Friday, June 28, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Whoo Hoo a new blog

A good friend of mine, Kathy, has finally, after much nagging encouraging from me started up a blog. She hasn't got it all set up yet but does have her first post up - check it out here.  She's a very prolific weaver, spinner, beader, knitter, crocheter, seamstress among other things so I know her blog will be fun to everyone else will get to see the creations I always get to see........

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

ANWG Conference Recap

I recently attended the ANWG Weaving Conference up in Bellingham, WA.  I have to say it was a really nice conference, the conference committee did a wonderful job planning and putting it on. There were 538 registrants.

My traveling companions and I left very early last Wednesday morning to make the 10 hour trip north, what a long day with very few stops along the way. Thursday morning we hopped on the public transit (in the pouring rain) to explore Fairhaven which was a section of town loaded with galleries, shops and restaurants - very fun, some money left the wallets there. Then in the afternoon we checked out the conference exhibits, vendor booths and guild booths - very fun. Thursday night was the fashion show, some really beautiful pieces in it - I can see what scares me about entering something in the fashion show - sewing skills or lack of show up even on the stage.

Friday & Saturday were seminars, I had one klunker and two great ones. Friday evening we went on a field trip to a fiber mill and then an art center, our carpool driver was a delightful gal, she took us on scenic roads and told us about the area. The stop at Ferndale Fiber Mill was very fun - the couple owns a 1925 carder - we got to hear the story of how they got it and saw it in action.  After the mill stop we went to the Jansen Art Center in Lynden, we got a tour of this incredible center and then listened to a lecture called 'A Journey in Chilkat Weaving' - it was fascinating.

Saturday evening brought the banquet, awards presentations and our keynote speaker, Anita Luvera-Mayer. She is always incredible, I've taken a couple workshops and seminars with her in the past and have heard her as a keynote speaker elsewhere - always fascinating. I was surprised at the awards presentation at having my name called as having won the People's Choice Award in the Juried Exhibit for my ginkgo scarf. This is where my peers voted for their favorite. The photo below is of that scarf.  Fellow guild member Elaine won the People's Choice Award in the Open Show (non-juried) and guild member Carol had a jacket in the Fashion Show - we represented our area well.

I'm still trying to figure out how the judge for the Juried Exhibit judged those items, one of the winners in a certain category had horrendous selvedges, I'm not sure how the judge got past those. There were some incredible items that didn't win ribbons and others that were not nearly as well executed that did. Go figure.........

Sunday morning I attended the ANWG annual meeting representing my guild, it was interesting, lots of notes taken that I have to now decipher and share with my guild members. Since we couldn't leave early enough to drive all the way home Sunday we took two days to get home shopping along the way. We made a stop at Shipwreck Beads where I was very conservative in my spending since I hadn't used much I bought there back in March. Then to Ikea in Portland after checking into the hotel. Monday morning before heading home we hit the GoodWill in Portland which is huge and great fun, Fabric Depot, The Mill End Shop, Bob's Red Mill Store, Dave's Killer Bread Bakery & Outlet and then late lunch at Sushi Track in Wilsonville before heading home. What a great time we had - Kathy & Pat are very fun traveling mates. And I'm still playing catch up...........

More hand-dyed roving.....

I've just listed more hand-dyed roving for sale in my etsy shop - this time the Merino/Tencel I dyed a couple weeks ago. I love the sheen on this fiber and I love spinning it.  It's beautiful to nuno-felt with too.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Photography Challenge - D is for.........




Day Lily

Day Lily

Dog - I warned you Bailey was going to try and get in as many pictures as he possibly could. This is actually two Dogs as I brought home a new friend for Bailey from my stop at Ikea on the way home from the weaving conference yesterday - we've named him Buster and he's almost as big as Bailey although he's a lightweight compared to Bailey's 84 pounds.

Dog smelling other dog's breath......hmm, what kind of biscuits have you been eating???

Check out Benita's blog - she's the originator of this alphabet photography challenge.

Roving for Sale

Here's some of the newly hand-dyed roving that's now up for sale in my etsy shop.......finally up for sale.  It's 50% Merino/25% Bamboo/25% Tussah Silk - it's a dream to spin.  Tomorrow Merino/Tencel will show up in the shop.  I didn't have time to get any of this listed before I left for the ANWG conference last Wednesday, just back last night and trying to play catch-up today. I'll give a conference report later - Bailey has been patiently waiting for a walk since 7am so we better go.........

Monday, June 17, 2013

Photography Challenge - C is for.........

C is for Clocks - utilitarian clock.......

.....seashell clock that hasn't worked since 10 minutes after we hung it..... clock at the Second Street Gallery in Bandon........

......clock with no hands at shop in Bandon......

.....yes, really no hands....for as long as I can remember.......

.....clock at the corner of 6th & G Sts in Grants Pass that is always set at 4:50, I took this picture today at 11:50am......

.....Sam's 15 year clock......

......Black Forest cuckoo clock......

.......close-up of Black Forest clock complete with dust, I must remember to dust it when I clean next......

....oh, and C is also for Canine.......Bailey wasn't going to miss out on  a photo op......this is the guest room bed Bailey's bed where he lays behind me surveying his property while I'm sitting here posting to my blog, reading other blogs, and basically frittering time away at the computer when I should be doing something like dusting the cuckoo clock.......
Be sure to check out Benita's blog, the mastermind behind this challenge, and Cheryl's blog where I learned about it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Passion Flower

Yesterday while walking in Bandon by the Sea I saw these flowers on a bush next to the paper machine where we pick up the weekend paper in front of a Mom & Pop restaurant. I've never seen flowers like these, they must be around 2"-3" big. I emailed friend Yvonne to ask her if she knew what they are.........of course she did, they're Passion Flowers. Someday I'll have to plant some of these in the yard at the beach cottage.

Here you can see lots of blooms ready to open, there must be hundreds of buds on this medium size bush.....can't wait to see them all opened up, I hope we're here when that happens.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I've never posted step by steps of my dye day because I've got my wet gloved hands and don't feel like dealing with the camera. Today while dyeing 10 pounds of merino/tencel roving I decided to stop and take a few pix.

This is a long post on dyeing so if you're not interested stop here or go to the end to see Bailey, my dye companion.

One question I get asked quite often is "Why don't you dye more saturated bright colors?". Why? Well, they're not the colors I like as much. They are very fun to spin but then I find I have no clue what to use the resulting handspun for other than crazy sox. So I dye more muted colorways, many times in varying shades of one or two colors that will hopefully result in beautiful knitted, crocheted or handwoven items. I do dye colorways that don't appeal to me to spin but I try to have a bit of something for everyone.  Last year I got away from dyeing exact color separations because I personally am tired of spinning yarns that create definite stripes or barberpoles. I love the results of my current dyeing where I get more complex looking handspun yarn but no worries about color pooling or striping. If someone wants those bright colors there are plenty of other indie dyers out there that create beautiful colorways.....and they are beautiful.

My dye day actually starts with getting everything out - tables were already set up from yesterday, 2 burner propane stove set up, all squeeze bottles, measuring devices, buckets out from yesterday too so this morning all I had to do was pull the dye stocks out of the garage along with the papertowels and surgical gloves (Costco has a great price on these in boxes of many). I like having all my dye stock already made and ready to go - I make them up in 2 1/2 gallon containers at the end of the dye day so they're ready to go the next time. I make up red, blue, yellow, cyan, pink and then so I don't have to make brown I have a gold ochre and brown, and also black.

I fill up 2 buckets with a bit of synthrapol, some glugs of vinegar (yes, that is a technical term - glugs) and water. I already have my roving weighed out into approximately 8oz lengths - I put 2 8oz lengths in each bucket to soak for around 20 minutes. I buy my vinegar in large quantity at either Costco or Cash & Carry, a restaurant supply store - same prices, within blocks of each other. As soon as this roving moves to the table to be dyed, more roving goes in the buckets - it's a carefully orchestrated schedule I work on. I had to do this since I used to dye anywhere from 15-20 pounds in a day, now my limit is 10 pounds in a day, just too hard on the body anymore.

While it's soaking I work like a mad scientist mixing up my colors for that roving. My dyes are Jacquard that I buy in the monster containers since I go through a lot of dye - much more economical that way.

Then I layout 24" wide plastic wrap on both sides of the table with enough overhang on the ends to pull up over the roving after painted. This can be a pain to do if the wind is up - downright aggravating. Here I've got a total of 2 pounds of roving laying out ready to paint. See the edge of the table leg? I've got my tables sitting on bed risers to add height to them so I'm not bending over as much. I've also got cushioned floor pads on each side of the table and in front of the dye table - it's the gray 'thing' on the concrete.

Here  it is after painting. I use the squirt bottles to apply the dye and my fingers to make sure it's all worked in to dye all the fibers. Then I cover this up with the plastic, roll it up and put it in 2 gallon bags to steam. A pound of roving will not fit in a 1 gallon ziplock bag - Albertson's has been my store of choice for the 2 gallon bags for years (actually they're my only store that carries them), now all of a sudden they're not selling them - argh!  I had one box left. My cousin called and told me the dollar store had 2 1/2 gallon bags so I ran over there a couple weeks ago and bought lots and lots of them.....thinking I should go back and clean out the store shelf if I have time.

Here are two bags in one of the steamers. I have two of these pots going on the propane burners all day. Occasionally I have a turkey roaster (no, not with turkey, with roving in it) going on a side table too. They're big canning pots with the canning jar racks in the bottom covered by metal vegetable steamers to keep the bags out of the water. I steam them for around 45 minutes, give or take.

Here's what the roving looks like after it comes out of the steamer. I lay it out on the concrete, open up the plastic wrap, carefully because it is hot, and let it cool down before putting them in buckets to rinse. I thought about taking pictures of the roving in the buckets but then forgot - mind wanders while I'm out there listening to 60's music on Sirius radio.

Important little tube of ReDuran used at the end of the day to get dye off my skin, not sure what's in it but it's a pumice type of 'stuff'. I do wear gloves but occasionally get a splash of dye up on my arms but mostly the dye ends up on my feet - I'm a sloppy dyer. This works great at getting the majority of the dye off so I can go out in public tomorrow.

Here's what I dyed today. Yes, that's a yellow in there. When I first started dyeing yellow I thought no one would buy it but I love yellow and wear it often so figured I'd spin it myself. I still haven't spun any because it all sells. Maybe this time I'll get some spun for myself.  After the roving is all dry I weigh it, photograph it for my etsy shop, braid or bag it and spin a small sample. I've been braiding most of the roving (not the merino/bamboo or merino/tencel as those are thinner rovings) - braiding makes for pretty pictures, it also makes for easy storage but I really don't like how it compacts the roving.....not a big deal, just open it up a bit and it spins beautifully, but I'm considering going to bagging it all this year.

Bailey, Bailey, we're finished with dyeing today - you can wake up now.  His favorite spot laying under the maple and smooshing down my blue vinca and hostas.

Uh-oh, the wind just picked up and I heard a drying rack fall over - not a good thing as my drying racks are already being held together by duct tape and tie-wraps from constantly being blown over. Guess I better get down there and pick it all up..........

Photo Challenge Week 2 - B is for Blooms........

Calla Lily (???) at the beach cottage this past Sunday

One of the many flowers over at the beach at the house around the corner that looks like it should have a magazine article written about of these days I'll try to get a picture of the entire yard and cute cottage

Red Hot Pokers from my backyard - picture taken while dyeing yesterday

More flowers from that cottage around the corner from us on the coast

Foxglove from that same house - oh I could have taken scads of photos of her flowers

Hydrangea from our beach cottage yard

Wild Iris from a lot for sale around the corner from the beach cottage

Oh yes, and Bailey on the Beach - two B's in one
Edit - friend Nadine brought it to my attention that it's 3 B's in one - Bailey on the Bandon Beach

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

'tis the season.........

