Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cereal box blues

Some spinach is ready for harvest.
Sustainable living means extra work For the past couple of weeks I've taken the easy way and purchasing boxed cereal instead of baking my own bread or enjoying home cooked oatmeal. Being away from boxed cereal for so long, I'm a little shocked at the waste.  It doesn't take that long to down a box and there's a big box to fold up and recycled. This seems wrong to me so it was a good reminder for why I opted for home-cooked oatmeal in the first place. Compared to a box of cereal, the same volume of organic rolled oats can go a lot further.

The spinach seed I planted a month or so ago is now producing harvest-able leaves.  Which means I need to go out and harvest.  How much easier a bag of frozen spinach would be.  But I want to do what I can to be a good citizen of Earth. I don't expect to grow everything, but I do what I can to buy local at the farmers market--freezing and keeping things over winter like I would if I had the giant garden of dreams. Storage wise, I have had good luck using cheap plastic containers for spinach and broccoli (my favorite vegetables).  I don't like freezer bags because of the waste--one dinner's worth of broccoli and a heavy duty plastic bag joins the waste stream. Inexpensive plastic containers I purchased at Target have worked great for these vegetables. I only had to pop them out of the plastic for my recipes and wash the container for next fall's use. Since I used them right away, the longest storage period was five months.
Fine alpacas single spun on my Ladybug. 

In the fiber world, I am spinning up that lovely chestnut alpaca I purchased from Meadowsong Alpaca last fall.  It is absolutely gorgeous! I am spinning fine singles which I will ply and use in an upcoming weaving project.  I have to say I absolutely LOVE spinning this alpaca.  And I will end out with a throw that is 100% local and sustainable.

Flab to Fluff Challenge:  I didn't expect to post today, so I didn't weigh in this morning. Tomorrow, PROMISE! I will tweet and my progress will turn up in the little Twitter window on the right hand side of this blog.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Flab to Fluff futility

Gray Coopworth Roving.
Fleece has a way of finding and clinging to me very much the way pounds do.  I pretty much decided I had enough fleece for a few years when my friend Beth asked me to take six pounds of gorgeous roving off her hands. Who am I to say no?  And I will use it in a project.  Beth knows that about me.  I love keeping busy with projects and deadlines.

But I digress. I really don't want to admit how bad I'm doing in the Flab to Fluff Challenge.  I keep waffling around the same eight pounds lost--occasionally it is five, sometimes it is 10 but all the time ridiculous.  And now I have six pounds of lovely Coopworth roving, which I think should count as 18 pounds of flab since it is washed AND carded and free.
I'm planning to paint this glowing white Coopworth over the summer.

So now I HAVE to lose 18 pounds!  I've already taken low-cal food out of the freezer and my exercise bike is ready for a few laps around the family room.  I would blog some more, but I have to get going.  I'm giving myself three months to earn this fleece! That's a July 22 deadline, dear readers!  Can I do it?

PS. That would be 25 pounds in all because today, the eight pounds is seven.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bitchy little warp threads

The warp looks tame here
Warp can be as bitchy as the mean girls from grade school--the ones you keep running into even as an adult. Mean girls twist and twine and do what they can to mess you up--mean girls find pleasure and self-worth in that--but patience and perseverance eventually win out. Those mean girl warp threads get tamed in the end and a lovely project is woven. This metaphor is useful to all of us who run into those grown up mean girls at work or play. With patience, focus and perseverance the twisted little schemes will be untangled and you will win with the peace and joy of beautiful weaving.

Shown above is 8/2 cotton/linen blend warp that will become some edgy dish towels.  The threading is fairly complicated.  As a new weaver, I am still developing my signature warping technique.  I think I have it figured out and I will use it in my next project--a table runner whose design kind of burst into my consciousness Friday morning.  I love being creative--it is so exciting! This blend of thread has a little lint in it and it is amazing what lint bits can do to a warp. The lint actually fused some strands together and had to be gently coaxed apart.

I even had a mystery tangle and ended out having to add seven warp threads that disappeared!  Below, I show them tensioned on a spare chair in my studio.  Yep, I need to perfect my warping technique, in the meantime there is endless satisfaction in figuring out what went wrong and fixing it.

You should see my friend Beth's warp--so neat, so lovely! She keeps her warp threads in line!  Of course she's been weaving a lot longer than me and may even had a few lessons, so she knows how to deal with those bitchy little warp threads. Next project I will perfect my signature warping method and those bitchy mean girl warps will be history.
Seven warp threads escaped somehow, but have been replaced.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring's sprint

Blossoming lilac and ornamental at the end of March.
Amazing spring weather has been keeping me from my computer and blogging. Spring sprinted this year speeding through it's succession of flowering shrubs. Things that don't bloom until late April or May were in full swing at the end of March. Take for instance my lilac and ornamental pear tree. The pear is usually in full bloom at the end of April and this was taken at the end of March--that's usually when the forsythia is starting out, something that is long gone by the time these other shrubs get going. I keep a log of those sorts of things as I enjoy watching spring happen.

I prefer a slow pace to spring, the gentle unfolding of each flowering shrub and bulb so that every day brings something to wonder about and progress to savor.  This year's spring exploded into being and everything was blooming at the same time.  Even the tree that likes to wait until May is showing some leaves.  There wasn't much time to savor and I've been busy keeping up with it. I'm wondering if my roses will bloom before June?  I'll let you know what happens.

End of a project.
And I've been busy with weaving projects.  I finished weaving placemats and today I completed threading 483 warp ends in a goose eye pattern. I'm making twill towels with 8/2 cottolin in three colors. I have some pretty ambitious projects planned for the next couple of months so I suppose my blogging could well be sporadic, or perhaps I'll be composing odes to weaving, or singing the blues over twisted warps.

Focus is going to be important.  I will need to work as fast as this past springtime to get all my projects done in the alloted time.  More on that later.