Saturday, October 31, 2009

Booth Pictures

Left hand side of booth

Right hand side of booth

These pictures aren't great - they were taken with my Blackberry, and the light coming from behind is kind of washing things out. Not to mention the reflection from my mirror.

The set up is U shaped with the scarf rack in the middle of the mouth of the U so that traffic can flow into and around the booth.

We always use our own lighting when ever possible - even in a room such as this with natural light, you can't always count on good light. For instance today was sporadically cloudy, with two major storms that gusted through. For an hour or so each time, the light was very poor and if we hadn't had our own lights, our booth would have looked very dim and gloomy.

In terms of display, the chenille scarves were front and centre - just because they feel so luxurious! :) Hopefully they will elicit interest and invite people to go further into the booth to feel the rest of the textiles.

The right hand wing had the soy protein and tencel scarves, which led into the bamboo and tencel scarves and shawl. Only had one shawl ready, unfortunately, but should have another half dozen for Studio Fair next weekend. They're ready to be wet finished. I should be able to do that and get them pressed before Thursday set up.

Then came the table and kitchen textiles. If I'd had a better selection of placemats I could have sold more, but only had the dregs left over from the other shows earlier.

On the left wing are the throws and then some hand dyed yarns.

Was really glad I brought the yarns because quite a bit of it sold. :)

While I wasn't totally happy with the layout, it did well enough for today. I'll re-merchandize tomorrow morning when I'm feeling fresher. Since we got up at 5:15 and my bp was high I wasn't feeling great. (It came down and was fine by lunch.) Hopefully after a better night's sleep I'll feel more creative in the morning.

The nature of this (and next week's fair as well) is that people will generally walk the entire fair before making any major purchases. So it was nice to have the yarn because that is what sold in the morning. Scarves started selling while I was home for lunch, and then sold sporadically for the rest of the afternoon along with some mats, a throw, a couple of table runners and - more yarn.

So all in all, a respectable start. While one always hopes for more, some is better than none. And there is always tomorrow (thank you Mz Scarlett!)

UNBC Craft Fair

The sale started with a good steady flow of shoppers. Now to hope they will be buyers. :)

A good deal of sticker shock but that was expected.

Several people have commented that they bought placemats from me twenty years ago and they still look good.

Wish that *I* looked as good as I did twenty years ago! ;)
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Joy of Being A Home-Based Business...

...or why I need a new kitchen floor....

This is a partial view of my kitchen this afternoon. We use the kitchen, dining room and living room as a staging area when it is time to do a show.

Boxes get set on the floor and dragged around and over the years the lino has gotten scuffed. :(
Unfortunately, we won't be able to deal with getting a new floor for a while. I'm hoping December, but we'll see. It may not happen until next year, if then. Doug is still on 'short' hours and money is tight. :((((

This is a partial view of the living room. The two grey things are the captain's chairs from the van. The white box is the electrical box with lamps, cords, light blubs and miscellaneous items for the booth. The box just to the left nearly out of view is the cash box. The white lump behind it is one of the packing blankets from the van. (I'm the only person I know with handwoven packing blankets - seconds have to be good for something!) Somewhere in that mess are the road emergency things that normally live in the van but had to be removed so that the van could be loaded up.

We've just finished loading everything except for one last plastic bucket waiting for me to tag the two collapse scarves and pack them into it. I'm hoping to borrow a cheval mirror for the booth.

I'm always amazed at how much less inventory I have now than when I used to do primarily placemats/table runners. Scarves take up about the same amount of space - or less - than a set of placemats, and I get twice as much money. :}

Over the years I've talked with other weavers and the consensus is that if you have a really excellent show you will sell 40% of what you bring. A good show you'll sell 30%.

Of course, you need to bring the correct inventory! The correct items in the correct colours with the correct public attending willing to spend what you're asking.

This weekend is a mid-range price points show so I don't expect to sell a lot of my higher priced items. But you just never know! There are somewhere in the neighbourhood of 180 exhibitors and I lucked into a good spot even though I'm a johnny-come-lately. I wanted two booth spaces and they had someone with a double booth cancel last year in the cafeteria area. Doug did this show all by himself last year, and he'll be doing it all by himself again next, but this year it worked out that the Seattle guild sale was last week instead of the same weekend as this one. This show also books returning artists in the same space each year, so I'm hoping the previous person who had this space doesn't come back and bump me out. I got the same space again this year, so I'm hoping that means it's mine now. :)

Collapse Scarves

First two collapse scarves

Well, I'm not satisfied with the white one, but the black one turned out exactly as I hoped.

