Saturday, July 14, 2018

Mindful Practice

What does that mean, 'mindful practice'?

Practice without being aware of what you are doing, what you need to get better results, is just practicing 'bad' habits.  It does very little good to cement poor technique firmly into the memory.

A friend once said that I got more weaving done on a 'bad' day than she did on a 'good' day. 

Part of the reason for that is the simple fact that I have spent decades - literally - mindfully practicing what I do, changing things as I realize that I could do them 'better' and taking the time on the slippery part of the learning curve to make better processes work for me.

For the past few weeks I have been struggling with adverse drug effects that are sucking the energy right out of me.  Getting to the studio is difficult but I force myself to do as much as I possibly can.  Because I have a lot that I want to do and time marches relentlessly on.

Today I did a little time study.

I wove a 72" table runner (22 ppi x 72" = 1584 plus 122 picks for hems = 1706 picks) in about 55 minutes.  That included stopping to wind three more bobbins.

1700 divided by 55 minutes = about 30 picks per minute.  That also included stopping to change bobbins and advancing the warp.  So, my weaving rhythm is actually higher than that.

So far today I have woven 7 feet in the morning (same ppi) plus the 6 feet I just did.  After laying down for half an hour, I am about to head for the loom again and see how much I can get done before it's time to make dinner.

For people who say they will never be as fast I as am, I ask...why not?  What I do is not a secret.  Why I do it as quickly as I do is because I've practiced.  So can anyone else.

For those people who say they don't want to be as fast as I am, I say...there is no reason you need to.

Do what makes you happy.  That is all there is to it.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Getting Started

Newer weavers sometimes ask me how they can get started in terms of teaching.

In this day and age, there are all sorts of opportunities that were simply not dreamt of when I started.  The internet is a powerful tool for getting your name 'out there'.

If the person isn't a teacher by training, I suggest that they begin by teaching locally, building their topics, developing guild programs, making up the samples needed to illustrate what they are presenting.

If they are already experienced teachers, they can start by submitting articles to publications.  There aren't all that many now, but there are some.

They can apply to conferences.  'Cold' applications need to be well presented.  If you aren't a 'name' (and even if you are, conferences need things like a bio, headshot, a brief summary of your experience and some photos), then you might have to work a little harder to convince a committee to add you to their roster of instructors.

A conference is not cheap.  Not for the organizers, and therefore not for the participants.

Personally, I am approaching the organization of the ANWG conference here next year by increasing the fee being paid to the instructors to more closely align with where fees should be (IMHO).  The fees paid to the instructors should not be the smallest line item in a conference budget (again IMHO).

With that in mind, we looked for people who were well known internationally, nationally, regionally, locally.  Our objective was to have 'name' instructors that would (hopefully!) draw people based on name recognition.

We also wanted to have people from the region in order to keep the travel portion of the instructors fee as low as possible.

We also have local people who have not taught outside of our area, but who have good solid information to present and we wanted to give them a forum.

Since I have been involved in the weaving community, both teaching and publishing, for a rather long time, I know - or knew of - most of the people on our teaching roster.

I was aware of their stature in the weaving/spinning/textile community.  Some of them I know just from brief encounters at textiles events (but more importantly, reports from their students).  Some I am just getting to know and look forward to getting to know them even better.

Becoming known in the textile community is not something that happens overnight.  Like a seed, it takes time to sprout and grow.  And rejections are all part of the process.

So, over the years, I started out by teaching locally.  Then I started contacting guilds further afield.  I submitted articles to magazines.  Eventually I was accepted to teach at a large conference where my name got shared further afield.

When the internet became a 'thing' I joined textile chat groups and started answering questions. My name got bandied about even further afield.

In 2002 I launched Magic in the Water and many more guilds began contacting me.  Since then I have published sample collections and self marketed them, much like I did Magic.  I have written more articles for Handwoven (next one is due out in the next issue - Sept/Oct).  I have done DVDs for Interweave, and a few on line 'seminars'.

There is no one road to getting known in the textile community.  Sometimes a little controversy generates even more interest - not always positive!

I rely on this blog to keep my name in the forefront and no longer belong to very many chat groups.  There are only so many hours in the day - so much energy to get what I need to do, done.

When I took a marketing class a long time ago, it was explained that 'marketing' was just sharing information.

Want to get started?  Share information.  In what ever way you are comfortable.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Self Care

So what happens when 'self care' comprises two opposing urges?  When you feel so tired you can't even, but you are desperate to get stuff done, projects finished, goals met?

Nothing.  Nothing happens.

You don't 'rest' because you are busy beating yourself up for just sitting, doing literally nothing.

You don't actually accomplish anything.  At all.

One of the challenges right now is to get through the next 11 months with everything that needs doing, done.

Not all of my deadlines are arbitrary, of course.  The craft fair season begins - and ends - on specific dates.  As does my teaching schedule.  As does the conference.  And things are about to get very real on all of those fronts.

The book, on the other hand, is very much an arbitrary deadline.  The dates for photographing the projects is still to be determined, but sometime soon-ish.  But otherwise?  Totally and completely arbitrary.

Me, being me, needs to have a deadline.  Otherwise, things with firm deadlines will stampede over the other stuff - if I'm not very careful.

