New Year Is Here

So the mystery blanket was finished (on Christmas Eve, no less). I was glad I had warped for one blanket as it was time consuming. The initial glitches with the computer made for a frustrating experience. I do not have a good photo. My bad.

Cutting It Close

I also hemmed the linen towels, the pictures do not do them justice and they are wrinkled after being used and washed. They have a nice light hand.

I have a custom piece that I need to start and also a student coming to take lessons. This prompted me to re-arrange my workspace which went down the rabbit hole and back again. I tried to add the Ikea IVAR corner piece to my existing shelves. The original shelves have a tight plastic lock that snaps firmly over the shelf pins. The newer corner shelves used a metal plate that kept coming apart from the wood and would not securely connect to the shelf pins. The whole system collapsed on top of me, breaking a nice glass globe lamp. It all went back! I chose another few regular rectangle shelves and added some storage boxes. The project was very inexpensive and I like the adaptability of it.

Ikea Ivar Shelf System

I sold a small table loom as it just wasn’t the right loom for me and invested in a Louet Jane (on SALE). The Jane is the latest adaptation of Louet’s Kombo table loom. I have woven on these and they work really well. The Jane was easy to assemble and folds into a compact rectangle.

The Louet stand is quite expensive. I did some research and decided that the Ikea gate leg table would be a great multi-purpose table. It can have one or two leaves open and the center piece has 6 drawers. It will serve as a cutting/sewing/designing table and loom stand.

I am hoping my week gets better. My new treadmill broke (under warranty awaiting replacement part, but frustrating nonetheless). The washing machine clogged and refused to work, after almost flooding the laundry room I was able to free the clog. The puppy pooped and peed multiple times in my bedroom to the point that the carpet cleaner now resides there. The truck went back (again) to the auto shop for a new headlight. We had 5 dogs, a cat and 6 adults over the holidays and it rained almost everyday! Things will return to “normal” on Monday. I’m not sure what my own “normal” is.

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Son Of A Nutcracker!

Once again – Kin – Look away!

 

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I have been fighting with this warp from the get go!  Of course the AVL decided to be persnickety – it’s a couple of days before Christmas and this has to be finished!

First, the computer kept dropping the port and refused to communicate with the loom in order to get the solenoids to fire and select the shafts.

After 2 hours of unplugging, port-checking and cursing, it finally worked.  Then the shed was AWFUL!  I fought for 35″ until I finally adjusted the turnbuckle from the dobby head to the treadles.  I am praying the prior 35″ is not so plagued with errors. That 35″ took me about 6 hours to weave!  Due to the full width, the end heddles kept catching on the long rods that secure the ends of the shafts, this led to tangles and more poor shed problems.

Once the problem was resolved I was able to weave fairly quickly (comparatively).  This is a deflected double weave with 4 color changes which did not justify using the fly boxes despite the 56″width.  It takes longer to switch shuttles as the tail of each new thread has to be woven in.  I saw an error where I wove 3 picks as opposed to 4, I am confident I can make this repair after the fact.

I have to say, the overall appearance is rather stunning!  I am hoping any errors will not be evident when wet finished and I hope the recipient likes it – A LOT.

 

 

Ugly Sweater Time

FYI – if you are a blood relative/offspring, do not continue!

Once in a while, someone asks me to make something.  I love to oblige, but sometimes feel, as I have said before, that giving a “home-made” gift may be akin to receiving ‘Mom’s ugly sweater”.  They will never tell you what they really think and who knows how often it will see the light of day.

I am using 6/2 cotton to make a throw.  I have woven with it before and it is wonderfully soft and easy to care for.  I sampled for deflected double weave with multiple threading and treadling in the sample.  The result is a little messy but when you observe each individual design, it gives the information needed for full-scale production.

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I started early in the am (hence the sun filtering and diffusing the light).  The AVL has 2 inch sections on the warp beam.  I did not feel like I had time to wind off multiple spools of yarn to sectional warp in the traditional sense.  Instead I chose to wind small bouts on the larger warping mill.

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As this warp has multiple stripes, it was time-saving to wind twice the length of warp per bout, have a cross both top and bottom.  Mark the halfway point and tie securely.  Then the bout can be cut creating two identical bouts.

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Then the bout is placed on the tension box and wound onto the beam.  I almost always use a cross and lease sticks so for me, it was worth the extra time to quick tie a cross.

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Winding on and inserting the lease sticks did not take too long.  Threading is underway and hopefully I can complete this before Monday!

 

Too Much Fun with Friends & Family

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  As an ex-Brit, Thanksgiving is a newer tradition for me but is now my favorite holiday!  It also falls around my birthday.

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We had the privilege of sharing Thanksgiving with family and friends and it was wonderful!

This was quickly followed by an impromptu gathering of friends for my birthday.  I am so lucky to have some really great people around me! They made cards and we shared cake, wine and had a great time!

I decided against running today, instead I worked on weaving off the towel warp on the AVL.  As they are towels for our home so the minor “flaws” are acceptable.  I splurged and backordered issues of Selvedge Magazine as they are perfect eye candy and possible inspiration for future designs.

Looking forward to the Christmas Holiday and having all my kids and other important people and fur-babies home.

Rusty Much?

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Sometimes, everyday feels like a full moon! I finally got the towel warp up and running on the new to me AVL, I realized just how rusty I am.  I can normally weave at “warp-ish speed”.  Now I feel like I lack rhythm and am I beating on a semi closed shed or open shed?  The more I think about it, the worse my selvedges get.  After half an hour, I think it is finally coming back!

With the new pup being here, we are working hard (or rather I, the lone adult in charge) to get the dogs back to better behavior.  Our first Aussie has always been high-strung, with Mike being gone she is just flat-out anxious.  Any change, return, or family shift makes her so upset.  The dog next door is charging the fence and they are getting into disputes, it is very stressful.  We had a really good two weeks of structured training and when Mike came home for a few days, it feels like we are back to square one.    Not Mike’s fault at all, but we need as much structure and calm as possible and we all need to use the same approach and language to communicate when training. Sometimes I wonder how we raised three kids!  Our poor dog trainer had a heck of a time today as our dysfunction was on full display!

I have been cleaning house, I have a few weaving related supplies for sale including some yarn.  I’m a little cranky so when people are asking me way too many questions about equipment and yarn to be had at a steal, I am inclined to just resort to Ebay.  Like I said, it feels like a full moon.

 

 

What’s One More…Right?

So,

I have slowed down and virtually “finished” working for a while.  I will miss my clients, thank goodness my gym family is providing me a little continued involvement because they are all so much fun and such great people to work with and be around.

I have slowly been doing a little design work most days.  Of course when things slow down and there is more time and space, what do we do – we FILL it!

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We have toyed with the idea of dog #3 for a while. I almost adopted a rescue and decided against it because 3 dogs when you are trying to get control of change in your life is nuts.

Of course it’s our wedding anniversary and we decide to go just look at the pup that the person we got our other handful of a pup from.  So of course there is one extra in the car ride home.  Say hi to Brody (my son named him after Chief Brody from Jaws).

So here we are, prime AARP candidates, 2 years shy of child freedom, with 3 dogs!

Would I change it, nope.  He is ADORABLE! SO low-key, so affection and so willing to please!  We knew we had to get our other two reigned in so we are working with our amazing dog trainer (https://www.facebook.com/VIPPetServices) who has made such a difference.

So most nights I spend looking down dogs nostrils as they lay all over me on the couch, it takes me about 4 hours a day between individual training, corralling feeding times preventing pee and other accidents.

I have had them upstairs while threading the AVL and listening to This American Life podcast, despite all the wood, strands of yarn and distractions, they are all doing well. What can I say, life is good!IMG_3418.JPG

 

Finding a Path – This One Is For Heather

Everyone has had struggles.  Some more than others.  I had a pretty rough childhood which affected my ability to really fulfill my potential in college.  Art was always my thing, it allowed expression and I felt comfortable there.  In college I was amongst kids who were affluent and supported.  I had parents that barely realized I was putting myself through school.

I have many regrets that I did not go on to get my masters, instead I fumbled in a different country, having several part-time jobs at a time and then I completely got away from art and design.

