Crazy as a Loom

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gumball Rugs and Cleaning





Are these gumball rugs gorgeous, or what? I just never get sick of the vibrant colors. I love the socks they are made from, Sol Mate Socks, found at www.socklady.com
But I think I like the rugs that I weave from the recycled sock seconds even better. They are truly unique. The fun part of weaving them is that I never know exactly what the rug will look like til it is done. The toe clips are chained, in boxes, and I reach in grab the end of the chain, and start winding them on the shuttle. Whatever is in the box, that's what the rug is made from. I don't try to manipulate the outcome at all.
Some of the rugs are made from the socks cut up into strips, looped together and interspersed with toe clips. Those are bright and colorful, but look more variegated. The rugs in the photo are made from just the toe clips, looped in doubles to make a thicker rug. I am amazed, but I like them better. The colors just seem brighter to me, and they are even more fun.

The hard part is keeping all the pieces parts separate. Boxes of sock seconds, boxes of toe clips, bags of the sock strips and toe clips chained, boxes of toe clips chained alone. The Union Custom warped for 36" rugs, and the Reed Ideal warped for 24" rugs. It is quite a production.
Today two of my three daughters came up to help me clean the studio. Christmas in the Country is this coming Friday , Saturday and Sunday. I have been weaving all month, and making an awful mess. We moved stuff, threw stuff out, and cleaned. The place looks awesome, I am very pleased. I couldn't have done it without them.
It is interesting to spend time with them. They gripe at me for my messes, and tell me that I knew what I was getting into when I asked them to help me clean. So I had to listen to their complaints. They are right most of the time. We worked hard and laughed alot. I love to have their input, they see things that I don't, and they help me get a perspective that I wouldn't have otherwise.
If my third daughter had been there, it would have been perfect.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Putting on 500 yards of warp












































































































This was the project of the week........500 yards of warp on the Reed Ideal.......
It was an huge job. Since the production wheel on the back of the loom only has six sections, and it takes about 40 threads to fill each section, I had to improvise. I did have the metal piece with holes to run the threads through. It fits in the slot on the back beam of the loom. It only had 36 holes, and I wanted more, so I had more holes drilled in it. A regular tension box wouldn't work at all, so I used two spool racks, and a clothes rack in between the loom and the spool racks. I went over one rung, and under a rung, and over another one.
You can see in the photo that the section on the far right seems smaller. I realized that I probably only put 400 yards on, so I tied the 40 threads back on, and wound another 100 yards. It looks better now.
The tension was fine, as you can see in this rug I have started.....there is already a rug on the front beam, this is the second rug.
The clothes rack kind of jumped around, probably due to the tension imposed on them, so 2 bags of pellets, 40lbs each, helped to keep it steady.
When it was done, each section measured 5 ft around, so I am pretty sure there are more than 500 yards of warp on the loom. I should be able to get 350 rugs off this warp, and that is pretty exciting.
The warp is 25" wide, and I will use it to weave Gumball rugs, and Mimi's Vintage Rag Rugs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Labyrinth

Is this not the coolest thing you have ever seen????? I am so excited about it. My husband thinks I am nuts, I have had a couple of people look at me with raised eyebrows and complete puzzlement. The guy who delivered me the load of rocks asked me what I was doing with them, and when I tried to explain, I felt like I was speaking a different language.
But here it is. Not quite finished......my helper Miles got tired after lugging all these rocks, so he organized all my spools of warp by color for the rest of the afternoon, and he will finish the labyrinth tomorrow.....filling in all the spaces between the rocks. This is a left sided 7 circuit labyrinth. We incorporated a tree stump, and a living tree.......I think it gives the whole thing character. I was amazed at how much space it really took up. This view is from bedroom window at the back of the house. Just out of site is a stockade fence that hides the whole thing from the road.....and creates what I like to call "my secret garden". My mother wants to buy perennials for me in the spring.
This is where I plan to start, and or finish, my days at the studio. What a beautiful way to get centered, refind my focus.
I do have alot of support from friends and family.....who may wonder why I do what I do, but love me anyway.
The labyrinth will be open to the public during the Christmas in the Country weekend.......and maybe I will have handouts, so those people who have never heard of a labyrinth, won't think it is a "maze".
On www.lessonsforliving.com I found the following description, which is perfect.

"Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path... exactly where you are meant to be right now... And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love."
Caroline Adams

We are all on the path... exactly where we need to be. The labyrinth is a model of that path.

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life's journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to "That Which Is Within."

Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out.

A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.

A labyrinth is a right brain task. It involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path.

At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Christmas in the Country


Join us for our 18th Annual Holiday Artisans Tour through northern Washington County, NY. Visit 14 locations on our tour map where you can enjoy old fashioned holiday ambiance and an opportunity to find unique hand-made gifts for everyone on your list!
Start Date:Dec 5, 2008
End Date:Dec 7, 2008
Start Time:10:00 AM
End Time:5:00 PM

This is the 4th year Crazy as a Loom Weaving Studio has participated in Christmas in the Country. Come watch me weave, or try it yourself. Enjoy some of my famous Greek Honey cookies. Pick up a map to do the rest of the tour.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Gumball Rugs

Are these gumball rugs gorgeous, or what? I just never get sick of the vibrant colors. I love the socks they are made from, Sol Mate Socks, found at www.socklady.com
But I think I like the rugs that I weave from the recycled sock seconds even better. They are truly unique. The fun part of weaving them is that I never know exactly what the rug will look like til it is done. The toe clips are chained, in boxes, and I reach in grab the end of the chain, and start winding them on the shuttle. Whatever is in the box, that's what the rug is made from. I don't try to manipulate the outcome at all.
Some of the rugs are made from the socks cut up into strips, looped together and interspersed with toe clips. Those are bright and colorful, but look more variegated. The rugs in the photo are made from just the toe clips, looped in doubles to make a thicker rug. I am amazed, but I like them better. The colors just seem brighter to me, and they are even more fun.

The hard part is keeping all the pieces parts separate. Boxes of sock seconds, boxes of toe clips, bags of the sock strips and toe clips chained, boxes of toe clips chained alone. The Union Custom warped for 36" rugs, and the Reed Ideal warped for 24" rugs. It is quite a production.
Today two of my three daughters came up to help me clean the studio. Christmas in the Country is this coming Friday , Saturday and Sunday. I have been weaving all month, and making an awful mess. We moved stuff, threw stuff out, and cleaned. The place looks awesome, I am very pleased. I couldn't have done it without them.
It is interesting to spend time with them. They gripe at me for my messes, and tell me that I knew what I was getting into when I asked them to help me clean. So I had to listen to their complaints. They are right most of the time. We worked hard and laughed alot. I love to have their input, they see things that I don't, and they help me get a perspective that I wouldn't have otherwise.
If my third daughter had been there, it would have been perfect.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weaving November

At long last, I will spend some time weaving to fill the shelves with rugs and place mats and table runners. Since I opened the studio 3 years ago, I have struggled to keep up with it, doing custom orders, and trying to build up stock. Still living two lives, my life here at the studio, and my life long career as a nurse, it has not been easy. But November 2008 is going to be a month spent weaving to this end. I am so excited. All these looms, and all this fabric. Where to start?
Well, first, I am weaving gumball rugs on the Union Custom.........2'x 3' rugs in every imaginable color. The fun part is that the loops are all chained and bagged and ready to weave, so I never really know what the rug will look like til it is done. It would be nice to have 20 of them stacked up, which of course means pics of all on my web site. (I need a web site manager, but I am positive that I would drive one nuts, so it is better if I do it myself.)
Then I may move over to the Union 36, and weave some place mats. Warp is on and ready....and I have hardly any place mats left. Believe it or not, they are actually more time consuming than rugs that are much bigger, just because of the stopping and starting. The warp is lavender and sage, so I guess I will make some in both those colors.
The Cambridge is warped with brown, tan, rust, and a little dark green. I am weaving rugs on it from upholstery selvedge, which I call Adirondack Lodge Rugs. I fill a plastic container with some different colors, and then I weave the rug from what is in it. I try not to go digging for colors. I usually find that if I weave what I collected the first time, that the rug turns out fine.
Today was a really productive day........I cleaned the studio, did some much needed organizing, cut some socks, took apart some rugs that weren't quite right, tied fringe on a couple of rugs, and then wove a couple more. I brought some blue jean strips home with me that need to be sewn together. Whew.

November is going to be so much fun.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Attitude

When I started blogging, I intended to always talk about weaving, and what I was doing at the studio. But life happens, and I find myself thinking and regrouping about my direction. With an 83 year old mother who is not feeling her best, a husband with a broken ankle, a senior dog on a low fat diet, a part time job, and a full time vocation, I have had to close my eyes, and see it in a different way. Thus the photo at the top of the page.
At one time, the previous owners of my house decided they needed a washing machine. So they put it in the dining room, built a couple of walls around it, and put a door from the bathroom to get to it. When I arrived, the washer and the walls took leave, and I took back the dining room for looms. The bathroom was left with one door in from the kitchen, and an open doorway to the dining room. But first imagine that the bathroom is only big enough for one person to stand up in........it is tiny.
We found a door to fit the open doorway, and hung it. But there was no door knob, so there is a hole in the door where the door knob should be. While in the bathroom the other day, I peered through the hole, and saw a current project on the loom. I went looking for the camera, and this is one of the photos I took.
It started me thinking about perspective, and how I view what is happening around me, and how really, that is everything. And then to that end, I started thinking about attitude, how one impacts on the other.
Sometimes it feels like I am looking through the hole in the door, and I see what I see, and nothing else. It seems OK, it seems right. But in my heart, I know there is more there, and I know that I have to make the effort, like walking out through the kitchen into the dining room to see what the rug on the loom REALLY looks like, and to appreciate it for all that it is, and not just what is visible through the hole in the door.
Life is like that sometimes. You think you know. You think you see it all. But lots of times, there is more
Whew.
I hope I am making sense to someone besides myself.
Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts