Friday, December 14, 2018

Exceeding Expectations.

One of the ways I have 'survived' as a starving artist is to be very clear about what outcome I hope for, and what outcome I expect.  The two are - at times - wildly divergent.  I was disappointed so many times in my early years, hoping and expecting a show or project would be great.  When it wasn't a great outcome, I would second guess myself and be disappointed.  I learned to have high hopes but prepare for the 'worst' - whatever that meant in the context of the event.

So when I ploughed ahead with The Book, I had hope that it would be of value to people and that it would be well received.

What I expected?  That eventually it would pay for itself.

With my expectations firmly in the forefront of my mind I set up a system to track orders.  I had a small filing box and as the orders came in I filed them alphabetically so that if there were questions I could easily find the orders. 

As the number of orders grew I set up two filing folders: A-M and N-Z.

This morning I added a third folder.  A-E, F-M and N-Z.  I will also bring out a banker's box because those three folders will not fit into the small filing box.

I did not expect there to be very many orders via blurb until after the introductory offer was complete.  It has been with some amazement I have seen orders arrive in my blurb account.  Some people are obviously taking advantage of ordering through blurb to also order Magic in the Water.

I feel very humble this morning.  And extremely grateful to the weaving community for the support they are showing for this effort.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Back in the Saddle

Orders are starting to taper off and I had no appointments today so I determined to finish setting up the AVL and at least weave one towel.

It's been ages since I've woven and as a result, I've lost muscle tone.  As with any physical activity, the best strategy is to begin slowly and re-build the strength I've lost over the past couple of months.

These towels are destined for the shows in 2019.  The first show is the Hospital Auxiliary conference in April.  Next is the ANWG conference.  Since I am taking a booth at the conference to sell The Book I figured I might as well have some tea towels.  These are in the Snail's Trails and Cat's Paws design, a perennial favourite of weavers.

I put 30 turns/yards on the beam with the goal of using up the cottolin in my stash.  And then I (ahem) acquired 5 kilos of single 16s linen.  The colours aren't great, but they will do for tea towels.  So whatever warp is left once the cottolin is used up will be woven with the linen. 

One towel is woven and there is one tiny thing that needs fixing - one dent has only 3 ends while the next has 5.  Now that I'm at the cut line I will fix that.  If I weren't ending this warp with linen I'd probably not bother to fix it at all, but the linen won't shift as much as the cottolin will.  Besides, that one dent that looks like a thread is missing (because it is) annoys and irritates me.  I don't want to have it bug me for the whole 30 yards.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Lift Off!

What a roller coaster ride!

Poor Ruth finally managed to wrestle the website to the ground and get the PDF version of the book up and running and lo!  Here 'tis!

Both versions are now officially available from  You can also get Magic in the Water - just scroll all the way down the page. 

The introductory offer is only available from me personally.  There has been some confusion so let me run through it one more time:

Purchase the print version of the book - from me directly - and you will receive in the new year a signed copy of the book.  You will also, upon payment, receive a link to collect the PDF from Dropbox.  Yes, the entire file, not just a sample.  Yes, I am actually giving it away, free, with the purchase of the print book.  Truly. 

BUT!  The introductory offer is just that - an introductory offer that will end on the winter solstice, Dec. 21, 2018.  (I am making this entirely clear because many of my blog posts get read for years to come and this offer is limited.)

How do you place the order?  Email me and say you want to buy it and how you wish to pay for it.  I will either send a Paypal request for $92.40 (in Canada which includes shipping and GST) or $88.00 which includes shipping for outside of Canada (but within the United States).  If you want to pay with a VISA or Mastercard, we can make that happen, too.  I bill in Canadian dollars and your card service will do the conversion to US$ on your statement just like Paypal does.  For Canadians, I can also accept an e-transfer.

Once I have received payment I will share a link for PDF file for you to download and put onto whatever platform you wish.  I've been told it loads onto an iPad, both iBook and Kindle, without problems.  Or download to your desktop.  Or do both.  The file will eventually go away so I suggest that if you want to keep the PDF on your devices download sooner rather than later.

(The file will most likely be deleted as of midnight December 31 - to be determined.)

The sample print book was shipped today and I should receive it soon, hopefully in the next few days.  I will have to commit to a print run very soon in order to get the books here by the end of January, so I hope that if you want a book you order sooner rather than later.

The book can be purchased from blurb now, either print or PDF.  I'm hoping people overseas will find the PDF version helpful because they don't have to pay expensive shipping.

It has been really hard for me to think about anything other than launching this project.  Now that it is, I need to focus on some other things.

As you know I've been weaving samples for Tien Chiu's on line colour course   One of the things that happened while I was down south was a meeting with Tien about my continuing involvement in that Big Project.  It's all very exciting and very VERY challenging. 

I've been threatening to 'retire' for some years now and begun easing into a sort of 'semi' retirement, but staying involved helping someone younger than me with more energy than I have, but not enough time to do all that needs doing?  I think that makes really good sense for the future.

The Going and the Coming of the Light

I was born and raised here near the 54th parallel and as such I have spent my life watching the sun come and go in the sky.  Over the years the winter solstice has become a much more important day in the year to me than any other.  The winter solstice is when the sun stops its slow slide to the horizon and begins its gentle journey back up, bringing with it our longer daylight hours.

Humans seem to be bound to the sun and the moon in ways that we can't really articulate.  Fire no doubt felt magical to early humans.  It brought heat but also...light.

Recently I had a conversation with someone about being supportive.  My life has benefited in so many ways by others helping and being supportive of me.  At one point I was feeling guilty after picking the brains of another weaver and apologized because I had no money to pay for her time.

She looked at me - hard - and said "Pass it on."

Her words sounded prophetic to me, as though I had suddenly found my calling.  Pass it on.  Be generous.  Do not hoard your talents, your knowledge.  Pass it on.

When she said those words to me there was no internet - or at least not for the public.  When I did join the internet and chat groups, I made a point of helping.  In some ways I gave many hours away, hours that I could have spent making money for myself.  But I remembered those words.  So, when I was taking a break from trying to earn money, I would give back.

Writing a book, two books, meant expenses above and beyond my time.  While I would love to give the books away, I can't afford to do that.  So yes, I am charging a price for them, but I have tried to make it as low as I can so that more people can afford it, not so low it will take 10 or 12 years to pay off those expenses.

As part of the introductory offer, I am giving a free PDF.  And that is truly a gift of thanks from me to those people who are willing to purchase the book pretty much sight unseen.

Ruth has been sweating bullets trying to get the PDF only option live on blurb and reports that she's nearly got it ready.

I hope that the book is useful/helpful to others who may be struggling.  I hope that people can light their candle from mine.

10 days to the solstice.  And the returning of the light.

Monday, December 10, 2018


The sample print copy of the book should be ready tomorrow (be still my heart!) and hopefully it will arrive in a few days.

In the meantime, members of the weaving community are beginning to read their PDF files and write reviews, sharing on their social media (cockles of my heart most definitely warmed!)

Tien Chiu did a blog post this morning reviewing the book

I have now prepared an ad for the book and if anyone is interested in placing the ad in their guild newsletters, email me and I will send a Word document that can be used as is, or the information can be used as appropriate.

The PDF that is being shared as part of the introductory offer includes the back cover of the book with two cover blurbs - one from Janet Dawson, the other from Syne Mitchell.

