Saturday, January 18, 2020

V Rebozo Tide Pool

I've started on thisV Rebozo after some years of dithering.

Big wad of tide pool
With the exception of two partial skeins of leftover yarn, all of the yarn for this project was dyed in late 2014 at Anzula, a dye house in Fresno; the nice folks at Nine Rubies (a now closed yarn shop that was in San Mateo) organized a small group class giving us access to all of their dye colors. I've used other bits from that trip in a metallic colored scarf I made for DH and the hip length ruana in fall colors that I made for myself in 2018 and failed to photo for this blog.

I picked the yarn for this project based with the idea that it reminded me of a tide pool, yet could not bring myself to start it because I was unsure of the colors together. Recently, I dug the yarns out of deep storage and was still unsure until I would off about 18" of each yarn and threw them together in a clump that does in fact remind me of a tide pool!

Having the intention (looks like a tide pool) helps me keep the colorway focused; an additional color that I want to add must pass the test of "does this make it look more like a tide pool? Or less?"

It's easier for me to see that they'll go together
in a clump than like this
Right now I'm winding a 5 yard warp, and following design instructions in the November '07 Handwoven Magazine for a V Rebozo; this will give me about 18" for sampling and 16" between the pieces.. I'll go 25 or 26 inches wide on the loom. I need two pieces, 46” and 67” long (added 5 inches from the pattern cause I'm tall); I'll sett at 10 ends per inch.

Based on those calculations, I need about 1250 yds of warp. I'm using the following:

  • 2 skeins of Nantuket silk/mohair about 240 yds per skien - every third thread, so about 84 threads
  • 2 skeins light blue/grey/green alpaca blend, 400 yds 
  • 1/2 skein some random stash green? It's a commercial yarn, use all of this
  • 1/3 skein DK weight yarn. I used the rest of it for socks, use all of this in the rebozo. I didn't dye this yarn either.
  • 2 skeins chartreuse and grey Cascade 220, about 440 yards; fill in whatever is left.
This will leave me with one skein of the bright green/grey wool and one of the blue/green/grey alpaca blend.  I've also dug out a bunch of other skeins from the dye day and put them in a pile; they'll go nicely together in another project!

Food wise, I cooked the January cookbook challenge meal tonight. I made chitternee, a sweet and sour chicken and onion dish from India. The charm of this month's cookbook, The Book of Jewish Food is not only it's recipes, but it's history and stories of Jews all over the world. Apparently there are 3 major Jewish groups in India; this recipe is from the Baghdadi group, who emmigrated to India from Baghdad in the 1800's. So this dish is an Iraqi dish with influences of Indian spices.  Very tasty, but like many stew like dishes, it would not make a great photo. I served it with Basmati rice, roasted squash and broccilli.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Priorities for the first quarter of 2020

I'm going to start 2020 with an aggressive list of goals for the first quarter. They are, with status if there is one:

  • Finish the 2nd table top to match the first one (Border and edging are already on).
  • Start and finish a mosaic piece from the Esalen class. (This will happen as long as I make it to the class!)
  • Finish the eye mosaic. (it's fairly small, and some of the pieces are already cut)
  • Finish the Festivus quilt (nearly done with the 3rd of 12 blocks)
  • Finish the Lake Breeze green sweater (body done, started sleeves, will learn to do a zipper at Stitches at the end of Feb)
  • Weave a shadow weave piece of my own design for the study group (design is ready to go)
  • Weave a ruana from the yarn I dyed in Fresno (design is nearly ready to go)
  • Finish the woven jacket with the knitted sleeves (I need some courage)
  • I need to do some other sewing thing (I have a top pattern I want to trial)
  • Spin yarn for the CNCH Return to Sender competition (no status, no plan, no ideas)
On the food front, since this isn't just about fiber and broken glass, I'm starting a cookbook challenge again; Scott picks the cookbook, I make a meal from it. January is The Book of Jewish Food; hoping to cook something from that this weekend!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Mosaic critique!

Now that the table top is done, so I'm going to think about how I did on it. I talked with a friend last night about why I do this. It's not that I don't like my results; I love this table! But thinking about what would make this better will help me make stronger and better designs in the future. So that's why I do this.

The design parameters I set out for myself were to use round motifs, nearly all different, occasionally overlapping, using one color per motif with lights on the inside and darks on the outside. I also wanted the table to blend with the deck and the flower garden below it, and evoke a festive or fun mood. For the most part, I think I did an excellent job of this.  But I'll still list all the things I need to do better for the next one!

Ut oh, now comes the critique
First of all the whole thing is not exactly round but I will blame that on DH who did not cut it round for me. This, incidentally is not noticeable when you look at it as a table top instead of from a birds eye view.

I need to work on setting the tiles at an even depth so that the table top is flatter.

