July 28, 2011
Ed’s been asleep for over an hour. My eyes are struggling to stay open. We need to be on the road shortly after 7 in the morning. We’re hoping not to be caught in the morning commute but odds aren’t good as there are a number of people who make the daily commute to Portland area to work.
Our move-in time today was ridiculously early – 10 am, considering the Marketplace didn’t open until 4:30 today. It takes us less than an hour to move in and set up. That meant there would be lots of down time to relax, hang out with others and knit on the socks I’d hoped to be wearing by Sunday.
Except, somehow, there wasn’t. It wasn’t bad, just not what I’d expected. Having a horrible headache, perhaps triggered by some allergy and the florescent overhead lights didn’t help. Set-up went smoothly. Cheryl had already organized her half of the booth making it easy for us to figure out the best way to set up our two small tables. But the best part was Jocelyn!
During an exchange of emails she offhandedly offered to help in our booth if Ed or I needed breaks. I jumped at her offer. Bless her heart!!! She even gave up a pattern writing class she’d signed up for in order to cover for me. Jocelyn came to our booth immediately after her morning class to chat and get a feel for how we operate. I loved catching up a bit with her July adventures in Peru. (Stay turned to her blog, she’ll be updating it once July is over.)
Cheryl of Handspun Yarns, and Jocelyn before the Marketplace opened.
Shortly before 4pm I wandered out the entry doors into the lobby where people were already congregating.Seriously! This doesn’t capture the length of the line of people waiting to get into the Marketplace at 4:30. People started lining up at 12:30!!! It’s a good thing they’re knitters and spinners.
This was the view from our booth showing the calm Marketplace before the storm. The organizers did a get job in setting up the Marketplace with lots of open space making it feel spacious and welcoming, rather than the overwhelming sensory overload that plagued almost everyone at SS09.
Still, with all the eager shoppers waiting in the lobby it wasn’t long before the quiet was shattered.A mob immediately swarmed the booth right next to us when the vendors began throwing skeins of yarns to the masses. Literally. It was crazy, especially when people thought the yarn was free! This was so not cool. The pandemonium spilled over to all the adjoining booths making it hard for customers to get in, let alone see, what was in the booths on each side. Poor Cheryl took the brunt of it since she had the portion of the booth right alongside theirs. It took almost half an hour before the space cleared in front of her area where shoppers could get to her lovely yarns and fibers.
I’d been detained at another booth due to a faulty phone connection to authorize my cc. Writing a check as quickly as possible I tried to dash back to our booth stopping only to snap these two pictures. I had to elbow my way into our booth. Not really, but it felt like it. Ed and Jocelyn were already swamped with earnest shoppers trying out our spindles. (Ed’s back there, center right.)
Jocelyn was a Godsend! She’s a wonderful, natural helper in a busy booth, knowing instinctively how to help and assist people. I’m not sure that either Ed or I would have kept our sanity without her help, especially during that incredibly hectic first half hour. We are so blessed by her wonderful assistance and perfect vendor’s personality. Thank you, Jocelyn
And thanks to all our loyal customers. What a great group of people, so patient with us yet enthusiastic and all around wonderful. It’s fun to meet people who came by during the first Sock Summit, and people at Black Sheep. Then there are those who I’d met through emails and finally was privileged to see in person (however briefly) whether they live in Portland, OR, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, or Toronto (such as Amy Singer). We feel so blessed.
Tomorrow, Friday, at 3pm I will be demonstrating spinning with a Turkish Spindle in the Demo Area 1. Please wish me well!
6:30, closing time arrived along with Cheryl’s husband, Will Newhouse, who appeared bearing a Key Lime Pie he’d made for us.
OH SWEET GOODNESS! That is the best key lime pie we’ve ever eaten. Creamy, robust, decadent, toothsome goodness.
July 21, 2011
Posted by Wanda J under Weaving  Comments
By this time next Thursday we’ll have set up the booth and entered the frenzy that is Sock Summit and returned home to sleep, undoubtedly exhausted.
We’ve both been pushing hard this week to get as much done as possible before next Wednesday. It’s helped that the weather once again turned cool and rainy. (When I hear of the heat wave undulating across much of the country I try not to grouse about the lack of summer and temperatures refusing to rise out of the 60′s for more than a few days. It’s supposed to clear up this weekend.) By 7am Ed is already hard at work determined to get as many spindles made as possible. Monday will be the last day he can make spindles that will be ready to pack up by Wednesday.
He is almost out of all the pre-cut blanks he made last month. Soon he’ll need to take a few days to rough cut dozens more to give them time for a final dying/curing before he totally runs out of spindle material.
