Crazy as a Loom

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Looms and kitties, what's new??

From Crazy as a Loom

OK, I will explain.

The other day I got this email, asking me if I would donate a loom.
I said, oh, OK, yeah, right, imagine that.
And I replied to the writer of this email with my own email, saying that it sure sounded like a scam to me. So if he had more information, I needed to hear it.
I never expected to hear from him again, but I was wrong.
He answered with an explanation, his name, where he lived, what he did (which I checked on google.......can't be too safe)
And he is legit.
The request, while it sounds wild, indeed, is for real.
Here is what he said.

Would be happy to provide proof! I also am leery of scammers, which is why I send out basic information and am more forthcoming to someone who expresses interest.
My name is John E *************.
My home phone number is ******************. - although the best way to contact is through e-mail.
I am a Maryland District Court Commissioner.
My wife is a teacher with over 30 years in the Maryland Public School System.
We travelled to Ccaccaccollo Peru last July with an organization called GEEO and worked with the craftswomen and in the Elementary classrooms.
The contact at GEEO is Jesse Weisz and he can verify our identities and the plight of the village.
This is the contact information copied from their website

GEEO: Global Exploration for Educators Organization
125 Conway Ave
Narberth, PA 19072
Call us toll-free 9AM-9PM EST, 7 days a week:
Contact: Jesse Weisz, Director
What else can I tell you?
From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

Last July my wife and I spent time in the high Andes Peruvian village of Ccaccaccollo. The women there are a major support of the village because of their weaving efforts. They engage in the entire process from Llama to loom.
In January, an earthquake coupled with unusually heavy rains caused mudslides in the area. Now this village has all 128 families living in tents and they lost 14 of the 18 looms in the community center when it was destroyed.
My wife and I are putting our efforts into this wonderful community so that they may recover as quickly as possible. It is in this spirit that you are receiving this e-mail.
We are hoping that one or more of you are in a position to be able to donate the loom that you no longer need to help these families recover. If you have a loom or know of a functioning loom east of the Mississippi, please let me know so that I can arrange for its pickup. (I am forced to narrow my search area because of my limited ability to pick up the item.)
Please consider this request. While the money from the sale of your loom might be nice, imagine what the donation to this village of 128 families would mean. If you can find it in your heart to participate in this effort, contact me at
Thank you for your consideration of this effort.

And then:

My original intent was to get an RV and drive to Peru in the Spring of 2011 and do a 2 year commitment to help the village. But this mudslide has changed all that. I will be collecting as many looms as I can get and arrange to ship them to Peru. Although, if I get enough, it might be more cost effective to drive them down there - it's a 5000 mile trip. And I don't think it should wait until 2011.
Feel free to forward the request to anyone you know. I would love to be able to replace all 14 of their destroyed looms. But any at all will help them to recover.
Thank you for considering this and being willing to help!

I have 16 looms to date, so yes, I can spare one. No problem. My way of thinking is ACK! A weaver without a loom! Impossible!
I think it is a great cause, and I am thrilled to be part of it.
I only wish I could go to Peru with them.
(Easy, Bill, take a deep breath)

So anyone out there with an extra loom, or two.....well, you know what to do.
Or maybe you know someone, someone with a generous spirit, and a loom in the cellar, or out in the barn.
But above all, pass this along, to anyone you think might be interested in helping these people get weaving again.

Now, just in case you thought that this was a post without a kitty.....
I do have 4 grand-kiddies, but I also have 1 grand-kitty.
Yup, tis true.
And she had a birthday.

From Crazy as a Loom

You're one lucky little girl, Lula.

From Crazy as a Loom

Sunday, March 28, 2010

And the winner is............

I loved all the incredibly nice things you said about my new (and littlest) rug.

I read them all a few times, and finally had to agree with the "other" Hilary (she is the younger one) over at the Smitten Image.
From Crazy as a Loom

And the winner is, Karen (mom to Andrea over at Rural Revival) with this description.

Hilary’s Technicolor Dream Rug:
This new “Jacob’s Ladder” design by Hilary is made from colourful and soft sock fabric – nice and cushy on the toes after your shower or the perfect stress-relief mat in front of the kitchen sink. Washable and absorbent, Dream Rugs are about 19 to 20 inches wide by 30 to 34 inches long. Of course, if you have a cat, you will have to share it – what better place for a catnap than on a Dream Rug?

I will be putting this description on my website. I love it! Thanks Karen.......I just need your address so I can send you your very own Dream Rug.

I have to tell you all, that even though I was FEELING violent about my resident wood chucks, I'm really a softie.
I caught a skunk in the Hav-a-Heart trap first day, and paid the pest control man (thanks for that tip, Lois) to come and let him out. He immediately ran back under my barn, where he apparently lives.
The wood chucks seem to have given up with the wire under the new porch......there's hope yet.

I have been weaving placemats on my 'new to me' Hammett loom. The first day I wove all day on it, my knees were aching. So I took the plunge, and removed the treadles, and switched them to the back of the loom. Heart be worked, and treadles like a dream.
From Crazy as a Loom

Here are some of the placemats.
From Crazy as a Loom

These are a set of 5......I know that they are different.....but I just like them together.....they make me think of finding things at garage sales that end up working well together.

From Crazy as a Loom

I am aiming for a cupboard full of placemats.........
From Crazy as a Loom

Some flowery placemats.
From Crazy as a Loom

I took Sydney to the vet the other day, after realizing that she has gone from 5.5lbs last September to 17 lbs in March. He examined her and came up with a diagnosis:
She's a pig.
So it is diet time at Crazy as a Loom. No more food out 24/7. All four cats eating on a new schedule.
This oughta be interesting.

From Crazy as a Loom

Excuse me??? Pig?? Who said that?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Violence and a giveaway, kinda.

Warning: there is talk of violence in this post. I am sorry, but I have been driven to it.
For five years now, I have battled with the woodchucks under my porch, and in my barn. I have made it perfectly clear that I do not want them there........but they are not cooperating.
DH says that I am obsessed, and that may be true.
So what.
So, when the deck and the small porch got torn off, the hole that has probably been under the porch since the great depression, was filled in, covered with wire, and then gravel.
That was a few days ago.
This morning, right by the back door, the wire was exposed, a very large portion, because they dug underneath it, and the gravel fell down into their hole, to be dragged to some other location.
They didn't come up through it, but they are intent on doing just that.
I freaked. Where's the gun? I felt like Elmer Fudd in a total fit.
Not a wabbit. A fweakin' wood chuck.
OK, I didn't use the gun. But the potential for violence is there.
We did put bombs down their hole, to drive them out.....their other entrance is under my fabric storage room in the barn.......can you hear my teeth grinding???
And we are dumping fox urine.......YES, gross as it may urine, down the hole. This is supposed to make them go house hunting.
Somewhere other than under this beautiful porch in the making.
From Crazy as a Loom

Why would I have this huge and wonderful porch built, to have wood chucks living under it????
From Crazy as a Loom

OK, I feel better now that I have vented.
I AM going to win this war. You have my word. NO CRITTERS UNDER MY PORCH.

Now for a giveaway, kind of. You have to work for it.
I got the idea back when I gave away the hand towels, and the winning description was so good.
So now, I have made a new size rug, from the Solmate sock seconds. It is a little different, no bumps, with a kind of ladder effect up the middle. I am making this line of rugs about 19-20" wide, and 30-34" long. It is perfect in front of the sink, or in front of the shower. It is washable, colorful, absorbent.
But what I want is a description of the rug that will SELL it. That will make you WANT it.
You know, the 'I can't live without that' feeling. it is,
From Crazy as a Loom

and your assignment, should you decide to accept it, is to write a fabulously inviting description of this little rug.
The description that speaks to me, wins you the rug, which retails for $42.
I will decide on Sunday evening, to give everyone time to participate.

From Crazy as a Loom

And here is Miss Puss........with her fat butt right on my warp beam.
There oughta be a law.

From Crazy as a Loom

Monday, March 22, 2010

Singing in the rain.

Did you know that I sometimes sing "The Best is Yet to Come", at the top of my lungs, with facial expressions and lots of body language? I love that song.
Just thought you might like to know.
I also sing along with "American Woman" cranking really loud in the car. Sometimes people give me strange looks, like at stop lights and stuff.
And, I talk to my cats. All day. They expect it, you know.

"No, Miss Puss, you can't weave. Not today. Please, I'm busy here."
From Crazy as a Loom

Tonight, my bed is calling me.......and it's raining. I sleep with the window open, and the rain makes a lovely noise on the porch roof below.
I have always loved the rain. When other people whine about it, I never understand why. To me, the rain is like liquid balm.
Besides, it is perfect weather to weave by.
From Crazy as a Loom

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Crazy as a what?

Whew. Just completed a weaving weekend.
I love doing them. I love teaching people to weave. But I am always exhausted on Sunday.
I guess my husband is right, it is kind of weaving boot camp, and I am 'on' the whole weekend.
I have always been fortunate to have really nice people come to weave....and this weekend was no exception. I had two sisters, very bright and interesting, and funny. We had a good time. I think that they enjoyed themselves.
Here they are with their rugs.

From Crazy as a Loom

They also each made a set of placemats.
Students are always in disbelief about actually having a finished product on Sunday, yet they always do.
Of course, I can't be watching them every second, so while they are weaving, I am, too.

From Crazy as a Loom

I had some corduroy all sewn together, so I wove up a hit and miss runner, and two rugs.
From Crazy as a Loom

I love corduroy. This is the last of it if you don't know what to do with those old corduroys..............
From Crazy as a Loom

I am tired to the bone tonight.
And it occurs to me that perhaps I need to take a day off.
I love sleeping at the studio. Even though it is on a main highway, it is in a rural area. And there are open fields across the road, and to the side, and woods to the rear. Lying in bed, you can look out the window at the stars, something I am not used to living in town.
As I waited to fall asleep, I thought of my father, and my childhood.
I guess I was a lucky kid, though I didn't know it at the time.
My mother was from England, right off the boat in NYC in 1946. In an old video of the first boatload of war brides, she is right there smiling and waving, getting on the USS Argentina in Southampton, England. When she landed in the USA she was somewhat thinner, not that she needed to be. She found out the hard way what 'sea sickness' really meant.
But other kids made fun of me, I had an accent, I was with her 24/7. I remember them saying that my mother swept the dirt under the rug. I guess that's what they thought immigrants did. But I knew that they were wrong. We had linoleum. There weren't any rugs to sweep anything under.
I was a tomboy. Literally. My father called me Tom (or Tag) until my mother made him stop. I think I was 13. He dragged me all over the north country. He bought and sold antiques and used furniture. He always came home with a truck full of stuff. Sometimes he would let me ride on TOP of the furniture stacked and tied on the back. Today he would be arrested for child abuse. He also used to let me ride on the tailgate of the truck. I remember him saying, "Just hold on, for Christ's sake"......meaning my mother would kill him if I fell off.
I dragged my shoes across the macadam going down the shoes never lasted long.
I was the only child, so he decided to make do. He bought me a 50 lb bow, and set up a target in the back yard for me to practice on. Eventually, I could pull it all the way back, and shoot it.
He bought me a 303 Savage hunting rifle, and sent me off to take the NRA course so I wouldn't kill myself or anybody else. Then he would take me off in the woods, and have me driving deer to him.
"If you get lost, shoot the gun in the air three times, and sit down."

He taught me how to drive, double clutching his pick up down the incredible steep and frightening Tongue Mt. His theory was 'do or die'. You'll get it.
He taught me to swim the same way......I have no idea how old I was, but not very. He threw me off the end of the dock, at the local swimming spot. It was over my head, and when I came up the first time, I heard him say, "you need to move your arms and legs". After I came up the second time, I did what he said.
I have a lot of memories of spending these crazy times with my father. I suppose I am lucky to have lived through it. I never told my mother any of it. He never told me not to, I just knew.
But sometimes, when I am navigating this life, and trying to make my way, I know that his influence is undeniable.
Sink or swim, just do it, get on with it, work hard, tell it like it is.
Thanks, Dad.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not quite pristine, but OK just the same.

