Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So small are my problems.....

So small are my problems in light of what has been going on over on the east coast. My heart felt concern goes out to all experiencing the devastation left in Sandy's path which will affect them all for a long time to come. I'm originally from the DC metro area and have family and friends there - all are fine, no major issues other than short periods of no power. I grew up spending my summers in Cape May Point on the Jersey shore at my parents beach cottage, which later became their retirement home - there is some damage and flooding there but nothing like in Atlantic City just 45 minutes to the north - they were spared the worst of it.

 
I have nothing to share picture wise, no new weaving going on, no spinning, no knitting, just shipping out lots of orders (yes, that's a good thing) and getting ready for Fiber Mania. So you get to see a picture of Bailey on this rainy but mild morning in one of his favorite spots on the guestroom bed right behind me as I type. That's his quilt on the bed covering the 'real' quilt. He is staring at my back right now wondering when we are going for a walk......should have done that an hour ago when it was just a steady rain, not raining pitchforks and shovels as my friend JoAnn on the coast says.

It's been a challenge writing this post, my desktop computer is failing, a new Dell is en route as I type. I've had to reboot 3 times in the past 30 minutes. Sunday evening was a marathon fix on the ipad which started with upgrading the operating system as required by 'the square' credit card swiper - 6 hours later, hardware failure, restore done, it looks like the ipad is fine again and I'll hopefully be swiping lots of cards using it at Fiber Mania. Now if I could just get faster internet, our only option is dsl that's almost as slow as dial-up these days.

I have been playing with the WeavePoint software for my AVL loom - working on my gingko leaf draft. It's a challenge as I've already forgotten much I learned in the recent 3 day workshop, luckily I have a good workbook that goes with the workshop. I may not be designing my gingkos the easiest way but it's a start, hopefully I'll get more time on the project today......I'm anxious to get a warp on the loom to give them a try.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A bit of this and that ........

A bit of this and that getting done around here this week. Yesterday and today I played with the embroidery machine, as if I didn't have more pressing things to do but this was more fun. I have to stick around while the machine is running to change thread colors and to fix broken threads once in a while so I worked on hemming numerous pairs of exercise pants and twisting fringes on handwoven scarves. I'm hoping (think positive) to sell these fingertip towels at Fiber Mania, in my etsy shop or wherever. All are stitched on nice crisp commercially woven towels of 55% linen and 45% cotton. I stitched multiples of a number of them......need to order more towels, this is fun. Tomorrow it's back to mundane things - weighing out bags of wool roving from a shipment that arrived yesterday and running up and down the stairs doing massive amounts of laundry.
These sheep are as cute as the dickens (hmm, what does that mean? are dickens cute? what are dickens?) They're the same thread colors but on different colored towels, oatmeal and natural........
......oatmeal hemstitched towels with deep red stitching.....
......oatmeal with black stitching - I love these simple sheep........need to make some for myself.....
.....cute sheep and butterfly - and isn't the weaving one fun.......
......alpacas on natural and oatmeal towels.......
.......lovely traditional spinning wheel with distaff - the natural towels have a little dot woven in the towel in-between the hemstitching.......

Monday, October 22, 2012

Food, sand, shells, etc......

No pictures to share from the weekend on the coast - just forgot to take any. Weather forecast was for rain the entire time, it turned out beautiful, sunny, blue sky on Saturday, only rained at o'dark thirty Sunday morning, then a mix of sun & clouds Sunday.

It was shellapolooza - pockets full of shells. Yes, we're still filling antique blue glass Ball jars with shells.

I went to the spinning group in Bandon at The Wool Co Saturday afternoon, I didn't bring my wheel, brought a drop spindle that lives in the cottage with me, nice group of spinners.....

Highlight of the weekend was dinner at The Loft, it's one place in town we kept meaning to try but never have for one reason or another. It was outstanding.....25 year old young gal as chef, organic local foods, imaginative menu. Each bite of my salad I had to hum...yum - beets on mixed salad greens with grilled brie, pistachios and a beet vinaigrette. Dinner was roasted butterfish marinated in ginger & garlic served atop spinach and rice noodle salad in a porcini mushroom sauce. I've never had butterfish before, it's a cod that lives very deep in the ocean and is an oily fish.....not usually my choice for fish but I'm so glad I chose it, outstanding! Our server Roxie was wonderful, she also sells her son's catch of tuna at the grower's market. We were just sorry we hadn't left room for dessert - next time we will.....and there will be many next times.

So nothing much happened fiber wise over the weekend other than spinning for a couple hours. Today I'll be cutting the chenille scarves off the loom to wash and put together more felting kits for sale, I've also got some gifts to work on not to mention getting back to the WeavePoint software.  I got news that my scarves & shawls were accepted into the Rogue Gallery again for the Holiday Boutique which starts Nov 16th thru Dec 22nd - need to pull together what I'll be dropping off there next week. Have more scarves to get listed in the esty shop.  Hmm, guess I better get moving....lots to do today......

Friday, October 19, 2012

It's here!

As I start to type this post it's the 5 minute count down to the opening of Trader Joe's here in SW Oregon - whoo hoo. No more stopping in Eugene (2 hours north of my house) when traveling to shop at TJ's. I was watching the early morning local news and saw that there was already a line to get in the door. It's going to be a zoo in the store for quite a while.....I won't be venturing in until it calms down a bit. I sure hope there's a segment on the evening news showing what a madhouse it was this morning. So, I did what any other self-respecting TJ's fan would do I checked out the Fearless Flyer newsletter on the website to see what's new - so much pumpkin. Whoo hoo again. I love anything pumpkin. My first time through the store I may have a cart filled with everything pumpkin including dog treats, Bailey needs his pumpkin fix too. TJ's is not in my town but a 40 minute drive away in Medford so I won't be a weekly shopper but I'll get over there at least once a month, maybe more and here's the big plus - Sam's place of employment is less than a 1/4 mile away, he has to pass TJ's to get to work. He's doesn't like grocery shopping but I think I'll be able to con convince him to stop when I have a short shopping list.

I haven't mentioned Fiber Mania yet this fall on the blog. It's the 3rd year for this event. I'll be there once again just inside the door with my booth filled with a riot of colorful roving and my handwovens. If you're in SW Oregon on November 10th-11th stop by and say hi. Very fun to have this event in my own town.

On the fiber front - nothing much happening, have spent my time since the WeavePoint workshop playing catch-up.....this weekend I will be working on designing my next, hopefully, weaving project in  the WeavePoint software, maybe using one of those recently painted warps.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Brain strain......

Major brain strain here but it's a good thing. I just finished up day two of a three day workshop on the WeavePoint software I use with my AVL loom. We brought Jannie Taylor here for the workshop, there are only four of us in it - it's great to have a small class. I may have gotten more lost this afternoon than I did if it were a big class. Jannie was great going over that one section again, I think I've got it now.

I've been flying by the seat of my pants with this software since getting the loom up and running last January, I can do enough to get by and have been learning as I go but I didn't know what all the tools did and didn't know how to do any real designing. The manual is just so-so - we've gotten a great class notebook from Jannie. I can't believe how much I've learned in two days and that's been on very little sleep. Tomorrow we concentrate more on designing - it's the hardest of the three days - yikes - guess I better sleep well tonight.

I can't wait to start designing my own drafts to weave - this is going to be fun. Guess I need to get more organized with all this administrivia so I have more time to do what I love most - weaving.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Art Along the Rogue

Last weekend was Art Along the Rogue, an annual event here in Grants Pass filled with chalk drawing on the streets, music and a few other activities. I chose a few pictures my brother took to share with you all.
The Angry Birds chalk art was amazing. It is huge. Remember this is all drawn on Hannah's restaurant wall, the sidewalk and across the entire road in front of it. It looks 3D but it's not, none of it. I keep wondering how easy it will be to get that chalk off the building, that's two stories tall.
There were invited chalk artists and then many local artists whose squares were sponsored by local businesses and organizations. Anyone could buy a square, several sizes were available all the way down to small ones for kids to purchase for drawing in.

These are just a few of the drawings we saw being drawn

They're pretty amazing

Very fun weekend for my brother to be visiting

Thursday, October 11, 2012

New on the loom

Yesterday I got a chenille scarf wound, 3 scarves using black as the major color, a bit of taupe and then some fun variegated sparkley novelty yarn in golds and rusts.....unfortunately not only is the lovely texture of chenille hard to capture in a photo but the sparkle is even harder to capture. But here's the start of the warp, got one scarf woven today in-between lots of other chores, not sure when I'll finish with a busy day tomorrow, weaving guild meeting Saturday and 3 days of AVL WeavePoint workshop Sunday thru Tuesday.

Still getting used to the camera I was gifted from my aunt's things. I love it's size but it's a challenge for taking pictures of my weaving. I'm not as happy with the close-up setting, can't seem to get as sharp a picture. The stabilization/anti-shake setting can't be used with other settings such as close-up....doesn't seem right to be one or the other. But I'm grateful to have it and will continue to experiment to get better photos. Sam did figure out how to set it for a much higher resolution which has helped.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A big oops.....

Big oops today - I dropped my camera for the second time. I dropped it over a year ago and cracked a bit of the lens case (or whatever it's called) but it's been fine. Well, I dropped it again today and did it in - lens won't retract anymore, can't download pictures, makes a grinding noise when I turn it on. So I pulled out the camera my cousin gave me that had been my aunt's. I've used it, but not for photographing my weaving, hadn't switched over to it because I hadn't taken the time to learn it. I guess I'm going to have to now - these are my first pictures using it and they're not very clear, resolution isn't very high, need to figure out how to adjust that. It's not the same quality camera I have been using but it's pretty close. This evening I'll be reading the manual, hopefully there is a print one in the box. I sure don't look forward to having to retake all the pictures I took today but that will probably end up happening.

These are 2 of the 4 scarves I took off the loom last week. I got the draft out of the Complex Weaver's Book. I haven't had the time to learn the ins and outs of the WeavePoint software yet so have been searching for drafts like this one that I wove as it is or others that I've altered. This coming up Sunday thru Tuesday I'll be taking a 3 day intensive workshop in WeavePoint with 3 other local fiber friends - I am so excited. We're bringing Jannie Taylor here to us for the workshop. I'm hoping by the time it's over I'll be designing my own drafts - on the top of the list is gingko leaves and dragonflies - would love to do something for our Christmas card this year too......if I can find more hours in my day......

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cheese - one of the (my) major food groups.....

I love cheese, pretty much any kind of cheese, that and chocolate are my downfalls. I mentioned recently that I took a soft cheese making class at OFFF. This morning I made my first ricotta and is it ever yummy. I was thinking it's really pretty much like cheese curds compared to the commercial ricotta I'm used to but then I remembered the teacher saying they add cream to that after it's made. Family get together today so I thought everyone would enjoy trying some homemade cheese as an appetizer. I haven't found my local goat milk source yet but there are lots of them in this area. I used whole organic, grass-fed, non-homogenized, not ultra pasteurized milk. I buy organic milk already but this was even more expensive. One gallon of milk yielded a bit over a pound of ricotta and now I have a huge jar of whey left. The instructor said not to throw it away, it's good to use in baking, soups, smoothies and such so I might bake some bread this week and give it a try. Once I find my goats milk source I'll start using that for the ricotta......and for the chevre and feta I want to make - I already have my cultures and rennet for those....but the ricotta only required the milk and a bit of vinegar.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Playing with dye......

 Yesterday I painted numerous warps........
 Today I rinsed them and hung them to dry.......
Mostly tencel but some rayon, some bamboo.......for winter weaving......

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A bit gruesome.....

A few days ago I saw a news blip on my home page about a farmer eaten by his hogs, yes this is a bit gruesome. Then I read it was in Oregon, then I heard it was in Coos County - our county along the coast where our beach cottage is. I started thinking about a farm I love to see when traveling on Rt. 42 over to Bandon, there are ducks, geese, chickens, horses, jacob sheep, goats and yes hogs and they're huge hogs, many times I see hoglets (or more commonly known as piglets) following the momma hogs through the mud holes. I was wondering if it were these 700 pound hogs that ate their 70 year old owner but it's a big county, they couldn't be the same ones I so enjoy seeing. Well, I found out today yes, they are the same hogs I love to see that munched down on the owner with only his dentures to be found. So my idea of stopping to visit the snorting funny hogs has gone out the window, they're pretty sinister. I commented a few weeks ago on how many large hogs there were and was wondering their fate....maybe they were thinking the same thing and decided to take care of that farmer before he could take care of them.

On a lighter note - today was one of the best two days of the month, our spinning get together. It was a smaller group than normal today but oh so fun, as usual. I think I did more visiting than spinning today....actually I know I did......

Monday, October 1, 2012

What I did this weekend.....

What I did this past weekend was not exciting, or fun and included nothing fiber related.......it was hard work. We stained the deck, which desparately needed it. Sam and my cousin Jim power washed it and used a deck cleaner on it a couple weeks ago, Sam and I started painting pickets a couple days later but didn't get very far. So, this weekend was it - the rains will be here soon so it was time to get it protected. Cousin Jim was a lifesaver coming over to help us on Saturday, Sam and I finished up on Sunday. There are 236 pickets - yikes. I was not thrilled with the stain, top pick of Consumer Reports, in it's defense it may have been that it was semi-transparent and looked the color of chocolate milk that I didn't care for rather than the product itself. I thought we were getting a transparent stain.....guess that teaches me for not going to the store to voice my opinion. This red cedar colorway looks like red cedar that has aged for 20 years. But I can live with it, the deck is protected again and we don't have to do it again for many years.....think we'll have to move first. Next summer the deck at the beach cottage gets to be stained but it's much smaller and not very many pickets. Now I can get back to fiber - hoping to paint warps Wednesday & Thursday. Have scarves that need photos taken of them, need to finish up another fiber project, need to put together more felting kits and get a chenille scarf warp on the loom.