Saturday, March 31, 2012

Loom Music

bucket of 'spring' towels ready for their final press - hope to get them listed on my Art Fire Store next week....

People sometimes ask me if I manage to read so many books because I listen to audio books.  The short answer is - no.  I used to listen when they came on cassette tape.  Each side was around 45 minutes and I'd go weave and listen to a side, then take a break and come back to weave some more while listening to the next side. 

But the technology changed just around the time I was having increasing issues with fatigue and I found that if I just listened to music I could find my zone, get into my groove, and weave.  The music kept me in rhythm and somehow carried me along with the beat.

I admit to having rather eclectic tastes in music but what I mostly listen to when I'm weaving is good old rock (and sometimes roll).  What can I say?  I'm of that generation.

(Anyone remember the quote from Mick Jagger saying he wouldn't be up on stage after 50?)

Today I managed to get into the studio and weave - so far 4 towels - in between visiting with a couple of friends I hadn't seen for over a month.  It was great to catch up with them.  It also felt great to be back at the loom, finding my zone, getting into my groove.  I'm still hoping to get this warp off the loom tonight, cut and serge the 10 towels and run them through the washer/dryer so I can go pressing tomorrow after bobbin lace.  Another hour or so of weaving - I think I can, I think I can....

Today's weaving brought to you by Doc Walker, Bruce Cockburn and Eric Clapton

Friday, March 30, 2012

Keeping On, Keeping On

The level of distractions ought to reduce now - the house sale has closed and mom has her money.  Unfortunately the work crew removing the asbestos insulation have damaged the ceiling in two places so now that needs to get fixed, too.  :(  But the pressure is off - the new owners know that the work needs to be finished but they will be able to start moving their stuff into the house and if they have any renovations they want to do, well, now they can go ahead and start their work.

Mom will start physiotherapy soon and is back on the list for knee replacement surgery.  In the meantime she says she can manage on her own without the light housekeeping service - at least until the next surgery.

This week was mostly taken up in scrambling to get paperwork dealt with.  There are still a couple more things that need to get taken care of, but I did get the small loom dressed and this afternoon wove off the first two towels.  Since the weather continues to be chilly the snow is taking a while to leave.  I'd hoped for rain to wash some of the dust out of the air and melt the snow, but the weather forecasters were wrong - again!

At least I've got this pretty spring green warp on the loom.  Think I'll go weave another towel - or two.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Details, Details

lease sticks between breast beam and warping valet - I push them up as high as possible and then roll the warp onto the back beam until the sticks reach the breast beam, re-hang the weights lower down the warp chain, push the lease sticks up again, and repeat until warp is beamed

I think that sometimes people get frustrated with lease sticks because they attach them too close together, in effect crimping the warp threads so that they can't move/slide easily.  My rule of thumb (finger?) is to secure them so that they are about a generous finger's width apart.

There are many ways this can be done.  I use masking tape because it works for me, but other people have made various gizmos or used 'found' objects.  For example - the rings that open and close that some of us used in high school to keep papers together.  I've seen foam cut into brackets to hold the sticks, and small wooden blocks to do the same job.

Ultimately it doesn't matter what you use so long as the sticks are held in place securely with about 3/4" to 1" space between them.

Currently reading Jane and the Canterbury Tale by Stephanie Barron

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Organizing Small Bits

loom bench at Leclerc Fanny with basket at one end, foam 'cushion' to sit on at the other

Spent some time this morning putting my studio back together.  I stripped stuff from the area around and from the loom to bring with me to teach The Efficient Weaver so it all had to go back before I could really get started doing anything productive.

I used to have a somewhat larger plastic basket that perfectly fit onto the loom bench and into which I threw odds and sods - shuttles, bobbins, measuring tape and so on.  But plastic breaks and it was getting to the point where stuff was falling out of the basket and I was getting frustrated with it.  Unfortunately that particular basket (actually a veggie storage basket if memory serves) is no longer available - or at least not available anywhere I shop - so I had to find something else. 

Several fruitless trips to various stores ensued until I finally found this little basket that more or less fits and which I could tie to the end of the bench to keep it from falling off.  Unfortunately it doesn't have a good place to store the threading/sleying hook I prefer, but the scissors do fit into the handle so I don't have to go rooting through the basket for them (as long as I remember to insert them back into the handle, of course!)

Since returning I've been wading through paperwork that piled up while I was gone and was reminded of the course descriptions/info for next year at John C. Campbell Folk School which I'd totally missed out on sending when I returned the contract just before I left in February!  So I'll finish polishing that and get it back to them later today.  Also need to write up info for a large show we'll do in November.  Sometimes it's hard to do all this planning so far in advance of events but calendars have to be written and sent out so groups and organizations are quite often working on things a year in advance.

