Category Archives: weaving

Mid July

The garden continues to be a verdant but demanding mistress, and she is the cause of my summertime wrist issues – rather pulling her weeds and picking her bugs – so I still haven’t finished the fiery molten traffic cone full of ketchup and mustard superhero roadkill shawl, but I’m nearly there. I’m at the almost yarn chicken stage – I think I could eek out 2 more rows and the bind-off with yarn to spare, but I want a stress-free time of it, so maybe I’ll just head in for the bind-off tonight…

I’m in a bit of a making funk – there are things I want to finish, things I want to make, and things I’m still thinking about – but time is short, body parts hurt, I don’t want the stress of fitting things or fighting with my sewing machines (several of which are in tension time-outs again), and unless it serves an immediate purpose, it feels too much like wasted time and pain.

I’m also no closer to figuring out how I feel about “art” and the less practical of the “crafts.” I lost my faith in all of it hard, and though I feel like I’m slightly softening, I still can’t make peace with it or figure out how it fits (or doesn’t) in my life. And history – I’m most attracted to old shit and dead people, but I don’t know what it is I feel about it and its stuff anymore – hopefully my collecting urge is permanently curtailed… I’m more interested in the past than the future, but that is another story.

N was bringing home old Sears catalogs from the library for a bit over the winter and it was a little frustrating as the past/present lines began to blur – I’d have a fabric pattern stuck in my head and couldn’t remember if it was old, or new, or new from an old one… So I took a few pictures, but annoyingly didn’t note the years, so hopefully I won’t be sued for copyright for sharing an adorable print of puppies in baskets from the late ’50s or maybe very early ’60s…

I’ve been off and on flirting with miniatures for the last several years too. I’ve got a little vintage/antique bath set I picked up a few years ago at an antique mall that I’ve seen since we moved, but haven’t found lately…

And I’ll be damned – it made an appearance here already a few years ago when we were apartment-dwelling…

And I’ve now got my dad-made childhood dollhouse with me since last Thanksgiving – I’m debating about fixing it up – rehabbing in miniature, or leave it in mock ruins.

Not too lively in the living room… #abandonedplaces #tinyhouse #abandonedtinyhouse #tinyhouseliving #minimalist

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These two rooms are the only left with wallpaper – the rest are just beige painted blanks – I think mice took up residence in it for a bit and chewed up the rest of the paper.

Abandoned. #tinyhouse #tinyhouseliving #abandonedtinyhouse #kitchenrenovation

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It was stored in a garage for at least 20 years, but the structure is sound, and the furnishings were stored elsewhere, so those are fine, though I’m missing the bathroom bits – I probably took them years ago because apparently I’ve got a thing for mouse-sized toilets and tubs. But there are several of my kid-made things in there too – mostly rugs I wove (rather shittily as seen in the kitchen above) on the little loom I still have.

So that’s on my mind too – some sort of regression to avoid the present, perhaps – but this tiny house has some awfully bare floors…

 

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Summer craft

We’re unpacking boxes again. Some of mine haven’t been unpacked since a very sudden move in 2008, and a few from my childhood home decades ago that were only opened to toss more things in rather than weed and remove.

I found a whiskey box with a great wad of crafty jewelry that dated c. 1980-1991. It was a time of equal-opportunity counter culture decor for me – vintage hippie beads, new age crystals, punk rock chains and pins, beads representing bleeding-heart worldliness from Africa and South America, and crafty bits from midwestern 4-H camp.

camp-wad

I remember making most of these things in the summertime – embroidery floss taped to my knee while I sat in the hammock or under a tree – or else they were worn more in the summer with their nautical vibe (and my winter clothes tended more goth and grunge and gender-bending…)

camp-bracelets

I made possibly hundreds of these things and gave away many.  This was also before the overpopulation of Jesusfish due to global warming melting out the rightwingedchristiandom crazies, so some of these are patterned with fish just for fishsake…

camp-friendshipbracelets

And I remember trading these beaded safety pins in elementary school – the bead colors meant something, but I’ve since forgotten (and this was before gay rainbows too, but yay for gay rainbows)!

