Crazy as a Loom

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Like falling off a log.

This morning, I was sitting in the living room, on my favorite corner of the sofa. My buddy, Ed the pit bull, was in his usual spot on the chaise lounge close by, monitoring the street. Not that there was much going on out there, in this Arctic climate.
I was drinking my first cup of tea, and reading the paper, and I became aware of this 'knocking'.
I looked over at Ed, he is getting a tad deaf, and he didn't hear it. I went back to the paper.
But after a while, as the knocking continued, I became aware that was in fact not someone with a hammer, but a woodpecker up in the tree in front of the house. Then just as suddenly, I realized that with a knock that loud, it had to be a pileated woodpecker.
I jumped up and ran for my camera and my zoom lens. In my haste, I didn't stop to think that I probably would have had more chances for a good shot, if I had taken them out the window.
But I didn't, so I only got a couple of shots, before he flew away.
Pileated woodpeckers have incredible hearing, and they don't seem to like being watched too closely.
But here he is.
From Crazy as a Loom

Not the best shot, but I love the way the sun glints off that red head of his.
Maybe next time.

As you know, I have spent a couple of days putting a warp on the Baby Wolf for some dish towels. Totally recreational. I don't sell them. They would have to be $50 a towel....or some outrageous number. So I just make them to stretch my comfort zone, to learn more, to be a better weaver, and I give them away. My kids, my stepkids, friends.
The pattern was M's and O's, and I must be stupid, 'cause I can only see the O's.
It called for four colors of 8/2 cotton, and since these are for my step daughter in Virginia, and she wanted earth tones, I chose rust, chocolate, coffee, and gold. Those are my names for them.
I am doing each one in a different color weft. The two I have done turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself. The top one is with the chocolate weft, and the bottom one is the rust weft.
From Crazy as a Loom

When I was threading the loom, I knew that the likelihood of making NO mistakes was slim. And I was right. So I spent quite a bit of time fixing my errors. Then I had a lot of false starts. Broken threads. Various ailments.
When finally I actually started the treadling sequence, I thought I was pretty much gonna' screw it up. I would lose count, for sure.
But the amazing thing about doing a project like this is that, after awhile, what seemed impossible, and hard, and cumbersome, soon becomes second nature. Not only do your hands and feet figure out the rhythm, but the pattern becomes so evident, that Ed the pit bull could see it, and he's half blind.
I love that feeling, when you know you have it. It's yours. Easy Peasy from here on in.

Now why can't life be like that? Just tell me, would ya??? Wouldn't that just make so much sense???

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Colder than.........

Staying in the studio on days like this.......the pellet stove roaring, fleece lined slippers on. Floors in an old house are cold. It was -4 or so when I left the home, and I think it warmed up to a balmy 10 degrees.
I don't even GO upstairs. It is way too cold up there.
My friend came over again, these are her Mom's old shirts all cut and sewn. Aren't they awesome?

From Crazy as a Loom

She was a little tearful, watching them weave up into a rug.

But isn't it a beautiful rug?? Her Mom would be proud.

From Crazy as a Loom

And here is the rug she made from the jeans and corduroy pants. She hasn't tied the fringe yet, but she couldn't wait to see it!!!

From Crazy as a Loom

I have spent the last couple of days on a dish towel project. When I say that it was troublesome, you will just have to imagine my cursing under my breath. (and sometimes right out loud)
Anyway, it seemed that I made every mistake I could make, but since my friend was observing, and helping occasionally, it was a good learning experience for her.
The pattern is M's and O's on 6 harnesses. I am getting braver, or crazier.
Some think crazier.
But contrary to popular opinion, I do not need medication.
And/or treatment.
It is a family trait, this endless energy and motivation. Thanks, Dad.
Probably the worst thing about it is that in the morning when my eyes open, my feet hit the floor.
It is what it is.
Where did I hear that???
OK, without further ado, here they far.
Hopefully, I will get 8 towels out of this warp.
From Crazy as a Loom

Warped and staying warm in NY,

Friday, January 29, 2010

Just a blah day.

I am fighting the January it is freezing I hate winter blues.
Ever heard of them?

I had a couple of friends at the studio today, weaving away.
One of my friends lost her mother back in November. Her mom was in a nursing home, due to severe Alzheimers, and all her clothes were stamped with her name. So since my friend couldn't gift them to someone, she decided to cut them up into strips, and weave them into a rug.

I love the way she wound them into rolls.

From Crazy as a Loom

I think the rug is going to be really nice, and I think that the cutting and sewing and weaving of her Mom's clothes is part of her grieving process.

These are some of what I have been doing this week.

From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

Today I put a 10 yard warp on for dish towels. It is a meditative process, threading those 489 threads. I can't actually think about anything, or I will lose track of what I am doing. Sometimes, that's a good thing, just not thinking at all.
I kept making mistakes, and to be honest, should have quit long before I did. But I really want to get weaving these towels. I think they will make me feel better.
So I persisted.

And just in case you were about to leave here, and feel about as blah as I do, here's a little color to perk you up.
Thank God for color.

From Crazy as a Loom

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thank you, good fairy.

From Crazy as a Loom

There is a good fairy, there is, there is.
And she showed up with gloves on, ready to help me clean. A follower of my blog, who I met when I bought the studio, read my remark about my giant mess, and my wish for a good fairy to come help me clean it, took mercy on me, and offered up her services.
This is the porch after we cleaned it, and let me tell you, it is a VAST improvement over how it looked previously.
Thanks, Lois! You're the best.
And once again, I find that you should just ask the universe for what you need. And you should listen to the universe, as well.

Today was the day my socks arrived. Yup. Socks. Sock seconds, and toe clips. 6800 lbs of them.
And I had help.
From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom


From Crazy as a Loom

And luckily, I didn't have to lift a finger.

From Crazy as a Loom

And it wasn't really warm enough for NO COAT. But I guess if you are young, and working hard.............

I know I got tired just watching them.

From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

And we're all full up!!!!!! We even had to put 7 boxes in the tool side of the barn.

From Crazy as a Loom

And I probably have enough socks to weave rugs for awhile. That's putting it mildly.

And here they are........sock rugs three ways.
Can you see any difference in the placement of the colors?? Speaking in general terms, not specifics. Looking at the three rugs, would you say you could pick them out if I shuffled them around???

From Crazy as a Loom

This is kind of a test.......
From Crazy as a Loom

And your opinion will be very helpful.

From Crazy as a Loom

And now for a question. It has been on my mind all day.

I have always been of the mind that true friends are the friends that tell you what you need to hear, even when you don't want to hear it.
Can two friends have the same friendship that they have had, if one of them decides that something that they don't agree on is a taboo subject??

Food for thought.

Continuing on in my warped fashion,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Time, time

From Crazy as a Loom

I think this guy is a real smart ass butt. One foot on, one foot off. I think he is showing off.
Truth is, my camera battery is STILL charging.
Can you believe that?

It was 50 degrees here in northeast New York, and raining sideways all day.

I spent a considerable amount of time, trying to figure out which pieces of the new loom were what.
Someone took the entire loom apart, piece by piece. Usually, some sections are left intact. But not this one. Every piece is wrapped individually in newspaper, from 1986.
Yeah. What does that tell you??
Poor neglected loom.
It is a 45" Hammett, counterbalance loom, that does in fact look like it has been used hardly at all. If my camera was working, I would take a picture of the pile of boards that it is now, so you can be duly impressed when I get it together.
Maybe I will do that tomorrow.
But today, I had to quit early to take my mother to the dentist, and by the time I got home, I honestly just didn't want to go back out and get soaking wet all over again.
So I made some tea, and some corn meal muffins instead. That seemed like a likely option. They turned out great, too. Dense and chewy, just the way I like them.
Now I need to make some chili to go with them.
Tomorrow I have some help coming to unload a huge truckload of loopers. I am hoping that the rain lets up.
I got to thinking today about how age changes your perception.
When you are in your 30's, you can't really imagine being in your 60's. It is a lifetime away. You just know that you have TONS of time. Your children will stay young, and so will you. You make decisions based on the minute, sure that you will never get far enough away from them to see them from a different perspective.
I remember wanting to put an addition on my house.....I had three kids in the house at the time, 13, 14, and 7. There was only one bathroom, and we were feeling the crunch. Mornings were a nightmare. My best friend said simply....."don't do it."
I was indignant. What did she mean? What reason could there be not to do it???
But I listened to her, and to my finances, and I didn't do it. We coped. We got through it.

You know the upshot, right?
In a short, short short eleven years, my youngest went to college, and the house had grown big enough after all. Empty bedrooms, no one fighting for the bathroom, room for a studio. Time did what time does. It passed. Things changed. My life changed, along with my priorities.

Now, when I am tempted to grump about having to drive my 85 year old mother to the dentist, and then to the doctor's, and then to the store, when she hands me a package of sausage, "Here, cook these," leaving me standing there with my mouth open, I recalculate.
Being her age is NOT so difficult for me to imagine anymore. Knowing what I know. Seeing myself in the mirror every morning. The jump is not as hard to make.

So I cook sausages, and hope someday to have someone to cook them for me, someone who will smile and joke, "You're pretty high maintenance, you are."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Change of plans

This is a picture of Lula.
My youngest daughter got out of her car one night, and before she got into her house, she heard this pathetic little squeak. She went to investigate, and she found this tiny, abandoned kitten.
She and her boyfriend were quickly enamored, and now Lula reigns.

From Crazy as a Loom

The reason you are getting a picture of Lula........other than that she is adorable, and takes a lovely photo, is this.
I screwed up today. Big time.
My friend and I went for a long drive to Vermont, looking to buy a loom. I know I don't need another loom, but that is never not the point.
The sun was shining. It was a beautiful winter's day.
Suddenly, I saw the mountains across the lake in New friend pulled over, I opened my Geek Bag, and got my camera and lens out.............I was actually standing on the side of the road for about a minute before what I would admit to myself what I knew.
The battery was dead.
Are you kidding me?????
My poor friend had to listen to my tirade. I was so annoyed with myself.
And then of course, there were winding roads along icy brooks, trees covered with snow. There were old houses and barns, ski slopes and winter scenes galore.
Then when we got to the place where the loom was, there were two black pygmy goats with the sweetest faces you have ever seen. And a woodworking shop with handmade buckboard wagons. And Percheron horses, and a team of oxen.
Shall I go on???
Hear me sigh. Loudly.
So instead, dear friends, you get Lula.

But if you're anything like me, Lula will make you smile.
And you'll just have to wait on the pictures.
I am thinking that I will charge my battery in the future, when I am planning a jaunt where pictures may abound.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

So shoot me.

From Crazy as a Loom

Yes, I did it again. All day. I amused myself, again.
Do I feel guilty, well..............not exactly.
I am filling the shelves with rugs that say summer. The only limitation is how much warp I have on the loom, and I started out with 70 yards just last week. So I am good for a while.
Next week, I will have to work on orders, and I will also have to clean. I don't expect the good fairy to come do any of it, and I can barely stand the mess I've made.
But not today.
Today was just more playing with color and fabric. Feeding my creative muse, and she has quite the appetite some days.
I am hating the cold weather. I should be out walking, like I planned to do, but I have no tolerance for it at all. I should be going to the YMCA, like I planned, but I have been so tired, that I have no motivation whatever to do anything that causes me to sweat.
I feel like a slug. I don't know how to get started again. This shingles thing has derailed me. And I don't like it one bit.
There. That feels better.

The truth is that lately,I'd rather be doing something else besides exercising. Actually, I would rather be doing just about 'anything' else. What is wrong with me?
Every time I think about starting some exercise program, I think maybe I should sleep on it first.
Oh, dear.

Friday, January 22, 2010

All in a days play work

I go to the studio almost every day, to work at what I love. And on most days, I do just that. Work.
Like yesterday, I put 100 yards of mixed blue warp on a loom, for blue jean rugs. It was just drudge, and not much to talk about.
But some days, to be honest, I just have fun.
As I've said, I amuse myself well.
At least one day a week, I just weave whatever I want, and my only intent is to make myself happy.
Today was one of those days.
From Crazy as a Loom

As you can see, I had a really good day.
Oh, I had things I should have been doing. But I decided a while back, that I needed this one day a week, to soothe my creative soul.
So I take it.
I was having so much fun that I thought I made four rugs, and when I started unrolling them to tie fringe, I had actually made five rugs.
This might be how I get through February.

From Crazy as a Loom

The days fly by so fast when I am weaving, I have no idea how I ever found the time for an outside job.......I almost said a nursing job. I haven't donned those nursing scrubs since last April. After 30 years of full time nursing, that is unbelievable to me. And wonderful. I am totally over it. I can hardly remember that excitement and anticipation I felt when I started nursing school 33 years ago. I know that I did, but it seems now like it happened to someone else. When my license comes in the mail, I will check that box next to 'inactive'. YAHOO.
That, dear friends, is priceless.

And this is pretty priceless, doing what you are wild for. Yeah, I am still sleeping more than usual, and get tired lots quicker than usual. But like the energizer bunny, I keep on going.
But am I complaining?
Not for a minute.
It's a good life, and I am grateful for every minute of it.

From Crazy as a Loom

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

No not jumping.

From Crazy as a Loom

Some days are better than others. I try to pace myself, and not take on too much in any one day. Naps still work for me.
And snow makes me tired sometimes.

Recently, I had occasion to reevaluate part of my business. I was faced with having to make a decision that I didn't like one bit.
Ain't that a kick in the butt???
But I find that sometimes the script is better if I don't write it. And I didn't write this one. I thought long and hard about the issue at hand. Somehow, it seemed that overnight, Crazy as a Loom might have to redesign itself.
I stewed a bit, and talked to a couple of good friends, one my weaving guru, and the other, a friend that has known me since birth. I bounced some ideas off them, and heard what they had to say. They both cautioned me to not "JUMP".
Did I already tell you the story about not jumping. It is a great story, from my college days, so that should tell you about how old it is....anyway, it is by E.B. White, and it is called The Door.
For those of you who have about 5 minutes, you can read the whole thing right HERE.
But my favorite passage, the one that I have remembered all these years, is
this one:

"But it is inevitable that they will keep changing the doors on you, he said, because that is what they are for; and the thing is to get used to it and not let it unsettle the mind. But that would mean not jumping, and you can't. Nobody can not jump. There will be no not-jumping. Among rats, perhaps, but among people never. Everybody has to keep jumping at a door (the one with the circle on it) because that is the way everybody is, especially some people."

So I went to bed last night, with a whole bunch on my mind, trying to figure out which part of it was 'can't live without' and which part of it was 'don't worry about it'.
That is hard sometimes.
It is change that gets us. You know it's true. There have been plenty of times in my life, when I resisted change, even though my life SUCKED. Sorry.
But it is our nature to hold on to what we have, to clutch at it desperately, even if it makes us miserable. It is why abused women defend their abusers, and stay on. It is why abused children always love the parent that abuses them more than anyone.

We don't want to change.
At least that is our first reaction. But, if we allow ourselves to walk around the back of the stage, to see what is really going on, we might start thinking deeper about it.
So at 3am, I let it go. I told myself, it IS what it IS. I told my self that I will be fine whatever happens. I knew that I had been honest, and forthright about what I needed, and about what Crazy as a Loom needed. I knew I could do no more than that.
When I really let it go, I fell asleep, finally.
And this morning, an email that gave me an answer that I could not even have imagined. Stress event over. Problem solved.
Letting go just feels so good.

From Crazy as a Loom

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A new door.

Sounds like a deep, meaningful title, right?

Nah, I just got a new door. Really.
From Crazy as a Loom

Once apon a time, who knows when, someone who lived in this house decided that they needed a door here to go outside. So they cut a hole in the wall, and they used the door they had, which was, of course, an interior door.
So it was cold, and it could only be locked or unlocked from the inside.
I have had this new door since before Christmas, but it has just been too cold to have it put in.
Yesterday it was warmer, comparatively speaking, so it was time.
Isn't it nice???
My goal is eventually to have an old fashioned porch across the back of this house, and then you can walk right out this door, and be on the porch.
A porch with a glider, and rocking chairs, a place to sit and watch fireflies from.

So after the door was installed, the kitchen was a disaster. Sawdust, a little plaster from the lathe and plaster, and general disarray. So today, I cleaned. That was the only goal I had. Just to have the kitchen look good again.

From Crazy as a Loom

Whaddya think??? Did I do OK?

The whole house could use a cleaning. It gets really messy with so many looms and so much fabric. But that sounds crazy, even to me. Overwhelming.
One room at a time, know what I mean?
From Crazy as a Loom

I was going to travel to Saratoga, about 20 minutes away, and go to Barnes and Noble. On a spree. You know the kind.
But I didn't.
What do I need, really???? But you know what, if I had gone, I would have spent MONEY. Probably more than I intended. Those places are like that. So many wonderful books and magazines and other little trivia, you get that wallet out, and you fork it over even when you shouldn't. So I didn't. I am quite proud of myself. Every once in a while, I do that, just impress the hell out of myself.
Anyway, I was thinking about my Dad, today. My husband had made a reference to the "Lowe's story", and that got me to remembering. We laughed a bit about it, so I thought maybe I would share it with you.
You had to know my father. He was a character, and I am not joking here. He could be a whole book, all by himself.
He had decided that he was going to buy my mother a new dryer. So we took off for Glens Falls, 'the big city', about an hour from where we lived at the time. He came to my work, at the prison, and picked me up, because he had a pickup truck. I left my car in the parking lot.
It was raining sideways that day.
My father had on his usual. A baseball cap. A black trench coat. Some horrible burgundy, knit pants, black shoes, and his signature "stockings". He had decided long ago that socks cut off the circulation in his legs. So, much to our dismay, he went to Walmart, and bought some white knee highs, yup, you got it, the kind nurses wear. He then cut the elastic off the tops of them, so when he put them on, they rolled down around his ankles. They were quite attractive.
So, here we are, in Lowe's, just the two of us. There was something out in the garden section that I wanted to look at, so we started there.
All of a sudden, my father says, "I gotta go."
Now, a visual right here would be perfect, but since I can't give you that, imagine this. A skinny old man, with coke bottle glasses, stark white hair sticking out from under a baseball cap, a black trench coat, burgundy knit pants, black shoes with white panty hose down around his that picture??? he puts his knees together, clenches his fists in front of him, and does something like the watusi.......down.....up......down....up....with a twist. "I gotta go."
OK, OK.................go straight down to the end, and take a right.......about half way down, you will see the restrooms.
He heads off.
I continue, oblivious, looking at whatever I am looking at.
Suddenly, he is at my shoulder again.
"I gotta go."
"DAD, get to the restroom....that way.....go, go, go."
I watch him as he disappears from view.
Bullet dodged, I think.

