August 30, 2003

Back in School

I had the most wonderful day on Monday. It was a little too windy to spin outside, so Marie and I took a tour of her farm and then we settled inside to spin and talk. I started back to school on Thursday - I won't see students until Tuesday though. I also started another class through Penn State's World Campus. This one is Video and Hypermedia in the Classroom - sounds like fun. I've also been updating my school pages and have my psychology calendar completed through Oct. 10th, so that's encouraging.

I went to cut out my vest and realized that my piece wasn't long enough. (unless I wanted some rib-tickling bolero type thing) Thankfully I hadn't started cutting anything yet. So my plan is to dye some more silk a solid purple and use that for the back of the vest. It's not really a big deal, especially considering how much I learned about weaving for garments from this process. I always thought I'd need 44" wide fabric and just weave it as long as the pattern called for. Duh! Now I see how I can lay out the pattern, and weave just what I need with a minimum of waste. With any luck I can get the silk dyed this weekend. Maybe this would be a good opportunity to try out the Dorothy, which has been languishing since her arrival.

Posted by Charleen at 10:10 AM | Comments (2)

August 25, 2003

Summer Ends

What a beautiful weekend! I'm heading out in a few minutes for a drive into the Poconos to visit a friend and sit by her pond and spin. The wheel is still in the car from my spinning group's meeting yesterday, where I spun the blue with purple and teal mohair batt. It's really quite beautiful. I'm excited about the way the blending turned out. In fact, all of it was the result of a swap switch we made a one of our meetings a few months ago. I'm also going to take up my spindle and the batts for the tropical fish. The humidity and temps have dropped the last few days around here and it's always cooler in the mountains, so I'm looking forward to a wonderful day.

I finished Alive Guy for Josh. He wanted a negative image that was about 4 feet high and 5.5 feet wide and he left the rest to me. After listening to your suggestions, I went with painting it on black fabric. I stitched the sides about 1" in from the side and am allowing it to fray. The top has a casing where we stuck in a piece of screen door molding to hang it with. The bottom is the selvedge so there is no finishing. I bought some fabric paint but then I looked at that squeeze bottle and knew I wasn't going to squeeze the whole thing! Right at my feet was an almost finished can of ceiling paint from my previous painting (sometimes not putting things away is a plus!) and pulled out a little stencil brush and started to scrub the paint into the fabric. I wanted to a get an open, uneven look and that was super easy to do :-) After it dried I went around and outlined it about .5" in from the edge with an opalescent white that has a little dimension to it. He's thrilled and promptly took it over to West Chester to hang it up. If I ever get lonely for the little guy, Alive - not Josh! - I have this to remind me of him! Now I remember why I have all those ugly vinyl tablecloths! Actually I can scrap it off with a fingernail so I'll just scrub it off with a little nylon scrub pad.

Off to the mountains!

Posted by Charleen at 08:17 AM | Comments (2)

August 23, 2003

My Mistake...

I wasn't recovering from a sinus headache I was just getting into a sinus infection! That put a dent into my flurry of "before-school-starts" activities. But yesterday I was able to do a little carding. I carded the wild shades of corrie I dyed at Claudia's dye day. I'm spinning some up to use for felted fish in Knitter's Stash and the rest I want to use for needle felting. I bought all the supplies at MDS&W this spring for summer experimentation and have yet to use it. Well, even though school is starting I guess it's still officially summer for a few more weeks.

The batts on the left are a blend of blues, teal, and a few purple locks. The center isn't as pretty in this picture as it is in real life - it's a mostly a deep green and blue mix, but with some undyed parts of the locks coming through as a glow of paler color. On the monitor it looks duller with more neps (you just have to take my word for it!). On the right are the clear bright colors that I got from the fiber reactive dye (Sabracon).

Posted by Charleen at 10:17 AM | Comments (2)

August 18, 2003

Playing Catch Up

I'm just about recovered from a killer sinus headache. We went to a wedding Saturday and there were these greens in the centerpiece that I could just tell were going to do a number on me. I'm not sure how it got through the Flonase and Clarinex, but I spent most of yesterday with heat packs on my face. I got a little spinning done last night while I watched Sex in the City, but that was about all the fiber production I did since I ran out of thread on my silk weaving on Friday.

Laura picked up another spool of thread for me on Saturday and back down I went today to finish it up. In case you're ever wondering, one spool of thread will weave 62.5"! I took it off the loom and washed it today. It was 12" in the reed, 30 epi. It ended up 11" by 80". I'm going to make a vest with it. I was planning on dyeing the lining fabric purple, I don't think it would be a problem if it's cotton, do you? It's not like it has sleeves that will have to slip over the fabric.

I'm in a fulled tropical fish exchange, so I carded up some purple and blue dyed corrie. I threw in a little Firestar too. I never used that before, but I just tried to mix it in as best I could. There's not really too much in it, but the camera flash sure picked it up! Actually it's a little pastel for tropical fish. Guess I'd better card up the hot pink and yellow tomorrow.

10 more days until I go back to school. Instead of my usual whine that I didn't get anything done this summer, I'll concentrate on what I was able to do. Maybe that will be my blog entry for tomorrow.

Posted by Charleen at 05:04 PM | Comments (3)

August 16, 2003

Alive Guy Needs Help

How would you turn Alive Guy into a 4' by 5' wall hanging? It's a Pearl Jam logo and Josh and I were playing with ideas tonight. He thought I could weave it. I told him my loom was only 40" but he said he could live with it slightly smaller. How would you do something like that -- pick up? rep weave? Then I was thinking about latchet hook or knotted pile or rya, but I think that would be way too much of a investment in time. After he left tonight I had an idea. I could use fiber reactive dye, thickened with this paste I got from ProChem and applied directly to bleached muslin. Then I could machine quilt around it. I could probably finish that in a weekend. Any other ideas?

Posted by Charleen at 12:29 AM | Comments (3)

August 13, 2003

Dyed Silk Warp

I got started this morning on the new warp. I tried mercerized cotton sewing thread for the first inch or so, then some No. 10 mercerized crochet cotton. I like the sewing thread better. This is sett at 30 epi (it's raw silk 24 wpi) so it's meant to be warp dominant. I thought I liked the thread at first, but when I saw the picture I was sure. It basically disappeared. I'll have to take pictures when I'm in doubt - it's like stepping back 6 feet, which you really can't do with it still on the loom. I see I have a missing thread, so I think I'll take out the crochet cotton, correct the mistake and then continue on. My spool of thread actually fits in one of my bobbins, so I don't even have to bother winding. Cool, huh?

Posted by Charleen at 01:22 PM | Comments (5)

August 12, 2003

What I've Been Doing

Not much fiber stuff to report, unless you're talking about carpet rehab! I used Ruth in Houston's suggestion to get Damp Rid. That helped enough that I was able to put the new padding down today and unfold the carpet. I'm letting it rest overnight and then I'll attach it to the tack strips. I did find a few telltale sign that Skids was not quite continent his last days with us :-( but it was one of the first times I found something that reminded me of him and I didn't cry (actually was quite grossed out!) I guess the moisture reactivated the smell, so I'm thinking maybe using some white vinegar in the Oreck to neutralize it then clean it with the regular shampoo. Masonry guy came today. He said we were actually lucky, that usually people loose their wallboard too. I guess the bricks soaked up the mosture enough to keep it from soaking up the wallboard. So, two grand to fix the chimney. Don't you just hate spending money on stuff that you really never see? Furniture, a nice painting, but chimney repair????

I just finished my last project for my class. I have one short (2-4 page) paper and a peer review on Friday and then I'm DONE! That'll give me one week until school starts again. I did get the silk warp sleyed, threaded, and beamed so hopefully tomorrow I can get it tied on and start weaving. I still need to paint two more walls down there so I can finish putting things away, but that can wait until next week.

Posted by Charleen at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2003

Warping Pictures

Last spring, as I was warping for yet another doubleweave blanket, I took a series of pictures. After I got the loom reassembled I realized I hadn't warped it since April, so I needed to take another look at my notes. I was supposed to be creating an instructional website for my InSys class, but decided to do this instead! Does it look like Reinforcement vs Punishment? Nah, I don't think I can get credit for it, but take a look. Remember I'm only a weaving newbie, but I like keeping track of what works for me and seeing how others do it too.

I sleyed half the painted silk warp from Claudia's Dye Day. One part of me wants to go right down and finish, but the other side says "do your assignment". We'll see which side of me wins! (can you tell I'm a Gemini?)

