Saturday, October 15, 2016


Animals can be so entertaining.

Last week I bought a couple bales of hay. Since my back was hurting, I didn't want to unload them, so I parked the truck a short distance from the barn and left the hay in it. I've been feeding the sheep out of the truck the last few days.

My hen, Miss Kitty, is free range. She doesn't need chicken feed, but she enjoys it, so I usually give her some every couple days to supplement what she chooses to eat on her own. The hay was in the truck, so I didn't need to enter the barn to feed the sheep since Tuesday, which meant I hadn't given the hen any chick feed since then.

Apparently Miss Kitty decided to protest. She was waiting for me near the house when I came out this morning and, clucking, followed me to the truck. She was obviously letting me know it was past time to refill her bowl.

In the meantime, Logan, my dog, spotted Miss Kitty. Chasing her from the truck to the barn, he could have easily caught her. Instead, he kept about two feet behind her the entire way, clearly enjoying the game.

He's quite extraordinary. He weighs 60 pounds and is perfectly willing to jump on me without holding back. But with the hen, he's gentle. When he catches her, he nudges her with his nose and even drools on her and then lets her go. She's not real thrilled with the experience, but there are times when she could avoid him but doesn't, so maybe she likes the attention.

I have enough trouble trying to understand dog psychology. I can't even begin to understand the thought processes of a chicken.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Originality...or Not

"What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original."

"If we're free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it."

From Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You about Being Creative, pp. 7 & 8.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Bronze Age Textiles Discovered in Eastern England

"Excavations,  30 miles north-west of Cambridge, have unearthed the earliest examples of superfine textiles ever found in Britain. They are also among the most finely-made Bronze Age fabrics ever discovered in Europe as a whole – and are of huge international significance."

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Tying on a Warp

In more than 25 years of weaving I have never tied on a warp. I always beam a new warp and then thread and sley it. Usually I weave a variety of items--towels, scarves, purses, etc.--which is a prime reason to not tie on.

However, this time I decided I would weave another set of towels following the same pattern as the last batch but change the weft color. I'm going to use the same warp yarn because it blends well with a variety of colors. I'm using unmercerized 8/2 cotton for both warp and weft.

Winding the warp

Two of the warp chains

The old warp onto which I'll tie the new one 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Linen Weave" Towels

Using a linen weave pattern, I wove four towels from unmercerized 8/2 cotton. They're approximately 18" x 27", hemmed. The warp is turtledove and the weft foliage green.

I like this weave structure. It gives a slightly raised effect to alternate rectangles.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Weekend before last I went to Equifest, an event sponsored by Olsen's Grain, a local feed and pet food store. Although the gathering primarily featured horses (as you've already guessed from its name), there were numerous dog food companies represented, and almost all of them gave away free samples. I came home with at least two dozen.

Logan is quite pleased. Each time I feed him I add a little dog food from one of the sample bags to his usual food. There's usually enough in each package to jazz up four or five meals.

He gets particularly excited when I open the sack with the untried samples and eagerly waits to find out what new treat I'm going to pull out. He sniffs the small bag while I open it and happily watches me pour a bit onto his regular food. His favorites so far are Taste of the Wild and AvoDerm, although he hasn't turned up his nose at any of them. Logan certainly likes the concept of free samples.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Wandering Eggs

Well, it's happened again. The two wooden eggs in the laying box are gone. When that occurred several years ago, we figured a bird took them. Ravens are the usual suspects in such cases, so I imagine there's a crestfallen raven out there somewhere.

Wooden eggs (or plastic, but I like the aesthetics of wood) encourage chickens to lay in the laying box. Without that inducement, free range hens tend to lay eggs in a variety of places, sites often difficult for humans to access or even find. One of my previous dogs, Dreamer, used to locate such egg clutches. She would eat one before showing me where they were. I caught on to her methods when I spotted the proverbial egg on her face.

Now I just have to remember where I bought the wooden facsimiles last time because I want to egg on my hen as to where to lay.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Ponchos Are In Again

A while back I wove this luscious cloth using chenille, glossy cotton, loopy mohair, shiny ribbon yarn, and a variety of other textures and fibers. It's 30" wide and 2.7 yards long. I've been debating as to what to make from it and have calculated there's enough yardage for two ponchos. The question is, what style do I want to make?

I've decided the first poncho will have a V-neck in front and a shallow curve in back. The fabric is fairly heavy, so I'm reluctant to line it, even at the neck. I've changed my mind about how to fashion the neck several times in the last week. Should I use a facing? Should I bind the edges?

Just before I fell asleep last night a new option occurred to me. What if I either serge or securely zigzag the neck edges and then pick up stitches around the neck and knit a collar? I'm leaning towards the zigzag option because I think serging would make the edge somewhat inflexible and possibly uncomfortable, although the garment won't be worn against the skin, so maybe it wouldn't matter. Serging would create a more solid edge.

Then, should I knit, perhaps, three rounds of ribbing and bind off? Should I knit a wider collar? Should I use moss stitch or double moss stitch instead of ribbing?

Sunday, September 25, 2016


I like to blog, but I'm inconsistent at it. I get enthusiastic and add two or three posts and then write nothing for a couple months. I've been trying to figure out why this is so and how to overcome my haphazard method of blogging.

I've concluded that one of my difficulties is that I'm a freelance editor. I know, that sounds like a good reason to blog. However, because I'm an editor, my blogs have to be perfect -- grammar, punctuation, style, word choice, etc. Wow, that hurdle slows me down.

And that's ridiculous. I love to write. I enjoy sharing my ranching/farming/weaving/spinning/knitting/gardening experiences. So I have to do it!

Also, I realize I've become so accustomed to some of the daily activities involved in raising sheep, weaving, etc. that I forget sometimes that what seems typical to me is far from for many others. I enjoy hearing about the processes people go through on their farms, tending their gardens, weaving their cloth, and spinning their yarn. They give me ideas and solutions all the time. Therefore, I'm going to endeavor to join that crowd and share.

My Cotswold sheep enjoying the lush grass brought by the rain.