Things I Like

  • Game of Thrones

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rug off loom

I finished a rug from Weaverscraft magazine this weekend. It's a rug made from strips of polyester fleece. The weft has areas where you pull up floats and then cut them every few inches. It's quite fiddley and I don't think I would weave anymore of these rugs. I was very thankful to be done with it this weekend. But I like the results. The rug is a present for a newborn's room.

This is the front side on the left and the backside on the right.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mule Fleece

Well, now I've figured this out. What I was at first spinning was not Scottish Mule fleece, it was white mohair. I think about 4 ozs. of white mohair got accidentally put into the Scottish Mule fleece pile. I wondered why it felt so much like mohair. When I finally did get to the mule fleece, it felt entirely different - much more like a soft corriedale than mohair. Not sure what I'll do with that bobbin of mohair. I'll probably ply it with something softer and just put it in the stash for now - labelling appropriately.

Here is a picture of the bath mats that I pulled off the loom a week ago. Notice the huge error in the back towel. We put this pattern into WeaveIt and didn't notice that the 2nd section of blues was not the appropriate length. I was going to give these as a set to someone but guess I'll just get some matching towels for the one that doesn't have a huge error. Sigh . . . The cotton bolls are finally starting to pop open. Only a couple of opened so far. They say that the bolls can stay on the plants until the first frost. That shouldn't be until January or so for us on the west coast.

These are some gloves that I've made for the grandchildren for christmas. I'm remaking the red pair because I didn't like the acrylic feel of them. I'm making them in some really yummy alpaca/polwarth that I had professionally processed. I've dyed the yarn a Jacquard scarlet color that is really beautiful. I think she will really love wearing them - so soft. It's a deeper red than the ones picture. Almost kind of heathery looking because they dyed a bit unevenly. It makes them that much prettier though.

These are some gloves that I've made for the grandchildren for christmas. I'm remaking the red pair because I didn't like the acrylic feel of them. I'm making them in some really yummy alpaca/polwarth that I had professionally processed. I've dyed the yarn a Jacquard scarlet color that is really beautiful. I think she will really love wearing them - so soft. It's a deeper red than the ones picture. Almost kind of heathery looking because they dyed a bit unevenly. It makes them that much prettier though.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Scottish Mule Fleece

O.K. It occurred to me this morning when I was spinning this fleece that I know what it reminds me of - it feels and looks exactly like adult mohair. I don't know why it took me almost a whole bobbin to figure this out. It is very white, shiny and kind of slippery like mohair. It has a little bit of the coarseness of adult mohair. It would be wonderful as an add in blend to some softer fibers. It would add shine and a halo, just like mohair.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bad bad girl

Yes, it has been a while since I've blogged. It's not that I haven't been busy with crafty stuff, because I have. I just pulled off some cotton chenille bath mats off the Weavebird last weekend. I discovered that I made a grievous error on one of them and I'm a little disgusted with myself at the moment. I'll post pictures later.

I also dyed some lovely alpaca/polwarth professionally processed handspun. I dyed it a beautiful deep pink color for a new baby girl. I will knit up some extremely soft booties, hat and mittens with it. It is Jacquard dye from Dharma Trading and is called just 'pink'. I suspect that if you used the dye lightly, it would be a light pink but I wanted a deep color. I 3 plied it because they live in a rather harsh climate. Pictures later.

I'm knitting mittens for the U.K. grandkids and have finished one pair for an 8 year old boy in natural gray, one pair in baby blue for an 11 year old girl and I'm working on a pair for a five year old girl in red. This last pair is made from my handspun from the alpaca/polwarth. It is such a pleasure to knit with - feels like buttah in my hands. I could almost eat it, it feels so good.

I'm also continuing to spin the polwarth alpaca. Oh, I'm also spinning some Scottish mule fleece. I'm not sure where I got this lady's name - maybe on Ravelry. I was a bit dismayed at first because there was quite a bit of scurf in it (in layman's terms: dandruff). Ewwww! No one on Ravelry (or on the Yahoo Groups lists) had much help for me on how to get rid of it. I carded it a few times a much of it seemed to come out. However, the area around the carded was littered with loose flakes. Yuk. There was a Spin-Off Magazine article on Scottish Mule fleece in the mid-year magazine. It was an interesting article where the lady who reviewed it spun the fleece in at least 3 different ways, and knitted samples from each one to do a really good comparison on the final product. I just spun it kind of semi-worsted. It's rather hairy, probably because I didn't take care when carding it to make sure all the tips faced in the same direction. I also put the fleece into the carder sideways as Judith MacKenzie-McCuin recommends to get a nice woolen product. It's coming out very white and looks and feels a bit coarse and might be very good for socks if they aren't too hairy.

I also recently sent for some beautiful brown alpaca from two girls I met at the Dixon Lambtown fiber fair. My friend Phyllis Karsten was doing sheep dog trials but I couldn't wait for her turn. It was a bit hot with no shade, even in October in the full sun. Anyway, there was an alpaca show also there that day and a couple of young women had just started raising alpacas the year before. They had never sold any as yet. They sent me a packet in the mail with samples and I sent for one of the fleeces. It seems to be quite lovely stuff. It will need to be mixed with wool so that the resulting product will have some bounce. I don't think I have anything to mix with it at the moment that will go with the grown. I don't know what will happen if I mix white wool with the brown. I think I'll do a little experimenting this weekend.

The boles on my cotton plants are beginning to open. Two of the couple of dozen bolls are open. I'm quite unreasonably excited about that and go out there most days to see if any more have opened. October seems to be the month that they open, from what I've heard. If they don't open by the first frost, I'll put them in a food dehydrator to open them. But I hope it won't come to that.

That's it for now. I'll try to remember to take some pictures this weekend. Chow!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I got a new Prius with the Cash for Clunkers Program!

I am so happy! I should say I'm still so happy. I've had the new car for about 3-4 weeks now and I'm still on cloud 9. I got a Prius V model in a pearl white color. It's so beautiful. There were a

couple of things I was a bit disappointed about though. 1) none of the dealerships in my area had either one of the two models with the latest technology. One was the one with the moonroof. The other one was the one with the High Technology package. The high technology package consisted of a lane assist feature where if you drifted out of your lane it would beep at you or if you got too close to another solid object it would beep at you. Each of those features were on a different model so you couldn't get both things on the same model. I was very surprised to learn that none of the dealerships thought these models would sell, so they didn't order any. There would have been a 2-3 month wait for one. I didn't have time. The cash for clunkers program had already run out of money once and I had a short window of time to get one. But after looking at three dealerships, I found a pearl white one in the highest level model they had. And it's a beauty with back-up camera, satellite radio, blue tooth hands free cell phone service and a lot more. Well this isn't an actual picture of MY car but it looks exactly like mine.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mind The Gap!

O.K. I thought of another weird U.K.ism. When you use the underground (or tube as they call it there), sometimes there is a space between the car and the platform. That space is called the 'gap' and there used to be signs everywhere saying 'Mind the Gap'. They had T-shirts for tourists too. I wish I had bought one at the time. There are much fewer 'Mind the Gap' signs now. I wonder if they fixed the gaps now? Curious. . .

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More interesting things about England . . .

Stop lights in the U.S. are green to 'go' but and a yellow to warn you it's going to go to red. In England the stop signs warn you when you are to go. So they are red, then yellow, then green. Is that not a little weird? Why do you need to be warned that the light is going to turn green.

If you drive into London, you get an automatic $14 pound traffic ticket. If you don't pay it within 24 or 48 hours, it doubles or triples. So a $14 pound ticket (which would be about $20 U.S.) could conceivably wind up being $40 or $80 if not paid efficiently.

They have these cool chip embedded credit cards in Europe now. When you pay for a purchase, the credit card goes into a special chip reading slot on the card reader where the owner of the card then puts in a pin number. No signature is required. This is so much safer than our system with signature required. No one can fake your signature and there would be much less credit card fraud. Why hasn't the U.S. adopted this very sensible system?

I know I thought of a couple more things but can't think of them right now. I'll get back with you later . . .

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ryland Sheep Breed - England

For two weeks before I went to England, I tried with various emails to get in touch with a spinning guild near my daughter's house in England. I had no luck at all. It seemed that every time I got near, it turned into a dead end. Three days before I left America, I got an email back from a spinner who lived 8 miles away from Hyde Heath. Hallelujah! Her name is Beverley Thompson. And what a contact she was. She is an avid spinner and she took me to a guild meeting in Amersham, England. Very cool. The guild meeting had a speaker that day who had written a wonderful book called Creative Spinning by Alison Daykin (which I bought). The book talks about the creative spinning process and how you get where you want to go with your spinning. We have talked about this in our fiber guild meetings and this was a photo tutorial on how to access the creative spinning side of your brain.

Beverley also arranged for the two of us to have lunch at a guild member's house who is a fiber artist who was participating in their local open studios. She made a lovely lunch for us and gave us a tour of her studio. I was so impressed. What a nice lady. How many of us would go to that much trouble for someone they had never met from another country?

Beverley also put me in touch with a local farmer who raised Ryland and Black Welsh Mountain sheep. He was quite willing to allow me to buy a fleece from him although he had to go to some amount of trouble to do so. He had his fleeces all wrapped up to sell and had to break into the bundle to pull out the wool. What a nice man: Alec Moir. He gave us a tour of his farm and introduced us to the two sheep he had on premises. He had about 100 more head of sheep located on a remote piece of property nearby. So, I took the sheep back to my daughter's house and over the next few days, began to wash it. It was lots of fun. I gave most of the fleece to the spinning guild over there. The Ryland fleece is a bit coarse and I don't think I will have a use for it but it was a lot of fun cleaning it and giving it to the guild. He did give me some of the Black Welsh Mountain fleece as well but it was very short and seemed quite soft. I think it may have
already been felted as it felt quite solid. I should have tried to take some of it out and spin with it before cleaning it to see if it was felted. But when I washed and dried it, I could see that it was hopelessly felted. I, unfortunately, had to just toss it. Such a shame. I would loved to have brought back a sample of it.

Beverley also sent to my daughter's house a largish package of samples of spun wool on several cones from Jamieson & Smith and lots of bits of different kinds of top to play with. She also arranged for a store called Colourmart to send me samples of their yarns.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Back from England

I have so much to share about England but not enough energy to share it all right now. The last full day in England, my daughter and I had tickets to see Wicked in London. When we got up on Wednesday morning, my daughter asked me if I knew there was a transit strike that started that morning. There hadn't been a transit strike in a long time but it had to be on a day when we needed to get to London. The underground (tube) is the least expensive way to get into London. If you drive your car into London, there is a $15 penalty which quadruples if you don't pay it within 48 hours, so driving into London really isn't an option. But there are so many public transit options that we were bound and determined to get into London. Here's how we did it: we took a cab to the local train station and took a regular train into London. We then found that not all lines of the underground were striking so we found one that got us within a mile or so we where we want to go, then we took another cab. Not too bad. When we left to go back home, the lines we needed to get home were open so we took 3 trains but got within 5 miles of home and then took another cab to get to the house. whew.

Wicked was fabulous! I loved it. One little hitch was we got tickets in row E but there were two row E's. One row E in the nosebleed section in the balcony and a row in in orchestra. Our's was in the nosebleed E. So we went to the box office and asked if we could upgrade our tickets. Long story short, they allowed us to buy cheap tickets in row H orchestra sheets for cheap. cool! We were in the 8th row center! The best theater tickets I've ever had.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What I love about England . . .

I'm on holiday in England right now and it occured to me to write about the things that I find facinating here that I don't find at home in California:

1. Aga. An aga is this great big heavy kitchen stove. The right side of it stays hot all the time. Not the outside part of the doors or the top of the stove but the two grills on top and 3 ovens. Anytime you want to cook something, you really don't need anything but the aga. But for those periods that are too warm seasonally, the aga gets turned off and the family uses the left side which is a traditional stove top and two independently controlled ovens. The aga tends to keep the entire lower floor warm because it constantly emits heat. Each one of the aga ovens on the right side has a specific heat range from not very hot, to med hot, to very hot. Hotest on the top right. The two round grills on the top right are heat sources to be used like burners. The left one is super hot and the right one is medium hot.

2. Tube Station Escalators. These steep escalators are amazing to ride on. They are like a very steep, moving tunnel. The signs on the right side say to stand on the right if not moving. That leaves the left side for people in a hurry who want to pass.

3. Narrow door ways. I've seen this phenomenen in many places around Europe. The first place I saw it was in Amsterdam. Someone told us in Amsterdam that hundreds of years ago, when the buildings were built, the government taxed according to how large the doorways were. So people built houses with extremely small doors. I saw one of these doors in London and took a photo of it. This door looks to be about 18" wide (maybe 24" but not more). Keep in mind that this is not common.

4. Medievel castles. It's amazing to walk into a building that is over 1000 years old. Many are even older.

5. Beautiful gardens. The English take exceptional pride in their gardens. And they have absolutely lovely gardens. But let's be fair here. It rains ALOT and it's incredibly green here, everywhere you look. I could even be a good gardener here. I live in a semi-desert area which is in a drought right now. I have to go out and hand water every day in the summer to keep the plants alive.

6. Georgeous train stations. Look at this lovely glassed in train station.

7. Old churches and grave yards. I'm just facinated by them. I love walking around looking at the ancient headstones from the 17 & 1800s.

8. Old headstones are amazing to me. This one was interesting because it appears that many people in the family were buried in the same grave.

9. My daughter's house. It's in Buckinhamshire in a town called Hyde Heath. It's called DeFontenay.

10. Victoria & Albert Museum. This museum focuses on textiles but there are so many other amazing things here. They have a cast room where copies of famous sculptures reside. Michaelangelo's 'David' in it's exact replica, including size, is there. The most famous Persian rug in the world is residing in the museum right now (in the Islamic gallery) in a ginormous glass case. It's only lit for 10 minutes on the hour and half hour to retain the brightness of it's colors. Rafael's cartoon's have their own very large room. Cartoon's by definition were drawings or paintings of a rug or tapestries to be woven from. So these are huge paintings that were painted onto strips of cloth or paper that were glued together. You could get lost in the marble sculpture area. The V&A has a room full of samples of textiles. Unfortunately, the room is dimly lit to retain the colors of the fabrics and it's a bit hard to see the colors very well. But there must be absolutely thousands of pull out drawers.

Friday, May 22, 2009

England - Hyde Heath - Buckinghamshire

May 22, 2009

I'm in England today. I got in yesterday afternoon, May 21st. I did really well on the sleep thing. Due to the lack of sleep on the plane ride over, staying awake until bedtime on the first day is problematic. But I had a couple cups of coffee space over the day and a couple of gin and tonics last night and I slept all night. I woke up at the normal 6:00am ready to start the day. Cool!

My daughter's house (I say my daughter for short even though it belongs to she and her husband and 3 children for short), is really amazing. It's really an estate on several acres. The house is 100 years old but has been newly redone. We watched a movie in the home theater last night in the basement. It was amazing. O.K. please forgive me if I say amazing too many times here :-). They have a huge family kitchen with an agha. If you don't know what an agha is, I'll tell you. It's a huge stove thing that stays on all the time. It has a little burner going inside it and this whole thing stays warm, hot really, all the time. It keeps this immense kitchen warm - well that and the radiant heating in the floors. You never have to turn on a burner because there are these big griddles on it that stay hot all the time. You only have to put your pan on an already hot griddle. You would never be able to use something like this in California but it's wonderful here.

The kids went swimming yesterday in their incredible indoor pool (see - I can say words other than amazing). I plan on getting some exercise swimming while I'm here. At least that's the plan.

My room in England is in the guest suite. It has a sitting area, complete with couch and a lovely bathroom with clawfoot tub and separate shower. The claw feet on the tub are copper as well as the spigots (I guess that's what they call them). Also, the sink is a matching copper as well as the cabinet hardware. The tiles in the floor are all 1" glass tiles which shine in the light. Very pretty.

A weird fact about England? They don't have electrical outlets in the bathrooms. If you want to use your curling iron or hair dryer, it has to be done somewhere in the bedroom. And there aren't always mirrors near the electrical outlets so it's interesting trying to see what you're doing.

I'll post some pictures of the house soon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Deb's Spinning Wheel

My friend Deb is an artist. I'm an artist too but Deb is an ARTIST. She incorporates her artistic talent in almost everything she does and doesn't do anything in a small way. She has decorated her Majacraft Suzie Pro wheel in her typical magical way. Here it is - ta da!
This is a three dimensional design with feathers, leaves and sparkles. When it goes round it sparkles and shines, it's mezmerizing. Click on the picture to get a closeup of the design.

Friday, May 1, 2009

CNCH Sonoma - 2009

Well CNCH Sonoma was fabulous. We had a great time. We spent Friday night in a B&B in an old Victorian one story house with a wine bar on Friday night and a continental breakfast on Saturday morning. Saturday and Sunday nights were spent at the Sonoma Valley Inn. It was a lovely stay with jacuzzi & swimming pool and quiet nights.

The conference itself was wonderful as well. It was very well organized. We had a finger food and champagne get together and bag exchange on Saturday night. The classrooms were all very spacious and most people had plenty of elbow room and light.

My 2-1/2 day class was on irridescent weaving with Bobbi Irwin. It was the class that everyone seemed to want to be in for some reason. Luckily I got in. I made some grevious errors. In my defense, I had never taken a weaving class at conference or a weaving workshop anywhere. I didn't realize that one should bring a workshop tool kit when away from home. I also didn't spread the warp and check the threading before I left. (Don't ask me why, I guess I just lost my mind.) I was so pleased with myself to have gotten warping accomplished 2 months early that I just put the loom away and never gave it another thought. I do think, however, that workshop teachers should remind people of these things. They shouldn't assume that everyone has thought of everything to bring to workshop. I do have a list of things for next time. There are about 10 essential items to put on this list and in my workshop tool kit next time. I was one of those annoying people who wind up borrowing things from the people sitting next to them in workshop. Luckily, I was sitting next to a very sweet nice lady who didn't seem at all annoyed with me asking to borrow stuff. I did try to not be too anoying though.

If you want to see pictures from the workshop, they are on my flickr pages at:

Hand Painted Bamboo into Singles

I finally got my two lots of hand painted bamboo fiber spun up into singles. They are really shiny and pretty. I will ply them with a single ply wool at some point. I have no idea what I'll do with it when spun up. There will probably be something like 350 yards per bobbin. It's rather interesting how each of the color pallets spun up. The cool pallet didn't seem to spin up as brilliantly as the raw fiber but the warm pallet did. I think one of the reasons the colors are more muted in the spun is because the color didn't seem to penetrate as well on the inside of the roving.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Ikat Stretched Onto Frame

O.K. this time, I used mercerized 10/2 cotton left over from a previous project. It worked like a charm. With ikat you have to twine 2 times every time you fold the warp and then slide one of the twinings down the warp to the other side. If you have a sticky warp, it pulls and drags on the threads and can stretch the warp. But these mercerized threads were a bit shiny and slippery and I didn't have any trouble moving the twinings down through the threads. So now I'm ready to tie on the resist strips this weekend. Here is the newly warped frame:

Very Cool Weaving Tool

LeClerc has this great little bobbin winder tool that really helps if you have an electric bobbin winder. I got my electric spinner from a guy from eBay a few years ago. I think it's home made using a sewing machine motor and foot pedal. It works great. However, when I got the LeClerc bobbin winder helper a couple of weeks ago, I was dismayed that it was about 4" or more wider than the electric spinner superstructure. I gave the problem to my partner who had some extra hard wood left over from a loom project he was doing, and he just added a piece onto the right side to hook the device to.

This little device is amazing. If you have used an electric winder, you know that they can go pretty fast and if you're not careful can cause yarn burn on your hands - if you keep holding the yarn in the same place. This device also tensions through the little spirals so you don't have to tension as you're winding. You just hold onto the handle and move it back and forth across the bobbin. It moves as smooth as if it was greased with butter. Very cool tool.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Handpainted Bamboo Roving & Handspun

Here is the beautiful bamboo roving spun up. I'm a little disappointed that the yarn is so light in color. It's always a surprise when you see how your finished yarn looks compared to the raw fiber and to see what happens to the colors. I was thinking of overdyeing this fiber in darker colors but I think I'll just ply it with wool. The juxtaposition of the shiny fiber with the matt fiber will look really pretty even if it is a bit light. What I'm spinning now are the warm colors on the right side of the pile. There was a separate dyeing of the cool purples and greens. I'll post those later.

Monday, April 6, 2009

If your blog is in Blogger, do you know how to . . .

reply to commenter's questions? I tried to go onto Blogger Help and I couldn't pose my question in such a way that people understood what I was asking. You know when you make a comment on someone else's post, the program asks you for your email address and says it's not going to post the email address? I always assumed that the email address went to the original blogger so they could respond privately to the person and for security so that you know the person commenting is authentic. I cannot find where I can do that in Blogger, do ya'll know?

The Weekend - April 4-5, 2009

Well, boy did that weekend go fast! As they say, just too much fun! Saturday was our Fiber Artisan guild 1st Saturday craft day. Frank Mikulastik helped me put a warp onto an ikat frame. What a lot of work! It took all told about 3 hours between all the twining and folding - from about 1-4 oclock. The sad part of the whole thing was that when we were done, there were loose hanging threads from the frame. Not good. Not even mildly acceptable really. I looked at it until Sunday night and then decided that I just couldn't live with it or try to make do with it and Jim helped me wind it off the frame onto a ball. Back to the drawing board. What I don't understand here is that the yarn was 100% unmercerized 8/2 cotton from Halcyon Yarn. Believe it or not folks - it stretches (big time) in the right circumstances. No one at the meeting had ever experienced a stretchy cotton warp. But believe me it happens. Ikat has to be completely tight with perfect thread control with no shifting or your pattern will shift. The beauty of ikat are the controlled patterns that you can create but if you have a bunch of hanging threads, obviously your pattern is going to be wonky. So I'll start from scratch now with some mercerized cotton and see if that works any better. From that meeting I had to drive to Sunnyvale and drop off some birthday presents. I then discovered that I had left a project bag at the craft meeting place and I had to go back to that place and pick up the bag and then get the car washed on the way home. I left at 10:00am and didn't get home until 6:30pm. It was a lot of hard work for naught. But I did learn how to wind an ikat warp onto the frame, which was a big learning process in itself. (The above picture is of Phyllis Karsten's ikat coat. It's an amazing piece of work and beautifully put together with the lovely silky lining. I have a new appreciation for ikat dyeing after having gone through the exercise on Saturday.) The picture below this description is an ikat frame with the design already on it. It's a butterfly. Can you see it? There is a complicated multicolor overdyeing process that is involved after this step. This is Phyllis' project and she only uses here handspun cotton for her projects. It is beautifully spun fine natural colored cotton that looks to be about 10/2 weight, maybe smaller.

Sunday I went to the Alameda antiques and flea market which is held at the old navy base. That is an amazingly huge place! It is acres and acres of flea market stuff. My girlfriend and I spent 3-1/2 hours walking through half of it. We got there at 9:00am and left at about 12:30. We couldn't face going through the rest of it. It's on a beautiful piece of land with big ships right next to it, those big star wars looking cranes nearby and a breathtaking view of San Francisco. Well worth your time to go there on the 1st Saturday of the month. They open at 5:30 for early birds so if you are of a mind to get some great antiques and get first choice, that would be the time to go. Unfortunately, you have to pay a dear entrance fee to get in that early - $15! It goes down to $10 at 7:30 and then to $5 at 9:00. We got there right after 9:00. But wow, $15 just to get into a flea market. But this is a good place for dealers to go and get antiques at bargain prices, I guess so it would be worth it for them to pay the $15. So that was my Sunday. I didn't get home until about 3:00pm. Another weekend gone.

This is a picture of the flea market with San Francisco in the background at about 10:00am on Sunday. The temperatures said they were only in the low 60's but it felt like at least the 70's.

More views of the flea market.

That's it for the weekend. More later.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Patio Table Covers

I had off work on Tuesday for Cesar Chavez Day and I took the opportunity to go shopping for oil cloth for the patio tables. They are both wood and have really seen better days. It gets pretty grungy out on the patio and the tables need to be wiped off a lot. I also needed a nice work surface for dyeing and working outside.

Oil cloth - sounds like old people, doesn't it? Well, I guess I am old now - old enough to collect social security. And it does look a bit like maw and paw kettle's place out there, I know. But I don't have enough places to put things so they have to hide from me in plain sight. It's amazing how you forget to see the stuff that is right in front of your face when you have to look at it everyday. After I took these pictures I straightened it up a bit but really, there's only so much I can do out there without getting rid of stuff.

I also had time on Tuesday to handpaint some bamboo roving with ProChem MX Dyes:

Handpainted bamboo roving

Light is a bit flat, last light of the day but isn't this flower lovely?

The light's a little better in this one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Now life could be worse. We are having glorious spring weather. It's mostly cloudy but the temps are very nice. I look at weather back east right now and they still have lots of snow everywhere. Check out these temps:

Today - Mar 17 -Mostly Cloudy - 69°
Wed - Mar 18 -Partly Cloudy- 71°
Thu - Mar 19 - AM Clouds / PM Sun - 70°
Fri - Mar 20 - Partly Cloudy - 67°
Sat - Mar 21 - Few Showers - 63°
Sun - Mar 22 - Showers - 60°
Mon - Mar 23 - Sunny - 63°
Tue - Mar 24 - Sunny - 65°
Wed - Mar 25 -Sunny -66°
Thu - Mar 26 - Partly Cloudy - 67°

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Death of a Friend

We lost our dear friend on Tuesday. He was our dog of 12 years. He was a good dog and very healthy until the end. He had developed a tumor on his spine and became a paraplygic almost instantly. We did some research and had almost made the decision to try to deal with him as a paraplygic animal when the decision was taken out of our hands. The paralysis moved to his upper torso and he was scared and in pain. We had no choice but to let him go. We will miss him.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Warped for Conference - Irridescent Weaving

I just warped for the CNCH Conference in Sonoma. Since I got the warp in the mail very early, I figured I'd just go ahead and get the loom ready. It's still almost two months away! But I have some other projects in mind that I want to get started on and thought it would help to keep my mind clear if I didn't have this waiting to do. The irridescent part will happen with the weft shots, I assume. She talked in her handout about using colors that are opposite on the color wheel to create the irridescence. It's stunning isn't it?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stitches West

This weekend was Stitches West in the Santa Clara, CA, convention center. As usual, it was a busy and exciting day. Our weaving guild has a booth where we teach people to do drop spindle spinning. I usually have a 3 hour shift that day, and 3 hours seems like 20 minutes. It is so busy, that sometimes there are 3 people deep waiting to get a spinning lesson.

Almost at the end of my shift, a lady walks up to the booth giggling, and she giggled, for the first minute or so that I was talking to her. She had on a badge, so in curiosity, I looked down at her name at it was THE 'Cat Bordhi'! Amazing. I talked to her for a few minutes and her excitement was infectious. She was really excited about something coming up called the "Socks Summit." It's August 6-9 in Portland, Oregon. There are an unprecidented number of fabulous teachers going to be there. Go to this website and look: She said there will never be another place where this many fabulous knitters are going to be in one place including Cookie A, Nancy Bush, Judith McKenzie-McCuin, Barbara Walker, Lucy Neatby, Meg Swanson, et al. I'm trying to figure out a way to find a place to stay in Portland. My son in law's wife's parents live in Portland. It would be so much fun to just go. Cat Bordhi said, it doesn't have to be expensive, just go and not even take classes. Just go and hang out with these amazing knitters.

Another highlight of my day was spending some time with Dr. Gemma from the CogKNITive podcast. I was in one of the isles of Stitches talking to a lady that I had met in the spinning booth. Anyway, I was talking to her about Webs and how they had a podcast that I listened to and someone walking by heard me talking about podcasting and stopped. She said she heard me talking about podcasting and wanted to know who I listened to. I recognized her voice - it was Dr. Gemma! I said "I know you." She wanted to know how I knew her and I told her that I listened to her podcast CogKNITive. I hugged her and told her that I felt I knew her. She mentioned something about wanting to learn to spin better. I asked her if she would like for me to give her a couple of tips. She was very excited about meeting someone who, not only followed her podcast, but also was a spinner. So I took her back to the spinning booth and gave her a few tips. She was 100% better spinner when she walked out of the booth. She was so excited, and I was excited for her to be so successful. She also wanted to play with spinning wheels so I took her over to Carolina Homespun and we played with wheels for a while. She also had in tow two other podcasters: Bellitrix and Stasymama. I even had the opportunity to go out to eat with them but had to beg off. I had waited too long to eat and already eaten a huge plate of food. Great fun.

I didn't buy much. I went by the Brooks Farm Yarn store and wasn't all that excited about their yarns this year. I also hit several other yarn stores, still no excitement. It was probably just me. I went by Webs and it was mobbed like usual. Stitches can be very overwhelming. The way I buy yarn is by project. I just don't go there with no ideas, just buying yarn. I need to have a specific project in mind so that I don't buy too much or too little yarn. And since I was so lame as to not bring any project plans, I got what I deserved, very little yarn. I did buy a beautiful little shawl stick for $11 and one skein of beautiful purple and green sock yarn - that was all.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kitchen Towels Off the Loom

I really love these kitchen towels. They are made from thick
and thin cotton, I forget the technical name for the type of
cotton right now. There may be some problems using these as kitchen towels as there are floats. There is also some yarn carrying up the sides for 4 rows at a time which could cause problems. We'll see. But in the meantime, I'll just enjoy looking at them.

Friday, February 13, 2009

San Jose California in February 2009

I just had to post this picture which I took this morning coming in to work. I was a passenger and the car was jiggling but I have an anti-jiggling thingie on the camera so it looks pretty clear to me. It's particularly interesting with the snow behind the palm trees.

The Towels Are Off The Loom

Yay! Took them off the loom last night and they look fantastic. I zig zagged the edges and washed and dried them and ironed this morning. Tonight I will cut them apart and hem them. I want to take them to the Blacksheep weaving study group tomorrow morning, along with a couple of knitting projects I've finished. This is a new group for me and I'm looking forward to going tomorrow (like I need another monthly meeting - I already belong to 3 guilds that meet monthly. But it's always good to be around fellow weavers to get your weaving mojo going and to learn new stuff. The guild meetings don't teach anything normally, they are either sharing what you're already doing or you are listing to someone talk about their work. It will be nice to be in a group where I actually learn something for a change.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sweet Pea Coat

I finished this coat about a week or so ago. It was really an easy knit. It is a Kate Gilbert pattern that I downloaded from Ravelry. It was knit with a double strand of worsted weight yarn. I think I used Web's Northampton, which I absolutely love. I think the pattern was 2-1/2 sts. to the inch, and a really fast knit. There was a bit of confusion around the pocket area. She had you knit a separate little pocket liner and then insert that onto one side of the knitting at the top of the pocket area. But with the help of a fellow knitter, we figured that little puzzle out. I was also offered help by Kate Gilbert herself when I emailed her, which I thought was really nice. She said there might be a bit of a delay due to the volume of emails she gets at Twist Collective but she said I could definitely get help from her. I really appreciated that, even though I didn't take her up on it.
I have the sweater soaking as I write so I can block it out. It's about 2-3" too small at the moment but I think that can be fixed with blocking. I really like the sweater though and the buttons are bone and brass which I sent for from an online resource called They had an amazing selection of buttons to choose from.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I'm weaving - yay!

In December I bought two weaving kits from the Yarn Barn of Kansas. They are nice people and their prices are good on most things. One kit are kitchen towels and the other kit contains yarn for colorful chenille bath mats. I got the loom warped this weekend and here is the beginning of three beautiful towels. I picked the colors because I love greens and blues and cool colors. The yarn is thick and thin mercerized cotton at 12 epi. That's an end feed shuttle and seems to be working very well. I still have a bit of draw-in on each side but not too much yet. We'll see how the rest of this weaving goes. Thank you Nancy Alegria for the inspiration to weave these towels. She posted a wonderful scarf with this design on in their first issue.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cotton Chenille Towels

I wove these cotton chenille towels for xmas for my daughter. I wanted a bit of contrast for the darker stripes so I walnut dyed some of the chenille. It didn't come out quite as dark as I would have liked but I'm pretty pleased with them. I had problems with the selvedges. The yarn kept wanting to bunch up on the selvedges and pack in really tightly. I was thinking for a time that I would just keep these and use them since I don't care about that as much. Since they were a gift, I wanted them as perfect as possible. But the selveges were definitely not straight and even. Oh, also, I had quite a few little chenille pulls in the yarn. It must have been when the tension wasn't even and it would poke out the backside somehow. I surely didn't see anything like that from the topside. At first I thought they were skips but they are just little pulls.