Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Working on the stash......

.....the stash of painted warps, that is. Usually I get all that I dye during the summer woven over the winter but I've got some I never had time to get on the loom.
This was off the last warp that came off the loom - chartreuse weft.
Here's another off that same warp using olive for the weft.
 There's still one more using forest green for the weft that's not ready for it's photo op yet.
Both of these scarves are now up for sale in my etsy shop.
And here's the painted warp I wound on the back beam this afternoon, it's a rayon slub, enough for 3 scarves. I haven't decided on weave structure yet, am considering just plain weave, I know hard to believe, but am thinking for this warp/colors it might be best, maybe a bit warp faced plain weave.  It was a bugger to wind on as the slubs were sticking to one another, guess that happened during the dyeing and drying.  There's one more painted warp, tencel, in the wings to be woven. Then it's time to do some dyeing again.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Re-entry sucks..........

Re-entry, as I call it, is tough. Each time we go over to the coast I deal with re-entry when we return. Playing catch-up with orders (boxing and mailing), inventory updates, transaction posting, etc. etc. etc. It get harder all the time and what suffers is time to be creative.

I'm going to do some real soul searching and crunching of numbers on the roving side of my business. It provides a nice income but at what cost? The roving sales have a life of their own, just when I think things are slowing down like they always do for a month after school lets out they pick up again. We haven't experienced Sam's full retirement and loss of income yet since he's doing consulting work for the company, sometimes 1/4 of normal hours, sometimes up to 1/ will I be sorry I give up selling roving once he retires completely? Something to think about. My biggest problem is how much time the roving side of the business takes - I feel like I spend too much time in front of the computer dealing with it.........too little time to weave.....not to mention sew, spin, felt, knit, felt, bead, craft, etc. etc. etc. So, the next step is to evaluate it and make a plan. Even if I do get out of selling roving it will take a long time to sell off stock - there is a lot of stock, a whole bunch, a huge amount........takes up one complete bay of the garage a lot of stock. So much to think about over the next few months with the main goal of getting more time to weave and be creative.

This was what it was like the past 5 days on the coast - picture perfect

Here's a house around the corner from us - look at that yard, it's incredible. Sam says no matter where we walk, around town or on the beach I always manage to pass this house getting home.

Our yard does not look like the one around the corner but we do have 2 hydrangea bushes in full bloom right now. Someday I'd love a beautiful yard but we aren't over there to take care of it and we don't have a sprinkler system so it's very sparse at the moment.

I spotted this snail, probably up to no good on my hydrangeas but cute

The new knitting project is the Noni knitted felted bag. Right now I'm knitting intarsia for the stripes - I need 9 balls and 2 threads for each which means I'm working from the inside and outside of each ball. The tangling was horrible so I devised this solution using plastic Ziploc containers. Yarn bowls would work but I only have 2.

It's looking pretty tangled here after just knitting 2 rows but it's actually very fast to untangle.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Latest spinning........

I started spinning the Merino/Bamboo/Tussah Silk blend while at the NWRSA conference. It's some of my own hand-dyed roving. I spun up 570 yards out of 8oz. I was hoping there would be enough for one of the knit scarflette patterns I just bought but it's within 5 yards of what's required for the pattern - that's cutting it a little too close for comfort, would hate to run I'll use a different pattern. There is still some of the roving available in my etsy shop if anyone likes it. 

The hot pink was spun from a 1oz  Bling Batt from Eugene Textile Center - I spun it on my baby Turkish spindle - 140 yards. It was very fun to spin and will make a nice addition to a scarf.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Dad's Day

I'm missing my Dad on Father's Day, brings tears to my eyes to think of him, but it's always with a smile in the background. My Dad was a kind, gentle soul, easy going, always a smile on his face, there couldn't have been a better Dad for me.

Dad was in the Navy from 1947-1952 - stationed in DC, then in New Foundland after my folks got married - he was not a happy camper being stationed up north, he learned to hate lamb, which he called old mutton, it was all they ate for protein.

Dad on my folks wedding day - quite dapper. This was after he changed out of his Navy dress blues. In my eyes my Dad looked like Clint Eastwood.........hmm, maybe that's why I've always been so smitten by Clint, even to this day.........

That's me in Dad's arms in 1956 when I was one year old. He's standing in front of garage where I spent many an hour with him growing up - he taught me how to use hand and power tools - still a valuable education I use to this day.

And here on my first wedding day in 1979 (sorry Sam) this and one of us dancing together are two of my favorites from that day.

This was Dad after we got my folks moved out here to Oregon in 2002, just 5 years before he passed. He was already affected by Alzheimer's although still ok, he eventually didn't want to stay alone but he knew us all, knew what was going on in life, and took it all in stride saying "I used to be able to do that but can't anymore, oh well" - he didn't get angry, just his same easy going personality. Eventually it was cancer that took him from me, it was a hard 6 months but I'm so glad he was here in Oregon and I could help care for him everyday until the end.  Happy Father's Day Dad - I love you.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A study in green........

Today I got some time at the loom
The first scarf using a chartreuse weft - I love chartreuse
The second scarf I used a forest green for weft
The third scarf I used an olive weft

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A nice haul......

Today I met up with Theresa, we haven't seen each other in too long and we don't live that far apart...........well, me on the west side, her on the east side - 1 1/2+ hours apart. We went to the Middleford Yarn closing sale, much has already been sold but we still found some treasures. Very sad that a local yarn shop is closing but I did find out that someone connected with it may be opening a shop in September.  After shopping we visited while lunching. Thank goodness I was able to ignore the sidewalk sale at the Bernina shop - I haven't sewn any of the fabric I bought from my last 3 stops there.
At the yarn shop I got another Papaya tote bag - I love my Lotus one, with the big heavy grommets I can load it up with books, magazines and knitting for coast trips, it's a workhorse tote I got another one at 40% off - the Namaste bag. I found a cute Noni knitted felted tote bag pattern and got some Cascade yarn for that project. And two fun shawlette patterns with some yarn for those although I think the blue one I may end up using the handspun I'm spinning right now. Then I spotted the antique quilt block squares - I got 4 of them to make pillows for the beach cottage.
A very fun day..........

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Same draft, new warp........

I loved the draft that I used for that last scarf so much that I decided to put a painted warp on the loom using it - this warp will weave 3 scarves.  I've auditioned wefts - I think I'm going with the lime green, forest green and olive, a series of green scarves (the rust was just what was left on the bobbin from the last project, the gold is too overpowering). Maybe I'll get back to this warp on Friday.....

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Corkscrews tamed........

The corkscrews were tamed somewhat in the finishing of that scarf. But look - even after washing the fringe is still kinky - it's like the steam during the dyeing process put permanent kinks in that silk - it's crazy. Even after ironing it still looked just as kinky - good thing I was planning on twisting the fringe.
Here it is finished, fringe twisted and ironed. I couldn't come close to capturing the sheen....the feel and drape is incredible with the silk warp & tencel weft. I tried a different technique of hemstitching which is actually knotting - it makes for a less obvious hemstitching. I visited the Webfoot Weavers Guild over on the coast last week to hear a presentation by Nancy Hoskins of Eugene. As an extra little tip she showed this knotting technique which, I think, is in one of her books. I tried it - I like it.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Love it........

When I went downstairs to the studio to start weaving on the scarf warp I thought "let me audition some other weft colors" I just wasn't sold on what I had sampled so far. I decided to pull out a rust color - in this pic it looks pretty orange but it's a beautiful rust. I realize this color combination isn't for everyone but I love it.......and I'm not weaving it for anyone else, I'm weaving it for me.

I like this draft I found on and would love to tie a painted warp I dyed last fall onto this warp but if you remember back to my post a couple days ago about warping from the dyed knitted blank it you'll understand why I'll pass on tying on - just can't deal with the corkscrew kinks of the warp once it's not under tension.

I don't think I talked about my colors during the dyeing process. I started with purple dye in one cup, then gold dye in another cup and set 5 more cups in-between and started blending varying percentages of the purple & gold dye to get the shades in-between the two. In hindsight I wish I had toned down the purple a tiny bit with a little gold but I'm still happy with it.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

It's going to be a bad fire season........

Fire season for SW Oregon officially started 12am Monday morning but do people stop burning, heck no, no thought at all given to the fact that we're in a second year of drought and they're predicting this could be the worst fire season in many years.......that's coming off the bad fires we had last summer (pic to the left).  I read the emergency response reports in the local paper - I didn't stop to count how many were for fire agencies being called out to illegal burns and smoke reports this week since fire season started. The past 4 days we've been in a red flag fire warning due to the high winds.

One of my neighbors, Firebug Jackie, as I so lovingly call her has not cut her tall brown grass yet - at this point I'd be happy if she didn't do it all, she usually waits to do it outside the window we're allowed to cut brush and I end up calling ODF on her..........I gave up several years ago reminding her about it in person, she has no common sense and pays no attention. Her property is between us and the road - our only escape route if she starts a fire would be driving right through the thick of a fire.

On the eastside of our valleys there's heavy smoke from two fires burning out of control in Bend, they're 200 miles to the northeast of us. The smoke is hanging heavy in Medford but the wind is keeping our section of the valley clear - I was over in Medford today and it's ugly. There are many evacuations over in Bend now and more on alert - hoping for the best with no homes or lives lost.

We have approximately 4 months of fire season ahead of us. Already I wake up in the morning wondering how I'll make it through the summer always looking for smoke plumes on the horizon or smelling the air for smoke........I'll be a nervous wreck all summer long.......ready for the funny farm long before the rains come.........hmm, what is the funny farm like anyhow? might be ok.........

Saturday, June 7, 2014


No, I don't mean corkscrews as in we're opening a really wonderful bottle of wine.  I mean in the kind that come from unraveling knitting - yikes - what a challenge
Here is half of the knit silk blank I dyed in a class by Nancy Roberts at the NWRSA conference a week from Friday.  The blank continues on to the right with the colors reversing. I was a little skeptical that I could actually wind the warp straight from the blank letting it sit on the floor and unravel as I wound around the pegs. It was a little bit of a challenge but not too bad.  
 Here it is after I've wound it on the back beam, it's spread out through the raddle and you can see the warp going through the lease sticks to the front of the room. Winding on that corkscrew warp was a little challenge, but once again not too bad.
But next came threading the heddles and reed - it was beyond challenging. I was so frustrated that I forgot to take a picture of all those little corkscrews hanging out of the heddles and then reed.....and popping out of the heddles and reed........
After taking 4 times as long to warp as any other scarf warp I finally got to tie on the front beam and spread out the warp ends (lime thread) and then audition some wefts. Right now I'm leaning toward the red-purple but I'll see what else I've got on the shelf to try out. Look at that mass of curly cue corkscrews in the right bottom corner where I've tied on the front beam - argh.

It's hard to tell in these photos but I love the way the warp blends from color to color across the warp. Another option with this dyed blank would have been to put on a warp and use the dyed blank for the weft and have the colors blend the length of the scarf. Once again, I would wind it into a skein and wash it before using it for weft - would hate to fight those corkscrews with every shot I throw.

Would I do this knitted silk blank dyeing for weaving again - yes for myself or for gifts. Will I do it for items I sell, probably not as it takes more time to deal with the corkscrews or to wind it into a skein to wash and let dry before warping. I will definitely wind it into a skein and wash it to get rid of those corkscrews next time.

Friday, June 6, 2014


 At conference last weekend friend Loyce was teaching a class in discharge dyeing. She surprised me with these samples she made in the class featuring gingko leaves - my favorite leaf. Aren't they fun?  I'm not sure what I'll end up using these fabric pieces for but I do know I'll be embellishing them with gingko embroidery and gingko stamping......maybe some fun little change purses.....who knows.....will ponder on them for a while.

Loyce also walked into our spinning circle one evening with two branches of gingkos she ripped gently removed from trees on the Willamette Campus. When I got home Sunday I removed all the leaves from the branches and they're drying in-between the pages in two phone books - thank goodness we still have phone books in this day of everything going electronic.

Life has been more than busy since I got back home Sunday - have been running around and not getting a single thing done at home. Today I'm hoping to get a warp on the loom..........after I move all the piles of 'stuff' between me and the loom.....we'll see if I actually make it there.........

Monday, June 2, 2014

Around the world blog hop

I was asked by my cousin Claudia over at Creative Upcycling to take part in a blog hop. When I saw the questions I was to answer on my blog about my creativity I was a little intimidated but then I thought oh push out of your comfort zone and go for it.

In turn I am to find 3 other bloggers to do the same, so far I'm only come up with 2 that have time to ponder these questions and post to their blogs on June 9th but that's is busy, especially this time of year with traveling, houseguests and such.

So here are the questions posed and my thoughts on them, hope I do this blog hop justice, if not, just bear with me.......or not..........

Question #1 - What am I working on?

I have just come off 4 days at the NWRSA conference, that's Northwest Regional Spinners Association - an incredible gathering of spinners, weavers, knitters, dyers, all around fiber fanatics. We take classes, sit in spinning circles learning, gabbing and just having an all around great time.

So, what am I working on - it's been spinning wool and dyeing.

Currently I'm spinning a merino/bamboo/tussah silk blend that I hand-dyed in roving form - it's a dream to spin - not sure what it will grow up to be when it's plied - maybe something woven, maybe something knitted.

I had just started spinning a very fun Crosspatch Creations blended batt on my Turkish spindle but then friend Margie mentioned running short on a project using the same exact colorway, which was a limited colorway for the 2006 NWRSA conference so I gave it to her and she bought me this fun bling I'm spinning it now. I am loving this hot pink riot of textures, sparkle and color.

I took an all day class with Nancy Roberts on Friday learning how to dye knitted blanks to use in weaving and knitting - I am so inspired and enthused and can't wait to weave something with the silk. As soon as I figure out a weave structure the silk will be going on the loom.......not sure what I'll knit with the wool yet. I'll show my dyed blanks another day as they're still packed. The wheels are turning in my head on what can be done with this dyeing technique.....there will be more to come on this. Check out Nancy's gallery on her website - it's a riot of creative color.

Question #2 - How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Oh, this is a difficult question as some of my weaving is very similar to that of other weavers. There are traditional patterns that many weavers use, nothing different there. What I'd like to think is that my hand-dyed/painted warps that I weave in various twill structures are what sets some of my work apart from others. Many of scarves, or shawls, are easily recognized as my personal style. And now that I'm designing on a 40 harness/shaft loom I'm moving toward more pictorial designs in twills such as my gingko, vines & leaves and dragonflies. There is more to come that will hopefully set my weaving apart from others...........or maybe really doesn't matter, I just want to enjoy doing what I do, being creative every day. I don't need the validation/recognition/kudos of others.....I do it for myself....and I hope that others will love my weaving enough to wear or use it.

Question #3 - Why do I write/create what I do?

This is pretty easy - because if I don't create I feel empty - it's that simple. Art/craft has always been a huge part of my everyday life from the time I was a young child. From a very early age I've been creating....fine line pencil drawings, lithographs, etching, silkscreens, sewing, embroidery/stitching, quilting, surface design, knitting, crocheting, beading, spinning, felting, dyeing but most of all weaving. Weaving fuels my soul.

Question #4 - How does my writing/creating process work?

This is another difficult question as my creative process is all over the place.

As I'm weaving I'm looking around the studio at a rainbow of cones of yarn planning future projects.....the mind wanders from what I'm currently weaving to what I'll be weaving next, it never stops. As I'm driving, waiting in line at the grocery store, watching tv, sitting in a meeting, whatever,  I'm thinking about designing new weaving drafts.

Pretty much my mind is always percolating, planning projects to come no matter what else I'm doing.....the creative part of my brain is always busy. My biggest problem is that I can't turn it off for any length of time, it never stops, I have never been able to figure out how to come up with more hours in my day, days in my week, weeks in my year and years in my life to do a fraction of what I want to. So, in the meantime I'll design that project for the newly dyed silk (setting aside all those other projects waiting in the wings) and get to work on some new weaving drafts that have been rattling around in my head for a few months - no hints on what they will be - I'll post after I fine tune them and start to weave.

So, I've done my best to answer these questions, good or bad....if you stuck with this long post I hope you'll take time next Monday, June 9th to visit these 2 blogs.

Lucy at How to Knitting for Beginners: Using the Continental Method

Benita over at Basically Benita