Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, William B.!

I subscribe to The Writer's Almanac program. I don't especially like Garrison Keilor, but I do enjoy having a poem read to me every morning. When I miss the radio broadcast, it's nice to read the poem myself when I get to work and log in to my email there.

So today when I logged in at work, I discovered that it is the anniversary of William Butler Yeats' birthday. I am very fond of Yeats' poetry, and these are three of my favorites, so I wanted to share them with you. I found a volume of Yeats' poetry in my Dad's books when I went through his library after his death 10 years ago, and though I'm sorry we never discussed these poems it pleases me to think that we may have shared some of the same enjoyment in these words.

A Drinking Song

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Never give all the heart

Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that's lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

"A Drinking Song" by William Butler Yeats, Public Domain.
"He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by W.B. Yeats, Public Domain.
"Never give all the heart" by W.B. Yeats, Public Domain.

If you would like to read more about the life of WBY, you can visit the Writer's Almanac site for today by clicking this link. This program is also available as a podcast!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wonderful Weaving Weekend

I have been meaning to try to catch up on various travels and events...but as my mind is not as linear as it once was, so goes my blog.

I just got back from 3 days of weaving at the home & studio of William Leinbach, who is a traditional Pennsylvania-German weaver and a friend. He lives with his wife Edna in Myerstown, PA, and he opened his studio to 5 weavers from the Blue Ridge Spinners & Weavers Guild and allowed us to weave samples on some of his looms.

We wove Overshot on 4 harnesses:

Overshot on 22 harnesses:

Doubleweave on 18 harnesses:

Summer & Winter on 6 harnesses: This is woven upside down, so you are looking at the "wrong side" of the fabric on the loom. Can you find my mistake?:

Singles linen plain weave on 2 harnesses:

Here is a finished linen kerchief that Bill wove in different colors -

Some weavers wove on a different 4 harness overshot and/or an M's & O's runner.

Most of Bill's looms are antique frame looms which are often called barn looms because of the massive beams that make up the loom. The 18 harness doubleweave was done on an old loom with a modern harness set added on; the 22 harness overshot was woven on a Glimakra Oxaback loom that Bill special ordered from Glimakra in Sweden some years ago.

Bill is a tall guy, a large man, and most of these warps were around 46" wide plus an extra few inches out each side to the cord that allows the weaver to add fringe by wrapping the pattern shuttle around the cord on every pass.

Which is to say, Really Wide for the average woman weaver - I'm 5'6", and I've been dealing with a torn rotator cuff and other shoulder issues for a year or more. I really wasn't sure if I would be able to work these looms comfortably with my shoulder. But I'm pleased to report that while it was certainly challenging, it didn't hurt to weave. I think I need to add this type of weaving to my weekly physical therapy schedule!

Bill has an awesome collection of spinning wheels, and contributed mightily to the wonderful book, Spinning Wheels & Accessories by David Pennington and Michael Taylor. There are old wheels all over the place!

I think he has too many wheels and should sell some to me, like this intriguing Canadian production wheel:

Or this beauty:

There are fascinating old things everywhere you look, like this collection of hats & bonnets hanging from a beam in the living room: We had a wonderful time weaving, visiting over potluck meals and going to the Black Angus antique market very early on Sunday morning. Some of we weavers bought antique coverlets there, and while I was tempted by an old spinning wheel, I didn't buy anything but really enjoyed looking. It's a wonderful market with all manner of old goods and some remarkable bargains.

Virginia, along with most of the East Coast, has been suffering a spell of very hot & humid weather. We don't have air conditioning at home, so our whole house fan has been working hard to keep us almost comfortable. Thankfully, the weather broke with a dramatic storm this afternoon, so we are looking forward to a more comfortable night of sleep.

I will take photos of my woven pieces when they are finished and share them with you in a later post.