summer flowers

summer flowers

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Ups and Downs of September

This month has been a roller coaster ride.  I finished my classes for a couple of weeks and had some time to enjoy family during the first of the month.  My sister's son got married and I had fun with her grand-kids and seeing family.
Sweet little kids

Beautiful little kids all dressed up
As I do not have grand-kids, I love to see my siblings grand-kids!

A couple of days after the wedding, our family got to fly out to Southern California for a few days of fun and more family.  I do not get to see my Cummings cousins in Southern California very often, so it was a treat to have dinner with them and visit for an evening.  Before we went to the restaurant, Dustin found a great picture opportunity and I took some pictures of the Point Vincente Lighthouse.
One of the pictures I took
I can't wait to see what my son is able to do with his pictures, but I got some pretty good memories on mine.

We got to go to the Getty Malibu and I really enjoyed walking around and looking at the old Roman and Etruscan items.  It reminded me of the museums and places that we visited in Southern France last year.  Do you think I can use this design and make a color and weave pattern?
Interesting mosaic pattern
We also did the usual tourist things, we went to Disneyland...after the day we were exhausted and decided that we do not need to do that again soon.
He said it was a requirement...everyone has to ride on "It's a Small World"!
We also did Hollywood and Vine, the wax museum, Ripley's, and Medieval times.
Medieval times is a dinner (without eating utensils, and when we were served he said dinner tonight was "baby dragon, but it tastes just like chicken") and a show with jousting, beautifully trained horses, sword fights and a falcon demonstration.
Here you can see "our" red knight...we were sitting in the red section.
I had a lot more fun at the wax museum than I thought I would...we hammed it up with several of the displays.
Here I am with Moses
I got to pose with Moses, and look at the piece I based the weaving on for the film company.
Here you can see my version of the Moses blanket.  

DS trying to get the gun.

My DD even got into the act.
It really was enjoyable to spend the time with my family and do some crazy things.  Being a tourist is a good thing some times.

The weekend after we got back, my beginning weaving class started and I found out that we may not be able to continue teaching at the site.  The Pioneer Craft House (which consists of pottery, jewelry, woodworking and other crafts) that I teach through has been in existence for almost seventy years and for over fifty years we have been on the same site that was purchased for us to use.  Times change and now we may have to move.  I don't know where we would go and if the classes will continue.  My hope is that we can work out a plan with the city, but it has caused some sleepless nights and is really and downer for the end of this month.  

I have been weaving some more pinwheel scarves and that always helps my attitude. 

I found some wool/alpaca yarn in the stash and since the dummy warp was still on the loom I figured I would just use it and tie on.  Of course, it was not as simple as that.  This yarn was more yards per pound and needed to be sett closer so I needed to do more work, but the warp is now on.  I decided to put on as long of a warp as I could with the three colors and just weave until the yarn is all gone.
The first scarf just used the gray and white.

Here is a close up on the loom.
I also got a new rigid heddle loom...I know overkill.  I wanted to try some double weave on a rigid heddle and mine has some limits using two heddles, so I bought a Schacht Flip.  I signed up to do a WAL that is a double weave blanket in cotton and got the kit for the yarn.  With our vacation and my disappointment with the Pioneer Craft House, I have not kept up with the group, but last night got it threaded through the second heddle and ready to try weaving double width.  
It was quite easy threading the second heddle and putting in the pick-up sticks, so I am afraid that I did something wrong.  This evening I will try weaving and see what happens.  With luck, I will be ok and able to get two layers, if not...then I try threading again.  I know several of the participants had to do that!  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Autumn is Coming

It has been one of those months, I can't get myself to get to anything.  We had our family camp-out for four days at the first of the month.  I did not even take any pictures.  I did enjoy the quiet and just sat and stared a lot.  I also took a couple of books to read.  I think we were all a little more subdued this year after the emotional fireworks last year.  (I thought my siblings had out grown that type of thing.)  I think this year we felt we were all walking on egg shells and afraid to cause more stress and tears.  But, I think last year's problems are weighing heavy on some of us and that is part of my "down" days.

I did re-sley the warp to get it back to the wide scarf size and I will put on another scarf series.
re-sley the dummy warp
These scarves will be for winter sales.  I got a notice about another Christmas Sale in the area, this is one that I used to get in all the time.  So I think I will apply this year.  That means that I will need to have product for both shows and I need to get weaving.

Pinwheel from alpaca scarves
I want to do the pinwheel that I did on the previous series of scarves.  These will be the wider and shorter version of scarves that I do.  I think I can get about seven out of the yarn I found in my stash.  This yarn is a wool and alpaca blend with some nylon and it feels so soft around the neck.
Yarn that I found
I am putting the white and gray as the warp, then I will have a couple pinwheels with white and gray and a couple with fawn and white...then whatever is left for the rest of the scarves.

I still haven't taken pictures of the commission, I need to get that done as they will be going out in the mail the first of next week.  We leave for Southern California next week and I have to ship these out before I leave.  

My classes have finished, and will not start again until after the trip.  I need to use this time to get my act together in the house.  I wake up with a list of 3 or 4 things to get done that day and end up at night with one or two done...not a good return.  

I know I should not be hard on myself, but I am experiencing a "down" time.  I'm close to tears a lot, and I don't know why.  I need to just sit and write feelings for a while and see what comes out on the page.  (That is sometimes helpful to me when I experience these days.)   I still have the good thoughts, smile when I see flowers, laugh at the funny things in life.  Yeah, I know, I just need to relax and enjoy my life.

I have been working on the rigid heddle scarf.  It is the Mermaid scarf from the cover of Handwoven.  Mine looks nothing like that one and I call mine the Woodland scarf because of the colors.  But it is progressing nicely.  I weave on it when I watch Netflix, I'm watching "West Wing"  and that show gives me a good feeling.

Woodland scarf
I love the colors.  The warp is a rust colored 3/2 pearl cotton with a tabby of 10/2 rust pearl cotton.  The pattern yarn is a slow color change yarn called "Poems".  The color right now is brown changing to dark brown.  I got tired of the browns, so I pulled out several yards of each color, so it would change faster.  Hopefully I will see some green showing up soon.

When I first started doing this scarf, I wanted to do some leaves in the pattern, but decided against it.  Now I may add some leaves to the scarf.  
Close-up of the pattern.
The picked up pattern is a free-form overshot like pattern.  I need to pick up warp threads to tie down the front face and the back face of the fabric.  In this picture, you can see the color change about in the middle of the picture...going from the lighter brown to the darker brown.  
I loved the scarf on the cover, it had a very water like shimmer to the pick up, but with my colors being so different I didn't do the wave look and instead have picked up the background in a very random way.  I don't know if that is better or if I like her method better.

We have a family wedding coming up next week and there is lots of things going on about that.  I need to get my Mom down here to the ceremony and have arranged for a different sister to drive her home that night.  I will also have her come over to my house between events so that she can rest some.  This is my younger sister's last child and so she is very involved in the planning and such.

I hope that I can get more done in my house, get ready for the trip, wind a warp and take pictures of the finished items that I just made...Is that too much to ask?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

End of the Dummy warp...or is it?

The knots came up over the back beam on the last of the scarf warps...I am pleased.
Knots over the back beam and approaching the heddles
So this is the fourth scarf warp woven.  I still have to wash the scarves, label them, hem the rugs, and package everything to ship to the buyer, and I want to finish it before I leave on vacation on Thursday.  The chances of doing that are about 50/50 mostly because my "free" day that I thought I could work on them is now taken by a trip to Ogden to help Mom and a trip to Perry to pick up some things for the Pioneer Craft House. There is always something happening and I need to put more time in my weaving if I want to continue doing these commissions.

The month of August has been fun and busy.  The end of July had me trying to fit the people into the rug class.  The computer did not cut off at the maximum seven students, I ended up with ten students and was worried how we could get that many looms available.  I emptied three floor looms, fixed the brake on the AVL and hoped that the new Gilmore did not have any problems (I had not had time to test weave on either of these looms before the class).  We are now in the fourth week of the class and it seems to be working well.  The students need to weave six different rug samples with six different types of warps and then we will do six different rug finishes.  Once I got the looms arranged, the students are busy doing the work and I just need to bounce from one loom to another to make sure the students understand the structure that they are working on.
It's fun to have this many looms going at once.

I also went to see a quilt show in Brigham City.  The show has some very beautiful art quilts from artists from all around the world.
Beautiful hand applique quilt from Egypt
A quilt done with lots of thread painting
Here's a detail of her thread painting
My favorite was a Japanese garden
A detail of the machine applique on my favorite piece
We had a great time at the show and although I have not considered doing much quilting, my sister and my Mom both have done some great work.  I was just awestruck by the work, the craft and the design on these quilts.  There is a lot of new techniques that my sister had not explored when she was doing quilts and it was fun to discuss quilts with her.

My weaving continued on the dummy warp.  I put the first of the long scarve warps on the loom and again was not able to count the warp right.
I have some real concerns about my counting skills
I put on a hounds-tooth twill and wove two scarves on it. I like the black and white together.  The black is a blend of alpaca and silk and has a bit of a sheen to it.
I think both of the designs are great.
I finally got the correct count on the last scarf warp.  I wove another two scarves on this warp and I am pleased that the weaving is done for this yarn, but as I said I still have some work to do to finish them.
Yeah, my counting skills returned.
I used my ply splitting to join the weft yarns in the scarves.  It seemed to make a more invisible join.
Here is the last of the bobbin split and tucked.
When I get to the end of the bobbin thread, I split the ply and weave one ply in and leave the other ply hanging out.  I like it when it runs out in the middle of the piece.  I think that is a better place to make the join.  On the edge, there may be some weakness in the selvedge where you join.
The new weft end is split and laid into the shed

The new bobbin thread is split the same and I overlap a ply from the new bobbin over the ply from the old bobbin, the extra two plys just hang out.

I weave up several picks to lock the ends in.
After cutting, there is no thicker weft showing.
This method of splitting the ply works great on thicker yarns.  You have less density in the overlap section so that there is very little difference in the weave.  The finer the yarn the less you would need this technique.  There is a point of diminishing returns with this technique.  It takes longer to do than to just overlapping the yarns, but it makes me happier to see the results when I do my joins this way, so I continue to do it on some of the thicker yarns.

Simple point twill.
Now that the last warp is off, I'm looking at the dummy and wondering if there is some more yarns that I can use to make some scarves for me to sale.  I would like to do some more pinwheel designs.  Once the rugs are hemmed, I can look for some yarn.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Saga Continues

My third warp came off great and I would the yarn for the final warp of shawls.  Again, I tried to get the correct number of warps, and again I was wrong.  This time I had about 16 extra warps.
Extra ends from miscounting
I don't know what my problem has been with this dummy warp (a bit of a dummy myself?), but I was careful and did not cut this bunch of yarn, I was able to wind it back up on bobbins and used it for the weft.  (There is another tale, 5 yards of warp on the floor and me walking back and forth trying to save it.)

This fawn, alpaca and silk yarn is wonderful.  It weaves up easily and it looks great.
Beautiful Huck Lace Pattern

The family took a couple of days to go to St. George in Southern Utah.  The reason for the trip was a photo taken by my DS was accepted in the National Parks show down there.  It is a beautiful picture of the Madison River in Yellowstone.  I was so proud of him.  There were no pictures allowed in the museum, I tried to sneak one...but my DH was not pleased picture.

The next morning my DS went out before dawn to get pictures of Snow Canyon.  He came back and after breakfast and checkout, we headed up there for a look.  We managed one short hike in the shade (temperatures were up to 102 degrees--about 39C) so it was a short hike.
Reading the Pioneer Inscription
I think "Auto-correct" upped the color a little too much, but that area is beautiful and it restored my soul to be in the Red Rock country.  

And I love taking pictures of my children.

A student told me about the upper section of the canyon, up there the sandstone is the white Navajo layer and very different.  There is a large amphitheater,  but it was about a mile walk and in the heat...only my son went out.

The amphitheater is on the right,
When my son came back, he said it was beautiful, but the heat reflecting up from the white rock was hotter than the sun beating down on him.  But he said we MUST come back in the fall or spring when the temperatures are cooler and we will all get to see it.

Back home on the loom, I decided to re-thread the dummy warp to a straight draw and make it narrower for the warps of scarves.  I have been wanting to do pinwheels since I took a workshop and I decided that I would do it on the first warp for scarves.  Since it is faster to wind two threads at a time on the warping board, and I need the same number of black and white warp ends...I just wound them double.  

Two threads at a time cut the time in half!

When I tied the warp ends to the dummy warp, I pulled the first eight black threads out of the cross and tied them on.  That left eight white threads ready to tie next.
Tie on 8 black, then 8 white across the warp.
This gave me a striped warp.

And, wow, those pinwheels are dramatic.
I did a second pinwheel using the fawn with the white and got a very different look, the last scarf was a black twill stripe.  Sorry I did not get pictures of these on the loom.

Then I took another little break from the loom.  My sibs and I were responsible for the Family Reunion with my Dad's family.  We spent some time getting addresses and email addresses for extended family members and I hope we contacted most of the local family to attend.  It was great to see the family and to hear family stories about my Dad and his brothers.  
Here is Mom and her five children
Mom and my Aunt were the only two left from Dad's generation (Mom is 90 and her sister-in-law will be turning 91),  

We set up a photo space and provided some "props" to liven up the pictures.  

We even had the "Sawdust Scramble."  This is a big pile of sawdust with candy and quarters thrown in for the kids to "scramble" and find it.  I remember doing this one when I was a child...our family has been doing this for a long time.  I even heard the same remarks that I made as a child..."I got sawdust in my eyes."  We do prevent any throwing of sawdust so there is not many complaints and all the kids (big and small) got their share.  The organizer set up time limits for the various age groups so it was a big success.

