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.)

And shake it all loose…

You know when you’ve just finished your step or aerobics class (way back in the day, when I actually did something other than running after a baby for exercise!), and they tell you to “take a deep breath, and shake it all loose”? – Well, that’s what I need to do weaving-wise. Something with “no-stress” attached.

It’s been a hell of a month, quite literally. My dad had a heart attack while staying with us here in Spain (a huge shock to everyone, not least of all himself – but thank God for the Barcelona emergency services and Spanish public health system – How in the name of all that is Holy, can the richest country in the world even be debating the possibility of a public health service?? ), Hannah decided that she was waking up for a feed every 2.5 – 3 hours and was sleeping in our bed again, work just heated up and  we’re waiting for our mortgage to be re-evaluated…yup “take a deep breath, and shake it all loose”

A wee bit of linen and pure wool double cloth with pockets of cotton thrums. It’s been a while since I did anything for the fun of it, or to “see what happens when you wash it”, but this has been good, relaxing therapy.

Revolution or Evolution – but definately not involving Handwoven

Well,
something that dragged me away from feeding Hannah or singing the annoying repeat of her Fisherprice train – the latest edition of Handwoven magazine – Warning – this is a long rant!
This arrived a few days ago – if anyone from the US reads this, they’ll be thinking that’s a bit strange, I got mine last month, but as I live in Europe (which is equal to MARS, don’t you know), it takes a wee bit longer for the mag to get here…Long haul postage aside, once here you’d think I’d be delighted to sit and have a read with my afternoon tea. Mmmmmm – I flicked through it and immediately 3 things came to mind.
1. How many times can you sound excited about weaving tea-towels / dish-clothes in a calander year?
2. How many times can you take out your Olsner and find a twill or overshot and get excited about that too? (admittedly it’s not difficult to take out your Olsner and find a twill or 300, but my excitement tends to wain a bit)
3. Is tencel the only “new” yarn out there? (not so new these days actually, but I’m splitting hairs a bit here).
 
Then, to add insult to injury the feature “20 things to do with leftovers” was a question asked my yours truly to the Yahoo weavers group in April “what to do with left-overs – Thrums”. If it was just random coincidence that it then appears in Handwoven, it was also random coincidence that the idea to put thrums out for birds to use in nesting also appeared – Unfortunately the response that this can actually strangle and choke the birds didn’t make it to Handwoven – If any wee birdies die from choking on thrums, you know who to blame.
If I was any of the people who answered my question with some good suggestions, which re-appeared in Handwoven, I’d be a bit ticked off that I didn’t get any credit for providing them with content.
 
I feel like some kind of mad old biddy, to come out of my “mother-mode” back to my blog, solely for the purposes of a rant. But I have to do it, as I’ve been more and more un-impressed by Handwoven for a while now. What’s so utterly frustrating is that there is a wealth of information, motivation and new ideas out there in weavers blogs, but Handwoven just seems to churn out the same tired old formula of Olsner=(overshot/twill)/teatowels…with a bit of tencel thrown in for a “new look”.
 
The feature on 10 yarns for under 10 bucks, was interesting, but what about some ideas of what to do with them? How about “Ten weavers were given 10 yarns for under 10 bucks and had to come up with something” (like Vogue when they ask their editors or 10 random women to test cellulite cream, or some other such rubbish…but you still read about it!)
How about someone weaving with chicken wire; Someone dyeing, weaving, finishing something random, beautiful and experimental (forget purpose for the moment); Someone using their mighty 24 or 36 shaft looms for something other than (dare I say it again) Olsner; How about interviews / write ups with successful woven textile designers; How about interviews / reviews of art college weave graduate shows.
How about what news on what is happening in the world of fashion and interiors with regard to weaving: “Woven fabrics are all the rage…” or “Print is hot right now, but 60s style dogtooth has made a return to the niche market”
 
News or features on projects from around the world; Womens groups in parts of Latin America, Africa and the Stans where they are trying to gain financial independence or put their lives back together after wars and returning to traditional crafts (weaving among them), to earn money and feed their children.
 
How about some inspiration! Anything! But enough already with Olsner’s tea-towels.

I’m out of breath now, but I had to get that off my chest.

Comments and feedback are welcome. I’m sure I’ve made some enemies with this outburst – but I’m also sure that there are weavers who feel the same way too.

And there’s more…On the latest project

I should be getting off my bum and actually doing some more weaving, but I’ve managed to thread-up, reed, tie-on and get weaving in a relatively short period of time, (given that I’ve got a paying Day Job that gets in the way of weaving). I’ve made the warp long enough to weave two scarves – if I can get a bit of “Friday weaving” done, things might actually get done this weekend!

The latest Project (and the best excuse for not doing the ironing)

It’s not that I get around to doing the ironing more than once every 2 months anyway, but I’ve currently got the “Leaning Tower of Ironing” hiding in the wardrobe and after receiving a small commission on Friday evening, it’s probably going to need to be rewashed before it gets anywhere close to an iron.

So, my wee commission.
I’ve been asked to make a scarf for a lady in Ireland who is about to turn 70 and has a preference for shades of green and brown (earthly, mossy colours). I’ve spent this morning rooting through kilos of home-dyed cotton and my diminishing hoard of raw silk. The resulting hues look like “The Mournes in Yarn”, (or Cooley), but as that’s where this lady hails from, I think it will be fine.
Gold and Green on the warping frameGold and Green

See what I mean?!

Carlingford Lough from the Flagstaff - view of Mourne Mountains and Cooley Peninsula
These were taken last October, from the top of the Flagstaff, looking out onto Carlingford Lough. On the left of the lough you see the Mountains of Mourne, and on the right you see the tip of the Cooley Peninsula

Background Noise

Recently I seem to be finding a lot of references to people listening to WeaveCast whilst they are weaving, in fact I received my latest installment today which made me think about it. I have to confess, although I love listening to these, I don’t actually listen to them when I’m weaving. For about 2 years now, I’ve been listening to BBC Radio 7 online, and when I run out of things there, I move to Radio 4 and Radio Ulster (also of the BBC). I sound like some kind of ad for BBC Radio! but I’ve looked around and haven’t found anything to beat it. I never thought I’d spend my weekends and evenings listening to Agatha Christie, Tintin or Sherlock Holmes, followed by some political comedy on Radio Ulster or Radio 4, but I’m starting to think I’ve moved into “granny-dom” already, where I look forward to “Hancock’s Half Hour” on Tuesday evenings!

I feel better for saying that! I was feeling like a traitor – but what can I say…I don’t listen to WeaveCast whilst weaving, I don’t have a cat and I can’t be bothered with tie-ups or peddles (yea, I know, tantamount to heresy for a weaver).

This is just about weaving!…And everything that surrounds it

I pestered my husband to help me come up with what I should call my blog (this is a big step for me), and after several suggestions, (“Weave Chimp” was one I discounted), he asked “so what will your blog be about?” – my response was “JUST WEAVING!”…hence, this is all this blog will be about – my weaving, and everything that relates to that in my daily life.
To be honest, this could generally include, felting, dyeing, making a mess in the living room, dyeing the cooker, dyeing the bathtub, asking my husband to make lunch, cook dinner, wash dishes and everything else I’ll avoid while foothering with my loom… you get the idea. I don’t think I’ll ever be a Domestic Goddess, but no one will ever be able to say I’ve lost my Inner Child, (provided you equate “Inner Child” with “Big Mess Maker”).
I don’t remember when I started weaving, I had a small ridged heddle loom from an early age, but discounting my adventures with that, I would say I’ve been weaving since 1991 when I was introduced to 16 shaft Harris table looms and some beautiful monster dobby looms at Winchester School of Art – Alas and Alac I am stuck now with only an 8 shaft loom, but one benefit is that it forces you to think harder about what you want to achieve and how you can go about doing it with only 8 shafts… (ohh, the perverse pleasures of weavers!)