Sunday, May 9, 2021

Life is looking livlier!

Probably the most interesting news is that I just completed the two week waiting period after the 2nd Pfizer vaccine! So now I feel more comfortable being out and about, so will start catching up on doctors appointments, hair cuts, etc; we've booked dinner at a restaurant1 I got some seriously swollen lymph glands (yay! my body is making antibodies!) but things are starting to calm down and getting back to normal.

In no particular order, here's the rest of what's going on.

I finished and delivered the bootlaces to my beloved brother. I think he liked them. Here's some technical notes on the aglets: 

  • Sew 1/2 inch or so into a tube with sewing thread
  • With doubled 10/2 and a big honking knot, pull needle up towards tip of lace; whip stitch the end 3-4 times, take yarn down through the middle then back up again.
  • Trim fuzz from tip, then thread needle through the shrink tubing; use the needle for tension, stroke the tubing onto the band until you're just past the whipstitching. Trim off the whipstitching.

I've also finished the Pub quilt top!!! This is big news, having been in process for the last 27 or so years. Next steps, get thread and a backing and baste it. I'll be doing that this week; I'll share photos when it's being basted.

I completed the knitting on the little summer jacket; it needs some finishing work, which has been languishing while I got the quilt top ready. I don't think this will ever be an attractive garment so I'm going to let it be what it is. Meanwhile, I dragged the knitted skirt out of hiding and have decided to re-start it as TV knitting.

I also made some dal makhani from this recipe. DH think the clove is bit heavy in it; I think the clove and the cardamom amplify each other. It mellowed out after a couple of days and is now in the freezer. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021


Andean Pebble Weave band on the loom

I feel like lots has happened in the first two weeks of April!  Not surprisingly, I finished the doubleweave class sample and I've taken the towels off the loom (but not yet hemmed them).  I also finished the second Andean Pebbleweave band. 

Look! Brand new towels!

I've started some new things, or taken up old things:

  • I wound the warp for the two huck lace baby blankets but haven't moved it to the loom yet. 
  • I'd started a loom shaped garment (vest? sweater?) to combine with some knitting years ago but could not figure out how to finish it... I'm knitting away at that again. I'm still not sure if I'll end up adding a collar or any other touches but am happy adding length to the bottom with half linen stitch.
    Bootlaces of 
    the Pandemic
  • I've completed all the simple star blocks for the Pub quilt, and all the stars for the side triangles. I'm currently worried about not having enough material, so am avoiding it my procrastiweaving.
  • What is procrastiweaving? That's when you start a new weaving project because you don't want to work on anything you're supposed to be working on. I warped up the band loom with 4 yards of 10/2 cotton (54" of bootlace x 2 laces + 20% takeup plus 20" for loom waste). It's yellow and grey, which happens to be the Pantone colors of the year.  The yellow is for hope and the steely grey for fortitude.  The wavering borders are the path I've been walking the last year and the eye in the middle is the focus needed to stay on course. From the Pantone website: "As people look for ways to fortify themselves with energy, clarity, and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty, spirited and emboldening shades satisfy our quest for vitality." 

On food news, I'm cooking from the Dishoom cookbook.  I would love to travel to London and eat at one of their eateries!  This week we had:

  • Prawns Moilee (a coconut curry with shrimp) with cauliflower over rice with a lovely Italian Pinot Blanc, a good pairing.
  • Grilled Spicy Lamb Chops with Gunpowder Potatoes last night with a Rioja (not quite as good of a pairing).
  • For dessert, Kulfi, a lovely cardamon spiced ice cream. I may make daal and biryani before I'm done with the month.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Q1 '21 Finished things (17)

I have been unusually productive this quarter; I don't know why. I'm not going to question it though. All of the finished things were made from stash! Yet why doesn't my stash feel lighter?

Owl contemplates this
quarter's accomplishments
The Finished List:
  • Double Your Pleasure Cowl
  • 4 sets of 12 merit badges (that's 48 badges); I'll count them as 4 objects. 
  • 1 set of 2 Adulting awards 
  • A baby sweater 
  • 3 overshot runners
  • 10 oz brown/purple yarn, "Wood Nymph" from Wonderland Dyeworks. 
  • Mittens for G from Anna Zilboorg's Magnificent Mittens book.
  • Mittens for M from the same pattern book, from a kit that's been in my stash forever,
  • One yd of warpwise shibori fabric in tencel, which was my Study Group project.
  • Doily from a textile fragment that had been haunting the studio.
  • I used the embroidery machine to embroider two hockey skulls and put them on a quilted grocery bag.
  • An 80" band of Andean Pebble weave. 


