Crazy as a Loom

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I could be wrong.

Joy is finding someone to sew blue jean strips for me, someone who does a good job, who wants to work, and is timely.

THIS, is a lot of work.

Even though it was Sunday, I had some weaving to do. Trying to get as many scarves done as I can by next weekend.
I have company when I weave.
Every day. And they are very faithful.

Even across the room, sleeping to the rhythm of the loom, somebody is keeping tabs.


Oops, did I wake you up???


And some of my company tends to be a bit intrusive at times.



So this is what I was weaving today.


These are scarves that are done.



For several years, I had an oak sideboard right inside the front door of my little farm house in the country. When I moved to Glens Falls and bought the studio, I gave it to my youngest daughter.
This week she gave it back, and it now lives here.

I was thinking, as I was weaving today, about having my three daughters at the studio the other day. I was thinking that a mother always wants to know what her children are like. Even when they are adults, and you go to their house, you are taking note of who they have become. You can't help but notice: how they decorate their houses, what they have in the refrigerator, what books are on the shelves. Even though they have grown up, and they have changed some, and they have their own lives, you are still interested in everything they do.
Isn't it true?
But I realized that they sometimes don't know about me, their mother. They don't know what music I like, what I do here at the studio during a day, they don't know who I have become.
Then I laughed at my foolishness, why would they want to know. I'm their mother, and I am no longer at the center of their universe.
Then my oldest daughter called me this morning.

She said, "I've been reading your blog."
She said she couldn't believe that I took pictures of her sorting all that selvedge, but I could tell, by her voice, and her laugh, that she really didn't mind at all.
And she said that she loved the pictures of the kids playing in the studio, that it was so apparent by their faces how happy they were there, and she was glad that when they grew up, they would have those memories.
She said that when she saw the photos of the studio on my blog, it made her want to be there.
(oh, my)

Then she asked me......"Is there any way we can save your blog?? Like, forever."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas is coming.


My three daughters came up today, to help me clean and organize the studio for the Christmas in the Country weekend coming up next week.
I will admit, the studio was pretty messy. Lots of dust, lots of clutter. I get busy weaving, and chaos occasionally runs riot.
I always regret it, but it happens.
Holly cleaned the sewing room, and vacuumed everywhere.
Brooke cleaned the porch, and she and Morgan cleaned and rearranged the pantry/fabric stash.
They they moved furniture. One cupboard got emptied and moved from the hall to the dining room, and the one in the dining room got emptied and moved to the porch.
All the shelves in the hallway got moved into the living room. It completely opened up the hallway, and made the living room so much cozier. I wouldn't have believed what a difference it made.


I totally appreciate the help. The house is huge, and doing it myself would take days. But together, we can accomplish miraculous stuff.
And too, it is a chance to spend the day with my daughters, and it just doesn't get any better than that.

Tomorrow I will dig out the Christmas lights, and some decorations. I need my husband to help me put up some track lights, and I will be ready to make Greek honey cookies.
I will be weaving wildly to finish up the scarves and the purses I have lined up.
I also have to get a basket of fabric together for the "community" rug. Over the course of the weekend, one loom will be set up with available fabric for people to give weaving a try. The resulting rug will be gifted to the Prospect Child and Family Center, in Glens Falls, NY. They will raffle it to raise funds.
Most likely, the week will fly by, it usually does. Then the tour begins on Friday, and goes right through Sunday at 5pm.
Hopefully, my daughters will all come at one time or another over the weekend, to help out.

By Sunday night, I will be exhausted, and it will be over for another year.
Then I can get on to the placemat orders I have on hold.

I only have one complaint. All three girls counseled me about my "excessive" (so they say) collection of fabric/threads/selvedge/socks/etc.
They said I can NEVER NEVER NEVER say ONE word to Bill (DH) about how many clothes he has. NEVER.
Now that is just plain WRONG.


The little ones were great. Both granddaughters, and one grandson came along, and they played well all day without a peep. Well, almost.


All in all, it was a great day. We went back to my house, and ordered pizza, the girls went in the hot tub. It feels so good to get so much accomplished.
More pictures to come after I get everything decorated.
But for now, I am beat.

Thursday, November 26, 2009



No words necessary.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Leaving on a balloon

(click on any picture to see it better)

On my way to the studio this morning, I saw this balloon off in the distance. It didn't take me long to pull over, and get my camera out.
All you who laugh at my camera on the seat, and the zoom lens in the back, well, I guess you get it now.
I wanted to BE up there.
I watched them for a bit, but I could see the fire blasting, and the balloon moving away in the wind. And besides, I had work to do.
I had two walk ins today. One wanted me to make a black rug with a purple circle and a purple star. Uh, not up my alley. Sorry.
The other was a gentleman who wanted me to mend a 100 year old Navajo rug. I 'could' do it, but I chose not to. He was very interested in the house though, and I gave him the tour. He grew up nearby, and is very knowledgeable about the history of the area. He said that there was another house right on the same spot, that was burned by Burgoyne in the Revolutionary War. Then, after the war, this house was rebuilt, in the same place.
Which prompted me to tell him about a mysterious wall in the basement. We went down to check it out, a "double" brick wall that doesn't seem to match the rest of the stone work in the basement.
I wish this house could talk. Imagine the stories, 220 years worth of them.

This is my new favorite tea. I don't usually like many flavored teas. I am a good little English girl at heart. Tea so black you can't see the bottom of the cup, as my grandmum used to say.
Occasionally I like a cup of peppermint tea, but this coconut chai is to die for. The combination of coconut, cardamom, ginger and clove, well, it is wonderful.
I wove more scarves today all on the green warp. I think the next warp will be shades of gray, with maybe some black thrown in.
I called my youngest daughter and asked her what colors were "in" this year. She said that she bought what "moved" her. Which is gray.
What colors move you??? You can weigh in on my next scarf warp, after the gray that is.

We all know that when our children get to be a certain age, we have to let them go. What no one warns you about is that no matter how old they get, you will still worry about them. You will still wonder about some of their decisions, and you will still bite your tongue. Wanting them to not do what you did, wanting them to be smarter, better.
Will someone tell me how you finally convince yourself that it is none of your business???
It seems some days that I open my mouth and promptly insert my foot.
I WANT to be on that balloon......just for a while.

One chocolate cream pie, one banana cream pie, and one pumpkin pie. Done.

DH says there should be THREE chocolate cream pies.
I can't HEAR YOU...........she says as her balloon rises into the sky.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Faster and faster.

I am beginning to move like a normal person, and not the crooked woman. I still have some pain, but it is much, much improved from last week. And I am grateful.
Funny, what great perspective you have, after intense pain.

I am always trying to find the right colors of fabric for custom rugs. While I have a barn full of fabric, seriously/not joking, it is all black, blue, white, tan, and pale aqua.
I do have lots of other colors in the house, in my pantry stash, and in the attic, but no one color in any volume, which is exactly what I need when I get an order for a big rug.
I had NO red, and very little dark green.
But last week, I found a source, and I am quite giddy.
I know, I am pretty simple.
But it's true.

112 lbs of red and green........but the best part of it is knowing that I can call my source, and tell him I need 30 lbs of brown, or 17 lbs of purple. It is priceless. Really.

And I got my sectional beam from Leclerc. I finally decided that the one loom that didn't have a sectional beam, was just too naked for my taste. So I ordered one for it.
Kudos to Leclerc, they make great stuff.
Here it is, installed. DH is on the job.
And I have to tell you, it works beautifully. I love the 1" sections, instead of 2", especially on this little Leclerc Compact.
I took my time, and was intent on getting the warp on right. Sometimes hurrying is my worst enemy. I move fast. I talk fast. I type fast. And sometimes, I do some things fast that I have no business doing. Or things that just don't lend themselves well to speed.
My father said that I learn everything the hard way.
I don't know why he had to be right, do you???

Anyway, this is the first scarf off that warp. I am doing greens. I am throwing myself into this scarf thing for the Christmas in the Country tour. Mark your calendar. December 4th, 5th, and 6th. Do you need directions?????
I will be making my famous Greek honey cookies, or Melmanofono. And no, you can't have the recipe. Maybe after I die.
I will send you a cookie though, just email me your address.
You WON'T be sorry. Well, you might be. 'Cause I can't send you a bunch, and after one, you are going to want a bunch.
Well, don't whine. Just enjoy your cookie.
Here is scarf #2, which I just started, the weft is chenille. Same warp. I LOVE this color.

I got very much into these crazy bags. So much so, that I wove some fabric to make one.
Here is a close up.
Looks organic, doesn't it?

And here it is finished.
Whew, I have been busy. Writing it all down makes me tired.
Pies tomorrow. Pumpkin, chocolate cream, banana cream. I have my orders.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Not again!

I found this awesome tote over on Doni's blogspot It is made out of ONE long piece of fabric, and I was mesmerized. Couldn't stand it. Couldn't visualize it, so I went looking for a piece of fabric to try it on. I found this very long piece of antique, quilted fabric, that I have had for years.
I really couldn't imagine how this could work, but work it did. I sewed it together, and voila! A tote bag. Once I started, it went together just like magic.
The quilted fabric had two bare spots where the batting showed, so I sewed two of my stash of granny squares over them.
And Mom had to model again.
You wouldn't believe how fast she popped up out of that chair.
And thank you all, for all your kind comments. I let her read them. She just laughed and laughed. But she really, really enjoyed them.
My husband told her she would probably be on 'Oprah' next week.
The bag is so sweet, I almost want to keep it for myself.
If I had to guess, my youngest daughter might be liking it.
Kismet, and Jinx. These two love each other. They play, they cuddle. There is never any mean spiritedness between them.
People could learn a lot from them.

  • Yesterday I cut blue jeans. Lots of blue jeans.
If I haven't plugged the Eastman chickadee cutter lately, well, it is a tool that has paid for itself over and over.
I filled 5 boxes with strips of blue jeans.
I finished the pile on the table.
And this week, I have promised myself to cut jeans for just a half an hour each morning. Maybe I will actually get through these.
I have long wanted to get "caught up", so that each time I got jeans, I could process them and not stockpile them.
All in the name of getting organized.
Everywhere I go, I have the inspector, watching me.

I stayed up late last night, reading blogs. I found Avalanche Looms and read all of it. Even though I weave every day, and it is my passion, I was totally taken away by the talent and creativity I saw there. I was inspired.
It is good to be inspired, and good to stretch your mind. I dreamt all night about weaving wonderful things. I hope I live long enough to try them all out.
I thought about weaving for money, making custom rugs, production weaving, giving lessons, all ot it. Everything that I do.
But the bottom line is, I just want to be the best weaver that I can be.

But at least for a while, I am stuck with pinwheel towels. Some for my daughter, and then some for the shop.
Maybe I will throw a little red in these, and they can be for Christmas.

I think my back is getting better..........
Oh, and I almost forgot........I advertised on Craig's list, and found a young woman who wants to sew blue jean strips together for me.
Heart be still.
I am serious when I say that to find someone reliable to do this would be incredibly wonderful.
As I get older, even though I resist my limitations, I know that on some level I have begun to accept them ( a little), because I am beginning to work smarter.

I never cease to amaze myself.
I guess you are never too old to embrace change.
How about you?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Never too old for new things

This little hutch I bought at a garage sale not long ago, has turned into a perfect spot for my electric winder. My friend, Chris Gustin , told me several times that I needed one of these. I resisted. But finally, I gave it up, and bought one.
Wow. What an incredible tool.
Like I said, I am still into 8 harness pinwheel towels, so I needed to wind 32 spools in white and green.
This little item, another suggestion from friend and mentor, Chris, is another life savior. You can buy it in Walmart, but I ordered mine from Amazon, as I am no fan of Walmart.
It is called a Shakespeare line counter, and you can find it in the fishing section.
It counts in feet, so you just have to remember to times it by 3. But for about $15, it is a steal. No more wondering how many yards you have wound on.
Unfortunately, my tension box doesn't fit on the back of the Baby Wolf, but this stool from the kitchen works like a charm.

Can you see the inspector over there in the chair??? I love the symmetry of the wound spools all the same size!!!!
Miracles never cease.

Well, you asked to see the finished scarves. So I had to have a model.
There are PERKS to having your 84 gonna be 85 in 2 weeks mother living with you.
So here is the somewhat flimsy, colorful scarf with the lousy selvedges. I guess I will have to wear this one. Not happy with it.
Ooh, but this one, I like. Silky, yet substantial. Long enough to be stylish. This one in light beige.
(click on pics to see them better)
You can see my model is enjoying herself.
This one is the blush/salmon/beige......not sure what to call it.
And the last one in taupe.

It has been a different week. No rug weaving. Nothing strenuous. I guess sometimes slowing down can be a good thing. I have been weaving things that I wouldn't normally take time for. And other than the back twinges, I have been thoroughly enjoying myself.
And who knows, I might have opened up a new career for my mother.
Ay yi yi.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sitting up straight.

(click on any picture to see it larger)

I have an excuse for my messy desk. It isn't just me. It's fat butt, here, laying in the middle of all my papers. And does she care? Not one little bit.
Have you ever noticed? Cats are entitled. And Miss Puss is the Queen of Entitled.

Anyway, I am still walking somewhat crooked, but not in quite the agony today that I have been in since last Friday. So I allowed myself some playing time at this small loom, where I am making scarves for Christmas. In particular, I am trying to get them done in time for the Christmas in the Country tour, which is the first weekend in December.
Forgive my multiple pictures of the same thing. I was incapable of choosing just one. The light was so perfect, and this warp that I wound with a paddle was just too pretty.
When I first used a paddle to wind a warp of multiple threads, I was a total incompetent, and ended up throwing it all out. But I am getting better at it, and for certain projects, it is exactly what I need.
I sampled and sampled to find just the right thread for the weft. I wanted something kind of silky, and soft, but something that would let the warp show just a little.
For the first scarf, I used this peach/blush earthy shade.
For the second scarf, I used a taupe color, in the same silky thread.
And for the third one, which is not finished, I used a lighter shade of beige.

I don't much make fancy scarves. It is just plain weave, and I mostly enjoy mixing up the fibers that I have on cones, to come up with something that appeals to me. And it doesn't hurt that I have lots and lots of cones in every color.
Now, whether or not it will appeal to anyone else, that is another story.
But I totally enjoyed myself, and as long as I didn't bend at the waist, my pain level was tolerable.....makes for the BEST posture.
I can hear my mother now (stand up straight).
Being tall from age 13, I heard that a lot.
Some days I can't turn my mind off. Especially when I am worried about something, or more specifically, someone. Even though it is exhausting, once my brain has started down that path, it is very hard to derail it. It doesn't matter that worrying doesn't get you anywhere.
And this year has been another life lesson in letting go, accepting what you don't have any control over.
Brings to mind that favorite line of mine, from Mark Twain. "A man who carries a cat by the tail, learns something that he can learn in no other way."
But today was a mindless day. Throwing the shuttle, over and over again.
And sometimes, mindless is pretty cool.
Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts