Sunday, March 18, 2018

Roller Coaster

Yesterday I was thinking about all the things I've written, including this blog.  But I also published Weave a V*, Kerstin's book (in English).  I have also been thinking about the conference planning, which I really need to get back to - SOON! - and plans to have an author signing event at the conference.  I intend to have The Intentional Weaver ready for sale by the end of this year and will likely purchase some actual print copies to sell in my vendor booth at the conference.

No, I won't be teaching, although it is likely I'll be part of seminar on the Olds programs, spinning and weaving.  In the end I decided to not even attempt to teach at the conference.  It seemed like the straw that might break the camel's back to teach (maybe) level three at Cape Breton, come home to oversee (along with my right and left hand women) the conference, make sure the instructors have what they need, etc., then drive to Olds to (maybe) teach level one there again.

My roller coaster of a schedule will be quite busy enough without my teaching at the conference as well.

But I have nearly completed the special commission for a new publication (actually two) that is in production.  I just have to get final measurements, re-read my project notes, append my bio and package it all up to ship on Monday.

Yesterday I laid out my schedule for the next six months and took a big gulp.  It's going to be busy! 

Guess my roller coaster ride is going to keep on going for a while longer...

*still available $25 Cdn including shipping

Currently reading Mrs. Roosevelt's Companion by Susan Elia MacNeal

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Full Steam Ahead

The yarn arrived yesterday afternoon.  I immediately opened the box and checked my initial calculations once I had the actual yarn in hand, and everything seemed ok.  I wound the warp and started filling out the project notes.

By the time I'd done that it was dinner time, so I left it until this afternoon.


Last night I could not get to sleep.  As I tossed and turned the thought squirrels started flailing.

Was the epi I chose really good for this slippery silk yarn?  Should I increase it?  That would mean redoing the draft to accommodate the narrower width.  Did I have enough yarn to wind more ends?

I mentally did the math.  Never a good idea, never mind at 2 am.  But I did it.  And then I thought about adding another 40 ends.  Mentally pictured the yarn left on the little cones.  Hmm.  Probably enough yarn for 40 ends?  Maybe...

Eventually I fell asleep but had to be up early. 

After lunch I re-did the math.  Eyeballed the cones.  Yes, it looked like enough for 40 ends.  As I wound the warp I realized I probably only needed 36 ends.  So, back up to the computer, adjusting the draft.

Yes, 36 ends it was.

Back down to the studio to finish the small chain, which then got added to the lease sticks so I could rough sley both chains and get them beamed at the same time.

There might have been enough for 40 ends, but it would have been squeaky close.

And a reminder that sometimes you really need to pay attention to the thought squirrels, as annoying as they may be at 2 am...and thank goodness for always adding in a bit of a fudge factor.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Deadline Dance

Trying to find peace today in the face of a deadline going ballistic.

There was a miscommunication - an email went astray - and the yarn I need for a project, due in the hands of the publisher very soon is only just now en route.

Sometimes juggling deadlines is the hardest part of being self-employed.  I always keep a wary eye on the calendar, but when you are relying on others, sometimes the cogs slip. 

And then, as in this particular project, I'm bumping up against a very tight deadline.

However, I just checked the tracking number and the yarn appears to have cleared customs and is released back to UPS to deliver.  Hopefully tomorrow.

I will be setting every other thing I'm supposed to be working on to one side as soon as the yarn arrives.  Because even though there are others waiting on me to do my (other) job, they can actually wait a few days.  This project cannot.

As it is, it had to be shipped via courier, which means I will have a large brokerage bill to pay when it does arrive, and I will have to ship it via courier to get it to Colorado in time for the photo shoot.

All part of the customer service.  And part of being 'professional' in the face of things trying to go awry.

At least now I know the yarn will arrive tomorrow, I can relax and stop checking the tracking number and get back to doing my other jobs...

Sunday, March 11, 2018

You Only Get One

Body, that is.

The photo is from the photo shoot Interweave did for The Efficient Weaver.

One of the reasons I particularly wanted to do this DVD (now downloadable course) was to show proper position and posture at the loom.

I so often see photos on the internet of people sitting at the loom in a chair or on a bench that is too low for proper ergonomics.  I wince.  Because while it may not hurt today or even next week, over time sitting 'poorly' will hurt.

Generally speaking it is a bad idea to sit in an ordinary chair at the loom.  (I don't care what people say, that you don't need a bench, I'm here to say that it's generally a bad idea.)

Most looms are tall enough that an ordinary chair is simply too low.  Ordinary chairs are also generally raked to the back, putting your hips and knees into a 'bad' position relative to each other.

If you only have an ordinary chair, build it up with cushions.  What to look for?

Elbows should be higher than the breast beam.  Hips higher than knees.  Sit forward so that you are perched on the edge of the bench, on your sitz bones.  Sit up straight.  Pivot from your hips.  Engage your core muscles.  Shoulders in neutral.  Throw the shuttle with thumb up, not down.

Recently Beth Smith did a blog post where she talks about changing her shuttle handling. 

Be kind to your body.  Work ergonomically.

