Friday, September 26, 2008

The Countdown Begins

I shipped off two very large boxes yesterday, ending the frenzy of dyeing, packaging, making lists, shopping, and checking things off the list. The race has well and truly begun: SOAR is fast upon us.

I have been making new class samples, using the Cricket. Weavers often take classes that are *just* to make samples: one ends up with a binder full of woven swatches in different yarns and weave structures: a reference manual.

I like samples to be actually useful, but still contain all the components I want the class to learn:
SOAR 2008 sample bag small

This is a little bag, with a verrrrrrry long band, long enough to hang diagonally over my shoulder, and stay firmly attached. I plan to use it at fairs and festivals where carrying a big purse is unwieldy, but one still wants cash and keys, and maybe a driver's license and a little plastic.

The pile is handspun silk, and the band is cardwoven. The design on the band is intended to mimic the twining on the back of the bag:

SOAR 2008 sample bag back small

In the all things at the right time category, we have the Celtic Fair this weekend, where the bag will get its debut. I'll be there Sunday, spinning (or maybe weaving on the Flip, the Cricket being in those boxes I shipped), so if you are in the area, stop by, say hello, have a brew and some haggis (!), enjoy the nice Fall weather, and listen to some fabulous music.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hail, Hail

the gang is all here once again. Fall seems to fire up the meeting schedule, along with cooler mornings and (this week) the bright full moon. We had spinning:
blog v, m, j and h small

blog bj & s small
This is BJ, who teaches our local spinning and weaving classes, both at her studio and at our LYS. We had show and tell, but the only thing I remembered to take a photo of is Jan's 3 ply handspun cotton sample, knitted, with handspun cotton bamboo blend (the blue):

blog jan's cotton small

I think there were about 25 of us, coming and going, for this meeting at the library community room. It takes a while for a gathering to become part of the routine: the spinning group met for several years as a very small core group before suddenly taking off this year with an average group of 20 spinners, knitters and happy fiber people:

blog bs small

Barbara Sue also started a new knitting gathering at the local co-op this week. Tuesday night a group of about 12 of us met in the cafe for the first time. It is always nice to see knitters gather, and there were new (to me) people to meet. We plan to continue: 6 pm the third Tuesday of the month, in the cafe at the 'patch.

This coming week the guild meeting starts up again with a program I have been looking forward to: Kristine Vejar, from a Verb for Keeping Warm, will talk about her travels in India with the Rabari people, and natural dyeing. 7pm in the Madelyn Helling room at the Nevada County Library, if you are in the area.

Most of my friends are fiber people, not surprising since fiberwork is sort of an obsession of mine. Maybe I should get out more? There are plenty of opportunities now that my favorite time of the year has rolled around once again.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

There was Blood

My father was a woodworker. He also was a smoker, and there were often burn marks somewhere on the things he made, where he put down a cigarette for a *minute*, or dropped ashes.

We used to chuckle at his *trademark*.

My trademark has always been blood.

I'm not a very careful seamstress. I seem always to prick my finger with the needle. I also often fail to use a thimble until it's too late, and I've managed to impale my finger with the dull end of the needle as I am pushing it through.

I usually notice that I am bleeding when I see the blood on the project. Such was the case yesterday as I finished up the hand sewing on this bag:

SOAR sample1 2008 small
Front side: linen bag with silk knotted pile pocket.

SOAR sample2 2008 small
Back side, same same.

This is the first sample woven on the Cricket for the upcoming class at SOAR. Most participants reacted kindly to using the new loom, there were a few questions but, thankfully, no rebellion.

Answers to questions which did arise:
#1: The Cricket loom can be used semi-upright, leaning against the table and resting on your lap. There are notches that catch the loom on the edge of the table to make this position easy and secure. It is much like the pipe loom in that sense, and similar to my upright pile looms.

#2: No one will be required to buy the loom. I have "smallened" the project so it can be accomplished in the allotted workshop time (see sample above). The looms will be available to purchase, and are being supplied for the class to use by Schacht.

#3: I will bring and set up the copper pipe loom for those who wish to know how it all works. Plans for the loom will still be included in the handouts.

#4: The tension mechanism on the Cricket is a ratchet and pawl system, with the pawl having double teeth: easy to make incremental adjustments and very secure.

#5: I don't know how much warp this will hold, but certainly enough for the project we will be doing. If you look at the photo on the Schacht webpage, you can see there is a back beam and a warp beam, plus a breast beam and a cloth beam, all of which combine to make it easier to put on a longer warp, and still weave with a good shed. Looms without such niceties are more difficult to use with a long warp (and a subsequent build up of cloth on the front beam). Sound like Greek, Claudia? :)

#6: Corrugated cardboard warp separator: I bought a large roll many years ago at an educational supply place for teachers who use it as bulletin-board backing. I think you can buy it at office supply places, but honestly I haven't looked. The rolls I bought have lasted for over twenty years, so I haven't needed to find this particular accessory again :). For those curious, we will be using sticks at SOAR to separate the layers of warps, not cardboard.

I'm still working on the other class sample, more to come, soon, I hope. Lindsey called yesterday though, asking about a certain dearth of postings, so herewith. I'm planning to see Lindsey in town this afternoon, and I'm hoping she doesn't read this first, so I can blink my eyes in all innocence when she asks again about the dearth of posts.

The games we play. I live a very small life.