Category Archives: TAFA – Textile and Fiber Arts List

Life Changes

February Frost.
February Frost.

Changes are coming, I hope this year.  I can’t see them all clearly yet, but I’m moving forward, hopeful that things will fall into place, and new opportunities will be found.

The end of 2015 was approaching, and I had been making plans for the coming year,… the Northwoods Art Tour again, Artistree Gallery, and Art Gypsies.  I had just joined The Textile and Fiber Arts List, and my Shuttle Works Studio shop on Big Cartel had just opened.

And then the phone rang,… it was my Dad calling to tell me he had fallen and fractured his left arm radius and middle finger.  This was his second health issue in the past year.

The night before I drove down, the decisions began,… the first one, to finally put my northwoods rustic log home up for sale in the spring and move back to southern WI to be closer to my father.  I have spent these  past 24 years enjoying silence, the sound of wind in the trees, sights and sounds of the wildlife.  I am so thankful for the life I’ve had here.

I drove down and stayed two weeks to help out, do laundry, cook, and clean, went home for Christmas, then back down for another two weeks until he was pronounced nearly healed.

Thankfully, his arm is now healed and he is bowling again and looking forward to spring and golfing and gardening.  Dad also made the decision while I was visiting, that after I have moved back, he will sell his home and move in with me, a suggestion I’d made quite awhile back.

When my mother passed away four years ago, Dad, who will be 89 this year, was a little worried about what would happen to him.  I assured him I would take care of him.  He likes his independence, likes to come and go as he pleases, and pursue his interests – golfing, bowling, and gardening, so he continued living on his own as he wanted.      The two of us in one home will allow him to continue this.

The decision to move was quickly followed by others.  With no idea when my home will sell, when I’ll be moving, I couldn’t stay on the Northwoods Art Tour.  They print 50,000 brochures which are distributed all over WI and northern IL, and I could not, in good conscience, be listed on there with even a slim possibility of not being here for the summer and/or fall tours.

Given the amount of work to be done on the house, preparing to move, packing and so on, time for weaving will be limited, which meant leaving Artistree Gallery at the end of March 2016, and not being part of the Art Gypsies art show/sale this year.  Cutting ties with groups of people I have been part of for 16 years or so has not been easy.  I’m feeling rather adrift right now, leaving this life behind, and as yet, nothing to be part of at my future home.  I am looking at possibilities for 2017.  For now, my online shop will be the outlet for my work, and I’ll be adding scarves to it in a few weeks.

Kitchen updating in progress.
Kitchen updating in progress.

So, we are busy now, doing some work on the house, and I’m busy starting to clear out 40 years of stuff and clutter, determined to not take all of this with me.  Of course, I will be taking the looms, spinning wheels, yarns, fibers, books, fabric, and so on.   Don’t ask how many bins and drawers.  Let’s just say the movers won’t be happy!  Studio contents, a lot of books, and a few pieces of furniture I want to keep will be on the moving van, not a lot else.

I’ve finally begun the huge task of sorting through drawers, closets, bins, boxes, almost a lifetime of belongings.  Wondering how much I can let go of without experiencing a huge amount of guilt.

I’m keeping an eye on homes for sale, looking for one with plenty of “elbow room” for the two of us, and room for my weaving studio, not to easy to find.  Realtors show me homes with a small family room, “you could put your loom in here,…” they really have no clue!  Now, I have photos of my looms on my tablet so they can see them and understand the size of looms and space I’m talking about.

Time to move on and create a new life, move into a new future.

Old and New Challenges

"Bamboo 2," woven shibori scarf. (Sold)
“Bamboo 2,” woven shibori scarf. (Sold)

It has been a couple weeks of challenges,… design, dyeing, time, energy, mechanical, and more.

After the circle/cowl scarves were finished and delivered to Artistree Gallery, along with the sachets, it was time to weave the custom scarf ordered by a woman in WI.  She had seen a different “bamboo” scarf during the fall art tour, and after looking at a number of scarves, decided she wanted one with a bamboo design on it.   The photo above, “Bamboo 2” was just completed and mailed this week.

 

A closer look at "Bamboo 2."
A closer look at “Bamboo 2.”

Weaving was begun, hemstitching, the border with a center area for the design to be hand-stitched on.  Then the center plain weave, and repeat the border.  It takes awhile to hand-stitch the design, and even longer to gather/tie all those stitched lines.  While working on this, I was also reviving the indigo vat by placing it (in a 5 gal. stainless steel pot) on the woodburning range in the kitchen to warm it up a bit, and added more indigo and Thiox, stirring it well a couple times that evening and letting it work overnight.  I’d forgotten how long, and it was a very long day and late evening, and finally ready to indigo dye the next morning.

 

Indigo dye vat ready to go (flower removed).
Indigo dye vat ready to go (flower removed).

 

"Flower," set aside in a bowl, and returned to the vat after dyeing done.
“Flower,” set aside in a bowl, and returned to the vat after dyeing done.

The dyeing was done, three dips in the vat, and after giving it plenty of time to oxidize, it was rinsed, water squeezed out, and draped over a wood drying rack in front of a fan turned on high.  By early evening, it was dry and I sat down with scissors and my new OttLite (LED with magnifier) which has been saving my eyesight, to very carefully snip the knots and pull the pattern threads out.  Then down to wash and rinse (multiple rinses), and let it dry overnight.  In the morning the scarf was pressed and I took it to the gallery to hand-twist fringe while I spent the day working there.  Mid-afternoon a lot of sleet came down, and after the rug hooking group left, I closed up and went home to finish the fringe.  Another pressing in the morning, and the scarf was mailed to the client.

 

Close-up of hand-stitched design.
Close-up of hand-stitched design.

I received an email from her, she is VERY happy with the scarf and will be wearing it over the upcoming holidays.   Enjoy wearing it, Jill!

I took a couple days off after the intensive hours on that scarf, and the other day set up the sock machine in the afternoon.  I had the machine ready, the lights focused down on the needles, the yarn standing by, the scrap yarn threaded, was about to turn the crank to start a sock, when,… the lights went out!  The timing was incredible.  It was all put away and I took a nap.

This morning I set it all up again, knowing I had to work on an issue with the tension knob,… the last time I made socks, the last two pairs ended up too big and were returned to me this fall (local guild member).  I’d made them the same number of rows, leg and foot, as I always do for her (repeat customer).  So I need to figure out if the whole knob had somehow been turned so the old setting wasn’t going to work?  If so, I’d need to figure out where it should be set to achieve the stitch size/rows for each size (S, M, L, X-L).  I wasn’t expecting the sock machine to have every problem it had ever had plus a new one.  The machine was taken apart three times today, cleaned, greased, reassembled, new needles swapped in for any that showed a problem.  But this new problem?  When I start the heel, the yarn doesn’t knit and all the needles for 3″ or so throw the stitches off, all in the blink of an eye.  I have no clue what is causing it and I can’t do heels/toes until it is resolved.  Tonight I described it on a sock machine list in hope someone might have an idea.  I’ll be back at the sock machine in the morning,… I think we need a little time away from each other tonight.

After those sock orders are finally completed and mailed/delivered, I’ll visit my father again for a few days.  We are hoping his two fractures will be healed by Jan. 4th, and he can leave the splint off, and return to his activities.

 

Glimakra Regina tapestry/rug loom in the studio.
Glimakra Regina tapestry/rug loom in the studio.

When I return home, I’ll be focusing first on the online tapestry weaving class I am participating in, taught by Rebecca Mezoff.  The next time you see a photo of this loom, my tapestry “homework” will be on it, something I am really looking forward to.  In winter, I like to stay home where it is warm and cozy, there are fewer distractions and outside deadlines, and it is a good time for me to delve into new areas of weaving or other fiber areas.

It will also be a good time to take woven shibori in new directions, and there are many ideas and plans for that.  And I’m not forgetting the Norwegian style weaving I need to get back to, including drawloom.  I have weaving to do for Shuttle Works Studio (on Big Cartel), Artistree Gallery, and for TAFA.  As part of the changes I expect to take place in 2016, I took myself off the Northwoods Art Tour, my participation in Art Gypsies and Artistree Gallery are undecided, and I am re-thinking my goals.  A couple days ago I went to one of those Facebook “game” pages where you type in your name and it gives a word for the coming year,… my word was CHANGE.  How fitting!

We are also going to be working on the house again,… kitchen cupboards and counters will be refinished, a new kitchen sink put in, and hopefully new lighting.  Upstairs, the floors will be taken up, planed, stained, and finished.  I turned 65 a few weeks ago (how did that happen!), and decided I need to simplify some areas of my life to lessen self-inflicted stress, make upcoming changes easier, and make my creative life more pleasant.

In late September I started sponsoring a 14 year old Tibetan nun through the Tibetan Nuns Project.  A couple weeks ago I began sponsoring a second Tibetan nun, this young woman is in her mid-20’s.  I am a firm believer in sharing blessings, and through TNP, these women and girls have safe housing, food, clothes, and are getting an education in an area of the world where very few females are provided that.  I am happy to give up a few extras each month to make this commitment to them and TNP, and I’m hoping we will be able to exchange an occasional letter.  For now, their photos and information hang on a bulletin board in my studio, where I see them daily.  They are a good reminder to be thankful for what I have, to give, and to stay focused on what is important in life.

There is much to look forward to in 2016!

Exciting Events

There has been a lot going on in the studio the past two weeks.  On Nov. 3rd, I received an email with a pre-approved invitation to join the Textile and Fiber Arts List.  I sent the fee, and today sent the text and photos for my profile page which will be up soon.  I’m looking forward to participating in TAFA and am feeling quite honored by this unexpected opportunity!

Today, my online shop finally went live, another exciting event!  Shuttle Works Studio is on the Big Cartel site.  Two handwoven scarves were listed along with three sachets, and more items will be listed soon.  I hope you will visit!

Woven shibori mobius scarf, indigo-dyed.
Woven shibori mobius scarf, indigo-dyed.
Detail shot of the woven shibori mobius scarf.
Detail shot of the woven shibori mobius scarf.

My first woven shibori mobius scarf, with the ends sewn together with a flat-fell seam.  My daughter graciously modeled it for me (thank you, Sarah!).

Weaving continues, for Artistree Gallery, my online shop, and custom orders.  I’ll be spending a lot of hours in the studio over the next three weeks to get everything woven and finished.

Also coming up is Artistree Gallery’s upcoming Holiday Art Bazaar on Sat., Dec. 5th, 10 AM to 5 PM.  There will be refreshments, demonstrations, and opportunity to meet many of the artists.  I will be demonstrating on the Glimakra band loom that morning.  I hope to see you there!

Artistree Gallery Holiday Art Bazaar, Dec. 5, 2015!
Artistree Gallery Holiday Art Bazaar, Dec. 5, 2015!
Snow overnight, Dec. 12-13, 2015.
Snow overnight, Dec. 12-13, 2015.

Overnight Dec. 12-13, we received our first real snow, around 2″ by morning.  This was what I saw looking out my second floor window about 7 AM that morning.  It has melted now, rain comes and goes.  The forecast is colder but no snow yet which is fine as we still have around 5 loggers cords of wood to cut, split, an stack in the woodshed.  The wood burning range in the kitchen keeps us warm all winter, and to enjoy that, we have to do our part.  We’re running out of time so we’ll be out working in the woodpile in the next few days.  Coming back inside and sitting at a loom to weave is restful!