Sunday, July 27, 2014

And Poof!, I'm Back

Actually I touched down back into Ashland last Wednesday, but there was a lot to catch up on. The dogs are just now beginning to allow me to move from room to room without multiple escorts. I still have Charlotte though and that is as it should be. My little Velcro puppy.

The trip was wonderful, busy, but good. I have been keeping under wraps some big changes that are coming down the pike, literally. My folks are moving to Southern Oregon. Last fall and over the winter they spent time investigating a retirement community locally and doing some comparisons with ones in MA. The Rogue Valley won out and I am over the moon to have them so close. I spent my three weeks helping with some clean out and organization in prep for the sale of their MA home and the move to their new home in Medford. I'll be keeping an eye on renovations to their new place here
and get things prepared for their arrival in mid September. Talk about anticipation. Instead of a two week visit in late October, they will be a mere 40 minutes away year round and that's a good thing. :)

Over the weekend I cleared off the Big Sal of the fugly pink warp. Later today I will switch out the sectional beam for the plain beam. That involves changing out a few other things but it all looks pretty straightforward. Since it IS a production loom, I am going to put on a pillowcase warp and see if I can't do a good run of those. The pattern itself only calls for four shafts but I am going to scan around for a similar draft for more.  Late this next week or beginning of next week I need to go to Stockton CA and pick up the little Gilmore Gem II. He'll get a towel warp on him. I have it already measured, tied and waiting!

In the sewing room I haven't even plugged in any of the machines. I petted fabric and that was about it. This week I'll get rolling on something. Heaven knows I have some beautiful and fun fabrics to work with right now.

Gene did a fabulous job on keeping the garden watered and deer free. Oh, there were a few nips here and there around the edges but the scare crow is doing its job well. It blossomed while I was gone, that's for sure. There are no parting shots but I'll leave you with some garden pics I took yesterday and catch up a bit better next post. :)









Monday, June 30, 2014

Going, Going.....

Almost gone. My flight leaves at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. Today is last looks. Once I finish my usual Monday housecleaning the rest of the day and evening will be devoted to cuddle time with the kids.
Last week I didn't get near enough done, I had some sort of sinus thing going on and spent pretty much two full days in bed. But I do have the best nurses in the business and by Thursday I was feeling pretty good. It was quality time and  I'm thankful I was forced to slow down.

Over the weekend I managed some comfort sewing.



 This fabric just makes me smile, skulls, swallows and goats all together in a stylized bright floral. How fun!



 It will get thrown into the suitcase along with the leggings. I'm pretty much packed.

Gene will have a bit more work than he does in early spring. Fire season of course is upon us, but the garden needs watering on a regular basis. Hummingbirds need their nectar made, bird feeders filled etc.
But at least the weather is warm and sunny, the dogs enjoy the side door open to their roomy pen all day and the deck beckons in the cool evenings as a quiet spot to unwind as the woods put themselves to bed and the night shift of little brown bats arrive to busy themselves with bug catching.

A few of you have asked if I blog from the road. In a word, No. I selfishly just go and enjoy New England and spending time with my folks. I do try to keep up with the blogs I follow, and sometimes even comment, but for the most part my days are spent away from the computer.

So to hold you until after July 23, I'll leave you with these parting shots! 

1. Smoochie finally got a bath and his bad summer haircut. He looks a bit strange but feels great.


 2. Robin looking quite sheepish as Stella growls. He backs himself into place slowly to avoid the wrath of his big sister. Please note, Green Timmy is the ball du jour.


 3. The face I'll miss the most. Peter at 20. OMG, still handsome after all these years.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Living on Treadle Power



Ahem, my apologies to Eric Clapton right from the get go. But there has been a lot of treadling going on here the last few days, of one sort or another. The treadle riser kit arrived from AVL for Big Sal and you can bet they were installed PDQ.



 What a difference  that little bit of extra height makes! I can sit a wee bit higher over the breast beam and move the stool back just a little too, all improving the ergonomics of weaving on this big loom for me. And since the right leg does all the work in lifting shafts on this loom, better leverage for those throws that have me lifting 8 or more.

