Crazy as a Loom

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A day in the life.......


Of all the things I have woven in my weaving career, I think this baby wrap that I just sent to London, is my favorite of all.

The warp is cotton, the weft hand dyed bamboo.



It is incredibly soft.



 The request was for me to dye the bamboo in silver, bronze and gold.

I love how it turned out.
To take something off the loom, do the sewing, then the wet finishing, then the pressing, and have it be so beautiful is humbling, to be sure.
The satisfaction is almost indescribable.
To say that weaving is my passion hardly says it all.



One of my new food passions is the spiralizer.
I guess it is also called the Vegetti.

A friend gave it to me, and it's been sitting in the drawer for a year at least.
But then my zucchini patch went ballistic.
Is someone feeding them steroids???



In two days I picked twice this many.  I'm afraid to go out there.



But the spiralizer is my new best friend.



I have been experimenting.  This time I sautéed it in oil for a few minutes, then I added a small bag of frozen stir fry vegetables, then a bit of pesto that I had in the fridge.  I was obviously scrounging, or you could call it improvising.

It was delicious.


The next time I tried it, I put some mushrooms, garlic and onions in with it.
It's fast, it's delicious, and the zucchini has the same texture as al dente pasta.  It is amazing.   I really love it.



My days are long....I start early, and I like to stay busy.
This morning I was up at 6am, rinsing these skeins that I dyed yesterday.




I do love how they turned out.


I can't stop looking at it.


I heard on NPR the other day, that everything is really black and white, and that the color we perceive is what our eyes see, but not necessarily the truth.

I say that sounds like a pack of lies.  How could this vibrant color be only imagined.



While my skeins were soaking in clear water, I was whipping up zucchini bread.



And while I miss my old Tappan range, I love being able to bake more than one thing at a time, and I really appreciate being able to depend on the temperature being correct.



This photo was an error....but it's just a part of my day........tramping out to the hose to get water for the chickie girls.


I'm exhausted.   How about you?






Saturday, July 2, 2016

ZZZZZZZ

Today was a long, long day.  I can't wait to go to bed.

I was up at the crack of dawn, out in the back yard, dyeing more bamboo and cotton for weaving.

Then I cleaned the chicken coop.   Dirty job, but someone has to do it.  When I was finished, and let the girls back into their home, they seemed to be very pleased with it.

Then off  to the grocery store, because there was not anything good to eat in the house.

I weeded my squash and  cucumber patch, which is outside the fenced garden.

I did some sewing, hemming the pile of placemats that Lois finished last week.

Then I did some serious weaving.

After dinner, I rinsed and washed the stuff I dyed this morning.

Now, I'm exhausted.

Why am I surprised?



Lois finished the towels she was working on, in turned taquéte.   I picked out different shades of reds, but she did all the work.
She says it was a plot to get her selvedges to be better.

Imagine that.

Her selvedges are quite good, though.





I love having lunch on the porch, and I do it quite often.





Lois and I warped two looms in one morning.

We put 50 yards of cotton on it.



Finally done.




This is my new favorite yogurt.

It comes in pumpkin, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, lemon and raspberry.
And it's awesome.




I toyed with this one, mixing up the pattern......loving it one minute and hating it the next.



I finally went back to my original design.


My comfort zone, you could say.


Is it time to go to bed yet?




Sunday, June 26, 2016

Gratitude and a tutorial.


This cloud was way more interesting than my phone caught in this picture, but early morning .....say 5:30.......is busy.  No time to grab my camera.  Cats are hungry.  Miss Puss needs her insulin, Roy needs to go out, then he needs his medication, and I need coffee.

When I get in the shower, I come back to this.
Jinksie, Roy, and Sydney.
Miss Puss is not welcome.  She has a serious attitude.



I have a new toy.  I was trying to wind skeins to dye, on a regular old plastic swift.  It was a horrific chore.  I searched the web, and found all sorts of winders, manual and electric, as expensive as $550, which is a tad rich for my blood.
But I found this hand made cherry winder on Ebay, for $62, so I ordered it.

Can I just say this makes me very, very happy?

I found the table at a local used furniture shop for $25.  I had DH screw the winder to the table, put a cup hook on the side of the table, clamped the counter to the ladder, and off we go!!!!   It has a knob, that you can stick in any one of the holes  to turn it with.


But I find that I just put my finger near the center and spin it, so much easier.  And I can keep my elbow in close to my body, so my shoulder is not doing the work, my forearm is.

LOVE LOVE LOVE.
It's so easy to make me happy.


So now that I have all this cotton wound in skeins, it's time to dye.

For all you not so interested in this process, scroll right on down.


First off, wear a cover up.  Cheap, $2 at Ocean City Job Lots.



Do not wear sandals unless you want purple toes.  Do not ask me how I know this.


DON'T FORGET YOUR RUBBER GLOVES!

First step, soak your tied skeins in synthrapol and hot water, for about 30 minutes.  Then squeeze them out, wring gently, and put them back in the same pan, only this time with a soda ash mixture, about 1 cup soda ash per gallon of warm water.  Let soak while you mix your dye.



Here's my dye table.  First you have to make urea water, about 3/4 cups urea to 1 quart warm water.  This is the water you will use to make your dyes.  I mix 1 tsp dye powder  per 1 cup urea water in a mason jar, stir it well with a wire whisk, and use a funnel to put it into my  water bottles with spouts.


I keep each jar in front of my squeeze bottle, so I can remember what color is in the bottle, and as I use them I put them back in the same spot.  Otherwise, you will lose track of what is what.  Again, don't ask me how I know.
This is cotton, so I am using MX fiber reactive dyes.

By now, your skeins are ready.  Squeeze, gently wring, them out, and lay them on your table which you have covered in plastic.


Here's the fun part.......start applying your dye to the skeins....however you want.  Just remember that the colors do run into each other, so that you may not always like the colors that are made when they mix.


This is my second batch of the day, because...well, if you're already into it, why not?


This is organic cotton, in a beige.



Thank goodness, I have a big table.......purchased from Staples......ordered at the store, or online, so they deliver this to your house.  Way easier than dragging it home.  It's 8 ft long.





At this point, you cover it with plastic, and maybe something to keep the plastic from blowing off, and let the sun do its work.  Hopefully you have picked a nice toasty day.
You can leave it all day, or even overnight until the next day.




THEN, you rinse.  I put it back in the flat pan that I started with, and rinse with the hose.  When it is pretty clear, I dump the cold water, and put in hot water, and some synthapol, again, and wash.......then rinse, rinse, rinse, until it all runs clear, and no color is coming out.




NOW, all you have to do is wait until it dries.
And it's always a surprise to me how it turns out.





 I go to bed watching the lightning bugs outside my window, the most incredible fireworks of all, and I wake up gazing out at the mist over the fields.

Then I get to play all day, dyeing and playing with color, or weaving and playing with design.

To top this off, I have a great family, and great friends.

And this baby girl.




For as long as I have it, this life is amazing.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Yep

  My days are so full, I hadn't even noticed how long it's been since I blogged, until tonight.

Lots of weaving going on.
Stocked up on some more towels.



 Occasionally, I drive about a half hour away, for my Osteopathic manipulative treatments.    The ride is so peaceful and lovely, and I swear that my headaches ruled my life until I started getting these treatments last April.  I go about once a month, and it's so worth it to me.




Once I got the towels off the AVL, it was time for more baby wraps.  This one is "Raspberry Crisp".



Doesn't everyone carry eggs in their shirt???


 I had a little visitor the other day.  Here she is fresh up from her nap, ready to rock.  Can't you just see it in her eyes???



Miss Puss is better....up to 4u of insulin twice a day.   She goes back once a month, to check her   glucose levels.   She is definitely not as anxious, and seems more comfortable.


In my spare time, I do a little dyeing.


This enamel pan is so perfect for it.

Thanks Lois!!


 I love these colors......it is finally dry and ready to wind into balls.


I am working hard, but trying to balance that out with time for myself.  It isn't always easy.
I yam who I yam.


Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts