Monday, August 24, 2009

Won't You Take Me To Funkytown?

Gotta make a move to a
Town that's right for me
Town to keep me movin'
Keep me groovin' with some energy

Well, I talk about it
Talk about it
Talk about it
Talk about it
Talk about, Talk about
Talk about movin'

Gotta move on
Gotta move on
Gotta move on

Won't you take me to Funkytown?

- Funkytown, Lipps Inc.

So you may just have spotted that I have not been posting this summer - not my own scarves, nor the lovely guest scarves I still have lined up to share with you guys, nor the super keen stash scarf project that my dear ol' Mum cooked up for us while she was visiting in May, nor even the absolutely lovely tea towel that Beth Mullins wove for me Just Because she's a sweetheart. At first this was 'cause I needed a bit of a break after the madness that was May. Then it was 'cause I was in a bit of a weaving funk, and then a funk in general. After that it was just... inertia, I suppose? It is very hard to get back to something once you've had a break from it, no matter how much you love doing it. At least for me: I've always been a binge kind of person, and tend to do things intensely for a while and then not at all for a while rather than a little bit all the time. I'm a hare rather than a tortoise, you might say, and lately I've been sitting under my tree by the side of the race track, taking a break and watching the tortoises trundle slowly by.

And, although I fully expect to dust myself off and get back onto the racetrack that is Scarf A Day eventually, for the moment what's stretching out in front of me is miles of placemats, punctuated by the occasional blanket. I've got zero (0) blankets, wool or cotton, left in either store, and zero (0) placemats or runners left in my store 'cause I sent everything I had, which wasn't much really, off to Arts North so they'd have at least a little bit of something. Happily1, I've got eighteen (18) yards worth of placemat warp on the loom at the mo' and materials for lots more after that2, so I'll be able to restock once I get myself in gear. It's the getting into gear thing that's causing me trouble these days. ;)

So, since this blog is supposed to be about scarves and all I've got to share is placemats, I'm in a bit of a quandry. Do I talk up placemats over on High Fibre Diet and leave Scarf A Day gathering dust? Do I post about them here and pretend they're just very short, very wide scarves? Do I convert the whole business to a Wordpress blog and try out their intriguing category wossit which, if I understand it correctly, will let me have different pages all as part of one blog, with Scarf A Day on one page, HFD on another, and possibly other stuff on other pages3 Choices, choices, choices...

And now, since no blog post is complete without pictures and because nothing cheers a person up like unexpected pressies arriving by post and because I have had this lovely little item sitting out on my kitchen table for weeks as a reminder of good friends online and encouragement to keep blogging, I invite you to join me on a little trip from Funk to Funkytown...

This mysterious package arrived in my mail one day in early July:

Well, okay, the customs label kept it from being totally mysterious but it was totally unexpected! I had no idea anything of this nature was Afoot. Naturally, I was like a kid on Christmas morning all anxious to tear off the wrappings and see what was inside but I managed to restrain myself long enough to grab Bella and take some pics of the unveiling.

Aahh! Yet more wrapping between me and my "one (1) towel - handwoven"! But such pretty wrappings, aren't they? And a card and everything. The anticipation rises...

Isn't that the cutest card EVAR? And how could Beth have known how much I love cats? Okay, so I may have mentioned cats a time or two (or three or four or five...) but how could she have known that this particular kitty looks just like our No.1 Cat? I know I've never posted pics of him on either blog 'cause he died before I started blogging and, truly, this card looks just like him:

He had a bent ear and way more toes (26!!) than the guy on the card, BUT STILL. You'll just have to take my word for the legs and body being a nearly perfect match, apart from the toes.

And now for the pressie itself! I wish I could somehow squeeze the towel right through the intertubes so you could feel the lovely weight and hand of it. Beth, you'll have to correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure it's woven of 100% unmercerized cotton; I'm guessing a 2/8, or is it a 2/10?

As you can see, the shade of blue is a ridiculously perfect match for my dishes; what you can't see is that my kitchen floor has diamonds on it just like her little turned twill block structure4. Srsly, how does the woman know!? I know I've posted about the cats and I have a vague recollection of putting a picture of one of my blue plates on HFD but I'm quite certain I've never put my kitchen floor online 'cause, really, who's got time for housework anyway? I think there must have been an inside man on this one, or an inside Mum if my sources are correct.

Here's another shot of the towel fabric, sans props:

And a closeup of her lovely turned twill:

Isn't it beeooootiful?? I just lurve it, yes I do. Thank you thank you thank you, Beth!

I can't tell you what a pick-me-up it was to get this in the mail when I was feeling so funky (and not in a good way). I mean yeah, sure, I really love the towel and will use it heaps5 but the best bit about getting pressies like this one and the one Laura sent in April isn't so much the towels - it's the friendship that comes wrapped up in them, the reminder that people out there are thinking of me fondly (and not with irritation or judgment that I haven't been blogging, as I am wont to imagine). I told Beth when it arrived that I'd keep it out where I could see it as a gentle encouragement to blog again when the funk wore off and I think, I hope that's right about now. :)

Speaking of which, thanks so much to everyone else who's sent little notes to keep in touch over the past few months. Barbara, Ellie, Annie, and all the rest - I really appreciate that you took the time to drop me a line even when I wasn't feeling very communicado. :)

So! I dunno how much I'll blog or when I'll get around to posting the guest scarves that I'd meant to post back in May but it'll happen eventually. :) And I'll figure out what to do about the whole Placemat A Day issue as well. I'm going to take Barbara's excellent advice and not make any promises that I have to live up to so that whatever happens is all good, but I am going to try to just Do Something 'cause that's what always gets me out of the funk in the end and, like the Lipps say, it's time to be groovin' with some energy.

1. Who am I kidding? I am dreading these placemats, yea and verily. They are just so monotonous and endless... Every year I tell myself I'm done with placemats and yet, they are what sells at Arts North and I get lots of orders for them. The very idea of 18 yards of mats, followed by many more yards of other mats, makes me wail and gnash my teeth. However, since I'm not weaving anything else lately, I might as well do these. Does anyone have any advice on how to make placemats less tedious?

2. *sob*

3. Wordpress bloggers, am I right about this or is it Fantasy?

4. Is dornik the same as turned twill? I've never been entirely sure just what "dornik" refers to, except that it seems to be a point twill block where the turns aren't true points but are offset in order to prevent floats. Can anyone help me out here?

5. Or maybe I'll just pet it and admire it... I rant and rail at folks that refuse to use the handwoven gifts I give them for fear of getting them dirty or damaging them yet I must confess to being just the same myself.


Adrienne said...

hi jan! your gift towel is lovely! perhaps you could make placemats less tedious/boring/monotonous by making some placemats and then making some tasty brownies. or making some placemats and then playing settlers ;) or making settlers placemats! lol! octogons!

Laura said...

Hi Janet,

Nice to see you blogging - I've been wondering what you've been up to. :)

Understand about visiting Funkytown. Sometimes you just have to take the vacation so that you can come back refreshed.

Personally I've cut my daily expectations in half - I try to do one "big" thing - and then if I have the energy to do more it's a celebration instead of a lament that I've been so non-productive. :}

Weavers have so many 'names' for things. The 'broken' turning is sometimes called herringbone and it's one of my favourtie weave structures for things like placemates and towels. If you thread the twill diagonal different lengths and then treadle them differently you can get some cool designs. Which can sometimes make doing mats/towels at least a little more interesting. :D If you want a draft I can email you one.

As for how I cope with long warps? I set myself a goal of x number of mats/towels and get great satisfaction from ticking them off as I go. Gives me a sense of productivity over a long warp. I don't think in terms of 18yards, but x number of mats/towels.

Tien blogged recently about a way of working that now has a name, but is essentially the breaking down of a huge job into smaller, more chewable chunks. :)

email me if you want some herringbone type drafts....

no stranger to Funkytown

Beth said...

I too have been to Funkytown. More often than I care to admit and for lots of reasons. When I finally leave that place, I usually feel like I can take on anything.

