Saturday, September 29, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012


Received this lovely bag of yarn goodness on Wednesday and have no where to unpack it because I've got two other warps in process and they both need the work table very soon.  If I unpack the bag it will no longer be contained but spread out all over, so other than take a quick peek, it's quietly waiting in a corner.

Wednesday was recuperation day and I really didn't accomplish very much.  Yesterday and today I've had appointments that have interrupted my weaving, today especially as the X-ray department was running way behind.  Seems there are sick people at the hospital who take precedence!  Not to mention equipment failure that needed fixing.  So my 2:30 appointment became a 3:45 procedure.  But the bone density scan is done.  Not sure how long it will take to get the results.  (Good thing I had my book with me.  Really good thing!)

The AVL still needs to be put back together and the liftplan generated but the sample on the small loom is now officially at the half way point.  With more committments over the weekend and appointments early in the week I'm not sure when I'll get to the end of it, but it's getting there.

While I was away I got an inquiry for an article but I've not been able to touch base with the editor - not sure if it's my email or hers.  With a Nov. 14 deadline it looks like that opportunity may slip away.  And if I don't get the warp off the AVL toot sweet, I may not get the samples for the designer done any time soon either.

Can you tell I'm feeling the pressure????

Seems like the life of an independent weaver is feast or famine - if you don't have any work to be done you panic about finding some, not to mention fret about the lack of income.  Then the work seems to flood in and you scramble to get it all done on time.

My teaching calendar for 2013 is essentially full, especially if I get a contract from the designer.  During 2014 there are fewer regional conferences so if I'm going to apply to any of them I will have to check the calendar and see when the application deadlines are.  If anyone knows of smaller conferences looking for an instructor, let me know.  So far I've got one date pencilled in for '14 but that's all.

After the weekend I will be going through the emails for the tour in Jan/Feb as I will want to mail out the yarns for those workshops needing them no later than mid-December - late enough to miss the Christmas mail crunch, early enough to arrive for the holiday in case the participants have 'spare' time to get their looms dressed before the workshops.

Booking dates a year in advance always makes it seem like everything is so far away, but the pages of the calendar flip over very quickly!

Currently reading The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weaving Longevity

No pictures today - I'm still unpacking and getting stuff organized, but I wanted to recap the class in Texas.

The class had 8 participants all 'middle' aged or seniors.  Several had problems that were preventing them from weaving as much as they would like.

The general public - and even many weavers! - have a very romantic notion of what weaving - the actual sit down at the loom and throw the shuttle, over and over and over again - is.

What that level of weaving is, is physically demanding.  Our bodies can do repetitious tasks but if we do them against the grain, so to speak and don't take rest breaks to allow our muscles to recover, we can begin to have problems with stress leading to inflammation, pain and reduction of our ability to do the things we want to do.  Proper posture and position at the loom is crucial to a long weaving life.

One person had already had both knees replaced and one of the replacements was 'coming apart' causing a lot of problems with inflammation - swelling and pain.

She expressed concern with the amount of strain she was feeling in that knee.  I watched her weave, suggested slight adjustments to what she was doing and she proceeded to weave - 3 weaving sessions the first day.  I was very concerned about her and had told her that as soon as she felt strain to stop.  In weaving there is no such thing as 'no pain, no gain'.

The next day I asked her how she was feeling and she grinned a great big smile as she said that not only did she have no pain, the swelling in her knee had actually gone down.

Now I don't claim any credit for the improvement, but was delighted to hear that she was not hurting.

During lunch we had a show and tell and several of the other participants said that they had never woven so much and hurt so little as a result.

When I got home last night there was a program on tv showing someone weaving at an AVL.  Right away I noticed that her elbows were lower than the breast beam.

This is very bad in the long run.  If a weaver is sitting with hips lower than knees and elbows lower than the breast beam there are going to be physical ramifications to the body.

My goal in teaching these classes - in Texas and again next year at John C. Campbell, SEFAA in Atlanta, NEWS and so on is to try to let people know that if they sit poorly at a loom and weave for extended periods their bodies will rebel.

Weaving should be joyful, not painful.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

And God Laughed

They say that if you want to hear God laugh, tell him/her your plans.

I had a plan.  It was a good one.

See, the older I get, the more light/dazzle sensitive my eyes are getting which makes driving on the highway in the dark very uncomfortable.  So with darkness drawing in earlier and earlier I decided that I would not drive all the way home in one day.  Instead I would leave my friend's at a respectable hour (any earlier than 9 am and you are part of the rush hour) and drive until it was dusk, which would get me to around Williams Lake, where upon I would stop and spend the night.  The next day (that would be tomorrow) I would arise, not terribly early, and have an easy 4 hour or so drive home.

Can you hear the chuckling now?

I left my friend's house at about 5 minutes to 9, entered the highway at a few minutes after 9 am and noticed right away that the traffic was very heavy.  But it was after 9 am and it should start easing soon, right?

Um, not so much.

The traffic stayed heavy and got thicker the closer to Seattle I got eventually becoming bumper to bumper, barely moving.  Ah well, nothing to do but go on.

In the meantime I had a Leonard Cohen cd in the cd player and the nice smooth melodies kept me calm.  Since I'm alone in the van I can also sing along if the spirit moves me.

With the traffic so heavy I let it continue to play over again as I didn't want to risk trying to change it.  I like Leonard Cohen, after all.

It wasn't until well after Everett and about 2 and a half times through the cd before traffic thinned enough that I felt I could carefully change the cd.  Hmm.  That's odd.  It didn't turn off when I pressed the off button.  If you don't turn it off the radio will come on when you eject the cd until you get another one into it and I don't like the blaring static noise.  Push the button again.  Several times in quick succession.  Nothing.

Well, what's up with that?

Try the eject button.  Nope.  Volume?  Nope.  Huh.

Okay, it's good old Leonard until I stop for lunch and turn the engine off.

Lunch time and a quick stop at Mount Vernon.  Turn the ignition off and.....Leonard is still singing?  How can that be?

Punch more buttons, getting desperate.  (Need to pee!)

Ok, leave it play and go into the restaurant.  It won't harm the battery too much to leave it for a bit.

Come back out, Leonard isn't singing but the light is still on.  Puzzle over why this is happening and what I can do about it.  Oh geez!  Here's Leonard again.  Punch the off button.  Several times.  Hit the mute button.  Still nothing.  Agh!  I have to cross the border in a while - I always shut the cd off to talk to the customs agent.  What am I going to do????  I'd turned the volume up before I left the driveway to highway volume - it's too high for trying to talk to someone.

Just before the border I stop and turn the van off hoping Leonard will go to sleep again, at least until I cross the border.  Thirty minutes later, Leonard is still crooning with no stop in sight.  Resigned I start the motor and head for the gate.

When it is my turn, LC is singing a very soft song - I can talk to the agent without too much difficulty.  She lets me cross without any hassle.  Phew!

But in reality I'm beginning to see that I am not going to be able to stay overnight somewhere.  I don't want to mess around pulling fuses (if I even had something that would pull them out) because I'm not sure what all else is on the same fuse.  I can't leave the cd player run all night - the battery might run down.

I listen to LC croon, over and over and over again while God laughs.  13 hours worth of crooning and laughing.

I drive home.  All the way.  The last 3 hours in the dark.

And Leonard?  You know I like you but I trust you'll understand why I won't be playing you for a while.  A good long while.....

Monday, September 24, 2012

Looking Northward

This morning I packed up my stock from the Fair, brought it back to my friend's house, re-inventoried with the tags for the Seattle guild sale, packed everything up ready for October, packed my bags/van and I'm ready to head north tomorrow morning.

I doubt I'll get all the way home as I have to stop in Quesnel to pick up my stuff there so I'll likely stay overnight in Williams Lake as it will be getting dark by the time I get there - probably.  It's a long way and days are getting shorter 'up north'.

The trip to Texas was great, the people delightful.  They have asked if I will go back, so stay tuned as details are figured out. 

Recently I went and looked at my website from the public side (instead of from the publishing end of things) and realized I could do a whole lot better in terms of the information I provide on my Schedule page.  So I will work on that when I get home - as time permits.

My plate is very full with appointments, committments, volunteer obligations and possible articles to sample for and write - not to mention, oh yes, the weaving - and all of that before the craft fairs actually begin mid-October.  :}

Talking with another cancer (I am not fond of the term 'surviver' but can't come up with a better 'label') I realized that the greatest gift that the Big C experience has given me is renewed dedication in terms of living my life to the fullest.  We only get one life to live (if you believe in re-incarnation, you still only get one life at a time!) so we have to make the most of our opportunities, deal with any challenges that come our way (because believe me, at some point some is going to be served in everyone's life!), focus on the positive, minimize the negative and look forward to the coming day with joy and delight whatever it may hold.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 2

With just three days for the workshop I asked people to bring their loom already dressed so the first day we concentrated on posture and position and everyone wove on the warp they brought.

Today I demo'd how I dress the loom.  Several people finished weaving yesterday or this morning so they are now dressing their looms while the rest finish weaving.

The weather has been lovely, sunny but not oven hot.  The shop hosting the workshop is called WC Mercantile.  Stephanie has been a most gracious hostess and the shop has lots of temptations.

I bought some fine alpaca/milk fibre blended yarn which I will sample once I am home.  The combination intrigues me and I want to see how it weaves up and the results after wet finishing.

Curiosity killed the cat, satisfaction brought it back.  :^)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Houston, TX

Arrived about thirty minutes late as the plane was late arriving in Seattle.  My hostess had booked a limo for the two hour drive.   I felt very pampered!  My first time in a limo.   ;)

There are eight in the class so a nice size.  Not too large, I should be able to give everyone lots of attention.

Two hours difference so I am hoping I can get to sleep right away.  Two hours doesn't seem like it should be an issue.

Looking forward to meeting the class tomorrow.

And I forgot to put my phone into the suitcase, so no photos!  Unless I remember that the iPad also takes pictures.  ;)

Going to go get my workshop stuff organized and head for bed with a book.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Chose to have a quiet day today.  It feels like I've been running full tilt for so long, a day to just quietly chill suddenly became very attractive.

I've not been sleeping well for several weeks (what's up with that, anyway?) so my energy levels are not high and it will be a busy week starting tomorrow.

Playing games on the computer, reading, hemming, maybe even napping seem very attractive right now.

Doug has officially turned in his letter of resignation - leap and the net will appear - so one of the priorities when I get home will be to finish the AGY:Rayon sample on the AVL, slam a test warp on and weave samples for my prospective client.  Then I can work on the new rayon scarves on the Leclerc Fanny as the yarn arrived the day before I left.  I just hope I have enough of the bamboo yarn on hand.  If not I can order a small fill in amount from a 'local' retail supplier, just to get a few more scarves woven for the fall sales.  Hopefully I can get the scarves woven in between sending the samples to the client and her deciding if the fabric will suit her purposes.  If it does I will have to weave the cloth off so they can do their sampling.  If she doesn't like what I've done, the rest of the 'sample' warp will be woven off in tea towels.  But it has to be woven off before I can try another sample.  :}  She says that if they place a 'real' order it will be in 30 meter amounts.

Sales here so far have been slow but almost exclusively scarves so I'm glad I brought a few more with me.

From September until mid-November the focus is on the retail shows so as soon as I get home I will have to finish up the rest of the inventory for those.  The first craft fair is mid-October and there are 5 in a row until mid-November.  Somewhere in all of that there is AGY:Rayon to work on, finalize the first tour of the new year and send out workshop instructions for the participants.

Having a quiet day today seems like a really Good Idea.  :)

Currently reading Shot Through Velvet by Ellen Byerrum

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 'Off'

Today I had just two things on my to-do list and they are both done.  Tomorrow I have to pack for the trip to Texas, but essentially today and tomorrow are 'off'.

I am thinking a nap may be in order, too.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Seattle Show

Received this information about an exhibit of textiles taking place in the Seattle area in November - sounds interesting:

This November, we will be bringing our
renowned ¡§Boulder Studio Sale¡¨ to Seattle, where the owner of
our company is currently living and we are hoping you will
share the details with your readers!

Our sales are the most vivacious, raucous, social good time!
Our fans not only come to scout out another fabulous bag or two
to add to their collections, but also to cross a few gifts off
the holiday list at great prices. Our devoted fans always
bring friends, shop by telephone for off-site family members,
spread the word¡KI mean it¡¦s a real EVENT with over 5,000 on our
mailing list here in Colorado¡Kit is absolutely worthy of being
included in the Seattle Style File! ยบ

After 20 years being handmade in Boulder, Colorado, we are
widely recognized for the high-design work in our textiles.
Our bags and fabrics are in-house custom designed and all our
fabrics are milled in America. We have been a ¡§US made¡¨
company since our inception and are very proud to bring
original, functional design work to women who share our love of

I would be happy to supply you with bio info and photos, please
have a perusal through our website to see exactly what we¡¦re up
to (a few photos also attached). The Seattle sale will be a
recurring event, and we hope to tickle the fancy of your
followers with our funky, functional handbags.

In Seattle, we are carried at the following locations, so you
can see that we have a local following as well as brand
recognition in the area:

Bryn Walker
Ragazzi¡¦s Flying Shuttle
Afishionado Gallery
City People¡¦s Mercantile
East West Bookshop
Frye Art Museum
Wide World Books

Our youtube video will give you an informative, quirky tour
around our Boulder studio, showing our design process start to

The sale is taking place at Nalanda West
3902 Woodland Park Ave N Seattle, WA 98103
Dates: November 9-11 (Fri-Sun)
Times: Fri 6-9pm, Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 10am-4pm

Thanks so much for your time and please let me know if I can
send samples you would care to review, or if there is anything
else that I can do to ¡¥persuade¡¦ you! We would also be happy
to offer giveaways to your readers if you do that. ;-)

My best,

Angela Schuster
Sales & Marketing Manager
Maruca Design
Don't know anything more about them - when I get home to my own computer I'll check out some of their links.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunny Sunday

A day of rest.  One of the local weavers is going to come over this afternoon and we'll do some wet finishing together.  :)

Otherwise I have a large bin of hemming to do, knitting and a stack of paperbacks.

It's all good!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Seattle guild

Meant to take a photo at the meeting and totally forgot! You will have to take my word that it went ok in spite of power point issues. ;)

Always stuff of nightmares when the technology 'fails'!!!
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


One of the things Doug did last week was to make me a new wing nut 'wrench'.

A loom is pretty much a machine made from wood.  Wood which is susceptible to the humidity - the drier it is the more the wood dries out and shrinks.  The more humid it is, the more the wood absorbs the moisture and swells.  I would assemble the loom during a dry period tightening the wing nuts on the beater down tight so that they wouldn't loosen.  All fine and good, but sometimes my longer warps take a few weeks to weave off and if, during that time the humidity has risen, it is nearly impossible to loosen the wing nuts on the beater.

I took to using a couple of flat sticks (the old 'give me a lever long enough and I can move the moon' principle) until Doug saw me one day.  I asked him if he could make a tool for tightening and loosening the wing nuts and he came up with a plastic 'wrench' which worked but was too flexible.

So my new wrench made of metal.  I used it tonight and it tightens like a dream.  We'll see if it loosens as well!

I'm essentially packed and the van is loaded with everything except my small grey overnight case which still has a few more personal items to be packed into it.

Will be staying overnight with my in-laws and hope to make it to my friend's mid-afternoon, before the rush hours.  (Yes, it is hours in and around Seattle, just like any major city.)

I'm not overly fond of driving in metropolitan traffic but I know the route to my friend's and usually manage just fine so long as the traffic isn't too heavy and/or raining.

I have also arranged a ride to the Seattle guild meeting so I don't have to drive into Seattle itself, thank goodness!  :D  (What can I say, I'm a wimp!  And a small town 'girl'.....)

There is a bin full of hand hemming to do, I've got a new scarf started and enough yarn to knit a second one should I finish that one.  A half dozen pocketbooks are packed along with the library book I'm in the middle of reading - I do have 4 days 'off' while with my friend after all.  :^)  Not to mention the short stories etc., loaded onto my iPad for the trip to Texas.

I hope I've packed everything I will want for the workshop.  I can't think of anything else so we will see!

Not sure that I will be able to blog while I am away although I might manage a few text only posts.  If not, I will be back by the 27th at the latest.  I have a bone density scan on the 28th along with a massage appointment and I can't miss either of those.  And on the 29th is the dedication for my brother at the railway museum.

So I don't know when I will be able to hit the looms, but both of them are essentially ready to go.  I've woven the header on the small loom's warp, and the AVL is ready to be tied up and the liftplan generated.

All that's left is to hit the highway in the morning.

Au revoir!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Realistic No

The above 'rat's nest' is actually more organized than it looks.  The weave structure is Diversified Plain Weave (click on the label for more on that) and the pressure is on to clear this warp off the loom.

My prospective client emailed this morning expressing interest in a 'sample' order.  She had originally contacted me because she was looking for a very specific cloth for a huge national corporation with a very recognizable logo.  When she sent the spec sheet this morning, I immediately saw that the requirement was going to be creating a cloth with precisely the colours in their logo.  And I knew that I could not guarantee being able to source the yarns needed in those very specific colours.

I also knew the time frame for my client to supply their product to the corporation and, given my jam packed schedule for the next 9 months, that I could not guarantee being able to provide 200 meters of such cloth for my client to manufacture their goods in time for delivery to the corporation.

Immediately I sent an email saying that I could not provide them with the fabric.

During the 9 or so years I wove for the fashion designer in Vancouver (BC) I learned that a realistic "No, I can't do that" was much better received than an unrealistic "yes" and a subsequent failure to deliver.

I confess that being able to weave the fabric for the giant corporation's product would have been an gi-normous feather in my cap.  Brand recognition alone would have been - well, huge.  That I had woven the fabric for that product, on sale across the nation?  Priceless.

Failing to supply the cloth in a timely fashion?  Worse than devastating.  Much better to honestly admit that I would not be able to do it.

In the end, the designer was disappointed but went ahead with a request to work with me to develop other designs for their 'ordinary' lines.  In the end, I think we'll both be a lot happier.

This afternoon I placed an order for yarn based on the samples I sent, yarn that I can use for tea towels if nothing comes of this.   The yarn will have arrived by the time I get home from my trip, but the loom has to be cleared off and the only sane way to do that is to get the samples for AGY: Rayon woven!  So I started threading and got about half way before stopping for dinner.

Doug and I talked this morning before he left for work and he says he is willing to take on the pressing.  He used to press the placemats/table runners we sold all over western Canada so I don't think he'll have any difficulty working with Puff.  :)

Sooooo - in the end I am happy I didn't get rid of Puff as it looks like the steam press is going to - potentially - if the designer likes my cloth, if I can weave the quality she needs for her product - be a very welcome tool in terms of wet finishing many yards of raw materials for someone else to sew up.

So many 'if's'.  But, nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Will I Ever Learn?

I live so far away from anywhere that when I make a trip I tend to cobble on one more thing, then one more, and.....

