Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mountains of denim . . . . .

 .  .  .  .  .  okay, maybe more like molehills of denim!  But I have lots of denim to cut and then weave up.  That isn't a bad thing because I love the way denim strips look when woven into rugs, placemats, runners, coasters and even bags.  So many uses!  But I have a box of denim scraps taking up storage space that I need for other things.  So  .  .  .  .  .

 .  .  .  .  .  I am starting with a batch of coasters on my table loom.  Inspiration threading, my favorite go-to pattern is my choice for this warp.  I'm not sure if this pattern has another name but I have seen many inspired weavings done in this proven pattern and have used it over and over myself.

I had just enough fabric cut into strips for this small project.  Now that we are back to warm weather I will be setting up the cutter out on the screen porch to strip out the rest of the denim in the box. Lots of cutting and lots of denim dust - a job best done outdoors when possible.

This coaster warp matches two denim runners woven earlier in the same threading pattern and colors.  These runners are already listed in the Fringe Fiber shop, so check them out there.

I have been putzing along at these but, in fact, they do really weave up quickly.  I will finish these with a simple machine stitched edge.  Hopefully, several sets of these coasters will be in the shop soon.

 Enjoy your summer days  .  .  .  .  . I will be checking back in soon!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

More transitions . . . . .

My parent's house sold this week, a sad event to be sure.  But we have had some time to prepare for this transition because Mom and Dad have been living together in a care facility for almost a year and a half.  My 3 sisters and I cleaned out their house, had a garage sale and put the house on the market this past summer.

I have been back in that sad house several times over the past months when I go to Nebraska to visit.  I slept on the floor of that empty house, full of memories, one weekend.  That was hard and I only did it once.  I have said my goodbyes to our family home in the span of those months when we worked on it and when it sat empty with a "For Sale" sign in the yard.  It has become just a building.

On one of my most recent visits I stopped but did not go inside.  Instead I walked around the yard where my folks spent so much time and energy.  Yes the yard still has a hold on me.  I touched the little spot in the front yard that Dad had once helped me "garden" when I was 8 or 9 years old.  I transplanted wild violets and though Dad warned me they might not survive the move, we nursed them to bloom.  Then I picked the flowers for Mom.

I touched the clothes line posts, the cherry tree where our kids picked cherries for Grammie, the lamp post that stands where the old birch tree used to grow beside the swing set.  I walked down the front corner embankment where once I jumped, on the run to Grandma's house, and fell.  I still have a scar on my side!  And, yes, our paternal grandparents lived on the corner across the street.  Another reason our ties to this neighborhood are so strong.

But time stops for no man, or woman.  My only connections to this place have been my birth family and my memories.  My life has been somewhere else for a long time.  I will always love my family and treasure those memories, good and bad.  But the house is just a building now.  A house that will hopefully be someone else's home someday.  I have a family of my own, as do my sisters.  We still have Mom and Dad with us in this time and space.  And life goes on, as it should.
I hope the home that Patrick and I have created in our place in the world is rich with memories for our kids.  And in the end it will be the memories that will help to carry them forward, too.

I have been thinking a lot about "place" and our connections to all the places in our lives, how we interact with place and are a part of place and can take comfort from those places we love.  Here are some recent beautiful words from author, Mary Pipher.  This is part of an editorial she wrote for OP ED NEWS.COM.  Her thoughts on place have helped me.  Thank you, Mary. 

"Place by definition, is geographical.  A real place is filled with stories and sensation, possibilities for action and engagement and opportunities for contemplation and bliss.  Life has always been difficult but this present moment is difficult in entirely new ways.  The craziness is in the culture, but each of us must find our own answers for how to be as happy and whole as possible.  The place to begin is by being present where you are.  Breathe deeply, look around your surroundings, touch something, and make something good happen in the place where you are."    -Mary Pipher

Monday, January 19, 2015

New items in Fringe Fiber . . . . .

I am in my hibernation mode this month.  The dark and cold weather just slows me down.  I was meant to be a bear perhaps.  I rallied all my energy and finally got photos taken of some completed weavings.  These will be listed in the shop later this week.

 I really think this soft but bright and cheerful table runner would be perfect for a Valentine's Day party. It is made with a mix of red and hot pink yarns and soft, knobby sock loops.  Just fun! 

