Thursday, February 19, 2015

A New Shirt

Hello!  Winter finally arrived here in VA.  We had snow - maybe about 5-6" - the other day.  It's pretty.  At least things aren't all gray and brown anymore!  Everything is brighter.  However, the temps are awful!  Frigid!  Freezing - no - below freezing.  And wind!  The wind chills are below 0.  UGH.  I can't get warm.  Our poor heat pump is useless in this weather.  I need to get up and do situps or jumping jacks or something!  SOOOOO cold......

On another note, I finished the warp that came on my Saori 60 non-folding loom.  I love my little loom. It's SO easy to handle.

The loom came with a black cotton warp.  I can't remember the width and length, but off the loom it came to about 5 yards, and about 15" wide I think.  After washing, of course, it shrunk some.

The strangest thing happened, I didn't take ANY photos of it off the loom!  That is really unlike me.  I just didn't have the time to photograph it.  I was in a hurry to have it become what it wanted to become.  I really wanted a shirt.  Not another vest.  Shorter than my last hand woven, hand sewn project.  That's this one here, which is the one I made in Saori class.

©Martha Manigross
I wanted my new cloth to become a shirt.  I struggled because I am not experienced in fitting to a dress form; I didn't have a pattern - mostly because patterns don't fit me; and I had a bunch of narrow pieces, not wider pieces.  It took some figuring, some experiments, and lots of trust in myself....then pinning, basting, sewing, and mainly just going for it.

Here is my new shirt:
©Martha Manigross
This is what it looks like worn alone.  Yes, the hem is all wonky.  No, there are no darts in it to give it a shape.  Yes,  I like it like this.  There is lots of texture and design.  This is how I meant it to be worn.  However..................

©Martha Manigross
This is what it looks like if I turn the front to the back.  It still fits.  It looks fine this way too - well, except maybe for the loopy yarn part next to my right armpit.  LoL

Then, if I want to wear a shirt under it, it can be worn with a long sleeve, short sleeve shirt, or a tank top, like below:

©Martha Manigross
It's probably not everyone's cup of tea, but it's mine.  I love this shirt. I'll be making more.  The pieces were narrow, and I had to sew a lot together to get it to fit around me.  I'm really happy with this shirt.

I'll be making more.  I just have to figure out how to get my new Saori pre-made warp onto the loom, and I'll be off and weaving again!  Not today though.  I'm cold and tired. It's late afternoon, the dogs will want to be fed, and then our dinner needs to be started.  Then t.v. time.  Then bed time.  I can hardly wait till bed time!

I've been working out at the gym, going to my PT sessions, and yesterday, I went to see a Sports Medicine Orthopedic doctor for my knee.  The news isn't excellent.  Surprise!  I need surgery!  I already knew that.  What I didn't expect, however, was that he told me I'll probably need knee replacement surgery sooner rather than later.

I had my knee operated on in 1990.  That's 25 years ago.  At the time, they scraped out the arthritis and a few loose bits.  They said I'd be lucky if it lasted a few years.  I think 25 is more than a few, don't you?  I'm happy that I was able to go SO long till I needed another tune-up.  :-)

I have had 3 or 4 people tell me, they had their knees replaced and it was the best thing they ever did - because they are no longer in pain.  Hmm.  I have one friend who's husband had a couple of replacements, and now, they can't do anything else for him.  He's in terrible pain most of the time and had to quit work.  I don't want to be like that.

So we'll see.  I have to get some testing done before getting the surgery, so once the testing is done next week, we'll schedule the surgery date.  Recovery is pretty quick, so I'm not anticipating any real setbacks.  I'll be back to my spinning and weaving soon.

Right now, I just want warmer weather.  And to go to bed.  It's too late in the day to go back to bed, so I'll keep hoping for warmer weather!

Take care.  See ya again soon.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ups and Downs

This time of year I have lots of ups and downs.  Just before Spring time hits, I get a little lethargic.  It's not like I have anything to complain about.  We don't have 5 feet of snow like my friends and family in New England!  We have brown and gray.  Brown grass.  Gray trees.  Brown leaves (oaks are slow to loose their leaves and some don't lose them till the new ones sprout in spring.....).  A lot of gray skies.

Last weekend, we got royally spoiled.  It was 73 degrees here in central VA on Sunday.  Amazingly beautiful day.  I spent part of it at spinning group, but I couldn't sit still because it was SO nice outside.  It's an hour's drive here to there, then back another hour, so I took off early and drove home with the windows down and music blaring.  It's how I roll when I'm alone, the sun is shining and the temps are in the 70's.  :-)

I know Spring is right around the corner.  I don't want to wish days away because every day is a gift to me.  After having a heart attack that killed me back in 2007, and dealing with cancer of the uterus in 2011, I love living every day.

©Martha Manigross
It's just that some days, I feel very lonely.  Isolated.  Friendless.  I know this will pass.  It's just really difficult for me some days.  I know I have friends.  I know that if I picked up the phone, or sent an email, someone would be willing to get together.  The problem is, it just feels like I do all the work sometimes.  Like I'm the one always asking people to go somewhere, or have lunch, or whatever.  I love having friends, and doing things with them.  I'm not sure why others don't ask ME out, to go here or there, or do fun stuff.   Is something wrong with me?

©Martha Manigross
Of course, I know that sometimes I can't do what others do.  Sometimes people say, let's make a weekend out of going here.  Stay overnight.  Well, that doesn't work so well for me.  I have a husband.  One that likes to have me around.  One I like being around.  If I went out for a weekend with the girls, what would I feel like if he went out for a weekend with the boys?  I'd be lonely.  Of course, he doesn't go out for a weekend with the boys because he doesn't have any friends.  He isn't a social guy.  He doesn't belong to any sports teams, or music groups.  He doesn't drink, so bars are out.  He doesn't have any hobbies.  I mean NO hobbies. He used to do all of the above.  Way back when.  Before we lived in the middle of nowheresville country.

When he's not working, taking care of the horses, or doing the work that comes along with having a 5.5 acre farm, we are together.  Whether it be going out shopping, eating lunch out, or he's going along with me to find something that I have in mind that I MUST have, we are together.  Or, we are watching our nightly shows on t.v.  Yeah, probably not healthy, but it's what we do.

I spent many years where he did his own thing, and I brought up the kids.  Dance classes, dance competitions, traveling here and there to find costumes or dance shoes or dance outfits.  Yeah, I was a dance mom, but never ran into what you see on t.v. now-a-days.  Thank God!  While I was working and traveling here and there with our daughter, Husband was out working for the Army being a soldier, or playing one of the many sports he used to play, or keeping in shape (for the Army), or doing whatever he did.  I spent many years wondering why he didn't want to be with me.

Now, however, he's changed.  No more running around doing that kind of stuff.  He works from home, and he doesn't play those wild sports anymore.  His body won't let him.  He likes to take me places if there's something I want to get, but sometimes, he just doesn't want to drive that far, or be away from home that long.  It all depends.

It's days like today that I get up, and there's no one else to play with.  My friends either work, or just have other interests.  Someone I thought was my friend, who I tried to be there for during some tough times, totally never saw me as her friend.  She thinks that because we have different interests, that we don't have anything in common.  I really like her, and like spending time with her, but I always get the feeling she's bored with me, and doesn't really enjoy MY company.  So I'm backing off from her.
©Martha Manigross
 There are some other people that I really like spending time with, but they live where we used to live. Travelling up and down I95 isn't easy and is time consuming.  So I don't get to spend as much time with them as I'd like.

There are yet other people that I guess are friends.  Maybe my definition of a friend, needs to be different.  I guess there are friends.  Then there are acquaintances.  Most of the people I know are really the latter.  Not the former.

I'm grateful I have my husband.  I'd like to have him, AND have friends that like to spend time with me.
I'm also grateful I have my hobbies, and that my husband supports me having them.

©Martha Manigross
I've always felt like an outcast, and days like this, I still do.  I don't know why I let it get to me.  I have everything else I could ask for.  Well, except maybe good health and I'm trying to work on that.
If I don't get back before this weekend, Happy Valentine's Day.

Anyway, I hope you have many good friends, and that you enjoy your life every day.  I certainly try to.  Even if I get a little down now and then, I work on appreciating my days.

Take care,

Friday, February 6, 2015


Even as old as I am (upper 50's), I still struggle daily with the simple decisions.  When a decision has to be made, my brain instantly takes in all of the considerations - who, what and how will it affect?  I've always had a huge guilt factor.  I'm not quite sure how it was instilled in me.  If I was told I'd done something wrong, and in my mind it wasn't intentional and I didn't know it was wrong, I would get very upset and embarrassed.  I'd usually cry.  That happened well into my adult years.  It was a response I couldn't help.  In the long run, it made me afraid to try things.  To the point that I now, don't even like to try something new in public.

I'm learning, even now, that if I made an honest mistake, I just have to say, it was a mistake, I didn't mean it, and I'm sorry for the results.  Bring on the consequences.  Easy enough to say, but even now, if I think about going to work in a public place, it scares the bejeepers out of me.  That's just not normal.

I have, however, learned a bit about coming into myself and knowing that I have to take care of me, before I can worry about what anyone else thinks.

Found on Facebook
 Recently, I made the decision to back off on my fiber business as a retailer.  I've put aside the dreams of having a shop/studio, and I'm concentrating more on creativity.  It's going to take me some time to adjust to not pushing and worrying about what I'm selling.  I do have to say though, it's a HUGE relief.  I feel so relaxed and free now that I'm not worrying about what I'm going to have to invest in order to attend a fiber festival and if we'll make money or lose money.

The facts are that I was making money, but not making more than I was spending.

That's not going to change.  In order to create, I have to spend to get supplies.

However, I have a ton of stuff in this house that I can use right now, to work on at the moment.  If someone doesn't snatch up those long locks on my Etsy shop, I will use them myself, in my spinning and weaving.  I figure eventually, someone will love what I make, because when I was dyeing those long locks, I was in love with what I'd done, which to me, means that it's meant to be something that is in my head.

I'm so happy right now, to be working on things that make me feel content.  I think that's the word.  Content.  Not settled.  Not settling for.  Not happy.  Content.  I believe a lot of people don't know how to find their contentment.

That being said, I have some medical stuff I'm dealing with.  I'll be finding out in 2 weeks, what the doc says about my knee, and whether that means surgery, and what will result out of that - more PT I'm sure.  Sigh.  All I know is, I'd like to not be waking up in the middle of the night and be in pain, and I'd like to start working out more, especially walking, to get myself back into shape.  I'm the heaviest I've ever been........and I know that adds to the medical/pain stuff.

I hope you are content with what you do and where you are in life.

Take care,

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Flashbacks & Fun!

Yesterday afternoon I was able to sit down at my new Saori loom for awhile. I've been weaving a little bit here and there.  I don't want to rush through this warp.  This  is something I'm working on.  Normally, I get going on a project, and I can't wait to finish it, so I rush through it, then I'm not happy with it.  

It's very easy to take it slow and steady on this loom.  It's almost like it creates a zen-like peaceful aura around it.  I can't explain it.  Maybe it has to do with the fact it's only 2 shafts, and the artful part of the weaving, comes from working the weft into something creative and beautiful.  

©Martha Manigross
The above photo is my view when I'm sitting at my loom.  The little lamp sitting on the shelf is an Ikea lamp.  It has a small LED bulb in it, and it casts a perfect light on the weaving.  It's not too bright, not too dark, and it shines exactly the right amount of light in the exact right space.  Behind that you can see the grid wall I have the cones of yarn sitting on.  There are also 2 baskets that have various yarns sitting in them, all sizes and colors and textures.  It's fun choosing what I want to use next.  

Yesterday, I had the 60's station playing music on my Direct t.v. and I was in my little office just listening to the music of my teenage years (I remember these songs from the early 70s, but they are listed as 60's songs).  Some of them brought back some great memories.  Like Hey Jude, the long version, the song to which I had my first slow dance with a boy.   Aquarius came on and  I was thrown back to my high school years, when we were in English class, discussing Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar.  Both were so outrageous at the time! 

It also brought back the memories of me in Art class, the only class I ever felt like I fit in.  I wasn't real brain in school.  I was awkward, I didn't fit in with the "cool" kids, though I knew them and they spoke to me.  I wore high top Army style boots to school almost every day.  I wore jeans and t-shirts.  To this day, I still dress this way.  I've always wondered if I would ever change, but the way I dress is me.....and I'm not going to change that. 

Weaving yesterday really made me feel good. 

©Martha Manigross
This is a triple clasped weft.  I have to keep doing the techniques I learned in class, so I don't forget how to do them.  The part resting on the front beam, is just double clasped weft, but above that is hte triple. 

©Martha Manigross
Above is the double and triple clasped weft, and below it, on the front beam, is eyelash yarn.  I worked to get it to stick out like that, using a wide tooth comb.  

All of these techniques take time to do, and that slows me down, and teaches me to enjoy the process.  Traditional weaving is so robotic - thread the loom a certain way, such as 1,2,3,4, and then treadling to get certain patterns.  You make one wrong treadle, and you're unweaving, sometimes for rows and rows, just to correct that one mistake.

In Saori weaving, there are NO mistakes!  It is all a creative endeavor and you're not over-thinking it or trying to copy someone else's patterns.  It's all you, Babe!

©Martha Manigross
Above is my seating arrangement in front of my loom. I have a table beside me to hold the bobbins and the current cones I'm working from.  Above me are all the cones I have to choose from.  I'm going to start keeping my eyes open for various textured yarns, and more colors.  This warp is all purples, with bits of surprises thrown in.  I plan on working with browns/tans, yellows/oranges, reds/pinks, whites/tans, and greens, and whatever other combinations I can put together. I'm actually looking forward to making cloth.  

I haven't measured this warp because it's the one that is included with the loom when it arrives.  I know it's not very long.  Long enough to make something though!  When I put the next warp on, it's 33 meters, so I'll have to start measuring with my Ikea paper rulers I pin along the side.  This way, I'll know how much yardage to make of each color scheme.  With each color scheme, I'll be throwing in some surprises, like ribbon yarn, or sparkle, or hand spun yarn, bits of combed top, and other various bits and bobs, to make it texture and make it interesting. 

I'm really enjoying this process a lot.

Till later, take care,