Saturday, February 28, 2015

Wynken, Blynken & Nod

Sailed off in a wooden shoe....and ended up in my barn. W,B and N are actually feral cats that have been released into my tack room for the moment to acclimate. SYNP has a Feral Cat Fixathon several times a year. Feral cats are trapped, spayed and neutered and then released back into their colony or, if they are believed to be tamable or young, they go into foster care. These are probably not tamable but we'll see. As long as they understand where the safe haven and food is, that's all I ask along with mousing my barn and surrounding areas. All the cats are females. Wynken and Blynken are late adolescent grey/brown tabbies (maybe siblings), and Nod is an all black adult female. This group of three met the criteria. They had to be dark colored, and woods savvy. These cats all came from a wilderness area around Bear Creek I believe.  I'll keep you all posted on their progress.

Martha at Thistle Rose Weaving had asked about my old Murphy loom. She had never seen one and I'm not surprised. These counterbalance looms were made in Seattle in the late 40's early 50's by Charley Murphy. It would seem few have traveled out of the Pacific Northwest.They were patterned after the Arthur Allen Folding looms also of this period and maybe a bit earlier. This X looms fold for storage but it does need to rest against something if you do fold it up. The counterbalance shed was improved upon by Mr. Murphy. Instead of using a heavy wood dowel and ropes, he used sprockets and bicycle chains.

 Works perfectly too I might add. It's a simple loom with 4 shafts and 6 treadles and a weaving width of about 42".

 I'm told there may be some that are around 36" and I know of two for sale right now that are 52ish inches. If I had room I would certainly pick another of these gems up. Easy to warp and easy to weave on, the action is light and responsive, the shed excellent, friction brake in back and ratchet and pawl in front. The loom itself a beautiful and very heavy oak and the full length shelf provides plenty of storage.

This was the loom I learned to weave on and other than a brief hiatus away from me a few years ago (WHAT was I thinking??!), will likely be the loom they sell off at the dead weaver's sale.

The Gilmore Gem is seeing some weaving action with these runners in 5/2 mercerized cotton.

 I love these mostly white warps. So pretty and simple, the color stripes can be the star. There is also another warp wound and ready for beaming onto the Murphy, maybe this coming week I'll get it done.

Up in the sewing room, most of the towels have been hemmed. I still have three to do, but I do love this color assortment.

The bright yellow/orange and magenta towel went to live with my folks. The green linen towel also found a nice home. The other two will grace my kitchen. I could probably spend the next year weaving towels and still not have enough to give to all the people I would like to, but we'll try. ;-)

While I was in town last week I passed by one of our wonderful local indie bookstores, Tree House Books, the bookstore that makes me wish I was like 8 again. They had this in the window and I couldn't resist running in and grabbing one for myself.

 He now lives in my weaving studio and makes me smile every early morning when I turn him on while I do things like my blog posts! He's studying weaving drafts, I am sure of it.

There has been a little sewing and a little work on the Macomber, but nothing ready for pics. Next post.

Parting shot: Smoochie and Marigold. Smoochie is the Forrest Gump of the dog world, there is no one and nothing he doesn't like. Life for him is like a box of treats. They are all good.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

An Utter Lack of Drama

Whew, a week in which no animals disappeared, no dead bodies were found and no storms downed trees and washed out roads! We did moving and shaking of a different kind. In the sewing room, in the weaving studio and out in the paddock.

Let's start in the sewing salon. It was a modest gain of one top. A second version of the Merchant & Mills Top 64.

I lengthened the pockets and also the whole lower band area and while I like it, it also screwed up the proportion I think. I didn't need to go so deep with the lower band to get depth in the pocket and on future makes I will adjust back up in overall length. It was also cut on the fold and I have to say I like the center seam better. Along with being thrifty with your fabric by putting in a center seam, it also offers a bit of design. So, next make we'll stick to the suggested cutting layout too. I love this pattern so there will be more.

Fabric of Vision has a fun monthly Swig & Stitch. We swig at a local bar and Sandi stitches some great little projects, usually showcasing a transferable sewing technique. I fell in love with this particular project. "Not a single use bag".

In Ashland OR plastic bags have been banned and if you don't bring your own it's .10 cents for one. This little voile bag mimics the plastic one perfectly, is light, rolls up and can be slipped easily into a small purse or back pocket to always have handy. I gave this one to my Mom for Valentines Day. I'll be making one for me maybe this weekend or next week.

In the weaving studio, the last of the Murphy towel warp was woven off.

 It was pretty darn close eeking that last towel out but with the counterbalance shed, you have to be right up to the back of the shafts before you really lose weaving room on the fell side.

In all I got 7 towels out of this warp,

 three linen weft ones at the beginning and the rest perle cotton in a rainbow of colors.

The next warp for the Murphy is in the planning stages along with the maiden Macomber warp. Parts finally arrived after being stuck in weather delays from Maine. This weekend will be spent winding a warp and getting the upgrades done on the Mac.

The new laundry room floor went in too. It was nice to get the washer and dryer off the front porch and back into use! The vinyl floor looks good and works fine, although I have to say, no sheet vinyl is beautiful. The beauty lies in the ease of care for this busy area. Pictures soon.

Out in the paddock, I got Dandy out for a little work in the round pen and some lunging in the field.
He was an angel in the round pen and a little red devil on the lunge line! The year off seems to have done him some good though, he freely went into and maintained a beautiful canter in both directions and put on quite the airs above the ground show too. He was just feeling that good. And even while bucking, leaping and being totally silly he maintains his circle for the most part so it wasn't a buck and try to bolt situation. He's going to be 20 this summer and he doesn't look or act a day over 12!
The part of the field we use has a banked hill at one end, so I can keep him flat, do a small incline or send him up and down in the circle, either direction. He chose to do the hill and looked mighty fine doing it.  When all was said and done, I gave him his carrot treat, hoped on bareback with just the halter and lead rope.

Parting shot: The landing crew.

Monday, February 9, 2015

They Call the Wind Mariah

We just call it kind of destructive. Heavy rains and high winds are never a good mix in a mountain forest. White Fir which is plentiful here has a fairly shallow root system, add 3 to 4 inches of rain in a few hours and 60 MPH plus winds and you get a bit of a mess. While I was talking on the phone with a girlfriend Friday morning, this tree gave out in the back yard. This tree was the beginning of my prayer flag string. Looks like some more prayer flag weaving is in my future.

 A little later, the power failed and then it turned into a "Can't get there from here." kind of day. There was flooding at the lower portions of Highway 66 and a landslide between mile post 13 and 14 (picture can be found here), had shut that portion of the highway down. The other way via the Hyatt Lake access road was closed due to multiple trees blocking the road as was the longer route to Klamath Falls. An epic soggy, muddy mess. Thankfully, we had no flooding up here other than paddocks and bit of water blowing under the basement door, nor did any more trees fall around the house and horse area. Others were not so lucky. We are very thankful for the generator. We had lights, we had heat, we could cook, sew, weave, read and watch TV, use the internet and in general, stay in touch. The road was cleared Friday night so Gene could get gas. The power finally came back on last night (Sunday) at about 9:30pm.

In the midst of all that my laundry room is torn apart. Wednesday, Gene and friend/floor installer Phil tore out the laundry room floor. The washer and dryer are living on the front porch (covered of course), and plans were to install the new subfloor and vinyl on Friday. That didn't work out so today, I'm told, is the day! Heck, with power I can even get some laundry done. :)

I wasn't too idle though, some sewing went on. These are the Jocole skinny pants done in a cotton twill/lycra border print.

 Please excuse the blurry photo. Here is a better photo of the border.

I used a little of the left over print for the back pockets.

 I also went on a cutting spree. It takes but one light over the cutting table energy-wise so Saturday I spent getting the "to sew" tubs filled back up. Weaving of course is power thrifty too.

This will probably be the last towel from the Murphy warp.  Magenta and bright yellow!I might eek out a bread towel from the very last bit. We'll just have to weave on and see. The Gem has the warp wound on and threading is in process.

Thursday was a lovely day and I had my usual in town day. There was a lot of wonderful new fabrics at Fabric of Vision, but I showed some restraint and only picked up a few for stash. My favorite by far is a take on Whack-a-Mole.

 I can't help but laugh at these little guys in their yellow hard hats.

And to keep the small, kind of cute, rodent theme going, these cotton mice will be matched with some eyelet lace and lovely white lawn for a pair of pillowcases.

That's pretty much it right now from saturated Southern Oregon. The sun will come out tomorrow though.... ;-)

Parting shot: Was that the power I heard?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bring Up the Bodies

No, Buzz has not returned nor been found but thank you ALL for your words of comfort. They made a hard week just a bit softer and I so appreciate it.

 But a body was found in spectacular fashion. Christopher Sellars, the felonious fool (that split into the woods after the car chase out of Klamath Falls right before Christmas), was discovered by the head of Biology at SOU on an outing with a full class of students looking at the flora and fauna at Parsnips Lakes. They are a swampy series of 3 little wet lands not much more than a mile from us on the BLM road across from our driveway. Gene of course was called out as first responder to secure the scene. He spent most of it taxing students out of the area while the state police and the ME made the trip up into the mountains from Medford and collected the body. He had quite the story to tell over dinner with my folks Friday night. Thank heavens none of us is terribly squeamish.

And speaking of Friday night, the lovely Louet Spring was delivered to its rightful owner and installed in the weaving and sewing room on the Rogue Valley Manor grounds.

 A beautiful space, light filled and complete with other looms, weavers and storage space.

That of course meant that I could put the Macomber in its permanent place, at least for now.

 I am awaiting parts still and also needed a bench. Now I mentioned that to friend Cindie on Saturday morning in a phone call, by that afternoon a bench had been found at a weavers sale happening in Grants Pass. I could come early and get it and look over the yarn too! Yesterday Cindie and I got together, did a little shopping, picked up the bench and had a tasty bite to eat in Grants Pass.

Nice bench complete with the side bags and

 a fair amount of Silk City cottons

 and a few patterns and such.

A perfect day except for the rain, which was persistent and heavy.

And then of course there was Superbowl Sunday and it was everything promised. There should be no doubt that my loyalties lie with New England, they are and will always be, my home team. So humor me while I gloat just a little. It should also be noted that I will never, ever root for the Seahawks no matter who they play. It was with great delight we watched an arrogant Pete Carroll make what could be the worst call in football history  and one Malcolm Butler capitalize on it.  And none of us was really surprised that the Seahawks would start an ugly brawl either.  In 2015 I hopefully won't have to hear anything out of Richard Sherman or any of his team mates, and I won't miss the endless comparisons of Tom Brady to Peyton Manning. Brady is better! And so football season is over until August. There is still hockey though...... :-)

Parting shot: Marigold and Juno.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Real Buzz Kill

And I'm not joking here. Buzz the barn kitty has disappeared, not even a few tuffs of hair either.  This happened sometime Sunday night. It always seems that when I write about it, it makes it permanent, but I fear my Buzz won't be back regardless. Every morning I've been looking for that special pair of eyes running towards me though.

Friend Sandi thinks it might be a pesky raccoon, but they are messy killers, never dragging their prey and it is unlikely Buzz was killed by one far from the barn. I'm more of mind that it was a coyote or a bobcat. In any case, we are transitioning Juno into night time house living. Her food, water and litter box are in the basement. I will transition her upstairs over the next few days.  Come early spring we will look for another pair of barn cats since they are the best alternative for rodent control and poison is not an option around this farm. I have contacted a local organization that helps to spay and neuter feral cats and they will be on the lookout for a bonded pair that might work here. Buzz came from just such a situation 6 or 7 years ago, Juno shortly after. They were both young kitties, about 6-8 months old and bonded beautifully together. In the meantime, the barn will survive catless for a couple of months. I miss Buzz terribly. He was my escort to the barn every day, morning and night, purring as we walked along, looking forward to getting his meal. Some mornings he would even let me pick him up and carry him the short distance to the tack room. I often wonder if the lighter colored cats are at a disadvantage since they are more visible at night.

In other less gloomy news, the creative process has chugged along. A nice little warp was wound for the Gem, bright white with a few colored stripes that hopefully will translate into some pretty twill towels and a summer runner.

The colors are bright orange, bright deep yellow and a dark raisin color for the pinstripe.

A titch of weaving has happened on the Murphy.

 I am loving the deep orange and turquoise and it makes the weaving fun to use these bright colors.

And the need for bright spring like colors has carried over into the sewing salon. I broke into one of the newer Merchant and Mills patterns to arrive. Top 64, sounds Bondish doesn't it?

 Anyway, I've been looking for a simple raglan sleeve pull over for a little while.

 I can do a lot with this boxy t shirt type pattern. The fabric is a printed canvas, a bit on the heavy side that has been in stash since last late spring I think.

 Very few alterations to this M&M pattern. I ditched the facing and did a self fabric binding for the neck ( and lowered the neck slightly) and graded the hip area out a little since I prefer a bit more flare for hip fluff. Oh and the sleeves are made for someone who's knuckles might scrape the ground. I cut a good 5 inches off in length. The pockets are cute and interesting but next round, I'll add some depth to them and the deepen the lower band overall.

This little corduroy number was completed also.

 I made a bright magenta and grey one in the early fall and a week doesn't go by that it isn't being worn. These baby wale prints are so soft and cozy and wear like iron too. On Sunday, besides winding the new warp I did a lot of cutting out. Some new fabrics and patterns, some old.

It will be nice this weekend to watch the Super Bowl with my folks! A bonus that the Patriots are in it. Deflate-gate be damned! ;)

Parting shot:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Low Light

Seasonally there is a sweet spot for light and January is not it. I'm thinking April might be the nicest or May for taking pics. High summer the overhead sun can be harsh and in winter, the light is so slanted and weak it makes for challenges both in and out. I do my best but I am no photographer.

I did get my plump little pony Cooper out on Tuesday. He hasn't been out for a ride in months and as always, was just the same steady Eddy I put in the paddock late summer. He did his share of rubbernecking around, checking out everything. It has been a busy time in the woods. Before Christmas we had the car chase out of Klamath Falls, with 3 bomb throwing, drug making, lowlife suspects, two which escaped into the woods next to and behind our property. One was captured the next morning and the other still missing since that incident. There have been multiple searches over a few weekends and you can be sure the horses have been alert to the fact that the woods have been busy. Plus who knows where this jack ass is, dead or alive. There is an article here which recaps the events.
 So, we were both cautious and alert as we made our two mile loop at a dead walk on a cold sunny morning ( wearing the Landgate top I might add with treat bulging pockets...), in which the scariest thing we spied were two chattering black squirrels. Into the Woods indeed!

I cleared off the Gilmore Gem and will be prepping a warp for him this weekend. Something fun and colorful and not holiday colors! And the Murphy loom has seen some action too.

Orange and purple, although again, the light is playing tricks.

 I have an orange and turquoise one planned after this one. Beyond that, who knows what colors I'll dig out for the last towel!

In the sewing salon, a corduroy tunic is in process. I'll get pics when it is completed and then I am hoping to carve some time out this pre Superbowl weekend to get some cutting done. There are two additional Merchant & Mills patterns to test out and I sure do have some great fabrics in stash to pick from for some go to favorite patterns.

But really, this post is about the Parting Shots: The Princess and the Pea or Sleeping Beauty? I can't decide.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Curating Fabrics for 2015

While yards go in and out during the year, it is the January sale at Fabric of Vision I use to flesh out my modest fabric stash. I use my much anticipated gift certificate from Gene to buy the uber expensive or the higher yardages or the whimsical fabrics that just can't be justified any other way.

 This year was no different.

These look like shuttles to me!
Some I know exactly what I want to make, others are fabrics waiting for the idea to hit, but that is what  stash is all about, part working inventory and part inspiration.

Oh Deer!
And speaking of working inventory, you'll be seeing a few more of the Landgate Merchant & Mills pattern.

I made the Landgate almost as offered. I am not a hood person, so the hood was cut down into a high collar and I dispensed with the ties in the waist. Frankly I can't tell you how many times I have gotten ties and such caught on things as I go through my day and usually end up ripping them in some way.
Putting in the casing and elastic with just a hint of the waist shaping was a better solution for me
on this first "test" run.

 I have chosen to show you the garment after it has been worn, washed and dried and not ironed. Oh it might see an iron but probably not. This cotton/hemp fabric softens beautifully over time and has a fabulous drape.

This one will be worn riding, dog walking and around the barn. Those pockets will hold a lot of treats, or bobbins if I am weaving! The fit is loose and comfortable, just what you want for a lengthy session at the loom.

Also in the completed column is another of the Jacole Skinny Jeans.

I made my modifications, shortening the rise front and back by just a little, tapering the hip/thigh area and doing a much better job on the waist band. I love this waist band treatment! You can do it narrow, wide or yoga fold over style. I did mine wide, but with a thinner fabric I am likely to give the fold over one a go.

 The fabric used here is a pretty beefy cotton/spandex twill. Medium weight with excellent recovery.  The waistband is a knit that friend Mary gave me quite a while ago to try on leggings. I never made the leggings but the 60-75% stretch this offers was perfect. And the color was spot on!

There has been some weaving going on too. The warp on the Murphy moves slowly, but it does move as does the Gilmore's warp. I have gone through the Macomber and ordered parts. New aprons, some "s" hooks, the clips for the heddle shaft ends, new rubber bumpers and a cast iron arm. The left rear arm that folds up the back beams has a crack and Macomber's prices on replacement parts is so dang reasonable, it was an easy decision to make.

Weather wise it looks like another snowless year. We are hoping not, but here we are mid January and mostly dry warm weather. We need snow pack, lots of it. Rain is good but it does little for drought conditions come April, May and June when we traditionally get the slow snow runoff from higher elevations. This weekend is supposed to be a stormy one, so our fingers are crossed it will be a white one too!

Parting shot: Guardian of the Loom Room. Sleeping on the job....but that's okay. Hers is a supervisory job. We have many minions on alert....