Friday, December 18, 2020

2020: Storm Cloud and Silver Linings

2020 is winding down and I don't think anyone will be sorry to see the end of it.  Its been an "annus horribilus" to quote the Queen from her rough patch back in 1992. I don't think she'd mind if I borrowed it. 

I won't list all the endless points again.... lets just say it would take a long time to get through the list and even then, I'd miss something.  I don't think there is a single person on the Earth who hasn't been affected in some way.   There were some astronauts on the ISS who were above it all!  Then there were the people who went on a camping / paddling trip and were gone for a month and came back to a pandemic. They must have felt like it was some surreal Twilight Zone story or Hollywood movie script!

I'm happy to say that the effects have been light for us. More of an inconvenience.  We don't travel much but it would be nice to go see our grand kids and other family.  😷   It all got closer to home when my daughter and son in law caught covid 19 last month, and I'm happy to report that they are doing okay, test negative now but are not without some lingering after effects. They are very tired, and have little stamina, but that apparently is very common and they will get by that in time. 

This time of year is difficult due to the short days, long nights and bad weather.  Just a few short days and we'll have the Solstice and things will begin their swing the other way again.  There isn't much change the day after of course, but it just feels so much better regardless.  

 I took awhile to start weaving again after we took Rhaea back to the breeder.  I was pretty upset and needed time.    When I was ready, I had a rather dark broody painted warp on hand. I'm not even sure why I bought it as I normally go for brighter, more cheerful colours. It suited my mood and the year and so I pulled the project together quickly and it went on the Spring loom.  It's 8/2 tencel hand painted with creams, silver,  greys and even a touch of blue black. 

I added solid shale grey edges with silver and a touch of ruby red and then set to find a suitable weft colour.  I was aware that I wasn't doing things my normal way as I usually have weft colours pretty much worked out ahead of time but this time, I wasn't sure.   Black seemed to be an obvious choice to pull all the warp colours together as you can see in the picture above.

The second scarf was more difficult and it seemed my only choices were shale grey or silver.  The shale worked but I decided to go with silver. The pattern appeared softer and more subtle. It would appear as glimpses, then grow, and then fade as they shifted.   

I found myself thinking on what things had gone right for us and our blessings.  💉 The vaccines were being discussed on television and so that's a ray of hope.  A more stable, normalized government is coming to the United States again,  and it seems that there will be by next summer or fall, a more normal life returning to us all (or very close to it again *fingers crossed*).

So this scarf became "Storm Cloud".

The other scarf became "Silver Linings" which we all know is inside every dark cloud!

So the draft is an eight shaft twill progression which is treadled  as an advancing twill. I found it at and was naughty and I didn't record the number associated with it.   My bad. 

Its quite dramatic and now that I have worked with it, I can where modifications can be made to tighten some parts up or try expanding others. 

This will be my last completed project for the year and while I have new projects on the go, they won't be coming off the looms until January.     There are kitchen towels on the Megado and I'm about to reload the Spring for some 12 shaft turned satin weave table runners.  Its a draft from an old friend that I have wanted to try for some time. Now seems to be a good time!

Christmas will be very different for many this year with reduced gatherings to "your household only". For us it will be a nice meal for the two of us together, and time spent on the phone and FaceTime with family and friends.   
Our normal holiday season  🎄  🎅🏻  🎁     From our home to yours, we hope that you are all warm, safe and will  be healthy to enjoy the silver linings to come !

I will do my usual New Year's Day post where I show what's on the loom, then do an annual review of what I got accomplished. See you then!  🎉

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

🌎 Sea Fans

A weaving post!   Finally..... and hopefully you'll find it was worth the wait.   😁

It all started with this 16 shaft point twill draft, which I believe was designed by Ingrid Boesel.  I was playing around with the colour gradient feature of Fiberworks (for Mac) and knew I had the colours in my tencel stash. I have been enjoying working more with blues and teals this year and they are popular when it comes to sales.

The colours shown aren't quite like the yarns I actually used but close enough for my purposes.  I used Web's  'Valley" 8/2 tencel in royal, greyed blue, dark teal and greyed teal in the warp.   The weft yarns selected were navy and dark teal.

Winding the warp takes a bit of time as you go through the colour order one thread at a time,  cutting off and retying on a new colour.  I use little post it notes to isolate the 4-6 ends in play on the warping mill.  I don't mind it really as I enjoy watching the colours evolve and blend on the mill.  Eye candy!

Then  it was wound onto the loom and you can see why I was enjoying the colour blending!

So, above is the start of the navy weft scarf, which is basically upside down. The centres of the fans are all colour on the opposite side.    I got this scarf woven off just before the puppy came..... and then all weaving stopped for two months.   

This is the start of the second scarf using dark teal as my weft choice.  This softened  the colour gradation in the warp and the royal blue appears as a shimmer along the edges.  

It took time to get my weaving mojo back. I also discovered my legs didn't like the treadling action and I had to build up my weaving sessions.    Gah, I'm sadly out of shape!

I watched Sir David Attenborough's "A Life on Our Planet" on Netflix while twisting the fringes, while sitting at my desk.  It was a stark reminder of how fast humans have changed this world, but it was the oceans that affected me the most.  There are hopeful choices we can make to alter this future..... I recommend watching this documentary. 

 🐿  🌳  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌊 🐠

I had to wait for some sunshine to lighten up, brighten up the house sufficiently to get some decent pictures for you.  I literally caught a one hour patch of sunshine yesterday  just before another  cloud front rolled in.

So first up is the navy blue weft and I call this scarf "Big Blue" after the Pacific ocean here on our doorstep.

Then here's the dark teal weft scarf that I call "Caribbean" for the tropical oceans. The fans remind me of the coral reefs.    Yea, this one is my favourite....   💖  

There is just three weeks until the Winter Solstice, and the return of the sun light. Before we can get to lighter times ahead we must brave a cold snowy winter and Covid 19.   So dig out the snow shovels, and keep your masks on.  We can't avoid the snow but we can protect against the virus.  Its far easier to do that than it is to  deal with the illness.  Its like Russian roulette.... you might be a carrier and not get sick at all, you might not get too sick and recover, you may get very ill and die..... and if you recover you may have life long lingering health effects.    Wearing a mask and staying home is so much  simpler.     Vaccine help is on the way......   😷  💉

Thursday, November 26, 2020

...And So Here We Are...

 Yes, I'm still here. 

So after the  return of Rhaea to the breeder, I fell into a bit of a blue mood.   I knew it was the right thing to do for the pup especially, and also for us, but it was so. damn. hard.

How could something so long planned and prepared for, go so terribly wrong?

The unknown portion of the equation was Rhaea herself. Her personality and little terrier mind.  They are truly individuals and exert themselves into the mix.    I'm happy to report that she is doing very well and is quite at home with all the other dogs there and they let her know when she has overstepped and remind of her place at the bottom of the pack order.  Her best buddy she plays everyday with is Sparkle, a Staffordshire terrier.  In time she will go to a new home, but the new owners will have to have another dog for her to live with.  A  singleton lifestyle isn't for her.

Meanwhile, its been a bit quiet here as you can imagine. We took a week or so to gather, clean up and organize the puppy paraphernalia and have decided to sell it off.   We haven't given up on the whole idea of having a dog but when we do get one, it will  be an adult dog and so not all this stuff is useful.   

During this time period, I got word that my ex husband had died.   Our divorce was over  37 years ago so while I'm not feeling any loss, I do feel for my adult children who won't have closure on many issues. That door has been firmly closed.

I started to putter in the studio again but not with the old drive, but more from a sense of just keeping busy.  We wound on a new warp onto the Spring loom and I have one scarf completed and a second started.  I have decided that the pattern is neat but I'm not feeling the love for this painted warp and so its just something to weave off and get to something more exciting. 

