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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pro Tip


These warps were wound with one strand of Bambu 7 and one of a highly textured yarn.  I wound them both at once, with my index finger between them.  I find that winding them separated by a finger means they don't grab onto each other and snag during beaming.  

When I thread, I choose the yarns randomly as they present themselves, except at the selvedge.  Since the weave structure is plain weave, I manipulate the threads so that I have two Bambu 7 forming the selvedge.  This gives a nice tidy edge to the scarf.  

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Wall



There are times in life when we 'hit the wall' - as the marathon saying goes.

We dream big dreams, set huge goals, get carried away with this fantastic idea - which may take a great deal of effort, time and energy to complete.

When the energy runs out before the goal is achieved, what do we do?

A younger friend asked how I had managed to write my book.  She was trying to complete her thesis and had hit the wall.  Her energy was about used up, her enthusiasm for the topic had drained away, all her doubts had reared up and her inner voice was questioning why she was still grappling with it - it would be far easier to just give up.

Or at least, I assume that was happening.  Having set myself enormous goals throughout my life, I can only imagine that she had reached that critical stage when it all seemed too difficult, too overwhelming to continue.

Since she is an athletic person, I figured the sports metaphor would resonate with her, so I used it.

I looked her in the eye and told her that when she hits the wall, she needs to just keep going to the end.

As I get older (and less healthy) my energy runs out sooner than ever.  I find myself still thinking that I have as much energy and fitness level as I did in my 30's.  But I don't.  I hit the wall sooner and find it more and more difficult to complete the goals I set for myself.

My level of weariness comes faster and my energy resources take longer and longer to refill.

It is oh, so tempting, to set smaller goals, dream tinier dreams.  To give up, sit on the sofa and eat virtual bon-bons (because I can't actually eat real ones.)

On the other hand, I am still here.  I still have a certain level of fitness/health.  I still have things I want to accomplish, goals I want to achieve.  I can't just stop.  My work, my teaching, even my blogging, is meaningful - to me.  So long as I find meaning in what I do, I cannot stop.

So when I feel myself hitting the wall, I need to take a step back, take a deep breath, put my head down and take another step.  And another.  And another.  Until I reach the finish line.

Currently reading View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Not Feeling the Love


Warp number four in the final count down of this series.  

And today I'm not feeling the love.  

I do love weaving.  I love being a full time creative person, setting my own goals.  Deciding if today is a good day in the studio.  I love the Idea of being independent, setting my own priorities.  

But there are times when the every day commitment isn't as much fun.  When I grow tired of a series, such as what has happened with this one.  When mentally I am done with it.  When approaching deadlines begin to announce the fact that they can't be ignored for much longer.  

It is sort of like serving yourself a meal when you are really really hungry, and you soon discover your eyes were bigger than your stomach.  Which is about the state I have reached...four more warps to do when I would much rather be doing something else. 

At times like these, I have to reach down sometimes way down, in order to continue.  I have to remind myself of the larger goals, in this case to a) use up some stash and b) have a new series ready for the all too quickly approaching fall sales season.  The season where I make about one half of my income for the year.  Where, if I have insufficient inventory, I might not make enough money to cover the show costs, never mind enough to get me through the following lean income months.  

Time to take a deep breath.  And continue.  And remember that this, too, is part of the job.  Even when I'm not exactly feeling the love.  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Numbers Rolling Over


At 11 pm, the stats for my blog were getting very close to having a significant number about to appear.  To have so many people read my posts is amazing!

As some of you know, if you have been with me from the start, I began writing partly as a celebration of life.  I thought I had been through the 'worst' and things would only get better.  

Well, that isn't the way Life works, and there have been ups and downs, as they say.  

For those who joined at the beginning, thanks for sticking around.  For the new kids on the blog, thanks for the opportunity to share my warped (pun alert!) life.  

Teaching


Finally got my 2017 calendar up and began entering possible dates for events.  Next spring is really beginning to fill up.  Which is great, but so far all of those dates are tentative.  

So, dear readers, I need some feedback...

Right now I am holding dates for possible Olds Master Weaving classes here in Prince George.  I am assuming there will be enough people to run level two. There has also been some interest in another level one.  I need to know if there is enough interest to negotiate with the college to have a level two AND a level one, here in PG in 2017.  

Advantage?  I am running the class over six days instead of five at the college.   If anyone is interested in attending either level here, please email me so I know to start discussions with the college.  (As a side note, if you have taken one at the college you can take two here, and vice versa.)

There has also been discussion with other institutions elsewhere about establishing satellite classes in other locations.  As things get settled I will post updates.  (The classes in Yadkin, NC are filling up as quickly as they can be scheduled...a very positive development!)

So please, if you are interested in the master weaving program here, email me so I know to begin the process with the college administration.  Laura at laurafry dot com


Friday, July 22, 2016

Messy



There are aspects of weaving that are very linear - e.g. dressing the loom.  The process is complex and in order to achieve a good result, care must be taken to do all of the steps in their order.

But what about the process before you get to that point?  If you want to design your own textiles, from the thread up, the process becomes extremely non-linear.  It becomes down right 'messy'.

I made the chart above in order to try to make the process more sensible - more linear.  And the diagram does, indeed, look nice and tidy.  But the process of considering all of those variables, contrasting one against the other, weighing up how much impact each is going to have on the final result?  Messy.

Beginning with the function the cloth is to perform, I consider all of the characteristics of the cloth.  Each variable needs to be assessed for how it will affect the finished textile.  Some of them are more consistent than others - I have two looms and depending on which one I use, I will either wind a warp on a warping board, or I will beam sectionally.  These two different methods mean I will approach designing things like stripes appropriate to the choice of equipment being used.

How wide/long will the warp be?  Shorter, narrower warps tend to be put into the smaller 4 shaft loom, while longer, wider warps on the AVL.  How many shafts do I want to use?  Four shaft weaves can, of course, be done on the smaller loom, but perhaps I want to beam sectionally - in that case I might use the 16 shaft loom, anyway.

How much drape does the cloth need to have?  That drape ability will be filtered through the section on density, then tested against the section on weave structure - and the density might be changed if I am using 16 shafts and a weave structure with fewer interlacements.

And so it goes.  Each factor contrasted with the others, changes made depending on how I feel the different factors are going to affect the others.  I may back and forth for a few hours, a few days, a few weeks.  Some projects may simmer in the back of my brain for months, partly because I haven't sourced the yarn that I feel is 'best' for the project.

One of the challenges with writing The Book, which I've mentioned before but have been thinking about a lot recently, is how to present this non-linear information and contrasting of factors in a book, which is quintessentially linear.  How can I teach the material for Olds, which is primarily about helping weavers learn to think through these things for themselves, rather than just do what the instructions say.

Trying to get a grip on this aspect of weaving knowledge has been a huge stumbling block in terms of my actually grappling with All The Words, and getting the book written.

On the other hand, I can only do the best I can.  So my goal is to finish the (now) 6 more warps for the current scarf line, then hunker down at the computer and get busy word smithing.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Shifting Colour


This is the second of two scarves on this warp...and I am liking it a lot better than the first, which used the same bright green in the warp as weft.  

The darker value blued green has toned the bright green down considerably, which some people will find more appealing.  Of course some will prefer the brighter green, too.  

Something for (nearly?) everyone.