Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Towelling Up

2/16 cotton warp with fine linen weft

2/8 cotton warp (warp twist) with rayon/linen boucle' weft

2/8 warp twist cotton warp with fine cotton slub weft

Finishing what I've woven always seems to take longer than the weaving, partly because I tend to do the tasks involved in batches. Since I do my pressing at another location I will put a load through the washer/dryer and then go to the annex and fire up the boiler. When the weather warms up it doesn't take very long before the room is far too hot so I wait for a cooler day before heading up there.

Tomorrow is Canada Day and it looks like it's going to be another cool one so I'm going to leave Doug to the final tearing up of the floor in the hall and bathroom and see if I can't get a couple more loads of towels pressed and ready to be hemmed.

There is also a stack of things already there that need their final pressing after hemming, so I'll try to get those done, too.

In the meantime I did finish some towels to the point where I could post them on my Art Fire store

My goal in the next 10 days is to see how much of the wet finishing I can get done so that I can get things ready for the fall sales beginning in September.

It's difficult to believe the year is half over and that I've accomplished so little. :( But not feeling well tends to put a crimp in one's energy and I have to remind myself that I've done as much as I have been able to do and let it go. Frankly I've got lots of inventory, especially if I get the mound of wet finishing done.

Having a fringe twisting elf has sure helped with the scarf production, too, but I still have two large boxes of painted warps to be woven so I'm going to keep working on those.

But I also need to look to the future and see what else - other than weave - I can do. What do I want to do? There is still that e-book I was supposed to be writing and haven't had the mental capacity to deal with. Plus I have another writing project that I want to do that is unrelated to weaving.

Do I want to travel to teach more? With all the hassles re: security when one flies, plus all the extra charges for luggage and so on, travel is looking less attractive all the time. :( OTOH, once I get where I'm going I always have a great time and the people I've met are wonderful. :)

In the meantime I'm counting sleeps until we leave for Vancouver.

p.s. I'm extending the special on Magic in the Water; wet finishing handwovens - free shipping until the end of July - Happy Birthday Canada, the US - and moi!

Book Review

Warning - this book has nothing to do with weaving or textiles....

I first heard about this book via Deb Robson's blog and, intrigued, I checked our local library where I found it on the shelf.

In the current world political arena I find myself uneducated and under informed about a whole great big chunk of history. While in school I never found History to be very compelling - unless it was put into a social (or personal) context. A dry recitation of dates of battles and lineages of kings failed to fascinate.

Tell me the story of how historical events impacted on individuals and I am there. Which is why I read a fair amount of historical fiction - Dorothy Dunnett, Lindsey Davis, Sharan Newman, Sharon Kay Penman and so on. These authors, while writing a fictional story, use real events and social context to flesh out their narratives. And I find that fascinating. I'm much more interested in why people do things rather than just finding out about what it was they did.

I wasn't really sure what Destiny Disrupted was going to be like, simply taking Deb's recommendation that it was worth reading, but I found the 'story arc' (as Ansary refers to it) compelling.

Ansary comes from a background that embraces both east and west. He writes well, with a certain amount of acerbic wit (which I always enjoy). But mostly I appreciate his placing events into historic context, showing the development of Islam society, the growth of the Muslim religion, and how it grew in conjunction with European events.

I'm about 1/3 of the way through the book and am very glad I picked it up. I've also requested the library bring in one of Ansary's other books - the story of his personal journey. I'm certain it will be fascinating reading, too.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Had to Laugh... myself just because I'm so predictable.

Went shopping at Costco yesterday to stock up on vitamins and noticed they had a new display of mats. I had really liked the ones I saw a few weeks ago but they had been far too large for the entry space in my kitchen.

They now had a much larger selection and one size was almost right - a bit on the small side - but the price couldn't be beat. So I bought two. One to leave out daily, the other to lay out when we are getting ready for a show to protect the floor as boxes get stacked up ready to load into the van.

Now shopping at Costco is not a thoughtful affair. You (well, I, at any rate) kind of grab and run and if it isn't right - well, Costco has this great return policy. :}

So I kind of rummaged through the pile and decided on the beige colourway rather than the darker brown and beige - without ever unfolding the mats to look at the overall design.

It wasn't until I got home that I actually saw the pattern woven into the rug.

I am sooooo a weaver!

Currently reading Destiny Disrupted by Tamim Ansary

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Functioning Kitchen

Doug worked late last night but we got the stove and fridge moved back into the kitchen after he got home. While the kitchen isn't quite finished, it's at least functioning again.

Doug still has to finish the trim under the counters but I expect that he'll leave that until the hallway and bathroom are done.

He has 3 days off this week so I'm hoping that he'll be able to finish laying the floor. The trim can wait.

I bought a floor mat to replace the old one but I'm not sure I like it yet. The old one looks better than I thought it would on the cork so I may just shampoo it and put the new one in the bathroom. The old one for the bathroom really doesn't look good and needed to be replaced anyway.

With any luck Doug will help me put the dining room to rights now that the stove and fridge are no longer in that space. I'm hoping that we can deliver his g/aunt's chair to his niece when we drive down to Vancouver in July. And then I need to deal with the last dribbles of clutter that didn't get dealt with before Doug started ripping the floors out and laying the new.

Friday, June 25, 2010

More Thoughts on Original Designs

painted red warp ready to weave...

So, given that I believe that what today's professional weavers are selling is primarily their original designs, how do I feel about patterns (recipes) and kits?

When I first started weaving I kind of pooh-poohed them, but over the years I have come to understand that they serve a useful purpose.
First of all, not everyone has a real live teacher to help them learn to think and make decisions that will lead them to success. Not everyone has much tolerance for spending a lot of time, effort and money buying materials to wind up with something that is rather less than the successful item they were striving for. Not everyone is willing to risk all that and call a 'mistake' another brick in their foundation of knowledge.

Where I still baulk is when people will follow a pattern from a book or magazine precisely and then sell the finished item as a piece of 'original' work. Copyright law forbids selling someone else's creative work as their own, but many people don't seem to understand what a copyright is, or why it should be honoured.

When I have submitted work to a publication or present drafts in a workshop, I do so in the knowledge that some people will follow those directions exactly. And I have no problem with that so long as they don't sell what they make. If they enter the item in a juried exhibit it would be nice if they would give credit to the source.

But how much does someone have to change a pattern in order to call it theirs? IMHO they should at the very least change the colours used. If there is a stripe sequence, they might consider changing the proportions of the stripes. They might substitute different yarns, which might then mean changing the set.

In other words, take the design work done by someone else and use it as a springboard.

But in the end if the weaver doesn't feel confident enough to make any changes that's fine. They are still honing their skills, learning by doing, sharing their joy of being creative with their family and friends by giving them hand made gifts. Perhaps in time they might start to feel confident enough to begin challenging themselves by weaving their own designs. And if they never do, that's okay, too.

Currently reading Every Which Way but Dead by Kim Harrison

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Herding Cats (or Pushing String)

There are times when being a weaver as a profession feels a whole lot like herding cats - or pushing string.

Well, truth be told, pulling string works a whole lot better than trying to push it, but there are days.......... :}

I've been thinking a lot about aspects of being in the business of making and selling textiles, partly because of my health issues and partly because Mizz B has voiced her desire to make and sell textiles.

So I sat Mizz B down last night and we had a chat about some of the realities of being in business.

The first thing I asked her is what her focus was going to be.

"My focus?" she pondered as her eyes unfocused (the better to see the future perhaps?)

I pointed out that many people make the mistake of thinking that what they are selling is textiles when what we are really selling is our creativity, our design esthetic, and our skills.

Anyone can weave if they really want to. Not everyone has the ability to come up with original designs and create those. Many people recognize that they don't have the time or skills to make original things but do have the disposable income to pay for the talents of someone else to provide them with unique things in their home or office environment.

I suggested that since she was already very in to re-cycling, re-using, and re-purposing that she should consider marketing her textiles with that slant. I suggested that a good first product might be rugs, in particular rep weave mats. I made dozens of these mats when I first started out and they were fun. You can do a lot of patterning with four shafts just by changing your treadling, and the thick weft could be made from rags.

We talked about markets and the fact that the village she was going to be living in was not going to be her primary market. Even the town I live in isn't big enough to support me - I sell way more of my textiles in metropolitan centres. But likewise I save a lot of money by living in a smaller town where living costs are much lower.

We talked about the mechanics of being in business - logos, hang tags, business chequing accounts, loans to purchase equipment - because being a weaver means there are a whole lot of 'lean' income months where things have be be bought in order to make product long before a sale where income might start coming in, happen.

And it never hurts for a single woman to have her very own credit rating, separate from her partner, if she has one of those. :)

While we only scratched the surface of what she will need to know, I learned most of these things by doing. And I'm confident that she will, too.

The good news is that we have agreed that she can keep fringe twisting since she'll be coming back to town several times over the summer. Yay! And who knows - she may move back?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Catching Up

If you've been reading my blog for a while you might recognize this fabric. It is one of a series of afghans (throws) that I wove late last year, just as my health appeared to be heading into a downward spiral.

There were a few oopsies that needed to be fixed and quite frankly I just didn't feel well enough to do the repairs. :(

Sometimes it's easier for me to just keep on weaving rather than do the repairs on the loom, so if that's the case I will mark the error with a contrasting thread and then needleweave on my inspection table.

With Mizz B soon moving back home I wanted to show her how to do such repairs and with the arrival of the paperwork from St. Paul's Hospital today I'm feeling much more energetic so I dragged out the beam with the afghans wound on it and showed her how to fix such errors.

I managed to get 3 of them inspected and repaired before getting too tired (and with the fading light it was getting too hard to see) so I'll finish the rest tomorrow.

The paperwork took the better part of an hour, plus I have to go in for blood work a week before the procedure, but St. Paul's Hospital has a great reputation for being a first rate cardiac research hospital so I know I'm in good hands. It would be nice to know why this all blew up so soon and so quickly, though. :( (I have my suspicions, but....)

In the covering letter they mentioned that the nurse will let me know if I 'qualify' for one of their research programs - if I'm approached I've already decided to agree. My CAD is genetic and as a female I didn't have typical symptoms the first go round. This time - partly because I'd already been through it once - I started agitating for a stress test before things became critical. :)

Unfortunately at that time I wasn't having much in the way of typical symptoms - those started after I broke my ankle.

But with the arrival of the paperwork today the procedure is feeling much more 'real' - it's exactly 3 weeks until I get 'fixed' and knowing that has made all the difference in the world in terms of how I'm feeling.

In addition to doing the paperwork and the repairs, I threaded the AVL with the Diversified Plain Weave warp and wove a scarf on the small loom.

It's much easier for me to weave on the small loom right now, so I've decided to leave the warp on the AVL until after I get back from St. Paul's. With the air assist on the AVL I don't have to treadle so it should only be a couple of days until I can weave on that loom. It will be a week before I can weave on the small loom with the treadles. :) And if I don't feel up to weaving right away - well, there's all those afghans that will need fringe twisting. After all I won't have a fringe twisting elf after the end of this month. :(

At least there's the internet and she has family here so will be coming to visit fairly regularly. :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shoulders of Giants

scarf #2 in progress...
The other day I was talking to another weaver and described myself as primarily self-taught. And caught myself up short because - although that is true in a way - it's not the complete truth.
I was extremely fortunate in that I was able to enroll in a two semester class on weaving. I had an instructor and the benefit of a fully equipped studio with all the bells and whistles including an extensive library. My instructor passed along some excellent basic skills, but mostly she instilled in me the confidence to think and follow through to reasonably successful projects. Not everyone has that gift.
I also took workshops, seminars and classes from some extremely talented weavers. To name just a few - Irene Waller, Peter Collingwood, Steven Simpson and Morfydd Roberts from Great Britain, Mary Andrews (Banff Centre of Fine Arts), Diane Mortenson, Lilli Bohlin, Linda Heinrich, Judith Mackenzie McCuin, Mary Frame, Jane Evans, Madelyn van der Hoogt, Jack Lenor Larson, Mary Bentley, Dini Moes, and many more too numerous to mention. I was also helped on a personal level by people like Allen Fannin and Tom Beaudet.
And I cannot forget to mention all the people who belonged to the chat groups on the internet and people I met at conferences.
So while I do consider myself largely self-taught - all those mistakes made over the years that taught me valuable lessons plus all the reading I've done, books and magazines -I do have to give credit to the weaving community at large which has been incredibly generous and supportive on so many levels. Even those people who did not approve of my equipment choices taught me an important lesson - that of keeping my focus and understanding that someone else's standards and choices may be 100% appropriate for them while not being at all appropriate for me.
The biggest lesson I have learned is how much more there is to learn. And after 35 or so years of weaving as a career I still find that prospect of more to learn exciting!
Judith Mackenzie McCuin talks about how we all stand on the shoulders of giants - all those knowledgable talented people who have gone before us and shared their knowledge.
To them, and to my contemporaries who are fellow travellers on the road of knowledge, thank you.
Currently reading For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison

Friday, June 18, 2010

Keeping the Beat

From time to time people ask which way of beating is the correct way.

Well, the 'correct' way is the way that gets you the results you desire. :}

That said, I have worked out a weaving rhythm that entails beating on a closing shed. I think this video clip shows what I mean the best:

By the time the beater hits the fell, the shed is pretty much closed and the beater is pushed back on the new open shed. This helps to clear out any stray threads that don't open properly.

This is my default method of beating, the one I use when nothing special needs to be accomplished, just needing to eat up the inches and yards as efficiently as possible.

However, there are qualities of cloth where this approach doesn't give me the results I desire and I need to adapt - control, if you will - how the picks are set into the fell line.

Here are two examples when I need to change how I beat:

A very open cloth. The picks do not get beaten in as much as they are pushed into place. There is a point in the laying in where there is a 'catch' in how smoothly the pick is being pushed. At this point the weaver has to decide how much further the pick needs to be pushed in order to achieve the openness required. Then the weaver must remember the degree of force and apply it consistently to the rest of the cloth.

A very dense cloth. The picks in a dense cloth need to get pounded into place. This may require one or more adaptations. For rugs, weavers sometimes add mass to their beater by attaching weights to it. Sometimes a double (or more) beat is required. Adding extra beats to a closed shed will help prevent the weft from popping out and away from the fell line. In some cases I've heard of situations where two weavers will sit at the loom to add the necessary force.

And all sorts of combinations in between the above two extremes.

Needless to say, any deviation from my default beat means that I have to go more slowly. But sometimes it is necessary to go more slowly in order to achieve the quality of cloth being attempted. In all cases, no matter how one beats, being consistent will result in better quality than not being consistent.

Remember if you can't be perfect, be consistent.

(for the t-shirt, go to my website and click on Store, then Merchandise for a link to a CafePress store)

Currently reading From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Next Warp

Started beaming the warps for the Diversified Plain Weave scarf run this morning.

DPW is a weave structure that has a fat pattern thread and a fine tie down thread in the warp and the weft. Winding a warp with two such disparate grists can be a problem when one is putting on a long warp.

Now if one is just doing, say, 5 yards and has a relatively large beam like the one yard beam on the AVL, they can probably be successfully wound onto the same beam all at once.

However, I'm putting on a 40 yard warp and I know from past experience that a warp that long is not going to behave well with both grists on the same beam.

While I don't very often use both beams, when the second beam is needed, it's because it is essential to use it. (For convenience or for separating yarns of different grists.)

