Sunday, February 28, 2010

Checking In

That fierce storm Thursday night knocked out power to lots of folks in NH and Maine.

We were very lucky to be among the first 10% of people to have power restored. Our power came back on just before midnight on Friday night, so we were only without power for 24 hours.

Today is my first day with temporary internet access. (Yay for cafes, libraries and businesses with working internet!! It may be a while before we have access at home again.) I'm excited to find out what's going on in the world....having only had my local paper for info so far. (Although we have radios, there's little to no local coverage on the radio.)

Thanks to google reader's ability to read offline, I've downloaded all of the latest and greatest in blogs I follow. I'm definitely not going to be able to keep up on comments right now. Sorry about that! I don't mean to be an unfriendly blogger!! I always appreciate your comments, ideas and support.

Warp painting

I have been hard at work painting the red, yellow and orange warp for pillow shams and then rinsing all the painted warps.

Last time I dyed, our hot water was about 120 degrees. This time Jim turned up the temperature on our water heater so that the water was 140. (Definitely something to be cautious about whenever you wash your hands or shower.....that's hot!)

The 140 degrees really made a difference in how quickly I was able to get the water to run clear. I followed ProChem's instructions with room temperature rinses, followed by hot synthrapol rinses.

The warps are air-drying now. I will document this project better soon. I see from your comments that I did some unusual things.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Rough Night

A fierce wind storm blew through New Hampshire overnight Thursday. It sounded like a freight train - so loud and windy!

We awoke early Friday to no electricity.

The storm must have discombobulated this raccoon. He was right in our back yard, eating birdseed. I have never seen a raccoon in our town in the 10 years we've lived here.

Jim encouraged me to treat today like a normal day, with the idea that the power would come back on.

I did part 2 of my warp painting. Even though part 1 had me really encouraged, part 2 didn't go quite how I planned.

Here's a quick picture and I'll blog about it more later of course!!

Thanks to a giant power outage during the Olympics 4 years ago, when Jim was out of the country, we have a small generator, plus lots of battery powered lights.

The generator makes a lot of things possible (including running water), and helped us meet the odd requirement that we keep the kitchen above 70 degrees while the warp cures overnight. Some middle of the night power generation might have to happen.

We have no internet right now, so if I seem incommunicado, that's why. It's really hard to get info without power.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Warp Painting: So Far So Good

Today I painted a tencel warp long enough for 4 scarves.

Kitchen dye setup

Even though this is my first time warp painting, it went pretty well. No major dyeing disasters - no damage to my kitchen. (Previously I've always dyed outside....but it's February here in New Hampshire, plus it's absolutely pouring rain. Outdoors is not an option!)

I wound this warp in 1 inch segments that I chained separately. I'm not sure if I needed to do that or not, but it gives me a lot of flexibility.

(Purple, Red, Wisteria, Intense Blue, Turquoise)

Jim figured out this stretcher that I clamped the warp to, but I'm not sure whether I needed it. The wet warp on the tubes at either end of my setup was weighty enough that things might not have rolled around if they hadn't been clamped.

Of course, the proof of the painting is in the weaving. (Or something like that).

(Pale green, pale apricot, turquoise, purple, intense blue)

The warp is curing overnight. Tomorrow I hope to rinse this warp and to paint my giant pillow sham warp.

Numbered tags of individual warp bouts
(Just in case I need to see them later!)

Two tendencies that I really noticed today:
  • I like doing things I've never done before
  • When I'm doing something complicated that I don't understand, I like to just dive into it and try it, rather than understand it first. For the longest time, every time I dressed my loom, I couldn't connect all the steps mentally. I just did one after the other. Today, I didn't fully understand how to dye the warp until I did it. (And I'm still not totally sure I understand it!)

Seeing Spots
(Black, yellow, red, turquoise, green)

I definitely leaned heavily on advice from:

Garden Path
(Pale yellow, pale green, pale blue, pale pink)

Fun stuff!! I'm excited to see what tomorrow's warp will look like!

Related posts:
Interrupting my studio progress to do some warp painting
Preparing warp

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

DPS: Main Dishes

Continuing with the food photography theme, the assignment at Digital Photography School this week is "Main Dishes".

I learned one important trick. If possible, take pictures of leftovers. Then I'm not hungry or fretting over whether the food will still taste good by the time I'm done photographing it!

Spaghetti pancake
(Small recipe just for me)

Or, totally prepare the table, plate, background, camera and everything else you can think of, so that as soon as the meal is ready, you can snap pictures quickly then start to eat.

Turkey Piccata
(No recipe link for this one because I don't recommend it!!)

Believe it or not, I cannot wait until food photography month is over!! (Weird since I love food and I love photography....but I do not like to combine them!!)

My favorite photo in this post: Pasta Primavera Verde
My favorite recipe in this post: Spaghetti pancake

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Getting Ready

A few weeks ago, I blogged about painting warps for the first time.

I thought I was days away from being ready....and days away from receiving my dye.

Tencel for scarves

Now, I do have the warps wound.

I really should get the dye by weeks end.

Tag cut from milk jug that I will mark with a Sharpie (waterproof, washable)

Sketches of rejected ideas

Lots and lots of perle cotton!

Hopefully, I'll be able to show you some beautiful colors on these warps soon!!! Fingers crossed for good luck!!

I am eternally grateful to Cindie at Eweniquely Ewe for her warp painting instruction!!! (But, of course, any problems I encounter are totally on me!!!)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thompson Ice House Museum

Believe it or not, ice used to be a product from Maine and New Hampshire.

On the Sunday of President's Day weekend, there is a traditional ice harvest at Thompson Ice House Museum in South Bristol, Maine.

Even though it was a bit of a drive for us, we really wanted to see the harvest at least once.

