Thursday, June 29, 2006

Canadian & Oregon vacation

We just returned from our summer vacation. I am sorry to say that my camera took a side trip of its own, and has not returned, so the photos you see were taken by my hubby. We started at the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, hoping to do a little fishing. We caught starfish. A most lovely and colorful photo is in the camera which is still on vacation. I hear that the fish are late this year, so hopefully Doug will have more success on his next trip, next month to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island.

After a few days, we returned home to touch bases with the kids (& install the new side bars on the loom), then headed to Oregon for Black Sheep Gathering. My day at Black Sheep Gathering was mostly wonderful. I visited with the sheep & angora goats. Too bad they don't make good housepets, because I really would love to have some. (We live in town on a small lot, busy street. . . not gonna happen.) I did drag Doug back the next day to take a few photos. Most of the animal photos were blurry, but he did get a couple of displays that didn't move while he was shooting. So here are a stationary electric drum carder (definitely on my wish list), a display of rovings & yarns from Interlacements (impossible to resist).

We visited the Newport Aquarium the next day, where Doug got a few more photos.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Louet Delta Loom Problem Resolved!

I am very happy to say that today, I received new side bars for my Louet Delta Loom. It has been a bit of a wait, but they came from Holland and that just takes time. We installed them as soon as we returned from the first half of our vacation, and they do not pop off the side bolts which support them, which was the problem with the original side bars. Although the angle of the notch in the side bars is the same as the original ones (something that several of us were convinced was totally wrong), the new ones are cut with a tighter fit over the bolts. The popping off was mostly on the left side (facing the loom). We placed the more snug of the two bars on that side. Voila!

I have now let the loom sit for awhile with its new side bars installed. There has been no spontaneous popping off! No more dangling side bars! And with the warp under tension, no popping off! No more loss of stability & tension while trying to weave! And all without cardboard, velcro, or duct tape! Halleluia Bob I am happy now. Thank you, Nancy (at Northwest Handspun Yarns in Bellingham) for your effective communication with Louet Co. And thank you, Jan, at Louet Co.

We are now off for the second half of our vacation - Black Sheep Gathering in Oregon. :-)))))))

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Weaving a Log Cabin

I'm a relatively new weaver. . . well, nearly four years now, but in that time, I've not done a lot. There are so many different fibery things to do & try, and I want to try it all. What can I say, other than I get side-tracked a lot. (I consider this a *good* thing, because I know that I'll never be bored.) In any case, in an effort to learn in a more systematic manner, I joined a weaving study group. We're doing plain weave for the next few months (over one thread, under one thread, etc.). I thought that I'd like to do a log cabin design. Although it's plain weave, some interesting things happen because when you warp the loom, you alternate light & dark threads, then periodically reverse to dark & light threads. The weaving is done the same way, alternating light & dark, then changing to dark & light at intervals.

I decided my strips (or changes in light/dark>dark/light sequence) should be about 1" wide. I'm using 8/2 unmercerized cotton sett at 20 ends per inch. I did a small on-loom design change resulting in a godawful tangle which, fortunately, we were able to sort through. Thank goodness that my hubby had the day off. He was able to be my second set of hands. Plus, he puts up with my foibles and helps make sense of what at times looks like utter chaos.

So what the piece looks like now is rectangles of stripes which alternate from vertical to horizontal. Ideally, they would have been squares. (Sigh) Despite the fact that I'm *smooshing the bejeebers* out of the weft in an effort to achieve 20 picks per inch, it's just not happening. Next time, perhaps I'll try a sett of 18 epi for the warp. When this is finished, it will be kitchen towels, six of them, if my arithmetic is correct. :-)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Louet Delta Loom

It's been a full month since my last communication with the Louet Co. about the mutant sidebars on my loom. Please forgive the fuzzy image. At that time, Jan from Louet, having received an email photo, acknowledged that indeed, the sidebars had been milled incorrectly, and said that he would arrange for replacements to be sent. Yesterday I felt it was time for another friendly reminder. Well, this morning I was told that the parts have arrived via cargo ship in New York. They will be mailed from New York directly to my home. So they should be here next week. This will be a very nice loom *once the sidebars stop popping off*. I should be able to weave without having to hold the loom together with supplemental velcro tabs & wads of cardboard. I will be a happy weaver then.

On the knitting front, last Tuesday was cast-on day for another shawl at Northwest Handspun Yarns in Bellingham. We're now doing the Fiddlesticks Knitting pattern "Lotus Blossom" which I've done once before. It's a lovely design, and well-suited to beginning lace knitters. (Not meaning *beginning knitters*. It really helps to already understand increases, decreases & yo's.) So, this is three lace shawls on the needles right now. I still haven't finished Tina, but am on the last graph before the edging. It is absolutely lovely, and I love working on this pattern. It just needs to be worked on without distractions so isn't so good for toting along in the car, etc. The second shawl is the Inky Dinky Mutant Spider from Hell, of which we will no longer speak. It has been banished to live in a bag until such time as it is capable of being knitted by *me*. And the third is the new Lotus Blossom. I'm working with Country Silk from Fiddlesticks, in "earth" color way. Mmmmmmm.

We're heading off for a little vacation again, so I'll be packing some lace knitting, and some socks. I'm not going overboard (repeat several times) on packing knitting projects this time. I promise.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Commencement 2006 (or the March of the Silly Hat People)

The day we've waited for has finally arrived! Our youngest graduated from University, and Halleluia Bob, are we delighted. He's worked hard and completed his course of study. He now has a Bachelor of Music from Western Washington University in Bellingham. (Clarinet performance, with lots of oboe and other woodwinds.) Grad school is in the future, but not immediately, as he and girlfriend, Robin need to decide where to go. She graduated, too, in Bio-psychology, and finding a place where both can pursue their different courses of study is, well, a challenge. Plus, I think they both need a break.

So here are a couple of photos. Brian and proud Dad, and Brian with Robin, our daughter Lisa, and her hubby, Ian, after Brian's senior recital. The senior recital, by the way, was a couple of months ago, and to hear Brian play some prettttty challenging Stravinsky, Bartok & Brahms was, well, impressive. Especially since I've heard him wrestle with the Stravinsky for some time. To hear it finally & finely polished was nothing short of amazing.

I should mention that I knitted an entire sock cuff during the commencement ceremony. Yes, it was *that* long.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Spinning Conference 2006

I spent the weekend at Northwest Regional Spinners’ Association Conference, with several of my very favorite people. Here are Nancy, Janice, Denise, Dee Dee, and Melissa, all bright and enthusiastic women, all treasures.

Spinning conference is always fun and educational. The gathering of (mostly) women from different places, different backgrounds,and different life experiences who all share a love of fiber and spinning is enriching to all. This year was the best so far, in my opinion. Thank you, Melissa, and all the committee who put so much time & energy into planning an extraordinarily enjoyable weekend!

I took two all-day classes, so I didn’t get much time to spin in the gym, but somehow managed to squeeze in a more-than-adequate job of shopping at the vendors’ booths. This year, I actually managed to *remember* to put a new pad of checks in the checkbook before I left, a fact that brought me happiness (but probably not my hubby once he takes a look at the register). I’d just like to say that shopping at conference takes skill and forethought. And you’ve got to be quick sometimes, like I wasn’t when I came across a ball of to-die-for purple roving that vanished in the blink of an eye. Whoever bought that must have been a Master Ninja Shopper. It will be a challenge to duplicate that color in my dyepot, but I’ll give it a try. :-)

Here are a few photos from the ABC’s of Color Blending class, taught by Jill Laski. We started out with just the primary colors of top, and blended them to create the color wheel. In the next exercise, we chose our own proportions of primary colors, blended, and created tints, shades and muted rovings of the blend. The third was also a proportional exercise, in which I started with turquoise, gold & maroon. Jill was an exceptionally organized & methodical teacher, helpful, encouraging & fun. What an awesome class!

The evenings were filled with fun things, like the CD drop spindle with rubber gloves contest, and the one-legged drop-spindle. Fun was had by all!