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Sunday, May 1, 2011

A weekend without camping

A weekend without camping ----- 
Is like a weekend without sunshine

Let me tell you, we aren't having much sunshine here in Wisconsin.  The trees are all brown yet, just tiny buds are starting to open 1/8 of an inch.  The ground in our woods is all bare or brown, but there is some greening to the lawns.  Take heart, spring WILL come.  But WHEN?? is the question.  The local news media is saying we are 2-3 weeks behind schedule right now, and with the recent rains, the fields are all too wet for the farmers to even think if plowing or planting.  And I do recall a Mother's Day a few years ago where we had snow.... ick!

We had flood waters this week on our river by our house---  it came over the 9ft mark of the noted flood level.  But we have had it as high as 13.36 feet in 2004.   It doesn't come near our home, which is built high enough to be out of the flood plain.  But it still is interesting to watch it rise up higher and higher as the rain came pouring down.  I "drew" on these photos to show you were the shoreline should be.  That flooded area is really another 20-30 feet of terraced land of ours.  Beyond that is another shoreline down to the riverbank's normal edge.


The waters have now receded some, and barring any more rain storms, we should be okay again soon.

Saturday morning, Steveio wanted to take the motorhome out for a test run.  He had replaced the idler pulley with another one from fellow Safari-ite Mel.  Thanks Mel!   He had to change a location of one lug on it to properly fit on our engine.  Yes, it worked wonderfully, and we are no longer holding our tension on the pulley with a wire tie!  

(if you read my blog of our last day home from our vacation, we had to use wire-ties to hold our pulley under tension, or risk not having the alternator properly charge our system while driving)   

We loaded up the dogs for the test drive this morning, and drove the rig over to Oconto Falls to fuel up with diesel.  Our tank had been about 1/4 full when we got home 2 weeks ago, and needed to be filled up.  The cost of diesel keeps going higher and higher.  We filled at $4.07 a gallon, $300 worth, and saw on the highway it was at $4.17 a gallon there!!!    

We backed the rig into the driveway, opened the door and let the dogs out.  DRAT!  We tricked them!  They thought they were going *somewhere* and just ended up back home in their own yard.  Duke had his normal temper tantrum and didn't want to come in the house. 

We had a nice surprise on Saturday afternoon...  Daughter Erin and her husband Mark wanted to finish some lawn work, do a few trips to the dump, clean their garage and haul some stuff up to GoodWill.  So they left little Monster Baby Chelsea Beedle Bug with us for the day!  

We played, 
we ate lunch, 
we teased Granfaddah, 
we played "fetch" with Duke... 
(she called it "gatch" in her baby talk)  
we looked for birdies, 
and we napped.  

They came and stole her away before bedtime, as they said they missed her so much.  We had been hoping to keep her overnight, but no....  they took her away back home again.  It sure was fun!

That was okay though because I had a lot planned for Sunday.  I got a few more rugs done in the loom room....  and off the loom and tying up the fringes on some.

I have an rug order to prepare for next up on the looms.  It's a large Birch Tree rug made from "sock loopers".  Let me explain:  The type of factory-made socks that you buy in the stores are made on machines.  During the manufacturing process, they have loops or rings of knit fabric that are discarded after socks are cut apart and the seam sewn on the toes.  Bales of these factory-waste knit loopers are tossed in the landfills. So in the effort of recycling and reusing and keeping things out of the landfills, various weavers get them by the bale before they get tossed.   Then weavers like myself buy them by the pound and loop them together into long chains.  The chains are then woven into interesting heavy rugs.  They remind me of birch bark, so I call them my Birch Tree Rugs.

The lady that ordered the rug for this week would like it more colorful, so I am dying loopers today into greens and browns, and it will turn out similar to this rug.....  (which has long ago sold)

Today's project is to bag up the sock loopers into mesh lingerie bags, and steam them in large pots of dye.  I do this outside on a propane burner stand from a turkey fryer setup.  I keep some stainless steel pots marked for dyes only, so they never get used for food.

Here are some shots from some other times I have dyed the loopers for other rugs.  Here are the mesh lingerie bags that I had tossed in the dryer to take out the final dampness before chaining them.

or if it's sunny outside, I have a large rack made from PVC pipe and plastic mesh to dry them

Probably more than you ever wanted to know about sock loopers, eh?  But I needed a break from tasks today to sit down a bit, and thought I would ramble on about the process to you, my faithful blog readers.  Some of you are family, some are RVers, some are weavers and some are just friends.....

By now you should know, we blend our RVing adventures with my fiber pursuits.  Next weekend we are heading down to Beloit area, actually a tiny town of Shopiere, to Vavning Studio.  We will be staying in the motorhome all weekend while I attend some classes and help hostess the event with Juanita Hofstrom, the owner of the studio.  Having the motorhome nearby makes it easier to attend the classes, saves on hotel fees, prevents us from having to board the dogs somewhere and we can make our own meals instead of eating in restaurants.  So it's the best of both worlds!

And that is about it for us non-camping folks this weekend.  Sigh.


  1. Hope you enjoy your trip next week, we are planning on being up by you on about the 17th of June, we are going to stop on the way up to visit Dennid & Donna in Sandwich Il, one Day and our cousins' Pam and Kerry in Naperville, then it will be 5 hours to your neck of the woods, and a week of relaxation and some Wisconsin style camping, good thing they make High life there so Sam knows there won't be a shortage.We'd like to meet Fuzz ans the family too. Be safe out there see ya in another month and a half...Sam & Donna.

  2. Sounds like your Wisconsin weather is at the same stage as our Ontario weather. Spring is way behind this year for sure. These gray rainy days are very depressing. Oh how I would just love to jump into the Motorhome & head for the West again.

  3. What a darling little grandbaby! Looks like you sure enjoyed yourself. And the dog with the temper tantrum - funny stuff. We have one who doesn't want to get out too...and one who can't wait to get out of any vehicle and back into his own backyard.

  4. The birch rugs are wonderful. Especially since they are made from throwaway fiber. That is so funny about Duke wanting more camping.

  5. ps. Forgot to mention that I liked learning about your creative process, and would love more.

  6. Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog - OMG your blog rocks and I am so excited to be able to learn from you... Hope you are following mine to give me GREAT tips - love your rig much bigger then ours for sure...


  7. Love the rugs, I was a basket weaver in a former life and all that dying brings back lots of memories. Thanks for sharing the process, I think it makes us appreciate all that goes into creating these works of art.

  8. Busy lady! Your granddaughter sure is a cutie! I made sure my sister read your blog today so she can see what you are doing with your weaving.

  9. What an adorable little granddaughter... Loved the picture of you two napping ☺ Your rugs are gorgeous!!! Loved them and the process was really interesting.
    Have fun

  10. Yep, our spring in about 3 weeks behind normal. We went for a walk this morning and still had to put on hats and mitts. I am getting tired of this real quick. Last year we were ahead of spring. Oh well, what can you do?

    I love the idea of recycling and reusing the sock ends for making rugs. Great idea and beautiful rugs.

    Kevin and Ruth

  11. Actually I'm interested in learning what dye you use(d) to dye the loops brown and grey! I got so excited when I saw this on Pinterest. I have a boatload of loops, and SO.MUCH.WHITE,but I personally prefer neutrals! Yes white is neutral, I really mean SOOO many whites, I'd need a contract with a large spa resort to supply every guest room their own bath rug to use them all!

    1. I used Rit dye. I only buy the liquid dye in bottles, not the boxes of powder. You need twice of what they say on the bottle label. And it has to be simmered, a washing machine is not hot enough. Then 2 rinse cycles with vinegar to set the dye.


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