I say I am a jack of all trades and master of none.  However, my daughter has gone on to have a blossoming design career.  My husband has recently started to encourage me to get back to what I love.  This had to be my journey.  There was no magic wand, no luxury of time and money.  It all felt hard scrabble.  I remember as a late teen in college visiting a major design house in London.  I felt inferior, disregarded and let me tell you as a women in the US in this current state of affairs, it feels like the same old all over again.  Except now I have time and wisdom on my side.  My perspective is a little different, I am more vocal, less insecure and I now have time and money on my side.

Today I felt again like that 19-year-old – in an upscale store – wearing crappy clothes (I had just left work) and noticed the salesperson disregarding me over other more appropriate customers.  My normal instinct would be to leave, but I have a really important date with my hubby coming up and needing the perfect shirt (yeah that happens sometimes) I decided to just try the damn shirt on.

Once the salesperson realized I was actually serious, full attention.  (zero respect for these people and yes I get what it is like to be disregarded).

Anyway, after decades of second guessing oneself, when you finally find you are much more comfortable being your honest self, things are simplified.  The only people you are accountable to are yourself, family and friends.  It is ok to let go of people in your life if that is what you need to do.  It is ok to speak your story, it is brave and will help someone else.  I am lucky to be surrounded by people who love and support me, by strong women and encouraging men.

The nice thing about getting older is, it feels like there is less to lose and more to give.  It has been a rough year or two.  But here is to sweeping a cloud of dust on a mountain top.  Thank you Heather for a revealing journey!

“We don’t heal in isolation, but in community.”
S. Kelley Harrell, Gift of the Dreamtime

 

Tiny Warps

I generally use a plain beam for warps.  The AVL only has the sectional beam.  Usually, to dress a sectional beam you use multiple cones or spools of yarn.  For 2 inches of yarn sett at 36 epi, this requires 72 spools.  If you have only one or two cones of yarn, you will need to calculate the total yardage be wound onto each spool for 72 spools.  It can be time consuming to say the least.

My workaround is to wind mini warp bouts.  This particular warp is time consuming as it is small stripes.  I then spread the warp onto a raddle in the tension box, put the cross over the pegs for tension and wind the warp in 2 inch bouts.

One down, ten to go!

Color – Colour

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I have a few books and apps that allow exploration with color. I have also started a space to use for a story board and inspiration.  My goal is to spend a little time each week playing with photos, color and ideas.

I also have to up my dye game!  It may be time to start keeping a dye recipe book, although flying by the seat of my pants has served me well so far!  I actually have a good eye for color. When non-recipe dyeing I find it very instinctive what colors to mix to change a color to get my desired effect.  The problem is, it becomes a shake of this and a tiny scoop of that and is in no way reliably reproduced.

I will be sectional warping the AVL with the shades of grey to make some towels.  Some will be simple stripe effect with linen singles and some will be monks-belt or overshot accents.

A Loss

Yesterday one of the most pivotal people in my life passed away.

He was my Yoda.

I met Larry over a decade ago, a phenomenal athlete, a calm and inspirational guide.  I guarantee there isn’t a person that encountered this man who was not changed positively by him.

We met as runners.  He, a very successful businessman and a remarkable athlete.  He did not immediately come across as a spiritual person, but he had a depth and quality that asked you questions, made you think and question yourself and always made you become a better person.

I cannot convey how remarkable this man was.  He was very humble, giving and always saw potential, always encouraged and always made you want to be better.

As big as the loss is, my heart is full.  It is full because Larry made me think differently, he made me see positivity and helped me recognize so much and be so much better as a person.

My heart goes out to his dear family.  We selfishly claimed Larry as ours, he always gave selflessly.  He was very private about his personal life, his accomplishments, his goals.  To Larry’s family, thank you.  Thank you for allowing us to be part of his life.  Thank you for allowing us to be part of his journey in leaving us.  I think you know just how big an impact he has had on so many of us.  I like to think there are so many of us that carry a part of him on in our lives that we will always be paying it forward, always making us be better.

God Bless

Larry Friedman, my friend and mentor.