Thursday, March 22, 2018


Yesterday, while remedying "tied weave" labeling, someone cut the cable between Sydney and, I assume, Auckland, bringing our speed to an-old-drunk-turtle-with-two-legs-in-the-dark fast. Since we had super slow access Tuesday night, (and all other times as par for the course in the provinces,) I thought Blogger was locking me out for trying to edit 100 post. Ben thought it was only Facebook and Flickr, because all else appeared normal-slow. Things seem back to normal in this department, but then we have sporadic rain, by which I mean the kind so big I can't hear myself read and the gutter, cleaned a fortnight ago, sometimes overflows in all direction. There might have been called something else before, like "storm" or "torrential" or such, but now this is "rain". Today it's sporadic, but folks all over flooded in Feb might be worried sick, or plain sick of it all.

Anyway, my muscle ache on my back progressed from "it's there" to "OK, I hear you," so today instead of weaving up the black merino/mohair warp, I've been staring at samples and glancing a at books. I am being difficult looking to create interest not with the pattern warp creating shapes, but with the other part, the normally-tabby part, the background. I wished I could find the sample I wove in the 2011 workshop or the drafts I used, either in the workshop or after to post here, but nada. Once I post here, I see this as a one-stop shop and, well, the rest gets purged. Except the samples; that is a conundrum. Lucky, though, the author of the posts, (me,) focuses on areas I'm interested in, so they have been more helpful than the books. :-D

I'm trying to remember:

a) How to create the interesting "background" (i.e. normally tabby) background - what is the treadling; and
b) How does the appearance of the cloth change when I turn the draft so I can have think-thin in the warp but weave with just the one shuttle.

And then a light bulb went on. I want the A-side and B-side to look as similar as possible so I can sew them in a cylinder but you can still see the windows from all sides? Does it make sense I'm reading up on Summer and Winter?????

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Little Tied Up

Re. tied weaves, mostly Summer and Winter, and "Syrie", I looked at a small collection of samples I did for other projects yesterday.
1) Patterns are expressed by wefts.
2) I don't have to use patterns, i.e. I can have have big areas of backgrounds, (i.e. walls,) where Syria-inspired design will appear; weft can be seen, of course, but depending on the weft and warp yarn/s, size balance, and the pattern, they can be inconspicuous.
EDIT: It's now Feb 2020 and I'm rereading all posts relating to "Syrie" and I don't understand what I meant by inconspicuous. I know I didn't mean just showing blocks of weft floats, but this is what I'm thinking now.
3) I can use most of the shafts for the background and reserve just one for the pattern/windows if the windows are to appear in unison horizontally. The height of the windows can vary with  the treadling. If I want three sets of windows, where the third is a composite of two sets, I only need two pattern shafts.
Apologies the writing is tiny. The top pattern can be made with one or more pattern shafts, whereas the bottom two are examples of using two shafts.

I'll stop here today; more in a couple of days.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


I finished the light teal fabric on the merino/mohair warp; I got 130cm. I certainly had plenty of warp to weave another proper, long piece. Instead of using up another green possum/merino/silk for a small piece of fabric and cutting off the warp, I decided to use an unknown, unsampled wool from Mom's stash.
That's what she wrote; doesn't mean much to me. It's skinny and very airy, but under tension, almost non-existent so the finger feels the stringiness of the mohair in the warp. The merino portion of the warp will full, but this could be the thinnest wool fabric I've ever woven.
And the motif is squashed a little. One ball wove 40cm and there are three more of approximately the same size. I may manage to use it all up. And that's the yellow-green I had wound already.

This was supposed to be a warp producing three longer-than-usual pieces with different sheen;  imagine it turning into a user-upper of odds and sods.

* * * * *

Yesterday was all about how I'd like "Syrie" to look. Within reason. I wasn't going to wish for, oh, 1m-wide, 5m-long strips, five to seven making up one leek, and/or many leeks as a set, for example. That could better depict the destruction of a community, but realistically, I don't know how I could wet-finish and more crucially dry wide or very long piece. I'm also entertaining the option to have most of the strips about the same length, for a more cohesive/tidy piece, as an alternative to... crumbling carnage and destruction.

I finally started looking into weave structures, as I neared the end of the black warp. I started taking notes focusing on how to create those windows.

I haven't watched much coverage of Syria; it's getting so hopeless, as Palestine has been forever. I feel ambivalent about pursuing this project while not keeping updated, not paying attention.

* * * * *

Rereading RAW's blurbs, I confirmed their aim for this exhibition was as simple and straightforward as I had remembered.
The only other stipulation is the artists reside in New Zealand. Although... how one measures/avoids "cultural and artistic influence" from probably the very start of life is beyond me; no sarcasm, I understand they used a narrower definition of culture in the context, and yet that's a chalk line on a sandy beach about to welcome high tide, no? (Did you know, unless deaf or with other difficulties, a baby knows the sounds of his/her native language by the time he/she is born, and certainly recognizes the mother's voice? That's background for you.)    

I grew up in a house devoid of fine art, save the nice calendars Japanese companies used to distribute. My parents love/d natural landscapes, and Mom loves calendars all over the house, so they took up prime positions, but I remember distinctly the first time I saw a woman in a red or orange dress standing behind a table with possibly a bowl of fruits. I assumed it a Cezanne, or possibly Renoir, or even a Monet, but I can't find it. You know, the well-known one with a young, slender woman, possibly blonde, or with a hat? That was the first and for a long time the only painting I had stared at over and over. That was it for "art". 

Mom is a jock and a super keen practitioner of anything textiles. Dad read Chemistry stuff for work, edited professional journals for extra income, and studied newspapers every morning then revised in the evenings, so in his spare time he read little. We had very few books other than what my parents bought me, and it wasn't until I was 10 or 12 when I started buying books by the school-bags-full that a tiny library emerged. I don't remember my siblings dipping into my books, they being seven and 13 years my junior, but at least they grew up with books aplenty.

In junior high, between 13 and 15, I sensed if I wanted to be a well-rounded person, (you may burst out laughing,) I had to educate myself about visual/fine art and started visiting art exhibitions. In a way it wasn't a stretch as my parents took me, the budding archeologist, to plenty of history/ethnographic museums, but whereas it's easy to understand what a gate or a plate does, despite long time ago and far, far away, art was... different. Art didn't have utility, and for a family of pragmatists, super practical folks, art was decorative, and beyond that, perplexing, something, "we don't do." 

My very first art exhibition visit was of horrible Bruegel prints in the now-defunct prefectural art gallery in Kamakua. I loved the building, which now has heritage protection but must await an expensive/extensive quake-strengthening. But the works, yikes; a bunch of chubby, horrible, drunk people falling everywhere. I could hear and even smell the commotion depicted in the prints inside that serene space. I'm surprised it didn't turn me off exhibitions for life.

For that I have Japanese department stores to thank; many are right next to major train stations. Exhibitions were sometimes crowded but inexpensive, and back in the 70's and 80's, they usually showed poplar and approachable art. I remember distinctly a dreamy Mucha exhibition that mesmerized me, and a Wyeth exhibition more crowded than the morning trains, nobody moving or breathing.

But I grew up in Japan; craft was everywhere. Some were so high-end there were rooms in many homes we kids weren't allowed without adult supervision, especially the "guests rooms". A room usually close to the front door, often away from the "living" area, where we had the best sofa sets with arms and even backs covered in white lace or embroidered protectors. At Grandfather's one never knew which casually-placed item was worth several months' salary of any grownup telling us to walk quietly. Mom let us handle anything in our house, from Grandfather's hand-me-downs to Trade Aide style naive but oh, so, inviting, pieces. She may not "do art" but she has encyclopedic knowledge of Japanese regional crafts, (which I knew but began to really appreciate in 2012,) and she has visited gazillion textile places in Asia, Europe, and Guatemala. I had exposure to craft, and curiosity and passion came naturally.

Then came reading about art. This was a long and frustrating struggle until I finally picked up some vocabulary, and learned how to think and talk about art by picking the brains of people who knew/taught this stuff. And talking to people who make stuff and getting their stories from the source. And learning there are folks who write/critique without knowing the artists or their processes, that there is such an industry as art writing. And not finishing reading articles I don't like it; not feeling obliged to like the artist even if I like the work, or vice versa. And finally, enjoying looking at art with some knowledge but unburdened by them.

Rosie once replied to my request for an alternative to "ugly", in a more measured manner I don't mind being overheard; she taught me, "challenging". Kate once advised me, when someone compliments, "just smile and say, 'Thank you'." Weavers are good at sharing; folks like Rose Pelvin and Pat Spitz, and many strangers online can't help themselves but be kind to us middlings stranded on a loom.

Otherwise, I've had my head down and bum up to learn to weave; shedding anything else in my life that got in the way; making warp after warp of lukewarm stuff, or worse; occasionally finding small victories but otherwise trying to keep my head above the water. I'm still learning, I'm still making questionable decisions and cloth, and somehow I'm still loving it all.

That about sums up my art training, my culture. 

* * * * *

I didn't finish the MOMA course writing. I got what I wanted out of the course, and I hadn't signed up for certification, so no regrets. My only worry is if they will let me sign up for another without having finished the first if I find something else interesting. But then there are so many others online, so...  

Monday, March 19, 2018

Testing, Testing

Today I started trying out sizes, (length) and shapes. The strips are 1/10 of 50cm-wide/3.5m-5.5m-long pieces. I'm 150cm tall in this model, (more like 145cm in person,) while the wiry guy is 180cm.  The strips are cut-to-size cheap drawing paper, painted with acrylic, and I'm using florists' wire to shape them; they behave differently from cloth hung with nylon cords, but it's a start.
This is me looking up at a low-hanging 4m strip.
Here's me looking up at the 4.5m strip while the low-hanging 4m strip touches the wiry guy's head. (Ignore the Aged Balsamico bottle; it keeps the leek upright.)
Here's me standing under a 5m strip while wiry guy is under a low-hanging 5.5m strip.
We swapped places. A piece of the other leek crept into the picture.

I have some notes from "Pillars":
1) "Pillars" were suspended from sticks resting on top of joists and a ledge on the wall, the top of the joist being higher than the ledge. "Pillars" pieces were between 3.2m-ish (??) to just under 4m-ish from memory, and none touched the floor. If the leek pieces are to sit directly on the floor and the tops to be, say, level with the top of the joist, I surmise the strips need to be around 4.2-4.5m long, even longer.
If any are to hang low/slanted at an angle, even if they don't need to reach the joist, (and they don't have to,) I'd still like an absolute minimum of 4m but as much as 5-5.5m.

2) At first I wanted lots of skinny strips, something like a leek/tree. But my theme this time is buildings, so wider is better and if that means fewer, I can live with it. While weaving the fabric on the current warp, roughly 55cm-wide, I thought I could weave as wide as 62-63cm, but much more slowly; with shrinkage/draw-in, this could still yield <>60cm in width. Even wider would have given the desired effect, (as do many more strips or even two leeks,) but I'm not going there. If I manage to weave four pieces, the bottom need not be circular/cylindrical, and a square becomes an option. I must experiment with wider paper strips.

3) While one or two strips may stand straight-ish, others will splay outward. When sewing the cylinder/square, I must imagine how the piece as a whole will be shaped and decide if some pieces will have A-side on the outside, while others B-, so the windows can be seen to best effect. If the location within the gallery is such that viewers can walk around the piece, all pieces may have the same side on the outside/inside. Where I saw sides of different strips together, it is best for the non-window parts, (exterior walls,) to look similar. Or does it matter?? Instinct tells me a balanced twill would work, but jury is still out until I study other weave structures.

* * * * *

This weekend, we started the old but familiar exhibition-prep where Ben has had to cook more and make sure we eat. I've done a bit of batch cooking, pickles, roast veg, etc., but there may be some takeaways. Or chocolate.

I began looking forward to weeding a while back, too, and we have had friendlier weather, but you know? Ha. Ha. Ha.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Making More Loose Ends

I made two new warps this week. I have used more than I remembered, but there are always around 30 premades. My goal this year is to reduce this number to about 10 at any time. (For one thing their usual spot gets afternoon sun, and even with an old bed sheet over them, it's not ideal as long-term storage. But I'm not adamant, because making warp is one of the most therapeutic activities in my life. Actually, the most, because physicality, tactility, colors, and the subconscious planning running like a film in my head take me to a happy boisterous place. As opposed to the happy quiet place while I thread.

* * * * *

On Friday, I asked art teacher Mark what I thought was a dumb question: in order to create abstract "art", does one have to start with something figurative and abstract/distort it to "reach" an abstracted stage, or can one start with shapes and colors and proceed directly, and his answer, to the first part before I got to the second, was, "Hell, no."

Happy dance.

* * * * *

Re Raw/Syrie, I'd been planning on weaving strips 40-50cm wide, because they are easier/quicker to weave than the almost-60cm I'm weaving right now. I visualize four or five of them making up the one leek, and intuition says they are, on average, to be between 4 to 5m long. That's a whopping 20-25m of weaving, when the maximum length on my horizontal mill is somewhere between 21-24m, loom waste and all.

Let's say 40cm-wide times four pieces yield 160cm circumference at the bottom of the leek, (realistically, this minus shrinkage and seams,) about 50cm in diameter. If I weave 60cm-wide, three pieces yield 180cm/57cm; slower weaving per vertical cm, but a lot less in total length, right?

I've also come up with an easy twill solution if I can't get my head around tied or freeform weave structures, if I run out of time, for the windows. I haven't given up on tied weave because I want the cloth to be stiff rather than drape-y, but now I have a fallback plan. Which, hee hee, makes me feel so professional/experienced. (Laugh in union, good people!)

In response to my doubts about "Syrie", (I have to come up with a better working title because it sounds too close to "Siri",) Ruby commented on Facebook: "2 thoughts for you: 1)Working in series is being an artist. 2)Fear of success is real (and very different than fear of failure). Just do it and try to enjoy the fact that you love weaving and engaging with yarn and color."

I never saw "Pillars" as a start of the series. The fact "Syrie" is similar, I saw as only a restriction of and reflection on the technique of conventional loom weaving, and my unwillingness to cut or otherwise distort/enhance the rectangles coming off the looms. As well, I have always been enamoured by architecture and archeology, and in big parts by the simple beauty and regularity of tall pillars in ancient civilizations, European and American Colonial architectures, including, ummmm, plantation/slave-owners' homes, but also public institutions. Also anything square and symmetrical of all sizes. So, in a way, it stands to reason whenever I want to make something that's conceptual on my looms, my defaults are regular-looking pillars and buildings and such. (I've also long had this idea of weaving a city gate.)  And this is fine by me, this being my thing, a series, but if it is, I hope I make more than just the two.

"Fear of success" I don't understand. I find the process of conception to plan to making to hanging, (i.e. the bringing to life the mental picture using the stuff I made), and all on a tight schedule, all-consuming I don't have any brain juice left. Ergo, when I'm working, I'm unencumbered by the fear of failure. Success, especially in relation to exhibitions, have meant having gotten stuff done in respectable time. You remember I have submitted stuff late with the organizer's permission, or proposals with damp pages; I even went back after a show opened to give my stuff one last good steam press, all recorded.

My fear of failure is the fear of embarrassment of not having executed something well, to my satisfaction and if related to an exhibition, to my own perception of standards which may make my stuff submittable beyond Nelson's art/NZ's textile worlds, which are, let's face it, tiny; and misc guilt/regrets always present in my life. And/or ego/pride.

Suffice it to say my fear of failure thus far focused on technique. Syrie presented my first doubt whether my "process" is "deep enough", and I'm mildly amused. It could be a sign of creative maturity, not as in "I've grown up," but more "I've done this a few times, so is the same-old good enough?" Or it's just a bunch of gobbledygook.

Happily I'm stuck in the old energized frenzy for now, and any reflection has to wait until after the deadlines.

* * * * *

Better view of the first piece off.
View of the second piece, which ended up being, the notebook says, 2m, but I think it's less. Either way, it's a respectable size, with possibly very-long-for-me fringes. The vertical portion shows the colors pretty accurately on my screen.
I like the B-side better, but I don't know where that unsightly arc came from.
Warp end fabric. This weft is more light teal, whereas the silk above is a slightly-green pale blue.

Here's a lesson from a reckless weaver. This warp is my standard "10m", though I  know that's not the exact length on the board. I wove two biggish samples, one long piece, and another average piece with long fringes, so experience told me I haven't got enough warp left for a third proper piece. I chose this light teal possum/merino/silk to weave a warp-end fabric, possibly for a friend who loves teal and knows how to sew. Well, it turns out I had more weft yarns than I imagined, but not enough for a proper piece and I may have had enough warp for a proper piece. So I'll get 92cm, 1m at best, of this, and a smaller one probably in another green. Silly/stupid/reckless, but a great exercise in using up odds and ends; works well enough if you have to work through a stash as big as mine.

And I'm not sick of this draft yet.

Good times.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Swapping/Trading with Ruby

Look what I got in the mail from Ruby on Wednesday! 
It's a beautiful scarf with multi-color tansel warp and blue cashmere weft, with a terrific sheen and a lovely weight. With a lovely card and I even love her handwriting!
Look at the fringes; I can't stop playing with them.
Physically, the fulled cashmere sits above (?) the warp, and seen sideways it looks like a dark blue scarf with a dull sheen, but from other angles, the sheen of tansel make the warps pop forward and the weft appears more like a filler or background. Amazing.

Because Mom likes light-weight pieces, I've always worked hard to make my cashmere pieces light, starting with 12 EPI but settling at 15 or 16. Then in 2012 I tried closer sett, 18EPI, which produced heftier, luxurious weight. This piece has that kind of weight; it reminds you you are wearing something utterly lovely.

It'll be a while before I can work on my end of the swap, but for now I'm thinking fine NZ merino in the warp and cashmere in the weft. Although it might end up something totally different.

Thank you, again and again, Ruby!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Insomnia to the Rescue

Last week, I did a lot on Monday and Tuesday and by Wednesday I was exhausted and it lingered until Thursday. So this week on Monday I did a little housework and a little weaving; on Tuesday I did a little weeding, (I carried a kitchen timer so I wouldn't overdo it,) and wove quite a lot. I'm halfway done with the slubby silk piece; it's going to be 180-190cm in length, a little shorter than I wanted it to be, but an acceptable size.

On Wednesday, I didn't feel sick but I had been reading a fun book for kids, "The Traitor and The Thief", by an Englishman based on the North Island here; it's my favorite kind of book that takes me to a different time and place and let's me live the experience. And I finished the book instead of weaving. Later that night I went to bed and read an excruciatingly boring ketogenic cookbook. Maybe this is why I couldn't asleep, so I tried to plan practical steps/tasks for "Syrie"; it went on too long for comfort, but I did see what I needed to do next, got up surprisingly energized.
I placed "Syrie" warp candidates, cotton and silk, where I usually put warp candidates. To the left of the pale blue silk towards the wall/door are wool I'll use as wefts. (The pic shows a lot of oranges, but some are serious reds.)
I painted strips of 5cm-wide drawing paper so I can make 1/10 size mockup. I remembered I did the same thing with the "Pillars" was I was making 15cm and 18cm people, but I couldn't find a pic posted here. That one looked like a failed diorama homework by a disinterested second grader done in fifteen minutes, but it did give me a good picture. It had the corner of the large gallery at Refinery to scale, and I hung some gray paper 1/10 of the size I had intended to make, with 150cm and 180cm-tall "people" looking up. With "Syrie" I don't need the gallery, but I'd like to try a few variations on the final form/shape.

A good mock up will probably be what I submit as my proposal because 1) there is no way I can weave the whole thing by my birthday, but more importantly, 2) submitting a big red floppy leek can't tell the committee much but the mock up will provide a better idea.

I must read about free-style and tied weaves right away so I can superimpose windows on "building/s" woven in some kind of Syria/Muslim-inspired motif-based pattern, something I can manage with 16-shafts. Boy, I wished I had more or a Jacquard to make Arabesque/flowers and vine design for this. Anyhoo, the Klick is ready for some sampling.
I also made Esther's Birthday warp while waiting for the red paint to dry; it's in four grays and black. When she came over to have a look at my cashmere samples, she liked conservative/traditional twills, especially achromatic. I can do that.

* * * * *

I've convinced myself "Syrie" is going to turn out crappy even before I made the warp. I've been wondering why this is. I've given up projects when I can't be bothered, but I've never had this foreboding causing reluctance/hesitance. It's probably because I'm usually too busy working out the mechanics and due dates are the biggest worry. I work while I imagine the piece looking just the way I see it in my head, and then come face to face with my technical weaknesses and, whoa, reality and sometimes dispair hit me, and I complain, and blog, and then move on.

I never worried "Pillars" would turn out badly. There were no rude surprises with that project, and although I didn't know exactly how it would look until we hung it in the gallery,  I was confident I would like it and it would look good in the exhibition.

I don't know why it's so different this time. Is it because "Syrie" is similar to "Pillars" I see it as Version II, (even though its origins are different,) and that I'm cheating? Do I find my approach or vision facile or immature/underdeveloped? Have I learned too much about textile work in exhibitions and my ideas don't meet my expectations? Is it my technical skills that worry me?

Or is it the magnitude of what's happening in Syria vs my audacity to borrow their fate as "inspiration" to make a few pieces of red cloth in my cushy First World basement and put my name on it instead of, as if it represents any kind of... what... reality? I don't know, I don't know if I'll ever know. But making this feels better than not making this, so I'll stay on track for now.

So it was insomnia to the rescue once again.

Monday, March 12, 2018


I'm eight days behind my vague schedule, but I finished the first piece today. I like it and sincerely hope wet-finishing won't change it much. I like the proportion and the sheen, and woven in smaller scale and bright colors, I can see how the draft can be so cute as pansies/hellebores pieces. I was going for 240-270cm, but quit at 239cm because I would have had to prep another prin, and I wanted to get to the second piece fast. I hope it's long enough; if I put it in the Suter, I'll have front of desk staff Kirstin try it on; she's super tall and she can give me a picture of whether it's a good size for my idea of how to wear this. Sorry the pic is so dark, but it's a really dark piece and I finished around 7PM so this is all the light I had.
I started the second piece using E as the weft. It's slubby, not boucle, and after wet-fishing, the warp almost gets sucked into the sea of pale-blue-green, (lighter in value than in the pic.) As a weft it's too thick in places so: 1) there will be some unseemly long warp floats, and 2) the draft will be elongated warp-wise. But I also have good reasons: 1) I want to try some textures in my weaving, and 2) I think the piece will have that luxurious, hefty silk weight. When I stayed at Kaz's in 2014, she let me try one of her big silk pieces, (sorry, I couldn't find a good view of it on her blog,) and not only was it bright and beautiful with lots of purple, but it had that familiar weight of silk one feels when putting on a good old kimono. This won't be anything like that, but I wanted to give it a go, something different from what I normally make. Above pic shows two "rows"/units out of 16 in one weft repeat.

I am eight days behind my vague schedule because I had that "whatever I make will be meh," thing and I couldn't be bothered with "Syrie"; I wasn't feeling well Wed/Thurs; I didn't want to go to art class on Friday, but I wanted to see a doco about a Swiss/New Zealand jewelry maker Kobi Bosshard with Esther, so I went. And it was good: art class was about colors, and although I fudged what we were supposed to be doing, (making one grid of warm-to-cool colors, another of analogous,) I made some nice colors with paint labeled as student arcylic, but behved more like gouache.
These are test sheets before I filled my grids; dark blues were much on my mind. My warm-cool grid turned muddy and I didn't even attempt to finish the analogous.

The film was superb, and I'd like to go see it with Ben again if we have the chance; before that, lunch with Esther was good because we talked about art vs. craft, concepts/ideas in making, and the fear of failure; after the film I saw Changing Threads, (varied entries, some superbly crafted, some with good ideas, but the show as a whole felt sparse;) I went to Volume to pow wow with Stella and Thomas; and the day ended with Ben and me at the Vietnamese restaurant. And somewhere between playing with colors and talking with Esther and learning about Kobi, I got a bit of my mojo back, so "Syrie" is back on again. Except I only have 21 days left to at least come up with a sample.


I feel better, but not completely, which makes me grumpier than the usual grumpy. I'm wasting so much time. If not working, I'd like to be weeding and tidying. Cicadas have long left and the sun and air have turned autumnal a couple of weeks ago. JB and Ali left Nelson for Germany last week so summer is truly over, and we get a very late delivery of firewood on Thursday.

And I have stuff to weave.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Is any Age not Difficult?

I had trouble with antibiotics; I forgot to take it on Friday, which explains why I had more energy and wove for two hours without a break. Came yesterday morning I took one and I was well and truly out of commission. I started well today but had one last dose left, so early/middle of the day was lost, but I've been OK from late afternoon; I even wove a little. But I'm having tension problems on the sides, especially the left selvedge, so I'm weaving extra slowly.

This antibiotics' side effects aren't as acute as other kinds but I felt so out of it, similar to but less drowsy than strong hay fever or cold meds. Which is why on the day I was prescribed this, I took it before I went to bed. The instructions only said once a day, so I thought it'd work. But force of habit is a strange thing; we take supplements in the morning so I went that way for the rest of the time. Silly, really.

* * * * *

Mom keeps sabotaging our art-on-Skype; she insists she wants to talk about weaving, but whenever we do, what needs saying fit inside five minutes. She says she wants advice on colors, for e.g., but I called her bluff; in the eight years we talked colors on Skype, I've watched her eyes glaze over, while I think of all sorts of way to make, usually a warp, interesting and unexpected for her. The number of times she's gone ahead with my suggestions is exactly zero.

As well, if we do stuff on Skype we do stuff, and we even make interesting observations sometimes; otherwise we revisit the same old topics every week: the weather, health, crimes; how she misses nature by living in an apartment; how her three friends never have ideas about where to go on their next monthly trip, (not true,) or how she needs to do all the organizing, (possibly true.) For two to three hours. I can't see how this can be remotely healthy.

I don't want to push her too much, because she's never uncomfortable trying new things with me; I also want to lead her away from being stuck in the same unproductive thoughts and have the chance to talk about new things. And it's not as if we don't talk about the "normal" things at the start before we get into "art".

87 is a difficult age. As is 59. I'm thinking of getting John Leland's "Happiness is a Choice you Make" after revisiting his Fresh Air interview many, many times. One thing he said have stayed with me, and of course I'm paraphrasing; he said something like, "appreciate when oldies show up, because we have no idea how much work it took for them to show up." Good lesson, isn't it?

* * * * *

My view as I weave; I have no idea about the second weft.

Friday, March 2, 2018


Hue, value and size of weft are good. Size and proportion of motifs are good. One weft repeat is just under 780 picks, and weaving slowly and paying attention to the selvedges, doable in a couple of hours, comes to about 80cm, but a little hard on the body so I need to take more breaks. I'm going for longer pieces on this warp, 240-270cm, so at least two more sittings to come for this piece.

The selvedge is, ummmm, 6/10, but that's me. Neither yarn fluffs up in the finishing, so the cloth will be "bumpy" or "dry" like cloth made of thickish cotton or silk, not "cushy" or "meaty" like my usual, but this is new-ish to me and appealing in a different way.

The colors are darker and more blue/navy, not predominantly purple. Today I needed three sets of lights in the middle of a cloudy, sometimes rainy day, to see where I was going.

But I like this.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


I got tired the sound of my voice, inside my head, whining, "I don't like any of the wefts..." so I sampled another lot. Usually this is a no-brainer, but the basement still looks like this; actually it looks messier because I've been moving stuff around as I work, but I dug in and got some more wool.
Oh, the top blue, I have about that much more left and that's it, but I had to try. The dark green possum/merino/silk I forgot I had because it's so not my color but it works in this context. Possible. All three naturals look unnaturally white in contrast to the very black black warp, so for now I'm not planning on using them.
I'm not a fan of using variegated yarns in the weft because they look stripey. The top navy/purple/green is a wool of some type my source sent me by mistake. It's woolen but tightly spun, but not high twist, and skinny and somewhat shiney, and not soft; it's not corse, but "hard". The resultant cloth, (still damp,) almost feels like I used, oh, a silk of some kind, not fluffy, not meaty, but drapes nicely, and the uniform value hides the stripiness; in fact the colors look great. So, unless the cloth turns out wire-y when completely dry, this is a definite yes.

The brown/range/yellow/pink (yes!)/green is 100% merino; years ago I bought 2kgs of it as a challenge to myself during my "absolutely no orange" period. It looked a little more sedate on the website, but unruly in real life, and over the years I asked many weavers what they would do. Knowing I hate taming colors by combining them with black, many have said this may be one time I might have to do that, all 2kg of it. It is a nice merino, and with the motif so big and in-your-face, I wondered if it might work in this context, and I'm kind of sitting on the fence, swinging my legs, and acting coy.

Black on black turned out funereal, although with 100% merino the warp does stand out just the way I expected. I'll do the dark blue variegated first, then either dark green P/M/S or the screamy orange, and then I'll decide. Names like "Shadows", "Ancestors", "Crowd" and "Picture Album" come to mind, so apparently I'm still on the many-faces track.

Between our colds, intermittent rain and threats of more horrendous weather, we've managed to wash and dry the wool carpet but not the underlay. Plus, if we are going to get more rain, we want to make sure the basement remains dry before we put that tiny area back to normal. Which is why I'm working in this obstacle course for now; at some stage soon we need to put things away because Syrie warp needs to be made on the horizontal mill, (it's the one in front of the back storage wearing a bedsheet,) and I don't really want to make a delicate warp in the garage.

I'm faring better, but I've been clearing my throat noisily every few minutes and I don't want to be a nuisance in class or at the cinema, so tomorrow is going to be a home day.