Saturday, March 30, 2013

More gingkos.......

You'd think I'd be tired of ginkgo leaves but no way, I love them. Spinner/weaver friend Virginia has a beautiful ginkgo tree in her front yard - last fall I picked up an entire bag of leaves to put between the phone book pages to dry. I peeked at them and they looked beautiful. The next week the phone book has disappeared - Sam had taken it to recycling - yikes! Not sure what possessed him to pick it up off the washer and take it, it was a new phone book, it was not in the recycling basket. So, there's always this year.......

This past month I bought some new sheets & towels which I decided needed some pizazz.
Using the embroidery machine I embroidered these ginkgos on all 4 pillowcases. Ignore that purple mark in the middle of it - that was my marking to get them lined up in the hoop, it's  air erase marker which disappeared with 15 minutes after stitching (I guess I could have waited to take the photo after it disappeared)  Our comforter is shades of sage green so these pillow cases match perfectly.
I found some great ginkgo towels on the clearance rack at the store only there were no handtowels, just bath towels and washcloths so I bought some off-white hand towels and embroidered the ginkgo on the them too. I love the commercial ginkgo towels, see how the color reverses from front to back.

While the embroidery machine was running I got all 12 handwoven towels ironed, hemmed and ironed again. I need to be in the room to change thread colors so it worked out perfectly to have the embroidery going on one machine and me sewing on the other.

Today is tax day - argh. In a couple hours Sam and I will sit here with Turbo Tax Home & Business and work through our taxes, such a pain but I've got everything ready to go personally and business wise. Sam would be thrilled if I did it all but this is a joint effort, since he does none of the rest of it he's required to sit with me and do this part.......and there will be no sidetracking by putting golf on tv.

I still have no clue what the issue with blogger is for me these days, pictures won't load when I work on my post but if I start the text, publish it, then go back to edit the pictures will load. Kind of a pain but I'm not sure what the solution is at the moment and I got no help from the forum. Oh well.....

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Oh shoot..........

Here are towels just out of the dryer waiting to be trimmed, ironed and hemmed. Of course this will have to wait until I get a new iron as mine decided to die. Sam found a loose wire the other evening and fixed it but it only lasted for one day. What a shame, it's not very old. Hopefully I will have a new one in the next couple of days.
I did something I can't remember ever doing in my weaving career of 27 years - I made errors in treadling on two the towels (don't worry Yvonne, they aren't on any of yours). That's not to say I haven't made a treadling error but I've always caught it and have unwoven to correct it, this time I never caught it until I got to the end of the towel and it wasn't the right length. It must have happened in one of the many times the phone rang (yes, I need to stop answering it when I'm weaving), I came back to the loom and started weaving the wrong block - argh! Looks like I'll have two new towels for my kitchen......which isn't necessarily a bad thing........

Monday, March 25, 2013

More turned twill towels......

After a weekend on the coast I was ready to get back to the loom and the turned twill towels.
Dark brown weft.....these are spoken for......
Blue weft towels are also spoken for........
These red ones are a really pretty shade of red, need to pick out a couple more weft colors tomorrow.....

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Nani's Easter Bread Recipe

Nani’s Easter Bread 

5 lbs flour
1 cup sugar
¼ cup salt
¾ lb shortening (if in sticks – two sticks less 3 tb)
¼ lb cake yeast (or 6 each 1/4oz packets of instant dry yeast or 15 tsp of jarred instant dry yeast)
¾ cup warm water
1 qt whole milk
9 eggs (plus 3 for brushing top of loaves)
½-1 tbs lemon extract
½-1 tbs vanilla extract
½ oz anise seed (we use 1 oz) 

Mix all dry ingredients. Cut in shortening as for pie dough.
Dissolve yeast in the warm water with 2 tbs sugar until it foams. No more than 10 minutes.
Add all wet ingredients plus anise seed to dry ingredients and mix into dough. Let sit 20-30 minutes.
Knead on floured surface until dough is not sticky and is elastic, around 20 minutes (or until your arms fall off)
Cut into pieces big enough to roll into 30 same size balls about the size of a racquet ball. Let sit for 1 hour or more to rise.
Roll balls into long strips. Braid. Let sit for 1 hour or more to rise. Brush top with beaten egg yolks.
Bake at 375 for 35 minutes (25 minutes in convection oven)
Makes 10 loaves – freezes well.
Tastes best if made in Nani’s official dough making wash tub

Ginkgo Treasury

I've created a Treasury on etsy inspired by ginkgo leaves. Items from both of my shops have been included in hundreds of treasuries but this is the first one I've ever created. For the life of me I can't seem to copy the treasury image as a whole, save it and then post that  image here. I'm usually really good with that stuff but it's not working right now. So, in the meantime here's the link - please go check it out, click on the items, visit the shops and get us all lots of exposure.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Towels on the loom......

Yesterday I got a 12 yard warp on the loom for some towels - turned twill block towels. Half of them are sold before ever woven, a special request from my friend Yvonne who loves my towels. She specified colors but has no clue what they will look like - hope she checks out the blog today. Have no time for weaving again until the beginning of the week - boo hoo.......
Made these no knead flax seed rolls this morning, they turned out smaller than I expected but they're very tasty. Friend Patricia had saved a recipe out of our local paper a while back for them. I'll be making them again as they're very little work.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's that time of year again.......

It's that time of year again - time to make Nani's Easter Bread which is just what my cousin Jim and I did today. The recipe makes 10 nice big braided loaves using 5 pounds of flour, many eggs, anise seeds plus the usual other bread making ingredients.
Here's Jim starting the kneading process - it helps big time to have help baking this much bread
Here I am kneading when Jim needed a break
Here are 3 of my loaves ready to start raising. We made 10 loaves total.
Here are the first two of my loaves out of the oven.
Here are more - aren't they beautiful?
What could be better than Nani's Easter Bread warm out of the oven with butter? Not much. Nani, my Italian grandmother, passed away over 13 years ago but her memory will live forever.
Not sure what is up but I'm still having problems uploading pictures to my blog. I need to start the post, publish it and then go back in an edit to get the pictures to upload and sometimes it takes many tries, not sure what happened a couple weeks ago but it's been a challenge.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I won a quilt !!!!

I won a quilt - I can't believe it. My friend Diane from Princeton, Idaho told me a month ago that she was selling tickets to a quilt her quilting group had made and she was having trouble selling many in her small town filled with many jobless residents. So, I sent her a check for $20 to buy me tickets. She called last week to tell me I won. My odds weren't that good because they did sell quite a number of tickets - I was just lucky.
Here is it on our bed but this will not be it's permanent home - the colors are perfect for the beach (where I need quilts) so it will be living on the guest room bed over there - that's a bed Bailey does not get on.
It looks like it's pieced doesn't it? Well, it's all cross-stitched on white fabric blocks which were then sewn together, then the entire quilt hand-quilted. The light green points on each large block are full of french knots - oh my gosh - I would have gone nuts making all those french knots.
I need to call Diane to find out the details on this quilt so I can embroider a cloth label to put on the back. Apparently the husband of one of the ladies did the majority of the cross-stitch work, he was ill but he could stitch, he passed away recently. I need to document this so years after I'm gone someone will have the details - hopefully another quilt lover. What a treasure.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wool, wool, everywhere......

70 pounds of roving, weighed, bagged and labeled this afternoon - I'm beat.......will be waiting until morning to put it into inventory records, relist the sold out colors on etsy, and add it in the stacks of bins where it's stored awaiting new homes.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

More of the painted warp......

Still having a blogger issue with uploading pictures - this is a totally different problem blogger was having back in January - not sure why it affects some and not others. So, I'm doing the same as yesterday - start my post with text, publish, then edit it and add the pictures - seems to work but a pain.
So, here is scarf #3 using a fuschia weft. All 3 scarves are now soaking in the sink to wash. I don't usually dye pastel warps, not sure if I will again or not.

Acorn to Oak asked me about my painted warp. I did dye it myself using Procion Fiber Reactive Dyes. What I do is wind my warp as usual, put ties in the ends, tie the cross (really important) and put ties every yard or so but the ties in the cross and every yard not too tight to impede the dye. I soak it in a solution of soda ash. Then I lay it out on plastic wrap (I buy the huge wide rolls from Costco for all my dyeing) and start applying the dyes using sponges. The dye has been mixed with urea water. Then I wipe off any excess dye, cover it with the plastic, roll it up and put it in a ziploc bag to batch overnight. The next day I rinse out the excess dye (being fiber reactive dye it doesn't exhaust like acid dyes on wool) and hang it to dry. Here are some other examples.
Here's a very subtle dyeing job - I loved the scarves off this warp and should have kept one for myself instead of selling them all.
These two (above & below) are how I often dye my painted warps - I have sections that I tie off separately so they can be moved anywhere when I'm warping the loom - this one above had 3 sections I painted one way, 2 another way. I do bundle the small sections together if I want to make sure they're dyed exactly the same.
A hint for anyone painting warps - be sure to add extra threads that you will leave hanging off the back of the loom as you weave - that way if a thread breaks you have one to replace it with that matches right up the dyed areas. I'll add an extra 2 threads in each section - or if allover like the dragonflies I added an extra 8 threads. If I didn't do this I know a thread would break - this is my insurance.

On wool - I have painted wool warps too - in that case I use acid dyes, steam them, rinse and hang to dry - a one day process rather than two.

Not sure how many painted warps I've woven, too many to count or remember. I usually wind a bunch of warps and paint them all in one day. And I try to get a bunch dyed to have for weaving during the winter since it's easier for me to do my dyeing outdoors in warm weather. I've got 6 more painted warps waiting in the wings to be woven.

If anyone has any questions don't hesitate to contact me - I'm more than happy to answer them. I'm not a total expert in the process but I have painted lots of warps and taught classes in it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Blogger issues.....

I was already to post pictures of the painted warp dragonfly scarves I was working on today but can't seem to upload pictures. Instead of the picture coming up after I browse a message comes up in that little box saying "Upload failed: Server returned invalid response". Anyone else having this problem?  I've gone to the Blogger Help Forum and posted the question, didn't see any other with the same question. Who knows.....maybe it will remedy itself with time. I really did get to threading heddles, reed and wove 2 of the 3 scarves today......really.......

A few minutes later.....after publishing my post I decided to try to edit and upload a picture - it worked for one picture, but not the other.  This one I'm using a chartreuse weft. Not quite sure how it will look once washed, will be a surprise.

......and another minute later.......went to edit the post again and was able to get this picture up.....purple weft on this one, it's really prettier in person.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Here's what the spinning 'stuff' is looking like. I'm spinning it fairly thin but then there are lump and bumps where ribbon and mohair locks are in the mix. I'm hoping it will turn into a very fun yarn. One ribbon in the mix just won't stay, it slides right off as soon as I spin it with the wool, the other ribbon stays just fine. A friend suggested I cut it in half lengthwise so will give that a try.....if it doesn't work I'll just ignore it as I come to it in the mix.

The plan for today was to get a painted warp on the loom for more dragonflies - I got it wound on the back beam but never threaded the heddles or reed - I just wasn't 'feeling' it. Instead I took some pictures of scarves to list in the etsy shop and some more stash roving sale for the other etsy shop.....some of which sold within 30 minutes of me listing it - it is a bargain. Still waiting in the wings is to finish putting 2012 business expenses in excel and gathering all our 'stuff' for taxes so we can sit down with Turbo Tax Home & Business and knock those out this month. I'd really rather be taking all and dumping it at an accountant's office but every year Sam convinces me we can do it.......of course the we is 95% me.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Current spinning........

This is my current spinning fiber. I started spinning it yesterday and it's a challenge with the little bumplets as I'm so into creating smooth even yarn. I have a big mesh basket full of this colorful mess. I started with some of my hand-dyed roving, then I added whatever struck my fancy each time I walked past the basket. There's sparkle, tencel, silk, ribbons, yarns, mohair locks and who knows what else. I finally had to say on Monday that it was done and ready to spin.

Favorite quilts from Sewing Expo

These are my favorite quilts from Sewing Expo - I should clarify, there were many quilts I loved, these I actually want to make......some day.......
I love these two flower quilts. I have a pattern for a flower quilt with the raw edges but what's different about these is that the flowers are then cut into quarters and reassembled.
This quilt with the circles is done the same way - love it. Love the raw edges that get fuzzy after it's washed as a part of the process of finishing the quilt.

Sewing Expo

 This is the van loaded up with our stuff on the way up to Sewing Expo in Puyallup, WA
 This is a picture of it coming home - we still had tons of space - what were we thinking?!!!
Some of my scores - some beautiful silks and sheers from the Vogue booth and fun patterns. I took a class on sewing with sheers so hopefully this summer's sewing will be easier than last year's with the sheer fabrics.
 Quilting supplies......
Webbing for woven bag handles and some fun ribbons to embellish those bags with.

Great shell fabrics that I had seen via the internet and went on the search for. Yes, these are for those quilts for the beach cottage that I've bought other fabrics for over 2 years ago - I'm determined this is the year to get them sewn.
Here's a couple more - bought these at The Mill End store in Portland, OR.  You didn't think we only shopped at the Sewing Expo did you? We shopped on the trip up; Trader Joe's, Shipwreck Beads - then on the way home at Ikea, Fabric Depot and The Mill End Store.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sock knitting

The past 5 days were spent with 4 friends on a 'field' trip up to Sew Expo in Puyallup, WA.  What a great time we had - hopefully I'll have a few pictures to share except I can't seem to get them off the tiny little camera I use for travel - will get help with that later. Today has been spent playing catch-up - not there yet but did deal with all the administrivia that comes with selling lots of roving while I was gone.......good news, bad news. I still have piles of 'stuff' to put away from Sew Expo.
These are the pair of socks I started while on the trip - only a bit of knitting got done in the little bit of time I wasn't loving these colors and this yarn - Indulgence 6 Ply Distrato made for Knitting Fever. I love that I've knit 7 1/2" so far and haven't had a pattern repeat show up yet. This yarn does make for a thicker sock which will be great to keep my feet warm over on the coast. I'll work on these here and there when I have free time.........