Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Towels everywhere

This past weekend I finally got that towel warp off the loom, I forgot to take pictures of the red ones, the last two towels I decided to use a variegated denim for the weft, just something different. The towels will be up for sale in my etsy shop...........as soon as they're washed and hemmed........

I moved on to embroidering towels Sunday afternoon.  These are the redwork ones done on the simple flour sack towels that have red twill stripes down each side.  I hadn't done the snowmen yet and they're so cute so I couldn't resist. Hopefully someone else will love them as much as I do. They'll all be up in the etsy shop for sale after I get them photographed. Here's one with a shovel.......

.....snowman with birdhouse and birds.......

.....then a snowman with a broom. I took this picture right after it came off the machine - you can see there are threads going from one area of stitching to another that still need to be clipped off. What you can't see is the tearaway stabilizer on the backside that needs to be removed - time consuming, good in front of the tv chore.

Then I moved on to a fun star design I've never stitched - it's so sweet - fun to use for the holidays but good for all year long.

This one is expanding the redwork theme to a rainbow of colors - fruits & veggies - I love it, going to embroider some of these for myself too.

And finally the chickens which I've embroidered many times and they sell fairly quickly. They are pretty darned cute. These are up for sale in the etsy shop in the 'embroidered towel' section of my shop as of this morning.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Finally back to the loom

Somehow weaving has gotten pushed way down the list, too many things interfering with life, makes for a grumpy weaver in this house. I haven't figure out how to remedy what's keeping me away from the loom so much these past few years but it's not going to continue.....it can't continue as it affects my mental health.

Today I made sure I got time at the loom weaving on the towel warp that's been on the Macomber for weeks. I still had a few phone calls to answer and running up and down the stairs doing laundry to deal with but it felt so good to be weaving.......I mean this is what I do, this is what fuels my soul.

I'm hoping to spend more time at the loom in the next few days, I do have some things to do out of the house one day but hopefully the rest of the time I'll be weaving, planning projects to weave, washing and hemming towels that I've woven.

Fire season finally ended last Thursday after 1/2" of rain - still warm, dry and brown after that but people were out burning piles of debris that very day - so silly not to wait for more rain to fall. We had some good rain the past two days.....hoping for a rainy snowy winter to make a dent in this drought so next year is just the normal scary fire season not the super scary one like this year.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Beach art

We've been looking for a piece of art glass to hang in the opening we cut between the living room and kitchen at the beach cottage.  We've admired these recycled windows by a gal on the coast many times but they were all too big for the space we had. We went in our favorite antique/salvage/upcycled shop up in Coos Bay and found that she had made some small ones. This was our anniversary gift from last May, we knew we'd eventually find something.

This is looking from the kitchen into the living room - it's the perfect size - we didn't want something that would be in our line of sight.

Here's looking from the living room into the kitchen. You can see the first painted cabinet to the right of the window......this one will get a shelf underneath it to display from pretties. I'll eventually get to the rest of the painting.

And here's a close-up - see all the pretty shells, seaglass and even little crab bodies in it? It's perfect for our space. Other than finding this treasure we pretty much did nothing the past 5 days on the coast - we did go look at tiles for the kitchen counter but no decision made on color yet, getting close.......we gave up on having someone install a countertop as the contractors on the coast are notorious for not getting back to folks - we've given up on them. We've installed floor tile so we know we can do a countertop.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Silk Scarves

The silk scarves and shawls all had their photos taken yesterday and are now listed in my etsy shop in the silk scarf/shawl section. Phew, what a job to get a handful of somewhat decent photos of each scarf/shawl.....not my strong suit. Kept a couple out for myself so numerous less photos to deal with.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Ice Dyeing

Here are the 4 scarves ice-dyed yesterday. Carol's are on top - they're stunning.  Mine are on the bottom. My red/orange one dried much lighter and is a coral color now. Lesson learned on that one - if you use a primary color dye, like red, it's going to dominate the scarf where as with other color dyes they are really mixtures of colors so when they ice dye they separate - much more interesting. What doesn't show up in this photo is what the scarves look like close-up - reminds me of marbled paper. We're hoping for snow this winter to try snow dyeing.

One of the chores on the to-do list now is photography of all the scarves dyed this past week - what a time sucker that will be....but first back to working on gifts.......

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ice dyeing

This afternoon neighbor Carol and I did some ice dyeing. Can't wait to see how the scarves turn out after we rinse them tomorrow. Technique is to soak the scarves in soda ash, pile up on some sort of screen (over a bucket to catch the dye drips), pile ice on top, sprinkle with fiber reactive dye and let sit until tomorrow afternoon. The ice was already melting giving us a peek at what's to come.

My first scarf I used bronze and pagoda red - it's hard to see in this picture but the scarf has a very nice autumnal look.

My second scarf I used chartreuse, one of my favorite colors, and indigo - looks like there will be quite a bit of green in this scarf from them mixing.

Unfortunately I can't remember the exact names of the dyes Carol used but this one is one of the grays and I think lilac. It's going to be a stunner.

Carol used the same gray on this plus I think marine but not positive of the color name of the blue.
Stay tuned to tomorrow to see the results. I've also got a long sleeve asymmetrical tee from Dharma to dye but just couldn't decide what colors so that will be another day.

