summer flowers

summer flowers

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The End is Near

I can't believe the time has been passing and I have not been getting anything on the blog.  I had wanted to get a couple done each month, but I have really lost that race. 

Winter Solstice, a time of new beginnings...the days grow longer and the sun shines on us longer each day.  

We have had a slow start to the winter weather here.  We actually had some days in the 60's during December, so it is hard to be in the spirit of the season.  I'm not complaining about the weather...I like the fall and spring, and dislike the winter and the mild December has been great.  I do like the look of snow on the the trees, I enjoyed it for a few hours last week, and I'm sure that I will be sick of it before long, so I need to just enjoy the days as they come and be grateful for each day.
Frosted Leaves from a previous December
I have been having more than a few changes and happenings that have been going on.  I worked on my weight (the doctor said I was on the road to diabetes, and the knees were having trouble with moving that weight) and lost the first twenty pounds.  I hope after the holidays, I will be able to continue the loss and be on the road to better health.  I really felt better on the diet and have continued to be careful...but holiday eating means lots a great food and lots of sugary treats.  I have been able to maintain the loss, but not lose any more.  That is what I was hoping for during the season.  It would be nice to get a little more energy in my life.  

I tried some weaving sales this winter.  I participated in the Holiday Craft Sale at Pioneer Craft house and the Holiday Art Crawl started by a friend.  Both of these were rather small venues, just a backdrop area to display.  I managed to do quite well on the sales and sold all my towels and many of the scarves.  I have not been trying to sell much for several years and decided this year to get started.  It took a while for me to get going but I was happy with the results this year.  I need to consider other venues for sales next year.

I have been getting some work done.  I have been enjoying some spinning.  I joined a SAL/KAL (spin-along/knit-along) and I almost have a short sweater done.  It was with the Greenwood Fiberworks group on Ravelry.  I had bought the roving as a treat this summer and spun it up.  It is almost knitted.  It ended up very orange in color (one ply of the painted roving and one ply of a solid rust), but I think over a green or purple dress, it will look great.  Maybe I need a long sleeved shirt in those colors to wear it with jeans...  
Just need to finish the sleeves

I looked at a bobbin of spun yarn that I had done with another of the wonderful rovings from Greenwood Fiberworks.  On this one, I only had four ounces, not enough for knitting much.  And the yarn was too course.  I had spun this a while ago and I don't know if I had any plans for it.  At least, I didn't write anything down in the bag it was stored in.  I decided a scarf/shawl in a chained 3 ply yarn, so I unspun and respun the yarn finer.  (I just re-spun it the other direction, then chain plyed it.  Now it is a slightly finer yarn and is 3 ply instead on singles.  I think it will work up well in a knitted scarf/shawl.  I know I do not need another one of these, but maybe I can put it in a give away box for a future gift.
Original Yarn

Re-spun Yarn
I also finally got the blanket off the Leclerc loom.  I found that the back beam needed to be higher (I just had to attach the side cross piece to a shorter notch, and the cross piece below the back beam needs to be filled and re-screwed (the screw hole has been striped).  I also found that the eight dent reed we have at the studio is too thick for the beater.  I managed to use it, but I should try to have the top section of the beater routed out.  I need to have that opening larger.  The wood workers at the craft house may be able to do it for me.  It is a good loom and I was surprised how well I was able to weave 60 inches wide.  I learned how much to throw the shuttle so that it stopped before flying across the room.  Of course, the first few inches of weaving saw me chasing the shuttle all over.  I did get into a rhythm of throwing and leaning the opposite direction to catch the shuttle.  Not a fast rhythmic weave, but a pleasant weave.  It turns out my DD likes the blanket (she should she picked out the yarn for a sweater some years ago...she then decided that she wanted different colors for the sweater and this yarn got put away to ripen some before use).
Errors corrected and ready to full

My classes progressed well this year, only a couple of hick-ups.  I hope to add more classes this year, and get some additional teachers at the craft house.  We added felting and spinning this year.  I had a great time with the felting class.  We did a needle felted bear and when I was finished it was recognizable as a bear!  My previous attempts were not as successful.
Beth also taught a felt class that we made a picture.  I have always loved this technique, both Beth's work and some that I had seen years ago with another felter.  I was excited with the picture I did.  The wonderful sunset picture I based it on is my nephew's work.  I hope to frame it somehow to show the piece off.
My little Bear

Felted picture with original behind
I still have to work on emptying a couple of looms that have been sitting forever for too long. That needs to be one of my goals for the first part of the year.  The local weaver's guild gave a challenge for the year...Weave at least 10 minutes each day.  I'm sure my first few days will be spent cleaning up around the looms so that I can get to them.  I need to focus on the Big Mac and the Baby Wolf to get both of them emptied.  I want to replace all the heddles on the Big Mac (16 shafts) I already bought the heddles and they have been waiting quite a while.  And I want to design and weave some new towels on the Baby Wolf to replace those I sold this month.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Too Many Looms

No, I don't have too many looms...Is that possible?  But right now I have too many looms with tired warps...warps that have been on too long.  I also have several warps that have been put on in the past few weeks, for classes and such, but mostly I feel like I need to empty some looms and make room for new ideas in weaving,

I have warps on three looms at the PCH weaving studio where I teach.  I have not had too many rentals on those looms, so I warp them when I need a big project done and my big looms at home are tied up with something else.
60" Leclerc with test warp after loom repair
The Leclerc is the last of the floor looms that I have repaired.  It needed new sectional beam parts, a new brake and a new brake pedal.  I put a warp on to test my repairs on each loom. For this one, I put on a 58" blanket.  I think that I will like it once it is woven.  The yarn is a worsted weight knitting yarn that I bought for a sweater for my DD.  I started the sweater and she decided that she wanted red and white instead...
Once I got the rhythm of how to throw the shuttle the width of the weaving without having it fly across the room...I moved on to other things.  I need to get the blanket off and have the loom available for students to rent, it is a great loom to weave a large piece...not many of us have the room for such a large loom in our homes.

The little test for a rag bag that I put on the Hammett 1 has been languishing for too long.  I was a little disappointed in the width...I'm not sure it will make a good bag...and I am not a big fan of rag weaving so I left it after the first test of how much weaving I got out of one "fat square" of quilting fabric.  It is the perfect color for this season, maybe I can get myself weaving and enjoy the colors.

The rug on the Macomber was really a problem.  Not the weaving or anything like that, but the fact I had to use a PCH loom. 
Warp on and threaded
Weaving the rugs
 I should have woven off the yardage on my Macomber at home months ago.  I have been so slow to finish the weaving on my loom at home that I needed to use the PCH loom to get a commission done.  Last summer I had to use the PCH looms to put on the warp weighted loom material...again because my big loom at home is tied up with the yardage. 
Just another catch-all
I really need to empty my Macomber.  It has had that warp on for over a year!  And it has been so long since I wove that the piles of stuff on the loom are getting worse.

I have the same problem on my Baby Wolf.  I have not woven for so long that the weaving is hidden.

These towels have needed to be woven for a long time.  I am not having fun weaving them because the yarn should have had a warp dressing.  It is singles linen and works OK when I keep the warp and weft wet.  But there has been a lot of shredding on the selvedges.

I took a fun workshop last week, and of course it required a new loom warped.  I would have liked to warp the new Woolhouse for the workshop, that is what I bought this loom for.  But it has a yardage project on it.  Again, it has been on the loom since I got the loom and oiled it.  This is the test warp for the new loom.  I put on some handspun warp and found a second handspun to weave a plaited twill.
I have four or five yards on the loom and with a table loom and eight shafts it takes some time and concentration to weave.  But if I would just get started and put some time in it, I'm sure I could develop a rhythm and get some yardage done.

Horoscope weaving
So I used my Baby Mac instead.  It is a great loom for a workshop but now I have got an additional loom with a warp to be finished.  I probably got about half the warp done at the workshop, so now it is on my list of looms to empty.
The poor loom had a pretty rugged trip home and needs some TLC to get it in weaving order again, so that I can finish the weaving.

I have been enjoying teaching and weaving with the rigid heddle looms I have.  I have a bunch of examples of pick-up stick patterns on the Cricket.  They need to be done and off the loom in the next two weeks for the class.  Yes, I think I have almost emptied that gold 3/2 pearl cotton cone of yarn, there are several samples and examples using this yarn.
Yes, lots of warp to get off the loom.
For the end of the Beginning RH class, I demonstrated indirect warping.  Now I have a half warped loom to finish then weave.  The good thing is that it is an example that can be used for the Pick-up Stick class.  It will be a Bronson Lace scarf when I am done.
Rigid Heddle loom with new warp
It is a pretty simple warp, but the weaving will be using a pick-up stick to get the Bronson Lace pattern on the full length.
The other night, I spent some time at PCH and finished the rugs on the loom done.
I wove to the very end of the warp!

Hot off the loom
Now, I need to hem the small rug and finish the fringe on the larger rug.  I think they really turned out well and I'm pleased with the dyed warp that I used on them.

However,  I need to demonstrate sectional warping for my class.  That means I need to warp another loom.  Should I make it a real warp, or just put some yarn on the loom and then cut it all off?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Weaving in Bits and Pieces

I feel like my weaving has only been in bits and pieces.  I have put on a warp for a demonstration at the Great Basin Fiber Festival, a demonstration at the Gem Fair, a TV spot with Big Buddha and samples for classes.  I have not finished the big stuff I have on two of my looms.  I think they are getting dusty from sitting for so long!
Here is the plaid one
The towels for the fair were rainbow so that they would attract attention to the Mary M. Atwater Weaver's Guild booth.  This is the plaid one I wove when I got home...the last (fifth) towel.  When we were at the fair, we would be talking to the visitors,  so a simpler pattern was needed there.  All the towels worked out well.
All five of the towels
One of the men visiting the booth felt one of my heavy weight towels and said "That is a man's towel".  They are heavier, but I like to use them in my kitchen.  
These are 8/4 carpet warp, I wonder how the colors will hold up.  The yellow usually softens pretty fast.  I need to put one of these in a kitchen to test them.

I didn't get a shot of the TV yardage on the loom.  I got it woven off and have about 4 1/2 yards of fabric.  I would like to make some pants with it, I think.  It washed up to a pretty good weight for pants.  Maybe I could make some narrow pants to wear under a skirt.  I also knit a tunic with that yarn and it could go over everything.

When I needed another demonstration for the Gem Fair, I remembered the little Grant looms in the closet at PCH.  I pulled out one of those and scrubbed 40 years of dirt off of it.  After I oiled it, the loom looked pretty good.  I put all the heddles in order and luckily there was not rust on the heddles or the reed.
After Scrubbing
After Oiling
It really is a sweet little loom and easy to carry, so it is going to be my new "take" loom when I need to do a demonstration.  I did end up using it for a Heritage Days demo that weekend also. Wow, two demonstrations in one week, I have not done that for a long time.  I guess I am off the hook for a few months!  Good thing, a gentleman was playing around with the loom and almost finished the warp I put on.  He was enjoying his weaving.
I originally looked at these looms as a great loom for kids.  It is only two shafts and the handle for switching the shafts is a simple mechanism.  There are three more of them in the closet, maybe when I get them all cleaned, I can think about a class to use them.

 The other weaving I have been doing is samples for classes.  This is an lace pick-up design  
RH lace pick-up
for the new rigid heddle class.  This is the type of pickup where the pickup stick is in back of the heddle and it stays in until you want to change the design.  This piece was just 3 "pick-ups" and I got a nice pattern.  I think I need to try the Bronson variation for a scarf.

I also warped a 3 inch demo for my Summer & Winter class.  It is just enough to see the patterns and for me to demonstrate the various liftings that we are doing.  Next week we will be talking about Bronson lace and I threaded an eight shaft sample for each of the students to weave.

