Studio time

Just starting the orange crosses

Crosses in progress







Red stripes and broken warp

Here comes purple








Changing habits

I’m trying to change a habit or two or a million, but the for today, the main new habit is getting into the studio before checking email, etc. Because I don’t just stop there. It just goes on and on, checking one thing after another. A complete time-suck!

My new habit is getting into the studio immediately after coffee and newspaper time. That means it’s still dark when I take those steps. Often, lately, that means starting a fire for warmth. The form this habit has taken for now is to weave for an hour, have breakfast, then 2-3 more hours in the studio.

Getting stuff done

I am also doing other stuff around the house before getting to the computer. In fact, I am writing this right now at around 11:50 AM and have still not checked my email. For whatever reason, once I get to that email place, I’m a goner as far as accomplishing much. What’s up with that? Does anyone else have that problem?

Finished! Well, except for all the warp ends, steaming, fixing those broken warp ends, etc. Perspective is off in the photo.

Choosing color

You can see the weaving progress in the images above. When I first started those red stripes, somehow in the middle of the night, I became convinced that they were the wrong color of red, that I needed to dye some “deep red.” The next day, I dug out a bit of leftover deep red, and realized I had the best color after all. When I looked at the dye formula for the stripe I had woven, it was a combination of deep red and scarlet.

Around the house

Have you heard of Instant Pots? That amazing all-in-one pot that sautés, slow cooks, pressure cooks, makes yogurt, and changes the sheets? I had been looking at one, but couldn’t make myself click the button and buy it because of the price. Right before Christmas, Amazon had one of those one-day sales, so at half price, I clicked. It’s taken a bit to embrace this pot, but I think I finally have.

I have a stove top pressure cooker, and I like it. However, my brain requires constant vigilance with it. I like the little pressure thing on top that jiggles and makes noise. I have to set my timer because otherwise, I go walkabout. And I don’t dare get too far from the stove.

I finally got brave enough to try the pressure cooker with the Instant Pot. It’s wonderful! When you want to make a stew, you just press the button for stew. It pressure cooks it for a preset time and keeps it warm when the time’s up, all done silently. I cook pintos on a fairly regular basis, and there’s a bean button for that. Today I’ve cooked garbanzos for hummus. Yum!


I’m still experimenting with some small pieces that I hope will be at least kind of three dimensional. What’s going on in your part of the world? Working on any habits? New something around the house? Cooking anything different? 



More cross work

On the loom

They’re baaack

Well, I’ve written about this before. Crosses. The design below has been modified during the weaving process, mainly because of mathematical errors. Yep, no mathematician here! Then there was digging all of the yarns out, finding enough of the various colors to complete each section. Believe me, I have been counting square inches and weighing yarns to make sure there was enough to weave a stripe. Because blacks might look alike, when you weave different dyelots, there’s always a line of demarcation. That won’t be a problem with the stripes because each stripe can be a different dyelot.

Crosses, stripes, border

The middle section is a totally different story

I needed more black that matched for the middle section. First, I looked at two different local yarn stores, but found nothing suitable. That means dyeing. And it’s been really cold. Now, I apologize for that statement to all of you who have had all the really cold and snowy weather for the last few weeks, but for North Texas, it’s been cold. 14 and 16 degrees at night is unusual for us. Highs in the 30s–maybe--is cold for us. And I had to clean the dyepots before doing the dyeing. 30 degrees! They were really in need of cleaning, but not as bad as the image suggests. Lots of reflection going on in the stainless steel sides. The actual dyeing was a relief; at least it involved fire!

Cleaning the pots

These crosses were originally designed with each arm being 4 inches wide, with 2 inch posts. Not sure about the vocabulary here, so here’s an illustration. However, that design changed as I mapped things out so that they would fit on the width of the warp. The cross width is a little over 3 inches, but the other numbers are the same.

cross measurements

Frankly, after the holidays, house guests, it’s hard for me to get back into the swing of things, but the weaving is back, as is the hard weaving bench. I’m also trying to spend some time working on some 3-D pieces. Those are pure experimentation, so we’ll see if they ever see the light of day.


Seems to be a mild obsession

Dynamic Rectangle

First of all,

I seem to have a mild obsession with the cross shape, a shape that’s been around long before it became a symbol for Christianity. Of course, the shape I am mostly talking about is not a Christian cross, but just a cross. However, even that basic shape has many iterations.

Equequal armed crossal Armed Cross – The Equal-Armed Cross, also referred to as the square cross, the balanced cross, and the peaceful cross, is a name for the Greek Cross when this is found in ancient cultures, predating Christianity. The equal armed cross was well known as a sacred symbol. It is often interpreted as representing either the four seasons, four winds, four elements, or some other aspect of physical nature.

An equal-armed cross (often within a circle) represents the planet Earth in traditional astrological-astronomical symbols. The cross could also be used to represent the natural union between male and female.

As I’ve researched ancient symbols (I’m also very fond of the spiral), I ran across Brigid’s Cross. I’m especially fond of it and would like to experiment with a variation of it. 

A lot happens between the drawing board to the actual weaving

As you can see from the above drawing of a dynamic rectangle, I was experimenting with a version of nested equal armed crosses. The actual cross drawing was scanned into the computer, where I was able to play around with color.


Below is the actual result of the weaving. I don’t remember about adding the purple stripes at top and bottom, but I do remember about the stripe in the middle. My mind kept saying “crossroad” in my head, so the “road” was added.

Crossroad, hand-dyed wool yarns, tapestry, 43.5″ x 74.75″, private collection

 Why this discussion now?

As I said, there seems to be a mild obsession with this shape. This nested cross then morphed into bunches of individual crosses, all equal armed, but the nesting idea continued to incubate. Next time, more of the individual crosses, and later, finally, the nested version of right now.


Rejection and Acceptance

I have a friend who has been urging me to apply for the Sun Valley Arts and Crafts Festival. Applying for this event requires that one goes through all the machinations requirements of Zapplication, which means formatting your photographs, etc. After looking at the list of artists (who wouldn’t like to be in the company of this group of artists?), I applied. One of the nicest rejection letters ever arrived in my inbox. I’m not just “not invited,” I have been “selected as an alternate.” For the CraftTexas show I had to use a different entry process through CaFE. Wish these guys would reach some sort of agreement on formatting photos!

CraftTexas 2010

Purple Haze

Purple Haze

September 25-January 9, 2011                                    


Ancient Symbol

I entered three pieces into two different shows, after making sure there would be no overlap. It’s always interesting what gets accepted and what does not. The following two pieces were accepted into the CraftTexas 2010 exhibit. I had entered a piece into this show before with no luck. They require a résumé in addition to the usual artist statement. I have to admit, that I didn’t do much with either of those items that first time, and yet I was still disappointed when I was rejected! Imagine that! Above are the two pieces that were accepted this year.

Fiber Celebration 2010



Entering the following show was a comedy of errors. The week that the entry had to be submitted was the week that we had our record-breaking snow here in Texas. Snow of any kind is rare, but we had inches and inches at that time. I went to the photographer in the morning when the streets were fine, but by the time I got back to my neighborhood, I got stuck in the snow. With some guidance, I was able to make a wide circle and come down my street from another direction, and park in front of the house. I prepared the CD for mailing, but could not get out to mail it. Thankfully, on the deadline day, I was able to very slowly drive to the post office and mail the CD. For this show, Ancient Symbol and Journey were accepted.

Fiber Celebration 2010

Tointon Gallery for the Visual Arts
Union Colony Civic Center
651 10th Avenue
Greeley, CO 80631
June 4 through July 11, 2010

The Redbuds are Coming! um…Here!

RedbudI love this time of year when the redbuds peak out—from hidden areas along the side of the road and from the woods. As I write, I am listening to the winds blow at about 27 mph. The forecast for tomorrow is rain. WhiteCrosses_purple_limeThe piece above was cut off the loom Wednesday, and I took this picture without consideration of how it will hang. The lime or purple sections will be top and bottom-or bottom and top—don’t know yet. So, turn your head to the side and help me decide which way it should hang. Here it is with lint, warps needing weaving, and hemming to be done.

I think I’m kind of in a funk weaving-wise. Can’t really focus on what I want to do next, so I think it’s break time. Time to tackle other things that are on the list. Maybe repetitive tasks like mowing, pruning, and—gasp!—cleaning will give my mind time to wander and THE idea will pop into my head. But, boy, do I hate to not be weaving!


Here’s the current work as of March 24. I wanted to get a picture before the green went around the bend, so to speak. In the enlarged version, you may be able to discern a row of knots in the green section. Since this piece is fairly small (30 inches), I decided to hem it. The knots mark the line for turning up the hem. Below the real picture is the computer-generated drawing of what the design should look like. As you can see, I am working from top to bottom this time. You may also realize that I decided against doing these in weft-faced ikat. I wanted to get to work weaving right away, not wrap ikat first.WhiteCrosses3_24_10  White_crosses_finalBelow is a picture I saw that appealed to me—totally gratuitous—just like the picture.


Warts and all…

Path to the Sun, Wall Gallery

This should have been finished at least two weeks ago, but here it is, warts and all. I’m going to tie the warp back on so that I can be ready for the next project, whatever it might be.

Ancient Symbols II, wool tapestry, 22″ x 3752.5″

Ancient Symbols, wool tapestry, 22″ x 46.5″

I’m thinking ikat, at the moment, the same approximate size as this one. I’m continuing with the crosses from the previous pieces, except with weft-faced ikat.

Later, I have some zigzag designs and/or some designs incorporating squares. Zigzags will probably win out.

I’ve decided to play with design elements until the well runs dry—either permanently or temporarily.


Red_Yellow_crossesDavid Wharton, my photographer, called and said he had made it to his studio, so I went in earlier than planned. It was exhilarating to not only have these pieces finished, but to have their pictures ready!

As I left, the snow was coming down harder, so I made only one other stop, and headed home. The streets in my little neighborhood had not been traveled, so the going was tough. In front of my house the street is fairly flat, but then starts a hill going down.Yellow_Purple_Crosses My driveway is close to the bottom of that hill. I misjudged everything (remember, this is Texas; we’re not used to driving on snow), and couldn’t slow down enough for the turn into the driveway. So, I turned the corner and couldn’t get up the next hill. I backed down, but was afraid that I’d end up in a ditch. While in the process of calling a tow truck, a kind lady stopped and guided me in backing up so that I could make a wide circle around a couple of blocks, then park in front of my house. This kind person used to drive a truck and was very helpful.

Meditation2This snow-driving kind of put a damper on my exhilaration, but it’s still nice to have all that work over with and the pictures made.

Now for another hard part—thinking of titles. But at least that is something that sits in the mind while sitting at the loom.

Ta Da! Off the Loom

Crosses_scanned Crosses_off_loom

Now this is certainly not a great picture, but I’m excited to have these off the loom! They are still joined together, and, as usual, the colors aren’t true in the picture. My time will be spent doing finish work for a while—I’ve got five pieces now that need steaming, and either hemming or needle weaving. I am going to tie the warp back on the loom in the next day or two for the next piece (to be decided). Since I did several designs of about the same sizes, I can tie on and then make the decision of what to weave. And, hey, maybe I should sweep around the loom! I’ve really got to get the finishing done because there are a couple of shows here in Texas that have entries due soon.

Reading (Listening) I’ve finished listening the audio book The Swan Thieves. The book is 565 pages long, and the audio version is 18 hours. It’s a little slow in the beginning and never moves through the plot quickly, but it is interesting. It is about art through a psychiatric patient, his doctor, and the women in the patient’s life. I keep thinking about how I still don’t know how I feel about this book, but the fact that I keep thinking about it tells me something. Have you ever seen a movie that you keep thinking about even though you didn’t like it much? To me, that means the movie was good in the sense that it was thought-provoking.

Now, for a little fun, take a look at these here and here. They are the work of Elaine Bradford—taxidermy and crochet—at the Houston Craft Center.  They’re infectious.  Love the images. 

The Fun Part

Crosses#2I’m finally at the fun part!  The tapestry part. This is the second piece that will be similar in design to the first one, but with very different colors.  Below is my rough design with color and my working notes.  I estimated my dye formulas and dyed the yarn.  The actual yarn colors aren’t exactly the colors planned, but I just kept laying out my yarns until I found combinations I liked.  After taking Jennifer Moore’s Mathemagical workshop, I realized that what I’d designed was basically a dynamic rectangle. That being said, the drawings got a little truncated in the scanning process.Crosses_scanned