Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What a Year!

Looking back over this year makes my head spin.  It has been a big big year.  Huge.  Mark became Dr. Mark and is slowly getting used to the frame piece of paper on his wall.  He began a new chapter in his professional life and is setting his own goals.

We've done a lot of traveling - Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona and I attended Convergence.  This past year at school has been huge.  My work continues to change and grow.  I love what I'm learning and I'm beside myself with excitement for the spring semester.

I'm gathering images and thoughts for a future project (hopefully more on that later in the year).

We are expecting some additions to our grouping of family and friends.  Two babies!  My needles and looms have been busy to welcome them.

We had a huge loss this year.  Slowly we are adjusting, and the family has circled to cope.

I really don't know what to think about 2015.  I've learned to be flexible and open to what may come.   So what's the plan for this year?  Travel some, home improvement tasks and school.  I think it is going to be a good year.

See past commitments: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.

Happy New Year!

On the loom - a bit of fabric for home improvement.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Chance Meetings

The fall semester is over.  My house is cleaned, the refrigerator stocked with goodies for game night tonight, and my loom studio is reasonably straightened.  All is good.  Unless we talk about my dye studio, but we won't mention that beyond here.

I have a lot of work to do over break.  I'm putting together an application for a future endeavor, I have some pieces that need finishing, and a few personal projects that I'd like to get finished.

Recently I went for a walkabout of a local antique mall.  I came home with some goodies.

A few reference books for textiles and two huck embroidered towels.  I've never seen huck towels before, but I'm familiar with the weave structure.  I love these towels and I left two others behind.  Until the other day that is, when I went back to get them.  I was wandering about and a vendor looked over my shoulder and asked me about them.  She had just brought in a needle kit with patterns for huck towels.  She showed the kit to me and we chatted for a bit.  I love chance encounters like this and of course I bought the kit home with me.  There are a few unfinished towels inside, fabric, needles, floss and two pattern books copyright 1936!

Guess what else I'll be doing over break?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It's the Little Things

I love finding solutions to problems.  If they are easy and cheap - all the better!

Lighting Fix

I have looked and looked for a lamp like this one!  Most clip lights are made for horizontal surfaces that just don't work for weaving looms.  Enter this beauty by Ottlite.  It has a pivoting hinge by the clip and can be positioned for vertical or horizontal surfaces.  I like working with full spectrum lighting and the Ottlites have that feature.  Best of all it was $31.99 at Office Depot.  The same model is on their website listed at $36.99.  Joann Fabrics sells a similar model for $79.99!

Loom Storage and Note Strip

I needed a little bin on top of the Harrisville for bobbins, yarns, etc.  Harrisville makes a tool tray for most of their looms.  They are nice, but I wouldn't have room for the clip light and I didn't need something that big. I found this letter bin at The Container Store that is perfect.  It is just the footprint I need to fit comfortably on top of the castle.  I secured it to the loom with a mini bungee cord and it stays put with the vibration of the loom.  Next I picked up a small metal strip with magnets to post weaving notes and drafts.

The strips come with adhesive strips which didn't stick to the plastic of the bin.  No problem. I have three super strong magnets (sold as neodymium magnets) attaching the strip to the back side of the basket.  Perfect.  I usually use these magnets to hold cartoons when weaving inlay or tapestry work.  

Book Fix

This one is a long time favorite.  I take my flat bound books to Kinko's and have the binding sliced off and round bound with a spiral.  Now the book will lay flat or can be fold.  I've had this done to a lot of cookbooks, Mark's music books and a lot of my weaving texts.  

Friday, November 14, 2014

Putting it All Together

Recently I had the opportunity to purchase a loom in kit form.  I had carefully considered my needs, my list of loom should haves and then committed.  The lovely folks at the Yarn Barn helped in the process.  Soon my loom was delivered in two big boxes.  With a booklet of instructions and some deep breaths, I set to work.

First the wood needed to be finished.  Finishing was a little sanding and then two coats of a natural color oil.  There was a lot of wood to touch, but in all the first coat only took me about forty minutes.  The second coat went quicker.

The next day, I cleared the decks and set to assembly.  Bit by bit it took shape.

And then suddenly it was done.  Suddenly might be a bit hasty language wise.  In truth it took me a few hours on a Saturday and a few more on a Sunday.  The results?  A little loom that I love.  This is a little 8 shaft Harrisville Designs 22" loom.  It has all the traits that I love from the larger Macomber which shares the studio.  It is reasonably transportable and weaves beautifully.

 I put on a small sampling warp to check the tensioning, brake and to see if I needed to fiddle with anything.  The loom performs beautifully and soon I'll put a hand painted warp on and away we'll go.

By assembling my own loom, I learn a lot about how it all connects.  I feel confident that I know how everything works and how to fix what might need to be tweaked.  It was even fun.  The directions were mostly clear, but I did find the brake directions a bit confusing.  I did figure them out and I'll include these photos just in case anyway needs them in a desperate Google search.

Warp brake assembly

Brake release positioning

Friday, July 11, 2014

Prepping for Convergence

I'm heading out soon for HGA's Convergence conference.  The last two weeks have been a mad rush to finish things for deadline, prep, clean the house and get my head ready for the largest weaving gathering I've ever been too.

I was awarded a student assistantship in May; it a tremendous opportunity and I'm so grateful I get to go.  There are various duties students are asked to do and one of them is assisting a teacher in a class.  I will Rebecca Mezoff in her color gradation class and I'm very much looking forward to meeting her.  I am taking her online tapestry class this summer and I've followed her blog for years.  I picked up a Mirrix tapestry loom a few weeks ago from The Yarn Barn while traveling through Lawrence, KS.  I wonder what the TSA will think when they see the loom in my suitcase?  And the yarn, and tapestry tools....

I'll also go on a bus tour to the American Textile History Museum which has a very interesting website.  I've made a list of the all the gallery exhibitions, and started packing everything I'll need for a very exciting week.

I'm looking forward to meeting folks I've only known online and in print.  It will be great to expand my network of people who understand and can nerd out over textiles as much as I can.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer Start Up

Summer has arrived and things have possibly slowed down a bit.  Mark graduated a few weeks ago and it was a wonderful time.  It was nice to have a ritual to note such a monumental achievement.  He was happy and I was so proud.

We slipped away for a few days to Lexington, Kentucky.  Kentucky has always been one of my favorite states.  When I was a kid I declared any place that had horses on their license plates was my kind of place.  I begged my father to rip up our old lawn and plant bluegrass.  Perhaps I thought if we planed bluegrass, horses would sprout up as well.  This trip was quick, but just the refreshment we needed.

I have some deadlines early this summer and I'm weaving to meet them!  This piece and I will sit together for awhile.  It is a large brocade tapestry that I'm quite excited about.  My work took a turn towards the end of the semester and something clicked.  Through the encouragement of my peers and professor, I'm embracing some intuitive design concepts and going big.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Finished Work

The semester is flying to a close and I've been running to keep up.  This semester has been about transitions and experimentation.  I'm finding myself at a time of discernment.  Now that certain life questions have been answered, it has led to others of a more personal nature.  Weaving provides a lot of time to work through issues and questions.  While all my questions haven't been answered, I've been learning a lot through the interlacement of warp and weft.

Mathematical Woven Doctorate
21" x 20"
Hand dyed cotton double weave pick up wall piece.  

Woven for my husband on the occasion of his graduation.  This piece incorporates imagery from his doctoral thesis. 

Painted Warp Ikat Overshot Fabric
19" x 21"

9.25" x 11.5" tapestry mounted on grey canvas 14" x 16"
Hand dyed cotton 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tools We Have

This past weekend I had the opportunity to pick up a few new to me tools for weaving.  I came home with five gently used shuttles to use to move my yarn from one selvedge to the other.  I sat down this morning to begin to use one.   I discovered the previous owner had written her name on the side of the shuttle and it has fadden over time.  I did not know this weaver but many in the guild knew her, loved her and helped disburse her weaving stash after she passed away.

I have very few tools that are new.  Most have had long use by others.  My looms are used.  Most of my spinning wheels aver very old and have grooves from long ago spinners.  Even my hand tools are used - hammers, wrenches, saws and others are all from my dad and perhaps they can trace their use beyond him.

I love old tools.  I love sitting at my looms,  thinking about the people that once sat before them to bind warp and weft together.  I love sitting at the wheels, thinking about fibers binding together to create yarn.  Old tools bring a shared history and memory into new years, new uses and help the makers always be present in the making.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

At It Again

I thought I'd share some progress photos of my current piece on the loom at school.

This piece is a double weave pick up wall hanging with a lot of special woven into the cloth.  I designed it to incorporate elements of Mark's dissertation.  I worked his PhD into a lot of my work at school last year and it is still lingering in a few pieces.  This woven cloth was started in the last four weeks of the semester and obviously, I didn't finish it then.  I've been haunted by problems with this work. So it lingers and I've finally reached my Zen in the weaving.   The weaving is pleasurable again and I finally reached the halfway point yesterday.

Once the weaving is complete, I'll do a lot of embroidery to finish off the imagery.  

In other double weave news, my Time Squared piece was accepted into the Undergraduate Exhibition at SIUE.  

Friday, January 31, 2014

An Amazing Feat

Something happened yesterday.  My husband's pursuit of this doctorate degree came to a final climax.  I've been trying to come up with something profound to say about the experience.  Perhaps it is still too new.  He successfully defended his dissertation yesterday and I'm awe of him.  I took off school to attend the open session where he spoke for an hour.  I've heard the talk a before and the preliminary ones too.   One would think that it would increase my understanding of what his research was all about.  The truth of it is I have no idea what he has worked on the past six plus years that I've known him.

Before I met Mark, I had no idea people researched algebra.  I had no idea that math was so big and had its own divisions and areas.  Now many years out, I get that it is a whole world.  The parts that I can understand are incredibly detailed and ..... beautiful.  I've been to the joint mathematics conferences three times now and each time I'm in awe.  Mathematicians are a unique tribe and I'm glad that I've gotten to know their world.

Though I don't understand what Mark has been doing all these years, I get other parts.  I understand how hard this has been.  It has been hard on us individually and as a couple.  I often joked to friends that I was a math widow.  Weekends were hit and miss.  Sometimes he would steal away, but then he would miss out on work time.  I also understand how difficult it is to go after something you really want, even when people, life and circumstance all seem to get in the way.  I get that you have to have persistence and stamina even when you think both are limited. We've had a lot of life changes over our time together.  Yet he persisted and now he is on the other side.  He is Dr. Pedigo now.  He just has to fix a few minor formatting issues and submit the paper.  In May, he will put on his robes and have a bit of a walk.  What's a little walk, when he has come so far already?

I'm proud of him.