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Archive for December, 2011

I can see the knots of 2011

Weavers have an odd lexicon.  There are things we say . . . such as warping a loom and beating the weft . . . that make people look at us as though we’re speaking a different language . . . and, in a way, we are.  What we say at times is  a mysterious query (What the blazes is this?) . . . a dramatic scene played out with tears and bad words  (I can’t believe this &*@#$ thing broke!) . . . but, hopefully everything we say is enveloped in a language of love . . . well, a language of love of sorts.  We wouldn’t be weaving if we didn’t love it, right?

In a matter of hours, 2012 will be here . . . which means I can see the knots of 2011.  Seeing the knots on my loom means the project is nearing completion.  We all understand each other when we ask How’s your project going?  and the person responds with I can see my knots . . . because we know the project is coming to an end and all of the hard work in planning the project, acquiring the materials, warping the loom, and weaving the fabric is about to pay off.

2011 was a great year for me.  I got to spend much of my time teaching and sharing my enthusiasm for weaving with other weavers.  For me, it’s one of the best things in the world and I feel so privileged to be able to do it.  Looking ahead to 2012 is pretty exciting.  I will be teaching and sharing . . . plus, I also have some new opportunities and challenges that I eagerly look forward to taking on.

One thing that will make 2012 a little more comfortable is the new bench top for the bench of my AVL.  My wonderful husband is a talented woodworker and over the years has made and repaired many of my weaving tools and apparatus.  One of his crowning achievements is the bench for my counterbalance loom, which was made from walnut and 100+ year-old myrtle word that his late father had carted around for decades.  One thing I love about that bench is the depth of the bench top . . . it really supports my ample backside!  This is very important when weaving for long periods of time.

Well, since I purchased my AVL over 11 years ago, I’ve grappled with a bench top that was wide enough, but too shallow and I always felt like I was balancing on a wide beam while I wove.  In November, I asked my husband if he would make me a new bench top that was  deeper to make it more comfortable to weave.  Voila!  On Christmas morning, I opened the new bench top.  It was the same width, but it had been made significantly deeper.  Plus, he carved out an area so a closed-cell foam insert can set inside to make it even more comfortable . . . and to top it off, he carved some small Celtic knots in the ends.  Perfect!  It’s better than what I had asked for!

I hope your look back at 2011 is as breathtaking as mine . . . and that 2012 looks at promising and exciting as ever!

Happy New Year!

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More Rocky Mountain High

Yowza!  I’m a little tardy sharing my latest textile adventure.  What happened to November?  And, how did it get to be December so quickly?

Anyway, my latest (and last trip for 2011) textile adventure found me back in Colorado.  This summer, I had the honor to teach at the Intermountain Weavers Conference (IWC) in Durango, CO . . . recently, I had the honor to do a program and workshop for the Rocky Mountain Weavers Guild in Denver, CO where there is a majestic quality that makes me (again) want to break out my John Denver CDs and sing along.

The program and the workshop were held at the Textile Arts Center (TACtile)  http://www.tactilearts.org/index.html.

TACtile is an art center and gallery inspiring growth, visibility, and creative excellence in textile arts and has been in their current location for about a year.  They have modeled themselves after The Textile Center in Minneapolis, MN.  This is a really exciting place place to be for a short time . . . but, I was fortunate to spend four days there.  Not only is TACtile there, but so are the headquarters for JHB buttons and their button museum.  It was a lot of fun to look at the multitude of buttons . . . and thimbles too!

The program for the Rocky Mountain Weavers Guild was The Fab Four . . . a program that shares some really great weaves that can be done on only four shafts.  I think it helped show what was possible on a modest four-shaft loom and I hope I surprised some folks.  I know I was surprised after the program to turn and find myself face-to-face with Jean Scorgie, former editor of Handwoven magazine and current editor of Weaver’s Craft  http://www.weaverscraft.com/.  Jean has done so many wonderful things on four shafts and I often share images of her work from her articles and publications.  I’ve communicated with her via email a couple of times, but have never had the pleasure to meet her in person.  My first thought as soon as I saw her was Oh, no!  I hope I haven’t said anything wrong!  She was nothing but goodness personified and I was thrilled to tell her how much I have enjoyed her articles and publications and how much I have learned.  It’s always fun to meet someone with an enthusiasm for things that get you excited.

The workshop Extreme Warp Makeover was a rather large group and lot of fun . . . the more the merrier!  A great way to finish up my teaching for 2011.  There’s something very exciting and energizing about seeing so many looms and weavers in one room!

Every time I teach, I meet new people and make new friends . . . but, this workshop was a little more special than usual because I met Ayla, a 14 year-old weaving dynamo with a smile that would warm the heart on the coldest day.  She didn’t wait to initiate her corduroy sample and jumped right in and started weaving and cutting . . . in Hogwart’s Gryffindor colors, no less.  Harry Potter would be very proud . . . I know I was completely and totally impressed with her skill and courage.

Not only does Ayla weave, but she is involved in just about every possible textile technique I’m familiar with . . . plus, she showed many of us a great way to do a blended weft by using multiple sewing machine bobbins on a single shuttle.  I’ve done this with larger sewing thread spools, but I love how manageable this approached is.  A possible future editor of Handwoven???  I think so!  Ayla’s blog can be found at http://ayla-art.blogspot.com/

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