Sunday, March 29, 2015

Expensive Mistakes

I haven't woven for nearly three weeks, which is bad, and I hadn't felt like fringing, which is worse. Last night, realizing I only had a couple of days to the end of the month, (remember I was going to fringe/finish all 16 before April?) I fringed five cashmere pieces and today I washed them.
The purple, second from the left, and the achromatic both have a rather glaring treadling mistake each, but the latter has a bigger problem; the gray parts where the twill goes in the opposite direction bulge out. Now that I see the white weft is silk/cashmere but the gray is 100%; I have no idea what I was thinking, but while I wove I was confident it would work well because I had checked all cash grays. I feel all five have one kind of a problem or another, so they might have to spend some time under the couch. I'm feeling sorry for myself, disappointed, while I continue to fringe. Such expensive mistakes.

While avoiding fringing, I've been in the garden longer. Which doesn't mean our place is looking better; we now have neglected areas, and "tampered" areas where the more I weed, the more vigorously they come back, (convolvulus grow right under the heavy mulching and show up somewhere vulnerable two and three meters away,) and big black trash bags of weeded weeds posturing as art installation. I don't know where I'm going with our garden, I've kinda lost the plot, but I can't stop now so I keep going.
I'm frustrated how tired I get after only four hours outside when, for several years this side of 2000, I spent at least a month gardening "full time" in the winter with only muscle aches first couple of days. Alright, that was more than a decade ago, but now it's not just muscles but joints and tendons requiring medical advice. The latest is my overuse of Japanese secateurs, (size small) for not just the herbaceous and small branches but, ahem, small trees and biggish branches. Gardening also overstimulates and causes sleep problems and some days my whole body feels broken, but the mind is well.

Mom's coming in late April out of the blue, and an Internet friend Mana is coming the following week. You'd think I'd be going crazy at the thought of preparing the garden and the house for visitors, but I'm finally passed it; there is limited time/energy and with this old body, "my best" is all I can commit to. Which sounds like a good lesson in aging. Ben's taking time off after Easter. Instead of another staycation full of good intentions to garden/clean, we might shoot down to Christchurch for a look see. Perhaps.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Last Little While

I had gotten into a nice routine of weeding for 2-5 hours, 2-5 mornings a week, then weaving for 2-4 hours most afternoons. I finished the fine merino warp after 7PM Monday night, (I got four pieces,) then I broke my routine and didn't wind the next warp right away, primarily because it was dinner time but also because I wasn't sure if I wanted to work on a commission piece next or another wool warp, and because it's about time I started fringing and finishing. (The pile is now 16 high.) I thought not having another warp on the loom would encourage me. And then there is that still-unfaded warp.


Tuesday afternoon I sat on the couch, dazed. The state to Wednesday so I ironed Ben's shirts with lots of breaks in the morning. After a very late lunch I still couldn't get my motor going so I wound another warp; it's a black merino warp I overdyed with walnut shells. It was lovely to have a few productive couple of hours in the end. I don't know what I'll weave, as even my notes had a big bold ? and that warp end number was wrong, but it's the familiar 110/2 and at least I know it goes in at 18EPI.

I've been enjoying getting sidetracked with the commission piece. I already made a warp, goodness me a while back, but I recently saw this picture (Pic #25; easiest to click on any pic, then select from the bottom filmstrip), (a good blog to expose myself to painters I know but never really looked into,) and was drawn by Munch's use of violet. I like purples, but not really violets (so far), and was intrigued how violet can be the shadow in combination with yellows, yellow-greens and pale blues, but it can be the light in combination with purples, darker blues and greens. I haven't progressed beyond that observation, and I don't have the exact violet Munch liked, but I've got to be able to work with these.
I can't decide if I want to go dark, or light, or maybe even both in one piece.

* * * * *

We've been eating well this season. We ate a lot of veggies and fruits, less protein but more in the morning, and my breads have become tastier and steady. Until today.

Dianne and hubby Pete came over this morning, and I made a fruity loaf/cake that worked the last two weeks, (in fact two of the best,) but today's was a flop; burned at the top and soggy in the middle. And Pete made the coffee.

It was wonderful to see Dianne again. We met at Randy Darwall's workshop in October 2006 and hadn't seen each other since, though we follow each other's blogs and kept in touch. And we seem to have similar tastes in books and magazines, which extends to weaving. We promised not to leave it another eight years before we were in the same room again.
She gave me this echo-weave towel, in which I keep seeing purple that doesn't exist. (In real life it's slightly less blue, and has lighter olive green bits, so more varied in value, but this was the best pic of several versions. If you tilt the screen up a little, you may get a better view.) I also like the Mucha-like frame around the central design; she said she made a big banner based on this. And it's the most luxurious-feeling towel.  

And Dianne reckons my basement studio is smaller than it appears on the blog, so you have been told. I never thought of this, but it could be the amount of wool stash moved downstairs. And she was too polite to mention my garden is as bad as, or worse than, I say it is here. LOL.  

* * * * *

Because I've been enjoying weaving and weeding, I don't go into town much, but we saw this film, and I recommend it to all makers. There's a lot about time (which good making requires,) and "the business" of making beautiful things, and loss of skills.

We were serenaded by a bagpipe band staying somewhere near me for a day and two nights but not today, because the Championship is in town. I'm sorely tempted to run into town today but I think I'll start fringing. I have a goal of finishing, tagging and labeling these 16 pieces by the end of the month. 

Garden is bad, but life is good. I feel self-contained enjoying weaving and weeding, though both the garden and the stash are endless. Re. the garden I think what I'm doing right now is still more emergency measures and not long-term, and I still fail to see "tidying" the garden as an ongoing thing. I stopped referring to the German-speaking Jewish writer from Prague because it's too real and not funny any more. But I'm not disheartened yet.

* * * * *

EDIT: I met Dianne around 8 years and six months minus a fortnight ago; I last saw her five days later. Some people don't age in 8 and a half years, and it's not me. I'm envious.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March, Tomorrow?

You know what that means; I resume gardening. In smal doses. Except I'm doing better this year; in January I put in nearly 12 hours, in February, six and a half. Time spent means nothing in this place, but it's still encouraging. I'm trying to normalize gardening in my life, not seeing it as part of cleaning but trying it out as a creative activity. At least therapeutic. OK, just trying, but more on that another day.

Weaving is going well I didn't force myself to do anything else in February except tax work. I cooked a lot, ironed tons of Ben's shirt one day, but otherwise I wove. And made drafts. And on good days I could weave much longer than I have been able to for a long while. I haven't touched the fringe/hem pile, but that's OK, too. I've not done a lot else this month that I can remember. Oh, except this month turned out unexpectedly social with mostly out of town visitors: Gerdi and Mike, (I met Gerdi in Kaz's class in August, but were they here in January?) Des and Edvaldo who installed African masks for the Suter's temporary premise's first exhibition; the Woods; JB and Ali; and still possibly Susan, whom I also met at Kaz's. I also had a powwow with Andrea discussing pieces I hope to weave this year. Goodness me, that's a lot of socializing for the basement hermit weaver all of a sudden.

I continue to read about van Gogh; I've finally started a small book of selected letters, which is more interesting than I imagined, but he's still in Amsterdam; it's going to get religious. Eventually I'd like to get to the lot, but for now this small paperback is a good intro. I've also had to recycle one envelope yesterday so I collaged on one side and though this was a quick emergency measure, I was reminded how easy and immediate my kind of collage is.
Tomorrow we either weed/trim/clean/spray the approach to out house, or I finish weaving #3 and start #2.

I started this post, then watched a film, and now the making part is playing. And it's March already.