So - opposing urges.  To just sit and maybe read a book, possibly nap.  Or to get stuff crossed off my job list so that it is done, done.  And I can stop thinking about it, stop worrying about it, cross it off my list of stuff that needs to be done.  Which would actually make me feel a whole lot better about it all.

I need to deal with the goat trails in my studio so that the book photography can happen.  In order to do that, I'm trying to weave down the warps that are already wound.  I'm trying to go to the guild room once a week to spin in order to use up some of the heap of fibre stash taking up room in my studio.  I'm trying to knit down stash that is too much to toss, too little to weave with.  I'm trying to stay on top of the conference administrivia.  In a couple of days I will have to deal with my business sales tax report.

And I've 'wasted' two hours (so far) today feeling too tired to do any of it - even though it will make me feel better if I do just go do it.

So.  Onwards.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Another Trip Round the Sun.

Celebrating another trip round the sun by...dressing the loom again.  :)

As I have been reflective about my weaving, I have also been reflective about my life. 

Over the years I have made mistakes - and hopefully learned from them.

I have tried my darndest to think about the end result of decisions that I make - both in weaving and in life.  Sometimes I'm right.  Sometimes I'm not.

With each journey around the sun it becomes more and more apparent that our time here on this orb is limited.  I don't really want to spend whatever time I have left on doing things that don't - in some way - enrich me and others.  And by that I'm not just talking about money, but on a more personal level.

I like to surround myself with people who are positive, who see a problem and immediately move to try and fix it.  I want to have people around me who can laugh and see the silliness of the things we do.  Who look for silver linings.

Not to say I don't sometimes fall into a funk - but the people in my life generally allow me my funk while not allowing me to wallow in it.  They remind me of the rainbows that come along with the silver linings hidden amidst the clouds.

Over the past few months my health issues have been a daily challenge.  Right now most of my problems are a matter of comfort, nothing dire.  But with an aging body, comfort becomes much more important.

A little while ago I made the decision to stop accepting guild workshop/program dates.  Today I had to review that decision and then send an email saying 'no'. 

But it was good to reflect on that decision, review the reasons why I'd made it, and find that all of those reasons were still valid.

That doesn't mean that I won't change my mind in the future.  But I'm no spring chicken anymore.  My energy is limited and I need to be a lot more cautious in 'spending' what energy I have.  It takes me longer to recover from stress - and traveling to teach is nothing if not stressful.

Right now I have three major 'projects' I am working on - The Book, The Conference, The Craft Fair Season.

Regarding The Book - I hired a book editor to help me 'birth' the thing, plus I asked some of my friends if they would contribute book projects.  Both of these things have made it possible for me to stay on the goal of getting the book finished - hopefully by the end of the year.

Regarding The Conference - I have a small but dedicated group here working hard on getting the details sorted.  We meet with the Civic Centre again tomorrow.  I believe we have a small but excellent group of instructors booked and a venue that is user friendly - all within a very small geographical footprint.

Regarding The Craft Fair Season - this year we will do just three shows, this time with a gap between show #2 and 3, which will give me time to rest and recover before heading off to Calgary and Art Market.

As for the Olds program, I'm hoping the homework from the four classes I taught this year will start showing up by January.  By then the conference should be mostly dealt with and registration - scheduled to begin sometime in January - should flow smoothly through the hosting web site.  With so much conference preparation able to be done via the internet, I'm hoping that the administrivia will be minimal.  In any case, I've got a volunteer who will help with the organization of the information and mind the registration booth.

No one knows how long they have here.  I believe that we should make the most of the time we have.  Focus on what brings us joy and eliminate what doesn't.

I still want to teach, but today I confirmed once again that I would rather focus on teaching the Olds curriculum because it most closely aligns with what I feel is important for people to know.  And why I am once again trying to set what I know down in the format of a book. 

Table Runners

These table runners have been woven with 2/16 cotton warp and 2/18 naturally coloured organic cotton. 

Approx 19.5 x 60”. Two available. 

Approx 18.5 x 73”.  One available. 

$120.  20 x 130”.  One available. $120.00

20 x 122”.  One available. 

19.5 x 104”.  One available. 

20 x 114”. One available. 

Also Weave a V.  $20. 

If interested, all prices in Canadian dollars.  Payment by Paypal preferred, to Laura @  Canadians can pay by interac e transfer.   Same address.  Or VISA/ MasterCard.  Email me to arrange payment.  

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Birthday Week Bash

Two available.  $32 each

One each colour.  $32 each

Two available.  $32 each

Above 80% cotton 20% linen

One available.  100% cotton. $28. 

7 available.  $32 each.  Snails Trails and Cats Paws traditional design.  2/16 cotton warp, 2/16 votyolin weft.  80% cotton 20% linen

8 available.  Snails trails and cats paws traditional design.  50% cotton.  59% linen.  $38 each

Table runners will be posted tomorrow.  

Buy two items and receive free shipping. 


I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed today.  Wondering if I could clone myself, and how long it would take to get my clone up to speed.

There are three more table runner warps to be woven.  All of these completed ones (in the bins) to be tagged/priced.  The book projects.  The conference.

Anyone want to come be my unpaid intern for a couple of weeks?  I'd love to be able to sit and read a book, make lace, knit, do some puzzles.

Retirement is beginning to look more and more attractive...