Friday, December 2, 2016

The me before coffee

I've been having lots of fun with my weaving experiments lately.  It's been fun to challenge myself a little and see what cool things I can make on the loom that my previous prejudices about what makes a "good towel" or "good scarf" are going out the window.  It's been such a wonderful learning experience...and it's been fun.

I made this gorgeous set of towels with both my "jazz" method of creating the warp, but also with my desire to try something new.

The pattern is called an "undulating twill" and results in a really amazing chevron or zig zag that you don't normally get when weaving.  The undulations happen by skipping or repeating a number in the normal treadling sequence.


So for instance, I might normally treadle 1-8-1 to get a zig zag, but in an undulating twill I might treadle 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 22, 33, 44, 55, 666, 7777, 888....and so on.

I had convinced myself that this wouldn't make good towels because there would be too long of floats...that they wouldn't hold up, or that they'd be too loose.


But, boy was I wrong.  The finished fabric on these not only looks different and better than what it did on the loom, but it is SO SOFT.  I can't wait to hear reports on how it uses and how it lasts.

Alas...I was in such a frenzy this morning (and before my coffee) that I didn't get pictures of these gorgeous ladies before I shipped them off...Reminder to self: drink both cups of coffee before attempting to mail anything off.






Thursday, December 1, 2016

Jazz

I love jazz music.  The improvisation, the fun, the creativity, the team work...the variations on themes.

I've been doing a lot of weaving lately.  Which is wonderful.  People have been ordering towels, which I love making.  I approach the design and weaving of them in the sense of a jazz improvisation...variation on a theme if you will.

First off, when winding the warp (theme) I like to use a deck of cards to determine how many ends to wind for that particular color.  Sometimes, like the towels featured in this post, I'll assign a "number" to the color and when I draw a card, I'll wind that many ends.  This allows for some control and balance (the key of the tune, if you will) but still provides for some random and methods of interpretation as well.

You can see in the photo that each towel is a different color.  The colors are picked from those in the warp.  Variation on theme #1.  What I love about this variation is that it allows for completely different looks.  The warp and weft threads "interact" with each other and make for really pretty stripes or plaid looks...

The second variation that I like to do is to weave a different pattern for each towel.  Right now I'm studying different weave structures as I create.  These are all different variations on either undulating twill or "cords"...

I especially loved this towel:
The way the warp and weft threads interact it looks like I wove a cross hatch but instead I just wove a cord weave.  It's cool and has some nice texture.

In the process of the variations on the main theme, I'm learning about fabric structure and what makes good towels.  One of the towels (the 2nd from the top in the first picture) is super squishy and drapy.  It's absolutely lovely and I think will make a wonderfully absorbent towel, but I'm curious to how long it will last.  In scarf or wrap form it would be divine...something I'll need to remember for the future!

Have a wonderfully jazzy and improvisational day today!  Add a little wonder and variation on themes to your day and see how it makes you feel!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hope

I've started this blog entry over and over these past weeks.  Ever since the election, I've really thought about the concept of hope...it was brought to me more poignantly in a conversation I had recently about leaving my employment:

A tiny digression to say that my leaving wasn't pleasant.  The meeting that took place when I decided to go ahead an give notice was verbally abusive and demeaning.  It was horrible in all the ways a professional conversation can be horrible...and it was the only time I have ever experienced such a thing AT WORK.

OK...so I'm processing this meeting and beating myself up because I can't really understand why I didn't see all of the warning signs...why didn't I go "oh, this is out my ex used to treat me...I should either stand up for myself or get out"...I don't know why I didn't do the things I needed to do to take care of myself.

And I said, "geez I keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.  Am I really this blind that I didn't see."

The person who I was having this conversation with pointed out to me, very kindly, that I did indeed notice the warning flags, that I was worried about them, that I tried to do things to fix them.  I wasn't being blind, I was being hopeful.

*******

But hope...hope carries so much for such a little word.

Hope is why we create art.

Hope is why we love other people.

Hope is why we try to be better and do better than we were/did before.

Hope is (very often) why we get out of bed in the morning.

Hope gives each and every one of us purpose.

********

I don't want to forget that.  I don't want to lose hope...I was close last month.  When I left my job I really questioned everything that had happened to me over the past 2 years.  Hope was why I packed everything I could fit in my car and drove 2500 miles across the county to redefine my life.  Hope was why I tried so very hard to make that work situation be positive...for me and for the others I worked with.

But, in the end, there were other factors at play.  Other reasons I needed to be "out west" (a place where I want to point out I was never ever moving to!).  Other reasons why I had to shed almost every single thing from my previous life and become new.

Hope...it was there.  In the love that I found.  In the beauty that I found.  And in the joy I've been able to capture. 

Hope is what's fueling my art right now.  My creations and my creativity. 

And hope is what gives me the confidence to pick up once again, and do my best to be my best and have faith that it's all going to be right...

*****

And a little eye candy for the day because what's a crafting blog without some crafting love?

Friday, November 11, 2016

The studio

The thing I didn't mention in my update yesterday was our move to our beautiful new townhome.  It's three levels, and I have amazing views of the mountains from the studio windows as well as the windows in the stairway (viewable from the hallway on the 3rd floor).  Yesterday the sunset was so perfect that I just sat and stared...no way to take good pictures of that sunset vantage from this place, which is a tad sad, but still...I get to see them and be inspired by the beauty all around me.

In February of this year we decided that the place we were in was too small for both of us and all of our stuff, so we looked around and found this place.  We moved in at the end of the month...in an event that was anything but lovely.  I still worked Saturdays then, but Bill had gotten together his friends and they helped move the furniture while I was at work.  About 8:30 I knew something was wrong with my stomach..I figured I had eaten something with gluten the night before, so was going to hold out...then about 9:30, I knew it wasn't anything I could wait on.  I left work, came home, grabbed the cats and went to the new place where I sat on the living room floor watching people move all the furniture in and trying with all of my might not to throw up.

I lost that battle and ended up christening our living room floor.  I was horrified, embarrassed and totally grossed out.  First, I didn't know where any clean clothes were.  Second I didn't know where any towels were, and third...I had no way of cleaning up the floor.  Oh, and fourth, I really didn't know any of these people who were helping us move in and here I was yacking all over the floor.  It was not one of my high points.

Well, I managed to get myself to the bathroom, and start running water.  Someone came in and asked if I was ok, and I let them know what happened.  They got Bill, who miraculously found my bag with extra clothes and then he found something that passed for a towel.  I had a shower and when I came downstairs, there was a couch that I could sort of lay on and hope nothing else happened.

It did.  I haven't been that sick at my stomach in years and years.  I threw up for 2 days, lost 10 pounds and was weak for well over a week.

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Needless to say the moving in bit took some time.  It's so hard to regain that momentum of hanging pictures and putting things away when you no longer have the time set aside to do those tasks.  Plus we were planning a wedding, and even though we had a small-ish and simple-ish affair, there was still a lot of planning to do.

----

But now my studio is fully functional and beautiful.  I have such wonderful light in there all day and I just love it up here in my little attic type room.

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Yesterday I worked on Christmas towels.  Two of them are going to my step-daughter for her Christmas present (she'll get it tomorrow, early, but this way she can use them this year too!) and the other 3 will go on my Etsy shop.  I'm very excited about the Etsy shop...just wish some folks would buy things ;)  (not pressure, dear readers, just hope!)








Thursday, November 10, 2016

Writer's Block

Writer's block is an interesting and perverse thing.  I have been happier over the past year than I think I've been in my entire life.  So happy and fulfilled...and absolutely unable to write anything about it.

Maybe I was worried that I would hex things.  Probably I was just enjoying being happy...

In a nutshell:
December 2015 Bill and I got engaged.  We were visiting the daughters for the holidays and he proposed during the Illuminations at Epcot.  Very romantic and perfect for beginning our life together.

March 2016 My brother passed away from a year long struggle with pancreatic cancer.

August 2016 Bill and I got married in what was one of the most fun celebrations of love that I've ever experienced...it was simple, but fun...and the gluten free cake was divine!

October 2016 I started working full-time on my weaving.  The path to this decision was painful, as so many paths to major life changes can be.  I struggled with "can I do this?" to "will Bill leave me if I do?" (ex hang-ups...what can one say)...so far, two weeks in, I'm very happy and truly hoping I can make a run of this thing because I really really really enjoy doing this all day.

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But, the thing that unhinged the writer's block for me was the election.  As I sat here yesterday in complete and profound sadness all I could think of were the words I needed to write.  The strength I needed to find to write the things I needed to write, and the fear, the real and utter fear, I felt at the thought of writing them.

But the words kept coming and coming and all day I felt like I was in a weird fog...a place where I needed to say the things and no one could hear me.

And they couldn't hear me, I knew, because I didn't write them.

----

And then my daughter texted to see if I was ok.  To tell me that she cried all the way to work.  That her friends texted her to tell her that they love her.  That they needed hugs, virtual or real, and that they needed to know they weren't alone in the world, and I knew I couldn't remain silent any longer.

----

This thing...this thing that scares me is admitting how utterly broken I am.  How as a victim of so many different types of sexual assault, I have to see a man in power who not only admits to such behaviors, but boasts about them. That people know about the things he did and still elected him...it breaks my heart in two.

I've spent the past two years in therapy to validate my feelings, to become whole again, to be able to stand up for myself when I needed to (recently and in a very scary and painful confrontation), and to wake up on Wednesday and see that all that work means nothing to the majority of Americans who voted for a man who embodies such horrific behaviors and ideas...it terrifies me.  To my core.

Today I'm raw though.  The child who was too young to understand, the teenager who was so frightened that the only defense she knew was to burst into tears...the woman who was so blinded by trust that she couldn't see what was happening until it was over.  All of these bits of me...every single one of them...is crying today.

----
Because to discuss this fear in a real and meaningful way I need to say those things, to admit my brokeness, to let people know that people in my life, who I trusted, sexually abused me again and again and again and I never said anything to anyone because I "knew" no one would believe me, because I was ashamed, because I was scared.

You know what? I'm still scared.  I am no longer ashamed.  I know I didn't deserve to be treated in such an awful way.  I know that no one deserves to be treated that way.  And I strongly believe that all of us who have daughters, who love women, who want to change this rape culture...all of us need to speak up.  We need to bare our shame to others so that they, too, can fight back.  With words, with political action, with whatever it takes to make people hear and understand that this is real.  It hurts...and it's terrifying.



Monday, October 26, 2015

One Year Ago; 4 Months Ago; Joy and Happiness

So, one year ago tomorrow I will have been "officially" divorced for 1 year.  While the date will always be in my head (dates do that...they stay there), I don't feel sad or regret or hurt or anything really.  Just another day with a slightly significant meaning.  A measuring point if you will.  Last year:


  • I was still very confused alone and scared
  • I hadn't faced the worst of my demons
  • I hadn't discovered, truly, what a wonderful person I am
  • I was getting by day by day (sometimes moment by moment)
  • I was just waking up to discover that I love life and that things are truly beautiful and wonderful.
This year:

  • I feel strong and capable
  • I feel very much a part of a group of people
  • I have found love again
  • I look forward to a future of joy and happiness.
I stop every now and then and think about the really big conversations that David and I had before we separated.  I kept pointing out that I didn't feel that we were embracing life, that we weren't happy.  That we didn't find joy in moments and didn't appreciate who we were individually as well as as a couple.

So the fact that I can see a future of joy and happiness, well, that's pretty wonderful and makes me so proud and content.  I appreciate who I am individually  I appreciate who Bill is individually.. I am learning to appreciate who Bill and I are as a couple (we're still very new together and that appreciation happens at funny times and moments...it's very special).

Tomorrow marks 4 months since we went on our first date.  That amazes me in so many ways.  I feel so complete in this relationship that I can hardly believe it's really only been 4 months--hasn't it been a lifetime?  And that makes me happy.  And then there's the moment of realizing that it's ONLY been 4 months and that means that there are so many more months to come.  And that makes me happy.

Joy and Happiness...those were the two things I wanted so much in my "past life."  I didn't realize they weren't attainable in those circumstances.  Too much was out of whack.  Too much had to be "righted" to make it happen.Too much had to change..

What I see in my current life is a level of stability I've never really experienced before.  I've worked very hard at naming my needs, of knowing what I want from life, and planning on how to get there. I'm very satisfied with my work.  I have a wonderful group of friends.  It's really amazing what I have accomplished this year.

Joy and Happiness are part of my life and will be.  It's as simple as that.