This set of denim coasters  has a blue and coppery brown warp and is woven alternating denim strips with a two plied chenille yarn.  A nice warm touch with the blue denim!

Then I have several sets of these black with two shades of warm beige warp threads which are woven with a fabric strip that has the same colors.  The fabric was not an animal print but the finished woven product definitely has that look - maybe leopard skin!!!  

So I am weaving a bit while I basically hibernate through this month.  I may come out of hiding in February and that would be a good thing because it is hard to be very productive when you are doing the winter bear thing!!

Hope it is sunny and a bit warmer than Minnesota where you are.  Spring will come .  .  .   carry on! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thoughts at a new year's beginning . . . . .

I am thinking a lot about transitions with the approaching beginning of a new year.  My family speaks to so many of life's transitions right now.  My husband, Patrick, and I are 63 years old, our son, Joseph is 28, daughter Celia, 25, my mother is 82 and my dad, 86.  What a span of years we represent! And with that span we are experiencing some of life's most challenging transitions.

Joseph and Celia are navigating those wonderful years of young adulthood -- new jobs, relationships, finances and responsibilities!  Patrick and I are contemplating when and how to spend our fast approaching retirement years.  And my parents have this past year been overwhelmed by advancing age and uncooperative bodies with health issues that have led to their move to a nursing home.  

The emotions in our household are sometimes a bit over-the-top.  Some days I want to step on the brakes and shout that I am not ready for any of this.  How did we get here?

But of course, there is much joy and pride in watching Joseph and Celia grow and make the choices that are shaping their lives.  Somedays we just cheer for them -- go for it! great job!!

Patrick and I talk a lot about our upcoming retirement years with a sense of optimism even if it is all a bit uncertain now.  We have many decisions to make and we are fortunate to have options.

My parents' options, of course, have diminished.  It is a hard process to watch and be a part of, but we feel lucky to still be sharing this time and space with them.  We treasure each day.

Every day brings news from one front or another and we all just hold each other up when needed, cheer the victories and weather the defeats.  In this new year we will keep moving forward together. Grateful.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mini Collection: Up North


Here is my tiny Mini Collection.  I believe it is number 8, a collection of little objects from nature found on a short walk at Gull Lake last weekend.

We were staying at a cabin on the shore of Gull Lake near Nisswa, MN with our dear friends Bryan and Michele Kinghorn.  It was our 2nd annual fall rendezvous in the Minnesota north country.

Bryan and Michele live in Omaha, NE where they own and operate a landscape business, Kinghorn Gardens.  Because of the seasonal demands of their business we have taken our trips together in the late fall.  This year was cold and windy.  We had to cut our stay a day short because of an approaching snow storm.  None of us could risk getting stranded at the lake, as nice as that sounds, or much worse, somewhere on the road.

But the time we had together was wonderful - relaxing but stimulating, reinforcing all the reasons we love them!  It was good times with good friends.

Mini collection #8 was photographed on the ground outside our cabin and all the pretty little treasures remain lakeside.  This is hard for me to do - leave those sweet things behind.  So this collection will be mine as a photo only.  Enjoy, it speaks of the lakeside in Minnesota in November.  Awesome!!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I am still here . . . . . . . .

Yes, I am still here. We made it through the winter and I have let all of the summer pass without checking in here at all. The time has been filled with the ever-present distractions of our work-a-day worlds and taking care of hearth and home. 

Our kids fill our hearts with the joys and trials of their busy young lives. Celia is now engaged to her young man, Jakob. They are planning a wedding in a little over a year and both are busy with demanding jobs. Joseph keeps our heads spinning with his musical adventures. He is just now off to Buffalo, NY to play with the symphony there after spending the summer in Vermont at the Marlboro Chamber Music Festival.

Patrick and I have both celebrated birthdays in the past 6 weeks and we are toying with ideas for retirement.  Though it is still a few years down the road we want to plan ahead, check out lots of options and prepare for change.  Change is good!  Share your best ideas and advice, please.

My fiber life has been all but nonexistent the past 8 months! That may be contributing to my undercurrent of restlessness. So I am resolving to use the burst of renewal I always feel in the fall to get back to the fiber art activities that I love.

Here is the beginning of a new stitched piece. I have been playing with random stitches and color, just using sewing thread and designing as I go. Trying to be spontaneous on this little trial piece. I promise a picture of the completed work soon!

Happy fall . . . . . keep creating . . . . . I will be back soon.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Getting through the winter . . . . . .

At last today we have a promise of spring - warmer temperatures and some sunshine to help us believe we will truly see the season change!  We are still feeding the birds to keep them going through this long cold time.  Mostly our little winter friends visit the feeders here, chickadees, nuthatches, finches, juncos and cardinals.  It is so nice to watch the activity from the kitchen window.

 I am still playing with more paperweaving.  This appeals to me and I am not inclined to resist.  I guess that means there will always be little snippets of nicely colored papers littering my workspace.  I retrieve "pretty" paper from many sources so that I always have a supply that can be cut.  Sometimes this simple activity is just all that I can handle after a day at work in the office cube.  But it is also just that bit of therapeutic weaving that soothes the body and mind.

The days are getting longer so we actually make it home in time to see the sunsets.They are very quiet and serene in color these days and oh, so beautiful!   Enjoy.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mini Collection #7: paper weaving

I have always loved to make paper weavings.  You all must remember making construction paper weavings in elementary school, too.  I was hooked on weaving from that time forward!

I often can't resist cutting scraps of paper into strips and weaving them into tiny mats right on the spot as I clean up from one project or another.  This is a very zen-like activity for me and is inspirational, too.  These small experiments have led to larger scales projects, some of which I will share here in the future.

This group of white paper weavings contains one of my favorites, the bottom example, which has strips of paper that have basically been "spun' into paper yarn by rolling them in my hands.  I have also spun paper on my spinning wheel but I can't say that I really enjoyed that technique.  Perhaps I just haven't found the right paper for the wheel.

There are the two pieces in this group that are technically not weavings but they serve the same purpose.  The little notebook and the spun paper collage will lead to other projects in the same vein, I am sure.

I love the idea of not throwing all my paper scraps in the trash - instead, finding a use for every bit - reduce, recycle, reuse!  I will be showing other paper weavings here because so many beautifully colored papers show up in the mail, in magazine advertising cards,  and in shopping fliers . . . .who can resist those color exercises.

. . . . and, just like in elementary school, it is just plain fun!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Winter goes on . . . . . but the weaving is good!

So much snow here in Crystal, MN.  We had another ten inches yesterday and overnight.  I am getting extra exercise from shoveling and I feel like my last two months of working on the weight circuit at the gym has helped me get in shape for flinging snow!  We must be close to 60 inches of snowfall for this season!  We are running out of room to pile it all.

February finds me in the midst of a flurry of placemat and coaster activity on my weaving schedule -- hopefully a time of finishing placemats and coasters.  I was very slow-pokey about tying the fringes on the multi colored mats shown here.   They have been off the loom for some time now (I'm not confessing to exactly how long that has been!).  But they are finished now and will be in the Etsy shop this weekend.  Yay!

Going onto the MaComber 8 harness loom this weekend is this warp combination for rag placemats that should be warm and rich.  These burgandy, rust and coppery brown warp yarns will weave up beautifully with the brownish purple rag.  I am excited to see these take shape!

Poor Maxi-puppy must feel like he is in a maze in the backyard.  He really cannot see over the sides of the paths that we have shoveled for him.  He has lost sight of his favorite neighbors, Sandy and Brad, though he still tries to catch a glimpse.

These photos were taken before our additional ten inches of snow last night.  Now we just have to hope for an early spring so Maxi can escape this claustrophobic backyard!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

holidays again, already . . . . . .

. . . . . and Patrick and I are grateful to have another season to enjoy our family.  Joseph is here from Florida and we have seen Celia and Jakob multiple times during the past two weeks.  We feel so lucky to have our kids here with us whenever it is possible!

. . . . . we have enjoyed time with friends and extended family, shared food and drinks and holiday cheer.

. . . . . if the weather cooperates we will see my Mom and Dad in Nebraska sometime while Joseph is here and Celia is available.  This will be the best holiday gift for my folks as much time passes between their visits with our young people!

. . . . . wishing you all the joys of the season. I am looking with hope and optimism to the new year.

Happy 2014