Saturday, April 27, 2013


I was in Japan for 51 days. I'll have been in Nelson between 53 and 55 days, depending on which day Tim the Super Travel Agent gets me on the plane. It all means I have between 22 and 24 days before I leave to do whatever needs doing. Taking the time to figure out these numbers relaxes me. I'm a bit of a nerd like that.

I'll need a cell phone during my next trip. Usually I borrow. Mom's, and usually when I was out Mom was home. Failing that, one of us would ring home from pay phone and Dad would convey messages. This next trip there is a good chance we'll be out at the same time, in different places, and I don't think Dad will be up to the task. I could borrow Dad's, but that and the Blue Ray remote are his last toys, and I don't have a heart to take that away from him. Yet. For people who don't live in Japan, it's tricky buying or renting a phone, (Ben tried it during his family's emergencies,) and my phone can't text in Japanese and roaming is expensive. My sister says she will rent one for me if need be. I'm still glad they brought back pay phones after the Big Earthquake; they were virtually extinct.

Some time ago I suggested Ben take a week off once the dust settles on Phase I of Crazy Busy-ness, before Phase II starts. So he took the third week of May off. Which wasn't a problem until yesterday when I decided I need to go now, so I asked him if he could change it to the previous week so I can leave earlier. Apparently he can't, because his Candy Car needs to get the semi-annual Warrant of Fitness on the Tuesday, requiring him to spend most of the day in town, so he'd rather work. And if I wanted to leave on his week off, he didn't mind. W. T. F.

Once, during one of his family's emergencies, from memory, one of the cars' WOF expired, but he said we're fine as long as we drive it only take it to a WOF appointment at a later date. Which apparently doesn't apply when it's my turn to have to go? And I asked him to take the week off because, among other things, I wanted to do stuff with him.

W. T. F!!!

Ben doesn't do anything to spite anyone, and he holds no malice towards anyone, (even some folks I think he should,) and he always says only what he means so I never have to guess. But, but, but.  WTF. Right?  Doesn't he get that every time I talk to Mom or Sister I want to leave now, but I also want to hang out with him because we've done so little of that since... around October 2011??  

Anyhoo, I'll be right. There are, really, some things I want to get done around the house that was postponed this summer. The question is, which job should I tackle? Weed? Plant the stuff on pots I was going to put in the ground this winter? Or should I weave, because there are two commissions from Japan that can be done on the same warp? Decisions, decisions.
Postcard to Mom this week: by changing the direction in the treadling pattern, you can make X's or diamonds!

It's our 23rd anniversary tomorrow; my sister's 18th on Monday. I'm thinking a lot about family, naturally, but about... changing of the guard, as it were. We are the "main" generation that make things happen, and our presence is required. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

On the Menu

Ben had been saying I may not want to wait until the northern Fall/Winter to go back to Japan, and I had thought as much, but on the other hand Mom and I expected Dad would be... ummm... OK until the winter, ergo my original plans to go back in Oct/Nov time.

Now that I'm pretty much set on going sometime in May/June, I feel more light-hearted as the decision has been made and all I need to do is to take action. I'm making lists of things I must do before I go and I'd like to do if poss. I do hate leaving Ben once again, probably for longer than seven weeks this time. I feel surprisingly deeply disappointed I won't be able to garden this winter as I had BIG plans to clean up and beautify. I feel more relaxed about work as I've contacted everybody I need to and, well, to be frank folks are used to my being utterly, dismayingly late.

I'm a little flustered as I postponed a lot of things that needs doing around the house last summer, and I'm not sure if all are on my lists, and that's one the more bothersome chores but I would like to get them out of the way. I would like to clean the garden at least a little before I go, perhaps plan lettuces and leaves for Ben. And I think I will do my tax returns for 2012/13; this is not due until Jan/Feb 2014 for me, but just for peace of mind, because that's a big piece as far as pieces go.

Even if I end up not going home, all these things need doing anyway, so I'm not wasting my time.

