Friday, May 31, 2013

Here comes the heat!!

Lots of fiber and clay happening down here in Virginia.  Despite the rising temperatures... (it was bound to happen eventually right?)

Remember the haul from Maryland Sheep and Wool?   Many of you fell in love with the two twists on the far left....

Now they are a 3 ply (Navajo plied...meaning there is some color separation...) light worsted yarn!  A three ply this thin is pretty good for me.  (That's a nickle for scale.)

Meanwhile my friend Lynette is working on items for her show in August.  I spin wool for her sculptures...and this 8 oz will become a beehive.  The colors are perfect!  We were excited to find it at Maryland.

My latest blanket.....

And I had an exciting visitor.  No pictures of course but Hannah McAndrew was in town!  She was on the long journey home to Scotland after her show with the St Croix Valley Potters in Minnesota.  She was very interested in a blanket so we made a swap.

This plate is BIG, 15 inches across and much more golden than it looks in this picture.  I love it!  And I know Hannah will enjoy her wool throw in chilly Scotland. Thanks so much Hannah!

And I have finally found my groove again in the clay studio.  It was slow going at first.  Even though I have been throwing pots for over 7 years I still often struggle with some of the basics.  I am so thankful when it starts to flow again.

I am working on getting a kiln load dry and ready to bisque in the next 2 weeks.  All those little bowls on the top two shelves of the drying rack have to be in Vermont before the end of the month!

I am SO GLAD that my little AC unit seems to be working ok in my studio.  Not nearly as efficient as the split system I had in my studio in Charlottesville.  I should have taken it with us since the buyers are simply using the space as a garage.  It is definitely cooler then the 90 degree air outside but the humidity still seems high.  Drying is going slow...

So potting, weaving, spinning and sweating on those morning walks with Layla.

She LOVES her air conditioning.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More Dyeing....and FINALLY. Clay.

This past weekend was the long awaited two day dye workshop that I had arranged for our guild.  Julie Hodge, a professor at UMW led the course.  And we were so fortunate to be able to use the school's dye studio!  All the tools at our fingertips.

Prereduced Indigo.  A magical thing.  Starting from scratch to create an indigo dye vat is a long and touchy business.  With the prereduced you just mix in water, add soda ash and the Thiourea Dioxide.  No messing with that nasty lye and no need to even heat it up!

And the results are a quick amazing blue!
(Taken from the second floor window because I was too busy to run down closer!)

Julie demonstrating the color wheel project we worked on on the second day.

Color mixing, starting with only the three primaries.  Who needs to buy a bunch of fancy colors!

And finally on Monday (yesterday) it was back to clay.  I organized the shelves well enough to jump in.  It was a little touch and go to start out.  I haven't thrown on my elevated wheel for over a year!

But 24 pots in a couple of hours doesn't seem to be too bad for me. 

Today I wore my weaving hat.  

 I trim bowls!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I still have a huge amount of organizing to do but the painting is done!  I knew if I didn't paint before red clay started to fly I would never do it.  And now the walls are scrubable.

This is the same color I used in my studio in Charlottesville.  And while I only had enough for three walls I kind of like the look.  I am still thinking about what I want to do to the back wall, luckily it will be easy to access when I do decide.

The door goes to the tiny kiln shed, that was supposed to be a garden shed.  Hence the mower in the middle of the floor.  We are paying someone to mow this year so at least it won't be stinky and grassy. There WILL be a garden shed of some sort next year.

My next steps are to put up open shelving over the canvas covered counter in the back for chemicals.   Put together another metal shelf for next to the kiln door (unless I find a cheap cabinet with a countertop easy to clean after mixing glaze chemicals....)  And to install more of those metal strips for green ware shelves.  Neither of these pictures show it but I do have one of those massive rolling shelves from Costco.  It works great for green and bisque ware.

Hm.  I need to put up shelving in the kiln shed for kiln furniture and shelves too....

I'm also contemplating a plan for easier glazing.  But that won't stop me from getting my hands dirty!

Nearly there!!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

All the Pretty Colors!

Last weekend was Maryland Sheep and Wool.  The fiber lovers' version of Woodstock.  But better since it is an annual event!

My plan was to be very controlled.  But the birthday money burning a hole in my pocket (and God help me the bright colors) meant this is what came home with me!

To make the day even better I finally was able to meet up with a couple of friends known only to me via Ravelry!  If you had told me 10 years ago (I originally typed 20 but then realized the internet is really not that old!!) that I would be making such wonderful friends over the internet I would have told you you were crazy.

As if that was not enough, Kristen, second from the right and of Gilead Fiber Farm for whom I made these cups, made an extra trip down to Fredericksburg to hang out and have a dye day!  And until MDSW we had never even met in person.

So dye day.

Kristen, shepherd and dyer extraordinaire....

"Seymour" from Gilead Fiber Farm.  Finn lamb and kid mohair

 My new screen porch turned dye studio!  I was very careful (this time anyway) to keep from dripping dye on the new concrete floor...
The colors are SO much more vibrant then these photos.  But pretty here nonetheless I think.

The above picture and the picture below is a product of the same dye pot.  The wool/mohair blend on the left was a light brown, while the wool/mohair on the right was a natural cream.  Both came from RJ in Oklahoma.

Above and below center is named "Veritek" and is a blend from Gilead.  I think it is coopworth and mohair if I remember correctly.  It was a last minute gift as Kristen left to start her drive north....she left at 2:30 but I was still waiting on my last pot of goodies after dark!


The ironic thing is that I have planned a series of dye workshops for our local fiber guild to be taught by a local University professor for this Summer.

I think I am warmed up and ready!