Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Scarves in the works........

Ok, so here's the first scarf on the warp using my handspun and commercial alpaca. I'm finding it very boring weaving, just a simple broken twill. Maybe it's really not boring weaving but just my mood for the day. I'm thinking that swing on the porch and my knitting are looking better and better all the time........there's always tomorrow........

Scarves to be..........

It's the end of August and what have I accomplished this month.......not too much. I have this bad habit of asking myself that question at the end of the month, end of the quarter, halfway through the year and then at the end of the year.....am thinking maybe I'm too hard on myself to produce.

I should be dyeing roving, weather has actually cooled and overcast, not good roving drying weather, not to mention I'm just not in the mood to schlep and set up for dyeing this week. So today I'll wind a warp for 2 scarves using the handspun mystery fiber above (it must have merino and silk in it) and some black commercial alpaca. I don't often weave scarves in wool but have been looking at my handspun stash and decided some of the small bits should be utilized. This handspun was spindle spun.

We spent the weekend on the coast, absolutely beautiful sunny weather, upper 60's. It was cooler here in the valley too which held the fire at bay. Temps are coming back up again though so they'll start doing more back burning on the north side of the fire this week. It's still listed as high for growth potential - just turns my stomach since it's due west of us, not close enough for immediate danger but close enough to possibly be a danger if it blows up with the heat returning. The incident command center and firefighter's tent city (900+) moved up here just 3 1/2 miles from the house since the north side is where all the activity is now.....roads are brimming full of firefighters and equipment. 7:20 this morning 2 small copters went buzzing over quickly, not sure what that was about, not the bucket toting copters.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Finally off the loom........

Finally I got these scarves off the loom yesterday and washed - they're rayon chenille, sure wish pictures could convey how yummy they feel. I am so not getting enough time weaving - other things in life keep getting in the way - makes for a grumpy me.

I weighed out 20 pounds of Polwarth roving to dye next week, Polwarth is a merino/lincoln cross. I've only spun a sample so far and really like it - can't wait to see how it takes the dye. Hiding under the 20 lbs of Polwarth, 20 lbs of BFL/Tussah and 20 lbs of Panda (merino/bamboo/nylon) I found another 10 lb bag of merino/tencel -yikes!  I better get busy dyeing......which cuts into the weaving time......

Fire news - haven't been able to get any good info this morning but Wednesday's triple digit weather and winds let the fire make a run to the north - last I heard more bombers, copters and firefighters were called in. Latest update I saw shows some structures in danger now as well as campgrounds - don't like it moving in this direction. Devastating, frightening, quick fire in Ashland Tuesday afternoon - within a couple of hours 11 houses consumed, others damaged, human caused along the freeway, jumped freeway into a golf course neighborhood. Couple of small fires yesterday in my area but both put out quickly. Temps have come down into the 70's, sure wish we'd see some rain. My chest is heavy with worry over fires each summer.....it takes it's toll.......

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sock knitting..........

Ok, so I don't have much new to post so thought I'd post the latest socks on the needles, Zauberball Crazy Yarn. I always have to have something mindless on the needles to take with me here and there to knit on.

Waves scarf (Aug 19th post) is still on the needles......actually it came off the needles when I realized I wouldn't have enough of that handspun and since I wanted it a bit narrower anyhow I pulled it out and started over. Not totally mindless knitting but pretty close to it.

On the fire front - smoke is horrendous today but it's not a bad thing...... at least I don't think so! The word this morning is that there would be lots of smoke today due to back burning. And believe me there's lots of smoke and it's enveloping my house as I type. It's still unsettling to have all this smoke and not know for sure if it's the planned back burning or something new. Since I've only heard one copter go over and it wasn't carrying a bucket (large two rotor copter.....are those rotors, or are they called blades?) I figure it's ok. They're doing a great job on this fire. Over the weekend they needed to start more back burning but in areas with 80% grades, it is too dangerous to drop firefighters in. Instead they went up in copters with little balls, similar to ping pong balls, filled with chemicals that lit fires as they hit the ground. Fire is now 55% contained and they hope to have it fully contained by the end of the month. The triple digit temps today and tomorrow don't help but they're supposed to fall 20-25 degrees by the weekend.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

County fair recovery

I feel like a truck has hit me after spinning at the county fair for the past five days. We all had such a good time visiting with the public and with each other at the fair but I'm sure glad not to be sitting on one of those metal folding chairs anymore! Today is recovery day getting weekend fiber orders ready to ship and possibly taking pictures of new handwoven scarves to list in the etsy shop. I desperately need to work in the flower beds but the back won't allow it after the week at the fair........there's always tomorrow.

The forest fire keeps growing but it's really very controlled....well, the occasional blow-up occurs but it's been happening within the lines being formed. All the fire fighters are doing a great job with containment lines and controlled back burning. Of course with that back burning comes more smoke and yesterday morning my windshield was covered with ash.....although hard to tell from all the dirt and dust from the fair parking lot. So far this morning it's clear over our house, maybe the wind is blowing the other direction.

No pictures today but two announcements to make that may be of interest to those here in Southern Oregon/Northern California.

First I will be teaching another beginning drop spindle class at Llamas & Llambs Boutique in Jacksonville, OR on October 28th from 1pm-4pm. Cost is $35 per person, cd spindle, fiber and handout included. Please contact the shop to sign up at 899-9141.

Second, there is a Fiber Farm Festival coming up next Saturday. Unfortunately I already had plans when it was organized so I can't be there selling my wares, but I have it on my calendar for next year. It sounds like a very fun event, my friend Karen from Liongate Farm is pulling it together.

First Annual Fiber Farm Festival
Craft & Fiber Artisans
August 28th 9am-6pm
14314 East Evans Creek Rd., Rogue River, OR (there will be sheep signs showing the way)

Meet your talented local fiber artists and producers
Wander through the fiber farm merchandise. Includes raw and processed fibers, yarn, fiber arts and crafts, pelts, felted art, folk art, sewn items, farm produce and more.
Experience the demonstrations. Spinning, felting, carding, knitting, rope making and more
Be inspired!
Enjoy the farm atmosphere
Relax and work on your projects with us (or enjoy your new stuff)
Enjoy a snack from the starving college students refreshments

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Spinning at the fair......

This is what I'm currently spinning while at the county fair. It's an Ashland Bay merino/tussah blend in the Lilac colorway. I'm spinning with the thought that I'll pair it with my last handspun of merino/tussah in the concord colorway in possibly shadow weave for a shawl or yardage for a vest or such, all depends on how many yards I end up with. This was all I had spun after 2 days of spinning......next time I think I'll spin worsted size to fill bobbins faster!

On the fire front - fire is still growing although slowly, expected containment is not expected until October 15th! It's 15% contained at this point. There were dry thunderstorms a couple nights ago which ignited over 30 small fires, mostly to the east of us, from the sounds of it they've got them under control but getting good information is tough. Check out fellow fiber friend Karen's site for a couple pix of the copters at work yesterday morning.

Currently on the needles

This is what I just started knitting - the Morning Surf Scarf, I found the pattern in the Summer 2008 issue of Spin-Off magazine. I'm using some of my leftover hand-dyed handspun Falkland in the Harvest colorway. I'm really liking it, will be interesting to see it blocked when I'm done. Hopefully I have enough yarn to make a decent length scarf, I should but who knows.........

Off to the fair to spin again today, will try to get a picture of what I'm currently spinning to post.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

County fair display

Here's a picture of our display at the county fair, the theme is our garden party fibers. The fleeces in front will be judged tomorrow morning. It looks a little empty but imagine 10+ spinners sitting in front of this display.

The forest fire is still raging just a bit southwest of us with only 5% containment, steep terrain is hampering fire fighting. Right now it's the biggest fire in the country so resources are available, I hope more equipment and firefighters are on the way.  I'm on edge after living through the Biscuit Fire so my days are filled with stress. If it blows up like that fire did we could be right in it's path. And to top this off as I type there is thunder and lightening, and in this area of the country that comes without rain so more fires are sure to start, already one reported to the east.

I love living in the northwest but I have to admit the summers are not my favorite season. I love having no humidity like the MD/DC area I lived most of my life but with no humidity comes no rain for months and impending forest fires......and I could do without the 100 degree heat! Starting tomorrow temps are supposed to come down to the high 80's - that will be a welcome relief. After the Biscuit Fire I told Sam I wanted to live in a cement house with a metal roof in the middle of an irrigated pasture.........so, we did move and where do we live - in one of the highest fire danger areas up on top of a heavily forested hill with deep ravines on each side.

On a positive note - I had a very fun day spinning at the fair today, met lots of nice folks and got quite a bit of spinning done.......although it doesn't look like it on the bobbin since I'm spinning thin.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Roving all finished, ready to sell..........

A couple days ago I got the roving dyed last week all braided, bagged, labeled, priced and photographed for selling - sure makes for a smaller pile once the packaging is done. I love so many of these colors, would love to be able to spin some of each but who has the time!

County fair starts tomorrow - we set up our display Saturday morning, it looks great, I'll get a picture to post. I'll be at the fair every day through Saturday demo'ing spinning. There are a lot of us there, great fun.

Had a start Friday morning, copters with buckets started flying over the house and kept up all day. I couldn't find anything online through forest service sites, through local radio or tv stations on exactly where the fire was until Saturday morning. It could have been a mile down the road or 15 miles down the road. Fire is southwest of us, maybe the 15 miles, growing daily, in steep terrain that's difficult to get to for fire fighting so most of it's being done by air (copters and bomber) with crews on the ground, big dozers, etc haven't been able to get in. 0% containment right now. I'm just hoping it doesn't blow up like the Biscuit Fire did in 2002, we lived out by that one (same area as this one) and it was very scary, over half a million acres burned.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One too many dye days..........

So three dye days in a row is too much for me these days. I bought some great pads to stand on in front of the dye table and roving painting table but it's just not enough......and then there's all the time spent off those pads on the asphalt and concrete, my feet and back are feeling it. I was so glad when I saw there was only 6 pounds of merino/bamboo to dye today. Three days ago I had also planned on dyeing around 100 silk hankies (for spinning) today but last night quickly shelved that idea....will get back to those another time. Temps are going back up to triple digits so dye supplies will be put away until they come back down again.

Learn something new everyday. I put my surgical gloves on getting ready to soak roving in vinegar water when I realized I had forgotten to put on sunblock. What a pain, it would mean taking off the gloves, applying it and then washing the greasy stuff back off my hands which would make getting gloves back on difficult. Then I thought why not apply the lotion with gloves on - no greasy hands - then just pull those greasy gloves off and put new on. Some days I'm brilliant.....other days, not so.......

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A new blog

My friend Janette has started up a blog, she's an extremely talented weaver, spinner and seamstress. I hope some of you will find it of interest as she adds to it. I know I'll be checking it because ever since she moved 3 1/2 hours north of here I don't get to see what's she's currently working on, I'm excited to be able to keep up with what's she's creating now.

Another dye day - merino/tencel and glitz.........

Another dye day here, today a much shorter one. I dyed mostly merino/tencel. On the far left rack is a dye day surprise in blues, next to it is the colorway I call Midnight. The center rack has some novelty glitz for adding to fiber as it's run through a drum carder or on hand cards - it's the first time I've dyed any, it took the dye beautifully. On the bottom of that rack is a skein of yarn my friend Patricia asked me to dye to see how Tiffany's (romney sheep) commercially spun fiber turned out. The color is beautiful but I don't know if I'd dye more of it, it's a beautiful oatmeal color on it's own. The far right rack has an experiement in shades of red with blue - someone requested something like that in a different fiber so this was an experiment, then the far right is Purple Sage. So I wonder why that far left drying rack just won't sit right, both sides look the same, can't figure it out.
Tried getting a close up of the novelty glitz but the camera just won't capture the sparkle of it, in the sun it's so beautiful.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Long dye day.........

Lots of dyeing happened here today - 15 pounds of merino/tussah silk, some special ordered, other just for sale. Left rack- Purple Haze, a dye day surprise and Boom's Pink named after my good friend Cathy, aka Boom, who loves pink. Center rack is all dye day surprises, I felt like playing. Right rack is lots of Bering Sea (very popular, sells out each time it's dyed no matter what the fiber) and a dye day surprise with a story.

It was a very strange dye day. It started when I pulled on a pair of surgical gloves only to rip them because I forgot to take my rings off - since my fingers were swollen it was a real feat to the rings off. I needed to mix up more yellow dye, as I mixed it I was thinking it looked a little dark but did that stop me from pouring it in the 1 1/2 gallon container with around a quart of yellow in it.....nooo......I had mixed up golden ochre which I then added to the stock yellow which ruined it which is why that golden dye day surprise is on the drying rack. Then I forgot to put the lid back on the black 1 1/2 gallon of black dye and shook it up - black dye splatters all over me! A glove got a little hole in it, one finger looks gangrene. I forgot to stand back when opening the steamer which gave my face a shot of steam......hmm, wonder if it looks any better.........sure hope tomorrow and Thursdays dyeing is uneventful...........
This is what the Bering Sea looks like right after applying dyes, before wrapping and going in the steamer.
And this is what Bailey thought of the dye day around half-way through the day. He  napped under the japanese maple using blue vinca for a bed and the hostas as a cover for his head.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fibery weekend

This is what's left from my drop spindle class earlier today, dumped in the studio hallway until tomorrow. Still a big pile to sort and put away but at least I'm minus some student bags with fibers, cd drop spindles and a handout (brown bags on the right). This class was at Middleford Yarn, wonderful yarn shop and nice place to teach. What a great group I had in my class, very fun gals. They were all spinning and plying yarn by the end of the 3 hours, I'm hoping everyone had fun. I realize spindle spinning is not for everyone but I hope some of them continue on. I love enabling others into the fibery goodness lifestyle.......and these gals being knitters and one beginning weaver are pretty much there anyhow, we just went down another avenue.

Yesterday I gave a presentation to a PEO group my friend Paula is a part of. Another nice group of gals - boy, I really met some wonderful people this weekend. None of them are weavers but I think they enjoyed learning about weaving so when they see it in the future they'll understand the process - a few even sat at the loom and threw the shuttle. From what I understand the PEO organization is about celebrating the advancement of women, I think they raise money for scholarships/education for women.

Tomorrow was to be a dye day but I'm not feeling it right now.........besides I haven't weighed out any fiber. So tomorrow I'll spend some time at the scale weighing out roving for dyeing, perhaps Tuesday & Wednesday will be dye days...........

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I finally finished spinning and blocking the Ashland Bay merino/tussah in the Concord colorway. I don't sit and spin that often, usually just my spinning get togethers or when demonstrating, like at the fair coming up this month. Out of 8oz of this roving I got 808 yards - it makes for beautiful yarn and is a dream to spin. Next colorway to spin is Lilac. Right now I'm thinking I could use the Concord and Lilac in a weaving project in a shadow weave structure. Not sure what I'll make but since it will be a while before I get the Lilac spun I have lots of time to think.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The weekend started Friday morning by heading up to Salem with my friend Kathy for the annual ANWG meeting (Association of Northwest Weavers Guilds), Kathy is our guild rep. Meeting was Saturday, business in the morning, couple of interesting speakers in the afternoon. I was memorized by Jeanne Carver of the Imperial Stock Ranch in Central Oregon - truly inspiring story about keeping the ranch traditions alive and substainable. Check out their site. They do give tours by appointment, if I'm over in the area I will definitely plan on one.

After the meeting we took a side trip to Sisters for the rest of Saturday and Sunday before heading home last night. We checked out a fellow weaver's Louet Megado Loom - yes, I'm still comptemplating a  compu-dobby loom and since I've seen this one it has moved up to the top of the list over the AVL. I just need to figure out how to fit it in the studio, it's got a bigger footprint. With the what little time we had in Sisters we visited the Stitchin Post Quilt Shop, numerous galleries and the Sisters Summer Faire that had some nice craft booths. And of course, on the way home a stop in Bend at Trader Joe's and then pie at Becky's Cafe in Union Creek, a spot not to be missed if in the Crater Lake or Diamond Lake area.

Now to play catch up around here - busy week with spinning get-together, a guild board meeting, preparing for a presentation here at my studio for a local PEO group and a drop spindle class at Middleford Yarn in Medford......if anyone signed up!