Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wildfire Season

It's here. Inevitably, after so many years of drought. What with the fire near Big Sur (about 150 miles northwest of us) and the fire between Hearst Castle and Lake Naciemento (the lake is about 40 miles northwest) the smoke is incredibly thick and the air is shockingly brown-tinged. The closer fire has been burning uncontrolled for 13 days, the farther one much longer than that.

Normally, there is a second range of hills visible beyond the ones you can see over the roof of our across-the-street neighbor. Today, nada.

I mean, really, nothing.

Earlier today, before the afternoon breeze came up, I couldn't see the hills to the east less than 10 miles away, nor could I see the mountain range that is about 6 miles to the west, between here and Morro Bay. Just plain invisible.

Too bad eye drops don't come in multi-gallon containers. Everyone here has itching, burning eyes, and will have them for the duration of these fires. Air quality varies with wind direction, which has been unpredictable.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Remember This?

Well, I'm still inching my way along.

Yesterday's effort got me to about the 75% mark.

Meanwhile, after almost 20 years of steady use, the dobby loom is showing its age, and the solenoids are beginning to misbehave. I'm waiting for some spares from AVL. Perhaps the progress on the table mats will improve...

Monday, August 15, 2016

Canine Companions for Independence

Long-time friends of ours have been participating in the CCI program for a number of years. Their role is puppy raiser. They take a puppy into their home for over a year, give it love and basic training, socialize it, and then return it to CCI for its advanced training to become a service dog for the disabled or the deaf (unlike Guide Dogs for the Blind, CCI dogs are not trained as seeing-eye dogs).

This past weekend, the fourth puppy raised by our friends "graduated" from advanced training, and after a couple of weeks in "team training," he was paired with Maria, an attorney who suffered a stroke and has limited motor control and uses a specialized wheelchair. Our friends are as proud as if the dog was their own offspring graduating from university.

DH and I went with them to the regional CCI headquarters in Santa Rosa, CA, last Saturday, where two events were being celebrated. About 50 puppies were being returned for advanced training and evaluation to be sure they would be good service dogs, and about 20 trained dogs were turned over to their new "teammates." The ceremony, at which several hundred humans and at least one hundred dogs were present, is held in an indoor, carpeted auditorium. (This venue has hosted CCI many times, so they are confident there will be no doggie accidents; in fact, not only no accidents, but also not one single bark!)

Part of the reason the dogs were so calm during the ceremony is that beforehand, most of the dogs were turned loose in the CCI playground to wear themselves out so they would be too tired to be excitable. DH and I spent an hour or so in the playground, and I must say I have never been around so many dogs that are so friendly and so well trained. It seemed as if every dog greeted every human at some point - a wag of the tail, a sniff, a snuggle for a pat or two. The only time I heard yelps or barks was when our friends' current puppy, who is only 4 months old but totally fearless, snatched a ball away from another dog. Charm (the puppy closest to the camera in the photo below) usually ended up at the bottom of a heap of larger, older dogs, no worse for wear. After being scolded, she would start the game all over again.

At one point, a number of dogs were given a "down!" command, and I was able to get one photo before the "release!" command was given.

All CCI dogs are either Laborador Retriever (dark or blond) or Golden Retriever, or a cross of the two. Both types of retriever have calm, loving temperaments and are very trainable.

Anyway, fun was had by all, and that's my plug for a very worthy organization.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

An HGA Award!

I have been notified that I was honored with the HGA Award for my jacquard self-portrait entitled "Time Flies," which was entered in the Fiber Celebration 2016 exhibit sponsored by the Northern Colorado Weavers Guild.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


I'm chugging along on the scarf with the green weft. I'm at 1,200 picks, which is about half way. The weft is darker in real life - much closer to the blue in value.
See, there actually is a pattern in there, although it's nearly unreadable at this stage. The plainweave areas will be iridescent blue/green, the weft floats will be green and the warp floats will be blue. None of them is longer than 3 threads.

That faint white line along the fell is just the cloth apron showing through from under the loom, not a white thread.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Merrily We Weave Along...

If you say it looks more like window screen than anything else, that's okay. It does to me, too. I mean, you can see through it! Remember, it's rayon, so it will shrink and tighten and become more even quite a lot during wet finishing.

It's almost possible to make out that there's a pattern in there other then just plain weave, but only just barely. Of course, any picture I take is at the mercy of time-of-day lighting and the camera angle. We've got a sort-of-royal-blue warp (more like cerulean) and a dark forest green weft that is close in value to the warp. The structure is (my best guess) multishaft crackle on 20 shafts woven as lace, and you'll have to take my word for that until you can see it off tension, washed, and pressed.

It's gonna be iridescent, for sure. Faith is a good thing, right?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tied On

Another photo only a fellow weaver can appreciate:

Order! Discipline!

Loom porn. Gotta love those threads in a tidy state.

I will leave the warp overnight under tension to consider its sins, and make any adjustment to the tensioning of the lashing-on cord tomorrow if necessary.

Here is a side view, showing how I suspend my warp sticks from cords just behind the shafts during threading: