August 27, 2011
I am not sure if it is because of the new digs (home I am living in), the move itself or if I am simply having another creative slump...but nothing seems to work of late. It has been very frustrating.
I do have to admit though, that I have a few more things going on in my life right now also. These may be a bit of a distraction. I am of course working, even if it is only a few hrs. a week. I have also been re-acquainting myself with old friends now that I am back at home in FL. (a social life, go figure). I have also been walking and doing some bike riding, I am determined not to be housebound and if it means I loose a few pounds also, then all the better. But, as usual, I digress.
I still haven't found a satisfactory place to hook up the backstrap. Even when the dresser worked, I couldn't sit in my recliner as I am accustomed to. That chair and I have a system for tensioning, and for where I place my tools between passes, while using that system. The set up at the dresser meant using a different chair, and being kind of set in my ways with it, I can't seem to get comfortable with it. Backstrap weaving never came particularly easily to me and once I got a system down, after months and months of effort, I really struggled here with a new set up.
So I took out the pine needle basket weaving supplies, sort of. I couldn't find any pine needles on the ground! Can you believe that? I am living in beautiful Oak hammock, instead of the pine forest as I have for much of my life. So I called my friend Buzzy, who lives in the forest (and has tools, he made my tapestry loom years ago) and off we went. Still no decent needles on the ground, so he cut me some limbs. So for now the needles are outside drying.
I also cut some new-growth palm and tried spitting it and coiling with it. Don't really care for the whitish color, or the lack of pine smell. I also like that the pine needles are smaller (smaller in size here than in GA) and compact for space in my work area. Palm fronds are larger by far.
So, now I needed some centers for starting the baskets for when everything is dried and ready. We sliced two tree limbs, one Pine and the other I believe is Aspen, and Buzzy drilled wholes around them so I now have them curing in a window sill. For now everything is curing, so no pine needle basket weaving.
Back to the loom...
Part of the problem I had with the pipe loom was the fact that my threaded rods in the sides (for tensioning) were waaaayyyyyyyy too long. My spare set had nuts welded to one end (that is another story entirely) and that end would not fit inside the pipe, and of course they were too long also.
Got my roommate to dig out his hack saw and help me cut them to size, which also eliminated the nuts. Wala! New threaded rods, no cost to me.
Then I took the backstrap loom, with a warp for double weft double weave already on it, and wrapped it around the pipe loom frame. In this case the warp was a little on the short side so I had to improvise (the next one will be the appropriate length and I will simply tie the warp bars to each other on the back) on how I mounted it to the frame. Lots of lashing cords. Basically it is alot like using a Navajo loom, but nicer in that it has tension rods in the sides.
Then I tried to lean it against my weaving table, and it kept pushing the little table away from me...hmmmm...Brainstorming.....hmmmm....I placed 2 large C clamps on the far side of the table, and laid the far end of the loom on TOP of the clamps. This gave me a slight slant to the loom, I like that. I pulled the table closer to me and put my feet inside of it, as I always have to keep it from moving around while weaving, pulled it up to my lap and WOW...I think this is gonna work.
I did have to slide the loom to one side of the table so that I could c clamp one side of it to keep it from moving left to right, but OH WOW, I now have a place on the right hand side to lay my tools! This means I don't always need the ugly yellow tool box right beside me either! This is great, because the tool box is large and bulky, taking up valuable real estate in my room.
I may even be able to mount a clip on lamp to the table. Heaven. Now I only have to push back the little table when I want to stand up, and with two little spoiled dogs, one does need to stand up fairly often. LOL
Now to try a little bit of weaving and see if it works as well as I think it will...And of course I did take some pictures for you viewing pleasure.
Here you get to see the angle. Notice the red walls in my room. Not my choice, remember that I rent the space and it used to be a teenager's room. LOL
Here I am sitting in the recliner, feet in the middle of the folding table and some weaving goin' on!
When I pull the table up nice and close the weaving itself is in just about the same spot it would be in if I were strapped into the backstrap loom. I am so happy! I even have a place to lay a mirror on the table so I can keeping checking the back for mistakes in the double weave portion. Remember the center is dbl wv that is reversible...solid brown on the back side not the same variegated you see here on the top center.
So friends, I am going to finish this piece after all. Still a bit of a struggle because the dbl wv portion is #10 cotton crochet thread. I just don't like #10 for dbl wv, too hard on the eyes. Too tedious and too much counting for too little reward in my humble opinion.
I am also thinking that if I want to, I should, should mind you, be able to unwrap the warp, take the pipes apart, put all of it into a backpack and make it a portable situation for when I want to take it with me on my bicycle. I am determined to independent and portable, and under my own steam for transportation. If the Navajo Indians can do it so can I!