Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Longest Warp

This simple, 10-yard warp has been on my loom for exactly a year now. Thirteen months ago, this would have been a day's worth of weaving for me. Then came the broken leg......
It's been a year of travails, my husband has been working only quarter time since last Christmas; the company he works for not only cut his hours but also cut out all of his benefits, including health insurance. I have been barely able to get around since the slip on the ice. My creative muse went on an extended vacation, and didn't even send a postcard. I could go on and on.
And yet, we have had great blessings. Our garden was very productive this year. The freezer is stuffed with vegetables and venison for the year. In spite of the loss of income, we were able to pay down all of our bills and now are completely out of debt for the first time since our children were born. I had surgery in September, and I am now able to walk two miles without much discomfort.
And today, I finished the warp.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Student Work: Jansen

Jansen was in my sewing class, but he is technically Anthony's student.  Anthony taught Jansen everything about the loom and weaving, I only answered a few questions.  I also served as cheerleader and goad.  Jansen started weaving by jumping into the deep end of the pool: his first project was a chenille scarf at 16 epi.  That is a challenge for a beginning weaver!  It took a long time to do all that weaving on the Dorothy loom.  We tried to decrease the boredom and tedium by changing weft colors, using black, forest green, ruby and gold chenille.  Jansen did a great job!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Few Minutes of YouTube Fame

Gayle and I were interviewed as part of Dafna Michaelson's 50 in 52 Journey. Dafna has an amazing goal and message. Be sure to see her website.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Student Work: More of Anthony's work

Anthony continued to show an interest in weaving, but it was time for him to relinquish the Dorothy to other students. I brought in Card Weaving, a book by Candace Crockett. Anthony chose a pattern, and made a warp using 5/2 perle cotton. He did some extra calculations to expand the weaving in width for a belt. We were both surprised and happy that the two sides of the piece are different.
Anthony is not only a good weaver, he is a good teacher. He took his cardweaving with him around the school, explaining the process, and 60 some other students were exposed to weaving.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Student Work : Anthony

As many of you know, I took a part time job last summer. I am now teaching sewing and other textile arts at a therapeutic boarding school. I absolutely love it!

When my students could not grasp the concept of grain, cross grain, bias and selvedges, I warped up my Dorothy loom and took it to school to demonstrate fabric construction. Anthony became very intrigued with weaving, and finished off the demo warp, weaving rag mug rugs from the selvedges and scraps of cotton fabric we were using in the classroom.

I then warped the loom with gray 2/4 merino/cashmere blend. The sett was 6 epi, plain weave. Anthony did a beautiful job of maintaining an even beat, and 6 picks/inch, and wove two scarves. The fabric fulled perfectly into a soft, luxurious scarf, and everyone in the class learned about wet finishing and fulling. Here he is modeling the two scarves before he gave them as gifts.

Now it was time to up the ante. Anthony loved the chenille scarves that I make to sell, and wanted to weave some too. We discussed the point that 16 ppi would take much longer to weave than 6 ppi, but he was willing to try. I brought in my warping board and some 1200yards/pound rayon boucle’. I showed him how to wind the warp on the board and how to make a chain. He finished preparing the warp all by himself.

Anthony threaded the reed and the heddles and then we wound on the warp. I should have helped him more with that, as the packing paper did not wind on perfectly straight. As the weaving progressed, a few selvedge ends slipped off the edge. We wedged an extra stick under the loose threads, and Anthony continued weaving. Once he was finished with the first scarf, we unwound the warp, and rewound it back on with more attention to the packing. Here he is modeling his red chenille scarf.

I am so proud of Anthony. He picked up the concepts of weaving immediately with only short demonstrations of the various parts of the process. He perservered through all of the frustrations of a misbehaving warp, and tedious weaving on a table loom. His scarves are beautiful and show his care and attention to detail. This is even more amazing when I tell you that when I first met Anthony he was very hyperactive. In our first sewing class together, he climbed out the classroom window and was break dancing on the floor! (he's going to kill me for mentioning this,lol)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day to my Other Mothers

My daughter, Arielle, coined the name "Other Mothers" for all the women in her life who cared for her and gave her love and advice as she grew into a woman. Other Mothers are great, they tell you what you need to know, and because they are not your mother, you hear what they have to say.

I want to recognize and thank the women in my life who cared for me, were amazing role models, and shared their wisdom with me as I grew up and are still mentoring me to this day.
Thanks and orchids to:
Mary Helen Maresh, my maternal Aunt, who has been there for me since day one. She proves to me that you can be a beautiful, powerful, sexy and accomplished woman at any age.

Mary Nebel, who taught me about life outside of the tiny town I grew up in, to love education, culture and classical music.

Glenda Martin, who teaches me weekly about the journey through life.
And to all the Other Mothers who have been in my life, some of them for just a brief moment, others for years. Thank you!

This is a Calypso Orchid that grows wild in the shade of our forest. Tiny and precious, they are also called Fairy Slippers.
Thanks to my dear friend,Gayle, for this picture and memories of a wonderful walk in the Springtime.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lack of Concentration

I am calling this sock my "LOC Sock". LOC standing for "lack of concentration". I don't know if it's part of my healing process or a function of middle age, I cannot concentrate on anything more than a few minutes. This sock is one of the very few things I have finished since I broke my leg in January. And it was a struggle. I was only able to knit a few rows at a time before I was bored or unable to focus. To help me maintain my attention, I changed yarn color or stitch pattern frequently. I didn't have a plan, whatever pleased me in the moment was enough. I like how whimsical the sock looks.

Now, the problem is knitting a mate. I have always had what many knitters call "second sock syndrome", where it is very difficult or impossible to bring yourself around to knitting the second sock. As I have said about my weaving, once the design problem is solved for me, I am ready to go on to something else. With this new lack of concentration, it will be even more difficult for me to discipline myself to finish. I have already decided to knit the mate with a similar random pattern. If I knit the top ribbing, the heel and the toe to match the first sock, I think there will be enough similarity between the two that it will look like they are pair. I haven't seen the Matching Sock Police around here lately, so I may be able to get away with it!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Knitting of a Different Kind

The view from my chair:

I fell on the ice on January 2nd. I have a spiral fracture of my left ulna, just above the ankle. I am on the road to recovery, most of the pain is gone, but I have to spend 4 more weeks with my foot in the air. Phooey. Boredome has set in in a big way. I have knit one pair of socks and am working on another pair, read a stack of books and watched too many videos. Now I am waiting for my bone to knit back together.
I am grateful for my wonderful husband and friends who are taking time from their busy lives to cook and do chores and keep me company.