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 appliquĂ© 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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March 12, 2022 11:21 pm

You said it right; life can never keep a good weaver down! In the words of Rocky Balboa; It isn’t how you hit back at life, it’s about how many blows you can take and keep getting back up! Just keep getting back up.

Jane Brennan
March 13, 2022 7:14 am

Hi Daryl, long time no see. 🙂 Painting, weaving, all works of art. Remember to use your reference to get you started, then put it aside and do what the piece needs. Your sense of humor always make me smile, miss you (and Peters Valley lol). This piece is beautiful! Stay well.

March 13, 2022 9:49 am

Yes, PLEASE write that article about combining structures…your fabric is inspiring. Thank you for sharing your inspiration and struggles.

Ruth Ellen
Ruth Ellen
March 13, 2022 10:11 am

Wow. Just wow. The colors make me happy too and the cloth is gorgeous!! You are such an inspiration… tenacity and drive are admirable characteristics that I believe serve you in particular and many of us well. So onward! Thanks for the post!

ps. Next time your daughter travels maybe invite a friend to stay. Diversion for dogs and playmate for you?

March 13, 2022 10:12 am

Combining structures? Absolutely.
As for the rest- yes, the world is huge and heavy, but your bringing things down to your world, well, that I can handle. Can’t help much of the world, or even you, living far away, but just to walk in your weaving (and pet) shoes awhile, that is a good and helpful thing.
Thank you for the color therapy.

March 13, 2022 10:26 am

I had shoulder issues and had to give up weaving for several months with 3 looms previously dressed. I did recover after what seemed like years but was not quite 8 months. I renewed my knitting projects sitting with the yarn and knitting in my lap. My empathy for your issues is great. You will get over this…but don’t push it. This will be a bad memory soon. Meanwhile your warp is too beautiful to just sit there. One stip at a time…and for goodness sakes, stop when the pain starts. (Sound like a mother)

Linda Morehouse
Linda Morehouse
March 13, 2022 2:29 pm

First of all, I am having physical issues which keep preventing me from doing what I want so this post was soooo encouraging! I have tendonitis in my left wrist; I need my left shoulder replaced, (the right one has already been replaced), and I am developing intermittent tremors in my left hand. I am going to print and frame this post on the wall in my weaving room! Onward! Second, the colors and structures, and stripes for this piece are awesome. Yes, please do a post on combining structures! Third, that jacket – oooooo! Please do a pattern with… Read more »

Rose Sires
Rose Sires
March 13, 2022 5:37 pm

Your amazing Daryl!! Love the photo of your assistant while threading. The colors are outrageous and I can’t wait to see the finished cloth. I forget when you broke your shoulder, but please be careful, you don’t want to go backward it’s depressing and I’m speaking from experience. At least your icing!! That definitely helps with the pain. Thinking of you and the hell with what’s going on, I don’t even turn the TV on anymore except to watch things I’ve recorded.

Sharon Allworth
Sharon Allworth
March 13, 2022 7:00 pm

You’re right – the colors are gorgeous. And, you’re an inspiration.

Meg Wilson
March 13, 2022 8:27 pm

Your photographs are so good, always. They are a credit to your weaving but show your process so well also. Showed this to Fred, who has a phrase for us fiberholics, “You People” or You F*****g People” when he is yet again floored by the talent and skill exhibited within our world. And the persistence. Yes, he has our number! Love the multicolor, multi pattern weave and the jacket just thrills me. I hope it is going on a runway somewhere!

Jamie J LaMoreaux
Jamie J LaMoreaux
March 14, 2022 11:54 am

What your daughter caught, was ‘con crud’ a gift you get at a lot of cons. I worked the original Star Trek Cruise way back in 1987. it was a lot of fun. I worked for a dealer in the vendor room. I hope she’s feeling better now and had a terrific time on the cruise.

Elizabeth Bryan
Elizabeth Bryan
March 14, 2022 3:00 pm

Oh my! Daryl, that is quite the journey. Sending hugs. But even injured you are still the busiest person I know. Take care. And that is some gorgeous fabric!!!!

Erni Bolduc
Erni Bolduc
March 23, 2022 12:16 am

Wishing you well! Wonderful intriguing fabric.

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