Archive for the ‘new work’ Tag

Into Spring

I’ve already discussed what an unreliable blogger I am, right? so,’nough said?

here is how my Fun a Day project turned out. I ended up with 27 flowers. It was actually, really lots of fun. It did jump-start my creative work for the new year.

My Fun a Day flowers.

My Fun a Day flowers.

The other benefits were the connections: I met some wonderful new people, and reconnected with some old friends.


The opening was over two nights, February 28 & March 1.

My next fun project was a car cozy for my minivan. This was for the Santa Clarita Art Slam on the evening of March 6th.


The next two projects to come up, and what I’m currently involved in, are public art projects with yarn. David Orozco, of Yarnbombing Los Angeles, and I created a large yarn mural for Riverside Art Make.


The project kicked off on March 8th with a community workshop at Raincross Yarn in Riverside. The assembled group began dismantling thrift store sweaters while Ana drew a cartoon of the hills above the La Sierra neighborhood. At the second workshop on March 16, we assembled the background of the landscape.


Our last workshop was March 23 at Riverside Art Museum, where we added orange trees and other details to the mural.


RAM_3-24_WKSHPThe mural is scheduled to be installed on March 31.



On March 22, Yarnbombing Los Angeles launched our latest project at Manhattan Beach Creative Art Center. We will be doing a yarnbombing of many trees around the center along with a community tapestry and an exhibition of other yarn artworks in the gallery.

Our next two community workshops will be April 26, and May 3, both at 1-4 pm. We will also be working on the yarnbombing and the tapestry at our regular stitching sessions on the 3rd Saturday of the month at the Craft and Folk Art Museum.


Helen and Tiffany working on the community tapestry.

Helen and Tiffany working on the community tapestry.


A community tapestry woven into a beach volleyball net.


Charlotte, Jane and Judy working on tree wrappers for the yarnbombing.



Fun A Day Reseda

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I’m doing Fun-a-Day, Reseda as a new project for the new year. Fun-a-Day is a project that started on the East Coast a few years ago as a fun, creative, exercise for the coldest, dreariest month of the year. Chloe Cumbow, a recent refugee from there, brought Fun-a-Day to Reseda this year.

The idea is to pick a creative project – it can be visual art, writing words or music, cooking, dance, collecting something special, anything – and do it everyday in January. Then there will be a show/exhibition/presentation at the end of February. IMG_2938

there were some meetings in November and December. I’m not sure, but I think someone could still join in if they wanted to. FAD has gotten an agreement to use a space for the exhibition, and the next meeting will be this coming Thursday, the 16th at 6:15 pm; at 7143 Baird Street in Reseda. They advise to bring a chair if you don’t want to sit on the floor.

I decided to do something fiberous, of course. And crochet, because all I want to do lately is to crochet. In December I went out to Riverside to see my son and his girlfriend, Jessica. Jessica has recently learned to crochet, and she wanted a pattern for a flower. I took my copy of 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet. IMG_2950We picked out this lovely coiled rose, and it became my motif for Fun-a-Day.

I decided to use up a bunch of old clothes i have had sitting around with the intentions of cutting them up someday. Knowing Irv and I were going to be gone the first 8 days of January, I started early. I had 8 flowers done by the time we left for our cruise on Dec. 29.

We got home this last Wednesday, I went to the doctor Thursday. I came home from the Caribbean with a sinus infection. On Friday I realized I was already 2 flowers behind. I cut up a bunch of jeans and t-shirts. I made two flowers Friday evening and another five yesterday, including two from blue jeans.

The first 11 flowers.

The first 11 flowers.

Today I needed to rest my hand and I decided to document the process.

In the wee hours of the morning I had the thought, “what if I kept going after January; what if I made a flower a day for a year?”

no. 12

no. 12

Here are some process pictures.

A denim pant leg

A denim pant leg


t-shirt sleeve


Sweet Zoe sleeps in my studio

Hello 2014

yeah, I’m really bad about updating my blog.

Let’s see how quickly I can cover the past 8 months: the dog, Zoe, sweet Zoe, turned out to be a very fearful dog with fear-aggression issues. She barked and barked at anyone who came into the house. She barked and barked and barked at the kids when they came home for a visit. She barked and barked and barked and barked at the sounds of plumbers and painters at the houses across the street. The UPS driver doesn’t want to stop at our house any more.

Doesn't she look sweet.

Doesn’t she look sweet.

The upshot is that we spent lots of money on training, and now Zoe wears a citronella anti-bark collar all the time. She has learned to not bark all the time, which keeps her calmer. I can allow her in my studio rooms (the former kids’ bedrooms on the front of the house, facing the street), and she doesn’t bark, bark, bark at the windows. She can keep quite when visitors are in the house, she can even be in the same room. But she’s still very fearful, and won’t allow anyone to touch her. She won’t make friends with anyone. She went to the kennel when hubby and I went on a cruise over New Years, and she didn’t come out of her enclosure the entire time. She wouldn’t eat breakfast, only at dinnertime. Otherwise, she’s really sweet.

i finished the window shade fabric, and if I may say so myself, it looks great.IMG_2061

The shades aren’t completed yet, as we want them to be motorized, and finding the mechanisms has proven to be a complicated process. it was late in the year when i finished weaving the fabric, then I went on my Nicaragua trip (another story i will have to come back and tell someday soon), then it was the holidays, and now suddenly it is the second week of january.

Over the summer I became more involved with Yarn Bombing Los Angeles, the perpetrators of CAFAM Grannies Squared.

Next post, a new project for the new year: FunaDay Reseda


Romans & Grannies & Dogs – Oh My!

Whoa, it’s been almost two months since I checked in here. From where I left off last time:

I got the 45″ wide warp for the window shade fabric on the loom – not without some glitches (of which I’m just going to stop reporting all the details; since I’m afraid I’m beginning to sound incompetent). I wove a  62″ sample and cut it off the loom to show the clients. Why 62,” you might ask? Why not weave a 12″ sample and not risk wasting that much of my materials? 62″ is long enough to be a shade if it wants to be, and it gives the clients a fuller picture of what the fabric will look like. It can be difficult for non-weavers & non-fiber-people to visualize something that doesn’t exist. I threaded the loom with a 3 yard leader warp. My warp is 8 yards, of which there will be very little waste at the back end. The project requires about 4 yards, finished, for the two 42″ wide shades. If I don’t use the first 62″ sample, I’ll still have plenty of warp; and the finished fabric should have plenty of extra for wiggle room. 

first sample

Anyway, the clients put the sample up in their living room and they love it. Now all I need to do is to dye another two pounds of the cotton flake weft yarn, and 2000 more yards of fabric strips.

Oh, and weave the remaining 6+ yards of 45″ wide fabric, then tie on the 36″ wide warp and weave 16 yards of fabric.

Piece of cake.

At the same time, I have been participating in Yarn Bombing Los Angeles’ Grannies Squared project to cover the Craft and Folk Art Museum with granny squares.

Definitely check it out on YBLA’s Facebook page.

At some point a couple of months ago, I was at one of the Stitch & Bitch session at the museum. Someone mentioned that they were looking for some kind of crochet-related pin to give to their 100 Club, the people who had crocheted 100 or more squares. The solution was obvious to me instantly, and the wire grannies were born. They only needed 50 of them.


Wire grannies for the 100 Club.

I have made pins, necklaces, and I’m in the process of making earrings for the CAFAM gift shop.  My wire granny jewelry will be there late next week, along with other granny square themed merchandise, in time for the opening on Saturday, May 25th, at 7 pm. YBLA will be having a Photo Op across the street in the park at 5 pm. I will be there with the wire grannies for the 100+ granny contributors. 

AND. . . somewhere in between my last post and this one, I did something really stupid. I must have had a stroke or other mental defect, because we got a

IMG_1827 IMG_1849

stinky dog.

I’ve got to go crochet wire granny squares. Hopefully I’ll see you on Wilshire Boulevard, next Saturday.

More of Everything

I guess I never really did a project where I wove this much fabric, and I know I never did a project where I dyed this much of anything.

Let me run down the whole project for you. Here is my original crude sketch of the windows.


The window shades are for a bank of windows and doors that run from the living room into the dining room. There are two windows 42″ wide, one large window 92″ wide, and a set of patio doors 32″ wide each. These are the measurements to the outside of the mouldings, the desired finished width of the roman shades.

I decided to weave the fabric in two different widths, 45″ and 36″. I know that will give me fabric that finishes 42″ and 32″ wide. img013

My original calculations for warp length told me I wanted the 45″ warp to be 4.5 yards and the 32″ fabric to be 13 yards. I don’t know if anyone can interpret my notes there, but I neglected to add loom waste. This was only the first of the many ways I underestimated what I would need for this project.

After we changed from a white-on-white to a six color palette, I decided to do the next samples at the full width of the fabric. That prompted me to review my warp calculations, and upon reflection, I decided to add three extra yards to the length of both warps. The 45″ warp will be 8 yards and the 36″ warp will be 16 yards.

Back in October when I abandoned the multi-yarn warp, I decided to go with all 5/2 Perle Cotton, and quickly realized I didn’t have near enough. I bought two cones from Village Spinning and Weaving at Weff in November. Two weeks ago I ordered another cone. 

Now here’s where I have ??? dancing around my head. Whatever was I thinking?

It came time to start dying the white fabric strips, so I went to dig in the box where I remembered having all these rolls of selvedges cut from the ends of rolls of white cotton broadcloth. There were five. I hauled out my McMorran yarn balance: about 100 yards per roll. I went to my woven samples, did more calculations – total needed for both warps, 8 yards & 16 yards= 2500 yards of fabric strips. I checked my math a couple more times. I needed 20 more rolls of fabric strips. 

The company I had gotten the selvedges from is in Pennsylvania, and it took weeks before I remembered to call before 2:00 in the afternoon. Then, they didn’t have any more of the end cuts. But they had some partial rolls of cotton broadcloth, and they were willing to cut them into 1″ strips for me.

This lead me two days ago recheck my calculations for the other weft yarns. . . and WTF??

Going back to my woven samples, I found that my initial estimate of the number of picks per inch was way low. By this time I have dye-painted three skeins of yarn and five rolls of the fabric strips. This involves a process of winding the yarn off the cones into large 1 1/4 lb skeins, dye-painting it, cold batching for two days, letting it dry, then winding it back into balls. I had one of the skeins of 5/2 perle cotton get hopelessly tangled on the squirrel cage swift. After hours of working on it, I abandoned about 200 yards of warp yarn. 

I figured out that I needed another two pounds of this cotton flake I had bought back when the fabric was still going to be white; and that I can’t use any of the yarns I bought last summer at Convergence. In my white samples, I was doing my free form zig-zag non pattern using several yarns and shuttles at the same time. As the fabric has gotten more complex, I have decided to simplify the weaving. Everything is going to be space-dyed. Any zigzagging design will come from the serendipity in the way the colors land in the cloth.  I decided to combine the yarns to make them fatter, and only use two yarns for a total of three shuttles. 

But this now means that each yarn must cover half the picks for both warps. I have less than 1800 yards of each of the yarns I got last year at Convergence, and more of them is not available – that’s the reason I switched to Perle cotton for the warp. I no longer want to use a little of this and a little of that; I want to use the same yarns all the way through. My new math tells me that I need almost 5000 yards of each yarn. That meant I needed two additional pounds of the cotton flake, needed to skein, dye, then wind it back into balls. Plus I would need yarn to combine with the flake.IMG_1768

This was two days ago, as I said. This was after I struggled for hours with the tangled yarn. I dyed three large skeins of yarn today, I have one more in the garage that I have already soda-soaked. I’ll have to dye-paint two more pounds of cotton flake to plus 20 rolls of fabric strips. I couldn’t face any more dying. I ordered some 3/2 Perle cotton in beige, it matches the Chamois in my palette; and some carpet warp that matches the Terracotta.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered more urea. I got two pounds and as soon as it arrived I knew I needed to get another 5 lbs.

