summer flowers

summer flowers

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Slow Cloth and Watching it Grow

I have been thinking about the "Slow Cloth"/"Slow Food" discussion.  I agree with the thought that slow food as opposed to fast food is a big improvement.  I like the idea of spending the time to prepare food.  Although for some of the nights when it is my turn to cook, I rely on the pizza delivery man.  I would like to spend more time with the cooking, I have always enjoyed doing it, but I get caught up in doing other weaving.

Slow cloth is not that it takes longer to do something, but that you are doing it with purpose.  That you want to spend time on it, at that time.  I also love to see the fabric grow.  
I even like to watch the fabric grow in the videos of the modern looms, where it grows inches in a second.  Have you watched the videos that weavers have made of their warping and weaving process?  The warping is interesting, but I like to watch the fabric grow.
When I weave there is that first pleasure of seeing that the pattern is working.  That I figured everything out right.  Then comes the weaving,... and watching it grow.
I use a measuring tape that is pined along the weaving so that I can tell how much is woven and how much I need to weave.
And with some patterns I have a straight pin that moves along to mark the blocks or the pattern repeats that have been done.
And there is the wonder that I am constructing an object out of raw materials, that I am making something that will please me, or someone else that gets it.
There is the joy in the making.   This to me is "Slow Cloth."
What is it that you do to get that joy?  I always love to go to events where I can see others that love what they do.  Going to a Renaissance Fair, I see people getting joy out of their choices.  I almost want to start doing that process too, just because I can see how much fun they are having.  (That is probably how I get involved in so many more projects that I can finish.)
The joy is in the doing, the making.  I look at my sisters and see the joy in sculpting a beautiful doll, making a fantastic costume with delicate detail, and painting a wonderful feeling to make it physical.  We, as sisters, dabble in each others craft and enjoy each others gifts.
We are able to find joy in the things that we do.  What have you found for yourself to do?  I keep thinking of the line from a poem that I read:

"It is the refrain chanted by the chorus of your accumulating years:  
"If not now, When?  If not here, Where?" 
And the only obedience that will set you free 
is surrender to the energy and fire congealed in your gifts."

I have felt it sad when I see people that have not found their gift, or have left it behind.  Me, I find more that I want to spend time with than I have time.  I need to focus on that thing and keep the joy.  We all need to find that enjoyable thing, and revel in it.

I just read this in a book of Sufi poetry that my daughter got from the library.  Isn't it beautiful...!

Wants you to know
Your life within God's arms,
Your dance within God's arms
Is already


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Three versions of napkins

I just finished the center motif on the third tie-up and the variety is great.  I like all of them and will enjoy using them.

Center Motif for Tie-up One
 I like the way this one has the four cell diamond in the middle.  This center motif is the one that I altered the most.  I enlarged it and then added the middle element.  I'm not sure if it will be a better looking napkin with it is folded on the table or rolled in the storage display, but it is a great design laid out flat. 
On the overall pattern, I enlarged the corner motif a little, then the next two are the original, then the center is greatly altered with four blocks the size of the corner motif and new design added in the middle of the four blocks.  I will get a picture of the complete napkin when they are off the loom.  Today was just to compare the center motif variations.

Center Motif for Tie-up Two
Sorry I didn't get the color the same on the three pictures.  I think the color is more like the first picture, but you can see the pattern variation anyway.  Now instead of diamonds, the block is squares and the middle shows a five diamond  The outlining design adds well to the pattern.

Center Motif for Tie-up Three
 In this one the block is a square of tiny diamonds, a lot like the outer pattern on tie-up one.  The middle design is really changed to 4 outlined diamonds and a center tiny diamond.  The outer design is almost making the connected diamonds like tie-up one in the block.  I might like this one the best.  I like the way the middle unit makes a cross between the blocks.

Each tie-up is interesting, and it makes me want to sit at the computer with a weaving  program and check out other possibilities, even though I don't have enough warp to weave any others.  I can see how weavers get interested in the computer programs and do multiple designs and variations and then don't get around to weaving any.  Sometimes just the exploration is enough to satisfy the curiosity.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weaving is progressing

I am managing to continue to get some weaving done.  I still haven't managed the "do it everyday", but I am working on it.  There has been a lot going on in the house:  Fridge repair, new washer, insulation in the attic, measuring for new windows (due end of September) and on going bathroom saga.  I hope more of these will reach a finish point soon.
On the finished items front, I have finished a couple of bookmarks with the lacework.  I am getting myself into a better "finger working" place so that I can work on some larger pieces.  (Maybe I can get myself back on the "learn Buckspoint better" trail.)  I have some threads and a couple of books to work on this.
I also did one with pink on the outer edge, but the picture didn't come out.

I am on number 3 of the current group of bookmarks, I have a bunch of old, fine crochet cotton that I am using.  I want to do a few bookmarks to have on hand for gifts.

The tartan warp is coming along great.  I am half way through number five and I hope to get two more off this warp.  (I already have another warp in the wings for this loom.)  I have build up quite a stack for finished scarves.  It is kind of neat to see that much weaving done. 

The napkins are also coming along well.  I decided to do a blue and a gold of each of three tie-ups.  All six of the napkins will be treadled "as drawn in" and I have decided to base all the tie-ups on a 3/2/1/2 twill.  This should give them a nice relationship.

O     O     O O
    O     O O O
O O     O     O

    O     O O O
O     O     O O
O O O     O    

  O     O O O  
O O     O     O
  O O O     O  

O     O O O    
O O O     O    
    O O O     O

    O O O     O
  O O O     O  
O     O O O    

  O O O     O  
    O O O     O
  O     O O O  

O O O     O    
O     O O O    
    O     O O O

O O     O     O
  O     O O O  
O     O     O O

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

I wonder what happened to the grid on the tie-ups when I copied them??...  Oh well, on the first tie-up you see the 3/2/1/2 on treadle 2, on the second tie-up it is on treadle 5 and I reversed the direction, and on tie-up three it is on treadle 7 and I liked the reversed direction so I used it again.
The picture of the blue napkin in the last entry is using tie-up one.  This picture of a gold napkin is using tie-up two.  I like the differences and the similarities.  

The motif has more of a diamond development in this tie-up.
I had to work Saturday this weekend, so I will not be getting as much done.  I know I should have done it on Thursday when I was given the day off...but for some reason I spent most of Thursday sleeping, I guess I needed it.  
I would like to finish the blue version of tie-up two and then start tie-up three to see the difference.  I will probably have time, especially if I can pawn off the dish washing and laundry and vacuuming and watering and....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Confessions of a Former *WEAVER*

That was going to be the title of my blog.   

Several years ago, I used to work at a weaving and yarn store.  I loved that job.  I worked part-time, helped people design and weave their projects, taught classes in the evening and wove every day.  That is when I considered myself a *WEAVER*.  

But things change, I had to find a full time job that payed better and had benefits.  So that first few years at the full time job, I wove infrequently.  It took about five years before I could get myself balanced and get weaving back into my life.

After a few more years, I was able to start teaching weaving again and doing more weaving.

The reason this all came to mind, is the napkins that I am working on.  I used to be able to get my warps on in hours, instead of days.  With the job, family, my age and the fact that I have broadened my focus instead of narrowed it, has made for longer amounts of time to finish projects.  I really don't mind the longer time, I enjoy the weaving and also the warping and threading.  I think of it as my "slow cloth".  Not because it takes more time, but because I can relax and enjoy the time it takes.

It also seems that lately I have been making more errors, and causing it to take even more time.  Here is where the napkins are causing me to think.  I had woven napkins for a guild exchange and now I want to use up the yarn and get some additional napkins.  (More napkins means washing napkins less often.)  

For the napkins, I decided to use a gebrochene twill from a workshop that I had taken.  I expanded the pattern block in several ways to get the number of repeats that I wanted on the napkin.  I had been thinking about this for some time, and I forced myself to work out the pattern on the weaving program I have on my computer.  (A good learning experience...)  It took some time, but I was pleased with my ability on the program and the new pattern that I got.  

I wound the warp...It took me a couple of days instead of hours.
 I have been thinking of trying some different methods of warping to see if I want to incorporate them into my process, but mostly I used my normal method.  Instead of chaining the warp, I layer it in a bag.
 I just use a grocery bag with handles, I like the plastic because the warp feeds out easily.

The handle ties work well to attach it to the loom while I am setting up.
I have been wondering about the "kite string" method, winding the warp on a stick to keep it under tension.  You know what Jim Ahren used to say, The only  thread that will not tangle is a thread under tension.  I have also been thinking about a warping "trapeze", but I haven't gotten far enough to make up one.