The white one was woven with a 12/2 mercerized cotton and has a much stiffer hand than the black one which was woven with Bambu 12.

So, I'll try a 20/2 mercerized cotton for the other white warp, and continue with the bamboo for the black. If the 20/2 mercerized cotton doesn't give the drape I want, I'll switch to bamboo. It's a last resort kind of thing though because the only white bamboo I have in stock is bleached and the warp is natural. Hmm - otoh, that might look okay anyway. Guess I'll try a bit of each before deciding for sure.

The good news is that the collapse isn't 50% so I don't need to weave quite so long a length.

Today, however, I need to be packing up inventory for the craft fair tomorrow. Set up begins at 7 am so it will be a mad scramble to get in and set up before the fair opens at 10 am. At least the weather is supposed to be fair, so we won't be dealing with wet. The bad news is that sleet is predicted for tear down. Oh the joys of being a hand weaver who relies on selling her stuff for income..... :}

The craft fair the following weekend we have the whole afternoon to set up so that will be a much more relaxed set up.

Currently reading Unseen Academical by Terry Pratchett

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Plain Weave

Plain weave again

Funny how I seem to get into a groove and can't get out of it again, but here I am with another 4 warps destined to be woven in plain weave. Each warp is 4 yards long for one scarf.

While in Kelowna on my last trip, I spent a couple of hours wandering the shopping mall looking at clothing. Specifically scarves/shawls. And was interested to see that a lot of them were using shrinkage differential/collapse effects.

This summer two of the students used a new to me yarn that was thicker than the ultra-fine wool/lycra I've had in inventory for a number of years. It was also cotton and lyrca, not wool and lycra. Tien wove up a sample warp and from the samples designed a shawl. Sharon also made a shawl.

So I'm not exactly flying blind here - I do have the benefit of two previous warps - well, three if you count the sample warp.

With time extremely limited, I didn't do anything fancy - just repeated what we had done for the sample because I knew how that had turned out - with the goal of having four collapse scarves ready for the craft fair this weekend.

Of course I can't get them all done! But at least they are started and will be ready for the fair the following weekend. :}

The down side of weaving fabric that collapses along the length is that you have to weave nearly twice as much length.

The up side is that they don't require fringe twisting or pressing. The scarves will be hemmed after being run through the washer and dryer. Getting the lycra wet activates it and the collapse happens.

I was going to do some spinning but apparently the craft drop-in isn't today. :} Perhaps I'll spin while watching some tv later. Unfortunately there is still a stack of rayon chenille scarves to fringe twist.....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Home Again

I did not leave Seattle at the crack of dawn this morning. I left it in the dead of night.

The roads in Seattle at 4 am on a Sunday morning are pretty much empty and I made it from Seattle to Hope, BC in the record breaking time (for me, obeying the speed zones - pretty much) of just 3 hours.

The roads continued to be relatively empty and I proceeded to make really good time until just south of Quesnel, when I ran headlong into a snow storm - and me with summer tread on the van. :(

Prudently, all of the drivers - at least those just in front and behind me - decided that instead of clipping along at 100-110 k (60-70 mph), a stately 70 to 80 k (45-50 mph) was a much wiser course to follow.

The truck in the ditch and emergency vehicles heading toward it were, no doubt, great re-inforcement!

But I got home safe and sound, albeit a little white around the knuckles (and elevated bp!)

view from my living room window

In spite of the dreary day I am very happy to be home. I think I'll go crash now. And pray for good weather the next two weekends or the crafts fairs are going to be a bust.....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sale Ends!

Another year, another sale. And what a sale! Holly's media plan appeared to work with steady streams of people coming to the hall and not just looking but buying! :D

The greeters at the door asked people to put their names and contact info down for future sales, and also asked how they had heard about it. It was interesting to see just how many people had gotten word through the internet in addition to the post card mail out (previous shoppers) and the newspaper ad.

I'm sure the organizers will have lots of info to review for next year.

Well done everyone!

The Yarn Harlot

I first heard about The Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) in 2003, but - not being much involved in the knitting world - didn't pursue the comments made by fervent knitting friends. :)

Thursday we went to Weaving Works in Seattle so that I could buy a pair of knitting needles. (I suspected I was about to run out of hand work to do in the evenings - a fate worse than death!)

While there I looked at their books, thinking that since I was purchasing a rigid heddle loom, a book that would help me use this tool effectively might be A Good Thing.

While scanning the book shelves, I spotted a slim volume called Things I Learned from Knitting....whether I wanted to or not.

Pulling it down from the shelf I started reading. And giggling. And snickering. And out right laughing.

For instance, The 39th Thing: Goodness is its own reward.

"Sometimes if I am having a very, very bad day and much of humanity vexes me entirely, one of the only things that keeps me on the straight and narrow in this life is the knowledge that not all prisons have a knitting program."

Oh, yes, I also got Betty Linn Davenport's book on rigid heddle weaving.

Oh - and I also rummaged (foraged?) through Lynn's stash and got a couple of nice cottons that I combined to knit a scarf and got about 10 inches done while we (well, while Lynn) watched the baseball game. We won't discuss the 8 or 9 huge cones of extremely fine linen I also came across and will be bringing home to weave more tea towels with. Like Stephanie says - you get way more value for your money with very fine yarns..........

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day Two

Just back from our shift at the sale. The turn out has been fantastic! Kudos to Holly for all the hard work she has done to promote the sale.

Not only are people coming, they are buying. The inventory crew has been working hard and were still crunching numbers from last night when we left around 2 pm. Keeping track of such a great sale is a huge undertaking, but it's great to see the sale tickets rolling into the inventory room. :D

The range of textiles is enormous - hand made hats, woven, felted, and shibori scarves, garments of all sorts of descriptions, purses, carry bags, shawls, throws, towels, place mats and table runners just to mention the big items.

Jewelry - too many techniques to mention - basketry, and yarn. Lots and lots of yarn.

Robyn Spady also launched her monograph on weaving Passementerie. If this is something that interests you, her presentation of the program yesterday made it sound so simple! I think her website is If that isn't correct, I'm sure a search on Google will bring it up.

Congratulations to the Seattle Weavers Guild members. Another great effort!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day One

This afternoon the mad flurry of activity starts with setting up the hall. I had intended to take my Blackberry and get a picture of the hall before set up. Unfortunately I forgot, so there won't be any 'before' pictures. :(

However, tomorrow Lynn will bring her camera and will let me use some of her pictures so I will share those here once I get home.

Holly's efforts to contact the media has paid off - there have been articles, ads and info posted on websites. We are really hoping that the word will spread and that new shoppers will be enticed to come and see the selection of wonderful textiles the members of the Seattle guild have created.

The sale begins at 5 pm - 8 pm tonight, runs 10 am until 8 pm Friday, and 10 am until 5 pm Saturday. If you are in the Seattle area, do stop by. Lynn and I will be there Friday morning until around 2 pm Friday, all day Saturday.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Woke this morning to a gentle rain. At least it waited until I got to Betty's! By the time I finished inventorying and loaded everything into the van the rain had stopped and by lunch time the sun was out in all it's glory.

I left for Lynn's around 1:30. The traffic wasn't terrible, and the autumn foliage was ablaze in the sun.

The Pacific Northwest is generally pretty green - except for this time of year when all the shades of red and orange are painted on the trees, shrubs and bushes.

Lynn and I talked and got caught up and watched some baseball (I hemmed towels). And now for bed. Even me. I didn't sleep very well last night and find myself fading fast. Time to curl up with my book for a few minutes and hope tonight is a long catch up. An early morning (sort of) as we want to leave here by 8 am at the latest and traffic might be heavy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Road trip

Made good time in spite of fog and road construction. I'm in Mount Vernon which is about 80 miles north of Seattle. So about 110 miles yet to go.

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Monday, October 19, 2009

*RED* Hot

Red Hot Shawl

Tried to get a picture of the red scarf warp in the loom, but the colour gradations are too subtle and it just looked 'red' instead of red hot, like it looks on the loom.

So instead I'm showing a photo of a painted warp shawl that I wet finished last week and Karena trimmed and tagged this morning, ready for the craft fair here Oct. 31/Nov. 1.

While I'm getting a lot of satisfaction out of weaving plain weave at the moment, I do love my painted warps woven in various twills, too. :D

The subtle play of light against the warps/wefts adds a richness and depth that you simply can't get with plain weave.

I'm hitting the road as early as I can shift myself out of bed - but in the meantime I still have to finish packing.

I'm going to finish that red hot scarf on the loom first, though....

Currently reading Hard Ball by Sara Paretsky (set aside the Medieval one for now - it's pretty dry reading, albeit interesting - something to pick up when I'm home again)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

On Re-Discovering Plain Weave

....or the joy of being able to weave without thinking....

A few weeks ago a friend asked if I had any of my painted warp scarves woven in plain weave that she could use to illustrate an article she was writing. (Hi Tien!)

I didn't, but assured her that I could and set about dressing the loom with a scarf warp, intending to weave one scarf in plain weave, the rest in a 'fancy' four shaft twill.

Well, this was about the time my bp had gone all wonky and being able to just sit down at the loom, treadle plain weave and throw the shuttle was great therapy. Mentally as well as physically. :) Not to mention that I was really liking what was happening on the loom. So I wound up weaving off the whole warp in plain weave!

Since then I've done several scarf warps - all in plain weave - and it's been wonderful. The current warp is shades of pale turqouise to a dark royal blue. The first two scarves were woven with a turquoise (almost cyan). The last two are being woven with a darker mid-range blue.

I've also been doing a lot of thinking about the 'future of weaving' - how to encourage more people to take up the craft, on-line resources, such as Weavolution, WeaveZine, WeaveCast etc., etc.

And last night I talked myself into ordering a rigid heddle loom. I know, I know - me of the "if I'm going to weave just let me toss that shuttle and weave as efficiently as possible" philosophy!

But given the cost of floor looms and the state of the economy, I'm thinking that a whole lot more people are going to be open to weaving on a rigid heddle loom as an introduction. Sooooo - I guess it's time for me to take that step and really learn how the tool works so I can - perhaps - offer classes.

So which loom? Well, an Ashford because a friend is an Ashford dealer and is willing to give me a really good price. The rigid heddle (not the Knitter's Loom) because you can get the two heddle kit with two 12.5 dent heddle - which means being able to weave a lot more than plain weave - joyous as that is.

In the end, I may be heading to Syne's for lessons on rigid heddle weaving............right, Syne?

On the bp front, that seems to be stabilizing since the last tweak in medications. And the regimen of weaving plain weave for at least an hour every day. :D

Saturday, October 17, 2009

To Stretch or Not to Stretch

A temple in use

Close up of temple ends - top and bottom

There are several 'hot buttons' in the weaving world.

Warping back to front vs front to back.
Floating selvedges
Using a temple

No doubt there are more, but these three seem to crop up at regular intervals, are hotly debated - with no one changing their minds about their stance - then cool off until the next time it crops up.

I've gotten to the point in my life and weaving career where I don't often participate in these debates any more. Got tired of getting flamed for my input the last time. So I'll talk about my opinion here on my blog and those who want to read can, and those who aren't interested can ignore my pithy comments. :^)

I'm sure that everyone knows that I am highly concerned with weaving with the highest degree of efficiency that I can achieve. So where do I fall on the temple/no temple debate? Smack in the middle.

Over the years I have tried to weave without a temple because using one really does mean that I weave more slowly. Generally I try to weave without one. But there are times....

So in my experience - for whatever that is worth - I have found that it is necessary to use a temple in certain situations.

When using a fine, fragile yarn
When using (some) singles
When trying to weave a dense fabric - e.g. a worsted fabric (this would apply to weft-faced rugs, generally, too, but I don't weave them any more)

Quite frankly if I can figure out how to mount ring/rotary temples on my AVL I would use a temple every time I used the fly shuttle, too.

So that is one item on my shopping list for Convergence - to look once more at the Fireside rotary temples. I've been told that several people have successfully mounted them on an AVL. If it can be done, I'm confident that Doug will figure out a way. I acquired roller temples, but they are large and don't fit easily onto the AVL. Unless I'm willing for Doug to do major surgery on the loom, which I am currently not - so I make do with my trusty Leclerc temple when it's needed.

I don't use it all that often, but when I do I always know where it is and how to use it.

So for people who have never used one, what a temple does is keep the web stretched out to the width of the warp as it comes from the reed. This allows the weft to be beaten in more tightly for dense fabrics than can be done without it.

It also keeps the selvedge threads from being bent inwards, which for a fragile thread like a very fine yarn or a singles, means much fewer problems with broken selvedge ends. Always a good thing!

What a temple does not do is eliminate draw in once the cloth is off the loom.

For some weave structures, like a 1:3 or 3:1 twill, the shed may not clear properly at the selvedges without the temple, causing floats/skips. Which is why I dragged my trusty temple out for the warp shown above - when I wove this warp in a 2:2 twill I had no problems with skips. But when I changed to twill blocks - argh! The temple sorted that out in a hurry. :D

There was one warp that I tried to use the temple on, but the wood grain caught on the very fine threads. I nearly bought a metal temple, but decided that - since the fabric was for samples - I'd ignore the selvedges and cut them off later. :(

To use a temple, tie on as usual. Weave a header about 2 inches long. Set the temple - bottom up - on top of the warp at the reed. Size the temple so that it is just slightly narrower, or exactly the same width (never wider) than the warp in the reed. You need to have the teeth at about 1/4 to 1/8" from the selvedge.

Open the temple at the hinge, setting one end into the selvedge about 1/8 to 1/4" from the edge just below the fell. Set the other side into the opposite selvedge. Push the temple flat and secure with the metal band that prevents the temple from folding. Weave about 3/4 to 1". Open the temple and move to just below the fell. Repeat.

Generally I count how many picks before each advance, then I weave by counting picks, reset temple, count picks, reset temple. I can get into quite a good rhythm doing this. Of course it's slower than not using the temple, but I get much better results in the above situations if I do.

As for pricking my fingers - yes, I've done that once or twice. I soon learned to not grab the temple in a way that would prick fingers.

In the end, if a weaver is happy with their results, they don't need to change a thing. But if they aren't happy ...... then looking at different methods might bring them closer to their goal.

Currently reading The Medieval Underworld by Andrew McCall (Doug wanted to read Diamond Age so I've left my bookmark in the book and am letting him have it first)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Topsy-Turvey Day

A bucket of fringe twisting - shawls

Well, truth be told, it's been a topsy-turvey week - and the week isn't over yet. :}

It started out reasonably well - yesterday I picked up the new rims for the van, and this morning we dropped them off along with the van at the shop that was going to mount the tires onto the rims and balance them and put them onto the van. Everything was looking good.

Until they phoned at 2 pm to say the rims didn't fit onto the van! Of course they had mounted the tires before they tried to install the rims!

So poor Doug had to go back to the shop that sold him the rims. Seems there was some sort of mix up, and they've ordered rims in from Vancouver which should be here Saturday - so hopefully I will have snow tread on the van for the trip after all. And hopefully we won't have to pay extra for the replacement rims coming, or for taking the tires off the rims that don't fit and installing them on the proper ones. But since it wasn't the shop's fault, I suppose I'd better brace myself to pay twice to have the tires installed. :(((((

Normally I wouldn't worry about snow tires yet, but on my last trip two weeks ago there were already compact snow conditions at higher elevations plus we had a light dusting of snow the other night. :( Not to mention that there will be little to no time to deal with tires when I get home as shows follow each other almost every weekend until mid-November.

I got into the lab early due to dropping the van off as early as we could get there and lo and behold, there was no wait to speak of. So my blood work is being done and I'll get the results when I get back from Seattle.

Yesterday I didn't get to Mount Everest at all, so today I hunkered down to work on that only to come to the realization that the mountain is twice as tall as I had been thinking. So no, I'm not going to be able to conquer that before I leave. However I have managed to work my way through about one quarter of that job, so will carry on as best I can in order to get as much as possible accomplished before Monday evening.

Took a break to watch several hours of tv and fringe twisted (and had dinner in front of the boob tube).

I also have to put in an order for yarn for a commission - which on top of the tires and rims, the business insurance (which surely doubled since last year????) plus the van insurance - sigh - meaning that we are going to have to work hard to sell as much as possible at the 3 craft fairs we're doing in November. I'm not sure what I will do for income next year as I only have a couple of teaching contracts (which may, or may not, go ahead - there's always that cancellation clause.)

The intention was to go pressing tonight while Doug went to visit with a buddy, but in all the chaos and kaffuffle of the tires/rims, I forgot to load the washing machine. So now I'll wait until tomorrow night when Doug goes to watch the football game with another buddy. The good news there is that I now have two more shawls fringe twisted, so I'll wet finish them, too. :}

My wet finishing pile is mountainous - again. I'm hoping to deal with fringe twisting scarves (I'll ask my fringe twisting elf to return what she has as she doesn't seem to be able to get to it) and get a few more things finished for the up coming sales. They won't sell in my basement, unfinished.....