More medical mystery debunked.
Not really, but I do have a probably pretty unconventional perspective on the methods of madness employed by the medical community.
Because of my little cardiac cath venture a few weeks ago, I had to have an endoscopy to see if the jaw pain I experienced was a gastrointestinal problem.
Arrived in Albany at 8am, procedure was at 9am.
I remember talking to the doctor and his nurse. She had just asked me what my husband's name was, so she knew who to call for in the waiting room when I was done.
I said, "It's Bill. Easy to remember. Bill and Hilary." They laughed.
"And he's a Democrat, and a politician." They laughed again.
"But he is really too damn conservative to be a Democrat." They really laughed.
"I can't talk much longer, I think I am on my way out."
Famous last words.
The next thing I remember is staggering across the parking lot, mumbling, supported by the conservative Democrat.
I slept all the way home.
And slept on the couch for 2 more hours when I got here.
Now when I had my cardiac cath, they gave me 2 mg of Versed IV. La La Land. AHHH. Sweet.

When I read the paperwork that came home with me, I see that today they gave me SIX mg of Versed, and tossed in 100 mg of Fentanyl for good measure.
I have no idea what their point of reference was, maybe because I was a little rowdy, they decided to go for it.
Diagnosis: Grade 1 esophagitis. Treatment: MORE PRILOSEC.
Okey dokey then.
One pristine per person.
I did manage to get myself over to the studio, after a fashion. There was a lovely spot on a bed in a sunny window.
But it was taken.
From Crazy as a Loom

"Uh, no, I can NOT move."

From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

So no more sleeping today.
Here it is. Porch gone.

Tree gone.
From Crazy as a Loom

Here is where the porch is going to go....and be attached to the back of the barn.
From Crazy as a Loom

Sometimes I imagine that this old house talks to me. This picture says 1000 words.

From Crazy as a Loom

While they were digging the holes for the cement posts, they ran into bricks and ashes about four feet down. This confirms the story that this house was built on the site of another house, the house of an early settler. In 1780, the "Loyalists" burned all the houses in town save three.
Can you see the bits of brick??
From Crazy as a Loom

Anybody local or otherwise, who wants to read about it, find it here:

So that was my day.
Not pristine.
But certainly not bad.
And the porch anticipation is growing.
Weaving weekend coming up Friday. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Take it all off

Working on an order that consists of two 11' rugs, and one 14' rug.
I tell ya', they go on forever.
From Crazy as a Loom

And to make matters even more complicated, I ran out of warp after two rugs, so I had to stop, and start all over again.
From Crazy as a Loom

This is a busy week. I have decided to go ahead with my porch project at the studio. My DH thinks I am nuts, but that is pretty much the status quo. He always thinks I am a bit over the edge. I think he might be getting used to it.
Here is the back of the house, the way it has looked for the last 5 years.
From Crazy as a Loom

Just not very appealing, if you see what I mean. Kerosene tank and gas tanks over on the left, someone once told me that nothing says rural America like a propane gas tank.
All kinds of critters find shelter under the deck. And there is a hole under the small porch, big enough to put a grown man down. That would be MAIN ENTRANCE to woodchuck village.
The back door used to be in my barn, until I put wire and gravel down on the floor in there.
The same method will be used here, there will be NO wildlife under my NEW porch. NADA.

Here you go....deck is gone. Big chunk of heaved cement is what USED to be the back entrance.
From Crazy as a Loom

Some time ago, we had a discussion about the term "cob job", or as my husband likes to say "nicky hokey".
I thought I had seen EVERYTHING. But this one takes the cake.
From Crazy as a Loom

Apparently, hooking up the shop vac to blow air into the tank, hurried up the draining of the tank. I was begged not to take this photo, but c'mon, are you kidding? This is precious, if you ask me. This is necessity and the mother of invention. For real.
It is also very redneck. But don't say I said so.

Unfortunately, my tree has to go. I debated it, and tried to figure out another way, but it is really in the way.
I did plant 5 trees in the fall, and I will plant more in a month or so, so don't hate me, OK?
From Crazy as a Loom

Ah, spring. I just know it.
From Crazy as a Loom

The porch is coming off in one piece, and will be reassigned to the back of the barn...won't it make a great potting shed??? Or a home for the lawnmower?? A playhouse? We'll have to take a vote.
Here's Cory.....I told him he looked like the 'thinker', surveying the damage he'd done, and trying to plan his strategy.
Glad it's him, and not me.
From Crazy as a Loom

I mentioned yesterday that I used to strip furniture, and that's the truth. But I am not talking about a can of Strip Eze and a scraper on the back porch.
Oh, no.
You all know by now, that I don't do things half assed way.

I am talking about a 4x4x8 metal tank, with heating elements in all four corners, with metal pieces welded above each of them to hold a flat bed spring at the bottom of the tank. On the side of the tank, there was a thermostat, which was set at 160 degrees. Oakite, a non sudsing detergent, bought from a local paper mill was added to the water. I have no idea how I knew how much to add, I think I kept trying it out until it worked. I wore rubber gloves up to my elbows, and used soft bristle brushes to get the paint off.
My fledgling business was called "The Strip Joint". There was an ad that played on the local radio 'The Stripper', by David Rose. As the sax was playing.......the voice over said, "The Strip Joint, where we take it ALL off."
Catchy, right?
And yes, the local drunks would occasionally call in the wee hours of the morning........."is this where they take it all off???"
I did this for a few years, put myself through nursing school. It was an experience.

I don't strip furniture anymore, by the way.
Been there, done that.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ugly hands

OK, this is it......end of tour. I promise.
I am really not thinking about this today, but wanted to share the rest of the pictures with you.

From Crazy as a Loom

Did I tell you that DH took me to Paris? That man knows how to treat a girl, doesn't he?
From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

Not much going on there, but it's the thought that counts, right?
Now this next picture is NOT a pile of marshmallows that I set up to fool you...nope, they really are huge rolls of hay. Really.
From Crazy as a Loom

But now I am wondering if I could have fooled you with marshmallows?
I apologize for the blurred edges of this next one.....I just LOVE this barn.
For crying out loud, Bill, slow down!!!
From Crazy as a Loom

Did I show you this next one already?
If I did, I apologize.
But the mountains along the Mohawk River are pretty impressive.
From Crazy as a Loom

And here's the last one......I love this one.
From Crazy as a Loom

OK, I lied.
From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

So after all this, a memory is what is really on my mind. For some reason, it popped into my head. I had forgotten it.
It happened long ago, probably 20 years anyway. I was working as an RN in a maximum security prison. I was in the clinic area, changing a dressing on an inmate. He started speaking in Spanish to the corrections officer that had escorted him in. The conversation went back and forth for some time, and finally, out of earshot of the inmate, I asked the officer what that was all about.
He said, " He says you are pretty, but you have ugly hands."
At the time, I was speechless. I know, hard to believe. But I was. I had never really thought of my hands being ugly.
But I guess they are. One fingernail missing since forever. Too big. Too bony. Too many visible veins. And manicures aren't exactly anything I would ever, ever do. Or care about, for that matter. They look a lot like my father's hands. Oh, dear.
So, yes, I guess I do have ugly hands.
If you look at them that way.
Then I got to thinking about my hands: they have tended babies, kneaded bread, sewn little girls' dresses, warped looms, spun yarn, woven rugs, hooked rugs,made pies to die for, dyed fabric, held other hands, planted flowers, stripped furniture (that's a whole post) taken photos,played scrabble, paddled my kayak up the river, changed gears on my 'bicula', written more words than I could count........... these hands are hard working, loving, sensitive.
These hands have served me well.
I think they are beautiful.
No wonder he was in jail.

There, now you know what I was really thinking while I showed you all those pictures.

Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts