Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Let's Play a Little Catch Up

Oh my am I behind on my blogging! So let me get you all up to speed on what has been going on. My Mother has small cell carcinoma, metastatic stage 4, in other words, terminal. She has started chemo therapy and is tolerating it well. It hopefully will buy her some time. Obviously none of us knows how long but at present she is active and enjoying the social life at the manor although she does tire more easily. That's where we're at on that front. Right after the first of the year I had a routine physical, first one in like at least 7 years. High blood pressure ( no surprise there!), and high blood sugar. In other words Type 2 Diabetes. Finally, something I CAN control. With meds and diet changes weight is coming down, BP coming down and blood sugar all lowering. Good news but then again, my bar is low these days.

We have sent out feelers to some local Border Terrier breeders. I just can't bring myself to look for another Cairn and this time around I want a nicely bred pup of a fairly healthy terrier breed. Everyone needs some sunshine and lightness in their lives and this is mine. I've always admired them when Earth dogging with my Cairns many years ago. If you know of any BT breeders on the West Coast, send me their names, please!

I want to thank you ALL for the condolences on Smoochie. It's been a week, we still cry
but we also have shared some pretty funny things we remember about him. I think I sometimes hear him coming down the hallway. Each dog has their own cadence that I know by heart and then, of course, it's gone.

There has been some mental health sewing and weaving, not much but some! I am sorely frustrated with my hemp towel warp and need to resley the whole thing. I was at an angle once I put the reed upright. Bah Humbug!

And then there was the sewing wadder...... OH MY!

 The Folkwear Siberian Parka that grew and then I realized I had almost the same pattern in a better fit. Good grief, we like what we like don't we, and buy the same sorts of things over and over.... Enter the Merchant & Mills

number with a hood. I have this cut out in leftover linen scraps. The crap brown denim Folkwear one hit the trash. I just couldn't rally myself at the time to save cheap brown denim. Shame on me.

But there have been some nice successes. This cute badger print Patricia Rose I wore out New Year's Eve,

 a little plain cream raglan T type shirt in linen,

 an adult dinosaur print in Indigo Junctions Asymmetrical tunic,

 some too big pants in a strange not cotton (no matter what they said on the listing), fabric from Etsy and finally, this cute little linen and cotton dress/tunic with dogs on it.

 Biggify to see the print better.

The bumblebee towels move slowly but I so love weaving them when I finally set to it.

This one is getting black and white bands at either end. I have yet to get my act together to measure out a rose path warp for the Pup and a sheep towel warp for the Spring, but soon, maybe today I'll make a start on one of them.

Lastly on the fiber front, some spinning. This is lovely roving from Inglenook Fibers. So beautifully prepared it almost sings itself! Love the color.

Given the awful situation that racist asshat occupying the White House has caused, I'm leave you with an oldie of song, but sadly, still quite relevant don't you think?

Parting shot: The sewing salon bunker.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Natural Born Nanny

There wasn't a dog in this world (or any other either I'm sure), who was as sweet and loving as Smoochie. He was everyone's first friend when they arrived at our house (either as a foster when we use to do that or as a new member). He was the official greeter, and guardian of the scared, the young, the abused and the old and grumpy. It didn't matter what species you were either. Smoochie was an equal opportunity lover. He was the one I used to buddy up to the newbies to be their nanny, giving them cover for the less than welcoming pack members. And it worked every single time. Even with dogs that didn't think they wanted a friend. He took all slights in stride and never held a grudge. He surely wasn't the cleverest dog, but he was honest, steady, loving and most importantly, always happy.

When we put him to sleep Tuesday for cancer the last light to burn out was the tail wag. Broke my heart knowing that as uncomfortable as he must have been, he still walked into that clinic with a smile on his face, a heartfelt hello and that madly wagging tail. It also made me love him all that much more. What a dog, what a happy, sappy, licky, hairy, amazing dog! Suffice to say I felt the Judas, he loved going to the vet as much as he loved traveling anywhere...a lot.

 I got first Cairn Terrier in 1987 and we've always had at least one. So sad to look out over those remaining (much loved), faces and and not see my resident Ewok.

Last walk.
Rest in peace sweet boy. I know you're putting a smile on someone's face over the bridge.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Fiber Equipment Flash 2018 Edition

There were certainly some changes made in 2017!  Both weaving and spinning areas had significant ones but lets start with the looms. The two big 12 shaft looms didn't move. The Louet Spring and the Macomber are permanent residents. Nick, the Mac is getting the never ending hemp bath towel warp sleyed.


