Saturday, May 4, 2013

Camarillo fires

It's been smokey

This week there's been a big fire near Camarillo.  The fire is referred to as the Springs fire and has received national news coverage.  The experience of a large fire nearby is hard to explain to people that don't live in an area that gets wildfires.  Sometimes you can see flames on the hillsides.  Most of the time there are just huge plumes of black smoke where the fire is burning and grey smoke all around it.  The plumes can be seen for miles.  I live about 20 miles from my studio and could see the plume of dark smoke while driving to Camarillo.  There have also been strong winds gusting and blowing that fan the flames and spread them quickly.


The studio is in an area that was never threatened by the fire, but the smoke has been very unpleasant.  The winds move the smoke around and soon the entire area seems overcast.  Yesterday afternoon I had the studio door open and realized that not only had lots of dried leaves blown in, but the floor was covered with grayish white flakes.  It looked like the carpet had giant dandruff flakes (about 1/4" in diameter) all over it.  I realized they were ash flakes.  Outside it looked like a very light snow was falling.

From the studio parking lot

A few people I know had to either evacuate their homes or get ready to evacuate.  So that means gathering up all important papers, photos, and the few possessions you consider most valuable.  What a difficult decision to make. Fortunately, no homes burned down in this fire and most everyone is back at home now.  But the fire is still burning and so many firefighters are still hard at work.  Fortunately, the winds are stopping, the weather is cooling and the onshore flow is bringing some moisture into the air.  All good things.

What is most frightening about this fire is that it's only the beginning of May.  The fires don't usually start until September or October after a long hot summer.  It makes me wonder what the summer will bring......

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Warping the Loom

Getting the warp on

I'm working on a commission for a Methodist church in Ohio, making long green banners for the wall behind their altar.  After working on it for about a month, today I finally got the warp on the loom.  In early April I had all the cones spread out on the counter to select the colors.  And although I never actually think this takes much time, I do agonize over exactly which colors to put in what order.  In all, this piece has over 35 different yarn colors in the warp and getting them in exactly the right order did take a bit of time.  Then I went to Disneyland and was out of the studio for a week.  After getting back to work I got the warp chains wound and spread out on the front of the loom.  Then I had several teaching jobs that took time to prepare for and do.  Finally, today the loom is warped and I started weaving.  I hope to get the panels finished and on their way by the end of next week.  We'll see how that turns out!

Here are some images of the process...

Some of the warp chains on the floor in front of the loom.

Rolling on the warp.  Some of the warp yarns are in the bucket to the left of the loom.

Let the weaving begin!

It always makes me so happy to see a warp lined up neatly on the loom with all the threads in perfect order, under tension.  I want to pet the warp and admire all the colors before I begin weaving.  I guess I'm truly a weaving geek!

I plan to concentrate on weaving in the studio during the next month.  We have a Summer Market at the Studio site on June 1st.  Then the Contemporary Crafts Market is in Santa Monica on June 7 - 9 and I want to have lots of finished pieces to show and sell for both events. 

Meanwhile, my pillow pattern will be published in a about a week, so look for it on my website, the Yarnworker website, or Craftsy.