(If you want to know exactly how far away from anywhere I live, check out Prince George BC Canada on Google Maps, etc.)

This is what my lr looks like in the midst of beginning to pack.  Clockwise from the left - my attache case for the plane trip.  Behind that my roll aboard, ditto.  The grey bag beside those is my usual overnight case when I'm driving somewhere.  Beside that my 'big' suitcase with the stuff for Texas starting to go in.  At 12 o'clock (do young people still understand the orientation of 'clockwise'?) my handwork bin with a stack of tea towels for demo-ing at the fair and hand work for my 'off' days.  On the chair, my flight ticket, directions for the first two stops of my drive, US currency, cd with Power Point presentation for Seattle and miscellaneous stuff.  Beside the suitcase to the right is a plastic bin being returned to my hostess with jam jars (hoping for a refill of her home made raspberry jam - one of Doug's favourites!)  Plus their hostess gifts and more Texas workshop stuff.

Notice the one glaring thing missing as of yet.  My clothing and personal effects.

One of these days I will stop adding more events onto an existing trip, just because I'm passing by.  Maybe.

Currently reading A Wrongful Death by Kate Wilhelm

Monday, September 10, 2012


Perhaps one of these days I will stop assuming that all my 'short' reeds are the same length and just because a warp fit into one, it will fit into all.  This reed is a couple of inches shorter than the reed I used to rough sley so I wound up moving almost *all* the threads over by 1.5 inches because I could not believe I'd done this again.

Guess I don't do it often enough to remember from time to time.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.....



Got a couple of parcels in the mail today - one the small order from Brassard with the new rayon yarn for a potential (IF I can wedge them into the schedule) new line of scarves - the other from my July student.

I had moaned about not being able to find paper tape measures and she said she had some and would be willing to share.  :)  What I didn't expect was the sweet pair of scissors!  They will live on my coffee table to be used and enjoyed when I do my hand hemming.   :)

The other thing that happened today that I totally didn't expect was to get an email from a potential client I'd sent some sample to, with an offer to work with me to design fabric for one of their line of products.  Egad - now to re-think my plans for when I get home!  AGY:Rayon may have to get set onto the back burner until the new year.

With Doug retiring, having a wholesale account for yardage would really help ease the financial burden, especially since the production/delivery/payment would be primarily during my 'down' time - that bleak income period from the end of December until - well, when ever I need to start production for the fall sales.

It would be a lot of work but if Doug is willing, as he says he is, to do more of the studio assist type of tasks, then it might possibly work out.

Of course nothing is set in stone - they may get the sample yardage and decide it isn't going to work for them after all.  But at least it is an opening window as the door on Doug's regular income closes.  :}

Nothing like ratcheting up the panic mode a little bit higher!  It's exciting and scary all at once....

And last, but not least, I got an email today asking if I had a higher resolution photo of one of the fabrics I've posted to my blog for possible inclusion in a book.  I have to dig my brother's camera out and see if I can get a good enough image.  No mention of payment, but still - nice to be asked!  :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bridled Optimism

corrected bookmark and some small progress

Reality hit me upside the head this afternoon.  I'm down to the last half yard for the rayon sample and I started thinking about what I needed to do before I leave - on this coming Thursday.  Which means I have just 3 days left to get ready, a dr appointment Monday, a 'luncheon' on Tuesday, maybe guild room Tuesday evening.

I don't even want to make a list of what yet needs to be done.  I feel paralysis will set in if I see it in writing!

Essentially I've decided that the Part II Power Point presentation will stand as is so that only needs to be burned to a cd.  I ought to check in with the host to make sure that they will provide a computer/projector. My laptop is so old it probably won't have the proper connections.

Right now I'm just taking a quick break because I've been weaving for over 45 minutes and my body is telling me it is time for a short rest before I plough on through the rest of this warp.

Tomorrow I will beam and thread the next sample so I can free up the Purrington Angel Wings and then pack all my favourite tools, including my weaving slippers (ballet).

Maps have been printed off, my plane ticket and passport along with the US currency I have on hand is ready.

Inventory etc., for the show in Quesnel still has to be packed.  Samples and copies of A Good Yarn: Cotton have yet to be gathered up and some tea towels for hostess gifts.  I have some 'books' (short stories, novellas - only free stuff, I'm too cheap to buy books if I can get free ones) loaded onto my iPad, plus a stack of paperbacks.  My work basket with stuff for the demo and general handwork to stave off boredom.

If I stay on task, I believe (I think I can, I think I can) get everything done by departure time Thursday.  I need to roll out of the driveway by 8 am at the latest.  Should be back by Tuesday the 25th or Wednesday the 26th depending on traffic and when I can pick my stuff up in Quesnel on the way home again.

Oh ya - still have to pack my clothing etc.....  :}

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Contingency Plan

Wound this warp at the guild room this morning using the warping mill.  Since it is in yards, not meters, I added a little extra - and then added a little more - forgetting that I was very tight on yarn.  Which means that I will run out of the yarn for weft.

The sample was supposed to be a four thread colour and weave 'check' but with insufficient yarn of one of the colours, that wasn't going to produce the number of samples required - even with reducing the number of copies to 135.

Hoping that I had another spool of the green at home I mulled over what I could do if I didn't.  I could make 4" samples instead of 5" - but there was no guarantee there would be enough yarn even to do that many.  What to do?  I didn't like the thought of potentially wasting about 4 yards of warp either, so I thought I could just weave the rest of the warp off with the purple/pink.

All of a sudden I realized what I could do - weave half the sample with just the pink/purple and half in checks.  Which actually makes a lot of sense in terms of a 'lesson' - show people that they can put on a longer warp and make co-ordinating fabrics.  Still not sure if I have enough to do 5" samples, though, so I am going to have to sit down with a calculator and do some number crunching.

But at least I feel I have a workable plan.  As mentioned in a previous post, sometimes Plan B or C is actually better than Plan A.  :D

And yes, I could have ordered more yarn in but at that point might run into problems with dye lot differences because the green yarn has been in my stash for a couple of years.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Little OCD

I confess that I may be a little OCD because I tend to obsessively count stuff.  (Maybe it's why I don't get bored - I'm too focussed on my counting?)

Anyway, this warp is 36 epi - 3 ends per dent in a 12 dent reed with a 4 end threading repeat.

When I got to 12 dents full, I should have had no 'extra' ends left - the repeats (threading and sleying) should have lined up.  They didn't.  That could only mean one thing.  I'd made a mistake somewhere in that first group of dents.

Sure enough, one of the dents had 4 ends in it instead of 3.  So I pulled out the threads, fixed the mistake and wahla, everything lined up as it should have.

And then it happened again.  What can I say?  Dark threads.  Fine threads.  Hard to see.  But my somewhat obsessive counting saved me from discovering I had a couple of sleying errors after I was all done and finished.  At which point all my nicely grouped ends (four per slip knot) would have been gone, all the ends would have been 'loose' and it would have been much more difficult to keep the ends in order.

Counting as I do stuff like winding the warp, threading and sleying helps me keep track of 'patterns' such as 'by the time I sley 12 dents there should be an even number of ends in the dents'.

It seems to me that a whole lot of weavers also like to do jigsaw puzzles.  I think it's partly pattern recognition, partly because we are process oriented people.  What do you think?

Thursday, September 6, 2012


ends.  Straight draw.  70 or so minutes to thread.

I rarely tell people how long it takes me to do the various parts of the process but since I'm teaching The Efficient Weaver in a couple of weeks I've been thinking about process and issues of efficiency.

Number One.  Being efficient is not hurrying.  Hurrying is when you start trying to take short cuts and make mistakes.  Definitely not efficient.

Number Two.  It is sometimes more efficient to take extra time at one stage in order to save time (and head/heart aches) at the next stage.

So it is with all my little slip knots grouping each threading repeat.

Yes it takes a moment to tie the knot.  But ultimately when I get to the sleying, it saves me time and frustration because each bundle of threads is easily found in order to be sleyed.

In fact I really dislike having to re-sley because all my tidy little bundles are no more!

Number Three.  Working efficiently is not a contest between you and someone else.  The only contest is between you and yourself.  Can you reduce the amount of time you take to complete the job?  Makes no difference if you can do it faster than someone else.  The only reason I tell people how long it takes me to, for example, thread, is because it lets people know that threading doesn't have to take a couple of days to do.  It can be done more efficiently.  But first you have to know that, and then you need to find out how to maybe do it more quickly, and then you need to practice the new technique.

I was already pretty fast at threading when I first saw Norman Kennedy thread a loom.  His technique was a revelation!  I bought a Harrisville brass hook, went home and started using his method.  I didn't immediately thread as quickly as he could.  Of course not.  But I give myself 7 warps to learn a new method.  By the time I'd threaded my 7th warp using his way of doing it, I had doubled my threading speed.  Am I as fast as Norman Kennedy?  I have no idea.  That isn't relevant.  The only thing that matters is that I am faster than I was before.  Which means that instead of taking over two hours to thread the above warp, I did it in just over one.

My back thanks me.

See how I do it here

Slow But Steady

Finished winding this warp today and after lunch will rough sley it and get it into the loom.

The white is the cut line and I will weave a contrasting colour for the weft-wise cut line as I have been doing for the last few warps.

For some of the samples I just changed treadling to make the cut line, but that doesn't always work.

When I first thought about this project I'd thought to make actual finished items, so warp cut lines weren't going to work very well.  For several of the cotton samples I wove cloth with straight lines as part of their design so that cutting would be easy, but not have actual cut lines to interfere with the finished item.

