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Wednesday, November 26, 2014


click on photo to biggify

Perhaps it is because I'm still tired.  Perhaps it is because of the string of grey dreary days we have been having.  Perhaps it is because a similar coloured warp I wove earlier this year failed to sell at the craft fairs.  Perhaps it is because these neutral beige shades really don't speak to me on a personal level.  Whatever the reason, I'm finding myself rather uninspired by the results.

Last year at NEWS, I cleaned out a vendor of all of their fine slubby linen in a dark sort of reddish brown.  (I left the other 70's colours - somehow harvest gold and the green that went with it just did not call my name.  At all!  We won't even mention the orange.)

Once I've finished weaving off the bobbins of the natural beige linen that are already wound, which should give me about 5 towels - and finished a small cone of the 3 of this yarn I have - I am going to switch to the dark brown.  I'm not sure I'll like that any better, but it should be a lot more dramatic and visually dynamic.  If there is still warp left when I've finished the brown, I will switch back to the natural.

I'm quite sure that once wet finished the more neutral beige will look just fine.  I just need something a little more visually stimulating right now.  Not to mention the brown linen needs to be used up, too.

In the meantime, we are waiting for the snow that has been predicted in a snow advisory.  Supposedly 8-10+ inches by tomorrow morning.  It still hasn't started snowing, so perhaps we'll get lucky and the storm will pass us by.  If not, I expect to spend some quality time at the loom tomorrow.  Doug still hasn't unloaded the van, and may not be able to for a few days if the snow does dump on us.  But once the boxes are emptied I will be selecting things to go on 'sale' like I did over the summer - iow, buy two (or more) items and get free shipping.

I still have copies of A Good Yarn:  Rayon, Weave a V by Kerstin Fro:berg and lots and lots of tea towels.  Just in case Santa needs a hint...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Dear Laura,
I have just spent THE most enjoyable afternoon with you (via your DVD The  
Efficient Weaver).
You have brought enlightenment, many "ah ha" moments, along with several "duh -  
why did I ever do it any other way" comments. 

Living in Australia, there are very few weaving classes available, so most of my  
learning has been done via books, DVD's and the internet.  

Your DVD now has pride of place on my shelving units, never to see the inside of  
the filing cabinet where many other DVD's have been placed. 

Your clear and insightful instructions are the best that I have had the pleasure of  
viewing, and I just wish that I could pluck you from the screen and sit you down  
beside me just to chat and enjoy a nice drink and some lovely food. 

Thank you SO much for your generosity of spirit, and for making my weaving world  
a much less stressful place to be. 

So many thanks 

Happy Weaving 

Several people have sent emails with lovely comments.  Belinda's arrived while we were on our trip round the craft fairs and I was beginning to feel very exhausted.  What a lovely lift to read her words - and those of the people who have written reviews on Weaving Today, Craft Daily and Ravelry as well as the personal emails that have arrived over the summer and into the winter.

No matter how much I love weaving, there are times - especially right now - when doing what needs to be done takes more energy than I really have.  I told Doug last night that with all my health issues, I really can't do shows by myself any more and I am grateful beyond words that he is willing to do the (literal) heavy lifting.

The good news is that I have a tentative surgical date.  Hopefully sometime in January I will have the by-pass surgery and be back in fine form (other than all the other chronic issues I still have to deal with) by spring.  Also while we were away I received another request to vend at the Alberta conference in May - this time I said yes, because I ought to be fully recovered by then.  I should also be at Olds in June although I won't know for sure until spring.  But it looks like those can go ahead without any problems.  If, that is, my body decides to co-operate.

After a truly horrible summer, I am once again (cautiously) optimistic about being able to have my brain and body back and functioning.  But I doubt I will do much traveling to teach unless it is within driving distance.  Even then I'm not sure I can any more manage 12 hour drives on my own.  So I will probably attempt a trip to Seattle next summer to visit friends and see if I can manage on my own or not.

Getting old is not for sissies!

Friday, November 21, 2014


Art Market is halfway done.  I'm glad.

While I love weaving, I love even more that people pay me to take my textiles home.  While chatting with another vendor at another show, we talked about how the selling was the hardest part of being a professional craftsperson.   And then he summed it up by observing that if you don't sell what you make it might as well stay on the shelf as raw materials.

Since the whole point is to earn an income by making things, said things have to sell in order to pay the bills, buy food, and, oh yes, buy more raw materials.

Which is why it is disconcerting to have people offer to 'pay' you by offering 'exposure'.  The latest is a blog post by Revolvo.  (I'm on my iPad and can't easily link, but I am quite confident a quick search will bring you to her Blog.)

She said it much more eloquently than I could, so if you are interested, do read her blog.

It seems North American society has by and large lost an appreciation for the arts...unless someone soars to celebrity status.  Nowadays they don't even have to be particularly talented, apparently, because technology can fix less than stellar performances.  Most people are so removed from how things are made that they don't understand what goes into making textiles (or pottery, or whatever).  

And so craft fairs often turn into an educational experience as people ask if the vendors have actually made everything in the booth.  Then they want to know how long it takes.  I try not to get vexed at this question, but use it as an opportunity to explain how weaving works.  And how much time is involved.

An informed public has to be a more appreciative public.

What most people don't understand is that making things and selling them means that you are in business.  That means we have to pay attention to our budget, know how to schedule production, figure out legal requirements, design packaging or labels, hone our marketing skills.  The fact that we enjoy the making of our product does not mean that we should be expected to work for nothing.   Or 'exposure'.

Having spent about 40 years learning my craft, I have achieved a pretty high level of skill.  In any other field I would be making a whole lot more money and have a tidy pension plan.  Instead I chose to be self employed for the satisfaction of directing my own life the way I wanted it.

Am I complaining?   Perhaps a little.  But would I have changed my life in order to have more security?  No.  That doesn't mean that I will any longer work for 'exposure', though.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Art Market

At last, we are done.  Took longer today than usual, for some reason.   Maybe because we are getting tired?   Maybe because Doug returned the van to the hotel when it was empty.  Maybe because we use extra lights at this show to get more light on the product on the shelves.  Maybe all of the above?

We are finally back at the hotel having a toes up time.  We will probably go back to the bar and grill just down the block for dinner later.  The prices were good and the food is decent.  And I don't need anything fancy.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


We were very lucky with the weather on the drive from Vancouver to Calgary.  The road was dry, it didn't precipitate.  Things could have been a lot more...interesting.  

We stopped for the night, not terribly late, and when I went to enter the room, realized it was already occupied.  I don't think anyone was actually in the room, but I rapidly backed out and closed the door. We were able to get another room and didn't have to share.  

What we didn't realize is that the town of Golden, BC is undergoing some major construction.  24/7, no less.  Needless to say we didn't have a very restful night.  

We moseyed on to Calgary, arriving at our hotel along with a fleet of emergency vehicles.  There was some sort of natural gas issue.  We left the van in the hotel parking lot and found a coffee shop to wait while they figured it out.  Apparently the vent exhaust was getting sucked into the fresh air intake.  Fortunately it didn't take long to get sorted out but with one thing and another, we never did get lunch. 

I really hope that is the extent of the...interesting...unless it is mega sales at Art Market.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Friday night an individual came in and purchased this amazing tapestry and will donate it to a facility for sick children. So heart warming to hear this!!!

The artist, Sola Feidler, 78 years young, is already planning her next tapestry.  This one took about five years to weave (if I heard correctly).

Just finished Anne Murrays bio and started The Innovators.  Book is already packed and I don't recall the authors name. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Beauty Shots

Meg issued a challenge to see if people could capture textiles in a photograph.

Here are a few shots I took at the craft fair...

shawl - wool, bamboo, silk

shawl - wool with silver mylar

silk - hand dyed and commercially dyed yarns

rayon - hand painted warp