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.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Busy days

I've been working steadily and have things to show for it.  First, the hemp towels are woven, finished and ready to go to good homes.  I will keep one of them but that leaves six.  Here they are:
I am so pleased with the hemp yarn that I have beamed and nearly finished threading a second warp of towels.  Instead of threading a twill block pattern, I am threading the new ones into a fancy pattern, using 16 shafts.  You'll see them later.

Raspberry season is on here.  That means that every other day I need to pick raspberries and then make jam.  Yesterday I picked for several hours and made several batches.  The temperature got to 101 (Farenheit) which meant it wasn't pure joy picking them.  The humidity was just 5% and it was windy, to boot, which helped me a little bit but made the work of firefighters who are battling wild fires south and a little west of here very difficult.

There is something very satisfying about looking at jars of richly colored jam lined up on the table:
The entire picture, then, makes me feel as though I have accomplished a lot, even with the heat we are experiencing:
It's summer as the ripening raspberries attest, and I have a bouquet of Shasta daisies, larkspur and achillea (a variety called Moonglow) for my kitchen table.  None of the flowers are fragrant, which is too bad, but they are a treat to my eyes, nonetheless.

I hope to finish threading the towels tomorrow and also go shopping for the tiny threads I am going to weave into grille cloth for a 1930 radio for a man who restores them.  The threads are tiny, black in the warp direction, and sett quite closely.  Finding the coppery-looking threads that run in the weft direction may be challenging, but what's life without challenges?
(Boring, I suspect.)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Back Again

Where have I been?  Here in Salt Lake City, mainly.  How have I been? 
As my father would have said "as busy as an ant on a hot rock".  Yes, scurrying and getting things done.

When I wrote here last I was headed to the Art Ball at the  Springville  Museum of Art.  It is a formal affair that takes place every year shortly after the annual Spring Salon opens there.  I drove down that Saturday evening and mingled with the folks at the Ball and a while after I got there my friend, Lee Benion, also arrived.  Lee is a painter (that's sort of like saying Isaac Stern is a violinist) and a dear friend.  [She also makes Mom's Stuff a salve that smells of pinyon pine and works wonders.]  There was a light buffet and then the awards ceremony.  Lee got a cash prize; I got to stand up and be recognized.  Still, out of about 1000 entries, 224 were accepted and mine was the only fiber piece.  There were a handful of photos, fewer sculptures and just one fiber piece. 

I had a student here in my studio which meant finishing something on the loom and dressing it for her use and tidying up after myself.  I had been keeping my head down and working hard and tidying was needed.

In between I have been cutting the lawn, weeding, nurturing my vegetable garden, doing laundry, volunteering at the nursing facility, exercising  and spending one whole weekend volunteering at a festival in the heart of downtown.

Right now I am waiting to hear whether I have the go ahead on a project reproducing the grille cloth for some radios built in 1930.  I have done the analysis of the teeny, tiny black and gold fabrics so I am ready.

I have wound a warp using a fine hemp yarn, the first I have ever purchased.  It is 16/2 so is pretty fine and a light tan color.  It's nice stuff and I put on enough for six or seven large towels woven in a two block twill.  Here is how they look on the loom:
I'm hoping that the pattern shows up a little better in the lower photo.  The twill blocks form circles (almost) over and over again across and down the cloth.  I am weaving the fourth towel now and really want to see how they look after being washed and ironed well.  The warp is sleyed 4/dent but vigorous washing ought to even things out.  I believe that they will be very absorbent and perhaps rival the linen towels I have made and use with pleasure daily.

The raspberries are starting to ripen.  I had enough for a generous serving over my morning cottage cheese for two days now and took a close look while mowing in the back garden.  I might be able to make a jar or two of raspberry jam in the next day or so.   Oh, boy!

Monday, May 14, 2012


I have been working on a series of four fabrics--all meant to be worn--that will co-ordinate with each other.  The first one had loop mohair squares arranged in a half-drop pattern on a plain weave ground.  The next two are woven and finished so that they look like this:
The cloth on the left, a skirt fabric, is woven of 2/20 worsted using a 5 shaft satin.  I wish you could touch it because it is smooth, soft with a very nice hand.  The fabric on the left, intended for a vest or a jacket, is woven of 2/8 worsted.  It's also very soft to the touch.

The fourth fabric of the series, intended for use as a blouse or similar garment is woven of 10/2 cotton with an accent yarn, a blend of cotton,  rayon, linen and hemp.  You will notice that part of it is checked and part is striped.  I had in mind that perhaps the yoke of the blouse could be checked with the remainder striped.  Now that is something you could never buy off the rack!

In between weaving I have been working outside, preparing my vegetable garden (tomatoes--four varieties--swiss chard, pattypan squash and straight yellow squash) and mowing the lawn.  Last summer and fall I couldn't work much in the garden because of the now-replaced knee so I am having to catch up with work not done then.  Little by little...

There was a spot of color in my quiet existence last Saturday.  I went to a ball.  I had entered pieces in the Springville Art Museum's annual Spring Salon and won a merit award.  Now a merit award is pretty modest as awards go but when you consider that a woven piece was up against all kinds of paintings, sculpture and some photos, it isn't bad.  The Art Ball is a formal affair--not my natural habitat:  I am wearing shorts, tee shirt and sandals as I write!--but I have one dress that qualifies so I suited up and went.

It's an interesting life!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Back at last

I have not dropped from the face of the earth.  I have been weaving and doing the usual things in my life.  It turns out there is a long list of the latter to which gardening and lawn mowing have been added.  Phew!  Anything that gets done at my house is done by me.  No exceptions.

The tartan was finished, including inspection, correcting and washing and pressing a couple of weeks ago.  The man who commissioned it picked it up Saturday a week ago.

While I was waiting for him to come and waiting, too, for some yarns to arrive I made a silk scarf from 20/2 hand-dyed silk I bought from RedFish Dyeworks.  I had purchased it some time ago and it was getting close to Holy Relic Designation--that thing that the longer I keep it the more valuable and untouchable it seems so that I can't bear to weave with it at all at the end.  Well, these skeins escaped that fate.

The warp is a shade of blue green and the weft a frank purple.  The cloth is iridescent, as I had planned it would be.  The colors reverse on the back except for the plain weave field in which the figures appear.  I like it a lot.

The yarn I was awaiting arrived and the first cloth from them is well underway.  The taupe-y color is worsted wool and the fuschia is a loop mohair.  I arranged for the mohair to appear in small squares on the right side of the cloth.  The squares are arranged in a half-drop:

Those thigs alone would make me very happy--and they do--but to add to that is the fact that the lily of the valley is in full bloom.  My whole front garden is scented by them. (O! Bliss!)  A small bouquet is in my kitchen table:
If only you could smell them!

Friday, March 16, 2012


There is progress.  The tartan is coming along.  The first picture I showed you implied that more was woven than had been woven; that is, the cloth just went around the breast beam at the front of the loom but now it is much farther along and headed toward the cloth storage beam at the back of the loom.  Not quite a yard yet but close:
If you look closely (or click on the picture for a closer look) you can see a narrow strip of heavy cardstock on which I have marked the color sequence using colored pencils.  I use that strip to be sure that the plaid is truly woven to square.  I have used this method for decades now to be sure that plaids can be sewn without problems matching at seams.

There is progress in the garden, too.  Yesterday afternoon, when the light wasn't good enough for a photo, I noticed that one of the early daffodils was nearly ready to open.  You can imagine my surprise this morning when instead of just one, I saw this:
It was a warm night and that was all it took.  Now, it will be warm tonight, too, they say, before the storm blows in tomorrow with lots of rain which will turn to snow.  These sweet flower faces are likely to be plastered to the ground by heavy snow.  If that happens, I will rescue some to enjoy on my kitchen table.
Along with the daffodils, there are new things blooming, more tiny, early bulbs:
This is blue pearl crocus, an extremely early variety and quite small (less than an inch across).  The trace of blue is on the outside of their petals.
Additionally, I noticed another early arriva (pushkinia or striped squill):
It's pretty breezy outside right now so they are very slightly out of focus.  What appears to be pale blue petals are actually white with a narrow blue line that leads to the tiny, pale yellow cup where the pollen is.  Seen under ultrviolet light the blue line is very bright and is sometimes called a pollen guide.  I think of it as landing lights for bees so that the can see right where to go.  Unlike us, bees see into the ultraviolet.  For two or three years after I first planted them, I thought the petals were pale blue--until I took a closer look.  This little plant convinced me to look more closely ALL the time!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wonderful things!

There are three wonderful things I want to tell you about today.  First, is the fact that the tartan weaving is finally underway.  I have been so sick for so long that I have lost nearly a month which means it will be delivered a lot later than I had planned.  But here is is:
The weaving is going smoothly so far.  There are six (6!) colors which adds to the work.  Most tartans have just five colors, a few have fewer.  But it is what it is and now you can see it.  It's 37" in the reed and I have yet to weave one yard so there is a long way to go.

 The second wonderful thing is a book that arrived in the mail yesterday from England.  It is a copy of Ann Richard's book.  Here is the cover:
Because of the third thing I have to tell you, I have not had time to go through the book well and certainly no time to read it.  But, from the limited look I have had it is just what I expected from Ann:  it is beautiful, quiet in its design, gorgeous and very, very well done.  I am going to enjoy this book very much!  It won't be available in this country for a while yet.

The third thing was the performance I attended last night.  The Utah Symphony and Opera is putting on Donizetti's The Elixir of Love now and it is lovely.

The sort of singing required (bel canto--and what a good name because it is "beautiiful singing") is very exacting particularly for the main characters, Adina and Nemorino.  As you probably know the story is set in a small town (for us an American town in the mid-west in the decade right after the turn of the 20th century) where there is a naive young man, Nemorino, who is madly in love with the prettiest, smartest girl in town, Adina.  He isn't subtle about his interest in her and moons over her;  she scorns him.  A travelling patent medicine salesman blows into town selling bottles of cure-alls.  Because Adina had been reading to everyone about Tristan and Isolde where a love potion figures in, Nemorino thinks his only chance is a magic elixir.  Do you see where this is going?

An army recruiter comes to town and sweeps Adina off her feet and a wedding is set up for the same evening.  Meanwhile, Nemorino has taken the elixir (actually Burgundy) and confident that it will work, relaxes, flirts with the other girls and waits for results.  Adina is cat-like in that solicited she walks away, but ignored she comes around our of curiosity with the inevitable result:  In the end the two young people realize their love for each other and all ends well.

The sets were completely charming, with the action taking place in the town square in a gazebo structure, the kind used then for band concerts.  Costumes were pretty.  It always interests me to notice how the colors are chosen so that our attention is directed to where it ought to go. 

Our Adina was played by Arya Matanovic and Nemorino was Aaron Blake.  Both were definitely up to their vocally demanding roles and acted convincingly as well.  Rod Nelman was the travelling medicine man, Dr. Dulcamara.

The opera is in start contrast to the last.  There is nothing light or cheerful about Rigoletto, a truly horrifying tale, but Elixir was just lovely in all kinds of ways.

So, three wonderful things to report this fortunate am I?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Home again!

It is always a joy to come home again, even if I have had a wonderful time while I was away.  I suppose that simply means I live in the right place for me.  I was in Portland, Oregon from the middle of last week until late last night presenting programs (day meeting and evening meeting) and a two day workshop on weave structures for the Portland Weavers Guild.

It was a joy to see folks I know from past years there and then there was the surprise of several weavers whom I met in other places (Hi, Linda, Carol and Judy).  It was a great class and I enjoyed every member of it.

Sad to say, the cough that had followed me for two weeks resumed on Tuesday so I missed my exercise class, choosing to lie low to conseerve energy for the trip the next day.   Good thing I did.

Today is my first day back and I've been to buy groceries and to see if there is anything that will boost my immune system.  I am rarely ill, so the last three weeks have been very discouraging.

I noticed last weekend that some of the very early bulbs I plant had come up and are blooming.  Today they weren't too far gone to photograph.  Here are the yellow winter aconites and the green and white of the snow drops.  I plant them because they bring encouragement at this time of year!
This little flower is only about one inch (2.5 cm) across.  The petals in the right light are so shiny that they appear to be enameled.
The snow drops are so tiny that I have included my fingertip to give a sense of scale.  They are such a bright white that they almost seem to be a light source.
Let's hear it for the signs of spring to come.  My weather woman says we will have snow a week from today....

Sunday, March 4, 2012

There's always something, right?

It seems that when things are moving along, something comes up.  I fought the respiratory illness for close to two weeks and had, piecemeal, measured out the warp for the tartan.  I got it beamed and then sighed with pleasure.  I really enjoy and look forward to the threading process.  For me, it is almost a meditation.
But to thread the AVL on which I had beamed the tartan warp, I have to take it apart enough so that I can put my threading bench (Thanks, Jim Hocket!) inside.  And that is where the "something" showed up.  To pivot the bench to make room for sitting, the carriage bolts that fasten the bottom of the bench supports so that the bench can be rotated from roughly horizontal to vertical must be removed.
The carriage bolt had rounded the hole on the right side so that I could not loosen it to remove it.  No matter what I did, the bolt just turned.  Hmmm. 
I decided that if I could score the rounded head to make it more like a slot-head screw, perhaps I could gain purchse on it and unfasten it.  I made a trip to buy files and worked on that for nearly a day.  No good.  I couldn't make a nice, snug slot nor could I hold the bolt still with any screwdriver I own to unfasten it.
The next day I decided that I needed to cut it off.  I had to buy a new hacksaw that would fit into the space and a stouter blade.  I sawed and sawed, turned the bolt a little, sawed more and repeated that all the way around until I had cut through the nut and into the bolt a little.  You can imagine my relief when I was able to remove the nut and then the bolt!

By then it was time for me to stop and prepare for the lectures and the workshop I am to present this week in Portland, OR.  The sorting process, as usual, took almost the entire day today but the bag is packed full to bursting and ready to go.

This evening I have rewarded myself by getting into the loom and starting to thread:
You will recognize the colors from the photo of the tartan sample I showed you a few days ago. 

I had hoped to be this far along almost two weeks ago but sometimes life interferes with the best of plans!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sandra was right!

Here I am a full week later, still coughing and still under the weather.  Sandra's comment was exactly right.  I have slept a LOT, drunk lots of water, taken Robitussin DM at exact four hour intervals and still I am coughing and feeling out of focus.

I finally decided that I needed to start winding the warp for the large piece of tartan and have begun, slowly.  I am double- and triple-checking myself because I don't feel confident about my thought processes, ability to count, etc.  And, in the case of a tartan in particular all of that counts.  A lot.

I am still going to bed early and sleeping in and hoping to shake this bug.  As Sandra noted, it is a lulu!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Yes, two in one day

The man who designed and commissioned me to weave his tartan came by today and declared himself delighted with the cloth.  Just as I thought, cloth beats paper!

I have some nasty bug, a lower respiratory thing so it is an early bedtime for me tonight.   I warned my customer as I met him at the door and said I was going to keep my distance; he said not to worry, everyone at his house had it last week.  Hmmm.

I had woven enough to cut off and wash a hemstitched piece for him to take.  I had washed and pressed it but it was still a little bit damp, but that means no extra trip from Pleasant Grove to pick it up.

I am going to weave about half an inch on the sample piece I am keeping for my records before I hemstitch it so I can take if from the loom and wash and press it.  

Next stop, dreamland, and that sounds good!

Towels and the new project

The towels are woven and completely finished:
I was thinking of spring when I chose the colors, focusing first on that tender yellow green that appears first before the leaves on my cottonwood tree are fully mature.  Now that they are woven and finished they do make me think of spring.

I jumped right in to the next project as soon as the box of yarn arrived from JaggerSpun.  I was commissioned to weave a tartan by a man in Pleasant Grove, Utah who designed the tartan himself.  It is in some ways non-traditional, mainly because it isn't symmetrical.  I have never seen an asymmetrical tartan before, have you? 

It has been registered in Scotland but never woven until now.  Here is a photo of the first piece on the loom:

This piece is the test to be sure that the cloth looks as he wants it to look and if it is OK I can move on to the nine yard length.  He needs to send a piece to the registry to complete the file they have on this design.  He will see it for the first time this afternoon. 
I am undoubtedly prejudiced, but I think that the woven cloth looks so much more vibrant than the computer generated image.  Cloth vs paper? Cloth wins!

Back to it!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Progress....someone to watch/listen for

There is progresss on the towel warp.  This is the fourth towel of seven almost completed:
This is just a corner showing the border coming together toward the end of the fourth towel.  I am enjoying all the color after the white on white warp.

The name you will want to remember is Simone Lamsma.  She is a young violinist (20 or 21) who played the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto tonight with the Utah Symphony.  I love this concerto and it was played brilliantly by this young woman tonight.  The audience leapt to its feet when she had finished.  (And this time it wasn't a hold-over from the days before Abravanel Hall when all the concerts were held in the Mormon Tabernacle where the pews were exceedingly uncomfortable so any excuse to stand was welcome!  Now those pews have been replaced with ones that fit modern bodies far more comfortably....) 

The first piece on the program was Anton Von Webern's "Fuga (Ricercats)" from Musickalischen Opfer by J. S. Bach.  Imagine a reading where every word is spoken by a different person so that each person's part makes no sense but when wll the parts are put together you hear the reading properly.  This piece is constructed similarly by taking the notes of the Musical Offering and spreading them out over the orchestra.  The piece uses only the notes Back wrote but presented this way, they are totally new.  Very interesting, indeed.

After the intermission the augmented orchestra (extra players were brought in) played Bruckner's Symphony No. 4.  It is a very big piece, rich and melodic.  During the second movement the viola section carries the main melody showing off the mellow, golden timbre that only the viola can produce.  (Perhaps a little prejudice is showing here since I played the viola for years.)

It was a grand concert.  This week the new season was announced (the program for 2012-13) and the fact that Thierry Fischer's contract has been extended through 2015-16.  The latter is very good news, indeed!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Moving ahead

I wove another white scarf on the warp you saw here plus a piece that will become a small bag, once the silk to line it arrives.  (Do you know about

I have been craving color and have a relatively short time left before the yarn for a commission (you will see later) arrives.  I decided it was time to weave more cotton towels.  I usually have some on hand but right now have none at all.  I measured out the warp today.  Can you tell that I am longing for spring?
I took this picture while the warp was still on the warping board.  I usually make a warp long enough to make a dozen towels but this one is shorter because I want to start work on the commission as soon as the yarn arrives.

The borders are a slightly grayed yellow green set into a natural white ground.  Inside the borders are groups of narrow stripes--five colors--that repeat five times.  I like the colors and am eager to see them as the towels are woven.  You will see them, too, of course.

Last Saturday there was a Utah Symphony concert.  The first half of the program consisted mainly of Faure--never a mistake in my opinion with a brand new piece (world premiere) co-commissioned by the Utah Symphony, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre de la Suise Romande and Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg.   The composer, Michael Jarrell, wrote this piece for solo cello and orchestra.  I liked it a lot and would like to hear it again.  I have never heard a cello make those sounds before; it was very interesting.  Our solosit, Jean-Guihen Queyas, to whom along with Thierry Fischer, our conductor, the piece is dedicated did an amazing job.  Then he played Faure's Elegie for Cello and Orchestra in which the cello sang.  I am partial to Faure whose work always seems to elegant and lovely to me, and I loved it.

After the intermission the orchestra played Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.  I have to confess that at first I was dreading hearing this old warhorse again.  When I was in high school we played this in orchestra and I felt I knew every single note--and I think I do!--so I wondered what Fischer could bring to it.  I needn't have been concerned.  It was played briskly and cleanly with a wonderful transparency that made the piece new to me.  The second movement, the andante, was lyrical and romantic and quite lovely.  Maestro Fischer continues to impress and delight me.  And, next week we hear the Mendelssohn violin concerto which I love followed by Bruckner's Symphony #4.

Life is good.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

At last!

My computer died on Dec. 1, 2011 just when I was going to post to this blog again.  Now, after a lot of struggling with this new computer, I am back again.

In the meantime, the new knee has settled in and I have had cataracts removed from both eyes--what a miracle!  Folks who long for the "good old days" don't take into account that in those days I would have become more and more immobile and eventually blind, to boot.  I, for one, am very glad to be living now!

I have been weaving, at first just a little and now almost back to "normal".  (I am starting to think that "normal" is just a setting on my dryer....)  I wove four washable rugs (three warps), to order, (not photographed) that were mostly brown.  I spent weeks dyeing the loops left over when athletic socks are made.  They are now delivered and in use.

Yesterday I cut off three white, silk scarves.  They looked like this on the loom:
The main yarn is a 140/2 silk plied three strands together and the larger yarn is 20/2.  The silk is strong and well-mannered causing no difficulty in weaving.  I found I am having to de-gum it when washing it because otherwise it is overly crisp when ironed.

I have been attending the Utah Symphony enjoying the concerts very much.  Last week I went to see the Utah Opera's performance of Rigoletto.  The sets and costumes were excellent and the singers, particularly the soprano were better than that.  The story is very dark and tragic and one I don't like much at all.

As you can see, because it is winter, Bob (copper and white) and Lola (black and white) cuddle together to share body heat.  They are good friends a fact for which I am very grateful!