Crazy as a Loom

Saturday, December 15, 2018

December


Playing with some scraps of fabric that I wove, and in this case, felted by accident........I made some mittens.




An old friend stopped by and fell in love with them, and left with them and a hood/scarf combo as well.

She always makes me smile.




No snow in these parts, but it has been very cold.
The fields are finally frozen, so the "poop trucks" are sailing by daily, from the huge manure pits  a few miles down the road, to distribute their loveliness onto the bare meadows.

Naya and I walk the hedgerows, when we walk close to home, so it's ok.




The snowmobile trails have been cleaned out, so we walk those too.  I am hoping that with some snow, and the end of hunting season, we can walk in their paths.




This was a gloriously sunny, if cold, day.   There hasn't been a lot of sun since the first of
November.




If you look close, you can see the heron.   Naya and I were quiet, and he let us pass without flying away.




A trip to my daughter's, where my grandson has learned how to turn on the lights to the tree, and takes great pride in doing so.




I did some weaving on the Union Custom about three weeks ago........made some rugs.
For you weavers out there, you know what I mean when I say that the treadles are hooked at the back of the loom, thus requiring one to raise their hips to put their feet on the treadles each time.
Apparently, that is a motion that MY hips do not like.....because after two days of it, my hips were on fire.
An ortho visit revealed that I have TENDONITIS in BOTH hips.

Good God.  Really?????
Isn't a 7 year headache enough pain for one person?

I know, I know...it doesn't work that way.  Oh, that it could.

So I am staying away from any movement that aggravates my hips ......and hoping that some PT and anti-inflammatories might actually help.

The future of the Union Custom is hanging in the air.......but if I can't figure out how to weave on it without causing this again, it will be moving on.  That makes me so sad.......that old loom has been with me since my weaving life began.
If it goes, I will have to do a background check on the new owner.   Bwahhhhh.



Three nights this week, I spent winding balls of yarn......5-6 strands wound together to use on the shuttle to make rugs......this time on my AVL, with the elift.
Cleared out three totes of yarn that I've been hanging onto for no particular reason, made space in the pantry/halfbath/storage room,  and felt quite proud of myself for having the idea.

It doesn't take much to amuse me, maybe that's a good thing.






As always, Miss Naya is my shadow......I am not sure how I lived without her....some days, I can't imagine that I ever did.



Thursday, December 6, 2018

Thoughts

Watching the early morning light, I find myself thinking about my mother, what early mornings looked like to her growing up in England, then coming to upstate NY...... how did early mornings make her feel.


 I have long thought that we are not all that special.  Each one of us, a mere speck on this globe.   There is much written about what "matters". 
Does any of it?
Well, I think that all I can do is live my best life. Every day.
That's it.
If at the end of the day, I am satisfied, then that is enough.

I didn't always think this way.  But now I am older.   Those things that my mother used to say, and believe, that I thought odd..........not so odd anymore.
Funny, how age changes your perspective about so much.

My kids are busy.  Their kids are busier.  It is hard to get to see them separately, much less all
together.
I have been trying to orchestrate a family dinner at my house........I live an hour away from all of them.
After a couple of weeks of negotiating who was going to be available, and who could not possibly make it, I have pretty much tossed in the towel.
In the past, I would have been upset, hurt.

Now, I'm like, yeah, ok....that's life.
It's just not a big deal.

It's a giant step when you realize that your children have their own lives, and that is exactly what you wanted for them.
So get on with your own.



I had a perfect day.   A perfect day at least by my standards.

My headache subsided after an hour or so.......... and became my favorite headache.......a "doable" one.

Then after all my morning chores, I wove on an order  for a few hours........

Then I made some soup.

A Detox Crockpot Lentil soup.   Let me tell you, this one is a winner!!




Then I took Naya for a walk in the fields.  I have decided to NOT bitch about the weather this winter, and at the same time, I have made a commitment to get my butt outside every day that it is not snowing sideways.

Funny about perspective.   In 2011, when my Eddie passed, we got Roy.  I said we needed an older dog, one that didn't need so much exercise.
Well, Roy still needed lots of walking, but after my head injury and surgeries, he was also chill enough to stay with me on the couch.  Then he got me out, and got me moving.  So it worked out.

When we were looking for a dog last January, I said, we don't want a young dog.  We're old, we need an older dog.
Then I saw Naya's face in a photo that Karen of http://thisoldhousetoo.blogspot.com sent me, and I knew she was my dog.
Several times since then, I have thought, oh dear, what did I do.  Naya is a live wire....with lots of energy, who needs to walk EVERY DAY.
And who knew?  That's just what I needed, too.
30 lbs lost, and a whole new perspective about it.
I find myself out there, in the cold, the rain, whatever; and the air is fresh, and I am energized and happy to be out there.
Happy to be doing it for her, for me.

I came back in, and picked up the weaving where I had left off.   Loving this hand dyed organic cotton/bamboo warp, and loving the weaving draft, too.



I made myself two cups of tea while I was weaving, and they both tasted like crap.  It took me a while.....duh.....to check the milk.  Yep, outdated.
So I finally had my cuppa tea when I was done weaving....then I soaked my sore muscles in the hot tub, watching the sun go down.



I made myself a killer green salad, which I had with a glass of pinot grigio, and I had leftover
vegetarian hash brown bake which I made last night.....to die for, I'm telling ya.

So let me just say, I'm grateful.   Less headache, a lovely home, a loom I love, doing what I want to do.  Loving my family even if I don't see them as often as I'd like to.

Life IS good. 




Your life is exactly what you make it.

I choose contentment, every day.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

It’s a chill wind.



Finally, the electronic interface for the Louet Octado has returned.  And so far, it works just fine.
I have to wind and dye a very special warp for this.


I have decided that I am sick and tired of hauling pellets, and also done with all the dust it creates.

So today, Naya and I took a ride to the Fireplace Company, and picked out our new gas stove.

It's a Lopi, and has glass on three sides.

Unfortunately, they are swamped.......I guess I should have done this earlier, but the installation
is scheduled for January 23rd, and that's really not that far away.


I already have a buyer for the pellet stove, and the pellets, whatever is left after 6 more weeks.
 

I'm excited.  I know it will be more expensive to run, but sometimes things other than money have to be figured into the equation.  Old age being one of them.










When we headed for home, we stopped in Lake George, and walked along the lake.  The wind was cutting, and my face about froze off.  I stepped too close to the water, and my feet got pretty wet.

It was bracing, that's for sure.



Of course, Naya LOVED it.......she galloped around and was not one bit concerned about getting wet.



When I got home, I had my sights set of finishing up these wool hoods with attached scarves.



They are lined with soft, warm fleece.




I totally decimated my scrap pile making them.



I really do have to have one of these myself.   I love that they keep the neck warm.









I also took your advice, and bought a humidifier.   I did some research, found one that was highly recommended, and ordered it.  So far, I have had to fill it twice a day, it's putting that much water into the air.  My sinuses seem to like it, at least I don't feel like I have a cement block on my face.  That's always a plus.


I am hoping to see my grands over the holidays........kids are so busy these days, and their parents are, as well.  It's a juggling trick to get everyone together.

Whenever I look at their little corner of my living room, it makes me smile.
I just wish I lived closer.



Friday, November 30, 2018

Finally

Yes, finally November is over.  I won't miss it.  It's the worst headache month I've had in quite awhile.

Last weekend, I went up to the front bedroom, which we call the "rug room", and I worked at getting a warp off the Union Custom.   I've had an order pending for months, and I needed to put a new warp on for it.
So I wove 4 or 5 rugs, three of which sold immediately.  Win, win, right?

Not so fast.

By the next morning, I knew that what I suspected was true.  Groin pain, deep, throbbing groin pain.
It happened the last time I wove on that loom, but I pooh, poohed it.
This time, not so much.
It's Friday, and my hips (groin pain) are on fire.  Still.

The problem is, for those of you who don't weave, is that old rug looms have treadles that are quite a ways off the floor, attached to the back of the loom.
It requires one to lift the hip with the knee bent, to put your foot on the treadle, over and over and over.




So, I have ruminated about this all week.   The bottom line:  I have enough pain....I can't do something that is going to give me more.
I emailed the lady who was waiting for her custom order, and told her no......I won't do it.  I am sorry.....but no. I found a couple of weavers on FB who are going to contact her.

L did offer to do it, but to be honest, it does the same thing to her.   Repetitive motion/arthritis/getting older/you name it.  We both have it.

I don't know exactly what I am going to do yet, but after 20 years of weaving on the Union Custom, my FAVORITE rug loom ever, it might be time to say good bye.  Ah, change, you keep on coming.



A while back, my neighbor came by with an old doll house, that had been languishing in her friend's attic for years.   It was about to be thrown out, and instead, it was gifted to me.
When my 5 yo grand girl saw it, she asked about it...I told her it was something I was going to fix up.

Fast forward, last week, when she was leaving she saw it on the inside porch.....she turned to me with a quizzical look on her face, and said, "Mimi, you haven't finished that YET?"

Well, that was all it took to get me moving.


The dining room table is covered in newspapers, and the renovation has begun.






I have a hand dyed organic cotton/bamboo warp on the AVL.

I really love this draft.

,

And while it is stunning in black, I really love the pale pink weft.




Today was cleaning day.  The studio has been getting messier and messier.  I cleaned and organized, and will probably continue it this weekend.

I also decided it was time to organize under my kitchen sink, so that when you opened the door, everything didn't fall out.




A friend of mine has started an account for her photography, which is stunning.
I invite you to check it out, she really has been to some amazing places in the world, and she
shares her experiences through her photos.
www.vickystephensphotography.com

This is Fremont Lake in Wyoming.



I broached the subject, to DH, tonight of swapping out the pellet stove for a gas stove at some point.
I was kind of surprised that he is not opposed to it.

He;s probably sick of hauling pellets, if I had to guess.




