Peru #1 finished

I took Peru #1 off the loom yesterday: I have named this scarf Lucia after the Peruvian woman who led the rescue horse on our trek.  Her colourful clothes and hat standing out in contrast to the tree-less rocky environment. She walked and skipped easily up the 5,000m passes as I climbed steadily and slowly. Thankfully her services were not needed!

Technically I have sorted out many things through this weave, not least the complexity of tie-ing up 10 shafts to 10 pedals.  My biggest learning has been around the actual weaving, throwing the shuttle; the last bit really.  Ideally I need quiet steady hours at the loom interspersed with exercise and calm!  If I miss a day or two or get tangled in other ‘stuff’ then my weaving is not so even.

© sue orton

colour explorations

Colour and weaving explorations for Peru1. These pictures are from a sample made on my Louet Kombo 40 loom using just 5 of the 8 shafts. The whole process of winding a warp, threading and sleying onto the loom has been a refresher too. It feels like I’m gathering up the learnings from my Diploma again and bedding them in.  I’ve been working on designing in the tie-up too which is difficult. I have rethreaded all 8 shafts now and will be looking at new designs.

© sue orton

weaving again

The winter was a fallow time for weaving for me.  Now inspired by a long planned trip to Peru, I am back designing again.  Creative confidence is for me a transient thing.. getting it back has been mixture of dogged persistence, encouragement from an experienced weaving buddy and just getting in my studio. I’ve spent last week wandering through Peru shapes pictures, journal entries and poetry; making potato cuts of hats, Inca shapes; browsing patterns and designs to translate into cloth. I have extended my colour palette too from Knoll Yarns.

© sue orton

falling back in love with sound

Hearing_Love-1397951374mI have hearing aids; they are marvellous; but it’s been quite a journey falling in love with sound again.

Not hearing talk on the radio was my first sign that I wasn’t quite catching everything and I ignored it for a couple of years. Further noticing that my right and left ear were different, my GP suggested a scan, which was all clear.  Further procrastination followed, the TV was louder, home communication was increasingly comical or frustrating. I can  hear but not quite as well as before. But I didn’t want to acknowledge it.  However, last October, I had a hearing test; the recommendation, two hearing aids.  Bother. I’m not old enough!!  Memories of shouting at my mum when she refused to wear them sent me into a slough of despond this winter.  So what changed?

I researched hearing aids … the technology now is wonderful.  You can link them to your phone, your music, to podcasts even to Radio 4, wow. I started to notice lots of people wearing them and they looked fine. At home, frustration was rising and I was missing jokes and key bits of conversation.  Then, during a teaching session I realised I couldn’t hear everyone clearly. Enough.

HowtheEarHears_001I found a brilliant local audiologist who explained all about hearing loss and began. Did you know that with sound your brain is a like muscle working hard to process whatever sound it can get. Less sound = more work and it’s exhausting.  Two trial behind my ears aids were programmed for me to try.  It’s a challenging process getting used to them with everything loud and overwhelming at first including my own voice. The tiny buds linking to four microphones in my ears were uncomfortable and itchy at first.  But the bird song, clear conversation, sensational music wow… I was hearing stuff I just didn’t know I was missing.  I had surround sound again.

After 2 weeks I decided that I would get my own. They are brilliant. So I’m over it. I’m over the internalised prejudice, I’ve spat that out.  I feel happier and more relaxed too. It’s just made life fuller, more relaxed and a joy again.

Also, I can now hear birdsongs again.  Have a listen here: Bird songs and calls

© sue orton 2017

January return to Taiji Qigong

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I have returned to practising Taiji Quigong this week thanks to the brilliant DVD The Road to Health and Vitality with Chris Jarmey and sold for just £5.00 + pp in aid of The Bubble Foundation. He explains the benefits of the practise and then takes you through the 18 movements (about 25 mins) gently and clearly; I love it.  If you want one,  send a cheque to the foundation + a donation if you wish and they will send you one.

© sue orton

612 #2 finished

After a busy summer term mentoring, weaving is now centre stage. Phew I have missed it.  Yesterday I finished 612 #2 at last. I have realised that taking weaving in short burst of a day here or an hour or two there plays havoc with my weaving rhythm and confidence.  The last few days have been all about settling into the weave and relaxing. I’m really noticing the stress fall away.  After a great day with a weaving pal I am now excited about further designs and colour explorations. So here are the results:

@ sue orton 2016

612 design: #2

This time I had a much better warping process; learnings from #1 settling in.  This will be quite a technical post for weavers amongst you.   Two warps this time.  Raddle and sorting crosses a little further away from the ends of the warp; there is still fine tuning to be had here.  I have also used 4 threads for counting and for the raddle cross corresponding the sett [8 ends per cm].  The main change has been to winding on, thanks to my weaving pal Julia.  She suggested putting the raddle cross sticks closest to the back beam and then suspending the raddle just in front of it, brilliant.  The wind on just completed.  Tomorrow threading and sleying then weaving.

© sue orton