summer flowers

summer flowers

Friday, December 30, 2022

What is the new year going to bring

2020 -  Covid took my teaching studio from me, and I spent a year sitting, reading, doing puzzles and counted cross-stitch - nothing very creative.

2021 - I got my first knee replacement and one week later, my husband died.

2022 - I got a second knee replacement and worked to try to get the weaving mojo back.

2023 - ?

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Sky is Falling

 This morning I am so stressed out. I was so happy because the city where my teaching studio is has lowered the lockdown, I notified students and had a weaving and cleaning group arranged for this week.

We had just put in new shelves and cleared out the studio the fall before plague year.  So I was excited to get back to the space and clean a year of dust and cobwebs.  Then it came.  The city issued an eviction notice.  They gave us three days to be out or legal proceedings would start.

Yes for me that's 18 floor and table looms, books, yarn and all the extra equipment needed for weaving; for the jewelry that is a bunch of machines and tools, rocks for the lapidary, kilns for the lost wax, and all the extra they need to keep the machines going; for the pottery that's wheels, shelves, several kilns, and all the extras needed to make pottery.  We all have thousands of dollars of equipment, that take time and trucks to move and need a space to move them to.

Pray for me.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

I should really feel lucky

 I passed my 350th day of being locked out of the teaching studio.  Will we be back by fall?

Mostly I have just been feeling sorry for myself.  I kept putting off doing a post, because I was waiting to get some new pictures.  Now I find that I can not get the computer to download from my camera and then I get discouraged and don't work on it to figure it out.  I have seen this discouragement in so much of what is happening to me now.

I hear of so many weaver's and artists that have been working and blooming in the lockdown/quarantine/covid time, but I am not able to really function.  I just do a lot of sitting, I read a lot of simple fiction and I stare at the phone screen youtube/video/etc and am not completing anything.  

I should be feeling lucky.  I have a nice home to stay in, enough money to eat well and a couple of people to share this space with so that I am not alone.  I know that there are many around that do not have the basic necessities that I do.  But I still am not able to move from the cocoon stage to the butterfly.  I am waiting for the change to happen, or for me to get it together and make it happen.

At the first of the close down, I spent more time sleeping and reading.  (I think there were more than a few days that I did not even get out of bed.)  I saw my doctor last summer and that seemed to help, but doing much creative is still a stretch.  I have been following an on line course and only able to partly do the work.  (I need to get it together and make it happen.) 

 This month I have one class coming to a close and another starting, plus I am doing another video for Curious Mondo at the end of the month and I need to organize for that.  The class is using space dyed yarns for a faux ikat design.  I did these two shawls some years back when I was playing with this idea.

 These were my final projects in the self study.  The top one for a friend and the bottom one for me.  I wrote about them some years back.  My shawl is wool and silk and is very nice to wear and can fold up to a small package, so I took it traveling with me (remember traveling?) when I went to Europe.  It added that additional layer to help keep me warm.  My sister uses scarves for this layer of warmth and always looks so good.  I have a ton of scarves, can I start wearing them more often?  (I should, I just need to get it together and make it happen.)

I think just sitting is not allowing my body to work at it's best.  I got a little pedal machine for my birthday and so I sit and pedal (like a recumbent bicycle) for about 30 minutes a day (most days).  This is a good start, but I need to get more active so that I can enjoy this life.  I know that on the days that I weave, I always feel better.  But right now I have a bunch of empty looms and just vague plans of what I want to put on them.  Well not so vague in the case of the class that starts in a couple of weeks.  But to read the pattern, I need to reload Fiberworks on my computer.

Yes, along with the computer forgetting how to load pictures from my camera, it also lost some programs.  When we upgraded to windows 10 and loaded a new version of office, several programs disappeared.  I already have a message from Fiberworks on how to get me going and an offer from a friend to help me get going on the program.  I am not a dummy, I should be able to understand and work on that program.  (I just need to get it together and make it happen!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Yes, We have Passed 250 Days

The way things look now, it will be summer before the studio opens for classes again.  That will be over a year.  I remember being sad when they said that when Broadway opens again it will have been 444 days - over a year.  And now I am facing this too.  

The past month I have been working on finishing my 3 commissions.  I would like to have them all  mailed out before Christmas.  #2 has to be done by then, so that is the one that I am most worried about.  

#1 is the rugs, these are the core-spun alpaca that I have been doing for years.  We had a problem with me not being able to get to the bigger looms at the studio.  That is often where I weave these rugs.  This order had a 3' x 5', but the home Macomber is 40 inches, so I put on 25 yards of warp and got to work.  I put a 2' warp on because most of the rugs were that size and I hung extra warp on the sides for the first rug to be 3'.  I kept weaving and weaving and I ran out of warp!  Its like the "bumps" of weft just kept growing and multiplying when I was not looking.  I put on an additional 25 yard warp (I just barely had enough yarn) and I kept weaving.  I ended up with 18 rugs and I have hemmed most of them.  They are getting close to a finished commission.

#2 is the blankets.  The closed studio really made this one hard.  She wanted 40" x 60" blankets and as you know, you need to weave about 20% larger to get the 40", that is 48".  At the time she told me about the commission, the studio was open and I have 3 48" to 50" looms.  Last spring I had students putting warps on these looms and I told them that they needed to be off by summer, because I would need one of the looms.  Then the "world according to covid" started.  We were kicked out and no weaving got done on the big looms.  By time I got the yarn for the blankets, I was at my wits end.  Then I looked at the loom in my living room.  There sat a 45" Bergman loom that had never been woven on by me and had sat there for about 10 years.  I used it mostly for hanging my Christmas stockings on.

I have loved this loom since I first saw one, and being counter march, I figured it was my "old Lady" loom.  When I can no longer treadle the 16 shaft Macomber, I can still weave with my 12 shaft Bergman.  So I set up the month of October to sand and oil the loom, figure how to balance a counter march loom and put on a test warp.  Thank heavens for the Facebook Bergman group.  I was able to ask questions, see how others worked their looms and get the loom working.  The scarf warp wove beautifully and I had a great time with the sound of weaving on an all wood and string loom.  They make a different noise than the metal shafts on my Mac.

I measured the full width warp (720 ends that are 5 yards long) and I got it on the loom today.  I have the heddles half threaded and I have called it quits for the day.  The loom has hand tied heddles and they are a little slow to thread.  If I did not have a deadline on the piece, I would not mind, because I love the look of the heddles on this loom and most of the time I would not need to worry slow working.  I am now wondering if my shed will work with the full width and will I be able to get the shuttle across without skipping a thread.  Only weaving it will tell.  Wish me luck and I hope to have blankets in process in a couple of days.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

200 days

It was 200 days Friday since I have been locked out of my teaching studio.  As for all of us, my world has changed.  Since I retired, my teaching and my studio time at PCH has been so much of my life, to have it stopped leaves a hole.  

The quarantine time has been very productive for some artists and a blank hole for others.  I'm afraid that the blank hole has been my case.  Part of it was the hypothyroid problem, but I also could not do anything very creative.  I have been able to do things that I do not have to design or make decisions on.  I have finished stitchery projects that I started years ago, in some cases.  My first was the Jim Shore Santa kit that I got and started years ago.  I messed it up and put it away.  I actually bought new fabric to start it all over, and with the quarantine it filled the "keep my hands busy" need.  The piece is about 14" x 16" and a good part of it is solid stitchery.  Since it takes about an hour to do a square inch of it, I was kept busy for a good time and I really like the picture.  I got it framed and have it hanging in my livingroom, Christmas in July.  I will enjoy it until the Christmas season and then it will go away for a year until next Christmas.  I have done that with several pieces that were really Christmas purchases, and I had hanging for a year when I first got them, because I liked them.  

My pictures and for that matter all my computer is messed up because I had to upgrade.  I still do not have a good picture editing soft ware, and I am slow to learn the new system.  I don't need much because I just do these pictures for myself and not for big prints, but do you have any suggestions for a simple photo editing soft ware?

While I relearn my options, I will continue flailing along.

My second stitchery was also cross stitch, but one that I have liked for a long time then found it available at my LYS (Shepard's Bush in Ogden).  It is Sheep Virtues, and the owners of the shop picked out hand dyed yarns for me to use instead of the ones listed on the pattern.  The piece ended up looking great, but as I am having problems with the picture soft ware, I did not take a picture of the finished piece.  

Here is one of the twelve motifs in process, this is the October one.

Then I finished a counted cross that my Mom gave me, I think before my children were born (that makes is about 40 years) or a little after they were born.  It was about half finished and didn't take the time the Santa or Sheep did.  After I finished that one, I figured that I could do some new piece that I had bought.  When I went through the box of stitchery pieces (yes, I have a box about 30 gallons size) I found another piece on stretchers.  So now I am working on a wool yarn crewel piece.  When my daughter asked me about the age of this one, I was embarrassed.  This piece is number 4 of a series that I started as a teenager.  I finished one and framed it, then finished the second and third one after I married.  I started the fourth, but somewhere in time the instructions and the stitchery got separated.  About 10 years ago I found all the pieces and put them together. Now I am finishing one of my longest standing UFO's.  Amazing what quarantine can do for you.

Since I have corrected my meds to help the hypothyroid problem, I have been feeling much better and spending a lot less time in bed or just staring at what was flickering on the computer screen.  I have been able to find a secondary teaching space to finish the half class that was stopped 200 days ago.  And am considering how I can teach some other classes there, as I don't see the mayor opening up the buildings-our state cases have skyrocketed and until we see some control, we are just staying as we are.  

I hope that those of you reading my work are doing well and are finding ways to continue and improve your lives and I pray that the virus stays away from you.  Take care and do all the things you need to keep safe.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Happy Christmas

I had a great time decorating for Christmas.  I even put up a tree this year, the first time for a while.  I especially enjoyed putting up my Christmas Star.

I hang my glass star from the ceiling.
I enjoyed bringing out my favorite ornaments and I have a few new ones to add to the tree.  We got an ornament from the museum in Florence.

Ornament from the Uffizi
I got some more little houses that had belonged to my Great Aunt in the 20's to add to my little village.  The figures were made from pipe cleaners by my sister about 50 years ago.
Little Village of hand made figures and my Great Aunt's houses.
I stitched some new ornaments for my and my children and added several from the recent trips we had done.  In addition to the Uffizi ornament, I also have a couple of boats from places we have visited.
Ship from our visit to Plymouth, MA.
I have quite a bit of greenery that I put up - no none of it is real, but we have several candles and essential oils that we use to give the house that evergreen smell that we like to have.  And this way I can enjoy the green without the mess.  

I have three cabinets that I add greenery, I have red balls and glass icicles on two of them and one has my collection of nutcrackers.
Nutcrackers and Christmas dishes.
I spend a month listening to Christmas carols (November), then decorate and enjoy my things.  I get most of them down around the 12th day of Christmas.  But some of them stay up longer because I want to just look at them.  One year I got a painting of St. Nick that stayed up for a year because I liked it so well.  I had wanted a copy of it for years, so when I finally got it I enjoyed it for a while.
My old fashioned Santa picture.  It is a pleasure to get it out each year.
I love seeing my things and spending time with my family.  We mostly cook and eat together.  We have a finger food and movie night Christmas eve.  Then Christmas day starts with eggs benedict.  We have been cooking that breakfast for years and we all love it.  Christmas dinner varies depending what we are interested in.  This year (since my husband retired he has been doing most of the cooking) my husband said traditional - turkey for Thankgiving, roast beef for Christmas and ham for New Years.  We got to have Mom for Christmas Day dinner and we all enjoyed a great meal.  Sharing time and food with the ones I love is my favorite way to celebrate.

At the Pioneer Craft House, where I teach weaving, we did an overhaul of the studio this fall.  We started by pulling off the bulletin boards and painting the walls.
Gray wall from current color and green from under the bulletin boards.
The walls had not been painted for a long time, I thought the cleaning would brighten them up but the color was just so dull.  We painted over with something warmer and then put shelves up on that wall.  
Shelves in process with old bulletin boards in front.
We moved the yarn from the closet and the equipment from the cabinets on the west wall.  We needed the closet space to store the table looms when they are not being used.

Old cabinets, they had been there for 10-15 years.
The moving happened while I was weaving a commission on the loom in the fore ground.  I had class members and weaver's guild members coming in to get the work done.  I was overwhelmed by all the help and at times at a loss to find what items needed to be done.
Shelves partly filled and looms still in a mess.
I have been slowly getting things put together, we got the looms set up after three tries.  and the boxes of yarn on the wall labeled.   Now the yarn is out to be used by the students and the place looks clear and bright.  I am really happy with how it looks.  There is still areas that need to be cleared and drawers that need to be organized but the table looms are now out of the way and have a place to be put when they are not being used.  

The rug commissions that I was working on during the room improvement got finished and I was able help finish up the studio re-arranging.
The natural colored alpaca rugs.
Dyed alpaca rugs

I decided to clean all the table looms and get the heddles corrected on them before the new classes start in January.
Looms getting washed and oiled.
I fixed the heddles and drilled some of them to fix the apron strings and beaters.  I am very pleased with the improvements on the looms.  Hopefully they will be in good working order for a couple of years.

Yes there has been a lot going on.  I do hope to weave some pieces for me this year and also have some work to show everyone.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

What have I been doing since December; everything and nothing.  I still feel "off", but I set the May trip as my turn around point.  Now that the trip is over, I'm starting the health things I should have been doing for a while.  My knees gave out during all the walking on the trip, I had a panic attack because of them, but now I am able to see it is time to make the life style changes to get me on track.  Eating better could help my low energy problem and help me get back on track.  I have a couple of doctor visits coming up and I am watching my food intake, I need to stay healthy and able to enjoy my life.

But, you know, if I wait for things to "slow down" I will never get to anything.  And I have been doing things.  January found me overwhelmed by the cold and no desire to get out of bed.  I worked on getting Christmas decorations down (I did get it all down by February).  I also wove some samples to see what sett I could use on some cones of yarn that I have had for quite a while.  I probably have several pounds of each color, so could I make lightweight scarves, or denser fabric for towels?  After washing the samples, I found that there was rayon in the yarn and I don't like rayon in towels, they get "limp" after washing.

I taught a six week overshot class and my beginning weaving class in Januay, Feburary and march and I tried a Beginning Plus class for those students who had taken the beginning, but wanted more help before they jumped into an intermediate class.  It went quite well and I will probably offer it again.  

I got a color gamp kit as a gift for Christmas and decided that it was a good one to demonstrate warping for my class and then I would have a good color example to go on the walls in the studio.
The colors are pretty good but the cool colors are quite dark.
The kit had 30 threads per color and in my haste to get it on the loom I sleyed the reed at 30 epi, it should have been 20 epi.  I re sleyed (I had warped back to front so the heddles were fine).  The color gamp worked well, I wove one in plain weave  and one in twill.  There was enough warp on that I wove a towel using a gray linen that I found in the cupboard.  I had to triple the yarn to make it fit, but I like the towel.  I hung them up in the studio, so i will try to get a picture of the finished items.

April was busy.  The local guild brought Jennifer Moore for a workshop.  I have done a lot of double weave, but the workshop was not filled and I love spending three days with my weaver friends.  She threads her double weave different than the straight draw that I learned from the Tidball book, but I think it makes designing a little easier.  She converted me and I need to change all my handouts to teach her method.  (She uses a parallel threading, check out her book to get some great information and project ideas.)
We did her color mixing blocks and I used the dark color kit from Cotton Clouds.  I had a couple friends that dyed the yarns to use and others ordered the regular rainbow or pastel rainbow colors.  There were some interesting pieces.  I was wanting some fringe between these pieces so I just wove in a few shots of weft to hold it, that is why it has the watermark look.

My mother loves butterflies, so the siblings took her to see the new exhibit at Thanksgiving Point.  We took a great picture of Mom and the five of us, but I guess that was put on facebook and I can't get to it.  

They flew all over and sometimes landed on people.
The last weekend in April, I got to take a five day Shibori Dye class with Ana Lisa Hedstrom.  I have followed here work for ages, so it was great to get to take a class from her.  I got some great results with the arashi (pole wrapping) technique.  I am thrilled and have plans to do several more.  I can't believe that I can't find pictures of my dyes.  I guess I'd better get them documented.  I'll try to remember to show you later.

May, of course, was taken up with travel.  My DH and I spent three weeks in Florence, Italy. 

 I feel so blessed to be able to have gone.  Just like every time I do a BIG trip, I feel blessed and don't expect to be able to again.  This time my knees were bad and I was not able to walk as much as I would have liked.  However, I did get to see a number of places that I had not seen before and I had a wonderful time.  Both of my children were able to come over and share some of the time with us.
I managed to get a tour in a velvet and brocade workshop and see the looms in action.
Velvet loom in the foreground and a student working on her project on the loom behind.

Velvet is the queen of woven fabrics.  If you look carefully you see a blue warp running horizontal and through the lease sticks (the ground of the fabric).  Then you see some gold and blue threads running diagonally from the lease sticks behind the shafts and down to rows of spools.  Each thread is weighted separately on the spools and this is the warp pile threads.  I loved watching the weavers and just looking at the old looms.
Jacquard head with the pattern cards.
Each loom had one or two jacquard heads on the top of them (about 6 feet up) and that is how the pattern was done.  You can see the white threads coming down from the jacquard head to lift the shafts.  One of the weaver's told me that when then get a hold of another jacquard, they have to manufacture the parts to get it going.  They had ones that controlled a one hundred thread repeat and some that controlled a four hundred thread repeat.  I didn't get enough pictures, after a while I was just walking in awe of the equipment and workmanship.

There were also several looms that were weaving silk brocade.
This month I will be going to the Intermountain Weaver's Conference and taking a class in sewing with handwovens.  I have several (boxes full) pieces of yardage that I would like to turn into clothing, wish me well.