Sunday, October 20, 2019

Living the Life

Of a weaver, that is. It's pretty good, but absolutely nothing else is happening. Love it.
The hellebore warp is hard on the body but I have made progress and will finish after one more sitting. Un/fortunately there is enough warp for one more piece, which will take five or more five days to weave; I shall finish it/them after the elephant blanket is delivered. Apologies about the horrible picture, afternoon light was coming straight in and I couldn't see what I was doing. Suffice it to say, the piece is a little less pink and a little more red/orange.
I made the elephant warp Wednesday afternoon. I always had difficulty photographing reds with my digital cam but now I'm finding this teal impossible, too. It's bluer than this and has yarns from two different dye lots. And the red is really red, even though it contains red and pink ends in equal numbers. 
This is how I get 6m on my warping board. I plan to weave around 150cm in length.
And weft candidates. And I have this Do-I-really-want-to-go-there project brewing in my head using the elephants. (Hint: tied weave!!)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019


A week ago Sunday we had dinner with Deb Donnelly of Kapiti/Wellington.We had an excruciatingly delightful time, especially considering this was the first time we spoke.

Deb and I crossed paths three times that I was aware of: Randy's workshop in October 13 years ago, (she was the coordinator of the entire program of workshops,) Yoshiko Wada dye workshop October, 2010, (ditto in multiple locations in NZ,) and the opening of Beginnings in October, 2012. (I'm starting to see a pattern; should I book a trip to Wellington for next October now?)

In the last few years, I've been following her on Facebook, learning about her residencies, curation/coordination work, and relationships with artists/artisans in/from Asia and have been mightily impressed with both the scope and depth of them, all the while still teaching until just recently. She was in Nelson to attend the Costume and Textile Association of New Zealand symposium, the conference I used to go to, the one I found was not for me the first time. But I'm not dissing that altogether, and from what Deb told me, it was a good one this year. 

The reason why I thought these conferences aren't for me was because most of the presentations were about labeling/categorizing textile items made by someone else, often historical, sometimes manufactured. (Academic, in other word.) Though I know many of the Masters/PhD candidates/curators who present also make things themselves, the papers didn't reflect that, (which is how it should be,) but dry and meaningless to me. There were also, to my taste, too many young first timers from one Australian institution every time, interspersed with "local" makers seconded to add a bit of color but who had no idea how to present.

So... yeah, a bit harsh, but the conference didn't help me become a better weavers. I felt my time was better spent gazing at images, reading about design, or sorting my stash. Mind you, I did go five times in the first 18 years of this century, because I love lectures, and I kept hoping for a bright new something, and it's not as if there weren't, but for the amount of time and money required, they were... disappointing. I don't feel apologetic, because I haven't had much disposable income in a couple of decades and what I do earn was/is spent seeing aging parent/s in Japan. And I didn't develop special friendships at the conference because... well, I must behave like a hermit. :-D

While explaining all this to Deb, (and golly, our paths had crossed several more times at these conferences without our knowledge,) I felt abrasive dissing the presenters' efforts. Granted, a few could have put in more, but I am a slow learner, a slow weaver, and my energy level having been so erratic most of my life, I want to spend most of my life thinking about weaving, design, colors and trying things out on the looms.

Which Deb got, instead of thinking I'm a brash, opinionated know-it-all because I sound exactly that. As I mentioned, she's taught for decades, so she is used to brash, opinionated know-it-alls, (half joking,) but I was ever so grateful to her for listening my rants (?)... accurately and giving me appropriate feedback. To have been gotten this way was refreshing because I didn't realize until then not everybody gets me in this way. 

Besides, she's knowledgeable, hard-working and well-connected. I like the way she dresses, too; it reminded me about a decade ago the NZ Guilds were telling us all to wear things we made, to dress like the makers; Deb dresses like an artisan involved with Japanese/Asian textiles. Anyway, that was my lovely Sunday dinner with my new art-idol. Too bad I forgot quite a bit about what she said of Japanese textiles, especially regional indigo dye that hasn't died off, but these I can look up or ask, eh.

* * * * *

Baby elephants notwithstanding, I must finish the hellebores on the loom first. Saturday afternoon I had my second sitting since the tension problem emerged, but it got so bad I was spending more time adjusting than weaving, so I cut it off, unwound about 2 meters, (there are too many cotton cones on the floor I couldn't unwind any more,) rewound and resumed operation.

I may come to regret this, and have another whopper tension problem. I'm not sure if I can get two pieces from what's left of the warp, but one piece and fabric will be OK, as is two pieces of fabric with another cut/unwind/rewind in the middle.
This is the washed/dried stage. The green arrow shows where I started to have the problem, the orange arrow shows a stripe I didn't beat hard enough and it is visibly wider/taller. But washed, dried and pressed, it doesn't show too much distortion caused by the drama. Phew.

I've been inconsistent in how I finish my cotton pieces over the years, (all machine-washed but hot or cold; in laundry net or not; "power" or short cycle; one or two rinse cycle/s; and sometimes pressed while wet, sometimes after dry,) so I must fine-tune this. Reed marks are my first concern, but with this 2/20 cotton, sometimes I get a wonderful sheen. (My source sources these from three different countries and told me ages ago characteristics may vary depending on the color=origin.) I need to study what process gives maximum sheen. At 42EPI, I also get a heavy, "semi-pseudo-silk" kind of a hand, but that seems to come after much handling more than anything else, but this is also worth looking into. 

Re. this draft, people with more color skills could make this into a fun piece, but I'm starting to think I may be better off using same colors of contrasting sheen, for e.g., or "single" color warp /weft, "single" being one or multiple colors but uniform across the warp/weft. Even though I reduced the weft colors to eight purples/pinks/reds in the second piece, so far I'm not impressed.

Re. the elephant blanket, I have numbers so I can start making the warp. The four columns of elephants, (each in two yellow greens, two teals, mid+medium-light blues, and either red+pink or two navy blues,) are the main bit, plus a shorter red/pink chain for borders on two of them.

I said if I were to weave the elephants... umm, longitudinally?, weave one piece right side up and the other upside down, but it doesn't work when joining three pieces because the colors in one piece will be reversed: 

Two pieces, one side piece woven upside down: Border-A-B-C-D-D-C-B-A-Border
Three pieces, one side piece woven upside down: Border-A-B-C-D-A-B-C-D-D-C-B-A-Border

So I shall add/move/remove the border portion of the warp as I necessary. There are only 42 plus two for floaters, so rethreading isn't a problem. 

* * * *

Ouch. Just heard this newest favorite merino, DEA's Saxon, ones I'm using for the elephants, is going up 24% in five days; they held off the price hike for two years but they can't any more. I've been carrying around the color samples everywhere for over a month wondering if I should order some now or later as they're not only good yarns but will help me in stash reduction projects as my default warp yarn. In a way they made that decision easier for me. Now where to store them... 

Friday, October 11, 2019


Hi. I'm just thinking out loud today. Ignore me if I don't make sense; it's one of those "I'm not sure where I'm going with this" post.

I have what I call "non-days"; my diary shows a few every month in surprisingly regular intervals. Some days I'm just exhausted; some days I can't decide which project to take up and pace around the house mumbling instead of doing any of them; but other days I may sense my mind thinking/working but I don't know this until a few days/weeks/months later if that had been the case. Non-days are demoralizing especially when I'm working on something time-sensitive, but sometimes I see solutions so simple I want to pinch/punch myself for not noticing earlier, while other times, well, I do come up with options so ingenuous I can even allow myself to be impressed. This one was somewhere between the two.

Wednesday's Town Day, (another tag in my paper diary,) was fun, seeing friends and having a nice lunch in a beautiful setting. And getting a few errands out of the way. But I was exhausted Thursday, all talked out, (because, goodness, I talked a lot!) and as frustrating as it was not getting back to the elephants, I had one big non-day. In the evening, I got sick of myself and started working on the draft.
You know I've decided to weave two skinny, long pieces and join the two in the middle. This was going to be one half, with "red" borders on top, bottom, a wider one on what will be the sides of the blanket, (left here,) and narrow ones for the join in the middle. The second piece was going to be woven upside down so the wide/narrow borders will swap places.
Last night I couldn't sleep because I knew the draft was not right; I don't want a red border in the middle as I wanted the join to be as inconspicuous as I can manage. So today I auditioned seven ways found in "Finishes in the Ethnic Tradition," by Suzanne Baizermand and Karen Searle, 1994. Choosing the right one was easy - one that goes from bottom to top and looks the same on both sides. Right. Then I got to thinking...

