Crazy as a Loom

Monday, September 28, 2009

A star is born?

I know, you have seen plenty of CAT pictures here. And they probably get boring when they aren't your cats, or if you don't care for cats much to begin with.
This one is new. When Tammy went to put the show stuff in the barn last night, this one came running. Now usually, cats in the barn are feral, and they run AWAY from you. This little one came crying, and begging to be picked up. She is thin, so thin you can feel every vertebrae, and her little hips are bone with no padding at all.
Unfortunately, she has a big belly.
What amazes me is that she was obviously neglected, or abandoned, or otherwise abused, and yet she still comes running, expecting to be loved.
It defies explanation.

The weekend was a long one. My grandkids kept me BUSY from Friday afternoon, til I tucked them in their own beds at 8:30pm last night. Tammy took care of the show at the fiber festival, but I was there three times for different reasons.
I got home after midnight, and then this morning, there was putting the shop back together, and putting all the show stuff away.
In spite of all your good wishes, there weren't many sales.
But it's OK. I really thought of it as a promotional venture, and I didn't set myself up to be disappointed. In fact, on the positive side, it kind of proved to me that shows aren't really where it's at for me. I have been resisting that information, in spite of the evidence.
The truth of the matter is that starting a small business can be totally different from what you expect. I "thought" that being located on a main highway would bring droves of people to my door, that I would have a booming retail location.
Not really.
I get stragglers in now and then, and a lot of people for the Christmas in the Country event the first weekend of December. But otherwise, not so much.
I liken it to water running down a sandy embankment. You can predict how that water will run, but it will find its own way, or maybe several ways.
I have found that I need to be open to possibilities, and just keep my eye on the prize......which, after all, is .....for me...... just the weaving.
I opened Dec 1st, 2005. By the end of that first year, it was obvious that business was coming to me, but not through the front door.
The internet was the vehicle that arrived. Custom orders, sometimes more than one at a time.
So I took the hint, put rugs on my web site, and I started selling them there.
I occasionally taught basic weaving.
Which led me to try weaving weekends, and that has filled in some blanks.
And I have a few wholesale accounts.
So people walking in off the street have become an occasional reason to take a break from whatever I am doing.
I think it is evolving into exactly what it is supposed to be, but more than that, just what I need. Some challenging orders that pay the bills, weaving things that make me sing along with the radio, to fill the shelves, lovely sunny days left to my own devices.....what more could I ask.

As far as the kitty goes, she is at the vet's as we speak. He concurred that her lack of body fat, and her age was reason enough to terminate her pregnancy, and neuter her. The shelters are full, but she is a lucky girl. She must have seen the sign out in front of the studio..........
My husband says that I cannot save the world.
Ah, no, but I can do MY part, now can't I?

Her name is Sydney, by the way, after my Uncle would have been his 87th birthday. And that small gesture will make my mother VERY happy.
Watch out, Miss Puss....this girl is a sweetie! And I bet she is very photogenic.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Go ahead, make plans

This is my booth at the Washington County Fiber Festival. Tammy and Shawn did a great job setting it up last night. It is actually the first time I haven't set up my own booth, and while that felt a bit strange, it was a relief.
This was just one building.......there were 90 vendors in all. This was early this morning, and everyone wasn't set up yet.
This is definitely a show I could spend money at. So much yarn, wool, fiber, all the stuff I love.
Washington County definitely has a lot of enthusiastic fiberholics out there.

I promised myself I wouldn't buy any more yarn......I have so much already. I need to use what I have.
I should write that on the back of my hand, so I won't forget it for tomorrow, when I go back to wrap it up, and take one more look around.

I did treat myself to a wonderful fabric holder for double pointed knitting needles from Crippenworks, and I plan to get one for my regular needles.
, We went to the Adirondack Balloon Festival, but it was so windy, that we didn't stay. None of the balloons were even on the ground when it was time for them to go up. We expected them to cancel any minute, and we knew we should beat the traffic.

Logan and Ava had a lot of fun running around watching the kites flying.
And tomorrow, the balloon festival is already cancelled due to the forecast of LOTS of rain.

I will be on the road, to the studio, to the fiber festival, then to take my grandkids home.......I get tired just thinking about it.
Is is Monday yet???

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Got jeans?

As I was driving to the studio this morning, I happened to see this corn field. I wanted to walk down through it. But I just pulled over and took some pictures instead.
I so love this time of year. Haven't turned the heat on, but it is just around the corner. You can always count this part of the country for cold weather. It is inevitable. What is coming makes these lovely days of fall that much more precious.

Blue jean rugs were the order of the day today. Just yesterday, I sold the last two I had in the shop. I figured I should have at least two for the fiber show this weekend.
I read somewhere that you shouldn't take pictures with shadows right in the middle of them.
As you can see, I didn't pay that much attention.

Blue jeans are time consuming to prep, but the rugs are great; they wear like iron.
I quite often get blue jeans from people who want me to make them a rug out of their OWN old jeans, or jeans that belonged to their kids, or husband, you get the drift........
I had a dentist appointment this morning, early.
I couldn't help but notice a poster on the wall. It was "21 Suggestions for Success" by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

All the advice was good advice, and each suggestion was certainly food for thought.
But the first one stopped me cold.
It said: Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.
I think that someone could have told me this, say, 30-40 years ago.......what WAS I thinking?
Well, if it is any consolation, I did figure it out eventually.
I guess I needed to do it my way, eh?
Don't ya just hate to hear that????
Yet it is so true.
But who can tell you when you are young and foolish, that you really ought to marry YOUR BEST FRIEND.
Yeah, imagine that bit of advice.
Anyway, MY best friend took me downtown tonight, to see what was going on .......big doings in a small town, you know the drill, I bet.
And we went to this wonderful new bakery, called The Chocolate Mill.

Need I say more?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

True colors

Rainy day in Kingsbury today. This is the view from my computer desk. I like to sit here with a cuppa tea, and take a break.
I have a busy weekend coming up, and I am enjoying quiet days of weaving.
I struggled today with taking photos of some of the rugs I just made. I took several, and they all turned out awful. The colors weren't right, or true. The pictures certainly didn't do them justice.
The fact is, I am good at a lot of isn't one of them.
Truthfully, the really good pictures I take sometimes, are pure, dumb luck.
I have a great camera, a Nikon D40, but I am fairly clueless about it. I try to read and study to be proficient at using it, but I would be far better off if someone showed me how to use it. I learn things so much easier that way.
Today I tried every setting, but nothing really helped.
Finally, I took the rugs outside.

This is a little better.........sunlight does wonders. This is a Solmate sock rug, 28"x48".

I was weaving lodge rugs today, and this one looked downright ugly on the loom......but when I put it down to take a photo of it, I liked it after all.
This is shooting from the hip, I guess.
Question: If someone tells you that they want you to be "more spontaneous" that possible??????
Wouldn't you be thinking about it all the time???

That wasn't said to me, by the way.

Busy weekend coming up.
This is the first time ever for the Washington County Fiber Festival, at the Fairgrounds. I was going to cancel, but didn't. Tammy is going to do most of the show, except for Saturday morning.
I will pack everything up, and get it all ready, and I will go with her to get her started on Friday afternoon.
I will have two of my grandchildren for the weekend, and we are going to the Adirondack Balloon Festival. So, with any luck, I should have some pictures.
Thank goodness for digital cameras. If I take enough shots, I should get a couple that I actually like.
Maybe I should be looking for a photography course.
Like I have time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The way we were.

Five years ago, I bought the house that is now Crazy as a Loom Weaving Studio.
I closed the deal on May 28th. I was in a daze that day, not sure I believed that it was really going to happen.
When I left the lawyer's office, I drove straight to Kingsbury, to say hello to my new house. It was quite a mess, inside and out. It was an adventure, for sure, waiting to happen.

There was so much work to be done. It was kind of hard to know where to start.

It seems impossible now, that it ever looked this way.
It had been somewhat neglected, and needed a lot of TLC, which I felt it deserved.

We dove into it, really. Room by room, the floors, the ceilings, the windows, the walls, the wiring, plumbing, painting........then on to the outside, brush, weeds, out of control lawns, a barn ready to fall down.
It was an incredible amount of work.
Here is where I wove those first few months, when I had a few minutes to spare, which wasn't often.
That first year, I had to almost abandon the part that I loved, weaving, to devote my time to getting the place ready to open.
DH was invaluable. You knew that, right?

Today was a rainy day in northeast NY. I can't say that I was all that motivated. I did get some stuff done. What I really wanted to do was take a nap.
Sometimes, when it is quiet, I put the shuttle down, and lie down on the bed in the pink room......the one where my Macomber loom is set up.
The cats love this.......they jump up and lay down, too.
Nap time. They do it so well. I am taking notes on how slow down. Who does it better?

Saturday, September 19, 2009


(click on photos to enlarge)

The Sagamore Hotel, on Lake George.
They recently filmed the Today show here.
The southern Adirondacks aren't as high as the the high peaks up north, but they are still pretty impressive in their own right.
I asked Bill if he would buy this one for me.

Just a few pictures from our cruise the other night.
This one is looking north, up the lake.

I have to tell you that I love this lake, and have loved it my whole life.

Lake George is 32 miles long, with the village of Lake George on its southern tip, and the village of Ticonderoga, where I grew up, on its northern end.
Lake George village is sort of honky tonk, with lots of restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, and places to spend your money.
Ticonderoga is a mill town, where International Paper has ruled since before I was born.
The south end of the lake is very populated, and there are lots of boats and traffic on the water.
The north end of the lake is more pristine, and what I grew up with.

In the French and Indian wars, and in the Revolution, the lake played a vital part in history.

This is the boat we cruised on, the Lac du St Sacrament, and it was quite lovely.

I took this as everyone was still boarding. Not long after, there were 300 people, eating, drinking, laughing, talking, and dancing.

Just for starters.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have admired and revered this lake. I always wondered what it would be like to actually live on its shores, but privileges like that seemed reserved for people who were not from the area at all, but like many resort areas, bought up by people from New York City, and New Jersey. People who had disposable incomes, who came for the summer, and acted like they owned everything.
But that didn't stop us from loving the lake, or living on it in anything that would float. And sometimes in things that didn't float all that well.

It seems that some people have money in amounts that don't even compute to the rest of us........imagine this house overlooking the lake

But you don't need money to enjoy these vistas. And a row boat, or a kayak, or a tube will get you positioned to see it best.
Or a cruise on the big boats.
The sun went down, and the evening was perfect.
I don't spend time on the lake anymore. So connecting even for a few hours is pretty special. It reminds me of learning to water ski around Prisoner's Island, my cousin and I sinking a small rowboat with a 5hp motor, and trying to drag it to shore and dry it out so we wouldn't get in trouble. It reminds me of diving off Tioga Point, getting my toe bit by a snapping turtle, swimming lessons at the beach.
They are all good memories, and I don't mind going back there for an evening at all.

I will always love this lake.

Friday, September 18, 2009


(click on pics to enlarge)

Now that I have all the pastel jeans cut and sewn, I need an available loom to put the warp on.
So yesterday and today, I have been weaving a warp off my Union Special.
This is my favorite kind of weaving. The official name is Hit n' Miss. I call it haphazard.
Same difference, to coin a phrase I used to say when I was a kid, mostly to annoy people who said that made no sense.
Basically, it is opening a container (or two) of fabric, and having at it.
This is what turns out.

I have wanted to try this two color technique for some time. Today seemed as good a time as any.

This is the end result. My husband said that the "trees" were not even.
Uh, ooookay...........

Here is the old Union Special, that was painted blue when it was brand new. You can see where the blue has been worn off over the years.
I think weaving in the sun must be as near to heaven as one can get.
But that's just my opinion.
I have been enjoying quiet days alone at the studio. In between orders at the moment, I am amusing myself.
Brings to mind my favorite quote of Thoreau......'If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and lives the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.'
I think these are the 'common hours'.
Color and more color. Love it.
There are two sets of stairs at the studio. This is the old stairway up to the loft. Built in 1790, every tread has the imprint of many sets of feet. It is usually off limits to the cats, but today, I opened the door, and let them explore.
You would think that they were on safari.
Of course, I bestow human attributes, and voices, and thoughts to all three of them.
It is just what I do.

Last night, we went on a Lake George dinner cruise. I took a TON of pictures, but they will have to wait til tomorrow.
We are planning a garage sale for early tomorrow morning, and there are piles of stuff everywhere. A little pandemonium.
But we had a great time.
You can imagine that with the name Hilary, and a husband named Bill, that we have had our share of comments, and ribbing.
My answer is usually that "we are the real Bill and Hilary".

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Moving right along

I recently sent some blue jean rugs to Ohio. The lady who ordered them sent me 24 lbs of pastel jeans, and wanted rugs made out of them as well.
So yesterday I cut them into strips, and started sewing them together, and finished sewing today.
It was actually a good thing, to sew, and not to weave. My knees, you see, are screaming obscenities, even now.
Zumba, be gone??
We'll see.
I can take a day or two of it, but it is deep bone pain, not muscular, and it demands my attention. You know the kind I speak of. Pain that you can't ignore.

Anyway, the jeans are shades of pink, rose, sage green, light green, get the idea. And the spools of thread sitting on top of the balls of denim are going to be my warp threads.
As soon as I finish weaving off this warp, I will put the new warp on. Maybe tomorrow, if all the planets line up. All my other looms are tied up, literally.

DH and I went to Home Depot tonight, to look at bathroom stuff. Our downstairs bathroom needs was done about 35 years ago, and it is time for a change.
When we left with brochures and all kinds of information to mull over, we took a drive a few miles up the road.
We could have gone here............
But we didn't. We went here instead, right across the road.

Tonight was pistachio night. This is the piggy version.
This is the more delicate version, for the zumba girl herself.
Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts