Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Underway at last

The new piece is underway at last.  I have started before but discovered a sleying error, re-sleyed, discovered another and another.  Has that ever happened to you?  It has rarely happened to me but I am aware that my vision changes aren't helping me at all.

But now the piece is underway.  The lamp I use that has been clamped to that loom for years finally stopped being its dependable self.  I bought another at Home Depot this morning, discovered this afternoon that it wouldn't work on the loom, took it back later this afternoon and bought one at Loew's that does.  Home Depot had only two, one of which used a  little 25 watt bulb (too dim!) and I found that there were only two at Loew's, this one and another 25 watt number.  At least this one works and clamps onto the loom satisfactorily.

I was determined not to go to bed until weaving was successfully underway.  (I spent all of yesterday morning in my dentist's chair while he worked on preparing the tooth for a crown.  My mouth is still sore from all of that only having quietened down from the root canal the day before yesterday.  Sigh.)  Now I can take some Advil and go to bed, but not before showing you this:

The light isn't quite right in this shot and makes the colors look a bit washed out.  A second, closer look shows the intensity of the colors:
Hot stuff, don't you think?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wonderful evening/ colorful morning

Last night I went to hear the Utah Symphony.  The program was mostly Mozart--never a mistake.  The evening opened with the overture to The Magic Flute, always a winner.  Oddly, it seemed the least focused performance of the evening.  Granted, I know it practically note by note, but I still think it wasn't played as well as the rest of the evening's works.  It was fallowed by Hindemith's Mathis der Maler which was well played, a favorite of the guest conductor, Matthias Bamert, I think.

It was the second half of the concert that was so wonderful.  The symphony's principal clarinetist, Ted Calcara was the soloist in the Mozart Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra.  I can't imagine it ever being played better.  Calcara played it exactly, yet lyrically and with heart.  His performance was smooth and absolutely lovely.  The slow movement of this concerto was played in "Out of Africa" and  a personal favorite even before I saw that film many years ago.

The last piece in the concert was Mozart's next to last Symphony, number 40 in G minor.  It was for me a perfect performance:  transparent and beautiful.  From my seat in the second tier I could see that there was no score in front of Bamert.  And, best of all, I could leave savoring the music I had just heard, sort of like recalling the flavors of a very delicious meal, as I left because the bag piper who usually stands in front of the hall was absent.  While he plays the bagpipe well, hearing him when I first emerge and wait for the train banishes the melodies I have running through my head just as a splash of Listerine wipes out a delicious flavor I want to hang onto.

This morning, the pieces from the mainly yellow warp cut off, I gathered the colors for the next piece.  (The grape colors will have to wait for a while.)  I chose colors fairly close in value deliberately and here they are:
mid values

My camera also takes photos in black and white--something I have just learned how to do--and in B&W the colors look like this:

mid values B & W
A couple of the tubes look a bit lighter in this photo because they are still shrink-wrapped in plastic.  You can see the light reflected against the side of the box in the third row down on the left.

On to winding the warp!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Good news/other news

The first day back from California we got snow showers all day long.  But yesterday!! Oh, yesterday was gorgeous!  It was warm for here for now (mid 50s) and sunny all day long.  That was all it took to do this:
I took this picture today before the snow storm moves in.  It's nearly two and the sky looks ominous.  We have had wind of the kind that usually comes before snow, so snow it is.

I don't mind that it snows here: snow means we will be able to irrigate gardens during the summer and I am all in favor of that.

Weaving?  I have only about an inch to go on the second and final piece on this warp.  I had a couple of threads break so I need to straighten that out so I can weave the last little bit and that requires more time than I have this moment.

The colors I had gathered that I showed here a few days back were originally intended to be colors of grapes ripening along with the colors of the leaves.  The combination hasn't "gelled" for me so I may change my mind about them and either add something and change my goal or go on to something else while these colors mill around for a bit longer and I figure out what will happen.  (Laura's suggestion of orange, while good, doesn't fit in the vinyard idea.)

So onward.  Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all also applies to a day of springtime.  Springtime in the Rockies is a sometimes thing!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Home again!

I am home from the teaching trip to California.  I had a great class, wonderful women, with some lovely fabrics designed.  All of them were very different and none a copy of anything I had showed them.  I count it a success when each person comes up with something that is distinctly her own.

You will recall that they were all designing fabrics to use to make Daryl Lancaster's simple cardigan jacket.  The jacket may be cut to waist length or lower, has set in sleeves and a cardigan style opening in front bound with a band that runs from bottom front up around the neck and down to the other side.  One of the participants, (Paula), had never woven on a floor loom before and did very well.  Once a floor loom is available to her all the time--this one was borrowed--she will be able to do whatever she wants.  I predict a rosy future for this weaver!

I really wish I were going to be a fly on the wall of the workshop in six months where Daryl leads them through the construction of their jackets.  There is going to be some gorgeous cloth there!

It rained all the time that I was there, hailed big time one night.  I was sleeping under a big skylight which magnified the sound of the hail at 3 AM one morning.  I thought, "Well, this is the acid test of the skylight" halfway expecting that if it didn't break it would leak at least.  But, happily, it did neither and once I walked off the cramp in my left calf I was able to go back to sleep.

I missed seeing some of my favorite people in the Black Sheep Weavers (Carolyn, Rosemary, Kathleen) but saw some others (Caryl, Tien and Gloria) and met some I did not know before who became favorite people.  I worked hard and had fun.

On Monday I got to do a little bird watching with Caryl, visited Thai Silks (Oh, what a dangerous place!) and then went to see Caryl's husband Dave at Google where we had lunch in the employee cafeteria and I got a tour.  One does not wander into Google; one must be sponsored, in effect, and accompanied by the employee, check in and wear a stick-on badge.  I wore mine proudly on the plane later that day and all the way home.  It is now stuck to the castle of my Macomber to remind me of the tour.  I had to promise not to pass on any secrets I learned while there but since I didn't learn any secrets, there is no problem  I was excited to be there.

The campus is very big and there are bikes everywhere painted in the Google colors to ride from building to building.  I can tell you that if you work there you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on the premises (no charge) and also do your laundry without ever leaving.  The whole idea, I gather, is to make it easy to stay at work so you can put in long hours and create wonderful, new things that those of us with computers enjoy using.

Now I am at home and about to finish the warp of cotton sewing thread.  I know what I will add to the group of colors I showed you last time but first things first.  Onward!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I have been struggling for three days--don't you love computers?!--to be able to post here before I leave town.  I imagine my computer saying "But you didn't say pretty please"....

I am going to California tomorrow to teach for the Black Sheep Weavers Guild near Palo Alto.  This is the workshop I mentioned here on December 10th (Now it can be told).  We will work through the designing process as in Designing: From Your Idea to the Fabric in Your Hands but this time everyone has the same end use in mind.  We will be working on cloth that can be used in Daryl Lancaster's jacket workshop.  In this workshop the participants will work out the design for the cloth they will make and then go home, weave enough for the jacket and then go to her workshop in September.

In the meantime I have continued to weave on the piece about the leaves.  On Saturday a molar let me know that it was dying.  (Yes, dying, and NOT dyeing.)  It kicked and screamed over the weekend and Monday morning I was in my dentist's office where the tooth and its condition were confirmed.  I was referred for an emergency root canal procedure early that afternoon.

I spent the whole day with someone else's hand(s) and tools in my mouth and did nothing much else.  That took away a  day I had planned for other things and now I await the appointment for the crown that will be put on that tooth.  There is nothing like having all that happen to confirm one's mortality! Not to mention flattening one's wallet....

I will be gone through Monday evening (3/21).  After re-entry (laundry, grocery shopping, etc.) I will return to the loom.  I am nearly finished with this warp and have the colors for the next piece almost chosen (some tweaking yet to be done).
This piece is only a  few inches from being completed.  The next photo is of the colors I will use for the next piece, although I need to add some "salt" to the mix.  You will see.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A little progress

The piece is starting to come together.  I have woven, taken it out, woven again, taken out again, and now at last I am making progress.  I am having to concentrate a lot to see what I need to see so each inch is hard-won.

But I like what I am seeing:
I have woven seven inches.  I refuse to calculate based on the hours I have worked how long it will take to be ready for the show.  That's too scary.

Instead I am looking at the leaf colors (some have been on the ground for a while) that I am putting together and thinking back to last fall.

Meanwhile we had a very spring-like day today.  The temperature got to 61 or 62 (F) which was the warmest since the start of last November.  The honeybees are out, drawn to the winter aconites.  I think that there have been more bees already for how early it is.  The great loss of honeybees may be abating.  I certainly hope so!  We need them a whole lot more than they need us.

Tonight the wind is blowing and a front is coming in.  It may rain a little here but in the desert rain is always welcome.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ready to go!

I have color photos for you today.  The warp is all threaded, sleyed,  and tied on so that part is ready.  In all, I used 39 or 40 different colors and of course when they cross each other new colors will be generated.  If that isn't heaven, what is?

I have wound pirns and gotten out the end feed shuttles, so that part is ready, too.  I need to tie up the treadles--I am using my Macomber--before I can throw a shuttle.

The tentative title for the first piece is "Autumn Gold".  I was thinking about the poplar family in autumn:  there is a huge cottonwood tree in front of my house (152 years in that spot) and of course there are the aspens and Lombardy poplars that grow around here, too.  When they turn the color of this warp, they have a slightly spicy smell, a little like a combination of nutmeg and cinnamon.  Faint, certainly, but quite lovely and for me forever evocative of fall.  It may be my favorite season and we have lovely, long autumns here.

We won't mention that at 4:45 PM today it began to snow heavily.  What you don't know, won't hurt you.  Brrrrr.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Yes, I'm still here

Yes, I am still here.  Today I think I am at the end of a nasty cold, the kind where you can't look at the floor without dripping onto your feet.  Ick. 

It's raining tonight and that will turn to snow either tonight or early tomorrow.  But the fact that storms start generally with rain now means that spring is certainly on its way.  I knew it would happen--sometimes it was hard to believe in it, but I knew it would come.  The winter aconites are in full bloom now, ditto the snow drops and the shoots of daffodils are up about three inches (~7.5 cm. with those of you who follow a more rational system).

I finished the blue/violet scarves and then did a job for a local couple.  While I was in the middle of it someone called and during our conversation she asked what I was doing these days.  "I am sewing a sleeve onto a rug," said I.  A long silence followed until I said "as a hanging device for a Navajo rug".  She was thinking of a sleeve like that in a garment;  I could almost hear the ????s through the telephone! It turns out that the man who was my daughter's orthodontist when she was in her early teens--now long retired--had worked at Mt. Ranier Park at a concessionaire during the summer when he was 17.  At the end of the summer he used his pay to buy a Navajo rug which he has had for 70 years.  His wife wants to hang it for him so that they can see it from their bed so that he can enjoy it.  How many 17 year old boys that YOU know would do that?

For many years his wife was the head of the Utah Arts Council which is how I know her and when she wanted to hang it up she thought I would be sensitive to the textile and know of a way to do it that would be the least damaging.  I am very fond of both of them so I did some research and did the job for them.  I still find myself chuckling about the rug with a sleeve appended to it.  Can you imagine it?

I am working on pieces for a show in June at the gallery that represents me.  The pieces are all double woven using cotton sewing thread.  Sometimes I brocade silk on the surface and sometimes I add other things but in the end all are framed by my sewing them to acid-free mat board and then framed so that the glass does not touch the fabric.  They are all about color  with as many colors as I can get and take a LOT of time. 

The warp I am getting onto the loom right now has over 1600 warp ends and I am very happy with what I am seeing so far.  I finished threading before bed last night and today have been involved in Sunday activities and went to a pot luck (we meet once a month) which was fun.  (I took a chicken/broccoli quiche.  I brought home an empty baking dish)  I have done laundry and am about to finish the week's ironing so I can start drawing the warp through the reed.

Yes, when there is something to show, I will post photographs.