For now, though, I think I've had it with sitting crunched at the computer. Time to go weave and/or wind a few more colour gamp warps...........

One of the bright spots in the day was that Doug decided he needed a new cordless drill, but the one he wanted was more expensive than he was willing to spend on his own. So when he phoned to tell me how wonderful it was, I said "Merry Christmas."

So there's one less thing I have to worry about in December. :^)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Best Foot Forward

My battered feet in my battered ballet slippers...

In my 59+ years I have been very cruel to my feet.

Starting with ballet and doing point work at age 14 (and then again at age 30 something) then track and field (discus, shot put and hurdles), various and sundry other physical activities such as aeorbic workouts, and last but probably most significantly - years of pounding the treadles. So to speak.

When I say pounding the treadles, I am of course, referring to the many years of production work on the AVL.

It did not take me very long to realize that weaving on the AVL was going to take a very high toll on my feet. My foot, actually. My right foot to be specific.

On top of the point work, the history of arthritis in my family, my allergies with elevated inflammation rates - all pointed toward a strong potential of developing arthritis in my feet.

So I always wore some sort of footwear while weaving - beginning with ballet slippers for regular floor looms, then aerobic exercise shoes for the AVL.

It didn't take very long at all for me to realize that weaving for 5+ hours a day on a regular floor loom was going to leave my feet sore and aching if I didn't protect them somehow and since I had ballet slippers decided that they would fill the bill.

Since I slide my feet up the treadle, I needed a shoe with a leather sole and ballet slippers have a sturdy leather sole up the middle of the foot, with a thin flexible upper that allows me to feel the treadles so I can keep my place in the treadling sequence.

But when I went to the AVL, I knew that ballet slippers simply would not be sufficient protection from the weight of the shafts being lifted (15 shafts for Bronson Lace tabby b - 14 shafts for huck and Summer and Winter tabby). Since I was taking an aerobic class I had aerobic shoes handy so tried them and felt that they would do the trick.

Unfortunately I did not avoid arthritis in my feet. My right foot developed arthritis in the ball joint several years ago. This year I started developing arthritis in my left foot. :( The bad news is that this is the joint that gout usually manifests itself. Did you know that gout is a form of arthritis? I didn't! And since two of my medications can encourage gout......

I have started taking glucosimine in liquid form and have found it to be quite effective. Unfortunately with the onset of colder weather, I'm feeling it in my feet. :(

So, long story short, I am not a big fan of weavers weaving in bare or stocking feet. If they only weave for a little while now and then I suppose it's no big deal. But if they weave for any length of time on a regular basis on a jack type loom, I really hope they consider protecting their feet in some manner.

The good news is that I saw the doctor today and we have adjusted my medication, reducing the Plavix which I felt was beginning to have adverse effects (this is one of the meds that can encourage gout). And I've ordered more of the Cardio Cocktail which I hope will be the solution to my currently very erratic bp. While the numbers are not terrible, I'm blowing spikes almost every day that I have to work very hard to get to come down. :(

I'm also wondering about deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D - so along with a check on cholesterol tomorrow morning he's also ordered tests for those and a check on my liver function to see if there's a problem there.

I am very grateful that my doctor takes my concerns seriously, and allows me latitude to try alternate things like nutritional supplements. :)

Currently reading Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Of Studios and Messes

