The Weaver's Dance

On a loom that whispers, with shuttles that fly
And bobbins that chatter as the hours go by
I'll not lay in one thread of mere chance
As I work in the motion of the weaver's dance.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back from Intermountain Weavers Conference

It is so very good to be home.  Even when the trip away was wonderful, there's truly no place like home.  And what have I been doing?  They say a picture is worth a thousand words so.....look UP!  Whenever I am in my booth, I feel like I am standing in the middle of my dreams made real.  The fabrics that I think up in my head are there to be seen and felt.  And the most fun is that people actually can visit me in my dreams!

Two of my most satisfying dreams have been "Desert Daze" (the bottom several fabric rolls on the rack, and "Desert Nights" (the top 3 fabric rolls).

"Daze" has proved very popular over the years and I'm now weaving on my seventh warping of this fabric.  As of yesterday, I have had the colored warps sitting on the breast beam on Deedle (the loom on which I weave this fabric) and it will be my eighth 70-yard warp!  I still need to buy the 'sand' for this warp, but I have to colors all planned out.

"Nights" is new and already showing some interest.  I had two quite nice sized rolls which I took to Texas to that show in College Station, and sold out of I came home with orders for more to mail out, wove those and then began to weave more for IWC in Durango, CO.  I feel that I haven't really had time to explore "Nights" yet, but will in the coming months.

I have recently been asked how someone can order something off my blog. Since I'm rather new at this, I just assumed that anyone interested in any of my fabrics would email me and the dialog would begin.  But, I guess I should say that.  Since I don't have Product # connected or any listing, I can see how it might be confusing.  So.....if you go to "THE WORK ~ With a little help from my friends..." area very near the top of my blog, you'll see a list of "friends" which are the names of my looms.  Say you click on Margaret and look at the photos, read the pricing and the description of the fabrics that I weave on Margaret.... then, you are really interested in making yourself a skirt from one of the fabrics. Nice for ME!  You email me directly (or you could leave a comment, I guess) and I will email you back.  The great thing about emailing me directly is ....then you and I are having a one-on-one conversation and I can send you photos directly that show all the varieties of fabrics that I have woven off of Margaret.  Then, if you see something in particular, I can send close-ups of that fabric so there are no surprises should you decide to order.  I can include for you the exact measurements of width and length and such, so you would know what you are getting. You can look at your patterns, OR, as with the skirt I made from Margaret fabric, it's just a TUBE with elastic at top and a nice turned, hand-stitched hem!  I hope is has been a helpful addition and I will also put up a "sign" somewhere on my blog....I'll figure out where very soon!

I will post more later and add another "Trick of the Trade" as time allows!  The garden is calling, there's beans and squash and okra to pick, there's looms to tie-on, there's paperwork to shuffle!  Keep smiling........ and purrrrring!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Cloth for Janie

I've been busy finishing up some orders that I received from my trips in Texas and here's my last one for this go-round.  As I weave this cloth, I remember this dear lady who came into my booth in College Station and, when I didn't have enough, ordered 4 yards of it!  I am so thrilled and honored to be weaving away for Janie!

I am enjoying weaving on Jimmy so very much and this fabric, one of my newest creations called "Desert Nights" has been quite popular indeed.

Next I plan to weave some 20/2 rayon in, as it will make the fabric even more light weight and have a drape that is to live for!  I am weaving with relatively small weft threads of purple 20/2 cotton and chartreuse 10/2 cotton and there are 48 rows to a series, so it's not a fast fabric to weave, but I think the result is worth it!

When the Village Vixens visited my studio recently, there was discussion about why not choose one of the lovely colors that is IN the warp and weave with that as one of the wefts of this Shadow Weave.  My answer is that, if I did that with, say purple, the eye would go immediately TO that spot where the purple weft meets the purple warp and I don't want that.  Our eye will always go to the "difference" in something....the variable, so I would rather keep all of the colors in a state of change and contrast....I hope that makes sense.

I've also been thinking that I should mention that, yes, I have cut my hair!  There was more than one shocked look in my booth by old friends in Texas who said "What did you DO?"  Well, I cut my hair!  I gave 19 inches of it for making wigs and, because there was so much of it, my hair will help make about 1/3 of a wig.  I thought I'd better cut it soon, because I am graying pretty fast now....moonlight, I call it.... and I love it this way.  But, the wig makers cannot use gray hair and, when I found that out, I was so disappointed and little insulted!  BUT, I went on line and found out WHY no gray hair, so I feel okay now.  The reason is that the average pony tail, 8-10 inches long, make about 1/6 of a wig, so they have to combine other donations to make an entire wig and then, to make all that match, they have to dye the hairs.  Gray hair doesn't take the dye as well and won't keep it well once it's in there, so they just can't use it if it's got like 6% gray.  The ends of my hair were still pretty brown, so, just before my 61st birthday, I cut my hair and donated it.  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Okay, so besides weaving for Janie, I am getting ready to IWC....Intermountain Weavers Conference which takes place at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado from July 21st through July 24th.  This is such a lovely event for everyone and, as a vendor, it's heaven itself.  We don't have booth numbers, but I can still be found at the Student Union Hall, the Vallecito Room and it's FREE to the public!  The exhibits are also free and absolutely amazing.  Now, I must say here that this conference is also of interest to ALL fiber artists.  No matter what you do with fiber, you'll find the supplies, the books, the inspirations and many kindred spirits!  You can find out more on the website by putting in Intermountain Weavers Conference 2011.  I would say just put in IWC, but that brings up a lot of wine things, too, so better spell it out, okay?  Please come and say hello!  You'll be happy you did!!!

HERE'S A Trick of the Trade!!!!
P A P E R ! ! ! ! !
It would be fair to say that, with 9 looms, I use a LOT of paper.  I dress my looms front to back and don't prefer the sectional system which I used for years.  For non-weaving readers, we put paper in our warp as we are winding it on the warp beam, so the outer layers won't sink into the inner layers, making for terrible tension problems.....I've often said that we weavers are so happy because all of our tension is IN OUR WARPS!!!!...Okay, I'm corny!

First suggestion, note how I store my paper by rolling gradually tighter lengths into another roll until I have tons of paper in a really small space...see the box.

Second suggestion is that you can purrrrrrrrrrfectly lovely paper at HOME DEPOT!  Go to their paint department and ask them where the rolls of floor protecting paper is.  It's pretty tough stuff and helps me in rolling my really long warps.  Note that there are usually 2 sizes....get the 36" length.  With that length, since all of my looms are wider, I turn the paper to cut my lengths...then, every time a put on a paper, I've wound on ONE YARD!  Cool, huh?  I have a paper count as I wind, so I know how far along I am progressing!
Third suggestion is near and dear to my heart.  As I wind on my woven fabric onto the cloth beam (see photo), from the very first, I put in a paper that has been folded at least 4 times to make it reall thick (I'd use the corrugated paper here, but have none wide enough).  Years ago, I used to take off my fabric and see the ugliest distortions in my lovely cloth and (oh YUCK comes to memory) I started doing this.  I used to do it only for my lighter fabrics and stoles, but now I do it at every loom every time.  Each loom has it's own paper, pre-folded, ready to go at wind-on, stays with the loom at all times and is used again and again and again...that's for the Scottish!

Now, see how smoooooooooooth that fabric will be from it's very beginning to it's lovely end.  AAAAAAAAh, now I'm happy.  I am sending out happy thoughts of weaving and gardens growing and everyone getting just enough rain and Miles and Miles of Smiles, Cat B.