Finding Focus

Home and studio, in Autumn.

My word, I’ve been away from this blog for a long time, so it is time to remedy that.   It is mid-October, getting to be late autumn in the WI Northwoods.

Autumn color.

After a couple brief periods of unusually warm temps for this time of year, we have now settled down into cool, crisp days, and frost warnings some nights.   The cooler temps are a reminder that snow is coming and there is outdoor work to be done,  including splitting wood for the kitchen woodburning range, before the snows arrive.

View from the lakeside porch.

Back in February I had cataract surgery on my right eye, followed by a few restrictions, in the dead of winter,… no snow shoveling, no carrying wood, no chopping ice, which was then followed by inflammation and more drops.  This was over a couple months.  A new right lens in my glasses and I was told my vision was 20/20.  I could decide before the surgery where I wanted my focus to be, so I decided the fell line on the loom would be good, 16″ from eyes to that point.  Except, in the words of the opthomologist, “your eyes didn’t cooperate with our computer model.”  It ended up more like 10,” so I can read my tablet and books fine, up close, without glasses, but the fell line and beyond is fuzzy, and reading my laptop screen is a challenge.

The left eye wasn’t yet bad enough to change my vision/ability to see, so she wanted to wait.  I called regarding an October re-visit and was told she was leaving that clinic in two weeks, someone else would have to see me.  Then I was told I couldn’t get in to see him until late February.  Wonderful, because for the past month my vision is getting fuzzy again.  I tell you, getting two cataracts taken care of should not take up  1.5 years of anyone’s life.

So, I’d been procrastinating for months, needing time to think about my future, the rut I felt like I was in,  and trying to balance commitments with determining what I want in the coming years.   I am not young, and in another week will be another year older.  I had pretty much come to a standstill with everything in my life, but happily now getting out of that rut and back into the studio, ready, well, ready in a couple days, to weave and create again.

I’m having an open studio this weekend  (Sat. & Sun., Oct. 14-15, 10 AM to 5 PM) and the studio is nowhere near ready.  I’m expecting perhaps two people, if they want to make the trip down from the UP, a woman who wants to take up weaving and wanted to visit and see/try my looms.  I haven’t advertised it much, and tourist season is over in the WI  Northwoods.  I couldn’t  schedule it last weekend,  no one would have stopped by as it was Cranberry Fest weekend, I was demo’ing the sock machine at Eagle River Gallery for three days, and it was also the Northwoods Art Tour.  Hence, postponing it to this weekend, rain or shine.  Whether anyone stops by or not, I’ll be working at the looms, perhaps a bit of spinning, and there are socks to be made.

The loom is waiting.

Tonight, I’m finishing up some cleaning in my studio, wiping dust off looms, noticing that after this warp I’ll be taking all the heddles off the Glimakra Standard and giving them a wash and rinse in the kitchen sink, they have turned a not-so-lovely shade of light gray.  I’m also decluttering, … moving boxes that had been packed for a possible move next year, moving spinning wheels upstairs, leaving one in the studio.

Woven shibori, soon.

Tubes of 16/2 Bockens Cotton from Sweden, for more woven shibori scarves, which reminds me, I need to revive the indigo vats early this coming week.

Bags of fleece waiting to be washed, carded, and spun.

There are packages of fleece that I’ve ordered waiting to be washed, not to mention two big bags of alpaca that my younger daughter brought here months ago, possibly last year?  They all need to be removed, too, temporarily.

Henry’s Attic Yarns.

I opened a bin I’d moved to the studio, with beautiful Henry’s Attic yarns purchased in the early 1980’s, just as fresh, clean, and beautful as the day I bought them.  They are whispering, calling to me, and I have a project in mind.

Towels waiting to be woven.

This picture does not show the true colors of the navy and variegated blues yarn, that will become towels for MY kitchen.

More towels waiting to be woven.

A few years back I did a series of towels, using bleached and natural Swedish cottolin, 22/2.  Some towels were 100% cottolin, others, I used different wefts from those large cones on the top shelf.  There will be more of those towels, also for my kitchen, and likely some for the Eagle River Gallery next spring.  As you can see, there is a LOT of weft to use up!

Missing books.

Over the past few months, quite a number of weaving books migrated up to the living room, and now must be carried back down and re-shelved.

1908 Gearhart sock machine.

And last, but not least, the 1908 Gearhart sock machine seems to be workiing better again, though still a bit temperamental.  I did get two pairs of socks made this past weekend, so hopefully the sock-making drought is over and that will be more to accomplish this winter.

So, back to the studio, where, to finish the cleaning up and decluttering.  Then, I need to make a warp yet tonight (it’s 11:02 PM right now), that should have been on the loom a couple days ago.  I may be up all night, but whatever, I need to get these things done.   I ordered a warping trapeze awhile back, it’s time to give it a try, then get the warp threaded, sleyed, and  tied on, so I can begin more woven shibori scarves.

After that,  I am finding a new focus in my weaving, to  new-to-me areas, which I’m really looking forward to trying.  They may or may not work, but it’s good to try new things and keep learning!

It’s late, there is an entire night of work ahead of me, and a little sleep much later would be nice.  I’ll be back!

6 thoughts on “Finding Focus”

  1. well, it is nice to see you blogging……I would love to learn indigo dyeing….I wish I were closer, I would pop over to your open house. And a warping trapeze, wow, we are on the same page, I just ordered that book by Katie Meek because I am intrigued by the trapeze. I am also having both cataracts done……Nov 27th and Dec 12th…….now I am officially older than dirt. But there is so much weaving to do!!!!!!!

    1. Hi Hilary! Yes, “old as dirt” is how I feel, especially with a birthday this coming week, but we keep moving forward, don’t we? I wish we were much closer, we would have a great time indigo dyeing together. Just get a book or two (or dvd), order the supplies, and dive into it like I did!
      As for the warping trapeze, I have Kati Meek’s book, and I’ll be using the trapeze for the first time today. With a probable move, perhaps next year, I won’t have anyone to help wind warps on the looms so I thought I’d better start learning to use this system now. You and your husband, or someone nearby, could probably make one for you. I took the easy way and just ordered it from VavStuga since that was where I saw one in use about five years ago. Will try to take a couple photos for the blog (and my future reference) today. So good to hear from you here!

  2. The eyes and the rut are tough… But, I’m glad you are finding inspiration again and hope you can get that second eye taken care of. Are you still planning on moving? Being in limbo can take so much energy! I hope you have had a nice birthday and it was fun to catch up with your update!

    1. It was a frustrating few months, but I’m happy to be back in my studio again, and prepping looms for weaving. If all goes well this winter and I get everything done, I hope to list the place for sale in spring. Totally agree, Rachel, “Limbo” takes so much energy, can bring you to a halt because there is so much change coming. But I can’t indulge those worries any longer, I’m back at work, weaving, and work on home, so I can move forward, and just try not to worry about the when and where. I know what city, but the details are impossible to know at this point. My birthday was with family (not all at once) and a friend, all very pleasant.

  3. I worked for days cleaning, sorting, uncluttering, dealing with months of “stuff.” I really didn’t expect anyone since the dates were after the last of the “tourist” season, so wasn’t too disappointed when no one stopped in. A couple had said they would be coming, and let me know the day before their plans had changed, same for someone else. But it was all okay as the next day several members of our area weaving/fiber guild were here for potluck/meeting/show-n-share. It was a pleasant evening, good food, good talk, and always great to see what people are working on or just finished.

    Now, there is a short window of time to do outdoor work, split and stack more wood, and I’m looking forward to alternating weaving and fiber work, with interior work on the house over the winter months. I’ll be kept quite busy!

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