Archive for the 'cats' Category

T.R.: 1995-2011

Earlier this month I lost my little garden supervisor T.R.

T.R. was a “rescue” cat. She was named after the TRW computer swap-meet where we found her. A few weeks old she had been dumped in the industrial park where the swap meet takes place.

Among other things she took great enjoyment in was rolling in unwashed fleece. She would roll in it happily and come in smelling like a barnyard.

17+ good years and great company. R.I.P. little cat, you are missed.

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Summer Solstice, Woad (hopefully) and Weld

Happy Summer Solstice and all that.  On the garden front the Fennel has begun blooming and I have Woad on the way or at least like to think that I do. Last year I misidentified Weld for Woad. Hopefully I’m growing what I think I’m growing this time around. The Weld did however turn out – a good clear yellow dye – and I swapped Weld for Woad seeds with another dyer I met online.

This should be a Woad plant from last years seed swap.

New Woad and Weld covered with screen to keep the local beasties out.

Weld on the way.


This is the rest of the herb garden – some Calendula, Rosemary, Yarrow poking up in the back, Lavender and Sage. Also tucked in there are Valerian, Vervain and Thyme.


And the garden supervisor.

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Cat Supervised Weaving


Pictured above is TR*, aka the little ball of fury, behind my LeClerc tapestry loom. Nice thing about table/portable looms is the ability to haul the whole business outside when the weather is nice and of course back when it’s not. It’s even possible to manage this with the loom in one and and a small, loud cat in the other. Of course, by the time this posts the weather is back to rain again.


In progress: recycled sweater yarn – wool – dyed with woad and miscellaneous yard trash.

*TR: Where her name cames from: TR was rescued in a TRW industrial park.

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Rain, Sun and back to Rain Again



Did I mention that the weather here is volatile and often just plain weird? Rain coming down in buckets. Windy. Tomorrow noon it may be sunny and near 70°, unlikely as that seems right now.

 Good weather to say in and weave. I’m currently working on a small piece woven with the “deconstructed” or recycled Abercrombie & Fitch sweater wool from my local Out-of-the-Closet thrift shop. Project began as a local guild challenge (earlier dye posts) and I’m still weaving through the accumulated stash.
The wool is a natural off-white. It’s been dyed with onion skins, Hibiscus flower (dried), Woad (powdered), Fennel, miscellaneous yard trash and copper or iron mordants.  I don’t really have a good, reliable local blue so generally I use Woad powder or Indigo. I was trying as much as possible to use what’s locally available and go easy on the chemical mordants.


The cats deal with the weather by alternately hibernating and demanding the door to Spring. Not a bad plan.

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End of the Year and Off the Loom

Nothing like finishing off the year with a purring cat. TR pictured here is named after the TRW industrial park where significant-other and I found/rescued her some 15+ years ago.

One group of “mug rugs” off the loom.

Small tapestry also finished and in tidy-up phase. This one is fairly small 9×10, free-form design woven with years of accumulated dye samples: Woad, Indigo, Madder, Fennel, Hibiscus, Oxalis.

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More blocking, wires and blocks

I’m a project finisher. Spend a good part of the summer and into fall starting, frogging and finishing these two shawls.  Two really good, well designed patterns: Smith Island Pattern Factory/Maude and Evelyn Clark/Shetland Triangle (from Wrap Style). Always good work from these two designers.

In general things work more smoothly with the proper tools – in this case the blocking blocks and wires from KnitPicks. I don’t quite have a large enough space to block in the house but the yard works well on a sunny day.

Blocking with wires, blocks and assistant (T.R. below).

Smith Island Pattern Factory: Maude

Maude blocked

blocking outdoors and keeping cats occupied

(More interesting than the shawl was the choice of boxes to sit in.)
detail outdoor blocking and dried-up grassblocking outdoors and entertaining cats

Evelyn Clark’s Shetland Triangle

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Cats, cotton, oxalis and nice weather

Today we had the kind of weather that inspired my parents to pull up stakes from Ohio and move to California. It may start raining sometime tonight but for today it was quite lovely. Becides the cats and bees I heard then saw a humming bird in the Orange tree. Also a couple of ladybugs.

TR bee in oxalis

My cotton shrub (below) kept going all through what passes out here for winter and is currently surrronded by the Oxalis that may dye some of it.

cotton shrub and oxalis  cotton and oxalis

back yard pima cotton  back yard pima cotton

charkha 

This last rather poorly lit picture is the Charkha I use for spinning cotton. That, and a portable Akha-style spindle. I was able to take a class from Eileen Hallman (New World Textiles) and purchased a Charkha from her. (Good instructor, good class.)