Friday, March 9, 2018


This year my high school graduating class is having a 50th year reunion.

I have mixed feelings about this. 

I was never in the 'in' crowd at school.  I suppose I might have been considered a bit of a nerd.  I actually liked school - for the most part.  I enjoyed reading.  I did my homework.  Usually at the last minute because I've always worked best to deadline. 

The other day I talked to some people in my graduating class and when asked if I would be attending the reunion I said that I might be out of town.  And was met with a rather disparaging, negative comment.  I turned to the person and told him that it would depend because I might be out of town.  "Because I am still working after all".

As a self-employed person for the past 40 mumble years, I have not accrued wealth - or at least not in terms of money - nor a comfortable pension plan.  I get whatever the federal government gives anybody in Canada.  But it's every month, and I have a level of financial security I have not had for too many years to count.

I turn 68 this year.  Many of my peers have been 'retired' for several years.  But why should I retire from something I love to do?  So long as I am physically able, I see no reason to 'retire'.

Or do I?

The past 10 years have been...difficult.  My health has suffered.  I have just come off a year plus episode of cancer related fatigue.  I find it more and more difficult to get up and get going like I used to be able to do.

I run out of steam.

Is this what aging is?  Is this what getting 'old' is?  Is this why people 'retire'?  That they just get...tired?

The craft fair circuit is physically demanding.  The market for hand made goods is changing.  Faith Popcorn predicted it way back in the 1990's - that people are saturated with 'things' and that as the baby boomers aged, they would not be buying material goods but small, consumable luxuries.

Vendors at craft fairs are increasingly selling food or other consumables - like personal care products.  They have enough place mats.  Enough scarves.  Enough pottery.  Art for their walls.  They buy chocolate.  Spices.  Pre-mixed soup makings.  Soap.

This year I will do two craft fairs here in Prince George and instead of Vancouver, I've applied to do the large show in Calgary, Art Market.  I took a sabbatical from that show for two years and feel it might be time to try it again.  Plus I would have a week between the 2nd show here and going to Calgary, to rest after two back to back shows.

Because I don't have the energy I had.  I need to be sensible about my health.  And I need to think about where I want to spend what energy I do have.

So I am not looking at teaching for guilds much anymore.  I am putting my energy into other venues.  On line teaching - perhaps - if it works out (and why I may be out of town in August.)  The Olds program.  Finishing The Intentional Weaver.

I have no children.  My branch of the family tree ends here when I do.  But my ego wants to leave something of me behind.  My textiles will return to dust.  But perhaps some of my knowledge will live on...

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Fatigue Brain Fog

Yes it's March.  No, winter isn't over yet.  (This photo is from a couple of years ago - the snow is actually much, much deeper/higher this year.)

But the new year is well established and the calendar keeps rolling, day by day.  Deadlines come - and go.

And I am finally starting to feel better without the crushing fatigue and brain fog that I had been dealing with for the past year or so.

While I am not yet back to something I would even consider 'normal', I can think again.  For example, one of the critical deadlines creeping up closer, closer, is being dealt with as everyone involved does a mad scramble to get me the yarns in time to weave the scarves.  I was able to get the yarn information, crunch the numbers and get the information back to the supplier within the hour so that they can wind skeins onto cones and get it into their regular shipping by 2 pm their time.  Hopefully the courier will co-operate and get it to me by the weekend so I can toss everything else aside as soon as it arrives and I can slam the warp onto the AVL and get them woven, wet finished and back into the mail/courier before we leave for Vancouver on the 21st.

This week I don't have as many appointments so my priority will be to get the Olds homework marked and the information back to the students.  And carry on weaving a scarf a day on the small loom - until the deadline yarn arrives. 

After that?  More place mats.  I thought I'd woven plenty, but when seen set out on the shelves?  Nope.  Plus tea towel warps.  Doug has convinced me to do some table runners, too.

And then...there's the manuscript.  I have a half hour or so today where I could have chosen to read while I waited for my friend at her appointment on the ms.  So I have packed the binder along with scrap paper so I can start planning the projects.

I have also had a nibble from a traditional publisher.  We'll see where that leads - if anywhere.  If not, I have been very happy with and their handling of Magic in the Water.  It's nice to have the option of digital download or print-on-demand for people.  But The Intentional Weaver is going to be a much larger file than Magic, plus having a traditional publisher means stores can buy and have copies to sell in their shops.  So, I'm waiting to hear back from the contact to see if that is something I can pursue.  It would be lovely to not have to do all the marketing and promotion my own self.  Lots of things to think about.  Now that I can...

Monday, March 5, 2018


The warp is mostly a medium value kind of tomato red (a little more intense than the photo shows), with some yellow.

The first weft is a very light value yellow, the second weft a medium darker tomato red.

The lighter value yellow washes the red out, turning the scarf into a mostly yellow with a little red.  The red weft intensifies the red and makes the yellow 'pop'.

Value is more important than hue when choosing weft colours to show off the warp.

The next scarf I'm going to try a green about the same value as the red.  I may - or may not - actually weave a scarf with the green.

But!  Value is more important than hue!!!

Currently reading Fallout by Sara Paretsky