Round things need to be round. The yellow one is the worst; I had darker yellow at the outer edge which accentuated the out of roundness; when I pried the off I was damaging the substrate or I would likely have removed the whole thing. I think I could have made it look round despite the square center had I cut the light yellow glass better... I ended up putting some highly reflective squares around it which I think saves the shape, but I think the contrast could be better.

Yellow is also hard to use because it draws the eye. I wish I'd done simpler motifs in yellow.

After the yellow one, I tried to use clear contact paper and the double indirect method to  create and place a whole motif; this method seems to work well for a whole mosaic but the pieces didn't stick well enough for this to work with partial pieces. I may try it with tile tape but it may be too sticky. I ended up  drawing templates on paper, fitting the tiles there, then transferring piece by piece to the substrate. This worked better, but I'm not sure if it was due to the method or because the subsequent designs were simpler.

I made the first 4 motifs fussy, then went simpler because I ran out of ideas; I don't think it harms the composition but I'm acknowledging the difference in styles.

For the background, I echoed the shapes in a couple of places and did not in others. I think this needs to be consistent.

I used a grout color called Truffle; I'd debated using Charcoal as black really pops any mosaic, but I wanted it to be a little softer. It's a gray brown, there was a redder brown available but I thought the grey brown was a better choice with with the background tan. It's also the color I used on my poppy piece so if I ever colocate the tables, they'll look like the go together.

Despite the issues I see with the piece, when it's horizontal and acting like a table in the sunlight it's glorious.  Too bad it's going to live in the garage for a month or so while the house gets painted but I don't want to risk it outside with all that work going on!

For the companion table, I had planned on making it slightly different, but have been slowly converging on a plan. I think I'll be looking a 3 or 4 fussy motifs, and the rest plainer. I'll mix colors in each motif, with light insides and dark outsides. The colors will not be at the same location as the first table. I'd like to do a few of the motifs with petal shapes like the purple motif on the first table. I'll echo the shapes in the background instead of having them random.

I've already started the 2nd table; the horizontal edge and the outer edge of dark brown are complete. I'll be hoping to start the round motifs later this week! I'd like to finish the table in time to use this spring.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Q4 finished things (5)

I'm very pleased with my new table top.
Once again, a list of the things I finished this last quarter.
  • Rep runner from a guild library magazine, for a guild study group, pictured in an earlier post.
  • Two baby blankets (same warp, different wefts) in a weave structure called Summer and Winter, one for a grand niece and the other for a friends first grandbaby.
  • I grouted a mosaic table top for the kitchen deck today! It just needs sealer and to be mounted to the base that's been waiting for it; DH even removed the crappy piece of plywood that's been the temporary table top. It needs a name, and a coordinating 2nd table top. Then I'll move it to the garage or someplace safe until after the house painters have finished.
    Christmas quilt top, just in time for New Years!
  • The Christmas quilt top is done and partly basted! I'm declaring the top as a done thing because of the effort involved, and when it's quilted it's gonna count too. Expect that just before Christmas next year.
  • I also started working making pillows out of the old worn out Kilim that I rescued when mom was going to throw it away. Sadly, she was right; there's no 18x18 inch pieces that I'd like to have as pillows, it's just in very bad shape. So that's off my list.
So I finished 26 things in 2019. Wow! What's in store for 2020? I have some ideas, but will have to think about it!

Friday, December 20, 2019

Frantic Pre-Holiday Projects!

Runner is done!
I'm in a frenzy of activity right before the end of this year, slightly out of sorts with the holidays and therefore frantic for no good reason to finish some unrelated projects.  There are so many reasons to like and dislike Christmas; of course it's different for everyone yet so much the same... Anyways, we'll be hiking and then making tamales on Christmas with friends, and at some point there will likely be potato latkes, and homemade marshmallows.

Same quilt, more border.
The runner is finished, on the table, and guarded carefully by Z cat! I'm very pleased with the way the colors are working in this room. I needed to finish this piece by January 6th and have done that!

The two projects I'm working on frantically are the Christmas Quilt and the mosaic table top. I've redrafted corners for the Christmas quilt border and am about an hour's worth of work away from starting them! The rest should go together easily and my goal is to have it basted by the 2nd weekend in January. 

Wanna be table top.
DH  hasn't exactly been grumbling about the temporary end tables on the deck, but I can tell he's not pleased with my apparent lack of progress. So I've spent the last two days in the mosaic studio while the arborists were working on the trees. The foreground pieces are done except for the blue sliver and the red partial circle which need to be finalized and glued in place. With beige background and a dark brown grout, I think this piece will be lovely. The second table is cut, bordered and ready to go, but I'm thinking of doing the same colors in another design; not sure I can do two of anything!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


I gotta make more empanadas...
It's a few weeks after Thanksgiving, but I still need  to say I'm thankful. I'm thankful for my health, my family, my friends, for all God's gift around us. I am particularly thankful this week for all the fun things I get to do on a nearly daily basis. This life has been very good to me!

I don't feel like I've mentioned food lately.  We spend Thanksgiving with a friend and his twin 10th graders... My cooking was okay but frankly I'm suffering from lack of practice. Some dishes were good, others just okay. A couple of days later as I was dismembering the carcass and making turkey mulligatawny soup (yum!) I realized I had leftover pie crust and all kinds of things that go in empanadas: leftover turkey, onions, garlic, potatoes, cinnamon, chipotle, and turkey gravy on the inside; we ate them with cranberry sauce.

Summer and Winter baby blankets
The baby blankets are both done and will be in the mail this week. It makes me smile to send the grandmother blanket as the recipient is Knit Worthy (or Weave Worthy); the other I know will never be acknowledged but I had fun weaving it ,I hope they use it, and I wanted to celebrate their baby.
The name of this type of weaving is Summer and Winter; would I do Summer and Winter again? Yes, in an instant, for a baby blanket  or for something else.

Rep Weave runner
I did mention that my Weave Structures Study group is doing Warp Rep projects; I've finally got weaving on my project. Colors in the photo are crappy but here it is. Weft is  3/2 perle cotton sett at 30 ends per inch; thin weft is 8/2 tencel and thick weft is 12 strands of the perle cotton held together. I'm intending to put it on the credenza in the den that should arrive at the end of January; the credenza is 72" long, and the runner pattern as written is 66" long. If I want the runner shorter, 51 inches long works well with the patterning. If I make it shorter, I really only need to do the final border and I'm done; the other benefit is it would fit on the coffee table. I'm on hold while deciding what to do. I won't take long to decide as it need to be done for the Study Group by January 6.

I've made considerable progress on the Christmas Quilt: I'm done with all the parts I've finished design on.  I'm dithering about what to put on the corners of the border, and if I want the top of the quilt to have the border swag design or just a quilted in design. The argument for a plain top is that it'll be under the pillows anyways; and the skin oils and the other things we all put on our faces at night won't mar the lovely applique. Arguments in favor of making all the borders the same are that the quilt can be used in any direction on the bed, and that if I show it, it'll score better with the judges. I refuse to stall on the quilt while I dither and will make a decision by tomorrow. My hope is to have the quilt basted so I can start quilting at the January knitting retreat.

I've had two days this week where I needed to be at the guest house; I spent my time  straightened out the glass studio  (where studio is a fancy word for garage bay). I spent some time on my first table top and am hoping to accelerate and get better circles using an indirect method. I had leftover thinset one day and used to to glue random green bits to a small concrete cylinder; I also finished grouting the money piece.

On other projects, I've done no more spinning; I've been working on Lake Breeze sweater off and on but making it low priority; I worked on the pillows I wanted to make from the old Kilim but am quickly coming to the conclusion that there isn't a 18" square piece of the rug that's worth keeping. Mom's opinion was that it needed to be thrown away and sadly I am coming to agree with her.  There are other projects queued up and I'll blog about them when they're no longer dormant!

One last photo, taken last Sunday about a mile from our house; there had been enough rain to get the stream running well! What an amazing find. Someone had cemented in some stones in the middle as large stepping stone so it was easy to cross and a complete treat on a Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

More back to normal

Center pull ball wound the old way
I'm busily trying to get back to normal, whatever that is... which means I'm off and running on a hundred different things.

The cardigan I mentioned last post is called Lake Breeze; this is the yarn I'm making it from. Like all Donegal tweeds, you don't really appreciate the nuances of color until you see it in the sunlight; it's glorious. I'm knitting along with only one misfire on my cabling (which I'm leaving, it's not that noticeable), and have knit from the top down nearly to the armholes. Check out my center pull ball finely wound by hand the old way on a notespinne.

Summer and Winter baby blanket; loving the grey
I went to my spinning guild yesterday and should have started the second braid of the blue wool silk that I was plying a couple of days ago... But instead I started spinning silk that I dyed years ago in a Camp Stitches class with my sister. No pics yet but it's looking decidedly pastel, or maybe slightly opalescent. I'll also need to be thinking about what to do for the CNCH  2020 spinning contest; everyone who enters starts with the same fiber and it's up to us to spin something clever from it.

Won't be done for Christmas
I've finished the grey baby blanket for little Elli Price, and have moved onto the green one; hope to take them off the loom before Thanksgiving so I can get on with the Warp Rep project I'm doing for the study group.

I also promised myself I'd get a quilt going again. The Christmas quilt was a little easier since I lost the color chart for the pub quilt. I'll resurrect that and get it going as well soon enough; but I'd like to get the Christmas quilt done and basted and I can make it my TV project. I think my current issue is how to carry the darn thing around? I'm going to ask the restaurant at knit night tomorrow for a pizza box, that should do quite well.