Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to the steamers......

Beautiful day out, in the 70's so it was back to the steamers with 6 pounds of blueface leicester roving. So nice to finish up dyeing, replenishing dye stocks and weighing out more roving by 2:30 rather than killing myself dyeing 15+ lbs in a day. Tomorrow will finish up the rest of this fiber. Then the heat is returning so will watch the forecast for nice weather again to finish up wool dyeing for the season - still have 6 days of dyeing ahead of me.
Here's the Traveling Woman Shawl after blocking yesterday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

odds & ends......

....that's how today is being spent....on odds & the blocking done earlier, crocheted mesh scarf is now dry and looks great, shawl is still drying.....
I planned the next warp to go on the loom, black tencel for twill scarves but I never made it to the warping board. Instead I pulled out the Weave It which I've never used but bought several years back after reading an article in Piecework on the caretaker of the Cape May Point Lighthouse making an afghan using these little squares. I loved the look of it, especially since she felted it after sewing them all together. I have a history with Cape May Point - I spent summers there while growing up at the family beach house. So I had to weave up a sample square so I'd know how much yardage I would need for each so I can pick up wool or spin it for a future afghan. I thought it would be a fun project to leave over at the beach cottage to work on here and there. The Weave It on the right is an original - it belonged to my aunt, it came complete with a number of finished squares in acrylic yarn. A real funny thing about this is that this is about as simple as it gets for weaving.....and yet I'm waiting for my AVL 40 harness loom to be built.....what extremes I enjoy.
Next was crocheting up a granny square which I then ripped out to figure out how much yardage is needed for each one.....want to make an old fashioned granny square afghan too. Now I'm armed with all that information. My sample used Cascade 220 which is what I'll use for the afghan too....will watch for a sale and pick out beach glass colors.

Then I wound the skeins in my earlier post this morning into balls and found a project to start using that handspun, the Clementine Shawlette from the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits. Not sure how it will look with my multi-colored handspun, if I don't like it I'll rip it out and find another pattern to use.

Hmm, what should I work on now.........

Beautiful day......

It's a beautiful day.....a bit cooler, breezy, kind of feels like autumn.....although I understand this is temporary, will be very hot again by Friday. So, I'll take advantage of this good weather for the next 2 days - will spend Wednesday & Thursday dyeing BFL.
Just now I blocked two recently finished pieces; the traveling woman shawlette and another mesh crocheted scarf.
Here's some of my hand-dyed Polwarth I recently spun, I added in some sparkle with hand-dyed firestar. I'm not sure what I'll make with it yet, I've got 574 yards. Originally it was to be art yarn.....I added the firestar while  spinning the singles, added hand-dyed silk ribbon in plying and then tried to add a binder of rayon thread with beads in another ply. Well, it didn't work, I should have added the rayon thread with beads at the same time making it a 3 ply yarn. So halfway through I stopped the 3rd ply, ran it through the wheel again to unspin it a bit and pulled the thread with beads off. Then with no binder the silk ribbon wouldn't stay put so I pulled that out. What a lesson learned........

Current reading - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Futte, futte, do, do, do, do, oh futte, futte.........

Yep, that was me singing the futte futte maker song this morning while making felt balls for more wheel jewelry....or people jewelry. You can see it in my post of May 23rd of this year. It's addictive, I thought I'd make no more than 15 of them. The futte futte makes quick work of felting balls but don't ask me where to get it - no one can find it out there on the internet at the moment. I got it at back in the spring but after I showed it around and wore my jewelry this spring and summer there was a run on them. Now these balls will dry, then I'll add silver wire, beads and charms to them.

Friday, August 26, 2011


finally I've twisted the fringe on these 3 bamboo scarves, they've been sitting around here for quite a while waiting to be finished up. Phew, tags on, ready to photograph (who knows when) and sell......

Pay it forward.....

I'm paying it forward.....someone gifted these to me as she's not weaving anymore, I already have them in my library so I'm gifting them to readers of my blog. All you need to do is comment to this post with which book(s) you're interested in by August 31st - there will be 4 winners. Sometime September 1st I'll pull names, thought I'd use the random generator but Bailey is thinking he might want to come up with a fun way  for him to help pull the names...will be thinking on that one. If you don't have an email associated with your profile please leave me an email address so I can contact you for your mailing address. I'll post the winners to my blog after they're picked.
Weaver's Study Course, Ideas and Techniques by Else Regensteiner, it's autographed (this book is dated as far as the completed projects go but weaving techniques/structures/drafts are timeless, there is a lot of good information in it)
The Rosepath Motif Monograph by Margaret B. Windeknecht (this is a classic monograph - good explanations about rosepath and lots of drafts to use in your own projects-not the glossy kind of books out now but a great one)
Weaving as an Art Form, A Personal Statement by Theo Moorman (this book is about Theo Moorman who has this weave structure named after her, there are some instructions such as drafting and weaving but it's more of where you can go with this weave - it's great for surface embellishment and pictorial work. If you know Nadine Sanders, contempory weaver, you know she specializes in workshops in this type of weave structure)
Two books in this giveaway - Card Weaving by Candace Crocket & Conventional Cardweaving How-to-Booklet by Herbi Gray (I have many books on cardweaving but the Crocket one I consider the bible, great book for beginners, very clear to understand, easy to follow. The booklet by Herbi Gray is just a little phamplet - some of you may remember cardwoven earrings by gray made using sewing thread, used to be a booth at nw weaving conferences for many years)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are?

Ok, so I stole the title from the Friday evening show on NBC about stars researching their ancestries. I think it’s a fascinating show myself and it has made me wonder who I am.

So, on to my background. I’ve gotten a family tree and partial history from relatives in Michigan showing my Dad’s side of the family, I think it’s English, maybe a little Irish, Scottish, Dutch…..maybe it will be a real surprise when I have time to do more research (more to come on that in another post). My Mother’s side of the family is 100% Italian and we already know quite a bit about them. That’s the fascinating story I have to tell…..yes, I will get to the relevance of posting to my blog about my fiber life.
My grandfather, Salvatore Mazzie, my Great Aunt Angela and Bennedetto
who actually died in World War I - his likeness was painted into this picture

I grew up knowing my grandfather, Salvatore Mazzie, aka Sam, as my grandparents moved next door to us when I was a toddler, my grandfather was in my life until I was 11 when he passed away. He came to this country an illegal immigrant at the age of 19 and worked in the coal mines of West Virginia, traveled with my grandmother and my mother as a baby to CA in search of a better life, ala Grapes of Wrath, and ended up back in Ohio working in the steel mill. But the story really goes back to his parents, my great grandparents, who I never knew.

Rosina Spadafore raised her children, including my grandfather in this home, the tiny,
in disrepair center one. Left to right -  a newly discovered distant cousin
Antonio, my cousin Claudia from the Seattle area, my Aunt Sandra from Big Fork, MT - Oct 2010

His father, Antonio Mazzei (spelling different in Italy) came to Canada from San Giovanni in Fiore, Calabria, Italy but alas, he died in the coal mines there and never returned to his wife and children in that mountain top home in Italy. His wife, my great-great-grandmother, Dona Rosina Spadafore (Dona is a title reserved for higher born ladies… much as someone in a poor Southern Italian village could be considered higher born) was a weaver! Yes, a very skilled weaver! When Antonio died he left her with three children to support which she did by weaving, she was a professional weaver!
A view of San Giovanni in  Fiore from the neighbor's house

Rosina’s daughter, my great aunt Angela, told of how she wove from early morning to nightfall every day until she could no longer see the yarn. Rosina would call upon Angela, to massage her shoulders after a long day at the loom. Angela said she was a very skilled weaver. I so wish there were one piece of weaving somewhere in the family for me to treasure but I haven’t heard of any…..perhaps someone in the family has one packed away in a cedar chest that will surface one day. I wonder what kind of weaving she did?

San Giovanni in Fiore, Calabria, Italy

Aunt Angela, when not casting curses on those who disagreed with her, was talented too, she crocheted. She lived in Ohio when I was young and I visited but I can’t remember her for the life of me, I was fairly young when she passed on. From what I’ve heard she crocheted doilies and covered every piece of furniture with a doily, even those pieces of furniture covered with plastic slipcovers! I’m very honored to have a doily of hers—a tablecloth size one that resides on my dining room table every single day—it’s exquisite. My grandmother, Julia, used to refer to her as a snake-in-the-grass. Don’t cross those Italian women!
The crocheted tablecloth on my dining room table made by my Great Aunt Angela

So, I come by it naturally—who I am is a weaver with weaving in my blood. I wonder if my great-grandmother would be pleased knowing that I too, am a professional weaver. I just recently found out she was a weaver after my aunt and cousin made a trip to San Giovanni this past fall.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This morning's bounty.....and food for thought.....

This morning's bounty off the two fig trees out in the front yard. Yum, figs for lunch with yogurt and honey. I looked at them the other day and they didn't look ripe, today they are perfect, some over-ripe.....but still yummy. Now I need to decide how many I can eat fresh and dry the rest. I couldn't reach them all so will get help later on that, there are still more ripening and a second set of them that probably won't ripen before frost in the fall....oh well.....

I'm trying to spend a bit more time reading, much of the time it's light reading....takes me a while to get through a book because by the time night comes my eyes are tired. Current reading - The Face on Your Plate - The Truth about Food by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, definitely not light reading. Much of what he writes is based on truth, much of it on his own biased opinions but either way it makes a person think about where their food is coming from. Didn't think I'd make it through the book based on the first chapter, but I struggled through it, now I'm in to the part of the book talking about big business and the meat/fish we eat. Very disturbing but I knew most of this, but the part about dairy cows that I picture living the nice life grazing and getting milked twice a day kept me awake at night. We are not huge meat eaters, but love seafood and fish (and farmed fish is another whole subject). I already buy my lamb locally grown from a friend, will be looking for other local sources for any other meats we want to eat. We may not become total vegans but we will try to be responsible about where our food is coming from, what its life is like before ending up on the plate and what it has consumed in its own in drugs, hormones, etc. I could give up meat and have at times in the past but I'd have a tough time with my milk, yogurt & cheese......

On a scary note, thunderstorms are forecast for these next 3 afternoons. I lived most of my life in the DC/MD region of the country, thunderstorms there meant torrential rains, thunder, in the west thunderstorms are rarely accompanied by rain, they are full of dry lightening in an area with 8-15% humidity all summer long and no rain for months......fires happen. They say afternoon thunderstorms but the dark clouds started moving in an hour ago.....looking very ominous out there.

Been busy 'nesting' these last two days working on birthday gifts (which I can't show) and other things around the house......a little knitting and crocheting in the evenings.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What'cha up to?

That's what Bailey is asking this morning - hmm, so far not much, have so much to do I don't know where to begin, a mass of in-decision, overwhelmed, and just back from the weekend at the beach where I didn't have a single thought in my was great.

Well, maybe one thought was in my mind - has anyone ever posted pictures to their blog using an iPad? The screen just doesn't look the same, not as many tools on the toolbar in the posting section. When I click on the picture icon to upload a picture I get to the correct screen, although it looks different as everything does on the iPad, but the upload button (normally see a browse button) doesn't work. I love my iPad but it is a challenge at times. I'm not sure how we iPad owners are to know what apps we need for things we want to do - there are so many of them, thousands of them! I looked at a couple thick magazines on apps but half the magazine was on game apps, something I have no interest in....and I wasn't spending over 20 buckeroos for that. Maybe we have to be a kid to know these things......

Thursday, August 18, 2011

County 2 & 3......

