Wednesday, February 28, 2007
With a mixture of happiness and sadness, I popped it in the mail today. I believe many weavers have a blend of emotions when they let go of their weaving--especially one that looks and feels as wonderful as they'd hoped.
One of the good things about Color Horoscope Weaving is that I know exactly how long it took me to create this weaving, and I know I could reproduce it in that same amount of time.
I almost forgot to mention (actually I did forget to mention it until someone asked) the yarn is bambu #12 from Silk City. The ends are doubled and wound at 24 epi. If anything, it feels better than it looks. I washed it in the washing machine along with my colored clothes (cold water) and half dried it in the dryer at a low setting. I finished drying it by pressing with a dry iron. I like the sheen I get from the pressing, very silky looking. I know the bamboo yarn will stand up to rougher treatment, but I still tend to baby it a little.
Monday, February 26, 2007
I don't know how my settings got changed. Now the pictures are off to the side. Oh well. See how exciting the yarn looks all unwrapped.
I couldn't resist taking an arty shot of the yarn while it was drying. I have several more, but this particular one struck my fancy this evening.
I don't have time to write a long essay this evening. I have to confess I didn't get all of the warps mailed off today. I am teaching a 3-day workshop (plus two 1-day workshops) at the Association of Southwest Handweavers Conference, March 20-25th. Actually this yarn is for the Easy Ikat class. Since it is only a 1-day workshop, the emphasis is on creating spontaneous designs after the yarn is dyed. I think the picture above gives an idea of what I am going for--design with what you have rather than think the design first and then try to dye the pattern second.
The 3-day workshop is called Exploring Not So Plain Weave. Each of the 12 students will be sent a unique warp ready to go on their loom which they warp at home before the workshop and arrive ready to weave. Each student will get to weave a sample on each of the 12 looms. It sounds pretty great in theory. I will let you know how it actually works out. I have heard from other teachers it can be quite a harrowing experience, but I just have to give it a try. Tomorrow morning all the warps will be on their way, and I can start making the sample notebooks.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Rinse, rinse, rinse. It really helps to have a double sink and an extra set of capable hands. You can't see them in the picture, but Sherry and Kay acted as my trusty dye-ciples (I'm sorry I couldn't resist)
Finally the rinse water is clear. Now comes the fun part, untying. It actually takes as long to unwrap the skeins as it does to wrap them.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Now this looks more like 3/2 cotton. Sadly, Halcyon Yarns didn't have enough natural, so I opted for this tan color. It kind of looks like yarn that has been discharged. If someone asks, I will explain what discharge is.
Today was the Seattle Weavers' Guild meeting, so I packed up the skeins and got half of them wrapped during the meeting and finished up the rest this evening. I use cut up garbage bags and a little bit of carpet warp to do most of my tying. Sometimes I use raffia when I am dyeing for myself and want a little more precision. I will speak more about my tying strategies after I have dyed the yarn and you can see the results.
Tomorrow is Friday, and on Saturday I am scheduled to dye yarn will a couple of Guild friends. Stay tuned for the next chapter of this venture.
I used to say, "The secret of Easy Ikat is to get someone to dye the yarn FOR you." I went to great lengths to seek out dyers. I don't have a set up for dyeing at home, plus I always found it to be rather messy. I tend to be somewhat on the clumsy side which is one of the reasons I took up weaving. In glass blowing, for instance, if you drop molten glass on your foot....But in weaving, if you drop yarn on your foot, no problem.
I've changed though. Now I say, "The secret of Easy Ikat is to get someone to dye the yarn WITH you. So on Saturday we will journey out to Kay's and dye some yarn!
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
I had this idea: What if I combined my Easy Ikat technique (the center stripe) with random stripes of ikat dyed yarn. I wanted to see what sort of patterns emerged all by themselves. This is an example of my getting the threads to do some of the work. It is also an example of my attempt to dialogue with the treads.
Here is the first panel as it hangs on my wall. I am not sure where I will go from here, so I am looking at it often waiting for the next panel to announce itself.
On a completely different topic:
Shall I tell you about the lowest low from yesterday? Oh, it's too late again. Besides in the light of day today, I realized it wasn't the lowest low at all. It was merely a good lesson for me, but all too often good lessons seem like bad news.
