Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog

Wool of bat and tongue of dog. In other words a little bit of everything in this blog post is being thrown into the cauldron. And it's been hot enough too. We've had 3 days of thunderstorm warnings and as many days on fire watch. I don't handle heat well. It makes me grumpy. It also means I spend a good portion of my early mornings doing things I would rather do at other times. It saps both my ambition and creativity. As I write this I hear the latest thunderstorm booming in the distance. The Klamath Falls area and upwards towards Crater Lake seems to be the most recent strong path.
Fingers crossed there is rain with it. These storm clouds do make for some beautiful sunsets though.

But hot mornings have had some charms too. I caught the boys having their after breakfast nap. This one a twofer.

Usually one of them stands guard but really what for. I guess after 16 years together they figure a few dual naps are safe enough, except for that camera lady. Maybe she's got carrots?

The two barn cats have been unceremoniously tossed from the basement until winter. It's time they earned their keep and do some much needed mousing around the barn. They do get called in for a light morning meal. Union rules.

 They can be either sweet or evil with each other. This was  sweet morning, bowls okay to be close.

A raccoon was waiting in the woods for leftovers, there were none. I do stand guard for them.

It can all turn quickly though but these two girls have developed an affection for each other. Juno has the white paws, Prissy no white at all.

The garden has already passed it showiest time, now it's all about the hummers. Zauschneria (California fuchsia), is starting to bloom, bee balm, Lucifer crocosmia and hummingbird mint are all
on the menu. The shasta daisies had a vibrant but short run. I should have gotten pics. I need to get something better than this!

Inside, the Tour de Fleece wrapped up. I didn't make my goal of having all of the Songs of the River spun up, but I did spin every single day.  And I did sell the Schacht Matchless.

 He was adopted by a gal in Iowa and is much loved I'm told.

Gene turned 61 last Sunday. There was cake and presents. Most years he goes paragliding on his birthday but because of the Red Flag warnings and the fact that flying would likely be awful anyway, he stayed home. A mixed blessing. ;-) He also shared this gem with me of their Monday night training.

The volunteer fire and rescue department have burned donated cars, practiced on them with the Jaws of life and work every single week on some aspect of fire or medical emergencies. I knew something was up when Gene took the ketchup from the fridge to go....

Two lovely Cashmerette Websters came out of the salon. Oh my are they cool and comfortable to wear. You can tell a favorite pattern by the fabric I use. Both of these are from fabrics I have held back for a number of years I love them so much. The grey scale mushroom print I have hoarded until the perfect pattern came along.

The butter linen supplied me with a much loved Sewing Workshop Liberty top (still going strong) and I used the last 2 yards +- on this Webster tunic.

 I have to say this linen is probably some of the nicest I have ever had and the color is so beautiful. I made a couple of changes to the sleeveless pattern. I squared the armhole a bit, allowing for more freedom of movement reaching out to the front (think weaving). I used a neck facing only and did a bias binding on the armholes. Oh and side seam pockets. Faster, a little cooler and much less fussy. Win win!

Some fun fabric made it into stash. This is actually a navy blue background.

Fabrics are going on sale and I have done some stash building. More next post.

For those that want to read all of the Song of the Witches, here you go!

Did That Just Happen?

Good-bye ACA. I was thrilled to have affordable health care after years of being unable to
get any because of Lupus. I am expecting that our premiums will be so high and coverage so poor, it won't be worth buying. I am also fully prepared to bypass treatment if it should mean family bankruptcy. What a choice huh?

The speech to the BSA jamboree was bad and not normal nor okay. It sure looked like a tip to the Hitler youth groups to me. And then of course, another venting in Ohio last night. This man is just not right.

Let's close with something fun like who will play the next 007? :-)

Parting shots: Roughing it...

Or Not!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Dumpy, Dowdy and Drab!

So let me tell you how I really feel about patterns with cut on sleeves. ;-)
The Closet Case Files Charlie Caftan pattern was a fail. I made a number of adjustments but in the end, the style and overall technical design is just not for me. What looked great on Coco with her willowy figure just did not translate well to my shorter, more gnome like figure. I knew going into this it might not work out so I'm not terribly disappointed. I still have stuff to wear to the ball but I was hopeful. The pattern has found its way to the wrapping paper box.

That's not to say nothing pretty came out of the sewing salon, there were two wonderful other makes.
An Asymmetrical Tunic from Indigo Junction (complete with 3/4 length sleeves) made the journey from salon to wardrobe.

This fabric is a smooth tightly woven shirt weight cotton. It feels like silk on and was a pleasure to work with. I used the whole 3 yards pretty much on this tunic. Light enough for summer but with a sweater and the sleeves it will be a nice year round piece.

The second thing out of the sewing closet is another Webster tunic. I actually cut three of these, all sleeveless. I like this pattern a lot. It has a nice fit and the V back is cool and comfortable. It also works quite well with a sweater or a jacket on cooler days.

The pattern is thrifty. I got this out of less than 2 yards. I had used some of this fabric on other things and it was time to move it out of stash and make room for some other more garment worthy fabrics. Being darkish and busy it is the perfect type of top for working around here and this Moda cotton always washes up great. I liked the selvage edge design and saved it. May not have been the best choice, but the little color butterflies always make me kind of happy.

The Baby Wolf was brought down for some portable weaving.

fits just perfectly at the end of the table when not in use

I've had Shrek out on both decks and in the family room. I can watch TV or listen to the radio, weave and keep an eye on stuff cooking on the stove, especially when canning. Multitasking at it's most fun!

This is another batch of the Nectarine & Lime Jam.

It is so yummy and such a beautiful rose pink color when done.. Both Gene and I have picked it as our favorite so far, although the Strawberry and Lemon Preserves is high on my list too.

The sailboat is out for the summer.

The recipe comes from Food in Jars by Marissa McClellan

makes about 3 pints

5 cups pitted and chopped nectarines (about 3 lbs)
3 cups granulated sugar
Zest and juice of two limes
1 (3 oz) packet liquid pectin

combine nectarines and sugar, boil for 15-20 minutes until fruit is soft and washable with the back of a wooden spoon. I like mine chunkier, but you can use an immersion blender for a smoother texture...carefully.

add the lime juice, zest and pectin and bring to a rolling boil for  a full 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, ladle into prepared jars, 1/4 inch head space, wipe rims, apply lids and rings
and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. I have to do 20 BTW due to elevation . A perfect weaving time block!

Spinning continues on Tour de Fleece. Here is the Polworth wool all done and ready for a project.

I ended up with 415 yards. It is very soft and squishy.

And here is Songs of the River.

I'm at the end of this half, on the darker end of the scale. I will spin the second bobbin exactly the same and the plied yarn should preserve the beautiful color gradation.

Did That Just Happen?

I don't know about you but I'm wondering if Boris and Natasha and Moose and Squirrel were in that meeting with Trumpy Jr. too last June.

I shamelessly hope the Orange Cheeto will have a health crisis. I know it's not good karma, but I'm betting I am not alone. I consumed this report kind of like...popcorn, the healthy kind.

So now it is "Made in America" week. How many things does the Trump royal family have made here? Not too much.

And lastly, it's not just pipelines that threaten our national parks and native cultures. Let's talk about mining shall we?

Parting shot: Waiting in the belly rub line.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Six Hummers Humming

One of the few delights of summer for me is the hummingbirds.

 I'm on the lookout for the first one or two come April and feeders are out and ready, brought in overnight so the nectar stays warm and put out at first light in case some cold hummer coming out of a torpid state needs this life giving fluid.

Come July though, it's all about territory and acrobatics. The feeders are busy. This year has seen the numbers down. Just about six total.

 Everything is down wildlife wise actually. The property next door to us, 170 acres of lovely old and new growth was bought and clear cut. The operation ran day and night from May (how many nests were destroyed I wonder), to the beginning of July. It sickened us to see and hear it. This is not stewardship, this is snatch and grab and slash and Oregon lets them get away with it. The property is for sale again, there was an existing well and a home site approval, but it is a moonscape out there now and will be for many years to come.  Such a pity.

While summer wanes on, it is cool and shady enough for spinning on the deck in the mornings.

 I love the umbrella that is out there. Here is the last of the Polworth (it is all now plied, skeined and ready for soaking) and the start of the merino/silk Songs of the River.

 Beautiful stuff, a bit slippery after the robust Polworth. The saturated color is amazing.

In the sewing salon, a new pair of PJ's.

 Horrid pic, but the cool and soft lightweight cotton is pleasure to wear. And a Charley Harper fabric (the sleeveless Webster in the ladybug print is a C.Harper fabric), makes another appearance in a Webster Tunic, this time with sleeves.

Maritime collection fabric.

 I have another black and white tunic finished up and waiting pics. It is unusual for me to buy black fabrics, but I just fell in love with these two.

A new pattern finally arrived on Saturday.

 I already have the muslin cut out, complete with modifications recommended by Coco at Coco's Loft. I'm not a fan of cut on sleeves but it seems every year or so a pattern comes along to make me want to give it another go. We'll see!

Most weekends there has been canning of some fruit or another.

We have strawberry and lemon preserves, blueberry and maple jam and a raspberry and jalapeƱo jam. This week I'm putting up a nectarine and lime concoction. Much easier than processing peaches as nectarines don't need to be peeled, only pitted and chopped.

Did That Just Happen?
Cyber security task force with Russia? Really?! Even some of the GOP is going out and throwing shade at that idea.

And if the constant wildfire season hasn't clued you in to the real dangers of global warming, maybe this little piece will drive some points home.

Of course, changing our eating habits may help to save the planet. It certainly could help our waistlines!

On another sad and more personal note, my much loved and cherished horse trainer Bridget passed away in June at such a young age.  She taught me so much about horses in general and Cooper in particular. She instilled confidence in both of us, individually and as a team. Bridget was kind and patient with all animals and could be frank and cutting with their human counterparts. She was always their voice. Bridget will missed by many, of all species.

Parting shots: Sharing.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Tour de Fleece

For the first time I am participating in the Tour de Fleece with my Warped Weaver's group on Ravelry. This weekend I'll concentrate on finishing up the Polworth singles and getting it all plied and then it it is on to this beautiful hunk of roving.

Songs of the River. Now doesn't that just sound perfect for 23 days of July spinning? The stuff is a 60/40 blend of merino and silk. A favorite blend of mine for certain.

The colors are even more beautiful in person. Have I told you how much I love my Ashford Joy 2 wheel Amelia? We have had a quick evening date just about every night. It is likely that the Matchless DT might need a new home where he can be used and loved fully. I have the original shipping box so if someone is interested let me know.

I seem to have lost track of blogging time. You would think I was doing something important but really I'm not. I've simply been been reflecting a bit, enjoying the garden, weaving etc. and then of course last weekend into the first part of this week were the lightening strike fires to worry about. Gene was gone a good portion of Sunday evening and all day Monday as ODF (Oregon Dept. of Forestry) and the volunteer fire department scouted out and fought fires from the thunderstorms we had over the weekend. It is not quite as dry as in past years yet and the temps went from quite hot to much cooler. It all helped to keep things from raging out of control. I think Gene put up some pics of the fires being fought.

In the sewing salon, I worked on perfecting the new Cashmerette Webster pattern. Still need to bring that deep back V up just a bit more.

 I love the sleeveless version in an organic cotton  (Charley Harper ladybugs pattern), that has been in stash for a year or more and a 3/4 length sleeved version in the hot pink cotton cross weave Moda fabric. The sleeve was tweaked a bit and is a great fit now. Certainly extends the patterns usefulness, oh and side seam pockets are added in both versions.

 The cross weave fabric in a dusty grey/teal blue made it into a pair of summer pants

As much as I adore the Webster pattern, I disliked the Hot Patterns tunic pattern. The muslin and pattern are balled up and in the dog house bucket. I haven't decided yet to go back and rework it all or not. Another new pattern is on the way so more on that when it arrives.

Lastly this sleeveless modified crossover top has been in my head for a little while.

 Just a hint of gathering on the lower front under the bodice, a bit of handwoven inkle band.

 A nice easy summer top.

On Monday, while Gene was uber busy with fires, I abandoned ship and met with friend Cindie. I had a fair amount of bamboo cones from my Dad's stash that I knew I would never use. I much prefer working with cotton, hemp, silk and linen, even a bit of wool to bamboo and tencel. Cindie surprised me with a bag of linen. Some fun stuff here.

I'm plotting and planning you can be sure with the new gift booty! Thank you Cindie!

And then there was the fabric shopping at Top Stitch, who's real goal is to sell beautiful Bernina sewing
machines. They do have a wonderful cotton quilting fabric selection and it was the annual sidewalk sale. Need I say more? These followed me home.

 Woman does not live by Etsy alone and going to an actual fabric store was a treat. It was then onto lunch and Trader Joe's and home. Gene still had not made it home and the dogs, left to their own devices, can get up to much mischief if left alone too long.

This happens by the fence line too. We must be watchful.

It may look innocent enough but it is not!

Did That Just Happen?

This, this god awful WTF moment that seems to happen all too often in so many different ways. Seriously, not only do we have a mental health problem exploding in the USA, we have a gun problem.
There is some point in which we need to stop this madness. One only needs to look at gun deaths in other countries in which owning a gun is a privilege, not a right, to realize we have this one so very wrong.

Another pesky problem, the sad, sick old white guy in the oval office. Richard Wolffe is a smart, savvy
opinion writer for The Guardian.

The steady drip drip of the Russian investigation is just about a steady stream isn't it?. The WSJ has a couple of good pieces with Shane Harris as the lead. I don't have access to the WSJ any longer but here is the gist of it from The Hill.

And then of course, the voter fraud BS, which makes me think all our data will be given over to Russia so they can manipulate the bloated orange one into a second term. I hope Oregon makes that list of refusals PDQ.

Lets end with something lovely shall we? Wildlife pics, so beautiful, why must we destroy so much around us? I have no answers.

Parting shot: Scratch Please!