Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bars & Pegs

That was the hint, and a few of you got it, as I expected you might. Bars and pegs refers to the a manual type of system on a dobby loom, one of which is being picked up today by my dear Husband, the official loom go-for ( or do I really spell it as gopher?). If it's in a surrounding state it is likely poor Gene has volunteered, been nagged into an "out of state" experience to fetch a loom. Washington and Idaho have both seen him making long day trips into their territories. Today he heads to the California coast, which is not easy to get to from here. One must drop south until you hit the end of one of the mountain ranges and then head west and north. A pain in the neck and a long drive.

But here is the weaving pot of gold just before it's breakdown.

 This is an older AVL 48" Production loom. Lots of whistles and bells and bars and pegs! The sellers have graciously labeled and broken it all down so that he can make a clean shot in and out of California with a short turn around time to load.

(You can just see the bottom of the dobby box on the top left side of the loom).

With luck, it will all fit in the Outback and nothing will have to ride on the roof rack. Much more on this beautiful piece of equipment as I get it back together and weaving!

Before I forget, again, I also want to share a simply lovely piece of weaving my Dad did earlier this fall.

I couldn't share it until after their visit since it was a gift.

 Their wonderful friend Barbara takes charge of my folks two cats Omar and Foxy for their two week visit here in Oregon. She visits with them every day, and every year my Dad weaves something special for Barbara. This year a complex weave scarf in some spectacular green silk. I've seen pics of it being worn and it looks stunning on.

In other news, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving. The turkey, good, the gravy came out well, plenty of stuffing and some good company to share it with. A perfect day and many blessings counted, especially if you weren't a turkey!

Like one of Santa's Elves, I spent the week of Thanksgiving finalizing my small gift list
and starting some of my shopping. A little of this, a little of that. My mother requested a jacket so that was cut out and will hopefully go together in time. It is basically a repeat of my barn coat in the red Marc Jacobs fabric. She loved that fabric and since we live on different coasts, I felt it pretty safe that we wouldn't be showing up to the same events wearing the same jacket.

That pretty much covers the week of C&C (cooking and cleaning). I hope all of you are enjoying your after Thanksgiving weekend, picking at the turkey and taking that big sigh before the holiday season descends in full force. And if you see Gene on the road, wave! ;)

Parting shot: Turkey! Did someone say TURKEY???


Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Oh late fall, I love you! I love the snap and crackle of twigs, the frost, the secret cubby holes of summer growth exposed, frisky horses, fuzzy goats and cats with their fur abouts looking like little lynxes. Frozen ground, clouds low and heavy with promise of snow, cold winds to redden cheeks and hands, warm wool coats, hats and gloves heated on radiators, scarves long and short, soft and scratchy, wood smoke and savory soups. The clean smell of winter filled with cedar and fir and the breath of polar bears from the arctic circle. This is the perfect little slice of transition between fall and true winter.
This is the "set" of Ready, Set, Go!

And this year, surprisingly in all this chill and frost, my little garden is putting forth a few perfect blossoms. White Hellebore.

What a surprise. Every morning I've gotten up expecting the frost to have withered it and by afternoon there it is again, quiet and dignified in its shady bed of green and cedar needles.

 Thank you Mother Nature, you are a wonder. I bow to your power and beauty and creativity.

So, what else is going on eh? A pitiful small amount of newsworthy stuff really. I've had an off week with a touch of tummy troubles, so that did slow me down some. I have been working on the lining of course. The interior welt pocket went in pretty well.

 I am happy with the results. Today it looks like a good pressing of seams, serging and then putting in the sleeves.

Then it gets stuffed into the coat and the trickiest part will be coaxing a good professional looking collar. Fingers crossed. Fiddly bits right up to the end. :)

With every complicated project one must have a simple project at hand. I refer to this as the "anti-lining". Easy fabric, easier pattern that doesn't require lip chewing, nail biting or drama of any kind. The perfect anti-lining for me was Indygo Junctions newest apron pattern.

 The fabrics are a mid weight cotton chambray and a cute cotton novelty fabric. Dark colors and completely wash and wear.

 I liked the idea of a tie back but hate the feeling of bow knot against my back when I sit, so I just did a simple little panel, that allows it to float open but not flap open all the way. It was a good and easy solution.

Now there is some news coming up on the horizon, but I haven't firmed up details, but when I do, I'll spill the beans, or maybe that should be bars and pegs. You can all wonder on it, one or two may get it.

Parting shots: The watchful eyes of Jack, who studies me just as much (maybe more), than I study him.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Imelda in Training

If it wasn't for my dear Mother, I would be wearing Crocs and barn boots, neither of which are particularly fashionable and once they have done duty in the barn, a little smelly too. I could wear the most wonderful or weird outfit and she looks me in the eye and asks, "You're not going to wear THOSE shoes with it, are you?" So, it has become her mission to make sure I have good quality and stylish footwear, or at least as stylish as low heels and flat feet allow. None of the beautiful spiked high heels she was able to wear with such flair for many years for me.

Over my parents visit two lovely pairs of shoes were procured. I bought one pair, she the other.

 I think that brings my shoe stash up to modest eight pairs of good shoes. And since I am in training I simply must show off the pair I stalked into saledome a few weeks before they arrived.

 See Mom, you're hard work is sticking. I will break down and buy myself a nice pair of shoes these days. And you know what, I kind of liked it too.

I am way overdue with a fabric post and have used up some really nice fabrics long before they hit the blog in yardage form, BUT I have a couple of goodies to share that are in stash awaiting their turn on the cutting table.

First up is the complete roll of a true Scottish woven wool houndstooth.

This is the type of wool I love the most, rough, tough and well woven. Along with being woven in Scotland the wool was probably sourced and dyed there too.  Classic, durable and just begging for an equally classic style of outwear. The whole roll on this fabric was a tad over 6 yards, not really as much as one would think and just barely enough to cover a long coat and have a bit left over for a mistake or do over piece. The colors are natural, a peaty charcoal and an old deep green-gold.

The next is the complete opposite, a fine woven Italian wool, so soft it feels like micro fleece.

 It too is a lovely shade of old brassy gold and in a mini houndstooth with black. There was just 2.25 yards of this lovely wool but I am hoping to eek out a Sewing Workshop ZigZag top. Such a cozy, comfortable and pretty pattern, the one you want to slip into on a cold Sunday morning for a brisk walk with the dogs or wear bundled in front of a local cafe drinking hot chocolate.

In the sewing room the elf has been at work.

 The Frock coat lining has been cut and marked and the final push is near on getting this stitched up and all together looking like a real coat. I also whipped out a quick modified Lela top.

 I just HAD to get this lovely eggplant double fabric made into something wonderful. It came home at about the same time as the wools and made me distracted, so onto the table it went first thing. Love the results.

 The artsy bits are samples of my own handwoven.

 These in bamboo and done on the Woolhouse Carolyn loom a few years ago. I think this looks like little wolf or fox faces when in actuality it is part of a much larger snowflake pattern.

Speaking of looms, the Murphy loom is happily back in it's favorite place and looking as handsome as ever.

 I am so glad to have this treasure back in my weaving studio.

For those that have been wondering, both Peter and Bea continue to hold their own. At 19 and 17 respectively they are doing amazingly well. Yes, they sleep a lot, Bea walks crooked and is quieter than what she was in her prime, but she has been eating like a pony and still enjoys a walk and a car ride. (Sorry for the bit of blur on this shot).

Peter too lives for an outing in the car. It always surprises me because often that outing is to the vet for routine check-ups and blood work, but I guess even Dr. Beth is okay as long as a car ride is involved.

Parting shot: Winter bird sighting: Varied Thrush. Such a pretty bird too, a little bigger than an American Robin

Monday, November 11, 2013

Someone to Look Up To

If I was half as sweet and considerate as my horse, I would probably be close to sainthood by now.

 He surely has been sent my way to teach me about kindness and patience.

We had another goat escort adventure. I actually got both goats locked in their stall and then Jerry, my shy athletic little black goat jumped through the stall feeder window. Yes, this is one of the very cute faces of trouble with a capitol "T"!

 One goat in and screaming like we were skinning him with a dull pen knife, slowly and the other running around bleating on the outside. Oh flippin joy! I ignored both of them, brushed and saddled my mount and on I went fully expecting the outside goat would stay close to the inside goat. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It would seem Cooper has his own caprine allure these days, so off we went at a dead walk to bleating and trotter wringing. But Cooper, being Cooper was just fine with it all. He had his responsibilities and that was to make sure both of his charges (Me and Jerry), got home safe and sound. He takes his job very seriously.

 So, we went at a goats pace. Even when I gave the old man a firm slap on the butt with the crop, he was not going to zoom ahead of what his goat could handle. Simple as that. I know when I've met my match and rotten person that I am I would have left poor Jerry in the dust on flat to run after us, but not Cooper. He picked his big self up and did a canter in slow mo just so we would stay at goat speed. If Jerry was in front, he gently nudged him to the side so a hoof wouldn't dog his heels and if Jerry got under foot, we stopped and waited until he was out from underneath. Towards the end of our  ride, Jerry was tired and panting even at our slow pace. When he started to really lag behind, my big sweet mount, stopped on his own, turned and waited. He didn't want to graze, he didn't jig or jiggle so near home, he just simply waited for Jerry to catch his breath and gather his strength. Together we all arrived home, quietly and with dignity. I felt quite chastised I would add. I have a horse that probably should have been named Gandhi or Solomon. But I guess plain old Cooper is just fine too. Make that Nanny Cooper.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Good-Bye Parents, Hello Winter

Doesn't seem like a very fair exchange does it?

Saturday, at 6:20 a.m. my folks boarded their first plane taking them homeward and at 7:00 a.m. winter apparently (that could be a play on words....) moved on in. The rain and sleet and snow started, they got out just in time.

Snow falling on plastic. ;)

 They had the best weather ever I think, almost two full weeks of Indian summer. We are now however, in the final stages of "batten down the hatches" and get it DONE! Gene has been pulling wood from all the places on the property it would be too hard to get to once the mud or snow really hit. We have a bit over half of what we need already cut, split and stacked and more logs just waiting for their turn in the driveway in front of the shed.

 Looks like a pretty normal early November around here. Outdoor boiler Rube is happily smoking away, our own little wood fired Chernobyl!

I missed posting about Gene's big summer project and that was to finish the front porch floor.

 It actually sits over the basement and has always leaked in this area. Gene researched and installed a marine grade epoxy coating and it looks like this one may be a winner.

 It was a LOT of work. Looks pretty cool too as does this sweet little red Aussie grill my Dad donated to the cause.

 We'll get to my Mother's "donations" next post plus some fun new patterns and fabrics!

Finally a consistent routine has been set for feeding. Grain gets fed once a day like always in the morning. It gives me a chance to equalize the NAG bags if needed and gets eyeballs on everyone early. The big daily hay load gets stuffed into the bags anywhere from 2-4 in the afternoon and the goats get their little bit of cob and minerals
then too, in case I  feel the need to lock them up for the night since they trot right into their stall for that all important little treat.

I've gotten my sewing area back into shape and a little output even. I finished up a Liesl & Co Woodland Stroll cape.

 This is a lovely black and white plaid. The wool is soft and warm. The lining was pretty fun too. Look closely, not your average toile.

And yes, progress has been made on the frock coat. Woohoo, two sleeves and everything!

Further construction is waiting for shoulder pads to arrive and then I'll start in on facings and lining. I also need to construct an interior breast pocket. My Dad's one request.

This is a simple "head clearing" project. Two towels is the start of reusable "paper towel roll".

 The idea is to make about 12-12x12" squares, terry on one side, left over cotton on the other and snap them together and form a roll. How cute (and useful!), is that? I loved the idea and who doesn't need some handy recyclable pick-up towels around the house. Terry cloth is hard to find and the cheaper the better. I bought thin bath towels on sale at our local Bi-Mart, much easier than going to the craft store masquerading as a fabric store and 100% cotton.

Parting shot: Snowflake appaloosa.