Crazy as a Loom

Sunday, February 28, 2010

And good night.

From Crazy as a Loom

This is Ed. And Ed is tired.
I know just how he feels. It has been a long week. I got so much done. I am quite impressed with myself.
Getting stuff done makes a body feel good. Finishing orders, packing them up, and putting them out on the porch for the UPS man, is very satisfying. Having a list, and working my way through it just moves me.
But having a week lying blank in front of me is pretty incredible, too. Not that I will lie around eating bon bons. That isn't likely. But it will give me a chance to pick and choose what I want to do. This kind of freedom is usually short lived, so I love every minute of it while I can.
I might even take a day off, you can never tell.
But for now, a trip to the hot tub, right outside my back door, is in order. Possibly the best money I ever spent, I have had it for several years, dragged it here from my old house, and wouldn't trade it for anything.
It is a pleasant 103 degrees, and it is how I soothe and relax my aching back and shoulders after a day of weaving. There is a roof over it, so I can go in it even if it is snowing or raining, but it is still very much outside, and getting out there some nights is a very chilly trip. But I forget about the cold outside temps as soon as I am immersed up to my neck. This is where I usually unwind, and sometimes contemplate what I will do tomorrow. And from there, it is a short trip to bed, and an even shorter trip to dreamland.
And even though I didn't weave today, on my granddaughter's 5th birthday, the hot tub is still calling me loudly.
It would be rude not to respond, don't ya think??????


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Making noise.

The studio wasn't its usual quiet today. My friend Alice came and vacuumed the entire house for me, which was a huge help. The floors are spotless, and I love it
From Crazy as a Loom


It always feels so good to have it look like this.

Tammy came to weave, and she was intent on making a pile of rugs.

From Crazy as a Loom

She is doing a great job, as usual. I could take the credit for teaching her, but I must admit, she is a natural.

I had a couple of customers drop in to shop. That's always a good thing.

Then my favorite looper lady dropped off 70 lbs of socks cut and looped. Actually, right now, she is my only looper lady. She takes a 75 lb box of socks home with her, cuts them into strips, chains them together with the toe clips, and brings them back ready to make rugs.
I call it my little 'cottage industry'. The waste of these socks keep me busy, and provides income along the way for my helpers.

I was weaving on the Weavers Friend, that's the loom over in the corner by the window in the top picture,; my black stool is sitting in front of it. If I haven't told you about it before, it is the loom that has no treadles. The bottom of it is similar to the action of a treadle sewing machine, and with every two beats of the beater bar, the harnesses change. For those of you who are interested, or have nothing else in the world better to do, you can see it in action right here.

Thanks to Alice, my videographer.




video

This is good for upper body strength, ya think??
You can sit down at this loom, or stand. I do both. When my butt gets numb, I stand, til I get tired of that, then I sit for awhile.

This is one of the rugs I finished. They are mostly wool, with some cotton, and they measure 32"x60"ish.



From Crazy as a Loom


All in all, it was a very productive week. I have only one placemat order pending, and I am caught up. I am looking forward to a little time to weave things I am imagining. Those are always the best.
Tonight I am just grateful to be safe and warm in my own home, unlike so many other people in the world. I am blessed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What are the odds.

From Crazy as a Loom



I loved how this cardinal totally ignored the squirrel. I watched them for a while, and the bird only looked at him when he had his back turned and was going up the tree. But every time the squirrel headed out towards him, the cardinal looked away.
Kind of like he was saying, " I can't seeeeeeeeeeeeeee you."

Today was rain, rain, rain. So now, instead of having 18" of fresh snow, which is what we had yesterday, now we have water, mud, and snow. Quite the mess.
I love the rain though.
Always have, even as a child.
Something about it is restful and soothing to me. I love the sun, but rainy days have their place in my heart. Call me crazy.
Oh, go ahead.
It won't be the first time I've been called crazy.
I was answering questions over at Chronicles of a Country Girl (that Kate is always asking them), and one of them was 'what is on your key chain'?

