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Showing posts from August, 2015


In two months, we begin NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. I'll be participating again this year, and look forward to the project, but I know a few people who have attempted it, but the pressure to write overwhelmed them.

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. Vincent van Gogh
I want to encourage those of you reading this who want to write a novel but feel overwhelmed with the process of actually writing. It isn't going to be done in a day. It will take time and energy, probably laughter and tears as well - all are part of the joy of writing. The more we write, the easier it comes. In a strange way, writing isn't unlike priming a pump - we have to give a little at the beginning and work through the rough times until the creativity begins to flow.

On the other hand, you may have had gushing waters of inspiration, and now wonder where all ideas have gone. For…

Bamboo/Hemp Part Deux

Earlier this summer, I bought some bamboo/hemp yarn (90% bamboo/10% hemp) and had fun weaving. Well, I thought I was going to have fun weaving it, but it turned out to be a bit more problematic than I realized it would be.
Still, I liked the look and feel of the fabric and even the very odd scent which comes from it. It isn't a bad scent, just not the wool, cotton or linen I'm used too. The other interesting thing about the yarn is the easy of weaving. I had a few problems on the first attempt at weaving the fabric primarily due to tension, but this time around everything is running smoothly.

The three colored yarns (orange, sage and cardinal) are all the bamboo/hemp yarn. The white yarn is exclusively bamboo, and by far the softest of the lot. I'm currently in the process of learning how they create yarn from bamboo, but I imagine it takes more work than wool, cotton or linen does.

The first project off this warp was a wrap, about seven feet in length. Once it goes throu…

Wednesday Wake-up

Back to Work

This past Saturday and this coming Saturday were days off for me since I had no fairs. During the fair season, when everyone else gets off for the weekend, I'm readying for fairs. It's enjoyable, though, because it offers me a time to talk with customers about designs they want to see or items they want.

The same isn't always true for writing, however. Both fiber arts and writing tend to be done in solitude. It's part of the nature of art, when all things are boiled down. The alone time can be a great benefit to those who need the time to recharge and think, or it can become a great motivator to finish more to those who prefer to be around people.

I fall into the first category - I need the quiet time to think, and this morning, I much preferred thinking in bed than actually climbing out and getting to work. Funny how after a couple days off, the body just wants to continue resting.

Still, it's the beginning of new week, new adventures, and new chapters. The little…

The Continuing Adventures with Chenille

While it may be August, those of us in Western NY (and most northern areas) realize winter's chill is around the corner. We soak in the warm weather because we know it's only temporary. It's supposed to be in the upper 70/80 degrees Fahrenheit or upper 20s in Celsius, but within the next thirty days, we'll be inching our way down the temperature scale.

With winter in mind, one thing I create are scarves, which leads to the title of this post The Continuing Adventures with Chenille - sounds like some 1930s radio adventure, but it isn't.

The first time I wove with chenille (here), I used it as both the warp and the weft in a project. It was fun as long as I looked at it as an experiment. I didn't enjoy weaving with it the first time around simply because of all the trouble I had with the warp, but I knew I wanted to come back to the fiber later.

When I started weaving after college (I wove only two projects in college), I ended up being frustrated with the warp. …

Wednesday Wake-up

The Larger Image

I've been working on a new series, and the first novel is nearly finished. This series, which has no title at the moment, has been a process for a year or so now, working out the story line and character development.

When I explain it takes me a month to write a novel, I typically mean the sitting down at the computer to write. I don't usually mean the pre-writing/planning stages or the post-writing/editing stages. When both of those are factored in, the novels normally take at least a year to write.

Like a panoramic shot of a location, we often need to pull back and look at the bigger picture to see all the steps, especially during those times when we're in the midst of the process. Sometimes writing the books feels like it will never end; other times it's a series of false starts. Still more often, it is simply putting one word after another onto the page.

I have a series I started almost ten years ago, yet it's only been in the past six months I could write the …

Fiber Friday

For my journals, I use what is called a Copticstitch. It's a simple chain stitch connecting one signature to the next, but it can be rather boring when it's all there is.

For the latest series of journals, I used an exposed spine method, leaving it rather dull, until I found a new way of utilizing the spine through a bookbinding method called the French link which provides a beautiful accent to the spine.

 It's actually an easy stitch to pick up, but the trick is securing the journal. I found keeping anchor points on the spine to be important as it provides security to the bound journal. This is especially true for my larger journals. The smaller ones had less of a need to be secured, but the larger journals needed the extra chain stitch near the center. In the photo above, you can see how the French Link appears slightly altered in that I attempted to add a woven element to the spine. It didn't work out as planned.

Another twist on the Coptic stitch was words. It take…

Wednesday Wake-up

Editing and Writing

Currently, I'm working on a few books, one of which is the sequel to Shamrocks of Stone. I finished what I thought was going to be the second book, but it turned out it was to be the third book. Frustration.

Still, for all things considered, the process will be worth it, but it is slow-going working on a book I hadn't intended to write just yet. Sometimes, that's the way life happens - you have to write a book. I look for the bright spots in the book, because it isn't doing what I want it to do.

For example, I need it to be darker, but there are these sunshine and roses moments, despite the difficulties Orfhlait faces in her current situation. I find I have to evaluate the story to see exactly what it is the novel wants. I know what happens, and I want to create the appropriate mood for it, but in writing it tends to prove difficult.

Thankfully, there is the editing stage.

Speaking of which, other books I'm editing are one step closer to the submission process. Thi…

Fiber Friday

I am on a bookbinding kick right now. Over the past two weeks, I've created something close to fifty different journals. Primarily, I started out with an idea which seemed to explode with possibilities. Now, I finally slowed down, but not without learning some new tricks.

The original idea was to see if I could cover journals with photos I took in France (also adding a few Ireland photographs as well). Here you see above the first generation of the concept. I changed the binding a little, but that topic is for next week.

Whenever I travel, I enjoy taking photographs of the places I see. I rarely take photographs of myself for a variety of reasons, but I love capturing moments and places. Sometimes the photograph are the expected ones like the Eiffel Tower. Those, I try to capture the standard shot as well as more intriguing elements. For example, in the photograph of the Eiffel Tower, I wanted to capture the immensity of the structure.

On other occasions, unexpected scenes arrive …

Wednesday Wake-up

Unexpected Stories

I wrote a play last month on the widow and her son from Luke 7. For those who are unfamiliar with the Biblical account, while Jesus was entering Jerusalem, a funeral procession was exiting. Jesus stopped the procession and brought the son back to life.

The account only covers five short verses in Luke's Gospel, but it's an interesting aspect - this widow who has no one to support her anymore, receives her son. It's as though Christ stopped for a moment to say, I can help her now.

There are so many little stories like this found both in the Bible and elsewhere in history. We capture a glimpse of something, like a light reflected on the water, but it isn't until we're able to step closer we see the interesting parts.

I enjoy history and culture - learning about how other places see themselves. Recently, I've started watching international films and television shows because they intrigue me. How does another culture see the world? What are the stories that inspire…