Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Dog's Life...Is Really Busy

When I fed Logan this evening, I realized he had not come inside to eat this morning. In fact, I'd hardly seen him all day. I thought, well, he's been busy. Then it occurred to me that that statement might seem odd to some people. But he really has had an active day.

He loves to run along the fence line when vehicles drive by. The few times I glimpsed him today he was either racing cars and trucks or panting after he'd won the match. I heard him join in community dog barking several times. And there seemed to be a fair amount of activity at one of the neighbor's for him to observe and enjoy.

He is not a sedentary dog. He has plans. He has things to do. He is busy.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

More Holiday Towels Pictures

As a follow-up to my previous post, here are some more photos of the overshot red and green cotton towels that I finished. The pattern is called "Susan Ross."




Monday, December 7, 2015

Gallery

As of today, I'm officially displaying and selling my weaving at the Krieger-Marcusen Gallery in Prescott, AZ! I'm very excited. They offer amazing ceramics, paintings, woodwork, jewelry, and, now, handweaving.

Overshot cotton hand towel - "Susan Ross" pattern

The reverse side of the towel

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Humans, Dogs, and Happiness

Domesticated animals don't have a choice about where they live, be they dogs, cats, sheep, horses, etc. I think about this issue sometimes with regard to my dog, Logan. His previous people turned him into the Humane Society. I adopted him and took him home to Wilhoit. He had no say in anything that happened to him.

Of course, this is the nature of humans' relationships with other animals. We can't communicate fully. We do what we do. I wonder occasionally, though, if Logan is truly happy here. I think he is. I hope so.

Today was one of those times that I'm sure he's pleased with where he's ended up living. I was sitting outside on the deck reading. Logan was doing his own thing somewhere on the property. I heard barking and looked up to see him running along the fence, paralleling a dog on the other side.

Then a cowboy (an actual one) on horseback rode out of the national forest and down the road. I lost sight of him for a minute or two. He returned, driving three steers ahead of him. He herded them through an opening in the barbed-wire fence back into the national forest. At this point, Logan was beside himself with joy. He got to bark at a dog, cattle, a horse, and a cowboy. Wow!

The cowboy rode back onto the road, dismounted, reattached the barbed-wire fence to close the gap, checked his saddle, and remounted his horse. He and his dog headed down the road. Logan sent them off by racing along the fence, barking and wagging his tail until they were out of sight.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Handwoven Trophy Fish

Having made handwoven cats for many years, I decided to add handwoven trophy fish to my menagerie.

Using my original patterns, I cut and sewed the handwoven fabric. Then I stuffed the fish and added embroidery and eyes. I attached the fish to the plaques using floral wire. After adding hangers and a High Castle Traditional Crafts label with a sentence or two about the particular fish, voila, a trophy fish ready to hang on the wall.













Friday, November 6, 2015

Cattle

I've been having a very strange week involving cattle. First, Tuesday I almost had a way-too-close encounter on the highway with a cow as I drove into Wilhoit. I heard later that there were about a dozen cattle on walkabout.

Today, more cattle. There is an entrance to the national forest across the road from my property. This bit of info will be relevant in a minute.

About 4:15, I let the sheep out of their enclosure to graze the larger property. I then went back to a task I was working on outside.

Logan had other ideas, though. He insisted it was PLAYTIME. He even took hold of my shoe and started pulling my foot. Giving in, I played with him for a bit. Some of the sheep ambled by, so he raced after them. Several baa's accompanied their retreat.

Then I realized there was a moo amongst the noise. I heard another one. I looked at the entry to the national forest and saw a half dozen black cattle staring at me, mooing. I ran for my camera.

It turned out there were more than two dozen cattle congregated along the road leading out of the forest. They had come to a halt at the cattle guard. "You shall not pass!" OK, it was more like you cannot pass. They were standing around as if waiting for an exit visa.

I took several pictures, but they headed back into the forest after Logan's vociferous arrival.

Did I miss the memo that said this was cattle week?







Thursday, November 5, 2015

Earthquake and Snow

Arizona doesn't experience earthquakes very often, but they do happen. On Sunday, one took place near Black Canyon City, which is about 35 miles as the crow flies from Wilhoit. A 3.2 magnitude quake occurred about 9:00 pm. The main quake, 4.1 magnitude, took place at 11:29 pm and was followed 20 minutes later by a 4.0 magnitude quake.

At about 11:30 Sunday night I was standing in my dining room. Suddenly the upper story of the house vibrated and boomed. The event was brief but startling. My dog, Logan, and I looked at each, confused. It was scary. I had no idea what caused it.

Logan and I cautiously went outside. Everything looked alright. Logan went to each side of the house, barked fiercely as if to say, "I don't know what happened, but it better not happen again," then came back inside.

I didn't know what caused the ruckus until I saw news reports online the next day.

That was Sunday. On Tuesday the temperature dropped, and it rained. Wednesday, the temperature went even lower, and it snowed. Not much snow stayed on the ground, but the huge snowflakes were lovely.



Today was sunny, fairly warm, and beautiful. It's been a strange few days.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Mountain Spinners and Weavers Guild Holiday Show and Sale

The Mountain Spinners and Weavers and the Prescott Area Woodturners present their 6th Annual Holiday Show and Sale on Saturday, November 14, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hassayampa Inn, 122 E. Gurley Street, Prescott, Arizona in the Marina Room. Entrance is free, and there is free parking on the street or in the parking lot across from the entrance.

Together the groups will offer a wide variety of exceptional artwork and gifts at reasonable prices. The fiber creations provided by the spinners and weavers will include wearable art of all kinds, fashion accessories, household d├ęcor, beadwork and jewelry, basketry, children’s wear, pet items, and handspun and hand-dyed yarns and fibers.

The woodturners will display beautifully crafted works in exotic woods including decorative boxes, turned bowls, vases, ornaments, carvings, and sculpture.

Meet the artists as the spinners and weavers will be demonstrating various aspects of the fiber arts. There will also be a raffle for the chance to win handmade treasurers.

Bring your friends and family. There will be something for almost everyone. See you there!


Monday, September 14, 2015

Successful Herding Technique

Today, for the first time, Logan herded the sheep successfully into the sheep pasture without touching any of them. This is an important achievement. I'm very proud of him.

In the past, he has used body slams and has occasionally grabbed hold of a mouthful of wool. Since the adults are sheared now, that last isn't an option.

At one point, he was standing in the open gateway, and Sierra the Younger was facing him, standing about four feet away. He was barking at her, trying to get her in. She turned and looked at me as if to say, "What's he thinking? We can't go in until he moves. Silly dog."

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Towels Again

I finished the towels I wrote about a couple weeks ago. I'm quite pleased with the result.




The weave structure is linen weave (from Marguerite Davison's book, A Handweaver's Pattern Book). I used a variegated cotton flake yarn for the weft which added a horizontal brushstroke effect to the vertical rectangles of the linen weave.

The fabric has a lovely hand. The towels are approximately 17 1/2" by 30".

Friday, September 4, 2015

Routine Maintenance

I checked the oil in the truck the other day. It's a 1977 Ford F100 and has a lot of space under the hood. Thank goodness because Logan decided to get into the act. Ranch dogs have a lot of duties, but this is bit much.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Towels

Towels are on my loom at the moment. I'm using an 8/2 cotton warp in purple and a 3.5S variegated cotton flake weft. The weave structure is linen weave. The multi-colored cotton flake really transforms the pattern in interesting ways. I like it.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Great Book to Read

I just finished reading the book Boys Don't Knit (in Public) by T.S. Easton. It's a young adult book, and it was great. It's funny and clever and just plain fun. I highly recommend it.

The main character, Ben Fletcher, accidentally gets in trouble with the police. Because he has a clean record, he gets probation. One of the requirements is that he takes a class at the local college. Faced with a choice of four courses, one of which is taught by his father, he ends up taking knitting....

Monday, August 3, 2015

Undulating Shadow Twill

Currently, I'm weaving cloth for a shirt using a 6-ply rayon at 24 epi in an undulating shadow twill. I've woven with this yarn before at this sett, but I used a different weave structure. I want the fabric to drape, and at this point, I think the fabric might be a bit too firm. I won't know until it's off the loom and washed, though, so onward and upward! It's gorgeous, no matter what the hand ends up being.

The colors are actually a sea foam green and deep forest green, although the photos don't depict them very well.




Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sheep Riding -- I Don't Recommend It

I met a woman who was looking for baling twine for a large project she's working on. I told her I had lots and lots (and lots) of baling twine, and she was welcome to it. So she and her son visited today.

The sheep kept up a lively conversation with us while we were bagging the twine. When we finished, I asked if my visitors would like to go in with the sheep and meet them. They said sure.

As I was unchaining the gate (yes, there is both a latch and a chain -- sneaky sheep), I glanced away to tell my dog, Logan, to stay. At the same time, Gimli, one of the rams, pushed against the gate, apparently thinking I was going to let the sheep out to graze.

That's when things got really interesting. Logan charged towards Gimli. Gimli lunged for freedom. I tried to block the ram and shut the gate. Gimli rushed forward, somehow ending up between by legs. Considering the ram is tall and wide, I ended up straddling him, backwards, with my feet not touching the ground and him heading off to graze.

Now, Gimli's a gentle ram, but with Logan in the picture, things could have got pretty scary if he decided to chase the sheep. I managed to slip to one side and roll off of him. Unfortunately, I landed at the edge of a pile of scrap fencing. Luckily, I only scraped one elbow on the wires, although I think I may be a bit sore tomorrow. Falling off of a moving sheep onto hard ground isn't the most comfortable thing to do.

My visitors managed to shut the gate before any other sheep escaped. By the time I got to my feet and got hold of Logan, who thought the entire event was terribly exciting and was eager to play some more, Gimli had returned to the gate. I opened it; he trotted in. I pushed Logan away and latched and chained the gate.

Do I offer guests adventure or what? My visitors felt bad about what happened. I told them it wasn't their fault. Logan was to blame, with a sizable contribution from Gimli.

Gimli



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Return Trip

A few weeks ago I sold one of the lambs, Midnight, to a friend, Pam, in Chino Valley, a town about 30 miles from Wilhoit. Pam has a Shetland sheep and a few goats, so Midnight had ready-made companions.

At first, Midnight seemed to be doing alright. But after a few days, Pam emailed me, concerned that the lamb seemed depressed. We exchanged information and ideas and agreed to keep in touch. By the end of the week, though, Pam and her husband were really worried. Midnight was barely eating, and she was spending most of her time laying by herself near the barn. They asked if they could bring her back to Wilhoit. We agreed we needed to do what was best for her health-- that they return her and I refund their money. We just hoped that she would recover once she got here.

So nine days after she left, Midnight came home. She started grazing the minute she exited their van. My other sheep were in the sheep enclosure, munching on hay. I opened the gate, Midnight entered, ran straight for the hay, and started eating.

She and her mother, Sierra, didn't even exchange glances. We, the spectators, had hoped for a movie reunion moment and were disappointed by their lackadaisical attitude, but at least Midnight was eating!

After awhile, the sheep sauntered over to say hello and get petted. At that point, Sierra and Midnight did acknowledge each other, with Sierra smelling the lamb and a metaphorical light bulb going off over her head. Midnight tried to nurse, but Sierra kicked her away, basically saying, "You're weaned. What do you think you're doing?"

Happily, Midnight has eaten and behaved normally since she's been home. She enthusiastically kicks up her heels when I throw hay over the fence, and when I open the gate, she joyously rushes out to graze with the rest of the flock. She hangs out with her mother and the other lambs and acts like she never left.

I've sold quite a few sheep over the years. I've never had one not adjust to their new environment. It was odd. But, you know, sheep are people, too, and every one is different.

Midnight, back at home

Sierra and her daughter, Midnight

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Save the Cottonwoods

The grass is growing, and I want the sheep to graze the larger property. However, I have some young cottonwood trees coming up that I want to save from hungry, cottonwood-loving sheep.

I decided to fence off the trees with some plastic garden fence I already had. I drove in a few T-posts and attached the fence with cable ties. It wasn't a strong physical barrier, but I hoped it would act as a visual deterrent.

It worked at first.

However, less than two weeks after I erected the fence, the wind blew down a medium-sized dead cottonwood tree, which took out part of the fence. I removed the dead tree and repaired the fence.



Today I let the sheep out to graze and turned around to see Gimli, one of the rams, had broken through the fence and was happily snacking on young cottonwood leaves. I ran over and tried to push him away. He didn't budge. I took hold of the torn end of the plastic fencing and tried to use it to force him away from the young tree. He surged forward, and his head went right through the plastic mesh. Now there's a large hole the size of Gimli's head in the fence.

After extracting him from the mesh (he didn't seem to notice it), I started shoving him, trying to get him away from the trees. I felt like Harry and Hermione when they tried to get Hagrid to leave the centaurs after showing the two of them Grawp. Gimli didn't seem to notice me any more than Hagrid did Harry and Hermione. However, after several attempts, I finally got the ram to turn around and start munching grass instead of leaves.

I'm glad my sheep like me and aren't afraid of me, especially the rams. But their trust can be a drawback when I want them to do something that they're resisting. They ignore my efforts to shift them and basically look as if they're saying, "Huh? Did you want something? I'm eating, you know."

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Babysitting

You might wonder, and quite reasonably, why I would post about babysitting. Hmm, well, knitting will come up.

Last Saturday, I babysat my friends' kids, a seven-year-old boy, Tevin, and five-year-old girl, Naya. They're sweet kids with a great deal of curiosity and seemingly boundless energy.

Everything went fine until bedtime. Now, I know that saying "time for bed" equates to "let's play and wind ourselves up" for a lot of children. These two were no exception. However, three hours later I was still trying to get them to stop bouncing on their beds and stay in their bedroom.

After one of innumerable "good nights," I sat down in the dining room and started casting on a scarf. Several minutes later, Naya came in and asked what I was doing. I told her I was knitting a scarf. Her brother showed up and asked the same question. I repeated my answer.

Naya then told me that I should knit her a bear. She instructed, with hand gestures, that when I finish it, I should put it in a box and wrap it so that she could then unwrap it and open the box and find her present.

Tevin informed me I needed to knit a dragon for him. He pulled out one of his magic and dragon books. (He had shown me the volumes earlier after I said I was going to use a sleep spell on them to make them go to bed. He pointed out that there weren't any sleep spells in his books, so I couldn't use one on them. Sigh.) Flipping pages, he found the dragon he wanted me to knit. It's green and has a straight tail and neck. I am to make the feet exactly as illustrated. I told him I would try. He said, "Do your best."

And on yet another return visit to the dining room, Naya announced that if I finished her bear before I left (I appreciate her confidence in my knitting speed), I was to hide it behind something on the table, so she wouldn't see it.

I have a lot of knitting to do.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Tablet (Card) Weaving

I designed the ivy pattern on the band pictured below using 40 cards. It's woven in 10/2 cotton.

One side of the tablet-woven band


The other side of the tablet-woven band

After I finished weaving it, I set the cards on a table. A couple days later, the stack of cards fell to the floor. I picked them up and put them away. Apparently, I missed one. Logan didn't.




Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bags, Sacks, Totes, Purses, Satchels, Pouches

Surely you can't guess the theme of this post from the title, but I'm into making bags lately -- specifically bags geared toward animal lovers.

I keep struggling with obtaining great photographs of them, though, especially of the linings.





















Scanning the bags often gave better results, but that didn't solve my problem of portraying the insides of the bags. Then the obvious, and I do mean obvious, solution hit me. Turn the bags inside out and scan them. OK, so that epiphany took much longer to arrive than it should have.

 I still need to work on the "great" of great photographs, but I think I'm making progress.


Front

Back

Front lining

Back lining