Friday, November 26, 2010


It's been quite a while since I posted, and a LOT has happened in that time, so for the two of you who read my blog from time to time, I'll go ahead and start catching up.

The last time I posted, I had just moved my big loom into my new loom room, and got everything running, and even got a USB adapter to connect my Toshiba laptop to the dobby.  Sadly, life has been pretty busy and complicated in the last couple of months, so I haven't done any weaving. Soon, real soon, and when it happens, I'll announce it here first. :-)

Also on the weaving front, the San Diego guild has begun meeting at San Diego Rug Cleaning Company - and what a delight!  Instead of basketball noise, we have the ambiance of lovely color and texture and cool tools all around. (You can see Rebecca Smith giving a presentation on her artwork based on petroglyphs in this picture.)

So what has been going on?  Well, that full-time job has cut into the playtime in a serious way, although it has also cut into debt in a big way, too, for which I'm enormously thankful.

On the music front, I've been busting my chops learning Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, which we will be performing on December 4th and 5th. This is probably the most difficult choral music I've ever sung before, so I expect to feel both joyful and immensely satisfied when we're finished!  In addition to all that has been going on with the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus, I've been working with Carl Martens to begin a new sacred choir in San Diego. Many, if not most, New Thought churches (and I go to a Unity Church, which is part of that movement) have contemporary music during the services. It's often soloists with a band, doing pop style music. There might be a choir, occasionally, but the choir sings backup for a soloists, doing..... pop style music.  I discovered in the springtime that Carl has a great deal of experience as a choral director,  and suggested to him starting a sacred choir, and it's going to happen!  We've arranged for a place for rehearsals, and have scheduled auditions for the second week in January, and have a blog all setup. We are planning to have a group of 20 singers. I can hardly wait!

What else? I got my obligatory fall cold, and am just about recovered from it.  I'm beginning to suspect sugar - I normally avoid it, but tend to indulge on Halloween (while handing out candy, of course). And I'm starting to realize that every year, I get my fall cold right after that. Maybe it's time to buy the non-chocolate (and therefore non-tempting) kind of candy to hand out.   

Also, on the list of challenges - my beloved dog Joy is having a harder and harder time getting around. She's almost 15, and it shows. Her back legs aren't working very well, and she's getting very skinny. The good news is that she doesn't seem to be in pain, and she's still eating well. But walks are shorter in distance and take a lot longer. I'm glad I still have her with me, and intend to enjoy every single day.

So that's it from here. I've got several weaving related things I want to talk about (incredible customer service from Fireside Fiberarts, the new edition of Kati Meek's book, among other things) but that will wait for the next post.  I promise not to wait so long next time.

Last, but not least, I'd like to say thank you to Sue, of Life Looms Large.  Since she's started the color of the month posts on her blogs, I've found myself noticing my environment much more than I ever have before - and not just the colors, but seasonal patterns that are unique to this area. It's a nice feeling to be more aware of things I've previously taken for granted.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


No pictures this time, but I do have an update.

I had an email exchange with someone at Louet - no real information available about the USB plug on my dobby box. This person said to go ahead and plug into it and try it, it couldn't hurt anything, but they didn't think there was any circuitry inside the box for that plug. Rather than go out and buy a USB-USB cable, I opted to take the safe route and buy a USB-serial adapter and just plug it into the serial plug on the dobby box and a USB port on my laptop.

I looked back through the WeaveTech archives - I mostly use Fiberworks PCW, so I was looking for their recommendation. They recommended a Belkin. So Sunday after church, I headed to Frye's. They were out of many of the USB-serial adapters, only had 2 brands left - one was Belkin, the other an off brand. It didn't mention Windows 7, but I thought (ha!) surely they have a Windows 7 driver I can get online.

Well, when I came home, I tried and tried. Tried installing one of the drivers on the CD that came with it. Tried finding a Windows 7 driver. Tried getting a Vista driver online and installing that. Googled for some solutions, and found some strange ones I wasn't willing to try. All in all, it was a hot and frustrating afternoon, with no luck.

That night, I decided to go online and order a new adapter - one guaranteed to work with Windows 7. I even found one that supposedly will work with Windows 7 AND Mac OSX10.x so I ordered it.

Just before going to bed, I decided to go back in the loom room, try it as plug and play, and voila - it worked! I decided not to cancel the order - I suspect I'll be glad for the other adapter at some point. But still, at least things are working in the meantime.

So this weekend, now that everything has been moved and is in place, I actually plan to wind a warp and get the big loom to work. I am thrilled with the prospect!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Whole Again!

Yeaaaaaaaaaa!!! Today I reassembled my loom, and she is working fine!

I am so thrilled!!!  I had baggies with doodads, labeled with my names for the parts, and happily, I still understood what I had written on the labels. I had notes on the order in which I took things apart, so I could just reverse the order to reassemble.

I have an ancient laptop that came with the loom. Next up will be to see if I can connect my fairly new Toshiba laptop. The ancient one works, but it is, well, ancient. Plus, the new one has wireless connectivity, and then I can get rid of the external floppy drive. :-)

This is a huge milestone, and makes me very very happy!  Now to decide on what will be the first warp woven in my new loom room.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Loom Parts

Well, yesterday I got the Megado taken apart and Eldy helped me carry the sections upstairs. It was iffy for a few minutes, but we were able to get everything in there. in spite of my needing to stop and pant for air a few times.

So here are the guts of my loom - waiting for a Frankenstein sort of resurrection.

The castle is sitting on saw horses (so right now, it's sitting higher than it will actually be.) The treadle assembly and uprights surround the castle, and you can see the cloth beam and dobby box in the foreground.

I was too tired when I got home from work tonight to start the reassembly, but soon, real soon.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Purchased Dose of Loveliness

I attended Convergence in Tampa on day passes, just like I did this year in Albuquerque, but there was one big difference. Two years ago, money was so tight that I just got to ooh and aah over all the wonderful stuff, but I wasn't able to buy anything. This time, I was able to buy a few things - most of them had been on my wishlist for a while, though a few things found me unawares. :-)

This photo didn't come out very well, but at the top you can see two skeins of hand-dyed tencel yarn from Just Our Yarns. Their yarns and dye colors are luscious, and I've coveted some ever since I first saw their wares at a regional conference in Riverside, California. The green/blue/purple skein is 30/2 tencel, and the purple/fuschia/red skein is 20/2 and they are gorgeous both to see and touch. At the bottom of the photo is a small bag - made out of recycled huipils, which appeal to me on so many levels.

Just Our Yarns Tencel skeins and Recycled Huipil Bag
Books, Bamboo and Shuttles

The second photo also contains a mix of planned purchases and nice surprises. At the top, you can see the 2 books I bought. I've been planning to buy a copy of Robyn Spady's book Handwoven Decorative Trim for a while, and was happy when I found it at the HGA booth. It's a slim book, but the photos are great and the writing is clear and I'm really looking forward to exploring this.  The other book is a new one, just published by Margaret Coe, called Fit 2 Be Tied. This one I pre-ordered, paid with Paypal, and then just picked up in Albuquerque. I am *thrilled* with it. A few years ago, I was lucky to be able to read through Alice Schlein and Bahkti Ziek's amazing book, A Woven Pixel. Fascinating stuff, though most of it targeted at jacquard looms. (There is a chapter geared toward dobby looms, plus it has amazing information on using Photoshop.)  I wasn't able to afford purchasing my own copy of the book, but have thought about it a lot since I read a borrowed copy. Well, this new book also describes using Photoshop (or Elements) for creating presets, but focuses on double two-tie unit weave (something I am also fascinated by, ever since hearing Madelyn van her Hoogt speak about it - I think that was at Convergence in Minneapolis in 1994.) Since I have Photoshop, and I have a 32 shaft dobby loom, this book is right up my alley, and fit in my budget, and I'm really looking forward to studying and working through it and seeing what I can come up with from my loom as a result!  (I had a few posts a year or so ago about double-two tie designs - after reading a great article by Jannie Taylor.)

The bottom of that photo shows my other serendipity purchases. I love beautiful little shuttles, so the Bluster Bay shuttle jumped into my hand. The one below it is very neat - Hockett Woodworking, and it is an "end of warp" shuttle - very skinny low profile (and beautifully made, too.)

Last, but not least, my friend Ruth is making some new spindles and gave me one to try out (I'll include a picture of it in my next post.) I loved her spindle - it actually has a square whorl with a circle of copper - beautifully balanced and spins very very well. So, in spite of having a gigantic stack of bins filled with spinning fiber, my last purchase was a hank of bamboo in a luscious combination of blue and copper and white (color-way is called Blue Eyes). Yummy stuff!

So there you have it - my acquisitions from Convergence.

Loom Room Status?  Yesterday was manual labor day - I moved tons of stuff and books into place, and the loom is getting filled fast - and the big loom isn't even up there yet! Yikes!  Today, I'll be disassembling the big loom and starting to move it. With any luck, it should be up and running by next weekend. We'll know when it's history, as my husband often says.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I'm home after a marvelous week in Albuquerque. I did get pictures with my new little point and shoot camera, but not as many as I had hoped to get. My friends had gigantic fancy SLR cameras, though, and they got TONS of photos, and I'm hoping they'll share some of those with me. :-)

I didn't register for Convergence this year, and was too late to sign up for Complex Weavers - this is the first year they had online registration and sold out in a few days! Not good for me, but good news for weaving! But I have a group of dear friends - weavers and one quilter - that have been good friends since the early 90's - the days of the Crafts Forum on Compuserve. This trip was mostly our reunion, although we did purchase day passes to see the exhibits and roam the vendor hall. I did make a few purchases - I'll share those in the next post.

The first few days, ABQ was hot hot hot - bright sunshine and very dry. The city has beautiful vistas from almost anywhere you find yourself. It sits in a valley with mountains just east of the city. Our rental house was in a fairly new subdivision just west of the city - we had a great view looking east toward the mountains, overlooking the lights of the city at night.

This Sun happy face was on the front of our house - good symbol for Albuquerque!

One of our first excursions was to visit Petroglyph Park. It really is amazing to view these ancient carvings in the black rocks of the area. I'm not sure why my camera gave this one a rainbow sheen, perhaps because the sun was REALLY bright?!

From one of the trails at the park, looking south, you can see encroaching suburbia.

It's a shame the whole area can't be preserved. We did see some graffiti - which is really sad because there is nothing that can be done to repair the damage. Still, it was amazing to contemplate an ancient communication device. Times have changed. :-)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Starting to Move

I'm so excited - I've started moving things into my new loom room! Here's the view so far, as you walk in the door. I haven't moved my books yet, but the boxes of Handwovens and Weavers magazines are in place. On the left you can see my floor inkle loom (which doubles as a warping board.) In the back right corner is my reed stand and the winding station with my electric bobbin winder. My plan as I start moving books in is to list them in my collection. I started listing my books there, but stalled due to the effort to schlepp them to my desk. Now that they have to be moved anyway (and dusted off ) - this seems like the perfect time to *really* get them organized.

And this is a view that thrills me everytime I see it - I moved the metal shelves and the bins holding my yarn stash from the storage shed in the back yard to the closet, and they all fit!

Mostly weaving yarns on the left, knitting yarns on the right, and the middle stack is spinning fiber. I probably could spin and weave for the rest of my life with just what I've got in my stash. On the left you can see my takadai and marudai, and the warping wheel. In front is the bench I use with the David loom, and behind the tv tray is my spinning wheel.

I'm planning on moving the looms Saturday. There will be quite a bit of dismantling and reassembly that will have to happen, so it's going to be a big job. Then, all that is left is getting a worktable setup. I look forward with great joy and anticipation to enjoying my creative time in this room!

There will be one delay, though. On Sunday, I am flying to Albuquerque. I didn't register for Convergence, and I was one of the people who missed the Complex Weavers registration, but I am going to stay in a rental house with 3 of my dearest friends - we became buddies back in ancient times in the old Compuserve Crafts Forum, way back in the early 90's. Our friendship has blossomed over the years, with lots of shared additional interests besides weaving and spinning and braiding and quilting. I can't wait to see them face to face! We'll be getting day passes to see the exhibits and peruse the vendor hall at Convergence, with the highlight being getting to see Debbie's marvelous double weave piece in Small Expressions!

I feel like so many dreams are coming true for me this summer, and I am so grateful. I've been in a sort of limbo for quite a few years now - feeling painfully stuck, but something has broken loose and I'm back in the flow again! The bonus is that for many years, San Diego Creative Weavers Guild has been searching for a home. I served on the Vision committee a while back, trying to figure something out, but no matter what we tried, thing fell through. Well, last month we got to hear a wonderful presentation from Kay Blatchford, owner of Kay Blatchford's San Diego Rug Cleaning Company. You may remember from a previous post to this blog what a neat place that is - we had an excursion there last year with the Warped Explorers group. Well, during the business meeting, a report was given on the recent arrangements that fell through, and they offered us meeting space in their building, since we meet on Saturdays and they are off that day. They are even giving us an unused office to house our guild library. This feels auspicious, and once again, the answer to a dream many of us have held for a long time. I'm so thrilled and thankful - for Kay Blatchford's wonderful and kind offer, for the committee of members who have worked so long and hard to manifest this. Maybe this will be a shot in the arm for the guild, like my new loom room feels like a shot in the arm for me. :-)

Happy Happy Joy Joy!!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New Loom Room Floor

Eldy and Sam installed the new flooring yesterday, and I LOVE it!

