Friday, July 30, 2010

Pillow Case Progress

Well gosh you are all probably thinking it took long enough! I know I am. The weaving is delightful for these, fun with just enough treadle variation to keep it interesting but simple enough to build up a rhythm. I decided to make the deep hems a black/cream oxford like fabric in plain weave with just a bit of patterning. These will get folded in half so the little pattern blips will be about an inch and a half in from the edge.

The main body of the case will be the diamond trellis like pattern all over. Likely they will shrink quite a bit and just become a soft all over texture.

I am using a temple as there is a fair amount of draw in with the basket weave and I have one threading error which happily is right where it will be seamed so I am leaving it. You can't even see it using the cream on cream. Considering the time and interruptions while threading this warp, I am amazed there is only one error.

On farm news, besides the bug population being harassed one bug at a time, no bear and no car. Hopefully the car will be back from it's lengthy spa treatment next week. There will be lots of cheering when the Subaru comes home, not just from Gene, but a lot of the dogs too who much prefer rides in it than the truck.

Stella had her last puppy appointment Thursday (and shots) until September when she'll go in for her spay. At 4 months, she weighs in at a whopping 7.8 pounds. While there she made quick friends with a very large Greyhound. It was cute to see the two nose to nose, tails wagging and both wanting to break into a grand play session, but we were on the way in and Miss Greyhound on her way out, so it was not to be.

Friday was my much looked forward town day and boy did I need it. I had not been in the Websters since Carol left and there was lots of new things to see and touch! Some of them even came home with me. Imagine that!

This is Louet Gems 100% washable merino in super fine/fingering weight. I'm going to be doing a little sampling for a bed shawl for myself. While I'm not fond of spinning merino, I sure appreciate it once it is transformed into yarn and this is a soft, smooth and silky confection, perfect for the chosen project.

I also found this Hotei or Laughing Buddha.

I had been looking for one for more than a year and all that I had found up to yesterday had not even remotely brought a smile to my lips. This Buddha did and so, I rubbed his belly, paid the fee and brought him home. While he is able to live outside, he'll reside inside somewhere in the studio.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


You would think I was using spider web silk for all the time it's taken me to get this pillow case warp on the loom.

Part of it was timing, part of it was puppy and part of it was simply I am not terribly fond of 20/2 natural white cotton. It stuck to itself, it was hard to get apart, it blended in with the white texsolv heddles and made me squint the whole time I was sleying.

I am doing treadle tie-ups now, 3 done 7 more to go.

It would have all been done but my newest helper decided to come in and lend a paw. When I started Stella was no where in sight, on my second treadle she had discovered I was sitting on the floor and felt that my cross legged lap was the perfect place to tuck in for her nap.
I got through treadle three that way and just gave into the force of the alluring puppy. People may be snake charmers but puppies are people charmers.

Also, after a week and a half of taunting, I have assembled a new to me Harrisville Warping Reel. I have wanted one of these for a while and when Dawn had a used one for sale, I jumped on it.

Horrible picture BTW, we're cramped in my studio since that is where the old couch has been hanging out while I finish up cleaning the basement. All we need do now is muster the strength of Hercules to move it down there for storage.

Hannah the Hollandia has a new warp picked out and just about ready to be wound. Nothing earth shattering, just getting back to the animal shelter auction scarves. The Julia loom has a prayer flag warp beamed on and some threading. It is not a wide warp and I'm looking at some quiet and cooler time this weekend to get it ready for weaving.

It's been hot and dusty around the farm. I spent yesterday morning attacking thistle with the tractor. Literally scrapping it out. Every morning between 4:30 and 5:00 has been spent on Bearwatch ( like Baywatch, but no girls, beach or life guards). We certainly have a fair amount of wild life. The deer can be heard nipping shrubs and munching, one morning a skunk rolled right by the front steps, another a fox trotted up the driveway. Things too small to see rustle around, attracting cats and owls. Sylvie's bell rings out as she leads the flock around the paddock. The horses like to run and play. I can hear them as they race along well worn paths, occasionally striking a rock or branch. Snorting, likely nipping each other and then a minute or two later, they all race off again. I know when the early bird gets up and starts his day. No bold cock's crow here. Just a little twitter, half a stanza. "I'm here, I'm here!" and then an answer, "Me too, me too." and on it goes, the little voices growing louder and more numerous pushing the night into retreat. The dawn is filled with a hundred songs of welcome and gratitude.
No bear though. I keep hoping the surprise of those round pen panels crashing down on him did the trick and scared him off. Fingers crossed and hopefully NOT my warp!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cheek to Cheek

This is what the dog days of summer look like here. Temps expected in the mid to high 90's today. Yesterday was 92F. Too hot for much of anything but keeping cool in the house. Shamelessly we spent the day watching movies. I rented Sherlock Holmes and found it thoroughly entertaining, but then again I liked Beverly Hills Chihuahua too.
I was then sucked into what will be a lost weekend with the first of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring. I did manage to carve out a bit of room for my cheeks in the comfy chair. Stella goes marvelously boneless when you pick her up during her beauty sleep times and can be molded to fit almost anywhere there is room.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Out For Bear

Or maybe I should say, Bear out for barn? My barn to be exact, although others on the mountain are having problems with our black furry friend too. In fact, it's not just up here, all over the valley reports of problems with bears are flooding in according to this timely article.