On the technology front - the introductory offer PDF is available through Dropbox but two people have not been able to access the file that way so I have a work around.  If this is the case for you, email me.

In this age of the internet and social media, the ability to self-publish, I am relying heavily on the internet to get the word out.

If you have questions?  Email me.

If you sent an email and have not yet heard back from me?  Email me. (I have not yet answered the three emails from overseas because I'm waiting until I can get the book and an accurate quote on shipping.)

The answer to pretty much every question about the introductory offer?  Email me.


Ruth is still working on the PDF file for blurb, but that should be available in the next few days.

ps - the introductory offer is good until Dec. 21 - the solstice and the returning of the sun

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Figuring It Out

Confession time. I'm a wee bit of a Luddite and don't really know or understand the technology, even though I think it's great - it's still a bit 'magical' to me! However I have been told that some people have not downloaded the complimentary PDF for the introductory offer of The Intentional Weaver but have been reading it on line. Which is all well and good, but that file will go away after the introductory offer closes so people really need to download the file to their desktop or whatever platform they want it on. Last night I went back to Dropbox and there is a 'download' button and when I poked it (again - I'd done it a couple of days ago but I wanted to make sure of it) the file downloaded in about 1 minute. Yes, it's a large file - about 39 mb.
Thank you to all who have expressed interest. It was a bit nerve wracking to complete this project because one never really knows how it will go!
The printer should be shipping my 'proof' copy on Dec. 11 and as soon as I approve it they will queue my book for printing. They say about 5-6 weeks so hopefully Canada Post will co-operate and I will be able to mail them out just as soon as I receive the shipment.
Decks have been cleared (so to speak) and systems put in place to process the shipping of the books.
If you want a copy on the introductory offer, and have emailed me but not received either a Paypal request or other communication, email me again. I have a couple of people who have not emailed but reached out in other ways which I have set aside until I have more time to deal with those but I have responded to all other emails that I have received. However last night someone mentioned on my Facebook time line that they had not heard anything so I asked if they would try again. This time the request did come through and has been dealt with.
As soon as I receive payment I send out the link to the PDF. There are a few reasons I have taken this approach.
1. Someone asked very nicely if they bought a print copy, could they please have a PDF so that they could use their computer and the search function of their system to find topics quickly. While there is a detailed Table of Contents, it does not have live links and there is no index (because of the very detailed TOC.)
With offering both print and PDF options via blurb *** it seemed like a nice way to introduce people to the book.
2. With the time lag between ordering and receiving the book, the receipt of the PDF is a stop gap until the 'real' book arrives.
3. People wanted something they could give for Christmas. The file can be downloaded onto a thumb drive, wrapped and the recipient will have something to open. :)
There are also a few reasons for having the PDF only option.
1. It's cheaper. No paper to pay for, no printing service to pay for. No shipping to pay for.
2. Some people are very happy to load books onto their portable devices - iPad, etc., don't want more physical books to store.
3. Overseas customers could just buy the PDF and save expensive international shipping. However, several people have requested a 'real' book and seem willing to pay the shipping.
As soon as I get the sample book I will package, measure and weigh it and get a quote on shipping. It looks like it MIGHT qualify for small packet air rates, but I don't want to quote that until I can confirm it. And it won't be much longer - still well within the special offer time frame.
So far I have three requests from outside North America. I will attempt to get quotes to those three as soon as I can.
In the meantime I'd just like to say thank you to everyone who has ordered this introductory offering. I hope you find something of interest. If you do, I hope you will share that information with your friends. When someone self publishes, one of the things they need to do is the marketing. I will be doing a small 'ad' this week (busy with guild sale this weekend) and will be happy to forward to anyone who wants to put the 'ad' into their guild's newsletter or share on their social media.
***for those wanting just the PDF, it should be available via blurb in the next few days - Ruth is working on some technology issues

Friday, December 7, 2018

Forward March!

After being stuck in technology 'hell' for the better part of a week, we seem to have battled our way through the 'worst' of it.  This quote from Churchill helped me carry on, because there was simply no point to flinging myself to the ground and flailing.  The only way was forward, even if it felt at times more like a 'creep' than a 'march'.

Talked with Ruth today who is still up to her ears helping Tien get her on-line class up and running but she promises to go poke at the PDF file on blurb by Monday.  I wanted to offer a PDF version for those people overseas who would be faced with a huge shipping charge for a print book but could maybe just work with the cheaper option of downloading the PDF.  So - I promise - it's coming!

Over the week I've worked out a system to deal with the fact that the print copies won't get mailed out for a while.  I needed a fool-proof system to make sure everyone who has paid gets a copy sent whenever I get them from the printer. 

At this point I'm waiting for the sample copy to approve before they roll the presses.  It's not a cheap book to produce as there is colour on approximately 150 out of the 198 pages, including the awesome cover Ruth designed.  But I felt if I was going to do this, it needed to be done 'properly'.  And unlike people like Mary Black or Margaret Atwater, we have relatively cheap colour printing in this the 21st century.  So colour it is.

Given the median age of most weavers, the font size is decent - no squinting (hopefully!).  The font is also one designed by a woman (name is forgotten but perhaps Ruth will chime in), which tickles my fancy, too.

So the status of the orders is this:  if you have paid you should have by now received a link to view the PDF.  My four testers said they were able to download the file and load it onto several different platforms, so hopefully everyone will be able to complete that.

I am about to file all the paid orders alphabetically to make answering any queries easier - I should be able to put fingers on the print out quickly that way.

There are a few more people who have contacted me that I need to touch base with.  If you are one of them, jog my memory if you don't hear from me soon.  My inbox sometimes does weird things and I may have either not received your email or my inbox filed it someplace where I didn't notice.  Believe me, even though I cleaned out my inbox as much as possible, I've had a boatload of emails over the past few days and things might have slipped past my radar.

For those of you who took a leap of faith and ordered, thank you so much.  If you like what you see I hope you will share with your friends. 

I will be putting together a promotional hand out over the next few days and would be happy to send once I get it done.  Whatever made me think I could launch a book one weekend then immediately do another sale the following weekend? 


Busy Time!

One warp, four different colours of weft

Many weavers have difficulty with putting colours together because sometimes they do unexpected things.

Tien Chiu has developed an on-line course Color Courage for Weavers which has launched this week.

She has a mini-workshop that is free and which will introduce people to the concepts she will be tackling in more depth in her workshop.

My editor Ruth Temple has been juggling editing duties on my book as well as Tien's workshop and it has been a busy time for all. 

Yes, I am involved in Tien's workshop, too!  Last year I wove a lot (and by a lot I mean a LOT) of samples for Tien to illustrate what happens when weft crosses warp, how the interaction of colours changes when the ratio of each to the other changes when the weave structure changes.

I am not an intuitive user of colour.   What I know or understand about colour in cloth is based on years of trying (and sometimes failing) at putting colours together in a way that pleases my eye.

This course is the one I wish I'd had when I first started weaving.

If anyone is feeling a bit insecure about how colour works in cloth but would like to know more in order to create their own unique textiles, I recommend enrolling in Tien's on-line workshop. 

Currently reading Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

One Step Forward...

Seems like with every step forward, I either slide one back, or at least to the side.

I came home with a copy of the PDF version of The Intentional Weaver loaded on my iPad, thinking that all was well and I would be able to start sharing the link immediately with people. 

It hasn't worked out that way. 

The link opens perfectly in Google, but when I try to open it in Google docs to share?  The file becomes corrupted.  No cover.  Page breaks not where they should be, throwing the entire document out of kilter.

After a couple of hours last night and a couple more this afternoon (when I was supposedly fresher!) I cried uncle and asked for help from Ruth.  Who is busy on another critical deadline on a project that is not mine but which I fully endorse. 

Since I am stymied on getting the PDF ready to share, I figured I could at the very least acknowledge the orders so far received and send out Paypal invoices for those who want to pay that way.

So that is what I am now in the midst of doing.

If there is one thing I have learned in this life it is that no road is perfectly straight or even smooth.

One step forward, one back, side step, side step, hopefully forward again.

But the birthing a book bit is done.  This PDF problem?  Minor.  And no doubt user error...time for tea...

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Next Step

This photo shows the difference between an 'ordinary' 2 ply cotton yarn and seine twine.  They are both yarn.  They are both cotton.  But they are - quite obviously - not the same.

Writing a book is one thing.  Selling it is quite another.

A couple of people have asked me if I'm happy now that the book is a real entity (it can be purchased from the website *** directly or from me on the special introductory offer I announced on Dec. 2).

We are still trying to get the PDF version 'live' and Ruth will continue to work on that over the next few days and see if she can figure out what is happening that it won't go 'live' like the print version.

So, am I happy?   Not really.  I would say 'relieved' rather than 'happy'.  Because the next step is now up - that of getting the word out and - hopefully - selling lots and lots of copies.

I got home this evening from San Jose after a very busy and stress inducing week of the final polish, re-reads, print out, re-read, polish some more, finally going 'live' on Sunday.  We had some technical glitches with the website, but in the end Ruth got it done and uploaded.  I'm hoping the PDF will soon be live, too, so that people outside of North America can purchase the book digitally and not have to pay huge shipping costs.

When I published Magic, lo these many years ago, there really wasn't any kind of digital publishing happening - or at least not for small niche authors like myself.  Ruth and I chatted about how much publishing has changed, just within our lifetimes.  Me of the spirit duplicator/Gestetner stencil generation, she of the manual typesetting level of printing technology.  We've come a long way, baby!

At any rate, like I say, I only just rolled in the door this evening, travel weary, lack of sleep weary and stress weary.  I have opted to not do anything with the order inquiries that have arrived while I have been in San Jose and returning home until tomorrow afternoon.

So please be patient.  I have to set up the mechanism of letting purchasers download the free PDF file, then I will be sending out Paypal invoices for those who have said Paypal works for them.  Once the book is paid, I will email a link for people to download their file.  The actual print books will take about 6 weeks or so - perhaps longer given the holiday season soon upon us - but at least buyers will have access to the book immediately via the PDF file.

To those of you who have already ordered and paid - my grateful thanks.  To those wanting more information or a Paypal invoice sent - tomorrow, I promise.

If you missed the blog post with details, read the previous post.  There are instructions about contacting me about ordering the special introductory offer, which is pretty simple:  email me at and I will send a Paypal invoice with the link for the free PDF. 

For those of you who shared the previous blog post, you are my 'spreading the word' angels.  Thank you.

***you can also order Magic in the Water from the same website, either PDF or print on demand

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Launch Time

Photo of working copy, with post it notes marking edits to be done.  

Seems mercury was in retrograde and after much thinking, additional editing (where we found more typos and minor formatting issues) and a last ditch ‘let’s try once more’ attempt to upload the manuscript...the website took the file (YAY!) and voila, we have A Book.  

We also have an Introductory Offer. 

The Intentional Weaver: how to weave better

Until December 21, 2018 order a print copy of The Intentional Weaver by master weaver Laura Fry and receive a free PDF version of the book.  

Print copies will become available in the new year, but you will be able to download your PDF copy immediately.  

Books ordered directly from Laura on this introductory offer will be signed and mailed as soon as they are received from the printer around the end of January.  A link to download your PDF version will be emailed upon receipt of payment.  

Price is $68.00 Canadian plus shipping of $20.00 anywhere in North America (plus GST of $4.40 will be applied for purchases in Canada for a total of $92.40).

To place an order for a signed copy to be shipped in the new year plus a free PDF version,  email

Payment can be made by PayPal, VISA or MasterCard (or e-transfer in Canada)

Books in either hardback or PDF will also be available via 


Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Best Laid Schemes...

...o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley...    Robbie Burns

So everything was going pretty much as expected.  Files were edited, fine tuned, corrections made, photos tweaked.  By Friday afternoon, Ruth was about ready to make the appropriate PDFs and begin uploading the files to the website.  

From there on, things did not go smoothly.  Ruth worked all afternoon trying to get the files to accurately load but there seemed to some kind of glitch in the upload.  When she finally contacted support, it seems their business day was over and it was the weekend.  

We had thought to have the files safely and successfully loaded Friday afternoon, then test the files on Saturday at which point I would have the rest of the information needed to announce the introductory offer.  Instead we are in limbo until Monday morning.  

However, we have the files.  We are ready to offer The Intentional Weaver in print and PDF formats.  I have an offer for those wanting signed print copies drafted and ready to announce.  I just don’t yet have the actual book in the format we want it.  

I’m sure there is some minor issue that needs to be fixed but without the assistance of the websites support team we cannot go any further at this time.  

So.   Stay tuned.   98.555555...

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Creating a book isn’t much different from creating a textile.  

There are stages to go through.  

The first seed of the idea.  Contemplating the potential of that seed.  Outlining what the completed book might look like, in broad terms.  Then refining that broad scope into greater detail.  Ultimately doing the work of interpreting the concept into words that you hope will make sense.  

Once you have mostly written the words there is the search for intent being made comprehensible.  There is the polishing for clarity.  Then the search for typos and mistakes of grammar.  

With each examination of the manuscript, you reach a stage of done-ness.  Of being 95% ‘done’.  Done that bit.  Each pass through you feel a little more confident it is readable.  Becoming more ready for the light of day.  And public opinion.  

Then photos are taken, edited, slotted into the text.  Diagrams are drawn and also inserted.  Doing this changes the formatting, so again you sift through the pages.  95% done.  Again. 

One last sweep through to sieve out any obvious errors.  95% done.  Again. 

Now it is time to apply for the ISBN, create the cover.  Contact the website to find out how to submit a file double the size they specify.  Root around the website to work out retail pricing, shipping, estimated delivery.  

Now...98% done?

The last step will be to upload the file, one for the print version, one for the PDF.  

And then, and then, marketing.  Because the job isn’t done until it is sold.  But closer?  98%?

As soon as the file is loaded to I will be announcing a special introductory offer.  

Stay tuned.  Because I think we are at 98% completion as of 1530 today.  Just a few more details to sort out.  98%.  

Monday, November 26, 2018


Over the past couple of days I have been going through my inbox, deleting some of the +7000 emails that have been living in there.  I would watch the number count grow and think to myself that I really needed to deal with it because a lot of them are 'spam' or lists I'm subscribed to.  Some of them I want to stay subscribed to, many I need to unsub from.  But with all the stress of the past two + years, I just hadn't been able to work up the energy.  Reviewing these emails reminds me of what I was dealing with two years ago and puts things into perspective.

I leave tomorrow for San Jose and one final meeting with my editor, after which it will - hopefully - be all steam ahead.  The week between getting home from Calgary and leaving on this trip was mostly playing catch up - on my bills, on my emails, on my sleep and energy. 

Once again I was reminded that my energy levels are not what they were even two years ago and I have to ration my activities in order to accomplish my goals.

This one, dear reader?   Has been a long time in coming.  I think I worked harder (physically - because 20 projects with before and after samples) on Magic in the Water.  But I was younger then by two decades and had not yet run into the physical ailments my body now deals with.

I have been having a bit of a struggle coming to grips with the new reality.  I keep remembering how much energy I used to have, and no longer can dredge up.  And I mourn.  And I wonder if this - this struggle to remain where I was 20 years ago - is what growing 'old' really means.  Or is it the acceptance of the new reality?  I really hope that wisdom makes the transition easier.

It took me two days to pretty much recover from doing Calgary and I honestly thought I would sail through getting the AVL set up and even have a chunk of that tea towel warp woven before I left.  Um, nope.

However it is threaded and sleyed and ready to tie on and weave as soon as I get home.  (She says, optimistically).

Why didn't I get further along?  Part of it was stress.  Anxiety.  Hope.  Battling impostor syndrome. 

Feeling like I was caught in limbo until this project - this latest Big Project - is completely done and launched into the world.  To sink.  Or swim. 

When I was younger and more driven by critical deadlines and had a lot more adrenaline to draw on, I would have set this project aside until my editor was done her part of the job and roared into the next critical deadline.

But there isn't a 'hard' deadline I need to deal with right now.  And I find myself with a decided lack of energy.  Or panic.

In some ways, I don't even mind.  I don't mind the lack of panic.  I don't mind the lack of frenzy, working on getting workshop handouts ready, yarn into the mail, magazine article deadline to meet.

I do mind not wanting to do much of anything.  But I also know that this is temporary.  That as soon as this project is launched there will be things that need doing.  And I will do them.

In the meantime I'm kind of enjoying (in a perverse way, given my lifetime of adrenaline induced panic) the quiet.

But I also see the light at the end of this particular tunnel.  And I am looking forward to stepping out of this tunnel and into the light.

And see what is next on this amazing, incredible journey.

Stay tuned for my Special Introductory Offer on The Intentional Weaver - as soon as I get home on Dec. 5.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Use it or Lose it

It has been literally months since I dressed the AVL.  Long enough that when I went to do it, I had to really stop and think about what I was doing.  It no longer came naturally to me because when you don't use a tend to lose that skill.

I had left the warp beamed, ready to thread and only felt able to do the threading over the past two days.  Everything seemed to go smoothly enough with the threading but I tear the loom apart to thread.  In order to get close enough to the heddles, I take out the sandpaper beam, which means taking the auto-cloth advance apart.  Then I remove the beater top and the reed, pull a small stool close (the sort of rust coloured one just visible to the right - the red stool is the one I sit on to weave).

Yesterday I finished threading and decided to leave the rest until this morning.  At which point I completely forgot what I did next.  So I re-installed the sandpaper beam and auto-cloth advance, then put the reed into the beater.

And realized that the sandpaper beam was now more or less in my way. 


Well, I'm not going to take it all out again, especially for what is a relatively narrow warp (24" in the reed).

I will just be careful of my clothing so that I don't rub up against the sandpaper and then carry on.

But once again the lesson of 'use it or lose it' has been learned.  Let's see if I remember it or forget it again.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Peter Collingwood's No Math Centering method

Edited to remove bad ASCII art and hopefully be clearer...

As a brand new weaver I had the good fortune to take a workshop with Peter Collingwood.  He showed us how to centre a warp in the reed without using any math.  I have never forgotten it and use it every time I dress the loom.

Say you want a warp 10" wide and your reed is X length.

Lay a measuring tape along the length of the reed (in this case the reed is laying flat because I'm about to rough sley the warp).  So lay the measuring tape with zero at the left end of the reed.  Pinch the measuring tape at where ever the reed ends.  Let's say 36" just as an example.

With your right hand pinching at the 36" mark (the end of the reed) move your left hand to the 10" mark.  

Now still holding both points of the tape - 10 and 36 - bring your hands together and align the 10" mark and the 36" mark, effectively folding the tape together.

By moving your left hand to the 10" mark, you have subtracted 10" from the length of the tape, and then folding 10" and 36" together, you have divided the remainder of the length of the reed in half.  

Lay this 'half' down onto the reed again and where the tape ends is where you begin to sley the warp.

0-----10-----------------------------36-----------  one hand pinching 10, the other pinching 36

When 10 and 36 are pinched together to the bend in the tape is what you use to measure from the end of the reed to where you begin sleying.

In the photo above, the 10/36 is at the left hand side of the photo (my right side) and the loop is in the 'middle' of the reed.  This is where I will begin sleying.

No math.  Centred.  

Thank you, Peter Collingwood.  A technique I use every time I dress the loom.

No Warp, No Weaving

It is very true - no warp, no weaving.  If you don't have someone to dress your loom for you (and some people actually do have someone to do that for them) then you have to just get on with it and get it done.

Today I felt able to tackle threading the AVL.  Unfortunately my body has gifted me with a new challenge - threading the AVL I kind of drape myself over the beater and that position now causes my right hand to go numb.  Yay for body issues? 

However, my knee is lovely, thank you.  Quite happy to lower myself down onto the low stool I sit on, bend sharply so I can fit into the small space at the front of the loom.  Win one, lose one?

A few people say they don't find threading a loom uncomfortable. not one of those.  I have never found the position to thread any loom comfortable.  At all.  There is only 'as comfortable as possible'.  Therefore it seemed to me that if I couldn't find a comfortable position, I needed to get really efficient at doing it in order to minimize the time spent doing it.

So, in spite of the hand going numb, I'm half way through this warp.  Not my usual speed, but quickly enough that I did reach the halfway mark before dinner.

Tomorrow I can finish threading, sley and tie on, and then I might actually manage to weave a towel.  Not sure I'll get much farther than that, but at least the loom will be left ready for when I get home from my trip.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Marking Time

"Oh you're a weaver!  You must be sooooo patient!"

Um, no.  No, I'm not.

So when I run into times like these where I'm waiting for the clock to tick, the calendar to turn, I have to remind myself to keep going.  This too shall pass. 

Doesn't mean I'm liking it or taking it with particular good grace, but if I remember to just keep going, that does seem to help.

I found the above fridge magnet at about the year anniversary of my brother's sudden death, when I was dealing with adverse drug effects.  It has stood me in good stead when I broke my ankle (it's temporary, it will heal, you will walk again, weave again, it's temporary, just let your body do what it needs to do, it's temporary).

Then again through chemo, through more adverse drug effects, through by-pass surgery.

I leave in less than a week to go through the final edits of the manuscript.  The foreword has now been written and is being incorporated into the ms.  Three reviewers have received a pdf of the last edit of the ms, knowing that there are still some final tweaks to be made.

The introductory offer is more or less worked out and that should go live early in December.  Unfortunately Canada Post is dealing with rotating strikes, so I'm hoping that they will have a settlement when the books are ready to ship, likely sometime early in February.

This wait is temporary.  It too shall pass...

