Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More Healing?

I neglected to post this earlier to avoid worring the girl child. I fell off the step stool while being the right hand gal. I've been home for 2 days, folding fabric, doing things that don't take much effort. But mostly trying to take it easy. Back spasms + wrenched neck = crap. crap. crap. crap. crap.

Reading blogs can be time killer, an inspiration, educational/instructional. I certainly enjoyed it though!

Carolyn @ Diary of a Sewing Fanatic asked an interesting question about scrap caching. It made me really think about what goes back into the sewing room closet. She also talked about her seasonal fabric rotation. Both these helped me immensly as I went through my fabrics. About 20 lbs of fabric will not make it back in the closet.

I know at some time I will be a grandmother. That informs a lot of my stashing. Cute bunny knits? I'm keeping them. Sweet ladybug cotton? I'm keeping it. Nice brown black plaidish pant weight fabric? Keeping. Corduroy. Keeping Keeping Keeping.

And I did a fair amount of smocking and heirloom sewing when the kids were little and hope to be allowed to do some of the same for my grands. So Swiss batiste? KEEPING. Liberty of London prints? Really, don't ask! I am keeping all of it! There are a number pieces I would never stitch up for myself, but the grand babies will look quite fine in them!

The "adult" section of the closet is quite bare, though. And I don't see any reason why I can't figure something out for 75% of what I kept. My focus has narrowed and I'm pretty much running out of excuses!

I took all the towels off of the loom, stitched and cut them apart. They are doing cycle time in the dryer right now. Will post after hems are in.

Chao and off to do some stretching. Can't stay home from work forever, dang it!


Monday, September 27, 2010

New Furnace + Fixing the Damage = Cleaning Frenzy

And that translates to open wounds, saying good-bye... again, and moving on.

Isn't that melodramatic?! My parents died in 2001, 4 months apart. It was a long hard 2 years preceding their passing and my relationship with my older sister was irreparably broken. After the estate closed, I severed ties. No need to rehash that here.

I still have things of my mom's that I don't know what to do with. Mom kept scrapbooks of every card she ever got. EVERY CARD from what I can tell. There are close to 6 very huge books. I don't want them. Then there are the photo albums. No logical order, no labels, people I don't know, some I do. I don't really want these, either. I can offer them to my little sis in TX and burden her with not wanting them as well. That's probably the answer.

I still have some of the legal papers and things that made me think about the issues that led to the break up of my "family". I had been urged to save all of these papers in case I ever have to defend myself. It's been 9 years and it is still a gaping wound every time I have to revisit that time.

All of this "stuff" is in boxes in my sewing room. I look at it every couple of years and toss a bit every time.

What brought that up? Well, getting a new furnace really disrupted our household. Our furnace room is HUGE and well stocked with boxes of things I'm saving for grandkids, old dishes, glassware and pots and pans to help our two set up their first households, books (boxes of them!), Christmas decorations (including the fake tree), camping gear, Costco sized toilet paper/paper towel/tissues, a gift wrap "center"... All of that was moved out to facilitate the installation of the new furnace.

In a fit of stupidity, I swore I was not going to move a bunch of "crap" back in there. So I am sorting and tossing and donating. It is slow going, but I have finished my part. Scott is looking at new shelving for the area where the gift wrap station was. I moved that into my sewing room to give him the space for his wood supply (he's a wood turner and wood, like fabric, must cure).

Furnace room checks out okay now, but because the race in the ceiling ran smack dab through my sewing room, everything in there was moved to the east wall. They cut 7 access holes in the race so Saturday and Sunday was also spent crafting a creative cover for that mess. Scott put up boards along the face and trimmed out with moulding so we can get back in there if we have to. He painted it to match the previous minty green (not my fav but I am not into painting that entire room right now). It looks very nice.

Yesterday afternoon he told me I could start moving my things back to their home. The furnace room cleanse made me look at everything with a critical eye. I had thrown everything... Oh let's be honest, the room had a bunch of fabric in piles everywhere and I tossed it all, along with the machines, in the closet, pushed hard and slammed the door.

Everything came OUT of the closet and it is NOT going back in without a purpose. In short, I have a real mess on my hands. But it will be good in the long run. and hopefully, will help bring my projects into focus. I sure HOPE SO!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Assume the Position

Work is progressing in my sewing area. Scott devised a clever way to hide all the holes put in the ceiling utilities race. Unfortunately, he needs me on "standby" to hold things in place, move drop cloths, aim the light... I have not gotten a THING done this weekend, but I am glad that this is almost over and I can reclaim my space. And he's so DAMN clever!

Sarah returns to school today. She spent yesterday afternoon and evening with DBF and his family. He has 3 days of radiation left. It has taken it's toll. I was shocked at how weary he looked yesterday considering I had seen him only 10 days earlier. He said they have told him it will be at least a week after the last treatment before he starts feeling better.

Must get back to the work! Can't wait until I can move back into my room!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday Already?

This week is passing FAST!

I have woven samples of the 8 towels and decided on "Basketweave" as the final repeat towel. It's the end of the warp and I think there is a distinct difference between the center and sides of the towel. The warp may be just a tad looser in the center and I wonder if that could be the cause.

Progress has ground to a hault as I have had to clear out of my studio area due to our heating system replacement. The installers will need to access the lines and electrical runs in the ceiling so everything had to be moved out of the way. The closet in that room will take years to reorganize: Everything of value that I didn't want left out is in there. Sad discovery when I moved the guest bed... Our chinese wool carpet has been damaged. In a foolhardy attempt to remove one of the several spots, I bleached the color out of a small area. I am going to need a professional to bring her back to her previous state of beauty when we move her back into general living quarters. Then again, who knows when that will be!?

I'm anxious to get back in the room and put everything back in its place. Not only did I have to clear out my studio, everything I store in the furnace room had to be relocated as well. I have a gift wrap center on the back wall of the furnace room and I really would rather put that in the studio, so some rearranging will definately be in order.

DD is home for the weekend so not much will get done for a week at least. I am grateful to be able to see her Pixie face. I do miss her!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Progress report ~ Color as Gamp

Hello~What was my goal? All towels woven by the end of the month? HELLO!

All towels are complete on the loom and now I'm just weaving a small sample of each in high contrast to file behind the instructions. I was very surprised at how quickly some wove up. And surprised how the one PIA pattern, Reflections, ended up being a favorite. With such a simple set up, the variety of patterns available by just taking a couple of minutes to change the tie up, I'm with the article's author, Sharon Alderman. It's hard to STOP :) But I am running out of warp.

Pics by the end of the week, must log off now to finish the last two samples and decide what to do with the remaining warp. I thought about just repeating my favorite, but I ran out of the weft so anything I do at this point is going to be an experiment in color.

I did not attend the Seattle Weavers Guild meeting on Saturday. I am still battling fatigue and had a couple of things that needed to be done: Stitch up a pillow for Ann from her woven piece for the SWG sale in October and spend some time with the delightful DH. He was brewing Saturday. I used to sit with him in the kitchen while he worked and we would have some of our best talks. The last few years, I've worked most Saturdays and that connection... well, it's no longer a connection. So I decided that it was more important to be a brewing couple and I am glad I did. I miss him. Doing something new doesn't need to be done at the expense of something old. How lucky can a woman be to still be with the man she loves, the man she grew up loving, has always loved, still loves? Ask me. I can tell you. She is extraordinarily lucky. And she is me.

I <3 weaving, but I love DH more!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

While I have not posted every day, I have spent at least 10 minutes at the loom each day. I've completed 6 towels in 5 of the 8 patterns. I'm working on the 7th and am not too fond of the emerging pattern. I will power through it anyway!

The biggest challenge I've run into is my floating selvedge on the right side. I've managed to break it twice so it is a patchwork at best. Am I tightening the warp too much, is there too much weight hanging off of it? I'm not sure. Sometimes I think I am going way overboard when I wench it down after advancing the warp, but I don't want sloppy, either. The selvedge looks good where I've not had a break in most of the patterns. A couple are somewhat wavy, but I'm told that is a function of the structure more than my weaving style.

Seattle Weavers Guild has an "unusual" Saturday meeting so I am going to attend. They are generally on Thursdays and this is something new they are trying. We'll stop on the way back at The Weaving Works and I have my shopping list ready. I want to make some of the "holly look" twill towels in the "best of handwoven towels on 8 shafts".

But first will be the dogwood placemats for Betty. They seem fairly straight forward and I have all of the supplies. I thought I'd make 4 for Christmas and see how she likes it. I'm also thinking about something for Jim's chair. Betty always keeps something on the back to protect it from his V05 (how funny that that is still in use in 2010). Since we are trying to keep it a handmade Christmas on our part, he will be a challenge.

That's it for today. I'm excruciatingly tired and a big fat cheat on any lie of a food plan I'm pretending to be on. More on that later. Must regain control. Must.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2001...

I remember this day vividly, as I am sure many millions of people do. I wish rest to the souls lost on that horrible day, peace to those left behind and wisdom to the idiots that failed to learn the lesson of what happens when religion morphs into fanaticism. I am sorry for those in our nation who have no guilt at making American Muslims feel unwelcome in their own country. And I am full of pride and admiration for our President for standing beside them, risking the alienation of some by doing so. You go, President Obama!!!

And now on to something far less important:

Today was another day at work with only a few minutes to weave when I got home. The goal is to get the towels off the loom by the end of September and begin to work on Dear MIL's Christmas placemats. I've completed 1-1/2 of the 6 so if I spend some quality time tomorrow, I will be on track. I'm trying new things (well, it's all new to me since I am a new to the entire weaving thing). For a splash of color, I inserted some sample eyelash yarns near the bottom of towel 2. The effect is really quite nice. Pictures tomorrow.

The Final Say: Rest well, America, and remember your roots.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Sarah!

My darling daughter turned 21 today. She is such a wonderful young woman and we are just so very fortunate to be able to call her "ours".

Sarah is the reason I learned to smock. She was my willing model and never thought it was old fashioned. She thought it was special. When I learned to weave, she told me she was proud of me for learning new things. She motivates me just by being such a good friend.

So today and all of your tomorrows, Miss Sarah, be safe, be happy and always know I love you.



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday is the new Monday... this week :)

The best part about a 3 day weekend is that it's 3 days! And the ensueing work week is only 4. The worst part is that the ensueing work week is only 4, the workload is 5.

I got to play babysitter and ref all day Tuesday at work. When I got home, I made dinner and talked to the boy about his upcoming interview. PLEEAAAAASSSSEEEE let this be the job that gets him on the road to adulthood.

After dinner, I helped Maryann with her warp. She was warping back to front, so this is the 2nd step in her long process. It was fun!

Wednesday ended well, with Maryann visiting MY loom and critiquing my progress. She gave me the thumbs up :) with a couple of pointers to neaten up my selvedge. Then we looked at the mill end samples that came in the mail on Tuesday. We are in trouble. About $100 worth ~ there is just so much out there that looks fun to try!

I am more tired than usual this past week. I don't know if I am edging towards an "episode" or if I am "just tired".

The Final Say: I love my loom and how it's deepened my friendship with Maryann. It is all good.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Shifting Priorities + Stash = Good Sewing / Good Weaving

This is the west end of my sewing room. It's where I weave. The warping board on the wall was made by DH, as were the reed holders on the top of the cabinet. He's also made a bobbin winder and a spool holder. I feel so fortunate that he supports my crafts in so many ways. Note that I am NOT weaving on a bench. After 5 straight days on a wooden bench at Madelyn's school, my ass said NO. The sewing chair works well and my bottom is happy.

Yesterday I worked on warping the loom. This is my first time doing this so it's taken forever. I have 7 + yards of 5/2 pearl cotton on the beam. I warped front to back and all was well until I did my first tabbies. Using strips of fabric as weft, I did about 5 passes and it was EASY to tell that I had made 2 glaring errors somewhere along the way.

1 fix was easy. Cut out the extra warp thread (threaded 2 heddles on shaft 8 in a row), 2nd fix not so easy... I had skipped a heddle on shaft 3. And I don't mean there was a heddle there that I didn't thread: no heddle, no warp.

Being a novice, I tried to cut an extra length of warp and weight it. Trouble is, no heddle. So I did the UNTHINKABLE. I took the bar off of the top, scooted the threaded heddles off to a point that I could slide a new one in, put it on, repeated on the bottom and made a BIG OLE MESS.

Enter DH.

"Can't you just unthread up to the point you made the error and then rethread?"

Duh. The error was about 2 inches in and he was right. I untied the warp from the front apron and one by one, rethreaded until it was right. And because of the nature of my error, I was able to take the thread I had cut off in problem 1 and use it for the fix in problem 2. Thank you Scott!

So now it's tied on and I've woven 8 inches with only one minor error. YEAH! The picture below was taken after about 1 inch of real weaving.
The best part about all of this is that the feeling I had at school was not some kind of spiritual anomaly brought on by excitement, muscle fatigue, lack of sleep and the fellowship of new weavers. It was real.
Today, as the shuttle flies through the shed and my feet work the treadles, I still get that buzz. I still feel like the circuit between my head, hands and feet is complete. And I am grateful beyond measure.
So that is the weaving progress.
I was also going to finish my black knit top. And do some cleaning and sorting.
Priorities change.
DH asked me to make "cozies" for his beer carboys. This is not gourmet sewing, but it's gratifying to be able to be able to do something for him in return for all he's done to get me up and weaving. These were made from fleece in my stash. Fairly simple, with elastic in the top to give some shaping at the top, velcro closures on the side and a vinyl window so he can see the temperature at a glance. He liked the prototype so I stitched up 3 more. It took little over an hour since my newly service machine decided it didn't like the double layers of fleece + the velcro. It shouldn't have been a problem so I'm a bit miffed. May have to drag her back in.
Finishing off laundry and then I'll return season 3 Madmen to Blockbusters. (Such evil fun in that office!) Then I'll finish off the hems of the knit top, finish weaving one towel and call it a success. I didn't complete everything I set out to do, but I'm happy to substitute the carboy covers for cleaning/sorting any day.
The Final Say: It's all about balance. And a DH with an analytical mind doesn't hurt either.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Well now...

My life is infinately better than that last sad post! Updates:

  • Husband has retired!!!!
  • Son is working full time, has an interview Friday for a MUCH BETTER JOB
  • Daughter is back at college and seems so much happier than last year
  • Daugher's BF is nearing the end of his radiation treatment and I know in my heart that he is going to be OKAY from here on out.
  • I have switched jobs, returning to my former position in a much more supportive and sane environment. Less overtime, less responsibility, more respect for what I know.
  • I am learning to weave. It is a completely COMPLETE sensation. It is like the circuit is finally closed.

Three day weekend plans:

  • Warp the loom.
  • Weave one towel
  • Sort through and organize the fabric pile on the floor
  • Finish the black knit top - it's only hems and I have no idea why I keep putting it off!

Three month plan:

  • Get back on my healthier diet: lose the 10 lbs I gained during the summer
  • Incorporate excerise in my life again
  • Weave gifts for Christmas!
  • Blog daily to keep myself on track

The Final Say: I love my husband, children and friends. My life can be as full or as bleak as I choose and I choose full.