Thursday, December 12, 2019

Acceptance



This photo is from a hike Mary and I took out to the Ancient Forest.  It was a test to see how well we each were faring after some health issues.  It was a fabulous day - not too hot, not too many bugs, and we both did better than we had any right to expect, given how sick we had each been for the previous couple of years.

When I talk about acceptance, many people interpret that as giving up.  As though looking at what one is going through and accepting the current reality is a defeat of some sort.

In reality, acceptance is powerful because when you clearly see where you are, what challenges you need to overcome, you can begin to plan a way forward.

Life is full of challenges.  Life is full of disappointments.  Grief.  Once one gets through the anger and grief stages, it becomes possible to buckle down and take up the challenge of moving forward from where you are.   If I constantly look back at where I was, what I have lost, I cannot move forward.

So it is again.  After a win with the cancer drug (unexpected remission), I was left with deficits from the adverse effects I had from the drug.  My activity horizons were shrinking and I was feeling weak and unable to continue my life as it was.

Not knowing if I could improve, or if (given my age) this was as good as it was going to get, I made the decision to a) replace my AVL with a loom I could more easily weave on and finally b) stop doing the shows so that I wouldn't have the deadline pressure of producing enough inventory to do those shows, plus I could shut my business down and stop needing to do the kinds of things such a business entails.

With those things either accomplished or underway (I think I'm getting friendly with the Megado and look forward to making some nice textiles on it) I was finally able to sit and think about my body - my actual current physical limitations. 

I am blessed with good doctors/medical professionals and was able to snag a very quick appointment with a doctor who treats chronic muscle pain.  On Tuesday I had my first treatment.  My muscles have been injured and overused through the decades, and I expect that the treatment will take some time before I see significant improvement, but I can say that there does appear to be something good happening.  My neck/shoulders will likely take longer because the damage is decades old and the patterns of work over use on top of actual injury may take a while to resolve.

But first I needed to assess where I was, physically, before I could begin to see a way forward.

Acceptance is not giving up.  Acceptance is saying, here is where I am.  Then asking, how can I move forward? 

Perhaps next time Mary comes in the summer we can hike the Ancient Forest again.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Tunneling


The Megado.  May be moved slightly for better access on the not computer side of the loom.  Still moving stuff onto the shelves in the back corner though, so it will stay where it is for now.


The middle part of the studio.  One shelving unit has silk, the other a miscellaneous collection of stuff.  To the left in the photo is the warping board.


The Leclerc Fanny, turned so that I now have natural light on the weaving.  


From the other side of the room showing new shelves for rayon chenille again, miscellaneous stuff.  There is also room for wound warps to be stored, although some cleaning still needs to be done.

While we are still in the tunnel, trying to get things re-homed, one way or another, a great deal of progress has been made and the studio is shaping up nicely.  There are lots and lots of shelves, and the goal is to abolish goat trails.  I think we are doing pretty well on that front.

Once we get rid of the last of the AVL parts and the cone winder, that will free up additional space to bring more stuff over from the annex.  Since I'm still paying rent on it, it might as well store the stuff until we have room for it here, rather than stack it willy-nilly creating goat trails.

Doug and his helper will shift about 6 fairly large boxes of yarn to the guild for their 'purchase by donation' pile.  It's mostly finer unmercerized cotton - 10/2 and 20/2 - things I don't foresee myself ever using.  I may add my small box of 2/20 merc. cotton to the pile at some point.  OTOH, it is lovely yarn and could be used to ply my handspun, or as a tabby weft if I should require one.  Or even on a warp of thicker yarn to create a lighter, more drapeable fabric.  So, since it is just a small box, I'll keep that - for now.

Doug should have a helper on Sunday for the next big push.  If there is time, they will install new light fixtures.  With my cataracts growing, better light is going to become increasingly necessary and the new light fixtures fit closer to the ceiling.

But everything takes longer than expected.  I'm glad we started this a few months ago.  It has been stressful enough, trying to fit everything in, Doug building new shelves as we go, trying to figure out what to keep, what to get rid of.  There is a contingency plan for the press should no one offer it a home.  There are still empty shelves for things like my teaching samples and lace supplies.  The teaching samples will come over next week and I will condense the bins, and sort them out in the new year.  Once the next set of shelves is built, the bins of lace supplies can come over.  

