Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Year of the Monkey

 Yesterday we went to Jacksonville for the Chinese New Year Parade. It turned out to be a beautiful day after it poured overnight.

 I love the dragons - so fun. There's a big history of the Chinese in this area due to the gold mining - not necessarily good times.

 I tried to get some pix of the hula dancers since two of my spinning friends were dancing in the parade but I only had my phone and I didn't get good pix of them. These 3 dragon pix were the only good ones I got out of the bunch.

 When we got home I got to work on stringing beads for the kits for the bow weaving program I'll be teaching at my weaving guild in April.

Stringing these size 8 beads on 5/2 perle cotton is quick work using a dental flosser. Of course putting together the number of kits I need will still take a number of hours to complete but it's a mindless, good watching movies on Netflix chore. Would love to get back to this today but today is sit down in front of the computer with Turbo Tax Home & Business day - argh.........

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Summer shawls........

I finally washed and twisted the fringe on some summer shawls in beach/sand colors. A mix of cotton and rayon slub in tans, peach, pale aqua and off white - very comfortable on the shoulders on a chilly summer evening. Now up for sale in my etsy shop.

After I weave off the scarves on the Macomber a white summer shawl warp will be going on. Need to get another scarf warp on the AVL too.  But for the immediate I'm back working on the bow weaving program with putting together warp & bead kits for guild members.  A very time consuming chore but it will be so much easier than having all guild members stringing beads at the guild meeting - I can work on it while watching movies/shows on Netflix.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

New book

Yesterday a box arrived from Amazon with the new Robyn Spady book - 'Weaving Innovations from the Bateman Collection'.  I've only had time to flip through it so far but from what I can see it's a beautiful book jam-packed with information and drafts for weaving. I can't wait to sit down with it in the next couple of days.

Last month I also subscribed to Robyn's new digital magazine, Heddlecraft which looks to be incredible........but then after taking two workshops from Robyn I wouldn't expect anything less from both her book and magazine. She's easy to understand, very knowledgeable and probably the most organized and easy to understand weaving instructor I've ever taken a workshop from.

Robyn also has a blog - check it out for invaluable tid-bits on weaving.

I hope both her book and magazine take off.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A bit of the irish............

 Today I played at the embroidery machine stitching towels - I love the Mendhika style shamrock my etsy shop just in time for St. Patrick's Day.

I love this delicate shamrock design. These are also for sale in my shop. Am thinking I need to embroider a couple for my own house. Somehow the holidays come and go and I've never gotten out any d├ęcor - towels are easy.

I stitched a few other towels but those are for gifts so I can't post them here.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Finally some time at the loom. Yesterday I got a summer shawl warp on the loom, today I wove off the two shawls. Hard to capture the colors but overall it looks like sand - I can see wearing this on the beach.......maybe I will have to keep one to wear on the beach!

Slubs - argh. I put in occasional accents of novelty rayon slub yarn - love the way it looks but what a pain one of them was. The peach slub would go through the heddles, occasionally needing a little coaxing but the other slub yarn, a variegated one with the pale aqua color would not even go through the heddles. I had to make string heddles to accommodate it........luckily there were only 8 ends as that's all I had of that yarn.

Anxious to see how these look after being washed.......maybe tomorrow..........

Friday, February 19, 2016

Change of plans

 Change in plans yesterday in the ball of yarn I planned to use for the next shawlette. I was just a bit too worried about how the striping would turn out. I wasted a lot of time fretting over it before I pulled out this ball of Zauberball singles in reds. Yes, this will make a striking shawlette.
Current fruit infused water in the pitcher - mandarins and limes.......very light and fresh tasting......I need to buy some other fruit and some mint soon........

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Feeling blah.........

Not sure why but I'm feeling blah today. It's not the torrential rains because I'm loving them, every rain drop and snowflake up in the mountains is good for fire season this year. I had a great past two days, one of them spent with my spinning 'peeps', the other spent with a friend knitting and watching episodes 4 thru 6 of  The Borgia's on Netflix........can't wait for our next get together to watch the next 3 episodes.

I had planned on winding a shawl warp today but I just can't seem to do it - what I want to do most is nest at the loom but by the time I finished up other mundane chores and pulling roving orders to mail I just didn't have it in me to start winding a warp.

And then there are 4 knit shawlettes waiting to be blocked. Although not productive at the loom I am productive working on holiday/birthday gifts. But who feels like getting on the floor to get the first one blocked........not me, at least not today.........

So I've pulled another ball of yarn to knit yet another shawlette, not sure how this one will look at it moves from color to color - will be fun to find out. I am pretty excited about getting gifts made early this year - no panicking for me come November this year. I might just go turn on the Sunday evening episode of Downton Abbey and get this shawlette started and not worry about being productive at the loom today...........

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

This and that.......

We spent the past 4 days on the coast. While those to the east are stuck in frigid temps we had mild weather although the second 2 days were drippy and foggy.......but nothing that kept us from walking the beach.  Friend Teresa and I met for coffee and then went to a meet & greet with knit/crochet author Susan Bates at The Wool Company. I bought one of her books and a couple single patterns, also bought some yarn to knit a gingko shawl which I already have the pattern for.........more to come on that once I get it started......after I do a bit more gift knitting.
While Sam was removing some tile and getting a final coat of paint on closet doors I wound a warp for more cottolin towels. Beach colors that will be woven in a broken twill design. I also finished knitting another shawlette - now there are 4 in the queue to be blocked.  Next time over I'll tie on the front beam and start weaving.

And what did Bailey do?  What he does best when not walking the beach or people/dog watching off the front porch...........

........yep, can't pass up that comfy couch.......

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Flavored water

A few years ago at the ANWG weaving conference in Bellingham, WA the cafeteria had big containers of cold fruit infused water. Each container, each day, was something different. Walking in the cafeteria that's where I looked first, what kind of water would there be that day.

