Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Real Buzz Kill

And I'm not joking here. Buzz the barn kitty has disappeared, not even a few tuffs of hair either.  This happened sometime Sunday night. It always seems that when I write about it, it makes it permanent, but I fear my Buzz won't be back regardless. Every morning I've been looking for that special pair of eyes running towards me though.

Friend Sandi thinks it might be a pesky raccoon, but they are messy killers, never dragging their prey and it is unlikely Buzz was killed by one far from the barn. I'm more of mind that it was a coyote or a bobcat. In any case, we are transitioning Juno into night time house living. Her food, water and litter box are in the basement. I will transition her upstairs over the next few days.  Come early spring we will look for another pair of barn cats since they are the best alternative for rodent control and poison is not an option around this farm. I have contacted a local organization that helps to spay and neuter feral cats and they will be on the lookout for a bonded pair that might work here. Buzz came from just such a situation 6 or 7 years ago, Juno shortly after. They were both young kitties, about 6-8 months old and bonded beautifully together. In the meantime, the barn will survive catless for a couple of months. I miss Buzz terribly. He was my escort to the barn every day, morning and night, purring as we walked along, looking forward to getting his meal. Some mornings he would even let me pick him up and carry him the short distance to the tack room. I often wonder if the lighter colored cats are at a disadvantage since they are more visible at night.

In other less gloomy news, the creative process has chugged along. A nice little warp was wound for the Gem, bright white with a few colored stripes that hopefully will translate into some pretty twill towels and a summer runner.

The colors are bright orange, bright deep yellow and a dark raisin color for the pinstripe.

A titch of weaving has happened on the Murphy.

 I am loving the deep orange and turquoise and it makes the weaving fun to use these bright colors.

And the need for bright spring like colors has carried over into the sewing salon. I broke into one of the newer Merchant and Mills patterns to arrive. Top 64, sounds Bondish doesn't it?

 Anyway, I've been looking for a simple raglan sleeve pull over for a little while.

 I can do a lot with this boxy t shirt type pattern. The fabric is a printed canvas, a bit on the heavy side that has been in stash since last late spring I think.

 Very few alterations to this M&M pattern. I ditched the facing and did a self fabric binding for the neck ( and lowered the neck slightly) and graded the hip area out a little since I prefer a bit more flare for hip fluff. Oh and the sleeves are made for someone who's knuckles might scrape the ground. I cut a good 5 inches off in length. The pockets are cute and interesting but next round, I'll add some depth to them and the deepen the lower band overall.

This little corduroy number was completed also.

 I made a bright magenta and grey one in the early fall and a week doesn't go by that it isn't being worn. These baby wale prints are so soft and cozy and wear like iron too. On Sunday, besides winding the new warp I did a lot of cutting out. Some new fabrics and patterns, some old.

It will be nice this weekend to watch the Super Bowl with my folks! A bonus that the Patriots are in it. Deflate-gate be damned! ;)

Parting shot:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Low Light

Seasonally there is a sweet spot for light and January is not it. I'm thinking April might be the nicest or May for taking pics. High summer the overhead sun can be harsh and in winter, the light is so slanted and weak it makes for challenges both in and out. I do my best but I am no photographer.

I did get my plump little pony Cooper out on Tuesday. He hasn't been out for a ride in months and as always, was just the same steady Eddy I put in the paddock late summer. He did his share of rubbernecking around, checking out everything. It has been a busy time in the woods. Before Christmas we had the car chase out of Klamath Falls, with 3 bomb throwing, drug making, lowlife suspects, two which escaped into the woods next to and behind our property. One was captured the next morning and the other still missing since that incident. There have been multiple searches over a few weekends and you can be sure the horses have been alert to the fact that the woods have been busy. Plus who knows where this jack ass is, dead or alive. There is an article here which recaps the events.
 So, we were both cautious and alert as we made our two mile loop at a dead walk on a cold sunny morning ( wearing the Landgate top I might add with treat bulging pockets...), in which the scariest thing we spied were two chattering black squirrels. Into the Woods indeed!

I cleared off the Gilmore Gem and will be prepping a warp for him this weekend. Something fun and colorful and not holiday colors! And the Murphy loom has seen some action too.

Orange and purple, although again, the light is playing tricks.

 I have an orange and turquoise one planned after this one. Beyond that, who knows what colors I'll dig out for the last towel!

In the sewing salon, a corduroy tunic is in process. I'll get pics when it is completed and then I am hoping to carve some time out this pre Superbowl weekend to get some cutting done. There are two additional Merchant & Mills patterns to test out and I sure do have some great fabrics in stash to pick from for some go to favorite patterns.

But really, this post is about the Parting Shots: The Princess and the Pea or Sleeping Beauty? I can't decide.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Curating Fabrics for 2015

While yards go in and out during the year, it is the January sale at Fabric of Vision I use to flesh out my modest fabric stash. I use my much anticipated gift certificate from Gene to buy the uber expensive or the higher yardages or the whimsical fabrics that just can't be justified any other way.

 This year was no different.

These look like shuttles to me!
Some I know exactly what I want to make, others are fabrics waiting for the idea to hit, but that is what  stash is all about, part working inventory and part inspiration.

Oh Deer!
And speaking of working inventory, you'll be seeing a few more of the Landgate Merchant & Mills pattern.

I made the Landgate almost as offered. I am not a hood person, so the hood was cut down into a high collar and I dispensed with the ties in the waist. Frankly I can't tell you how many times I have gotten ties and such caught on things as I go through my day and usually end up ripping them in some way.
Putting in the casing and elastic with just a hint of the waist shaping was a better solution for me
on this first "test" run.

 I have chosen to show you the garment after it has been worn, washed and dried and not ironed. Oh it might see an iron but probably not. This cotton/hemp fabric softens beautifully over time and has a fabulous drape.

This one will be worn riding, dog walking and around the barn. Those pockets will hold a lot of treats, or bobbins if I am weaving! The fit is loose and comfortable, just what you want for a lengthy session at the loom.

Also in the completed column is another of the Jacole Skinny Jeans.

I made my modifications, shortening the rise front and back by just a little, tapering the hip/thigh area and doing a much better job on the waist band. I love this waist band treatment! You can do it narrow, wide or yoga fold over style. I did mine wide, but with a thinner fabric I am likely to give the fold over one a go.

 The fabric used here is a pretty beefy cotton/spandex twill. Medium weight with excellent recovery.  The waistband is a knit that friend Mary gave me quite a while ago to try on leggings. I never made the leggings but the 60-75% stretch this offers was perfect. And the color was spot on!

There has been some weaving going on too. The warp on the Murphy moves slowly, but it does move as does the Gilmore's warp. I have gone through the Macomber and ordered parts. New aprons, some "s" hooks, the clips for the heddle shaft ends, new rubber bumpers and a cast iron arm. The left rear arm that folds up the back beams has a crack and Macomber's prices on replacement parts is so dang reasonable, it was an easy decision to make.

Weather wise it looks like another snowless year. We are hoping not, but here we are mid January and mostly dry warm weather. We need snow pack, lots of it. Rain is good but it does little for drought conditions come April, May and June when we traditionally get the slow snow runoff from higher elevations. This weekend is supposed to be a stormy one, so our fingers are crossed it will be a white one too!

Parting shot: Guardian of the Loom Room. Sleeping on the job....but that's okay. Hers is a supervisory job. We have many minions on alert....

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Canoodling with Canopus

And Canopus, which is a star (the second brightest behind Sirius), is also the name of a woodworking company that makes weaving tools. I splurged on one of Jon Hayman's lovely creations right before the Christmas holiday season was in full swing and just yesterday finally got to use it on the Gilmore Gem warp. The pictures however are it resting on the Murphy loom warp....

 Smooth and satiny in the hand, the shape is just right for smaller hands and best suited, at least for me, for narrower warps. This is a very light shuttle, coming in at less than 5oz's I believe.
And oh so beautiful.

I haven't bought any weaving shuttles since Ed Jenkins stopped making them. I adored his shuttles. I know that many folks love Bluster Bay shuttles, but the blunt short nose on them just doesn't suit my hand and style of throwing well. So I was thrilled when I discovered Canopus Wood and Weave Works. I have a wing nut tool on my list of coveted items for 2015 also!

So there has been some movement on the looms now that the holidays are behind us and a wide open, brand new year is before us. I have been thinking about St. Nicks first warp and deciding on colors.
I need to find a couple of "S" hooks for two of the shafts and also put those tricky flat steel heddles on a number of shafts that they were removed from. Not my favorite thing to do, but it has got to be done.

I was given a generous gift certificate this holiday to The Webster's, and that thing certainly didn't gather dust. I brought home some beautiful wool and cotton for weaving. The cotton is spun in Italy and has an unbelievable sheen.

 I bought all they had in these three colors ( 9-cream, 7-orange, 5-dark teal), at a great price. The yarn sadly is discontinued. The wool will make a fun something something.

Maybe a runner or a scarf, for me those things are interchangeable, but I want to play with that long color change in the Freia yarn.

In the sewing room, I completed a Blueprints for Sewing "Cabin" pattern. It was a wadder. This happens quite often with cut on sleeves for me, although what really made it awful was the  French dart. Usually this is quite flattering but this one hit above the breast point. Now I did tissue fit but it is hard for me at least, to get a feel sometimes for where the shoulder seam will fall and I wasn't too close on this one. I could adjust the dart easily but then that would mean adjusting the cut on sleeve and frankly, it is not that a unique a pattern to bother with. I will be keeping the very nice pocket pattern pieces to use on other things. It is a sweet welt pocket, easy and well drafted.

I can also show the two wonderful canvas shopping bags I made my Mother for her birthday.

 Sandi at Fabric of Vision puts these up as kits with everything you need and instructions. I loved this fabric combo and there were a couple of these kitted up so I grabbed them way back in early November.

Two works just perfectly for my mom since these are pretty generous in size and of course, they are wash and wear!

A couple of Vogue patterns have been completed also, one skirt and one felted wool jacket and I have got to get pics of both of them. I wore the skirt New Year's Eve and it was warm and comfortable. First finished project of 2015, is a Merchant & Mills pattern, "The Dress Shirt" and came out quite well. It's a fun and fast pattern to make.

 I did a few modifications, I did not line the bib or yoke since this was a first run through and I was using a fairly heavy fabric. The only thing I need to change on this pattern is to raise the armhole an inch on the next go round. It's just a little to low. I have all sorts of fun ideas for this pattern.

These pics are in process. The dress had the neck and hem done yesterday. Next post I will feature some of the new fabrics that found their way into my stash from Fabric of Vision's annual sale. For those that are in striking distance, it goes on until the end of the month.

So what about the foxes? In late fall things got sporadic with their visits, maybe twice a week. This is normal. Everyone seems to leave the nursery area and hunt and cache all over for the winter. But now that the winter has set in, we're back to an almost nightly visit. If the weather is really bad it is unlikely they'll visit. Mating season is approaching so I am expecting to see a bit more activity as we get into February. My tack room was ransacked by a raccoon and it finally figured out how to get the container of cat food I keep down there. Plan B was implemented. Lock cat food in metal barrel with bungee cords. So far, so good and after a while, they stop coming around since there is no benefit to it.

Parting shot: Hazel Rose, who learned to walk on a harness and leash over her holiday vacation. ;)