June 23, 2010

I Confess is my favorite Hitchcock film.  And I loved Robert LePage’s tribute, The Confessional, almost as much.  However I am not nor have I ever been a Catholic.  Whence this urge to lay bare the sinful secrets of my blogging heart?

Until now my policy for blog awards has been to give the awarder my sincere and humble thanks, but not post the award.

This one is from Damselfly, though.  I am embarrassed to say so, since I almost never comment on her blog, but I suspect she is very close to the person I might have been if (product of a crazed sociological time-travel experiment) I had been born in Canada at the same time she was, had had kids, possessed a broader range of textile interests/talents, and was simply an all-around cooler lady.  Damselfly, I even used to wear the same hairstyle as you.  For years.  Weird.

So here is the Award.  It is tardy because I have been doing huge works, and sick with the flu, and not reading blogs.

And here is the homework that goes with it.  Trapunto tells all.

10 Little-Known Things About Me

1. I have never once shaved my legs.  At age 13 or so I divined that shaving my legs would mean opening a Pandora’s box of constant maintenance–legs have a lot of surface area, leg stubble is scratchier than natural leg hair–and I decided I just didn’t want to go that way.  I don’t think hairy legs look particularly nice (on me), so my shapely calves have not seen the light of day since.  Knee socks, tights, trousers.

2. I am a rosy vampire.  My complexion is pure white and red with almost no yellow in it.  When I was a toddler my family jokingly called me the polar child and claimed I had fur-lined skin.  Sun does me in almost immediately.  A normal summer day where everyone is galloping around talking about the gorgeous weather leaves me stumbling in a state of near heat-prostration.  People see how flushed (or pale) I am and ask me if I’m sick.  But I will happily slog for miles in a chilling drizzle.  Direct sunlight hurts my eyes and gives me headaches.  A few years ago an ophthalmologist who was quite surprised at my pupils’ failure to dilate normally said, “you don’t like bright light much, do you?”  She was right, but I hadn’t known until then it was a physical anomaly.  I blame my Scandinavian forebears.

3. I think sunglasses are astoundingly rude.  Take them off when you’re in company.  It’s awful trying to speak to people when you can’t see their eyes.  Like talking to the Borg.  I wear hats because they shade my head as well as my eyes.

4.  I am thirty-four.  This may be news to you because I write like a 84-year-old.  Or maybe a 134-year-old raised from the grave to spout antique idiom mixed willy-nilly with modern slang.  Hey.  I kind of like that.  (Not the idea of being a zombie, but of channeling an Edwardian writing ghost.)  Another reason my age is a little-known fact is that I look a lot older.  For example, when I was thirty-two my yoga teacher–a former ballet dancer who and had seen mine and all manner of bodies from all angles for years and years–said rhetorically, “and you’re in your early forties, right?”  And I replied, “mid thirties” because I didn’t want her to feel embarrassed, although technically thirty-two is early thirties.  This kind of over-consideration for others’ feelings is typical of me.

5.  Weaving is not my passion.  I love it, it fascinates me, but it was something I decided to do when I couldn’t do other things.  I often feel like a bit of a fraud blogging about it at all.  It’s great to hear you talk about your feelings for your weaving, but also peculiar, because it mirrors how I feel about other things–not the visual arts/crafts.

6.  Which isn’t to say I don’t care deeply about them.  I almost ended up going to art school (to study illustration) instead of to college.  What changed my mind?  A single session held by a high-profile art college.  I went to the local hotel where they were doing a presentation / meet-and-greet to attract all the prospective students in the region.  I was mortified by the mixture of self-importance and inarticulate naiveté in the presenters, the student work they showed, and the guests alike.  These were mostly high school students.  I would probably just laugh at them now, but at the time I realized (correctly) that art school was a bad place for me if I couldn’t stand being around artists.  I still can’t.

7.  I am acronym blind.  That is how I think of it, anyway; I’ve never come across anyone else with the same condition.  What I mean is that I am incapable of extrapolating the terms behind even the commonest acronyms.  It leads to awkward moments in conversation.  I am also constitutionally incapable of following/doing spoken arithmetic.  Numbers have to be on paper or they mean almost nothing to me.

