Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day and Before

Sunday started with an unexpected rain shower here in San Diego.  However, we decided to travel to Santa Ysabel for Funky Spun's fiber event - hoping the weather would clear by noon.  On the way, we took a hike at Santa Ysabel West Open Space Preserve.  By the time we continued on to Funky Spun, the weather was still breezy and cool, but the rain had moved on.

There were llamas and sheep.  As well as some spinners and at least one knitter braving the wind to work outside.  SDFA bought some Columbia from Loraine's sheep and a bag of mixed mohair, angora, and wool.

As expected, Memorial Day was clear and sunny, with a hint of the summer to come.  We attended the Holiday at Home parade in Kensington.  Although there were no fiber-related floats, we still enjoyed the Kensington Hens and Miss Kensington.  

Alice in Wonderland was also there, although this could have been Allen in Wonderland, not sure.  

And of course, what would a parade be without Sumo Wrestlers?

I started my second Latvian mitt on Memorial Day, and made it through the rough parts with minimal damage.  

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Machado Quilt in Old Town San Diego

Looking through my quilt books with an eye toward thinning out the herd, I came across one that I will keep.  It is Ho For California! Pioneer Women and Their Quilts.  The author is Jean Ray Laury and the California Heritage Quilt Project.  I made a Civil War quilt a few years ago, and have a few quilting books about this era.  I really like the fabric from that period, and over the years I have purchased enough for my Bertha collar as well as some other fabric projects.  The fabric was purchased from Rosie's Calico Cupboard - she has a Civil War fabric room at her shop.

Anyway, as I was looking through the book (I have to admit I was looking for pictures of women in Bertha collars; I found a photo of Eva Scott Fenyes in the latest issue of New Mexico Magazine wearing a lace one), I saw that there was a photo and description of the Juana Machado Wrightington quilt that the Old Town Fiber Arts Guild is replicating.

I mentioned in the last post that Pat was the only quilter working on their project last Saturday.  They have made much progress, and I wish I had not forgotten my camera so I could show their work as well as the original (which is in the collection of the San Diego History Center [formerly the Historical Society]).  Juana made the quilt c. 1850.  The Old Town Fiber Arts Guild quilters hope to finish their quilt by the end of the summer.  Stop by and take a few stitches to help them along.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Old Town San Diego Today

Rachel and I were the only spinners today in Old Town.  Pat had the quilt going, but she was alone.  The quilters are making a replica of a historic quilt, and they allow people to take stitches to sew on the applique.  Very generous.  It was surprisingly slow in Old Town, considering the fine weather and time of year in San Diego.  We had pulses of tourists throughout the afternoon, with a couple of large crowds from China.  I hear many different languages over the course of the day.  We only had the Sleeping Beauty question once, and it was at the end of the afternoon.  Instead, we had lots of questions about why my wheel has only one treadle (Kromski Mazurka) and Rachel's has two treadles (Ashford Traveller).  Faster?  Easier? More efficient?  There was much speculation.

One guy walking by with a bottle of beer in hand (Dos XX) stopped in his tracks when he saw us.  He had seen spinning wheels as static displays, but had never seen them "in action", so to speak.

Forgot the camera, so no pictures.  I did get a lot of spinning done.  OK, I want to make a Bertha Collar for my dress.  I have a photo of my g-g-g-grandmother Katie Riddlespurger Craft in a Bertha Collar.

I want to make a collar similar to this.  I mentioned the Bertha collar to my mother, who is 89, and she knew immediately what I was talking about.  "Oh yes," she said, "the apron comes off and the Bertha collar goes on."  My mother remembers it buttoning in the front, but you can see that Katie's must button up the back.  She has put white piping around the edge.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spinning Sock Yarn

After dividing the Blue Moon fiber into three equal portions based on the color repeats, I am faced with the problem of how to spin the top as prepared.  I am doubtful that I can control a large handful of top as I am controlling the size of the single.  So, I decided to predraft each "color" in the sequence as I go.

I will update the post as I go, but I am confident that I can spin the fine single as I have sampled.  By the way, I put the three-ply sample and the singles on an index card, punched a hole in the corner, and have it hanging from the wheel to use as reference.

Now the Indian Market event.  SD Fiber and spouse attended the 28th Annual American Indian Art Market and Film Festival today.  We watched the Yellow Bird Dancers from Mesa, Arizona, perform the Hoop Dance as well as some women's dances.  They were spectacular.  The family of dancers and musicians is joined by a young man playing the guitar who was awesome.  They performed for an hour flawlessly, and combined the skill and excellence of dance with interpretation of Native American themes such as reverence for warriors and the eagle.  I found the tribute to our American veterans particularly moving.  

SD Fiber purchased a kelp bulb rattle from Rosemary Castillo, a Chumash artisan.  Ms. Castillo took the time to explain at length the contents of the rattle as well as the use of several types of traditional artifacts on display.

Ms. Castillos uses traditional Chumash rock art and basketry images on her rattles.  I like how she left the top knot on the rattle.  The entire stem is hollow and contains a variety of materials to produce a particular sound. Perhaps more on the rattles later, this is a subject for another time.

