Friday, August 21, 2015

The Proverbial Dog Days

August has always been the gateway to fall for good or bad. When I was younger, it meant the demise of summer vacation. August was the month equivalent to Sunday. When I was older and worked, it meant my favorite vacation time was coming up. A week in early October spent at the family summer home in West Pawlet Vermont. Now it is the month when we hold our breath and pray for early rains. It is smokey, dusty, dry and hot here in Southern Oregon, fires to the north and south and resources spread so unbelievably thin that should there be a fire in the valley, the 12 man volunteer roster of the Greensprings Fire & Rescue would be needed to assist through Jackson County. A fire in the forest, ODF (Oregon Department of Forestry)  personnel and resources are in John Day and on the Stouts fire. We have been informed we are on our own and that pretty much sums it up for every rural fire department in Oregon and Washington and maybe California.
Anyone know a good rain dance?

But sitting and worrying about stuff is really non productive. The pillowcase warp has seen some action and pillowcase two is almost done and I'm planning number 3. Beautiful new Macomber made aprons have been installed on the Murphy loom and I am planning a prayer flag warp.

 Something a bit different. I've been fleshing out the details in my mind and am just about ready to commit to winding it up.

I've also been working on some gift knitting. All I can show you is the selection of little cashmere balls! ;-)

It's quite nice to work with though....

A few makes up in the sewing room, two TSW Florence shirts, both in a rustic medium weight linen. These are more for fall but really, linen is a year round fabric.

 I had fun with the little added details on both.

I also tackled another Tina Givens "Bianca" duster, this time in black linen. I had forgotten just how much I dislike working with black and this was a fiddly garment made more so by the color.

 It is wonderfully wearable though (has pockets!), and will see a lot of use, so worth the time spent on it.

I'll be spinning at the Josephine County Fair Saturday morning with friend Cindie. I'm not a great spinner but this certainly will be enforced practice and the event should be fun and interesting. I know the company is!

And as I said, it IS the dog days, so parting shots of course reflect that!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Deer Me!

Okay I love bright and unusual fabrics so when this fabric jumped into my basket last year no one was surprised.  The pattern is by Tula Pink and is titled "Oh Deer". Then it sat in stash while I figured out which pattern to use it in, and then another long while as I grabbed other cut items from the baskets. Finally, I made myself sit down and sew this together and I was left wondering why I had waited so long. The slightly oversized Schoolhouse tunic done with in the side seam pockets and bright fuchsia bodice lining is cool, comfortable and with such a stunning print.

 It is hard not to enjoy this almost forgotten TNT pattern all over again.

And this is what Stella does when SHE sees deer.....Watch out Bambi!

I also worked on a new pattern. The Sewing Workshop released a new button down shirt pattern "Florence" (link will show you the line drawings and details). I just love the longer length and the fun front horizontal pleat, which is almost impossible to see with this print.  Now I'm not a collar person, but this pattern was easy enough to ditch the collar and stand. In fact that's the only modification I made.

The bright red and white graphic hedgehogs were fun to use and will get a lot of wear. Fabric of Vision received this bolt of fabric on a Weds and it was sold out in just over a week. I'm glad I got a length of this happy Moda print and already have another trimmed down and pocketed version cut out in linen.

I started on my second pillowcase on the Macomber warp. This one in a beautiful Louet lace weight navy blue linen that was given to me.

 What a wonderful and generous surprise it was too! Now I did buy some of the same linen in an acid green and a deep rose from The Webster's, who never fail to have something you just gotta have. This time it was some Habu linen paper yarn.

One of the recent Handwoven issues has mention of using "Shifu" and I thought it might be fun to play with some on a future warp. I need to do a few small scarf warps and I'm sure I can make some space and time to give this a try.

Saturday afternoon I spent searching for the culprit making a whole heap of noise in the woods. It took me a little while but I finally found the source. One of our favorite woodpeckers, The Pileated Woodpecker! To me they almost look prehistoric in shape. This is not a small bird either. We are blessed to have many woodpeckers and tree clinging birds in our area but the Pileated is certainly one of the most eye catching. I took 64 pics of this one working the downed log for insects. These are the best.

Parting shot: Contemplation

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Now I could be referring to Oregon's new marijuana laws or the wonderful things one can do with salmon or pork, but it is neither of those things.

 It is the smoke from the Stouts fire burning up in Douglas County, a fair ways from us actually, but prevailing winds are bringing the smoke into Rogue Valley (visibility has been lower than a 1/4 mile!), and finally to the southern end and up into the mountains. The smoke is bad, but not near as bad as being one of the many families effected in the immediate area of the fire. I remember all too well what that feels like from last year. And so the west begins to burn in earnest again this summer. Of note, one of the largest fires is up in Alaska. The entire west coast is pretty darn dry I'd say. You can scan through the numerous pages of fire activity here.

If the smoke wasn't keeping us all in, the heat sure is! It has helped to move some creative endeavors along. One of them is the pillowcase warp on St. Nick the Macomber. Threaded,

sleyed - twice  (I was off with the fairies  drinking Shiner Bock and thinking I was using a 10 dent reed when what I really had was an 8 dent. Head slap.), and weaving up beautifully so far. I am just about through the body of the first case which is 56" plus the plain deep border hems each end.

 I have some fine linen I am going to try with one of these. I am hoping it will soften well. The basket weave pattern is hard to see but once washed this will shrink and tighten up quite a bit and become beautiful fabric.

 I am loving this robin's egg blue and it was a lot easier to search for threading errors using a color.

I've had some fun up in the sewing room. I bought a couple of Tina Givens patterns and on one, the Phoebe, I realized I could take my ever adaptable Scout tee pattern and do this layered look without the heartache of numerous bust and shoulder adjustments.

  I used two very light smooth cottons for these pieces. The subtle stripe is a soft and beautifully woven India fabric. The tank has woven ovals, not printed.

 I will be trying out the cute loose cuffed pants that are also included with the pattern.

I couldn't resist using my favorite little mice in the body of this Decades of Style "Given a Chance" dress.

 The bodice is actually the little bags that my Restoration Hardware linen sheets came in. The color matched perfectly and there was just enough to eek it all out.

In other news, my Mother continues to improve after a couple of set backs. Thank you everyone for your thoughts, prayers and well wishes! We are all going out for dinner tonight and I know she is looking forward to it. She has to stay in rehab because she is getting intravenous antibiotics every 4 hours and it is much easier to manage and monitor in that setting and receive her physical therapy.

Both Marigold and I had haircuts last week. Not by the same stylist of course! Marigold went for the full on treatment with body wash and pedicure.

Smoochie had to crowd into the pic too!
She looks pretty cute and cuddly and I am sure feels so much cooler! I know I do.

And so that pretty much covers things for now. Thoughts and prayers going out to those affected by the numerous fires this season and to fire fighters everywhere. One was lost this past week in the Frog Fire in Modoc National Forest over the border in Northern California.

Parting shot: Lap time.
Robin & Jack