Tuesday, February 28, 2012


No pictures - just a note that I am here with my friends, south of Seattle.  There were some 'adventures' along the way, but other than a little hair raising, all is well.  Except I can't find my hair brush.  :}  I will have to run out tomorrow and buy a new one.  Actually I couldn't find my favourite travel hair brush, didn't like the one I'm sure I packed but can't find, so obviously I have to go buy a new one, right?  On the scale of things, what's a new hair brush, after all?

Since I pushed through the sleety drizzle from Everett to almost my destination, I have a full day of rest Wed.  And that is a very Good Thing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Keeping Track

New calendar year.  I use 'undated' washable calendars to set out my teaching and show schedule.  I was very late in getting my 2013 calendar set out but now I have a firm booking for January 2013 figured I'd better get it sorted before I left!  I use Windex cleaner as I've found it to be the most effective in cleaning off the old (washable) markers I use.

And here it is, pinned to the door of my 'office'.  I've taped the contract for John C. Campbell Folk School to the bottom for easy reference.  Not too much for '13 yet but hopefully I'll at least get a chance to teach at ANWG in Bellingham next year.  I've applied to do A Good Yarn as a seminar.  Should find out at the SWG meeting in March if they have accepted my application or not.

Unfortunately 3 of the major regional conferences are all happening the same weekend in '13 so I didn't even bother to apply to them.  People involved in conference planning have started a group on Weavolution so that this won't - hopefully - happen again.

Anyway, dates at the Folk School are Jan. 21-25 for the Weaving Boot Camp -  a chance to improve whatever aspect of weaving people are most concerned about - course content will be tailored to the participants with me acting as weaving coach.  And Jan. 26-27 for Magic in the Water.  Participants can use the school looms or bring their own.

And I'm looking for another guild or two to help with travel expenses.  Cost of travel will be shared with however many groups book, with a maximum of 4 groups.  I don't like being away from home for more than 4 weeks, especially with an elderly mother.  Any groups in the state of Georgia, or other nearby states interested in a workshop mid January or early Feb?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Warpology - Details

Klara asked if I layer the ends when I wind.  What I do is wind the yarns parallel to each other firmly shoving them back towards the base of the peg.

I think you can see the distinct stripes in the warp - the threads are not overlapping each other.

Thought I would also show the cross tied on the four 'arms' of the X with the choke tie on the next level.

If you want to actually watch how I wind a warp my You Tube channel is here.  I have a couple dozen clips, many of them from CD Weaver.  When I stopped producing CD Weaver cd's I tried to find as many of the video files as I could and load them to You Tube.  Unfortunately I lost a few in a computer 'upgrade', but there are still plenty to view.

Currently reading The Ropedancer's Fall by  M. K. Lorens

Saturday, February 25, 2012


During winding I keep the threads as close to the base of the pegs as possible.

This warp I'm using 8 yarn packages to make 4 stripes.  Each spool/cone sits below a reed and each yarn gets threaded through the reed to prevent the packages from tipping over.  The yarn feeds straight up from the tube/cone through the reed.

I just let the unused threads dangle off the last peg at the bottom.  It looks a bit messy but the reed keeps the threads in their order.

Here is the first half of the warp tied off ready to remove from the warping board.  I tie off the four 'arms' of the cross rather than the waist.  I found that if I tied the waist of the X the threads got compressed together and were difficult to sort out for rough sleying.  (Or for threading when dressing the loom front to back.)

And here is the first warp chain in the plastic bin.  I let the end with the cross dangle out over the side of the bin so it's easy to find.  On my Leclerc warping board I can wind up to 15" in warp (depending on the yarn). This warp is about 24 inches so I wind two chains about 12" each.

Tomorrow I'll wind the second half of the warp and it will be all ready for when I get home.


Someone asked on one of the lists about whether or not one should allow the woven web to 'relax' after being cut off the loom, before wet finishing.

I think the answer to that question is another one of those 'it depends' sorts of answers.

