Sunday, January 29, 2012


I needed a quick mindless knitting project to work on, fiber friend Pat gave me this super simple pattern. Yarn is a mystery from early spinning days, no fiber content on my tag, only yardage. Pattern is multiples of 4 plus 2--- K2 *P1, YO, P2tog, K1*. That's all there is to it. I'm not sure how many yards it will take yet, am hoping my 246 yards will make a nice scarf. Nice mindless project to take along places, nice for small balls/skeins of handspun I have left.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Since I have no pictures to share or any news other than that I've been embroidering golf towels for Sam and cousin Jim and twisting fringes on scarves so I can sell them I thought I'd share my cousin Claudia's blog and shop with you all. She's very into upcycling and is making some very fun items.

On another note - I realize getting older means a few gray hairs - I probably have around 10 now, just a guess, at the age of 56.....then a couple gray eyebrow hairs have shown up in the past year or so. But the weird thing is that two weeks ago I discovered a gray eyelash -yikes! Everyday I looked at this eyelash and covered it with mascara, it was so long, how could I only have discovered it two weeks ago??? Yesterday morning I decided I had to document this with a photo, it must be a major milestone - it was gone! So, am I more upset about a gray eyelash or the fact that I've lost an eyelash so quickly???

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Slow weaving.....

I only got the first scarf woven on the warp this afternoon. I wove one heart motif, hemstitched and then started to weave again and could see that there was something wrong in the draft. I guess when downloading .wif files they need to be checked over carefully just like patterns in books or magazines, errors do happen. So, I shut everything off, took the laptop to the desk to figure it out. Took a while since I don't know the software very well yet but I straightened it out and got back to weaving. I didn't really mind terribly since it was a good learning experience. I also figured out why I only have 3 full hearts and half hearts on the edges.....I threaded the point twill starting with harness 1 instead of harness 24.....yeah, wasn't paying attention to the draft when I set up a point twill threading in the software for threading purposes....oh well, still am happy, live and learn. Sorry the picture isn't great, chose a color very close to the warp for a subtle effect.
This is the handspun I've been working on - this is the first 8oz spun, have another 8oz to go. It's hard to tell in this picture but each ply is a different shade of olive. My spinning looks different spinning on the electric spinner, gradually I'll get 'the feel' to get the twist I want.
This picture isn't very good - took it through the kitchen window but it's a huge pileated woodpecker. I hear and see them all the time up high in the trees but this one was almost at ground level. I tried to quietly open the door to sneak a picture from outside but he flew off as soon as I did.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Be still my heart....

This is becoming monotonous - I can't say anything bad about the AVL for a second warp....this is a good thing, an excellent thing. Today I wound a warp for 3 scarves; 8/2 tencel warp, 30 epi for this heart pattern. This is my spreading out the warp area/checking the pattern. Scarves will not be using a white weft but it doesn't look half bad. Not sure what the white is, just something left on a bobbin. This draft is out of the Complex Weavers Greatest Hits book - 'Deep in the Heart of Texas' by Charlotte Lindsay Allison.

On the AVL - a great feature is that I can put the draft in tromp as writ and it will raise each harness for threading the heddle. Thing I don't like is the texsolv heddles just because I'm slower threading them, they don't slide easily like metal ones, but can't have the weight of metal heddles on a loom with this many harnesses.

