Thursday, August 31, 2006


It worked! I did have to re-thread the loom, though. The first time I threaded, I used the treadling profile which turned out to be different from the threading profile. That's why the blocks wound up in different places from what I intended. So, in the photo, on the right, you see the correct weave. The one on the left, while not all that bad, is just not what I had intended. My error stemmed from the fact that I did not graph out the weave structure completely enough to see the differences.

The other problem is that I could not get the blocks to be square. I smooshed the bejeebers out of the weft threads & they just would not pack down. So, next time, I'll try a sett of 18 epi instead of 20 epi. I am using 9.75/3 cotton for warp and weft tabby, and 6/2 cotton for pattern weft.

This weaving class (Intermediate Weaving taught by Sondra Rose) was awesome. I learned not only many new weave structures, but really put my Louet Delta countermarche loom through its paces. There are so many more things to try now! In the meantime, though, I've gotta get caught up on the laundry. . .

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Summer & Winter on a Countermarche Loom

I'm down to the last project in my Intermediate Weaving class, a "choose your own & design it" for each of us in the class. The class has been wonderful. Really. Except for the week when I had a migraine & couldn't focus long enough to make sense of the week's project. So for this, the final week, I decided to pursue Summer & Winter weave structure, the one that I struggled with during that week.
Threading and treadling are two variables with any weave structure which determine what you get when you're done weaving. I started with a photo of a summer & winter design that I thought appealing, graphed it out, and pulled the block arrangement from that graph. I came up with six blocks, a greater challenge from the two blocks we did in class. Then, I figured out threading required to achieve these six blocks, and then, started to determine treadle tie-ups. I have a countermarche loom. Not the most common, but a great asset is that the space between the raised & lowered shafts allows for a wider shed for the shuttle to pass through. The disadvantage here is that I have more tie-ups to do, as each and every shaft has to be tied to all rising and lowering shafts. Which takes eight times as long to make each mistake. So here I am late at night, retying my treadles. Again.

I did not realize that it is possible to use a countermarche loom like a jack loom. It *is* possible to depress two treadles at the same time, though, if you don't use conflicting tie-ups! Thanks to friends and the Yahoo Groups Weaving List, I now know, and and all I can say is that knowing this will allow me to go pretty much nuts with designs, as long as I don't go over six blocks. Fun!

I just finished weaving out a good amount of the design I came up with. Something is amiss. Blocks are in the wrong place. I'm going to have to rethink my block sequence & perhaps I'll be able to complete my original idea. I don't know. It's due tomorrow. Will this story have a happy ending? Stay tuned. . .

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Northwest Washington Fair

Yesterday Doug & I went to the fair in Lynden, Washington. Lynden has a strong Dutch heritage, and is a charming town with meticulously manicured yards and well-maintained homes, some more modest than others, but all kept with pride. The area is primarily agricultural. Lots of dairy farms.

The first stop was for poffertjes, traditional Dutch pillows of batter cooked on a special griddle, topped with powdered sugar & a whipped mixture of butter & custard, mildly lemon flavored. I can't go to the fair without having my annual plate of poffertjes.

We stopped by the Sheep-to-Shawl demonstration which was done by the Spindrifters group, our local branch of the Northwest Regional Spinners' Association. I didn't participate this year, but did get some good photos of the shawl in progress. Roland is shown here weaving, his first time, and very successful.

In the Needlework barn, I ran into a friend who was making lace. Here are Linda & Nancy, doing magic with their many bobbins of thread. Although she explains that it is very simple really, using only four of the bazillion bobbins at a time, the process is totally amazing to me. She is making a three-dimensional lace rose.

A spinner in the Wool Show was spinning alpaca fiber on a genuine built-by-Alden Amos spinning wheel. For those of you who don't know, he wrote The Bible of spinning, the BIG BOOK of HANDSPINNING. This wheel was custom-built by Mr. Amos with specifications to her body and spinning style. I have serious wheel envy.

The day was gorgeous, perfect, delightful.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Cessation of Sectarian Violence

I am overjoyed to report that the long-standing sectarian violence between Nuzzles, Overlord of the Underworld, and the Coalition of the Tiny, Angus the Gray and Annabelle the Impaler, has come to an end. Perhaps the fact that Angus is now up to a whopping 3.4 pounds in weight, and Annabelle up to 4.5 pounds was a contributing factor. Together, however, they still weigh significantly less than the 14 pound Nuzzles. Armed with Annabelle's trenchant and penetrating claws, and assisted by Angus's shrewd cunning, the two have managed to convince Nuzzles of the wisdom in ending hostilities. The barriers have now come down, allowing free access of all feline beings to all three levels, the Underworld, the Main House, and the Loft. (Yarn and fiber is, for the most part, contained.)

It's time to play: WHAT'S THAT SMELL?

Actually, I pretty much *know* what the smell is. It's fish. Doug bagged up several more pounds of halibut last night. But the smell? Where????? Truly, I washed the floor at 10 p.m. when he was finished, and he *swore* that he wiped down all the counters when he was finished. The answer: the sponge.

My Love/Hate Relationship with Variegated Yarn

Okay, so here's my problem. This is Mountain Colors yarn, the big skein, which should make an entire sweater. The idea here was to swatch by knitting the sleeves first, and then calculate the number of stitches to cast on, based on that generous swatch. I'm knitting in the round. What I hadn't quite figured on was the pooling of the colors. It started out just fine, with lovely, rich tones of jewels, and some brown, in rather random short stripes. As I reached the top of the sleeve, WHOA! Blobs. Big ones. The question is, do I accept this as a beauty possible only with variegated yarn, or do I frog the sleeve (again) and re-knit back and forth, or, as suggested by my Knitting Savant friend, do I divide the humongous ball into two smaller balls and re-knit, alternating balls? If the first option is exercised, should I then knit the body of the sweater in the round, too? I hadn't planned on it, but it certainly is a possibility, if I can work up the gumption again to steek.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Return of the Fishermen

The guys came back a day early with a significant load of fish. They caught 12 salmon and 6 halibut, and completely wore out Doug's hand reeling, so they decided that, rather than inflict further damage to his carpal tunnel they'd return home with their very successful catch. Good work, guys! And they had lots of fun.

I am happy to say that I got all on my lists done except for the eagle in the back yard. Well, the guys did get home a day early. ;-) I got the table refinished, the bathroom painted, and everything else on both of my lists accomplished (although a bit short on quality knitting time). I stayed up most nights until 1 a.m. which leads me to believe that, if left to my own devices, I'd most days work until 1 a.m. & get up about 8:30 or 9. That doesn't coincide too well with my normal routine. But hey, it worked for me during this break. Meals? Whenever I was hungry, and whatever I felt like. Taco Lobo. . . Mmmmmmmm.

I have no photos of the table top or bathroom. You really didn't want to see those anyway, did you? (Both of you who read my blog will be here anyway & will see them in person.) Be assured that they turned out very nice. The table actually looks better than it did when new. (So now I guess that means that *next* fishing trip, I get to refinish the chairs.) And the bathroom is no longer the color of marshmallow creme. It's a very natural light caramel & sage now.

The knitting projects are coming along well. The Lotus Blossom Shawl (my second of this pattern) is working up beautifully in Fiddlesticks Country Silk. The sweater sleeve which was previously frogged will most likely make an appearance in another post. . . I have this love/hate relationship with variegated yarn and you just *won't* believe what it did. Weaving is going well, too. It's amazing what one can accomplish without migraines. :-)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fishing with the Buzzards

This is the week that my hubby has set aside to go fishing in Canada with his best buddy from college, whom we affectionately know as "Buzzard" (don't ask). There is now, also, a young Buzzard who loves to fish as well, so the guys all set off on Sunday to the north end of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It is a beautiful place. I've been there. But this is a "guys' trip" and I am more than happy to have some time at home to work on a list of projects which includes:
1. Painting the bathroom (hubby doesn't like paint smell)
2. Refinishing top of kitchen table " " " "
3. Defrosting freezer (done), & cooking all the remaining food that I defrosted (turkey dinner tomorrow night - yes, I know it's not Thanksgiving yet. I'm celebrating early.)
4. Scraping and repainting small totem in back yard

This doesn't take into account my other personal goals:
1. Keeping the kitties supervised adequately so that all three remain with their parts intact
2. Getting the three knitted baby hats for WIC mailed (done)
3. Spending some quality time with my knitting needles
4. An evening out to dinner with a friend who is also sans hubby this week
5. Keeping up with my weaving homework
6. Weekly visit with Mom & Bob - laundry, computer help & social time

Did I mention that he's only going to be gone for a week?

So far, things are progressing well, except for the little incident in which the washing machine's hose popped out of the utility sink while it was draining, flooded the garage, and sprayed water all over the controls of the water heater. We now have no hot water. Repairman comes tomorrow. Fortunately, I was able to locate all the pieces of our antique shop vac & the kids pitched in with garage cleanup.

Guess I'd better get back to work!