Thursday, December 24, 2009

Brioche Boo Boo

I've been doing some simple knitting lately - currently working on a brioche rib narrow scarf in denim blue Merino. I'm enjoying this stitch immensely, until I make a mistake.

For the first experiment with this stitch, I cast on and started knitting. Made a mistake, tried to rip it out and redo, but couldn't seem to fix it so you couldn't tell where the mistake row had been. (Should have checked with this page, which says to rip out to the row *above* the mistake, then rip out that last row one stitch at a time. I decided I had made the scarf too wide, so I just ripped out the whole thing, cast on with fewer stitches, and started again.

Last night, I noticed I had made a mistake in one of the edge stitches about 10 rows back. Eyes and brain are not at their best at night, so I just set it aside.

This afternoon, the groceries are put away and the Christmas preparations mostly done, so I decided to tackle the brioche repair.

Since this was an edge stitch, I ripped out each edge stitch back to the mistake, then a few more so I could figure out the path to take to do the repair with a crochet hook. It worked!

In this first picture, my finger is pointing to the place where the repair began. On this side, you can't really see anything, I think, I hope. On the other side, there's a slight difference, but not really very noticable, and definitely better than the hole that was there before. :-)

I'm feeling very pleased with myself, and more likely to use this stitch more often now that I know that mistakes can indeed be repaired.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Great Balls of Fiber

My friend Mary is the coordinator for our guild's evening group. (Our guild meets the second Saturday of each month, and we also have an evening meeting on the second Monday night of each month.) She was looking for ideas for programs, and I remembered seeing a description of a neat project on WeaveTech - I think posted by Cathie from New Zealand? That post didn't include detailed instructions, so here's what I wrote up for Mary to send out to participants.

Great Balls of Fiber Challenge
The challenge is to a) clear out fine yarns you no longer want and b) transform those yarns into balls of really cool, unique yarns that can be used as either warp or weft, or for knitting or crochet.

Things to bring:
  • a ballwinder
  • a pair of scissors
  • cones or spools or balls of fine yarns - any fiber, any color, any amount
  • a binder clip (to use as a simple thread guide)
  • a paper sack (to keep the things you're winding from rolling all around the room, and to take home what you create)
What we'll do:
SETUP: When we arrive, we'll put all of the cones or balls on a central table, and each person will set up their winding station with their sack, binder clip, ballwinder, and scissors. Attach the ballwinder to the table, put a binder clip on the edge of the table, flip one leg out to use as a guide), and set the sack on the floor below the binder clip.

SELECTION: When everyone is ready to begin, you will go to the yarn table and pick a minimum of 4 yarns to combine into your own unique Great Ball of Fiber.

WINDING: Place your source yarns in the paper sack. Grab the ends of each thread, holding them together, run the new yarn up through the binder clip and attach it to the ballwinder. Wind a ball until the ball is either large enough, or one of your source yarns runs out.

REPEAT: Keep choosing new yarns and winding new balls until time is up.

And here's what they made! Sure wish I could have joined them. (I had symphony chorus rehearsal that night.) Thank you Chris for the photos! I can't wait to see what they make with their new yarns.

(P.S. The NZ guild that did this originally didn't let the yarn creators keep their yarns - they had a big auction, and if you wanted to keep what you had made, you had to have the winning bid! Great idea for a fundraiser.)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Book Review: Unexpected Knitting

I consider myself mostly a weaver who occasionally knits. (This is a pretty amazing statement, considering how little weaving I've been doing lately. Hope springs eternal.)

Recently, I checked out a knitting book from the library, and I am COMPLETELY in love with this book! I'm definitely going to have to purchase my own copy, because it's one I know I will come back to again and again and again.

The book is called Unexpected Knitting, by Debbie New, and it is a feast in so many ways. The photographs are stunning and beautiful, but even better - it is full of the most incredible IDEAS. She discusses a variety of knitting design techniques, then for each one has a specific example of something to make using that technique. The techniques are:
  • Free form knitting
  • Scribble lace knitting
  • Swirl knitting
  • Sculptural
  • Virtual Knitting
  • Cellular Automaton Knitting
  • Ouroborus Knitting
  • Labyrinth Knitting
These range from easy and spontaneous to very complex, and yet she has a way of describing what's going on that makes it easy to see how each technique works.

