Monday, March 30, 2009

Pride goeth before a (snow)fall...

... So I had to brag about coming home from winter on the eastern slope of the Rockies to spring here on the western slope! Today we woke up to snow here, though our snow IS a lot less impressive than Denver snow. Still, it will probably be enough to freeze the apricots that were in bloom. My already-for-spring-riding bike isn't so tempting this morning. It went from 65º here yesterday afternoon to below 30ºin a few very windy hours, giving me one of those horrid pressure-change headaches.

Still, I stayed up and watched the first installment of Dicken's "Little Dorrit" on Masterpiece Theatre. It was so good that I had a hard time keeping up with my knitting; I should've been working on something other than lace! Though it's not a difficult lace pattern, and was perfect airplane knitting, the Lace Ribbon scarf I am doing requires more attention than, say, mistake rib (which is my current favorite no-attention-required stitch) would require.

This is a scarf I recently finished in mistake rib (which is just K2, P2, repeat, on every row on an odd number of stitches). The scarf is done in a worsted weight handspun alpaca that was a Christmas gift from a friend. The mistake rib makes it cushy, almost squishy, in texture. I can't keep from handling it!

The "Lace Ribbon" scarf I am doing (above) is of a finer handspun alpaca that I bought at a Wool Festival more than 15 years ago. (It will look more 'lacy' after blocking.) I am wanting to use up stuff from my stash. Not just yarn, but Everything! I open closet doors and see fabric or pretty papers that I have been storing, and I think 'what can I do with that right now?' But... I have ordered more tapestry yarn, and on the trip to Boston I went to Utrecht and bought more paint, so my stash is not diminishing, in spite of the two knit scarves.

Today, I need to do laundry and vacuum up doghair, but I will also finish warping the loom for the January tapestry. I need to have something on the loom. Otherwise, though I have a lot to do, I feel purpose-less.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Illustration Friday: Poise

You would have to have a lot of Poise to carry a cat and wear an occupied bird's nest on your head! I needed to just sit at the easel and paint something fun today, and this is what came out of the tubes of oil paint. It is small, 6"x8" I think. It kind of reminds me of the little "Dama con Mangoes" painting that became a tapestry, that has actually done very well in exhibits, including a Best of Show at the last IWC exhibit! This little thing would also be fun to weave... I may consider it.

And, speaking of Poise, this painting of my daughter-in-law (who has a great deal of poise) was just purchased by the regional hospital, which is building a humongous addition and needs to be filled with art, as the rest of the hospital is. I have mixed feelings about the sale, as we have enjoyed having this painting in our living room. But we can go visit it, and I plan to have a good canvas print made of it for us before it leaves us. The hospital art requirement was that work had to be 'restful and positive.' This piece, called "A Peace of Quiet II" seems to fit the bill!

Friday, March 27, 2009

March madness...

When we left home a bit more than a week ago, it was 70 degrees and spring was blooming here in our little corner of the world. As you can see from my trip mosaic above, we spent the week with all of our grandchildren, though not all at the same time on this trip.

In Boston, it was chilly and blustery, but that did not stop us from going to a sing-along (one of the twins' favorite activities) and the Childrens' Museum, among other outings. I got to ring the bells at the top of Harvard's Lowell House, which I had to overcome my fear of heights to do. (It was worth it.)

Back in Colorado, we went to another Childrens' Museum, while a spring blizzard was beginning to dump snow on us. As the snow accumulated, we hurried back to our hotel and were pretty much snowed in for the rest of our stay in Denver, swimming with the kids and doing indoor things. We managed to get the car dug out this morning and escaped the winter as we got closer to home.

Here, the apricots are beginning to bloom, and the pets seem to have survived our absence very well. Now, I need to do laundry, go to the grocery store, and sort out more emails than I can face this evening! But all of those things can wait until tomorrow, when I hope to feel like I am back on western Colorado time...

Monday, March 16, 2009


This is the maquette for the January tapestry I will be working on. Actually, it will be a bit more than a week before I begin it, as we are going to visit sons and daughters-in-law and to be Grandma and Grandpa for a week or so - our favorite role!! I did however discover that there is enough warp on the loom to do this tapestry without re-warping, so that will get me to the weaving more quickly when I get home. The cartoon and maquette are ready and the loom is warped, but this weaver is heading east for a bit, to take a thousand or more photos of some very cute kiddos!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

All in a row...

No, I don't have my ducks all in a row, but my daffodils seem to be lined up for something this year!

I spent the past week doing two things; laying out the Connections catalog and looking for the photo I want to design a tapestry from. Good news and bad news: the catalog is off to the printer for proofing (keeping fingers crossed and prayers said on that one), and after looking in every logical and illogical place I can think of, I still haven't found the photo. So, towards the end of the week I thought, "Fine! I'll just forget about it and leave the loom empty until I run across it. I'll paint and spring clean and work in the garden. Who needs to weave anyway? Especially in this economy!"

I puttered about with that attitude for several days, feeling increasingly crabby and put out. The cat and dog and husband were tip-toeing around me. Then I faced reality and realized that I need to weave! If I'm not a weaver, I don't know who I am. So I pulled this image from the "Projects in Progress" file in my computer (yes, it really is called that), and decided to weave it up. It came from a photo I took last winter from my sitting room window. It will be another of the 'calendar series' pieces, at 18 x 18". So maybe during that time, the photo I have lost will come to the surface. The tapestry from this cartoon will be called "January" and it will be fairly monochromatic, even less colorful than the "February" tapestry. So be prepared to hear me gripping about lack of color! But I will be weaving it during the springtime, so if I need color, I'll just go outside and add more flowers to the flower bed.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Illustration Friday: Legendary

My grandfather was legendary for his Flat-Tops! His legend got even more interesting when his Kansas barbershop was totally flattened by a tornado in 1966. The tornado itself is legendary...

I remember it well. I was in grade school, and we got in our station wagon and headed away from it, as it looked like the huge white funnel was coming straight at our house. It veered off and headed downtown instead, taking a wide path with it, including a lot of the college and my Grandpa's Barbershop. He said the Lord was telling him to retire, so he did. You don't mess with Someone who sends a message like that! All truth, but a family legend as well.
The handwoven tapestry, "Barbershop Buzz" is a part of my Heritage Series of tapestries. It is 36" wide and 56" long.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Still at large...

It was at this time a year ago that I was informed that this tapestry, "Rockport Skiffs," was stolen from a gallery in Asheville, North Carolina. I have been thinking about it lately, especially as I get exhibit prospecti that require that works be "created no more than two years ago." Tapestries take so long to create that I rarely create more than one large tapestry in a year. So, taking this one, which was never exhibited, out of circulation in such a nasty way really has hurt me! Right now, I have only one large piece and several small ones to enter in exhibits.

If you ever see this tapestry, PLEASE let me know! It is 3 feet wide by 30" high, so is not small. I find that I am still pretty angry when I think of it being stolen.....

Friday, March 6, 2009

Illustration Friday: Intricate

I have been working on this painting in little bits of time this week. In spite of how intricate the tile work looks, I really have spent very little time on it. I decided I would do it without drawing. It is of a little child playing in a fountain. I might call it "Little Frog in the Fountain". At this point, it is in that 'resting' stage - where that first layer of paint is drying, then I'll sit and look at it a bit and will decide where to go next with it. I don't want to tighten it up any, though, as I really am trying to loosen up a bit when I paint. It is 12x12 inches, and is on one of those thick canvases (sides are 2 inches) that don't need to be framed if you finish the sides. I am thinking of doing a little tile mosaic around the canvas. It might be fun!

Anyway, that's as intricate as I have had time to be in the studio this week! Other things have demanded my time and attention.

It's hard to shut up my inner critic when I post things that I don't really consider finished. But I am trying hard to keep her quiet. I paint bi-weekly with a group of Alzheimer's patients. There is one lovely lady who really seems to love painting, but she keeps saying that she is no artist. Yesterday she painted a very nice bird, and she kept apologizing for it's 'ugliness' all the while she painted. She wanted to do a second painting, so I set the bird aside. When we were ready to clean up, I held her first bird painting up and she said, "Oh, that's good! Who did that?" It reminded me of how hard our inner critics can be until we can get some distance from our work. I try to set pieces aside where I can't even see them for a week or so - long enough for the first coat of oil to dry. Then I can look at it with 'fresh eyes' and make needed corrections. Sometimes I do surprise myself with a "did I do that?!" reaction.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The inevitables...

I spent yesterday doing my taxes and the laundry... isn't that what Ben Franklin said were the only things certain in life? Well, if he didn't, Mrs. Franklin did!

Today I will split my time between finishing the Connections catalog layout and painting. I do want to share my latest knitting project with you though, as it is so fun (and a bit funky)...

This sock is knit vertically in one long garter stitch strip, which has a minimal amount of shaping where the toe and heel will be, then it's folded in half and the sides are grafted together. The knitting was fun - I find knitting garter stitch to be a very zen-inducing meditation. The pattern is a Debbie New one, from Interweave Knits Fall 2001 issue. I used one of those self-striping sock yarns, and, even though the yarn is a very fine fingering weight, it is knit on size 5 needles! I may find myself making more of these!

(By the way, the desk photo is not of my desk, which is quite a bit messier than that. It is a photo I took of Longfellow's desk at his home in Cambridge, MA.)