Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gifts from Afar

It's amazing, this year my "gifts" all came from "afar," from western WI, Oregon, and as far away as Australia.

Four days or so before Christmas, I found a slip in my mailbox telling me I had a package to pick up at the post office. I went over that afternoon, and found it was from Jill Lynch in Australia. Jill is a member of the Complex Weavers Double Harness Study Group that I chair. I stood in the post office wondering why? What was I forgetting?

Well what could I do, since there were no other customers, but open it up right there! Inside I found a beautiful card, thanking me for sending her a copy of "Damast," a book I had bought when I purchased a portion of weaver Nastche Milan's weaving library. I already had a copy of that booklet, but added it to my purchase knowing someday someone would come along to pass it along to. (Nastche, your copy is now with Jill in Australia!)

There were two "packages" in the box, and opening the first, I found a "Weavers Interest Group Calendar," with a page for each month and each page has two color photos of beautiful woven pieces by members of the group. By the way, Jill Lynch is on the cover, front row, far left. It's a wonderful idea for private weaving groups or guilds.

Opening the second "package" I found a beautiful handspun, handwoven twill scarf, woven by Barbara Sanders (in the group). It's a really lovely piece, and following instructions of the local postmaster (woman), I put it on and wore it for the rest of my afternoon out. It was a cold, cold day, and I don't think I really noticed, just felt wonderful wearing this beautiful gift from weavers in Australia. Thank you, Jill (and Barbara), I'll be thinking of you both everytime I wear it.

Earlier in December, LaVonne Stucky, who I know from the Tasha Tudor Yahoo group "Take Peace," wrote on Facebook that she was making needle-felted angels. I asked her if she would make a couple for me, and a few days later they were in my mailbox! Upon opening the package, they immediately were hung from the fireplace mantle in my weaving studio where I can admire them each time I'm working there.

The last day of the Fall Northwoods Art Tour, Mary Nysted stopped by. She had seen in my brochure that I have Glimakra looms, and wanted to inquire if I was interested in purchasing a small Toika loom she had from her former weaving business, which she closed in 1992, the year I moved up here. Oh yes, I was interested. We arranged that she would bring it when she would be in the area at Christmas.

On Tuesday, Dec. 29th, the loom arrived. It's a 27" Toika "Laila," has 6 shafts and 6 treadles, and is countermarche. Mary only used it a few times, and it's been in storage for the past 17 years or so, which accounts for the "new" look of the wood.

Since the loom had been in her car for a few days (out in the icy cold), and was moved into a dry house with a woodburner, I'm giving it a few days for the wood to acclimate. I can, however, straighten out the string heddles, tighten wing nuts, and in another four days or so, use a wood hammer to tighten up the pegs for more stability. I can also plan a first project and warp for this loom.

I think it will be a wonderful loom for sampling and for smaller projects. It's a nice addition to my weaving studio, and I just need to do a little rearranging tomorrow to make a place for it.

My other "Gift" this year was family, my children, all here at Christmas. This meant a lot to me as it may be the last time for awhile. Next year both daughters will be in college, and my son is talking about joining a branch of the military after graduation next June. They all mean so much to me, and are now growing up and going out into the world. I'm so proud of each of them, and the time is coming for them to make their own lives away from home. Letting go is difficult, but the goal was always for each of them to be independent, and to lead good lives.

But, I can't look back too often, I must look forward and begin to create a new life for myself. What do I want, where do I want to live, what other responsibilities do I have, where do I want to go with my weaving? All questions to quietly ponder on this New Year's Eve. Happy New Year, and may 2010 be all you hope it will be.

The Blur Called December

It's late afternoon, snow is falling, New Year's Eve is a few hours away, and I sit here wondering how December went by so quickly. Yet when looking back at photos, I can see where it sent.

I worked a couple days at Artistree Gallery, which had been dressed Northwoods Style for the holidays. Lots of wonderful art including fiber arts. I sat, Christmas music on, knitting a scarf and watching a number of cars go up the street with a Christmas tree tied to the roof, a most pleasant, homey sight.

On December 5th, Emilie and Anna were over to learn about wet-felting wool. They wanted to make some felted items to give as Christmas gifts. I sent them home with bags dyed wool and my drum carder to continue felting at home.

I did a lot of sock-cranking in December, right up until a couple days before Christmas as quite a number of people ordered socks to give as Christmas gifts.

I still have four pairs of socks to crank, socks not needed by Christmas. Now, with the New Year, it's time to restock Artistree Gallery with socks and weaving, and begin cranking again for next summer's art shows.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Long Ago Weaver

A couple weeks before Thanksgiving, a post came in from the Weaving Sales Ads list. An old temple was for sale, and it had a name and date engraved on the underside, "A. Halvorsdatter, 1850." My fingers flew across the keyboard to get a reply sent off, yes, I was interested in purchasing it.

On my way to our monthly weaving guild meeting, I stopped at our mailbox and found a long package, the temple! It was about an hour's drive to get to Marcia's home, and I managed to wait until I got there to open the package.

There it was, 25 inches in length, with most of the original brads, though slightly bent. The pin, to push through the holes at desired size, was attached with green yarn. The temple will open to 41 inches, though to use it, the pin needs straightening.

My paternal grandparents came here from Norway, around 1918. My grandmother's name was Severina Simonsdatter. Hence my interest in a piece of weaving equipment that may have been owned/used by a young woman of Norwegian or Swedish descent. In Norwegian, "datter" means daughter.

How I would love to know who A. Halvorsdatter was. Where did she live, both here and very likely in the "old country?" What did she weave? Was she born in Norway or Sweden and brought this temple with her? You never know what weaving gift will appear in your mailbox, or your life. A small piece of A. Halvorsdatter now lives on in another weaver's home studio.

(Note: When I took the photo, I had neglected to turn one piece over so the pointed brads on each end were facing down; that has been corrected.)

I was away for several days, enjoying time with family members. Now? Back home in my weaving studio, enjoying the beginning of winter.