Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Summer Fuzz Fest

I heard today that the Summer Fuzz Fest will be held August 15, from 10 - 2 at Riverslea Farm in Epping, NH, USA.

Mark your calendars!!!

What's a Fuzz Fest you ask?? A gathering of people who love fiber. The summer version will be outdoors under large tents.

Check out the Winter Fuzz Fest to get an idea what goes on.


Sorry for my inadvertent blog hiatus. I'll be back soon I hope! I miss you guys!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Help with a Caption, Please!!

Doesn't this photo cry out for a funny caption???

Make us laugh in the comments, please!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Changing Gears

After a couple of busy weeks - busy with boring, unbloggable stuff - I'm changing gears in my studio.

The painted warps are dry, stashed and waiting for design work then summer weaving.

I've got wefts and treadlings chosen for my first samples on the towel warp. Weaving will commence, first thing tomorrow!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Colors of March

Time to show our colors!!!

Each month, I take pictures of the natural colors where I live in New Hampshire, for creative inspiration.

March has surprised me so far. I was picturing spring green, first flowers or shoots, and instead I've got pictures of high water, nighttime visitors, and the beach. As the month progresses, I'm sure more of the March I imagined will appear.

My neighbor's maple tree
Collecting sap for syrup

Raccoon in a tree at night

Our beloved Loaf & Ladle restaurant flooded by the Exeter River

High water thundering around our favorite old mill

Glad the mill is sturdy!

Birch and salt marsh

Ducks in the marsh

Birch and junipers

Mouth of the Merrimack River

I invite everyone to join in with their own colors of March.

The rules are simple:
  1. Take photos of natural colors wherever you are
  2. Put them in a blog post that links back to this post (so other people can find the challenge)
  3. Add your link to the MckLinky below.
I'll welcome in April by summarizing this list, so please join the fun and inspiration by the end of March!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

DPS: Commute

At Digital Photography School this week, the assignment is "Commute".

I used to drive 47 miles to work and 47 miles back home. I definitely could have taken pictures of that drive!

Now, since I'm pretty much a slacker, I don't commute.

Unless you count walking upstairs to my studio

Here I go

Bailey thinks his job is to guard the bird feeders and watch squirrels.

His commute is just walking out the back door (or dashing out if he thinks he can actually catch a squirrel).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Beater on my Toika Loom

Gjeani of Handmade by Gjeani , who recently brought home a new-to-her Toika loom, asked for pictures of how the beater on my Toika is attached.

Side view

The beater contains a 26 inch reed, instead of a full 60 inches, since I'm working on hand towels.

Front of beater

Back of beater

Bottom attachment

Hope this helps!!! Happy weaving!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

White Hyacinths

White hyacinths on the kitchen table make the whole house smell like spring.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

DPS: Jump

This week at Digital Photography School, the assignment is "Jump".

My plan had been to take shots of Bailey jumping on rocks in the woods. When he was a puppy, we trained him to climb rocks and jump off. Now he does that whenever we go for walks, hoping to get treats.

But I procrastinated.

This afternoon, with the deadline looming, we took Bailey to the beach. He played so vigorously with a terrier at the beach that he was limping when we got home.

I'm sure he'll be fine tomorrow....but meanwhile, I had to quickly come up with a different photo subject in the fading afternoon light.

Enter Carrot Top

This stuffed bunny has traveled far and wide...Alaska, Turkey, Greece.

I am sure he didn't mind jumping around in the driveway.

Bailey liked this game, but not as much as when we did the scarf photo shoot. If you look closely at this picture, you can see the hand of Mr. LifeLoomsLarge, who launched the bunny into the air and kept Bailey from chasing it on the way down.

Bailey loved this assignment.

Somehow Carrot Top always looks Photoshopped into these pictures, but I promise he was really sailing (er, jumping) through the air.

I thought I'd learned the lesson that when I have the right conditions for a photo, I should take the picture right away.

Today's assignment reinforces that lesson. Procrastination is not this photographer's friend.

(My very long driveway and private yard is a great asset! The neighbors may think I'm crazy, but they don't get to see proof too often!)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

7 Favorite New Blogs

Thank you Donatella! She awarded me a Kreative Blogger Award, and you find her lovely blog here.

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
2. Copy the logo and place it in your blog.
3. Link the person who nominated you.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.
5. Nominate seven 'Kreativ Bloggers'
6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

Seven Things about Me
  1. Seven sometimes seems like a very high number!
  2. Even though I love dessert, I really dislike whipped cream, mousse, or anything really mushy.
  3. I have a little bit of paint on my fingers as I type this. Why? We painted our kitchen today!!
  4. When I saw Avatar on DH's birthday, I got a whopping headache and felt very sick to my stomach. Was that motion sickness?? (Or just a very long movie?)
  5. Figure skating is my favorite part of watching the winter Olympics.
  6. I'm afraid to hike in bear country, and the idea of mountain lions creeps me out.
  7. In December 2008, just as I started to blog, I also was wishing for a supportive creative community. I had no idea that my blogging friends would become a big part of that for me. (I love all my real life creative buddies too!)
Phew! Glad that's over! On to the interesting part....

7 Kreativ Blogs

You know I love reading lots of blogs. Here are 7 favorites that I've recently started following.

This I Choose where my real life weaving friend Pam documents her projects

Tuesday Weavers
: A weaving group that weaves together on Tuesdays. I practically want to move to Tennessee so I can weave with them!

Acorn to Oak features lots of different projects (and you know how I like variety!)

The Jolly Bee
is another blog with a variety of beautiful projects. (And her mother is a weaver!)

Homespun Fiber also has a variety of projects, including weaving.

Atelier 44
Thank goodness for Google Translate, so I can see Marion's creative genius in action with spinning, weaving, dyeing, knitting and more!

versponnen-verwebt where I can see what Wiebke's up to, including weaving, spinning and knitting. She helped answer a Toika question that had me stumped earlier this winter. Thanks Wiebke!!

Thanks for the award Donatella!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fabric Backing for Pillow Shams

My warp painting project involves a scarf warp and a warp for two king-sized pillow shams.

For the pillow shams, I dyed some fabric for the back of the shams, just in case. I have enough warp for 2, maybe 3 sets of shams.

I figured having coordinating backing fabric could be a good thing. This technique is a great and easy way to use leftover dye.

I very vaguely followed these instructions from ProChem. Reading back over them, I see that I took huge liberties. I was very tired from painting warps on the floor for 2 days.

The fact that the power was out didn't make my mind any more clear.

I wasn't trying to defy their instructions. I thought I was following them just fine.

Ahead of time, I washed and dried the fabric by machine.

As part of my dye preparations, I washed my yarns and fabric in synthrapol by hand.

On the morning of dyeing, I soaked the fabric in the same soda ash solution that I used for my painted warps.

Then I shoved each yard of fabric into an applesauce jar. I started with one corner and just packed it in.

When I was finished painting warps, I measured 1/3 cup of each of my three colors, red, orange and yellow.

I was low on red and yellow, so I added some extra orange dye to the red, and added extra apricot dye to the yellow. (That might be why my final result came out so orange.)

I just poured the 1/3 cup of each color of dye into the jar, put the lid on it and let it sit in a warm room (70° F or 21°C) overnight with my two warps.

One fabric piece in the destination bedroom
With one cute Brittany

24 hours later, after some room temperature soaks, and one hot synthrapol rinse, I had two vividly colored pieces of fabric.

I wish I'd captured more red and yellow and less orange.

Maybe I would have if I'd had the right amount of dye, and if I'd actually followed the directions.

So these might end up as backs to my pillow shams.

Or linings to tote bags.

Or cut up, this fabric could be placemat weft.

Or I could make a cool blaze orange vest for hunting season.

I definitely recommend this technique. But maybe you should follow ProChem's directions for best results!!

Related posts:
Painted warps drying
Pillow sham warp being painted
Tencel scarf warp being painted

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Folding my Warp in Half

Now, before I started all that warp painting, what was I working on?

Towels for our guest bathroom.

I was stuck after making a silly mistake.

When I finished winding one cone of yarn on my warping board, I realized I only had 1/4 of the warp ends needed. Oops!!! I'd used half of my yarn already. Not good.

I went back to check my math. I made a simple mistake. I assumed that each cone of yarn held 1 pound of yarn, when in reality each held 1/2 a pound.

I felt bad about that assumption, but after winding all of those warps for warp painting, I realized that 1 pound cones are very common.

But still, what to do about my warp?

I decided that rather than buy more yarn, I'd fold the warp in half.

Some people fold a warp in half on purpose, particularly when setting up a complicated color sequence that will be symmetrical. In that case, you'd wind the warp twice as long as needed, put a cross at both ends, and fold the warp in half when you're dressing the loom.

End with cross on left and end with counting tie on right

In my case, I didn't have a cross at both ends, but I did have a cross at one end and a counting tie every 1/2 inch at the other end. I decided that was good enough.

I marked the center of the warp with a new counting tie, then folded the warp.

I decided to dress the loom front to back. For the portion of the warp that had a cross, I used the cross. For the portion that just had the counting tie, I selected my threads out of the counting tie.

Section with cross sleyed, starting on section with counting tie

Each segment within the counting tie isn't too hard to divide up

It worked surprisingly well.

After threading and beaming on, here's the fold

Phew!! That much closer to weaving!!

Related posts:
Ordering more yarn for warp
Getting started

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saved by the Stash

What is this monstrosity???

A giant slipper from Noro Kureyon that I will knit then felt.

Can you see that I'm running out of yarn??? Uh-oh!!

Perhaps I should have tried harder to get gauge.

Perhaps I shouldn't have extended the cuff by an inch.

Luckily, I have this purple yarn in my stash that I think would make cute purple toes on both of my slippers. (The Kureyon skeins are slightly different colors.)