During a workshop with one expert, he stoutly maintained that you must absolutely let the web relax for a minimum of 24 hours.  Another expert was adamant in his opinion that there was no need whatsoever to let the web relax for any time at all.

In reality I think that most weavers don't usually cut the web from the loom and toss it directly into the water. First it should be inspected and repaired and if the fringe needs to be twisted, that takes a while, too.

But there are times, especially if I'm weaving a sample, that I will cut the web from the loom and walk directly to the sink to wet finish it.

Quite frankly I have not noticed any difference at all between webs allowed to 'rest' and those that go pretty directly into the washing machine.  In the photo above, for example, the yellow/orange web has been 'resting' for several days.  The green/purple was just now cut off the loom and as soon as it is serged the towel 'blanks' will go into the washing machine together.

In my experience there will be no way to tell which has rested and which has not after wet finishing.  On the other hand, I don't weave rugs or tapestries, so perhaps it is different for those cloths.  In fact some people recommend that neither of those get wet finished at all.  Once again, experts disagree, so.....choose your expert!  :^)

Currently reading - nothing!  I finished Dana Stabenow's Restless in the Grave this afternoon and have not had a chance to dig through my stack of paperbacks to chose another book.  :)  Later.

On the mom front, she is resting at her friend's after being discharged this morning and her friend will accompany her here on Monday, then turn around and take the return flight home again.  God bless good friends!  Another friend will stay with mom overnight, the nurse will visit in the morning and the home care workers will come in every day.  Personally I'm keeping fingers crossed for good driving on Tuesday and not the 'blizzard' we had yesterday....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Feeling a Wee Bit Guilty

A friend calls my sitting at the loom weaving my 'happy place'.  I'm taking full advantage of that today.

This green warp is perfect - a complete no-brainer.  It's just a straight twill for the towel body and plain weave for the hems.  Although I count the picks for the hem, the towel is measured using my handy dandy ribbon measuring tape and I don't have to think at all.

Which is very good for me today as we are still on tenterhooks about mom.  She passed a 'rough' night last night so they are keeping her for one more day and will discharge her tomorrow.

In the meantime I'm still waiting for a phone call from WestJet to see when we can get her on a plane to come home.  Until I have a firm arrival date, there is nothing else I can do and everyone involved in her care has to wait.

I'm not good at waiting so having this very simple warp - all 11 meters of it - to work on today while I'm waiting is a god send.

I am also struggling with guilt.  Guilt that I am hitting the highway on Tuesday morning, come sun or snow and I'm not coming back until the 25th or 26th of March (depending on highway conditions).  Everything that can be done for mom's care has been done and ultimately she will recover in her own time in her own way whether I'm here or not so I confess I'm actually relieved I'll be away for a while.  And then I feel guilty all over again.

Better to just leave and put my mind on my 'happy' things, like weaving and teaching weaving.  The stuff that I can make a difference about - and leave mom to get on with her healing....

The good news is that it looks like the house sale will go through so that will be one less thing to worry about for everyone, especially Doug who has been doing the bulk of the Mr. Fix-it jobs on it for years.  :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Warping Valet

Someone commented that she didn't have room for a valet.  One of the reasons I like the valet is because I have very little room.  The only room I need to dress the loom with the valet is the space the bench takes up (I move it to the side of the loom) and the walkway behind the bench.  Because, folks, that's all the room I have!  :)

Someone else asked about the lease sticks.  If I were using traditional Scandinavian techniques, the lease sticks would get moved behind the reed between the reed and back beam.  What I do instead is use them to help hold (slight) tension on the threads.  Once the warp has been 'groomed', the lease sticks get shoved as far away from the breast beam as possible.  Then I roll on the length of warp between the lease sticks and the breast beam, using the bamboo blinds for warp packing.  Then the chains are 'groomed' and the lease sticks shoved up high again.  Repeat until done.  Transfer cross to behind the heddles (I have Purrington Angel Wings to hold the sticks) and cut the loom at the front of the loom in preparation to thread.

This warp is 11 meters long.  From the time I had the jugs weighting the warp until I cut the loops at the front of the loom, the beaming took 16 minutes.

I luv my warping valet!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's a Shed, Not a Barn

One of the reasons I like my small counter balanced loom is that it makes great sheds.

What is great about this shed, you may be asking?  Isn't it a problem that the upper 'ceiling' of the shed is split?

Actually, no, it isn't a problem.  In fact I didn't even notice that it wasn't even until after I'd woven a towel and was halfway through the next.  :)

The thing with sheds is that they are just that - a shed, not a barn.  The threads only have to open sufficiently to  let the shuttle pass freely from one selvedge to the other.

IMHO, a shed to be considered good needs to have the following:

The floor of the shed must be even.

The floor of the shed should not change elevations every time you open it.

If the loom has a shuttle race the shed floor should be on the shuttle race, not floating above it in a different place with every opening.

Counter balanced and countre-marche looms form their shed floor by pulling down on the ends that form the shed floor.  Jack or rising shed looms create the shed by lifting the ceiling ends to form the shed.  Some rising shed looms do this better than others.  For example, my AVL forms a fairly small shed but with a good floor because of how the shafts are situated - they are not all on the same level but slowly descend in elevation and are held in place with springs which keeps the shed floor tight against the shuttle race as the rest of the shafts lift to make the space between the ends.

So, am I going to change the tie up on my Leclerc Fanny to make the ceiling of the shed more even?  Probably not.  I'd rather be weaving.  :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Distractions Galore

More distractions today, starting with a panicked phone call at 4 am from the other mother.  Poor Doug wound up having to deal with getting her situation sorted out as well as battling through with the work to be done on mom's house.  We should know tomorrow if the buyer will wait until the work is done or if the sale collapses.  But the work has to be done regardless, and the sooner the better.

In the midst of all this I managed to thread the small loom with a towel warp and started weaving.  I consider the first 6 inches to be loom waste/header so when I spotted the threading error I didn't fuss about it too much, just cut the offending ends...

...and pulled them out of the cloth.

There were only actually two ends that were wrong so I fixed those...

sleyed them through the reed and pinned them to the header.

Here is how it looks after weaving the hem and beginning the towel body.

first towel, hems (you should just be able to see the cut line woven in) and the beginning of towel #2

It took me a while to find the 2/16 beige cotton I wanted to use for the hems - the bin had gotten shuffled to the bottom of the pile in the store room.  I could have used natural white, but I really wanted to tone down the colours so that they would go more gracefully with the earthy tones I'm seeing for pottery/dinnerware in the shops.  While the white would have diluted the intensity of the colours, they still would have been quite 'pure'.  With the beige cotton slub and 2/16 cotton for hems, these towels should go quite nicely with the new design colours for interiors.

Mom was up walking today but it looks like they are going to keep her for an extra couple of days, which may mean that she won't come home until the 28th - the day I leave.  But frankly, I'd rather they kept her longer and made sure that everything is going well than send her home too soon!

Currently reading Restless in the Grave by Dana Stabenow

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dreaming of Summer

These colours are right out of my usual palette but aren't they pretty?  Well, I think so, anyway.  :)  (The blue down below is the bit that tied the last warp onto the apron which will get cleaned off right before I tie this one on.)

Before I could even get to the loom, however, I had to deal with that stack (stacks?) of bins with the Magic sample pages.  I packed up a box full for Seattle Weavers Guild to benefit the library (the sample pages will be for sale at their annual Plaid Llama Sale in April, I think).  And I sold another copy of the abridged Magic copies, leaving just 3.  Nearly there!

Today I barely made it into the studio, only going down after eating dinner, rough sleying this warp and then getting it beamed.  Tomorrow I've got more errands - stuff that simply must be done before I leave, like paying bills - including a stop at the chiropractor's for a back/neck tune up.  Wednesday I don't have any appointments scheduled so I'm hoping to get stuck into the studio and get some weaving done.  There's been far too little of that the past week.

All that said, however, we have contractors ready to do the work to mom's house that needs doing and we're keeping fingers crossed the buyer will wait for it to be done.  Unfortunately it means a trip to the roof for Doug to cut a hole for access to the attic, which will then be filled with a brand new roof vent.  :}  The bad news is that it is snowing - not the best time to be on the roof cutting a hole into it.  :(

Today I caught up with a friend I hadn't seen for far too long.  Turns out she's been having an equally challenging year with health issues and we compared notes and generally had a good visit, glad to be alive.  :D  We've promised to stay in closer touch, exchanging email addy's to facilitate communication.

Nearly finished Ian Rankin's book with Dana Stabenow's in the wings.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


A while back Handwoven did a theme about studio spaces.  I declined to participate because I didn't want the world to see what a cramped messy place my studio is in reality.

back view of work table as of 3 pm today - green tubes to be wound onto pirns, plum tubes to be wound into a placemat warp.  Box with bobbins and misc. junque, pile of bobbins, bags with yarn samples for Big Project, cloth samples waiting to be cut up draped over back - bins in background are in foreground of next photo...

pirn winder in background, neatly barricaded behind stack of bins with samples for Big Project, box of yarn peeking out from behind chair with misc clutter in and on bin and yarn awaiting a project draped over chair back

some of the bins of surplus samples left over from Magic in the Water.  I've offered a box full to the Seattle Weavers Guild to be sold in benefit of their library.  I need Doug's help to pack the samples into the box.  The rest of the samples will be - finally - disposed of, freeing up those bins for the rest of the samples for the Big Project (and other storage) - there are two more bins with samples still upstairs that need to be carried down

electric stapler and two boxes of card stock to staple samples onto - table to the right is still covered with misc. clutter - it will be cleared off and used during stapling

stack of yarns, bobbin lace materials and on the shelf and on the very bottom of the pile - more shawls needing to be fringe twisted with a box of misc. yarns that need to be either used up or recycled in some way...

I don't encourage customers to come to the studio and those that do are warned that it is a working studio and is always in a state of creative chaos.  These photos don't even show all of it.  There is also the warping board set up to wind the 2nd half of a towel warp, the plastic bin with the first half already wound, the Woolhouse loom with the bookmark warp Mizz B set up on it two years ago and that hasn't been touched since, various counters with more clutter on them.

Part of the reason for all the untidyness is that I do so many different things, have a stash that cannot be contained in the store room, which is also in a mess.  I need yarn and stuff for production, more yarn and stuff for publications (like the Big Project), yarn and even more stuff for teaching.  The office is similarly full of clutter and creative chaos.  Part of the reason for that is I am loathe to throw anything away because I just know the day after it gets tossed I'll need it.

Fortunately Doug is as much of a packrat as I am.  Or perhaps I ought to say 'unfortunately'!  Mostly he keeps his stuff contained in the laundry/storage area and the garage (which has never in it's life seen a car - he moved his tools and woodworking stuff in and his clutter and mess has expanded to fill it, entirely.)

I'm not sure what will happen to all this 'stuff' as we get older.  In the meantime I'll continue to live with the Mess Fairies, the Clutter Elves and the Lord (and Lady) of Creative Chaos.

Currently reading The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin - I set Peter Robinson's aside until I get home from my trip - too many library books to read before I leave.  :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Selvedges Are Over Rated?

So this is what my right hand selvedge looks like on this fabric.  You can clearly see the pale green weft being carried up the selvedge and weft tails hanging out.

Does this bother me?  As I said in my previous post, the selvedges are going to be cut away in the end, so no, they don't bother me in the slightest.

For many years I wove yardage for a fashion designer who cut the fabric to sew her garments.  Did she care about the selvedges?  No.  What she cared about was that I wove the cloth as quickly as possible so that the cloth would cost as little as possible.  Since the time a weaver puts into the weaving is the largest part of the investment in hand woven cloth, every little time saving process I could institute was more money in her pocket at the end of the day.

I think that hand weavers get obsessed about selvedges because by and large most weavers do not cut up their fabric so their selvedges are there for all and sundry to see, not just themselves.  Selvedges are therefore an integral part of their cloth and so they want them to look 'perfect'.

As I've posted before, getting good selvedges is not a one-tip-fixes-all kind of thing.  There are several factors that play into getting good selvedges.

1.  Beam the warp under consistent tension using good packing materials.  Make sure the warp is cylindrical, not cigar shaped.  If the tension is too loose and packing material is not used, upper layers can cut down into lower layers causing all kinds of havoc during weaving resulting in poor weaving tension, not just at the selvedges, but within the body of the cloth.

2.  Try to be consistent about using the correct amount of tension for the yarn being used.  Too loose and selvedges will draw in, usually inconsistently.  Too tight and selvedge ends may break.

3.  Do not weave too close too the beater/reed.  As the fell approaches the reed the angle the warp threads open at becomes more acute putting stress on the threads and usually results in either broken threads or loops at the selvedge.

4.  Wind your bobbins well.  So many weavers have never heard of winding a bobbin by building up a 'hill' at one flange, then running the weft over to the other flange and building up a hill there, and only then filling in the valley between.   If this is not done the bobbin will jam in the shuttle cavity causing pulls at the selvedge and even broken selvedge threads from the repeated stress of the jams.

5.  Leave a good angle and ensure that the weft is not 'locked' into the opposite selvedge - make sure the weft is loose in the shed when beating to ensure the weft can take up and not cause excessive draw in.

6.  Be consistent advancing and tensioning the warp.  (See #2 above)

7.  Be consistent in beating.

Review my video clips on You Tube for bobbin winding and shuttle throwing/handling.
Laura's You Tube Channel
Currently reading Ian Rankin's latest - realized I'm running out of time before I leave so I'm going to read the two books I'm most interested in.  The others can be taken out of the library when I'm home again.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What's Necessary

....and here we go!

It may have been a mistake to put this warp on the loom right now with so many distractions.  On the other hand, weaving this cloth correctly takes focussed concentration, and perhaps this time right now is the perfect time to get my mind off mom's surgery and the sale of her house, which has been giving us fits and starts - did not even think about asbestos insulation, but of course the house is of the correct era for exactly that issue.  Since the house was built in '51-52 and never sold in that time until now, of course no one ever looked in the attic before!

We've requested an extension from the buyer and Doug is scrambling to find someone who can do the work (not an easy task) of removing the old insulation and someone to install new insulation, all as promptly as possible so that the sale doesn't collapse.

Anyway, back to the cloth on the loom. 

There are times when I do use a temple and this is one of them.  I'm trying very hard to beat this cloth at 24 ppi and was only getting about 21 without the temple.  With it, I'm getting much closer to my goal.  Yes, it is a bit slower but once I get into the rhythm it doesn't slow me down all that much and since I'm using the fly shuttle the weaving goes pretty quickly regardless.

I wanted to include a sample with fringe on all four sides in the Big Project, so this two colour warp/weft sample was the obvious choice.  Since the selvedges are going to be cut off anyway, there is no need to worry about the fact that the pale green is being carried up the side for 40 picks.  I don't even have to tuck in the old weft tail and overlap the new one, just leave them hanging out.  Why take the time to do that when they are just going to be cut off anyway?

So now you know my little secret.  I only do what needs to be done to achieve the result that I want.  Sometimes that means a savings in time; sometimes that means taking extra time.  If it isn't necessary I don't do it.  If it is, I do.

Oh, and mom is doing fine.  The surgery went well and when I phoned the hospital yesterday she was breathing on her own, sitting up in a chair waiting to be transferred out of ICU to a regular ward.  :)

Currently reading Before the Poison by Peter Robinson

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ploughing Onwards

Last night I managed to get the AVL set up for the next Big Project warp although I didn't get very far.  This morning I finished it off.

The warp is a bit different from my usual as I wanted to show a colour and weave effect that can be quite nice.  My sectional beam has 1" sections so every other section consisted of 8 blue, 8 green, and 8 blue.  The alternate sections will be filled with all blue.

Starting to fill every other section with the two colour stripe yarns.  The cord for each empty section has been hooked over the adjacent filled section.  It is easier to change out the different coloured ends rather than start with the all blue and cut in the green.

Filling in the rest of the sections with the all blue yarn.  I've taken the individual cords off the sectional staples and am grouping them together out of the way because they tend to get wound into the section I'm beaming.

Warp sections are taped to a stick which then carries all the sections at once to just behind the heddles.  The stick is long enough that I can tape it to the sides of the loom.  If I'm using both beams the warp from the top beam gets suspended from the loom frame at the top while the warp from the lower beam gets taped to the loom frame as shown above.

Currently reading I Am Half-sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Reality Check

sample #5 loom state

There are delusions and optimism - and then there is reality.

As I finished cutting the loom state samples for Big Project #5 today I mulled over everything that needs to be done once I get home.  The realization dawned that there isn't a hope in you-know-where of getting everything done by the HWSDA conference in mid-May.  So the schedule has been revised back to having this ready by the time of Convergence. 

I'd toyed with the idea of attending Convergence this year but have decided that I really need to be staying home.  With the results of the home inspection of mom's house, mom's back-to-back surgeries (she is still planning on having her knee done two months or so after her heart valve replacement), the amount of stress that we have been under, the expense of travelling to southern California this summer seems like one stress too many.

If it were only the weaving that needed to be done I could probably do the last 5 samples (still hoping to get one more woven before I leave) but that is just the beginning.  It takes hours to tape and cut apart the loom state samples, then wet finish and cut apart the finished samples, tie the bundles of yarn samples, staple everything to the card stock and once all that is done the text still has to be written and everything assembled.  The weaving is the smallest part of putting together this sort of publication.

Revising and developing new teaching topics has been put on hold while we deal with mom's situation and I go away.  I am open to suggestions for topics (such as the guild program for Seattle in September which Holly and I worked out recently).

I have also not increased my teaching fee as I'd planned on doing this year so any topics booked now will be at my current fee of $300/day plus travel and accomodation (in a non-smoking home).   The John C. Campbell Folk School has invited me back to NC next year in January - this would be a good time for guilds in the east to book now and share travel costs.  :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Seeing Progress

towels ready to tag and sell

There are many steps in the process of weaving and completing each one always feels like a milestone.  But there is nothing to compare to giving the cloth it's final press.  All that's left is to put the hang tag/care label on and these towels can be put away, ready for the next sales opportunity.

Today I took 3 buckets of cloth to the annex - 3 dozen place mats, 4 baby blankets, and I don't remember how many towels - probably close to 2 dozen.

Now that mom is on the bus and soon to be in the system, I can focus my energy on working on the Big Project and getting ready to leave on the 28th.  That's just barely two weeks away.  In addition to that I have medical appointments (getting old really takes a lot more maintenance!) and the #3 Rituxamab treatment the day before I leave.

I am soooo looking forward to going away, especially the week's 'holiday' I will have in the Seattle area on my return from NC/FL.

When I get home mom should be well on the road to recovery, the push will be on to finish the Big Project for the conference in Alberta in May, and then I really must get started on production for the fall.  In between I have clean up to do (unstaple the unused samples from Magic, recycle the paper and free up the storage containers for other things), fringe twisting of already made product, and think hard about teaching topics.  If I'm going to more actively seek opportuntities to teach I need to review my current topics and possibly develop new ones. 

All in all, it's looking like 2012 is going to continue to be busy......

Currently reading One Last Breath by Stephen Booth

Saturday, February 11, 2012

And Even Busier

last of the hemming (for now) and my knitting at the bottom of the bucket....

One of the things that happened last week is that Kerstin helped with the hand hemming and you can see the pile of placemats and towels and baby 'blankets' that got hemmed, ready for pressing tomorrow.  There is just one towel and a bread cloth to be hemmed, which I can probably finish tonight while watching tv.

If I thought the early part of the week was busy, it got even busier as we received an offer on mom's house and there was much to-ing and fro-ing, meetings with the real estate agent, papers to sign, and so on and so forth.  But there is now a firm offer in place and whether or not the deal goes through will depend on the house inspection and if the buyer will be willing to deal with any repairs or upgrading that needs to be done.  And if he'll want to re-negotiate if the report is very negative.  Since it's a 60 year old house we know that some things need to be upgraded but while mom lived there - well, if it wasn't broke.....

Not to mention her surgical date got moved a day sooner which means that instead of leaving Tuesday she now has to leave on Sunday (tomorrow).  So there was a bit of a mad scramble to a) finish getting the house ready for sale and b) make her care arrangements.  Doug will finish the house today and set up her apartment with the aids she needs during recovery while she is away.  So all in all, good progress on the 'mom front'.  :)

As for weaving, I barely got to the loom although I did manage to weave a couple of yards one day while Kerstin watched The King's Speech.  This morning I managed another couple of yards.  Not quite half done yet, but perhaps before I leave for stretch class.  This is warp #5 for the Big Project and it's looking good on the loom. 

Warp #6 will go onto the AVL as soon as #5 is done - still have some final number crunching to tackle.  #6 will have fringe on all sides so I need to make sure that I've calculated correctly before beaming the warp because if I don't, it won't work out properly and will wind up being a rather costly mistake.  I could probably salvage it for some other purpose but I'm feeling the time crunch and don't want to 'waste' any time on mistakes that could have been prevented with some proper thought before I begin.

And of course there are two suitcases to fill for my trip...the end of February will be here very soon!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Busy Week

Finally got to the loom today to throw the shuttle a little - it's the next Big Project sample:

close up below (with woven in cut line)

It's always fun to have a visiting weaver, especially one from a different culture.  While Kerstin and I have had these sorts of conversations before, there always seems to be a new aspect of 'culture' to explore and contrast.  And these discussions are good because I am forced to look at assumptions from a different point of view and question why they are what they are and how a different perspective might change how I look at weaving and textiles in general.  :)

Kerstin has also kindly helped with my hemming mountain and the bucket is almost done. A lot of talking can be done while sewing!

We have also got the final, confirmed, information about my mother's surgery and while some things did not work out as planned we had enough time to make alternate arrangements.  And bless the friend in Vancouver who will shepard mom to and from the hospital and look after her for 5 days or so when she gets out.  It also means that she will come home several days before I leave on my trip, so I will have the chance to make sure that she is settled into her apartment and the care that has been arranged for is actually working before I go.

And lastly, I had a question about To Market, To Market today:

"I think you have done a fantastic job putting 'To Market' together. I am really enjoying it.

I am writing requesting permission to print one copy for my own personal use. I like computers, etc., but would rather read it from a paper copy."

The answer is 'yes' - I had assumed that people would like to print out a copy for their own use - I know that I am still much more comfortable reading a lengthy document in print rather than at a computer screen. 

Currently reading  - well, just finished - Gun Games by Faye Kellerman and about to begin Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood

Friday, February 3, 2012


towel warp for John C. Campbell Folk School on the warping board - it's actually more blue than the photo shows...see below

half of the warp wound in a ziploc bag with the weft - 2/16 for hems, cotton flake for towel body

Finished weaving the huck lace samples today - felt good to have #4 at least woven.  The yarn for #5 and #6 is here - just have to finish crunching numbers for #5 and then that can be beamed onto the AVL.  #6 will go onto the Leclerc Fanny as I'm doing a stripe sequence that doesn't fit comfortably within the confines of the 1" sectional beam on the AVL.  Yes, I could do it on the AVL using a warping valet, but it's only a 4 shaft twill, so might as well go with the smaller loom.

The house is nearly ready for our company.  The dining room table still needs to be cleared off, the floors swept and washed and the bed made up, but there's still tomorrow.  :)

I also have to get the yarns ready for the folk school so the parcel can be mailed early next week.  With a full class I won't have a whole lot of time to weave, but I don't really want to go with too little and be forced into buying more yarn.  :}  Not when I've got way more than enough here!  So far I've got a scarf kit that never sold and which will be perfect for the initial demo.  In addition to the towel warp (7 meters for 6 towels) I'll also bring yarn to wind a scarf warp.  And then I'll think about whether or not I'll really need more than 3 warps for the 5 day class......

Currently reading The Rope (the latest by) Nevada Barr

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Warping Valet

Weaveblah asked about the warping valet - since my ceilings are fairly low, I got Doug to install a bar that hangs from the ceiling.  The warp goes under the breast beam and over the valet.  The Leclerc looms all have removeable breast beams, so Doug secured it with a bracket in order to allow the warp to run underneath it.

Kati Meek has a book called Dance With Your Loom which details what she calls a warping trapeze which is essentially the same thing although it is attached to the loom instead of the ceiling.  She calls that a high bar trapeze (I think - the book is on loan right now). 

I started using this tool quite a few years ago after seeing one in Sweden and the name of the tool was translated for me as 'warping valet'.

For more info on how I use this, click on the 'warping valet' tag to the right hand side - scroll down....way down!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Taking a Break

Seems that in spite of my efforts to stay focused I still made two errors in the threading of the huck lace sample warp.  Neither was terminal - one required a repair heddle, the other was just two ends crossed between their heddles.  But as I began weaving I realized that with my concentration so poor, I'd better not try weaving the 6" repeat until I had settled down a little.

So instead I rummaged through the huge bag with the recent yarn order and pulled out the new varigated yarns (2/8 cotton) and started designing some towel warps.  It felt good to 'play' with colours, and besides, I'm using up stash, so it's all good, right?

I expect I'll wind 7 meter long warps just to test the yarns and colour combinations, and may even send one or two of these to John C. Campbell Folk School to weave while I'm there.

Whatever I'm going to do, I'd better decide soon so I can get the box into the mail.

Weaving Interrupted

With the phone call last Friday giving mom her surgical date (Feb. 16 - to be confirmed the week prior), we were set into a bit of a frenzy of activity.  We want to get her house listed with a real estate agent before she leaves, so the last of the clearing out has to be done before the house is listed, plus arrangements for care made.  It appears that - all being well - the day she arrives home from Vancouver is the day I will be leaving for the long planned trip to NC/FL.  I guess I'll wave at the bus as we pass on the highway.

(The workshops at Durham and John C. Campbell Folk School are full but Sarasota and Asheville still have openings.)

I did finish the first of the two warps of huck lace, cut up the loom state samples, wet finished the rest, calculated how long the second warp needed to be and wound that warp.  With the distraction level much higher than I'd like I was very grateful to have my system of keeping track of a more complex threading to fall back on because I kept losing my concentration and having to go back to check the repeats.  One more phone call to make today (the rest will be made once surgery is confirmed for the 16th) an appointment at the bank, and then I can finish threading and hopefully start weaving this afternoon.

But progress has continued on the Big Project.  Last night at guild I prepared another of the yarn samples to be stapled to the card with the woven swatches.  Hard to believe that 150 tassels of yarn would take nearly two hours, but that's what it took.  Of course I was using the thrums from the warp so that probably took longer, but I felt somewhat virtuous by upcycling what would otherwise be 'waste'.  :)

I also pressed a huge pile of placemats (36) and towels (19) and have made a good dent in the hemming.  Tonight is a 'good' night for tv so I'll probably settle down after dinner and have a tv/hemming fest and see if I can finish the mats, at least.

Currently reading Blind to the Bones by Stephen Booth