Monday, April 18, 2005

Looms and Gardening

Some of the members of the Weaving message list on Yahoo have been discussing how their looms have taken over their houses. Now I only have two looms, one is a floor loom that is in my bedroom while the new table loom is currently in my dining area but as soon as my stand comes in from Schacht, it too will go in my bedroom. The craft room is way too small to put the looms there and with the computer desks in the living room, I just couldn't handle having the looms in there as well.

Now on to the house. One of my coworkers gave me a $50 Home Depot Gift Card as a housewarming gift so I stopped by HD the other day but really didn't find anything I wanted then realized I could rent a tiller for the back yard. (Was that a run on sentence or what? :P ) I want to plant some wild flowers in the area where no grass is and it's too slow to do it manually. The flowers will be there as a temporary soil retainer until I can afford to really landscape the yard.

Whatever contractor they had lay down the grass did a terrible job. It's lumpy, with low and high spots that we keep tripping over. Plus, it's St. Augustine grass which I don't care for ... well, actually ... I don't care for grass at all. So I need to do a design for the yard that gets rid of as much grass as possible. Most of the bushes they put in front of the house will go as well but the forsythia bush and the live oak tree will stay (love oak trees). I also want to find a dogwood tree that will grow here. The ones I'm used to and love from Alabama just doesn't seem to like this area ... probably too "mushy" of a soil or something.

A pond is another thing I've always wanted to have and a swing and lots of flowers and maybe a small vegie garden as well. We'll see what happens.

Shorah Y'all!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Back to Weaving

Yesterday I stopped by the Mall of the Mainland here in Texas City. It's literally across the street from the development I just moved in to. I purchased a small Bible to fit in my purse and the gentleman at the counter invited me to the church meeting that they currently hold in the back of the store. The church my parents helped start back in the early 70s started in a storefront, so I just might go tomorrow.

Today I was up by 9:15 am but only because my boyfriend is a morning person and thinks that I should be up by then (I detest mornings). Anyway, he came over to see the new house then I headed out to La Porte after he left. Of course, now that I'm not in Clear Lake anymore, the trip is a lot longer than before. I was going to the Upstairs Studio where I get most of my thread and supplies for weaving. I needed some more heddles for the Schacht Table Loom I won on eBay and a floor stand for it. I also got some flat shuttles for the floor loom so I can return the one I borrowed from the University of Houston - Clear Lake. The studio also gives me a discount because I'm a student (woot!).

On the way, I stopped at the sporting goods store in Seabrook for some fishing weights. The #2 frame on the floor loom doesn't like to drop and it breaks the rhythm when I have to push it down manually. My brother-in-law is determined to fix that plus repair part of the base that UPS broke in transit. He thinks he can get it to work more smoothly and I sure hope he's right.

I need to decide on a final design for my pillows and get the warp strung up on the warping board. Of course, I still need to find my bobbins which are packed away somewhere in the garage. I purchased some 8/2 Tencel from Camilla Valley Farm, a Spruce Green and a Natural. I'm thinking I'll need to double up the warp at the sides for strength and am considering sleying two threads per reed. Otherwise the weave will be too loose and I'll be more likely to pull in too tightly.

For now, I need to work on a tutorial so the weaving will have to wait but I'm one step closer to getting back to it.

Shorah Y'all!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Deafening Silence ...

I'm not that fond of sports ... I do like playing soccer and volleyball (I have a wicked serve), but I don't like watching others play that much. I do however, enjoy watching a good game of golf.

Don't ask me why, I just do.

Somehow, the deafening silence before a swing followed by thunderous applause reminds me of a Shuttle launch.

You're standing there, just a few miles away from the launch pad which is lit with spotlights from all directions. It's about 3 or 4 am and the announcer comes over the speakers starting the final countdown. The murmur of the crowd stops and you can feel the tension crackling in the air around you. As the countdown continues, you see the engines and boosters flare to life, smoke begins to pour out from under the shuttle as the flames hit the water below. And finally, as "One" still echoes from the speakers, the vehicle slowly and majestically begins to lift from the pad.

The sound beats into your chest making it hard to breath but you still shout along with everyone else. It's a triumphant and glorious sound. As the shuttle continues its ascent, everyone holds their breath until the boosters separate. The sighs of relief are followed by more cheers and clapping. The sound of the rockets burning above you can still be heard. Your whole body is still throbbing from the sound waves that hit you from the launch itself and you find that you're crying. Thankful that the shuttle and occupants are safe but remembering those who didn't make it.

I wish I was there with them, winging my way to the Space Station, then back to the moon and on to Mars.

The journey must continue my friends. Man aches to learn, to journey, to explore. Don't let the dream die.

Shorah Y'all!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Searching for Family

Being restricted as to my activities, I found the geneology GEDCOM files I'd started several years ago. I have several geneology programs including Generations Family Tree from Sierra Home. Unfortunately, Sierra has dropped support for the program so I'll either throw it out or see if Half Price Books will give me a couple of dollars for it. I also have GenoPro Gold and Legacy and I think I'll stick with them.

After checking over the data and making some updates, I exported the GEDCOM file and sent it on to the The Oleszkiewicz Project. Of course, I have my Riggs family information in the file as well. I looked at a few records at the Ellis Island site and found a few family members listed so will need to add that information soon. I'm waiting on my mother to send me more information that she got after her mother's death last year and hopefully can get some from my father's sisters.

One of the most interesting family stories is of my Great-great-grandfather, Joseph Blachowski (1871-1910). According to my Grandmother, Joseph "disappeared" after his wife, Josephine Swiatecki, Jr. (1873-1929) bore him ten children. It was assumed he was dead until his youngest son Leon tracked him down through an insurance policy. He found that Joseph had left Josephine, moved east (to Ohio I think or Pennsylvania) and remarried, without having first divorced Josephine. The children of his second marriage were given the same names as the children of his first marriage.

On my father's side, there's the Great-Aunt who sold moonshine and the Great-great-Uncle who had Narcolepsy and was almost buried alive. The family thought he was dead and placed him on ice (literally) until he could be buried. At the gravesite, the coffin was opened for a final viewing upon which he sat up and looked around. Everyone fled except for the preacher who was too terrified to move.

On my mother's side, I'm Polish with a bit of French and Jewish, while I'm Cherokee, Irish, and German on my father's side. When my parents met, my father shaved once every two weeks - ever seen an American Indian with a beard? As he got older, he was finally able to grow a beard and mustache.

That's all for now.

Shorah Y'all!

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Cloth's the Thing

Let's talk about my obsession with weaving this time.

We take cloth for granted more often than not. We no longer have to make it ourselves or wait for weeks for a precious bolt of cloth to cross the country. We don't need to reuse worn out clothing to make quilts. We can buy clothes ready made or find cheap cloth at the local fabric store. Yet some of us still feel the need to weave cloth for blankets, pillows, scarves, and more.

I was hooked on weaving long before I ever got the chance to actually learn so when I found out that the Fiber Arts class I was taking would teach me how to weave, I was ecstatic. Halfway through the class, I decided that I had to have a loom of my own. I found some plans but the cost of the materials was more than I could afford, although cheaper than a purchased loom. I turned to eBay and found a homemade loom that I won the auction on. After putting it together, I started on a project only to have the threads keep popping, so I pulled the warp off and started on a scarf project using Wool-Ease yarn. My brother-in-law has done some tweaking on the frames, cords, and treadle tie-ups but is convinced he can make it better. The number 2 frame doesn't like to drop and I may need to add more weights to the bottom of it to help. The wooden dowel holding the pulleys seems to be too large and so doesn't turn well in the holes. Fixing it will have to wait until I finish the scarves and that won't happen until the blood clot in my leg is gone.

You can see the loom in my Weaving gallery.

On March 12th, I won another auction on eBay for a Schacht Table Loom. An older model than they currently sell, but still in good shape except for a crack on the right hand side of the castle that can be fixed. Plus, the levers are attached from right to left while I prefer from left to right. I've already purchased some natural and dark green 8/2 Tencel for pillow tops to be made on the table loom. This will also give me the opportunity to use the warping board my brother-in-law made me for Christmas last year.

It's extremely fascinating to watch the strands of warp thread slowly filling with the weft thread to create a pattern as you press the treadles or select levers to raise and lower the threads, then throw the shuttle from side to side.

Once I'm allowed to weave again, I'll post my progress on the scarves and pillow tops.

Shorah Y'all!