On the Megado I have finally completed two scarves but it was a bit of a slog, no matter how much I loved the pattern or colours.  I haven't woven for two months and with the constant lifting of the legs I felt it in my muscles before too long.  I was out of weaving shape!   So I wove on it every day, and steadily longer repeats every day.    So now the scarves are done, fringes twisted and washed and pressed.  The reveal will have to wait a while until we get a rare (for this time of year) sunny day as every light on isn't enough to get a nice picture.   But I'll post as soon as I can....    Here's a look at the start of the second scarf:

A few days ago I was starting to feel a bit better, ordering Christmas gifts on line and working on Christmas cards when we got a phone call from my daughter and son in law in Colorado.   She has tested positive for Covid 19, complete with flu symptoms and a loss of smell and taste, and her hubby is okay for now but will be tested later this week.   Suddenly something that was happening to many others 'out there' just came home to roost.  Naturally as her mother, I'm filled with worry and dread.   When some people tell me not to worry I'm inwardly laughing at that statement.   Mothers never stop worrying about their children no matter their age.   My mother in law is 97 and still fusses over my husband sometimes...   

So we're staying home much more, being very careful when we go out and planning on a very quiet Christmas and winter season.   There will be more weaving, more show and tell as we close out this awful year.

If you have a love of tapestry weaving, then I can recommend this book which was just released. Not only is it full of useful information on how to do tapestry weaving, its also a beautiful book with gorgeous pictures.  It will become a classic very soon.   Either treat yourself or ask Santa for it. 

A quick note about  my Shortcuts page:   I had / have a shortcuts page to older posts on various topics to help newer readers find stuff here.  There were some broken links which I fixed and then republished the page. Now Blogger tells me its published but I can't see any tab at the top, and according to some readers, they can't see it either.    Its very frustrating and I have written to support about this issue but so far, no reply or fix.    I'm afraid you will have to use the little search box in the top lefthand corner until I can get this figured out....    Sorry about that!  😳

Friday, November 6, 2020

Making Hard Choices


I have been dreading writing this post and been avoiding it as a result.  So here is what I wrote and told a friend this morning:

"I haven’t done any weaving since early September but will be starting once again later today or more likely tomorrow.

I’m very sad to tell you that we made the hard decision to return Rhaea to the breeder and we drove down island this past Sunday to take her home. 

So what happened? Well, she started displaying behaviour that seemed much more than mere ‘puppy playfulness’. Leaping at the back of my legs and biting me hard. Hubby has bite marks  all over his hands.  If you tried to untangle a leash, she’d bite, and barking endlessly, plus endless 'zoomies'….. and a once dry and housetrained dog went back to doing it in the house, and eating it.  nauseated_face

We had been going to puppy classes and faithfully doing training at home. Everything was a teaching moment. She would sit, even do a lie down but when the treat reward didn’t come fast enough, she’d leap up and bite hard. She was spending more time in the 'time out' crate than out and our nerves were seriously frazzled. We were feeling ill  from the continual stress of it all and not knowing what more to do about it.

This was quite unlike any previous puppy experience we have ever had ….. and we’ve had more than a few and always had dogs (terriers) until Calli died. We talked to the dog trainer about ‘board and train’ but after spending a LOT of money, there was no guarantee it would work once she returned home.

I talked with the breeder honestly and she said to return her now and it was better to do that sooner for both the pup and for us. So the reports coming in now is that she’s settled back into the breeders home where there are a large number of other dogs and she’s now at the bottom of the pack order and no one puts up with her shenanigans. Even her mother has straightened her out a few times. So, apparently we weren’t effective enough at being the Alpha dogs here."

We are dealing with many emotions regarding this decision, but sadness is the main one. It became clear we couldn’t carry on with things the way they were and it wasn’t a good situation especially for the pup.

I have heard from her owner now and it seems she’s doing very well in a group setting with other dogs. So we are happy its working well for her there.

