Wednesday, June 27, 2012

kid's day camp antics.....

Sorry no pictures of this morning's activity, no time to take them plus I won't put pictures of others up on my blog for privacy reasons.

So, this morning three of us from guild went out to demo at a Jackson Soil & Water Conservation Day Camp for kids at a huge ranch outside of Gold Hill. The purpose of the camp is to connect the kids with the land. They have 4 stations morning and afternoon - that's 8 learning opportunities ranging from drying strawberries, learning forest management practices, getting talks about animals, making butter and more. Then on Friday they get a tour of a working grain mill and picnic and swimming at a lake east of Ashland. All this for $50 for the entire week. What a bargain - I want to go next year.

We were to talk about spinning from the hoof to clothing. We had 4 groups of 5th-7th graders for 40 minutes each. I quickly realized 60 seconds into the first group that my talk about the history of spinning from the drop spindle to the electric wheel wasn't going to work - very short attention spans - so I cut back my presentation to only the mechanics of how the spindle, treadle wheel and my electric wheel work along with a touchy feely segment on different kinds of fiber. I gave them all a length of brown roving to twist and make their own yarn so they'd understand the process.

My favorite group was the third one - goofy boys probably around 11 years old. One was the instigator taking the roving and making a mustache he hung over his upper lip from his ears - this got the others going. Then there was the uni-brow, the beard, hair coming out of the nose, the ears, on the chest, underarms and then finally the belly button.....I'm sure it would have gone on to other body parts if camp counselors weren't around. This was happening as our third spinner was talking - the boys were all looking at me and I was making smiley faces at them which just egged them on. At the end I told them in 50 years they would be trimming those hairs coming out of their noses & ears. I gave them extra roving as they left as they decided to incorporate it into their skit on Friday - it was a secret, they wouldn't tell me what it was about - I would love to know. This is the group of boys I would have been hanging with if I were at camp.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

 Towel warp finally on the loom......I'll probably move on to figuring out a project for the AVL now but this warp will be waiting in the wings for whenever I feel like weaving on it
Close-up of the super simple weave structure - perfect old fashioned look I was hoping for, colors perfect for the coast

It's a start......

Got started on winding a 12 yard warp for towels yesterday but kept getting sidetracked so didn't quite finish. There was a loss in my family yesterday and it hit me hard, tough time staying on task.
Here's the first section of the warp - natural areas will be basket weave, colors twill stripes
Next bout - then these color rotations are repeated
What was I thinking? Tough on the back winding 12 yards - should have used the warping mill or sectional warping....or even the AVL warping wheel although I'm still not proficient enough with that to feel confident getting perfect tension for this many will come with more use

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Black sheep, black sheep have you any wool???

Yesterday was a whirlwind day trip 2 hours north to the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene with good friend Pat. I haven't been in a few years, sometimes there is fiber overload with so many festivals/conferences within a 2 month period of time. It was fun to visit with fiber friends and browse the booths. I only bought a few things for myself - picked up some things for others, always fun to spend someone else's money. I just don't need much these days - between my own stash and the fibers I sell there's not much out there that tempts me and if there is it can really damage the checkbook like when I bought the Hansen e-spinner at OFFF last fall. We made the required stop at Bronx Bagels in Sutherlin for breakfast on the way, then Trader Joe's to pick up a salad for lunch. Then to BSG - some change in vendors, some great, some just ok. After we had seen as much as we wanted we headed back to Trader Joe's for major shopping and a stop at the big TJ Maxx Home store across the street. Then back home again. It rained off and on all day but the worst rain fell on us driving home - it was horrendous - what's with this rain in June, this is Southern Oregon - it stops raining June through September, rarely a drop. So, was I glad I went this year - yes, it was a fun day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Another one in the works....

This morning before I left for town to get my haircut and do errands I worked on planning the towel warp that I showed the yarns for yesterday. Got it all planned out, I'm ready to start winding a warp hopefully on Saturday. Oh, and love the haircut, loving it since I decided a number of months ago to cut most of it off - just keep it long enough to pull it up off my neck (ponytail) - have more layers in it this time.
So, next was to work on planning an inkle loom warp, years ago I made a worksheet for planning out my inkle designs, I color in the squares, then use it as my guide for warping the inkle loom. I played with colored pencils for a while this morning, might work on a few other options. I have a floor inkle loom and put on as long as warp as I can get on it (many yards) - once there was so much tension the screws on the bottom boards loosened while weaving and Sam had to quick get some carriage bolts to fix it while I held it together....been great ever since no matter how long a warp.
Here are the 4 scarves that were washed yesterday, they're awaiting fringe twisting. Not my favorites which is why they sat on the loom for so long, not sure why because they're actually very pretty.

Next up is to figure out what to put on the AVL next..........hmm, I could just spend a week winding warps - get every loom warped up, then spend the rest of the week winding warps for several days of warp painting (dyeing).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Next project to go on the loom will be a very simple basket weave/twill towel warp....finally some towels for the coast, seaglass colors plus that lavendar I keep sneaking in to the cottage. There will be twill stripes on a background of natural or white - I think it will be a nice retro old fashioned look. Trying to decide if I'll use the natural as the background or if I'll go with white. Since I probably won't wind this warp until Saturday there's time to think on that.....and change my mind on my color choices several times......  
Today I finally finished up a scarf warp, scarves washed, hanging to dry.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Ok, before you read my post go look at the video on Sharon's blog.....or do it later, whatever you want. I saw her post yesterday and thought wow this looks like great fun. This afternoon after I got back from my spinning group I had to give it a try.
I just pulled out some pieces of roving leftovers, layered them up like in the video, rolled them around the dowel into a rolag and eureka, a nice big long rolag to spin from. This is where you might want to go look at that video if you didn't already because I was so excited doing it I forgot to take pictures along the way.
And here I've started spinning up the sample. I love it, it's got quite a bit of black in it because that's what I was going for but pops of the colors throughout. I've been thinking about carding up a custom blend using black as the primary color but now I'm going to do this instead, using the drum carder would dilute it more than I want.

Thank you Sharon for taking that video during your spindle camp and sharing it with us all. Playing with this is sure to get anyone out of a funk. I would love to get my spinning group together to have a play day making these......and I certainly have the Ashland Bay roving in a ton of colors for us to play with.

Friday, June 15, 2012

In a funk....try mini-blueberry pies

Ok, so the funk hasn't totally lifted, but feeling better as I make decisions and cross another item off the list. Not sure what's up today other than frittering of my morning so I decided why not use some of those blueberries to make mini-blueberry pies.....blueberry pie is my favorite. Ok, so they're not really pretty, they don't look like those Bumbleberry Blossoms Costco used to carry around the holidays...but they'll be great with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.....when I go out and buy some........  I used storebought pie crust, cut each crust in quarters, smooshed it into the monster sized muffin tins, threw in some blueberries, a little sugar, cinnamon, butter and oatmeal on top. I think hope they'll taste great. Going to freeze half and see how that works.

Local blueberries aren't in yet but it won't be long........I'm a regular at the blueberry farm, I think those gals wonder what I'm doing with all those blueberries, they're speaking spanish when I leave probably saying there's that crazy lady that comes in 3 times a week for flats of blueberries........ I make jam, pies, muffins, crisp, on cereal, in yogurt, in fruit salad....just one big blueberry summer. For those of you in Southern Oregon I'll share where I buy my blueberries - it's a Townsend Farm blueberry farm located on the Applegate River with the berries being sold next door on Helms Rd in South Grants Pass. I used to go to Blueberry Hill in Crescent City, CA until this farm went in several years ago. My mouth is watering just thinking about those local blueberries......

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Funky town.....

I've been in kind of a funk lately - not exactly sure why, can't pinpoint one thing, it's a combination of things, you don't want me to start listing them, but in the end one major issue I have to think about is where I want to go with selling fiber/handwovens. I do want to continue selling my handwovens as I've done for well over 20 years, the roving, maybe, maybe not, I need to strive to get off the roller coaster of feeling like I need to always beat my sales from the year before. I'm not excited about dyeing hundreds of pounds of roving this summer, will start soon but scaling down the production.....if I'm not enjoying it I shouldn't be doing it. And do I really want to do any festivals or just stick with online selling....maybe not after this year, it's fun to meet other fiber folks but it's exhausting and do I really enjoy it?  Will continue to give it thought.  In the meantime the funk is lifting and I enjoyed my day.
So, today I got back to that warp that's been on the Macomber forever. It's the supplemental scarf warp where after the first scarf the ribbon started shredding. I pulled the ribbon out and replaced it with a space-dyed bamboo. Not totally happy with this warp but they'll be pretty scarves once finished.

Also today I did the dreaded photography work of taking pictures of 5 scarves to get listed in my etsy shop. It takes a lot of picture taking to get 5 decent pictures of each scarf, and it's not my strong suit. Now comes all the editing, hopefully I'll start getting them listed tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Being enabled......

Ok,  as if I need another tote bag (or 2 or 3).....but I'm hoping this will work for a purse too. I saw a post yesterday on Ree Drummond's The Pioneer Woman's blog about these totes at Target. What an enabler she is. I did give it some time before I went to the Target website but obviously not enough time to keep me from buying not just this gold one (I love yellow of any kind) but also the coral and turquoise ones. This would make a great knitting or drop spindle bag too. My favorite leather bag is a red leather one I got on clearance at Chico's a number of years ago so I'm hoping I love these just as much. If you're local and reading this they do not have them at the Target over in Medford, I checked online, so don't bother making a trip there....just order it online.

I donated numerous purses to Goodwill last year, I think it's time to donate more, there are many I haven't been able part with but I just don't use them and don't think I ever will. And what to do with tote bags???  I have so many. I do use some of the for ongoing projects but they just keep coming each time I attend a conference, and then there are the ones I've bought....and the ones I've sewn or woven. I have a pile of canvas silkscreened conference ones - anyone have any ideas what to do with an abundance of them???

Have I enabled anyone else to buy one of these totes???

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sally Bag

My cousin Claudia asked about where the name Sally Bag came from (my last post). Our teacher told of several places it might have come from but no one is positive. Unfortunately I was busy learning how to do the full turned twining so I didn't write anything down but two ideas were that it had to be with an Indian woman actually named Sally who is in the book 'Columbia River Basketry: Gifts of the Ancesters, Gifts of the Earth'. or there a plant called 'sal..... something or another' that was commonly used in the making of the bags.

Here are some links to read further on the Sally Bags and to see what they really look like, not my tiny little bag made of hemp spokes and Harrisville wool. The Oregon History Project. The Ethnography of Lewis and Clark. University of Oregon, The Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Not much to show

Little results for many hours in two classes taken at the nwrsa conference...but new techniques were learned and that's what the goal of the classes were for me.
This was my triangular shawl sample - it's american girl doll size. What we learned in this class was how to create triangular shawls starting at the center top (neck edge) of the shawl, it could be equal triangles like this or elongated ones. In the plain section of the shawl I can now look in a book at lace patterns and understand how to design it in my shawl working it out on a graph, same with a border. We also learned 3 different cast-offs, all which are seen on my sample. From left to right: a picot bind off where the picot ends up exactly where it's wanted, not leaning to one side as in so many patterns, then a crocheted loop bind off, then a stretchy bind off. Obviously my sample will look better once it's blocked.....if I block it......
And here's my Sally Bag which is a root gathering basket. This is very small, like 4" tall, it took forever to weave. I didn't take a picture of the bottom but it's turned up into the basket, kind of like how a wine bottle bottom may be made. This enabled the Indians along the Columbia River to push it out and carry even more roots. The top looks a little messy but it's traditional the way it's finished, and the inside shows short bits of ends. All the Indians would have added was a hide around the top with straps to tie it around their waists. This was very slow twining but fun and I could see doing it again. Even though a bigger bag would take longer to weave I think it would be easier to work on.

Monday, June 4, 2012


This is what I started spinning at the NwRSA conference - one of my dye day surprises in merino/tussah. When I dyed this I immediately fell in love with it but I can't keep every colorway I dye so I put it up for sale. After I sold most of it and there was only 12 oz left I decided I needed to spin it up myself. I'm not sure but I may ply this with some commercial silk rather than on itself....will decide after I spin up another bobbin of it. I'd like it to go far enough for a shawl.

Spinning with the critters......

I'm back from the NwRSA annual conference - it's always such a fun four day event filled with classes, spinning and visiting with fiber friends, old and new. And I will say that we have the most fun spinning circle of all....or maybe that's the silliest, loudest, song singing spinning circle. If you have never attended this conference you must put it on your calendar for next June.

I took two day long classes - the Sally Bag, a traditional root gathering basket taught by Eileen VanBronkhurst and Top Down Triangular Scarves and Shawls taught by Evelyn Clark. I'll post a picture of my samples from the classes once I finish the Sally Bag which is very small but time consuming. I loved the process of twining this cute little bag and already have ideas floating around in my head for my own designs (when I'll find the hours to do them is another thing). And I learned so much in the knitting class with Evelyn Clark - a good understanding of the triangular shawl and how to start thinking about designing my own. Both teachers were very patient, knowledgable and nice on top of that!  I did decide that next time I won't fill each time slot with classes, not enough time in my spinning circle visiting with my fiber peeps.
Every year I try to make or find a little goodie for my spinning circle buds to hang on their wheels. This year I knit some little critters from the book Mochi Mochi, these are very tiny, ranging in size from 1"-2". All my regular buds got them until I ran out, sorry I couldn't pass out more but each one took me an evening to knit and I ran out of time to knit anymore.
As usual we put together a basket, or in this case a red rolling cart, for the raffle basket drawing. That's ours in the center - it was jam packed with fiber, yarn, wine, honey, toffee, gift items and a yarn swift. It was fun to see the gal that won it roll it back to her spinning circle.
And here's the basket I won.  My first time ever winning a raffle basket in spite of the hundreds of tickets I've bought over the years. I was so excited when my name was called. I was impressed by the packing job because there's a tremendous amount of fiber, yarn, spindle & felted bag, many books (none of which I own), canned seafoods from the Oregon coast, jelly, preserves, coffee from the coast, a chica bag and Oregon coast agates with a booklet to identify them. This couldn't have been more perfect for me. I see folks searching for agates on the beach but I can never figure out what is an agate or just another rock, with examples to go by and this booklet I'm hoping to add agate collecting to my shell collecting.

I also won a door prize - a tote bag with a wine motif complete with a bottle of wine, lavendar yarns and a one pound chocolate bar.  I shared the chocolate with my spinning circle.

So in spite of the 3" hard as rock mattresses in the dorm room and bad institutional food (it's usually quite acceptable) a great time was had. My feet, ankles and calves swelled from all the salt in the food but this morning they're starting to get back to normal......and now I must continue to play catch-up after being away for 5 days, much on my to-do list for this week.