at last I uploaded – Spring & Summer fruits!

at least that’s what the colours read like! Raspberry, cherry blossom, honeysuckle, hot pink, fuscia, fuzzy peach…
either that or a list of cocktail names!

They’re now on Etsy and the next warp (in slightly darker shades of pink) is on the loom.  As we’re potty training this weekend, I have my doubts about how much weaving will get done – we’ll see

What have I been doing ? – no idea

Life seems to pass in  a whirl these days – without any Walnut on top (for those of you who know UK chocolates, you know what I mean).

It’s just been busy, family visiting (still here), work, finding schools, taking Hannah to the park – and then when there is that precious hour after dinner in the evening, all I want to do is crash in front of the TV. Some little part of my brain keeps screaming “GET UP! – this is burning less calories than SLEEPING and is WAY LESS productive!”…but the part of my brain that is the majority shareholder after 9pm is not interested in how many calories I’m burning, nor productivity nor anything else that would make a valuable contribution to society. It’s interested in lying on the sofa with the remote control.

I have been weaving though – inspired by spring – and the 2 wedding we’ve been invited to in June and July in England and Wales respectively –  (the expense of which I won’t think about as I just start to tremble) – and also by the overwhelming sense of deep PINK that has been coming through the air (eh, sorry  – Honeysuckle).
So, I got my dye pots out, my pixeloom fired up, and I got to work.

I worked on a random warp, with the idea of weaving 2 scarves – which I’ve done. Both have come out longer than I’d calculated as I forgot to account for the fact that the warp yarns had already shrunk due to the dyeing process – yea, I know – ARSE – but anyway, they are looking quite good. Lots of cherry blossom / spring time / sakura / honeysuckle flavours going on. And at least one of them will go with my Boden jacket and dress for the wedding(s).

The glass is ALWAYS half full…and my other little passion

So, today – on the 19th of August, I feel kinda exhausted. It seems to be a continual state of being these days, with one thing or another. Hannah is not sleeping brilliantly; we have some noisy neighbours who seem to think it’s ok to watch action movies with all the windows open at 2am (don’t get me wrong, “Die Hard” is one of the best films ever made…but not at 2.30am with the volume up,  In August, In a city, With the windows open)…but more on that to follow.
May those neighbours suffer something horrible really soon and stop being so f-ing noisy” is my latest middle-of-the-night prayer…

Still, all my gripes and complaints considered, I have to put myself in check and shut-up. It seems like China and Pakistan have taken the place of Haiti (remember that “Act of God”?) for undescribable suffering.  I have health, family, a roof over my head and food on the table.  And my loom (of course). And so to weaving, which has been non-stop for the past 4 months and still no end in sight to projects.

My glass is most definitely half full and I should remember that before I go off on one, (as I do frequently)

So, there are at least 3 projects not on here yet:

  • Bronagh (not really finished, but off the loom)
  • Replacement placemats and napkins (not really finished either but off the loom and I need to get my finger out and stitch them as they need to be sent to the customer!)
  • Autumn Chocolate – just warped and wound on the loom, but not yet threaded.

All of this has involved a lot of dyeing and both Bronagh and Autumn Chocolate are very woolly. Definitely autumnal overtones are in the air – despite the heat of August.
No pics of the place mats here yet.  I’m hoping to get Autumn up and running very soon – but not tonight, as we’re off to the movies – again! I love cinema (not quite as much as weaving, but I have to pack in my trips to the flicks when I can, so when family babysitters are in residence, we go out – a lot!)- tonight we’re off to The Expendibles, as I can’t stand chic-flicks but can sit through any amount of stupid action – (NOTE, so long as I am WATCHING  it, not LISTENING to it while trying to sleep). I think Matt (Mr JustWeaving), is very happy to have a wife who pre-buys tickets and books babysitters  for Bourne or Bond movies, but refuses to watch anything weepy.
I suspect this “other little passion” is not a common trait amongst fellow weavers – (I also lack a cat and a kaftan).

The 87 bus – and Strictly-Come (baby/toddler)-Dancing

I’m probably not supposed to say this,
But it’s been an exhausting few weeks for a variety of reasons, and now I kinda feel knackered mentally and physically. I’m not sure you’re supposed to put that on a blog though!
The good news is that I’m definitely out of my rut – good news for me, bad news for housework – we’ve got dust-bunnies surfing up and down the corridor.
Commissions seem to be like 87 buses – you wait and wait, and when they do arrive you get 3 at once. Well, I don’t have 3 but 2 on at the same time is quite enough to keep me busy and a little stressed. A beautiful silk scarf, and table runner, 2 extra place mats and napkins for a set of 6 placemats I wove several years ago (that’s a bit of a mega project that has me reeling even to just think about it). All this mixed with the following (in no particular order):

  • Hannah’s “end of year School Performance” (when they told me I laughed my head off…Ten 18-24 month olds in a dance routine…that sounds more like herding cats than a dance routine, but full credit to those who will try to achieve this!)
  • Hannah falling of the swing in the park and badly grazing her elbow and bumping her head (mmm, didn’t I feel like a great mother…especially when the detol made her howl even harder…it took 3 chocolate buttons to get her to calm down, and lots more for me to calm down!)
  • Imminent visit from friends from Sweden (did I mention that I’ve neglected housework for a wee while now?! – OHHH CRAP…and this will coincide with Hannah’s dance routine extravaganza)
  • Tax declaration which needs to be done before the end of the month and I’ve still not made an appointment yet.
  • Trying to collect the invoices from the builders for suing the previous owners of the apartment for the cost of replacing all the beams in the ceiling (when reading this one, it should be accompanied by hysterical laughter)

There ya go – how about that for a couple of weeks of hypertension? For good or bad, aside from all that, I’ve coaxed Hannah into only feeding twice a day, just before bed, and once in the morning. So far, it’s going very well for all involved. Gentle efforts to cut it down to one feed were met with very dirty looks, lots of crying and bottle throwing. I don’t think either of us are quite ready to totally quit (especially when the dirty looks and bottle throwing start up), but I’d hoped to totally stop breast feeding by the end of the summer at the latest. I’m no Leche League-er and I’ve been feeling the need to reclaim other parts of my life again – the gym, cava, red wine – In lieu of too much cava (boohoo) I went running for the first time since early pregnancy (ehh…about 28 months ago!). It bloody killed me. 30 minutes running and my thighs feel like they’ve been beaten with iron bars.
I’m going again tonight.
God help me.
And while all this is going on, I’m about to start threading up a 2/60s (or 60/2s if you count that way), silk and mercerized cotton warp for the delicate scarf.
Just under 1000 ends.
May God help me with this too –
Pictures to follow. The warp is sheer, delicate lusciousness. Turquoise and teal 2/60s mercerized cotton, navy and vine purple 2/60s and 2/40s fine spun silk. Velvet ribbon. It’s oozing sensuality – the trick is to keep that feeling.

Life in Colour – there is no other way

As I work away with wool and black and white, I can feel a revolt coming on – it’s like working with linen and thinking that mohair is a good idea  – (actually, no – it’s  not like that, for that is insanity).

I love weaving, and I love colour, the two are irrevocably tied together for me and this sums up what I mean by COLOUR – What I FEEL by the word COLOUR!!! It’s like Chocolate and coffee and nice red wine and majul dates all at once – every taste bud tingling from what your eyes can see. (mmm, from all that one can deduce that I really like my food)

Neki and I eventually caught up – and while she bemoaned her lack of linen (and I’ve got cupboards about to explode with the stuff), we went to see the Mariano Fortuny exhibition at the Padrera on Passeig de Gracia. It was the aforementioned Mr Fortuny who was inadvertently guilty of steering me towards the course I took…leading to textiles and Japan. A very tatty old book about him existed in our school library, and finding it was full of colour and luxury and velvets and pleats I became a bit obsessed! This then led to an interest in Miyake and all his pleats, and the next thing you know I was wondering what happened in Japan with regard to textiles.

On a completely non-textiles note, it was a strange coincidence that this week I got in touch again with an old friend from Japan – another gaijin who is now married and still living there with two children taboot…He’s moved to Tokyo though…no Inaka for him any  more!
Now, I just need to find some one who can tell me if Kanebo still make those pine bath salts and I think I’ll feel that all is right with the world this week…(until next week raises its own set of questions and I’m flumaxed all over again.)

Rebirth – in gentle golds and soft wools

 So after a lot of debate I decided to get back to what I love – colour and structure. Klimt had more than a small hand in the influences for this belt, but I have to say, I’ve not taken one photo that actually does this justice. It is such a gorgeous blend of warm colours. I’ve just put it up on etsy…let’s see if anyone else thinks it’s worth wearing.  More about this on my Esty Weaves page.

Industrial Revolution, Spinning Jenny…and Why fairies need scarves

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So, after a lot of family drama, we eventually made it over to England to visit Hannah’s great-granny Violet,  meet up university friends whom we’ve  not seen in almost 15 years, and then up to the north, to see Matt’s parents. “Too much (non-relevant) information” for a weaving blog? Well it turned out to be more of a weaving trip than I’d imagined.

To start with – “old uni friends” – Claire Silverthorne and I went to Winchester School of Art together, and became good friends. Both of us specialised in weaving, and while I always went a bit mad with colour and technicalities (give me 36 shafts and I’ll still want 2 more to put the selvedge on), Claire was the master of subtle designs and delicate colours. She can work magic with 2 colours and make it a full palet. Not to mention having had more of a clue how to use the Jacquard! Claire’s now married with two beautiful wee girls, and when we met up she returned 2 scarves I’d made a very long time ago. One (pictured here), Claire described to Poppy as “a scarve for fairies” towit Poppy repied “why do fairies need scarves?” A lesson to all of us not to get too airy-fairy in our naming policies or what we think we make! There’s always a 4 year old around to help bring you back down to earth!

And then there was the trip to Arkright’s mill, 10 minutes from my parents-in-law’s house…

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2 weeks later I get back to finish this post –
spinning jennies and water powered mills –
My parents-in-law live in Derbyshire, about 10 minutes away from Arkright’s first mills – “Masson Mill” and “Arkright’s Mill” at Cromford. If this means nothing to you, then it’s time to read up on your weaving / spinning history.
Arkright “Father of the Factory System”, for better or worse, was one of the men who changed the course of spinning/weaving history and brought it into the industrial age – to the cost of traditional weavers and spinners. There is a lot of debate if he and men like him, were forces for good or ill for spinners and weavers, but as Hemmingway said, you cannot stop an idea whose time has come – so maybe it was just that Arkright had the ideas first and it was all going to happen anyway.
Unfortunately the state of the mills right now is a bit sad, and although there are working looms, carders and other machinery to see in Masson mill they seem to only be churning out deck-chair fabric, while Arkright’s Mill is infuriating-ly a “Weaver-free” zone.  The photographs above are from Arkright’s mill (the weir, sluce gate and out buildings), and the internal photos are from Masson Mill museum – about 10 minutes away from Arkrights mill.

For a real treat on a working mill and the conditions of those who worked there “Quarrybank Mill” is excellent – but that’s another story – and day trip – entirely

I did some Googling to find out a bit more about Arkright, Cromford and Masson, and found some interesting links by more knowledgeable people than myself. 
 
http://www.arkwrightsociety.org.uk/
http://www.massonmills.co.uk/
http://www.derbyshireuk.net/mills3.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cromford_Mill
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7382107@N04/3815664870/

2-Teeth McCasey

DSCF2517wow, I really need to get my act together! How long!!??

Right, so updates (for anyone who still bothers to read this blog). Well, as usual, lots has happened, and nothing at the same time.  Hannah now has 2 teeth (see photo) and has been dubbed “Hannah-2-teeth-McCasey”:
I eventually got my warp tied on, have 6 place mats woven and am now working on the table runner:
I eventually got around to putting a sale up on my stock in Etsy:
I’ve started working out the threading plan for some baby blankets / Christening shawls…. So I’m considering this all to be progress…
I also discovered (a few weeks ago) a brilliant dyeing site. Yea, I know – the WHOLE WORLD knew about this lady before me, but still, I have to say something as I found this to be an excellent source of information. I usually rely on my friend Neki to tell me whats-what when it comes to dyeing, as she’s the guru – and in an attempt to find an easy way to dye some yarn that I had (as Neki gave me the hard way to do it), I did some googling and found this site. As it turns out Neki was right – there is only a hard way of doing this (sorry for doubting you), but at least I discovered this site. What I’ve not done yet is sort out the scarves that need to be photographed to go up for sale on Etsy (new ones). I’m hoping August brings more opportunities to get things tidied up- weaving-wise. Not to mention the fact that I plan to finish this warp this weekend, get it washed, cut and sewn and the new warp wound, beamed, threaded and weaving by the beginning of next week! (Amazing what delusions of productivity and grandeur you can have when your parents-in-law are staying and someone else can take care of H.)

15 minutes of peace

This is shameful – today is the 19th of July and the last post I made was the  12th of May…Hannah doesn’t really allow for much weaving and even less blogging!

Still, I’ve updated my links, been talking to Neki about dyeing as that’s a new idea. Been weaving some place mats, and also been doing a bit of work on a pin loom which has been fun…

More to follow (probably in about 3 months!)