WHAT date is it?!

I’ve no idea when I last posted – I’m sure I posted a few things…”in my imagination”…
Never mind. I’ve not stopped running, worrying and weaving since I last posted. I’d wish there was less of the worrying, but then I’d probably be dead, so maybe not – so I’ll not complain too much about that.
To cap it all  it’s bloody boiling in Spain now, it has been boiling since the first week in July and we’ve yet to see what August brings. ARSE. Things can only get hotter, (not better) where the heat in concerned, and there was me having high hopes of a cooler summer after such a lovely raining spring.
Never mind.
Anyway, the hell-like weather aside, I’ve been weaving and weaving and weaving – and I’ve got enough on the boil to keep me going until September. This is excellent and tiring and inspiring and exciting and a wee bit worrying too! (That’s “weaving worrying” something totally aside from “every-day Ruth Worrying”).
I’ve just finished an excellent commission for a fine silk and mercerized cotton scarf. Finished with real semi-precious stones (turquoise, lapis lazuli and amethysts), it has a mind all of its own and bounces and moves with the body when wearing it. A real delight to weave and trim – and now to flip things over, I’ve wound on a 270 inch warp (almost 7 metres!) of hand-dyed cotton and just begun weaving 2 extra place mats and 8 napkins to match a set of 6 place mats I wove for a client 3 years ago. I have to say this project has been in progress for a while now. I had no pictures of the original placemats and had little memory of the colours. So one had to be sent to me as a reminder – then I had to dye up yarns…then the client decided on 2 extra place mats and napkins (and maybe a pot-holder or 2) rather than a 2.5 metre table runner… A new dining table was the culprit in all this, which allowed for 2 more places but didn’t allow (width wise) for a full width table runner. It’s been a long process, but good fun too, as the client really wanted something to match what she had for her new table, but wasn’t sure about the runner.
In the end we worked it out – So – 2 new place mats and 8 napkins, and some pot-holders…and a huge warp, (I was sitting in my nighty at midnight winding it on – I started at 10.30pm and it still wasn’t fully wound at midnight!)
When that is done, there is another scarf commission – this is still in the design process, and we need to work out colours, weight and texture –  It’s fantastic to have such a lovely variety of things in the pipeline and I don’t remember when I’ve had so much fun with continuous and varying projects. And after that linen wash-mitts. You see?! Variety! I have a feeling it will be mid-end September when the linen get’s put on though.
And today heralds the beginning of visitors and travels, basically we are travelling or with visitors every week between now and mid October. Our washing machine and air-con are going to die. Still, it does mean I have an almost endless supply of baby-sitters, so I’m really not complaining at all.

In between all that (yea, I know – life beyond weaving…what’s that!?), we went to Bergerac to visit friends for a long weekend; Hannah has decided that she no longer wants to breast feed – her choice entirely (HURRAH!) at 1 week short of 22 months she shook her head when offered just before bed. That was the end of it. Unfortunately 2 weeks after this lovely evolution she decided that she was not going to bed peacefully any more, and (to up the ante), she was waking up at least once, if not twice / thrice in the night. Leaving all the lights in her room ON when she goes to bed seems to settle her a wee bit more. But it’s been an exhausting 2 weeks. I’m also trying Flower Remedies…basically I’ll try anything! I’ve found that my body and brain don’t function so well on 2 hours sleep.  We’ve no idea what brought about this sudden change, but we’re all having to work through it. I’m praying to any diety who’ll listen that she returns to her cheeky “bugger-off and let me sleep” personality ASAP!

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.

And another trip – this time, Ireland

Well, we were in Ireland last week and just before I left for home, I was given a commission and asked if I could weave a long table runner to match a set of placemats I’d woven about 4 years ago. It’s always nice to get a commission, especially when you know you’ll have time to do it (and you’d be weaving anyway!). Luckily I had time to make a warp before I went back, and even luckier the weather meant I could take my little weavemaster out into the garden – above are the results.

I can never decide if I love or hate this little Weavemaster. Reasons to love it are clear – it cost me 12 GB pounds; it can be carried around the house / garden by one person; it is quick to thread up; You can wind off the back beam while standing at the front…
Reasons to hate it – It’s small with only 2 shafts and not a very big shed.

Anyway, it more than served its purpose and it was very nice to weave in the garden.

Let’s talk happy happy

God, talk about doom and gloom…it seems never ending (and then there is lovely Swine flu which crept in the back door when everyone was worried about everything and anything else you could mention).
Not that it will necessarily improve the situation, but I want to talk about something nice, uplifting and positive – Beautiful summer colours (and the other happy nice things is that Hannah is now 6.5 months old, my parents and brother were over visiting, my friend Marjolein will be over for a visit this weekend, and my parents-in-law will be over to see their grand-daughter at the end of May…but none of that has anything to do with weaving.

Silky silky…and the baby-buggy flipflop

raw silk
raw silk

When we were home a few weeks ago, my sister gave me some raw silk which she’d picked up in a wool shop in Cavan, where she lives. It’s beautiful, and I’ve been trying to work out what to do with it that will do it justice, but there’s an irony here; The silk was bought in Ireland, and is produced by an Irish yarn manufacturer (Tivoli)…but the label says the silk is originally from Spain…and now where is it? Back in Spain!

I’ve been a shameful blogger and just as bad an Etsy-ier recently. I have only got around to putting up a table runner I made 3 weeks ago on Etsy, and I have another scarf I need to put up and I have to send off one which was commissioned. I have a beautiful linen warp that sits languishing and a lot of ideas running through my head about what to do with it, AND what to do next…So…what have I been doing rather than my beloved weaving???? mmmm, looking at prams (or “push chairs” / “strollers” / “baby buggies”…whatever you call them in your part of the world!)
This is a dangerous subject I’ve discovered. Some people think dropping a grand is “de riguer” for a pram that will last 3 – 6 months, weighs 15 kilos without the baby, needs to be ordered 2 months in advanced to get the colour you want and costs another 2 or 3 grand to get all the extra “bits” that go with it. And then there’s people, (like my husband and myself), who are not sure if, after spending 3 grand on a pram, it also comes with an anti-nuclear bunker, built in wide-screen tv and a lifetime guarantee that your baby will never get a scratch on him/her, AND grow up to be a doctor / lawyer / accountant, who will support you in old age…
mmm, I’ve gone off on one, but you get my point.
After a great deal of research and listening to a load of old cobblers we seem to have settled on the practicalities and reliability of a Maclaren. We still can’t really decide between which of the 3 “new born” options we should go for, but at least the major deliberation is over, and I can get back to weaving! (The next drama will be finding where to buy the exact one we want in Spain. God help us!)

PS to this…I think we’ve settled on a Maclaren “4 Seasons” Woohoo!!…Aeronautically engineered baby buggies meet Vivaldi…now, we just need to find where to buy one in Spain.