8.  For years I studied classical piano–through my freshman year of college, in fact.  (I forget this about myself sometimes.)  I was very bad at it because my eye-to-brain-to-finger nerve hookups were simply too slow for technical fluency, no matter how hard I practiced.  This also meant I could never manage to sight-read properly, so I was no use as an accompanist.  I wish I had given it up much sooner.

9.  Der Mann and I raised Indian Runner ducks for several years.  These un-pettable pets hated and feared us as much as they entertained and delighted us–Runners are like that.  If we ever get land, and can figure out a way to protect them from predators, I am sure we will end up with another flotilla of ducks.

10.  As a kid and teenager I had a natural talent for sports that required coordination, but found them all so tortuously boring (in the case of team sports, just tortuous) that I never pursued any.  Or does baton twirling count as a sport?

And now I have a final confession, off the record: for the past six months I have been keeping another blog.  It is a book blog.  It started when I realized I was having less and less to say on The Straight of the Goods as no goods were being straightened–or woven, but that I still needed the kind of total distraction writing a blog entry provided when I was too worn-out to do anything more productive.  Which times are many.  I swear I never intended to let The Straight of the Goods lapse!  My apologies to whatever loyal soul may yet be reading this, because I haven’t been commenting much on other people’s weaving blogs.  It’s easiest to talk about whatever I’m most engaged with (That I don’t hate.  Which is why you have been spared hearing about most of my real life.), and I am always engaged with my reading.

Still, I miss you guys.  Sigh.

You are all beautiful bloggers, and I would like to hear all your little-known things.


Dear Challenged:

(No, wait a minute.  That sounds terrible!)

Ahem.  Dear Challengees:

I have no weaving to show you. I do have:

1. A pair of linen trousers.

2. A crewel embroidery book from the library with excellent diagramatic instructions, particularly for making “spiderweb roses.”

3.  A very old book of Swedish weaving drafts that belonged to the original owner of my Bergman loom, and someone else before her.

4.  Shiny Japanese crochet linen.  I’ve been saving it for the perfect weaving project.  Subtle colors.  Silver gray, a sand/pale khaki, and an indescribable blue that makes me sigh with pleasure.

5.  A table loom on which it is impossible to weave linen.

6.  No discretionary time.

7.  No energy.

8.  No foreseeable increase in either item 6 or item 7.

So there you have it, Pics to Picks Peeps.  Challenge unmet.

My plan was to construct a small panel by stretching the trouser linen over a wooden frame, weave a latice out of the three colors of linen using a draft from the Swedish book, lay it over the trouser linen panel, and embroider climbing crewel roses through it in shades of pink, coral, apricot, and white.  An echo of the lace gloves and ribbon roses in my inspiration photo.

I’m not a sketcher.  Or rather, I do all my sketching in my head.  I rejected and refined different versions of my project in quite a bit of detail in there.  Short of whatever different directions my materials might have taken me once I had them in hand, the concept was complete.

When will it materialize?  I can’t say.  My life is not weaving friendly or anything friendly at the moment.  This isn’t a complete surprise.  I had reservations about participating since I knew how these spring months (Northern hemisphere) always evaporate into a haze of imperatives.  I signed up anyway.  And it was fun to work from Linda’s photograph.  I discovered that when I designed from a starting place someone else chose, it made everything less serious.

Perhaps the most enjoyable part was the moment I stopped trying to construct a draft, remembering that I already had just the sort of thing I wanted in the old Swedish book–a “mosquito curtain.”  Translating the instructions into English was like a scavenger hunt for words.  My Swedish dictionary is in a box (one of those on the book shelves behind the loom in the photo), but I doubt it would have helped me with the odd weaving usages any more than the online dictionaries did.  One way or another, I’m going to weave this sucker.

Thanks for inventing and hosting Pics to Picks, Meg.  You’re a peach.  And thanks for the pictures, Linda.  No inspiration is ever wasted–contrary to appearances!

Warp and weft: light blue 40/2 cotton

Reed: 100 dents per 10 cm

In the reed leave alternate dents empty.  In alternate dents, thread alternately  3 threads from the second and third shafts and one thread from the first shaft.