Thursday, December 31, 2009

Well, I'm not much for year-end wrap up posts, but tonight as I was tidying up my books for my contract spinning gig, I realized just how much yarn I have spun for Tanglewood Fiber Creations this year.

I spun a total of 689.5 ounces.

That is 43.1 pounds.

And that doesn't even include my personal spinning projects.

Holy guacamole.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Now see, this is why I need to keep up with the blogging. I finished another big weaving project this fall, and I can't even remember what month it was. I think it was mid October. Could have been November. Honestly, the past couple months have been a gray blur.

One fun thing about this project was that I finally got to use my end-feed shuttle, which I bought two years ago and haven't done more that play around with. I tried it a couple times, but either the weft yarn was too thick, or the warp was too narrow, or I was scared of winding the pirns, or whatever. I finally worked out some of the kinks with this project. It really does help with the selvedges, especially in combination with using a temple. In this case, my high-tech temple consisted of a weight tied to a string, hanging off a paperclip, hooked into the edge of the web. Worked a treat.

Anyway, here are some pictures. This was a two-shawl warp, of 2/18 super fine merino, threaded in a point twill pattern of my own devising. Both shawls used the same threading, but had different treadlings. The warp sett was 25 epi, and the weft about the same. The weft was mostly the same 2/18 wool as the warp, with accent stripes of handspun, the hand dyed merino/silk singles I spun a couple years ago and named Sapphire and Amethyst.

The first shawl used the Sapphire singles, that I first used for the fancy twill shawl.

I put five stripes of the blue, of varying widths, at each end. A bit fiddly to change weft yarns that often, but I like the results.

The diamond pattern of the twill is the same across the entire shawl, I just placed the stripes at different points in the treadling to take advantage of the parts of the pattern and create variation in how the stripes look. Overall, a success.

The second shawl used the Amethyst singles, first used to make the triple bird's eye shawl.

For this shawl, I took a little different approach. There is a ground pattern of a fairly simple diamond twill, but the wider accent stripes use a different treadling. The tie-up is still the same, just the treadling changed. I also made the accents different at each end, just for interest.

The left side has three stripes, the narrower of which are the same treadling as the background diamonds, with the wide center stripe using one repeat of the modified treadling. The other end of the shawl has two full repeats of the modified treadling.

I wasn't sure how this would look, but I think it works. I really like it.

And here's the commercial:
These will be available in my Etsy shop, once I get some better pictures.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

So here I go. I'm working through the backlog of photos from the past couple blogless months, and I think I'll start with the earliest ones.

In early October Emma and I went with my dad to a family reunion in Phoenix, Arizona. My great-aunt (my maternal grandmother's sister) was celebrating her 90th birthday, and family from near and far gathered. The familial relationships were complicated- there were first cousins, first cousins once removed (two different sets, different generations, from different branches), second cousins, aunts and uncles, and great-aunts and great-uncles. I haven't seen some of these people in thirty years, and some I had never met before. It was fun. There were a lot of us there, about 30 I think, and it was tricky to keep everyone straight. There were four generations of my mother's extended family line represented. I so wish my mom and grandmother could have been there.

Emma and I drove to Salt Lake City and met Dad, then we drove together in his car to Phoenix. I've never traveled in the Southwest at all, except fast along I-40 when we moved to Washington, and was awed by the scenery. We drove over the Hoover Dam, which was quite impressive,

and we got a good view of the construction of the new road bridge downstream of the dam, too.

Salt Lake to Phoenix was a VERY long day, through very pretty country. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the United States is a beautiful land of incredible variety. I regretted the fact that this was to be such a flying fast trip, just a long weekend, and there was no time to stop and look at things more closely.

The most exciting thing for me about Arizona was the cactus. Prickly pear, barrel, cholla, organpipe, and I don't know what all. Very cool. And you know what?

Saguaro really exist!! They are tall and they branch, and are fantastically real. Did you know that they have to be 50-75 years old before they branch for the first time? Amazing. And sobering. The desert is a fragile ecosystem.

After the birthday party/reunion, Dad and Emma and I took a different route back to Salt Lake City. We went north to check out this famous landmark of the southwest we'd heard about a time or two. You may have heard of it as well....

After we'd been driving a while, we started noticing this big crack in the ground.

It just kept getting bigger and bigger, and was joined by more and more cracks, and eventually we saw this near a parking lot.

We got out of the car to see what we could see, and...


Great merciful heavens.

There really are no words.

The Grand Canyon is something that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.

We saw a tiny little piece of the South Rim (that's the Desert View Watchtower, above) for a tiny short time, and it was still a breathtaking sight that I will always remember.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Nothing since OCTOBER? Two and a half months since I posted? Really? I think this is the first time in my five years as a blogger that I have actually missed an entire calendar month.

Bad blogger.

I have been doing things, really I have. November was a weirdly disjointed and apathetic month, as was December, and though I was doing things I mostly felt like hibernating. I'm kind of glad that we're almost to a new year, a new decade, and a fresh start. Even though December 31 to January 1 is only one day following another, it seems like it should be a time to take a deep breath and start again. Or whatever.

There has been weaving, and spinning, and knitting, and crocheting, and even traveling. Lots of good stuff, eminently bloggable, I just haven't done it.

Baby steps, right? Posting tonight is a start. Not every post has to be in depth and profound. I just need to overcome inertia and go.

See you tomorrow!