Weaving, Here and There

It has been quite a hiatus since my last post. A lot of water has gone under the keel since I met the mother/daughter weavers on Montserrat. We all know life can be full of curve balls, plunges down the roller coaster, and untimely surprises. That’s what’s been going on in my life lately, and I have been a little too shell shocked to write.

Along the way weaving and knitting lent a normalcy and calmness to surprises that popped up in my path–health issues while in a foreign country and the loss of a dear friend. Both weaving and knitting lend enough calm to deal with any roller coaster. I have better access to knitting while onboard than weaving, and the repetitive motion of making one stitch after another— dec right, YO, knit 5, YO, dec. left, etc., etc.—is a wonderful antidote to all kinds of ups and downs.

On the UPside, there has been some tremendously good news since I last checked in here. Our older son’s wife is expecting twins this summer! Yes, twins! They’ll arrive when our dear Tori Tiny Super Moon is only 18 months old, so that house will be full of chaos and magic. I hope I get to spend plenty of time there soaking it all up!

In preparation, I am knitting two baby blankets in the same pattern that I made for Tori , just a little over a year ago! And I’m thinking about matching Christmas sweaters, and a cute Christmas tunic for Tori…and… and…dare I think about lace?

This is Tori’s blanket being blocked back when I finished it, before the baby shower that was held in her honor.

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We have just spent two weeks back in the US, and one of those weeks we spent visiting this growing family. Tori is getting cuter and cuter!   Communicating with her has become so much fun for me! She has a sign for ‘more’ which is really the sign for “again.” Isn’t that interesting? She doesn’t know it’s the sign for ‘again;’ it’s really her own invention. I am infatuated by that! She also has her own version of the sign for ‘please.’ She says ‘pay’ for ‘play,’ and she reaches for our iphones all the time while saying, “Pay! Pay!” She does lots of puzzles and has become shockingly good at them. Even though Mom brings home new ones all the time, it only takes her a few moments to figure them out. She does them so quickly, and then turns them upside down to send all the pieces scattering which makes her laugh. So her mother puts them away in a place that Tori cannot reach. So, when she says “puh” a few times, I will ask her if she wants to do a puzzle. When she nods yes vigorously, I ask her if she needs ‘help’ getting one down from the dining room sideboard. To this, she replies, “Hep! Hep! ”

I have to listen carefully for the difference between ‘buh’ (book) and ‘puh’ (puzzle). She loves to look at books. Puzzles and books are her favorite toys, followed closely by stuffed animals. Here she is sitting on her dad’s head, reading a book. Don’t ask—I have no idea why she likes this position for reading!

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She is also quite good at pulling stickers off a sheet.  In this photo, she is has already finished off a sheet of stickers and has now decorated herself with all the background sticker bits–in case you’re wondering what’s on her shirt!

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During our 6-day visit Bob took hundreds of photos of Tori. He took so many in burst mode that we have several sequences of photos that show her doing such adorable things. Doting grandparents!

While I haven’t done much weaving lately, I spent part of a day working on the ‘Text’ tapestry that is a line from a Robert Frost poem. It felt so good to be picking the warps and inserting the weft again, now sitting on my highest stool since the piece is growing ever so slowly. One more word and I’ll be advancing the warp around the copper frame. I also got the last piece of IKEA shelving unit (Kallax) for my herculean project of reorganization. Goodbye, big ugly bins that were caving under the weight of how many I had to stack against the wall in the room next to my studio. Now I have closed bins with labels to hold almost everything I need. The bins fit into a wooden shelving unit that keeps everything tidy. It looks so much calmer in this room now. I even decided to put my smallest loom in here. I still need a solution for my bins of fabric, so I have my thinking cap on about that. Ideas are greatly appreciated, if you have any please share! (They are sticking out from the counter top in the far right of the 3rd photo, looking quite unsightly in the midst of such great organization!)

From this beginning back in August….

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….to this!  Finally!  IKEA was always out of stock on various pieces we needed to complete the project.

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Just before our trip home I discovered that Laverne Waddington has a new instructional video on backstrap weaving. Take a look! I still believe this is the perfect loom to have on a boat. Well, that is if I can find a good way of tying myself fore and aft; last time I tried I could only find ways of tying up my loom port to starboard and that causes all kinds of trouble for anyone else trying to get anywhere while I’m weaving! Weaving on a backstrap loom can be as simple or challenging as I want, so it ought to keep me occupied and well engaged during the months without my floor looms. I have not had enough good internet to watch the whole video, but I’m sure I will learn a great deal from Laverne, and make some progress in tackling this technique!

Closer to home (New England) I’ve learned there is an exhibition of weavers’ work that includes Kate Barber, one of our guild members.

Con/Textile/Ized
Artists Working With Fiber
 
March 9 – April 28, 2018
Jamestown Arts Center
 
Opening Reception: Friday, March 9, 6 – 8 pm
Gallery Hours: Wed – Sat 10 – 2

So I haven’t exactly given you fair warning to get to the opening reception, but there is plenty of time to get the exhibit if you are in the area.  Luckily I’ll be home in time to see this show.  You can see more of Kate’s work here.

And during my short stay in Connecticut, I found that a fellow fiber artist who works in paper has opened a studio right in the center of my little village. I first crossed paths with Ben Parker at a show of works in fiber a couple of years ago. After that I saw his work, and talked to him as well, at an open studio event for all kinds of artists in Hartford. I’ve been on his email list for notices of his upcoming shows and the workshops he has begun to teach. His studio is just that, a place where he works, rather than a gallery. He will be using this space to teach workshops, and I’d LOVE to get a group of weavers together to study with him this summer. Weavers, you know who you are, so let’s make a plan when I get home!

These are the things that make life so interesting and get us through the rough spots, aren’t they? My online guild from the UK is spending the month of March studying tapestry techniques under the guidance of Matty Smith. I can’t always get online down here in the Caribbean, but when I can, the ‘lessons’ will likely spark some good ideas for me.

I have gotten email notices that my local weavers have had to cancel meetings for two months in a row, due to the winter weather. And doesn’t the weather in early March often throw more at us New Englanders than the whole month of February can muster? On the one hand, a snowstorm in March never lasts long, but on the other hand, the power outages always last longer than the snow in March. Our house is currently without power, and most of my friends are in the same boat (bad pun!)—except they are living there right now.

Tomorrow is my older son’s birthday. He is the father of dear Tori and the soon-to-be father of the twins. He was born in the midst of a wild snowstorm 34 years ago. That snowstorm came with plenty of thunder and lightning. The delivery nurses were more interested in watching the storm out the window than paying attention to this brand new mom. A foot of snow fell in only a couple of hours that night. Over the years since then, Rob has had more snowy birthdays than not. So, I always enjoy a big March snowstorm. It heralds another birthday and makes me take a look at how much life changes as the decades slide past.

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As you can see, I am clearly on a smooth path again—thanks in large part to knitting — and weaving.

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