Sunday, April 22, 2012

Woven Shibori

I can't believe how little a mention I made in my last post about the table runner I wove last semester. It really looked like fabric! And came out as I planned and envisioned it. Winding the warp, threading the heddles, and sleying the reed takes a long time, especially for a beginner. It was really enjoyable to finally watch the fabric emerge and grow as I wove. It was a simple twill pattern, so the treadling was rhythmic.

The first project we did in Weaving 2 at City College this Spring was a woven shibori scarf.  Shibori is a Japanese word that describes a way to manipulate fabric so that is is dyed with a pattern. Tie-dye is one example. For this project fabric is woven, gathered, painted, and then over-dyed.

First I dressed the loom with a white Tencel warp. The weft is white Tencel woven plain weave, plus  nylon in a twill pattern. I varied the number of plain weave rows between the nylon so that the pattern got longer, and then shorter. That pattern determined the final painted design. The weaving was as rhythmic or enjoyable. The fishing line was kind of unwieldy and I had to count the number of nylon repeats as well as an expanding and contracting number of plain weave repeats.

Next the nylon threads were gathered and knotted on each side. The idea is that the fabric showing would be dyed, while the fabric on the inside would stay white. It became about a fourth of the original width. I painted one side a bright green, and the other purple. I wrapped it up in plastic wrap, let it sit overnight and then washed it out.

After it dried I cut and pulled out all the nylon threads. Wow! My colors were bright. I had a plan to end up with earthy colors and picked these colors knowing they would get over-dyed.

We spent the first month of class dyeing cotton in color wheels, and then over-dyeing and doing gradations. But my faith in my plan was a bit shaken at this point.

That's a whole lot of lime green!

Next I immersion dyed the whole piece in a medium yellow. It started getting too dark, so I shortened the process. It all looked like mud, and my color patterns appeared not to keep a trace of their purple and green-ness. But after it dried it was a perfect golden color and the purple and green somewhat as I imagined them.

I made fringe and went for a photo shoot. A very successful project, my classmates had a lot of nice things to say. I just finished a fulled shibori project last week. That will be my next post.

Edited to add a photo of it on me:

Thursday, March 08, 2012


This guy lost his first tooth and that reminded me I have a blog.

Things have been super busy since I started taking art & weaving classes last fall. Mostly I'm trying to balance getting stuff done with spending these last preschool months with Kenneth. Field trips, work days at school, doing things after school. Next year the school days will be long and we won't be able to take days off for road trips.

I guess I will take a little trip back in time. You can click on the fascinating photos for a bigger view.

My birthday passed uneventfully, I didn't go to Stitches this year because classes conflicted with school. I did attend a kid's pirate party and took the opportunity to make pirate hats. They let me do the final smash of the pinata since it was my actual birthday.

Valentine's Day was crazy around here. Flowers, cake, heart-shaped cupcake cake, candy.

Around New Year's Kenneth and I went up to Oregon with the folks. Stopped at safari park.

The trip culminated in Portland, where we spent a freezing afternoon at the zoo in order to be the first ones on the holiday light train. This was deemed the best non-operable tractor ever.

Spent that night, New Year's Eve, in a funky motel with sister A, asleep by 11:00. Kenneth and I took the train home, we rushed to Twisted on the way to the station. K. had to have rainbow Zauberball so I knit him a sock monkey. He made all the color decisions.

I joined 12 pounds of spinning in 2012. Got 16 oz done in January and none in February. I had brought some local alpaca back from Oregon and the husband asked what it was going to become, perhaps a warm hat? So I spun it and knit him a hat for his birthday. He will not wear it because it is "too nice".

Here is the table runner I wove for my Fall final project. Scandinavian inspired.

I also did a lot of pieces for Color Theory, mostly in acrylics. Here's my final project, quilted.

Christmas was pleasant, but busy. I ended up sending New Year's cards.

Mid-December the guys went out of town for 48 hours. It was heavenly. I went to church. I ate hors d'oeuvres for dinner two nights in a row.

I did great at our annual stash exchange and gave up much more than I brought home.

We had a bit of a redneck Thanksgiving in Lakeport. A bunch of in-laws came, it was fun. I wish I could show the video of Kenneth riding his bike in his underwear on the deck. Instead here is a sunrise.

At Harvest time I knit a bunch of candy corn hats.

We made an R2D2 costume for Halloween. Kenneth had the great idea of taking the talking part of his R2D2 Trouble game, attaching it to his costume, and using it as his "voice". I knit and felted an awesome witch's hat. I was trying for friendly witch but a little girl out trick-or-treating was scared of me and had to cross the street.

Kenneth was obsessed with pom-pom yarn so I finally let him get some. He designed hats for his baby doll and himself.

In September we went to the California Wool & Fiber show. I bought a California Variegated Mutant fleece. For your pleasure here is an attempt at using the timer to get a family photo.

We actually had a great time camping out. Sadly Hendy Woods is on the State Parks closure list so I don't know if we will get to go this year.

If you have read this far you really love me, and are probably the kind of person who would visit a:

There is so much more going on. Knitting, weaving, amazing kid feats.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fall in Oregon

Okay, let's gloss over the fact that I haven't blogged about our summer vacation, fiber fests, Halloween or recent knitting. It has been crazy here, with my school, work and life.

So here are some photos from a recent trip to Oregon. The colors are intense this time of year.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer is Over, Time to Blog

We took a twelve-day trip to the East Coast (NH, MA, and ME). It was great fun. K. and I got to meet a bunch of my husband's family. Got the whole picture now. I had a lot of fiber fun, too. I'm going to blog about that at the Purl Jam site in a couple days.

I don't have a lot of photos from the trip because my camera got broken on day three. I'm trying to get some pics from everyone else so I can blog about the trip properly.

The last year of preschool started today. It is a separate program for the five-year-olds who aren't quite ready for Kindergarten. Did you know there is homework in Kindergarten these days. One more year of a little less structure for this guy:

I'm trying to find a part-time job. Still working at the fiber shop, but need something 20-30 hours a week so we can finally buy a house. I have had enough of apartment life. My plan was to get a job when K. entered Kindergarten next year because he will be there from about 9-3, but I started looking a couple months ago, knowing it would take some time. No luck yet. Got to the second interview at one, but didn't get it. Had a phone interview at another, no dice. Then I got a call for an interview on the third day of our vacation and set it up for today. Unfortunately they hired someone else in the meantime. All of them were near home and K.'s school. Very disappointing, especially the first which was a very protracted process.

But I had a plan B. I'm taking art classes which start tomorrow. I'm finally taking Color Theory at City College. Got all my paints and supplies yesterday. I found out CCSF offers a Textile Certificate, so I decided to work towards that. I have quite a few credits toward it already, took Textile Analysis over the summer and am taking Weaving this semester, too.

Now to catch up since my last post in June. Apologies, as many of these photos were taken with my cell phone, and there are probably more typos than usual.

I don't have good photos from the party, it was a Star Wars theme. Lots of friends and family came for a nice afternoon at Coyote Point. Don't hold your breath on the thank-you cards. In lieu of birthday pics, here is one of him hamming it up in Bar Harbor, Maine.


My knitting group was in the local neighborhood paper. There's a shot of me on the inside, too. But I don't like to brag, you know.


I asked my potter friend for a fruit colander. She asked for a sketch. I received an exact replica. Here it is in action. I hear that she will work for handspun yarn. Good thing, I need a bowl for spinning on a tahkli.


I finally stained my spinning wheel in preparation for the Tour. Love the way it turned out. I washed and washed and washed Jacob fleece from the zoo shearing. I was on Team Raw Power and carded and spun well over a pound. That's a lot of rolags to turn this:

Into this:

Perhaps coincidentally I finally decided on a drum carder.

It is a Strauch "Finest". It comes with a lot of bells and whistles. Here are some of the instructions: do not to lend it to friends, do not let children play with it, do not card dirty fleece. I haven't done any blending yet, but the kid and I have prepped a bunch of zoo alpaca. You know, I think I am going to buy a fleece from a spinners flock at California Wool and Fiber this year. It will be a dream after the zoo stuff.

My friend organized the second annual San Francisco Ravelry Meet-up. There was a KAL of hats by local designers. At the last minute I cast on for Diamond Head Beret with Peace Fleece. I love the yarn and the pattern. My denial about ribbing, not so much. I knocked it out in two days, including cutting off the first ribbing and re-knitting it. Sadly, I need to do so again, still too slouchy. There was also a fun toy swap. Sadly I don't have a photo of the gnome I made or the cupcake I received.

The yarn-buying drought that was broken at Jimmy Beans has caused a river of yarn to come in the house. In particular I got more Madelinetosh and a sweater's worth of Noro Silk Garden. Plus everything on our trip. But that's different.

No photos!!

Finally got my hands on some Hello Yarn thanks to Starry Knit.

I was busy with my class over the summer but I did get most of a sweater done, made a second pair of Pomatomus, and cast on for a shawl.

The kid requested a second piece of toast.


The guys spent the past year amending the soil in the tiny backyard that we cannot see from our apartment (did I mention I am sick of it here?). It was mainly a way to get the kid outside and digging. There isn't even room to run. It was so funky and overgrown that I never went out there. A few months ago I got a bunch of free mulch from the people who do the City's garbage, kind of a give back for all the stuff we put out in the compost bin. So I put it in the raised bed and planted there and around the fence. Between the couple things that were growing already, stuff that we dug up from job sites, and things I planted it is kind of nice. There is way more out there now. And there are gnomes, of course.

