Saturday, February 4, 2017


The colours in these skeins are actually more intense than shown in the photo.  

Many people don't know that I became a weaver because I started spinning.  (Read the first few blog posts from Aug, 2008 for the story.)  Over the past few years with one health issue after another, plus the universe dropping spinning wheels in my lap, I decided it must be time to start spinning again.  Looking for the wheel of my dreams, I settled on a Canadian production wheel, fondly referred to as Larry (because it was made by Laurent, probably in the late 1800's, early 1900's).

My preferred spinning method is supported long draw and my preferred fibre preparation is rolags.  So recently I bought a blending board and I took a couple of braids of roving that had been given to me, added a wee bit of cashmere I got last summer, and between the two braids I think there will be just enough yarn for another shawl.

Spinning yarn has allowed my currently spinning brain to calm and centre itself.  Between my mother's illness and death and the political climate, I have felt awash with emotions.  My house is now officially a valid entry in the 'reality' tv program Hoarders, with goat trails throughout, both upstairs and down.  I'm used to the situation in the studio and have been working on stash reduction and trying to get my stash better organized, partially so that I can find stuff in order to get it used up.

But now the upstairs is heaped with excess studio stuff that ought to be in the annex, and hopefully will be again soon, plus things from mom's apartment that we decided to keep.  We are still finding things that need finer sorting with a final decision on keeping, passing on to family members, giving away (thrift shop) or simply tossing.  But at this point I am exhausted, physically and emotionally.

Surveying the heaps of rubble, it is patently obvious I need to make some decisions.  I turn 67 this year.  I have no kids to clean up after me.  I have books, files, woven examples to use in teaching.  If I were to either stop teaching altogether, or at the very least, curtail teaching, I could actually get rid of a lot of these things.

With the renovations to the exterior of the house, the domino effect now decrees we need to upgrade the interior.  The two small bedrooms are in dire need of new floors and painting, but there is no where to put the contents of those rooms, especially now.  So we have decided to hire a storage bin to sit in the driveway, pack up the room contents so that the floors can be re-done and the walls painted.  But that won't - can't - happen this year; it will have to wait until next.

My plan is to start digging into the contents of my office over next winter and make some final decisions about things like teaching, now, so that there is less rubble to pack up and move to the storage bin.  And hopefully make my office less of a royal  mess and more pleasant to work in.

Preliminary decision on teaching is that I will focus my efforts on the Olds classes.  (I reserve the right to accept offers for fibre events, should they be forthcoming.)  I am still waiting for confirmation of the satellite classes here and in Cape Breton but it looks like I will be teaching at Olds Fibre Week again.  Once my life gets more settled and I finish with the manuscript for The Intentional Weaver (currently waiting for the latest round of edits to come back from the beta readers), I may turn more of my attention to writing.  If I can eliminate everything but the Olds program, I can clear off at least two shelves in my office of the binders supporting those workshops, and several bins full of woven samples taking up space in my studio.

The physical/emotional stress of setting up teaching tours, getting all the documentation for multiple topics sent out, the pounds of yarn I store for the different topics that I mail out to the guilds, not to mention the 6 am flights, worrying about my funky diet while I travel, etc., etc.  All could be consigned to history.

I need to find some calm in my life.  There isn't much left - statistically speaking - nor do I have the energy to sustain the schedule I have kept over most of my career.  I'm tired.  I'd like to do some of the things I've always dreamed of doing - travel, for one - while I still can.

Teaching doesn't have to be done in person.  I can do it via the written word, plus there is the internet and video clips.  Or people can come to me.

To re-cap my teaching schedule for this coming spring:

Public lecture at Fibres West (Cloverdale, BC) March 17/19 - A Good Yarn (fibre characteristics)
Olds Master Weaving - Level one (Prince George) May 13-18, Level Two May 20-25
Olds Master Weaving - Level one - (Gaelic College, Cape Breton, NS) June 5-9
Olds Master Weaving - Level one (? - TB confirmed) - Olds, AB - June 16-22
ANWG conference - Treadle Lightly - Victoria, BC - June 29-30 - two seminars

As you can see, I'm going to be very very busy in May and June.


Peg Cherre said...

Oh, Laura. You do need to simplify. Clear the clutter from your house and your mind. BE more and DO less. Stop and smell the coffee and the roses.

How to get from here to there? Aye, there's the rub!

Patty Lee said...

Hi Laura - First a big thank you. I started weaving about the same time you did (we are the same age), but quit for a good number of years. I have started weaving again and found your video classes and Magic in the Water so helpful. I am very grateful for your generous sharing and your wonderful methods.

About today's post - If you decide to get rid of your samples, you might look at what Daryl Lancaster did with her early work. She took here early weaving that she couldn't find a use for and cut it up and packaged it and sold it to people who would be able to use it in new ways. She writes about it on her blog here and here . Perhaps here experience might be helpful. Just a thought.

Thanks again for your sage advice. I felt like you were standing next to me when I warped my loom the first time after a 30 year break. - Pat