Monday, September 26, 2016

Two Hole Andean Pebble Weave

I just spent 4 days up in the Portland area for OFFF - Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival or as I call it Flock & Flea. I took a one day workshop in Two Hole Andean Pebble Weave which is tablet weaving or commonly called card weaving. This is my sample. It's a very fun technique that I'll use in the future when I have a use for a band with letters or designs in it. I'm hoping to get some time this winter to explore it a bit more. I wasn't totally happy with the class, there was another class in the same room with only moving blankets hanging in-between us - we in the back of the room had a difficult time hearing our instructor due to the chit chat of the spinning class behind us. And sadly instruction in my class was vague at times and sparse, and many students in my class were talking so much and so loud it bugged the heck out of me. I can handle chit-chat, we all do it, but it was out of control. I paid a lot of money for a class and was there to learn and found it difficult to concentrate. No surprise, I was the only one who finished my band.

Driving to and from Portland is always fun as we shop our way north and south on I5. Fabric shops are the big draw as we don't have any down here with the selection of the big city, and certainly not all the fabric for clothing, our few local fabric shops focus more on quilt fabrics. We stopped at the Corvallis Fall Festival on the way home, a nice quality art/craft festival. I hadn't been in a few years so it was very fun. Another great thing about the long weekend is the food as there are restaurants up there that we don't have down south. All in all a very fun weekend spent with my fiber friends.

The high today is supposed to be 97 - still dry as a bone, whatever that means..........hoping the temps cool and we get rain in the not too distant future so there can be an end to fire season for the year. It can rain between now and the middle of next week when relatives come to visit, the chalk festival is that weekend, and the Hugo Ladies Quilt show which is mostly outside - after that it can rain again.......  I hope the rain goddess is listening........

Speaking of rain - my heart goes out to those in the Midwest dealing, once again, with torrential floods.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Notecards listed in shop

I just listed 7 different styles of handwoven blank notecards (with envelope) in my etsy shop for sale - they can be found in the Notecard/Greeting Card section of my shop. Many of these will work for holiday cards in addition to everyday all occasion cards. And what a deal - buy 3 cards and I'll throw in a free card of my choice. So much nicer than a plain old mass produced printed paper card for the same amount of money.

Fresh pesto

I almost let the summer go by without making pesto for the freezer......which would have been crazy since I grow lots of basil in pots on the deck just for this purpose. I started on this chore the other day but ran out of olive oil........tell, me how can an Italian run out of olive oil??? To be exact, I'm half Italian.  So, more olive oil in hand I set off to make many batches of pesto this morning......until I ran out of cheese......but that was to be expected with how much pesto I made.

The basic recipe I use is from an old Sunset Italian cookbook - it doesn't include pine nuts but we love them so I add them.

Basic Pesto

2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, washed and thoroughly dried
1 cup (3oz) freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1 or 2 cloves minced garlic (optional)  I definitely use the optional garlic
I add 1/2 cup of pine nuts

Place everything in a food processer and process until finely chopped. Use at once, or place in small jars and add a thin layer of olive oil to each jar to keep pesto from darkening. Refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for longer storage. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.  (I freeze mine in small Ziploc bags and it lasts until next summer when fresh basil is available again - I put around 2/3 cup of pesto in a bag which is enough for a pasta dish or to use on pizza)

Not much happening on the fiber front. I did get a black chenille shawl warp on the loom and am ready to start weaving but life has been getting in the way. I have a number of ice dyed shawls to get photographed but not sure when that will happen. I've got handwoven notecards to get listed in the shop, photographs done, just need to sit down and list them. Getting a little panicked as I've got a towel warp to get on for an order and gifts and our holiday card fabric........time just flies these days........

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bits and bobs.........

 I just listed some more ice dyed silk scarves in my etsy shop. I've got some silk shawls 'marinating' now.....will rinse them out tomorrow and eventually get them photographed when I have time. Then I'm done with scarf/shawl dyeing for the year. Out of the recent dyeing I have set aside 3 scarves for myself - can't wait for cooler weather to start wearing them as it's still summer here.

 I went to a quilt show over on the coast last weekend. It was a small show but very nice. This was my favorite quilt in the show. It's hard to tell in the photo but all those circles are yo-yo's. I love yo-yo's. I can remember my grandmother showing me how to make them when I was very young. I've wanted to do a project using them one day.......perhaps that day/year won't be terribly far in the future.

This was another quilt I loved. It won best of show at the  Coos County Fair and had a second place ribbon from the State Fair. I can see why, it's a wonderful quilt.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

More ice-dyed scarves

 I have more ice dyed scarves up for sale in my etsy shop..........well, except for the one above as I decided I needed to keep this one for myself. I might even embellish it a bit with beads on each end.....will be giving it thought.
Here are the new ice dyed scarves that made it to my etsy shop. I love them all but isn't the lavender/coral one sweet. It's tempting to keep that one for myself also but I listed it and will give it more thought.   I've got some more that I washed out this morning, they need ironing and photographing before they're ready to sell.

Feeling like I'm spinning my wheels these days with administrivia, both in my business life and personal life....unfortunately I can't do much about the personal administrivia, it's just a part of life. I'm working on some changes to alleviate some of the time sucking business administrivia though, have one exit strategy worked out, still thinking on what to do about the other stuff. My goal is to free up more time to create but not necessarily create for sale. I have to-do lists that are miles long but I never free up time to work on those projects. I talk about change each year yet it doesn't seem to materialize but this time there will be changes come winter.....some will be immediate, some just scaling back with long term change in mind. I'm excited just thinking about it. More details to come later on what my plans are. I should start prioritizing that very long to-do list as I'll want to do everything at once.

Speaking of adminstrivia - I'm off to photograph silk scarves..........

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fun with ice-dyeing

I'm still here in case anyone wondered....although no one probably gave it a second thought. I just haven't had much to write about....spent some time on the coast, wove a towel warp off the loom over there, towels now awaiting hemming, did some ice dyeing.......and then the rest of what I've been up to is all the mundane chores associated with life that have nothing to do with weaving, dyeing, spinning, sewing, etc. etc. etc.
Here are the latest ice-dyed scarves now available in my etsy shop.  I had fallen behind in making ice. I generally use a combination of crescent shaped ice from our ice maker and rectangular ice from many ice cube trays in the big freezer just for ice dyeing.  So, I had to resort to buying bagged ice - I had a choice of one big block or chips of ice so I chose the chips as I didn't want to have to figure out how to chop up a huge block of ice. In the end I don't think I got the same dye variations using the chips as opposed to the cubes. The scarves are still very pretty but....not the, I must make sure I take the time to deal with making ice on a daily basis as it's takes a lot of ice......and I've got more scarves and shawls to dye.

I've been overwhelmed with life lately - does it ever slow down? Will I ever feel like I've caught up, at least for a day? I'm beginning to think not. We looked at the calendar last night and September and October are swamped with things on the calendar including house guests........and I have some very crucial personal/house related things I need to fit in-between.  I'm thinking getting to the loom is going to be a challenge let alone working on gifts........glad I got a head start on some of those gifts this summer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

This and that.........

 Yesterday I had enough ice to ice-dye 4 silk & rayon devore shawls.  I love how they turned out. They're now up for sale in my etsy shop and can be found in the Hand-dyed Silk Shawl section of the shop.

I finished plying the handspun I was spinning at the fair. It's a bit thinner than fingering weight. I love how it turned out. Not sure what it will grow up to be yet - I haven't counted how many yards are here yet.

Fire season is getting scarier here.  New fires are sprouting up each and every day, luckily we have enough resources to jump on them quickly. I heard a copter fly low over the house 2 nights ago at 10pm but discounted it being a fire as they stop flying at dark - I figured it was a medical copter. Found out the next morning it was for a fire a few miles up the road from us - luckily it was snuffed out quickly. As I type there's a fast moving fire south of us - not dangerous for us at all unless it really blew up, like some of those fires in CA. The road is closed between here and there as the fire is on both sides of it - this is very close to a fire from a few weeks ago where 3 homes and a few outbuildings were lost. There are level 3 evacuations which means get out, don't stop to gather anything, just get out........the road where my relatives used to live is in that evacuation zone, they're living in MT now. These fires have to be human caused as there's been no lightening here all summer. I feel like I'm holding my breath all the's tough to live under constant stress of possible forest fires........I don't sleep well, I think about fire all the time. The fall rains can't come soon enough for me but we've still got a month or more to go..........a month is a long time during fire season.........

Monday, August 29, 2016

Baby Blankets

 New baby blankets available for sale in my etsy shop.......

.....based on the Royal Crown Overshot Pattern....
.....they are incredibly soft and yummy feeling......

Thursday, August 25, 2016

More painted warps

Warps painted/dyed yesterday now rinsed out and hanging to dry. I hope I can squeeze in time to wind more warps and get them dyed before the weather turns........which won't be too soon for me, I'm tired of this heat and fire season........unfortunately we have at least 5 more weeks of this if we get rain at the end of September..........if...........

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Painted warps

 Yesterday I painted/dyed some warps for future weaving......this morning I rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed them out. Mostly rayon or tencel. The couple of short ones are 5/2 cotton tied in a skein in the perfect size for putting on my inkle loom, I thought it might be fun to inkle weave some painted warps......I'll add some solid colors to them when I warp the inkle loom.  One of the short ones is ikat dyed - holey cow does it ever take a long time to tie those ikat choke ties.....not to mention removing them once it dries.

I had more warps to paint/dye today - here's one just painted ready to have the plastic put over top and rolled up to sit and batch until tomorrow morning when I wash it and the others out. Sometimes I paint a warp for two scarves, like here, sometimes for three scarves. I always vary the wefts so the scarves look a bit different woven up. Me, being in production mode most of the time would love to paint longer warps but I really don't want that many similar colorways for my scarves - I want more one of a kind.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Phew, the fair is over - had a great time visiting with my spinner peeps and the public. Thank goodness we were in an air conditioned building as it was 100, 106, 111 and 105.....yes it was really 111. The walk to and from my car wasn't too terrible although the car itself was incredibly hot to get into come late afternoon.

This is what I was spinning at the fair - I only spun this bobbin and got a bit into the second bobbin. I'm spinning fairly thin and these bobbins will hold around 8oz. This is from the rolags I made recently on my blending board.  So, what do I do today after taking down our fair display but come home and pull out the wheel and get back to spinning. I'm pretty worn out from this week and just sitting at home doing not much of anything is awfully inviting.........with the air conditioner running and the ceiling fan going overhead.

Now it's time to get back to weaving. I've also got to get to work on painting warps, they're all wound ready to go. Mid week it might be ok to work outside in the mornings, mid 90's are forecast for the high, but later in the week we get back to triple digits. I can't wait for cool rainy fall weather.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Not the traditional overshot

This baby blanket warp is not the traditional colonial overshot - the border is but using stripes in the warp is not. There will be this large border area on each end of the blanket. I love the look. This afternoon I got this warp tied on and started weaving, then it was just too danged hot to continue weaving, just got enough done to see how it will look.

Sunrise and other tidbits

 Sunrise this morning was spectacular although our trees are growing too much and obstructing the view of Mt Sexton. You'd think there were a new fire in the area with those colors in the sky.
 Saturday we put up my spinning group's fair display, the fair opens tomorrow. None of the finished items or skeins are in the fair for judging, they're for display only. The fleeces will be judged tomorrow morning and ribbons awarded. For the next 4 days we'll all be sitting in a big circle in front of this display spinning, carding, knitting, felting, whatever. It's always a great time visiting with the public........and each other. It's hard to believe that we can sit there for 4 days and never run out of anything to talk about.  Unfortunately tomorrow looks to be the only day below 100, forecast to 'only' be 99 tomorrow - the following three days will be anywhere from 105-108. We're in an air conditioned building but we have to walk back and forth from our cars to get there which will be a killer come afternoon. I wonder how this heat will affect fair goers.
 When I met friend Linda at the fairgrounds today (to add the tablecloth I forgot to bring on Saturday) she brought me some of her home grown tomatoes. On the way home I stopped at the Ft Vannoy Farm Market to pick up other veggies. I made one of my favorite kinds of sandwiches, fresh tomatoes, banana peppers and fresh sweet onion. Ft Vannoy has the best corn around here - it's still not as sweet as corn back east but it's pretty danged good - at least it's not field corn to feed the pigs, as my father would call the rest of the corn here. We'll be having fresh corn tonight with a tomato basil salad (my homegrown basil) and northwest salmon.
It would have been perfect if the farm had the hot banana peppers but they only had sweet so I added hot pickles to my sandwich. Yep, I know this would kill some people's stomach's but not mine. My Dad used to make sandwiches like this - I come by it naturally.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Baby blankets

Baby blanket warp going on the loom - will have overshot borders for a girl blanket, a boy blanket and a few that could go either way.

We've been lucky so far this fire season but now fires are popping up all over the region. Luckily they've jumped on them quickly but Friday evening 3 homes and 4 outbuildings lost in the fire 20 or so miles south of us.........a human caused fire, perp already in jail but probably won't stay there for long since no one in our county wants to pay for law enforcement.  Sore subject for me - lowest tax rate in the state, we pay 25% of what most counties pay - these morons in my county vote down any taxes for services. Personally I have never understood why we get to vote on things like law enforcement - that should be a given and we shouldn't have the choice of voting it down just because we don't want to pay any taxes.  We also no longer have a county library system - thank goodness a group finally got together to take over the libraries and make them a community library funded by donations. Folks like us donate each year but everyone can get a library card whether they donate or not which means those same morons that vote down having a library now get library benefits for free. I think being inside in this 100+ degree weather is making me grumpy so enough of my ranting because I could go on and on about the craziness in this county.........

Friday, August 12, 2016

More rolags

I spent more time playing with my blending board. Here are more little piles of rolags ready for spinning - there are 4 identical coiled up rolags in each pile. Now I really must get back to doing the things I'm supposed/need to be doing........

Thursday, August 11, 2016

New towels for sale

Newly woven and hemmed towels for sale in my etsy shop

There are many colors in the warp - mauve, pink, purple, off white, light turquoise, mint, teal and coral. I used a dusty pink for the weft here......

.........a deep mauve for the weft here.......

.......and a light mauve for the weft here

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Life is good..........

A bit of weaving on the coast - I finished up the false damask towel warp (now awaiting washing and hemming) and put on another cottolin warp in a 2 block twill white warp, oatmeal weft. If my oatmeal cottolin lasts all towels will be woven using it, if not I'll choose another color to finish up the warp. I love neutral elegant but kitchen worthy towels and have nothing neutral for sale at the moment. Will get back to weaving on this warp next time on the coast.

Bailey sure enjoyed the temps in the 60's & low 70's on the coast - what a relief from the weather here in the valley which will be back up in the triple digits in a day or so - ack. I keep telling myself "at least there's no humidity" but it really doesn't help when it gets up over 100.

Life is good

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Love this shawl

Here's the shawl that was blocked yesterday - I love it. I spun the yarn out of some mystery fiber I received in a raffle basket at a conference. This will make a lovely spring shawl but I think if I wore it over brown it would work for autumn too. I might have to knit this pattern again in the not too distant future..........but first back to mukluk knitting for holiday gifts........

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Blending board fun

This afternoon instead of doing things I should be doing I decided to play with my blending board. I'm going to stop beating myself up for not focusing on my business all the time, it's the time to do more playing with less guilt involved.

I pulled out a bit of roving bits & bobs and separated them into color family piles

I put together an autumn color scheme including some bamboo, glitz and silk sari bits

Then I put together the blues, greens and purples along with bamboo and glitz

I decided to play with the blues, greens and purples randomly putting them on the board and then pulling off the rolags for future spinning

And this is as far as I got - there are 9 piles of rolags - 4 rolags in each pile/color order. This is approximately 1/2 pound. I still have a huge pile of roving on the floor waiting to be finished up which will probably make around 1 pound total of this colorway. Can't wait to start spinning it.

Pulling the rolags off did 'smart' my right thumb to my wrist. Recently I had to lay off knitting for a few weeks to let it recover but this has made it flare up again.  I've got to be more wary of repetitive tasks.