See what I mean, just a bunch of little bits.  I guess in the long run they do add up to some weaving, but I think the two large pieces waiting for me to finish are hanging over my head and causing the feelings of inadequacy.  

Well, I'd best get washing.  I measured a warp for a commission rug.  I need to dye the warp and the yarn is not scoured, so that is tonight's job.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

And Things just keep on keeping on

I have been experiencing mood shifts.  The doctor has been trying to find the right balance to help me feel better.  I don't like taking pills...shouldn't I be ok without needing adjustments??!!!

I do feel more relaxed...less stressed about things, but that lack of stress is also making it so I do not get as much done.  That is the part that is bothering me most.  I know that my problems are small compared to so many other people, so I should adjust and live with it, but change is hard and growing old is definitely "not for sissy's".

On the bright side, last May, my son got reservations to stay at the campground in the park at Arches National Park.  I had not stayed there for about 20 years.  I was so excited and finally the time came.  We were at the part the first week of September.  (The bad part about needing to do the reservations so early is the family event I ended up missing.)  

Staying in the park is beautiful.  Here is our camp site.

The red rock country is the color if my soul and staying there really helped renew my spirit.  Just watching the rocks and the weather is fun, the deer are not bothered by us and just go about their business. 

My son got the reservations so he could do some photography, so he took off early each morning and around sunset to get some good pictures.  I have not seen his pictures yet, but I managed to get a few that pleased me.

Our first full day there was for hiking to Dark Angel.  We had made it out to Double O Arch some years ago, but not all the way to Dark Angel and I'm pleased that I finally made it.  I may not be able to hike that far again, but it was a beautiful hike.
Double O is a double arch, my son wandered off to get some shots, and there were people climbing on the top for their pictures.  I was pleased to find a shady spot and have some lunch.

From a different angle and from quite a distance away from it, Dark Angel looks like an angel with her head bowed.  From this angle it just looks massive...can you see the little figure at the right of the monolith...that is my son.  He did manage to get a shot of the four of us under the rock, I hope it worked out.

On the way back, we saw beautiful view of the red rock fins.  Luckily, I did not kill myself sliding down a fin, my son caught me and I did suffer from some heat exhaustion, I needed to drink more water.
The hike was about 7 miles round trip, and that was a long one for an old lady like me, and my even older DH.

Second day we mostly drove, took pictures and did a harrowing 4-wheel trip to Eye of the Whale.  My son, the driver, didn't think it was that bad...but I had to get out of the car and walk down one of the scared me that bad.

I took a picture of my son taking a picture of me standing in the Eye of the Whale arch.  You can barely see him in the center of the picture.  We all waited  in the shade while he did his work.

My daughter managed to climb down to check out the wild life in one of the pot holes.  It is amazing that aquatic life manages in these dessert regions!  She always manages to find some.  On the primitive trail back from Dark Angel, we managed to wade through one pot hole, it was only about knee high at the deepest.

Although we didn't drive out to the Window's area, we did manage to get a nice shot of it from the distance.  Again you can see the Henry mountains and the rain trying to fall.

I had to get a picture of my favorite rock formation.  In the center to the right is Sheep rock.  I always love to see it.  To the left of it are the Three Gossips, but as you drive past them they really look like four gossips.  The one on the right has the fourth one standing behind her whispering in her ear!

That afternoon, we had reservations for the ranger led tour through the Fiery Furnace.  I felt like my knee would hold people body had enough.  So we checked me into a motel and the others had a great time on the hike.

Our last day, we had to go to Canyonland National Park.  This is the 50th anniversary of the park, so we did a drive through and stopped for pictures, of course.

Canyonland seems to go on forever.  The views are magnificent.  Can you see the rain falling in the distance?

The Henry Mountains are in the distance and in the mid-ground, you can see where the river has cut it's way though the rock.  You can even see a little patch of blue river in the center of the picture.

Yes that is a dirt road going down the cliff (a very steep road.) and a little white camper on is way down.  There are lots of old dirt roads around and in Canyonlands from the uranium boom from the 50's.  There is so little rainfall in a year that these roads do not heal fast.

After looking at the pictures documenting the great trip, I am so happy.  I need to just enjoy each day and worry less about what I think I am not getting done.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Great Basin Fiber Fair

I spent last night writing down all the things I have finished in the past couple of months.  I feel better about my craft, I guess that I really am getting something done.  I'll try to share some of it with you when I get pictures taken.

Today I am just going to show what I did this weekend.  I had a wonderful time at the Great Basin Fiber Fair.  It seems to just get better each year and I was amazed at the place this year.  It is held in the Salt Lake Equestrian Center arena.  Not the best venue, but I am pleased with just how nice it is.  We have booths around the perimeter of the arena, but at the rate it is growing, they will soon need more space there.

My rainbow warp at the Fair
I had thought I could let people weave on the loom I brought, but I decided I wanted to have the towels for myself and I wove most of the warp.  I think I will get five towels off the warp...maybe I can "gift" a couple.

The warp is 8/4 cotton and makes my heavy towels.  I had one man feel the finished towels that I had in this weight and he said they were "man" towels.   I mostly used black weft and wove in random, or border stripes in them.  I think that there is one more on the warp and I will probably weave the full weft in rainbow stripes for a plaid like effect.
A bit of the weaving with a yellow stripe
I had a lot of fun talking to old friends and students, some I only see a couple of times a year.  It makes me want to go to more of the festivals to "meet-up".  I was also able to meet new people and hopefully get some people to take my weaving classes, I love making new weavers. Several of them talked to me about the looms they have and how they can get them working and make things on them, I hope I was able to send them in the right places to get them going.  

And yes I did make some purchases, I should have kept them all in the car instead of taking the first day's purchases home.  It's like I forgot how much I had purchases and on the second day I started all over again!
Two Days Full
I knew I would not get away from Carolyn's booth easily.  I love spinning her hand-painted rovings.  They draft beautifully and her color lines just speak to me.  I started by getting two more braids of "Jumbleberry" (I have two from her fiber club and want to try a "faux ikat" warp), Then I spotted "Peacock" I wish there were more of those, I only got two and may have to contact "Greenwood Fiberworks" for more (I have a beautiful blue cone of yarn that I accidentally bought two of, so I need a multi-colored yarn to weave with it), then I felt the new 50% yak/50% got three braids of "Bountiful" and I don't know what I will do with it, but right now just rubbing it on my body is enough.
I was also mesmerized by a couple of her "Carded Sparkle Batts".  Her daughter often does them and I really enjoy spinning them, although I seldom have plans for them when I purchase. These are purple and red...they look like the "Red Hat" ladies...maybe that means that I need to do something for Mom with them.
I also succumbed to some yarn she had.  I first of her hand-pained yarn I bought was some sock yarn last summer and I really enjoyed the color movement as I knitted it.  This time I got 2 skeins of "Calypso" a wonderful combination of lavender, green and blue.  It is an alpaca/silk combination and is 875 yards per 100 gr skein.  It should weave up great...I don't think there is a repeat that I could use for "faux ikat", so it will probably just be a random color piece.

I discovered a "new to me" knitting shop in the valley, "Knittin' Pretty".  She carries a great selection of yarns, but the "Mountain Colors" called to me and I got two rovings and two skeins of Weaver's Wool Quarters.  I love the colors in this companies line.

I spotted a new spindle at "Greensleeve's Spindles" the first day...on the second day it was still calling to me, so I finally bought it.  I think it is perfect to spin that wonderful yak/silk for a lace weight yarn.

I also got a button from my favorite glass button artist...Jodie Mcdougall Studios, but this is an assignment from her.  I need to design and weave a bag to put this wonderful button on.  It has two koi swimming at different levels in the button...what a great challenge to make something to show off this button!

The last thing is a couple of bobbin lace pillows, book, and bobbins.  A woman was selling the lot for a good price, and I plan to take it to bobbin lace guild to pass it on to someone starting out.  It is a great price for a couple of pillows, a really good way to get started.  And I have too many pillows for me to work on.

