Wednesday, March 18, 2015

An Amazing Eight Days!

Meet "Madison Ava" born March 10th, 2015 and weighed 8 pounds, 2 ounces. Yes, that's me cuddling her. She's a very calm and cuddly baby. When she sleeps, her whole body relaxes. Some newborns still stay clenched with arms and legs folded up. Not this little girl!

This was our first peek at her on her actual birth  day. The hat looks large on here there but its only three to four inches across and is *very* tiny!

We headed over to meet her and see Ethan this past Friday.  Bruce fell in love with one look! 

Okay,  maybe Nana fell hard too with my first cuddle. We are working on a burp here!

Everything is so brand new!

Then there was Ethan, who will be three in April. He is the complete opposite of his calm sister! Constantly on the move, constantly talking in full sentences, and with intermittent shrieks!

Ethan is also train crazy.  This pleases Grandad Bruce, a retired locomotive engineer, to no end! We gave him one toy Thomas the Tank engine way back when he was first born.  Then his parents surrounded him with many other toys and play centres, but he found that train and hasn't looked back since! Here we are giving him a new stool with a train on it. He can now get closer to the sink wash his hands or help with the dishes. 

He watches Thomas the Tank on the iPad. The only time he's quiet outside of his bed at night I might add.

....or sits on the couch and watches Thomas the Tank and his Friends on the big screen TV....

.....or better still, you play train crash with Grandad!  Grandad's train fell down the hill in what must have been the worse crash of Bruce's railway career!

Ethan took me upstairs to show me his room and also to show me Madison's tree:

Soft dove gray with pink accents and little dragon flies. I found a little pink onesie with a dragon fly and also bibs and little soft shoes with dragon flies. Then there was the blanket I wove this past October.... two links to view:   here and here.  This used to be our guest room when we came to stay. We had a quiet hotel room to withdraw to at night instead this time. {But we were rudely woken *early* every morning by running children in the room directly above our heads every morning!  Quite the joke huh? }

The blanket finally made its final destination and put to use right away.  That makes a weaver feel good!

Also in the last eight days, to add to the joy,  my long time bachelor brother announced he and his lady are now engaged! No date set as yet.   Then my daughter  got married this past Friday in Colorado!  She and her new husband live in the Denver, Colorado area.   Then finally, my dear Dad is being released from hospital today after being admitted in January.  His situation was touch and go for awhile, so going home again must feel very sweet!

All that's missing is the lottery win...... but I think we already have done that!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Taking Her Out for a Spin

... Or "driving Ms. Daisy"....

I have a new tool in the studio!  A warping mill or warping reel.  It has a two yard diameter and can hold up to 20  yards. I suspect that would be rather fine stuff!   The yarn in the pictures is eight yards  of 8/2 cotton for a future  plaid project.  It was a bit awkward at first and by the end of two full bouts of my four to be done, I was a whirling blur and landing the sweet spots on each corner!

My desk is a bit too high for the mill and keeping it on the floor was too low. So it was very handy to score the large carton you see in the first picture as its the right height now.  That box had Bruce's recent birthday gift of a new skookum Sunbeam  table top mixer.   He wants to make his own bread and I think that's a marvelous  idea. { 'skookum' is a Canadian term for something that is wonderful!}

What's on the loom now? Well here's a sneak peak.... yup, more 8/2 cotton.   Approximately eight yards of it for seven towels. Half dozen for the Etsy shop and one for us, plus some samples (or a bread cloth if there is enough warp.... fingers crossed!). Weaving is under way now and of course, the knee sets the pace. My right side feels fine now and its like nothing was done three months ago!  Just a wee bit of swelling late in the day but it doesn't hurt. 

So this was my last warp wound on the warping board for some time.  It was peculiar  and long time getting it done.  The 600 +/- ends were done in short sprints where I would stand and wind like crazy and then sit to take a break and rest my knee.  It took many days to get done.  I ordered the warping mill on day one when I saw the difficulties.  May I also add that the warping mill is on sale at Woolhouse Tools so that was a nice surprise!  

Nana bought a new frame for the latest picture of our favourite grandson, Ethan.  He will be three in mid April.  Where has the time gone?  I actually bought two new frames.... as our new grand daughter and Ethan's sister will be born tomorrow by Cesarean section.   Her spot is there next to her brother already...    Yes, you can expect baby pictures next post!  Her new blanket is wrapped and waiting for her arrival. 

Speaking of time, here's another picture.  (click to enlarge) That's my son Chris (who is Ethan's Dad)  and my recently newly engaged daughter Carrie,  with Bruce and I back in  approximately 1987. Yes, I'm wearing a pair of 'high' high heels and so not normally that tall next to Bruce. We were at a family member's wedding.

Yesterday, Calli went and got her spring haircut and came home with a girly floral bandana. She had 100% more energy and raced around the house.  She's coming up to being five years old this spring. 
Our weather has been unseasonably warm and so she had to get all the long hair off.  (Sorry if you still are surrounded by snow banks, or heading into winter down under).  Our part of  Canada has enjoyed a mild winter with only one or three small snow falls and only one serious cold snap.   

Our quince bush is blooming....    Have you considered moving? Its truly beautiful here.....

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Long Time Coming

Back last November I placed a silk warp  on the Louet Spring, wove in a header and then a few inches to see the pattern develop.... then I stood up and walked away.  I thought about it for a time wondering about what was ahead for me before I could sit down here again and pick up where I had left off.   Through it all, I kept one thing as my end goal.  To be weaving again! (That bit became a sample as I went with different colours)

Besides a "pat on the wood" a couple of times, my first time sitting to weave was six weeks post surgery where I wove for about 10 minutes and I had about an  inch to show for it!   Go me!

It was a busy time with physiotherapy and doctor visits and all the other things that had been put on hold for the past six weeks.   I would weave a bit but gradually increasing the time as muscles and even the bones adjusted to the new activity. It didn't help that the silk is quite fine and so there's a lot of treadling to get some mileage to show!

Then one afternoon I enthusiastically put in a long session and the following day, I had some serious pain difficulties and so had to take a week off to rest and heal. Then I started slowly all over again. Live and learn huh?   :)

So with a new understanding that this was simply going to be a slow process, I just wove a bit every day or every other day.   There was a huge victory cry when the scarves and samples were finally finished!!

Fringe twisting got under way the following day as well as adding some fresh water pearls to the plum paid version.  Nothing added to the black scarf as it could be either masculine or feminine. How do I know this? My husband did some serious 'jonesing' for it until I pointed out he has several scarves in a drawer!

They got a gentle hand washing in the laundry tub and a night to drip dry.  Next day they pressed up nicely with some steam and I nipped off the excess fringe from the twisted tassels with a rotary cutter.

Then came the beauty shots...   some project details for you.  I used 30/2 bombyx silk, tussah silk, and silk yak blend, all approximately 30/2 in weight as my warp. The sett was 36 epi. I used a twelve dent reed and three ends per dent. The black weft is 30/2 silk commercially dyed for a deep even black. It showed off the "boxes" nicely!  The second scarf took on a different look with a cotton silk blend I bought from Treenway many years ago and hand dyed it myself. It was an uneven dye job so the colours vary from soft plum to a touch of eggplant. This effect created an almost plaid like effect in a soft way.

You can see both sides of the scarf in these shots. One side favours the cream and the other the silver beige of the silk yak.  So you can choose depending on your outfit and mood.  :)

The black scarf is 7 by 68 inches  and the plum plaid is 7 by  72 inches and both are very light in physical weight as the silks used are fine.   (Both were woven to 74 inches so you can see the shrinkage in the length.  They lost half an inch in width.)  I even managed some samples for my files as well.

The next warp or two have been planned and one is well under way.  I discovered that standing still at the warping board really hard on both my new hip, but in particular, my left knee which has been complaining loudly of late.   I would stand and wind like a fiend for a few minutes, then sit down to rest and repeated the process. This seriously hurts my bones and so I turned to the internet and started looking for a warping reel.

Schacht has a horizontal model for $399.00 USD .    *gulp*    Too rich for my budget.  I looked for Canadian alternatives and drew a blank. Then I realized I was staring at the Woolhouse Tools Loom and then turned to their web page to see what they have!   They are winding down their business and so if there is an empty blank line after the product name, it means its sold out and not being replaced.  Well imagine my surprise when I saw they have a two yard vertical warping reel and it was on sale!
My lucky day...  

From ordering to arrival took three days and its now assembled. It can hold up to twenty yards +/-  which is six yards better than my existing warping board.   I completed my ongoing warp on the warping board, but I will give the reel a whirl for the next!

A chuckle for you:  I got the next new warp set onto the lease sticks at the back of the Louet earlier today and was getting ready to spread the warp in the raddle...... and then noticed I had forgotten to take the apron rod up and over the back beam. Oops!   Four months since I beamed a loom and I'm back to square one!   :)

I would also like to announce that has just relaunched their web site and it's a tremendous improvement over the old. Fast, colourful and just plain fun to go and play with the drafts.   I left a small donation via paypal to help with the web fees to show my appreciation. Its a wonderful resource for weavers of any level!

A Reversal of Plans....
We had our realtor in place, downsizing underway and even a possible interested buyer but we soon realized that we simply don't have enough time.  I had a call from my surgeon's office last Monday and it seems that they want me to start my pre-op tests as early as  first week of April and I see the surgeon the third week of April.  My knee replacement can come as early as June...or... as late as October.  We had a discussion on the news and we decided with a time spread like that, a move is not a good idea right now.  (Too much stress as well.)  Another year here will give us time to get things better prepared, and hopefully sell the big loom and a bunch of other stuff!

It does mean I will be coming home to a flight of stairs which doesn't thrill me too much but we'll figure a work around.  Might just move the looms to one side and sleep in the studio?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Retail Therapy

I have a confession to make.....

I have indulged in some retail therapy in the past couple of months when in recovery mode.  I may not have been able to weave but I was indulging in some mental future plans! I had some Christmas money, and some sales at my Etsy store burning a hole in my "digital pocket".   Browsing, I found some nice deals on line..... and some pretty things

So here's some show and tell....

Here's a painted cotton and  rayon warp I got from Blazing Shuttles. I can see two delightful scarves coming from this!  Great colour combination, and the rayon shiny 'blips' will add some interest!

This is another one of Blazing Shuttle's painted warps called "Black Opal" and was based on an actual fire opal's intense colours. I see it paired with black and.... well, that's top secret for now!  Let's just say I have  big plans for this!  It's 10/2 rayon and so quite fine.

 So with that in mind, I went looking for my black weft. This is Bambu 12 and in colours Onyx, Truffle and China Red. The black is for the Black Opal project, the truffle beige I thought would be lovely paired with cream silks  and the China Red was an attempt to find a replacement for a lovely deep red shade I had in 10/2 tencel called Persian Red. They don't make it any longer and my searches for any residual stock somewhere have failed.  China Red bambu is lovely but its not the same as the Persian Red.   Bambu 12 is 6300 yards per pound.  The three colours together would make a lovely turned twill arrangement wouldn't it?  

Cotton Clouds also sent along a colour card for the various colours they carry. I can see a few colours I would like to get in the future..... and three I wish I had now!  

I love the three colours on the bottom right: willow, blue mist and blue mist.  The double asterisk means "available seasonally"..... but which season?    I'll be asking soon!

This was actually a "get well gift"!   Nice huh? Deep purple and a colour called Algae silk hand dyed by Dye For Yarn at Etsy. The algae is like a bronze and I think I will pair these colors together. The 20/2 skeins are 50 grams each so there's enough for warp and weft.  Silk is lovely to work with.

  Now this is my "new" old, gently used Royal 500 gram ball winder.  I found it on a sales page. I had another large wooden ball winder but the handle for turning was set horizontally and I found it hard to use with my arthritic hands. It was awkward on the wrist as well.  So I put it up for sale and it went to a new home to a happy new owner.  Then with the sale proceeds I bought this used winder that has a vertical handle, and even has a tension device to boot to give you a neatly shaped centre pull ball, up to 500 grams (or just over a pound).  I have a Royal ball winder for smaller amounts but if you are tempted to push it to its limits, the ball come flying off and goes across the room!  Well, I guess if I ever push this one to the limit, it might be spectacular!

So I've decided if equipment fails me in some way, then move it along and find one that works!  This swap came out dead even $$$ wise but I feel like its an improvement and so I'm happy!
(There was a couple of bits of equipment added to the sale page as well.)

Weaving: well,  I over did it one day last week and so had to take a few days off to rest and ice some tender muscles.  I'm happy to report that as of today I have finally finished the fine silks scarves on the Louet Spring.  I have to weave some samples for my files and then it will be cut off and finishing will begin. So I hope to have some actual finished weaving to show you next time!

I have some projects 'pre planned' on paper and the warp winding will be begin in earnest soon. Standing still in one spot for any length of time is a problem so I will have to do it in stages.  There will have to be a tie up change which will also be a step by step thing too.   I'm learning the limits of my new inner metal bits!

Since I last wrote, we have also had a fast trip to Vancouver as my father has been quite ill and it seemed touch and go for a time. Three hospital moves later and he's now in good hands at St Paul's in downtown Vancouver. BC's premier heart hospital.  Now we wait...

Speaking of waiting.... our daughter in law is due March 10th so not too long to wait.  We hope to go over soon, if not for the birth, then shortly after to meet the new addition to the family!

In the mean time, we continue to go through closets and our 'stuff' and downsize as we prepare to list the house for sale.

Nothing  like a quiet recovery huh?
Now you know why I indulged in some calming retail therapy.   :)

  Happy Valentine's Day!    

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Rolling Stone...

There is one thing all this recent medical stuff  has shown us, is that we need to shift ourselves to a place where all the main living is on one level.... and a much smaller yard.   Right now our home is a two storey place with main floor up and we have 2.25 acres.   Some is natural, and another section is meadow with an orchard and an organic garden area. Lots of mowing and yard work!  The plus side is that the house is fully private and we have a delightful stream running through the property with all kinds of fish and crayfish, otters and even a muskrat.  

We've been here seven years and its time to move and let another family enjoy the property and improvements we have put in.   So it looks like the house is going up for sale and downsizing our "STUFF" has begun.  We are going to go with a full pack by a moving company due to my recovery and joint issues. We'll unpack ourselves in our own sweet time. We have some interest in the house which is very encouraging!

So now that I'm more mobile and in the studio some afternoons again (with short periods of slow weaving!)  I'm culling books and such and will be listing them for sale on the Sale Page which you can find at the top of the blog. I change the date as things are listed or sold so you can see the turn over.   Perhaps book mark it and check often to see if there is something you might like to add to your library or stash? Vintage items (1996 and older) will be listed at my Etsy page too.

I also still have the big Woolhouse Tools CM loom for sale and I need for it to find a new home. There is a sale page at the top of the blog with full details.  I have dropped the price to $4,500.00 which is half the price of a new one.   Pick up is still here at Duncan as I'm not able to do the dismantle myself.  The buyer will benefit from the educational dismantle as it will help putting it back together again!  There is a full manual of course too.

I'm continuing to improve and have some days that are pain free.... and others not so much. I have to take it day by day.  I'm weaving but slowly and for short intervals so that's not too shabby to have started again at 6 weeks post op. ( I'm now 7 weeks post op) Last surgery in 2001, I only could start at 12 weeks post surgery.  The knee is a real issue though and while the 'cure' is in the works, it takes time.  We hope to use the window in between to line up our ducks and take the next logical step.