The Spring (Sheila) is getting some 8 shaft sheep towels.


I'm waiting for some Brassard 8/2 cotton to arrive. BTW, if you like this cotton, Eugene Textile Center has the best prices I've found short of Brassard themselves.

The upstairs looms did some shifting. Fiona the Schacht Wolf Pup is a keeper too.


 I can't begin to tell you how much I love weaving on this sweet little loom. She is getting a narrow rose path warp. I want to use some as decorative trim on some garments.

 Shrek the Schacht Baby Wolf left for a new home in California and was replaced by a Louet (Ziva) David.


 Quiet and easy to treadle with a fantastic shed and an easy to use sliding beater, this is the go to loom for towels. The bumblebee towels are moving along.

A LeClerc Cendrel floor inkle replaced the much disliked Glimakra Band loom.


 LeClerc makes a great product, good hard wood, well thought out and well finished. I would buy another one if I needed it. A totally new loom addition was a J.K. Seidel Scandinavian style tape loom. Here he is loaded with tape that will be used on the bumblebee towels.

Sven of course!
This is a sweet little loom and I enjoy the ease of weaving simple narrow bands.

The Harrisville Warping Reel was replaced with a Gilmore Horizontal Warping Reel.

In the spinning house, there were some pretty extreme changes. Both Schacht spinning wheels were replaced by an Ashford (Amelia) Joy 2.


I have spun more on this lovely little wheel in 2017 than all my other wheels combined through the years. I think it is the super light take up that I love and the ease of folding it all up for travel or maybe just how light it is to carry around the house. Gene gifted me with a companion to make plying easier and faster this holiday. An Ashford E3 electric spinner.

He's been dubbed Rene and his first outing was my first time spinning 3 ply.

We settled in quite well together. The package from Ashford is so complete really, a case, a Lazy Kate, 3 big bobbins, foot control and different plugs depending on where you live. The only thing I need add to it this year is a battery pack...or not. We'll see.

I think that about covers the fiber end of things. I'm betting there will be few changes in 2018. I  am pretty darn pleased with the current array. I've bought and sold a lot of looms so I am not terribly tempted any more and I have also honed in on my likes and dislikes. It's all good!

Thank you everyone for your kind comments on my previous post about my challenges come 2018! It truly helps to have such a sweet cheering squad. Hugs to all of you!

Here's hoping everyone has a better 2018 than their 2017! I'm leaving you with this oldie to reflect on.

Parting shot: Someone didn't much care for one of their Christmas gifts. Not one bit!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Utter Awfulness of the Law of 3's

Freezing fog in the valley

In my life bad things usually come in 3's and the end of 2017 into the beginning of 2018 is proving to be no exception to that. I might have to resort to writing country songs! Let's get the badness out right now so you all know if I am slow to post, there are reasons.

My mother was diagnosed with cancer the weekend before Christmas.

Smoochie has been diagnosed with cancer this week.

Juno the barn cat has been missing since Wednesday night.

I'm usually a pretty optimistic person, but I have to admit the news these past 10 days has really been crappy. There will be appointments in 2018 with the oncologist, we're trying an old cancer drug that has had good outcomes for oral tumors on Smoochie and I am hoping Juno comes sauntering out of the woods in all her beautiful cross-eyed glory. It's unlikely though. Miss Priss was late and upset on the evening call in on Weds. an unusual occurrence and then only one ran into the basement for feeding. Sigh damn.

Down into the fog.

The holiday was subdued, we did try on some cheer to bolster each other and it did have some fun moments. We'll be going out for New Years Eve for my Mom's birthday and I think she is looking forward to it. I hope so.

I'm keeping this short and informative. I find it best to get all the bad news out in one fell swoop. There have been some makes, there is quite the wadder that I have pics of and of course, flashing the fiber equipment/looms on New Years Day. Hopefully a happier post.

Parting shot: All snuggled in for a long winters nap
Mandy is actually tucked into the pillow!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Santa Has Left the Building

And is already delivering packages across the world in 3D!

And here's a fun article about how it all got started...Who knew!

While I may not always be quite in the mood for decorating, and Christmas can be a bit sad remembering my Dad and not having him here, there is still a little bit of magic. It may be a quiet kind of magic but that doesn't make it any less special.

I would still hear that Polar Express silver bell ring, how about you?

For music, it's go big and beautiful or go home. Enjoy! I leave it playing on my computer while I do other things......wrapping for instance. ;-)

So Merry Christmas everyone. Joy, peace and love from all of us to all of you.

Thank you Susan for the jammies!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Today is....


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Faux Fur Fail!

As always these days, late with my post dang it! I did indeed finish my new winter coat and I'm very happy with it.

The beautiful champagne sable faux fur just didn't work out.  I would have had to cut the hood much larger than the pattern called for and frankly, with a scant 3 yards of wool, there wasn't enough to go off rails. I should have ordered 4 yards and next time I will.

The coat is exceptionally warm, comfortable and easy to wear. Maybe not as lovely as the muse coat, but for my lifestyle, it works perfectly. It is roomy and not restrictive in any way which is nice when you are layering.

The wool and fleece combination was a challenge for my machines. It isn't that they aren't powerful enough, it's that the foot doesn't go high enough. I would love an industrial straight stitch machine someday, but for a coat once every few years it hardly seems worth it.

We will have a white Christmas. The snow is spitting from the sky today, sometimes small mean pelting flakes in the wind and at other times, fluffy flakes straight out of a Disney movie, soft and light and pillowy. In any event they all need to be shoveled. Or maybe like out of a fairytale, the North Wind, all chubby and puckered up will blow the drifts from door and my stairs. This is what comes of reading Russian tales. I spent Monday in bed, absorbed in The Bear and the Nightingale by
Katherine Arden. OMG, it has been a long time since I was so lost in a book, not wanting to be dragged back into the world of the here and now. And yes, the second book of the trilogy (The Girl in the Tower) is already started on my Kindle.

The other make to finally escape the sewing salon is a holiday red Patricia Rose dress/tunic.

 This is such a happy, bright and jolly red, it just had to become something for winter festivities. Christmas eve perhaps.

I wish I had more to share but life seems to get so hectic during the holidays, big and little bumps ripple far stronger than at other times of the year so it would seem.

I might not get to another post before Christmas, but don't forget to track Santa. As always NORAD
has us all covered. We can watch Santa live along his route. I hope he's resting now though for the big night!

I'll leave you with one of my favorite holiday songs by one of my favorite singers, Joan Baez. Enjoy, it's a beautiful piece of music.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, filled with an abundance of joy, friends, family and food!

Parting shot: A horrible, terrible, possibly crippling case of double ear flop. Oh DEAR!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Oh What the Heck...

When I first started sewing seriously I tried out a Revisions pattern and it was awful. Then recently, the bohemian artwork sucked me in again. How quickly we forget and it is a good thing I think in some instances.

This pattern allows for lots of different fabrics or patterns to be used. Such a great way to move leftover fabric pieces up creatively!

Anyway, I spent just about 3 days of sewing this one up. This is a very fussy precise pattern. None of the steps are hard, there is a just a lot of them and truly, it is best they are followed as written.
I actually love this one, against all odds. I'm not fond of overly fussy patterns, I certainly have had bad experiences with the drafting on the previous pattern and oh, I hate doing button loops almost as much as button holes, but the sleeve is sublime.

You basically make a vest, (a fully lined vest), finish with a bound armhole and then attache the sleeve which is also bound on the underarm section.

Pretty and airy.

I will make this pattern again with just a couple of changes. I would like the neck higher and I might add a hood, the sides on the back to mimic the front side curves and go down a size on top but still grade out to the larger size over the hips. I did not do the pockets as loose bags. I've done those before and they are just kind of a pain getting caught on everything.

I'm also getting ready to start a new winter coat. This is my muse but it won't be exactly like this coat of course. The shape and the hood appealed to me but I wanted my coat to be a raglan sleeve and I'm changing the pockets I think. A lot of design choices will happen on the cutting table for this one.

I have assembled some lovely dark green wool, a taupe organic cotton fleece interlining and some "like the real thing" faux fur. It's champagne sable and it is soft as any mink or sheared sable I've ever felt and it will be the hood lining. It will be hitting the cutting table this weekend and on to the sewing machine next week.

We had some snow here last weekend and it certainly put a damper on our super moon.

 It was rather super but my camera skills are not. This is what it looked like as it rose with the fog around it.

For all my animal loving friends and followers, I give you this amazing bit of advocacy reminding us that pets aren't just for the holidays but for life.

I'm leaving you with Gary Jules doing Mad World. It is isn't it?

Parting shot: Smoochie recuperating after major dental surgery this past Tuesday.