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.