Monday, April 27, 2009

Weaving Cobwebs

The cashmere scarf is off the loom and done. It was fairly hard to get it on due to it being so delicate. I had problems evening up tension and doing the last tie in the front. Very delicate stuff. The scarf itself though was worth the effort. Quite gossamer. I could probably pull it through a wedding ring. It's like holding down in your hand.

  Since I had put all my orphan bits and bobs together I had found some hand dyed mohair locks which I incorporated into the weaving with nice results I think.  I just love adding stuff that way, can't you tell! Someday maybe I'll figure out how to do a scarf with small somethings that as you find them tell a little tale. 

Anyway, back to the scarf at hand. The Habu cashmere warp as set at 10 epi and is fine enough to go to 20 epi assuming you wanted a heavier fabric. I didn't, however for the second gift scarf, which is for a man, I will probably go with 12 or 15 epi and skip the mohair. We'll see, that one needs a little more imaginary play time. For this scarf I used fishing line as a floating selvage, mostly to protect the edges from reed wear it was so soft. The fishing line pulled out just as planned and I didn't have a minutes problem with the edge threads suffering from abrasion at all.
I did get a few more rows done on the saddle blanket but it was hard to jump back and forth from beating a rug to placing cashmere in a delicate warp. 

On the farm news it appears that Puck has moved on. I haven't seen sign of him for at least four days. I didn't get a ride in but did manage to work with Imp who needed some reminding of lead line etiquette after a long winter off.  Something seems to happen to the adolescent male horse mind around the age of 3 and everything you've taught them seems to have packed its bag and taken a vacation to Rome. By 4 they have recovered some semblance of memory and thought and all those hours you think you wasted, pay off. In Imps defense it was awfully windy. Nothing gets a young horse going (or an old one for that matter) than having a wind blown day.  Nose into the breeze snorting, tail up and flowing, even the slowest horse can look like Pegasus waiting to take wing. You just don't always want to be on the end of the lunge line when they do!

And now, onto something completely different. We haven't been running the heat, which is a wood fired boiler outside named Rube if you need to know, as in Goldberg. Anyway, it's been a wee bit chilly in here a few mornings and I guess Rodger decided to be a kindly soul and help Peter out since there was no blanket available. They stayed like this for at least two hours yesterday morning. Peter put up with Rodgers kneading and Peter stayed cozy.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bob is Great, Bob is Good

Some weeks just feel like you are shoveling the proverbial crap before the tide. This week was one of them for me at least. Outside I had so much to do I didn't know where to start. I skipped Monday cleaning...enough said on that front. ;-) 
First up really was attending to the paddock gate area. If anyone wants some nice horse manure, come and get it.  I've got plenty! Said manure producers ( I need the t-shirt that shows a horse pooping money) are always fascinated when Bob pays a visit into the paddock. Now, if it wasn't for Bob, the hay would have to be hand carted up a hill. If it wasn't for Bob, the manure would have to be hand shoveled. If it wasn't for Bob, the 8 stumps I removed would have to be hand dug and the list goes on. Bob was my constant companion this week in just about all my endeavors outside, even if it was just to carry tools for me. We love Bob and even though he has at times been called old, cranky or ....puny the farm wouldn't run without him. He sports his own burgie too.

Yesterday I took a big break from all the outside chores, got in my little Subaru and went to town, in a number of ways. I really needed a storage solution for all the bits and bobs of yarn. This is what I came up with. They live on the top of the big yarn cabinet and even if I drop one getting it down, it's unbreakable plastic. Everything is nicely visible so I don't have to go digging around the stash for a little something I thought I might have.

We also have a cashmere warp going on the Murphy loom, the first of the gift scarves.
The prayer flag wrap has been woven off and the flags for friends have already been delivered.

The saddle blanket is into the 3 color pattern and needs about another two hours of work to get off the loom. Might get it this weekend, might not. I want to get Mr. Pink Bunny-Ears out for a ride and see if we can get up to the snow line on a trail or two.
The weather is cold and sunny and just perfect to bundle up and conquer a mountain or two.
Finally, I wanted to post my favorite picture of spring!

Flowers may fade, but sheets hung out to dry after a long winter of being machine dried is just heaven.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Soft Warm Breeze

Monday was indeed the day for hanging the prayer flags. 7:30 am found me out cleaning the area and sizing up where to put them. By 11:00 a.m Gene and I had measured and tied the flags onto the rope and up they went into dappled shade. Immediately a soft warming breeze picked them gently up and all the intent, the words, the thoughts, the karma so to speak began it's journey on the wind. As my words started flowing on that breeze, I couldn't help but wonder what thoughts and prayers it had been bringing as it flew over the earth from whence it came. I know not where it will go, but I do know some of what it takes with it. I hope today, Earth Day that many other wonderful thoughts will be carried on breezes everywhere.

Yesterday was spent picking up the car and running errands. Finally after two weeks I have wheels again. We still need to bring the overtired chariot to a transmission place for a much needed high powered flush. In the short term I'm thrilled to have the freedom to take to the road when I wish!

One of the errands was to pick-up new fly masks for everyone. The old ones, after three years, where shot and I tossed in the fall.  For those that might be reading this that have horses, Cashel makes the best darn masks and while expensive they do last. On a funny note, finding 5 in the correct size and all with ears in them proved challenging and one ended up being a mask done special with a donation going to breast cancer research. I would have bought  5 but there was only one. One of the boys was going to have to wear the mask with pink ears and a small pink ribbon. Cooper was it since he is kindest to fly masks, rarely rubbing them off or allowing another horse to pull them off. He loves his mask, comes over when I hold it open and puts his head down for me to fit it over his ears. Dandy does too. Nick, Boo and Imp think it's a play thing to rip off one another and carry around the paddock, just so I have to go search it out. I'll have to get a picture. They all look like sort of a horsey version of Darth Vader until you get to Cooper and he looks like he has Playboy Bunny ears on. I giggled every time I caught a glimpse of him yesterday, or should I say picked out the set of pink ears.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Adventures of Ollie Osborn and the Red Rocket

Ollie Osborn was a bronc rider and I'll bet would have been an interesting gal to know!
She, along with many other notable women of the west, is honored in the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth TX. I wish I had had the chance to go there when I lived in Texas. These women, in their own time and way, broke glass ceilings by the sweat of their brow and the seat of their pants. Ollie is the only Oregon honoree.
The Red Rocket has been sitting in the back yard so to speak, just waiting to launch around on the trails. While Cooper is always the same, Dandy can be a bit unpredictable the first couple of rides of the season. We attribute it to his flaming red coat. Those bright copper penny horses are just a tad hotter than their brown or black counterparts.
In any event, we had an uneventful ride, not that Rocket Man wasn't on the lookout for horse eating monsters at every tree, he was and you could feel him coiled to sprint at any moment. We took it slow and relaxing, making him work some of that energy by trotting up the steep hills and going slow on the flats. It was a beautiful day, with a fine spirited horse. His tune-up time is short, maybe another ride or two and then he'll be ready for Gene or for other more mentally challenging work. He's always fun though with his gregarious personality. These pictures were taken after the ride as the moment I put butt to leather he was eager to be off. The second one is him getting a treat. Horses, just like people lose flexibility and treating from the saddle is a nice low key way to get him to really stretch his neck out in both directions. Dandy is right sided and has good flexibility that way, the left side needs work. Just like you trying to write with the opposite hand, horses have a dominant "handedness" too.

With the heavenly weather we are getting the prayer flags will go up today or tomorrow. The 23rd is listed as an inauspicious day for prayer flag hanging, so before that date and before the rain and snow come back to the mountain for the weekend. Over the weekend I gathered up the old flags for burning and will add to the pile with some twiggy dead fall around the area. It's almost too hot to work outside in the sun come 2:00pm.....almost. ;-)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ride to Ruin!

And such that it was that I got sucked in (yet again) to the Lord of the Rings movies showing on TV on a Saturday afternoon.  Now I don't know about other riders but I can say that since the time I started to ride ( age 4) up until present day being on or around horses sparks the imagination. When I was MUCH younger my steady mount Russell patiently waited (and enjoyed standing- getting brushed is a lot less work) while I braided and combed and fluffed and literally played dress-up. I certainly didn't like dolls, but give me a horse and my imagination and we were princess and palfrey, Indian maiden and pony, jockey and derby contender. Rusty wore a lot of hats. Who says when you get into middle years you still can't use your imagination? As the saddle goes on the world of possibilities is just as open as it use to be. Don't think I don't amaze at all the glitter and sparkle young girls now have available for their trusty steeds! And some days we truly do ride to ruin in our own way. A nice long stretch of field or pine needle covered track, a click, a light kick and we're off, The horse asks the question, "Faster?" the answer is yes, give it all you got, find that last gear and we're flying.  A galloping horse will take your breath away.  Now my guys know it's not going to last long but they take full advantage and enjoy those few rides of abandon. The walk homeward for cooling usually finds them prancing, necks arching and wanting to go again having rediscovered the beauty and strength  in their own bodies. Asking and testing to see if I might relent again.
Yesterday I would have liked to ride but the chores had piled up and that sunny future day was yesterday. The morning was spent raking hay in the barn, cleaning and checking tack.
After that I stripped down to a t shirt and took the shedding blade up and worked on the 5 horses for a good hour and a half. By the time I finished it was almost 80 in the sun and too hot for an out of shape animal to be working in his clinging winter woolies. The cool mornings are best for that, we can condition without them getting too overheated. So in I came for a late lunch and some cold water and whoosh, there on the tube, I could at least get a little armchair riding in for the day. I do so like to look at those beautifully woven wool capes too!
Weaving wise, another prayer flag was completed, the saddle blanket moves slowly, but it does move. I was imagining how pretty it would look while I cleaned Cooper's saddle. Time to get it off the loom. Ride to Ruin indeed!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Good Bunch of Boys

Yesterday we had a wonderful day weather-wise. While not really warming up as much as I would have liked, it was sunny. We'll take sunny and cool.  It was also time for all the boys to get their hooves trimmed. Morgan, our farrier, is a man of few words and busy . He is one of the very few good trimmers  that will come all the way up to our little mountain to make a meager $20.00 per trim since I keep my guys barefoot. Over the years other horse owners have started using him up here and now we have enough to make a day of it for him between the smaller farms. I am usually first on the schedule, so if we have any problems it makes him late for every following farm call.
From day one I've worked on all the horses standing nicely for the farrier. It's hard work and hard on the back. A horse that kicks, pulls away and insists on resting their weight on the shoer's knee makes a tough job harder. I don't blame any farrier for refusing to work on a horse. Plus I won't tolerate it since I'm cleaning out those hooves too before and after rides.  
To make things work faster yesterday I decided to try something. Rather than going up and back numerous times over muck and mud at the gate ( you livestock owners know it ALWAYS lands at the gate area) I put small flakes of hay out around the trimming area near the barn and driveway, haltered up all the boys and literally turned them loose. As hoped for, they all trotted down to those piles of hay and tucked in.I had visions of having to round up a running herd of five horses but I had nothing more to do  than walk a few steps and bring a horse over to Morgan, get the trim done, release and grab another. We were done with 5 trims in 45 minutes. Only Nick considered wandering off in search of greenery and we grabbed him first. He went back up into the paddock with his own little pile of hay when done. I was pretty happy that all the guys stuck around and calmly walked away from their hay pile, politely waited while they had their hooves made all pretty and ambled slowly back to the munching . I gathered them all up in twos and put them back, paid Morgan and sent him on his way to the next farm call.  I love being able to streamline a chore like that and I am also very proud of my sensible little band of geldings.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Weaving with Feeling

We all do that right? Pour our little hearts into the planning and warping and the weaving. Agonize over setts, tension and lets not forget color and fibers. Of course we do, whether we are knitting, quilting, painting, weaving or any other thing that we might be creating from scratch.

Yesterday I wove prayer flags and I have Sarah over at Woven Voices to thank big time for the idea. Now, she would (and did) say good ideas come from the cosmos and that's true enough, but I can directly trace my wanting to weave these right back to her, so Thank You Sarah!

For the last four days I have been writing both personal notes and letters and also prescribed prayers on fabric. Let me back up a bit, over the course of 2005-2007 I had to put 3 of my old girls to sleep; Sam, Lexie and Sammie-Bug. They are all buried in their own blankies out in a special area of our back yard. I'm not a fancy person, so they each got a cairn of stones, and I had found prayer flags with the Rainbow Bridge prayer printed on them. It soothed me at a terrible time. Now three years later, the flags really have given up everything to the wind and need to be replaced. What better way than to weave my own with my own messages to the Nuns ( none of this and none of that, they were funny old ladies that always traveled together).  The fabric I bought contained all the colors, yellow, green, red, white and blue. My warp also contained those colors in the prescribed order.

 Thoughts and words are intent and there was a lot to say to those 3 and some beautiful prayers people had sent and others I found.  Writing on fabric strips is slow
but I got it all in. The cotton strips hold my special words to them, the silk, prayers to the universe, the woven cotton shots between again in color order. The sticks are dogwood, the little medal in the middle is a Good Dog prayer ring. It would normally go on their collars. And of course, bells!

 The three special flags have been cut off the loom, there will be a few more woven on this warp, for friends. 

Along with the 3 flags you get a nice bonus shot of Pogo. It's pretty cute that every time he gets up to rearrange himself  his ears bump the bells.  We had a lot of bell ringing when these were first hung with everyone coming over for a sniff.

We will burn the old flags and put these up on an auspicious day. There won't be 5 inches of new snow on the ground, the cairns will be restacked, hopefully all the daffodils will be blooming, the sun shining and a good soft breeze will start sending all the love in these flags out.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Messin with Sasquatch Updated w/Additional Pic

Had I paid more attention when I purchased the beautiful Prism yarn, I would have realized that it was actually two yarns together. A sticky mohair and nylon carrier yarn and a very slick shiny rayon. It made for an interesting and time consuming warping process. The binder was not actually wrapped around the rayon, so keeping them even while measuring on the warping board proved challenging. Amidst mohair and insults flying it all got on the loom to be woven..eventually. I figured that while this warp could prove troublesome and end up as a dog scarf I would consider it "experimental" while on the loom. So I dragged out another something I've wanted to try to. Raw but clean Habu silk cocoons. I carefully pulled a few apart, attempting to keep the overall feel and rounded shape of the cocoons and woven them around the weft (alpaca and silk blend lace weight) as the mood struck me.
Needless to say, I was quite pleased with the result. The scarf is drapey and substantial thanks to the rayon, it has softness and a light halo due to the mohair and I love the little shiny cocoons woven in. While this was slated for the humane society I think it will be appreciated by a particularly wonderful and artsy friend and will be squirreled away until gift giving time arrives. I will make something a little more mainstream for the auction as I have no idea what people like at that event.

Sue: This second pic is for you. The really close up shots weren't worth posting.

Onto the curtains! I am sad to say my hemming job simply sucks. I dislike hand work of that nature and the iron, which wasn't working well, finally puffed it's last hot breath. It's been on the outs and I have been so uninspired to go iron shopping. So, the hems are not as even as I would like and will be redone when I get a decent iron to make a nice clean ironed hem line.

I so admire those bead and braid and do all sorts of beautiful finishes on their lovely hand wovens. It's just not me. Not once when entering any of those  3 Ashland bead stores did the siren song of a bead call to me. No way. Now someday I might feel differently and I might not. I may never get that particular call to fussy finishes. I also try not to compare my work to others. It's hard but it is also very freeing. I can love weaving and my woven pieces for what they are, the promise they show and for the enjoyment and challenge I got making them.

A word about the weather before closing. I want to know why the Rain God has decided to camp on our doorstep? As I write we are having a gully washer outside. I have more mud than I can possibly use, both in and out of the house. It is amazing what those little low riders we call dogs can bring in on their feet and bellies. They are truly earning their Grit Sponge title.  House cleaning is a futile ritual in the best of times, in these times it is sheer folly. I have but to turn around to put the bucket and mop away and in that brief moment of relaxed vigilance, someone has muddied up the floor...again. ;-) A glimmer of hope though, it looks like come Thursday we will have sun for 4 whole days! 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Honey Buns

I made the most amazing discovery on my trek to downtown Ashland yesterday. Those of you that watch quilting or sewing shows might already know about these but I hadn't until yesterday. A Honey Bun is a big fat roll of pre-sliced fabric! They have 1.5 inch widths and 2.5 inch widths. And no calories!!! There may be many more out there but that was what was available at Fabrics of Vision on the main drag. I have a small important project in mind which requires fabric and a few other things. I was all set to pick out some new pieces to compliment what I had pulled from my stash when I stumbled on the buns.
Needless to say, one came home with me.  As a bonus for this project they also had some lovely duponi silk pieces for sale. The selection and sizes varied and after quite a bit of playing around, a few also made it into the bag as "bun enhancers."
While fabric proved easy to find for the project, small brass bells where not. Ashland has 3 bead shops ( how DO they all stay in business??) and not one had any small bells. I was saved an internet search by a lovely store named Soundpeace, which has many things like singing bowls and new age books and music. They had lovely strings of small brass bells. Just what I was looking for.  A few other little goodies got into the bag and I was off to the Webster's for a quick look see and to pick up some old Ornament magazines. Thanks Kris, they are wonderful and inspiring.
Cookie A's new sock book came home also.

By the time I got back to the truck, which I managed to street park without hitting anything, there was barely enough room for me. It was snowing here when I left and raining on and off in town. Neither the groceries nor the 60 pounds of dog food could go in the uncovered back. The single cab was pretty darn stuffed. All in all a good Friday!

The one thing we didn't get to was putting up curtain rods, so no pictures yet but hopefully, we'll get things proper over the weekend

Friday, April 10, 2009

Subaru Come Home!

Well, the POC (poor old car) is in the shop until sometime around the 20th. I guess it is viewing it as a long restful spa treatment. I leaves me without wheels and feeling housebound, if for no other reason that it's not there at my disposal. Gene and I don't share vehicles well. His is decked out with radios and communication stuff for when the fire department gets emergency calls. It makes it difficult to just borrow since he really does need that stuff. This morning, he'll drag out all his gear and I'll  drop him off to pick up the official fire depart. rig and when I get back, we'll do it all in reverse. A PITA for sure. The other aside is I don't like driving the truck and parking it is a harrowing event. I have a hard time parallel parking the little Outback! Beware Ashland folks trouble is coming to town. ;-)

The curtains are done, off the loom, washed, ironed and awaiting hemming and hanging. I'm pleased with them. They aren't fancy, quite rustic really and rather pretty with their Monks Belt border. Pictures coming soon.

I have lots of stuff to choose from to go on the Murphy loom but I'm going to start with a scarf in some yummy Kid Slique from Prism Yarns. I'm going to try weaving in some bits of silk cocoons. The picture doesn't really show all the deep purples in this yarn. The colorway is called Embers.
  I have a number of scarves I want to do and it would seem, not much opportunity to do other stuff, so next week I'll try to do as many as I can. The saddle blanket hasn't been touched in a few days but that is on track to be off the loom this weekend.

Puck has been seen regularly, although not a glimpse of him yesterday. I wasn't really watching for him. It rained just about all day but saved the hail until feeding time for the horses. Looks like it's going to be wet through most of next week too. I may mold!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Day of Remembrance

April 9, 2005 was the day I lost my first Cairn Terrier, registered as Coletowne's Apple Blossom but officially known by all as Sam and later in life Fat Sam. She wasn't fat, but a stout Cairn of recent Scottish lines, bigger than her American cousins and game as all true terriers are. She house trained in a week, chewed one book, a paperback of dubious quality. I always suspected the poor writing simply offended her. She never  did another destructive thing, not ever. She learned to walk on a leash easily, heel, sit, stay, come, down; everything I needed her to know and she was pretty reliable too for a terrier! She alerted us to her needs to go out, she was always kind to other dogs unless they got terribly fresh with her and she liked to sleep in.  Now, lest you think she was absolutely perfect, she was a tattle tale. If any of the cats jumped up on the dining room table or the kitchen counters Sam would come barreling in to us barking her head off and "lead" us to the offender. Needless to say, the behavior caused more than a few scratches on our nice cherry dining table as cats scrambled to hide. We got over it.
Her one stunning show of stubbornness came in the obedience ring. In even the novice classes there is a portion where the dog must heel off leash, usually a corner is involved and then a nice sit upon stopping. Well, I made the corner but my errant girl decided to go kibitz with the onlookers ringside. When I called her to come, she looked at me over her shoulder and then turned her little head back like I was just an meaningless interruption in her important agenda. I walked over to retrieve her and she backed right into the correct spot and sat like it had all been a misunderstanding.We didn't pass but it didn't matter. If you can't laugh at yourself, you probably shouldn't be taking a terrier into obedience.

She had two wonderful litters of pups, nicely bred to a local AKC Champion stud and we kept one, Lexie, the puppy from hell, who was the exact opposite of her dear mother. That's a story for another day in September. We traveled cross country four times Sam and I, she saw me through marriages and divorce, moves, job changes and all the moments that add up to the proverbial fabric of one's life. She got to chase squirrels and cats, meet people and babies, which where her delight! She would whine to go over and peek at a baby in a carriage no matter where we were, tail wagging in propeller motion and a smile from ear to ear. In her old age we took walks in the woods out here in Oregon, made a point to have a fire in the fireplace on cold days, doled out treats with abandon and just basked in her little old lady ways. 

She has a special place in the back 40, one visible from the windows. Nothing more than a cairn of stones mark the spot and prayer flags ring the area where she and two of her compatriots rest. 

Dear Sam, I said my farewells to you long ago, but If I squint, I can see you still, sleeping in the sun. 

Sam @ 4months. Memorial Day weekend, West Pawlet Vermont 1987. Our First adventure together.

One Horsepower

I find it interesting that our modern cars are still using horsepower as a unit of measurement. Every time we talk about the newest, most efficient vehicle we harken back to a time, not so long ago, when the measure of strength and efficiency ran on hay and oats.  Yesterday I finally got to harness some of that strength and energy. Cooper and I re-investigated some of our little world after a long winter away from the trails. There are so many things I love about the big guy, one that is always at the top of the list is steadiness. You can let him sit for 5 days or 5 months and you get the same horse. He doesn't get spooky, silly or barn sour. He is what he is and can be counted on to be safe and sensible. Our "dust off the tack" ride yesterday was no different than our "time to put away the gear" ride last November.
The trails were still muddy in parts, snow covered in others. Shrubs and trees are just starting to bud, while in Ashland, a scant 20 miles away and much lower in elevation, trees are blooming. Everything was very hushed still, the birds twittering but still tentative and all with a mission no doubt to be nest building.  Some trees came down over the windy winter and we took the time to clear where we can on the trails. Followed a little deer path for a while. Hadn't seen it before but with the ground still so bare it was easy to spot. We also spied some bobcat or lynx tracks, fresh from the morning while the snow would still support a small animal walking on it.  It was starting to get overcast and not the most beautiful day else I would have taken the camera. We spent two hours out, mostly at a walk with some nice trotting. We're both out of shape but neither us wanted to call it quits to head home. 

When I did get back into the house, I spent the rest of my time weaving. The curtains are almost done. I'm a good way into the final curtain and hoping to get them off the loom today. Yah!

Monday was a lost day. We got the car down into town without having to tow it. On first run through by the mechanic it is going to be expensive, we're waiting for the final estimate. Some things have got to be done, others can wait until we regroup. I'm hoping to have my multiple horse powered transportation back by the end of the week.
We've also been plagued by connectivity problems with If I had it to do all over again, I would never go with them. Ever. There are other companies now which reach into our area. 

Sue over at Life Looms Large also sent out this beautiful award to me. Thank you Sue,
I'm honored! I am sending this lovely award onto Sarah @ Woven Voices, Evelyn Oldroyd, Jennifer @ Finding the Real Me. Their blogs are all in my blog list and when I figure out how to make their names links in the text, I will! ;-)

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!"

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Yarn Princess

Doesn't everyone have one! She keeps away the weaving gremlins so that I can find what I need when I need it. I do give her a helping hand once in a while by organizing and sorting the stash. Mostly she manages to make sure nothing comes in (besides me) and misplaces something. We both agreed that plastic containers for some things might make our jobs easier. Yarn herding can be so time consuming! 
No weaving happened yesterday but I did manage to finish an itty bitty sample on the Mini Weaver I bought a few weeks ago. I was testing colors for the blanket Gene requested and the sample just happened to be a perfect size for a little Yarn Princess lap blanket. ;-) The stash itself got another overhaul. Cottons came out of the closet to the tall shelf and wools and silks went in. I'm running out of room.

 Fibers of one sort or another are spreading out all around the house. Roving, top and rug wool is living in the cedar chest that serves as a coffee table, some roving has migrated upstairs and is taking up drawer and basket space. Fabric rags are in plastic bags in the hall closet and we won't even talk about the fabrics on hand from years of quilting.  And speaking of quilting, I rediscovered two quilts, both just needing binding to be finished. I really need to sit down and complete that last step and use them! Another find was a hand painted piece of fabric I did that has some beautiful pictorial reverse quilting on it. That's where you apply fabric to the back and cut away the top to reveal the fabric in a design then stitch it down, sort of like a mola.  There must have been something about it I wasn't happy with, but looking at it I can't figure out what. I'll have to at least finish the scene I started and see.

The weaving will be slim today. The poor steady Subaru wagon, my chariot, is going into the shop. He hasn't been acting properly and we fear it's major. Unlike my yarn areas the way I keep my car is like an alter ego. It's a pit. No nice way around it. He hauls bags of grain, we've thrown hay bales in there, young deer (the fire dept. rescued a young one off the lake after it fell through the ice and we transported her down to lower elevation in the back of my car) goats have crowded in there (uninvited) , the dogs have all been sick in it at one time or another, mice (also uninvited) and there are enough Starbucks Frappaccino bottles in the back to start my own bottling plant. Today I'll spruce him up so the they can at least put the seat back to get in. Tomorrow, I'll limp him down the mountain with fingers crossed that he'll make it into the shop before giving up the ghost. It likely will be a long and expensive stay at the mechanic motel. Maybe he needs a little car prince?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Stash Enhancing Helping Hands- Yarn Update

Tim over at Hawthorne Works (link at right) started this and I think the concept can't be beat. He has offered items from his stash for the cost of postage. The only requirement is whatever the yarn is worth to you, you donate that in some way to a worthy cause. You get yarn, he damps down his stash and someone in your community benefits with a much needed helping hand in these hard times.
I volunteered to take some wonderful rug/saddle blanket wool off his hands. There is lots of it and my donation was to make use of a program my supermarket has in place in conjunction with the local food bank. I grab a special coupon at the register and pay for it with my groceries. It goes directly over to the food bank ( almost next door ) and is given to a local family to shop for what they need, at a reduced rate. I like this instead of taking food over. It's easy for one thing, the other thing is it allows for fresh food and dietary considerations and hopefully, a little more dignity. I'll be doing this every week for the rest of the year.

 Additionally, a bunch of new towels will be going to the local animal shelter next week. They are overflowing with the high rise in owner surrenders of pets.

Now, Tim may have some more stash to move and you should go over to his blog and look around. It's good reading too! I also have some stash to move and can't think of a better way to do so.  The rules are simple, pay me for postage and when you get the stash donate to a cause of your choice what you feel you should.
Onto the stash.

This lovely bowl of yarn has found a new home. Some of it will be heading to NH 
and some to Jennifer at Finding the Real Me blog, over to the right...
My e-mail address is: camprunamuck at hughes dot net.
You all know what to do to make that work for you. ;-)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Eyeballs in Odd Places

There are some things that just creep you right out in the morning, in the dark, with just a headlamp and one of those things is eyeball reflection from something you haven't a clue as to what it is. It's in a strange place, not with the other expected floating eyeballs coming towards you from the upper paddock or out of the goatie hut or waiting by the side of the barn. Nope this pair is in a tree or off the slope of the driveway in the brush area. A small forward facing set, not the wide eyed deer set that are common a little later in the season. Certainly not a pair of Bond's eyes. A few years ago it was a lynx in the barn, this time it's another visitor that we've caught glimpses of the past week or so.
A black as night tom cat. I know he's a tom, once you know what a tom smells like when he marks it stays with you. This handsome dark stranger has slightly longer hair than the usual domestic shorthair variety, a very fluffy tail, more so when we had a mutual startle moment this morning.  He was obviously trying to get away from the barn and I took a different route and stumbled on him crouched  and waiting for a clear shot across the driveway.  The flash of eyes, I jumped and gasped, he shot out right in front of me and poof gone into the darkness. The body reacts before the brain kicks in. It took me a second to recognize what it was. 
I don't know if he'll stick around. Both Buzz and Juno are kind hosts, having come from feral cat colonies and use to other cats around. I have been weaning them off of the heavy winter feedings and giving them pretty much what they can eat in a sitting. They are, after all, suppose to be working barn cats! In any event, if he stays we'll have to try to catch him for neutering and shots and then re-release. This boy seems truly feral. The one time I came face to face with him in the daylight, he hissed and growled before he gave ground. We've dubbed him Puck.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Caped Crusader

Thank you everyone for the great Blaze Orange suggestions! Bartlett Yarns makes a true blaze orange, Harrisville makes a bright red orange called Poppy, I'm thinking a few threads of a bright turquoise thrown in with the subtle shades of bright orange to make it all really pop. A cape was suggested and if I do my pattern right, a cape would work both as an over the shoulder garment for me and a rump rug for the horse. The rug ( it's really a blanket) also called a 3/4 blanket or sheet, is basically a rectangle with a large U cut out to fit under the sides of the saddle or over your thighs to keep them warm too while keeping the horses lower back and rump warm. When it gets hot, you roll the back up into a small blanket roll and tie it behind the saddle. The shape would work for both of us. It will need to be preshrunk and well brushed to be durable enough for the horse and since I am doing a couple of blankets soon, I will be doing a fair amount of sampling. A few handled for an eye towards this cape is easy enough. Since you all have such great visual powers please add to the cape a hot pink riding helmet since that's what I ride in always.
On a disappointing note, it doesn't look like my new to me loom will be picked up anytime this weekend. We're expecting rain, sleet and snow and Idaho Falls is expecting worse weather with snow. I didn't know that they were so high at about 4700 feet. Learn something everyday!
Gene will be home tonight and while we will all be happy to see him, one little Chihuahua will be especially delighted. He has missed Gene and been a bit sulky. I'm happy to hand the little terror over to his chosen human.
I did a fair amount of spinning yesterday. I love my wheel and it was a pleasure to sit down and quietly spin for a good long while. The fiber in the basket is hand dyed wool from Cindie over at eweniquely ewe. The beautiful rust brown on the bobbins is BFL from The Copper Moose in Vermont. Both great fibers to spin. 

The wheel is a Timbertops Leicester and was a 50th birthday present from Gene  in 2008. I know, it's marked as such under the table along with James's inscription. This is one of the very last that James and Anne Williamson produced and to me, at least, is quite special. The company has now been sold to a couple in Wales I think, and they will be producing some of the line with plans to add more as time goes on. Timbertops had a lot of different models, all lovely. I hope the new ones are just as nice. I would love to add another one someday.