Crazy as a Loom

Thursday, April 29, 2010

So true.

YFrom Crazy as a Loom
Yes, I am a fool for color. I hope that never changes.

These are placemats. I never get tired of coming up with color combinations.
From Crazy as a Loom

Tomorrow a loom is leaving.....I am somewhat traumatized, but I can do it. I have to do loom acquisitions are crowding me right out of the studio
I am also still packing up loopers. I can't believe how many lbs of them I have boxed up this week.
I know, I much excitement at CAAL.
From Crazy as a Loom

I's ....well.....just crazy!

Seriously, too much commotion is disturbing.
Don't ya think??

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Almost done.

Thanks for your kind comments, even for the encouragement that I write a book!
But either you have been drinking while surfing the blogosphere, OR you are just deluded and generous by nature.
I occasionally can put a good spin on a story, or two. I can even sometimes get into it enough that it sounds pretty good, even to me.
But a book. I don't think I have it in me, folks, even though I must admit, it was nice to hear.
Today was rainy, for the most part, with some snow flurries thrown in for good measure.
From Crazy as a Loom

But you can't tell me it isn't spring, no matter what the weather throws our way.
I was hoping to wait and put pictures up SOON ...of my new porch.
But old houses have a way of making you do things at THEIR pace.
From Crazy as a Loom

And a rotten post, and 2ft of rotten wall did just that.
Brings to mind that phrase, 'rotten to the core'.
From Crazy as a Loom

But with a little ingenuity....not mine......we will prevail.
From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

This was my house 5 years ago, when I purchased it. Can you see why DH was about to put his remaining hair from his head??
From Crazy as a Loom

And here it is today....not quite finished, messy and not picked up. But a big improvement, yes???
From Crazy as a Loom

My builder had to go get his truck fixed this afternoon, so there was a break in the noise and commotion which is usually right outside my window. It was a welcome sort of quiet. He usually has country music blaring while he works, which is fine.
But today I listened to Dave Matthews, and Sade, and Pearl Jam, with a little Van Morrison, some Foreigner, and James Taylor. I was weaving a custom blue jean rug.
I love blue jeans, and I love them in a rug.
From Crazy as a Loom

Today the afternoon was mine, and I was remembering what I love about the studio. Like strokes of a brush, the music, the cat under my arm, the texture of old jeans, the thump of the beater, the harnesses up, then down, the snip, snip of my scissors, the rhythm of my feet on the treadles; all together they paint a picture of serenity and simplicity.

From Crazy as a Loom

And isn't that what we all want, eventually?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gene who?

From Crazy as a Loom

I have been cleaning my bookcases out. Found this story I wrote June, 1989.
Thought you might like it.

The Building

It started with a simple garage attached to our house, but as my father's antique and secondhand furniture business flourished, he added on, and kept adding on. This structure became known as just "the building", a label comprehensive enough to cover it.
Its resemblance to a garage ended with the lone, battered overhead door. It lacked the integrity of a barn, for its metal roof had no specific course, but traveled up then down, then up again, as if a drunk had eyed those timbers.
Though a great deal of business passed through its double, hard wood porcelain knobbed doors, marred by nightly applications of a heavy, metal bed rail in lieu of locks, it was not a proper store front either. There was no crafted sign sporting a catchy name.
The building was my refuge. It was a secret place I often got lost in, where I discovered my real self lurking. I retreated to the furthest, darkest corner, squeezing through the narrow path left unoccupied, scrambling over piles of junk. There I roosted in the stillness, unmoved by the lazy buzzing of sluggish bees that hovered in the heat of the rafters. The air was heavy with a musty, but comfortingly familiar aroma, while dust floated silver on shafts of sunlight. Occasionally, my black and white mongrel companion would sniff me out, and I would hear his every paw step over the creaking floor, until encouraged, he would pick up his pace, and the whole side of the building would shudder and shake all the way to the ceiling, with glassware of all descriptions chattering in protest.
This hodgepodge of nail studded walls, and divergent levels, strangely positioned entryways, and grimy, cracked windows nailed shut, of silky cobwebs and crawling things, served many purposes. The tiger striped cat hid here under varnished oak dressers, and behind silvered looking glasses. The horse lived in a make shift stall at the back, where a "slippery when wet' ramp led to what was left of the back yard. During fall hunting season, lifeless deer hung in the open doorway, wide eyes staring, tongues hanging out. On those evenings, the building was a social place, with husky voices laughing into the night, while the gleam of bare light bulbs tumbled out into the driveway.
One Saturday afternoon, we had an auction there, and an awesome variety of wares spilled from those doors onto the sparse gravelly grass.
On at least two occasions, everything was sold to a dealer, a seedy looking character, with seedier looking cohorts, who loaded and packed each and every item onto a tractor trailer truck, as if each were priceless.
Then the building was a forlorn and empty place, like a house without people, a barn without animals. There was no mystery, no primitive magic.
Then my father would begin again. Without explanation, he would fill it up with new treasure and old trash, and the building would fairly sigh with relief. All the old corner would reappear, the cubbyholes, the pathways, the skyline of the current conglomeration of goods.
Yet somehow, though it was always changing, for me at least, it never changed at all.

I dreamt of my father last night.......and it was appropriate that I found this today.
In my dream, I was picking him up from hospital, but of course, it was just a dream.
It made me hopeful though, that someday, I will see him again.
I'll bet he has another building full, wherever he is.

And so now you know, why I have 10,000 lbs of fabric. It's the gene pool, people, it's the gene pool.
That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Let's be fair.

I think I am getting the hang of this taking time off thing. I am afraid I may get to like it a little too much. Then again......
Nah. I am sure it is just a fluke.
It never lasts long when I have these feelings.
On the other hand.......
Today, I hired a 16 year old kid to mow and work outside at the studio. There is just so much to do, and there is only one of me, after all.
I was quite pleased to have found him, and was excited to think that I was going to get stuff done that has been lingering.
After three hours, he came inside and announced, "I'm done."
I was speechless.....for a moment.
When I asked if he had really finished all that raking, he said, "Oh, no. But I think I'm done for the day."
Well then.
I can advertise on my own blog, right?
Of course, I can.
For all you weavers....I have 500 lbs of loopers that are in my way....big time...they aren't in the barn with the other 3500 lbs of loopers, instead they have been relegated to the tool/garage side of the barn. They have to go. So I am selling this 500 lbs at a ridiculously low price of $2/lb. They are cotton, and yes, they are what I use to make rugs with.
There, I've said it.

Took a little drive the other day, to Middlebury, Vt. Stopped along the way to take some pictures.
From Crazy as a Loom

I took my mother, and my youngest daughter to lunch. And we shopped a little.
Here are the mountains in New York, across the lake, taken from Vermont.
From Crazy as a Loom

I have always loved Middlebury. It is such a sweet little town.
From Crazy as a Loom

As long as I can remember, it was a treat to go there for the day, either over the ferry when it was running, or across the bridge.
The Champlain bridge was taken down last year, and they are building a new one soon.
We went to Fire and Ice, to the lunch buffet. They just happen to have a boat in the middle of their buffet.
From Crazy as a Loom

Here's my Mom......gonna be 86 this year. Unbelievable. And no, she does not dye her hair. It isn't fair.
From Crazy as a Loom

And to answer your question, yes, I really do have 15 looms. Two are in the barn, waiting for me to find room to put them together. The other 13 are warped and waiting for me. That's the problem, you see. I can't leave them naked, unwarped. And when they are warped, they are very accusing every time I pass by.
There isn't enough time in the day, and I have not figured out how to clone moi, so.......they whisper about me behind my back.
Yes, I'm tired.
Or I have totally gone crazy.
And yes, I dye my hair.
Like I told you, it isn't fair.
But look at it this way, you could be this poor guy, asleep at the bus stop, with some wacky woman taking your picture with your belly hanging out.
From Crazy as a Loom

Now there, don't you feel better??
I know I do.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Heart be still.

I have a wonderful customer, whose name is Louise. I love making rugs for her, because she tells me the colors, and basically says, "You go, girl." She gives me creative license to make rugs I think she will love. And so far, she has.

These are the latest.
From Crazy as a Loom

And they were fun to was like painting with fabric.

From Crazy as a Loom

Figured I should get back to I put a placemat warp on the Hammett.

From Crazy as a Loom

Problem was that the Hammett loom didn't come with a crank.
I had an old crank, that nowhere near fit.
But lucky for me, my neighbor has a machine shop.
And he loves a challenge.
Here is the old crank that didn't fit anything, with a new part welded on the end to fit the Hammett. There is nothing as annoying as a loom without a crank.
No more.
From Crazy as a Loom

He also made two more cranks, for the two other Hammett looms that I have in the barn. (yes, there are looms in the barn, too, and yes, I know I have a problem)
From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

Now one of the Hammetts in the barn, was missing some parts.......but when you know your stuff, you know your stuff.
My neighbor is an "artist" with metal, and that is no joke.
The black parts are original, the silver parts he made.
From Crazy as a Loom

I know this is probably a boring post....but honestly, when you do what you do, and you are just plain damn good at it, well, that is pretty special.
And these metal parts, fashioned out of new metal to replace missing pieces, that will now bring an old loom to life, well, they make my heart skip a beat.
I warned you, I am easily amused.
Now I just have to figure out which looms are staying, and which are not. I have 15 looms, and I honestly don't have room for 15. So something has to give.
I may have to ............OH NO.....sell one.
I can't even believe I said that.

I must have a fever.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New York, New York

I have always been amazed at the response of people when I say I'm from New York. Especially the response of my English relatives.
New York!!!!!!!! OMG.

From Crazy as a Loom

But not in this New York.
Oh, no.
I get in the habit of saying "northeast N.Y.", and even then you have to clarify; no, not Buffalo, no not the Catskills.
The Adirondacks, my friend. The Adirondacks.
Where rednecks still live and breathe.
Oh, yeah.
Riding down rural roads, you'll see a burn barrel in every back yard, and a tire hanging from a tree.
But last weekend, I went to NEW YORK. The city. For a day trip. Four hours due south.
Just because.
My youngest daughter's boyfriend was the designated driver, for me, my friend Alice, my three daughters, and adopted daughter (youngest daughter's best friend).
We went a little bit of everywhere, and nowhere at all. You know what I mean, right?
From Crazy as a Loom

We did not eat at the Bistro Truck, even though I was enthralled. Yes, remember, I am easily amused.
At 2pm, we were in Chelsea Market, which is charming, but not as charming as its name.
From Crazy as a Loom

I did, however, find this little girl to be quite charming.....something about that green, polka dotted raincoat.
From Crazy as a Loom

We found a great flea market. Or two.
I am always amazed that in close quarters, when you bump into people, and apologize, there is never a reply. Just a look.
I still continue to say I am sorry. Just in case it will be well received one of these times.
I think I walked 10 miles, at least my feet thought so.
We ended our day in Little Italy, over some fantastic food. With fantastic company. It doesn't get any better.
Spending a day with family and friends. I am a lucky woman, and I know it.
From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

Here I am with my dear friend, Alice. We are both exhausted, and ready to come home.
From Crazy as a Loom

Ah, yes, the city. Fun to visit. And I know some of you love to live there, but I gotta tell ya......this old country girl does not get it.
Give me the Adirondacks, any old day.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My hero.

Everyone has one. A hero.

I don't often tell him.....would make his head so big, we would have to get a new front door, but my DH is mine.
Eleven years ago, when we met over lunch at Red Lobster, he told me his life story. All of it. Complete with a liver transplant.
Those were my thoughts.
He told me later that he figured he should fess up in the beginning, and then if I wanted to run, he wouldn't get hurt.
But in the true spirit of "Hilary", I thought...........hell, no, you aren't scaring me away. I'll decide that one for myself. (And I wonder where my kids get it)
It was a good decision, one of my best.
They have been good years. He is honest, hardworking, outspoken, and most of all, he is my best friend.

I don't know what it feels like to stay in the hospital for 6 months, and come out with a new liver. I can't imagine the pain, the sickness, the fear.
I can tell you this: he takes a handful of medication, and I do not exaggerate here, morning and night. He never complains about it. He never bemoans his fate.
He is grateful, and he says it is a small price to pay to have his life back.

Maybe you have never thought of organ donation. Maybe you think it doesn't matter.
Think again.
Here is my husband, he is the clothes horse on the right, with the County Clerk.

Clerks, DMV Help Support Organ Donation

Pam Vogel and Bill Kenny are holding a promotional poster advocating organ donation

The New York State Association of County Clerks (NYSACC) and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles are joining with the New York Alliance for Donation to encourage organ and tissue donation.

NYSACC President Sylvia M. Rowan and Warren County Clerk Pamela Vogel wish to remind all state residents that there is an urgent need to increase registration for donation. Currently only 11% of potential donors enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry, a number well below the national average of 43%. Of those who do enroll, nearly all do so through the DMV’s license application or renewal process. It is hoped that with increased awareness in Motor Vehicle offices more will seriously consider making the decision to become a donor.

Supervisor Bill Kenny (GF-5th Ward), chairman of the county’s County Clerk/DMV committee says it best – “No one understands the importance of organ donation better than I. On June 12, 1994, I was within 48 hours of certain death. I had been in NYU hospital for three months at that point awaiting a liver transplant. On that day, I went through 16 hours of surgery to receive an organ that was donated by a 19 year old Mississippi man who had perished in a tragic automobile accident. I was given the most precious gift—the gift of life and I am eternally grateful. I am now in my 7th term representing my neighbors. What better way to give back to the community that gave me so much growing up. While organ donation may not be for everyone, everyone needs to consider it. Your organ is needed here on earth. Please don’t take your organs to heaven.”

Trust me, organ donation matters.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oh, The excitement.

Porch is still under construction......the noise and mess are wearing on me, but I am keeping my eye on the prize.
This has been a busy week, lots of orders, and that makes me happy. Have to pay for the porch, don't you know.
I have one more order to do, and then, with any luck, I am going to spend a week outside. My yard needs lots of attention, and I love to garden and get dirty.

When I get a few rugs finished, I take them off the loom, and put them, all rolled up, on the kitchen counter. I sit here and tie fringe, and then go back to the loom and start all over again.
I ALWAYS have help with the fringe.
From Crazy as a Loom

Sometimes, Miss Sydney Sue is a little intrusive. I try to warn her that if her tail gets tied into the fringe, she might be taking a trip to Dallas.
From Crazy as a Loom

But does she listen?? Not hardly.
Instead, she tries to smooze me.
From Crazy as a Loom

Now tell me, how can you be angry at this face??

I am trying to weave the black warp off a loom, so I can warp it for my next order. I used up all the black denim I had, so I had to use something else for weft.

How about some red???
From Crazy as a Loom

Then I got a little crazy......I know. I don't really like this one. But like my late friend Shirley used to say, "tacky people have money, too". She didn't say it in a mean way, she just wanted me to know that even if I didn't like a rug, someone else would.
From Crazy as a Loom

This one is much more to my liking.

From Crazy as a Loom

And now, I am lounging on the couch, and I have no intention of doing another thing today.
So there.
Call me lazy. I don't care.
Soon, soon, pictures of the FINISHED porch.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Just got back from a whirlwind trip to Virginia, a suburb right outside of Washington, DC.
I was totally in awe of the green trees, and trees and shrubs in bloom. Not so in northeast New York. That part of spring is still in our future. I actually noticed my allergies responding to the pollen. Crazy.

From Crazy as a Loom

On the way down, we relied on our GPS, whose name I cannot repeat, as this is a family friendly blog.
At any rate, in Delaware, I think that's where it was, there was a lot of very new looking road construction. Since we hadn't updated her in 2 years, it threw her into a tizzy, and she said what she always says when my husband screws up and doesn't listen to her: "Recalculating."
And she has a tone, an attitude kind of tone. You know exactly what I mean, don't you?
What a term.
I find myself thinking that I am grateful that some things are in my past, and not in my future.
Worrying about money issues, working two jobs, raising children issues, divorce, dating, visitation, child support, child care. Starting over. And over.
There are plenty of times in my life, when I should have recalculated, and didn't. I preferred my own picturesque imaginings of how things were, rather than what I knew in my heart to be true. Then there the times that I should have recalculated, and did. They were tough times. It isn't easy to change the status quo, even when you know you need to.
But I believe that we all have an internal GPS. I know I do.
Sometimes we turn the volume down. Sometimes we just don't listen. Sometimes, we forget to update. But I think we know, on some level, more than we want to admit to. Sometimes, we leave the GPS home in the junk drawer.
We really don't want to hear: "Recalculate."
When in fact, it is often just the sound of a door opening.
For me, it was the sound of finding my way here.

