Post #3240: Let the Long Weekend Begin

I would have never remembered to post here today if it wasn’t for another blogger who posts on Fridays. Her post reminded me that it’s the end of the week (and a long weekend for me). Somehow I’ve been drifting along this week, the days slipping by without getting much done. Suddenly it’s Friday and I don’t have much to show for myself!

Last Friday was Brian’s birthday which is where the photo above comes from. We slipped off to a little secret beach spot and had a picnic which included iced tea in china cups. The weather was really on side and it inspired us to commit to trying to get out somewhere together – for a picnic, kayak, walk – at least once a week this summer. We’ve fallen into a routine since moving here of spending most of joint time at home, which was never the case when we lived in the city. Difference in an urban area is there are all sorts of places to go and have dinner, drinks, etc. Where we are, it’s outdoors or nothing – save for a handful of restaurants and a new food truck that just opened up.

The fantastic weather has brought a bounty of local food back into production and this week I got my first community-supported agriculture box of the season from the farm down the road. That is probably the most excitement I’ve had in ages. Neighbours! Conversation! Bags of Greens! I now have enough rhubarb to make my first batch of rhubarb ketchup for the season which will be one of my projects this weekend coming up.

In the textile studio this week I’ve been working on samples. Over the last several years of weaving, I’ve somehow not made napkins yet, even though we use cloth napkins every day at the dinner table. There are lots of recommended patterns out there for napkins, but I have discovered recently that I get a lot more enjoyment out of a project when I figure it out on my own from beginning to end. So I got to sampling this week, with various permutations of cotton, linen, and cottolin (a blend of cotton and linen) and I’ve decided on napkins in the three primary colours with a cottolin warp and a 9/2 linen weft – sett at 18 epi with 2 dents skipped every inch. If you don’t weave, I know that sounds like a foreign language – but what it translates to is a napkins that is floaty and rustic at the same time. You’ll see when I show them to you when they are done.

For my next project I’m putting on a set of tea towels in blue and white. This project is straight out of a pattern inspired by Finnish weaving, and I’ve noticed how reluctant I am to get on with it. It’s what has made me realize that 90% of weaving fun is designing my own fabric and projects to go with them. I see all these amazing fabrics on Instagram and in magazines and I think I want to replicate them, but what I really want is to be inspired to create something new. Even a basic plain weave napkin can be “new” when I make all the choices – yarn type for warp, yarn type for weft, spacing in the reed, how hard I “beat” the fabric, how I finish the item and so on. Because of all those factors, the chances are good that when I experiment with all the variables I will end up with a fabric I’ve never encountered before – and that is interesting to me.

I have made a couple of investments this week in loom-land. I mentioned last week the 20+ system which I went ahead and ordered this week (an extra cheque came in for some weekend union work which gave me to boost to go through with it). I should have that delivered and installed by the end of June. I also decided to try out something called a warp wrench – which is made by some enterprising weavers in Wisconsin – it is supposed to help tension a warp during wind-on so no extra hands are needed. The current iteration of the warp wrench will fit my small loom, so I thought to give it a try. I won’t put long warps on at the moment due to difficulty keeping tension during the wind-on – but this tool might allow me to put on the 13-yard warp I have stashed in a cupboard finally!

I think the only thing really inspiring me at the moment is weaving – everything else just makes me feel tired. I’m not sure why the malaise when it comes to writing and music, but it’s where I’m at right now. Even as I commit to putting in the time for practice – which is how I get through these times without giving everything up (except sometimes I do give everything up) – it feels like a lot of effort and I don’t feel like I’m making any headway. At least with weaving I can *see* the progress on the loom as I work. And even when I’m exhausted from working all day, I can still sit down and thread a few strands into the heddles, something that writing doesn’t allow for. When I’m tired, my output on that front is zero.

With the long weekend ahead of me I’m hoping for some sleeping in and some outdoor visiting with folks in addition to lots of time in the studio and garden. I’m in need of something for sure, and I’m pretty sure I’ll find it in one of those places! At least the weather looks to be fantastic and Brian will be home from the city soon to eat homemade pizza with me.

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