Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Mayhem of Mattress Testing

If anything new comes into our house, it MUST pass an 8 point nose to tail inspection. There is no sneaking anything into this house, ever. I have seen at least 4 dogs sitting in front of the closet waiting to sniff a new pair of shoes. And being terriers, they won't disperse until all is deemed inspected. I bought a new mattress. Just had to be done. Frankly, it is a job worse than buying a car IMHO. In the end I went with a TempurPedic, got a great deal and was done with it no muss no fuss.
But oh my, did the inspection crew have fun with it while I was trying to snap pics of my one measly finished sewing project. Without further ado, I turn this post over to the QC.

Innocent enough and ready for QC testing

Keep your eyes on the sneaking Golden!

No rest for the sneaky here though
Look at me! Look at me! The sun rises behind my ears!!!
Background wrestling.

Oh NO, a stolen Timmy! At this point the camera stopped and the supervisor had to step in. Someone got a little short faced and there were some hurt feelings and ruffled fur that all needed to be smoothed.

30 Minutes later we were all enjoying a short nap as the new mattress passed it's intensive inspection.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dans le Terrier du Lapin

Loosely translated "Down the rabbit hole", where it seems like I've been hiding the last week or so.  I also like the French translation of that phrase since it has terrier and rabbit all in one and how appropriate is that when you think about it. ;)

But enough of that, lots of fun stuff happening. For the first time in many years, a true complete family Thanksgiving is in the works, small as it is. And I started my holiday shopping early. I had been eyeing stuff all year long, here and there and sprung when the time was right. From now on it's all fill in as most of the important purchases are tucked away awaiting wrapping and tagging.

I had been a lapsed weaving guild member for a few years and finally decided to rejoin the Saturday Handweavers Guild. It's a shorter meeting time than the Rogue Valley Handweavers Guild, closer to home and just a better fit for actually making the meetings, which I did on Saturday of this past week. The bonus is it puts me in the Medford area on Saturday for a quick visit if I want to with my folks. Always nice. I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoy having my parents close by!

Other than the guild meeting there has been little movement on the looms, some but not a lot. I have nothing but home time carved out from now until Sunday afternoon (Patriots vs Colts at the folks), so fiber activities will commence shortly. In the sewing room I did manage to finish up one of the new patterns. The Vogue 1410 dress was completed.

I had to do a lot of shortening to the pattern and while I enjoy the way this one came out, I am not enough in love with the style to revisit it. There would be a ton of work I would want to do with this fit wise if I did another and I don't think the overall look is all that appealing on me.

 It was a fun make though and very comfortable and easy to wear.

The fabric is actually a medium weight cotton, so this can go the distance as far as season spanning and I made the armholes and neck so that I can wear it sleeveless in warmer months. And I added pockets! ;) In process is a baby wale cord tunic, a morph from my Grainline Tee sloper that I use for so many tops. It needs sleeves and hemming so is pretty close to finished.

I also "curated" some new fabrics. Fall fabrics are always my favorites. Interesting textures, fine wools and some great heavier weight cottons and linens. First up is a beautiful printed two sided stretch cotton, we think. It doesn't matter, it was love at first sight. Looks like hints of different weaving patterns to me.

 This will be a simple Lela Tunic by Green Bee. Let the fabric do the work in this comfortable and very wearable style. Next up is a light drapey grey wool crepe fabric

and lastly a perfect cross woven grey linen.

This has a lovely sheen and hand. I bought 3 yards and then went back and bought the rest of the roll. Good grey linen is hard to find and this is a quality and color much better than good. Use some now, save some for later for this will never go out of style. This year at least, the fabrics are a bit more somber. Sandi at Fabric of Vision pulls in all sorts of interesting fine fabrics and this looks like a "basics" year color wise. Lots of amazing fabrics in staple colors, blacks, greys, navy etc. No complaints here and I'm sure to be curating a few more in the weeks to come.

Parting shot: SQUIRREL!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ground Work

This seems like a perfect time to give thanks to a very smart trainer, who 14 years ago made it her job to train the owner while she was teaching the horse. The horse was the better student.  While there were many tidbits I learned, her main focus was to make sure I understood how to be aware of my horse and to listen to him, protect and guide him, be the benevolent ruler he wanted and needed. The second was the importance of ground work.  Ground work made us a team long before we had saddle time. I learned about ears,

and tails, his body position in relation to me, what made go and what made whoa.

 He learned about my cues, space and where and how to go if scared or startled. That lesson was the hardest to accomplish and the most important. This weekend, Gene needed to cut down trees in the paddock. I led the horses up to the far end away from the falling timber with a carrot only, no halters as I certainly didn't want to to be tied to a horse who would likely do a bit of spooking and snorting, let alone two. The plan was he was going to yell "Timber" I would put up my hands and step back away effectively leaving their "space" and making my own. Well, the tree made the biggest snap crack sound before he could even yell timber and those two good horses, stepped well back from me before they pranced out, about 12 feet away, tails and noses high and snorted at the downed tree and Gene.  They were more curious to go see the fallen tree.

 Thank you Bridget, I can't begin to count the number of disasters, large and small, good ground skills have averted.  It is the gift that keeps on giving and has made both my horses a pleasure and a joy to be around. Priceless.

On the fiber fronts, just a little weaving but a lot of sewing prep. Sunday morning I went into pattern cutting overdrive.

 I ordered a passel of new patterns and went to work. Three from Vogue, V1410, V9060 and an oldie but goodie  V8430. I downloaded a pattern from a new to me company Jocole, their pull on skinny pant, and also cut some tried and true favorites. The Sewing Workshop Liberty shirt in medium weight linen and Indygo Junctions Retro Raglan done duster length in wool with a silk lining. This will be a winter repeat of my much loved bright red linen duster I made this summer. A long crossover tunic in a baby wale corduroy rounds out the frenzy. I actually ran out of pins!

 All but the corduroy came from stash, some of it has been in there for over a year. Time to clean off the shelves and use some of those precious fabrics I've curated. 4 tubs full of sewing goodness and space for new fabrics on the shelves. What's not to love!

Lastly, it's Election Day, don't forget to vote and then treat yourself if you can to some wonderful little fiber something something.  :)

Parting shots: The Mighty Hunters, Buzz and Juno.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


To fall from height. The etiology of the word "fall" as it pertains to Autumn is pretty much lost. Suffice to say it is a North American term that has fallen out of favor in the UK where it likely started to appear in prose and print. In any event, fall here at elevation is much different from fall down in the valley. Deciduous trees are few and far between. At 4500 feet conifers rule. But that doesn't mean we don't get a falling of stuff. Winds blow pine needles down, old bird nests and pine cone scales, which are actually seeds. The forest floor is covered with them this time of year.

 This seems to be a banner year for the scales.

 Some years the cones themselves drop heavily. Might be the difference between a wet year and a dry year and also the species. Not every pine produces pines cones every year. Some are on an 18 month +- cycle. You can read more about them here on Wiki!

The horses and goats are starting to puff up with winter coats, the horses especially are noticeable because of the body curls that appear.

Dandy is always curlier than Cooper

 but by end of November both horses have heavy coats full of waves and pin curls. Bridles become tight in some areas and girths leave big hair dents! It takes a lot of weather to penetrate down through those curly coats and as long as they stay pretty dry, they stay very warm.

The cats have found all the good sleeping places in the hay stack. On the coldest of nights they will tuck into those narrow spaces and keep out of the wind.

Hay is a great insulator and if you reach your hand into whatever space they were using, it is warm and snug and pretty safe too! Of course they have a bolt hole into the tack room. That's the butt end of Buzz, heading in for his afternoon feed. I keep their food dish and water on a table in there. They get only what they can eat in a sitting and of course, they supplement at will. :)

 A raccoon can squeeze in but not easily (haven't surprised one in over a year in there), bigger predators don't have a chance. I often wonder if Rodger tried to make a run for it. He knew about it and used it on occasion. I think his demise was likely a surprise attack, over in the blink of an eye. At least I hope so. This is the last little tuft of hair left of Rodger, still clinging to its spot by the side of the driveway.

