Weaving on the road

Weaving on the road

Summer is a great time for tapestry weaving and travel. I packed up an overly large bag (or two) of yarn, spindles, and looms and had a few days car camping at 11,000 feet with friends.

Some four selvedge weaving was done on this trip... the first completed on the ride there. One of my favorite views is this one coming out of South Park when you first see Mt. Princeton.

Design tips and inspiration for tapestry weaving

Design tips and inspiration for tapestry weaving

Inspiration for tapestry design can come from an infinite number of sources. But actually recognizing something as a starting point for a design can be tricky! My experiences as artist-in-residence at Petrified Forest National Park last year have informed my design skills tremendously.

This experience of using a little loom and simple forms inspired by the environment was so powerful for creating meaningful tapestry designs, that I wanted to share it with all of you. 

Color Me Colorado... or New Mexican?

About a month ago I drove through the interior of Colorado. It was a beautiful sunny day. The ski resorts were all holding their breath... probably still are though I'm sure they have made a pile of snow.

I am not a skier. I know it is hard to believe. I have lived a fairly significant amount of my life in Colorado or within a short distance of Taos Ski Valley. But I don't ski. I'm too afraid of the trees and am a big wuss about broken legs and necks--mine or other people on the hill.

Nope. I'm the one waiting for this trail to open. Just six and a half more months. I am the plodding sort who likes to walk all day long on bare ground.

I was in the art supply store recently and I was looking at the stencils. I occasionally use geometric ones for designing, but this one caught my eye. I looked twice and realized that the dividing line between New Mexico and Colorado was missing (you'll also note that Kansas and Oklahoma have joined forces).

I have spent many years now moving back and forth between NM and CO and I wish they would just issue a drivers license and car registration for both states already. This is, I think, the fourth time I've had a CO license.

CDOR agent: Weight?
Rebecca: [hesitates. thinking, 125 right? I am sure if I held my breath I could fit in those skinny jeans.] Sigh. [Guilt, fear of derisive looks for lying because clearly I am NOT 125. Regret for being a bit chubby, though happy!--marriage does that to you.] Sigh. 150.

If I still had that first Colorado license I'd weigh 25 pounds less! Heck, if I still had the NM (slash CO) license from when I was 16... well, lets not go there. I didn't even wear glasses then.

Really I care not a bit about my weight. Like I said, I'm perfectly happy. But the pain of going to the DMV every year for the last I don't know how many to get a new license and registration has worn pretty thin. While waiting, I finished knitting an entire baby hat greatly pleasing the elderly woman watching me knit it. After we'd been there 30 minutes or so, she leaned over and said, I'm afraid you're going to have time to finish that while you wait. I leaned back and said, ma'am, I'm afraid you're right. I left the licensing bureau two hours later, finished hat in hand... probably a few pounds lighter too.

Nope. If Colorado and New Mexico are not going to join forces and help me out with this one, I'm going to have to stay here. 

Here are some trees I'm not afraid of. This is my obsessive holiday knitting project of the year. Pattern by Julie Tarsha. You can get it HERE. I have run out of wine corks and there is still a forest of trees coming. I am sure the solution is to drink more wine, but I'm a lightweight (ignore weight sited above) and I can't possible drink as fast as I can knit.

Small Town Life

I spotted this sign in Fort Garland, CO right on Highway 160 on my way to Taos to meet with some weaving friends. Fort Garland is only a few miles from my current home. I was struck by the small-town assumption that people would know where Tina's house was. There were no other signs or balloons to mark the yard sale anywhere in line of sight. I guess I haven't lived in the San Luis Valley long enough to know Tina personally. I hope her yard sale went well.

Living in rural Colorado or New Mexico where I have spent the last few years has a lot to teach me. I have more time to look at the landscape--often while driving long distances to work or meet with friends or family. I was wondering about how our environment leads us to choose certain things--a way of building a house or perhaps a color of yarn or technique for the next work of art. Definitely the landscape leads me question what building methods I use when discussing building a house or a studio (hopefully some day soon)... I have always wanted to build a straw bale house and I think this comes partly from growing up in New Mexico where the sky is big and you feel more connected to the ground. A straw bale house feels grounded. The walls are thick and the air inside is cool and quiet in the summer and warm and quiet in the winter. The walls are covered with mud and it fits into the landscape. I imagine the porch where I can watch the thunderstorms in August and dye my yarn. And I wonder if I'll put little designs or perhaps broken tiles into the mud as decoration to make it my own.

Yarn choices also stem from my environment more than I would guess. NM and the San Luis Valley encourage my sensual addiction to yarn and color. Somehow it is a place that feels more real to me than the suburban neighborhood I lived in with manicured lawns in Reno, NV. Somehow experiencing the dirt, the rock, and the cactus under my feet every time I step out the door as well as watching the clouds moving across the Sangre de Cristos, hugging 14,000 ft. Mt. Blanca connect me to the land and maybe to myself. This probably doesn't work for everyone, but for me it is an important part of my life. Somehow yarn is part of that sensual connection. I love nothing better than going to Village Wools or Serendipity and feeling the yarn, imagining knitting a scarf or wondering how that dyed-in-the-fleece yarn would change the look of my tapestry.