How domesticated am I!???

Eh, no – I didn’t do any “housework” really, but I did make a carrot cake that turned out rather delicious, I finished one warp, finished beading another scarf and started another… this one has to be called “The big blue” there are no other words for it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uploaded to Etsy – This extra long shawl in wool & silk, gorgeous dark teal mohair and coffee brown viscose chenille  . It weighs a ton! Is lovely and drapy (the silks and chenille viscose work on this), and has that lovely springy softness of a slightly 3d weave. Was a total pleasure to design and an utter pain in the arse to weave (Why in the name of God do I keep going back to Irish mohair for a warp?! Matt has promised to remind me the next time I do this…mainly as he had to listen to me grumble every evening!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I finished hemming and beading this one – Which was a funny experience as Hannah kept telling me she wanted to eat the beads “Me want eat them” (you have to think of Cookie Monster when you read that line) despite the fact that I told her REPEATEDLY that they weren’t sweets and you couldn’t eat them! it’s fluffy, colourful and soft – Sari silk, mohair boucle hand-dyed wool in the warp, with single twisted raw silk in the weft.

And finally – the big blue…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I only started weaving it last night, so no pictures of “progress” but to follow

Fairy Princess or Pixie queen…either way I never win

I have a 4 day weekend coming up and I have great plans to get some weaving done. I’ve just finished making a warp, it’s on the loom and I’ve started threading (pics to follow), but I suspect that the company I’ll be keeping on this long Hallowe’en weekend, will ensure that little or no weaving gets done…It doesn’t matter whether she’s the wellie-wearing fairy princess, or the barefoot pixie – I never win!

 

 

 

Friday Weaving

My cold and chest infection are abating and I’ve actually had time to do some weaving. Not much, but a few hours is better than nothing, so I won’t complain.
I’m hoping to get 2 scarves (skinny, bright autumn / winter scarves) out of this warp. And to make sure the colour and texture variation of the weft keep them fresh and distinct.
There are two wool boucles in the warp – and one is noticeably much softer than the other. This is a bit disappointing, they both cost the same. The slightly rougher one is pure wool, with a lovely mix of colours, but I guess you can’t have jam on your egg.

Rain forecast for this weekend, and Carrefour are delivering this afternoon, so hopefully I’ll get more weaving done. I should (could) do some housework, as that has been sorely lacking recently. But arse to that. The thought of hoovering doesn’t exactly inspire me right now – the dust bunnies will be free-range for another weekend.

Oh, and the potty training has been a great success, Whoopee!
Well, so far, it’s been a big success…we’ve been at it a week, and after day 1 she seemed to have fully grasped the concept – We’ll see if this continues and what the verdict is going to be after several long bus, plane and car journeys for these weddings we’re off to in June and July.
Not to mention church services, and wedding receptions.
I might have changed my mind after all that.

Potty Training, head colds and warping

It’s been one of those weekends and it’s not over yet:

  1. We started potty training yesterday – after 4 pairs of knickers in less than an hour I was dispairing of the whole thing, and started thinking that Carrefour nappies weren’t so expensive, and we could pay for them until she was about 8 without any problems…today has proved to be much better, with 3 poos and all but one pee in the potty. The offer of a chocolate button for every accurately aimed and delivered poo and pee seems to work wonders
  2. I’m dosed with the cold. A nasty head cold that is hurting my throat, blocking my ears and nose and generally making me feel miserable. That and the fact that I’ve not left the apartment since friday evening (i.e., potty training duty)
  3. I got my warp threaded ….so I guess I should say it’s been a productive weekend after all!

Read your subtitles!

As important a phrase as “eat your greens” and “brush your teeth” – it’s just that it’s not bandied about as much.
 
The Danish programme – “The Killing” is breathtaking. Anyone contemplating watching (oh God, I can hardly say it),  a REMAKE, is doing themselves a big disservice…and watching something dubbed is nauseating – (unless it’s a cartoon in the first place, in that case it’s forgivable).  It’s been hard to focus on weaving when Nanna Birk Larsen’s killer was running around (eh, in 2007!) and our domestic disputes usually started (and ended) with discussions on who the killer might be.

Back in the real world… 
Weaving is coming along nicely, I have another warp in the planning and I managed to photograph the two spring / summer wedding scarves I was making (see previous dyeing / warping pictures below).  Updated pictures to follow.

When I started writing this there was a royal wedding happening, but only  a few days later and all the umph seems to have gone out of that theme now…ahh, how quickly things pass! I’m not what you would call a royalist, but you can’t not wish people well on their wedding day…and be a bit curious and gaupy about all this! My mum said that the bride wore Carrickmacross lace – Sr. Aloysius taught us carrickmacross lace making in primary 7 (age 11) an experience and a half to be sure! I think I still have a couple of lace doilies I made as samplers, lying around my parents house! I very much doubt I could have been a lace maker though – it just looks a right state when you wash it…not my cup of tea at all.

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).

TODDLERS…and other weapons of mass destruction

An update is long overdue – and to avoid this being very dull and just a whole pile of words, I’d better put some pictures in here too.
(SWEAR-WORD), it’s been a bit of a hectic to say the least. (Is my life any other way?…Would I want it any other way…?!) Yea, well – it would be good to not be running around like a lunatic all the time, but I’m not sure what that feels like!
Where to start?
I’ve finished “Tokyo Autumn Chocolate”. Mohair, mohair-boucle, lambs wool, ribbon, velvet ribbon – all in honeycomb weave. A very sumptuous, fluffy, warm experience! The client was also very happy – so that’s what counts.
I’ve put on a lovely linen warp, that feels like a “purge” – a truely cleansing experience after the sensory over indulgence of mohair. A joy to thread up…now I need to get weaving

   

The pile of woven “thingies” in the spare room (you need to say this like Mr Tumnus “Spare – ooom”) seems to grow ever bigger, with 2 baby blankets in white chenille; 2 scarflets; a shawl and a set of place matts.
Christmas Presents:
Yep, the season of total insanity is soon to be upon us, and I’m determined not to panic – which means that everyone is getting some kind of charitable offering (“you’ve given a present of a goat to a family in XXX”). And something small to go with it. For the “something small”, I’m voting for handmade wash mitts (hence the linen warp). This will have to suffice as I suspect we’ll be carting H’s presents halfway around Europe and I’m not in the mood for “being of good cheer” and carrying a whole pile more crap besides.
To add to my irritation for the festive season, Etsy seem to be sending out lots of peppy-preppy-perky-plastic emails about gearing up for the Holiday Rush – While it’s true that crafters are on Etsy to promote their wares and sell things, I couldn’t help feeling that all the hyper-genki mails were more about Etsy counting in the cash than really motivating designers for the designers’ sake – or even the sake of good design. After all a % of nothing is still nothing, so “sell sell sell!” (even if it is crap? Isn’t there a chance of flooding the market with any old rubbish?)
I’m probably just getting cranky over nothing, but I’ve been deleting these mails within minutes of opening them. I’ll get my mum or Matt to give me a pep talk if I think my motivation is lacking – and if Hannah, cleaning the apartment (HA! I laugh derisively here), cooking, “the-day-job”, family, sleeping or watching-TV should get in the way of weaving then maybe it’s one of those days when that’s what’s meant to be…I read a brilliant blog title a few days ago “so much to do, so little motivation”.
Or maybe it’s a toddler in the house that is teaching me the ways of obstinate belligerence.
Bloody hell – It’s not even December and Christmas has my blood pressure up already.
Now I need to mention my other non-weaving projects that are non-the-less crafty:
A cover for the sofa (as Hannah has plastered the 2 year old IKEA one in mushed biscuit, milk, juice and other things we won’t mention).

Making and covering a head-board for our bed and one for the spare room. I bought enough fabric to match the curtains in both rooms, and a lot of foam…Now the roll or foam just gets moved from the hallway, to our room, to the spare room depending on how much in the way of other things it is. Action is needed. Luckily its covered in plastic so my tardiness is not effecting the foam!
Framing the collection of prints, drawings and Chinese stencils we’ve collected from our wandering that now sit in the spare room (I’m talking a lot about our spare room here – I never realised how much credit it deserved!). We did frame the collection of pen-&-inks and watercolours we’ve amassed from the cities we’ve been to, and they look lovely in the hall (all positioned just out of reach of very small fingers), but I discovered an old art portfolio bursting with Chinese stencils, shadow puppets from Malaysia and Singapore, prints from art galleries, 3 scrolls from a Sunday junk market in Ueno and gawd knows what else from the days when we just thought “ash, let’s go to Berlin for the weekend” – yea – I know – those days are definitely OVER!
At some point I need to finish painting the window frames – but as these are over 100years old (really!) and we can’t actually decide if we should have them replaced or taken to an acid bath to strip off all the old paint, I’m not really rushing into this one. And I doubt it would get started before 2011…It’s in the big picture but not now, only when I happen to see the window/door in the kitchen – about 10 times a day – and I think…”mmm, that’s a bit of a state”!
Somehow I need to persuade Hannah that 12 hours of playing/park at the weekend is not really possible. 2 year olds aren’t really so easy to convince though, they have their own plan on how the universe works, and DaVinci, Galileo and Stephen Hawking can all go and boil their heads – as far as toddlers are concerned the universe revolves around THEM! (And usually this is pretty funny to watch).
A lot of pictures are needed with the blog entry as it’s a lot of old waffle and pretty damn boring to read otherwise.

And the result – Was not good (No surprise there though)

The Expendibles is utter PANTS – (and when I say “Pants” I really mean, “from-the-bottom-of-your-laundry-basket-where-they’ve-been-for-a-week-festering” PANTS)
Truely one of the stupidest action films I’ve seen in ages. It had most of the 80s and 90s big action stars (OMG, Stalone looked about a 100), all of the 90s big explosions and body count – and none of the sarcastic, dry wit action scripts by the likes of Shane Black…
And not enough of Jason Statham or Jet Li…Or Brucie for that matter.

I think we’re going to see SALT next week, it really can’t be any worse. That’s not possible.

Which leads me to another point I’ve been meaning to make for ages now – for any weavers out there who watch action films (and I’ve discovered there is at least one!) have you seen WANTED ? Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman as assasin weavers…yes, I’m not kidding – Weavers.
I would only recommend it if you go in for silly action though, there’s not a lot of weaving going on there!

Ah yes, and Weaving – I started threading up Autumn Chocolate and am hoping for some “Friday Weaving” time today after work.
(This crappy movie review glut will pass soon, I promise.  It only lasts as long as we have family staying)

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 View From My Loom

The view from my Loom

I started a draft last week and forgot about it, when I reopened my blog I realised that I’ve been mulling over my need for some green for longer than I thought. My rut returned, unfortunately at a time when I could have been winding, warping or weaving: Instead I was baking, cleaning and brooding, thinking about the Fairy Glen and the Flagstaff and wondering if I booked a flight home was an Icelandic volcano going to cloud my  journey.
Not much I can do about it now, but I seem to have realised the problem…to little green for too long. I have been working on a black and white wool warp off/on since before Christmas, and although there are a few nice things, I’ve not come up with the “killer app” that I’ve been looking for (Sorry, that was a bit of work-speak creeping in).  A depressing result that didn’t help my mood.

I should have learned by now to let my mind wander when these things happen, and when I eventually did let go, I was feeling homesick for the Flagstaff, and starting to remember the Fairy Glen, a wooded walk along the edge of the Mournes (My nursery school was at the end of the Fairy Glen in Rostrevor, quite an idyllic place for a nursery school, and gave me the unfortunate belief for longer than was normal, that Fairies could exist, and that all schools were large old houses at the end of wooded walks!); I’d started to feel the need for all-consuming greeness, for the smell of  mulchy pine needles and sycamore leaves – all mixed with wood pigeons, thrushes and salty sea winds (that could give you a facial peeling in 5 seconds!).  As you can see for the picture, my life is not without “Greeness” – While we live 15 minutes walk from Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona, we also have a lovely avenue of trees on our street – plants on the balcony, a park directly opposite for wee ones. Still, it’s not quite damp granite and mist on your face…
Anyway, I’m rambling – what brought me back to earth was 4 days of torrential rain  – “So what!?” I hear you cry…well, this kind of non-stop rain is not native to Barcelona, and by Monday night the city was empty, just rain and a few very perplexed looking tourists. By Wednesday, I was feeling like a proverbial duck in water, while every Barcelona citizen smoked their ciggies cowering in doorways, tutting and scowling (as you can’t smoke in the workplace or public buildings)…I was on a roll with warp making, windows open to the lowered temperatures and the perpetual rain on the balcony – HURRAY FOR RAIN…(you can take the person out of Ireland, but you can’t take the Ireland out of the person…or something like that)

OK; so, back to weaving – I’m getting there, really! – After going through my poor pictures of the Glen and Flagstaff (when you live somewhere, you rarely take pictures…) and flickring /googling, I put together a mood board and then a collection of yarns for a warp. Green is prominent (surprise surprise!), but the Fairy Glen yeilds  astonishing shades of blue from various flowers and bluebells, intermixed with purples and yellows from gorse and heather that filter in from the Mournes…
My heart ruled my head on this, and what else should I warp a scarf like this with, other than mohair boucle (and a wee bit of silk, raw silk, hand-dyed viscose and hand-dyed wool). It already has a name too – Bronagh. Bronagh was an early Irish saint from the Rostrevor area. We’ll see how it goes – threading in progress.