Monday, August 25, 2014

End of August

For the second time this summer, torrential rains have flooded our basement. I'm thankful that my loom and yarns are upstairs, well away from catastrophe. Also, I'm thankful for the few days when I have been able to go outside and enjoy my garden without getting mud on my shoes.

This succulent (one of the few plants that the pesky deer won't eat) had our resident bees quite drunkenly loaded up with pollen today.

When my Japanese toad lily begins to open, I know that summer is on the wane. Sad to say, the end of August came on too quickly for my liking; but isn't that yellow ring in the center of the lily a happy surprise? I could use another month of days like today--sunny, not too hot, the scent of ripe peaches by the kitchen window and a pot of corn chowder in the fridge ready to be warmed up for supper.

Oh, the chowder...the chowder had me on the edge of obsession last week, looking through cookbooks, after we took a day-trip to Ithaca, New York and passed at least thirty farm stands announcing fresh corn. My attempt wasn't half-bad, but I think the chowder was missing a touch of coriander or a pinch of fresh curry leaves. Next time, time I'll get you right.

Meanwhile, there's my continued obsession with twill inlay...

...which Meg has kindly called doing a "Margery" and I know was certainly not invented by yours truly. I am playing with colors that were inspired by a brief visit to Pittsburgh several weeks ago. The first night in town, we went to the top of Mt. Washington and just sat on a bench, talking and taking in the view of the city and the reflection of the Super Moon in the Three Rivers.

The following day was greyer. We went with my mother to the Carnegie Museum, always one of my favorite haunts. As a University of Pittsburgh student intern, Mom helped introduce the original Hillman Hall of Gems and Minerals to the public in 1980. I could have spent days marveling at the specimens in this permanent (and now much enlarged) exhibit. For anyone who treasures the diversity of color and texture that can be found in the ground, the collection is a must-see.

At the Museum of Art, I discovered a little gem of a painting by John Constable. For some reason, it called out to me more than all the large, imposing, world-famous and frankly quirky works we saw that day. A tiny slice of life with a unique perspective, it seemed to have all the colors, brushstrokes and light that one could wish for on that particular day, in a scene so ordinary that I was strongly reminded of the need to savor the present.

Oh, you know, that includes my need to savor the yarn.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What If...?

Following my last post, Meg commented that she liked the inlays in my recent batch of scarves that are similar in color to the warp yarn. I like them as well, so I have been including more spots of inlay utilizing the warp yarn.

I also thought, "What if I were to use my background tabby yarn for inlays?" The block of twill at the top of the stack, below, shows the result.

Because the twill lines are closer together than the picks of tabby, the inlays appear darker even though the yarns are the same. And because the yarn was hand spun for a random effect, it also varies in hue and saturation, thus adding another interesting dimension to the cloth.

I experimented, this time, with alternate treadling, but decided that there was just too much going on; so, it's back to tabby and herringbone. Certainly nothing groundbreaking, but the placement of the inlays and the colors are what make this piece interesting and fun for me.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Morning

I'm continuing along the plain-tabby-with-inlay path that I embarked upon earlier this summer. The first three scarves, woven on a natural silk warp, came out quite nicely after finishing. I've been enjoying the free-form aspect and endless variety of this technique, and it's given me the opportunity to use many of the beautiful "weft-overs" in my bobbin basket.

The first two scarves have a light, almost crinkly hand because of the open sett and tabby background weft. The third scarf is herringbone with no inlay. I brushed it a little after washing, to give it a soft, buttery finish.

My INCREDIBLY FABULOUS and AMAZING daughter gave me an Etsy gift card for Mother's Day, and with it I purchased some soft/soft silk/camel down spinning fiber from Tabi. Here's the yarn in progress.

This morning, I began the next set of scarves in the series, after winding a white silk warp hand-painted with a subtle wash of silver grey and pale blue. I'm using the Mother's Day yarn as background weft, keeping the sett open, again.

Don't hate me, but this Friday morning there were birds chirping outside the window by my loom.