Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wow!  What a time I've had!

Shortly after I last postd here I delivered the Wurlitzer cloth to the man who had commissioned it.  I met him at his workshop on 12/29/12, AKA Jukebox Nirvana.  I took a picture of the nearest thing he has to the model for which I had been weaving.  His collection is astonishing and every machine has been restored to perfection. 

Often the machine is worse than derelict when Steve obtains it.  No detail is too trivial:  the workings of the player are often rusted so he cleans them up by blasting them with tiny glass beads in a glove box to get down to clean metal.  Steve is a grahic designer and makes decals when needed, pieces wooden pieces and refinishes everything.

When I had delivered the cloth I started preparing to re-paint my living room  First, the walls needed to be washed using TSP (tri sodium phosphate) and then rinsed by wiping it down with clean water.  Once dry, any repairs were made and then paint was applied.  Of course all that work meant moving a lot around to clear a place for my trusted ladder.

Alas, my ladder was not deserving of my trust.  I was up near the (11 foot) ceiling on 1/3/13 when I felt the ladder torque beneath my feet and I knew I was headed down.  It seems I never do anything half-way and this was no exception.   I landed on my right arm shattering the humerus (the upper bone) into several pieces.  At the same time I landed on a board with a nail protruding 3" that the ladder had conveniently moved into position.
The gash in my leg bled freely so when I was able to sit and scoot toward the kitchen and a phone I took a freshly washed terry cloth hand towel which I folded over the wound before pulling down th telephone to dial 911.

When I could scoot to the front door to open the deadbolt (not a trivial act, either one) to let in the EMTs, things started to get better.

I got to the hospital at 5:15 PM and was moved to a room at 11:45.  Surgery to put my humerus back together was performed the next morning.  I received very good care at the University of Utah Hospital and went from there to a nursing facility (the one where I volunteer every week) to start recovery.  I can't use my right arm at all because the bicep muscle had to be removed from the bone to repair the bone and then put back.  Not only does the bone need to grow into the plate and screws but the muscle (tendon) needs to re-attach.  How long will all that take?  TWELVE WEEKS! 


Friday, December 21, 2012

It's nearly Christmas....where has the time gone?

I have been weaving (of course!).  After a series of cotton sock top loopers and some using strips of worsted fabric from Pendleton I wove grill cloth for old jukeboxes.  This cloth is for the 1080c:

The warp is cotton and the weft, a very narrow, flat silver ribbon.  The metallic is about 1/16"  (~2 mm.) wide.  I need to keep it flat and weave it in flat which takes careful handling.

I am sill--for well over a year now--spending Wednesday afternoons at Emeritus, a skilled nursing facility downtown in Salt Lake City.  I miss a day only when ill or teaching.  I mostly listen to the residents, try to discover something that will interest each one of them that I can find out about or bring in.  Sometimes it is a piece of music, or a book to read to those whose eyes don't permit reading anymore.  Mostly I am just there for them.  Anyone who has ever volunteered for a worthwhile cause knows how rewarding such work can be.

I have plenty of work o to, which I consider a blessing.  May all of you be blessed now and in the coming year.

See, I don't think the world is ending tonight!



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hello again!

Yes, I know, I have been away for a long, long time.  Life has a way of interfering sometimes....

I have been weaving:  the singles linen warp I last mentioned turned out to be nightmarish.  In all, I wound up threading it three times, sleying it four times and it was with great satisfaction that I cut it off when I had woven it off.  Uncharacteristically, I have not finished the cloth because I was behind on getting started with something I had promised.

About 20 years ago I wove some cotton looper rugs for a couple.  Repeated laundering and constant use had finally worn them out.  I needed to weave new ones for them and that meant dyeing the loops and ordering in enough warp in the correct color.  I got the dyeing done and the warp on and started and then had to prepare for some workshops.

I taught two round-robin workshops, complete with binders filled with drafts in plastic sleeves for two different workshops.  The first, in Albuquerque, was a workshop I was presenting for the first time. Tom Knisely had contracted to teach about profile drafting and blocks and then cancelled.  The workshop chair for Las Aranas Weavers and Spinners got in touch with me to see if that was something i could teach.  No problem!  I know that stuff cold.  What did take time was designing the warps, specifying the yarns, setts, etc. and preparing the notebooks.  The next weekend, having returned late Sunday night, I was in Winnipeg.  I had Monday and Tuesday to prepare (on Wednesdays I volunteer at a skilled nursing facility) and was off very, very early on Thursday morning, binders for the participants in tow.
I got home from there last Monday afternoon and did laundry and prepared for a program for the Mary M. Atwater Weavers Guild of Utah on Thursday night.

I love Albuquerque and have always felt at home there.  In fact, I spent the summers of 1964 and 1965 living there, enjoying the New Mexican food (different from Tex-Mex), the landscape and the cultures there.  I always thought I would live in New Mexico although that hasn't happened.

I had never done more than drive through Winnipeg (and that at night) before this trip.  My hostess there drove me to and from the workshop site through different parts of the city showing me that I missed a lot all that time ago.  I liked New Mexico because of the combination of three cultures:  Native Americans. Mexican and Gringo and thought the combination made the state very rich.  Well!  In Winnipeg there is a two week long festival that celebrates the different people who have settled there.  There are 45 different pavilions (half the first week and the other half the second) each featuring one culture of those that make up the city:  food, crafts, folk dancing, the works!  I think that is pretty wonderful.  I loved the folks I met there, too!

Since I have been home again I have been gathering leaves dropped by the huge, 153 year old cottonwood in my front garden.  I have cleared the front lawn twice and completely filled the 80 gallon yard waste bin with chopped leaves.  I could barely move it to the curb today in anticipation of Monday morning's pick up.  Not all the leaves have fallen but we have had snow for two days now with more to come tomorrow so I can't deal with leaves at the moment.  (I'm not sorry.)

Then tonight:  A Utah Symphony concert and what a doozy!  Our wonderful conductor, Thierry Fischer, programmed Stravinsky (The Fairy's Kiss), Ravel's Pavane for a dead princess (which I adore), La Valse (ditto),  Saint Saens' Piano Concerto Number 2 (yes!) and finally Ravel's Bolero.  From the audience reaction I must be the only person in the valley who is not crazy about Bolero.  I thought that if anyone could help me like it, it would be Fischer and he did a fine job.  I hadn't noticed before how Moorish the melody is and focused on that and on the various soloists from the orchestra, but I find it very repetitive and hearing it for hours for a year in my dorm at college didn't endear it to me.  In spite of that, I was a splendid concert.  Four out of five, isnt' bad, after all.

I am presenting a three day workshop locally next weekend for which I must prepare next.  I teach a lot of topics and this one is different from the last two so I won't be in a rut.  I am grateful for the work coming my way and am inclined to think based on my own experience, that the economy is improving.  I am very glad.

Now I have a question to pose to you, Gentle Reader.  I have been approached by Interweave Press about making a video that would fill two DVDs.  What is the topic you ask?  That is up to me, apparently, and I am handing the question off to you:  if you could see a video I made what topic(s) would you most like to see?

I hope next time to have some photos.  Outside it is night but very white, so there isn't a lot to show right now, which is just as well.  

I am home, except for next weekend, for a while now and hope to be more regular in my posts here.  Thanks for looking in!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Home from Omaha

I returned from teaching in Omaha late Sunday night, tired but happy.  I enjoyed the trip, loved the people I met there and am always happy to return to the Salt Lake Valley.  It is part of my home-coming ritual to applaud when the flight attendant welcomes the passengers to Salt Lake City.

If I weren't always happy to return I suppose I ought to consider living somewhere else and--because I love coming home--I think I live in the right place for me.  (I am not the first to say so, legend has it when Brigham Young came out of Emigration Canyon and saw the valley spread out below, he said "This is the right place.")

Since I have been home the usual re-entry chores abound:  laundry, banking, mowing the lawns, making a grocery list, visiting the library to return/check out materials and reassuring the cats who Velcro themselves to me that I am in fact home.

I have been trying to upload the photos I promised with no success.   I have done everything I usually do...?  Can you say frustrating?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Long Time No See!

I know I refer to photos below but the gremlins are preventing me from posting them here, alas.  When I work that out, I will add them.  Promise.

I know, I know, it has been some time since I posted here.  I haven't been idle, though.

I got back last week from teaching in Hartford, CT for a wonderful group of weavers at the Hartford Artisans' Weaving Center.  I have never seen so many looms in one place and there was a storage area with more of them which I did not see.  Wow.

I have been creating binders for some round robin workshops, and have boxed up those I am taking to Omaha, NE on Thursday.  I have developed a new workshop on profile drafting that is also a round robin and worked out the drafts and instructions for that one.  I will present it in late October in Albuquerque.  The Omaha weavers selected the workshop on structures to create dots.  The workshop in Hartford was partially that, and partially structures for stripes.

It took me a while to figure out how to import a full draft into my word processing program and then to design the pages to my satisfaction so that I could print them.

I realize that I have not posted photos of the radio grille cloth.  I wove one whole version of it then decided it wasn't just right (too light and the warp/weft balance was off) so I bought more thread and did it all over again.  The darker fabric here is the one that I sent:

The last time I posted here I showed hemp towels and the start of a very fine singles linen warp.  I sett the latter much too close and found that the threads abraded each other to pieces so that they turned to fuzz and then broke.  What to do!

I re-calculated the sett for what would be very close to plain weave which made the warp much wider than I usually make towels.  Then a suggestion from a friend (thanks, Rita!) clicked.  I will weave square towels of this fine, natural linen.  They could also serve as formal sized napkins and could be used either way or both ways.  It was a brilliant suggestion and got me moving back to the loom where I double-checked every thread to be sure that the broken ones were whole and in place and that the new sleying was correct.  Now the warp is ready for the shuttle.

Today, though I have spent most of my time sorting and packing examples for the workshop I am giving in Omaha.  I like to pack my "teaching bag" so that the first fabric piece is on top, the next one under it and so on.  And now that part is done.  Tomorrow:  packing clothing.

Meanwhile, I needed fresh flowers in the house and couldn't decide between nasturtiums and caryopteris, so I made bouquets of both.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

It's nasturtium time!

I know there are folks who look down there noses at nasturtiums, call them "nasties" and consider them beneath consideration, but I love them.  I love their bright colors, their circular leaves with veins radiating out from near there centers and their radish-like flavor when I put them in salads.

Once I ate the centerpiece at a place where all the fruits and vegetables were cooked to mush.  I was longing so much for fresh, raw food!  (Remember that, Jean?)

These are on my table in one of my favorite vases, one I bought in the summer of 1964 at a supermarket in Albuquerque and have cherished all this time.  It's a deep, deep cobalt blue and with all these red oranges, oranges, yellow oranges, yellows and pale yellows, the combination just sings to me.  If you look closely you will see the edges of the washed and ironed second batch of hemp towels:

The are just a few left from this batch.  If you think you would like to own one, click below and send me a message to that effect.

Here is a photo showing the patterns I still have:
Click on the photo to see them more closely.

In between I worked on replicating the grille cloth for a 1930 radio for a gentleman in North Carolina.  The first time out, I wasn't satisfied with the result and so I bought more warp and did it all again.  The second time I hit it right on.  The warp was tiny black threads and the weft a gold colored embroidery machine thread in rayon.  I am pretty sure that I duplicated not only the look of the original (minus the dirt and holes) but also the fiber content. 

Today I will sley a warp for some fine linen towels woven of a singles linen.  It is a wet spun (the smoothest and most refined) and about size 20/1.  The honey color is the natural hue.  I have threaded this warp similarly to the second hemp warp, a point threading with borders at both selvedges and at each end but of course the pattern will be different.  It's such a versatile threading!

I picked 5 green beans from my vegetable garden the night before last and had them steamed and on my plate wihin 10 minutes.  They were delicious!  I love green beans and also love to look at the 6 foot green tepees they make as they grow up the bamboo stakes I put in a circle and joined at the top when they were starting to grow well.  Except for the weeds, I love everything about my vegetable garden. 

It's still hot which doesn't delight me but the tomatoes and squash plants adore it so I am glad some of us are happy!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Still very hot and very dry

It has continued to be very hot here, hotter than normal, and very dry.  Most of Utah is going up in flames.  Besides being hot with very low humidity (8 to 10%) we are experiencing brisk winds.  All in all, it is a firefighters worst nightmare.

I live in the city and am pretty safe but the trees, plants, animals and structures that have been lost are many.  So far only two human deaths have been reported, but that's two too many.

Meanwhile I have been keeping the lawn mowed, the gardens watered, picking raspberries and making jam:
It makes sense to stay inside, out of the sun and heat, when possible and of course, I have done that, too.  The new hemp warp is well under way.  Here is the fifth towel (third pattern):
And of course no matter where I go, I am accompanied by my sweet companion, Bob:

I am eager to begin working on the reproduction of the radio grille cloth, but have to clear the loom first.  The threads for this cloth are all very small and will be a challenge.  I know I can do it, though.