Friday, August 17, 2018

Don Holzworth, 1956-2008


When my younger brother died, suddenly, much too young, at work, we were all stunned.  At the reception after the service, I managed to say a few words and ended with this:

"I can think of no better example to follow than Don's.

Be brave enough to dream big dreams.
Be bold enough to work to make them come true.
Live life with love and joy.
And every day, try to be a better person."

It recently occurred to me that those words could just as easily apply to me.  That perhaps, in some small way, I was an inspiration to him, just like so many of his friends told me that day.  They made a point of coming up to me to tell me how much Don respected me.  How much he looked up to me. 

At the time I was puzzled as to why that might be.  Yes, I was his older sister, which led to some interesting and funny things while growing up.  But look up to me?  I shook my head.

Ruth asked me about what day I wanted to aim for to hit publish on my book.  Don's birthday was on December 2, and so the words fell out of my mouth - December 2.  There were many reasons for that date, but it could have just as easily been Nov. 30 or Dec. 1.  But as I said the words, they felt right.

Since shoving the ms at Ruth and waving it goodbye, there have been a lot of emotions to process.  Things I'd forgotten about - or hadn't realized - have come percolating to the surface of my thoughts.

It suddenly made sense that in some small way I had been an inspiration to him.  Because in so many ways, I have lived my life to those same things I attributed to him.

In school I took on the job of publishing the school newspaper.  Worked on the yearbook.  Was part of the group that organized the giant march from our old school to the brand new one we'd been waiting for to open.  I was modelling my mother's behaviour in many ways.   She worked tirelessly for the church, helped family members with all sorts of things, usually medical or legal, partly because she had the most education of any of the other family.  Plus she was fluently bi-lingual and wound up translating in court or hospital for family/friends whose English wasn't the best.

She continued throughout her life to work hard on behalf of the hospital auxiliary, CNIB, and countless other charities.

So I was no stranger to the social responsibility that my mother felt and passed on to me.

When I graduated grade 12 I had no idea what I wanted in terms of education.  My parents were not wealthy and could not afford to send me to Vancouver to take a B of A.  And I didn't want a BA degree anyway because about the only thing to do with one was become a teacher.  I certainly did not want to be a teacher!  (ha.  at least not a teacher in the school system, turns out.)

I told mom I wanted to go to Sweden to meet and visit with my pen friend.  She talked it over with dad and they offered me the deal that if I worked hard and saved my money and didn't squander it, I could live at home rent free.  Deal!

And so I investigated how I might do just that.  I'd gotten a job with the telephone company as a long distance operator (yes, I am that old - switch boards were still a thing), which paid very good money, especially for a recent graduate from high school.  I was so stingy you could hear the change in my purse whimper.  And by the end of April I had enough money to go.

Now I didn't do the 'usual' thing and fly over.  Nope, not me.  Instead I took the train from here to Montreal, visited with mom's sister and her family and then boarded a freighter that took a small number of passengers.  And sailed from Montreal to Oslo, Norway.  There I boarded a train and headed east to Orebro, Sweden.  Where I arrived with just my purse and no Swedish money - because I didn't know that if you 'checked' your luggage, it came on the overnight freight train.

(There is a lot more to the story, but another day - perhaps.)

While in Sweden I also took a bus tour of Europe, landing in Germany, over to Belgium, France, through Monaco, north-west Italy, through Switzerland, back to Germany and then returning to Sweden.  Where I then took my first plane flight ever from Stockholm to Vancouver. 

In 1975 I gave up a rather well paying job to become a weaver.  My brother was 13 when I set off to Sweden, 18 when I abruptly changed course to become a weaver.

He saw me stick it out, through some really skinny times in terms of income, through injury, through recovery, and onwards to write a book and self-publish it. 

Those were some mighty big dreams.  And I was stubborn enough to make them happen, one way or another.

So.  Second book, needing a publication date, preferably before Christmas.  Checking the calendar, American Thanksgiving this year is Nov. 22.  I will go back to Ruth's where we will do one last look-see at the ms, hopefully sieve any lingering typos out, make sure photos are captioned properly, diagrams correct.  And then, in honour of my 'little' brother, hopefully hit publish on Dec. 2.

Hope you're proud Don.  I was of you.





Royal Hudson steam locomotive, charted by Don, edited and woven by me, sewn into a jacket by Darlene Wainwright

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Language Matters



If Facebook is an oracle it had a message for me today.

First was an audition where a young woman sang a song she wrote after losing her hearing, called "Try".

Then Janis Ian posted about 're-wiring, not retiring'.

I chewed them over for a while because I felt there was a valuable lesson in those two posts that I needed to pay attention to.

The past few years have been one health issue after another.  Over the past couple of weeks I have had conversations with some friends about my lack of energy, my abundance of 'tired'.  How difficult I'm finding dealing with stress.  And that I am looking forward to 'retirement'. 

But that's not actually true.  I am not at all looking forward to 'retiring' from what I love to do.

All my life I have dreamt big dreams and worked to make them become reality.  At times I have had to re-tool my approach, adjust my expectations.  And I realized that this latest phase of my life is just another time of adjustment.  Re-wiring.  And that above all, I need to try to find my way through the pitfalls of my life and work toward my goals.

It may take me longer.  It may require naps.  But forward is the only way to go.


This magnet is on my fridge, purchased when I thought I had all my health issues under control  It reminds me to keep going.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Warps in Waiting




Earlier today I wove a couple of tea towels, but as much as I would like to get that warp finished, I am also getting concerned about my other craft fair inventory.  I'm very low on scarves, and since I have boxes and boxes of various kinds of rayon in my stash, I switched to winding warps.

Now, when I say I have boxes and boxes, that doesn't mean I have a lot of choices for colour.  In fact I have depth of stock in a limited range of colours.  Since I'm wanting to have as large a range of options for customers to choose from, I'm winding warps just long enough for two scarves, changing the colour options in each warp.

For some of the warps I will use two different wefts in order to increase the options even further.

People come to a craft fair to get unique items, not see dozens of the same thing in the display, so even though I'm making the same quality of cloth, it's a good thing to have a wide range of colour combinations for them to choose from.

Since stash reduction is a priority, I'm forcing myself to work with what I have on hand.  This also forces me to be a lot bolder in the combinations I put together.  And that is also A Good Thing.

Will I like any of these scarves, personally?  Not necessarily.  They just have to be appealing and look good generally.  But as it happens, most of what I have left are 'my' colours.  So I'm taking the opportunity to play with how they go together. 

But time is running out, quickly.  I leave on the 27th for TN/NC, back on the 8th, then leave again for a week after (our) Thanksgiving, coming home to the first craft fair of the season.

The goal is to have as many of these scarves ready as I can possibly get ready. 

Fingers crossed!  Because I also have about 8 hours of conference planning to do and shifts at the fall fair this weekend.  And we have been in the smoke plume from the wildfires throughout the province for a week.  It's getting more and more difficult to keep going.  

Monday, August 13, 2018

Mining the Stash




Nine boxes.  I was thinking there were six. 

Well, I am going to try to use some of this up.  But first I need to see what is actually in those boxes.

This is yarn from the fashion designer I used to weave for.  She retired when she hit 65 and offered me her yarn to buy at a huge discount.  Since I was familiar with the yarns she used, I foolishly said yes.

Of course I was recovering from by-pass surgery, beginning to feel 'normal' again, no problem, I can buy some of your stash!  And then I sent Doug back for more...

Now, what to do with it?  Now that I'm three years older, dealing with adverse effects from the medication that is keeping me this side of the grass/snow.  Tired All The Damn Time.

Since I'm low on scarf inventory, I've been proto-typing scarves.  They won't be *fabulous* but they will be classic.  And being rayon (mostly) they will have great drape, and not the silk price.  Although I did manage to use up some (most?) of my silk stash earlier this year. 

Since I have taken a booth at the ANWG conference, mostly to sell books, I will also offer textiles.  Who knows, maybe some of these soon-to-be scarves will grace the booth, not just tea towels?

Anyway, it's lunch time.  After lunch I will start to paw through these boxes and see what there is in them.

Currently reading Craeft by Alexander Langlands

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Birthing a Book - the back story...




Kerstin Fro:berg's Weave a V, which I published in English


I am - and have known - a number of people who have written and published books, either via more traditional publishers or by self-publishing.

Personally I have done the self-publishing route for a number of reasons.  For Magic, it was the logistics of getting a book with actual fabric samples into the hands of readers.

Having been involved, either directly or indirectly, in getting books 'born', I can tell you that it isn't easy (if it was, everyone would do it) and it costs a lot.  There are the actual out of pocket expenses that are, for the most part, hidden.

For Magic, it was pretty obvious that a fair chunk of change went into the materials for the samples.  But what wasn't perhaps so obvious was the number of hours of labour that went into it as well.  Not just the writing, and there was plenty of that, not just the cost of the yarn, and it wasn't cheap.  There was the designing of the presentation, which went through a number of iterations.  There was the investment in the binders.  The meetings with the printer.  The cost of the paper.  And the actual printing.  The hiring of a top notch photographer, the models for the garments.

There was the assembly.  My brother allowed me to turn his rec room with billiard table into an assembly line.  From 2002 until his death in 2008, Magic lived in his basement as we assembled copies as they sold.  It was only in the months following his death when we had to clear his house out in order to put it on the market that the last few copies were finally dealt with and assembled, then put into storage elsewhere.

How many hours?  Who knows.  There was me, obviously.  There were the many hours my then studio assistant was paid in order to weave more samples, then help with the wet finishing.  There was my mom and several friends who came to help with the assembly line.  There was Doug who became VP of assembly for a year.  Or more.

There was the marketing.  Paying for ads (it took selling three copies to pay for one ad in Handwoven).  

There were the special shipping boxes.  The hours of filling out customs forms, dragging bins full (at first) down to the post office.  There was the booth at Convergence in Vancouver when Magic was first launched.  And then every fibre event I could drive to afterwards.

There were the three copies I donated to libraries - and a couple more to worthy causes.

All of this is why I have decided to go the digital/print-on-demand route for The Intentional Weaver.  Do you have any idea at all how much room a 1000 binders, the pages to go in them, the samples stapled to the pages, take?  My brother's basement.  His entire basement, except for the laundry area.

With the internet developing the way it has done, with print-on-demand websites, the decision to go this route instead of looking for a traditional publisher was quite easy.

On the other hand, I have spent at least as much time, if not more, getting this book to this stage as it took to get Magic to this stage.  Well, no, Magic still took way more effort because of weaving, wet finished and cutting apart the samples.  But that aside?  Yes, more hours writing, certainly, in large part because Magic was quite narrow in scope and this one is much, much broader.  Therefore it's taken much longer to get my thoughts in order, decide on what I want to include, then edit, edit, edit for clarity.

On top of that, TIW has been delayed repeatedly as I dealt with one health issue after another.  I first started thinking and planning this book at least 6 years ago.  Well, longer ago than that, but the initial idea fell through for a number of reasons, and I shelved the idea then.  Then I focused on getting the DVDs done, thinking that would be all that I really needed to do.  But no, that wasn't quite all of the story, either.

But then I had to put my life on hold while I dealt with the by-pass surgery, the recovery from that, adverse drug effects, over and over again.  And then the house renovations, mom getting sick, my feeling something wasn't quite 'right' with me - which it wasn't.

Through it all my friends encouraged and supported me and, when I found myself about 10 months ago completely unable to carry on by myself, I contacted someone I knew who did technical editing and cried 'uncle'.  

She agreed to fit me into her editing queue, and, well, here we are.

I share this story, not to elicit sympathy.  Because I know other authors have similar stories.  We write because we must.  There is something about setting the knowledge down in words that becomes compelling.  Imperative.  

So when you read a book that you feel is valuable, the best thing you can possibly do is to tell people that you think it's worth the purchase price and why.

Which is one reason why I list the books I'm reading here.  If I record the title/author in this blog, it's because I feel it is worth my time and effort to read it.  



Saturday, August 11, 2018

Flawed




Yes, I did indeed make a threading error, leaving out a repeat of a block. 

Once seen, cannot be unseen.  But, on the other hand, the 'flaw' won't in anyway affect the ability of the tea towel to dry dishes, so I'm not fixing it.

I am, on the other, other hand, dealing with another loom issue.  While the dobby head seems to be fixed, one of the shafts was not perfectly straight and because it was dipping downwards on one end, the warp ends on that shaft were not lifting as much as they should be doing and I realized well into towel number three (the first one after the dobby fix) that I was getting really (really!) long floats on the back side.  Which, in this case, is going to be the 'correct' side of the cloth.

After complaining about the issue, Doug has effected a temporary 'fix'.  I'm too tired to weave now, plus it's time to make dinner, so it will wait until tomorrow to see if it is going to allow me to weave without stopping every fourth pick to make sure I have a clear shed.

The first three towels will go into the 'seconds' pile.

Still not perfect...

Friday, August 10, 2018

Last Time?




So.  Here I go again.  For the 'last' time?

I made the decision earlier in the year that I would not accept workshop bookings from guilds.  It had all just gotten to be...too much.

Too much scrambling trying to find several groups in a regional area to keep travel costs lower.  Too much travel agent type work, trying to make sure I could get from place to place.  Without too many (unpaid) days between events.  Too much financing of said travel costs.  Too much inventory of yarn I don't normally use, but needed for the workshop topics.  Too many binders of drafts, which always, always, need to be edited specific to the workshop.  (This one every loom is a table loom so I had to go through and convert every single draft to liftplan.)

Too much administrivia.  Too much.

This workshop is in BC, so travel isn't horrible.  (It will still take all day to get there, because of going from one small airport to another small airport, via Vancouver airport.)

Better yet, my host/ess are friends of decades and it will be wonderful to go a couple of days early and have a visit.

In the end we have 17 students, a pretty full class (I will take up to 20 for most topics, depending on a room the correct size for that many students and looms.)

It's also a topic I thoroughly enjoy (lace weaves), plus the guild program on the Monday will be on wet finishing.  But that means a checked bag, filled with examples.  :)

The guild has also offered to help with the conference, so I will be delivering some of the materials they will need.

There is a certain level of nostalgia as I commit to making this workshop the last guild workshop I will do.  (Yes, I've already turned down a guild this summer, in spite of really wanting to go where they were!)

I have just a couple more commitments - other than Olds classes - to finish.  And then next year I will be going through all my teaching samples and sorting them into the various Olds curriculum levels, which will make preparing for those classes so much easier.  Right now my samples are scattered all over the studio as we emptied boxes and bins looking for textiles for the book.  I really need to put them all away again - just can't face that job right now.

All of the workshop materials need to go into the mail on Monday so that the drafts and yarns can be distributed to the participants and they can get their looms ready for the workshop the weekend following our Thanksgiving holiday.  That may seem 'early', but it's summer, people are away, as I will be for two weeks the end of this month, beginning of next.  So this really had to be done before I left.

I won't miss the constant juggling of my schedule, keeping an eye on these sorts of deadlines.

Who knows, maybe I'll even get to make a few jigsaw puzzles over the winter?

Currently reading Beautiful Scars; Steeltown secrets, Mohawk skywalkers and the road home - a memoir by Tom Wilson.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Two By Two




When it is feasible, I wind warps holding two threads. Winding two ends at a time means winding goes twice as quickly as winding one at a time.  I prefer a 2 x 2 cross, especially when the yarns are textured, as in this warp.  Textured yarns may tend to grab onto their neighbours and this can sometimes cause problems during beaming.

This warp is two different yarns, both rayon, both 'wobbly', both textured, one more than the other.

When winding a warp with a 2 x 2 cross, the ends must be kept together.  If the loop is separated, this will prevent the cross from being transferred.

With this warp at 16 epi, wound two at a time, I am using a four dent reed putting four ends per dent.  If the warp was wider (this is a 'short' reed, plenty long enough for the 12" wide warp) and I had to use the longer 8 dent reed I would still put four ends per dent, but would then leave an empty one in order to achieve the spacing needed for the cloth.

During threading I will be random in how they go into the heddles.  I find this gives a more interesting look to the cloth as the threads do not alternate, but sometimes the ends might be side by side, or alternate. 

The only thing I do with this yarn is make sure the end in the outside heddle at the selvedge is the less textured of the two yarns because that one is stronger than the more textured one.

This warp is another prototype warp.  I will wind up with two scarves that I will weave with two different wefts.  After wet finishing I will choose which weft I will put into production.  While I'm pretty sure I know which one will be the 'best' weft, I won't know for sure until I get the scarves woven and wet finished.

Sometimes you do need to do a 'full size' sample.

Plus I need to weave down my stash, so I'm trying really hard to only work from my stash!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

After the Party...



...comes the clean up.  And the return to reality...

In one way writing The Book was a trip down memory lane as we mined my sample collections for textiles to serve as illustrations for the weave structures I chose to write about.  Partly it was an exercise in a certain level of anguish - what to include, what to cut?  With the stated aim of not trying to write a 'how to weave' book but a 'how to weave better' book, I didn't really want to repeat everything Mary Black wrote about in her tome. 

What I wanted to do was explain some of the whys that don't get discussed as well as some of the background information that isn't usually included in most 'learning to weave' presentations.  So my approach was to say "here is what I do - choose what might work for you".

It was also a way to share my designing thought processes, which I did for one of the projects.  I didn't want to flog the horse (so to speak) but just share some of the back and forth thinking that I do in terms of designing a textile for a particular purpose.  As the purpose changes, so does the thinking about the various considerations.

