That Warp I'm Trying to Make - I'll Just Call it S&W 2022 Project

I can't see how the next warp should look, so I've done what I could think of on the day, each day, working, hopefully, towards... either learning what I'd like it to be, maybe seeing it. But it's been slow. And in case a bad warp pushes me to faint on a metaphorical chaise longue, (I don't have one,) I've told myself I'm making two warps, so I'll have at least one I hate less.
A week ago Friday, I brought out all the cones from purple to just before yellow in 2/20 mercerized cotton; I thought to make these my default colors/range.
On the weekend, I brought out accent candidates, yellow-greens, (colors I wanted to add,) and blues, (I have a very small selection, but that one blue worked well in the 2010 piece.) 
While looking at the top picture in the last post, I wondered if the success of that warp had to do with values, mainly most of them being similar, so I took out the hues. It turned out I manage well to keep it more or less the same, with a few well-placed and well-proportioned highlights.
On Monday, I decided to take photos of cones, in the bathroom, sitting inside the tub, and turned them black and white. I grouped cones I thought were of similar values for group pics. 
Not only were my guesses disappointing, but I couldn't trusts the camera with anything with red in it, i.e. from purple to orange. Even after Ben set a custom white balance, (he's the one that told me to sit inside the tub because of a window,) the colors on the viewfinder screen were quite different from the colors in real life.
Although the photos on screen came out marginally better, I didn't trust these digital shortcuts, so the next step was to compare the cones with values sheets. This was Tuesday. This was hard on the eyes; I took off my eyeglasses and squinted as hard as I can, but more cones than I expected were hard to determine. I also had some colors that looked rather light on one sheet, and much darker on the other. I thought I'd this over if I thought this information would prove useful, but I couldn't think of how to proceed on Tuesday. 
Gee, can you tell the lights keep changing this week? The photo colors are all over the place.

I had to prioritize life for a couple of days, (ginger wine making took almost all day Wednesday,) then I lost my mojo, so I didn't get back to it for the rest of the week. But I see one way forward; I'm going to do the shade cards again when the weather is stable, and group together cones with similar values. I figured I don't need to know absolute values, but only relative, for this purpose. Then I'll observe these groups and hopefully see my next step.

But not today, it's weeding day here. 


I Feel Another Summer & Winter Warp Coming

While thinking about colors, and having more trouble than I expected in telling you about the navy warp, I took a break and looked at Pinterest, and lo and behold, I saw one of my old, forgotten cotton pieces lower down the selection. This piece wasn't Summer & Winter, but still with a mishmash of colors. It got me thinking, I would really like to weave a Wagamama Summer & Winter piece on the  big loom.
I often thought it would be fun to weave a wide warp, 50cm, 55-ish if I'm brave, with random selection of colors for both warp and weft, random pattern threading, and a dozen or three files with different pattern treadling/lifting, anywhere from, say, 40 to 100 picks, and choose files as I weave.
Looking back at the colors I mixed in Wagamama warps, I had: 
The blue/purple/orange warp for my Pics to Picks challenge of 2010 where the colors were to reflect what I saw in a photograph. I wish I still had this piece, but it went to Santa Fe as soon as I finished it. 

This second warp I made as soon as I finished the first one in 2010, but didn't weave until ten years later. I wanted a predominantly purple warp, but knew that if I used only purples, blues and pinks, it would lack interest. Yellows and oranges stood out, and dark teal was as green was I went. I liked the purple-ness but late Win Currie didn't; she thought it looked stripey. I think it's how the light-valued yarns were distributed, on a comparatively regular interval in this, whereas in the first, I had areas of light values, (blue and yellow,) but only one skinny yellow ribbon on the right.  
Next was Sunflower last year, where of course I was aiming for the colors of sunflowers, those I knew and those painted by van Gogh, but woven in Wagamama style. After much experimenting, I finished one piece, but there is warp for another.
Then there was the unnamed project sample warp, again, last year, which never became a proper piece. It was about misinformation/disinformation and intensity of confusion and anger around politics, including Covid, so I used a lot of reds and oranges; a little facile in retrospect, I know, but I was more interested in the texture and shapes with this project, again, woven in Wagamama fashion. 
Unlike warps for the tiny sample loom, 50-55cm width will allow more play. I weave these at 42EPI, so 20 inches will allow me 840 ends,  924 if I can tolerate weaving 22 inch width. Which is not impossible if we devise a foot stool so I can weave standing up... 
I'm very excited, on the one hand, but am wracking my brain trying to recall what I was thinking or how I made that first warp. I love the proportion, combination of colors, their placements, just about everything, but I don't know if I can recreate something this sophisticated in looks and unintended, (as much as I can remember,) in... intent. For the next warp, I imagined something like purple to orange on the color wheel, and would have added yellows or yellow-greens, but never thought of pale blue if I didn't study these photos. I actually groaned last night, because I impressed myself, but honestly don't know if I can do it again.
"Wagamama" is "self-centered" or "willful" in Japanese. I do enjoy the freedom of this approach. 


Shaft Lifting Combinations

For a while, I've been trying to remember how to figure out possible number of shaft-listing combinations given the number of shafts, especially for eight shafts. The Internet says, "A combination is the choice of r things from a set of n things without replacement and where order does not matter," and the formula is:


I studied this in school, I think we used the last notation, but I can't remember how to calculate. But we know, at the lower end: 
2 shafts:
1, 2; 
1&2 at once is invalid in weaving; 
2 options.
3 shafts: 
1, 2, 3; 
1&2, 2&3; 
1&2&3 at once is invalid in weaving; 
5 options.
4 shafts: 
1, 2, 3, 4; 
1&2, 1&3, 1&4, 2&3, 2&4, 3&4; 
1&2&3, 2&3&4, 1&3&4, 1&2&4; 
1&2&3&4 at once is invalid in weaving; 
14 options.
Can someone please remind me how to do this? Thank you. 
EDIT: Thanks to a mysterious Fiona, we have an answer. 
Not sure which part you are stuck in so will try and answer all parts.

I will write (n, r) to mean choose r from n.

So n! =1*2*3*...*n ie multiply all integers from 1 up to n together so
4! = 1*2*3*4=24 Then (4,3) =4!/(3!*1! )=4
Then for 4 shafts the answer is (4,1)+(4,2)+(4,3) = 4+6+4=14

For 8 shafts you want to calculate
Will leave you to do the math because I am on phone and out of time!

Hope that helps.
I have to sit with a pencil and paper to see if I really got it. I'm not sure where (n, r) came from, but the separate calculations is looking a lot like what we did in school. I'll get back to you, or you get back to me, once we figure this out, OK? 
EDIT: So here goes, in language I'll understand when I revisit this post in future. You might want a nice drink, pencil, and paper, maybe a calculator about now.
First, I was reminded combination could also be expressed as "C(n,r)", which is why I knew what Fiona meant, but now I'm not sure which way we learned in school as I am also familiar with "!". Never mind, let's do weavers' counting. Let's figure out how many ways we can lift shafts on an eight-shaft loom. Staying with the last, fourth, notation on the top: 
Numerator, the number on top: 
n is the number of shafts, 8. 
!  is what's called "factorial" in English, and it wants you to multiply all integers from 1 to n. 
n! is 8!=1*2*3*4*5*6*7*8=40,320. Whoa! 

Now on to the Denominator, on the bottom: 
r is the number of shafts I wish to lift at one time. In weaving, we don't do "all" or "none", but on a eight shaft loom, we can lift one, two, three, four, five, six, or seven shafts at once. And here's where it gets tricky; this math for Combination can only give us the number for each of these options. So let's go with lifting one shaft. r=1.
r! is 1!=1 
(n-r)! is (8-1)!=7!=1*2*3*4*5*6*7=5,040.
r!(n-r)! is 1!(8-1)!=1*(1*2*3*4*5*6*7)=5,040.

40,320/5,040=8. This means there are eight way to lift just one shaft on an eight-shaft loom. And you might rightly shout, "Well, I could have told you that yesterday when you first posted this damn post!" True. But stay with me. 
Conveniently, the number of options to lift only one shaft on an eight-shaft loom, 8, is the same as the number of options to lift seven shafts at once, 8. So we got two of seven combinations out of the way. I'll just go calculate the rest without bothering you, and let you know the answers.

Option for number of shafts to be lifted at once on an eight-shaft loom: 
1 shaft at once, (same number of options as 7 shafts at once) = 8 options
2 shafts, (same number of options as 6 shafts) = 28 options
3 shafts, (same number of options as 5 shafts) = 56 options
4 shafts = 70 options
5 shafts, see 3 shafts above = 56 options 
6 shafts, see 2 shafts above = 28 options
7 shafts, see 1 shaft above = 8 options
Add it all up, 8+28+56+70+56+28+8=254
On an eight-shaft loom, there are 254 ways to lift shafts. 

"Why the heck did we need to know this?" I hear you ask. Well, I find this sort of thing fascinating, and I just have to find out. Sorry if I wasted your time. 254, though. I am impressed.


The Variegated Navy (Not Purple) Warp Series / Covid Rant

I bought this possum/merino/silk cone ages ago. The sample had a lot of purple and some blues, overall medium  in value, but what I received was dark, dark, dark, with nary a purple in sight. In fact, my impression was "mostly dirty indigo". So the cone sat and sat and sat o the shelf, and then I made a warp with it because it was taking up precious space. At least I knew the quality is good. Then the warp chain hung and hung and hung waiting to be chosen until this winter. I thought I could add purples and teal and green or lighter blue to lift the dark, sad warp.
(I thought to post about this warp several times, but for some reason the colors in the photos come out very inaccurate, so you'll just have to put up with my explanations in words. Sorry...) 
In real life, the whole sample is more sombre, uniform in value, and it's hard to see warp colors other than mid-blue or dark green. I started sampling from the right side of this pic. A is possum/merino/silk in teal, and I confess I was always going to weave a piece in this weft for optimal texture. 
I'm not sure if I should even post this pic because the piece doesn't look anything like this; it's a nice blue-y teal, fluffy, and you can hardly see the warp colors, but there you have it, the mystery of (digital?) photography.
Ben really liked B, two different skinny yellow-green merino plied together, (because there is a small amount of darker yellow green in the warp,) and he wanted the piece, so he got one. Sorry for the wrinkles, he's been wearing it in the house in the mornings. (The temperature is usually in the low teens when he "goes to work", although by lunch time the scarf comes off.)
The wefts are more saturated, the middle part of the piece is not paler, and it looks like a yellow and indigo piece. The silk in the warp shimmers, and give the piece a silky look. 
At the end of the first sample above, I thought wefts not too close on the color wheel to the warp may make the different warp colors pop up, so I plied red and hot pink of the same skinny yarn as Ben's piece and tried it. I wanted to investigate it a little more, so I wove a second sample, with, from right to left, hot pink and orange, hot pink and red, and red and orange. You might be able to tell the middle stripe, hot pink and red, are closest to each other. The two stripes on the side have a bigger gap in the value, (hot pink and red being darker than orange,) they look more speckled, which in turn allows different warp colors to react to the neighboring weft color and show up more clearly. Do I make sense? To paraphrase, the value differences in the weft colors allow different warp colors to.... show more frequently.  
This is the most disappointing pic because the overall piece is a richer, deeper, nicer "red", not dark like seen here. I wanted most of the piece to be hot-pink and orange or red and orange to take advantage of the speckles, and I started out with fussier stripes, but the pattern distracted from showing off the warp colors, so most this piece has wider stripes without the red and hot pink stripes. This one also has a nice shimmer. 
It was a more exciting project and I enjoyed the sampling very much. But all the fancy buttons and options on the phone/camera, and shooting in different weather/light, wouldn't allow me to show you what they really look like. Sad-face.
* * * * * 
A bit of Covid rant. Late on Monday, Jacinda announced all Covid rules/systems will be scrapped at midnight. I didn't watch it, but Ben said masks are required only at medical and aged-care facilities; if one tests positive, seven day isolation is required, but not for those who live with them. We rushed to the supermarkets on what would be the last day masking was required in supermarkets, where between one-third and half were masked. Staff had masks, but some wore them under their noses, at least one as a chin protector. On Tuesday, there were just under 2000 folks around the country reporting they tested positive; today, Wednesday, I couldn't find numbers. 
My personal preference would have been to keep the Levels system; we lived happily under the loose Level 1 between late 2022-much of 2021. In the end there was a fairly good understanding of the systems, and if numbers rise again, we can go back to the "familiar" rules. The traffic light system brought in sometime in the middle of Delta/Omicron, I'm convinced, to change the language and appease the anti- folks, but I think it confused folks. Medical professionals said so. 

Ben now has no official backing/reason to work from home, and he expects to be called back to work at work, and I am extremely anxious. Just the other week during the flooding, there were two colleagues out with Covid in their small department, never mind the whole school with our without rules.
I also worry about what kind of repercussion might be waiting for those of us choosing to wear masks, as hate thrown at us Asians wearing masks before the mandates was ugly. (New Zealand was very slow to start masking; rules were unfailingly wishy washy - many situation it was only "strongly recommended" instead; and there was always an unsmall section ignoring them anyway.) Even though I dislike masks, and it's getting warmer here so it'll be increasingly uncomfortable, we intend to keep wearing them for the foreseeable future. But also, for now, they are great for hay fever.

So, anyway... I'm trying not to loose my mind with worries. There have been an obscene amount of chocolate and potato chips involved since Monday.


Autumn/Winter 2022 Recap - Random Thoughts

Physical movement at different stages of weaving often prompts me to think about weaving and other things. Maybe it's like walking, for me. You might have read some of these on MegWeaves Facebook page, because I've come to use it as a repository of thoughts.
Art vs Craft: 
Throughout May/June/July, I felt ever so guilty/uncomfortable not spending time designing each piece and taking things easy on the 4-shaft. So much so I started questioning what kind of a weaver I want to be, if something had changed, (as in, if I entered the "retired weaver" phase,) but most earnestly, if I was cheating prospective wearers of my pieces. It was a weaver identity crisis, so I started incorporating elements to my liking, (color, pattern,) instead of just weaving technically OK pieces with good quality yearns. 
One day as I was washing breakfast dishes, I had a moment of clarity on where I place design on the art vs craft spectrum. It's not a universal explanation, but me understanding how I understand what/how I do, (and possibly extrapolate when I view others' work.)
Weaving requires a lot of technical/procedural planning, and my goal for many intended-as-art pieces is to actually realize/make them, rather than just kicking ideas in my head as an end. So, although I start with "conceptual" ideas of what I want to express/signify, I brainstorm with myself "the process" from rather early stages; the more projects of this kind I work on, the earlier I seem to start. 
Years ago, after spending time thinking about concepts, I often "saw" how the pieces should look, (usually as I woke up,) leaving me to break down how to go about making them. I don't "see" pieces often these days, and proportionately more time is spent considering/sampling alternative techniques/materials, which leads me to think I spend more time "designing", at the craft end.
That's OK, because my ultimate goal of weaving is to weave pieces that satisfy me in some way; be they colors, drafts/patterns, texture/hand, and on the odd occasion, nice selvedges. But if I were to submit a woven piece as "art" into an exhibition, (less often, but I still think about it,) I need to rethink my process. And I have no idea how or where to begin. And that's OK, too, for now. 
I've been thinking about the color blue, about how much I don't think about blues. Blue was my first and unconditional love, and is still among my favorites. Yellows, whites, and grays I've added subsequently, although I define them more narrowly. 
After ten years in Nelson and in this house with superb sunsets, I could not help but like orange, which for most of my life was my most loathed color. (My high school colors were orange and blue, and oh, how hated that.) Now I can't get enough, from pale blue-y kind all the way to dirty brown-ish.
I know it's about the light and environment. Nuanced/murky Japanese colors and combinations are beautiful there, but muddy and uncommitted here. With climate change, some Japanese colors, ever so closely tied to the seasons, the weather, and particularly with flora, have lost their appeal even while in Japan for me. I also remember being astounded to witness gold and orange-red being a most beautiful combination in the desert-like Beijing, or loving the masses of pale gray-blue-green of eucalyptus in Australia.
On the whole, I am not a fan of greens and browns, so over the years I've studied them more carefully. I experiment, not in the least because they are what's left at the end of my paint/felt tip/coloring pencil sets. And be they just for fleeting moments, I can be surprised by the beauty of combinations with each other or in unexpected pairs/groupings. In contrast, with blues, I think I know them, so I haven't studied them, and get caught out using/combining them artlessly. 
Mom sometimes use the phrase, "falling back on blue," (more exact translation being, "escaping to",) as if it's a bad thing. I don't know if she made it up, (happens all the time,) if she was pointing to how I work, or if it indicates a Japanese penchant to fall back on indigo when all else fails. 
In Japanese culture, indigo and blue are distinct colors, although sometimes indigo is included in the greater blue family, a family spanning from where blue/purple ends, all the way to just before green turns yellow-green. Ish. There's an old Chinese saying, "Blue comes out of Indigo, but is Bluer than Indigo." I don't know Chinese, but in Japanese blue is "ao" [ao] and indigo is "ai" [ai] so it's a little like a tongue-twister. It means a child/student/thing's ability/quality exceeds that of their parent/teacher/predecessor.
Anyhoo, I always felt mighty insulted when she said it, as if I'm taking the easy way out, bordering on bad taste. On the other hand, one of Mom's weaving students insisted instinctive use of colors works the best, (she meant, "it's the only way to go,") to which I rebutted, "if you know why those colors/combinations work or please you, all the better." I think it's time to take my own advice.
Digital photography... These five are of the same yarn, same dye lot. The truest color is the second from the left, although in real life slightly darker. I tried this setup, a bobbin holding three of these plied together, and a pirn with said plied yarn, but in all cases purple insisted on making an appearance in the middle of the screen.

How I look at Weaving Books:  
While looking at Davison recently, I noticed I pay far more attention to the right-side, odd-numbered pages. And I mean, considerably longer and far more carefully. In future, I shall turn weaving draft books upside down and see if I find something new; at least I can double draft options instantly.
My Changing Point of View:
While speaking with a couple of super well-read friends, I realized in the last decade or so, I've become less of an art aficionado and more focused on society, its time and place, which I sometimes think as "history". 
I've always been a fan of biographies, especially artists/composers/writers, even if not (at all) of their artwork, because I'm interested in people. Case in point, it took me a decade after I started reading van Gogh biographies to start looking at his paintings without being repulsed. 
To me, good biographies include not just the person/family/relationships, dates, places and numbers, and their artwork; but also their environment: their friends, colleagues and influences, circumstances of their association, relationships; what they read if they read; art and other fashion of the times; new (scientific) discoveries; what was happening in their community, its history; and politics. I think there are more of these aspects in newer biographies. While I don't discount individual ideas and efforts, my focus seems to have shifted to context, what else might have contributed to or resulted in an artist's work, with their art as artefact. I feel I have a better grasp of the person, or an artwork, when I see them in their own "home". 
What do you think, about any of this?
* * * * * 
This concludes Autumn/Winter 2022 Recap, as I hope to resume more or less regular transmission more or less as soon as I have things to show/tell you. Be well!


Autumn/Winter 2022 Recap - Weaving - Longish

In the last year, I learned the verb, "to bloviate". I like it, it makes me giggle; there are so many situations I could use it. And it sounds like it's related to "blog". This post is going to be one such. I'm going to sum up weaving-related stuff since my March post as best I can. (Or, since May when I resumed weaving.)
In the four months, I wove six pre-made warps/ten pieces, all on four shafts; finished most; and washed six or seven cashmere pieces I wove way back, though some are not in the photo. In some instances my beating changed so much within a piece on Ashford 8-shaft, there are a few pieces I don't know what to do. I took some of these and half a dozen too-long-on-my-couch pieces to Salvation Army in early winter. I'm now weaving another pre-made warp on the four-shaft; have a problematic warp on the 16-shaft, (see below;) and Sunflower II remains on the table loom, (too dark in the stash room to weave in the winter even with lights.)
At first there I wove black and/or slate pieces because they were of good quality yarns, some in my best merino, (you can't see them in the pic, sitting on a dark green chair, but I wrote my name under the bottom piece,) one white and one brown, during a rainy dark winter, in my basement. Boy, I do like to make things difficult for myself. 
Most early pieces were Dornick Twill, but the brown warp, I mixed basket weave for the bouclé warp and 2/2 twill in the regular warp. This might have been the first time I mixed structures other than plain or twill at the selvedges. The different warp yarns have very different shrinkage, so I didn't make fringes, just trimmed the tassels, but I'm worried how they would present after subsequent washing. 

I'm going to write about the red, yellow-green and teal pieces, towards the top, from a navy warp in a separate post. And then about a failed two-blocks-on-four-shaft experiment I'm weaving now, after that.
Few of the reasons I've been weaving exclusively on the four-shaft is a) May was late fall, and weaving standing up on jack loom proved to be good cardio workout with no heating required; b) I wanted to concentrate on some basics like tension, selvedge and beating; c) foot loom weaving is so fast; and d) I didn't want to fuss over designs. I wanted to really enjoy the act of weaving, and it worked for a while, but soon I got bored of somber colors, so I moved on to the navy warp, and incorporate more colors in between somber ones.
On the same day in May when I put on a black warp on the jack, I also put this cottolin towel warp on the 16-shaft. Back in 2014, I made two towel warps hoping to use up all the cottolins, Swedish cottons and linens, and anything else that can go into towels. And because the warps were made of leftovers, I have this lop-sided warp where, the number of ends in the stripes are not symmetrical. I've had to come up with suitable drafts, and, you guess it, I couldn't be bothered. 
Here are weft options. The other towel warp is in browns, and I can only hope stripe widths are symmetrical. At first I was thinking of fussy twills, but I might try lace or waffle or otherwise puffy structures, none of which I've woven that I can remember. 


Autumn/Winter 2022 Recap - Weeding, or River of Atmosphere - Long

I was going to tell you I am so behind in weeding, that my hellebores this year are blooming, rather well, in amongst last year's weeds. 
I was going to tell you in addition to my getting slower and achier and inefficient-er in the garden, I have a foot/boot problem. Last summer, I noticed the nail on the second toe on my left foot had turned black. I didn't remember banging or dropping something on it, so I waited until autumn for the white bits to reappear, but it didn't. Over time the second toe became too tender to ignore, so I started wearing Crocs while weeding, (comfy but not as suitable for slopes;) and had my GP take a look. She told me it's slow trauma, that my left boot was too small and gardening in it put a lot of stress on my left second toe over time.

I always knew one foot was one Japanese size (0.5cm) bigger than the other, and I bought shoes with that in mind, but I could seldom remember which was bigger, and it never mattered to this degree. I don't know if my left second toe grew, or my leather gardening boot/s shrunk, (they do get wet from time to time,) and luckily I don't have problems with any other shoes. Anyway, I need new gardening footwear, and until then, I'll operate in my yellow Crocs, waddling up and down the steps and slopes. (Oh, the white bits are finally reappearing.)

I was going to tell you we had a lot of rain this winter; not so much cats-dogs-and-monkeys kind, but half a day here, few hours there, every-day-for-a-week-or-two kind. Plus the occasional misty, quiet rain for hours on end. In fact, this past July was the wettest July in Nelson since 1941, while a lot of other regions rewrote records. I think August was also the wettest since 1941 in Nelson, if I remember correctly. 
Then came August 17. We had been told to expect much rain, so we prepared. From memory, more dire rain warning was issued for the West Coast, (urrr, to the west of us,) and wind warning for Marlborough, (to the east of us,) but once again, as for the last couple of years but certainly all winter, Nelson was to get away with rain and wind "watches" but no worse.

That Wednesday Ben had the day off, and the weather being ugly we both read books and screens but not social media. Mid-afternoon, he was startled to see a news item pop up of some homes being flooded near his work and some friends, and people being evacuated. Social Media was the only place the information could be found; flooded areas grew by the hour, followed by landslides. Not only our major streets, but roads east out of town were blocked, houses were being damaged and folks were being evacuated day and night. Evacuation Center, Information Hub, social media groups were set up quickly, I think thanks to the bush fire in February of 2019. 
One unoccupied house slid off the hill not too far from us, and another house was evacuated at 4AM. Hearing that, we packed a small suitcase with some change of clothes, and loaded it, sleeping bags, and our earthquake evac pack on the four-wheel drive. Ben recharged the battery of the car, because we hadn't used it in such a long time. We weren't sure if our house was eminently in danger, but knew there was a possibility, and being Japanese, disaster preparation is ingrained in us from a very early age, so we just acted on what we thought best. 

I thought about my family after the big quake/Fukushima in 2011. About a week afterwards, they evacuated to the southern city of Okayama for a short break to observe/regroup/be together. I asked them to carry their passports just in case, and prepped our home. My brother had recently moved into his family dream home, one that took years to plan; while packing for the trip, he said he contemplated not being able to return to it. Remembering that, I went around our house and took pictures in all its messy glory, because heaven forbid if it slips or gets red-stickered, we won't be able to come back, that decision would be taken away from us. A walkway nearby had trees toppling and closed. It was only the second time in my life I felt better to prepare for the worst; the first being the longest/biggest quake we were in, the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake at midnight here on my sister's birthday over there.
From our house, if we look to the east, we are roughly a third of a way up a hill, and above us are older roads and homes, but not so many. If we look to our south, we are perhaps a fifth to the top; there's a longish shared driveway to the road, a very steep incline with some homes, some trees, a walkway connected to the one that slipped, and a whole new subdivision further up with big newer homes. I tend to worry about new suburbs, but reading updates, I learned landslides may be harder to predict than flood, old and new suburbs were affected, and even plants said to keep soil intact were uplifted with so much rain and soil moving. Someone described it as pouring yogurt on the hill.   

Among the things we were told to observe which I can remember are: new or growing cracks on the house inside or outside; warped door and window frames; sudden appearance of puddles, or dirt piles. We spotted two cracks growing but couldn't tell whether it was in the past few days or years; some of our doors and windows frames have always been warped; after so much rain, puddles didn't help; but we didn't find dirt piles. 

Rain kept coming down, flooded areas ever expanded, hills slid in this suburb, and then in that other one. Some suburbs had to boil water, and these kept changing, while flood water was contaminated due to sewer damages. The bigger of the two pipes supplying water to Nelson City was destroyed (?) under a landslide, so everybody had to conserve water. This last one is expected to be a long-term problem with or without a drought in the coming warmer months.
Rain stopped sometime on the weekend, the sun came out, temperatures shot up around the country rewriting more records. The media told us we had something called Atmospheric River. Folks started cleaning up or helping others. I felt so guilty nothing had happened to us, I couldn't even say we were unaffected; I also felt terrible not volunteering, but I'm old, feeble, don't have proper footwear as it happens, and don't have skills useful in helping flood victims, so I stayed home, kept quiet, and conserved water. 

Ben told me about something called Tahunanui Slump; there is apparently an area in our suburb, but much closer to town, where there have been landslides since prehistoric times. Seriously, that's what the Internet said. But we are far enough removed that at least the Slump is unlikely to push us off. 

Road cleanup progressed at an amazing speed; in a week or eight days, by last Thursday our main road to town reopened in one direction, albeit with speed restrictions; by Friday afternoon, in both directions. Road to Marlborough reopened on August 31. Other city roads have been cleaned up, and last week a Black Hawk helicopter helped remove debris, (huge trees!) from hard-to-access suburbs. As far as has been covered in the (social) media, there have been no injuries or casualties. 
Golden Bay to the north(west) of us was flooded once again, and the road from Nelson was closed for a while. West Coast got wet, but not as badly as in the last two years. Marlborough was behind us by a day or two days, and similar flooding and road closures. They have a lot of small communities which become completely cut off by road from their main city of Blenheim, which is when private boats and water taxis come out. 

We were expecting more rain on the weekend, but we had scarcely enough to wet the pavement. I missed out on a beach cleanup, something I might have been useful at, because I expected rain and didn't check cleanup activities carefully. And though temperatures have cooled down this week, spring is definitely here.

If you are interested, you can search "Nelson, New Zealand, Flood". 
And last but not least, I would never undermine the worries and fears of folks who were affected, here or elsewhere in New Zealand, Northland in particular. At the same time, I'm ever mindful it's nothing like Pakistan. Or the drought in China. Or Ukraine/Palestine/Afghanistan/insert-other-places. And in that respect, we have been lucky.