On the weather front - we hadn't had much rain at all since early June, these past three days is making up for all those dry months - it's raining pitchforks and shovels as my friend JoAnn on the coast would say. There is flooding here locally and even more so on the coast where they're getting even heavier rain...and winds to go along with it. And there's snow in the mountains.....finally.....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This is the 3rd scarf on the bamboo warp on the AVL. This loom and I are making friends now that it's fixed. I'm starting to enjoy it. After I finished this scarf I moved over to the Macomber where a chenille warp has been sitting for what seems like forever, would like to finish it up tomorrow. Next warp to go on the AVL will be another twill design - this one in tencel with a heart motif - seems fitting with Valentine's Day next month.
So only one hiccup today which had nothing to do with the AVL, well sorta. The AVL bench is made for someone with really long legs, I know I'm not tall, 5'4", but the lowest of 3 settings on the bench is too tall for me. So while I decide how much I'd like Sam to cut off of it I've moved my Macomber bench over to use....I'm thinking the same height will work for both. We're having torrential rains today (much needed) and this morning while I was weaving on the AVL the lights started blinking so I jumped up from the old Macomber bench to turn everything off. Well, as I stood up the bench fell backward against the bookcase. I assumed all was fine when I righted it.....I never looked under the sheepskin to make sure. I sat down again and to the floor I went as the bench broke into pieces beneath me.....guess that fall against the bookcase did some harm to a bench that's well over 50 years old. So, here it is in pieces awaiting Sam to repair it, probably won't happen until this weekend. Other than a few bruises on my butt and a bit of a sore back I came through the fall in much better shape than the bench.

Hansen mini-spinner

Just a quick post to answer a couple of questions.  First for Theresa - plying is a pleasure on the Hansen mini-spinner (electric spinner). It goes so quickly....which is great for me because I get so bored plying, it seems to go on forever too. I was having a little trouble at first getting the amount of twist right in my plying but I think I've got it now.  And Valerie - if you need someone to enable you to buy a mini-spinner I'll help! The speed of your drafting shouldn't make any difference - there's a speed control to get exactly the right speed for your spinning/fiber. Another nice thing is that when you start it up it gradually gets up to speed. I'm not even spinning at the halfway mark on the little dial.  I love this e-spinner but I still love my wheels and pedaling away on them so I won't let them gather too much dust.

On the weather front, we didn't ever get the snow at our elevation yesterday as predicted but overnight the winds, big winds, and rain came in - maybe winter has finally arrived. We're so behind in rain/snow totals which just leads to more fire danger in the summer so this is a good thing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Year of the Wheel

Is this going to be the year of the wheel for me now that I'm speeding along with my Hansen mini-spinner? I still don't spend that much time spinning but today was our bi-monthly spinning get together/gab session and I got this beautiful wool started. This is a shetland/merino blended batt from Spor-Farm. I sure wish she'd get a website up and running since I'm always mentioning her batts in either my blog or on our spinning group blog....beautiful heathery blends. She always has a booth at Black Sheep Gathering and Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. This colorway is called Apple Tree. I'm going to ply it with another one of her blends called Olive which is just a shade darker than this. I've got a pound total to spin.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Uneventful day.....

It was an uneventful day at the AVL which is a good thing. I wove the rest of the red scarf and this gold one this afternoon. Next one the weft will be purple. I kept waiting for something to happen but nothing did - maybe I'll start liking this loom afterall now that parts have been replaced and I have Melody to ask questions of when manuals fall short. If this keeps up I'll only be able to place blame on myself when something goes wrong - yikes!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lazy daze.....

Yesterday was a weaving guild meeting, very fun to get to visit with everyone. The program was needlewoven necklaces that fellow guild member Thalia led everyone in getting started on. I didn't do it, have done it several times in the past so I took the opportunity to work on a knit/felted bag for a customer.....and visit....
I finished up the bag this afternoon, it's been felted and is now sitting by the fire to dry, it will probably take a few days. It has a little flap that will close it and I think one of my wooden leaf buttons will be perfect on it with a magnetic snap underneath. I've made several of these bags needlefelting designs on them but I don't know as if Janis wants a design on this one....will be checking with her once it dries.
You looking at me???

Friday, January 13, 2012

Some progress....

There's some progress on the AVL front although slow in coming this week because I was playing elsewhere teaching a friend how to use the embroidery machine (yes, I enabled her to buy one like mine), and two leisurely lunches out with friends. And then there was more troubleshooting with the AVL.
So, this warp got wound on the back beam yesterday, threaded and then just late this afternoon I had time to tie on the front beam and start weaving. Still some hiccups like the loom deciding all of a sudden it's not raising harnesses anymore, not sure what's up with that but I got past it by rebooting the program, a few other hiccups that stopped me in my tracks too so I never got in a real rhythm until the last couple of inches so I'm not entirely satisfied with my beat, it's not perfectly even.

