Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Years Eve and Resolve

We have a bottle of pink bubbly to open, our dinner all planned out and movies on Netflix all chosen for tonight.  Yes, we're staying home.  Too darn cold and snowy to go out anyhow.

Do you make new year resolutions?   I don't anymore. I simply try to be better than I was in the previous twelve months, smell the flowers more,  and do more of what makes us happy.

I talked with my brother over the holidays and he, who goes to the gym faithfully and all year long, said that it was crowded there the other night. He couldn't get his workout done due the eager bunch that are starting the New Year early. I asked if it would be better near the end of January and he said no.... they last longer than that and usually by the end of March the herd has thinned out.

I think weaving is like that too.  Winter months and we make big plans to start weaving and have all these projects in our minds to do. Inertia and internet steal time away. First sign of sunshine, spring flowers and the garden calling and weaving wishes fade to the background.  Fresh air and getting outside is super after a long winter cooped up, but why does weaving time dwindle away?

I keep a notebook where I record all kinds of ideas such as interesting colours I've seen together, patterns,  someone I want to weave something special for and their interests, drafts, and yes, sometimes snippets of someone else's work.    I like to work on a project and fine tune a draft to suit my needs..... line up cones of yarns until they talk to me about who fits together better.   Once I have the draft tweaked, yarns chosen, I get started on winding the warp.  I hang it up and keep the project notes handy.  

I will weave for a spell until my foot hurts and I need to rest it and then work on another project to build.  Finding the right draft, the right colours, the right yarn is all part of the fun for me.   It also means that the projects are waiting to go onto the loom as soon as its cleared off.   So no naked looms!

I don't put things away to sew later either. I do them now while everything is fresh in my mind.  Samples, project notes and critique are all done while the iron is hot  (sorry, I couldn't resist that one!) It helps keep twisting fringes interesting if there's just one or two scarves to do rather than a pile of ten.   The project notes are better as I combine all my notes to myself from the loom into one record.

It clears the slate as it were..... much like New Year's Eve day.   The weight of the whole year hangs onto today and tomorrow,  January 1st,  2018 is a new clean slate.

I plan to consistently weave through out the year when ever possible and not get caught short by: no warp on the loom, and nothing planned, and no warps prepared.

So whether you have a rigid heddle, table loom or floor loom.... "keep one on, one waiting and one being worked on", and above all have fun with your weaving!

Don't stress about 'dogs on the looms'... cut them off!   Its just string.  
Stuck in a rut?   Buy a new book, join a guild or sign up for a workshop.  
Loom isn't behaving?  learn how to tweak your own equipment or simply sell it and move onto a new love.

Do you recall how fast this year went by?   So weave with the 'good' silk, try linen for heavens sake and above all, use ALL the shafts on your loom.

What are you saving them for?    Tick tock, tick tock!

    Its not resolutions you need but resolve!

Have a wonderful New Years Eve where ever you live....  

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

I love the tall ship gliding calmly over the waters in all its glory.   Its lighting up the dark as we end the year.   Its been a frantic year filled with fires, floods, wars, mass migrations, and a planet in decline.......then there's the  malicious politicians who have worked to divide people physically, mentally and financially.

We need light to shine on dark things and we need calm waters ahead.   Take deep breaths and perhaps spend some time each day doing something quiet (may I suggest weaving?) and simply enjoy what you have. 

I would like to thank my readers for following along all through the year, and wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

I'll close with a recent picture of our grandchildren who are growing up much too fast!
Ethan 5 1/2 and Madison 2 1/2 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

New Addition to the Studio

Meet the new kid on the block


 Tall, very quiet,  works long hours with no complaints and in fine physical form..... meet Judy.   My friends Lynnette and Ngaire   of Dust Bunnies Under my Loom  traveled down to Victoria to a shop selling fixtures and all the extra do-dads for displays and agreed to picture her up for me.

I already have a Madge and she is well settled here and gets the prime display:

She is the official greeter as you step in the door.   Just so there are no hard feelings, Judy is tucked by the printer desk and is relegated to wearing a scarf.  Despite the lack of clothing she is quite modest and has no butt,  lady parts or over endowed.  She also has the narrowest hips I  never had at any stage in my youth!    Lynnette told me that the sewing shows call the mannequins "Judy's"... so whom am I to argue?  

Our dog Calli got quite the surprise and growled at her as an intruder!

Judy came with en entourage.... a display rack!

That's as high as I could get the 'swirl' to go.  That's my meager scarf inventory right now and I have them set on every second section.... and there are 29 balls between sections.   I'm hoping to get them out for viewing rather than be all folded up and in a plastic box.

I have been mulling over my options and have some ideas I'm thinking through..... and no matter which ones I choose, I need to get weaving!

... 'cause Judy needs some clothes!   Thankfully shoes are not a problem.....

Monday, December 4, 2017

This Happened Today....

So after a month of total upheaval, paint cans, drop sheets, along with vacuum cleaners and floor mops, we are finally back to normal!   There are a few pictures to re-hang but the worst is over.   The six rooms look great and really freshened up... visibly brighter with fresh painted ceilings.

Its taken time to do a thorough cleaning of the rooms, and then the rest of our space since everything was crammed every available spot and then some!  Think spring cleaning but late November instead.

Then we had to catch up on life, pay bills, see doctors, dentists , write Christmas cards, get gifts for the grand kids ready to mail away....  and get back to weaving again!

This is 9/2 French linen for some runners. The colour is new for me and is called brick. Its a coppery red and quite smooth and shiny.   The  eight shaft draft is a new one and I'll show you that later when I have some weaving actually going on.

The rearrangement of the studio has given me much more room in the sunny alcove.  Its much easier to load a warp or lift the loom up for the tie up's.

I lost my sewing table and my serger and sewing machine are tucked away into an overflowing closet. That's a challenge for another day.... sorting out the closet into a more manageable mess!    I use the serger quite often and so that presents a problem.  My old desk was a cheap particle board thing that has been around since the late 1980's  and has been recycled.   I bought a gently used desk and even with my Handwoven collection across the back, there is oodles of room. I'll just bring out the serger and set it up on the desk when needed.  I also inherited the family's file cabinet. It makes sense though for when I do up bank statements and such.  I can put my iPod tunes on top and my printer too.  (looks much better than our bed there in the last post)

By the end of this afternoon when I left to go and have supper, after Bruce helped me beam on the warp, I had 25% of it threaded.  Feels real good to be back in the saddle again!   This Christmas thing might slow me down a bit.   🎅🏻🎄

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

To Turn the Corner

"To turn the corner" : to begin to find success or improvement after a particularly difficult or troubling period. 

" To see the light at the end of the tunnel": the end of a difficult situation or task, the solution to a difficult problem. 

Definition of an introvert:   see here  ⬅️  =  "me"  😳

Calli isn't missing any car rides lately. She's first up at the front door the instant she hears the coat closet doors open and car keys jingle.  I don't blame her a bit and I'm actually looking forward to my dentist visit Wednesday.    That and some time earlier in the afternoon with the girls from the guild at our "Sybil" day where I'll take along my Victoria wheel and spin.  The dentist appointment is to get my third crown this year installed so not an onerous visit, except for the paying part! 

I wanted to get the painting done. The painting needed to be done. It had to be done sooner or later no matter what. We also knew that we couldn't do it ourselves any longer  so it brings us to our current  home situation.  The studio and ensuite are done, and so is Bruce's den and office. We can only put back the larger items for now.  The main bathroom should be completed today or tomorrow..... and our bedroom is just getting under way with mending and patching done, and as I write this, the ceiling is getting its first coat.   Sounds okay right?   Just let me remind you that all this started on October 24th....

Take a good look around a room, any room in your house. Now imagine having to empty the room but the stuff can't leave the house.... now add a second room and even third room  to this.   The end result is you feel really discombobulated in your own home. Stuff is literally everywhere!   Add an introverted old lady (who is me )  to the mix and you have the ultimate in stress factors. (For extra fun, add a dog who is sick into the mix.)

Last night was our first night sleeping in the studio. Its like camping!  Did you know that looms creak at night? Scared the bejesus out of me!

And here's much of the bedroom dresser drawers on or around the dining room table....

