Two steps forward, one step back…

Oh to be able to work completely uninterrupted in life, a dream I’m sure, but not only is it completely unrealistic, but it would make me a very one dimensional person, albeit colorful!

Such is my life, I longed for uninterrupted studio time now that I’m not  traveling but alas, that also means I’m home, there is taking care of a house, monitoring the escapades of a couple of young adults, guild meetings, paperwork, contracts, lunch dates (OK I know those are optional but when they involve wine…)  Anyway, I like my life, a lot.  I have flexibility when I’m home to work in the studio 15-18 hours a day and not get out of my pajamas, which I can assure you I actually did many days this week.  It was wonderful.  Then a calendar event called me to act like a grownup and get dressed and go do something productive outside the house.  Like teach at the museum.  Sunday I took my college shopping daughter to Pennsylvania to look at a small college near Doylestown that had the pre-vet/small animal program she wanted.  I don’t envy her decision process.  She has applied to Rutgers and heard in less than a week she was accepted.  Rutgers is a wonderful university, a NJ state school so in state tuition, but it has 60,000 students.  The college we looked at Sunday was not a state school, but a small private college, costs twice the money and has only 2200 students.  Sort of like a country club. We will go to Rhode Island later in the month to look at a University that has 13,000 students.

Speaking of my daughter, today she becomes an adult.  Brianna, whom I’ve mentioned many many times in this blog, is 18 today, she started the morning heading off to Motor Vehicles, where she turned her provisional driver’s license into a permanent one.  No more red stickers on her license advertising she is a provisional license driver.  The jury is still out whether the red stickers on the plates, Kyleigh’s law in NJ, is helpful or harmful to underage provisional drivers.  And it was a pain when she switched cars. And the velcro stickers would get stolen.  Anyway, she proudly went off to school with her permanent license, and it was a great way for her to start her day.  Can I tell you how much I adore my daughter?  Her mind, her way of looking at things, the discussions we have, I will so miss her when she heads off to school.

And then there are my bottom feeders.  I referenced many times my son and his military friends who live in my basement, here are two of them, my son is on the right, the third, Andy, is graduating from Boot Camp as I write, congratulations Andy.  Cody and Eric (my son) went off to a benefit dinner last night for wounded soldiers.  They looked so grown up.

So what did I do all week when I was in the studio?

Except for a day when I needed the AVL warping wheel (which I use for skeining) for another purpose, I started a new dye bath every morning.  So my stash of small quantity skeins in gorgeous colors is getting quite large.  I now have enough options to start a warp for more scarves for Santa Fe Weaving Gallery.  Here is the Lemon-Lime from two days ago, and the Strawberry Ice from yesterday.  Today we have Turquoise cooking on the heating pad.  I was running low on Synthrapol, so I placed an order for more from Pro-Chem, and of course while I was at it I just had to pick up another half dozen jars of dye.  This dye project should go well into December, or until I run out of white rayon yarn.

Meanwhile…

I looked through my binder of yarn wraps from my years of writing the forecast column for Handwoven Magazine.  They are still a great source of inspiration, and I love picking my favorites and using them as a springboard for things like these scarves.  I chose one of my all time favorites, the Feathers and Wings palette, from March/April 2005 I think, and started to pull yarns from all over the studio that could work.  And then I print a draft for the scarf and mount it on a card and carefully start wrapping the yarns around the card for a guide.

I loved the palette, and I had lots of small balls of yarns (once I wound all the skeins into balls) from my dye adventures.

So I jumped in and reset my AVL warping wheel for three yards per turn and away I went.  The warp was beautiful on the loom, and I plowed ahead to see what it would look like woven, and to be perfectly honest,  I wasn’t that thrilled.  I had tried a modified weave structure to see if I could add some surface interest to the plain weave sections and within two inches of weaving I decided it was a bad idea and to go back and re-thread for the plain weave.  I started weaving again, and this time, to be perfectly honest, I still wasn’t that thrilled.  The bands of color should flow one into another, this looked like hard edge stripes.  And the supplemental ribbons were either lost or redundant.  I went to bed frustrated and disappointed.  I mused all day on how to correct the situation efficiently, what was really important and what would ultimately be fine once the scarves were woven and washed.  I decided to un-weave what I had done, pull the warp out of the reed, and switch around some of the warps making the transition between stripes much smoother.  And in addition to that, I decided to switch a couple of the ribbons, and substitute four others.  I really didn’t want to deal with four 15 yard warps weighted and hanging off the back, that would really slow down my weaving these six scarves, so I improvised.  It took me awhile to rig up a plan B, fortunately I have a second warp beam so all I had to do was figure out how to get the 15 yard four ribbons neatly between one of the sectional sections.  If you are a knitter or sewer or some other fiber enthusiast,I’m sure I lost you back when I pulled the warp out of the reed, but try to picture me sitting on the floor, with a tension box between my feet, under the loom, hand winding four ribbon yarns with spacers, onto the warp beam.  It is times like these I really feel all of my 55 years.  Getting down there wasn’t the problem, getting back up was the killer…

So last night, after teaching yesterday afternoon at the museum, I hunkered down with a beer to see how all this couple of days of reworking the warp turned out.  I re-sleyed every thing back through the reed, dropping out the ribbons I decided not to use, substituting the new ones, and now, I’m happy.  Of course I still haven’t woven yet on the big loom, the warp from the previous blog post, I’m not in a hurry to weave it,

just wanted to get the warp on so I could put the loom back together.  So I’ll try to get the sampling done on that warp this week, but now I have to weave these six scarves, and get ready for the Guild Show and Sale this weekend.

The Jockey Hollow Weavers 17th Annual Exhibit and Sale, Saturday, Nov. 13th & Sunday, Nov. 14th, 10:00 – 5:00 both days at the Brookside Community Club (1 East Main St. at Cherry Lane, just off Route 24, Brookside [Mendham Twp.], NJ).  The exhibit and sale features textiles for the home; art to wear; fashion accessories; and holiday gifts.  Expect to find a wide range of items on display and for sale, from the very expensive to the affordable.

And, it is with great delight that I announce that I will be teaching a Fibers and Fabrics class next Spring at County College of Morris.  You can find the course listed under Design.  It is listed as a Special Topics, numbered as DSN 292 section 23156.  The class runs Tuesday nights, from 6-10pm, starting in Mid-January.  I gave a lecture there last Thursday to the design students and it was such a fantastic experience, I’m really looking forward to actually teaching this class in the spring.

Here is the course description from the catalog:

Through a hands-on exploration of basic fiber processes and techniques, this intensive course is designed to give students a broad range of skills to enhance all disciplines of study, from the visual arts, industrial and fashion design, to history and anthropology. Topics include the origins of fiber, types of fiber, spinning, dyeing, braiding, felting, interlacement techniques, warp face weaving on an inkle loom, weft face tapestry, and pattern weaving on a shaft loom.  Each week a new technique will be introduced, projects will be developed and individual exploration will be encouraged.

Speaking of a shaft loom, since I am providing all of the equipment, I am on the hunt for as many four shaft table looms as I can find.  I already have a half dozen, the little Structos are perfect for this application, but alas, I only have three of them.  I have three larger four shaft table looms, and I’m in the process of buying a 25″ eight shaft Tools of the Trade table loom to add to my collection.  I need a bigger studio.  But the price was right, and I’ve wanted an eight shaft table loom for a long time.  There exists somewhere in Ohio a 12 shaft version which I’d sell my eye teeth for, but alas the owner isn’t selling…  yet…  I keep crossing my fingers…

So today, I weave, actually no, I will clean my kitchen, shower and dress, do some laundry, and grocery shopping, I do need to pick up an ice cream cake for Brianna.  Then I weave…

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Rosemary Malbin
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Rosemary Malbin

I see why you don’t have time to blog! the redone warp is dy-no-mite!

Syne Mitchell
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Pretty! Thank you for the window into your design process. And happy birthday to Brianna!

Rita Rooney
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Rita Rooney

What a dynamo warp. The scarves will be absolutely awesome. IF you need an additional structo, I have one here, and John will be on his way up to Jersey (again) within a few weeks. He can bring it up and then when Francis Irwin meets in December, if at the Library, you can pick it up or maybe even have John drop it off. Email if you want the little loom. It is a brand new, never been used one, purchased on ebay.

Mary Scott
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Daryl, I can’t believe how fast the children have grown! Please thank those boys for their service to our country! My husband is retired Navy and our youngest son just retired after 22 years in the Army. One of our grandsons is planning to join the Navy after he finishes his associate’s degree in engine mechanics. A belated “Happy birthday!” to Briana. Eighteen is a long time to wait to be considered a safe driver! However, there is a lot of responsibility that goes along with that status stuff . I’ve been meaning to thank you, again, for helping to… Read more »

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