It’s been years since I got ready for a show.  I did craft fairs for ten years, that was a long time ago, and I’ve blogged ad nauseum about how I never wanted to sell my work again, and how I’m trying to overcome my need to hold on to everything I make, and how I might need it as a teaching tool, and well I could waste the whole blog on all my woes about my years of selling and how burned out I got.

So fast forward…  I have too much stuff I’ve made, and no where to put it.  The airlines are restricting my luggage so badly, that I have to basically travel with nothing when I teach, and all these wonderful teaching pieces are now in photos and in PowerPoint presentations.  I don’t wear most of what I make, or I wear it once for a fashion show, and exhibit it a few times, and that’s it.  The pieces sit in cleaner bags in my closet, taking up valuable space.  (I actually don’t have the lifestyle to wear and use all of what I make…)

So, with a critical eye, I’ve started to gather pieces that I think I might actually want to part with if someone really wanted to buy them.  I’m not convinced that will ever happen, someone wanting to buy something I made isn’t something I’ve come to grips with, largely because a) I’m not in production anymore, I’m not buying in bulk and raw materials are expensive, b)I’m not interesting in making things in an inexpensive way, if I want to spend two days carefully edging the binding on a tote bag with couched yarn, well I’m gonna do that.  Too bad if the tote is $300. c) I’m personally too cheap to buy anything that isn’t on sale for 50% off the lowest sale price or I have a 30% coupon at Kohl’s.  I wouldn’t buy my work (because it is too expensive) so it is odd to me that anyone else might…

But I digress.  This isn’t about selling my work, it is about making the commitment to tag and bring my work to the guild sale. In order to do that, I have to properly photograph everything I’ve done recently that hasn’t already been properly photographed.  Blog shots don’t count.  Because if I actually did manage to find someone who wanted one of my pieces badly enough to pay good money for it, I’d never see it again, and if I don’t have a proper photo of it, I can’t even use it for a teaching tool.  In my “Photographing Your Work” Monograph, I believe the first slide in the presentation says,

I’ve gotten into trouble before not following my own advice…   🙂
The_MessToday is photographing day, which means I try to take my tiny weaving studio and turn it into a tiny photography studio, and since I’m doing small things, I need the table top set up, which means there is shit stuff all over the place.  🙂  It is really hard for me to work in this chaos, which is why I am blogging at the moment and not photographing like I should be, because I needed to just look at a computer screen for 45 minutes and not my studio.photographing
I’ve turned my cutting table into a photo area, and I climb up and over and under and around to get the shot I need, crawling around lights, cords, shit stuff on the floor.  I can’t get out of my own way.  But I’m slowly working through the pile.  And the images are coming out well.  I have a list of 33 items, and I took all of yesterday to figure out how to work the computerized forms that the guild set up, which will generate inventory/price tags for each item on the inventory sheet.  It’s a mail merge thing done between Excel and Word, and I’ve never done anything like that before, so there was a lot of tweaking and hair ripping.
labelingOnce I’ve gotten a good photo of the piece, I carefully tag it with my own labels, and the inventory tag, and then bag it into one of those very large, no, jumbo, Ziploc see- thru bags with handles, that every fiber enthusiast on the planet has purchased by the industrial case!  bagging
At the moment I am working on inventory item #7, and there are 33 items on the sheet.  Many of the items, especially the garments, are already photographed so I’m hoping they go a lot quicker.  I only have tonight and tomorrow…
I have received a few comments about the Structo Loom I’m working with, there are apparently others who are looking to repair old Structo’s or add heddles, and I did another Internet search yesterday and found that Texsolv heddles do indeed come in 6 1/8″ length’s and they should fit on the heddle bars which would be a perfect solution to the non available heddles that plague Structo owners.  I called Halcyon Yarn, and spoke with Susan yesterday morning, and had her StructoCollapsedmeasure the heddles in the warehouse, and it looks like they might work.  So I ordered 400.  They were shipped today and I should be able to play with them next week.  However, the remaining partsparts I have from the two Structo looms I started with are not enough to make a second loom.  Specifically I’m missing the rods that hold the beater assembly together.  They are small rods, with threads at the ends to hold a wing nut or a bolt at each end.
With 400 heddles coming, I want to be able to get the loom to actually work next week, and my husband is flying to Israel on Saturday to do some consulting work for Palestine Telephone.  So I asked him about the threaded rods.  Which prompted the following discussion when he wandered into my studio…
Kevin: “What’s this for?” (As he is fingering the small Allen wrench in a baggie on my loom bench)
Me: “Actually it is for the tension adjuster for my small AVL end-feed shuttle (you don’t have to know what this is to appreciate this story…), but I’m so mad I could spit.”
Kevin: “Why?” (He is a man of little words…)
AVL_shuttleMe: “I tried using my 20 year old shuttle with 10/2 tencel which is too fine for the tension the way it is set, and I found the original allen wrench that came with the shuttle, (be impressed, it has been in storage for 20 years and I put my finger on it in 45 seconds) and alas, the shuttle is actually defective.  The whole thread carrying mechanism wasn’t installed right, because the set screw for the allen wrench is off just enough that the allen wrench doesn’t engage when you stick it in the little hole.  I can’t return a shuttle that is 20 years old and this is the first I’ve noticed the problem…”
AVL_shuttle2He takes the shuttle and looks in the light and verifies what I’m talking about.  I felt sort of smug that he couldn’t fix it either. Then he turns the shuttle over to the back side and sticks the allen wrench in the rear hole, which I failed to notice was there, having owned the shuttle for 20 years, and he adjusts the tension.
So now I know where my daughter gets her amazing ability to just waltz by my studio, assess the situation in 30 seconds and throw out the solution on her way down the hall.  I hate when my whole family is smarter than me.
KevinBack to the Structo.  So, now my husband looks at the rod I need for the Structo repair, and says, oh, you can get a rod that is threaded the entire length and then you can just cut it to the length you need.  And he disappears.
He reappears with the threaded rods I need.  ?!?!?!?
Me: “Where the hell heck did you find them?”
Kevin: “I saved the threaded rods from the attic stairs when we pulled them out to replace them.  Thought they might come in handy…”  beater repaired
OK, now I’m rolling my eyes and taking back all the crummy things I’ve said/written/complained about my husband and his champion pack rat status.  We replaced those stairs a couple of years ago.  And he knew exactly where in our junk hole of a garage the rods were stored.  A size 6 rod, 32 threads to the inch, 12″ long will fit through the drilled holes on the beater assembly.  He continued to tinker around, and within about 10 minutes he had the beater back together.  All I have to do now is add the heddles when they come in next week, and make an apron for the back hex beam.  And I’ll have another working  4 shaft sample loom.
I love my husband… (But I still can’t stand all the piles of shit stuff all over the house…)

Tying Loose Ends…

I am in the middle of entirely too many projects, and that just makes me want to smile.  My ADD self just loves to flit from one thing to another, and it makes me want to jump out of bed early in the morning to get cracking…

vestSo here is a run down…

First, I needed to finish the remaining handwork on the vest I made a couple of weeks ago from an alpaca throw I wove, circa 1980?  I love how the triangular buttonholes came out, and I know I’ll enjoy wearing this vest.  Plus I needed the sample for the workshop this weekend.

I finished the upholstery on the chair last night, I just have to bang in all the tacks and trim the fabric.  rockerI am so loving the way this rocker looks.  Meanwhile,  I ended up sampling the braid I started weaving on the inkle loom, trying different weight wefts, to see if I could get a bit sturdier braid.sampler

The original weft for the braid was a 5/2 perle cotton, and the braid was a little bit too flexible for use in upholstery.  I tried using three strands of rayon, and then I tried dark brown handspun, and finally I tried two strands of 3/2 perle cotton.  I played around with how they looked on the chair, after I wove off the whole two yard warp.

Oddly enough, I ended up liking the original braid best, but decided to actually weave the next two yards with a single strand of 3/2 perle cotton and I’m thinking that this braid will be perfect.  And it is weaving up really quickly.inkle_braidbraid I like the spacing of the little diamonds better in the latest version which is on the loom on the left.  The “seeds” are a bit plumper…

So here is one of the original samples of the braid on the actual chair, I am really happy, and I can’t believe it is the same chair I upholstered 30+ years ago. This has been really fun, and I can hear my mother in law cheering me on…

loomMeanwhile, remember the Structo I was rewarping last week?  I got about half of it threaded and then got side tracked by the trip to Atlantic City, and then the rocker and then, well, I needed to finish threading that puppy, and find out if my hard work would produce a cloth weight that would work for the postcards I weave.postcard_in_progress

I’ve now finished threading the loom, and I started to weave on it, using a very slim stick shuttle, I’m surprised at what a good shed there is for such a little loom.  My damask boat shuttle is tied up on the other table loom. The fabric is really fine and tight, and I’m happy with the linen so far.  I had started a couple of postcards on the remaining warp on my 25″ table loom, on a gray 10/2 cotton, as a demo when I went to Albany the beginning of October.  So you can see what the strips look like in progress.  I’m hoping I can weave lots of little postcards,  and with 15 yards of warp, I can really experiment with this medium…

Here is a shot of the actual linen cloth, it is pretty fine, the linen is about the weight of a 20/2, and sleyed two per dent, I have 30 ends per inch, not counting the tie down threads.cloth

While I was threading, I couldn’t help myself, my brain wanders to the stash which is right in front of my eyeballs…

And draped over one of my looms is a fabric I wove that is gorgeous, from a warp I dyed in a class with Irene Munroe back in 2008 at the Tampa Bay Convergence.  I sett it too dense for a scarf, and there is so little fabric that I’m not sure I want to make it work for a garment, but it would make a great tote bag!new_project (Click on Tote Bag and scroll to the bottom of that blog to see the latest tote I made…)

I always have to have something colorful to look at on my cutting table and I’m always adding and subtracting to a pile before I actually jump into it head first.

So the vest is finished, and the loom warped, and another project is lighting up my cutting table, and now I have to finish weaving two more scarves on the loom (Photo below)  so I can have them for the guild sale.  And I just have to weave about 8 yards of trim for the rocker.scarves

candy_wrapper_toteAnd speaking of tote bags, I did promise a photo of my daughter’s tote bag she made from candy wrappers and duct tape.  She gets these brainstorms as school, probably when she gets bored in calculus or physics (I should have that kind of brain…) and texts me to ask if I have this or that material for her next brilliant idea!

Even her pens are covered in duct tape!  Note the white rose sticking out of the tote!