Success!

The weight of the last nine months has been lifted off my shoulders, and no, I didn’t actually give birth, rather metaphorically, I finished the Website Success seminar that I agreed to put together many many months ago.  I struggled with this, because there is so much information, and much of it is rather technical and dry, and I had so much research to do.  I still want to run it by a few more of my technical friends, and tweak it here and there, but the 80 slide presentation is largely finished, well in time for my August preview, and I couldn’t be more relieved.  And I’m happy with it.  Course I wouldn’t do anything I wasn’t happy with, but I’m also proud.  This was a huge stretch for me, and I learned sooooo much, mostly that I haven’t even scratched the surface.  I think of web design a lot like weaving.  Weaving can take a lifetime of study, and there are so many different aspects of it to consider.  You can have momentary beginner’s success with a very simple project that a teacher helps you set up, but no matter how old and experienced you are, there is always more to learn.

Now I can focus on the next fires to put out…

yarnsurpriseMeanwhile, the surprise box of yarn arrived from WEBS.  (see previous post).  This is an enormous amount of yarn for $139. including shipping.  And the large $5. cones of cotton flake in the background are in perfect colors to overdye.

Which brings me to the current weather, which has been positively ghastly.  I am looking for some beautiful sunny days so I can start dyeing some of this yarn I’m sitting on, into some beautiful warps that will keep me busy weaving all winter.  Alas, we saw the sun for about an hour this morning, after yet again another violent thunderstorm.  The forecast for the next couple days says sunny in the 70’s, but I’m not buying it.  We have had dreary cold rain for so many days now I’m rather thinking I’m still in Seattle…

The only good thing about all this rain, is the gardens, which are positively exploding with color and greenery and lush tropical plants (I’m talking rainforest here…)  And of course, not to be completely depressing, there is the explosion of the weed plants as well, those that don’t belong where they are popping up.  So, even though the sun is non existent, I managed to snap a quick couple of shots before it has started to rain again.

gardens1gardens2In the first photo on the left, there is a glimpse of our pool, which so far no one has used because it has been so rainy and cold.  Somewhere in there is a beautiful iron gazebo, completely covered with a canopy of vine-y things.  And all of the rain has made the climbing rose bush in the foreground, shed all its petals like snow.  We have lots of outdoor sculptures, largely because we love to collect art and fine craft, and all the walls and surfaces in the house are completely filled, but there is always room for one more out door tchotchke.  And they never need dusting!

The photo on the right has a lovely sculpture in the foreground, called “Drunken Wheelbarrow”.  (Actually we needed to keep it turned on its side so it wouldn’t collect 84 gallons of rainwater which will breed mosquitos).  Hidden in the back of that photo, under lush vegetation is a sizable pond complex of spillways and waterfalls.  It is a delight to hear the gurgling of the water, the twittering of the birds, and the tones of the Monogolian Windchimes my husband gave me for my birthday.

Oops, I’m posting this quick, violent thunderstorm just struck…

2 Hours later…

I’m back, whew, what a storm.  Anyway, I was commenting on how beautiful our gardens were, the latest storm caused rivers of water down and across the yard.  But usually there is a lovely eco system happening, fish swimming in the ponds, frogs hovering just below the surface or on a lily pad, chipmunks scurrying all around, and birds everywhere.  From the height of the balcony out my bedroom, I zoomed down and captured these two shots.

frogschipmunkIn the shot on the left, there are two frogs hiding, can you spot them?

And this little creature on the right, scurried onto a pathway, covered with drenched rose petals.

briWhen the storm started, my daughter and I quick shut down our computers, and then played around in the studio, waiting for it to pass, tidying up the cutting table which was completely out of control.  One of the piles on the table was the mats from the Placemat Exchange, so we took advantage of no electronics for a couple hours, and we got the hems pressed in.  Bri, my daughter sat and started handsewing, notice that purple is NOT her favorite color, <g> and the gorgeous 34 strand knotted ankle band she is wearing, which she just completed over the weekend.

And finally, I’m making slow progress on the jacket.  I did get one of the sleevesbackshoulder in, and the second pocket, but I’m concerned with the fullness across the back now that one of the sleeves is in, and I’m thinking I need to remove the sleeve, undo the shoulder seam and take out the excessive ease across the back shoulder the pattern called for, and recut the back armhole.  The fabric is giving quite a bit, and I don’t want it that slouchy.

sandstonejacketI love the colors in this fabric.  The green wash is so unusual next to the rust, and it is so textured.  If you are new to my blog, I should mention I wove this fabric, from hand dyed warps, and there is more of a description in a past blog.  The jacket fabric  is called Sandstone Layers, based on one of the palettes from one of my fabric forecasts in Handwoven Magazine, and the fabric hung in the yardage exhibit at Convergence Tampa Bay 2008.  I cut some of the fabric into a window shade, which also hung in a functional textile exhibit in Tampa.  I had just enough left to create this jacket.  So here is what I have so far, I only need another sleeve, and the large belt loops.  (And handworked buttonholes…)

Stay tuned…

Placemat Exchanged!

Grab your coffee, this is going to be a long one!

Wow, what a meeting!  Bri and I attended last night’s last Jockey Hollow Weavers’ meeting for the year.  We start up again in the fall.  We had a lot to accomplish.  There was the stash sale, unload what you no longer want.  There are a number of retiring members of the group, who are de-acquisitioning and moving to smaller digs in a far away location.  Since we have a number of new weavers with paltry stashes, this is always a good thing.  Equipment, yarns, books, and back issues of weaving magazines, all find good homes.

Next there was the Pot-Luck.  Weavers are always terrific cooks.  The food was excellent.  The only group who edges out the handweavers for first place in the pot-luck catagory are the lace makers.  I’m not sure why this is, but suffice it to say, no one went home hungry!

Of course there was the entertaining show and tell, we had the supplemental warp workshop scarves to show off, and we have a couple of outside of the box creative fiber members who never cease to impress me with their energy and creativity.  One member crocheted a spiral rug from plastic grocery bags, and started making curtains by randomly stitching colorful halves of zippers in a haphazard way on a bedsheet.  I love show and tell!

But the highlight was of course, the placemat exchange.  It is always a bit disappointing when not everyone finishes on time, and we had one in the group of 16 who dropped out at the last minute, and one of the guild members graciously stepped in to try and weave her set over the summer.  But no matter, I’m amazed at how many of the participants were new weavers, including my daughter, who wove a set of overshot placemats, this being only their 3rd or 4th project ever.  I’m so excited to see the passion these new weavers throw out into the group, infusing it with youth and creativity, and enthusiasm.  It is sad to see older members retiring and moving away, but happily there is some new fresh talent to keep the guild going.

bri_placematsd_placematsSo here are the results.  Bri was able to get seven of her eight purple placemats, and they are beautiful.  They still need to be washed and hemmed, but she is so excited.  The eighth one is as I understand, on the loom as I write.

I only came home with four, but two more will be exchanged at Monday’s meeting of the Frances Irwin Guild, members of that guild graciously jumped in to give us two groups of 16.  One member dropped out at the last minute, and her mats, picked up by another member, and the mats from the other member who wasn’t finished in time, will be delivered in September.  What a beautiful collection of overshot patterns!

We had a special guest at the meeting, Alison Giachetti, who is a partner in the new Weavolution, a web gathering place for handweavers, which is scheduled to launch next week.  I did some brief alpha testing, and posted some project notes on the site for my Frosted Florals dress, and talked to Alison briefly about moderating a handwoven clothing forum on Weavolution, but that won’t happen immediately.  There is a lot of buzz about this, so stay tuned…

Coffee Break!  Lots to cover today before I leave for Seattle….

I spent the day yesterday tying up loose ends.  I got two pieces of work accepted to the Fiber Celebrated 2009 exhibition, at the Center of  Southwest Studies Gallery at Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO.  The show opens July 27th and runs through September 20, 2009.  So yesterday was the paperwork day, artist statements, technical information, all that had to be back fairly quickly.  I struggled with the artist statement.  The limit was 70 words.  Can you imagine?  I can’t say anything in 70 words.  🙂  My average blog posts are over 1000 words.  I’m already at 647 words in this blog alone!  And I had a lot to say about these two seemingly unrelated pieces of artwork.  So, I’ll just use my blog to tell the story that I couldn’t say in 70 words.

watchingdeathcomewatchingdeathcomedetailThe first piece is one of my small artworks, woven in an inlay style, with strips of silk cut from a digital print on treated fabric.  I’ve blogged about this technique in past posts, just search ‘Big Sister’, and you should find the technical stuff.  I want to talk more about the inspiration.

Many of us have had the privilege of staying with someone, holding their hand, keeping the vigil as we wait for their soul to depart from their old frail, used up body.  In 2006, I had the privilege of the long vigil watching and waiting for my mother in law to pass.  I adored this woman.  She was one of my fiber mentors, and I wrote a piece about our relationship, which you can read, titled Circle of Life.  I was so moved by the grace and beauty of a dying woman, the angle of her head on the pillow, eyes half open, yet not seeing.  I sketched her profile on a small notebook I keep in my purse.  Later I scanned in the sketch, and printed it on silk, cutting the silk apart and reweaving it back together, a metaphor for her life, connecting each row of her profile, until she was whole again.  I titled the piece, Watching Death Come.

steppingstonesteppingstonesdetail The second piece, which seems unrelated, (I entered both the nonfunctional 2D and the Wearables catagories), is actually an extension of Watching Death Come.  After the death of a loved one, there is the awesome and overwhelming job of disposing of a lifetime of collected treasures, household goods, the cleaning up of one’s life.  My mother in law lived to be 99 years old.  It was a long life and she had a stash!

I did my best to merge her fiber stuff with mine, but she was primarily a spinner, and lacemaker, so I have more lace pillows than I know what to do with, as I rarely make lace anymore (can you imagine no time?).  And everytime I opened another box with a Romney Fleece inside (her sheep breed of choice as a spinner), I groaned.  I do spin, and have two wheels, which I also mentioned in a previous blog, but I’ll never get through all these fleeces and don’t really have the desire to…

Enter felting.  Boy is this a great way to use up wool.  OK, I know Romney isn’t the sheep breed of choice among the felters, but it was free, and it was my mother in law’s.  So, I began to carefully card the washed fleeces into individual gallon ziploc bags, layering the thin carded strips of wool.  I wish I had taken photos of this process, it was such a scream felting on my kitchen counter, but alas, I hadn’t started blogging yet, so that didn’t occur to me.  I added hot soapy water to each bag and started the felting process, first rubbing, and then rolling, occasionally heating up the wool in the microwave to aide the felting process.  Since everything was sealed in a ziploc bag, there was no mess.  🙂

I eventually ended up with something like 18 8″ x 10″ rectangles,  in white, of lovely felted Romney.  I took my glass 9 X 12 baker, and put each rectangle in one at a time, sprinkling some powdered Cushing Dyes, random colors, I just grabbed a packet and started sprinkling (yes I was using a filtration mask, outside when I did this), added some salt to the felt which was still wet and soapy from the ziploc bag, and covered it in plastic wrap, venting a corner.

I microwaved it in 2 minute increments, and honestly, I can’t remember how long I did this, I just sort of did it by feel, maybe a total of three 2 minute sets, turning the baker each time, until I thought it sufficiently cooked.  Once I had this riot of colorful felt rectangles dyed, I cut them apart into random shapes and called Bri into the room, who is a master puzzle maker, future geneticist, who sees patterns where no one else does.  I had all the garment sections cut from a fusible knit interfacing, laying out across the table, and let Bri start assembling the pieces in whatever way she liked.

After trimming and fusing the pieces to the backing, I carefully stitched the butted together edges of the cut felt, with a decorative feather stitch on my machine, and where the natural edge of the felt occurred, I used my Janome Expressions needle felting machine to needle felt the overlap.

Then I assembled the jacket, adding a creative buttonhole, and some buttons.  I call the piece Stepping Stones.  Each component in our life, each experience, builds on the next and paves the way for the next part of our lives.  We are all a series of chapters, and no one chapter should be the one that completely defines us.  My mother in law was a lot of things to me and the people who loved her.  She is missed every day, but her stash lives on!

Finally, I shipped out another one of my pieces to Peters Valley Craft Center, for their summer faculty show.  I am scheduled to teach a Fiber Boot Camp, basic fiber techniques, great for those wanting to get into fiber as a medium, learn some of the techniques we all know and love, spinning, felting, kumihimo braiding, tapestry, and inkle loomsurviving_words weaving.  This is a great class for art teachers who want to bring fiber to the classroom.  I’ve taught it a number of times now, last year I had a full class.  I’m not sure if the class is running at this point, the economy has taken its toll on a number of art centers, but the class is suppose to run over the 4th of July weekend, and when it does, I really enjoy being out at the Valley.  They offer a number of fiber workshops, in all disciplines, as well as wood, blacksmithing, metals, clay, photography and related topics.  I’ve supported the Valley for years, and am always happy to send them a faculty piece for the exhibit.surviving_words_detail

So the piece I sent is a collage titled Surviving Words. This is a very personal piece, I collaged together images printed on silk, with themes of breast cancer, I am a survivor, and that chapter in my life, though behind me, and by no means the one that completely defines who I am, is still an important one and only now, are the themes from that chapter showing up in my work.  I glued all the collage components down with gel medium, and once dried, I went back in and stitched all those horrid medical words that defined my life for a year.  It is a celebratory piece, colorful, yet feminine, and I hope it is well received in the exhibit.

Whew, thanks for reading this if you made it to the end.  I think this is my longest post.  I’m off to pack, and hope to blog along the way during my quick mini vacation to Seattle.  Happy weaving, sewing, or whatever it is that gets you up in the morning!

Placemats Finished!

First, let me welcome all the ASG members who have just joined my blog,  following all of my creative escapades.  There has been a flurry of subscriptions for email notices for when I post a new blog, and many of them have signed on after my blog was mentioned in an ASG (American Sewing Guild) posting.  Thanks Marcia Russell from northern California for the mention.  Marcia has written for the ASG publication “Notions”.  For all of you out there who are new to my blog, you may be interested in a podcast I did for Weavecast, about a year and a half ago, though Weavecast is a podcast for handweavers, it crosses over into so many other fiber communities it is worth noting.  I was episode 26, “Sew Your Weaving“, and I approached the podcast, not as a weaver, but more as someone who has sewn for most of her life, and has a lot to share about the body and the spirit and the sewing machine.

After much angst, and frustration, we are finally finished!  A bit of background, for those who are new to my blog.  Exchanges are a fun part of weaving guilds, and they come in many different forms.  Last year, one of my weaving guilds, Jockey Hollow Weavers, which meets the first Wednesday night of the month in Mendham, NJ (Morris County) does an “Exchange” each year, starting it in September, and finishing up in June.  Last year, we did a crackle exchange, crackle is a weave structure, everyone did samples of a specific design in a Crackle structure, and at the end, participants had a notebook of all different designs.

My then 15 year old daughter had just joined the guild, and was anxious to participate.  No matter that she hadn’t really ever woven before, actually correct that, she hadn’t ever set up her own loom before.  There is a difference.  So, being 15, and not knowing how to plan ahead, leaving everything to the last minute, she learned how to wind a warp and set up an 8 shaft crackle the weekend before the exchange was due.  That was last June.  In all fairness, she pulled it off, wove the samples beautifully, and delivered them finished and mounted, and stood before the group explaining her draft and how this was her first warp all on her own.  Everyone, including her mother, was very proud.

Fast forward to September.  My 15 year old enthusiastically raised her hand when a poll was taken to find out who was interested in a  Placemat Exchange for the 2008-2009 guild year.  The theme was “Overshot”, all mats had to be woven in an overshot pattern.  Each participant gave the other participants 2 ounces of 5/2 perle cotton in their pattern color, and all of us chipped in and bought large quantities of 10/2 perle cotton in white for the background.  As it worked out, there were more than eight participants, but not enough for 16 (two groups of eight), so we invited a few members of an adjacent guild, and ended up with two groups of 8 each.  My daughter joined one of the groups, and I joined the other.  So my daughter, Brianna, started the set up, gently prodded by me, during her Winter break last December, and has muddled along, weaving when she could, hampered by school activities, broken warp beams, broken threads, and a major threading error, which she painstakingly took out and re-threaded because in weaving, there is nothing else to do but take it out and re-do it.draft

Bri and I selected the pattern “Dog Tracks” which was from an 18th century weave structure class I took with Barbara Miller in 2000 at Convergence Cincinnati.  I liked the name since Bri works on Saturdays at a local kennel and her clothing looks a lot like muddy dog tracks when she comes home at night.

So those that have been following my blog since lancaster_dogtracksside1January, know I’ve posted a running score, and for the most part, we were steadily neck and neck, I’d weave a mat, and Bri would weave a mat, until Bri got so busy with a major school competitive event (that involved a lot of glitter) that she fell behind.  She was about 10″ from the end of the last placemat, and the warp beam broke again.  I was able to fix it, and Bri finally finished the last mat on Saturday morning, but discovered a mistake about 5 inches back and had to get to the High School for the final production of this all consuming event, so like the kind mother that I am, and wanting to get this bloody thing finished so I could weave all the samples that went along with the drafts for the placemats, I unwove the 5 inches, corrected the mistake,  and finished the mat.  I spent the day today, weaving about fifteen 5″ x 5″ samples, and printing all the drafts for the samples, which will go along with the mat.  The point of an exchange is to have lots of different patterns, having just the finished mats would never satisfy your average weaver, we have to know how it was done.  So there will be a notebook of all the patterns along with all the finished mats.  Each participant will have, if all goes well, 8 different overshot design placemats, all in their pattern color.  Bri chose purple, and I chose a lovely soft celadon green.

knotstexsolvEvery weaver loves to see the knots coming up over the back of the warp beam, this means you’re almost there.  After 12 yards of fine cotton warp, and almost six months of time and gentle prodding of a now 16 year old, this was a welcome sight.  There are two photographs here, the next swing of the beater after I shot the image on the left, the apron rod which holds the knots at the end of the warp, broke clean off the cords holding it to the loom.  The problems I’ve had with this poor loom….  So I turned the loom around, sat down on the floor, my favorite position with this loom, and changed the apron cords to Texsolv, which I’m really hoping will hold for awhile.  Most weavers know about Texsolv, and it is available on rolls through most weaving suppliers.  Not cheap, but it does the job from treadle tie cords to apron cords and heddles better than anything else on the market.

placematsThis is such a cool shot!  I am so excited.  Winding off six months of work to really step back and look at it gives me such satisfaction for a job well done.

I spent the next couple hours, stitching carefully between the mats and cuttingpaperwork them apart, and doing all the paperwork and samples for the drafts (Photo right).   So now we have a huge stack of placemats ready to take to the meeting on Wednesday night.  The next two days will be a whirlwind of getting things done before my mini vacation.  Yep, I’m heading out west!

Continental has a promotion allowing me to fly for double Elite qualifying miles, a great bonus when you are trying to maintain Elite status.  So I decided to hop on a plane on Thursday and head to the other side of the country, specifically Seattle, just for a weekend, to hang with my special fiber buddy Robyn Spady.  We are planning a weekend of fiber adventures, wine, and friendship.  And I get bonus miles too!  Such a deal…

Special Day!

Happy Birthday to Me!  I am 54 today.  It is a lovely day, warm and sunny, slight breeze, I had my breakfast on the deck.  I spent a couple hours this morning vacuuming all the whirligigs off the decks, my girlfriends are coming tonight with sushi and their recorders, and we will all play Baroque trios and eat sushi, and drink Margaritas and life doesn’t get any better than that.  And I spent about a half hour catching up on all the drama of my son’s 19 year old life, feeling really grateful I am 54.  It was lovely to just spend some time listening to his tales of adventure…

I have spent almost 50 of my 54 years living in NJ.  Although I was born in PA, I’d say I pretty much qualify as a Jersey Girl.  Summers down the shore, the pine barrens, and Bruce…  Up until last July, I’d never been to a Bruce Springsteen concert, (he is so New Jersey), as a matter of fact, I’d never been to any rock concert except for a lone Beach Boys concert in High School.  So, last night, I went to my third Bruce Springsteen concert in 9 months.  This one was totally unexpected, when we purchased the tickets for the show last month in Philadelphia, we were originally trying to get tickets for last night’s performance at the Meadowlands.  You may have read about the Ticket Master brouhaha, which is why we ended up in Philadelphia, but after registering a complaint with the state Attorney General, my step sister went into a pool of complainers and through a lottery ended up with two tickets for last night’s performance.

bruce1bruce2OK, I’m not a rock fan, or a Springsteen groupie, I don’t even know any of the words to any of his songs.  But this was an amazing performance.  We were sitting actually behind the stage, in the 26th row, we were so close we could see the sweat flying.  The behind the scenes guitar swaps, sometimes mid-song, and the tuning crew behing the stage, were fascinating, and the drummer, was the 18 year old prodigy son of Max Weinburg, the E Street Band’s regular drummer who is also the drummer for Conan O’Brien and he was tied up on the west Coast doing a taping of the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.  Jay Weinburg, the son, was unbelievable to watch, and we could see the massive band-aids on his fingers.  He never missed a beat, and the playfulness of the band with this youthful member was electrifying.

Onto my creative adventures.

scarves1First of all, I got the scarf warp on, pretty effortlessly with the AVL warping wheel.  And I started to weave one of the scarves.  It doesn’t have the same color clarity of the scarf from Barbara’s warp, but it is definitely more playful and random than I am use to doing.  At least there is a warp on the loom, and I can sit and weave when I’m in the mood!

Speaking of weaving…

Placemat Exchange Score: Mom 8 / Bri 7 1/2…

We are so  close, but poor Bri, she has about 8 more inches to go on the last placemat and…brake

Yep, that’s right, the friction brake drum sheared right off the back beam again.  Oh crap!  So, I have to figure out a second repair, that will get us through the last eight inches of the placemat exchange, and then I’m retiring that beam, and I’ll switch back to the original sectional beam that came with the loom.  It is a bigger ’round, and much sturdier built beam, and I never had a problem with it the whole 25 years I owned the loom.  This standard warp beam is a complete other story…

sandstone_layersAnd I’m making slow progress on the Sandstone Layers Jacket.  I have the fronts up on the form, there is a funky pleat across the lower right front, which I’m still not sure I like, I’ll wait until pockets and belt looms are on before making my final call, and I’m pretty close to deciding on the seam finish for the center back seam.  I’m liking the Hong Kong finish, the rest of the seams get topstitched, but not this one.sandstone_layers_detail

So, it is lunch time, and I’ll putter today, enjoying my special day, I’ve had all sorts of texts, invitations, and phone calls from friends and family who are very near and dear to my heart.  Thanks all for your happy best wishes for the day!

And for Something Completely Different…

Well, I accomplished a lot today, none of the things I was actually suppose to do,  I got distracted…

I did get the scholarship applications judged, that was a tough one, all the students were equally qualified.  I’m glad I wasn’t the only judge.  And I did spent a few hours getting all the work caught up for my guild programs for next year.  But that was yesterday.  You see, last Friday night, my church had a service auction, and I donated one of the scarves I made in Barbara Herbster’s class the week before,scarves and to my great surprise, there was some furious bidding, and the scarf actually sold for $135.  I talked to the woman who bought it afterward and she told me she was prepared to go to $200.  So thanks Barbara, for a beautiful warp, but it really got me thinking…  And thinking…. And thinking…

Sidebar:  I did craft fairs from 1979 – 1989.  I’ve been there, and done that.  I have such a distaste for the whole affair, total burn out.  I enjoyed the people, and the lifestyle, for awhile, but making stuff, lots of stuff, to sell, putting a price tag on creativity, trying to figure out the market, spending every weekend of your life sitting in your booth selling your soul, well, let’s just say that I swore, no matter what happened in the future, I’d never, ever do a craft fair again….  And I also said, I’d never, ever, ever sell my work again, put a price tag on it, and some of that is sort of understandable because what I do best is clothing, and once I make a garment now, I’m largely done with it, and it is nearly impossible to reproduce what I make, even if someone where to pay me handsomely for it.  Making handwoven clothing in production is no picnic, which is what I did for 10 years, I bought huge amounts of yarn wholesale, put on no less than 30 yards at a time, (weaving  it off in one day),  spent huge amounts of money on booth fees, spent ridiculous hours making stuff to sell, filling orders, running a business, and everything else that goes along with that lifestyle.  I had no life.

However, I was so enchanted with the scarves I made in Barbara’s class, mostly because she opened up a new way to look at color and blending, and using small amounts of whatever is on  the shelf to make it work, which Barbara really does do best, and I got to thinking, really thinking…

sandstone_cutoutSo I basically got the jacket cut out, because it was laying across my floor and I couldn’t walk in my studio until I got it cut out and off the floor.  I got all the tailor’s tacks in, and played around with interfacing.  I also experimented with seam finishes and couchingtopstitching.  I tried couching with a novelty warp yarn, and it really does define the seams.  And I’m hoping it is pretty flexible.

But the whole time, I’m thinking, thinking…

So, I finally gave up, and started poking around the studio, pulling yarns and skeins, and cones, and bits of stuff, because you really don’t need much here, to put on a warp for another round of scarves.yarn Oh boy was this fun…

So I stared at the pile for awhile, and played around with a draft, and wrapped a card to see if I could get a clue how this would look.  Barbara just grabs yarn and starts winding.  I’m not nearly that confident, but I can see how after awhile, this would be a great way to warp, and I can see doing this for yardage…

I had a number of variegated yarns, and some novelties, but the wrapone thing I didn’t have was any of the flat tape yarns that Barbara used for the supplemental warp.  I didn’t want to duplicate the scarf I did in Barbara’s class, after all, that was her design, but I liked the idea of having supplemental warps in some key places, and I actually found a small swatch of a knitted tape, which I carefully unknitted tapeand washed, and then painstakingly pressed to get it to return to its flattened state.  I had about 14 yards, which would work for this warp.

I’m also intrigued by the possibility of combining doup leno with this technique, to provide even more surface texture, but I’ll experiment with that down the road…  At this point, it is about getting something on the loom…

So, I grabbed my AVL warping wheel, I figured this would be a avl_wheelperfect use for it, because I’d be unloading it onto a sectional beam.  So I could wind the warps as I had them on the card, and then every two inches, dump the warp under tension right onto the warp beam.  I love this tool, it is a shame it is so expensive.  I bought mine at a long ago Convergence when AVL first introduced it, at about half the price it is now.  I remember waiting 9 months for it to come…

beamingOnce I finished winding two inches, I carried the wheel over to the loom, and slipped the end of the 9 yard warp over the back beam and hitched it to the cord for the section I  wanted to wind on the warp beam.beaming_2

I love this tool!

So, I have 2″ beamed in my 6″ scarf warp, and this will ultimately give me four scarves, and if I like them I can

  1. give them away
  2. add all four of them to my wardrobe
  3. sew all four together into a bigger cloth and make a garment out of them
  4. have a big ‘show and tell’ at my guild
  5. give them away
  6. donate them all to my church
  7. I’m running out of ideas
  8. OK, I could actually sell them.

My guild, the Jockey Hollow Weavers,  has a fabulous sale in November.  So far I haven’t participated because, gee, I refuse to sell my work.  So, depending on how these turn out, I just might actually have something to sell this placemats1year.  Stay tuned…

Meanwhile, the placemat exchange is coming down to the wire…

Score:  Mom 7, Bri 6

Bri came into the studio tonight, and sat down and did another mat.  The front beam is groaning under the weight of the 13 mats, it is a pretty small loom, and this is the one where the warp beam cracked, so I’m crossing my finger that the front beam holds as well.  After Bri finished her mat, she had about a half hour to kill while she was waiting to leave for the High School, the spring band/choral concert was tonight.  So she grabbed my camera, and shot some pictures of her latest obsession, finger braiding.  She is making all kinds of bracelets from floss, which she keeps in a box and whenever she gets bored, the box comes out and the braiding begins.  I had to share some of the patterns she has done, these adorn her wrists at the moment, and she had to photograph them on her wrists since she can’t get them off.

bri-fingerweavingbri-fingerweaving2So there you have it, a productive day for the two of us, and one of the best High School concerts I’ve ever attended.  I didn’t work on anything I was suppose to, but you know what?  I had fun…

One more note:

I did spend a couple hours this morning alpha testing the new Weavolution site.  It isn’t up for viewing yet, but this should be an awesome web connection for handweavers of all levels and disciplines, Tien Chiu is one of the principal designers for it, and coincidently her blog is one of my favorite must reads.  She talks about the site on her blog today, and the team was mentioned in the last Weavecast Podcast.  One of the features I’m playing with on this new site, is the ability to post a project, and the draft and all the specs.  I got to thinking how I should be doing that with the pieces I’ve designed and executed since I started this blog.  I’ve been thinking about that anyway, extracting all the entries for a particular piece into one document, with the draft and yarn sources, and providing it as a PDF in the extras section of my website.  But for now, I spent some time playing with the Weavolution site, some of the early bugs are getting fixed, as we find them, but it is yet another opportunity to spend your days reading about weaving and getting inspired to get something on that loom, or if you haven’t joined the ranks of handweavers in this country, this will surely inspire you.  I’ll keep you posted when Weavolution is finally launched…