May 2010

Today I’m going to turn you over to another site.  In April, I had the priviledge of doing an audio interview with artist and handweaver Kathie Roig for an episode of WeaveCast.  This wonderful podcast has been produced by Syne Mitchell for a number of years.  She has taken it to the next level offering not only audio, but great web content on WeaveZine including instruction, reviews and community information for handweavers.

Please visit this link to hear Kathie’s interview and then look around the rest of the site and see what you think.  Syne is taking a much deserved summer off from podcast production but there are many archived audio interviews for you to explore.

You might also want to visit one of my postings regarding Kathie’s workshop for my guild.  It was a wonderful weekend experience.

Our weather at the turn of the seasons tends to go from fairly cold to steaming hot. So when the weekend turned into the 80s, I had to scramble to put together a grilled meal.  A whole chicken did the trick as I grilled my inaugural beer can chicken.

I’ve got a handy little chicken holder I got from Weber just for this purpose. 

Then I saw a posting on New York Times food writer Mark Bittman’s site about grilled vegetables and I cut them up, tossed them with oil, put them on the heat and voila; dinner was served.  That’s baby bok choy on the plate; I had never tried grilling that before.

This is a great season for cooking.  Grilling keeps the heat out of the house on those warm summer-like nights.  I look forward to more as we head into June.

There’s no better place to get your Italian food fix in Northeast Ohio than Gallucci’s.  A Cleveland institution, Gallucci’s Italian Foods has a gruff but lovable staff serving amazing food.  The olive bar is a visual treat.

I went downtown to the grocery/deli one weekend recently.  The guys were working hard cutting big wedges of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese under a ceiling full of handmade, aged mozzarella.

Once I got my cheese, antipasta, and olives, I moved over to their dessert area for treats to take home.

Everytime I get to Gallucci’s, I always discover something new.   Recently it’s been an array of great balsamic vinegars which they allow you to taste.  I always leave satisfied with a curious desire to listen to old Dean Martin or Al Martino “records.”

I was enchanted while in church yesterday.  I would love to say it was the pastor’s sermon, but alas it was the hymn after his message.  I think the greatest theology can be found in old hymns. This is the second verse in the hymn “Let Streams of Living Justice.”  If you’re a fiber lover, you will be so pleased.

For healing of the nations,

for peace that will not end,

for love that makes us lovers,

God grant us grace to mend.  

Weave our varied gifts together;

knit our lives as they are spun;

on your loom of time enroll us

 till our thread of life is run.  

O great weaver of our fabric,

bind church and world in one;

dye our texture with your radiance,

light our colors with your sun.

Each issue of Vav Maganiset has some kind of inspiration for me.  There is always something interesting to discover but it’s best read during a quiet period in the house with no interruptions.

The recent issue had an article called Dyes from the Natural World featuring Jeanette Scharing, an artist and teacher of natural dyeing techniques.  She is dedicated to extracting dyes slowly from all kinds of natural sources.  One of the pictures referenced dyes being extracted from avocado pits.  It was then that I remembered cutting up numerous avocado pits for a dye day event last summer that I never attended.  I dried the pits and the skins and stored them away.

I got them out last night and took an inventory.

From left to right are the dried skins, old dried chopped pits in the back, and the chopped pit of an avocado I used this week in a recipe.  When you first chop the pits they are a cream color, but a short time after they are exposed to the air, they turn a lovely orange.

After I weighed each of the dyestuff, I placed them in separate jars and poured hot water over them.

I’ll probably leave them like this for a week, simmering them on the stove from time to time.  The pits get very hard and need a long time to release color.  The skins on the other hand might be ready quite soon.

Then, I’ll take out my book “Wild Color” by Jenny Dean (a new edition will be released in November) and try a few different fibers to round out the experiment.  In the meantime, I think this looks lovely on my windowsill.

Sometimes, I’m just slow.  I wind warp slowly, carefully and I weave the same way.  While others at the painted warps workshop got both of their warps on the loom and woven before they left; I had to bring mine home undone.

But that’s okay.  Life moves along at a such a frantic speed that I consciously choose to pursue my fiber arts at a slower pace.  Kind of like slow food or slow travel.  Some things just need to be enjoyed and savored.

So, I recently spent a Saturday warping my loom with my off-the-loom painted warp from the workshop and the following Saturday I wove it.  And I’m pretty happy with the the results.

I needed an appropriate color for the weft and found a nice flake cotton in my stash.  The thick and thin of flake cotton gave the fabric some texture and dimension.  And as luck would have it, there was just enough warp for the piece to fit on my kitchen table.

Since I wove the runner in a 3/1 twill, the backside looks like it’s lined.  But it also has enough interest to be reversible.


Not a bad result for something that was just supposed to be a sample.

As summer approaches, I think I’ll plan a lazy day to set up a table outside and plan another painted warp for another project.  Not sure what I’ll do.  I need time to think about it.

I’m not an artist by training.  In fact, I’ve been downright color challenged and that is why I own a color wheel.  It’s handy at the loom and travels with me to every workshop.  But there is no color wheel that beats the natural world.  Nature has a way of putting the right combination of colors in the right places every time.  Sometimes I just need to bring my stash outside to see what works.

A little green cotton and I think these colors will weave into something sensational.  I also might consider using the same colors in paint for a free form painted warp.

I love to think of the possibilities.  Now I just have to get busy and make it happen.