The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star system Sirius (known colloquially as the “Dog Star”), which Hellenistic astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. They are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. -Wikipedia
Hahahah! Yes, it is summer, and yes there are sudden thunderstorms, this is July in New Jersey. I’ve had just a few visits to the basement with all the animals as they quake in terror at the thunderboomers, but that’s July in NJ. I’m not experiencing lethargy, but a gentler period in my life, where there are some fun things on the calendar, (we just saw the Barbie movie last night!) but mostly my days are figuring out what to do with all the produce from my garden, weaving off my many many looms, visiting with friends, and staying inside where it is air conditioned. We haven’t had the extreme heat of the southwest, but it is July in NJ, and temps in the 90’s are part of the deal. I’ll take it
I’m a methodical worker. Slowly but surely long term projects are completed with dogged determination an hour or so at a time. I finished the 144 slide presentation on my trip to Japan, and already have two guilds who want me to show it. I’m happy to share the experience, my only thought is how am I going to cull 144 slides to a reasonable amount to show in a 1 hour guild presentation…
Here are some more images…
Meanwhile, Handwoven magazine, (I used to be their features editor back in the day) asked me to record a podcast, they are in season 7 now of the Long Thread Podcast. Long Thread Media now owns Handwoven Magazine. So last week, I had the most lovely chat with Anne Merrow, co-founder and Editorial Director of Long Thread Media, and midnight Saturday, the episode launched. Listen to it here.
It was fun to revisit some of the articles I wrote for them over 35 issues.
I’ve mentioned in past blogs that I joined an early music group, where I play bass recorder. We have frequent concerts, and I get to dress up and play cool music. We had a lovely outdoor concert at a historical site in Northern NJ, out on the lawn, during a Revolutionary War Reenactment day. We played all kinds of 18th century marches and colonial period music. One of the recorder player’s wife took this photo of her husband and me. I was also the commentator for the show, challenging juggling a microphone and a bass, in the 95 degree heat!
I know the costume isn’t 18th century, but for an hour on the lawn, my Folkwear pattern Walking Skirt and Gibson Girl blouse would have to do. I started making the silk cap years ago at a workshop in a reenactment conference, and never finished it. Found it in a basket of UFO’s. So I did finish it and it protected me from the sun and at least gave my costume some authenticity.
I am methodically working through the looms in the studios, weaving an hour or so a day, clearing looms, but leaving the finished cloth on them, so they don’t look so naked.
I talked about finishing the mohair yardage in my last post, but I’ve since finished the 10-yard ice-dyed Crackle warp, and the 8-yard combination structures on 8-shafts from my hand dyed yarns.
And then there is this project… I’ve mentioned it before I think in a blog post from April 7th, 2023. This is a Webs Complete Kitchen and Dining Set, 4 Summer/Winter placemats, 4 plain weave napkins and Summer/Winter runner, all on 6 shafts. I posted this photo talking about it. I was admiring the photo and looked more carefully and immediately saw that the last couple of picks were in error.
Those were easy to fix. But on closer inspection, and looking carefully at the warp in front of me on the loom, I realized that the pattern wasn’t weaving square, especially in the beginning, and this was pretty important for such a lengthy project. Whatever I did, I had to replicate throughout this warp, and it was clearly wrong to start with. I spent a week trying to decide what to do. In the end, I took out the half mat I had woven and started over, adding a temple, which the original directions called for, which I despise using, but when someone else designs a project, you really need to follow someone else’s directions if you want the same results. In addition, I was able to switch the doubled 8/2 pattern thread to a doubled 10/2, slightly thinner, and I was able to get a perfectly square beat without much fuss.
So I continued along, through the four placemats, through the four napkins and on to the runner, which they suggest to weave last, so you can adjust length based on how much warp was left.
I posted a photo of my progress last night, on Facebook, very proud that I was nearing the end. I was about half way through the runner when I noticed some comments coming in and I picked up my phone to read them. I scrolled back up to the photo and as I was admiring it, to my complete horror I saw an error, some 2 feet at this point, back at the beginning of the runner. There are no words…
Here is the photo I originally posted…
I’ve indicated the error with an arrow.
Somehow, transitioning back to the Summer/Winter pattern from the plain weave napkins, which had a different type of header, I failed to put in the header for the Summer/Winter runner. There was only a 1/2″ seam allowance turn under from Sewing Thread. I was appalled at the stupidity and right away decided I was not ripping out two feet of Summer/Winter runner. I played out all sorts of scenarios in my head, very disappointed at my stupidity, and then it hit me. I’ve dealt with situations like this in sewing. Unfortunately a lot, especially when commercial patterns are incorrect. I know how to add an invisible false hem, and I already had a built in seam allowance to attach it to.
So I finished the runner, with plenty of warp left. And I wove an additional piece that will act as a false hem… I didn’t feel quite as stupid…
Meanwhile, I got hearing aids on Thursday. The entire world opened up. I don’t really have a hearing loss, my hearing issues have been lifelong, more processing issues, if there is any peripheral noise, I don’t understand conversation and can’t can’t process words to music, dinner table discussions, etc. I’d been told over the years that hearing aids really wouldn’t help my situation. I recently went for a hearing test, which showed very minor age related loss, but the technology has changed immensely for hearing aids, which apparently are using AI now, in some higher end models, and so, $6,000 later I have some incredible technology stuck in my ears and the entire world is brighter and the clarity in conversations is just awesome.
Meanwhile, I wrote a script for a Studio Tour I’ve been wanting to do, since October of 2020, when I was asked to participate in HGA’s Spinning and Weaving week. The original tour was recorded on Zoom, clarity is challenging in a Zoom recording, but it was never made available after the Spinning and Weaving Week was over, and I’ve had a lot of guilds ask if there was any way they could show it.
Now that all the looms are warped, I thought it a good time to record the studios at this time in my life, but my security and tech support guy thought it unwise to just post it on YouTube for anybody to view. He is right. So we shot the tour last weekend, with a separate audio track, and now it is all in the hands of my daughter, when she can fit into her schedule a massive editing and merging many many pieces. My goal now is to offer it as a guild lecture, for a nominal donation to the HGA Fiber Trust. Since this whole thing was their idea in the first place. I’ll let you know when this becomes a reality. It will be a YouTube video, but with restricted access.
So that’s my summer so far, I’m heading down to the kitchen to make some hummus for lunch, and put on a pot of tomato sauce, since I have a large bucket of tomatoes from the garden. I’ll come back up after lunch and add all the photos and links.