Final scramble with all ages included.

I think it was a great day and I really enjoyed seeing the family.  I still want to get a few more email addresses to be able to pass on the list to the group doing the next reunion.

Back home on the loom I measured the next warp.  YEAH!  I managed to count correctly on this warp and I feel better about my math skills.
Second scarf warp
This second warp is a simple stripe with that wonderful fawn colored yarn.  I want to try a couple of eight shaft twill patterns on it.  

I started with the eight cones of yarn that are currently my heading picture.  I have been using them pretty evenly, but with this warp I emptied the third cone.  This is great, I am getting closer to the end of this commission.

Oh, and I finished the rugs that I was warping on the last post, that is for this commission also.  I will need to get a picture of them.  I still need to stitch and hem them.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Saga of the Dummy Warp

You saw the mess of the dummy warp last post.  It did really wind on easily, 8/4 cotton is an easy yarn to use.  My problems started coming up after the warp was wound and I checked the threading and reed.  First I saw that I had missed a dent...easy fix.  But as I was lifting some of the shafts to check the threading, I noticed three pairs of threads lifting instead of two pairs.  (This is a six block, eight shaft, huck lace and the pattern threads lift up in pairs).  When I checked, I could see I had threaded block 7, then block 8 then, then block 7 two times.  That is why I was 5 threads short at the end of threading.  I pulled that end of the warp out of the reed, it was less than a fourth of the width, and rethreaded the pattern.

I had the alpaca warp wound and I was excited to get it on the loom.  
Tying on the first warp
Unfortunately, I had not counted the warp threads right and I had 11 threads more than I should have...Oh well, I will use them on the third warp that is also white.  I wove the header and checked the pattern, somehow I had missed tying two threads, I only had a block of three threads instead of the five threads required...there were two of the extra eleven!   I put those two threads through the heddles and weighted them to hang off the back of the loom.  I resleyed the reed and checked again.  This time I had put those two threads on shaft 2 instead of shaft 7 and I was only getting plain weave.  I spent some time repairing that and finally got on to the weaving.
First shawl in Huck
The weaving was easy and pleasant, I finished a shawl a day...not as fast as I should be, but better than I have been for a while.

But I was still wondering if the dummy warp was doing any good with making things faster, especially after the many corrections and rethreading that I had to do.  For the second warp, I decided to watch the tying on in front better.  I decided to just tie four ends at a time.  That was a good number to have me double check my progress.
Four and four, I should be able to keep track of that
And the four threads made a good group to tighten.  I pulled each group of four to check the knots.
Checking the strength of the knots
This time I did not miss any knots, I was one thread short, but added that easily.  (I do have trouble counting!)  I timed myself on the knot tying, on the first I managed to tie 44 knots in 30 minutes--that was not good at all.  On the second warp, I was tying 96 in 30 minutes, so I decided that the prethreaded dummy warp was saving some time.
Second warp with knots ready to pull through.
I eased the knots through the reed and the heddles.  I only took a few minutes and I had no problems with tangling or knots slipping.
Hemstitching the second shawl on the second warp
The black warp was hard to see the first pattern, but the second one in the picture was a quick and easy to weave.  The small amount of silk in the yarn gives this piece a little bit of a shine and I think will make a couple of great shawls.

I had to spend some time at the craft house studio, so while I was there I wound a warp for a couple of rugs.  Since I have not finished the piece on my Macomber, I need to use the Macomber at the studio.  Since I have a class using that loom starting the 21st of July, I need to get weaving.
Sectional warping a small warp
The warp was short, only 7 yards, but because I had enough cones, it was faster to sectional warp, besides there was a student that wanted to see sectional warping in action.
Because I was talking and not paying attention when I cut off one section I cut two warp ends on the beam...(*&#$@*&).  
Two cut ends with temporary repair

I used some carpet warp to tie the ends together while I wound the warp forward to thread the loom.  I will add two weighted ends when I tie on.  I will probably make them long enough for one rug, then tie the original warps back in for the second rug...I do not want a repair in the rug!
Threading the heddles
I got the rug warp threaded and sleyed through the reed between helping my students...I will probably go in Tuesday (not during studio hours) to repair the two and get the rug started.  I already graphed out how I will stripe the first rug.

Back home last night and today, I put on the third warp and wove the first shawl on that warp.  I used the extra 9 ends from the first white warp...but somehow I was two warp ends short.  Well, better to have too few than to have too many and I could easily wind two ends to tie on the dummy.
Again, not able to count...two threads short
I wove up the first shawl and I love the pattern.  I seem to really like the diamond shapes, I was thinking of trying a square based pattern for the second shawl on this warp.  We'll see how that works.
Beautiful pattern on shawl 3a