May 18, 2009
Posted by Wanda J under Family
| Tags: Babies
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Five days left to the wedding, really four in the sense that what’s not done by Saturday most likely won’t get done. Aurora and I spent a couple hours this afternoon tying ribbons around the napkin wrapped plastic ware. (Despite the wedding getting more elaborate than she’d wanted she’s still managed to keep quite a bit of it simple.) Another task ticked off the list.
I’m getting very excited about seeing family and friends, some whom I haven’t seen in a number of years. The weather prediction is positive (though it’s raining quite hard this evening!), and plans seem to be coming together well. There’s still Thursday food cooking and prep, Friday decorating, preparing and rehearsal but it’s all going quite smoothly after the hectic week we had last week.
How crazy can life get when there’s a wedding to prepare for, business is booming, a garden needs planting and the grass leaping towards the sky? Apparently even busier. I hung up the phone after my son called last Monday morning, and had a very serious chat with God. It wasn’t with a thankful heart either. It wasn’t enough that the week was scheduled to the brim with must-do shopping, trying to get a handle on the backed up orders, including three large ones that had to be sent by specific dates. No, life was about to get more demanding.
Our son had received word that he’s to be transferred to the new plant in Boise. Between his new training schedule and several other obligations (like his sister’s wedding) it was the only weekend until the end of June that they could get over to Boise and start looking for a house. Could we watch the kids Thursday afternoon until evening on Friday when the other grandmother would take over babysitting? Of course we said “yes”. We juggled the schedule and moved the main shopping expedition with Aurora’s mother-in-law to be to Wednesday. Monday the grass demanded mowing after completing a day in the office. I was also able to get in some tomato, squash and cucumber plants into the garden. I am so thankful for the early mornings of watering plants and weeding before the demands of the day rush in.
Tuesday morning an email was waiting, friends of ours were heading from California north and would we be home Thursday? Of course. Please stop by, we’d love to see you! It’s not often that people divert the 20+ miles off of I-5 when they’re buzzing up the freeway headed somewhere, so it’s a real treat when they do. We had a lovely time though their visit was too short. And soon the grandkids were coming into the house and friends were back on the road. But not before she pressed a bag of Buffalo Gold into my hands! Real buffalo fiber. I’ve been spindling it up on the spindle in little moments of quiet.
Bless his heart, Ed “took off” most of Friday and played/watched the kids so I could get those crucial orders filled and shipped. He also watched them alone during the late Friday afternoon violin rehearsal for the upcoming spring recital happening in two weeks. They went for long walks, inspected bugs and flowers and in general he tried to keep little Wesley happy. Wesley was not thrilled to be away from his mother and needed lots of holding and attention. Feather was her sweet, happy self. I think she was truly baffled that Wesley was not a happy little boy.
Sunday afternoon there was a very lovely birthday celebration for a woman I’ve known most of my life. She may be 90 in years but not in heart, or looks, she’s still beautiful and looks much as she did when I was young. She played the piano and accompanied the Silvertones as they sang some of her favorite songs. I had to leave the the 90th birthday party early and scurry to attend a baby shower for a young friend who’s expecting her first child in June.
By evening there’s no energy or brain power left to put cohesive sentences together so I’ve been mindlessly knitting a pair of plain socks for Ed, or spinning.
Wesley enjoying the sun and dandelions.
May 10, 2009
Posted by Wanda J under Weaving
| Tags: Stole
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The bag was too light, how was this possible? Taking it from the hook I burrowed past the wallet, keys, and other bits deemed essential when going out the door.
No camera. Odd. Well, maybe not so. Not with my lack of organization and brain function lately. Checked through the fiber bag and spinning wheel case. No camera. Try to think back, mentally retrace my steps. I’d been to the spinning group, on the way home a vista made me pull over and take a few pictures, also of some tulips still bravely nodding. Amazing to see their bright colors; hard rains and winds during the past couple weeks had shredded most tulips.
Arriving in town I needed to do some banking but first a stop at The Purl District to show off the stole. They were in the chaos of moving across the street and down the block so didn’t stay long. Had wanted to take a picture in there. Wish I had. Stu, the mayor of the town was sitting at a table set up on the sidewalk in front of a coffee house, having coffee and talking with a man I vaguely recognized from library days.Stu used to be on the library board when I worked there and we still cross paths. He’s often out and about talking with people on the sidewalks, hanging out here and there: a very public figure. Stu said hi and I thought, “why not?” I don’t normally walk around town showing off my handwork but I was so excited about the stole. Besides, Stu likes to dress up in fancy clothes and I figured he’d appreciate the drape and sheen of the stole, as well as the rows of pearls. He did. I hoped for a second he might commision one for himself. He didn’t. I seriously, badly, wanted to ask if I could take a picture of his holding the stole – Kennearing fashion, you know? But it wasn’t a sock, and so many people take pictures of Stu that I really did not want to climb onto that band wagon. I wish I had. I believed the camera was in my bag at the time. At the bank I took out the wallet and did the bank stuff that needed doing then showed off the stole to three of the women (hey, it’s a rather small town – people do get to know each other).
The only thing I can think of is that after stopping to take the last picture of a great view looking towards Mt Angel and the Abbey is that I didn’t put the camera back into my handbag but just stuck it into the little woven bag. When I got to town I grabbed the bag off the seat but in the jumble of an empty lunch sack, spinning wheel case, two bags of fiber (I was sent home from the spinning group with eight ounces of mystery fiber to spin for a Christmas exchange) I assumed the camera was back in my bag and didn’t stop to make sure. No, the truth is, I didn’t even think about the camera at the moment I got out of the car.
Heading to the computer Wednesday evening to post about the stole I discover it’s gone. With the pictures taken that morning of the stole freshly laundered, dried and pressed. I’ve searched high and low, throughout the car (three times), in the office, in the fiber bags, in the wheel case – now empty. gone. My one consolation was that it was a relatively cheap camera we’d bought last fall.
Ed dug into our savings and bought me a new runabout camera on Friday. It took hours to charge the batteries. The clock was swinging around to the moment that I needed to leave the house and pick up Aurora for the wedding showers put on by her in-laws to be. I did manage to get a couple pictures snapped before wrapping it as a gift.
It was washed in the machine, in a mesh bag. I was only slightly concerned about the pearls tumbling in the washer (a front loader). I took it out of the dryer while it was still a bit damp so I could press it with the iron set on medium.
Pattern adapted from Interweave Press Handwoven Magazine, Nov/Dec 85 “Twill with a Twist” by Doramay Keasbey. The treadling pattern: 1,1, 2,2, 3,3 4,4, 1,2,4,2,3,4 I changed it to repeating the double shot sequence before weaving the 1,2,4,2,3,4 for I wanted longer undulating twills than the original.
8/2 Tencel sett at 15 epi for the warp, weft sett at 20 – 24 depending on my beat which did vary some.
The bridal shower was lovely, several of the young daughters (future nieces ranging from 12 years old down to 6 months) were there helping with her presents and bringing good cheer and brightness to the gathering. She’s marrying into a wonderful, large family which is a fulfillment of one of her childhood dreams!
The wild dogwood tree in front of the home where the shower was held.
May 4, 2009
Posted by Wanda J under Weaving  Comments
Several have expressed on interest in knowing more of the weaving/set up process so here’s a bit more though by no means is it an indepth tutorial!
For some reason the correct orientation of the picture was lost in translation. If you tilt your head you’ll get the right perspective. The knobs on the Shaker cabinet are the perfect height for hanging the warping board and measuring out the warp. My warp measured 3 yards plus 2″ (110″), the distance between two pegs is one yard. Take the yarn down, around and back to the starting peg and there’s two warp ends measured out. The woman who taught me to weave years ago had the philosophy of keeping equipment and process to the simple basics. Her advise has worked well for my weaving needs with limited space.
She taught the warping method known as Front to Back (f2b); the loom is dressed (warp put on) starting from the front side. Since interruptions are a normal part of life I wind out small, easily managed sections of warp at a time – in this case I measured out two inches, or at 15 epi – 30 warp lengths at a time.
Cutting it from the board I held the cross in my left hand with the crossed threads separated by my fingers. See the two pegs just under the door knobs in the picture above? The warp goes under one peg and over the next, coming back to the starting pegs the warp reverses the order so one ends up with the threads making a cross. Keeping the cross intact will keep the threads in proper order to take through the reed one at a time. My right hand holds and manipulates the slender flat sley hook to pull each warp end through the correct reed slot in order. In the picture above most of the warp has been sleyed. Note the white strip of sheeting – it holds the reed/beater bar upright to aid in sleying the reed.
I like to break up the warp measuring with sleying the reed and threading the heddles. There are times I’ll measure out all the warp, sleying each section as it’s finished, then once all the warp ends have been put through the reed (sleyed) I’ll move around to the back of the loom and thread the heddles. This time I did increments of each. Much better mentally and physically. It’s crucial that each warp is sleyed in order and threaded in the correct heddle sequence depending on the pattern used. My pattern had the heddles threaded in what’s known as a straight draw: each warp end taken through heddles 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, …
Once all the warp is threaded through the heddles, each treadle is stepped on to be sure that everything is properly threaded. The ends are then tied onto the back warp beam and the beam is slowly wound clockwise, winding on the warp. Meanwhile, at the front of the loom the warp has been straightened and shaken to remove any tangles, and pressure applied as it’s being wound onto the warp beam with equal tension.
I used the shoe string method to tie the front ends onto the cloth beam, it’s a faster method than the surgeons knots, and easier to get even tension all the way across. Less fiddly all the way around.
Finally! The warp is on, bobbins have been wound, it’s time to weave! It’s great to sit at the bench, stepping on treadles in pattern sequence, throwing the shuttle and watching the web grow.
I didn’t learn to weave with a temple – a bar with sharp teeth at each end to help keep the width of the cloth from drawing in – but I was convinced to buy one last summer. I used it with Ed vest cloth but it seemed too harsh with this more delicate yarn. Still, I did not want to take a chance on having draw-in so I tied 7 oz of fishing weights to each of the clamps. After tying taut linen line from the front beam, through the reed to the back beam to support the weight of the clamp handles, they worked great!
My friend MC had pearl beads left from her wedding dress made years ago. She offered to let me use some for Aurora’s wedding stole. There are two rows of the beads six inches in from each end. A small detail that makes my heart bound with happiness. The beads were threaded onto the weft and the guided one by one into place. There was some shifting but I love the way they add that extra elegance to the stole.
Tonight I cut the stole off the loom and twist the fringe on one end. Tomorrow morning I’ll twist the fringe on the other end, toss it in the washing machine and see how it all turns out!