If I taught a workshop/seminars at ANWG '19 would you be interested?

Thursday, August 17, 2017


I was supposed to have four threads left over when I'd done threading this warp.  Hmm.  Six.  

SIGH.  Still Not Perfect!

With 764 or so ends in the warp, a fairly straight forward but 'fancy' 16 shaft twill, I have no idea where the error is.  So I have sleyed and tied on and am now trying to find the mistake.  And it's hiding.

In the process, I discovered that the computer that runs the loom has suddenly disappeared ALL of my weaving files - except for the warp I just finished weaving.

There are days when I'd really like to hide in a blanket fort with a colouring book.  This is one of them...

Edited to add:

I spy with my little eye...two empty heddles just to the right of the red thread.  The solution is 'easy' - add two spools of the warp thread, enter them into the empty heddles, which is where they belong, obviously, move the rest of the threads 'over', re-tie and continue.  

After lunch.  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


(click on the image to see the whole thing)

With deadlines looming (yeah, I know) I can't waste any time so the table runner warp is going into the loom right away.  There was time yesterday to get it beamed, this morning I was busy, and this afternoon I am threading.

I usually do more complex designs/patterns because I do have 16 shafts and this will be no exception.  The pages taped to the side of the loom (three of them) show me the thread by thread sequence of the ends.  All 764 of them.  

It will take me about three hours to thread - hopefully with no errors! - so with any luck at all I will get it mostly done this afternoon and finish the rest tomorrow morning.  Then another hour or so to sley and tie on and I should be ready to weave after lunch tomorrow.

My first priority on this warp is to use up all of the 18/2 Fox Fiber naturally coloured cotton.  I figure I have enough for about 40 yards of weaving.  (You get a lot of play time with finer threads!)  The warp is 50 yards long because when I'm done with the Fox Fiber I will use some singles linen in half-bleached, which should look quite elegant on this natural and bleached white (well mixed) warp.

That's the plan, at any rate.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Declaring it Done

Today I declared the warp for the conference 'done'.  There is very close 65 yards of fabric on the cloth storage roller.

The cloth will be used for various conference purposes, such as decoration, name tags, souvenir tea towels/thank you gifts.

Some people don't realize just how far in advance preparations for such an event begin.  We actually started last year, booking the Civic Centre and our keynote speaker, Abby Franquemont.

Since then we have been in discussion with other instructors and are beginning to receive their information.

Yesterday we toured one of the hotels near the Civic Centre and reserved all of their meeting rooms.  Once I have all of the instructor information (maximum size of class, audio/visual aids required, other equipment such as sinks, etc.,) I can begin to slot instructors into appropriate rooms.

Our aim is to make this a quality event for all participants.  It's going to be a bit of a challenge because we are a small town, but it is a small town with a big heart.

In the meantime, I've got a 45 yard warp of table runners to get into this loom...toot sweet...

Friday, August 11, 2017

One By One

I am living 'dangerously' with this warp.  I'm so very nearly finished this warp I don't really want to cut it off until it is done, done.  But that means the cloth roll is probably the largest I've ever put onto the loom.  Well, one of the largest.

This warp began to feel like it was never going to end.  It was put into the loom last fall, around the time the house renovations began and a few months before mom got sick and died, which meant my life got totally derailed.

I worked on the warp in fits and starts but 100 yards or so of warp at 32 ppi takes time.

It just needs to be dealt with, one pick at a time...

In the same way the view count of this blog has added up, one view at a time.  Around 10:30 am today the total views rolled over the 1.3 million mark.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would ever have that kind of following.  I'm a bit of a heretic and my views are not always well received and I've had my share of controversy over the years.

But this blog was begun as a celebration of life.  My life, in fact.  I'd just come through some nasty health issues and was on the road to recovery and several friends had been urging me to start a blog and I thought, well, why not?

And so I began.  And almost 9 years on, here I still am.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Language Matters

Click on the photo to see the entire image

I consider myself fluent in English - it is, after all, my 'mother' tongue.  I also have a pretty decent grasp of British and American variants of the language with a smattering of Aussie and Kiwi tossed into the mix, partly because I read - a lot.  I grew up reading British children's stories as much as I did American.  One of my very first favourite authors was Enid Blytton (sp?)  I have always watched a lot of British tv programs, especially history or science, but also generally.

I also speak weaving with a smattering of spinning, some bobbin lace, knitting (although my knitting language skills are pretty dated) and embroidery.

I believe that language matters.  If we do not use language that we all understand, then communication becomes more difficult than it needs to be.  In my humble opinion, of course.

