Sunday, March 1, 2015

March, Tomorrow?

You know what that means; I resume gardening. In smal doses. Except I'm doing better this year; in January I put in nearly 12 hours, in February, six and a half. Time spent means nothing in this place, but it's still encouraging. I'm trying to normalize gardening in my life, not seeing it as part of cleaning but trying it out as a creative activity. At least therapeutic. OK, just trying, but more on that another day.

Weaving is going well I didn't force myself to do anything else in February except tax work. I cooked a lot, ironed tons of Ben's shirt one day, but otherwise I wove. And made drafts. And on good days I could weave much longer than I have been able to for a long while. I haven't touched the fringe/hem pile, but that's OK, too. I've not done a lot else this month that I can remember. Oh, except this month turned out unexpectedly social with mostly out of town visitors: Gerdi and Mike, (I met Gerdi in Kaz's class in August, but were they here in January?) Des and Edvaldo who installed African masks for the Suter's temporary premise's first exhibition; the Woods; JB and Ali; and still possibly Susan, whom I also met at Kaz's. I also had a powwow with Andrea discussing pieces I hope to weave this year. Goodness me, that's a lot of socializing for the basement hermit weaver all of a sudden.

I continue to read about van Gogh; I've finally started a small book of selected letters, which is more interesting than I imagined, but he's still in Amsterdam; it's going to get religious. Eventually I'd like to get to the lot, but for now this small paperback is a good intro. I've also had to recycle one envelope yesterday so I collaged on one side and though this was a quick emergency measure, I was reminded how easy and immediate my kind of collage is.
Tomorrow we either weed/trim/clean/spray the approach to out house, or I finish weaving #3 and start #2.

I started this post, then watched a film, and now the making part is playing. And it's March already.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

3 Before 2 but After 1

This piece is really white and I keep thinking of names associated with weddings and christenings. It's weaving super fast but the right selvedge is not very good.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Done

And this is why I don't even try to estimate weft amount; I thought I had 90-120cm, and I got 201cm.  I could have done another pattern unit, (1.5cm,) but I wanted to save the weft in case I come across something similar.

There was something right about me weaving this piece; it's in the style I like to weave. It was surprisingly easy and fast, but I'm not sure if I have needles skinny enough to mend, and I can't see the mistakes. This piece is going to be great photographing, if I can capture the sheen.

#2 I have the weft but don't like the draft; #3 I have the draft am not 100% sure about the weft, (D in the sample two posts back,) so tomorrow may be Fringe Day 1, or weeding day.

When not under tension the warp bunches pucker but I think it goes away in the washing; at least it did in the sampling without pressing. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Searching for the New 0,0

I felt restless when I finished this, noticing the kind of cloth I want to weave started shifting. Then the internal debate subsided while working on this because I had to adapt/modify so much. Then I started this and the disquiet returned.

A while ago I followed a link on Facebook and came across a UK weaver whose work I liked very much; her name was so easy to remember I didn't save the link. Doh! It was a she, her name may have been something like Angela Simpson, but I can't find her. Within my limited knowledge and dodgy recollection, her work was something like Marbo Selby's in Ptolemy Mann colors. I think the article (?) was about interior fabric. Her work appeared fresher, more modern and geometric than my favorite old, upholstery-style fabric.

Around the same time, and belatedly, I discovered searching for weaving images works better on Pinterest than Google. I see a lot of familiar pictures there, (your pieces!) along with work by weavers I'd not heard before, among them Juania Girardin and Loominarias.

Because my interest in textile since childhood has been first and foremost the pattern/motif, more is always better and I still suffer from bad shaft envy. But I'm also pragmatic and since I've seen that I'll probably never get more than the current 16, (for which, make no mistake, I'm very grateful,) I've been looking for ways to make my cloth more interesting on 16. Good thing, then, the cloth I liked on Pinterest were often combinations of simple but different structures/patterns, in many colors, in different proportions.

Even if I can't add shafts, I've hardly tried "all" the threading yet, and then there's tie-up and treadling. Then there's Inge Dam's inclusion of card weaving; pickup and other hand-manipulated techniques; something I found on Facebook and lost the link to but can remember, a combination of pickup and treadling to create pictures on double weave. And add texture and colors and I think there's enough material for the next 10, 30, 50 years.  But I'll probably always be afflicted with bad shaft envy. 

Which makes me look at my stash reduction process in a different way. Although I would like it done relatively quickly, (1137 days left,) instead of quick and dirty projects, I should see each as experimentation to build on to get to the next milestone. Or yardstone.

