Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sturdy baby blanket

Here's a baby blanket off the first of the baby blanket warps (one of them already listed in my etsy shop). I love the colors. I love the tracking that happened after it was washed creating that very cool texture in the blanket............but this cotton is not as soft as I would like.  It still makes a sturdy baby blanket, it could even double as a bath towel for baby......but I was expecting cuddly soft. I guess that's why a weaver should sample.......but that's just not me.  I will go ahead and weave the blue/green blankets out of this same cotton as it's still very nice and I wouldn't hesitate to use it if I had a baby (which would never happen) but before I do those I'm going to weave a warp of blankets using a softer cotton........that I know will turn out cuddlely soft as I was hoping for this warp.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fig Jam

After weaving for a bit this morning I decided to make some fig jam......never made it before, very tasty although really sweet.......think it will be great over brie or goat's cheese on crackers.  We have two fig trees, usually I eat the figs right off the tree or dry them - this year enough ripened at the same time that I could eak one batch of jam out of them. I had to scrounge around for jars as I've made so much jam this year I've pretty much used up my jam jar stash. I'd still like to make some blackberry jam but need to find a place to pick blackberries.......

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New weaving underway

The new weaving underway is for baby blankets. A family member is possibly interested in one but doesn't know yet if it's a boy or girl..........I'm going to need one after the beginning of the year (boy or girl???) as a gift and my only baby blanket in stock is the same as one I already gave the new mother 18 months ago. And I always need baby blankets in stock to sell.  So, a good time to weave baby blankets. It's hard to tell in the photo but this is a very pale peach and a very pale pink window pane check.  Next warp up with be green and blue window pane check. Very simple weaving with no floats for baby's fingers to get caught in.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Slow weaving shawl ready to wear

 I washed and twisted the fringe on the 'slow weaving' shawl out of my novelty handspun. It is incredibly soft.......I can't wait to wrap up in it in colder weather........which won't happen for quite a while with the 100 degree temps on the way this week.

Here's a bit of a close-up to see all the different fibers and lumpies/bumpies in the handspun. There is everything but the kitchen sink in this yarn.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Preparing for dyeing.......

Yesterday I spent hours at the warping board winding warps for painting/dyeing. Today I'll probably spend a few hours winding more of them. So far they've been tencel or rayon/cotton blends. Then they'll all be sitting in the queue for the morning I wake up and decide to start dyeing.
Generally the only ties I put on a warp are at the beginning and end of the warp and the cross no matter how long that warp may be. (I don't advise skipping choke ties for the beginning weaver)  But, when I'm winding warps for dyeing I tie the bejeezees out of the warps to keep any tangling from happening. This warp will be soaking in a soda ash solution for a bit, wrung out, laid out to paint the dyes on, sit overnight to batch and then it needs to be rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed to get the excess dye out. That's a lot of handling and moving around - if I didn't put any ties on it I'd end up with a tangled mess.......ask me how I know this........and it only has to happen once...........

When dyeing for scarves I generally only wind enough for 2 or 3 scarves. Even though weft color choices can change up how each scarf looks I still don't want too many to be from the same dyed color schemes, I want this to be more of one of a kind scarves. This is tough for someone who generally puts on long warps but I'm much happier in the end if I don't have more than 3 scarves from the same color schemes.

I moved my warping board into the room with the tv so I could watch Reign (about Mary Queen of Scots) on Netflix only to find that I couldn't get a good connection to the internet - ack. I'm up to episode 38 of 44. This room is the furthest from the router/modem, sometimes it's fine, sometimes not. So, I ended up listening to a book on CD instead.

Toward the end of the day I wound a few 5/2 perle cotton 'warps' to be used on the inkle loom - they will be very fun painted/dyed and then mixed with solid colors for bookmarks. One of them I even took the time to tie up for ikat dyeing.  Hmm, maybe some dyed warps for table runners would be fun - they could also be mixed with solid colors.

My goal before the summer is over is to dye enough warps for weaving this fall and winter. It's so much easier to do my dyeing outside, I'm just not set up for inside dyeing other than a small dye job here and there.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Slow weaving.....

No, I am not joining the slow weaving revolution........if it's still around, saw it mentioned in the past couple of years. I love weaving, enjoy the bejeezees out of it but slow weaving is not for me. I need to weave at a good pace to develop a rhythm.......then it becomes relaxing and zen like.
But today was all about slow weaving. First I wove the last scarf out of handspun on the loom, then I wound a warp of some of my novelty handspun full of all kinds of fibers, glitz, locks, ribbons and more - I had plied it with a rayon sewing thread. Got it wound on the back beam, heddles threaded, reed sleyed and was ready to get to weaving. Well, in the first five inches 6 threads broke and I really hadn't even gotten up to my normal weaving speed.  So.........I moved to slow motion, very deliberate, easy weaving and so far in the 60" woven this afternoon I've only broken one more thread. Normally I don't have a problem weaving with handspun but in hindsight I can see that I really didn't spin the novelty ply tight enough and the rayon embroidery thread ply just wasn't strong enough to handle the abrasion of the reed on it's own. So, tomorrow I'll be back to slow weaving until I finish weaving the shawl. I'm really loving the look so I hope it's just as beautiful once it's washed which is part of the finishing process.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Fun weekend

This past weekend I took a watercolor journal making class on the coast.  It was great fun, learned lots, and will be making more journals here and there over the coming years. Many thanks to my instructor Mary who not only taught a great class but has also enabled me to spend some money on a couple books, tools, nice paper, leather, etc. etc.
Here is the outside of my journal - that's leather - pink leather!  I forgot to take a photo of the spine where it shows how I sewed the books (sections of watercolor paper) into the journal - I used a waxed linen in the same teal color as my leather tie closure. It was tempting to put a button closure on but I've decided I want to try embossing the leather with a rubber stamp, I thought a decorative button plus the embossing would be too much. Next journal will get a beautiful button closure.

Here's the inside of my journal.  I'm wondering if I could use handwoven fabric for a journal cover.....would have to back it and figure out something for the raw edges without creating too much bulk. I don't know if I have any suitable leftover scraps at the moment to sample with but I will give thought to weaving extra on a perfect warp in the future.

And here's the back page with the colophon which Mary said we should add to our books. I looked up a definition and it's "A statement at the end of a book, typically with a printer's emblem, giving information about it's authorship and printing. Mary said in artist's book they may include the type of paper used. Since I went totally out of my comfort zone with the pink leather I thought my colophon page should be colorful too. I only had a regular black pen and some colored pencils over there so this is what I came up with. I plan on doing some watercolor washes on other pages, maybe some stamping, need to put my name and contact info in the front of my journal but will wait until I do a little playing with the watercolors on that page.

Sunday morning we went blueberry picking again. Twin Creeks Farm south of Bandon has 5000 berry bushes and they're still loaded. We picked another 20+ pounds. I baked a blueberry cobbler for Sam since he said I've never baked him cobbler in the 33+ years we've been married and he loves cobbler and has fond memories of his grandmother's from down on the farm.  I'm a crisp or pie girl myself but I made the cobbler.  It's good but he had to admit maybe it tasted better when he was on the farm visiting his grandparents - looks like crisp and pie are next up.........

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A bit of sewing

Today I decided to do a bit of sewing in-between other mundane household chores. I made us little snap bags for our kindles and the charging cords. Sam's is in golf fabric......of course (it was leftover from an afghan I made him a few years back).  My Kindle is tangerine on the back side so found this fun fabric in my stash. Now our Kindles are protected from getting scratched but not in a permanent heavy case. I made many of the small size of snap bags last fall as gifts - in the casing of the opening are pieces of metal tape measures that 'snap' open and close.

I was still in the sewing mood so I quickly sewed a tote bag in some beautiful Tula Pink fabric with seashells. I didn't take a picture of the inside of the bag but the lining is a coordinating fabric, just as cute as the outside fabric. This was fabric I had in my stash that I bought on speculation a few years back - it goes great with my new Zuca tote with the wave design. I splurged on this rolling Zuca tote to use for carrying my electric spinner, the tote has a hard top on it so I can use it as my table to set the spinner on. I'm still looking for the perfect size storage box for the inside - I'd like to store extra bobbins in the box and then set the electric spinner on top of it for transporting. This would also make a cute weekend getaway bag but I'm not sure I want to dedicate it to that........maybe someday I'll feel flush enough to buy a second one. I think these bags were originally made for ice skate toting....there are all colors and types of covers to be found all over the internet if one does a google search. They make all styles now and ones specifically for travel which seem to cost almost twice as much as this one.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Today for a lunch get together I made a recipe from Taste of Home for Thai Chicken Pasta Salad. It's always a gamble making a recipe I've never made before but it worked out great today - this is definitely a keeper recipe. Yummy and easy. It called for shredded Chinese or napa cabbage but after going to Costco yesterday and then Trader Joe's which didn't have the cabbage I went with what I found there - some regular shredded cabbage and some shredded kale/brussels sprouts mix - it was great. I have a limit on how many grocery type stores I can go to in a day.....or week for that matter. This dish tastes great hot or cold. It makes a lot so we had leftovers tonight for dinner.  Click on the dish name above to find the recipe on the Taste of Home website.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Spinning mystery fiber

In the evenings I either knit or catch up on reading magazines while watching tv........occasionally I spin.  Since I'm trying to rest my right hand from knitting (it's smarting along my thumb) I decided to go search my stash for something fun to spin (it doesn't seem to affect my thumb). On the back of a shelf I found this mystery fiber I had dyed years may be merino but I'm not may have been dyed with easter eggs dyes but I'm not positive. I'm loving the way it's spinning up. I don't know what it will grow up to be once spun - I'm spinning for what will be a fingering weight. I don't have a tremendous amount of it but plenty for a pair of socks, maybe a shawlette. The colors make me think of the forested area I live in.........

Sunday, July 10, 2016

New towels in shop

New false damask towels ready to purchase in my etsy shop.  I have to admit I'm in love with this weave structure and the block arrangement I designed........that's why it's back on the loom again in a multi-colored warp.

Friday, July 8, 2016


 I woke up to rain overnight - it sounded so lovely and what a welcome relief, at least for a few days, during fire season. We don't usually get rain in the summer - it stops raining sometime in May/early June and doesn't restart again until late September or early October. I don't care for the humidity that came with it but it's also cool out so it's not bad at all.........and I'll take just a bit of humidity in exchange for a nice break from the dry brittle weather.

Cousin Jim gave me some apricots from his neighbor's tree so yesterday I made a batch of apricot jam. These apricots were incredible to just pop in my mouth, tree ripened.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Blueberry season

Gotta love blueberry's my favorite berry although this year's crop of local strawberries was exceptional. Today I made 3 batches of blueberry jam and a loaf of lemon blueberry bread. I have a bowl of berries in the fridge for eating and have several bags in the freezer for smoothies, muffins or whatever. I posted the recipe for the lemon blueberry bread once before - it can be found HERE.  Next up is some apricot jam, cousin Jim's neighbor gave him a bunch of apricots so he's sharing - I'll get enough for one batch which is plenty of apricot jam for us - will get to that on Friday. Blackberry season will be here soon - haven't made blackberry jam in forever.  Yum, can't wait to slice into this bread after dinner.............

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A bit of weaving.......

We spent the past 6 days on the coast - absolutely lovely weather, sunny, cool and windy.....could have been a bit less wind but I'm not complaining because it's so much hotter here in the valley. I did some reading, some relaxing, some spinning , some weaving and some of lots of other fun things.  This morning before we headed home we went to a blueberry farm south of our beach town and picked over 18 pounds of blueberries........not sure how many we ate while picking.  Blueberry jam is on the schedule for tomorrow, I think I've got enough sugar for at least 2 batches. Will freeze blueberries but since I have a couple lemons I might have to make some blueberry lemon bread.

 I got back to weaving on the false damask warp I had started weaving last time over, just love this weave structure for towels...... they are in a cheery yellow

Since I finished up that warp and am still on a kick to use up my cottolin stash I put on another towel warp in the same draft but this time I was using up odds and ends of spools that were getting low. I've got 4 different colors I'll use for wefts on these 10 towels. These look pretty orange in the photo but there's no orange in them at all - mauves, pinks and a little lavender. I think after this there's enough cottolin left for another mixed color towel warp.....not sure what weave structure yet. After that I'll move on to something new on that loom.

Bailey is exhausted after his time on the coast. The neighborhood was hopping so he sat out on the front porch watching and never got his naps. He was especially interested in watching the kids play baseball across the street, and then later the kids next door shooting off fireworks. But the highlight of his time on the coast was getting this new football at the parade on the 4th. We sat on the curb and he watched the parade, watched all the kids running out into the street to get the candy and toys being thrown. But then a bus from Bandon Dunes golf resort went by and threw out this little football - no kid had a chance, it was coming right at Bailey and he jumped up and grabbed it. Go figure why a one of the top golf resorts in the world threw out a handful of footballs but Bailey was happy they did.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Saturday, July 2, 2016

On the wheel now........

This is what I've just started spinning, it's a 50/50 merino/bamboo blend I bought at OFFF a few years back, it's lovely, it has a beautiful sheen to it. I'll be anxious to see the resulting yarn once plied.  I've got a pound of it and am spinning very thin so it will be a while before I finish this.....especially since I spin here and there.

Back to the saga of Windows 10 on my laptop. According to the IT guy at Sam's office others also lost their bookmarks in a MS update. Luckily for me I don't have many bookmarks on my laptop so I could put them back in not too much time.........but will it happen again in the future???  So, here's the latest. I was trying to download photos off my camera to the laptop and it wouldn't work - the Photo app in Windows 10 disappeared in that same MS update - argh!  And this has happened to others too this week. Correct place on MS website found to download app again but it's not working at the moment. I wonder what's next with Windows 10........