Friday, March 30, 2012

...scarves....warping wheel

Thought I'd post a picture of the finished, well almost finished, tencel scarves....still need to twist the fringe on them, haven't ironed them either since washing which will give the tencel a beautiful sheen.
Here's a picture of the AVL warping wheel I posted a couple pix of yesterday. It's a big thing, awkward to move around and tough to find a place to store but it's a very cool piece of equipment. Fiber friend Nadine emailed this morning after seeing my post and said she used to put weights on the 'legs' to keep it from moving while winding the warp on the sectional beam - will be using that tip next time. I think I mentioned this before but this is not exclusive to AVL looms, this can be used on any loom with a sectional beam. It eliminates the need to wind spools, no tension box needed. I have no clue which way is faster (haven't warped sectionally using spools & tension box in a long time) but I do like the cross maker on this so I can keep my ends in exact order for threading the heddles, I just slide the lease sticks through each cross after all sections are wound on the back beam - no tape needed to keep threads in order.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Try #2 - AVL Warping Wheel

This is my 2nd attempt at putting on a warp using the AVL warping wheel. This time it went on smoothly although I still look at it winding on wondering how there could not be tension issues since it's not perfectly flat winding on but kind of rounded. But I guess I need to have faith - the first warp where I caused a problem by not putting the top on the raddle when moving so all the threads fell out turned out ok in the end. After a sample at the beginning of the warp the tension seemed to be wack-a-do so I cut off that sample and tied back on - no issue for the remaining 12 yards. I'm not used to feeling like I don't have perfect tension so it bothers me.
This is what it looks like on the wheel where I start, then go around the wheel, 4 times in this case for 12 yards, then thru the raddle and back around again for the next warp end. You can't see it in this picture but there is a cross maker to the right.
Here I am starting to wind on the second 2" section. I've moved the raddle to the front of the wheel, attached the warp to a cord on the beam and start winding. Bailey is pretty bored with this process.
Here it is from another angle. I wish I could get a picture of the entire wheel in action but I'm backed up against a shelf in this process and there's no room to back up for a picture. At some point I'll take a pictue of the wheel itself. So, one issue I'm having is that as I wind on the wheel on the heavy stand wants to pull forward - I'm putting one foot on it to hold it down while winding....will have to search for a better solution. This is a pretty cool piece of equipment from AVL, I just don't think I've mastered it yet, once I feel more comfortable I'll start putting on longer warps like I've always done winding on the warping board or reel.

So what's going on the loom - an 8/2 rayon slub in a light peach color. I'm not sure I'll like this slub as much as a smooth yarn in the twill variation I'll be weaving but I love the color. I've had great success with other rayon slubs in the past. Still have to thread heddles and reed, after that I'll show the pattern. It's a 32 harness draft I found on Handweaving.net , I turned the draft at which time it became 20 harnesses.

Friday, March 23, 2012

another scarf.....

.....yep, another scarf on that warp, picture is deceiving, it's really a light lavender weft crossing that dusty blue warp, very subtle but pretty.....next warp is going to have to have some color.......

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Warm bread from the oven....

Yes, I know, I said last weekend that I don't bake often and here I am baking for the 3rd time in a week. My aunt, Sandra, in Montana found out about a no-knead bread technique using a cast iron dutch oven. She told me, I ignored it for months but she told my cousin Jim who made it and sent a loaf home with Sam, yummy enough that I had to give in. So, off to buy the dutch oven - argh - where to store it! But I got one, enameled so it's easy to clean but it doesn't have to be enameled. My first attempt didn't turn out, my yeast was so old it was dead. Tried again mixing up the dough last night taking less than 5 minutes. Let it sit for 18 hours, turned it out, let it rise for 2 hours and into a hot dutch oven to bake.
It didn't double in the rising process like the instructions said it would but it's a great loaf of bread none the less. It's super crusty and has holes throughout. You can see I already ripped a chunk off to give it a try. This may have been a bad thing to learn about......
I haven't bought the book yet but the title is My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method  by Jim Lahey

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

....weaving......

I'm finally back to weaving.....it's been weeks. While throwing the shuttle to and fro I was pondering on why I haven't been weaving. It's my first love. It finally came to me, it has nothing to do with not wanting to weave, it has everything to do with wanting to do too much and nesting. I want to spin, knit, crochet, bead, sew and quilt in addition to weaving.....where do I find the hours to do it all??? It also has to be with being in that nesting mood this winter. The studio is on a different floor than the fireplace and this winter I have so enjoyed nesting in front of the fire which means I work on more portable projects. There's a nice fire going today but I am spending the day in the studio....other than constantly running of the stairs doing laundry.....
This is from that warp that went on the loom a while back. The tension isn't perfect because it was my first attempt using the AVL warping wheel. I'm sure others would think the tension was just fine but I'm used to having perfect tension. It's not so bad to affect the scarves so that's a good thing. Next warp using the warping wheel will go much better.... I made every mistake on this first one. So, as a reminder this is a tencel warp and weft using 24 of my 40 harnesses. I like the subtle difference of color between the warp and weft above.
I used a silver gray weft for this one, more contrast. Oh, and that dip up there on the fell line isn't one of my tension issues - harnesses are up in this picture. Need to decide what color weft I'll use on the 4th scarf on the warp.

Monday, March 19, 2012

being creative???

Is baking colorful cupcakes being creative???  Maybe not but they're fun. I thought about adding the neon food coloring to the icing too but then decided I wanted the inside to be a surprise at spinning tomorrow. And did you know they have premade icing in tubes that has sparkles in it? I didn't buy any but it was tempting. Since I had to cut this cupcake open to see how it turned out I was forced to eat it......   Now off to ply those two 8oz bobbins of merino/tussah.

new banner.....

We spent the weekend on the beautiful Oregon coast so my new banner reflects that....a starfish, a postcard sized needlefelted, woven, beaded piece I created and Bailey with a dried starfish. There's a good chance the banner will change again in the not too distant future to show more of what I create but the beach theme is what inspires me right now.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Yum

I'm not very into baking, which always disappointed my grandmother - I do like to cook though. Today I baked some cookies from a mix from the Butte Creek Mill in our area - it's oatmeal, dark chocolate and dried cranberries - double yum! I try to get there a couple times a year to stock up on oatmeal, cornbread mix (it's got a very crunchy texture) and a few other fun items, this is the first time I bought a cookie mix. They do have online shopping......

...and yet another change....

...another change in color to the blog, and font......still haven't made up a new banner, that will come as I tweak it. I think I might want to live with this color for a while....I love the way the black background makes colors pop but a lighter background is easier to read.....just thinking outloud.....

Friday, March 16, 2012

Going for a new look.....

Going for a new look with the blog, just changed my template.....I like it, but yes, it's still black but it's black and gray, not just black. It needs a new banner though, will work on that......

Thursday, March 15, 2012

No motivation......

I have no motivation to weave today, I haven't woven in a few weeks, just can't seem to get to the loom. Not sure what the issue is but tomorrow is another day. In the meantime I've been doing everything else.....well, except for yesterday when I pretty  much frittered my entire day. This morning has been spent pulling fabric out of the storage cabinet that will be finding a new home. It all started with a friend of mine who volunteers at the hospital (Boom) moving from the library to the pillowtalk group. They make all the little pillows given to patients when they come to the hospital. Hmm, I picked up on that right away - good place to donate all those cottons to.
So, I started pulling fabric out of the cupboard......
and more fabric......
more......
and more...... 
Now the cupboard is reorganized and all the bags of fabric that have been piled around in the room have found a new home so they're out of the way until I get to sewing them. Well, with the exception of the fabrics for the beach cottage quilts - I can stop collecting fabric for those projects and start sewing in the near future....they will sit out staring me in the face. Now comes the second half of this job - decide which fabrics will work for hospital pillows so the rest can be offered to others before they go to thrift stores. Hmm, it's a mess in that room right now!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wabbits, gobblers and wiley coyotes, oh my.....

This super-sized jack rabbit was nibbling away on something out my kitchen window yesterday afternoon......probably new plants starting to poke their heads up out of the soil...
She posed for many pictures out my window - by the time I took this one I had figured out to turn the flash off the camera.  Just 30 minutes later a turkey came running down the hill behind wanda wabbit....that turkey was running like it was Thanksgiving and someone was chasing him with an ax. Five minutes later here comes wiley coyote stalking down the hill....oh, that's what tom was running from. Wiley stopped right in the front yard which gave me the creeps, we listen to those coyotes all night but I don't want to see them in my tiny plot of grass in front of the house during daylight hours, Bailey and I play out there. And he's a chubby wiley coyote - must have been eating some good turkey all winter long....hopefully turkey and not someone's pets. During the night it sounds like there are pups in the den, younger sounding yip, yip, yips but it's kind of early for those according to my neighbor.....who knows, it's been a strange winter.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Playing with wire & fiber.....

More samples for the hands-on guild program I'm presenting in April. Just need to tweak the handout and I'm good to go. I'm still auditioning fibers so I can have an assortment for guild members to choose from. I suppose I should have taken some pictures so I could have posted the process......oh well....didn't think of it until now.
This novelty rayon is very fun, I've got several colors of it but tricky to work with since it wants to fray, also kind of hairy, although the photo doesn't show it. Underneath the fiber is a wire coil for structure. I decided this one needed a little curly bit at the bottom, kind of hard to do working with this craft wire, usually I make them using silver which is softer. After forming the curly I pound it flat on a metal jewelry board with a steel jewelry hammer. I added a glass bead to the top of my coil.
This was made with a fun novelty yarn with sparkles running through it. I used an antiqued gold wire.
Some fun rayon/wool novelty yarn, it also has some sparkle in it.
I don't care for these colors much but I wanted to try out this type of ribbon, it worked well.
This is a different brand of ribbon - love it. This matches the necklace I made last week. The wire coiler isn't long enough to wind a piece this long so Sam picked up a piece of steel and bent me a custom piece so I could make a bracelet.
This pair of earrings I used an 8/2 tencel, it worked, they have a nice sheen to them and I have a ton of colors to pull from for the program.

Snow day.....finally

It's hard to believe that it was 70 degrees over the weekend - this is what it looks like outside right now - we've had very little snow at our elevation this year......just a bit higher in elevation has been getting dumped on the past few weeks including overnight. The sun is trying to come out now but I won't be driving down my driveway until it clears, it's a long steep curvy grade with ravines on each side.
This is that merino/tussah I started spinning last night - having trouble getting it thick enough to be a DK weight when plyed - my default spinning is much thinner, especially with this fiber....but I think I've got it now.
Is it time to go out and play in the snow yet Mom????

Monday, March 12, 2012

No ranting today......

Well, no rants here after doing taxes yesterday..... a bit of a headache after spending hours on it but all went well. I was really glad Turbo Tax Home & Business starts with the business since it's the most complex, by the time we got to the personal stuff it was a snap. Big job out of the way.....I know everyone breathes a sigh of relief once taxes are done and filed, even if you don't do them yourself.
After finishing taxes I needed to decompress so I spent the evening plying this merino/shetland blend from SporFarm. She has beautifully prepared batts. If she had a website I'd put a link here but she doesn't - she is always at Black Sheep Gathering and Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival and occasionally the NWRSA conference. I have around 1070 yards.....needs to be washed and blocked, then on the shelf while I figure out what it will grow up to be.
I decided I want to knit the vest below, it's a free pattern from Cascade Yarn. I really want to knit it in handspun but do you think I have enough of any one colorway to do it - no! (well except for the one above but I don't want to use that). I'm short just a bit of several colorways. So then I checked my yarn stash and the only yarn I found in the correct size (DK weight) is in a dark red and I don't want a dark red one, at least not right now. So, I've pulled out some Ashland Bay Merino/Tussah in the DelMar colorway to spin up for it, will be starting on it tonight - that' a picture of it above, I love the sea colors with touches of a bright lime green.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Rant of the day.....

The title is not to suggest that I have a rant every single day.....but I do have one today. Yesterday afternoon was spent in front of the computer compiling everything we need for our personal/my business taxes. My Excel spreadsheets were not adding up when I'd double check them. Very simple, imput data, add up the columns. No matter what I did a few columns on different pages decided they weren't going to include each line item - argh! Sam knows Excel very well - he couldn't figure out what was going on other than that perhaps in a MS download the program got corrupted. He fixed those problem columns but how can one be positive without manually adding up all the rest of the columns that all is correct - argh. We do have a newer version of Excel on the laptop and netbook - it will be loaded soon on the desktop where I store all these files. That's it for my rant for today.....maybe there will be another one on  Sunday when we sit down with Turbo Tax Home & Business to do our taxes........

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I thought I'd be getting back to the loom today but wait! I have to give a guild program in 4 weeks and I haven't done a thing other than get a smokin' deal on wire coilers for guild members - yikes!  So today I worked on a sample or two, measured out two different sizes of wire for each kit and put the wire coilers in bags to organize. I still need to work on some more samples and compose my handout. I'll teach fellow guild members how to make wire coiled beads from a workshop I took at the weaving conference last year. I received one of the scholarships the guild gave out which means I share something I learned there with the group in return. The goal is to use up some of those thrums we all generate while weaving.
This bead is made with one of those novelty rayon ribbons, I then twisted the same ribbon to make the necklace part
This is a novelty rayon/wool blend - I strung one of my gold necklaces through the bead
Another novelty wool/nylon/sparkle yarn
And this one is a metallic yarn although it's hard to tell in the photo, these beads are small

the haul......

This is the haul from the Sewing Expo road trip.....
Rayon batiks for summer outfits....loved the crane/shashiko design so much had to buy it in blue and black
Knits to play with, the center two, natural & black, are a blend of milk fiber/nylon/silk...oh so soft
New embroidery stabilizers to try, some embroidery thread bought at a good price, thank goodness I didn't  find any of these colors in my stash once I got home
Curves for sewing construction, new stencils for surface design and some rhinestone bling for t-shirts....so totally unlike me but I saw someone wearing one after last years Sewing Expo and loved it, they're small so not too much bling
Lots of bling from Shipwreck Beads - whoo hoo!
Cotton batiks that are in the dryer now...to be added to the log cabin quilt fabric for the beach cottage...for whenever I get to that!
Prints on left are silk remnants, maybe little silk summer tops, a nice cotton for pants and a sheer black knit for who knows what.....

Monday, March 5, 2012

home again.....

Back home again after being gone for 6 days up to Puyallup, WA for the Sewing Expo. Sorry there are no pictures - I didn't want to keep track of a camera and the pictures I took with my phone are very blurry.....not the best for photography, it's just a phone after all.

Friend Pat and I left last Tuesday morning ahead of a snow storm, our only one of the winter. Pat's good friend Louann rode with us as far as Portland - so nice to get to know her better on the ride up and back. Thank goodness we decided to go up a day early or we may not have made it until Thursday. Only stop on the way up was for cheese, crackers and wine at Trader Joe's. Terrible drive up with pouring rain....but at least it wasn't snow!

Wednesday morning found us at Shipwreck Beads - whoo hoo!  Lots of time spent shopping there. After that we went to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma - what a great museum. The featured exhibit currently is of paperweights/orbs by Paul Stankard. These are no ordinary paperweights/orbs though - they're beyond belief incredibly detailed ones. We were lucky to see a film of how he works with the glass before we saw the actual orbs. We braved the pouring rain and cold winds to walk up to the bridge of glass, it was well worth it. We finished up the afternoon with a stop at Hello Cupcake for cupcake & tea.

Thursday, Friday and half of Saturday was spent at the Sewing Expo. Oh my gosh - so many people, so much shopping! I saw many fashion shows and took some great classes.....and got just a bit lots of shopping in. I left with the creative juices flowing...now if I could just find extra hours in my day so I can follow through.

We decided we had enough of Sewing Expo mid-day Saturday so we headed south to Portland for the night. A fun trip to Ikea was in order as were swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and ligonberry jam from the eatery there. Found a few treasures. And of course, a stop at Trader Joe's on the way home yesterday. Our Trader Joe's is under construction and will be open in the fall - whoo hoo! It will be around 45 minutes east of home but 3 minutes from Sam's office.

I would have loved to have jumped right in today being creative but I spent my morning boxing up orders from my etsy shops and catching up on bookkeeping, inventory, etc. Now it's off to the post office but I need to go find a rolling cart to get all these boxes in the van and into the post office....such problems.....