Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

The best laid plans...We had all sorts of great ideas about how to spend this weekend.  Instead, we have been home dealing with a broken pipe under the house - and the subsequent flooding.  It was one of the original 1939 cast iron pipes, a crack developed and it started spilling water.  By the time we figured it out, we had a little swamp under there.  So, bring on the plumbers, the remediation guys, and the inevitable blowers to dry things out.  Oh, and by the way, don't use the bathrooms.  Or the laundry, or the kitchen.  After tense negotiations, the plumber agreed that one of the bathrooms was OK to use, since it connects below the break.  Whew.  Otherwise we would have had to buy a really big litterbox.....

My solution to the situation was to knit, and knit some more, and dye.  My shoulders and back get really cold at this time of year, but a sweater is really too much, and a shawl is hard to keep on when you are doing things.  I have knitted shrugs, and capelets, etc.  But at the San Diego Museum of Man Rock Art Symposium, I saw Jan wearing what I thought would be perfect for me.  She said she made it in a workshop.  I took a close look at it, decided how to make it a little better for me, and set to knitting.  A couple of years ago when I first started learning to dye, I practiced on some white Condon yarn that I purchased in the mid-1980s.  I dyed it with food coloring, Easter egg dyes, crazy color combos.  Then I set it aside.  I almost gave it away a few times.  But a couple of weeks ago, I pulled it out - five skeins.  One of them I liked.  The other four were like the proverbial clown barf.  It being the holiday season, I decided to overdye the skeins with reds and red-browns.  I did two at first - and I loved the result.  Some of the crazy color remained, but muted and with added depth.  So I cast on one of the skeins for my Rock Art capelet.  I did not want it to be snug around the, ahem, front so I cast on a goodly number (after first checking GAUGE), and knitted an inch or so in seed stitch.  Then I knitted a little more, then went down a needle size, decreased, knit a while, decreased, then tried it on.  More knitting, then four raglan type decreases for the shoulders, using EPS.  I like rolled collars, so I did a double welt neck - open enough to wear with a t-shirt if I want to.  And so I cast off today, and blocked it.  Done on Sunday.  Just in time for San Diego's 85 degree weather. But it's cool at night.

 I like the way it turned out.  And it is very nice and warm.  I ended up using one entire skein, and some of the second one I dyed.  To blend the colors, I alternated rounds until I used up the first skein.  You can see that towards the neck, there is more copper or bronze color.  But I think it blends nicely.

I also dyed the other 2 skeins today.  One was super bright: yellow, pink, and hot pink.  The other was more purples.  I overdyed both with reds and a little brown.  I am really happy with these two skeins also.

The goofy colors are muted, and I have some nice reds and wine colors. Condon is a two ply, and not next-to-the-skin soft (for most people; I don't mind it but I know I am weird).  Thus with my overdyeing, I rescued some odd colored yarn and made four skeins of very nice yarn that blend together well.  I highly encourage this activity.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Loom

In 1983, I decided to start weaving after finishing my formal education.  I purchased a table loom, wove a bunch of stuff, then decided I wanted a floor loom.  (Note: this table loom is now used in Old Town).  In 1984, I bought a used Herald 4-shaft 6-treadle loom.  I bought it from a lady who had decided that a 45" floor loom did not fit into her small condo bedroom.  I got a pretty good deal on it, considering what looms that size cost today.  She threw in all her weaving stuff.  I supplemented it over the years with a warping mill and other equipment from house sales.  None of it purchased new.

Look how beautiful it is.  I have some hand spun singles on the loom today.  I will weave a nice scarf, then I want to put some cotton on.  Over the years, I have woven many blankets, ponchos, placemats, table runners, on and on.  I dearly love my loom, but what happened to Herald Looms?

So, at my job, some of the people were working out in the back country, and told me they had found a loom, and that I should go look at it.  It was destined to be hauled off as garbage.  A loom!  Abandoned in the back country!  Co-worker who is also a weaver and I took a short field trip out to look at the loom.

OK, it is not a loom.  In fact, we don't know what it is.  I think it has something to do with egg sorting.  But, definitely not a loom.  I love my coworkers, and the fact that more than one of them excitedly brought this to my attention?  how cool is that.  But folks, it's not a loom.  Love ya, but not a loom.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rainy Day Dye Work

I squeezed in some dye work this morning before the rain hit.  I wanted to overdye a couple of skeins of white yarn that I dyed last year; it came out way too pastel for my taste, and I almost got rid of it.  So I decided to try overdyeing instead.

I overdyed the yarn with Turkey Red and Spice Brown (Cushing dyes). See above, much better.  Then, I dyed 2 2-ounce lots of Romney roving from Yolo Wool Works.



I know, it looks gross but it came out nice.  It has Wine as the dominant color.  The second batch was more  red. 

Again, kind of gross looking but it came out fine. I just hope the second batch is not a little felted since it was starting to sprinkle. I finished the dye work minutes before the rain started.  It's still raining, but my yarn and roving are drying nicely in the garage.  I am going to spin the two 2-ounce batches and ply them.  

Also today, I finished the last of the dyed cotton from Cotton Clouds.  I want to ply it tonight.  And, I tried out my new cotton cards on some ginned Pima cotton.  It came out great, and was super easy to spin as a carded rolag.  I am inspired to purchase some ginned cotton.  I just love rainy days!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Holiday Season

Halloween is the official start of the Holiday Season.  We begin with Halloween itself, nearly 500 Trick or Treat visitors to our humble home.  Yes, that's right.  Well prepared, we had about 25 treats left over (considering poaching by elderly mother who loves Snickers, and #1 son).  SDFA dressed as a witch while handing out treats.  And was puzzled by a question from a parent, "What are you supposed to be?"  Check out the pointy hat.  The next night, SDFA and spouse went to the Dia de los Muertos event in Old Town San Diego.  What a great event.  November 1 and 2.  We dressed for the occasion.  Or I did, anyway.

Today I received a shipment from Sally Fox, of green cotton and black Merino.  She treats her Merino sheep well, and I applaud her for this.  I can't wait to start spinning this wonderful fiber.  What a pioneer in fiber she is, and creative as well.  I hope to do justice to these fibers.