New Studio

New Studio
Here is a pic mid-move,  pardon the piles, from L to R, Baby Wolf the New Jack loom, on the Left side of the fire-place Ashford Traveller and on the right a Bosworth Journey Wheel.

I’ve been away but I have a very good excuse, I’ve been moving. Not moving far, just moving upstairs. One thing we’ve learned having a small house and living in it for over 20 years now is that we keep re-purposing rooms. It is how we avoid outgrowing the house I guess. This move started when Nathan’s mom, Eileen, asked if I would like to have her loom. She and her husband are selling their house and downsizing. I’ve turned down loom-offers before but this time as soon as Scott texted me her offer I had the feeling this was a loom I wanted. Now squeezing another loom, especially another, bigger floor loom into the studio downstairs means getting rid of the desk, the couch or possibly the bathroom…

I’ve thought about changing the living room around for a long time and almost bought a couch the other month but I just couldn’t do it and I finally figured out it was because I was trying to figure out a way to fit a loom upstairs. I haven’t been weaving much recently and that keeps me from being as happy as I could be and it’s because I don’t have much time to spend downstairs in the studio during the day and not enough light in the evening. However I do have time to weave a little every day if I had a loom more conveniently located upstairs where I work all day. Meanwhile Scott is insulating the den with stacks of cigar boxes and has two friends coming to kick me out of the studio over the Summer so when I suggested moving my stuff out and giving him the studio he jumped at the opportunity.

We drove the truck over to Port Gamble on Saturday to meet the loom. We disassembled it and I took the small pictures to be able to put it together again when we got home. The big side pieces just fit into the Tacoma with blankets between them and the center jack or shed-lifting mechanism is one piece that actually lifts out of the frame.  It is elegantly designed with sliding wood slats in dowel frames that require minimal hardware. The larger picture is reassembled that evening in the living room. Isn’t the light great? It went back together easily. I still have a lot to do moving the rest of my yarn and jewelry-making supplies out of the studio and moving the rest of Scott’s cigar boxes downstairs but I could not be more grateful!

Yay, I can spin again!

I have had a terrible time with my hands this winter. If you’ve ever had skin cracks you’ll know what I mean. If you don’t, it is where your fingertips get dry, frayed and split where the nail meets the pad. They feel tender like you are covered in paper cuts and it makes folding underwear, wire wrapping and spinning impossible.  Continue reading “Yay, I can spin again!”

The FO!

Finished Object, that is! I decided to finish it as a scarf. I usually think of a scarf as a large swatch, a good way to try out yarns, gauge, etc. and to test finishing. Well this is one is a keeper. Once I got it off of Scott long enough to wash and dry it, I could see that it didn’t need any other finishing. It is squishy and soft and has a nice hand. I think this fabric would make a very comfortable vest or jacket.

Lessons learned:

I love the raddle for warping.

I need real lease-sticks. The wood I am using worked fine for the cotton warp but is not smooth enough for sock yarn.

Be careful with your tension as you wind warp onto the warping reel. Sock yarn is stretchy and I’ll bet you could end up short if you would it tightly.

Beat gently and with an open shed. I had a lot of trouble with my selvedges in the beginning until I figured that out. The boucle acts like velcro and won’t slide in the shed at all.

I love my Baby Wolf!

My Latest Project

I just started the new weaving project and it is beautiful, Robin picked a twill pattern for me and showed me how to tie up the treadles. You can’t really see the twill pattern unless you get really close (see pic) but it makes the fabric feel different than plain weave. I love the color and how supple the material is even before finishing. I had planned on a stole but maybe I’ll just get some more sock yarn and make the jacket out of Small Loom and Freeform Weaving since my width is just right.

Continue reading “My Latest Project”

The orange warp is exhausted

The warp is exhausted but I am ready for more! I made two scarves, a table mat and got a bunch of nice “ties” from the loom waste. Since Robin had me tie up the treadles 4, 3, 2, 1, I was able to discover two techniques, weft floats and inlay on my own. I later found a blog describing the same treadling pattern and calling it Moorman Technique. What is cool about it is that it leaves the sari silk on the top layer and the cotton makes a smooth backing, see pix of table mat below. Next up I will try a stole. The warp will be dark grey cotton with dark red boucle as weft.

Weaving!

I warped my Baby Wolf loom all by myself this morning which means….Robin is a really good teacher!  There are six main processes that have to be completed before you can weave:

The Dye-In

I had a great time at the NwRSA dye-in this weekend hosted by The Pines Farm in Maple Valley. Betty Crotchitt and I went together. The farm is beautiful and the outdoor dyeing studio that Lin has set up is something I’d love to copy for my own backyard.  Those of us who weren’t dyeing gathered under the big trees to stay out of the sun. It was quiet, pastoral and every once in a while a sheep would come up to the fence and baa at us. Too cute! Betty dyed some yarn in a dark grayish-green and roving in a bright sapphire blue while I visited, spun some baby camel and tussah silk fiber on my drop spindle, and ate too many cookies.

I brought the raffle basket that I won at the last spin-in filled with a mix of exotics to spin. I didn’t get a picture but I included hand-dyed bamboo roving, hand-painted sock yarn and baggies of tussah silk sliver, cotton, angora from Rosie, and mulberry silk. I also slipped in a packet of stitch markers I made, lavender tea light candles and some fancy French chocolates. I hope the winner enjoys it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

I was looking for a way to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Meán Geimhridh and Kwanzaa in July and I finally decided to stick with tradition and have a holiday sale!  Not very imaginative, I know, but I am offering free shipping on everything in my store. I don’t have any stitch marker sets listed yet, but I will be making some for sale soon. Click here to visit Dunthor Design on Etsy.

A Perfect Saturday

What a fun day! Betty Crotchitt and I went to the NwRSA “area 2030” spin-in at the White Center Library and had a very enjoyable get-together.  I like what a multicraftual crowd this is, while most of us were spinning, someone was making a rug, one was knitting and another was weaving a basket. The carrot cake was awesome and I won the monthly basket raffle. The basket contains a knitting calendar with some great patterns, yarns and spinning fiber. She who wins the basket gets to refill it for next time and I am already gathering things for it.

When I got home, we took the angoras out into the dog yard and let them play in the sunshine. They live indoors so this was a big deal for them. I brought them one by one out into the fenced dog yard right off the kitchen, without the dog, for now. It is the first time the cinna-buns have officially met little Freya. Their crates are next to one another but they’ve not been loose together. They loved the sun and once they got the pecking order established they all ran and played together. There was a bit of mounting-behavior but that was all between Ivy and Angus, the littermates. Rosie spent a lot of time grooming Freya’s ears and Freya teased Angus into chasing her. They chewed some elm leaves and lemon balm and dug a few holes. It was great to see them relax and play since they are still kind of nervous in general. I was surprised that it wasn’t as hard to round them up as I thought it might be.

We finished up with pot roast and turnips for dinner, a long dog-walk and The Golden Compass. Just ducky.

Video of Freya on her first backyard outing

1st backyard outing for the bunnies

Wool in the Woods

We just spent the weekend at Wool in the Woods, the annual conference of the NwRSA, the Northwest Regional Spinners Association, at Pinelow Park in Loon Lake, WA which, by the way, takes the record for the longest distance I’ve ever driven a vehicle.  This was a larger event than I expected — a lot of people, mostly women, attended and my fellow spinster from the Alaska cruise was there with her district as well as a few members of mine. The weather alternated between rain and sun and the temps were the same as we have been having in Seattle. I had signed us up for a tent-site because dogs were not allowed in cabins but the camping area was too soggy so the management allowed us dog-people to have them in the cabins after all.

The place was really nice — the setting was beautiful, the showers were clean, the beds were comfortable but the best part, of course, was the conference itself. I took classes on spinning angora, silk, slippery fibers and a technical class on twist, tension and wraps per inch. The other offerings were knitting techniques, basket weaving and classes on dyeing, including indigo, persimmon and other natural dyes. When I wasn’t in a class, I was usually at the seemingly 24hr spin-in going on in the main lodge. There were more wheels than I’ve ever seen before — whole herds of Lendrum and Ashfords and fiber and tool vendors. Scott somehow neglected to bring along one of the many hats I’ve knit him over the years and ended up buying a felted wool hat from Thistledown Shetlands and he surprised me with a beautiful yarn-bowl made by Sarah Alderete. I won a table swift provided by Paradise Fibers as a door prize and I bought a drop spindle from Spindlewood, a little maple one-yard niddy-noddy that matches my Journey Wheel from The Bellwether, some silk from Dyelots and some pure white angora from Margaret Gisselberg, the woman who taught the Angora class. She had sheep-wool, angora fiber and bunnies and yup, we have a new bunny. Her name is Freya and she is a 9 week old German-Satin hybrid. She is calm, poised and extremely well socialized and sat in my lap for hours each night while I participated in the spin-in. I may need to change my Etsy store name from Dunthor to Angora Addiction.

While I was doing all that, Scott and Rob were taking long walks in the woods and along the lake, taking long naps, loitering on the bench outside the lodge greeting everyone who went by and just hanging out together. Rob didn’t want to leave. I had to lift him into the truck — he wouldn’t jump up on his own. Little Freya rode about halfway home in the big crate next to Rob’s inside the truck canopy and the rest of the way in my lap. That makes her the only beast, besides Mom’s Freddy, who has ridden in the cab of my truck — everyone else rides in the back. Freya has her own bunny crate at home and is getting introduced to the cinna-buns very slowly. She is getting her exercise in the kitchen and I think she’d like Rob better if he’d quit tossing toys on her. He really wants her to play so he scootches up to her in a play bow pose and then lobs stuffed animals at her, LOL.

Video of evening spinning session – part 1

Video of evening spinning session – part 2

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