Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Off course

Last March, when Martha Stewart got out of prison, I saw the news segment showing her release and she was wearing that now famous crocheted poncho. I really liked it and wished I could find a pattern to make one for myself. Shortly after that, a pattern showed up on the Interweave Press website but although it was similar, it didn't have the lines of the original that I hoped for. Then last week, a friend told me that she had seen the Martha Stewart show and they had a whole show on that poncho and there was a pattern on the Lion Brand yarn website. That pattern was better and it was fun to see all the women in the audience with their own ponchos but it still wasn't exactly like hers. But I started that pattern and was making it longer because that was the biggest difference that I could tell and I knew that I wanted it at least wrist length rather than mid arm like the Lion Brand one. It gets cold here! Then yesterday, my friend sent me another link to the Maggie's Crochet site and this pattern was even better than the Lion Brand one because it is shaped more as it is crocheted. Last night I started crocheting this one and will finish it although I'm not sure I will do the scallop as on this pattern. There is also a pattern on the Bernat website but it is made in 2 pieces sewn together and I would rather crochet in the round and not have those 2 bulky side seams.

Several years ago, I had spun some really pretty yarn for a sweater but the sweater turned out huge so it was just in the cedar chest all this time while I decided what to do with it. The yarn is spun from a medium gray corriedale cross but I dyed some of the gray various blues and greens and blended that into the majority of gray batts. I spun it 2 ply and it is really lofty and nice. Now I am wondering how I got it so light and airy because I don't usually get that in my spinning. The blues and greens make the gray interesting so the yarn is quite pretty. Howard was out of town this weekend so I spent Friday night unraveling the sweater. My knitting is obviously not that great but my seam sewing ability is unparalleled so ripping it apart was quite a chore and took forever. There is a lot of yarn because I had some left over so I'm sure I can make the poncho as long as I want and have enough. Even though I haven't crocheted for years, this is an easy pattern and I could figure it out without a problem. Once it is done, I probably won't crochet again for a long time but I'm happy that I will finally have my own cozy poncho after all this time. It works up pretty fast so I'm sure I'll have it done before it is cold enough to need it, even here in Montana.

Now I'm ready to get back to weaving and finishing off the tapestry warp I have on the loom.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Building on the way!!

These photos are from a week ago and they were working on the first floor of our condo building. They are already building the second story. Our unit is on the top, the third floor, so it will be very exciting to see that getting framed in maybe a week or two.
This unit I photographed is the same as ours only the first floor. Still it is hard to tell very much with just the framed walls. We are supposed to be able to move in the beginning of February so there is still a ways to go.

This week I am working on making bookmark sized samples of my blanket fabric to send to interior designers in the area. Jess thought this would be a good way to advertise and for them to get a piece of nice handwoven fabric made out of handspun wool into their hands and then, maybe, they will take a look at the website. It has been a challenge to make a fabric that works both visually and to have a good hand for a blanket and also to seem "right" in a sample piece. The other dilemma I had was to figure out what one design is a representation of my work and would have the most general appeal. So I took the pattern from the Expedition blanket and adapted part of the border corner for the smaller number of ends in the 4" wide bookmark using the same colors. I got one done and I think the basic concept is working.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Blue Moon on the Road

I was contacted last week by Sara Colburn who runs the Art Mobile of Montana. She was hoping that I would loan this tapestry to travel this school year with her collection of art that she takes around to various rural schools in the state. When she sent me the literature from her organization, I was amazed with what she has done. She gets a number of grants for the van and other needs and travels thousands of miles each year (Montana is a big state!), giving a presentation about the various works and also teaching hands-on art classes to the children. I am honored to be part of this program this year. I think she displays 20 or so pieces in various mediums which change every year. She talks with the children about them and asks them to look carefully at each piece so that they can discover the different styles of each artist. Some of the smaller schools don't have a regular art teacher so this is an important part of their education in art for the year.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Sunset Tapestry

Last week I started a small tapestry to have on the loom at the show. The cartoon is from a drawing of a sunset I did that was very unusual. The sun was below the horizon so it there was a very bright fiery area just over the mountains. The sky over that was a deep periwinkle and then there was a band of brighter turquoise and then it got lighter and lighter blue as it went higher up. There were just a few high, wispy clouds zigzagging through the sky and those were bright yellows closer to the horizon and grading up to oranges as they were further away. A very stunning sight! This first tapestry that I finished this week is bright, brighter than I usually work, but I really like it. And I still like the cartoon so, today I am going to start another version of the same drawing. I want to weave it blending the colors a little more and abstracting it more also. Weaving tapestries in this small size is so freeing because experiments don't take months to finish. This warp is set up for 3 small tapestries and they might all be somewhat related to this one cartoon. I have never been able to work in series before but I am trying to learn to do this because I think it is the best way to develop an idea to the fullest.

Even though it seemed like the spinning was slow this summer, just plugging away at it, there is now a nice pile of fine, natural colored yarn ready to be dyed. The weather should be perfect next week to set out some crockpots for dyeing in the back yard. I love to dye and always look forward to having enough yarn to do it. There are still a lot of natural colored carded batts to go and I have a lot of the colors I dyed in the spring, still waiting to be spun up. The fine yarn I use for inkle bands for bags just takes a long time to spin but I am slowly building up a nice color palette. I like to chose finished yarns rather than dye them at the time I'm designing the weaving.