Top-of-the-Waves Tuesday...

...and a finished object!

This is Friendship Star:

Friendship Star

Specs:
Started 4/10/16
Finished 5/30/16
Friendship Star kit by Laura J. Perin

It was very satisfying to stitch one of her more straight-forward pieces. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from Tucson Twilight. It might take me quite a while to get back to that piece.

Originally my weekend plan was to weave as much as I could. I assembled my bench and attached the Baby Wolf trap. I tried out a few picks of weaving and decided that this new setup would work well.

Before sitting down to what I hoped was several hours of weaving, I knew that I had to clean up my studio. I put away the items that had been pulled out to save them from rain damage and didsome general straightening up. Much better!  I still don't have a clear plan about where to store my loom when it's not in use, but I'm not going to worry about it anymore.

As I was putting away the skirt and top patterns (from the outfit I made), I remembered that I had wanted to make new covers for the mixer and food processor. I don't have enough room in the kitchen cabinets to store them, so they must sit out all the time. The last covers I made for them were at least 10 years old. It was time for new ones.

So rather than weave, I did a fabric stash dive and cut out two covers. I machine-quilted the pieces before assembly. I made them sort-of reversible by making and sewing on matching seam binding for one side. The mixer is the taller of the two, so I made matching seam binding for the bottom edge. The food processor has a more traditional seam. They are done and in place. I haven't taken photos yet.

When I finally got back to weaving, I looked over what I had already done. I did about an inch of the first 2x2 twill in the book, a few picks of plain weave and then a few repeats of the second twill using the same tie-up. Hmmm. I couldn't really see the definition on either pattern. I think is a function of the yarn (10/2 cotton), the sett (10 epi), and the color.  I chalk it up to being eager to start and choosing what I had on hand.

I decided to live with it for now and started weaving. A couple of picks in and I noticed some fraying on the right selvedge. Oh, cr@p! It was just frayed, there were at least two threads broken, and they had broken a few picks down and had pulled out of the fabric. Argg!

I walked away for a while to think about what my next steps would be. I knew that I could repair the broken threads--I've done that plenty on the rigid heddle loom. Given that I had only woven a total of 4 inches on a sampler project of my own design (read: winging it) and the fact that I couldn't really see the pattern, I decided to rewarp the loom in a different, larger yarn that had more contrasting colors.

So I need to stash dive to see whether I have something more appropriate for the 10-dent reed. If not, I'll have to buy something. ;-o

Yeah, just a little bummed.
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Last Eye Candy Friday for May...

...and it's a 3-day weekend!

Our cherry harvest was a bust, mostly because the animals ate all but one cherry on the tree. This is what we harvested:

Our cherry harvest

We been harvesting lots of berries and the Husband has been baking berry tarts. Here's the latest one with our one cherry baked in the center:

John's fresh berry tart 2

Coming soon is our small apricot harvest. Our main Blenheim apricot tree is getting pretty old and is not setting as much fruit. The rogue Blenheim apricot tree is coming along, though.

Blenheim apricot 2016

And the clematis vine is doing well along the side wall:

Clematis

Up this weekend: Weaving! And this time I mean it!

The first thing to do is assemble my weaving bench and attach the Baby Wolf trap to the loom. Then I'll tweak my set-up until I'm more comfortable while weaving.

I need to do a little reorganization now that the rainy season is over. I had moved some canvas storage containers and some press-board bins out of the area where water sometimes collects. Since my studio was the garage and the idiots who did the conversion didn't do a great job with the wall that replaced the garage door, it's necessary to keep things from getting wet. I can move these items back now and free up some space under my work table. I still need to figure our where to move the loom when it's not in use.

I want to get at least close to "done" on the Friendship Star canvaswork piece. It's just a matter of time-sharing between all of my active projects.

There's so much I want to do, but there's never enough time. An extra day will help, though!
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...in which I work a little on several projects.

The Costa del Mar shawl [Ravelry] and the Friendship Star canvaswork project are getting the most play right now. I hope to finish Friendship Star this month so I'm concentrating on it.

Here's what it looks like as of this morning (sorry for the wonky photo):

Friendship Star, as of 5/25/16

I haven't taken a current photo of the shawl, so I can't show that yet. Maybe next week.

*WIPs roll call*

Worked on:
  • Costa del Mar (knitting) [Ravelry]
    Working on section 5
  • Friendship Star (needlepoint) 
    Finished 75% of the multi-color border
  • 4-shaft weaving sampler
    No progress, other than practicing my treadling to try to get the optimum shed for each one
Works In Progress:
  1. Valley of the Heart's Delight sampler design (cross stitch)
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. Be My Baby for My Baby (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Canto de Sirena shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
  5. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  7. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)
WIPs To Be:
  • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.

Top-of-the-Waves Tuesday...

...and the weekend report.
  • I did not do all of the crafty things I thought I was going to do this weekend.
     
  • Instead, I woke up on Saturday with the need to clean house. I've learned that I just need to go with it when that happens. I spent the next few hours dusting, mopping floors, and vacuuming. I do love to multitask when I clean, so that meant that I also loaded the dishwasher, stripped the bed, washed the sheets, remade the bed, and put away (or recycled) 50-million little items that were just hanging around (coins, receipts, old grocery ads...).  My shoulders were sore, but the house looked much better. I didn't get lunch until 1:30pm.
     
  • While I did the laundry, I ate lunch and read. I worked a little on the needlepoint piece, but I just wasn't up to weaving.
     
  • Since I pretty much wiped myself out cleaning, I decided that knitting and watching Outlander was a better idea than stitching and listening to the washer and dryer. I vacated the studio for the living room to watch TV on a bigger screen.
     
  • OMG! The "Faith" episode of Outlander did me in! I watched it on On Demand and then watched it again when Starz broadcast it at 9pm. I've read the books and i knew what was coming, but seeing it was an entirely gut-wrenching experience. The acting was amazing!
     
  • Sunday is the day I talk to my mom and then grocery shopping. After talking to mom, I couldn't get myself moving fast enough and went to the store later than normal. BIG mistake. Seriously, people. You are not alone in the store. Stop parking your cart diagonally in the middle of the aisle. And Safeway...would it kill you to limit the amount of cr@p you stack in the aisles? It's like an obstacle course sometimes. TY.
     
  • After getting the groceries put away and marinating the chick for dinner, it was back to the studio. Time to add the hanging tabs to the Hawaiian shirt quilt.
     
  • I made the hanging tabs out of left-over backing fabric, which has surfboards on a blue background. I tried a couple of variations and picked the ones that I though looked best. I sewed a seam down the back of each, turned them right-side out, and top-stitched on each side. A little pressing and they were ready to attach.

    I ripped out the back-side of the binding and machine-sewed the tabs in place. Then I hand-sewed the binding back in place and tacked the front of the tabs down so the quilt wouldn't flop over when it's hung. 
     
  • While I did the hand-sewing, I watched the East-coast feed of Game of Thrones  (poor Hodor!). Then I took a quick break for dinner. Since I pretty much spent my evening sewing the tabs, there wasn't any time left to weave.  But, I delivered the quilt yesterday. Hooray!
     
  • It's probably just as well that I didn't weave. My set-up needs tweaking, which I can do over the 3-day weekend. My new weaving bench and Baby Wolf trap arrived today and they will help!

Eye Candy Friday...

...and it's been a day!

It started off with Microsoft Windows 10 automatically installing itself on my work PC...and I needed to finish something for a client. ARG! Chalk up about half the day when I couldn't do anything on the machine and then the research to figure out why the stupid thing wasn't displaying anything.  It's owkring now, but it's days may be numbered...

In the garden, the Husband harvested some carrots:

Carrots, close up

Last week, I took this picture of the Tivoli squash we have in the back yard.

Tivoli squash blossom

This week, it looks like this:

Tivoli squash
Wow! That was fast!

And finally, we have Queen Faviola blooming in the courtyard:

Brodiaea laxa

Up this weekend: More weaving!

I'd also like to attached the hanging loops to the Hawaiian shirt quilt, so I can give that back to its owner.

I have some major housework to do, but it requires an empty house (read: no one tracking dirt and garden stuff onto newly mopped or vacuumed floors). Hopefully, the weather will cooperate!
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...see yesterday's post for a photo of my weaving project in process.

*WIPs roll call*

Worked on:
  • Costa del Mar (knitting) [Ravelry]
    Finished section 4; started section 5
  • Friendship Star (needlepoint) 
    Finished the white border, a third of the way into a multi-color border
  • 4-shaft weaving sampler
    Wove about 3 inches of plain weave, started the first 2x2 twill
  • Quilt hanger for The Hawaiian Shirt Off Your Back quilt
    Still trying to figure out the best way to attach the tabs.
Works In Progress:
  1. Valley of the Heart's Delight sampler design (cross stitch)
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. Be My Baby for My Baby (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Canto de Sirena shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
  5. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  7. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)
WIPs To Be:
  • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.

The weekend report

...where we talk about how I spent the weekend playing with the loom. (I know...big surprise!)

My Baby Wolf stroller (wheel assembly) arrived on Friday, so the first thing I did was install it. It only took me 2+ hours to do that, not because it was difficult or complicated, but because the Husband was out all morning and I had to go searching for tools.  The Schacht video on how to install it was very clear on which tools were needed as was the list of needed tools in the printed instructions.

I had to find something that would work as well as the 2-inch wooden block they suggest you use. I found a couple of 2-inch bricks that I wrapped in paper to protect the loom from scratches. I found all of the other suggested tools and got started.

Inserting the first bolt was fiddly, but all of my experience of putting Danish furniture together came in handy here. Inserting the second bolt was a PITA.

What they don't tell you #1:
When the directions tell you to "tap" the carriage bolt to attach the top of the caster block to the loom, you need to make sure that the carriage bolt is well-seated in the wood. If it isn't, the bolt spins when you try to tighten the lock nut on it.

Not exactly a "tap" needed here.
So, the mallet didn't work and I had to find a hammer and a block of wood to protect the loom. Since I didn't find a block of wood for the previous step, the chances of finding one for this process was slim. Enter a spare stretcher bar. Hooray!

I finally got the second bolt seated and did the other three casters. Since I knew what I was doing, they went a lot faster.  The next step was to install the metal support bolts and bars that would hold the loom closed when folded...more bolts and lock nuts, but no tapping this time. Right.

What they don't tell you #2:
While the bolt slides easily into the hole in the caster, the bolt kept spinning when I tried to attach the locking nut.

Off I went to search for something to hold the bolt end so I could tighten the nut. I managed to unearth a small crescent wrench that I used to hold the bolt.
When I finally had it all installed, I took a long break! After my break, I was ready to finish dressing the loom. All I had left to do was sley the reed and tie it to the front apron rod. It was easy, but time-consuming. By the time I finished, I was done for the day.

On Sunday, I was ready to weave. I started by doing the tie-up I needed for plain weave and for the 2x2 twill I intended to weave. That was easy! I wound some bobbins with the weft yarn and I was ready to go.

The first thing I wove was some plain weave so I could get the feel of treadling and the loom. I tried heavy beating and light beating to see the differences. Then I started the twill...what do you know, it almost looks like it's supposed to, see:

First project on Baby Wolf loom

I didn't get very far because my area set-up isn't quite right. The storage bench sort-of works as seating, but it's not very comfortable and I'm constantly sliding forward. Also, I have no place to put my shuttle.

It looks like it's time to order a weaving bench and the wolf trap!
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Eye Candy Friday...

...and finally photos of the latest spinning project.

First, the eye candy. The Husband bought me some new flowers for Mother's Day. This is Mimulus naiandinus:

Mimulus naiandinus

This is is Rhodohypoxis baurii "Pintado":

Rhodohypoxis baurii Pintado

and this is Meadow Foam:


Meadow foam

Next, the Finished Object. This is Empress handspun [Ravelry]:

Empress handspun

and the close-up:

Empress handspun, close up

Specs:
Started 7/20/15;
Finished 4/30/16;
Batt (2.0) from Purlescence Yarns;
Tour de Fleece 2013 prize;
148.9 yds. chain-plied, 13 WPI

Up this weekend: More time with the Baby Wolf loom!

My BW stroller arrived today, so I plan on installing it tomorrow. The wheels will allow me to position the loom in front of one of my storage benches, which I hope will work for this first project. I think in the long run that I'll have to buy a real weaving bench, but I need to know the optimal height for me and I won;t know that until I've tried a few options.

I plan on sleying the reed and getting the tie-up right for the twill patterns I'm starting with. After that, I might actually weave! Yay!
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...I missed the Tuesday weekend report in favor of getting the recap uploaded.

The company party on Saturday was fun. It was a little smaller that usual, but that was nice for a change. It made it easier to talk to people and it wasn't crowded.

My cupcake turned out pretty well. I used a recipe that started with white cake mix. To that you added instant pudding mix, eggs, oil, and water, plus mini-chocolate chips. It made a good cupcake base.

I used whipped white frosting from a can because I didn't have time to make frosting from scratch. As it turned out, I had a terrible headache all day, so not having to make one more thing was a plus.

I used Hershey's chocolate drops and dark chocolate chips for the paw prints on the top of the cupcakes. I also made one Cruella deVille cupcake with white and black frosting. (I wonder why no one ate that one?)

Paw print cupcake

You can see photos of the other contributions in this Flickr photo album.

The Daughter sent flowers for Mother's Day:

Peony

I spent a very quiet morning. Aside from talking with the Daughter, I talked to my mom who had received her flowers from us the day before.

I spent the afternoon playing with my loom!  It took me all afternoon, but I finally got the heddles threaded properly (4-3-2-1 pattern). I kept missing #2 or #3, which meant unthreading and then rethreading to fix the error. My arms were pretty sore by the end of this. I opted to thread the reed another time.

A few things I learned during the process:
  1. A small warping board is great for storage purposes, but I'd like a little more room between the cross and the end of the warp that gets tied on the apron rod. I need to play with different ways of using the pegs to get the length that I want.
  2. The WEBS video of How to Warp A Loom from Back to Front worked great for me!
  3. I have short arms, making it difficult to reach the back heddle.
  4. I need a better chair or stool for this loom. The ottoman that I'm using is too low. I'm going to try using my storage bench, but I think it might be too high.
  5. The Wolf trap will probably not work for me because  #3. I'll probably get a high castle attachment.
  6. I definitely need the stroller to move this puppy around. It's been shipped, but I'm not sure when it will arrive.
  7. Despite all of this, I'm having fun!
*WIPs roll call*

Worked on:

  • Costa del Mar (knitting) [Ravelry]
    Everything is back on track. Working on repeat #2 of 6 for Section 4.
  • Friendship Star (needlepoint) 
    Nearly done with the white border
  • 4-shaft weaving sampler
    Started dressing the loom. Threaded the heddles; need to thread the reed.
  • Quilt hanger for The Hawaiian Shirt Off Your Back quilt
    Cut the fabric for the back support; need to cut the tabs and figure out the best way to assemble
Works In Progress:
  1. Valley of the Heart's Delight sampler design (cross stitch)
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. Be My Baby for My Baby (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Canto de Sirena shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
  5. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  7. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)
WIPs To Be:
  • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.

April 2016 recap...

...yeah, I've been running a little late on the recaps. And there wasn't much for April anyway.

Finished:

  • 4/3 Linda's Dream (needlepoint)
  • 4/30 Empress handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Batt (2.0 oz) from Purlescence Yarns
    148.9 yds. chain-plied; 13 WPI
  • Books:
    1. Taming of the Queen, Philippa Gregory
    2. The Japanese Lover, Isabel Allende
    3. Minus Hour, Skye Knizley
    4. Shadow Rites, Faith Hunter
    5. Safe Secret, Fern Michaels
    6. Becoming Marta, Lorea Canales
Started:
  • 4/10 Friendship Star (needlepoint) 
  • Learning about my new Baby Wolf loom!
Works In Progress:
  1. Valley of the Heart's Delight sampler design (cross stitch)
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. Be My Baby for My Baby (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Canto de Sirena shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
  5. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  7. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)
WIPs To Be:
  • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.

Eye Candy Friday...

...Happy May!

We have a few things going in the garden. Our lone cherry is ripening:

Ripening cherry

We also had some mulberries, but the birds have already eaten them.

We still have a few Icelandic poppies:

Icelandic poppy

And the occasional calendula:

Yellow calendula

In the last week, an amaryllis plant has bloomed. These flowers are huge:

Amaryllis, fully open

Up this weekend: Our company's holiday party is Saturday. We're a little later than usual this year because the office move in January set us back a bit.

Our theme is Disney and I'm making cupcakes in the 101 Dalmatians theme. I'm using white cake with mini-chocolate chips and white icing with (I hope) paw prints on top. If I can't get the paw prints to work, I'll just use chocolate chips as spots.

Sunday is Mother's Day and I've asked to spend the day in my studio. I want to warp my new loom!
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...and  can now add a weaving project to the list.

First, here's a look at the Friendship Star canvaswork as of this morning:

Friendship Star, as of 5/4/16

Still no photos of the finished Empress handspun [Ravelry]. I hope to have them for Friday's post.

And I need to do my recap for April...

*WIPs roll call*

Worked on:
  • Costa del Mar (knitting) [Ravelry]
    My count was off on repeat #2 of the 3rd section. Currently tinking back 2 rows to get to a place where the count was correct.
  • Friendship Star (needlepoint) 
    Finished the center motif; working on the white border
  • 4-shaft weaving sampler
    Wound the warp and chained it; ready to dress the loom when I have enough time to do so
Works In Progress:
  1. Be My Baby for My Baby (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Valley of the Heart's Delight sampler design (cross stitch)
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. Canto de Sirena shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
  4. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  5. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  6. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)
WIPs To Be:
  • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.

Top-of-the-Waves Tuesday...

...and the weekend report.

So, new loom!
  • I had a blast watching YouTube videos about weaving! Webs published two videos - how to wind a warp and how to warp your loom - that were very good. The best part was that the instructor used a Wolf loom in the warping lesson, making it easy for me to see how it will work on my loom.
     
  • Most of my weaving books are for the rigid heddle loom. I looked through the few that weren't and realized that I don't own a good basic reference. After checking on Ravelry, I ordered Peggy Osterkamp's Weaving for Beginners: An Illustrated Guide. It will take a while to arrive. In the meantime, I will continue to do online research.
     
  • I couldn't get started until I had an actual project in mind. I went through all of my Handwoven magazine issues trying to find something that wasn't too daunting to become my first project. I also put the question out to my Facebook friends who weave.
     
  • It became clear that I needled to learn how to read weaving drafts. None of the books or magazines that I own have a really good description on this. Back to the internet...
     
  • I found a blog post from 2012 that does a good job describing how to read the drafts. (At least, it made sense to me.)
     
  • Once I could interpret the weaving drafts, I could go through my Handweavers Pattern Directory book and make sense of the different patterns.
     
  • I finally decided on doing a sampler of patterns, using the twill patterns in the pattern directory that have the same threading.
     
  • Next was picking the yarn. I had some 10/2 cotton from a weaving kit that I bought last year. I bought the kit because I loved the colors, not knowing when I would be able to purchase my bigger loom. I had already used the blue in the Mermaid's Tale wrap [Ravelry]. I still have full cones of the purple and green, so purple it is!
     
  • Then it was off to the weaving calculation spreadsheet to figure out how much warp I need for my project. I'm projecting that it will be about 12-inches wide.
     
  • Using the Webs video, I wound the warp and chained it. By the time I finished, it was too late to start warping the loom.
In between all of this learning, I managed to finish plying the Empress handspun [Ravelry] on Saturday. No photos yet, but soon.

I made really good progress on the Friendship Star canvas work piece.It should get finished this month.

A busy, but enjoyable weekend!
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Eye Candy...

...on a Saturday. After  processing the photos and uploading them to Flickr, Facebook, and Instagram, I forgot about the blog. Oops! The y...