Friday, September 28, 2007

Whine and Entrelac

When I returned from my morning walk yesterday, the two guys were still, (after 6 days), were still sanding the whole right side of my house. When I walked in, one looked up - kind of panicked, and said "Do you have tools?" Just another bad sign in a very long string of very bad signs. You may recall we embarked on this adventure to get ready for a party. One that was to happen at our house tonight. The party was moved to a different venue - but the kitchen is still covered in saw dust, all my furniture is still crammed into our living room, our new TV (yay!) is in the basment, the cable guy couldn't do his job today, and I have no idea when this will all be resolved. They arrived back at 10 this morning, and resumed sanding, and began applying the polyurethane. The floor is still blotchy.
After seven days of sanding and re-sanding, it was clear that the two people we had hired didn't know what they were doing. Now, I have to find someone else to finish the job. I called someone today, who said maybe he could schedule us for this weekend. I told him I might be in love with him. This guy has sales staff, a receptionist and a website! Call me shallow - I just want the madness to stop.

In the meantime, Bogie has been at the shop every day, and is getting used to it. He gets many extra belly rubs - so he is a very happy dog.

Now - for some knitting:

Here is the start of the fourth project from the same ball of Embrace - a yummy 100% cashmere yarn from Classic Elite. The ball is huge. And the yarn has a very long color variation. This scarf will be mostly red with purple at the other end. The burgundy sparkly yarn is Tilli Tomas. A perfect pair!
And this is one of my swatches for my entrelac design class with Sarah Peasley. It is Rowan wool cotton. I might need to make the squares a few stitches smaller. But I am thinking of a very deep V -neck pullover, with solid gray sleeves.

And this is the other swatch. We are supposed to make two swatches - but with the same yarn. I am still deciding which project I want to do. Th green/brown yarn is Texas Bighorn, hand dyed. The oatmeal yarn is handspun silk and alpaca. I think it will be very warm, and wants to be a long cardigan/jacket. Now I have to decide which to knit for my class. However, I can't think anymore. I just want to curl up and watch TV. But I can't! Whine.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Never pick up a paint brush a week before a party

Now that I seem to have my virtual life back under control, my real life is a mess. Well, just my house. My life is fine. No real problems. I keep reminding myself. I think it was just last week ( after reading a headline that indicated that stress causes weight gain*) I vowed to not become stressed out about anything anymore. After all, most problems do become resolved, in a good way, most of the time. Worrying and losing sleep never helps.

I decided that it was just fine that my guy needs to have a work related party - a big work related party at our house on Friday. And he suddenly sees our home sweet home's many little flaws. Like a water spot in the living room, and some unpainted trim. No problem! But while we have a painter in the house, and the ladders out, I am suddenly quite tired of the bright yellow kitchen. The painter swears she can get it done - it won't take long! And since we are moving furniture, let's just "flip" the room. Couch over there now, and TV here. So far so good. So far, still floating along stress free. Then, my guy decides it is time to refinish the wood floors. So, all the spare bedroom furniture, kitchen furniture, closet stuff, and TV nook furniture have been moved to the living room. The floor guys start sanding Friday afternoon. One week before big party. They get one fourth sanded. Saturday morning, my guy decides to go for a bike ride, leaving me to wait for the floor guys. And wait, and wait. They show up late morning to a woman who is losing her resolve about not stressing out. After sharing my feelings, I leave for work. Luckily I can walk the mile in,( biker boy had to take my car (?) so he could drive his bike to his friend's house!) but this morning I had my dog with me, along with a couple of bags of things. My dog is no picnic to walk. He is all over the place, tugging in multiple directions, and blind as a bat - so he has to be steered. Biker boy's phone calls me - but it is just static. So I tell him I can't hear him. He calls again. Still static. I emphasize that I can't hear him, and hang up again. His phone calls my phone 12 times on the one mile walk to work, juggling a blind dog, and two bags. My responses become increasingly pointed. My resolve totally blown. One block from work there is actually a voice on the other end. He wants to know "what's up?" and doesn't quite understand why I am madder than a wet hen. It turns out he didn't know he was calling me- the phone was in his back pocket, and his butt was calling me over and over again.
So, today is Monday. My living room is still full of furniture ( and I've decided the yellow couch needs to be blue), they are still sanding. So what should I do?

I've decided to repaint the gallery portion of the shop.

* I never read articles anymore - just headlines

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hi Ho Good Neighbor!

I don't know which planets are doing the Virginia Reel in my sun sign, but it sure has been messing with my communication systems. I guess that would be Mercury - any one else having technology issues, or general mis-communications? Anyway, I am back, and posting. I don't know for sure if I'll ever get back here again - this had something to do with a change of hosts, coupled with a stubborn browser. I think. Maybe.

But I would rather go on and on about fiber arts. Here is a length of double weave "plaid" that will be coming off this sweet little loom today. There is someone waiting in line to use her, so it is time for me to be done. I am just about out of warp anyway. The warp is a combination of Sock yarn, and Merlin, a wool/linen blend from Louet. The weft is also the same combination. The sock yarn makes the fabric look even more complicated than it actually is. I have no idea what I am going to do with this. Or, maybe I have several ideas, and I am just waiting for the right idea to become obvious. I know that the next step, after taking it off the loom and securing the edges will be to throw it in the washing machine, on hot and heavy, then directly into the dryer, followed by a severe pressing. All this punishment should soften the fabric, and full and shrink it. I will let you know what happens. Maybe it will become handbags?

Below is some yarn I plan to use in an entrelac vest in a class that I will be taking with Sarah Peasley, Handknitter. What do you think, Sarah? The top yarn is a thick and thin, handspun alapca and silk. The bottom yarn is hand dyed Texas Bighorn - mohair and merino. I think they should knit at about the same gauge. Do I have to swatch?

Some of you shop regulars know that I have this cashmere yarn from Classic Elite that comes in huge hanks, for what seems to be an astronomical price. But when you divide it all up, its really no more than any other 100%, beautifully dyed cashmere. I finally gave into my own temptations, and started in on one ball. So far, I have made a crocheted ripple scarf, and a hat trimmed in Tilli Tomas disco lights. I plan to also make handwarmers, trimmed on either end with the same disco lights. Then if I have any left over, ( I know I will) I will make a "Pidge"
I have some great tagua nut buttons to add to the pidge. So, not so small projects, all gift worthy, from one skein of yarn. That's not bad!

And finally, though I resist on a normal basis, one really fuzzy dog:

He wouldn't hold still for the pose. He is now completely blind, and in need of a bath. But our kitchen at home is under going some tramatic redecorating. That is why my one eyed, yappy, scruff ball is here at the shop, and will be for the next few days. At least until they are done sanding and refinishing the floors. I left him there during all the painting - and while the painter and he got along swimmingly, there were little white paw prints on the floor every night when we got home.

I almost forgot to tell you about the Barcelona Ruana!It is warped, and about one yard is woven. I have until October 24 to have it finished, sewn together and washed. I figure I can crochet the edging on the plane if needed. Anyway, the details:

Warp: Prime Alpaca from Henry's Attic. The black is threaded in a straight draw on 8 harnesses. The tan stripe is threaded in a diamond pattern called "Periwinkle" from Davidsons. The treadling is 12, 23, 34, 14, (repeat 3 x), 34, 23, 12, 14 (repeat 3x). I am not using tabby. There will be two panels, each about 72" by 22", and one 36" by 4" panel for the middle back. So, I will have to thread the loom again for the back peice.
The blue string you see is a guide string to tell me when one panel is done and the next one needs to begin. I will weave 2 inches of plain weave in bewteen for hems. I am a little uneasy about having enough time.

Wish me luck! And, if you wouldn't mind doing me a huge favor - please send me a message if you get this far. It seems I can only get here from certain browsers. It would help me to know if you got here from yours! Thanks!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


This is just a test to see what, if anything happens. There is major weirdness in the blogosphere, at least my connections seem all messed up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Go Green in East Lansing

Sunday was lovely! While it is well known that yarn shop owners don't actually knit all day, sometimes we arrange opportunities when there is an event that requires that we hang out and knit with others. The reception for "Hand Knit from Hand-dyed" was one. We had a delightful group. A few people who are new to the shop, one person who is new to the world, a couple of Mom's, and at least three offspring of those sitting around the round table. I managed to finish off a cashmere beaded mobious. And I also finished off most of the spinach-artichoke dip!

Here's some news! I had a meeting this morning with people from the City of East Lansing. We are working together on creating an artist co-op to occupy the space next door to Woven Art. The co-op will consist of studio space for 6 to 7 artists, and a shared gallery space. While all the details are not yet ironed out, we want to move ahead on this as quickly as possible. If you know of any artists who might be interested in studio space in downtown East Lansing, please have them contact me.

This coming Saturday we will host Southwest Trading Company "Go Green" event. There will be yarn and fiber samples, lots of educational materials, and the chance to knit on a tree sweater for the one in front of my shop. You know, environmentalists are often called "tree-huggers". Well, not only do we embrace our trees - we dress them up! The event will also include a free pair of Chai-goo knitting needles, and free beginning knitting instruction for anyone who needs it. Bring along your newbie friends! It will be easy to be green at Woven Art from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday, September 15

Friday, September 7, 2007

Reception for Knitters this Sunday

Here is a special invitation to all of you who live in the mid-Michigan area. On Sunday, September 9, Woven Art is hosting a reception for the fiber artists who have contributed to "Hand Knit from Hand Dyed" an exhibit of garments made from yarn hand dyed by Nancy at Woven Art. Also on view will be hand made shawl pins by Jill Valenzula. Please join me in applauding these talented and generous artists, and join me too in raising a glass of wine, or cider, and enjoying other refreshments.

Now that school is back in session, there is new creative energy in the air. There are more interesting ideas floating around Woven Art than I can shake a stick at. Or two sticks! Ha ha. I am trying very hard to be somewhat disciplined in which projects I pick up next. But it is really really difficult. Here is one:
I am calling this my Barcelona Ruana. That's because I hope to wear it to Barcelona this coming October. I am indeed going to Barcelona, and Lisbon too! I am uncertain about whether I can finish a large weaving project before I go. We will get to visit my oldest daughter, and attend a meeting. Anyway. I need clothes. I think a perfect outer garment would be a black alpaca ruana, with a pattern stripe at each edge, and one up the back. Hopefully the stripe up the back won't have a skunk effect, as it will be red, with a strong diamond pattern. And it will match the side stripes. I will try to post progress here as it happens. So far, as you can see, I only have the warp measured out, and the reed about half sleyed.

And here is another! Actually I can blame this one on Deidra. She causes many new ideas to fly around the shop on a regular basis. It would drive me nuts, if her designs weren't so intriguing! Anyway, below is Deidra's idea for a shop class. D knit the bag, and lightly felted it by hand. I made the crocheted granny square embellisments. There is nothing wrong with your monitor, or my camera. The square on the left is fuzzier looking, because it got lightly handfelted as well. We are still in the testing stages - and decided we like it felted. So - this will be a two-fer class. Deidra will teach the felted bag part, and I will teach the crocheted embellishing part. As I said earlier, the bag is still in process, look for I-cord and beads to top it off.
Another technique I have been wanting to play with is mosaic knitting. It is a method of two color knitting that is different from Fair Isle. I am still discovering things about it, but it seems like you can have longer color lines with Mosaic knitting. You only carry one color at a time, so there is much less worry about tangling. You work from a chart, and you have to pay attention - but each design line is worked twice, so you really only have to think every other row.
I just finished this slouchy sling bag:
I think it is pretty cute! Understanding the "sling" part was harder for me than understanding the mosaic part. You knit a tube - as long as it is wide. Do a three needle bind off. Then you put a zipper in at a right angle to the bottom seam. OK - I get that part. Then, you sew the cord to one corner, and to a center back, and you put a button on another corner, and a loop somewhere else, and it is supposed to end up doing these triangle things, with other options for different ways to carry it. Huh? I need to see one that someone else has made. Help!