I blinked …..

I blinked, and here we are, December, again !!! I don’t know about y’all, but I swear, as I age, the days become shorter and as a result, the years go by quicker.

Recount please, because I am sure we should still be in September :0)

Sorry for the silence, life has been chaotic, some weaving has been accomplished, but not enough – the exhibition draws closer and I am still no where near ready ! Panic is starting to set in.

On a more personal note, for those of you who have followed Leonard’s journey from bike and man vs motor car, there has been a development. Last month, after having spent too many days/weeks/months visiting Dr’s and specialists, even travelling interstate to try and find an answer, I had a major melt down because they all just looked at us, shook their heads and said “Sorry, don’t know (read don’t care), and you will just have to live with it”. That was not going to happen. We had lived with it for 17 months and it was slowly killing both of us.

I booked Leonard in to see the last remaining Neurologist in Canberra. It took this specialist only 10 minutes to come to a conclusion, more testing the following day and the results are in. Leonard has Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. The accident, and resulting banging of his head on the road surface, even though he was in full protective gear and the best helmet that money could buy, has resulted in a Traumatic Brain Injury and TLEpilepsy.

Leonard is now on medication, and, fingers crossed, this will ease his “reboots” and he can start living a new life. Granted – the first six months of this new life means he can’t drive, and he is not a happy bunny over that.

Now onto the weaving.

As y’all know, I am a relatively new member of the FaceBook weaving community and I find the wealth of knowledge astounding. It was whilst I was on FB that I came across a photograph posted by a new Dyer of a beautiful butterfly. Susanne had posted this photograph and the accompanying warp that she had dyed using the colouring of the butterfly. It was greens, blues, rusts and browns.

Y’all, by now, are also very much aware that I am prone to ‘ear worms’. This butterfly followed me around for weeks, and one day, whilst I was procrastinating rather than weaving, I spent many hours on the computer trying to come up with a weaving draft that would mimic the shape of the butterfly. I think I succeeded

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Okay – so you have to put your head on the side, but squint your eyes and hold your breath – you might be able to see it ;0)

Now that I had a draft, I had to see what it would look like in woven form.

Here is another confession, I find that I can be a weaving structure snob !!! Yes, it is true. I have not woven Crackle weave in the past because I found it to be too busy. There were too many different floats which seemed to appear at random, and which made me go a little crazy.

So I have steered clear of Crackle and dismissed it as a structure which just wasn’t right for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved seeing other weaver’s Crackle cloth, but it was just not going to happen for this little black duck.

Well, the butterfly design is Crackle !!! I bow down to this weave structure and beg its forgiveness. Crackle lends itself to drafting complicated images with such ease that I am now a Crackle devotee …… or, as I have named all my Crackle drafts – “Cackle drafts” as I tend to get let out a bit of a witch type cackle of delight as the images appear on the computer screen as if my magic.

I have also let go of getting caught up in all the small details which appear with each pick, and trying to keep track of the ever changing floats, and I now trust in the drafting process and know that at the end of the weaving, there should be a stunning piece of cloth.

With this epiphany I put on some 8/2 tencel and with a quick prayer to the weaving God’s I started my first Cackle Weave.

This is the resulting woven butterfly.

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There now, you don’t have to put your head on the side and hold your breath – the butterfly is the right way up.

I think it was successful, and this particular cloth will be making its way to the exhibition next year …… or has the year changed since I have been typing?

With enough warp left for another scarf, and after having surrendered to my Cackle weave, I needed a little more structure, so I left the organic shape of the butterfly and tried for a geometric shape.

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What a difference threading can make ! This one is also heading to the exhibition.

Now I posted both of these images onto my FB page, and Susanne, the dyer who had posted the photograph of the butterfly which lead me down this particular rabbit hole contacted me.  It eventuated that one of Susanne’s hand dyed 8/2 tencel warps winged its way to Australia.

Y’all know that I am not a “green” person, my Mom is highly superstitious of green, and that has rubbed off on me. Even my many years in the Australian Military, wearing green day in and day out, has not cured me of this little idiosyncrasy.

So Susanne’s warp arrived and there was more green than I had anticipated, no problem, I just need to find those “big girl pants” add heavy duty elastic to make sure they stayed up, and leave the rest to the weaving God’s.

The warp was large enough for a shawl, so I reworked the draft, keeping it Cackle Weave ;0) and the result made me fall more deeply in love with Crackle Weave – it is the weave structure that just keeps on giving.

In order to try and do justice to this hand dyed warp, I wanted there to be a plethora of butterfly shapes, so no matter how this shawl was worn, I wanted the viewer to be able to make out shapes of butterflies.

 

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On went the hand dyed warp. There was enough warp to do three shawls, and then I split the warp into two sections and wove another two scarves. Here are the results;

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I used a teal colour for the weft in this particular shawl as Susanne loves the colour green. This shawl made its way back to the States, where I am hoping it is currently being worn to keep the cold winter days at bay.

Loving this draft, and wanting one for the exhibition, I changed the weft colour to burgundy, and this is the result:

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Such an overall difference in the colour values.

Changing the draft slightly resulted in this shawl:

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I then split the warp into two (width ways) in order to be able to weave off two individual scarves.

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Not wanting to tempt the house elves with all this green on the loom, and, whilst having the Big Girl Pants strapped around my waist, I took the plunge and dyed my first ever tencel warp.

I have been comfortable in the past with dyeing silks and wools, by shied away from man made fibres, but I wanted something really bright and cheerful on the loom, because things in the rest of my life were spiralling out of control and I needed something to make me smile each time I saw it.

What better colours to make me smile than purple, raspberry, orange and yellow for a little sunshine.

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Not the most inspiring of yarns when you see it laid out on the garage floor, and I don’t think it helped when I looked down to see that my legs, shorts, t’shirt and arms had suffered from an overdose of dyeing enthusiasm. But I managed to get a portion of the dye mixture onto the fibre, rolled it up in plastic, stuck it in a bin, put it into the blistering sunshine and then headed inside to clean everything up.

Somehow I managed to get into the shower, wash, dry and get redressed without looking at my face – I went to sit down at the loom and saw my reflection – were you kidding me !!! I had, without knowing it, obviously scratched at my nose, rubbed my cheek, touched my lips and pulled at my hair. Back into the shower I went and scrubbed. For a couple of days, you would have looked at me and thought I was either trying to fashion myself on Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, or was a heavy drinker, for my nose was crimson and I had orange and yellow around one eye.

The dye was much easier to get off of the fibre than me ;0)

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The warp succeeded in making me smile, and I am hoping that the two scarves which managed to make it off the loom, will make their new owners (when they find them) smile.

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Pardon Betty’s tuckas ;0)

Have you noticed anything about the draft – yes !!! Cackle is still an ear worm for me .

It was at the time that these scarves came off the loom, that Leonard finally got his test results. I felt that now, maybe, I could breath. I still panic and stress each time the phone rings, thinking that there has been another “reboot”, but I have it in my head that we can now start living again. A different way of living to what we have been used to for the past 28 years, but a new beginning.

So a new beginning needs a new project on the loom. For some reason I was hesitant to use colour, but I didn’t want anything dark. Natural tencel seemed to be the obvious choice, and with it came Ecru. I loved the way these two colours sat so well together on the shelves in the loom room.

What better at Christmas time, than a snowflake. But I didn’t want to weave the same snowflake that I have seen so many times in the past. I wanted to try and come up with something different.

Stop laughing …. you know where this is heading don’t you !

Nothing in the weaving world is ever new – I am sure that some weaver, somewhere, at some time, has put pen to paper and come up with designs that we think we have created and are truly original. This is particularly true in my case.

Having spent hours trying to come up with a design that I thought was unique, after shedding blood, sweat and tears. I came up with this design

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Now I must live in a weaving black hole, because I would have sworn on a stack of bibles and everything that was Holy, that I had never seen this draft before. Similar yes, this this one, no !

I wove a shawl, posted it on FB and within the hour a lady in the States not only comments, but sends through a photo of her latest scarf, not only does it look to be the same pattern, but she used the same fibre, and although the first of her two scarves was done in Natural and Baby Blue, her second one on the loom was Natural and Ecru !!!

It wasn’t the colour choice that flabbergasted me, it was the draft and colour choice together.

After much joking and laughter about the fact that we were a world apart, but had the same thing on the loom, it transpired that this draft is slightly different from hers, but not much.

Still, ignorance is bliss, and I really enjoyed weaving this particular shawl:

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Am very happy with the finished cloth, and this too will be making its way to the exhibition. YAY !!!

As I type this, the heat wave has broken, the temperature is no longer in the 100’s and there is a very gentle pitter patter of rain drops on the roof. I can smell the rain hitting the scorched earth, and hopefully, the plants are enjoying this little bit of precipitation. Fingers crossed it will continue for the rest of the day and into the evening.

I need to head back into the loom room to try and clear up some of the chaos, I have a young man arriving on Saturday to have a look at the looms. He is 17 and has just taken up spinning and weaving. I am hoping that I can put a weaving ‘ear worm’ into his head – the world needs more young weavers to keep this wonderful craft alive.

Thank you for your company through 2016, and I hope that we meet again in 2017.

Until then, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and I hope that 2017 brings your wishes and dreams to life, and may your days be filled with fibre, love and laugher.

Happy Weaving Y’all

Hugs

Billie X

 

 

2 thoughts on “I blinked …..

  1. It’s great to hear you finally have a diagnosis for Leonard. I hope the medication works and things get back to normal
    for you both. Love the bright warp you dyed. Those are happy colours. I love the butterfly design too. You’ve certainly been productive through all this. Puts me to shame.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lori :0) I have everything crossed that this medication is the answer we are looking for. Thank you for your kind words – I also love the bright colours, I can’t wait to do some more. I have ordered more colours so it should be a bright cheerful fest for 2017. LOL – something to make me smile as the world goes to hell in a handbasket ! Happy holidays Lori X

      Like

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