Well, lots of stuff, good grief, my keys are a disaster. But the one important thing is a small silver jack knife that used to be my fathers. There is a story attached to it.
My father was a hoarder. Really. Bad. No kidding. After he died in 2005, it fell to me and my husband to clean out his house. A perk of being the only child.
It was pretty disturbing. We filled 13 dumpsters with junk......each of them with a 30 yard capacity.
It was amazing to me, that with so much stuff, there was really not much that I wanted. I looked, trying to find something to take home of my father. But after the dumpsters, the guy we hired to renovate the house took truckloads home with him. None of it appealed to me.
I ended up with a Monitor heater, that is still working. And two floor to ceiling shelving units that would be perfect for cones of thread. To get the shelves out of the house, we had to empty them, tip them on their sides, and drag them through several rooms down narrow paths of junk. We loaded them into my husband's truck, lying on their sides. We drove them over an hour to Kingsbury, backed up to the front door, and dragged them, still sideways, into the studio.
A couple of days later, I got up on a stepladder, to clean them before we painted them. As I was washing the top shelf, my hand ran across something. I closed my fingers around it, and brought it out. When I opened my hand, there was this little silver jack knife. I couldn't believe that it had made the trip, knowing the machinations we had put the shelves through. I shook my head,
and slipped it in my pocket, and continued cleaning. And again, my fingers felt something small and flat. I pulled it down, to see the key to my father's safe, the same key that he had always been so careful not to lose.
For a split second, I thought I heard him chuckle.
It was a soft sound, like rain.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ten New Discoveries

Kate, over at Chronicles of a Country Girl got me started on this. So here goes.



Ten discoveries I have made in the not too distant past.

1. KALE!! And Bragg. Sorry to repeat myself, but I do love it.

2.Fleet Feet, a wonderful store on Wolf Rd, in Albany, NY. They find the walking/running shoe that really fits your feet. I have never had such attention paid to my feet, not even at the podiatrist. They even have a little indoor track in the store, so they can watch you in motion. I bought a pair of walking shoes, and after 3 miles, my feet don't hurt. JUBILATION.

3. My new favorite sandwich: Take a crusty bread, put cheese of your choice on it. You're gonna have to butter both outside pieces, so get over your aversion to FAT. Inside you put slices of a big juicy tomato, and PESTO. Grill it in the frying pan, or on one of those grilling machines.
YUM. Very good.
This brings to mind several years ago, when I grew a garden full of basil. My old friend, Rosie, came to my little house in the country, and we made pesto.....all day! We had a mess that could not be rivaled. We each got about 20 freezer bags of pesto. Pesto is best frozen, and my kids and I ate pasta with pesto all winter long.

4. My new I Touch. Such fun. I have lots of favorite tunes on it, and 'apps'....my grandson laughed when I didn't know what 'apps' meant.
I do now.
I listen to podcasts on all subjects, and now that I have a speaker dock, I can educate myself while I weave.
My question is, after I fill my head full of all this new info, am I going to end up being one of the smartest older than dirt weavers you ever knew?

5. My Kindle. It is sending me to sleep nirvana every night, without the benefit of stacks of books falling off the night stand. And when this book is done, I can have another one downloaded in about two minutes, no matter where I am.
How cool is that?

6.OK, this a weaving discovery. It isn't complicated. Honest. First of all, for you non weavers: the threads that run vertically in a rug, and make up the fringe, are the warp. The fabric that goes horizontally back and forth is the weft.
I have always woven rugs with an 8 or a 10 epi.....which simply means that there are 8 or 10 warp threads per inch.......epi=ends per inch, and thus there are half that amount of threads showing on the face of the rug.
For some reason, I started threading a different way........putting two threads in each dent (slot), and then skipping one, etc. This gives you still 8 or 10 (whichever you choose) epi, but they are "working as 4 or 5". I love the look, it lets more of the fabric 'shine' through, making it a weft faced rug.
Y'all got it???
Here are a couple of pics.
First, the old way.

From Crazy as a Loom


And then, my new way.
From Crazy as a Loom


7. Masonry heaters. Have you ever heard of them? My neighbor, who is brilliant, made one for their camp, and more recently, one for their house. It has a pizza oven, a stove top, a regular oven, and it heats their house. It is gorgeous, and like nothing I have ever seen. The ashes in it are white....it burns that clean.
Here is a stock photo of one......his is similar, but you can't see the kitchen side of this one, and I am sure there is a kitchen side.
From Crazy as a Loom


There is a whole web site dedicated to these marvelous things, and you can read more about it here.

8. Wheat grass for cats. Yes, my cats need their greens. They chew it up, knock it over, eat it, spit it out. You name it. But they seem to like it.

9. The Happiness Project. Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.

From Crazy as a Loom

You can find it on Amazon.


10. Fage . Authentic greek yogurt. Recently, they opened a plant in Johnstown, NY. So now we have FageUSA. The people that work there actually went to Greece, to learn how to make it.
Very cool.
Also, thick and delicious.

So there you have it.

And today, I finished this rug. It is a bit on the wild side. What do you think?
From Crazy as a Loom


The jury is still out.

I barely made it out of the driveway at the studio.
From Crazy as a Loom

But my little Hyundai Santa Fe pulled through, and I am home safe and sound.



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Crazy

As I promised, I have put the celebrating behind me, and got on with the work at hand.
I have orders to work on, and lots to do.
This is what I have to put up with all day.
No matter where I go, she is there. In front of me, on the loom, on the computer desk, on the counter.
Everywhere.

From Crazy as a Loom

I admit that I can frequently be heard saying, "will you move your fat butt?"
But she is unperturbed by my outbursts. And she is one persistent girl.

These are a couple of rugs I finished yesterday.

From Crazy as a Loom

Guess they could still be considered my 'spring line'.

From Crazy as a Loom


I also wove another 4x6 to replace the rug my mojo screwed up, and I finished the ombred white rug.
From Crazy as a Loom

Then I came home to a roast beef dinner.
Which sounds terrific, except that I don't eat beef, or pork, or chicken, or turkey...............how did that happen?
It was that book, Skinny Bitch, that I read last April. I gave up meat for 30 days, along with my daughter, and when the 30 days was up, I couldn't get meat to my mouth. Just the thought of it is horrific to me. Poultry soon followed.
I didn't plan this.
I LOVED hamburgers, chicken wings, pork roasts. And more.
And now, even the smell of it cooking is disturbing.
So instead of the roast beast, I cooked kale.
I can HEAR you. KALE???? WTH?????? kale?
yup I cooked kale.
I bought a bag so big, that my husband asked me if I had bought a horse when he wasn't looking.
I put half the bag of kale in a big pot, with about 1" of water in the bottom. You are wondering why I am telling you all how to STEAM a vegetable.
Well, here is the tip~!! Before you put the top on the pot, you squirt some BRAGG all over the top of the kale.
I can HEAR you. BRAGG??? WTH????
Blame my friend, Alice.
But Bragg makes kale absolutely delicious. I was actually craving it.
And cooked this way, it doesn't need salt, pepper, or butter.
From Crazy as a Loom

Bragg is a liquid protein concentrate made from soybeans. If you want to know more, you can find it here.
I am excited to find that I love kale made this way. It is a great source of lots of good stuff.
It is also pretty cheap, and has hardly any calories at all.

I have finally given up on making meat a part of my diet. I really don't miss it, and everybody else will just have to get used to it.
Funny how that happens. It doesn't really affect anyone else. But it somehow makes other people uncomfortable.
I don't need any special 'replacement' food. I just don't eat the meat. In fact, there are tons of things to eat that aren't meat. It just stretches my brain a bit, but otherwise it feels pretty normal.
I am amazed at the twists and turns you encounter in your life, that you could never have imagined.
After all these years, suddenly I am almost a vegetarian.
A techno weaving, pristine hearted vegetarian.
But what's in a name?




Monday, February 22, 2010

Star Power.

Back to normal today. No more Queen for a Day.
But, wow, it was fun. I can't remember when I have enjoyed a birthday more.

My family was here for a spagetti dinner.....one of my favorite meals.

With garlic bread. My youngest daughter made it with fresh ingredients. Yum.

From Crazy as a Loom


And since it was MY day, I got the cake of MY choice.........yellow cake with PEANUT BUTTER frosting.
Oh, my.
From Crazy as a Loom

I don't think everyone was quite as enthusiastic as I was......and there was Peanut Butter Pandemonium ice cream.
Who cares about presents?

But I got two things that I have been coveting for awhile. My daughters bought me a speaker dock for my I Touch, because I am not fond of having earphones in my ears while I am weaving. And about a week ago, I was listening to music, and when I went to cut the fabric to put on the shuttle, I almost cut the cord to the ear thingies. So a dock will be very nice.
And DH bought me a Kindle, which I have wanted for some time. It is very cool, I already started reading my first book on it, and I will be able to listen to books while I weave.
I am well known to my family as being very fond of all new gadgets. They said I should change my name to 'Techno Weaver'.
I think it is important to keep up, don't you?
And I have to admit, I am mesmerized by all things geeky.
Oh, well.
And I had a couple of bunnies at my birthday party.
From Crazy as a Loom

Aren't they the sweetest?

And one of them wanted me to take a picture of her eating a carrot, as bunnies do.
So I did.
From Crazy as a Loom


And now back to work.......rugs to weave, studio to clean. I will have to wait another year to be Queen for a day again.

Sigh.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

How old???

I want to thank you all for visiting. I enjoy your comments more than I can tell you. Reading them at the end of the day is a comfort.
I love that you love my big old house, and what I do there with all my all my crazy stacks of fabric, and multiple looms.
And yes, I listen to Sirius most of the time, the Coffee House is my favorite. And if I am near the computer I play the playlist that you see here on my blog, and now that I am an I Touch geek, I listen to Pandora free internet on occasion.
But some days, I listen to the quiet.
And I love the sound of it.

From Crazy as a Loom


Remember my mojo. Well, it screwed up.
That lovely rug in my last post.
Today ,while I was weaving an off white/white 4x6 rug, in ombred tones, I had one of those 'aha' moments. It was just about done, and I was measuring it, and with amazing clarity, I knew that the rug I had finished yesterday, the one in the box by the door waiting to be shipped, was too short.
In my mind, I could see myself making that last measurement on it just a day ago, and I knew it was wrong.
I finished the white rug.
Then I went and I cut the box open, laid the other rug out, and measured it again.
Too short.
I didn't allow for take up.
Too *#$@%%%$&* short.
OK then.

So I took a deep breath, and started getting the loom ready for Monday morning, and I will weave it all over again.

*##__(&^&^^$##@ mojo, anyway.


From Crazy as a Loom



Tonight, my husband took me to dinner, to celebrate the LAST day of this 62nd year of my life. We went to Amigo's, my favorite Mexican restaurant, about a half hour away.
I would have taken lovely pictures of the delish spinach and cheese enchilada I had, but the battery in my camera decided (again) that today was its day off.
This week I WILL buy myself an extra battery. You can bet on it.

We had to sit at the bar, the place was so packed. But it was very comfy, and there were candles on the gleaming wood bar, and it seemed easier to talk sitting so close side by side, and not across the table from each other. I kind of liked it.
I said to Bill (DH), "God, I am older than dirt........how old is dirt, anyway???"
And without missing a beat, he looked sweetly at me, and said, "64".
Gotta love that man.

Tomorrow, it's time to party! 63 years young, and not older than dirt.
Hallelujah.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Never too late to teach an old cat new tricks.

I am not sure, but I think my cats are rubbing off on me. It must be that. They certainly aren't about to be influenced BY me, so what else could it be.
Maybe what I am learning from them isn't a bad thing.
I am beginning to be more 'mindful' of what I do, even the mundane.

From Crazy as a Loom



I like to position myself in the sunniest window, and find myself some days following the sun around the house.
From Crazy as a Loom

I am learning to love myself enough not to beat myself up over a 20 extra pounds.


From Crazy as a Loom


I am learning to be calm, learning to let life unfold.
From Crazy as a Loom


Who knew that four stray cats could teach me so much??

But lest you think that all the time I spend at the studio is a lark, there is a lot of drudge work to do before the weaving begins. Winding the warp, threading the heddles, sleying the reed, then searching out colors and cutting lots of fabric. I immerse myself in the task at hand. I accept it as necessary preparation for the end result, which is where I find my mojo.

From Crazy as a Loom


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just desserts

I am positive now that I have lost my mind........what was I thinking???? YOU ALL DESERVE A HANDWOVEN TOWEL.
You do.
Why couldn't I have used that random integer thingie that Kate uses over at Chronicles of a Country Girl , or I could have had my husband draw a name out of a bag, like Di does over at the Blue Ridge Gal.

But no, I had to make it complicated.
The truth of the matter is that I only have two towels left.
So, after much thought, the 'most' deserving is: Misha of From My Front Porch in the Mountains
Did you read what she said??
A towel that will understand, that even though there is a dishwasher in the 100 year old kitchen, a choice has been made not to use it.

Heart be still..........
I know, I get goofy about some things, but that just touched me.

And because I never like to go by the rules, I am going to give the second towel to Di over at the Blue Ridge Gal, because if I don't, she is going to cry.
Now you don't want me to be responsible for that, now do you?
So, ladies, email me your real address, and I will send your towels right out, they are already in their little boxes, they just need some direction.

I have been working at weaving a warp off, a warp I have not been particularly crazy about; tan, loden green, pink.

From Crazy as a Loom


I think I put it on for an order, and put on more than I needed. I usually do that, but I shouldn't have with this one, since the colors didn't exactly inspire me.
But it's off now, and a new natural warp is on the loom, ready to go.

