Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Start As You Mean To Go On

The new year promises to be a little more productive already:
fabric 3 december 08 (2) small

The woven cloth logjam is certainly broken here at the Little Yurt Sweatshop: since the silk warp is out of the way, I've whipped on and woven off two warps and started the third:

fabric december 08 small

This is a long warp, a blend of cottons and rayon, dyed and warp painted, 20 epi.

It will be a new jacket for me. My old one is Actually Wearing Out, and no wonder since I made it in 1994. I've been getting several indicators that I need to make some new clothes: the latest was when a friend from the early '90's stopped me in the grocery store, and said "I recognized your coat and knew it had to be you". Sheesh, from 12 years ago!

I won't exactly be incognito in the new jacket: it is much the same colorway as the old one, but at least I will feel like I made an effort. I like these colors, and obviously they have worked for me in my wardrobe :).

Picking the weft involved a little sample:

fabric 2 december 08 small

The top one is 10/2 in burgundy (the chosen weft), the bottom is 8/2 in purple. The 8/2 is just slightly heavier; I like the fabric better with a finer weft. I also like the color better.

Well begun is half done; let us hope the new year continues on in the same fashion (hee! a pun! I crack myself up).

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cold, Snow, Ice....

and weaving! It must be Christmas:

december weaving small

Before I could get to the annual round of gift weaving, I had to weave off this silk fabric:

december weaving2 small

This has been on the loom since June or July, perhaps the longest any warp has languished on my loom in my 30 years of weaving.

I do love the fabric, it was not hard to weave, and it would have been nice to have the shirt it will become for several events in the recent past. But alas, it took me months to get to it, and I really only finished it under the pressure of getting other things on and off the loom.

I have one floor loom.

This means that I need to weave off a project before another can get started, unlike knitting, where I can start and store lots of projects on the needles.

I don't want another loom, I like the idea that projects are at least woven off, if not sewn up, in a timely manner, well, mostly, sometimes, usually.

I was happy to be back throwing the shuttle too, the rhythm and habits returned (happily) in a few moments. The silk warp was finished, the new warp went on, and weaving began again. This warp is almost done, and then another warp will go on and be woven off by Sunday.

I love the speed and cadence of the work at the loom. I'm accustomed to it, it suits me, and it just feels like all is right in those moments.

Some knitting has occurred too:

december small

gloves and cowl small

Gift knitting. Happy, happy, joy, joy: done. Details of these will be up on Ravelry soon, in my projects.

But now? It's evening, I'm tired, the fire is lit, dinner is cooking, time for a glass of wine, feet up and yes, some knitting.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


silk shawl2 April 2007
Driving home last night on our two lane mountain highway, we slowed for a deer in the road. I was reminded of another night, another road, another deer in headlights, in another state, and a car full of women coming back from dinner to a warm house on the Montana plains.

That week in Montana was spent at a friend's mother's home. We did some weaving, and lots of talking and sharing of meals, and I think there was a day in which I did not get out of my pajamas. In my memory it is one of those stop-time moments: happy women in a warm house in February, sharing fiber activities about which we all are passionate. We shared ideas, news and memories, and in the process wove a blanket of friendship.

I envy my friend that her mother is still such a vibrant and constant part of her life. I envy anyone, in fact, who still has elders in the family willing to share the good times and give us a glimpse of the past: of how they were raised, and what life was like *then*. Another friend and I were talking this week about her recent Thanksgiving meal, which included a Mother-in-law who was raised on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression, and her stories of life growing up then. I also had a Mother-in-law who would share stories of her life growing up on the Dakota plains, in those after-dinner moments, or while we washed the dishes and cleaned up. My own mother died over 17 years ago, and while I can still hear her stories in her voice occasionally in my mind, it is fading.

There are moments in one's life that remain etched in memory. We cannot foresee which ones these will be, and they are not always the Big Moments: the weddings, birthdays and funerals that mark the passages of our lives. Sometimes, they are simple pleasures: the warmth of friends, the cosiness of a car at night, the after-dinner conversations, with happy sated people.

No big weaving revelations here, just gratitude that spinning and weaving has brought so much into my life, and so many wonderful people. And a tip of the glass to Betty, to Harriet, and to Anne, among all the women who create those magical moments that weave us all together.