Saturday, November 22, 2014

Felting fibers

Yesterday I needed to go into the walk-in closet in the hallway outside my studio to get a few things......only I couldn't get more than 1 foot into the closet.  No time for a complete re-organization but there was time for a mini clean-up. In doing that I found the bag, well that's multiple, bags of roving bits from when I weigh out the rovings for my etsy shop. I often use them for my own felting projects but those are few and far between so I decided to put together some fun colorful grab bags which are now up for sale in my etsy shop in the Specials/Sales section of the shop. These will be great for needlefelters wanting small bits of many colors - also great for nuno/wet felters and really fun for adding to art batts or colorful batts on a drum carder, blending board or hand carders. In the past when I've done this they've sold quickly - we'll see what happens this time - at least I can now walk into the closet and reach anything I need to get at.

Nothing else to show as I'm finishing up on holiday gifts which I can't post here......still have some knitting to finish up, a little wood burning too.

Monday, November 17, 2014


I've been selling so many scarves in my etsy shop and locally it was time to work on a little more photography so more can be of my dreaded jobs.  It's done, 7 more scarves listed in the shop for back to work on gifts......then I need to get back to the loom......

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Definitely not beauty shots

Today we went to pick up my (our) new Subaru Outback - I'm so excited......excited to have an Outback and not worry about snowy road conditions and excited to trade in the van.....I didn't look back once at it.

Ok, so I missed getting the beauty shots of the Outback sitting posed so perfectly in front of the dealership so next best thing before the sun went down was to get shots in the Costco parking they're not so good but it still looks pretty. At first I wanted the pearly white model but then I saw this tungsten color and had to have it won't show the dust as much that abounds here all summer long.

And no, we did not park where anyone would hit their car door into it - we're against an island at the far reaches of the parking lot, we always park from away from everyone else, no matter what age our vehicles. Of course after the short Costco stop we came out to find it covered with beautiful red leaves from the tree right next to it.

So the sad part to buying a new vehicle is that I'm going to sell my Mustang, a 2006 Mustang with the Pony Package, garage kept, 34,000 miles on it, not a mark on it. I love that car but it's time to downsize from 3 vehicles to 2 (Sam has a truck). I drive the mustang 95% of the time only driving the van when I needed the cargo space. Believe me a tear or two will flow when the mustang finds a new home (and this is from someone who doesn't get attached to cars).

So, come on snow - I'm ready for you now.........although my first choice is to stay inside with a cup of cocoa by the fire......but the Outback will be great in case I get caught out in the snow........

Friday, November 14, 2014

Life gets in the way..........

Where does the time go?  Life seems to get in the way of the things I want to do.....not to mention things I need to do. I'm a great list maker but have reached stumbling block this year in not knowing how to prioritize as there are too many things that need to be done 'now', as in immediately, but I can't get to them to choose which will get done first is a problem and which will go on tomorrow's (or later) to-do list. Seems to be the story of my life these days.

The past couple of weeks there are thousands, maybe millions, of tiny mushrooms popping up all over the property - this morning as Bailey and I were walking I spotted these tinies on a big stump - they're itty bitty little shrooms (one in the middle, a little colony toward the back).

I know much of the country is suffering with frigid cold and snow but here in SW Oregon we're mild - that polar vortex has stayed to the east of us.  So it may sound strange to those of you experiencing it but I'd love to have some winter weather so I can hibernate..........and weave............

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I'm making some progress on my very long to-do list in spite of being out of the house too much lately.......of course this is the list that only covers things that need to be done within the next few weeks, the other list has been set aside and continues to grow in length.

Today I worked on our holiday cards, they're all put together, the weaving is a name draft using the words 'happy holidays'. I still need to print the insert and return address labels which will both have a picture of the weaving on them. Unfortunately the blue cardstock didn't photograph well, it's really not that blue, it matches the blue in the weaving fairly well.

And some crocheting yesterday evening, more this evening.........a project I've been wanting to try but can't reveal at the moment since the first ones will be for a friend......then I'll make more for myself. Will reveal it in a few weeks.........

Hoping later this week to spend some time at the embroidery machine and sewing machine - then most of the holiday gift making will be finished.  I need to plan a baby blanket soon for a gift - I haven't made any in years......used to sell a tremendous number of them but grew bored with weaving them so gave it up......will be fun to plan and work on that project - not needed until mid-January but better to get it done now, I'm not a good last minute worker.  Oh yes, almost forgot I've got a huge Ashland Bay roving order to deal with........been good with ignoring those gigantic boxes so far........need to deal with it before I place the next order.....

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Not much to show........

My absence from blogging is due to nothing much to show. It's sad, isn't it?  Been on the go with little time in the studio. What little time I have had was spent on gift making which I can't show on the blog.

But got home from town earlier than expected today so embroidered 2 of each of these frog towels for a customer. They're to go with her R-Pod travel trailer which has a frog logo - I've been seeing them in RV dealerships lots since she told me about hers - really cute trailers. Anyhow, I think these cotton towels will look grand in her trailer.

I can't remember if I posted these roving colors or not. I came up with an idea for our spinning group's display at next year's county fair since very few in the group actually bring items to display so Linda and I are pulling from our stuff.

I picked a number of colorway groups out of Ashland Bay merino and brought them to spinning in September where everyone voted on which group we wanted to use. This grouping won hands down - Kiwi, Berry and Hyacinth. I gave everyone who wanted to participate 4oz of each color - they can do anything they want for the fair display as long as they use these three colors. They can spin (for knitting, crocheting, weaving, felting), felt, locker hook, rug hook, whatever. They can blend these, mix other fibers with them. The only rule is that they must have something to display at the fair. Some spinners wanted more than 4oz of each so they bought extra. We're already starting to see some of the spinning show up for show & share. Next year's fair display will have a sign telling about the challenge showing the 3 original rovings - should be fun to see how different each person's project turns out.

After I get caught up with holiday stuff I'll start thinking about mine - I'm definitely carding it with other fibers and clue what the end project will be.........will decide that once I've got it all spun up into yarn and see how many yards I've got from my 8oz of each color plus whatever else I add to it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Towels everywhere

This past weekend I finally got that towel warp off the loom, I forgot to take pictures of the red ones, the last two towels I decided to use a variegated denim for the weft, just something different. The towels will be up for sale in my etsy soon as they're washed and hemmed........

I moved on to embroidering towels Sunday afternoon.  These are the redwork ones done on the simple flour sack towels that have red twill stripes down each side.  I hadn't done the snowmen yet and they're so cute so I couldn't resist. Hopefully someone else will love them as much as I do. They'll all be up in the etsy shop for sale after I get them photographed. Here's one with a shovel.......

.....snowman with birdhouse and birds.......

.....then a snowman with a broom. I took this picture right after it came off the machine - you can see there are threads going from one area of stitching to another that still need to be clipped off. What you can't see is the tearaway stabilizer on the backside that needs to be removed - time consuming, good in front of the tv chore.

Then I moved on to a fun star design I've never stitched - it's so sweet - fun to use for the holidays but good for all year long.

This one is expanding the redwork theme to a rainbow of colors - fruits & veggies - I love it, going to embroider some of these for myself too.

And finally the chickens which I've embroidered many times and they sell fairly quickly. They are pretty darned cute. These are up for sale in the etsy shop in the 'embroidered towel' section of my shop as of this morning.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Finally back to the loom

Somehow weaving has gotten pushed way down the list, too many things interfering with life, makes for a grumpy weaver in this house. I haven't figure out how to remedy what's keeping me away from the loom so much these past few years but it's not going to can't continue as it affects my mental health.

Today I made sure I got time at the loom weaving on the towel warp that's been on the Macomber for weeks. I still had a few phone calls to answer and running up and down the stairs doing laundry to deal with but it felt so good to be weaving.......I mean this is what I do, this is what fuels my soul.

I'm hoping to spend more time at the loom in the next few days, I do have some things to do out of the house one day but hopefully the rest of the time I'll be weaving, planning projects to weave, washing and hemming towels that I've woven.

Fire season finally ended last Thursday after 1/2" of rain - still warm, dry and brown after that but people were out burning piles of debris that very day - so silly not to wait for more rain to fall. We had some good rain the past two days.....hoping for a rainy snowy winter to make a dent in this drought so next year is just the normal scary fire season not the super scary one like this year.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Beach art

We've been looking for a piece of art glass to hang in the opening we cut between the living room and kitchen at the beach cottage.  We've admired these recycled windows by a gal on the coast many times but they were all too big for the space we had. We went in our favorite antique/salvage/upcycled shop up in Coos Bay and found that she had made some small ones. This was our anniversary gift from last May, we knew we'd eventually find something.

This is looking from the kitchen into the living room - it's the perfect size - we didn't want something that would be in our line of sight.

Here's looking from the living room into the kitchen. You can see the first painted cabinet to the right of the window......this one will get a shelf underneath it to display from pretties. I'll eventually get to the rest of the painting.

And here's a close-up - see all the pretty shells, seaglass and even little crab bodies in it? It's perfect for our space. Other than finding this treasure we pretty much did nothing the past 5 days on the coast - we did go look at tiles for the kitchen counter but no decision made on color yet, getting close.......we gave up on having someone install a countertop as the contractors on the coast are notorious for not getting back to folks - we've given up on them. We've installed floor tile so we know we can do a countertop.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Silk Scarves

The silk scarves and shawls all had their photos taken yesterday and are now listed in my etsy shop in the silk scarf/shawl section. Phew, what a job to get a handful of somewhat decent photos of each scarf/shawl.....not my strong suit. Kept a couple out for myself so numerous less photos to deal with.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Ice Dyeing

Here are the 4 scarves ice-dyed yesterday. Carol's are on top - they're stunning.  Mine are on the bottom. My red/orange one dried much lighter and is a coral color now. Lesson learned on that one - if you use a primary color dye, like red, it's going to dominate the scarf where as with other color dyes they are really mixtures of colors so when they ice dye they separate - much more interesting. What doesn't show up in this photo is what the scarves look like close-up - reminds me of marbled paper. We're hoping for snow this winter to try snow dyeing.

One of the chores on the to-do list now is photography of all the scarves dyed this past week - what a time sucker that will be....but first back to working on gifts.......

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ice dyeing

This afternoon neighbor Carol and I did some ice dyeing. Can't wait to see how the scarves turn out after we rinse them tomorrow. Technique is to soak the scarves in soda ash, pile up on some sort of screen (over a bucket to catch the dye drips), pile ice on top, sprinkle with fiber reactive dye and let sit until tomorrow afternoon. The ice was already melting giving us a peek at what's to come.

My first scarf I used bronze and pagoda red - it's hard to see in this picture but the scarf has a very nice autumnal look.

My second scarf I used chartreuse, one of my favorite colors, and indigo - looks like there will be quite a bit of green in this scarf from them mixing.

Unfortunately I can't remember the exact names of the dyes Carol used but this one is one of the grays and I think lilac. It's going to be a stunner.

Carol used the same gray on this plus I think marine but not positive of the color name of the blue.
Stay tuned to tomorrow to see the results. I've also got a long sleeve asymmetrical tee from Dharma to dye but just couldn't decide what colors so that will be another day.

Fringe twister

My cousin Denise in Michigan saw this hair braider in the Paragon catalog and it reminded her of a post on my blog where I use a similar one (Conair) to twist fringes on my scarves and shawls.  I've had mine for years, Conair brand, but then the fad of using it to twist/braid hair passed and weavers could no longer find them. Well, here one is again - fads always return. The price is $14.99 - not too bad for all the time it saves on hand twisting - would only take a scarf or two in time savings to pay for it. What I don't know about this one and someone would have to check on before purchasing is how it works. Mine will twist the individual groups of threads in one direction (they attach to those 'arms') and then I can reverse the direction and the entire head that holds those 'arms' will twist in the other direction. I'm not in the market for one at the moment since I have mine plus a backup but thought others might be interested.  Thanks Denise for passing this along.

I have nothing new to share weaving/knitting/felting/crafting wise - working on gifts at the moment which I can't show on my blog........

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Eggplant soup

This afternoon I made eggplant soup, which is incredibly yummy. Friend Pat had given me two nice eggplants from her garden and since October should be the start of soup/stew season I decided to make soup........of course it's not really soup/stew season because it's still in the upper 80's and dry......
Anyhow, if you like eggplant this soup is definitely worth making - easy peasy and very yummy......waiting on Sam to get home so we can ladle some up in bowls....with some good crusty bread on the side.......and if I get up off my butt I'll make a salad........

Eggplant Soup

1 lb of ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbs butter (sometimes, like today I just used olive oil)
1 tbs olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 medium eggplant (1 1/2 lbs) peeled and cut into 1/2" or so cubes
2 medium carrots, chopped or shredded
1 green pepper cut into thin long strips
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes (I use small diced tomatoes)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp pepper or to taste (I use more)
2 cans beef broth (14oz cans)
1/2 cup chopped parsley (I never add this but since I've got some growing on the deck I will right before serving tonight)

Brown beef and onion in butter and oil. Add garlic, eggplant, carrots and green pepper - cook stirring occasionally until eggplant browns.

Stir in tomatoes, coarsely chop if whole tomatoes and their liquid, sugar, basil, nutmeg, pepper and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 50 minutes.

Stir in parsley before serving.  Sometimes we sprinkle a little parmesan on top.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A day of dyeing..........

Friend Pat and I had a day of dyeing silk scarves and shawls. First they're washed, then soaked in soda ash, then fiber reactive dyes are applied, wrapped in plastic and they sit overnight to batch. The next day is rinse, rinse, rinse as fiber reactive dyes don't exhaust. I haven't see Pat's scarves yet as she took them home to batch and then rinse.

How's this for dramatic???
The shawls I had to dye have a burnout design on them - they're silk and rayon. I fell in love with the amethyst and blue wisteria dyes.

They take only 5 minutes to dry in this heat. Yes, we are back to summer, hot and dry, news tonight said the drought will be intensified through the end of the year - we were teased by that couple days of rain and cool least it got the fires contained.......but if we don't start getting fall rains fire season will never end.

How did I get so many scarves in these colors???  Some scarves will have a little surface design added to them using Shiva Paintstiks with stencils or rubbing plates.  It's hard to see in this picture but a couple of these scarves have very subtle color changes in them.

Here are a couple shawls - I was going for the ombre effect.

Love these rich colors

Very pretty

This looks weird in the photo but it's really pretty in person - nice autumn tones

I love the dramatic color change here
And here's that Blue Wisteria and Amethyst shawl again - love it
Next up was ice dyeing - we've never done it before so it was a learning experience
After the scarf is washed and soaked in soda ash it's put on a grid over a pan.,,,emphasis the pan or bucket as all that dye will be dripping off as the ice melts.  A screen would work better but I have tons of these grid pieces from my roving booth display so that's what I was using.....didn't want to go out and buy screening.

Pile the ice on high

Sprinkle the dye powder on top.  This is one of mine and I put too much  dye powder

This blue lavender one is Pat's - she put less dye powder which was better, as I said a learning experience.....I think perfect would be a tinge more dye than Pat used.

This is what they looked like the next morning after the ice all melted

And here are the finished ice dyed items. I should have taken close-ups because the patterning is incredible.  My favorites are Pat's blue lavender scarf and her silk top - she hasn't seen them yet as they had to stay here for the ice to melt. It's hard to tell in this photo but the designs the dye makes while the ice melts are stunning.

I've always been under the impression that the fiber reactive dyes are best used in 70 degree temps or warmer, while dyeing and while batching. So, how does ice dyeing work then??? Does anyone know?  And apparently it can be done in the snow too.

On a different subject - the van - we heard back from Dodge today and they're sending us a check for $500 of the $750 alternator repair - whoo hoo. Our position that it should have never happened to a vehicle less than 3 years old, 3000 miles out of warranty was justified.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Whoo Hoo - look at these batts

I didn't do much shopping at OFFF due to my van issues plus I don't need a thing and I have no business buying any spinning fiber since I have hundreds of pounds in stock for my etsy shop.  So, fiber has to be really special for me to buy it and this one top it off I've been thinking about carding up some batts that are mostly black with pops of bright color - now I don't have to do it. These two batts are 80% black baby alpaca and 20% hand-dyed silk from Upstream Alpacas in Gaston, OR.  I've got 8 ounces that would make a nice scarf or shawlette.......or I could ply it with some black silk thread to make it go further and knit a shawl out of it. I can't wait to start spinning it but first on the to-do list is to keep working on holiday no pictures of  works in progress at the moment.

Monday, September 29, 2014

My weekend at OFFF

Yes, this is the only picture I took of my weekend at OFFF - Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival. Long story short on Friday the alternator went out in my van in the parking lot of Fabric Depot 45 miles north of where we were staying and where OFFF is less than 3 year old van 3000 miles out of warranty.  Three AAA visits and two tows later my van came to sit in a Dodge dealership lot that thankfully had Saturday hours in the service department.  So $750 later I have my van back but the air conditioner no longer works - it worked when it went was too late to go back to the dealership so I left a message and Sam will deal with it today - he thinks they forgot to hook it back up after replacing the alternator. Obviously we won't drive 4 1/2 hours north for a fix so they'll have to contact our local Dodge to arrange for it.......Sam tried to fix it last night but it's too buried to do it easily. Luckily there were several cars of us at OFFF so I had loads of help and support from my friends but it did affect everyone's OFFF experience and I feel horribly about that. We will be filing a claim with Dodge to try and get reimbursement - an alternator shouldn't go out at 39,000 miles.....wish us luck with that.

We've had two Dodge Grand Caravans in the past - a 1990 we kept for 10 years and loved, then a 2000 we kept for 13 years which my cousin now has - it's still going strong at over 220,000 miles. This 2012 model we hated within months of buying it - they changed so much, including the transmission. We've been talking about getting rid of it all year and had decided we'd do it before winter.....guess we didn't dump it in time.......

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rain !!!

I'm doing the happy dance - we have rain!  It started sometime after midnight and it's still raining, a nice steady rain. Good for our fire which was 70% contained yesterday morning......hoping the other much bigger fires in the region, OR and CA are getting some of this rain.

Yesterday I dyed some warps with fiber reactive dyes - today I had to rinse them out, and rinse, and rinse and rinse......that's the one downside to fiber reactive dyes but the pay off is worth it. One of these is silk, the others tencel. And no, I didn't leave them out in the rain to dry.......they're under the deck and will be put in the garage tonight.

Since I can work under the deck out of the rain I dyed four more 8 yard warps - one tencel, the other three silk. Tomorrow I'll need to rinse the bejeebers out of those.