Tuesday, August 29, 2017

 This was the yarn I spun while demo'ing at the fair - it's blocked and ready to go on the shelf until I decide what it will grow up to be. I still need to count up the yardage so I know what I've got, it's a monster skein off my Hansen electric spinner.

This is what a sunrise looks like when we're socked in with smoke.....this morning it's not yet as bad as it has been but give it a couple hours. We have fires surrounding our area - the smoke extremely unhealthy. Extended forecast for temps 100+ which is never a good thing with these fires. I feel so silly complaining about them with what's going on the Houston region.........that devastation is beyond belief, my heart goes out to all affected and who will be affected for years to come.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

 When under stress I have trouble doing much of anything creative - the embroidery machine fits the bill, not too much thinking required and I've accomplished something.
New towels for sale in my etsy shop.......yes, I'm actually thinking ahead to the holidays.......for once.  I am loving all these towels but those pumpkins are so danged cute - I'll definitely be stitching up some for me too.

I hope all stay safe in Texas and surrounding states with the approaching hurricane, torrential rains and storm surge.......sure wish some of that rain could be spread out along the west coast.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse mania.......or not.........

So, I have no photo of the eclipse because it was kind of a bust here - being in SW Oregon we were a bit south of the direct path but we were to see a 94% eclipse. We did go sit up the hill with our neighbor to watch it but we have so much danged smoke, so so much smoke that it was not great for viewing. We did see a red sun in the smoke and the moon crossing in front of it but we didn't experience any darkness because it was already dark out due to the smoke. It did get colder for a bit. This afternoon we decided to do a Costco run over in Medford - I-5 traffic was the heaviest we have ever seen it in the 25 years we've lived in Southern Oregon - all those eclipse watchers from the north are heading home.

The fires in our region are so incredibly scary. There are so many evacuations all the way from the coast inland to Central Oregon. The fire on the other side of the closest one to us blew up a few days ago and continues to blow up - it is threatening the entire town of Brookings and it's outlying areas over on the coast. We have friends that have had to evacuate. This fire is in-between us and the coast. It could very easily be us evacuating if the wind shifted pushing it to the NE. There is very little that can be done at the moment because of the smoke - it is too thick for the tankers and copters to fly - emphasis is on protecting homes. Mid-day I heard 3 homes had burned - there will be an update from the Forest Service broadcast online at 6:00 - we'll be watching.

Please send positive thoughts this way for the families who have had to evacuate so many fires and those brave fire fighters fighting the fires.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The county fair........

Here's our display at the county fair - we sit in a circle in front of it spinning every day, all day long and have a great time visiting with the public. Everything on display is made of handspun or felted wool. I took this photo set up day so the fleeces were still closed up - now they're opened up, judged and ribbons adorning some of them.

So, I've been trying my best (ha!) to not think about fires but new ones pop up every single day. There were a couple new ones yesterday, thankfully put out quickly. Late this afternoon I walked out to my car after a day of demonstrating and looked to the right to see huge smoke plumes, then looked to the left and saw big smoke plumes. I figured the ones to the right were the Chetco Bar Fire exploding - it's been burning since mid July. I quickly checked online to see what was happening to the left. Fire right off the highway, where I was planning on heading, copters and planes flying and dumping, ground resources hard at work fighting the fire, homes nearby. Didn't take me but a second to change my plan to make a quick stop at that end of town to pick up something for dinner and just head home in the opposite direction.

At least 6 more weeks of fire season, not the official end, but maybe there will be some rain by then to lessen the chance of wildfires..........I may have an ulcer by October!

Monday, August 14, 2017

This and that........

Not much happening here on the fiber front, loom still not warped and have no desire to do it at the moment. Many skeins of handspun are sitting out for a woven afghan project.....once I get off my butt and get it on the loom.
 I did get the knit Saratoga Shawl blocked yesterday. The pattern and yarn came from Greenwood Fiberworks. I used Yakity Yak yarn which is superwash merino/yak/silk. Jury is out on if I like this on me. It's ok on my mannequin which must be a size 0000 but on me, not so sure, it's really quite small. I think I need to try it on again over a black dress.  I also blocked another Pei Cowl knit out of my handspun but I put it in our education fair display on Saturday before I took a pic of it.

I finished up the small felt applique stockings which should hold a gift card.......I say should because I haven't tried to fit a credit card in one of them yet. They turned out cute. A lot of handwork that bothered my smarting hand more than spinning or weaving does.

Still hating fire season - way too many weeks left of it.  Saturday evening I heard sirens and the horn honking of the fire trucks - they stopped way too close. I called a friend who lives close by and whose husband has a scanner - yes, grass fire just over the hill on a street coming off the side road behind us. And Bailey and I were alone as Sam and a friend were on the coast to do some work on the cottage and golf. Talk about panic time. I was preparing to pack up the car and leave if necessary. A few hours later she called back with an update that all was quiet on the scanner, a spreading fire averted. They were more on the ball than I - they had turned on their sprinklers and had opened their gate in case fire fighters came to tell them to get prepared to leave. We have sprinklers mounted on wood to set up on the peak of the roof but they're not up there right now, Sam only puts them up if we may be in dangers of flying embers........hmm, might have to think about that this week.

The fire close to us, Shan Creek Fire, continues to burn slowly. I've found very few details on it compared to other fires in the region but this morning there is 20% containment (that's new info since yesterday) but it is actively burning with flanking, torching and uphill runs in steep terrain. As of this morning there are now structures threatened - not us, I'm assuming those actually on Shan Creek Rd but I don't really know. The smoke smell this morning is horrible - I had to scan the sky to see if there was another fire close by when I walked out the door - not seeing anything so it must be a shift in the wind this morning. I wish updates were more often but they are better than in year's past - I am grateful for them.

Now off to try and get something done today other than letting fires consume my thoughts.........

Saturday, August 12, 2017

It's a war zone out there...........

Today not only the planes have been flying over the house but the copters have been flying directly over the house too, yesterday the copters were taking a different route. Must be some great air traffic control out there on the fire line. I took this photo standing on our deck. All day some sort of aircraft was going over the house, sometimes every minute, sometimes every 5 minutes. Then it stopped.........until just now -  must have been a change of shift, or dinner break. It's really un-nerving to not be able to get up to the minute updates on what's happening on this fire close to us, I keep seeing updates on other fires including some new ones but not much on ours.

This morning I went to the fairgrounds to help set up our display - we'll be sitting there spinning during the fair, talking to the public, eating fair food and having a great time. Since then I've tried to get some stitching done on the little holiday stocking ornaments but keep getting sidetracked with fire activity.

Have I said it yet today - I hate fire season.........oh yes, I think I've said it several times but this is the first time here today............

Friday, August 11, 2017

SW Oregon on fire

We've had thunderstorms in our region for days which means now there are fires being chased down all over the area. It's scary out there. I'm back from a few days on the coast and in addition to be welcomed back by the smoke and heat I'm welcomed back to fires close by. It's tough to find the latest info on the fires but I think these planes were heading to the Shan Creek Fire just to the west of us. They've been flying over the house - anywhere from 2 to 4 retardant bomber planes one right after the other. I just ran out on the deck to get these pix. I couldn't get them all in one photo but snapped them one after another.
The first bomber over the house..........

.........seconds later, bomber #2............

..........and here's bomber #3.

They'll be coming back over the house in a few minutes heading back to the airport to pick up another load of retardant. The report is that there's a woman pilot leading the planes in to the fire.

I know the forest road this fire is off of but I don't know the exact location of the fire to know how close it is to homes.......and to us. I'm hoping with all the resources on this fire that they get it under control before it becomes a real problem to all of us living over here to the west of the city. Each time they fly over the house I'm sending positive thoughts up their way to stay safe, as well as all the fire fighters on the ground. With all the fires in our region they're doing an incredible job of knocking them down while they're still relatively small.

On the fiber front - not much happening here in the way of weaving, spinning or knitting. It's just too danged hot to get much done.

Morning update - I finally saw an update that was posted late last night. As I thought it is the Shan Creek fire close to us but these planes are not the retardant ones, they are super scooper fixed wing water dumping planes. I'm not sure where they're scooping up the water but it explains the quick turnaround time to the fire, they don't have to get all the way back to the airport. Much of the Rogue River would not work for a plane coming down low to scoop so maybe a lake/reservoir? Or maybe there is a spot in the river that will work....I'd love to hear those details. Word is that they'll be back in the air in addition to the copters fighting the fire today along with the ground crews. I'm anxious to hear the morning update which may not show up online for a few hours.

Monday, August 7, 2017

What was I thinking???

What was I thinking when I bought this cute half-price kit for small felt stockings? The picture on the package looked so fun and they look to be the perfect size to put gift cards in. Well, they're going to be time suckers. First I had to draw and cut out all the pieces. My first thought was to use fusible web in spite of the directions that said to lightly glue, then hand-stitch. With fusible web I could iron it on and then trace around the shapes onto the backing paper, then cut out, then iron all the pieces on ready for hand-stitching.  Well, good thing I tried the fusible web on a small piece first - the backing paper adhered too, I don't know if it's because this is acrylic felt or what.......but it didn't work. So, back to tracing around each piece and cutting it out. Here they are with all the pieces just sitting on the stockings to keep them organized.  I did get the bird started and almost finished. In addition to a blanket stitch there are embroidery stitches embellishing the stockings. They'll be really cute once finished but not quite what I bargained for. And to top it off once sewn they may be a tiny bit too small for a gift card - ack............so much for my half price bargain..........

No weaving happening here - it's just been too danged hot. No dyeing either for the same reason. In-between trips to the cool coast I've done some spinning and knitting.

Fire season is still in full swing here. The valleys are so full of smoke that I can not only smell it but I can taste it. Yesterday afternoon there was a fire just a couple miles from the house, thank goodness between air and ground support it was stopped before it reached over 5.6 acres. Less than an hour later a car caught on fire behind us a couple miles. ODF (Oregon Department of Forestry) in our region and our local fire fighters are doing a great job so far this fire season keeping fires from getting huge.

I'm starting my count-down to the end of fire season - 8 weeks to go. That is not official and fire season usually isn't over until some time in October but I call the end of fire season the end of September because we usually get our first rain in months by then. I can breathe a sigh of relief when that first rainfall happens.

The temps have come down from a high of 113 last week to 100 today - I can't believe I'm saying 100 feels like a relief. Unfortunately with the temps coming down thunderstorms are also moving in........here they are dry with many lightning strikes which may start fires. I think I may have an ulcer by the time fire season is over.

Yes, I'm complaining about fire season once more.......hey, it's in my mind all day and night, what can I say............

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Not much to show..........

Not much to show for my time. Been here and there, haven't gotten much done in the studio........would be very grouchy over it except that I've been doing fun stuff. Above are two drop spindles with Japanese paper yarn. The one on the left is mine, on the right friend Kathy's. Next up to weave some simple little weavings (couple inches) to use as embellishment on journals. I tried one using a Weave-it type loom but it will be easier just making a cardboard loom with straight pins.

The heat wave is wearing on us and it's not even at it's hottest yet. It's over 100 today, tomorrow the forecast is 115. Fires are popping up all over - it's darned scary out there. As I was driving home from my spinning get together this afternoon I could see smoke to the west of our house. I found a little info on a new fire that had just started. We're fine as long as it doesn't blow up........with this wind and heat I'll be keeping my fingers crossed. The retardant tanker (DC-7) has flown over the house twice - looks to take 50 minutes to get from Medford (to my east) to the fire and back. I'm taking a guess our little airport here in Grants Pass is too small for it to land and fill up but I'm not sure. It should be flying over again shortly - if needed. It's so hard not to know what's going on - the fire is in steep terrain, are they making headway before it gets big? is it growing? did they knock it out quickly? The unknown can be so scary..........

Update - ODF (Oregon Dept of Forestry) once again did a great job of knocking out a fire before it became a problem - it's not out but it's contained and is in mop up stage - kudos to them.