Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Promised Pics

I guess whining about not getting feedback gets some feedback. I'm glad my list was helpful, but I didn't get much crossed off today. The one thing I can cross off the list, however, is something that has been looming (pardon the expression) over me for months: to write a piece called Selecting the Perfect Fibers and Colors for Color Horoscope Weaving.

Not a bad title for the picture above. I had hoped to get a better picture of the entire piece all laundered and lustrous, but I just couldn't get the lighting right. It doesn't look any different than the pictures I took before it was laundered. Sigh. (10/2 tencel)

Today just wasn't a great day with the camera. Part of the problem (or perhaps a great deal of the problem) is these weavings depend so much on being able to touch them and wrap them around yourself. (Bambu 12 and unknitted cashmere sweaters)

Maybe you can get an idea of the drape. I used gray cashmere which gives the shawl an ancient look.

Yes, a bad camera day. Towel warp draped across my bed.(8/2 cotton). I did get my flu shot today, so maybe that's why I am a little off.

Confession: I didn't weave today. It is the first day I have missed since the first of August.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Words with Images

It is difficult for me to write a post without accompanying images, but every time I tried to take some pictures today the phone would ring or it would be lunch time. I did manage to get this one. Although I am not happy with it, you get an idea of what is going on Gary--- a test scarf in Bambu 7 with an unknitted cashmere weft. I have only ever used the Bambu 12 with the cashmere, and I have a commission for a double wide horoscope shawl in Bambu 7 and cashmere. Sample, sample, sample! I will begin weaving this tomorrow. It is one of the items on my list.

I did get the cashmere sweaters shipped off to Baltimore to my unknitting factory (my mother:)) I also shipped off the wrapped jewelry supplies for my workshop. The NWDC New Members Luncheon invitation is completed (There are some glitches concerning the venue that have to be worked out tomorrow. That part wasn't on my original list) I cut the towel warp off the loom. I made the "Questionnaire" for the Color Horoscope Weaving Workshop.

All of the above is part of the "to do" list. Judging from the lack of comments, I gather my list isn't nearly as compelling to you as it is to me.

You'd rather see those juicy pictures as would I.
Tomorrow after I get my flu shot I will take pictures of the following:
1. Completed Woven Words bamboo/cashmere shawl.
2. Completed Just Our Yarn (10/2 tencel) Color Horoscope Weaving/Turned Weft Ikat Shawl
3. Just off the loom Turned Weft Ikat towels.
4. Weaving on the loom test bamboo/cashmere scarf

Sunday, October 28, 2007

To Do, A Second Look

Upon Valerie's suggestion in her comment to my post yesterday, I reviewed my list and picked 5 items to work on:

1. Create invitation NWDC New Members' Lunch
Address and mail
Call hostess of lunch and get map to house to include in invitation
I emailed the hostess requesting a map and I created a document and started laying out the invitation. I didn't get as far as I had hoped, but I made a start.
2. Launder JOY tencel horoscope/ikat shawl
Done! I had been nervous about doing this, but it turned out so wonderful I can hardly believe it. I will have a picture soon. I am not happy with the one that I took this evening. To see a picture of this piece before washing click here.
3. Finish and launder Woven Words piece.
Done! I don't have a picture yet, but I am rather pleased with the outcome. I will post more about this piece at a later date.
4. Run test piece of Bambu 7/cashmere
Wind and weave
I wound the warp and got it threaded through the heddles.
5. Ship cashmere sweaters and supplies for Wrapped Silk Jewelry workshop
I excavated one of my closets looking for the right sized box which I found. Unfortunately the box was full of yarn, so I had to sort through the yarn. I found some yarn I had been looking for, so that was good. Tomorrow I will get the box packed up, and it will go out on Monday.

Over-achieving: I laundered panel #5 of the blanket while I was laundering the other pieces. I wove a little on my towel warp. I have been diligent about weaving everyday. I did a major grocery shopping as well.

Tomorrow I will capture a few images and review my list and find the next 2 items to move up into the top 5.

Also I have a new item to add to the main list:
The Association of Southern California Handweavers is calling for proposals for their 27th Biennial Conference "COLOR CONNECTS"
The Proposal is due November 30th, so I will have to take care of this before I leave.

Friday, October 26, 2007

To Do

Have you ever had so much to do that all you really want to do is work Sudoku puzzles?

One of the things I have noticed about myself when faced with any sort of deadline, I work a lot of Sudoku until I hear a little voice in my head that says: "If you don't start getting ready right this minute, you will not get done what you need/want to get done!"

So then I make a "to do" list. I write down everything I can think of that I have ever wanted to do and many things I know I have to do before I (in this case) leave to teach in Houston on November 8th. After the initial brain-storm, I look over the list and put it into order.

Here is my uncensored list which I wrote on my power bill envelope as I was eating Indian Buffet this afternoon.
1. Create invitation NWDC New Members' Lunch
Address and mail
2. Call hostess of lunch and get map to house to include in invitation
3. Write a piece called "Selecting the perfect Fiber & Colors (weight of yarn etc) for CWH
4. Write up questionnaire for workshop
5. Write promo piece for CHW for Indiana
Be thinking about Minneapolis
Also Connecticut
6. Buy folders
for Tall Pines
Make notebooks
Print images for covers
Print all handouts
7. Print greeting card backs
8. Launder JOY tencel horoscope/ikat shawl
9. Finish and launder Woven Words piece
10. Run test piece of Bambu 7/cashmere
wind and weave
11. Make scarf for Joe
scarves for people who have given me cashmere
12. Two towels for towel exchange
13. Get pieces ready for High Tech Low Tech show
14. Ship cashmere sweaters and supplies for Wrapped Silk Jewelry workshop on 11/18
15. Get piece ready for the Rags Show
16. Mail blog entries to Mom.
17 Prepare 3 weeks worth of essential oil blends
18. Outline for magazine article 12/31 deadline
19. Order Bambu 7 for commission
20. Plane reservation to California
21. Pack
22. Order airport shuttle for 11/8
23. Hostess gifts for workshop
24. Horoscope necklaces
Made and shipped
25. Update website
26. Clean up Outlook
27. External hard drive or Thumb drive?
28. Put together slide show for Nov. workshop
29. Put together show and tell for Nov. workshop.
30. Haircut

I wish the voice in my head had started talking sooner! I thought seeing this list in print would make me feel better, but I have to say Yikes!--although I did send the blog entries off to my mom today.

I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

But Enough About ME, What Do YOU Think of Me...Part 2

Here's a lovely postcard, front and back, advertising the Whidbey Weavers Guild Sale
I am proud to say I am a member of this unique and innovative guild, but sorry to say I have not managed to have any weaving to show at the sale this year. I have promised myself I will have some work ready for next year.

If you are planning a trip to the Northwest in the next couple of weeks, Uncommon Threads is the event to attend.

I am now in the early stages of getting ready to fly to Houston to teach a Color Horoscope Weaving workshop to the Tall Pines Weavers Guild. I will give more information about this as I get closer to leaving.

I think I have successfully replaced the rope on the Fireside Loom. I will give it a good test tomorrow.

Monday, October 22, 2007

But Enough About ME, What Do YOU Think of Me...

This is a wonderful event worth attending if you happen to be in the area! I have been so caught up with weaving commissions that I haven't been able to turn my attention to the guild sale this year, but each year it gets better and better.For information about the Seattle Weavers' Guild click here.

Seattle Weavers' Guild Annual Sale
October 25th -27th

Hand-dyed, handwoven scarf by Dorothy DayMany thanks to the wonderful customers who make each year's sale a success. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you again in October!

Thursday, October 25th 5pm - 8pm
Friday, October 26th 10am - 8pm
Saturday, October 27th 10am - 5pm

Cash, checks, and credit cards accepted.

Scarves - Baskets - Jewelry - Rugs - Linens - Garments - Gifts - Tapestries - Children's Items - Hats - Bags - Yarn - Blankets - Pet Accessories - Household Items - Demonstrations

This year's sale will be held in Bloedel Hall at St. Marks Cathedral (1245 10th Avenue East;
Seattle, WA.)
Drive around the back of the cathedral to find the Hall on the lower level. Parking is free.

If you would like to receive a reminder postcard for the sale, please email your name and address to postcard@seattleweaversguild.com.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

From Gathering to Sorting

The 3 fabrics on the left are Guatemalan cotton ikat. The fabric on the right is one of my bamboo ikat/cashmere blanket panels.

I was at a party earlier today and was chatting with a woman who was teaching sewing at an alternative high school. She was bemoaning the lack of funds for supplies. I mentioned that I had a box of fabric scraps if she was interested. She was very interested.

I began excavating in my closet (something I had been meaning to do). I could practically reach my fabric box and managed to knock down 3 additional boxes in the process. The dust was quite thick on the top of the fabric box. Back in the 80's I did quite a bit of sewing. Actually, I did the designing and cutting, but mostly found other more skilled people to do the actual sewing. For a while there, I was "making" jackets, huipils, back packs, tote bags, and a wide variety of small bags and purses.

Not liking to throw things away, I saved all the scraps. I even made a quilt top about 15 years ago using the scraps from the cotton linings of the coin and cosmetic bags. I'll have to see if I can find a picture of it, but I digress.

As I was sorting through my fabric to see what would stay and what would go, I found some Guatemalan fabric scraps that I didn't remember ever seeing before. I vaguely remember somebody giving me some fabric scraps (I don't remember who it was), and I don't remember what they looked like or how long I have had them.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing! These were 3 different ikat patterns that were so much like what I have been doing with ikat bamboo this past year. Yes, I have changed the scale, and yes I am creating the designs in Turned Weft Ikat rather than Warp Dyed Ikat. Although some of the motifs in the Guatemalan cloth are quite a bit different from my example, I have woven those motifs and could easily create them.

I feel like all the 100 monkeys rolled into one:)

What does this have to do with weaving philosophy, you might ask? I believe there are 3 stages of weaving that mirror the 3 stages of life: Gathering, Sorting, and Surrender. When I set out to weave, I gather my materials. (With the cashmere, I collected sweaters for several years before I knew what I was going to do with them.) I always gather more than I will need, so I have to sort through and decide what I will ultimately use and what I will not. Surrender has to do with the time it will take to wind the warp and set up the loom and weave and weave and finish and sew in the label. I always feel these steps will take absolutely forever! Once I let go and surrender,(something much easier said than done) I am amazed to see I have completed every task.

Have you noticed all of those books out there about "clearing clutter"? My personal favorite is "Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui" by Karen Kingston. It is because so many of the baby boomers have reached the sorting stage of life and struggle with the challenge of moving out of the Gathering stage and into the Sorting stage. I am one of those people, but I am sure working on it.

If you want a good laugh, check this out! I forwarded this to at least 200 people in my address book. http://birdloversonly.blogspot.com/2007/09/may-i-have-this-dance.html

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Unusual Towel Exchange, Woven Labels and Loom Trouble

There is this big wind storm going on outside. Hopefully I won't lose power. The beautiful towel I received from Maureen McGuinness acts as the backdrop for my part of the exchange. Several months ago Maureen (long before the towel exchange) asked me if I had any of my wrapped silk brooches for sale. Alas, I had stopped making them because they were just too labor intense (and I am on this new kick to stop cranking out "stuff"). When Maureen sent me this lovely towel, I asked her if she would rather have a brooch in exchange. She examined some pictures on my website and gave me an idea of the size and colors she liked. I will ship it off today. Maureen is going to send me another towel sometime in the future so that I will also send her a towel.
My only requirement for the towel is some sort of label, so I can remember whose towel I am using. When I first decided (back in the 80's) I needed some sort of label, I hand printed them. I do not have any examples of that label. I began searching for a label company that would produce a custom woven label in reasonable small quantities. I went to the library and searched through the Thomas Registry (now available on line). At that time I found only 6 companies and wrote to them all. Of the 6, only the Minnewawa Label Company in Knoxville Tennessee produced a label that met my requirements. The top label was my first 1000 labels. They lasted me about 10 years. I had a friend redesign the label and ordered another 1000. (the middle label) They took me through the 90's. When I went to order another 1000, I discovered the Minnewawa Label Company was no longer there. I went on line and began another search and found ITC Labels(bottom label) I wish the label was more satiny, but the great part about this company is you can order as few or as many labels as you wish. Plus they send you a sample and you sign off on it before they make the labels.

If there are others out there who have a good label source, I would be interested in passing that along.
So I'm weaving along on my 10 year old Fireside Loom last night thinking how wonderful the piece is coming along---no problems. This morning when I went to start weaving, I noticed the slack tension. I went to give the toggle a little twist (as I have to do from time to time) and noticed THIS!
Words like GAK! ZOT! (a new word sent to me by a weaving friend, Russ) and others too terrible to mention, sprung from my lips.

Well, then I had to chuckle because I have often said there are an infinite number of mistakes to be made in weaving, and this was indeed a first. As you may or may not know, Fireside Looms is now located in Pennsylvania with new owners Larry and Michelle Lesniak(no longer in Washington state in easy driving distance from me). I started to write a pathetic whining email to Michelle, but I decided a phone call would be in order. She was most helpful and a new rope and assembly directions are being FedEx'd to me as I write.

I use my Fireside more heavily than most, so I'm not faulting the rope device for wearing out in 10 years. In fact, the tensioning system was one of the main selling features (along with the worm-drive and the removable breast bar) I didn't see a picture of the removable breast bar, but it is a thing of beauty. Anyone wishing me to take a picture of it and post it, let me know.

So "Gary", the loom has to take a little rest. Fortunately my ikat towel experiment is up and running on Grace, so my practice of weaving every day doesn't have to stop.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Yes, I'm Still Weaving---Every Day

The bamboo/cashmere snugly shawl/throw moves along at a pleasant pace. I'm not rushing along or bogging down.
One of my favorite moments in weaving is when the last paper drops. When I first started weaving, I used brown paper (white paper if I had it). One day I discovered corrugated cardboard and switched to that for several years. The cardboard is great until it begins to break down (which is rather rapidly), and then I start having tension problems. It took me a couple of years to discover the root of my tension problems, but when I switched back to brown paper...problem solved!
On the other loom (Grace), I have the beginnings of my ikat towel experiment.

How do I select the weft color? As a rule of thumb: the weft is the color you have the most of. In this case, I have enough of all of the colors . I begin by weaving a small stripe of each of the colors in the warp to see which one I like the best. I was hoping the white would be the one, (because I have the most white) but alas it is not. I don't care for the dark either. (which is good because I have the least of the almost "black")

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

The Blog Action Day project asks the question, “What would happen if every blog published posts discussing the same issue, on the same day? One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.” The issue today is the environment. I came upon Blog Action Day when very recently I discovered a wonderful blog by Virginia A. Spiegel.Once you check her out, she will be on your list for sure.

As I searched through the hundreds of pictures to find just the right image, I was shocked to discover this is the only picture not related to weaving or food I have taken this year.

"September Morning on Whidbey Island" This beautiful magical island in the Northwestern USA is the home of many artists (sadly I am not one of its residents) who share a passion for the environment. When you visit here, it is like going back in time. Interestingly enough, I consider Whidbey Island to be one of several weaving centers in the United States. I wonder if there is a correlation between deep appreciation for making things and a deep appreciation for the environment?

And if that is true, why do I only have one outdoor picture taken in 2007? But on the other hand, Rivers and Tides is one of my favorite movies. And Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver is my favorite book of the year.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nice Matters Award

Christine of SpinWeaveKnitandCake, so kindly tagged me with this award:

"This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded, please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award."

First and foremost, is Sara Lamb of Woven Thoughts. It was her mentioning me in her blog that got me to read a blog for the very first time. Within days I had set up my own blog, and the rest is history. Talk about inspiration!

Once I began checking in on Sara's blog, I noticed the WeaveRing icon. I clicked on it to see if there were any weavers I knew and discovered Sandra Rude had a blog as well: Sandra's Loom Blog. The thing about Sandra's work is that it is totally mind blowing. Her weaving demonstrates the vastness of the weaving journey. I am awed.

No list would be complete without Syne Mitchell's WeaveCast. I believe what Syne is doing to promote weaving in the 21st century is what Mary Meigs Atwater did to save handweaving at the early part of the last century.

Karen Madigan of curiousweaver has been a constant source of delight and a fount of knowledge. It's like I found a kindred spirit on the other side of the world. (well, a kindred spirit that keeps good records and works with complex weave structures)

Kathleen's Vegetarian Kitchen is the blog I would have wished I would have written had I written a blog about good food well prepared. It is a delicious feast for the imagination.

Stef's distracted muse keeps me coming back for more. I love seeing what she will try next. I have gotten to the point in my life where I wake up in the morning and say to myself, "No new crafts! No new crafts!" I am glad there are those out in world who can give me a vicarious craft adventure.

What list would be complete without Ruby Reuseable's Olympia Dumpster Divers. There is something so inspiring to me about making art from recycled materials!

I hope you enjoy my list as much as I enjoyed making it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Found Picture and Nod of the Day

To all those contemplating weaving a horoscope baby blanket, this is for you.

Have you ever spent hours looking through folders searching for a picture and never finding it? Instead you find a picture you totally forgot you had lost. This picture is so adorable it makes up for the picture I couldn't find. It doesn't matter it has been over a year. I'll have to get a current picture: dark curly hair, teeth, vocabulary, and constant motion.

Nod of the Day: Take a look at the Seaview Weavers Guild website. It's a great website and a great little guild. The Seaview guild is a small but active guild operating just North of Seattle WA. I could say a lot, but the site says it all.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Still Weaving Every Day

Today someone asked me if I wove every day. I gave this long convoluted answer, when in reality, the answer is a simple "yes". I don't keep track of the inches I weave, but ever since I came home from the Saori Conference, I have made "weave every day" a part of my "practice".

I settled on triple strands of medium grays of my unknitted cashmere sweaters for my weft. The picture doesn't do justice to how mellow and rich the gray gives to the vivid warp. And I am really loving the commercial space-dyed bamboo combined with the ikat dyed bamboo.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Towel Experiment

The skeins of 8/2 cotton are from Dye Day #5. The cones of colored yarn are also 8/2 cotton although it looks and feels quite different. Just for the hell of it, I decided I would try combining the two in a short towel warp to see if the two yarns will combine without turning into seersucker.
But first there is the little matter of winding the skeins into balls. I have actually come to enjoy this process. I don't know why I selected the orange, tan and gold as my 3 solids except for the autumn season that is upon us. I also wanted to use colors I don't usually choose.

I may call this my Halloween Towel. Aside from the colors, the warp may turn into a trick or a treat once it goes into the washing machine. I have run into problems before mixing the same weight cotton from different yarn companies.

For some reason, writing this blog has made making mistakes quite acceptable. I take more risks. I am entertained by my "duh" moments. This is the first time, however, I put on a warp that I was fairly certain would be a problem. It is only a 3 yard warp, and it is all ready to go. Why am I doing this if I think it won't work? Because someone told me it would, and I want to see who is right.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Integrating Panel #5 of The Big Commission

Panel #5 is the horizontal purpley one closest to you. These pictures are just my beginning to experiment with the placement of the panels.

It’s quite exciting to see this puzzle start to take shape. Since I haven’t written anything down or taken any notes (except for the dimensions of the panels), it is thrilling to see for the first time a broad hint of the finished piece.

When patterns repeat, it is easy for the eye and brain to take it in. When there is constant variation and no repeat, it is much more challenging for the eye/brain. I wonder if that is a positive or negative feature for a bed covering?

I much prefer the center panel in this picture. I am going to have to find a place where I can lay this whole thing out so I can really see it. There will be 2 more horizontal purpley panels that will go along the outside edge. The bed it is being made for is a king I believe, but it is at least a queen. It’s interesting to note how well this blanket (actually it is more of a sleeping mantle) looks with my purple wall.The bed is a standard double, and I am as far away from it as I can get..

Oh another little feature: I photoshopped the dresser and window out of the picture and inadvertently took out a little of the blanket. I have just an Elements 2 that someone gave me. I haven’t figured out much, but some.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Warp On, Warp Off

sThe Woven Word piece is threaded and ready to go. I plan to use my recycled cashmere for the weft. I am enjoying the cashmere so much.

And then I cut panel #5 of The Big Commission off the loom. This is the piece I was using to practice "Weave Every Day". I'll be curious to see how this panel will look next to the others. That will have to wait until another day.

The Big Commission is taking a long time to complete. It is partly because I am working without a plan, so I have to look at the panels for a while before I know how to proceed. I hope that after I have completed the blanket and trace it back through the blog to the beginning, I will be able to see the pattern in my thought process as I went along.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Overcoming Errors

As I was winding back this lovely warp, I noticed that I had left out 3 colored stripes (between the purple and orange stripes in the center of the picture) and the orange, olive and brown stripes should be to the right of the ikat stripe rather than the left. The error appears in the word "optimism" (begins with the very bright orange stripe "o", the red is "p", the dubonnet is "t", the blue is "i", and the purple is "m". I completely left out "ism" and put the word "new" there instead of putting "new" next to the word "beginning".

So I fixed it because I could and because I should have double checked my Woven Words before I started winding back. Of course, I am the only one who would ever know an error had been made.

Whew, that's a relief! Now I am back where I started, ready to move forward tomorrow.

I used to resist fixing my mistakes. I used to get angry at myself for making mistakes. I used to think that once I had been weaving for more than 20 years I would stop making mistakes (or I would have made all the mistakes there were to make).

I make as many (if not more) mistakes as I ever have, except now I see them as a humbling device. My mistakes have become more sophisticated over time, and I now believe there are an infinite number of errors to be made. I always learn something from my errors, and one of my great joys in weaving is knowing I CAN fix most every one. Though once in a while, I do have to cut my losses, and it is good to know when to just cut a warp off the loom and move on.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Designing in the Raddle

Here I am at the place in the process of dressing the loom that most excites me. I arrange the warp chains in an order that seems pleasing. When I stepped back and looked at it, I thought there was too much black in the center.

Sadly this picture is out of focus, but I think you will be able to see how I am able to alter the design. I lift out the chains I want to move, and then reposition the ends in the raddle.

The ikat stripe to the left of the turquoise stripe (and the matching stripe the second ikat from the right) is the place where I dropped in the black I removed from the center. The black ikat stripes frame the commercial space-dyed stripes shown on the warping board in the last post.