Tuesday, October 25, 2016

No Matter What, the Sun Comes Up.

And that's the truth. Dogs, horses, husbands, goats, friends and even cats all need attention and give back freely. The sun comes up, you laugh, you cry, you dust yourself off and go on with the business of living. To do otherwise would be an insult to those who no longer can.  I want to thank each and every one of you, Carol, Kim, LA, Cindie, Diane, Michelle, Janine, Coco, Sharon, Louise, Valerie, Mary, Elle, Peg, Leigh, Elizabeth, Linda, Susan, Nadine and LOTL. Thank you so much for those cyberhugs, condolences, words of kindness and strength and prayers. It was so appreciated and needed. Thank you all so very, very much.

While it has been a sad time, it has not been an idle one. I cleared my Dad's loom of the 12 yard cottolin towel warp we put on so many months ago. He did get to see the 11 lovely towels that were woven. Pics next post.  It is only fitting that his prayer flag warp be put on his loom. Gene and a friend moved it back down for me since I decided to give this special loom the best weaving space in the house. The two little wolf looms are upstairs now.

 This pic was taken in process, but now everything is all tied on and up and it's ready to weave.

 The pattern is going to be a twill and plain weave on 6 shafts and treadles. Something different and while this warp is shortish, if I like the pattern it might be recycled to the next warp. I had forgotten how time consuming tying up a countermarche loom can be!

The sewing salon has seen some action in the last weeks. I needed the absorption sewing can provide. The picking and choosing of pattern and fabric. I implemented my idea of using the Grainline Scout Tee pattern but changing the neckline to mimic some of the other patterns I like. It worked out well and I have my different necklines with the nicely drafted armhole and sleeve. Yeah!
First up is a fun sheep linen cotton print. I grabbed the neckline from an Indygo Junction pattern, the Urban Tunic. I only had two yards of each fabric and that collar is wide and on the bias.

Next up I used the Esme neckline. I love this Scandinavian print. Foxes!

 Dark blue has been showing up a bit more in my wardrobe, so a pair of navy linen pants made it out of the sewing room too.

leg detail

 I ordered some organic cotton knit fabric since the Phoebe Pants pattern (Tina Given) worked out so well for knit PJ's. I was able to get two bottoms, one tee and two tanks cut out for sleepwear. in 3 different knit patterns.

The Baby Wolf has seen it's share of weaving also.

 The birch runner run is 3/4 done. I found some ombre wool in stash for the second one. It goes from cream to grey to beige and a deeper brown and then fades back to light again. Kauni was the name of the yarn, light sock weight and is working perfectly.

I think that's all I have for right now, but it is good to be back and blogging and catching up with everyone else's blogs! At some point at the beginning of October, Blogger dropped all of my watched blogs. I have tried to reassemble them all back, but honestly, I am sure there may be a few I have forgotten. If you remember seeing a blog here that is no longer present PLEASE let me know. I know Margaret & Helen isn't added back yet.

Parting shot: Cuddler's extraordinaire.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Sadness and Relief

I've been gone a good while from this blog, but other matters where much more important. This is not going to be a happy post nor a long one. Yesterday, October 13, 2016 at 7:30 in the morning my dad died of stomach cancer.  I spent the last few weeks, putting his estate in order under his directive, watching football, talking politics and doing for him whatever earthly assignment I could to make his last days meaningful and letting him know how much he was cherished and loved. The nurses of both the Rogue Valley Health Center and from hospice made his last days comfortable. It was sadness and relief I went through yesterday. Grieving for my loss and at the same time so relieved he is not in pain any more.

Richard Conover Chamberlain III 8/5/1937 - 10/13/2016

Today I'm going to take stock of my sewing room, pick through some fabric, think about life, cry some, sleep without worry of the phone ringing, watch the rain. Tomorrow I'll again pick up the reins and start stewardship of my mother. She'll be moving into a smaller place right in the main manor building, there are finances to see to, belongings to pare down. It's all pretty clean and tidy, bless you Dad, for that final gift, I'll get her through it. Promise.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Old Dump and Run

It's an age old story! You get busy and the blog languishes a bit. That's life. My Dad hasn't been feeling well and for the last number of weeks I've been making more runs down to town to lend a hand where and when needed.

We're also getting anxious about getting wood in, doing some heavy equipment work on the driveway and gearing up for winter. We need rain. We can't cut down dead trees with chainsaws when we are in extreme fire season. The risk is far too great and the rain is proving to be a bit late this year. So putting up wood for the winter will be a hurry up and wait affair. I have seen a fox though, on the deck and the raccoon babies have been cut free by their Momma. The not so little pirates were on the deck by themselves last night. No sign of Mom I could see but I'm betting she was near. Just two nights ago all four where out dining on sunflower seed by the almost full moon.

I have lots of things in process on the looms and not much weaving to show. Nick is going to get a warp on this weekend for a run of turned twill towels. Say that 3 times fast!

 The project is from the Jan/Feb issue of Handwoven. I loved the marled yarn effect, just didn't like how the black and white muddied the colors and wanted a lighter version. This is what was found and on sale at the time to boot!

I think the lighter marling will make for a better pop of those crayon colors. This is a 7 yard warp and I'm starting the sett at 18 epi since this yarn runs at 1900ypp. I think 20 epi might be too stiff. We'll see.

Up in the salon, fall sewing has started. Two long sleeve tunics made it out last week.

 I had an epiphany working on the sleeves of the Esme ( red floral) tunic. They can be a bit of pain to set. So, there I am thinking that maybe I could frankenpattern the Scout tee armsythe and sleeve onto the Esme, when I realized it would be MUCH easier to just adjust the Esme neckline to the scout tee. So from now on, the Scout Tee shirt pattern is really my "block" which I work most options from. To that end I ordered a second paper copy since my original taped PDF version is tattered and messy.  I have some nice fall fabrics in fun prints just waiting for time and inspiration!

What a sweet raku piece I found in a local floral and statuary shop! It makes me smile every time I see it. Our hummers have left although we are getting some as they migrate south or just down into the valley for winter. The feeders here stay up well into late fall/early winter. You never know when a straggler might need some fuel to make it last bit down to warmth!

Parting shot: Pogo doing his best Yoda imitation.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

4 Now 4 Later

Yep, another Schacht loom has landed, this time a Baby Wolf, 4 now 4 later. A wider replacement for the Gem II. At 26" weaving width this is a perfect bridge width  to the larger looms.

 Schacht considers this a portable loom. I have to say, it's pretty heavy. I couldn't move it to a workshop by myself, but maybe someone younger and stronger could, although, I'm pretty strong.  This beauty was ordered through my LYS, The Web-sters. It saved me some cash (which I spent on a castle tray and extra reed), to have it shipped there and I picked it up within minutes of it arriving. It was carted right out to my car and the carton just fit into the back of the Subaru. Whew! The loom fit and finish is as nice as you can get. The maple Schacht uses on their looms is some of the best quality I have seen. Clear beautiful furniture quality. And it is certainly easy to use. It took me half a day to do a careful job of installing the castle tray and getting the heddles on, all the tie-ups etc. In under 3 hours I had him warped and threaded with a 5 yard warp in a nubby silk noil yarn for a couple of birch bark runners.

 The main weft is a lovely handspun wool from a fellow blogger. I'm thinking one of these runners should really be heading back to her.

 The one that stays will become a wall hanging.

The long carriage bolts on the front beam have been replaced with carriage bolt knobs like the back beam has.

That allows for the front beam to be removed to thread since I warp back to front. It made a huge difference in comfort and speed. There is a barrel nut in the beam, so you have to set that correctly when replacing it, but it is a small price to pay for the better access. I will probably switch the plain bolts for knobs on Fiona the wolf pup since the set up is the same. Oh and the new loom's name? Why Shrek of course. :-)

I'll be participating in Spinzilla again this year with the Web-ster's team and give some cotton roving a whirl on the wheel.
Of course I have ounces and ounces of some wonderful wools too should cotton be a non-starter for me. This beautiful fiber came from the Etsy shop of Robin Edmundson.

The Hogwarts towels continue

with the bronze and blue of Ravenclaw. I might not get a Hufflepuff since that warp is looking pretty close to the end. We'll see since I do love their colors and their mascot. A badger!

And speaking of badgers, a double gauze fabric adorned with them and made into a Grainline Tee came out of the sewing salon last week.

A few things hit the cutting table and some linen pants are almost done. It was a slow week up there with all the excitement of a new loom.

The fall garden is full of California Fuchsia (Zauschneria) and various salvia's.

