Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving from the East

Whenever I try to imagine what a trip is going to be like (and I always spend a little time trying to imagine--especially a teaching trip), it is always a surprise--nothing like my imaginings. This trip is proving to be surprising in the depth and breadth of the surprises.

One of the ONLY challenging parts has been the lack of computer access. I guess it will continue to get worse until I have a laptop. The computer I was expecting to use: first refused to let me post on the blog and second would not let me view and answer my emails. I'm sure as I think about this inconvenience I will come to see the blessing in it because I have had amazing interactions with family and friends. It is probably due to getting older---something they never tell you about. When you are older you become aware that every interaction with a cherished friend could easily be the last. Instead of making me sad or anxious, it has made me much more grateful for every minute I have with that person--every day a celebration!

My time with Tall Pines Guild in Houston was truly inspiring. I had totally revamped my Color Horoscope Weaving Workshop and tested out my expanded concept. The focus of the workshop was on color and yarn selection and methods of using the color horoscope draft as a personal color gamp for in depth color study in weaving. You really have to see and experience the interplay of color directly in the woven cloth to begin to understand the evanescent blending. Of course, I haven't written this up in a proposal format (one of the things on my "to do" list that I didn't get around to doing before I left Seattle). I told myself I would do this while I had a free moment. This moment hasn't come up yet.

I met many wonderful women in the Tall Pines Guild and hope to introduce them to you on the blog as soon as I get back to Seattle. I told them I would publish pictures of them weaving their shawls if they would send me their picture of them in their completed shawl. I always ask students to do this, but very few of them ever do. Some that did are in my gallery, click here.

Yesterday I taught a small workshop right here in my mother's apartment. A few of the women who were in my class back in April, wanted to come and learn how to make the drafts for Color Horoscope Weaving. I don't teach this aspect of the process anymore, but they presented a good case, so I decided to share this part of the process with them. Then we got to the really fun part a second workshop---wrapped silk jewelry. As I am now writing, I think I forgot to take pictures of the wonderful things that we made. This is really the first time I have taught anyone the wrapped silk jewelry although it has been listed on my website for quite some time as an available workshop. One of the most interesting parts of the process for me was going through my jewelry supplies and putting together the supplies that I shipped out here. I had collected and kept bits and pieces of things for over 20 years. These are not yarns that I assembled to use in a class. They are all silk yarns
used in projects over the past 20 years. I have talked about the "power of gathering over time". I sometimes wonder what other people gather over time.

Speaking of gathering, I shipped my latest batch of cashmere sweaters to Baltimore so I would have a project to work on with my mother (also known as my "unknitting factory). First we laundered all the sweaters. One was so perfect and looked so right on my mother's significant other that I gave him the sweater on the spot. He hasn't taken it off. It was the perfect gift. After washing, I took apart the remaining 9 sweaters and my mother is unknitting them like crazy. I have a shawl commission to work on as soon as I return to Seattle (Do you notice how many things I am going to do the minute I return to Seattle?) This will be a horoscope shawl in bamboo with a recycled cashmere weft. I will probably use the 2 burgundy cashmeres from this batch. I wish I had more purple though.

Once again I will repeat my cashmere request. Actually now that I think of it, I may never have made my cashmere request. Ten cashmere sweaters (in any condition, spots and holes welcome) equals one bamboo/cashmere scarf woven by me. Purples and magenta (jewel tones), one sweater counts as two sweaters. A sweater with a Pringle of Scotland or Dalton label also counts as two sweaters. I just made up these last two rules, but I like them.

Happy Thanksgiving!
I will try to get to a computer again.....

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Almost Packed

Collating notebooks
Notebooks completed
Carry-on bag with woven samples with a pile of woven samples that will not fit . I'm bringing lots of samples. The samples that I will check are ones that I either have similar ones or they are easily reproducible.

The big suitcase has the notebooks, the slides, the samples and my clothes. There is another small bag that has my cosmetics, jewelry, camera, and food. Since I have packed my camera, you won't get a picture of everything all zipped and ready to go.

I can't believe the number of items I crossed off my list to be done when I return. I will attempt to check in as often as I am able. Once again I am bemoaning the lack of laptop.

Onward to Houston!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

More Promised Pics

Here is the sweet little Bambu 7 and recycled cashmere scarf all washed and ready to go. These aren't my usual colors, but I wanted a chance to use the pink and lavender cashmere. I did notice after I washed this piece that the different weights of cashmere caused the edges to pull in and bow out at the color changes, but I decided that was part of the charm.

I cut the 2 towels in half before I washed them because I thought the two different twists of cotton would not do well in the washing. Happily I was wrong, and the piece on the left washed up beautifully. The commercially dyed yarn is not as soft and cuddly as the ikat dyed yarn, and these towels do not feel as yummy as the first two test warps.

My experiments do not always come out so well.

I just received this poem from a friend and would love to share it with you.


By Scottish poet Fiona McLeod (1855-1910)

I dreamed of Orchil, the dim goddess who is under the brown earth, in a vast cavern, where she weaves at two looms. With one hand she weaves life upward through the grass; with the other she weaves death downward through the mould; and the sound of the weaving is Eternity, and the name of it in the green world is Time. And, through all, Orchil weaves the weft of Eternal Beauty, that passeth not, though its soul is Change. This is my comfort, O Beauty that art of Time, who am faint and hopeless in the strong sound of that other weaving, where Orchil, the dim goddess, sits at her loom under the brown earth.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Moving Along

No pictures today, just words.

As I get closer to leaving on my teaching trip (Thursday), I start a second list. It's a boring sort of list, so I won't give you the long version. It's the "what to pack" list with things like back up batteries for the camera, travel clock, scissors---you know, the things you must have with you.

As for the other list, I've been checking things off right and left. The bambu 7/cashmere test scarf came off the loom today. I will wash it tomorrow and show you. It is always amazing to me how adjusting the sett a couple of ends makes such a difference in the cloth. I finished the 2 horoscope necklaces and shipped them off. I also shipped the Woven Words shawl. The essential oil blends are made and delivered. I put together both of the slide shows, one for the lecture and one for the workshop. I have put together both "show & tells" as well. I haven't packed them up, but I will do that tomorrow. I am always nervous about checking my luggage with my samples. I try to put all of my samples in my carry-on piece since most of my samples could never be reproduced (or at least I will never take the time to do that since it represents weaving going back to the early 70's)

So I am telling you today what I will be imaging tomorrow.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Happy Experiment

It wasn't until 7PM this evening that I got to sit down at the loom. I had made some noise yesterday about how much I was enjoying my test scarf of Bambu 7 warp and triple strands of unknitted cashmere weft. As I was taking this picture, Sharon was sending a comment asking to see the weft, so here it is.

The cashmere combines better with the Bambu 7 than the Bambu 12 (doubled). The sett for Bambu 7 is 20 epi and the doubled Bambu 12 is 24 epi. At any rate, the balance seems better somehow. Of course, we will have to wait and see what happens in the laundering for the true test. You can't see navy cashmere I began with. I thought the contrast was too great and settled for some nice lavender, pink, gray, and a blend on those darker stripes (shades of purple).

Happily and joyously I have mailed off the invitations to the NWDC New Members Luncheon. I have printed most of the handouts (I forgot to bring everything, so I will have to make a second trip to the print place.) Now I am going to play with the oils a bit. By Sunday I will have completed everything not directly related to my workshop and subsequent trip to the East Coast and will be focused 100% on Color Horoscope Weaving.

If you have never seen this, you are in for a treat!

Today I received some absolutely gorgeous natural dyed silk yarn samples from Aurora Silks. They took my breath away. Imagine 120 colors!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Behind the Scenes Workshop

So I had to ask myself, am I the kind of person who always makes lists?! After careful consideration I realize I am a person who makes lists when I am getting ready to take my "dog and pony show" on the road. For those of you who are currently teaching or who have taught workshops in the past, this post may seem all too familiar.

I know some of you out there are thinking about teaching a fiber related workshop, and most of you have attended a fiber related workshop. This is what I do to prepare for a 2-day (6 hours each day) workshop on Color Horoscope Weaving and a 1-1 1/2 hour lecture called "Exploring Not So Plain Weave".

I leave in a week, well now it is six days, but who's counting. Making the list was the first step. See original list here. I haven't figured out how to draw lines through completed tasks, and maybe I just don't want to know. But I have completed 9 items on the list. 11 items I am able to postpone until I return (Whew!) One item I had already done. One item I decided to cancel (The High Tech Low Tech show) And there are 2 new items added to the list. (supplies for trip and apply to a future show)

The following items are in process and will be the focus of the next 24 hours:
Address and mail invitations to NWDC Luncheon (don't even ask!)
Finish editing "Selecting the perfect Fiber & Colors"(for workshop)
Print all handouts for the workshop
Print greeting card backs.
Prepare the 3rd batch of oil (2 completed)
Weave some more Bambu 7/cashmere test scarf (It's coming out so well!)
Horoscope necklaces (Actually I will work on this on Saturday)

Remember I got a flu shot on Tuesday? Well today I feel like I am getting the flu. Now I am focusing all of my energy into not getting sick, so it's off to bed with no pictures.