I just wound a striped warp for the band loom. It only has 47 threads but it was slow and fiddly to wind because the colors changed every thread or two.

I’ll be weaving a pair of curtain tie backs. I’m not sure where I will use them but these are the principal colors in my house, so I have many choices where I can use them. Red is not part of the palette; it’s my least favorite color. That makes it ideal for tying a warp.

still unpacking

IMG_4601Four months into life at Buttonwood, and I am still unpacking in the studio and bedroom. Out of the four boxes I unpacked yesterday, I managed to fill the better part of a donations box. This is the right way to unpack, to acknowledge that our relationship with things changes over time. It is very empowering to release what is no longer important.

The studio is beginning to feel spacious again. It felt that way until the  furniture and equipment arrived. Then, it felt uncomfortably close for a long time, because boxes are overwhelming and ponderous, no matter how large the space.

I am still weaving placemats.  The second one is going quickly, because the Monk’s belt motif is very scattered on this one. Plain weave goes quickly, pattern takes longer.



Sticks and strings

I often call the Glimåkra Standard a bundle of sticks and strings. There certainly are enough sticks. It’s a ten shaft loom, currently set up for only four shafts, so the corner is filled with extra lamms, heddle bars and treadles. Until now, these have been a tumbled mess.

While Glimåkra and others make various stands for storing reeds and sticks, I was convinced I needed something a bit larger. By chance, I saw a post on Ravelry that recommended using IKEA wine racks as reed holders. As you can see, they work for both reeds and sticks.

20140717-153306-55986310.jpgI believe in good, well made equipment. In this case, I found something ordinary that was equally as useful as a purpose-built solution. That’s a rare and wonderful occurrence.

It appears that all the damage to this site, done by the hackers and the well-meaning technicians, has been repaired. I think I am more rattled by the fortress that the technicians tried to create than by the original hack. I am not a person who can live in hatred or fear. I will not have empty threats or warnings as part of my website. I once worked for a company that had a paragraph-long unwelcome mat on their login screen. It was a lot of pseudo-legal rubbish that threatened all sorts of actions against anyone who wasn’t a duly authorised user. I doubt it deterred any hacker, and it certainly offended customers and employees who had to face such negativity each time they used the site.

I’d rather say welcome, and please be so kind to leave things as you found them.


my clothes dryer is fine, but I should have my head examined


It poured rain all day on Friday, as the fringes of a tropical storm passed by.  I decided to do some woodworking in the basement, and since I was downstairs already, to do a couple of loads of laundry at the same time. The workbench and the laundry are in the same large room in the basement.

The woodworking project was to sand and apply danish oil to a huge wooden button that was destined to hang over my mantle, a visual word-play on Buttonwood. The button came out beautifully. The laundry, not so much.

The laundry came out of the dryer smelling like sooty fuel oil. What was up with that? I didn’t think propane was capable of smelling like that. Was my new dryer not working right?

A quick web search turned up a very accusatory question.  WERE YOU VARNISHING SOMETHING? How did they know? It turns out that running your gas dryer with the scent of varnish in the air creates the stink of burnt varnish fumes on your laundry. Who knew?

I’m just glad I didn’t explode the entire basement. I love the scent of varnish so much that I didn’t think about the dangerous fumes.

Let this be a cautionary tale.

moving forward, one cord at a time

The studio was glorious this weekend, filled with air and light. Other than a brief appearance at a friend’s gathering on Saturday, I kept company with my cats and my loom all weekend. I am patiently upgrading Per, my newly found but venerable Glimakra loom, to include a countermarch and all new Texsolv cords and heddles. I started at the top of the loom with the countermarch itself, and am working my way down. This weekend, I put on new beam cords and heddles, and started to put a warp on the loom.

Beaming a warp has never been one of my favorite steps in weaving.  A lot can go wrong, especially when working alone. I have good intentions of building a warping ‘valet’ or ‘trapeze’ but I didn’t feel like going in to town this weekend to pick up the necessary lumber. However, I realized that I could use weights on the bouts of warp and could expect better results than the crank, yank and cross your fingers method that I have been using.

What to use for weights? I drink water, so I didn’t have any stray milk or juice containers in my recycling bin. I could use rocks, because this part of New England is famous for its rocky soil, and I had dug up plenty of them when preparing the flower garden last month. Rocks need to be washed, weighed and bagged, and that seems like a lot of work. What to use?  Back to the fact that I drink water.  I have collapsible water bottles in my camping gear. I have a pair of one liter bottles for the seltzer maker. All told, I was able to round up enough bottles to put 2.5 kg. of weight on each of the two bouts of warp.

That has to be the smoothest warp I have ever beamed on. It’s neatly packed with sticks, and for once in my life, I finally have enough sticks to do the job right.

With this loom, taking my time and doing things right feels natural and good. I want to understand each cord and know its purpose. I am determined to have each cord in a set be the same length, so that I can know that they are in balance. With the right tools and the right skills, there is nothing to dread about any step of weaving.

It is worth every careful step, because I am home and I have the loom of my dreams.