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!