Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The loom parts! Or how the upper countermarche lamms finally find a home.

I have a lot of looms. Most of them had to be taken apart in some fashion to move to Colorado. My packing regimen now includes liberal use of masking tape for labeling parts and taking copious photographs. Unfortunately, I always fail to take a photograph of the part that stumps me.

And the upper and lower lamms of the Harrisville rug loom are those parts.
There are little baggies (fortunately I learned to put each of the sets of rollers in their own baggies!) full of small round parts and lots of empty holes to put them back in. I know I'm in trouble when I start looking for the places the wood is darker to tell which way a piece went in. That is actually how I got the lower lamms on the right way. I got the whole thing together except those upper lamms at which point I started hunting for the manual that came with the loom.
After a few hours some time digging through the opened boxes scattered around the studio and office, I did locate the manual. Then, sadly, I remembered that grandpa bought this loom in 1980 and the manual then had no photos. Finally it occurred to me to Google "Harrisville Rug Loom" and what came up? Mostly photos from my own blog. Sigh. One of them was fairly helpful in positioning those lamms the correct way.

THIS photo is for the next time I move, many many years from now. I hope Google finds it right away when I type in, How do those #$%@! lamms go on the Harrisville Rug loom.
Unfortunately for my secondary loom, a Macomber, I completely failed at getting it down the stairs to the studio. She is now enjoying a lovely home in our living room. I was fairly desperate. I had the moving guys who unpacked the truck try first. When it looked like the scrawny guy on the bottom was either going to get crushed by the loom or the Macomber was going to go through the recently repainted wall, I told them to STOP. Days later I started taking parts off hoping I could get the loom to a shape small enough to go around the corner. After every possible part I could strip off was taken apart, it was clear she still wasn't going to fit. At that final moment of resignation I realized I was going to be working on those smaller pieces upstairs. At least the frig is nearby.

The third loom story isn't much better, but it did have a happier ending. My Leclerc tapestry loom is not one I use much, but I do want to set her up for some sampling and perhaps a tapestry diary. So I was pretty invested in that loom not living in the garage (as was Emily's car). Alas, a shockingly similar storyline played out. I took a whole pile of bolts out and couldn't get the expertly made joints to come apart. Fearing breakage, I put all those bolts back in and took it apart the other way. And it wouldn't fit down the stairs (I'm not a spatial doofus, I was pretty sure it would fit, but apparently not. There is no way a box spring is going down there--my apologies to all future guests). I put all of it back together and took it apart the other way AGAIN. This time I used a rubber mallet to gently tap those joints and they came apart. Then it fit.
Third time's a charm.
After a trip to ACE Hardware for the correct ratchet set since I was DONE with the wrench/plier combination, I even put it back together.

All of my other looms traveled in one piece. Thank goodness.
I'm done with assembling things for awhile. That proposed trip to IKEA? It is definitely off.

PS. If you ever lose the cable guy, look here. I lost him a second time and he was next door playing with the neighbor's dog Deuce.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday in a BIG way

Throwback Thursday seems to have become popular on Twitter and Facebook (and perhaps other social media sites that I am too old to understand choose to ignore. Here is my submission for this week.

My sister Laura suggested that we recreate a photo taken of us when we were very young... you know, just a few short years ago. So when we were both at the family homestead a few weeks ago, we did just that.

You may be able to tell by the changes in vegetation and the town behind us, that AHEM, we weren't born yesterday. We're still cute though, right?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How it all works (well, maybe not quite EVERYTHING)

I have had some questions from people interested in my online tapestry techniques classes about how my brand of online education really works. I made a new video to address this. If you're curious about my online classes but just aren't quite sure how the interface works, this video shows you. And even if you're not interested in the online classes, watch this one for the blooper reel at the end. I thought it was funny anyway. (hint: click that little square icon in the bottom right corner of the videos to enlarge to full screen... or hit the YouTube icon to view them right on YouTube)

 And if you missed the trailer video, it has some further images.

And if you have more questions about what you'll weave, try this video! These are examples from Part 1 of the Warp and Weft tapestry techniques class. I'm working on some video from Parts 2 and 3.

And if you're all video-ed out, pull out your loom and weave. It is the best medicine.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sheldon Cooper's newest disturbing obsession

"Leonard, we're going to be rich!" (As weavers!?)

I am a fan of the Big Bang Theory. I caught this old episode from season 1 recently and I was pretty sure that a weaver somewhere would have made sure it showed up on YouTube. Korean subtitles or not, this clip is hilarious... if you're a weaver anyway.

Luminous fish are as good a way as any to find your way to weaving.

I think this loom is a Schacht Mighty Wolf. Any other votes?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wherein Rebecca gets an article published in Fiber Art Now... and goes a little nuts with the yarn.

If you are not a Fiber Art Now subscriber, I highly recommend becoming one! And you'll want to get a copy of the current issue because it has an article by yours truly.

Remember this video?
This is what a week of intense dyeing does to you:
You mistake wool for a cool dip in a puppy pool.
That is my article:
It is called American Tapestry Biennial 10: The Humble Value of Concentration. The subtitle is not mine. The editor added it. It is a great title, but the credit belongs to Dr. Jessica Hemmings who wrote the essay by that name for the show. You can read Dr. Hemmings wonderful essay in the ATB10 catalog which you can get from the American Tapestry Alliance. (Highly recommended because guess what? The catalog is also full of amazing photos of, well, tapestries!)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A double yarn store day plus The Yarn Harlot is coming!

Today was great.
I found the seat to my bike. I even found the chain lube AND I used it! Helmet on and I was off for a good ride on one of Fort Collins' fantastic bike trails. Lovely. It was lovely.

And then I found out the Yarn Harlot is speaking in Loveland in September. I literally jumped up and down in glee. I adore her and nothing you say can make me stop.

Then, to make matters even better, the friend who told me about Stephanie's appearance stopped by and took me to TWO yarn stores. And get this, they are both in Fort Collins. I heard rumors there were two more we didn't go to. In what universe do I now live in a town that contains FOUR yarn shops? It seems like too much good fortune.

Here are the two I visited today.

The Loopy Ewe.
This place is hosting Stephanie Pearl McPhee (otherwise known as the Yarn Harlot). I literally couldn't believe the place. It was like a huge crazy warehouse of knitting yarn in every imaginable color. Rows and rows of yarn. The staff was helpful and kind and I learned about six or seven new yarns in the blink of an eye. There isn't enough time in the world to knit all that great stuff up. I was utterly convinced I would never need another knitting shop ever again. This was it.
And then Marilyn took me to My Sister Knits.
And I was in love.

This is the store where you bring your knitting and sit with a cup of coffee for awhile. This is the place where the lovely people who work there will help you figure out that pattern that isn't making any sense and let you pet the little shop dog Molly too. This is the place where you can wander in with a need for knitting but not really know what you wanted and walk out with the pattern and the perfect yarn to go with it. It is a place full of heart. I loved it from the yarn-bombed tree out front to the beautiful chickens in the yard to the whole wall of MadelineTosh yarn in the best colors (yes, I said A WHOLE WALL!).

As I found myself explaining to the owner of the shop, Julie, I knit to keep myself sane. Tapestry is what I am serious about. Knitting is for fun. And this place was all fun. (And doesn't that just say something about the place that five minutes in I was telling Julie about my tapestry work and she was asking for my card?) It isn't the easiest place to find, but it is well worth the hunt (use your GPS. Go.).
It was the best day. Thanks Marilyn!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The joys of moving

Most of us have moved at least a few times in our lives. And some of us have moved more times than we really want to admit. I am jealous of the people who have found the spot that sticks and haven't had to pack their books in decades. Right now I'm coming off of a couple weeks of frozen pizza and boxed Pad Thai. I'm at that stage where things are half put together, there are stacks of books and piles of yarn in random places, and everywhere you look there are open boxes where I was hoping (and failing) to find a bedside lamp or a pizza pan.

We did get internet. You have no idea how much better that made me feel. The installer was a subcontractor for Comcast and boy was I glad when he finally left after 3 hours. He was nice enough, but I really hate having to convince a 20-something dude that really there was cable in this house and maybe he can try a little harder to see if it will actually work before he gives up and sends us into the queue for another technician who, we were warned with great seriousness, couldn't possibly show up for two more weeks. Two more weeks of working at the public library (nice as it is), would not be fun. But after some grubbing about in the attic and meeting the neighbor's boxer Deuce, we have cable internet. And it is fast. Maybe not blazing, but fast.

I have struggled with old looms and a house that doesn't allow passage for big pieces of equipment to make it around corners to the spot I thought I wanted to be working. My beloved Harrisville rug loom fortunately comes apart into a million pieces quite easily and it was the first to make it into the new studio and be reassembled. Hard as I tried, I couldn't get the Macomber to come apart into pieces that would thread the needle, so for now she remains upstairs. The tapestry loom is waiting in the garage for me to get the correct tool to put back in the bolts I removed (painstakingly with a wrench) and remove others so she too will fit down the stairs. All of this is exhausting, but slowly it is coming together. Hopefully weaving will happen again one day soon.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The things you learn when you move... (OR *@$%^#! not AGAIN?!)

Moving. It has become something I aspire to avoid at all costs. We have moved too often of late. Yes, like everything we practice often in life, we know HOW to move. But that doesn't make it any more fun. There have been some moments in the last few weeks where all we could do was sink down into a pile of packing material and groan, "are we really doing this again?"

The thing about moving to a new city is that you have to learn new patterns. Over time, we make grooves in our lives. This helps us keep some order in what otherwise might become a frantic mess. For example, you know the guy you buy your Friday paper from at the corner of Zia and St. Francis's name is Bob. Eventually you find out that his daughter works at the same hospital as you do but you suspect he hasn't talked to her in many years. You also suspect he mostly sleeps under the bridge and you give him an extra dollar because he is always there and always tells you to have a good day. Every day except Monday, 12 hours a day. Monday is his day off.

You learn all the back ways to every business on Cerrillos Road because traffic there is bad but the rest of town is cake. Only the tourists drive on Cerrillos.

You know which coffee shop newstand carries the craft magazine you love but just haven't somehow subscribed to yet and you also know that the new edition won't be on the shelf until a few days into the new month. These kinds of delays are to be expected in New Mexico.

You know the guy at the pizza place who doesn't speak English won't get your gluten free order right but if you ask for his daughter to take the order he will make you the best pizza in the world. And this is the best course of action until your Spanish gets better.

And now you know which liquor stores have the divided boxes great to pack glasses in and where to get boxes to pack books and how amazingly great my Lena Street Lofts landlady really is and whether my studio and all our household stuff really fits in the biggest UHaul possible (it does. barely.)

When you move, the patterns are gone. I did go to graduate school in Fort Collins, the city we just moved to. But despite my youthful appearance and tendency to act like a total goof, I completed that graduate degree over 17 years ago. The city is not the same and my old grooves are completely gone now. I'll have to find new trails, a new library, new fiber stores, new bookstores, and the REI.

So yes, I have moved again. It has been a crazy couple of weeks and I am exhausted, dirty, and I can't find my favorite hat or my bike pump.

Yarn makes a great packing material. I had plenty of it.