art, fiber art, tapestry, weaving

Weaving update

Finally cut two tapestries off their looms.

First up, the “O” postcard tapestry for the Tapestry Weavers South collaborative project for the “Follow The Thread” exhibition, scheduled in January 2023 at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC.

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Secondly, I finally, reluctantly, cut a dog off the loom so that I could set “Mr. Blue Sky” free. I feel better now that I’ve done it.

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Here’s the dog. I’m going to recycle the yarn if I can stand unweaving it for very long. I think this would have been a good weaving, but it was clear that I wasn’t going to finish it.

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Now, I have to trim the backs, hem them, and design the “H” tapestry.

art, art retreats, dyeing, fiber art, tapestry, Tapestry Weavers South, weaving

Tapestry Weavers South Retreat 2022

Playing a bit of catch-up here. I was in Elkin, NC at the Yadkin Valley Fiber Center for the 2022 Tapestry Weavers South retreat a couple of weekends ago. I drove up there on Saturday morning, stayed in a hotel, and left on Sunday afternoon after a very relaxing, fun time.

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^Beverly Walker’s work in progress

We welcomed a new member, Beverly Walker, whose tapestry includes mixed media. (She’s a teacher, also.) Betty and Terri shared some of what they learned in Fiona Hutchinson’s pulled warp workshop at Convergence. We all had little looms or projects to work on or show and tell.

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^Betty Hilton-Nash’s work.

On Saturday, lunch was from the Barking Coyote Kitchen, and I HIGHLY recommend their sandwiches. That night several of us went to Southern on Main even though we knew we were going there for brunch the next morning, because there are never too many times that you can go to Southern on Main. It is that good.

That afternoon, Leslie brought out the indigo buckets and we had a great time dyeing yarn, fabric, paper, and bamboo socks that Betty brought to share with us. I mostly overdyed some cotton yarns which I have way too much of but don’t particularly care for the colors. I also dipped some papers and found out which ones won’t stand up to dip dyeing (hint, it was the recycled ones that I had pulped in a blender).

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On Sunday morning we socialized, worked on our projects, then had a great brunch on the patio of Southern on Main. That afternoon we had our annual business meeting, but there was really very little business, mostly enjoying each other’s company.

Here’s my O postcard for the collaborative postcard tapestry project we are doing for our upcoming exhibition at the Folk Arts Center in January. I’ve almost finished it now and I’ve been given the letter H to weave.

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coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, fiber art, tapestry, weaving

Sunday coffee pot post

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Usually I write a post on New Year’s Day of what I hope will happen in the coming year, but I just couldn’t do it yesterday. If I have to choose a motto for 2022, it will be “I guess we’ll see.”

I spend a good bit of time between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s morning reading over past yearly wrap-ups, and although mentions of my chronic depression continued to pop up, they were much more positive in the earlier years of this blog. Even the years when I know that I was in a terrible, terrible mental state, my yearly wrap-ups didn’t mention or barely mentioned the events that drove me into the hole. I’m trying to decide if this is a good or bad thing. Or a gray thing. This is my journal, and I want to write honestly, even when it is public. I don’t have to, and I don’t, tell everything. All the writers that I admire let their vulnerability show. I suppose that I will continue to wing it, but I regret both the negativity I feel and the false positivity that I sometimes project.

Yesterday, I did move forward. I took a walk and looked for different oak leaves. Then I wove a lot on my tapestry throughout the day. Sandy and I did an exercise video and we ate vegetarian. Canned field peas and collards, with a big salad.

I succumbed to a Facebook ad and subscribed to Body Groove. I like the attitude of the instructor and the different videos. Dancing is one thing I can do standing or sitting.

Look at these oak Siamese twins, then some of the other leaves follow. I found at least a dozen different ones so far.

The reason that I decided to weave farther on Cathedral is because I wanted to include more of the blue skies peeking through the shadows on the north side of the tree. This was a particularly tough section to weave, but maybe the most gratifying. All those verticals! I used a lot of weft blending and crosshatching.

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I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that I have to return to the office tomorrow even though we are at a height of the pandemic. I am fortunate that I can isolate with my door closed, but it infuriates me that our administration will not let those who are high risk or have high risk family members work from home, especially since we proved that we could do it efficiently last year. I heard that an office worker with an excellent reputation in another department was terminated when she tried and failed to get permission to work from home because of health reasons. Yet our “leadership” is so proud of “getting back to normal.”

Anyway, I guess we’ll see if it all turns out okay.

So, for the coming year, here are my hopes and plans. In May, Sandy and I will adventure for 17 days in Portugal. He and I will be more physically fit by that time, with less pain, more stamina, and less fat to carry around. My brother-in-law will continue to improve. In early June, there is the Tapestry Weavers South retreat in Elkin. In mid-July, I have to choose between Convergence in Knoxville, Tennessee, a drive-able distance away, or across the country to Focus on Book Arts in Forest Grove, Oregon. Susanne and I plan to go to Focus on Book Arts. It’s a shame because Convergence doesn’t often happen within driving distance of Greensboro, and my tapestry guild will be involved, but that is how it shakes out. It would be nice to find a place to go in September – maybe check off another national park on our bucket list?

Other than that, lake trips, the usual purging, and a resolve to go to the print studio at least once a week, even though it might not be for printmaking or collage or painting. I’m going to have a tapestry to finish trimming, hemming, blocking, and mounting.

Coronavirus Chronicles, fiber art, Slow cloth, Upcycling

Boxing Day post

What are you supposed to do on Boxing Day again? Knock out your family and friends?

Just so you know, I did get some creative stuff done yesterday. The photo of progress on my tapestry refused to turn out properly, so that is a sign that it does not want any more detail photos until it is done. I measured it at 19 inches with the hem at the bottom. This made me want to try to weave another inch of tapestry so that it will be about 18 inches wide. Maybe two inches if I can deal with the crazy tension problems that far.

And the old girl is performing well. I think it is one year older than me.

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It looks like we will be needing masks for a long time hence, maybe forever! I sewed until I had no more elastic. I’ll order black elastic for the next ones, if it is available. When I sewed the first wave of masks, elastic wasn’t available at all, so I used fabric strips that I sewed and hair bands.

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Here’s a pile of shirts cut apart with the seams trimmed off and stashed away for a rag weaving. The one on top was my favorite shirt of Sandy’s. I have a lot of photos from the 80s with him wearing this shirt. That is one of the reasons that I love weaving with old clothes. The memories.

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We got out and walked around the block twice yesterday and once again this morning. It doesn’t seem like much but it is what we both can handle right now. The weather is beautiful – 71 degrees F. I’m sitting on the front porch with the critters as I write this. Sandy is bringing me a very late brunch. We were up late and awake again early this morning. Pablocito was being a bad kitty around 4:30 this morning. It’s fortunate that I didn’t have to work.

More weaving on tap today and maybe some sewing.

fiber art, Lake Waccamaw, Upcycling, weaving

Lake Waccamaw, September 2021, Part II

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The moon, the moon!

We saw a bald eagle dive for a fish while we were on the boat.

I finished off the sakiori and washcloths that were warped up on the rigid heddle loom toward the end of that wonderful week, and played tapestry with Rosie, my homemade industrial pipe loom. The sakiori pieces are intended to be book covers. Since we have a serious clothing waste problem on the planet, I’d like to weave more sakiori.

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art, dyeing, fiber art, tapestry, weaving

The Lake Tapestry

I really finished this last weekend, and I was going to wait until I had it mounted and framed, or whatever display I decide on, but I couldn’t make up my mind about whether to back it in black or not, so I decided to go ahead and post it.

lake tapestry for web

Originally I was planning to name this “Lake Effects” but since it changed into a mystery place as I wove it I am renaming it after a comment my friend made: “A Place You’ve Never Been.”

99% naturally dyed silk threads for the weft and cotton seine twine for the warp. 4.75 x 6.75 inches.

What do you think? Should I use this black background and frame it? Or should I mount it to a cloth covered board with a lighter, neutral (beige or cream) color? (I can already see a cat hair, so I’ll have to re-photograph it!)

When I cut this tapestry off the loom, I also cut off a sweet little painted silk weft weaving that I began at Pam Patrie’s cabin long ago. I don’t think it can technically be called a tapestry since the weft is woven all the way across, but some people call any art fabric a tapestry. I’m a bit more picky in my labeling. I have no idea what I will name it, but it is inspired by the beach near Cannon Beach, Oregon.

painted weft tapestry for web

art, fiber art, tapestry, weaving

Progress on the lake tapestry

The lake tapestry has taken an unexpected turn as I inched (millimetered?) my way to the finish line. I decided to weave a strip of the brown/grey threads at the top for a hem, and started on the right side and took a break.

When I went back to it, it seems that my lake needs a cliff jutting out into the water in the background. Which means it is no longer Lake Waccamaw, which is round.

Yet, this weaving was abstracted anyway. It began with a very quiet photograph of raindrops on the lake and the blue sky just beginning to poke through the clouds and reflect on the tea-colored waters of Lake Waccamaw. I cropped the photo down to a small area and increased the size. I added the movement of the water on top and below the surface, and it became much more animated. The raindrops would not have really looked this way on the surface if the water had been moving.

Now it seems to me that the raindrops in the tapestry have transformed into boulders and rocks in the water. There are no boulders and rocks in the swampy sandy waters of eastern North Carolina. Not naturally placed ones, anyway.

What do you think? I need to make a decision.

coffee pot posts, fiber art

Sunday coffee pot post at noon

^^^Definitely one of the items I will move with me to Portugal.

A mostly visual coffee pot post today. I had a rough night last night – both of my Achilles tendons were aflame and kept me awake for much of the time. Both of them. When I did fall asleep I dreamt of a first day on the job as an assistant manager in a Kmart, where I had to work on the floor for ten hours with this pain – the worst part was ending up in retail management again. I guess that I should see a podiatrist, but I suspect that it is the result of padding around home barefoot or in slippers without arch support since mid-March. I have a very high arch and I don’t like to wear shoes in the house. I have on shoes now, trust me.

Yesterday I made a few masks and pinned up a bunch to sew today, although I doubt that my foot will like pressing the pedal of the sewing machine. The first mask I sewed together the wrong sides, so I cut out a strip of fabric to applique hand over the exposed seam.

My studio tables are a mess. I am seriously considering cutting back on the variety of my media. This will include selling my large looms and focusing on collage and book arts. I’m going to share my mother’s sewing machine with Lisa. She just found out that animal control has been called to take out her feral cat colony, so I suggested this to give her something else to do.

Coronavirus Chronicles, fiber art, Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw, Ch. 2, Days 8 & 9

Silly ducks.

Other than a visit from Lisa for a couple of hours, I spent Sunday alone and watched “How to Get Away with Murder” and read “The Luminaries.” Lisa helped me figure out how to wind the bobbin on my sixty year old Singer sewing machine, and then I got rolling with making masks again.

This one is reversible and is for Lisa. I like this design much better. It is form fitting to the face and it doesn’t take much longer to make it. Plus you can insert a filter inside the mask if you want. I was going to put the link here to the pattern, but that site has taken down the pattern and it is selling masks instead. When I get home, I will copy the template and instructions and put them up here.

Late this afternoon I made a similar one for myself. I think that I could get into doing more of these patchwork panels. I use one piece of cloth on the back.

For many, many years I did not see any alligators down here. They made a big comeback starting about 20 years ago, and now I see them in or beside the canal every day. Lisa and Tim have seen small ones in the lake, but I never have seen any in the lake, and hope I never do. It doesn’t stop them from getting in the water.

Our house is across the road from the canal and I often see gators from the kitchen window or the front door. Oh well, you don’t need to see another gator photo.

I came extremely close to going home yesterday, to the point that I packed up whatever craft/art supplies that could take the heat and put them in the car trunk, and packed the non-refrigerated food into bags. I could have cleaned up and left in an hour if I had chosen to. Having that option a bit more easily accomplished made me feel better, and I was not so overwhelmed by all the studio stuff I brought down.

Today I worked remotely and had a flurry of tasks to deal with as people have been returning from vacation. Fortunately I worked enough last week that it was not overwhelming. I checked the retirement website and I could indeed retire on my next birthday in February. I don’t want to, though, not yet. I’d like to be able to stick it out to age 62 at least. But it is nice to know that it is doable. Health insurance was my main concern.

I took Lisa and Tim their new masks, and they fed me crab cakes. That was a good deal. Their little cat Sissy is my lovey bear. She is very tiny and shy.

Talked to Sandy tonight and I may leave on Saturday, which would make two weeks down here. He seems to be doing fine, so I will try to stop worrying about him. I miss my babies, but it is very calming to listen to the waves at night instead of zombie movies in the next room.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety, fiber art

Saturday Morning Coronavirus Chronicle Chapter

With coffee and hot cocoa mix.

Absolutely had an emotional meltdown last night. Part of my problem is that I am addicted to playing games when I am depressed. It keeps my mind occupied without the overwhelming reality of the world intruding. But it is wreaking havoc on my body – my right arm is burning, my muscles are turning to fat, my hips are begging to get out of bed. I want to sleep more than anything in the world now. Even if I was one of those lucky people (cue my husband) who can fall asleep as soon as they close their eyes, my body is preventing it because it is in pain.

After this blog post, which I’ve promised myself to write at least once a week, I am going to try to go offline and no games or e-books for two days. I’ll allow myself TV, but no news.

It is going to be a beautiful weekend outside and I am going to get out in the fresh air and put my hands in the dirt. I do have to be careful because this is the danger time each year when I get so happy in the garden that I overdo and really hurt myself. I don’t have my massage therapy available, although I could still go to a chiropractor. I transferred my sad little seedlings to pots mid-week, only to find them dug up by squirrels. Guess I will be buying my tomato and pepper plants this year, other than the volunteers that I found in the garden.

I am also going to drive someplace new and walk. Sandy wants to walk too, but he is having some kind of painful ankle issue. We have been walking around the block once a day. One of my neighbors built a little free library which she and her neighbor also stock with a few food items. We have enjoyed some good conversations with our neighbors on the other side of our block.

I made a prototype mask last week that worked pretty well. It has a pocket for an extra filter, and I found a pack of cheap masks in my art supplies so pulled the elastic off for other masks and tucked one in. I found that I couldn’t breathe well enough with the filter in though, maybe for a few minutes but after that I’d be in danger of passing out. Allergies, I guess. So I took it back out. I made the patterns for the next ones longer so that they will cover the chin more, and have room for Sandy’s beard.

That forked stick I am holding is one on which I’ve been weaving shells with holes in them. I’m calling it my magic stick.

The elastic for this one is a long hair band that never worked well for holding back my hair. I’m glad I kept them anyway with the shortage of elastic! It measured 19 inches and the instructions called for 11 inches on each side. No problem – a safety pin took care of it.

As for the rigid heddle weaving, it is too painful for my hands/arms right now so I am not going to finish the wedge weave. Sometimes you got to know when to quit. I am sick of those colors anyway.

I think it is time to get back to doing collage. Probably it is the easiest on my hands, since I have a lot of pieces already cut and torn up.

“Bridge of Sighs” by Richard Russo is a wonderful book.

It looks like I might be returning to work on May 8. Sandy says this is too soon, but in my circumstances I think it will be okay, and maybe better for my state of mind. I have my own office, and all the summer classes are online. Hardly anybody is in the building. I am tempted to take some vacation time later anyway if Lake Waccamaw opens to non-residents, and go down and do art at the lake house for a week. The problem would be getting someone to feed our cats for that long. Sandy does not want to try to take them with us. I think it would be okay. They would be too freaked out to try to escape.

Still longing for Ireland. Sandy says, think of all the good things you have here. That is true. I am lucky. I still long for Ireland. Travel in general, really. The anticipation of it has been my saving grace for almost twenty years now. Thinking of the awful circumstances of other people only worsens my depression – it is not a suffering contest and if it is I don’t want to win it.