Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bermuda Buttercups

Oxalis pes-caprae--the
crabgrass of Northern California.
   Sunday was a very nice day--mid-60s, low humidity, lots of sunshine--so I spent part of the day pulling more weeds from my perennial bed and along the retaining walls. It's nice to see the yard start to wake up after a cold December and a wet January: the currant bush is starting to put out leaves, and my very confused purple irises (they've been in bloom since Halloween) are about to be joined by my "fancy" irises.
   The main weed I pull at this time of year is the crabgrass of the Bay Area, Oxalis pes-caprae. It has a lot of different names: Bermuda buttercup, Bermuda sorrel, African wood-sorrel, Cape sorrel, buttercup oxalis, sourgrass, English weed, and a bunch of names that can't be repeated. I've used a few of those, but around here it's usually referred to as "that damned oxalis."
   This is not your average wood sorrel. I have clumps of wood sorrel in shady spots all over the yard and I like its tiny pink and white flowers and tidy behavior. I've grown up with wood sorrel (we always called it "shamrocks"), and I love to chew on the stems for their sour, lemony flavor.
My yard is not this bad, but it's close.
   Bermuda buttercups start to show up during the dark, cold, days of December, when nobody wants to be outside pulling weeds, then explodes across the landscaping in January and February. It's everywhere: popping up in verdant lawns; covering bare ground where nothing is planted; even growing up between cracks in walks and walls. As soon as it gets a little sun, the plants send out tall stems with a tuft of yellow flowers at the end. The floral spectacular lasts about six weeks, then the plants die back to the ground, leaving a mess that has to be pulled up and raked away.
   Nothing kills Bermuda buttercups. I know this--I've tried everything from pre-emergent herbicides to chemical defoliants, and the blasted stuff just comes right back for more. I think it probably would withstand nuclear attack. It's particularly insidious because it propagates in two different ways. When conditions are right, and the plant is pollinated, it will produce large, brown, seeds that end up everywhere (I think the plant may shoot them across the yard). However, seeds are not Bermuda buttercups' regular method of spreading: the plants produce hundreds of tiny, peanut-sized, bulbs that become new plants that each produce hundreds of tiny, peanut-sized, bulbs. The plants force their roots--and bulbs--deep into the soil, so even when the plant is pulled up, the bulbs stay in the ground. As a result, I have Bermuda buttercups everywhere: front yard, back yard, in potted plants and raised beds that have nothing but purchased potting soil.
   I do not like Bermuda buttercups. I can, however, tolerate plants that are useful, and it turns out "that damned oxalis" has a couple of uses. The first one is in salads. When the yard is full of plants, I'll pull a handful or two of leafy stems, give them a good rinse, and strip the leaves for the salad bowl. It adds a bright, lemony, note to the salad.
   The second use is that it's a dye plant. Ida Grae, in her book Nature's Colors, described it as a dye plant, but a previous attempt didn't produce any results. I tried again last week: I don't know if earlier in the season is better, or the water pH was different, but this time, it worked. I mordanted 250g of yarns with 10% alum and 5% cream of tartar, then simmered the yarns for about 45 minutes in a dye liquor made of 250g of Bermuda buttercup flowers and a gallon of tap water. I got a cool yellow on some handspun llanwenog, and a brighter yellow on the wool/nylon sock yarn.
Gold, yellow, and cool yellow--
all from the same dye pot.
   The big surprise came when I change the pH of the water the yarn was in. I set one skein of sock yarn aside, then soaked it in a "push" bath of 1/4-cup household ammonia in a gallon of water for about 15 minutes. That was all it took to turn the yarn a gorgeous gold.
   All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the results of my first experiments with Bermuda buttercups. I picked another 185g as I was pulling weeds: 100g are spread on a cookie sheet to dry, while the other 85g were packed into a ZipLoc bag and tossed in the freezer. I want to see if the color will still hold through being dried or frozen. If it does, I'll be able to pick, dry, and store the flowers until my regular dyeing sessions during the summer. Who knows? I might start to like Bermuda buttercups.

On the loom: Still threading heddles for the upholstery fabric.

On the needles: Bit of Magic scarf out of Plymouth Happy Feet; Number 27 socks, out of ice-dyed Valley Franklin sock yarn.

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Box of Sox

A box of handknit socks.
   I'm the first to admit it: I like socks. I especially like handknit wool socks. During a normal California "winter," when the daytime temperatures drop below 60 degrees, I pretty much live in handknit socks. It's a matter of survival: the wood floors are cold (common in an historic home), and I don't like wearing shoes (I wear Birkenstocks except when it's wet).
   I also like to knit socks. Socks are easy, fast, colorful, and at the end of the process, I have a pair of (mostly) matching sweaters for my perpetually chilly feet. After knitting a couple dozen pairs of socks in the past seven years, I have sock-knitting down to a system: 2 US#2 circular needles; figure-8/"magic" cast on; either a "flat" or "star" toe; increases to 60 stitches, then knit plain until 60 rows from the cast-on. I now use a short-row (aka "Fleegle") heel, then knit the leg until the sock (or stocking) is as long as I want: if it's just standard socks, I knit the leg until it's as long as the foot, then do a couple inches of 3x3 ribbing before using a super-stretchy bind-off. It takes me 30-40 hours to knit a pair of socks--spread out over consecutive evenings, it's a pair of socks every 7-10 days.
   As a result of my love for sock-knitting, I have quite a collection of socks. They are neatly stored in a large box in the bedroom, paired up and folded so I can pick through them easily. There have been a few discards over the year. The first pair of socks I knitted--out of Patons Classic Wool--suffered the usual fate of all-wool socks: an accidental trip through the washer and dryer. I'm sure they made a very nice pair of slippers for some child. Another early pair was knit of 100% alpaca yarn. A word of warning--alpaca does not work for socks. I have no use for size 14 socks, so they went away. The latest sock purge were the pairs with "afterthought" heels. I like the afterthought heel, especially for yarns that make interesting patterns, but I can't do a Kitchener stitch to close the heel to save my life. As a result, those socks had a 3-needle bind-off that put a seam right at the bottom of my heel. They weren't comfortable, and now they're gone.
   The periodic sock purge still leaves me with  handknit socks and stockings. I have blue and green striped stockings, made with naturally-dyed yarns. I have a pair of truly wild self-striping variegated stockings made from handspun. I have tall socks for wearing with hiking boots, and regular socks for wearing with sandals (and tennis shoes, if forced). However, a sock purge also means I have an excuse to knit more socks.
Number 26.
   The current pair ("Number 26") are out of Paton Kroy FX, in "Clover Colors." I'm revisiting this yarn and colorway: I bought a couple skeins in 2010, but turned them into a shawlette in late 2013. Oddly, the shawl doesn't look anything like the socks--you wouldn't guess it's the same yarn, even when placed side by side. In fact, the socks are only marginally alike, even though both skeins are (theoretically) from the same dyelot. Fortunately, it's no big deal--I have no plans to wear the shawlette and socks at the same time--and I'll have one more pair of socks for the box.

On the Loom: 15 yards of 6-shaft broken twill out of Astra 10/2 cotton, on Mongo. The Gem is nekkid, in preparation for a doup leno workshop in 7 weeks.

On the Needles: Number 26 socks (see above).

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Looming Badassery

   I will admit it: I have a lot of faults. I'm lazy, I occasionally have a bit too much to drink, I like sweets and snack foods far too much, and I nearly always put fun before what I should be doing. I am also, at times, like former president Jimmy Carter: I have lust in my heart for a bright, shiny, very fancy...loom.
   For most of history, looms were pretty much looms. They had treadles, heddles, beams, and weaving on them was pretty straight-forward: once warped, it was up to the weaver to make the magic of cloth happen. Everything relied on the weaver's skill in stepping on the treadles in the right order, throwing the shuttle, and beating the weft at just the right time with just the right amount of force to put the weft into place and change to the next shed for the next pass of the shuttle. That's how weaving was--yes, there were fancy drawlooms for weaving brocades, and eventually jacquard and dobby looms, and fly shuttles for weaving wider cloths, but to most weavers, "loom" meant the beast with four or eight (or more) shafts, treadles, and a beater. The biggest advance came in the 1930s, when E.E. Gilmore and L.W. Macomber independently came up with designs for rising shed "jack" looms.
The AVL A-Series Loom. 
   This began to change in the 1980s with the advent of computerized, more automated, looms. In late 1981, Ahrens & Violette Looms changed their name to AVL and introduced the first of their mechanical dobby looms. It was a marvel: 16 shafts, dobby chains that could be pegged up with any treadling sequence (no more treadling errors), automatic warp tensioning, and a fly shuttle for weaving really wide cloth really fast. AVL's ads claimed that their loom "enables you to produce beautiful professional quality fabrics as much as 8 to 10 times faster than on a conventional loom..." AVL struck gold, and they've never looked back. These days, big, fancy, AVL looms are ubiquitious in production weavers' studios, and it's easy to understand why--it's pretty nice to design a complex piece of fabric, then sit down and let the loom do all the "hard" work of weaving, including raising the shafts and throwing the shuttles.
   It's tempting. It's especially tempting on those days when I'm having to crawl into the loom for the third or fourth time to change a tie-up, or weaving a long warp when my various little aches and pains are bugging me.
Mongo--my 16S/23T Macomber B-4
   Mongo (my beloved floor loom) is big, old, and completely manual. It's a relic from the last great age of weaving (the 1960s and '70s): Mongo was built by Macomber Looms in 1970 as a 56", 16-shaft, 22-treadle, jack loom with double warp beams, and is still mostly in the original configuration: I swapped out the plain friction-brake warp beam for a sectional warp beam, added an extra treadle (long story short, I miscounted the treadles when I was putting the loom back together after moving), and installed LED strip-lighting on the castle to better see what I'm doing.
   There's a certain amount of badassery that goes along with weaving on a really big, completely manual loom. First, there's the feeling of power that comes with operating a big, heavy, piece of equipment. It's like operating power tools or a big piece of construction equipment (such as a back-hoe): you are in charge of this monster, and it's up to you to keep yourself safe and the job on task.
The AVL Industrial Dobby Loom.
Warp it up, turn it on, and go get a coffee
while it does all the work. 
   There is also the issue of what constitutes "handweaving." There's no question that weaving on a completely manual loom is handweaving. I'm down with that: when I'm really in the weaving zone, my feet dance across the treadles, the shuttle zips along the race, and flawless cloth magically appears in front of me. But is it still "handweaving" when the computer is telling the loom what shafts go up or down next? Or when all the weaver has to do is pull the fly shuttle cord and the beater to create cloth? Everyone has a different answer for those questions, but my answer tends toward "no": that arcane knowledge that is part of the magic of turning yarn into cloth isn't really necessary if the loom is so automated that it almost doesn't need a human.
   So I stick with my Mongo. There are some things I simply can't do on a loom this big: I can't weave more than about 46" in the reed; and I can't lift more than five shafts on one treadle. But when I sit down and throw a shuttle at Mongo, I really feel like I'm weaving, and connecting with all those past weavers who liked good cloth and straight selvedges.

On the looms: Nothing! I cut off a set of samples for upholstery fabric, then wove off the rest as a 2-color bumberet.

On the needles: Just a pair of socks out of Paton Kroy FX. Instead of knitting, I've been covering a brick with needlepoint--it will serve as both a doorstop and a heel rest for my electric bobbin winder's foot pedal.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cracking Up

The crackle scarf
   Forgive me, as I am a bad blogger--it's been a month since my last update. This always happens in November and December: I get busy with the holidays, and blogging gets shoved to the back burner. Before I know it, it's the middle January.
   The fancy twill towels and the crackle scarf are finished! I don't like having warps on either of the looms, and 2015 turned out to be a year in which I got a lot less weaving done than I really like: between broken looms and a broken weaver, my productivity went way down, and some of the warps felt like "dogs" (weaver-speak for a never-ending warp) long before the end knots came up over the back beam.
   Oddly, the crackle scarf was particularly troublesome. I normally don't have a problem with a weave, but this one was a bear. Some of the problem was probably with the design: 4 rotating blocks, each with a supplemental weft in the middle block and another supplemental weft, in a different color, in between each block. It looks beautiful, and reminds me of the spiraling flower spikes of Pride of Madeira, but keeping track of pattern weft, ground weft, two supplemental wefts, which block I was on, and making sure the selvedges were nice was enough to drive a saint to sin. As it was, I found three treadling errors as I was pressing and clipping ends after wet-finishing the scarf. Since it's flawed, I can't sell it, but there's no reason I can enjoy it this winter.
   Because it took so long to weave the crackle scarf, and a couple of samples, I opted to weave off the rest of the warp in plainweave, with the main warp color as the weft. It turned out to be a pretty nice-looking fabric: the bright red-orange and olive green pinstripes contrast nicely with the deep blue. At this point, the 3 1/2 yards I wove are wet-finished: I may turn some of it into a "pocket scarf."
An undulating twill, out of alpaca-silk.
   I finished the crackle warp on Monday; I finished beaming the next warp on Mongo this afternoon. I've been challenged to weave six projects in 2016 that use only yarns in my stash, and this is the first. The warp is 4 1/4 yards of Malabrigo Baby Silkpaca Lace, in the "Zarzamora" colorway, that I bought with a gift certificate I won at the Marin County Fair in 2012 for the "Fall Leave at Sunset" shawl. It's going to be paired with a weft of periwinkle blue alpaca/silk that I picked up at Stitches West a few years ago as a magpie purchase from the WEBS booth. The design is for an 8-shaft undulating twill that looks like ripples. There's enough warp to weave a scarf and a couple nice samples.

On the looms: "Ripples" scarf, out of 2/15 Baby Silkpaca and 2/14 alpaca/silk. The Gem is nekkid.

On the needles: Nothing. I finished another pair of socks and a set of mitts over the holidays, and I'm currently hemming the Fancy Twills napkins.

Update: This was written back on January 14, but I was so late in putting in the photos, the "Ripples" scarf is off the loom, and I've beamed 4.5 yards of 10/2 mercerized cotton to weave some samples for upholstery fabric.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Wrapping Up the Year

Number 23 Socks
Number 24 Socks
   The end of the year is approaching fast, and I'm trying to finish the outstanding Works in Progress (WIPs) before midnight on December 31. I'm making headway. The Number 23 and Number 24 socks are finished, although I ended up frogging the Number 23 Socks (that yarn deserves a better sock pattern). I've nearly finished the Winter in California scarf. I'm slogging through the Fancy Twill Napkins: I want that warp done so we can move my workshop loom out of the dining room for Christmas dinner and a holiday open house. There's a warp for a couple of crackle scarves on Mongo, which will be the last project I work on this year.
   Meanwhile, I've baked mountains of cookies. I still need to clean thoroughly, decorate the house for the holidays, write out the holiday cards, mail a couple of packages, and wrap everything that will be under the tree on Christmas morning. I just need to keep plugging away, and I will get it all done.
Crackle Scarves, inspired by
Pride of Madeira

Fancy Twill Napkins

Winter in California Scarf

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Someone's in the Kitchen (and Up-Valley)

   Over the years, I've been in long discussions that revolve around a mental game: Vocation, Avocation, Hobby. Basically, your vocation is what you do to make money; your avocation is what you do for love, but also what you'd like to for money; and a hobby is what you do, but don't love it enough (or love it too much) to get paid for doing it. Most recently, my vocation was teaching (what I did for a living), and my avocation was the fiber and textile arts (what I would be willing to do for money). That has changed, and now my avocation is my vocation.
   That brings me to my "hobby": food. I like to cook. Correction: I love to cook. Not enough to do it for other people--except on an occasional basis--but enough that it's been a major hobby most of my life. I'm also blessed with an excellent palate, a curious soul, and a large collection of cookbooks, so I'm not boasting when I state that I'm a very good cook. My kitchen is lined with framed culinary awards , and I've taken just enough (mostly professional) cooking classes that I can turn out everything from a cozy dinner for two to a sumptuous banquet for two hundred. I also have a great place to "play:" when the house was turned from a duplex into a single-family home, the downstairs unit's kitchen and bath were demolished to make way for a large (12'x18'), eat-in kitchen and a tiny downstairs bath. After living here nearly ten years, I designed a complete remodel of the kitchen and adjoining mud room, and we spent about 10 months creating efficient, comfortable storage and work spaces. It's pretty nice: I have a walk-in pantry with access to the dye yard and the grills; lots of cupboard space (something sadly lacking before the remodel); an 8-foot island with electrical outlets and a small "breakfast bar" for meals; good appliances that can handle my style of cooking; and a French country theme. We have a dining room, but we eat most of our meals in the kitchen.
   At this time of year, the kitchen takes center stage. It begins as the weather changes from October's heat to November's crisp days and cold nights. Like a squirrel preparing for winter, I take stock of what's in the pantry, and what I'm going to need to turn out pies, cakes, cookies, savory delights of all kinds, two large meals (Thanksgiving and Christmas), and the food for our annual "open house" cocktail party. There are lists, and lists of lists, and cookbooks and recipes spread everywhere as I design menus and look for bargains on ingredients. By early December, the pantry cupboards, pantry freezer, and the kitchen refrigerator are crammed, and extra bottles (and cases) of wines and spirits litter the dining room sideboard and window seat.
   The week of Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday cooking. This year, Thanksgiving was just the two of us, so I cut back a bit on the preparations: a brined and roasted game hen, paired with roasted new potatoes, and Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and pancetta. Some appetizers before, and a mince pie (with hard sauce, of course) after, all washed down with a lovely wine (Saintsbury 2006 Brown Ranch Chardonnay), and we had a fine feast.
The old press house, Napa Valley Olive Oil Mfg. Co.
in St. Helena. The old olive press is now used for
displaying flavored olive oils.
   Other people can spend Black Friday in crowded shopping malls: our tradition is to head "up Valley" for comestibles. Our first stop is usually the Napa Valley Olive Oil Mfg. Co. in St. Helena. Tucked away on a side street near downtown, the Guidi family has been making the best local extra virgin olive oil since 1931. They sell it--along with a selection of Italian groceries--out of the old press house. One grabs a little basket and shops: olive oils, both plain and flavor-infused (I'm partial to the garlic-infused); squat bottles of balsamic vinegar; pastas and canned goods from Italy; candies; paper-wrapped amaretti cookies; cheeses; and olives. This year, we came away with two bottles of garlic-infused EVOO, a quart of plain EVOO, a tub of feta cheese-stuffed green olives, and a slab of torrone, that luscious, nut-filled nougat.
   After a stop at
Taylor's RefresherGott's Roadside (OK, who am I kidding--it's Taylor's) for al fresco burgers, garlic fries, and a glass of wine, it's on to Dean and Deluca. That world-famous purveyor of overpriced products opened a "Napa" branch in St. Helena a while back, and it's fun to wander around, watch the tourists spend too much on kitchen gadgets and picnic nibbles, and buy the occasional item I can't get anywhere else. I particularly like their cocoa for baking, so there's a fresh tin in the pantry.
Shackford's. The best place for kitchen stuff in the Bay Area.
   A couple side-trips to wineries to pick up waiting orders or try new selections, and we work our way back down Hwy 29 to Napa and Shackford's Kitchen Store. Let the tourists and wine country parvenu spend their money at Dean & Deluca or NapaStyle: locals know the only place to pick up needed kitchen utensils is Shackford's. Started about the same time Chuck Williams took over the hardware store in Sonoma, Shackford's is what Williams-Sonoma was: a local store that specializes in good housewares at reasonable prices. Fancy and "fou-fou" it's not: cramped, ill-lit, and sometimes it's hard to find things, but if Shackford's doesn't carry it, you probably don't need it. The best time to visit Shackford's is mid-afternoon: the tourists have moved on to wine tastings, and the staff have time to talk, and swap recipes and cooking techniques. This year's haul included three new paring knives (easier to replace than sharpen), two new Y-peelers, a couple small souffle dishes for French onion soup, a new tool for cleaning the microwave oven, a couple of olive wood non-directional spatulas, and "sprinkles" for this year's Christmas cookies.
Sometimes, I talk to grapes. Tast-
ing among the casks of Pinot Noir
and Chardonnay at Saintsbury.
   Some years, our Up-Valley foraging trip includes a stop at the Oxbow Public Market, Trader Joe's, or a couple more wineries. This year, we finished up at Saintsbury in the Carneros. Started and owned by David Graves and Richard Ward, this small winery produces pinot noir and chardonnay in the Burgundian style. Yep--they're that good. We had a half-case of different bottles waiting for us to pick up; after sampling some of the newly-released wines, we came away with more than a case to lay down in the cellar for future meals.
   So here we are, with a well-stocked pantry, spice cabinet, freezer, and wine cellar. I'm ready.

Places I mentioned:

Napa Valley Olive Oil Mfg. Co. 835 Charter Oak Ave., St. Helena. (707) 963-4173.
Taylor's Refresher/Gott's Roadside. 933 Main St., St. Helena. (707) 963-3486.
Dean & Deluca. 607 St. Helena Hwy (Hwy 29), St. Helena. (707) 967-9980.
Trader Joe's Market. 3654 Bel Aire Plaza, Napa. (707) 256-0806.
Shackford's Kitchen Store. 1350 Main St., Napa. (707) 226-2132.
Oxbow Public Market. 610 & 644 First St., Napa. (707) 226-6529.
Saintsbury Winery. 1500 Los Carneros Ave., Napa. (707) 252-0592. (Wine tastings by appointment only, so call ahead.)


Monday, November 16, 2015

Studio Time

   I missed last weekend's post because I've been spending a great deal of time in studios--both mine and other people's. The weekend was...interesting...and pointed up some of the aspects of the local arts scene that drive me right out of my everlovin' mind.
   We have at least three (3) pretty active arts organizations in Vallejo: the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation (VCAF); the Vallejo Artists Alliance (VAA); and the Vallejo Waterfront Artists. All are full of pretty nice people, and all like to put on events to draw attention to the local arts scene, but nobody seems to coordinate with anyone else.
   Last weekend was a great example of non-coordination. The Vallejo Waterfront Artists sponsor the annual Vallejo Open Studios. This is a fairly big deal--most of the artists in town have live-work situations, so their studios aren't normally open to the public--and planning for it starts months in advance of the actual event. Open Studios is normally on the second weekend of November, which is usually a great time for a semi-outdoor event--we're past the heat of "Indian Summer," but the winter rains haven't started.
   Meanwhile, it was recognized by most of the arts community that we needed more than a once-a-year event, so the Vallejo Artists Alliance began the Vallejo ArtWalk in late 2013. ArtWalk is the second Friday of each month, and it usually draws a pretty decent crowd downtown to the galleries, studios, and street artists/vendors who set up.
   Two pretty nice arts-related events, put on by two groups that know each other really well. One would think the two groups would get together with their calendars and coordinate a massive, 3-day arts event. This should be a slam-dunk: it wasn't. Open Studios was held on Saturday and Sunday, November 7 and 8; ArtWalk was held the following Friday, November 13. A lot of people--including artists--participated in one event or the other, but not both. Had everything been on the same weekend, more artists would have had an excuse to open their studios early, or stay open over the weekend. It was a "missed opportunity."
   Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed Open Studios. We started our "arts day" early with coffee at Moschetti's, a local coffee roaster that opens to the public on Saturday mornings. It's become a favorite Saturday morning hang-out for a number of artists, and we usually stop by to have coffee, meet up with friends we don't otherwise see, and maybe pick up a pound or two of their incomparable coffee beans. After coffee, we pulled out our map and started visiting the outlying studios that were open. Along the way, we ran into friends and acquaintances, saw a lot of nice art, got some lunch from Picknicky's (a new local sandwich shop), then went to see more studios and galleries. I was struck by the relative lack of crowds, especially downtown. There are a lot of artists, studios, and galleries in downtown Vallejo, yet the sidewalks weren't crowded. Quite frankly, I've seen more people out during ArtWalk than I saw during Open Studios.
Summer Sunsets,
finally fringed.
   We wound up our evening at the "after party" thrown by the Coal Shed Studios Artists on Mare Island. They're a fun, interesting bunch of artists in a fun, funky space: a "repurposed" historic coal storage building on the waterfront, in the former Navy shipyard. The artists have created studio spaces and a small gallery out of the 8,000 square feet of the building, and this year they simply put the word out that people should bring their leftover drinks and nibbles for a bit of "wind-down" socializing. We brought a couple bottles of wine, and a few more bottles of fancy Italian sodas, and had a marvelous time eating, drinking, and chatting with all and sundry. It reminded me of some of the openings/parties I attended when I still lived in Los Angeles, and was the bright spot of the weekend.
A simple shrug
out of stash yarns.
   Unfortunately, being "out and about" doesn't get the cloth woven, so Sunday (and a lot of the last week) was spent in my own studio. It was a week for finishing things: a shawl that was woven last year finally has twisted fringe; all the towels are neatly hemmed and have their required labels; a "quick" shrug-sweater was finished off and immediately put to use. With those projects out of the way, I can focus on the next projects at hand.

On the looms: Fancy Twill Napkins, out of 8/2 cotton; Pride of Madeira Scarves, out of 3/2 and 10/2 cotton.

On the needles: Winter in California #1 Scarf, out of handspun wool, alpaca, mohair, silk blend; Number 23 Socks, out of Blue Moon Socks That Rock (STR) Mediumweight.