Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Gray Lot

Yesterday was the beginning of the end for my cold. I had the same symptoms and fever, but my head was clearer so we ran around two garden centers, me looking for good perennials to plonk in the gap, the thinking being if I have stuff to look at, visitors are less likely to notice weeds; Ben looking for a new BBQ. (We bought a standard grade one on New Year's Eve, 1999. It stood protected from direct sun/rain, but was exposed to wind; that metal would disintegrate in mere 13-14 years has been my delayed Y2K bug.)

It's been raining off and on this week; great for the garden and sore throat, but it's the variety that makes the wooden kitchen floor "moist". During breaks I rush out to pot bulbs or fill gaps, but for no longer than half an hour at a stretch. It makes me frustrated, but it's dark and wet enough I don't have to do the should-I-or-shouldn't-I dance.

So I've fringed three more, (three to go,) but am no washing until the dryness returns. Instead I've been preparing the three cashmeres, (Ben took the far right piece, I'm still not sure what to do with the bamboo-shaped monochrome;) three grays and the brown/black wool, (wonderful hand and weight,) to take to the Suter, tomorrow if all goes to plan. The gray ones remain milestones of sorts, so I must wax lyrical before they leave the house. (Sorry for the bad pics, but rain, dark, you get the picture. Ummm, no pun intended.)
The first piece, with the skinny silver weft, is the very kind of cloth I've wanted to weave for a long time, and I like it. I like the balance of values and sheen, I like the scale of the design in proportion to the size of the piece and relative to the size of the yarns. Even the unfamiliar papery hand is interesting; it's crisp and almost tin-foil like, so not exactly showing off the best characteristics of merino, but perhaps "saved" by it. It's a heavy, rainy, December-in-Tokyo gray, (whereas Nelson this week is more dark moss green,) and I can see Ben wearing it in his previous life, in the latest cut of suit and width of tie every season, but we don't live that life any more, and I hope this finds a very special home.
(Sorry about my shadow; this was shot sideways and I couldn't take myself out of the shot.)
This is the piece I could easily see at a wedding or christening. Visually, I like this the best; it's fancy, celebratory, and has a weight I expect in silk. It makes me happy looking at it, and the draft is worth looking at several times as it's a little more complicated than at first glance. (All my draft pics are a little deceptive as I have blank picks, appearing as dark gray horizontal lines, so I know the start/end of each unit as I weave.)

I tend to see scarves and shawls as vertical pieces of cloth, and have often displayed them as such, but when worm, wider pieces present horizontally in parts, and with that in mind I'm thinking of weaving this draft and its variations turned.
This has the same weft as above, (and then don't wrinkle,) the worst selvedge, and a few other problems. Weaving this draft was more challenging as it's less "regular" and more "graphic". I like this the least because I don't know where to focus even now when I can see it as a whole; there is no emphasis nor flow, and this is useful in marrying my design with my preferences. Because I'm the hardest person to please.

While I don't intend to stop weaving the more predictable, same-pattern-all-over designs, (because I like them,) I also want to delve into creating drama, and this was an OK first step.
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When I was sick, I caught up on Craft in America. Episode XII includes a small production weaving mill which may interest you. I needed to be reminded cloth used to be heirloom, and we can all appreciate the way the lady says, "because it takes so long to make!.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Cell by Cell

I've been sick. And I don't mean my usual "under the weather/am I only lazy?" kind, but a full-blown sore-throat/runny-nose/continuous-sneezing/coughing-all-night-all-day version with fever and pains since Wednesday. I was taken by surprise and mightily annoyed but what can I do? I've occasionally fringed, occasionally read, ate a lot of frozen berries, (best for sore throat,) but mostly slept.

As far as sicknesses go, it's nothing and I was willing to give it a couple of days before Ben's Easter break. He's taking time off so we can clean up the house and garden for visitors and we were going on a short road trip. Darn.

Friday was my birthday but I was still sick so we watched hours of recorded TV programs, among them half a season of Monty Don; apparently 2012 was a wet year in the UK. We'd been having lovely still autumnal days and by Saturday I was utterly frustrated not being able to go outside, so in the morning I moved the pots on the patio so Ben could waterblast two exterior walls. Then I needed a lie down. 

That night we were supposed to have a full lunar eclipse. Ben's camera positioned at a vantage point, he stayed outside for a couple of hours but I kept coming in then going out to check progress. In the end we didn't have a full eclipse, but I stand around for over an hour, too, and this is Ben's best effort. He reminded me had it been a full eclipse, (i.e the white light at the bottom disappeared,) the whole moon would have been quite saturated dark red; we can't remember if we saw such an eclipse a few years ago but we know this wasn't our first outing.
It was a bit chilly outside, so Sunday was my worst day yet. However, unable to garden nor weave, nor cook nor read for any length of time, I have managed to fringe, five since the cashmeres, one already on its way to Japan. (No pic of that.)
I discovered some silks smell bad while immersed in warm water so I put the middle and right pieces through vinegar rinse. I used identical wefts for these pieces. Now they are supposed to hang in the air but since this is the first wash for the middle one, I laid them flat. I continue to struggle with technique/basic skills, but I do love these off of the gray merino warp. More pics when they're completely finished.
The wool piece isn't bad, either; this was the warp that didn't pleat. I like the color combo; the weft color doesn't change and I can't see this in real life, but here we are. I'm too smitten by the gray lot I don't have head space for this. Six more to fringe and finish. 

I'm now 57 years and 3 days old, 1093 days left for stash reduction. If you subscribe to the theory cells in your body gets replaced every seven years, I'm at the top of the Ninth Inning, and it's time I stop fluffing around and hunker down to the serious stuff of life, not just weaving but health maintenance and such; it's a fresh start and an ultimatum of sorts at once.

I think I need a nap before we go to the supermarket.