Would you be interested in attending the Olds Master Weaver class in Prince George?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Louisberg, Cape Breton

Me, peering at one of the fabric samples.

Today was a 'free' day and Janet phoned a contact at the Fortress of Louiseberg, a national historic site.  Nice to have a local with contacts!

An appointment was made with the archeologist and we drove over to the site and got signed in.  As we had no clearance, we had to have the archeologist with us in order to see the textile examples.  

There are a variety of textiles, mostly knitted or woven, the weaving fairly simple - plain weave and twill. Some of the fragments are very likely heavily fulled after weaving, or just felted.  Impossible to say with just a visual inspection.  

However!   Researchers are allowed to examine more closely and we were given instructions on how to obtain clearance. 

One of the samples I would especially like to see magnified looks like part of a vest with a buttonhole and very possibly an attached lining.  The face of the sample (as mounted) looked like plain weave, fairly heavily fulled, with a lining of a lighter weight cloth woven in twill.  And both of them amazingly fine.

The knitting, which was mostly stocking or sock fragments, was in incredibly fine yarns.  

And this sample of some 'loose' yarns...how did it survive?  There is no evidence of a weft to hold them together...they are just there, side by side, all the same quality, probably a two ply wool.  

I am so hoping to get back next year and see if I can get clearance as a researcher so they will let me use the microscope and see them really closely. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Gaelic College/Olds College

Gaelic College is located in lovely St. Ann's on the Cape Breton Island of Nova Scotia.  

They will be offering level one of the Olds College master weaving class from June 5-9, 2017. 

Stay tuned for registration details.  

The student bedrooms are small but comfortable.  (I think most rooms come with shower/toilet.)

Meals are served in the on site cafeteria and they accommodate special dietary needs.  So far the meals have been fresh and tasty.  

The studio is equipped with mostly Leclerc looms, so no need to bring one.  

The usual min-max required for the class is 8-12, so a small class.  As soon as I know when and with whom to register, I will post the info here.  

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Happy Un-birthday

thanks to Doug for taking the photo of the Holzworth ladies!

When you are an 'independent contractor', you don't always get to choose dates that work 'best' for you.  The group hiring you will set the date/time/place and you either agree...or don't.

This year mom turns 90.  It has been a couple of long years of various health issues, which seem mostly resolved - for now.  But as it happens, my trip next week means I will be out of town for her actual birth day.  I had thought to have a 'party' for her, inviting all the nieces/nephews who live in the area, but mom said large groups are too tiring.  Instead we opted for lunch at a local Chinese restaurant and a niece and her daughter came.  The small group meant that we could all talk to each other, get caught up since the last time we'd seen each other, and enjoy each other's company.

Other nieces/nephews will be in touch with mom as convenient, so she should be able to visit with them in equally small-ish groups.

The past week has been a bit hectic - seeing Mary off to the airport, several days at the fall fair, packing.  The 6:30 am flight is looking even more challenging with the alarm being set for 4:30 and not arriving until about 11:30 pm - given the flights are all on time and I make my connections.  Only two connections for this trip, and no border crossing involved, so hopefully everything will go smoothly.  I made arrangements to arrive a couple of days early, to help get over the jet lag - only four hours, but it will mean my sleep cycle - never great to begin with (thank you menopause!) will be disrupted.  I will just be getting used to the time change when I have another 6:30 am flight to head home.  Oh, joy.

Speaking of border crossings, I will be heading off to Tennessee mid-September during which time I will be taking a workshop with Bonnie Inouye and meeting with my book person, I hope.  There are a few technical details I want to ask about before I go much further.  I should start getting feedback from the alpha/beta readers (the manuscript is so raw at this point I hesitate to call them 'beta' readers!) when I get home from Cape Breton.

In the meantime I have been managing a little progress on the conference panels, but they won't be done before I leave for TN.  And of course, as soon as I get home we will be in final preparation for the fall craft fairs.

Somewhere in all of that, the work on the house should happen, and the move out of the annex into alternate space is also supposed to happen.  Maybe in January I can take a much needed break, although by then I will probably be scrambling to finish the book projects.

Ah, the lovely, leisurely life of a self-employed person...(sarcasm font!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Mary, discovering the joys of a computer assisted loom.   And helping weave part of a panel for ANWG 2019.  

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Little History

Today we went to Barkerville, BC for the day.  It is a heritage site and shows how it looked (more or less) in the 1860's or so during the height of the Cariboo gold rush.  

The first time I saw it was 1958, when it had not been developed.  There wasn't a lot there, although the church was still standing.  Now the town has been, shall we say, re-assembled, some buildings brought in from nearby villages, some re-built, some re-created.  Here is what Main Street looks like now:

That brown building at the end of the street is the church.  

The town was, at one point, the biggest in what was to become British Columbia.  It also had the largest Chinatown north of San Francisco.  

There were women living with their husbands (not just the ladies at the 'sporting club') and one of the displays was of clothing, both men's and women's.  

This wedding dress has machine made lace trimming both the bodice and the hem...yards of it.  

The white dress in this photo is made from muslin and hand made lace:

We talked for a while with the archeologist digging through a pile of 'spoil' which had been dug out of a part of the site for some improvements.  As we were talking, she turned over a shovel of dirt/gravel, and picked out the bottom of a small celadon bowl.  ;)

Maybe we should have gone panning for gold, after all!

Currently reading The Garden of the Hesperides by Lindsay Davies

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Fibre Goodies

Learning about camelid fibres...camel, yes, but llama, alpaca, guanaco, vicuña...

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Way I Like It

Allen Fannin (Handloom Weaving Technology) used to say that he liked boring because that meant nothing was going wrong.  How right he was!

So I am picking my way through this 100 yard long warp, hoping that the loom continues to behave (twice I've had to stop and fix 'issues' - when you add this much mechanical assistance, it seems something is always going out of adjustment or needing tweaking).

But so far, so good.  I've reached the 10% completion mark.

These panels (come towels, eventually) are far from perfect.  But their job isn't to be 'perfect' but to decorate the convention centre hall.  They need to be colourful and even a bit dramatic.  Inspired by the aurora borealis (northern lights) they will be bright and hopefully make the rather drab mostly concrete hall look warm and inviting.