Friday, November 27, 2009

Mental Blogging


My silence is due to a slight flu relapse, but while I have not been "doing" very much in the way of writing or weaving, my mind has been very active.

As you know, I am rather fond of lists. Here a the list of blog posts I have been writing in my mind: (not necessarily in order), so stay tuned. Feel free to request any title.

1. Gratitude list (in keeping with the season)
2. Is it "handwoven" or "hand loomed"? Is there a difference?
3. Woven Images on Display
4. Cashmere Bits and Scraps for Sale
5. Sachet Holiday Special
6. On the Table
7. Visioning for the New Year
8. Celebrating 50 years of weaving
9. Getting re-started, recharged, re-inspired
10. Check out my updates (hopefully this will happen by the time I get to #10)
11. Almost 3 years old---looking back on my blogging journey

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How Many Golden Orb-Weaving Spiders Does it Take to Weave and 11 by 4 Foot Tapestry?

Answer: One Million!
How long did it take? 4 years
How many people worked on it? 80 (I think those were just the number of people it took to collect the spider silk!)

Back in October, I got a real weaving treat. I went to the Natural History Museum in NYC to see the ultimate labor intensive weaving extravaganza. I was surprised to find there were no signs advertising the weaving. I asked a guard how to find the spider weaving. He said, "Go down this hall until you come to the giant mosquito, turn right and go until you get to the big canoe." And there is was tucked into a corner of a giant room with no hoopla or flashing lights or anything.
Click here to see my first reaction.

What I didn't realize is that is was woven in strips like Kente Cloth. So I imagine many different weavers contributed a strip. Wouldn't you have loved to tried your hand at weaving with this stuff? The main threads consist of 96 twisted silk lines. The brocaded patterns in the tapestry — stylized birds and flowers — are woven with threads made up of 960 spider silk lines.

The band at each edge was woven separately and attached. It looks like the fringe was also attached after the fact. I loved the braided fringe. The braided part of the fringe is about 18" long, and then there is at least 20" of chaos.

I would have give a lot to have been able to touch it. They say it feels like cashmere, but you would think it would be sticky.

Monday, November 16, 2009

How I Spent My...Swine Flu

As my symptoms very slowly recede in the West, I say a fond farewell to the pile of cashmere sweaters patiently awaiting deconstruction.

It takes me between 2-4 hours to prepare a sweater to send to the un-knitting factory (really my 91 year old mother). Each of the rolled pieces is all ready to un-knit with a small ball already started. From the 8 sweaters I started with, I have 3 1/4 lbs of future yarn to send to my mother. The bag of assorted small balls of yarn weighs 4.5 oz. The pile in the upper right corner of the picture is a full pound of sweater scrap that I will not use. I haven't decided exactly how I will dispose of it. I also have 4.55 oz of ribbing that I will not use, not to mention the 2.25 oz bag of short ends.

I haven't done a complete inventory of all my scrap, but I have taken apart well over 100 sweaters. (if the flu lasts much longer I am sure to tackle it)

I still have 50 sweaters yet to be processed! I have to admit I am very reluctant to take apart a perfect sweater. And although it is difficult to felt a cashmere sweater---it is possible. Once a sweater is felted, you can forget about un-knitting it. Maybe I will have to update my languishing Etsy Store.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Upside of Swine Flu

Well, I slipped WAY under the weather. Since I have had my seasonal flu shot, I know this must be the other. So instead of flying to Memphis to teach a workshop, I am tucked up in my cozy nest awaiting the delivery of some health restoring food from Healeo. The Memphis Guild has rescheduled for the end of January pleased that I will not be bringing disease to share along with weaving inspiration. I was at first determined to go no matter what, as I have never canceled a teaching gig before. But once I realized that I really was sick and I could reschedule the workshop, I settled into the "what is".

The first (and most glorious) thing is I got to finally read the wonderful issue of Handwoven. Of course I would say it is wonderful because there is an article by me in there, BUT I am in such good company! Madelyn certainly outdid herself with a whole array of "stars". If you haven't picked up this issue, it is certainly a must have for your weaving library.

AND Sara Lamb's long awaited book--Woven Treasures

I'm sure you all have your copy and have read it from cover to cover, but if you haven't--you are in for a real treat. I have set aside December as the month I will get to play on a rigid heddle loom. I am thrilled to have Woven Treasures as a companion for my new journey. It is the next best thing to having Sara come visit. Who am I kidding? There is no substitute for spending time with Sara Lamb (grin) but her fabulous funny self shines through every page!

It's time for more liquids and back to bed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Under the Weather

Although I am feeling somewhat under the weather, I am not too sick to weave. I canceled everything else, however.

