Falling leaves

So much fun yesterday,

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I got together with my usual fiber gang yesterday, and we spent the day turning leaves and silk into beautiful combinations.

Seattle Leslie had taken a class in using leaves to print on silk scarves so she led us in techniques throughout the day. Everything began with a big pile of vegetation gathered from various neighborhoods, both green and dried.

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There were also a lot of onion skins to add yellow and orange options. The dry leaves were soaked in water so they would be less brittle and could handle the process.

First the scarves had to be soaked in a heated alum solution and then wrung out gently.   After that there were various options. The leaves dipped in an iron water solution could just be directly laid on the scarf and wrapped up, or cotton blankets (sheet strips) with dye could be laid on top, with or without more iron water.  Stems and flowers?  Why not.  Rusty washers?  Toss them in!

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The scarves and Saran Wrap were tightly rolled around plastic and wood dowels and tied tightly to keep the cloth in close contact with the leaves.

Some of us really put themselves into getting that part right.

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Then the bundles all went into this fabulous old steamer Oregon Leslie found on Craig’s List.  It was originally for canning, but it makes a perfect scarf steamer.

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The unwrapping, after the bundles had cooled, was magical.  So many unexpected results!

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The scarf above, made on a wool/silk fabric, came out really yellow compared to all the others.  Less heat perhaps, as it went in as one of the later bundles?  But the red Japanese maple leaves with all the yellow are gorgeous.

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We learned that chestnut and oak leaves left wonderful imprints, as did smoke tree leaves.  Cedar and fir left ghostly jagged lines, and onion skin gave sharp burst or yellow and orange.  Hydrangea leaves, on the other hand, didn’t give much of an effect at all.

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Bundle after bundle unrolled incredible prints.

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The joy just keep coming.

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Some were even more joyful than others.

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Can’t wait to do it again!

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Oceanside

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It is good to know people with family beach cabins!

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My crafting group has come to the Oregon coast for a long weekend.  Between the four of us we have spinning wheels, sewing machines, a Cricut machine, felted wool, and near limitless yarn.  A fifth, non crafting friend has come along and taken over the role of pastry supplier.  There is homemade chai spice infused vodka and blueberries straight from the garden.  There is a carved salmon wrapped in Christmas lights.  We lack nothing.

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I had the perfect sewing spot to make flannel pajama pants.  Llama pants!  It makes me happy just to say that.  We also now each have tracing of cropped pants pattern pieces in our various sizes and I’ve gotten my hands on a coveted sun hat pattern.

There was a felted vessel viewing, along with what I’m told will be a suspended abstract storm cloud, and felted fabric.  Rolled wool strips are becoming a trivet.  Sweaters are coming off needles in various stages of finish.

A trip to Goodwill resulted in a backpack made from a table cloth, a curtain, and an IKEA seat cover.

A pair of socks is off my needles and ready to wear (with thanks to Paige who likes both Kitchener stitch and weaving in ends.  I don’t understand it, but I appreciate it.)

In between all the fiber work, we’ve been on beach walks, cooked a lot of tasty meals, and danced to 80s music.  (OK, that last one might just have been me.)  And made marvelous cocktails.  The clear winner of the popular vote is that chai spice vodka.  Mixed with fresh squeezed orange juice, San Pellegrino lemonade, and frozen mango as ice cubes, it may explain the 80s dancing.88CB5851-4D4B-4358-8F94-8450F47DD60F

 

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Getting away

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Another fiber friends weekend has flashed past.  This time we met up halfway between the northern people and the southern people, at an Air BnB house in Olympia.  Tucked into a quiet little neighborhood we sewed and spun and knit and played with fiber.  Also, there was wine.  🙂

I cut out and sewed most of three more tunics based on the Dress No. 2 pattern.  I got as far as the neck bands before I broke the sewing machine needle on a misplaced pin and had to stop.  But look at this book card fabric I found!  Perfect for my job as a high school librarian.

Leslie 1 (50% of the group is named Leslie) brought her blending board and showed us how to make rolags, which you need if you want to spin in true woolen fashion.  And it makes it really easy to mix up colors and fiber types.  There is cotton, wool, angora, and alpaca in those sample rolls.

I added another big chunk to my 1×1 ribbed stash-eating scarf.  I’m holding three strands together for a marled effect.

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There was knitting in public, which greatly intrigued the wait staff at the Three Magnets Brewing Co. when we ventured out of the house in search of cold drinks on a very hot day.

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Look at all the handspun my friend Paige has created and accumulated! This is just the fraction I could fit in the photo.

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I tremendously enjoy each of these weekend getaways.  Like minded people laughing together, plus fiber.  How can that not be great?

 

Olympic gold finish

I’m awarding myself an unexpected gold medal because I did in fact finish my Knitting Olympics wrap before the extinguishing of the flame at the end of the closing ceremonies.  Of course, this was on NBC time, rather than the Korean peninsula time zone, but so was the casting on, so I’m counting it.

I owe my victory to two snow days and a late start, so thank you Canada for the cold front assist.

The blocking may have been a bit excessive – this thing stretches to the floor if I don’t double wrap it.  In some hazy future I will soak it again and reblock for width and reduced length, but for now, I’m just loving it.  I’m almost sad that spring is finally starting to show up because I won’t get to wear it for months and months.

Not sure why it then took me two weeks to get that finish posted, but life gets in the way.

I’ve moved on to another wrap, this one called Pralines.  I ripped it out three times in the early stages, twice because I didn’t like how I was managing carrying the light yarn up the edge, and the third time because I decided to change the contrast yarn altogether.  In stead of a greeny-blue yarn I dyed a while back with Olympic white left-overs , it is now the greeny-blue with a variegated lighter green.  Looks less like I’m knitting nautical wear.  If I had the brown yarn shown in the pattern, I’d have used that because I love the color combination, but I’m trying to knit from stash.

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Which, by the way, is totally my excuse for buying three new skeins of yarn at the Rose City Yarn crawl last weekend.  I needed the new yarns to go with three skeins I already had, so I could make some two color shawls I have my eye on.  can’t knit from stash if it doesn’t match!  None of my remaining sock yarns really went with each other.  So I was pretty much forced to buy more yarn, right?  (Oh, rationalization.  It makes for great shopping sprees.)

My friend Paige came down to spend the weekend, so there was much knitting and yarn shopping and making of bagels.

That last became a full family affair because the many stages of bagel making were so interesting.  Kneading and pulling, then broiling, boiling, and baking.  We had a great time, and then a fabulous bagel feast.

 

 

 

 

 

A scaled back OFFF

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A plan to spend the weekend at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby was reduced to just Saturday afternoon.  One friend was ill, one on her way to illness and one was sent out of town on a business trip.

So it was just a couple hours with my friend Paige, but enjoyable still. We’ve been enough times that we pretty much have memorized the booth offerings from return vendors, but nothing makes fondling yarn and fiber and petting sheep get old.

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So much color everywhere!  And yet I managed to buy the plainest yarn and fiber I saw.

But, what it lacks in pigment it makes up in content – the yarn is yak and merino and silk, and the fiber has enough angora that it is going to get a wonderful halo when it is made into yarn.

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The barn where the sheep and goats wait to be judged is, as always, a highlight.

The wildly varying pelts always intrigue me.  So much variation in what are basically close cousins.

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All of those are sheep fleece, except the bunny in the middle of the top row.  It is hard to tell, but the brown tipped locks on the lower left were brown on the ends and then went through cream to become gray where it is newly growing out.  My sister pays huge amounts of money to get that many colors into her hair!

The colors llamas come in are also impressive.

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The angora rabbits are another favorite. Dust bunnies come to life.

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When we weren’t shopping or petting we watched the llama obstacle course trials – very dignified – and then the goats at their course as well – defiant and needing to be carried.

And then OFFF was done for another year.

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Coast and eclipse

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Summer vacation is ending and we are all in denial about it, except my husband who thinks it will be nice when other people in the house have to go to bed at a reasonable time and get up early. Mornings are a little lonely for him in the summer.

We are squeezing a few adventures in at the end.  My friend Paige invited us to the coast for a couple days (well, one day but then we just didn’t leave).  Beach walks and whale watching, ice cream and sea lions, knitting and puzzles – an excellent couple of days.

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I finished the I-cord binding on my Volt wrap at long last and cast on a simple pair of socks.  Simple once I got a handle on the tension.  The first attempt was way too loosely knit and made a floppy open fabric.  A failed attempt at finding a knitting store on the coast to buy smaller needles led to ripping it all out and cranking up the tightness on the same needles.  Not ideal but it worked out.

From the coast we headed inland to Salem, OR, for the eclipse.  We got there a couple of days early to hang out with my friend Cathy – friends since junior high! – and the other people who had also called her to request a bed in the path of totality.

Cathy and her husband are excellent hosts.  I may never need to eat again.  As an example, one of the nights we had five desserts to choose from.

And the eclipse!  Words are inadequate!  It was beyond amazing.  We all settled in on their deck up in the hills above the city and watched the very first sliver of moon crossing onto the sun’s face.  It gradually got colder, and the light weirder, and the sun beams through the leaf shadows all turned to crescents. So did the little points of light shining through my straw sun hat.  The sun through our eclipse glasses was a molten orange, but the totality itself, when we could look without the filters, was drained of color – a white flaring ring around a black featureless hole in a black sky.  The diamond ring effect as the sun reemerged was spectacular.

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Those aren’t my eclipse photos in these pics – the boys and hat crescents are mine – but they look exactly like what we saw.  Nothing like anything else I’ve ever experienced.  It was truly a thrill to see.

Worth every minute of the five hours it took to get home afterwards on what is normally a one and a half hour drive.  Eclipse traffic also lived up to its hype.

And I made good progress on the beach/eclipse socks:

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