Shawl spending time on the deck.......

This morning I finally got around to blocking the last shawl I knit out of my handspun. It's now spending time on the deck until it's totally dry.........which won't take long in 10% humidity, 90+ degree weather.........still thankful every single day that we no longer live on the east coast where we were born and grew up, that humidity was a killer.......of course the trade off is living in an area of high fire danger since it doesn't rain here for many months at a time. 

And yes, you're right I have not been complaining about fire season, yet, it started a couple months ago and will be for at least a couple more months. A couple of ODF copters flew over the house heading west yesterday afternoon, no buckets (for water) though, not sure where they were heading as I haven't heard of a fire in that direction.  I hate fire season..........

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Been knitting away the past couple weeks on Mukluk slippers for gifts (Pure & Simple Mukluk pattern). Very fun to knit and very comfy on the feet. These and others knit so far are out of acrylic chunky yarn for easy care for those who do not enjoy hand washing......enjoy is putting it lightly, detest and never wash is more like it if they had to hand wash 100% wool.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sturdy baby blanket

Here's a baby blanket off the first of the baby blanket warps (one of them already listed in my etsy shop). I love the colors. I love the tracking that happened after it was washed creating that very cool texture in the blanket............but this cotton is not as soft as I would like.  It still makes a sturdy baby blanket, it could even double as a bath towel for baby......but I was expecting cuddly soft. I guess that's why a weaver should sample.......but that's just not me.  I will go ahead and weave the blue/green blankets out of this same cotton as it's still very nice and I wouldn't hesitate to use it if I had a baby (which would never happen) but before I do those I'm going to weave a warp of blankets using a softer cotton........that I know will turn out cuddlely soft as I was hoping for this warp.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fig Jam

After weaving for a bit this morning I decided to make some fig jam......never made it before, very tasty although really sweet.......think it will be great over brie or goat's cheese on crackers.  We have two fig trees, usually I eat the figs right off the tree or dry them - this year enough ripened at the same time that I could eak one batch of jam out of them. I had to scrounge around for jars as I've made so much jam this year I've pretty much used up my jam jar stash. I'd still like to make some blackberry jam but need to find a place to pick blackberries.......

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New weaving underway

The new weaving underway is for baby blankets. A family member is possibly interested in one but doesn't know yet if it's a boy or girl..........I'm going to need one after the beginning of the year (boy or girl???) as a gift and my only baby blanket in stock is the same as one I already gave the new mother 18 months ago. And I always need baby blankets in stock to sell.  So, a good time to weave baby blankets. It's hard to tell in the photo but this is a very pale peach and a very pale pink window pane check.  Next warp up with be green and blue window pane check. Very simple weaving with no floats for baby's fingers to get caught in.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Slow weaving shawl ready to wear

 I washed and twisted the fringe on the 'slow weaving' shawl out of my novelty handspun. It is incredibly soft.......I can't wait to wrap up in it in colder weather........which won't happen for quite a while with the 100 degree temps on the way this week.

Here's a bit of a close-up to see all the different fibers and lumpies/bumpies in the handspun. There is everything but the kitchen sink in this yarn.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Preparing for dyeing.......

Yesterday I spent hours at the warping board winding warps for painting/dyeing. Today I'll probably spend a few hours winding more of them. So far they've been tencel or rayon/cotton blends. Then they'll all be sitting in the queue for the morning I wake up and decide to start dyeing.
Generally the only ties I put on a warp are at the beginning and end of the warp and the cross no matter how long that warp may be. (I don't advise skipping choke ties for the beginning weaver)  But, when I'm winding warps for dyeing I tie the bejeezees out of the warps to keep any tangling from happening. This warp will be soaking in a soda ash solution for a bit, wrung out, laid out to paint the dyes on, sit overnight to batch and then it needs to be rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed to get the excess dye out. That's a lot of handling and moving around - if I didn't put any ties on it I'd end up with a tangled mess.......ask me how I know this........and it only has to happen once...........

When dyeing for scarves I generally only wind enough for 2 or 3 scarves. Even though weft color choices can change up how each scarf looks I still don't want too many to be from the same dyed color schemes, I want this to be more of one of a kind scarves. This is tough for someone who generally puts on long warps but I'm much happier in the end if I don't have more than 3 scarves from the same color schemes.

