Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It Lingers

Over two weeks have gone by and yet the snow still lingers!

Pretty yes, but we don't need more snow!

With a few warmer days the previous accumulation was finally melting from the roads and sidewalks. Walking and driving conditions were improving. But Boxing Day brought a fresh dump of snow that we really did not need.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sun on Snow

We're experiencing some beautiful sunshine here in Chilliwack but the temperatures remain below freezing and the excessive snow is going nowhere.

 Townsend Park sees a lot of dog walkers, even in this weather. Unfortunately, yet understandably, getting a walking path cleared is not a priority for the equipment crews.

This is definitely a situation where I am thankful for all those who have blazed a trail before me! As long as one sticks to the beaten path the going isn't too bad. Step off that trail though and you're over your knees.

I don't normally let Kona off leash but with no walkers or dogs in sight I let her run free for a few minutes. She had an absolute blast! She is such an obedient, well trained dog that whenever I called her she came charging back and stayed at my side until released again with an "okay". 

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Lego Animation Book

My nine year old granddaughter, Kaylen, has been enjoying LEGO bricks for years now. She doesn't really "play" with them. She's more into the building aspect. In the last year or so both she and her younger sister, Kenzie, have also started to use iPhone and iPad to do some story line type photography using dolls in dioramas. 

When No Starch Press contacted me asking if I would be interested in doing a review of a new LEGO animation book I jumped at the chance. This sounded like something that would interest my granddaughters and I could pass the book on to them!

After spending an evening looking through the book from cover to cover Kaylen gave the publication a thumbs up. She reported that it had lots of interesting things she would like to try and she was even able to describe some of the less involved techniques in her own words, which indicates to me that she understood what she had read.

Kaylen did mention being a little disappointed that the book did not give her a step by step walk through with all the photo-steps necessary for a complete beginning to end story, but we had a chat about that. She agreed that part of the fun was telling your own story, not just recreating someone else's idea.

My opinion of the book? I think it might be of more value for a teenager or adult interested in using LEGO bricks to practice stop animation photography. The text is necessarily involved but it's very wordiness tends to cause a child of Kaylen's age to glaze over. I think she was mostly interested in the pictures and only read the instructions for the more basic concepts or those she found particularly intriguing. 

I provide the occasional book review solely for the interest of my readers. The links I provide are for your convenience only and I receive no compensation other than a free copy of the book I am reviewing.  I am under no obligation to publish only "good" reviews and I report as I see fit. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

That's Enough!

Christmastime and snow seem to be a natural go together, but enough already!

It's just not safe to walk a dog along the road mess that has been pushed onto the sidewalks so I took Kona to a nearby park only to find that the walking was pretty tough there too.

Kona is no dummy though. She walked along the edge, almost under the shrubs, where the snow wasn't so deep -- and left me to slog through the more difficult depths.

My trailKona's trail

I paid her back by taking her picture. She hates cameras and refuses to look at them. (Sorry about the up-the-nose shot Kona.)

I haven't seen icicles forming on a building for years.

These ones, on a building in the park, were particularly long and beautiful.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Pretty Piccolo

While I was out and about today running pre-Christmas errands a wonderful new treasure arrived.

I put the money I earned from sales of Saori woven items toward an additional Saori loom. This is a smaller "Piccolo" loom that can be adjusted to allow children as young as three years old to weave, even operating the treadles themselves. I bought it so that my granddaughters, aged seven and nine years, can weave along side me when they visit. They are tall enough that I think they will be able to use it at the regular height. I also purchased an "inside set" so that the warps can be swapped out between their visits and each girl can weave on their own warp without having to share. 

Between their visits I can fold the loom up very small so it's out of my way. I can also use the loom occasionally for demonstrations and weaving at alternate locations. I'm hoping I'll be able to convince my Christmas guests to give the loom a try too. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Bitter Wind Chill

We are experiencing a break from the gloomy dark days and torrential rain. Unfortunately that still doesn't mean that this morning's dog walk was pleasant.

It's terribly cold and windy! It was -9 degrees Celsius with a windchill factor of -15 when I took Kona for her morning walk. (That's 15 degrees and 5 degrees Fahrenheit, for my American readers).

Chilly winds

Puddles are very common here in Chilliwack's "Coastal Rain-forest" climate. Seeing them frozen? Not so much. 

I think someone should invent indoor toilet facilities for dogs. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

15 Feet of Crazy

 When combined with black fingering weight yarn 

in the clasped weft technique

that single ball of Zauberball Crazy went a long way.

I'm very pleased with the result.

I only hope that I'll come up with a sewing project that

does the handwoven fabric justice. 

There is 15 feet of it prior to wet finishing (4.57m)

In the reed it measured 11.5" (29.21cm)

but I know I will lose some width and length in the initial washing.

Now to gather my relevant books looking for inspiration.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Crazy Zauberball

A few months ago, while on a short trip, I bought a ball of Crazy Zauberball yarn as a souvenir of sorts. When I returned home it got set aside while I finished projects intended for the guild's booth at the Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market. The sale is now over and I can turn my attention to the pretty souvenir yarn.

November 20, 2016

I'm using a clasped weft technique with black wool on one side not only for the contrast effect, but also to extend the expensive Zauberball as far as I can. I hope to get enough yardage to make some sort of creative article of clothing. 

Crazy Zauberball fun.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Another Offering

When I wound the warp for this one ---

Next up

I thought maybe it would be for me.

Heddles threaded.

But it seems it had other plans.

65" and then the turn

The weaving hurried along and before I knew it I had the full 65" woven.

7:44 am

I was back at it early the next morning, releasing the front to turn the warp and weave those beginning warp tails in at the end as weft. With that done I cut it free, twisted the fringe, gave it a bath and hung it to dry.

This morning I did the final work of giving it a press, trimming ends, and securing ribbons.


The final day for submissions for the Christmas Craft Market was extended to today, and this last cowl managed to be finished in time, so I added it to the pile. That makes six Saori cowls for the sale. I hope I've priced them right for this area and they will sell. At $75 Canadian (that would only be about $56.50 US) I'm not getting much for my effort, especially when you factor in material costs. I consider my offerings this year as "testing the waters". If they sell at this price I will undoubtedly make more and raise the price for next year. If they don't sell at this price? Well then it just isn't worth my effort and that will be the last of selling them locally.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

When Spoons Hide

I was wondering where two of my magnetic measuring spoons went. Then when I was looking out the window I happened to look up. Way up.

Oh! So that's where my magnetic measuring spoons went!

Still can't see them? They are stuck to the bottom of my Venetian blind.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

For Inspection

I finished up the last of the projects destined for the 42nd Annual Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market.

Hot Tamale cowl

My "Hot Tamale" cowl, and the hats from that same warp, along with 20 other handwoven items, are now in the hands of the Chilliwack Spinners and Weavers Guild "Standards Committee" for review.

Hot Tamale

If deemed acceptable they will be available for sale at the guild booth during the weekend of November 18-20, 2016.


If I'm lucky, and the horses haven't been in the far end of the barns recently, I may be in the guild's demo booth demonstrating weaving or spinning. I have a severe allergy to horses and often cannot participate in activities at Chilliwack Heritage Park because the horses have been in the opposite end of the buildings.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Hallowe'en!

Flame and Trixie

Trixie and Flame are taking Skelly and Bonehead Trick or Treating.

Trixie and Flame

I hope you are saving some of the best treats for them.

Happy Hallowe'en

They will be knocking on your door soon.

Trick or Treat

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Skelly Lends a Hand

I've been so busy lately that my new friend "Skelly" offered to lend a hand. 

This warp, which I've named "Arabian Nights", has a considerable amount of dark brown alpaca in both the warp and the weft and Skelly was happy to help spin it.

The weaving he left to me.

65" later, (not including the fringe lengths), it's time to unhitch the front of the warp and turn it -- 

-- so that the beginning warp ends can then be woven as weft. 

Once they are woven into the end of the cloth the whole thing is cut free, the ends secured with overhand knots, and then the fringe twisted.

Once the cowl was taken care of I moved onto creating the hats from the remaining warp. 36" lengths of weaving (with fringe at both ends) is woven and then the warp ends are tied together to create the tube shape of the hat and those ends are twisted. The outermost warp threads are pulled to gather the crown end into a tight closure, and the "face edge" loosely to a slightly larger than head size circumference. 

Skelly helped with the next step. 

By this point though he was complaining that I was working him to the bone. And I have to agree, knitting the ribbed bands for the hats seems more tedious and less fun than the weaving.

But it gives such a nice finish to the hats that it's a step that I endure.