I'm thinking of knitting the toe with two strands for durability and because the purple seems a little thinner than the Kureyon.

All of you experienced knitter/ you think that will work???? Adding in a different yarn? Knitting with two strands of that yarn??

I could always frog this and keep the cuff the right size, so then I could eke out enough yarn for the toe.

Related posts:
Starting this project last fall

Even though my LL Bean slippers are on their last legs, I repaired them so I got another winter out of them. (I sound confident that spring is here, even though we've just had one sunny day in the 50's. (10-15 C))

I'm more confident that I'll have these slippers done for next winter!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Finished! Red Velvet Curtain Gauntlets

Hot off the needles, here are my fingerless gloves.

What I liked about this project:
  • Interesting and quick to knit
  • Such a soft and comfortable end result
  • I still LOVE this yarn

What I learned from this project:
  • Sometimes I need to go through the project directions and make them my own at the beginning

What I'd do differently next time:
  • Finish while it's still cold enough in my house to need to wear them (But not will be cold again next winter!!)

Yarn: Misti Alpaca Handpaint Worsted in color 035 (Inca Red)
Pattern: Velvet Curtain Gauntlets

Needles: Size 6
Amount of yarn: 1.75 oz (Less than 1/2 skein)

Finished size: 6.75 x 3.125 inches (length and width of gauntlet)

Pattern modifications: Cast on 2 extra repeats of pattern (42 stitches)

These seem to stay put pretty well. Since they have a thumb hole, but not really a thumb, I can push them back and use them as wrist-warmers when needed.

I might still have enough of this yarn left to knit another pair.

Related posts:
Starting this project

Or go see it on ravelry.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

DPS: Beverages

If some of my other posts for Digital Photography School's month of food photography made you hungry, do not worry about this one!

The subject for this week is beverages.

In normal times, even though I'm a pretty boring beverage person (I drink water, water and more water), I figured I'd just take pictures of beverages at each meal. No problem....Jim likes coffee, wine, beer, soda. I thought I'd have tons of pictures.

Between the power outage and the internet outage, beverage photography was the farthest thing from my mind. Plus, it's been very cold and gray for over a week, so we haven't had good light.

Luckily, I took one photo before the gloom set in, so here it is...

V8 juice (but let's pretend it's a Bloody Mary!)

Updates & Answers to Questions:
  1. Power was finally fully restored to our neighborhood today. Our end of the street was among the first 10% of customers to get power back. The other end of the street was in the last 2%.
  2. Bailey did have to be bribed to swim for my Welcome March post. He looked at us like we had to be kidding, but he did seem to enjoy it at least a little.
  3. Raccoons are 41 to 72 cm (16.1–28.0 in) long with a weight of 3.6 to 9.0 kg (7.9–19.8 lb) according to wikipedia. The raccoon in my photo was a large raccoon. Alas, I have not seen him since that morning. That may be a blessing because they can be destructive, getting into trashcans, birdseed and other mischief.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Welcome March!

Each month, I take photos to show color combinations outdoors where I live, to get inspiration for weaving, knitting, quilting, or whatever you'd like to be inspired to do!

Tree broken in wind storm

I'm hoping that January and February were the two most difficult months for most of us in this challenge (at least those of us in the northern hemisphere). Both months were cold, often snowy, with a limited color palette here in New Hampshire.

Deer tracks

I am inspired to see that some of you are already sharing photos of flowers. The months should get more and more colorful outdoors.

Huge thanks to all of the folks who participated in February. Here are their colors!!

The Colors of February

Paloma Chaffinch
in the South of England

Colleen from Penny-Wise People in New Hampshire

Basically Benita in Indiana

Leisurely Lesley
in Australia

Leigh at Five Acres & a Dream in the Carolinas

Sharon In Stitches in Nevada

Tina from A Blip on the Radar in the Pacific Northwest

Sara, the Fabric n Fiber Fanatic in New Hampshire

Nina from Odette's Obsessions in Ontario, Canada

Jenny from Daisy Hill Weaving Studio in Charlevoix, Michigan

Jennifer from Finding the Real Me on a trip to San Diego, California

K Spoering from My Life is but a Tapestry in Colorado

Valerie from Fiberewtopia in Michigan

Delighted Hands in Florida

Jennifer from Finding the Real Me at home in South Carolina

Evelyn Oldroyd in British Columbia

Janet from Janet's Threads in Seattle, Washington

Annie from Weaverannie Knits and Spins in the Netherlands

My colors from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts

Bailey's first swim of the year

I'll be back, mid-March to kick off the colors of March. With any luck, the snow here will melt, maybe even revealing some early flowers. But really, in March I'll be counting on the rest of you to provide color!! (As you can see from all of these pictures I took today, signs of spring are hard to come by right now....since it's still winter!!)

Ferns under snow

Related posts:
Colors of January
Colors of December
Colors of November
Colors of late October