 I plucked it up after this photo and tucked it in with some of Dennett's saved fur.

In the fiber realms inside, snowflakes are forming.

 After taking this picture of the first test place mat, the second one I started in a 6/2 black (instead of 3/2 red and green) for weft, which is turning out much prettier. It also has two rows of snowflakes, one white sparkle and one red sparkle. I think this second piece shall be the runner. I'll play with more place mats for the balance of the warp. Thank you LouAnn for inspiration and encouragement on using the 8/4 rug warp for this weaving project!

I fished out the cottolin for weaving on the Springs warp too and might get a little done on that through the coming days.

A pair of fall pants has been completed.

 These were an interesting woven done in silk and linen I think.

It was difficult fabric to work with, drapey and limp and liked to distort, but the pants feel great on and the weight is lovely for this time of year into winter.

To all the drawing winners, thank you for your patience. Last week ended up being a lot busier than I had anticipated, but all 10 boxes now are packed, labels and postage done and they are ready to be dropped off at the post office. I hope you all enjoy them!

Parting shot: Wanna play? Spike may be going grey but he still thinks he's 3!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Blog Still Spoken Here

Like almost everyone else who has had a blog for a number of years, sometimes life just gets hectic enough that regular postings fall a bit by the wayside. I like to think of them as more spread out!
Anyway, fall is always busy. I can now report a very full hay barn and some very happy horses and goats. I save the worst of the old tired stuff for the last part of summer so when the new fresh hay comes in everyone is appreciative and no one has been in heavy enough work (or any work at all this year), to have suffered from the less nutritious hay.

There is no wood cut yet this year, but that is going to happen soon now that fire season has officially
ended. I heard that there was even a dusting of snow around Crater Lake! We could use more rain though.

There has been a lot of weaving action. The warp came off the Gilmore in a flurry, was washed, serged, hemmed and taken to a guild meeting all in the space of 12 hours last Friday night and Saturday morning. The two towels I took, were deemed decent enough for the silent auction for
FOTAS at the Puss 'n Boots Ball. Not a single picture. I have a couple more towels from that warp awaiting hemming. These are the less than perfects, the ones I played with treadling stuff etc. but I will get a pic. The Gilmore is back in action though, a new warp on, 8/4 carpet warp, set at 12 epi
for holiday place mats and runners.

 I managed to get all the heddles onto shafts 5-8 easily enough,

 but for this 9 treadle tie up for some fancy little snowflakes I didn't have enough arrow pegs to finish it all.

 So until they come, there he will sit.

The gift warp saw a little action and I am thinking about doing a little weaving on the Louet Spring warp. I just need to find the cottolin in the Dad stash. Oh and time, I really need a few more hours in the days, but who doesn't?

In the sewing room, there is a fair amount of things cut and waiting sewing time. I did manage to finish one cute tent top in a great fallish polka dot.

 Oh and some of those dots are cute little sheep.

 Who could resist that? Not me and it is a smooth well woven and full bodied Japanese cotton. I have done this top pattern two ways, all in one piece front and back and also with a center angled panel front and back. I think the additional panel one has better drape and fit and I will do this exaggerated A line top that way hence forth. The brown and cream twill pants underneath are still in process.

Slowly a schedule is carving itself out. My parents are starting to settle in. Mom has a balance and strength class she attends a couple of times a week, a singing group on Saturdays and we go shopping on Wednesday mornings. Dad is busy with stuff too, more than I can keep track of. We go to the Grower's Market together on Thursday mornings. It is nice having them close! Different too.

So that about fills in the last week, along with getting some winnings packed up. :)

Parting shot: Goldenstuffed chair.