Friday, January 30, 2015

Finding My Zen..........

I've been working on finding my zen this year.  I decided 2015 is going to be the year of Martha.  It's the year of the sheep, but for me, it's the year of Martha.

Everyone finds their inner self, inner happiness, inner peace, at different stages of their life.  Me, I've been trying to figure out why I'm so different than everyone else, and why I never feel like I quite fit in.

©Martha Manigross
Last summer was AWFUL for me - depression, fatigue, just plain angry and miserable and unhappy.
Once we had some answers on things I'd been wanting to do, like sell this house, and finding out that we are so upside down, we can't sell it, settled some things for me.  I realized I'm not going anywhere for a long time......unless someone suddenly wants to pay us more for a house than the banks say it's worth.  So I just have to find my happy place, and do things that make me want to stay here.

I've decided it's time to BE ME.  I recently figured out, that I have been being, doing and serving others for my entire life.  I have been trying to be what I thought others expected me to be.  That hasn't worked out so well for me my entire life.  There were times when I was just me.  I made decisions not based on what I thought someone else thought it should be, but on what I needed it to be.

©Martha Manigross
I'm also working on communicating more clearly.  I say things, then mean something else.  It's a game.  I don't want to play games anymore.  Therefore, if I need to say something and really mean it, I make it as clear as I can possibly make it, and if I feel like I'm still not understood, then I don't just let it go, I figure out HOW to make it clearer.  I've been doing okay at that.  I feel better too!

I'm also working on finding my zen as far as things I want/like to do.  I'm working on creating instead of working on selling.  I can't even TELL you how much stress that has taken off me. I'm not ignoring my business.  I'm not pushing it though.  I hated pushing it.  It is what it is. If someone wants to buy something from my Etsy shop, then great!   If they don't, then great!  It's OKAY.  :-)

©Martha Manigross
I'm working on my weaving and the techniques I learned.  I can't even explain, how happy and peaceful I feel, when I'm weaving on my new Saori 60 loom.  It's heaven.  Peaceful.  Zen-like.  Calming.

I just have to watch how much weaving I do at once.  My elbows have something going on - a pinched nerve or something.  It's making my hands get tingly.  It's not a fun feeling.

I want to continue to spin, but I don't know if I'll spin to weave, or spin to just make yarn.  Again, if someone wants to buy it, fine.  If not, fine.  I love my yarn and eventually, I'll use it for stuff - knitting or crochet or weaving.  Something.

©Martha Manigross
I'm also going to start taking my camera more places with me.  I LOVE taking photos.  I want to find a way to get them printed beautifully, and put them up around the house.  Maybe try to find a venue for selling them at some point.  Maybe enter them into contests.  I want to study my camera more, and what I can do with it.  What it can offer me.  I really love my own photos.  That's not a bad thing, right?

©Martha Manigross
Then, there are the 2 Princesses.  I want to spend more time with them.  That means, I have to work on my body, and get back into shape.  I can't keep up with myself, let alone a 4 year old and a 1 year old!  They are so precious to me, and I want to be around for them, and in their lives, for a long time.  I love my grand-girls!

I'm off to weave.  Then watch some t.v.  The PT does a job on me and today was PT day.  Days off from PT will be days I go to the gym for a bit of a workout.  I've also cut back on some food and am trying to drink more water, move more, eat less.   It doesn't work everyday, but I'm also working on being kind to myself - which means, taking better care of me, and not talking badly to myself.

Thanks for stopping by.
Happy Zen.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

She Has Arrived!

Yep.  My Saori 60 loom has arrived.  She is SO pretty!  I'm really happy she's here and can hardly wait to start weaving on her.

I might have to rearrange the rug so it is totally underneath the loom. I'll get Husband to do it with me.

Side veiw:

The footprint of this loom is tiny for a 23" weaving width loom.  The dimensions are W:26", D: 24", and H: 38".  It only weighs 34.5 lbs.  That's AMAZING.  We moved it very easily.

Okay, that's about all for now cuz I'm really anxious to get weaving!  It's only possible to weave right away on it, because it comes with a pre-wound warp, and a clipping rod for the front, and it comes pre-threaded through the heddles and the reed!  Isn't that amazing?!

More later.
Take care

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Saori, My First Finished Garment!

I finally felt like I was focused enough yesterday to measure, cut and sew my Saori cloth.

Cloth made in Saori class
I measured the entire cloth, then decided if I wanted 3rds, 4ths or 5ths out of it. I thought 5ths would be too short when finished, so I opted for 4ths.  I cut it about 30" each section.  That worked out well.  The tassels on the end I counted as part of the yardage.

I carefully sewed on each side of where I wanted to cut.  I used my sewing machine at a rather short stitch, and I stitched it twice down one line.  I then moved the cloth over under the presser foot to sew the next set of stitches so the presser foot edge was on the first set of stitches.  I hope that makes sense. I then sewed two rows (one on top of the other) to ensure I got a good, solid stitch so as not to loose any of the weaving. On a tighter weave, this is easy to do, but on a looser weave, it's easy to miss and loose some of your weaving. NOT something you want to do!

I had the four pieces, but when I put them on my new Dritz dress form, which is my size/shape (read, round), they didn't really measure up enough to reach the side seams without pulling, and losing some from the front.  I had previously (maybe 3/4 years ago) woven a piece of black cloth - I thought it would be a scarf - out of crochet cotton, just to see how it would weave up.  I never used it for anything, but didn't throw it away either.  It came in handy!  I ironed it, cut it in half, and used it on the sides of the garment in order to "stretch" the fabric - not literally but figuratively.  I just needed a few inches on either side at the side seam.  It worked great!

Here is the Dritz dress form.  I'm SO happy I sprung for it.  It's going to be a huge (no pun intended) help for me for fitting clothing for myself.  I'm now excited about the prospect of getting things to fit me when I'm done sewing them.  Something that never happened before.....

Dritz dress form with shirt and vest - front

Dritz dress form with vest - back
Above is the vest on the dress form. It's pretty darn close to how it fits me.  Below, are photos (ugh) of me (UGH) with the same vest on.

I had planned on making the vest shorter.  It was in my mind, but since this is my first try at actually fitting something to the dress form, then to me, I sort of overlooked that idea while I was concentrating on how to put this thing together.  No pattern.  Just an idea in my mind.  Nothing looks good when it's draped over my behind.....nothing at all.....

I have to say though, that I love my vest.  I love the patterns and colors.  I love that I made something one-of-a-kind, that no one else will ever have.  I love that it fits me well.  I love that I made it with no pre-planning.  I just let go, learned a bunch of techniques, and went for it.  I'm glad I decided to sew it at home, on my own.  It gave me the guts and determination to do it!

I'll be making more clothes, and learning along the way, what works, and what doesn't, for ME.
This is just SO much darned fun!!!!

Did I mention that I ordered my Saori loom?????  YES!  It is supposed to get shipped out tomorrow.  The studio in Louisiana I ordered it from, was at an event in Florida this past weekend.  They will get it shipped tomorrow, and I'm SO freaking excited.  Not quite sure where it'll fit in my tiny studio/office, but I'll figure it out.  I always do!

Well, time for me to go as I have to go get an MRI of my knee today.  So NOT looking forward to this.  I used to be able to handle anything without freaking out.  Now, I get claustrophobic, and I worry ahead of time, causing myself mini-panic attacks.  It's really stupid, because I NEVER used to be this way. I used to be the brave one, that would do anything.  Now, sometimes, when I drive away from home on my own, I start getting panic attacks.  Just dumb!  I've taken my anxiety meds that help me through these times.  I only take them when I'm really panicking.  They do help, but this time they haven't exactly squelched the rapid heartbeat just thinking about getting in the MRI and what I might have to do.  Sigh.  I thought getting older was easy.  Let me clue you in - it's not - not for everyone.

Take care and thanks for letting me share.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Saori Weaving Class

Yesterday we completed our Saori weaving class.  It was a 3 day class, the first two days taking place last weekend.
The studio is in Fairfax, VA.  Connie, the teacher, is a long-time traditional weaver, but got interested in Saori weaving, visited a couple of studios, one in LA and one in MA, and became a sattelite studio for the studio in LA.  Here is a link if you'd like to visit:  Weavin Place Saori Style  This is to the home page, and the Virginia studio has a link there too.

The studio opened in October.  My friend and I were so excited to find out there was a Saori studio here in VA!  We requested a weekend class because my friend works during the week.

Here is Gerilee and her fantastic bag - this is really only her 3rd time weaving, and this bag came out beautifully, don't you think?
Gerilee and her Saori bag
I made a lot more cloth than Gerilee did - close to 5 yards, which of course, shrunk after washing and drying.
Here is my cloth. It didn't get made into anything - yet.  I wanted to use my dress form/model that I fattened up a bit to be closer to my size.  Dress forms in this size are amazingly expensive....

Saori Cloth Jan 2015
Saori cloth wrapped around my fattened up dress form
Above shows the dress form with batting hanging out the bottom - guess I should fix that up.   The cloth I made is wrapped around her neck.  I wanted it out of the way for the moment and didn't fix it before taking pics.
Below is Laddie, one of the cute Shelties that belong to Connie, the studio owner.  He likes my cloth too!
Laddie likes my cloth too!
Here is a close up of part of my cloth.  There is a hole (just above the pink part on the left); lots of clasped weft; some fun yarn; a fluffy puffy part; silver shiny yarn; laid in yarn.  I used many techniques I learned as well as a couple that I already knew.
Close up of cloth.  Lots of techniques
 Here is what we did with the office/studio today.  Husband put up a couple of grid wall, and the hangers.  We put them up behind a table, and they are hopefully going to stay there!  I keep thinking we're going to be scared to death when they fall over in the middle of the night.....
This is all yarn I have from my previous weaving binge back a few years -  like 4 or 5.  I'm SO glad I have all this as I know I'll be using it again now!  Of course, I'm sure I'll be adding to this too!  LoL
Ready to weave!
 We also moved the sewing machine upstairs.  It sits in this little table that folds up and is very portable.  I love this table because the machine sits in a recessed area, and when you're sewing, the fabric isn't hanging off the edge of an arm on the machine.  Everything lays flat.
Sewing machine, e-spinner, drum carder, and lots of fluff!
You can also see the drum carder with a project on it that I started the other day but haven't finished yet.  Hey look, there's the Spinolution Firefly e-spinner too!  And lots of fiber and fluff around the room.

I'm really glad I took the Saori class, and I learned a lot of the techniques I wanted to learn.  If I had the $$$, I'd take more classes, become a teacher, and teach.  I LOVE this method of weaving, where there are no rules, no mistakes, and no one telling you it can't be done.  I love the way I can weave with whatever yarn I want, and I don't have to listen to anyone telling me that I can't use a cotton warp and wool, acrylic or whatever in the weft because............  There are NO rules and everything turns out and if it puckers or spreads out or whatever, it's OKAY.  I'll be weaving from my heart, and that's all I care about.  It's just like my spinning. I don't care about the rules!

I have SO many ideas in my little head.  Just bursting with ideas!  I can't wait to get started on some of it. I'll be working with my rigid heddle Cricket loom, 15" wide, for the time being.  I am going to order my Saori non-folding loom soon.  Husband is waiting for his commission checks.  Below is a picture of the non-folding Saori 60 loom I'm getting.  I'm SO stinking excited!

Saori 60 non-folding loom, 2 harness
Thanks for stopping by!
Take care,

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Decisions, Saori Class, and More!

Hi there!

I attended a Saori class last weekend and have one more day this Saturday.  The class was held in Fairfax, VA.  Here is the link:  This studio is a satellite studio of one in Louisiana.  I've communicated with the owner in LA several times, as far back as 3 or 4 years ago!  At the time, and up until recently, there were no studios within an area I felt comfortable traveling to.  There are studios on the East coast, in MA, NYC, & Georgia (as far as I'm aware).  Not all that far, but not all that close either!

I was very excited to take this class, and I was not disappointed.  I learned several techniques that I was interested in learning but couldn't figure out on my own.  The cloth I'm making is going to be about 5 yards long.  I haven't finished because on Saturday, I sort of hit a wall.  I was physically tired, and mentally tired, and my body was sore from not taking enough breaks.  Rule #1 - get up OFTEN.  For me, right now because of some issues I'm having, getting up about every 10 minutes and stretching my back and legs, is didn't help that I'd decided on Friday before, to make just ONE more piece of cloth to go with the 3 I'd already made, in order to take it with me on Saturday to get some ideas of how I could piece them together, to make my jacket.

You can see the post here to see the 3 pieces I'd made prior to the last one. I don't have a picture of all 4 together...but I will get one - it's COLD outside and that's where the best photos are taken.

I haven't put the jacket together yet.  I'm waiting.  I tend to want to do the "simple" answer, and just put the 4 pieces together, and sew the seams, leaving armholes.  There are so many other ways it could be done tho, but I tend to be afraid of experimenting with the cloth I wove....

The funniest part, to me, is that I only took ONE stinking photo during my weaving!  That is SO unlike me.
Here, you can see several techniques.  On the bottom is fluffy thread loops.  When washed, this should make a ruffle sort of area as the warp will so some interesting stuff because of all the looseness of the weft.  Exciting!  Above the pink/blue part with the fluffs, is a vertical spot - that's a hole, like a button hole!  Yes, it's intentional!  Above that, is an inlay that travels.  I had a lot of fun, and I used a LOT of color!  It's CRAZY!!!

On Saturday coming, I'll go back and finish with a technique that is going to take a little time.  When I get it done, I'm hoping there is enough time to wash and dry it at the studio, then be able to cut and piece it.  If not, I'll bring it home and play with it.  

I'm excited to get a Saori loom.  We'll be ordering it before the end of January.  Here is a link to the global website. You can see the looms here .  The story of the founder is here.  Her philosophy hit a true chord with me.....

Which leads me to the Decisions part of the title of this post......I've decide to stop selling fiber.  Spinning My Wheel Fibers will finish out on Etsy, whatever is in stock, then it will quietly go away.  It really isn't what I wanted to do, but I thought if there was ever a chance of me owning a shop, and helping people with spinning supplies, I was going to hang on..........that little thought just is never going to I've decided to move on. 

All I ever wanted to do, is create.  I love creating, and worrying and fretting about the business, and trying to figure out how to get more business over others doing the same thing, was just so NOT fun.  It has just become a bother.  I've pulled out of the fiber festivals I was going to attend this year. 

My goals for 2015 are these:  I'm going to find that little rebel hippie girl that used to be me.  She went away a very long time ago, because of the need to please others, to fit in to the expectations of others, and to conform.  She's buried underneath about 100 lbs of extra fat.  She's been stuffed away for safe keeping.  Buried alive.  It's time for her to reappear.  She's in there somewhere....much, much older, but still there.  The girl that used to wear rings on all her fingers, did crazy things with her hair, and used to be a sort of rebel. Not that I want to be that young again, or do crazy things.  I just want to do what feels right, what seems to be in my heart, and to be free again.

I'm also going to do what makes me happy.  Therefore, I'll be spinning the yarn I want, weaving the cloth I want, and not worrying about what someone else might want from me, or expect from me, or what anyone else thinks of what I'm supposed to do.  The funny part is, no matter how hard I tried to fit in with what was "normal," I never felt I fit in anywhere or ever did anything right - well - right according to what I thought others thought was right.  Whew. 

I'm done.  I'm just done caring and looking for acceptance, from others.  I need to be ME.  It's not anyone else's fault ME disappeared.  It's my own.  

Therefore, I'm going to let the trapped ME out, and just go with the flow.  I'll make clothes from my weaving, stuff that fits ME, and that I love.  If someone likes it and wants to buy it off my back, fine.  I will NOT, however, worry about whether anyone else likes what I make.  It's all about me.  :-D

I want to have more time to spend doing other things I love to do also.  Photography.  Traveling.  Reading.  Chilling.  Spending time with Hubby.  Weaving!  Spinning.  

Happy 2015 to you, and I hope that if you ever felt like you weren't being the "real" you, you find a way to become that person again.  Life is way too short, and personally, I've spent way too much of MY life, trying to please others and be something I'm not. 


Sunday, January 4, 2015

HAPPY 2015! OR - Time marches on......

It's here.  The "new" year.  It's the next year really...
Everyone seems so happy to start anew.  It's funny though, the older I get, the less I like time marching on.  There are so many things I want to do yet.  I'm getting older every year.  Why do people wish away the time they've spent living?   I think a lot of it has to do with the death experience I had in 2007.  I haven't looked at life, or death, the same since then.

A friend of mine recently lost her mom, then her husband, all the week before Christmas.  Very sad.  I have another friend that lost her husband a few years ago, the day after Christmas.  And another friend that lost her husband on Valentines day.

My husband's mother is in the hospital.  We are praying that she makes it through open heart surgery on Monday.  She's not in the best of health to begin with.  She has diabetes, and the hospital can't seem to get it under control.  I can't figure that one out for my life......

So many people I know, have suffered with one or another type of flu this season also.  It is running rampant, and I don't want to get it.  I have SO much to do this month.  When I go out in public, I wash my hands.  They are dry and chapped.  Not good when working with fiber as the fiber gets hung up on all the dry bits.  I use lotion.  Just not enough.

We haven't had any snow here this season.  Lots and lots of rain.  It's okay, though.  The ground needs it.  The wells need it.  The farmers need it.  If I can't have snow at Christmas, I can do without snow at all.  We haven't had the unbearable, below-freezing temps we had last year either.  We've had a few days here and there, of 30s, but not endless freezing.  Thank goodness!

As I look out my office window, and I see the squirrels running around, the birds flitting from tree to tree, and the gray skies and dead leaves on the oaks, I'm thankful.  I'm thankful for another day of life.  I'm thankful that my husband cares about me.  I'm thankful I'm able to do the things I love, like spinning, weaving, and sitting around and watching t.v. when it's just that kind of day.  I'm thankful for the beautiful grand daughters I get to see now and then.  I'm thankful for seasons.  I'm thankful that I'm alive.  After a heart attack that killed me, and cancer a couple of years ago, I'm just thankful to be here.

New Year's resolutions?  No.  I stopped making them.  I am, however, going to try hard to improve my life.  It's going to consist of more exercise, because I don't like feeling out of breath, or like my legs can't carry me anymore.  It's also going to consist of getting together with friends more often.  I've also promised myself, to be better to myself.  I spend a lot of energy caring about other people, and not caring about myself as much as I should.  I'm going to do the things I love to do, and not put them off because of money or guilt.  (hence, signing up for the Saori weaving class)

I'm also going to stop offering advice to others.  They don't appreciate it, so why bother?  I'm going to just take care of myself, and not worry that others don't consider my advice valuable.

I'm going to stop judging.  That's a really difficult one because I think that it's just human nature.  But I'm going to do my best, not to judge anyone else.

The hardest one of all?  I'm going to stop being so open and honest.  Because really, it doesn't get me anywhere.  It just causes me all sorts of problems.  If I can just keep my mouth shut, my thoughts to myself, and work on ME, then I don't have to worry about what anyone else thinks or does.

It's a lot, isn't it?  These are things I work on all the time.  This year, I'm going to put more effort into being positive.  I'm going to ENJOY my business, instead of worrying about it all the time.  I'm going to do what I can to amp it up....not that I have exactly figured out what that will consist of....yet.

I worked on this weaving last week.  I actually enjoyed the process.  It made me want to warp the loom again.  This little Cricket loom can only hold so much fabric once it's woven, so I'm doing several pieces about 70" long.  Since most of it is cotton, with some other stuff mixed in, it will shrink considerably.  When it does, it'll be perfect to make another jacket from.

I used a couple of techniques I know how to use.  One is clasped weft.  That's where you see more than one color of yarn in the rows.

Yes, the edges are uneven.  Yes, there is a large mix of stuff in there - cotton, wool, cotton blends.  That is the way it's supposed to be.  There are no weaving police.  This is Saori style weaving.  Free form.  From the heart.  It made me happy to play and experiment, and not have to count treadling (which you can't do on a Rigid Heddle loom since there are no treadles).  I didn't have to worry about perfect edges, although I was sort of careful because I do want to sew it into a garment eventually.

It came out SO nicely, I couldn't wait to warp my loom again, and go for it again.  I'll probably need about 3 pieces this long, to make the jacket I want.  Because I'm not skinny. And because my loom is only so wide.  And because this fabric WILL shrink.

Here's a close up of what some of the weaving looks like.....


The most fun was laying bits of fiber and hand-spun yarn in the weft, then continuing to weave.  I love the effects!

This jacket is going to end up being a spring/summer jacket, because of the light colors.  I have NO idea why I went with that.  Therefore, I'll just have to weave another jacket for myself, for Fall and Winter.  :D  I'm good with that!

I really can't wait to order and receive my Saori loom. I'm SO excited to be going to class this weekend and trying the looms she has.  I am pretty sure I know which one I want already, but I'll try the different models, just to be sure....

I can hardly wait to take the class on Saturday and Sunday.   One of my goals this year is to let go of the guilt, going to this class is going to cause me.  The guilt comes from leaving Husband behind.  It's not that he can't get along without me.  He cooks.  He cleans.  He takes care of the property.  He takes care of the horses and the dogs and cat.  He's very capable.  The thing is, he is prone to anxiety attacks, especially when we're not together.  There are times he's fine with it.  Then there are times, he's not so good with it.  The guilt I carry, that prevents me from doing things I love to do, or things I want to experience, has held me back for years.  This year, I'm going to do what I need to, in order to fulfill myself, and I know it my heart, he'll be okay.  It'll be good for both of us to have that experience and slight separations that will happen, with me going to things I want to do.

Poor Husband doesn't have much as far as hobbies.  I keep trying to get him to find some, but they just don't exist for him.  Maybe at some point, he will figure out what he wants to do with his free time.  I  keep teasing him, because he keeps saying he can't wait to retire (4 more years, 4 more years), but he has NO hobbies.  He will go nuts - heck - he goes nuts not knowing what to do on a weekend now!  He'll figure it out though. I know he will. I'm going to have faith in it.

That's about it from me.  Time for me to go to my P.T. exercises (UGH) and take a shower.  Then Gabbi is getting a bath and a haircut.  She's all scraggly again. The groomer didn't really do very well on her the last time, and they really messed up poor Evan, so he'll never go back.  I just gotta suck it up, and do it as often as I can, myself.

Have a great week. I'll try to be back with more progress on the above project!