Move Over Scarlett O’Hara…

No, I didn’t make a dress out of the drapes, but I did want another short sleeve summer top, the weather is getting warmer, and that in-between summer and sleeveless, and early spring with long sleeves…

Anyway, I took a fantastic guild workshop this past week, remotely, with Rosalie Neilson, creating blocks using Huck Lace. For the non-weavers, this is a weaving structure that produces lovely lacey designs, with warp or weft or a combination, floats. Though I’ve woven huck lace many times, I was more interested in her discussions of blocks and designing blocks.

So prior to the workshop, I set up the loom, not for the recommended 6 yards, I put on 12, because, why not? Because I could.

Once I got the concept of block design, using her extensive handouts with design pages, and overlays, based on her pricey but incredibly worth it book, An Exaltation of Blocks, which I own, and I figured out how to efficiently transfer those designs to my weaving software, I was like a woman obsessed.

Within the week between sessions, I wove off five towels, each horizontal design across was different. Yes, I had to re-tie my treadles before each new design, and I was worried about my shoulder under the loom, but it worked out perfectly, and I got each re-tie down to about 6 minutes.

The towels were OK, not my favorite colors, and not my favorite proportion. I prefer bolder colors, but that’s what was staring at me on the shelf, so I went with it. I prefer a towel in a 3:2 proportion, usually 30″ x 20″. These were 16″ wide by probably 30″. And I’m not a fan of 8/2 cotton sett at 18 epi. I know that’s the going trend, Rosalie isn’t the only instructor who encourages this sett. I’m a garment fabric weaver, I like my fabrics, and my towels to have meat to them. Personal taste. I’m allowed.

So I had these five towels, which represented a terrific exercise, and I kept thinking, boy, I really could use another summer top…

So Scarlett move over…

I used my 1000 swing dress pattern, cutting the center front and center back on the selvedges, and overlaid the sleeve of the 200 jacket pattern, and used the sleeve for that jacket, cut shorter, to create the top pattern. It has an invisible zipper down the back.

Because Huck Lace can be pretty fragile if you cut into it, I used 3/8″ (1cm) strips of cross wise cut Fusiknit and fused it on the perimeter wherever the cut edges were unstable, like on the sleeve cap.

I basically sewed this top in one sitting. I was definitely a woman obsessed. The photo shows me modeling an almost finished top, just the handwork, and removing all the little red tailor’s tacks. Getting the blocks to match was challenging, since Huck shrinks differently depending on the design.

All the work is finished and it is hanging in my closet waiting for a place to wear it. I’m gathering with a couple friends on Sunday for my birthday. Sounds like a plan.

So back to Rosalie’s book… I bought this book a couple years ago, and I will be honest, I had not opened it. I do that a lot. My one weakness is a desire to acquire all the knowledge, whether or not I ever actually read it, as long as it is here at my fingertips, I’m happy. I’m running out of room for books, and I am acutely aware that I really have no idea what’s in my libraries, because I sent my daughter to an estate sale, lots of weaving and sewing books, and she kept sending me pictures of what was there, and I couldn’t run up and down the three flights of stairs fast enough.

So after she brought home another 45 books, a couple ended up being duplicates, I decided on one of those massive undertakings, which is making me so happy. LibraryThing.com is a site which many of you are familiar with I’m sure; my daughter is guild librarian, and spent a good 6 months entering their entire library. So each morning I enter half a shelf of books. Some are easy and pop right up with an ISBN number, and others are self published and pretty obscure or very very old, and I have to hand enter that data. But the important thing here is I’m handling each book, and seeing what’s in it. Wow, my head is spinning with all the knowledge at my fingertips, knowing I’ll never read most of it, but still, it is a comfort to have it here. Art, fashion, fiber art, and art history books are in my office, weaving books in the weaving studio, and sewing books in the sewing studio. One day it will all be entered and I can sort by tags and authors and subjects. Let’s see, what books do I have on huck lace…

I love these incredibly challenging long term organizational projects.

So with the leftover warp on the loom, remember I put on 12 yards, I resleyed the warp to 20epi, and I’m much happier, but I really won’t know until I wash the cloth. I’m weaving myself a set of napkins, trying some of the 4 shaft textures she suggested, after I figured out how to weave them on 8 shafts. This is really fun. And I changed the weft colors to something more contrasting to show off the pattern.

And I’m down to the last half placemat on my gift for my friend, a half dozen overshot mats to match a runner she purchased from our guild sale. Someone else wove the runner, but didn’t want to weave six mats to go with it. The mats are 20/2 cotton ground, with a 10/2 pattern thread, and I thought they would take me forever. Minimal breakage, usually happens when I have to go back a few rows to fix an error. The 20/2 just gives out. I was worried I would run out of warp, but it looks like I’ll make it!

I have my little daily routine, the days are full, the gardens are lush, and I’m eating salad at each meal. Except we just had a rabbit get in and eat all the kholrabi and dill… 🙁

Stay tuned dear readers, lots more to come…

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun…

During the interview last month on the HGA’s Textiles and Tea, the host Kathi asked me the proverbial question, “What’s next for you?”

I really didn’t have a definitive answer, because I really didn’t know. What I do know, is that I have a studio full of looms and yarn and books and cloth, and I never tire of exploring, creating, and seeing what happens if…

I had hoped once retired from teaching, that I could indeed turn this business of 45 years into a hobby. A real hobby. Where I have no deadlines, or immediate goals, other than getting a loom set up for a coming workshop, like the one next week on Huck Blocks with Rosalie Neilson. Done and check…

Soon, I hope, the weather will be glorious in my gardens with ponds. They are beautiful now, but the weather is still very windy and chilly, and not enticing to sit outside with a simple loom, and just breathe. Every year I have this goal, this vision of life in the back yard, listening to the birds, the quiet drone of small planes overhead, and watching the fish in the pond while I weave. Sounds lovely, but I can assure you it never happens. Because I am always too busy, and more importantly, I get easily distracted and depressed by all those weeds and deeds that need attention in said poetic back yard.

Our vegetable garden is already producing. My daughter took over the gardening of the vegetable plot, and I’ve managed a salad at lunch and dinner all this week.

So what that means, is I need little looms to easily carry outdoors, and just weave. I have plenty of inkle looms. And many have projects on them. But I have a large collection of 18 little Structo looms, the 8″ wide metal kind, four of them are 8 shafts, and I have a couple of adorable 4 shaft Leclerc 10″ wide looms of about the same vintage. I had visions of setting them all up with different weave structures to explore, and one of the perfect ways to do that is with what’s called a Gamp, which is a sort of sampler with blocks of design across, so whatever you ‘treadle’, affects all the different threadings across. It is like creating a library of little designs.

There is no purpose to these for me, other than an opportunity to learn. Not everything has to yield an end product. Learning is a really good reason to do anything. And I’m in a position that I can invite in a student or friend to just come and try out a structure they might be curious about, because a loom is already set up…

So over the last few weeks, as my broken shoulder starts to heal, I’ve been really busy just playing in the studio. I’m making progress on the overshot placemats I agreed to do for a friend (this is a really good friend), and I’m actually half way done. I’ve completed three mats and only have three more to go. And I’m really enjoying the scale, working with 20/2 cotton for the ground, and 10/2 for the pattern. I thought I’d hate it, but I can weave half a mat in an hour, and I’m getting really smooth at handling two shuttles. (The pattern is from Handwoven Magazine Nov/Dec 2010 in an article by Mary Berent, pg 38).

I had a guild friend come and help me set up one of the baby Leclerc’s, with a doubleweave sampler, from Jennifer Moore’s book called Doubleweave. This is a pretty complex and lengthy sampler, and just drafting it out in weaving software is time consuming. It doesn’t look like much at the moment, but I’m actually weaving two layers of cloth simultaneously. One layer is light, and the other dark, and then they switch.

On the other baby Leclerc, I used the spools that came with it, when my late mother in law gave me the loom years and years ago. The spools had linen on them, and I managed to get them threaded and I started a linen huck sampler. I’m using the “Stuck on Huck” sampler in Best of Weaver’s, Huck Lace pg 6, by Lynn Tedder.

And on one of my 8 shaft Structo’s, I found a beautiful Shadow Weave sampler from a draft from Webs Valley Yarns #199, Shadow Weave Sampler Scarf in 8/2 tencel. I wound four spools with the color sequence using yarn I had in colors I already had, and the effect is charming. Can’t wait to sit in the garden and weave on this.

And on one of my 4 shaft Structo’s, I had my guild helper help me wind four spools in 16/2 cotton (I wind the spools using my AVL warping wheel) (this was a couple months ago when my left arm wasn’t strong enough to wind on the AVL, I’m good now). And I threaded a twill gamp I found in Handwoven Magazine, Nov/Dec 2008 in an article by Robyn Spady, pg 40.

I have three more drafts planned out for another group of 8″ Structos, an 8 shaft Quigley from Tom Knisely’s handwoven table linens, a deflected double weave gamp from Marion Stubinetsky’s Double Twist pg 204, and another Robyn Spady gamp, in overshot on 4 shafts from Handwoven Magazine May/June 2014.

Did I mention how much fun I’m having?

And yes, there is still life to contend with. I managed to film two more episodes on Monday of The Weaver Sews, one launched last night, part one. I had so many people ask about how I made the doubleweave sampler jacket I featured in my last blog post, I decided to just do a couple videos.

And yes, there is always stuff to update, and organize, and work to be done for places I volunteer for, like my guild, where I am the treasurer. I spent the whole morning on the phone with the state of NJ trying to get the Division of Revenue and the Division of Taxation to talk to each other over the official guild address. Occasionally there are really helpful people in our government, with a sense of humor, who can actually get something done. Still, it took the whole morning…

I spent a couple days updating my design journals, both tangible and digital because I realized that I hadn’t done that since before the pandemic, and I’ve created a lot of new work and there are no records of what I did in permanent places. Just lots of scraps of paper… Now what weft did I use for that fabric?…

And on a personal note. Today would have been my 44 wedding anniversary. I miss my husband, I would just love to have 10 minutes with him to hear what he has to say about the mess in the world right now. I’d probably need more than 10 minutes. We were married in the spring of 1978 in a little chapel in southern NJ. The Kwanzan Cherry tree outside the chapel was in full bloom.

When we bought the home where I’m currently living, in the early 80’s, the first thing we did was plant a Kwanzan Cherry in the front yard. It has bloomed every year for our anniversary. Never fails. Recently I had to call in a tree expert to save the tree from some fungal infection, which really brought the tree back to life, so much so that the top became too heavy and it was in danger of splitting right down the middle of the trunk. So the tree experts came back, and for a considerable sum of money, I had them bolt through the trunk, and top the tree, by about half. And sure enough, on my anniversary today, this beloved tree hasn’t let me down. What we do for love…

Stay tuned dear readers, there is lots more adventures awaiting in my studio as I plan to head outdoors for the summer, which we all know probably won’t happen, but it is still fun to plan and dream. ‘Course weaving on a small loom in the comfort of an airconditioned house works too…

Works well under pressure…

Truth be told, deadlines are my friend. I am focused, organized, and have been doing this long enough to expect roadblocks, detours, and the myriad of things life throws at you when you are planning something else.

Like a fractured shoulder the end of December.

Like another flood in my sewing room last week.

My shoulder is progressing. Chris, my PT, is confident that I will gain back most of my rotation, and he doggedly pursues a course of action that is helping slowly but surely. He knows what he is doing, that is pretty obvious, and I trust the professional. I’m about 75% there, but that obviously doesn’t stop me. I’m always a woman on a mission, and figuring out how to meet deadlines in spite of what the universe throws at me, is my specialty.

Tuesday morning I had the plumber in, because once again, I took water in the basement sewing room. It was a bad storm, on top of an already ridiculous water table in NJ, much of the town flooded, but I should not have taken water under the wall in the corner where the sump pump lives. Turns out the hose of the dehumidifier was laying on the float, probably causing it to work improperly. You can’t make this crap up. So plumber installed a completely new sump pump, because why not, I don’t want to take a chance with a unit that is probably 25 years old, now that NJ is slowly sinking into the Atlantic, and the dehumidifier hose is properly mounted so it doesn’t interfere. Meanwhile, scrubbing the concrete floors and mats with heavy duty cleaner, on my hands and knees with a fractured shoulder that is still healing wasn’t my idea of a fun and entertaining couple of days…

But I persevered…

And was hugely rewarded. I will be honest and say I’m so freakin’ proud of myself, in spite of the tears these last couple of months. I had a deadline and I had to meet it. Three years ago I was asked to be an invited artist at the Convergence Fashion Show in 2020 in Knoxville, TN. I of course agreed, and started thinking about what I would send. We all know the curve ball Covid threw into the works, not only was the conference postponed for two years, but I retired from teaching on the road, and spent those two years developing content for my YouTube channel, The Weaver Sews. I’m not planning to be at the conference.

And so, back in January with one arm in a sling, I looked at the loom with the narrowest warp, which happened to have two shuttles, and I wove slowly, 6 inches a day, with one hand. Just clearing that 4 yard warp was a feat that I still marvel that I accomplished. I had no idea what I was going to do with a 9″ wide 8/2 tencel warp, about 3 1/2 yards long, but then I saw this piece from Urban Outfitters. I have not been able to find the piece on their website.) It was part of an article on sustainability with fashion designers, trying to use what they have. (Shacket is the term for shirt/jacket, apparently)

The shacket is not my taste, but it inspired me to do this.

My jacket is constructed almost entirely by hand and is completely reversible. The most challenging part was finding a reversible separating zipper. Though the piece doesn’t fit with my regular body of work, the response to everyone who has seen photos of it has been really wonderful, Jennifer Moore, whose workshop I wove the double weave fabric in, was really hoping to see it at Convergence.

The pattern for the jacket is from my pattern collection, a combination of the #800 vest and the armholes and sleeves from the #1700 tunic.

Meanwhile, if you have been reading my past posts over the last couple of months, you know I’ve managed to design, set up, and weave off yardage, hand dyed yarns, mixed structures on 12 shafts, inspired by a puzzle we were fixing. All with a fractured shoulder. I was able to get this walking vest out of the fabric I had, and I’m so freakin’ thrilled with this.

I used scraps of a caviar leather I had to make epaulettes, since there was no way I could match the shoulders, and there is leather piping down the front and armhole bands. I finished up the handwork yesterday. The pattern is from my collection, the #600 Walking Vest. It has pockets!

And because this fabric, woven a couple of years ago, kept calling me from the shelf, (it sat on the shelf for the last couple of years because I couldn’t think of what to make with it) asking me to make a dress. For the runway. Something that celebrated the stripes. Bias… I listen carefully to my materials.

I’m not certain how the dress will ultimately perform, it fits like a dream, being bias and all, but how will it hold up on exhibit in a fashion show? Normally I would have the dress folded on the shelf. I’m still up in the air whether I should send it. But I love the look of the dress, the way it chevrons on the side. The yarns are a combination of a bunch of stuff that was on my shelf, including a hand dyed warp from Blazing Shuttles, that’s the aqua tones large stripe. Again, a combination of structures, plain weave, twills, and some supplementals. And it has pockets! I modified my #900 bias top pattern.

So I’m sitting back and smiling at myself and all of my hardwork these last couple of months, mentally, physically, and all because of a postponed deadline from two years ago. I am my happiest when I meet a personal challenge head on and win. And I won this one.

Stay tuned…

Slow and Steady…

I’d like to think I’m a patient person. I suppose it depends on what or whom I’m required to be patient with…

I’ve undertaken a couple of major projects in the studios, which completely thrill me, yet create stress, and challenges, and a couple of probably unrealistic deadlines. That’s my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I work best under unrealistic deadlines. Except when my body doesn’t want to cooperate…

Though my fractured shoulder is improving, little bits at a time, I’m impatient. I’ll admit it. I carry on with great fanfare, but secretly cry a little bit each time I am held back from what I want/need/have to do.

The Rainbow Double Weave Jennifer Moore Workshop sampler turned into a completely reversible jacket is nearing completion. This wasn’t so physically challenging, I just had to sit for hours hand sewing. And I mean hours. About 90% of it is sewn by hand. Including the entire interior. All that remains is the collar, and I hope to get that finished up this week. At least get it mounted on the jacket and ready for handwork.

I am just so in love with this jacket; it is how I imagined it in my head. I combined my 800 vest, with added seam allowances on the front, with the armhole and drop shoulder sleeve from the 1700 tunic, patterns from the Daryl Lancaster pattern collection. There are two layers of wool suiting to create the garment, basted together, with windows cut out, where the double weave cloth fits between the layers, and both layers are then sewn to the double weave cloth in reverse appliqué. Once the individual sections are completed, the outer garment layer is sewn together by machine, and the entire inner layer is sewn by hand at all the seams and hems. There are days I think I’m absolutely brilliant, and there are days where… I’ll leave it up to your imagination 🙂

The fabric inspired by the Magic Puzzle Company Busy Bistro Puzzle I fixed with my daughter, has proven one of my most difficult physical challenges. I use a heavy end feed shuttle, which is tough enough on my poor fractured shoulder, but the loom I’m weaving on, new to me, is a monster. 12 shafts and 54″ wide. The beater alone could kill you! Yet it is gorgeous and comfortable in the hand. Assuming the hand isn’t attached to a fractured shoulder. The most difficult part though, is lifting the shafts. Most picks required lifting 6 of the 12 shafts, and each shaft had 225 inserted eye heddles, which I didn’t remove because there was room on the sides to store them, and I spent so much time putting them on to begin with! Trying as hard as I could, I just couldn’t consistently lift 6 shafts and get a consistently clean shed every time. I’m past my mid-60’s and my joints just can’t lift what I could in my 20’s.

I’d lay awake at night, with my fractured shoulder aching, especially when bad weather approaches, and think, how am I going to weave this… If you ever watched the Queen’s Gambit, a Netflix series, you might remember how the main character, I’ve forgotten her name, could see chess moves happening across the ceiling. That’s the way I sometimes think, I can see the mechanics behind a draft, and how things need to move up or down to create what I want. And what I wanted was a clean shed opening. When that happens in any other situation, I revert to using two feet to help lift, break apart the tie-up, and figure out a logical treadling sequence that will get me what I want with a lot less physical effort. I watched the ceiling in the dark and saw how I could do it. I flew out of bed in the morning and went to the software and reconfigured the tie up and crossed my fingers. (An apology to my non-weaving readers, this all makes no sense, just know it worked.)

The original tie-up and treadling
Revised tie-up and treadling using two feet.

It was miraculous, and magical and I just wove like the wind, or maybe a slight breeze because I’m still dealing with a fractured shoulder. I use to be able to weave like the wind. Maybe someday soon. But I’ve got a deadline now, and I’m frantically trying to pace myself to get what I need to get done before April 15th. That’s the deadline to submit the five garments I’m planning to exhibit at the Convergence Fashion Show this summer, sponsored by the Handweavers Guild of America, in Knoxville, TN, as an invited artist. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to send, but I want more choices than I have, from what I’ve made in the last two years, and I’d love for this puzzle inspired fabric to be one of them.

So given my arm limitations, I’ve just resigned myself to only empty one pirn a day, with 2/12 wool, which is about what my shoulder can handle. Still, that’s about 15″ and that adds up. I looked at my warp beam, and was shocked to see the I’m on the last round of paper. This was a seven yard warp. I’m almost there…

What really surprised me, is I’ve had no tension issues at all so far, which I completely expected given the dozens of different yarns I’m combining together in a dozen different structures. It will be interesting to see what happens when the fabric is off the loom and washed…

On a completely different note, spring is here, though we are supposed to get one last frost tonight through Tuesday, but in celebration of my late husband’s 71st birthday last Tuesday, my daughter and I went to the garden center and bought a couple flats of cold weather greens, and some pansies. We got everything planted, started the spring clean up in the yard, which means bags of animal excrement, because, well, if you have dogs, you know what spring means…

The garden center was just a riot of color…

And last Tuesday I was interviewed for the Handweavers Guild of America series Textiles and Tea, which I adore; The Textiles and Tea interviews are the highlight of my week. They are live interviews, over zoom, but also simulcast over Facebook, and of course recorded. You don’t need a Facebook account to watch, it is a public site. The recording will eventually be posted on the Handweavers Guild of America YouTube channel, (it might take a couple of months) but for now, if you missed the interview, you can watch it here. Kathi’s questions were thoughtful, and fun to answer. Apparently there were 600 people watching in the webinar, and another couple hundred watching the live Facebook feed, which they said was a record. I don’t know, I just had fun answering the questions. Everything for me has a story, which is why I still have something to say after almost 14 years of blogging. I know few people blog anymore, and far fewer people read the blog than did a half dozen years ago, but that isn’t why I write it. I used to journal, but it is more fun to type what I’m thinking and be able to add cool pictures, and then be able to go back and search for what I want, because blogs have that built in feature. And it is there forever, or as long as I pay for the hosting fees…

So dear readers, spring is upon us, and that means outdoor stuff, and I have a lovely garden with ponds and fish and places to sit and weave, all coming to life, and I’ll have a garden full of salad fixin’s, and I think, each spring, that this season I’m going to spend my time outdoors and do fiber-y things, and by fall I realize that none of that happened. It is an amusing cycle, but still, I am determined each spring and we will see how the year progresses… Deadlines await…

I worked hard for this one…

To say this has been a challenging couple of weeks would be an understatement. Considering what’s happening in the world, there is nothing I should be complaining about, but in my own world, nevertheless, life has been more challenging than I’m use to…

My daughter, not without sturm und drang, left for a Star Trek cruise about two weeks ago. That put me alone to run everything, deal with all the animals, and my fractured shoulder, for about 10 days. I had mourning, mopey animals that waited for her return.

Nights were the most challenging, they all needed to be close to me, and I was struggling to sleep anyway with a fractured shoulder, and I didn’t sleep the entire time she was gone. No, I couldn’t lock them out of the room, I would have had a dog fight, broken doors, or worse. They need to be where the people are…

I struggled with my shoulder as well. Now weeks into PT, I seemed to be going backwards, near tears trying to do anything, and after much discussion, changed a number of things, including switching to ice packs periodically to reduce inflammation, and trying to curb my enthusiasm in my studio, since I was developing secondary stress related injury like tennis elbow. It is hard to keep a good artist down. Or weaver, or whatever…

Meanwhile, I did manage to wind a warp, dress the loom, and I started weaving the 20/2 overshot placemats I promised my friend. This is going to take awhile… A long while…

My daughter returned to much fanfare from the animals, but had been exposed to Covid on the ship, and by the time I picked her up at the airport, with a rapid test in hand, which was again negative (she had been tested daily on the ship), she was pretty sick. She got a PCR test the next day, but it took until late Wednesday to find out that was also negative. She picked up something and it seems to be responding to antibiotics, but she has been basically unavailable and hiding in the opposite end of the house, mostly sleeping, so I don’t get what she has. And with her constantly asleep, the animals have been more than needy. Sigh. There is something completely unfair that one goes on vacation and then comes home and is down for the count for a week…

So what do I do when life is at its most challenging? I dive into a project so intense that I sometimes forget to come up for air. Which is why my arm flared up and I developed a sort of tennis elbow. I still like to think I’m invincible, it helps me get through the days, but I will say that more than once over the last couple of weeks, even I was feeling discouraged. The world is going to hell in a handbasket, and I can’t even weave a new handbasket… Whatever that is, I’m trying hard to figure it out and if it will help at all…

In a previous post, I talked about the yardage I wanted to weave inspired by the puzzle I fixed with my daughter, and had pulled all the yarn for it.

About 98% of it was hand dyed, still in the skeins. I decided not to “cake” the skeins, wind into pull balls on a ball winder, and just work directly from the skeins, since I only needed maybe 20-60 yards of any one color. And there were a lot of colors. I rigged up double skein winders, which went through hooks in the ceiling beam, and then directly to the warping mill. Yes, this was brilliant but very taxing on my fractured, slowly recovering shoulder. I did this for a week.

I wound…

And wound…

And wound…

A total of five warp chains. This last sequence references the upper corner of the poster.

I warp front to back, it works better for what I warp, and the complexity of this warp, on 12 shafts, where every group of threads, 3,5,8, or 13 (all Fibonacci numbers) change structure. I’ve been working on this draft for months.

I started sleying…

I’m just loving these colors and was too impatient to stop and rest my arm. So I packed it in ice and carried on…

Note that I haven’t actually tried weaving anything this wide, at 28″, with a fractured shoulder, but figured eventually I’ll be able to, anyway it would be good therapy to try.

I struggled to get into the back of the loom, there isn’t a lot of room in the studio to drop the back beam of a 12 shaft loom, and I didn’t have the strength to try to actually move the loom forward. This loom came to me just under a year ago, and it is 54″ wide. Long story. There is a blog post about how it came to me. This is the first time I’m warping it and I’m going to assume it will actually weave.

I started threading. Really challenging, as reaching through 12 shafts for the warp ends coming from the reed was tough with my left arm. I found in the beginning I had to have my right arm do the reaching and pull through the heddles. Slow going…

I wanted to ask for help, but this was all that was available…

I kept at it. Eventually I was able to reach through with my left arm, truly remarkable considering where I was a week ago…

By now, my daughter is feeling remarkably better, and to her credit, she did help me get this baby beamed.

The colors are gorgeous. They make me so happy.

So now I can’t sleep thinking about how it will look, how the loom will actually weave, can I even lift rock maple 54″ wide shafts?

Next step was tying on the front and then crawling underneath the loom to do the tie-up.

I looked for help, but my assistant was passed out on the chair behind me…

I managed to do the tie up, and was pleased I could reach further than I thought with my left arm. Getting up off the floor with one arm is a challenge, but I did it.

And so, yes, I could weave. I’m gloriously happy that, though a bit painful, I can throw a shuttle and pull the beater, which is the heaviest one I’ve ever worked with, but I swear, by the time this yardage is finished, I’ll have abs of steel. No Covid belly for me anymore. Dear Lord the shafts on this loom are heavy.

I’m sampling wefts, and think I’m going to continue with the 2/12 lambswool in the mid brown coloring. Though I like the darker blue on top, the brown stays truer to the original poster coloring.

I’m just loving the juxtaposition of the different structures. Each is so interesting. Each could be a yardage all by itself. I feel an article coming on about combining structures, already there are things swimming through my head, but for now, I’m content that I did the impossible. I earned this one, most challenging thing I’ve done under the circumstances…

And of course I’m making slow progress on my double weave sampler jacket. The fronts are done, and I’m working on the back side of the back, all reverse appliqué windows, so both sides of the double weave are visible in a reversible jacket. Thanks to my weaver friends who found me a place online that would make a custom length reversible jacket zipper, color choices were limited, but I got what I needed to make this jacket work.

And so dear readers, I try to look at the news with only one eye, otherwise it is too overwhelming. I’m laying low, struggling to work with my slowly recovering fractured shoulder, walking into town three days a week for PT, stopping at the grocery store on the way home. I buy only what I can carry home. Life is simple, but complicated. I’m just getting through the days, waiting for spring…

Stay safe, and stay tuned…

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