Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Diversion Weekend - Agility Trials

Last weekend, we joined my parents for regional dog agility trials. One of their neighbors had a dog that was competing. We had seen trials on ESPN in December and marveled over how much work it takes from both the dogs and trainers. To see it live without commentary was also phenomenal. There was the astronomically high energy of the border collies and shelties. There was the beagle that howled in celebration when he completed certain elements. Then there were all the different ways that the trainer and dog communicated. Some dogs barked in response to or I think to egg on the trainer at each element. Some would turn their head (while jumping no less) to see where the trainer was pointing for direction to the next element. My favorite were the trainers who were basically in the center of the field yelling commands like "right or left". There are days I don't even get that right!

The other part they don't show on TV are the "not-so-excellent" divisions that are in training. There was the poodle that decided if she could make a new friend with one of the judges rather than completing the course. Oh and the black lab that decided the different scents were too enticing and not only refused to stay on course, he ran over to the next course to check things out there. I still giggle over the hyper border collies that would act before they completely understood the command and run through a tunnel two or three times. They just want to please!

I admire the dedication and patience of these people and these dogs, but what it reminds me most is that working successfully within a team requires spending time and learning how to communicate with each other. With that - amazing things can be accomplished!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Switching Gears and Windows...

I've been working with the eccentric weaving on the angles and it's just not coming out the way I would like. I found I was not getting anywhere and staying away from the loom. Fortunately, I have seen a wedge weave class being offered later this spring at the John C Campbell Folkschool. So I thought - there's a great deal I can figure out on my own, but why go through that when there is a class! So while I wait, I've shifted gears and windows that inspire me.

We are in the process of renovating and one of the changes will be to create a music room on the back porch where the floor is slate and the ceiling is beadboard. The main drawback and greatest feature is that the porch is lined with windows. The plan is to have UV blocking film installed AND I would like to have shades that can be drawn where we are not here to block out even more rays. My new focus then is to create aprons to hide the hardware of the shades and I would like the fronts of these to be a tapestry weaving.

At one point in the house renovations (it's been never ending since we moved in) I made a stained glass window in the same tile patterns as the slate. I've decided to do the same with the apron tapestry, but to pick a different portion of the pattern for each window. I've got those picked out and now I'm looking at colors of yarn. Hmmm..... it's hard to decide.
While I'm looking I've warped the loom for a final tapestry 8 inches wide and 36 inches long. that has required warping continuously - which is a first for me and this loom. It all went well and it also gave me an opportunity to create a new set of leashes the maximum width of the loom. I've tried using figure 8s in the past to link the leashes to the warp, but a width change must be thought through. I created the leashes this time with out any coupling like the figure 8's so that the leashes were the length I wanted them to be. This seems to be the first step - warp the the maximum width and leash as normal. Stay tuned and we'll see how the slip rings work with the next time I warp.