Monday, February 19, 2007
I used to say that the very best part of weaving is having woven. Although I am not sure it is the VERY best, there is nothing much to compare with cutting a weaving off the loom. You know what I mean. Excitement, anticipation, a touch of anxiety......
It's too late to go into the lowest lows tonight. I'll tell tomorrow.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
One of the things I love about designing "Easy Ikat" cloth is how the design emerges on the warping board as I warp. Before I wind a warp, I group together the yarn I think I am going to use in the piece. I let the yarn "discuss" what it wants to do. Sometimes the yarn decides quickly, but other times it takes weeks of discussion. I must check on the yarn often to see how the discussion is going :)
Some of you may think I am joking, but others will know exactly what I am talking about.
My mother thinks I am a lazy person, and perhaps she is right. I like to get the yarn to do as much of the work as possible. By "tuning into" the yarn (believe me when I tell you I don't know how I do this), it seems to speak to me. It always has from the very beginning. You would think that I would be into spinning, wouldn't you? I do love the "idea" of spinning. I even tried it once. I think of myself as a "virtual spinner". I am also a virtual quilter and gardener! Every morning I wake up and say my mantra "No New Crafts. No New Crafts. No New Crafts" If I had both a husband AND a wife I would explore the above along with Bobbin Lace and Kumihimo (just to name a few). I used to claim I was a "virtual dyer", but I have had to give up my virtual status of late. In fact on Saturday, I will be dyeing yarn for my upcoming "Easy Ikat" workshop.
Uh OH, I feel myself slipping into what I like to call "Creative Procrastination". I must sign off and weave. I will write about creative procrastination later:)
Saturday, February 17, 2007
While I am weaving this piece, I am also preparing to teach 3 workshops in Southern California in a month. Click for details. I will include my preparation process as I go along. If any of you wonder what it takes to present an out of town workshop, I hope to give you the answer.
My home studio isn't very large, but I can and have presented small in house workshops. I can handle from 1-4 students at a time and welcome inquiries.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
I keep trying to return to what's important and there
seems to be a shortage of time--
These are not my words. These are the words from an e-mail by a woman who is trying to find her way back to weaving.
My philosophy: Weaving is all about time. Weaving is time made visible. Whenever I sit down at the loom (even after 47 years), I say to myself, "This is going to take the rest of my life!" I am almost overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, but I keep repeating it like a mantra, over and over. Finally there comes a moment when I know it is absolutely OK for this particular weaving to take the rest of my life (a moment of total surrender). It is at that moment I notice I have finished the weaving. It happens every time! It's one of my favorite things about weaving—the ability to make time malleable.
It must be time to weave.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
See how adorable the groups of threads look. They seem so excited as if they can't wait to transform into cloth.
Here is a look at the back of the loom. I love seeing all the threads in order.
Monday, February 12, 2007
I just spent a fantastic week doing a NIA intensive workshop. NIA is a dance fusion fitness program incorporating dance arts, martial arts, and healing arts. It is loads of fun especially for people like me who spend lots of time sitting and don't like to "exercise".
Check out their website and find a class near you. It is the perfect way for me to thank my body for almost 50 years at the loom and for all the years to come.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
I can't wait to show you what I do for the weft.
I do have an extra rush order for Grace, so the next blanket panel will be pushed back, but I will keep you up to date with Grace. It's also time to see what is happening on Gary.
Friday, February 2, 2007
The next step was to find some more sweaters and decide on a warp yarn. My first inclination was to use merino wool, but since I had been playing around with bamboo, I thought I should weave up a test.
This ends chapter 1. In chapter 2, I run a couple of tests
PS. If you have or know of anyone who has an old cashmere sweater or two with moth holes or stains, please consider sending it to me.
PPS. Since I received the commission, I have acquired 6 more sweaters. I probably have enough for this blanket, but who knows how far I will take it.
By the way, it takes me about 8 hours to un-knit a sweater.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
I have often thought the hardest part of weaving is untying the last few bits attaching the weaving to the loom. I am so excited, I always create tangles and knots in my haste to see the whole weaving spread out. The woman next to me is the co-owner of the weaving. The other owner is taking the pictures.
Unwashed but happy to pose for a picture anyway