First thing Wednesday morning this year's wool judge showed up. She was great, she explained how she judges a fleece and then proceeded to talk about each fleece in depth. At first there were just a few of us there that needed to be there early for her but gradually more and more showed up and were standing around listening to all she had to say.
And here are the fleeces with all the ribbons. There are some beautiful fleeces in the bunch. Since I'm still trying to find new homes for stuffed fleece sheep I brought in 8 of them today for the champions and reserve champions - the dark fleece in teh center with the biggest ribbon is the grand champion - she got a big stuffed sheep!  ......sure hope no kids swipe those little sheep this evening while we aren't there to guard them.....

And on another note - just as I feared, temps increased to like normal and we have fires. As I write this there are 10 fires burning in-between Gold Hill and Rogue River, one right across the river from a friend, and not terribly far from several others I person I need to still contact who is right in the middle of it. I heard the copters out here near our house but not going over our place like usual, they were leaving where they sit not too far from us heading in the direction of Gold Hill. Hubby was caught in the fire traffic as they closed the highway and alternate route but he's now home safe & sound. If I haven't said it yet today.....I hate fire season.....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It fair time again.....

Here is our display at the fair - we have a spinning circle in front of it where we sit all day long, and a few spinners and felters come in the evening too. Nothing is hanging low to keep sticky fingers from touching. Not so sure those sticky fingers want to touch the stinky fleeces......which will be judged tomorrow morning.
And here's what I started spinning today, forgot to get a picture of it so took it when I got home, the wheel is seatbelted into the van until tomorrow. It's Panda - a blend of superwash merino/bamboo/nylon - what a dream to spin........and wear on my black pants today.....stuck to them like tussah silk does......
If you look at my post of July 27th you'll see what the roving looks like and the sample I spun of it, it's the 3rd roving down on the page of those dyed rovings.

Already tired of fair food.....had to eat a yummy lion burger (Lions Club)......friend Boom had to ask the high school gal at the counter if it was from free range lions - totally threw that young girl for a loop, don't think she knew what free range meant and she really wasn't sure if Boom was serious about it being from lions. Looked around at the rest of the fair food and nothing looks interesting to me and I can't eat a lion burger every single day......

New fun thing at the fair right in front of our building - animal races - turkeys, roosters, ducks, goats, sheep, pigs all running against each other - pretty funny but the gals running it talk too much.

And just in time for fair week - the heat has finally arrived.....and I just heard on the news about several fires being fought right now.....summer has finally arrived after a mild spring and summer....I hate fire season......

Monday, August 15, 2011

Another sad day......

Another sad day this Uncle Pudge, my father's brother, died today in Michigan. I will always remember him for his friendly smile, much like my father's, and how fun he was to be around when the family visited ours in the DC area and the rare times we made it up to Michigan. My heart goes out to my Aunt Ilene who has cared for him during his battle with alzheimers and my cousins Debbie & Denise......this summer is shaping up to be a pretty stinky one........

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Busy weekend.......

It was a busy fiber filled weekend for me....first thing yesterday morning we set up our exhibit at the county fair, we'll be spinning in front of it Tues-Sat....always a fun event (picture to follow on Tuesday). In the afternoon I attended a weaving guild board meeting....very unlike a board meeting, was very enjoyable! Then last night I was cutting up veggies for today - Sewing Sunday was at my house. So, you won't see pictures of what I accomplished, I forgot to take a picture of the big salad bar I set up for lunch before everyone attacked it and the only other thing I did was stick hundreds of stickers on flyers to be given out at the fair advertising Fiber Mania in November. But I have some pictures of what a few were working on. There was a whole lot more talking going on today than anything was lovely sitting out on the deck. Tomorrow I'll be getting ready for the fair.......I need to decide what I want to spin this week, I have my own huge stash (aside from what I sell) but there are a few of the ones I dyed recently for sale that are calling my name......I'll post what I work on later once I make a decision.....Deb bought one of them today.
Cheryl was spinning away on her Kromski wheel
Barbara is quilting squares using paper pattern pieces for a large quilt - her technique looks perfect for the Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt I want to make someday
Ellie is handquilting this applique quilt - after finishing up this square she moved onto starting the last square - then the borders - it's a beauty
Deb was needlefelting catnip balls - she's thinking ahead for holiday sales
Karen was working on felting one of her little sheep, she's working on the butt of this one - look at those cute rusted horse shoe nail legs! Go see a finished one in her esty shop

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Such a loss......

