January "Blues"

I seem to be sensing the beginning of a theme here,… I’ve got the blues!  My mind is filled with new weaving, indigo dyeing (beginning soon), sashiko, Japanese Boro fabrics, even cranking “I’ve Got the Blues” socks.  This blog was given a new “Blue” look, too, and more changes and additions are in store.

This year, in addition to the woven shibori and indigo, I’ll be focusing on my interest in Scandinavian weaving.  Louise is waiting for me to call with news of a warp or two ready to be beamed.  And, I need to get back to re-sleying the reed on the drawloom, then we’ll see what happens.  Before that, I have a newsletter to get out for the Complex Weavers Double Harness Study Group.  I did have an article in the International Damask Weavers Newsletter about my week this past Sept. at VavStuga, and their Basic Drawloom class. 



Beginnings of woven shibori.


Woven shibori had been on my Must Do list for a long time, since I happened upon “Woven Shibori” by Catherine Ellis.  So a warp was made and beamed.  I decided to use what I had on hand, not too fine to start, so stayed with 22/2 half-bleached cottolin, about 8″ wide in the reed, and sett at 24 epi.  I am using seine twine for the gathering threads as I know it is strong.  I plan to remove the first sample and try the seine twine to see if it works for gathering, and expect I’ll also discover if the sett is too close.  If the seine twine doesn’t work, I will change to fish line or other. 

The loom is still threaded for twill, and I will weave 3-4 or so samples, varying them, then plan to re-tie and re-thread for huck, more samples, then re-tie and re-threada again for Monk’s Belt, all weave structures in Scandinavian weaving.  Meanwhile, I am reading to find more weave structures that will work with this technique.

While weaving these samples, I need to clean up my garage, clear a “work bench” and set up an area for indigo dyeing.  Yes, it’s winter here, but my garage gets a bit of heat and stays around 46 to 50 degrees, unless we’re in sub-zero temps as we are now.  

Once an area is set up, I can get my first indigo dyepots going and start dyeing the woven samples and see what results I get.  I have the indigo dye, and supplies, including those for for safety.  I am hoping I’ll start dyeing samples later in February.  Something prepare for and look forward to during another long northwoods winter.



Page from Japanese sashiko book.

 It must be the indigo dye, but it bought to mind a book I saw years ago at a quilt shop (and did not buy, but now wish I had), about Japanese Sashiko, and the indigo woven fabrics.  So in addition to my handwoven samples, I have 14 yards of PFD cotton fabric to experiment with.  Books on shibori have been waiting patiently on my shelves, and I am looking forward to where all of this will take me!



Japanese silk obi.



A few weeks ago, a 2 DVD set arrived, “Creative Cloth” with Anita Luvera Mayer (Interweave Press).  I have watched it a few times now, and as always, find Anita Mayer, and her work, inspiring!  It must have been under her influence that I obtained this Japanese silk obi, which I plan to incorporate in a future jacket for myself.  Ideas are simmering!



“Got the Blues” socks.


I thought Christmas and January would be quiet times for me, with plenty of weaving.  Wrong!  The phone rang a few times, emails came, people wanted socks!  Then a tooth infection struck before Christmas and I was done doing anything for almost two weeks.  Just me, my antibiotic, and glasses of water and juice.  So now in January I am trying to catch up so I can get back to my looms!  More socks to do and I’ve given myself a deadline of four days from now. 



“Maddy,” the new addition to my feline family.


Earlier in January, I had been missing pets whose lives had ended a little over a year ago, and started haunting critter shelter lists.  After three or four visits, Maddy and I met and she came home with me.  She is adjusting well to living with three male cats (all quite gentle).  Maddy is a real sweetheart!



Wood supply in my garage.


There is a big, black, woodburning range in my kitchen, about 14 years old, Amish made, the kind with the warming oven on top.  I get close to half my heat in winter from wood, which of course, requires a LOT of wood in the woodshed, and hauling it into the house all winter long.  Every few days, this rack is filled, along with one half that size that is inside my house.  I keep an eye on the weather and on warmer days, fill the back of my Honda CR-V with wood, 3 to 4 times, to fill these racks.  My inside rack is empty after three nights of around -18 F., and I’m now carrying in wood from the garage.  Guess what I’ll be doing for a couple hours on Sunday?



Jan Zindel, at Shuttle Works Studio, January 21, 2013.


A couple months ago, a small northwoods publication, “Baby Boomers and Beyond” contacted me about an article for an upcoming issue, and sent a writer for an interview and photos. The article was sent to me for any changes or corrections, and then I received word there were problems with the photos and could I supply a couple. What to do but ask a friend to come over and take a few. Artist/weaver/friend Louise Engelbrecht (yes, the same Louise I traveled to the tapestry exhibit with), arrived Monday AM, a VERY COLD, well below zero morning, and snapped a few pics. The one above was not sent to the magazine. It took a little time for Louise and I to get our timing together, as you can see, I would move and/or talk, while she snapped! Great fun, though, and I finally have photos of myself at a loom.

It’s nearly midnight, 0 F. outside, and snowing, and I’m looking forward to bit warmer temps Sunday and Monday, and a lot more time in the studio!  There is a lot to look forward to!

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