Late September

Days and weeks seem to fly by. I know it’s not just me, but I find it troubling nonetheless. And yes, the older I get the quicker the clock and the calendar seem to tick. It takes longer to accomplish things than it used to. I have less patience or motivation for doing things that annoy me, that I simply don’t like to do, or that I find rather useless. I want to spend my time doing things that bring me joy. So I do things like housekeeping even less than before. Don’t like my dust bunnies? Don’t look at them.

In keeping with that, I realized that although it’s not a huge time demand, I no longer have the interest and desire to spend time every month volunteering at the Weaving & Fiber Arts Center. I know how things work, and know it will take time for someone else to step up to the plate. So last week I let the other members of the Management Team know that I will step down in the foreseeable future. If I can find a volunteer by the end of this fiscal year (May 31), great. If not, I’m done by December 30, 2024 regardless. I’ll announce it at the next Weaver’s Guild meeting and we’ll see who might come forward. I believe I’ve held this role since the middle of 2016, and while I know several members of the Team have been there far longer, I just need to step aside.

Changing to something fun, here’s a Ssssid update. Many additions, which continues to make me really happy.

I’ve learned a few things since the last post. There’s a woman who has now added several rocks. 🙂 She and her hubby did #26 – the rock with the mini gemstones on tops. She has now started painting a rock each weekend. 🙂 She did the great Bills logo – #55 and the ladybug – #56. (She has now painted more of the Bills logos and placed them in various locations in the neighborhood.) Next of hers was #60 – the Cowboys logo; she likes both teams. Rocks #61 & 62 came on the same day. Nice and colorful. The next four – #63-66 – also showed up together. I’m assuming they came from the same household. I hope their colors hold up.

Rock #67 came from one of my grandsons. It’s a little rock statue that he picked up somewhere. Can you guess where #68, the owl, came from? Same woman as the team logos and the ladybug. Over the next few days we got that sweet little heart, #69 and the semi-smiley face, #70. I really like rocks that clearly came from little kids who wanted to add their own artwork. I happened to see the woman as she placed #71, the blue & yellow rock. She was startled and not necessarily happy that I saw her put it down, so we chatted a bit so I could put her at ease. She told me where she lived, and I told her I thought that the woman she lived with had painted #23 & 24, but she assured me that was not the case, that a neighbor of theirs had done it but she wasn’t sure which one. A few days later #72 arrived in all its green and flower-y glory. So bright and happy. Then #73 offered a little hello.

A few more days passed before we got the sort of impressionistic colors of #74. Then I walked out one morning to find that Jennifer Loves Robert – #75. Another sweet sentiment! When I saw the black cat of #76 I guessed that the woman who’d done the several other rocks added this one, but I was wrong. Don’t know where it came from. Nor the flowers of #77 or the tiny witchy #78.

I had to take a closeup of that last section so you could see all the detail of #78. That rock is roughly the size of a quarter, so someone took a LOT of time painting with a VERY fine brush. Or more probably paint pens. I admit that I added #79 – one of my kindness rocks. I’ve learned through experience that sharpie doesn’t hold up well to sunshine, but probably should have chosen darker colors of the paint pens. Oh well. And those 2 unpainted rocks – #80 & 81? Clearly they were placed there on purpose. As a message that the painting should end? I choose not to think that. By someone leaving them for someone else to paint? Maybe. By someone who wanted to participate but doesn’t have paint? Perhaps.

Moving on. Despite the fact that I’ve woven a lot in the last 15 years, there remain many things to learn. I had a hands-on example recently.

I purchased two pre-wound warps within the last year, I think at a Guild event. In my never-ending quest to use up the stash, I figured now was the time to use them. The warps were clearly labeled with number of ends and approximate length. I knew that neither had enough threads to make a warp wide enough for a project and they didn’t work together, so I set about planning what I could combine with the longer one to make an attractive towel warp. I measured out my needed warp ends, in 3 separate bouts: red, blue, and white, expecting to be able to weave 5 towels from the warp.

Then I started messing up.

I see people online mixing warps all the time. Overwhelmingly (always??) they are warping front to back. While that is something I can do, I’ve not done it enough to be comfortable with the process, so I opted for my typical back to front warping. Mistake #1.

At that point I should have used two sets of lease sticks, one for the purchased warp, one for my three bouts to be added. Even that wouldn’t have solved my entire problem, but it would have made it better. But I didn’t do that. Mistake #2.

Instead I painstakingly placed the planned number of each color of threads in the one set of lease sticks I was using. I was careful and didn’t lose the cross on any of the bouts. Yay! I spread the warp in my raddle and proceeded to wind on.

YIKES! I quickly had quite a mess. Threads from 4 different bouts crossing in front of the lease sticks ALL OVER THE PLACE. They were sticky and unhappy, with lots of tangles happening. And just to add to the challenge, I had about 30 extra ends in the purchased warp that weren’t being beamed at all. Needless to say, things were a mess. (I didn’t take any photos.) My patience was wearing quite thin and decided to make things better by cutting off those 30 extra ends and get them totally out of the way.

You can guess what happened, right? I didn’t cut the correct threads. AAARGH!!! Mistake #3.

So now I had no choice…simply beam what I could and when I got to the end, cut off all threads at approximately the same length. So that’s what I did. I didn’t really know how much was left or how many towels I’d get from the warp.

I threaded with a draft I used before and liked and moved forward. I had about 10″ woven when I realized that something was wrong with the threading near my right selvedge. Mistake #4.

I decided to fix it by cutting out the wrong thread and needle weaving in the replacement thread in correct places while on the loom. Ok. Proceed with the weaving.

Nope, not ok. Mistake #5.

What I fixed was only part of the problem. The mistake would not affect the usefulness of the towel, so I decided to weave this first towel, then do the bigger fix before I started the second. That all worked. Although as you might guess, I am most definitely not enthused with this warp. Nothing about it has made me happy.

I wove three more towels and was playing warp chicken at the end of towel #4.

Finally got all 4 off the loom, did my bit of machine stitching by the seams, and into the washer & dryer they went. When I was doing the hard press after that, I saw that I had a mis-treadling on one of the other towels. DRAT!! Mistake #6.

So now I know that the first towel, with the partially-corrected threading error, and the third towel, with the treadling error, won’t be accepted into the Guild show in November. Sigh.

I’ve been invited to a birthday party for a line dance woman who I think is turning 80. She will get one of those towels as a gift. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with the other. Here are the 4 towels…the one at 9:00 isn’t yet hemmed in the photo but showed up for the picture anyway.

So let’s move back to more pleasant topics. How about a bunch of nature shots. Here’s my Japanese dogwood in full fruit. Wow!

I knew that the squirrels love those fruits. I’d forgotten that someone else does, too. Jack. When they fall on the ground he just loves to gobble them up. Like the only time of year when he’ll ask to go out in the backyard when I’m not there. I don’t let him stay out there too long and they don’t seem to wreak havoc with his digestion, so I let him enjoy them. The season doesn’t last long.

This is one of the places I sometimes walk by. Those zinnias certainly put on a show this year.

I bought these two hybrid coneflowers this year and popped them in my front garden. They certainly seem hardy enough and I love the colors. Winners for sure.

Now for a not-so-nice nature shot. One morning in early September I put in my kayak at a little local park, planning to paddle down the creek. But the bay was so calm I decided to take advantage of this unusual occurrence and paddle on the bay instead. I hadn’t been in the bay all summer. I passed this rocky outcropping and was quite confused. Why were the trees all dusty/dirty? Had sand from that hillside blown up on them during a storm? Had they somehow gotten frosted? I pondered this as I paddled past it. Then I realized what it was and had to take a photo on my way back to document it.

The bay, along with the much of Lake Ontario and some of the Finger Lakes, have been totally overrun with cormorants. The birds like the trees – both the living and the standing dead ones – on this hillside. The leaves are completely covered with cormorant poop. My son tells me that these birds were once in a lot of trouble, one of the species whose eggs were particularly harmed by our use of DDT. Since that poison was outlawed, they have had a remarkable comeback. According to the NYS DEC, the number of breeding pairs went from 2,100 in 1985 to more than 10,500 in 2003 and have continued to rise. And since they have 6-8 eggs per hatch, their numbers just keep rising. So cormorants are now displacing many other water fowl, including herons and terns. And they live in colonies that can contain thousands of birds. Yuck.

Back to something fiber-y. Way back in February I dyed a sock blank. I didn’t keep a good count; this may have been the 4th sock blank I dyed. But this time I painted it with my colors on the diagonal. I was curious to see how it would knit up. I FINALLY finished those socks last week.

I have to say I had no idea what to expect, but I really do like these socks. Because of the many colors, I decided to knit in a very simple ribbed pattern for the entire sock (except the soles, of course).

And now for the close…here’s a shot of a recent sunset from my house. Totally gorgeous!

Now I’m going to go hem that last towel.

2 comments to Late September

  • Peg Cherre

    Thanks, Cindie. You are correct – sometimes things are just like that. I actually should be quite grateful that it’s really only the weaving that was that problemmatic, not the rest of my life.
    I love the rock snake, too. I hope others do it in their cities and neighborhoods. It has brought me much joy and lots of positive interactions with others in the neighborhood.

  • Peg, I feel for you with that towel warp. There are some days/weeks that are just like that with things happening, one after the other, not just in weaving but in life. We’re always learning something no matter how long we’ve been weaving, aren’t we? In the end the towels look great!

    I love the rock snake project.

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