summer flowers

summer flowers

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.