Well, this blog ended up being a shopping list, but maybe in the next year there will be some of the woven, spun, or knitted pieces from this collection of fun.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Yes, and How are the looms doing?

I have been getting some weaving done.  It was nice to have the warp-weighted looms picked up, cleared out the garage and tidied up the PCH studio.
The three finished looms.
I hope they all work out well for the movie scenes.  I did get an email that the designer was pleased with them.

I have also been having a lot of fun with the little Cricket loom.  I got the Dogwood Runner off, but I still need to hem it.  I decided to put on as big of a warp that I felt the loom could handle.  It is 15" wide and 5 yards long.
Threaded full width
Wound a very full warp beam
I used the cotton/rayon slub that I used for the summer scarves last year, here

but because it is so fine, I doubled it in all the eyes on the reed.  I then wound leftover yarns in the denim color range for all the slots.  Because the leftover yarns are thicker, I chose to put them in the slots.

Weaving is going well the fabric looks good.  Will I have enough for a simple jacket?

Close-up of the weave
Although I wound the warp very carefully, the slot yarns (the thicker ones) seemed loose, and the more I wove the looser they got.  Maybe those yarns have more stretch than the cotton/rayon slub.  I have added a cardboard filler on the back beam, but I will probably have to weight a stick on the warp beam before I finish weaving the warp, I think I have only woven about one yard...I was so excited to get weaving I didn't put a tape measure to check...maybe I can still add it.

Rolled cardboard added to help get a clean shed

The blanket on the Leclerc 60" loom is actually weaving up well!  I was surprised how quickly I went from throwing the shuttle across the room, to just throwing it to the opposite edge of the warp.  I still slide pretty fast across the beam to catch the shuttle, but it is not as hard as it was when I started.

But now when I look at the piece, the squares are "square".  This yarn will probably take-up a lot, because it is a knitting worsted, so by blocks will shrink to flat rectangles.  Oh well, at least I am learning to weave on this loom and the parts I replaced are working well.

The two looms that had crackle samples on them, also got woven off .  The samples turned out fine, but I am still questioning my skill and knowledge of crackle.  I need to do some more work on it.
I tried several versions of crackle.  This sample shows the traditional (overshot style), classical style (with no tabby) and classical style with three colors.  Previously I had only woven it overshot fashion.  I really like the three color weaving, it has lots of room to explore.  Wilson's book is great with this and I want to work through more of her examples.

And here is a sample woven in several versions of "Italian fashion".  I found several different versions of "Italian fashion" in several books and wove them to compare.  Interesting, and it answered a question I ran into reading a new crackle book.  "Why is my Italian Fashion different from yours?"  I guess there have been a number of interpretations of this lifting method and all of them are interesting.  I tried two of them with three colors and with two colors.

I have been fascinated with the Italian fashion as explained by Mary M. Atwater.  She talks about dissecting a towel from Italy and getting the treadling.  When I reread the information in the Shuttlecraft book, it states that the towel was all white and in a "soft" cotton.  So I tried it all in white and then in white and colored to see the pattern better.

My sampler uses much thicker yarn than she probably used, but I think the ratio is pretty good for the warp I had on the loom.

I feel like I need to explore crackle more.  I really want to put it on more than 4 shafts and I have been reading information about the crackle study group in Complex Weavers.  I will probably have to borrow their samples sometime in the future.  For now I need to get my crackle notes is better order and work on the possibility of a future class.

We I did get some weaving done, and I did empty some looms, but I also warped the looms again and am trying to figure what I want to do.  The Big Mac and the Baby Wolf have not been touched and I really need to clean up around them so I can get weaving.  I am teaching less this summer so maybe I can get more of my weaving done.

Thanks to my doctor visit and some changes in prescriptions and eating habits, I seem to be sleeping better and getting more done during the day...not napping as much.  I hope that continues to improve and I continue to get more energy for the things around me and my craft.