According to the forecast, the weather is about to turn to rain – but what a glorious ten days it has been. Even though I’ve had to work, I’ve managed to get outside for a kayak, a run, and a bike ride in addition to getting some solid gardening (read: weeding) time in this week.
Until Tuesday, I hadn’t been for a run in six weeks. Even though my Doctor cleared me for running a month ago (no bone deterioration, nothing to worry about around the embedded plate), I wasn’t really feeling it. But in the last couple of weeks, the pull has returned and so I’m going to start fitting runs into my workout schedule again. In particular, I miss covering long distances on my own propulsion and seeing my island-world at that pace. As the weather warms and the mornings lighten, I hope to fit runs in before work to escape the heat, but for now anytime is a good time to get the runners back on.
I’ve continued at the loom this week with some sampling. At the start of the year I set an intention to use as much “stash” yarn, fabric, and weaving material as possible. I have several projects worth of stuff in my cupboards, and before purchasing more, I’d like to use at least some of what I have. Case in point, I have some beautiful lace weight alpaca yarn in three colours, as well as some tencel yarn (also in three colourways) that I bought for some project that never happened. In the world of making fabric, it’s always a bit of a crapshoot how things are going to work when you put them together, and it’s a lot of work (and wasted material) if you get it wrong – which is why weavers create samples and sample books. My samples this week included using the tencel fibre as a warp (it’s quite strong) with the alpaca fibre as weft, woven at two different setts (densities). I’m quite happy with the result of the less-dense sett woven in a herringbone twill. It has excellent drape and after washing/fulling it is very soft. Once I get the big loom cleared off (it’s got a bathmat on it that I’ve been hung up on weaving due to a problem with how I tied up the treadles) I will be putting the first of the three shawl projects on. In the meantime, I’m warping the small loom with some spring-coloured hand towels this weekend.
Writing continues every day, whether I feel like it or not. Somewhere this week I ran into this quote which sums up my approach to essays and book ideas and the craft in general. For all the good writing I do, there is a ton that gets thrown away and though it sometimes feels like a bit of a churn, it is necessary to anything good getting done.
If you want to have good ideas you must have many ideas. Most of them will be wrong, and what you have to learn is which ones to throw away.Linus Pauling
Relatedly, music practice requires that one must sound awful a great deal of the time in order to eventually sound good. I am working on some violin pieces currently that make me feel bad because I play them so poorly, but there is no way to play them better without going through this awfulness (which can go on for weeks and months). Just this morning I sent an inquiry form to the Victoria Conservatory of Music to see if I could find an appropriate teacher to meet with online and eventually in person in order to get some help overcoming my technical limitations. While poking around the site it was hard not to notice that the director of the strings program there is one of my contemporaries – someone who studied with the same teacher as me, and who I sat beside in youth orchestra when we were thirteen (I was second chair to his first chair, first violin – he was a much better player even then). Though I have no aspirations to great playing at this point in my life, I would like to return to playing classical music with other people at some point and that requires a greater skillset than I currently have. I’ll see if the Conservatory matches me with someone; I don’t know how many folks they have there teaching adults or how many of them are teaching virtually.
Beyond that, it’s been a week of regular work, decent food, and finishing a bunch of books that I’ve been reading (plus starting new ones). I’ll be glad when the warmer weather is here to stay, but for now we could use some spring rain to get the plants and trees really going before we are plunged into the summer dry season.
No, I am not going to reply to every single blog post. . .don’t worry! But two things sparked for me on this one:
1. Writing. In another post of yours I read recently, you raised interesting questions about the motivation for writing (affirmation, working out ideas, etc.). I am asking these exact same questions. And so, when you talk about writing every day, I wonder how you are answering those questions (other than, as in the Pauling quote, amassing ideas for the treasure hunt for jewels). Who are you writing for, and why? I would be so interested in a conversation around that. I have tried a bit of the blogging (felt too much like writing for no one), also tried getting people to commit to read things I wrote (lots of “yes” but no real feedback or dialogue), have journaled for years (but have now stopped and am gradually burning all the old ones), have done lots of writing around my professional life (again, no demand for or interest in it) and have finally decided I don’t have anything to say that anyone wants to hear. And yet, I love to write.
2. Music. Specifically, wanting to be at a level where classical chamber music is an option. I need motivation to play piano! It sounds like we might be at about the same level; I played OK in my younger days, accompanied my son in his cello and early vocal world, but have never done chamber music beyond vocal or cello accompanying. I’ve been trying to get back into playing, but the incentive for really working on something is low. So. . .if you are working on things and would like an accompanist, I would be happy to practice even now, and then maybe we could play together in the summer? (No thanks is an OK answer, and I won’t be offended!)