After picking up 200 Learn to Spin books from the printer I spent a few hours punching holes and binding them. While occupied with the Kombo binder (gave my shoulder a good workout!) dvds were being burned. Tomorrow I’ll glue envelopes in the back of the books and insert the dvds. Saturday it’s supposed to be nice so we’re going to layout a 10′ x 10′ square in the back yard and do a mock up of our booth layout. We’re sharing booth space with Cheryl of NewHueHandspuns so need to be certain of how best to utilize our space. We’re so thankful for a corner booth – each business will have a front portion. If you make it to Sock Summit, please stop by and introduce yourself!
Last weekend I was able to warp up the Julia to make a vest for Ed. Er, um… actually, I thought it was warped until I tied onto the cloth beam. Pressing the pedals to be certain there were no crossed threads, the warp – which had looked and acted properly – completely misbehaved. uh, oh. Now what?
#1. I decided to do the first warp on Julia Back to Front (B2F). I was taught the Front to Back (F2B) method years ago and am comfortable with it. My Norwood loom has a sectional back beam and at the back of my mind (grin) I’ve been wanting to utilize it. Since the warp for the vest is only 15″ wide it seemed like a good time to try B2F.
#2. Stupid warp measuring error. Having recently woven a couple rugs which used a double strand warp, (the 2 warp yarns are measured out at the same time and threaded two as one unit), it seemed a no-brainer to simultaneously measure out the 3 strands of different colors I was using for the vest warp. (Linen and Cottolin) Brainless! Wanting to weave and sew the vest in time for Ed to debut it at Sock Summit I didn’t stop to analyse the results.
The result. Carrying 3 separate strands around the warping board pegs – down, around, and back up to the starting peg, caused the 3 strands to be twisted around each other. If only I’d remembered to use a raddle!!!
Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if each thread had its own reed slot but I warped it at 18 ends per inch in a 12 dent reed. While every thread was in a separate heddle, every other dent (slot) held 2 threads. When all is perfectly aligned and in correct order there is no problem with 2 threads moving past each other in the reed but if 2 happen to twist or cross even once between the heddle and the reed it won’t work.
A niggling suspicion that the threads were crossing tried to get my attention as I wound the warp onto the back beam but the cross was carefully maintained and all looked decent while threading the heddles then sleying the reed. Untying the front knots I pulled the warp forward through the heddles and reed, what a mess. Sunday evening Ed came to my rescue, pulling the warp forward whilst I hovered over the back of the loom doing snarl patrol. Once the warp was in a straight line from the back of the loom across the living room and into the kitchen Ed left me to untangle and coax the warp into behaving neatly. Once the threads were basically untwisted and aligned Ed pulled on the warp to keep it under an even tension as I beamed it back into place.
Monday I filled several bobbins with weft yarns. My main yarn is handspun wool/tencel Sweet Grass Wool that I spun last month. Since I got only 497 yards from the 100 grams I will use the blue linens also. (Handspun is on the large bobbins)
I wove a few inches but didn’t care for the additional grey; with grey already in the warp the random shot of grey weft seems a bit too much. The warp tension still isn’t as uniform as it should be despite tightening the front knots and making it as evenly tensioned as I can. I will unweave to remove the grey then retie the knots one more time. If retying doesn’t work the other option is to weave the front panels of the vest, cut and retie before weaving the back panels. Weaving Ed’s vest is no longer a priority, he’ll get it for his birthday the end of August!
The peas from the walk a couple weeks ago are growing! The oats are still unripe. I except harvest will wait until the oats are ripe and the peas dried.
And for everyone longing for some cool clouds (yes, that’s the oats & peas field in the foreground):I’d put on a rain jacket when I headed out the door for a walk about 8 pm Tuesday as we’d been having intermittent hard rains all day but within five minutes the sun broke through an opening in the clouds on the horizon.
July 11, 2011
A soft breeze gently herded fluffy clouds easing the brilliance of the blue sky and heat of the sun. Over an hour was spent on my knees early Saturday morning, pulling small weeds from around the vegetable plants. Ed’s been keeping the space between the rows nicely hoed making my task easy.
Taking a hiatus from wholesale orders this summer has relieved Ed of the relentless pressure of working long hours pushing day after day. These days he heads out to the shop around 7:30 to work until around 3:30 then works awhile in the yard and garden. It’s been great to tackle some projects that’ve been on the back burner like conquering the blackberry brambles that were threatening to overtake our home, dig out the space between the grassy bank and his shop, shoveling out the dirt, weeds and brambles accumulating for 24 years since we had the shop built.
After giving the plants a good long drink I headed inside to spend the next couple hours weighing, writing on and recording the spindles that Ed had made last week. Normally this is a daily morning task but last week wasn’t normal.
Finally it was play time for me: weaving and knitting.
The rug is actually a bit more blue than grey. The thing I love about weaving rugs is the speed they’re finished once the warp is on. I started weaving Saturday afternoon. Washed and dried it yesterday, now it’s wrapped in tissue traveling the mail system in a box to be a birthday gift. But for a movie Ed decided to watch this evening, the second rug would be done too. It lacks only 4 inches and the tying of the fringe.
The lovely weather pulled me back outside for another hour late Saturday afternoon where I finished one sock before before fixing supper. Sunday, after services and tying the fringe on the first rug then tossing it in the washing machine, I headed back out to sit under the Montmorency cherry tree and enjoy the afternoon whilst finishing the second sock. The cherries have about another week to ripen before picking and putting in the food dryer. We had such a cool wet Spring that everything is still a couple weeks behind normal schedule.
Bird chirps and chatter and the darting of swooping birds caught my attention. Babies! Three nests full with three sets of parents darting to and fro, the pairs taking turns keeping watch or feeding very hungry little babies.
Action at the Swallow house
Why yes, the socks were completed!
Pattern: Everyone outta the Pool by Artsgal
Yarn: Abstract Fiber Mighty Sock 50/50 Merino/Tencel Sweet Pea Colorway. 382 yds per 100g skein I used 53 grams for the pair. (I wanted this pair short & summery) Still plenty of yarn to make a small pair for a small grandchild.
Started May 29 Finished July 10
The toe up pattern uses a double-knit cuff which was a new method for me. I like the looks and it’s comfortable although the grafting together is twice as many stitches. I’ve wanted to tackle a 2-in-1 sock where both socks are knit simultaneously one inside the other for the length of the leg separating them before turning the heel. Doing this cuff has helped me to conceptualize the process.T
This was only the second time that I’ve knit a wrap and turn heel. My technique needs improvement for it’s not the neatest job but with practice and better understanding it will come.
Overall I’m pleased with them.
July 6, 2011
Early light pulled me out of bed eager for a walk along the road.
Yesterday evening, while walking with a friend, I saw several items that needed the rays of an eastern sun. This morning’s early sunlight pulled me out of bed, eager to retrace my steps. Mopley wasn’t quite so eager. She seemed to think me daft to be hitting the road again so soon. We haven’t been walking near as much as needed and it’s time to mend my ways. Perhaps her eleven year joints were achy.
Every time I walk past this tree I want to climb the fence and stretch out along that wonderful branch. Over a dozen years ago when the property with its old house and small barn were put on the market I longed to buy it. But it’s in the county across the creek where property taxes are considerably higher than in this county, and the asking price was too higher. Can’t you see children swinging in a rope swing arching up into the canopy? Course, it’s not high enough above the ground to seriously swing, it’d be a lazy swing! When I was very young we had a grand maple tree in our front yard with a rope swing hanging from a high branch. My dad would push me so high he’d have to jump to catch my ankles, propelling me upwards until my feet kicked the leaves.
Further along I continue straight ahead, cutting across the sharp left turn of the main road, to wander the smaller road leading to a couple farms and the cemetery. The play of shadow and light across the immature wheat field captured my attention.
Protecting the corner between the wheat field and a farm house is a huge pine tree.Yes! That is the color of the fruit – purple! The needles are very long on this tree, my friend – who is half Chinook, identified it as a Sugar Pine and said the needles are favored by various tribes for making pine needle vessels and baskets. (Chinook – pronounce with a hard ch as in chair, are Native Americans who live in various coastal and river areas of SW Washington and NW Oregon)
On the other side of the lane a beautiful field of sugar peas, oats and a white flowered grass stretches up a gentle hill. This field is on a farm where young Holstein heifers are raised. This combination makes me believe this crop is destined for the munching pleasure of the heifers.
I’ve tried looking up the white flowered plant, to no avail. I keep wanting to call it vetch for that is also often planted in fields of oats and peas. It’d be easy to become completely sidetracked chasing down the name of this plant and getting lost on all sorts of rabbit trails! Rather than continue to wander blindly amongst the search engine offerings I suspect a reader will know!
All too soon it was time to turn back and dive into the day’s work. Upon reaching home I brought in the newly spun skein of yarn which had hung to dry on the back porch last night.