Back Forty, butterbeans, fiber art, Greensboro North Carolina, More gardening, Rebel stitching

Here we go again

(Note: I forgot to click Publish when I wrote this on Monday night.)

The week before fall semester classes begin is always a huge adjustment. It feels like going from 0 to 60 suddenly. Gone are the quiet days with few people on the hallway. Now I get to meet about 30 new people and do some public speaking. I’ve come to think of this as my “Sanity Box,” a little box of magic that I can take out during a lunch or other break and just hem squares or stitch them together. No major thought is going into this. Just doing.

A lot of veggies and figs have to be dealt with also. I am much better this year than I have been most Augusts. I attribute this to adding fish oil and vitamin D to my daily supplements. My therapist had suggested the fish oil, and I was vitamin D deficient for a long time. I feel better physically and mentally, although I still tire very quickly. The muggy heat doesn’t help. Yesterday evening I picked tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, eggplants, and figs, then cooked for a couple of hours. I still have a lot of cucumbers and figs to do something with. I don’t want to get out the canning equipment – it just seems like too much for too little, and I am not a huge pickle or jelly fan – but I don’t want them to go to waste. This weekend I put some cucumber slices in with my tomatoes and peppers in the electric dehydrator. They came out wispy and delicate, like soft thin leaves. I might experiment with this more. Sandy and I are planning a repeat of making fig newtons this weekend. Last year he made some good ones, but he baked them on the wrong kind of pan. The filling was great, though.

The butterbeans are overwhelming at the UNCG garden. Very tall and thickly planted. There was a lot of Japanese beetle damage at first but I outplanted them, I think. Hardly any beans, though. I think that the intense heat wave in July stopped them from flowering. I hope they will produce soon so I can get some bean in the freezer before a heavy frost happens. I pulled up most of the eggplants and the lemon cucumber vines. I was tired of them and the eggplants were buried by the bermuda grass and peppermint that I lost control of very early on. Once the Roma tomatoes and one zephyr squash plant are done, which should be before the end of the month, I am abandoning that plot. However, I do think that the grass and mint may have helped hold in moisture during the dry spell when I was traveling.

Sandy and I walked downtown on First Friday, heard music with friends on Saturday, and went to the Greensboro Science Center and out to dinner with a dear out-of-town friend on Sunday. So we had a busy social time. This poodle at Gate City Yarns agrees that Sandy is great and tried to lick him clean.

Lord, I just want to sleep and play in the studio. Daydreaming about going to Ireland. All the books I want to read. Weaving with cloth strips keeps nagging at me to come back to it. There are not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. How do people get bored at home?

art, art retreats, bloggy stuff, fiber art, Rebel stitching, Slow cloth, Upcycling, weaving

Latest news from moi

Suddenly I feel like Miss Piggy today. Couldn’t tell you why.

A lot of things have happened since I last posted. I stopped paying to have my blog ad-free and the ads are pretty disgusting, so I may break down and upgrade to a paid account. I hate to do it, because between that and paying for my photos to be hosted on Flickr, that adds up to over $100 per year. I can’t really let the Flickr account go because I have linked most of my photos to that account. That would be an enormous amount of work to correct that. Plus, I really am attached to my domain name. I’ve had it since 2005. The thought of letting it go has become more intolerable to me.

I am going to convert this over to more of an artist website, and my postings to Facebook and Instagram should appear on the sidebar. But that will take a while. Maybe over the winter break. I’ll have made a decision about whether the cost is worth it by October.

^^^Pablocito, studio assistant, and the reason why there is aluminum foil everywhere. (He doesn’t like it.)

I took a week’s vacation at home in late July because it was slow at work and I have a lot of vacation time built up. It was marvelous. Really, I almost preferred it to traveling.

The first thing on my agenda was to warp up this “new” Beka rigid heddle loom for a sakiori workshop later that week. It was not anywhere near as simple as I thought it would be, and by the time I rewarped it and got the tension right, it took three days and some help from a friend! However, now I know some things I should and shouldn’t do with this type of loom. For one thing, I doubt that I will put three yards of warp on it again.

This patchwork from Jude Hill’s online class (see below) really scratches an itch for me. I love that it is portable. The only problem is my hands can’t take as much hand sewing as I would like to do. My sewing machines (plural) are a constant pain in my ass to keep running and maintained, but I did abuse them pretty badly when I was doing the denim and t-shirt quilt projects. It still amazes me that you can buy a new cheap machine for as much as it is to repair one.

Anyway, bitching aside, I LOVE making these little “puzzle pieces” and putting them together in different ways. It reminds me of my favorite toy growing up, which I think was sold by Tupperware. It was like Legos, but with tiny little pegged pieces in different shapes that could be pushed into a plastic grid. I constantly played with it sitting on the den floor, and I still have a box with the pieces somewhere. It drove my father nuts because he was always stepping on them.

Later that week when I felt like dealing with warping a loom again I caught up on the Rebecca Mezoff/Sarah Swett “Fringeless” online class that I began LAST SUMMER, and by the end of the week, I had this Mirrix loom warped and ready to go. The warping method produces a four selvedge tapestry that is ready when it comes off the loom, no sewing in ends or hemming edges required. To be honest, it was pretty easy once I got the hang of it.

Then on Saturday, I went to the sakiori class that was taught by Dawn Hummer of Saori Song Weaving in Chapel Hill, and sponsored by the Triangle Weavers Guild in a great space that they rent on an ongoing basis in an old school near Durham. I didn’t really learn that much, and I don’t need any encouragement to cut loose and play, but it is always good to hear how and why other artists do what they do. I got to see Saori looms and how they work, and that was really cool. It was fun and that was the whole point. I decided to make some pieces to use as book covers. Here is the first one. There is room on the warp for many more.

In other news, I’ve had to learn how to live without air conditioning for a few days. I hope it won’t be much longer. It is good for me to be reminded not to take this for granted. Work is revving back up with the fall semester classes beginning in only two weeks. The Tapestry Weavers South retreat is in nearby Elkin, NC on Labor Day weekend, so I have that to look forward to. After that, I doubt I will be able to afford any other art retreats or workshops because I am going to have to dip into my savings to pay for the Ireland trip before January, and to be responsible I will pay my savings back. It will be totally worth it to go back to Ireland, where I belong.

art, cloth weaving, fiber art, New Mexico, tapestry, weaving

Saturday: Chimayo

On Saturday morning we headed back to Chimayo. I wanted to visit Centinela Traditional Arts, the home gallery and studio of the tapestry artists Lisa and Irvin Trujillo. I had seen Irvin’s work at the Denver Art Museum and while we were there, Lisa was weaving on a floor loom and her daughter spoke to a Road Scholars group about the history of tapestry and blanket weaving in the area. The heavenly scent of freshly washed and dyed wool wafted through the building. I miss that. I bought a couple of small purses.

We had lunch at Rancho de Chimayo again, mainly because Sandy had left his credit card there, but also because we really liked it the first time! Those sopaipillas with honey, mmmm.

Then we went to the famous Sanctuario de Chimayo down the road. This church is known for being built on ground that has healing powers. The chapel has a small pit that pilgrims take dirt from and rub it on their afflicted areas and pray. There is a room with a rack of crutches that people left behind just outside the room with the pit. I’m not a Christian, but I figured since I was there it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. So I followed the lead of the person in front of me and rubbed the dirt on my hands, but I had to decide what to pray for. I decided that while I have several physical problems, if I could heal my depression, I could deal with the other stuff. So I asked the Holy Spirit to heal my spirit. So far it seems to have worked!

We stopped by Ortega’s Weaving shop on the way back to Truchas but it was nice but a bit too commercial for me. There were plenty of galleries open on the High Road on Saturday, so we headed back to Truchas.

art, fiber art, New Mexico

Santa Fe, Day One

On Tuesday morning, we decided to tour a few of the bazillion art galleries in Santa Fe. Turns out that many places are closed on Monday and Tuesday, in case you are making plans, but there were plenty enough open. We headed over to Canyon Road and wandered in and out of several galleries there, and of course Sandy and I had to pose with statues. One of the galleries represented Donald Roller Wilson, who I fell in love with in the late 80s but had forgotten about. I was so surprised to see his work and the gallery owner was gracious enough to let me take a photo. Seriously, click on the link and open whatever it tells you to do. You won’t regret it if you love fun and weirdness and bizarre storytelling.

Then we drove up Old Santa Fe Trail to Museum Hill, where we spent an hour or so in the Museum of International Folk Art. That was a really overwhelming museum exhibition – so many fascinating and small objects on display. Photography was forbidden in the exhibition hall and that was a good thing, really. It took away my tendency to look at everything through a camera lens. Below is a puppet theater box from the hallway.

We ate salads and fish tacos at Boxcar in the Santa Fe Railyard District, then walked into the gallery Fritz, which to my surprise was listed on the Northern New Mexico Fiber Art Crawl and was having a terrific fiber art exhibit, “Photographic Evidence in Textiles” featuring the work of Gary Goldberg and Karen Hampton. There were large felted pieces and fabric works that were pieced and stitched and woven.

There was a lighted piece in a smaller gallery where the work was interactive. We all took some great selfies in there.

That night we met Cherie’s friends for dinner at the Plaza Cafe downtown on the Plaza. Cherie recommended that we try Indian tacos while we were there, preferably from a roadside stand in the reservations but we didn’t see any on that day. The Plaza Cafe had them and they were delicious. The description from the menu: “Fry bread topped with your choice of calabacitas, chicken, camitas, or came asada, beans, cheese, chile, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, and sour cream.” I had been curious about them after reading about them in the novel “There, There” by Tommy Orange.

Next post: Meow Wolf!

fiber art

Tunisian crochet

When I am not weaving the twill gamp curtain panels, and by the way, I’ve started the second one, I have taken up crocheting. This is a slippery slope for me. I have always loved to crochet but every time I begin doing it I get obsessed with it and I don’t quit soon enough. The house can be absolutely quiet and I will lose hours while crocheting. This is probably the closest I ever get to meditation.

I mentioned that I am taking a class at Gate City Yarns. I have also mined Ravelry and Interweave Press website and the Interwebz in general in search of free patterns, not only in Tunisian crochet but any crochet. When I quit smoking 24 years ago (and I think that yesterday was my anniversary for that!) I crocheted many snowflakes and Christmas ornaments. Even though I am not a lacy kind of gal, I hooked up a lot of doilies and delicate filet crochet thingies. A lady came to my house and bought most of my ornaments right off my tree. After that, my tendinitis cranked up, and I got rid of my crochet thread and itty bitty hooks, and vowed to never do it again. That wasn’t the first time I made that vow.

WELL. BUT…this is TUNISIAN crochet! It might be different! And I have SO MUCH YARN.

So, I decided to do this weather scarf. I got out a bunch of colors of Tahki Cotton Classic that I bought years ago from Earth Guild, and similar cotton yarns I have on cones. I assigned colors to a range of temperatures like this:

Then I looked up the high temperatures for each day on Weather Underground and made a chart with the corresponding colors. Then I started stitching one row for every day. Yesterday I caught up to the current day and it is not enough! So I also have a regular crochet project in which I am making dishcloths and produce bags with the long yarn waste from my current weaving project.

My buddy the Fabulous Zha K gave me a bunch of interesting boxes and tins on her way outta North Carolina and this wooden wine gift box turned out to be the perfect container to keep my current crochet projects together.

I hope that this will work out and I can be wise about it. I am weaving standing up and when I need a break from that I sit down and crochet. In the meantime, nothing else is getting done, unfortunately. These seeds aren’t going to plant themselves.