Saturday, July 31, 2010


I know it was only my first experiment, but I'd been more disappointed than you might expect not being able to see the diamond-shaped weave structure in my coffee dye experiment. I had to rescue them from underneath Husband's tush last night, and in the darker light, I could see it, and from time to time, quite well. Which suits my purposes well, because I like the "is there or isn't there?" aspect.

I've tried to capture it this morning, but it shows up best from the sides and in the dark, so the color is not true but you get the picture? :-D
The contrast and colors are exaggerated in this one.

(To be honest, I think I can see the diamonds better in the photo posted on Tuesday. They show up better in photos than in real life, that's for sure.)

* * * * *

The wood-ash mordanted swatches feel dusty to handle, but they are dry, so I think I'll let them cure in an old pillow case. I may even take them out and do another cycle.

Because of its fuzziness, the flannel looks gray and, (honestly?), disgusting, but I have a meter of it, and I've been thinking I should get another meter so I can make a wee something for myself; a top, I think.

The table center on the top was given to me by Andrea. We think the center part is linen, and the hand-crochet in cotton. It has a little stain and a small rip, but dyed with flowers, we think it can be a lovely wee thing to have on an oak table at morning tea.

* * * * *

Beads. Yeah. I went in to look at some, and shoot the breeze with Owner Laurie, but you know how it goes. The Bead Gallery has three door-sized tables where everything on them is just $4. They are nice necklaces in their own right, but you, and Laurie, know I intend to take them apart and put them on textiles. Although I still feel pretty much the same as regards beads on scarves. He's a good salesman, that Laurie, and I have no will power.

We're not telling Ben about the beads just yet, OK?

Saturday Daydreaming: Italy

Goodness, I almost changed the title to "Saturday Daydreaming on Sunday". What's going on, Head??


I love my pattern-making course on Thursday nights and drawing on Friday mornings, but the combination and information stimulate the conversation part of my brain too much I feel very uncomfortable. The mind-chatter has been continuous in an disturbing way, and it's 9AM Friday here.

Heavy rain is forecast, so I don't think I can work further to prepare the veggie patch this weekend. Pity. I was so looking forward to it. And planting my garlic.

Perhaps I will work on the design modules. Perhaps read about blocks. Perhaps I will make potato and kumara gnocchi this afternoon.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

That was Pretty Bad...

Stage 2 of Pattern Making course started tonight. And yes, of course, I had to be measured by the cutest, nicest teenager Sophie, for my skirt block. Although her friend Shannon has a torso about the width of my leg; that could have been even worse, I suppose.

But not by much.

I should not have had so many cups of tea before I went there.

Not that that would have made any difference...

That's me looking particularly tired before I went to the workshop. I've had an unproductive couple of days after the super productive Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Weave Structure + Dye Techniques

I've been playing with this idea in my head for several years, and have been thinking about the practicalities for about a year; I want to mix/match weave structures and dye techniques to create a more nuanced cloth.

Of the various patterns that emerge from shibori dyeing, I love pole-wrapping/bohmaki the best. I've only ever done it once, but always felt soothed by these patterns; to me they reflect parts of nature I like, e.g. tree trunks, bamboo leaves, or rushing water. So I'll use this to illustrate my point.

This is a photo of one of Connie Rose fabrics, but the colors and contrast have been exaggerated. What I hope to do is to weave a cloth with textural/structural interest, then superinpose colors and patterns by way of dyeing. From long- and mid-distances, the primary interest of the cloth will be the dye work, but close up, there is an added interest in the underlying structures and textures.

Something like this can be done relatively easily. Shall we start with pointed threading and weave simple, elongated diamonds in two-faced twill or satin, then dye?

Matching the weave structure/placement/shape & size with the dye pattern shape & size requires more technique, but 1) I don't imagine I can control my pole-wrapping so precisely, at least not as predictably as weaving, and 2) if the structure and colors matched perfectly, I wonder if the cloth would still look hand-made, or if the colors look printed/stamped and the cloth manufactured. This is what I meant by diminishing returns yesterday.

Theoretically I don't think this is a difficult project. But fine-tuning the pole-wrapping technique may be hard and I envision lots of experimentation coming up. Then I can worry about the shape and scale of the woven pattern and the weave structure.

Theoretically I could weave, for example, pebbles like these in the structure and have water rushing over them. I can also introduce different colors and textures in the yarns so the different sheen, dye take up, and/or the final colors would yield even more nuanced cloths.

Well, that's the theory anyway.

It's been a slow, lazy day, sunny but cold and windy. Because I've been wandering around the house, I didn't turn any heater on, so the house hasn't reached 15C. So, now, fire, then dinner.

My Current Weird Warp

This is the current My Weird Warp. About ten years ago I learned the concept of warp painting, but as I've said many times, I never got into dyeing so I investigated ways to get around it. I discovered fabric paints (in paint tubes) at the art supply shop, so I diluted these and applied to a good merino warp. I didn't like the look of it, so I rolled it up and shoved it in a dark recess of my stash room, thinking overdye is the only solution.

I didn't want to throw it away because it was the good merino, though looking at it now, I might have rinsed the paint solution too well because the warp yarns already look "finished".

Anyway, I finished threading it today, in a simple 16-shaft pointed threading. I'm going to weave in a yet-determined simple structure - twill? satin? - that shows distinct diamond-shapes. And then I'm going to pole-wrap/bohmaki-dye it, probably in one or two colors.

More about this coming up next.

Now it's Tomorrow

After a day like yesterday, it was hard to switch my mind off. This is the second last thing I did; something rather uncharacteristic. It's a wool boucle shawl, one of the two my parents' friends from Australia discovered to be moth-damaged last year. I don't know what to do with this piece now, but I like the way I remedied it. (It's also been washed and cleaned and 'fixed' as much as I could.)

I always wonder when is the right time to press a piece; last night, I though the task of attaching the flowers would crease the piece but in retrospect should have pressed it first.

I finished India Flint's dye book - the first ever dye book I managed to past the introduction. And my conclusions: alchemy, "local", time/slow, and white magic. Here and here are some photos from her recent Toronto workshop by one of her students. In terms of preparation for the workshop, (and I have four months and a bit left,) I would like to look for, in charity and second hand shops, or work myself some white embroidery on white fabric. And crochet small squares with different yarns. Jo Kinross suggested this among many other things: the idea is to dye the squares, unravel, and in my case, weave with the dyed yarns.

But for the next little while, I want to go back to something I've been thinking about for a long time: how to combine weave structures with shibori. After yesterday's coffee experiment, it appears this is going to be harder than I thought, but I'll write more in my MWW post later today. After I finish threading the MWW.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Almost Dinner Time

My cotton fabrics had a second soak in the wood ash solution. I added more hot water; rubbed the pillow cases; waited until the ash settled and the solution clearer; scooped the ash (and whatever else) at the top again; I let the fabrics fall gentle onto the water. After a while, any portion of the fabric poking above the water was pushed back with my back-scrub-brush handle.

These fabric pieces will be left to dry overnight; the solution has been discarded; ash dispersed on my soon-to-be garlic patch. I don't know if I will repeat the process another day or just leave the fabrics to cure until November.

I applied gesso to the pink curtain fabric. I got the product on the left from Ronette, but the same art supply shop got me the product on the right. Ronette's clear gesso (the jar is empty; it, too, was white in the jar,) was nicer to apply, probably because it was more pliable, whereas mine dried too quickly, leaving little dry bits on the brush; it also smelled stronger. However, my product seems to dry crispier, having more of a starch effect on the fabric.

I can't see clear gesso while applying, after applying, or after drying; I have to feel it to find out where I can draw. Mind you, clear gesso is not really clear. The cover of my sketchbook looks like this now, with the wee dry blob!

Coffee dye was even more... crude. Because I was using my cooking utensil and working in the kitchen, before I remembered I was dealing with wool, I was stirring and agitating like nobody's business. After letting it boil, (because I was working with the ash solution at the same time!) I simmered the lot for 40 minutes, and then left it to stand for a couple of hours.

The yarns looked as I expected; they are the tiny bits sitting on top of the original cones. I can think of many ways to weave with the two grays and then overdye to produce attractive two-value cloths.

(In real life, the lighter cones are darker than they appear here. On my screen, the color of my name at the bottom of the cone is closer to the yarn color.)

The shibori/dye experiment gave me much to think about. The sample pieces were woven in 2006, I think, with a merino warp and merino/mohair weft, both yarns around 110/2 or 2/16 woven at 18 EPI; the structure is shown in the the top draft here. Here are some of my thought:

1) I never know when wet-finish is to take place in the weave-stitch-dye process; today, I did it at the very end while rinsing out the coffee. I must remember to be careful while the cloth is in the dye.

2) The bottom sample was stitched with lots of little shapes; the top, obviously, with two large shapes; with wool fabric of this size/configuration, larger shapes work better.

3) The woven samples have:
a) a contrast in the sheen and dye take-up in weft vs warp yarns,
b) a weave structure meant to show off the above contrast, and
c) shibori stitching, i.e. undyed and dyed areas.
More experimentation is required to find out when there is an overkill of various elements, (i.e. when all the elements yield diminishing returns). In today's case, the larger shapes most definitely worked better in showing something of the weave structure.

Area in pink shows the start of the warp, where I wove a little bit of plain weave using the warp merino; that area took up the dye more readily. These samples were still very wet when I shot them.

Oh, I also made some wool wash solution with my soap nuts.

Now a bad day over all. I wished every day could be productive like today. Now I've got to think about dinner, and at bedtime, I shall finish India Flint's dye book.

Over and out.

PS. Totally forgot about the opening until Ben rang to ask if I were going; clearly it was too late by then.


I have no idea how to mordant, with wood ash, (or more accurately, Pine-Douglas-Fur-Junk-Mail-and-Chicken ash; I cooked a whole chicken Sunday night.) I scooped about, oh, two or three cups of ash and put it into a doubled layer of old pillow cases; put the bag in my new kitchen-rubbish-bin-for-dyeing-only; added about, oh....., six to eight litters of the hottest water from the tap; agitated the bag and the water a bit; the water became murky; I left the bag in, but let the ash fall to the bottom, making the liquid quite clear.

I added my cotton fabrics. Even though there was more than enough liquid, fabrics kept poking its head above the liquid, so I agitated the lo , making the water muddy again.

India's book discusses mordanting multiple times, but I'm not sure how long to keep it in there; I assume I don't rinse, and my liquid may be too strong for the amount of liquid.

India's book discusses curing the mordanted cloth. I'm doing this now, because her workshop is in November/December time, and I won't have any wood ash that time of the year, usually. Hopefully.

Anyway, I grabbed each piece of fabric, waved it in the water, squeezed it, and hung the white ones to dry while the purple and mocha checks stay in longer. (The sun is out but we've been having showers every hour this morning, so it's been a tight squeeze in our bathroom.) I shall swap them after lunch.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, I just grabbed the usual coffee implements and drained the well-cooked coffee. Some wool samples, both yarns and shibori experiments, are waiting in the green tub. I shall stew them after lunch.

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow...

Yesterday, I received my sketchbook.

Yesterday, I bought some cotton fabric and washed them.

Yesterday, I delivered some scarves, and withdrew some others, from three galleries in town. This morning, I machine-washed the cotton ones, and handwashed the cashmere one.

This morning, I brewed coffee to drink, and then brewed some more to dunk some wool in. I think I will use an old pillow case to take out the grind, rather than the regular coffee paper.

This morning, I shall mordant yesterday's cotton fabric with wood ash.

This afternoon, I shall apply clear gesso on curtain fabrics I got at a sale on Friday.

This evening, I shall finish threading the big loom.

And if I have a mind to, I shall go to an opening of a Tibetan carpet exhibition/sale this evening.

When I go to bed tonight, I shall finish reading India Flint's dye book.

And tomorrow, I shall finish whatever I don't manage today.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Is There "Setting Up an Etsy Shop for Dummies" Somewhere?

I'm ready. But I don't understand their website. Or maybe I'm just refusing to do the hard work.

Saturday Daydreaming on Sunday: Stones and Pebbles

One of my favorite set of visual clues tie in with blotch marks I made with Japanese calligraphy ink and Q Tips. I don't like polka dots, but I love these. Ali said it's the "similar but not same" effect at work.

Memory Cloth(es)

It's hardly original but doesn't that sound wonderful? The more I learn about natural vs chemical dyeing, the clearer my ideas become.

For material and pieces to sell in galleries, I'll stick with chemical dyes for now, for the stability and relative colorfastness. Because I don't see the people who buy my work in galleries, I feel more comfortable knowing their pieces won't morph at the first wash, for example.

When I know more about natural dyeing, I might add a tag describing what can/might be expected of the colors on the pieces, because I believe some knowledge of natural dyes on the part of the purchaser is important.

For myself, however, I love the notion of locking the memories of one season into something I might wear, and even redying with the same, or different, plant the next year. With that in mind, I'm going over my favorite seed catalog picking out flowers I'd like on me, though I'll have to chop the already culled list, because we don't have enough anywhere near the garden these seeds need!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Workshop, Money and Onion Skin

About a month ago I discovered to my detriment India Flint's dye workshop in Nelson is going to cost about twice as much as I had expected. Jo Kinross the kind organizer warmed me months ago, so I should have started saving then, but you know me.

Anyhoo, after much fretting ABOUT spending money I don't have, (which lasted no longer than 24 hours), I signed up. One does not get a chance like this very often in the first place in Nelson, but also I know at least Jo and Felicity who are sure to be there, and if I add the cost of flying or accommodation, it is a no-brainer. And I said again what I always say at these junctures: "the money will come from somewhere."

I've been reading, yes, the words, instead of just gazing at the pictures in, India's book. I find dye an unfriendly subject because of all the chemistry and potentially toxicity. But having experimented with Dylon dyes a little, and knowing most of the people in the workshop have gone to at least one, but up to three or four, of India's workshops, I wanted to catch up as much as I can, so I got started. I'm actually enjoying reading her book as it is not as dry as other dye books I abandoned after 2 or 5 or 8 pages; in fact, it's like reading a Nigella Lawson cookbook as opposed to, say, Julia Child's serious baking book. (Have you ever seen that monster?)

On Jo's advice, I started collecting onion skins. I bought some woad seeds, though they won't be ready by the time of the workshop. And I'm thinking of making a bunch of small drawstring bags out of an old sheet and stuffing some of them with wood ash from my fireplace. Today, I got a kitchen rubbish bin with a nice handle; I needed something tall to stick my bohmaki/pole wrapping in.

I'm such a wimp-wuss when it comes to dyes, though I used to love mixing paint and dye water as a child. I'm trying not to get the spinning bug but I find the mixing of color slivers intoxicating, and I realize I could easily go down that way with dyeing.

We say boys' toys are so expensive, but girls' crafts are so interconnected when you get into one seriously, there are always few other crafts you need to investigate to help improve your primary craft, yes?

So this is part of the reason I agreed to weave the red scarf in the previous post in two days. I am really hurting, though; I need another dose of the green-lipped-mussel soft-tissue serum.

The Week that Was

Ben and I have been working in the garden, sporadically. And that's heaps better than what we usually do: none at all. So on the weekends we try to get in around half a day per day, but after years of serious, (as in, "I'm not just exaggerating") neglect we still have a long way to go. We need to hurry because trees are starting to have tiny leaf buds and come August I'll have to sow seeds and some years it becomes too dry to transplant the bigger plants, Ben's roses included.

On Monday, I was tired but I do have a sincere desire to live a proper life of a proper weaver, so I resolved to do something every day, and I wound another MWW - My Weird Warp. I'll show it to you maybe very shortly, but it being another one of those that sat in various dark places for a decade, without a cross, it was a bit tedious. And I washed my plied yarns.

Tuesday morning I had the electrician install a few power points in strange places, and check what happened to our TV reception, (for three weeks we've only had one TV channel, but it didn't decrease our TV viewing time; we just resorted to watching a few unthinkable reality shows!) Ben got a bit excited about the options to remedy the TV reception, and decided to take the morning off. (He told me then that he had to work late for maintenance anyway.) so I had two blokes wandering around the house all morning.

In the afternoon, I got to on to threading the MMW on the big loom. Previously I might have finished the threading in a couple of hours but I had a hard time concentrating, and was thinking of coming to terms with physical and emotional aging, of how I cannot get as much out of the day as I used to. (I was always a slow, sluggish child with occasional burst of hyperactivity anyway.) I guess I was drafting a post about in my head. I persevered, but didn't manage to finish the job.

Wednesday morning, I had hoped to read a magazine article before getting up to finish threading and perhaps sampling. But I found two emails from two galleries, one requesting a small red cashmere scarf in time for a birthday on August 1, and another requesting withdrawal of some of the older pieces and delivery of new pieces, (which I promised to do back in... March?)

As regards the birthday scarf, I said I could deliver on Monday, but the gallery said Friday morning. I knew it was a silly time frame; because the scarves are between six to eight inches wide and between 150-180cm long, people think I can whip it up and an hour! But I hate saying no to galleries, so I got on to it, making the warp while designing in my head, then threading, sampling, changing the treadling, and weaving.

Since all my looms were occupied, I decided to use the small sample loom, on which there is a sample warp, but I was intending to rethread it, and lo, it has one more warp beam!

I wove until I couldn't see well, and then had a long bath and ample green-lipped-mussel soft-tissue serum, then to bed.

Thursday I wove. By night, I could only walk like a duck, and very slowly, but I got the scarf finished. And since it's a special gift I threw in a nice box.

Friday morning, I delivered. But my body was hurting.

At least it got me weaving again, and quickly. This weekend, well, tomorrow, I have to wet finish three pieces, see what else the other gallery might want, and package them all up. This gallery, I don't need to paperwork, as we can do it together and amend her list.

So that was my strange week. Drawing resumed. Pattern making resumes next week. I hope I can weave MWW, too.

Weaving Booboos

If you are on Flickr, please join my group, Weaving Booboos. It's intended as a light relief in our sometimes onerous craft. You are allowed to flaunt, too, unless I find the cloth too beautiful to be true and zap the picture/s.

Bonnie Tarses in Action

Bonnie's tutorial on almost-Ikat, people!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just Make It!

This is a reminder to myself. Especially 2. and 3. And in my case, I should add something like 7. Stop thinking and planning, and give it a go.

Perfecting the art of procrastination has come back to bite me, just as I was coming to terms with the fact that I am a slow weaver and I can't crank out stuff off my loom any more. Yesterday I couldn't finish threading something that would have taken me half a day a little while ago. I was going to finish that task this morning, but I have to make a small red scarf today.

More this evening.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Yes, I Will!

I read about The Sketchbook Project a while back, and envied people who create beautiful sketchbooks. Mine look more like starts of scribbles and lists and words and more lists, so I love to look at others' sketchbooks, but seldom show mine.

Connie Rose received her sketchbook
, and I went to check the project again. It appears the sketchbooks are much smaller and thinner than I had thought initially. So I'm in; I signed up. I asked for "In Flight" theme with a blue cover.

The website, and the news clip, says it costs only US$25 to participate from anywhere in the world, but when I entered my country, it added postage. Still, at US$28 for to get the sketchbook, I'm not complaining.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Artists' Life and Workspace

Yesterday we helped our friend Tim Wraight move from paradise to heaven. Tim is no longer at Sealevel Studio, but in a lovely bay near Abel Tasman National Park.

Tim lives an admirably uncluttered life, so moving the contents of his personal life was quick. But he is a sculptor of large, outdoor works, and moving his gallery/studio/workshop was something else. Huge logs at various stages of drying, heavy metal tools, and so much "boys' toys" looking things, including a drum kit and several more musical instruments. I was amazed Tim has so many friends with big, serious trucks; his father's truck even has a crane on it!

While helping, I thought of our workspaces, our personalities, and our lives.

I love a clean, clutter-free workspace, with minimum decoration, and all the decoration gathered in one place. Truth to tell, I don't like having drawings and other framed stuff on my stash room walls, but prefer an industrial/clinical looking space with neutral walls, one corner stash, one area for looms, and a dedicated design area with a simple desk and books, drawings, photos and other inspirations and "decorations" around it. My mind is cluttered enough, I don't function well with visual/physical clutter. They honestly divert my thinking and get me off track or make me indecisive. Colors outside the schemes I'm working with honestly distract me far too often distract me.

But then I know some people love decorating their workspace, (Ronette has to have colors, for example,) and these are fun to visit, particularly when I happen upon something I know connects with the artist's past work.

It was an interesting day, though. I didn't most of Tim's friends, but I know some are well-known Nelson artists, just helping Tim move logs and such. In between, there was some talk of "If I had to move my workshop," and I would have loved to have eavesdrop, but I was moving stuff, too. And neither Ben nor I had time to think of photographing the move, though both of us brought our cameras.

My head is buzzing with some of the motifs from Tim's past work. Just as well, because I have a long way to reduce my stash so I can at least have something resembling a stash/design room. And though I'd love to live in a house where I can have my stash/design room near, if not in the same room as, my looms, (instead of at the opposite ends of the house), I'm not moving right now. I can't even begin to think about boxing up my studio, and our garage allows me to use the pesky air compressor for the Big Loom without running the neighbors insane.

Tim (and some other stuff) on Unravelling
Tim (and some other stuff) on Nelson Daily Photo

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cloudy Saturday, Sunny Thoughts

Look how beautifully Doni has packaged her commission blanket. It makes the piece so very special, don't you think?

Today we help Tim move studio and house, but we're expecting rain, after two weeks of beautiful sunny weather. It'll be fine, he's thought of everything. The only worry is the traffic congestion, because he has loads of friends and family and I don't know how many are coming to help. We thought his studio was in a beautiful place before; now he's moving on to pure heaven.

Friday, July 16, 2010

How Do You See?

Connie Rose's blog post on how we see things brought back to me one of the things I occasionally ponder, that I see details. I love macro shots, when I draw, parts don't connect naturally with other parts and the larger form/proportion comes out unintentionally Picasso-esque. I see colors but not shade/light; I see obvious lines/shapes but not patterns. Proportion has been something I never ever think about; either, it's so natural I don't think about it, or I'm so blind to it it's not even in my concierge.

I would like to think one can train oneself to see in different (or more) ways than what one is used to, but so far training myself to see patterns has not worked for me, unless it's so blatantly obvious that's the only thing in a picture, scene, or on the object. Either it's impossible to train, or it moves as slowly as the glacier pre-global warming.

My mind can't concentrate on anything this morning. I need to go do something mundane, like put on a warp, I think.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

One More

One of the tasks I had to do for Chapter 5 of the design book was to take a photo, or a portion of one, stick it on a drawing paper, and extend it by drawing around it to make it a bigger "picture". I didn't like what I did for Ali, so I drew another one.

This is the original photo, which I took while working on P2P.

This is my extended picture drawing.

This task is time consuming, but depending on the photo, it can be interesting.

Ali Session 6

We canceled a session in early May because I was sick, and since then I thought she has giving up on me, and she thought I had enough, but of course I'm not finished. So Ali came over for another session today.

First I showed her my P2P piece; I stressed how color choices, threading and treadling were decided spontaneously/randomly, but I got the feeling they weren't random (in the final result) enough for her. Something she pointed out was the blocks came in two sizes - either wide or narrow, the wide being about 12 or 16 ends, and the narrow 4; she wanted to see a wider variety. I complained I was stuck planning the next block piece, because I could not be more spontaneous/random, so the only thing I could think of is to weave another of these. The problem was later resolved.

Ali felt vindicated about recommending Summer & Winter because it wasn't as fuddy-duddy as I had thought, and I could see possibilities with the structure.

We moved on to my design book exercises: Chapter 5: Line and Form. I struggled with this set. In fact, I read the chapter on December 20 last year, but didn't start on the exercises until almost 4PM yesterday! Here's the lot.

There were mark-making, drawing, and paper sculptures. I could see how some of these would help my drawing, but not a lot made sense as learning tools for designing, but I persisted. Ali said these were rather technical exercises, and they tried my patience, but I'm glad I did them all; I'm sure they will help at some future point. The rather prescriptive paper sculptures brought back the nightmarish school days of origami, at which I totally sucked!

On the sheet were I was to make different kinds of marks with different tools, Ali found two areas of interest I could do more with; the irregularly placed and shaped "dots" and what to me looks like Chinese brush-painting mountains. We chose these areas for me to focus on, in trying to come up with interesting and refined plans on paper and woven samples. The "dots" in particular can be woven in different structures, and I might even try a pickup.

Just before she left, Ali had a look at my playing practice; I said I might use them as weft, and she said I could use them to weave, and then do a shibori of some sort, to create multiple layers of interest. I thought she was teasing me, (you know I am get with "layers upon layers",) but she wasn't! So..... I'm not sure what's going to happen with that one.

If all had gone to plan, we would have finished the year of design studies this month or next; As it is, we just finished Chapter 5 of the design book. I must be more vigilant, studious, regular, and serious.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Theme of the Morning?

Yesterday while cleaning up yet another area of the garden, (our place looks like three areas of projects in progress and three others of complete neglect), Ben found what looked like a cicada baby, and buried it back in the ground right away.

This morning, I saw this first, then this!

Start of the new week and today I work on the design modules, way over due but Ali is coming to check up on me on Wednesday. And if the sun comes out, I might go outside in the afternoon for a couple of hours.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Making Yarns

Just in case my previous post has left you with the impression I've been curled up in a fetal position, I've not. I've been spinning and plying. The first goal was to enjoy the movement of colors, but I got a little curious how colors behave in plies, so I started plying. I am a erratic spinner as it is, when it comes to plying, things get a bit chaotic, but then I don't know my wheel like I do my looms, so I'm blaming it on him.

I'm intrigued (and annoyed) spinning and weaving share many of the same words used in different ways, like drawing and drafting.

By the way, Dot's YarnMaker magazine is ready to receive your orders here!

A Weaver's Life

I work better under pressure, or with a deadline, and a very close one at that.

Ben's gone back to work this week and I have nothing on my calendar for two whole weeks. I could have done anything I wanted.

I have two long-awaiting commissions, two galleries that can really use some more pieces, one where I should replace the pieces. A few other learning commitments, like Ali and the Design Merit Certificate. A piece awaiting fringing, three pieces awaiting wet-finishing, and a few I'd like to wash again before I take them to galleries.

Monday I cleaned the inside of the house big time, and I dyed a whole bunch of stuff, wishing to ease myself back into fibery things. (I did my first ever bohmaki pole-wrapping technique and though there is tons to learn there, I do like the shapes this technique creates.)

Tuesday I cleaned the kitchen, cleaned my desk and resorted my piles and put most books back where they belong, started reading a novel, sewed buttons on my Kaz project baby hats for charity.

Around Wednesday things started to get a little fuzzy, but in short, I did not go outside to work in the garden in spite of by-then seven continuous gloriously sunny and mostly calm days, though inside the house was unpleasantly cold inside.

I'm struggling to get back into my "normal" schedule because I realized I don't have a normal schedule; I need a timetable, and some goals, pinned on the wall. I've also been having a crisis in confidence of sorts, which has to do with the Internet, and that's set me back a little; I'll tell you about this when I have some conclusion or resolution.

Anyhoo, today is the eighth gloriously sunny and calm day, and bitterly bitterly cold inside, so we're going outside for a while.


A week ago Friday, I also went to pick up my Really Wild Tea Cosy and got to talking about textile/fiber art, textile exhibitions, and weaving, with jewelry maker (and bookshop staff) Stella. No conclusions drawn, nothing decided, but I like talking to other makers about these things. I heard a new word yesterday; "dream-storming".

I came home and dismantled the cosy. I felt sad that it's been a long time since I participated in exhibitions because it's been a while since dismantled anything or opened a returned-from-exhibition package. That mine was #13 in this competition didn't help, either.

Drawing a Conclusion

A week ago Friday was the last drawing class for this term. I concluded that part of the reason why I felt so constricted during this term is because I associate gesture drawing not only with the gesture of the model but with mine also. This is why I need space.

Last Friday I used a smaller medium, water color pencils, and the model was Ruth, and the two worked well. I actually enjoyed the session. Next term, Ronette said, I should gesso bigger pieces of fabric.

Classmates Margaret and Sam suggested I tie all the small fabric drawings together like a Tibetan/Nepalese (?) peace flag. I'm now thinking of hanging them like on a clothesline in my stash room.

Margaret also made Nancy's chenille fabric into a book cover and an envelope in exchange for some eyelash yarns. The book here is The Artist's Way trilogy, which meant a lot to both Nancy and me, and I wanted to do this from the minute I saw the fabric, but was afraid to botch the job. Margaret did a lovely job. Thank you!

Look Familiar?

Remember Holly's P2P? I didn't know what worms were, so I asked her, and look what I got in the post!