Monday, June 30, 2014

Spindle spun weft... Now a scarf...

I don't suppose I've mentioned the green yarn I had been spinning on "Peacock"--one of the CD spindles I made a few weeks ago?

I went with my default 2-ply DK weight (probably) construction.

Anyhoo, I decided to warp, for the first time, the small, intriguing little loom I bought at an estate sale last summer ($5) with some singles commercial wool. I used my spindle-spun yarn for the weft.

The jack mechanism on this little loom is most fascinating. The handle that can be seen to the right in the picture, moves in and out. In for one shed, out for the other. It is only a 2-frame loom. Plain weave and manipulated warp are it's milieux.

The scarf is a pleasing little cloth with a line of Leno at each end. One line is incorrect: I forgot to change sheds (or twist warps, not sure which) after the line of weft. Oh well, it's my first Leno. I still like it quite a lot.

From the Great Wheel ...

My first sample spun on the great wheel. I spun a grey single and a colored single then plied them together. I like it! No, I love it! The grey "mongrel" wool was purchased at the NH Sheep & Wool last year, and the colored (in the grease) wool is from the NY Sheep & Wool the year before last.

The cloth feels so beautifully woolen, and it exudes warmth and coziness--an almost incongruous thing to write in these warm temperatures we're having. (High today of 88; currently a beautiful 75.)

I see a project in the makings. Gonna get spinning!

I stumbled across this wonderful video last evening of "spinning from the fold" on a great wheel. Fantastic!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Flora ...

I have a lovely, if bedraggled, set of bloomin' plants at the moment. Have settled my mind that it's going to take at least another 2 years to get things to a starting point.

There's a peony, the ubiquitous lupines, some Canadian anemones, the scented (oh how delicious!) daylilies, other daylilies, bearded irises and familia. The Buddleia survived (surprise!) and is sprouting new growth. Rosa Rugosa and cousins. Purple and yellow are prominent at the moment. A neighboring garden declares bright orange with poppies--must get some! Oh, and the humongous rhododendron by the front stairs is in throes of pyrogenics. The hydrangea given me by my aunt survived being run over by a tractor and is in bud. Hurray! My delphinium is just opening--my favorite blue; and the creamy yellow daisy is soon to make an announcement. The store bought portulacas--I just love them to death--are beautifying the new beds.

Oh splendor!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Four spindles sitting in a row ...

They're done!

Since I was not able to get down to Artistic Roots yesterday, I went and bought a diamond tip bit for my Dremel (a fantastic, handy-dandy tool with many uses). The bit is only 1/8" diameter so I also bought a larger glass-cutting bit for my regular electric drill.

Everything I read about drilling glass emphasized using cold water, so I placed each whorl one-by-one on a piece of cork board and submerged it just to cover in a shallow pan. The diamond-tip bit cut like a knife through butter but the glass-cutter took patience. Each whorl took about 5 minutes to drill. I don't know if that's normal or if I'm simply inexperienced.

The best news is that they all spin. The dark one on the left spins beautifully, as does the one on the right (that's the one I made with a built-in hole and didn't require drilling). The two in the middle spin well but not quite as well as the other two. The cross shaped one is least stable of all and that's not surprising, but a few pieces of "glue dots" under one side helps to bring it into alignment.

They all ended up as bottom whorl spindles because as top whorls they didn't have enough stability.

I'm exceedingly happy with these and they're a pleasure to use. That little extra 'self-made' aspect adds a bit more of something special to the process. :)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Oh deer ...

Oh dear, oh deer!

I was just thinking, yesterday morning as I was making coffee, how pleased I was with the way the garden is growing. Wouldn't you know! I looked up and out the kitchen window and this is what I see:

I don't want her to see:

So far so good (fingers crossed until I get to the hardware store and get some repellant to spread around). She was on the opposite side of the driveway from the garden so I hope she didn't see or smell it.

Another bear spotted this evening on Rte. 25 on my way to the market. They are around. Momma and cub came by the other day, but she ran off as soon as I opened the front door and made some noise. I am now witness to their speed. Yah, speed and weight together make an intimidating sight.

But I love being up here where the animals are. I feel at home.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rosa Rugosa, &c ...

The very large clump of Rosa Rugosa in the back field is starting to grace us with her shimmering reflections of pink light. Like so many butterflies, and which perfume is so heavenly. To me, theirs is the true fragrance of rose.

There's another rose shrub on the opposite side of the driveway, down near my new garden. Slightly milder scent, but still of the same "true" essence. It's a double: Cushiony pads of lusciousness.

It can all only mean one thing: Summer is nigh. I saw fire flies this evening, and the frogs were snoring. The air moved in a gentle breeze, awash with the smell of today's freshly mowed lawn. Ahhhh....

Another small-ish flower bed was dug this morning and the remaining potted plants found their home. I christened the bed with a cream-colored daisy found at a local nursery this afternoon. Oriental lilies, daylilies (both gifts), an Easter lily and some portulacas will paint a pretty picture in some weeks from now, I hope.

The bugs--of every sort--have started their summer convention. Just now, a very large moth--or a bat, not sure what it was--fluttered outside the office window. On Friday, an artistically inclined spider spun a very large and beautiful web outside this window. The reflection from within the room against the window pane gave her creation a somewhat stormy impression. Clever little thing.

Come this way summer, we've been getting the place all ready for your arrival, and we welcome you with open arms. I remember just a few months ago, thinking--over 4' depths of snow--that you'd be around, sooner or later but definitely by June. In this, I've never known you to disappoint. Welcome back for another stay! I love the seasons.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

More spindles ...

In glass class the other night, I made four whorls. Today I picked them up, very unsure about how they'd come out and had already set my mind on they're not being exactly what I wanted. So it was a terrific and splendid surprise to discover they came out exactly how I'd imagined!

I was able to compose one of the whorls with a center hole but it was quite difficult and I had no idea how it would fire up. Would the hole close up? Would it be very irregular? All sorts of possible problems ran across my mind. The hole came out perfect. I ran over to the hardware store after receiving my whorls and bought a rubber grommet and some doweling.

Here's my first glass, bottom-whorl spindle and it spins like a charm:

The other three whorls need be set aside until next Thursday when I'll be able to drill a hole in them with my teacher's diamond bit glass drill. These 3 will probably get pretty chopsticks for a shaft instead of dowel. I'm really looking forward to seeing them as spindles.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Not the end of it! ...

Just a few more items of possible interest from this late May - early June period.

A bit of excitement early last week as I finally, after waiting almost 5 years, obtained a drum carder. It is a used Louet Mark IV in good condition. The new ones are out of my budget I'm afraid, and those used carders for sale at a good price are always snatched up before I see them. But I got lucky!

This little fellow comes visit often while I sit spinning on the front "porch" (a 4' x 8' platform outside the front door).

It's been over a year since I made soap, so it felt really fun and exciting to whip up a batch Saturday morning. It's currently my favorite recipe:

2 oz. Castor oil
4 oz. Cocoa butter
4 oz. Coconut oil
12 oz. Olive oil
10 oz. Palm oil

4.3 oz. Lye
12 oz. Water

I did something different this time. It takes this mixture about 40 minutes to reach 'trace' so instead of sitting with a stirring spoon, I decided to employ my Kitchenaide mixer. I set it on its lowest speed with the mixer fixture in place and let it whir while I went about doing dishes and tidying up. A great time saver.

These just popped out of their molds after sitting in the freezer for (too?) long. I almost forgot about them as I went about cleaning in the bird's room. The bar on the upper right corner is testament to my struggle attempting to release them from the mold at room temperature. Straight from the freezer they pop right out! Now they sit for a few months to cure.

Once again, I will try, "lastly, but not least"... This cute and friendly guy also comes round to sate his appetite on the bird seeds.

Which reminds me of this interesting tidbit:

It may come as a surprise to those of you not living in Las Vegas, but there are more Catholic Churches than casinos there.
Not surprisingly, some worshippers at Sunday Services will give casino chips rather than cash when the basket is passed. Since they get chips from many different casinos, the churches have devised a method to collect the offerings.
The churches send all their collected chips to a nearby Franciscan monastery for sorting. Then the chips are taken to the casinos of origin and cashed in.
This is done by the chip monks....

Catch up time ...

Wow, a couple weeks have gone by since my last post. It's a busy time of year, no question about it. I have had many potted plants waiting for me to find a place for them to live. A little bit here, a little bit there, and it's slowly getting done.

The lady slippers are still hung out every day. I'm sure that during the deep of night, a princess fairy borrows them for her cavorting at some early-summer ball. But they are always back in time for daybreak.

So let me see... I took another fused glass class and will attend yet another tomorrow evening. Tomorrow, I have it in mind to make whorls for drop spindles. In the last class I made a small cheese board, but in the end, it works better simply propped up in the window catching the light. I was pretty pleased about most of it. If the daffodil had not come out so transparent, I'd be even happier. Like everything else, it's a learning process.

My last trip to NYC was quite nice, apart from slightly damaging my cello in a subway turnstile. The sound of c-r-a-c-k at the time of the accident was frightening. The for-real 3" crack in the lower right of the top soundboard looked scary, but the cello was otherwise intact. Unpacking the cello at my lesson later in the day was a revelation: The crack had disappeared! My teacher said 1) the damage wasn't bad and wouldn't affect the tone much if at all, and 2) he didn't think the crack went all the way through the wood. A big relief and a big lesson learned: Let others go through the turnstile ahead of me when I'm carrying my cello so I don't feel rushed.

Pretty, then large, boats on the Hudson viewed from my office window. Zuccotti Park is always so well dressed.

On the spinning front, I've started meeting up with other spinners Tuesday mornings at Artistic Roots in Plymouth. Finished this red merino-silk blend to use as warp for a scarf. Over the weekend I made 5 CD drop-spindles, much fun. Yesterday I stopped at a local petting zoo and bought a rather wonderful, large fleece that I think is CVM (California Variegated Mutant). At first the seller said she thought it was Icelandic (it clearly is not), then Corriedale, but seeing how it's got whites, greys, and browns and judging by the crimp and look I think CVM is more likely.

"Peacock" is duck tape paper. "Black Dahlia" and "Butterflies" are black acrylic etchings. "Flower Power" is foam stickers. "Biker" is fake tattoos. I sprayed a coat of clear finish over Biker and Butterflies.

I am enjoying the colors of early summer very much.



Black. And somewhat intimidating. I took these from inside the house.

Moths. They hang in the same spot for days on end. Are they meditating, I wonder? This morning there are 4 lunas.

My knitting friend. He's a frog, not a snake.

Little percussionist.

The garden is sprouting. Very exciting.

And last, but not least, I am weaving these days.

And very last, and still not least, I'm going to start putting "practice" pieces over on the left. Mind you, most of these will not be finished works. This first one is Liszt's Liebestraum. I have considerable work to do on the last page yet. This video came about because I wanted to test my new video camera. :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Happy Pride 2014!

I cannot think of a better way to kick off this year's Pride Month than by sharing this video. It is worth watching for so many reasons. Happy Pride!