There isn't one room in this house that doesn't look like these pictures either above or below right now. 😥

All the rooms showed various dings and scrapes, picture hanger holes and just plain tired, but the bedroom is the worse of them all.   Every little 'spot' of green tape dabs are holes or something that needs a repair. I think every owner who has lived in this house hung their pictures in a new spot, every time, (and twice on Sundays!)

The armoire is simply too large and heavy to leave the room.... and here the top of the walls are being prepped so they can paint the ceiling. They later added plastic sheeting that hangs down the walls to protect them.

and the opposite side of the room... more holes!

... and more holes... but they will be gone by the end of the week. Painters too.   A two maybe three week job will have taken four.  I must say they have done a beautiful job on all walls and trims, ceilings and doors, but we have a mountain of work and cleaning ahead of us. Then we'll have to catch up with Life and think about Christmas.

Do I need to say that there's been no weaving here?   Just me and my one good nerve left play with spinning and quietly reading when I can.  I don't think I even got this stressed out waiting for joint replacement surgery!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Snow on the Maple

So basically days after our first frost, we had our first snow fall this past Saturday.  Mother Nature seems impatient this year!   What was left of the chestnut leaves fell in quick order and the Japanese Maple leaves didn't get to finish their last show and have been falling thick and fast before their time. 

Once the sunshine hits it there's daytime melting ... and by this coming Thursday daytime temperatures will be back higher again. This was a wake up call to get ready for the main event(s) to come!

Some artsy shots taken as the sun started the day properly.....

Meanwhile, back inside we just had a glorious two whole days off and the first thing we did was sleep in and take full advantage of the extra hour with standard time being reimplemented.   With help, I  had the looms shifted into new positions and I think this arrangement will work better.

I needed more room down in the alcove but need to use the wall space too. This looks like a good compromise between  the Spring and the roll-abouts.  (The sewing table is gone and may not be back).

I straightened the Megado and now I can see about setting up the fly shuttle as the ends are not pointing directly at windows anymore!

The tapestry loom was shifted to this shorter wall by the window. I do plan to do something with it but other stuff always seems to come up and it gets pushed further and further down the list.  To stop this endless slide I'm not taking commissions for the time being and getting back to more exploratory type weaving, colour play and start using equipment that doesn't see any of my time.    To have more fun again.  I still need to get more handwovens into my shop so there'll be some 'bread and butter' work still to come.

I also need to find a good video of how to beam and set up this Leclerc tapestry loom and if anyone can steer me in the right direction I would be grateful....  my email address is in the profile.   

As you can see, the colour is brighter and fresher. The name is "Rambling Rose" but it feels more raspberry to me. Its an energetic, happy colour!   The opposite walls are done in a light touch of grey called "White Egret".  It could have been a bit more grey but the raspberry wall is a tough opponent.  So its quietly neutral.    It also worked best in the bathroom beyond.  There are white tiles and a row of decorative trim tiles that have light grey, the same malachite green as the floor and a dash of gold. I used the grey to play off from and since it sweeps from one room to the next, it was a leap of faith!

Now, please excuse this crummy picture below.... but its all I have at the moment....
This is the wall where the tapestry loom used to be and in the near future it will have a 'new to me' desk.   It has a larger desk surface and I plan to set the serger or sewing machine up here when needed, or just throw up a small folding table.  This shows the main grey wall.  

The painters are working in the den / office and main bathroom right now and when the time comes to paint our bedroom, this spot is where we'll set up our bed.

I'll be sleeping with  my babies !   

So things are progressing slowly here and fortunately the calendar is more or less empty to accommodate this decorating reality show  😜    There is going to be a ton of house work to do before this is all over and back to normal.  

By the way....  today is the 16th anniversary of me getting my first artificial hip back in 2001 at age 45.  I'm very grateful to surgeon Dr Boyce and Kelowna General  Hospital.    All three of my artificial joints have 'birthdays' as they gave me a new lease on Life!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Frost on the Pumpkin

If we had any that is.....   The grass sure looked crisp this morning but in the time for me to run for the camera and come back, the sun had warmed parts of the lawn.  You can see it recently got its last cut for the year and a newly purchased leaf rake and leaf bags are waiting for the inevitable!

You have to admire those last few roses that keep on blooming! (bottom right corner).

Meanwhile, inside is all organized chaos.   These were taken Saturday and shows the ceiling getting its second coat of paint.  By my reckoning, the tall guy on the right should be on the higher ceiling to the left and vice versa. Its interesting how they use the lighting conditions to show them where they have done and where the next stroke of the roller should be.    Much like using a play of light on tone with tone weaving... 

Normally there is just the two painters. Lovely couple who have been painting homes for over 30 years together. 

Much of this plastic drapery disappeared today and they are settling in on the walls.  Bathroom has its two coats on both ceiling and walls.  

Meanwhile I hope to get this big pile of stuff back into the room soon. Bruce is emptying his den / office and they are heading to the other side of the house next.  I can't imagine what doing the main open areas will involve next spring....   I'm going to like the end results, but no one said I had to like the process of getting there!

So my latest project is off the loom and had hand sewing of the hems done, then washed, dried and the "bejesus" pressed out of the linen using the steam press and regular iron and board.   Then tagged, wrapped and boxed to go off to Virginia.    Sorry no pictures this time round.  It was two runners 15 inches by 58 inches, plus a third one of 15 inches by 77 inches.     I had planned for a fourth runner of 15 by 58 but it came up short at 45 inches.  Being a thicker grist yarn, the take up was more than I allocated for. Notes will be made on the record sheets to that effect for the future! It seemed safer to get them wrapped and protected and shipped on their way rather than leave them in this chaos. I had no where to take pictures of them anyhow.

There's going to be one last warm summer like day today and I'm going to sit outside and spin on my wheel and enjoy the Fall colours in our back yard.  Apparently from tomorrow onwards it will be below freezing at night and just barely above freezing during the day. Possibly snow on Thursday or sometime on the weekend.   oh, joy!    Hub has tuned up the snow thrower and brought in extra gasoline to run it. 

Happily, it will be a dry night for the little ones trick or treating on Halloween!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Change is the Only Constant

 The chestnut tree in our back yard is right on the point of letting go.... and all these leaves will drop soon.   The rest of the garden has been cut back and tidied for winter.   There have been three substantial wind and rain storms in one week and now we are enjoying a brief time of sunshine and warmer air. So much so  that the furnace is turned off and the windows open to air out the house.  I count us lucky right now as parts of northern BC received 55 centimetres of snow yesterday!

The Japanese maple is turning deep red, with a few last rose buds on the shrub below.

Out in the front yard our ornamental cherry tree at the end of the driveway is looking more like sugar maple! Beside the driveway is a bush I can never recall the name of but I call it burning bush.  Its an eye catching red!   We're supposed to get an early snowfall and possibly as much snow as last year, but maybe be warmer over all compared to last winter according to the Farmer's Almanac.

We moved here just a year ago but spent much of October 2016 unpacking and indoors due to rain. We never really got to enjoy the Fall at all.  By the time we lifted our heads out of boxes, it was snowing!    This Fall I'm sitting outside and spinning, but there's a good reason for that.....

Under all this mess is my dining room table..... and the mess is books and such from the studio. I had to empty the room as much as possible so it can be painted. I came up with the idea, signed on for it and looking forward to the conclusion, but in the meantime its chaos here!

It was a photo finish to get the last warp off the Louet Spring and here I am, late at night,  pressing hems and pinning them for some hand sewing. 

These are taken the morning after.... and the looms are waiting to be covered while they work around them. The ceiling, walls and trims are all being done.   Yes, I'm keeping the burgundy feature wall.... just refreshing it.  The other walls will be done in a light dove grey. Down at the opposite end is an ensuite bathroom with white tiles, malachite green and a touch of grey. I decided to go with the hint of grey.  Its neutral and helps to counter the accent rose wall.   (I had to cover a deep forest green wall once at one home we owned and three coats of primer later plus two top coats and the green still came through, so I thought, "why fight it?")

Then the following pictures were taken at the end of the first day. They were bringing in equipment and supplies and organizing the paint, plus double checking what's to be done.