After those bins are cleared out, it will be much easier to sort through the rest and decide what to do with the last of it.

However, the tunnel digging seems to be going well and 2020 should begin with a nice 'new' studio space to work in, a lot more comfortably.

Currently reading The Reality Bubble by Ziya Tong.  I will probably do a review once I'm further into the book, but she's a really good writer if you like excellent use of language and compelling stories to illustrate points.



Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Memories



The thing about reaching a (ahem) significant milestone age (coming up in six months for me) is that you have a lot of memories because you've done quite a few things.

You remember big chunks of your past.  The dreams you had, the events you attended, the people you met.

When you are a 'young immortal', you don't think too much about the toll what you do is having on your body.  All your life your body has withstood injury, healed and you just...carried on.  No harm, no foul.

The problem is when you suddenly realize that...you aren't a young immortal anymore and there has been a lot of harm over the years.  Eventually that harm cannot be healed entirely and you have to come to grips with the reality that you are now entering the territory of the 'old'.

People scoff at me when I say I am now officially old.  I saw a doctor today who chuckled at my saying that now I was 69 it was time to retire.  I appreciated the sentiment, but the fact remains - I am no longer a young immortal.

However, I am privileged to live in Canada in the 21st century.  I have benefited greatly from our universal healthcare (e.g. the treatment I got today has already improved things and I didn't pay anything out of pocket for the doctor visit.)   I will soon get hearing aids, which I will have to pay for, as I pay for my eye glasses and the prescriptions that keep me going.

I have had life saving surgery and chemotherapy.  And I am still here to complain about my body breaking down, failing me in ways that distress me, but come to most people at some point in time.  I've been fortunate that it came to me as late as it did, given I was production weaving up until not very long ago.

The doctor asked me a lot of questions before doing the treatment and was happy to hear that when I say I'm retiring, I'm not about to sit on the sofa and eat bon-bons.  What I am doing is cutting away the parts of my life that no longer bring me joy, and haven't for quite some time.  While I enjoyed the fellowship of other creative folk at the craft fairs, I'm an introvert and making nice trying to convince people to buy my textiles was not much fun.  At all.  The preparations, the cost, the never knowing if there would be sufficient sales to cover the costs of doing the shows - costs that only ever go up - and the physical toll of standing for 6 to 10 hours a day just wasn't at all enjoyable.  Ever.  Driving through the mountains on tight deadlines in winter weather?  Not fun.

So I come across photos of myself from long ago and far away and I remember that person.  I remember her very well.  But I am no longer her.  I am older.  Wiser.  I hope.  I have accomplished so much more than I ever expected.

When mom was in hospital being told that the only thing that they could do for her was transfer her to hospice, she looked down at her hands in her lap, then looked up at the doctor and said "I've had 90 years, 85 of them were good."

If I can go out with the same attitude, I will be happy.

In the meantime, the new treatment today is looking promising and after months of my activity horizon shrinking, I told the doctor that I felt I might be able to get my life back again.  No, not the life of that 30 something person, but the life I had two years ago, before the wheels began to fall off.

And if not, I will happily take any improvement at all.

Your Body is a Car Your Soul Drives Around


AVL Parts List



Last summer I decommissioned my 1981 vintage Production Dobby Loom.  Since then I have been selling parts of it and have a bunch of parts left that might be useful for someone refurbishing a similar vintage 60" weaving width AVL.


AVL Parts List

All parts were used on a 60" Production Dobby Loom 

Sandpaper beam with gear-drive wheel (auto cloth advance - old style) and pawl gear to manually advance warp on under-slung beater

60" Sandpaper beam with cheese-grater wrapped surface for weaving with rayon chenille

Not interested in the beams themselves?  I would consider selling the gears separately.  They are 1) new and 2) very lightly used.  I purchased two new gears in an effort to keep the loom functioning but in the end decided the loom was too worn out to save - or at least not without a whole lot more money tossed into the money pit.

Would also consider removing the cheese-grater metal and selling that separately.

Sandpaper beam crank/handle to manually advance beam

2 small 14 tooth gears and axles to drive sandpaper beam by auto cloth advance.
        1-new and 1-near new.

#35 chain about 51" (old style auto advance)

Brake Arm with cable and adjustable weight

Warp beam crank/handle

2 of 60" sectional 1-yard warp beams, 1" sections (made with Leclerc rakes) 


There are also parts from the air assist, the under slung beater with four fly shuttle boxes, but those things were heavily modified by Doug and may not be suitable for someone else unless they are content with piecing things together. 
Contact Doug for more information on the air assist: doug dot fry at telus dot net

I also have the complete set up for the mechanical dobby system.  I kept it in case the Compu-Dobby failed and I needed to get back to weaving while repairs were done.  Then when I changed to air assist, I kept all the cams, cables and the treadles.

Email me for more information.  Beams would have to be shipped by courier and Doug would need a crating fee added to the price.

As always, my email is laura at laurafry dot com

While I am shutting down my business I have decided to keep my website and my easy to remember email address.  :)

Monday, December 9, 2019

Snow Globed

Snow globe with winter landscape


This week has started off the way my days seem to be starting lately.

Yesterday I made a plan.  I was going to do x, y and z.  If I got done with those, I had a few other small tasks that I wanted to clear off my desk and mind.

Things started well enough and then?  Snow globe happened.  My nice tidy task list got up ended and instead of my nice neat straight line of x, y and z, I did k then b, then j, then vegged waiting to see if my trip to town was going to happen at 1 pm.  Um, nope.  It was nearer 2:30 before I finally got in the truck and headed to the post office and the library.  But since those two things were actually y and z, I'm not exactly on track, but at least feel like I managed to clear those off and out.

Doug and his helper just now came in and carried the shelving down to the studio so I won't be working on the Megado today at all.  Instead I'm going to wind the warp for the special order place mats.  I won't be able to do anything more than wind the warp, but at least that will be a start, and will likely take me until after 4 pm, by which point I rather suspect my energy is going to run out. 

Last night I set out another puzzle and frittered away some time on that this afternoon waiting for the van to come back.  I should have (shoulda/woulda/coulda) been winding the warp, but since I can't get to the work table anyway, I decided to just take some down time.  I can't say I regret it.

It's another grey dreary day.  Fiddling with coloured bits of cardboard seemed like the right thing to do.  But I now have five library books, all of them due in three weeks.  I think a couple of them can be renewed (the others are brand new) so they will go to the bottom of the pile.

But in the meantime?  I have a warp to wind.  Time to go work on w - for warp winding...

Opportunity Knocking


Having no plan in place but simply to finish shutting down the business and move out of the annex, I have steadfastly been NOT making plans (other than teaching, if Olds wants to schedule me).

Over the weekend I got an email from a friend saying she had referred one of her friends to me because they wanted some place mats and she had no time to make anything.  With her recommendation that they were a good client, I was interested to see if they would follow up.

When the email dropped into my inbox, I decided that I could make place mats as a special order, but not in time for Christmas giving and suggested that the recipient of the gift be presented with a gift certificate.  I said that I probably would need to order in colours as I am 'low' on yarn inventory.  (Well, low for me.  I had already drawn up a fill in order for Brassard and said I'd hold it in case.)

Turns out I have the colours they want on hand so I have agreed to make place mats, but not in time for Christmas.

I had left December as free from deadlines as possible due to the studio stuff, plus the anticipated surgery on my foot - which has been put on hold - for reasons.  Which was actually a good thing because this down sizing and business shut down has taken way more of my time and energy than hoped.  Doug has been shouldering as much of the physical work as possible, which I am very grateful for, but there are still decisions to be made, things that I need to do.

At any rate, if the client agrees, I can actually wind a warp sometime today and begin setting up the Leclerc Fanny to weave them.  In the meantime I have orders of tea towels to ship, finish threading the warp on the Megado, stay out of Doug's way when he and his helper set up the shelving unit next to the Megado.  Working on the Leclerc would ensure I'm productive away from where they are working.  Win-win!

Now that we are seeing an actual end to the tunnel, sure enough, opportunity has come knocking.  I have learned that sometimes the knock is a gentle tap and if my brain squirrels are raging through my brain, the knock cannot be heard.  Sometimes a little quiet is what is needed. 

If I had to articulate what I hope from this retirement gig, it would be that I have enough quiet in my life to hear and respond to opportunities that may come my way.  OTOH, I have also learned in my life that saying 'no' is a perfectly acceptable response.  I have also learned that 'no' is a complete sentence.




