Friday, May 18, 2007

Bumpless In Vancouver

I had a lovely day out yesterday at my weavers guild meeting. It’s always great to visit with friends old and new who understand one’s obsessions with fibre. We had a slide lecture by a very interesting woman, Barbara Tyner, who is an art instructor with a special focus on art history and Native American art. The subject was “From Spider Woman’s Loom – Weaving the Navajo World: Transformation, Innovation, Tradition” and although she is not a weaver herself, her anthropological viewpoint on Navajo weaving was very informative. I have read quite a bit about the rugs and some of the history, but she had spent quite a bit of time on the Navajo Reservation and had a deep understanding of how the creation of the rugs fits into the people’s lives. I learned more than I expected to. And of course there were a number of rugs from one of our guild member’s personal collection to fondle.

Today I toddled off again to my dear doctor to have him remove the largest of the cysts off my head. This is an ongoing thing — I grow ’em and he harvests ’em — though it often takes many years to grow them up to be the optimum size for easy removal. It turns out that it’s a family affliction that I inherited from the maternal grandfather (whom I never knew) and have generously passed down to both my children. Thanks, Grampa! Did you know that the old word for a sebaceous cyst is a “wen”? Happily the darn things are always benign. My doc actually enjoys the chance to do a bit of surgery every now and again and I wore a hat on the way home so that I wouldn’t gross anyone out while I was doing a few shopping errands. The only somewhat painful parts are the numbing needle and when the pillow touches it the first few nights as it heals, but really no worse than having a tooth filled. So far now that it’s thawed out I can barely feel it though I took an Advil just in case. I go back in a week to get the stitches out. Unfortunately I can’t wash my hair for a few days now. Eew.

You might be interested in a new book (surprise! surprise!) that I got yesterday:

Teach Yourself VISUALLY Handspinning by Judith MacKenzie McCuin. In a way, I don’t really need this book — I really got it to show my spinning students. However Judith is an old friend and teacher and this is her first book, though she has written for magazines and has a video, and I wanted to encourage her to do more! The Teach Yourself VISUALLY series of books is especially great for those who need to see what to do instead of talk about it. They are full of pictures and not so many words to intimidate. This book covers just about everything you need to know not only to get started in spinning but to get quite a ways past the beginner level. It covers wheels and spindles, combs and carders, fibres and blending, plain and fancy yarns, dyeing and tips for using your handspun yarns for both knitting and weaving. In the appendix there’s even a cute example of a spinning journal page and a record page for you to copy. This is my new favourite book to recommend to spinning newbies. And boy, if you saw the kind of dry instructions that were the only thing available back in The Olden Days, with vague details and only occasional sketches for illustrations, you would appreciate how great this book is too. I’m amazed I ever learned how to spin considering I never had an instructor or knew any other spinners for the first 4 years! All my bad habits are my own. I try not to pass them on.

Well, things have chilled out for the next week or so and I plan to relax a bit and try to organise my priorities for the next few weeks. I have a bunch of stuff strewn all over my studio and study as the detritus from a number of days of packing and unpacking tools and supplies for classes and rushing in and out. I need to take some time to sort them out and put them away. I still want to finish weaving more samples on my table loom while the ideas are fresh in my head from this week’s woven shibori workshop. I’ll be heading to Alberta for the Association of Northwest Weavers Guilds conference in Red Deer and we leave June 9th so that doesn’t give me much time.

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