Monday, November 25, 2013

High in the Clouds


It was a busy week, as usual, The little rug from my weaving class came off the loom. It's almost finished. I still need to decide the treatment for the fringe. Here's the front. 
The back is the same as the front, except that the colors are reversed, and the clasps show up. You might remember from last week that the brown blocks with rows of orange were made by catching the orange with the brown in a clasp and then moving the clasp to a spot where it would be hidden in the background but allow the color to show where the weaver wants. So the clasps show up on the back. No way around that. 
Lynda and I took a trip down to Spinderella's in Salt Lake City on Wednesday to see what could be done with the llama fiber I got for free.
Lynn and Jim, the owners/operators of Spinderella's, didn't think too much of the quality of the fiber or the shearing job. They thought it was really only good for making rug yarn. It would be very expensive to have them do all the work, and we wouldn't end up with much. Lynda isn't interested in rug yarn, but I am, so whatever I do will be by myself now. Lynda enjoyed seeing the operation, though. 
Lynn allowed me to use this tumbler of sorts (not sure of the real name) to get some of the dirt and short cuts out of the fiber. It revolves, allowing the dirt and short cuts to fall out. Lynda helped me run the fiber in this, then I took what was left home to pick through. 
Lynn and Jim taught us what to look for in the fiber, and to be brutal about throwing away anything with too much vegetable matter (VM) to be worth bothering with. We left behind a whole garbage can full of stuff. When I get done, I can bring back whatever is left and they will process it for me, or if it's a small enough amount, or I feel up to a challenge, I can process it myself. 
While we were waiting for each load to run, we had a look at their operation. Lynda and I share a little Patrick Green drum carder that operates using a hand crank. This carder really puts ours to shame:
Here's the carder at work:
Here the roving is shown coming out the end of the carder. 
After this, it goes through a machine that gently stretches the roving and blends layers of roving together. Then it goes to the spinning machine:
By the time we left, all of the little niches were filled will bobbins, all accumulating singles. It was worth the trip for both of us, but it was a dirty job running the fleece through the tumbler. Everything we had on needed to go into the laundry. 
Common Threads met at Kay's new place, a high-rise overlooking Salt Lake City. As we drove down, it was snowing, but it stopped long enough for us to enjoy the view. Here's the view from Kay's balcony:
Kay had just finished remodeling her master bath, complete with granite countertops and a new shower stall. She has plans to remodel kitchen soon, but its not bad now:
We had a nice time sharing information about our various fiber crafts and chatting. Julie and Jean were late because they had forgotten that Kay had moved and had driven to her old place, which was a long way away in the other direction. Thanks to smart phones, though, when they realized no one was there, they were able to look up the email with the directions. 
Georgette had made some baby hats, which she showed us.  
Before it was time to leave, Kay gave us a tour of the building, including a trip to the top floor, where the is a two-story party room for residents. Here's the first floor with nice view and fireplace. 
Lynda and Georgette admire the view from the stairs in the party room. 
The second floor of the party room has a serving kitchen and a big TV. (There's a small cooking area on the lower level.)
During Common Threads, I was able to get the second sleeve of Daphne's Green Pastures Cardigan finished. Now I've joined the sections together and am ready to start the pattern. 
The Green Tea Socks are coming along slowly. It's nice to have a small project to grab when I have to go out somewhere. 
Soren is bringing his family here for Thanksgiving. It should be fun. In the meantime, here's something for quilters:

(Only quilters would baste the turkey before dressing it.)

What's on my needles: Green Pastures cardigan for Daphne, ready to start pattern. Dogwood Blossoms, Christmas Waffle sweater and Green Tea socks with the heel almost done. 
What's on my loom: Making some progress on the Christmas present scarves. I discovered some mistakes in the pattern and had to take out a few inches, but now I have a slip of paper with an arrow that shows me which direction I'm headed in the treadling pattern. 
What's on my wheel: Full Circle Roving in "Wolf". First bobbin finished. No progress this week. I moved my wheel down to my fiber studio, so Soren won't get into it. 
What's on my Sewing needles, Featherweight: Delectable Pathways, piecing the Delectable Mountain block panels. Appliqué panel #3, No progress this week.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: I'm listening to Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer. Reading The Sweetness at the bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley on the Nook App, purchased through BookBub. Another intriguing story. Listening to the Fiber Hooligan podcast and the Knit Picks podcast.
What's my app of the week: Talkatone. It lets me use Google Voice on my phone. If I'm home, I don't have to worry about losing the signal if I go downstairs, because it uses the Internet, rather than cell phone service. It also doesn't use my minutes, so it's great for long phone calls. 
What's in my wine glass: Corbett Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon, the big bottle. Nice. (We don't get any bad wine.)

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Classy Clasps and Shifty Shafts


Last weekend was the rug weaving class with Jason Collingwood, "Four-end Blockweaves." 
We met at the Officer's Club at Ft. Douglas in Salt Lake City. The class was sponsored by the Mary Meigs Atwater Weavers Guild.
Jason Collingwood is a world-renowned rug weaver and teacher located in Colchester in Essex, England. For a month or two every year, he travels the world and teaches rug weaving. He also sells his rugs and will weave them to order. He's the son of another famous rug weaver, Peter Collingwood, who authored and coauthored a number of books on weaving. Have a look at his gallery!
The class started on Saturday, November 9th, and ended on Monday, November 11th, Veterans' Day. I was afraid that much of it would be way over my head, but the hardest parts were just barely over my head, which made it possible to just about get everything. Jason is not only a wonderful weaver; he's also a fantastic teacher. 

Here are a few of the things we learned:
Jason showed us how to start a rug with twining, and we got to practice at the beginning of our own rugs. 
Here he demonstrates starting a new yarn:
And here, weaving in ends:
We learned the correct way for placing a temple:
These rugs are double thickness, with the upper layer thrown through the shed alternately with the lower level. Block weaves create a pattern on both sides, with the pattern on the back appearing in the opposite colors from those on the front. With my rug, the brown will be the background on the back, and the beige will be the pattern. Here's what I had at the end of the first day.
It doesn't look like much progress, but some time was spent with lecture, questions and demonstrations. Of course, the fact that I had to pick out a lot might have something to do with my lack of progress. At least I wasn't the only one who had to do that. 
Here are the students ready for day two.
There's lots to learn. Jason wrote out the "formulas" for various patterns on the board and drew diagrams to illustrate what he was talking about. 
We learned how to clasp two yarns in a pick to get three colors in our pattern without adding another layer. Here he shows us how to get enough weft in the shed using the clasp. I had actually tried this before, after reading about it in one of Joanie's magazines, so I caught on to this technique quickly. 
What I didn't remember (although I could have read it, but didn't understand it because I had no idea that you could weave with two layers) was how to hide the connection where the two yarns clasp. If you place it where the background is, it doesn't show. 
Here's my progress at the end of day two. I used the clasping technique to get the orange color into the rug.
On the last day, we learned some more sophisticated techniques. Jason showed us how to set up the loom for shaft-switching:
This allows for more flexibility in patterns with the same warp by allowing you to move individual warp threads from one shaft to another one simply by pulling the thread closer either to one heddle or an adjacent one. (Jason has levers for this on his own looms.)
Using a pick-up stick can accomplish the same thing as shaft-switching, but takes longer.
Here Jason uses this nifty tool to demonstrate how to create a number of different finishes for a rug.
Margareth finished her rug with twining similar to the twining she began with.
Here Jason is taking Margareth's rug off the loom to demonstrate how it's done:
Here's my three-days' work: 12" using a variety of different techniques. The embossed technique is called "Summer and Winter," because it makes it thinner but denser in some areas. The thinner parts are reversed on the back.
I'm continuing to work on my little rug at home, so I can solidify what I've learned. The most challenging part? Using the technique for being able to weave a greater variety of patterns and still alternate colors, which gives you a better selvedge. That was a real brain-twister!

Vintage Stitchers met on Thursday. Rebecca brought out the scarf I wove for her with her Koigu yarn. She was very happy with it. 
Here's Rebecca's baby quilt. She had been invited to a baby birthday party. Julie said she would make her a photo-transfer label for the back, based on the invitation to the party, which featured photos of the one-year-old little girl, whom her family refers to as "Monkey." 
She based this quilt on this one of Julie's, which has a turtle in the lower left-hand corner. Turtle is what they call Julie's granddaughter. (You may have seen this quilt in one of my previous blogs.)
Rebecca's finished her wall quilt, and here it is, installed above her bedroom door. She needed a ladder and help to put it up. 
This week's cuteness: Daphne needed to have an unpleasant invasive procedure at the hospital, but she was a trooper. Her reward was a lolly, something she doesn't get often.
We had several days of snow this week, but I'll spare you the photos. I'm already dreaming of taking the trailer to Southern Utah for a holiday!
What's on my needles: Green Pastures cardigan for Daphne, first sleeve done. Dogwood Blossoms, Christmas Waffle sweater and Green Tea socks with the heel almost done. 
What's on my loom: Little progress on the Christmas present scarves. The smaller loom is the one I took to the class with Jason Collingwood. Finishing up the warp, so I can return the loom.
What's on my wheel: Full Circle Roving in "Wolf". First bobbin finished. No progress this week. 
What's on my Sewing needles, Featherweight: Delectable Pathways, piecing the Delectable Mountain block panels. Appliqué panel #3, No progress this week.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: I was listening to The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore on the Overdrive app, but got busy because of the class, and it expired. Someone else has it, so I've reserved it again. In the meantime, I'm listening to Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer. Still reading Cry of the Peacock by V. R. Christensen on the Kindle App, purchased through BookBub. Intriguing story. Listening to the Fiber Hooligan podcast and the Knit Picks podcast.
What's my app of the week: Turner Classic Movies has an app that allows you to watch right on the app. It's called "Watch TCM."
What's in my wine glass: Crane Lake Malbec 2011. One of our favorites. 

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Warped in Mind, Body and Looms


The first Waffle Scarf is coming along. I warped the loom for three, if things work out.
Of course, if I run out of weft (not likely) I can switch to a different yarn, but there should be enough warp for three. It's a waffle pattern normally used for dish towels. I found it on the Internet. I thought it might be warm and fun to do. So far, I've confirmed the fun part. I also warped the small rented table loom for the rug class with Jason Collingwood, which started Saturday and continues through today. I should have a full report next week. 
Common Threads met at Lynda's last week. Julie brought Margareth's quilted blanket, which will be finished just in time for winter. 

Margareth did the weaving, and Julie quilted it with Minky on the back. The quilting pattern is snowflakes. It doesn't show up very well in the photo, because Minky is so shiny. 
Lynda showed us her "evening hat." It's an evening hat because it took an evening to knit it, and she can wear it when she goes out for evening. 
Georgette had finished this scarf. 
And Karan had made a poncho from the same pattern Joanie used for her purple poncho several months ago. 
Chablis paid us a visit. She's very sweet, and she gets along well with Lynda's dog and two cats. 
I started a cardigan for Daphne during the meeting. It's a priority, because it would be nice if I can finish it in time for Christmas. 
I'm calling it "Green Pastures," and I'm using Swish Worsted in Dublin, White and Black. The pattern is "Welcome to the Flock" from Moth Heaven. 
The pattern is designed for babies, but I'm making it with thicker yarn and bigger needles, and I'm pretty sure it will come out big enough for Daphne. Wherever the pattern refers to inches, I convert the inches to rows or sts based on gauge for the original pattern, and then convert the rows or sts to the gauge I'm getting with the Swish and larger needles. The pattern is thicker around the waist to allow for a diaper, (not needed for Daphne) so I just started out with the number of sts needed around the chest and eliminated the decreases. It's going fast. I think I have enough yarn to make a smaller one for Soren. Zachary will get to wear this one when Daphne grows out of it. 
It has been a week dedicated mostly to weaving adventures. I was feeling bad about having nothing to show quilters this week, so I went through some of my old photos and scanned in this one of my "Stars of Yesterday" quilt. 
It's made up of Ohio Star blocks on point with a border of flying geese. I used 19th Century reproduction fabrics and heavily quilted it with feather wreaths in the plain blocks. Getting the border to fit was tricky with all those seams. Any other quilters ever have that problem?
Just for fun, I thought I'd share this photo Susan the Blue Lake Knitter brought to my attention on Facebook: a new breed of fiber animal, perhaps? Let's call it a Sheepoodle
You can read the true story of this amazing creature here.
I thought you needed a dose of cuteness, too, so here's a shot of Daphne in her dance class. She seems to be a natural, like her mother.

What's on my needles: Dogwood Blossoms, Christmas Waffle sweater, and Green Tea socks with the heel almost done. First Green Pastures cardigan started and a few inches done.
What's on my loom: Oh, no! I have two looms with warp on each! Making progress on the Christmas present scarves. The smaller loom from the guild is being used for the class. Photos next week. 
What's on my wheel: Full Circle Roving in "Wolf". First bobbin finished. No progress this week. 
What's on my Sewing needles, Featherweight: Delectable Pathways, piecing the Delectable Mountain block panels. Appliqué panel #3, No progress this week.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Still listening to The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore on the Overdrive app. Reading Cry of the Peacock by V. R. Christensen on the Kindle App, purchased through BookBub. Listening to the Fiber Hooligan podcast and the Knit Picks podcast.
What's my app of the week: iWeaveIt, the weaving app for iPad. I used it for e first time to make a draft for the class project. I'm finding it easy to use, and it was useful for warping the table loom for my class. Maybe the best part is, it's much, much cheaper than the desktop version, and it does everything I need to be able to do.
What's in my wine glass: Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon 2011. Lovely. 

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Winter Already?


On Wednesday a snowstorm hit. Not some wimpy October snow that melts as soon as it hits the ground, no!
This was a regular, full-blown snowstorm.
We went out early in the day for a get-together with friends we met during the presidential campaign last year. We went to Kneader's at Kimball Junction for breakfast and caught up on everything our friends had been up to. 
We had tickets for Wednesday evening at the Pioneer Theater, but decided to stay home. The snow was reason enough, but we would have missed the World Series game, and I had a feeling it would be the last game, since I was wearing my red "Fenway Pahk Sox," and every time I wore them during the Series, my team won. When I didn't wear them, they lost. See, Red Sox? It wasn't the beards after all!
It pays to be able to knit socks. I've made some progress on the "Green Tea" socks. Socks are so easy to grab when you're going out, and a couple of rounds here, a couple there, mounts up. The yarn is Panda Silk from Crystal Palace Yarns. It's 52% bamboo, 43% Superwash merino and 5% silk. The pattern is "Broad Spiral Ribbing" from Charlene Schurch's More Sensational Knitted Socks.
This week's Thursday was the fifth Thursday, no regular meeting time, but Janet decided to host a special meeting at her house. We enjoyed seeing Karan's quilt top finished. She and Julie talked about how to quilt it.
Here's a nicer view of Karan's quilt top. 
Margareth was helping Jean learn to do needlepoint. This is one of the nice things about our stitching groups. When you need help with something, there's almost always someone who know how and is willing to help. 
Joanie came and was still showing off her Halloween gear. She was finishing up a scarf.
Friday I finally found time to finish warping the floor loom for the waffle scarves. I had a hard time, because the brake wasn't working. After some consternation, I figured out that I must have dropped a couple of links from the brake release lever, so when I put everything back together, it was if I were stepping on the brake release all the time. Then I had a couple of warp threads break and had to rethread two new warp threads to replace them. 
The yarn is some over-spun sport-weight yarn a friend bought me several years ago. It couldn't be used for knitting a sweater, but just for things like hats and mittens. However, it could be used for warp and weft. I was not yet a weaver when I received it. The friend must have been clairvoyant.
Joanie, Margareth and I were planning to go to the Acorn Antique Show in Ogden on Saturday, something Joanie and I do at least twice a year. When I drove by Gorgoza Tubing Park on my way to pick them up, I saw that they were already making snow at Gorgoza. It was 29° at my house, so it was probably colder than that at the tubing park. 
We were really lucky to get our trip in between snow storms! It was a lovely day for the long drive.
We had a great time at the antique show. Here's a lovely butterfly quilt one vendor had. There were many quilts, but this was the best one. It was clearly from the 1930s and in almost perfect condition. At $170, a steal. I wished I could have snapped it up. 
Joanie bought a basket, a yellow ware bowl and a primitive milking stool. Margareth found a painting with a nice frame at a good price. I saw lots of things I could have bought, but the things I really would have liked were too expensive for me. We finished the day with lunch at the train station in Ogden and a visit to the Needlepoint Joint and Shepherd's Bush. I bought a couple of pullover patterns and two skeins of yarn from the sale bin, and two cross-stitch patterns. 
Sunday it snowed again. Yikes! Next weekend, Margareth and I will be driving to Salt Lake City each day for our rug-weaving class with Jason Collingwood. I sure hope the weather is better then!
What's on my needles: Dogwood Blossoms, Christmas Waffle sweater and Green Tea socks with a few more pattern repeats finished. I've ordered yarn for a couple of baby/child sweaters, so I'd better get finished with the sweaters. 
What's on my loom: The aforementioned warp from you-know-where for more scarves for Christmas presents. Also need to warp the table loom for my rug class in a couple of weeks. The linen carpet warp arrived from WEBS for my class project. 
What's on my wheel: Full Circle Roving in "Wolf". First bobbin finished. No progress this week. 
What's on my Sewing needles, Featherweight: Delectable Pathways, piecing the Delectable Mountain block panels. Appliqué panel #3, Making progress.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: listening to The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore on the Overdrive app. Reading Cry of the Peacock by V. R. Christensen on the Kindle App, purchased through BookBub. Listening to the Fiber Hooligan podcast and the Knit Picks podcast.
What's my app of the week: VK Knit Buddy from Vogue Knitting. Margareth had a question about how to do raglan decreases to get the effect she wanted, and I was able to find photos of the K2tog and SSK decreases in the app to help her decide what to do. 
What's in my wine glass: Nathanson Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. Lovely!
Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.