Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hungry for color

I have a new toy. It's a walnut scarf loom. I don't usually warp without a sectional beam, but this one doesn't have one so I wound a "spool-cleaning" warp where I get rid of odds and ends of yarn left from other projects. This is a rather southwestern colorway, and it feels warm. It helps that the loom is right in front of the wall heater, too. Pike, the studio cat, loves the loom.

The snow was coming down in big puffy flakes when I spotted this gray squirrel hunting for missed acorns. He'd walk a bit, dig, walk some more ... all the while dragging his tail behind him. It just kept collecting snow on top of it. When he got some distance from the oak trees, he flicked the snow off his tail and scampered away.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter respite

We've been having a mid-winter thaw here in Indiana. Always welcome this time of year. Our driveway was snow-packed, then ice-packed, and is now just muddy.
I've been exploring more uses for these organic dyed T-shirt scraps ... quite small pieces and odd sizes, like maybe they were neck opening cutouts? Not sure. But very time consuming. I had been through the box once and what was left was up for grabs to anyone who wanted them. Until Hilary asked if I had ever made a rag rya rug. Which got me thinking ... with a little bit of effort (like just a few more hours) these remaining scraps would work for that. So, here is the end result, front and back:
There is a dark blue ground weft that is constant throughout the rug and the cotton scraps provide the alternate rows. If my blue weft had been thinner, I might have included the short pieces in each row. As it was, I only put them every other row, overlapping by a few threads and leaving the ends to stick out.
A fun project for a winter day. My husband says it looks like a flower garden ... I think he's thinking spring, too!
You could also use quilting scraps or pieces of clothing for the rya.
If you try it, send me a picture!

Monday, January 11, 2010

No time to weave?

January is not a productive weaving month for me ... all the chores I've put off in the fall finally get shoveled through like the snow on the sidewalk. Filing, put off for more than six months, must be dealt with before taxes can be started. Seemingly small projects of sewing seem to pile up in their corner of the office and are some of the biggest time-suckers I ever deal with. Do you have any idea how many seams there are in a 25 pound box of organic cotton t-shirt scrap when cut into one-inch strips for rugs? It would boggle your mind. Suffice it to say that these rugs are going to be EXPENSIVE.Long ago, I began pricing my rugs based on the amount of preparation time needed. Thus, rugs from jeans, corduroy pants, and small pieces of whatever that require sewing are at the top of my price chain. Does that seem fair?
Then, there are the "ideas" that get piled in the office. If they are still in the office and not relegated to the garage, they must be great ideas, right? Well ... eventually, even the good ideas have been moved out there, and now there isn't room to park a car. My poor husband!

Another issue I've been pondering is whether or not to continue weaving rugs from plastic bags. In an effort to make an environmental statement, I devised a method about 10 years ago that allowed grocery store bags to be chained together so that they could be woven on a floor loom ... taking used plastic bags out of the waste stream and creating long-wearing rugs in the process. I've shared my system with many other weavers and am glad to see others making the rugs.The reason I'm going to stop making them is simple ... in the last 10 years, there's been much debate on the plastic bag issue. Some states have banned them, some stores charge for them, but most importantly (to me) the bags aren't as long lasting as they used to be! On a bag that someone dropped off at my studio recently, from Canada by the way, I found the following info:
"Oxo-BiodegradableTM Bag - The plastic used in this bag will convert to water, carbon dioxide and biomass in the presence of soil, moisture and oxygen. Like a fallen leaf, it will disappear over time."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Five days of sunshine

Today marked the fifth day in a row of sunny (but frigid) weather here in Indiana. I feel recharged. Something about January and February ... even if we have storms, I feel optimistic because we have crossed the threshold of December and are headed downhill into spring. I know that's not necessarily true, but that's HOW I FEEL.
I spent some time warping a little loom and weaving in my new sunroom. I love it. You can't see it in this picture, but the loom is in front of the chair on the right. The large windows face south west and the room warms up nicely on a sunny day. The cats love it, too. However, they have their own area on the screened portion of the porch when the weather is warmer. They spend most of their day there.
Smitty, the sweet Siamese, joined me in the sunroom today.
This porch project was born of necessity. We had water damage to the back of the house and had to replace the doors to the deck. We also needed to replace the decking so my husband and I settled on a plan. We turned our 9' x 32' deck into an 8' x 11' deck, a 16' x 11' screened porch, and an 8' x 11' sunroom. We repurposed the doors and sidelights from the house and turned them into the windows of the sunroom. We used composite decking instead of wood and installed a rubber roof because the slope is minimal. Once the sunroom was finished, we closed the floor gaps by putting down a large sheet of vinyl and filling part of the gaps underneath with insulation. Today, for instance, the temp outside was 23 degrees but the sunroom was about 65. Since I often work on the porch of the studio, even in the winter, 65 degrees in balmy to me.
Happy New Year to everyone. Stay safe.