Piles of bins with yarn

Work table with more bins stored under it

Top of work table with neutral gamp yarns ready for winding
My studio is home to many different activities. I don't just weave I also dye yarns for re-sale, teach, write and once again make weaving kits.
Each of these activities requires equipment and materials and - of course - space.
The first photo shows a stack of bins. The ones on the top are those being used right now. Each bin contains the yarns for one of the colour gamp kits, plus handouts and any wound warps/quills.
Beneath that are bins with the 2/20 silk to be dyed. Some of it has been re-tied, some of it still needs to have the original ties replaced. A job for Karena when she comes in next Monday.
On the other side of the walkway is my work table. It is set up with the metal Leclerc skein winder. I've worked out how many turns are required for each quill. That yarn then gets wound onto the paper quills. The bobbin winder is just out of sight to the left.
Under the table is an office chair on which another bin full of shawls to be fringe twisted is temporarily stored. That bin may go with me to Seattle for the demo area. Another bin is stored under the table, too. It's full of teaching samples. I just don't know where else to store it right now. :}
There is also a roller from the AVL with some red shawls that I wove last spring and still haven't taken off and fringe twisted. :( Another one of those 'I'll get round to it one of these days' jobs.
The last picture shows the skein winder and the yarns for the neutral gamp that I was using tonight to wind warps and quills.
In the distance you might be able to make out the Silver Needles cone winder. I had been coning off some of the dyed 2/20 silk in preparation to weaving it up, but the colour gamp kits became the priority. The silk warp was experimentation and speculation; the kits have actual buyers waiting for them. :) The ball winder stays on the corner of the table - again I don't know where else to put it.
The table has other tools and materials on it - tape, scissors, quill papers, the pastel gamps awaiting wet finishing, boxes with yarn and bobbins that will be used in a day or three.
The activities that go on in my studio vary from day to day, week to week. While I would love to have a pristine studio, there is one thing lacking - sufficient space to store the things I need in order to do all the things that I do.
And so I work in quarters that are cluttered and messy looking, with piles of boxes and bins in every available corner, and clutter on every flat surface. I don't like it that way, but there doesn't seem to be much that I can do about it.
This is just one little area of my studio. It doesn't look any better in any other area of the studio. Do I really want the entire weaving world to know what a messy person I am? Not really - I'm only sharing this with my close personal friends. Friends who will not judge me and find me less worthy now they know my darkest secret. :} And now you know why I declined to share my studio with Handwoven for the current issue!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Counting Blessings

Mountain Ash laden with berries outside my front window

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. It was a chilly but brilliantly sunny day - a day ripe for counting blessings.

I am grateful for so many things - the love of friends, the fact that I have a roof over my head and food on the table. That I can still weave as much as I want to (in spite of not much wanting to lately!) :^)

But mostly I am still grateful that Doug and I had our medical conditions caught before things turned truly dire. Even in spite of the adverse drug reactions I've been battling. I'm still so very grateful that I will have a chance to weave up more of my stash and yes, buy even more yarn to play with.

So Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Even if it's a bit early for my American friends. :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thrumming Along

Bucket of thrums (weighing 15 pounds)

On Wednesday I'll be meeting the surface design artist to whom I give my thrums, so I dragged the bucket out from under the table where it lives tonight so I don't forget to bring the bag with me.

I haven't weighed it, but the bag holds the last 6 months worth of thrums - a not very heavy weaving schedule. Normally I'd have filled the bag much sooner but between having students, travelling and not feeling much like weaving it's taken much longer than usual.

Once Laura (the other Laura) finishes taking what she wants for her surface design, she'll take her scraps plus whatever thrums are leftover to the Salvation Army. The local branch has a recycling program for textiles.

I'm pleased to say that today my bp was *much* improved (thank you chemicals) and I hummed right along making significant progress on Mount Everest. Still a long way to go, but at least the barrier has been breached, or base camp reached, I suppose I ought to say in order to not mix metaphors!

And I finally did some actual weaving today. Weaving a colour gamp or two doesn't really count as aerobic weaving! Unfortunately it's been two weeks since I did any 'real' weaving and my thighs are letting me know I've been ignoring them. :}

The current issue of Handwoven has articles about studios. Madelyn suggested I participate in this issue, but I blushed to think that anyone would see the chaos that my studio is in reality and declined. :}

My four students saw it and my house at less than it's best this summer and that was bad enough!

Currently reading Brida by Paul Coelho

Saturday, October 10, 2009

First Gamp Woven

Plain weave gamp

Today's progress has once again been slow. :( Wound three pastel warps and got one of them onto the Fanny and finally managed to get the plain weave gamp woven. I expect to weave the twill tonight while Doug is out visiting his buddy.

While I've done nothing about the two Mountains on my job list, I did tackle a separate issue that had been plaguing me. Unfortunately my blood pressure shot through the roof doing it, but at least it is now dealt with and not festering at the back of my mind. And for that I feel relieved. :)

I reviewed my blood pressure readings and made an interesting discovery. My bp settled down in June with readings that were not only good, but even a little on the low side. They shot up in September and have been very irratic since then.

In June I switched from Ezetrol to Niacin for cholesterol and in September I stopped taking the diuretic. When I reviewed the dates when my bp settled down and went ballistic again, I realized that in June I had also started taking a nutritional supplement, and in September I ran out of my supply and stopped taking it.


So rather than try and change my medication again, I'm going to ask my doctor if we can wait until I can get another supply of the supplement to give that a go and see if it is the missing piece of the puzzle............

The downside is, of course, the fact that nutritional supplements aren't covered by my medical insurance while pills are. :( We'll see what the dr says on Wed. when I go in to get my Rx's renewed. I'm sure he'll have words about my bp readings, especially the one this afternoon when my bp really went ballistic. :( I hate being such a 'fragile flower'! :P~

I'm also hoping that getting my bp settled again will mean I'll feel more settled in my own skin and once more feel like working.

Currrently reading The Shack by William Young (read Sand Sharks by Margaret Maron and Fire and Ice by J. A. Jance while I was away)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Good Enough to Eat!

Here are the yarns for the pastel colour gamp kit. Delicious!

I'm not entirely happy with the pale green (third from the left) - dye lot difference means it is a tiny bit more intense than the sample card. But it's about the same value as the salmon (third from the right) so it should balance out nicely.

I continue to have a hard time getting myself to do anything at all, but finally got the twill neutral gamp woven, and that and the earth tones gamps are in the dryer along with a load of the hearts cotton tea towels - all of which will get pressed tonight.

Doug got me some more filtered water for the boiler so that has also been dealt with and I'll take it to the annex tonight when I go to press. There was only one 3 liter jug left so it was time.

There are a couple of things on my job list that I am finding to be real roadblocks mentally. They are committments that I agreed to a while ago and now find less than attractive. But I have given my word and feel honour bound to complete. Until they are done, I really don't want to start anything else but have been finding myself perfecting procrastination and therefore - not doing anything.

But that has got to change as show season has begun and there are many things that need to happen in very short order. My goal is to get both of the Mountains summited before I leave for the Seattle Weavers Guild sale on Oct. 20. That gives me 10 days.

This afternoon I'm going to wind the pastel gamp warp and see if I can get the loom dressed before dinner, press the load of stuff I just wet finished and tomorrow start tackling Mount Everest. Kilimanjiro may get offerred to another weaver because I'm really not wanting to go there, do that. :}

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tiny Steps of Progress

I'm not sure why I've been struggling the past few months, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I'm extremely deadline oriented. :}

Since I have plenty of inventory, the incentive to drive myself to the loom to make more seems - well, a little excessive?

Arrived home Sunday evening with a vanload of stuff (how on earth did I collect so much????) which filled the kitchen floor once it was offloaded. Where I'm going to put it all is a mystery, but the boxes and suitcases did get carried downstairs to the studio. Something to worry about another day.

Monday was frittered away catching up on mail (e and snail), attending a luncheon for a moving guild member, and then who knows what? I did work on the orders for the colour gamp kits, but need to wind more warps in order to assemble them.

The rest of the yarn arrived while I was away, and I'm much happier with the substituted colours so I can go ahead with the other two kits now.

I'm calling the one above "Neutral". It's also a sort of grey scale. I had intended to make all the gamps with the lightest value the dead centre, but this one worked with the natural white stripe slightly off centre, and I kind of liked the fact it was asymetrical. I also included a green because people often forget that some greens can make a great 'neutral' when crossing other colours.

Three of the kits are now listed Pastel will go up later this week, once I've woven the test warp.

Today is errands with mom, then a consult with a guild member about her loom. I don't know if I can help, but I will go and take a look anyway.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hitting the Road - Again

I'm about ready to load up the van and hit the road again.

Stopping in Vernon to meet a prospective client, so I'll be home later than I'd hoped - it will be getting dark before I get home.

It's been a great interlude before I get back and jump onto the colour gamp kits.

Had a lovely day on Saturday at the Ponderosa guild spin-in.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Revisitng an 'Old" Project

Copies of Magic in the Water are dwindling - sufficiently that I have turned my attention toward what to do about it when they are - finally - all gone.

Not that they will be gone any time soon, with 74 copies left looking for good homes. :}

However, I am visiting with my webmaster, and the opportunity to discuss re-publishing Magic on cd was too good to overlook.

So we have discussed formats and drawn up battle plans and much work has been accomplished today regarding files and formats.

Of course any edition of Magic on cd will not include the samples as such. They will be photographed and included as images only.

The big advantage of this is that it will bring the price of the cd version down to a much more acceptable level for most people's budgets, so I am hopeful that there will be a market for the cd version.

Time will tell!