Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Weaving and weaving some more

It would be redundant to post pictures of the endless curtain warp, we're over halfway through curtain two. The plain weave goes very quickly when I actually do sit down for some weaving time. Curtains three and four will be for a shorter window so I need to measure where I want the sparse pattern element. The saddle blanket is in the center body of the blanket at present, the one color section. I did finally get the new Toika metal temple and it is much nicer to use than limping along with the old LeClerc one that I managed to break three teeth off of. The Toika is literally hunter orange. Got me to thinking what I could weave in that color for riding in the woods during hunting season. A vest of some sort, or it would be fun to weave a bright orange rump rug.

It is a fact of life that the nicest season for riding IMHO is fall and that is the same time the weekend warriors come up from CA and the valley and are in the woods with their 4 wheelers, their beer and their guns. I apologize to all the hunters who may be reading this that always look twice before they shoot, that never hunt on posted land, that don't feel the need to try to shoot deer from the road from the back of the pick-up or come out at night to jack deer, the ones that manage to take all their garbage and beer cans with them,don't feel the need to fire a gun when there is a horse and rider within 50 feet of you, pick up their spent casings, kill the animal instead of leaving it to wander wounded and do a good job of field dressing the animal they have killed. Needless to say, I limit my riding time in the fall. I stick to broad trails, I wear bright colors and the horses have bells on their saddles always. In fact I don't ride on the fall weekends, it's simply too dangerous.

Which brings me back to something orange to weave. I think it would be a good summer challenge for myself to weave something pretty and bright for hunting season. I'll have to think on it some more. Suggestions and ideas welcome!

So, lets backtrack to the here and now. Spring popped out yesterday. I don't know how long she'll stay but it was a glorious Monday for sure. What we call "Impossibly" blue skies. The high elevation and lack of valley smog allow for a really deep blue sky.
The breeze was steady and cool but all the birds and bugs where out and about doing spring time things. Robins have arrived, some unknown song birds and there is movement in the woods, the does are starting to move up. It will be fun to see how many twins there are this year. We had 3 sets of them last year and they were awfully fun to watch. The horses were enjoying the warmer day, lots of snoozing on the sunny spots on the hill and goat chasing, always a fun activity. ;-)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Double Weave, Snow & Awards

Nothing catchy about that title. I've been so busy it seems like everything is going hyper speed.  Gene has headed off to Salem and Eugene to do his annual training with
the State Fire Marshall. All the  emergency communications people meet, brush up on skills, get to play with new equipment and go to yummy sounding dinners at night. This is a chance for all the teams to get together before there is the emergency that can send them out region wide. Even though it is now snowing here (again) fire season for the west is just around the corner. Their purpose is to coordinate resources at a disaster and supply communications and directions etc to folks who may not be able to communicate to each other. Some of our fire lines are huge consisting of resources from both private and government sectors and the emergency communications people supply a central command if you will of who is where. Kind of like the air traffic controllers of emergencies!
Anyway, getting Gene out the door is always a frenetic event. It requires a lot of search and rescue because, simply put, he isn't near as organized as I am.
I did manage to get down into Jacksonville for a very eye opening class on Double Weave given by our guilds VP and expert weaver Nadine Purcell. I didn't weave a very good sample but I got to digest what I needed and wanted to know about doing double cloth. Throwing a shuttle doesn't always do that for me, but visualizing the set -up and the whys does. I still use the "technique" if you will when riding. I can try to do something a million times over on the horse and end up exhausting both of us to very little gain. BUT, if I walk away from it and spend time doing my corrections in my head
the next time I get up on, usually I can accomplish and correct easily. It works for me at least.
Lastly, I was awarded an award! Cindie at Eweniquely ewe  and Reluctant Dragon each sent this over to me. Woohoo! Thank you both very much. I haven't been blogging more than 2 months and it has certainly made my day!

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Accepting this award means following some rules:
1.Copy the Kreativ Blogger Award to your blog
2. Put a link to the person from whom you received the award
3. Nominate 8 other blogs and
4. Link to them 
5. Then leave a message on the blogs you have nominated.
Now, I have a list of wonderful bloggers that I keep up with and many many already have received this award and I don't want to duplicate so while not near 8 here is my list.

Friday, March 27, 2009

We Work Hard....

so they don't have to.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Big Sigh of Relief

Last week I found a really ugly small growth on Miss Bea's right rear leg. Irregular in shape and rather angry looking. I was sure this had to go and very worried that it could be cancerous. She's of an age when these things start, at about 12. An appointment made for Tuesday and I had planned to leave her for what I thought was imminent surgery.
Dr. Beth takes a good look, scraps around and looks at me and states it's a wart. A WART!!!! No need to remove it unless it starts to bother her or we have her in and under for something else. Needless to say, I bundled my little blonde bombshell back into the car for the ride home faster than you can say "How much do we owe you?" She got a big late breakfast and Gene has dubbed her with a new nick name, Bumpy Bea!
 The monks belt curtains are in progress. I got a lot done yesterday. About 30-40 inches with the one run of decorative pattern which will be a few inches above the bottom hem. I had to measure the window, decide where I wanted the pattern to sit, add hem lengths etc. My easy way of doing it is to take a string measured to length and knot where the elements go, pin it in to the selvage edge and start weaving. I just slip the big pin out and stick it back in at the start of the second panel and so forth. I like the pattern very much, but I have used an open & rather sleazy sett on this and the floats on the monks belt are rather long. For this application it will work fine but if I wanted pillows or something that will get far more abrasion and use than just hanging around, I would go to a MUCH tighter sett. I could see the possibilities of this border pattern on some pillow cases, using something in 30/2 range. 
The saddle blanket has languished a bit. I do have some wonderful wool coming for more blankets and the process of acquisition is quite wonderful and unique. When it gets here I'll explain more and offer some pics!
Lastly, it has done nothing but rain here. Just awful weather. The paddock is now a sea of mud. The horses are getting their hay delivered by hand up the hill so they don't have to stand ankle deep in the muck. We are all feeling a bit moldy and housebound.
Thank heavens for weaving and knitting ( and Miss Bea's wart) because riding is out for a while yet.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lest We Forget....

Even in March, Old Man Winter is still upon us. We had the equivalent of a little Northeaster yesterday. The wind whipped and howled and stung like January from all
directions. Snow came from the trees and sky like swirling devils of white and stinging nettles. We live in a  shallow bowl if you will, where the Cascade Mountains run north/south and the Siskiyou Mountains which run east/west, converge. Geologically speaking it's unusual and for weather forecasting, a challenge at the very least. There is predominate wind direction at times but yesterday there was no putting your back to the wind unless you wanted to keep turning. The horses had snow packed onto their sides, their manes and in their faces. This was not a happy herd and after breakfast beat feet to shelter in the run in and under the trees. 
Even the little Chickadees and the bigger Stellar Jays didn't come to rob grain from the horses mid-morning bucket brigade feed. Their messy munching allows for the birds to grab a few kernels here and there. In high summer the ground squirrels sneak over too for dropped grain and bits of hay chafe. Everything was tucked in snug sitting out the blow. Only the very hungry stirred yesterday.
I managed to get the 10 yard curtain warp beamed on and half way threaded. A few shots on the saddle blanket. Mostly I watched the storm bend the trees in multiple directions at each gust and marveled how Spring will step aside so quickly when the old man comes through. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Mother Theresa Soapbox Moment

Don't worry, I don't get on my soapbox too often and I won't make it too long or too painful. I just want everyone, which means the wonderful steady followers and those few poor folks who stumble on this blog by accident to spend at least a minute thinking about it. 
What can you do to make the world a better place? I put forth that if everyone picked their chosen pet project and volunteered to do something locally the world would improve by leaps and bounds. The thing that is near and dear to their heart. You don't have to go out and save the world, but do something to try to improve a small corner of it close to you.  You don't have to become an activist, you don't have to spend gobs of money and time, which is in short supply for many many folks, you just have to give of yourself a little. It may be to make phone calls once every 6 weeks, or a helping hand on a bigger project, or even an annual event that you think it worthwhile. It could be picking up on a great bargain on canned goods in the supermarket and making those a donation to the local food bank every couple of weeks. Just a little something. Go do a day or half a day at the local animal shelter on a regular basis, read for an hour a week at a local senior center or see if your library has a volunteer program, help clean up a park or a roadside. Knitters all over the country are knitting hats for shelters, quilters making quilts for displaced children due to fires and other disasters. Allow yourself to be sucked in once in a while on some activity for a common good. Bring a little bit of your special sunshine to someone or something. You will benefit and so will the world.
Okay, I am done pontificating and am stepping off the soapbox and putting it away

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Heavy Petting

Maybe it was the giant case of spring fever that hit yesterday, or all the spring buying going on at some great blogs I follow. Sometimes something grabs you and just won't let go. Yesterday while dutifully picking up more saddle blanket dark grey wool, I was simply enjoying all the yarny goodness Websters has to offer. One of the gals was ironing and modeling some beautiful shibori dyed silk clothing and while saying hello to favorite yarns and people alike, I happened to put my hands on the softest stuff I've ever felt. It's like touching a cloud without the damp or cotton candy without the stickiness!
It was cashmere and silk  spun together to make Filatura di Crosa's Superior yarn and
two lovely puddles of it made to my pile on the counter. To keep it company we threw in some nice complimentary Habu lightly variegated and hand dyed cashmere. These will be a couple of gift scarves. 
Looks like on the first day of spring I have gotten a jump on my holiday shopping. 
I also stumbled upon a little Schacht Mini Loom kit. I needed something like this to make sampling a bit easier than using cardboard and thought this a good buy
with all it's little accessories. I should have picked up an Ashland Sky bag to keep it in now that I'm thinking about it. Next trip.
When I pulled up the driveway, car full of yarn and groceries it truly looked like spring had come to the mountain. The bird population seems to have doubled, the mud is drying out a bit in places, squirrels of all varieties are sprinting from place to place, goats are roaming looking for spring browse and the horses putting on quite a show of running and mock fighting. The mock fights involve a lot of nipping, rearing and heart stopping (mine) kicking. The games usually end quietly, everyone breathing heavy, a little sweaty and with a long group drink at the water trough. In 20 minutes time everyone is buddied up, head over a back grooming or resting with head to tail mulling over their victories. So it was yesterday. 

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Annual Book Organizing

It has started. I spend a week cleaning off the shelves and making piles of books I think should go and those that will go. Sometimes the maybes go back on the shelf. It is interesting to note the giveaway pile usually contains the newer books. The stay on the shelf books are rarely new ones but old favorites, well thumbed and in many cases just plain tattered. It seems the publishing world has exploded, so many books are published and so many of them not very good. I hate wasting time on a poorly written book. Now I realize there is an ass for every seat, but let's face it, quantity doesn't mean quality. There are plenty of books I didn't like, and I toughed them out because they were well written and had something to say. The all time most disliked book on my list is Catch-22. I didn't like, but it was a worthwhile read. It was well done. Another recent book that went on my giveaway pile was "The Known World" by Edward P. Jones. I spent the whole time reading it wondering why it won the Pulitzer Prize. In a word I found it dull. It was the last book I toughed out. While I dislike wasting money, time is more precious to me. I would rather read a book I like twice than a so-so one once. I pulled some books from my shelf for putting in a very special place, my nightstand for rereads. It is not a little pile either. I have  a desk for a nightstand. What made the reread pile?
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
Horse Heaven By Jane Smiley
The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck ( this was my Grandmothers book and always holds me in a very special place when I read it).
Uncle Boris in the Yukon and Other Shaggy Dog Stories by Daniel Pinkwater.
On a sad note, my ancient copy of Robert Frost poems gave up the ghost completely
so if anyone reading this has suggestions for a new compilation PLEASE let me know.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This Loom Was Made for Walking

And that's just what she'll do! For all her great size and weight, on my wood floors,
Barbara V creeps while weaving. I don't know if she moves around when I'm not looking but I don't think so.  Gene cut some boards up for me like we did for the Murphy loom when he was a little creepy. The solution is simple and for cleaning, easily removable. I pick up the boards and throw them onto or into the bench. The board Gene grabbed was a test piece for a stencil I eventually did for the bedroom floor. Boy, has that piece of wood been around for a while!

Coop's saddle blanket is finally on course after putting the tie-up back the way it was.
I am having a little fun with the color progression. I was given a rogue skein of the Silver Cloud Farm Romney, this one a pale and beautiful gray and decided to use it in the rotation for part of the patterned areas. In this picture I am just going back to the dark grey brown to complete the area of diamonds before weaving the single color through the body of the blanket. I don't think I would want to do more than 2 at a time
but the next pair going on will be using the pattern I wanted to get by changing the tie-up. I now know why custom made saddle blankets are so darn expensive. They really consume a lot of wool. Out of the 8 additional  dark grey skeins I purchased, I have two untouched and the third is in process.  Another 5 skeins will have to be purchased to finish with each blanket using about 8 skeins of a single color and one each of the second and third colors. The linen warp was rather costly too and brings up the cost of each blanket for materials alone to around $110.00-$120.00.  I'm a slow weaver on this loom. It is not the most comfortable loom for me to work at for long periods and juggling those 3 shuttles makes it hard to get into a rhythm. Saddle blanket #1 probably took 6 hours done in 15 and 30 minute intervals, numerous stops to reset the temple, advance the warp and scoot BV back into place.

Yesterday, along with weaving and some knitting, I managed to get 3 of the boys out for some grooming time. Every one of them needed mane and tail trims. A lot of folks love that long let the mane grow look but it has never appealed to me. I like the manes short at 4-5 inches or roached. My guys have pretty necks and I like to see them. Tails
got banged (cut) to show off fullness rather than length although they are pretty long and we started in with the shedding blade. Good god these curly horses grow a lot of coat! It is a major undertaking to get them looking decent at this time of year. It is also wise to wear something slick, like a nylon windbreaker. I neglected that part and went out in polar fleece. Needless to say, every shed hair that was flying around embedded itself into my pullover. The horses looked pretty good by the time they went back to the paddock. I, on the other hand, looked like some animal infected with mange.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where DID I Put My Dunce Cap?

Okay, I publicly complained about a draft in a book and now I am going to do the same to retract that. The finger needs to be pointed directly at yours truly. The one with the dunce cap. My tie-up was good, my weft/color sequence was good, my threading...
good gosh, it was  not a straight draw. Everything I have done on both looms for the past month has been, but this bound rosepath weave that was the first blanket, noooooo.
So after running in circles and rechecking "everything" I happened to decide to go look at that other draft. The minute I did the egg hit the face or maybe something hitting a fan. I will now go back under my loom where a red face seems pretty normal.

Stop! Walk Away from the Loom.....

Don't you just hate it when despite your best efforts, double checking tie-ups and weft order numerous times, a pattern doesn't work out? That's what happened to me yesterday. I suspect the pattern I am using out of Anne Dixon's newish book, "The Handweaver's Pattern Directory" has a mistake. There is no errata listed for this pattern. I called Interweave and e-mailed them the appropriate info and got the usual, we'll get back to you. Since I don't have months to wait, I will sit down with graph paper and pencil and see if I can figure out what I need to do. For those curious it is the center pattern in turquoise and tan on page 237. Of course me figuring out the error, either on my part or theirs might take months too. My drafting skills are poor and I have no nifty computer program. This is a good opportunity to improve them though. Yesterday I was just too frustrated to deal with it.  I had to retie up Barbara which, as always, is one of those grump producing tasks even if much easier with the texsolv. And then there was all the help. Rodger in typical feline manner decided that I must be on my back, twisted on the floor, solely for the purpose of petting him. Cat owners, you ALL know what it's like to have someone stick their tail in your face. Smoochie felt I must be there because I needed my face washed and he was happy to oblige. Oh to have a room where everyone can be on the other side of the door!  So after sampling again and trying a couple of things I was no closer to a solution, I decided to walk away from the loom for the day. Today I'll waste virtual yarn on my paper draft instead of on the warp. I did however have someone to confer with. He was quite concerned that I was sitting there doing nothing and came over to commiserate with me. 
Dandy's saddle blanket did come out wonderfully and worse case frustration level, I'll go back to the original pattern for Cooper's. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Home Stretch

I had every intention of finishing off the first saddle blanket, but cooking and dogs conspired against me. We had wonderful pulled pork sandwiches for supper and old man Dennett got a nice long walk. Belly rubs were doled out often yesterday for everyone and Rodger even got some lap time late in the afternoon. There's about 3 more inches due of pattern before we go to hem. Picture would have been here if blogger had cooperated this morning. One warp chain for the curtains is done and
the second is in process. I played a bit with boiling water and the silk cocoons. Gene cooked up a nice late breakfast and all was right in the little world at the end of the long driveway. 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tempest Fugit

Sometimes it seems to go at warp speed. Saturday already! Southern Oregon had a breath of spring yesterday. Temps almost into the 70's in downtown Ashland and
up here in the mountains a modest and balmy 53 degrees. I opened all the windows
and the side door to the pen so the dogs could go in and out. They enjoyed lying on the deck in the sun. Little canine solar collectors.

My Harrisville Designs Shetland ordered arrived, 16 cones of it with two more on the way. One of the colors was backordered and won't be dyed up until the end of April, which is kind of a bummer, but there are plenty of projects lined up for the new loom,
which isn't even here yet. Gene says maybe the end of the month he can make the 800
mile trek(one way) to pick her up. It's all weather dependent. 

Closer to home a brand new yarn was discovered, the colors are soft and beachy feeling and I love the little bit of shine and texture. This is a hand dyed yarn from Chile, cotton and rayon. Ester Bitran is listed as the dyer and the line is Olmue. Great yardage too at 399 yds per skein.  Lots of different and pretty colors to chose from too.

Websters also had these neat little packets of gold silk cocoons from Habu that
couldn't be left behind. I have some ideas for these. So pretty, shiny and textural.
There were a lot of wonderful new things from Habu to try. Raw silk  in the same beautiful gold color as the cocoons and a yarn made from Pineapple plants are two that will be leaping into my basket on the next expedition. The colors on the pineapple fiber where amazing! Habu has such an unusual array of stuff. 

The first saddle blanket is waiting on the loom for me to start the 3 shuttle color pattern which signifies the last 6 inches of this blanket. There will be some plain brown afterwards for hem length and then onto the second blanket. I found another very pretty weft faced weave I can try on the same tie-up and threading. There will be some extra for sampling at the end of this warp.

On the barn front the mud continues. It's everywhere. What hasn't been seen is Bond the skunk. I'm kind of missing him. I was actually thinking that maybe Bond is a Ms. Bond. I don't know a lot about skunk biology but, it could be possible, Bond has denned up. It is March, foxes are denning so that by the time the cubs are ready to venture out, spring has arrived. Could be the same with skunks. I am hoping Bond doesn't decide to bring the family by in the future though and that nothing bad has happened.
Because I admire Bond's smarts and persistence I couldn't resist this gem I found in Ashland. It's still looking for a permanent home in the house, but it's almost as charming and certainly less pungent than the real deal.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Losing Track

There are some days I wake up and if someone asked me what day it is of the week I would be hard pressed to say. Don't even think about quizzing me on the actual date. We work from home and are lucky enough to set our own schedules. There isn't the same urgency about weekends that happen when you work 9 to 5. Tuesday can feel like Friday, Friday like a Monday. So it was yesterday morning when it dawned bright and clear. What I knew yesterday is I had a brand new (to me) horse trailer and 5 horses that had not seen the inside of a trailer for quite a long while.  The time to get a horse comfortable about hopping in is not when there is an emergency. It's when you have a chunk of time and no time table.
We had a lot of fun yesterday, a few surprises. My hates- the -trailer horse got right in and my 5 year old, who is usually quite reasonable, is going to need some slow remedial work.
Dandy and Boo both practically dragged me in to get to the hay in the hay net and wanted to stay. In any event I was out there for 3 hours in the cold and sunshine when a light bulb went off in my head. Horse in hand I realized that 1) It was Tuesday. 2) It was guild meeting Tuesday and finally 3) I had missed a great presentation on weaving with new fibers. I had lost track of the days...again. I am sometimes surprised when my farrier shows up. "Wow, Gene, look Morgans out there. I guess it's trim day!" By that point I'm grabbing my coat and gloves and making for the paddock to catch someone to start on.
I didn't even pick up a weaving shuttle yesterday I am sad to say, opting instead for my own hair shirt of punishment to clean out a closet that was bursting at the frame.
I'm on track today though...it's Wednesday, I'm sure of it and my escorts Juno and Buzz are waiting patiently on the front porch to accompany me to the barn.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mischief in the Making

I'll bet you wonder who REALLY writes this blog. Well, I do, but in case I ever drop off the face of the earth. I have a sub. He may have figured out the Carolyn table loom too for all I know. Jack may not have a lot going for him in the beauty category, but he sure is one busy inquisitive pup. If the chair was closer he'd be giving the desk top the once over. While I was keeping the seat warm he was supposedly fast asleep in the blanket on the floor. 

On the weaving front, some progress was made on the saddle blankets. There is about 10 more inches of the single color to go before I get into the 3 color pattern to the end
of the first blanket.  I am slowly gearing up to put another curtain warp on the Murphy loom. I'm thinking natural 10/2 cotton with a small monks belt band in rose or, as I did previously, a canvas weave also with a band woven in. I have 20/2 here but I'm saving that to try a pillow case pattern I came across in an older Handwoven. It was shown in a feature for summer weaving projects. I was going through my older Handwoven's yesterday when I came to the much slammed pet issue one. Low and behold it did have one redeeming pattern, another saddle blanket draft which is quite pretty. I'll have to give it a go on the next round of them. Well, off to start that pesky cleaning.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I Want To Take You Higher

I am always enchanted with my drive up and back to the Greensprings except in the case of dire emergency. Then it's just a long white knuckle ride to get someone to the vet.
Yesterday I took my camera to record some of my drive up and back. The going down is hard, the corners are tighter and blinder and there are very few places to pull over safely next to the side of the mountain. The going up I just drove and held the camera!
37 years of New England winters did a fine job of preparing me for winter in the mountains but it never could have prepared me for the rugged and breathtaking beauty
of the Cascade-Siskiyou Mountains. Any time of year the ride is simply lovely. At night you feel like you are driving right to the stars. In the summer the raptors ride the thermals right up by your car on the drop off side. In spring you come down out of the sunlit mountains into the waiting clouds over the valley floor. There is always something of interest to see. The pines and firs give way to acres of oaks and many many woodpeckers of all types flit about. We also have some very cool Magpies. These pictures don't even begin to cover the 17 mile drive but it may give you at least a little taste of this unique part of Oregon. I have a hard time getting pictures into blogger well, so I will just upload them in order from valley to top and beyond the summit where we live nestled among peaks. If you look closely in some you can see the road cut into the side of the mountain and one was taken on the sunnier ride down. They can speak for themselves. I ran out memory in the camera before we reached the home stretch. Another day another blog.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dead in the Driveway

Which is where my car sat yesterday. Oh, she started up just fine and then flung the
whole arm to her windshield wiper off. Drivers side of course. Coupled with a freezing rain sort of snow I decided yarn or no, I wasn't going to town. Gene did get out and fix
it for me, but by the time he was able to drop his work it wasn't worth going down the
mountain to run just half my errands and be back in time for feeding. 

Today we'll get all the errands done, grange for feed, parts store for a new hitch for the
trailer, yarn store, lunch with hubby, bookstore, liquor store and finish off at the 
market to be home by 2:30.
It wasn't a waste though, got some quality knitting time in on a sweater out of "A Fine Fleece", the October Frost cardigan. The yarn is Natures Palette Green Sheep Columbia Worsted in the Indian Paintbrush colorway. I love this
pattern and I love using this yarn. This is the second sweater I've made out of it but not of this pattern.
Your eyes are not deceiving you, one skein is from a different dye lot and I took it on purpose. I wanted ribbing, button bands, cuffs and collar the lighter shade.

The project on the Woolhouse Carolyn also got some much deserved attention. Another 4 inches was accomplished on her scarf warp. I so enjoyed spending time upstairs weaving under the skylight. The dogs all came up and sacked out on the bed
while I wove. I got up for another cup of coffee and when I returned Jack was sitting
in my chair contemplating the warp. I wish I had had the camera in hand instead of a coffee.  The picture of the scarf is at the beginning of the project. Hopefully, I will get it off the loom this month. 

Friday, March 6, 2009

When the Poodle Hits the Pond

I got the Murphy scarf warped, threaded, woven and finished yesterday. It was a very fast 10" wide scarf with about 80 ends total. I wanted to try a multicolored yarn as weft this time and some Curious Creek Fiber's mohair and silk boucle had been trying to grab me every time I walked by it.  Yesterday was the day to ball it up and let it do it's thing. Hence the title of this post. I have to say, I much prefer vertical striping and when I use this again (and I will use it again), I will do so in the warp. However, the scarf feels wonderful, nubby and soft all at the same time with that silk sheen coming through on the mohair loops.
This will go into the humane society heap of scarves. Gene loves it but feels it might be too girlie for him to wear, plus as he said, he would wreck it catching the loops on stuff. I've seen what he does to hand knits . I know this to be true.
Yesterday mid morning I ran out of yarn for the saddle blankets. I had forgotten how weft faced saddle blankets and wool rugs are and bought nowhere near enough of 
the dark natural brown. The nice gals at the Websters have tucked into their magic holding closet 8 more skeins of the same dye lot for me to pick up when I get to town.
I had some problems with the selvage and there is a big old skip there in the blanket
which I fixed by hand weaving the last of my yarn into. I broke a couple of teeth on my
temple. When they say to remember to loosen the warp some before placing, they mean it. I really should have a
metal temple for this project with heavier teeth instead
of the finer one I have. We'll limp along until another can be procured. Thankfully all fixes are under where the saddle goes and none would cause any chaffing problems for
the horse. I am enjoying the weaving itself and have a few horsey friends I would like to gift with a saddle blanket. I think the next go round I'll use a heavy twine that Harrisville makes for the warp. I'm not in love with the 8/5 linen at all even though it is traditional. I used this for a tapestry I started on Barbara while I was refurbishing her fabric frames. It is nice to use, strong as all get out and doesn't have that loose twist that I find so annoying with the linen. The beauty of making anything yourself is you get to have it your way!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Saddle Blanket Beginning

The warp got tied on and the shuttles all loaded and we began. I love this pattern using
the cream color as a solid, but the reality is horses are usually rather grubby unless
just washed and all horse owners know there is nothing that makes a horse want
to find that dust or mud to roll in more than a bath. Sweat also conspires to turn white to a permanently stained dingy beige. I'll be using the natural brown as a solid through the body of the blanket since it is covered by the saddle. The parts at the front and rear that show will get the fancy pattern. It has been challenging to keep 3 shuttles straight using a four treadle sequence but I think the results are well worth the slowness. I'm sure I'll get a bit faster. It's odd 
to have the Barbara loom only tied up on 4 treadles and 4 shafts.
It's always a reach for me using this loom and I have to be honest. I am not loving the commuter bench as much as I think I should. I may see if my Harrisville bench will adjust high enough to try with BV. There is always the phone book option!
I have another scarf warp ready to go on the Murphy loom and as I take a break from saddle blanket weaving I might get this warped on and start threading.
Winter arrived back last night with some sustained snow, looks
like about 4 inches out there this morning so far and it's still coming down. Gene has to trek over to the apartments in Shady Cove so it will be a quiet day around here. Oh, and I finally found a nice little used trailer to replace the one I sold. This one is a Thuro-bilt Spirit 2 horse slant load. Looks like spring will include some remedial trailer loading lessons for the guys. Boo and Imp have never been in a slant load and it's been 4 plus years since the older guys have had to negotiate a step up. I suspect Dandy and Nick will step right in, Cooper always needs a little more coaxing but even though small it is nice and open.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's My Party and I'll Weave If I Want To

Around here, birthdays are extended from one day to become birthday week. The birthday appointee drives the bus all week so to speak. It's so hard to fit in all the stuff you may want to do that it takes the heat off everybody if it is extended to become a special week. Now, I'm at a severe disadvantage when it comes to BW (birthday week).
The beginning of March is not known for good weather. In fact, out of the last 7 years
the week before and the BW week itself has just plain sucked weather-wise and this year is no different. Sunday it was torrential rain, last night the weather gods brought pelleted snow and some ice. So Gene, bless his heart, is trying to come up with things to do.

I'm not a big go to the movies fan ( but I love Netflicks).  I think Hidalgo was the last one I went to see and only because it was about a horse,Viggo Mortensen is pretty easy on my eyes  and we're the same age! "How about Shasta City?" he says. Oh yeah, sure, lets go over the summit on I5 in the middle of a snow and ice event. Really, all I want to do is weave. Honest, I'm not letting you off the hook. Friday sounds nice for lunch and a browse around all the little Ashland shops I rarely get to.

On the weaving front, the heavy linen warp is on and ready for it's final tie to the front
apron. It is rather nasty stuff to work with. Stiff and hard on the hands. I let it rest overnight and today I'll tighten it up and do the final knot, using leather gloves no doubt.
I am happy to report that the heavy loop Texsolv has made a WORLD of difference in how I view tying up the Barbara V. I am only using 4 shafts and 4 treadles but the cord I precut and color coded went on like a charm. It will live there and eventually all I 'll
have to do is grab the correct tie (harness or lamm) for any given treadle/harness and slip it onto the treadle.
I also took my birthday booty gift certificate ( my big present is the gift of windows for our back porch) and ordered up 18 cones of Harrisville 
Shetland wool from Websters, enough for two big  blankets.
I have so been wanting to do double weave blankets and finally, enough yarn on order 
to get that project out of my head and onto paper planning. Harrisville has such a nice color range too it was hard to pick! I'm taking a mini double weave class on March 28th so hopefully I will have a good understanding of the whole process. To make my weaving world a little easier, my Dad, (who also weaves) gifted me with an electric bobbin winder. How cool is that! My mother, who is the queen of C's included cash, candy and clothes.
I'm going to start on the saddle blankets today, get my 3 shuttles loaded with yarn and do some sampling. I've never worked with 3 shuttles in rotation before. One thing is for sure, I'll spend the week immersed in the process, getting bobbins wound PDQ and nibbling on dark chocolates. A perfectly wonderful birthday week!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dazzling Duo

With the few good days of mostly sunny weather, I made it out for some pictures
of the troublesome twosome. That would be Nick and Imp. These two always remind me of the Brownies of Scots lore. Helpful and brilliant at times and at others, just plain
mischievous. Nick is green broke under saddle and quite an enjoyable ride. I am not
quite convinced that he is convinced I run the show though. I raised this guy from a 
little weaner of 4 months old or so, and I can trace the good and bad right back to me.
He loves trail riding and if something should startle him, instead of being spooked he
will trot right towards the source. I haven't decided if this boldness is a good thing or a bad one. He does believe he is super man though and at this point in his training has little sense of self preservation on the trail. Partly because he is a young horse at 5
and partly because he has been walked, ponied and exposed to just about anything I could come up. Nick is a full Curly horse that does not exhibit any of the curls ( like a paint with no spots!) but he has proven hypo-allergenic just like curly coated ones. Gene thinks in his winter coat he would make a great set of car seats and sometimes,when he is being the quintessential teenager of a horse, I am inclined to agree.
The last of the horses is Imp and the name fits. We refer to him as Impish here and while supremely lazy when it comes to work as this one still will throw a bit of tantrum
when asked to work a little harder. At almost 3 I figured the little squeal and buck of protest ( sort of a horsey finger) would have subsided and it has in large part, but there are still flashes of it. He is smart and sweet though, a little stubborn but with another
year of ground work and growing up I think he is going to be a fine sensible mount.
At least I hope so! He'd make one heck of a berber rug though....he's curly from his eyelashes to his hooves

Sunday, March 1, 2009

No More Grey Matter

Not a speck of grey remains on the master bedroom walls. The room has been lightened,
brightened and cleaned. The rest of our house is very tailored and I wanted something pastel, and soothing. The anti-grey in this case was soft petal pink. Without further ado, here are some pics of the freshened room.
The quilt on the bed is the very first one I ever made and the one
on the chest close to the last, a round art piece. I have two unfinished quilts that really deserve
to be completed. Both only need to be bound. The chest itself was built and painted by my grandfather many,many years ago.
Carolyn likes her new placement under the skylight. I've also included a couple of snaps of our funky bed art.