Enjoying the Quiet

Now that the holidays are over, I am relishing the quiet time of January.  I love the short, cold days – perfect for drawing, creating fiber art, or napping!

Here are my Daily Drawings:

Pear - January 8

Pear – January 8

Pine Cone - January 9

Pine Cone – January 9

Vintage Portrait - January 10

Vintage Portrait – January 10

Figure Painting in Charcoal - January 11

Figure Painting in Charcoal – January 11

It is difficult to post all of my daily drawings.  My critical mind makes it uncomfortable to post drawings I don’t like.  I can’t say that I am proud of any of these drawings, but I am proud of myself for drawing each day.  I remind myself that I am practicing daily in order to grow as an artist.  Not everything has to look good.  I am hoping that by the end of the year though, I will see drastic improvement!

I am also finding time to weave again.  I love Saori weaving.  Misao Jo founded the Saori style of weaving in 1969.  It represents a completely freestyle form of weaving, adding in bits of fiber in an unplanned, spontaneous manner.  There are no rules, in fact, many traditional weaving rules are broken.  Of course, I love having no rules.  I can add any size or type of fiber even strips of fabric, randomly change direction, leave gaps, beat it tightly, or loosely, whatever I am feeling in the moment.  It is very Zen, very relaxing.  Some Saori artists change it up frequently, adding bits and pieces, even doing a tapestry style of weaving in the middle of their fabric.  I love that, but, I also love keeping it in simple stripes, adding in a new color when I run out of one, or feel the urge to change.  No thought, just instinct.

Saori_April7_2015Saori_April5_2015It is a thrifty form of weaving too, because I can use up all of my odds and ends!


Weaving Lesson

Knitting and spinning have been my passions for years. I love the texture and colors of fiber and the limitless possibilities of these crafts. The ability to create items of beauty and functionality excites my senses. Recently, I entered a new dimension of fiber – weaving. I took a weaving lesson at Forest Heart Studio in Woodsboro, Maryland a couple of weeks ago. It was cozy in the studio next to the blazing wood stove.

During the first afternoon, I wound the warp (the lengthwise fibers in a piece of weaving) and sleyed it through the reed. The next morning, I pulled each strand through the heddles and wound it on to begin weaving. Here is my first weaving while on the loom.

I used a Schacht Baby Wolf folding loom, which nicely fit into my car to transport home. The loom is very sturdy, well built, and easy to use. I have two Schacht spinning wheels and am greatly impressed by this Colorado company. Their products are extremely well-designed.
This is my first woven scarf off the loom. It is made from 5/2 size mercerized cotton in natural white and bright green.

I also wove another scarf on the same warp. The weft (width-wise yarn) is Handmaiden Sea Silk, a lace weight yarn in silk and seacell (made from seaweed). The colorway is Nova Scotia. I don’t particularly like multi-colored yarns in knitting, but, I love them in weaving. Now I know how I will use up all of my hand painted sock yarn!

In this scarf I tried out some twill patterns by treadling a different pattern than the regular plain weave (over/under). I like the effect, but not for the whole piece. Plain weave suits this yarn, so that is mostly what I did, except identical bands of twill at each end of the scarf.

With the last bit of warp, I decided to try some of my own hand spun cotton singles and some text cut from a book of Shakespeare’s plays. This would make an interesting effect for a wall hanging.

I am very pleased with my first attempts at weaving. Warping a loom takes time, but is not extremely difficult, just painstaking. The weaving became quite rhythmic and calming. I really enjoyed it. I am totally mesmerized by the process and have already started more projects. There is something captivating about doing ancient crafts in modern designs and sensibilities.