All Kinds of Crazy

We'll have been in this house for 20 years next January, and we're used to seeing roofs and cars covered in yellow pine pollen, but to our recollection this is the first time we saw a cloud-like formation over Rabbit Island, (and it's yellow in real life,) in spite of almost a week of consistent but sometimes tentative rain. I'm glad I got this season's (first?) hayfever meds yesterday.

In fact I came home with more head meds, (I spoke too soon in the last post; I kinda relapsed,) and a selection of probiotic stuff; Dr Karl is exploring the possibility my joint pains, vertigo, fatigue/lethargy and weight gain are related, (unlike my previous who gave me 500 generic paracetamols;) and if this works to plan, it may even ease my allergy. I hate medications, but if they work, (and most of the food to help maintain the, er, "biotics", we eat regularly anyway,) I'll regain my life. He also told me about slow-release steroid shots to take care of the hayfever. I'm such a fan of steroids, not, and he knows, so we delayed deciding, but if this year is going to be particularly bad, I might give it a go and get it over with.
I started the other side of the wee bag, and it's not progressing as spontaneously as I expected; the angle of the diagonals appears not as acute as the first half and I keep folding the piece in half to see if it matters. I bought an extra skein of the darkest blue, but may run out of lightest to proceed in the proportions I imagined I would. Or I could skip it on this side and not worry about it.
Pat came home and I got my Searles book yesterday. (Vendor only shipped within the US.) Although I only started reading, it appears to be just the book I needed right now, and not as difficult to understand as I feared. (It also has a lots of photos illustrating the text.) So far the technique appears almost in between loom-controlled and hand-manipulated, so not as onerous as I assumed.

I haven't started threading Baby Blankets #5 and #6 because I haven't come up with two attractive eight-shaft drafts. Weaving double weave requires my full attention with every pick, so I had started making simpler drafts, but this is not a sticky warp and there is no need to dumb down the interlacement, and I want to surprise myself.

I used to go into town with an ancient normal size backpack instead of a purse, then a small backpack, but lately small textile bags, many of them handmade, have been accompanying me. I am a bag lady; even if I don't use them, I like to imagine/mix/match fabrics/styles. I'm often seen loitering in bag shores and departments in Japanese department stores, not so much the high-end European leather stuff but more unique/handmade-y kind, fabric and leather.

Usually when I weave bag fabric, (or fabric I would like to turn into bags if/when I get around to designing/sewing outside my head,) they are either warp-end swatches or stash reduction projects. But like the baby blankets, there is no need to dumb down the design just because I'm bad at sewing. In fact specially designed-and-woven bag fabric projects might give me more satisfaction, (if not the usual hair-tearing bother,) if I make the weaving more labor-intensive, because I'm that kind of crazy.

I ordered some aforementioned "default" yarns; two kinds, eight colors, to audition Though all are in lovely colors, I chose what work with Mom's and my stash, (grays, dark blues and purples,) and I'm feeling sorry for myself for not being able to explore the 2/30 merino colors/combinations. But now that so much stash yarns are out of the boxes strewn all over the house waiting their turns, I don't have room to line up and study. But I'm enjoying my stash, and they are enjoyable once out of the boxes and I can visit with individual lots or introduce one lot to another.
Though not postcards, Jade invited me to join a Letter Journal group. It's mixed media mayhem in collaboration, as serious or light-heated as I want. I.e. vigorous proactive relaxation of the soul. True to my goal/award-carrot/stick-Lent/Easter predilection, I declared I can't join swaps until I weave two baby blankets, but now I'm revising that to after I've finished sampling the blanket warp. Meanwhile, I've been trying to improve my paper-cutting/slicing and hole-punching-on-the-fold skills in the evenings, neither of which are going great. You might say if I had time to do this, I could have joined already, but I know, it's my mini OCD. (The painted sheets were made two years ago, just so you know I'm not distracted to that extreme.)


Note to Self: Variety of Depression

The gray singles warp is finally off the loom; top three are going to have an old-fashioned feel but soft because of the Possum/Merino/Silk wefts. The undyed merino/mohair warp, for Baby Blankets #5 and #6, have been wound but I haven't been able to make two interesting drafts with family resemblance yet distinct, on the same threading. Soon. These are going to be extra slow to weave not only because of the width, (same as the gray,) but also the 28/2 wefts, nearly half the size of what I wanted.
I started a whim-y needlepoint project with three blues, the palest having a hint of yellow, plus ecru. If I were making a warp, I might have mixed yellows, a pale orange, grays, or even a lavender, or all these, to make it more 'interesting" but this thing is just for me and I wanted as close to monochromatic as poss. The problem is, I started from the top, then decided to fold it in half and make a small bag, and I wanted a lot of dark blue at the bottom. I should have made the two blues under the white thicker, so there's been some reediting/removing, standing back, staring and pacing. That's the unrushed luxury of not-planned projects.

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This last m-t-m depression was indeed mild but in a strange turn getting back to normal was harder. Maybe I wasn't as desperate enough; I was unsure for the last while whether I was still sick or lazy. Once out of the tunnel, though, life looks so clear and there is that grip on my own life I hadn't felt for months.

Last Sunday Ben helped me in the garden for a couple of hours, which got me back on track; though I'm way behind schedule, (when am I ever not?) and though hay fever started at 9.50 this morning, let's say the place is looking tidier today than it did a week ago and more plants got out of pots and into the ground.

For my own record, here's how this last version was different from all previous:

* Usually I have such hard time falling and staying asleep, but this time this was not a problem. Overall I got plenty of uninterrupted sleep at night, but often I could not stay awake during the day and had long naps as well.

* My appetite was as erratic as any other time. Some days I only had one meal, or just fruits, but I still gained weight, and haven't lost it.

* Indecision was just as bad as in the past, but I didn't worry about postponing as I knew it was a matter of time before I could make decisions.

* I never did the South Pacific Greeting this time, raising both eyebrows simultaneously and opening my eyes; usually this is the tell-tale sign to myself. I was no more bothered by bright lights than usual, but loud voices/noises were still painful.

* I've picked up many ways to distract myself since 2003, they delayed my picking up the latest episode, but I'd like to think it's also how I kept it mild.

* Because it happened at the same time as my hip problems, (it started with a cold/hips/m-t-m!!) I build in a simple exercise routine into my day. Though it wasn't followed every day, getting to move was not a problem, (unusual,) but after I finished, some days I stayed motionless in one posture for long periods, (normal when depressed, impossible when not.) Since I've gotten better, I often forget about exercises and get on with "the day".

* I could do two or three things most days, rather an none or one; most days I cleaned the kitchen/cooked dinner, read and wove. Laundry has never been a problem, nor ironing in recent years; the house at time got messy but on better days I managed tidying/vacuuming. So no new corner niche stacked with things "I'll take care of when I can think better."

* On days I couldn't weave, I could think of future projects and make plans. This surprised me. I would have loved to have made warps as I find this most invigorating, but since there are so many made already, I made only three.

* I could read. Not in depth, but I could concentrate long enough to read a few articles or long books in short spurts. And I comprehended/retained as much information as I normally do. (Which isn't much but I'd need some kind of a brain transplant to solve that one.)

* Because I've made my life so much smaller to concentrate on weaving, I didn't have to cancel/avoid to many people/social gatherings. For me, this is a good thing, trust me. Although there are a few people I should get in touch with pronto. I'm learning more about introverts, and a few years ago I would never have considered myself one, but I have some insight into where my anxieties come from.

* Long periods of (mild) anxiety can lead to depression. It was especially true in '03, '09 and this year; I don't known how to avoid them, as they are usually extrinsic, (this year, so many changes in the neighborhood since Nov/Dec, and serial breaking down of things in our house, and Ben's continued dental issues,) but there must be a fancy-named therapy that could help. (A few years ago when I did an online NZ self-help thing, the one JK fronts, I was recommended to look into something besides CBT but I can't remember what it was. Must ring them again.)

* * * * *

So here we are. My life is back to being quite cushy; the most dire problem this Sunday is appears to be no TV coverage of Brazil v Germany, (only the goal kicks, blah,) and the marathon, the one thing I look forward to four years. I hope your life is as lighthearted.


Weaverly Perspective

I forgot I drafted this two weeks ago. I need one more sitting to finish this warp.

* * * * *
It looked simple enough on the screen.
I started weaving the last piece of the would-have-been baby blanket warp. The weft is skinnier than the same yarn in different colors, I noticed it while winding the pirns, but that should have only flattened the pattern. When I started weaving, I couldn't see the patter, not even when I got off the bench and looked from different angles and under different lights.

When I finally could, the leafy shapes looked blockier, more square. And I saw a military (??) cemetery with identical markers for miles over rolling hills, the kind we see on films and TV with cannons and flags. Strange. If it had more colors, I might have seen rows of English beach sheds (??).

Both the single wool and possum/merino/silk will full, so I'm looking forward to wet-finishing this and two previous pieces, pale green and green and red. But these sure take a long time to weave. I think part of it is because I'm tiring of twill; I will never NOT weave these, I like them in general, the next blanket will be twill, but I think I need to get excited about getting to know another weave structure.

* * * * *

I've been thinking more about stitched double weave, not studying but exploring the kind of look I want to weave. Stitched double weave, as far as I can tell, are woven for two reasons: for design, mainly to introduce new colors; or structural, to either hold two layers together, or to envelop stuffing between layers. Or both. I was initially thinking of the design/color aspect, but that can be done in other ways, e.g. supplementary warp, careful (beyond my skill) dyeing, etc, as well. Which makes the experimentation less urgent. Except a two-layer scarf/shawl would be warmer than a single. I'm not stopping the research, but am looking for some kind of a goal/purpose/reason.

* * * * *

As regards the pick-up technique/book mentioned in the previous post, I have an idea I can't stop thinking about, but I don't know how practicable it is. I get the book in a week or two when Pat returns from the US, but I don't know if the idea is even pertinent to what the book covers. I'm plotting to weave a set of large-ish cloth/pictures with a theme.

The problem is, I think of weaving in terms of cloth, i.e. regular repetition of motifs making up a long rectangle. Making something with visual oomph, though, requires thinking not of columns and rows of cutesy motifs but the cloth/picture as a whole. For now I'm not planning on embellishing, especially of attaching/leaving hangy, sticky-outy bits, but making a picture inside or on top of a cloth/structure. The problem is, whatever I try to visualize, a starting point or something nearer an end product, all I see are flat cloth with perhaps a bit erratic color changes, and not too different from the usual.

This is going to take time.

* * * * *

Did you see Kaz's new toys? At first I thought, oh, yeah, the freestyle Saori thing, i.e. not for me. Then I wondered if the flexible reed would help bring a new kind of aesthetic to my cloth/pictures with a theme. Well, not just yet; the reeds are expensive, and I haven't done enough thinking. Heck, I haven't even started.