Lively Fibers, Deadly Dyepots

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

From a fortress of dangerous winds...

Winter sends news of impending residency in Chicago via frigid body-slamming winds today. On the evening news I'm watching weather battered shoppers on Rush Street reduced to clinging to lamp posts and parking meters, and I can hear the hard rushing of gales outside my pitiful drafty apartment windows in Roscoe Village. I love it, though, because this is the most productive time of year for me. I live for cold dark weather.

(Actually a shot from the blizzard we enjoyed this past February.)

Here's what I've been doing instead of blogging these past weeks.

I finished my spreads in an art journal swap I'd had going on with friends for around six (!) years.

People complain about round-robin type swaps taking too long but I actually enjoyed having the book I sent out into the world be gone for so long. Made it seem strange and new and the few pages I'd done in so long ago unfamiliar and fresh.

(These shots of my work in the last friend's book I'd hosted at the end of the swap.)

I also washed many pounds of various lovely farm wool in my kitchen sink, prior to kettle dyeing.

I knit up some scarves so I could turn my long-suffering yet incorrigibly hammy husband into a potential Sad Etsy Boyfriend. Once I get these up for sale in my shop, his transformation into scarf model will be complete.

I've also wasted many hours walking this strange creature.

I've spent much time lately on the health issues of a certain bizarre furry demon inhabiting my home, requiring several trips to the demon vet to resolve. She's okay now, so I figure the other one who hangs around here must be coming due to further line the demon vet's deep ungrateful pockets.

She's a distraction when she's sickly and a menace when she's well. This is how she helps me weave on my sorely underused rigid heddle loom. I've had it for nearly a year and I love it but in between life and Etsy I've only had time to weave a couple of biggish projects, and on those I have yet to complete the post-loom finishing tasks. It's on my list.

In weaving, thus far I've used only spindle-spun yarns. At this point I seem to have developed a habit of reserving finer spinning for spindles and bulky art yarn spinning for my wheel. For some reason I feel guilty when I sit hand carding my silky little rolags, as though the finer yarns I spin but don't yet offer for sale on Etsy are somehow a waste of time, which I know is wrong.

It's important to remember that every single thing I make doesn't have to be something for the shop. Spindling is an important part of being for me. I get out of bed, turn on the coffee machine, walk the dog, and then I come back in and spin on a spindle. I'm not awake until I've spindle-spun. I am addicted. Too bad it doesn't burn any significant amount of calories, as would, say, jogging. Or earn as much income as would, say, a "real" job.

My wheel has been regrettably idle lately, though I know that won't last long now that the nights are long and cold and deliciously dark and filled with gloom.

These fat wooly suckers will start showing up on my drying rack soon. My wheel will require oil, and dusting, and tender adjustments. Then the whole apartment will go to hell with drum carding and wheel spinning and all the chaos and riotous preponderance of all-invasive fluff.

Many months later, after much pained procrastination, I'll finally plop the fat yarns on a sunny window sill or in my sad makeshift lightbox, take their little pictures, and at long last get them up for sale on Etsy. But it takes me a long time. What can I say, I'm working on my speed in this capacity, and busily trying to limit distractions and excuses for not doing all that retail drudge work in a more timely fashion.

Recently a relative commissioned some coptic journals to give as X-mas presents, so this excuse for not spinning the big yarns and getting them up and doing marketing crap, this bookbinding excuse, at least, has been legit.

Naturally I have more binding to do, more journals in progress, some from years ago. I'll get them done, eventually. I'm slow but I get there in the end.

Now, needing to do one thing, to bind books or whatever it might be, all any kind of self-imposed deadline does is immediately make me want to go work on some other thing, like spinning, or knitting more Sad Etsy Husband scarves for the shop, and here is where I come full circle. I love too many crafts, and they are all of them cruel mistresses.

The important thing is the doing, the non-languishing, non-avoiding, non-time-wasting, the work, in the particular way I enjoy doing it, and maybe someday with a lot less moaning and bitching on my part. This, too, is on my list. I'm working on it, damnit, I'm working.