Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Woolly Memories

I'm not sure why I am so surprised when this happens because it happens often, but sometimes I look at something I've woven or some yarn I've spun and it brings back a flood of memories, where I was and what was going on at the time, maybe something about the sheep or wool. Just all sorts of memories come back to me. It happened today with some dyed corriedale wool I was carding. That wool was dyed the summer that Gabe was about 15. We were living out in the country in Missouri at that time and he was bored. I knew that this was most likely the last summer he would be hanging around the house so much because he wanted to work and he wanted to drive as soon as he was 16. For awhile, I had been wanting to dye wool outside over an open fire and Gabe loved to make and tend fires so I asked him if he wanted to do that with me for a few days. He liked the idea and so every morning, we built a fire and kept it going long and hot enough to dye 2 pots worth with a pound each. When the dyepots were cooling, we would look for dry wood that had fallen in the woods for the next day's fire. We did that every day for 2 weeks and dyed 20 lbs of wool. More importantly, we had a really fun time together. He is now 22 so it has taken me a long time to use up that wool.

I've woven yardage and sewn a jacket for myself that I still wear. And I've also woven numerous scarves using that yarn I spun. Last Saturday, we went back to that new yarn store, Stix, and I bought 3 novelty yarns that I would like to incorporate in woven scarves using my handspun. Some of these colors we dyed so long ago are just perfect with these new yarns. The pile of dyed fleece is getting much smaller as the years go by but I still see it in many of the items that I've made.

The yarns I bought are all really beautiful and it will be a challenge to use them in weaving since they are made to be knitting yarns. I know that all of them will be fine as weft and one is probably strong enough to be in the warp too.

I'm not very good at keeping a journal so it is nice to be able to look at my work and remember times past when the children were younger and at home and just the various events in life that I worked through while spinning and weaving.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

My Babies

My herb seeds are coming up! No matter that it is snowing outside...spring is on the way. So far I have basil, chives and parsley popping up. I'm waiting for 2 kinds of hot peppers to appear. We are looking for a place to buy but still haven't found anything so we might have a porch or patio or balcony, no idea, but will still have my herbs and hens and chicks somewhere. Several pots of hens and chicks moved with us last summer and have done well so far. They were in the garage for part of the winter but now they are by the big windows in the bedroom and look a lot happier.

I've done a lot of spinning lately with all those beautiful dyed batts around but I have started weaving too, and I'm working on a tapestry of a sunset over the Tobacco Root mountains. It was so beautiful with the clouds and sun peeping through that I ran for my sketchbook and colored pencils and drew it quickly. You can't waste time with the sky around here because it all changes so quickly, especially when the sun is setting. I had this warp on my Mirrix loom and wove one tapestry on it and there is enough for this one and another one but they are all small. I think that I'm going to weave some background fabric to mount all three on for a better effect than just these tiny tapestries by themselves.

Last Saturday, I found a new yarn store in Bozeman that I didn't know was there. I saw it advertised in one of the little papers that are free and so we went and checked it out. It's called Stix and I don't know if it's new or has always been there but it is in a basement downtown and there isn't a sign outside so it's not very obvious. However, it had some of the most beautiful, high end yarns that I have ever seen. I didn't end up buying anything but now that I've had some chance to think about how to use some of the yarns, I think I could do better next time. The first time there was just overwhelming and yarns are all for knitting so I had to think about how I could use some of them for weaving. This is the first time I have ever lived so close to 2 nice yarn stores.

Friday, March 04, 2005

New York City Tapestry

Last year, my son, Gabe, asked me if I would weave a tapestry of something to do with NYC for him. He loves that city and has many posters and calendars with pictures of it. Since I've never been there and didn't have much of an affinity for cities, I knew it would be a challenge and it turned out to be an enjoyable one. Immediately I knew that I would like to do a skyline view because then I would have sky and water to weave and also it would be easier to simplify for tapestry techniques. I didn't really want to deal with the issue of the World Trade Towers, seemed too sad to leave them out and too weird to put them in but I discovered that there is a long skyline in NYC and so had plenty to choose from. Actually I did drawings from several photos and sources and so it is a composite and not realistic anyway.

This is an early dawn, misty morning and shows the Statue of Liberty and the skyline. I liked how the fog was in distinct levels of density and the whole tapestry just came together in weaving. I was also able to use my favorite complimentary colors so a lot of the yarns were already spun and dyed. It was a really enjoyable project and one that I would never have even thought to do on my own. I think that Gabe is pleased with it and he and Amy have it hanging in their living room so I hope they like it.