Happy Valentine’s Day

I hope you have a great day and you get to spend it with people you love.

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In the Garden

Sun Flowers



Kumquat Preserves




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Introducing Harriet

This is my new friend Harriet, she is from Harrisville, but it took her a long time to get to me. She was born in 1979 and from the sound of it was rather neglected for much of her life.  I found her up for adoption on Craigslist. A few of her parts were missing or rusted, her wood was dusty, stained and dry but her frame was in good shape.

When I got her home I took stock of what she needed: new brake spring, new reed, a bath, new apron ribbons, a few bolts and wingnut, new apron rods. Everything but the reed was easy to get at the local hardware store but the reeds had to be ordered. I got two new reeds (the part that beats down the threads as you weave) an 8 dent (that is 8 spaces per inch) and a 12 dent. I also sprung for a set of wheels (not pictured) so that I could easily roll her around when she is folded up and not in use. Oh yes, she FOLDS!

First I had to get her washed up with some warm water, Dr. Bronner’s soap, a terry cloth towel and some elbow grease. It is amazing what you can do with soap and water. Most of the dirt and stains came off with just washing and the few stubborn spots got a light sanding with some fine grit sandpaper. Once she was clean and dry I rubbed the wood down with Howard’s Feed-n-Wax wood conditioner. I did two passes with the Howard’s and probably could have done a third because the wood was so dried out. Once all her parts and pieces were cleaned or replaced I got my friend Stephanie to come help me get her warped up, my friend Mimi helped too, mostly as a peanut gallery but a very funny one.

The first project I am working on is a point twill pattern in some Trekking XXL sock yarn and a light grey alpaca from Tree Frog.

It is so nice to be weaving again! This is my first project since I took weaving at Davis, about 6-7 years ago now. After this I think I will turn out some dishtowels or a table runner. For now this project is destined to be a long skinny (8″) scarf. We have been so busy the last few weeks not a lot more has gotten woven but I am hopeful that I can get a good bit worked in this weekend.


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Herbs and Yarn

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend. We don’t really celebrate Easter in a religious sense around our house but we do like to celebrate the joy of spring and things growing again in the garden.  To celebrate I dyed some of the eggs from the chickens, because well I like to dye things, not much is really safe from being dyed around here, accept maybe the dog.

Aside from egg dyeing we had a pretty busy and productive weekend. I am most proud of what we got done in the yard. A month or so ago I liberated (with permission!) a smallish shipping pallet with about 15 inch board sides from the tile place near my work. Of course a month ago it was still too wet and cold to set up a planter box but this weekend finally its time came.  Saturday, Will and I hit the hardware store and got some fine 1/8″ hardware cloth, two big bags of “organic” potting dirt and a bunch of herb starts (my seedlings all died).

The hardware cloth went in the pallet as a liner to keep the dirt in the box while letting the water drain out. Then of course went in the two bags of dirt and lastly I set in the herb starts. I put in Sweet Basil, Cilantro, Sage and Oregano. I put a lavender plant in a separate pot as they can get big.

Will put in the squash starts in the main garden plot. Now we just hope the chickens leave it all alone, so far so good but we’ll see.

The last fun thing I did was go to a book signing on Friday night with my friend Stephine at our local yarn shop, A Verb For Keeping Warm. The book is How to Knit A Heart Back Home by Rachael Herron. If you like romance novels head to your local book store and get a copy. Unlike many knitting themed novels this one is actually a good read, even if you are not a knitter and if you are then it is even more fun then your average modern time romance. Rachael herself is a very sweet and funny gal in person, Stephanie and I stayed a while afterward to sit and knit with her and a couple other folks including Kristine and Adrienne the awesome gals that own and run A Verb.

You can find out more about Rachael, her knitting and her writing at her blog Yarn-A-Go-Go.

There is lots more I did this weekend but I’ll save it for a later date.  I’m off to play with yarn.

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Filed under Books, crafts, garden, knitting, local, wool, yarn

Help if You Can

It has been coming down in buckets here for the last couple of days but I feel like a wimp for whining about it when folks in Japan are trying to recover from such a terrible disaster. I am glad to say that my family friends (old neighbors) who live near Yokohama are ok but now even people in areas that only suffered quake damage are experiencing food shortages, power outages and they are the lucky ones. So I would like to take a moment and ask you, if you haven’t already, to consider making a donation to help relieve some of the hurt in the world. We chose to make a donation to a great organization called ShelterBox. They provide boxes filled with tents, tools and other supplies to people in areas that are recovering from natural disasters.  Ok, guilt trip over.

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The Duke of Pogona

My version of Stephen West’s pattern Pogona in this yummy color way of Bugga, Blue Duke, from Sanguine Gryphon.

I will admit that while I have been knitting things, up until this project I had been in a bit of a knitting funk for the last month or two. The Wicked Lady Sweater has reached that stage where it is almost done and I am sooo done with it.

Now I am working on a Multnomah, also in Bugga. There is something to be said for these shawlets. They are much more interesting then a scarf but much quicker then a full shawl. I might have to start making them as gifts though, I mean how many can I really wear?

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My Adventure with Glass

Thanks to a Groupon to a local glass studio Will, Libby and I got to take an introductory lamp working class at Revere Glass School. We had a ton of fun playing with hot glass and propane torches. The principles of glass work are pretty simple and straight forward but the hand coordination takes a lot of practice, much more then a 3 hour class. With help from our instructor we took home some decent looking pieces.

These are our mushrooms in a mushroom. Left to right – Will’s , Mine, the teachers. These are made by heating up the end of a thick glass rod to white hot and then quickly shoving the tip of a thin colored rod into the molten glass. This is called “Pushing a Mushroom”. The top is made but heating the other end of the thick rod and then pushing it into a half circle mold.

The first thing you make in the class is a gravity marble. This is basically just using gravity to help you gather up a lump of glass on the end of your rod with the angle you hold the rod at in the flame, all the while rotating the rod to keep the lump round and even (that’s the tricky part).

The second project was a glass pendant. You heat up the end of a thick rod and then press it on a graphite slab with another graphite tool to flatten in. The color comes from little bits of crushed minerals called frit. Then you heat up the pendant to melt in the color. To make the little bubbles you heat the end of a small rod and dot the hot glass onto the pendant. My pendant crackled a bit as it cooled so I need to go back in and have them heat it up again to get rid of the cracking.

I had always wanted to take a class in glass work, now I want to take more! The only problem is I am kind of out of time and room for another hobby. You can rent studio time at the school but it is (rightly so) not cheap. But if you ever get the chance to take an intro class like this I highly recommend it.

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