    Here's what's either in progress, or on the wish list from Q1 that didn't get finished. I could probably power my way through one or two of the first 3 but given that I'm not short on finished objects for Q1, I'll push them to Q2. If I finish anything before the end of the month (3 days) I'll edit this.

    • I'm not done with the doubleweave class sample
    • I have one more towel on the loom, then this will be done.
    • I have a 2nd band of Andean Pebble Weave on the loom.
    • I didn't make any clothing from stash or handwoven. 
    • No bed covering.
    • I'm working on getting the pub quilt ready for quilting but am probably a month away.
    • I make meager progress on the new mosaic table (just one poppy)


    For Q2:

    • Get a vaccine appointment.
    • Finish the doubleweave class sample.
    • Finish the towels on the loom.
    • Finish the 2nd band of Andean Pebble Weave on the loom.
    • Make the Get Weaving Vest pattern in handwoven or stash fabric.
    • Weave Baby Blankets.
    • Start an overshot throw in champagne and white for the den.
    • Hand towels for the guest bath.
    • Make the pub quilt quilt-able.
    • Make more progress on the new mosaic table (more than just one poppy).
    • Make another grocery bag!
    • Make a piece of Andean Pebble weave that's wider, on the loom.


    For the last Red Sage meal of this month's cookbook, we used a squab recipe and substituted duck breasts.  I marinated them in a gloopy preparation heavy on orange juice and ancho chile and DH grilled them; we served it with polenta and wild rice cakes fried in ghee and sauteed red chard and onions, and paired it with a 2013 Seasmoke Pinot Noir. DH declared it a restaurant worthy dinner! I'm not sure I'd go that far, but it was a nice meal. The polenta was interesting; as it fried, little bits of polenta would explode and skitter across the kitchen; it reminded me of tiny popcorn kernels.

    Friday, March 26, 2021

    Warp all the Looms!

    Doubleweave technicolor
    I took Jennifer Moore's Double Rainbow Doubleweave course over the last two weeks... I still think I have about a yard of warp to weave on it. It's a delightful class; she's a wonderful teacher;  and I can see using her techniques!  Still working on this warp but hoping to finish by the end of the month.

    Kitchen Towels
    Meanwhile, on the other loom, I'm working on a towel kit I got from Eugene Textile Center. Yes, I have Plenty Of 8/2 Cotton but for some reason couldn't come up with a pattern, so I bought a kit. It's like magic; the selvedges are as good as I've ever done, tension is good so far, it's almost as if someone else is weaving it; and I can weave a towel in two days, while doing other projects. I've done the two solid colored ones and one of the striped weft. One more to go!

    I'm taking a class in Andean Pebble weave on an inkle loom from Laverne Waddington. What fun! I've made one 80" band from 3/2 cotton; it's addictive. The second class is tomorrow and I'll post photos of the bands when I've finished the 2nd warp.

    The 2nd set of mittens is done! Mittens were washed and blocked, then I'll put them away until October, when I'll send them to their forever home. 

    Also started piecing the intermediate blocks for the pub quilt. DH has suggested I piece all of them (they'll be differences) before I continue... Sadly he's probably right so I'm stalled until I can get more machined blocks complete. 

    On the cooking side of things, I made pork chops with blackberry sauce from Mark Miller's Red Sage Cookbook; the sauce was primarily blackberries and ancho chiles. Had I not known better, I would have suspected there was tea or tobacco in it; then realized that the blackberries have a high tannin content! Mystery solved.  I also grilled a New York Steak using the Buffalo Rib Eye rub from the same cookbook. I think their might be one or maybe two more dishes from this cookbook before the month is over!

    Friday, March 12, 2021

    The Hockey Grocery Bag

    I found this embroidery design from Urban Threads and thought it would be a perfect accent for a new grocery bag for DH. I embroidered it on a hand-dyed yellow cotton then added all of the fun hockey fabrics languishing in my stash. 

    Hockey Rulz
    The purpose of the Bag Project is two fold... one is clearly to have reusable easy identifiable bags for DH's grocery runs; we're always fighting over whose natural colored canvas bags belong to whom. The second purpose is to allow me to practice my machine quilting.

    On other fronts, I've been working through the homework for Jennifer Moore's doubleweave class! Too much fun. I'll post photos when it's done. I'm doing that while threading the OTHER loom with towels for the guild towel exchange.  In the evenings I'm knitting on the 2nd pair of mittens. 

    I have a couple dozen other projects on my brain and seem to be running out of pandemic to get them done in. Hurray! Can't wait to sideline the projects. I see restaurants and museums in my future, maybe even travel! We're impatiently waiting for our turn for vaccinations... 

    Meanwhile I'm starting to dread going to zoom meetings where folks are talking about getting their doses and getting back to normal activities. The adult part of me is thrilled for them but the little kid in me feels like the only child in the class who didn't get invited to Sally's birthday party.

    Sunday, March 7, 2021

    It's March!

    What's been going on? 

    There's been a LOT of time spent in the garden and some time futzing around the house while there have been workmen around. I'm also trying to ramp up the exercise as I feel I'm running out of time to lose another 15 pounds during the pandemic.

    I had a piece of cloth left over from the runner I made way back when and covered in this post, and have debated for awhile whether it should be a "doily" to replace a knitted lace one, or a lovely colorful wine bag. I got tired of pushing it around the sewing table for a year so  I hemmed it into a doily, and put it to immediate use. It makes the room look coordinated in a wonderful way and replaces a crocheted lace doily. Don't get me wrong, I love my crocheted doilies but this suits the room better.

    I'm part way through the 2nd set of mittens! Loving it... I decided I'll finish the mittens and then start work on the quilt.

    I've got the loom warped up for Jennifer Moore's double weave class; I just need to put in a header and verify everything is threaded correctly.

    I wound a warp for towels; it's twill blocks, a kit I bought from Eugene Textile Center.

    I also need to repurpose the warping board as an inkle loom prior to Laverne Waddington's pebble weave class.

    I sewed together and am quilting pieces for a grocery bag for DH, featuring hockey related machine embroidery and hockey fabric. DH has called the project "garish" and it may offend his sense of dignity, but if he doesn't like it I'll make him one that's less cute and more serious. Meanwhile, I'm playing with some of the machine quilting techniques that I want to practice and will have a practical bag when I'm finished. 

    Food wise, I made Sierra Soups Tuscan Peasant Soup this week; it's a bagged mix, mostly yellow split peas, with simple directions and a couple of fresh ingredients...  also added the rest of the celery, some garlic and some sausage; between that and a trip to our favorite noodle place in Burlingame (take out, of course), I haven't cooked much.  The March Cookbook is Red Sage by Mark Miller. This week will feature fawaffles (waffles made from falafel mix), so it'll likely be next week before I get to the cookbook.

    Sunday, February 21, 2021

    Supplemental warp project: weft wise woven shibori

     On the weaving side, I wove a disaster project for my study group's supplemental warp project. Let me detail the issues.

    For my study group's supplemental warp project, I decided to do a warp wise shibori without doing a sample and not from a published recipe.

    I turned a simple monks belt pattern and decided to go with it instead of consulting some woven shibori books for guidance or suggestions.

    Turned Monk's belt
    I only measured my guide string once so I wound a 2 yard warp instead of a 3 yard warp. It's about 16 inches wide for a shawl in white 8/2 tencel and two stripes of off white 8/2 cotton for the pulling threads.

    Why 8/2 cotton? I recall reading it somewhere, but I don't recall where. I had a minor twinge about it not being strong enough to be a pull thread, which I ignored.

    Happily weaving

    I beamed both warps together on the loom; bad choice, as I was supposed to weight the supplementals off the back. I rigged some weights on hooks and went on.  I had constant issues with tension because of this.

    As I wove away, I decided not to fix a few weaving errors near the edges  (I'm okay
    with this). The plain weave was pretty relaxing, so much so that I'll do some plain weave in the next few months.
    Gathered and ready
    for the dye pot

    I pulled the warp from both ends as I was supposed to but as the thread gathered on the supplemental warp, some of them broke. Some of the areas are not well gathered because of that, or maybe because there may have been some snarls due to the  tension inconsistencies mentioned earlier.

    I failed to measure the dye or mordant correctly because Oh Just Because, so the piece is a lighter green than I expected.

    Woven shibori
    Looking at the finished piece, I see a couple of things. 24 EPI is too close of a sett for 8/2 tencel in plain weave (yep, there is documentation on the internets that confirms this); the fabric is firm and would make a nice vest fabric, but not the drapey shawl goodness I was expecting from the tencel. Some reflection on the process is making me wonder if I needed to sett my supplemental warp as dense as the background warp; I think every other dent would have worked better.   A small amount of research into woven shibori and a quick peak at a master yarn sett chart might have given me more info. In the absence of that data, sampling might have given me the information I needed.

     Why was this project so under-thought and full of errors that I could easily have avoided? My brain was not engaged. There's been a lot going on lately, and these things happen from time to time. Still, after all this is said, had I measured correctly and come up with a 3 yard fabric, it would have made a lovely shawl. As it is, it's a lovely sample and will go into the fabric bin for future use.