Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dyeing to Have Fun

 Yesterday, on a gorgeous fall day, fiber friends gathered at LouAnn's house to dye together.  Colors were mixed, warps, and sometimes wefts, were laid out in serpentine patterns and art was created.

Here is my bamboo warp for scarves, getting rolled up for its 48 hour rest, if I can wait that long.  I have another, a cotton weft made for the blue baby blankets.  They'll be the subject of tomorrow's entry for Loomy Tunes, where their reveal will be made public.

 Everyone had their own method; Carol's were all very precise, with the color bands very evenly spaced.

 Ann preferred an experimental approach, first striping parallel, and later, dotting overdyed with soft dabs of another color.

 Ila had her sous chef, LaDonna mixing her colors, here a lovely soft red.

Here, a long piece woven by Pat for napkins that turned out too firm became a group-dyed table runner.  Pat plans on making herself a runner first, then bringing the remainder back to the group for another use.  It'll be perfect for her dining room.

 After Tina knitted a bamboo "blank" for LouAnn, many hands were offered to paint it.  Some preferred the variegation of sections rolled up; some liked the more intense colors when the blank was unrolled.
I was one of the first to leave, motivated by talk of Trick or Treating actually happening on the 30th rather than the 31st.  I carved my jack-o-lanterns while keeping an eye out for Trick or Treaters, but by 5:30, determined that my friends were wrong.  But now I'm ready for the little costumed guys and ghouls when they show up tonight.
  Today is garden plowing day!  I have my Crimson Clover seeds and my rye grass seeds; the grass in the garden plot is quite dead and ready to be tilled.  I'm anxious to get started, but the pets decided to wake me up at 3:30, and now I'm up, caffeinated and it's still dark outside.  Maybe I'll go wind a baby blanket warp...
     Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What is Up

 Have I mentioned that I love fall in east Tennessee?  It's a fact.  The view above is slightly downhill from my kitchen at work.  The view to the right is in front of my kitchen, these beautiful trees lining a walk to the garden.
And here is what was going on this week IN the kitchen.  I started the pickled beets and strawberries, mostly just to test the recipe, after not making it for over a year.  And I made over 300 jars of blackberry jam.  I  know you've seen photos very similar to this before, but it always makes me happy to see miles and miles of jars, ready to be washed, labeled and put away.
 And this is what my backyard looks like, a week after spraying the future flower and vegetable gardens with Round Up.  The black walnut tree has lost all its leaves now.  It's never a photogenic tree, but even fall doesn't improve it.  Every time I suggest to anyone that I'd like to get rid of it, their faces always register shock, so even though I don't like it, it will stay.  It's too far from the house to cause any damage if it falls over, so it'll stay, dropping its nasty nuts all over the place, its paltry shade scattering over the drive.  The best thing about that tree is its wreath of day lilies which bloomed their hearts out this summer.
  Next week, I can scalp the Round Upped areas and till them under.  By then, my new peonies should have arrived, and I'll also be on the prowl for some crepe myrtles.  The veggie garden will get seeded with rye and crimson clover for its winter cover crops.
  The chili's almost ready!  Just what I was craving on this cool, rainy day.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More Fall Festival Weaving

On Loomy Tunes,, LouAnn posted about teaching straw weaving at the Foothills Fall Festival in Maryville.  We tag-teamed with her, Joyce and Joyce.  Marta's sister in law, Cathy, and her mother in law whose name I promptly forgot helped Marta and I teach everyone we could coerce into learning the magical art of straw weaving.  Who can resist the fun of making fabric from drinking straws and yarn?
I've tried three times to turn this photo upright and can't, but you can clearly see this woman thoroughly enjoyed learning to weave.  Sunday, we will be replaced by knitters, and she promised to come back and learn to knit next.

 The look of concentration on this girl's face was enough to show that we have a new weaver among us.
And this girl kept weaving, no matter what her family wanted to do.  They finally convinced her to leave, but not until we told her she could take her weaving with her.
  We had a great day, in the perfect sunshine, teaching new weavers how exciting it is to make fabric.  There were men and boys weaving, too, but I forgot I had a camera with me until they were gone.  One man, a fourth grade teacher, learned just so he could teach his class to do it.
  We all had a fine afternoon and I'm looking forward to the next time we can do it again!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

And now for something completely different...

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I'm not from here.  In the land I'm from, we don't eat okra, and tomatoes are meant to be eaten red.  And while you know how I feel about okra, I have to tell you that I've embraced the green tomato.  I love it in salsa; fried is delightful; pickled?  Well, pickled, with lots of lovely roasted peppers and jalapenos and Vidalia onions, some pickling spice and sweet peppers:  Perfectly delicious!
  What puzzles me, though, is that when I was first told about green tomatoes, I was given to believe that they were only available after the very first frost, that frost that kills the tomato plants.  I was told that on that first frosty morning, one was to run out to the tomato patch and pick all the green guys one could find and quickly fry all one could eat that moment and pickle the rest.  I liked that story.  The sense of urgency, the seizing the moment, that one last tiny bit of summer that you could really grab and take control of.
  Not so, dear friends!  Apparently, much like botox trying to cheat wrinkles, tomato farmers pick green tomatoes all season long and put them in coolers to arrest their development, until a consumer asks for them.  You can even buy them in the dead of winter, though they probably come from Bolivia or Guatemala or someplace else warm in December.
  I heard it was supposed to be in the 40's tonight, so I bought mine a couple of days ago, close enough to being the actual season in which they are supposed to be available.  Yesterday, Melanie and I got through three bushels, which was actually more than I thought it would be, and got 140 jars of them, pickled with peppers we'd spent the previous week chopping, plus some roasted peppers Abby froze earlier this summer.

I should have gotten a photo of the jars before they went in the water bath last night, but I didn't.  I wanted to get home so I could go to the First Friday Art Walk in Knoxville with LouAnn.  Her son Nick and his girlfriend Dana had an exhibit at Lox Salon in the Old City.  I bought a lovely little painting.
   I'm not sure where it will go yet, but it will find a home.  With three cats in the house, I'm sure it will be the only rodent brave enough to live here.

Today, the AVL goes away.  Friends are coming by to help take it apart and Pat will put it in her van to deliver to its new owner.  My back loominaria will become a sewing room/office.  This computer and desk will move back there, and the sewing stuff will stretch out and become comfortable.  Bella's kennel will move out of my bedroom, making my room the oasis of calm beauty it used to be.  Weftie will have to find a new place to be "up," but I have confidence that he will.  Leo never ventured higher on the loom than this photo, but he's not as brave as he used to be.

  Be brave, venture out into this beautiful fall day and have a lovely weekend!