 It's all a wonderful chaotic jumble at this point and I smile every time I walk by it all. Of course once fall really sets in there will be a reckoning for my lazy ways with the garden this year, weeds will need to be pulled, some things cut back etc. But not today!

Parting shot: The magnificent seven.
Spike, the resident alarmist, keeps watch.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Lost in the Rain Wilds

Some of you who read scifi and fantasy may know exactly where I have been hanging out when I turn my Kindle on. For the rest of you, I have been on a steady diet of Robin Hobb books and they are wonderful! Long, detailed and on the whole, very satisfying reads if you like that genre. The characters are so real and fleshed out. When I read them, it is literally like I am right there, sharing the sights, sounds and smells of the world that has been created. I've always been a serial reader and I'm about mid-way through all the different trilogies.

When I wander out from Rain Wilds the only other book on the end table is "A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir to Isis" by Robert Worth.  A very readable book
for those who, like me, want and need a better understanding of the Middle East and the Arab world.
This is not a dull dry tome of a book, so don't be afraid of the heavy subject matter.

A little activity up in the sewing salon. A simple tee done in the fun hedgehog fabric, complete with bright orange inseam pockets.

 The last two of the Kiota sleeveless tops have been completed. A light teal blue one and a bright orange linen one.

I'm getting low on my cut patterns. I think I just have a pair of pants waiting to be put together.  This weekend I'll likely pull patterns and fabrics and go to town on the cutting table. Fall is in the air and I want some tunics with collars.

Some progress in the weaving studio. The towel warp is being threaded in drips and drabs.

 I've moved onto my Slytherin towel on the Louet Spring.  She really needs a name you know.

I may throw another green in there to spruce it up. Hmm, that might be a very bad pun.

The peach canning has finished up (maybe) with a nice batch of Peach-Jalapeno Jam. I think it's my very favorite so far.

 Of course pears are on the horizon and then some apple recipes. I would love to do up some of those spiced apple rings.

Out in our little wild place, we are down to one visiting turkey. I have no idea if the flock has dispersed or been predated. Last week a grey fox was found dead in our driveway. A young looking male, he was thin but his coat was in nice shape, no signs of injury, vomit or diarrhea. Visual inspection only.  I was able to scoop him onto a shovel and took him off the driveway and into the woods. Two days later he had been carried off. Needless to say we are keeping an even closer eye on our local wildlife.

Parting shot: Jack, lulled by the steady beat of weaving.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Raising the Bar

Usually I beam the warp on by myself. If Gene is wandering about I'll have him help since it usually goes pretty quick. The warp I wound an age ago for cotton and hemp bath towels wasn't going to be quick or easy. The American Maid brand 8/2 cotton from Lunatic Fringe is beautiful and soft. A very light, almost squishy feeling 8/2 that likes to make a bit of fuzz and grab it's neighbor. It demanded to be beamed on under tension and at almost 12 yards, the yank and crank method would have taken forever. I gave Gene a choice, put up that warping valet bar I sketched months ago or stand there keeping the warp under tension. He chose wisely and got his drill out and we pieced together my simple valet in about 10 minutes.

 Now it helps that I have some huge beams that run through the house. I need nothing more than a little one step stool to reach comfortably and the texsolv and pin design at the end is easy and adjustable.

 I got this warp on in about 35 minutes including coffee. Three threads ( 6 ends) broke but in this 700 end spot weave warp it is unlikely they will matter much.

 It took me far longer on Monday afternoon to add the additional new heddles to all four shafts of Nora, and much more swearing. The valet bar will serve both looms. Nora, I had to turn around, Nick will have to be shifted a bit towards the bookshelf wall. Easy enough.

The Christmas runner warp in linen and hemp has also been wound onto Fiona. It looks pretty messy right now but will calm down when under some tension.

 I have to add some heddles to all her shafts in prep for threading.

 The extra heddles came yesterday. I might tackle it today or wait until the weekend.

I ended up not going to spin at the fair with Cindie. Last week was incredibly hot and dry up here with temps in the mid 90's and humidity around 20% or below. Between itchy dogs, terrible heat and red flag warnings, I decided that being almost 2 hours out from home was just too much should a fire break out. Gene as fire chief would have to go and that would leave the animals vulnerable.

And speaking of vulnerable, Louisiana, who has had much more than its fair share of devastation. I live a long way from that wonderful state, but enjoyed the time I was able to spend there. I can't be there now but I can help. I can send money and heaven knows, those folks are going to need a lot of it. As is my way, I give first and foremost to animal causes, as local as possible. Critters have no say over where and how they live. Here is a set of links for needy rescues trying to cope with the overwhelming number of displaced animals. There are also links to people centric organizations and their needs. Either way, if you can spare some now and spare some in a few months do it. It'll make you feel good, really.

I stayed home and canned peaches. Two jams, one a simple one and one a variation with almond extract. I also put up a few pints of boozy peach halves with bourbon. This morning, I am using some of my home grown jalapeƱos and putting up the last batch of now ripe peaches as a sweet and hot Peach JalapeƱo Jam.

The sewing salon has been pretty neglected this last week, but ideas are percolating. I have a new Indygo Junction pattern to try out (Asymmetrical Tunic),

 and some fun panel fabric from Moda made it up into the stash.  One piece has small panels, the other large.

I watched those baby raccoons one evening from the upstairs window, play on our deck, fight over sunflower seed and splash in the low bird bath. They had a ball and so did I. Momma raccoon, I'm not so sure but she is certainly attentive, and protective of her brood.

Parting shot: Too hot for covers or companions but pillows are mine. All mine!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Last spring when I received my Schacht Wolf Pup for my birthday, I had contacted a local craftsman, (and that is an understatement!), about making a castle tray for Fiona. We bartered a deal of which I am certain I got the better end.

  There is a tipping point when craft becomes art. I can't say the criteria, but you know it when you see it. I am a serviceable weaver, Ray is an artisan.

 This is the awesomel tray he came up with. All in perfectly "matched to the loom" maple. Beautiful basket WEAVE in wood! Swoon worthy. And make no mistake, the work he went through to make a graceful and sturdy attachment system is appreciated. It all seemed so easy until you had to work around the mechanics of the shafts.

 I spent last night just looking at my pretty little naked loom.

 Today I'll gather all the bits and bobs I like to keep in the tray, a needle, a big pin, sley hook, and little scissors not to mention getting a warp wound.

When I painted the studio my strawberry curtains came down. I haven't decided what to do with that window but I knew it wasn't those curtains, which were no more than two well preserved panels. I love that fabric and thought about a garment. Couldn't come up with something really suited to the graphic print that I would wear. Inspiration came in the form of a little light throw for the bed.

 I had some linen leftovers that would work. Nothing fussy, machine tied and no batting.

The perfect weight for a quick afternoon nap on a warm day too!

I attacked a pattern I had cut out way back in early spring.

 This is an Inygo Junction pattern, the Urban Tunic and it looked strangely familiar. When I unearthed it again, I also dragged out a second pattern (the Chic Cowl Neck Shift) for a comparison. And they were EXACTLY the same two front and back pieces,

 in fact the Urban Tunic doesn't have sleeves but on the supplied pattern there are of course, notches for sleeves which can be used for evil facings. On one the collar is done in two pieces sewn together, on the other, a single wider piece folded over.

So if you like the pattern buy the Chic Shift pattern, it gives you the sleeves, and you can always raise the neckline to give the boat neck option the Urban offers.

A little tank top came out of the sewing room. The linen is very lightweight, very smooth, cool and dry to the hand.

 In winter this will feel just as nice next to the skin under heavier clothes as it does in our very hot August.  I cut two more in solids at the same time which are in process.

Speaking of hot, we had a little fire up here last weekend. Just when I thought we were going to sneak quietly through fire season this year, two erupted within a day of each other. The Redwood Fire near Cave Junction burned 2 homes, and 3 outbuildings and was held at 50 acres. Our
fire named the Twentymile Springs Fire (right past milepost 20 on Highway 66, for reference in how close this was, we are right past mile post 19), was held at about 5-6 acres. ODF crews and Greensprings Fire and Rescue worked tirelessly Saturday to keep the fire contained. You can read about it here on the Greensprings Rural Fire District page.  If you scroll down you can also see this has been the year of the rollover crash. There have been 3 of them on Highway 66 this year, one fatal, the other two pretty bad. Slow down folks, it's far too pretty an area to speed through!

On the weaving front, the play warp has come off Nora the 32" Macomber. Here is one of the two nice runners from that warp.

 The other one went to Ray and his wife Gail, who just happens to be our equine vet. Such a talented couple and we are so lucky to have them as part of our community.

Parting shot: The power of threes or a tribe of terriers!