For the last bit of weaving on Sal, I decided to go with two strands of 5/2 perle cotton in bright white and quite like the effect.



 I will do this as one long continuous piece. Might end up as towels or a simple runner or even fabric to cut and use in sewing.



 Would be pretty on pillowcases as a little border maybe. I do think the white and pink is quite nice and that's going some since I believe this pink to be one of the crappiest pinks I've ever seen. ;)

The Murphy loom has not been neglected either. I have been doing a little bit on the prayer flag warp each day.



 And remembering why I love this loom so much. I was extremely lucky to have found this one for a first loom. It has been a great student loom and still provides endless joy for all things done on 4 shafts and 6 treadles. It was a birthday present you know. My parents sent some birthday money, Gene kicked in some more to reach the final selling price and then went up to Seattle to fetch it for me. I can still remember how excited I was when he pulled in the driveway on a very cold wet day and we unwrapped the loom and hauled him into the house.



 The seller who was an experienced weaver had done a binder with her young son showing the warping steps in pics that came with the loom along with lots of goodies and a bench to get a new weaver going. Such a kindness.

Now I have bought and sold a number of looms (enjoying and learning from each one along the way), and other than the Murphy (which was purchased back from the buyer 18 months later), have never regretted the sales. But once in a while I do sell something I should have kept. The most recent case in point. I had a wild hair back in April I think and decided I really should move my Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel along. After all I had only been spinning a little here and there and I am a "use it or move it" kind gal. Well, slap me silly if that thing didn't have a buyer within like 5 hours of listing it on Craigslist and good-bye she went. And then the remorse set in. I like having a spinning wheel handy, I like being able to sit down if only for a few minutes a month and simply play with fiber, raw fiber. I missed my spinning wheel. So, the hunt for a replacement. I knew I didn't want another Ladybug. She was a nice spinner and a cute wheel, but Schacht products are pricey, upgrading is pricey and the wheel itself, heavy. Someday I would like a Matchless, but that day isn't here yet. I wanted a wheel with lots of goodies, portable and reasonably priced. In the world of spinning wheels reasonably priced these days is under $800.00 I have yet to figure out why spinning wheels command so much money. There really isn't much to them on the commercial manufactured scale. I ended up with a Lendrum DT,



 the whole nine yards package (fast flyer, bulky flyer, bobbin and head, lazy kate with 3 additional regular bobbins), and got a screaming deal from a new seller on Etsy. The box was opened but the wheel never assembled or used. And it is a nice wheel and we are getting on quite well. I love being able to take him out and spin on the deck.



 Now my proficiency at spinning needs to improve, but for now, me, the Lendrum and some lovely Romney roving are enjoying our mornings together quite nicely.



Parting shots: Sharing a drink.




Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lickety-Split

And that's how Mr Skunk goes when I come out on the deck in the wee hours of the morning.
Even in the dark the tell tale rolling gait and white stripes are a dead giveaway. He spends his early morning hours rooting around cast bird seed looking for tidbits. And he is brave enough ( and hungry enough!), to come back. I scared the little fellow twice on Monday morning. The second time heading out to feed horses and goats at dawn. But off he went "cantering" away. This morning it was the raccoon. I don't particularly like raccoons so I grabbed my headlamp and walking stick gave a noisy chase. He treed, I discussed from below that once I leave he was to come down and beat feet out of here. So far, so good.
And for the final wildlife update, I saved a ground squirrel. Juno had one cornered under some old wood. Honestly, at the time I wasn't sure what it was but the distress call was heard all over the farm. No matter the animal a distress call is unsettling and I had to investigate. I could hear the scrabbling under the board
so I lifted it from the opposite end and out popped a squirrel and he off he went at breakneck speed across the paddock and into the woods on the far side. Juno was pretty disgusted at me, but a few cuddles and some soothing words and we were on good terms. I love cats and certainly appreciate the fine job of rodent control they do, but I can't stand the way they play with their food.

