I passed a huge milestone today! I took a day entirely off. (Well, almost entirely. I did answer one urgent email from a student who couldn’t access the course. But that was it.) I’ve spent the day puttering about, going for a nice lazy brunch with Mike, reorganizing my giant tubs full of machine embroidery thread, tending my tomato seedlings, planning out my velvet sample warp, and threading Amazing Grace. What I haven’t been doing is planning out my next week’s work, answering work emails, worrying about what deadline is coming up next, or hovering over my blog/email statistics.
This is the first real day off I’ve had in over two years. Maybe three. Pretty much every single day, the first two hours of the day have been devoted to business stuff, even on days when I wasn’t officially supposed to be working. There was such an overwhelming load of work that urgently needed to be done – especially the last two months, while I’ve been teaching/writing lessons and lectures for my Color Courage for Weavers Workshop class – that I just couldn’t relax and let it go on weekends.
But I’ve now reached the point where the workload is not quite so insane, either for the class or for the business. In the class, we’ve gotten over the “explaining how color works” hump and are now into the part about how to design with color. As a result, the lessons are more conceptual (less diagram-heavy) and the students are learning more independently. So I am doing less teaching and corrections and more enthusiastic cheering, offering refinements, and words of encouragement as they start flying on their own. This is the most fun part of the class, for me and (I think) for them!
So this week has been a fairly laid-back week. Even on the business side, I decided to take some time to play. I needed some prettier pictures for marketing purposes. Most of my sample photos look like this:
Which is great if you’re trying to demonstrate color principles, but for marketing purposes? Pretty grim, babe.
So I got a bunch of samples together and started playing with them on a lunch break. Here’s one of the pretty pictures that resulted:
And for my latest Warp & Weave blog post, I created a fan out of one of the color gamps that Laura Fry wove for me. I’m very fond of this one:
It’s nice to get to do something fun for a change!
Meanwhile, in tomato-land, the seedlings were looking distressingly purple last week:
I initially thought “Oh, no problem, they’ve got the Anthy (anthocyanin) gene, that makes tomatoes have purple stems.” Then I remembered that Fruity Mix doesn’t have the Anthy gene. Oops.
A quick Google search turned up the answer: phosphorous deficiency, often brought on by too-cold growing conditions. Well, the tomato seedlings were being kept warm by heating pads – though it had been extremely cold by California standards (down to the mid-to-high thirties at night, scandalous!), the temperature had stayed in the 60’s in their little incubation area. So I didn’t think the temps were the problem. I mixed liquid bone meal with some water and put it into the next watering. While not yet fully recovered, they are looking much better already!
The interesting part is that they are greening from the center out. Here’s a top view of one of the seedlings:
This looks weird but makes sense when you think about it: the phosphorus comes up from the central stem, and gets grabbed by the nearest cells as it makes its way up the stem. I’m looking forward to seeing them turn completely green. It’s hard going around with a purple thumb!
Nothing much on the velvet front, except a small amount of progress threading Amazing Grace. Maybe an inch’s worth of progress. Still, an inch is an inch, and there are only about 16 inches’ worth to go. Ricki is coming over on Friday and hopefully will get a bunch more threading done. It “only” takes about an hour for me to thread an inch’s worth of heddles, so in theory there is only about 16 hours’ work left to get her threaded.
Of course, then the next step (after sleying and tying on) is debugging, which is almost as tedious. Oy. Well, you only have to do it once.
My approach to these sorts of tasks is much the same as my approach was to large cross-stitch projects, back in college. They are much more manageable once you accept, like Sisyphus, that you are doomed to roll the boulder uphill forever. Then you can simply lose yourself in the process of doing this tedious task, put on an audiobook or a podcast, and be pleasantly surprised 400 hours later to discover that (unlike Sisyphus) you are actually done AND you have a finished piece!
Speaking of threading, I believe I’ll run off and do some more of it now. But I will leave you with this photo to console you. A few days ago, I was photographing my “Tiger Eye Shawl,” my very first attempt at designing my own draft (it’s an adaptation of the “Heart Throb Scarf” in the Twill Thrills Best of Weaver’s book). Or more accurately, I was attempting to photograph it, because of course the moment I laid it down on the bed, the inevitable happened.
“What’s this?” said Tigress.
“My Tiger Eye Shawl,” I replied. “I need to take photos of it for the talk I’m giving tomorrow.”
“But there’s only one tiger in this house worth taking photos of,” she replied, “so it’s a good thing I stopped by.” And curled up for a nice long nap.
Of course, she was right. The cat is always right.