The towel is woven in 8/2 (2/8 as you know it) unmercerized cotton warp set at 24epi and 8/2 (2/8) cotton/linen weft. I've been really pleased with this combo and have had lots of positive comments from those who have used my towels. Can you believe...I've yet to keep one for myself. I'm really glad that it's been a happy reminder for you. Even if you never actually "use" it, it has served it's purpose. To make you smile. ;-)

Oh, and the about the kitty coincidence, I really don't know what to say. ESP?? Guess my powers were working overtime that day. I'm a real sap for any lovable animal out there. Well, not the slimy ones.

I'm with Laura. I don't think in terms of yards but number of towels. It gives me great pleasure to complete a towel in one sitting. Do know what you mean about the monotony. Seems that towels are the only thing of mine that sell. Oh, well. They keep me in yarn!



barbara said...

Hi Janet - great to read your blog this morning - what a wonderful story about the "surprise" tea towel, it is beautiful! When I am facing a longish warp (26 yards of tea towels); I go to the studio with my music or CBC radio. Then I decide whether I am going to weave one or two tea towels. Whatever I get completed, I am pleased. Weaving has always been a form of therapy for me, I get some thinking done and find it is a great time for me!!! Hope you did not suffer any outside damage with Hurricane Bill - I just have one limb off a tree (well almost off). Must get going, heading to the Guild's weaving studio this morning. Cheers ..... Barbara

ASpinnerWeaver said...

Janet, nice to see you in blogville. Glad the funk is lifting; maybe the hurricane took it away. What a nice tea towel! I think you have quite a fan club out here in cyberspace!

Sue said...

Hello Janet and Beth -- The tea towel is truly lovely. What a perfect match for Janet's kitchen! I'm eager to see it in use the next time I visit. But turns out Janet will be visiting me before I visit her next! She's coming in January. Hooray!

Thanks for sharing the pictures of the towel. Also Crinks. OXOXO Mom

Life Looms Large said...

It's nice to see you on any blog....this one or High Fiber Diet!!! I've been wondering what you're up to!

I don't have tips for handling tedious tasks (well, I pretty much try to avoid all that a tip?).

On blogging, I'd say just find whatever rhythm suits you. Maybe you only blog in winter. Or when you feel like it. Maybe you give up blogging - or maybe you give it up sometimes and not others. If it's not working for you, that's a sign that it's time to rethink why you're doing it. (Even though, of course, I'm happy to see what's going on in your world!)

Take care! Weave on!


Linda said...

Hi Janet,

I've been known to bribe myself to get things done that just need to be done. Here's how I do it: I do one unit (one item, one hour, one something) of something I've been dreading. My reward (once I'm finished) is one unit of what I'd rather be doing instead. Good incentive to stomp my foot and say "Fine, I'll do it just so I don't have to think about it any more!"

So, if I clean the bathroom I get to knit for half an hour. If I twist fringe, then I can read a chapter of the novel I can't stop thinking about. If I hem some towels, then I get to wind that warp I can't wait to get started on.

Good luck with the inertia. Just remember that it works both ways. A body in motion tends to stay in motion, so all you may need is a nudge to get on a new roll.

jackie said...

YOu could rename the blog, "Woven Thing Whenever I Feel Like It AND Only If I Feel Like Sharing Thankyouverymuch!"
Or maybe that would be too long?
In any case, I understand the lack of desire to do the tedium of weaving something that no longer calls to me. I usually take a long break after Christmas. I also took a blogging break in August.
I really like Linda's suggestion of work followed by treat! I think that I will try that!

Janet said...

LOVE the suggestion, Linda! Especially when paired with Adrienne's suggestion of brownies as reward. NOM NOM NOM!

Peg said...

Hi! I just found your blog, thanks to Handwoven, and I love it! So much that I made you one of the favs on my blog.

As to your Wordpress question, I did my blog with Wordpress (although not on the Wordpress site), and I post about a variety of topics, sorting them with categories – weaving, jewelry, contests, etc. Readers see everything, but can choose to focus on just one category. There may be other ways to do this, too – this is just how I know to do it. Check out how it works at

Your work is beautiful -- thanks!