Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rivers of Velvet

After 30 years, the local theatre company got a new velvet curtain for their stage downtown at The Grande Theatre.  My husband volunteers building sets for them, so he was in the right place at the right time to claim it for his wife.    They thought about re-using it for something -- but every time they tried to do something with it, it would tear and rip.   Fortunately, one of the things I plan to do with it is rip it into strips for rugs.    Perfect for my purposes!

Today the sun was out, and the driveway was dry enough to pull it out and tear each curtain down into panels.  It was a dusty business, and we have to be careful of the fire retardant, and so we wore dust masks, and washed all our clothes after working with it.

All bailed up and ready for storage.

Next task : Test it to see if it will work for rugs.  How wide to rip the strips -- and it rips beautifully!  This is a task best done outside, however.  Lots of errant pills are produced in this process.

Next task : See how it washes up -- How much dust? How much pillage?  Will is plug up the washer and dryer?

I now have a lifetime supply of red velvet ... and I'm willing to share.  Want some? 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Water : Week 12 Let's do 52

Water Abstract


I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Out in Nature : Week 10 Let's do 52

Out in Nature
Skeleton Leaf  in Winter

Sorry to say, I didn't keep very good notes on the processing of this image.
I will say that I used a couple of textures --
Out-of-the Fray's Light Grunge Texture and one of my own Glasgow Cemetery textures (8140) and a Texture 30.  The snow background in the original was so nondescript, it needed something texture-wise. 

Once I had the textures set, I merged all the layers, and took it over to Rad Lab and played thil I had something I liked.   

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Copper Patina : Pick a Color : Week 11 Let's do 52

Can you guess what this gorgeous copper patina texture is from?

Here's a hint : Chart this under Everyday  Inspiration ...

Where is this from:
Whole new worlds on the bottom of my Revereware Copper-bottomed tea kettle.

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Movement : Week 9 Let's do 52

Baba Yaga's Daughter

This lovely lady is a street musician in Glasgow, Scotland, on Buchanan St.  from last summer.   I'm pretty sure her mother, an older version of herself, was playing just a block away.  Similar music, and similar costume.  If you look closely, you'll see skulls on her head scarf--a dead giveaway for Baba Yaga! And then there's the doppelganger aspect, and the young to old theme, as well.

I chose this one for Movement, because I can still see her fingers moving to play the accordion, and the gypsy music makes me want to dance dance dance ...

To put you in the mood, enjoy this little video of Russian Gypsy Music :


For the image at the top of this post, I played with the photo processing to make it look more like a painting, or illustration.

Photo Processing Recipe :
Layer 1) Background Image
Layer 2) Spot Healing and Cleanup
Layer 3) Topaz Impression - Georgia O'Keefe
Layer 4) Topaz Impression - Photo Painting (Soft Light at 49%)
Layer 5) 2LO Texture 3(2) - Soft Light 100%

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Setting Up for DoubleWeave

I've been trying to learn more about Double Weave for folded cloth -- With some nudges in the right direction from the 4-Shaft Weaving Group on FaceBook,  I got a couple of books from the Public Library by Jennifer Moore, along with a video that's been very helpful.  I really think this the way to go with that color gamp kit I bought.  

My weaving friend Lynda, was encouraging me to learn about color along with the different weave structures, but I think the bigger thing I'll be learning here is the double weave aspect -- and I'll have a blanket / throw we can actually use at the end of it.  Because my loom is too narrow to do the pattern as given, we'd been talking about altering the pattern (shrinking the width, and lengthening it to use the same amount of yarn, or leaving out some of the colors altogether), but I don't think I'd ever wear a scarf with all those colors out of the house.   I know a twill would have been swell, but I'd need an 8-shaft loom for that!  If it makes her feel any better, I worked up samples of 37+ weave structures on the current warp.  Not a color study, but definitely contrasting warp and weft, and showing the range of possibilities on a 4-shaft loom with standard set. 

With the double weave option, I think there will be less translating the pattern as it was written into something I can do on the loom I have.  For instance, I understand that I'll still be able to use the 6-dent reed that's currently in place, and that I'll need to run 4 ends through each slot instead of 2 as would work for a single layer of cloth.  The pattern says to wind a warp with 432 ends, which means I'll need 432 heddles altogether, which translates to 108 heddles per shaft (That's 432 divided by 4 shafts =108). I think I'll count those this wkd to see if I have enough.  I know we took some off for the current warp, setting it up for rug weaving.  
As for winding the warp, my husband and I knocked out this no-nonsense very basic spool holder / Lazy Kate, made from scrap wood and nails with the sharp ends ground off (for safety, and making it look less like a medieval torture device) :

In thinking things through, I felt I needed one of these in order to move on to the next step in vwinding the warp for this project.

There's room for 18 spools, since that's what the Shetland Wool Color Gamp Kit calls for.
The bottom row is slightly off-set from the top.  Each pin is 3 inches from the next one in line.

 Once I have the colors in order (How's this?), this little device will help me keep things straight in my mind for the duration of the project.  When you look at it from this angle, the top row (starting with the black spool) simulates the warp strings for the TOP cloth.  The bottom row simulates the warp strings and colors for the BOTTOM layer of cloth.  They will be joined on the right side amid those yellows and mustard colors.

As for winding the warp : Tell me if my thinking is right here :  It can be the same 3 yds in length that is recommended in the pattern.  I understand that I need to put the colors in the order I want them to appear in the final blanket.  But I think I should probably put them in the order that they would appear in the folded cloth--so picture 2 rows, one on top of the other.  Essentially, I'll need to wind the first and last colors together (1 and 18 or that black and blue on the left side, then dark gray and turquiose; then white and sky blue, etc)), and work my way through the color pairings (2 and 17; 3 and 16; etc), until I get to the folded side (which would be on the right side of the loom).

In the first set of heddles on the left, there will be 2 yarns of the first color (weaving to the top 1/2) and 2 yarns of the last color (weaving to the bottom 1/2).  I think that means I can wind 24 ends of each color simultaneously, which will give me 48 ends total for each color pairing.  Then I just work my way along through each color pairing.  If my logic is right here, I might just go ahead and wind the warp for that project -- so that I'm not wasting your time when you're here on simple stuff like that.   I'd rather have your help with tying on, and winding on to help get out tangles and make sure everything is straight and even and tight--with no threading errors. 

I know I'll be stuck with plain weave because the extra shafts will be used up on the 2nd layer of cloth, but the treadling pattern will make it a little more interesting than just walking along ...  I'll have to think about that for a while--but the bead system will help me keep track of where I am at any given point.

I think this can work ...  I need to watch the video again.  Jennifer Moore has a specific way to set up the treadles for the lift plan that seems to make sense.  Different from how I have it now. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Color Gamp in Shetland Wool

I haven't even finished off the current warp on the floor loom, and I'm already planning the next project.  There is a certain amount of fear, almost grief to cut a project off the loom.  At this point in my newbie weaving career, I LOVE the repetition and motion -- meditation -- of weaving.  Once it's set up, everything is in order, and I can be productive.  You SEE the cloth winding on ...  Once I cut it off, the loom is in a state of waiting.    And it may be a while before I get up the gumption to get it all warped again -- In my mind, the warping process is still CHAOS to me.  I know there is a definite method (several, actually), and in the end it all seems to work out ...  So in effort to limit that resting period for the loom (who I know wants to be in service and working), I've been spending a fair amount of free time thinking about the NEXT project.

Soon after I acquired the Kessenich Floor Loom last fall, I got interested in doing a color study -- similar to what I did with the hand dye color charts from 3 primaries.  Similarly in weaving, the colors of warp and weft strands interact to display other colors ...  It also makes a difference what weave structure / pattern you choose in terms of what color comes through, or is "seen" by the eye.

There are a lot of cotton kits out there with very vibrant colors.  However, me being a Fiber Girl, and not afraid of wool, I was more interested in the only wool option I could find : This Shetland Wool Color Study Blanket Kit from Yarn Barn.  I'd found a couple of bloggers who worked it up,  and that cinched it for me. Especially this one from Kristine at St. Seraphina Fiber Arts.

My loom is not quite as wide as is required for the kit, so I decided to set up my loom for double weave in which case I would weave a double layer of cloth with a fold on the right side, which should be totally do-able on a 4-shaft loom like I have.  The only draw-back to the double-weave option is that I'll be limited to plain weave, or common cloth, since I only have 4 shafts.  I had originally wanted to try a more interesting weave structure than just plain weave (maybe a twill), and I fully understand it won't be a thorough color study if I didn't look at different weave structures.  Common weave won't tell the whole color story ...

The wheels are turning as I work out what I need to do to make this work ...

Sunday, February 26, 2017

DIY Skeinwinder

I thought this ingenious little DIY skeinwinder needed a little more explanation and a few more pictures, since we modified it slightly from what Measured and Slow did with her design.

The top picture shows the general idea (an expandable mug rack atop a lazy Susan) not actually screwed together, at this point.

 This is after my husband gave it back to me, assembled and ready to go.  

He added 1 modification.  I was wondering how to keep the mug rack extended / expanded with a hank of yarn on it?  How to keep it from collapsing in on itself again?  My husband solved this problem elegantly with the flat stick with hold drilled into it that will hold the mug rack to the proper extension with yarn on it.
This works for this particular yarn and hank length.  You could also use the "shorter" hole for a smaller hank.  There's a 2nd longer flat stick for even larger hanks, if needed.

Here the yarn is placed in a rectangle configuration, avoiding the 2 pegs on the hexagram points.
It seemed to work fine in this configuration.  The yarn wound off beautifully.

I tried to take a short video so you could see it in action, but apparently, I need to learn the settings on this camera better.  My video came out as a still shot instead.  Sorry about that ...  I think you get the idea, though.  The mug rack is attached to the lazy Susan, which allows the extended rack to turn easily as the yarn winds off (or on).  

Here it is all folded up and ready for storage.  
The flat locking sticks have been removed.
Guess I need to make a storage bag for it now?

 Here it is with the mug rack extended, ready to adjust to any size yarn hank.
You can also see the 3 dark screw heads where my husband attached it to the lazy Susan base.

Here it is extended, with the locking slat in place. No yarn.  

Success in Simplicity!

Adventures in Building a DYI Skeinwinder and Swift

I was getting ready to make one of these DIY Swifta out of a lazy Susan and an expandable mug rack.

The problem : I was given several bags of wonderfully soft alpaca yarn on skeins.  At present, I am weaving it on the floor loom, but to get it ready, I have to wind it into balls/cakes before I can wind it onto the shuttle for weaving.  Maybe with this tool, I'll be able to go directly from the skeinwinder to the weaving shuttle?


Option A : At first, I thought I could use the swift I purchased for my spinning wheel, but 1) it's not expandable -- which is fine if I'm winding yarn I spun myself, not so good if the purchased skein is larger or smaller than this particular swift.  2) The second problem with it is : every time, I've tried to use it, the damn thing pops apart.  Really bad design if it can't handle the tensions of what it was meant to do.  After loosing the nuts and parts several times because they went flying off, and finding them again, I've disassembled it all and put it away with a big note on it not to bother using it again without some kind of engineering re-work.  Disappointing, since it cost me a pretty penny back in the day.

Option B : Then I started putting putting the skeins on my warping board, winding them to a bobbin on my spinning wheel, and then using the ballwinder to make a cake.  That works --it's a little awkward as the yarn moves around the pegs of the stationary warping board.  Not ideal.  An actual purchased Umbrella Swift / Skeinwinder can cost $89--I'd rather spend my money on yarn!

Too cheap to purchase one of these, but I'm not thrilled about the time and effort wasted doing the job as I am currently, and too cheap to buy a real umbrella swift (although, I do know that buying good equipment can make a tremendous difference in many ways!  It can also be a colossal waste of money if you get something poorly designed, or a gimmick. Been there, done that!) 

Option C : So I finally decided I needed another solution, and started combing through Pinterest for an inexpensive DIY Solution ...  I came across this ingenious idea from Measured and Slow :

There's a similar one explained in this video by Charan Sakar.  Necessity is the mother of Invention!

I already had the lazy Susan from some other long dead art project.  And I found the expandable coat rack at my local hardware store (though they called it a mug rack) for only $10.  They also had the longer wooden pegs 4 for $5.  The mug rack expands to fit whatever size skin of yarn I might have.  That's what I needed!   So for about $15, I had the parts to make my own ...

So I laid it out on the table to show Hubby what I needed him to assemble to make it work for my purposes ...  [See photo at top of post ...]

Option D) By the end of the day, my weaving and fiber art friend Lynda brought me one of these :

A Leclerc Skeinwinder, available here at The Woolery for $$$.  She said someone in the local weaving guild gave it to her, for free and she was passing it on to me, since I needed one.  Wow!  The universe provides, if you just give it time to manifest ...

We'll see how it works ...  Perhaps there's a good reason why the weaver gave it up?  It is adjustable, and once we got the parts lined up properly, it looks like it will work ok.

Now I have 2 skeinwnders / yarn swifts!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Leading Lines : Week 8 Let's do 52

Leading Lines
Eroded Sandstone

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Light : Week 7 Let's do 52


Last summer, I took an Outlander-themed trip through Scotland.  This was in the chapel where they filmed Jamie and Claire's wedding, such as it was.  It's actually a beautifully restored chapel (Glencourse Old Kirk) that had to be re-done and made shabby for the film scene.  The afternoon we were there, the light streaming in through this window lit the candle without a flame and left amazing shadows on the stone.   Mmmmh!

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Possibilities : LYA 2017

I just ordered my postcards for the 2017 Liberate Your Art Postcard Exchange happening in March.

I tried printing them myself on my home printer, but the quality is just not the same -- and it kind of defeats one of the purposes of the project which is to print your art, and get it out into the world.  Having them professionally printed add a level of legitimacy and professionalism that just can't be beat -- provided you've got good stuff to start with. ;-)

I've been using for professional printing.  And they do a nice job!  At present, they are offering 15% off of postcard sets.    With shipping, I'm paying about $1.30 / postcard and I get to use my own designs.

I will have extras, so if you like what you see, join us!  I'm also open to side swaps--so if you don't get one of my cards in the official exchange, contact me about a side swap.  There are several people I keep swapping with every year, just because I met them through this artful exchange.

Symmetry : Week 6 Let's Do 52


I've been thinking about what to do for this week's Let's Do 52 prompt for a few weeks now.   I finally decided the best way to meet this challenge was with a Kaleidoscope.

The orange and green star photo above is  a slice from The Orange Blossom Breeze quilt I made for my Grappa years ago.  It came back to me after he died, and stays on my bed through the winter. 

I used the Kaleidecam App -- I swear, this app is the best $3 I've ever spent!  I can spend hours playing with it, seeing the world in new ways.   I start wondering what would it be like if this is the way we saw the world -- in slices kaleidoscoped together?  How would that change our perceptions?  It's essentially a very narrow view in great detail, many times over.  But it's always moving, too. Always in motion--at least in the app it's always in motion.  How would that change the way our brains work?

I love this app!  I'm even starting to dream in kaliedescopes now.   It's a much needed diversion from current events.  And these kaleidoscopes can be a wonderful focus for meditation, too.  They come out like mandalas. 

Even something as ugly and mundane as an old rusty cookie sheet has a natural and muted beauty to it when it's kaliedescoped.  Who'da thunk? 

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Out of Focus : Week 5 Let's Do 52

From my archive -- I tend to delete out-of-focus pics, so this is one from a past trip to France, cropped and edited with Topaz Impression to give it a Monet-ish,  out-of-focus look.

Here's the original photo of a willow tree, from along The Gorge-du-Tarn.

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Welcome Sophie

Sophie Pet Portrait - Worked up in PhotoShop Elements and Topaz Impression with a new 2LO texture background.

Here's the original photo, taken in our kitchen which is her territory while we're house training her.

She's about 10-11 weeks old here.   
It's a real challenge to take decent pictures of black dogs.  Oftentimes, the pics come out looking like dark shadows, puddles or silhouettes where you can't make out any features.
I'm learning the secret is to make sure there's enough Light in the scene to start with.

Gotcha Day : When we drove to Indiana to pick Sophie up Dec 28, 2016 :

Yuo, I think this is gonna work out just fine!