Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Lost in the Rain Wilds

Some of you who read scifi and fantasy may know exactly where I have been hanging out when I turn my Kindle on. For the rest of you, I have been on a steady diet of Robin Hobb books and they are wonderful! Long, detailed and on the whole, very satisfying reads if you like that genre. The characters are so real and fleshed out. When I read them, it is literally like I am right there, sharing the sights, sounds and smells of the world that has been created. I've always been a serial reader and I'm about mid-way through all the different trilogies.

When I wander out from Rain Wilds the only other book on the end table is "A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir to Isis" by Robert Worth.  A very readable book
for those who, like me, want and need a better understanding of the Middle East and the Arab world.
This is not a dull dry tome of a book, so don't be afraid of the heavy subject matter.

A little activity up in the sewing salon. A simple tee done in the fun hedgehog fabric, complete with bright orange inseam pockets.

 The last two of the Kiota sleeveless tops have been completed. A light teal blue one and a bright orange linen one.

I'm getting low on my cut patterns. I think I just have a pair of pants waiting to be put together.  This weekend I'll likely pull patterns and fabrics and go to town on the cutting table. Fall is in the air and I want some tunics with collars.

Some progress in the weaving studio. The towel warp is being threaded in drips and drabs.

 I've moved onto my Slytherin towel on the Louet Spring.  She really needs a name you know.

I may throw another green in there to spruce it up. Hmm, that might be a very bad pun.

The peach canning has finished up (maybe) with a nice batch of Peach-Jalapeno Jam. I think it's my very favorite so far.

 Of course pears are on the horizon and then some apple recipes. I would love to do up some of those spiced apple rings.

Out in our little wild place, we are down to one visiting turkey. I have no idea if the flock has dispersed or been predated. Last week a grey fox was found dead in our driveway. A young looking male, he was thin but his coat was in nice shape, no signs of injury, vomit or diarrhea. Visual inspection only.  I was able to scoop him onto a shovel and took him off the driveway and into the woods. Two days later he had been carried off. Needless to say we are keeping an even closer eye on our local wildlife.

Parting shot: Jack, lulled by the steady beat of weaving.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Raising the Bar

Usually I beam the warp on by myself. If Gene is wandering about I'll have him help since it usually goes pretty quick. The warp I wound an age ago for cotton and hemp bath towels wasn't going to be quick or easy. The American Maid brand 8/2 cotton from Lunatic Fringe is beautiful and soft. A very light, almost squishy feeling 8/2 that likes to make a bit of fuzz and grab it's neighbor. It demanded to be beamed on under tension and at almost 12 yards, the yank and crank method would have taken forever. I gave Gene a choice, put up that warping valet bar I sketched months ago or stand there keeping the warp under tension. He chose wisely and got his drill out and we pieced together my simple valet in about 10 minutes.

 Now it helps that I have some huge beams that run through the house. I need nothing more than a little one step stool to reach comfortably and the texsolv and pin design at the end is easy and adjustable.

 I got this warp on in about 35 minutes including coffee. Three threads ( 6 ends) broke but in this 700 end spot weave warp it is unlikely they will matter much.

 It took me far longer on Monday afternoon to add the additional new heddles to all four shafts of Nora, and much more swearing. The valet bar will serve both looms. Nora, I had to turn around, Nick will have to be shifted a bit towards the bookshelf wall. Easy enough.

The Christmas runner warp in linen and hemp has also been wound onto Fiona. It looks pretty messy right now but will calm down when under some tension.

 I have to add some heddles to all her shafts in prep for threading.

 The extra heddles came yesterday. I might tackle it today or wait until the weekend.

I ended up not going to spin at the fair with Cindie. Last week was incredibly hot and dry up here with temps in the mid 90's and humidity around 20% or below. Between itchy dogs, terrible heat and red flag warnings, I decided that being almost 2 hours out from home was just too much should a fire break out. Gene as fire chief would have to go and that would leave the animals vulnerable.

And speaking of vulnerable, Louisiana, who has had much more than its fair share of devastation. I live a long way from that wonderful state, but enjoyed the time I was able to spend there. I can't be there now but I can help. I can send money and heaven knows, those folks are going to need a lot of it. As is my way, I give first and foremost to animal causes, as local as possible. Critters have no say over where and how they live. Here is a set of links for needy rescues trying to cope with the overwhelming number of displaced animals. There are also links to people centric organizations and their needs. Either way, if you can spare some now and spare some in a few months do it. It'll make you feel good, really.

I stayed home and canned peaches. Two jams, one a simple one and one a variation with almond extract. I also put up a few pints of boozy peach halves with bourbon. This morning, I am using some of my home grown jalapeños and putting up the last batch of now ripe peaches as a sweet and hot Peach Jalapeño Jam.

The sewing salon has been pretty neglected this last week, but ideas are percolating. I have a new Indygo Junction pattern to try out (Asymmetrical Tunic),

 and some fun panel fabric from Moda made it up into the stash.  One piece has small panels, the other large.

I watched those baby raccoons one evening from the upstairs window, play on our deck, fight over sunflower seed and splash in the low bird bath. They had a ball and so did I. Momma raccoon, I'm not so sure but she is certainly attentive, and protective of her brood.

Parting shot: Too hot for covers or companions but pillows are mine. All mine!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Last spring when I received my Schacht Wolf Pup for my birthday, I had contacted a local craftsman, (and that is an understatement!), about making a castle tray for Fiona. We bartered a deal of which I am certain I got the better end.

  There is a tipping point when craft becomes art. I can't say the criteria, but you know it when you see it. I am a serviceable weaver, Ray is an artisan.

 This is the awesomel tray he came up with. All in perfectly "matched to the loom" maple. Beautiful basket WEAVE in wood! Swoon worthy. And make no mistake, the work he went through to make a graceful and sturdy attachment system is appreciated. It all seemed so easy until you had to work around the mechanics of the shafts.

 I spent last night just looking at my pretty little naked loom.

 Today I'll gather all the bits and bobs I like to keep in the tray, a needle, a big pin, sley hook, and little scissors not to mention getting a warp wound.

When I painted the studio my strawberry curtains came down. I haven't decided what to do with that window but I knew it wasn't those curtains, which were no more than two well preserved panels. I love that fabric and thought about a garment. Couldn't come up with something really suited to the graphic print that I would wear. Inspiration came in the form of a little light throw for the bed.

 I had some linen leftovers that would work. Nothing fussy, machine tied and no batting.

The perfect weight for a quick afternoon nap on a warm day too!

I attacked a pattern I had cut out way back in early spring.

 This is an Inygo Junction pattern, the Urban Tunic and it looked strangely familiar. When I unearthed it again, I also dragged out a second pattern (the Chic Cowl Neck Shift) for a comparison. And they were EXACTLY the same two front and back pieces,

 in fact the Urban Tunic doesn't have sleeves but on the supplied pattern there are of course, notches for sleeves which can be used for evil facings. On one the collar is done in two pieces sewn together, on the other, a single wider piece folded over.

So if you like the pattern buy the Chic Shift pattern, it gives you the sleeves, and you can always raise the neckline to give the boat neck option the Urban offers.

A little tank top came out of the sewing room. The linen is very lightweight, very smooth, cool and dry to the hand.

 In winter this will feel just as nice next to the skin under heavier clothes as it does in our very hot August.  I cut two more in solids at the same time which are in process.

Speaking of hot, we had a little fire up here last weekend. Just when I thought we were going to sneak quietly through fire season this year, two erupted within a day of each other. The Redwood Fire near Cave Junction burned 2 homes, and 3 outbuildings and was held at 50 acres. Our
fire named the Twentymile Springs Fire (right past milepost 20 on Highway 66, for reference in how close this was, we are right past mile post 19), was held at about 5-6 acres. ODF crews and Greensprings Fire and Rescue worked tirelessly Saturday to keep the fire contained. You can read about it here on the Greensprings Rural Fire District page.  If you scroll down you can also see this has been the year of the rollover crash. There have been 3 of them on Highway 66 this year, one fatal, the other two pretty bad. Slow down folks, it's far too pretty an area to speed through!

On the weaving front, the play warp has come off Nora the 32" Macomber. Here is one of the two nice runners from that warp.

 The other one went to Ray and his wife Gail, who just happens to be our equine vet. Such a talented couple and we are so lucky to have them as part of our community.

Parting shot: The power of threes or a tribe of terriers!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bandit Babies

With few exceptions, mammal babies are cute and appealing and that folks, is a fact. Momma raccoon has a trio this year and my hat's off to her. They are a pawful to raise to adulthood especially when you consider her world is full of lions and lynxes and bears, not to mention coyotes and wolves these days.

They have been popping up around dawn, brought in by seed and water. If they are around when I head out to feed, the babies run up a tree quick quick and Mom guards the base, raising up on two legs and growling and hissing at me.

 I give her a wide berth and continue on to the barn. Yesterday I was late feeding and they were still around, noshing on some seed I had thrown out the afternoon before for the Stellar Jays.

 The light was low so these pics are not very sharp but you get the idea.

While raccoons are thriving, turkeys are not. Since last I mentioned them the meet numbers have dropped from 11 to 7. Yikes!

 Oh and Raccoon momma trumps Turkey momma in seed wars.

 The foxes are around but not as open or regular as in past years. There is more competition at the feeder sites this year and the cougar kill may very well have caused the foxes with their youngsters this year to avoid the area. Come winter they will probably be back to our usual routine.

Few deer have been around either but I caught this handsome buck on the back 40 early one morning.

I have been struggling with color combos to finish off the cottolin warp on the Spring

 until inspiration struck. HOGWARTS!

 I'll weave the last of the towels in house colors. I might not even get all four but at least I have a clear color plan. Griffindor is up first.

And I have more weaving projects in the wings. Discontinued Louet Euroflax colors on sale (courtesy of the Web-sters), work perfectly for this paired with white hemp.

The sewing salon has seen some action too. I had a cutting frenzy a week or so ago and as I like to do with TNT patterns, I cut two at a time. This my favorite V neck top pattern. Both prints Art Gallery fabrics.

Hazel, photobombing...
And this tunic, a save from a previous cutting session.

 I was going to pair this with another print. Once I had cut them out I hated them together. The other print will be paired with a solid and this one got some leftover black linen. I would have preferred grey but the grey in this abstract mouse print leans heavily into green and was impossible to match.

The weather has been very un-August like. Cool at night and this week we are riding between mid 70's and low 80's. I'm not complaining in the least. This year though the yellowjacket and hornet/wasp populations seem to have exploded. They were even chasing after the hummingbirds. Not acceptable so it was time to put out some traps. If anyone else has a problem the WHY traps from Rescue work very well. Costly but you can reuse and rebait them. The numbers have been knocked down quite a bit. The hummingbirds have been feeding in peace in the garden and at the feeders.

I did some canning over the weekend. The Freshtech canner really is a wonderful piece of equipment and I am very happy with it. I did up huckleberries and some bread and butter pickles.

 I have to admit, I over cooked the huckleberries. They gelled and then some. It's like flavored rubber in a jar.I'll be testing the pickles out tonight with a simple dinner of hot dogs and macaroni salad.

I'll be spinning for a morning with friend Cindie and her group of lovely spinners again this year at the Josephine County Fair. And I won't have to lug my heavy Matchless wheel, I can sling the little Sidekick over my shoulder in her travel bag and go. Woohoo! :-)

Parting shot: Sweetness.
Spike, modeling the new safe break-away collars

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

That's All Folks

After the two night visits from the lynx, the trail cam caught nothing but vultures and one night, the outline of a deer passing by.  It did pick up two days of someones dogs coming in for a visit. Hope they didn't go home stinking too badly.  We've taken it down, needs the batteries replaced anyway.
I will say I have only seen one doe with a fawn this year, but then again I haven't been looking too closely.

Oh and let's not forget our wonderful turkeys who circle the property daily. We see them about every two hours.

I did manage to get some pretty picks of the gardens both veggie and flower.


Acorn Squash
Shasta Daisy

Red Lambs Ear & Salvia
 We enjoyed our english peas but once it got really hot last week, they started to fade. I pulled the last of the pods and then the plants, allowing room for the peppers, tomatoes,eggplants and squashes.

I have one make done (except for hems), sitting in the sewing salon. I spent what time I had weaving since it also allowed for better listening of the convention last week.

 Plus it was in the 90's outside so the air conditioned space felt wonderful.  Perfect for Timmy tossing.

check out the paw clutch...if she only had thumbs!

Even on the hottest day, the downstairs never got warmer than 75F. Pretty good for a house with no a/c.

Under the truly mundane  I finally dragged the ladder upstairs and put up this sweet quilt

and moved the picture that had been there to a better location.

The blind for the studio came a few weeks ago.


 I love it, it was a great choice.

 I'm eyeing this solution for the master bedroom. Heck, there are a couple of other places this would work too.

Parting shot: Quiet time.