Friday, September 12, 2014

Hair is All Around Us

It's even in our clothes....

Oh yes, shedding season is upon us and everyone is getting in on it.  The beautiful summer slick coats
the horses have been wearing is giving way to the start of whorls, waves and curls. The goats do the least shedding but their pelts are thickening up and it is time I do some wrangling and hoof trimming.
The worst indoor offenders are really the two Russell's, Stella and Robin. Those short white hairs fall out easily and lodge into just about everything. Marigold is adding light fluffy undercoat to the mix, which blows ahead of you on the wood floors like dandelion fluff, a lot of dandelion fluff! At this time of year, I see the vacuum much more often than I like! :) As you can see, she is unconcerned with my plight.

Gene finally got a railing on the steps to the deck. Since we often move big things in and out through the front door, we only put on one, leaving the other side open.

 If we ever sold this place we would have to bring it all up to code, but for us, this works.

There have been some fibery things done! I am well over half way through the 5-6 yard warp on the new Gilmore Gem, and plotting and planning the next warp. The additional heddles are waiting to go on harnesses 5-8 and give the warping wedge a go. Friend Cindie made the journey from Grants Pass to the Greensprings to check this little loom out and throw the shuttle a bit. We had a fun morning and a nice lunch down in town. Thank you girlfriend, loved having you!

The gift warp threading is almost done on the Murphy. Today I hope to finish it off and start in on the sleying.  The long warp for the AVL has been at a standstill, but we'll get there sooner or later. Once it is on and threaded etc,  it will make for pretty fast weaving.

Up in the sewing area, a pair of pants has been completed (and worn!) and a tunic for the fall that has been dubbed, the Birds & the Bees.

 The main fabric is a recycled hemp and either cotton or linen. I just can't remember which. It appears a medium grey but there are flecks of all colors in there, much like an old fashioned Melton wool. Each roll can be quite different, some are light, some seem to have a lot of blue in them, others darker and more multi color bits. They are all pretty and a great fabric for every day garments that get a lot of wear and a lot of washing. The coordinating fabrics are a Japanese linen and cotton. These were precut pieces, a half a yard each so required a bit of plotting and planning on how best to use.  A fair amount of time went into this garment, most on planning and executing the embellishments.

 The top itself goes together easily. The binding is leftover fabric from the ticking stripe pants BTW.  Next up will be some work with a lovely wool I have. I liked my bright red linen duster so much, that I want to duplicate the style in a light wool I've had in stash for a year or more. Line it with the beautiful fox print silk I purchased this spring. Both fabrics were pricey so a little thought will have to go into the details before either of them hit the cutting table. I'm hoping after the folks arrive and the moving trucks pull away, I'll have a bit more time to contemplate and concentrate on this garment.

I apologize for the lack of pics. I'll do better next time.

Parting shot: The Uninvited.
And no, we do not practice catch and release with scorpions. Squish-bye bye!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

So, How Does it Weave?

Well, let's just say I now understand why so few of these hit the used market. The Gilmore Gem II weaves as well as it looks, and probably better. First warps are never my strong suit. I'm impatient to try the new arrival out and I'm on a learning curve. Every loom is different and what works for one may not be the best for another. Case in point, warp sticks.

 I would be better served by a thinner material, heavy paper or as Bob Allen at Gilmore suggests, those slats from mini blinds, cut to fit. Yep, that certainly would avoid the bit of lumpiness I have in my warp. The warp beams on my two other looms are solid, and narrow wood sticks work well on them. The Gilmore warp beam is 4 wood fins, much like a sectional beam without the sections.

Anyway, back to the review. The loom was extremely easy to roll the warp on.  Standing to the side of the loom I can put a little tension on the warp with my left hand and wind it on with my right, while it goes through the raddle on the castle. Threading was pretty easy too. Neither back nor front beams come off, so you are reaching over them, but it isn't a far reach. The hardest part is getting the lease sticks the right height so you can see through the shafts easily for your next thread. This may be a non issue if you warp front to back. Gilmore sells a little tool to called a Warping Wedge. I certainly think it would be useful and will probably order one when I place the order for the additional heddles. There is a piece of wood that acts as a beater lock.