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Another Show, Another Year

some of my stash that needs using up

We are home from Calgary and the last 'big' show of this year.  The guild will be having a sale in the guild room and I have a small number of 'orphans' and end-of-the-line textiles that I will put on deep discount, but that weekend is more a time to sit and knit or spin as traditionally not very many people come.  It's a quiet weekend when I can contemplate what is to come.

As mentioned previously (probably way too frequently!) I have been spending a lot of time thinking about the next few years - what they will hold, what I will be able to do.

Long car rides are also a time for some contemplation and the 13 or so hour trip yesterday provided time for us to discuss what the coming year holds.

First of all...(ta-DAH) the book.  I leave in a week for San Jose (bringing filter masks because they are still under the same kind of smoke pall we dealt with over the summer and masks are getting hard to find down there).

I have to follow up with the website about their quote on a print version for my introductory special, which will be announced on Dec. 2 when we hit 'publish'.

Then the guild sale.

I have some weaving to do for Tien for her on-line class.  Her launch date is in December so stay tuned for further updates.  She posted one yesterday while I was on the road and there should be news on her blog.

Before I left for Calgary I beamed 30 yards of 2/16 cotton on the AVL for tea towels.  This will be done in Snail's Trails and Cat's Paws block twill for tea towels.  This warp should finish off the last of the cottolin in 2/16 and I will weave a sample of the singles 12 linen and see if I can finish off whatever is left using that.  If not, there is plenty of 2/16 cotton that can be used (up).

These towels (plus many others) are intended for sale at my booth at the ANWG conference (where I will have print copies of The Intentional Weaver and probably Magic in the Water as well as Weave a V.)

In the new year I have agreed to weave more samples for Tien's on-line course.

There are 8 scarf warps waiting to go into the Fanny, plus a couple of scarf warps for Tien.

The print copies from blurb for the introductory offer should arrive sometime the end of January, so time then will be spent signing them, packaging them up and mailing them out.  As long as Canada Post has settled their strike/negotiations.  Waiting on tenterhooks for that settlement.

We brought home the first box of Olds homework and I hear through the rumour mill that several more are imminent.  If all send, that's about 40 boxes to be marked.  Again dependent upon Canada Post getting their settlement done.  Canadians could (if they choose) send by courier, but Americans, please note that I will have to pay brokerage and possibly duty if sent by courier.  You might want to wait until Canada Post is working properly again.

I'm hoping to hear any day about teaching again at Cape Breton - just level two and three.  Dianne is working on getting a level one instructor.  (Dianne is also working on developing the Master Spinner program at Gaelic College, in August, in case anyone in the east is interested.)  Plus there is Fibre Week at Olds College, next year in July.

We have more or less decided to return to Calgary one more time next year, so in between working on some research and doing the above, I will carry on with stash reduction.  This year I was able to move six boxes of yarn out of the annex and into the studio storage here.  AND I still have a little space on the shelves, so the stash is going down!!!!

And of course, the conference registration is slated to open in January.  Right now my input is minimal, but come February I will have conference duties to tackle again.

Hmm.  This semi-retirement thing.  How's that working for me???

Currently reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

Friday, November 16, 2018

Closing the Door

Change can be difficult.  Letting go of the known and familiar, making different choices, not knowing if they are the best, right or correct things to be doing.  Not knowing what the future holds, how the changes will affect ones life, ones income.   

The decision to semi-retire has been about two years in the making.  Between the house renovations and all the upheaval that entailed, mom getting sick and dying, the return of my cancer...there has been much to contemplate.  Each time I analyzed what was happening, the conclusion was the same:  something had to give.  

Giving up guild workshops was a push/pull question.  Without the income, could I still keep going, financially?   Without the stress of all the administrivia, would I have more energy?   Would I have more time for the more intellectual approach to weaving that drew me into the craft in the first place?  If so, what would that direction look like?  Would there be a chance for some income?

Eventually I had to make up my mind and quit waffling about it.   There is no point closing a door if you keep opening it a crack to take a peek.  

So I did.  Announced it on my more guild workshops.  Three days later a guild contacted me...pretty please would I teach for them?   I took a couple of days to think about it then emailed back and said no.  The world did not stop spinning or blow up.  I found myself perfectly comfortable with that door shut, locked and barred. 

And then focused on the upcoming deadlines.   

Last week someone approached me with an offer.  Would I do research for her Big Project?

It was as though once I firmly closed one door, there was room for another one to open.  It didn’t take me long to think about it.  I know how to do simple searches, I’m pretty conversant with writing, I could work from home, with lenient enough deadlines that I can fit my other work in as appropriate.  

It also gives me a chance to help with a project I feel is needed and useful in the weaving world.  I won’t say more just yet as we will meet in person to discuss details, but I think our particular talents mesh well.  

For now, I need to get through this craft fair, spend a week at home working on the conference, then head to San Jose (and hope the wildfire situation is better resolved, otherwise I will bring a mask), do the last read through to sweep up any typos, hit publish, launch the introductory offer and begin thinking about my background involvement in a Big Project that I hope will be helpful to weavers.  

And let me work from home in my pjs.   Sounds like a win-win....

Sunday, November 11, 2018

My Father

November 11, 2018.

My father has been dead for 43 years.  He died the month I started my weaving career.

For some reason, this year I have been thinking about him - a lot.

He served - reluctantly - in the Canadian Armed Forces.  He was first generation Canadian, born in a little village about 20 miles south of the town I was born, raised, and still live in.  The smaller photo is him, around 14 or 15, the larger at 21 in his uniform.

The fabric is his medal patch.  See the empty spaces?  Family myth has it that upon being demobilized, he took all the 'medals' and handed them back, keeping only the insignia of his service.

He served in the Aluetians (first born German extraction citizen meant keeping him away from the European front, I suppose) and then was sent to England in preparation for D-Day.

For many years the CBC aired a series on World War II - my father would sit in his recliner, focused intently on the screen.  My brother and I had to be quiet because dad was watching the war.  When they showed footage of the Canadian forces landing on D-Day, dad would point at the screen and say "I was there."

Family myth also says that when he returned home, dad gave his hunting rifle to his nephew and never hunted again.  He could not stand the sight of bloody meat which meant I didn't know that anyone ate meat 'rare' until I was 16.  Kind of grossed me out the first time I saw it.

Dad never talked about the war unless something triggered him.  Yes, he had what we now call PTSD.  I learned early not to ask dad about the war.  When my brother got a cap gun dad nearly had a fit when my brother aimed it at mom and yelled 'bang, bang!'.  Dad made it very clear he was not ever, ever, ever, to point a gun at another human being in his sight.  Didn't matter it was a toy - it was the concept.

On the other hand, when I was 12 a friend was given a .22 rifle for his birthday and when I mentioned that I could go shoot it, dad told mom that I needed to know how to handle and respect a gun so I could.  She wasn't happy about it, but Dad Had Spoken.  He rarely did, so when he did, his word was the 'law'.

So on this day when we remember those who did not make it home again, we watch leaders of various countries stand, in the rain to show respect, I think about my father.  And give thanks that he did come home again.  To provide an example of doing one's duty, even when one didn't really want to.  To respect others rights, but not put up with disrespect.  To help others, not put them down.

Thank you for your service dad, and all the others who also served including my father-in-law and family friends.,..

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Longest Journey...