At the same time I started moving stuff out of Michael’s room so I can get all my stuff out of Samantha’s room, and turn that into a guest room in time Michael to use it when he comes home on Monday. 

And today I ran out of Terracotta dye. . .

Last Post of 2012

Wrapping up 2012. It was a good year. I had my work in some wonderful exhibitions; I was invited to apply to California Fibers, and joined that group; I curated an exhibition at Los Angeles International Airport; and I was selected to produce a coiled piece for the Wells Fargo Green Team Trophy.

Since my last blog post, I finished the second token for the Green Team Trophy. It will be going to the Los Angeles Virtual Team.













I have woven some samples for the window shade fabric. I will soon be meeting with C & A to look at them.














Just yesterday I shared a triangle loom weaving adventure with some friends from my local guild, the Southern  California Handweavers Guild. A little group of weavers came together at Michelle Gannes’ house to learn how to weave on triangle looms. I had been curious about triangle weaving, so I borrowed a loom and joined in. I came home with my triangle about half woven and finished it in the evening. And the result was, well . . .

triangle 2. . . slightly appalling.

I figure I’ll probably add some embellishment to cover that mess in the center, then crochet an edge which will help compensate for the failure at the bottom point. As I’m thinking about it, If I use a nice bright complimentary color for the edging, it will pull attention away from the technical difficulties. Then I’ll wear it in my studio when I need a little something to keep my shoulders warm, and never take it out of the house. It will be fine.

Looking forward to 2013: along with the window shade fabric, and never weaving on a triangle loom ever again, I’ll be doing at least two more tokens for the Green Team Trophy. I’m going to attend Stitches West in February in Santa Clara, CA.  I’ll need to step up work on my Designing Weavers annual project in order to get it done by March, April, or May. I also have workshops and classes scheduled on my teaching roster thru May.  Then there is the SDA conference in San Antonio in June.

What else? I’m sure I’ll find some other things to get into – I’ll let you know.

The After Pictures


The Before Picture

 It’s past due time I posted the after pictures of the Studio Move. First, let me review the before picture.
 The walls were a light, dirty yellow. The lighting was a really ugly ceiling fan with a four-blub fixture.
The 4′ x 8′ work table was in a corner, so the back half was essentially unreachable and I used it for storage. It was also covered with manilla pattern paper.
How did I ever design in there? I would put a piece of white paper on the table to lay out colors. I would take things to other parts of the house to see them in daylight.  

Sam's new room

 The New Studio
The old room was 11′ x 11′ 6″. The new one is 12′ 6′ x 13′ 2″.
The walls are painted white, we put up two flourescent light fixtures, and I now have access to three sides of the table. You see the computer at the end of the tabel? That’s where I’m sitting right now, typing.
By putting the table away from a corner, it’s like getting a second 24″ x 8′ table. However, it also meant I had to find other places to put all the stuff that was stored on the top of the table.
This was solved in part by getting a new small bakers rack for the corner between the table and closet. And as you can see, the wire cube book shelf is still on the table top.
You can kind-of see I have a white flannel covered bulletin board on the closet door. This was in the old studio, on the closet door. I made it  and it was hinged so it could swing open the full width of the closet. It was covered with flannel on the inside and outside. The idea was that I could lay out designs on the flannel, and fold the board closed when I wasn’t working on it. But I never fully utilized it.
You see, I was going to make art quilts when I went into the fiber art classes at CSUN.  My background, long before I learned to weave, was sewing. I was a patternmaker in the garment industry here in Los Angeles before I went back to school to get my BA in Art. That’s why I have two industrial sewing machines. The rulers hanging next to the closet door in the top picture are left over from patternmaking.
It’s also why I still have two dress forms. There they are, crammed into the closet behind the small baker’s rack, in a place that will be very hard to get them out of if I ever want to use them.
Which is all very curious since, as I have been known to say, “I don’t do garments.” They caused me quite a conundrum as I was moving in.
Professional organisers have a rule of thumb: if you haven’t used something in over two years, you should get rid of it because you aren’t likely to ever use it again. Those forms were in the same place in the closet in my old studio. Not only had I not used them in over two years, I would forget I even owned them!
I stood there for a long time one day arguing with myself. I hadn’t filled up all the drawers with yarn yet. I had the dress forms in the closet. I put the bakers rack together, but hadn’t put anything on the shelves yet. And I knew that those forms are going to be damned hard to get out of there (I’ll have to lift them up over the baker’s rack while swinging them over my head to clear the work table) if I ever decide to use them.
But IF, the argument goes, I ever want to make a garment, I can’t do it without having a dress form to drape it on.  
-But I haven’t made a garment in over TEN YEARS- 
But WHAT IF  I want to? If I get rid of them, then I won’t have one to use.
-So, get rid of one of them-
But which one? The one that’s in better shape is a size 5 petite, and the one that’s a more realistic size is falling apart.
-Maybe get a used size 12 or 14 downtown, in the garment district-
They still cost money, even used, and I may never use it.
-Get rid of both of them, free up the space in the closet, and get one of those El Cheapo one’s from Joanne’s IF I ever make garments again-
Oh no, not that! –No, just put them in the closet. Keep the door closed-
It took me two weeks to unpack and move in.

The Warping Board is still behind the door.


new storage area


The cabinets from the old studio are hung higher, so I can walk under them. I got myself a new step stool so I can reach the high shelves.


There are two large windows facing east and south. I found some wonderful fabric shades at Lowe's that let in bright white light.


In Transition

I’ve gotten behind in updating again. Since Thursday we’ve been very busy moving back into our new rooms.

Sam's new room as of Thursday morning, with new paint, light fixture and Carpet.

My new studio with new paint, light fixtures, white cellular fabric blinds.

On Wednesday, the day after the painting was done, we put up the new light fixtures and the blinds in my studio. Since then, we’ve been moving in. We got most of Sam’s room done first because she has to get resettled before she goes back to school next week. On Saturday, with Irv’s help, we anchored her bookcases to the wall and put up her curtain rod. She got mostly moved in.
I’m going to reconstruct her two sets of curtains to make one set for her window which is twice as wide and half as high as the windows in her old room. I want to get it done by the time she leaves, so I’ve got to really get moving this week and get my sewing machines, tools, thread and such unearthed from the boxes in the living room. Or dining room – I really don’t remember where anything is. Irv also put up my wall cabinets on Saturday.
I’m still figuring out where everything is going to go. Over the years in my old studio I learned that little logistical decisions have a big impact on functionality. For instance, where  you store the ironing board when you’re not using it can make it a hassle when you need to get it out to use it.
I still need to do some woodworking before I can start moving the contents of all those shelves and cabinets into the studio. The tall white cabinet that sits on the floor needs a wood base to raise it up 1/2″ and make it more stable on the carpet; then I can anchor it to the wall.
I need to rework the support for the plywood “floor” under the big work table. This is a major storage area for heavy boxes of fabric.

New baker's rack on the left will greatly increase my storage capacity.

Stay tuned. . .

photograph day 2

Well what was I thinking anyway?

I’ve seen Paul’s light set up in the studio, it’s two large banks of lights. I know an artist who replicated Paul’s set up when he lost his lease last year. She spent $2000 on lights and equipment. So what was I thinking with my two $5 tungsten light bulbs and $13 clamp-on fixtures – that don’t even have switches – from Home Depot?

This morning I took a series of photos with the camera on different settings to see what I could learn. I learned that I’m moving it all to the back porch today.

Un professional photography

Adventures in photography. I have taken a few seminars in photographing your own work. I decided to take the plunge this week, and photograph the headpiece to submit to a fiber show who’s deadline is this Friday, the 20th.

Maybe I could have taken the piece in to my photographer, Paul, yesterday and gotten the images back today so I could get the submission in the mail this afternoon or tomorrow morning at the latest. Probably what I should have done.

Yesterday I went to Canoga Camera. I got some backdrop paper to create a sweep in my dining room. I got some tungsten lights and clamp-on fixtures.

That makes it sound so simple, it was quite a more complicated matter:

first I had to clear off the small table to the side of the dining room. I cleared my clutter to the big dining room table, which it covers. (I need to do a major studio clean up. Stay tuned, that’s next on my agenda.)

The small table is one of those old jobs from the 1950’s that unfolds and expands to seat 10. It has something like four leaves in the closet. It belonged to my in-laws when they were first married. When I went to pull the legs out and unfold the top, I noticed that the leg I fixed back in the old house (18 years ago) was loose again. So I went out to the garage to get the wood glue and pipe clamps. The hack saw fell off the shelf, the blade came out, and the saw frame split in two. So I picked up the saw and put it back together and put it back on the shelf; this only took a minute or two.

This photo has nothing to do with anything. I put it here to give you something to look at in the middle of the story.
I put newspaper under the little table, which was now upside down on the dining room floor. The cap of the wood glue was clogged with dried glue because someone left it open the last time they used it. Hmm, who might that have been?? It took a half hour to dig all the dried glue out of the cap. Then I glued and clamped the table.

So while the glue on the small table needed to dry, I moved my 24″ table loom off the card table and moved that to the dining room for my photography set up.

But I still needed to get the light fixtures. Canoga Camera had some for $30 each, but I thought I could get them cheaper at Home Depot. The Home Depot at Fallbrook didn’t have any fixtures that could take the high wattage lights. I went to Lowes. They had the right fixtures, but only one was undamaged. The aluminum reflectors were all dented. So I bought one light and headed to OSH. They didn’t have the right fixtures.

I went to the other Home Depot on Valerio. They had the right fixtures and they were all dented. There was an employee helping me. He was kind of asking “why do they have to be undented?” I said I just didn’t want to buy something that was already damaged when I bought it. I took the least dented one and started to head for the register, intending to ask for a discount. So the Home Depot guy says, “I’ll just give you this.” He was the manager, and he comped me the light. Pretty cool

By this time, it was almost 4:00. I stopped at Jim’s Fallbrook Market to get something to make for dinner. I had left the house at about 2:00 to get the fixtures. If I had just paid for the fixtures at Canoga Camera on Monday morning, I’m thinking by now, I would already have my photos done. How much time had it cost me trying to save $30?

Since the wood glue had so much time to set, I put the card table back in the living room, and made my set up on the small expandable table.

I’d like to say something about Paul, my photographer. I love Paul. He does a fabulous job. His photos are freaking fantastic. I really started getting into juried shows when he started doing my photos. I just want to be able to take my own photos for times when I need a very quick turn around. Like this week when I have a submission that needs to be in Camarillo by Friday. Camarillo is like a 20 minute drive. I coulda taken the piece in on Monday, and paid for four views.

Ok, so I got my backdrop set up, I got the cheap fixtures. And boy, are these fixtures cheap – downright flimsy. They don’t even have switches; you plug them in to turn them on. As I was setting things up on the backs of a ladder and a chair, I was thinking, this is why I pay Paul.

But, I got it all set up, I cleaned my cameral lens with my brand new lense cleaning kit, I screwed the camera onto the tripod, I covered my head form to hold the headpiece, I adjusted the camera, and shot my images.

And, well, this is why I pay Paul.






I guess tomorrow I’ll be on the back porch in the morning. Maybe I’ll get the submission in the mail by the afternoon. If not, Camarillo is still just a 20 minute drive.

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