Since then I decided that I didn't actually need a finished item, that the sample would be sufficient.  This decision has made life enormously simpler.

My hope with these publications is not to create a portfolio of textiles that can be simply copied as they are - although that is possible - but to provide enough information that weavers can push the boundaries of their own knowledge and experience to create their own textiles.

As a teacher I am far more interested in people winding up knowing more than they may have before.  My hope is that they end up a more confident weaver with a broader base of knowledge.

Currently reading Seawitch by Kat Richardson

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Putting It All Together

Sometimes when I'm working on a new project I feel sort of like I'm assembling a glitter ball (mirror ball, disco ball).

Each project has many, many facets to be considered.  Each facet needs to be chosen with care (epi, weave structure, colours, dimensions) and arranged to produce the desired effect.

Producing a publication with actual fabric samples, a garment, whatever - the scope of the project goes far beyond just weaving the cloth.

Finishing details, garment style, accessories, fonts, even - all of these things are practically unseen - except for when they are 'wrong' for the project.  And then they stick out like a sore thumb.

Today as I was cutting the samples for the rayon chenille project I started thinking about the fact that I may be recruiting someone else to do this part for me.  And then I had to think about how to make the job go as smoothly as possible.  Things that I may take for granted may not be so obvious to someone else.

And so as I cut the chenille samples apart I thought about the warp for the next sample and how I could make it so that it would go ahead with the least amount of instructions or misunderstandings.

The next sample will be a solid coloured warp with a different solid coloured weft.  The weave structure will be more of a texture with no obvious markings for cutting the samples.  I had already woven in weft cut lines for myself and realized it would be a simple matter to include cut lines in the warp.  That way there would be no doubt about where the samples were to be cut.

Fortunately I had not started winding that warp yet, so it was a matter of a moment to grab a contrasting colour to wind cut lines and I got the first half of the warp wound after dinner.  The loom is empty so after the dr appointment tomorrow morning I expect to wind the 2nd half of the warp, rough sley and beam it.  We'll see if I can manage to thread and sley it as well.  With any luck it will be ready to weave on Friday.

I still have a great deal to do before I leave.  Part II of the Seattle guild presentation is in rough draft - I'm just mulling over if I want to include any further images.  The tags for the guild sale still have to be photocopied and cut apart.  Doug was doing laundry this afternoon so I can start packing my clothing as soon as it is dry.  The implements for the workshop in Texas have to be gathered up.  I will wind another project warp on Saturday so I can use the guild warping mill and that will be ready for me when I get home to slam into the loom.  The AVL needs to be threaded/sleyed/tied up and the lift plan generated.  Inventory and display stuff for the sale in Quesnel, which will be dropped off on my way south needs to be packed.

Lots of little mirrored facets to my life.  :)

Conferences and Stuff

Next year the ANWG conference will take place in Bellingham, WA.  I am honoured to be amongst those chosen to present (in my case) 3 seminars.

This is a very nice regional conference and I am very much looking forward to being in Bellingham, not just because it is a great opportunity to spend some time with like minded fibre-y people but because our niece lives there and I'm hoping to spend a little time with her, too.

Find more information about the conference here.

I will be adding this event to my schedule page later today if I can find time in between appointments and deadlines.  I decided to take the proverbial bull by the horns and talk to my dr about all the niggling things bothering me in hopes of smoothing out my various and sundry health issues.  As I said in a previous post, nothing particularly serious, just lots of 'maintenance' issues.  :}  I had thought to do these things after I got home from my trip to WA/TX but when I went in to the office yesterday the receptionist looked over my list of concerns and started booking appointments this week.  I really have not got a lot of spare time in the next 7 days but decided that I needed to make time, even if it is just to set my mind at rest and not have these questions nagging away in the back of my mind.  She determined 4 appointments to allow me to thoroughly discuss my concerns (it was a very long list!) and we booked two before I leave and two when I get home.

If nothing else, I have the illusion of some control - at least I'm actively seeking answers, not just feeling like a twig on the surface of the water being swirled back and forth, helplessly pulled along by the current.

And if there is nothing to be done, at least I've asked the questions, even if the answer is 'no, you just have to live with this'.  Not knowing is the worst, I think.  Finding out that this is my new reality means I can accept it and carry on.  Finding out that something can be done means we can go ahead and do that something.  Either way, it's a win.

Who knew getting 'old' required so much maintenance!

Monday, September 3, 2012


taping the before samples, trimming the excess bits off the sides in preparation to cutting them apart

And here we go again.  While taping/cutting these samples this morning I started thinking about how there are a long list of things about my job that aren't my fav things to be doing.  Taping/cutting samples is one of them.  But, like standing at the steam press for several hours, I do it because it is necessary.

What makes these less than enjoyable jobs bearable is that I have decided that they are necessary.  It is my choice to do these things because I feel that my product would be less than it could be if I didn't.

