Monday, November 29, 2010

A Heartfelt Plea For ALL Dog Owners

Please, please, please don't let your dogs run loose. I don't care if you live in a rural area. I don't care if you say your dog always stays in his or her yard. It only takes a moments passing fancy, a bit of poor judgement and your friend could be lost to you forever.

Gene got a call this morning that someone had hit a dog right by our driveway. Actually it wasn't, but we did find the little tyke. Cute as bug, white and tan and dead. A little poodle mix and judging by his teeth, under 5. When I found him he was still warm and darn if I didn't think I felt the last flutter go out of him when I lifted him gently from the middle of the road. No collar, no name but someone had taken the effort to have him neutered. I wish I knew his name. Calls have been made to neighbors we know in that area, messages left. I may get the tale at some later date. It really doesn't matter one way or another now.

I'll be lighting a candle for this wee one, sending him on his way to some place safer.
I'll recall him as Buttons, because I know when there was light behind those eyes they would have sparkled with mischief, alert and bright.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Now if that title doesn't give you an earworm, you're probably younger than me! I've been humming it for two days. And cold it is. I complained long and loud last winter about the temps always hovering on the freezing line and the resulting mud and slush. Someone actually listened ( no, it wasn't DH. Now that would have been a true miracle.), and delivered, with a vengeance. Single digits, high winds, measurable wind chill and yes, lots and lots of snow. 16 inches of the powdery white stuff has fallen so far. While others close up their gardens, we are working on the one thing that grows well here this time of year. Icicles!

Gene got the plow and the generator running, one we needed, one just in case. I staged two bales of hay outside the paddock in case Bob didn't start this morning (he did). Old diesel tractors sitting in cold barns can be downright fussy. Things start getting cranky around 20F and go into full out stubbornness below 10F. It is what it is and I worship Bob no matter how cantankerous he can be.

I have a new warp started and am finally making use of the Harrisville warping wheel I bought.

It took a bit for me to figure out the best way to work the cross, but once I did things went along smoothly.

I'm glad I sprung for it. There is about 7 yards of 8/2 natural cotton on there for towels. One chain is done, the other in progress. I finally decided on a pattern. I am going to use Triple Draught Bird's Eye (Murphy) out of Davison's book. For those that have it, page 21, top pattern. 17 inches, 22 epi.

16 small prayer flags have been cut, sewn, and are being knotted. The pillowcase warp hasn't been neglected either. Some sewing has been going on and of course, lots playing with the dogs. Someone needs to go out and cut paths in the dog pen for the little ankle biters. Dennett at 17 is no longer up to the task but still enjoys the cold and snow as much as he ever did, which is a lot!

Stella, well Stella is simply way too small as an effective dog path snowplow, but she does try!

So off I go, with a string of 4 or 5 in tow on my heels as I break new ground for them. A Pied Piper of sorts. Then it's their turn to play. Can't decide if the game is follow the leader or tag!

The turkey is bought and all the fixin's. Prep work will begin today for tomorrow's feast. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday; safe, snug, warm, with those near and dear, in just the manner you wish.

Parting shot: Baby, it's cozy in here!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Mighty Snowball Hunter

WARNING!!!! Due to the graphic nature of the following hunting scenes, those of you who are snowballs, friends or lovers of snowballs or just sympathetic to the plight of the Southern Oregon Snowball might want to refrain from viewing. Rest assured though that no snowballs were harmed during the taking of these pictures. In fact, no snowballs were actually even found, having mysteriously "disappeared" as is common with all but the most hardy of snowballs. Okay, you've been warned, scroll down at your own peril. Once you see something, you can't "un-see" it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Good Buttonhole is a Thing of Beauty

And my long neglected Bernina Virtuosa 150QE ( AKA Bernie) makes a fabulous one.

In fact she made 6 for me yesterday, all just as nice and easy as the first. Now if there was a machine that made my hems even I would be in heaven on earth as far as sewing
was considered.

