Thursday, December 12, 2019


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


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


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 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.