'tis the season to be dyeing - I'm behind, I usually would have started in May, if not April. Each year I seem to be cutting back how much I dye in a day - today it was just 8 pounds. All the standing on concrete/asphalt and bending over is wearing on me year after year. Today's fiber is merino/bamboo/silk.........this is the first time I've dyed this blend........I can't wait to spin the samples up after it's dry. I've been getting better with this camera on my handwovens but didn't do such a great job on the roving here.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Photo Challenge Week 1 - A is for Agate

A is for Agate - gathered on the Oregon coast and polished (by someone else)
Ok, I'll bite - am taking the challenge of posting a picture each week starting with a letter of the alphabet. I'm at the tail end of this week of "A" photos. I first saw this on the blog, Acorn to Oak, then I went to read about the challenge on the Basically Benita blog who came up with this idea. I'll give it my best shot - photography is a challenge for me so this will help me stop outside my box a bit and maybe learn more about how to use my newer camera. I won't go so far as to commit to what day of the week I'll post my picture(s) but I will strive not to miss a week. Be sure to check back and see next weeks "B" picture and don't forget to follow Basically Benita's and Acorn to Oak's blogs who I'm sure will be posting more arty photos.

Friday, June 7, 2013

New listings in my etsy shop

Oh, how I struggle with the photography part of having etsy shops. I still haven't mastered this new camera, I loved my old one........which I dropped several times and finally did in. It's a crap shoot getting good pictures but I do my best. One of these days it would probably help to take a photography class............or maybe that could be something Sam does when he retires so he can be in charge of photography and shipping, handling and inventory control. Anyhow, these are now up for sale in my etsy shop........I have set a red one aside for myself but I haven't tried it on with my red tank & jacket yet to see if the color is right. The copper one calls me but I'm always drawn to colors like that, as well as the sage, I need to branch out and get more variation in my personal scarf collection so I'm not wearing the same colors all the time.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Anniversary Discount

In celebration of the Handweavers of Etsy Team anniversary I'm giving 10% off in my etsy shop featuring my handwovens, felted items, gift items on June 4th only.  Use this code at time of check out - HWOE2013  (this discount may not be combined with any other discount)

Happy day

I love it when I get some real smiles out of my day. Bailey always makes me smile, so does Sam but he left for the gym at 4:30, then work and won't be home for a while so only thinking of him has made me smile.

What really made me smile was a luxury for me - I had a professional window washer (who is also a musician) come out, Chris from Williams, very nice person who did wonders for my windows - why did I wait so long??? The windows are so clean they look like there's no glass in them, I could have never gotten them that clean........if I was willing to get up on a ladder. So, if anyone in my area is interested in his contact info drop me a note and I'll pass it on. I think this is a luxury I'll have to keep up.........and since Sam doesn't like ladders I'm sure he'll agree. I can't believe how happy crystal clear windows have made me - the simple pleasures of life.

Another smile is a little thing - blogger is still working for me uploading photos - not sure why it broke back in January, but it started working again a few weeks ago and is still working - whoo hoo.

And yet another bright spot in the day, getting a little time at the loom. I might have to weave another scarf with the red weft - it's pretty striking and I may be compelled to keep one of those.....although the copper one below is pretty striking too.....

Vines & Leaves with sage green weft
Vines & Leaves with rust weft although it really looks like copper

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Red/Black Vines & Leaves

Took a little time to weave today before moving on to other fun activities - it's a beautiful day here .... even too pretty for me to be sitting at the loom. This is the first of the vines & leaves scarves using a red weft with the black warp, both 8/2 tencel. Pic isn't the best, I should have turned off the ott light to avoid that glare.

Fire season starts here tomorrow - Friday afternoon/evening we had our first good size fire around 15 miles from me on one side of the interstate in a moderately populated area - thank goodness only one house had a bit of damage and one out building was burned, and no injuries that I've heard of. There have been numerous smaller fires in the region in the past two months but this was bigger with homes threatened. The thought is that it was started by a vehicle on the highway causing sparks in a two mile stretch - amazing what can happen within minutes. It's going to be a very bad fire season, we're way behind on rainfall and we may not end up getting anymore rain until fall.