Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Morning Shadow

At least one of the feral cats is getting comfortable with me. Wynken watches me go into the barn most mornings from about 20 feet away and when I am finished doing what I do in the tack room, she scoots in to get her share of the fresh breakfast that has been delivered. No cat food is left in the barn overnight. I carry it in in the morning and take up in the late afternoon.

 I spent the majority of the week in the valley. My Dad and I spent a lovely Tuesday visiting some  plant nurseries way out in the Applegate and Grants Pass areas. Wednesday was a Mother/Daughter shopping day in Ashland and I took my Mom to my hairdresser for a nice cut. We shopped shoes and books and had a proper lunch at Larks in the beautiful Ashland Springs Hotel. Thursday was the Growers Market and my own food shopping and yesterday I decided to throw my back out planting a dang tree. All my weekend plans have fizzled for the moment. It wasn't the shoveling, the ground was light and easy, I just twisted wrong when I bent to pick up the tree to put it in the hole. I've rarely had lower back problems and I'm hoping this goes away quickly. Like tomorrow.......

While I was in town this week, Gene and floor guy Phil were working on this!



 It's probably best I wasn't around much.



There is still some caulking to do around the sink but for the most part, it is done.



The room will get a fresh coat of paint sometime this spring/summer. I have colors already picked out. The camera doesn't do this nice sheet vinyl justice at all. It looks like a soft grey linen. This is the same flooring that we put in the laundry room.

I did manage a quick sew earlier in the week. This is some of that heavenly Japanese linen, in a polka dot. I have this fabric in a grey dot too.



 It is hard to find so I buy it when I see it. The hand is quite different from either Belgium, Irish or Italian linen.

The Macomber is empty, folded up and under cover.  I got six towels from that warp and some sampling.



Two of the towels will go to the Greensprings Fire and Rescue silent auction.



The Murphy loom will be cleared today of it's warp. I can sit okay for short periods and weave a bit after a couple of Advil's. I also have a good start on the warp for the Gilmore. I am going to do an overshot pattern from the Bertha Gray Hayes book. Tangerine is the name. The warp is a plain medium grey unmercerized cotton which I think will show off any colors I might chose nicely.

I sold Big Sal.  I had loads of fun learning the mechanics of a dobby loom on her but she is poorly suited to what I like to weave, which is short warps and not quite so intricate patterns. Plus she takes up a ton of real estate. She will be leaving me in Sept. but I'll be breaking her apart sooner than that. Probably July or August.

I also sold my Lendrum spinning wheel. It was a lovely wheel but I pined away for my Schacht wheel that I never should have sold. I don't spin often so when I do, I really want to love the wheel I spin on. With the Lendrum, I sent some nice braids of wools and a few little bags of some other fibers I think along with some locally harvested Romney wool. I personally think every wheel should come with assortment pack of fibers to try, kind of like a box of chocolates....
Anyway, the lovely buyer in New Hampshire sent ME back a thank you gift. Virginia West's Swatch Book, signed from 1985.





 What a treasure.! Thank you Gwen, so very much!



 There will be one or two warps at least inspired by this collection.

 I replaced the Lendrum with another Schacht wheel, this one a Matchless (pics next post!). As always The Web-sters took good care of me through ordering this dream wheel to delivery! I am so lucky to have a first rate yarn store as my LYS. They really are amazing and if you are ever in Ashland, they and Fabric of Vision are two shops you simply have to see to appreciate if you love fibery things.

So, that was the week that was in a nutshell, or at least a single blog post. :-)

Parting shot: Robin, who had been severely reprimanded right before this pic. Does he look contrite to you?


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pranks

Mother Nature and Old Man Winter are consummate pranksters and when the two get together in April, this is what you get.



 It started Monday night with a biting wind and stinging sleet and quickly changed over to all snow. Swirling and twirling around you as if coming from a fairy godmother's wand, or maybe Jack Frost's! It was a proper storm and at the end on Tuesday we had about 6 inches of white and wet.



The walls in most areas are bare in prep of painting. Monday the floor guy is coming to put in the new bathroom floor so I'm thinking next week is a lost week as far as painting goes. It's not like we have some strict schedule to adhere to, but once I start I keep going until I'm done.

The weaving has gone in spurts this week. The towel warp on the Macomber is on its last towel.



 This one in a bright ultramarine color.



I had fun with this warp, this loom and certainly finding colors besides black to weave with. The Murphy loom has about 2 yards left on it and will get my full concentration this coming week to weave it off.



 The Gilmore is empty but I am inspired to set him up with an overshot pattern and do some dresser scarves/runners. I have slowly been adding to the collective weaving library with some classic works.





 The Bress coverlet books are AMAZING.



 Between all three Helene Bress books (the Coverlet book is actually two tomes),  there must be thousands of drafts. They are being self published by the Bress family and the cost for all three is something like $79.00 plus shipping. A steal for such a wealth of information.

In the sewing salon the test run through of the Sew House Seven Mississippi Ave dress has been completed.



This one as a summer night gown or around the house only sun dress. I guess it depends on the time of day I'm wearing it!



Anyway, the pattern is easy and flattering. I needed a few adjustments to the armholes. The bust portion is roomy and true to size, the lower half would need to be added to for those who like more swing or are pear shaped. It is a very easy pattern to adjust and just plain pretty and feminine on. Even in kiddie fox fabric! ;-) Pair it with a lightweight cardi and you have a great summer day to evening look. The pattern also offers a tunic option. There are more of these in my future for hot weather wear.

Some fun fabrics have made it into stash in the salon. This photo print zebra light weight canvas for one



and a heavenly Japanese fine linen.



The hand on this fabric is just lovely, smooth, silky and quite decadent feeling. It is earmarked for a completely adjusted Mississippi Ave tunic. And of course in the  cooler seasons, my linen sleeveless tops quite often do double duty as cami's under heavier tops and tunics.

The weather is turning more warm than not. The horses are shedding. Cooper is almost all shed out, and Dandy not too far behind. The curlier the coat, the longer it takes to shed out it seems. The goats are blowing their undercoats and if they would hold still would get a little brushing with the slicker. But they are also silly playful goats and rarely stay still. :-)

I've glimpsed the feral cats a couple of times. The food is gone at the end of the day so someone is stopping by to nibble.

Parting shot: Before cropping. Catching Z's.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Two Out of Three



Not perfect, but better than we first thought. Wynken and Blynken in the tack room catching breakfast together.



 I cropped these but it was around 6:00 a.m. on 4/5/15 I believe. And here is Wynken mid afternoon last Wednesday. Comfortable enough in her surroundings to be seen at least!





 Blynken is a bit more silver and the face markings not quite so dark. I doubt a casual observer could tell the difference. These two females are likely litter mates.

As an aside, yesterday morning a black cat came flying out of my barn when I went out to feed. I have no idea if it is Nod or the black tom cat that has frequented the area for years. I suspect it is the tom by the lingering odor. Nothing smells quite like an un-neutered male cat.

While last post was about weaving, this one is about sewing. The warps on both the looms are well past the halfway point. The Macomber towel warp probably only has a single towel left on it, maybe a bread cloth afterwards but that's it.

Up in the sewing salon, I have been keeping an eye more towards warmer weather. This Green Bee Lela tunic is out of a standard cotton, large pockets, easy loose styling and long enough to wear as a dress on hot days around the house puttering.



A linen Merchant & Mills Dress Shirt pattern was the next make.



 I like this pattern but I'm not in love with the sleeve fit. I may franken pattern this with the Grainline Scout Tee pattern to get the nicer fitting arm hole and sleeve head.

You might have noticed the bear on the M&M tunic. I fell in love with this rather silly fabric. Bears with cheerleading pompoms. And these are not really cuddly friendly bears. They are rather fierce looking ones.



 As much as I adored this fabric I just couldn't see myself making a whole garment out of it, but the lightweight canvas is perfect for a big tote bag!



So that's what I did. I used the same pattern used for my Mom's bags, made it a little wider, to mimic the size of those larger reusable grocery bags and went to town with some fun matching fabrics. I have enough to make a second bag. All in all I need 4 or 5 of these to replace the old store brand "sort of fabric" reusable bags (which are looking grungy), and can't be washed like these nice canvas and linen bags can.

I spent a good half day cutting out fabric. Some summer weight pants, a couple of tops and this new lightweight summer top & dress pattern.



What cute styling! As a muslin, I used fabric I had in mind for sleepwear. What a sweet little summer nightgown this pattern will make for a test run!

In the next week or so we will be starting a massive spring painting project, both floors open areas, stairwells and hallways will be painted, walls and trim. A big clean needs to be done anyway, so I might as well paint it all and really have a fresh start this spring. This coming week things will start coming down off the walls and furniture tops cleared to make moving and covering easy. I want to weave off both looms and fold/cover them for the duration. I don't have plans to do individual rooms but the downstairs bathroom might get a complete paint change. I'm still working on the concept and color choices. Last thing I'll do is drag out the oil base paint and do the kitchen island in the same green as the lower cabinets. Cream is just not working out in our multi dog household!

I think that about covers things in a nutshell for now.

Parting shot: Not all tack room visitors are welcome! We have met a few times in person and exchanged words. Wasted breath on my part I see! ;-)



Monday, April 6, 2015

Weaving with Old St. Nick

The old Saugus Mass made Macomber (#786) is finally up and weaving!



