Sunday, October 14, 2018

My Favorite Month

I love October and lucky me, it also happens to be my birth month.  Ian and I went to the matinee to see A Star is Born (wonderful movie) and out to lunch afterwards at BoneYard’s new brewpub.  We’ve been hearing about the atypical menu which is Asian fusion, nice to have another option than burgers and fries.  That’s how we celebrate these days, no more evenings out and driving home in the dark for us.  The irrigation canal is still flowing but not for much longer so I’m trying to incorporate it into my walks.

To my surprise and delight, my Christmas cactus burst into bloom on my birthday!

I’ve been telling myself to stop using UKI cotton when weaving dish towels but their great color choices makes it hard to follow through.  My cloth gets deep creases when I used it, and for some reason, I decided to measure each towel of this warp.  This pattern is a definite repeat so I can’t just stop when I get to 30”, I need to be at the end of the block.  UKI is a little thinner and all the towels with it was weft are shorter.  I’m really bummed.  I just ordered more Brassard and am going to box up the UKI cones and put them in the member sale next year.  And oh boy, do I have a lot of it.  Ouch.

I finished weaving another sampler from Robyn’s twill class, but this time with parallel threading, which is on the left.  My workshop sampler with a solid color warp is on the right and I like it much better.  I haven’t decided how to put this information to use in a practical way, though I think the only application would be scarves which are hard to sell anyway so I’m not sure I want to put the effort into it.  The last issue of Heddlecraft was on this every subject, but I just got the latest issue yesterday which is on Huck.  I love Huck lace and think if I’m going to weave any more scarves, they’ll either be Huck or Scottish tartan.

I got this warp on yesterday, got it beamed, threaded and sleyed, and I did it warping from the back.  I did a couple things differently which enhanced the experience.  I took the counting thread out of the cross and moved it inches ahead of the crosss, and I wound the warp in 2 1/2” bouts so I could keep track of the stripes and the thread count.  I wasn’t short any threads nor did I have any extras.  I was done in five hours.  Matt was here working on the bathroom all day and I was uncomfortable sitting around reading.  I was spurred to action.

The weeks prior to now have been all prep work and yesterday Matt was able to finish the floor, put up baseboards and the sink which still isn’t operational.  He said he wanted to give me a toilet for my birthday which was the day before.  I was thrilled!  He said he’s pretty beat so won’t plan to do any work next weekend.  I’m just thankful for what he does on it, whenever he does it.

He is a perfectionist and I took this picture to show off the way he cut this tile to accommodate the water source.  I can’t imagine what this would cost were his labor not free.  He is giving us a very generous gift.

School is back in session which means school visits to the Bend Art Center.  The kick-off visit just happened to be during my shift.  The students listened Dawn, our Educational Direction, give a 20 minute talk on water tables, which is the subject of the current exhibit in the gallery, and then they came back to the studio to learn some printmaking techniques and make some water table prints of their own.

They utterly loved the experience and weren’t afraid to apply the color and techniques.  Now that I’m back to the morning shift on Tuesdays I’ll be assisting in school visits again.  It’s exhausting and rewarding.  The $80 studio fee is traded for my four-hour volunteer shifts, a terrific opportunity for me.

The previous week I was able to use my volunteer shift to do some work of my own.  I had collected leaves from our yard and made these prints with them.  The two largest prints are on Rives BFK, a cotton paper, and the two on the left are the ghosts, done on thin Asian paper.  A ghost print is the second run of a plate with the remaining ink.

I glued them together and was really pleased with the results so also entered these in the December member show.  The show is titled Deja Vu and requires the submission of two prints that reference each other.  The viewer should be able to wonder when seeing my second print - Haven’t I seen something like that before?  I think the prints are good but I had some problem with the glue.  The entries are being juried this week so we’ll know by the end of the week who goes on to the show and who needs to pick up their work.

Saturday, September 29, 2018


I’ve wound a warp holding these two yarns together and am doing the parallel threading exercise from Robyn Spady’s class on weaving twills.

I chose this rather neutral deep teal for the first pattern,

and was really pleased with how the colors reacted with each other.

My next yarn was a light yellow.  Can you say dud?!!  I completely forgot about keeping the values in the same range.

So I did the pattern again with a yellow of equal value.  Much better!

The last pattern I wove today was with a deep purple and it was really successful.  I’ll weave the next pattern with it too.  I have five more patterns in the exercise and the last two are with two colors and two shuttles.  I wove with a solid warp in class and like the parallel two color warp much better.  It’s a challenge to thread and I made two errors, one which I caught and fixed and one that I missed.  The key will be figuring out a way to proof the threading before I ever start to weave.

The treadling on my direct tie-up loom is really a challenge.  Each pic requires two feet.  The chart is the page on the right.  I don’t know how long it will take me to complete this exercise and I didn’t want to tie up one of my two Gilmores.  It’s okay for a workshop once a year, but just once a year.

This is what the threading looks like, 180 ends and they’re traveling up and down without repeating in the 60-thread sequence.  The results are worth it but I have a ways to go before I’m totally comfortable.

I have a couple more towels left to weave on Arthur and then I’ll warp Maudie Mae for the next set, freeing this loom up for Robyn’s eight-shaft exercises.  When you take a class from Robyn Spady, you absolutely get your money’s worth and more.

Yesterday was my last day at the High Desert Museum for the summer season.  The grounds are sprinkled with beautiful bronze statuary and this guy caught my eye as I was walking out to the living history area.  I hadn’t noticed him before, nestled in the plants.  He almost looks real!  I told Linda that I’ll do special events if she needs me but otherwise, I will wash and hang up my costume until next summer.

I’ve changed my mind about which prints to subject for the member show in December.  The deadline is early, October 15th, a little more than two weeks away.  I found the prospectus today and printed it out so I could clarify the objective.  It says, “A6 Artist Members are challenged to create original prints and artists books that elicit a feeling of deja vu in the viewer - prompting them to wonder, “Have I seen that before?”  I’m going with this pair.  The Weaving Guild’s holiday show is one month away and I need to spend as much time weaving as I can.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Still Winding Down

I arrived at Bend Art Center for my usual volunteer shift last Tuesday and felt like I was late.  The studio was in a flurry of activity and clearly work had been in progress for quite some time.  I had my iPad and had planned to read my email and Facebook before doing anything serious, but clearly I need to get right to work.  Oregon Art Beat, a program on OPB and Public Broadcasting was filming a segment featuring our artist Ana Aguirre.

Five hours later when we were cleaning up and the film crew was packing up, I asked everyone to let me take a group picture.  Ana is third from the left.  The last hour of filming they decided to incorporate the five of us in dialogue with Ana while reviewing her work.  Oregon Art Beat always features three artists and each segment is 10 minutes.  This one will air after the first of the year, they thought January or February. This is a wonderful opportunity for Ana and great PR for the art center.  Plus it really was fun to be part of it, though I hadn’t intended to work for four hours when I went in that morning.

Thursday I was back in the studio working on prints for the member show in December.  The show is called Deja Vu and the prospectus says we are to submit two prints that reference each other.  Two years ago I had a print selected for the show but last year I was unprepared and had nothing to enter.  The deadline is early - October 15th, and we’re leaving for a week right after that so I knew either I started working on something now or I had to forget about it.  Both prints use the same collograph plate, so Saturday I showed it to one of the teachers at the art center and asked for her comments.  She feels that the right print might benefit from also having a diver.  “Play around with it.”  So tomorrow when I go to my volunteer shift, I know what I’ll be doing - playing around with it.

Friday was a beautiful day at the High Desert Museum Miller Ranch.  Ordinarily the ranch would be closed on weekdays after Labor Day but enough of us volunteers agreed so it’s still open on Thursdays and Fridays through the end of this month, and then just weekends after that.

The 12 x 20 square-foot ranchhouse is a replica of one that was home to a family of seven.  The loft is open for several feet next to the back wall and using a ladder stashed in the corner, the five children would have slept there in the winters, and on the porch on sleeping palettes in the summers.  The living history department is down a full-time staff member so I’ve agreed to volunteer for Harvest Day and then I’m done until after school lets out next spring.

I knitted these socks last summer and just finished these mitts.  I have another pair on needles and will give both pair to Linda before I leave.  She’ll need them on the weekends when they’re bundled up, waiting for the wood stove to heat the cabin.

The weather is changing quickly.  It was 27 this morning and Ian has already pulled up the tomatoes.  I see red maples all over town and am excited that we have one of our very own.

My very favorite is the Burning Bush, eunymous elatus.  I planted this the first year so it’s got a long way to go before it’s mature.  It’s so red that it looks fake.  I’ve wanted one of these for at least 20 years and now I finally have my own.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Bye Bye Summer

I finished the placemats and really like them - just in time for the end of summer.  I figure we can use them for a while longer but I really want to make some in winter colors now and in just one weft color.

I’ve been nursing a neuroma in my left forefoot for the past couple of months.  Walking to Evan’s freshman football game was challenging.  I haven’t figured out why out of the blue it’s been hurting, but my walking partner Cinda hurt her hip a couple of months ago and is supposed to lay off exercise while it heals, and now it’s me.  We’ve been getting together a couple times a week for coffee and knitting.  Meanwhile I can feel my muscles atrophying.

Finally I had to throw in the towel and take myself to urgent care for a cortisone shot.  I mentioned this to Cindie Kitchens, a weaver in Grants Pass, and she said yeah, she has trouble with the balls of her feet too from all the years of mashing on the loom treadles.  She explained how she cushions her foot to alleviate that while weaving.  It wasn’t until quite a while after our convo for me to realize that my foot starting hurting right around the time I wove the placemats.  I bought a pair of Birkenstocks on Labor Day weekend and they help but then something irritates my foot again.

Today I tried several different pairs of shoes and these appear to be the winners.  I wore them to wind this sampler warp and also to weave, my first time to weave in shoes in a long long time.  I’m kinda holding my breath.

I noticed that I had no discomfort while warping for towels.

But I did after weaving. I’m feeling tentative and only wove for a little while today.  So far, so good.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Robyn Spady Workshop

Friday morning 29 weavers from Central Oregon as well as Klamath Falls, Mt Hood and Pendleton converged upon the Diocese Retreat Center in Powell Butte for a three-day weaving workshop with Robyn Spady called the Thrill of the Twill.  The introduction we received in advance told us that we would explore advancing twills, networked twills, corkscrew twills, and echo weaves.  The only twill I’ve done apart from tartan is eight-shaft turned twill so everything was new to me.

The facility is a converted horse barn and very commodious.  This is the space used for lectures which is in addition to the well-lit workshop area, and we had 3-4 hours of lecture every day.  Lots of information!

The east end of the cavernous room is where we ate breakfast and lunch together.  Patty Huffer who works at Eugene Textile Center set up a mini ETC shop in the corner affording us the rare opportunity to see and touch before buying.  Many of the attendees took advantage of the cabins and bunk house and stayed right on the premises.  I live 20 minutes away and chose to sleep in my own bed since the weather is nice.

My Dorset workshop loom was the only four shaft, four treadle loom there.  Weaving with direct tie-up is more taxing than on a regular loom with lams but I was still able to produce the patterns in each exercise.  I was disappointed in my results with a solid color warp though.

There were a lot of Schacht looms in the room and most of them were eight shaft.  Colleen was another weaver with four shafts but chose the warping option with two different colored warp threads.  It’s much more interesting and I was so jealous!

Kathy was one of the eight-shaft weavers and had to foresight to use different three colored warpings and she threaded for three different patterns.  Her results were wonderfully dramatic.  I could only comfort myself that when I warp my own eight-shaft loom at home, I too could produce some dramatic cloth.

It wasn’t until I got to the section with two shuttles in the exercises that my cloth got really interesting and I starting loving it.  This was with orange and yellow and the complementary color blue.  I woke this morning at 5:30 thinking of other colors I could take to try.  I thought I’d arrive super early but two other weavers were already at work when I got there.  I was able to weave this pattern again before breakfast and the final lecture, but this time I did it in analogous colors - orange, yellow and red.  It wasn’t nearly as interesting.

I also took cones of purple and gold this morning and I love the results in the last treadling sequence of the class exercises.  I wove right up until lunch, squeezing out every last minute.  We needed to be out of the building by 1:30 to make room for a group of quilters coming in for their retreat.  I learned so much over the past three days that my brain feels bruised.
I also subscribed to Heddlecraft today, Robyn’s online magazine.  I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to renew my subscription to Handwoven - well now that’s settled.  Before I launch into designing my own cloth, I’m going to weave the exercises on both my four-shaft and eight-shaft looms.  There’s still more to be learned before I fly solo.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018


Six of our seven kids converged for several days during the third week of August for BrewFest, all except daughter Chris whose job wouldn’t let her get away.  You can imagine how she felt!  It wasn’t a long range plan, just something that came together and boy did we have fun.

And four of our seven grandkids came too.

Gavin, our youngest, celebrated his fifth birthday with us.

We continue to have other visitors - mom and twins still hang out in our yard a lot.

I had a surprise visitor to my sunflower, a scrub jay who cleaned out all the seeds.  I’m pleased actually since my goal in planting our yard was to attractor pollinators, and I have.  I planted ten sunflower seeds and two grew.  Knowing that they’ll feed the birds, I’ll plant a lot more next year.

And speaking of birds, every-so-often a songbird will hop around in the bush outside our window.  We can have birds because she doesn’t go outside.  This is as close as she gets.

Our growing season is very close to its end.  We changed our approach to tomatoes this year and have gotten more than ever before.  Having them in pots on the patio we’ve been able to easily cover them on cold nights.  So far so good.

It’s been busy but everything is starting to wind down and school starts next week.  This Friday is probably my last at the High Desert Museum living history ranch house for this summer.  They’ll be open on weekends-only after Labor Day.  We have the last of our company this weekend and I’ve gotten this far on a weaving project to kick off the fall weaving season.  It’s simply not feisable to weave in the summers and after two months off, I made a lot of silly mistakes, but now all that’s left is to sley the reed, lash on and start throwing the shuttle.  These are placemats for us and if I like them I’ll make an alternative set in different colors.