as winter projects go

As winter projects go, much like the winter itself, they go on and on, spilling past their boundaries like a wash of color on thirsty paper. My studio space is in much better order than it was at the beginning of the year. I do have the winding station and warping mill in reasonable proximity, which makes the warping process more efficient. It does not, however, keep the cats from attacking the thread as it unwinds from the cones.

I also have begun the task of refurbishing my warping mill, which suffered a small amount of water damage from bringing it home in the bed of a pickup truck in a nor’easter. I gently sanded off the old finish, which was not a varnish, but the patina of age, use and furniture wax. The wood still has much of the rich tones of aged Swedish pine. I don’t know if I’ll put a thin layer of varnish on it, or just wax it and let the patina rebuild itself.

While I was in the middle of sanding, I took a call from another weaver in this small town. She is downsizing her studio and offered me a warping mill. I am going to take it, because it has two crossbars and mine only has one. There is a way to wind a long warp with a cross at each end, and then cut it into two perfectly symmetrical sections. She also offered me a Glimakra Standard, which I am not going to take. The studio would be painfully crowded if I did.

The planet Mercury has been in retrograde since January 21. It appears to be moving in the opposite direction, but that’s an illusion. Nonetheless, astrologers credit this phenomenon, which happens three times in a year, with bringing up things from the recent past, causing miscommunications and misunderstandings, and even the breakdown of electronic devices. I feel like the sudden appearance of another warping mill and Glimakra standard comes from this retrograde activity. Or is my warping mill inhabited by a genie who loves the tickle of sandpaper, and grants me another warping mill in return for all that gentle sanding?

If we would just get a long break between snow storms, I might have time to ponder this and life’s other mysteries.


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