Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trails - Reno

Lupines by the Walker River

After going through my pictures of the Reno trip, I find that I didn't take many photos. Must have been having too much fun.

Some owls we met in Bridgeport.

A nicely dressed silver longhorn.

Mono Lake from above. The island is an island again.

Had a hard time with the pictures not going where they were supposed to. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Trails - Reno

Wow, a whole week has gone by.  Between the Conference and sight seeing with Melissa and Lisa I barely had time to sleep, I will post some pictures later.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Trails - Reno

Tomorrow morning RedFish is heading to Reno for the Quilting, Stitching and Crafting Expo.  This is the first time for this venue, hopefully it will be a good show.  I decided to take 2 days to drive and most likely will camp tomorrow night around Bridgeport.

Enjoy the Summer Solstice.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sock Machine Knitting

Sometimes is really hard work to have a great time.  Lisa and I drove to Solvang last night and were up at the crack of dawn to have breakfast and get to the Sock Machine class.

Sometimes the first attempt of the day just doesn't turn out as planned.

I might have gotten carried away with this one.
All in all I had a great day and learned tons.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


 It has pretty well disappeared inside it's magic chamber. In the bottom picture, the tiny dark speck is it's head spitting out the silk. The cocoon is gold, but very, very pale. I'm amazed!


My silkworms are spinning.  The first to start is a Howard Gold, it's cocoon is a very beautiful gold. This worm did all the outside work while I was learning how to operate my sock knitting machine yesterday, so I missed it.  The second one is spinning white silk and started this morning. I will take a series of photos until it's encased.  Then I will give them back to Lisa to add to hers for reeling.
This is the gold one, it's still spinning inside. The gold cocoons don't yield as much silk as the white ones.

This one is setting up his frame work. It chose a corner with a paper towel to spin.  To the left of the paper towel, you can see two lines of silk that are heavier that go across to the other side of the box. This is it's hammock for support, then it start's a bubble like structure.

Better angle of the hammock. It's little feet were like suction cups when it was eating, now they come to little points, I guess so they don't grab onto the silk.

Still working away, silk is getting denser.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sock Machine Knitting

I met a lady who offered to help Lisa and me get our sock machines up and cranking. Lisa is more advanced than I, her machine was out of the packing crate. Mine has been nestled safely in it's crate for a couple years.  Today we traveled to Riverside to learn about these machines.

First thing I learned - my machine is very old and very dirty.  Spent the first part of the day cleaning the main cylinder which was fairly decent, I could have done better with some cleaning oil and an air compressor.
This is my basic machine with a 72 needle cylinder in it. It's clean and I put all new needles in it.

 The needles show better here.

My first cranking. I have a new vocabulary to learn and new tools to buy.

This is the machine with the ribber attachment on top. The needles wouldn't slide in, spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the gunk from the needle slots.

Knitting has never been one of my favorite things to do, but I do like hand-knitted socks.  I know these aren't hand-knitted but they are the next best thing. They will fit perfectly with no seams. I'm happy.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Scarf in the making.

My silk worms munching away.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


This morning I drug out a bolt of handkerchief linen to make a couple pairs of summer PJ's.  It's in the washer, hope to cut them out this afternoon. Need to trim more trees before the wind starts blowing.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


My friend Lisa went to a workshop this weekend and I am babysitting her silkworms.  The little sweeties are shedding and they don't eat when they shed, they eat 24 hours a day, then they stop, freeze in their tracks until they crawl out of their skin and start eating again. This process can take days, and they can die during this phase.  She couldn't plan her workshop around her worms shedding?


I have been putting in the vegetable garden and working on weeds the last week, big job, not done.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Just weaving

When someone asks me what I do, I say I am a hand weaver. I have been reflecting on this for awhile and have decided I cannot say this anymore unless I actually weave.  I own a weaving shop, I teach hand-weaving, I buy and sell weaving equipment, both new and used, but I never have the time to do any weaving. So, I have started weaving again. Yeah! I am a hand weaver.

I learned to weave 35/40 years ago, the 70's. Everyone wove in olive green and orange wool. It was horrible, the colors were horrible, the wool was horrible, the finished product was horrible, we worn it anyway. Slowly I found sources for fine silks and cottons and my weaving life was changed forever, no more wool for me!  Jump forward 40 years and my first project in becoming a hand weaver again is WOOL. Not the thick, scratchy, ugly wool of the 70's but a fine beautiful silk and superfine merino blend. RedFish DyeWorks needed a sample of this yarn so I was going to throw a warp on and zip it off in no time flat, right.
Color choosing was easy. When weaving a sample, I always go to my favorite colors - turquoises and reds. In this case 4 shades of turquoise and a coral. All 50/50 silk/superfine merino 2 ply hand-dyed by my other company RedFish DyeWorks.

I wanted this to be quick, a scarf and some sample squares so I measured a mixed color warp, went through the reed, through the heddles (point twill) on 4 harnesses. Wound on, gently, don't want to stretch the wool. This is moving right along.

I wove several inches with the #4 turquoise, the darkest, and didn't like it so I took it out and tried the #1. Didn't like it either, took it out, tried the #2, liked it only I had a problem. Things I didn't remember about weaving wool, thick or thin; you cannot tension it like silk. The warp was too tight, weaving then unweaving twice, then weaving again, sawed my warp at the heddles. Many broken threads and the rest were very, very thin. So much for quick. I managed to get the warp advanced and retied. I am weaving again, the tension is like a hammock, I'm weaving 8 shots, then advancing. Very slow going, but I'm going. Even though I haven't woven much in the last ten years, in my mind I'm still a weaver. I just need some practice.