I moved my warping board into the room with the tv so I could watch Reign (about Mary Queen of Scots) on Netflix only to find that I couldn't get a good connection to the internet - ack. I'm up to episode 38 of 44. This room is the furthest from the router/modem, sometimes it's fine, sometimes not. So, I ended up listening to a book on CD instead.

Toward the end of the day I wound a few 5/2 perle cotton 'warps' to be used on the inkle loom - they will be very fun painted/dyed and then mixed with solid colors for bookmarks. One of them I even took the time to tie up for ikat dyeing.  Hmm, maybe some dyed warps for table runners would be fun - they could also be mixed with solid colors.

My goal before the summer is over is to dye enough warps for weaving this fall and winter. It's so much easier to do my dyeing outside, I'm just not set up for inside dyeing other than a small dye job here and there.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Slow weaving.....

No, I am not joining the slow weaving revolution........if it's still around, saw it mentioned in the past couple of years. I love weaving, enjoy the bejeezees out of it but slow weaving is not for me. I need to weave at a good pace to develop a rhythm.......then it becomes relaxing and zen like.
But today was all about slow weaving. First I wove the last scarf out of handspun on the loom, then I wound a warp of some of my novelty handspun full of all kinds of fibers, glitz, locks, ribbons and more - I had plied it with a rayon sewing thread. Got it wound on the back beam, heddles threaded, reed sleyed and was ready to get to weaving. Well, in the first five inches 6 threads broke and I really hadn't even gotten up to my normal weaving speed.  So.........I moved to slow motion, very deliberate, easy weaving and so far in the 60" woven this afternoon I've only broken one more thread. Normally I don't have a problem weaving with handspun but in hindsight I can see that I really didn't spin the novelty ply tight enough and the rayon embroidery thread ply just wasn't strong enough to handle the abrasion of the reed on it's own. So, tomorrow I'll be back to slow weaving until I finish weaving the shawl. I'm really loving the look so I hope it's just as beautiful once it's washed which is part of the finishing process.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Fun weekend

This past weekend I took a watercolor journal making class on the coast.  It was great fun, learned lots, and will be making more journals here and there over the coming years. Many thanks to my instructor Mary who not only taught a great class but has also enabled me to spend some money on a couple books, tools, nice paper, leather, etc. etc.
Here is the outside of my journal - that's leather - pink leather!  I forgot to take a photo of the spine where it shows how I sewed the books (sections of watercolor paper) into the journal - I used a waxed linen in the same teal color as my leather tie closure. It was tempting to put a button closure on but I've decided I want to try embossing the leather with a rubber stamp, I thought a decorative button plus the embossing would be too much. Next journal will get a beautiful button closure.

Here's the inside of my journal.  I'm wondering if I could use handwoven fabric for a journal cover.....would have to back it and figure out something for the raw edges without creating too much bulk. I don't know if I have any suitable leftover scraps at the moment to sample with but I will give thought to weaving extra on a perfect warp in the future.

And here's the back page with the colophon which Mary said we should add to our books. I looked up a definition and it's "A statement at the end of a book, typically with a printer's emblem, giving information about it's authorship and printing. Mary said in artist's book they may include the type of paper used. Since I went totally out of my comfort zone with the pink leather I thought my colophon page should be colorful too. I only had a regular black pen and some colored pencils over there so this is what I came up with. I plan on doing some watercolor washes on other pages, maybe some stamping, need to put my name and contact info in the front of my journal but will wait until I do a little playing with the watercolors on that page.

Sunday morning we went blueberry picking again. Twin Creeks Farm south of Bandon has 5000 berry bushes and they're still loaded. We picked another 20+ pounds. I baked a blueberry cobbler for Sam since he said I've never baked him cobbler in the 33+ years we've been married and he loves cobbler and has fond memories of his grandmother's from down on the farm.  I'm a crisp or pie girl myself but I made the cobbler.  It's good but he had to admit maybe it tasted better when he was on the farm visiting his grandparents - looks like crisp and pie are next up.........