Posted by Charleen at 10:55 AM | Comments (3)

August 08, 2003

I'm hot, I'm cold

I had a brainstorm - not always a good thing for me but in this case it worked thumb.gif I turned on our gas fireplace/heater for a couple of hours and it really helped dry out the bricks. Of course, I felt a little stupid with the heater AND the air conditioning going. It was getting pretty warm in here, so I'll do it again tomorrow morning and maybe Sunday if it still needs it. In the meantime the fans are blowing like crazy - at this rate we may be able to lay the new padding by on Wednesday.

While I'm still on this hot/cold thing, back in December I posted a picture of one of the squirrels that I kept fed for the winter. Look who thinks my deck is Club Med!

Posted by Charleen at 03:55 PM | Comments (4)


The bad news.....The water problem is way worse than I thought. The family room stinks (literally)! I had to shove furniture across the room, rip about 1/3 of the carpet from the tack strips and cut out the soaked foam padding. (the family room is on a slab) I've got two heavy duty fans going in there but I think it's going to take a week at least before I can put new padding down. We have central air, so I put the fan to constant on to keep the dehumidifying at full tilt. I've got the slate covered with plastic and the chimney repair guy has been called. I'm a little leary of taking off the slate and trying to fix it myself - rain is predicted for the next week and I don't really feel confident about the masonry stuff.

But there is good news! After taking off the harnesses, beater, breast beam, and both of the warp beams to reduce weight Laura and I were able to move the loom ourselves. It looked like monsoon time again and I didn't want to wait for the boys to get here. We shuffled our way through the dining room, kitchen, family room (right before I pulled the carpet up!), out the patio door, down curving gardens steps and through a sliding door into the basement. YEAH, it fits :-) although I changed my original orientation - I'm going to keep my back to the wall and face the glass doors. It slides out over the carpet easily (it's industrial carpeting with no pad) so I can pull it out when I warp it. I got everything put back on last night so hopefully this weekend I can get it warped.

Posted by Charleen at 07:30 AM | Comments (2)

August 07, 2003

Studio's Getting Closer

It seems like I'm not supposed to get this studio finished. We've had rain for the last week, some days coming down in torrents. It turns out the slate and some stucco on the side of our chimney has loosened up and a clogged drainspout allowed rain to flow from the gutter right into the cracked chimney and into our fireplace. The carpet is soaked, the bricks on half of the fireplace are soaked and darker than the rest. I used my Oreck Carpet Cleaner and sucked up 6 tanks of water. yuck

BUT -- I finished painting Dan's old room, the new fiber/equipment/guest room. We moved in Laura's sofa bed from Ikea. (She only had it for a couple of months before she moved home) I still need to make a slipcover for the sofa and curtains. I put together the storage shelves (also from Ikea) for the warping reel, carder, weaving equipment, etc. The table loom will fit perfectly on the top shelf of the shorter side, I just didn't bring it down yet. I have my reeds lying flat on the bottom shelf. I did have them leaning up against a wall for the last year, but I heard they were supposed to be supported and flat. I'm actually thinking of putting some type of bracket on the bottom of the second shelf and then running them through that.

I still have an old bureau that Sarah wants, so as soon as she gets moved in (settlement is Aug. 15th - I'll actually have a homeowning child!) she'll take that. Then I'm bringing down two old dressers that I'm painting white and stacking on top of each other. They have rather small drawers, which made them great for little kids but even greater for fiber and sewing storage. I have shelves on the wall and space underneath for my Louet and rigid heddle loom. (yes, those are weeds outside the window - should get rid of those so more light comes in)

On the other wall I have a closet (a couple of leftovers from Dan) that will hold plastic storage bins. On the right of the closet I can keep more bins stacked up until I need to move them to fold out the bed. My family thinks it will be too scary to have guests sleeping in a room full of equipment and fiber. It seems like a perfect guest room to me.

Wish me luck tomorrow. I'm taking the harnesses, beater, back beam and front beam off my Macomber and then bringing it down. I was moving things around, but Laura thought I better get the loom down there first as I have a tendency to think I have more room than I really do. This is its new home. About four feet to the left is a big I also have to move two chair (in desperate need for slip covers, but very comfortable) up to the living room. Both boys are working but have promised to be here by 6:00. Guess I better make them dinner and bake them some cookies.
Posted by Charleen at 12:12 AM | Comments (3)