Category Archives: Process

Cold and rainy

It’s a cold, rainy day here, and I’m restless. I don’t want to stay in and do what I’m supposed to. I want to get our and play, maybe go to a museum, a bookstore. I’ve been working hard each and every day with hardly a break. I deserve to play, right?

Coffee out

I did go to the grocery store earlier and took a break for a latte and a bit of reading.

Messy yarn

But this is what I have to tackle to day. And this is only a part of the messy yarn. These are the colors I’ve been using for the last couple of weeks; they’re kind of like paint splatters from making a painting.

Hair clips

However, these hair clips arrived just in time to help me corral all those bits of yarn. Too bad there’s so much pink in this collection. The butterflies are going to be used in another piece with triangles, quadrilaterals, etc.

Off the loom

These pieces are off the loom in all their gloriously unfinished state. The third one has also been cut off the loom. Real pictures later.

This is what I’ve been doing with all my time lately. Finish work. Steaming. Cutting boards. Painting boards. Velcro-ing said boards.

On my list:

–cleaning up the studio
–going through the work for my exhibition at Artspace 111
–making sure all boards are with the right pieces
–steaming everything
–cutting new boards for two pieces so they can hang horizontally

Oh, and by the way, I need titles for these gradation pieces. Help! Suggestions, please.

All but the steaming


This piece is finished, a long haul for me. It’s at 6 epi, and the ends were really difficult to weave in. Plus, this is such a boring task. So boring, in fact, that I did the first end watching made-for-TV movies of Perry Mason. And while doing that finish work, I was mulling over my sett and whether I wanted to continue that, or go back to my roots of wool warp at 4 epi. No matter–there’s still lots of warp left on that back beam for now.

All that’s left is the steaming and a real photo.

While deciding on that weighty issue …

This is what I’m weaving right now, totally spontaneous, with no plan. On a whim, I decided to add the red “stripe” before starting the next bit. The multicolored part is 5 inches and the red is 1/2 inches. Below, I manipulated the image with various rotations to get an idea of how this would look as a full sized piece with both the red and without the red. I still haven’t decided. Frankly, the red bit was just a way of breaking the monotony of deciding colors and making sure things were changing up. The final piece is to be about 30 x 30 inches.

Red border    


 Wanna help me decide? Let me know what you think.

Maybe I should just go outside and work and let this bounce around a bit.


Self-portraits, remembrance

Spring flowers


Besides the arrival of spring, March is remembrance month for me. On March 6, 2011, a very important person in my life died. Every time this anniversary rolls around, I wonder if I shouldn’t do something special in remembrance, but the truth is, that not a day goes by that I don’t think about all of the good times. That’s how I honor him.


WSJ ad

I’ve given this some thought before, but today when I saw this ad again in the Wall Street Journal, I decided it was time to go back and look at my photography class self-portraits. I’ve mentioned this class before. It was one of those between semesters short courses, very intense, and I loved it! We had a key to the darkroom and developed our photos. Remember film?


One of our assignments was to take self-portraits as objects.

Books from school for a degree in Spanish and Education

Since I was in school, I think this particular photo is self-explanatory. The next one includes a Wedding Ring quilt made by my aunt, a Raggedy Ann made by my mother, jeans, perfume (something that I know longer have in my house), and a book on childcare. This was the other half of my life at the time. School and family.

Miscellaneous objects

More self-portraits

Another assignment was a self portrait as a member of the opposite sex. Hmmm…these could be a bit Freudian.



Now obviously, at least to me, I don’t plan on weaving any of these images, but the one about objects that represent ourselves is an interesting thought to pursue. Going back to the WSJ ad…can you envision the outline of a head with images of objects that represent you? What would they be? Could color represent those things as well as the actual objects? What about various shapes? 

What objects represent your life right now? Think about what would have represented you in various decades of your life. How have they changed? Have any remained the same? I’m curious and would really like to know.


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? 



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.


And now for real life

Off the loom

Off the loom

The goal has been completed! It has been cut off the loom. (Green is not my favorite color, so I’m a bit conflicted about this.) Now comes the actual finishing, but for now it rests. Now comes the real life part of my existence. For the next two weeks, taxes must be done. That will be my major goal, obviously, but the brain just cannot do that all day, so there is other catching-up to do–mowing, weeding, planting, studio cleaning, life, etc. And yes, finishing this piece is on the agenda, but first I have to clean off the dining room table, my adjunct studio. That’s the place where the Crazy Monkey is residing for now, all my dye samples, and various other stuff relating to weaving and finishing.

In the midst of all the things that have to get done, there are some things that are good for the soul. One is to have lunch with friends, also on the agenda this week. And weaving–I’ve tied on and started a couple of interim pieces until I have time to get to the “real” work I have in mind. I also made a trip to the big box store for lots of pipe and stuff to make a loom. This is something I started years ago, but walked away. More on that next time.

And now for an image that makes me smile…this is my Kleenex box that sits on my end table. Every time I glance at it, I love it. Maybe adapt this for ikat???

Kleenex box

Kleenex box

Listen to yourself

Cartoon with color ID

Cartoon with color ID

Why oh why don’t I listen to myself? I started a new green combination and thought it just didn’t look right, but of course, it had to be. After all, hadn’t I written down all the colors on the cartoon as I did the first piece? So, how could it be wrong? After weaving three inches, it suddenly hit me…these are the wrong colors!!!! I found the right group and took out three inches. Do you know how long it takes to weave three inches in tapestry? And how long it takes to undo three inches of tapestry? A long time–and then you’ve got to go back and redo that three inches with the correct colors. Fiddlesticks! But it’s done. The loom part by the end of the month! Yes, I know the end of the month is creeping ever closer, like tomorrow.

Since I’ve been working with greens, I went back and looked at the green part of The Color Thesaurus. Ingrid, the creator, has decided to make a poster. I definitely want this poster! If you want to know more about the project, you can sign up here. In fact, you might just want to sign up just to get the “thanks” message. Anyway, I think I’ve used all the greens in her thesaurus, except for pistachio, sage, and seafoam.

If you haven’t seen this video, it’s been tagged by some as everything you’ll ever need to know about color theory. It’s supposed to be embedded, but if it doesn’t come up, click on the first link.

La teoria del coloreLa teoria del colore in 1 minuto e mezzo //

Posted by I Pirati Grafici on Tuesday, February 16, 2016


A yard in town

A yard in town

We had a huge hail storm here last week. The ice falling on my roof woke me around 4:30 AM. Actually, I’m not sure if it was the storm or the fact that the ceiling fan was not whirling that work me. The electricity was out. Then the hail came. I went back to sleep. Because of the storm clouds and no electricity when I got up, the house was dark. I read the newspaper (without my morning coffee) by flashlight. Then I decided to go to town, as I could do nothing around home. The streets in town were covered with leaves and other small tree stuff. Very surprisingly, the yards looked like they were covered with snow. After buying coffee and reading a bit (the bad thing about e-readers is the battery that might not be charged). I needed to go to the grocery store, even though the power was still off, so that I could prepare the gravlax for our monthly spice dinner. I left everything in an insulated bag with lots of ice and waited. Finally, around 3:00 PM the power came back on.

Listening to books while weaving does not completely stop the mind from wandering. Ideas for other weavings, stuff that needs to be done (aka the to-do list), stuff I want to do (aka run away and/or get outside and plant), the news, family, etc. I am well into the second piece, averaging 4-6 inches per day. Not bad. I weighed my remaining yarns and have determined that I will need to dye more H and G. There will be more about that in my newsletter this month.  And also about gravlax. Sign up here.

Screen shot

Screen shot

Total change of subject–a new favorite artist: Jill Powers. The piece on screenshot above is beautiful and it really is quite large–52 x 47. I would love to take her workshop in April, but there are no hotel rooms available. Silly I know, to consider going to Boulder for a one day workshop, but see above about running away.

The hailstorm destroyed my lonely bluebonnet plant and its lonely flower bud, so I’ll have to make do with what I find along the highways. We do love our bluebonnets and other wildflowers here in Texas. Blame it on Lady Bird.

Short trips for wildflowers (with pictures):

The wonderful wildflower farm in the hill country:



Busy making color

The yarn I mentioned before, the Mobelatta, kinks, even though it’s a 2-ply yarn. I have this very interesting happening in the dye process. Below are just a few of the greens I’m trying out. There will be more to fill in holes in the colors I want to use. And some of the below will be deleted from the plan.

Some of the greens I've dyed

Some of the greens I’ve dyed

Here are some more. Yes, extremes in color, but I wanted to show how kinky after rinsing and still wet. From here, I have to find the center of the skein, and give it a few good pops to kind of stretch all the kinks out.

More yarns, more kinkiness

More yarns, more kinkiness

Here are two skeins side by side, one after the pops and the other in its natural kinked self. What I have found interesting is the way the dyes take in the yarn. The color seems slightly wavy as the yarn is. Most be because it kinks up in the dye pot. I like the way it looks, and so far in my sampling, it weaves up beautifully.

Kinked and unkinked

Kinked and un-kinked

Trying something new

Lottery tickets

Lottery tickets

Well, it’s obvious that my word of the year, abundance, did not carry over into the lottery. I seldom buy lottery tickets, but I had to buy gas, and there was all the talk about the Power Ball, so, okay, I succumbed. Don’t judge me.

I have been interested in the four-selvedge technique of weaving a tapestry for quite some time, but when I read the directions, nothing clicked. Maybe my brain just wasn’t ready or whatever, but finally I have read some directions that make sense to me. Of course, the fact that there are lots of pictures available helps. Sarah Swett has a great tutorial on this technique on her blog. Check it out and read her other entries. She is not only a great tapestry weaver and artist, but she also writes quite and interesting blog. There are also some other posts here and there about four-selvedge tapestry.  Two are on the Archie Brennan and Susan Martin Maffei website here and here. Here are some links to posts on Tommye Scanlin’s Tapestry Share blog.

Maybe someday I’ll some pictures of my own efforts, but I think I need to make a jig for measuring the warp. Or find something that I can use in that way. Hmmm….

Have you ever done this? What are you working on? I’d love to hear.