Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weaving in New Mexico

The Artist and I recently returned from a vacation in New Mexico. Since I promised several followers a report, I submit it herewith, even if a little late.

After I told The Artist that next time we went to New Mexico, I wanted to go in the summer, he suggested that we go in late June, so that I could also attend the Poisoned Pen Mystery Book Conference in Phoenix. That was it! Count me in.

We took two days getting to Santa Fe in my trusty little Mini. Outside Needles, CA, the temperature hit 104.
By the time we reached Phoenix, it was 111.

We stayed in a B&B for three nights in Santa Fe, having encountered a dust storm in Grants. This was the same wind that fed the recent large fire in Los Alamos, if I’m not mistaken.

I just love the sky in New Mexico. So blue, so clear. The flowers stand out so crisply.

Flowers 3-72
Flowers 4-72Flowers 5-72

For a couple days, we window shopped around Santa Fe, visited Canyon Road, chatted with other visitors in the B&B and developed a new eating pattern: eat a big breakfast, a sturdy, late lunch at a great restaurant and skip dinner. This produced a a wonderful, relaxing time.

Then, it was on to Taos and Chimayo and weaving. I was determined to visit several places on the New Mexico Fiber Tour. In the past, we had only been to Taos in the heart of winter, so it was a real treat to visit in the summer. We took the low road up from Santa Fe and unexpectedly visited the Taos Pueblo, an interesting and very peaceful place, populated for about 1,000 years. Then on to elk burgers and lunch at a very good restaurant on the main street, a two-lane main highway which goes right through town. As we ate, loads of cattle, tractor trailers and piles of hay went right past the large windows. It felt like we were in a small town in the West, which we were. What a throwback in time!

Right next door was Weaving Southwest. The front gallery had very colorful, interesting tapestry weavings, but as I turned around, and my eyes caught the floor-to-ceiling bins of brightly colored yarns, I nearly fell over. In the rear were probably 20 looms, including little inkle looms, upright Navajo looms and big, traditional New Mexican looms handed down from Spanish ancestors.

While The Artist examined the construction of the looms, I had a very interesting conversation with the owner, whose grandmother started the business and and mother does the dyeing. She indicated that since water is do scarce in New Mexico, they use the dyepot over and over until the dye batch is exhausted and the water comes out clear. I bought some yarn and moved on to La Lana Yarns, a natural dyeing store down the street, where I picked up some madder and naturally dyed yarn.

We took the beautiful High Road back to Chimayo and stayed at a very quiet, very peaceful B&B  even using the hot tub. Sleep  came very easily as we were extremely relaxed. Next day, we visited several local weavers: Rose Vigil (Living Traditions), Trujillo Weaving, Lisa and Irvin Trujillo (Centinela) and then drove back up to Truchas, where we met Harry Cordova in his small shop. I learned so much about weaving from each of the weavers. I also learned about churro sheep, which has stiff hair as well as fur. I’m sorry to admit that I did not take photos of the shops. I was just too interested in the weaving. I guess that’s a reason for going again.

Somehow, we managed to find time to eat lunch at Rancho Chimayo, which served the best chile rellenos I’ve ever had.

On to Phoenix. The Artist visited MIM, the new Museum of Musical Instruments (and took over 200 photos). I attended the book conference with my long-time book lover friend and got a couple more mysteries.

We had a great time and The Artist now wants to make me an upright Navajo loom.

I'm ready to return already, but The Artist has a museum show coming up...