Thursday, January 5, 2017

Reduce, Reuse

Back when I was quilting I LOVED scrap quilts.  I loved the idea of using up every little bit of fabric until you just didn't have enough left to make anything else with it.  I despise the idea of waste...efficiency in all things is a good thing as far as I'm concerned.

When I first started weaving, I noticed that I would like bits of yarn left on the bobbins after finishing a project...these bits would get wound back on the original cone or ball of yarn to be used in the next project, but I found later that doing this was annoying...I didn't know how long that bit that was wound back on was and in the end I would throw away more than I wanted to...

So, I decided to start winding on the bits onto cones to wait until the day that I had enough to make a warp out of.  I do this with all the yarns I use, but since I make towels more than anything else, well...I had enough (finally) to make my "weftovers" towels.

And boy did they turn out cute!  I'm going to have a hard time parting with these, but they are up for sale on the Etsy shop...and I hope that they make someone happy.  They are bright and cheerful and such a neat record of my work over the past few months.  Expect many more weftovers!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Finding balance is one of those things that's very hard for me.  I'll work too hard, then rest too much, the play too hard, and then regret it.

My previous relationship didn't encourage balance, and I have had to focus very hard in the past couple of years to achieve balance in my life.

Art relies on balance, too.  One of the things that's important with art, though, is that too much balance can result in an effect that's boring or uninteresting.  So, the challenge of the artist is to create balance while at the same time putting in something that puts that balance just slightly off kilter.

Modern art put things way off kilter--think of Picasso.  His cubist works flatten the images to nothing but squares and lines.  Yet, we still know what the "thing" is that's in the painting--a nude woman, horses running, a woman dancing.  How does he achieve that when the image is so out of not going TOO far off balance.

I've been weaving very balanced projects these past couple of weeks. 

These pieces are gorgeous...they have a sense of balance and completeness that calms and creates a sense of beauty.  They are pretty.  And I love them...

But in the whole sense of balancing things...I'm in need of some fun! 

I've been dying to start my next project.  It's going to be a "weftover" project of towels.  After I finish each project I wind off the yarn that's left on the bobbins with other yarns of the appropriate size.  I've been dying to make this project for a couple of I'm excited that it's my next one.  No balance there.  I'm sure when I finish them I'll find some place in the middle to hang out for a while.

Pictures as soon as I have them...I promise.

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


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


I've started this blog entry over and over these past weeks.  Ever since the election, I've really thought about the concept of 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. 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. 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 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 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.


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.


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!)