There is a certain amount of ego involved in this.  I would feel embarrassed if I did not make the effort to properly (in my view) wet finish my cloth.  I want to 'make it right'.  (If you are a fan of Mike Holmes, you'll recognize the phrase.)

When I was planning Magic in the Water I decided that the publication just had to have the before and after samples so that people could see and feel the difference that wet finishing made to the woven web.  Taping the 'before' sample was necessary to keep these fragile swatches in reasonable condition for examination.  With these subsequent publications, I feel I must continue in that tradition to further educate people in the value and necessity to wet finish.

However, with Doug 'retiring' at the end of this month, you can bet that taping/cutting samples - not to mention stapling them to the card stock - may very well get put on the 'honey do' list!

As far as I'm concerned I will not be 'retiring' any time soon.  As I've mentioned previously, when you are doing what you love to do, why would you 'retire'?  :)  Since we are dependent upon the income from the studio even with Doug working, he has agreed to take on more studio work.  Might as well take advantage of Mr. Perfectionist and get him to help with the bits that aren't my favourite activity.  Not to mention that he can't weave, nor do either of us want him to!  Designing and creating the cloth is my job.  Doing the finishing and selling it will become more of his.

Currently reading Death Qualified by Kate Wilhelm

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Labour Day Weekend

This is how I spent my Sunday afternoon.  When you are self-employed, every day is a potential work day (labour day?)

Now I'm 'steamed', well and truly.  :^)

There is a thread on one of the chat lists about whether or not you can unweave when using an end feed shuttle.

Well, of course you can.  The question that each person needs to ask themselves is if they really want to.

I learned a long time ago that I can always make more money but I can never make more time.  Once I've spent my time it is gone forever.

To unweave, salvaging the weft while using an end feed shuttle, is just not worth my time.  If I need to go back, especially more than a few picks, I'd much rather cut the weft picks and pull them out.  If I'm weaving with a standard boat shuttle I will unweave up to 12 picks but if it is more than that, it just isn't worth the time and messy bobbin.

But this sort of issue is all about personal preference.  The only person who can properly answer the question is the person themselves.

Did some thinking about the Seattle guild presentation while pressing and when I gather myself together again, I will try to jot down my thoughts and make an outline to follow while putting together part II of the Power Point presentation.

Right now I'm going to try to find a snack and maybe read for a while.  Three hours of hard pressing and I'm flattened.  :^)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Bitty Day

Fringe after wet finishing and trimming - showing both ends of the scarf

Today was a 'bitty' day - a bit of this, a bit of that, a bit of something else.

Sorted the piles of wet finishing, winding up with 5 different loads - two loads of cotton tea towels because the Fox Fibre yarn needs to be wet finished differently than ordinary cotton.  One load of samples for AGY:R, two loads of scarves (one red load, one blue load).

Set up video camera to do a clip of fringe twisting.  Battled through the editing software - I don't use it often enough to remember from time to time.

Fought with Power Point - I knew there was a way to add video clips and finally found it. Spent time rummaging through photos, then taking more because I didn't have exactly what I needed for the presentation.  You'd think that with something like 2000 photos on file I would have everything I needed.  :)  Of course, then there's finding it! 

Finished Part I of the Seattle Weavers Guild presentation and burned it to a cd.  Have to do an outline for Part II and get that done this week.

Wove on the rayon chenille sample for AGY:R in between dealing with washer/dryer.

While running the loads through the washer and dryer remembered the stack of soy protein scarves that had been pressed while too wet and finished up stiff.  Tossed them into the dryer to tumble for 10 minutes to soften them up.  Will take them to the press tomorrow, too, as I didn't get to the dryer quickly enough and they wound up with some wrinkles.

I'm about to have dinner and then hopefully finish the last four yards of the rayon chenille "before" sample.  I will see if I feel up to winding the rayon chenille warp for the "after" sample.  That will likely wait until tomorrow.

While I finished beaming the Diversified Plain Weave sample warp on the AVL yesterday, I haven't touched it yet.  I'm hoping to start threading tomorrow after pressing.

The rest of the week will be filled with 'bitty' jobs, too - suitcase is out, ready to be filled.  Sales tags for the Seattle sale need to be ready because I'll tag/price the inventory for the sale before I come home.  I'll be dropping inventory off to a gal in Quesnel on the way south, so I have to pack that, the display equipment and my cash box.  All the teaching materials for Texas have to be gathered.  Tuesday evening I'll take the stuff that needs trimming to the guild room and do that there.  And maybe fringe twist some more.

I'm hoping mom will drive herself to her dental appointment on Thursday so I don't wind up spending a couple of hours reading in the waiting room for her.  I'd really rather be weaving or packing or working on Part II of the presentation.

So many balls in the air - I feel like any second they are all going to come tumbling down around my head.  :)

At least the clouds have cleared away a bit - it was very chilly and dreary this morning.

Currently reading Dressed for Death by Donna Leon.