Thursday, November 12, 2020


Twelve days into retirement and I've already lost track of what day of the week it is.  Oops. Let me throw in some pretty pictures to make up for being late. 

OK, those spots were prettier when I was there; something is lost in the digital translation from cellphone to blog post. I promise to take photos with the real camera for next week.

In fiber news, I'm slogging onwards. I do wish I was attracted to making small things, something that could be finished in a week or even a month.  But no, I need to make big things.  The quilt I'm close to finishing will be 108" x 108". That's really a bit big even on a queen-sized bed. But I'm already pulling fabrics for the next quilt; remind me to aim for a reasonable size, will you?

Wednesday, November 04, 2020



Why not start blogging again?  Nothing much has changed around here, except I retired last week, I bought a used 32-inch, 16-shaft, computer-assist Toika last February, there's a pandemic going on, I'm addicted to iNaturalist, and the US presidential election has yet to be decided as of not quite 24 hours after the polls have closed.  So what else is new?

Actually, it's Judy's fault.  She wrote a Walk with Me Wednesday blog post last week and I realized I missed blogging and bloggers.  So, I'm here doing my part.

Retirement: I spent twenty years doing conservation planning for the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, which is part of the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. It was a great job. We did (and do) great work. But it was time to move on.

The new-to-me Toika: She's a great loom, with way more capacity than I have in my brain right now, but today I'm pissed at her because yesterday the cord holding the front apron to the front apron rod broke as I was weaving. I had used doubled rug warp yarn to lash the two together, but this baby is capable of high tension, unlike that yarn, apparently.  I girded my loins today (translation: I masked up) and ventured to the hardware store to buy nylon braided cord, but I won't actually fix things till tomorrow, because I'm like that.

Pandemic: I've been fine. I don't know anyone who's been sick, probably because everyone I know is being exceedingly careful.  It's a good time to be an introvert (and a very privileged one at that).

iNaturalist: It's also a good time to enjoy hiking, although I started with iNaturalist before the pandemic. iNaturalist is a global, online community of naturalists, like Ravelry but without the drama. Observers take photos of plants, animals, fungi, whatever and post them to iNaturalist with identifications; other observers chime in to agree or correct the identification. It's getting me out and about and looking at everything, and I'm enjoying it immensely.  It's making me look closely at the color changes of sweet fern,

the brilliant red of British soldier lichen,

and the simple shape of a fallen bigtooth aspen leaf.

Election: Usually, I can just bury my head in the sand.  Not this time.  This time I'm really worried.

Everything else: That's for next time, whenever that is.  Maybe even next Wednesday. I figure that between retirement and the pandemic, I could easily slip into disengagement with the world, but I don't want to do that. Blogging is a way to engage a bit, I hope.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Life Gets in the Way

Life - two sinus infections, replacing the bathtub, and the death of a laptop - gets in the way of blogging.  It does not, however, get in the way of weaving.

Warp #11: A band for the front opening of the Dusk kimono. You will remember I wove this, Warp Zero. Well, I finally wove a band for the front opening:

And I sewed the whole thing together.

I love it.  The colors are great, the hand of the fabric is great.  There are minor imperfections, but really, I'm very pleased.  There will be more of these hanten-style jackets to come.

Warps #12, 13, and 14: I was so pleased with the Dusk kimono that I cast about to weave up and sew another jacket immediately. Now, once upon a time, maybe a decade ago, I was overcome by wool fumes at Webs and bought three cones of Kauni Effekt yarn in a pink/tan/natural colorway.  I thought to myself, "That might make an interesting fabric all wove up!"  No, it did not. Furthermore, I fulled it way too much and the selvedges went all wavy on me.

Humph. I will say the fulled fabric is exceedingly soft to the hand.  So, I overdyed the fabric and wove and overdyed a couple of narrow warps for edgings:

My plan is to cut off the wavy bits, sew the strips and edgings together into a small throw, and embroider the seams with the extra yarn, which I also overdyed.  I'm also thinking of sewing the cut-off wavy bits into 3D roses and sewing those to the throw, particularly where the overdying ended up more pink than I like.

Warp #15: I signed up for Rebecca Mezoff's Little Looms online tapestry class. It's fun! I've always thought I'd like to try tapestry weaving and this was an easy introduction.  Of course, with all the life-gets-in-the-way crap, I have woven exactly ONE little practice piece:

Terribly exciting, isn't it?

Finally, Warp #16: At least, I think this is the last warp since mid-November. You will remember I had my bathtub replaced.  Well, I still haven't gotten around to painting the walls, but I did just finish a little rag rug for in front of the sink, because priorities are priorities, you know.

It has not escaped my attention that all I seem to be weaving is plainweave of one sort or another, but the next hanten warp I'm planning will be deflected doubleweave.  But first, I have one more Pink Pussy hat to knit before next Saturday's march.....

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Before I Forget

Too much going on.  I'm losing track here.

Warps #9 and 10:  backstrap success!

Not woven on a backstrap loom, though, as I'm not yet that competent.  The backstrap itself is rep weave, 5/2 cotton for the warp.  Ditto the end loops. I cut and sewed the loops too short at first, but just repaired them with inserts.

Now, I just need to wind a warp for honest-to-God backstrap weaving!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sometimes, I Do Good

I bet you thought I had forgotten about warp #2, or miscounted, at the very least.  Not so, not so.  I was just waiting for it to be finished.

Back in September, I had the great fun of visiting my friend Devin in the house he and his partner had just bought.  I wanted to bring them a house-warming/house guest present.  So, I decided to weave them napkins.

The warp is 16/2 cotton; the weft is 40/2 linen.  The draft is a slight alteration of Marjie Thompson's Ms and Ws draft in Complex Weavers Greatest Hits.

This was such a pleasure to weave.  I never thought I'd enjoy something without any color, but the warp behaved perfectly and the cloth was perfect.  OK, there are minor errors and mistakes here and there, but damn, this was real cloth.

I was just SO pleased with myself.

And Darx, if you'd really like that crappy first backstrap, contact me through Ravelry; I'm enallagma9 there.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Warp 8: Oh, The Joy

Or not.

I need a backstrap - you know, the wide band that goes around one's hips.  So I set to backstrap-weaving myself a straightforward plainweave band.  Thick cabled cotton for the warp, something that's been in my stash forever.  Four strands of cotton rug warp yarn held together for the weft.

We won't talk about the two-yard-long warp I wound first, shall we?  The winding wasn't the problem, let's just say, but I will say it brightens up a trash can nicely.

On to Warp 8B, one yard long.  OK, I could weave on this, but oh, I did a crappy job.  It's all of 3.5 inches wide, but clearing the sheds was difficult.  Not for the usual reason (fuzzy cotton sticking to itself), but because I don't know how to handle a wider warp.  The heddled shed behaved reasonably well on its stick, but the other shed, the one with just a loop of yarn holding it together - that one didn't work well at all.  Maybe it should be on a stick, too? I need to read more in Laverne's blog and Weavezine article.  In fact, what I really need to do is print out all the useful bits from her blog and put them in a notebook I can have to hand while I'm weaving.  Digital stuff is all well and good, but it's awkward to access when you're attached to a warp.

Anyhow, here it is in all its glory.

It's a little too short for my wide hips, although I followed Laverne's directions for length (she's much more slender). If I finish the ends by braiding or twisting, it won't go around me far enough. I didn't control the turning of the weft at the selvedges very well, so it looks crappy. (Actually, there were two wefts, each with four strands. I threw a pick from each direction for each shed, so there are 8 strands of weft laid in each shed.)

In fact, this turned out so badly I think I'll throw it out, too, and weave myself a proper backstrap on a floor loom, using rep weave.  One of these days, I'll be able to handle a wider warp as a backstrap-weaving project, but not just yet, apparently.

Rather discouraging, really.  Most of a Saturday wasted fighting with this project, and there are so few wide-open Saturdays in my life.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Warp #7: Just a little band

I wove a simple, plainweave, backstrap band, all by myself.

It isn't perfect - there are a few warp floats and I missed catching one edge thread in the heddles - but it's a perfectly functional yard-and-a-half of colorful band. I haven't a clue what I'll use it for.

It is nice to be enjoying the process of learning, to laugh at myself when I realize I missed an edge thread, to take pleasure in the inches piling up, to not be frustrated because I've learned new skills often enough now that I know my backstrap bands won't be anywhere near perfect for a long time yet, and that's just fine.