Saturday, December 17, 2011

Steady Work Is Good

This is Saturday.  My studio is Open to the Public, as it has been on Saturdays for the last month.  Signs out on the street, and at the top of the path down to my door.  This place is off the beaten path of the village of Freeland, so folks don't just automatically pass by; I have to entice them.  A few have come today, but no buyers.  Still, they're interested by the process, and attracted to the product.  They won't forget . . . .

The series of photos below shows the beginning of the "Merlot" scarves.  A deep wine 100% bamboo, shown first on the cone, then measured out as a nine-yard warp on the warping board, enough for four scarves, each with a different weft and pattern.  Related, but nowhere near identical -- the story of my weaving life.

Looking at the threaded and tensioned warp from the back of the loom -- an interesting perspective on threads and heddles, which gives a wee hint of the curvature of the threading sequence.
Contrast that with this, the backside view of the "Summer Nights" series, now nearly finished:

That's a simple 12-shaft point twill threading, on which I've been weaving quite complex advancing twill treadlings, to make long motifs that interlock both horizontally and vertically.  Hard to see on all that color and texture, but it all peeks out when the light hits it just right.

That's the second of the three scarves, as it moves along its trajectory to the cloth beam at the back of the loom,

and this is the third (and last) one, still in process, with the pattern partially visible and the high-tech measuring device at the left edge.

The Summer Nights series will be done Monday, and off the loom for washing and detailing (as I call the rest of the process of getting them ready to be sold).  The Merlot series will certainly be done before the end of the year, and probably well before at the rate it's going.  The next warps for both looms are all planned and the patterns designed, so that the empty-loom time will be minimal.  I'm on a roll these days now that all the seasonal shows are done, and life in general seems to be slowing down -- in keeping with the season -- and I'm going to ride this wave while it's still carrying me so splendidly.  Time later on for some goofing off, which will allow me to catch up on a hefty backlog of reading.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Slowing Down At Last

For the past several weeks, my pace has been faster and more relentless than I would have chosen.  Lots of good things going on -- shows, family here for Thanksgiving, the needs of an increasingly incapacitated husband, and spending time at the looms to Make Stuff.  With the exception of one more gig on the 17th -- a local (Freeland area) artists' open studio day -- my public events are over with.  And a good thing too, as I've had enough, and am tired of being ON while longing for long stretches of quiet attentive time at my work.  Lots of new ideas beginning to swarm in my mind, and several commissions to work on during the winter.

Above are some shots of work on the "Hot Stuff" series -- first, the seven yards on the warping board (three scarves worth), then the width of the warp as it came off the warp beam at the back of the loom, and finally a portion of #1 in the series in process, woven with a turquoise bamboo.  #2 was woven with a red-purple tencel, and #3 with a dusty orange tencel.  They were snapped up at the Anne X 2 studio sale on Thanksgiving weekend.

 Above is "Summer Nights" on the warping board; again seven yards, enough for three scarves.  And just below is the same warp, up close and personal so as to see the lovely bumpies in the yarn.

 Summer Nights coming off the warp beam, under tension, all threaded with tension adjusted and ready to weave up front.  Below is the first scarf as it wends its way toward the cloth beam.  The warp is a hand-dyed rayon/cotton with wonderful slubs; the weft for this first piece is a deep purple pearl cotton.
 The second scarf in the series is begun, but no photos taken yet.  That'll be tomorrow, I think, and yes I promise to share.  Right now I'm going to go play with some new patterns I've been developing in my mind, see if I can make them work in the design software.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Show's Over

This has been the most stunningly colorful Autumn we've had in many years, due to the relative dryness of October and early November, coupled with mild days and cool nights.  For example:

That's the kind of color that makes me glad to be alive.  I've always been unable to comprehend why people don't  like Autumn.  They say it's because it's the harbinger of Winter -- even my sister says that.  Hanh??!!??  Of course Autumn comes before Winter, and prepares the way.  But how could one let that "concern" over-ride awareness and appreciation of this:

Or this:

Glorious.  And our garden has been full of this kind of thing for weeks.  The big windstorm a few nights ago flung lots of the color onto the ground, but these Japanese Maples don't all follow the same schedule, so many are still heart-lifters.  And in the sometimes grey light of an overcast day, the glow of golds and blaze of burgundy and scarlet are reason enough to love this quirky season.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Starting Hot Stuff

Yesterday I delivered some new work to Raven Rocks Gallery -- two "Summer Flowers" scarves and one "Lava Flow" shawl.  With Lynne's help, we got them well displayed on my rack there, and I dutifully did the inventory paperwork.  It was a gorgeous late Autumn afternoon, so I drove home by a roundabout route, following only side roads and dawdling happily along.

Today the next round of new work begins.  This is "Hot Stuff" on the warping board -- seven yards of it.  It's a hand-dyed cotton/rayon I've had for years that I've been reluctant to use because it's pretty strong.  But now, with a long grey wet winter approaching, it seems like just the ticket for me and for prospective purchasers.  And here it is all nicely choke-tied and chained up, ready to put on the loom:

It doesn't look as intense on my computer screen as it does in the flesh, but I assure you that it's lively indeed.  This warp will produce three scarves, each woven with a different weft yarn (I think they'll all be tencel or bamboo) and each with a different pattern.  In thirty years of weaving, I've never done the same thing twice; every item is unique.  This practice ensures that I don't get bored with my work . . . .


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Catching up with myself

It's been a long time since I visited here.  Too long.  Summer is always busy, focusing on producing plenty of new work for my Autumn shows, and this year also to keep providing Raven Rocks Gallery with new work each month.  All of which has been complicated this year by the deterioration in health and functioning of my husband, and the consequent need on my part to do far more on the homefront as well as to orchestrate and coordinate visits to medical professionals primarily on the mainland.  And now, either I'm getting used to the complexity or things have slowed down a little.  Not sure which.  Maybe both.

 The Salt Water Taffy series of scarves
 Doing the beaded hemstitching on one of the Flame series of scarves.
Close-up of two of the Vanilla Creme series of scarves.
I'll put up some more photos in a few days, as I get into the habit of taking them regularly, and as I establish a practice of writing down things here.
Upcoming events -- The Anne X 2 studio show & sale November 25 and 26
                                  Friends of Freeland Arts & Crafts show in early December
           Further information to be found here soon.

And, of course, my work is available here in my studio, as well as at Raven Rocks Gallery at Greenbank Farm here on Whidbey Island.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Today seems like the real, honest-to-gawd First Day of Spring here on Whidbey Island -- clear and sunny with a nice breeze, temperature around 70 degrees.  Tomorrow will be much the same, they say.  I've got both windows wide open, the shades partway down so the sunlight doesn't bleach the finished items hanging near the window, and the door propped half open with a spare large flowerpot.  I'm wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt for the first time since early last Fall.  

New work has been moving forward at a good pace lately, and I took four new scarves up to Raven Rocks Gallery on Thursday, where I learned that a previous scarf -- from the Tropical Waters series -- had been sold a few days before.  Makes a weaver's heart glad.  The following pictures (well, snapshots really) show some of the most recent output.

That's Vanilla Creme Series #1, headed for the cloth beam.  Bamboo warp, slubby rayon weft.

And this one's Vanilla Creme Series #2 still in process.  Again, bamboo warp, but this time with a natural linen/cotton weft.  Both these are now done and in the gallery.

These are Flame Series #3 and #4 -- hand-dyed silk noil warp.  The weft for #3 is a fine black wool wrapped with a red metallic, so it glitters when the light hits it right.  #4's weft is a ruby-red tencel, and while the complex pattern doesn't show up really well, it does a nice job of playing peek-a-boo.  These two also are now in the gallery, and look terrific under the bright, angled gallery lighting.

I'm off to the Library to pick up some books and then home for the rest of the weekend.  My vegetable garden will get a hunk of my time tomorrow -- my special tomato plants arrived yesterday, and need to get into their big black plastic pots situated against the south wall of the house.  That's the closest I can get to having optimal conditions for them here in this (relatively) cool maritime climate.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The End

Finally!  The Flame warp is finished.  You can see from this photo that I didn't have much choice but to end it, and as it is, the last scarf is four inches shorter than my standard 72 inches woven.  I don't like having so little left behind the heddles, but since I cut the first two scarves off and tied the warp back on, I lost at least six inches of available warp.  I plan my warp lengths pretty tightly, leaving little extra, so as not to waste much of a beautiful hand-dyed yarn. 

Tomorrow I'll do the beaded hemstitching, then cut these last two pieces off the loom, clean off the loom and the floor around it.  I drop all snippets and schniddles onto the floor as I'm working, and pick it all up at the very end.  Seems more efficient.

The yellow cord divides the twill pattern of the overall scarf from the plain weave ending which serves as the base for the hemstitching.  As I work across (right to left), I gradually pull the cord to the left, leaving a neat space between the twill and the tabby so I can easily see where I need to place my stitches.  I don't remember if someone showed me this trick, or I figured it out long ago, but it makes the whole hemstitching-at-the-end process go smoothly.

The next warp for this loom is ready to go on, and the warping process will begin tomorrow.  It's a pale ecru 100% bamboo yarn, very smooth and lustrous, and will be the foundation for a series of four "pale neutral" scarves, appropriate for the warmer part of the year.  All four weft yarns will be just slightly lighter or darker than the warp, with complex twill patterning, so the overall effect will be tone on tone.  Very subtle.  I do a series along these lines once or twice a year, always a stretch for me, as I much prefer working with lots of color.  However, as an occasional venture, this kind of scheme is rather restful.