Saturday, July 31, 2010

Working in the Outdoor Studio

I've been seeing a hummingbird visiting the fuchsia frequently so thought I'd get a few photos of the blooms before they fade. While taking these pics, to my amazement, I was buzzed all the way around by the hummer! Ah,... I'm wearing a bright red shirt working out here today!

The blooms are just amazing!

My dwarf apple tree has a few apples on it this year. I don't recall the variety, but it is one bred to survive the subzero temps of Zone 4. I've yet to eat an apple off this tree, the kids always got to them first. They like green apples so they were eaten before I considered them ripe. This year, they were "warned" to leave the apples alone! I'm hoping there will be enough for an Apple Pie or a pan of Apple Crisp.

While out on the porch this afternoon, I thought I'd get some wool soaking. Oh No! I'd forgotten everything on my "outdoor studio," (lakeside porch, just outside my weaving studio door) was covered with tree pollen. Then thinking about the predictions for rain, decided I'd clean-up today and wash wool tomorrow. After wiping down the plastic sheeting on the table, and washing some of my enamel pots (canners) and enamel basins, the sun was peaking out, so decided I'd set wool to soak in two pots, a manageable amount as it was late afternoon.

Nicely crimped wool, possibly Romney, from Humble Hills Farm (McMurray).

Drying racks are set up and standing by.

It's been a multi-tasking afternoon. A little photography, threading a loom, cleaning up part of the porch and washing wool, several sheets washed, dried, and waiting to be "sliced & diced" for a rug, and updating my blog.

Right now, back to the outdoor studio to rinse wool and lay it out to dry.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Upcoming WI Fiber Events

First, fiber-related news,...

The WI Sheep and Wool Festival is coming up Sept. 10-12, 2010, at the Jefferson, WI Fairgrounds. Classes, workshops, vendors, sheep, it's a great three-day event.

I Googled "Wisconsin Spin-In" to find the dates of this years event and found that since it would have been a week or so after the WI Sheep and Wool Festival, and that it has been postponed to April 7-9, 2011, at the Schauer Arts Center in Hartford, WI, sponsored by the Friendly, Feisty, Fiber Guild.

The Midwest Felting Symposium took place several days ago, held in Madison, WI, and sponsored by Susan's Fiber Shop.

Website links for these events are in "WI Links," just scroll down the page, right hand column. Check the sites for further information.

The WI Surface Design Association blog is listed as well. I was recently asked if I would like to contribute three or four posts to it, so must work on those before long.

* * * * * * * * * *

Re-threading the drawloom has taken me quite awhile, and taken a toll on my back. Not wanting to remove ground shafts, lamms, and treadles, and only so much room when sitting inside the long back extension, I've had to resort to bending over the sides of the back extension when threading the outer quarter (300+ threads) on each side, not nearly as comfortable as when I could sit inside the loom. I'm happy to report the pattern heddles will be done tonight, then I can begin re-threading the long-eye ground shaft heddles, which doesn't take nearly as long, and I can do that sitting comfortably at the front of the loom.

When I needed to relieve the discomfort, I would putter around the studio for a few minutes, and recent puttering included adding a couple blog posts. I found Blogger had added a few new Design Templates. In keeping with the changes coming in my weaving, I decided to change the look of my blog, too, and am slowly adding new features including a couple more weaving blogs as well as starting a Felting Blogs list.


There are quite a few weavers on Facebook, and an amazing number of felters from around the world. It is inspiring to see the work of these people! What is needed is finding a balance between reading and seeing what other fiber artists are doing, and ensuring plenty of time for your own work.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Like a Kaleidoscope...

I'm just back home from an overnight trip down to southern WI to attend a family funeral. Trying to keep myself entertained and alert on the five hour drive home, I started thinking more about what direction to take my weaving.

My mind was going over a wide range of possiblities, considering some, rejecting others. I had stopped at Joanne Fabrics in Wausau and was looking at a couple books, and all of a sudden, like the small stone chips in a kaleidoscope falling into place,... I suddenly knew what direction I wanted to take.

In the past I would wonder what weaving project to do next. There was no real focus, no real learning or study. My life during those years had a lot to do with that. One friend suggested I specialize in just one kind of weaving or weaving just one item. Sorry, that's just not me! I knew I needed an area to focus in on yet needed it broad enough, flexible enough to give me some variety. My new-found focus will do that plus give me the learning and study I've been longing for.

Sorry, this is not a tease, but I'm just not ready to share specifics yet, I'm still
discovering the possibilities and how I can adapt it to the weaving I want to do.
It will show up here in good time. I'm just starting the information and supply list/gathering stage.

Meanwhile, I have a loom to get up and running, looms to warp, and a warp to finish which will be shared here. Right now, back to the looms, I'm in dire need of new photos to post here!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"What are you waiting for?"

In my last post I mentioned having two art/craft shows coming up. Within 24 hours of posting, I decided I would not be participating in them this year. In fact, I was, for the time being, not making work to sell at the gallery or area shows. I just did not need additional deadlines and time pressures right now. Time in the studio was becoming less enjoyable and I needed to make positive changes.

You see, I was married, and 31 years of age when I took my first weaving classes. A few years later we had a daughter and four years after that we moved north. Later, we adopted a son, then a daughter, so family life, homeschooling, church, community activites took up most of my life, and weaving became an occasional activity. I started making towels and table runners to sell, then added wool socks, thankful to have the opportunities. And all through those years, ideas I had remained unrealized.

Well, this fall I'll be 60, it's nearly 30 years later, and I'm asking myself "what are you waiting for?" An empty nest is coming up fast so I am busy now setting things in place to give me work to do that I love, goals and dreams to achieve. There is so much more to learn about weaving, color, design, dyeing, spinning, felting, and more.

Will I ever sell my work again? I expect I will, I receive occasional emails and phone calls asking if I could make this or that. I may be back in the gallery and doing three or four art shows again next year, after work on the house is done.
But even then, the learning and weaving what I WANT to weave must come first.

I'm very excited about the possibilities! It's time to bring the fun and sense of adventure back into the studio. It's time to learn, explore, create, and turn the ideas into reality. Shuttle Works Studio is becoming a place to make new things happen, one step at a time. Let the adventures begin!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Change is In The Wind

I've been thinking a lot lately about the changes coming in my life, decisions needing to be made, both personal, home, and weaving/fibers. Perhaps that is why I'm not getting enough done, too much thinking about it all.

My weaving and fiber activities have slowed to a crawl, yet I need to keep it all going on some level. This blog, for example, has had few posts this year, primarily because it is supposed to be about weaving etc., and if I'm not doing a lot there is not much to photograph or write about here.

Faster progress is needed in getting rid of stuff (landfill and thrift shops).
Perhaps a big dumpster outside my garage door would help? I could just toss it all right out the second floor window, much easier than hauling it all away. And really, this lack of progress comes down to two things, making decisions, and letting go of the past.

I know I need to move on with my life, new home, new locale, and hopefully new and better habits! Having put my family first for so much of my life, I'm just not used to putting myself first. What do I want? Where to live? What style of house? Oh wait, that one is easy, a weaving studio with a bed, bath, and kitchen.

So, a quick fiber update:

- The drawloom is still a work in progress, I am re-threading it down to a five shaft satin in hopes that dealing with fewer shafts, I can get it working properly. I had hoped to be done re-threading by now, but several days away put me behind, as well as trying to make progress elsewhere in the house.

- I called Vavstuga the other day and ordered the DVD "Dress Your Swedish Drawloom." I have the video, but the old TV and VCR are not going to last much longer, and the newer TV has a bit bigger screen, as well as being easier to move back down to the studio if needed.

- I'm about to start cranking socks again (after a six month hiatus) as I have two art/craft shows coming up.

- The heddles were removed, counted, and put back on the little Toika Llaila loom, and it is now ready to warp.

- The loaned out 22" Harrisville (8 shaft) is back in my weaving studio, also ready to warp.

- Warps have been calculated for both looms. Half-bleached cottolin was ordered and waiting for me to settle at the warping mill.

- Remaining rug warp still waiting for me to sit down and weave. Strips need to be cut and sewn, this time plan to cut them 1" or 1 1/4" to make a bit thinner rug, after seeing a couple OLD rag rugs at an antique show a couple days ago.

It occurred to me again today, I had just started weaving on this drawloom (and very little as I had a young child), when my husband decided he would retire, we packed up, sold our home, and moved to the WI Northwoods. Now here I am all these years later, getting close to weaving on this loom again, and I'm packing up and getting ready to sell my home and move back down to southern WI. What is it with this loom and moving??!!!

So, back inside the drawloom for awhile. Removing the ground shafts and treadles would likely make re-threading more convenient than climbing up and over the back extension, but my aging eyes need to be closer to the maillons and lease sticks. We do what we have to do, both in weaving, and in life.