Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Small Diversion

The Conference of Northern California Handweavers (CNCH) will be held soon at Asilomar, on the Monterey Peninsula. The organizers are planning an auction of Art Postcards, and requested one from each of us. Here is mine:

cnch postcard

My first, and perhaps only, *Art* (haha) postcard, hopefully never to be actually mailed, because it does not meet postal regulations (the beads). I could not help myself though: I'm guessing most postcards are collages, with lots of sewing and stamping, printing and dye effects, but I am not a stamper. I was a beader, was being the operative word, now I'm more of an embellisher. The distinction is a little like the difference between lace knitting and knitted lace. There are lines in the sand, which must not be crossed.

Be that as it may, I enjoyed embellishing and stitching this postcard. It is a base of handwoven fabric, with a few snips of another fabric, some smashed coins and a few beads, plus an everlasting-life symbol fetish. Both fabrics are cotton/rayon warps, of yarns which vary from 2000 to 3000 ypp, painted, sett at 20 epi, woven with a single color weft.

I'm looking forward to seeing all the submitted postcards in the show. They will be auctioned off to benefit the scholarship fund at CNCH, a worthy endeavor.

An aside: this appears to be my 200th post. Who knew I could be so wordy? [that's a rhetorical question :)]

Friday, February 23, 2007

Just In Time

red hat set

Recent travel knitting consisted of small things, from this red yarn, dyed red because of extreme-red-envy. The hat is a dubblemossa, with an eyelet rib from Walker:

red hat stitch detail2

Multiple of 7 stitches plus 2, purl 2 knit 5 for 3 rows, then purl 2, k2tog, YO, K, YO, SSK, repeat. It makes a nice little rib, and the hat being double thickness, the holes did not detract from the warmth factor.

I repeated the eyelet rib on the back of the mittys, but the scarf is one of the many multidirectional patterns out there, my version from here.

The *just in time* issue?

yurt snow Feb 2007

Winter has (finally) arrived :).

And now, to don the hat, scarf and mittens, and rush out to join my neighbors shopping for storm-essentials: bread, milk, toilet paper and chips. At least that's the bulk of what I see in grocery carts right before a storm. There must be some reason these are Storm Staples, but, oddly, none of them are on my list today:


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I Am Not Alone


One of the very nice things about traveling to other guilds is meeting up with old friends, and making new ones. This trip, in Escondido, I met Jean. Jean is a longtime weaver, who also has a yurt for a studio (hers is purple). Jean's husband has a business collecting and selling old textiles and tribal arts, from South and Central America, and (I think) Indonesia. What a fabulous job: travel, collect textiles, come home and sell them to earn money for more travel....

It's so nice to meet people with whom I feel an instant connection, and Jean is one of those. It is often the case, among weavers, spinners and knitters, and one of the reasons I so enjoy retreats, guilds, and conferences.

Jean's studio is the same size and age as mine. The fenestration is different, she has almost all her windows on the back side, with a deck overlooking the lake beyond. It is a fabulous site, and a fabulous studio. Hers felt more spacious and open than mine. Hmmmm. Maybe I have too much stuff? Mostly I have too many (big) worktables. I came home and surveyed the mess that I call my studio. So far, I've done nothing overt to change or correct anything, I am still thinking.

One of the things that struck me at Jean's studio is the open central area. Yurts have wonderful acoustics, the sound travels around the circular structure in ways different from our more common squared-off rooms. When standing in the center of the room, any sound you make surrounds you. I used to have my CD player on the table, in the center of the room, and the sound whirled around in a very satisfying way. But I have blocked that acoustical ability with a large worktable I am loathe to give up. I just might have to think of a way to re-arrange the studio.

I am still thinking.

Another delight in returning to the area was meeting up with Deanna (frequent commenter, but no blog) and Judy, both of whom I know from previous trips. Judy brought me her completed knotted pile bag from this class:

judy's bag front

judy's bagbackback

It was a treat to see the finished bag, Judy did a fabulous job, (despite my blurry, very unfabulous photos) even unto the French knots! Happily, she said working on the knotted pile has inspired her to many other, more hands-on kinds of weaving and needlework, including pine-needle baskets. She tried to fool her husband by saying she'd only need a few pine needles, and that they are free. We all know where this story ends!

And on local notes: spinner and knitter Stef has a new blog: you must go check out her chicken coop. I'm just hoping chickens are color-blind, or they might be just scared off their nests :).

And the lion has not been sleeping, tonight or any night. His return has meant Sue lost her last angora goat, and another pregnant ewe. Sue's animals were locked up in the barn, but the lion so frightened them that they burst the lock on the door, to escape into the pastures, where he met them.

The trappers say this guy is just marauding, killing and not eating the animals, killing for sport. Others in the area have lost sheep, llamas, alpacas, calves and chickens. We listened the other day as the tracking dogs bayed, but they did not find him. The trappers will keep trying, and may the lion finally rest in peace.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Been Driving

This is a Long State. I've driven it down and back now, and even though I live part way to the top, I'm done, done done with driving for a while. Glad to be home.

It seems for the last few years, I've spent time in the southlands, and I've come to expect a certain Southern California-ness to the weather. Oops. This time it was brisk, chilly even, and there was rain. Granted, the rain came, Camelot-like, in the night while we slept. But it was wet stuff falling out of the sky nonetheless.

As usual, I had a grand time. First there was the Southern California Handweavers Guild. They are preparing for the upcoming ASCH conference, with workshops, guild displays and vendors (!), always a happy addition.

We dyed. We dyed samples, over 500 colors, which Nicki posted on her blog here.

I stayed with Nicki and her husband, and their four (count 'em!) four chihuahuas. It sounds like it would be like staying inside a popcorn popper, but really, truly, they calmed down and were quite sedate. Until. Until something occurred. Anything would do: noises, leaves falling, phones ringing, someone moving. Then we had a brief period of popcorn-popping, until it was determined that all was right with the world and we (meaning they) could sleep again.

Nicki is weaving a fabulous piece for the ASCH conference, which I shall not describe here, in case it's a secret, only to be revealed at the conference. It is beautiful though, was almost finished when I was there, and is probably finished now. You all can see it at the conference soon, and for those of us who won't be there, Nicki promises a series of blog-posts about the whole process, after the conference (no pressure, eh?).

Then, it was off even further south, to the Palomar Guild. I stayed with Michelle and her husband, in a house in an orange grove, organic blood oranges no less, which survived the recent freezing temperatures (and were absolutely delicious).

Along the route to and from the workshop site were avocado groves. Yep, whole acres of avocado trees, be still my heart. I did not purloin. I wanted to. I swore I'd stop at a store and buy lots. I forgot. Ah well, next time. Many orange and avocado groves have been frozen in recent weeks, so price and availability is soon to be an issue. And I missed my chance, pout.

We also dyed, more samples, and both guilds did some yarn dyeing for good measure.

It was a pleasure, at both guilds, thanks for the opportunity. And now for a little gratuitous yarn picture:

gratuitous yarn photo

I'm afraid that ordering yarn, already dyed, is all that I've had time for of late. That and some flamingoes:

sara flamingoes2

at the San Diego Zoo.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Little Color

A bit of dyeing has occurred:

sock yarns

This is some fingering weight yarn, for socks, or fingerless mittens, or actual mittens, whatever the recipients choose. Yep, recipients as in not me, although I may have to dye up some of the blue/red combination for myself, and see how it knits up.

I wound the skeins into balls, carefully starting each so they unwound in the same color order direction. I find it disconcerting when people knit self-striping socks and pay no attention to the color order of the stripes: it's as if the stripes go down one foot and back up the other. I can't look. Sometimes it's those little tics that mark the sign of a true Virgo :).

I've also been mounting samples:

wool samples

Not much to look at as far as blog fodder goes. This is the final color combination I dyed last Fall, and turned out to be my favorite in the series of colors. I liked them so much I dyed enough handspun silk for a shawl:

dyed handspun silk

Yeah, OK, I added a dark blue/purple, just a stripe or two; otherwise I think the fabric would look too predictable. These warp chains are not on the loom yet, but they are next up. Until then, though, they will travel with me to a few dye classes.

Last: as is my habit, I occasionally run through all of the blogs on the WeaveRing. There are many new ones added recently, we're up to 60 blogs now! A very welcome surprise: Weaving Spirit from longtime weaver and friend Bonnie Tarses. Go check out her blog: lovely pictures and lots of inspiration. Welcome Bonnie! I also found Abby Franquemont's blog Abby's Yarns, full of color and thoughtful posts on spinning and her early life in Chinchero, Peru.

Sitting here in the early mornings, sipping tea and reading about weaving, spinning and dyeing, I'm so grateful that we can keep in touch, share our enthusiasm for all of this, and maybe learn a thing or two from each other. Thanks to all of you who blog, it is wonderful to read your thoughts, and see your work. It inspires me to get up from this desk, and get back into the studio :).

Friday, February 02, 2007

St. Brigid's Day

Full moon

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
and watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich the smile that her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
we have no time to stand and stare.
W. H. Davies 1870-1940


[a note to Pete and Carol: the third line only works in meter if you say squirrel with two syllables]