Sock Update

I like the orange on top of the blue and green.  I threw in a few purl rows to exaggerate the difference.

I'll knit the top until it is as long as the foot (9 inches) then top it off with a couple of purl rows or maybe a few rows of lace to make sure the top does not bind.  I have also been sampling for the sock yarn I will spin using the Blue Moon fiber.  It spins so easily I should be able to control the size of the singles.

Here it is plied as a sample (3-ply).  Those are one inch squares in the background.  Each small square is 1/16th of an inch.

I hope to do some additional spinning later.  Right now I am leaving to go to the San Diego Museum of Man for the annual Indian Market event.

Monday, May 9, 2011

New EZ Book! and Wool Combing

Forgot to mention that I received in the mail today the new book from Schoolhouse Press, Knit One Knit All.  My evening is complete.  I may have mentioned before that EZ was my inspiration with her book Knitting Without Tears to start and finish sweaters.  Just thumbing through the book I see many prospective projects.  As a side note, when I was at Sock Summit 2009, I saw Meg Swansen sitting at the book signing; at one point in time no one was in line.  I so wanted to go over and meet her but I was too intimidated and shy (like Ramona).  I will regret this forever.

The book is sitting on a pillow cover I made from scraps purchased many years ago at Ortega's weaving shop in Chimayo, NM.  I could not afford to buy anything at the shop, so bought a bag of mixed scraps.  I have been working away at them ever since.

On the right side of the photo you can barely see some wool that I have been combing.  It is from Funky Spun, right here in Santa Ysabel, San Diego County.  I got a big bag of dyed locks in three New Mexico colors (orange, purple, teal) and am practicing my wool combing.  Only stabbed myself once!

Oh, you can also see the bag with the Sheep to Shoes fiber, plus a glimpse of the Pat Green carder at the edge of the table.  And behind that, my fiber stash oh-so-neatly stored in plastic boxes.  As my former professor Clem Meighan used to say, Onward and Upward!

Color Gradation Socks - Update

I finally had a chance on Mother's Day to work on the color gradation toe-up socks.  And as predicted, I ran out of yarn. See how far I got.

Got about two inches above the end of the heel.  So, what to do?  I happened to have some similar weight 2 ply yarn that I spun on a handspindle and plied on a wheel.  I think the orange will be a lovely contrast.  I am going to knit one round in orange, then purl a round or two, and so on.  Might rib a bit.  Thanks Rachel for the wonderful yarn bowl, it is coming in very handy.

I also spent some time yesterday dividing up a Sheep to Shoes project from Blue Moon, River Rocked.  I have been sitting on the fiber for a while until I learned to spin sock yarn.  I found the color repeat, did the math to find a total number of strands divisible by 3, then pulled the pieces apart.  I think I am going to separate the color segments and predraft to get the thinnest single.  We shall see.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mountain Man Rendezvous

Today I attended the last weekend of the Mountain Man Rendezvous at Mesa Grande and had a great time spinning with Sue, who brought her hand spindle.  I did not know what to expect from this event, since I had never done spinning there before, but ended up doing a lot of demonstration to the public.  Friend Steve was set up to Blacksmith so I sat next to his forge in the shade of an oak tree.  It was a cool, clear spring day in the mountains of San Diego.

Of course I forgot my camera and a very kind gentleman took some pictures and sent them to me.  Thank you, Sir!  It was challenging to spin on tall grass, but we managed.  My Kromski Mazurka handled the rough terrain quite well.  This wheel is very popular and attracts a lot of questions about how it works, etc.  I spun some alpaca-wool roving from Morro Fleece and produced a fine, neat single that I will ply in two weeks in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.  Sue and I had a great time as usual.

This one is kind of dark and I forget what we were laughing about.  You can't see it but I am using a wooden folding chair I bought about a million years ago from a military surplus outlet in Torrance.  I have fixed it many times since then.  I made a seat pad for it last weekend from fabric scraps I bought at Ortega's in Chimayo, NM.  Good times.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Crazy Week

Sorry, the Fiber Artist has experienced quite a crazy week and, except for spinning class on Wednesday night, has gotten NOTHING done in the fiber realm.  Husband cut his finger badly on Sunday resulting in ER visit on Monday, Mother had a false alarm on Tuesday scaring us all quite a bit, and now it is Thursday.  Oh, and the computer has a virus that destroyed Internet Explorer.  I purchased some wonderful dyed locks from Funky Spun on Saturday last and planned to start combing them last night.  Did not accomplish that, so I will attempt tonight.  Funky Spun in Santa Ysabel has wonderful roving and dyed fibers.  My Dear Old Friend and I will be spinning on Saturday at the Mountain Man Rendezvous in Mesa Grande, and I am so looking forward to it - wishing another Dear Friend was in town to join us but she is involved in Important Business out of town.  I was up there last Saturday and purchased some bonnets and other Objects useful to those who do Living History.  Another time.  Here's to calmer, more peaceful days.