I've found that it is much easier/efficient to beam the warp on the lower 1/2 yard second beam and then beam the warp on the upper 1 yard beam.

The other thing I've learned from experience is that the yarns will be going on at differing lengths. Rather than use a yardage counter, I simply count revolutions and use the greater circumference as a fudge factor. Generally there's plenty of yarn so I don't need to crunch numbers so closely as to need a yardage counter (although I have one for other purposes).

Just to be on the safe side I've wound 85 turns of the fine yarn instead of 80 giving me a fudge factor of 2.5 or so yards to accommodate the difference in circumference and build up of the yarn.

Now some people might find this wasteful but let's do the math.

There are 16 ends per one inch section, times 2.5 yards times 10 sections for a total of approximately 400 yards. The yarn is a 2/16 grist which has approximately 6400 yyp (a little more but let's make this as simple as possible). That means there are about 400 yards per ounce.

The retail cost of the 2/16 bamboo is about $13.50 for 8 ounces which means that my 'insurance policy' of an additional 2.5 yards per section has cost me about $1.70. (Not counting taxes and shipping.)

This insurance policy will ensure that I don't run out of the fine yarn before I run out of the chenille in case of unequal build up on the beams, and hopefully if I've miscounted and am short a turn on the fine yarn, I still won't run out before I run out of chenille.

Seems like a small price to pay to me. :)

And while I'm sectional beaming, I thought I would pass on this tip for working with masking tape. I've done this for so many years I assume everyone knows to do this but apparently not.

Pull off the length of tape you want. Pinch the tape between your thumb and index finger and rip the tape off against your thumb. This will leave a tab so that when you go to use the tape next time you don't have to find the ripped end stuck to the roll of tape. If leaving the tape for any length of time, fold the tape back on itself to preserve the tab.

(Tip courtesy of Doug, many moons ago.)

Currently reading The Body in the Gallery by Katherine Hall Page

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Draft for Red Towels

A couple of people have commented on the draft I used for the red towel warp.

I have 16 shafts on my AVL so generally I will thread a design over all 16. There are a number of advantages for doing this such as giving me more options and spreading the threads out over a greater distance which is sometimes helpful if the yarns are set very close together or if the warp yarns are a bit grabby.

I really like the Wall of Troy threading. You only need four shafts for it, but by spreading it out over more you get more options during weaving.

Wall of Troy - four shafts:

The threading is a 10 thread repeat so it is fairly simple to thread and to treadle. As mentioned previously I tend to break treadling sequences down into a form of choreography - in this instance I begin with the shuttle going from right to left for the first pick and in my head I count '1'. With 10 picks to the repeat I count from 1 to 10 as I weave so that if I run out of weft yarn at, say, '7', I know exactly where I am in the sequence.

If you have more shafts you can extend the threading as below for 8 shafts:

Notice that the tie up for this draft is a 1/3/3/1 tie up. On my AVL I extended the Wall of Troy over all 16 shafts and used a 1/3/1/3/3/1/3/1 tie up in the pink area. In the cottolin part I used a twill block tie up. It's a subtle difference and hard to see in the photo.

In this draft I have isolated the Wall of Troy by bracketing it with straight twill.

Overall I find this threading versatile and easy to thread so I confess I come back to it in different iterations a lot. For example with 16 shafts I can make the /\/ over 4 shafts, 8 shafts, 12 shafts or 16 shafts, expanding the motif for a more dramatic look.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stash Reduction

It seems ages ago I beamed this warp in an effort to use up some of my stash of cottons but I'm finally heading down the home stretch.

The bottom bit has a dark red cottolin weft which is now all used up (yay!) and the last couple of yards of this warp will be woven off with a fine cotton slub that's a lighter value than I'd prefer on this warp, but it's what I have on hand. And since the whole point is to use up stash....

One of the reasons it's taken so long to finish this warp are my on-going health issues.

I do finally have a date for the test, but a shortage of medical radio isotopes means delays for everyone waiting, not just me. :( So I have to draw on my rather thin supply of patience until July 14. And then wait a week for the results and then wait for a booking for the procedure if such is required. Which I'm pretty sure will be, even though I once again do not have obvious symptoms.......obvious to the medical community apparently as the specialist assured me that he didn't think that there was anything much wrong with me. :( OTOH he ordered the high tech test, gave me medication and told me to cancel my trip to Complex Weavers/Convergence until we get this all sorted out.

(and yes, I'm whining - if I didn't vent, I'd explode!)

The universe is determined that I am going to learn the lesson of patience one way or another. :}

In the meantime I've been put on beta-blockers which prevent the heart rate from increasing. While they are doing their job admirably and I'm feeling much better as a result it also means that my aerobic pace of weaving has had to be slowed, too.

Weaving on the Fanny I can slow my weaving rhythm down without too much difficulty but the AVL really likes to go at a particular pace - trying to go more slowly just means greater physical effort on my part. My AVL has a four box fly shuttle which means it's very heavy. If I have to physically pull and push it rather than rely on its own weight to swing it back and forth it is much harder work.

So in order to slow myself down I have been winding one single bobbin of weft at a time, weaving that off, then winding another single bobbin of weft. Even so I can only keep it up for about 20 minutes before I run out of steam.

Mentally I've found it difficult to justify firing up the loom in order to do so little, so for several days I just wove on the Fanny, ignoring the AVL.

My strategy for the next warp is to finally do the planned Diversified Plain Weave scarf production run which means that I will have to weave more slowly anyway because it is a two shuttle weave. I had been sort of postponing doing it because it is slower to weave. And because it is slower to weave, now appears to be the perfect time to get that warp onto the loom. Besides, I'm running out of time if I want to have these scarves ready for fall sales....

Currently reading Changes by Jim Butcher

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Never Said I Was Perfect...

This is a cautionary tale under the heading "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

A while ago I had the brilliant idea of getting another artist to do some of my dyeing for me. She had the studio set up, the expertise and the talent to paint 10 yard warps as well as skeins.

She was also quite willing to use fibre reactive dyes, which I don't really like to use. And so we worked together with me winding the warps and mailing them to her, she dyeing them and mailing them back. We started with a combination of Tencel and regenerated bamboo.

And then for my next 'brilliant' idea. Why not use soy protein fibre and Tencel? It seemed like a really nice combination of yarns for scarves and I had a source of supply for soy protein fibre in the same grist as the Tencel.

So I ordered in the minimum amount of spf with the intention of dyeing some myself in the skein using acid dyes and winding warps with one strand of Tencel, one strand of spf for Teresa to dye for me.

What I didn't realize - because I didn't do a sample first - is that the spf shrank a much greater amount than the Tencel.

Poor Teresa started dyeing these warps and noticed that they were getting awfully tangled. At first we thought I just needed to tie more ties to keep the yarns under control, but when I started weaving the warps it became apparent very quickly what the actual problem was.

If you click on the first picture you can probably see the loops of the Tencel in the warp chain.

By the end of the 10 yard long warp the difference is quite significant. Can you see the dark blue yarns on the left? That's the Tencel. The lighter blue yarns on the right are the spf.

I wind up brushing the loose Tencel from one end of the warp to the other in order to beam the warp, but once that's done the yarn doesn't shrink any more because it's done all its shrinking in the dye bath. And in the end they do make quite nice scarves. :)

Currently reading Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison (recommended by Syne Mitchell - thanks for another good author recommendation Syne!)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Spinners

Yesterday two new spinners/weavers came over to look at the Ashland Bay spinning fibres.

I'd met them the evening before at the guild drop-in where they were working on their inkle looms weaving tapes and/or spinning on drop spindles. :)

One of the local spinners/weavers has been giving classes at the SCA group and has been weaving up a storm herself making SCA appropriate tapes.

It's just great to see interest starting to bubble!

Weaving seems to go through cycles of interest, then subsiding for a while. When I started weaving in 1974 interest was just growing and there was a lot of excitement about it. It seems that it may be growing again - how lovely.

Someone commented that one of the barriers to weaving is the cost of a new loom. In my area there is a surplus of used looms around, but ultimately a full size loom takes up a room. Not everyone has that much room to spare.

However there are small looms - inkle, backstrap, card/tablet weaving, even rigid heddle looms. When I first started weaving I wasn't very interested in the small looms. I was primarily interested in 'fancy' weaving with lots of shafts. :D But the only difference between a loom without shafts, or only a few shafts, and one with lots of shafts is that you can do 'fancy' weave structures more efficiently. If a person is willing to use a pick up stick, there really isn't anything that they can't do.

So one of the things I'll be showing Mizz B how to do is pick up. Right now she can use my 24 shaft lever loom, but when she moves home she will have her 4 shaft Leclerc Fanny and backstrap loom. Knowing how to do pick up will give her the freedom to do lots of 'fancy' things with a minimum of investment in equipment.

The trade off will be that it will take her more time.

Currently reading State Fair by Earlene Fowler

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Greying Weavers, Young Weavers

Yesterday Mizz B came and helped Doug unload the van, then she helped me sort through the spinning fibres so I could take an inventory. Today sometime I will be updating my website with the actual numbers of what is available. After dinner Doug and I took the stack of bins and boxes to the annex to get them off the new floor in the living room. :) (Yes that's a handwoven throw protecting the floor - it's now a packing blanket because it's got threadbare spots in it from being used.)
I also had a visit from someone 'local' who has mohair goats. She is trying to sell her fibres so I bought some to re-sell. Unfortunately I may have to get my web master to create a new page on my website to list those for sale. :}
Today has been a quiet day after the flurry of activity the past week. As I mentioned in an earlier post I haven't been feeling well and await an appointment tomorrow in hopes of having a date for a medical test and procedure if it is deemed necessary.
I have been thinking a lot about the 'greying of the guilds' given my own personal journey the past couple of years and that of friends who are also entering a time in their lives when bodies seem to start breaking down - much sooner than anyone ever anticipated. :(
When I decided to become a weaver at the tender age of 24 I resented the stereotype of all weavers being 'little old ladies in running shoes.' Now I are one. Truly. I turn 60 this year - remember when 60 seemed absolutely ancient????
During the conference I spent some time visiting with weavers I've gotten to know over the years and talked about aches and pains and lack of energy. One of the other vendors had just had surgery to correct a problem - literally. Her husband had picked her up from the hospital and brought her to the hall for set up. Another vender has had back problems for years and lots of surgeries. We all limped and struggled through the weekend, me feeling very tired and old. :(
A number of weavers expressed concern about their age and the size of their stashes - what would happen to all their textile toys when they could no longer weave?
But then - oh then - on Saturday came a trickle of young people. Young women and a few young men - in their 20's - excited by the display of yarns and fibres. Some of them were knitters, some felters, some spinners, and some weavers. One young couple in particular were a delight - he interested in weaving, she in spinning and knitting.
By the end of the weekend I was feeling much more hopeful about the future of the craft.
Perhaps it is because there is an active provincial guild in Alberta, perhaps because there is a textile program run through Olds College where they have a Fibre Week every year.
Whatever the cause there seem to be a growing number of young people coming along with a bright shine in their eyes, and a thirst for knowledge about textiles.
On my own home front there is Mizz B. Even though she moves back 'home' at the end of the month we are hoping to keep her learning. I suggested she download the test levels from the Guild of Canadian Weavers ( and we use those as a long distance learning guide. Then when she can make it here to visit family she can come for evaluation of what she has done as 'homework'.
I'm looking forward to seeing what she accomplishes.
Currently reading Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Friday, June 4, 2010

Show Time!

We are all ready for dedicated fibreaholics to come and indulge.
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Thursday, June 3, 2010


Jasper. Half way there.
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