Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bike and Basket Book

A couple of surprises last week. On the way to work I saw this bicycle with a cover that makes it more aerodynamic. Rolling down the road near 7th and K St.

 I have been looking for a newsletter from the 1970s called "Threads In Action" edited by Virginia Harvey. (See blog entry "Threads In Action") Then Diana from Bend, Oregon told me she has a book that needs a new home. I received in the mail "The Techniques of Basketry" by Virginia I. Harvey. I've already read it from cover to cover.

Lots of pictures, patterns and structures. I've been looking for more information on twining, and wickerwork. Looking for info on coiled basketry. Now I feel like I've taken an introductory course in basketry and textiles. Techniques of basketry are universal in human development and history. Already I'm looking differently at the structure of rugs, baskets, and everything. I think that is an indication of how good a book is. When it changes how one looks at things. I am becoming a fan of Virginia Harvey.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

1st Day of Spring - Turkey Vulture Play Day

(Click pictures for larger image)
 First day of Spring! The Renaissance Tower in Sacramento, Calif, reaches 372 ft. into the sky like a dark glass cliff. The only cliff like thing for miles around on this floodplain. The dark face creates updrafts for soaring. And the turkey vultures come out to play! (see dark spots in the sky)

There is lots of circling in the updrafts from the face of the building.

Lots of circling. It's a turkey vulture party!

Big bird soaring with a six foot wingspan.

A couple of big birds sunning themselves at 370+ feet!

A bird flies into side of the building because its like a mirror. Or maybe because it is like a party.

Turkey Vultures stay here all year long but a clear sunny day is special.

From my corner of the world, Sacramento, Calif.

Have a good day!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

SWSG March Dye Meeting

(click pictures on blog for larger image)
For March, the Saturday Group of Sacramento Weavers and Spinners Guild met at the home of member Cathy Sweeney for a dye session.

Here is Sue, Connie, Linda and Sara are tying up some samples of wool yarn that has been pre-treated with different mordants. Five knots is tin. Four knots is iron. Three knots is copper. Two knots is chrome.  One knot is untreated. They will be put into the dye pots so we can see how the mordants react differently in the same dye.

 EDITED TO ADD: Here is a mordant test bundle I brought home. There is a difference in color with the same dye, different mordant chemicals. From left to right: Tin, Iron, Copper, Chrome, Untreated.

Goldfinches visit one of the bird feeders.

The pots are set and we wait for the water to heat up. Notice the empty rack on the left. That will become a very busy piece of equipment.

One of pots has California Native Black Walnut husk, another has Silver Dollar Eucalyptus, another pot has Oak Galls from Valley Oak trees,

We had a pot of Red Onion skins and another pot of Marigold flowers (not shown).

Cathy has a lot of reference books, she has mordants, she has propane stoves, and most importantly, she has gloves to prevent your hands from turning colors.

Cathy also keeps a scrapbook that has index cards with snips of yarn samples from dying so she can repeat a process when a certain color is desired. We loaded up the pots with our yarn samples and let them set.

While waiting for the pots to set the color on our yarns  we waited. We chatted about projects we are working on and are planning. And I enjoyed looking at the flowers. I need some of these to plant next to the condo.

We also played with Kool-Aid softdrink mix powder and liquid food colors in mason jars. Koolaid is a popular dye that is inexpensive and non-toxic.

Here is the result of Strawberry Koolaid and Cherry Koolaid as dye. Notice how pale the liquid is now that the color has been drawn into the yarn. That is called "exhausting" the dye.

This Cooper's Hawk is a local resident and kept flying over the area.

Cathy shows off a purse that she knitted then over-dyed with Madder root which is a strong red dye. She says the upper part of the bag was light green like the yarn in the handle but the Madder changed it to this dark brick color.

Cathy pulls up the yarn that was sitting in the jars with koolaid, making a multi-colored skein.

Here I am with Stephanie fishing out a skein from the pot of marigold flowers.

It was a beautiful day. Overhead there is a flight of Sandhill Cranes, big birds with big booming calls.

Here we have yarns drying on the rack. Most of them went into the natural dye pots, with a few colored with koolaid.

This is my little set of  five samples. I used bright white cotton yarn. From left to right, Onion, Eucalyptus, Black Walnut, Oak Galls, Marigolds. They will be washed later. I plan to weave them into a sampler for display.

EDITED TO ADD: This is my little set of  samples after washing in cold water. From left to right, Onion, Eucalyptus, Black Walnut, Oak Galls, Marigolds, Indigo, and the mordant test bundle.

Loading up the rack with so much! I'm surprised it did not collapse!

With the natural dyes all done, Cathy started a pot of Indigo dye, which is a very strong blue dye. Here is Nancy in the straw hat, Sue in the red apron, and our youngest Saturday Guild member, Ellie, is winding yarn on a niddy noddy for a skein to dip into the indigo.

This is the pot of indigo. In a process not well understood by me, the oxygen is displaced from the liquid before dipping the yarn in for dying. Care has to be taken not to stir, or drop yarn too quickly so as not to introduce air bubbles into the liquid.

As we waited for things to drip dry the birds provided lots of entertainment. Here is a crow chasing a hawk.

Here are some of the items that were dipped into the indigo dye. The color develops as the yarn is exposed to air after dipping. Some of the yarns are dipped more than once. The bottom left is raw wool that was dyed in mesh bags. The skein to the left center of the picture with the purple and blue color is the skein that was koolaid dyed with red yellow and blue. Cathy overdyed it with the indigo!

Here is one members bundle of skeins. Sorry about the funny lighting but it was a nice bunch of yarns.

Not shown was the lunch which was pot luck with everybody bringing something. We had thirteen people in attendance with a couple of guests and new members.

Our next Saturday meeting will be
April 14 (Sat), 10 am - 12:30 pm At the Arcade Library
Spinning! Bring your spinning to show off!

Visit the Sacramento Weavers and Spinners Guild website for schedules

I want to thank Cathy Sweeny for a wonderful time playing with dyes. One of the best things about being with the Guild are the members who are willing to share their knowledge and experience.

It was a good day!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bad Day For A Kite

(click picture for larger image)
This is a White Tailed Kite being harassed by a pair of crows. I noticed the crows mobbing the Kite, so I grabbed my camera and managed to get one picture of the fight.

For some reason the Kite circled around the area as if reluctant to leave.

Then another White Tailed Kite appeared on the scene and also started harassing the first Kite, dive bombing and screaming at it several times. I think it's a struggle for territory. This is one of the better pics of the aerial combat.

This is the best picture I managed to capture. The lower bird is the attacking bird and it is screaming at the upper bird. So first the Kite is mobbed by crows and then is run off by a screaming Kite. It's a bad day for that Kite.

And here is the winner of the turf war. You can see the beak open and I will always remember that screech!

Camera is Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS8. Pictures cropped/sharpened with Photoscape.

From my corner of the world, West Sacramento, Calif.

Edited to add: The mobbing crows were probably robbing the kite's nest in  the tree. Which is why it did not want to leave the area. The other kite was probably defending its territory.

It was a good day!

Friday, March 2, 2012

No Cut Sprang Bag

My latest cardboard sprang frame has holes punched on the side so I can adjust the size by moving the sheets of cardstock. A piece of string holds the position and rubber bands help prevent it from flopping. This is adjusted about 13 inch long.

Here is the frame with a warp on it. The red yarn on the bottom helps hold the yarns in position.

Here the sprang completely covers one side of the frame. The frame was adjusted to about 12 inch. See the red cord that holds the yarn position from the beginning.

This is the other side where the two sprang rows are coming together. With about 7 inch to go, I divide the sprang into two columns which will form the handles. 


As the sprang gets closer and tighter it is difficult to get my fingers in the sprang so I used a chopstick to work the yarns. I put a little groove in it and tapered the point. (Shout out to Umeko Buffet, Chinese & Japanese Food)

I used red yarn so you can see how I sewed up the sides. I also used yarn to close the sprang at the bottom and at the top of the handles.

The bag is big enough to hold a water bottle. The yarn ends will be tied off and cut. I was testing an idea for a little bag that had it's own handles that could be made on a the cardboard frame. And no cutting!

Have a good day!

EDITED TO ADD: My recent sprang activity was inspired by the release of Carol James' book:
"Sprang Unsprung
: An Illustrated Guide to Interlinking, Interlacing and Intertwining."