Unable to decide what color to make the weft, I decided to weave 3" of each of the 12 colors in the warp. The cloth will make a good color exercise to show the Memphis guild.

Or perhaps I am sicker than I think. I did spend most of the day in bed, drank lots of liquids, and vitamin C.

My plan: be in tip top shape by Friday, so back to bed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

So Do I Ever Get to Weave

I thought this was a very nice picture. I had laid out the Mary Meigs Atwater weaving on my table (to cut strips to include in my Color Horoscope Weaving Instructions Packets). I got carried away and started playing with my wrapped birthday blessing words.

Then I started playing around with draping some of my cloths. I finally finished weaving the turned weft ikat scarf in 18/2 Jaggerspun and un-knitted cashmere.

And then I decided to take inventory of my yet to be un-knitted cashmere. There are 43 sweaters on the table, but tonight a fellow brought me 20 more! I am cashmere rich!

I like to weave a piece before I head out to teach although I am not always able to do so. I thought I would weave my horoscope using the Lunatic Fringe yarn. I have never actually woven with it before. Many of my students have used it, so I thought I would give it a try.

I am using a sett of 30 epi.

It remains to be seen if I will actually be able to get it woven off before Friday.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Forth and Back

I had a grand whirlwind trip to Bellingham to spend a day with some of the Whatcom Weavers.
Turned Weft Ikat is a 3-day workshop--that is if one wants to do any actual dyeing, but I did it one day. I opted for "virtual dyeing"

I brought 25 lbs of already dyed yarn, some commercially space-dyed but much of it was ikat dyed skeins I have dyed over the years. I had 2 different weights of bamboo, merino wool, rayon chenille, 8/2 cotton, 20/2 cotton, and 3/2 cotton. Students selected the yarn they wanted to work with, and each person got enough yarn to wind a scarf warp.

Each student also wound a 1 oz skein of undyed Habu bamboo and wrapped it for dyeing (to be actually dyed at home after the workshop).

I got so caught up in trying to get everything done that I didn't really get many pictures. I was trying to give everyone a taste of ikat. It will remain to be seen how successful I was in inspiring the group. I will know if they weave their scarves (grin).

All of this happened in the middle of our first big storm of the Northwest--all very exciting. And now I am home getting ready for yet another trip out into the world. Friday---to Memphis.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Exploring Not So Plain Weave with Jockey Hollow Weavers

I am an hour away from leaving to teach a Turned Weft Ikat Workshop in Bellingham WA, but I couldn't leave without posting about the delightful workshop I taught to a more than delightful guild in New Jersey, the Jockey Hollow Weavers. I'm still not exactly sure where exactly I was in New Jersey, but I am sure this is a great bunch of weavers.

What a fabulous wall hanging, a work of art!

Usually I plan this workshop to last 3 days, but this one (a round robin) was a mere 2 days. I was certain the group would be unable to complete all the samples, but miraculously they did! The 13th warp didn't make it into the picture, but it got done. The main thing I learned is that I need to wind all of the warps myself and send them ready to go on the loom. It would have saved me and each student lots of time and effort although it would have increased the supply fee. In talking to the students afterward, they all agreed it would have been worth the extra money. I learned how to do leno in an efficient way, thanks to Barbara Herbster (grin). I learned that I should have brushed up on inlay, so I might appear to know what I am doing (another grin). I learned that students can get a lot more done than I think they can.

But mostly I am awed by the inventiveness of my fellow weavers and grateful for the opportunity of time well spent together. What a great bunch of ladies!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Sometimes it take longer to complete a project, and sometimes it is worth the wait! And it always is a surprise. You can't even imagine the feel and drape of this blanket. It measured 44" x 104" before I put it in the washer and dryer, and 39" x 96" after. Bamboo and cashmere are such a surprisingly wonderful combination. I have to tell you that the dad kind of commandeered the blanket shortly after I took this picture. I didn't realize I had woven a Blessing Man Blanket rather than a Blessing Baby Blanket. (grin)

I thought I had posted a picture or two of the blanket on the loom, but I don't seem to see it. I won't dig anymore now, but I will instead direct you to my other blog: Inspired By Bonnie. I have 4 new posts there, they are quite interesting--especially the one using supplemental warp combined with Woven Words. Oh yes, the Color Horoscope Weaving done in 3 panels on a rigid heddle loom is rather inspiring as well.

Tomorrow I begin in earnest gathering supplies and packing for my 1-Day Ikat workshop in Bellingham, WA. I leave Wednesday. I am doing things a little differently. I'll tell you about it tomorrow.