So, up in sewing land, I cleaned out the tubs holding cut out garments. There is one more and then I'm hanging up my sewing until I get back from MA at the end of July. 


A cute voile top with a fun neckline and split sleeves that took a whole lot longer to do than I would have ever guessed.


 The optic pattern on this made it an unpleasant make.


 I was very happy to be done with it sewing wise.

This is a second version of the Anna Maria Portrait Blouse & Tunic.


 I made a few changes. A facing and a split neckline for the front bodice, took out the gathers in the back center and decided to leave the sleeve as is with the slight gathers.


 I actually liked it better on this tunic and it fit well. The fabrics were fun and behaved well. 

We've been in a cold snap. Feels more like late March than June, with temps dipping in the mid to high 30's at night (and frost warnings!), and the days blustery and cool in the 50's. We've been running the little wood stove to keep the chill out. Summer will reappear soon enough and I'll be complaining about the heat. :)

Parting shots: You are never too old for comfort and clean ears!



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Get It While it's Green



 I couldn't resist letting the boys out to have a few last little grazes around the property before it all turns crispy.



 They get about an hour a few times a week when it is like this and while I check on them from the window once in a while, they are pretty good about sticking around. Dandy tends to be my wanderer,



Cooper sometimes doesn't get his whole body out of the paddock before the head goes down to get the grass on the other side of the fence. Goats of course, the perfect accessory for any occasion.



For anyone wondering about the Nag Bags, they are still going strong and well loved by equines and humans alike, except for the stuffing part. Pain in the butt, but only once a day and only for two.

Up in the sewing room I've been busy finishing up the last of a bunch of cut out stuff, mostly voile's and lawn's for my trip east. I'll go from hot and dry here to hot and muggy there.







  The voiles are heaven to wear and sometimes hell to sew the fabric is so lightweight. It reveals the one flaw my older Pfaff machines have and that is non adjustable presser foot. Don't get a good balance between top and bobbin thread and it makes for a lot of seam redo. All of these tops are either Scout Tee or the Schoolhouse Tunic based.





One great pair of linen pants in brown with eggplant undertones. Interesting color and a lovely hand to the fabric. Not the best picture for color or structure but it's what I got.



Heck we even have another Stardust skirt, although this ponte may be heavier than I want to pack or wear until cooler temps prevail. It does look great with the silk sari blouse from last year though. Date night outfit!



There is nothing worse than empty studio space.



 This is where a loom lived, and even the dogs are hesitant to enter that wide open space. To them it was like a new place. Dopes....;)



 And I was given a lovely hand made rack to hold reeds. Such a pretty and useful item. Great place to display some handwovens too! Thank you good friend. I love it!



But the room will be filled soon enough. I made my decision and placed an order for a brand new loom. I'll be heading to Stockton CA the first week of August to pick up a new Gilmore Gem II. It was a tough decision between the Gem and the Baby Mac, both are equally loved by their users, both have great customer service (Sarah Haskell who reps from Macomber is an amazing resource for those interested in all things Macomber.), but in the end I liked the Gem just a little bit more. Thank you all for suggestions both on the blog and off.

Parting shots: Radar!






Friday, June 6, 2014

What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks?

It is the north where doth birdseed fall...











Seriously, this is a youngster. He had a grand time scavenging black oil sunflower seed cast from the feeder.

Then he had to have a little rest and study the birds twittering about in the Arctic Willow by the deck. And us studying him.





I suppose we were pretty boring, but I didn't think we'd ever put anybody to sleep!







 In all honesty, I was a little worried our visitor might be sick, so I came off the deck, camera in hand. This was the last picture I got before a very insulted young fox bolted back into his woods,



 no doubt heading whiskers first into his next adventure. Of course I said "he" but I have no idea if this is Romeo or Juliet.

Grey foxes are small, about the size of a small to medium house cat and far less aggressive and shy than Red Foxes. They will hide and forage in trees, but are unable to actually "climb" a tree like a cat does with its retractable claws.