To recap, a lot of stuff happened since June. I still need to blog about some of it. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Knitting Life Summer Edition

What's been happening around here? My kid graduated from preschool a few weeks ago, that was pretty amazing. The kids put on a musical and their teacher spoke about each kid individually. The words 'action' and 'enthusiasm' described mine. We'll be at the school for another year in the Young 5 program for those kids who are too young or not quite ready for Kindergarten.


Did I mention the S.F. Zoo sheep shearing? That was in May, too, and I blogged about it on the Purl Jam site.


We are taking a break between school and a couple sessions of summer camp to do things like go to the Academy of Sciences, Fisherman's Wharf, the Zoo, etc. and generally lounge about. We road tripped with my parents to Reno week before last. We played in the snow on the way up and I visited Jimmy Beans Wool, where I purchased yarn. That's right, the yarn buying freeze which lasted eighteen months is over.

We visited both the Nevada State Rail Museum and the California State Rail Museum. There was also a tram at Circus Circus. A small railfan's dream come true.

I just started a three-unit textile analysis course that is jammed into seven weeks, eight hours of class a week. Pretty intense, but I want to pursue art classes. The last one I took was when I was pregnant. You never know when we might win the lottery big time and I could go back to school full time for that MFA in Textiles. I would only have about 40 units of undergrad art classes to do first.

We are going to the East Coast in August, and I finally get to meet the rest of my in-laws. I have been studying the Fiber Trail Map of Maine in preparation.

I have been looking for a part-time job for a few months. Just in case that lottery thing doesn't work out. Still working at Urban Fauna Studio a couple days a month.

A short term goal is to get all my raw fiber washed. We are having non-foggy weather so I started yesterday with alpaca, on to the zoo Jacob today. I have hopes of sanding, staining, and sealing my spinning wheel this summer, too.


Last weekend I took an all-day Rosemaling class. Even though I've taken two other classes and spent time practicing the strokes over the past couple months, I was really out of my element. An all-day knitting class, even on a new technique feels challenging, but doable. With the painting that little voice that says I can't do this kind of thing kept creeping in. But in the end I was really happy with this piece, I can hardly believe I did it. Mr. TVP said we should hang it on the front door to greet people.

On to the knitting front. I started a sweater for myself. We shall see how that turns out.

I finished my first intarsia project, Argyle Socks designed by Margie Dougherty. Quite pleased.

I actually broke the yarn buying oath last month to knit this cowl for the great Purl Jam Birthday Cowl Exchange.

That's the Owlie Owl Cowl in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine. For a while there I had these two fiddly projects using black yarn on size 0 needles and nothing else. Very hard on my eyes in the evenings. Plus the cowl was a secret so I couldn't even share my progress, except with one person.

More babies are coming. I wish I had taken a photo of the pink & brown hat a bought to go with these booties.

Read about this fun group project over on Purl Jam. I knit a couple squares for this blanket and at least one for the other baby, too.

And a pair of socks for each.

I think knitting will end up taking a back seat to my class for a while. By the time we go on our trip I will be free again. I'm sure I will pack at least four projects, I took three for a three-day trip to Reno.

Right now I have to go play trains.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Maker Faire 2011

We went down to the Faire this morning, a flawless trip. I bought the tickets in advance to save $15, we parked in a free lot, ran to the shuttle and arrived ten minutes before the gates opened.

On the way down I was weaving in ends of the R2D2 hat I cast on last night and finished at 1:20 this morning. Confidence was high that I would finish it in time, even when I frogged the whole thing at 10:30 pm because it was too large. The hat was worn for less than half an hour total.

We went to the kid area first, which conveniently for me, was near the crafting. So nice to be there early and have room to look around. Next stop ice cream. As much as I love chocolate ice cream it was not that appetizing at 10:40 am. Even R2D2 couldn't eat more than a few bites.

We moved on and I spotted Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs. I was within six feet of him. Very exciting. This poor photo shows him being interviewed by (I think) Zachary Coffin the inventor of Colossus there in the background. There was no opportunity to actually meet Mike Rowe or get an autograph. He had quite a large group of officials and security around him. And I probably had chocolate ice cream on my face.

During the day I ran into friends from my knitting group, folks from the shop, crafty vendors, and my ex-husband.

We wandered around. I took a quick soldering class and made a little robot pin with a light. I resisted buying yarn, but did get some carbonized bamboo to spin, a pattern, and these pink wool hair elastics from NifNaks.

Many favorites were there, like the cupcake cars and Katherine Jolda's bicycle-powered drum carder.

And new things like the trackless train.

There is something for everyone at the Maker Faire.

We left having seen a lot but not everything. It got too crowded and we were tired. As we got back to the parking lot at 2:30 we heard someone in the long line for the shuttle to the Faire wondering why we were leaving so early. We laughed and wondered why people would get there so late. Arriving before the crowds is the way to go when you have a little kid.