Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On being a "process" person:

Here it is....4 oz. of hand processed (washed, dyed, drum carded) merino x coopworth fleece. I don't think I've shown this fleece before. It's been washed and dyed for awhile.

Not pictured here: the border leicester x romney fleece is washed and dry, about half pound of corriedale is washed in the locks for future combing, and all of the white alpaca is washed and some of it combed.

I just basically enjoy processing good quality animal fiber. It's relaxing and satisfying to create a beautifully spinable product.

This week PBS has provided me with a lot of spinning time while watching Carrier. It's been fascinating to learn about life on the Nimitz.

Answering Comments: Mary & Wanda asked about the tea. We think it was effective. People just needed to be together and get a glimpse of why things work the way they do. No hats, white gloves, nor anyone under the age of 50 were present. However, we did ask them to bring a tea cup if they liked. A few beautiful pieces of bone china showed up, many of them inherited from mom's or mother-in-laws.

One of the women, Irene, has not been in church for most of this year because of emphysema. She's in her 80's and everyone loves her and takes her under their wing. It turns out that another of the women (a generation younger) brought a tea cup that originally belonged to Irene's mom. So that was kind of neat.

Gotta go drag the wheel in front of the tv. Carrier is about to start for the evening.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What's become of me?!

Spent this afternoon hosting a tea party with my (non-fiber) friend, Janet. We coordinate the prayer chain at church and it appeared we had some kinks and weak links, so used the "tea" as a means to draw people together and encourage them a bit.

Janet got 100 of those little sandwiches & strawberries. I got the petits fours and other fruit. With a good selection of teas, we were all set.

There's irony in this:
  • I am not a "tea party" kind of gal. The whole time we were setting up, I told Janet I kept looking for a baby doll and a teddy bear to sit at the table. That's the only sort of tea party I've ever been too, until today....and I was one of the hosts!
  • Also, I had 5 (count 'em...five!) tea pots to bring to this event. All but one of them were gifts. (So other people must think I'm a tea party kind of gal?) Granted two of them were wedding gifts from 31 years ago, but still.
  • Janet isn't a tea party gal either, but she had all the stuff left to her by her mother-in-law. We bumbled along together, with fairly good result.
So what's becoming of me...Violin concerto's and tea parties?! I have a reputation to maintain here!

Spent yesterday washing the raw fibers in the Harry Chapin's "Cat's Cradle re-do" post.

The fleece in the top photo is 3.5 lbs. of Border Leicester X Romney. I bought it with plans to dye and spin it for tapestry weaving. The 3rd photo in that post is 12 oz. of fine white alpaca bought at the same time with absolutely no rational thought about what I would do with it or when I would process and spin it......

Now that's a bit more like my usual reputation!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Air & String....

Last night was the Hilary Hahn performance with the DSO . The tickets were the birthday present that I told you about here.

Her playing is more amazing in person than I anticipated. She is able to clearly bring out many "voices" in one piece. On her cd's there are times when I wondered who is playing the "other violin". The answer: no one, she brings all those voices into the piece through her hands.

The audience was absolutely awe struck, just like me. And so, I will share a little of this with you:

Now that you've seen her play, here's a different perspective:

And if you'd like to hear how she thinks about her work take a listen to DSO Unmasked on April 20. Sit down with your knitting, spinning, or cup of tea and enjoy!

Friday, April 18, 2008

With apologies to Harry Chapin:

A Fleece arrived just the other day,
It came to the house in the usual way,
But there was yarn to knit and bills to pay.
It joined the stash while I was away.
And it was boxed up ’fore I knew it, and as it sat.
"It said I’m gonna be like that yarn,
You know, I’m gonna be like that."

And the cat’s in the roving and the silver combs,
Little drum carders and the dye pot too.
"When you gonna wash me?"
"I don’t know when, but we’ll get you processed then, Fleece.
You know we’ll make some great yarn then."

That Fleece turned 10 just the other day,
It said, "Thanks for the wash, Val, come on let’s play. Can you dye me pretty?"
I said, "Not today, I got a lot to do." It said, "That’s okay."
And as I walked away, it’s luster never dimmed.
It said, "I’m gonna be like that yarn,
You know, I’m gonna be like that."

And the cat’s in the roving and the silver combs,
Little drum carders and the dye pot too.
"When you gonna dye me?"
"I don’t know when, but we’ll get you processed then, Fleece.
You know we’ll make some great yarn then."

I came home from SOAR just the other day,
So full of ideas I just had to say: "Fleece I’m proud of you can we spin for awhile?"
It shook it’s locks and said with a smile, "What I’d really like, Val, is a run through the combs.
See the vm that you missed before?"

And the cat’s in the roving and the silver combs,
Little drum carders and the dye pot too.
"When you gonna card me?"
"I don’t know when, but we’ll get you processed then, Fleece.
You know we’ll make some great yarn then."

Well, I've long since retired but I have less time,
I dug the Fleece out just the other day.
I said, "I'd like to spin you if you don't mind."
It said, "I'd love to Val, if I could draft just fine.
But this waxy grease's a hassle and there's keds in here too,
but it's sure nice talking to you, Val.
It's been sure nice talking to you."
And as I packed up that fleece it occurred to me,
My stash was owning me,
yes, my stash was owning me.

And the cat’s in the roving and the silver combs,
Little drum carders and the dye pot too.
"When you gonna spin me?"
"I don’t know when, but we’ll get you processed then, Fleece.
You know we’ll make some great yarn then."

Photo's and text property of Valerie M.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Workshop 1:

This is the scarf designed, warped, and partially woven in Suzanne Halvorson's workshop at Heritage this past weekend.

One photo is daylight, the other is incandescent, hence the shift from blue/white tone to yellow tones.

The yarn is Bambu 7, the sett is 24 EPI for a warp faced weave. The structure is plain weave with pick and pick accents.

When I first cut the fabric off the loom, I was severely disappointed because the fabric was as stiff as card stock. My thoughts were, "Oh well, this will never make a scarf. Guess I'll figure out a way to make a small bag of it."

It is unbelievable how this fiber softens up with wet finishing! I soaked in tepid water with Eucalon overnight. (Overnight: primarily because I was exhausted from re-warping the loom and starting the new workshop with Jason Collingwood.) In the morning I squeezed out the excess moisture and threw it in the dryer with bath towels and a dryer sheet on extra low heat for about 12 minutes (as long as it took to eat my oatmeal). Since I had to leave the house to get to the other weaving workshop on time, I took the still very damp, very stiff, scarf out of the dryer and threw it across the ironing board to be dealt with later.

Last night after dragging myself, my loom, and all the stuff schlepped to Jason's workshop home, I walked past the scarf and touched it. Totally amazing!! Once dry it totally softened up and has beautiful drape worthy of a scarf.

All in all, I'm pleased with the result and would recommend giving Bambu yarn a try. Save your judgement until after it's washed.

I'll post on the Collingwood workshop later.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Saturation point:
I spent the weekend in Suzanne Halvorson's class. Designed a color scheme, warped the loom, participated in class exercises, and wove off the warp in time to re-warp the loom for Jason Collingwood's workshop which started today. From scarves to rugs in one fell swoop!

Spent today in Jason's Four End Block Weave class w/ shaft-switching. Lot's of information today, not so much weaving accomplished. The coming two days should rectify that. Must spend tonight digging through my stash to find the perfect background color for those egg dyed yarns.

In addition to learning the content of the two classes, I've been learning a few other things:
  • I still am not a "social learner". I have always hated classes where you break out into groups and discuss or problem solve. Certain types of material is very conducive to that approach. But when I'm trying to master something new or assimilate information to make it my own, it goes much better if I can go off to a corner and manipulate, mutilate, and sometimes digest the information.
  • I have been given the gift of a strong foundation of the basics in weaving and color theory by some very good teachers.
  • I know more than I think I do about some things.
  • I don't know as much as I thought I did about others.
  • I'm going to throttle the next class mate who sits besides me and counts out their threading/treadling sequence out loud when I'm using a different sequence. On second thought, I may do it even if it is the same sequence I'm using.
So it's no surprise to get this result:

Your Thinking is Concrete and Sequential

You are precise, orderly, and realistic.

You tend to get to the point and get things done.

Difficult, detailed work is easy for you. You take things step by step.

Time limits aren't a problem for you either. You work well with deadlines.

What does drive you crazy is any sort of task that isn't precisely laid out.

You don't like anything to be ambiguous. You prefer to deal with the facts at hand.

You'll have to wait for photo's. It's a jam packed week.