I've always put lemons and limes in my water but up until that conference I had never considered using apples, blueberries, strawberries, melons, peaches, etc.  Since that time I've made my own glasses of fruit infused water but when on Amazon one day I saw these pitchers with a separate section in the middle for adding the fruit so you're not fighting with it trying to pour the water in your glass. And lo and behold there are many books out there on the subject.  So, of course I bought myself a pitcher and book.......and bought a couple more for gifts.

The water I made for tonight's dinner & card playing with our neighbors is pear with cinnamon stick. I'm anxious to see how it tastes. It's only been melding for an hour in the fridge so far, a small taste looks like this combo will be a least for me.  According to the directions the fruit will last for several days, many fillings of the pitcher - I haven't tested that theory out yet.

I'm not a soda drinker so this will be a nice way to change up my glass of water. I can't wait until we have fresh fruit this summer...........

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

So unlike me..............

It is so unlike me to sit and read all afternoon but that's just what I front of the fire........with hot cocoa........and popcorn. I had planned on winding a warp after dealing with administrivia and mundane chores but instead I gave myself permission to goof off.  It's not that I don't want to weave but I also want to do other things.  I tend to be driven when it comes to selling fiber but it's coming to a time in my life where I want to enjoy doing so many other things........there's limited time, if not now, when will I do these other things???

Yes, I will still sell my handwovens but I will be slowing down on the spinning/felting fibers which are the beefy income part of my business. Then I'll have the time to focus more on the handwovens, not just for sale but for myself.........there will be more time to design drafts to weave, drafts that have been in my head but have not gotten any further than that.

So, today I sat and read a book!  I finished 'Everything I Never Told You' and I'm just starting 'The Book Thief'. Both of these became available on the same day through Library2Go for digital download so I do have a deadline to read them unless I wanted to put one back on my list. Usually I'd be beating myself up for not being productive but I'm quite ok with it today....hopefully I can keep up with this slowing down and enjoying life a bit more.......and yes, I will be back at the loom shortly.......

And Bailey was quite ok with all this - he was laying just out of site in 'his' chair to the left of the fireplace.......

Sunday, February 7, 2016

New giftwrap

The past several years my go-to gift wrap is Trader Joe's paper grocery sacks that I sew into gusseted gift bags. I've found some more gift wrap in a drawer in my bedroom dresser.  Old t-shirts.........old t-shirts, many of them never worn, that won't ever be worn because I don't like crew neck shirts......I don't like that tight feeling around my neck.  I always wear scoop or v neck tops - no turtle necks for me either.  So, it's time to clean out that drawer so my other drawers can be spread out and not stuffed to the top.

This is my test gift/tote bag. It's not 'as' functional as it could be because years ago I had cut this t-shirt off and re-hemmed to be waist length rather than below the hips......I still didn't wear it due to that crew neck. So, this bag isn't as big/long as it could be..........but it was a test so that's ok.

I first cut off the sleeves leaving the sleeve seam intact to add strength to the handles. Then I took a plate to mark a half circle and cut a scoop out of the neck. I would have made it a bit deeper if I wouldn't have cut the fish heads off.  Then I turned it inside out and sewed a bottom seam and gussets at each bottom corner. That's all there is to it.

Here it is holding 16 yards of cotton fabric all folded up. So, even though it's not as big as I would have liked it's still holding quite a bit of fabric and weight.

Now off to clean out that t-shirt drawer..........I've got some really great shirts in there that may have been worn once, or maybe not at all..........

And yes, I've gotten sidetracked from something I should be working on........gathering tax stuff together, personal and business........

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Fish soup

In my Italian family (on my mother's side) we celebrate Christmas Eve with the Feast of the Seven Fishes - our first course is fish soup. My grandmother's peasant recipe for fish soup is basically broth, tomatoes, celery, onions and cod. It's yummy but my cousin Jim came up with an even better recipe......sorry Nani, wherever you are but Jim's is better........  I'm not sure if he made it up from combining ingredients out of several recipes or if this was a recipe he found.  This one calls for cod and it's great but tonight in addition to cod I added a bag of Trader Joe's blended shellfish (shrimp, bay scallops, calamari rings). It was outstanding but in the future I'll just buy the shellfish I want to add from the fish market - I'm thinking the shrimp, scallops, clams and crab in addition to cod. We have more than enough leftover for tomorrow's game watching.........yum.   I hope you try it.........

Fisherman's Soup

6 slices of bacon, chopped
2 tbs butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tsp Old Bay seasoning
3 tbs fresh chopped cilantro
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (I didn't have any tonight so I used a bit less dried)
1 bay leaf
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (I didn't have any tonight so used a can of chopped tomatoes)
2/3 cup white wine
2-3 cups fish stock (I used a whole box which was a bit more than 3 cups)
11 oz potatoes, diced
1 1/2 - 2 pounds skinless white fish fillets cut into chunks (I used 1/2 pound cod and a one pound bag of mixed shellfish from Trader Joe's)

Fry the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan, drain off most of the fat, leave just a little.

Add butter to the pan and cook onion and celery until soft, add garlic and herbs and cook for one minute. Add tomatoes, stock and wine and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add potatoes, cover again and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are almost tender.

Add chunks of fish and other seafood and bacon pieces. Simmer gently uncovered for 5 minutes or until fish and seafood are cooked.

Garnish with additional fresh chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.  You don't have to do this but it really makes the soup.

Monday, February 1, 2016


I'm auditioning yarns for a warp of summer shawls.........may still have to work on these selections......hopefully the warp will get on the loom soon if I can put down that blasted bow loom........if it can be called a loom as it's just a 1/4" 48" long dowel........