Quillin Weaving

A blog about spinning, dyeing and fiber related things.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Black is the color of the day! I am working on a black chenille scarf that has variegated highlights. My friend George thinks it must be for him, after all it is his color. What is it about cats and weaving? The other cat, Murphy loves to lay under the loom as I am weaving and sometimes he chatters to it the same way he chatters to birds in the garden. All the animals in our household, two cats and a dog all seem very at home with the yarn and rhythm of weaving. Lay something down that has just come off the loom and they immediately take possession of it. I can't complain about these three, they have never destroyed anything I've made, they just seem very curious to see what I spend all this time working on. It must be special because it means I'm not spending time with THEM!

The days are getting shorter now and the light is lovely here in New Mexico. Perhaps because our humidity is so low we get incredible turquoise skies and fushia dawns. My favorite is late in the day when the light is golden and it brushes the tops of the tall grasses here on the plains. The shadows are blue and the contrast seems impossible. It has been warm this fall here and yesterday afternoon I spent some time watching the ravens ride the thermals. There were hundreds of them swirling in a great vortex several hundred feet in the air. I could hear them calling to each other.

May all your days be magical.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and most especially to my dear one who is on the other side of the world in Afghanistan this holiday. We here in the States have much to be thankful for and those of us involved with fiber arts should give thanks daily for all the beautiful threads that exist in this world. Giving thanks is always a choice and choice is what this fourth keyform is all about. When I made mine I made it as a holder for my scissors beause what would represent choice more to a weaver than scissors? This keyform reaches back into history to the belt worn by the ancient goddess Ishtar or Astarte that symbolizes the power of choice. The ancients believed their gods held the power of choice over their lives in much the same way as the three Fates that the Romans and Greeks wove into their legends. The first fate was a spinner and her symbol was the drop spindle, the second one was the weaver and the third was in charge of cutting the cloth or string, which represented death. That last one was why everyone wanted to stay on the good side of the Fates.
Back to choice. Choice is always difficult because it is never easy to see down the road and know just where your choices will take you. From a spiritual standpoint every choice has repercussions on many levels. As I move into this hectic holiday season I will try to make choices that are not harmful to others and that allow me some peace as well.
The special orders are almost finished and the Christmas Gallery opens here tomorrow. Blessings to you all.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I've been measuring warp today. Three projects off the warping board this morning. It is going to be a busy week with the holiday right in the middle. Yesterday afternoon I started helping with the checking in of artwork for our local art association Christmas gallery. All those beautiful items made by some of the talented local artists made me want to come home and MAKE THINGS! One of the things I love about art is that a painting can inspire a weaving, and hopefully vice versa. I am grateful to be part of this group of people. They inspire me, encourage me and put up with me when I have once again managed to get both feet in my mouth.

I am almost through with the next project from Zati, Weaving a Life. It was an easy project to make but the thinking it provoked was anything but simple. I was reminded again that I am not good at setting boundaries in my life. That I continue to agree to do things I really don't want to and have no one to blame but myself. Perhaps I'll have to make a new year's resolution about that.

May your weaving and your life be free of tangles.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The doll is the third keystone in the book, Zati, Weaving a Life by Susan Barrett Merrill. It took me several days to make her, all the time thinking that she was going to be a wise old crone. When finished she turned out to be my fearless twin! I can hear her saying "What are we waiting for?" The doll is supposed to mirror a part of ourselves that we need greater access to and in this she succeeds. This doll has attitiude and courage to boot.

In making her I placed a stone in the base to provide stability. The stone I choose came from high in the Rocky Mountains, from a place I love and hold dear to my heart. She is also stuffed with lavender and wool, for peace and warmth. In making her I am trying to understand why I don't follow my dreams more closely, what is it that I'm truly afraid of? What am I waiting for? What will it take for me to have that courage? More on that as I find the answers.

There are red scarves on my small loom and an indigo shawl on the big loom. Christmas is just around the corner.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Creativity was the issue at hand all this past weekend. Our art association hosted a workshop by Renee Steger Simpson www.reneestegersimpson.com on accessing creativity and finding new ways to see your art. While Renee works in visual media and I usually work in fiber, I found many ideas to inspire me with my weaving in the future. Probably the most inspiring thing about being around Renee is that she incorporates art into all facets of her life, it doesn't just live in the studio. She made me want to spend every minute of the day making my world more creative.

I also discovered Kim Antieau's new/old blog on the Church of the Old Mermaids. This blog is about the book Kim is writing, but the Old Mermaids have become so much more on the internet. http://oldmermaids.blogspot.com They are a philosophy of compassion and creativity and honoring the sacred in your life, in whatever form you find it. We need more old mermaids out there in the world.

Yes, this blog is still about weaving. The weaving on the looms continues apace here with red scarves on the small loom and a blue special order shawl being measured for the warp on the large loom. All this art and creativity weaves its way into my life and makes it much richer. This window on the world that we call the internet allows us to weave so many more lives together.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Several days ago I posted a picture of the turquoise warp on the Herald loom. This is the finished shawl. I wove two, just alike on that warp. The shawl is woven in two pieces and sewn together in the back to form a V. Cotton is good for spring and fall wear and I think the turquoise will go with a lot of different things.

This weekend the Llano Estacado Art Association is hosting a workshop by Renee Steger Simpson. She is an artist from Lubbock who draws a series of characters known as "Snooty Women." She is leading a full day workshop in creativity. We are going to journal, paint, collage and inspire each other. Maybe I will come up with some new ideas for the weaving.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A little Purple for your Thursday! This is one of the many chenille scarves I am weaving for the upcoming art association Christmas Gallery in my home town. The purple is an amethyst color and the variegated yarns that are the accents have a lovely teal in them that just comes forward at odd intervals in the scarf. I love the beauty of randomness in weaving and in the universe in general. It reminds me that there is something larger than we are at work in our lives. The best projects have some kind of random beauty built in and the final outcome is always a surprise.

We are having Indian Summer here on the plains. It was so warm at dawn I did not need much of a coat for my walk with my dear darling Frisbee. She has been under the weather this week, so our walk was not a long one. The cottonwoods in the park have lost most of their leaves and we happily shuffled through them feeling the breeze and listing to the ravens overhead.

May your day be filled with random beauty and the haunting call of ravens overhead.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

This is the seven stick Journey Loom made by Susan Barrett Merrill and her husband from

www.weavingalife.com I ordered the loom at the same time as the book, Zati, The Art of Weaving A Life. This little loom has all kinds of possibilities because it is small enough to carry around and can be disassembled with the weaving still attached. It came in a bag/carrier that is a work of art itself -- full of little pockets and places for the sticks, nuts and bolts and other things you would need to take with you on your journey through life.

The bowl is the second of the keyforms on the spiritual trail in the book. It weaves as a flat piece and then becomes a bowl off the loom by drawing up the warp threads and tying them. I was fascinated by this idea. Of course next time I want the bowl to be BIGGER! I used Donegal wool for the warp and Kureyon from Halcyon Yarn for the weft. www.halcyonyarn.com

This is a more close up view with three and a half of the five diamond shapes already woven.

Here is the bowl finished with some flourite crystals in it. You can see that it is not very large but since it is intended as a holder for intention and focus, it doesn't need to be huge. Like the amulet bag, the bowl serves to remind us on our spiritual trek to be open to receiving the gifts of our journey. It is also for me the symbol of gratitude and I like to think of filling it with all the thoughts, hopes and dreams I am grateful for. My life is very full and I am grateful for every part of it.

Soon more scarves! Purple this time!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Today is the full moon. On my calendar this moon is listed as the Mourning Moon. Perhaps it is so named this year because it falls so close to the Day of the Dead and All Hallows Eve. Certainly this is the time of year to honor those who have gone before us and the dying of the year that is mirrored in the landscape.
I have finished the first project from Susan Barrett Merrill's book Zati: The Art of Weaving a Life. It is an amulet bag. In history an amulet bag was like a concentration of intention, held together in a very small bag or bundle. Traditionally a stone, pollen, shells, feathers or any other sacred items could be included that would represent the intention of the maker and/or wearer. For this bag I followed the instructions that placed a red thread at the center of the weaving. The red reminds me to remain centered in my life. That only when my mind is calm and my heart centered can I make the right decisions and see life in the right way -- to follow the sacred path. I tried to keep that in mind as I wove the little bag. It is made entirely from wool as it seemed to me that something with intention to honor the natural world should be made of natural fibers. The two little light colored beads at the top of the bag are made from hand carved bone. I put them on the necklace part before braiding it together and was amused to find that they ended up looking like two little souls
who had come to ride along in the bag. They seem happy enough so I left them. The rest of the fringe (I do like fringe!) sports small glass red beads. These red beads remind me of the red thread that runs through the weaving representing the sacred path, and like life, the sacred is scattered all around us.
This bag has inspired me to make more, in fact I think it could become addictive!
On this beautiful fall day my wish for you is that you may walk your sacred path with peaceful heart and a happy soul.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Someone told me recently that turquoise is the new neutral! Well, I don't know if I would go that far, but everyone who has been in my studio in the past week has commented on the beautiful turquoise warp currently on my Herald loom. The warp is 25" wide, although it looks more narrow in this picture. It is made up of several types of cotton and will be the parts that get sewn together to make a shawl.

Yesterday in the mail I received a copy of Zati, The art of Weaving a Life by Susan Barrett Merrill. This is one of those books that can change your life, especially if you are a weaver. The copy I have is hand bound and is available on her website www.weavingalife.com but I believe it will be published in a format more available to the public soon. Susan uses weaving as metaphor and takes the reader through seven projects that are also closely aligned with seven steps in the spiritual path. As I make the projects I will post them here, and would love to hear from any of you who are familiar with her work. For those of us who weave, the magic of cloth becoming whole from disjointed pieces of string is nothing short of sacred. I think the weaving community has long needed someone like Susan to speak to us and for us about the importance of what we do in a world that is largely mechanized. The making of things by hand imparts our energy to the object made and thereby sends our energy out into the world. As most of the world philosophies will attest, what you send out is what comes back to you. By sending out our best and most sacred parts of ourselves through our artforms we aim to make the world a better place. Blessings.