Murphy's Law has been Renamed Meg's Rule

Yesterday I went downstairs eager to keep working on the hellebores. The sun was high, coming in indirectly, making my web look like a study in simultaneous contrast. Feeling giddy, I was ever so eager to show you nice after I wove half a repeat, so I advanced the warp. And... I had this strange feeling, as you do, so I looked around, walked to the back of the loom, checked everything, randomly tugged on the warp, and, gosh, darnit... 
From where I sit as I weave, the first and third inch bouts (?) from the right selvedge suddenly loosened! It was so weird I couldn't believe my eyes, but as I type, I'm glad I tugged on the right bits. 
Because the problem corresponds to the distance from the right selvedge exactly, the first and the third inches, (is that intelligible English?) my first thought was the lashing had come undone, but no, no problem there. Besides, I'm almost a meter in, and lashing problems usually present themselves earlier. So I can only conclude that after I threaded/sleyed, when I usually wind back the warp about 30cm, there must have been "folds" or loose bits or something in the first and the third bouts. Or strange creatures live in my basement and mes with my looms at night.   
I had no problem until I tugged on the warp at the back, which was about 1/3 of the way into the last purple weft. I probably should have stopped right there and even unpick, but I must have been in a bit of panic, I hung all my fishing weights on the two bouts, (hardly enough!) and wove until the end of the motif. I sourced a vinegar bottle and an oil bottle for proper, heavier weights, but didn't feel much like weaving today. I'll decide if I want to unpick the last 62 picks tomorrow. I also checked the rest of the warp and there was no further, immediate danger.

Ummm... Phew?

* * * * *

You know, Rugby started in Japan and although we've watched perhaps one game since 2011 or even before that, (I quit when John Mitchell was named coach, which was, oh, dear, 2001!) Ben's been watching whatever free-to-view, (always delayed,) coverage he can find this time. Friday night was Japan vs. Russia, last night was All Blacks vs. Boks, so to keep him company, I started on my biggish tie-dye project as well.
It reminds me of when I tried to learn how to knit while in college; when the game is good, the stitches are finer; when the game is boring, the stitches looser. :-D


I Live for Days like These

Tuesday's Shaft 8 problem became Wednesday's Shafts 1, 2 and 4 problem, which was easier to fix. Wednesday night Ben took apart and cleaned/lubricated the printer cable plugs, (remember those with gazillion prongs at each end?) which fixed it, at least for now.

Yesterday I wove a small sample, as I wanted to see the interlacement and saturation of colors in the revised hellebore draft, in comparison to all the tied weave samples I did before I rethreaded. It turned out much more saturated. I also chose pinks and purples as weft colors, primarily because I love single hellebores in dark pink/claret to purple to slate (less saturated but darker in value purples) in my garden. 

Today I added a few other wefts, a saturated teal, a Delft blue, and a bright yellow, because I wasn't convinced yesterday's selection had any zing. Now that I've woven some, I can't decide if this was the right decision.
Wefts: pinks, purples, plus three punchy colors; 15 in all. There are 16 motif units in one repeat. I'm not using them in a regular order, but alternating pink and purple more or less; three colors can act as either, and three neither. I've woven one repeat, 2/7 of the first piece, and am thinking of using only pinks and purples for the next one and a half repeat, and then mixing teal, yellow and blue in the last one repeat. 
Sorry, these colors are very inaccurate as I took pics as the sun was going down and coming in directly into the basement, but you can still see how the saturated teal lifts the pinks and purples around it.
Yellow and blue are quite different from the surrounds, and they do give the cloth a zing, but I'm not sure if I like it. 
This is my view as I weave: I have all the samples form this warp hanging in front of me, and you can see how saturated this draft is, (the small piece from about the center to the left,) compared to the previous tied-weave samples. As well, tied weave had 60/2 cotton tabby wefts influencing the pattern weft colors. 
My instinct is to use only friendly, harmonious colors together. But when I see textiles, paper, paintings, etc, with unexpected color giving the work a lift, I admire the effect. My initial selection looked dull and "heavy", so I thought I'd try the technique, but a more conservative approach might have worked better in this case. We'll see. 

There is another; the hellebore flowers are strangely elongated. Each motif is 62 ends wide x 62 picks long, at 42EPI, 20/2 mercerized cotton. Usually when I make square-ish drafts, on the loom they look squashed/flattened, and this could be my very first experience of the shape being longer/thinner than I envisioned. I could edit the draft, or in future, I could change the sett to 39EPI or even 36; this warp, however, at around 62cm on the loom, is as wide as I can weave comfortably so I am not resleying. Because I sampled quite a bit of this warp, I'm hoping to get two longish (240cm?) pieces.

Still, I'm thrilled I'm finally weaving my hellebore flowers in cotton; there is so much I want to do with this I see many more project based on this series of drafts. Also, playing with lovely saturated colors gave me many ideas about a commission piece coming up. I'll tell you about them soon.

I'm also working on a "bold" design for the next tye-dye shirt, but ditched the lacy knitting because the yarns were too fine and delicate, knitting cables was silly/untenable.



I've been home two weeks and one day, and in that time I thought a lot about Mom's new environment, family history and dynamics, self-awareness, "old people problems", and other stuff, but some days my mind drew a big, pale, soft, foggy blank. When I do (attempt to) think, I've been haunted by stuff, that's material possessions; I've dreamed, almost hallucinated, about which of Mom's stuff to give away/sell/throw away, to whom, and if discarding, how, when and where. And how we don't really need most of the stuff we think we can't live without.

It was an intense 26 days living amidst so much stuff needing to be gotten rid of, in a small-for-Kiwi-me apartment, in 35C heat and 70-80% humidity, without any other notable responsibility or expectations. There's probably a post or a dozen on these thoughts later. Or not; it was in a way such a surreal experience, (on the other hand all too real,) for a relatively short time sometimes it's hard to believe it happened to me. 

Although I missed out on a wonderful cold spell in Nelson in August, it's still cool and occasionally wet, still great gardening weather for moi, but except for short spurts I haven't been outside. Inside needed tidying up, but otherwise I'm trying to reset my weaving and other meaningful pursuits, because among other reasons, Mom now requires financial support.

It appears I'm developing a kind of pattern in my life, though it could be temporary. I seem to start the day cleaning out the kitchen, planning dinner and do other housework; followed by writing and verbal thinking in the morning, (among others, letters, which I have to write to Mom as her new room was too tiny for a clunky laptop;) followed by non-verbal things, like weaving, planning/developing projects, tidying/sorting/experimenting from mid-afternoon onward; and must have menial stuff in the evenings. More than once when I didn't have evening pursuits, I resorted to ironing while watching the telly! I lived without a telly in Japan, so when I came back I couldn't stand all the noise and distraction, (and the amount of advertisement in NZ,) but unfortunately I've gotten back into the pattern of "having it on" in the evenings while staring the the laptop screen at the same time. I started another YA novel last night so hopefully that will get me out of this rut. 
I finished rethreading my cotton yesterday, and really looked forward to finally seeing the hellebores/pansies come to life in lively cotton colors, except Shaft 8 is not lifting. After a quick assessment, Ben reckons this problem may be a bit more complicated than the myriad of previous problems with this loom. Crikey. Not ideal, as I have two commissions, one a rather urgent one due mid-October, waiting to go on this loom. But then this loom always presented problems just before something big or urgent, so for now I'm going to remain optimistic.

If I lose this loom, though, there is no way I can find/afford anything else like this or even an 8-shaft floor, say, so there is much dread behind gritted teeth in my smiley face. In a strange twist, the feeling life doesn't go the way one hopes, (which is strictly not true - I think we notice only when it doesn't but not so much much when it does,) has become so familiar, I'm haven't become particularly alarmed, frustrated, or pace-around-the-house mad; is this aging, am I jaded, or worse yet, or even a defeatist?? 

At Mom's, I found a two-thirds finished cashmere/cotton hat she started soon before/after her 2016 exhibition; it wasn't anything spectacular, (read: painfully boring,) but I thought I could finish it while there. No way, I was not only exhausted every night and I couldn't stand to touch wooly things, so I brought it home and finished it; it's wearable if she chooses to wear it. LOL. Check.
I started another tube scarf, but it's too lacy and I'm not sure if I'll go ahead; I'm going to knit 4-5cm in cable and keep it as reference either way. I'm using four strands of 2/72 soft wool. (That's what the cone says, not Merino, but almost feels like Merino.) Oh, look at the wrinkles on my fingers! With all the washing in the kitchen and the laundry without gloves in Japan, I did pretty well and my skin never looked too bad because of the humidity, but back in Nelson and I can't find moisturizer/cream strong enough to combat the dryness, even though it's been raining quite a lot. I wonder if it's the water and not just the soaps?  
I've also been contemplating "bold" designs and dyeing/rescuing new/ruined cotton tops.