Here's a shot looking across the room from the door. Eldy bought new baseboards and I painted those yesterday afternoon. He's going to install them later this afternoon. I've taken measurements of the room and of my looms and stuff, and am going to play with arranging things on paper before I actually start hauling my equipment in there.

And here's a shot looking from that back corner back toward the door.

This is something I've dreamed of for such a long time, and I'm so thrilled to see it become a reality!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Well, my new loom room is painted! The last session of painting was actually pretty much fun - with the window repaired and the room looking so much better, I can actually start imagining what it's going to be like when it is finished, and that thought is really exciting.

Here's a view looking back toward the closet. Plain beige color - navajo white trim (you an see that on the ceiling shelf above the closet opening.)

And here is the stack of boxes containing the new maple floor. :-) Eldy and Sam are planning to install that for me Friday. Looms should be moved by the 4th of July!!

And to continue with the colors of June thing.... here's a better photo of a jacaranda - I think the purple looks even lovelier on a gray day.

And last is one of my other favorite colors - the agapanthus begin to bloom in June, and are in full bloom by July 4th, which seems appropriate - they've always looked like fireworks blossoms to me.
P.S. There is a long hallway leading to my new loom room . Eldy suggested using it as a gallery wall for my weaving. That's fun to think about, too!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Colors and Change

Between adjusting to full-time work and preparing for the recent concerts, it's been a while since I've posted here. Well, the concerts were a great success. We got standing ovations for both performances of the Benjamin Britten War Requiem, and the whole thing was a marvelous and amazing experience. The job is working out well - I really like the people I work with, and I'm enjoying the work. The hardest part is figuring out how to have time for the volunteer things I enjoy doing as well as the fun stuff. By the end of the week, I usually have cumulative fatigue that makes it hard to get much done over the weekend.

On the home front, I'm still in the middle of restoring the room that is becoming my new loom room. It's kind of hard to see much in this picture - Eldy patched the holes in the walls. We had a company come out and measure the broken window so the glass can be repaired (I think that's what the gizmo on the floor will be used for.) I painted the ceiling, and in a few minutes will start painting the walls. The new window should be installed within a few days. Then we'll buy the new Pergo flooring and install that, and Eldy is putting in new base molding. Then it will finally be ready to move the looms in. That in itself will be a big project - my Megado will have to be disassembled and then moved and reassembled. I've done it once before, when I first bought the loom. This time I'll have help so it should be faster and easier. I can hardly wait!

Now for a side bar. Sue, author of one of my favorite blogs - Life Looms Large - frequently has a "colors of the month" project. I'm not great with my camera, but since she started doing this, I will confess that I'm better at "noticing" the colors around me. :-) And this month I finally captured at least a few photos to share.

So here are the colors in my part of San Diego in June. I even captured them in sunshine! If you are familiar with San Diego, you know we experience what is called May Gray / June Gloom this time of year. We often have a heavy marine layer which makes things very humid, but keeps us nice and cool. By late afternoon, though, we get our beloved sunshine!

These are the typical colors you see in the landscape - sand, sagey green, and gray-brown bark.

We even used those colors when we painted our house - sand colored stucco, with sage green trim. (When we first moved in, there was no landscaping anywhere, and we called our house the sandcastle, so these colors seem especially fitting.)

But we do get some luscious colors in the landscape this time of year. Here's one of my favorites - the purple of the jacarandas that are blooming right now.

And the intense orange of cape honeysuckle that seems to be blooming almost all year round.
Stay tuned for the upcoming pictures of the loom room as it becomes a reality!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Change and Patience

This will be another post with no photos - sorry about that. :-)

I'm finally settled in the new job. The first week was very rough (I had to resist the temptation to go out to my car and just drive home.) The second week was better. By the end of the third week, I was fairly comfortable, and confident that I can be a productive member of the team. Luckily, everyone has been friendly and supportive and very very nice, and I'm so thankful for that! It's been many years since I worked full-time outside of the home (I telecommuted for my last full-time position.) It's an adjustment!

On top of starting the new job, other big changes have been afoot at our house. My son Matt did move out - he's living in a lovely place with several roommates and is happy. Sam, my youngest son, got a new job, too - working at an auto parts store. He's only worked a few days, but apparently really feels at home there and is happy with his job.

Now to the issue of patience. Remember when I said Matt's old room will become my loom room? Well, that is still the case, but it turns out a LOT of work has to be done before that can happen.
  • repair two holes in the wallboard
  • repair one broken window
  • replace the ceiling fan (and probably the light tracks on the ceiling, too)
  • install new closet doors
  • paint
  • install new laminate flooring
So although the shell of the room is there, it's going to take a while to get it functional and ready for me to move my looms in. I keep reminding myself that yes it would be wonderful to move in now, but yes I will be rewarded for my patience. Having to do all those things nights and weekends will make it take some time, but my goal is to have a wonderful weaving studio by Bastille Day (my birthday.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010


two fuzzy spots, two tiny beaks
new life emerging in this nest
proud mary sitting very still
creation beneath her growing
God unfolding ever slowly

safe in stillness but not in flight
mama reclaimed as hawk repast
sometimes a wave does not reach shore
but early rolls back to its source
new life spark retreats from brown fluff

these forms will not take playful flight
nor hungry beaks call plaintively
yet from the stillness love gathers
back her innocent joyful lights
to fling to newness form unbound

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Whistle While You Work!

Yes! My background check is finally complete, all the paperwork is signed, and I'm cleared to start work at my new job on Monday! I'm a little nervous, a lot excited.

I feel like I'm about to become a real grownup again. :-) I am looking forward to meeting new people and working as part of a team. Maybe my reawakened brain cells will get me rolling in other areas, too.

Another interesting development is afoot - looks like my oldest son will be getting his own place and moving out in May. I'm a little sad about that - I will really miss him. But... :-D ... here's the good part. Right now, my big loom is in the dining room. The dining table is in the corner of the family room (where it has become the resting place of "stuff" as we come in the back door.)

So very soon, I will have a loom room! The big loom will move up there, and perhaps even the smaller loom if there is enough room. The dining table will go back in the dining room. I anticipate creating a wonderful weaving studio, and enjoying being able to entertain occasionally in the dining room. I've stumbled on some great worktables on the web - I'm thinking of purchasing some Ikea base cabinets and topping them with a wooden table top. Before I start on it, of course, I need to measure the room, the looms, and make sure I have enough space for everything. Having my own studio has been a long time dream, and it looks like it will become a reality soon. I hope so. :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Iridescence Sampler 2

Here's the second sampler from the workshop - the one where we branched out from plain weave to see if we could achieve iridescence with other weave structures. The iridescence still shows up, thought not as clearly as it does with plain weave, in my opinion. We were to pick 2 weft colors from the first sampler - colors which gave good iridescence in that sampler, and which gave an effect that we personally liked. I had a hard time choosing, because so many colors had such a neat effect, but ended up deciding on blue-green and yellow-orange. I picked the first because I liked it so much, the second because I thought the exploration would be good for me. Both were colors which were split complements of one or more of my warp colors.

This picture shows 2/2 twill. Still fairly iridescent, since there's a balanced amount of both warp and weft colors. This isn't the greatest shot, since it is "head on."

Here's a 1/3 twill. The other side has the weft colors so dominant that I don't think you see much of an effect, though I did like the blending on this side.

Clasped weft was fun to play with, and the part below that in this image is 3 color iridescence - using both of my weft colors in the same shed. I think that may be my favorite. (And, as you can see, it's plain weave.)

Last, but not least, here's a crepe weave example. I liked playing with the crepe weave, which feels, in effect, like various ways of alternating plain weave and twill picks.

And to polish this post off, as Sue requested in the comments - here's a picture of the inside of the little needlecase. :-)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Iridescence Sampler 1

Here's a picture of my first sampler from the Iridescence workshop with Bobbie Irwin. You can see a little of the effect here, especially at the folds. My warp colors were violet, red-violet and red. She had us weave 3" sections with each of 24 different weft colors - a color wheel of 12 basic colors, then a wheel of 12 alternate colors (some with slightly different blends, some tints or shades.) Since it can be almost impossible to tell what weft color was used in some sections, she had us save enough to make tassels to hang off the side of the sampler.

This image is darker, since I tried with the flash disabled - makes it easier to see the iridescence in some parts.

This little needlecase was given to me by a friend, Kathy S., years ago. Whenever I take it to a workshop, I get lots of oohs and aahs and comments.

The little shell is done in stumpwork embroidery, and I just love it. I mean - it's got a shell and it's purple, what's not to love! I'm no longer in contact with the friend who gave it to me, but another friend thinks she might have the instructions somewhere. I think I've figured out a way to do it, but I hope she finds the "real" instructions. (Looks to me like you embroider the 9 "spokes", then putting a bit of padding behind the shell, needleweave around the spokes, as if doing a God's Eye. I'll share here if I try that and it works.)

Next, I'll see if I can get some good pictures of the second sampler - the one that incorporated weave structures, and for which we selected 2 weft colors to alternate.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Glorious Colors

What an amazing week I've had!

First, Bobbie Irwin gave a presentation to San Diego Creative Weavers Guild about using Space Dyed Yarns. Fascinating topic - and she had great pictures and lots of samples to look at up close.

Next, she gave a presentation to Palomar Handweavers on Iridescence. Again, she had an amazing selection of samples to pass around and discuss. That was followed with a 2 and a half day workshop, and oh what fun it was!

This started with my winning the color lottery - we were given 3 analagous colors to use for our warp, and they were chosen randomly. I got red, red-violet and violet. Whohooo!!! Definitely some of my favorite colors, so I was very happy. The picture shows the bouts pooled beneath my borrowed table loom in preparation for warping.

Bobbie created two color wheels of cones - these are the weft colors we used.

She had a huge number of samples for us to peruse and study, including this wonderful display, which shows all of the different color gamps. The most amazing thing was taking one out in direct sunlight - where the iridescence really popped!

Here, Bobbie is looking at the first sampler finished - Karen was weaving on a floor loom, in addition to being a speedy weaver in general. (Note the amazing variety of looms in the background - this is the weaving barn at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista, CA. Amazing place!)

I've almost got my notebook organized - when I'm finished, I'll add another post with some pictures of my samples. As I often do after a workshop, I feel inspired and fortified and excited to get back to weaving again. I've already got a few very specific ideas of things I want to try. Feels good!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

No pictures today, although this weekend I should finish the first taquetea towel. I'm not super happy with it, but at least I'm making progress. (I'll share a picture here when I've cut off and washed that first towel.)

But that's not really the news I'm sharing in this post, as you can probably tell from the title.

In my past life, I was a programmer for many years. Ever since the last layoff and the dot com bust, I've been sort of adrift. I've had occasional contracts and have done some freelance web work, but nothing big and nothing continuous. A few years ago, I got a dream job - working full-time from home. Loved the work, too, but unfortunately, the client stopped paying me. Took them to court for the money they owed me for the final six weeks of work. Won the settlement, although it is unlikely I will ever see a penny.

A year and a half ago, I was on the short list for what I considered to be my dream job. Went through several rounds of interviews, and really thought I had it, only to learn otherwise. That was a very sad day.

So recently, I had a great interview - good people, good work (and java, my preferred programming language.) I tried to prepare myself equally for acceptance or rejection. After all, the benefit of my current lifestyle is an abundance of TIME, and the joy of living without the restrictions of clocks or calendars. And I truly do LOVE that aspect of my life. However, it is balanced by a serious lack of money. Plus, I end up not letting myself do "fun stuff" during the day (like weaving or reading) because I "should" be working or looking for work or something serious like that.

So although I do seriously envy friends who are my age or younger and have been able to retire, that's not my story. Folks with pensions can draw on them as soon as they retire, and so be unemployed with income. Those of us with IRAs or 401Ks can retire, but with no income until 65 without serious penalties. I'm so deeply grateful for this opportunity to jump back into the working world and be gainfully employed again. I'm more than a little amazed.

And here's my secret hope - maybe now that I will be "pulling my weight", so to speak, I'll actually get more spinning and weaving and writing and reading done, because now my non-work time will be all mine, and not hampered by amorphous guilt.

So I'll give a little whistle, take a deep breath, and walk boldly into this next phase of life.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Flower Fields

Today is my youngest son's 19th birthday - Happy Birthday, Sam!

He, of course, is spending the day with his friends, so Eldy and I drove up to Carlsbad to see the famous flower fields up there. There are acres and acres of beautiful ranunculus blooms - every color you can imagine, and the rows seem to go forever. It's one of the spectacular sites to see in springtime in San Diego. (How's that for abundant alliteration?)

Here's a view looking back over the fields towards the ocean. You can just barely see the windmill in between.

This is looking down the "orange" rows - they seem to go on forever.
And here's the red, yellow and pink.
Here's one of me - enjoying the sunshine by the mauve and white rows:
And here's my husband Eldy, who was gracious enough to go with me, though didn't much want to linger. :-)

Amazing what all that color does for your soul!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

They're Back!!!

Yes, the hummingbirds are back, BIG TIME!

A week ago, as I walked out to my car, one humbuzzed me - it orbited my head a few times, then hovered in front of me for a bit. I love hummingbirds - did you know they are considered a symbol of joy! That seems quite appropriate to me.

Well, a few days ago, as Eldy was getting ready to leave for work, he called me to come to the front door, then walked out. Near the end of our sidewalk, in a canopy of vines (cape honeysuckle), there was a tiny hummingbird nest, with Momma sitting there, so very still!

Sorry the focus isn't very good - I tried to get as close as I could, and used the macro focus setting. Wish I had a newer or better camera, but I'll keep experimenting till I can get some good pictures. I'm hoping to set up a mirror so we can get a shot of the eggs next time Mama is out feeding. (Last year, we got a whole sequence of pictures of baby hummingbirds, from when they were tiny, til when they flew, but I never got a shot of the 2 little eggs.)

On a different note, but still speaking of Joy - you may know my beloved standard poodle is named Joy. Well, she's 14 now, and starting to show her age. Her back left leg gives her trouble and she stumbles from time to time. Last Monday, I was playing piano and practicing my singing, and heard her nails clicking on the pergo flooring in the family room, fast and loud. I figured she had gotten stuck or tangled in something and ran in there to help her. What I found was terrifying - she was having a seizure. It lasted a couple of minutes, and I comforted her and got her cleaned up. She walked around restlessly for about 20 minutes - couldn't get her to sit or lie down - she would come over and lean against me for a few seconds for petting, then would wander away. By the time that was over, she was her normal, cheerful happy self, as if nothing had happened. Interestingly, she wasn't stumbling as much, either.

Since then, I've discovered it's not a rare thing for an aging dog to have a seizure. When it happened, I was so frightened and worried that she was dying. I don't know how you make peace with this difficult phase of a pet relationship, so I just keep an eye on her, and cherish every day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cotton Pickin Spinning

Back in the 90's, Joan Ruane came to San Diego to teach cotton and flax spinning. She's a great teacher and a wonderful woman. (My youngest son was in 2nd grade at the time, and adored Joan. He thought she was actually another grandmother that we had just forgotten to tell him about.) Hopefully, Joan will send me a copy of the picture I took with her camera of her and Sam,who is now almost 19 years old and 6'6". :-)

The guild brought Joan back to San Diego in February for a program on cotton - an afternoon workshop on spinning cotton with a tahkli spindle, and then a one day workshop on preparing cotton and spinning it on a wheel. I didn't sign up for the full day workshop, since I had taken that when she was here before, but I really enjoy her and did take the tahkli workshop as a refresher. I had a marvelous time, and even bought one of her spindles. I already had a tahkli at home, but hers are so incredibly well balanced that I couldn't resist adding one to my collection.
The picture above shows some of the other participants in the class, and that's Joan standing (black top and white scarf) helping someone.

This picture shows what I've spun so far (natural green organic cotton), and next to the spindle is my little support gizmo. For those of us with unlevel laps, these are handy. You sit with it between your legs, which gives you a support bowl for the spindle that won't fall off your lap.

The timing was auspicious, too. I ended up coming down with another deep chest cold, darned it all. Not good, but... I did get some nice spinning time in.

In the meantime, I had a grocery sack of cotton that was homegrown by my friend Jan Frazee. Another activity while I watched the Olympics and coughed was picking seeds out of the cotton. In my hand is the cotton from a boll, you can see a seed exposed that I'm about to pick out. To the left is a nice pile of fluff and above is a little pile of seeds. This is definitely the slow way to do the task, but does work well as a tv watching activity.

In other news, I'm finally ready to start weaving again. The loom has been warped for a while, but I needed a few things in place and finally got myself to start moving on it. I found the brackets I used to hang weights off the back for live weight tension and got it all set up. Found another shuttle to use for a lighter weft for hems, and most importantly of all, reviewed my notes so I could refresh my mind on what I was planning to do, oh so long ago. Better late than never, eh?!

Friday, January 22, 2010


We've had drought conditions for so long, and water restrictions that got tighter and tighter, so this abundance of water has been astonishing!

Here's what our backyard looked like yesterday.

This is looking through the French doors next to my desk. Thankfully - we didn't have any trees fall. (Thought the green belt that runs by our house on the other side of the wall is littered with branches, as is the eucalyptus aroma.) No major leaks, either, although the rug under my desk was damp near the door, so some moisture blew in. We'll have to fix that. Much of the water has finally drained away, though we do still have a standing pool. It's probably time to have roots cleared out of the drain pipes, I suppose.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sandra visiting SDCWG

Here's a photo of Sandra before her presentation to San Diego Creative Weavers Guild.

Lynn is on her left and Taryl is on her right. The table is covered with Sandra's scarves - from her wood series and water series and fire series. They are just exquisite and it was amazing how the patterns seemed to change depending on light and viewing angle and proximity.

Sandra's topic was The Magic of Interleaved Threadings and it was truly fascinating! You can check out her blog at or her web site at to see more of her beautiful work.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Challenging Assumptions and Limitations

I had hoped to post next about the delight of having Sandra Rude visit San Diego and give our guild a marvelous program called The Magic of Interleaved Threadings. It was absolutely fascinating, and augmented with a table full of gorgeous scarves. She topped it off with handouts including colored images of drafts! I was especially taken with her description of the inspiration for some of her work - a teacher had told her to find an element of nature that inspired her, and find a way to weave it. Now, this tickled me in particular because the very first weaving class I took, when it was time to plan our first project, I was asked by the teacher what I wanted to weave. "I want to weave water!" I replied. She gave me a funny look and suggested I think about it a while longer and let her know when I had picked my yarns and draft. :-)

The bad news is that apparently the batteries for my camera have reached the limits of their age, and they don't recharge properly anymore. So.... I wasn't able to get any pictures. Sandra let me take a picture with her camera, which she is going to email to me. With her permission, I'll post that here when I get it.

In the meantime, I want to talk about all this new year's stuff. I'm not making resolutions this year - not even the "in action" kind that I made last year (which apparently didn't take.) It's no secret that I've been stalled again, and for quite a while. Of course, not weaving doesn't mean I'm not doing a lot of other things, but it still bothers me greatly that I'm not getting any weaving done.

So... I've been thinking about my situation, and something occurred to me. I have some built-in limitations that I have not challenged in the past. Perhaps I could win some newly inspired activity just by challenging those unquestioned assumptions about my own limitations. Here are the two main ones that come to mind.
  • I am a person who does not enjoy wet-messy processes.
Okay, in the past, this has been true. I'm not much for painting, or for dyeing, or for cooking, for that matter. These are what I categorize as "wet-messy processes", and so I've tended to avoid them - justifying it by saying to myself that it is just the way I am. But why is that? And why can't that change? I don't know if I'll do anything about this, but I've put myself on notice that there may be some wet-messy adventures ahead of me!
  • I need large blocks of time to do anything creative - no 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there for me!
I have friends who will do all kinds of things in tiny bits of available time. I even have one friend who keeps her knitting handy and knits at red lights and in traffic jams! Me - I've always thought in the past that it was too hard to switch gears to do bits of things - that I need at least an hour of available time before I'll jump into something. But is that really true? And doesn't it reflect more a lack of preparation rather than a proclivity? What if I were to have some projects (a variety of them, because ironically, I *am* a magpie) already setup, with everything already at hand to begin work, maybe even with a post-it note telling me the exact next step to take. That would avoid the mental context switch that seems so cumbersome that I avoid having to make it.

I'm not promising anything, but I wonder what could happen if I became a person who can change focus at will and is oblivious to drippy messes? It's actually sounding rather fun and intriguing to discover the answer to that question!

And on a good note - at the Unity Center I attend, we start every year with a White Stone meditation. In ancient times, prisoners were given a white stone with their "new name", signifying that they had paid their dues and were now free to begin a new life. During the meditation, we're guided to find our own personal white stone word for the coming year - a quality, an aspect - something we want to manifest more in our lives. Each year, I go to that service with an idea already in mind for what I think my white stone word will be. This year, I thought it was going to be "acceptance" (a positive way to say non-judgment.) But, nope, something else came through in the meditation, and my white stone word for 2010 is HeartSong. And I love it. So although I'm making no specific resolutions - my goal for this year is to find and follow what makes my heart sing. I like that.