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.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sunshine and Thunder

What an incredible contrast....yet, right now at this writing, sunshine and thunder is exactly what I've got.  My eyes see my studio in a glowing wash of brilliant golden light, while my ears hear roar and boom of thunder all around me, shaking the walls...and the looms, echoing off the mountains and rolling down the canyons to me. How enriching to my life that I can be experiencing something that is as gentle and warm as a kiss, while at the same time feeling such frightening power.

It's almost as though the universe is telling me something, but, though I hear it and see it, I just don't know how to speak the language.....

I feel so small, so weak, so utterly insignificant, like just a little speck in the big picture....and, at the same moment, blessed to be alive, so honored to be in this place at this time of my life.  While these powerful contrasts of life are so completely filling every inch of my immediate space, I am ever in wonder of this place and where I fit in it.  I feel so thankful to the universe for this life that I lead.... and for this life that leads me...

It's sunny in the picture above, but there are times we are driving down off the mountain and on our left is clouds and rain, heavy with darkness and lightning and on our right is bright gentle sunshine with not a cloud to be seen.  I'll never grow used to it all.  I will witness everything, appreciate it all, even when it's difficult, and remember forever.....

Contrast continues in my weaving as well as I am currently weaving heavy blanket weight fabrics on Doris and also weaving fabric so light it's mostly air on Hazle and Grace.

One of the things I like most about having so many looms in progress is that I have variety and can literally chose my mood.  I try to keep them on a schedule because that's best for my "busy head", but it's challenging and enjoyable to have such contrast in what I'm weaving from size of threads to width of work to complexity of design and demand on the brain!

On Doris, I've finally started to weave blankets, which has been a long-time dream of mine, and now they have begun! They are sofa throw size, about 4 feet wide and 6 to 7 feet long after washing, though they can also be great on twin beds.

Some will have fringe and some will not.  I've got such a long line of color ways planned that I could be weaving into next year!  Some of the blankets will be all cotton, some cotton blends and some will be cotton warp and wool weft.  I am going for texture and color and lots of FUN!

While the blankets are progressing on Doris, I have light, gentle fabric in progress on Hazle with rayon, tencil and silk.  I have 3 shuttles going right now, which I am getting very comfortable doing in an ever changing background of colors with soft pink flower forms in Bronson Lace going goal is 6 or 7 shuttles going at one time.

The gradation of background colors is actually showing up in the photo at right, but viewing 'in purrrrrrrrrson' it's more subtle and interesting.

Then, on Grace, I've got the next reeeeeally light fabric in progress with a new design in the 10-Harness Huck Lace.  It's like a party over on her because I have only one shuttle going and the fabric is not very wide!  See below.....

HERE'S MY Trick Of The Trade:

How do you count rows of chenille, especially when that chenille is BLACK?!? The photos above will tell all.  Every 10 rows, I place a very small straight pin from the top of the tenth weft thread to the bottom of that same thread, so that I know for sure that the pin is ON ten.  For me, it's easy to maintain a mental note of 10 rows at a time, so this is easy and fast.  The pin marking 50 rows is a different color, so at that red one, I start using the ones from below to continue, using less you can see it works well for chenille and for smooth wefts, I was counting 88 rows before a change of weft and this helped me SO much!

Okay, so the phone rings and I lose COUNT!  Okay, what NOW?  I always have a flash light in a handy place and in my studio is no different!

This works with any color chenille, but is most especially appreciated with BLACK!

As you can see, this pin marking method is easy, stays out of the way of progress, doesn't catch the weft threads in process and is easy to put in and take out!  Need I say more?

At the wise advice of my dear friend, Rachel, I have submitted several works for jury in hopes that they might go into different shows and exhibitions around Texas.....I have been extremely busy getting these works woven (yes, I have created them JUST for these events) and washed, finished, hemmed, hanging forms sewn carefully into casements and I am now at the ready to await the fate of these works.  Let's see where they might take me.... I'm thinking of this as my Rachel Journey...and she will never steer me wrong.

So, now that I've met all my deadlines, I am planning on just weaving and enjoying the light in the studio, the peace of the place, and a quiet so profound that I can hear the birds' little beaks crushing the food I have offered them.  Yes all's, no thunder right now, but I never know when it will visit in this high mountain desert world in which I am merely a happy speck.  Oh, did I mention, that our lightning here is legendary and there is even an observatory on top of Magdalena Ridge. put there because of our huge abundance of lightning.

Abundance...yes, that is the word, isn't it...  There is such abundance of all things here, the easy and the difficult, the beautiful and the brutal.  Life is good and I'm sending out Miles and Miles of Smiles....Cat B.

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