Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"Get Me Thru December So I Can Begin Again"

I have been grateful to finally have a few quiet days before the New Year begins.
It has been a very busy time up until the studio tour and since then as well. 
Now that Christmas is past I am looking forward to the New Year. 
To be honest Christmas is sad for me. Family is too far away and spread out, to be able to see everyone, my parents are gone now and so is our old home place. 
Three out of our four children came and went at different times this past week, but it was good to spend at least a little time with them.

We had our annual Chinese Feast on Christmas Eve. Pog is a fantastic Chinese cook! Hot and sour soup, steam buns, fried wontons and curry rolls are just a few of the things we enjoyed. Otherwise, too many sweets and fattening foods have been eaten. 
I am now ready to get back to my healthier vegetarian diet and back to walking 
when weather permits.

I am also ready to get back to work in the studio. I need to clean up a few unfinished projects and start new ones. The studio will be going in a new direction next year. 
The reaction to my birds and moth has been overwhelming. 
It has made me feel encouraged about where my work is heading.

We have no special New Year’s Traditions except we are making special snack foods for tonight and a bottle of Champagne.
 Pog is working tomorrow so I will be taking down all of the Christmas decorations 
and cleaning out the closet they are stored in before packing it away.

The rest of this week will be spent reading, relaxing, watching movies 
and working my new jigsaw puzzles.

Back at the first of December I started singing an Allison Krauss song “Get Me Thru December”. Now that the last day is here I feel sad that we couldn’t just slow down time and savor the moments we had together with our family and each other. 
My daughter posted this on our Pinterest board we share.
 I always set myself up for failure when I make resolutions,
 so I think this fits best for the New Year!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year filled with all that you wish it to be!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Pog and I wish everyone a joyful day spent with family and friends.

 Be safe, be kind and be thankful! 

Merry Christmas  from Shuttle Hook and Needle!

We miss you Monica.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Day After

The tour is over. 
I had a successful weekend with lots of friends, new and repeat customers visiting.
 We missed the worst of the weather in the mountains with little to no ice on Sunday
 but most people came on Saturday.
 I did have a few brave souls who ventured out on Sunday to take home a couple of rugs,
 which was great.

To say that I am now very tired is an understatement. 
I am exhausted! I only have one special bird order to finish up and 
then I can take a break for the rest of the year. 
The house was decorated and the tree put up the weekend after Thanksgiving so I would not have to deal with it now. It was a lot of work to get the house and studio ready for the holidays and the tour at the same time but now I am glad it is done.
 I am so grateful for a patient, helpful and understanding husband 
who supports me in every way possible. 
It is now time for both of us to sit back and enjoy Christmas! 

 I do intend to start some new projects soon because the tour always inspires me. 
Before the tour I become tired and don’t want to make or weave anything else 
but now that it is over I am excited to get started again. 
The difference is now I get to make what I want to and not what I have to,
 at least for a little while, which will be a nice break. 

Pog and I both were so busy that we really didn't take many photos
 but here are a few of the ones we did take of the studio and the work. 
There are a lot of empty spaces now which is great!!

Most of the rugs found new homes.

Star of Bethlehem Dish Towels

Snowmen, ornaments, more dishtowels and mug rugs.

There were lots of wooly ornaments.
I hope everyone was safe, warm and snug at home during 
all the terrible weather in the country these past few days. 
I am looking forward now to snowy days at home stitching, weaving 
and maybe even a jigsaw puzzle or two! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Day Before

After months of hard work and the last two weeks of cleaning, tagging, decorating and preparing, the tour begins tomorrow.
The studio will be open to the public, Friday from 12 to 4 and Sat./Sun. from 10 till 5.

Maps can be picked up at The Toe River Arts Council locations in both Burnsville and Spruce Pine. This is a self-guided tour, which includes over 100 artists and galleries.
 Just follow the red and white tour signs for an adventure into beautiful mountain scenery and wonderful unique homes/studios.
You will be greeted with a smile and even some fresh baked goodies!!
So much to see and do on this tour!

I’ve worked really hard the last few months so there are lots of beautiful hand woven rugs, dishtowels, table runners and mug rugs.
There are also lots of stitched ornaments and a few snowmen.

I wish all of you could come and visit but I know some of you are too far away so
I’ll have lots of pictures over the next couple of days for you.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Glimmer of Light

If I squint real hard I can begin to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel!

I have been so busy that I haven’t taken time for photos or blogging or
 not much of anything else but weaving and stitching. 

The Toe River Arts Council Holiday Studio Tour is almost here. 
Just 16 more days then the studio will be clean, everything will be tagged, Christmas decorations will be up, goodies will be baked and the open tour sign will be out!

I still have woven dishtowels and rugs to hem. There are a few more snowmen ornaments to finish up and a butterfly to stitch on until Thanksgiving. I am stopping then, so I can enjoy a couple of days for giving Thanks and then decorate the house for Christmas that weekend.  The next week will be spent getting the studio clean and everything displayed for the tour.

