Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Things From SOAR

I often take classes then don't practice what I learn, then I forget what I learned. I promised myself I wouldn't do this with the classes I just took at SOAR. So...

Here's a lovely finished object from SOAR... a tablet woven mask lanyard. It's 20 cards of 10/2 cotton in Egyptian diagonals pattern (iron age tech), started in a class with John Mullarkey. It's about 3/4" wide and 35" long with lobster clips. I sloppily zig-zaged it together by machine; I need to find a better way.  The double diamonds in the center section were a mistake! You'd think I could have watched my weaving and caught it... but I liked it enough to replicate it (with John's help). I have notes!

Speaking of card weaving, my new friend S. pointed out this delightful site: http://ladyelewys.carpevinumpdx.com/. She's hosting a weave-a-long for historical card weaving that includes historical or archeological information. I'm hooked.

I took a break from The Quilt That Must Be Finished this morning to practice a couple things from SOAR. I had cut up some pattern paper in 1/2" strips and tried spinning it on my Kromski wheel; it spins beautifully but will not feed on. The orafice is more convoluted than on the Louet, and all the little hooks seem to be a bit of an issue. I'll go back to the Louet and try it again. I've also bought some colored tissue paper from Target; one of the ladies had brought it to the workshop and Judith had declared it fabulous, so I'll give it a try some morning. 

I also tried some tweed. I took the green fiber from the CNCH Return to Sender challenge and carded it with about 15-20% Zwartbles wool  and some silk floor sweepings from John's class; it ended up being a lovely olive green with the little silk bits showing through. My spinning technique, however, needs some work... So I'll spin something else up with a woolen draft before I go back to this. The good parts are very good but there are some unattractive lumps...

Zwartbles, by the way, are a Dutch sheep breed that are naturally black in their un-unburnt state; the wool goes a little brown on the older sheep.  Here's an awesome photo of them from https://zwartblesireland.com/. They're milk and meat sheep; the wool has a good crimp but is in the 30 micron diameter range which makes it a little itchy for next to the skin use.

The aforementioned quilt will be done this week!

Sunday, October 3, 2021

LOTS of cool things going on...

It's been a while since I posted last and a lot is going on but with very little to show for it.

First and foremost is that darned quilt. Yes, I am obsessed with it to the point where I'm not really working on much of anything else, which is a shame. The good news is that I am nearly done with it and will have it on the bed by the end of October, hopefully sooner for DH's birthday. I've been spending afternoons on the deck in the shade quilting on it with the cats, who are much better at staying off it outside than inside...

Boulder Chautauqua, view of the Flatirons.

The other big news is I travelled to Boulder for SOAR (a small retreat devoted to spinning). It was at the Colorado Chautauqua, so I got to learn about that movement, which was super interesting. More importantly, I got to go somewhere new and interesting and take classes with some of Spinning's luminaries! I learned to spin paper and to make tweed yarns with Judith MacKenzie, practiced long draw with Maggie Casey, and got attention on my bad-boyfriend charkha from Kate Larson; then, a two day class in spinning silk for cardweaving from John Mularkey!!! I have Plans to practice what I learned... just as soon as the quilt it done...  so expect some more posts on projects from that event in the next couple of months.

On the project side,

  • I signed up for and warped the loom for Janet Dawson's class, Overshot Departures. I've woven one overshot motif to check the threading and nothing more yet.

SQUEE!!! They're so cute!
  • I finished two cute little hand towels for the powder room; DH asked "am I supposed to use them or just look at them?" I told him either was fine but that they require ironing to look their best, 'nuff said. Two more towels are draped over the loom waiting hemming.
  • Fiber is here for the rug, rug is designed. 
  • I promised my study group I'd show them how to wrap for ikat... so I put the last set of random ikat scarves on the warping board and demo'ed. Then realized that I needed to have the warping board free for a guild demo and so I tied the rest of it in a hurry! I have the dye but haven't dyed it yet.
  • I finished spinning the dark blue singles that I've been working on for the last year or so; some is plied.
  • Construction started on the laundry room/dye studio, which is not something I'm personally working on but it's an exciting prospect.
Does it feel like there's a lot of projects that are languishing? There are! It's that darned quilt! Every time I think of another project, I am pulled back to it. Am I obsessed because I need a new quilt on the bed? Excited to have a new quilt? Or just tired of thinking about it? Maybe the trail of cotton lint that will follow it until it's bound haunts me? I feels so close yet so far away... Meanwhile, I'm carefully dancing around an overuse wrist injury, and thinking about spinning cotton on my newly tuned little bad-boyfriend book charkha.

The Little Bad-Boyfriend Book Charkha spinning cotton.

Q3'21 finished things (4)

Nothing to do with anything, 
but still a pretty sunset


  • 2 huck baby blankets
  • 2 of 4 of the hand towels for the guest bath; the other two are siting on the loom, unhemmed.

In Progress:
  • 2 more hand towels for the guest bath; okay, they just need hemming
  • The Pub Quilt! I'm on border 4 of 4, then have to bind it and do a litttttttle more quilting on the inside. Honestly, nothing else is getting done 'cause I'm obsessed.

Still on the list but what was I thinking?
  • Make the Get Weaving Vest pattern in handwoven or stash fabric. 
  • Start an overshot throw in champagne and white for the den.
  • Make more progress on the new mosaic table (more than just one poppy).
    • Okay, I did a second poppy but that was it.
  • Make another grocery bag! 
  • Make a piece of Andean Pebble weave that's wider, on the loom. 
  • More towels for another towel exchange, maybe using info from Tien and Janet's class.
  • 2 Ikat scarves, for M. and for C. (these are tied but not dyed or woven).

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Monagamous! and Fricassee

With all vacations cancelled, we're back to the cookbook challenge, and DH picked Marcella Hazan's The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking again. I wanted to cook a recipe that seemed more like home food than restaurant food (although I can't tell from the book), something that isn't typical to Italian restaurants in the US, and something DH did not expect: Chicken Fricassee in Red Cabbage. The cabbage is cooked down with onion and garlic, then the browned chicken and red wine are added and cooked a while more. It was excellent!  I cooked and served it with a California pinot noir, and accompanied it with polenta and spinich and shallots sauteed in pan drippings from the chicken. I'll make this again!

On the fiber front, I continue to be monogamous. 

I'm quilting away, often on the deck by the pool, when I can negotiate with the cats for access to the quilt. I'm more than half way done with the background, then it'll just be the borders! This afternoon's task will be to mark more quilt. I did sign up for a ruler quilting class at PIQF in mid-October, and I'm invited to the local quilt group meetings where I hope to find out if anyone can coach me through quilt-as-you-go.

Negotiating who gets
which part of the quilt
I'm weaving hand towels for the bathroom, and those are going well. I finally conceded that I need 6-8 inches to get used to pattern and beat before my project looks good. I just signed up for another Janet Dawson Overshot class so will warp the little loom for that; I'm also about to order fiber for the rug by the kitchen slider and flirting with a bound weave project for later in the year.

I'm only really working on my knitting one evening every other week. Two weeks ago, I encountered an error but put it out of my mind, so last night I rediscovered it and spent an hour picking it out. I'd picked this project for travel and now that travel isn't happening I confess I'm looking at other projects.

I hosted two spinning classes taught by guild member BP; I brought out my wheel and continued to spin that blue merino mix that has been making me so unhappy. The good news is I'm almost done with the spinning, then I'll ply that and the brown singles I have (not together). I also took out the charka and tried some cotton but I fear that'll have to wait until my class at the end of September.

I've also been spending lots of time in the garden; I've convinced the gardeners that we need to finish one project before we move to the next. So large parts of the garden are looking much better.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Two new baby blankets for two new babies

Wet finishing makes the difference

Lighting is obviously an issue with the two photos, but here there are, two fresh new baby blankets right off the loom.

I used a long staple 8/2 cotton ("Baby Soft", from ETC) which makes a lovely soft drapey fabric...

The two photos here (lighting is terrible! Sorry!) are off the loom and machine washed (left) and on the loom (right). Note how the threads shift a bit on the lacy parts to make them more, well, lacy. The texture is wonderful.

I'm still having issues with tension, especially with wider pieces; these were 39 inches on the loom. I had waaaayyy too much draw in while weaving, and that caused issues too.

Still on the loom
Regardless, I'm ludicrously happy with how they turned out and thinking I might need to make a throw blanket like this for one of the sofas... Thinking this might end up being one of my go-to baby blanket patterns.

One blanket is going to KC's g-grand-baby and the other to Taipei for M&R's little boy.

On other fronts, I'm still working on the pub quilt and will be for quite a while; I spent a couple of afternoons on the deck in the shade working on them so it feels like there is progress... Also knitting a few rows on the poor little drag along shawl. I've started pulling a warp for towels for the guest bath in 10/2 cotton; I suspect DH will hate them but I'm doing it anyways.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Mid July Feels Like the Doldrums

 I'm working on a few projects that are long term projects... So I think it'll be a while until I post significant progress. The main projects are:

  • The pub quilt (between 1/3 and 1/2 done, close to 1/3). It's coming along nicely.
  • The huck baby blankets (one done, one still weaving, on the loom).
    Super hard to see the pattern when 
    both warp and weft are white 

  • The little shawl that only gets attention every other Monday at knit night, so it's going to be awhile. 
I did start spinning some blue roving at a recent online guild meeting; and I'm winding a warp for the next-on-the-loom project, which will be hand towels for the guest bath.

I've spent zero time in the mosaic studio but hope to in the next few weeks!

Other than that, we're getting out and about a bit, which is fabulous. We cancelled a trip to England, which is not fabulous, but I think inevitable; we're waiting to see if a trip to Canada to see G&M may materialize. Between waiting for the Covid situation to explode and waiting for the next fire or smoke event, it feels a little like sailing with light unpredictable winds waiting for a sudden storm...

Monday, July 5, 2021

Q2'21 Finished things (8)

 My rate of finishing things feels like it's slowed a bit... Here's what's done: 

  • Get a vaccine appointment and in fact both vaccines
  • Finish the doubleweave class sample.
  • Finish the 2nd band of Andean Pebble Weave on the loom.
  • Finish the towels on the loom. (4)
  • Bootlaces, 5' x 3/8" each
  • Make the pub quilt quilt-able
Here's one reason shit doesn't get done
I'll leave the same items on the list from last quarter.  This all isn't going to get done...
  • Keep quilting the Pub Quilt! It's about 1/3 done right now.
  • Make the Get Weaving Vest pattern in handwoven or stash fabric.
  • Weave Baby Blankets; they're just on the loom.
  • Start an overshot throw in champagne and white for the den.
  • Hand towels for the guest bath.
  • Make more progress on the new mosaic table (more than just one poppy).
    • Did a second poppy
  • Make another grocery bag!
  • Make a piece of Andean Pebble weave that's wider, on the loom. 
  • More towels for another towel exchange, maybe using info from Tien and Janet's class.
  • 2 Ikat scarves, for M. and for C.
What else is going on? We had a visitor, we traveled a bit, and we're enjoying local restaurants. I'm also training for a possible 6 day walk next month...  it's been great for my fitness and for turning my brain off but has really hurt my productivity! I'm working on a shawl at knit night, from yarn DH brought me from Iceland, and also working on the Pub Quilt.