Thursday, November 29, 2007

Days of Anticipation



I see I have not posted in 2 months. Where are those two months? What have I been doing I ask myself. Quite a bit actually, it has been an extremely busy time which appears to be winding down. It is not good to be that busy but sometimes it just happens I suppose with not much one can do about it.
But I switch gears now and I am trying to quiet down. The time of year we find ourselves in helps me do that. It is darker, grayer. Sunday, December 2 is the beginning of Advent and that is what I plan to celebrate. The days are getting shorter with less and less light available so we light candles set in a circular candle holder that is wrapped with greens in anticipation of the birth of Christ and it happens to coincide with the shortening days leading to that place on the calender where it all switches and the days slowly grow in length again, Light. We are waiting for Light...
So that is what this season will be for me. Not big shopping deals, no craziness, not even 6 dozen cookies for exchanges. I feel the need to keep it all centered and simple.
Cosmo is still with us although showing signs of slowing down.
I am weaving and keeping my brushes wet, but again, even there, trying to keep it simple. First I have a white and cranberry wool yarns scarf on one loom, actually it will produce three scarves. The pattern is found in Hands On Weaving and Handwoven's Design Collection 3. It is Dornick Twill(4 harness reverse broken twill) - 1234,2143. This is number two. One more to go.Then on the next loom I have a shawl, using plain weave, that is close to finished . The yarn is my handspun. So far I have no trouble weaving with my handspun, and I use it for warp and weft. I have a warp for another shawl ready to go on when ever one of the looms frees up and more warps to wind...


Have a great day and thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Changing



This piece of cloth began with a question from the head of the Design Team at the church I attend, would I weave for the Celebration of Arts Day in April...maybe a demonstration. I thought yes I could do that. Then I remembered an article I had read about a "story" cloth and thought maybe I could incorporate the idea within the demonstration. We asked for pieces of peoples lives, for me to weave into the cloth, bits and pieces of fabric from loved ones, special days, special memories, prayers, beads, stones, etc. We asked that those who participated would prayerfully consider what to give for the cloth. I began it at the Celebration of Arts, then the loom was brought home and I let it sit a while as I waited for people to respond to the call for their items. Finally it was time to begin the weaving and I wove on it exclusively for 4 days, 4 days of thinking about the church, the fact that I could weave for the Lord(overwhelming) especially after reading Exodus 35:35- He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver-those who do very work and those who design artistic works. I became very touched by the pieces of fabric, stone, beads and the stories attached to them and I couldn't stop until it was finished.
I thought of Meme's wedding dress, a widow giving me a piece of his shirt"closest to his heart", left over fabrics for twin grand-daughters,yarns from hats made for the Seafarers Mission, wedding dresses, shirts,stones with meaning. I had been entrusted with these items and I was humbled. I feel differently about weaving now, I am grateful for it and I now look to God for direction in it and all that I do. As the verse stated, He filled them...pretty powerful. I have been changed.

This was read at church this evening as the story cloth was presented to the congregation at the start of the annual meeting. I wrote it to be read, I am a weaver not a public speaker. Anyway, that aside, the piece is now where it belongs, on the communion table. It now has it's purpose to fulfill, for which I am satisfied. I may do another, another layer if you while...as now people have an understanding of what I was doing. So I hope there is interest, I would love to continue where I left off. We are a community of many stories, all important, all valid, all needing to be told and heard.



I have been painting, warming up, practicing, trying things out. Putting paint on the paper, learning things about myself as I move along. I like to rush, who knew? I like being busy and getting allot done. Watercolor likes slow people, not fast ones. Watercolor, like weaving, wants me to slow my thoughts and responses. To think about what it is I am trying to accomplish.
So I am still on one eggplant, one pear etc. Playing with washes and wet in wet and trying some things. A teacher I had a number of years ago told me to paint, paint, paint and I didn't. So here I am still needing to paint and draw, what is that anyway. It is like a insect bite. So back on the bike I climb this time armed with a little more confidence and realizing that it is ok, I am doing this for me. "We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way." - John Holt I have that quote hanging up in "my room"for lack of a better name for it at present. The other quote I like is "Let go of the outcome"- Abraham Maslow
Anyway, back to the pear, it is unfinished but I was posting and thought I'd add it. I had to let it dry to work on it a little more. That is the problem for me, patiently let it dry. So how did I get around that miner glitch in my personality, started another painting...

Maggie says hello. I just love this hound. She just makes me smile.


Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Summer's Swan Song


I think my sunflowers are still beautiful. This morning, as I was having my coffee, I thought they are bowing and receiving applause for their beautiful performance this summer. I don't have the heart to remove them from the garden so I won't.

This is Cosmo. You met him with his new brother...
Well it appears that big, smiling, happy boy's days are numbered, exactly how long, we don't know. He went to the vet for an exam and to check one thing and another thing was found instead...the tests were done and the phone call received...he has cancer, untreatable. My daughter and my grandsons are pretty upset, obviously. He has been a part of their lives, our lives for 10 years, through the good and bad, he was always there sometimes when other weren't. So without getting overly emotional we have a plan. I have personally been to the pet supply store twice this week for special cookies for him(all natural). I run to her house, load them with peanut butter(his favorite food) and feed him. So we are going to love on him, spoil him...They are fighting over who's bed he is going to sleep in each night. Only dog lover's will understand our sadness, and our need to make him comfortable and happy, that is OK. It is not "just a dog" but someone we love and care for...I have promised my daughter that she will not have to go alone to the vet if he is suffering but I am really praying it does not come to that, rather I would like him to go from natural causes, just find him "gone" one morning, quietly and peacefully, that's my prayer. Feel free to join me in that one.
We had a scare on Wednesday. My daughter called me, panicked. Cos can't walk , he is shaking and won't eat. We only found out on Monday so I couldn't see as he would fail that quickly. But then in talking to my other daughter it seems she came on Tuesday to take the boy for a walk or we thought. Instead she took him jogging, 4 times around the lake and up and down some hills. He was leaning against her when they were done...? Our question, what were you thinking, he is 70 in dog years, he is not use to that much exercise. Anyway he is better, he survived his Aunt's exercise therapy.
I managed to finish a pair of socks, but really have not done much. In a creative slump of sorts and have been extremely busy with various things.
Have a great day and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Sunflower Days


My sunflower bloomed today with more to follow!





When I looked at my photos yesterday I could not believe how far from shore I had gotten. How did I get this image one might ask?

Well, I am asking that as well. But no I was in this green kayak that belongs to my friend, Anne, who let me borrow it.





Although I live in the Ocean State I am not a great lover of the water, I fear it because of a few mishaps as a child. So this was a big thing for me. My daughter and her small group decided to do more together so they went kayaking, dinner in the town, back into their kayaks and back to one of their homes for s'mores. Then I was invited last week and I held my breath and said sure. I felt safe enough as there were 9 of us and I had a very good life jacket on, but I still held my breath. I learned on the job about paddling, depth, beaching, boating rights of way while kayaking in Wickford Harbor.
We had the best time and ended up back to the starting point for s'mores and drinks.
So fast forward to Sunday after church and my daughter who has gone out and outfitted herself last week to continue this new adventure, decides we should go kayaking.
Boy, I don't know about this, it is just us...But we went, took her 16 and 19 year old sons and borrowed kayaks were there along with oars and jackets. We just stayed close to shore as opposed to traveling into town as we did last week. We stayed out all afternoon and it was great. Shoving off...

Yes to new things...being brave..taking safe risks(what is a safe risk)I know what I mean...breaking out of my safe box. It has to be the haircut...
I also played volleyball last week and made it through the whole game, in a dress, barefoot(birthday party)in a horse field. Have not played since high school. Got the picture? But play I did. We even had a whiffle ball game and I played that as well. Has got to be the hair...Had a ball, no pun intended. We just had the best time. We laughed more than anything. What was really nice was there were all ages on the two teams. Fun

I have been harvesting and always say to myself I am going to paint this...Well I did and I am even going to post it, another risk...
Have I been weaving or knitting? Knitting my socks, too hot for anything else plus I haven't been sitting still long enough to knit, although the thought occurs to me I could knit in the kayak...I did finish the blanket yesterday.
Here is a shot of it being cut off the loom and the ends bing tied in an overhand knot in groups of 4 ends each. Today I will finish off the ends and wash it and set it out to dry. Great breezy dry day for it.
Have a great day and thanks for reading...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Dog Days of Summer

Anticipation...



How pathetic is this? This is what I have to put up with. I cook, she begs. She has it down to a science now. She drags her dish around and lies beside it and looks tired, sad, and hungry...And if that is not bad enough, the other one, Amy, is waiting in the wings to swoop in for the drop. She has age on her side so she lets Maggie do the work. They have become a tag team. It doesn't work anymore, I am on to them...



Weaving has finally started on this blanket. Gosh, I felt like what was up... I counted wrong on the warp winding. Then if that wasn't bad enough, while I was warping back to front(which is my preference) I removed the raddle after spreading out the warp in groups of 8 EPI(ends per inch). I actually removed it and started to wind on and of course I ended up with a big mess of 406 ends...Then realized my error, what was I thinking? I have no idea. I know better. So I made more work for myself and unwound and reinserted the raddle and all that entailed. The thought occurs to me that weavers must be a stubborn, tenacious group of people, otherwise how would we go from warp to warp with these types of occurrences occasionally happening? I am stubborn and it works for me in this instance. I have started weaving, with 13 inches done and I discovered a threading error which will be taken care of with needle weaving when it comes off the loom, and if that is not enough, two threads popped while advancing forward, fixed them, then a little further discover a weaving error, two passes in the same shed----------and it being double weave guess what, I treadled out of step. Anyway, all is fixed and ready to go again. I don't know what the deal is but it happens. But what I do know is that when I sit at my loom I relax and all is right with my world and all it took to get here is all over, not important other than learning from...kind of a metaphor of life wouldn't you say?


I'll end this post with a image of a sunset the other night while at Point Judith eating clam cakes and chowder. We buy them at Aunt Carrie's (the best ) then drive down the road to the lighthouse , park the car and listen to the waves crashing, watch people fish, and the sunset. It is the best on 90 degree days and evenings.
Have a great day and thanks for reading.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Days To Feed On

On a recent Sunday afternoon one of my daughter's called me to ask if I still had the puppy crate. Some families ask about cribs, with us, it is puppy crates. Then a question about purchasing a puppy, an English Bulldog to be exact. We had our conversation, we hung up and I thought that was the end of it. I should have known that with my kids a conversation is really the beginning of something...Half hour later I was in her car along with her friend and we were off to Massachusetts to buy a English Bulldog puppy, a surprise for my 16 year old grandson. He had been talking about the need for a pup, and he and I had been looking at them on the internet on July 4. They have an older guy, Cosmo(Cramer). Cos has had some serious health issues in the past and we are lucky we( I say we, I live five houses away ) still have him. He is a great dog, kind of goofy but a lovable boy. Fast forward a few hours and we arrive with the pup and everyone is in love...especially Cosmo.

Meet Mr. Beefy T. Wellington...who is looking quite embarrassed by Cosmo's extreme show of emotion. It's just like grandchildren, I can walk over there, play with the puppy, and come home to my lazy dogs who do nothing but eat and sleep and the occasional yodel to tell me something is happening somewhere but they don't quite know where...

Haven't got much of anything done on the weaving or knitting front but have been having a great time in any case. We were invited(a group of us ) to the Newport Music Festival.
It was a wonderful time of good friends, hors d'oeuvre and wine out on a tented patio at Rosecliff, one of the summer "cottages" to which I had never been before. This was a new and wonderful experience. I considered it an artist date that Julia Cameron writes of in The Artist's Way.


Then on to Friday and a trip to NEWS to visit vendors and to see the various exhibits was on tap. New England Weavers Seminar was held at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. It is always fun to visit vendors. I was able to pick up missing Handwoven Magazines, Handwoven Treasury 19, 8/2 cottons, and seine twine. Then off to the exhibits. Each of the New England state guilds had a challenge for example rep weave, table linens, pot holders. Those filled a large room in the campus library and were all inspirational to look at' There were notebooks accompanying each state exhibit with pictures and drafts that were allowed to be copied for our own use. Also set up was a traveling library of drafts which we also were able to use. My friend was looking for a log cabin weave for a new expected grandchild's blanket. She found what she was looking for. It is a great resource. Then we made our way upstairs to see the mentor and judged exhibits. Then a walk through the wonderful gardens at Smith College. They were obviously set up to be enjoyed as well as a learning tool. There were paths and plants were labled and there were spots to just sit and enjoy.
It was a great day with again good friends, Sharon and Jean. We could not leave Northampton without a stop to Webs, and stop we did. I found some merino/tencel to spin, then started for home. Stopped for dinner and sundaes of course. A perfect day for a fiber person plenty of exhibits for inspiration, plenty of vendors to feed that inspiration, and food...

I am making progress on both looms...

Have a great day and thanks for reading. And please feel free to comment if the spirit moves you...


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Surprise!





Now I can post the photo of the finished knitted item. It was a gift for our very pregnant Nuala, the secretary of our knitting guild. She has three little boys and this little one is a girl. She offered to have the July meeting at her home and one of our members suggested a baby shower, a surprise. We all loved the idea and it was just the best. I really looked forward to this and enjoyed the knitting of the sweater for the baby and possibly because Nuala is just a great person. The baby received woven wash cloths,hand knit and machine knit sweaters, hats, socks(real socks)shawls for nursing, felted booties. We just threw ourselves into this and had the best time. The baby is due September 1. Nuala states she will be at the next meeting, August 8. Funny aside, the next meeting is at the home of our resident midwife...how cool is that. Hmm...

Belonging to guilds have enriched me. I have been apart of my spinning and knitting guilds for close to 15 years, and weaving guild alittle less on and off. The comradery in learning and trying new things is invaluable, not to mention we become apart of each others lives. We are as diverse as we can be in age, beliefs, married, single, widowed, ect. and yet we pretty much just blend and it is something I am really grateful for. Some of our groups have smaller spin off groups, probably pun intended...and those groups have kept me personally afloat in some very real ways in the past couple of years and I guess today I just want to say a public thank you to them, they know who they are. We share, encourage, laugh, untangle balls of sock yarn that beagle #2 tried her hand at, we are just there... So it was with great pleasure to share Thursday night with my guild and Nuala's family.
Here is my next wound warp. 392 ends of cotton novelty of which I dyed some. It will go one the loom as double width and it will be a baby blanket. I am stuck on blankets and shawls and my lttle tapestry deal is still on the other loom.

Have a great day and thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Full Days



It has been a productive week and satisfyingly busy although the refrigerator is still sporting it's duct tape and still I procrastinate. I think because I know it will be a domino thing. I can not even write about it because then I must think about it, and then I'll be off looking at boring refrigerators...
Saturday our spinning guild was invited to a farmers market at Casey Farm. It was wonderful, the weather, the farm, the people and my fellow spinners. Many people came over to stop and talk and ask questions. One person was a alpaca farmer wanting information on what to do with his fiber. He actually went home and brought back some of his wonderful fiber and gave all of us some to spin and knit or weave. It was incredibly soft with much crimp. Looks more like a super fine wool doesn't it? It feels as it looks. I weighed it on my trusty food scale, 8 oz. He is hoping we like it and will come back for more. He is a very nice guy. The farm is Shadow Pines Farm, Alpacas. and can be reached at: shadowpinesalpacafarm@cox.net. He will be happy to answer any questions. Tell him I sent you.
Then another person came up to us and offered lama to us, free. Someone gave to her, she does not spin. So I brought home two lama bumps.

It turned out to be a fun day with going to lunch with two of my spinning buds but when we parked the cars what was facing us but Knit One Purl Too Yarn Shop in Wakefield, RI. So of course we detoured before lunch. After lunch we walked a little and came upon glass blowers. We were mesmerized.
Sometimes it pays to park the car and walk around. We watched this process for a while. They were making a set of hand blown drinking glasses that were beautiful. Watching them was like attending a ballet. Each had a part to play in this dance.
I finished the shawl. It's fiber is hand spun, hand dyed wool and a commercial mohair blend whose colors just went so well with the hand spun. It was a quick weave as I needed the loom for the next item. My other loom is busy with a tapestry sampler on it. I am trying to learn a new technique. I weave, and unweave, and weave again and sometimes unweave that as well as I go through each new section. Slow going but I want to learn it so I am motivated. I have not been able to spend allot of time on it this week because it has been so hot and humid and I needed to finish a knitted item that had a dead line. It is finished. Just needs buttons. Those will be on today and then I can take a photo.
Have agreat day and thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Watermelon Days




How hot was it? The following photos of the dogs and watermelon are for a friend who states dogs don't eat watermelon when I tell him Maggie and Amy do, although that isn't really a big deal, they eat everything, they are Beagles after all, it's in their DNA.




It has been a varied week, weather and activity wise. It started by the temperatures rising to the point that I went and got my hair cut. Simple and quick as that. It was 95 degrees...one looses all rationality at those numbers. I was having my usual issues with blogger. Figured some things out only to loose pictures and links...so of course in the midst of total frustration and sweating and feeling like I have been sent through a blast furnace my hair was the first to go. I could no longer stand the heaviness of it. Only suppose to be a few inches, chin length. Well unless my ear lobes have moved...Anyway getting use to the "new" me, I don't like change. This took two trips to hair salon, one for the mistake and second to fix mistake.
In the knitting part of my life I remember just last week writing about lists and things to do and prior to that priding myself for working from stash. Well, we all know what pride comes before. My first mistake was thinking I could go to a yarn shop and come out without a bag. Last Saturday I went to a knitting blogger meet-up at Sakonnet Purls. I did have a post about it with the appropriate links but Blogger was having hiccups so it was lost. I met some new to me bloggers who live locally and some bloggers who are already friends; Kristen, Cindy, Debbie, Kimberly, Erika, and Sarah. I found Noro for 4.00 a ball. Sorry, I was not able to just say no. It came home with me, all 5 skeins. More plans. Then blame the heat, the meet-up, the bad haircut and I needed to pick up yarn for a weaving project. So two more yarn shops were visited on Thursday or was it Friday, whatever, the same damage was done. Then yesterday, Saturday off to our monthly spin in at Rhode Island Handspun and I came home with 2 magazines, Wild Fibers and the new Interweave Felt, a drive band for my Louet, 3 packets of Cushing's Dye and more yarn. That's it, I am taking my keys away from me and hiding my debit card.
On the knitting front I am finishing a large shawl for one of my DD to wrap up in for TV or reading for her birthday tomorrow. I started it a while ago with no real plan for it but occasional my DD would comment on it's color or how nice it was. With that in mind it became Cheryl's. Then there is a gift for someone else to get finished .

I am warping both looms, one for a shawl out of some hand dyed homespun and the other for a tapestry sampler I would like to try.
To finish this week I have duct tape keeping my freezer tightly closed. That you really do not want to see. Yes, I am suppose to be refrigerator shopping and consumer report reading, oh God, spare me. That is assuming I have a subscription to consumer reports, which I don't. So I procrastinate and wish I didn't have to deal with this.
Have a great day and thanks for reading.