Monday, November 29, 2010

Cold and Grey Means Play!

My girl is the red one on the left, a Chesapeake Light Craft. V built his Pygmy Coho HS last winter. Aren't they a cute couple?

Last week we were snowed in. This week it's all gone, replaced by grey skies and a cold, blustery, positively dreary vista outside. There are whitecaps all over the bay, or as V would say in his Aussie accent "There are sheep in the pasture!" Yep, and I'm glad Vixen is on the hard (out of the water and in the boatyard) for the season, so we're not tempted to "herd the sheep." I long for clear skies and windless water so I can launch my kayak and paddle around the many inlets of the local coastline, but that's not on the agenda anytime soon.

Today I plan to start anew on learning how to use my new rigid heddle loom. I warped it last week, but SOMEthing didn't quite work, so I did a bit more research (someone remind me, how DID we survive without the Internet and YouTube?), removed the error-ridden warp and now I'm ready to start again. Funny to be having so much trouble with this loom, as I chose it due to its ease of use factor. I've used a number of looms, nail-board, tapestry, and 8-shaft table looms, but never a rigid heddle version.

When I was 13, I was awarded a summer-long weaving workshop with Mary Brashear, and there I learned to love weaving. I used the aforementioned 8-shaft loom there, and knew I wanted to try some other ideas on one in the future. That future has taken a long while to arrive.

Last year I was invited to join an artist's exchange of amulet bags. The media used was wide open, and after knitting and crocheting a few bags, I decided to create a nail loom just to see what I could make. And I suddenly regained my former joy in weaving. I loved creating the little bags, and made one after another. Here are a few examples (use your view image function for a larger version):

Wool and Japanese Exotic Handspun Silk Fibre

Handspun Wool with Hand Carved Bone Beads from South Africa

Wool with Skull and Bat Beads

Handspun Japanese Exotic Fibre, Handspun Wool, and Glass Beads

Acrylic Fibre, Abalone, Kevlar Line (unraveled and rebraided)

I couldn't get enough of my newfound love of weaving, and I kept hitting every yarn store I encountered, looking for scraps of yarn or any fibre that moved my soul. On a trip to Vancouver Island, I stopped in Knotty By Nature on Government Street in Victoria, and there I fell instantly in love. With the Ashford Knitter's Loom, a rigid heddle loom that allows the transport of a project in process, meaning I could take my weaving project with me camping, on the boat, or just while I was on the road! After I got home, I began doing some research and discovered I could obtain one in the States for far less than in Canada, and I began saving my pennies. And then a lovely thing happened...dear Vincent gave me one on my birthday, two months later!

Now I know you're reading this on the next to the last day of November, which is more than two months AFTER my birthday, but a bunch of things transpired in the interim to conspire against me using my precious new toy. So only now do I find I have time to focus on learning to use this loom. And a cold grey miserable day is the perfect time to do so! Once I've gotten adept with this loom, I know I shall start longing for a larger loom that will allow me to create more intricate patterns, but I've enough on my plate for now.

And the second a little warmer weather arrives, I have some work to do on my kayak to make sure she's ready for a long season of water camping!

The grey hatch covers on my boat are in the process of being replaced by lovely wood ones.

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