I like some of her subheadings, too...
  • For those who like to jump right in
  • Learning to love your mistakes
  • An elegant muddle
  • The Better Mousetrap Sock and other sculptures
  • "Knitting" the impossible
  • Self-generating patterns
  • Playing with mitered rings
  • Long space-filling strips
Each techniques has its own gallery of photos showing the amazing possibilities she has explored in her work.

To cap it off, there's an Appendix with all the basic techniques you will need.

Let's just say if I were stranded on a desert island and I could only have one knitting book with me, this would be it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

No *Visible* Progress - Just Audible

Okay, I know I'm in a stall - both with weaving and this blog, but truly, I am NOT catatonic. Things have been very busy lately, just not with anything for which I can produce visible evidence here. :-)

I've actually had two main focuses lately: symphony chorus and a study group I'm co-facilitating.
I'll stick with one of them in this post.

La Jolla Symphony Chorus
I saw a notice in a little neighborhood newspaper this summer announcing that the La Jolla Symphony was having auditions for its chorus. I checked out their web site, gulped at the requirements, and immediately sent an email asking for an audition time (before I could chicken out.) I sang in some pretty cool choirs in my college days, but that was back in the 70's! We have an occasional choir at the Unity Center, and when it fits my schedule, I sing with them, but if anything, that revealed to me the changes in my voice since my youth. Scary, sad.

And I LOVED singing in a choir. There's something utterly magical about it, and there's nothing more satisfying than those moments when you realize something incredible has just been created, and you are a part of it. It's the closest you can get to bliss without sex! So why I have let this part of my life languish for decades is beyond me. Anyway, back to the audition.

I was surprised to get an immediate response to my audition request, so the day and time was set. I downloaded the practice theory quiz (which surprised me by how difficult it was) and began practicing a Brahms song. (You had to prepare one song to sing - either an art song or a piece from a musical. I definitely don't have a solo Broadway type voice, so I chose an art song.) I practiced and practiced. I freaked and freaked, wondering if it was going to be possible to achieve a presentable voice in time. The day before, I looked up the translation of the song I had prepared, and realized it was a man singing about a woman. I freaked some more, changed my plan to a very simple Italian song (Caro Mio Ben.)

The day of the audition, I did some vocalizing in the car on the way there, but nothing big, since I assumed they would warm us up as a group, then call us back individually for the audition. Boy, was I wrong. I got there and was handed a quiz. I sat down and started working on it, trying to keep my anxiety at bay. After a few minutes, I was tapped on the shoulder and called back to the rehearsal room.

The first tester started by playing several short melodies and asking me to sing them back. No warm up, just dive in. It went okay, though my voice was wobbly from nerves. I did okay on all but one of them, and got that one after a few repetitions. Then I was asked to sing a series of six melodic lines written on a sheet of music. Again, I did okay on all but one of them - couldn't seem to sing a sixth, in spite of the reminder of "My bonny..." - did the Goldilocks thing - sang a fifth, then a seventh, and didn't get the sixth until he played it on the piano. :-( I don't remember everything, or in what order things happened, but I think this same fellow had me sing the alto line of a hymn. That went by quickly, but I think I did okay. Back to the table in the hallway to work on my quiz.

I went through the quiz, doing the easy parts (not many) and working to contain the anxiety beginning to brew. Soon, I was tapped again.... off to the rehearsal hall. The director sat up in a seat in the audience area, the accompanist introduced herself - a lovely, very kind woman. She smiled and commented on my celtic knot necklace. I handed her the music for my song. And.... with no warm up, we launched into the song. It was thankfully short. I was a bit breathless in a few places. I thought my voice sounded terrible, but just kept trying to breath deeply and hang in there. I was given a sheet with We Wish You a Merry Christmas and asked to sing it. I did. Still fearful - it was right at the part of my range where I have a break in my voice and have to be careful. After a quick run through, I was asked to sing the version at the bottom of the page, which had lots of markings. That went okay, too - well, at least I was able to indicate I could understand the markings, even if my voice didn't sound very good.

As we walked back to the hallway for me to finish the theory quiz, the director asked me a few questions. I mentioned that my youngest son just graduated from high school, and when I saw the notice for the audition, it seemed a good time to try to return to something I left behind in my life that I dearly loved. I finished the quiz, and came home, went to my room and threw myself on my bed and sobbed for two hours. I was embarrassed, but mostly, I felt bereft. I was convinced that I had sounded terrible, and that this was a dream too long deferred that had died.

The next afternoon was when they were going to give results. When I got home from church, Eldy gave me a message to call the coordinator for the chorus. I called and got an answering machine. Did lots of deep breathing, and a few hours later, I tried again. She answered. I was astonished to hear her say "The director would like to invite you to join the chorus in the alto 2 section." I couldn't believe my ears! When I went to tell my husband, he had a big grin on his face, so I knew that he already knew. Boy, is he good at keeping a secret!

I've been to four rehearsals now, and they have been both scary and exhilarating. At the first one, we sight read two pieces, and I was astonished. I asked the woman next to me (who I shamelessly followed) if they had sung those pieces before. No. And yet, they all seemed to know their lines flawlessly. They even watched the director and followed him, while sightsinging. Amazing!!! The second week, the woman I had sat next to wasn't there - she ended up sitting in the back of the room away from everyone because she said she had been sick. Then, the back row of women I was sitting in was asked to move to the front to make more room for the men. So... not only did I not have the person I was following next to me, but I was in the front row. Luckily, I had practiced a LOT, and it was fine. In fact, it was more than fine. Normally, I don't get to stand in front, because I'm tall. Well, when you are in front, you hear all the voices blending behind you, which is a lovely feeling. In the rehearsals since then, I've returned to the back row. I know I'm okay now. I still don't know that many people, but slowly but surely, I expect to make some dear and deep friendships.

The work we will perform in December is the Bernstein Mass, and I will admit that it is probably the most difficult piece of music I've ever worked on. So I'm stretching a lot, in so many ways, and I'm very very happy. I'm also loving technology - I have the music in my little iPod shuffle, and listen to the full score while sitting at the piano, so I can play my part when I'm not sure about it. How cool is that? The only problem is that the earbuds started aggravating my tinnitus, so I'm taking a break for a few days, and found some inexpensive little speakers on ebay.

I am deeply grateful for this experience. The music we are singing is incredible, the director is absolutely fantastic, and I am very lucky to get to sing with a group of such wonderful singers. This is the best example I've had in a long time of the great reward for walking through BIG FEAR.

I'll post later about my study group, and about my weaving pondering. I loved Sue's latest blog post - definitely lots to think about there! Maybe those lines of thought will even get me back weaving. I hope so. In spite of my other bliss, I've really been missing it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another Fun Thing - Rug Repair Field Trip

Another weaving friend - Judy L - arranged for our Warped Explorers study group to have a tour of a very neat place called K. Blatchford's Oriental Rug Cleaning, Repair and Restoration. We were each given a folder of information, and then Dana took us around, showing us each process that they perform. It really was fascinating!

We ended up in the repair room. This photo shows Kay, the owner, telling us about her business, and Leslie on the right, the one who does the reweaving. All the yarns used to do the knotting are hand-dyed to match the rug being repaired.

This shows the area where they wash rugs. They don't use any chemicals, just a gentle shampoo. Water is pushed up through the rug. For delicate rugs, they just squegee off the water. For the ones that can take it, they have one of those rotary scrubbing rug cleaners.

After the rug has been cleaned, it holds a LOT of water, so they run it through this giant wringer to remove as much water as possible. Then the rugs are laid out, right side down to protect the nap, to dry. Some of them can be dried outside in the sunshine, some are kept inside, with drying machines setting on top to accelerate the drying process

This is the storage area. They provide a storage service for their customers, which involves rolling up a rug and placing it in a Tyvek sleeve.

Here's Leslie in the repair room. You can see the wall of wefts hanging behind her.

At the other end of the repair room, you can see people working on fringes. Sometimes they simply reknot. Sometimes they add a new fringe - either tieing in a new fringe, or sewing on a commercial fringe. Sometimes they just do a rolled edge, depending on the rug's style and condition.

This is my favorite photo. Leslie has needlewoven in new warp and weft in the area being repaired. Once that is done, she ties in the knots, matching the design of the rug.

I was really grateful that Amy M took pictures - I forgot my camera.

P.S. Sue, we actually do get quite a bit of fall color here. When the trees change - I'll post some pictures of the liquidamber trees (aka sweetgum.) Not quite as glorious as maples, but they are lovely! Here's a post from last fall.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hint of Fall

I'm still not weaving, but I'm seeing little hints of fall, so hopefully, soon!

For many years, I called these "bouquet trees", because at this time of year, they look like they have bouquets of color tucked in. I learned last year that these are Chinese flame trees. The "bouquets" are clusters of reddish seed pods.

In the meantime, a lot has been going on.

First, I'm am still surprised, and incredibly happy, that I was accepted into the La Jolla Symphony Chorus. I auditioned a few weeks ago. It was hard - lots of sight singing, singing a prepared song, and a 3 page *hard* music theory quiz. I came home feeling let down, thinking I hadn't sung well enough. After all, it's been 25-30 years since I have done anything like this. So getting accepted was a double thrill, because it means this dream didn't get deferred too long, and didn't die. :-) The first rehearsal is tonight, and I can hardly wait!

Other fun things have been happening. I've met some new friends through facebook. One of them is an alpaca rancher out in the high desert in Anza, CA. This past weekend was National Alpaca Farm Day, so I drove out there with Judy H, one of my weaving guild friends. It was fun to meet Julie Roy, the owner of the place, to see all the neat critters.

Here's a pic of Julie, talking to some of her visitors.

The alpacas are strange looking, but so mild-mannered, and the range of fleece colors was amazing. Aren't their faces sweet?

Very soft with nice crimp - excellent spinning quality fiber! I didn't purchase anything, though I was tempted by a bag of fawn-colored roving, and some amazing alpaca/copper socks!

Here's Judy...

and here's me, feeding treats to the boys...

As we were leaving, a blue jay followed us! He sat on the post in front of my car, then jumped to my windshield, then to the top edge of my opened car door! I grabbed my camera, but by the time I turned it on, he had jumped to the ground next to my car. Bold blue jay!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


No, still not weaving, in spite of having two warped looms, ready and waiting. The weather here has felt like being in one long continuous hot flash, and I just haven't felt like weaving.

This post is about somebody else's weaving :-) and an idea that makes great use of narrow fabrics when you've already got too many scarves.

You have lots of options to try - narrow hem the edges..... create a lining the same way you make the body and hand stitch the lining into the bag. Easiest of all, you can stitch the lining to the fabric all around the entire rectangle. Then attach ties at the far edges of the a segments, and the far edges of the b segments, and tie them together. Instead of seaming, you can butt edges together and zigzag over the join.

For the handle, you can use a kumihimo braid, or a tabletwoven or inkle band, or even just braid together some shoelaces. :-)

Any other suggestions?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Naked and Knitting

Not me - aren't you relieved. :-)

I'm still resisting weaving for some strange reason. Like I'm waiting for some giant cue from the sky or something. It bugs me, but it is what it is, so I guess I'll wait till this resistance fades.

Plenty has been going on. I had my day in court last Friday. It was unpleasant but... I got a judgment in my favor. Not sure how much good that will do, since the company that owes me this money is apparently in dire straits. The judge was more sypathetic to them - which was really frustrating, but I keep reminding myself, I got the judgment, and that's all that counts.

Now to the good stuff. My birthday was Bastille Day - I had a marvelous time! My friend and neighbor Ann Marie went to my favorite museum with me - the Mingei in Balboa Park. We had lunch in the outdoor cafe by the art museum and just had a marvelous time! The Sunday before that, I had a fun lunch with my spinning buddies, Mary Dawn and Taryl. Taryl brought a delicious white chocolate and fruit cake.

It's been hotter than usual here in San Diego, and weather whimp that I am, I've definitely been in a low energy phase. Mary took me to a Padres game this past Sunday - it was Stitch and Pitch day - got this cool bag, started a simple knitting project to have something to take with me. We rode on the trolley - missed one exchange so we got to the game late, but that was okay. It was my first time riding on the trolley ( I live north of San Diego and it doesn't come this far up.) The Padres had a miserable game, which apparently wasn't a big surprise these days. Still, it was a fun afternoon in the sun. I like this simple scarf I'm working on - still using the turquoise alpaca I used on the last project, but this time I'm knitting a narrow lace scarf with a sort of feather and fan stitch.

And for the naked part - poor Joy has really suffered with the heat since her curly coat had grown so long. The groomer had a cancellation yesterday, so Joy got a super short summer cut - hence the nekkidness. Sure wish I could get my hair cut and look suddenly skinny.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Our guild doesn't have meetings in July and August, but we still have access to our rental space, so often, Bev, the education chair, will line up classes. I like to do cardweaving - the American name - same thing as tabletweaving- so I decided to teach a class on making Tabletwoven Shoelaces after seeing the cool article on Weavezine on Inklewoven Shoelaces written by Daryl Lancaster's daughter Brianna.

I prepared kits in baggies - each containing warps for 2 shoelaces, 2 EZ Bobs for weft, a loop of thread for securing the far end of the warp, a safety pin to secure the near end to a belt, a binder clip to hold the cards secure when you're idle, some toothpicks to even things out at the start, an index card with an arrow on it (used to keep track of which direction you're currently turning, in case your mind wanders), and last, a piece of waxed paper with 4 little squares of clear packing tape (for wrapping the ends after weaving.)

I started by giving a demo with my giant cards so everyone could see the twining that happens with tabletweaving.

Then I got everyone setup - the loop of thread secured to the support bar of the table with a larks head knot, then with another larks head to capture the knot at the end of the warp. The near end of the warp was tied in a knot and safety-pinned to the belt (or around the belt, if necessary.) We wove in a header of toothpicks to even things out, then launched into the weaving.

Here's Linda and Mary...
and the other Mary and Joyce...

And Karen and Taryl...

After weaving for a while, I had everyone take a break, and talked about some of the options - 2 vs 4 cards, size of threads used, options for holding the weft, different turning patterns.

All in all, it went pretty well. Turns out the EZ Bob thingies weren't ideal for holding the weft threads since I had probably overfilled them and the thread was fairly fine compared to knitting yarn that you usually use these for. Floss bobbins might be a better choice. I had everyone using two wefts - a trick I learned from my friend Ruth MacGregor ( which makes it easier to tug on the wefts to keep the edges neat and tidy. I also suggested they keep a finger in the shed until they are ready to turn so that the band doesn't tend to twist or flip over.

It will be interesting to see how many of them bring their finished shoelaces to the September guild meeting. :-)

My looms still wait patiently.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


When you lose a friend, you tend to remember previous losses. In 1996, I lost a dear weaving friend named Kay, from the Compuserve Crafts Forum online community (perhaps the first of those.) We had a weaving swap in her honor - the goal being to move out of our comfort zones and learn something new - to use a new piece of equipment, a new fiber, a new weave structure. My contribution was my first network draft design, woven on my new at the time Louet Magic Dobby Loom, using linen, which I had never woven with before. The design looked like little angels to me. I actually wove this without the mirrors in the threading and treadling, so it looked more like a grid of angels. If I ever weave this again, I like having a ring of angels with a diamond in the middle. :-)

In addition to sending samples, I also sent a poem which I wrote, a poem about loss and love.


I weave my life
on a warp of friends and family
using weft threads of joy and pain.

A warp thread breaks.
I sadly replace it,
glad that it will always remain,
firm in the fabric of my life.

And I remember to delight
in the pattern unfolding before me now,
and treat my warp with care,
cherishing its bright shining possibilities.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Farewell Verda Elliott

Verda Elliott passed away Monday morning. Her daughter Barb said her death was peaceful and calm. I'm so grateful for that.

I first met Verda in the early 90's when she moved to San Diego. Shortly before that, her articles on symmetry had appeared in Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot. I was absolutely fascinated with those articles, and ecstatic when I found out she was moving here. I emailed her to welcome her and invite her to join the local guild. I tried not to gush too much - to let my enthusiasm come through without putting her off. She was charming and kind - sold me a copy of her wonderful book. She did become an active member of our guild, giving several programs (I think my favorite was on moiré patterns) and she attended many, if not most, of our guild meetings. For several years, she was active on the program committee.

Verda was one of the most knowledgable weavers I've ever met. She was a member of a small study group in our guild called Warped Explorers. Frequently, when we were choosing new topics to study or discuss, Verda would offer to bring notes and samples from classes she had taught. She was always willing to answer questions or to help solve problems. And what I'm remembering right now is that she almost always had a smile on her face. I'm a big hugger, and was always tickled that she was such a joyful hug recipient.

Verda, in spite of how much she already knew, was also always interested in learning something new. In the picture above, she's working on a project in a ply-split braiding workshop that Linda Hendrickson taught in San Diego a few years ago. She and I chose slightly different colors, and were amazed at how radically different the results were.

Verda hasn't driven in a while, and often we got to enjoy her presence at our meetings thanks to Gay Sinclair and Rosemarie Dion, who would give her rides to the meetings and then take her home afterwards. Gay and I each visited her last week - I could always tell when Gay had been there, because there would be a vase of her roses with the loveliest scent. On the wall were pictures of her family members - the kids, the grandchildren she adored, and her husband Jack who passed away last year. Her daughter even brought in one of her framed weavings. We had a long chat the last time I saw her. In spite of her physical discomforts, she still had her sense of humor - telling me a story about a weaving friend who had been hospitalized and was trying to let someone know about things to take care of and let them know that the dogs were in the closet under the stairs. They weren't actual dogs, of course, but what we weavers refer to as the failures that get cut off the loom before completion because we've given up on them. :-)

I am glad that she is free and peaceful and unencumbered. I know that when she moved to San Diego, there were friends she left that were happy for her, but were sad and missed her. That's how I feel now - happy for her, glad to know she is with Jack and so many other loved ones, but sad for myself and her daughters Barb and Jan and her son Dan, and for those grandchildren who will miss having such a fun grandma. And I miss her.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Blogs are usually used to report what we have "done", so I'm going to try to use mine to shame me back into action. I seem to have completely stalled.

I can't blame it on life demands. My husband was in the hospital last week for surgery on his foot - he's home now, on crutches, and no longer needs much help. I don't currently have a full-time job. My kids are 24 and 18 and I don't really see much of them. There's always a ton of laundry to do, but that doesn't count since I actually like doing laundry.

Maybe the May Gray / June Gloom that we get in San Diego contributes to it. Maybe it's having recently learned about Spider Solitaire and the subsequent addiction. Maybe it's just a fallow time. Who knows. It matters less what has caused this than what I can do to snap out of it.

So... here I am setting a goal for myself. By next Saturday, I intend to post here that I have woven the first tea towel and finished the inkle warp. I will also finish assembling the kits and samples for the Tabletwoven Shoelaces class I'm teaching in July.

If I have not done these things this week, my next post will be a ridiculously silly picture of myself. There... that should do the trick. I've often said I need the threat of humiliation to get anything done....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

An Explosion of Sorts

Wow, it's been a long time since I last posted. I have always thought Nov/Dec is the busiest time of year, but this year, May/June has been hopping! This picture of an agapanthus blossom in my front yard captures the feeling - an explosion of budding flowers. This year, the buds started appearing back in May. That's pretty early - I've always thought of these as my "fireworks" flowers, since that's what they look like, and they usually bloom around July 4th.

I got the David loom all warped up for the next project - TaqueTea Towels. I will be weaving taquete towels with a teapot/teacup design (posted previously). But.... things have been so busy that I haven't had a chance to sit down and actually weave, so the loom is waiting patiently.

So.... what have I been up to? Well, although I don't really have any pictures of the event, I demoed inkle weaving and spinning at a local elementary school for their Gold Rush Day event. It was a lot of fun - the kids were ecstatic that I actually let them try both weaving and spinning. These were 4th graders - the perfect age for learning fiber techniques. A friend who teaches at the school said spinning and weaving were the hit of the day. :-) Never miss an opportunity to help create a new spinner or weaver. Here's my floor inkle loom, with about half of the warp woven.

And here's a closeup. You can see it's a super simple pattern.

My best spinning buddies - Mary and Taryl and Dawn - came over one Sunday afternoon for lunch and wine and an afternoon of spinning. Here's a picture toward the end of the afternoon, when we had stopped spinning and were oohing and aahing over the cool stuff on Taryl's iPhone.

And here's the CVM I've been spinning.

Last weekend, the four of us got all gussied up in our costumes and demoed at a lovely event in Old Town called Ladies Day, which is held the first weekend in June each year. From left to right - Dawn, Taryl, Mary, and me.

A woman came by doing period authentic hairdos - here she is working on Mary's hair, with Taryl watching.

And here's Dawn, wearing a bonnet and a big grin, and spinning away.

Let's see, then there was the chanting activity I led at a retreat in Descanso for the Unity Center. Ommmmmmmmm.......

And just to show that *some* are still at leisure, here's my beloved poodle Joy, luxuriating on the sofa like the queen of the castle that she is. She's doing pretty well for 13 and 1/2 years old!

Friday, May 15, 2009


I don't have anything weaving related to post today, primarily because of my recent visitors. Last week, a pesky little cold virus moved in for a while. Thankfully, it's now gone. And come to think of it, the gift of small bouts of sickness is the opportunity to sit, rest, watch the backlog of DVDs from Spiritual Cinema Circle that have accumulated unwatched. I guess it really is true that even the bad stuff holds something to appreciate.

I've had another little visitor lately, too. For about a week, I've heard this little tapping sound on the window to our home office. It's usually little double taps, then silence, then another double tap. A strange little bird, probably a sparrow, has been visiting. He comes to one window under a tree, hangs on to the screen, cranes his neck as if to check me out, then flits away. He bounces from one branch to another like Tigger, then flies around the corner to sit on a piece of metal outside another window. That's where he taps on the window pane. It's embarrassing to see how dirty the window is here.

It's funny - most of my adult life I haven't paid much attention to birds, and now they keep popping up. When I was a young girl, I tried to rescue several birds. We had a big picture window and they would hit the window and lie stunned on the ground for a while. We had cats, so I felt compelled to try to help them. Once I even raised a tiny baby bird - taking it with me everywhere and feeding it every 2 hours. When it was big enough, I left it at home in my room. Sadly, I got home from school one day to discover it had learned how to fly, and had flown into my bedroom door and died. For a long time after that, I refused to play outside, petrified that I would encounter an animal that needed my help, and that I wouldn't be equal to the need.

But that was a long ago grief, and now this visitor seems more light-hearted - as if he's tapping on the window, suggesting perhaps I would prefer to go OUTSIDE and play?

On another note, I've been seriously procrastinating lately. I needed to file a claim in Small Claims Court up in Orange County against a company that still owes me for work I did last September. They kept saying they had an investor coming on board and "within a few days we'll have the money and you're at the top of the list for payment." But they've been saying that since January, and even my patience has limits. I don't know why I was so afraid of filing, but today I finally moved through that fear, and was even able to file online. Very easy. And now it is DONE. Lots of creative energy gets freed up when you tackle something you've been delaying for too long.

Tap tap. I'm being beckoned.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Studio Envy

Serious Studio Envy, that is. Currently, I have my big loom in the dining room - with boxes of stuff for other crafts piled around the loom, and one area with my warping wheel, floor inkle loom and takadai. The spinning wheel lives on the hearth in front of the fireplace mantle in the living room. My fiber stash is in bins in a storage shed in the back yard. My small loom is in a corner of the family room. (Because the big loom is in the dining room, the dining table is in another corner of the family room.) This means that when I need to use something, I have to dig it out, use it, and be sure to put it away. Not fun.

For several years now, I've dreamed of getting a studio. Wherever I go, I seem to be using the back part of my mind to evaluate spaces -"oooh, now that would make a wonderful studio!" "oooh, look at all that space!" I've gotten the issues of Cloth,Paper, Scissors on crafts studios, browsed online to see storage ideas for crafts. I heart Sara's yurt big time. Ditto for Verda's second floor studio with one wall of windows, and one wall of cabinets, and a huge worktable in the middle.

The other day, I got to see my friend Gay Sinclair's studio, and it fits my dream image to a tee! She let me come over and take a few photos (and gave me permission to use them here.) I intend to put them on my treasure map for the coming year (aka visioning board) and see if I can manifest something like that for myself. Who knows, my beloved 24 year old son might decide he's ready to launch out on his own, and I can transform his room. We'll see. But back to Gay's space...When you walk in the door, to your left is a closet wall with folding doors. Adjacent to that wall is a wall of windows with cabinets below. In the space in front of the doors is the most *amazing* worktable. The top is 4' by 8' - the size of a standard sheet of plywood. On the side you can see here, she's got shelves for notebooks and stuff. There's a cutout area where she's got her sewing machine. And here's a view of the other side of the table - this one has lots of drawers.

On the other end of the room, there are French doors to an enclosed patio area. Sitting out there, you get a beautiful view of the ocean and that magical sea smell that wafts on the breeze.

I suspect there are several reasons this appeals to me so much. I adore french doors, for one thing, and lots of natural light. I like white walls and woodwork, and light colored woods. (My photo of the cabinet/window wall came out too dark, though you can see one corner of the cabinets here.) Also, there are some amazing "items of interest" - Gay and her husband Bob collect amazing ethnic items, and their home is a feast of fascination.

Gay's loom is downstairs in another room, though her table loom is up here, and I imagine this is primarily her quilting space. I love it, though, and I love the feeling I get looking at these images.

(P.S. She has a rose garden in the patio you walk through to enter the house, and the fragrance of her roses is amazing!)