Monday, November 11, 2013

My Blog Has Moved!

I have moved!  No, no physically, but I have moved Shuttle Works Studio blog over to Word Press.  The new domain name is  You arrive at a website splash page, the blog is at a "tab."  

I hope you will all come with me, continue reading the posts and leaving comments at the new location.  The original Shuttle Works Studio blog will be left here at Blogger for some time, but all the original content has been transferred to the Word Press site.  You can Follow, Subscribe, or bookmark the new site in your computer.

From this point forward, the new site will be weaving and other fiber arts, and family life, critter calls, and northwoods living will be on a separate blog.  I will let you know when that one has been set up.  

"Janice Zindel ~ Shuttle Works Studio" is now located at  See you there!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October is Nearly Over?

October is nearly over?  Where did the month (and Autumn) go?

2 Ply Handspun Coopworth.

While spinning the first two bobbins of Coopworth roving, 3 weeks ago or so, I recalled that I do not like small skeins of handspun yarns.  What could I do except go online to The Woolerly and order the plying head/kit for my folding Lendrum double treadle wheel.  It arrived with no instructions, so I headed to YouTube to find a video to show me how to change the original spinning head to the plying head, and in particular, how to change the drive band.  After watching a short video by Paradise Fibers, I had everything changed over in short order and could proceed with plying.  Two original bobbins equaled one full plying bobbin!  I skeined if off with the Ashford (floor) skein winder and could get a quick photo.  There is a lot more Coopworth to spin up, I'm looking forward to hours of pleasant spinning, then knitting it all into a warm winter cardigan.

Early in October, I was able to be at a bear "cub" release with Wild Instincts.  They raised five bear cubs since spring, bearing hunting season is over, and now they could be placed back into the wild.  First they were tranquilized so they could be transported, then tagged (FDA requirement), placed in critter carriers for the ride, given a shot to wake them, then we waited for them to wake up enough so move off on their own. 

Tranquilized bear cubs.

Tagged, and trying to wake up.

The last one, going off to his new life.

It has been snowing nearly every day.  The next two photos were taken this morning (Thursday), and it has snowed more or less most of the day.  I'm looking for a couple bit warmer days with a some sun so I can fill those wood racks in the garage, and get wood under tarp into the woodshed.  

From my bedroom window, leaves still on the lilac, now snow-covered.

My summer "dye studio," now winter scene.

Needless to say, my winter dye studio will be either in my somewhat heated garage, in my kitchen, or the dyeing will just have to wait until late spring/early summer, not my first preference.  I'll make something work!

The night before my flights, I suddenly decided to apply to be on the 2014 Northwoods Art Tour again, and dropped my application, check, and nine photos (weaving, socks, studio) into the mail on my way out of town.  It will likely be a couple weeks before I hear if I was selected, but I am hoping.

Meanwhile, I have been coming up with new ideas to try with woven shibori, and with a few yards left on my loom, I can now begin trying them out and see if I can make them work.  I'm learning to keep a notepad and/or sketchbook nearby, even when travelling.

Now that I've had time to rest after my travels (a ridiculous amount of walking!), I'm looking forward to weaving, experimenting, and keeping good notes!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Life's Little Interruptions

No, I didn't forget about my blog!  I had family visiting here for five days, took a couple days to just chill, and then my annual infection in a tooth enjoying a slow death decided this was the time to complicate life.  I'm halfway through the antibiotic, have been able to cut back on number of Ibuprophin I'm taking, and finally gotten back to working with fibers again.

Handspun from Coopworth roving.

Three or four years ago, I brought home two large bags of Coopworth roving from the WI Sheep & Wool Festival, one bag of this beautiful natural brown roving, the other, white.  An invite to participate in the first annual Spinzilla arrived, but a realistic look at my schedule and a couple commitments clearly showed I could not take an entire week in October and do nothing but spin 24/7.  Hopefully next year, I must remember to mark that on my calendar.

So while enduring a fair amount of pain over the past five days, I decided to do a little spinning when Ibuprophin had taken the edge off things.  I am spinning this on my double treadle folding Lendrum wheel, and now have two full bobbins.  I really dislike tiny little skeins of yarn, and am now waiting for the plying head kit for this wheel to arrive from The Woolery, along with a new drive band (original band is now about 7 years old).  As soon as it arrives I'll ply the two together, and then I can spin up more, hoping for enough for a sweater. 

I am currently working on more woven shibori scarves, the next blog post will have photos of the new scarves.

Small Red-Tail Hawk, during its exam, upon arrival at Wild Instincts.

My most recent wildlife run for Wild Instincts was to transport an injured Red-Tail Hawk.  It was examined, given subcutaneous fluids, tube fed, then ate a small fish on its own after being settled into a recovery area.  Tags on it showed it is part of a study from the Chicago O'Hare Airport area.  Hoping for recovery and release.

Now, back to my loom, it's nearly Oct. 5th and I am not finished! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sock Season!

1908 Gearhart Circular Sock Knitting Machine.

If it's autumn, is must be sock-cranking season!

I walked into our area guild meeting Monday evening, and the first words from Laurel were, "Will you be making socks again?"  She orders several pairs each year to give as Christmas gifts to family members.  Yes, I am making socks again.

Yesterday these two pairs were cranked, toes closed, washed/rinsed/spun, and hung to dry overnight on a wood rack.  This morning they were steamed and then placed on the rack again to finish drying.  This evening they are in a bag, tomorrow I will meet up with the woman who placed the order.  The gentleman they are for already has a couple pairs and was very interested in having more.  I hope he likes the color combinations!

Red/Blue/Hunter yarns.

Red, blue, and hunter green work up into a cozy, wintry pair of socks, popular with my customers.

Detail of heel/foot area.

Detail of mock-rib on leg.

In reality, the colors are brighter than in these photos.  It was a very gray afternoon here, and though I took the photos out on the lakeside porch, we were losing light.  Right after I went back inside I heard thunder, and a few minutes later it was pouring rain.

Bordeaux/Grape/Teal yarns.

I had been told I could choose whatever colors I wanted, so the first pair (above) have a cheerful holiday feel to them.  For the second pair I went a bit darker, and used a color combination I hadn't tried before, Bordeaux, Grape, and Teal.  I was prepared to cut it off if I didn't like it.  Happily, I was quite pleased with how the colors worked together.

Detail of heel/foot area.

Detail of mock-rib on leg.

Leaves are starting to turn color in the WI Northwoods, temperatures are dropping, we've already had a couple nights with frost warnings.  Crows "caw" all day long, chickadees and blue jays are heard, squirrels are busy collecting acorns, changes are happening daily.  I'm looking forward to a fall and winter full of weaving, sock-making, spinning, and other fiber activities.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Northwoods Life, In and Out of the Studio

Woven shibori scarf.

Woven shibori has turned out to be a fascinating weaving technique, and my experimenting with weave structures and tie-ups continues.  The scarf above is the last from the most recent warp.  16/2 Bockens cotton sett at 30 epi, advancing twill threading and freeform tie-up.  A new warp is on the loom, and though the tie-up will remain the same (perhaps one or two treadles changed a bit), the threading is another advancing twill and I'm looking forward to seeing the differences.  I need to update my records before I start forgetting details.

A bit closer look.

The dyeing on the scarf is actually fairly even, but the photos appear lighter on the top than the bottom.  The photos were taken outdoors early this afternoon, on the lakeside porch, and I believe the porch roof is giving a shaded or shadow effect. 

Later in October, I'm looking forward to being able to branch out into larger works, as well as try one or two wearable pieces.  It's always good to have new learning and challenges to look forward to! 

Norwegian coverlet book.

A few days ago I was looking at the 2014 class schedule on the VavStuga website, and saw mention of a Norwegian coverlet book, "Om fellen kunne fortelle... akletradisjon til inspirasion" by Randi Breiset ($44.00 US).  It was originally published in 2001, and perhaps has been reprinted.  The book is being carried again in the VavStuga shop.  Of course, I sent an immediate email asking a copy be sent to me.  What a treat!  Beautiful photos, a bit of history about each, and drafts and weaving information provided.  There is also an abbreviated English supplement in the book. 

I am looking forward to the coming winter and continuing my woven shibori studies, and attempting a small version of a Norwegian coverlet.

If you read this blog you are probably aware I am a volunteer rescue driver for Wild Instincts, a wildlife rehab facility here in the WI Northwoods.  After doing this volunteer work for 12+ years, it has been a real treat to be able to be present at the release of a few of them.  If you've ever wondered what the release of fawns was like, the following photos will show you!

Don't worry, they are alive.

The previous day, five fawns were released; on this day, the last six were going to their new location.  The fawns were tranquilized, carried over near the transport vehicle and laid on the ground, where Sharon tagged them (required by State of WI).

Four of the six fawns ready to go.

After being tagged they were each placed in the vehicle.  Ken is one of many volunteers for Wild Instincts.

After arriving, the fawns were again placed on the ground.

Mark gives each an antidote to help them wake up.

One by one, heads started to raise, and when ready they were helped to their feet.

This fawn laid down again, wanting more rest.

They still have their spots.

Fawns were moved off into their new lives, back in the wild.

Next month,... I hope to be there for release of five bear cubs.  Stay tuned!

And now, back to the weaving studio, where another 12 yards of warp for more woven shibori scarves awaits me, and three or so sock orders, and getting ready for the Oct. 5 art show/sale.  Yes, I'm back to cranking socks again,... cooler autumn temps and another winter are on the way!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stash Crisis Averted!

A new "freeform" woven shibori scarf.

After a bit of time away from the loom, it's back to another "freeform" or "random" woven shibori scarf.  This is nearing the end of the warp in the previous post (advancing twill threading, freeform tie-up).  As I did not keep notes on treadling and number of rows of plain weave in scarf #4, this one will be somewhat similar but not identical.  Of course, the gathering, tying, and indigo dye all play parts in the outcome, too.

My new stash of 16/2 Bockens cotton!

Earlier this week I was starting to consider the next warp, whether to stay with this threading and tie-up, make it the same width or perhaps a couple inches wider, length of warp (probably 14 yards or so), or change to a new weave structure.  I looked and found I had 2.5 tubes of this cotton left.  I needed to order more thread right away, 2.5 tubes would not be enough to make another warp and weave it off. 

I called Glimakra USA to discover they were all out of 16/2 bleached.  Crisis!  I ordered 12 tubes of unbleached, then I sent an email to VavStuga inquiring if they had any 16/2 bleached on hand.  A reply told me they had 16 tubes of 16/2 bleached left, did I want them?  Yes!  Both packages are here now, and just for fun I did a little calculating,... if my math is correct, there are approximately 87,264 yards here!  That should be enough to keep me busy for awhile.  Oh yes, I also have several cones of bleached and unbleached 20/2 cotton waiting, too.

The next post should have another indigo dyed scarf, possibly a sample or two, depending on how much warp is left, and the new warp should be made and on the loom.  I'm also just starting on making wool socks again.  Yes, I know I said I wasn't going to, but after getting four or five orders, and a small autumn show coming up (and cold winter weather will be here before long), I decided to have some socks done, too, in addition to the

Meanwhile, the WI north woods wildlife continues to keep me entertained and busy.

Young porcupine in my yard.

The porcupine family continues to visit, and on this day it was the young one, now growing up.  Here she is peering at me between the back of the empty salt lick and a red pine.  (They are trying to chew their way through the wood.)  Such a sweet face!

Little porcupine's dangerous side!

As I was trying to take the photos, she kept her back to me, quills raised and gave a little jump and flick of the tail to keep me away.  It worked!

Eagle in tree, beaver trap on its foot tangled on a branch.

Yes, this is the same eagle as in the last post, a bit better photo (taken by someone on the scene, thank you!).  Traps can catch unintended victims.

Mark Naniot, Wild Instincts rehabber, eagle with head covered, and me.

As I wrote, the eagle came down, went into the lake, was caught by Mark, and in this photo, I am folding a wing (it was busy flapping and wanting to escape) so I can get around and hold it's legs while Mark removed the trap.  This is the only photo of me, in twelve years or so, during a rescue, as I'm usually alone.  Notice the welder's gloves, which only offer partial protection from beak and talons.  Update:  this eagle is alive, doing well so far, foot wrapped, but they are uncertain about whether or not the toe that was in the trap will need to be amputated. 

I think I may have written back in May or June about an eagle rescue, an eagle that did NOT want to be caught.  It had an injury, was starved, and had severe lead poisoning.  It also had a lot of attitude!  I am happy to report, he was released this past Wednesday afternoon, photos are below.  Happily, I was invited to be present for his release back into the wild!

Mark has transferred the eagle to the young woman doing the release.  He still looks grumpy!

Motion shot, at the beginning of "the toss,"  1-2-3-GO!

He made straight for an "eagle tree," dark pine in center.

Wouldn't you know, he made straight for a tree that already had an eagle pair, nest, and very possibly young.  You should have heard the squawking that went on for a long time!

Now, decisions to make on that next warp and calculations to do.  I have a smaller warping mill here to try out, on loan from a friend, and I need to return it to her.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Summer Weaving and Eagle Evenings

Aug. 16, 2013, four scarves to indigo dye on a beautiful day.

Four new woven shibori scarves were woven this past week for a small five artist/artisan show.  Using 16/2 Swedish cotton, 30 epi, advancing twill threading, freeform tie-up, each scarf was treadled differently.  Friday was a beautiful mostly sunny day, warm and a bit humid.  I set up on a table on the lakeside porch, and opened the dyepots to see how they were after weeks of very little use.  The original vat looked great, green though there were blue specks.  The vat with the lightest shade did not look good at all, and the smaller vat with a medium shade looked hopeful. 

Four scarves, gathered and tied, soaking in water before dying.

I placed the four gathered and tied scarves in water and gave them time for the water to penetrate the folds.  Meanwhile, I got online to see what I would need to do to revive the vats.  Thiox was needed, so mixing a bit at a time, I added some to each.  Only the lightest vat didn't seem to change no matter how much I added or how long I waited. 

Left, scarves hanging on rack to begin drying; right, fabric test pieces.

 tried fabric in each vat, to check how well it would dye as well as shade.  The original vat worked well, not as dark a color as the first time, but that was fine as I didn't want that dark of a color.  Another vat gave a light shade by a bit uneven color, the medium vat was working better than the light.  Some fabric pieces were dipped a second time to give a bit darker shade.  Once I felt confident the dying would work, the scarves were dyed, a couple of them put in the dyebath a second time very briefly.  They were each rinsed in two large buckets of water, then left to dry on the porch, but because of the humidity weren't drying.  Needing them finished the next day, I moved the rack to an upstairs bedroom, turned a box fan on and closed the door. 

Beginning to remove pattern threads from the lightest color scarf.

Needing the scarves for Saturday, I started removing pattern threads as soon as they were partly dry.  I began with the lightest scarf, leaving the others to continue drying.  Removing the threads involves clipping the knots along one edge, sometimes a challenge when tightly knotted as you do not want to clip a warp or weft thread in the process.  My fear was having used 16/2 cotton, I might either cut a thread with scissors, or break a thread when pulling the pattern threads from the other side.  By the time I got to the last scarf, I discovered the threads pull out easier when dry (or nearly dry). 

On one scarf, I had mistakenly used a shuttle with seine twine which I had used on previous cottolin scarves.  For the next three I used a beige rug warp which though strong, was also a bit more difficult to tie tightly and hold a tight knot.  After clipping all the knots on one edge, I  turned the scarf around and began smoothing out the gathers to my left while holding the pattern thread with my right hand, approximately half the gathers, then go back to the top and start pulling the threads out, gently. 

First, a crinkly look.

After the pattern threads are removed, the fabric is crinkly, really quite a nice effect, but they still needed pressing a couple of times, and twisting of fringe.

Were the first two rinses out on the porch enough?  NO!  There is indigo inside those folds that does not rinse out until the pieces are able to be opened.  So, downstairs to a sink where they were washed with mild soap, then rinsed repeatedly until the water was clear.  Then back up the drying rack and box fan to dry them again, prior to finishing.  They were pressed while still a bit damp, allowed to dry more, fringes twisted, and a final pressing.

New scarves on Saturday, three of the four new scarves went to new homes!

I'm very pleased with the new finer threads scarves.  Did I mention this is very time-consuming?  For me, they are well worth it, and just need to take that into account in the future.

My favorite of the four!

Indigo dyed a medium+ shade, this was my favorite, and is one-of-a-kind since I treadled it randomly, and used random numbers of rows of tabby between the pattern rows, anywhere from 6-14 rows (tabby).  It was also the first scarf sold on Saturday.

It was a beautiful and fun day, I had a great time chatting with people, and was quite tired at the end of the day.  Deciding it was best to go home and rest, that is what I did, for about an hour, and then the phone rang,...

It was Wild Instincts, could I go out on an eagle rescue?  No one else was available and I was closer than the rehabber.  The eagle's foot was in a beaver trap and it was on the ground under a tree.  If I couldn't open the trap, just put the eagle with trap into my container and get it to the facility.  I agreed to go, moved the table from the back of my car and put my eagle bin and supply bag back in, and called to get specific directions.

I was given the specific location, and told someone would meet me at the gate.  However, the eagle was now 35+ feet in the air, the chain on the trap caught on a tree branch and the eagle hanging upside down.  Now, I'll do a lot to try to catch an eagle or other critter, but climbing trees is not something I'm willing to do.  I immediately called the rehabber and said he would have to come and that I was on my way.  This is what I saw when I arrived...

Bald eagle, hanging upside down, trap on its foot caught in a tree branch.

There were three or four men there, one up on a 24' ladder trimming branches away so they could get a rope over and around the branch so it could be cut and the eagle lowered.  A fire chief also arrived to help provide advice and equipment.  The sun was setting and we were losing light.  The eagle was alert and watching, but also flapping whenever a branch was cut and dropping.  I said please don't just drop the eagle because if it can fly, it will try to get away and with the trap still on will get tangled somewhere else and die because no one will know where it is. 

A bit blurry, but you can see he trap on its left leg, and chain going up that is tangled on a branch.

Mark arrived, provided another a small saw to use (instead of the long pruner).  I don't know if the branch broke or or if it was cut and the rope didn't hold it, but suddenly the eagle was dropping to the ground and it immediately headed for the lake which was a few feet away down a slope.  Mark Naniot was instantly down the slope and into the water with sheet and heavy gloves and came up with the eagle in his arms, its head covered.  I followed him to the road and heard "where's Jan?"  "I'm coming," as I pulled on my heavy gloves on so I could hold the eagles legs while Mark opened the trap.  He then took its legs, turned it over and placed it in the eagle bin, while I slowly slid the cover on so it couldn't try to escape again.

I called this morning, Mark said the eagle is alive, though maggots were in the wound and they'll know in a week or two if the toe that was caught in the trap will need to be amputated.  There were also lacerations on the wings from flapping against the tree branches, but none were serious.  Praying now the eagle will survive and be able to be released back into the wild.

Wild Instincts is a wildlife rehab facility about 4.5 miles outside of Rhinelander, WI.  Mark Naniot is a licensed wildlife rehabber, and he and his wife own and run the facility, with the assistance from late spring to fall by a number of interns who are learning and gaining experience with this work.  They have quite a number of transport drivers (willing to transport critters already contained), and rescue drivers, like myself, who will not only transport, but sometimes need to catch the wildlife before transporting.  I think this was the third evening this summer I was sent out for an eagle.

Wild Instincts has a high success rate and is a blessing to the WI Northwoods.  Check out their website,; their blog,; and their Facebook page, they often post photos and video.  They are supported entirely by memberships and donations.

Today I gave myself a day to rest, some computer time, time to read, a nap, lots of rest.  Tomorrow, I need to call and order more 16/2 Swedish cotton warp, there is a warp to finish weaving off, and it's time to begin making socks again, and an evening guild meeting.  And you never know when the phone will ring, you look at it and see the words "Wild Instincts!"