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Posts from the ‘Goals and Dreams’ Category

Hair

This is obviously not a photo of hair!

A couple of days ago I got a very nice letter from Pantene thanking me for the donation of my hair to their cancer wig program. I first donated my hair sometime in 2002 or so as a memorial to my mother who died of ovarian cancer. But this time the donation was for me.

In 2010 I became very ill with systemic histoplasmosis, an endemic fungal disease exacerbated by a medication I was taking for Rheumatoid Arthritis. After surviving hypoxia and 8 days or so in ICU plus 5 weeks in a stepdown unit, my hair was brittle and lifeless—-and bedraggled. My husband took a scissors and cut it some shorter to make it easier to manage as I needed help in most daily activities. Whenever I combed my hair, the comb would be quite full. I looked much like the Velveteen Rabbit. So I took myself off to the hairdresser and Traci cut it, laughing as she could she where Glen had cut it. It looked nice, but continued to fall out and I returned and asked her to cut it very short. She said she could see new hair growing. The dermatologist had told me that my hair would fall out for the length of time that I had been ill. It was a great blow to my ego.

Then as it grew back, it was incredibly curly—and white! I had a Wisconsin style hairstyle without the smell of a perm. I hated looking at myself in the mirror and only did so on rare occasions accidentally while brushing my teeth.

Traci patiently trimmed and shaped my hair as the months went by and gradually it became about 15 or 16 inches long.

I decided to conquer my vanity but having it cut really short again and donating the hair to someone who (like me) had lost their hair due to health issues.

I’ve had a lot of compliments on it, it is no harder to care for than my long hair and my husband says I look at least ten years younger.

It is hard to admit to vanity, and even harder to conquer it. The feelings of yet another something totally unfair and casually passed off by health care personnel who looked at my age and thought–why should she worry about this? and then my physician thought the initial hair loss and cut was just a style change that women all did periodically. This was hard and unlike some of the other things that happened later, this was visible to the world, a symbol of my un-wellness.

Choosing to have short hair is far different than having short hair.

Procrastination

There hasn’t been a lot of activity here or on my design wall. After working hard on the last two pieces both of which were rejected, it is hard to build up enthusiasm for starting something new. I’ve been considering why that is so.

Is it a feeling of failure with work rejected from two shows? And then not wanting to risk rejection again with another work?

Or is it a need to complete something useful? That all the artwork is frivolity and it would be a better use of my time to produce useful items. Or at least reduce the quantity of ‘stuff’ that I have for heirs to deal with. I’m not planning on that need for some time but things happen when least expected sometimes and being prepared makes for less confusion. Having been executor of my parents’ wills, it was not an easy task and made more difficult by the lack of instructions.

Perhaps I am procrastinating because there are so many options and I’m not sure which to choose? And is one better than another?

Or is it avoidance thinking that success will mean more expectations? The more I do, the more people seem to want–whether it is a work shift or volunteer work or family expectations?

Or maybe it’s because I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to deal with a computer, a cell phone, and all their intricacies all couched in a language I do not understand? a world of No. 2 pencils and a spiral notebook—or a blank sketchbook and a ball point pen are tools I understand.

So why am I still sitting here in my nightgown, writing away here instead of dealing with the piles of projects some half started, some just an idea, and a few nearly completed except for an hour or so of work?

Or maybe it is because I need to winnow down the possibilities.

In true avoidance this morning, I read through a few of my old journals. It was popular for several years to choose a word to describe the focus of the year. One year I chose ‘Refine’ and the following year “Conquer”.

Somehow I think I need to get back to that frame of mind and “Refine and Conquer”

 

Setting up a Rigid Heddle Loom

Weaving has always fascinated me-===from the time I was about eight and was allowed to sit at my great-grandmother’s floor loom and weave rag strips into rag rugs. My grandmother at some point wanted her dining room back and so asked my mother if she wanted the loom–Mom said no—I cried–and Dad told me later that she regretted that decision. Looms can be broken down into bundles of sticks that don’t take up much room–but our little house was packed with six children and all their assorted belongings.

I had looked for used looms in various places, finally discovered a rigid heddle loom on ebay–promptly bought it and a book–but was totally confused as to how the warp it—and without a warp there can be no weaving. Several years passed and I discovered a yarn shop in Old Spring that taught heddle weaving—I was the first on the list to sign up and learned on one of their looms. I knew the basics of weaving from a college class in weaving but the warping is different—this uses a warping peg.

Now I had to order some equipment–warping pegs, sley hooks, a ball winder and a swift–all needed to change hanks of yarn into balls of yarn for use.

It has all been sitting on a chair in the dining room–and today I decided to give warping a try.

This is a Beka Loom—and after some fiddling with clamps to fasten it to the table–I don’t think I have that quite right yet, I now have my first warp on the loom. It is very back intensive work–and so the fun part of weaving will have to wait–but I’m pleased.

I worked on my dining room table and could have had a longer warp but i could not pull the table apart any more–it has six more leaves to go in it–but this was as much as I could make it stretch. And yes that is three boxes of dog treats in the background–one for balls and frisbees, one for treats and meds and the third one for biscuits.

Blue Ribbon

Last week my local quilt guild had a judged show with over 300 quilts on display. It’s been a long time since I entered a ‘regular’ quilt but I was certainly surprised to get a blue ribbon on a kit quilt. So my sewing skills are adequate–a lot to do with the use of my quarter inch foot with side runner—and then I had it professionally quilted as it was so huge–108 inches square–I just did not think I could wrestle with it in my mid arm. So I will have to rethink what I might care to enter in the future. Of course there is no money involved—just bragging rights.

and here is part of the quilt I showed earlier this year.

here it is as the squaring up stage before sewing on a half mile of binding. This is at my shop-play house out on Highway 90.

 

looking behind and looking forward

Looking forward in light of the past
At some point last year (2012) I decided to keep a log of my activities in my sewing room–from inception of an idea to completion. It would also include basic sewing such as a new nightgown or a jacket. I did fairly well in the first few months; then none over the summer (I had back surgery–so maybe not such a surprise) and then picked up again in November with little noted in December. Keeping a log was not terribly foreign, I had always kept a notebook writing down the number of bobbins used in a particular piece–each bobbin occupying about 20 minutes of time. But that didn’t account for all the planning, the photographs, the drawings, the selection of fabrics, and then the final photography and uploading to my website.
So I decided to take another approach–listing all the projects I have completed. I was quite surprised at the number and then I listed all the UFO’s–now down to just one and a half pages–although to be fair some of those UFO’s include such things as laundry basket full of fabric to be made into clothing.
I’ve also wrote and organized a color study at my local quilt guild participated eagerly by just myself and one dear friend–wrote a book on post cards but haven’t finished with the photos, participated in an international post card exchange plus work and its accompanying necessary educational events, and an unsuccessful garden due to the lack of rain.
So, this year, I’m going to make another stab at that log keeping; and after assessing what I have to do in my sewing room, I think I can make a sizable dent again in that UFO list this year–and maybe can get it down to zero. The secret, of course, is to plan out what I want to do and set up things so that I just don’t wander into that room and have no idea where to start.

Pawprints: Toby, our Border Collie mix is now quite tall enough to consider the toilet bowl her personal watering dish. She knows my husband does something over there on the left side and she decided it must have something to do with the toilet paper. She ate about a quarter roll of toilet paper and passed a very soft papery looking stool in the breakfast room. Teaching her to flush the toilet might be the next task on the agenda but she is much more interested in seeing how high and far she can jump. She also helped herself to two potatoes in the middle of the counter.,

A fish eye view of photography

photography studio of the past

I’ve spent some of today uploading photos to my smugmug account, made much faster with the use of Firefox as a browser. I learned to frame photos through the view-finder, load film onto carriers and process the film through the various wet pans in the dark room. Then, on to print with a remarkable variety of papers. That was about ten years ago–and a fancy camera was digital with automatic F-stop adjustment.

 

In my youth, not all families had cameras and if they did, the father carried it and was in charge of deeming important photos. Film was expensive and flash even more so–and so there was the inevitable photo-taking outside facing the sun with the impossible order to not squint.

 

Now, it seems that everyone has a camera–on their phone –or those awful ipads–huge tablets held up to take photos and blocking the view of anyone standing behind. Framing a photo is a thing of the past–and all the work in producing a print as simple as emailing the files to a local pharmacy or general merchandise store.

 

Still, I think it is good to ponder upon the past and wonder what will happen in the future to what we now consider

Completed! At last!

Here it is all completed. Actually I still have to put the binding on but you can see it. I don’t have a good place to hang such a huge piece for a formal photo but as it’s not going to go anywhere but my bed this will be okay.

Are there more partially finished projects of Mom’s?

Yes, of course–and they are all jumping up and down saying ‘pick me next!’

And here is the gallery link for the entire quilt project–along with my other blog photos for the year so far. You’ll have to scroll down to the bottom of the second page to see everything in sequence. http://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/Blog/Blog-Photos-2012/22107692_XPKWbB#!i=1764561145&k=wkd8qjG

Assembling

With the blocks all completed–I did the triangles one month and the corners another month; it was a relatively easy project to sew them all together. Because seams that end on the edges are difficult to manage, I put on a narrow border of green–again I had to dig through Mom’s fabrics to find something that would ‘go’ with it. The resulting quilt was huge. Each block was fifteen inches square and she had made a lot of them. I don’t know what her intentions were for that quilt or why she abandoned it. It was hard for me to work on as those are just not my colors.

I decided I would order some wide backing–and found some orangeish mottled fabric on sale at Hancocks’s of Paducah. And I had a batt from Mom’s supplies, and a new cone of beige machine quilting thread. I loaded that quilt up on my frame. It took up the entire width of the frame; normally I float the top and don’t roll it up on the rail but this time I had to roll it–it was so huge.

I’m not a fancy frame quilter, it is hard for me to think linearly and so I just do loopy-dos. It took me most of a month to quilt this monster.

Why seams?

It took me two months to sew together all those set in triangles and squares. I suppose I could have gotten the entire thing together if I had just concentrated on it; but I was still recovering from my illness and I could not sit at the machine for that long. So one month for all the triangles and one month for all the squares.

Now I had all the pieces sewn. Now I had to do the hard part–and that was sewing in all those set-ins. That meant the dreaded Y seam.

Well practice makes perfect and I got a lot of practice in.

I tried to make a small movie clip which was an interesting project. I don’t think the film companies will be at my door demanding my services but it was rather fun and I might try it again sometime when I have something interesting to show. I set up my Canon on a tripod and just starting sewing and doing a bit of talking. It is in real time–I do not have film editing skills at this time. I also did still photos so you can take a look at either one.

If you’d rather watch the video, here it is:

Here is the gallery notation but you’ll have to scroll to the bottom of page two to see the entire sequence. But if you want to wait for the grand reveal, you might want to put it off for a few days

Inset triangles and corner squares

After I sorted out everything I began to sew things together. I would have cut strips and sewn them together and then cut them apart and re-seamed them to make all these parts, but Mom had cut all of these squares and triangles out with a scissors and a template. Plus some of the squares and triangles were partially sewn but not completed. There were a few completed so I could tell what she had in mind.

Mom always sat and cut out pieces without really counting them; I found left-over diamonds and triangles from other projects. At least all of this was in the same box.

Unfortunatly as I began working I discovered that she had not cut enough green or rust and I could not find any more of those fabrics in her stash. Fortunately she did have other fabrics similar in shade and so I cut those up for use.