Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Good, The Bad and The Weird

I went to see Jean the Physiotherapist on Monday.

The good news is, if her diagnosis is right, my right hip is not a big problem; the right pelvis is a little out of place. I didn't know I could do such a thing. Jean gave me two simple exercises to do twice daily, and wants me to come back in two weeks if there is no progress; about a month if I feel better.

The bad news are: 1) because of the exercises, I'm having aches and funny popping noises all over again; 2) I've got to throw away my favoritest, comfortablest pair of shoes because the sides are so soft I'm not walking on the sole but on the side with my right foot, and 3) I'm good to weave, but have to relearn how to get off/on the loom bench. Let me show you.
I had a skinny person reenact for our benefit. You know I'm short; the big loom's breast beam and bench are high. So, every time I have to get off the loom, I swing my right leg like a pendulum. Which happens a lot when your warp ends keep breaking. That's it. Jean said I have to alternate my legs when I get off, but I'm a bit scared to try that just now.

Monday was a bad day. (Here come the funny old-lady bits.) We ran out of milk after breakfast so I managed to get some before I saw Jean and put it in the car for Ben to bring home. I also got two plates; I got two a week ago Wednesday and promptly dropped one on Friday, and since buy-one-get-one-free was still on I got two in case I broke another. I remembered the bus schedule incorrectly, missed one, ran errands and loaded the pack too much before the next and hips and legs started to hurt. I thought I saw the taxi office had moved, so I went to one end of the town, saw a big sign but not the office, so I went to the old office nearly across our little town which is now a shop, couldn't for the life of me find their number on my cell, walked back to the sign and rang the number. It turns out the office is just upstairs. I staggered home shortly before one, I was exhausted, and there was no milk for a nice cup of tea. I was exhausted until late Wednesday afternoon when Sam and Annabelle came over to work out some more admin stuff for our exhibition.

Sam brought me three lovely pumpkins from her garden. Just Tuesday, I made the best humus ever, half of which was baked pumpkin. So now I'm thinking pumpkin bread or cake, in addition to the usual baked. And last week, I made the best banana cake ever. You could say this not-being-sick is working.
Today I tried to make a poster/invitation for our exhibition, but the weather, ergo the light, was so changeable I could not get descent pictures of our drawings after a whole afternoon. When I photograph drawings, however, I see completely different things from when I'm looking at them. Sam has delicate but refined work in a variety of styles; Annabelle has always drawn feminine figures, not willowy, but mother-of-earth types, and her work is interesting to spend look at.

I haven't gardened, I haven't exercised, and I keep tidying, cleaning and reshuffling my drawing kit but have done only one uninspired practice exactly a week ago that promptly went into the fire. Fingers crossed; tomorrow.  

And the weird; the biga/chef/levain/sourdough. And how little I know about it. Keeping a biga is like keeping a pet, but it's an invisible, tempestuous one. I put the food out, it disappears at different rate, and the darned thing likes to play dead.

In the past, I only followed recipes using regular flour; I knew [insert-your-favorite-word] took 36-48 hours in this house rather than the 12 in the book, but otherwise they've always worked. After reading the health benefits of slowly-raised dough recently, I decided to start a [i-y-f-w] to keep and use, without a recipe in mind, and because the first instructions I read used rye and wholemeal, so did I. These take longer, and the whole country had a "polar blast", so I got quite flummoxed and kept checking all kinds of websites instead of sticking to the one. Today we had normal temperatures and I fed it regular flour and a little bit of sugar and yeast and it looks back on track, but now I have so much I will have to use some tomorrow.

Such fun.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Shrinking Life

On Wednesday I spent the day in town. Which is not something I do much these days, but the drawing exhibition team couldn't meet at my place, so I went into town in the morning to run some errands before we met. In between twice being told, "we can't do this here, but you can go online and take care of it yourself," (I don't imagine this goes down well with older or less-well-connected folks; even in Little Old Nelson, face-to-face customer service now takes a backseat to the Internet,) I got to talk to Stella about her next project at the bookshop, which is always a treat.

Then I noticed a woman who looked so like Maclean and I was going mention it, but Stella got too busy serving customers. So I turned around, and imagine my surprise when I saw Maclean standing there, in person! She is in town for a week and I was in the bookshop just when she stopped by; I couldn't believe my luck. We talked about unintentional/unstructured making and simplifying. Ben and I had lunch at a new-to-us Mexican cantina, and the meeting with Annabelle and Sam went well; we were able to decide much in a short time because they had places to go.

I avoided looking into shop windows lest I see my own reflection, or worse, that I wouldn't recognize myself. All day I was aware I was walking funnily; presumably it's that old person's way of swinging from left to right without bending hips or knees. And living and operating this body, I felt a very different person; older, sure, but smaller, less significant, not someone with a "serious" mission in life. A pale shadow of my former self. And I remembered at one time I used to be a strutter and a fast-walker.

As expected, I've been exhausted since I got home Wednesday night. I haven't gotten any work done. On Thursday, I tackled some housework and a bit of cooking, but Friday all I could manage was to throw out my second or third failed sourdough and start another. And a few postcards.

I want to weave, but I have that problematic cashmere warp on the big loom and I'm reluctant to return to it. Once last week I "wove" for a couple of hours; in fact I was getting off and on the loom bench mending broken warps and for two days my right hip was zinging. I'm reluctant to start thinking beyond this project at the moment or else I'll be too tempted to cut and abort. I have good ideas about drawing, but every time I experiment/practice, they turn out boring or childlike or just really boring.

Even before Wednesday, I gardened four-plus hours each morning, which would have allowed me to do something else afterwards even a couple of years ago, this week I just liked down where I could find a flat surface on the floor and recuperated for hours.

I can't find the mojo/motivation/inspiration/stamina/energy/reasons-to-be-optimistic; I have ideas but I can't act on them. Or it takes so long to do one thing, and usually badly. Or I am so tired, I have to have lots of very long breaks. Life isn't fun, and I feel I'm not contributing anything. I can do so much less in the same 24 hours/7 days/whatever. Most days I sit still, (I know, I should move,) and wait to find a way out of this hole. Mom, even though she's living a hither-to unknown carefree life, and Sister, who is not yet 50, are having low-energy lives. Perhaps this is what we cold expect one year after Dad's passing, unless we have pressing, everyday duties. Like "real" work.

And I'm sick of thinking of what I'm not doing, how my life sucks right now. 

Yikes. Eh.

Still, I'm not depressed, I don't think, and my life isn't unravelling. And I finally looked up to find my failed starter sourdough were too watery; the current one is looking good so far; I hope it works. (I've done this several times always in the winter successfully, but for the first time I tried doing it from memory. Meh.) This must be what's called real life.


Sunday, May 18, 2014


A while back, a mate of mine had his favorite wooly scarf stolen. We've never met; he's one of our Internet/photography friends, but he's coming to visit in June/July. From his description the stolen piece sounds like a lovely chunky hand-knit piece, creamy/beige-y and ribby. I told him then I don't knit, and weave mostly flat cloth, but this was roughly when Geodyne was churning out beautiful pleated pieces, so I've been plotting to give it a go. I remember I need closely-sett two-faced twill using good shrinky weft. And as a contingency plan, in case the shrinky bits don't shrink/buckle/rib enough/properly, I'm going with a interesting twill at least in one part.
In theory, something like this, and an 8 meter warp should give me loads of samples and perhaps two good pieces.

Is usually-18EPI warp in 20EPI close enough or would you go closer? At present, I think I'd like different width for the two twills/ribs, but is there an optimal ratio?   What other matters should I take into consideration? Suggestions are all much appreciated. Thanks.

* * * * *

I had more of less a yuck week last week. I wove for two hours on extremely fragile warp, getting off and on the bench too too many times, and sure enough my right hip, which I thought was on the mend, acted up again, and the rest of it came back. So yesterday I did some collage postcards. It had been a while; I almost had to remember how to work without intentions and some made themselves beautiful while some not, but it was lovely to forget results and concentrate on the making. I also caught myself applying design theories I've picked up in the past.
I feel buoyed by yesterday, so I'm going to do some more sample/experimental drawing.

Funny how I enjoy something, (collage), but when I start making it into/about something, (exhibition), all the fun goes out and the Critic stomps in.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Working, Working

Rain, sun, rain, sun, it's been a crazy couple of days. At one point, I had rain on one side of my house, but not on the other, which makes my house sound huge, but it's not. And the ground is soggy, spongy in some places. So I stayed inside working on the design study; I'm behind my own schedule for the year, but I did finish a chapter. For the time being; I may revisit some exercises later.

