's to me and I'm drawn to those textiles more and more these days. They coordinate with the tulip table runners I recently wove. These are in bright spring/easter colors that make me smile in our chill to the bone foggy weather..........I'm contemplating putting another warp on the loom in the not too distant future with a totally different color combo.  These are now up for sale in my etsy shop........well, minus the one I'm keeping for myself..........

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A test........

I decided to test out the blending board today, just one fill of it to see what else needs to be added to these colors. Our spinning group has a challenge this year for our fair display - we're all use the Ashland Bay merino colors of Berry, Hyacinth and Kiwi in a project - we can blend (with other colors/fibers too) spin, felt, knit, weave, whatever as long as the 3 colors are in the finished project. I put some of those 3 colors on the blending board along with a little white tencel and some Tangerine merino see how they look together.

Here are my very first rolags ever - they all came off that one loading of the board. And you might be able to spot some 'hairy' stuff in there - the brush I just bought to use with the board was losing it's bristles.......obviously it's not going to work for this or probably any other project, certainly not painting like it was intended for.

I spun a 'quick and dirty' sample on the spindle - please excuse my handspun as I did it super fast and didn't care about how even it was - I just wanted to see how the colors worked together. I think it needs a bit more orange but also feel like it needs something else......I'm just not sure what......will have to ponder on this for a while before I start production on rolags. I'm thinking of making a summer shawl, either knit or woven, for my project.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

New toy

I got a new toy on Tuesday - a blending board to play with blending wool/other fibers to make rolags for spinning. Four in my spinning group already had them (2 bought, 2 homemade), friend Pat placed an order with Howard Brush Co for four of us which saved on shipping and we got a little discount too, since then another in the group has ordered one. I'd been thinking about one for a year or so but hadn't committed until I saw rolags coming off one. If you're a spinner and not familiar with a blending board you should check out you tube for demo's of them in action - very fun. I can't wait to start playing with mine, ah, but where to find more hours in my day.......hmm, maybe while we're watching the Super Bowl.........

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cheery tulip table runners

This past weekend I got the table runners hand hemmed. There are now two of each up for sale in my etsy shop. There eventually will be some coordinating striped towels but they're still on the loom in process.........

Yellow with lavender tulips
Peach/coral with coral tulips
White with yellow tulips
Pink with pink tulips

SW Oregon = Winter Fog

We spent the past 4 days on the coast, 60-80 (guess) miles to the west as the crow flies. It was beautiful, sunny, blue sky in the 60's, walk on the beach in short sleeve t-shirt kind of weather. Back in our valley the damp chilly fog has been a daily companion since the holidays. I'd love some rain, love some snow but the fog wears on me. And we do need rain and snow or we'll be embarking on our third year of drought heading into another bad fire season.

Here we are coming over Mount Sexton to our valley.  Looks like a lake out there surrounded by mountains doesn't it?  Nope, it's a layer of fog hanging over the valley, we're up above it, looking down on it at the moment.

Our house is down under that mass of white - we can see this spot on Mount Sexton from our deck......on a sunny day.  The temperature fell 20 degrees from the top of the pass to when we hit the fog bank a few seconds later.

I quickly clicked off these 3 pictures before we hit the fog bank, here we're just starting into it, a second later we could see nothing. I guess the only positive thing I can say is that it's not freezing fog turning the roads into ice............

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Adding beads to a fringe

After weaving for a while today on the towel warp I decided I really needed to stop so I could watch this past Sunday's episode of Downton Abbey but I can't just sit and watch tv so decided to work on twisting the fringe on a couple scarves while it was on. I added some beads to the fringes and want to share an easy way to get seed beads onto the warp threads - I use a big eye beading needle, this particular one from Beadalon and I buy them from Shipwreck Beads although I'm sure any good bead store would have them.

The very long, very thin needle is like 2 needles connected at the top and bottom so the center of it can be opened up and the warp thread slid in. I then pick up beads with the needle and slide them right up onto the warp end. I'm using size 8 seed beads. (Sorry the pix aren't real great - didn't feel like running upstairs to get the camera and used my phone, color is off and pix a bit blurry)

Then I twist the fringe like normal - love the little bit of sparkle it adds to the fringe without being overwhelming for those who might be shy about wearing too much bling...........although I can't quite relate to that......