Tuesday, October 14, 2008

WOW! Group - Part 2 - What the Rest is Working On

Besides Bill’s cardboard weaving, several WOW members were working on a variety of projects. Kathi set aside her landscape tapestry to start work on her Christmas card project. She was weaving a brown and green background on her rigid heddle loom to use as the backing for paper cut outs of a Christmas tree, as shown in the photo. Kathi plans to add some items to the tree, perhaps buttons, as ornaments.

Holli was continuing to weave the handles for a tote bag on her inkle loom from the Spring Mt. Ranch State Park demonstration last Saturday. This is a better picture of her design for the handles.

Jan was knitting a nice lacy pattern for a scarf, while Marilyn was knitting on a white sweater.

I worked a bit on my woven bookmarks, which I’ll now have to finish up with what I have and cut the rest of the warp off the loom. Which I’m not too sorry about doing. A couple of days ago I received the directions for the lace workshop so I’ll need to measure the four yards of warp threads and get my loom warped before October 25. I’ll be doing a huck lace pattern with four shafts. I was thinking about the lace weaves that I’ve done in the past, and they have all been done basically using two shaft techniques.

I wanted to be daring and do the warp in three different colors of cotton warp, but I may chicken out and do it in just one color. But one color just seems so boring, and the three colors that I picked out from Wooly Wonders are really splashy--purple, green, and blue. I have to see what I have the courage to finally end up doing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

WOW! Group - Part 1 - World Traveler Returns

Last Wednesday our WOW! Group was back to full strength with the return of Bill and Larry. They had just returned from a transatlantic cruise from Copenhagen to Ft. Lauderdale, with some stops in Ireland and New York City.

At their stop in Ireland they toured a flax spinning and weaving mill which Bill found fascinating. In passing he mentioned to the mill tour guide that he was also a weaver. After taking several pictures and being the last to leave the room, Bill was surprised when the tour guide gifted him with the hank of unbleached linen she had been showing during the tour. You can see it the above photo. It has a grayish color not unlike old barn wood.

Flax is a plant and the thread produced is made up of the fibers from the plant stem after the flesh has been beaten away and called linen. That is a simplified version of a longer process. The whole process is discussed in the Nov/Dec 2008 issue of Handwoven on page 64. The thread is actually quite thin and certainly fits the term fibrous.

Bill is one of our two guild representatives to IWC (Intermountain Weavers Conference). IWC is a regional association of western weaving guilds that holds a weekend conference every other year in the year that Convergence is not held. The conference consists of two and a half day workshops, over Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, with a style show, and juried and non-juried gallery shows of fiber related works. The past two conferences and the one in the summer of 2009 will be held in Durango, CO, on the Ft. Lewis College campus.

Each participating guild usually donates some “favor” to be distributed to the attending conference members and leaders. For the 2007 conference our guild wove about 200 book marks 1 ½” X 6”, made on 6 looms passed around our guild through out the year.

Starting last year our guild has been doing cardboard weavings making small purses for the 2009 conference, as Bill is working on in this photo at WOW. The small weavings could be used as coin purses or business card holders. The purses are closed with a loop going over a button. The variety of purses has been quite interesting. Bill is hoping to accumulate over 200 by June. He is over half way there now.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Up the Road to Cedar City, Utah

While I wouldn’t exactly consider Sew Swanky in Cedar City my local yarn shop, it might be in a couple of years. My husband and I are planning on building a home on a lot we purchased last summer in Cedar City. When he finally retires, for real, we hope to sell our home in Las Vegas and move to Cedar City.

Last week I made the two and a half hour drive to Cedar City on a beautiful fall day to help decide where the house would be placed on the lot. We wanted to give the only tree on the block plenty of room so it wouldn’t be disturbed during construction. You can see the tree in the background of the photos. It’s not really tall, and who knows how old it is, and it’s not exactly pretty. But it seemed a shame to cut it down. We heard that the neighborhood kids were using it as a tree house. It doesn’t look strong enough. Hopefully once the construction starts the club house will be shut down.

The tree is a juniper, and the area is full of them. They don’t grow very tall, and look more like large overgrown scrubs. Of course Cedar City is at 5800 ft of altitude, so that might have something to do with the height of the trees. The early settlers thought the trees were cedars so that’s why the city is called Cedar City.

As soon as the legal paper work is completed the construction company will start digging the basement. A house with a basement will be a treat for us as we haven’t had a house with one since we lived in the midwest in the 70s. Guess what I'm planning on having in the new basement? You’ve got it! A large workroom. Well, large might be overstating it, but at least it will be bigger than the 10 X 12 bedroom I have now.

After the business with the house was completed, I drove downtown to visit Sew Swanky, a cute combination knit and quilting “boutique”, as their advertisement says. My poor photo has Andrea, the owner, hiding behind a book spinner. Sorry about that. I had a nice chat with Andrea while I looked over the Amy Butler, Westminster and batik fabrics. I ended up getting some fat quarters and half yards selections for a making some portfolios. It was an idea that I saw in The Quilting Arts Gifts Holidays magazine 2008-2009 issue on pages 84-87.

Sew Swanky also had some nice yarns that caught my eye. While the selection isn’t large the quality is good with such yarns as Classic Elite. There was some Classic Alpaca in beautiful natural colors that was raised just up the road in Beaver, UT, and marketed through a coop. But I couldn’t linger longer over the yarns as I had a two and a half hour drive back to Vegas. I’m sure there’ll be more trips to Cedar City in the coming months as the home construction gets underway.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Visiting LYS and Gathering Ads - Part 3

The last ad that I collected was from Gail Knit’s on 9012 W. Sahara Ave. This has been the shop’s new location for about a year, and is located right on Sahara between the major streets of Durango and Buffalo, about 8 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip.

I don’t get to Gail Knit’s too often as it is close to 20 miles from my home, and it is usually an expensive trip when I go. This trip was no exception. I did have a nice visit with Gail, the owner. And she did renew her ad with the guild newsletter, which is always good news.

This visit to Gail Knit’s I took my completed woven vest, which I finished earlier this summer. I wanted to show it to Gail as I had bought some of the yarn for the fabric at her store. I combined Colinette Jitterbug, a variegated fingering weight yarn in greens and blue with a fleck of red and yellow with a dark aqua Silky Wool by Elsebeth Lavold. Below is a close up of the fabric.

In return Gail showed me a jacket she was knitting in black with a double seed stitch, edged in a red, rolled stockinet binding. The style of the jacket reminded me of Coco Chanel’s square cut designs. It was very striking.

Looking around the store you’ll see that Gail Knit’s has a large button collection, besides Trendsetter, Prism, Cascade, and Classic Elite yarns, among others. As you can see in this photo of my purchases, besides a knitting book I hadn’t seen before, "Skein for Skein" by Cheryl Potter published by Martingale and Co., I took home some Silky Alpaca Lace yarn by Classic Elite and more Colinette Jitterbug in two different color ways since the other yarn worked out so well in my vest. Visiting yarn shops to collect guild ads is really a nice past time, but it’s a good thing that it only come around once a year. Of course, having more self discipline wouldn’t hurt either.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Visiting LYS and Gathering Ads - Part 2

The second ad I collected for the guild newsletter was at Wooly Wonders, where I work and sometimes give weaving lessons. Not surprisingly, there wasn’t any trouble getting the ad renewed. Wooly Wonders has been at it’s present small shopping mall location for ten years. It’s located at 3421 E. Tropicana Ave. on the corner of Tropicana and Pecos, about 4 miles east of the Las Vegas Strip. Joyce has been the present owner for about seven years recently expanding its inventory to cover supplies for knitting, crocheting, weaving and spinning.

The one thing I like about being in a yarn store is the great variety of color and textures that hits you as soon as you enter the shop. Joyce has a new selection of T’ika cotton yarns from Mirasol yarns, and some interesting yarns from fibra natura. She also carries a large selection of Debbie Bliss, Berroco and Cascade yarns among several others.

The backroom of the shop has supplies for weavers and spinners. Besides several spinning wheels, dyes, cones of weaving yarn and carpet warp, there are shelves full of small bags of colored roving waiting for felters and spinners.

Groups meets on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings and Saturdays for open knitting and crocheting, while the WOW! Group meets Wednesday mornings for Weaving. Spinners meet the second and fourth Wednesday evenings for open spinning so the shop sees plenty of action during and after hours. Beginning weaving lessons on a 4 shaft loom will be starting Monday evening, October 20, as soon as the teacher gets back from a cruise. The teacher should be well rested.

For the past four years I’ve been teaching beginning weaving lessons on a frame loom, one I make for the students, and beginning weaving on the rigid heddle loom. But this fall I decided to take a sabbatical from teaching and do some other things for a change, some more weaving and sewing for instance. Here is a picture of the frame loom that I use in the beginning classes, taken a couple of years ago.

Because our WOW! Group meets here weekly for weaving get togethers on Wednesdays, I'll be frequently be updating what's going on at Wooly Wonders. If you're in town come join us.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Visiting LYS and Gathering Ads - Part 1

The past couple of weeks I’ve been visiting a few of our local yarn shops to sell ads for our fiber arts guild’s newsletter. The first shop I visited was the newest knitting shop in the LV valley, Knit Las Vegas. It’s located at 10740 S. Eastern Ave. in Henderson, NV 89052, on the corner of Eastern and Horizon Ridge.

Christine, the owner, is a friendly, vivacious woman that I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about in the future. She is a great supporter of the guild as she took out a half page ad in our newsletter for the year! She is a great advocate of crochet, although she does knit too and the shop is stocked with lots of yarns and threads to satisfy both types of crafter’s appetites.

Presently Christine is in the midst of creating garments that are a combination of crochet and knit for a forthcoming book. She had just finished a gorgeous piece that was on the mannequin in the store. Here is a sneak preview of the piece, front and rear views. The square motifs were crocheted out of Noro sock yarn and the knitted sections were done with Southwest Trading Company’s Jezebel. I found myself drooling over the various examples that Christine was showing me. Her use of crochet, combined with knit, was winning me over. It was really refreshing to see a new approach to crocheted garments that was appealing to my sense of touch. In the past crocheted fabric has always struck me as being too stiff, and drab.

Knit Las Vegas is the closest of all the shops to my house, so it wasn’t my first visit, so I had to cruise the yarn aisles. And, of course, I didn’t leave the store empty handed. There is a nice selection of Karabella yarns, Artyarns, Cascade yarns, among lots of others. I bought some Karabella Cable 5 to use as warp, they have such nice jewel tones. I also bought some Artyarn Regal Silk to knit a shawl pattern, my first.

The knitting of that shawl pattern is going pretty badly, and I think I’ll have to back off and try a simpler design. I hate to admit defeat on a pattern, that that’s the way it goes. I just don’t have the experience with shawl knitting yet, and I think I have to sit down and concentrate more. I’m too easily distracted, and it’s something you can’t do and try and watch TV at the same time. Besides the Regal Silk is too pricey to mess up with, I’d rather come back to it when I think I can handle the pattern.

We’ll have to keep Christine and her crochet/knit projects in the back of our minds and see what she comes up with next. She was working on a herringbone knitted piece that really looked like a basket weave. I like to see that piece when it’s further along.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weaving and Spinning at Spring Mt. Ranch State Park

Yesterday five members of the LV Fiber Arts Guild demonstrated weaving and spinning at Spring Mount Ranch State Park, west of Las Vegas near Red Rock Canyon. They were celebrating Pioneer Days and showcasing several pioneer crafts and sports on the ranch.

The Black Powder group were periodically shooting their guns, while chili and cornbread were being cooked elsewhere. I never did get away from my loom to take a tour of the grounds, but did see several people eating the chili and cornbread. (I did hear that Bob, whoever that might have been, burned the biscuits, but don’t know if that was a rumor or not.) Next door to our weaving and spinning room, the ladies were making candles, and down the hill they were demonstrating washing clothes with a wash board and ringer. I’m sure an eye opener to the cub scouts touring the exhibits. Around the corner from the candle makers some mountain men were demonstrating throwing hatchets at targets. That reminded me of the old Johnny Carson Late Show episode with Ed Ames and the tomahawk toss.

Down in the corral there were some saddled horses, I don’t know if they were giving some rides or not, and nearby was a tent with rag rugs for sale. Very cheap, but we had to chuckle as they were made in India. Kind of ironic we thought.

We were demonstrating in one of the old stone buildings that had been used as a home on the ranch, perhaps for one of the ranch hand families. Of the five of us Holli had the cutest costume complete with white hat. She was weaving pieces of fabric on her rigid heddle loom making a tote and then switched to weaving the handle for the tote on her inkle loom. I tried for more of a Mexican rather colonial theme for my costume, so I could get away with dangly earrings and no hat. As you can see I’m still plugging away on my bookmarks on my Voyageur loom.

Vicky went for a western cowgirl look, as she didn’t want to wear a long shirt. I thought that suited her really well with the braids and hat. She was weaving on a rigid heddle frame that’s been converted to a tapestry loom. She was working on her own design in two colors, and had a really relaxed approached to her weaving.
Audrey switched between the drop spindle and the spinning wheel throughout the afternoon. People are always fascinated by the spinning wheel, almost mesmerized by its workings. We spent time explaining the difference between our looms, and showing how we wove our patterns. The adults were as interested at the children, and we gave out information about our guild and weaving instruction available. All in all, an enjoyable experience.

It was a beautiful day, although it didn’t start out that way with lots of wind and clouds as everyone set up. There was a pack of donkeys near the road looking through the fence at the tourists in the car parked in the middle of the road going into the ranch as I was hurrying to get into the ranch area, late as usual. I didn’t think to stop and take a picture of donkeys then, as they were gone when I left in the afternoon. The ranch is close to the Spring Mountains and the view shown here as I was leaving I think is notable.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Fall Guild Schedule Has Started

Our guild, The Weavers and Spinners of Southern Nevada, AKA Las Vegas Fiber Arts Guild, started our fall schedule with the September meeting on Saturday the 13th at the Blind Center on the corner of Bruce and Washington Streets in Las Vegas.

The meeting was pretty well attended, as everyone was ready to tell what they had done over the summer. Several members had gone to the Black Sheep Gathering in Oregon in June. A couple of members had taken a workshop in Flagstaff, and I had attended my first Convergence in June in Tampa. But I couldn’t attend the first guild meeting to talk about it as my husband and I were babysitting two of our grandchildren in Salt Lake City.

I heard I also missed a terrific weaving sale offered by a retired guild member. But there is hope. Not everything was sold and the remnants will be at this month’s meeting on October 11 for a second chance for a sale to -- people like me who couldn’t attend the first meeting. How thoughtful.

Since the meeting is coming up soon I have to gather up the door prizes, my monthly chore for the guild. This photo gives you a preview of what this month’s door prizes will be, mostly cones of yarn and some books. Tough competition with the yarn sale still going on.

The guild has a new website, which you have to check out. Go to my fiber related links, or click on the LV Fiber Arts Guild. The creator did a very nice job with the new website. You can locate directions (and a map) to our guild meetings and a calendar of events, plus photos and links to good weaving websites. For example, this Saturday the 4th, we’ll have guild members demonstrating weaving and spinning at “Something Scottish” at the Rainbow Public Library at Cheyenne and Buffalo in the north end of the LV valley. At the same time other members will be out west of the valley at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park for Pioneer Days doing the same thing in pioneer costumes.