Thursday, February 23, 2017

Mojo Restart and a Give-Away

Let's lead with the give-away. I had said that my Schacht Inkle loom was little used and unloved and should be sold. Well instead of selling it I am giving it away along with a very pretty bird's eye Maple shuttle.

 I'll pay for shipping but please, only lower 48 states entries for it.  If you want to be in the drawing just leave a comment saying so. Names will go into a hat and one will be randomly picked next Wednesday, 3/1/17. I only ask that you pay it forward to a cause near and dear to your heart or community.  Pay the adoption fee of a dog who has been at your local shelter too long, some funds maybe to the famine crisis in South Sudan, Planned Parenthood, maybe a few bags of groceries or a generous gift certificate to your local food bank for grocery items they may need to round out their banks. Volunteer some time. Your choice on the feel good act of kindness and generosity. :-)

Okay, the mojo kickstart. A new pattern always seems to help.

I did a really crappy run through for the first one. I didn't like the multiple treatments for the neck on this pattern. Some of you will. For me, the flipping and fussing didn't suit, so I streamlined my 2nd version to take a self bias binding for the whole neckline.

 I paired down the armholes some but in the end, I need to go down a size on the top portion and keep it graded out for the lower portion/hips. I also want to put inseam pockets into the next one.

Version 2.0 is perfectly wearable and being a dark color will likely see a lot of use. Plus, well foxes! Version 3.0 will probably be linen.

And speaking of linen, I have a lot of good sized linen scraps around since it often comes in a 58" width. I really wanted to do something to get some of it out of the scrap stash.

 So a pretty much unmodified Scout Tee pattern became the perfect vehicle for a fun morning of color blocking and sewing.

All in favorite shades of green and with a slightly shaped shirt tail type hem.

A new inkle band was started on the Cendrel loom.

Time was also spent this week in spiffing up my little desk area. I am a sucker for art tiles. I have one hanging on each of my looms on Command hooks ( along with small scissors and wing nut tools), and I finally rounded up some of the tiles I had been collecting to hang en-masse.

 There's still a bit of room for a one or two small treasures.

Winter is still holding a pretty firm grip in these parts.

 Over the weekend we had 10" of wet snow that melted quickly and yesterday about another 10. Things are pretty sloppy as we slid into mud season.

That brings us to:

Did That Just Happen?

Finally, people are getting involved in their government! Record numbers of constituents are turning up and speaking their minds. For us that is remarkable. There are many other democracies around the world and it would seem Norway has hit upon a nice balance. I have to say, ours could use some fine tuning and it certainly would be a different country if we had the give and take of the Norwegian system and the participation!

Even though our elected officials may be a group of greedy power grabbing asshats, there is still much good in our country. The Muslim community coming together to help fix the headstones tipped and broken in a Jewish STL cemetery and this from a flight last Saturday night.

Lastly, there has been a spate of dog food recalls, some pretty deadly. Those with pets might want to sign up on this site for the alerts. They are very quick to send them out. And remember, foods with Xylitol are poison to your dog. Check your peanut butter especially if you use it for pilling like we do.

Don't forget to leave a short comment if you want to be included in the give-away!

Parting shot: My own basket of adorable.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mojo Search and Rescue

About once a year my creative mojo seems to need a break from me. I don't feel like sewing, I don't feel like weaving much, whatever is on the Kindle isn't particularly interesting. It's a funk of some kind, I think we all go through it at one time or another. I will say the crushing overload of awful political news doesn't help. And there is some final estate set-up and clean-up that has needed attention now that tax season is here.

I have started in on a test sew of a pattern I've had in stash for a while and likely will get to it this weekend.

 I've been on the lookout for a few good new patterns, but that has been rather disappointing. More looking needed I guess. -)

The jacket I had been working on was completed.

We even had a day warm enough to wear it this week!

Life has not been totally devoid of creative activities. And even if it was, I still have this to brighten up the mojo-less times! Belly rubs are a viable creative substitute activity. Just ask Robin. ;-)

 I've been doing a little spinning. I finished up this pretty wool/silk blend

and started plying it.

 I'm thinking a pair of those wonderful mukluks or maybe a warm and cozy pair of half gloves? I also have a couple of new slouch hat patterns I might want to try.

The one thing I loved about the now sold Glimakra band loom was that it was a floor loom. I am simply not a table loom kind of gal. In fact I have a nice Schacht Inkle loom I should probably sell. Anyway, wise and knowing friend Cindie suggested that a LeClerc Cendrel might be a worthy replacement. I  took that advice to heart and ordered one on the day I sold the Glimakra. It got here Tuesday afternoon and was put together by dinner time Tuesday evening. I spent most of yesterday morning getting a test warp on and weaving.

 I adore it. I wove over 3 feet yesterday.

I know about the mistake. Test warp.....
The same comfy wood chair I use for spinning works for weaving on this loom since the fell is head on, I experienced none of the back, shoulder and neck strain from weaving sideways.

Notice paw on bone. Direct link to lips and growler.
In addition to the overall comfort, this loom is beautifully finished. Unlike the Glimakra, which is unfinished soft pine and all rather cheaply manufactured, this loom is made from dried Canadian Maple, smooth and with a glossy finish. Everything lined up and it was made to last a lifetime. Two nice shuttles came with it, Useable ones!

The snow has pretty much melted in many areas. Wildlife is waking up. The foxes are pairing and mating. My little gang of masked thugs was out on the deck the other night, raiding feeders and acting like teenage goofs. They probably all wintered over with Mom, but will scatter to the winds this spring.
There will be a new batch I hope.

It was hard to pick from the plethora of stuff that has happened over the last week or so. None of it very good and a lot of downright frightening but here is this posts offerings. I'm holding my breath to see if the GOP leaders roll over on a true investigation on the scope of Trump/Russia links. Personally, I think if you cheat you don't get to be the winner. I'm all for another untainted election. It will be cheaper than the wall.

Did That Just Happen

The USDA removes all information on animal abuse. This folks is near and dear to my heart and I'm betting yours. I can only ask..WHY?

Hate crimes are up and here is an interesting piece on what scares us by political divide.

And here and here are two articles about the power of protest. The second link is about what is happening around the country TODAY

Science is not dead, only in hiding, but what they have to tell us is alarming. Our oceans are in serious trouble.

Finally, a wake up call video. I caution you about language but it is an important and thought provoking 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch we have;

Parting shot: Playtime! That nip has gotta hurt.

Monday, February 6, 2017

It Ain't Over till it's Over

How about them Pats? Okay, I just have to gloat a little. My Mom and I watched together at her place and neither one of us could bear to watch it after the score went to 28 to 9. I decided to go home early due to a storm rolling in. There is an unwritten football rule in my world. If your team is winning, watching is best, if losing, the radio works, which why last night I was at my computer, listening to the game after I got home. Of course desk placement means I can glance up and see, what's going on.

The football equivalent of peeking at a scary movie part through your fingers and peek I did. And jump up and down and got the dogs all excited too. And Roger Goodell deserved every boo he got last night and then some!

To Falcon's fans everywhere, I hear you, I know how you feel. It was a hell of a game and you are a young team with a ton of talent, full of grace and class. Barring another match-up with my much loved Patriots, I'll be rooting for you.

Speaking of desks, a while ago I brought my Dad's desk home from the cottage. My Mom preferred to keep her desk and this Room and Board model is much more my style.

 I even found some space for a printer using a portion of the old top I had there. The super large Mac came with the desk and has replaced my little laptop. I kind of miss my laptop but a free almost new computer is okay too.

I have spent a little time getting a 10 yard pillowcase warp measured out. I needed to get enough 10/2 cotton for it and got a good price on this 3 +- pound cone. It's huge!

I've sold my Glimakra band loom. Weaving from the side just didn't suit my right shoulder and neck no matter how much I loved the treadles and sheds. I ordered a Leclerc Cendrel to replace it because I DO like the freedom a floor inkle/band loom provides compared to a table model.

On channeling Spring,  I found these fun shoes on sale while shopping with my Mom on Thursday.

 If anyone hasn't tried them, Algeria makes a very comfortable shoe for walking and standing. This is my second pair of this brand.

Did That Just Happen?

Great article on the Patriots Superbowl comeback.

Saturday Night Live with Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer was brilliant. The Grim Reaper as Steve Bannon wasn't bad either. :-)

Parting shot: Pensive Jack.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A Saturday Post for the Armchair Activist

I'm well aware that there are those that want a weaving or sewing blog to remain that always. Heaven knows I would prefer that too, but desperate times call for ....finish it please. ;-)

I get a lot of comments about people feeling helpless and not wanting to watch news. A lot of fear out there. But I'm here to tell you that speaking your mind is the most powerful thing you can do. With our voices alone we can determine our future. Every senator, every elected representative understands this.
They also understand that if they are not working for the good of their constituents they will be quickly out of a job.

Millions of people are marching and protesting and it is amazing to me how peaceful those protests have been.  It's fun and most of us benefit from a day out in the fresh air spent with our fellow man changing the world, one citizen at a time, all together. They need to stay peaceful. A number of states are trying to undermine protests. One bill says it's okay to hit people on roads with their cars, unintentionally of course. This 1st Amendment right MUST be protected. And good journalism must be protected or we are going to have more Bowling Green Massacres. Never has an administration been so willing to outright lie about anything and everything. Just how did 109  airport detainees grow to between 60,000 -100,000 visas being revoked I'll never know.

The new administration is gutting financial protections and clean stream acts. Good grief, even a child recognizes the need for life to thrive it must have clean air and water. I don't know if any of my readers remember just how polluted our waterways had become by the 70's, but it was pretty darn bad. Love Canal anyone? 

I know you all remember 2008 when banks that were "too big to fail" did just that. Boy did those golden parachutes fly too. Underwater had new meaning and hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes. The Dodd Frank Bill addressed the root problem of just how the banks greed got us to that point. It offered some real protections. Like any bill it is not perfect but with the Republicans standing firm as the party of no in the Obama administration, it also made it impossible to vote through changes that would have made the bill better. Well no worries, it's ALL going down the tubes, baby and bathwater.

And then of course there will be horrors at Standing Rock. It's coming over a stupid oil pipeline, one Bismarck didn't want because of pollution concerns...... Hmmm. Over and over again, we have screwed our Native Americans and it has just got to stop. How can we even begin to address human rights world wide when we have been some of the worst offenders ourselves. There are the Goldman Sacks suits and the Big Oil suits all filling up that cabinet waiting to line the pockets of themselves and their friends in the biz. I'm not seeing a lot for the little guy, the citizen.  It all seems so dire doesn't it?

But wait, the land grab I mentioned, the public outcry here in the west was so strong and strident this has happened. At least for now.

Voices do matter, being a citizen is terribly important and it is our responsibility in times of crisis to stand up for what we believe in. And it just so happens, that in this day and age, it's a pretty simple thing to do! You can march, there are protest everywhere and I'm sure in your community or one nearby there are groups needing hands to help and boots on the ground. You can give to your representatives this year if they are fighting for what you sent them there for. I've spread 5 and 10 bucks around to a lot of different places this year so far. Heck, flipping a GOP seat in Georgia to a Democrat has even seen some donations from me. And of course it's easy to do if you can afford it. Even easier and free is letting your voice be heard.  5 Calls allows you to do just that painlessly. Put in your zip code, check the boxes for issues that you want to speak out on and it will give you the people to call complete with phone number and script! How flipping easy is that? You can then document what transpired with your call. Myself I've been doing it every day. Some days I've even gotten a real person. The staff at Jeff Merkley's office are pretty nice BTW. Wydens a bit more workmanlike. And gosh, I never did get through to McConnell's office.

The point is though, they hear you, and they are noticing and the public outcry IS making a difference.
So armchair activists, grab your phones and ready, set, dial! I'm stepping off my soapbox, at least for right now. I've got some important calls to make. ;-)

Parting shot: Breakfast in bed anyone?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Appliance Failure

Where the bird clock finally landed. Weaving studio.
Over the holidays we had two major appliances fail. The first one was not so old, our small Magic Chef upright freezer. It died right before Christmas. I lost every single package of carefully procured in processed berries. I balled my eyes out. Each of them represented a spring and summer Thursday morning spent with my Dad at the Medford Growers Market. The frantic pre-holiday period had not found us scavenging the freezer under the basement stairs until it came time to make a cake for Christmas. I wanted berries for the middle and some on the top. We had no idea how long it had been out but everything was warm and wet. It has since been replaced with my parents freezer that was in their garage, but the berries will have to wait until spring and the memories will never melt.

The second appliance to fail was the dishwasher right after New Years. While it had a steel interior the stupid wheels on the top rack are plastic. Imagine my surprise when I opened the thing and hauled out the top rack and it all broke from the tracks and almost broke all the dishes in it and below it. Gene cobbled it together until the new (backordered Home Depot sale one), arrived. He installed it yesterday.

It's a 100 times quieter, more efficient and holds just about as much as the old one. And it was far cheaper and got better reviews too.

But all is not gloomy here with failing appliances, once in a while we get a great sunrise and the elusive pink snow.

The beauty of it all is a balm. We are lucky enough to live in a majestic and wild place and winter is my favorite time of year.

This year we have a hare that is making our barn home base many nights. He no doubt nibbles dropped hay and I have seen signs of a shallow nest. Turkeys are abundant and my little wild flock gets some seed thrown for it each day. The foxes are pairing up and the raccoons come every couple of weeks and raid the feeders or the bungied trash barrel. Clever little sots! I always delight in seeing little light tracks from a mouse scurrying across the snow back to its burrow. I've been known to spread a bit of grain from my pocket for it. Winter is hard and starvation is a slow and painful death.

A couple of tunics have flown out of the sewing space.

Two Esme's, one a repeat as I caught a pocket on something on the last one and ripped it badly.

And a lightweight coat. I loved the look of this fabric, but it is man made fiber, has a lot of stretch and was just something I didn't want next to the skin. It is proving to be a good match for a longer version of Indigo Junction's Urban Tunic.

 A nice alternative to wearing my cashmere coat since I often find it too hot for down in the valley. Still needs hemming and closures. Tomorrow maybe, today is my town day. Shopping with Mom and hauling a weeks worth of groceries up the mountain in my new chariot. WEEEE!

Did That Just Happen?
God, talk about whiplash. I'm overwhelmed, saddened and sometimes downright scared.

Putin is purging spies suspected of leaking to the US about the hacked election. I can only guess what happens to them in Russia and what information they might have leaked. Why aren't we being informed of the contents of those leaks? Russia is also pushing its way further into the Ukraine.

The Art of the Deal????! Really, threatening a military presence in Mexico, and then pissing off an ally that has fought through thick and thin with us going back to Vietnam. All over 1250 refugees that have been well vetted and were part a deal that needs to be honored.

And amid everything else there is this about campaign dollars and this about the selling of our public lands. 

Parting shot: A tisket, a tasket, little Hazel in the laundry basket.