Friday, May 31, 2013

Letting Go of Perfection

scarf 33

scarf 34

When I sampled for this production run of scarves I used several different wefts and weave structures, then chose the combination that I felt was the most successful.  The most 'perfect' if you will.

Unfortunately the Bambu 12 doesn't come in the variety of dark value colours that I would like to use so this morning on scarf #33 I decided to change wefts.

It was a choice between making a good first impression by using the 'right' colour weft to bring the warp colours out to their full potential and having a hand that was less than 'perfect' or using colours that I felt enhanced the warp colours but would not feel quite as nice.

Since you only have one chance at making a good first impression, I let go of perfection - because I wasn't going to get it anyway - and went with 'good'.

The top scarf - the first on this warp (#9) was woven with a solid medium range purple in 2/10 size Tencel.  The second one is being woven with a variegated yarn, also 2/10 Tencel.  I wasn't sure if the colour variations would show up on my monitor but they actually show quite well.  This was yarn I had custom dyed a few years ago and of which I just have dribs and drabs left - enough to do 2 or 3 scarves of each colour, perhaps a few more if some of the unconed skeins turn out to be good matches for the warps.

Normally my preference is to have the variegation in the warp, but these yarns were specially dyed to be very close in both hue and value and I like the slight shimmer of this first one.  So I will probably look for other warps on which I can use up some of this 'semi-solid' coloured yarn.

Stash busting.  Gotta love it.

Currently reading The Bat by Jo Nesbo

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Controlled Panic

scarf 31

Working on a large project it is all too easy to let the nay-sayers living in your head to send you into a frenzy of procrastination.  Will it turn out?  Will people like it?  Will people actually pony up real money and buy it?

If you let yourself listen to those voices you can get mired down in thinking about all the things that will go wrong and wind up not doing that which you most want to do.  I find an approaching deadline does wonders to shut those voices up.  The panic from watching the deadline creep (or race) up on me is generally what provides the energy to break through the fear of failure.

With so many approaching deadlines, all of them critical each in their own way, I am having to really control the voices and the panic.  Too much of either can cause the wheels to fall off the cart, so to speak.  A little panic to provide energy is good.  Too much panic and I start feeling overwhelmed.  And get really cranky on top of it.

Because I do want to do everything on my schedule.  I know I will enjoy all of it once the deadline has been met and the event - or project - is behind me.  I will have accomplished a major goal (goals) and that will make me feel good.

But as a friend says, better to have done it than to say you are going to do it.  The anticipation is one thing.  The feeling of accomplish from having done it?  Priceless.

Currently reading Emergence by Temple Grandin

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Anne Field

some of the scarves woven since arriving home...not wet finished

This morning the news that Anne Field passed away hit the internet.  As I finished scarf #28 this morning I thought about the weavers that I have known, some all too briefly, that have passed on leaving the weaving community 'less' than it was before.

The weavers who, through their example, showed the way to create cloth and, through their teaching (personally and/or through their written work) made all of us better weavers.

Our best tribute to those who have gone before is to continue to learn as much as possible about how to make good cloth.  Take their work further.  Spread the knowledge wider.  Acknowledge the legacy they have left behind.

I rather flippantly said on a chat group that if there were no looms in heaven I wasn't going.  Allen Fannin responded "I'll see you in the other place, Fry!"

Where ever those weavers have gone to congregate, I will go.  And sit at their feet.  And learn.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

To Light A Candle

One of my personality quirks, if you will, is that when I see a problem I try to figure out how to fix it.  It is probably part of why I am the weaver I am today.  Because we all know weaving is filled with problems!  It is one of the reasons that the creation of cloth captivated me and continues to hold my interest today.

But I also apply this quirk to the world at large.  When I see a problem (sometimes it has to be pointed out to me, I admit) I will mull things over and see what I, personally, can do to rectify at least part of the problem.  Sometimes people appreciate my efforts.  Others - well, they continue to see the injustice and carry on railing at the dark.  Which is their right.  Sometimes that is the only way 'world' problems get solved after all.

Sometimes people take offense at my solution to a problem, for whatever reason.  When they do they can be quite vituperative.  I have had two emails that were so amazingly venomous I could barely read through them and dumped those toxic vials of venom out of my inbox as quickly as I could hit the delete key.  In both of those cases, I had asked for remuneration for my efforts and each person took umbrage at my selfish greedy request.

Which brings me back to my post about needing teachers.