To think I was complaining about Bond the Skunk not all that long ago. So, what have I been doing about it. All bird feeders are empty and in, the trash can now lives in my basement (more on that), Gene has cut a small barn cat access hole into the stall side of the barn. Not crazy about it, but after the bear opened the window access 5 days ago and managed to tip the grain bins within reach all over the place I didn't have much of a choice. The double window was too small to allow him full access but I could see how he could rip the window right out, especially once he tore the outside sill and molding off. He did it again yesterday morning, but the windows were closed and locked so very hard to get a purchase for pulling or pushing it in. He also found the little cat egress hole but the two 12 foot sections of pipe panels are stacked in front of it and they came crashing down on him making a racket all the way up here at the house. He took off at 4:45 a.m. without any success at all. The panels have been put back up and tied to bolts at either end. If he decides it's worth it to disassemble my barn for the grain, he will be shot. Simple as that. If he can take apart a barn, he can take apart a house, be it mine or someone elses. And I feel pretty shameful too as in the end he's just being a bear
doing bear things and we have all made it too easy for him to become a nuisance bear.
For years we had bears up here and no problems with the status quo.

Now because of the bruin, I have also gotten off my duff and limbed a bunch of trees
so I will have a better line of sight around the property. Most of these trees were itty bitty saplings when we came here and too tender to limb. Not so anymore. Some general thinning was done too so the more established trees can thrive.

Last up was the cleaning of the basement, or at least my general section. If I haven't used it in the nine years we've lived in the house, I don't need it. We have a dumpster sized pile of stuff for either the dump or Salvation Army. Gene will be taking that next week once we get the trailer cleaned out of hay.

There has been no movement on any of the looms I'm sorry to say. Well, a little, I have been sleying and if I make myself sit for an hour at it it would be done and tied and ready to go. Maybe today!

Stella and the assorted critters have gotten all my "free" time and since this IS a puppy summer it's just as it should be. My tiny pup is no longer tiny and well on her way to adulthood. She's about 7 pounds now, independent and into everything. This didn't end quietly.
After five minutes Jack had had enough and fairly put her in her place. There was quick cry, a fast pin and she was properly chastised. She still runs up to me when she's had enough of doggy endeavors, crawls into my lap, tucks her head under my arm, sighs and drops off into the sleep of those safe and without a care.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Yes indeed I had to resley about 10 inches and start again. I don't know why I had it my head that using a 6 dent reed was the way to go with 5 ends per dent to make the 30epi.
I suspect it might have to do with doing blankets in multi layers. Anyway, I thought why am I doing this? Maybe 3 ends per dent in a 10 dent reed might be better. So I did what any weaver would do, I asked another weaver, in this case Cindie the weaving oracle.

Now the truth is when you ask someones esteemed opinion, you hopefully will get it and I did. She recommended that she would use a 15 dent reed with 2 per dent but if all I had was a 10 dent than that would do. Now I have a 15 denter and a 12, a number of 10's an 8 and my much loved 6. My 15 dpi is not much loved. In fact I am convinced Cindie has much better eyesight than I do but I can see the value in having it and using it for this project. So, we are about where we were at 10 inches sleyed, 2 per dent and sleying on.

In car news, there is nothing as upbeat to report. It needs a new front differential, which in essence means a transmission overhaul. A really big ding in this summers
home improvement budget. We were going to rip off the front porch and rebuild along
with redoing the grade there in front and a retaining wall. I am still holding out some scant hope for a little 10x10 deck out the back door, but only a small flicker. I will be sharing Gene's truck until the beginning of August. We are both moaning about THAT! :)

Now Stella news is always happy, she's growing and developing quite the little terrier attitude. She positively bounces when she walks with her tail keeping metronome like time as it swings back and forth with each step. She's affectionate but losing some of the cuddly puppy behaviors and reminds me so much of my much loved Fat Sam in very many ways. Stella likes her own time and goes off daily to do her own thing, whether it be lying in the sun or bug catching or trying to get Uncle Smoochie or Uncle Pogo to play. Every 45 minutes one of us will check up on the other and there is late afternoon play time right before dinner (ours) daily. Here are some shots from yesterday.

I just dare you to take that ball!

This can't be comfortable but what do I know. Stella enjoyed burrowing with her red ball for 20 minutes like this. The dark spots, pine pitch staining. Puppies don't like their bellies scrubbed so, we just let them wear off. Life is too short to worry about such things, just ask Stella. ;)

You should have heard the growls and groans.

And just so you don't think my BEST weaving buddy Jack has been replaced, he hasn't.
He's not the handsomest dog I've ever seen but what a personality.

Faithfully by my side at the loom, like always.

We will ignore the Stella chew on the bench foot because after watching this, what's a little nibble here and there in the whole scheme of things. Go on now and enjoy.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Could It Be?

Why yes, the planets and moons have aligned and finally, the pillowcase warp is completely threaded.

How many months did that take? No, don't answer that. Too many. Sleying the reed has commenced and I don't expect it to take more than a day or two to complete and then onto the actual weaving.

Wonders never cease!

In other fiber news, there has been steady spinning progress of the second Ladybug bobbin. I'm hoping to have some decent plied yarn by next weekend.

The car is in the shop for it's almost annual mechanical meltdown, what started out as brakes and tires has now moved on to talk of front differential problems. It is at the transmission spa for an extended period no doubt. Gene gave both of us his best frownie face Friday when we took it from one expensive spa treatment to another.

Of course, it's hard to be to cranky when you have a puppy in the house and Stella is doing her job admirably. So if you are having a less than stellar day, I'm sharing. :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


It was pointed out to me by a very dear friend that Stella might be a bit of a ham. I'm beginning to believe it. Yesterday morning, under my desk, undercover.....

We had a running conversation.
She felt that paw was getting out of line and needed some reprimanding, sort of a straighten up and walk right come to Stella, moment.

Afterwards she felt quite pleased with herself and played the ingenue for the camera.

Looking at these pictures I was noticing all the changes. Her expressions are more adult, her nose is getting longer and losing all of its young puppy appearance ( she might even grow into those ears!). Gene refers to her as Miss Needle Nose ( or "The Sausage" if it's near dinner time). She's in a long body stage right now. Puppyhood is flying by, at 6 months she'll be close to full grown and physical changes will be slight.

But for here and now, we are savoring with abandon all the baby steps.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Full Week

Egads, it's been busy around here. I spent a lot of time with the horses last week, riding and rotating them out to graze, playing with Stella ( and scheduled vet appointments for shots), walking old man Dennett and in general, frittering my time away as is stated in the Constitution, in the pursuit of happiness.
And then there was the two Arts & Crafts love seats I bought. That particular Craigslist purchase cost a day in rearranging furniture and another day and a half in a sewing project.
The Bernina and I got to know one another again. The love seats themselves are covered in leather, very nice leather actually, soft and supple and in good condition. The dogs would have had a hay day with them. Everyone feels the need to dig, turn, dig some more and then curl up for naps. The leather, while very durable in many ways, would not hold up. The only answer to cushion preservation was to make some new covers. So Saturday and half of Sunday morning where spent doing that.
The leopard print wrapped sofa does not have covers yet, so it's actually two fleece twin blankets that are protecting it at the moment until I find a suitable fabric for it.
There was not enough of the bark cloth tropical print to do both. It will be fun and challenging to find another fabric for covers. Of course our living room would never make a cover shot for anything but it's comfortable and serviceable for us and there are a lot of us. I get a chuckle out of how small Miss Puppy is and how Charlotte's eyes are glowing a dagger green.
Stella continues to grow. In fact she's going through some pretty funny stages as all puppies do. The head grows then the body follows. One day she looks tall the next long. She was 3 months old on the 30th and about 6 pounds. She had her first hanging tug moment. It's so terrier. I pick up the tug toy, she refuses to let the other end go and is suddenly off the ground ( not far I assure you) and then deposited back down. There are two camps about the game of tug. Those that don't believe that one should play it with puppies and those that do. I'm in the latter. I've always played it with all my dogs that enjoyed it and believe me, they learn and know the difference as to what is okay and what's not. During the weekend Stella had a grand time with a large piece of cardboard. Makes me wonder why I buy toys at all!
She tried to get it into her little red bed, no go but it was QUITE amusing watching her.
And finally, a completely slain piece of cardboard. There was enough cardboard blood and gore around for me to be picking up pieces for a little while. :)

In other news I watched the most extraordinary thing early Friday morning. I came out the front door to feed and Juno was waiting for me and Buzz was trotting up the driveway lickety split with two yearling does not far behind. They CHASED him all the way to the front porch steps before they saw me and like two little embarrassed bullies, they took off. It brought to mind a Monty Python moment about Killer Rabbits, but this time deer.
It was 35 degrees Saturday morning. In July! There was a bit of frost. Tomorrow and Wednesday, temps will finally be getting close to 90F and likely 100F in the valley. Summer may be late to the party but she's still coming!