Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just Motorin'

Sorry for the blog silence. That usually happens when a lot is going on all at once.

I cut the warp off Big Beka tonight, and I think the project(s) turned out pretty good. Not too short this time, and funky. Hmm. Very funky.

Anyway, I'm debating whether to attempt one more project this week before heading off to Indiana next weekend. I think I'm getting a little too ambitious...but we'll see.

We spent the start of Hanukkah last weekend with the cousins in NYC, but (BAD BLOGGER) I forgot the camera. The kids had an awesome time, we had an amazing Hanukkah party, and best of all: I got to see the Bauhaus show at MOMA.


The whole show is phenomenal in its comprehensiveness. I truly felt I was living alongside all these teachers and students and developing along with them. Everything in there was gorgeous, but when I turned the corner and saw the first large woven wall hanging, I started crying.

If you are anywhere near NYC, do not miss this show.

And I even got to bring home a souvenir.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Endurance...We've Got It

The secret Hanukkah and Christmas weaving is going slowly, but to pass the time, the Cap'n sat with me last night and read from the book we're going through together, Endurance by Alfred Lansing.

If you have any chance to read this book or listen to it, DO IT. It is an amazing book, detailed in its descriptions and beautifully written. The Cap'n and I were wondering last night why it has not been made into a movie yet, but I guess they did do a TV version. (Usually I like Kenneth Branaugh, so it might be good...)

The book fits in with my thinking after the trauma of the accident this summer: Things could always be worse. Right now, when little anxieties or worries start itching me, I think back to slogging through all the crap that we went through, how horrible everything was, and I get some perspective back.

I've not been good with perspective in my life. Going through the Academy, the rough years at college, overwhelmed postpartum, I got so easily swamped with worry and sucked into dark places where I couldn't see any light.

I wonder if your anxiety reaches such a high level, like it did for me this summer, you burn out the brain receptors that make it easy for worry to kick in? Or if there is a one-way mirror in my brain to a room where all the scenes from the hospital and this summer reside, so that if I start getting anxious, I can peek through there and realize: It's not that bad.

I hope so. I hope this perspective endures.

Meanwhile, chilruns:

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Nothing Like a Feeling...

A couple of feelings actually:

...Relaxation with happy parents and kids laughing on a sunny Sunday morning. Kids SHARING and playing together with their blocks and trains. Dad with his apron on and cooking duck a'la'orange. Mom still sitting at the breakfast table, relaxing.

...Recuperation with two wonderful, much-needed, extra hours of sleep. Upon being woken up at 7 this morning, the Cap'n went downstairs with the boys and I drifted right off to sleep again.

...Production as I got a 5.5 yard warp on the Beka upstairs last night. It's a secret holiday knitting project, but I was so pleased that it went on so quickly and I was able to get 10 inches woven last night while the Cap'n went to a retirement party for a colleague.

...Inspiration at the open house Bonnie Inouye held in her Hyattsville home. Her work on a 24-shaft compu-dobby AVL loom is light years beyond the weaving I'm doing (to the point where my friends and I could barely speak the same weaving language) but it's fascinating to see all the different directions that weaving can go. I came home last night and listened to her interview again on Weavezine, which is a good substitute if you can't make her open house today.

Now, off the computer and back to the good feelings in the real world!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Fiber Party

Well, there was jewelry, pottery, painting, drawing, silk painting, and other arts on display too, but I was there for the fiber. (Check out that yarn tree behind me...)

The Art League's 2009 ArtFest was a blast! An awesome band, a little bit o' the drinky, tons of people and yarn. What more do you need?

My rigid heddle weaving instructor asked me to demonstrate, and our classroom was packed with a knitter, spinner, frame loom weaver, rug maker, and floor loom weaver. Other than the potter working in the next classroom over, I think we had the most dynamic room for hands-on demonstration.

Of course I made much less progress than I thought I would, but that's what happens with the lips are flapping but the fingers are not flying...Still, it should turn into a couple of cute scarves for the boys for Hanukkah.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


Wackadoodle! Two posts in one day...but look! I made bread!!