 If you sley your reed in the beater this is very useful. It also held the beater well while I rested the reed on it since I sley with the reed lying flat. Tying bundles directly to the cloth apron rod/stick on the front was painless. At some point a metal rod and lashing might be used but for now this worked fine. Tie ups where straightforward and easy. The lamms are nicely numbered ( as are the shafts).

 Gilmore includes precut Texsolv and arrows and gives perfectly succinct directions as to the height and range of the treadles for a good shed.  And it is a very good shed. I was surprised and delighted. One might even say smitten. There is nothing skimpy about this shed even though it is a small loom. How did they do that?  This loom has a big loom shed and it holds tension well and has a pretty generous weaving space. You are not rolling the fell line forward every two throws. The front foot brake for the warp beam releases easily and smoothly.

 If you roll too far it is easy enough to get up and snug the warp back onto the warp beam. And look, a rear brake release too!

 The front ratchet and pawl system compliments well for steady tension and ease of use. The castle nice to have. The loom is not overly noisy either and I like threading those inserted eye heddles. The shafts are well made, and super well set up for threading and spreading your heddles. And so many pretty touches like these knobs instead of plain screws and such.

 There isn't anything I don't like about this loom at this point.

Oh, and it was easy to fold up and wheel outside for a little weaving plein air!

The bonus here is also Bob and Judy Allen, owners of Gilmore. I had a few questions, and fired off an e-mail Tuesday early. Mid morning of that same day Bob called to answer them. Both of them are a joy to work with.

Parting shot: Spies at the gate!

Monday, September 1, 2014


You can all say "Hello" to Marigold, the first Massachusetts family transplant to arrive here in Oregon.

 This has been in the works for a while. When I was on my July visit we secured a travel agent for her. Last Friday she started in Boston, had a six hour layover with day accommodations at a kennel in Seattle and then got on the shuttle plane down to Medford OR. where the "limo" awaited her. Alaska Airlines did a fine job BTW, as did Jet-A-Pet. She will be staying with us permanently. The two cats, Foxy and Omar will be taking up residence with my parents and of course, accompanying them on 9/18/14 flights here.

She is settling in with the crew well.

 They are accepting and she is easy going, but everything is different and at 12 it can be a daunting to suddenly be in a new place with a whole passel of busy terriers.  And did I mention she eats rocks?

Well, she does, so on her trips out to the pen to hang with the peeps she has to wear this get-up. So far, so good.

Marigold wasn't the only arrival Friday....

The new Gilmore Gem II loom arrived mid afternoon and all I can say is WOW!

 This is the second loom I've purchased new and first impressions couldn't be more different. Instead of pieces of basic dimensional lumber, this loom is truly hand crafted. The fit and finish impressive with quite a sturdy feel to everything. It has a solid wide stance and instead of skinny little metal bars for beams, he has nicely made beefy wood beams.

  It is well thought out and has the looks of a show horse and I'm betting the ethics of a work horse. It does not fold, instead, the breast and back beam swivel to fold against the loom body, tucking the beater in and then sensibly locking everything into place.

The add on high castle is easily removable for travel and worth the additional cost to have that upper storage for shuttles and wound bobbins and pirns etc.

 I managed to get a warp wound and spread on a rattle yesterday and then had to stop.

 I had no warp/packing sticks short enough to use for winding on the warp. DH will cut some today for me and we'll carry on.

Now I will say, that in general loom makers do not include near enough heddles  This has held true with Louet, Glimakra and also Gilmore. They allow 50 heddles per shaft ( and it was pretty slick and easy getting them on BTW!). That seems to be the standard for a smaller loom, but I think it should be 100. I put the 400 heddles on shafts 1-4 and will have to order 400 more for shafts 5-8. They did give me the option on the kind of heddles though, flat steel or inserted eye. I went with inserted eye and a 12 dent reed.  Gilmore does not include warp sticks with the loom at all. Louet and Glimakra do. Now this is really splitting hairs, many people use cardboard or heavy paper for winding on the warp and sticks may be a Swedish/Scandanavian method. In any event, they are cheap and easy to make.