Fringe twister

My cousin Denise in Michigan saw this hair braider in the Paragon catalog and it reminded her of a post on my blog where I use a similar one (Conair) to twist fringes on my scarves and shawls.  I've had mine for years, Conair brand, but then the fad of using it to twist/braid hair passed and weavers could no longer find them. Well, here one is again - fads always return. The price is $14.99 - not too bad for all the time it saves on hand twisting - would only take a scarf or two in time savings to pay for it. What I don't know about this one and someone would have to check on before purchasing is how it works. Mine will twist the individual groups of threads in one direction (they attach to those 'arms') and then I can reverse the direction and the entire head that holds those 'arms' will twist in the other direction. I'm not in the market for one at the moment since I have mine plus a backup but thought others might be interested.  Thanks Denise for passing this along.

I have nothing new to share weaving/knitting/felting/crafting wise - working on gifts at the moment which I can't show on my blog........

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Eggplant soup

This afternoon I made eggplant soup, which is incredibly yummy. Friend Pat had given me two nice eggplants from her garden and since October should be the start of soup/stew season I decided to make soup........of course it's not really soup/stew season because it's still in the upper 80's and dry......
Anyhow, if you like eggplant this soup is definitely worth making - easy peasy and very yummy......waiting on Sam to get home so we can ladle some up in bowls....with some good crusty bread on the side.......and if I get up off my butt I'll make a salad........

Eggplant Soup

1 lb of ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbs butter (sometimes, like today I just used olive oil)
1 tbs olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 medium eggplant (1 1/2 lbs) peeled and cut into 1/2" or so cubes
2 medium carrots, chopped or shredded
1 green pepper cut into thin long strips
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes (I use small diced tomatoes)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp pepper or to taste (I use more)
2 cans beef broth (14oz cans)
1/2 cup chopped parsley (I never add this but since I've got some growing on the deck I will right before serving tonight)

Brown beef and onion in butter and oil. Add garlic, eggplant, carrots and green pepper - cook stirring occasionally until eggplant browns.

Stir in tomatoes, coarsely chop if whole tomatoes and their liquid, sugar, basil, nutmeg, pepper and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 50 minutes.

Stir in parsley before serving.  Sometimes we sprinkle a little parmesan on top.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A day of dyeing..........

Friend Pat and I had a day of dyeing silk scarves and shawls. First they're washed, then soaked in soda ash, then fiber reactive dyes are applied, wrapped in plastic and they sit overnight to batch. The next day is rinse, rinse, rinse as fiber reactive dyes don't exhaust. I haven't see Pat's scarves yet as she took them home to batch and then rinse.

How's this for dramatic???
The shawls I had to dye have a burnout design on them - they're silk and rayon. I fell in love with the amethyst and blue wisteria dyes.

They take only 5 minutes to dry in this heat. Yes, we are back to summer, hot and dry, news tonight said the drought will be intensified through the end of the year - we were teased by that couple days of rain and cool weather......at least it got the fires contained.......but if we don't start getting fall rains fire season will never end.

How did I get so many scarves in these colors???  Some scarves will have a little surface design added to them using Shiva Paintstiks with stencils or rubbing plates.  It's hard to see in this picture but a couple of these scarves have very subtle color changes in them.

Here are a couple shawls - I was going for the ombre effect.

Love these rich colors

Very pretty

This looks weird in the photo but it's really pretty in person - nice autumn tones

I love the dramatic color change here
And here's that Blue Wisteria and Amethyst shawl again - love it
Next up was ice dyeing - we've never done it before so it was a learning experience
After the scarf is washed and soaked in soda ash it's put on a grid over a pan.,,,emphasis the pan or bucket as all that dye will be dripping off as the ice melts.  A screen would work better but I have tons of these grid pieces from my roving booth display so that's what I was using.....didn't want to go out and buy screening.

Pile the ice on high

Sprinkle the dye powder on top.  This is one of mine and I put too much  dye powder

This blue lavender one is Pat's - she put less dye powder which was better, as I said a learning experience.....I think perfect would be a tinge more dye than Pat used.

This is what they looked like the next morning after the ice all melted

And here are the finished ice dyed items. I should have taken close-ups because the patterning is incredible.  My favorites are Pat's blue lavender scarf and her silk top - she hasn't seen them yet as they had to stay here for the ice to melt. It's hard to tell in this photo but the designs the dye makes while the ice melts are stunning.

I've always been under the impression that the fiber reactive dyes are best used in 70 degree temps or warmer, while dyeing and while batching. So, how does ice dyeing work then??? Does anyone know?  And apparently it can be done in the snow too.

On a different subject - the van - we heard back from Dodge today and they're sending us a check for $500 of the $750 alternator repair - whoo hoo. Our position that it should have never happened to a vehicle less than 3 years old, 3000 miles out of warranty was justified.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Whoo Hoo - look at these batts

I didn't do much shopping at OFFF due to my van issues plus I don't need a thing and I have no business buying any spinning fiber since I have hundreds of pounds in stock for my etsy shop.  So, fiber has to be really special for me to buy it and this one is........to top it off I've been thinking about carding up some batts that are mostly black with pops of bright color - now I don't have to do it. These two batts are 80% black baby alpaca and 20% hand-dyed silk from Upstream Alpacas in Gaston, OR.  I've got 8 ounces that would make a nice scarf or shawlette.......or I could ply it with some black silk thread to make it go further and knit a shawl out of it. I can't wait to start spinning it but first on the to-do list is to keep working on holiday gifts......so no pictures of  works in progress at the moment.