Generally I try to use correct words for weaving and spinning.  For example, the two yarn packages to the left in the photo are cones.  The yarn package to the right is a tube.  Or spool, although I feel that a spool should have flanges to be truly accurate.  But at least I can understand when someone asks me for a 'spool' of cotton - I'm pretty sure I know that they want a tube.  

The internet is written communication.  Therefore I try very hard to not only use the correct word, but to spell it correctly.  It's 'sley', not slay or sleigh.  It's 'treadling', not threadling.  (Do they mean threading?  Or treadling? - Sometimes context will give meaning, but not always.)  And a pet peeve is 'dying' when people mean dyeing.

Auto (in)correct plays havoc on technological terms but it can be taught.  I've managed to get both my ipad and my new phone (mostly) to at least give me the weaving term option.  

If the use of 'proper' words isn't important, then it isn't important.  To me it's very important.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Stash Reduction

Since I now appear to be officially below the 20 yard mark of warp left to weave on the AVL, I have been doing the number crunching for the next warp in the pipeline.

In the spirit of stash busting, I am putting a white-ish warp on (natural and bleached whites, well mixed) of2/16 cotton and will be attempting to use up all of the Fox Fiber naturally coloured cotton left in my stash.  

There are various percentages of the natural colour with white pima cotton and after wet finishing these differing percentages will develop to different values of the green or brown naturally coloured cottons, so I don't want to mix them up.  

Yesterday I grouped the various percentages so that I can keep them separate and then did the math to figure out how much weft they - in total - were going to provide.  Approximately, of course.

To the best I can determine there is enough of this yarn to weave off about 30 yards, so my plan of putting a 40 yard warp on seems sound.  I also have some half bleached linen (singles) that I can use to weave off whatever the Fox Fiber doesn't use.

There has been some discussion on the internet about how much experience someone should have before they teach.  And whether or not one should give unsolicited advice when you see someone doing something awkwardly.

I have learned to not jump into someone's practice unless I feel they are doing harm to themselves - i.e. not working ergonomically.  I may suggest their posture should be adjusted, or that they might find themselves more comfortable in a different chair.  

But I try very hard to not poke my nose into someone else's practice unless they express frustration.  

People generally don't do things that make them unhappy so anything I say probably won't be well received.  How do I know?  Because I used to offer advice.  And it wasn't well received.

I'm not talking about when I'm actually in a classroom teaching, I'm talking about 'social' situations.  But even then, I tend to do group demonstrations, listen to the comments, then quietly and hopefully tactfully, comment on the student's one on one.

Rather than jump into discussions on line much (and only if I feel what I say will be welcome) I have made a bunch of video clips showing various things that I do.

People routinely observe at how much I get done.  Well, if people like my results, they might like to study what I do and accept, adapt (or reject) what I do.  But most of all, I encourage people to figure out what works for them, what gives them the results they desire.

Change one thing, and everything can change.  Study what 'experts' do and then become your own expert.  Because it all depends...

Monday, August 7, 2017

Self edge

Selvedges.  So many opinions.

In order to get 'perfect' selvedges you must use a floating selvedge.

In order to get 'perfect' selvedges all you need is an end feed (or delivery) shuttle.

In order to get 'perfect' selvedges you must have a plain weave interlacement, regardless of the weave structure of the body of the cloth.

Well, those things are all well and good if they actually address the issue of the 'poor' results.

There are so many ways selvedges can go wrong.

Beaming.  In my experience a warp weaves off much more nicely if it is beamed under tension - at least as much tension as will be applied during weaving.

Warp packing.  In my experience warp packing should be firm enough to prevent threads from upper layers from cutting down into lower layers.

In my experience warp packing should be several inches wider than the warp to prevent ends from sliding off the warp packing and causing issues with different length/tension from the rest of the warp.

In my experience tensioning the warp as consistently as possible makes for better selvedges and body of the cloth than being wildly inconsistent.

Shuttle handling.  In my experience I get more control over the weft pick by holding the shuttle cradled in my fingers, not gripped from above.

So in the above photo, the edge of the beige is, in fact, the selvedge.  The weft is a reasonably smooth yarn, so all in all, it makes a nice tidy consistent selvedge.  But I get pretty much the same result with a 2:2 twill selvedge.

And no, I don't worry about a 2 thread float.  I don't even particularly worry about a 3, 4, or 5 end float.

The above photo is 1:3-3:1 twill blocks.  No the selvedges aren't ruler straight, but the cloth is 2/16 cotton for the warp and weft as 32 epi, 32 ppi.  The length of float isn't a problem.  To me.  Your mileage may vary...

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