Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Origami Boxorama

In searching for the perfect little square box to house the 72 mini self portraits, I recalled some little folded boxes I learned to make at a Seattle Weavers Guild (hands-on) meeting. Interestingly enough, I brought one with me in my recent move. I must have known I would need to know how to make them, so make them I did. I printed some of my weaving images on regular computer paper, and it worked just fine.

Then I discovered that I couldn't stop making boxes---until I had made over a hundred of them.

So here is my holiday tree (grin). I know there is a reason I have entered into box-making madness, and I will tell you as soon as it is revealed to me.

The looms have been resting up for another round of weaving. The snow continues to pile up, and real winter is setting in. I have selected a word for the coming year---SIMPLICITY. (more on that later). If you are interested in selecting your own word for 2011, click here.

Have a meaningful New Year (grin)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Facebook Holiday Greetings

The warmest holiday greetings to all! May my smiles brighten the season! I look forward to sharing my latest projects, ideas and inspirations with you in the coming year!

What do you get for your 92 year old mother who has everything?--a photograph of ME! In trying to decide on the perfect picture to send (and incidentally the perfect facebook image), I began searching through every picture of myself (scanning in old photographs) . Here are 54 of the 72 images I gathered. I cropped the pictures to just my face (2" x 2") and then arranged them in chronological order. I taped them together into a long strip (144" long) , folded them in accordion pleats , and placed them in a handmade box with the most recent picture facing out. It doesn't pop open like a jack-in-the-box, but it does come spilling out of the box---the years slipping backwards until I am 6 months old.

Making this montage was as good as a year of therapy! Hey folks, I had a happy childhood, my young adult years were a nightmare, and I am growing old gracefully.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Fabulous Big Blanket for an Amazing Little Person

What a wonderful way to celebrate a day of gratitude!

I don't really have words, but I just had to share this picture with you. Imagine sleeping wrapped in the blessings of your family.

Parents report that Maya goes right to sleep as soon as she is wrapped up in her blanket.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Color Horoscope Weaving Meets Almost Ikat

As I settle into my new life in Montana, I notice each new weaving has moved up a notch (at least in my eyes). When I deliver a weaving to a client (and they totally love their weaving and I am trying out something a little different), I am very happy indeed.

Another test is if I can't wait to make one for myself. You would think that having at least a dozen version of my horoscope would be enough, but I justify it by saying I need it as a teaching tool. (and it is mostly true)
Although it is big enough to around, I don't think Toni is going to share her shawl with daughter, Stephanie.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Wonderful Workshop

I always think my workshops are wonderful, but I really believe they get more wonderful each time. I also believe that a more accurate title for this workshop would be Creating a Personal Color Gamp. Since many of the students decided to use bamboo yarn, I thought it would be helpful for me to bring my current Bambu 12 shawl. I manage to cut it off the loom at 10:30 PM the night before the workshop. I brought it unfinished and measured it---28" x 104".

Then I took it home, finished it, and brought it back the second day. It was great to be able to demo the change not only in size (27" x 96") but in the amazing change in drape and hand.

I had taught an earlier version of Color Horoscope Weaving to the Missoula Guild several years ago. Three of the students from before came back to do it again. Here they are: Karla, Vanetta, and Coby showing off their horoscope shawls in 20/2 cotton (tripled and sett at 24 epi).
I can't wait until they finish their new weavings. They all agreed that the new improved workshop was more fun.

One of the things that made the workshop fun were the color exercises. Creating a personal palette and the introduction to Woven Words made me wish we had at least one more day to further our color exploration. The Missoula Weavers Guild is a great group!

Of course, now I can't resist making a montage of the Color Horoscope Weavings in process. (although now that I look at it, I can see that I duplicated some and left out others) Ah, it is surely a work in progress.

So now I am a member of the Missoula Weavers Guild---something I didn't do when I lived here in the 70's. (grin)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's Funny How the Least Little Thing Can Stop a Gal

Although I haven't posted in a little over a week, my life has been quite full of non-weaving (and totally magnificent things which I will tell you about at another time). I arrived at this point in winding back my "Almost Ikat/Color Horoscope Weaving" and suffered what I like to call a "duh" moment.
I was feeling so clever about winding the ikat stripes first in order to give them a smooth flow. Why I began with the stripe in the middle, I will never know. (yes, the one that dips down was the first stripe, and the one that doesn't match up was the last). I just had to walk away....
Sometimes the problem seems to go away or correct itself as if by magic, but after several days I realized I would have to take action.
So I painstakingly adjusted the stripes....

But now that the loom is all threaded---low and behold, I over-compensated. The whole thing is wonky in the other direction. And the red stripe in the center continues to be "off". Now I have to decide---is it too off? Or does it have a lively sense of movement?

I know if I bring the client over to have a look she will be too polite to tell me what she really thinks.

Opinions? Suggestions?

Here is where the "fudge factor" really comes into play. (grin)

I am teaching a Color Horoscope Weaving workshop this coming weekend. I always like to weave a cloth dedicated to the workshop and spend my weaving time just prior to the workshop focused on the group. Perhaps this workshop is all about not being perfect.

Life is good here in Montana, and I know I made the right move at the right time. I am sure the Missoula Weavers Guild feels that way since they will not have to fly me here from Seattle (grin). They had hired me for this workshop months before I knew I was going to move here.

Blogs are all about moving forward for me, but I will soon give you an overview of the past week. It was too good to gloss over.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A New Approach

For this Color Horoscope Weaving shawl in Bambu 12 (warp ends doubled and sett 24 epi), I decided to begin by designing the Almost Ikat accent stripes first and then fill in the horoscope around the ikat. Almost Ikat is really the same as Turned Weft Ikat. The difference is that Almost Ikat is created using commerical space-dyed yarn (rather than tying and dyeing the yarn myself) as I do in Turned Weft Ikat, but the designing on the warping board part is the same.

The client requested a 28" wide shawl with lots of black. The width of the horoscope portion is 15". That means 13" of added warp. I decided to put an ikat stripe on either side of each of the 10 planets. Pictured above is the red planet stripe, and below are all the planet stripes in order of where they fall in the horoscope.

Then I wound sections of the horoscope to fill in between the planets. I can't wait to wind it back on the loom to see how this approach works since I usually work the other way around---horoscope first accents second.

Meanwhile, I just had to get outside and take a little walk. Here is the street where I live. The last of the autumn leaves.

Friday, October 22, 2010

There and Back Again

I cut the weaving off the loom almost on the way to the airport. When I decided to finish it off in Columbus, I felt much better. It would become a part of the workshop. The students couldn't quite believe the difference before and after laundering. I'll attempt to get a nice picture of it being worn.

I got so caught up in the workshop that I really didn't take very many pictures---in fact these are the only ones. I just spent the whole evening trying to create a pleasing arrangement. I'm not sure which one I prefer. I love all the variations in the warps! Hopefully I will get to see pictures of the finished pieces.

There is only 1 block in the same position in both.

Which do YOU like better?

Next workshop: Color Horoscope Weaving
Location: Missoula, Montana
Date: November 13-14

I believe there are still a couple of spaces if you happen to be in the area and are looking for a colorful experience.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Five Reasons Why I Love "Almost Ikat"

I finally found the perfect name for creating ikat-like effects using commercial space-dyed yarn--ALMOST IKAT.

If you love ikat, but don't like or don't have the space to dye yarn, here is a good solution.

It is so much fun to weave because the design unfolds before your eyes.

There is minimal planning.

I can use Almost Ikat as a stand alone design (as simple or complex as I desire) or use it as an accent with other techniques

I am about to cut the scarf off the loom and toss it in my suitcase on the way to Columbus, Ohio. I will finish it off and launder it at the workshop.

Check out my little YouTube tutorial for instruction on how to create Almost Ikat.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Getting Ready for Ikat in Ohio

In addition to teaching about Turned Weft Ikat, I wanted to give everyone an opportunity to experience "Almost Ikat". The workshop is a lot about designing warps spontaneously on the warping board within rather tight parameters.

Here is the assignment---each student arrives in class with a scarf warp 9" wide in Bambu 7, sett 20 epi. There will be 3" solid borders and 3" in the center of almost ikat in one of 4 colorways. I asked everyone to select colors without telling any of their fellow students what they had selected. I am hoping to see a lot a variation and surprise.

So today I decided that I really should do the assignment myself. That way I can spend the next few days really focused on the upcoming workshop. Hopefully everyone in the class has already wound their warp (grin)

I cheated a little though. I couldn't decide which of 3 solids to use, so I used all 3. And then I couldn't decide which of the 4 space-dyed yarns to use, so I used them all.

I have no idea how this is going to look. (well, I really do have sort of an idea, but not really) That is one of the exciting things about this type of designing. So much is left to chance.

I'll start weaving tomorrow. I am thinking I will weave it with the cashmere. I am quite in love with cashmere/bamboo--quite the combo.

Today I put together 5 Color Horoscope Weaving Instruction Packets and then spent 2 hours trying to find my mailing envelopes. No luck! I am sure they sell envelopes here in Montana, but I was certain I had quite a stash. The list of missing objects continues to grow. It's funny that life goes one perfectly well without any of my lost stuff.

If you are one of the folks waiting for your packet, hopefully these will be yours. I did manage to lose track of a couple orders. If I haven't contacted you, please get in touch with me.

So many loose threads.......

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blessing Baby Blanket Complete and Shipped

For some reason, the computer would not let me make a post last night, but here is the blanket moments before I raced off to FedEx for a Monday delivery on the East Coast.

The finished measurements are 40" x 64" plus fringe. My plan had been to hem the fringed edges and cut the length down to finish at 48" as requested by mother. I wove the extra length because there was extra warp. I was planning to present a small woven strip to each of the grandmothers. However, everyone who saw the blanket insisted I send it as is---at least for now with the idea that I could always cut and hem it later and the parents should see the whole piece.

The picture was taken by my new across the street neighbor--

Now to unpack and set up my "office", work on back orders, and get ready for a Turned Weft Ikat Workshop in 2 weeks in Ohio.

And of course---weave

Friday, October 1, 2010

First Weaving in my New Home

I don't have the energy to write much. I feel like I have been running a marathon.

Ah, the thrill of victory.....
The dimensions before washing---44.5" x 72". I wove some extra which I planned to trim off when I hemmed the blanket after washing and drying in the machine. I usually get about 10" shrinkage in the length.

Yes, it is true, bamboo/cashmere washes nicely on gentle in the machine and dries in the dryer on low. It is really quite miraculous. I'll have a picture for you tomorrow before I race off to FedEx to ship before noon, so it will arrive on the East Coast on Monday.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Weaving With Intention

The focus is on "intention". The blessings I receive from the client are qualities they desire to wrap around the baby in a permanent "hug" rather than something for the baby to grow into.

I was going to tell you all about how I was 60 heddles short when I was threading the loom and that I had to have the only person I could think of with a Fireside loom FedEx a hundred heddles from Arizona. I was going to tell you about how I then proceeded to miscalculate the number of dents and had to re-sley---but I won't bore you with the details.

Instead see the cashmere I selected to use in the weft. Each different color and shade represents a cashmere sweater my mom and I unknitted together. (By the way, on my last visit to my mother, we decided that we had taken apart just the right amount of sweaters. I am no longer collecting cashmere.)

It looks like plaid---who would have guessed.

I just looked up the definition of plaid---interesting
A fabric in which bands of color running horizontally and vertically intersect to form squares.

Here's another definition:
Wide and multicolored stripes on different colored backgrounds for creating various patterns.

And another:
a plain or twill-weave cloth with a pattern of intersecting stripes.

I just have a few more inches to go, and I will cut it off tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blessing Baby Blanket

I don't recall what I was thinking when I accepted a weaving commission due on October 1, but I did.

The family selected 18 blessing words (and 9 colors) and requested a blanket 40" x 48". A blanket with that many words would have to be 80" wide. The family told me to decide, but I didn't want to leave out any blessings.

What to do?

I decided to put 11 blessing words in the warp (Bambu 12 doubled and sett at 24 epi)

Words are (from right to left)

Kind, Courageous, Creative, Curious, Inquisitive, Rhythm, Patience, Persistence, Joy of life, Confidence, and Charisma

The other thing I did was to treat each blessing as if it were the ONLY word to reduce the number of colors and give a more cohesive look (which I think it does)

The weft will be the recycled cashmere (triple strands)AND spell out the rest of the blessing words so I won't have to leave out any!

These are the words that will be weft: Adventurous, Love of music, Sense of humor, A good friend, Able to forgive, Strength and Unconditional love

I haven't quite figured out the weft in cashmere yet, AND I can't imagine what it will look like. It will surely be a surprise.

So I guess you could say that I am settled in my new Montana home...(grin)

Currently I am unable to send email, so if you have been expecting an email from we---next week for sure.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm in Montana Now

I'll be resurfacing soon. I'm much beyond this point. In fact I am actually setting up the loom. I wasn't sure I would be able to make a blog post as I am unable to send email (although I do receive it). More to follow......

It may be cloudy in the picture, but it was sunny, warm and beautiful today.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dalai Lama Weaving and Sunflowers

Although I brought the Dalai Lama weaving with me on my trip to the East Coast, I didn't show it around very much.
But when I got to these magical fields...well, you get the picture.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed with the move, I look at this picture and can't help but smile.

It puts every in perspective---don't you think....

I am living the experience of "Right Livelihood", a blessing to be a Weaver in this time.

The following is a brief excerpt from the piece by Susan Crowell, writer, and
ceramics instructor at U. Michigan, Ann Arbor:

"For craftspeople, this making special emphasizes both the making and the
special. Reversing the terms - special making- rings even truer when speaking
of craft, for which the process of handwork is an essential component. As our
perception of time becomes more precious and the time-intensive nature of
craft increases its value, craft may even come to represent the preciousness
of time itself, embodied in an object."