I can weave comfortably up to about 60-62cm on the loom, roughly 24-25 inches wide per piece at maximum around 900 ends, which allows only four columns of elephants per piece, eight across the blanket plus borders. After wet-finishing, I'll be lucky to get 110cm width for the whole blanket, which may be OK for a new born, but probably not when the child is, oh, two? And there is a reason I call these "toddler" blankets; I want them in use for some years. (Oh, how I miss the days I could weave just short of 80cm wide!)

But if I turn the draft and weave the pachyderms sideways, width on the loom becomes height of each piece, and weaving length becomes the width of the blanket, and if I'm ready to join three pieces horizontally, the blanket can be whatever width I like, and I can add "side" borders at the start and finish of each piece. But wait, if I can forego weaving in borders, I could weave three pieces as lanned, and join them vertically, and get whatever width I like. Or, weave the two side pieces, take out the border warp ends, and weave the middle piece.

I know the approximate shrinkage when the warp is merino and the weft cashmere. If I am to turn, I'll need to sample with the yarns the other way around and check the shape/proportion. 

The blanket is due the end of the month.

* * * * *

Oh, yes, haven't forgotten about last Sunday dinner.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Let Me Complain about Lack of Access to Good New Zealand Weaving Merino Again

I wove the sample on the left yesterday, tweaked the draft, and wove the pink today. The difference is hard to see, but see the tiny green piece of paper? I extended the bump. As much ask I enjoyed sampling, I hope this is the last to be worked on Klick; easy to dress and mighty sturdy for a tiny loom, but when using more than four or six shafts, it's hard on the back of a short weaver as I'm too short to sit and weave, and have to bend over to reach the far shafts standing for each shed. Anyway, these critters are much larger than I expected at first, (I had in mind each elephant fitting in a huge postage stamp,) I like the proportion and the short, fat look which says "baby" elephants to me. Next up, considering the warp stripes, overall composition, and investigating attractive ways of connecting two skinnier pieces to make one blanket. Making two pieces into one is a first for me.

This sampling process felt long and tried my patience. Weaving on Klick notwithstanding, it was mainly because I was flying blind and was never sure where I was going, what quality I could squeeze out of the yarns I have, and had to try out many setts and combinations in figuring out the warp/weft proportion. All this because I'm trying out new yarns, and that's because I don't have a trusty default merino any more.

I'm geeky and when I get my hands on new yarns with a potential to becoming a stable/default, I sample a half (5 meter) warp, changing setts, auditioning a bunch of wefts, washing/fulling differently, etc, until I really get to know the yarn. I love this process, but more importantly, it educates me on how to make the most of the yarn, and gives me parameters within which to work, eliminating shot-in-the-dark kind of sampling. This project was interrupted by my trip to Japan, and had an approximate deadline from the start, so I had to combine this intro phase with project-specific sampling. (This yarn in the warp is new to me as I've only used it in the weft until now.)

Sad, isn't it? I live in New Zealand and even though there are far fewer sheep compared to when we came here, re are still plenty, yet it's hard to find good and affordable merino weaving yarn, especially the formerly standard 110/2, (roughly 2/17 - this is why I get so confused with yarn sizes!) with our without scale. From my limited experience, it's also hard to find merino knitting yarns without possum mixed in, also. What's ironic is, some of the previously second-tier yarns which disappointed in comparison to what I used to use now feel really good. Mind you  they are not bad yarns, they are good yarns, just not as stupendous as... you get the gist. There's enough for a few years of weaving at this rate.

