Crazy as a Loom

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This is where I spend my days. This photos was taken a couple of weeks ago, one sunny morning. I call it the "house in Kingsbury".
Except that today, it didn't look this nice.

It rained sideways almost all day. And tonight we are supposed to get snow.

But I do love this house. It has its own personality. I always imagine all the people who have lived here since 1790. I know that I am not the first person to love this house, and I probably won't be the last.
I listened to NPR all day, while the pellet stove roared. It was so damp and nasty outside, but it was warm and cozy inside, and as usual, I totally lost track of time. Bob the builder, who renovated the house, fixed my Cambridge loom the other day, in 10 minutes he made an adjustment that should have been done ages ago, if I had known what to do. So I wove three rugs on it, for an order, and it went so smoothly, I decided I liked the loom better than I thought.
Tomorrow I am weaving a rug on the Toika, which is all warped and threaded and waiting.
I had decided to take November off from custom rugs, because I needed a break, but speaking of breaks, my husband broke his ankle on Saturday. So now my schedule has changed. I need to spend some time in the morning helping him, and getting him where he needs to go, since he can't drive. And at the end of the day, I have to shop and cook, and all the rest. He used to split these chores with me, which was incredibly helpful to me. It allowed me to work longer at the studio, and get more done, when I knew he was picking up the slack.
Guess I have been spoiled, and now I will appreciate him more when he is all healed up.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Late night musings

Tonight at work, there were some pretty strong rantings about the political scene. I am not about to start talking politics here. But I have to say that I am amazed at the intensity of feelings on both sides. I wonder about that, and about what makes us choose who we want to vote for. I'm not so sure that is an easy question to answer. I only hope, that no matter who is elected President, we can all come together to straighten out the things that are wrong with our country. I pray that our differences BEFORE the election, can be put to rest when it is said and done. Because someone will win, and someone won't.
That brings me to my other issue tonight. I really should be in bed, but I'm not
What exactly is success, and what do we think success is, or should be?
There was an article in the paper the other day, about a local woman who came up with an idea for a product, a simple product really. She worked on it, and probably made some herself, and then took it further. She now has them in some big stores, I think Target was mentioned. But the kicker, for me, was that she has them made now, in CHINA. CHINA.
Am I missing something? Is that what we view as being successful? Coming up with an idea to be manufactured in CHINA?
Is it me? Am I crazy?
About a year ago, one of my daughters told me that she was going to write to Oprah, and tell Oprah about me, about how I had pursued my dream and was living my passion. She said that it was a great story, and that she thought it was just the kind of thing that Oprah loved.
I thought a bit, and then I told her that maybe she should rethink that one. She asked me what I meant.
I said, well, if Oprah liked the story, and called me, and wanted me on her show, then all these women all over the country would want a rug from Crazy as a Loom Weaving Studio. I would have to hire and train weavers. I would have to build a warehouse in the back, and next thing you know there would be tractor trailers pulling in and out of the driveway. I wouldn't be weaving the rugs myself anymore, I would be too busy running the business.
So, where would my dream be then?
And to tie all this together, here is the question.........would that be success???
No, I think not, at least not for me.
Success is weaving in a sunny window, cats watching the birds at the feeder behind me, NPR on the radio, picking and choosing colors as I go, letting a cup of tea go cold, getting up to make another. Losing track of time, and loving it. That is success.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

my new helper

Today I had my 4 year old granddaughter, Gabriella, at the studio. I was weaving a rug, and she played for awhile. Then she wanted to help me clean up. So she swept, and I found that being behind her with the broom in her hand was not a good place to be. She held the bag while I put cut socks in it from a box I had filled. Then she found a huge basket, and it was empty. That was not good, in her mind, to be empty. So I suggested that she fill it with Christmas table runners that I had stashed in a drawer. So she diligently rolled each and every one of them, and stood them up in this basket, and I must say she did an awesome job. She was very quiet, and I couldn't see her in the next room, so I kept asking her if she was OK. She kept saying yes.
At one point, after I saw what a good job she was doing, I said to her, "Gee, Gabs, Mimi is going to have to hire you to work for her."
A little voice came back, "OK, just call me in the morning."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bones are good.

And by the way, after my fall, I have decided that I do not have osteoporosis. Otherwise, something would be broken.
That said, my titanium knee, which I have another name for.....hmm.......does NOT like to be twisted, and it has made that well known to be since last night.
Tsk, tsk, I said, get over it.

Your next quest.

A couple of months ago, I received a call from a very nice lady, Michele Meagher. Her calling is a new venture called Your Next Quest. She wanted to interview me for her very first newsletter, because she said that what I was doing with my life was a perfect fit. The newsletter, with my story, is coming out soon. She sent me a preview, and I am honored that she chose me. If you want to sign up for it, or just check out her site, go to www.yournextquest.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One of those days

I put a photo up of my granddaughter, Ava, asleep upstairs in the big bedroom in the back of the house, to remind me that serenity is really mine for the having.
Today was not one of those days. Putting a warp on the Cambridge, 100 yards, and everything that could go wrong, did. Broken threads, aching shoulder, you name it. Then I did the unthinkable, I tried to UNWIND a section, to find the thread that broke. You can guess the outcome of that, I'm sure. So I decided to cut my losses, and cut the whole section out, but by this time, I was tired, and I accidentally snipped threads from the section next to it, sooooooooooooo.........yup, I cut both of them out.
Luckily, at this point, it was time to go home and pick up Eddie for his appointment with the vet. So I got away from the warping nightmare. I did go back and finish it later, and then I cleaned up my mess. It made for one really long day.
When I was leaving, trying to turn the lights off, I tripped over something, the broom fell and got stuck in the sectional beam, which tripped me up further, and I went down on the hardwood floor with a bang.
So now my hip and my knee hurt as much as my shoulder.

I am spending November weaving for the studio. Custom orders will wait til December.
After all, serenity is mine for the taking.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Custom Work

I am not complaining.....custom work pays the bills at the studio, and allows me to continue to "weave my dream".....but I have decided that I need to interrupt the blur of days that go by with nothing but custom work. I need to take a day....or even two, every week, and just weave what my muse wants me to weave. Gotta love that muse.
But I find that if I don't take time out to do just that, the end of the week comes, and I am exhausted, instead of invigorated. I want to be excited about what I am doing, so I have to get better about scheduling my time, and taking time for my own creativity.
The Adirondack Business Show was quite interesting. There were a lot of people there, and I made a lot of contacts, hopefully some that will increase my sales. The only thing I didn't like was the lack of chairs.....they want people to network, not sit, so they don't provide chairs. Unfortunately, my titanium knee doesn't really like that plan, so it was a long 4 hours.
Back to the loom tomorrow. Getting ready to weave my FIRST international order. This rug is going to Spain.....I wish I could go with it! I always wanted to go to Spain. Maybe I could deliver it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sheila's Rug

I worked on Sheila's rug today, for the new "sitting room" that she and Nancy have made by knocking down a wall in their house. I love weaving rugs that are designed "on the fly"......searching around for just the right color, one shuttle at a time. Here it is.......I love it.....and I hope Sheila and Nancy do, too. It measures 5'x10'.
A young man stopped by today, when he walked in and looked around, he had that look of an animal caught in headlights.......what the ............?
He wanted to sell me space in the mall!!!!! I told him that wouldn't work, since I have to be at the studio weaving rugs, and working. I can't be sitting around waiting for retail traffic.......and I don't have time to sit at the mall selling rugs. He said there would be room at the mall for my loom....he pointed to the 7' Toika. I almost fell off the stool I was sitting on, I didn't have the heart to tell him how totally clueless he was. If I told my husband we had to take the Toika apart to take it to the mall for a 2 month seasonal kiosk, he would kill me, for sure.
Today was a beautiful fall day......sunshine, the rustle of leaves, colors to die for.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

October

I love October. The only bad thing about October, is that it reminds me of my Dad, who died on October 20th. I always said I would never miss him, our relationship was so rocky for so long. But of course, that is far from the truth. I miss him terribly.
October though, is my favorite month. I love the long shadows, the bursts of sunshine and warmth, the colors..........oh, my......the colors. And I love the feeling that I have have always had, when autumn comes. I can never exactly put my finger on it, but it is a feeling of such " peace and plenty". I want it to last forever.
Today I got a,lot of cutting done.....socks......socks, and more socks. Bill says I should do a Utube video of the sock process, like I have time. But it is an interesting concept.
I use my Eastman chickadee cutter, I have two of them, and they are worth their weight in GOLD, no lie. I cut the sock seconds in 1" strips, discarding the toe, and the elastic at the top. I bag them up when I get a box full......I try to cut some every day, otherwise, it is a daunting task.
Then they have to be looped, and I went on Craig's list and advertised, and right now have 3, maybe 4, people who are looping, and I am hoping that they stick with it and are reliable. So far, so good. The sock strips are interspersed with the toe clips, and the toe clips are used 2 or 3 as one.
Then I warp the loom at 10epi, with a multicolored warp, usually whatever I have leftover from other projects. It is a great way to use up smaller spools, as long as they are colorful. I use a tension box, and a spool rack, and wind them onto the sectional beam on the back of my Union Custom, and put at least 100 yards on it.
I use cotton warp for the header, double thickness, and do seven shots. I weave the rug, 2 ft wide, and 44" long. That makes a generous 2' x 3' rug.
I cut about 3 boxes today, then I moved on to the Toika. I have an order for a 4'x6' for a lady in Spain...my first international order! But I have a warp on the loom, and I need to weave it off, so I started that today, a lodge rug in varied colors. I got alot of it done, and hopefully will finish it tomorrow. This will be a rug for my friends, Sheila and Nancy, for their new "sitting room".

I packed up stuff for the Adirondack Business Show on Thursday, in Glens Falls, at the Queensbury Hotel. This is the first one of those I have ever done. I just recently joined the Chamber of Commerce, hoping that it will help me out with local business.

Eddie is recovering well, he is presently lying on the other end of the couch, with his legs across my feet. He is SOUND asleep. His age is catching up to him, in some ways he acts older, but in so many ways he still acts like a puppy. He feels so much better, it is such a relief.
I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Mack, his wife Noelle, and all his staff, up in Ticonderoga. I trusted them to take good care of him, and they did.
Life is good.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

the last time

My friend Sheila sent me a link...to a blog of another friend of hers.....and told me to read the Sept 12th entry. I did, and I was quiet for a long time. I read it twice.
I won't spoil it for you. Go read it yourself, and pause for a few minutes in your life, just to let it sink in.
The link is http://eulaliabenejamcobb.vox.com/

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gratitude

Today I am overwhelmed with gratitude......Eddie is home. He is not quite up to his old self, I am sure the week of being at the vet's, medications, tests, anxiety and missing his "life at home", took its toll. We are not entirely sure he is out of the woods yet, he is very short of breath with little exercise. But he is not a puppy any more, and with age comes infirmity, for all of us.
Bill and I are grateful to have him home, grateful that it is not time for him to leave us yet.
Neither of us blinked when we paid the bill. I would have paid 5 times that much. After all, you can't put a price on the love and devotion we get in return.

My friends Sheila and Nancy, of Simple Pleasures Farm, and Simple Pleasures Yarns, are selling shares in the wool production this year. You can find out more at www.simplepleasuresyarns.com
Their farm is a special place in the universe, and their sheep are part of the family. The yarn, of course, is wonderful as a result.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Plan B

Seems lately that Plan B is the order of the day.
I didn't get any weaving done today, I had good intentions, but Eddie, my pit bull, age 11, became very ill. The day was spent getting him to the vet, waiting for him to be seen, and eventually driving away without him. Years ago, he had a bowel obstruction after eating his tennis ball. His symptoms last night, and today, were similar, and I feared the worst. But it turns out that he has pancreatitis. Better I guess, than a bowel obstruction, not being too sure how his "older" body would handle major surgery. But he is one sick puppy, that's for sure.
My mother and I had a conversation on the way home that we have had before.........questioning why we keep getting dogs, and cats, when we know we will outlive them, and that our hearts will be broken every time we lose one of them. But the answer is always the same.......the love and devotion, company, loyalty, friendship and joy that they give us, far outweighs the pain of their passing.
I am praying that Eddie has more time with me. He is my buddy, and part of the fabric of my life. He is in good hands, with the vet who saved him 8 years ago. He will be getting IV fluids, pain meds, and antibiotics for the next few days. I hope my next entry is about bringing him home.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Plan B

I had a call today from a lady who wanted to make the "gumball rug", but after talking to her for a minute, I was moved to ask her, "Do you weave?" Her answer was, "Uh, ......no."
So I got to thinking about that. These gumball rugs are so unique, and such fun, but just like weavers wanting to weave their own, other crafters would want to make the rugs themselves. Thus, an "aha" moment. You just never know where they are coming from. So, I have added the option to "braid" the chains of loopers, instead of winding them on a shuttle and weaving them. I have two bags here, waiting for me to drink my tea, and get at them. I need to make the rug in the braided rug fashion, so I can put it on my web site, and show you the finished product.
I have long read people's ideas on the recycling of "thrums"......every time I cut a rug off the loom, and every time I cut the fringe on a rug, I have those little pieces of rug warp. I admit, I have been guilty of throwing them out. Until just recently. I had been watching the birds outside the studio, where I have several feeders, and I had suet hanging, as well. The suet was long gone, and the little cage that holds it was hanging there. And I got to thinking, why not put all those threads in that little cage, and let the birds use them to make their nests. I would certainly have the most colorful bird nests in town.
So, here it is!
More fabric coming next week.....so stay tuned. I will try to get the samples on my web page as soon as possible.




Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts