Crazy as a Loom

Friday, November 30, 2018


Yes, finally November is over.  I won't miss it.  It's the worst headache month I've had in quite awhile.

Last weekend, I went up to the front bedroom, which we call the "rug room", and I worked at getting a warp off the Union Custom.   I've had an order pending for months, and I needed to put a new warp on for it.
So I wove 4 or 5 rugs, three of which sold immediately.  Win, win, right?

Not so fast.

By the next morning, I knew that what I suspected was true.  Groin pain, deep, throbbing groin pain.
It happened the last time I wove on that loom, but I pooh, poohed it.
This time, not so much.
It's Friday, and my hips (groin pain) are on fire.  Still.

The problem is, for those of you who don't weave, is that old rug looms have treadles that are quite a ways off the floor, attached to the back of the loom.
It requires one to lift the hip with the knee bent, to put your foot on the treadle, over and over and over.

So, I have ruminated about this all week.   The bottom line:  I have enough pain....I can't do something that is going to give me more.
I emailed the lady who was waiting for her custom order, and told her no......I won't do it.  I am sorry.....but no. I found a couple of weavers on FB who are going to contact her.

L did offer to do it, but to be honest, it does the same thing to her.   Repetitive motion/arthritis/getting older/you name it.  We both have it.

I don't know exactly what I am going to do yet, but after 20 years of weaving on the Union Custom, my FAVORITE rug loom ever, it might be time to say good bye.  Ah, change, you keep on coming.

A while back, my neighbor came by with an old doll house, that had been languishing in her friend's attic for years.   It was about to be thrown out, and instead, it was gifted to me.
When my 5 yo grand girl saw it, she asked about it...I told her it was something I was going to fix up.

Fast forward, last week, when she was leaving she saw it on the inside porch.....she turned to me with a quizzical look on her face, and said, "Mimi, you haven't finished that YET?"

Well, that was all it took to get me moving.

The dining room table is covered in newspapers, and the renovation has begun.

I have a hand dyed organic cotton/bamboo warp on the AVL.

I really love this draft.


And while it is stunning in black, I really love the pale pink weft.

Today was cleaning day.  The studio has been getting messier and messier.  I cleaned and organized, and will probably continue it this weekend.

I also decided it was time to organize under my kitchen sink, so that when you opened the door, everything didn't fall out.

A friend of mine has started an account for her photography, which is stunning.
I invite you to check it out, she really has been to some amazing places in the world, and she
shares her experiences through her photos.

This is Fremont Lake in Wyoming.

I broached the subject, to DH, tonight of swapping out the pellet stove for a gas stove at some point.
I was kind of surprised that he is not opposed to it.

He;s probably sick of hauling pellets, if I had to guess.

So I managed to get myself to Hobby Lobby, to look at what they had for dollhouses.
I had a 40% off coupon, on my phone, so the damage wasn't as bad as it could have been.

But I can definitely see that this may be a rabbit hole that I am about to go down.

How often can you use those 40% coupons??

I know that the look on her face will be worth every penny.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Oh November 

The guild show is over, and it was very successful.  But I'm glad it's done, and I can just
This was something I made this week, and it's sold already.  It can be worn like a poncho, but I kind of like it this way better.d

Hopefully, I will have some more sales before Christmas, then not have to worry too much about retail until spring shows.

Mornings are definitely my favorite time of day.  I'm always up in time to watch the sun rise.
Naya is usually taking her after breakfast nap at my feet, so she misses it all.

For some reason, I have always hated dish drainers.  But the simple truth is that there are always dishes on the counter, and it seems like I do dishes several times a day.

Until now.   My daughter bought me this dish drainer at Bed, Bath and Beyond,
and I love it.   My counter now looks neat, and water "drains" into the sink, instead of
sitting on a wet towel.

Such a simple fix.  It even folds flat to store, and it has a metal piece (on the left) that flips up and holds stemmed glasses.

Another purchase, by me, that I love.  They are Vionic slippers, the most recommended for
plantar fasciitis, this style is "Gemma".    I don't have PF anymore, but having had it for a year and a half, I am terrified of getting it again.  So I don't ever go barefoot.   These are warm, and so comfortable, and I wear them ALL the time.

Don't tell me that we aren't festive.   Because we are.


It took me all of 5 minutes to put up my tree.  It helps that the ornaments are already on the tree.

I love simple.  It makes me happy, and it was easy, too.  Long gone are the days that I want to
spend hours putting decorations up, only to spend more hours in a few weeks, to take them all down.

I think once your children are out of the house, you change the way you think about it.  At least I have.

So far, November has been tough.  I've had a brutal headache just about every day.  It started about November 1st, exactly the same time that we started up the pellet stove.
I know that my headaches are dependent often on weather changes, but I seriously question the role of the pellet stove.
It's dusty, and dirty, in my opinion, it's worse than a wood stove.

On top of that, cleaning it once a month causes more dust.

If I could be sure that it was making my headaches worse, it would be gone in a heartbeat.

Since there is a shed full of pellets, I will have to get through this winter with it, but I am seriously
thinking of doing something different for next year.

For now, once again, it's one day at a time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Two days in a row.

What?   Two blog posts in two days.

Anyway, this is the last cloak I can possibly finish before the Hudson Mohawk Weaver's Guild Show that starts Thursday, and runs through Sunday.
(Pruyn House, Old Niskayuna Rd, Colonie, NY)

This one is wool and rayon.   I inadvertently threw it in the wash.......and the dryer.  I meant to hand wash it and hang it to dry, but there you have it.  Senior moment.  Brain freeze.   Call it happens too often.
But for some reason, it didn't felt much.....and didn't shrink much.   The weft is rayon, the warp is I am supposing that the rayon kept the wool from clutching and felting.

Several people have asked me about my pattern for this cloak.....and the simple truth is, like most things, I have none.
I often fly by the seat of my pants, as anyone who knows me well is quite aware of.

It's basically a rectangle, with holes for your arms.
I played with it for awhile, to get the size right, and to get the armholes in the right place.   I think it is open to interpretation, but I like the way they are turning out.
I especially like them turned upside down, and worn the shorter jacket way.

My big problem was weaving them in two pieces, and thus having a seam.  I debated about where to put the seam, and then worried that it would show.
It doesn't, unless you look for it.
I think the reason it doesn't is the good advice I got from a weaver friend.  I sew the seam on the machine, then I hand sew both sides of that seam down, then press it.

The armholes are basically a bound button hole, just bigger.   I have tried different types of fabric.
This is thin, soft corduroy, which I chose because I liked the colors.

Once I get them in, I again hand sew them down, then go back to the machine and do 1/4" around the opening, to reinforce.

I will admit that the first time I cut two holes into my just woven piece, I was terrified.  But now I
am used to it, I don't even hesitate.    It's really not hard at all.

I have 12 cloaks ready....and I have debated in my head for weeks about the price.   I fear pricing them too high, then again, if you go to a show and sell out, then you've priced too low.
So I've ended up going with my first instinct, because I know how much time I have in them, I know the quality of the fibers I've used, and I can always come down on the price and sell them at shows next year.

A voice in my head said, "Don't sell yourself short."  So, I'm not.

Woke up to the world covered in white, and a dreary, wet, cold day.

But eventually, I gave in, left the sewing machine, and we went for a walk.

It is much more strenuous to walk through up and down over uneven ground, than to walk on the level bike trail,but Naya didn't seem to notice at all.

This girl loves the snow, and I'm committing myself to getting out in the cold this winter to take her for walks.   It's good for her, and good for me, too.

There will be times I will have to kick myself out the door, I know, but she's worth it.
And so am I.

Monday, November 12, 2018

A day off lol

Not really......but a day off from weaving.
Youngest of my three daughters came with her five year old, and her 21 month old, for the day.
At her request, I made chicken fajita soup.

It was delish.
Someone has to be busy every single moment of the day.

After we made BREAD, plain white and cinnamon,  she decided to do some painting.

She loves digging through my button boxes and other stashes.  She loves the studio, and this old house.  There's always something to get into.

She found an interesting necklace that could be part of next year’s Halloween costume.

Morgan volunteered to do some modeling for me.
First wearing the cloak the short version.

Then wearing it the long way.

100% wool, this will be perfect over a sweater.

I love having them...but can I just say....I'm exhausted.

It was a long day, and a good day......but my head is talking to me now.

So I will leave you with this little face.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Dreary November

This was one sunny couple of hours....for the most part, it has rained all week.   I have always
loved the of my weird characteristics.
Unfortunately, my redesigned skull and neck do NOT like the change in pressure that goes with it, and I have had an unrelenting headache all week.
It makes me want to hunker down, stay home, close my eyes, and give up.

Luckily, I guess, that's not really in my nature.
So I continue on, with longer than usual breaks here and there.
A couple of nights, I have gone to bed by 9pm, just to get away from the headache.  I thank God that it works.

My new use of scraps.....hood with scarf, lined with soft fleece.  I will definitely make more of these, including one for myself.

Lois and I slapped this 22 yard warp on in 55 minutes.   That may be a record.  100% lace weight
Jaggerspun wool.

Collaboration is a wonderful thing.  I wound this warp, dyed it......Lois put it on the loom, and wove it.
I washed and pressed and sewed it into this lovely cloak.

We rock, I'm tellin' ya.

I also packed it up when it sold immediately.  Gotta love it.

The rain and lousy weather does not keep the birds away.....they are a constant presence at
the window of the sewing room.
Lately, because too much weaving just aggravates my already unhappy neck, I have found solace in sewing and designing and planning.

This gave me joy just looking at it......the colors move me.  100% wool..........

I am being asked if I can put sleeves on it.  I really don't want to.  You're supposed to wear it with a heavy sweater, peeps.  C'mon.

Sometimes a little Pandora, and a little weaving makes me feel better.
Everything in short bursts.

Then there's always soup.   I'll be making it all winter now.......I might have to come up with some new recipes.....I seem to stick to the same ones.......french onion being at the top of my list.

I am hoping, yes, praying, for some relief from this headache.   I don't think I can do this all winter.  I want my head to settle down.  I can get through winter in my studio....there is so much to do.  It is a space that I love and I never tire of it.
  But I can't deal with this constant pain.  Maybe my head just has to adjust to the season.   I hope so.
Before this week, I had a long stretch ......maybe two months, of not a bad headache at much so that I really didn't think about it.  I don't want to think about it.

Much to do this weekend.......
Getting ready for the big show of the year, the Hudson Mohawk Weaver's Guild Show.....Nov 15-18 at the Pruyn House in Colonie, NY.  We work all year to have lots of stock for it.  When it's done, we can kick back a bit, and rethink what we want to do in the next few wintry months.....maybe some new stuff entirely.
I have about 144 towels, and over 40 pieces of clothing, plus some rugs and napkins and miscellaneous stuff.  It also looks like the weather won't be bad, loading all this stuff up, and getting it to the show which is about an hour away.
I'm curious about what you all think about this time change thing.   I am not doing well with it so far.  Of course, it could be my headache that's making it more difficult, but I'm awake at 5am, and I'm DONE at 9pm.  And truthfully, by 8pm I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open.  WTH.
My kids would say that it's because I never stop all day long, and that's probably the truth, but before this time change I seemed more normal.  Ha!  At least to me.
Let's hope that November surprises us with some brilliant sunshine.  That would make me very happy.
Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts