Category Archives: serendipity

Waiting for March

Hasn’t it been a long winter?  In many ways beautiful, and in some ways lllooonnnngggg…  I know I will better appreciate the spring when if comes!

So….no images of snow here!  Just a few things that define my February.

Feb 2011 001


Threaded and ready to begin a boundweave wall hanging on my wonderful hand-me-down Toika.



Feb 2011 005



My 2-yr. old camellia blooming for the first time!  A wonderful pink for these grey/white days.  It’s called “Kramer’s Delight” and it is delighting me!




Feb. 2011 piliated woodpecker 037

A frequent visitor to our woods, but my first success at catching him on film! (Actually, my husband’s success, not mine.)




Beading RAW crystals (1)A newly finished bracelet. Two rows of Right angle weave  attached, beginning to end, to form a closed ring, then crystals are added.  You can tell I was thinking of spring when I chose these colors!

>A Weaver’s Legacy


An amazing turn of events last week brought three weavers together after three years…

About three years ago, a good friend of mine died from complications related to breast cancer.  She was a very artistic woman, someone I admired.  She wore her handwoven clothes with enviable flair, and she knew how to accessorize.  When she could no longer sit at the loom she continued to knit accessories that were as striking as her woven items.Bonney Ford crop

(Well, this is not the best photo to demonstrate Bonney’s fashion flair, but do notice the t-shirt on the sheep                commemorates National Spinners and Weavers week!)


Her daughters held a sale before selling her house, and I got some precious items which always make me think fondly of Bonney’s friendship.  I have two shirts, commerically made, that look deceptively handwoven, a sterling jewelry pin of a castle-style spinning wheel, and Bonney’s 8S  Baby Wolf.

When I got the loom it had samples on it, lovely samples of what looked to me like a ‘Sharon Alderman’ fabric.  There were several small samples, separated by unwoven warp.  The warp looked like 20/2 mercerized cotton in a medium grey.  The weft was the same size cotton in ‘rust’ or ‘burnt sienna.’  The color difference between the warp and weft made a lovely iridescence in the fabric, giving the finished cloth the look of silk.Ruby Leslie workshop 042010 044









I thought of weaving off the rest of the warp, but when I went searching for what the treadling might be I did not find this pattern. Also, I did not have the weft.  Eventually I cut the fabric off the loom so that I could warp it for a weaving workshop.  I thought I might serge the fabric samples and give one to each of Bonney’s good friends in my guild, keeping one for myself.

But I never did it.  The fabric has lain on top of my serger now for three years….

During these three years my path has occasionally crossed the path of another New Jersey weaver from the Jockey Hollow Guild.  I heard her name numerous times through mutual acquaintances, and I finally met her during her guild’s holiday sale last December. 

Last week when I had again warped this loom in readiness for a weaving workshop from the Jockey Hollow Guild, Sally was the organizer, so our paths crossed again. 

At one point during the workshop Sally offered to tweak my loom into better working condition.  I mentioned that this loom had belonged to a good friend who had left this life.  I asked if she had ever known Bonney, who had on occasion attended meetings at Jockey Hollow.

Well, Sally did know Bonney. In fact, some time before Bonney’s final days, Sally had visited her to weave off some samples that were part of an exchange (indeed, a Sharon Alderman design). Shortly after that visit Bonney died, and Sally did not know what became of the samples or of  Bonney’s loom.  The participants in that exchange never got the samples.

Isn’t it interesting that I had wanted to give those samples to some of Bonney’s friends, but I just never could bring myself to cut them apart and serge the ends?…. and equally interesting that I kept hearing about Sally from a couple of friends.  I, too, had visited some meetings of Sally’s guild, but I did not met her until recently….  And it is interesting that we did not get to the subject of Bonney and her loom on our first meeting, but obviously it was meant to come about at some point.

I think Bonney knew it would happen, all in good time, and I think she smiled when it finally did.  I will miss seeing the yardage in my studio, but I’m immensely happy that it will go to the recipients who were always meant to have it.  It’s a lovely length of finely woven cloth.  Good weaving endures, friendship endures.  It’s all good.

>Life’s Little Surprises


I just spent the last entry whingeing/wining about life’s challenges. By focusing on the challenges I almost missed one of life’s sweet surprises, and you never know when one of those will come along! I almost didn’t go to my local spinning group because of too many deadlines, too many obligations, blah, blah. Then I figured I needed to go as a little reward to myself and to recharge my batteries for the upcoming hurdles. Look what I found at the spinning meeting!

Bud and Patricia are certainly an usual team, and their vision of seeing the world is outlandishly creative! Their love for Della (the mule) is so poignant. I hope mules live a long time because they sure do adore her. I enjoyed talking to Patricia, and I loved watching the daughter of one our members saddle up for a ride on Della. I had NO idea mules were this large! Wish I had a photo which would demonstrate her size, but since I was not expecting this unique experience I didn’t have a camera with me. Really, don’t miss that link….got to:

This fall they are traveling up the Hudson River. It should be a wonderful trip if we end up getting good color this year. We have had a drought for some time now (2 months?…longer?), and in my area lots of leaves are just falling off the trees without turning at all. I wish them luck, and a safe haven for the winter.

So….how did I get these great pictures? A spinning friend (the one with the equestrienne daughter) took these. She has her own blog, where she shares her amazing creativity with lace knitting. Bad Cat Designs. Check her out!

Patricia – “It’s always all about Della. Everything we do centers around her well-being. Where we spend the night, where we stop for lunch, where we spend the winters, it all depends on how we can accommodate her. Della is the heart and motor of our journey. “

>Hey, Buddha!

>It’s been an odd day. It’s that sad anniversary, and this is the first year it falls again on a Tuesday. I’ve tried not to think too much about it, but I did stay home today and avoid any radio and tv exposure. My own memories and thoughts are enough for the occasion. For several weeks it felt like my whole town was holding its breath, waiting for some good news about loved ones. Then came weeks when I’d see funeral processions almost every day, and public grief…women meeting each other in the street or in the market and sobbing together. It was traumatic. In six years, not one day goes by where I don’t notice the change in our view of Manhattan. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to it. Well, it will just take more time….

This photo doesn’t look like my typical view of Manhattan at all, even though supposedly it was taken right near me. I can’t believe no one has ever posted a photo of our great view from Rte. 17, or Craig Dr., or Overlook….I guess I’ll have to do it myself sometime. I see Manhattan MUCH closer, with the Empire State Building right in the center, larger than life, despite it being 25 miles away, and the WTC used to be to the right . It’s still odd not to see them.

I wanted to do something useful today, so I worked on photographing some of my scarves to list on Etsy. While I photographed them I took one of Buddha. As you can see I’ve been working, though it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve touched him.

We’ve been sailing again, this time to P-town and back, with stops at Bassett Island (lovely!) and various other nice spots. I hope to have pictures soon. Most of the week was breezy and cool, definitely a touch of autumn in the air. Now that we’re back, it’s hot, humid, and raining. I’m glad we are home this week!

Pictures of P-town, as promised. Our boat is just to the right of the steeple.

>Sleep Deprivation

I’ve been awakened several consecutive nights by this owl. If you click on both the “A” sound and the “B” sound you’ll hear what wakens me! It’s a soothing sound, and I find it is bringing up some very old memories of sleepless nights full of teenage angst when I would be lulled to sleep by a whippoorwill. If you’ve never heard a whippoorwill I truly hope someday you will. It’s an indescribable experience that is heightened by occurring in the depths of night.

I doubt if I’ll ever get to see this owl, so hearing its call is quite intriguing. I’m imagining him (although possibly her) sitting in a spot like this photo, in a tree somewhere nearby, maybe even in my yard. I have heard him for several years now, in the summer when our windows are open. While the voice of a whippoorwill will always bring back details from my bedroom from the mid-70s, now the sound of an Eastern screech owl will be the voice of my menopausal, empter nester years when I don’t often sleep through the night.

Recently, during my late evening walks I’ve been hearing what might be a Great Horned Owl. I’m not completely sure about this as the owl in my neighborhood has a much lower pitched call. All I know for certain is that it is not the same owl as the one that awakens me later in the night. It’s interesting to realize that there is such bird life in my suburban town, although my town is rather undeveloped, so less manicured than most ‘burbs.

I’m not a “birder,” so it’s not as if I’m on the lookout for them, and this means I’m sometimes pleasantly surprised by my surroundings. Waking and drifting back to sleep to the sounds of owls (or whippoorwills!) is quite a good experience, something I highly recommend!

>Just a note….

>A funny thing happened this evening when I went to write my last post. I FOUND the two missing posts. How weird is that? It seems I have two blog accounts, and the errant posts are in this mysterious “other” account. Hmmm….my ignorance on things techie knows no bounds!

….and one other thing. I’m smitten by the Knitting Daily blog. If you don’t know about Major Laura (an avid knitter serving in Iraq) you must take a look.


>Stash….I’ve read a lot of things about stash over the 30 years I’ve been collecting mine, and a few people have given me stash advice in person. I was out walking one day this week when stash advice began to replay in my head. I want to record some of those ideas before they go underground again for another decade or so!

Pat Slaven recently wrote a very poignant essay about stash, inspired by the death of two good friends. She was somewhat involved in dealing with the stashes left behind by both these women. In one case she was invited to view the friend’s quilting stash in order to pick some fabrics to make a quilt for the 6 year old son of the deceased woman. Are you getting misty yet? She tried not to influence the young boy, but she did hope that he would choose fabrics that would still speak to him as he grew and matured into a young man, and beyond, as this quilt would hopefully stay with him for many years. Pat was relieved that he did choose fabrics that were not specifically for very young boys. The poignant part of this story is that Pat discovered that her friend never seemed to have used any of these fabrics. There were no quilted projects in progress, no finished projects anywhere in the house, and no one remembers ever seeing her sew. There was only her stash. Her friends and family can only speculate what this stash meant to her. Was she going to learn to sew? Was she just interested in collecting interesting fabrics? Who knows, but her stash remained hidden in various closets in the house, complete with sales receipts.

Many years ago, in a weaving class with Daryl Lancaster, she admonished all of us to enjoy our shopping experiences. She said, “Shop to shop, buy what appeals to you! Then weave from your stash!” This has been my motto for many years, ever since I first heard Daryl say it! I shop with such abandon! I buy things that call out to me, and boy do things sing to me. The problem now is that I have opportunities to buy (and do buy) at a faster rate than I can weave. I now have some serious space considerations, and no hope of catching up if I continue to have SEX (Stash Enhancement eXperiences) at this rate! My studio looks like a warehouse, and it’s often difficult to access my looms, much less my stash. I do weave from my stash, but the effort it takes to get things out and examine my stash is often competely overwhelming. Sometimes I have to take a month’s break before I can face going back into my studio to put some of that stash away. It’s too hard. There’s too much of it, it doesn’t fit neatly on my shelves (in plastic bins, and in anything else that will contain it) anymore. Trying to find things has become a herculean endeavor, and I am not strong enough for the task! I now have my spinning stash in one bedroom, my knitting stash in another, and all of my weaving stash overfilling my basement studio.

This leads me to a bit of advice I heard recently on a podcast I enjoy: “Cast On” by Brenda Dayne. As part of her New Year’s ritual each year she goes through her stash and reorganizes it. She had some fantastic ideas, especially for anyone whose stash is still moderately sized. She calls her yearly process the “Airing of the Stash.” She gets it all out for viewing. Yarns that will make complete projects she bags together, and when she has several complete projects bagged she places them all together in large vacuum bags and proceeds to vacuum them into a small concise size, which can be stored and easily viewed. You go, Brenda!

It gets even more interesting after this. With the rest of her stash, which consists of small batches of yarns that appealed to her when she bought them, she begins grouping them into possible projects. She looks at color and texture and decides what yarns look good together. These also get vacuum bagged together, after being collected into various possible project groups. What a feat of decision making and courage! She makes it sound like this possibly takes place during ONE day, maybe a couple of days. I may remember this wrong, but I’ve pictured this more random stash spread out on a bed! I’m thinking of my random stash taking up every horizontal surface in every room in my house, and me playing a horrific memory game (oh, where is that lovely aubergine mohair that would go so well with this celery green alpaca? Did I see it in the dining room or the basement?) Ha! After 30 years, I think my stash has become a behemoth, a monster, a nightmare.

But, to get back on track with Brenda Dayne’s idea: Here’s one awesome benefit of doing this. At least once a year you see your stash. It rekindles the ideas you had when you bought each thing, which perhaps will get you started on a new project, and/or motivate you to finish current projects in order to start something new. And better yet, now that you’ve seen your stash, when you are out shopping and some wonderful little tidbit leaps out at you, you can make an intelligent decision on whether you really need it or not! How great is that? I might be panting over some incredible blend of color and luxury fiber, but perhaps I won’t buy it knowing that I have something equally wonderful waiting for my attention at home.

This idea of “viewing your stash” at least once a year is a terrific idea. I just can’t figure out how to do it! I’m not sure I can share photos of my own personal stash here, for two reasons. The first and biggest reason is that it won’t all fit in one picture, or even two. It might fit in a photo album! The second reason is that I’m a bit shy about this. It would be like showing the dark side of my addiction. It’s not pretty!

Well, okay, here’s one picture (what’s a blog entry without a picture?). I think this is about 1/4 of my linen stash for weaving, with some other stuff in the background. I swear not all of my stash is this messy….really!

>Lunar Eclipse


This is a little out of order, going back to the lunar eclipse that happened on Saturday, March 3. Losing those two posts interfered with my writing about the eclipse, but now I’ve made peace with the disappearance of those two entries I can get back on track.

My friend Elisa called me about 7.30, and told me to go outside to see the eclipse. I grabbed my cell phone (so I could call my two sons and my husband since everyone was out of town that evening) and went out on the front porch. This porch is the best feature of my whole house. It sits quite far back from the road, so our front porch is a private place, and since it faces East, there have been many wonderful evenings to watch the moon rise. The moon was still rising Saturday night when I went out on the porch to see the eclipse. The eclipse was more than half way done already, but it was still a wonderful sight. I watched until the end, which must have been about half an hour.

A couple of years ago I read that native American women thought moonlight was very good for female well being. Women should sleep with the light of a full moon falling directly on their faces. Well, even though glass cuts out the real rays of moonlight, I’ve felt very connected knowing that on those somewhat rare occasions when a full moon is rising late enough in the evening for me to be in bed, that light is falling on me as it comes straight through one of my windows! So I thought of all that real moonlight falling on me as I watched the eclipse. I hope I gained something good from it!

No weaving to speak of yet this week, but I have returned to my younger son’s handspun, handknit sweater. I’ve started the sleeves! He’ll be home tomorrow evening for a week (spring break). With a lot of luck I hope to finish both sleeves and get the sweater assembled for him to take back to school with him. School is in Rochester, NY, so he could still get some wear out of a winter sweater there before real spring weather arrives.

>Bitterly Cold

>What’s it like in other parts of the country right now? Here it is just ridiculously cold. We’ve got brilliant sunshine that is so deceptive to the frigid conditions. The snow is so hard you can walk right on top of it and not sink in. It’s 14F degrees this morning, but the wind chill makes it feel like 5. We’ve had temperatures like this for a week now! We’ve had so much wind for so long, I think it’s been more than a year with unusually high winds. Are the windy places of the world even windier, or did we get some of their wind so that they are now milder? I’d love to know that.

My Korean art teacher believes that wind is caused by anger. Initially that may sound absurd, but high and low pressures have to originate somehow. I know I show my ignorance of science here, and I shouldn’t go down paths where I have no knowledge. Anger causing wind is just such a powerful image. There is certainly no shortage of anger anywhere.

When we get to the last few really hot weeks of summer we call those days the “dog days.” We need a name for these last few weeks of interminable winter. I don’t think we can use the word “days” since winter is more about “nights.” Someone please think of something! “The teetering on the edge of death nights of winter,” “the way beyond the pale nights of winter,” “the nights when hell just might freeze over,” “the Boreal nights of winter”…etc.

So here’s a picture of my garden, a deceptively peacful winter scene. It’s hard to tell that the wind is blowing at least 25 mph and the temperature is only 14F!

I’m heading down to my studio to weave and hopefully not hear the wind howling.


>15 Feb. 2007

The wild weather of this strange winter, and the fact that I have entered my sixth decade, conspire to make me examine my choices lately. I have been a hand knitter for over 40 years and a handweaver for over 30 years. In 2001, I began some experiments with tapestry. After adding spinning and tentatively trying some dyeing over 10 years ago now, I wonder where I am going with these fiber technniques. At this point I know that I cannot be a master in all these avenues, but I have no idea which direction to take. The wild winds that have blown throughout this winter, and my own internal storms have me rooted to a single spot, cautious about moving in any direction. So, instead of finishing a number of projects that are blowing about in the storm, I’ve decided to start a blog. What am I thinking??

Some weavers on the Yahoo list “Tapestry 2005” have been sharing their blogs, with the result that I now give in to the urge to join them!