Fresh water blocks of ice were used for preserving food before refrigeration.

The ice from this ice house was sold to local families, businesses and fishermen, plus shipped on clipper ships to Boston, New York and the Caribbean.

When we arrived at 10:30 a.m., the ice house was already partially filled, to about 4 feet high (3.3 meters).

The ice house is right next to the ice pond.

This motorized cutter was used to cut the ice longways. (Before motors, horse-drawn cutters were used.)

Traditionally, the ice would be harvested as soon as it was 12 inches thick.

Handsaws cut the short side of the ice blocks.

Pond ice was prized because it was dense and long-lasting.

Even today, the ice in the ice house will last until the beginning of September.

The far end of the pond is open to skaters and hockey players. That area of the pond is fed by springs, so the ice is a bit softer and is not harvested.

We did see a few dogs at the event, although Bailey waited in the car.

After the ice is cut, it is pushed along this channel.

Then it travels on this adjustable ramp

into the ice house. It moves very quickly down the ramp into the ice house.

A pickup truck was providing the power to hoist the ice, however horses would have been used originally.

A group of ice wranglers waits inside the house to catch the blocks and position them.

Luckily for us, they take breaks between layers, or the ice house would have been full before we arrived.

Historically, it took a team of 18 men 3 full days to harvest the ice and fill the ice house. The horse drawn cutters had to make multiple passes across the ice for the long cuts in the ice.

A small museum of various ice tools fills one side of the ice house.

The wooden plow would have been pulled by horses to keep the ice pure and snow-free. (Snowy ice is less dense and doesn't last as long).

If you have ice tools to donate to the ice house museum, they'd love to have them!

This ice will be sold to commercial fishermen, as well as used to chill ice cream at the annual ice cream social over the July 4 weekend.

There were snacks, mugs and T-shirts for sale, plus a few signs explaining how the ice house worked.

Between this visit to the ice house, the igloo in Exeter, and the icy walking trails behind our house, I think ice has been my theme for this week!

More information to help you plan a visit:
Boston Globe Article
2010 listing on

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Design, Implement, Maintain

I've blogged about how tough it can be for me to devote time to weaving, even though I love it.

I've also had great project momentum in the last few months, carrying my projects forward.

I think part of my difficulty getting going sometimes has to do with what Barbara Sher describes as the amount that I like to Design, Implement and Maintain. She describes her balance of those types of tasks in this video:

I think I'm about 80% design, 15% implement and 5% maintain.

I like nothing better than to come up with ideas, plans, schemes, designs - no matter what the subject.

If I execute for about 15% of the time, that's about all I want to actually get done myself.

And I have to struggle with maintenance....I have a hard time getting motivated to do maintenance tasks.

Knowing my natural tendencies helps me cope with my tendency to have tons of ideas and plans, without the energy to follow through on very many of them.

What about you? What's your unique blend of Design, Implement, Maintain???

Friday, February 19, 2010

Finished! Vavstuga Runner

Remember my day at Vavstuga?

I played with the idea of turning the green and black runner into a bag.

I pinned it in place using Deanna's instructions for making a Furoshiki bag.

I also counted the ends per inch: 75

Even though it would make a cool bag, I decided to hem it and use it as a runner.

Another thing ready for Christmas 2010! (Not as a gift, but as table decor at our house!)

Related posts:
Weaving at Vavstuga
Runners from Vavstuga

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Guest Bath Towels: Yarn Miscalculations

In January, I started weaving some hand towels for our guest bathroom.

My original blogging plan was a beginning, middle and end post for each project. I'm realizing that I have a beginning and an end, as planned.

I also seem to have a post at every point where I get stuck on a project. Sometimes that's a lot of middle!

Here's the first sticking point for this project.

After choosing colors to coordinate with our bathroom, I started browsing for drafts. My plan is to stick with 4 shafts on my Toika for this project.

I searched through everything on, narrowing my choices down to three.

I started calculating how I'd use my stash yarn to work with the drafts I like.

The yarn is an assortment of cotton, mostly 8/2 and 10/2 from lots of different sources. I want to use a light colored warp and weave each towel with a different weft. Using that method, I shouldn't have problems with different yarns shrinking at different rates. At least that's the theory, backed up by helpful advice from Sandra Rude.

The different wefts might have different shrink rates, so the towels may end up different sizes. I'm OK with that.

I love this pale blue-gray. It would make a great warp for this project.

I determined the sett, and used my McMorran yarn balance to calculate how much yarn I had.

2 problems:
  1. I only have enough warp yarn for 2 towels...I don't like to warp the loom for such a small number of towels.
  2. Because the sett is tighter than I imagined, the patterns I've chosen from will be very small - maybe 1 cm in width.
For every problem, there's a solution. (You know that one of my favorite solutions is "More Yarn".)

I ordered some cotton-linen from WEBS. I didn't have color samples, so I ordered a gray that looked like my blue-gray from stash. As a back up I ordered white.

Since I was ordering, I also scooped up two cones of merino-tencel. I'm not done playing with shadow weave yet. I thought this might make a nice scarf with one of the designs I've developed.

I headed back to to look for wider drafts so the patterns would show up better from far away.

Related posts:
Getting started

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Igloo in Exeter

What's an ice fisherman to do after catching 200 smelt on the Squamscot River in Exeter, NH?

Leave the fish shack and

build an igloo out of river ice. I like how it has an ice block bench built right in!

The ice is about 16 inches thick. The blocks in a rectangle surround where the river ice was cut using a chainsaw.

The igloo has some historic backdrops.

I love this mill building. I'm always glad to have an excuse to photograph it.

Mills that have been converted to apartments

Igloo with a more natural backdrop

The small building behind the igloo is the Exeter Powderhouse, where gun powder for the town was once stored.