Sunday, December 8, 2019

Biding Time



As we approach the winter solstice, I find myself wanting to, well, I suppose hibernate would be the word. 

To everything there is a season and during the season of winter it seems appropriate to dial back and rest, regroup, pause, reflect.  Wait for spring.  Biding time for the equinox and the re-growth of all things as we move through the circle/cycle of the seasons.

Doug has been working diligently on helping with the annex move out and we now have a list of the AVL parts that will be posted soon.  I've just sent the list to one weaver as she recently acquired an elderly AVL and needs to refurbish it.  Once she has spoken for any parts she needs, the list will be posted here.  Then announced to WeaveTech in case there are others who may need to refresh their older AVL PDL style looms.

We got some snow, finally, which was welcome.  It wasn't the big dump they were warning about, which is also welcome.  A few inches won't affect too many people and it does make the days brighter, helps protect plants and gives folk who like to play in the snow fresh stuff in which to ski, snow board, etc.  Personally I will appreciate the snow from inside the house.  :)

When I look at what is left and what still needs to be done to move out of the annex, it is actually looking do-able.  While I had hoped to be out by the end of this month, the end of next is a more realistic deadline and with help promised this coming week, the bulk of the annex should be cleared out very soon.

We have someone thinking about the steam press and we have a self-loading truck lined up to remove it and some other things, regardless of the press being sold.  Thank goodness for a small town and knowing lots of people who have resources.  Or know someone who knows someone.

And that is the thing, really.  We are all just interconnected circles of people who know other people.  Every one of us gets through this life through the help of others.  John Donne had it nailed when he said "No man is an island".  And that is so true.  Unfortunately we forget this.

Society/culture is made up of individuals who come together to work for the good of all.  The difficulty seems to be when that good is kept in reserve for the 'us' while not caring about the welfare of the 'others'.

We do not know the entirety of the story of what someone else is going through.  In the absence of that knowledge, the best approach is to be kind.  There is a meme on Facebook (yes, I'm on Facebook) that said "Just because someone carries it well doesn't mean it isn't heavy".

Be kind.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Tip Jar

Laura's Tip Jar





So, after much thought I am going to suggest that if someone should feel inclined to support me in my retirement, they can send tips to my tip jar

I have tried the Google ads on this blog, but frankly I'm getting annoyed with Google generally and as suspected, it really hasn't been worth having them on the blog given how annoying some of the ads are.

I have looked at opening a Patreon account, but the whole point of 'retirement' is to reduce deadlines and I don't want to feel like I must create content for subscribers.   Plus I hate hiding what I am doing behind a paywall.  So to speak.

I thought about putting a donation button on my blog, but that is only for non-profits.

So instead I am going to do this - for a while.  If anyone feels like they want to contribute to me, it would be greatly appreciated.

Shutting down the studio, getting rid of stuff at pennies on the dollar, means my income has  been significantly affected.  Now, I freely admit, I'm Canadian and health insurance is not going to be one of my issues.  But I do live in the 'north' and heating bills are going through the roof as temperatures plunge.  Not to mention all the other bills that are going to continue - lights, utilities, etc.  And I am considering traveling to Knoxville to hang around Convergence and visit with friends.  A little money to set aside for travel would be very welcome, indeed.

So - no pressure.  Just if anyone feels so inclined.  Rest assured that I will continue to blog, to share my journey, regardless - for as long as I am able.


Transitions



Four decades of cultivating a particular mindset means there is a fairly lengthy re-thinking involved as I transition to...whatever comes next.

A new tool requires new processes.  New processes mean that things go more slowly, more carefully, more methodically, as new neurons are created, new pathways burned into the old way of doing things.

There were many things to love about the AVL and I miss my old processes, I do.  But that time is done now and it is time for new ways of working.  While the Megado is a loom, it has it's own, personality, shall we say?

In the end I opted to keep my AVL tension box, for a number of reasons but I don't think marrying that old piece of kit into the new is detrimental.  I kept it for several reasons and I think it was a good decision.

This is warp number four on the loom.  I'm very far behind where I wanted/expected to be.  This year turned out to be way more stressful than anticipated with the message being driven home loud and clear - time to shut down the business of the studio and accept the new reality.

But after 40+ years of focusing on efficiency and speed and production?  It's been a real challenge to accept that things must go more slowly, more thoughtfully.  That output is not the priority anymore.

Once again I am trading speed for longevity.

My task list gets snow globed, pretty much daily at this point.  OTOH, I am nearly ready to post the list of AVL parts I am hoping to sell.  Tea towels have been selling (thank you, all).  The next set of shelves (the last set, although there may be one more to be squeezed into the studio - time will tell as stuff gets sold/shifted) should be installed Sunday/Monday.  I have decided to sort through the boxes of yarn left and there may be a significant amount that will be donated to the guild.  Or not.  It will depend on how cramped I feel once the yarn has been moved here and unpacked.

I will be placing a small fill in order of 2/8 and 4/8 cotton to Brassard.  The 4/8 is for the beginning weaving classes in Feb.  Still four spots in the second class Feb 15/16 should anyone be interested.

Hopefully I will hear soon about the Olds classes I have said I would be interested in teaching in 2020.  Class prep needs to be done and Jan/Feb are looking very busy.  (Retirement?  Howzat workin' for ya?)   Boxes of homework should begin arriving in the new year, I have company for the last two weeks of January, possibly two other lots as well, possibly another in early Feb.

My mother always said she didn't know how she found time to work, she was so busy after retirement.  I rather suspect that retirement for me will be much the same.  Retirement for me means stopping the things in my life that no longer bring me joy so that I can have more time for the things that do.

And I now have five (count 'em - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5!) library books waiting to be picked up.  Feast or famine...

Friday, December 6, 2019

Snow Day



Today is a snow day.  For us that doesn't mean we all rush to the store to buy bread and milk but instead grab our heavy coats, put on our boots, make sure that the block heater is turned on.  Both vehicles have snow tires on and the truck, at least, has a shovel in the back of the cab.  The van may, too.  I didn't check to see.  When we go on road trips, the tire chains are tossed into the back along with the road side emergency kit.  Mind you, the kit is almost always in the back of the van, because you just never know...

Today I am going to head to town as soon as I get the parcels packaged up and pop them into the mail.  (Thank you to those who have purchased tea towels.  I'm very grateful.)

Yesterday we took a look at what needs doing to continue the move out of the annex.  Doug has been using the annex to re-build shelves so it's a bit of a mess, but when you look beyond that, he has made good, steady progress.

There are 15 large boxes of yarn, 5 of which are earmarked for charity shops.  The rest will come here next week once the next set of shelves gets installed in the studio.  Then I'll unpack, sort and see what else will head to...somewhere else.  Some of it may wind up in the donation heap at guild for purchase by donation. 

Once that is done, the bins of lace supplies and teaching samples will come over.  I have no idea where those will go, other than perhaps stacked in corners.  Lace supplies are really hard to find (here - almost everything has been purchased mail order - or gifts of hand painted bobbins from my friend who died earlier this year - there is no way I'm getting rid of those right now.)  My teaching samples are mostly applicable to the Olds program, so instead of getting rid of them, I will keep them.  But they will get sorted into their appropriate levels.

Level one is about wool, with a heavy emphasis on wet finishing.  So all those samples I used for my workshops will be kept as examples for level one.  Level two is about cotton, double weave, twill and overshot.  I have colour gamps to illustrate the colour portion of level two.  Level three looks at weave structures like Summer and Winter, lace weaves and so on, plus silk and linen.  So my samples of those things will be kept for level three.

I don't know if I will ever teach level four.  It's about colour and design and while I could do it, it would definitely be a stretch for me because I'm not an intuitive colour/design person.  However, I have learned various tools/tricks over the years.  And maybe that is really what needs to be conveyed?  I don't know.  At any rate, there are woven samples of things like colour and weave effects - log cabin, shadow weave, etc., so I would definitely want to keep those.

This afternoon I will begin beaming the next warp onto the Megado.  The draft is ready, I know how long/wide it will be, the tubes of 2/16 cotton are already set up on the rack.  All I have to do is gird my loins, set up the supplemental light and start.  During rest breaks I will go through the Brassard catalogue and figure out a fill-in yarn order of 2/8 cotton.  Maybe some 4/8 because we have a full class of beginning weaving plus two more in a second class.  I probably should have more yarn on hand for the classes! 

I have also (or will - need to address those padded envelopes) cleared off the dining room table.  I am going to give myself permission to start making jigsaw puzzles.  I have a bag of them here, plus three boxes at the annex.  If I make them, I can pass them along to a friend.  :) 

And I can practice being 'retired'...

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Selling my Work part III

These are the last of the tea towels/kitchen towels I will be posting.




These are both half linen, but the darker blue/green is a heavier linen weft, most likely tow.  It is thicker and of a quality I refer to as a kitchen utility towel.  The other is woven with  a lighter weight linen and is thinner, more suitable to drying dishes.  Both are $38 each.  There are 11 of the heavier ones, 10 of the lighter ones.


The colour in the foreground one looks a bit on the greenish side.  It's actually natural beige linen.  It is 50/50 linen/cotton and tea towel weight.  The other is 20% linen/80% cotton and thicker.  There are 4 of the darker rose and 13 of the lighter weight.  $32 for the 20% linen, $38 for the 50/50 linen/cotton.


Both of these are 50/50 linen/cotton, but again, the weft in the darker one is that (likely) tow linen and therefore a heavier weight.  If I remember correctly the other is based on the Star of Bethlehem or other traditional overshot pattern that I converted to twill blocks  There are 11 of the darker/heavier weight towels and 9 of the lighter ones.  Both $38.  

Orders over $90 are shipped for free by Canada Post until Dec. 31.  I'm not seeing any huge build up of lines at the post office yet so that probably means there isn't a huge influx of packages either.  So many people buy on line these days I wonder how much the post office parcel volume has shrunk!  All the better for those of us who do still send by mail!

Doug is pressing the shawls and I have administrivia to deal with - my November ledger needs balancing and the provincial sales tax for November remitted.  After I send that in, I may sit and read my library book.  I now have three books ready to be picked up at the library.  Time to finish this one.

I didn't sleep well again last night and I'm tired.  Plus it's a grey dreary day.  I think sitting in the recliner, maybe with a cup of tea, sounds like just the carrot to help me deal with my books.  :)

Currently reading A Capitol Death by Lindsey Davies.  I love her characters, her sarcastic wit, her compassion, and attention to historical detail.  Highly recommended if you enjoy those things, too.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Scramble




It's been a bit of a slow motion scramble, but about all I can manage right now.

Trying to shut a business down as you continue to run said business is a...challenge...

Everything takes longer than expected.  Everything becomes more complicated than anticipated.

Then something happens and you snow globe all your plans again because something else has cropped up that needs to be done on a priority basis.

But I did finally - just now - finish the fringe twisting.  Doug and I had discussed the week and what needed to be done on Monday, then Tuesday those plans fell apart so we adjusted and he said he could go pressing on Thursday.  Not his first choice, but.

Moving pressing to Thursday meant a bunch of things had to be moved around and things I had wanted to do had to be shelved, but it also gave me an extra day to get the fringe twisting done in a way that would reduce the stress on my body, letting my back and hands rest more.

Tomorrow part of the priority is to do a video conference with someone interested in possibly purchasing the press so in the end scheduling pressing for Thursday actually worked out well.  She will be able to see how to start the press up and how it works.

I have managed to post some of the tea towels I have for sale but I also need to take photos of loom parts.  Once I've got those posted to my blog, I will put a notice on WeaveTech - both the group and the FB page, just in case someone can use them.

When I decommissioned the AVL, some people spoke up right away requesting parts.  Some of those have been re-homed, but I still have replacement gears and other things that could serve elsewhere.  Shipping is always a challenge with large items, but gears are only heavy, not big.  Those could easily be mailed.

Doug has pulled the gears plus I need to rummage to see what else might be of interest to other weavers.  I did have a box of industrial shuttles - part of a weaver's estate that I couldn't use in the AVL, but didn't know what else to do with them.  Someone asked about the Honex tensioners - a couple of them have something similar - or perhaps the shuttle as is would work for someone.  But where DID that box of shuttles go????  (my studio has been snow globed - a term I coined for the kind of disarray of completely and totally tossing everything into the air, not sure where things have landed.)

We have decided that the cables probably aren't worth anything but scrap.  Over the years we replaced or repaired them, but they are most likely stretched or at least aged enough that they probably aren't usable.  Doug will go through the air assist parts box and decide if he can sell those bits locally.  But there are foot air switches (need oil, not oil-less), and various other things that could be used elsewhere.  Not just for a loom, though, so might be easier to try and sell locally.  (They are not the same equipment as supplied by AVL.  We upgraded about 13 months after installing the original AVL air system - larger air hoses, different foot switches, adding an oiler.)

Hopefully we will be back on track next week and there will be another set of shelves installed.  Then more boxes of yarn can come over while several boxes will get delivered to one (or more) of the thrift shops.  Once that has been done we will have to do a serious examination of what is left, what we need to keep, what needs to be tossed.

My original deadline of 'out of the annex by Dec. 31' has also been snow globed.  The new deadline, written in stone, not to be moved, is Jan. 31.  By then the business will be officially shut down and I do not want to be paying rent on a space that isn't actually useful anymore.  2004(?) until 2019.  It was a good run.  But it's over.

Selling my Work part II


Snails trails and cats paws

2/16 cotton warp, cottolin weft.  20% linen, 80% cotton

mint-y green 3; gold (more yellow than brown as in the photo)  1


2/16 cotton warp, single linen weft; 50/50
star design, 1; wave design 10


Roses based on draft from A Joy Forever by Jane Evans

2/16 cotton warp, cottonlin weft; 20/80
gold (more yellow than the brown in the photo) - 3  minty green - 3


Same pricing as the ones listed yesterday:  cottolin weft $32 each, half cotton/linen $38 each.  Buy three, get free shipping.

I make my towels on the larger size and if they are too pretty to be tea towels, they also work as table centres.  Just sayin'.

Last week I gave a tea towel to one of the medical professionals who takes care of me.  I hadn't given her one before and she was taken aback to receive a gift.  But I have plenty, and it is a concrete way for me to express my gratitude at the care I have been receiving.  I know I have been very very lucky in having the care that has kept me alive.  

When she said it was too nice to use I told her that they were very usable, machine wash and dry and all.  She protested that she would keep it for something special.  I pointed out that every day is special because we are still alive.

At this point in time I think we might have one commercially made tea towel.  All the rest in the kitchen (and some in the other closet because we even use some for hand towels) have been made by friends - or seconds that I kept for myself.  Every time a fresh one gets pulled out, I remember the person who made it.  Some I purchased, but many were given as gifts to me.  And I treasure each and every one of them.

We are here for such a short time.  Every day is special.  Use the good china.  Eat the good chocolate.  Use the hand woven textiles.  And never, ever forget, that everything was made by hand until barely 200 years ago when things became more and more mechanized.

Christina Petty has written a marvelous article.  Even if you aren't a weaver (which I'm sure most of you are), I heartily recommend reading her article and think about the level of knowledge that human beings acquired in order to make the things we see on display in museums and consider 'treasure'.  

Celebrate every day.  Every day is special.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Selling My Work part I


Tea Towels


A heap o' towels.  Over the next few days I will be posting photos of some of them with prices and numbers available


 The ever popular design Snails Trails and Cats Paws.  These are 20% linen, 80% cotton.  Woven from 2/16 cotton for warp and 2/16 cottolin for weft, there are 4 of the blue and white, 6 of the blue/green.  Price is $32 each.



These are also 20% linen/80% cotton.  Also 2/16 cotton warp with 2/16 cottolin weft.  Again Snails Trails with 4 available and 1 of a design based on a draft in Jane Evan's A Joy Forever on Latvian weaving.  Also $32 each.




These are 50/50 cotton and linen.  Warp is turquoise 2/16 cotton (several shades) and a dark blue linen weft.  There are 7 available with a price of $38 each.

All tea towels are a generous size but may vary slightly due to pattern repeat.  

All are machine wash/dry, iron as desired.  Can be used as a tea towel or table centre - or whatever.



There are still copies of Weave a V.  $25.00

I was going to make free shipping on orders over $100 but changed that to orders over $90.  Canadian dollars, which makes that approximately $70 US.  So three towels gets you free shipping.  Offer good until Dec. 31, 2019.


Payment can be by e-transfer (Canadians only), cheque or Paypal (both Canada and US)

Email me to order or inquire about other colours:  laura at laurafry cot com

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Intentional Weaver



One year ago, I was with my editor pressing the button to launch The Intentional Weaver as a hardback and PDF file.

The intention (ha!) was to also provide a paperback version on the one year anniversary, but we hit a snag.  Blurb has a variety of book formats but their paperback is meant to be a photo book, not a paperback 'textbook' and the pricing on their photo/paper back was not only not cheaper than the hardback, it was substantially more expensive.

After all the work Ruth did to format TIW for paperback (because change one thing, everything can change - including text formatting), late last night we 'folded'. 

There will be no paperback version of TIW.  My desire to provide a cheaper version of the hard copy was not actually possible.

We also discussed an ebook version.  We decided that was redundant because the PDF version easily imports into Kindle already.  Numerous people have let me know that they have done it.  As I have.  I have a copy of TIW on my ipad and it loaded into Kindle just fine.

Hardbacks are also more durable than paperbacks, so in the long run, the hard back for a book that may be referred to often is a better value for someone's money than a paperback that might not stand up to textbook type of book handling.

People have emailed or told me in person that they frequently refer to specific sections of the book to refresh their memory on the process.  And this is exactly how I envisioned people would use the book - as a reference, a refresher, an aid to memory. 

There have been reviews of The Intentional Weaver in both Handwoven and Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot.  Maybe Santa needs to know if it needs to go on someone's Xmas wish list...

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Know When to Fold 'em


Create Joy



The Gambler


Over the years, my career/business has ridden the roller coaster of highs and lows, ups and downs.  There have been times when I have had to choose - continue bashing my head against the brick wall before me, or walk away.

Or as Kenny Rogers so famously sang "Know when to fold 'em". 

There are times when things just don't work.  Or for some reason they stop working when they had been working just fine before.

When it comes to selling something - any thing - the market can become saturated and the sales dry up.

This happened to me over and over again.   When I was younger and full of stubborn determination to make this work, I would fold and discontinue a design, a product, come up with something new.  A different design.  A different product.  A different approach. 

Cut my losses.

I am at that stage again, but this time I am not young.  I am not healthy (particularly - I'm certainly dealing with a damaged body), and I find myself unwilling to keep beating my head against all the things that it would take to continue doing this thing that I have loved for 4 decades.

So I am following Marie Kondo's advice - if it does not bring me joy, let it go.

I love the weaving.  The exploring of new techniques.  Even dressing the loom, and the hundreds of shuttle tosses.  I don't even mind the wet finishing all that much because it is The Final Step, bringing a collection of interwoven threads into one cohesive whole - cloth.  It truly can be magical, to see that transformation happen.

As for the traveling, I stopped loving that a long time ago.  But it was necessary so I did it.  I never did like the selling part and as the years scrolled by, I found myself liking it even less.  I'm an introvert and find dealing with the public wearing - exhausting, really.

So this afternoon when I packed up from doing the last show I will do as a separate entity, I had no regrets that it was The End.  It was more relief than anything. 

Doug is working on the next set of shelves which will hopefully be installed in the next couple of days.  I have fringe twisting to do and once that is done I will go back to the Megado and start dressing that loom with the next test warp.  See if I can do a longer warp with minimal tension issues.  If I can, then I can begin planning the next warp after that - more tea towels to use up more of the linen stash. 

I also have an order of place mats, but for that I need to place a yarn order.  As soon as Doug gets the things back from the guild room, I will drag the Brassard catalogue out and place a small (for me) fill in order.  I kind of banged through most of the usual colours I like to keep on hand, so I'd like to get an order into Brassard before they close for the holidays.

Some friends came by the guild room today, one with a 'retirement' gift, one with an early Xmas/retirement gift.  As soon as the fringe twisting is done, I will set out the puzzle board and spend some time vegging with jigsaw puzzles.  I got a couple of small puzzles done early in the year, but 2019 was such a stupid crazy year - launching The Intentional Weaver, launching the conference, then not feeling well for much of the summer and into the autumn.  I am hoping 2020 will prove to be a less stressful year, one in which I can begin to see healing happening in my body.  The reduction in stress, just finishing up the craft fairs, has been noticeable - and welcome.

Sometimes what we want isn't what is actually 'best' for ourselves.  Sometimes we have to fold 'em and have the dealer deal a new hand.