Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Thoughts on Tablet Weaving

Thoughts on Tablet Weaving

Tablet weaving is complicated and hard to understand. There are a plethora of variables that can influence the weaving. There is the S v. Z variable, that if gotten wrong, can make the weaving look a mess and not at all like the pattern.  And oh, does that mean S as to card tilt, or S as to thread direction? 

There is the turning sequence, which must be adhered to like glue. If one has cats, dogs, rabbits, a husband, a telephone, or the slightest interruption in concentration, it is likely that the sequence will come unglued. One may or may not be able to unweave the mistake. 

There is the thread and color selection the requires looking through website after website, comparing prices and yardage and shipping charges. That procedure can consume several days and is actually an ongoing process. 

There is the selecting of the pattern and the threading of the cards and the warping of the loom. There is the making sure that each card is in its proper place and facing the proper direction. Should one have a border? If so, one needs to learn how to weight those threads individually. Some weaves do not work with a continuous warp, and one will find that out too late, find out that the design threads have become hopelessly twisted with no way to release that spiral.

There is the need to remember each step involved in the actual weaving. Turn the cards first, then pass the shuttle. A person will finally get into the rhythm of weaving only to see that the warp needs advancing or one needs to unwind more thread from the shuttle. 

There is the effort of trying to understand a particular weave and failing in every step. One will scour books and YouTube videos searching for enlightenment. One will chalk that up to experience and move on to warp again another day.

There is the dawning realization that each teacher or source will have a slightly different take on every single aspect, and that teacher will say that theirs is the best way and all other ways are incorrect. One needs to choose a path forward. 

I have been tablet weaving for 4 weeks and I have yet to complete more than 10 inches of any weave without one sort of mistake or another. 

All that being said, I have not panicked. I have remained calm and determined and willing to try once more to get every detail and variable correct and weave a perfect band. 

There is the fact that I spent $200 on a ten hour class and another $200 on supplies and goddamnit, I am going to learn how to do this.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bunnies are like heroin to me.

Fang Trip Hazard VI

I’ve been meaning to write since at least when it snowed in March. I took photos, nice ones, that just seem wrong to post now that it is almost June. So much has happened, at least in my circumscribed life. 

I have a new car which I bought at CarMax. It is not new new, but new to me - a 2013 Chevy Sonic with fewer that 24000 miles on it. 

The purchase came after the truck, a ’94 Chevy, left me stranded 50 miles from home. Once the wrecker delivered me I said I wanted something reliable and not a Project. The truck needed a new transmission, and it sat on the street for 3 weeks. I was afraid that it was going to become another Project, so I put a For Sale sign in it and it was gone that same day, along with the camper top which had been taking up space and killing grass. Sweetie was maybe not so thrilled but he didn’t really stand in my way, either.

I also wanted the driveway freed from the tyranny of the Project Car, the 1990 Mercedes, which had not run since 2015, and was looking at never running again. I donated it to NPR with the proceeds going to my favorite public radio station. (Shout out to WFPK in Louisville!) It took almost a month because I screwed up the title, but the process was well managed and customer service was prompt and helpful. I recommend.

We still have the POS ’97 Saturn that needs new brakes and a muffler, but it gets Sweetie back and forth to work and there are only the two cars in the driveway now!  And the motorcycle in the garage.

But back to CarMax. If the thought of going to a dealership or a car lot gives you hives, I have to recommend CarMax. There was no pressure, only helpfulness. It was just like the ads say - the listed price was the price with no haggling or ‘let me check with the manager to see if I can give you a better deal.’ That process always left me feeling dirty and used and taken advantage of. We financed through CarMax, and got the extended warranty, too, and drove it home the same day.

I have rejoined the Columbia Weavers and Spinners’ Guild and took a 2-day card weaving class. It really is fascinating and I understand it process well enough, but mastery of the S and Z still eludes me. I have put two warps on the loom since then, and threw one away but finished the other just now and the resultant band is for one of Sweetie’s hats. The bits in the photos are all from the class. The best one on the left I call the $200 book mark since that is the best thing I made in the $200 class.

A friend gave me bags of irises last fall and what a show they put on this month! Also carefree

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Chicken and Potatoes

Today's lunch for Sweetie and me: Homemade Buttermilk Chicken Fingers, Small Seasoned Potatoes, Green Salad

Monday, March 12, 2018

Today's Menu March 12

Today's Menu

Pan Baked Tilapia

Baked Vegetables:
  small potatoes
  baby carrots
  green onions

Saturday, March 10, 2018


So. My mental health is good. In fact, this has been the best winter in a long time. Two things for that: Marie, my house cleaner who comes about 6 times a month, and not being a part of the Arts Council. Both of those things make me happy and made me feel free and unburdened. 

I’ve been cooking some nice things, too. No breads or pastries because carbohydrates and type II diabetes, but sort of fancy things like chicken eggplant parmesan and pan roasted vegetables and chicken. Also a lot of fish. Someone once asked if I liked to cook and I said, not really but I don’t mind cooking but now I search online and in magazines for recipes and I try new things. I make Sweetie a nice lunch every weekday so I have a reason to cook. I still keep it all mostly healthy with lots of veg and salads and not much frying. It’s almost become fun.

Spring bulbs give so much pleasure, don't they? First with the incremental progress of green fingers reaching up, and then the pleasure of the actual bloom. Most of my plants that are indoors for the winter are doing well although I lost an orchid because the plant room can be too cold on the coldest of days. The thermometer stayed around zero for too long for the delicate things. But still, most of the succulents are fine and the geraniums have continued to bloom in their little window nook.

Facebook coughed up an old photo of mom and me. I think it was one my oldest brother posted 7 years ago and I was not at all familiar with it. I was 16 and looked such a sweet thing, which I was not. I always thought my mother was so beautiful what with blonde hair and a slim figure, but now I look at her and I don’t know her. My therapist remarked that, in photos I showed her, my mother looked positively emaciated and I thought back to memories of her not eating things she made. She cooked a lot, but wouldn’t eat spaghetti or chicken or desserts. Was she anorexic? Was her weight the only thing she felt she could control? I don’t know. Me, I love food too much and I get that from the pater's side.

Sent off my spit to Ancestry.com to get a genetic profile. I’m fairly certain of my Great Britain roots, but here’s the thing. While it is not impossible for a 55-year old woman to give birth in 1922, it is a bit unlikely. That would be my father and his mother, if she is. The curiosity may not be answered by my genetic profile, it may toss up something I don’t know. Sweetie’s sister’s indicated a 4% from India/Pakistan but no Native American, which she was sure of. So, something interesting to look forward to.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cold time in the old town tonight.

Oh - so much I want to write! But first let me get this off my whiny, petty chest. (And my chest is petty, that’s for sure.) Two friends of mine back in Indiana are going to the Edinburg Fiber Festival this year. Yeah, so first I am happy for them until I think, well shit,  here I was happy to be going to the Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana this April. Makes my dreams seem piss ant, right? And it ain’t cheap, either, that flying stuff! How can they afford to go to Scotland? Again? 

Oh, right, they both worked hard all their lives and so have money to spend on travel. Not like me, who hasn’t worked a real job in 25 years. 

And also? I hate traveling. New situations make me anxious and I would rather spend my few measly dollars a different way. Don’t like vacations, or even the thought of vacations. (Because you are going to come home in a week or two, and maybe less happy in your same old situation.) I don’t even like holidays because they throw off my routine. I am a homebody and I am not ashamed. Also an introvert with anxiety issues. 

I hope my friends have a great time, I really do! They both like to travel and both really like Scotland and I hope they buy a shit ton of yarn and take some classes. I  
will be happy to take my little trip to a place that I know pretty well, having been there 6 or 8 times before, and I will buy a shit ton of fiber and have a good time. I’ll be going with a buddy that I am very comfortable around, even though she is a Christian and believes that Satan walks among us on Earth. Can’t have everything.

It snowed Christmas eve and it didn't melt until last week and we finally had 2 days above 32º. Now it's snowed again and is -3º this morning. Fuck me.

On the other hand, the orchid I brought myself last year for mothers' day has bloomed again this year! Not that I had anything special to do with it except not killing it.

So. I have been enjoying my freedom from the arts council. It’s as though my brain has been freed up to think of something arty shit instead of being bogged down in a million little, (and some big,) details. I am not worrying about the next meeting and changing banks and getting that grant in on time and checking on emails. I have been able to let my imagination travel to weird places and think about several ideas for art pieces. I have been spinning and knitting and weaving, but I am ready to move beyond scarves and hats. Something useless and impractical.

I bought a new reed for my rigid heddle. It’s the Kromski Weaver’s Choice, which is basically a build-your-own reed with your choice of dents. I  bought extra heddle pieces, so now I have a 5, 8, 10, and 12 dent reed for my 24” Kromski Harp. I love that loom and I am enjoying messing around with the new reed. It came with a 10 dent reed, and I am thinking of getting another pair of heddle blocks so I can use 2 reeds at once to double my options. Honestly, though, I prolly have enough on my plate just using pick up sticks.

I have been having adventures on the drum carder, too, using a diz to pull off the batt as a roving. So many ways to use that technique! I made the diz from the bottom of a milk jug, (talk about cheap, nay, frugal,) but it works great. Those are the things that make me happy, simple oaf that I am.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

People are idiots.

Jeezy Chreezy. This getting dark at 5pm is bullshit and the only solace I can find is that the solstice is only a week away. 

In the recent past, I found myself angry. Jaw clenched angry. I was angry all the time. I would lay awake at night being angry. I wrote this on a piece of paper: 
Why am I so angry?
  Because people are idiots.
Which people?
  I named two people. Fucking, unhelpful idiots.
What else makes you angry?
  Having a board that does fuck all. Who have no initiative at all. Who wait for me to make every goddamn call.
What can be done?
  Leave the Arts Council.

Then I visited my cardiologist. I told him that my A-fib acted up when I was under stress. What causes you the most stress, he asked. The Arts Council. 

My therapist told me last summer that I needed to get away from the Arts Council. See where I’m going with this? 

At the last board meeting, after I chaired a particularly fine meeting, I announced that I was stepping down as president and also from the board. It was a hard thing, but I have had to do hard things before. I told my first husband that I was leaving him, for fuck’s sake. The controlling bastard who made me feel like shit. Who read my mail! Who once complained that I chopped the onions into too large of pieces. But I digress. 

It felt good, though. I am not responsible any more for press releases, updating the Facebook page, maintaining the website, giving presentations, meeting with the city fathers, buying the bottled water, finding bands and writing up their contracts, and for a million other things that I did on a volunteer basis. Done! I am no longer in charge and boy, do I feel good. I mean, 4 years is enough. And I am happy! A nicer, more cheerful person, even.

One day, even before all that, I decided that I needed to do something about my pudgy body. Did you know, YouTube has a video on everything. I searched for ‘exercise for seniors.’ I started doing some work outs that had me sitting in a chair doing some pretty basic stretching and then a little exercise for 8 minutes. I hurt so bad the next day, which took me aback. I really was out of shape! But now, 6 or 7 weeks on, I am doing 15 minutes with 5 pound weights. Each week I keep pushing it, and I work out 5 days a week. My pants fit better. Yay me! I make it a part of my morning, working out after coffee and before I walk the dogs. Yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn’t do it after coffee. So sue me.

I brought up the rigid heddle loom from the basement and I made a thing or two. I have been spinning. I knit a Deer Fucker hat. Not a Deer Stalker hat. A Deer Fucker hat. 

I made a sweater and hat. From a fleece that I spun, then dyed with natural dyes, then knit, from my own pattern.
Look how cool I am with a fucking camera
I put a wreath over the front door. I even sent some presents to my brothers and Sweetie’s mom and sister. Because I have so much shit I have made and have not sold I am giving it away. I closed my Etsy store. I have always said, I have that leftist disregard for commerce. God I hate grubbing for money. I am not a sharp dealer, and I don’t like bargaining. I hate putting a price tag on things I have labored over lovingly and happily. I had stress, guilt, and the burden of two large bins of scarfs, pins, hats, and all sorts of little bits and bobs sitting there, lonely in my fiber room, looking at me reproachfully.

I feel as though I have come to some sort of fork in the road, a turn around, two roads diverging in a wood so to speak. I’m on a better path.