Thursday, May 26, 2005

Time Management

Even as I typed the title, I felt a little silly because I have tried for years to do better managing time but never seem to be able to achieve all that I would like to in any given space of time. I run out of day, the week is too short, etc. In the new summer issue of Spin-Off magazine, there is an article by Stephenie Gaustad titled "Time Warp". She writes of her experience spinning and weaving three museum replica pieces from the Hohokam people for the Pueblo Grande Museum which took over a year to complete. Her description is very interesting and probably is something that most weavers have thought about as we have worked...All the weavers who have come before us who had to do this to have clothing and bedding and still have all the happenings and pressures of life and families around them as they worked and yet they took the time to make beautiful fabric, not just adequate for the needs. At the end, she sums it up by saying that she had seen her goals scaled down as her time seemed in short supply. But after working on this project for the year, she said,"I changed my mind about work and time. Instead of making something that will fit into the time available, take the time to knit a sweater if that is what you need. At the close of the project you will have the sweater. Time will pass anyway. Change your perspective."

I've thought about this over the last few days. Most of my work is not quick. I prepare all my fiber from the raw fleece stage with washing, carding and spinning, then dye it, if needed. And then much of the weaving I do is also slow work so a typical project takes weeks, even months, working on it many hours of each day. So it is always nice to put a little perspective on it all and realize that it has always been so for all the generations of spinners and weavers. But time does pass and we have something tangible and beautiful to show for it.

The last few weeks, I have been working on bands and other woven bits and pieces to construct into my bags. The goal I had was to do 10 in a row so that I would really accomplish something and also to use it as a learning and growth experience. I'm nearing completion of bag #4 and because of this focus, I really feel like my ideas are expanding and I'm getting more deeply involved with the weaving. I used to sometimes dance around getting to work in the morning but now I can't wait to get going and just jump in. It is a very exciting feeling.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Wildflowers, woven purses and clay pot cookers

Last Saturday, we had a wonderful hike in the mountains. It looked like it could rain anytime but it didn't and everything was so beautiful and green. We saw four different wildflowers and I was able to identify all of them in my various wildflower books. For the first time, I saw a Dogtooth Violet, which is really a lily and very delicate and pretty. When we were driving home, it was pouring so we were lucky to be finished and on the way home.

We also stopped at the thrift shop and I got a wonderful terracotta clay pot cooker. It isn't one of the usual brand name ones. The top and bottom are about the same and it is the size of a loaf pan only oval. The walls of the pot are about 3/4" thick so it is very heavy. It is well made, without any markings and I really wish I knew where it came from. I'll take a photo and post it soon, hoping that someone will know something about it. I love to bake bread in these and can't wait to try it out. I wonder if the thickness of the pot will make a difference in how it bakes.

All the new bags are finished and some of the other ones are lined now. It took me a lot longer than I had expected but every one of them turned out like I had hoped. Now I am going to start on a couple of tapestry bags with inkle handles. Photos for these new purses will be coming soon also. My weaving room is quite a mess and so I will need to spend at least a few minutes straightening that out before I can weave some more. I don't really mind clutter but it comes to the point where it is impossible to work in the space.

One of the new bags I finished is constructed in a way that is different than I have ever put the bands together before and I am really excited about how it turned out. The shape is wider in both directions so that it is easier to find things in it and I think it will also hold more but yet be a smaller sized bag. I'm going to be working more with this shape in the next months. Also, I use some beads for embellishment but don't like too many because it takes away from the weaving being the focal point of the bag. I like for the beads to compliment the weaving without overpowering the beauty of the handwoven fabric.

A dear friend sent me a wonderful book this past week called Sashes, Straps and Bands by Ruth and Ralph Johnston. I haven't seen this book before but it is a real treasure and has information on warp faced twills for the 4H loom. I can't wait weave some of these sorts of bands very soon. Maybe I can warp up the loom next week and try this out.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


It is actually warming up here! I am sitting right now without anything wool on, no wool socks or sweater and I'm warm. It was a mild winter but a cold, long early spring but now the trees are budding out their leaves and the dandelions are blooming and things are looking promising. The best part is that we are getting rain which is desperately needed or there will be lots of fires this summer.

The last couple of days I have assembled 2 purses with all the bands I wove the week or two before that. Now I have to get some lining fabric and one of the purses needs some pottery type beads that will be fun shopping for. It has a native American look to me and the construction of the bag is different than I have done or seen before and I really like it. This is a shape that I will do again. The other bag is shades of blues and it is a pouch shape with a flap that comes over and there is fringe along the flap. I still have to twist the fringe and add beads to it. I usually weave the bands and see how they work together and then when they are all finished, I figure out what sort of purse they need to be. Both of these bags came together just the way they should have.

I am writing or rather, was supposed to be writing, an article on storing woolens for the summer for the newspaper. But every time I got started thinking about the article and moths, I would notice all the exposed wool around and have to wash and put away either fleece, yarn or clothing, so I still have not worked much on the article. I need to finish that today, ignoring all the wool still around, and then I can store up my fiber. But I did wash up a lot of mittens, scarves and sweaters the past couple of days and it is nice to have them put away for another season.