A state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression.
An equatorial region of the Atlantic Ocean with calms, sudden storms, and light unpredictable winds.
No matter which definition is used, I think the word doldrums applies in my life lately, even if I am far closer to the Pacific, rather than the Atlantic Ocean. I cannot say I have been inactive; just that the weaving part of my life has been inactive. That would be for several reasons but I’m not writing to list them as excuses. It is what it is.
And what it is … is fire season in parched wildlife-urban interface in Northern California, garden season, and summer activities, including some family visits.
Combine all of that with the sudden storm of getting DHs book completed and self-published The Heart of Understanding: Karate and Kokoro and his new websites developed and (at least one of them) up and running, Sierra Shotokan and there has definitely been stagnation on the looms. But for very good reasons.
I did manage to accomplish loom movement, just not in the way anticipated. Gil is still in need of a new home, but he has been relocated to a safe space in the office we built out in our garage a few years ago. He awaits the perfect home and comes at a great price! Click on the link to view details; be patient for the pdf to open. Gilmore For Sale
Wilhelmina, the Mighty Wolf, remains in her usual position in our family room. As I write this, doubleweave linen bread bags are underway. Fiona, the Baby Wolf, has been relocated to the breakfast nook formerly occupied by Gil. This is far better than being folded and stuffed into my closet during visits involving the fiber room that becomes a guest room. With vaccination in place for friends and family, there have been a few visitors for the first time in a very long time. Fiona has a linen warp for light and lacy linen scarves. It is difficult to gently place weft while fires rage nearby, so I had to stop weaving on Fiona the other day. Little Pup was sitting next to Fiona but even folded up it was difficult to open the kitchen cabinet. So, with visitors departed for a week, Little Pup is now in the fiber room. Such is life when house also serves as studio.
Meanwhile, to preserve a bit of sanity in the parched heat with fire planes frequently flying overhead, I’m slowly working on the Shetland fleece that came home with me from my trip to Washington in early June.
My youngest, Archie, now 30, lived in Olympia, Washington until mid-July. When DH and I visited in early June, we took a day trip to a lovely farm about 15-20 minutes outside of Olympia. Archie’s friend lives on the farm with her Shetland sheep. The activity for the day, other than spending time with my dear offspring, was to visit the farm and observe the sheep shearing that was scheduled for the day. Long story very short, the shepherdess pretty much begged me to take home a fleece.
With such beautiful fleece being offered, how could I refuse? So, I offered her my first attempt at a handspun, color blended Sheepheid hat which I happened to have with me as a comparison for the second one I was starting to knit. She was delighted and so was I.
I returned home with 4.7 pounds of white/grey fleece from a sheep named Riplet. I started with washing a sample of about half a pound of the fleece. After three washes, the lanolin and most of the dirt was gone but the tips looked like crap. And we are in a major drought with water restrictions. My process was rather inefficient. So, the rest of the fleece was shipped off to Morro Fleece Works and came back quickly.
It was nice and clean, except for the tips. Oh well, it was definitely worth saving water resources and my time and energy. Shari does a remarkable job, and she does it as quickly as possible. I have other things to say about the cost of shipping but that is not Shari’s fault, and it is not suitable content for a fiber blog.
Meanwhile, I have completed a second Sheepheid hat. This time I drum carded all the colors, including the four natural colors (black, natural, grey, and morrit) I started with and I ended up with more spinning consistency across all nine colors. I also steam blocked it after wet blocking and that really helped improve the knitted fabric.
Recently I've been flicking locks in preparation for drum carding a sample of the Shetland fleece with the intention of spinning and knitting fingerless mitts for the shepherdess. It is a fun project and helps keep me sane as California burns and we further refine our “Go Bags,” as inane as that process is.
One of the many things I’ve learned this summer is just how important weaving is to me. When I have projects on the loom, I can be mindful and enjoy what I am doing instead of fretting about the state of things. I have missed that over the past month. We have enjoyed visiting with vaccinated friends and family but preparation for three different visits in one month and putting things back where they usually go, as happens when house is studio, is time consuming and requires a different sort of concentration, timing, and energy expenditure than regular days and fiber play. And as we are withdrawing once again due to this most recent surge of Covid, I’m facing more isolation and need the creative interaction that comes with weaving.
So, I am to ready get these linen projects going! Right after garden duty.
If your air quality isn’t too bad, breathe deeply. Appreciate what we have in the moment and enjoy it. Practice gratitude and weave on. It can only make our world more peaceful.