We may get some rain today, but most of February has been like spring. Rather than worry and complain about drought, I've been taking advantage of the exceptional warmth to cut back wayward blackberry vines, rake pine needles, and to create this inviting outdoor space for spinning, dulcimer-playing, and soaking in the view. The bench is flanked by a stump table and a hollowed stump planted with poppies. I constructed an earth loom (left) of cottonwood and manzanita branches. I will weave in sheep wool and grasses and various outdoor finds for the birds to pick at.
I first saw an outdoor loom like this at Fiber Fusion in Chico last fall. Baskets of yarns and ribbons were set out for people to weave on the loom. I immediately wanted one in some space at the farm. You can find manufactured "garden looms" and "earth looms" for sale, but I prefer the rustic, raw quality of this one.
Here's the one at Fiber Fusion:
My next one might be fancier, like this one, but for now I'd better get outside and weave a little, as the storm clouds are rapidly rolling in...
While perhaps not an obsession, weaving has certainly taken hold of my life and time. I partially blame Craigslist, though I suppose I could resist checking it online every weekend...
It so happens that my son, Josh, lives in a treasure-trove-of-fiber- tools region, and was willing to pick up yet another loom for me.
We went hiking in our back woods to celebrate.
Had to make it up to the manzanita grove, sit and listen to the wind and birds.
As for weaving, I had to just admire the new loom for awhile, let it settle into it's place in my studio, and also finish a scarf on my table loom. Two weeks later and I've finally got the new (to me) Schacht Baby Wolf loom dressed for making a scarf. I'll be able to do much larger projects, but I wanted to start with something simple.
So much fun! And I really do think I'm done buying fiber tools for awhile... Josh will be grateful.
Celebrate serendipity! While perusing Craigslist, Medford last summer, I found a Schacht 15" table loom for $20! My son, Josh, who lives in Ashland, was able to pick it up for me, but it stayed with him through the fall. At Christmastime, I finally got to meet my loom.
After the delightful clamor of the holidays died down, I spent a day watching youtube videos of warping a loom, as it had been awhile since I'd done that.
I've been sitting at my new loom for 10-20 minutes at a time for 3 days now and am ready to take off my first scarf.
I had been trying to keep it simple, just spinning and knitting. Then I added felting, which opened up whole new avenues for creativity. Now my imagination is on overdrive with weaving ideas. I had already planned to weave some small tapestries this year on my tapestry loom, and with the addition of this table loom, I'll probably be weaving scarves as well.
I also had to reorganize my studio space to make room for the loom, to be able to weave without clutter all around. My beautiful baskets from Ghana were taking up a lot of floor space. Hmmm... how to make more space? Hang them from the ceiling! I got some scrap 1x2s, some cup hooks, and voila!
Now I have plenty of space, and a room/loom with a view!
Every nook and cranny on the farm needs work. Constantly. Old, fix-it areas, new project areas. And there is never enough time, and the decision of where to start is rarely clear. Sometimes, the inspiration comes from elsewhere.
Three weeks ago I went to Fiber Fusion in Chico, for fiber inspiration (and a few goodies). This wonderful loom was set up at the entrance to the booths.
When I left to drive home, the weaving was partway done. I was inspired to do a garden loom at home. With wood cutting, sheep and llama tending, fleece washing, and house chores, I haven't yet gotten to it. I'm still inspired, though, and I did revive the nouveau rustic garden I had started with finds from the sheep pasture.
Not exactly Sunset Magazine, but it amuses me, and amazes me that all this stuff was left by predecessors to the farm.
Note the madder plants (for dyeing) in the background. The next thing on my to-do list: harvest roots for dyeing. My feeble indigo plants, the ones that survived squirrel and turkey attacks, did not survive the 19-degree temperatures these past few mornings, so I will have to wait another year for blue. Hope to have my garden loom up before then...