Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring is in the Air

As I write that title, there is snow on the ground...no not like so many places this year, it is just the spring dusting that we get.  My daffodils have been blooming for a couple of weeks and I know that they get snowed on a couple of times each spring.  This was the second snow that I have been expecting.
The golden crocus just make me smile
There are also purple ones
The daffodils are my favorites
Snow covered crocus
Daffodil bent under the weight of the snow.
What a difference a day makes.  

I have enjoyed my spring bulbs so much this year.  I get a smile every time I walk out the front door.  I need to plant more so that I can enjoy them for a longer time each year.  If I put some in the front parking area, they will bloom later because they are farther away from the house.  I also need to consider the back yard.  I should spend more time back there and enjoy it.  Bulbs would brighten that area a lot.  I could even put a loom back there on nice days.  I remember how much I enjoyed sitting out on the deck in the mornings with my coffee right after I lost my job.  Such a beautiful way to start the day. 
I have been thinking of setting up a portable tapestry loom, I could use that as a traveling weaving, a way to take weaving with me instead of just knitting when I travel.  I could use that loom on the deck so nicely.  I have a great picture that I lifted from the internet of a Utah sunset...I even collected some yarns in the appropriate colors...I need to think about warping the Hokett loom.
Yes, I have been purchasing some small looms lately.  The Hokett was for a tapestry class, I didn't think I would get excited about tapestry, but at this small scale...it seems doable.  I also purchased a Schacht 15" Cricket...what a sweet little loom.  I am teaching a class in Rigid Heddle and it seemed like a good idea when a used one came available to me.  Unfortunately, now I want the floor stand.  I don't like the way the Cricket fits between me and the table.  My old Schacht RH weaves great that way, but the old one is longer in length and wider (20").  This little Cricket really needs a stand to weave comfortable...but does that make it less portable...does that matter?  I could use the stand at home and take it off for travel to class...that might be good.  Am I just justifying another purchase?

I even bought a 20" Schacht four shaft table loom.  That one was a great deal on line.  It is very old, the joints use doweled joins and it has the old metal plaque on it.  Unfortunately, it had not been used for a long time and had some water marks on it.  I cleaned everything, washed, sanded, oiled and waxed the wood, steel wooled all the heddles, and I need to remove rust from the reed (still looking for a product to do that).  But the loom is beautiful now, it just shines and the wood is as smooth as glass.  I will probably leave it at the studio for students to rent, but I don't think I will sale it to the school.  I have a private lesson student that will probably start on it next week.

My weaving has been slow...winter doldrums?  I know that last week when I was standing in the sunshine, I realized that I felt better and seemed to have more energy to do something.  Maybe that means I can weave off some warps that have been too long on my floor looms.                                                
I have been weaving some small pieces, samples for classes, scarves and such.  I took the loom up to the state capital for a legislature session that had non-profit groups, I got a cute new scarf out of it.  I just warped the PCH portable HD loom and used some HD shetland yarn we had here.  We had old colors, but the combination worked out well.  Pale blue for the ground and pin stripes of light orange, bright orange and fuschia. 
Finished Scarf

Can you see the loom at the lower left?
It was interesting to be weaving up there while the state congress was in session.  The loom attracted a lot of attention, but that is why I brought it up there.  There has to be something for the people to remember about us when there are some many people vying for attention.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Finally Spring

It seems to have been a long hard winter.  Actually, we have had less winter than many places in the East, but still to see the grass and some flowers is great.
My first Daffodil
Unfortunately, my first daffodil always gets snowed on at least once...so my guess is that we will have some more snow.  But it will be the wet kind that only lasts a day ...and I can live with that.

My past few days have been spent in amazement of my children.  They are both adults and have their own lives, but I love watching them face the world with so much strength and smarts.  

My son had a birthday and the next day a trip to the emergency room.  I gave him a ride because he was in too much pain to drive...passing a kidney stone.  What a rude birthday present to have life give you...  We spent about 8 hours in the emergency room, found he was horribly dehydrated (they had to IV 3 liters of water into him) and there is a second stone in the other kidney to look forward to.  He will visit a doctor to get it looked at and I'm sure will not have as much pain as he did with this one. 

My daughter had car problems...a strange couple of noises and when she got her work check, she took the car into the dealership for repair.  She got a call that her transmission pump was bad and needed to be replaced.  She replied "I think I have an extra, can I bring it in?"  

(My daughter drives an older sports car and she loves it.  When she first got it she had some problems and ended up having a full engine replacement.  The man who replaced it said "Keep the parts you may need them some time".  Keep in mind that none of us in this house can even recognize what the various parts are ...let alone know how they can be used.)
My daughter's hot little car
To continue the story, she looked up on the internet what a transmission pump looks like and then checked out the parts in the garage...she found one!!  It saved her several hundred dollars and she now has a working car and a very impressed Mom!  I can only imagine the thoughts of the car dealership when this cute girl brings in her "extra" transmission pump!!

I love to watch my children and see them grow.  They are really great people.

I was adding up the weaving I did last year and was surprised to see that I really did more than I thought.  
Big Mac--untouched for the past month
I only wove 9.5 yards on this loom last year...that includes this half done six yard warp.

Bergman--quietly waiting for me to get it working
I have not worked on this loom, it needs oiling and redoing the tie-ups...maybe this year!

Baby Wolf--I did a couple of the alpaca commission pieces on it.
The Baby Wolf put in some good weaving time this year, 54.5 yards for the year.   I did the painted cot/ray scarves and a couple of the alpaca commission pieces.  Here are some linen, huck lace towels I need to get working on.

Baby Mac--spent most of the time folded up
I wove 5.5 yards on it last year.  A workshop and a sample of Summer & Winter for the teaching studio wall.

Dorothy--only did workshop warps
I wove 5 yards on this one last year, including the half finished cardweaving and shaft weaving piece from the workshop in July that is still on the loom.

My Rigid Heddle is getting more use and travel time, because I am using it for demonstrations in the new RH class I am teaching.  Unfortunately, it is getting some work done and I did not get a picture for the last year.  I am getting it set up to use double heddles...should be fun to try.

I also borrowed a Cricket Loom for a demo in that class.  I wove a 2.5 yard scarf.  It is a real sweet little loom, in fact when a friend decided to sell her 15" Cricket last month...I bought it.  Yeah, I know I really need more looms!

I have been cleaning and repairing the looms at the Pioneer Craft House where I manage the classes and weaving studio, so that they are easy to weave on for the students that will be renting them.  As I repair one, I put a test warp on it.  For some of them, I have been using them for weaving my projects during the studio hours that I am there alone.

PCH Gilmore Standard--before repair
Here is the Gilmore Standard before work.  I cleaned and oiled it then set up texsolve tie-ups, and new apron bands.  I think I need the kit to make the warp beam easier to advance, I guess that is for this year.  I wove 44 yards on this loom, cot/ray painted scarves and more of the alpaca commission.  The loom wove well and I am also using it for class members to weave samples.

PCH Gilmore X--before repair
This loom had some water damage and some broken parts that I could not replace, but they will not create problems in the weaving.  It had lead a hard life before it came here.  It also needed replacement lamn guides, a new apron on front and cords on back, and new cinch knots for the tie-ups.    I actually like these tie-ups better than the texsolve I put on the other Gilmore, they have a finer adjustment.  I wove 55 yards on this loom, the cot/ray scarves (a painted and an unpainted) and more alpaca.

PCH Hammet 1--a counter balanced loom
I had quite a time getting this loom balanced and working, due as much to my inexperience with counter-balanced looms as to the state of the loom.  I replaced the front apron, braided tie-up cords for the sectional beam and redid the texsolve treadle ties.  I wove a 9 yard towel warp to test the loom and it is working great.  I learned a lot about the balance needed on these looms and it took a while for me to get the a good shed opening.

PCH Hammet 2--needed more work
This loom had a brake that kept loosening and for some reason the warp beam looks off to me.  I replaced the front apron, new tie-ups, cords for the sectional beam and washed off 40 years of dirt.  After sanding and oiling, it looks great.  I put 6 yards on to do a couple of rugs.  I had a box of Pendleton selvedges and wove rugs at very high tension.  (Perfect for this counter-balanced loom.)  The cloth beam is so high that I didn't think I would get both rugs on the beam.  By time I was finished there was less than an inch of space between the cloth beam and the beater!

So there is my year's weaving for 2013.  193 yards of weaving...I guess I didn't do so bad.  Not really production weaving, but good for teaching/sales/demonstrating.