Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What Is It About Fall?

So, what is it about fall? Is it the cool down from the hot summer days? Is it the leaves falling? Is it the crispness of the air around you? Is it just the change of the season? Is it football? World Series? Festival Parties?
From the greeting of the fall wreath at the front door to.........................

the fall plants in a basket as a greeting in the foyer..............................

to the mantel bright with fall leaves and pumpkins........................

to the lively colorful mums that decorate your back door entry......................

and then there is all that orange......................

wicked witches,  carved pumpkins and lets us not forget the ghosts that float through the air.....

why do we enjoy the saying of fall?  the scarecrows and crows?

Pumpkins everywhere.................

and a fun straw man who frightens off no one.....................

Pumpkins here and there..............
and even acorns falling from the oak trees................

down to the 'boo' night light in the bathroom..............throughout the house, we find Orange!  This color is just right for me!  What does fall mean to you?  Now, to dig into those pumpkin muffins.................................

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wool Combing

Spinning Day! Yes, we are back into the routine of our fall gatherings! And this time we were meeting at Susan's house--the bunny lady!
Almost every decoration in Susan's home speaks "Bunny!"

Today we focused on Navajo plying and wool combing.  Connie had this lovely bag of Polwarth that she had purchased from Skyloom Weavers

Nice soft fibers and lovely color combinations.  Connie wanted to keep the colors pure so was pulling out each lock to separate the colors.  And she was wool combing these locks.

She needed a stationary stand to hold her combs and lo and behold, her hubby stepped with this great technique, grooved into the wood block and held tight with a large C clamp and away she goes.

The comb is loaded up with each lock

And then she is ready to comb, starting with the wool tips

This combing action loads the straighten wool locks onto the other comb

Just keep on combing until most of the fiber is transferred to the second comb. 

The waste fiber in her left hand is discarded or use it as a novelty element into a spun yarn.

Task completed!  Or you can do this process once again

Now, how do you take off the fiber that has been combed?

You pull out a small section (in other words, you spin out a tail and ply on itself)

Now, find your Diz or in case you don't have one handy, use a bead.  Pull your spun portion through the bead and go from there

You are pulling the combed fibers through the diz which creates a roving

Keep pulling through the diz until you come to the end

you have a nice roving of combed fiber--proceed to your spinning wheel!

 Connie has a nice collection of combed wool batts ready for her spinning wheel!  Thanks Connie for this demo and refresher!   Video on how to wool comb

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Journey Continues................................

Thank you for coming along on this journey with me. Here are a few of the last photos that were taken during our visit to Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, NM.  There is so much to take in during a visit to this fine museum.  There are other exhibits that are featured but to me the fiber work is the best--most often textiles do not last a lifetime and it is always remarkable to see an exhibit of extra special blankets and other handwork.
Colcha Embroidery is an unique style of embroidery evolved in colonial New Mexico. Colcha is done in handspun, hand-dyed wool on a plain-woven wool ground cloth called sabanilla. Sometimes the entire ground is covered with embroidery. The subject matter included ornate and fanciful flowers or birds. Colcha is used for decorative wall pieces and altar cloths as well as household items.

This piece was made by Wayne Graves of Carson, NM, in 1930's.  It is indigo and commercially dyed wool embroidery thread on wool sabanilla (which was often from handspun wool that was woven before embroidery was done)

This is Colcha tablecloth made by Maria Teofila Lujan of Espanola, NM, ca. 1980.  I'm sorry the up close photo didn't focus.  During one of the Taos workshop, I participated in this embroidery.  It was interesting to learn the technique and history of such a craft.

Rio Grande "Vallero" Frezada by Leyba Family, Trampas NM 1885-95

Handspun natural and aniline dyed wool weft and commercial cotton warp

Rio Grande Blanket--no date or other information given

Banded Rio Grande Blanket, ca. 1855

Brazilwood and natural dyes--wool warp and weft.  This and so many others were gifts from Paul Peralta Ramos, son of Millicent Rogers

And now for the equipment--a Hispanic loom, ca. 1820.  This loom was acquired from the Montano family of El Prado and Arroyo Seco by the museum in 1979.  This is an European style loom.  It was bought for Natividad Montano by her husband Leocado Montano, around 1900, being over 70 years old then.  Natividad wove on this loom until her death in 1969.

A weaver would stand up to weave on such a loom.  The warp threads for a blanket are raised or lowered on only two harnesses and there are only two foot treadles.

Loved looms never die!  They just keep on weaving and weaving!

Rio Grande Classic Serape, ca. 1800's

And from contemporary hands comes this Two Gray Hills Rug, woven by Lucy Whitehorse of Dine, AZ--all natural colored wool for weft; hence, the region of Two Gray Hills.

Crystal Rug with Squash Blossom Motif by the hands of Maggie Johnson, Dine, AZ, ca. 1975

Rio Grande Hispanic Banded Rug by Zoraida Ortega of Velarde, NM, ca. 1980

This is the last room of the exhibit hall--a wall of handwoven blankets--all fine in workmanship.

And we come to the last blanket in the room.......................

Navajo Hubbell Revival Child's blanket by unknown weaver from Dine, AZ, ca. 1890.
We now come to the end of our journey through this fine museum.  I hope you have enjoyed the walk with me.  If you are ever in Taos, please stop in and visit these weavers as their spirits roam freely via these handcrafted blankets.