So, what's on the loom for my first project - a warp for three scarves in Bambu 7, not positive the colors for the next two scarves, maybe a copper weft for one, maybe purple or chartruese for the other....will decide when I get there. I found this draft in the Complex Weavers Book that comes with a CD of the drafts. This was originally Horizontal Ribbons (sorry, can't remember the designer's name right now and I'm too lazy to walk downstairs to the studio) which I turned in the Weave Point software to make Vertical Ribbons. In the turning it went from 24 harnesses to 32 harnesses.

Eventually I'll get to learning more about designing my own drafts in Weave Point but for now I'll be searching for others published patterns to weave. Learning the software and designing will take a while.

This loom is still a challenge, I get past one quality/defect/lack of documentation hurdle and another pops hoping that soon all the bugs will be worked out/replaced/repaired so my only challenges are the ones I create myself! Melody, my in the field AVL techie, is incredible - when I write with a question she gets right back to me....last night she even polled other AVL weavers to find an answer to my question which solves a problem for her too, I guess we'll all learn together......although it would be really nice to have a good manual with the basics.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Latest spinning

Here's the merino/bamboo blend I started spinning last Tuesday, finished plying it tonight, 8oz, 653 yards. It's my own hand-dyed roving, Baltic Sea colorway, there's still some left for sale in my etsy shop. Not sure what this will grow up to be yet......

Sunday, January 8, 2012

easy to make me happy....

In spite of my complaining lately it really doesn't take much to make me happy. Today it's this great pickle mix and mandarins bought at Costco on Friday. I bought 2 giant jars of the pickles and am wondering if it's enough....and the mandarins are to die for, like eating candy.

Been doing alot of thinking...still...about what direction I want to go in this year. I know in my heart it's to do more weaving like I've done for years. Recently selling roving, commercially prepared and my hand-dyed has taken up so much time. So, definitely a cut back there. Also, I've decided I really don't want to teach - I didn't do much last year and would like to totally cut it out of my schedule. As fulfilling as it can be it takes so much of my time in preparation, I'd like to spend that time doing other things. This doesn't mean I won't teach friends things when they need help or guild guild programs, I just won't be teaching classes anymore.

This week is going to be busy - two lunch dates and helping a friend learn about the embroidery machine since she just bought one....yes, I probably did enable that a bit...I'm good at that. And tops on the schedule is finishing up a few things - I have too many items that keep getting pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. Yesterday afternoon I got the 35 pounds of roving weighed, bagged, labeled and put into stock. Tomorrow I've got to do one of my least favorite chores - photography - but if I don't take pictures of my fiber goods to list them they'll never sell. And then I've got a chenille scarf warp on the Macomber that's been there way too long - need to get that woven off, scarves washed, fringes twisted and ready to sell. Then I'll get back to the AVL, want to get a 'real' warp on it.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

maybe, just maybe.....

Maybe I'm holding my mouth right today....well, there's a little bit of a crook in my lip but...
....things are going better this afternoon with the AVL. I know, I know, this is not exciting looking from 40 harnesses but it's perfect for working out the bugs, I can easily see that harnesses are lifting when they should. The zig-zag areas are where I was trying out the reverse button in the program, then clicked the tabby button. Did have a loose thread which caused me to think I had missed the hole in the texsolv heddle so I went back to running it through all 40 harnesses one at a time to check and they were only lifting an inch - argh! I'm not sure what that issue was but I turned everything off and started again with this pattern and it was lifting just fine. Also had some error message come up a couple times, never figured that one out and didn't write it down fast enough. So far, in this mere 8" of weaving I haven't had harnesses catch on each other as they come down...has been a major issue - this is a good thing. Do need to write my AVL guru Melody with a couple questions today.....I know she'll have the answers.

On a happier note.....

My blog has been a bit of a downer relaying my loom woes so I thought I'd post a few fun pix for a change....will be getting back to the AVL in a bit, am thinking positive that all will go well. My intention is not to badmouth the company, just to pass on my experiences which I'm now hearing from others, reading on forums about others who have had the same issues but in the end all but one I know of are happy with their just shouldn't take 3-4 months of replacement parts/fine tuning/quality & documention issues to get there. I have high hopes that all goes well today and I'm on my way to loving my loom!

Here is one of the gift items I made this year - machine embroidered water bottle cozies. I learned a lot working on the neoprene, like simple designs without heavy embroidering are best, and I learned alot about using sticky back stabilizer, like the needle gums up within seconds which causes thread to break. What I ended up doing was putting the stablizer in the hoop, tearing off the protective paper to expose the sticky part and then cutting out the actual design area and sticking a piece of regular stablizer in that hole....worked perfectly. If you have an embroidery machine I'm sure you understand what I'm talking about.
I made a few of these purses as gifts, a couple not given yet as they're birthday presents in the future. This bag, the Flip Flap Bag, has 2 hidden pockets, it's a great carry across my front bag to keep it secure and hands free. These buttons were from the day of searching through my button stash and my Aunt Fran's stash. The bag pattern is by Whistlepig Creek Productions, I found it over at Forget-Me-Knots Quilt shop on the coast. Have I said in the past I love gingko leaves???
And here's one to leave at the beach cottage - it's hard to see in this picture but the main bag fabric has seahorses on it.
And here is what damage I did yesterday at Fabric of Vision in Ashland., owner Sandi is a delight. Theresa and I had fun at the shop and then a yummy lunch afterwards....good for my mental health to have a day out. Theresa was wearing one of her great outfits sewn with fabric from the shop. The mostly white fabrics are Japanese fabrics, they're beautiful, destined to become tops and maybe a jacket, still undecided. Of course, there's gingko fabric - who knows what I need that for other than to enhance my stash until I decide. Hedgehog fabric to dole out to bobbinlacers I know....they use fabrics to protect their work and the hedgehog is the symbol for bobbinlace - I just couldn't resist. It's hard to see but that tan fabric has trees on it, it will become Christmas napkins. Unfortunately the black sheer/burn out fabric in the front doesn't show well in a phot - it will end up being a shawl with ruffled edges. Then there are the natural and black roses on netting to add as embellishment to scarves. And the 2 celtic knot ribbons which I couldn't resist - who knows where they will end up.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Major headache day.......

So I started the day with positive thoughts that all would go well with getting a short sample warp on the AVL. This is something that would take me way less than an hour to do on any other took the better part of the day and I still haven't tied on the front beam and started weaving. I've been weaving since 1986, full time for most of those years, I have never felt so defeated as I feel right now trying to work with this loom.

So, warp wound, beamed, ready to start threading the heddles. The cool feature about this loom is that I can program tromp as writ in my draft and then it will raise each harness one at a time for me to thread heddles, really great when threading 40 harnesses - sounds easy peasy, doesn't it? Well, it would be if when I pressed on the foot pedal the harnesses would move - nothing! I looked all over, everything seemed connected, solenoids popped when I turned it on. So I took to reading manuals, which are lacking if I haven't said so in the past, nothing to help me. Finally I had to walk away.....started some soup, phone rang a few times so I visited with folks, got a fire going. I e'd my tech support, hubby Sam, he suggested maybe somehow the switch on the e-lift got turned off....not sure how that would happen since I control the entire thing with a surge protector but I thought maybe, so I flipped it. Still no luck. Back to the manuals - hah, nothing, what was I thinking pulling them out again. I could tell the elift wasn't on so I flipped the switch back to where it was this morning - it came on....not sure if it was stuck in the middle or if it's a bad switch, time will tell.

A few times while raising harnesses to thread heddles the harness would get caught on it's neighbor coming back down, jumping off the hooks on the top, springs would sprong on the bottom which means I stand on my head to get them back on....not a happy camper. I really wonder if there's a design flaw, there is not even 1/16" between harnesses so when one moves up the gap closes in-between it's neighbors so it will catch coming back down. It doesn't happen everytime but too often so far. I'm hoping that maybe once I start weaving it won't be an issue.....hope, hope.

So now a staple on the top of the loom is my gigantic bottle of headache meds, hoping they get put away soon. I still wonder if I've made a very expensive mistake but others are assuring me eventually I'll love this loom. For me weaving has always been a peaceful meditative process from beginning to end no matter how challenging the project.....I need for this loom to fit in to my weaving life......and hopefully one day soon you'll be reading about how much I love the design capabilities on this loom and how happy I am with it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

sheesh...wasted day.....

Today has been a wasted least in my mind...sure wish I wouldn't beat up on myself like that. I decided after filling orders that it was time to put the cords on the sectional beam of the AVL. This was what I assumed to be a simple quick job....NOT - although it really should have been had  it not been for me doing myself in. I made a jig on my warping board to cut the linen thread to make a doubled over cord for the beam. Well, who knew that even cutting 8 linen threads, hanging them over my shoulders to pull from, that they would all tangle up in the 10ft walk to the warping board - argh. So, I spent quite a bit of time untangling. From then on I only cut 4 lengths at a time....which still tangled.
Then there was getting the cords onto the back beam which is hidden inside these wooden pieces. I found my locker hooking needle which is like a long crochet hook to pull the ends around the steel beam, not a 5 second job like I would have thought...especially when one keeps dropping the locker hook on the floor. And then there was measuring out more linen only to knock over a huge mug of ice water all over my desk, all over the phone and into a file cabinet. The phone was one of the couple in the house that are the 'old fashioned' phones so we'll still have phone when the power goes out and kills the cordless phones. At this point I felt my head was going to explode, I don't have high blood pressure but I swear it was through the roof by the way my head felt. But I kept on going....
Here's the back of the loom, half the cords on. I forced myself to finish before breaking for lunch....made for a very late lunch. I got the front beam apron on, heddles moved to the sides so it's ready to put a warp on. If you're wondering about the sectional beam, there are steel dividers that pop right in those holes but I'm not putting this first warp on sectionally, a 2 yard warp will be easy just to wind on like regular. I had plans of getting a sample warp on today but just didn't have it in me. I don't like the feelings I've had about this loom from the day it arrived, too many manufacturing issues, lack of documentation, waiting for replacement parts, lack of support until I was finally put in touch with Melody up in Portland for tech support, she's wonderful. Every other loom I've owned has been great from day one, never an issue. I know we'll become friends but it wasn't happening today...but tomorrow is a new day and a warp will be going on this baby.

Now that it's late afternoon there's no use working in the studio anymore.....spinning in front of the fire sounds way better for my mental health...and maybe a little glass of wine, just a little one...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New spinning......

Today was spinning get together and since I had finished up my previous roving it was time to find something new. Now I could have gone to my own stash that I've been trying to work on but heck, I've got hundreds of pounds of roving in stock for sale in my etsy shops so I went to that instead! I pulled out this merino/bamboo in my Baltic colorway, totally not colors I'd normally wear but I like them. I'm enjoying spinning it on my Hansen mini-spinner, enjoying it so much I think I'll keep spinning on it this evening. There is more of this for sale in my etsy shop......unless I decide I need to put the rest aside for myself! (am thinking I have plenty set aside already for a scarf)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Goings on at the coast.....

We've been on the coast since Friday, it's been great relaxed long holiday weekend. Temps have been mild...upper 50's/low 60's, sunny and blue sky........until the wee hours of the morning today when the front rolled in. It arrived with what we'd consider hurricane force winds on the east coast, some rain early on but sunny now......but still strong winds, strong enough to keep knocking the satellite dish around so we lose reception. Very sad but we must leave and head home in a few minutes, only a 2 1/2 hour drive but a world away.
My friend Kathy B found this afghan in her mother's things and thought the colors would fit right in at the beach cottage. The squares were crocheted and and all sewn together but no border and there were hundreds of ends on the backside to be woven in. I finished it up and it's been put into action keeping me snuggly warm.
Here are the new pair of socks on the needles, I decided I need a pair of pink socks. I don't have the book with me to tell you what the pattern is but I do know they're called Slouch Socks and I 'think' they come from the book, Socks Socks Socks.....but I could be wrong......

Ready to head out and say goodbye to the coast......think a stop at A&W is on the agenda to get sugar-free rootbeer floats for the ride home.