Part of my problem is that my allergies are on high alert with all the dust in the air from the sand spread on the roads all winter.  It was supposed to rain today, which I was actually looking forward to because it would have settled the dust and washed some of the grit from the roads but so far it's just overcast, dreary and dusty.  Which hasn't helped my brain function any. 

I also realized that I've completely forgotten the thread count on the pattern repeat on the AVL so before I can weave on that I have to review my draft.  With a brain that isn't functioning particularly well, perhaps that's a job that ought to wait for another day.  But I think I can manage to rough sley and beam the warp on the Fanny.  The threading might have to wait until tomorrow as they are predicting rain tomorrow now, too.  And maybe I'll not feel so wooly headed if it does.  :}

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Special Day

Today is a significant birthday for Doug.  :)  I delivered this balloon bouquet to him at work with the hat Syne sent with the Rat City Roller Girls logo.  He'd wear it at work except that he's not allowed to wear logo hats that aren't Home Depot.  :D  So I delivered it in the Rat City Roller Girls tote bag.   I'm sure he'll get asked what the logo is for!  :DDDD

Today is also the day the sale is supposed to close on mom's house.  She's anxious to get it done and over with but so far I haven't heard anything from either her or the real estate agent.  Since the buyer seems as anxious for the sale to close as we are, I'm assuming that everything is going ahead and that in a few days it will be all over bar letting the dust settle - literally - the insulation is being removed as I type and as soon as they get the tests on air quality back, hopefully they will be positive, the new insulation can be installed and then all that's left is to change over the electrical panel.

I spent most of the morning with mom then running around town so it looks like I'm not going to get much done in the studio today, either.  The work table is cleared off enough that I could actually rough sley the reed and maybe get the warp beamed before dinner and guild drop in.

Oh yes, I also scored four new tops, all of which were on sale.  I actually have casual wear that isn't t-shirts now!  ;^)

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Touch of Spring

I had completely forgotten I'd wound this warp before I left - what a lovely surprise when I finally made it into the studio just before dinner.

Too tired to do much of anything, I've been wading through paperwork (still have income tax papers to do), watching taped tv and knitting.  However I did finally manage to empty my suitcase (although not put all of the contents away - yet) so I'm hoping that I can get my work table cleared off tomorrow and start dressing the small loom with this very pretty warp.  :)  And think about a new scarf series - I have very little inventory left of scarves so I really need to come up with something new for the fall sales.  Speaking of which, the papers came through for one of the major shows I do in November - which means that I have to write out post dated cheques to cover the booth rental.  Never seems to stop....

Mom has a meeting with one of her management team members tomorrow morning so I'll sit in on that with her and find out more about the rent subsidy program.  I'm keeping fingers crossed mom qualifies as that will make her life a whole lot more comfortable if she can get it.

The house sale should close on the 28th and that will help her, too.  :)  She will see her doctor next week for a post surgical assessment and they will decide if she's ready to go back onto the list for knee replacement surgery.  She's done so amazingly well recovering from this surgery - it's really been a huge relief for everyone.  :)

I'm finding myself dragging still, in spite of a good night's sleep.  Finding this lovely spring-like warp has made me anxious to get it onto the small loom - maybe even start weaving by tomorrow night.  Or perhaps not - Tuesday evenings are guild drop in so I might just head on over there with my hemming.  There's always the next day although I'll be spending some time with the naturopath discussing a treatment plan for my nutritional deficiencies.  I'm determined to get really and truly healthy!

Currently reading Fundraising the Dead by Sheila Connolly

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Still Winter

my backyard, March 25, 2012

After nearly a month away I was really hoping hard that spring would have arrived by the time I got home.  Not as such.

It was a great trip.  Lots of enthusiastic weavers who jumped right in and explored new frontiers and shared their experiences.  I got to see my first geckos in real life and heard the manatees (they only came out after dark so we didn't see them).  There were mangroves to see as well as other exotic plants and flowers.  In Chapel Hill we went to the botanical garden and in Asheville to the Southern Highlands Craft Guild shop.

The Folk School was great - lots of song birds although the foliage wasn't quite ready to pop.  On the drive from Brasstown to Asheville we were entertained by an amazing thunder/lightning storm - fireworks just for us.  :)

While in the Seattle area I met more new spinners and weavers, then went to visit with Syne Mitchell who took me to a roller derby event.  (She even has the photographic evidence - I brought my knitting!)

And now I'm home.  Started wading through the paperwork piled on the table and will go to town tomorrow to pay bills and visit with mom.  I bought some jigsaw puzzles and will let her build them first because I have no time and a dining table heaped with paperwork - house sale, income tax, and other stuff I haven't unearthed yet.  It's the only thing that isn't nice about going away for so long - the paperwork still needs to get done.

I left a warp on the loom so if I can manage to get to the studio, I'll at least have something to weave on right away.  :)  And then I have to decide what to put onto the small loom next.  I'm thinking I'd better start making more scarves - I really don't have nearly enough for the fall sales, which will be upon us all too soon.  One of the envelopes on the table is the paperwork for one of the shows in November and next month I have to submit the paperwork for one of the local shows. 

It never really ends.....  :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Common Sense

Heard a great quote at the Seattle Weavers Guild meeting today - to paraphrase - in order to have common sense you have to have experience.

Wow.  I hadn't thought about it from that perspective before, but it's true.  If you don't have experience to draw upon, how can you know what is possible and what makes sense to pursue?  No wonder 'common' sense is so uncommon!

The sun has broken through the cloud cover and it's turning into a truly lovely day.  I had a great time in Seattle seeing people I haven't seen for a year in some cases, more in others.  I dropped off the large box of surplus samples from Magic which will be sold as a fund raiser for their library.  Saw an interesting slide show by Linda Hartshorn about dyeing with natural dyes, then came back here to watch (for me the 3rd time) the Weaving episode of the BBC series Mastercrafts.

I still marvel at the progress of the 3 students in just 6 weeks.

Tomorrow morning I will load up the van and start trending northwards.  Not sure yet if I will actually head home Saturday or Sunday - it will depend on my hostess and how much time she has for a visit - but driving should be good either day so I hope to get home in one day and not have to spend money on a motel room. 

I think I'll go back to reading All Wound Up by the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl McPhee.  So far I've LOL'd more times than I can count.  Love her - at times - sarcastic observations.....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Taking Care of Others

Have been thinking about watching weavers use methods that will lead to injury - sitting too low, usually - and wondering how much of a duty I have to point this out to them.

At workshops I always see people weaving on small looms with 'ordinary' chairs which are too low.  Sitting with hips lower than knees.  Sitting with elbows lower than the breast beam.  Knowing that if people continue to sit this way and weave for 'lengthy' periods of time that they will eventually develop lower back problems and/or shoulder/neck problems.

After a while I start to feel like a broken record.  How many times can I keep repeating this essential information before people simply tune me out - until they start experiencing pain, at which point I hope they remember this information. 

It was very gratifying to be asked to write an article for the Weaver's Journal (of Great Britain) where I could, once again, try to educate people about the hazards of using a low chair instead of a seat of the correct height, etc.  The issue should be coming out soon, and I really hope people will read it and take heed.

I've been asked to present The Efficient Weaver again at NEWS next year, and for a workshop in Texas this September.  It felt great to be at John C. Campbell and help people with good posture, proper seating and ergonomic hand motions.  Like one student said, she can't see herself so it was very helpful for me to point out that she was raising her hands far too high and putting too much stress on shoulders that were already suffering.  I hope she has made the new movement her default - with 5 days of weaving,  that she will return to her loom and remember.

And I will continue to point out to students when I feel they are inching towards injury....

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rainy Day

Continued to hem the towels I brought with me and wet finished the ones I wove at John C. Campbell Folk School.  My friend started sewing a top with some of her hand woven fabric with silk she had dyed for trim.  It was a pretty typical spring day for the Seattle area - rain, wind, some hail.  Tomorrow it is supposed to start getting nicer for a few days.  I'm hoping for good driving weather on Sunday.

Monday, March 19, 2012

An Easy Day

We spent the morning and early afternoon visiting with a group of spinners/knitters/weavers.  I managed to hem four of my towels in between chatting.  When we got back to the house I dug through the boxes of inventory to see what was left and the fact is, there isn't much.  Especially when I removed the dyed yarn which I need for the HWSDA conference in May. 

As soon as I get home I'll have to start pouring on the coals.  I need to finish weaving the samples for the Big Project, write the text and start production for the sales beginning in September.  I knew in the back of my mind that I was low on inventory - just didn't realize how very low that was!

I think there is a study group or guild meeting tomorrow so the bucket with hemming will go with me again and we'll see how many more I get done.  I have 16 that I brought with me and 6 more that I wove at the John C. Campbell Folk School.  I'm hoping my hostess has a sewing machine handy so I can secure the ends and get them run through the washer and dryer.  Who knows, maybe I can get them hemmed too?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Back in the Pacific Northwest

Had a lovely day today - this morning Barb took me to the Southern Highlands Guild craft shop in Asheville on the way to the airport.  Saw some fantastic things, one of which was a lovely jacket woven by a weaver I know.  I'm thinking I may have to buy it.  :)

My flights went smoothly until we arrived in Seattle when the jetway didn't work properly.  We wound up sitting on the tarmac for a while - not too long, thankfully.  My friends had come to pick me up and we went to a local eatery for dinner.  Afterwards we putzed around for a bit but it's 1 am according to my body so I'm heading for bed very shortly!

