Sunday, January 30, 2011

Almost starting, almost finished

Almost starting: Spring! Yes, the trees are starting to bud in late January. At least on Main Street in my little town. It was in the fifties here today, so no wonder the poor trees are all excited.

If you click on the photo you can see a larger version.

Almost finished: The Green Bean Tapestry! I started weaving the top hem this weekend, so soon I'll be cutting it off the loom. Perhaps I'll pop open a bottle of champagne to celebrate!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Eagles!

I just had to pass on this link to a great blog, Life Looms Large. The author has given me permission to share her post with my small but mighty group of readers, so I'll just whet your appetite with this photo that her husband took at the Merrimac River Eagle Festival last year. There are more great photos of the eagles, and eagle watchers on her blog.

Mrs. Life Loom Large has interesting posts with lots of great photos. In fact, her blog turned me on to the online Digital Photography School - a website with tons of great information and opportunities to participate and learn through their forums. Hopefully it will help me get the hang of my new DLSR, which still confounds me on a regular basis!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon in the studio culling old magazines. They are now tied up in tidy bundles to go to the YMCA thrift store. (That store helps support programs that benefit the Virginia Tech community and the community in the New River Valley. They offer some outstanding programs via their Open University program.) I have this hope that someone will wander in there and "discover" the weaving magazines and yarn that I'm dropping off and will get excited about learning how to weave.  Also, I've cleared out the binders and boxes that the magazines were stored in, and they will be going to our wonderful Guild Librarian who will hopefully be able to make good use of them. Best of all, "that corner" of the studio is nice and tidy now and I've eked out a little more space in my loft!

Today, as soon as it warms up out there, I plan on working on my tapestry. Does it seem like I'm avoiding the Warping Wheel? Hmmmm. Maybe I am :-)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Old Dog, New Tricks

As the few of you who read my blog (you know who you are!) know, I sold my old Schact loom this summer and purchased a friend's Louet loom. (Not a tapestry loom after all, but I'm still waffling about keeping or selling the Glimakra.) Along with this lovely new loom came every possible gadget that one might want or need, and two of some of them!

One of the new-to-me tools is an AVL Warping Weel. It's supposed to be a wiz-bang gizmo to make warping your sectional warp beam (I've got one of those now too!) a breeze. You wind an inch of warp width at a time to the length you want. Then you attach that bundle, or bout, to the warp beam and wind on. The wheel has a tension device that you set so that each bout is wound on at the same tension. Sounds nifty, right?

I wish I could say that I love this new tool. I wish I could report that I got my three-yard-long, 20 end-per-inch, 20 inch wide warp on the loom in record time, easy-peasy. Sadly, I can't say either of those things. At least not at this point.

Through the reed, under the clip,
between the guides and wind another warp end...
On the plus side, I like that the wheel has a handy counting mechanism. It's really easy to change colors for a striped warp - though I did have to do some extensive planning to make my design fit in the one-inch warp increments that this style of warping requires. It's easy to turn the wheel, and after you get the hang of where the thread goes as you're winding, that part is simple too.

But it took a really long time! All day, in fact. And I still have four more bouts to wind. My back is sore, probably more from holding down the break to the warp beam with one foot, while bending to turn the beam to wind the warp on, while trying to reach across the loom to make sure that the warp was staying in it's little one-inch section.

So close to finishing, but I ran out of steam.
Honestly, for a three yard long, 200 end warp, I probably could have gotten the whole warp made, wound on and started threading in the same amount of time using my old method.

Still, I know there are people out there who loooove this gadget. I'm willing to give it another try (if this warp ever gets on and done!) or two to see if I love a Warping Wheel too. That, and the process of sectional warping, which seems like really a lot of bother to me at this point.

If all else fails I can switch from a sectional beam back to a regular beam. So if the old dog (that would be me) can't learn the new trick, I can always go back to the old way. :-)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Inspiration: Old Barns and Sheds

Another eagle sighting in Happy Valley.
More snowy days this week, but not enough to keep us home. A trip through Happy Valley gave us another eagle sighting. He was soaring over the fields and these old barns.

I've always been attracted to old buildings. As we say in our house, I never met a hovel I didn't like! When we travel I tend to take lots of photos of buildings. I like whole buildings, parts of buildings, and the way buildings fit together.  Often, buildings that are in ruins or show the wear of use and age are the most interesting and evocative.  Which leads me back to the barns.

Since I find them so inspiring I thought I'd collect some of the old barn and shed photos laying around the hard drive and post them here. Perhaps I'll use one, or parts of one for a tapestry? I'm looking for inspiration for my next piece since I'm closing in on the end of the green beans. While I'm waiting for the studio to warm up I'll post a few of the photos I like.

What inspires you?

The Happy Valley barns on a morning in summer.

Another barn in Happy Valley

The barns of Maggie, in Happy Valley

Hay storage shed in Floyd. So much texture here!

Near downtown Floyd

Old house, now used as a shed. The backroads of Floyd County

Nova Scotia Shed. Love the lobster trap and the red door!

Rogers red barn. It really was that color. Really!

Garage on the Isle of Lewis

Locked shed in the Scottish Highlands.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Happy Valley Greeter...

No red vests for this guy! With plumage like that he's already the star of the valley!

For the past few weeks on our way to work in Happy Valley, Lawre and I have been greeted by this handsome fellow. This morning I had the camera close at hand. The tree he was perched in was right next to the road and we got fairly close - though I still had to use my zoom.

Then I guess we got too close, or maybe he was just tired of being hounded by paparazzi...
Isn't he lovely?

We're hoping that this spring he'll set up a nest and bring a mate to Happy Valley.

Any cool wildlife sightings where you live?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Christmas Ladder

I realize that it's a little late to be posting about Christmas decor, but I wanted to share a few photos of our Christmas ladder.

Read the CB2 blog featuring the tree.
I got the idea from a CB2 holiday catalog. CB2 is the ultra-contemporary branch of Crate and Barrel. Very cool stuff.

Anyway, we had this wonky wooden ladder that I didn't trust to be safe for climbing anymore and I said to myself "Self, you should paint that old wooden ladder, stick it out in the garden, and deck it out with some holiday cheer." And so, I did. I expect it will stay in the garden into the summer as a trellis for my sugar snap peas and other climby plants.

Have a look and let me know if you have any ideas for a "topper" for my ladder tree for next year.

Artful shot with Smartie in the background.
Fa la la la la...

The "tree" in the garden

This hat itches!
Now get out your fluffy hat and enjoy the snow!