From Crazy as a Loom

Weaving tomorrow. Ah, serenity.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Caterpillar rugs.

Sometimes when I get off on a tangent, I can't stop myself. Karen over at Karen in the Woods started something when she suggested that I put the heel strips in a solid color rug, interspersing them randomly.
I made three black ones, then I decided to try a white one.

From Crazy as a Loom

I am kind of liking it, but of course, I would love your feedback. There is nothing like objective opinions to put me on the right track.
I think I could call them 'Caterpillar Rugs'.
From Crazy as a Loom

I should have been working on an order, but I didn't. I know it will be there on Monday, and next week is a good time to start it. This week, I am goofing off.

I was reading interesting stuff over at Bonnie's blog, about authenticity and blogging. It was a great topic, with a lot of great responses.
It got me to thinking about the blogs I read, how different they are, and how different I feel when I read them. I don't think I follow any blogs that don't feel authentic to me.
I started this blog because I wanted to promote my weaving studio. I was trying to figure out the direction that Crazy as a Loom needed to go in, so I started writing about it, thinking that somehow that would clear it up for me.
But then I needed to tell you all about saving stray cats, and taking my granddaughters to sheep shearing day at Sheila's, and that to die for pie I made. Then there were rugs, and looms, and and snow storms, pit bulls and Fenway park. Life, my life. My blog.
It just happened, that soon I was telling you what moved me, what worried me, what just plain teed me off.
I even wrote you a poem.
And I started looking at my life through the lens of a camera, seeing all those shots that I would have previously missed.
There have been days that I have actually taken time off from my obsession to work, and had FUN, so I could blog about it later. And you know what, it was fun TWICE. Living my life, writing about it.
Who knew.
A long time ago, a friend told me something that someone had said about me. At first I was surprised, I guess I never thought about people NOT liking me. I figured I was a pretty likable person.
The comment was,"You may like Hilary, or not like her, but you always know where she's coming from."
So OK. Not the prettiest, not the smartest (although I am one point smarter than DH, sorry sweetie) not the thinnest, nor the youngest, not the oldest, not the most talented. But real, and honest.
Straightforward. Sometimes blunt.

With luck, authentic. I have wanted to be many things in my life, I never thought authentic would be one of them.
In some strange way, I think blogging leaves no room for anything else.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Down the road from the studio, there is this old barn, right on the highway. It is in sad disrepair. It must have been incredible when it was in its prime. It was foggy this morning, and this photo doesn't do it justice.
From Crazy as a Loom

I'll try to do better another day. I am waiting for just the right light. You know how it goes.

I loved all your suggestions about the tote bag. And you're right, they are really heavy, and thick to sew together. Frustrating.
I love the idea of laying the heel strips into another rug, so I gave it a try with black denim.
From Crazy as a Loom

Here's a close up.
From Crazy as a Loom

I kind of liked it, and it wasn't too time consuming once I got started. But since my supply of black denim isn't unlimited, I decided to try the same thing with black fabric...........which I just happen to have a BARN FULL of.
From Crazy as a Loom

Close up........
From Crazy as a Loom

I really didn't see much of a difference in the finished product.
And they really kind of open the door to all kinds of other hare brained ideas........which, by the way, I love. You didn't know, did you???
So thanks, Karen, for pushing me in that direction. I think it might get interesting.
What do you think?

The porch is coming along.....I am really excited about it.

From Crazy as a Loom

There is certainly room out here........
From Crazy as a Loom

From Crazy as a Loom

I think I should have a porch warming party, ya think??
Of course, you're all invited.

Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts