Saturday, February 27, 2016

New Loom

When my folks and husband asked what I wanted for my birthday (next Tuesday BTW and I'll be 58), the choice was obvious. I need a tiny loom to do what the Murphy loom has done now for a number of years. Narrow prayer flag weaving. I don't do them often but when I do, it is thoughtful and meditative weaving. So Gene and the folks went in halves on a Schacht Wolf Pup LT loom. She arrived late Thursday .

 Yesterday I put her together since one really needs to make sure there are no problems and I wanted to wind the warp on the Murphy onto the Pup. It was an interesting experience.

I didn't do a whiz bang job of the wind on but then again, maiden warps are more about getting to know and use a loom than the actual weaving. This loom is a little marvel of engineering really. Great shed, easy treadling, beautiful Schacht workmanship and it folds up for travel or storage.

 And oh heck, it's just plain cute too.  Thank you so much to my generous crew of enablers. What a wonderful birthday gift! And for those who might also be in the market for a portable Schacht loom, a shout out to Linda Ihle owner of Island Fiberworks who was a dream to work with and her prices are EXCELLENT for Schacht products.

Having a second set of some weaving tools is quite the luxury. With my Dad's accessories came another electric bobbin winder.

 I am putting it to use upstairs. It is easy enough to fill a bin with the yarns I want to weave on the Spring and/or Gem and keep it upstairs.

 I appreciate not having to run downstairs to fill bobbins or select yarns. I also appreciate having enough really nice shuttles to go around to all the looms. Right now 4 out of 5 are warped and that takes a fair amount of resources.

I started in on an abandoned sewing project from last year. Here it is in process with the lining getting bagged in.

 Not much else to show in sewing salon but these two prayer flags, which were cut off the Murphy.

These will get cream silk binding top and bottom.

The top with a pocket for a dowel or cord, the bottom with bells and such sewn on.  I like the new design a lot.

A fun new book came.

It has patterns included in it. They are all very simple but I love the aesthetic of the book and the designer and have enjoyed it for the inspiration.

 I want to give the tunic a try out in maxi length. I can see it being a comfortable piece done in linen for the summer.

Parting shot: Photobombers in training.
Oh LOOK! Orange Timmy has surfaced again after the great melt.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Today's Snow is Tomorrows Mud

And that is the honest truth at this time of year. We have had some record warmth for the better part of last week into this one. Not only did most of our snow disappear but a lot of the areas started to dry and firm up. Until Wednesday night into Thursday. It started as torrential rain and ended up as 6 inches of heavy wet white slush. The wind was wicked. The horses flighty, manes and tails billowing behind like smoke, goats bleating in protest even further behind. And now mud, the black, deep boot sucking mud that is unavoidable. I have lots of dry areas in the paddock, high hills and back sections that rise nicely under trees, both wind breaks and solid ground available but the low gate area is the pits every spring.

I have very little to show for a week gone by. I have been doing a bit of spring cleaning, organizing things from my Dad's weaving studio into what I want to keep and what I'll be selling for him. He has a lot of yarn and I have had to get creative with storage solutions. It is amazing what I can find when I shop my own messy basement. I'll have pics next round.

The Murphy loom has sold. I dropped the price and fingers crossed he has found a perfect home with a new weaver who will love and enjoy him as much as I have over the years.

There was a little weaving going on. The towel warp on Nick the big Macomber is moving along nicely.

On this towel I used linen paper yarn. I want to see how it holds up. It is used historically for fabric in Japan. This is a Habu product and so far it's fun to work with but tricky to get onto the bobbins. It's a little heavier than the usual pattern weft so things aren't quite square but I like the effect regardless. Nora and her play warp have seen a little action too, but really, it is the endless rows of rose path flowers right now.

The Louet Spring is now happily installed in the guest room.

 I cut two towels off the loom and they have been washed, hemmed and await pressing and pics. Removing them allowed me to pull the warp forward to re tension and tie it and start back in weaving on this cottolin warp.

After all the travel things were a bit wonky. I went through and tightened all bolts up too. She needed it and now she is weaving again. I have a lovely view from the guest room window.

I'm betting any company won't mind sharing space with this lovely and quiet loom.

And speaking of views, this was mine last Friday heading down "the hill".

 Often at this time of year the valley is fogged in for the morning while we are bright and sunny.

It is always interesting to see the fog bank on the drive down.

If any of you weaver's reading this need rug wool, I'm giving it away for the cost of shipping.

There are 46 cakes of the blue grey, 10 hanks of the light brown, 5 of the dark brown,

 and two of the burnt orange.

They are two slightly different shades. It's been packed away in a chest with lavender. Smells great but you'll find some flowers in it. You have to take the whole enchilada.

Parting shot: Jack and Hazel and Spike (the lump under the blanket), enjoying guest room amenities.
I must be the most watched woman in America! ;-)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Using Vertical Space

We have many high ceilings in this house. I both love and hate them. I love the airiness it gives me and I dislike the wastefulness of it. I love the canvas it provides, yet hate having to paint it. And once in a great while I get a clever and probably weird idea on a new way to use all that height.

Let me explain.....
When we got the Tempurpedic mattress it made making the bed a real headache. Everything was SO tight at the footboard and the mattress itself weighs a flipping ton. I had finally had enough and marched down into our messy basement and found a piece of thick oval wood handrail to be exact, that could be a new foot rail in place of the old big hand painted footboard we had.

Look, Jack AGAIN! ;)
Worked a charm too. But what was I going to do with the footboard, hand painted from an old narrow door so many years ago? Storing it just seemed a pity. I'm no artist, but it has great sentimental value and someday I might want to use it again. So, let's hang it  (doors are supposed to be hung right?) and treat it like art. It's my house and I get to say what pleases me to see. And that's what we did.

I see this side from the desk

 and this side from the family room.

I think I even have some cobalt blue paint downstairs to hit the bottom since it was painted in place way back when.

Weaving has been progressing slowly. I am doing a little runner on the play warp.

I've gotten quite a bit further than this picture shows. It is slow going with all the color changes but it is fun weaving just the same.The pattern is from an old 2009 Handwoven.

In the sewing salon, muslin's of new to me pattern , McCalls 7093.

I'm liking it. The first edition was okay,

The front is too short for my liking but the pattern provides a tunic option.  I literally used an old oxford cotton sheet for this.

 I had cleaned out and pared down two of my main closets. I have lots of good sheeting for muslin's. The second edition is done as the tunic and in a scrap piece of linen I was given for free.

 It's beautiful stuff, fine, silky and produced at only 36" so had some age to it. It was pristine though and this sweet sheer version is an undershirt. I need to bind the neck and do the hemming.This version is a bit too long, but I'll get it just right on the third go round.

It's topping a new pair of linen pants done in charcoal grey rustic linen.  TNT pattern.

On other garment came out of the salon last week. In time for Super Bowl 50 I might add. My "Broncos" tunic using Tina Given's Peplone pattern.

 I had so much fun with this. The western fabric had been in stash forever, the grey blue linen a leftover piece as was the red linen which I used for binding.

 And look, Denver won! What a defense! Peyton Manning, retire a winner, please.

We are having a February thaw.  The horses are just starting to shed. The white areas release first. I have no idea why. And here's this months fox.

 Such a cute little calendar!

Parting shot: When he's not barking at squirrels and turkeys......
He can be found snoozing under an Oregon Sun. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Rubber Ball Protection Services

My tail may say Yes yes, but my lips say No no! Jack takes ball guarding seriously.

Now I can get very stern and he'll let his ball go grudgingly, if I don't he holds and growls complete with lip action and steely glare. The tail wags but in all honesty, he just wants to keep his prize and I can respect that in a house where toys are shared among 7 other siblings. We're talking terriers here, not Golden Retrievers.

So leaving the growly dog lie, we can move on to the latest sewing make. A Merchant & Mills Top 64 which is perfect for showcasing some handwoven fabric.

This is a tried and true pattern for me. I certainly wasn't going to waste my wee bit of woven cloth on a pattern I hadn't fully tested and adjusted. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.

 This will get a lot of wear and why shouldn't it?  Everything is serged and top stitched. I had originally bought a piece of silk/linen fabric, but the shine from the silk bothered me with this piece. This cotton blend damask fabric had a better weight and surface. I like the matte of it and the patterning works well with the twill.

Jack, the one and only photo bomber! With ball!
I did not hem this fabric since the lower edge is the selvage and they were pretty nice on this piece, but I did do split side seams since they did not match due to the way the pattern curves the hem. It worked well and added another level of interest to the garments.

Before we leave the sewing salon there is one more make, a cami top using the modified Mississippi Ave dress.

This was a save from another pattern cut. I didn't like the way it was going together and decided to save it all by re cutting  this beautiful cotton shirting into the Miss. Ave top. I wear these little cotton tops under everything in the winter and in summer of course they are sheer and cool.

There are some new patterns being cut and tested. Next post I'll have at least one done and can give a thumbs up or down.

In the studio I'm still playing on Nora's warp.

I had a lot of fun with these flowers. The fiber is a linen paper ( shifu ) from Habu and on one of the test lengths I am planning to weave with it in a towel and see how it holds up. Why not?

I did a little inlay and then I wanted to see what plain weave inlay did on the rose path background. Not much, don't bother with this. Once this warp is off, a special warp is going on. This will be an open threading to make loose lacy squares. I want to do the paper flowers but in the warp I want to use some beautiful Habu stainless steel and linen thread I've been saving.

Nick broke Monday afternoon right after I started weaving my quilt squares summer and winter towels.

The rivet that holds the steel arm that attaches jack to lamm failed. And Gene would have you know it was a bear to fix. There was a lot of muttering and unhappiness under that beast of a loom
but he's up and running. Thank you Gene, you are a real loom saver!

I saw the fox last night, he was getting his eggs. The mate was waiting out in the shadows of the driveway. It's that time of year. I believe he shares. They were two dark figures against the white snow trotting off together for a nights adventure. And more snow today!

And then there is the raccoon. Now I was worried about her with all the snow we had. That was until I went into the tack room one morning and undid the bungied lid to the grain bucket and there she was, trapped inside. Scared the bejeebers out of both of us. I left the lid off and backed out of the tack room and waited while she scurried out. Tracks tell me she has been a regular visitor now to the barn and got caught a second time in the  grain bin. I heard her this time and was ready. I also banged on the side of the barrel to scare her.  We have beefed up bin security. No repeat performance so far. Raccoons are too dang smart for their own good!

Parting shot: Dear sweet Smoochie. He's our resident senior now at 14.