In the heat of the moment, boxes and bins were opened and turned out with samples being selected or rejected as we felt suited the purpose. 

Now I'm left with heaps and piles of samples that need to go back into their appropriate bin/box.  Which means sorting through them all again to make sure they go back into their proper place.  Mainly so that I can find them again, next time they might be needed.

Today is being particularly challenging because on top of continuing to deal with the adverse drug effects, the emotional let down of completing (my part of) a rather large project that took way longer than it should have, but was delayed due to health issues, we are also facing an invasion of wildfire smoke that is getting, quite frankly, awful.  Others have had it worse for longer, so I am trying very hard to be thankful it has taken this long to get this bad, but my allergies are kicking up a fuss and I feel wrung out for a number of reasons.

Not to mention knowing very well that not everyone will be pleased with what I've done.  I just hope that all those people who say they can't wait will not be disappointed.  But that anxiety isn't unique to me - it's true for pretty much every person who has ever set pen to paper (fingers to keyboard).

However, a firm publication date has been chosen.  I have booked a flight to visit with Ruth the end of November where we will go through the ms one last time looking for typos, things left out (we cut a bunch of stuff as being available elsewhere), make sure the last few additions go into the ms gracefully. 

What is left?  Final photo edits and the insertion of the new photos into the ms replacing the old and in some cases slightly blurry, ones.  Drafts to illustrate some weave structures.  Project notes for several projects. Two more contributions by friends to be received and processed.  Final text edits that we didn't get to, because photos were the priority - Ruth can do text edits at home but had to do the photos here.  A cover needs to be designed.  The ISBNs for the different formats have been applied for and then included (usually on the back of the title page with the rest of the publishing info).  A friend has agreed to write an introduction and three people have been approached to consider writing cover blurbs.  So they have to have copies when the ms is closer to 'complete' so they can review the ms fairly, then write their blurb (if they feel comfortable doing one).

So - while we are at 95% completion, there is still quite a lot left to do.  Considering I am now into the sixth year of trying to get this book 'born', another three months is basically 'not much'.  But that last 5% is absolutely necessary.

However, with the purchase of my flights there and back, and a 'firm' publication deadline, I can now look at what is next on my job list.

In no particular order:  workshop drafts/yarns to be prepared and mailed for the workshop in October.  Craft fair production.  Continuing to develop new textiles - if not in time for this year's craft fair season, next.  Get ready to leave on the 27th for TN and NC.

Oh yeah.  And clean up the studio so I can actually do those things.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Mary Andrews


Early on in my career I had the opportunity to study for two weeks with Mary Andrews at the Banff Centre of Fine Art.  She was strong and independent, generous with her knowledge.  At the end of July she died at 102.

Jane Stafford has written a moving tribute to Mary in her latest newsletter.

It was while at Banff that I became intrigued with Bronson Lace (and huck and Swedish, but mostly Bronson).  When I got home from Banff I spent hours hand drawing drafts because personal computers were not readily available.  In fact I purchased my very first desktop by going into the computer shop with the system requirements for Fiberworks and purchased a system that would run it.

But that came later.

In the weeks following the class at Banff I took up Mary's challenge to really understand what was happening with the threads and how weave structures worked.  I continued to learn how to make designs in different structures.  I, like Jane, learned how the Fibonacci series could be a useful design tool.

Mary modeled how curiosity could lead one down interesting pathways and be a lifelong practice.  She wove well into her 80's until she couldn't any longer.  But she inspired many in western Canada - and beyond.

Thank you, Mary.  

Monday, August 6, 2018

Til It’s Done




Getting some of the book/inspirational projects finished this morning.  The above is a pinwheel design on four shafts, woven from Tencel (a type of rayon).

Rayon in general is a very dense fibre which holds a lot of water.  As a result, when rayon is fully saturated it feels very stiff and not very appealing to the touch (in my opinion).

However, when it is dry it is very flexible and feels very silk-like, mainly because it was engineered to be as much like silk as possible.  In fact it was originally called 'art silk' until more accurate labeling laws became a thing.


This is a scanning electron microscopic view of rayon.  It's pretty smooth and pretty dense.


This photo was taken with an 'ordinary' digital microscope at about 800 times magnification.  On the left is Tencel, the right is cotton.

Both yarns are cellulose but being extruded rayon (Tencel) fibres can be very long while cotton fibres are much shorter.  Both are spun to the same number of yards per pound (3360) or a 2/8 count.

You can clearly see how much thinner the Tencel is than the cotton because of the difference in density.

With the Tencel holding water, not really wanting to release it, it takes longer to dry than cotton.

This morning I was pressing two Tencel scarves.  When I started the scarf I was pressing was wetter than it should have been for efficiency.  What that means is that I had to get it dryer before the fibres would begin to react with the compression, flatten and smooth.  It also took quite a while for the drape of Tencel to begin to manifest.

Instead of my more usual side A, side B, side A pressing, I had to continue to press.  How many sides?  Don't know.  Until it was 'done'.

In other words, when the cloth flattened due to the compression, I felt whole cloth between my fingers as I rubbed the cloth between them, and the lovely drape had developed.

The second scarf got tossed into the dryer for a further 10 minutes or so and that one went much more quickly - maybe 5 sides.

By the way - that difference in thickness means that at times a higher density than the same count of cotton may be needed, especially since Tencel is also slipperier than cotton.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Minefield


patina from hundreds of hours of weaving

As I work on the final(?) edits for the book, it feels like picking my way through a minefield.  What to say?  What to leave out as being redundant (because this isn't the only book on weaving and there are plenty of other resources available).  How much information to share in terms of how I design my textiles?  Do people need to have All the Information or just enough to spring board their own creativity?  Do I really know things other people don't know?  (I doubt it.)  But!  I have put myself into the position of trying to write it down.  I have chosen to try to find my way through the hazards or writing a technical manual and find the words to pass on some of what I know to others.

Writing this blog has been good practice for this.  I have posted - almost daily - for ten years (yes, really!) now. 

The blog began as a way to document my recovery (I hoped) from a fairly serious health issue and how - through weaving - I could rebuild my life.  Which is why I chose the Weaving a Life title.

For 40 mumble years I have woven, almost every day, or written about weaving or taught weaving.  It is such a big part of my life I cannot imagine not having it continue to be part of my life for a long time to come.

But it is also time to modify my approach.  After this many years of production weaving, which to be honest, takes a physical toll, plus 10 years of various and sundry health issues, my body is wearing out, breaking down.

The production of this book has begun to feel like a final push to condense what I know in a format that will - with any luck at all - provide advice and information that may last beyond my ability to travel to students.

Both Magic and this book were in large part a labour of love.  But they were also another income stream. 

As I dial back on production weaving I am hoping that the books (and DVD's) will continue to provide information to help people make their weaving less stressful, easier, more joyful and help offset the fact that I cannot weave like I used to, don't really want to travel long distances and do craft fairs with all the travel and hard physical labour of setting up, working long hours on concrete floors, tearing down again. 

My plan for the immediate future is to reserve my reduced energy (thank you adverse drug effects - nurse practitioner observed that the cancer drug really doesn't much like me - yeah, I know!) for teaching the Olds program.

I have in the past taken private students.  I would be open to doing that in the future, too, but it's not something I'm going to work hard to make happen.

Weaving a Life.  Yes, I have.  And will continue to do so, to the best of my ability.


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Still Not Perfect




Once again weaving has administered a reality check - nope, still not perfect.

After working on The Book for so many (cumulative) months, I am just about at the point where I am so *done* with it. 

If it weren't for the fact Ruth is here, right now, polishing, polishing, polishing, it would be so very easy to just toss it all and say I just don wanna any more.

But I am also so close I can taste it. 

My ego has been taking a kicking though, as I look through my samples, weave more, discover that over and over again I am so far from 'perfect' it isn't even funny.

A big part of me wants to write the 'perfect' book that everyone will find helpful, useful, a'classic' of the literature.  Another part of me knows very well that that is an insanely ridiculous thing to even think of.

Of course all of this isn't helped by a loom that isn't behaving very well, introducing 'errors' into the cloth that are nearly impossible to see...until after wet finishing.

Yes, there is enough warp left I could re-do it.  On the other hand, some judicious cropping will make those mistakes invisible.

In the end it isn't perfection that is important.  It is the sharing of knowledge.  And even imperfect samples can still convey concepts and solid technical information.

So I'm not going to re-weave the sample.  And I'm going to practice being ok with that decision.


Friday, August 3, 2018

In Progress




In my initial thinking about how to illustrate The Book, I had naturally(?) assumed that all of the textiles ought to be brand spanking new.  To this end several friends stepped forward to contribute projects, winning my undying gratitude!

But as I thought about the whole project I realized that I didn't have to make absolutely new examples for every single thing.  In fact, a single project wouldn't necessarily show some of the depth and breadth of the weave structures under examination.

Ruth, able book midwife, agreed that mining my collection of textiles I use for teaching would be a fine thing to do.

As I dug through my boxes and bins, it suddenly occurred to me that the perfect suite of samples already existed, in large part - the samples I did for the master weaver certificate.

So much of what informs me as a weaver and a teacher is the work I did towards achieving the certificate.  The program is broad in its approach to understanding woven structure and in order to obtain certification, I was forced to weave things that I wouldn't have willingly done on my own.

Things requiring two shuttles, for instance.  (Because weaving with two shuttles pick and pick is three times slower than weaving with one.  Trust me on this.)

So I wove overshot, crackle, summer and winter, double weave, etc.  Since none of those samples was for sale, not being able to execute them as quickly as I was used to didn't matter so much.  They weren't production pieces, they were not (and never will be) for sale.  (Some have been gifted, but that's a different thing altogether!)

This morning I dragged the boxes with my GCW samples out and left Ruth to dig through them while I attended to some personal maintenance.

Now I need to press the creases out of them so good photos can be taken.

I knew I hung on to those samples for a reason.  I just had no idea at all, at all, that I would be attempting to write another book for which those samples would be, in a word, perfect.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Helping Hands



Many hands make light work.  This was something my mother believed in and throughout my childhood I watched her in action, helping others.

I saw through her example that helping friends and neighbours was a good thing to do.  And goodness knows, we all need help at some time in our lives.

This morning I saw my doctor for a routine prescription renewal.  I'd been having fairly high levels of stress, what with The Book, editor arriving on Wednesday, the house - but more importantly the studio - a mess, then the AVL compu-dobby breaking yesterday.

I am not shy about posting on this blog about my anxieties and I have to tell you all - the messages of support, both public and private - have really helped me stumble through the last little while.

At any rate, when we discussed the new blood pressure medication he'd added in response to bp numbers that had suddenly gotten way too high (likely an adverse reaction to the Ibrutinib - a well known and documented adverse effect), he was somewhat astonished that such a low dose was being so effective.  As I got up to leave, he called me a 'strong woman'.

I don't know how 'strong' I am.  I am stubborn.  And maybe that's just one facet of being 'strong'?

Strength is a funny thing.  Usually when we refer to someone being 'strong' it is physical strength.  But there is also emotional strength.  There is strength of character - doing what is 'right'.

We - as human beings - also have the strength of our relationships.  We are all interconnected.  And when someone is being dragged down by Life Happening, our friends/family can lend us the strength to pull ourselves back up again.

And so it has been throughout the past few years.  I have been helped, over and over, by words of encouragement and actual physical assistance.  The friends who have been the beta readers for The Book, giving the gift of their time and opinion as well as their encouragement to carry on.

We are not an island unto ourselves.  We are part of community.  That community can give us assistance when times are tough.

We are our brother's keepers.  It costs us nothing to be kind.  To help.

To all those who have helped me, a most grateful thank you.

Currently reading A Bigger Table; building messy, authentic, and hopeful spiritual community by John Pavlovitz

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Too Clever...

...for my own good?




As mentioned previously, when things are going (mostly) right, I get a chance to think.  And since I'm thinking about Bronson Lace and all the ways one can weave it, it suddenly occurred to me that, with the loom set up the way it is, I could actually weave a sample with the hearts aligned in this fashion. 

Now I couldn't do it loom controlled, completely.  Just the top and bottom rows would be loom controlled.  But I could - if I were so inclined - weave the sideways hearts in pick up, and make a cloth that had a border of hearts all the way round it.

But I won't because I'm running out of time before my editor comes. 

Nice to know that my thought really would work, though.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Over Thinking


Bronson Lace framed heart motif

With such a complex project, the tendency to over think takes on new and over whelming dimensions.

In my desire to share All The Things, I have tried to think of All The Things I want to share.  At some point, it is necessary to say...enough.

No one person will ever write The Definitive Book on weaving.  The craft is simply too large.  Others have done fantastic jobs of looking at the craft through a wide lens.  It was never my intention to write The Compleat Book of Weaving, just to share some of the tips and tricks that I've learned over the years.  I wanted to address the principles - the whys of things - which are too frequently not addressed in so many books.  (And yes, I have read a great deal of the literature available out there!)

I no longer buy 'beginning' type books so I can't say I have read every single book currently available.  But I do teach a lot.  I do participate in on line groups (less now than in previous years - one only has so much time/energy.)  I see a lot of people flailing around, trying to figure out why things are such a mess.  So difficult.

On this blog I have tried to explain that weaving does not have to be difficult.  Challenging, yes.  Fraught with tangles and messes?  No.

So, once again I am trying to cover All The Bases as I wrap up the samples for The Book.  And realizing that I do not have to be All The Things to All The People, All of the Time.

This week I made the decision that I do not have to have actual projects for All of the Things.  I can mine my extensive sample collections and just have photos of the weave structures.  Because at some point readers - if they are not already - will have to take the designing reins into their own hands.  Or not, as they choose.  But there are also lots of places to get instructions for actual projects. 

I do not have to do it all (even though I'm not because friends are contributing some of them).

And that is the taste of freedom from over thinking.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Hubris




In the Concise Oxford Dictionary, hubris is defined as "Insolent pride or presumption".

I think of that often as I struggle to complete The Book.

I also think about all the authors out there who have also had the hubris to think someone - anyone - is interested in what they have to write.  Truth be told, many authors don't find a publisher, and even if they do, don't necessarily sell very many copies.

So, why do it then?

Honestly?  I really don't know.

Except...enough students have told me that not only do I have techniques they want to learn, they say I can communicate them well enough that they can understand them.

But still.  It takes a great deal of effort, time and, yes, money, to publish a book.  For this one I am self-publishing, partly because I don't think there will be sufficient readership (purchases) for a 'regular' publisher to take it on.

I had 1000 copies of Magic printed; I made 900 copies with 20, then 22 actual fabric samples.  There isn't a publisher in the world who would have done what I felt needed to be done to really illustrate what wet finishing was, and how to do it, including actual cloth, for a price anyone would be able or willing to pay.  I'd worked in a library, I'd worked in the copy centre of a school, I had published newsletters, and I had a really good idea of just how much work was involved in bringing such a publication into reality.

Nearly two decades have gone by since I spent the better part of four years on the initial work of Magic (plus all the years that followed, marketing it).  I'm now on year five of this book, partly because I kept giving up and shelving it for chunks of time while I dealt with health issues.  I'm now beginning year six - and so close to being 'done' (as far as my input goes) I can taste it.

On the other hand, while part of me thinks I have something of value to contribute to the weaving community, the business person part of me keeps questioning whether or not I'll actually make any money at it.  I have already invested several thousand dollars plus all my time, with more to come as I pay an editor to polish the manuscript and make it look as appealing as it can.  Because in this day and age, Gestetner copies are not sufficient - books also have to have eye appeal as well as good information.

At this point I have invested so much into this project that it is no longer a matter of hubris, but wanting to at least recoup the finances that I've spent on it.  If it goes beyond that?  I will be relieved.  But I have also reached a point where the doubt, the not knowing, has become a huge hurdle.  I need to carry on because I've come too far to stop.


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Vision




Is it possible for eyes to breathe a sigh of relief?  It felt like mine did when I put my new glasses on!

I have been feeling so tired that I've been trying to rule out the things that cause 'tired' and I was reminded my glasses were two years old.  Usually that means I need a new prescription, and sure enough, I did.

Hopefully the new glasses with their less 'severe' looking frames will help me see that things are looking up. 

It also looks like I could use a hair cut, but my hair dresser is out of town, so I will just have to make do, with my do.

Vision can also be internal.  Having the vision required to design something - like textiles, for instance.  Or a conference.  Or a book.

As I wove a book project yesterday I realized that once again I was 'cheating' - and quite consciously so!  So I messaged my editor and we agreed that I should leave the warp on the loom to take photos to include with the instructions for the project.

The other loom also has a warp that will be used to illustrate a technique, which means that once those two are woven to the point where they need to be for the photos, I will turn my attention to the AVL.  On which is another warp which could also be utilized for the book.

There are two more book projects being woven by friends, plus my editor and I will 'mine' my sample collections for other textiles that could be used.  Which means that these three warps will pretty much be the last weaving I will do for The Book.

And once again, a sigh of relief happens.

This morning I also met with one of the conference committee and we reviewed the entry forms for the various conference events.  And the registration website.  I am almost at the point of being able to turn a whole whack of conference work over to two of the committee members to follow up on. 

Another sigh.

I long ago realized that no one person has to do All The Things.  I am so grateful for willing helpers who shoulder some of the load on these big projects I envision!  I am really looking forward to completing The Book, The Conference.  And being able to focus on envisioning textiles.  And maybe helping others see how to visualize their own.

Currently reading A Taste for Vengeance by Martin Walker

Monday, July 23, 2018

Flexible




One thing I have learned in my life is to be flexible.

The count down is on.  My editor arrives on Aug 1.  I need as many book projects completed as I can possibly get done before she gets here.  Well - that's my arbitrary goal.  Because I need goals.  I need deadlines.  If I don't have them, nothing gets done.  Because there are always distractions.  Books, mostly, but...

So I got the Take Two warp into the loom yesterday and started weaving that project this morning.  And then realized that I wanted to do something for which I had insufficient treadle ties for.  Except!  I had ordered more and they are actually en route!

Rather than try to cobble something together I switched my plans and started on the next project in the queue.  That one only requires four shafts and I have an 'empty' four shaft loom handy.  Win!

I also had yarn on hand so I'm working from the stash.  Win-Win!

The warp is for scarves and I've wound enough warp to make two.  One can be used as a gift for a friend that loves red and black.  Because why not?

With my goal of semi-retirement, the focus of my weaving will be shifting.  I don't yet know how, or what direction I will go, but production for craft fairs is going to take up less and less of my time and energy in a few years.  So gifts for friends will likely be more common.

But right now?  Getting the book projects done is top of my to-be-done list.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

It's Just String



Allen Fannin used to remind people that what weavers do is make someone else's 'raw' materials.  As weavers we are just another stepping stone in the production chain of getting raw fibre into something useful.

If you are hand weaving, you are automatically making 'slow' cloth.  The biggest investment in hand woven cloth is the labour that goes into getting it from the animal's back, or the plant, processed into yarn, then from yarn into cloth, then from cloth into...whatever it is meant to be.

I remind myself of this by saying "it's just string".  Especially when I - who am not yet and never will be, perfect - have another oopsie.  Like I did yesterday.

The clock is ticking down on getting the book projects done, so yesterday I decided that my first priority was to deal with the next one.  One of my favourite weave structures - Bronson Lace - was ready to go.  I'd wound the warp on Friday and beamed it - all that was left was to thread the (narrow/short) warp, sley, tie on and start weaving.  Piece of cake.  Right?

Wrong.

The yarn I'm using is a new-to-me 2/10 unmercerized cotton from Ashford.  I'm using a borrowed loom which has a square rod to tie onto.  The yarn, which is slipperier than Brassard's unmercerized cotton didn't want to hold its knots on the square bar.  Decided to cut off and lash on.

I was very tired from not having slept much the night before and - without checking the warp beam to see where the warp packing was - because on my Leclerc the warp packing pretty much unloads without my having to check on it - the borrowed loom has a different configuration and the warp packing tends to pile up for a while before coming far enough over the warp beam to drop by itself - anyhoo - I grabbed the scissors and snip-snip-snip and the warp slithered out of the reed and heddles to dangle from the warp beam.  Sans cross.

At that point I took a break, had a snack, then removed the $5 worth of warp from the loom and tossed it into the recycle bin.

I could have 'saved' it.  But the aggravation level of dealing with a warp that no longer had a cross outweighed the cost of the yarn.  There is plenty more - the warp weighed about 80 grams.  There was lots left on the cones.  Another warp was wound and rough sleyed.

I came to weaving with an awareness that life is uncertain, that time - whatever time we may have - is precious and not to be 'wasted'.  I'm also not a patient person.  Even though I am very efficient when it comes to weaving, there are still things that I'd rather not do.  And spending an hour to salvage $5 worth of yarn is not one of them.  Even though it will take an hour to wind a new warp and get it beamed, I'd rather spend my hour starting anew than fussing with saving a warp that just isn't - in my life/studio - worth it.

At long time ago I came to the conclusion that I can always make more money to buy more 'string'.  Once the coin of my time has been spent?  There is no getting more, by hook or by crook.

But each of us has to decide - do I spend my time doing this?  Or that?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Warping Valet/Trapeze


There is a perception that in order to use a warping valet/trapeze you have to have a lot of room.  I use one in large part because I have very little room.

You can see in this photo that I have another loom in front of the Leclerc.  There is - at best - three feet between the breast beam of the Leclerc and the other loom.  There is just enough room that I can have my loom bench at the Leclerc and a narrow 'path' between the two looms.

The other loom doesn't have a ceiling rod to use, so Doug made a 'trapeze' for me out of two 2.x4s and a closet dowel.  That loom has at most three feet between the breast beam and the wall in front of it.

One of the things many people have difficulty with is getting their warps beamed 'well'.  There are many different approaches to getting this part of the process done.  Over the years I have found that beaming with tension is a key component of getting warps that behave. 

One recommendation for beaming is to stretch the warp out for as far as you can, then put weight onto the warp chain and drag it along the floor.

When you have only three feet in front of the loom, the sections you can beam are very short. 

Weighting the warp as it hangs off the breast beam means even shorter sections. 

By routing the warp chain up and over a valet or trapeze, longer sections of warp can be groomed and then beamed.  This makes for a better job (as far as I'm concerned) and it also makes the whole process more efficient.

I have had so many people contact me to say using such a device - either ceiling mounted or the 2x4/closet dowel - have made weaving much more enjoyable as it no longer is a chore of hours. 

Here is a video I did of me beaming a 9 meter long place mat warp.  Notice the clock.  This clip was done all in one go and was not edited in any way. 

9 meters.  About 10 minutes.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Surprises




There have been some lovely surprises of late.  This card with a tiny bobbin lace medallion that arrived for my birthday.  I am trying to think how to protect it and possibly incorporate it into my life.  I was thinking of maybe a key fob - one of those plastic ones that can come apart and have something put into it.  Any suggestions?

Another book project arrived today, too.  When I asked people if they would help (in return for credit in the book, a copy of said book, not to mention my undying gratitude) all I said was "Which weave structure would you like out of this list?" and then gave them free rein as to what to do.  Their efforts have far exceeded my expectations.

Yesterday I got an email from someone thanking me for doing The Efficient Weaver DVD.  She said she'd been weaving for decades but had always struggled with getting her loom dressed.  After changing her process she now finds that she can dress her loom with far less difficulty and stress.

It is feedback just like that email that keeps me going, keeps me pecking away at The Book, keeps me getting onto airplanes, yes, even the red eye, and flying across the country.  Which is very large.  From Vancouver BC to Sydney NS is - well - more miles/kilometers than I actually know, but - long.  (I actually prefer the red eye to getting up for a 6 am departure.)

When I took a workshop with Peter Collingwood back in, oh, 1978?, he mentioned that he wrote his book on rug weaving so that he wouldn't have to travel to teach in person any more.  Instead he got more requests to teach than before.  I found the same with Magic.  But I honestly don't expect to ramp up my teaching when I finally get The Book done.  I have made peace with the fact that I really don't want to scramble, setting up tours, dealing with booking flights and all that.  Instead I have chosen to focus my time and energy and let the students come to me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Recalculating




Last table runner warp - colours are actually darker than shown

Life is full of unexpected things cropping up.  I've had a bunch of them the past month, but all have been dealt with and hopefully things will now proceed in a much smoother fashion.

My astrological sign is Cancer.  Cancer is a water sign.  And in one way I do conform to that fluidity.  When confronted with obstacles to a goal, I tend to go under, around - or at times - over, in order to make it to my goal. 

Sometimes that still doesn't work and I have to choose another path, another course entirely.  A detour, if you will.  Sometimes I realize that the original goal wasn't the best thing to be aiming for and I need a new goal.  A new destination.

The next four or so months are fraught with deadlines.  One of those is the photography for The Book.  I am just waiting to hear when my editor can arrive.  In the meantime I am steaming ahead with getting these table runner warps woven.  But since it appears that she may arrive very soon, once this warp is done I will have to switch from weaving the book projects and jump into studio clean up and prep work for the photos that need to be taken.

Everything still needs to be done - I just need to change things around in order to get there.

I came to weaving with this attitude already.  It has been no great hardship when I run into problems in weaving to recalculate.  Sometimes my goal was found to be lacking and I had to toss out that idea and change things in order to make a textile that I was going to be happy with making, but also putting my name on it for sale.

That is what weaving samples is all about, really.  Will this particular combination of factors result in the quality of cloth I desire?  If not, why not?

All my life I have been driven by two questions.  Why?  And Why Not?  I must have driven my mother mad given the number of times she answered those questions with "Because I said so!"

But that was never enough for me.  I wanted to know why something was necessary.  And I wanted to know why I couldn't do something differently. 

My career of creating textiles for sale has been informed by those questions and the answers to them.  Likewise my teaching is guided by them - telling students my experiences of what happens when, and exploring alternatives to accepted wisdom.

Like a Life GPS - sometimes the route needs to be recalculated.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Hurdles



One of the biggest hurdles I've ever faced was producing this massive missive.  It went on for literally years.

First I worked on obtaining the master weaver certificate from the Guild of Canadian Weavers.  I thought that goal was the biggest hurdle I'd ever attempt.  It was just the prelude to first writing, then illustrating - with actual samples - the principles of wet finishing.  And then marketing a fairly pricey book.

I've never shied away from tackling Big Projects.

I have chaired - or co-chaired - something like four conferences.  Or maybe five.  I forget.

But usually I'm smart enough to not attempt so many Big Projects all at once.  But right now?  Not only am I in the midst of trying to wrap up another book (lord, help me) I'm also wrangling another major conference (major in terms of textile arts) into shape.

Along with health issues.

So, why, I ask myself, do I keep doing this to myself?  I honestly don't know.  Except that they both seem somehow...important.

Yesterday someone said on Twitter that an author never 'finishes' writing a book - they just *stop* writing the book.

And so I am in that place.  I am 'done' writing the book.  At least I'm done writing the text of the major part of the manuscript.  What is left are the projects that will help illustrate the weave structures I want to use as additional insight into understanding weave structure theory.

Because sometimes people need to just follow the directions so that they can see how it all goes together - yarn selection, density, colour choices, weave structure.  And of course, wet finishing.

There will be no actual samples in this publication.  I have been using blurb.ca as a test to see if that is a good route to go and after six months of having Magic available for sale there, I'm pleased with it.  So we are carrying on with the intention of posting The Intentional Weaver for sale there as well.

One of the reasons for publishing this way is that people will have a choice - they can download a digital version (pdf) or they will be able to order a hard copy.  So far customers who have purchased the 'magazine' version of Magic have said they were pleased with the quality of that hard copy, and I have been pleased with their professional standards.  They pay what I am owed within five days of the end of the month. 

Today I am dressing the loom with the 'last' of the table runner warps, with the intention of finishing it tomorrow.  And then I will be going through the manuscript again, checking to see which weave structures I already have projects for (in part because some friends have jumped in to help by designing and weaving projects - love you all!) and deciding which ones still need to have a project.

I am also chasing down details for some of the conference instructors so that their info can be posted to the conference website.  We have had some technical issues with the website - and Internet Explorer will no longer display the website so people will have to use another browser.  Nothing we can do about that since IE is no longer supported.

I am hoping to hear soon when my editor can come to take the photos for the book - and once those are done my part in 'birthing' this book will be pretty much over.  Then it will be in her hands to mash it all together.

While I have a lot of hubris, I don't have enough to think I can do this last crucial part on my own.  At this point I have zero perspective left in order to assess if the manuscript is acceptable.  It's time to have fresh eyes - and professional editor eyes, at that - to polish this project and take it to the finish line. 

And I will concentrate on the conference and the craft fair season.


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 @ Laurafry.com.  Canadians can pay by interac e transfer.   Same address.  Or VISA/ MasterCard.  Email me to arrange payment.