March of Drawers

Dick set up shop in the house today. Even though it was still pretty hot outside (but fortunately no smoke from all the wildfires - knock on wood), I think it had more to do with wanting to be comfortable while he put the finishing touches on the antique oak legal cabinet he gave me awhile back.

It's been a lot (!) of work for him - sanding and re-finishing the 24 drawers; repainting the (hideous) southwestern-themed bottom section; cutting cedar inserts for each drawer; adding new hardware and more.
The cabinet was designed to hold legal documents - it still had a few when we got it - and several of the original "Improved Woodruff File Holder" inserts, patented in 1884, were still intact.The cabinet now resides behind my big loom; the bottom section holds weaving books, tools and some coned yarn. I'm planning to use the upper drawers for skeined yarn and small weaving tools. It's hard to see in the photos (click any of them to embiggen) but each drawer has a small hole in the bottom center, where a metal rod originally kept the file holders in place. Eventually those holes will be filled with little drawer pulls, each one different, collected during our travels whenever we find something we like.A little whimsy and a lot of memories, all in one beautiful cabinet.


Lucky Me

Two days ago I talked to hubby about maybe taking out an unused counter in my craft room so I could use it for a weaving corner. I was thinking some day, in the future, when his other projects weren't pressing.

Today - two days later mind you - I came home to this -
the counter is gone and I have my weaving corner. And as if that wasn't enough, he also made me a rack for hanging my in-progress project bags (no surprise, I have a bunch) and cones of weaving yarn. I LOVE it. The glue has to dry overnight but you can bet I'll have this sucker loaded down by this time tomorrow!

Snickers is back from the vet and recovering well.
The vet took out the infected tooth we knew about, but also removed a molar that had the root and nerve exposed, along with 4 other roots where the tooth had completely dissolved, probably from untreated cavities. Snick is on antibiotics for the next week or so, but she's already looking and feeling better. I love my vet but I hope I don't have to visit again soon. These trips are painful to the cat and to the wallet.


I Win?

Ha. The warp is ON. The way the back beam is set up makes it look pretty impressive. This is 8/4 cotton carpet warp, threaded 2 per dent/heddle. Tomorrow the wefting (weaving the pattern) begins.


Me and Wally

Me and Wally, not friends yet but I haven't given up all hope. As I mentioned earlier (here), I'm putting the first warp on the Walling loom I've had for 18 months. I think Wally's a little miffed to have been ignored for so long.

Wally's front beam is a little too high for me - I pinched a nerve in my shoulder while threading the reed - so I bought a drafting chair to raise me up and improve the threading angle. Score one for me.

The distance from the front beam to the heddles is too far for me to reach comfortably. After talking to another Walling owner this weekend, I discovered that the warp beam comes out very easily;
pull out a metal pin on each side and it slides right off. Gerri has a bigger version of my loom and said she sits inside the back beam and threads from there. So I got my handy, well-padded warping stool, set it inside the loom and started threading. No room to move my shoulders, no place to put my legs. After an hour of trying, I admitted defeat. Score one for Wally.

When Dick got home from the movies with Marie, we took another look at the back beam. One screwdriver, one ratchet wrench, and one false start later, the back beam was off and I was comfortably threading the heddles. Score another point for me.
I'm half done with threading and tempted to say I've won the war, but why jinx it? Something tells me Wally could still have a trick or two up his sleeve.


Malabrigo Mittens

Just finished these mitts and posted the pattern on Ravelry (here) as a free download. (Not on Ravelry? Click download now to download the pattern as a PDF file.)I spotted the yarn - gorgeous Malabrigo worsted in 'Roanoke Gold' - during class last week and knew immediately that it wanted to be a pair of mittens. The companion skein is still in my stash, awaiting its turn to become a matching scarf.
I adore this colorway.

I wanted a pair of mitts with thumbs in the right place (you know what I mean - I hate fits-either-hand mittens); that had a pretty but easy to learn stitch pattern; a bit of shaping so they weren't boxy; and that wouldn't let the cold air in, as some simple single and double crochet stitches do. This cobblestone, high-low stitch and the instructions for a left- and right-side thumb fits the bill for me.

The pattern is completely customizable and while a total beginner might struggle a little, anyone with a bit of experience should be able to breeze right through.

Now if it would just snow in SoCal so I could wear these . . .


Love Notes

Found this morning on the floor outside my bedroom door. So touching.


Weaving Workshop

I'm spending the weekend in a weaving workshop at SCIART, making another color gamp (sampler). The last one (Ravelry link) took me 18 months to get off the loom due to constantly breaking threads and other problems; I basically abandoned it until I needed the loom for something else.

This time around I'm using pastel colors, with 2 different variegated yarns on either end.
The yarn is bamboo, 9 colors threaded at 16 ends (strands of yarn) per inch. I'm not a big pastel fan but since I already had a gamp with primary colors . . . I wound the warp and threaded the reed Friday night, then started on the heddles after Guild today.

It all went fairly well - as well as it can, I guess, when you discover after threading the entire thing that you skipped right over 16 threads smack in the middle of the pattern. Yeh. Not good. Had to unthread, move and then rethread 48 ends to make room so the pretty green ones could go in their proper place.
The first section is woven using the same yarn as the right side warp threads. The next part will be woven with yellow and then peach, as I work my way in 6" increments across the entire 9 colors. When done I'll have a great reference - 9 warp colors interlaced with 9 weft colors, each woven in 6 different patterns. And it's not going to take me 18 months this time. Should be off the loom tomorrow.


Birthday Pix

We took the California baby grands for portraits today in honor of Leia's first birthday. We were looking for a place as good as the one Rachel uses in Colorado - Portrait Innovations is the best baby photo studio I've ever seen - and after a horrible start at a Kandid Kids inside Babies R Us, Chris found PicturePeople in Simi. Score! The photographer got some great shots of the kids - not easy with a 1, 3 and 8 year old. And as a bonus, the prices were very good. We'll be going back often.

(Yes Rachel, I have copies for you. Putting them in the mail tomorrow.)



  • I walked into the bathroom this morning and Snickers, aka Chicken Kitty, was calmly lying inside our very wet bathtub. My first thought was - earthquake drill?? Does she know something I don't? Or maybe I missed the memo for the kitty spa day? Of course she was out of the tub and looking innocent by the time I found a camera.
  • I wound half the warp for my new weaving project last night and finished it up today, along with threading all 634 ends through the reed. This is the first project I've put on Wally, the Walling loom I purchased from Silvia in May 2008. (hey, why rush these things??) Tomorrow I hope to start threading the heddles. This is what I'm trying to make - an overshot rug from the March/April 2007 edition of Handwoven. I've never woven overshot and I've never used this loom; this should be interesting.
  • And what's Dick doing while I weave? Woodworking! He's making a lazy kate (purpleheart and maple) for one of my weaving/spinning/knitting buddies and working on a design plan for the yarn swift/skeiner that I want.
  • Dick went to our local Boston Market tonight to pick up the meatloaf we were both craving and it was gone - lock, stock and candied yams. We were just there a week or so ago. Did the whole chain go under or just the local one? I'm going to miss that place.



It's 11:20 p.m. and I just started winding the warp for a new weaving project. Got the weaving bug bad today and can't shake it. Found the perfect project in an older Handwoven - and all the necessary fiber is in my stash. Can you say 'meant to be'?

I've never done this weave structure before and I'm going to do it on the loom I've never used before. Crazy might be too mild a word.


Big Day

Guess who turned one today? Leia Kalise hadn't a clue what all the excitement was about but she enjoyed her day, giving her opinion on

- water-filled sippy cups (it hit the floor right after this) - having to wait for food - and birthday cake. No surprise, the cake was a big hit. It's a family tradition on first birthdays to give the honoree a piece of cake - usually chocolate - then stand back and admire the mess. Leia wasn't sure what to do at first, but she figured it out pretty fast. She ended up with a lot of it on her face and hands but not a single piece landed on the floor. Leia has excellent hand-mouth coordination. Happy birthday, big girl!

How do you stuff cake in your mouth? Let me count the ways . . .


Almost done . . .

Two more down, only one left to go before I have all my class samples completed through November. Can't tell you how thrilled I am - and how anxious to move on to some weaving or spinning or knitting . . . anything except crocheted class projects.

This is the Starry Eyes Scarf
done in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, color "Daffodil". It is bright and loud, nothing like the colors I normally work with. But it was in the stash and calling to me. This stitch would look good (better maybe?) in a solid color but hey, this should get a potential student's attention on the crowded sample table. And I adore how soft and squishy the yarn is. This will get a twisted fringe before it goes to my LYS tomorrow night.

And a last minute addition to the list -
a Tunisian simple stitch scarf to replace the project I had planned for October's Pattern-a-Month class. Started the planned project and hated it; went to bed worrying about it and woke up with this as the solution.

The yarn is Crystal Palace Yarn's Taos in 'Midnight Oasis' and it's currently at the top of my favorite's list.
Great colors, easy to work with, looks great, feels great and to top it off, it felts great too (used it in one of the woven felted scarves I did a week or so ago.) I put a fringe on this one too - something I very seldom do - and can't decide whether to twist it or leave it plain and loose. Dick has expressed interest in this scarf, but if he changes his mind, this one is mine, mine, mine. All 6-feet of it.


Lap Time

I spent most of the afternoon and evening working on yet more class samples, and my little lap warmer spent the entire time with me. At one point, AJ saw the camera coming out and immediately covered her eyes so she wouldn't be disturbed. Crocheted FO photos tomorrow!