You say Goodbye and I say Hello!

We have spent the last few days packing the camper and the truck, making arrangements for mail to be picked up, dogs to be cared for, stocked Mom up with all her goodies at the Assisted Living at Woodlands, and visited with the grandchildren in anticipating of being away for the second of our month-long camping adventures across the country.  This year our route takes us through Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas during the spring tornado season.

When we watch the Weather Channel in Maine- they will always comment on how cold it gets or how many inches of snow- and then the meteorologist shudders and makes a disparaging remark about the temperature.  Of course they are located in Atlanta and are talking about tornadoes.  My response is always- give me cold!  We will be watching the weather forecasts closely as we move through Tornado alley on our way to New Mexico.

We expect to be in New Mexico in three or four days from now.  I am anticipating seeing a lot of weaving when we get to Santa Fe and Taos.  After New Mexico and Arizona, where we will visit Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon we will go to Utah to see the Mighty Five (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches, Bear’s Ears and one more I cannot remember) National Parks and go up to Logan, Utah to visit a friend of Dave’s.

 

The older we get the harder it is to leave the confines of home. We miss the grandchildren and the dogs.  Zane is living with our oldest son while we are traveling. It was so hard to watch him leave the house knowing it would be 5 weeks before we were home. Angus is in a kennel because he is a fearful and anxious dog and needs the experience of the kennel owner.  She loves even the wackiest dogs (and Angus qualifies as that) and I know she takes good care of him. Dave feels the same way about leaving Maine but he does not miss the dogs. This year we are face timing with all of the grandchildren. Will who is 2, knows who we are and calls us Gugah. I suppose sometime he will master Grammy and Grampy but Gugah works for me.  These are the goodbyes that are hard – even though we know we will be back in a month.

 

As for the hello’s? So one of the benefits of our traveling plans is that we get to be together and say hello to one another.  There were years (way too many) when Dave and I couldn’t have been in the same camper for a month.  We sometimes could not stand to remain in the same house. It took a lot of hard work (many hours in therapy) so that we can travel together in a 21 foot motor home and enjoy each other’s company.  I look for airplane museums for him, civil war battlefields for both of us,  and weaving outlets for me, and periodically we go antiquing if we see a shop we simply can’t drive by. Our goal is to go till we feel like stopping or want to see something advertised that we did not know about.  After a few days on the road we get sort of a rhythm, and at night we sit at campfires and just relax. Occasionally we have to travel too far in one day and we feel it the next and so we take extra time off before we move on. It keeps the stress level low. Of course we get to say hello to a lot of interesting people at the various campgrounds and the attractions we visit.  We always seem to find someone who has a Maine connection.  It is a small world sometimes.

One of my pleasures is sitting at a picnic table and planning out some projects for the looms when I get home. Of course if I get some planned out, I might find the perfect wool or cotton in my travels.  Pattern Weaving by Rabbit Goody and Tom Knisely’s rag rug and baby blanket books have come along for the trip and are helpful in envisioning the warps I want to put up when I get home.

Tomorrow we foray into the beginnings of Tornado Alley.

It’s never as easy as you think…

I had great plans for getting warps on all my looms, at least all the ones that are whole. I have been having a great time looking through old Handwoven magazines and some of my weaving books, as I intended to have different warps (rug, scarf, car blanket,  and baby blanket) on different looms, matching the loom to the project.  Sounds good right?  Especially as we are still getting Nor’Easters even in March- snow days make for great weaving days.

I figured I would start with my original loom and get a warp on it for a rag run.  It is only two harness and even though I have not used it in more than 30 years I thought it would all come back to me..kind of like riding a bike.  Not quite that easy though.  My first mistake was when I took the warping chain off and lost the cross.  I found out much later that I did IMG_2277not lose it – I was just looking at the wrong end.  Duh!  By this time I had rewound that section and was putting it on the beam.  That went slowly but pretty smoothly, until I started threading.  Somehow I took my eyes of my very long lease stick and lost part of the cross in the process.  I carefully picked up the threads in order and got the lease sticks back in (note to self: always tie them in no matter how long they are!). I went on a marathon tying of heddles to get enough for the nearly 400 ends.

Finally threaded through heddles and reed and ready to tie on.  Next I had to see how the shed was- and it was almost nonexistent until I figured out how to adjust the lams for a more steady and even pull on the harnesses.  The rag run has begun and my daughter claimed it right off the bat to replace her entrance rug which was chewed up by the snowblower when it got thrown outside and two feet snow was on it. The beauty of the rag rug is its ease of care

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.  If there is a bad dog, it can be easily washed and bleached.

My first scarves are off of my Sally loom.  I learned a lot from this project. I tend to beat to hard, drawing in the edges unevenly. I get bored doing one patter for a long time- the scarves looked like samplers as I tried different yarns and treadling for the rose path overshot pattern. I wet finished them for the first time in my life- and discovered I felted the fringes on one because I let it stay in the agitation  too long.IMG_2275

My next three warps are a baby blanket (for my step great-granddaughter Harley) and a lighter summer scarf in Tencel, and a car blanket for Josh’s 1912 Buick touring car.  The original version was woven in 1974 but in the divvying up of the estate it went with another car rather than stay with the one it was designed for- so it is time for a replacement. I will do my best to keep them all going when I get them all on the looms. I clearly need to pick up a stretcher and a fringe twister the next time I am in a weaving shop.

IMG_2308My Gracie Loo- the best granddaughter in the world (that is how she is listed in my phone!) turned 15 this week, and I wove her a winter scarf in various off whites and light  and dark turquoise . I experimented with a little Leno and Brooks Bouquet hand manipulated lace weaves.  Can’t believe she has grown up so fast!  Today’s discussion was about registering for  Drivers Education!  I am not ready for this!IMG_2280

I continue to be discouraged by the political stuff.  I cannot believe that 62 million people believe that Trump was the right person for the White House.  It has been chaos, with rumors about ties to Russia, a constant stream of lies comes out of Trump’s mouth and the Republican majorities in Congress are determined to take away all of the programs that take care of people: Meals on Wheels, PBS, Healthcare, EPA, Clean water, protection on federal land for predators- for some reason they seem to believe it is okay to go and shoot bears in their dens with their cubs, and wolves as well. If you have worked in mental health it is clear that the President has issues.  He is extremely thin-skinned, he can not speak a complete sentence (flight of ideas?) and it is always, always, always about him.  Prayer breakfast he asks for prayers for his reality TV show that is not getting good ratings.  In front of the CIA list of men and women who have died in service of their country, he had to insist he had more people at the inauguration than anyone ever had (Park Service pictures clearly indicate that the crowd was much smaller than other presidential inaugurations). He accuses former President Obama of wire tapping his phones at Trump Tower and it appears he or his  staff were caught up in a wiretaps on Russia. It boggles the mind. Since I can only stand so much I try to limit reading my news feed on my iphone, and limit the TV.

I have a Weaving Playlist on my phone which makes for company when I am weaving or working on my computer.  I put it on shuffle and allow my songs to take me along down memory lane.  And so.. with American Pie playing in the background I will wrap this up for the night.

The fellowship of friends

Since the man cave is finished and I now have a two room studio for weaving and the great move has begun.  When I looked at it all empty and waiting for the first loom to be moved in I though surely we can fit four looms in here.  After moving in the first two from Mansfield Weaving School, it was pretty clear was that we might have room for the three never mind four.   Dave and I were able to shoehorn my original barn loom in next to Big Bertha. The shelves look great with my stash all laid out in its rainbow glory.img_2204

Dave brought the Vinal Haven Loom down from the attic of the carriage house.  It took some time to figure it all out.  It went together much easier out in the yard.It seems many of  my looms come with a good story.  Dave and I were at Elmer’s outside of Augusta.  In the rows of stuff Dave spied a loom.  Earlier I had seen one piece of a loom on the other side of the room.  We bought the loom and got it home to find we had two extra pieces that did not fit, and were missing one.  Dave went back to Elmers and traded the bed rails given to us in error for the piece of loom several aisles over.

The last loom is the Goodwill Hinckley loom.  There is a great story that goes with the GWH loom.  Dave and I had just come home from a camping trip. I had logged into Craig’s list- something I have only done two or three times in my life. There under looms for sale was the announcement that for that weekend only a donation of $100.00 you could take the loom of your choice.  Apparently GWH had a weaving school in the 40’s, and when they decided to shut it down they sim,ply closed the doors leaving the looms sitting there in various stages of being dressed.  There was a huge lovely barn loom which was already spoken for, but of course I found a fine loom that needed a home.  There is something interesting about walking into a building that was simply left, complete with contents for decades. It gives you a glimpse of another time.

I have committed to no naked looms in my house, and so I am putting a warp on Island loom and the Original (Alice).  There is a warp on the Sally loom  for three scarves for Kate, Grace and Monica. Alice (the Original) is being warped with cotton warp for a rag rug.  The countermarche ? loom already has a warp on but I need to get the harnesses working more smoothly.  The Island loom and the two from Mansfield VT need some tinkering to get them functioning.  It has been worth the wait (30 years for the original) to be set up and in working again. I hope they know they are among friends,

 

Tomorrow will see another loom dressed and I will see if wimg_2205e can shoehorn the Goodwill Hinckley loom in one room or the other!.

 

Together we rise!

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For the last two months I have been planning to go to Washington DC for the million woman march.  I had no idea how many people would show up.  My son (who politics are not the same as his mother) teasingly told me I would be at the thousand woman march.  January 20th and President Trump’s inauguration took place and I confess I am still shaking my head wondering what on earth this country has done.  The inaugural speech did nothing to reassure me that we might overcome the divisions left by the election process.

We  are so divided over such basic issues such as:  public education, climate change, clean air and water, native american rights, ecology, sexual assault, the desire of all races to be treated equitably, the desire for people who love each other to marry, the need for our country to be a better, more just, global player.  From its inception our country has been a img_2179country of immigrants.  People worked hard to get here and worked harder yet to stay and be successful.  Yet here we are still having to fight an administration that wants to build a wall to keep out Mexicans, and has issued a ban for 120 days from seven countries that  were initially  identified for years as needing extra attention. Now we have a full fledged ban which even resulted in a child, a US Citizen of Iranian descent, who despite his young age (5) was placed in handcuffs as he waited for his mother who was coming from Iran.

So January 21st found me, and four thousand others, trying to board a metro at Rockville MD to travel downtown for the March.  It was a sea of pink hats along with many men and a few children.  The mood was wonderfully warm and friendly.  It took a couple hours to finally get to the Mall.  I missed many of the speeches but easily found the crowd.  When I asked the police about directions to the parade he told me that they gave up on a parade because there were too many people.  They expected 200, 000 and there were more than 500,000 present!  The police were very nice, the crowd was very spirited but kind. The rolling chants echoed across the Mall.  “This is what democracy looks like!”  I walked miles with my brace and my crutch and reveled being with others who were equally unhappy with the direction of our President and GOP.  I broke away from the group to go to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and pay my respects to David’s friends on the Wall,img_2182

 

As I made my way back to the Farragut North Metro Station from the Mall, I found myself going through the area of George Washington University.  I spied a chair on the sidewalk and it said:” we have bathrooms!” It was the George Washington Textile Museum in its new digs.  I went in to see what was there and found a wonderfully welcoming staff who invited me to have img_2194cookies and coffee/tea and then check out the museum!  I did and the first two floors were beautiful Japanese kimonos and jackets. There were also political flags from the mid 1800’s. In fact one from the 1850’s featured the Native American Party.  The Native American Party was limited to white Protestant males that were born in the United States of America.  They were against immigration suggesting that the immigration process take 21 or more years.  Amazing how familiar that sounds, some 173 years later. Lets hope this current administration goes away as did the Nativists.

It was delightful to visit friends in the East Berlin PA area.  I stayed at my friend Carolyn’s and she made the best dinners! I did convince her to eat a Rocco’s sub one night as that was high on my list of things to do during the visit. It was lovely to spend time with friends.  Carolyn and I  also went to York Haven to visit the Red Stone Glen Fiber Arts center, where I briefly renewed my acquaintance with Tom Knisely and of course, bought some Rug, Tencel, and Cotton for the home stash. Turned out a mutual friend was there taking part in a weaving class Tom was running.

My trip back to Maine was in the middle of a Nor’easter.  It rained most of the way as I took  the Easterly route home. Stopped in my home town of Hopkinton MA to visit with my Aunt and my brother.  My aunt is in Golden Pond Memory Care which happens to be right next to the Ice House Pond where I spent many winter hours skating when I was in elementary school. img_2199

It was the site of many after school pick up hockey games and hours of practicing circles and skating backwards as well as bonfires to keep warm. The site of Golden Pond used to be my girlfriend’s grandparents where we went to look at the stars through her Grandpa’s telescope while her Grandma made us sugar and butter sandwiches.

After a couple of hours of rest I continued north and ran into the ice storm about Portland.  Fortunately, traffic was light and the trip was uneventful. Dave and Zane greeted me in the driveway, a sleet covered husband and dog, glad I was home.

 

 

 

2017 and new adventures..

Much has happened since last month, Dave and I did make that Vermont trip that was delayed due to our car accident.  I was not sure how many looms were available, but I needn’t have worried.  The Marshfield Weaving School is all barn looms and it acquired several more from the textile museum in Massachusetts that recently closed.  It was like being a kid iimg_2067n a candy store.  I ended up with not one but two barn looms- good thing we purchased a pick up truck to replace my Mariner that got totaled.

For a long time I wondered if I would ever get skilled enough at weaving that I would have a studio that I could put to good use.  Since I have just started again, whether my skills will come back and improve is still in question but the studio is definitely img_2119a possibility as Dave’s man cave is nearly completed, and his current room is going to become my barn loom room. It has lots of shelves to hold the cones I have been stashing in every corner of my present loom room.  Because construction is going on I am constantly finding some of Dave’s collection in corners of my current loom room so he has some room to get in and out of his man cave.

My first project is finally off the loom.  It started as a scarf, at least in my daydreams, but when it came time to wind the warp and dress the loom it was far wider than would be practical.  At that point I decided my autobiographical journey in fiber would be better as a hanging.  I had on hand several charms which represented my family, and so I wove or tied them into the warp. I used plain weave as well as twill along with a little leno in the middle. img_2133  I used a supplementary warp of metallic ribbon in the colors of green, ecru, and lavender, that represented the role God has played in my life and the times when I felt God was more or less visible.  I used ribbons and various colors and weights of yarn to represent the people that have come and gone in my life. Marriage, birth of children and grandchildren are all recorded as are other life changes.

I cannot start a new year without saying I am still beside myself over the election of Donald Trump as President.  He has serious issues and seems unable to tell the truth. He seems to admire V. Putin, a Russian despot, Putin’s strategies are for Trump- a leadership style he respects. While still remaining informed I am making a concerted effort to spend additional time weaving or reading and away from the news and social media. I believe God is good – every day and God will get us through this.  I doubt I will experience great privation given my age and privilege of being a white woman who is in her 60’s and retired,but I am worried about my children and grandchildren and the world they are going to have to deal with, my LGBTQ friends, people of color, the environment, the disabled, vulnerable women, and our veterans.  He has demonstrated his lack of understanding about the complexities of ensuring all citizens their rights and their place at the table, and has demonstrated a lack of respect for these groups along with others.  My prayer for 2017 is that cool heads and warm hearts prevail.  Till then…..

November the lost month

I seem to have lost November somehow or just maybe it was so bad I wish it was lost. The first two weeks of the month were not stop political ads.  I got so I did not even like to see my candidate on the TV never mind the opponent.  I truly believed we would have our first woman president. She was smart, capable, level-headed. She had oodles of experience, but she was a woman.  Now she had made some mistakes- not terrible ones, but enough, still the other candidate maligned Mexicans, the disabled, our veterans, and promised to build a wall between US and Mexico, require Muslims to register (like the Germans did with the Jews in WW2)and over and over he made fun of women: they were either ugly, fat, or if they were beautiful fawned over them as long as they were on his side.  When they were not they were nasty, or “had blood coming out of her eyes, or whatever”.  Never did I think this country would elect such a divisive man and defend their vote saying that he was for them- them turns out to be middle to lower class white males largely but some females as well. Since Congress also became all Republican there will be no checks and balances at all.  If you get the feeling I am just sick over these events you would not be wrong.  It will be a long four years, and I suspect the forward movement of blacks, Hispanics, women, LGBT folks, immigrants seeking a safe place in our country is all going backwards toward the 50’s.

I have tried to swear off of watching the news as much as I usually do.  I am determined to get all my looms set up with a project and work on them all. Dave is anxious to start his “man cave” and when they do, much of his collectibles will go out there. I will have another room to set up looms and I hope I can get the three or four in the attic down and operating.  One of those is from Vinalhaven Island and I am anxious to get that going.  I am currently winding a warp for a rag rug on my oldest loom- Alice .  I have taken off the last project on Aunt Sally, and hope to get a three scarves made before Christmas if I am lucky.  In line is a blanket for my son Josh to use in his 1912 Buick that is a family car.  It will be navy, light blue blocks with a maroon and a white strip appearing every so often, resembling a window pane plaid.

 

Oh yes, just as November was getting ready to leave us, my husband and I decided to take an overnight trip to Vermont.  I had heard that there was several barn looms for sale (not an every day occurrence!) and Dave wanted to get me one for Christmas and my birthday. Since I will soon have another loom room, I conceded I would like to have one of their older looms. Just as we started out the rain began to have some ice pellets in it.  It did not bode well for the western route we had to take through the mountains of Maine and NH. We talked about turning around.  Dave is an excellent driver, he drove over a million miles as part of his work with UPS and he has not had an accident since he was 16. So we continued knowing we could stop any time and take it as slow as we’d like.  We were not 30 miles from home when we slid into the back of a large Suburban that had stopped to turn left. Dave almost missed him but almost doesn’t count except in horseshoes, and before we knew it we were in a ditch.  Our car was totaled. Fortunately no one was hurt. This past week was a blur of shopping for another car, dealing with the police, insurance company, and tow truck operators. In the end it will all work out.  Not sure if I want to try another trip to Vermont any time soon.

It is the first week of Advent, ordinarily I would be out straight with church events and worship planning, never mind writing sermons.  But after nearly a year of being retired I can now honestly say that I do not miss the latter.  I miss the people in my last church. I loved them and they are dear to my heart, but I am looking forward to a more laid back season of Advent. I am trying to work an Advent study in with my weaving. I will let you know if that works out.

 

October means Color and Fall projects!

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We are in the second week of October and that means high fall color in Maine.  Fourteen years ago when we first moved back to New England I realized I had forgotten just how beautiful the northern kingdom is when the trees turn. There are so many reds, oranges, deep pinks and brilliant yellows set against the lovely deep green of the pines and spruces and offset by a crystal blue sky.  Every year I promise myself that I will order a few cones of fall colors for my yarn stash, so I can do a fall project when the spirit moves! Although the truth is nothing man made is quite as beautiful as God’s work be it is sunset, northern lights  or the change of the seasons.

 

October is also the month for projects.  As you can see we are re-siding part of the house.  Angus chewed off several rows of siding when he was a puppy, and the fsarah-and-sawyer-351ront had some serious staining going on.  We came up with several theories as to why it was doing this. Turned out there was a siding failure up near the roof and years of water had run down inside the walls of the front of the house.  The tremendously wide and thick boards that sheath the house were so rotten I could easily put my hand through.  So.. with the help of some construction folks, we got it all fixed, insulation blown in and re-sided.sarah-and-sawyer-398

 

However, the beautiful colors outside are contagious and despite a very cranky knee my current project is now getting underway.  My first thought was it was going to be a shawl or a scarf, but now I am not so sure.  I thought I warped the ends far enough apart for it to have a gauzy feel but it not turning out that way although its different than what I expected. What I intended was sort of an autobiographical journey via warp and weft. While I intentionally chose my favorite warp colors, each has a significance and each appears somewhere in the body of it, other colors are introduced and represent particular events in my life.  The colors are dictated by events and I have tried to not worry about how they blend or don’t with the warp threads,   The same with plain weave and pattern weaves, each represents a time, place or person. So far though it is amazing to see  how the colors blend or enhance one nother. Each day of weaving is a day of discovery!