It's the all-purpose light wheat bread from Kneadlessly Simple, a cookbook our award-winning food writer friend got us. She must have known that if I got over my initial fear of making bread I would be hooked. And I am.

It turned out pretty good. Still a little chewy on the inside, and crusty on the outside. My metal pan burned the bottom just a little, but it's good anyway.

I can't wait to embark on the next bread-making adventure...

ArtFest 2009

My rigid heddle teacher at the Art League asked if I would like to bring by some of my pieces to exhibit and join her at the loom demonstration during the annual ArtFest 2009.

ArtFest will bring out teachers and students from all the studios at the Art League, and I am just as excited to see the jewelry and pottery on display too. Well, almost as excited...

But I am thrilled about getting to show off what I've been working on (no pictures for now, since they may be holiday presents) and to hopefully spread the gospel of weaving. (What can I say? My semi-evangelical upbringing had to come out somehow.)

A glimpse of the goods:

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Coldwater Loom Room

I just realized that I have not introduced any one outside of the family to my studio yet. This is Big Beka where she now resides, in the very uninsulated Coldwater Loom Room off of our bedroom. It's nothing fancy, but I sure have been enjoying it.

The boys like to play underfoot too, which sometimes makes for tight quarters. But I can't wait for the day when they also start some craft projects.

Beka actually doesn't make the 32" rigid heddle anymore (I bought it used when Springwater Fiber went out of business), but I'm hoping they will still be able to make me a second set of the three heddles I have so I can start learning how to doubleweave and work with finer yarns.

The above photo was actually taken a month or so ago with the first project on that I started after class began. It is the scarf hanging to the left in the photo below, made with Louet Opal in Navy as warp and Plymouth Happy Feet as weft.

I am so pleased with how that scarf turned out, and it debuted to many oohs and aahs of my classmates at the Art League rigid heddle class. My teacher was very enthusiastic about my selvedges.

Hanging next to it is the sampler I made in class to learn various techniques of tapestry as well as practicing with my selvedges. It's my little funky wall hanging that I am going to call "The Day Began Like Any Other, And Then..."

The third piece from the left is the tartan plaid that we made in class as our individual project. It's in Harrisville Shetland in navy, woodsmoke and gold.

The fourth is the Cap'n's new scarf, with a pickup stick pattern yarn in Peace Fleece and the base plain weave in ... eeek! I have forgotten. I have to go find my notes.

Right now on the loom are Christmas and Hanukkah presents, so I'm not going to share those. Plus, I'm not sure how they are going to turn out. Might be a disaster, which would probably make for a better story anyway! (You can take the reporter out of the newsroom, but you can't take the newsroom out of the reporter.)

I am resisting this little pretty in the corner though:

This little copper pipe tapestry loom may be my traveling fiber project as we plan visits to NYC for Hanukkah and Indiana for Christmas. Just have to decide what sort of project to plan...I found Nancy Harvey's Tapestry Weaving book at the used shop, so I think I'll work from there.

Here's looking forward to a productive winter!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

November Color

I've become as much a weaving blog junkie as I was a knitting blog junkie.

So when Sue at Life Looms Large put out a call for November color, I opened my eyes to the world around me.

When the boys and I went for a walk at the National Arboretum for Thanksgiving, this is what the Cap'n and I saw.

(He was just as inspired as I was, and wants to put some of the color into his pottery. Half of these photos are his.)

I hope everyone out there is having as inspiring and creative fall as I am. I am looking forward to a productive winter.

I am thankful that the Cap'n and I made it through what has been our worst year yet together, and we and the boys are happy, healthy and all in one piece. Hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

P.S. Check this link out on their website: The Science of Color in Autumn Leaves. Includes an amazing Fall Foliage gallery.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Uses for a tatting hook:

1. Tatting (duh)
2. Sley hook for 10-dent rigid heddle
3. Retrieval device for wheel of plastic Lightning McQueen toy stuck up a 2-year-old's nose

I do like when the tools of the trade can be used for other purposes. Particularly at 7pm on a Saturday night when the last thing you feel like doing is going to the ER to pull out a plastic toy part.

Speaking of the devil (on our walk around the Tidal Basin last weekend):

And his brother in a contemplative mood:

This morning was my last rigid heddle weaving class at the Art League. For some reason I thought we had another three weeks at least, so I am more than a little bummed. Especially because I don't think I'm going to be able to afford another one for a little while.

Oh well. As the Cap'n said, it's not like I have to stop weaving. I just have to weave more for my own purposes and keep practicing. I have a whole lifetime of weaving ahead of me. And I enjoy it so much.

Did I say the Cap'n? I meant Osama been Yarnin':

(Fun with Noro Furisode. He wants a hat out of it. This was a warmth test. heehee.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back in Action

This was the very first picture taken when my new camera came out of the box last month! Thank you, Mom and Mikey!!

Of course, it came with strings, and not the knitting or weaving kind. More like the kind demanding little boy pictures. So to satisfy the onlookers:

Goofballs on Parade.

I keep thinking of blog posts in my head and then not sitting down to the computer with them. Lately, it's been my craftsman's statement that I'm drafting, pictures of the three (yes, 3!) scarves I've finished weaving, and my very FIRST sweater for MEEEEEEE!!!

But I'll get to all that.

Meanwhile, the boys are ready to eat, and dinner calls!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No Pictures Again

Even I'm getting bored of reading my blog without pictures.

But I am very excited about what I've been working on. My beginning class in rigid heddle weaving is going great, and I'm working through the list of techniques. Most are tapestry based, which has me googling all sorts of tapestry blogs and resources online. There are some fantastic works out there.

That led to my next search on color. I've never had an art class after the art requirement freshman year at Seymour High. I would really like to understand the color sphere and learn more about Johannes Itten's work. I can't remember how I tripped across his name, but reading about him led me to the Bauhaus School website. I am all about the Manifesto now:

There is no essential difference between the artist and the craftsman. The artist is an exalted craftsman. By the grace of Heaven and in rare moments of inspiration which transcend the will, art may unconsciously blossom from the labour of his hand, but a base in handicrafts is essential to every artist. It is there that the original source of creativity lies.

So that is where I am right now. I want to write this down so I remember everything that I want to study. I know there is a lifetime of work ahead, but it excites me.

This weekend we are headed to our friends' farm and I am taking the little loom with me. I hope to play with some more color ideas and use up all the yarn that I have before I take the makeup class next week. Then I'm a little lost as to where I want to go: I would love to try working on a tapestry of some ideas I have to document our neighborhood, but I also want to try making a rug and another scarf. But maybe I should hold off on those until I finish off the couple of earlier scarves I made.

Oy. I know I'm getting excited when I can't even take the time to make a new paragraph.

The only thing nagging at me right now is I am not making progress on the other priorities on my 2009-10 list. I want to keep a balance, and I have to remember those other areas as well.

Here's to a productive fall!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

New Day, New Book

New Moon.

I should have just bought all three of the Twilight sequels. I knew I was going to finish this one today.

Really, I'm enjoying myself. Like a couple of years ago when I read all 7 Harry Potter books in two weeks. They are fun, entertaining, quick reads.

Might as well read now, since I won't be next year...

When I Was 15...

I would have been crushing so hard on Edward Cullen.

So yesterday I read Twilight finally. The Yarn Harlot wrote recently about knitters (and readers) who avoids popular patterns (or books) just because they are popular. I fall into this category sometimes, just out of sheer hard-headedness.

But yesterday I was car-less, and I had a little time between work and picking up the boys, so I got the book at Union Station and finished it before midnight last night.

I have to say, it was a good teen book. When I was 15, I would have been so into it. As an adult, I find it a little purple-y...if she had told me one more time what an "Adonis" little vampire boy was, I would have screamed.

And yet...

I woke up this morning figuring out where I can pick up New Moon.

I am a geek.

(I thought I was going to make more progress on my sweater yesterday, but Metro was giving me fits. And though the sleeve is small, the finished body attached to it is not...)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Start of Art Saturdays

Whoo!! After mostly recovering from the crud that started on my birthday (it still isn't completely gone), I went to my first rigid heddle weaving class today at the Springwater studio of the Art League in Alexandria.

The Cap'n and I have a Saturday schedule we're trying to work out: I take weaving in the morning, and then he heads off to the Eastern Market pottery studio for the afternoon open session. He's taking a Thursday class there.

The class is going to be good for me. It's not as product focused as process-oriented. I think I'm going to be jealous of what everyone else is "getting done" but I'm going to be focused on learning the techniques. Getting the tension right, warping on well, learning how to do tapestry and kilim...I can't wait!

And since this is mostly a survey course to begin, I'm going to use one of the studio's small Ashford looms instead of my big Beka. I took the Beka today, but at 36" wide it's not terribly portable. So if I really get the itch to make a project, I can always warp it separately.

But I really think I should focus on learning the techniques and taking it slowly. I want to get really good at weaving, and figure out what I'm doing, so I need to step back from the go-go-go get'erdone mentality and learn.

Wow. I am so excited to be in school again!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It Might Take 4 Years...

But I finally got it!

You see, after I first started knitting in November 2005, a slightly crazed new mother in a very crazy new city, the Cap'n bought my first knitting book for Hanukkah: Scarf Style.

Immediately, I fell in love with the Vintage Velvet cable scarf. I knew I had to make it. And fate seemed like it wanted me to, when on a visit not long after that to NYC, I found the Muench Touch Me Yarn at the Brooklyn General Store near the Cap'n's sister.

But the yarn sat, and it waited as the stash grew and grew. Every rearrangement, I would take it out and look at it, touch the soft chenille and remind myself of how wonderful it would be to have that scarf. And yet, I knitted other things. Lots of things, for other people.

Finally, this January, on our trip to Maine, I shoved the five balls in my travel bag and decided to have a go of it. And I am so glad I did. The pattern was a breeze, the cabling was fun and the yarn was delicious. Even the felting was smooth and easy.

And now, I am the Scarf Style cover girl I was born to be!

It's just breezy enough today to warrant a scarf, and I am so proud I made it myself. Even if it took 4 years to come true...

Let's hope the sweater on the needles doesn't take that long. Ahem.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A New Start

I got emotional today saying goodbye to the Cap'n as he headed off to his first day back at work after the accident.

This has been a really long, hard road. Almost 5 months of times I wasn't sure I knew how to get through, when they were happening.

The accident definitely changed me. It rubbed off some of the blurriness about what's important and what I want to do and have in my life. In some ways, I feel strangely mellow, as if the high anxiety of the past few months has made my usual anxiety seem like that not that big a deal.

We were off on vacation last week in NC, and at the time I started feeling sad. Getting the first bit of literal distance from DC and the accident gave me a better perspective on all I could have lost. I'll probably start talking to a therapist about it.

In some ways, I know I haven't dealt with all of the accident fallout yet, but in other ways I feel better about myself and my relationship with the Cap'n, knowing we can handle something that big.

I know I just want to keep moving forward. I've made a list of things I want to work on and accomplish this year, and that's what I am going to focus on. Sometimes there is no way through but through.

On that note: I signed up for a weaving class, but unfortunately had to miss the first one this weekend with an awful cold. First time I've ever lost my voice! But I should be back in the saddle to start next weekend...I can't wait.

And oh, all the other projects I have to show you....

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

He Can Rock a Turban

You know the Cap'n has style when he can even rock a turban.

Oy, with the crooked weaving...this one is supposed to be a scarf, but it has a complete C-curve in it.

Le Sigh.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

We're Animaniacs!

Finally introduced the family to The Animaniacs.

Even the Cap'n agreed it's pure genius.

There's lots planned to do around the house today, but hopefully will blog more tonight about my frowny-face weaving. :(

Friday, September 04, 2009

KOOL(haas) HAT!

(I will continue to inflict these painfully moody, brooding, overly self-conscious webcam shots ala MySpace on the blogging world until I can get a new digital camera. Sorry.)

I have been on a finishing spree, trying to repair some of my poor feng shui, which has taken a turn for the worse in the last four years, what with kids and a new (dilapidated) house taking their toll.

So in the spirit of controlling what I can, I've decided to finish up long-standing knitting projects. Thus my newly beloved: a Koolhaas hat in ArtYarns Regal Silk (I think: I lost the ballband, and I could have swore this had some merino in it). Purchased ages ago at the Brooklyn General Store.

I knit the men's size, because my giant head has had trouble in the past fitting regular-size hat patterns. Turns out I think a woman's would have fit, because this is a tad long. C'est la vie, I say, because at least now I have a hat that will fit me no matter what.

This is the softest, most adorable thing I've knit for myself, and I fully intend to do more. I am my own harshest critic, and I am going to try softening me up with beautiful handknits.

Which reminds me: I have to show you my new scarf.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pretty Much There Already

From here:

Caregiver burnout is something you may not notice, but people you know may notice changes in you and express their concern. Here are some signs of caregiver burnout:

Being on the verge of tears or crying a lot
Feeling helpless or hopeless
Overreacting to minor nuisances
Feeling constantly exhausted
Losing interest in work
Decrease in productivity of work
Withdrawing from social contacts
Increasing use of alcohol or stimulants
Nervous habits such as chain smoking
Change in eating patterns
Change in sleeping patterns
Increasing use of medications for sleeplessness, anxiety, depression
Inability to relax
Scattered thinking
Feeling increasingly resentful
Being short-tempered with care recipient frequently
Increasing thoughts of death

Things I am Learning #93850183

I need too much validation for my work. And my primary jobs right now (motherhood and the part-time gig) offer none.

Particularly motherhood is a thankless job. But there's plenty of guilt and fear that I'm going to screw it up.

Just like everything else.

Can we just say that I'm having a bad morning?

Not sure how to turn around this horrible year I'm having...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

AAAUUGGH! The Digital...

Slim's camera is kaput.

So there is no photographic proof of me finishing up two very cool projects.

The first is a knitting/felting project that I started probably 2 years ago (eek!). I found a beautifully dyed New Zealand wool at KnittinSis's yarn store in Bloomington, IN. Something about the blue, green and yellow called to me.

So I cast on that same weekend on a borrowed KnitPicks Options (you can have that 60" length back now, KnittinSis!) and it languished ever since. Do you know how big bags have to be pre-felted if you want more than a iPod cozy??


But since the advent of the tendinitis, I've discovered that pure knitting with no purling isn't as taxing on my hand. And since I recently had to dump out the whole stash and rearrange it, I vowed a new-found commitment to finishing up old projects. And slowly but surely this last month I've worked on it.

(Insert imaginary picture of pretty felted bag here.) (Alas, the camera...)

I still need to sew on the handle and figure out how to sew a liner, in addition to coming up with two pretty buttons for clasps, but it's actually come out better than I thought it would.

The second project is a surprise for the non-KnittinSis. It's a weaving, and I hesitate to say more before she gets it in the mail. Which is sort of a problem, given that I haven't mailed it yet.

But for the record: A second weaving project has made its way off the loom.

(Insert imaginary weaving picture here.)


Monday, August 24, 2009

First Days

Today I would have started law school, but it's been deferred.

I'm a little sad, but realistic that I wouldn't have been ready.

Ah well.

Next year.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hey Y'all! Watch This!!

So I started to write a post last night, but was interrupted by:

Slim: "Ewwww!! Mom, Mom! L pooped in the bathtub!!"


Anyway, as I was about to say:

International Weaving Woman of Mystery

Sorry for the crappy webcam quality (the digital camera seems to have given up the ghost), but LOOK -----> We Have A Weaving!!

I am more than pleased to announce the start of a new hobby. Can't say the same for The Cap'n, but he's been incredibly supportive of it.

It's been a long, interesting year. Last year around this time, I had just helped close down a fiber arts workshop that unfortunately couldn't be saved. I wish that I would have had about $50,000 of my own to turn it around. But I did what I could, and before I helped sweep up the last dust bunnies and box up the last yarn, I was encouraged to buy a donated Beka 32" rigid heddle loom.

They were really good fiber pushers around there.

I was a little shell-shocked after the store closed though, and felt very guilty that I couldn't do more to save it. So the Beka sat in a box under the bed for the last year. Around the time that I was working at the store, I also tried biking again and the tendenitis in my left thumb started acting up too.

So other than a couple of knitted hats over the last year, I was off fiber. I got a little stopped up with out my daily dose. (So to speak...)

But I missed it. Terribly. I just didn't know it.

Then on May 6, the Cap'n was involved in a bad motorcycle accident on his way to work. A woman pulling out from a stop sign didn't see him, and hit him. He shattered his right wrist and elbow, and broke 4 vertebrae in his back.

Talk about a game changer. He's doing better now, but it's been a long, hot, miserable summer. I had to return to fiber just to hang on to the last drips of my sanity that were seeping out of my ears.

So about a month ago, my KnittinSis came to visit, and I got her to help me dust off the loom and figure out what screws I needed to put the floor stand together.

It's a monster. 32" is not a shy and retiring size. Luckily the Cap'n doesn't mind it taking up one big corner of the dining room. I haven't named it yet, but maybe one will come to me.

For a first project, I decided to wind up some Louet Opal superwash yarn that I had purchased from Springwater in its first, healthier incarnation. It seemed karmically correct. I had navy blue and spring green, and I wanted to make a table runner.

Bear in mind, I saw people work on the rigid heddles at the store, and I saw warping being done, but I was way too busy to learn any of it. But I guess some of it came through osmosis, and a lot came through the innerwebs. I found this and this to be helpful.

Turns out I should have used a 10-dent heddle instead of an 8-dent, and superwash actually doesn't full (or felt) that much in the wash. And even selvedges? HA! I say.


Any disappointments I may have had with my first weaving project were washed away as soon as Slim saw it and said, "Mommy, is that for me? Can I have it?"

So instead of a fuzzy crooked table runner (just what we need on our frequently crumb-y table), we have a warm, soft scarf for a very special little boy who is starting Pre-K next Monday.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Typing One-Handed

Is a biyotch.

My hand still hurts, but such is life.

I started reading "Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke today. It's really good, but I'm wondering if it is something that would have made more of an impact in my impressionable high school/college years.

Or maybe I can still be a Young Poet at heart?

One of the pieces of news is that I got into law school. But the question remains whether I should go. A lawyer friend asked me today if I was really sure. He said it's an anxiety-producing field.

Really. Like I need more anxiety.

Anyway, it feels good to write, even if all that is coming out is blurt.

And if you can keep a secret: I am typing with my left hand.

Bad Ginny.

Tell you what, let me just throw up a kid pic to cut this thing short.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

To Create

What does it mean to write, when anyone with access to a keyboard or a PDA can pound out every thought that passes through their brain?

What does it mean to photograph, if a good digital camera with a 100 different style settings opens artistic opportunities up to 3-year-olds?

Who paints when an elephant's work fetches thousands of dollars at auction?

Who knits when socks are 6 for $5 at the discount store?

Why do we create, when everyone can be a creator?

I've been away from the blog for awhile. It was hard, lots to talk about but no way to get it out. Then it was something I thought about but couldn't put any effort into.

Now, I've been sidelined from knitting with a bum tendon in my left hand, and I need to find some other kind of outlet. I've been reading more books lately, and the itch to write just finally needed to be scratched.

There's all kinds of news, and the guilt that I have the Lion hasn't been documented as much as Slim is going to lay pretty heavy on me for the rest of my life. Sorry, kid, in advance of your years of therapy.

But I'll just start with this, and we'll see where it goes from here.