Saturday, February 6, 2016

Up, and Down....

I've not much more progress to report on the tapestry. Maybe I'll take the Mirrix down to the TV room tomorrow and try to weave a bit during the Super Bowl. It will keep me from biting my already short nails as I cheer the Broncos on. 

Go Broncos!

This has been a 'down' week: a 2-day migraine, brought on by a big oncoming storm. Then the snow came and gave me relief for a day, but then I did something to my back, making doing almost anything somewhere between miserable and impossible.

I've pretty much added this week to my 'cut my losses' column. This morning I decided to take Danny Gregory's advise, and just draw what was in front of me. So the sketchbook got a quick sketch of my guitar/computer glasses, my tuner, and my pink capo, on one of the many pieces of music spread around me (always.)

I am doing the Sketchbook Skool Expressing online class, and this week's assignment is to do a watercolor sketch of my lunch. Too late, today. Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Today: more, but not a lot more.....

I did a very quick sketch in the sketchbook this morning, as I wanted to get to the studio and get to work. It has been another hibernation day. We have about 5 inches of snow on the ground, which is a lot of snow for our valley! The snow plows ran through the evening yesterday, clearing the roads for the 3 schools within a block of our house. The sound made me feel like I was back in Boston!

The view from my sitting room window

I did get into my studio, and I have been working hard. My goal for the day was to work a full inch across, reaching the 3-inch level by the end of my work day. It is now about 4:00 in the afternoon. There will be a few more hours of light, but I did not reach my goal.  And now I had to quit work, because my back told me to. It actually told me to quit about an hour ago, and I should have listened to it. The 3" level would have the tapestry all evened up with the top of the weaving fell-line on the right, the green area. So I still have a bit to go; several hours of work to get it done, but my body is rebelling. And I am old enough and experienced enough to know that I'd better listen to it's complaints, or I will regret it.

Tomorrow will hopefully give me some more work time. I will set a reasonable goal, and not try to push myself.... but the tapestry will not weave itself, so I need to keep going. Just 6 1/2 inches to weave! Surely I can get it done by the end of the month! My body will just need to be more cooperative. Maybe if I treat it extra nice this evening, I can reach my goal tomorrow!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Work and play...

I have been getting some weaving done! It snowed last night, and we are staying in today, so I've been working on the small tapestry of O'Brien, my 'grand-chicken.' I hope to even the weaving up at at least 2" today, and as it's just 8 1/2" in length (which will actually be the width, when turned and hung,) I will be almost a quarter of the way done if I meet that goal! Woo-hoo! Lots of little fiddly bits, but I am enjoying that.

I mentioned that I am doing a Sketchbook Skool klass. It is my 'play.' This was the third of six weeks. The assignments this week included doing an Infographic, and mine is above. It was fun. I enjoy words, so that part, which seemed to challenge many of the other people taking the class, was the fun part for me.

The second assignment was to sketch an image, then use words to tell the story. Above is my page for that.

In other 'news' here, two finches hit the front window this morning, so that has kept Gus enthralled. The male sat on the window sill for quite some time, then astonished Gus by flying away. The female did not survive. Gus is ever hopeful, though, and kept a vigil until my husband took the poor thing away. Gus is staying on the warm radiator now, hoping one or the other will come back to entertain him, and watching the more fortunate birds at the feeder nearby.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Oh, Venus!

Venus de Milo showed up on Facebook today.  Or, at least more speculation about what her missing arms may have been doing did, in the form of a link to this article, which proposes that she may have been spinning with a drop spindle!

It was almost 4 years ago that I took these photos of her. I have to say that I was so in awe of her, I didn't even think about what was missing or what she may have been doing, or even why she'd have been spinning topless.... maybe spinning so she could then weave a nice top? I probably would have speculated that her missing arm was reaching for a towel. How unimaginative of me!

Closer to home, I discovered yesterday when I began to weave my small chicken tapestry that I had used the heavier warp from my stash, and it was so heavy and closely sett, there just wasn't room for weft! Not a good discovery. I first spread the warp out, but decided that I would be then fighting not only a too close sett, but unevenness in tension, as I wove. So today, I cut my losses -  and the warp and what I had woven so far (above) off and rewarped. Tomorrow, I will once again begin weaving on the finer warp, more loosely sett, and it should weave more quickly and easily, with fewer bad words and more enjoyment.

Otherwise, I have been doing my 'homework' for the SketchbookSkool kourse I am taking. This week we were supposed to do small books. I did the above accordion book about my paternal grandmother, and plan to do the backside, as it is reversible, about my maternal grandmother.

The other style book we were to do had us cut and fold a single piece of paper to make a little 8-page book. I did mine about my favorite heroine, Elizabeth Bennett, of Pride and Prejudice. I'm needing a bit of her 'spice' in my life right now, so it includes a few of my favorite Jane Austen quotes to remind me to hang onto my inner Lizzie. Below is the cover, with a little watercolor sketch. These books were fun to do, but I never know quite what I am supposed to do with them when they are done, so I try not to spend too much time on them. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Foggy Day, Foggy Mind....

I have been in a bit of a creative 'fog' lately, so I decided to do something about it. What I ended up doing was to sign up for the 'Expressing' klass online at Sketchbook Skool. I've been seeing some great sketches on Facebook for awhile from people taking these kourses  (sorry - they kind of hook you into that use of 'k'.) So I figured that, if I pay to learn something, I will at least follow along and DO IT.
The first week, the lessons have been about lettering. So I have done these pages in my sketchbook.

Obviously, I am still thinking of (and weaving a bit of) the Amaryllis tapestry on my loom, but this is the second of this winter's amaryllises (amarylli?) in my kitchen window from before the holidays, finally in bloom! I decided to sketch it in acrylic, which I now somewhat regret. I wish I'd just stuck to watercolor, and left the background white. Live and learn.... that's what it's all about anyway, isn't it? I am a bit pleased that I captured the transparency of the bloom, although I was using an opaque medium.

And we really needed that bright bloom this morning! A beautiful fog socked us in for the morning. I got out and walked to the city park, just a block away, to take some pictures. Those of you who live in fog all the time may not be impressed, but this kind of pea-soup fog is a lovely rarity here!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A bit of Zentangle to quiet a noisy mind...

From today's sketchbook
One of the things I discovered from doing #Inktober this past fall was that abandoning color is sometimes a very good thing to do, especially if I am working with vibrant colors elsewhere, as I am in my weaving right now.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Ready, Set, Bake! ...I mean, Weave!

So, the small loom is warped, and I think I may have chosen a design for the small tapestry. My choice is actually neither of the ones I was considering, but is based on a comment left by Robbie (Thank you SO much, Robbie! See why I love comments?!) She suggested I do a portrait tapestry of one of the chickens, similar to the portrait I had done of Wooster. That rang a bell in my mind, because the last time I was with the grand-chicks, I had actually taken some close-up shots, especially of O'Brien, whom my daughter-in-law tells me is a golden-laced Wyandotte. She is a beauty; sort of a Zentangled hen. (And yes, she is named for O'Brien in Downton Abbey.)


I have several photos of O'Brien, though she didn't really want to pose for me. And one of them looks like it will be a fun challenge to weave. Not easy, and not fast. The loom is warped at 10 epi, and I will probably be weaving with singles. I normally weave at about 8 epi, and use doubled weft threads. So this will be twice as slow. The photo maquette I'll be working from is below. I will turn it sideways to weave, so those beautiful lines in the neck can be woven eccentrically in a more horizontal way. The completed tapestry will be about 8.5 x 10 inches.

I guess I'd better get busy. Right?

(By the way, the title of this post is not a suggestion that I bake O'Brien, who is a good laying hen, but is in reference to another British TV show I love, the Great British Baking Show. And has anyone else fallen in love with The Detectorists? I love British TV!)