Sunday, September 30, 2012


Tom and I are thinking about retirement...well, I'm thinking about it, Tom has already done the deed! (lucky him).  I, on the other hand have one year to go before I think I'll be ready. It's a big step and I'll be 62 years old when I do it...frightening, but in a way, it will be a relief! I've just about had it with the workplace ethics (or lack thereof by coworkers).
At first, we thought about Canada. Tom is a Canadian citizen, we could live there. It has the sort of climate and weather we like and perhaps we could find a nice retirement community.  We looked around and we found one, only to realize when we started adding it all up that my getting into the country, the move there, and all the incidental expenses would leave us totally broke. That's not the way it's supposed to work. Canada is out and that was a bit of a letdown. We were looking forward to it.
Plan B...stay in the USA but find a place that will allow us to have a decent lifestyle-not fancy, no big trips or going overboard on shopping, etc.  We will probably be entitled to subsidized housing as our pensions are pretty small, so, to find a location that won't relegate us to the ghetto and eating cat food. We've looked on the East Coast and the outlook is dismal at best. Public Housing in most areas=roach infested apartments in inner cities. No thanks! We don't like hot weather, so the ever popular idea of the old folks moving to Florida is out as well.  I think we'd both be tired of that in two shakes of a lambs tail even though my kids and grandkids live in FLA.  So, last week Tom was surfing for different locations and he found a very nice solution to the problem and hopefully it will work out for us.  At first I was hardly enthusiastic because I had been so disappointed with the Canada fiasco. Just protecting myself. I think Tom was too so we're still both a little wary and trying not to be upset if this doesn't follow through.  However, it seems to be something that could work if we've started the process soon enough.
Here's the BIG PLAN as it stands ~drumroll~Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington.  It's a small village with ferry service and air service for medical emergencies, everything within walking distance but quiet. It has a knit shop and local wool available, plenty of picturesque places for Tom to paint, galleries, a market if we want to sell (something we could not do in Canada was sell things/have a job) some of our handiwork. The Ferry goes to mainland several times a day if we want to go to Seattle, etc.  There are two Sr's only apartments there (condos) that are subsidized by the gov't and I think we will qualify, utilities are included and the cost is more than reasonable. They look like they're nice and well kept. It would leave us money to live comfortably without worry about making ends meet.  I never thought that we'd be able to afford a nice place in a nice area. The views are picturesque and I've never been to the West Coast-I do believe I would love it and grow quickly to call it home.  I am almost afraid to get my hopes up, but it would be so wonderful to know that I could retire at 62 and we'd get to spend a few years together without a lot of stress on us.
If it falls through, I don't know what we'll do.  I'd very much like to have a nice retirement with Tom.

This is Friday Harbor, WA

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Loom Has Arrived

As of yesterday, I am making my entry into the world of weaving tapestry. Ordered my Mirrix Zach...see previous post...and three days later, voila! (or viola, as we used to say when we were kids) said loom arrived at my door via FedEx. Thank you FedEx man! Tom helped me get it together-very easy and fast-and I warped the puppy...not very fast, but it was easy. I decided I would experiment with hand spun yarn. What works, what doesn't and I chose the largest heddle I had 8 epi, so as not to make things too difficult for myself-or take two days to warp. I warped with linen yarn-strong, but definitely, now that I've woven for a few hours, not something I would choose again for a first warp...just saying! I found a few yarns that I've spun that work. Especially nice is the silk/bamboo in the pretty aqua color. Looks great, even weaving and it covers the warp as it should.
Of course, in my mind I am thinking I will be making these awesome tapestries in no time. I have tons of photos picked out and designs of my own in mind, I am set! Whoa! Wait a minute! It's not quite that easy. Tapestry weaving is slow and I don't have all the things I need to make a good tapestry, even if I miraculously became a 60 year old prodigy. I need A. Practice. B.Tapestry Yarn-the real thing. C.Miscellaneous tools. D. A lesson or two. I am thinking it will be like when I taught myself to knit and crochet and's not quite like that at all. That said, I love it!!! I truly do. I love that I can possibly create artwork with fiber. That is a lifelong goal. That was my dream when I was 18. I can have that dream-40 years later, but I can have it!

So, it's back to "school" for me. Learn the ins and outs of tapestry weaving and one day, maybe sooner than later, I will be able to weave something outstanding. Meanwhile, this is what I have managed to weave so far...Not too bad for a rookie!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


I know it's just me, but I find it really annoying to have hair weaving (which really isn't weaving at all as far as I'm concerned) come up every time I Google weaving...the real sort of weaving. I find it especially annoying when I look at images because there are those ugly headless/faceless locks of hair just dangling there in mid air as if they belong in the weaving category or hanging from the belt of one of my Native American ancestors-fact o' life, some of them did that. It's hair-hairdressing, hair do's, hair styles, yes! Weaving, NO!

Nuff said.....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Zach Has Been Ordered

That sounded bossy, didn't it? I mean, my loom(a Mirrix Zach) has been ordered and I eagerly await it's arrival...meanwhile, I've window shopped for Perle Cotton in a host of colors...I want to weave with Perle Cotton, am I mad?...and have downloaded files of photos that can be manipulated in PS to make wonderful cartoons for weaving, and I am not through with that yet. The YouTube page has been fairly smoking from watching all the "Tapestry" and "Mirrix" videos. I am so spongelike when it comes to fiber! I think this is the most fun I've had in years...well, at least since I learned to spin.
Back to the colorful cotton...I don't know why that appeals to me...maybe it's low cost (comparatively) and outrageously huge variety of colors from which to choose? I can't say. I just know that I think I could surround myself with the whole line of DMC Perle Cotton and Embroidery Floss and just have a high old time at the loom with it! The color makes me giddy!

Perhaps my book will arrive today. I hope so!!! I only have a few more days of Spring Break, then it's back to work on Monday....I am sad, where did it go and why so quickly?...the bad side of working and having a holiday. I want to retire!!!!

So...for me it's off to get a cup of coffee and perhaps, while waiting for that book, pick up some wool and needles and knit up a pair of socks today.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I've Made Up My Mind

This is the loom I've chosen. A Mirrix Zach-22" of tapestry weaving lovliness! I can hardly wait until tomorrow to order it!!!
I've just about finished sorting out the stash and re-arranging the studio. Moving the knitting things to the other room-I'll be doing my painting in there too. I guess I'll have two studios! this studio will be dedicated to spinning and weaving.
Last night I found a couple of websites that have tapestry yarns! Oh!!! The colors!!!! I have to start stashing some of this stuff for weaving. I'd love one in every color, please! A big Lotto win would help. I could easily spend several thousand on just yarn!
Tom also ordered me a "How To" book from Amazon the other day. Hopefully it will be here today or tomorrow so that I can do some reading up on how to become a tapestry artist. Called "Tapestry Weaving: A Comprehensive Study Guide". I know, that sound pretty boring to most people, but, to me, that is the kind of book that I'd have given my right arm for back when I was 18 and wanting so much to go to art school. Well, it took me 40+ years to get there, but, here I am and I'm going to learn how to do this! Exciting stuff!!
I need a cup of coffee!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Girl Can Change Her Mind, Can't She?

Yeah, well, I did. Instead of a Rigid Heddle loom, it's going to be a tapestry loom. The windfall refund won't arrive until next month, so I've done a ton more research and my ideas for weaving fall more into the tapestry category instead of the weaving category. It's like painting with fiber-so what could be better than that? Nothing, I say! Nothing.
Ordering a book to get me started called Tapestry Weaving: A Comprehensive Study Guide by Nancy Harvey. It's going to be a used one....jaysus! the new ones are over $100. Way out of my budget, but a used one is about $35, so I think I can swing that and who cares if the cover is a little bent and faded...not me. It's the insides that are gold! All of my lovely digital paintings are waiting to be transformed into tapestries...perhaps some will be good enough (one day) to exhibit and/or sell.
Meanwhile...whilst waiting for that lovely windfall to week is Spring Break and I am so looking forward to that!! I have a couple of baby things to make for the ladies at school who are expecting. It's like a dang epidemic glad that I am grandma age and safe from all of that!!! Happy for them though. (glad it's them, not me)
I woke up way too early's time for another cup of coffee....

Monday, March 12, 2012

For days now I've been seriously thinking about what I am going to do when I retire in a couple of years. I can't see me sitting at home every single day, but I have to have something creative to do and in my imaginings, I'm going to be doing something fibery...spinning, perhaps or, and this is what I have been thinking of, weaving.
It all stems from not getting to follow my dream as a young person. I wanted to go to art school and become a textile designer, but my parents had a hissy fit and said I couldn't do that-it wasn't a "fitting" career for a girl. (??????????) I still question that in my mind after all these 40+ years. I won't even go there now, because that is just pointless. However, I will go with the idea of being a textile designer in my retirement years! Tom and I discussed it and today, after we learned that we're getting a honking big tax refund, I decided I would begin that foray into weaving by deciding to purchase an Ashford Heddle Loom 32" (with stand, mind you). I am excited beyond words and can't wait for said honking refund to make it to my checking account so I can order the loom!!! Well, you know I'll love it because I took to spinning and knitting and crochet like a duck to water and this is all a part of that kind of stuff. I'm just crazy about fiber and fabric and threads and stuff. I love it...I love color.
I also took a look at my digital artwork again and I still want to weave the teal and orange, but there is also one that would be excellent for weaving, once I get the hang of it. Until then, scarves, rugs, curtains, etc...maybe.
Went to the library and checked out all the good weaving books they have...research, research, research. Watching YouTube and next week I want to inventory the hand spun and store bought yarn I have that I can use for weaving projects.
These may be the best years of my life!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sweaters and Scarves and Knits Oh My!

I've been a busy girl since the beginning of 2012 as far as knitting goes. I finished Tom's second sweater on New Year's Eve and it looks great! Also doing some scarf knitting and I'm liking how quick they work up! I've made Multnomah and the Holden Shawlette recently. They also turned out well. This week I got really frustrated not being able to use up all the hand spun yarn I've made over the years-just bits and pieces of this and that and no projects to use them in. I wonder if anyone else who spins has that problem? I took five skeins of lace yarn that I spun-gradient sorted-and am knitting another Multnomah with it. It's turning out nicely too. All the yarns, from light to dark have great haloes to them. They are, in order, cream colored Merino/Angora, silver Corriedale, medium gray Shetland, charcoal Mohair and black Alpaca.

So that's about the size of it...or that's what is going on now. More later on....

Sweaters and