So for now I just do my usual.  I put a counting thread on my warps, counting the warp ends in 1/2" groups, because that is how many fit in the raddle.

Of course, when I got to the threading part, I was 5 threads short...

When I was about half way through the threading, I started to over think.  It looked like I had too much pattern and not enough threads.  Was the program wrong, did I make a mistake on the program and the thread count more than 600?  I counted the threads in each pattern and added everything up and found that I had too many threads.  (Or am I math challenged.)   A couple of days thinking, and  I redesigned the pattern to make it less threads.  Then I started to rethink, again.  I counted the warp ends left to thread and found that the original pattern was right.  (I guess I did the computer program right!) I was only the 5 threads short.  Again, I was looking and thinking a couple of days.

Another warping procedure question.  Is it a good idea to drag the warp ends through the lease?  I usually warp back to front, so I wind the warp onto the warp beam before threading.  I like to be able to watch the cross to see if anything is getting tangled.  Is the dragging hard on the threads, this is 10/2 pearl cotton, so this thread is strong enough to handle it.

So far this process has taken me more than a few days.  I know..., enjoy the process.

I was off work today, and I had the time to put into threading and getting it corrected, if there was a problem.  There wasn't...  I did have to move heddles after I started threading, the heddle count on the computer pattern seems to be off...  (I hate to move heddles after threading, I had already added heddles so that I had the amount listed on the computer program!!)

I sat at the loom threading and listened to the Grout Dr. in the bathroom.  (He had been spending two days, removing loose tiles, repairing the wall in back that had decomposed, sanding the grout out and making everything look new again.  It looks wonderful and new.)  I got my warp all threaded and it fit the original pattern that I had designed...I shouldn't try to over-think.  

I sleyed the reed and actually got the pattern least one part went with no problems.  There were no threading errors!!

I think that I will enjoy these.  I will be weaving 3 in blue and 3 in gold.  I am not sure if I will change the tie-up with each one, or make several alike.

To expand on the Grout Dr. and the ongoing house repair:  We had problems with the ice maker in the fridge.  It was making ice, but it was a solid block in the bottom of the freezer, not nice little cubes in the ice maker, obviously a leak somewhere.  We turned off the water going to the refrigerator for several days so we did not get more ice in the bottom, and we got a repair man in to look at it.  Yes, a valve was damaged and of course, we need to replace the "unit."  So, not cheap.  
While the repair man was here, I was having trouble with the water not filling in the washing machine.  He checked it out and it is not repairable...  I have been having trouble with it not filling, but he said that I should worry about it just filling and continuing to fill until the basement floor is flooded.  Not a good situation, so we need to get:  new washing machine, new faucets on the bathtub, new doors on the bathtub.  I told DH that I want to take off the wallpaper in the bathroom and repair and repaint.  His answer was we need new windows first...Wahoo, we get new windows.  It looks like house repair is ongoing for a while.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Finished The Bobbins

I finished my painted and decal bobbins.  Now I can empty the box that had been holding bobbins, paint, decals, brushes, and beads.  This had been an ongoing project for several years and I am glad that I put the time into it to get it finished.  I didn't like the look of plain wood bobbins, so I needed to do something to them.  Now I have a set of 24 pairs of flowered bobbins that I can dedicate for making bookmarks.  I know silly, but I like to have them look alike on the pillow.
Here's some views of the flowered bobbins.
A color wheel of flowered bobbins.

Here they are in action on a new bookmark.
Another view of the bobbins at work.  

I also finished the Snowflake set and a set titled Beehive Lacer's after the guild I attend.

On the tartan weaving I have finished number 3 and am most of the way through number 4, my siblings have put in orders for the length that they want.  Because this is the family tartan, I am mostly weaving it to give away to my family members.
Number four coming to the end (72")
Today my big plan is to get the warp wound for the second half of the guild exchange napkins.  I have finished the ones that I needed to give away, but I have enough yarn and I want to have additional napkins for me.  So I plan to put on a twill warp to weave about 6 more napkins. 

I rolled all the finished ones up and set them in a wire holder so that they are available for us to use them each day.

We had a great family reunion over the weekend of July 24th.  Spending a few days with my family is a great treat.  We ate great food, enjoyed the family able to get there, regretted not being able to see the family that were not able to make it there this year, played with T-shirt discharge and just enjoyed sitting around in the sand and water.
Around the campfire with the mountain on fire behind us.
Empty chairs around the fire pit early the next morning.