Tuesday, July 21, 2009

She is a princess in my eyes!

Once upon a time there was a princess, a beautiful well shaped, beech boned, soft skinned princess of a calibre seldom seen anywhere.

She moved from Denmark to Saskatchewan, on to a place in Nova Scotia and then finally she came to the 'Royal Fibre and Weaving Castle' ( in everyday terms , Wonderous Woolerie or the Funny Farm)which I call my home - ok, I am biased, but I love it here =-)

Viktoria the Magnificent is her name!

She is a 55” wide, 750lbs heavy beautiful Askov Lervad loom built in Denmark some 25/30 years ago and now she resides in my living room. The piano got a little uptight and so ended up getting sold and moving out. Those beautiful tones which came out of his keys are sometimes sadly missed, but the rhythm of the treadles and the shafts of Viktoria moving around and singing their tune when I weave make up for any loss on the musical front. (And I do have a small accordion which I can haul out and practice on if I really do want music!)

Only recently have I managed to tie up Viktoria in such a way that she and I can work really smoothly together.

I went down to Vavstuga in Shelburne Falls in Massachusetts in early June and learned a ton of interesting stuff which I have been able to apply in my budding relationship with Viktoria.

She needed beads (for her lams) and a trapeze – yes – a trapeze -, however, I can assure you that neither she nor I am going to wear a pink tight outfit for flying through the air when we use it. I will wear a comfortable warping outfit = my regular clothing and we will both stay close to the floor at all times!

Upon arrival at my house Viktoria wore a fine silk warp, 90 epi (ends per inch), it was 55inches wide (and that is the same as 4950 strings of yarn which it took the previous owner close to a year to get threaded and sorted out) and 16 meters long. This warp had to be safely removed from her back beam and stored in bags before we could really start to communicate. I, you see, was not ready for 90 ends pr inch – my visions were different.

So instead we got her sorted out with a sunshine yellow cotton warp at 30 epi and since I have gotten her the beads for the lams this warp is almost all woven up -

Project #1 was warp painting on a 27 degree celcius day - the paint on the warp needed to be kept at a temperature at above 22 degrees for 4 hours so it was perfect from that perspective and I, well, I just had a cool cloth handy to wipe my brow at frequent intervals.

Project# 2 on this warp was to change the original pattern to one which had circles or something close to circles. I fiddled around with paper and pen for a while and have had that paper ready for the day when I got the beads for Viktoria and was ready to change her tie-up. It is done now and I am mightily pleased with the results – have also tried several different treadlings and it still works and I am delighted that my visions were not completely off.

There are many months and years of adventures ahead of us which she and I will jump into together with much glee.

Some are already underway others haven't been thought of just yet but I feel them stirring – the promise of things to come.

Updates from project #3 will come soon!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dinosaurs in our time!

So every now and again we meet a real live dinosaur - I picked up one the other day to put him in the pond by the road - this was a large fist sized painted turtle, quite indignant by how he suddenly started a flight experience rather than doing his turtle track slowly moving across the yellow line into the other lane - honestly I thought I had run over him, although I didn't feel a crunch under my tires, so I was very pleased to see him/her kicking furiously and bobbing the head in an effort to increase the flight speed and get to the other side sooner rather than later.
Today another older and bigger dinosaur crossed our paths.

A young friend of the family came racing into the driveway on his bike on his way to ...... well, I am not sure. But he had seen something in the ditch just down the road from us and had stopped to investigate. Next he jumped back on the bike and proceeded to our house to tell us about his find. A very large and very mature snapper turtle it was - one of the ones which can bite of your finger in a snap - pardon the pun - but they really can.

And so we slipped into our shoes and immediately started our trek down to the culvert where he had seen the creature just moments before. We did some of our own snapping with the camera but made sure not to get too close since this turtle was apprx. 37 cm (15") long in the carapace (shell) and he can swing his head out on a neck which is 12-15cm (5-6") long and as I said - snap - snap - ER! Careful is our middle names though and so we just kept snapping pics while he was pulling his head into safety and at times raising up his body on his hind legs, lifting and sinking, probably in an attempt to look dangerous and even larger.

What was really intriguing was the eyes and I was lucky to find the zoom button on the camera and thus I had fun looking for patterns which might eventually be woven into a tapestry or a piece of yardage on one of my looms.

May have to go down to the spot and see how far he has gotten - and so I did, a brisk little evening stroll and ..... the turtle has turtled off to somewhere safer than the side of the road. We looked up and down the ditch on both sides and hopefully he has gone up over the green pasture on his own side.
This also made me check the internet not in great depth but there are sites which will tell you how to calculate the age of a turtle, one just mentioned the rings - think I have to do a close up another time to be able to count properly - and here is one of the many links I found in case someone should be interested in knowing a little more of this beautiful beast http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/snappers.htm
Having a walking, moving, living dinosaur of this calibre in one's neighbourhood is quite a privilege!