Because of the weird weather, I kept modifying the lighting but it was no good so these photos are heavily edited
"Framing" makes a piece of work tidy and handy, but sometimes loosing the outside bits take away movement or excitement or the feeling of modern/contemporary. 
See what I mean?
I like this, though it looks like Special K packaging.
Often ones I don't like look good in multiple orientations and even appear to have a hidden story.
I don't like this one, but it's very interesting.
While ones I like, I tend to rush into deciding the "right way up" and don't find any stories.
We did these tiles in Clare Plug's class, too. I like these.
Sunset yesterday; steady rain, glittery sun, dirty window.

Monday, May 12, 2014

So I'm Technically Weak

Well, that's not news to us, is it? India/Not-Laharya, the last three, and the current five-grays warps were cashmere or cashmere mixes and I've had technical problems left, right and center. I wonder if the big loom is too harsh on cashmere yarns, some of which are not twisted much so they stretch and then snap.

I like to weave my Japanese cashmeres at 15EPI for a good balance of softness and presence, but on the big loom I sett the warp at 18EPI so the shuttle doesn't fall though the gap; my preference is to weave with Schacht end feed but for the last red-purple-blue warp I used a small Swedish boat shuttle with my recycled paper bobbins, sett 15EPI. The finished texture was lovely. 

Doni's cashmere/silk/merino is a little less delicate in the yarn, (but boy, does it fluff up nicely!) but at 24EPI the warp ends appeared to be rubbing against each other and I had a lot of broken ends, so in the second red warp I changed to 21EPI, and at first I kept looking the shuttle. The finished textures were different but both good, and if I can mange, I'd like to weave with both setts depending on the draft and the weft.

I have had so many broken ends on the left side facing the warp, so much so I started to wonder if there are rough/jagged/sharp bits somewhere on the left side. The left side of a warp is usually the last ends I wind on the mill, so perhaps as I create a rhythm and start to loosen up. Perhaps the center of the warp chain is not perpendicular to the loom as I wind, and magazines fall off the left side first, though I've always been extra vigilant in that department. 

And then this one is hard to put into words. I almost took photos while weaving the pink piece but I was too embarrassed. Anyway, I get nice big sheds in the big loom and I always use floating selvedges. Depending on the sett, yarn, the number of ends in the slot next to the FS in the reed, and the draft, I get big loopy wefts ballooning on the sides. And because it happens sporadically, I can't figure out how to prevent them other than slowing right down and checking every single pick and pulling the sides in if necessary. A little bit of ballooning is not an issue if I'm using good merino in the weft, but cashmeres and merino/mohair mixes are ruthless. Strangely, I don't have this problem with my cottons but they are a different genre.And it was particularly bad on the pink piece in the last pic yesterday.

And I'm really really bad at hemming, so I'm going to stick with fringing until I resolve the other issues.

Soooooo, I haven't felt like a descent weaver in a few months now. I don't like putting hohum pieces in the gallery, and all but one had varying degrees of hohumness this time. I hate being a weaver like that. 

* * * * *

Second time in the garden in 24 days; I've wasted a lot of gorgeous autumnal days, but then I'm happy I can think of 24 days as long in not gardening. I keep records of the time I spent and what I did, because that's the only way I can remember how I've done. It's still a long way to being able to see any results, and I'm talking about only one tiny section of the property. But today was lovely, I had hoped to weed just beyond the patio, but I never got there because the patio was a mess with dead leaves and weeds in pots, so for four hours I cleaned and weeded the pots and moved them from the summer position to the winter position, i.e. allowing maximum sun. I'll get to just beyond the patio tomorrow. Afterwards a kingfisher came to visit. He's not flighty like some other birds and hung out with me over fifteen minutes. What a treat! (Please excuse the dead bits I haven't pruned. In fact, I can't get over how OK my place looks in this picture, because it's been really chaotic for over a year now.)
No weaving, no art, not even baking a cake Ben requested today. And I'm hoping to get out in the garden again tomorrow.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Off the Loom

The three India/Not-Laharyia pieces walked out quickly and others in trickles, so in January I set myself a goal of delivering 12 new pieces to the Suter before I go to Australia in August, along with half a dozen quirky pieces to Refinery, working tough the remaining commissions, and getting to Thank You, sympathy and Just Because gifts.

So sorry for ungood pictures; I had touched a few unfamiliar things without realizing so the camera was not on macro and the focus was tracking. Geeeeeeez. But here are what's become of some of the pieces I worked on in March/April.
The warp is Doni's cashmere/silk/merino in four reds, one half red and the other pink, 24EPI. The red piece is one of the best I've woven with a fat cashmere weft, using a small portion of my pillars draft. The baubly one has teal silk/cashmere in the weft and is the one I had so much trouble with the warps breaking on the left side I considered cutting off. After wet-finishing, it still remains wobbly, but the fabric part is gorgeous I decided to sell it at a reduced price. 
This warp was in two reds of Doni's cashmere/silk/merino, sett 21EPI; the one on the right was my do-over, thinking the teal from the previous warp was unsellable; the piece on left is more deep purple in real life; it has one of airiest, fluffiest, ethereal texture I've ever woven so although a little short, I noted that on the tag. I would not have minded keeping it.
This was an interesting warp. The warp has my Japanese 100% cashmeres in gradation from red to purple to blue, made ages ago intended for Santa Fe Weaving Gallery.  But when I took the warp chain off the mill, it looked so unattractive I put in on the back burner. The first piece on the left has something line nine colors in the weft and is fluffy and lovely and of this lot is the best crafted merchandise.

While weaving this piece, Pat told me that Santa Fe had new management so I contacted Jill and the long and short of it was, "forget the four-more request, send pictures to new owners when I have interesting stuff". First I lamented the only outlet outside of Nelson disappearing, not to mention as far as weaving outlet goes, it was a pretty nifty one. But I was also relieved because I could never reconcile the difference between what Jill told me she wanted and the styles their website featured. It's OK if I'm not weaving at the high-fashion/design end, but for the time being I'm glad I don't have to keep wondering about what they really meant they wanted.

So I jumped into the shiny blue-pink piece, working for the first time in relatively-analogous. Then afterwards I wove with a fat matt black cashmere to create a stained glass window look; it turned out the first two pieces were so long the black is only a warp-end fabric, but it's OK. It's so different, to me, from the kind of what I normally do, it was weird.

All but the pink piece and the black warp-end swatch was delivered to The Suter yesterday. But I see a trend in my continuing, (and worsening) technical problems.

An Enthusiastic Amateur

It was nice seeing Win and Jean yesterday. Win and I ended up talking for five hours, an overwhelming majority of the talking done by moi. Poor Win. And she has one foot in the dark side now; she's combining her weaving with felting.

In our little group of four planning a wee drawing exhibition in July, one member left in February because she started full time study, another is unsure because of her life circumstances, and I've been feeling ugh as you know, but the fourth remains perpetually cheerful and optimistic we cannot but forge ahead.

A while back I got out all the drawings I kept from the last almost six years of class and sorted them by style and focus. I still like quick gesture drawing the best, but they are usually done on newsprint, so what can I do to make something that can be in an exhibition?

I enjoy drawing because in class I can concentrate on the moment; I know there are lots of catchy terms for this living in the moment state, but for me, it's not even consciously concentrating; if you can picture an old hag in rags and barefeet running as if in a trance in whatever environment, (i.e. not always in the woods alone,) that would describe how I feel in class. And gesture drawings best fits my state of mind, and that's what I'd like to show.
I've been thinking of how I could rework these gestures to make them a little more complete, (because for the time being, I feel I should,) and have been toying with these ideas.

* Incorporating collage - because I want biggish (A2) drawings in the exhibition, I needed some magazines with big pictures and I bought some old issues of the lovely Australian Donna Hay, but the photos of the fruits were smaller than I had remembered, or perhaps the photo policies changed over the years as these mags are over 10 years old, so I'm stuck. Each issue, though, has a color theme as well as food themes, so I just need to practice and experiment.

* Woven - I also went through all the collages I did in Clare Plug's class, because I so enjoyed it; her directions, and ergo the results, were simple, straight-forward, and therefore effective. I came up with the idea of drawing/painting two versions of one gesture and weaving them together. I've played mostly with watercolor because that is what we use in class for washes, but I find it a terribly difficult medium so I've not enjoyed the practice. Plus, if I go down this track, I will need something to paste the woven/combined drawings onto, even framing, so it's been in the Too Hard basket. However, the way I cut the drawings into strips could add an extra dimension in the gestures, which I like.
In the far right version, the figure is facing different directions.

* Old Age - I missed the last day of last term of the drawing class because I was sick. In bed, I started doodling how I feel about being sick and getting older and I kept returning to a few symbolic gestures. I've drawn many variations of these with pen since, but now I need to use other media, add wash, or mixing it up with collage.
* Plastic tablecloths - earlier on, one among us expressed interest in printing on shower curtains, and another first on sandwiching drawings in something clear so it can be hung in the middle of the gallery and seen from back and front, then later on drawing directly on transparent material. I thought tracing my gesture drawings with fat magic markers onto clear plastic table cloths, (the kind that prevents spillage from getting to the cloth under the plastic?) might cast interesting shadows on the wall, and there is one perfect wall for it in the gallery, but it was someone else's idea so I'm not actively considering/experimenting at this stage.

I remain an enthusiastic amateur, so I don't worry about being good or being able to sell the pieces. By the same token, I think it's nice to put in a little thought into working and making pieces specially for the exhibition. The problem, then, is reworking gestures, without a model in front of me, and maintaining the immediacy inherent in gesture drawing, at least the way I understand it. Practicing at home has been ho-hum and best and frustrating at times.
And why wouldn't I want to maintain it!

I'm not taking the class this term; I need to spend much more time on this than I had imagined.

Friday, May 9, 2014


Doc didn't believe I regained my weight when I didn't have proper glasses. And with the hip thing, I haven't been exercising or walking much. He wants me to swim, which is a bad omen; the last time I changed doctors was when I got sick of that doctor ordering me to swim when multiple health professionals spotted depression within 15 minutes of meeting me. I don't need athletic, skinny doctors; I need a plump, middle-aged, preferably female doctor.

Back in February, we planned a day trip to Wellington for the Saturday before Ben's birthday because the fare was cheaper. Within a week there were much cheaper fares on his birthday, but too late; we were going to have fun regardless. We got up at the crack of dawn to get to the airport, but long story short, the flight was cancelled; we had fog that week and apparently there were some flights cancelled three days in a row. I'd been flying for over 50 years but cancellation was a first. We even sat in the plane for half an hour, and a friend spent two hours on the tarmac expected to present a paper in Auckland that afternoon.

We went food shopping in town because fancy ingredients shopping was on our Welly list; Lynda at the shop reminded us to ring within 24 hours to rebook. Because we were on a cheap fare, we hadn't thought we could rebook, but sure enough, we were on our way the following morning.

It was cold and rainy in Welly, and being Sunday many places were closed or opened for shorter hours, but we went to two big bookshops after we recovered from the shock of seeing others closed for good. The Italian place we hoped to go was not going to serve meals until the evening, but we found a lovely new Italian restaurant on Cuba St, (it had been open two months on the day, I think,)  and had a very long lunch; the owner gave us sweet grappa and Ben ice cream with a candle after we told him what an ordeal the weekend was turning into. I limped on, and we went sew a couple of fantastic exhibition at the City Art Gallery, too.

We didn't want to dilute the day, so instead of going to more galleries, we left town early and went to the airport. Well, long story short, our return flight was cancelled due to mechanical failure, so we were put on a later flight, and for reasons I forgot, that flight was delayed; we came home exhausted but happy, somewhere close to eleven (?) in the evening.

Back in January, Ben arranged to have the week leading up to Easter off so we can work in the garden. A tropical storm came that week so we didn't get out at all. Where we live is pretty windy especially in spring and fall, so I didn't think much of the storm, but in town and all around the region there were substantial damages, mostly due to trees falling; I guess we were lucky.

We both had our birthdays and our 24th anniversary in April, first anniversary of Dad's passing this week, and tomorrow would have been the 44th anniversary of moving into the house Mom moved out of in January. Life goes on, and you've got to laugh, not because you'll cry otherwise, but because life is pretty funny. And this Easter was too funny in a tongue-in-cheek way I won't forget for a while. 

Under the Weather

And because I really don't want to make this blog about non-illnesses or aging, I didn't have much to say.

First problem is the usual mild but persistent fever/headache, but after three or four or five continuous weeks of it, I was exhausted and I went to see my doc, who said it's hot flashes coming back after 14 years, Excuse me?, and gave me a prescription for 500 paracetamols. I said it's different kinds of heat, but he just smiled. I used to like the guy; I'd still like to think he's not a quack, but I think it was very unprofessional and inappropriate.

I still have it, but this fever I've lived with for decades, and armed with 500 paracetamols, I'm coping.

A more urgent one has been the joints. About four or five weeks ago one morning I had pain in my hips and I was reduced to crawling in the living room; I've also had strange muscle/nerve aches in other places, so for starters I got anti-inflammatories. It didn't seem to help, so I told the doc, and he smiled and said to wait until the anti-inflamatories start to kick in. The strange thing is, I didn't fall or slip or bump into anything, so I'm still not sure how this came about.

I'm nearly finished with the bottle, but the right hip still hurts, sometimes I can't put any weight on it, (coming up the stairs with a basket full of finished but wet laundry can make you laugh for a good five minutes,)  and perhaps to compensate, my left ankle huts, too, sometimes. Sometimes some of my leg/foot joints suddenly give away as if the battery runs out. And they make noise like a plastic guitar pick being flicked with fingernails.

I wanted to have a Bowen Technique massage first so I can rule out muscle problems, but Kathleen is no longer in the phone book and I'm not motivated enough to try another. We have a good physiotherapist but I can't motivate myself to limp to her place. I may need to find a new doctor, but I keep putting it off. If I were sicker, or healthier, I might have done these things, but I've been in that oh-so-ho-hum place and I've held my breath waiting for things to get better.   

And I still say I'm not exactly depressed; or else it's very mild and I'm coping very well. I've had some monumental problems on the loom, (a lot more on this in another post,) so I've been cooking a lot, doing housework, and drawing some, (more on this in yet another post,) and the house is in a much nicer shape than when I'm motivated to work. While weaving can sometimes kick start my brain sometimes, the result is risky  so I didn't go near the work loom for over a month.

I've felt unemotional and fussy and grumpy but not down. When I read about successes or travels in your blogs, I wasn't jealous of your luck or opportunities, but I envied your stamina and perseverance. There have been small stuff that worked against me, so I have this nagging voice in the background that this is going to be one mightily sucky year, but I'm doing a great job of forgetting them, too, so this is why I don't think I'm depressed. And I keep hoping this is not going to be the way it's always going to be but just a glitch.

The leg/hip thing worries me, so although we've been having lovely autumnal days in between real rain, I've gone out to the garden only once in the last forever. Even my imagination has gotten timid; when I can't sleep, sometimes I visualize myself flying over Nelson, or doing super fancy stuff on a trampoline. I'm not sure how these started, but I stopped the trampoline routine in my head so as not to aggravate my hip, and when I go flying, I skip the landing part.Wuss!

And in real life, it hasn't been all bad luck. Win's friend Jean rang me last week to invite me to coffee when Win comes to visit tomorrow; that got me finally having a look at pieces left unfinished for up to two months; some can go to the gallery tomorrow. Connie and Nicole emailed me to inquire on the same morning if I had fallen off the planet; they were kinder, but they had mentioned my not having posted for a month. I, who don't often win things, won five packets of fragrant flower seeds from my fav seed place and two cute rolls of washi tapes from a scrapbook supply shop in Blenheim.

I'm still here. Just operating at between 15% and 35% capacity at the moment. But thank you for asking.

Hello, Again

My life expands and shrinks like a heart, as must yours. Mine has been shrinking for a couple of months to the point the only way I could describe was I fell off the wagon of living enthusiastically, but that sounded too melodramatic and I haven't been depressed, I don't think, so I'll have to come up with a better description. Anyway, this is what's on my loom now.
* * * * * 

Going back to calculating combinations of lifting shafts, I got my notebook out a while ago, but have been gazing at the squares more than thinking about the math. X years ago, after figuring out for 4-shafts there are 14 possibilities, I was thinking about four-shaft blocks and tried to visualize combinations of filling a four-squares-by-four-squares grid; that is, breaking down a 16x16 tie-up into manageable units. I quickly decided filling pages and pages of squares for the sake of mathematical possibilities was a waste of time, (except when waiting for a flight at the airport as I did when I went to Brisbane,) so I settled on a subset. Good decision, because the answer is probably 14*14*14*14, or 38416. This excludes combinations where all four are lifted at once, (filled vertically,) or none, (left blank.)

But in small blocks, all or none of the four shafts can be lifted, especially when surrounded by more stable blocks, to create a gem-like bits of concentrated warp area on one side, with weft on the other, in which case there are 65530 ways to fill in a four-by-four grid. Probably. Which is about when math looses significance for this weaver and we move on to drafts. Hee hee.