Monday, March 31, 2008

Motivation - Part II

OK, so I cleaned up the kitchen and now I feel a bit better. How messed up is that?? LOL!


Does anyone else struggle to stay motivated?

I do, from time to time... Having kind of a blah day today (probably because I stayed up way too late last night). Normally I'd go to the studio in the evening, but I have no idea whether I'm going to work up the gumption for that by the time 6:30/7 rolls around and Mr. SkiingWeaver comes home from his (new!) job.

I am thinking of applying to a couple juried art/craft shows for the fall, though. If I manage to get accepted to any, I have a feeling that the sheer terror at the thought of having a sparsely-populated booth will keep me motivated all summer! On a related front, I'll be participating in my first Open Studio Saturday at Western Avenue Studios this coming Saturday, so I've been spending some time figuring out how to display my work, buying a knuckle-buster (credit card swiper), and things like that. I have no idea how many people come through for the Open Studios, but I hope some folks show up!

I did finish a very nice, light-colored shawl over the weekend (that's what I was up too late last night doing - twisting fringe)... And I have a bunch of things to post in my shop, I just need to get around to it! Argh!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fun Yarn Quiz

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Shetland Wool. You are a traditional sort who can sometimes be a little on the harsh side. Though you look delicate you are tough as nails and prone to intricacies. Despite your acerbic ways you are widely respected and even revered.
Take this quiz!

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Productive Weekend!

Wow, I am loving having the studio, I must say. I spent a good part of the day there on Saturday, a little time on Sunday morning (after the munchkins hunted down some Easter eggs), and then went back just for a little while last night. And I finished four scarves and a scarflette in two different color ways! Good grief!! Still have to twist some fringe, but I'm feeling very encouraged.

Managed to take some photos using my new mannequin (Bella says "She's a little scary, Mami..."), too...

Got it from eBay for about $50, including shipping. Not bad.

I feel like I haven't done a good job of showing scale in the photos for my Etsy shop, so hopefully the Scary Mannequin will help with that!

So, apart from twisting fringe on the second batch of scarves I wove over the weekend, I'm thinking of weaving a shawl/wrap for my shop, just so folks know that I actually make them. The idea being that they're nice for spring/summer weddings, and also customizable for, say, the bridesmaids or the mother of the bride or groom.

I've been hesitant to make one not as a custom item, just because they are kind of big, and I feel like it's one of those items that people are going to want very specific colors... But, hey, maybe I'll venture into Pantone's color forecast for this spring (check it out with that link!) and see if I can come up with something...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hippity Hoppity

Just had to post a quick picture...

LOL! Carlos picked Bella up from preschool today (Conall hasn't been feeling well - and teething to boot, poor thing - so I've been staying home with him on me all morning). Now I wish I had picked her up, just to see all the kids coming out with their bunny ears on...

She had her yearly checkup yesterday! Insanely healthy, as always, and still holding steady at 90%ile height (she's tall, like both of us; Conall, too, so far) and 80%ile weight. Passed her vision and hearing tests with flying colors, too. And she got two immunizations, bummer. She was very brave about them (and the nurse was wicked fast, it was nice), but her thighs are a little sore today, poor thing.

Monday, March 17, 2008

More Studio Pictures

So, we finally got my big loom moved into my studio space...

Neato! And there's a LOT more room left near the windows. I'm seriously thinking of moving my little 36" Harrisville loom over there as well.

I figure if I keep the weaving stuff a bit more separate from the home front, I'll keep more of my attention on the kids while I'm at home, and more on the weaving while I'm at the studio... And there's always little things to do at home, too. Playing with drafting software, twisting fringe, taking photos to list in my Etsy shop, etc.

On another note - if you are a weaver/fiber person, or even just interested in fiber arts, go check out Leigh's Fiber Journal. Run, don't walk, to follow that link folks. Seriously, I learn something every single time I visit her blog. It is *awesome*.

For example - have you woven a bunch of dishtowels (or are you planning some?) and you're wondering how best to finish/hem them? Well, Leigh asked folks about that and then posted an amazing compendium of finishing techniques.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Monks Belt

Hooray for Ginga (my Mum) - she's in the living room playing with the kids, so I'm stealing a minute to post a picture of my current-ish project on the little loom:

Monks' Belt! Haven't messed around with it at all in quite a while, but I always like the idea of overshot-type weaving, just because you really don't find it in commercial fabrics. As the pattern weft in this portion, I used some hand-dyed rayon boucle that I picked up almost two years ago at the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival. I've got some more hand-dyed variegated yarns lying around that I'm going to give a whirl as well. The idea is to weave either soft scarflettes (the warp and tabby weft is black 8/2 tencel) or yardage to make little zipper pouches. Though my sewing machine and I area not exactly the best of friends...

The big loom *still* isn't in my studio. But at least now it's disassembled and just waiting to be moved over and re-assembled. Hopefully tonight! Knock on wood!

On a personal front - Carlos finally straightened out the non-compete nonsense with his last company and has officially started at a new start-up, Cambridge Analog Technologies (CAT), whoo-hoo!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Settling In To My New Studio

I signed a lease on a studio at Western Avenue Studios late last month, and, on March 1st, it was ready!

Here are Carlos and the munchkins looking out the (huge!) windows at the canal. Which looks like this:

Neat, huh? WAS is in nearby Lowell, Massachusetts (about five miles from our home, nice short commute), and there are over 120 artists working in studios on four floors of an old, renovated mill building. Lowell was one of the centers of the industrial revolution in the U.S. Most of the old mill buildings were textile mills - how fitting! And many of them are now being converted into lofts, studios, and work-live studios.

Anyway, not sure if you could tell in that first picture or not, but the floor of the studio was in *really* really bad shape...

Eegads. Carlos has definitely won the Husband of the Year award... He spent the entire day last Tuesday sanding the floor for me - three different grits, a huge amount of work. I stained the floor in the middle of the night and we got a couple of coats of polyurethane on it before we left for the weekend to ski. And this is what it looks like now!

Hooray! Much better! I have started moving in - yarn, a work table, nothing too complicated yet. I'm hoping we'll get my big 60" 12-shaft LeClerc Colonial moved in tonight - right in front of those lovely windows, so I can look out once in a while as I weave. Very happy!

I've been meeting quite a few of my neighbors, too, they're all so nice! If you live in the area, WAS has Open Studios the first Saturday of each month, from noon - 5 p.m. It's definitely worth stopping by, just to see lots of artists at work (and to maybe buy something if it strikes your fancy!) - painters, photographers, jewelry artists, fiber artists, mixed media artists, one other weaver that I know of - lots of different types of art to check out.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Handwoven Magazine

I just got an email from my Etsy friend Shannon of Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio (click that link to go to her shop for some really fabulous handspun yarn and woven items, too) - she received her March/April Handwoven Magazine today.

I'm hugely tickled pink to have had my huck lace scarves published! And also to have written the Endnotes... It was a whole heck of a lot of fun and a very big honor.

I'd post pictures, but I'm in Vermont for the weekend with the family to ski. Hopefully the magazine will be in my mailbox when we get home on Sunday!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Front Page, Baby!

Whoo-hoo! Another front page appearance on Etsy!

Awesome friend Liz of MadeInLowell (check out her shop!!) took a screenshot for me:

A little small - but there it is, third row, left side, my sage and smokey blue scarf that I posted about here. I didn't even know I was in the treasury! I love it when it comes completely out of left field like that!

And, argh, I can't believe I didn't get my purple scarf posted today. Whoops! Missed opportunity!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Wet Finishing

I just thought I would post a couple of photos to demonstrate the difference wet finishing makes in handwoven textiles. This first photo is of an Ms and Os scarf that I wove recently, in bamboo, with lots of fun colors (purple, teal, yellow, caramel...):

I actually took the color inspiration from a painting by my daughter! (When she paints, I give her three little pots to fill and she chooses what primary colors to mix to get the final shades she wants.)

Anyway, you can see that it looks kind of flat when it comes off the loom. It also feels much stiffer than it will after it is washed. There's also a threading error in it, so that means I'm keeping this scarf instead of selling it (I know others sell less-than-perfect work for a discount, but I just can't bring myself to do it!)... I love the colors so much, I'm wondering whether I did it intentionally, lol! I fixed the threading, though, and wove another one to put in my shop.

And, here it is, after washing (photo taken inside, normally I take them outside, in the shade):

Can you see the difference? (I hadn't trimmed my ends or anything yet at this point.) The structure has really softened up, the Os looks like Os, and the whole thing shrank a bit as well. And it's beautifully soft to the touch now, too!

Man, though, it looks like it's going to be tough to photograph it's sister (the one without the goof) and really capture the colors... It's really quite a bit prettier in person, I think!