Its not an overly large space but they managed to bring in and set up five ladders (there are some little shorty ones out of camera view).     Day 2 went well with paint being rolled on doors and trims already...  Day 3 is about to start with walls being done.   The ceiling will be Saturday's job! I think they got the right height ladder worked out now.

Once this room is all done they will move onto hubby's den and office, then the bedroom, main bath and a small hallway.... and this is our life for the next two weeks. We're up bright and early every day..... have I ever mentioned that I'm not a morning person? At least I can set up the studio again while they work on the other side of the house.    We have yet to decide where and how we're to sleep while they paint the bedroom ! Indoor camping anyone?   

So this post is likely the only one for October and I'm sorry about that.  I had intentions of posting more, and had some weaving underway but we were busy with end of the season house and yard maintenance, plus some medical appointments regarding my feet.  Plain and simple, they hurt and its osteoarthritis.  I'm not looking for sympathy here but simply saying that I needed to take things slower and that doesn't translate through to much in the way of interesting reading!   So once the painting is done and my house set to rights again, we'll get the looms moving again!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Its About Time

The signs are clearly starting to show.... summer is "done and dusted" and autumn is officially here.   As of October 1st we will have been here in our new home one year.  A year that flew by!   We have no regrets about our move to this home and simply love it.  We spent last winter looking at what needs to be done here and this summer we got busy and replaced some sealed window units, re-roofed the sheds (we had a leak),  checked our perimeter drains around the house (we get a lot of rain in the winter!), we're getting leaf guard protection on the gutters (no more cleaning clogged gutters and climbing ladders) and in a couple of weeks time we're getting some rooms painted to freshen them up. We already have a list started for some jobs for next year :  new kitchen sink and faucet, get one of two runs of side fencing replaced (a joint effort with the neighbours) and possibly more interior painting.  There's always something that needs tweaking!

After we recently went to Vancouver and saw the grand kids and returned home, I found my feet very painful again with arthritis and it hurt to walk, let alone treadle. So I took a rest and wound warps instead and wove when I could for short periods of time.   I'm waiting on  seeing a surgeon about my right foot, but the left is painful now too. Getting old(er) sucks!  So the studio has not been as busy as it normally is.

It seems I wasn't quite done with the last draft and tie up on the loom. I inherited a couple of 'seconds' over the years as table runners for our bedroom furniture but our night tables remained bare. This seemed to be a logical time to fix that and weave some up for our home.  I had the same warp and weft yarns on hand, the draft in hand and tie up all done.   They may not have been very long runners but they still had all the hemstitching!  In fact, it seemed like all hemstitching interspersed with a short run of weaving.  The day they were washed it was raining outside and so the rack was set up in the house to dry.

Tails were snipped, and then a hot time on the steam press and ironing board  and they were ready for some pictures.   There is also one longer runner that's 15.5 by 40 inches in length.  The warp is 10/2 mercerized cotton (colour: shell) , sett 28 epi and this runner was woven up with 8/2 tencel  (colour: taupe)

I wove two smaller cloths with the same shell mercerized cotton warp but used cream or off white 8/2 bamboo. This way they would match the existing runners in the room

Naked no longer!

close up detail of the pattern

Bruce has a couple of small little end tables in his den that needed a little something too, so I wove these small little covers for them.  I find it rather ironic that I weave miles of cloth, but it took so long to do these small pieces.  "The Cobbler's children have no shoes".

As you can see I reduced the pattern motif to fit the smaller table top.   The LED bulbs in the lamp are a rather warm white so I did my best to reduce the yellow in the computer. Now he can put down the cold beverage while he watches his Blue Jays baseball games.

The older table runners are up high on a tall dresser and an armoire..... so the treadling error isn't on full display but do their job well.   Yes, that's me at about age two or three with my mother.... a long time ago now. 

I held the camera up high and snapped these....  but you can see the new runners have good company.
We're all "matchy-matchy" now!

Some good news:   Two years ago today, I got a whole new left knee and while it was a tough recovery, its made a huge difference in my life! 🎉🎈 I have a 'birthday' for each one of my three artificial joints as each in turn resolved some painful issue  and gave me a new lease on life and, my main goal,  kept me weaving.