Saturday, January 31, 2015

A test........

I decided to test out the blending board today, just one fill of it to see what else needs to be added to these colors. Our spinning group has a challenge this year for our fair display - we're all use the Ashland Bay merino colors of Berry, Hyacinth and Kiwi in a project - we can blend (with other colors/fibers too) spin, felt, knit, weave, whatever as long as the 3 colors are in the finished project. I put some of those 3 colors on the blending board along with a little white tencel and some Tangerine merino see how they look together.

Here are my very first rolags ever - they all came off that one loading of the board. And you might be able to spot some 'hairy' stuff in there - the brush I just bought to use with the board was losing it's bristles.......obviously it's not going to work for this or probably any other project, certainly not painting like it was intended for.

I spun a 'quick and dirty' sample on the spindle - please excuse my handspun as I did it super fast and didn't care about how even it was - I just wanted to see how the colors worked together. I think it needs a bit more orange but also feel like it needs something else......I'm just not sure what......will have to ponder on this for a while before I start production on rolags. I'm thinking of making a summer shawl, either knit or woven, for my project.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

New toy

I got a new toy on Tuesday - a blending board to play with blending wool/other fibers to make rolags for spinning. Four in my spinning group already had them (2 bought, 2 homemade), friend Pat placed an order with Howard Brush Co for four of us which saved on shipping and we got a little discount too, since then another in the group has ordered one. I'd been thinking about one for a year or so but hadn't committed until I saw rolags coming off one. If you're a spinner and not familiar with a blending board you should check out you tube for demo's of them in action - very fun. I can't wait to start playing with mine, ah, but where to find more hours in my day.......hmm, maybe while we're watching the Super Bowl.........

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cheery tulip table runners

This past weekend I got the table runners hand hemmed. There are now two of each up for sale in my etsy shop. There eventually will be some coordinating striped towels but they're still on the loom in process.........

Yellow with lavender tulips
Peach/coral with coral tulips
White with yellow tulips
Pink with pink tulips

SW Oregon = Winter Fog

We spent the past 4 days on the coast, 60-80 (guess) miles to the west as the crow flies. It was beautiful, sunny, blue sky in the 60's, walk on the beach in short sleeve t-shirt kind of weather. Back in our valley the damp chilly fog has been a daily companion since the holidays. I'd love some rain, love some snow but the fog wears on me. And we do need rain and snow or we'll be embarking on our third year of drought heading into another bad fire season.

Here we are coming over Mount Sexton to our valley.  Looks like a lake out there surrounded by mountains doesn't it?  Nope, it's a layer of fog hanging over the valley, we're up above it, looking down on it at the moment.

Our house is down under that mass of white - we can see this spot on Mount Sexton from our deck......on a sunny day.  The temperature fell 20 degrees from the top of the pass to when we hit the fog bank a few seconds later.

I quickly clicked off these 3 pictures before we hit the fog bank, here we're just starting into it, a second later we could see nothing. I guess the only positive thing I can say is that it's not freezing fog turning the roads into ice............

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Adding beads to a fringe

After weaving for a while today on the towel warp I decided I really needed to stop so I could watch this past Sunday's episode of Downton Abbey but I can't just sit and watch tv so decided to work on twisting the fringe on a couple scarves while it was on. I added some beads to the fringes and want to share an easy way to get seed beads onto the warp threads - I use a big eye beading needle, this particular one from Beadalon and I buy them from Shipwreck Beads although I'm sure any good bead store would have them.

The very long, very thin needle is like 2 needles connected at the top and bottom so the center of it can be opened up and the warp thread slid in. I then pick up beads with the needle and slide them right up onto the warp end. I'm using size 8 seed beads. (Sorry the pix aren't real great - didn't feel like running upstairs to get the camera and used my phone, color is off and pix a bit blurry)

Then I twist the fringe like normal - love the little bit of sparkle it adds to the fringe without being overwhelming for those who might be shy about wearing too much bling...........although I can't quite relate to that......

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New towels on the loom......

I got a new towel warp on the loom - plain weave and 3/1 twill. The colors are to coordinate with the recently woven table runners (still waiting to be hand-hemmed).  Above is actually the backside of the towels - less harnesses to raise if I weave it upside down.

Here's what the front side will look like - this 12 yard warp will weave quickly if I get the time at the loom. These are very springy/eastery looking.

I also pinned up the hems on the tulip table runners today - they're now set aside waiting to be hand-hemmed when I'm sitting watching tv in the evenings.......except right now I'm in the spinning mood in the evenings.

This technique for getting a sharp hem is one I learned from Marcy Tilton. She lives south of me by around 45 minutes - until we moved closer to town she was only 5 minutes away. She uses manila folders cut into different widths to use as a pressing tool when turning up a hem - I adopted this practice well over 10 years ago and love the results.

For these table runners I used the 1 1/4" wide manila guide. Here's the first pressing with the iron. (yes, I should have been more careful taking photos, it's looks cockeyed but the hem really isn't)

Here's the second turning of the hem.  Ignore my ironing board cover - I could replace it every week the way it stains.

And here's the table runner turned over, you can see where I pinned it from the other side. I have a stack of 8 of them now ready to hem.

Here are all my manila folder guides - I made them from 1/2" up to 3". I punched holes in the ends and hang them on a ring up on my bulletin board in my sewing room. Maybe in another year or so I'll make new ones, in over 10 years this is only my second set.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Playing with wool..........

I've spent the better part of 2 days playing with wool.......well, in my case it's actually working with wool.  I had a big order I had been ignoring so decided it was time to weigh, bag, label, put into inventory and relist sold out colors in the etsy shop. It's a time sucker and one of my roadblocks in getting as much time at the loom as I used to..........good income but takes much time.  I also did some inventory work and bookkeeping work........not the end of the year bookkeeping work that I should be doing and will wait way too late to work on but regular daily stuff........

I put together new felting/spinning kits. This merino kit used to have 12 colors and was around 6oz, now it has 16 colors and is around 8oz. I used some of the colors of the original kit, some new. Great sampling of colors for needlefelters, wet felters and those who are blending roving on blending boards.  It was tough to fit it in the containers I use for the 6oz kits.....kind of like sitting on a suitcase and quickly closing it. These kits along with some others can be found in the Felting/Spinning Kit section of my shop.

This is a limited offering from Ashland Bay Fibers of 80% Ecru Merino blended with 20% Black Tussah Silk. I haven't had a chance to spin a sample yet but it feels lovely. It can be found in the Silk Blends section of my shop.

It's a rainy weekend - good for weaving - heading to the loom now..........and hoping for no interruptions...........

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Looks like spring

Yesterday I didn't get as much time at the loom as I would have liked (phone rang off the hook) but I did get the two coral tulip table runners woven (after unweaving back to my mistake) and two yellow/lavender ones.  Doesn't this one make you think Easter?!  Working with these spring colors makes me smile while sitting in all this bone-chilling fog.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fun DIY earring holder

Recently I decided I needed a place to hang my earrings other than in my wonderful jewelry box that does have great fold out earring holders...........but if something is in the jewelry box it's out of sight, out of mind and I keep the 2 pair of diamond studs in my ears never changing them. So on the wall adjacent to the mirror and where my jewelry box sits in the bathroom I put up this. First I had this fun little shelf I bought at a thrift store where I can hang bracelets.....I can put other 'jewels' like pendants and pins in the little drawers.  I picked up a white frame at Michaels using one of their 50% coupons. I bought some wire at Lowe's, Sam cut it and stapled it in the back of the frame.  Now I can hang (certain types) of earrings on it in full view - I love it. I've bought some cup hooks I'm thinking of putting on the sides of the frame for a few necklaces. This is all the earrings that have made it up there yet, will get some more on it soon.........when I open that jewelry box.......

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Well shoot.........

Well shoot..........this afternoon I got this warp on the loom for 8 table runners, I'll be weaving two of each colorway. Do you see what I did?  The first row of the flower stems at the bottom of the border motif has some little dots of green where they shouldn't be - argh.  A mistake in tie-up for that treadle. I didn't notice it while weaving, just saw it looking at this photo on the monitor so quickly ran downstairs to the studio to check it out - yep, it's wrong. This is all I got woven so not a big a deal - tomorrow I'll be unweaving this few inches and starting the tulips over.

I wove these table runners back in 2003 and they sold very quickly. I don't know if that will happen again but I'm willing to see if anyone is interested this time around. There will be coral tulips (above), yellow, lavender and pink. It's hard to see but I am using a very pale peach for the weft on the white warp.

This is all a part of me trying to think ahead this year with seasonal/holiday weaving - I'm thinking spring/Easter right now.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Second scarf

Here's the second scarf on the warp I got on the loom yesterday - I went with the teal weft.  Now starting to think about the next warp to go on the loom - thinking I should do some spring table runners......but we'll see........

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Let there be light........

A couple of weeks ago my track lighting over the looms frizzled out. We spent a lot of hours looking for new lighting but none of it was over 6 ft long or else it wasn't remotely affordable. Sam finally found this lighting at Lowe's, an 8ft track. He had to wire in a switch with a chain so I could turn it on/off as it's hardwired in. He got it up, pulled out the lights to put them up and they were the big lights, not the cute little dainty pretty lights he thought he was grabbing off the shelf. He was ready to take them back right then (a 50 minute drive) but I said "wait a minute - let's give them a try". Wow - I could do brain surgery at the looms with those big lights - I love them.  So style to the wayside - I'm going for function. I've never had this much light over the looms - whoo hoo.......

 This was the painted warp I got on the loom today after the lighting was put up. It's 8/2 tencel. Here is it coming up over the back beam into the raddle.........

.......after heddles are threaded and reed sleyed.......

 .....auditioning wefts for the 2 scarves......definitely going with the first color, fuchsia - still trying to decide between the second color, black or the third color, teal for the other scarf.......

......first scarf using the fuchsia tencel as's half woven now, hoping to get some good weaving time in tomorrow. I'm still figuring out how to juggle life - my weaving time has been suffering the past few years, I've got to figure out how to remedy that but I seem to run out of hours each day........also want to make more time to spend with friends too...........hmm, where is that big clock with the hands that move slower when I need it???

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Best laid plans.....

Since getting back from the coast I have been swamped with activities that don't include spending time in the studio until today. Today I finished up embroidering some more towels and got them listed in my etsy shop.  The chicken towels sell quickly - folks love chickens. I decided to stitch up some cows because I think they're cute - hope others think so too - I've still got some cute sheep in the shop. Also stitched a couple of fancier dainty heart towels.

I had hoped to get a painted warp on the loom but ran out of time - the phone rang off the hook all day, had some nice visits but ended up running out of hours in the studio. I did figure out the twill structure I'll be using so I'm ready to get that warp on.......maybe time on Sunday.........there's another huge Ashland Bay order of  roving that arrived today, needs weighing into bags, labeling, putting into inventory and in my other etsy shop.........might have to leave that until next week...........

Hopes for a wet winter have gone down the tubes for the time being - very little rain and snow. Local ski resort closed again, never opened last year (first time in 50 years). But we do have fog, bone chilling damp frozen fog......on the upside we don't have the artic air much of the rest of the country is dealing with........

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Back to reality......

We spent this past holiday week on the coast. Now it's back to reality with a crazy re-entry period - sometimes 're-entry' does me in. I have stacks of orders to pull, box up and print postage for so they can go out in the mail Monday.  One order is for some roving that sold out a couple days before but Etsy relisted 21 of them - I've never had 21 bags of any single roving in stock at one time - argh. I saw that a few others had this same issue the past few days. I'm hoping my customer will be ok with waiting for me to get more in - I wasn't planning on placing an order with Ashland Bay for 3-4 more weeks but looks like I'll be placing one Monday morning.

I did some more painting of kitchen cabinets at the beach cottage.  I didn't get a picture of the two sections of upper cabinets I painted but I did take a picture of the new shelf Sam made and I painted to hang under the high kitchen cabinet. I love it.  The kitchen is going to look really nice when we're done - eventually we'll have new countertops if we can ever get a contractor out, then we'll put in a glass backsplash with some color. The only thing in the house we can't do is the countertops (unless we do tile) we've been trying since August to get contractors to respond. We're giving it one more try before we decide to install tile (which we've picked out at Lowe's) - we don't want tile but if we can't get someone out to put in countertops that's what we'll resort to.

Here's a close-up of the side of the shelf. The seahorse sides were actually from another shelving unit I picked up for a few dollars but didn't know where to hang so we took it apart, cut part of it off and used it for this shelf.

I love all the texture in the sand at low tide
This makes me think of collapse weave
Hmm, wonder who lives down here - my guess is shrimp since I've seen a fisherman digging up shrimp for bait. Originally I thought clams but Mr. fisherman said nope, it's shrimp in this spot.

The lighthouse on a perfect sunny, blue sky kind of day..........although very cold with a good stiff breeze coming off the ocean.......I was bundled up.

Bailey was having a grand time
Life is good.........