I'm having lunch with Rosie and Esther tomorrow; first social outing since I've come back. Wait, no, I had a lovely dinner on Sunday. I'll tell you about it in another post.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Baby Elephants

I got back on the loom bench once after the tension problem with the hellebore warp was "remedied", in quotes because it's been a delicate operation, less than ideal, but I shall stay on course for the duration of this piece, unwind the remaining warp, rewind, then weave the second piece. Meanwhile, I've been obsessed with another project, one that was supposed to come after the Hellebores and another; I felt guilty about turning the order around, but it's worked out better. I think. I'm learning about the new-to-me 2/  merino which comes in a few nice colors. Anyhoo, without a lot of blather, I'll just show you some pics.
It's a baby blanket, where of course softness/hand is paramount, and besides my usual complaint about soft NZ merino being unavailable/unaffordable, I have been sampling to see if I can emulate even a fraction of the niceness by doubling/tripling other merino yarns, changing sett more crammed and less so, and aiming for longer floats. My gut feeling is, the process which makes yarns machine-washable take away that dense-tiny-air-bubbles-trapped-in-the-wool feel, but I can't back it up with facts.

This softness problem prevents me from moving ahead; I keep changing my mind about sett and pick, so can't figure out the proper ratio/dimension/size of the baby pachyderms. At least I know the round, fat ones please me more than skinny, more realistic "grownup" looking ones.

Off to make another short warp for sampling.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Murphy's Law has been Renamed Meg's Rule

Yesterday I went downstairs eager to keep working on the hellebores. The sun was high, coming in indirectly, making my web look like a study in simultaneous contrast. Feeling giddy, I was ever so eager to show you nice after I wove half a repeat, so I advanced the warp. And... I had this strange feeling, as you do, so I looked around, walked to the back of the loom, checked everything, randomly tugged on the warp, and, gosh, darnit... 
From where I sit as I weave, the first and third inch bouts (?) from the right selvedge suddenly loosened! It was so weird I couldn't believe my eyes, but as I type, I'm glad I tugged on the right bits. 
Because the problem corresponds to the distance from the right selvedge exactly, the first and the third inches, (is that intelligible English?) my first thought was the lashing had come undone, but no, no problem there. Besides, I'm almost a meter in, and lashing problems usually present themselves earlier. So I can only conclude that after I threaded/sleyed, when I usually wind back the warp about 30cm, there must have been "folds" or loose bits or something in the first and the third bouts. Or strange creatures live in my basement and mes with my looms at night.   
I had no problem until I tugged on the warp at the back, which was about 1/3 of the way into the last purple weft. I probably should have stopped right there and even unpick, but I must have been in a bit of panic, I hung all my fishing weights on the two bouts, (hardly enough!) and wove until the end of the motif. I sourced a vinegar bottle and an oil bottle for proper, heavier weights, but didn't feel much like weaving today. I'll decide if I want to unpick the last 62 picks tomorrow. I also checked the rest of the warp and there was no further, immediate danger.

Ummm... Phew?

* * * * *

You know, Rugby started in Japan and although we've watched perhaps one game since 2011 or even before that, (I quit when John Mitchell was named coach, which was, oh, dear, 2001!) Ben's been watching whatever free-to-view, (always delayed,) coverage he can find this time. Friday night was Japan vs. Russia, last night was All Blacks vs. Boks, so to keep him company, I started on my biggish tie-dye project as well.
It reminds me of when I tried to learn how to knit while in college; when the game is good, the stitches are finer; when the game is boring, the stitches looser. :-D

Friday, September 20, 2019

I Live for Days like These

Tuesday's Shaft 8 problem became Wednesday's Shafts 1, 2 and 4 problem, which was easier to fix. Wednesday night Ben took apart and cleaned/lubricated the printer cable plugs, (remember those with gazillion prongs at each end?) which fixed it, at least for now.

Yesterday I wove a small sample, as I wanted to see the interlacement and saturation of colors in the revised hellebore draft, in comparison to all the tied weave samples I did before I rethreaded. It turned out much more saturated. I also chose pinks and purples as weft colors, primarily because I love single hellebores in dark pink/claret to purple to slate (less saturated but darker in value purples) in my garden. 

Today I added a few other wefts, a saturated teal, a Delft blue, and a bright yellow, because I wasn't convinced yesterday's selection had any zing. Now that I've woven some, I can't decide if this was the right decision.
Wefts: pinks, purples, plus three punchy colors; 15 in all. There are 16 motif units in one repeat. I'm not using them in a regular order, but alternating pink and purple more or less; three colors can act as either, and three neither. I've woven one repeat, 2/7 of the first piece, and am thinking of using only pinks and purples for the next one and a half repeat, and then mixing teal, yellow and blue in the last one repeat. 
Sorry, these colors are very inaccurate as I took pics as the sun was going down and coming in directly into the basement, but you can still see how the saturated teal lifts the pinks and purples around it.
Yellow and blue are quite different from the surrounds, and they do give the cloth a zing, but I'm not sure if I like it. 
This is my view as I weave: I have all the samples form this warp hanging in front of me, and you can see how saturated this draft is, (the small piece from about the center to the left,) compared to the previous tied-weave samples. As well, tied weave had 60/2 cotton tabby wefts influencing the pattern weft colors. 
My instinct is to use only friendly, harmonious colors together. But when I see textiles, paper, paintings, etc, with unexpected color giving the work a lift, I admire the effect. My initial selection looked dull and "heavy", so I thought I'd try the technique, but a more conservative approach might have worked better in this case. We'll see. 

There is another; the hellebore flowers are strangely elongated. Each motif is 62 ends wide x 62 picks long, at 42EPI, 20/2 mercerized cotton. Usually when I make square-ish drafts, on the loom they look squashed/flattened, and this could be my very first experience of the shape being longer/thinner than I envisioned. I could edit the draft, or in future, I could change the sett to 39EPI or even 36; this warp, however, at around 62cm on the loom, is as wide as I can weave comfortably so I am not resleying. Because I sampled quite a bit of this warp, I'm hoping to get two longish (240cm?) pieces.

Still, I'm thrilled I'm finally weaving my hellebore flowers in cotton; there is so much I want to do with this I see many more project based on this series of drafts. Also, playing with lovely saturated colors gave me many ideas about a commission piece coming up. I'll tell you about them soon.

I'm also working on a "bold" design for the next tye-dye shirt, but ditched the lacy knitting because the yarns were too fine and delicate, knitting cables was silly/untenable.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


I've been home two weeks and one day, and in that time I thought a lot about Mom's new environment, family history and dynamics, self-awareness, "old people problems", and other stuff, but some days my mind drew a big, pale, soft, foggy blank. When I do (attempt to) think, I've been haunted by stuff, that's material possessions; I've dreamed, almost hallucinated, about which of Mom's stuff to give away/sell/throw away, to whom, and if discarding, how, when and where. And how we don't really need most of the stuff we think we can't live without.

It was an intense 26 days living amidst so much stuff needing to be gotten rid of, in a small-for-Kiwi-me apartment, in 35C heat and 70-80% humidity, without any other notable responsibility or expectations. There's probably a post or a dozen on these thoughts later. Or not; it was in a way such a surreal experience, (on the other hand all too real,) for a relatively short time sometimes it's hard to believe it happened to me. 

Although I missed out on a wonderful cold spell in Nelson in August, it's still cool and occasionally wet, still great gardening weather for moi, but except for short spurts I haven't been outside. Inside needed tidying up, but otherwise I'm trying to reset my weaving and other meaningful pursuits, because among other reasons, Mom now requires financial support.

It appears I'm developing a kind of pattern in my life, though it could be temporary. I seem to start the day cleaning out the kitchen, planning dinner and do other housework; followed by writing and verbal thinking in the morning, (among others, letters, which I have to write to Mom as her new room was too tiny for a clunky laptop;) followed by non-verbal things, like weaving, planning/developing projects, tidying/sorting/experimenting from mid-afternoon onward; and must have menial stuff in the evenings. More than once when I didn't have evening pursuits, I resorted to ironing while watching the telly! I lived without a telly in Japan, so when I came back I couldn't stand all the noise and distraction, (and the amount of advertisement in NZ,) but unfortunately I've gotten back into the pattern of "having it on" in the evenings while staring the the laptop screen at the same time. I started another YA novel last night so hopefully that will get me out of this rut. 
I finished rethreading my cotton yesterday, and really looked forward to finally seeing the hellebores/pansies come to life in lively cotton colors, except Shaft 8 is not lifting. After a quick assessment, Ben reckons this problem may be a bit more complicated than the myriad of previous problems with this loom. Crikey. Not ideal, as I have two commissions, one a rather urgent one due mid-October, waiting to go on this loom. But then this loom always presented problems just before something big or urgent, so for now I'm going to remain optimistic.

If I lose this loom, though, there is no way I can find/afford anything else like this or even an 8-shaft floor, say, so there is much dread behind gritted teeth in my smiley face. In a strange twist, the feeling life doesn't go the way one hopes, (which is strictly not true - I think we notice only when it doesn't but not so much much when it does,) has become so familiar, I'm haven't become particularly alarmed, frustrated, or pace-around-the-house mad; is this aging, am I jaded, or worse yet, or even a defeatist?? 

At Mom's, I found a two-thirds finished cashmere/cotton hat she started soon before/after her 2016 exhibition; it wasn't anything spectacular, (read: painfully boring,) but I thought I could finish it while there. No way, I was not only exhausted every night and I couldn't stand to touch wooly things, so I brought it home and finished it; it's wearable if she chooses to wear it. LOL. Check.
I started another tube scarf, but it's too lacy and I'm not sure if I'll go ahead; I'm going to knit 4-5cm in cable and keep it as reference either way. I'm using four strands of 2/72 soft wool. (That's what the cone says, not Merino, but almost feels like Merino.) Oh, look at the wrinkles on my fingers! With all the washing in the kitchen and the laundry without gloves in Japan, I did pretty well and my skin never looked too bad because of the humidity, but back in Nelson and I can't find moisturizer/cream strong enough to combat the dryness, even though it's been raining quite a lot. I wonder if it's the water and not just the soaps?  
I've also been contemplating "bold" designs and dyeing/rescuing new/ruined cotton tops. 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

And Then There was This

So we've come to the end of Mom's second and last weaving space, and I was all ready to lament the end of her weaving life in a most sentimental way. Except I can't.

Mom rang Thursday, during the top of Seventh inning of the Summer National High School Baseball Tournament Final, (a family's obsession since before me,) to which I'd been listening on the internet because she took the TV, asking me yet again to add-this-check-that in move box. Gradually I broached the subject of staying creative and forward-looking in what I see as marginally-better-than-a-long-hospital-stay life. Yeah, nah, her condition is so that she's not in a idyllic, gated (?) mini garden of Eden retirement village, but a 24/7 care unit/room where she's discouraged from having even an electric kettle for danger of burning herself. (I don't know if it's my sister or the facility that said this.) Still, Yoko found a place near her place, (10 min drive, plus looking for parking, not far from brother, either,) famous for daily recreational activity, an annual exhibition of art/craft made by residents in a public venue, private concerts in a municipal hall, outings, etc. My sister has a few miracles under her belt, (she's the only Mitsuhashi whose deeds far outperform her words,) but this is big, without discounting her tireless, under-the-radar work, which she never mentions. (Yeah, I know my sentences are turning into runny gibberish, but I feel that way today.)  

Eighth inning, didn't even know which school was pitching, the metal bat hit the ball, the stadium erupted, and Mom contemplated, "Frame-weaving is the only thing left for me..." Say what? You never mentioned anything about saving weaving anything for you?

"Of course I asked you yesterday!" No, you only mentioned a bag of embroidery floss for Ms Y? See my notes here of our every conversation?

"Yes, I did... but it's OK, if you weren't listening to me, I'll just live out my days without means of expression. I don't want to get into I-said-you-heard... Besides..." No, she really said that.

Pandemonium in Kohshien Stadium; "Stop, mother! Just tell me what you need to frame-weave? Right... Right... Right... and how about the fish net needles? No, you sure? OK. I'm going to hang up and look for these. Sit Tight."

Game over, not sure which team won, but I got most of the stuff she mentioned, selected yarns based on colors, made note of what Mrs S has already taken, rang her to ask them back, (in a way, you do get used to these occasions,) report back.

"For heaven's sake, of course I need the fish net needles. And combs. But if you've given them away, I can't weave, or you'll have to buy them for me. And the yarns you choose will determine how good my work is going to be." Revise yarn selection; she said she didn't want rug wool, but I put in a few to balance values.

Saturday night I ring her to report Mr and Mrs S removing everything else; Mrs S will use some, she'll contact weavers to give others away. "But how can I weave without books?" HAVE YOU MET EVEN MET ME? Of course I threw in a couple of books!

Yoko texts me: "Don't work so hard."

The whine is new, but the intention old. We siblings laugh it off now. I'm just glad, as was Mrs S when she handed back to me the fish net needles, combs/beaters, and a couple of other things, Mom's thinking of weaving again.

"Why did you save so much yarn? What, you want me to weave to death?" I kid you not.
This was about half to a third of Mrs S's haul. See the upright part of the loom bench? Try as we may, we couldn't dismantle the bench because the vertical pieces were firmly lodged into their holes; Mom brought it in tact from the old house because Yoko had not marked the parts as she did meticulously the looms. Mr S loaded everything in their tiny hatchback, but could not find a way to fit the bench, so he smiled at his wife, a woman a little taller than me but about 35-40kg, (trust me, they are not rare in Japan;) "You're going to have to carry this home." Mrs S laughed, "It's not that heavy. See you at home." Mr S drove off with an empty passenger seat; Mrs S trotted off to her house ten minutes uphill.

Gotta love a new weaver friend with a solid marriage, yeah?

For the first two and a half weeks, I tried to stay on NZ time and start working somewhere between 4.30 and 6am and hit the sack early-ish. I must have been exhausted because I just couldn't find my gumption this morning and I've paced from room to room, (having gotten rid of much, I can now do this,) and thought about what I want to weave in the near future, and now it's almost 2PM. Ironic because today has been the least humid and most pleasant since I've returned. What remains are many, many trips to the building's trash area; the separation of items is minute and somewhat mysterious, but oh-so-much easier than living in an independent house.

And culling stuff I want to "inherit" and packing/sending them off, in a way, the toughest job. 

Still not sure which school won, but either way, if memory serves, it was the school's first time winning nationals. Well done, everybody. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

So Here We Are

I'm in very hot and humid Yokohama, though not as bad as in 2013 nor Australia most summers, but summer in Japan, avoid if humanly possible. Some places are getting torrential rain and flooding; we get only sun or lid-like cloud, visible/tangible humidity, and tentatively dry laundry. But then other places have gotten 40C, so I shouldn't complain.

Mom fell once too often and went into care at the start of the month. I waited a week until the dust settled and came here to help clean out the apartment, especially the weaving stuff, of which she still has oh, so, much. But both her students took one loom each with a few equipment and yarns, (an RH and an 8-shaft, so between then they can cover all techniques they learned,) and one weaver/travel friend, who happens to live down the road, has offered to take everything left over so she can keep some and give away the rest. Bless her. She's a year younger than me, and we had a rip-roaring talk about turning 60 and the "sudden" physical restrictions re. weaving; we had both thought we were the only ones!

So here are some pics of my mom's current weaving "shop".
My mother had a habit of breaking up sets and groups so it took me three days to gather together same/like stuff, including balls from one set of yarns in something like four places. 
It's a wonder how Japanese manage to fit stuff in such small places AND work in it. My body was not built of this!
When Mom moved from the house to this apartment five and a half years ago, Mom started dismantling the floor room rapidly; my sister, not a weaver, took countless photos and meticulously marked the pieces, so I don't have to worry about that.
I'm looking in from the veranda; it is the size of a tiny single bedroom.

Not sure if I'll have time for another post while in Japan, but I hope you're having a survivable season, wherever you are. (I was making steady progress in the garden in Nelson, and am now missing my favorite kind of a long, cold spell!)

Weave well.