...begins with a single step...

one of the projects included in The Intentional Weaver

Step by step.  Writing the words.  Polishing the words.  Polishing some more.  And yet more.  Designing samples to illustrate the words.  Weaving the samples.  Photos, photos, photos, diagrams.  More editing, more polishing.

Yesterday?  ISBNs.  This stands for International Standard for Book Number.  It is a way for publishers, libraries and bookstores to identify a very specific book.  Titles are not copyright-able so there are frequently books with the same or very similar titles.  But they will have unique ISBNs.

I am waiting on the publisher/printing company to get back to me with a quote on price and delivery of actual printed books.  This is one of the services they provide.  They will do individual print-on-demand and pdf versions, but they will also print multiple copies.

I had hoped to get this information before we left for Calgary, but nothing so far.  I'm assuming that other people who got their manuscripts together sooner than I did are getting their books printed in time for Christmas.  And therefore they are busy and haven't been able to get to my inquiry.  Yet.

However, I am working on an introductory offer which I hope will allow people to order before Christmas with post new year delivery.

Things are getting a bit crunchy in the deadline department, but hopefully the last edits will be done in the next day or two so that review copies can be sent out and the reviewers will be able to take a look and give their feedback.

In the meantime the sun is shining here, I have packing to do for the trip next week, plus a library book that is overdue but which I really want to finish before we leave.

I think I will take some time to sit in the window, enjoy the sun, and read for a wee while.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Life, Re-Imagined

I have always been someone who had a plan.  Who then set that plan into motion.  When I ran into roadblocks, there was usually some way around them, under them, sometimes even...through them.

I was talking to a friend recently and I started working out when the last time was that I felt functional.  When I had drive and energy to implement the plan I was currently working on.

That isn't to say that over the years I haven't had issues, just that, given enough chemicals, I could keep going.  My last major setback prior to the time I last felt functional was 1994 when I was rear-ended. which meant a double whiplash injury to my neck.  The first one happened when I was 18 and was a side-to-side injury.  The one in 1994 was a front to back whiplash which meant my neck was really in bad shape.  But again, I did the therapy, took the chemicals and eventually (mostly) recovered from that even though it took several years.  Whiplash - the gift that keeps on giving...

So.  Last time I felt like a functioning human being?   2006.  Summer.

It had been a dream of mine to participate in large professional level craft fairs and I'd done all the big ones in western Canada.  I finally felt like I had enough experience and enough energy to go for the gusto and try the big one in Toronto.  If we were going to fly all the way out there, it would have to be for the whole thing, not just four or five days.  Given the cost - air fare, hotel, food, booth fee, I needed X dollars worth of inventory.  So I set to with a will and in the space of 7 weeks over the summer, wove nearly 200 scarves.  No that's not a typo.  Four scarves a day, every day for 7 weeks.  On top of what I already had in inventory, plus what I wove after that. 

By the end of the year, however, I wasn't feeling great.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing - 20/20 - and I now realize that by the end of 2006 I was beginning to have symptoms of cardiac blockages.  Fatigue, shortness of breath on exertion - written off to allergies/asthma.

By the end of 2007 the fatigue was extreme.  I'd stopped buying clothing because I felt sure I wouldn't be able to wear them out.  I joked with a friend that one day Doug would come home and find me propped up in the loom, dead. 

I tend to gallows humour, what can I say.

Thing was, I really actually felt that I wasn't going to be around for much longer, but without having much in the way of symptoms specific enough to indicate what I was dealing with.

The end of February 2008 my younger brother died, quite suddenly, at work.  The coroner phoned me after the post mortem to say that his heart had been so filled with cholesterol that even if he'd been in hospital when he collapsed, they could have done nothing for him.  Then she asked if this was common in the family and I said yes.  "Then" she said "you need to go get checked out."

On May 9 (our anniversary) I was on the table in Vancouver having three stents installed - 80, 70 and 60% blockages (with lots more little ones). 

Since then I have had 10 years of various and sundry health issues.  Each time I felt I was back on the road to recovery, something else would go 'wrong' and I would have to deal with that issue - do the tests, take the drugs, go to therapy.  And after each one, my life was more constrained.  I had less energy, less drive, less incentive to pick up the pieces.

It has been 10 years of watching the horizons of my ability to do things shift, closer and closer, smaller and smaller.  It has been 10 years of accepting the new 'normal' and trying to adjust my expectations of what I can and cannot do.  What I am willing to fight to get back - if I even could.

The older I get, the more my body is breaking down, sometimes in quite unexpected ways.  Healing takes longer.  Pain lingers longer.  Energy is not to be found, some days.

Inside I still feel like I'm 34 but outside?  I am all of my 68 and counting years.

On the other hand, I'm still here to do the counting.  My brother, and many others, aren't.

When I started the cancer drug it was a long adjustment period and in the end the dose kept being reduced until there was no more reduction to be had.  Then I hoped that my body would get used to it and that the adverse effects would become less annoying.  Less of a hindrance.

Well, I've been on the lowest possible dose since spring, so about six months.  This, it appears, is as good as it is going to get.

Acceptance means that I no longer chide myself when I simply cannot do something.  Or at least, not as much.  Acceptance means that I adjust my expectations of what I can and cannot do and begin to say no to things, no matter how interesting they might be.  Right now I am working through a series of deadlines that I set up about two years ago (or more).  Long ago enough that I was a lot more functional than I am right now.  They all seemed imminently do-able at the time.  Not so much now.

So instead of ramping up plans for the coming year or two, I am not seeking any more events to add to my schedule.  I have officially 'retired' from teaching for guilds.  I no longer have the energy to scramble to find a guild or group of guilds to bring me into an area, then deal with workshop handouts, sending out yarns/instructions, booking flights and making travel arrangements, never mind the on-the-ground transportation and the long days, strange beds, shifting time zones and jet lag.

As I re-imagine my life, I am looking for ways to keep weaving down my stash but also cutting back the travel involved in doing large sales.  We are doing Calgary instead of Vancouver this year so that we would have a week of rest between the one last weekend and leaving for Calgary.  I may - or may not - do an out-of-town show next year.

While Ms Editor puts the final touches on the ms, I am working on my marketing plans.  Thank goodness for the internet!

Once the Calgary show, the trip to San Jose and pushing the button to publish is over, I have a weaving job lined up for December, and then in January the registration for the conference will go live.  I have also heard from some of the Olds students that they hope to ship their homework over the winter.  So I will be plenty busy with conference, marking and stash reduction through the spring.  And hopefully shipping books.

Today I have been number crunching and working on an introductory offer.  I have heard the requests and will work towards filling those requests, as best I can.

But as for adding more to my plate beyond the conference?  Semi-retirement is beginning to look really, really attractive...

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Two yarns.  Both cotton.  Both weighing in at 3360 yards per pound.  Are they the same?  Are they?

This is the sort of thing I am hoping to spotlight in The Intentional Weaver, for those people who want to really understand what they are doing, perhaps design their own textiles, and are looking for answers to the question, why?  Why does this yarn behave differently than that yarn.  Why does this weave structure have a different epi/ppi than that one?  How is it possible to take one yarn, use different densities and wind up with a range of different qualities of cloth?  Why is this loom (rising or jack action) different from that loom (sinking or counter balanced loom) - and why does it matter?

How come my selvedges are never as good as I would want them to be?  Why is my beat so inconsistent?  How can I weave longer without having pain? 

So many questions.

Many of them I have addressed in this blog, but blog posts are not A Book.  Writing a blog post is not the same as trying to write what is essentially a textbook.  Technical writing is difficult and clarity of text is essential.

With a blog, people can ask questions and I can answer (if I see their questions, which I may not do right away).  With a book?  Perhaps not so easy to get questions answered.

While I have been on the internet for a while (1994 - remember dial up handshakes?  I do!) and my email address is pretty easy, not everyone is comfortable emailing a stranger.  So questions may go unanswered - unless I provide as much information as I possibly can within the covers of the book.

One of the things that has changed since 1994 is that there are now digital versions of books plus there are print-on-demand options.

A number of people have commented here and on other social media, expressing their preferences and I have listened.  Ms Editor and I have been messaging back and forth and we are coming up with A Plan that I hope will satisfy most peoples requests.  More on that Dec. 2.

Several people have wondered why I haven't gone the 'established publisher' route.  There are a number of reasons.  Today I was talking with someone who wondered the same thing.  I explained that the book is geared towards a narrow slice of what is already a niche market.  When I published Magic in the Water, I had 1000 copies of the text pages printed.  I very much doubt that I will sell anywhere close to that many of The Intentional Weaver.  I cannot, in any case, afford to go to a printer and (vanity press fashion) have 1000 copies printed.  And then assemble them.  Store them.  Ship them.  It took about 10 years to sell 1000 copies of Magic.  I don't want to have boxes and boxes of TIW hanging around. 

However, with print-on-demand options, I can buy in a smaller number of professionally printed and bound books and offer them to a select audience.  And so today I gathered courage in hand and sent an email to the website where Magic is available, and asked for a quote on printing a 'small' run of The Intentional Weaver. 

Stay tuned...

Currently reading The Witch Elm by Tana French

Friday, November 2, 2018


This morning I commented on Facebook that one of the things I was bringing to the craft fair was my knitting.

Someone objected that craftspeople who want to sell their things must not do such things because they must engage with their customers.

Happens that I agree completely with that observation.

I always take a corner position (when ever possible) and set up so that there is good flow through traffic.  My textiles need to be hung up as much as possible.  I always have a mirror so that potential customers can see how a scarf/shawl will look, worn.

I try very hard to say 'good morning' or 'hello' at the very least, pointing out the mirror for try-ons or volunteering the information that the place mats and tea towels are machine wash and dry.

But I am an introvert.  Engaging with so many people all day long, in noisy, sometimes crowded venues?  Is very wearing on me.  It sucks the energy right out of me.  And then the times when it's so quiet that people are not even coming into the booth I get very anxious.

Over the years I have found that if I just bring my knitting bag with me - even though I may never actually touch the knitting - my anxiety is much less.  I might only knit while I am on a break.  I might pull it out and knit during the first or last hour of the show because I'm usually buried in the back of the hall and it takes about an hour for people to walk through the show and get to me.

Even if I do succumb to the knitting, I never bring anything complicated, nothing that I can't put down mid-row, nothing that I have to count for decreases or yarn overs.  The kind of knitting I bring to a show is straight knitting aka garter stitch.  If I can keep my hands busy fidgeting with needles and yarn, I can focus on the task at hand instead of wishing I were anywhere but there.  And I can easily lift my eyes and say hello - and keep on knitting.

I also do not sit in an 'ordinary' chair.  We keep a tall stool that we perch on.  This allows us to take the weight off our feet but still remain close to eye level.

So while I agree wholeheartedly with the admonition to engage with the customers?  I also know how to sooth my nerves while I do so.

Ultimately, until my textiles are sold, the job isn't done.

Thursday, November 1, 2018


Standard 2:2 twill - enter shuttle from right hand side and the threads will all weave into the cloth.

Twill with basket weave selvedge.  

I routinely thread twill from the rear most shaft coming forward to the front.  The tie up is as shown (for either counter balanced or jack/rising shed looms) and I treadle beginning on the right side of the treadles, entering the shuttle from the right to the left.

Some people don't like a twill selvedge for some reason, so it is possible to do a half basket weave selvedge.  But it still means a two thread 'float' at the selvedge.

The only time you need to use a floating selvedge for twill is if the direction of the diagonal changes -  in other words, you change the direction of the twill line.  In this instance I use a herringbone or dornick threading and treadling.

By skipping an end in the sequence you wind up with a slight line at the reverse in both threading and treadling, but you don't need the floating selvedges because the ends on the selvedge will not drop out when the twill direction is changed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Friends are those who, when you only see the darkness, will light a candle for you.  When beset by doubts, they will lift you up.  When you need a hug, will hold you in their thoughts if they cannot physically reach you.

To everyone who responded to my survey - thank you for responding.  You have lit enough candles to help me see my way...

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

No Perspective

As I mentioned previously, after wringing my brains out for the better part of four + years, off and on, I became completely devoid of of any kind of perspective on what I had done.

Today I took a wee look at the manuscript and - while there is still work to be done - and I'm not entirely sure - still - that it is going to be of use to people, I'm in way too deep to stop now.

Ms Editor has 'notes to self' sprinkled throughout and I can see where she is going with those notes.  However a book is a static thing and weaving is active.  How well will my words and the photos illustrate what I am trying to convey?

I just don't know.


However, I do have the DVD that was done for Interweave Press.*  I am hoping that between the book, the DVD, the video clips I've loaded onto You Tube and these blog posts, that people will be able to figure things out and find the best practices for their own approach to weaving.

Ms Editor has commented that it might be possible to embed live links to the You Tube videos for the pdf version and/or provide the URLs for the print version so that people can go look if they want to see the actions.

And this is one reason why I hired professional help.  I have learned over the years to do some things on the internet, but this sort of thing (embedding video links, publishing something like a book for on line purchase) is way above my pay grade!

Several people have asked about the print version of the book, what kind of format it will be.

We are looking at 8 x 10" page size and there are options for soft cover and hard cover.  Of course hard cover will cost more, but it might be possible to have three or four formats - a pdf/Kindle, soft cover, hard cover.

Each format would have it's own price of course and some time and effort will be required to figure it all out.  I think each format also needs it's own ISBN number and once the ms is 'done' and sent out to the review readers, perhaps there will be time to get those things sorted out.

As mentioned previously I have been convinced to offer a pre-publication opportunity.  It won't exactly be 'pre-publication' as much as it will be a chance for me to order in a significant number (thank you to all who took the time to respond on my survey) of printed books and have them shipped to me for signing.  I would then ship to those people who 'pre-ordered' from me.  Printing a larger number of books takes several weeks so they would be shipped out sometime in late January, early Feb, depending on when they arrive here.

There may also be an additional incentive to purchase directly from me in the pre-pub opportunity - still working on that.

Once the actual ms is completed and sent out for the reviewers, there may be more tweaks to be done based on feedback, plus I may have opinions/feedback of my own.  Apparently I have opinions.  I'm sure you'd never have guessed!

My flight to meet for the final view/editing is booked for Nov. 27, which was my father's birthdate.  We are still hoping to push publish on Dec. 2, which was my brother's birthdate.  That will give several days for the two of us to sit and review the entire thing and then...leap...

And before I forget -

One of the things I have been asked about is wholesale orders for shops.  Once I have final pricing figured out, I will work out a wholesale price for shops and they can order from me as part of the pre-pub order that I will be putting in.  Stay tuned...

Currently reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

* wait until a sale comes along, which they do especially around holiday time...

Monday, October 29, 2018

Thoughts on Publishing a Book

My little library with electric stapler used to staple the samples into Magic in the Water

One of the things I did in high school was take typing and a class called Office Practices.  The latter class looked at various things one might do if they were working in an office -  double entry bookkeeping, using a calculator (before there were digital ones), maintaining files, working on large projects that required research (pre-Google).  I also acted as editor of the school newspaper, writing and typing the content onto Gestetner stencils.

When I left high school I worked a variety of jobs, mostly office work because I had the training in terms of typing, filing, bookkeeping, developing a budget, reading financial statements and so on.

So when I became a weaver I already had experience in running big printing jobs, researching for big projects, knew how to touch type at a fairly decent correct words per minute.

It wasn't that big a stretch to begin developing class handouts for workshops and writing magazine articles.

Over the years, I was involved in conference planning and execution, flying all over the continent teaching, organizing materials and handouts for the classes.  In other words, developing and executing multiple Big Projects.  Frequently concurrently.

I started the Guild of Canadian Weavers master weaver program, where once again I had to think through and successfully execute the course requirements, then for the final level research and execute a paper.  In those days it was called a monograph.  (Several published books were developed out of the monograph master weavers wrote for the guild tests - Linda Heinrich, Jane Evans, and mine being just three.)

So it wasn't that huge a leap from monograph to deciding - at the urging of many - to turn my research on wet finishing into Magic in the Water.

As part of that publication I decided that the most valuable thing I could do was provide before and after samples to illustrate the change that happens when you do a+b+c and then wet finish it so that people could see and touch the loom state and the wet finished samples.  I felt that this would convince people of the necessity of doing wet finishing (and maybe help them understand why I use the term wet finishing instead of 'washing'.)

At the same time as I was planning, writing and weaving the samples I was also production weaving for a fashion designer as well as myself.

I will be completely honest.  Not only was it hard physically, it was hard financially and emotionally.

Eventually I stopped counting how much the creation of Magic actually cost because it had grown like the proverbial Topsy and to really know just how much it cost in terms of money was too scary.  By then I had invested too much to stop and denial was the only way forward.

My goal was 1000 copies.  I started with 20 projects, before and after samples.  Typical warp was 40 yards, 48" wide.  Eventually I would add some more as I tried to sell all of the copies.  In the end I sold about 900 complete (or enhanced) copies and 100 went as reduced project samples copies (or donations.)

When asked when my next book would be I would say "Not in this lifetime!"

And yet.  And yet.  Here I am.

This time the internet is a thing.  Websites for on line publishing are available.  The topic doesn't require actual samples, but colour photos are 'easy' and people can have a choice between pdf or print-on-demand.

The content of The Intentional Weaver is not meant to be a 'how to learn to weave' but tips on how to get better results by explaining - as best I can - the science of textile creation.  Of explaining how things work.  Whenever I have taught I find that if people are told why something is happening, they can better understand how to change what they are doing in order to get closer to what they are aiming for.  How to make intentional choices instead of just doing anything they can think of.  (Which isn't bad, just not my approach to textile design - others may have differing opinions.)

By helping people understand the mechanics of the equipment, the inherent fibre characteristics and how spinning can affect those characteristics, how the change in density will affect the function of the cloth and basic info on understanding weave structures, I hope to help people along the slippery end of the learning curve.  To make things less frustrating, more enjoyable.  By providing information on ergonomics, to reduce discomfort and even possible injury.

But most of all, I hope to encourage people to learn as much as they can and work with intention - if they feel that is appropriate to their practice.

I spent the better part of four years (in between various health crises - my own and my mother's) wringing my brain out onto the paper.  It was about this time last year (likely on the way to the cancer clinic to find out that yes, indeed, the cancer was back again) that I found myself in tears, completely unable to even look at the manuscript.  The decision to hire a professional editor was not made in haste - it was another level of expense I would have to build into the investment I would need to make into bringing this information to people.  But again - I had spent too much time and energy to give up when I was now close enough to see that I could not afford to stop, again.  As I had with each health crisis.  This was just one more and I didn't have to do it All By Myself - there were resources out there who could help.  And I needed the help.

So I turned the manuscript over to Ms Editor and I focused on weaving the textiles that I felt needed to be included to understand the weave structures I felt needed to be in the book.  And let the editor do her job.

The Intentional Weaver is, in it's way, almost as big a job as Magic.  There will not be samples, partly because I don't think I will live long enough to produce another Magic!  But I could write as completely and clearly as I could about the things that all weavers should (imho) need to know if they want to design and create their own unique textiles.

I have intimate knowledge about what goes into producing a book from a self-publishing point of view.  The concept through to planning, writing (editing, editing, editing for clarity), the photos required, the samples to illustrate, all the way through to marketing, shipping, so on and so forth.

I had originally vowed to not do any shipping this time because I was all too familiar with how much work shipping Magic was and with the website willing and able to do the shipping for me?  Why on earth would I do that.

Except people wanted to buy directly from me.

So I had a chat with Doug and he and I will do this as part of a pre-publication effort.  My editor has also encouraged me to do pre-publication offer as well as friends - it was not an easy decision, but with the support of Doug, we can do this together.

The website does no marketing as such for their authors, but they do provide marketing advice and some tools.  Since I have done this before - it is not my first ro-dey-o - I will likely put most of my effort into my known marketing connections.

I have asked several people if they will read the ms when it is ready and if they like it, provide a cover blurb.  Because it will be helpful if potential buyers have not just my perspective and word, but honest feedback from others.

For anyone not familiar with publishing, there is much work done that never sees the light of day.  People sometimes ask why books cost so much.  Why can't authors/teachers just share what they know?

Bottom line answer to that question is...authors/teachers have to eat, keep a roof over their heads, pay the electrical bill to keep their computers running, keep their vehicle running so they can take stuff to the post office, etc.  I don't know of a single weaving/spinning author/teacher who is independently wealthy.  So we have to charge for our work.  Because that is what writing/teaching is - work.  It is our work.  Our profession.

And as much as I would like to share for free?  I cannot.  You do have my word, however, that whatever price I put on it will be as low as possible.  The reality is that the retail price has to cover the investment I have and will make in terms of making the book, the percentage I will have to pay to for their service of providing bandwidth for the book, the print-on-demand price of them doing the printing, the financial fees (banking, Paypal, credit card fees) - and all those 'hidden' costs that businesses pay just to stay in business, like sales taxes (GST will be charged for in Canada purchases), accounting services, and so on.

This past weekend saw our first craft fair of the season.  I started the season low on inventory.  And while I didn't get as much weaving done as I'd hoped due to the fall and tearing up my knee pretty badly, I cannot focus on that.  There are two more shows to do.  I won't likely be able to get any weaving done now until after we are home from Calgary.  At which point it will be time to pack and leave for the final push for The Intentional Weaver.

We are still on track for Dec. 2.   And I fight against the doubt, uncertainty and fear of doing another book.  But my mother always called me stubborn.  And so I persist...because yes.  I am stubborn.  And I will do this thing.  I'm in too deep to stop now.  Sink or swim time...