Archive for the ‘Kids’ Tag

Hello 2014

yeah, I’m really bad about updating my blog.

Let’s see how quickly I can cover the past 8 months: the dog, Zoe, sweet Zoe, turned out to be a very fearful dog with fear-aggression issues. She barked and barked at anyone who came into the house. She barked and barked and barked at the kids when they came home for a visit. She barked and barked and barked and barked at the sounds of plumbers and painters at the houses across the street. The UPS driver doesn’t want to stop at our house any more.

Doesn't she look sweet.

Doesn’t she look sweet.

The upshot is that we spent lots of money on training, and now Zoe wears a citronella anti-bark collar all the time. She has learned to not bark all the time, which keeps her calmer. I can allow her in my studio rooms (the former kids’ bedrooms on the front of the house, facing the street), and she doesn’t bark, bark, bark at the windows. She can keep quite when visitors are in the house, she can even be in the same room. But she’s still very fearful, and won’t allow anyone to touch her. She won’t make friends with anyone. She went to the kennel when hubby and I went on a cruise over New Years, and she didn’t come out of her enclosure the entire time. She wouldn’t eat breakfast, only at dinnertime. Otherwise, she’s really sweet.

i finished the window shade fabric, and if I may say so myself, it looks great.IMG_2061

The shades aren’t completed yet, as we want them to be motorized, and finding the mechanisms has proven to be a complicated process. it was late in the year when i finished weaving the fabric, then I went on my Nicaragua trip (another story i will have to come back and tell someday soon), then it was the holidays, and now suddenly it is the second week of january.

Over the summer I became more involved with Yarn Bombing Los Angeles, the perpetrators of CAFAM Grannies Squared.

Next post, a new project for the new year: FunaDay Reseda



More of Everything

I guess I never really did a project where I wove this much fabric, and I know I never did a project where I dyed this much of anything.

Let me run down the whole project for you. Here is my original crude sketch of the windows.


The window shades are for a bank of windows and doors that run from the living room into the dining room. There are two windows 42″ wide, one large window 92″ wide, and a set of patio doors 32″ wide each. These are the measurements to the outside of the mouldings, the desired finished width of the roman shades.

I decided to weave the fabric in two different widths, 45″ and 36″. I know that will give me fabric that finishes 42″ and 32″ wide. img013

My original calculations for warp length told me I wanted the 45″ warp to be 4.5 yards and the 32″ fabric to be 13 yards. I don’t know if anyone can interpret my notes there, but I neglected to add loom waste. This was only the first of the many ways I underestimated what I would need for this project.

After we changed from a white-on-white to a six color palette, I decided to do the next samples at the full width of the fabric. That prompted me to review my warp calculations, and upon reflection, I decided to add three extra yards to the length of both warps. The 45″ warp will be 8 yards and the 36″ warp will be 16 yards.

Back in October when I abandoned the multi-yarn warp, I decided to go with all 5/2 Perle Cotton, and quickly realized I didn’t have near enough. I bought two cones from Village Spinning and Weaving at Weff in November. Two weeks ago I ordered another cone. 

Now here’s where I have ??? dancing around my head. Whatever was I thinking?

It came time to start dying the white fabric strips, so I went to dig in the box where I remembered having all these rolls of selvedges cut from the ends of rolls of white cotton broadcloth. There were five. I hauled out my McMorran yarn balance: about 100 yards per roll. I went to my woven samples, did more calculations – total needed for both warps, 8 yards & 16 yards= 2500 yards of fabric strips. I checked my math a couple more times. I needed 20 more rolls of fabric strips. 

The company I had gotten the selvedges from is in Pennsylvania, and it took weeks before I remembered to call before 2:00 in the afternoon. Then, they didn’t have any more of the end cuts. But they had some partial rolls of cotton broadcloth, and they were willing to cut them into 1″ strips for me.

This lead me two days ago recheck my calculations for the other weft yarns. . . and WTF??

Going back to my woven samples, I found that my initial estimate of the number of picks per inch was way low. By this time I have dye-painted three skeins of yarn and five rolls of the fabric strips. This involves a process of winding the yarn off the cones into large 1 1/4 lb skeins, dye-painting it, cold batching for two days, letting it dry, then winding it back into balls. I had one of the skeins of 5/2 perle cotton get hopelessly tangled on the squirrel cage swift. After hours of working on it, I abandoned about 200 yards of warp yarn. 

I figured out that I needed another two pounds of this cotton flake I had bought back when the fabric was still going to be white; and that I can’t use any of the yarns I bought last summer at Convergence. In my white samples, I was doing my free form zig-zag non pattern using several yarns and shuttles at the same time. As the fabric has gotten more complex, I have decided to simplify the weaving. Everything is going to be space-dyed. Any zigzagging design will come from the serendipity in the way the colors land in the cloth.  I decided to combine the yarns to make them fatter, and only use two yarns for a total of three shuttles. 

But this now means that each yarn must cover half the picks for both warps. I have less than 1800 yards of each of the yarns I got last year at Convergence, and more of them is not available – that’s the reason I switched to Perle cotton for the warp. I no longer want to use a little of this and a little of that; I want to use the same yarns all the way through. My new math tells me that I need almost 5000 yards of each yarn. That meant I needed two additional pounds of the cotton flake, needed to skein, dye, then wind it back into balls. Plus I would need yarn to combine with the flake.IMG_1768

This was two days ago, as I said. This was after I struggled for hours with the tangled yarn. I dyed three large skeins of yarn today, I have one more in the garage that I have already soda-soaked. I’ll have to dye-paint two more pounds of cotton flake to plus 20 rolls of fabric strips. I couldn’t face any more dying. I ordered some 3/2 Perle cotton in beige, it matches the Chamois in my palette; and some carpet warp that matches the Terracotta.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered more urea. I got two pounds and as soon as it arrived I knew I needed to get another 5 lbs.

At the same time I started moving stuff out of Michael’s room so I can get all my stuff out of Samantha’s room, and turn that into a guest room in time Michael to use it when he comes home on Monday. 

And today I ran out of Terracotta dye. . .

Ready for Painting

None of us can believe the amount of shi stuff we had in our two rooms. The truth is most of it is mine.  I didn’t go through my stuff, I just packed and moved it.

Looking from the dining room into the living room.

I did a major clean out of my studio a little less than two years ago, so I’ve been operating on the theory that I didn’t need to purge. But after the first day of hauling boxes out and stacking them in the dining room, I revised that idea.
I’m going to go through and weed out my materials when I move into my new studio. I think I need to take a serious look at my fabric stash. I need to make some serious decisions about what I really am likely to use, and give away the rest. It should go to someone who will make use of it.
Did I mention we are having both rooms painted? That’s why we moved out of both at the same time. We’re getting new carpet for Sam’s new room.
When we moved in this house, we didn’t repaint the room that would become my studio, nor, as you can see, did we remove the so-very-ugly wallpaper. And there just is really nothing I can say about the light fixture. I’ll finally have a studio with white walls, and proper lighting.

This is the same corner as in the "before" picture.

This is why we waited till after Christmas day to really start packing. There is a dining room table in there somewhere.

Now, here’s the thing that concerns me: Michael is going back to school tomorrow, Sunday. The painters are coming Monday or Tuesday. The carpet layers are coming the day after the painter. Michael helped move all this sh-t stuff out of these rooms. Sam and I are going to have to move it all back in by ourselves.

The unbelievable amount of stuff spilled over into Michael's room.

This is a massive job, no wonder I put it off for three years.

Moving the Studio: the Packing Phase

Picking up where I left off. . .

This brings us about up to the decision to move our rooms. Having the house to myself was almost as great as I had hoped, but it just highlighted my problem with a lack of space– especially with those two large bedrooms sitting not empty, but unslept in.

I’ve been telling my daughter since her freshman year in college that at some point we were going to have to talk about trading rooms. When school started this year we began talking about what she wants to do after graduation, and she wants to get a job and stay in the Bay Area. She wants to work a while before going to grad school. Somewhere along the way I began to get tempted to trade rooms over this winter break.

When Sam and I did talk about it, it became clear that this is a perfect time to make the move. So we jumped in and began packing.

Packing in progress

The thing you should know about the before picture in my last post is that it only shows one corner of the room. Every wall was stacked almost floor to ceiling just like that with an incredible amount of stuff.

We had my sister-in-law and her boyfriend over for brunch on Christmas day. The next day, Sammy and I went out shopping for light fixtures, blinds, shelving units, and other stuff.

On Monday, December 27th, we began packing and moving stuff out of both of our rooms. We got an estimate for painting, color swatches, carpet samples.

All of this was under the big table, and will be again.

By Friday, I had my old studio (Sammy’s new room) emptied of sh – stuff, and it was time to take down the shelves, cabinets, and bulliten boards.

We moved everything into the dining room and living room. At different times on Thursday and Friday, you could hear one or the other of us call out, “Oh my god, there’s all this stuff in here, too!” I weeded out some books and gave them to my weaving guild, Southern California Handweavers Guild. Claudia, who manages the guild library came over to get them. She smiled knowingly at our piles of stuff in the living and dining rooms. She just recently went through the same process with her oldest daughter.

We managed to completely fill the living room, leaving a path to the back doors.

Kids Gone

My daughter went back to college today. Last year, Daddy and I went north with her, but her brother never got to visit her at school. So he went with her, to see her school, and help her move her stuff.
They got up early and loaded her car.

They headed out by 7:30. . .

. . .and were gone by the time I could get to the bottom of the driveway.

he’ll stay overnight and fly home tomorrow. It will be quiet again until next May – It’s much quieter with just one kid in the house. Now that my son has his driver’s licence, he comes and goes on his own, and he’ll be driving himself to school. . .

. . . smells like freedom!

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