Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Time Out to Give Thanks...

These days, I am giving thanks over and over for friends and area church members willing to help their neighbors. The wood delivered here for this winter turned out to be freshly cut maple, not dry, and delivered right before school started. A couple art shows and the Fall Art Tour on my calendar along with problems with the log splitter delayed working on the wood to the point of keeping me awake nights wondering how we would get it done.

A good friend, Nancy, called to tell me her church has a crew that enjoys helping people out, and they were more than willing to come here and take care of our wood. This past Saturday at 8:30 AM, ten members of the St. Germain and Conover Evangelical Free Churches arrived here, and in six hours, using chain saws and two log splitters, had cut, split, and stacked 5 loggers cords of wood.

The job was finished at 2:30 PM, and a few minutes taken for photos (four adults had had to leave earlier) before loading up the log splitter and chain saws they had brought.

Also helping were my daughter, Linnea, and Nancy's daughters, Anna and Emilie. They worked hard all day and kept up with the men. Keesha kept everyone company and was always up for some petting. I also spent some time at our log splitter (now with a new motor put on a few days ago). Nancy had arrived early Saturday AM with chili, homemade cinnamon-apple sweet rolls, and a big coffee pot, and I made two pans of cornbread and served the food. The weather was perfect on Saturday, sunny, around 60 and a light breeze.

I still have half of the left half of the woodshed with dry wood from last winter, now being burned on colder evenings. On warmer non-burning days/nights the thermostat is kept at 64 or 65 degrees. The new wood will need time to dry and likely can't be burned until at least January (maple dries faster than oak). For now, on nice days, the wood is uncovered so sun and wind can help the drying along. When rain (or snow) is expected, tarps cover the tops of the woodpiles.

So, my continuing thanks to everyone who gave up several hours of their Saturday to help a northwoods neighbor. You are, and remain, in my thoughts and prayers.

I have had a couple weeks of dealing with home, family, and recently making the decision to move back to southern WI, hopefully next summer. I love our home here in the northwoods, and very thankful for 17 years up here, 13 years in this house. However, with my husband gone five years now and my last two children leaving home in less than a year, I've reached the conclusion that this house is too big and too much maintenance for me alone. The time has come for to move on and start a new life. I've been making lists of what to keep, give, toss, and take to thrift stores. Now, the work of moving begins.

Today I am working in the studio sewing strips for rag rugs. Another shuttle is filled and waiting at the loom, and several more sheets are waiting to be cut into strips and sewn together. While working, I am wondering how I will get everything done and still be able to do MY studio work. Somehow, I will make it all happen. A new adventure begins.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Loom Maintenance

It's a clear, sunny day in the northwoods, a fair amount of light coming into my (log) studio space, making it a good day for some loom maintenance.

I sat down to weave on the rug late yesterday afternoon and could not get a clear tabby shed with my left tabby treadle. I finally discovered some Texsolv heddles had fallen off the bottoms of some shafts, and when that happens they often catch on moving neighboring shafts, causing problems. I recalled having to move heddles from one shaft to another, and now noticed I had not replaced the long strings going around the bottom shaft bars.

This morning, I sat down, put all the heddles back on each shaft, making sure none were twisted. Then, one shaft at a time, replaced those strings, going around the bottom of each shaft bar, outside of the heddles, and making sure I had not included the long Texsolv cords from jacks to lamms.

As you can see in the photo, the Texsolv cords on the top shafts bars keep heddles from working their way off the ends. Adding a string around the bottom shafts bars keeps heddles from dropping off and causing problems while weaving. I highly recommend this, and based on my experience today, can tell you it is much easier to do before your loom is warped, beater is on, and weaving is in progress. I learned this tip long ago from Ken Colwell.

As long as I'm doing loom maintenance, I'm also checking the wedges that hold the loom together and tightening up any that can be pulled out or feel loose. With the woodburner being used daily, the air in here is getting dry. When that happens, beating can cause damage when loom parts are not tight. This is something I check throughout the winter months. Reminder to self: add a huge pot of water to the top of the woodburner for the rest of the winter.

I've checked the tabby sheds and they are clear. Now I just need to move my loom back into place, and sit down to weave. Life is good.