I have had no more jaw pain, thankfully.
I did have a CT scan of my stomach the other day, in search of the cause. I had a vile of nasty liquid, that I had to split into three doses. I mixed them each with 12 oz of liquid per the directions.....I used Gatorade.....and I had to drink them on an empty stomach, one at 8am, 8:30am, and 9:00am.
Then I drove a half hour to the Imaging Center.
I know that they do these tests over and over and over, and that they repeat the same instructions and cautions many, many times over the course of a day.
But I had to laugh. You're lying on a table, in a blue gown, and you are headed for this opening in a machine that has a sound reminiscent of the fan in a car. I know, I am dating myself.
IV in place.
"You're going to feel hot all over, you will get a metallic taste in your mouth, and you will feel like you are going to pee your pants. But you won't."
What?
Menopause? Again????

But seriously, she was right. It was exactly as she described. And over in about 10 min.
And today, they called with the results.........they didn't say pristine, but that's what they meant.
Hunky dory.
They could have said that. I would be just as OK with hunky dory, as I was with Pristine.
I am not that hard to please.
Still no answer, but good news nonetheless.

Remember Sydney......found her in the barn last September. She weighed 5.5 lbs, and she was pregnant at the time.
Well, she is quite settled in her new home. She doesn't seem to mind being a house cat. And she has more than doubled her weight.
From Crazy as a Loom

When she walks, she waddles. She needs to be on a diet. She deserves one.
From Crazy as a Loom


I am NOT eating that.


Warped is wonderful, honest.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Good and tired.

I am watching the Olympics, but having trouble keeping my eyes open. I had my granddaughter for a couple of days. She is so much fun, and not any trouble at all, but sleeping with her isn't conducive to much rest. She travels over the bed.
She told me when my birthday comes this month, I can be 40 if I want. I said that would be fine. I would take that.
Which proves, of course, what we have always known, age is a decision we make every day.
Don't you think?

From Crazy as a Loom


Besides, who can argue with this face???


I finished four of the waffle weave towels....I am giving them away to deserving people.
I have quite a bit of warp on the loom, so I will make more.
Do you deserve a towel?? Tell me why. I'm in the mood to send one out to you.

From Crazy as a Loom

Even though I am mostly into weaving rugs, sometimes my body needs a break from it. And my brain needs some stimulation, I know that's hard to believe. And these dish towels do it for me.
From Crazy as a Loom

The studio was busy today. Ava was playing, and chasing cats, or they were chasing her as she dragged a string through the house. I wove a 4x6 rug to free up the Toika for orders.
From Crazy as a Loom


There were several people in and out, and by the end of the day, Ava ended up in the rocking chair on my step daughter's lap. Sydney decided that she shouldn't be left out, so she stretched out on top of her.
From Crazy as a Loom

And Ava was so tired, she didn't seem to mind.

I will leave you tonight with this thought, that I heard on NPR the other day. It touched me, and makes my brain whirl.
Which isn't all that hard to do, I'm afraid.

It went like this:
"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
Mating Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Back at it

Ah, back at the studio. Thank you, Lord. Every day I spend there doing what I love is just another day in paradise.
I'm telling ya.
I have some other sock waste that I have been trying to decide how to use. I brainstormed and had a bunch of ideas, but honestly, all of them involved sewing and not weaving, and they didn't appeal to me one bit.
Maybe in another lifetime.


Here are the pieces/parts that I started with.
From Crazy as a Loom

I put them up on my work table and cut them with my handy, dandy Eastman cutter, which you have seen, but in case you have forgotten.......
From Crazy as a Loom



They look weird, but they are actually the strip on the back of the sock that includes the heel.

From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom


Do you see any blood on that table????
From Crazy as a Loom

Oh, yeah, I cut the fatty pad on the end of my thumb clean off. And yes, I screamed, and NO, I am not going to the ER. You couldn't DRAG me there.
Pressure dressing, (yes, that is masking tape) no need for sutures, nothing to SEW TO.
It was the end of my cutting for today though.

And this is what I came up with. A 20"x30" rug for in front of the sink, or the shower. It can have short fringe, or no fringe, but the sides are shaggy, somewhat fringed actually. They are sewn all the way down the shaggy side, so those edges are secure. And......they don't have bumps like the regular sock rugs. Interesting.
From Crazy as a Loom


From Crazy as a Loom

What do you think? Fringe? No fringe?

I love when an idea comes together. I think these could have some potential as place mats, since they don't have the bumps. I am going to have to work on that one.

I was going to end my day weaving on some waffle weave towels I started, but the thumb kept bleeding through, so I decided to give it up.
They are nice though, aren't they??
From Crazy as a Loom

My body had better just shape up. I have way too many things to do. My husband has said many times that I will never live long enough to weave all the stuff I have.
Now you know, don't you, that I have to prove him wrong?
It's only right.

Weaving in Kingsbury,

Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts