Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Snoqualmie Falls

Visiting with Syne Mitchell yesterday and today. Heading north tomorrow with lots of deadlines and much to consider.

And yes there is an embryo for an ebook simmering in the creative juices.

Unfortunately as Linda Heinrich observed birthing a book is much like birthing an elephant!

Currently reading Death of a Dancer by Caro Peacock after finishing Heat Wave by Richard Castle
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Last day

It is looking a bit worse for wear after 16 days but this is what my area looks like. One day to go and pack out tomorrow.

Unfortunately it is raining again after a lovely day yesterday. We will see if anyone comes today. ;)
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Demo Time

One benefit of doing this show is that each artisan gets a demo shift.

I'm finally (!) Hemming the last of the DPW afghans I wove a year ago.

Do I know how to procratinate or what? ;)
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Never Too Many

part of my library.....

I'm always gob-smacked when people post on the internet chat groups that one particular book is the only weaving book anyone would ever need.

This craft that has been going on for literally thousands of years can be captured between the covers of one book? Wow.

The above photo is just a portion of my library. After I culled the books I felt I really didn't need because I'd read them and decided that direction was not in my future (books on drawloom weaving, rug weaving) and that since I wasn't utilizing them someone else might as well have the opportunity. :) Plus I needed the money. :(

I have no idea how many books I currently own. Some of them I consult regularly, some only occasionally, some almost never - but would like to go that direction - some day in the future. :)

Many of the books cover much of the same material. What makes them different - and therefore valuable to me - is the unique voice of each author. They all have different perspectives, different experiences and face it, no one person will ever (and I do mean ever) know everything there is to know about constructing a textile. Although I admit that some people come pretty darn close. :D

When I published Magic in the Water many people asked me what my next book would cover. At the time I had no interest in publishing another book. That one had just been such an enormous effort I couldn't see myself doing anything like that again.

But many moons have passed - hard to believe it's been 10 years since I started writing Magic! - I've had other experiences and through this blog have come to realize that perhaps another book by moi is called for. (Oh hush, I know that's my ego talking!)

For the longest time I resisted writing a book geared toward beginning weavers. But recent experiences have begun to raise the awareness that I, too, have a unique voice, a unique experience and that my perspective might prove to be of value to others.

Plus with the rise of e-publishing, I would not be in the same position of writing, weaving, copy-editing, assembling, shipping, advertising and bank rolling the effort. The beauty of e-publishing is that the printing of the hard copy is up to the reader - they can either read it on their computer (or Kindle, etc), thereby saving all sorts of paper and ink - or they can print out which pages they want to hold in their hands or bring to their looms.

I even had a vision of a publication that could be added to by the reader, including their notes and project samples that would make their copy of particular value to them.

Yesterday I asked on Ravelry for suggestions for book topics that people would like to see - what sort of information that they are looking for. I was sort of surprised by how many people asked for information that was already available in other publications. But many of those books are old and out of print. They are not now being promoted by present day publishers. They cannot easily be found via the internet. And some of them aren't really very eye-appealing. For example Mary Black's book was first published in the late 1940's - and looks very much like a book of that time period.

And so I'm mulling over how the new technology can be made to work for today's weaver. And looking for suggestions from others.

I'm leaving on Thursday but will have email access. Email me with suggestions. I'll be meeting with Syne Mitchell at the end of the month to discuss some options. My email addy is laura at laurafry dot com

Currently reading Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris - I managed to find the last two in the series that I haven't yet read, bringing me up to date on her Sookie Stackhouse series

ps - there are just 49 copies of Magic in the Water, plus around 50 or so abridged copies left. One of the options is to do an e-book on wet finishing....what say you?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Devil and the Details

Details, details, details~!

Weaving is all about details. Teaching weaving is also all about details. If you miss out just one little detail, you'll probably have a devil of a time getting it sorted out....

I spent much of last night and about 3 hours today getting ready for the two workshops in Albuquerque. (I still have to book my flight - another detail.)

When I teach I try to tailor the content for each group. In this instance, it was agreed that the participants really weren't as interested in weaving with wool as say, a guild in Minnesota. :)

With 6 people enrolled in the Magic in the Water workshop so far, I needed to select the weave structures and yarns that would be of most benefit to the group. And then start working on which ones I'd weave for them. I also sent two 'extra' drafts just in case of late registration and to give people a bit of choice of which yarns/drafts they wanted to dress their loom with. So if you're near Albuquerque and want to take it, there are still spots available. Contact info on the Schedule page of my website

The rest of the time was spent photocopying the masters of the draft info and the supplemental notes that I hand out.

The workshop A Good Yarn is based on a kit I developed a few years ago and then discontinued because no one seemed interested in it. Since (IMHO) a knowledge of one's materials is essential I've been happy that a few groups have asked me to do it as either a guild program or a one day workshop. This workshop has lots of handouts so I spent quite a bit of time at the copy machine, breathing in toner. :(

In the end, all I can hope is that I've covered all the details I intended to and that the participants will be as interested in them as I am.

Right now I'm waiting for an address to ship the boxes to. It seems that I can't find the address. Details!

Currently reading Death Threads by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Queen of Procrastination

a brand new warp - the peak of possibilities....

So, I've been procrastinating all week about getting the next Diversified Plain Weave warp done by messing about with computer software, weaving on the painted warps, visiting, reading - doing just about anything but the DPW warp. And the days have been slipping by. :(

Now, of course, I'm supposed to be working on the handouts for the Magic in the Water workshop for Albuquerque next month, and guess what? I procrastinated about doing that while I finally threaded, sleyed and tied up the DPW warp!

But there was a reason for the diversion. There are only 6 people in the round robin workshop which means that there will only be 6 warps in the workshop itself. Not enough to give a good range of examples for the participants. So I had to think about how to make the workshop valuable for 6 and the obvious answer is that I need to weave some samples for them to wet finish so that they can experience those combinations, too. And I needed to think about which fibres/yarns/weave structures that I would - and could, given my schedule - weave for them.

While I didn't think about the problem consciously - the threading was a little too complex for me to not think about that - the challenge stewed in the back of my mind and I've decided on my approach. And that, all by itself, is a good first step.

So now I'm ready to go through the workshop handouts, pull the ones that the participants will weave, and decide which ones that I will weave. With any luck I can get the warp yarns into the mail tomorrow, Saturday at the latest, and then they will have time to dress their looms while I go back to finish out the Fair, pack out, spend a couple of days visiting with friends and come back to hit the loom hard getting the samples I will provide woven before it's time to head south again.

Currently reading You Slay Me by Kate MacAlister - a little bit on the 'light' side but we'll see how the characters develop....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Video Clip - Repair Thread

Well, I got the video editing software installed yesterday, with many thanks for the help from my webmaster. You know, the one who lives 500 miles away? The man is magic! ;)

So this morning I did a quick test video clip and was very pleased that the upgrade is almost identical to the way the old program worked. It has extra features that I simply didn't have the time or patience to work my way through this morning. Hopefully when I'm back from our trip at the end of the month I'll feel inclined to tackle adding titles and such. :)

There is nothing like seeing yourself as others see you to provide a reality check. I've known for several years that I'm packing way too much weight, but have been unable until recently to do anything about it. After watching myself in action this morning, I'm more than ever determined to peel some more weight off (I've managed about 5 pounds so far). While I have a private ideal goal weight, ultimately I'm going to be satisfied if I just manage to take some more off. Losing weight is a factor of my returning health and all I want is to be healthy, knowing that packing around less weight will make being healthy easier and that life will be a lot more pleasant. And who knows, I might even fit into some of my handwoven clothing again! :D

You can watch the video here:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Review

Finished Eric's book yesterday and noted on the back cover that there are 5 volumes intended in the series. This news makes me very happy because the journey being taken by Fiona and Eliot Post has been captivating so far.

In this second of the series, Fiona and Eliot are becoming individuals, making their own choices and learning to live with the separate ways their lives are beginning to diverge. They are finding that while they might be stronger together, they are also strong in their own right.

Yes, there is violence. Unfortunately there is violence - and loss - in life as well as fiction. I think that young people who read about the struggles other young people go through, and survive, might help them understand what life is about. It's about doing your best and dealing with the results of your actions, which sometimes don't turn out quite the way you think they should. Hmm - perhaps it's not just young people need to learn this?

I do have one nit-pick. There are rather more typos than I feel there should have been. :( The problem with typos is that they are jarring to the narrative and sometimes even cause confusion, such as the incorrect pronoun being used. But that said, I'm looking forward to volume 3, which I understand is already being prepared for printing.

Currently reading Black Witch Sanction by Kim Harrison

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Friend - The Deadline

Scarf #1 - dark burgundy weft

Scarf #2 - medium red weft

Since returning home on Thursday I've had very little energy. Blame long very fast trip (600 or so miles each way with show set up one day and guild program the next), dreary weather and - sigh - lack of critical deadlines.

What can I say - I work better under pressure! Deadlines give me focus, force me to concentrate on what needs to be done next and not woolgather. :}

Usually I'm pretty good at psyching myself up with self-imposed deadlines, but it hasn't been working very well so far this week.

When I got up this morning I had all sorts of plans. I would dress the Fanny, go to lace, come home and get the AVL dressed. Well, I got the red warp on and went to lace but when I got home I decided I needed a snack and, well, my book was right there, and I'm almost finished, and, well, you know what happened.

But I did finally grab myself by the scruff of the neck (metaphorically speaking, of course) and got myself to the studio. My bp was spiking and the best thing to do when that happens (although I have no idea why it happens in the first place) is to exercise and well, there was that lovely red warp all ready to weave..........and, well, you know what happened. I started weaving instead of winding spools for the AVL warp.

But isn't it pretty? The first scarf was woven using a dark red, the second with a medium red. A good Power Red. Just the thing for a dreary, grey, drizzly day.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Suddenly September

next painted warp scarf....

The last couple of weeks, trees have slowly begun turning colour - so why was I so surprised when the little maple tree in my front yard showed a glowing golden crown this morning?

It feels like the summer whizzed by too fast to see it go. :( There is a Bonnie Raitt song where the lyric goes something like- time becomes more precious the less of it you have. Seems to me that the last 3 years have zoomed by while I was focussed on issues of health. I'm really hoping that we've got a handle on things now!

That feeling of precious time is one of the reasons I have always been so aware of issues of efficiency. I don't want to waste any of my alloted amount fighting with equipment, techniques or yarns. When one or other of them starts fighting back, I try to figure out why and how they can be tamed.

I've said this before but it bears repeating - working efficiently is not hurrying. Working efficiently generally means using ergonomic physical motions that put the least amount of wear and tear on the body. Streamlining those motions so that the least amount of physical effort is required to achieve the greatest amount of result.

And when people are living busy lives, time for recreational pursuits is limited. Working efficiently means that more can be accomplished in the amount of time available.

Yes, this is a plug for my upcoming workshops and seminars in 2011 - the workshop at John C. Campbell Folk School is taking registrations now, and NEWS will have seminars at which I'll demo what I do and how I do it. Hopefully people will find something of value to take home to their own studios. But ultimately we all have to work within our own limitations.

I have also been in discussion with the guilds in Sarasota and Orlando, Florida. I don't yet know which topics they will choose, but as soon as details are worked out I'll post info to the Schedule page on my website.

Last but not least, I took the pictures of the scarf above because it is a perfect example of Michelle Whipplinger's mantra: white dilutes, grey muddies, black intensifies.

In the area where the four picks of natural white weft are, you can clearly see that the light value is washing out the colours in the warp. In that area, all you really see is the white weft with specks of darker colours showing through.

Where I've changed to the dark blue, however, the warp is now dominant. When working with a varigated yarn, I always try to choose a weft colour that at least matches the darkest colour for value if not a little darker.

Currently reading All That Lives Must Die by Eric Nylund

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


At the guild meeting. Nice to meet people in person after getting to know them via email.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Heading North

I meant to take a photo of my area set up, but since Teresa and I are sharing the space it looked kind of - well - empty. :} Perhaps I'll remember to take a pic when Doug and I come back at the end.

The rain cleared off yesterday so we moved in with dry weather, but last night the sky broke and rain pelted down. This morning it's a steady drizzle. I am not looking forward to driving in it but at least a drizzle is better than a downpour. So I'll try not to whinge too much.

Tonight I'll be at the Whatcom Weaver's Guild meeting (Bellingham, WA) and then tomorrow will head for the border and home. And hope the fine bamboo has arrived so I can start beaming the next DPW warp. If not, there is a painted warp waiting for me, too.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Never Enough

Here is the painted warp on the loom. I really wanted to use a navy blue for weft on this section of the warp, but Bambu 12 doesn't come in the nice navy that is available in the Bambu 7. Nor does it come in any of the dark purples available in the heavier yarn. :(

So here I'm using black, which is turning out nicely, anyway. A blue weft would intensify the blue areas; the purple would punch up the purple areas. Here the black is intensifying both equally, which is fine.

I do have a 2/16 bamboo with a higher twist, but until I do a sample and wet finish it I'm not sure that the higher twist yarn will give me the drape I want for this textile. So if there is sufficient length left on this warp I'll weave a sample and see how it turns out. I do still have 11 more warps (44 scarves) to weave so it would be nice to have a few more options for weft colours.

Since breaking my ankle in March I have been doing a lot of reading - as you will likely have noticed if you've been following my current reading notations. :)

My big problem is that if I actually own a book, there is no deadline to get it read, unlike library books which have a very firm deadline (3 weeks). And so one of the titles I have been eagerly waiting for is as yet, alas, unread because it was gifted to me for my bd. This is getting embarassing because I have been looking forward to reading it for a year! So I'm going to take it along on my road trip, and as soon as I've finished Hunger Games will start to read Eric Nylund's All That Lives Must Die.

I so enjoyed Mortal Coils that I was half way through it before I realised it was about 600 pages long! Now that's good writing!!!!

ATLMD is also a hefty 600+ pages, but I expect it will be as good a read as MC. If you haven't read MC yet and enjoy alternate realities with magic and good vs evil, rush to the bookstore (or library!) to read MC first, then ATLMD. Although it has little to do with weaving, our heroine does some neat things with string and the descriptions of the clothing the twins wear will appeal to anyone who likes textiles.

And that's all I'm going to say about that! (I did a review of MC when I read it - click on the book review label if you want more.) As for Hunger Games, I'm so enjoying that book that I went to the libary website and requested the other two books in the trilogy.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


This particular weave structure and yarn combination loses quite a lot of length/width during wet finishing. Partly, I think, because of the rayon chenille which is fairly stretchy, partly because of the weave structure - two fine threads and one thick one in warp and weft. I think that means that the weave structure can tend to collapse a bit, especially when working with threads that are very flexible and stretchy. Well, that's my theory, and I'm sticking with it. :D

At any rate, I liked this design well enough that I made several, changing the colour for each scarf.

I know that a lot of people say they get 'bored' making more than one of anything but I don't. I get into the zone and just enjoy weaving. What I'm weaving doesn't really matter. :D

Over the years of offering woven textiles for sale, I have learned that many people like to have a choice. They may love the design but desire it in a different colour. So when I come up with a design that I personally like, it will often get made in several colours to offer people a range to choose from.

Once breaking down the mental barrier about weaving with two warps/shuttles and how much slower that was going to be than weaving with one shuttle, I'm finding this textile fun to create. I love the handle of the cloth after wet finishing and I'm enjoying the ability to weave motifs in a wide range of options. There are 14 pattern shafts so that means 14 different units to play with.

Frankly I doubt that I'm near to exhausting the potential of this draft and yarn combination. Goodness knows I've got pounds and pounds and pounds of rayon chenille left to weave! I did have to order in more of the fine bamboo, but that is on it's way and will be here by the time I return from Seattle/Bellingham next week. The naked loom awaits....

The next warp will be threaded in a different progression to better accomodate my new approach to designing this textile. Still not quite ready to share, but stay tuned.

Oh - and I'm getting used to the new camera software. Almost to the point of being willing to tackle the video software upgrade. :}

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beauty.... in the eye of the beholder.

What is beauty? Can we define it? We know it when we see it or hear it or feel it, but what is it?

I suppose it's impossible to define because what warms the cockles of my heart may leave someone else cold. I may find beauty in a flower, a landscape, the building of storm clouds on the horizon, while others shrung their shoulders and walk away. For instance, I think the mass of thread in the picture above is beautiful and I'm looking forward to getting this painted warp onto the loom and weaving it off. Others find that thought scary!

So what is beauty? And why does the human soul seem to need it so much?