As for us, well our home is very quiet now and one ‘side effect’ is that I wake much earlier now. I have caught up on everything that was set aside for some weeks and will be resuming weaving this afternoon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Little Big Girl

Now, isn't that a classic terrier pose? Some kids were approaching us on the sea walk and she was very keenly watching them come closer.  She never barked but took it all in.    She also never barked at the other dogs that walked by on leashes either, which I was very happy about.  

She also has no leash manners but we hope in time to fix that. She starts puppy classes this coming Monday evening.  Not a moment too soon.  Rhaea is 13 weeks today and changing so fast.  We've gone from cuddly, soft and fluffy to a new wire hair coat coming in. There's only fluffy hairs  left  on her ears.   She's like an early prepubescent teenager now.... all legs but with fangs.    And a bigger bark. 

Here she is in her playpen , where we used to have a dinette table and chairs. Its so reminiscent of a small human baby with scads of diapers, clothing changes, food, bottles and a ton of other 'stuff'.    Plus loads of her  toys which are only attractive if you shake or make them fun.  Chewies of all sizes and shapes for the discerning gnawer.

You can't hear her voce but trust me, she packs a punch with it.  We have high vaulted ceilings and it echoes nicely. She knows it too. 

 So, I'd love to show you my latest weaving but  I can't do that just yet.  I did actually dust the looms this past weekend.   

I'm not by nature an early riser but having a puppy means I (we) are up somedays as early as 4:30 am.   A sleep in is 6:30 am!    So there comes a time period in the day after 'baby duty' and house chores when I could go and weave, but I don't feel alert and on my game. So I have been napping and occasionally spinning to unwind.  

A time off from the loom for now.  Sorry if that's what you come here for.    There will be more weaving related posts in time, I promise. 

Nobody will be happier than me once I can get back to throwing a shuttle again.    In the mean time, it seems 9:30 pm is the new midnight.    😴💤

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Zoomie Monster


Rhaea is 12 weeks old now and a real going concern. We have our moments of insanity and then there's the good times and snuggles. She has a real personality and not shy about what she wants .... but what she gets is another matter. She was 4.05 kg (nearly 9 pounds) last week so she's doubled her weight and doubled her leg length!  

Basic commands like sit are very well done, but 'down' has to be coaxed with a treat and what the heck is 'come'? Housetraining is coming along and accidents are fewer, with the understanding that she really wants to go outside which is encouraging when we are too slow or her bladder too small.  

We are discovering "zoomie time": that time of day usually around supper time or just after when they whip around the house or yard and turn into demons with teeth. Literally there's no reaching them mentally and she goes into the time out crate.  

I had to laugh when I heard this is the 'puppy good times' as when they reach the teething and teenage months, it gets 'interesting! 😳 Puppy classes start Oct 19th.... and we'll find out all our mistakes then.

No.... there's no weaving going on. Sorry.

I think you can see why now.....

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Rhaea at 10 Weeks Old


I guess it goes without saying that there is no weaving going on here at all...... and I'm okay with that........for now ... but hopefully I can start again soon??

Rhaea is 10 weeks old today and we can see how she is changing and quickly too.   If you scroll through these pictures and the previous ones taken at 8 weeks, you will see it too.

There is a dog trainer coming today to give us a one hour lesson  to tide us over until puppy classes start on October 19th and run for 6 weeks.   Its been a long time since we last had a small puppy and we were also younger then too. So we need to brush up on our techniques and get this done right.  😊

We are working on "sit" and "come" and naturally "no bite" and "leave it". We keep small bits of freeze dried liver treats in our pockets as inducements.  I have to check all pockets now before doing laundry as they look kinda creepy all soggy in the bottom of the washing machine! 

House training is coming right along and its mostly successes. That's due in part to being able to read the messages and being prompt with answering the call!    Our day starts at +/- 6 am now and there is nothing happier than a dry and warm dog bed with a sleepy puppy in it.

So do you think she has 'daddy' all wrapped around her paws?    Yea, I think so too.   😁