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…
Picture me amazed.
Bloom bloom bloom she shall! What a terrific post. Thanks for sharing!
If you’re like me you will also immediately need to read this!
Did you make your wedding dress?
Actually, I did not make my wedding dress, my mother did, and my mother in law made the 12 yards of bobbin lace to trim the neck and sleeve ruffles.
Thank you! You have inspired me to take my new Leclerc 15 1/2” loom to my deck when the weather warms up. Maybe weave or maybe just sit and enjoy the possibilities.
I love your ability to have fun with your weaving and everything you do! I’m sure you wish to spend time with your dear husband on this your anniversary. What a wonderful tribute and gift to have your lovely cherry tree bloom each year for you. I always look forward to reading your blog and keeping updated on all you are doing and listening to interviews and things. Keep having fun! Much love for today.
My neighbour has a dwarf cherry that blossoms for her daughter’s birthday, that being why they planted it. It’s a lovely idea. I was married in October….
HI Daryl, it was so wonderful to listen to you on Textiles and Tea. I am a cloth and cushion weaver and not into sewing, but I find your weaving inspirational.