Wednesday I met with fellow blogger and fiber purveyor Cindie in Medford OR and we spent the morning sifting through the local antique/junktique booths in two huge buildings. Talk about trash and treasure. There was a lot, of each. I brought home buttons, lots of buttons.

Addicting little collectibles they are too!

On the weaving front, two special prayer flags have finally finished the first part of their journey and will head NNW and SE from here respectively.

They each have prayers the recipients requested to include in honor of their special friend.

Hey Baby Delta has some action and I am over halfway through the last pillowcase.
The warp for Hannah Hollandia is being held up due to my indecision about which towel pattern to put on. I am leaning towards the Friendship Towels in Handwoven's Design Collection #18 A Treasury of Towels, but also a simple 4 shaft birds eye in yellow and white is appealing to me. Maybe I'll just have to flip a coin.

Snow in measurable amounts has finally made it into our forecasts. Yesterday about 4 inches of the white stuff graced our little mountain hideaway. Like most early storms, this started as rain, ended as snow, made mud and will have frozen over night on the roads as a slick sheet of black ice. Oh joy oh happy skating in the car. I planned ahead and did my shopping Wednesday. The back of the Subaru was packed full of food and feed, and buttons by the time I headed up the mountain. Along my drive (and quite close to town) I spied a bobcat stalking in a field of winter stubble. I stopped and watched until he disappeared like a ghost into the browns and tans of the field. Smug that I was probably the only soul besides him and maybe the mouse he was stalking, that knew of his presence.

Parting shot: Zen Master

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So, Does the Red Make Weaving Faster?

YES, it does! It's just plain cheery working on a fire engine red loom, even when the weather is dreary. And let's be clear, no matter what the forecast says about partly sunny, it's been dreary. The weaving has not been. The flags are woven and ready to be cut off and finished today.

I have scads more warp for smaller flags and will retie it all on back later in the week.

I repurposed this little wire shelf pocket thingy from the old armoire. It fits perfectly on Julia and holds my serene little musical lamb safely along with my shuttle and anything else I happen to stick up there.

I had two of these, I gave one to Gene.

Part of Sunday was spent listening to the football games on TV and sewing on the work frock. It's all done except for buttons and hemming.

I'm pleased with it. It will get a lot of use while I work on my fiber pursuits. The directions for this pattern weren't the greatest, but I muddled through. Had to redo the first pocket 3 times. A cross between being mentally challenged and scant instructions. But finally, through trial, error and rereading for the umpteenth time, it was sewn in correctly. Pocket two was a cinch. The sleeves on this garment also provided a little challenge with the addition of a gusset. I think the last time I did a sleeve gusset was on an old Folkwear pattern a lot of years ago. It was fun actually and while I should have just set up the free arm Bernina to do the sleeve cuffs, I stayed on the flat bed Singer and it just took a little more time and effort.

Hey Baby Delta has had a little weaving done on the endless pillowcase warp. It grows, slowly as you all know.I will have to find a narrower use for all this 20/2 cotton because I sure am not going to do pillowcases again in it. The 10/2 would have sailed along by comparison. I can only imagine doing something like a tartan in an even finer thread. And that's just what I will do. Imagine it. ;)

Parting shots: Quiet company

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fibery Goodness

Yesterday I plopped myself in the car, free of chores and animals and headed on over to Grants Pass for the first ever Fiber Mania. It didn't hurt that my weaving oracle and fiber supply maven Cindie was there and I knew just what I wanted from her booth. I had come with a plan AND limited cash. I know how weak I can be and no one mentioned an ATM on site so I was safe! Cindie has posted some great pics of her booth on her blog, although boy. she must have been exhausted. It was busy when I got there and even busier when I left.

I am terrible about taking pictures of events, and have none to show of some of the other lovely booths. Let's just say there was a ton of yarn and fiber, maybe two ton. A lot of it Alpaca or Alpaca blends. I saw a silk/yak blend and a silk/camel blend that were fine and lovely and would have been fab for weaving. There was an amazing jade green alpaca yarn that would have looked nice done as something in the bedroom, but I resisted. As much as I love the color, I have a stash that makes fine shopping too and I am still thinking out my white on white year of weaving for 2011. Then there was that lovely angora blend, in snowy white and believe me, I am planning on using it for something in one of my projects. The gal is local, Raspberry Farms, and her yarns are just all gorgeous.

So what did come home with me? Well, the adorable ladybug pin cushion cup that Cindie had on her blog a bit ago. When I saw it, I knew I as going to pick it up, a wonderful Lo-Lo bar of all things good and natural to keep my skin from drying out and cracking this year.

I already tried it on my heels and elbows and I'm in love. The scent is Red Clover Tea and it's heavenly.

Who among you could have resisted this little sheep, with her sweet face and fleece locks?

Not me. I wish I had a string of them up, they could be my counting sheep! This one is serving as a fan pull since I am always looking for the narrow little chain in the dark of the bedroom to adjust the speed.

She came from Lion Gate Designs & farm.

Last but not least is a book I have been keeping my eye out for, and it's quite timely since my thoughts are traveling towards woven fabrics more so than individual items.
I have all of Malin Selanger's books (I think), except for her swatch collections. I can't afford the originals but this book, now out of print, took 15 from each color series and reprinted them with the drafts and at $20.00 was a find.

The fabrics all beautiful and inspiring, as is all her work.

It was a perfect day and a very nice fiber event. I hope it continues to grow, but not too much. Sometimes things do get too big. For a first year it looked like attendance was very good. I know I'll be adding it to my yearly calendar!

Parting shots: Yin & Yang

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's Sewing On

When I bought the additional sewing machines, the second question (the first question was how much) from DH was about where in heck I was going to put them. I can see he had visions of me colonizing another area over to fiber. Certainly wasn't going to be in my loom room, which I love just as it is. Open areas, dogs and pins don't make for a good match, especially with a youngster who feels the need to troll the floors for anything interesting and nothing annoys me more than having a cat lie on my sewing. I told him to never fear, I had a space which I had colonized a long time ago that was just perfect.

The master bedroom closet. It's huge! The house plan had originally called for a smaller closet and a small master bath and hall bathroom since they would back each other . Let's be real here, the amount of real estate I want or need for my daily washroom rituals is very small. I don't feel the need to have yet a third bathroom to clean, nor do I spend a lot of time in that room. But a big roomy closet is always useful.

I took it over long ago when I had many more clothes than I do now. Most of my stuff are items that prefer folding, not hanging like skirts, dresses and blouses. In fact, with the removal of all the coats I seem to have started storing (downstairs to the coat closet where they belong and some to Goodwill), I had a ton of room. Room I could close off from snoopy sniffers and feline nappers. Hence the additional sewing area was born.

It works quiet well too. And only steps away from the original sewing area still in use.

I have a few shelves empty for fabrics, a decent cutting space, a nice long shelf DH put up for me, and good lighting. You might even recognize some of the fabric.

I found another pattern and immediately thought of the orange mixed wool fabric for the back yoke panel on the little sleeveless jacket.

Coupled with some lovely wool I've had for years, I think it will work.
This is the latest sewing project, a little work frock in a fine wale cord and I've had that pattern/fabric combo around for quite a while too.

Over the weekend I made a paper pattern from a top my mother bought me during her visit that I love. Then I copied it into fabric.

The original is a heavy french terry cloth, the copy also french terry but not near as nice in weight or quality.

This is a big problem with internet shopping of fabric and we are lacking terribly in this area for fabric stores. Any suggestions of good internet fabric sites for clothing fabrics is very welcome!

A little weaving has gone on too. I've been working slow but steady on the pillowcase warp and finally, all the prayers for Prayer flags are written out and cut into strips. I'll be weaving those up today I hope. They need to get done and out to the folks who have requested them and I refuse to start another warp until they are.

For Parting Shots, A Duo of Diligence.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Crappy Post!

Sun, wind, rain, sleet, snow? Pick one because we had all of the above yesterday. Five in the morning found me not only feeding horses but getting the heated water buckets set up. I put it off because Sunday, temps were in the 60's and the horses were wearing fly masks. I left my hose attached to the no freeze facet, and thankfully, the hose hadn't frozen up solid so I was able to fill those buckets. The horses certainly appreciated the warmer water as it was refilled at evening feed time. They also liked that the cold temps had finally given them and their ears some relief from the gnats.

One of the worst jobs in this weather is cleaning up the dog pen. If you've ever had to clean up after dogs on regular basis you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, you're dang lucky. I even have little ditties to make the job seem more fun. Hi ho Hi ho, it's off to scoop we go....You get the picture. I've made stuff up using tunes ranging from Man of La Mancha ( To Scoop the Impossible Poop) to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I'll spare you that one. No matter what song I sing it's always the same. I diligently get everything clean, survey my fresh slate and of the little treasures decides it's simply too perfect now and decides to poop. They then trot by me, tail up and quite pleased with themselves as I stand, rain hat and gloves soggy, scooper in hand, shoulders drooped (often soaked) and feeling defeated. I imagine them giggling at the back door. Trying to get someone else to muster a crap and realize this is the universes way of getting even with me for my childish tricks on my great Grandmother. My GG was senile, older than Moses and compulsively folded things and made the bed. She lived with my grandparents. As a 3 year old, I loved nothing more than running through the bathroom door, (it had a hallway door too) pulling down her freshly made bed and then streaking out the bedroom door to wait to in the hall to do it all again. Other times it was whatever clothing items she was folding that I would dart through and muss up. I tortured that woman. She had no idea who I was, sometimes she thought I was my grandmother. After the second round one of the adults would catch on and chastise me and I would go on to other daily pursuits. But there you have it, pay back. It's obvious that Great Grandma Ludwig has a sense of humor. And so do I! )

A fitting parting shot!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Brushing Off the Dust

I never got a chance to thank you all for the lovely comments on my quickly sewn love seat covers. Thank you! I can't say I enjoyed making them, it was a gotta do situation.
But the help I received and the great comments certainly made up for any lacking enjoyment in the actual sewing. It did however spark a love of a craft I have too long avoided. Sewing. I was so impressed again with the older style machines, heavy metal heads, gears instead of computers and wondrous attachments in bright shiny metal.
I had to get me one! My Bernina, while it has always been a great quilting machine, just doesn't have the umph that a vintage machine does. Plus, the new computer machines just can't be serviced at home like an older one can. What fun is that I ask? To that end I bought myself an old 50's Singer 401A,

much like the machine I learned on ( A Singer 237) but with all the whistles and bells you wish you could have afforded at the time you settled on the no nonsense workhorse 237. Gene and I also found a lovely Husqvarna Viking 6020 to keep set up for the heavy strap goods he needs sewn once in a while for his business.

My Bernina hated them and it was quite the pain to be constantly changing out everything to black thread. He might lose that 6020 to me. It's a fine machine and has the free arm! :) But fear not little Bernina I still love you!

So, along with weaving a little sewing has gone on here. Stella has a wonderful new fleece coat which my Dad poo-pooed until he saw her rip it off of Pogo ( checking for size) and want it back on her. Plus we all agreed, she wears it well and it makes her more willing to venture out in the rain.

These pics were taken before some adjustments were made, but you get the idea.

I was also inspired to actually sew a garment. I haven't sewn anything wearable in something like 20 years, but a lot of it came back and this pattern was just right for getting my feet wet again. No sleeves (which I actually like to do) but I had to make bias binding and that has always been one of those sewing jobs I never looked forward to. It wasn't too bad though, so maybe the long break was a good thing! Gene couldn't believe I actually made something to wear and wore it, so insisted I get up from the loom and model. So here you go, a rare picture or two and yes, I felt it was public worthy and did a much needed run to town without changing.

The pattern on the fabric which I have saved for YEARS is called Bow Wow Chow Mein.

And finally, parting shots. Two Old Farts, Squeezed Cheek to Cheek.