I was supposed to be in Ronette's all-day-all-week-figure-drawing fest (i.e. summer workshop) this week but it was canceled due to illness in her family. The ill person concerned has recovered sufficiently for us to collectively exhale; thank goddess, he's a young chap! But I don't think he'll be playing rugby anytime soon.

Instead I rejoined Carla Sonheim's Faces 101, also this week, but even though it's 3PM Monday in Seattle, I have not heard peep from the organizers since I was put on the list a while back, nor have they replied to my inquiry, so I'm not sure what's happening there. I did this online course in August of 2011 and really enjoyed it.

* * * * *

I finished my taxes Sunday afternoon and delivered my hot pink binder to the accountant's office Monday morning. Nothing great to report, other than this year, though I was slow in working through it, I didn't feel the usual dread of having to do it. It was quite mechanical.

* * * * *

Which is the reason I'm all the more puzzled I had a mild but persistent panic attack towards the end of my tax work. Very strange; a rapid slide-show like vision of déjà vu that went on for hours; I knew intellectually it was a panic attack and not a real déjà vu but then I started to have déjà vu of déjà vus and just so I don't make mistakes, I had to check things I was déjà vuing about.

I had a bad panic attack once a few years ago so I knew what was happening on Sunday, but what I don't like is the confusion that is like a foreshadow of dementia. A couple of days prior, I took one of silly Facebook tests and I was shocked how long it took for me to answer super simple additions.

Like the last time, I can't think of reason for me to panic about. In fact, last time I had a pleasant afternoon with Rosie going to the gallery, but we also talked about Alzheimer day/wee/month. Was that the cause?

I make so little money I don't legally have to do tax returns, but I do just to stay in the system; (this could be a Japanese thing.) I even get money back from the tax department some years, but always pay more to the accountant which totally doesn't make sense to Ben, so deep down I may be justifying myself each year. Maybe this was it.

Annie was supposed to come in the afternoon so we can take her first sample off and put on a second one. I felt embarrassed by the mess in my stash room, but I would have had all morning to clean most of the house. But maybe this was it.

Anyway, it was strange to think that on Thursday and Friday, even though I wasn't done, I had done enough to start planning the post-tax week. Now I feel hesitant to do anything proactive. I postponed  meeting with Annie yesterday, stayed in bed, ate choc bickies and gazed at the Internet. I didn't even read the current van Gogh book, which I'm otherwise really enjoying.

I'm OK today, just a tad frustrated, flummoxed and annoyed. Sometimes I think I listen to my mother too intently I experience an octogenarian's life vicariously. She doesn't have panic attacks, but she's always concerned her cognitive abilities are failing. We've both had terrible memory for years and she even had a brain scan which checked out fine.

Anyhoo, today I'm going to eat frozen blueberries and read Chapter 2 of the design book.
I find it harder nowadays to throw away flowers just because they are not "beautiful" any more.
It's not so much the mess, but the amount of stuff in proportion to the size of the room.
My latest addiction.



It happens a lot in Nelson; I meet someone lovely and hope to be friends but don't take the time or stay in my basement or real life intervenes and before you know it they're moving out of Nelson. Lovely Maclean from the only independent bookshop in Nelson is taking off with her husband. Darn. I can follow their travels on their Flickr, they are both trained photographers, but still it's a little sad.

* * * * *

Have I tald you about my teeth? I chipped a front tooth big time, I think, when I was in Japan in late 2011. I hadn't had time, with the exhibtion in 2012 and family stuff in 2013, so I finally got it fixed on Friday the 13th last December. Then, on the 21st, I chipped the other front tooth, so I had that fixed yesterday. But those are the less painful teeth. A long standing problem finally got adequately bad to have had the roots extracted a week ago and we're going to observe the progress. If the bone is healthy, we will put one implant with two teeth on top. If not, it's either two implants, or a plate, which is apparently the 21st Centurty term for false teeth. Yikes.

* * * * *

My dentist Paul is a really nice man and I wouldn't go anywhere else, (I tried it once and was not amused,) but he's not your generic, bargain-priced dentist, and the work required is sort of at the plush end. And of course, I had to throw in a new pair of eyeglasses, too, didn't I.

I sitll want to go to Australia for Kaz's workshop, and if possible to a Mixed Media workshop at a fancy lake resort a couple of hours south of Kaz, which is the direction I would have to go to get on a plane to head home.

This is what I've been pondering while working on my tax returns. I have to curb my book-buying, notebook/sketchbook-coveting and yarn-yearning. And coffees in town as they add up. Fine. But can I justify it?

I will probably want to go home and check out my Mom's new luxury, (it's not bad, but I don't think it's really a luxuy place; I just like to call it that,) apartment. (She's got a landline now but won't pick up when I call on my cell and her phone tells her it's from an unregistered out-of-bounds number!) The last time Ben and I were on a proper holiday was in 2013 and I'm dying to get away and do nothing with him, even fore a short road trip. I thought Australia would be a good option, but he can't take off work around the time of the workshop/s, it appears., 

A proper grownup would tell you every fiber in her tells her to be sensible, but we're talking about me; I'm still scheming, planning, hoping. But I had a break from tax work today. I'm very tired. So I kept eating junk food. Not good.
 Nice to see a familiar face.
We still have the hammock in the living room. Ben asked if he could put it away as his summer finished when he went back to work. I said, not yet.
Ben's chair needs dusting. I've notced in the last 10 or so days the sun is now autumnal more than summery; I see different things in familiar places.


Another Friday / Weavers and Desginers

Look what Connie sent me! And look what message she added.
And that concludes the visually pleasing part of the week.

For the rest of the week, (well, since late afternoon on Wednesday,) I have donned my super-fortified-by-Ben glasses,
and have ever-so-slowly and reluctantly delved into my receipt box and did the right thing as a citizen. Strangely, I don't feel too bad about working on the tax returns this year, and the work is progressing surprisingly fast. About time, considering I've been with this kind accountant for about seven or eight years, and have had a system of sorts for about five. I can take my hot pink binder to her Monday morning, guaranteed.

Meanwhile, young Annie has been weaving until the wee hours and has finished her sample, and wishes to come over on Monday to discuss fringe options, possibly wet-finish it here, AND design and put on a new warp. I don't know if she's young and ambitious or I'm old and tired but it sounds like a lot to pack into a day, but I shall take vitamins in the morning and give it my best. She wants to weave with thinner yarns but as her RH is 6EPI, either she'll have to find suitable thick yarns or we'll use my usually-18EPI stuff with tree ends to the dent. Or attempt really spaced out weaving. Her call. And I guess I'll have to put a warp on mine myself.

* * * * * 

Here's a bit more about "Weavers and Designers".

I've worked some more on the description, and added rules according to the conventions of photos-on-the-Internet schemes. These may still be updated, but I hope that will cease in early Feb.

For the time being, photos and discussions are open to group members only, though if you have your photos set to public view, they are visible to others from your own photostream.

We shall use both the Photos and Discussions tabs/areas; it is up to each member to find their comfortable place, but do please check both places and view what others have done/said. I've started a few discussion topics so nobody has to walk into an empty classroom, but I myself hope to get there in February as I keep saying. (It takes me several readings to understand the chapters and exercises, you see.)

When you work on the exercises, please feel free to not use the exact material the book specify but work with whatever you have, unless you want to add to your stash. And if you don't get an exercise, or just don't want to do it, skip it.

I sincerely hope everybody likes the book as much as I do; I'm starting to dread everybody forking out money to get it and then to think, "What on earth was she thinking??" a few paragraphs in.

If anybody knows how a group admin can email/contact everybody in a Fllickr group, please let me know. That could make my life easier.

Right. Back to the spreadsheet.


Weeds, Glasses and a Design Study Group

There was an un-tiny earthquake on the North Island yesterday. Unrelated to that, there was a gas leak from a boat in a North Island port and the entire port was closed down. And we're having a tail end of one Cyclone June descend on the entire North Island and some of South. New Zealand may be small, but we're not short of excitement. We can laugh because so far the only casualty has been the big bird at Wellington Airport. Have you seen the pic? Not very magical.
I was so encouraged by the lovely hydrangeas Annie brought me on Friday I went outside to, urrr... weed my flowerpots on Saturday. (Is there anyone else in this galaxy that needs to weed their flower pots??) 
I pushed all the pots against the retaining wall because we got delivery of a truckload of firewood by Phil the Canadian, and it has to be carried from the side of the garage, across the driveway, up the stairs, across the patio, and all the way to the covered part of the patio on the far far left.

Also, this year the cobwebs has been so bad our house looked like one decorated by overzealous teenagers for Halloween, so I got my blue cobweb brush out. It's not a task I enjoy, but worse is cleaning the brush itself; thank goodness for the high-powered nozzle!

In an unprecedented move to focus on the good things here on Unravelling, my heliotropes are doing fine and I put the dark ones, (love their look,) on the back and the pale ones, (they smell divine,) in the front on the table so we get a good whiff when we open the front door when the sun is out.
The hacked fig tree, however, continues to look a bit sad. We'll get proper tree cutters to go around the property and trim overgrown trees probably in the early winter. After we have done our bits to clean the place. Yikes. 

* * * * *

Broken eye glasses have slowed me down; by about this time of the afternoon my eyes and head get tired. Ben has to re-tape the sides every morning, but may I say, if you ever have to mend eyeglasses, I recommend masking tape over cellotape! They stay put better and come off easily-er. But I'm determined to finish my tax work this week. At least get started this afternoon.

* * * * *

Kaz and I thought it might be interesting to have a "soft" study group so I set up a Flickr group called "Weavers and Designers". It came about organically, as you know; me (or should it be I?) finally finding a used "basic design", then a few others buying it as well. The group starts with "weavers" because Kaz and I are that, but it's open to everybody. We work at our own pace, etc, etc. It's all here. (The same info appears twice because of the Flickr group setup option. Soreeee.) This situation has been lightly improved.

I put it on Flickr so we don't have to write chapter and verse every time but just share casually, but still use the Discussion part if we want to talk or ask questions. Also because many of you already have an account, and a good compromise for users of different blog platforms and those not on Facebook.

As for me, I'll have to finish my taxes first, and as we all know I'm slow at everything but I hope to get that ball rolling come February. We're giving it a go until the end of 2014, and see how the future looks. Right now we're making it up as we go.

You're all most welcome to join us.

EDIT: A reminder that Better World Books, among other places, specializes in old textbooks and posts free to anywhere in the world. If you live in the US, for e.g., Amazon has it for less $, though.  


Not a Teacher

I'm a self-taught weaver; a few things I do without thinking, some I don't know how to do properly and wing it; and some I do in different ways depending on the fiber, weather or just-because. Yet others, I pace, talk to and gaze for hours, days and weeks concocting a solution. This is why I don't teach; I may not know the answer, or I may confuse you because I'll blurt out three different solutions. I always thought weaving is what you make of it, and it's a solitary thing for me; I cherish that.

So it was with trepidation and anxiety that I awaited for the appointed time on Friday when Annie came with her dressed-and-partially-worked rigid heddle loom she picked up in Christchurch for $30 then hauled back to Nelson on a bus. I knew Annie to be a young art school graduate, with some experience working in several art galleries, with a famous artist big sister; we worked together packing up Red as we knew it. She asked me earlier in the week if I could show her how to weave, and I didn't know how to say no to this lovely youth, so we set a time. I thought I'd wing it, not make it a regular thing, but just show her enough; she's an art school graduate, she'll know what to dobeyond the mechanics. I should have a lovely time over a cup of tea.

And that's how it went. For four and a half hours. We talked about weaving, galleries, climate change and natural disasters, NZ politics, and we had a lovely time. She's one intelligent cookie, and I take it a superb listener. She got the basic idea from my frantic, fragmented explanation, with great illustration, (body language, that is.) We're not sure if she's going the cloth-weaving route, the art/show-piece road or both or something in between, so we went back and forth brainstorming. She's worried about putting on a new warp, so she might come back to dress my RHA. All I'll do is to think of a project, collect material/tools, and figure out the numbers; when she comes, I'll give her just enough hints so she can make the warp and dress the loom. Win, win.

Make no mistake, I'm not turning into a teacher; I'm not good at it. But I can do this with Annie.

And speaking of someone who does teach, last week when I was working on the sketchbook, guess who looked up at me from the pages of an old Australian magazine? Kaz!
And then last week I found this on TradeMe, the NZ version of eBay. Having been published in 1990, and from the title, I didn't think there would be much about multishaft or complex drafts, but if Kaz had anything to do with it, it would be full of lovely colors, and it was!!
Thursday afternoon I had a tooth extracted from top left at the back; why does it hurt at bottom right now??


W2W2 and Other Stuff

I got my last W2W2 envelope from Alicja, which turned out to be a bit more personal than she might have intended. First off she's from Poland, my dad's favorite country; he visited Poland three times in the 80s, twice scoring a visiting lectureship he throughly enjoyed. 
In my pack was picture of a concert hall in Reykjavik; a colorful Picasso card; a two-page picture of a queue of cows going home; a map of Bergen, (my parents' favorite place; while working on my sketchbook, I looked at my parents' postcard stash; I always asked for postcards from their travels, and discovered last year they bought them, just forgot to send them to me. Now I have most of them, among them lots of Bergen;) two small skeins of handspun yarn, one of which when she dyed and posted on FB I wanted as my hair extension; another of fluffy mohair (?); some samples of very soft commercial wool, an Berlin exhibition ticket, used, (I love this!); a small lovely ceramic thimble; a small photo of a rather regal-looking ram; and a postcard of birds in lovely blues, (I wanted to learn more about birds so I recently bought an intro book on bird-watching in New Zealand.) 
The piece that caught my eye, besides the bird card, was the back of one of the cow pictures. It could be of a volcanic spring; it is of a rocky hill/mountain, snow on the top third, and like the bird card, there is a lot of lovely blues mixed with a bit of yellow and some grays/blacks. Dreamy colors. But if it is a sulphurous spring, then I will pass on the smell.

* * * * *

My second bag went on its first outing to the dentist's office today. It's wobbly and when I stuff my regular contents sans the camera, the shape isnt' flattering. There is great scope of improvement in the pocket planning. But I love the hand/feel of the cloth; it's not going to be a long-life nor a rugged bag, but it has its merits and I may think of these again for special projects or gifts.
But the dental appointment was horrible; he extracted the bottom hidden part of the tooth on which my stray crown had sat. He's using less anesthetics which isn't a bad thing usually but today it was, and I may becoming a bleeder, too. Yikes.

* * * * *

Reading about Vincent van Gogh before going to bed has become a lovely relaxing routine. Though there are good books and terrible ones, I feel comfortable reading a little about him and thinking about or gazing at his paintings. Chronology and errors don't bother me any longer; I find this an interesting development.

I've also started to think about drawing/painting/mixed media/book binding more often; I don't do them, but have been visualizing working on small projects. I find my kind of mixed media (including postcards) or bookbinding extremely personal and comforting, as if I'm exhaling completely after an arduous experience. I imagine painting to be likewise.

The other night when I was awake I even imagined having used up enough yarns so I could work on these projects in my stash/design room tables. There is a lovely big window that looks out to or garden there so that would be a wonderful setup. I'll never ever not weave, but this kind of personal making appeals to me now. 

Although it's not going to happen any time soon. I moved back everything I hauled into the kitchen for the sketchbook back into the stash room and it's... crowded. I won't show you a pic; it's becoming a bad habit this posting-my-stash-room-mess-pic-itis; next thing I'll be posting pics of my garden mess. Wait, I did that...



The plastic hinge on my glasses broke yesterday; it sort of tore off over the course of six hours. I never imagined anyone in their right mind making hinges in plastic! I'm blind as a bat without my glasses and currently I don't have a backup/old pair, so it's taped the corner with a piece of masking tape, the first thing I saw. My vision is blurred meanwhile. I have an appointment with Jim the Trusty Eyeglass Guy today; he can fix it as he replaced the hinge with a metal one and soldered onto the frame some years ago, but I hadn't known the original was plastic!! But this frame being almost ten years old and not feeling extremely comfortable with a potentially-disintegrating-at-any-moment pair, I shall order new glasses as well if I can find a good-fit frame.Unluckily this particular frame fit perfectly with no adjustment at the start and that's important for someone who has, ahem, no nasal bridge right around where glasses normally sit.

* * * * *

I've mentioned enough times here for you all to know we've been having a windy summer. The fig tree outside our study and bedroom has been banging against the house day and night which really bothers Ben. I have to admit I finally became alarmed when I noticed about 2/3 of the tree looked as if it was leaning on the house yesterday morning. The last two days have been slow gale-y I heard sounds my house has never produced before, and felt breezes in parts of the house that has no opening.

Yesterday after work, gale still going strong, Ben hacked off some big branches. It was very scary, and just a little bit funny, watching him perched precariously on branches about as high as our second floor, swinging the sew with arms fully extended.

It's not the fig's fault, but mine, for planting a white banksiae rose to clime up the fig tree many years ago. It's grown tall enough in the last couple of years to receive more sun in the winter when the fig is bare, and started to weave the fig branches together into one clump big enough to fill the gap between the tree and the house. 
The tree has a hacked look; birds look puzzled this morning, and I apologize for doing this before the fruit season. We have been planning to get burly men with appropriate tools to cull our trees in the winter anyway, but honestly we thought there is a chance a big chunk of the tree would come down.  Bad news: the banksia rose will have to go; the great news: Ben's thinking of our outside space. No doubt we'll have different ideas and plans when the time comes for us to get outside and work, but he's asked for a few days off around Easter to get our massive gardening season started.

The big insult has been, as soon as Ben came inside, the wind stopped. Completely. Talk about the deafening silence overnight, we couldn't get to sleep for a long while.

So, not a lot else being made to happen by yours truly; I'm moving slowly around the house, doing endless housework, gazing at old gardening books, dreaming, looking at my enormous yarn stash, dreaming. 


Monday, Mondaaaaayyyy....

Rain forecast, but sunny, dry, hot and windy. I went out to cut off some dead bits from the flower pots outside the front door, but within 15 min I had a near-fatal pollen attack and came in feeling a tad defeated. I do like a beautiful garden, though you would never have guessed, I know. 

I really want to go to one or two mixed media workshop/s in NSW, Australia, and stayed up intil 3AM (insomnia,) looking up website to try to figure out the overall cost to see if I can justify it, and/or talk Ben into a holiday in Oz while I take workshops some of the time. (He hates that config.) This is surprisingly close to Kaz's town, in the context of that vast, Australian scale. Not a sin to hope I can wing it.

Pat came over with two of my new books on van Gogh and two of Ben's on photography; we ordered these in Sept and had them delivered to an US address and Pat was going to bring them back, but her trip was cancelled and she had them posted. I showed her my troubled red warp and explained my eight-step recovery plan, and another plan I decided against, and told her I haven't done it because I like the piece in progress. Subconsciously I've still been considering other warp tension recovery options as it turned out. (Spray starch being one.) Pat agreed that if I could, I should complete this piece; it is an interesting one.
By the way, the new two-colored warp; I really liked it when I was making it upstairs but since I came out of the shower and saw it on the weekend I can only think of scallops. So not sure now. 
It's Monday, so the third day Mom's in her new apartment, and she's loving it; it's much warmer than our 40+ year old house, and surprisingly far more quiet even though it's in a semi-urban setting. To go grocery shopping, a small mall, or the train station, she only needs to take the elevator and walk perhaps three minutes. (For her to go shopping around Yokohama Station, she'll be exposed to outside air only around the two train platforms, her new station and Yokohama, so, like, even in the middle of the winter, I don't think I'll even need a real coat!) It's a ten-min walk to Brother's house, and Sister is a 20-min drive away. And so many folks are helping her she's actually very pleased with the constant company.

From what she told me she culled kitchen- and general household-related things, (and she needs much less now that she's in an building,) but left nothing relating to weaving and spinning behind. The big tidy up last Feb/Mar helped, I might add; there wasn't much she would not have wanted to keep, except perhaps old rug yarns, but she even took those. Sister was dismayed at the sheer amount, but we weavers know it's just a different point of view. No pictures from anyone yet; we tried Skyping on Saturday but Sister's smartphone couldn't show pictures for some reason. So I'll show you probably-her-last pic from the old house; kids drew on and ripped the shoji paper screens upstairs on New Years' Day. That's in the room I lived in for months opening and closing them very carefully so as not to damage the paper. Grandkids have all the fun! In front is one of the looms, numbered and coded by Sister.
Ooops, Ben just came home with a bunged up, torn package from Better World books; yay, four more van Gogh books mostly ex-library, and now  my very own copy of "basic design"; I couldn't for the life of me find this used or new in 2009/2010, but now they are all over. Recommend! But goodness, these books have had a rough trip this time; but I can't complain, as they send for free.

EDIT: You know I don't teach weaving. Well, a young friend emailed me to let me know she bought an RH in Christchurch for $30 and brought it back on the bus and can I teach her how to use it. How can I say no, right? She's coming on Friday and we'll go from there. I'm a 30% nervous, 50% excited, and 20% "must prepare" mode. yikes?


Yikes, the Sketchbook, or the Yikes Sketchbook

Hues and values are exaggerated and there are strange watermark-like marks in these scanned images, but you get the general idea. So here it is in all it's glory.
I wrote, "I'm not sure who I am," in white ink on top right corner above.
The first page's window lifts, and you see a tiny section of a weaving draft. This is the only weaving-related content except for the intro in the last page.
What I learned:
* My scissors-, glue-, box-cutter-, and ruler-skills still have much room for improvement.
* I drew, wrote and washed some pages before collaging but disliked them so I covered them up, making some pages messier than necessary. The center, mono print page is the only "original" work.
* I prefer visual coherence to logical; this used to make me feel shallow, but now I don't mind so much; pretty is preferable to smart, and no, I can't believe I just typed it!!
* I prefer sparsely-worked pages to crowded ones. What seemed underdone earlier in retrospect may have worked out just fine. 
* As I said, I was too caught up with the "Strange Neighbor" theme. When I am less worried about themes or logical cohesion/continuity within the book, (my first, 2010 was always at the back of my mind,) I end up with what is to me a more interesting-looking book.
* Unlike my 2010 book which looked messy in a badly-executed-grade-school-project fashion, this one is a tried-to-be-too-smart big-kid project that's still executed badly. I feel I've lost the Sketchbook Project innocence.
* Still, the interesting thing is the last page: in the last two sketchbooks I sent in, I didn't link me the weaver to the book that I can remember; I didn't say I'm a weaver, even though I crammed in a weaving content. I don't know why but I felt it more "natural" to link this to me this time. I don't know why.

EDIT: I would really appreciate if you could tell me which one or two is/are your favorite/s; I don't need reasons, but am curious to know when you were in an Art House Co-op-like environment and saw gazillion sketchbook, what sort of thing you look for or take home with you. Thank you very much in advance. 



I think I finished the Sketchbook Project sketchbook. I'm going to sleep on it and have another look tomorrow, but I think I've done all I could. I have more ugly/fussy pages than I like, more words than I intended, and goodness me, a theme, which I've never had. But there are a few pages I like, and heck, I finished it. When I know it's completely done, I'll post some pages. But for now, this is the back of the envelope. I wanted to use this as the front, but they're going to ask me to stick a customs declaration sticker and they'll want to stick the postage sticker, (not stamps, though I'm going to ask,) so I think I'll use the back for all those modern unprettiness.
* * * * *

I got my second W2W2 envelope from Sampling! It had a sample "sleeve" woven with the stainless steel/silk yarn, (far softer than I imagined,) some cards from Japan, Kaz's Moo, another Chinese hankie, and sample yarns.
I love this hankie over all others she's sent in a way because it has a history; the shop once had a fire and their merchandises were supposedly damaged. But every one she sent me were in a pristine shape, whereas this one shows the damage, in the original packaging. It's so sentimental and precious. It's part of her family history and so personal.
My favorite is yarn samples from all the projects she worked on last year. There are a few delicious gray yarns; see the two in the middle?? I now get to feel them and smell them, and I must go back to her posts and reread about her work because I can appreciate them more immediately.

And did I mention the grays?

* * * * * 

Right, so snack time, then clean the kitchen and start dinner. Now that I'm finished with the sketchbook, I get to look forward to working on my tax returns next. Yay.
* * * *

Mom moves tomorrow.