Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Today's loom adventure

Today we spent six hours driving to Van Wert and back, because I am determined to keep collecting up my weaving pieces parts. We went for the spool rack. Van Wert is just before Toledo, and the location of Leesburg Loom, where I had the custom spool rack built.

It was a beautiful day for a drive, and I treated Laura to some trucker lore I learned from my brother-in-law. On US and Interstate highways, there are many holding ponds. Tom's story for these is, the next feature of the highway is an overpass. The highway engineers struck up agreements with farmers on the way, and in exchange for the pond used the dirt from it to build the overpass embankments. Probably a true story.

There is farm after farm along US 30. It was small talk, and the driver was amused!

We reached 301 North Cherry Street, and picked up the rack, unassembled.  Out the door, forty seven dollars and change, plus a tank of gas. The fancy schmancy, huge spool racks from name brand loom companies start at two hundred dollars. I had one, that I gave away. It was too heavy and bulky for my hands to manage.

Van Wert is so typically German settlement that we put the GPS on pause and drove around downtown. That's city hall.The little white building caught my eye. I didn't see any description of function. Around here, if it wasn't a school house, it was a Grange Hall, and I bet the latter, to be associated with a GAR cannon. GAR: Grand Army of the Republic. 

More history. I don't understand the meaning of this sign; we were on US 30, and the Lincoln Highway is US 30, through much of this country, including Ohio. I don't understand the exit sign, unless someone neglected to put up "Old US 30 signs." A mystery.

Back home, and a spool rack to assemble. Forty pegs and the foot assembly. We were one Amish supplied peg short, so tomorrow it's off to Ace Hardware for a replacement.

This job needed a socket set, or at least a crescent wrench. Laura says we do not have one, which I find hard to believe, but am too tired to go rifle the tool chest in the shed. Tomorrow, before we go to Ace will be the moment of truth.

So, my forty peg rack, assembled. I see the feet are on backward. The spools of thread pull with a mighty force, and need to pull against the solid part of the cross brace. I guess that's worth a crescent wrench!

When I read the email tonight, my cone of thread shipped today, for delivery by Friday night. Life is good.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Screaming eagle

Another Memorial Day. I took the trumpeter to maybe the last event. She's not taking band next year.

The downtown square will be closed, of course, and the detour is posted. Oh, the irony of it all. HTWP stands for Hudson Township something. Hudson Township was annexed by Hudson, oh, about 1990. It no longer exists, except in equipment.

Chairs lining the square as we went to the high school. Uncle Tom was there, in his Vietnam Vet cap, I'm sure. He always shows up early, to watch everything. We didn't see him, but Laura found him, for a ride home.

Coming home, the chairs are beginning to fill, about nine in the beautiful morning. The police were beginning to close SR303. Instead of waiting, not knowing how long to be let through, I turned left from the center lane and took another route home. 

Flags everywhere. Lining side walks. Flying from front porches. How proud we are!

One thousand, four hundred seventy five immigrant children unaccounted for last year. Swept from their parent's arms. Sleeping on concrete floors, surrounded by wire fence. Daily, children lifted away, put in child seats and driven off, no forwarding address. No tissue for any tears or screams.

One hundred one mass shootings in America this year. Ten students killed in the last high school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. Five thousand seven hundred death by gun violence. One thousand three hundred children to age seventeen, killed by gunfire. 

Perhaps America is waging war on children. This can't be the America I know, but it's the America that's happening. The America that cares is close to out of time to re-enact the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, One Nation, with Liberty and Justice for All. If you do nothing else, Vote. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018


I believe I've not mentioned the studio in a while. I don't remember. In its own fashion, the studio is coming along, except what I keep waiting for, exacerbated by a holiday and computing errors, compounded by...

I'm waiting on the forty spool stand I ordered. The people who own that rug weaving supply house also have a trucking company, and the runs keep interfering with picking up my spool rack from the Amish fellow who made it. No matter; I have a bigger setback on hand.

To fill the bobbins to put on the spool stand to wind into the back beam sections, I ordered a lovely 8/2 unmercerized cotton, spun in Canada. It comes on big cones; I asked for the biggest they had in stock. When it came I hardly could lift it from the box. Four or five pounds, I figured. Way more than enough.

I cannot find the invoice to see what I got, but no matter. There's the loom, with eleven cords on eleven two inch sections to warp up twenty two inch width towels. I don't intend to make anything but towels. And more towels. Twenty two inches. The rest of my life. 

Here's the math. I have this because I sent it to Beth when I reached the "3 turn" part. First I calculated there are 2.5 ounces of thread on each bobbin. I'm weaving my twenty two inch wide towel at twenty ends per inch, or 440 ends, divided by forty spools is eleven bouts. 

(Remember when your mom bought sheets by thread count. That's how threads are counted in fabric; how many wefts cross how many warps.)

I know there are 3,360 yards per pound in this thread, because I looked it up on the vendor's web site, because I cannot find the invoice. So, there are 210 yards per ounce, times 2.5 ounces per spool are 525 yards per spool. Should be enough to do anything, right?

There are no weaving fairies anywhere in the world; real people do it. I had forty bobbins to fill from that ginormous cone of thread on the floor. I got to work.

I wound twenty bobbins yesterday. I said "Holy cotton balls, Batman. I don't have enough thread to fill twenty more!" It was three in the afternoon. I ran to the phone and called. It is a holiday weekend; the order line closed at one and would reopen Tuesday.

The scrap of paper calculating the thread on each bobbin was right there on the desk. I might as well figure out how much warp would go on the loom; how many towels I will be rewarded with. Those 525 yards will be spread out over eleven bouts, which is 525 divided by eleven is 47.7 yards in each bout. 

The beam averages sixteen inches around, divided into 47.7 is "Holy short sheet, Batman. That's like one towel!" I sent it to Beth. We started at the top. We got down to 47.7 divided by 16", and she KNEW and I saw it: 47.7 is yards, not inches. So, I will be putting on one hundred 16" turns, which is what I instinctively expected, from the "old days". That's about fifty towels. 

After I get the spool rack and another ginormous cone of thread, sometime next week. And I don't mean the short week that starts tomorrow.

To finish torturing myself, and because I really can do this, I calculate the missing invoice shows I purchased about 4.6 pounds of thread. I should have done the math on the front end.

The next mystery: how many towels will a one pound cone of colored thread weave? Actually, I could work it out mathematically, but I won't. I'll just write it all down somewhere, like it's all written down in the original "bible" that I gave away, which has been misplaced by the recipient.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Hard, hard day for a mouse

I woke yesterday to a stiff battle of thumps from the other end of the house. No noise except fierce swats contacting......something. I went on down and asked "You OK in there?" Thwat! Whump! I pushed the door. It opened some inches, before jamming over clothing. Apparently an entire wardrobe. Underwear, socks, leggins. I saw a foot shift the load.

"There is a mouse in here! I WILL KILL IT!" She got up only to use the bathroom, and a mouse ran past her shoulder, up the shower curtain. She spent an hour sealing herself in and doing battle.

I suggested there is a more adult method of dispatching a mouse. "A mouse trap?" she meekly inquired. I suggested she take the debit card for a ride to Ace Hardware and purchase a couple. "You remember how to get there?" Sniff, sniff. "Up Barlow?" So, she went for a mouse trap.

She has a friendly and handsome classmate who works there. He makes it a point of waiting on her. She hates it, and calls him Bub. I think his name is Devon. "Bub said I only need two," as she dumped four traps on the counter.

With minimal finger snapping, she baited, set and placed all four. And so the day went on. At bedtime, a scream from down there, and I went to investigate. Her mouse (so now it's my mouse!) lay expiring in the corner, dying not of mouse trap, but apparently of severe domestic abuse in the morning.

"You need to finish it off," I said. "Leaving it to die is unfair." She closed her eyes and dropped a two pound bottle of Listerine straight down. That was that, except for the clean up. The mouse body was scooped onto a lovely gift bag and carried out.

Remains were returned to the sewer line replacement project out back. The mouse probably would have led a happy summer life in the back yard if not for the terror of men with shovels digging holes. I'm sure he went straight up the skirting, into a ventilation duct and out in Laura's room.

We threw away the mouse traps.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A lucky day

My car needed some work done, so I put out thirty dollars for a "courtesy" car to run errands.

A Chrysler Pacifica. A thirty thousand dollar courtesy car. The service guy said "It's like all the rest of them", and pretty much abandoned me. Half way home I was yelling at the radio to turn itself off. I did find the volume control and solved that. The other stipulation was replacing the gas I used. On the way back I had to call and get instructions on opening the gas tank.

Travelling through the National Park (35 mph) and my white car rushed past a very white park ranger car. Once again I was not nailed for a federal offense! This car doesn't even feel like it's going fast. The good news was, Laura had the camera up and out.

She snapped off a couple dozen heron shots. All it did was cross the pond. When we got home, our RBG tees were on the porch. And I wasn't even going to post today.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Like old times

2017 heron picture
Driving up Truxell today, past the pond, an interesting head was interspersed with the Canadian geese, below the bank. It was the heron, for the first time this year. "Look at you," I thought, pulling over to watch, rolling the phone to camera.

Down went the heron head, and came up with a decent sized fish, clamped one side to the other. Then the head lifted, the wings extended, the heron lifted and soared. "You sly dog!" I thought. You have a family to feed. I turned around and headed for the rookery, five miles down the road. Like I could find my heron.

I've passed the rookery already this year. Even last week there were far fewer leaves. I watched for a while, hoping for a picture of a heron coming or going, but everyone seemed quite situated, so I headed back.

We've had heavy weather all week. I've emptied the rain gauge of half an inch overnight several times in the last week, and the rain barrel is full.

The trip home featured interesting clouds building. Back home I was indulging in my little garden, and suddenly had a warning on the phone for heavy weather five miles west, in Richfield. As in, weather moves from west to east. I came indoors, ahead of thunder and lightening.

Here are some photos of the front of the house. Amazing what three years and a willing granddaughter can make of a cottage garden. Laura asserts, "technically, it's not MY garden!", but she staunchly defends the prior planting of things I classify as weeds. She has a far better memory, and has saved some plants I could bend over and reach.

Allium, like anemone, have not done well out front. We'll broadcast some more topsoil and fertilizer in a while.

But "stuff" is happy to grow. I can't recall the names of much at will, but sometimes I know. Way, way at the end is the hosta called August Lily. The wooly thyme looks good. The Stella de Oro, under the bench, will have lots of blooms. I've tried to confine everything to "its place", so I can ruthlessly cull.

Since the rain began, it's been hard pressed to end. Plenty of thunder, too.

I've devised another project (of course), and mostly need to see how to facilitate it. As I have yelled to the heavens, I Need Something To Do! Registering teenagers to vote will be a great thing to do, and I'm trying to find an organization that has an "in" to the hallways of high schools.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A long trip down memory lane

The minute RBG was released I was on the internet to find a showing in Akron or Cleveland. Of course it's in the art theaters on both ends of the freeway, but since no one in Cleveland save  Beth expressed interest, she came down for lunch and a matinee.

The film was screened in The Nightlight, a converted old warehouse in the absolute oldest section of Akron, on High Street. I idly took a picture of what I could see of the building across the street, the Sojourner Truth Building.

For anyone reading not old enough to know this piece of history, Sojourner Truth was an emancipated slave who was part of the abolitionist movement. Here on High Street, Akron, Ohio, Sojourner Truth gave her "Ain't I a Woman" speech in 1851, more or less under the point of the portico roof.

It's a picture I would normally have deleted, as not contributing to the advancement of the story. But I am a native of this city, and the Sojourner Truth story has always resonated with me. I'm leaving it today, because this story simply is the history that women know so well.

High Street is among the last of Akron's canal era warehousing to be converted. Market Street, Mill Street, Exchange Street, all those streets with the names of thriving business activities, are done and done and done. High Street is charming for the rough exterior left. That crossroad down there is Maiden Lane, and the covered construction is the conversion of the old streetcar barns to lofts.

We stopped for a coffee, and Beth texted Francis proof that his grandma might have been a hippie once.

Inside the theater I watched this diorama cross the screen several times before I took in the entire picture. I snapped it because that's our Goodyear blimp crossing there, over the Goodyear Airdock. The silver building is the old Akron Savings, where mom worked. I believe that's even High Street in front, and a Nightlight logo on the brick building.

If you're still here, this post actually has a point. If you enlarge the diorama, there is a woman looking straight back at me. I am looking at myself in 1980. There is a photo of me that I could overlay on that, and they will match.

RBG is a phenomenal movie/documentary. Some of it brought me to tears. I marched in those marches. I voted for those candidates. I worked for those hopes and causes. To have this record of Justice Ginsburg's achievements, and part in the progress, is priceless. A film not to be missed.

If you're still here, I'm not to the end. My last post was a dismal recitation of lost physical abilities, and mental. Lost meaning, in short. And one day later, another school shooting. I've quit Facebook; friends and not friends alike mocking us for causing it and waiting for it to happen again. That's how to add despair to despair.

I do have friends who said "I'll stand with you," and did. The three of us became forty, on the corner in below freezing weather, standing in solidarity with school students. 

After I post this I'll start a list of what I did and who I contacted for the March demonstration. The November elections are not just about reclaiming decency, it's also about turning the process over to the next generation, eighteen year old after eighteen year old.

Oh, yes. Laura stood over my shoulder until I'd ordered a Notorious R.B.G. tee for her.