Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another Special Commission

Today I met with the rep from the local Ukranian dance troupe. I've done fabric for them in the past, and they needed new fabric for skirts. They also needed sashes and headbands.

I wove the skirt fabric above several years ago. It's actually a lot more orange than the photo shows. They need 5 more skirts and 5 sashes. They also want 12 head dresses, but to match the sashes.

So I have to do some number crunching tomorrow and put a yarn order in. I already ordered the yarn for the skirts because they need this by the end of May and since I'll be away the last two weeks of May, it all has to be done before I leave for the Alberta conference in Olds.

This is the other skirt fabric I've done for them. Thankfully they didn't need any more of this right now as it's very fiddly with four shuttles and I would have been hard pressed to get this woven!

I've just beamed a 40 yard black warp for throws. Guess my goal of only working 3 hours a day is going to get set aside for the next 6 weeks............. :)

Currently reading Whisper to the Blood by Dana Stabenow

Monday, March 30, 2009

All Squared Away

Here are the square cloths draped over the back of my sofa. The two on the outsides have the linen/rayon boucle for weft, the next two inside those on each side use the same ivory for weft as the majority of the warp, and the one in the middle is the cotton slub for weft.

The photo below is a bit of a close up.

The next step is to hem them, and then send photos to the client and see what he thinks. I have a woven sample of the one that is my personal favourite and which will let him see/feel the cloth. Whether it will meet his needs or not I won't know until I hear back. But in the meantime, I'm quite pleased with these.

The two that were woven in the block design are seconds and have already been sent to their new home. I may not pay my studio assistants very well, but they do get perks. (Or that should be 'perq' I suppose - short for perquisite.)

In the meantime the first student has come and chosen her yarn for the weekend and wound her warp. A lady after my own heart, she didn't even take off her coat before diving into the bucket of yarn! :D

And I started beaming a 40 yard warp for throws. I have an enormous amount of a high quality acrylic yarn that I have been knitting with, but knitting is way too slow to use up the quantities that I have so I'll do some throws. Nothing fancy, just a straight twill draw for structure and hems rather than fringes because I'm using up a bunch of black and dark blue 2/16 cotton for warp (using it doubled) at 20 epi. Such fine yarn would make a rather thready fringe so I'll use up some black 2/8 cotton doubled (to more closely match the thickness of the acrylic) for hems.

Karena cut apart and serged the tea towels from the aqua warp, and my wet finishing pile is now huge so I am going to try to work on getting the towels processed. That way the pile will be transferred to the love seat in the living room (tv watching job) rather than a pile threatening to topple over in the studio.

And like Janet in the Maritimes - enough already with the snow! It was a glorious day yesterday - brilliant sun, mild (for us) temps, and this morning we awoke to a snow storm. Sigh.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Studio Assistance and Going Slow

As you know, I'm all about working as efficiently as possible. To that end I have invested in equipment that helps me work faster.

This is my pirn winder. I love using weft yarns that allow me to wind pirns this way! So long as there are pirns in the carousel it will keep winding, doffing the full pirn and loading the next from the carousel until the weft package is empty. The full pirns slide down a chute below into a box placed there to catch them.

That means that I can be doing other things while the winder is chugging away. This morning I wove one square while the winder was preparing the pirns for the next one. The huge advantage to this winder is that it pretty much winds perfect pirns every time and I don't need to be standing over it while it's doing it! :D

On the other hand, sometimes you just need to go slower.
So it was with the new block design. I had woven one whole square and started on the next when I noticed that the 16th thread from the left hand selvedge had stopped weaving. Don't know why - it wasn't mis-threaded and it wasn't crossed in the reed. It just stopped weaving into the cloth!

I had been toying with adding the temple because the cloth was beating in at about 23 instead of 24 ppi which meant that every once in a while I'd either have to beat a few extra times, or manually advance by hand. So when I saw the miscreant, I started the green square over again (I'd only woven about 12") and added the temple.

The cloth is now beating in at 24, and the wayward thread is also weaving in. So I'm grinning and bearing it, advancing the temple every 20 picks.

In this photo you can see the padded bicycle gloves I wear while weaving with the fly shuttle. You can also see the controls for the fly shuttle boxes sitting on the top of the beater. I have four fly shuttle boxes, and they were getting a bit on the heavy side to change manually so since I already had air to the loom anyway, I challenged Doug to come up with a system to use air to lift and lower the boxes.

Even though many people doubted he could do it, he did, and it works quite well.

The controls to throw the fly shuttle are activated with my left foot, and the control to open the shed is activated with my right foot.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Changing My Mind

Well, after doing one square with the 2/8 cotton, I remembered the linen/rayon boucle and decided to do one with that.

The pattern is twill blocks in a point treadling progression, and I decided I liked it enough that I did both the ivory cotton and the boucle in the same treadling.

In the photo, the white rayon looks a bit stark. It's not quite so bright in real life. :)

The next square will be twill blocks again, but in a small and large block design. With 16 shafts I can weave 4 squares of 4 threads each. One of the blocks will be 1:3 twill for 4 threads, and 3:1 twill for 12 threads, then reverse. Right now I'm thinking of doing one each with the two other colours from the warp - one the sort of golden colour and the other the pale green. But we'll see. I may change my mind - again! ;)

Special Order

From time to time I take special orders. This is one. The view is from the back so you can't see the colours very clearly, but the cloth hasn't come round far enough for me to get a good view of the front, yet.

This is a very special order because it is long distance. The customer saw my work at a show last Christmas, and contacted me and asked if I would do a square cloth for their house. I requested that they send paint chips of the colours they wanted in the fabric and some pictures so that I could get a feel for what they wanted.

The yarns were ordered based on the paint chips and I dressed the loom yesterday and started weaving today. There is enough warp for several square cloths and each will have a different weft. The one pictured is a natural cotton slub which will give a bit of texture. The others will likely be 2/8 cotton and will be much smoother in appearance.

When they are done I'll take photos of each and send them to the customer and see if any of them appeal.

I have also begun loading items for sale into my Art Fire store. Eventually I will have yarn, but for now I've begun with tea towels. http://laurafry.artfire.com/

The good news today is that the new computer is all hooked up. It took a little fiddling around to get it running due to confusion about which cable needed to be plugged in where, but eventually it all worked.

I'm really happy to be weaving this fabric. For the past couple of years I've almost exclusively used hand shuttles and I was really wanting a break from that. This warp is wide enough at 38" that I can use the fly shuttles. Even better, I can use the industrial pirn winder and industrial fly shuttles.

Currently reading When Gods Die by C. S. Harris

Thursday, March 26, 2009


One of the fun things about travelling and meeting other weavers is that we can have conversations about things like techniques and preferences.

Some weavers really dislike TexSolv heddles. I like them, but part of why I like them is due to the way I thread.

I thread in groups, not one thread at a time, so I actually like the fact that TexSolv heddles don't move around very easily. :)

I have also numbered the tops of the bottom heddle bars to make it easier to find the shafts I want to work with.

This photo shows the stick I tape all the warp bouts to in order to bring them all forward so that I can easily reach them. It also shows the numbers (in red) on the top part of the shafts. In this photo I am 2/3's of the way through a one inch section of warp ends, just ready to thread the last 8 ends (taped to shaft 16).

The heddles have been brought forward from the left hand side and stacked - in order - from shafts 16 through 9.

Below I am about to thread ends 8-1.

Unfortunately I didn't have anyone handy to run the camera so I can't show my threading method, but I've covered that elsewhere. What I wanted to show here was that rather than thread my fingers through the individual ends, I pinch them between my index and middle finger at the top, and my thumb and ring finger at the bottom. This allows me to either hold the ends under tension or apply some slack to allow the ends to bow outwards just a little. This makes getting the hook around the end I want easier.

The photo also shows that I am supporting the the heddle that I will thread next by placing my ring finger on the heddle just below the eye (I know it looks like my finger is on the eye, but really it's just below.

As I thread each heddle, my ring finger moves to the next heddle in line to support it until all 8 ends are threaded and then I pull all 8 through their respective heddles in one motion.

Once that is done, I tie a slip knot, move the heddles to the right, and begin the next group by pulling the heddles from the left. In this repeat (which is a straight draw over 16 shafts) I'm threading 8 ends per group. How many ends I do at once will depend on the repeat - it may be 4, 6, or 8.

I don't put a cross into the sections - just tape the bout. Generally I am threading a solid coloured warp, or a random coloured warp, so preserving a strict warp end order isn't a priority for me. It is for others and they have come up with various ways of preserving a cross while beaming sectionally.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More Stash? Moi?

Falling into the category of 'what was she thinking?' - this photo shows in the foreground about 70 pounds of yarn that arrived this morning, along with a few of the boxes of yarn returning from the Fibres West show that still need to be unpacked. Somewhere needs to be found for it all to live until the next show. :}

Now twenty pounds of that yarn will be skeined and sent to Teresa to be dyed for re-sale, and some of the rest is for a commission, but still! Where it will all go remains to be seen.

Add into that the fact that my Basic Weaving students will begin coming next Monday to wind warps, and I confess to a little panic along with low energy and no particular desire to actually attack the unpacking.

However I continue to think a great deal about the shape of my time and how I want to spend it and ultimately feel that while I do still want to weave, I also need to deal with the over abundance of inventory.

To that end I have opened an Art Fire store, and begun by listing one lonely tea towel. As I get myself organized over the next few days I expect to add more stuff. I've got lots of tea towels and scarves. I haven't researched enough to find out if I can sell yarn on Art Fire.

One of the advantages of Art Fire is that they don't charge listing fees, just a flat fee per month. Payment can be by Paypal and since I already have a Paypal account set up, that was easy enough.

While I have the tea towel listed on Art Fire for sale on my website, my website is really much more about education and my workshop/seminars and the books that I sell.

I've had my website since the internet was mostly about education, not selling, so I've sort of kept that approach in terms of format. I would likely have to work a lot harder to turn my website into a 'store' than I really want to, so thought I'd try Art Fire.

Well, we will see how it goes!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Boise - City of Trees

In spite of being in an arid climate, Boise truly is a city of trees. And by the time I left Monday afternoon, many of them were beginning to burst into leaf.

The group was great and since we had three days for the workshop, it was a much more relaxed event than the two day version tends to be. I think nearly everyone wove on every loom, and with time to spare managed to weave a nice size for each sample.

Sunday we had time to let the samples dry until damp (using hair blowers) and Cece brought in a small electric cold mangle which speeded up the compression part of the wet finishing process considerably.

These little cold mangles are available from Becky's Vavstuga http://www.vavstuga.com/ and are well worth the cost if you are doing a lot of linen or any kind production. I'm thinking that when I can no longer afford to operate Puff that one of these little guys will be just the thing. :)

We cold mangled linen, silk, bamboo, and buffalo.

So now I'm home with my new computer ready to be hooked up, but still unpacking and sorting the show stuff out as well as my trip stuff. :} I may get to the rayon chenille scarf warp today, but the AVL may not get dressed until tomorrow. We'll see how the admin stuff goes....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sheer (shear?) Delight

Teresa sent me this link. I'd love to think the shepards and dogs did this all by themselves. :) Hope the link comes through okay. You may have to cut and paste. One of these days I'll have to figure out tiny url.


So here is the *last* of the turquoise warp using the singles 6 cotton for weft. The yarn has a fair degree of twist which has yet to be set, so the tendency is for the corners to curl as in the before picture above.

And here is the cloth after wet finishing. No more urgent tendency to curl except for right at the very outside of the cloth on the very tips of the corners, but nothing that hemming won't cure. ;)

These towels are proto-type number 4 in a new approach to weaving towels that I've been exploring.

They still aren't quite 'right', but I have a good idea of where I want to go with the idea for the next towel warp, which will be all singles 6 - both warp and weft.

Allan will ship my new cpu on the 24th so as soon as the loom is dressed, the new puter should be here and up and running. I've figured out how to copy my weaving files so I can get them onto the new cpu. And since the new little guy will have internet access, I can just email my weaving files to myself instead of copying them to a disc. :)

Doug is getting the van ready for loading, and I'm taking a break from packing boxes etc. Time shifting again - watching CSI: NY

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Defining Success

These scarves were woven from Bambu 12 and a wool lycra (the white stripes.) They were one of my few unqualified 'successes'. So little of what I create actually matches the fibre vision in my head. These came very close. :D

Speaking of 'success' I have c0ntinued to think a lot about the shape of my life to come.

As my energy flagged due to the increasingly difficult time my heart was having pumping blood to where it needed to be, I narrowed my focus about what I considered to be a 'successful' day to the point where the only thing that counted was if I'd been as productive as I felt I needed to be to keep my business going. Pay the bills, make my loan payments, etc.

In terms of weaving, that meant at least 3 to 5 forty-five minute sessions at the loom every day, or some other task related to weaving - skeining yarns to dye, several hours in the guild room dyeing yarn, pressing, etc.

Now that I have come to the realization that my productivity and actual sales are badly out of sync, I need to adjust my definition of a successful day. Either that or seek out more opportunities to sell my work, and that seems way too much of a challenge at this point in time.

Doug and I have done the craft fair circuit, and we are tired of the hustle-bustle, generally during the worst weather months. Been there, done that, not real excited about doing it again.

As my energy continued to flag over the years, I dropped all activities that took energy away from my weaving goal. My house sadly needs a thorough cleaning, my social life is practically non-existant (apart from the internet!), and I don't think I really understand 'leisure activities' anymore. Or at least my friends tell me that I don't. :}

My bobbin lace is scheduled so that I can do some, my spinning wheels languish mostly forgotten, my reading is done in snatches usually in waiting rooms, or for a few minutes before light's out. Once in a rare while I'll set a jigsaw puzzle out, but not very often. Usually if I have 'spare' time I'm fringe twisting, hemming, or at the very least knitting scarves for donations to worthy causes.

So tonight I came to the realization that I don't have to stop weaving altogether. Weaving is much too much a part of who I am and who I want to be to ever stop. But I don't need to do it for so many hours every day. I am toying with the concept of setting my goal for success at 2-3 forty-five minute sessions a day, instead of 3-5.

Tomorrow I will finish the turquoise warp, just in time to leave a naked loom for me to come home to. Like a blank canvas, a naked loom is full of potential! What will I do when I get home? I'm not sure. I do have a few ideas, because I *still* have a stash that will outlive me several times over, and stash reduction will continue to be a priority.

But the very finest cotton and linen are now history. In fact, they are so much history that I have been enticed to buy some new 2/20 mercerized cotton. I'll be placing my order tonight. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009


Got to Puff on Saturday evening and got some pressing done. These towels were woven a while ago but they are now 'done' - ready to be tagged and priced and put up for sale.

But I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.

For 30 or so years I have woven pretty much every day - or at least done something weaving related - winding warps, pulling yarns for an upcoming project, teaching, writing - unless I've been out of town, or sick.

The reality is that I have more than sufficient inventory of woven textiles to last a good long time. There is really no need for me to continue to weave 3 to 5 hours a day, every day. Apart from the fact that I enjoy it, of course. :) The problem becomes - what do I do with all that inventory if it doesn't sell very quickly?

Well, some of it I give away as donations for worthy causes. Some go as gifts. Some just sits and gets dragged around from show to show until it finds the perfect customer. :}

On the other hand, I have been given a second chance at life and I've been wondering if sitting at a loom most of the day, every day, is the best use of that second chance?

So what is it I actually do?

I weave textiles and sell them. I dye yarn and sell it. I write. I teach.

All of those things require stuff - looms, shuttles, bobbin winders, reeds, *yarn*!

Dyeing - skein winder, pots/kettles, bottles for dye, jugs of vinegar, buckets to transport the wet yarn there and back (I use the guild room for my dyeing.)

Writing - lots of books, notes, paper, yarn to do proto-types, binders of samples. Copies of books not yet sold - boxes and boxes of them. Plus the sample packets produced for CD Weaver, and the Cd's themselves, the jewel cases etc.

Teaching - back to more *yarn* especially for the workshop topics I teach, more binders of samples, handouts, reference books, magazines, notes, etc.

Selling yarn - the yarn I dye, other commercially dyed yarns to go with the hand dyed yarns, labels, proto-types/samples, etc., etc.

All of the above has resulted in a studio filled to overflowing with all of this plus all the support stuff that goes along with it - shipping boxes, envelopes, sample cards, and so on and so forth. So much so that I have a separate rented storage area for what doesn't fit into my studio.

I'm beginning to feel as though I'm drowning in STUFF!

So - I ask myself - what do I want to do? What can I get rid of? Where do I make the cuts in what I am doing that will still bring in an income, because there's no way I can 'retire' - as in weave for a hobby, passtime, recreation - and not generate some sort of income from it.

This year I'm travelling a lot and teaching. I love being there (where ever 'there' is) - it's the getting there that isn't so much fun. :( But if it isn't necessary for me to be at the loom personally, then passing on my experience and knowledge is a worthy cause. So I'm thinking maybe I will look more towards teaching - now that I'm feeling more energetic and my bp seems once more to be more under control. :)

Someone once asked me how I decided where I would teach. I told them that I went where I was invited. Guess maybe I need to let more people know I'd like to be invited? :)

Currently reading: What Angels Fear by C. S. Harris

Sunday, March 15, 2009


As part of my preparations for the workshop in Grand Forks, I was coning off some skeins and was reminded that I had planned to discuss working with skeins at some point. Today seemed like a good day.

My preferred tool for working with skeins is a squirrel cage swift. Unfortunately they aren't very common, and when you do find a good one it's more expensive than an umbrella swift.

One of the advantages is that the sc swift is free standing so I have a lot more options about where I can work with it.

In spite of all the photos one sees of the umbrella swift being displayed and used in the vertical position, it is a lot more efficient to use it with the central axis horizontal.

Orienting it this way is a bit more awkward because you need some place to mount it, and then sufficient room for it to rotate and flare when the skein is totally used up. But it does work much better positioned this way than vertically.

When opening a skein, find the centre. I prefer skeins with at least 3 ties because if there are 3 or 4 points of containment, it is much easier to find the centre than if the skein only has one or two ties.

Regardless of how many ties the skein has, find the exact centre by examining the ties and ensuring that none of the threads are folded back over a tie.

Once you have found the centre of the skein, insert both hands and drape the skein over your wrists. (Best not to wear a watch or bracelet for this job.) Bring your hands together, then pull them apart swiftly, giving the skein a good 'snap'. Rotate the skein and repeat this snapping out of it until you have gone round the entire circumference of the skein.

Remember my rule - a thread under tension is a thread under control? By snapping the skein in this manner, you reposition the threads if they have come out of alignment and encourage them to lie straight in the skein.

Place the skein onto your swift, then remove the ties. I leave the tie that is attached to the skein itself for the last. Check the skein to make sure you are pulling the yarn from the 'outside' of the skein and that the leading end is not wrapped around any of the other threads in the skein proper. You may have to rotate the skein to get the leading edge to the outside. Try to have the threads lie as straight as possible - no twists in the skein.

I always pull off from the bottom rather than the top of the skein as it is mounted on the swift. This seems to encourage the skein to unwind more easily. (See photo at top)

It's time to leave for lace. The sun is shining and the snow is melting. Yippee!

Lace Day

One of the people who was at the lace show-and-share in January is a member of the weavers guild and took this photo on Wed. evening. I like this photo because it more closely looks like how I think I look! :D Thanks, Sue.

One of the other guild members brought in a pewter plate which has a motif of a young lady making lace on it.

Today I meet with the two people I get together with to make lace for a couple of hours. Between the three of us and our busy travel schedules we try and meet every couple of weeks. Gives us a chance to catch up and fwip a few bobbins. Karin is much better than either of us and actually makes lace in between, but it seems like Jennifer and I can't get to the pillows without a set date. :)

On the weaving front, not too much going on as I continue to nurse the loom's computer along and work on the workshop for Grand Forks, BC in April. The warp is over half done, and I'm still hoping to finish it off before I leave on Thursday for Boise. And then I think I'll do something - anything! - other than tea towels! At least for one warp, anyway. :D

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Black Screen of (Near) Death

So I was just feeling really good about finishing off the fine linen - that is all that's left - a full bobbin, a bit on a second bobbin, and hardly anything on the spool - and editing the treadling for the next towel when the monitor went BLACK!


So I turned the monitor off and on a couple of times with nothing but blackness, and shut the system down, heading to the phone to Dial-A-Computer-Guru.

Allan thinks it's the cpu fan, causing the video card to over heat which shuts the system down. Doug will try to look at the fan tonight, but in the meantime I let the puter cool and had dinner, watching CSI and Grey's Anatomy (I have satellite tv so I time shift a lot.) :)

After dinner I turned the system on (I'd tested it earlier and it worked) and wove two more towels using the 30/5 cotton. (Shown in the photo above.)

In the meantime I'd also emailed Ingrid Boesel (I use PCW Fiberworks to drive the loom) and bless her heart, she got back to me within the hour with the news that she believes that my ancient laptop would run the Compu-Dobby if I can find the proper USB to serial cable. So I'm on a mission tomorrow to try to find the cable in town.

I'm heading for the Computer Spa in April, but that's 5 weeks away. Now it looks like every computer I own will go on a road trip - again. Allan will make sure the laptop has the proper upgrades for PCW Silver, build me a 'new' system for the loom, and make sure the main system is running smoothly while I'm teaching in Grand Forks. :)

The 30/5 cotton is weaving up nicely. It's so nice to have a co-operative weft after weaving with the fine, fine linen!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Next Towel Design

One of the challenges in photographing textiles is getting them in focus. This looked fine on the camera, but I suspect it's blurry. OTOH, the design is blurred anyway, so it's really hard to tell. :}

This is the same threading/treadling as the first design, but I've changed the tie up from twill blocks to the good old 1:3:1:3:2:2:3:1 twill tie up I like so much. Since there is so little of the fine linen left, I'm going to finish it off in this pattern. I think there's enough yarn left to do two more towels. And then it's history! Yay!

But I found another cone of natural yarn on my shelf, so now I'm thinking that instead of using either the singles beige linen or the singles 6 cotton that I'll use up this cone of mystery yarn. It's marked 30/5 and appears to be cotton. Not terribly tightly spun, so should make good towel weft.

Well, I hope to use up one more cone from my stash, regardless.

The good news is that after my usual chemical cocktail, plus the Micardis (which I took as soon as I got home from the doctor and pharmacy at 10:30) and 30 minutes of weaving, by bp was about as perfect as I can hope for. :) So once more we'll see how it goes. One thing I've learned is that my allergies play havoc with my bp, so I guess I am going to have to be resigned to chemical modifications.............

Bobbin Lace Tonight

Tonight is the local weaving guild meeting and I'll be doing the program on lace.

Bobbin lace is essentially weaving by building your loom as you go. This allows a great deal of flexibility because warps can turn into wefts, and vice versa. You can also tie knots and make twists because the threads are not pre-programmed to be warp only.

This bookmark is using up some of the bits of yarn left over from the current warp beamed onto the AVL. I managed to clear 3 spools of yarn that had much too little to even think about weaving with. :D

The majority of the threads are the paler of the the 2/18 turquoise, with the fans being woven with the darker shade.

All of the bobbins were made by my friend Jacqui Southworth (her husband Eric turns some of them while Jacqui decorates them) who lives near Blackpool in England, and who I visited with in Tampa, FL last month. It was great to actually see her and Eric in person, although our daily email contact keeps us in touch. One of the benefits of the internet - that we can stay in close contact with people who live far away.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Busy Day

Today was my usual brunch and errand day with mom. Not too many errands, but we did go to the library and I got another big bag of books. Not sure why when I haven't been having much time to read the past few days. And with travel preparations needing to be done, doubt there will be much time for reading for the next while. :(

When I got home, the snow removal crew had been by and on a rather bitterly cold March day (-31 C - spring is supposed to be coming, soon, right?) they widened the streets and got rid of some of the ruts in the compact snow.

While this isn't a record year for snow accumulation by any means, I've been spoiled by being away to warmer climes not once, but twice so far this year, and I'd be just as happy if the March leonine winds arrived and started working their magic on the snow piles......

After having coffee with the neighbour and coming home to take my bp (which is spiking way too high - AGAIN! - I decided I needed some exercise and wove off the chenille scarf on Fanny.

I have several 'tapes' of various standard lengths that I use to track the length of my weaving. I had already woven one scarf yesterday, which can be seen on the cloth beam, and you can just see the cut line I've woven between the two scarves. (It probably shows up much better on the enlargement of the photo.) I cut between the two so that each scarf has several picks to help hold the fringe in place until the scarf can be fringe twisted. You can also see the fugitive picks at the beginning of the scarf which will be cut and pulled out as the fringe twisting is being done.

After dinner I finished sleying the warp on the AVL and started weaving. Here you can see the hem area and the first repeat or so. This photo has washed the colour out, so see a better representation of the colour in the photo below.

I've got less than a pound of the linen left so this 25 yard warp will definitely use that up. I will decide between the heavier natural (beige) linen singles and the natural single 6's cotton for weft once the linen is used up.

I'm seeing the doctor again tomorrow and I suspect I'm going to have to go back onto the Micardis, which I went off 2 weeks ago, or in some way tweak my medications. I've got a week until I leave for Boise, so if we make changes they have to be done tomorrow. :( I am not a happy camper my bp has gone wild again.................

Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Colours

Started beaming the warp last night after dinner, finishing it up this morning. Here it is nearly half threaded.
The warp is a mixture of various fine cottons, mostly 2/18, some 2/20, some even finer. It's 25 yards long, and should (she says, hopefully!) finally finish off the last of the extremely fine linen as weft. :D The good news is that almost all the very fine cottons are also used up in this warp. There really aren't enough spools left to do another warp, and some of the spools are down low enough that they will go directly into my bobbin lace box to be used up making lace.
The colours range from a pale blue, to a greyed blue, royal blue, a dark green and four shades of turquoise. I had to use a little bit of cream on the edges because so many of the spools were running out. Karena called them 'happy' colours this morning, and they do make me happy. Of course having the sun shine also makes me happy, in spite of the continuing cold.
Four of the beginning weavers want to carry on with a project, so we've set a date for early in April. They will use the painted rayon that arrived this week for a scarf warp and use Bambu 7 for weft. They will come individually to the studio to wind their warps prior to class, and then will dress the looms and weave their scarves at the guild room. The skeins are large enough that they can do a sample at the beginning and practice their shuttle throwing and check their weft colours before they begin their scarves. Unfortunately the fifth participant lives out of town and can't make it back for the next class.
I'm hoping to finish threading and sleying the fine cotton tonight so I can begin weaving tomorrow. :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Study in Concentration

The time is just about 2 pm and all five workshop participants are in the process of threading their looms. :) Two were able to begin weaving, and the rest are set to go in the morning.

I forgot to remind people that we spring forward tonight. :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Beginning Weaving Workshop

Well, I didn't finish the warp on the AVL, but I'm about as ready for the Beginning Weaving workshop tomorrow as I can be.

I'll bring my own warping board to demo on, but I've wound the warps for everyone. Once everyone is working on their own, I'll wind the next warp for the guild group project and demo for the class. That will be another 8 shaft Bronson Lace warp for placemats/table runners. This time I'll do the tie up for butterflies so that people will be able to weave something different. The threading is a simple point progression so people can change the tie up if they wish, but so far no one seems to have wanted to adventure that far. :)

Doug helped me get the guild room set up this morning. He did a little loom maintenance, tightening screws and nuts and bolts. Mostly we had to clear tables out of the way and move the looms from against the walls so that they could be set up and woven on. :)

I am also bringing extra lease sticks because the ones I prefer are wider and a bit thicker than the usual sticks, so I want to show people what I use and explain the difference and how they work better for my method of dressing the loom. I also tossed a few shuttles and bobbins in as the guild room appears to be lacking in these all too portable items. :( Plus I'm bringing my threading hooks. I only have four and am expecting five people, so we may have to juggle a bit. On the other hand, not everyone works at the same rate, so it may all work out.

I was only going to take 4 students, but suddenly got another student on Wed. Since I wasn't entirely sure all of the four registered would make it, decided to take a fifth person. The guild has 7 small looms, but one is being used and one appears to need some TLC, so five is the maximum.

Hopefully the weather will co-operate as one person is driving in from a small community a couple hours west of here.

Currently reading First Strike by Eric Nylund

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Eye Candy!

On a day like this........... (view from my front window at 3:30 pm - yes, that's snow!)

.....this arrived..........yum!

This is the first shipment of a rayon yarn (approx. a 2/5 cotton grist) I had Teresa dye to re-sell at the Fibres West Festival March 20/21.

Gosh but I don't want to sell it!!! OTOH, I know how to get more. :) We'll also have some at the HWSDA conference in Olds, Alberta May 21-24 and the ANWG conference in Teresa's booth in Spokane May 28-June 1.

Previously I had Teresa paint warps for me from this yarn for scarves and with a Tencel weft they turned out really nice. Now I can hardly wait to finish these fine, fine cotton/linen tea towels so I can do some new scarves. :D

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rounding the Corner

I think I'm just about at the 3/4 mark on this warp and feel like I'm on the home stretch. :)

My goal is to finish the warp by Friday, although I've got some fun activities scheduled for later in the week, so it might not get done before the weekend. There are still two pounds (!) of the fine linen left. I have yet to decide whether the next warp will be 30 yards, or 40, just to make sure that the linen will actually get used all the way up this time!!!!

Wednesday is crafts drop-in day. I'll go in the morning but won't stay all day. One of the advantages of the drop-in is that they have lots of big tables and I've got a project where a large flat surface will be very helpful. If it turns out, I'll post pictures. ;)

And I'll bring my bobbin lace and fwip (technical term) a few bobbins and show off the new bookmark I started on Sunday.

On Friday I'll go visit Loralee and the kids and see how Asaph is doing on his placemats and Evangelina with her knitting. And have a good natter with Loralee.

Saturday and Sunday is the beginning weaving class, so I don't know how much else I'll get done over the weekend. There should be 3 students, perhaps 4. I'm going to change the format a little and wind the warps for them so that we can get a running start on dressing the looms on Saturday and they can finish weaving their samplers on Sunday early enough that we can wet finish them before the end of the class.

I've also started loading the boxes with yarn and stuff for the Fibres West festival March 20/21. I'll be in Boise, ID teaching Magic in the Water part II and Doug volunteered to do the show for me. A friend will help him in the booth. (Thanks, Yoriko!) But that means I have to be super organized and have everything labelled and priced. Doug will drop me at the airport on the 19th for my 6 am flight, and continue driving to Abbotsford in order to set up that evening. It's going to be a really, really long day for him.

I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed right now, but trying not to panic and just take one job at a time. ;)

Monday, March 2, 2009


On a chat group I belong to someone asked about weaving twill with plain weave selvedges.

Since you would need 6 shafts to do that, I suggested basketweave selveges and referred to a file I thought I had posted to my website. Unfortunately it seems to have evaporated into cyber-space, so I'm posting the draft here. :)