I still prefer to make flat cloths, though, so that's that in case you were wondering.

It's Complicated

The warp is 72/2 NZ merino in the most luxurious mid-gray in my long career as gray-yarn collector, slightly sticky, but soft. Mill end, I have a few more cones of the gray and several of indigo, but that's it. I kept it at 48EPI; on the loom the reed marks, or "bunches" are uncomfortably evident, but it washes out depending on the weft size.
I had culled weft candidates to nine silks; first above is C, the second will be B. A creates a grownup autumnal look but the silk is too dense and obliterates the characteristics of merio; D is roughly the same size but less dense. I have warp for three piece so I suspect it will be A or D.
The current weft is the brashest white-silver I have ever seen short of synthetics/metallics but it shimmers in this context. I have one small skein, from Mom's stash, and am keeping my fingers and toes crossed I have enough for a descent-length piece. The second piece will have a single, hand-dyed in pomegranate; it's been washed too vigorously the skeins are matted/felted but it is full of old-fashioned charm. (I am going to have to learn the silk jargon finally.)

The current piece is a milestone; I have wanted to weave something like this since the first day I wound wefts on a stick shuttle, but it took time collecting the right yarns, practice my techniques, draw up a suitable draft, and, well, getting around to it. It will be light-weight, almost translucent, soft but not airy like cashmere; this piece will drape. The weaving is going well, with nice selvedges. I know it will be a lovely piece, and I'm pleased I'm finally weaving this piece, although in retrospect I could have woven it some years ago, and it would have been even nicer had I stuck to my initial plan and made it twice as wide. No matter, I have checked a big item on my weaving To Do list. And I may try again if I can get suitable yarns again, perhaps silk both ways. And yet...

Don't get me wrong, part of me is ecstatic it's worked just as I imagined, it's just the kind of cloth I love, and I've finally done it. But there is a "but"; I have noticed a change in my taste of late and I find this draft too regular and boring; that was my first reaction when I wove the first inch. My ideal cloth has moved a few steps away from me, although I don't know what it looks like. I just know I have to do a bit of innovative thinking and rigorous experimentation.

Which is why weaving is so addictive.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Big Smile

It's a lovely day when a weaver can do weaverly things; today I threaded half of the next project.
I'm sleying at 48EPI to begin with, which is much too sparse, but I have several different weft candidates and wanted to start around there. Plus, once sleyed, I find it easier to increased the EPI than decrease it.   
I want to try the draft on the left to start with.

And I made another batch of pasta sauce, but I forgot one of the most crucial of ingredients: basil. My bad. I think I'll add dried in this one.

Monday, February 16, 2015

(Insert_Witty_Title) / W2W15 Loot Part 2

At around 3.30 today, I finished this round of my tax returns. Which should make me happy, at least relieved, but not this year. It took me six halfhearted days; even when I had less of a system and moped, dithered and complained months beforehand, the longest I spent was three or four days. What's worse is it's not going to be any easier without a better scheme, and I've got nothing other than working incrementally. Yikes.

And spend as little business-related money as possible, or not claim everything. Anyway, on to prettier things.
I just opened my W2W15 envelope from Donni and I was floored! The first thing I noticed was a card with paint strokes of beautiful colors; then a postcard of her town Woolongong, (I always loved saying that name out loud,) with her house marked with an "X"; a small sketchbook, a small painting of what I'm calling "pebbles" in pink, orange, browns, gold and white, (not a combination I would think of but works well because of the different sizes of the pebbles,) and her business card. 

But wait, there were four small bags, each containing a photograph and yarns/a woven sample in the color schemes of the photos. (Donni, are you sure you don't want to keep the woven sample??) At first glance I was intrigued by the colors, (and proportion?) she selected to represent each photo. For whatever reason, availability, purpose/end piece, time, she selected specific hues/values and proportion to send me. 

When I have a visual clue like a photo, I concentrate on my favorite hues and become tempted to use proportionately more of those; I don't worry about values at this point, and I aim for varied/unequal proportions. 

I'm intrigued. I want to observe these images and yarns/woven sample and contemplate different color choices/decisions. Thank you, Donni.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hari Kuyoh

I noticed Day in the Life of Looms being interpreted as occasions to "show what's on the loom". While I don't mind different/personal takes, and though I never explained it here, I thought you might be interested in why I came up with the idea on New Year's Eve 2009. This may also explain why my photos are more about the looms than the projects.

In Japan, we have traditions, in various areas of life and in different trades, to thank our tools, and they differ from region to region. From what I picked up in the fog of my youth from older women from different parts of the country, and thought silly and superstitious then, is we put to rest broken tools with thanks, (some we burn at shrines/temples, some we bury, and some we release in rivers,) or express unequivocal appreciation to each tool. Which may or may not coincide with its annual maintenance. Every new kitted sawing box comes with a broken needle case.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if similar traditions exist(ed) in other places, but the only occasions that comes close that I know of are the blessing of the fishing fleets, or bringing back the palms before Easter.

So here's a Wiki link to "Hari Kuyoh"; "hari" being needle/s; the word "kuyoh" has no equivalent in English, but the closest concept would be a memorial service. This is the most common thanking-of-tools, and as a kid I thought of this as a mothers' and grandmothers' mini celebration. But I can imagine professional menfolk in Western-style and Kimono tailoring do similar.

And to this end, we've been doing a better job on April Spools Day. Yeah?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tax Returns Hell / W2W15 Loot Part 1

I've been in a foul mood because I've never felt less inclined to do my tax returns, ever.

My "business" is so tiny legally I don't have to file, but I have a wonderful accountant, (who is also a painter,) who recommends I do because I some years I get some money back. I pay her more, so there must be another good reason which I don't understand, but more than a few times they've been able to make hefty bills from the government disappear. (ACC invoices, Kiwis.)

Still, it's supposed to be a yearly maintenance of some sort, being reminded I don't make any money weaving; theoretically I can check the trends/changes/increases in our cost of living. Theoretically I'm supposed to fine-tune my goals, aims, target, I guess. And I do have this compulsion to be in the system for when I reach pension age, although I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing in New Zealand. Let's call it Lent in an otherwise cruisey life.

One reason why I'm so frustrated this year is the decrease in paper bills/statements and the need to go to gazillion websites/accounts to print out necessary as evidence. As you all probably know. All websites are different and ever-changing at the pleasure of their IT depts. More websites/companies no longer consider the need for printed statements, so for example with Audible.com, (I love their products and their staff; they help you by chat, immediately,) I have to go to the membership record for the monthly credits paid, and another to see all purchases including paid purchases and freebies but excluding membership/credit payment, and the only way to print paid purchases is by screen capture, not necessarily with the Audible logo.

Some years I tried to work my accounts incrementally, but because international payments didn't appear on my bank statement for a while, (and the bank's calculation always different from mine,) because bills didn't arrive consistently/regularity, etc, etc, it was easier to work once a year. My account could be done in two days if I hunkered down anyway.  

I had some inkling last year, and I tried to purchase books from a small number of companies for e.g. but this year I spent one and a half days printing out bills/statements to check duplications with paper receipts/statements/invoices and emails. Plus I have Japanese documents in YYYY/MM/DD format; US and Japanese receipts in MM/DD/YY; Kiwi, Aussie and UK and one Japanese company using DD/MM/YY; and this time one Canadian and one Italian.

Starting in April, I'll try what Ben suggested; work on accounts monthly, one or two months after the fact, so all statements/bills/invoices are available.  After having wasted four halfhearted days this week, I think I've two more to go.  (Insert naughty words.)

Anyway, with the end in sight, I thought I could open one of the two W2W15 envelopes as a reward. So look at what Margery sent me!!
I opened it just now so I haven't given each item due attention, but my favorite is her handspun Merino/Tussah; dreamy lovely colors and texture; it gives me an appreciation for the kind of texture her woven scarves might have. No, wait, the woven sample in colors sympathetic to the Floria postcards, in the same weave structure as the fabric covering the notebook she gave me, but in a different scale; you have got to feel this to fully appreciate it. No, the tiny seashell sitting on the magazine. No, the elegant long leaf pine leaf on the brown envelope; at first I thought they were delicate knitting needles. But I love the colors in the purply postcard, and Margery used a magenta pen. OK, so my favorite may not be the gator.

Thank you, Margery. A good end to a taxing day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

W2W15 Links

In spite of my best intention to start the tax work today, a Windows update got in a way, my small laptop getting stuck at Installing Page 2 of 22 for over three hours until Ben came home to remedy it. Frustrating, and more tiring than if I had actually done some work; I actually look forward to tomorrow when I can work on it. 

Here are some posts relating to weaverly love some of us received this year.