So I managed to get myself to Hobby Lobby, to look at what they had for dollhouses.
I had a 40% off coupon, on my phone, so the damage wasn't as bad as it could have been.




But I can definitely see that this may be a rabbit hole that I am about to go down.

How often can you use those 40% coupons??

I know that the look on her face will be worth every penny.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Oh November 

The guild show is over, and it was very successful.  But I'm glad it's done, and I can just
weave.
This was something I made this week, and it's sold already.  It can be worn like a poncho, but I kind of like it this way better.d

Hopefully, I will have some more sales before Christmas, then not have to worry too much about retail until spring shows.



Mornings are definitely my favorite time of day.  I'm always up in time to watch the sun rise.
Naya is usually taking her after breakfast nap at my feet, so she misses it all.




For some reason, I have always hated dish drainers.  But the simple truth is that there are always dishes on the counter, and it seems like I do dishes several times a day.




Until now.   My daughter bought me this dish drainer at Bed, Bath and Beyond,
and I love it.   My counter now looks neat, and water "drains" into the sink, instead of
sitting on a wet towel.

Such a simple fix.  It even folds flat to store, and it has a metal piece (on the left) that flips up and holds stemmed glasses.



Another purchase, by me, that I love.  They are Vionic slippers, the most recommended for
plantar fasciitis, this style is "Gemma".    I don't have PF anymore, but having had it for a year and a half, I am terrified of getting it again.  So I don't ever go barefoot.   These are warm, and so comfortable, and I wear them ALL the time.





Don't tell me that we aren't festive.   Because we are.

,

It took me all of 5 minutes to put up my tree.  It helps that the ornaments are already on the tree.




I love simple.  It makes me happy, and it was easy, too.  Long gone are the days that I want to
spend hours putting decorations up, only to spend more hours in a few weeks, to take them all down.

I think once your children are out of the house, you change the way you think about it.  At least I have.




So far, November has been tough.  I've had a brutal headache just about every day.  It started about November 1st, exactly the same time that we started up the pellet stove.
I know that my headaches are dependent often on weather changes, but I seriously question the role of the pellet stove.
It's dusty, and dirty, in my opinion, it's worse than a wood stove.

On top of that, cleaning it once a month causes more dust.

If I could be sure that it was making my headaches worse, it would be gone in a heartbeat.

Since there is a shed full of pellets, I will have to get through this winter with it, but I am seriously
thinking of doing something different for next year.


For now, once again, it's one day at a time.





Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Two days in a row.


What?   Two blog posts in two days.


Anyway, this is the last cloak I can possibly finish before the Hudson Mohawk Weaver's Guild Show that starts Thursday, and runs through Sunday.
(Pruyn House, Old Niskayuna Rd, Colonie, NY)





This one is wool and rayon.   I inadvertently threw it in the wash.......and the dryer.  I meant to hand wash it and hang it to dry, but there you have it.  Senior moment.  Brain freeze.   Call it whatever......it happens too often.
But for some reason, it didn't felt much.....and didn't shrink much.   The weft is rayon, the warp is wool.....so I am supposing that the rayon kept the wool from clutching and felting.




Several people have asked me about my pattern for this cloak.....and the simple truth is, like most things, I have none.
I often fly by the seat of my pants, as anyone who knows me well is quite aware of.

It's basically a rectangle, with holes for your arms.
I played with it for awhile, to get the size right, and to get the armholes in the right place.   I think it is open to interpretation, but I like the way they are turning out.
I especially like them turned upside down, and worn the shorter jacket way.

My big problem was weaving them in two pieces, and thus having a seam.  I debated about where to put the seam, and then worried that it would show.
It doesn't, unless you look for it.
I think the reason it doesn't is the good advice I got from a weaver friend.  I sew the seam on the machine, then I hand sew both sides of that seam down, then press it.



The armholes are basically a bound button hole, just bigger.   I have tried different types of fabric.
This is thin, soft corduroy, which I chose because I liked the colors.







Once I get them in, I again hand sew them down, then go back to the machine and do 1/4" around the opening, to reinforce.






I will admit that the first time I cut two holes into my just woven piece, I was terrified.  But now I
am used to it, I don't even hesitate.    It's really not hard at all.

I have 12 cloaks ready....and I have debated in my head for weeks about the price.   I fear pricing them too high, then again, if you go to a show and sell out, then you've priced too low.
So I've ended up going with my first instinct, because I know how much time I have in them, I know the quality of the fibers I've used, and I can always come down on the price and sell them at shows next year.

A voice in my head said, "Don't sell yourself short."  So, I'm not.






Woke up to the world covered in white, and a dreary, wet, cold day.

But eventually, I gave in, left the sewing machine, and we went for a walk.



It is much more strenuous to walk through up and down over uneven ground, than to walk on the level bike trail,but Naya didn't seem to notice at all.




This girl loves the snow, and I'm committing myself to getting out in the cold this winter to take her for walks.   It's good for her, and good for me, too.

There will be times I will have to kick myself out the door, I know, but she's worth it.
And so am I.


Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts