Sunday, March 10, 2019

Life with Snow

Last week school was cancelled Monday through Thursday including COCC, the community college where I take my art class.  I didn't even venture from the house those days, but with three short weeks of school left, I braved the elements to attend last Monday.  They had only shoveled the two ADA sidewalks and cleared the ADA parking lot.  The rest of us were on our own. As one friend quipped, those unshoveled sidewalks could make you ADA. The powder was close to two feet deep and I was sinking up to my knees in places.  I struggled up the slope that really needed snowshoes and realized that coming back down was going to be even worse.  I turned about and went home.  The whole thing took 90 minutes, almost an hour more than normal.  I went on Wednesday and still nothing was shoveled but at least enough people had tromped through that I was able to negotiate the whole shooting match.  The handrails weren't very helpful!
The neighborhood deer have been hanging close these days.  Fish and Wildlife warn us not to feed them because there's no commercial food that won't sicken them since they're not ruminants.  I feel bad but at the same time I'm glad to see them.
In spite of still having over a foot of unmelted snow, the Community Garden group have been meeting, planning and ordering seeds.  Cinda and I went to the church Friday to set up our fundraiser, the Classy Junque Sale.  All proceeds pay for our needs, including the repairs to the greenhouse.  Carol, our leader, was still there when folks came in for the AA and NA meetings and they spent $300 before we even got started!
This gem got the White Elephant award.  It's not wired for a lamp, and in fact, it's nothing but glass pieces affixed together with that shallow glass bowl on top.  The donation was anonymous and absolutely no one knew what it was.  It's at the Humane Society Thrift Store now, taking up space.  The sale was a whopping success.  As soon as the greenhouse is fixed we can start planting seeds, that is after we can shovel out to the greenhouse!
It was snowing again this morning so I played hooky from church.  It's also the first day in a week that I haven't had to leave the house - so I didn't.  I got these towels started but the real pressing need was to finish my sketchbook.  It's due Wednesday and when I woke up this morning I knew I still had eight of the 40 sketches to go.

This was the very first sketch I did and it represents the word "hot."  I have learned so much in this short time that if I were to draw it again, and I might, the bottom wouldn't be flat, but an elliptical shape mimicking the top of the cup.
The words left were the ones I couldn't conceptualize, thus the toughest ones.  I have class tomorrow and my volunteer shift on Tuesday with the notebook due on Wednesday.  I decided to tough it out and finish today.  "Ugly" had me stumped and finally I went with this semi-automatic handgun.
I tackled ignorant and aware, though I didn't necessarily work the words in pairs.  "Ignorant" became an old TV with rabbit ears because I think that people who get spoon-fed news by talking heads don't fall into the category of "inquiring minds want to know."  This became "Aware" - my very first collage.  I found an article in a National Geographic about the Flint Michigan water situation and the piece is probably too preachy to be art, but it sure was nice to tick off another box, plus it was fun.  I taped it onto the page because I read recently that Richard Diebenkorn sometimes would tape paper together, and he's my favorite Abstractionist.
I was really fighting with "pretty."  I put in a print that I did of a canary a couple of years ago but even I know that's a cop-out.  I cut out the shapes of Alpha and Omega from a failed print for "beginning" and "end" and had pieces of the print left over, so I cut them into strips and wove them into this.  It's pretty and even better, it represents me as a weaver.  Sketchbook done, this quarter is in the bag!

I gave my notice at SMART last Thursday.  My last time to read to my kinders will be the first Thursday in April.  I cannot tell you how much I'll miss my kids and the whole experience.  However granddaughter Delaney Jane is due in three weeks, my foot surgery is April 11th and then we'll be watching Delaney on Thursdays and Fridays when DIL Julia goes back to work. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Snowed In

It started snowing on Sunday, really a mix of rain and snow, but it froze on the roads and we were notified that all schools would be closed on Monday.  I'm signed up for text notices from the community college and knew when I went to bed I wouldn't be going to art class the next day. We woke to this Monday morning and it kept coming.  The weather service reported a record-breaking 26" of snow on Monday, more than an inch an hour.  At this point schools have been closed for three days.

Monday morning Ian was out with the snowblower, trying to dig us out, but the icy under layer made it difficult to get any kind of traction.  He had to plow several passes before he could get the wheels on top of the freshly exposed snow.  We measured 13" of snow at that point.  The first thing we needed were pee-pee paths for Sammie. 

She didn't need any encouragement, just did her business and ran back to the garage.  Even in that short time she was covered in snow and I'd have to clean her off before she could go back in the house.
This is from our bedroom looking into the back yard when I woke up this morning.  Juniper bushes are under the lumps in the background but that lump in the foreground is nothing but a barricade of snow on our deck, and it's going to be there for a while.

I measured several places Monday afternoon and all were 18 inches, and even though it kept coming, I  lost interest in bundling up to go out and measure again.
Today there's no sign of the bench that I posted in my first shot.
We're getting a little break this morning and it's so nice to see the sun.  It took a couple hours this morning but Ian has us dug out to the street.  Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and a break between storm systems.  Time to go grocery shopping!

We're going to get a little break before more snow, though with these temps, it's going to be with us for a while.
My sentiments exactly!!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Healthy Hobby

This is the retired machine.  I still haven't decided what to do with it, but I'll either have it serviced or give it to the shop so they can refurb it and sell it.  It has something like 40 different stitches but I only use straight and zigzag so 38 of those are wasted on me.
This is the refurbished machine which to my great delight is mechanical.  The settings are the same when I turn it on as they were when I turned it off.  No more going through all the menus to get the correct needle position and stitch length which was a challenge since it was almost impossible to read the display against that bright window.  The cost was $57 but I had some Amazon dollars so it ended up being more like $37.  I'm happy.
The Campbell tartan scarves are underway.  We were gone all day today but we're supposed to get a foot of snow starting tomorrow and over the next five days so it will be nice to have this cheerful scarf to spend some time with.
I have completed these to add to my inventory.  I have very little in the way of blue/green towels but my backordered yarn is coming on Wednesday so I'll have plenty of time to remedy that. 

This is my fourth year as a vendor at Fiber Market Day.  The past three years have been at the fairgrounds in Prineville which is an hour east of here.  This year for the first time the event is going to be at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond, just 20 minutes north of us and more accessible to more people. This has been a good event for me and I think it's going to be even better this year.  I'll have as much inventory as I possibly can finish which should pay for all the yarn I've recently ordered and the sewing machine.  It's nice to have a hobby that pays its own way.

Monday, February 18, 2019

February and Ennui

I finally have a surgery date.  They called me last Monday and scheduled it for February 28th.  I thought it over for a day and called back to request something later, so it's April 11th.  I don't want to drop my art class and I can't attend it on crutches.  Even the scheduler agreed with me on that.  Plus I'd rather not be in a surgical boot for Fiber Market Day, March 30th.  So here's my boot, still waiting for me.  I'm hobbling along a little better, thanks to the silicon metatarsal pads Ian got for me online.

Plus, by waiting I'll have more weaving time.  I pulled these towels off the loom the middle of last week and got four hemmed when my sewing machine stopped functioning.  The needle only goes up and down in the same place.  I've done all the trouble shooting I can, and finally decided since this machine only cost $130 seven years ago that I'd see if I could find a replacment on Amazon, which is where this one came from.  It was supposed to be delivered on Saturday but it's lost in route and they're trying to locate it.  It's not a new machine but a refurbished one, another Brother.  Meanwhile I've had a doozy of a cold and have done nothing but read since Friday.
On Thursdays at Smart we get a break between our kinders, time to make notes in their file, time to take a breath, time to get ready to do it again.  I saw a boy "dumpster diving" in the hall leading to the kindergarten wing.  What?!!  It was too funny to not take a shot, and since his face is hidden, I knew it was okay.  I heard him explaining himself to one of our kinders:  "When you're older, like 8 or 9, and you realize you threw away the picture that you worked on so hard, you have have to work hard to get it back."  Priceless!
Last Wednesday our instructor moved us on from drawing with charcoal to painting with it in the form of sumi-e ink.  We spent the three-hour class period practicing the use of the ink, how to hold the brush and how to make brush strokes.  And then there was clean-up!  I think it's during the chaos of cleaning up our materials and moving tables and chairs that I picked up my cold.  Rest and Alka-Seltzer Plus have done wonders for my symptoms and I'm looking forward to going to class today where we'll finish up this module.  Wednesday we start something new.
Last week before I got hit with the cold I manged to get this warp wound for two more Campbell tartan scarves.  I've sold the three I've made and am optimistic that I can sell another one next month.  This will be my fourth year as a vendor in this event and it will be the first held at the Deschutes County Fair Grounds which I think will improve foot traffic greatly.  

I talked to Webs about a half hour ago and the Stone Green yarn that I'm waiting on is going to ship tomorrow and will be here sometime next week.  I'll focus on the scarves and be ready to do some blue/green towels, something I am sorely lacking in my inventory.  Other than having to continue living with this sore foot, I think it will all be good.  I'm glad to be able to keep busy as we are in the middle of a cold gray streak.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Still Waiting

We are halfway through the semester which means its time for our midterm.  The 9:00 class assembled this pile as a still life study for both of our classes.  At first it felt like they were punishing us, but they have to draw it too. We're to pick an area to focus on, not draw the whole thing.
This is the area I chose and I wish I had zoned in on a smaller area.
This is where I left off on Monday.  I asked my instructor if I could skip Wednesday and attend my book group.  "What book are you reading?" he asked.  He was fine with it and I'll finish up this Monday afternoon.
This is my current warp.  I was short on colors and didn't think this through carefully enough.  There's a big problem with the values - just hope they attract buyers.  I called the orthopedic center and found out that my insurance approved my surgery last Monday so hope to hear from them this week.  I suspect this is the last warp I'll have time to weave for the next couple of months.
These are the colors I'm short on, all of my favorites.  Webs is backordered on Stone Green, a color that I use in many colorways, so I'm trying to come up with some alternatives now that I have received these eight colors.
The cupboard looks pretty bare, even after I plugged in my new yarns.  I called Eugene Textile today and order three additional colors that I'm limping along without.  I'll be lucky to sell enough at Fiber Market Day the end of March to cover some of my costs, but I remind myself that I'm lucky to have a hobby that pays for itself.
These are the previous towels, waiting to be hemmed.  I'm trying to get as much weaving as I can before I'm stuck with a surgical boot for six weeks.  Ian says he doesn't mind that he'll have to drive me during that time.  Gerry Sharp, one of my friends at SMART (the program where we read to kinders) has said that she would be glad to pick me up and bring me home during those six weeks.  I hope to wind several warps while I'm passing that time, including some Campbell tartan dish towels.
I read some where that at the beginning of the year you should turn all your hangers around backwards, then after you wear and launder your clothes, put them on the hangers turned the correct way.  At the end of the year, pull out the clothes whose hangers that never got turned around and take those clothes to the thrift store.  So I'm one month into this and wearing an awful lot of the same clothes.

Monday, January 28, 2019

In Limbo

We had a substitute teacher today as our instructor was out of town.  He told us that we would be doing three 45 minute sketches.  He must have thought we were advanced students because the subjects he arranged were tough.  The exercise was to draw the negative space, not the actual figures themselves.  I didn't bother taking a picture of the first study.  The second one was a grouping of three chairs and a stool.  It was hard!
The last study was a pile of six pillows and we ran out of time.  Some of the students stayed on to finish theirs but I felt like I understood the challenge and hope I don't have to do it again.  This is the fourth week of our ten week class.  

I am still waiting for approval from my insurance to have surgery on my left foot.  I met with the surgeon on the 17th and all I know is that he's going to remove two neuromas and put a pin on my second toe.  I'll be in a walking cast for six weeks after that, which means Ian is going to have to drop me off at the beginning of class and pick me up at the end, since the only car we have is stick shift.  Also hanging over my head is my booth at Fiber Market Day on March 30th.  I have no idea how this is going to play out.  If I have to I can place my things in our Guild book and just forfeit my entry fee
I've been hustling to get this ten-towel warp woven, thinking that any day now I could get called to schedule surgery.  All I know is that he does procedures on a Thursday so I know I'm good for this week.  When I came home from class today I decided to gamble that I'll have the next two months to weave and ordered ten cones of yarn from Webs.  I'm super low on colors, and have only been able to come up with one more warp with the yarn I have.  We'll see how it goes, but I'm  hoping to hang in there until April 4th.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Test - Art Class

I think I can post full pictures with this program. We were each given a small glass of juice and a raised glazed donut in art class today. First we drew them, then we ate them. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

I threw in the towel

I took a Crackle Weave class three years ago from Susan Wilson and I also bought her book.  I used a direct tie-up loom in the workshop which functions like a table loom, which added a dimension of difficulty to the class.  Instead of tackling it again on my floor loom when I got home I let the trail go cold.  I tried it again last year using an article from Handwoven but had the same problems, mostly loops on the backside.  I’ve been branching out and trying things with a greater degree of difficulty so decided to try it again.
One of things that gives Crackle all the colors is the use of three shuttles.  I just couldn’t get any kind of rhythm going to finally decided to just weave with one shuttle and thought things were going swimmingly until I checked the back.  More loops!  Not as many as with three shuttles but still unacceptable.  I cut the warp off and retensioned it.
I wove along happily, trusting the fixing the tension had fixed the problem.  It hadn’t.

This is the back side and I’m not interested in hand sewing all those loops.
I gave it to Maddie and she was quite pleased with it.  That’s about all it’s good for.  I wasted two days and didn’t even get one single towel.  I know when it’s time to quit.
Today is my volunteer shift at the art gallery so in the back of my mind I kept wondering what I could do with the remaining warp.  I mean I really like the colors together.  This idea came to me when I was driving home and I do think it’s attractive.  I can see the results of threading errors but I think in this came they’ll come out in the wash.
Meanwhile I have started winding another warp in zinnia colors.  I’m out of my favorite go-to colors and really need to make an order soon.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Winter of my Discontent

The Morton’s neuroma in my left foot has become so painful in the last couple of weeks that I have to limit walking to what’s absolutely necessary.  Which means I’ve been doing a lot of knitting and reading.  This is the sweater I’ll give at my granddaughter-to-be’s shower.  I’m pleased with how it went through the washer and dryer - Malabrigo Rios.

I’ve started another sweater from Swans Island wool which is machine washable in cool water but the instructions say to dry flat.  I’m disappointment and would not have bought it had I realized that ahead of time.  I’ve decided to dry it on low and accept the results.  A baby sweater needs to be easy care.

I got the Bartlett yarn skeined and washed.  This is actually weaving yarn so you can see the spinning oil on the skein in back makes the yarn look like linen or twine.  After washing it blooms and doubles in the volume.

I’m in the process of swatching now.

The first week of my drawing class is over and we have nine weeks left.  It seems like a tall order to become proficient in that short space of time but Bill Hoppe assures us we’ll be happily drawing by the time the class ends.  Last Wednesday we drew lilies and our shoes.  I was wearing snow boots that day as you can see  The hike up to Pence Hall is murder on my foot.  I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon this Thursday and hope he’ll at least give me another cortisone shot for some temporary relief.

I’ve finished the Classic Drall towels which is simply Turned Twill in little squares.  They seem drab compared to the turned taquete towels I like to weave.  I think I’m going to use a profile draft and come up with another configuration of them.  The towel on the right is variegated yarn that I bought when I first started weaving.  I bought three cones thinking they’d be so useful and versatile.  I have yet to find a way to use variegated yarn in a way that I find pleasing.  I still have two partial cones left and they’re going to the thrift store.  The dust on top tells the story.

This Christmas cactus didn’t bloom in December, but it did bloom like this in October for my birthday and now again for the new year.  My son was impressed and wanted to know the secret to my success.  I have no idea.  It’s lucky to be alive given how often I forget to water it. It’s so pretty.  I really need to be nicer to it.
We’re going to see the matinee showing of Kiss of Spiderwoman at the theater where we have season tickets.  None of our friends want to see it and I’m not sure I do but it won six Tonys so it did something right.  This is the theater company’s most ambitious production to date.  They’re even going to have a ten-piece orchestra - don’t know where they’re going to put them in that little space but it’ll be memorable for sure.