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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Handspun Silk & Camel

At CNCH in April, I bought some wonderful fiber that I've been slowly spinning. To savor the feel of it and dream of while I'll do with it. I still don't have a project in mind because I just love the process of spinning. This yarn is a 3 ply silk and baby camel with a fine thread of shiny thread to hold it together and give a bit more shine. I think I must have over 500 yards. It was the most expensive fiber I ever bought at $12 an ounce.

Knitted Jewelry?

OK. I never would have imagined that one could knit attractive jewelry. I took a little 2 hour workshop a few weeks ago in the summer schedule of the Blacksheep Guild offshoot called Beginning Weaver's Group. In the summer, the weavers delve into different things than they normally would get into. I had no idea this necklace would come out so pretty. I wore it to the dentist's office the other day and got lots of comments from the ladies in the office about it. Even the dentist asked some questions about how I made it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Crazy Daze Around the Household

It has been crazy around the household in recent weeks. Even more than usual. Two weeks ago, Jim and I wound up making an unexpected quick trip to Brookings, Oregon to pick up an 8-shaft Baby Wolf loom. It is in pristine condition and was relatively cheap. I have been wanting to have a smallish loom to attach my Schacht Commby unit to. The Commby unit lifts all 8-shafts and works great on it. It seems that a lot of my weaving can be done on a smaller loom. The Commby has a few problems because it only works on Windows 98 with an old version of Weave It. It also can't seem to see our server at home. It will reach the outside though so we were able to attach a .wif file to hotmail and retrieve it on the computer. I think this old Toshiba is pre-usb ports so you can't stick a thumb drive in it.

I also sold the Mighty Wolf this weekend. That sale was unexpected as well. I didn't even have to advertise to get rid of it. I had put an ad at KBB-Spin saying if anyone knew anyone who was selling an 8-shaft Baby Wolf to let me know and some lady sent me an email saying that if anyone contacted me saying they had a Mighty Wolf, she was looking for one. So when I decided I would sell it, I emailed her back and she picked it up this weekend. A total lark, that one.

This last weekend was filled with guild activities. Saturday was spent at the History Park in San Jose at the Serendipity Spinners meeting. Spinning outside under an ancient oak tree. It can't get much better than that.

Sunday was spent with my Fiber Artisans group. We had a field trip to Mt. Hamilton to visit Lotus and Keith. Keith is a telescope technician and Lotus give tours and sets up the summer concert programs at Lick Observatory. I have had some really fun and interesting tours of the telescopes with them over the last few years. We ate lunch out on the deck that overlooks the back mountains (away from San Jose - on the other side). It was a lovely day and we all worked on w.i.p.'s. I did some spindle spinning - some beautiful camel and tussah silk I bought at CNCH, Sandy was putting a lining into a leather jacket and Lotus, Frank and Phyllis did Sprang. Lunches were courtesy of Lee's Sandwiches, Sandy brought brownies and Lotus made a lemon pie that was very reminescent of lemon bars and quite yummy. We took our time driving back down the hill in the afternoon and stopped to enjoy and pick some wild flowers on the way down. I picked up a little hitch hiker tick that Phyllis picked off me and threw out the window. Upon getting home, I got a through once over to make sure there weren't any other hitch hikers coming along on my clothing or skin. I was pest free thank goodness.

Here are a couple pictures of some of the beautiful wild flowers that we picked. The colors were much more vibrant in their natural setting under the sun. But this will give you an idea.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Amazing Collapse Weave Workshop with Ann Field

Kimberly and I were in an amazing workshop with Ann Field the last couple of days. It was so cool! We had the looms prewarped so we were ready to start weaving right away. Collapse weave is so neat because when you cut your weaving off the loom and put it in warm water, it transforms into this amazing cloth. So fun!

And this is what it looks like after it's cut off the loom and swished into warm soapy water.

Words cannot describe the texture or illusive transparency that can be acquired with this technique. The long and the short of it is that the loom is warped with alternating sizes of wool across the warp. Both yarns are 100% wool but one is so fine that it looks like thread and the other looks to be about lace weight wool. They are put into the reed differently. The larger wool is put into the reed 2 per dent and the finer one is put into the reed as 1,1,2. The rest is standard warping. The rest of the magic is accomplished in the weft with really fine lycra and alternating bands of other kinds of larger yarns with and without lycra in them.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I know I promised pictures but . . .

life just got in the way this weekend. I had the grand kids over on Thursday and Friday, I had them until 11:00am on Saturday, then a spinning guild meeting from 11:30 - 1:30, then home to warp the loom for a collapse weave 2 day workshop with Ann Fields tomorrow in Palo Alto. I warped the loom from about 2:00pm, until the evening. It shouldn't have taken that long but she wanted us to do back to front warping which we have only done maybe once. So we were having to read how to do it from reference material and it was slow going. But we did get the warp on with the threads hanging loose on the front of the loom on Saturday night by about 7:00 or 8:00pm. Yesterday morning (Sunday) I went out early to get some errands done. But it was a crazy beautiful day outside and people were out in droves. It was hard to get around, there were so many people on the road and in Orchard Supply Hardware. So the afternoon yesterday was spent threading the heddles and lastly sleying the reed and tieing on. Which is now finished except for checking and spreading the warp - which I will do tonight. I'll also get all the little gadgets together that Ann requests us to bring which includes 3 shuttles. I did find a threading error last night late but it was very near the end of the warp so it was fairly painless to correct (no repair heddles needed - yay!). Talk soon . . .

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

CNCH - 2010

We had a rip roaring good time at CNCH last weekend. It was three days of classes, spinning corral, market, Saturday night dinner and lots of fun. Friday, I took a class from Daryl Lancaster called "Warp Fast". It seemed to be mostly about warping with a paddle which Daryl demonstrated how to do. She had a very comprehensive slide show that showed all the tools that she didn't have room to bring in her luggage including the AVL warping wheel. I thought I'd be able to go home early that night and spend some time with my honey but I found out that the fashion show was Friday night. So I hung around and went to that. It was fabulous. They all did an amazing job.

Saturday I had a class all day with Daryl Lancaster called "Custom Fit & Fabulous". It was a class on how to make a custom fitted jacket pattern. As usual, Daryl was fabulous, she's a wonderful teacher and so much fun! I squeezed in a few minutes to go to the market on lunch break and bought some yarn. Saturday night was the big dinner, presentations and speeches. It lasted until about 9:30pm. Syne Mitchell was our keynote speaker and she did a fabulous job. Her talk was called "Weaving the Web". She talked about how the web has helped spread the word of weaving to many weavers that might not have known about it. The web also helps us weavers stay connected with each other to find out what is going on out in the weaving world. It's also a great place to pick up techniques , used weaving equipment and yarns for weaving.

Sunday was a half day of classes from 8:30-11:30. I took a class from Robyn Spady called "Weaving TNT". It was 3 hours of hints and weaving tricks. There were some amazingly helpful hints & tricks here. The only bad thing (if there is one) is that there were no photos or drawings of the things she talks about. The reason, I believe, is because she wants to sell a monograph booklet at the end of the year with photos of these things. It would have been really good if she had that booklet available for the class to buy so that we could write notes in the book and take it home right there.

So on Saturday night I was talking to one of my weaving buddies and heard that she was selling her Roberta electric spinning wheel for a song. I had been looking at them for a while and had been considering buying one and was a bit dismayed that I had missed this opportunity to pick one up. She said that she was using the proceeds from the Roberta to apply to an electric wheel that they were selling at the show called a Hansen electric wheel. It's only 4 pounds and is so light that you can put it into your suitcase when travelling. So, since I got a fairly hefty tax refund I wasn't expecting, I used part of it to buy the wheel. I also got a Woolee Winder on it, extra bobbins & a portable battery. It spins like a dream and I'm so happy I bought it.

I also bought a boat load of yarn from this guy who is at all the shows. He sells yarn for wholesale pricing. I bought 2 large bags of yarn. I'll post photos of all this booty later when I have time to take picture of it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Columbia River Drive

These two photos were taken from the car as we were whizzing by. I'm surprised they came out as good as they did. I have no idea what mountain this was. It was very cold outside though.

These photos were taken after Hood River and before Washougal. Brrrrrrrrr!

Earth Boxes

We don't have much viable land to plant a garden in the back yard. We have a 9' triangle in one corner that is the primary growing area. However, tomatoes don't like to be planted in the same space for more than a couple of years. This year, we came up with an alternative - earth boxes. They are a container growing system that comes with special fertilizer and a package of dolomite (calcium). It's supposed to help you grow amazing plants and vegetables. This is what they look like now:

We planted the corn as seeds the day before we left for Washington. They have grown about 3" in that one week - although we heard that the weather wasn't that great a lot of that time. This corn looks very close together but this is the recommended distance apart, that the manufacturer of the earth boxes recommends. The package says they should be spaced about a foot apart. I guess we'll find out which is best - won't we :o).

Last week of March 2010 in Washington State

We went to see Jim's son and his family including our glorious grandchild Ella Jacqueline Wolf. What a love she is. She was 9 weeks old when we were there and was getting a personality. She was just starting to talk and smile.

While we were there, we took the opportunity to do 3 mill tours that we (I) had been wanting to do: The two Pendleton factories (1 in Pendleton OR and 1 in Waushougal, WA) and the Bob's Redmill Factory and Grain Store in Portland. People at work can't figure out why I'd want to go to these places :o). I guess they aren't weavers :o).

The Pendleton factory in Pendleton OR is the place where they make the indian blankets and it is also where they have the electronic jacquard looms. They look like normal large wide electronic looms but because they are jacquards, which means that each thread is controlled individually across hundreds of threads. They are extremely expensive looms and cost probably twice as much as a normal loom. They are absolutely amazing to watch. The shuttles go faster than the eye can see. The tour was only about 20 minutes long but was fun nonetheless.

The next day, as we were going back to Portland, as we were going right by there anyway, we stopped in Waushougal, WA at the big (primary) Pendleton factory. This factory has regular looms and makes plain weave, stripes and plaids. This place was huge. It looked like the size of a couple of football fields. We had a nice long hour tour and everything was explained in detail. They would not let me take pictures though - I suppose because of some proprietary designs that they were creating. It was really fun to watch the weavers. They actually do a lot of the work by hand still and it is very labor intensive.

The next day, the day we were leaving, we took the opportunity in Portland to go through the Bob's Redmill factory and store. That tour was lots of fun. They kept us outside of the food areas though, behind glass, presumably to keep things clean in there. Everyone who worked in those areas wore their hair in nets - whether it be the face or their heads for sanitation.

It was a great trip.