Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Finding Balance

I can't believe that it's February all ready! The weather has been cold (for the South) and wet here in Savannah since I think... Thanksgiving! We're ready for steady days of sunshine and 60s or 70s again!

I've been working part-time at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) since early November as a docent (part greeter, educator, school ambassador) in their galleries. Most weeks I've worked 2 full days and 2 half days. Though I love it... I'm hoping to cut back a bit -- to 2 full and maybe an occasional half day, as needed. I'm finding that though I am surrounded by world-class, inspiring artwork, I'm not finding the time to weave as much as I'd like. So... hopefully February will bring fewer hours of outside work... and more hours of weaving. Of course, when the weather changes... I'll want some beach time, too! Alas.. so many wants... it's just finding the right balance...

I'm in the process of warping my loom for a short kimono (haori) jacket for my former art teaching colleague, Peter. I'm using some Condon dark brown wool warp that my dear friend Cindy gave me many, many years ago. I have been using Fiberworks PCW version 4 - Bronze to create my draft. It's been very addictive playing around with the multitude of possibilities... and I think I've settled on a variation of point twills for 8 shafts. The CrossOver program that Syne suggested on Weavezine has allowed me to use this PC program on my Mac very successfully. I am just trying it out now... but think I'll have to purchase it as it's far too much fun! Anyway, I've wound the yarn from 8 skeins to balls and wound the 32" wide x 4 yards of warp sett at 10EPI and threaded it through my 10 dent reed and am ready to begin threading the pattern through the heddles. I'm hoping to get it done to take to him the end of February -- and yes, I know... February is the shortest month!

I finished my felted handspun slippers! I spun the yarn and skeined it many years ago - so long ago that I've forgotten when I did it (it's all about using the stash, right?) I had one skein of dark almost black and one of a medium multi-shaded gray natural wool plyed yarn. I found an adorable pattern on Ravelry called French Press Slippers and easily knit the bottoms of the dark yarn and the sides from the lighter yarn then stitched them together. But... they were humungous! I had added some rows for my extra large feet, but I think my gauge was off.
As I don't own my own washer, I used the condo's and unfortunately there were not enough controls... so they didn't felt very much. So.. I took to the bathroom sink... and hand felted them with some success. It took about 3 different sessions of about 30 minutes each of wringing and adding hot tap water and soap and scrubbing... but...they were still far too long. I then tried the condo's drier and I was getting closer, but they were still not right. I then came to the realization that the only way to make them fit was to take an inch out of the instep and then lace them back together.
The inspiration for lacing came from an exhbition of Contemporary Aftrican artwork in one of SCAD's galleries where I work. An artist by the name of Nicholas Hlobo does very unusual fiber pieces which combine cutting into paper and then lacing it back together (like in football stitches) with seam binding. He also uses rubber in his work. Here is a slideshow of his work.

Anyway... it worked and I now have comfy, warm felted wool slippers that fit beautifully. I stitched on some silver star-shaped earrings instead of buttons that were my mother's old clip ons... so I keep her memory close! (How wabi sabi!) I know these slippers will get lots of wear as they are just the right size now and keep my tootsies toastie.

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