OK, off the computer now. I was sick for two days last week so the house needs cleaning, kitchen needs serious cleaning, clean laundry needs putting away, etc, etc, etc. and the towels await me.

* * * * *

Yesterday while drafting Japanese blog posts trying to summarize discussions I had with Mom on moving on to eight-shafts, I realized I never differentiated network(ed ??) drafts and advancing twill. I'm aware I don't pay attention to terminology and definitions, but still this was shocking. This is why I don't teach, and hate it when Mom pops questions in front of her students, because I know what I'm doing, but I don't know what others do/think/say, let alone the "proper" anything. Yikes. 

EDIT: Whichever "home" I'll be, regardless of whether I can make something or not, the small piece exhibition is going ahead as long as there are more than three of you/us making something. The wonders of the Internet, yes? 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Missing Dad

A little over four weeks ago, in the Thursday evening before I left home, I was angry/disappointed/sad/miserable about my inability to connect with Dad. Some days earlier, he had told Mom and me how frustrated and lonely he felt because he could not communicate with his family. And I felt terrible, because I could/would not try harder to do a good job in my last days there, so much so that I even contemplated waking him up. Around 1AM, all three of us happened to have to go to the loo at the same time, and I was open to us having a cuppa, but the oldies went straight back to bed.

To Dad, "communicating" always meant he spoke and we listened respectfully and obeyed unquestioningly. I used to get in serious trouble because I didn't look at him respectfully enough, or because he sensed I was "putting on" an expression, i.e. mocking him. Serious. But there was never communication in the sense of heart-to-heart talks between Dad and, to my knowledge, any of us kids, at least not since we've become adults, not the way Mom and I opine, hash things out, dis/agree and can even agree to disagree.

We don't do "I love you" in Japanese; in fact, there is no straight translation of that verb that can be used in conversations between parent and child, sweethearts, friends, or people and things. The closest I can think of as expressed in my family is to thank them so I told my parents about all the things I appreciated in specific, minute details. They'd long forgotten a lot of what I had to say and we spent many an enjoyable hours. We also talked about the time three of us were in the US, funny things that happened to our family or people we know or funny things folks said, and of my parents' extensive travels. I asked a lot about Dad's childhood and youth, even though I knew all the stories by heart. And we sang songs out loud together. But that wasn't what Dad wanted; he yearned to be respected and obeyed.

Mom, being his wife and an adult from the start, sees Dad eye to eye. Nowadays different doctors tell him to do this and not do that. We, in turn, try to get him to obey the doctors and maintain a more or less civil life. So he feels he's at the bottom of the heap. Increasing number of household or mundane decisions are made without him being consulted or us reporting to him, not that there was any mildly serious Decisions that required making while I was home, but he is suspicious and paranoid. Mom understands he feels there is no place left for Dad, somewhere he can be the Big Boss and give out orders. But she refuses to be his slave and perhaps this is how she maintains the sanest relationship with him. We kids feel exhausted from having Dad telling us what's what all our lives, and react in different ways, from being polite without necessarily meaning it, avoiding one-to-one contact with him, to telling him what's really what right back at him. I'm probably most terrified of him, and yet I seem to feel most indebted to him. Such horrible children we are.

For a couple of days after I came home, I could not stop bawling my eyes out regretting what a closed, small-minded person I had become, and I blamed Dad, all that Dad preached or what I believe he taught me, Mom and Dad, psychotherapy, and even the therapeutic effects of blogging. But the fact is, I could/would not change my ways to appease him as I can't like and call spade a spade, and I'm still afraid of Dad finding me out if I feign interest/respect. Or him not being in the mood to "communicate" as approaching him when he is not in the mood is yet another Big No No. Still, I have only myself to blame.Who happens to be the only person I can change.

For a while I've also started to feel slightly unsure of who I am because I was a 54-year-old only-child for over seven weeks, I knew about weaving but wasn't able to work, and I only spoke to Ben on Skype for a short time at nights, and we don't have meaningful talks on Skype. I knew I was all of these people at once, but I felt as if I was not committed to being any of these enough. That's why I wanted to land back on earth and on the loom bench. Pronto.

Life in Nelson is back to normal: I weave, cook some, read some, the house is messy, the garden is way overgrown, but Ben and I laugh a lot together. And I continue to plan short- and long-term ways to bring some kind of an order into our life.

Things back home are not great: Dad has been in a hospital for two weeks and may have to move to another, possibly soon. Mom and Sister update me on which body part is misbehaving on a particular day/week, but we see Dad's body more like a sieve, and when one doctor patches up one part, another part starts to leak with gusto. Dad has no will to do anything to help himself, is constantly and extremely angry. it's likely that when Dad goes home from whichever hospital, whenever, his becoming bed-ridden is eminent. Mom cannot care for Dad around the clock on her own then, so we would have to look for a care facility for Dad, or secure more help to assist Mom. Sis says the former is more likely, in which case we have to convince Dad, move him, sell the house, and resettle Mom.

All in all I think I'll be going back home sooner than the northern Fall/Winter I had expected.
The Wednesday I left, I put aside four hours so we could maybe sit and watch the high school baseball together, but Dad wanted to read the paper, Mom wouldn't stop housework, then cooked a yummy lunch. So I took pictures.
More pictures than Dad cared to be in. 
Mom came to see me off at the airport bus terminal near Yokohama Station. I don't know if she rang Dad, or Dad her, but she was on the phone before I even had a seat on the bus.

These are my parents. This is my life. Now. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Oh, What Joy to Weave White!!

I couldn't manage to get a descent photo under the florescent light, but I swear it lit up the whole room! I can't remember if/when I've woven white/white, but the last undyled/undyled was the first SSVE in June 2008.
This is woven with the same draft, which is also the same as Mom's hangy thingy.

I've been thinking about Cally's towel for P2P2, and wondered if I want to weave a series of almost-bath-towels; thin and a bit smaller than the usual bath towels but quick to dry and handy for beach picnics or while traveling. And if I were to weave those, I already have the warp colors selected!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Good Luck / Questions

Unrelated to the software problem on Friday, Ben noticed the air compressor leaking. All we needed was a tiny rubber O-ring. We went to one hardware store, who didn't carry rings that small. On a whim Ben stopped by at a car parts shop; I don't go into this shop because the place smells like tire rubber. Anyhoo, Ben didn't come out for a long time, and when he did, he told me, "You got lucky!"

When Ben was in the rubber O-ring section, a clerk offered to help; the size required doesn't come on its own, but are included in some multi-packs, he said. So first they determined which multi-pack included it. Then, the clerk looked at three different places of their unsmall store because he knew there were already-opened packs and sure enough they found one. Said clerk proceeded to give Ben two O-rings. For free! Thank you, Supercheap Auto Stoke!

This good luck doesn't alleviate my anxiety about the software (?) problems. I bought the loom pretty much how I've got it set up; it is a retro-fit computer-controlled job with precarious software configuration and a black box and I don't have the wooden bits to revert it to a weaver-powered foot loom. So if, when, the software or black box really goes, it's going to turn into a big pile of nice wood. Sign.

My question is, do purpose-built computer-controlled looms have "unidentified" problems, such as stopping for no apparent reason and resurrecting without a clear/deliberate fix?

* * * * *

I've got a few ideas about a commission warp. Mom asked me why I'm playing around with things I can't sell, but I have to be in the right frame of mind to make something I can put my name to. And there is one thing I have been wondering for some months. If I sell my work, especially to folks outside New Zealand, how important is it that I use New Zealand wool?

I have done pretty well selling my cashmere pieces, even though the yarns are a little pricey, because they are soft, light-weight, and because weavers in Nelson aren't weaving with cashmere. You know I really enjoy working with my colorful cotton threads, and they are affordable. Neither of these are New Zealand products.

I like weaving with good quality New Zealand merino, but these present a few obstacles: very good quality merino can be hard to find; they usually come in what we call 110/2 or 2/17-ish* only; they can be very expensive; and the color range is limited, (which shouldn't be a problem if/when I learn to dye.) And, well, I'm no longer actively looking for merino-with-scales-on any more.

It is also possible to weave with less good merino or not-merino of rougher texture. Pat has many colors of New Zealand Halfbred, (similar to fine Corriedale,) from a now-closed Auckland shop. I still use their reds and purples and the texture/hand works alright when used in combination with merino/silk/possum yarns I used to use;  Jo happens to have a bunch of these she wants to off-load. So if I want to push the New-Zealand-ness of my products, I have a reliable, less expensive option that is not only good for me but for Pat and Jo as well.

Presently, though, I have been working hard to reduce my stash and if I were to be honest I don't want to spend money on less-than-the-best yarns. You might say that in Nelson, among some people who know my work, I am known to use only the best material.  But I don't have a whole lot of good New Zealand yarns any more so I need to make up my mind soon-ish.

What do you think? I you were buying handwoven work from a New Zealand (or any other country) weaver, do you prefer she used New Zealand (or her country's) yarns? Or if the work is nice, would you not worry about where the animals lived or the plants grew?

* * * * *

The dish towels are proceeding nicely. I love the combinations with not a lot of value/hue contrast, but with continued rain and florescent light right above me, they are harder, and at times more boring, to weave, so I go back and forth between pieces. I'll show them to you when I get the whole warp finished.

* * * * *

We had a spectacular lighting and thunder show tonight; at times when the thunder struck our house shook and the chimney rattled. Elsewhere in the district there have been some floods and road blocks, but for now they don't appear to be that dire, fingers crossed; we'll find out more tomorrow morning.

* * * * *

* Sorry, 17/2-ish.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rainy Week

It's been a rainy week so I've had a guilt-free weaving week. Here is the hangy thingie, about 180cm long, so when hung properly, you would be looking at the middle to upper middle part of the yellow bits.
And the cushion covers, woven in two of the variations of the same threading from the more or less resurrected, (though I swear it doesn't look identical) draft.
I'm not sure why I did this project, except I wanted to weave, and weave leisurely, i.e. not to worry about every detail as I do when I work-weave, So I chose to weave off one of the very old ready-made (and in this case abandoned) warps and stash reduction. It was enjoyable, and technically, (technique-wise,) woven well to my great relief. The most pleasant aspect was the tracking that appeared at the start/end of each piece where I wove short lengths of plain weave, where echoes of the threading appeared. I'm going to make my next postcard to mom with the unexplainable explanation on tracking today.
I shall make casings at the top and the bottom of the hanging but the cushion covers will go as they are, because the amount of stuffing inside the four similarly-sized insides on Mom's shelves were, let's just say, variable.

Not having any clear picture of work-related project, (or was it motivation?,) I tied on yet another old warp, this time of dish towels. For one thing I need handwoven towels; for another this project clears both points set out above and frees a few paper bobbins I need for another project. But most of all, towels are so fun to weave.

My fav so far is the ecru-on-white for us - it's a tiny piece as there was little of the ecru yarn left, but I do so love the subtle way the design appears. That's going to be Ben's Coffee Machine cloth.
Odds and sods weft candidates for this project. After watching the ecru piece grow, I decided to dip into gray for a bigger piece for us as I know I'm going to love it. And though a white towel would would take a pounding in the Nakagawa household, perhaps I'll weave one of those, too. Other towels will go to Mom as she asked for 10 in... ummm... Jan/Feb 2010.
After I got started on the towel, my loom went on a strike. Again. For no clear reason, Shaft 8 stopped lifting, then the software went silly, and then Windows went crazy, and then nothing happened. The situation solved itself after an hour+ of unplugging/replugging/rebooting/changing/rechanging/pulling/tugging, etc., etc., etc. What worries me, as usual, is everything is set exactly as it was before it went kaput so I have no idea what went wrong in the first place nor what fixed it. Do these things happen to purpose-made computer-controlled looms?
I think I also need to clear the top of my desk. It's a good thing to do on a rainy Saturday.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Weaving Practice

After handling/feeling/ur... examining tiny portions of a small sample to select the weft on the prospective matching cushion covers, we concluded the portion woven with weft=warp is just as soft as the softer wool or wool/silk+wool portions, so in the interest of stash reduction, that's where the dust is most likely to settle. If I go ahead with cushion covers. Especially since there are enough of both wool and wool/silk to go into a scarf, and the wool/silk would be particularly attractive.
Meanwhile, that gnawing question started to come up yesterday: "What am I doing, just playing around and not 'working' working?" I now have a good answer, "Mine is a weaving practice, not a business, so I'm practicing." I know it makes good sense, so I'm saying it out loud and often enough to convince me.

* * * * *

I don't keep all the drafts I weave, and especially not the intermediate/under-development ones. Some weavers/teachers would say this is so the wrong thing to do, but I get confused having tons of similar drafts and have began weaving the wrong ones that looked so similar I didn't noticed until I felt floats on the "wrong" side or the design didn't change direction. Plus, if I made them, I can always make them again, and I don't feel attached to them.

However, the task can be time-consuming, and I've been regretting not having kept this particular one, because it looks like a healthy pattern gamp possibility. Looking at it this morning, though, I realize it's not hard resurrecting the draft. Good. I can see this in 2/20 cottons, either in vibrant, saturated colors or in neighboring (on the color wheel) hues and values.

* * * * *

An Internet friend passed away suddenly; he's the second in a few short weeks. The first friend, we always knew we'd meet in person and talked it all the time. The second, Daniel, had a weaving school and garden in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, the village where most of the film "Chocolat" was shot, and again, I had confidence, not just hopes, that one day I would actually go there and meet him.

Daniel's passing, in a strange twist, made me think of a work-friend from the 80's. Yukari was/is kind of serious and sensible and, well, not flippant. At that time a lot of volcanoes were blowing up not just in Japan but all over the Pacific rim, and the weather was just starting to change drastically in Japan and we had a few quakes to boost. While testing a system we were going to install in three weeks, she stopped her hands, turned around and remarked, with an uncharacteristically grave face, "These things make us reexamine our life and values, don't you think?" And without waiting for me to say anything, "I decided it's not always wise to plan ahead or be sensible, so I bought a car."

And very uncharacteristically, I was speechless.

Recalling this conversation made me have another look at how I spend my life. I want to be a better weaver and I want to weave, so practice or working, what I've been doing the last few days is the right thing and I'm on course. In the mid-to-long-term, statistically speaking, (i.e. looking at Mom and Dad,) I have a good 15-25 years of weaving left in this old body, after which it'll give away and if we haven't done so by then, we'd have to get rid of the big loom and move house. Assuming Ben's still around as well. And with that in mind, I'm on course but would like to work a bit faster, and perhaps harder on stash reduction. And travel when I can. And not overthink things. And have fun.

Which I am doing this week. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

First Time for Everything

I would have never guessed, but I have a title for tentatively-Mom's-hangy-piece, and it's in Japanese, 「天・地・人」. Whowudathunkit! "Ten, Chi, Jin", or something like "Heaven/sky, Earth/soil, People".

There are gazillion schools, (as in "sects",) of floral arrangement in Japan. Some focus on the "Shin, Soe, Tai" or the main, sub and tertiary, in different proportions; others are more vague and call them "Ten, Chi, Jin." When I looked for the right style for me and tried seven different schools, a couple of them used this more stylish maxim, but I can't remember what they mean now. We must have talked about this while I was home, but I can't remember that, either.

Anyhoo, I'm building this bottom up, so I wove three browns for the Earth/soil. Tomorrow it's People in three yellows. The position and proportion of the colors aren't as symbolic as what looks pretty. It's the Sky I'm not sure about; I don't like the very strong blue; I want to soften it by using greens, especially the softer green, (trees?) and though I don't like the peach-pink, that one packs a punch and would make the difference between a harmonious/boring piece and an interesting one. So.... not sure what I'm doing for now but I'll take it into consideration.  This one has been fast to weave and the width of roughly 35cm is so easy on the body.

I  found wool and wool/silk Mom dyed with marigolds ages ago which would make softer, nicer wefts if I were to weave matching cushion covers, as well as a mohair/wool/silk knitting yarns that looked great but didn't behave. The first two are a paler versions of the mid-brown in the Earth/soil, so either, or a combination, would most definitely match. 

Still on Mom: I resolved to send visual inspirations to Mom and her students on a regular basis while I was still home, but had forgotten about it until yesterday. Anyway, this is the first that went out today; it's multiples negatives of Ben's birthday portrait. I myself don't see patterns in my environment much, but I'm calling their attention to repeats. Obviously. 
And the small piece exhibition is going ahead. Guidelines are pretty much as were set out in the Proposal. We still need a good name, though; any ideas??

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Next Step

I'd forgotten that there are fewer shafts lifted in this draft when woven "wrong" side up. This morning the sample is dry and seen from the "right" side the design is livelier than the the pic from last night.

Trying to think what I can make out of this warp, Ben and I concluded the cloth is a tad too thin for place mats and too coarse for cushion covers, so I decided to go for a hangy thingie. The parents' house has been cleaned out substantially and some old, decaying decorations tossed out, so there should be room for one thingie roughly 35cm wide and, oh, 180cm-2m long there. And because there are a  lot of browns and natural colors/materials in their house, I think I'll go with a bit of browns, lots of yellows and perhaps a pale green, to lighten the room. Whichever one Mom decides to hang it in.

I'm also thinking of cushion covers and/or place mats using other wools from the stash for better hand/texture/suitability, but that's for later.

And I'm going to tie a cotton warp on this to weave one or two of the commission pieces on the list.

Yup, moving on.

Friday, April 12, 2013

50th Brithfday Eve

This is what the warp looks like. I didn't have a mind-picture so it's nice to be able to see it. (It's more vibrant under natural light and when dry - yes, just out of a spin cycle, as usual.) I also did what I now think was some unnecessary editing while threading.
I didn't like the yellow bits (orange arrow) squeezed into the green bits so I replaced them with light browns, (I know, hard to tell here;) I'm still unsure of a few more but I think I'm going ahead with what I've got.

These are the weft options. And you can see the same sample piece looking very bright; the truth is somewhere in between. I like the gold/brown for the weft the best, but I only have one ball of it so I may have to combine it with other browns. Or go ahead with mellow yellows.
A small problem I'm having is I don't know what I'm making. These are harsh, shiny wool and  my scribbled note says "about 6m" so there is plenty though I don't think quite 6 meters. So, I guess something to go on the wall or in front of a window. Or under a plate?

Bottom left is an old sample I made for the Ribbon; widening the warp and using sympathetic colors in the weft have taken the zing out of the warp, but I think this is what I want to do to make the pattern more visible. (And this warp was never going to be completely suitable anyway.)
This one.

* * * * *

Silly me. I tried a couple of Google Reader alternatives and settled on Feedly, then proceeded to delete all Reader subscriptions, (but I can't delete the Reader account from Google?) unaware Feedly was reading my Reader subs. So I've tried to re/build my Feedly sub and think, hope, I got most of the weaving blogs back, but a whole bunch of design, art and history blogs are gone. Less time on the computer, more on the loom, then. 

* * * * *

I've been looking at lovely handwoven scarves online, (such as Lynn's Loom on the Lake, Tisserande, and Juanita Jirardin,) as I've been struggling to think of what to do next merchandise- and commission-wise. While studying the scarves I like, I began to see how mine are... unfinished. Yes, that's the word. I've started to feel more comfortable when the unexplainable "whole" happens when colors, fibers, dimensions and structures are matched well, even if I can't make it happen all the time. The next thing to focus on should be this "finished-ness". Now, how should I do that?   

* * * * *

Ben is going to be 50 tomorrow. I asked him this morning what he wanted to do, (he's had his pressie for about a month,) and he said, "veggie shop and supermarket".  Typical! We'll see how the day goes, but he's in the thick of a prolonged busy period so I bet he'll just be happy not to have to work. Life, eh.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

On My Mark

It's been two weeks since I left Japan. First week back I was tired, and the second, not so tired but unmotivated and unable to get back into the NZ time zone. Then, daylight savings ended on the weekend and things have started to look up. I'm thankful to that because the plan was to get back into the swing of things work-wise as soon as I got back, as I had been uncharacteristically swinging before I left.

For about ten weeks now, either or both of my middle finger nails have been peeling/cracking/splintering and breaking; I can't tell you how this started, but you know when they are splitting and thin they so easily get caught in clothes, yarns and other unexpected material? I had plasters on both nails for a while until the skin on my right middle finger became red, itchy and oversensitive to heat, so I took them off. Big mistake; just when I thought they were both coming right, my right one broke again big time. Ouch! So I have another plaster. This is my legitimate excuse why I haven't been working as much as I had planned, which I suspect only other weavers would knot to be legitimate. And I try not to dwell on the significance of the choice of fingers; LOL.

Towards the end of my stay in Japan, there were two drafts I wanted to reuse, with or without editing. One was the networked twill I made for Mom, though the success of this one lies not only on the draft but the combination and proportion of the colors, and the season and colors right outside our windows as we worked. And because we were having a jolly good time working together. I was going to do something with it until Mom told me she'd like to weave something similar again but wider. So I've put this one on hold; when she decides on her sett and width I'll make another draft and we'll weave it simultaneously. Or close to it.

The other draft is from a series I worked on in late 2008, and in particular, the top right one in the fourth pic  here. It's fine enough but not fussy or blurry and for now I prefer it to any of the options in the fifth pic.

I've also I wanted to practice weaving with silk, and slinky flat silk in particular, so I thought to combine silk with said draft and took out some cones Pat had inherited from Nola but were given to me last year. Lovely colors. So the tops of the cones are a bit bleached, but good enough for practice, right? Wrong!
When silk is left out too long, they not only bleach but deteriorate pretty badly. I don't know if you can tell but they kept breaking while I made the warp so this is going to be really only practice, i.e. I'd better not even expect tiny pieces of nice bits lest I'd be disheartened. Eight meters of practice. Yikes. Maybe a bit later, then?
Yesterday I just wanted to weave, so I finished my purple piece. I found a threading mistake halfway through, and the selvedge is pretty horrible, but there is a sense of OK-ness, if not of achievement, just to weave and get a warp off the loom. And the piece is heavy, so when we sit on the couch and put this on our laps, I hope it'll feel like a large dog leaning, or even sitting, on us. I have some yarns leftover, so I'm going to add one more yarn (bottom two balls) to weave two leftover-yarn cushion covers. Mom and I had so much fun with her red leftover project, and though she said I could take one, (and I knew which one I wanted,) I didn't have the heart to separate the two. So I'll have my own pair. Mine won't have the variety of yarns that went into hers so it'll be more somber but they are purple, so need I say more?
With the probable small piece exhibition in mind, I wanted to revisit Summer & Winter because I've had one picture on my mind for a while and it can be done in S&W. It just so happens that I've had a S&W warp on a table loom since I got excited about S&W. A. While. Ago. So, on to it. But wait, where are all my recycled paper bobbins? Sure, there are some with this project, and oh, I used a bit on that project but will need them soon. And oh, I did use them to wind leftovers from that other project. So, what, none left? I have to make some or buy drinking straws? Grrrr... I want to weave.

Where to next? I shall make paper bobbins in due course. And then experiment with S&W. (This warp can be seen in the New Year's Loom pics of 2011, 2012 and 2013; it's the purple one.) Meanwhile, I am going to put this warp on the Big Loom and try the aforementioned fine-but-unfussy draft, probably unedited. Just for fun. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Small Piece Exhibition: Guidelines

I'm editing/augmenting the previous proposal and going ahead. I'll be asking those taking part to get in touch with me mid-June-ish to, among other things, decide on the name of the exhibition. Please stay in touch. 

* * * * * 

What I'm proposing is an online exhibition of small woven works, inspired by Sampling's success last year. You post photos of the finished small woven work/s and a master link/TOC is posted here.

Plan something small, between postcard-sized to roughly A4/Letter.

Weave pieces whose main purpose is to be shown, e.g. on the wall, objet d'art, textile postcards, etc., but if you'd like to incorporate them into utilitarian pieces, e.g. bags/cases, book/notebook covers, jewelry or a portion of a garment, that's fine, too. Show us at least one close-up, though. 

Works, in the first instance, must be woven on looms, by you, but additional/subsequent treatment is also welcome.

Works can be 2D or 3D, (though cloths are, you know, never really 2D.) They can be framed with/without glass, but do take care photographing to avoid reflections. (In other words, do a better job than I, please.)

Works must be woven/completed between now and Sunday, June 30, 2013; final photographs/posts/folders ready to be published at the end of that day your time so I can publish the master link some time on Monday, July 1, 2013 my time. If you happen to have a perfect warp on your loom already, you can of course use that.

It's an exhibition; all photos must show the completed works only; no progress shots, no tutorials, but a particularly interesting detail is welcome. Let's put process talks in separate blog posts or photo folders and let's not reveal the finished look until the exhibition. (If you post your process, you may want to tag/label your posts for your fans.)

There are now so many ways of putting our work online and I'm familiar with only a few. So for now, I'm thinking of three options:
1) Blogs: one final, exhibition post with all the pics and info, or,
2) Photo blogs: one dedicated folder with multiple photos and info, or
3) Social networks sites: one dedicated photo folder with multiple photos and info.
Do make sure your exhibition area is publicly visible only after July 1.

In the exhibition post/folder, an artist's statement, piece labels/blurb, and an artist profile pic are encouraged but not required. As long as your hosts allow, you are free to put a price on your piece/s and ask interested parties to contact you.

If you don't blog and don't post photos online and remain a relatively private citizen, good on you!! We can post your work and blurbs here. 

Let's limit the number of pieces to max six per person, but, say, a triptych counting as three.

Let's limit the number of photos to around three per piece.

Any question, please post in the comments. Ta. 

Underlined portions amended on June 11 to clarify, if, for no one else, me. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Spools Day

My oldest set come from two sources, the first from the manufacturer of my heaviest shuttle, the second from a local man who wanted to start a woodworking business over a decade ago. Not sure what happened to him.
This is the hardest working set, naked for now.
And just a small portion of my handmade, recycled paper set.
And a set of tiny Japanese bamboo ones Sampling gave me a year ago for my tiny Japanese silk shuttles. I wanted to show these next to a set Mom gave me last week. I can't find them today, meaning, they are in the last box I packed for Mom to post after I left, the very box I asked her not to post this morning, because she was right and the box is not sturdy enough for the size/weight. So for the time being, they sit in Mom's closet. Silly me, I knew she was right Wednesday morning, but was too tired to repack even though a perfect box sat inches away waiting to be thrown away.

Coincidentally, Mom couldn't find her own set of slightly bigger bobbins. I eventually found them right where she reorganized and put them, but meanwhile I bought her a cheap set of plastic drinking straws. At first I didn't like that the straws came in five colors, but it turns out Mom has half a dozen boat shuttles that are almost the same size but not quite, requiring slightly different sizes of straw bobbins, so voilà, color-coded bobbins in a bag!

Here are Kaz's spools.

And Sampling's.

And Kerstin's.

And Desirée's.

And Sandra's.

And Laura's.

And Jeanette's here, here, here and here.

And Rose's.

 And Zeni's.