Monday, June 30, 2008

Adventures in Weaving

Some of you know this by now, but I'm taking a 4-shaft weaving class! The photos are of my rented Schacht table loom and 1st project (a hideous sampler). Lemme tell ya...there is a LOT of math happening. Right now (at work) I'm trying to figure my warp and weft calculations for project #2 and getting increasingly frustrated. My major problem is trying to sort e.p.i. (ends-per-inch) from w.p.i. (wraps per inch), which I use with spinning. For some reason I feel like these are the same thing? That just seems to make sense to my feeble haven't-taken-a-math-class-in-12-years brain. But my calculation instructions say to calculate the e.p.i. this way: "wrap one inch and divide threads by 2". What?? So e.p.i. is half of w.p.i.? Wouldn't that make it "ends-per-half-inch"? I'm so confused.

And I'm not spinning a whole heck of a lot. I spun up 200 yards for my scarf project (due Wednesday) last Friday. According to my seriously skewy calculations, I need more than 200 yards for this project. But I was gone over the weekend (the in-laws wanted us to visit them in Houston), so I didn't get any of this stuff done. Now I have to warp my loom tonight and weave the whole thing tomorrow so that I can go have a happy Wednesday with my neighbor Valerie at Mountain Sun before class. And I am stuck on this e.p.i. thing. At least I can spin more if I get into a pinch. I am missing spinning for my shop...I only posted one yarn last week, and have just a couple for this week...but am LOVING the weaving! Aside from the math, of course.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

...and Dance by the Light of the Moon

I'm out of the rut. Yippee!

Josh and I took a mini-vacation to his annual family reunion up in Island Park, Idaho, just about 20 minutes from West Yellowstone. I absolutely love these reunions, and this one didn't let me down! It was extremely inspiring...bison traffic jams! A taffy machine that inspired a new yarn! Teaching oodles of kiddos (and a couple of adults) to spin (or just use the treadles)! Seriously, the wheel was a hit. I doled out lots of my extra fiber and some of the kids (as young as 4 years old) brought their "first yarn" to the pancake breakfast on Sunday. I was so proud!

And then there was Yellowstone. Bison bums (we were trapped behind a herd of I'd say 35-45 bison for 2 1/2 hours), travertine terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs...even a grizzly bear! Josh even politely asked a buffalo if we could perhaps have some of the downy undercoat he was shedding. The fiber is protected by the park, so my mother-in-law bought me a couple of ounces from a vendor in W. Yellowstone for my birthday present. I'm a lucky girl! It is very curious to spin...definitely a down fiber. The staple length is about nil, so you have to hold it very gently in your hand and spin woolen, letting in twist between your two hands. I think I'll spin a luscious 3-ply and weave something...maybe a scarf...with the yarn. It is just too precious to sell.
Anyway, it was a brief trip...only four days, and two of them taken up by driving 10 hours one-way through some beautiful countryside. But we managed to get away from it all for a little wee bit, and that is just the best thing to jolt you into creativity. I spent Monday spinning and finishing up my weaving homework...but that's another story entirely. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Same (C)ole, same (C)ole

I'm in a rut!

I just keep on spinning one two-ply after another. I don't know what the deal is, yo. The colors mixing and changing over the course of the yarn continues to fascinate me. It's a bit meditative, but with subtle surprises.

The whole issue makes me feel like I'm just not putting enough creativity into my yarn. I'm being hypnotized, dang it!

So over the weekend I broke out my string of dyes, bought some hefty mason jars, and mixed up some serious colorage. Combining colors and doing something new helped break me free a little. With luck I'll do some more dyeing tomorrow. I'd like to start stocking my little shop with some handpainted fibers, especially those from the rescue farm. I'm sure it would be hard to not spin the stock, though!

In other news, I received my notice from the IRS that my stimulus check should show up in my bank account by Friday...whoo hoo! Just in time for Estes Park Wool Market this weekend! Oh, wait. I'm doomed. :D