Spring Break

It wasn’t the kind of spring break where you go somewhere fun and lie on the beach. This was more of a forced break.  About mid-April, I cut my finger while cooking.  I’ll spare you the details, but it was the left index finger and it needed nine stitches.  All will eventually be fine, but it was pretty bad.  And not just physically.

Sitting in the emergency room, I started to panic. I had earlier injured my elbow and developed tendonitis.  That injury required that I try to not do the things that made it hurt, which seemed to be pretty much everything involving my right hand.  In a rural setting, where there is always some sort of labor to be done, it was particularly difficult.  I could do some things, and thankfully, I could still weave with some modifications to how I move about.  But so many things – gardening, cooking, getting dressed in the morning –  aggravated my injury and it seemed to not be getting better at all, and often getting worse.  I panicked because now I had two hands I couldn’t use and so many more things I wouldn’t be able to do.  And how permanent would it be?  Would I be able to tie tiny little knots anymore?  Would I be able to do all the things I need that finger to do?  I foolishly quit my day job for this and now there might not be any “this”.

The surgeon explained that the finger would heal.  He probably said some other stuff, too, but I kind of stopped listening after that.  All I could think of was how relieved I was.  I could feel the tears of relief running down my face, and I felt a little embarrassed crying in front of the young EMT assisting with the surgery who had just started her first week of work.

Of course the first few days were difficult, but I managed and did get better.  I learned to type with nine fingers – boy, that really confuses your brain and switching back to regular 10-finger typing was nearly as confusing – and I did everything with that one finger bandaged and pointing at nothing in particular.  I eventually continued working on unfinished projects, and starting some new ones.  I wasn’t as productive as I had planned to be, but I did manage a couple of major milestones with the studio to kickstart my still seemingly new life as a weaver.

At the end of April, I had an open house at the studio.  The open house was really just about inviting friends and neighbors over and formally introducing myself as a new artist in our community.  I got to show off my work and had a lot of fun chatting and visiting.  And since it was my party, I could eat as much cheese and crackers as I wanted.

Snacks! And Booze!

It also got me to organize and clean the place.  In addition to rugs hanging on looms, I installed some racks on the back wall to hang more rugs.  The rest were stacked on tables in the studio and the back studio to leaf through.

Studio Open House

Also new this spring is the new loom, documented in an earlier post.  I finally warped some yarn, wound it on the loom and started a test project.  It has it’s own quirks and complications, but I’m slowly learning to adjust things and generally getting it to work.

The other big thing for me is to start creating a way to sell my stuff.  I have a big plan to create a web site, take online orders, and all that.  It’s pretty daunting, so I’ve been procrastinating heavily.  So I finally, as a temporary solution, opened up an Etsy shop.  I don’t expect a whole lot of business from it, but it’s easy and cheap at least a little better than nothing.  In the mean time, I’ll continue weaving.

Up next: crazy twill





Today, I finally got around to taking photos of one of my more recent rugs.  It was kind of an experiment, and if it works, I have two more in the queue that may get the same treatment. The studio generally has excellent lighting.  So, when it comes to taking photos, light isn’t a problem.  And, I have a pretty nice camera, a tripod and other equipment.  Even so, I can’t seem to get good photos of my work.  I see pictures of other weaver’s work all the time, and they tend to look great.  Let’s just say that mine kind of have that homemade look.  The problem is partly colors and surface textures.  My work table has a semi gloss finish on it, so I always have to work around reflections and glare.  The floor produces some glare, too, but not as bad.  The problem there is the floor is a sort of brick red.  Modern cameras always want to assist you by helpfully correcting the colors for you and that red really messes up all the other colors.  Although I finally figured out how to overcome the camera’s helpfulness, the red just doesn’t look appealing as a photo background.  The mosaic studio next door has white vinyl flooring.  It’s a fine floor, but it’s pretty shiny and looks kind of sterile in photos.

Back at the house, we have traditional wood flooring that is fairly neutral.  In addition, we have an eclectic mix of funky and sort-of antique furniture that might make for a good setting.  I rolled up the carpet and set up a nice chair with a bookshelf as the background. Now, that’s a photo.  Probably not professional level, but it suits me fine.

Rug with chairThe globe wanted in the action, so I put him in there, too.  Normally, the sun would be beating through, but today was cloudy, so that I had perfect conditions.

This rug is a full-blown version of one of the samples I did back in February and has worked its way up the the top of my favorites list.  It uses a tapestry technique called compensated inlay.  As with many of my projects, there were problems along the way and I had to un-ply about a hundred yards that I had previously wound together.  But, it would have added more colors to the background, and I particularly like the rug as it is.  So, extra work, but better results.

Rug 44 square

Rug 44 Fringe


Up Next: my Spring “vacation”