Such a loss in my world and the weaving dear friend Janette lost her long battle with cancer on Tuesday. I'm going to miss her creativity, wry wit, fun laugh and friendship so much. And my heart goes out to her wonderful husband Mark and his loss. This picture of her was from last fall when she had an exhibit at the Corvallis Art Center - she wove incredible transparencies. 

This summer has been a summer of losses....makes one examine life with thoughts of not letting more days pass by not doing the things that really matter instead of being caught up in the craziness.....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Shawlette in progress

I started knitting a shawlette this weekend, a shawlette is smaller than a shawl, meant to be an embellishment for the shoulders....and will keep me warm too. This pattern is Traveling Woman by Liz Abinante, a free download off of Ravelry. You can see my lifeline in at the beginning of the lace section, I'll put one in at the beginning of each repeat in the pattern as insurance. The yarn I'm using is from Lobster Pot Yarns, colorway is called Lobster Bisque. It's mostly wool with some angora and cashmere, so soft, such a pleasure to knit with. Theresa brought it back from the NE for me when I said to bring me back a lobster! What a surprise! The label says "This yarn was hand-dyed in a lobster pot and hung to dry in the salt air of Cape Cod".

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tea parties and other thoughts......

   Ok, so this is not a new picture - it's from one of my tea parties a few years back. I didn't have any new pictures to share today so I pulled this one so you wouldn't have to look at only text. This was a tea party for 8 - the biggest I've ever done. And believe it or not every person got their own tiered tower of goodies......and I do believe we ate it all........drank a lot of tea..........and did a lot of visiting all afternoon.
   On the bottom level we started with scones, I know one of them is lemon, one hazelnut, can't remember the other. Lemon curd, homemade peach jam and homemade clotted cream.
   Then next were the savories on the middle level, I know there's stilton/pear sandwiches with pistachios around the edge, phyllo cup with crab, cream cheese with veggies, can't remember the others. I do have an extensive tea party recipe file but am too lazy to go look them up.
   Then the sweets on the top...pecan tassies, currant tea cakes, fruit mini-pies and pudding with cream in chocolate cups. And throughout the afternoon we had an assortment of teas. I haven't taken the time to do any tea parties lately.....will need to start thinking about it again.
   So, on to what's happening fiber wise - not much. The spinning I was working on is at a standstill. I'm not sure I like the art yarn I was spinning that I had started plying beads onto but it doesn't matter at this exact moment because the poly footman on my Lendrum broke the other night bringing plying to a standstill. I still don't like the romney/mohair I started spinning, feels too rough even going through my hands. I'll probably finish spinning this bobbin and call it quits, might do ok in a felting project. My friend Yvonne will love spinning this stuff.
   Yesterday was a trying day in the sewing room. I wanted to sew a simple little top to match an outfit I made earlier in the season. First pattern I didn't have enough leftover fabric to make, second pattern the directions were all screwed up, page 2 printed on the backside of page 1 was for another pattern. I will compliment Butterick though, I emailed them about it and within 30 minutes I received a pdf with the correct instructions. Of course, I don't have enough material left for this pattern either. So, a third pattern sits out that will work but I was tired of the thought of sewing by then so I moved on to finishing up a 3 scarf warp - scarves woven and washed, fringes need to be twisted now. I think I'll plan the next warp for the loom - I need some seaglass themed towels for the beach cottage.