Sunday, October 20

posted by Charleen at 10:55 PM

A very satisfying weekend. I got my school work out of the way and made lots of fiber time for myself. I finally finished the Wee Bigger Aran designed by Claudia at Countrywool. It's for my friend Dan at school. He has three daughters and now has a grandson, Jake. After listening to Dan's tales of woe, about being the only male in a house full of women, I figured he'd like the robin's egg blue yarn. Maybe not a traditional aran color, but definitely a traditional boy color!

I got up to the sleeves on another baby Wallaby, but this time I'm going to make a placket with buttons rather than the open neck. I wasn't happy with the the twisted cords on the last one.

I have about 30" left on my false damask warp. I don't think I'll get a full towel out of it, but I figure I'll weave it as far as it goes. I can use it for a little mat on my desk. I've got a broken twill draft I've worked out with at least 6 different treadlings. Hopefully I'll be able to wind that when I get home from school tomorrow. Once I finish that I'll have enough towels to send off for the exchange.

Oops - made another distaff but found out that the lovely leaf beads I got at Stitches last week won't fit on the yarn. So I guess I need to find a source of beads nearby. I'd rather pick them out in person, only this time I'll take a piece of the yarn with me.

Wednesday, October 16

posted by Charleen at 5:55 PM

Nothing much to post except that I finished one Regia Sock. Why is this an accomplishment, you might ask? Well, I haven't finished a sock in about 5 years. The real crowing will have to wait until I have the mate finished. Then there will be cause for celebration.

There is cause for celebration since I was confirmed for the Chain Warping Class at The Mannings for November 26th. I'm going to drive out there the night before and spend the night. I"ll be beat on Wednesday at school, but I'll be able to practice right away over Thanksgiving break. It was described as spending 1/2 the time on FTB and the other BTF, and giving tips and explaining the advantages of each, along with how to chain warp on a sectional beam. There's a Synthetic Dye Class scheduled for April 12th that looks good too.

Off to grade papers.

Tuesday, October 15

posted by Charleen at 7:55 PM

I took Elaine's and Theresa's advice and got 4 stainless stockpots from ebay. 8, 12, 16, and 20 qt pots with lids for $20.00. Of course it will cost $13.00 to ship, but I still think that's a decent price for new pots. Is it safe to dye in a garage? I'll keep the door open, but it's supposed to be pretty cold and windy this weekend. I thought I could set up my camp stove in there. If it's not too windy I'll stick to the deck since it gets lots of sun. The new pots probably won't be here, but I have one of the old blue speckled canning pots that I don't use anymore.

I had another horrible, awful day at school so decided I needed to weave for an hour or so. I want to get this warp off the loom so that I can get started on the broken twill towels. December 1st is looming (sorry <g>) and I want to have 6 towels to send in to the exchange. That was the deal, right Kate, six towels but they don't have to be a set?

I finished the mohair exchange. I just have to write up the paper I send in with it. I've never done anything like this before and it was really fun. I know we're supposed to make up 16 samples, but I'm not sure how much for each - I was thinking 2 yds. or should it be more?

I'll be sending off the wrist distaff this weekend, now that I have some nice beads to add. The Michael's beads are okay for , but these new beads are really cool. I'll wait until the exchange to show you how it turned out.

Well, I won't get any weaving done blogging so it's off to the loom!

Sunday, October 13

posted by Charleen at 10:55 PM

I went to Stitches today. I can see the lights to the hotel from the top of my driveway, but haven't bothered going in the past couple of years. I don't think I'll make the effort to go again for awhile. My daughter couldn't believe how "uninformed" the information desk was! She went to ask about locations of a couple of booths, and the women said she didn't think there was a map, and then went on to talk to someone else. I also thought there were very few people compared to the other years. I guess I've been spoiled by the MDSW experience.

There were some bright spots - I got to meet Maryanne at Susan's Fiber Shop and talked to Tom at The Mannings about his warping class. I'm going to sign up for his one day class the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. He said that he goes through a couple of different ways and that I should be much more comfortable by the time I finish. I've never used a personal day just for me, so I think it's about time. I know I'll still feel guilty about taking the day off, we have so few subs that usually other teachers have to cover for you, but I really need this.

I also got some cool beads so I can finish up the distaff and get it out to Claudia. There weren't too many there, but I can see how you could spend big bucks on this habit. Unfortunately I also found the name of a couple of local beadshops, a visit will be in order.

I picked up two big cones of mohair from WEBS and some handpainted roving and batts from Tracy Bonkers. So, it wasn't a day lost by any means.

My daughter picked up two skeins of Koigu sport and some bamboo needles to make her first project. She felt terribly uncoordinated, but I think she did a great job. She got about 2" of garter stitch done on her scarf and didn't drop or add a stitch. We tried right and left handed instructions, and she felt more comfortable with the right hand. She also liked the Fibertrends Fabulous Felt Totes - it has a little novelty yarn at the top. So of course I had to promise to make her the bag for her new knitting project. We picked up a ball of Trendsetter Charm for the novelty part, I'm going to use some Lambs Pride I have for the bag.


Saturday, October 12

posted by Charleen at 10:35 AM

I finally got a chance to play with my weaving. I'm still having some warp problems, but I don't know if it's my loom or me! This is the first time I've had all 10 treadles tied up, most with 4 harnesses tied to it, and I'm noticing that when I press the treadle on the far left the heddle doesn't raise evenly. The right side doesn't raise as much. Since I usually only had the four treadles tied I didn't notice it. I think I'll also layer up some newspapers and spray WD-40 on all the moving joints. After my misguided attempt to move heddles, rsulting in them all landing on the floor, I steel wooled all the metal strips that hold the heddles on all 8 of the harnesses, so they now just glide across. Maybe that will help.

I have only a little warp left on the false damask tie up, so I thought I'd try out some contrasting colors, rather that the white/off-white that was suggested. Treadling with no repeats, treadling 4 times 1-4, then 4 times 5-8. Then I did all 1-4 which gives the stripe. I like the look of the colors, although the white/off-white is cool too. If you have WinWeave, you can download the file.

Here's another problem that I have been encountering - maybe someone has a suggestion. I've started using vinyl slats from some old blinds to separate the towels. I keep getting the thread from the shuttle stuck on it. In the picture on the right you can see the slats almost reading to wind on. Before that point both the tie on rods and the slats catch my thread and my smooth rhythm is violently stopped. There's got to be a way to keep that from happening.

That's about extent the fiber content of the past week (and this was accomplished this morning!). School was absolutely crazy this week. Spirit Week (homecoming, etc) was a little too spirited with International Day almost turning into a brawl (picture kids with Italian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, American, German flags and symbols seeing who can wave and shout the with the most enthusiasm in the cafeteris) and a real fight (all girls) in which the vice-principal was hit in the stomach and fell to the floor, hitting her head. Two teachers had other minor injuries, the fighters were cut on the face and had hair pulled out, there was blood everywhere and on the teachers who were trying to break it up. The VP is sore, but scans showed no damage (physical).

The upsetting thing to me is the reaction of the students. Almost everyone felt that the VP shouldn't have tried to break it up - they're sorry that she was hurt - but think that she brought in on herself by stepping in. Cell phones played a part in it too, because the accusations were being text messaged back and forth. Remember the days when you actually had to SEE the student to pass her a note? Because of parental complaints and lawsuits, most schools have backed down and allowed them, although they are NOT supposed to be used during classes, but kept in their lockers. Unfortunately, when you have 30 some kids in a class and they have them on silent mode, you may not see it going on. Also, they slip them into their pockets and take them to the restroom to use. The Pep Rally was cancelled upsetting the rest of the kids, who said they weren't involved in any of the incidents, and make-shift protests were started, but never really got off the ground. I think the cool weather and pouring rain might have outweighed the "We have the right to a pep rally!" sit-in contingent!

I am going to Stitches Market tomorrow. My younger daughter wants to learn how to knit. We are going to the market in the morning, just to give her a taste of what she's in for, and then I'll start her on a scarf (her choice) in the afternoon. I'm going to send her home with some Family Circle Easy knitting mags. I think the How To illustrations are pretty good there, but I know I'm going to get some calls during the week. I always have a hard time describing what to do over the phone. She's also left-handed, but she can do somethings with her right. She used to bat right handed and throw left handed, so we'll see what is more comfortable for her.

Saturday, October 5

posted by Charleen at 12:35 PM

I've been a Bad Blogger - whoosh, whap - okay, I deserved that vomitous skein. But I got LOTS of ideas from the Stash Reduction Weekend I spend at Claudia's. Claudia is a great teacher/facilitator, and I sat at the feet of some wonderful fiber people and soaked in even more. It's sort of hard to say exactly what I learned, but it's safe to say that I have expanded my way of thinking about blending and color.

Once I saw what everyone else was doing, I really wanted to buy more colorful fibers to blend. Except for the autumn cardigan I'm working on now, I've shyed away from the brighter colors, mostly because I was never successful in spinning into anything but garish or muddy colors. But the easy way doesn't always teach you as much, so I went with what I had (mostly).

The first thing I wanted to do was to use the mohair combed top that I found to be way too slippery for me to handle. I also had close to a pound of Ashford Bay top that I wanted to blend with it. Since I have about 8 pounds of a grey roving (I sent out a bunch of washed romney from various sources to Ohio Valley and had them blend it all together) I thought it might work with that.

Here are some of the working ideas we came up with:

The variations in this green Ashland Bay top weren't showing up in the brown, I tried it with the grey and like it better, but now I'm thinking I might try it with white. Yes, I do have POUNDS of white also. I have a small amount of an angora, silk, merino blend in an off white, so I may add that too.
This is brown roving, mostly romney, that I had blended and carded at Ohio Valley I bought a little of the pumpkin Ashland Bay to spice it up and used a tannish variegated top I had. I also used the mohair top in this blend, but I still think the brown is taking over. I had planned on plying this with a single brown, but unless I change the proportions, I might get a better yarn double plying.
Here I just finger teased up some romney locks that had been washed, but nothing else done to it. Then I VERY quickly spun it up and plyed it with a some of the grey roving I had previously spun. This was hard for me to do because I wanted to control it more, but I think I like the rustic quality of the yarn. It's little too fuzzy in places, but I think I'll flick the tips and cut end before I finger tease it and that should even it out a bit.

Time to run out and pick up Chinese food. My husband planned this huge golf outing as a fundraiser for the library. Both of my sons are playing in it, so it's just one of the daughters and myself today. She's reading law texts and I'm catching up on fiber stuff. It's way to muggy to go out, but for food I'll do it :-).



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