Last Day in NC

Having a nice slow introduction to the day - feels good to have a leisurely morning.  Hoping for no travel delays so that I can arrive in Seattle on time (5:30 pm).  Will have several days to veg and decompress before heading north - and hopefully it will not be 'still winter'.  :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Small but enthusiastic class today in a lovely location - Sutherland Weaving Studio in the River Arts District.  The building is an Old Cotton Mill and it is filled with all sorts of craftspeople making gorgeous things.  If you are in the area it's a great place to visit and maybe find some treasures.  :)

Sunday I head for 'home' - or at least what has turned into a second home - my friend's house near Seattle where I'll indulge in some R&R and visit the Seattle Weaver's Guild for their March meeting.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sarasota, Day Three

Morning was overcast and a little disappointing but the sun burned through and now it's a lovely day, warm and sunny.  :)

We finished up with some more demo's, some observations about posture and stretches, weaving with two shuttles, and several people brought favourite weaving tools and shared those.

In the afternoon I did a slide presentation of the first people who achieved the master level of the GCW tests for the Manasota Guild.

Now we are enjoying some down time.  We have to be up at 4 am to get me to the airport for my 6 am flight. 

Not sure I'll have web access at the folk school so we'll see how often I post.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sarasota, Day Two

Spent the day talking about issues of efficiency and what that might mean to each of the participants.  Then demo'd how I dress the loom.  Some of the people tried out what I do (threading) and tomorrow we'll finish up with how to wind a warp on a board, wind pirns/quills/bobbins.  There are two looms dressed so people can also try holding and throwing the shuttle the way I do. 

Some of the people were in the workshop here last year and said that the changes that they made after my demo then have allowed them to weave faster.  :)

Tomorrow afternoon I'm presenting a slide show of the work of some of the master weavers from the Guild of Canadian Weavers certificate program.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sarasota, Day 1

Today we looked at fibre characteristics.  After lecturing all morning (never did break for a coffee break!) we took a long lunch to let the info settle and then after lunch reviewed a bit then the participants did the hand's on part where they had to apply the knowledge from the morning.  It was a bit of a challenge, but I think most people did fairly well.

Tomorrow and Saturday morning we'll look at issues of efficiency.  One gal is going to bring a warping wheel, which is great because I don't use one and everyone will get to see how that works.  :)

Currently reading Reader and Raelynx by Sharon Shinn

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sarasota view

Part of the view from the screened in porch where I spent part of the afternoon vegging and reading.

Currently reading Disappearing Nightly by Laura Resnick

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sunny Sarasota

Well, not at the minute as it's after sun down, but as we landed the skies were pretty much clear and my hostess is promising some nice warm weather.

Before I left NC my hostess drove me around so I could see Chapel Hill and we had a lovely lunch before moseying over to the airport.  The flight out of RDU was on time and we actually took less time to fly to Charlotte than scheduled.  Something about tail winds.  :)

The connecting flight was late arriving, but again, those friendly tail winds gave us a boost and we arrived on time in Sarasota.

I'm looking forward to a rest day tomorrow - laundry calls - and maybe walking on the beach.  And reading.  And maybe a nap.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Durham, Day Three

We finished up by 3 and it was a lovely day.  A bit on the cool side, but a little sun, a little wind, and most of the samples dried so that we could cut them up and people could get them home without worrying about them being wet.  :)

Tomorrow is an 'easy' day.  My flight to Sarasota leaves at 2 pm so we can have a leisurely morning and not have to worry about rush hour traffic.   Wednesday I have a 'rest' day and Winnie and I talked about having a walk on the beach.  Here's hoping that we have good weather down there.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Durham, Day Two

The weaving is all done, we are set to go tomorrow with the wet finishing.  Most people wove  most warps.  We did run out of warp on a couple as people actually wove 6" each in many cases.  (I say 6" in hopes of getting 3 or 4!)  :^)

The sun came out rather weakly at the end of the day.  The weather is supposed to be cold and wet Monday, so we'll see how quickly the samples dry.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Durham, Day One

Great group - enthusiastic and friendly.  :)  They made good progress today.  One person has nearly finished weaving all 12 of her samples!

It's really nice to have 3 days for this class.  Hopefully not too much stress re: the weaving.  Monday we'll dive into the magic in the water.

Weather is cooler than I'd hoped - but no snow on the ground and Tuesday is supposed to be good for my flight to Sarasota.