Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 17/39

I've been busy, not completely with housework as our 2011 visit, but with some cooking, grocery shopping, and quite a lot of weaving-related activities. Dad is, well, difficult, indifferent, and sporadic slips into alarming senior moments, but as we head for early spring, longer sunlight hours and warmer temperature help his psyche. I don't know how Mom does it, though her dad was also difficult, so we laugh at her very low expectations of men.  LOL.

It's been cold but not that bad for me. We finally had snow on Tuesday but it didn't stick around. Further northwest, in Niigata, Aomori Prefecture, they've had record snow of well over five meters, resulting in railroad workers having to manually shovel so the snow-plow trains can get out and get to work.
It started as heavy rain, than became vertical slush.
A few hours later, it was real snow.
This is Mom's wee veggie patch seen from upstairs. There was a wee bit more the next morning but by 10AM Wednesday, it was gone.

Mom got her second 8-shaft Ashford table loom on Monday and has been busily working on her first, "Leftover Red Wool" project. All yarns used in this project are thrums and other leftovers from past projects, and not only has this been a fast, inexpensive, risk-free project, but also a nostalgic one, every thread reminding her of the pieces she made, people she gifted them to, and in many cases, the two looms she's given away in preference for smaller, lighter ones. She's making two cushion covers.  Mom also has two more projects planned, one a pink and blue cotton scarf with rectangular lace windows for herself, and a cashmere scarf for Mrs Suzuki, one of the women who helps her with housework.
Before I got home, Mom complained she had a hard time thinking about weaving except when her students come fortnightly. (Although all she needed was a loom to weave on.) Coincidentally Ben noticed a whole heap of photo paper specifically for a tiny photo-only printer during with a half-used ink cartridge during our last visit. So I came ready to make a bunch of photo buntings in her stash/work room, her walk-in closet, (which used to be one of us kids' bedroom,) and her loo. I've done the first and the last space, but not her closet. So far I shot images of textiles around her stash/work room, and of her favorite pieces of clothing, and she and her students have been pleasantly surprised how different they look from a different perspective. (Thank you, Kathryn, for the idea.)
Mom had one class session two days after I came home. I helped two students thread.
Here are Mrs Endoh and Mrs Yamaguchi; hay fever season started with gusto this week.
Mom showing Mrs Tahara how to select warp ends from cross sticks for threading. Previously Mom did the threading for them, but Mrs Tahara is ready to do it herself. 

I've spoken to Mom and her students a little about different ways of looking at twill, of using eight shafts to create two or three blocks, and of using the entire width of a piece as one repeat of, you got it, twill threading, i.e. undulating and networked, but haven't made any tutorial handouts. Mom's classes are so casual it felt foreign to hand out pieces of paper. I may still get around to writing something for the Japanese blog, but we'll see. I've also consulted Mom on many possible projects using what cashmere she has; we cleaned and reorganized her equipment, books and magazines, and her notes; and we reorganized her silk chest. We have a big chest of drawers of her sample pieces to go. As for her wools and cottons, I suggested she continue to go through them with her students a few times a year so they can put dibs or keep them in mind for future projects. They have such fun doing it anyway.

I've been trying to draw, but it's usually at the end of the day when we're watching the telly. Dad sits very still so he's easy to draw, but Mom keeps working until she goes to bed so I don't have any of her yet. I brought my tiny book on Italian but haven't touched it since I got it out of my pack. I've been having fun at art supply and stationary shops, though not so much in bookshops. Cost of living in Japan started to go down about the time Ben and I left Japan, (1994) and every time I came home I went crazy shopping in these places, but inflation since the earthquake two years ago has gone insane, and I notice that most markedly in book prices. As well, things have gotten smaller; for e.g. I found stationary/letter papers as small as a business card, with matching envelopes, as well as twice that size. These things were always available, but at times I feel hard pressed to find anything of "normal" sizes. This goes from toys to cars to food, and I, at 145cm, feel like a giant sometimes.

Oh, Heather, Jane and Julie are keeping me company, too.I'm sorry we haven't been anywhere interesting.
I haven't been to any exhibition yet; there seem to be not a whole lot I'm interested in, but there is one wooden chair exhibition in Kamakura, Yokosuka, and I'm still keen to go see the model looms at the Ag University. And Mom and I are planning a trip to one yarn store of, according to her, not very exciting wools. LOL. 

4 comments:

  1. Hope me, and the other weaver to weavers, are behaving ourselves :)

    Your trip sounds busy!

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  2. You all are, that's for sure. Hope you enjoyed the art exhibitions with me today. ;-)

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  3. Off topic, but how nice is the Ashford table loom to use? I don't really have room for my Thorpe at the moment, so was thinking of getting an 8 shaft table loom to use until we have a new house. (I'm keeping an eye on trademe, but I don't have high hopes there).

    Your snow pictures look nice at the moment, still pretty warm here!

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  4. Every night I skype with Ben as late as 11PM NZ time and it's around 25C in Nelson, which is exceptionally hot for there.

    Re. the loom, it dances on the table a bit, breast beam to Shaft 1 is short for my liking, and there are far too few heddles, (we should be able to add, though,) but in saying that, if you want to use only gentle wools on the fat side AND haven't got any other shaft loom, it's nice. The lifting pegs (?) being in the front makes for easy weaving. As well as TradeMe, I'd also put the word out in the C List, (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cflist/messages?o=1&yguid=335446292), the local guild even if you don't belong or know anyone, and also in Marlborough, and one is bound to turn up eventually. We haven't figured out, though, an intelligent way to use the foot/stand that has four treadles; tying up to a treadles makes a shaft not available to lift by hand, which would be another new learning experience for Mom. (I haven't been able to access the loom as it has been occupied by Mom's student and as this was one of my main goals of this visit, I really hope it's made available soon.)

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