This morning I am sitting in my favorite chair knitting. There is coffee. The sun is brilliant in spite of the low temperatures. Last night we had a hard frost. Time to finish harvesting lettuce and cilantro.
I have only written blog posts in my my mind for the past couple of months. Life has been exciting and full in ways I’ve haven’t experienced before. I have dreamed of being my own person for decades, when the kids were independent, when I was not tied to Bob’s working schedule. That time seems to have arrived!
In the photo above I am working on a hot water bottle cozy. I’ve never had a hot water bottle before, but now I do. I’ve been thinking about all the people in the world who will be cold this winter, far colder than I ever am. I wonder if any of us will ever have the luxury of constant heat and endless water again. Even though I know that I still live in the incredible lap of luxury, I want to ensure that I am warm in bed at night…at least for a short while, until the water bottle cools. A hot water bottle seems just the ticket, and this cozy, designed by Kate Davies, caught my eye. I am using her yarn as well. The natural grey is “Ooskit” in colorway “Horkel.” (Don’t ask me to translate. I have no idea!) The white is “Schiehallion” in colorway “Crowdie.” You can find the cozy pattern and the yarn on Kate’s website, KDD&Co.
I’ve spent a lot of time traveling during the summer and fall, and I’ve been teaching tapestry classes and giving talks about the book I published about Archie Brennan. It’s been an exhilarating time for me. At the moment I have a few days to relax before the holiday chaos begins. It’s almost Thanksgiving and I am counting my blessings from the past two seasons.
I went to Convergence in July for the first time in what feels like a lifetime. I connected with some old friends and finally met some friends I’ve only known through the internet. I got to spend some private time with Robbie LaFleur and Katherine Buenger, and I had a wonderful sprang class with Carol James. I traveled by car all the way from Connecticut to Tennessee with an old friend, and that gave us time to catch up with all the things we’ve missed about being together since before the pandemic. It was all good!
Schiffer Publishing had a booth in the vendor’s hall, and they sold out all their copies of the book I wrote with Archie Brennan!
This is Carol James wearing one of her amazing sprang woven designs. I don’t think I’ll ever figure out how to make clothing out of sprang, but I am trying to learn these color manipulations.
I came home with a lot of ideas and inspiration from everything I saw at Convergence, and I gave a short program on it to one of my smaller weaving groups in October. It helped me keep the embers burning on my own ideas.
I drove straight to Massachusetts when I got home from Convergence, in order to take a workshop with Fiona Hutchison. Her wonderful ideas and techniques have got me going in a new direction. I have wanted to meet her, and I got way more than I expected!
I taught four tapestry classes over the summer and fall. Two of them were 8-week classes, and two were 3-day workshops. One of the workshops was the first time I have taught at someone’s house. That was a great experience, all of us being in the comfort of someone’s home which lends itself to a more personal experience for both students and teacher. It was late September, the weather was delightfully mild, and the colors in this part of Connecticut were already blazing (although not in this particular photo.). What a lovely setting to teach a class!
During one of my classes in Hartford I also hosted Katherin Weber when she gave a workshop for my guild. It was a busy time, with me leaving for my class while another house guest and good friend drove Katherin to the guild class each day. I never turn down an opportunity to host a teacher because it’s the best way to learn more about weavers and what makes them who they are. Katherin was no exception.
Some of you may remember that I have been struggling to weave paper placemats after having a successful experience weaving ‘paper towels.’ The warp for these projects have been a mix of natural and bleached linen. The weft is paper yarn from Habu. For the towels I used a pale green paper yarn that was interesting and did not break my weaving budget. When I planned the placemats I was pulled to the indigo paper yarn that was a bit dear for my comfort level. The first round did not make me happy. Remember this?
After two placemats where I could not see the Greek Key pattern unless I had just the right light and held the camera on just the right angle, I dug through my stash to find something else. I have a ton of linen yarn, and this seemed a perfect blue. In the back of my mind I wondered about dyeing the rest of the paper yarn a slightly darker blue with indigo. This is better obviously, but I was disappointed not to be using my precious indigo dyed paper yarn.
Then in October my smaller weaving group had a dye day. They used MX dyes on cellulose fibers, but they also had an indigo vat going. Yippee! I brought the remains of my paper yarn and gave the vat a try. My yarns were the first ones in the vat that day, and the color was strong. I only left the yarn in for five minutes, and I got a much deeper color than I wanted. Hey, that’s life when you’re not an experienced dyer!
And here is my third attempt at the placemats I’ve been envisioning since I wove the ‘paper towels’ over two years ago. Some things take time. At this point I had to make a new warp and tie on to the old, not my favorite exercise! They are not the color I’ve seen in my head for a long time now, but they are interesting. I love the inconsistency of the color most of all, which is traditionally called “abrash,” from Farsi, meaning “rainbow.” Sometimes you don’t get what you want, but I am happy that I got something interesting.
A lot has happened over the course of the summer and fall–half a year! I’ve had two surgeries (both successful), we have a newly renovated kitchen, I’ve taught and traveled and spent time in the gardens and with my grandchildren. Along the way I’ve done a little lace, some basketry and some knitting. It’s been a very full time, and I feel very blessed. Of course, I’d always like to have more finished projects to show for my time. Pipe dreams for sure.