A few minutes later, I look towards the place where I last saw him, just as he comes back around the corner.
In horror, I watch, as he makes his way to me, bending over every now and then, wiping something up from the floor, with his hankerchief.
My eyes must have been about to pop from my head...........I stood completely still. He got closer and closer. And then I realized.
He didn't have any trousers on.
NOW, it was the black trenchcoat, the black shoes, the white balled up panty hose, MINUS the burgundy pants.
OH, GOD. I suddenly was really fond of those knit burgundy pants.
Where are you pants??????"
"Threw 'em in the garbage, underwear, too, in the mens' room."
My arm under his, on a dead run for the door, can you see it????
Out into the rain, to the truck.
"Stay here, I will get the dryer, just wait here for me."
There has never been a dryer purchased that fast, anywhere, ever.
And we were on the road.
Halfway up the road, the cover over the dryer started to blow off, so I stopped to fix it. Horns were honking, and then I realized, my Dad was on the other side, trying to help me, trench coat blowing in the breeze."

Can I just tell you that I was so distracted that I drove right by the prison, and left my car right there, had to go fetch it later.

But the very best part is, that when we pulled into my yard, and my DH came out, expecting to help with the dryer, and my father jumped out without his pants, looking like a flasher for sure, my husband stood there speechless.
My father just said, very matter of factly, "Hey.............., what's up, Bill?"

Geesh, I really do miss my Dad.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Clasped weft.

I know you can't wait to learn this. Just kidding.
But this is for a few interested parties who have asked me how I do these rugs.
First, you have to say 'clasped weft' several times really fast.

OK, seriously. This is an easy way to weave really colorful rag rugs. The only thing is that you have to cut your strips of fabric half the width that you would normally cut them. Since you are going in the same shed twice, the end result will be the same.
I love this method. It is a great way to use up bits of fabric, and end up with a rug that looks like a patchwork quilt, well, kind of.

You might want to turn off my music.

And the end result is like this.

From Crazy as a Loom

And that's pretty much it for today.
Sweet dreams are calling me.

Just a little warped,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bored? Not me.

Even though I have some orders that need doing, I have been amusing myself.
I am pretty good at it, too.
Amusing myself.
I always laugh when people say they are bored. I don't laugh at them. I laugh because it makes me nervous to hear them say it. I have no idea what they are talking about. Bored? Bored?? What the heck does that mean, anyway.
I have to admit, friends, I have NEVER been bored in my life. It's true. It may be a malfunction, but it is 100% true. I don't really know what it feels like.
My problem is just the opposite. I have a list in my head, and it never ends. I ALWAYS have something to do, and I am never without something that will keep my attention.

From Crazy as a Loom

Of course, when your body BETRAYS you, and does crazy things, that never ending list becomes problem.
From Crazy as a Loom

So this week, even though I had things I "should" have been doing, I opened a big plastic container of assorted fabric, and at a very leisurely pace, with breaks, and naps, wove a few rugs.
I know, I know.
Some of you are thinking I should be prone on the couch for the duration of this lovely plague, but quite honestly, that isn't going to happen.
My theory is there will be plenty of time to rest after I am dead.

From Crazy as a Loom

When I had my knee replaced 3 years ago, I was really incapacitated for about 3 months. And even after that, I was unable to do much for another 3 months. And the first year was a nightmare. The swelling in my knee didn't go away for 2+ years.
But don't get me started on total knee replacements.
From Crazy as a Loom

Honestly, though, all kidding aside...........playing with this fabric, and weaving these little rugs, which are all about 24"x42", was totally fun and therapeutic.
I so often weave what someone else wants, and weave with a timeline, albeit one I have imposed on myself. So weaving these on a whim was a good thing.

From Crazy as a Loom

They made me forget all about silly old shingles. For awhile. And when my neck told me I had done enough, I listened. I did, really!!!
So much so, that when I headed up the stairs, the cats nearly knocked me down getting up there.
Isn't that pathetic!!!!
I have visions of myself as a little old lady, weaving til nap time, weaving a rug or two a day.
Or am I there already?
HA! Imagine that.
From Crazy as a Loom

Only a little warped,

Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts