rag dolls and woollies

rag dolls and woollies

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Takeover

Ever since beloved last Kid Number 3 moved out...

I have been slowly taking over the whole house.

 I work mainly on the kitchen table and have taken over two kitchen drawers, one for body parts (for dolls, muah ha ha), and the other for thread and such. My spinning wheel makes lovely living room furniture when not in use, so I spin in there. Our bedroom was always for wool storage (hubby said he felt he slept in a sheep shed) (funny guy, huh?)

and now the guest bedroom is my sewing room.  So guests have to bravely make their way through it to get to the bed, if the dogs don't get there first. But when I was cleaning up Kid Number 3's room, it really hit me:

I have a lot of toys.

I have remade his room into my weaving room, with the floor loom and its accouterments.  And there also resides my lovely treadle machine.  

There is a spot on the floor for his mattress, too.

How things have changed!

In the early days (30 years ago) when I began spinning, I had secret feelings of superiority that I had ONLY one spinning wheel and nothing else -- and I could turn out homespun sweaters.

Other people had roomfuls of implements, niddy-noddies, drum carders (well I did want one of those), extra wheels -- and I sort of looked down on them.  Well no more.

Do you want to know what I have now? 

Two Ashford traditional wheels, a single treadle Ashford Joy, one pair of Ashford carders, one pair of Clemes and Clemes carders, one flicker, one wooden comb (Ashford), extra bobbins in two sizes, a Leclerc table loom, an eight shaft Norwood floor loom with a sectional beam, a tension threading box, Schact bobbin winder, a spool holder, unknown number of shuttles including three boat shuttles, a Brother electric sewing machine, a 1905 treadle sewing machine, a forest of bamboo knitting needles, many, many more than three bags full of wool, piles of skeins of handspun yarn, silk roving, bamboo roving.

Wow, this is getting really embarrassing.  I feel moved to point out that one of my Ashford traditional wheels is with my daughter in law in the US, so I only have two here at home -- one traditional and one traveling wheel.  Surely that is better?

Five or six pairs of dressmakers' scissors, an awesome pair of scissors with micro-points, telescoping tubes, two dart markers, extra boxes of pearlized round head pins (I'm picky), two self healing cutting boards (listen, I inherited one from my mother in law), and the fabric! the ribbons! the lace! the elastic in all sizes!

I did receive stashes from two women -- and the one from my mother in law was gigantic. I have sometimes tried to visualize this amazing mass  of sewing supplies and fabrics that moves between women.  When one woman is done with hers (much of it inherited), it moves along to the next.  It picks up odd buttons, scraps of fabric, patterns, dressmaker's chalk, spools of thread. It's rather lovely really.

My mother in law got heavy into quilting in the last 15 to 20 years of her life.  That's a long time for a quilter! I have heaps of precut squares, triangles and rectangles, all colors, all hues.  And the fat quarters!  And almost finished quilts....two of which I have completed, all the while trying to guess what she had in mind....

My lovely, lovely friend, Eve, has such a HUGE stash that when she decides to divest parts of it, she needs a MAN to move it. So Kalman dutifully brought over boxes and boxes for me.  

Which I joyfully tore through -- 

I will use it. I am using it. I shared some. I found treasures. We -- all of us needs friends like these if we are to really create from the depths of our hearts.  

Sunday, December 7, 2014

On Warping with Dogs

I babysit dogs -- and I prefer the bigger ones, like labs, because they are so much calmer.  The little guys can be too nervous and bark too much and I don't like running around all day trying to shut them up.

So I fill the place with big dumb dogs, usually the kind that shed a lot. 

If you came into my 84 square meter house, you'd see them lying around on the furniture, sometimes on their backs, feet in the air....can you picture that?

Or just hanging out, "dogging up the couch," as we say in our family.

Two of these yoyos are paying customers.....the other two NEED to get a job.

So I'm pack leader and when I go upstairs, they come.  Bathroom, dogs follow. Kitchen, they're right there.  My buddies.

What does this have to do with warping? In my continuing clumsy efforts to warp my sectional beam Norwood 8 shaft loom with no yarn yardage counter, I keep trying to figure out how much warp to wind onto each spool to then feed through the tension box, to warp each section of the beam.

Lately I hit upon a new way to measure out that length: use the banister that runs around the top of the stairs -- from one post to the other and back is 184 inches and if I need to put on 5 and a half feet of warp in each section, that's 12 sections, and that measures 5.5 times 12 which is 66 yards, which is 2376 inches divided by 184 inches --remember that's the length around the banister -- and that comes out to 12.9 winds (approximately) around the banister posts.  Got that?

Ok.  So there I am upstairs. We have a bedroom at the head of the stairs, the bathroom in the middle and another bedroom at the other end. And I'm walking the length of the narrow upstairs hallway .... 12.9 times. I begin.  I walk towards the bedroom.  Aha! they think.  It's bedtime. Let's go jump in the bed!

Three dogs do this. Two are not so sure.  I turn and start the other way down the hall. 

Three dogs get off the bed. The other two think it's time to collapse in front of the bathroom door and wait for me to come out.  So they fall on the floor and I step over them, heading towards the other post by the stairs.

Time to go down! (so think four of them) They pile up behind me in the hall, ready to follow me down the stairs.  The bottleneck is totally confused when I turn and head back towards the bedroom. 

Aha!  It IS bedtime, think two.  Jump in the bed.  No! Bathroom, think two others, fall on the floor.  One is just standing there looking confused as I walk and turn again (remember, this is 12.9 winds...)

Damn, I think. I have finished winding my 12.9 winds and I forgot the spool I needed to wind it all onto, so downstairs I go to get it. My pack is at my heels as I go down the stairs, thinking this is IT! we're going to the kitchen!

Grab the spool and go back upstairs.  Bedtime? Bathroom? We start all over again. Dropping in heaps on the floor, bottle necking the hallway, grid lock in front of the bathroom.... 

Thank God, I'm going to take weaving classes when I visit my son in Oregon in January. I sincerely hope they have a better method to suggest because the dog-pack-banister-method ended up to be yet another Eventful Warp.