 And quite nicely too I might add. Now I get why these looms were the loom of choice for university/college arts weaving programs then and probably now, assuming any of them need replacing. This is a tank of loom as far as design and build goes, but easily understood, warped and woven on. Mine at least is not fussy, no treadle hooks have popped (old style non-super), The advancing is smooth and easy and the tension holding abilities, excellent.

But what really makes the loom go right to my weaving heart is the ergonomics. It's a very comfortable loom to weave at for me. It sits high so you'll need a higher set bench, but the rear hinged treadles sit high too and well forward, so the reach is straight down, not extending your leg and pushing away from you.



 There is the perfect foot rest too. I ordered the newer style with 2 settings depending on how you like to rest your non-weaving leg.



 I wove on it for over an hour the first time out and didn't tire one bit. The only modification I'm going to make is to the bench, by putting a piece of memory foam under the sheepskin.

The fancy twill pattern in black, top



bottom



and in dark grape.



As I posted before, some of these towels are being made for the fire departments silent auction. A few may make there way to friends and family and hopefully at least one will hang out in my kitchen. After this grape one is finished, I am going to go to unmercerized cotton for the balance of the warp

The Murphy loom is not being neglected either.



 This pretty pattern out of Davisons book is a lot of fun to weave. I am using just the same yarns that are in the warp, as weft.



 This whole warp might be destined to be runners. I have half a mind to weave it as one long cloth and then cut and hem as I see fit.

For the most part it was a weaving weekend. I got a bit of sewing done but still need to set a sleeve and do some finish work on a Merchant & Mills make. Pics next time around. Easter Sunday was a treat, Gene and I met with my folks and we all went out for dinner. No muss, no fuss, no dish clean-up. Both Mom and I were happy campers about that. Hope your Easter was spent just the way you wanted.

Parting shot: Charlotte heading for 17 this summer. Still beautiful after all these years.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sometimes It's Good to Be Wrong



I love being wrong in a good way. The feral cats, Wynken, Blynken and Nod are still around. I have seen the twin tabbies, W & B, now Nod is another story. She is small, black and older so that much more feral and adept at hiding, especially when one doesn't really go looking. I put the trail camera on the deck for a couple days and was surprised with this kitty capture.



That is Wynken, I can tell by the stripe pattern and the ear notch.

And lets not forget the lovely fox, getting his or her egg.


No sign of the raccoon on the deck but the little devil did manage to make a small mess in the tack room. No food for him in there overnight but he was looking! The trail camera is down there for a few days. I want to see if Nod is around and also how frequent the raccoon visits are.

But lets move on to much promised fiber stuff. I had a fun time sewing up my Whack-a-Mole cotton linen blend fabric into a #64 top.



  The bright yellow hard hats on some of the moles inspired this appliqued little band on the back, sort of a rogues gallery of moles.



 And of course it pairs well with the black denim skinny pants. A very comfortable and flattering look.

The bulk of my free time went into weaving pursuits. The Gem warp has been woven off and the items finished.  One runner and two place mats were made specifically for my parents.





I got a sweet towel out of the warp



and a single place mat (not pictured), which is fine. I can use it in the center of my table. One can always find a use for a pretty table mat! Instead of simply turning under and hemming I wanted to try a fabric binding. Honestly, I like this treatment better and it makes the items truly reversible. These are all finished off in linen fabric that has been washed and dried. The binding has been cut on the grain, not the bias. I wanted it to stabilize the hand weaving and it does.

I finally got the Macomber ready to weave. I started last weekend to put heddles on the frames that had had them removed only to find the bundles of heddles that came with the loom where the wrong size. I'm guessing no one checked and I didn't when the loom first came. So to make a long sad story short, I ordered 1600 new inserted eye heddles from Georgia Yarn Company on Sunday last week, had them in hand on Wednesday and installed them on Friday.





 Fast ship and well priced. Thank you Michael!

Early Saturday morning found me at the warping board doing the maiden warp for old St. Nick



 and by 10:00 a.m. I was spreading it through the raddle and lashing onto the back apron.



 By noon the warp was wound on and I had started threading.



This Macomber gets a gold star for being uncomplicated and easy to navigate the warping process.



The towel warp is an 8 shaft twill and some of the towels will be for the Greensprings Fire & Rescue silent auction. Their annual meeting and fund raiser is May 16th this year (details in the newsletter section).  At least I got a heads up in time!

Today I'll spend finishing up the threading on both Murphy and Mac. Tomorrow I need to spend some quality time in the garden weeding after house cleaning. Spring has arrived.

Parting shot: Jack in recovery mode. Let sleeping dogs lie. ;)