The warp is my favorite Foxfiber organic colored (Buffalo, a dark rich coco color) cotton.

 It is 6/2 weight and I've mixed it with two thin edge stripes of cream organic cotton, also 6/2, for a simple towel warp. 16 inches at 16 e.p.i. for plain weave with a standard rose path threading, 5 yards long plus a little more for waste. This fiber makes beautiful thirsty towels and the darker color really is more practical for every day use. We no longer have any commercial towels in the kitchen BTW.

Needless to say, it has been a busy, fun and exciting weekend so far and who doesn't love a long weekend. I hope you all enjoy your Labor Day doing whatever makes you happy.

Parting shot: Supervising.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

And So, We Move Forward

As of course we must. End of summer is always a busy time and this year more so with the arrival of my parents mid September. We had a rocky few days here at Runamuck. The seven remaining dogs ( I am never dog poor that's for sure!), were just as quiet and missing their long time friend Peter. Tuesday of last week we brought him home and buried him between Miss Bea and Dennett, gave him a fine cairn of stones and walked back to the house to be among the living.

 Gene is playing catch up on the business after two weeks plus away with various fire related duties. I am getting into the swing of things fiber wise. The prayer flag warp came off the loom.

 There are four full sets of flags. Two were pulled off previously and given away, but these four contain personal prayers for Miss Bea, Rodger and Peter, along with all the other animals who call here home. Two sets are already up on the deck, two still waiting for sewing work. I tried weaving these without the nylon rope ties woven in. Won't do it again. It makes for a little bit cleaner flag but not worth the effort of sewing them in.

The Murphy loom deserved a new warp and one was ready for him.

 This warp is a gift warp, so details can't be shared just yet, but it beamed on like a dream and we are in the threading process.

The one drawback to this old loom is that neither breast nor warp beam come off. So threading means a long reach over the beam and slower progress.

The Gilmore Gem II will be arriving Thursday. One of the volunteer firefighters is down in Laguna Beach surfing, he'll pick it up on his way back home here since he drives right by Stockton. Thank you, Thank you!

The sewing room has even seen a little action, some fun prints and a mini cutting marathon.

This is the third crossover tunic in a fabric I fell in love with when I used it for a jacket lining. It came back in stock after a year and I snatched up three yards for this.

I really wanted to work on something happy and colorful, so I grabbed this from stash.

 It probably would have made a better bathrobe given the print, but oh heck, if it makes me smile sewing it and slipping it on, what do I care. Pattern used is a modified Schoolhouse Tunic. The fabric itself is a very light cotton canvas.

If I wear it for autumn riding with a bright turtleneck underneath, I am sure to be seen! :)

I think that about covers the last week or so. Thank you all for your kind words, the outpouring of sympathy and care. I believe I answered each and everyone privately. Thank you again so much.

Parting shots: Combined sports, wrestling and ball hoarding.

Front to Back: Stella & Blue Timmy, Spike and Robin

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Power of the Dog

THERE is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware        5
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

-Rudyard Kipling

Suffice to say Peter was a very powerful dog, attracting to him all manner of people where ever he went.  On Saturday evening 8/16/2014 Peter was euthanized. He had been failing for a couple of days, plagued by fainting episodes and a weak heart. There is nothing as dreadful as those three small words you whisper to either yourself or to those near you. "It is time." Once uttered, they are irrevocable. And so it was after 19 years of companionship I sent Peter on his way to the bridge. He'll have a lot of friends there waiting. Good friends, friends also missed. Those who follow this blog have seen Peter as a stately greyed gentleman, but he was an exuberant young dog when I first met him, about 9 months old. Tall, dark and handsome and always happy. So, since words are utterly failing me, I will share a few favorite pics from our many days together.


Both of these are our first months together
One of the pack. L to R: Fat Sam, Miss Bea , Dennett, Sammie-bug, Peter


A group of black blobs, but I'm sure you can pick Peter out. And Charlotte makes her first appearance too!
Me and my shadow and Miss Bea

Scoping out the property pre house. Peter LOVED to camp and we loved having him. He was a great traveling companion.

Parting shots and last looks. I love you too Peter.
For those whose hearts have also been torn or are susceptible, here is a full version of Rudyard Kipling's poem. Have a read, hug your companions, because no matter how long they are with you, it is never long enough.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Long and Winding Warp

Nothing like the Beatles to supply a decent ear worm! The new warp for Big Sal has started in earnest.

 I was able to get over to visit with friend and fellow blogger (and weaver and fiber artist extraordinaire), Cindie to pick up some yarn I had ordered last week. I needed the cone of 8/2 natural unmercerized cotton for this pillowcase warp.  Stats on this are 488 ends, 11 yards and sett at 18epi.
The pattern is an 8 shaft basket weave and in the May/June Handwoven 1989 issue. I got a fair amount of other yarns too. Lots of new colors in both perle and unmercerized cotton. I even did a little reorganization of yarns. All naturals, whites and blacks are together since these make up the majority of my warps.

 Colors all live together on the other shelves and it is an inspiration to walk by them.

 Wools of course are put away in the big buffet for protection.

And just where did that sectional beam end up.....on the ceiling!

Of course, I did spend some time weaving on the Murphy loom. The only one set up right now.
I decided to play with both new colors and treading for what may be the last run of prayer flags before this warp runs out.

 We'll see. I no longer remember how many yards I put on, maybe 10 but it could have been 8. So far some fun and bright flags.

I also promised an update on the latest sewing. I redrafted the Grainline Scout Tee for an empire crossover version. I ran out of the muslin material ( the cute bicycles) and used a scrap of green linen to finish it off.

 I will need to make some fit adjustments, take it in and a little shaping work on the next one, but I'm pretty happy with this first run through.

Next up was the Socialite dress/tunic pattern by Anna Marie Horner.

 I like the overall shape but I have to admit, hand stitching the inside neckline down is the kiss of death for me. I'm sure I will figure out another way, but the pattern offers limited options since it is sleeveless. I could draft a sleeve, and I might if I do another one. We'll see. It might be easier to take the elements I like and translate them into a pattern that has already been worked out to suit me.

I never got a chance to mention it but I came home from MA with a new computer. My Mother and I both have really old Mac Books, hers was a 2007 model, mine not much newer, maybe a 2009. When hers died while I was there my Dad decided to do an upgrade for both of us. We each got a new Mac Book Air. It's a little smaller but oh so portable.

 I LOVE the lighted keyboard for use at night in the dark. I bypass the full sized one I have hooked up.

Now onto fire news.

Gene took this last week from the flight he took in the Sheriff's department helicopter
Fire near the Klamath River
 The fire is about 64% contained. There is a fire line around the perimeter. Copco Road is on Level 1 evacuation as are we still. Fires are unpredictable things and until it is in full mop up we'll stay on L1. There is a Red Flag warning in effect for much of Southern Oregon. As Gene says, the lightening bus is coming through. We are expected to multiple storms and many lightening strikes through this period. We got a gift last night as they fizzled out hitting the mountains coming up from CA. But of course, that isn't the end of the update. Idiots abound and one walking the Pacific Crest Trail started a fire yesterday in the Soda Mountain Road area. 80 foot trees fully engulfed in flames. Luckily two helicopters stationed  locally for the Oregon Gulch fire were swung over to help the ground crews and the fire was in mop up by early evening. Then Idiot Two decided to have a campfire (bonfire?) in a remote area around one of the lakes. I have no idea how that one turned out since Gene still wasn't back when I went to bed. There are signs burning, no smoking in the woods, no running of any gas fired anythings, not chainsaws, not ATVs, not cars, not lawn mowers, nothing that creates a spark.  Heck I wouldn't even take a horse with shoes into the woods right now since it could spark on rocks. It's that dry.

If you want to see Gene giving a local news interview here is a link from yesterdays news.

Parting shot: Smoochie, wagging his tail and smiling at mannequin Rhonda , hoping for treats maybe?