This year we have over 100 artists and galleries participating with different mediums – Clay, Book Arts, Fiber, Glass, Jewelry, Metal, Mixed Media, Dimensional, and Wood. Come to the Western North Carolina Mountains for a unique experience and see where artist’s live/work and buy direct from them for your holiday gifts (or even something just for you!). 
This is the premier open studio bi-annual event held each year the first weekend in June and the first weekend of December. 
Here’s the link for all the info and how to pick up a self - guided map to all of the open studios.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Meet Luna

In between fussing with the AVL and warping a couple of other looms for rugs and dishtowels,
 I have been working on a Luna moth.

On a Sunday morn this past June, while sitting at the kitchen table, drinking coffee and working the crossword puzzle from the Sunday paper, I looked up and saw this on our screen door!

I have always heard it is good luck to see a Luna Moth.

The next day there were two!

I knew then I wanted to make a Luna moth, so I bought an encyclopedia of Moths and Butterflies to study while planning this one. 

It takes time for me to work out in my mind how to make a new piece like this before it gets to paper and then finally to the construction phase. 

I usually have several new sculptures in my head, but I know when the time is right to make each one. At times they just happen, but others, like this one, take some thought. 
I really wanted to finish Luna for the upcoming TRAC tour participant’s exhibition. 

 That is where he is headed next week along with a woven hanging. 

Made with my hand dyed wool fabric, hand embroidery, wrapped wire and mohair body,
 Luna has been inspiring to create.
I have a feeling more moths are going to appear in the future!

Happy Halloween!
Wishing you a safe and fun filled day!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Technical Difficulties

My technical difficulty has been getting my AVL loom operating again. 
I am ashamed to say that I have not used it in several years. 
Last summer I warped and threaded the loom for a large overshot wall hanging but since then the loom has sat staring at me, making me feel guilty and just taking up real estate in the studio.
 Finally I said enough is enough. 
Either the loom is used and earns its keep or it will be sold.

This is an older 60” AVL loom, built in 1987 with all the bells and whistles of its time.  
 I bought it second hand from a lady that had rarely used it and it was still in the original boxes! 
 It’s the Rip Van Winkle of looms. 

The loom came with both a compu-dobby, manual dobby, double warp beams, double fly shuttle box, reeds, shuttles etc. etc. For those of you who do not know what a dobby is, it is a device on a loom, which controls the action of the harnesses. That is the most simplified way to explain it but if you want to know more then look up Dobby Loom on Wikipedia. 
The only thing not on the loom, I wish it had, is the auto cloth advance, 
which could be added except the price would be around 700 dollars. 
That is not going to happen unless this loom earns its keep, 
which it diffidently has not been doing.

I finally have gotten the courage to tackle this loom. 
Yes, it does take courage at least for me. 
This is no simple loom to use. It took me a whole week just to put the darn thing together.
 I had worked on an AVL during a two-year program taught by Catherine Ellis at Haywood Community College’s Professional Fiber Arts Program, 
which I graduated from several years ago. They can be amazing looms to work on and
 I had wanted one just so I could weave my large overshot wall hangings. I think I have forgotten most of what I learned about these looms during that time so I have had to relearn so much.

One problem I have had is the loom has an older dobby so all of the connections are older too.  I had an older computer to hook up to the dobby but it was cumbersome and took up too much room. I checked with a local computer geek to see if I could somehow connect it to my laptop, which he said would not be possible. Then he proceeded to tell me in complicated terms why not. He told me you cannot find the right connections anymore and that I should just buy a new interface for my dobby or accept my old bulky computer monitor.  A new dobby would be around 3500. dollars so no that ain’t gonna happen either.

 Some times I can be like a dog with a bone. Worry it to death, which is what I started to do with being told something can’t be done.  So, Pog built a caddy for my old CPU tower. Now it can sit beside the loom out of the way and is also on wheels for easy moving if need be. 

Then I found on EBay a 5ft. older VGA male-to-male 15-pin plug for only 3.99 and free shipping, which fits an older flat screen monitor we already had and connects to the dobby. 
 Pog then built a hanger to fit on the loom, which can be moved or taken down as needed, so the monitor hangs directly in front of me. 

Turned everything on and the dobby just started clicking away!!
Knock on wood but this thing might actually work after all these years!

 Now to work on getting the threading errors fixed, 

the pattern keyed into the weaving program, get the fly shuttle to work and then maybe be able to weave a hanging after all this trouble and hard work.
I am taking it a little at a time so my brain doesn’t overload and explode!
I’ll let you know how it goes.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Loving October

“Time flies when you are having fun”
It also flies when you are working hard, which I have been, both in the studio and outside. It is the time of year when I feel so inspired to sew and weave, but it is also the time of year to start putting flowerbeds and the yard to rest for the winter. I have to admit that I did not do a great job on my flowers this year. 
I seem to have grown a lot of weeds! My only excuse is, I have a terrible time coping with the heat, and for us here in the NC Mountains,
 there was so much rain this summer!

Now thankfully it has cooled down and is dryer. It is time to gather seeds for next year. I have zinnia seeds my mother gave me from her flowers about 35 years ago. Each year I collect enough seeds to plant the next year and each time I plant them and see them grow, I think of her.
The first row in her garden was always zinnias, sown thickly so it hid the rest of the garden from the view of passing neighbors. She told me that made her garden pretty for everyone to see and hid the fact that sometimes the garden got a little weedy.

I have continued sowing mine the same way all these years even though,
 I have no passing traffic to see them. 

This is a picture from a couple of years ago.
 I have also continued this tradition by giving my daughter a bag of the seeds and she has begun planting them in her garden.

Besides gathering zinnias, cosmos, marigold seeds, and starting to clean flowerbeds, I have been working in the studio. 
My cabin rugs are hemmed and tagged. 

I called this one my little hot tamale! Bright and fun!

I have been making a few new fall things for my home, 
and I have been working on getting the AVL loom operating again. 
 I’ll let you know how that goes next time!

Wooden pumpkin I found at Carmeron

Also found this Apple Gourd at Cameron

I quilted a new Maple Leaf square for the kitchen table.

I made the Pumpkin and Acorn pillows last year but the Leaf is new.
This is the back of the little leaf pillow.

My birthday was this past weekend and since Pog had to work all weekend I spent the time with my daughter. For my day she took me to the Cameron Antiques Festival. This is normally a quaint little town with trees, old large homes and antique shops lining its streets, but for one day twice a year, the entire place is taken over by antique dealers! 

This is one of the pretty houses along main street.
Pretty decorated shed.
Streets are lined with dealers. It is like a mini Brimfield.
Believe it or not I bought only three small baskets and some wooden pumpkins. It was so hot!  88 plus degrees and I melted. It really made me appreciate our cool mountain air.
Also we visited a couple of quilt shops and I got my free birthday Pumpkin Latte at Starbucks. A lovely weekend spent with my daughter who is one of my best friends along with Pog who is my other BFF.  

This Saturday was the second part of my birthday. I have for a long time wanted to visit The Depot at Gibson Mill, in Concord, NC. It has 88,000 sq. feet with over 600 antique and designers booths. There is way too much to take in and so much stuff. Pog was a good sport but ended up sitting outside when he got tired but I looked for 2 ½ hrs! I had to stop because my back and feet were hurting. Maybe it is a good thing I don’t live nearby!

Again - believe it or not I didn’t buy a lot.  I found this nice wooden bowl for a good price, a funky hand made copper funnel and some vintage cotton rickrack. The bowl has this nice smooth feel to it and the funnel reminded me of a hat for one of my pumpkin heads. One day it might just become one!

What a wonderful time of year. The mountains are beginning to change color with the highest ridges and slowly creeping down into the valleys. This next week should be peak season here in our section of the mountains. Cloudy, cool with possible showers this morn. I do hope we have some sun this week in spite of predicted showers so we can have good views of the tree color.

I hope you are enjoying your October as much as I am!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Welcome Autumn

Our first day of Autumn in the North Carolina mountains,
 dawned clear and sunny with a full moon over Mt. Celo.

I have finished my fall decorations. 
An early first for me, usually it is mid October.
I just couldn't wait this year. 
I am so anxious for the leaves to start to turn, 
for frosty morns with the wood smoke curling from the chimney
 and fresh baked bread in the oven. 

It's my favorite time of year followed by winter.
Yes, you heard that right, I love winter! 
It makes a difference now that I work at home! 
I can now enjoy cold snowy morns instead of worrying
if I will be able to drive on icy, snowy roads.

Here are a few pictures of Autumn at our house. 
I'm rearranging all the pumpkins and kitties in the studio tomorrow 
now that I have our living space done. 

Happy Return to Autumn Everyone!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Time Flies When….

When you are having fun and working hard!
I have been super busy both in the studio and around our home.

I finished weaving and hemmed table runners and mug rugs. 

There are some longer runners and a couple of short ones.
I really liked the shorter ones. 
Sometimes the odd size works great on side tables or under lamps.

Yesterday, Cabin rugs came off the loom.

  This was after they were taken off the loom and rolled out on the deck.

They have now been cut apart, 
the ends have been serged and are now ready to hem.
I use a strong upholstery thread and make a rolled hem on all of my rugs. 
No fringe. I always thought fringe made a rug look sloppy. 
There are six in this pile - five Cabin rugs and one wool one.
I'll show you all of them after I finish. 
There were some really nice one's in this group.

Next on the to do list is to finish an overshot wall hanging on the AVL. 
I am going to need lots of luck with this one!