camp-safetypinbeads

I had a bead loom – up until recently, I think – I think I gave it to one of my siblings before the last few moves…

camp-beadloom

And I’d like to think I was one of the “cool” camp counselors, evidenced by these gifts from my campers. Plaid Maggot was the secret real name of our two-year award winning (of the camp talent show) jugband whose real name was something gentle and new age and asinine like Lunar Rhythms or Earthstrokes…

(I think another counselor reported me for my non-censoring leatherwork class, but secreting these quickly away and playing dumb actually worked out for all involved that time…)

camp-leatherwork

I feel like I didn’t take full advantage of summertime crafting this year. I most like sitting outside to unravel sweaters or card wool so the sneezy bits fall on the ground rather than the rug.

unwinding-outside

But I only got in a couple of unwinding sessions so far…

unwinding-cicadas

But there are still a few months to go before the nasty white fluffy stuff comes back, right…?

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For the birds

I found this in the yard.

yarn litter

It isn’t mine.

[Sniffs and tilts head upwards] I don’t do acrylic.

But in all seriousness, don’t leave this shit out for the birds.

Yes, I know you feel like you are helping your little feathered friends (even though your cat might be killing them too) and seeing a nest with brightly colored bits brings a little puff of joy to make your earnest heartstrings quiver and sing, but really you are polluting our fine earth.

Yes, creatures feathered and furred like to help themselves to our freshly washed fleeces and fluff drying in the yard, but there are millions of us knitting and crocheting and weaving away, and millions more children overseen by overly smug adults providing hands-on enriching [cheap-ass] “craft” projects, that there’s just too much of this stuff knocking about out there now.

Birds have happily had sex and hatched eggs for millennium without our plastic scraps lining their nests – in fact, they are some of the oldest beings on this planet and no doubt preferred life without our smokestack shenanigans and DDT dirt.

This bit of blindingly colored yarn will not break down, biodegrade or otherwise become safe and tolerable in our lifetimes – not to mention it’s already been rejected by the neighborhood birds here and would likely wash down the sewer into the river which drains into the ocean.

If you really feel the need to contribute something to nest building and you are in an area starved for plant diversity, consider the following instead:

Clip your dog’s (as long as it isn’t treated with pesticides, or your own if it’s also chemical-free) hair outdoors.

Leave a few puffs of undyed fleece behind on wash day.

Leave the spiderwebs under the eaves for a few days.

Let a few of the weeds stay and go to seed – hell, I’d like a milkweed bed myself…

And if you must, only very occasionally leave behind a snippet of yarn, make sure it is 100% wool.

And keep in mind too, rodents love the soft stuff just as much, if not more, so you are really contributing to the nesting behavior of rats and mice – do you want rats and mice in your home? Or Squirrels in your attic? Chewing on wires, pissing in the walls, and leaving potentially disease-ridden poops in your precious darling’s cereal bowl?

Otherwise stuff those scraps in toys and pillows and draft snakes and pincushions and pet beds (or give them to someone who will).

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Fiber travels in New Mexico, part II

I mentioned in my previous post that I visited Tierra Wools in tiny Los Ojos, New Mexico.  Rather than paraphrase, this is the beginning of the description of their wool Shangri-La on their website’s about page (go there and read more later):

“Tierra Wools is a spinning, hand dyeing, and hand weaving workshop and a retail store. We buy carry local wool, and weave the yarn into beautiful weavings which are sold from our workshop in Los Ojos, a small village in rural Rio Arriba County in northern New Mexico. The enterprise is operated by Los Ojos Handweavers, LLC, a limited liability company owned by the growers, spinners and hand weavers that produce its goods, as well as supporting investors.”

I visited them around a decade (or a little more) ago, and at the time, it was a full house of wooly weaving and dying frenzy.  Sadly, it seems to have slowed down a bit and the weavers now work on commission, though the shop still offers classes and workshops.  And on Saturday, April 27th, they are having their annual Spring Harvest Festival with sheep shearing demos and other treats.  I can only imagine if such a studio was plunked down in a heavy DIY urban area, they’d have to fight people off with loom parts.  But I suppose it also wouldn’t be the same – the location is what this wool is about.  Much of the wool comes from just a few miles away as well as the dyes.  The colors in the yarn are reflected in the landscape and the products share the same rugged beauty with the surroundings.  Not to mention it offers a source of income in a place where there are few people but I imagine, fewer jobs.

While there, I stocked up on some of the gorgeous Shepherd’s Lamb organic wool products.  The wool comes from Antonio & Molly Manzanares from nearby Tierra Amarilla, who also sell their wooly beasts in meat and pelt form.  The color range of their yarns and rovings is stunning and some of the yarn lines are dyed with natural dye plants indigenous to the area.

I had selected a few skeins of sturdy Navajo Churro rug wool, but decided to buy two bags of brown and grey-brown roving instead.  The stuff apparently felts/fulls like a dream as well, so it might be the first time I end up fulling my spinning – until now, I feel like handspun is somewhat spoiled by fulling unless you’re making fulled singles, but this has the feeling of becoming something truly practical and hard-wearing, like dense nearly impenetrable mittens, or a hat with some sort of brim, or maybe an outerwear vest if I can eek out enough, but my history with vests is a little troubled…

Churro roving  Churro roving-detail

On the softer side, I picked out some organic Rambouillet yarn in DK weight.  I got two skeins of yellow which was dyed with Indigo over Chamisa, and one skein of green dyed with Osage Orange over Indigo.  I love that Osage Orange was used – it was one of my favorite trees growing up and always seemed so out-of-place exotic, nearly tropical, and the fruit is nicknamed “monkey balls.”   Who doesn’t love a monkey?  Balls!  But apparently though the fruit is inedible, it wards off pests so people put them in basements and cupboards.  But I digress, I really wanted more yarn and I was out-of-characterly very attracted to some tealy blues and lavenders, but I resisted.  I don’t as yet have a plan for this, though I’m leaning toward something shawlette-ish.

Shepherd's Lamb

New Mexico yarn

That wasn’t the most flattering shot of Northern New Mexico, though I do love ruins and murky colors, so I’ll leave you with a few more.

Northern New Mexico

I love this road – it’s the perfect antidote to the crowded East (except you have to be careful of the occasional elk).  This is also fairly close* to Tierra Wools.  The landscape of the north is more conducive to grazing sheep and other livestock.

New Mexico boney pile

A pile of bones, but not a boney pile.

New Mexico litter

Litter is bad, but vintage litter is cool.

Plaza Blanco

Another good day of hiking amongst amazing rocks.

New Mexico rock tree

Is it a giant rock, or tiny tree?

New Mexico rest stop

And I love these rest stops with private landscape viewing boxes – you can picnic free of wind and sun while watching dust devils snake below the mesa – just watch out for rattlesnakes.

And oh, holy hell, when looking up some of the abundant links in this post, I just found that there is an established “Fiber Arts Trail” in New Mexico, including a route dedicated to the Northern area.  I am ashamed to say that though I am somewhat of a professional researcher, I utterly failed in looking up anything about this before I went… Next time, right???

*About 40 minutes away, which might as well be next door out there.

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Loom fairy?

I’ve been thinking about weaving for the last year or two… but since we moved from a good-sized house into a shithole apartment and I’m under-employed, buying a loom is very stupid on many counts at the moment – besides I don’t even know where to start with the various kinds/types/styles of looms and what I ultimately might like best.

loom

I was a very crafty child and was fortunate to have parents who encouraged it, so I would get various tools and supplies for my birthday – rug hooking kits, cross stitch stuff, beads, millions of yards of  embroidery floss for friendship bracelets, and the like.  I can’t remember the details of when I got this loom – maybe the late 1970s or early ’80s?  It is German or Germanic and I can’t imagine where my mom found it in the Midwest back then.  Fast forward to a few months ago, and I found it in their basement where it had miraculously survived their last slash and burn move, and voila!  I have a loom.  So ok, it is a kiddie toy, but I’ve made a couple of smallish strips of fabric from it and they have promise to become part a larger item – I’m thinking of incorporating them into bags.  And the loom has a good slot size (actual term?) for handspun, so it’s great for using up leftovers not much good for anything else – I’m pleasantly surprised how much further yardage goes in weaving rather than knitting.

NM weaving

mossy weaving

But now I think I’ve been bitten by a small weaving bug…  I wish there was a loom fairy or I’d be lucky enough to find one thrifting – I’ve heard tales of that actually happening (the thrifting bit, not the fairy)…

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