Tag Archives: rugs

Trend cringe…

I don’t follow trends in fashion or home decor or electronics or cars or diets or, or, or…

And I don’t usually like what is trendy anyway.

I like certain colors and color combinations and sometimes they pop in and out of popularity, but never has the popularity merged with my need to buy.

I bought a huge wool rug for a song in 2007ish – normally I don’t go for stuff that looks like it came from stores like Ceramics Shed or Box and Bucket, but I like yellows and greys and greens and browns and of course wool, so I got it for our then large green and yellow dining room.  But now it fits best in our living room, with brown furniture and soon-to-be yellow* walls.  But we need curtains, and we need really wide curtains, so making them seemed like the likely option, so I ordered some fabric samples.

yellow grey ikat

Then I went to the obnoxious store named for the thing at which you shoot arrows for something dumb and little and unavailable in our little town, and there were so many yellow and grey and ikat-like patterned things everywhere…

I don’t like that – I usually go against the tide – my home decor and self-presentation usually make people who follow trends cringe and look at me pitifully, and that’s the way it should be – I don’t like them, I don’t want to be like them.  My car is from the ’90s and isn’t an SUV, shopping is not a hobby, I hate big-box-made-in-china-inflated-prices-for-low-quality-sh*t-especially-things-called-designer-but-just-generally-suck, and I know that in itself makes me a stereotype and stuffed in another big bag of the same folks, but at least it’s smaller one – a biodegradable, non-bleached, organic, waxed paper one perhaps?

In the end, I found cheap linen curtains that will have to do for the meantime, so I just ordered a little of the ikat fabric for some pillows.

*Oh holy hell, I can’t find a good pale mustardy yellow paint!!!  They either look to lemon, or too grey, or too orange (I like orange, but the dining room is likely to be an orange variant) or shite under artificial light, or shite under natural light…

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Fiber travels in New Mexico, part II

I mentioned in my previous post that I visited Tierra Wools in tiny Los Ojos, New Mexico.  Rather than paraphrase, this is the beginning of the description of their wool Shangri-La on their website’s about page (go there and read more later):

“Tierra Wools is a spinning, hand dyeing, and hand weaving workshop and a retail store. We buy carry local wool, and weave the yarn into beautiful weavings which are sold from our workshop in Los Ojos, a small village in rural Rio Arriba County in northern New Mexico. The enterprise is operated by Los Ojos Handweavers, LLC, a limited liability company owned by the growers, spinners and hand weavers that produce its goods, as well as supporting investors.”

I visited them around a decade (or a little more) ago, and at the time, it was a full house of wooly weaving and dying frenzy.  Sadly, it seems to have slowed down a bit and the weavers now work on commission, though the shop still offers classes and workshops.  And on Saturday, April 27th, they are having their annual Spring Harvest Festival with sheep shearing demos and other treats.  I can only imagine if such a studio was plunked down in a heavy DIY urban area, they’d have to fight people off with loom parts.  But I suppose it also wouldn’t be the same – the location is what this wool is about.  Much of the wool comes from just a few miles away as well as the dyes.  The colors in the yarn are reflected in the landscape and the products share the same rugged beauty with the surroundings.  Not to mention it offers a source of income in a place where there are few people but I imagine, fewer jobs.

While there, I stocked up on some of the gorgeous Shepherd’s Lamb organic wool products.  The wool comes from Antonio & Molly Manzanares from nearby Tierra Amarilla, who also sell their wooly beasts in meat and pelt form.  The color range of their yarns and rovings is stunning and some of the yarn lines are dyed with natural dye plants indigenous to the area.

I had selected a few skeins of sturdy Navajo Churro rug wool, but decided to buy two bags of brown and grey-brown roving instead.  The stuff apparently felts/fulls like a dream as well, so it might be the first time I end up fulling my spinning – until now, I feel like handspun is somewhat spoiled by fulling unless you’re making fulled singles, but this has the feeling of becoming something truly practical and hard-wearing, like dense nearly impenetrable mittens, or a hat with some sort of brim, or maybe an outerwear vest if I can eek out enough, but my history with vests is a little troubled…

Churro roving  Churro roving-detail

On the softer side, I picked out some organic Rambouillet yarn in DK weight.  I got two skeins of yellow which was dyed with Indigo over Chamisa, and one skein of green dyed with Osage Orange over Indigo.  I love that Osage Orange was used – it was one of my favorite trees growing up and always seemed so out-of-place exotic, nearly tropical, and the fruit is nicknamed “monkey balls.”   Who doesn’t love a monkey?  Balls!  But apparently though the fruit is inedible, it wards off pests so people put them in basements and cupboards.  But I digress, I really wanted more yarn and I was out-of-characterly very attracted to some tealy blues and lavenders, but I resisted.  I don’t as yet have a plan for this, though I’m leaning toward something shawlette-ish.

Shepherd's Lamb

New Mexico yarn

That wasn’t the most flattering shot of Northern New Mexico, though I do love ruins and murky colors, so I’ll leave you with a few more.

Northern New Mexico

I love this road – it’s the perfect antidote to the crowded East (except you have to be careful of the occasional elk).  This is also fairly close* to Tierra Wools.  The landscape of the north is more conducive to grazing sheep and other livestock.

New Mexico boney pile

A pile of bones, but not a boney pile.

New Mexico litter

Litter is bad, but vintage litter is cool.

Plaza Blanco

Another good day of hiking amongst amazing rocks.

New Mexico rock tree

Is it a giant rock, or tiny tree?

New Mexico rest stop

And I love these rest stops with private landscape viewing boxes – you can picnic free of wind and sun while watching dust devils snake below the mesa – just watch out for rattlesnakes.

And oh, holy hell, when looking up some of the abundant links in this post, I just found that there is an established “Fiber Arts Trail” in New Mexico, including a route dedicated to the Northern area.  I am ashamed to say that though I am somewhat of a professional researcher, I utterly failed in looking up anything about this before I went… Next time, right???

*About 40 minutes away, which might as well be next door out there.

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UFOs progess report

My current publicly acknowledged unfinished objects* are closer to being finished.  Let’s not talk about the sweater quilt just now, it is my favorite, but sadly banned back to the sack until I feel it’s ok to spend a little money on the backing – I’ve determined it should be a grey cotton jersey sheet, but damned if I can’t find one cheap.

I am tired of the rug.  I cut up the t-shirts so slip-shod and sheddy that I constantly sneezed as I braided, and my nose filled with buckets [shrew-sized] of lint – I also realized there are good tightly woven shirts that are best for projects such as this, and lousy loose ones – this is made up of mostly lousy.  So I finished with the old balls that I had already cut up, and cut up one additional shirt more since I wanted a little more green in it.  Then I remembered how much it sucks to sew these things up, and I can only do about 20 minutes at a time before my fingers are a bloody mess, my hands cramp up, or I’d rather be doing something else.  The right needle and thread would make my life easier, but I don’t know quite what those would be, and I don’t want to buy anything, so sewing while wearing kitchen gloves and multiple thimbles is sort of doing the trick at the moment.  I’m sure a heavy-duty sewing machine with a zig-zag stitch would work wonders…

(And I think I already mentioned I don’t really like the look of the “country style” home with braided rugs and too much barn red and faded blues…  But then we just bought a house which fell through, and then another which also fell through and both could have used a washable rug in one area or another, so I will continue in the hopes that a third house might not actually fall through and it might still be needed, especially for our dog that isn’t ours yet, and might not exist yet either).

rug ball

rug detail

And the shirt quilt is trucking along at a slow but steady pace.  If I put my mind to it, I could finish the top pretty quickly, but I don’t seem to have any control over my mind at the moment (I mentioned we keep buying houses that fail, right?).  I also know I will soon face the dilemma of not having a suitable backing material and possibly not enough for binding, but I have the cotton batting so my future purchase should be limited to just the fabric.  It seems that should be easy enough, right?  I’d be happy with a solid color or slight pattern – certainly there should be some basic cotton stuff on sale out there somewhere…

science fair quilt

Looks like a poster session at a rag-picker’s conference, eh?  I get to play-act being a professional again, only at my own conference there are no numbers or words (not that I don’t like words, and I have a healthy respect for numbers) or snooze-inducing power-points and sweaty nervous speakers.  Or maybe I am back at a science fair – I won a couple of those once… yeah, that’s right, boost my self-esteem with memories of victories past.  These “blocks” aren’t in any permanent order, or even in a decent layout at the moment – I just sew a bunch and then arrange them at the end.

*Yee hah!  If you only knew the real count of my unfinished sh*t…**

**I need to know about filters and whatnot – anybody know?  I’d hate to think I’d be censored for a “bad” word (godforbid the children!), though I wonder if breast still comes up as something to be censored… hmm… booby titty cans rack jugs dirty pillows.

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