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Saturday, August 30, 2014


One of the things that has concerned me since the fall in March was the damage done to my spine/hip.  Apparently it (the damage) was significant and my body is not happy with me right now.  The x-ray also revealed the extent of the damage to my hip from over use.  Weaving on a floor loom with that awful side-step-depress motion to release the brake has taken it's toll.

Once I had recovered from the initial fall - and everything seemed to be ok - I was still a bit suspicious about my hip and had discussed with Doug on several occasions about converting the Leclerc Fanny to a live weight tension system.  After getting the results of the x-ray last week I realized that it was not something that could remain in the realm of theory and over the past couple of days Doug has been messing about with a cord and weights.

The live weight tension system is really simplicity itself.  So simple it seems like it shouldn't actually work.  It took quite a bit of weight before I felt I had the correct amount of tension on the scarf warp, but it seems to be working just fine now.  That's 25 pounds of lead on the heavy end, one pound on the other end of the cord.

Of course, how I beam warps may have to change, but we didn't remove the old Leclerc brake system from the loom, just locked it 'off', so it will be easy to remove the cord and lock the brake on again for beaming the warp with the trapeze.

I suspect more weight will be needed for cloth that requires a firmer beat than the rayon scarves I'm currently weaving, but Doug bought lots of weights of various sizes.  And we know where to get more.

Currently reading In Praise of Slow; how a worldwide movement is challenging the cult of speed by Carl Honore'.  I saw a TED talk with him a while ago, and of course the Slow Movement has crept into the world of textiles.  The thing that I noticed however, is that the Slow Movement is not solely about doing things slowly, but doing them at the correct speed.  If you have ever watched a chef prepare food, you will have observed that they do not slice and dice slowly, but very efficiently.  IOW, very quickly.

Handwoven cloth is by it's very definition 'slow'.  That doesn't mean that I want to work slowly (even when my body demands it!)  I want to work at a purposeful, efficient pace.  I want to work at the 'proper' speed for whatever it is I'm making.  Sometimes that means I go more slowly (ie. use a temple) in order to be more productive in the long run.

The big thing about the Slow Movement is that it wants people to stop rushing.  Rushing through their day.  Rushing through their meetings, their meals, their interactions with other people.  Stop rushing through their lives.

Being Slow doesn't mean wasting time.  It means using your time well, staying focused on what you are doing rather than always thinking about the next thing and the next and the next, forever not in the moment.  A lesson more of us need to learn, I think.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Little Good News?

Remember this?  Yes, it's still on the loom.  However, I did manage to get to the loom yesterday - not a full session, but still - and since things didn't seem to be any worse today, have just now finished another session.

But rather than leave the computer at the loom on, I shut it down so that I would not be tempted to try a second session today.  I'm not quite back to 100% and don't want to stress my lower back/hip too much, too soon.

What a relief to be able to weave again, even if I am clumsy after so long away from the loom.  It doesn't take long for muscle tone to deteriorate!  Today went a little more smoothly though, so I will aim to do one session tomorrow as well and see how things go.

Slowly, slowly...

Currently reading Designated Daughters by Margaret Maron

Sunday, August 24, 2014


You Tube

A while ago Interweave Press posted the Introduction to the wet finishing dvd to You Tube.  For anyone interested, click on the link above.

Interestingly, there is one 'dislike' - not sure why someone wouldn't like an introduction to an instructional dvd!  Or maybe, they just didn't like moi.  Who knows?  I surely don't.

Remember - if you like someone's product, whether that's on You Tube, Amazon, whatever, take a moment to 'like' or review it.

As for The Efficient Weaver DVD - no word yet on when it will be ready.  It should be coming out soon.  I'm assuming summer and vacation time has slowed things down.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Something Special

Gallant and Jones

Is the name of the shop in Vancouver for whom I wove the special 'spa' or beach towels.  They are now available in their shop.

More progress today - back is feeling yet again a tiny bit better and I finished the tow linen weft beige/orange towels.  Now I have just a small pile of hemming left to do and hope to get it all caught up over the weekend.

If - and it's a big if - I'm feeling better enough on Monday I will attempt to weave on the AVL for one session and see how it goes.

In the meantime, I have started another jig saw puzzle, and another book - Pure in Heart by Susan Hill.

The days are getting very noticeably shorter.  We are nearing the end of summer.  I'm hoping winter doesn't arrive any time soon!

spa/beach towel on the loom

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Improving, Slowly

It has been a very slow process but I am finally seeing some progress.  I have no idea what caused this latest example of physical frailty - experts disagree.  :-/

However, I am getting better.  I am able to sit more normally, which means I have been able to dig into the piles and piles of hemming.  Still lots to do, but at least the mountain range has been reduced somewhat.  

One expert estimated a very long recovery.  I'm hoping it won't take as long as all that, but continue to ignore the looms in the studio, making jig saw puzzles and hemming.  It seems wise to give my body more time to heal before thinking about trying to sit at the loom. 

I have even read a little.  The one I just finished was Crime in Corn Weather by Mary Meigs Atwater.  Yes, our Atwater.  In addition to her work with weaving, she also wrote a mystery.  First published in the 1930's the book is a bit dated in the same manner as Christie and Sayers, but a bit daring for the times, I think.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Radio Silence

It is when I am too sick or injured to weave that I realize all over again that weaving isn't just what I do, it's the way I am.  It's what I am.  A thread bender.  Creative.  A do-er.  What is so nasty about this particular episode is that I haven't even been able to sit to do other craft work (hemming, bobbin lace), read, or even write.  So all my avenues of creativity have pretty much been impossible.  

I even, (gasp!) resorted to daytime tv, which I haven't done since, well, since recovering from the broken ankle.

All that said,  I am beginning to notice tiny (teeny, tiny) signs of improvement.  I can actually sit for short (very short) periods of time - enough that I've managed to hem a few towels, half a hem at a time.  I can now lie down on the bed (for a short time) to read.  

On Wednesday I'll find out the results of the x-ray and hopefully the doctor will have a treatment plan.  

In the meantime, it's been pretty much radio silence on the internet, partly because I haven't been able to sit at the computer, partly because I simply haven't been doing anything!

Very grateful for all who have been in touch sending their best wishes.  I'm really hoping it won't take too much longer before I'm back in weaving form.

Currently Reading  Wild Justice by Kelley Armstrong

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Little Bits

It's interesting how many weavers also enjoy making jig saw puzzles.  


I think it has something to do with the ways they are similar.  

They both involve a whole lot of process.  Being sensitive to detail, colour and texture.  Being willing to analyse, try to identify what needs to go where, even making mistakes and keeping on and on.  Until done. 

This puzzle isn't terribly difficult.  I wasn't looking for any particular challenge, just something to occupy my mind and keep it off the fact (as much as possible) that weaving is not happening right now.  And probably won't for some time.  

I don't know what sparked this most recent episode of physical 'fragility' but it is taking a very long time to clear up.  Emotionally it has been very difficult to not be weaving.  I joke that I'm addicted to weaving, but in its way it's not really a joke.   As a friend observed sitting at the loom is my happy place.   In many ways, it keeps me sane, or at least on an even emotional keel.  

Even though I'm anxious to get back to the loom, I think weaving was making things worse, so in order to get well more quickly, it appears I need to take a break.  Just wish I could at least sit to do hemming because that mountain won't get smaller on its own!