Life has its ups and downs…

This has been a challenging week, oddly stressful, but also successful. I’m trying to find the balance and some gratitude, things could have been so much worse…

If you follow me on Facebook, and I post most things public, since I’m inundated with friend requests that are very suspicious, (I’m rarely accepting new friends), I posted over the weekend the joyous feeling of seeing the knots appear on the back of the loom. Lots of you responded with glee, with questions, with comments, and with support. That’s Facebook at its best.

I had considerable annoyances at the end, like anyone weaving anything, that last yard…

I had visitors…

I ran out of a couple of the three dozen yarns I was rotating through, forcing me to try to quickly dye a few dozen yards to get me to the end, and I did a head scratch to figure out why since I had calculated so carefully, and I’m pretty accurate. What I didn’t count on was stupidity… Yeah I know…

So this fabric is a repeat across the warp of three distinct color blocks, A – B – C – B – A – B – C – B – A. Simple enough. So I draft this with weaving software, to Weave as Drawn in, including the colors. So far so good. Except that when you weave a specific repeat, you always leave off the last pick, or block or whatever so that the structure just continues. Like a repeat of A, B, C, B,… Repeat. Unfortunately I did all my calculations on the warp repeat, meaning I had two block A’s together and I figured that out almost immediately that I had to knock out the last A when treadling. Except that I had calculated on more A blocks than I needed, leaving less yarn for the B and C blocks than I needed. It was a dumb mistake, but fortunately I’m resourceful and I have lots of things I can squeeze in as a substitute and it is yardage which will eventually get cut up and you will never know… Unless I point something out. And you won’t hear it from me…

OK, I’ll admit, I did something I know is probably risky. Each of the different color blocks was a different group of protein yarns that I knew would probably behave differently when washed. But I’m a risk taker and love the challenge of figuring it all out in the end. The color blocks C, of which their are two across the warp, were probably some alpaca/silk that didn’t really shrink the way the other blocks did in the wash. So sadly, those color blocks, running the warp and the weft, are bubbling up in an interesting seersucker effect, not what I was going for. After pressing it is still a problem and I’m busy figuring how to get out of this one. Never fear… This is stuff I live for…

Meanwhile, I finished a series of videos on my YouTube channel, The Weaver Sews, on how to construct my 800 Zippered Vest, and created two of them with slightly different variations, the white one has side vents. I finished them on Sunday. I took some photos today and stuck them in the closet. Winter is coming. I want to say how much I love making this particular vest pattern. It is like a puzzle and all the pieces end up fitting together nicely.

The blue 800 Zippered Vest is from the scrap I found in the attic of an old piece I featured in one of my Monday mini videos on my Arctic Sky Jacket.

Arctic Sky Jacket circa 2009

The trim is a piece of Wool Bubble Crepe. I put welt pockets in, which is an add on to my patterns.

The white vest has a more interesting story. My late mother in law died at 99 about 15 years ago. She was a weaver, spinner, lacemaker and one of my best friends. I cleaned out all of her things, and absorbed all her craft supplies, including this handspun (I believe), wool twill skirt she wove back in the day, and assembled it completely by hand.

It really didn’t fit me and wasn’t my style but I really appreciated the piece and held on to it. I thought I had enough to make an 800 Zippered Vest, and carefully laid everything out.

I needed some pretty lining that would serve as the seam finish, which was part of the video how to’s, and found a vintage wool square, designed to be a shawl but never hemmed, in glorious fall colors that was from my mom’s stash when she sold the house I grew up in in 1987. I inherited a lot of her stash as well. This is just the softest wool challis, in a beautiful color and I was able to squeeze out what I needed to line, seam finish, and create bias for the perimeter trim.

Since a number of my students insisted that I create side vents in this vest, I added that to the video on sewing the perimeter binding, mitering the corners, etc. That video dropped last week.

All good right? Well that was Sunday. While I was finishing up the plaid warp, we had a hurricane outside. In the northern part of NJ where I live, we were on the outer fringes of “the cone”, so no wind or major issues, just a really pretty steady rain.

It kept raining…

Monday morning I got up but really struggled to get out of bed. I had been more tired than usual, actually falling asleep in the middle of a couple of Zoom lectures. I headed to the sewing room in the basement and started designing a summer top I think I want to use for the next round of videos.

I looked down at the industrial mats on the floor and was surprised to find wet foot prints… Yeah, I took water in the basement and hadn’t realized it. It is exceptionally unusual for me to take water, but not impossible. I yelled for my daughter, we worked like crazy people trying to get mats up and outside to try to scrub with the hose, up on the balcony, dodging more rain, and on my way into the house for some cleaner, I slipped and went down on the deck. The good news is no damage to my person, I was really lucky, it could have been a lot worse. So I scrubbed mats, and scrubbed the deck, and got more exhausted by the minute. I was not in a good mood and felt lousy. And a chunk of my town was now flooded and still is.

There was no damage in the basement, and in fact I had designed the space with the contingency that I might actually some day take water, so everything is up off the ground and we let everything dry out for a day. I installed an expensive air purifier, which I needed anyway, and I thought Tuesday that all would be well.

I had developed a headache over the weekend, concentrating very hard on the fabric, trying different glasses that would keep me from squinting, my progressives don’t always have the right focal length in the right place. By Monday I was having real pain in the right side of my face. I had seen the doctor the week before for an unexplained rash and swelling under my eye, and she put me on an antibiotic just in case. Things got worse. I saw my dentist Monday afternoon, still wet from the basement adventures, and he ruled out any tooth that could be causing the face pain. I called the doctor back and she wanted me to immediately go in to see an ophthalmologist to rule out anything with my eye. So long story short, I have shingles… Yeah, not what I expected in a million years. And no, I never got the vaccine because every time I thought to, I was going to be traveling and didn’t want to deal with side effects, and when I finally had a block of time back in 2019, the vaccine was in short supply. I couldn’t get it. 2020 I wasn’t going out in public for any reason. So no, I didn’t get the vaccine, for shingles anyway.

So antiviral meds are a wonderful thing. I feel almost normal today, and was able to put in a full day, mostly paperwork, the kind of stuff that would put me to sleep… I have students coming in next week to study privately, and I follow that immediately with a basketry workshop at Peters Valley School of Craft. And Brianna heads up to MA to visit an old college roommate who is holding loom number 39, a 4 shaft Structo in beautiful condition, picked up in a thrift store. It is going to be a busy few weeks, so I decided to put the YouTube channel on hiatus for those few weeks. I’ll be back, I have a lot of videos still to shoot, but I need to spend time on some catch up and designing a couple of new garments for the next set of videos.

This has been a challenging week, both national, international news, heartbreaking for someone who lived through the Vietnam war and has a son in the military and has gone through two deployments. My stress level is higher than I would have liked going into this part of my retirement. But things on a personal front could have been so much worse. I escaped relatively unscathed through this latest hurricane, I’ll take a little water in my basement. And I escaped health wise with a mild form of shingles which antivirals took care of promptly. I’ll be fine. Meanwhile I’m busy thinking… always thinking… stay tuned…

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Deborah A Chiarucci
Deborah A Chiarucci
August 25, 2021 11:49 pm

The vest from your MIL’s skirt is lovely. And the lining! Please send the rain to the west coast, and slow down! Turn off the news, grab a good book (Louise Penny’s latest?) and a cup of hot chamomile tea. I am so glad you caught the shingles early.

Judith
Judith
August 26, 2021 12:25 am

Feel for you with the shingles…..had them 3 times in the old days. The vests are fantastic. I look forward to a new garment designed around ‘bubbles’.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
August 26, 2021 12:30 am

Hope you are feeling better and so thankful the fall was not worse.look after your self and thankyou for taking the time to write your blogs and film your videos

Carmella Crandell
August 26, 2021 5:45 am

You always amaze me with your activities! I don’t comment often but thoroughly enjoy your adventures. You know how to keep things in perspective! I needed that today as I’m recovering from a thyroidectomy on Monday and am a bit miserable. Hopefully the shingles vaccine works for me, I had both types, and it is an opportunistic virus that likes to attack when we are under physical stress. Will try to keep my feet dry as lots of rain is expected in northern Wisconsin in the next three days.???

Elizabeth Bryan
August 26, 2021 12:23 pm

Goodness! I almost always have to exhale after reading your blog – I get so emotionally invested! I am sorry for all of those things but glad your shingles are under control. I really have to get up the nerve to try the 800 Vest on my own. I know, I know – I can watch the videos. I can’t wait to see what basket you make :)Take care Daryl!

Michaela
Michaela
August 27, 2021 9:01 am

Hope you are feeling better. This is my first time reading your blog, I had your class at Haywood a few years ago. Love that vest pattern

Dayamitra
Dayamitra
August 28, 2021 4:53 pm

Take care, Daryl. Stress is a bugger! YouTube videos can wait till you feel better.
I love everything you do! I am hoping I can develop more confidence and learn to sew my own clothes from my hand woven cloth in the future. Scarves and hand towels can only get you so far. I’d be happy if only to wear my own tops at home.
Thank you for all the inspiration you give to me and get well.

Susan Dunne-Lederhaas
Susan Dunne-Lederhaas
August 30, 2021 9:58 am

Holy Cow! Shingles are horrid..So pleased you were put on anti virals right away..