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Fiery

Today is June 26th and I’m just getting started on the June hugs, but I couldn’t resist posting this early tease. This is the first hug on the warp. Out of the Flames. Combination of several hand painted warps I’ve had for years. Bamboo, cotton, Tencel, and rayon.

Out of the Fire June hug

As always, I’ll be gifting this to someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, or one of their caregivers/loved ones. Let me know if you need a woven hug.

On learning…

…that sometimes the sky looks like the sea.

moon or water?

…that putting blog posting near the bottom of the priority list means it’s almost a month since I last posted!

…that you can’t just grab things off the internet, even when you’re attempting to promote someone else. (#1-details below)

…that taking classes always leads to new energy and excitement. (#2-details below)

…that sometimes it’s too difficult to address challenging issues with friends. (#3-details below)

…that selling things is hard. (#4-details below)

#1-A few months ago I got a not-so-pleasant letter from a firm letting me know, in no uncertain terms, that I had used an image from the net without explicit permission from the owner. And a hefty fine was required, as well as removing the image post-haste. So I obviously can’t show it to you here. It was a photo of a model on the runway in a Mondrian dress. Obviously from decades ago. I just didn’t think anyone would care. And I posted the image on my blog in 2015. I negotiated a lower-but-still-hefty fee, removed the image, and moved on.

Only to receive a similar letter in May about another image I’d used in 2010. The kicker for me on this one was that it was a cartoon, drawn by a woman I know, and I was promoting her work and the syndicate she works for. Still, I admittedly did not have permission to post the image. Again, I was able to negotiate a high-but-reduced fee. Now I spent a few hours going through every image on my blog, back to the beginning (2008), and removing any images that were not of photos I had taken myself. So if you go back through old blog posts, chances are you’ll see blank spots where an image used to be. I only hope I got them all. 🙁

#2-I’ve taken 2 classes recently at the Weaving Center. Let’s take them one at a time. In Dyer’s Choice I worked with the instructor to dye 21 small pieces of fabric in carefully measured, varying amounts of dye to create a color wheel. Pure red to pure yellow to pure blue and back to pure red. The purpose of this exercise is to identify what the blending of colors in these proportions will get you when you use them. (You’d think I’d have taken photos of these, wouldn’t you? But no.)

I swore when I left the class that I wouldn’t do this experiment at home. You see, the company that makes the dye chemicals (ProChem in this case), has more than one each of pure red, pure yellow, and pure blue. And I have several of their pure colors in my basement. But I was sure I was done with this exercise. Until I got home, that is.

The next day I set myself up in my basement and dyed another set of 21 pieces using 3 different dyes. Here’s a photo of the process. (Still no images of the results.) Note: I scavenged the containers from people’s open recycle bins to be able to do this. 🙂

dyeing fabric for a color wheel

The following day I did a third batch of 21, using another 3 pure dyes.

The question is…will I ever use these swatches? Only time will tell. Because I also have a bunch of secondary and tertiary colors that the company mixed up, so it makes sense to use those, right? But I did learn stuff in the process anyway, so I’m calling it time well spent.

The other class was on making paper from 100% recycled materials, both paper and fabric. This photo does not do the papers justice; they are much cooler IRL.

my recycled paper

I loved it and have a specific idea for using such things, so now I’m looking to borrow a mold & deckle from someone; I don’t believe this is something I need to own, as I’ll likely spend a day doing it and then be done with the process.

#3-You know about my woven hugs. Before I show you the ones I wove for May, I have to show you what I did for a trial. I wanted to do an ombre dip dye, so used a cotton jersey tunic. It’s still very wet in this image, but I was happy with the results.

dip-dyed tunic

Needless to say, what was easy with a lightweight tunic was much more challenging with a medium-weight shawl. I will likely never do this again, and if I do, I hope I remember NOT to do it in my basement. What a mess! Anyway, here are the three May hugs.
3 May hugs

The Thistle one went to a friend of mine, who will pass it on to a good friend of hers, whose husband is struggling with dementia. The other two await their new homes. As does one from April.

I feared I would be overwhelmed with requests through the local aging support group, but I’ve not had one yet.

I have other friends who have 2 friends with dementia, but they haven’t yet approached their families with the offer of one of my hugs, feeling the subject is too difficult. Ok, I can understand.

I recently sent information about my hugs out to 5 other Guilds. I’ll wait a while, and then will consider expanding my target audience beyond people with dementia and their loved ones. We’ll see what happens. But please, spread the word. I want to give these away.

#4-I’ve firmly decided that I will not do those weekend-long art/craft shows anymore. It simply takes too much out of me. So it’s time to sell my tent. Which is a professional tent, not a $100 pop-up. I initially listed it for 2/3 of what I paid but only 1/3 the price of new. I’ve had a few inquiries but nothing serious. I’ve now reduced my asking price by 10%, and will keep reducing it. I’m also trying to figure out where else to list it. I’ve used a few Facebook pages, Facebook Marketplace, and a professional art/craft site. I haven’t used Craigslist or Etsy as I don’t see a single thing like it on there anywhere, so clearly people don’t look there for it. Here are a few pix – I have more. And plenty of goodies go with it beyond just the basic 10×10 canopy.

First is an image of my booth, last time I used the canopy, in 2019.
my booth, last time I used the canopy, 2019

Here’s one of just the canopy, with the 3 awnings, set up in my yard just to get some shots to sell it, a few weeks ago.
Empty canopy with 3 awnings up

Know anyone breaking into the art/craft fair circuit? Have them get in touch with me.

This and that

Spring is absolutely my favorite season. I LOVE seeing all the new little plants poke their noses through the soil, watching the colors of the spring blooms, the cooler temperatures of spring vs. summer, and I even like doing the spring garden cleanup. That last item does take time, however, even when I did a bunch of garden clean up in the fall. So that’s my excuse for why I haven’t blogged in 3 weeks.

I’ve moved some plants, making a new garden area. That’s always hard work and takes time. I’ve prepared the soil and planted seeds. I’ve weeded most of the garden and areas and mulched. Here’s just one pic that I like (I should take more).

silver dollar plant flowers

This is a silver dollar plant. Also called money plant and honesty plant. And those 3 common names are why I learned the Latin names of lots of plants. So this is a lunaria. After these lovely purple flowers it’ll make seeds, with pods that look like silver dollars and work beautifully in fall arrangements.

I had to take a photo of this house. During Monday’s wind, virtually all the blossoms on their tree blew down, carpeting their lawn and driveway in a vibrant pink.

raining pink blossoms

I believe the tree is a double-flowered crab.

And then there’s this:

New plant table loaded with plants

For Mother’s Day my sweet and talented son made me a planting table. He’d heard me whine about how the multitude of bunnies eat all the young plants I put in the ground and decided to do something about it. This table is 2′ wide x 6′ long. And it FOLDS so I can reasonably store it in my garage over the winter!

In the pots I’ve put a summer squash and zucchini, yellow wax beans, sugar snap peas, lettuce, and my favorite sweet pepper, Carmen. Then, just for fun I put in a pot each of green and red/purple sweet potato vine and a red-orange lantana. I stuck some nasturtium seeds in with those non-food pots, too.

Back in the house, I finished what I call my happy socks. I knit these from the sock blank I dyed in March.

hand knit 'happy socks'

Don’t they make you smile?

Here’s the ball I’m using for my next socks. I didn’t dye this but like the color shifts.

ball of sock yarn, blues & greens

As I was nearing the end of my 3rd warp of the Ukraine support towels, in my head I was planning what I’d do for the May woven hugs. But I wasn’t in any rush, as I still had 2 of the April hugs in my hands. (Only 1 left now.) That feeling – no rush – felt good.

Then, OH NO!! I remembered that I had promised to weave a shawl for the upcoming Alzheimer’s Association fundraising auction. Preferably in purple, which is their signature color. I looked up the date of the auction – May 20!!! It was already May 12 when I remembered, so there was no time to lose!

I knew I could always give them a piece I’d already woven if I had to, but it wouldn’t be purple. I went to my stash of Tencel yarn. I didn’t have what I consider to be a clear/straight purple, but I had lots of red-violet, so that would be the majority of the shawl. I threw in some random stripes of yarns that I had tiny amounts of to finish up those cones/bobbins, and set to work.

Unlike my usual practice of warping for at least 3 pieces, I warped for only 1. Gotta get this onto and off of the loom quickly.

I auditioned at least 6 different wefts for this one, and was surprised at how ‘fussy’ the warp was. Few of those weft colors looked great with it. I ultimately chose a medium blue, trying to shift the overall away from the red a bit and toward the blue. Then weave, cut off the loom, twist the fringe, wash, dry, & hard press.

Someone is coming to pick it up momentarily, so I snapped some shots quickly.

Alzheimer's donation shawl, wrapped

showing 2 sides of the Alzheimer's donation shawl

Alzheimer's shawl, 2 sides, closeup

And this morning I dropped off my 10 bead bags for May at the Weaving Center.

bags for Beads of Courage

Hawks and Hugs

Before we start talking about weaving, I have to share info and pix about nature. Apparently not an uncommon occurrence, especially during migration season, I have never witnesses a ‘kettle’ of hawks before. And it was completely by accident that I saw this group on Sunday. I just happened to go outside and look up.

kettle of hawks, 1

There in the clear blue sky were red-tailed hawks. Literally hundreds of them. Every speck in this image is a bird, and I certainly didn’t capture them all in one shot. I know this isn’t a wonderful photo, but it was the best I could do, as these birds weren’t going to stay above me forever.

I am used to seeing a red-tailed or two, and I’m familiar with their calls. This group of hundreds? Not a sound!

kettle of hawks, 2

So if I hadn’t decided I needed a break from the loom at this precise moment, and hadn’t happened to look up instead of at my phone, I would have totally missed it. WOW!!

Ok, on to more fiber-y pursuits.

Shortly after my last post I gathered some yarns from my stash and designed a warp for my April woven hugs. Gradations of pink, lilac, blues, and cranberry. All warp threads are cotton, mostly 3/2 and 5/2 – thicker than I usually work with.

warp for April hugs, chained

I measured and beamed the warp, happy with what I’d done. As with March, I decided on a simple point twill threading and treadling.

beaming the woven hugs for April

After I was about half-way through the first hug I noticed this:

skipped dent in April hugs

I’d missed a dent in my reed. Since this part of the warp is mostly 3/2 cotton, I decided I would let it ride through the end of this hug, repairing it prior to starting the second piece on the warp. Which I did.

I don’t have great process shots for you, but here I just cut all 3 off the loom.

3 April hugs fresh off the loom

I wove the first one with a variegated rayon-cotton rick rack yarn, for lots of both color and texture. The second is a bright peacock 3/2 cotton, and the third a nice 3/2 turquoise. Right after this photo I took them to my sewing machine for the bit of straight stitching to secure the edges. They’re in my washing machine now. Then to the dryer, then my hand hemming.

As with all of my hugs, I will happily gift them to someone struggling with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. The hug can be for the person with the disease or their loved one/caregiver. Based on what you can see in this photo, let me know if you’d like one of this batch.

WOW!

8 Ukraine support towels, swirled

People can surprise me in wonderful ways as well as in horrid ways.

On Tuesday I listed a batch of 8 Ukraine support towels in my Etsy shop. Yesterday I took one of them to my Guild meeting for show & tell. Told them I’d already been able to donate $250 and would keep weaving these towels as long as people wanted them.

Before I left that meeting, I had orders for 6 of those 8! WOW!!

So I just placed an order for more of that yellow and blue yarn. And now I have to figure out how to show them as ‘pending’ or something similar in my Etsy shop, since I want the listing to stay visible while I weave more. Anyone know how to do this?

8 Ukraine support towels, folded

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On a completely different note, a friend of mine went to visit her brother who she hadn’t seen since before Covid. I offered to watch her dogs (Shih Tzus) while she was gone. She’s coming home today and I’m sure they’ll be really excited to see her. But I had to show you pictures of these 2 cuties.

Here you can see them comfortable in their beds.
Bella & Gunner asleep in their beds

Even this shot doesn’t show their little faces, but I put their sweaters on for the morning walk when it was snowing a bit.
Bella & Gunner in sweaters

Although I think Jack will be happy to be an only dog again, everyone got along well.