Sampler Weaving

Alice, my old loom, is warped. Dick helped me wind on the 5-yards of 8/4 carpet warp last night, watching clips of Top Gear on YouTube when I didn't need him. Winding on was much easier, and the tension is much more even, with his help. I'm making a sampler of loom-controlled weaves (plain weaves, basket weaves, and twills) from this book - It's a college textbook from the 1970's that a weaving friend recommended. There are several other samplers in the book - double weaves, laces, weaver-controlled weaves - that I'm planning to do also.

I took my time threading the reed and heddles, and only made a few errors. At least that I've found so far.
A couple of threads were crossed between the reed and the heddles; these were easiest to fix since I found them early. One thread - the pin in the lower right - missed the eye of the heddle and wasn't being woven at all. And the pin on the left? Reversed threads in the heddles, which meant cutting the old warp threads (scary the first time) and attaching new ones. I also made a new string heddle and attached it to the harness before figuring out I didn't need it. But hey, it's good practice, right? And now that I've experienced these problems, they won't be so scary next time. In theory.


I {heart }Technology

What did we do before cell phone photos? Matt sent these two shots to me today - Miles being silly in Burlington Coat Factory - and Miles in little boy heaven aboard a big bike.


Introducing . . .

Alexandria (no middle name yet) - the newest grandchild-to-be. Chris and Matt invited me to go along for the ultrasound this morning. We got to see the heart beating (very, very cool), various bones, her spine, and bits of her cute face. Alex was being a tad uncooperative so we didn't get a really good look at her face, but the tech says she looks just like her daddy (maybe because neither has hair at the moment??)

Alex is about 2 pounds 10 ounces right now and her due date is still August 28.


China Date Day

And we only had to drive to Orange County rather than fly halfway around the world. The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana is hosting what they say is the largest exhibit of Terracotta Warriors ever seen outside of China. Discovered by accident in 1974, the necropolis was built for the first Emperor of China about 210 BC. There are over 7000 larger-than-life warriors buried here along with representations of animals, servants, houses - everything you can imagine an emperor might need or want in the afterlife. And the detail! Each warrior, for example, is unique, with different body types, facial features, even hair texture. One of my favorite items was the bronze stork that you can see here. I'd love to see the warriors in situ someday.
We've been to a few exhibits at the Bowers before this one; for such a small museum, they get some really nice, unique shows. The Terracotta Warriors will be there until Oct.12. It's a little pricey - $25 for adults during the week; higher on weekends - but we thought it was well worth the price.

Step one of my next weaving project is done.Tonight I wound the warp chains - half blue and half tan 8/4 carpet warp - for a twill sampler. I'll start warping tomorrow and weaving, hopefully, by Friday. Good times.


Project Progress

I'm making progress on the crocheted cable sweater. The back and right front are done and I'm well into the left front. This is a fun pattern - challenging enough to keep my interest but repetitive enough that it can be done while watching NCIS marathons with Dick in the evening. The pattern is Dusty Miller (Rav link) from Crocheted Aran sweaters and I'm using stash yarn I got on sale at Webs last year. Hooray for stash!

I spent most of today cleaning my studio (yuck!) so I could move Alice in here.
I like to weave in the evening but wasn't doing much because the area behind the couch, where this loom was parked, is so dark, and because that's Dick's TV room and he likes different TV shows (usually) at a higher volume (usually) than I do. With Alice in the studio, I'm hoping to get more done.

The new loom - Wally - will go where Alice was. It's so much bigger, there's no way I can get it in my studio and still be able to move around. I need to do some arranging before Wally can be moved out of the living room. Maybe Friday . . . .


Another Loom

Look what came home with me today. This is Wally - a Walling loom, named for weaver and author Marie Walling and made by her husband, Bill, before he sold the rights to Russ Groff in the late 1960's. I think mine was made by Walling, since Groff renamed them "Oregon Trail Loom" when he purchased the rights.

Wally's a 4-harness, 6-treadle, 36" jack loom with a sectional beam (that I don't
- yet - know how to use.) The wood is in great shape and there's a minimal amount of rust on the harnesses. (gone now, thanks to a little elbow grease.) And she's built like a tank; very strong and solid - which is especially great for rug weaving. Can't wait to warp her up and she how she does.

Dick's been busy in the woodshop this weekend.
This is amboyna burl that he turned and finished with a light coat of wax. Doesn't he do nice work?


Projects and Baggs

Dick went to a woodworking show - and I got a present! This is one of the best knitting/ crochet bags I've ever seen. Sturdy (washable) canvas, lots of room, great shape, tons of pockets sized for hooks and needles, and best of all? It unzips and lays flat so you can find things easier. The Nantucket Diddy Bagg was created for carpenters but - according to the story Dick heard - the designer had a knitting wife and made this so it would work for her too. Well thought out, sturdy, and cool - this bagg is awesome.

I have a bad habit of returning from a workshop, intent on practicing what I learned, then putting it aside and never touching it again. I don't want that to happen with rug weaving. I took the remaining bit of warp still on the loom and made this -
It's almost more fringe than rug, but I was able to practice twining, fringe finishing and some of the weaving techniques I learned in Kansas. I'm kind of proud of my little mug rug.


Home Again, Home Again

We made it home last night after 13+ hours on the road. We'd planned to stay overnight in Las Vegas, but we got there about 4:00 - too early to stop for the day. So we kept going . . . and going and going. We drove a total of 4900 miles in 14 days. It was a great trip but it sure is nice to be home!

This is how far I got on the traveling blankie -
the pink stick is a 12" ruler for comparison. Dick is happy with the colors - the blanket is for him - and I'm happy with the project. It's straight, mindless knitting, so I could listen to audio books or look at scenery without worrying about where I was in the pattern. About the time I'd get bored, it was time to change colors and start a new block. I'm already planning more log cabin blankets in my head.


Close Encounters

We left Rapid City at 8:30 this morning and pulled into our hotel in Evanston Wyoming, just short of the Utah border, a little before 8 p.m. Close to 12 hours on the road. We're really ready to be home.

Other than for gas and food, we made only one stop. Susan at Yarn Barn of Kansas had recommended visiting Devil's Tower in Wyoming. It was a little out of the way, about 35 minutes off the highway, but well worth the trip.
Do you recognize it? We didn't at first - it was made famous (more famous?) by the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.According to this legend, seven young Indian girls were one day playing in the forest. A great bear came upon them and gave chase. The girls fled swiftly through the trees but the bear slowly gained on them. Recognizing the hopelessness of their situation, the girls jumped upon a low rock and prayed loudly to the Great Spirit to save them. Immediately the small rock began to grow upwards, lifting the seven girls higher and higher into the sky. The angry bear jumped up against the sides of the growing tower and left deep claw marks, which may be seen to this day upon the rock walls. The tower continued to soar towards the sky until the girls were pushed up into the heavens, where they became the seven stars of the Pleiades.I'd read the legend before we arrived and it really does look like bear claw scratches down the side of the rock.

We stayed on the Interstate most of the way, but Dick spotted a smaller road, from Casper to Rawlins, that cut about 100 miles off the trip. And added some gorgeous scenery to what could have been a boring drive.
Tomorrow we'll pass through Salt Lake City and St. Georges, on our way to an overnight stay in Las Vegas. Another long day. Thank heavens for audio books!



We did two days worth of touristy stuff today and I'm tired, so this will be short (text-wise anyway) - I want to put my feet up and veg. (edited to add: I've been at this for 2 hours; now it's time for bed. No vegging time for me tonight!)

We got an early start and were able to hit all our priority places, plus a few 'if we have time' spots. First up - Bear Country USA,
a drive-through wildlife park just outside Rapid City. We both thought it was well worth the $15 admission fee. Lots of animals, especially brown bears, close and personal. We had some really great photo opportunities.
Next up was Mt. Rushmore,
our main reason for visiting the area. And it turned out to be our favorite stop on the entire trip (except visiting Addy, of course). Absolutely incredible monument.
The Crazy Horse Memorial, begun in 1948, is still under construction,
but the visitor center is complete. We saw a short historical film, wandered through the museum, admired the sculpture of what the mountain should look like when it's complete, took a few photos, and moved on.

We drove through Custer on our way to the Jewel Cave National Monument. Jewel Cave is the second largest cave system in the US; the largest is Mammoth Cave in Alabama, which we've also visited. We got there about 20 minutes too late for the last full tour and were only able to get on the 20-minute, one-room version. It was interesting - they've mapped about 80 miles of caverns and believe that's only 1-2% of what's still out there.

On the way to Jewel, Dick spotted a yarn and antique store. He almost rolled the car getting it slowed enough to make the turn into the driveway. The antique store was a bust but I bought some Brown Sheep bulky yarn to make a souvenir scarf for Dick.

Our last stop of the day - which we thought we'd have to do tomorrow; never figured we could get to all this in one day - was Custer State Park, home to a roaming herd of 1500 bison. It's a huge park, 71,000 acres, with lots of wildlife on view. We saw mule and white-tailed deer, pronghorns (they aren't antelope as we thought yesterday),
including these two bucks who engaged in mock combat for our amusement - wild burros and turkeys, marmoset, mountain goats, and bison. Lots of bison, spread out across the plain.
Tomorrow we start for home. We're planning to cut across Wyoming, then down Utah, across to Las Vegas, and home. Subject to change, of course. Three more days of travel. I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, seeing the kids and petting my kitties.