In the weaving world, especially when I entered it in the mid-70's, there was a prevailing attitude of 'let's all be jolly here together and share everything we know.'  People took great offense when I starting asking to be paid to teach.  However, I knew that some people were being paid - why shouldn't I?  Was my time, knowledge, expertise not worth something?  I had, after all, paid good money to learn what I knew - tuition for classes, books, conferences (registration and travel).

My stated goal for myself was to be a professional weaver.  Part of being 'professional' is that you do get paid for your time and knowledge.

On the other hand, some people had very kindly helped me without request for payment and I also felt that I needed to 'pay it forward' at some level.  And so I started my website in the late 1990's when the internet was still primarily educational.  I joined chat groups and attempted to answer agonized cries for help.

It is a balancing act - how much do I give away before I start asking for payment?  How much ought people expect for nothing before they should start paying?

Questions for which I have no answers.  I can only go based on what I feel comfortable about doing.

And whenever and where ever I can, light a candle rather than curse the dark.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Be Not Afraid

painted warp being beamed

warp is twisted and tangled

after de-tangling

done - about 70 minutes from start to finish

I am not exactly sure when I started working, let's say about 9:40.  Between then and 10:55 (you might just be able to see the clock if you biggify the photo) I rough sleyed, beamed, threaded, sleyed and lashed on.

Some people have commented about my 'scary' painted warps.  The truth is that I have instructed the dyer to not de-tangle the warps.  I have every confidence in my ability to straighten the warps, probably faster than the dyer can.  And quite frankly, I would rather pay the dyer to be dyeing, not de-tangling my warps for me.

A few statistics - these warps are 10.5 meters long, 200 ends.  It is inevitable that the warps will get disturbed during the dyeing process.  How could they not?  But I do not find that in the least off-putting for several reasons.

I have wound the warps myself so I know they have been wound with consistent tension.  I have chosen the yarns so I know that they will withstand the aggressive method I use to get them straightened out.  I have every confidence in my process and ability to apply it successfully.

New weavers often get the fear of god put into them about dressing the loom.  You must do this, you must never do that.  Ultimately so long as you get the warp onto the loom with consistent tension you'll be fine.

Learn one method very well.  Put several short narrow warps on and weave them off quickly so that you can cement your chosen process into muscle memory.  Once you are confident you know what you are doing, start to analyse your results.  Are you happy?  Are you 'comfortable'?  (IOW, how much pain do you experience at any point during the process.)  If you are having too much back or neck pain, what can you change to make the process more comfortable?

Human beings are unendingly creative.  We've had to be.  Think about what you are doing.  Does it make sense?  Can it be done differently so that you are more comfortable (experiencing less pain)?  Can a different process be a better fit for you?  Or just tweaking the one you are already using?  Maybe you need different equipment?

Above all, don't be intimidated by the equipment or afraid of the process.  It's just string after all.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Who Needs Teachers...

...when we have each other."

I am quite sure this comment on a chat group was not meant to denigrate 'real' teachers but was instead a heartfelt expression of gratitude that the members of that group were willing to answer newbie questions and share their experience.

But as a 'real' teacher, one who relies on a part of my income from teaching, it left me feeling...redundant, at the very least.  That my decades of research into, learning about, experimenting in and attempting to pass that knowledge on to others via published articles, workshops and seminars was in some way invalid.  That in the age of the internet, all that was needed was a few chat groups and a willingness to pass on freely one's experiences, as shallow or deep as they may be.

It was especially discouraging as I am about to embark on the effort, requiring dozens of hours, of turning two of my presentations into media formats (two different formats, two different learning curves).  It will take literally hours of my time, time when I could be at the loom weaving all of the lovely painted warps like this one.

Instead I will be devoting much of my coming days to writing outlines, trying to find visual aids that I can include (or generating them myself), weaving examples, collecting the equipment required, travelling 600 miles (and back again) in the one instance, all to try and share what I have learned in the 35+ years I have been studying this multi-layered craft as a profession.

But I'm not needed because "we have each other".

And then I found this review:  It was a lovely validation and reminded me why I spend the time to prepare teaching topics, battling air travel and jet lag.  Thank you Suzi for inviting me to Atlanta, and Isabel for your review.

I will be adding Rochester, NY to my schedule in the next few days - they have asked me to give presentations prior to the EGLFC conference this October.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Change of Pace

Got the fourth scarf warp into the loom and wove the first scarf this morning.  Changed to blue/green, partly for a change of pace, partly because I may need to order more weft yarns in so thought I'd better work on some different colours.

I tend to work in 'batches' because using hand dyed cellulose yarns means that there will be a certain amount of fugitive dye.  Therefore having a washing machine load of the same or similar colours means I don't have to worry too much about dye transfer.  Not that I let the cloth soak - rinse, rinse, rinse - make sure the dyes don't have time to settle anywhere else!

Having the scarf warps to work on while jet lagged was actually A Good Thing.  No thinking required, just follow my notes and do.  (There is no 'try', only 'do'.)

But now that I'm nearly back to my 'normal' routine, it is time to start looking at the stack of administrivia that has been building.

My calendar for next year is virtually empty.  This is good - and bad.  Bad because I don't know where my income will be coming from, so to speak.  When I have a full schedule of teaching events, I am assured of a certain amount of cash flow coming in.  OTOH, historically when I have had a great gaping blank in my schedule it usually means that the universe (or whatever you call the intelligence behind this reality) has something up it's sleeve.  So I'm not panicking about that blank slate.  More just curious about what is coming down the pipeline.

To that end I have been working on several projects which may - just may - be part of what will begin to fill up my calendar next year.  There is a good chance that rather than teaching in person, I may take on more of a role on the internet.  Stay tuned!

In the meantime, there is a great deal of preparation for these things to be done.  With a schedule cram packed with more than half of this year left to go?  I am going to have to stay on top of things so that I don't start missing some critical deadlines....

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fly Shuttle - Four Boxes

Sally asked on Weavolution how a multiple box fly shuttle works.  Sometimes you just have to see it to understand.

When I added air assist a while ago, we also upgraded to four boxes instead of the original two.  Eventually I found the four boxes too heavy to comfortably shift by hand so I asked Doug to design and build an electronic assist.

However, I think you can still see how the mechanism would work by hand.

The boxes are stacked one on top of the other and by means of a cable at the top which runs over a pulley, the boxes can be moved from one position to the other.  The boxes are 'balanced' - in other words, when you move a box up on one side, the box 'elevator' on the other moves down.

Not all looms are configured in this manner.  In some looms when you shift the boxes they both rise or lower.  Some looms are meant to only have even colour pick repeats and there is just one box on one side of the loom with multiple boxes on the other.

Human beings are endlessly ingenious.  :)

Finished the Maitland book and will start the newest Kim Harrison today during clinic.  Two hours to just sit and read.  What's not to love?  ;)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Scarf 9 (beginning of warp #3) showing some of the colours in the warp - again much nicer in person

'padding' the cloth beam

Finished the second warp this morning and got the next one on the loom this afternoon.  Since the yarn is rayon, and rayon can be fairly slippery, I'm lashing on rather than tying.  With fairly large knots at the beginning of the warp, I 'pad' the knots by inserting a couple of sticks, one on either side of the lumps.  If you look closely at the bottom picture you can just see the slight bumps from some of the knots.  I've found that this amount of bump doesn't adversely impact the cloth and after wet finishing there are no problems.  (I don't normally add sticks or paper or anything to the cloth beam - just the two sticks to pad the knots when I lash on.)

A few years ago I had Teresa Ruch* paint warps for me.  As I mentioned in yesterday's blog post, I try to produce textiles that are in some way unique and working with a boutique dyer means that I can have colours that are not found elsewhere in the marketplace.

But I ran out of her warps a while ago and with the huge increase in shipping and hassle of getting stuff back and forth across the border I thought I'd look for someone on this side of the border.  I found Kim McKenna almost literally at my back door.

After a winter that took too long to leave and a spring that has taken too long to arrive, weaving nothing but 'beige' for several weeks, I was long overdue for a blast of colour.  So it was with great anticipation that I opened the box Kim sent and discovered just what the doctor ordered.

A few people have commented to me about 'taking it easy'.  I can't.  I have far too much to do and too little time to do it.  I am also, at this point in time, as healthy as I'm going to be.  I'll be turning 63 in a few weeks and quite frankly with all the health issues I've had for the past 5+ years, I am all too aware that our time on this earthly plane is limited.

None of us know when our clock will be punched, our time will run out.  If there are things needing to be done, projects to be finished, goals to be achieved...well, the time is now.  If not now, when?  If not you, who?

And so I am adding more stuff to my plate.  It's just different stuff now.  I've learned to say 'no' to things I really don't want to do and 'yes' to the things that sound interesting.  Even though they will take a lot of preparation and I'm not exactly sure I will be any good at them.

But if I don't try, how will I ever know?

Stay tuned for news as things come together and I can reveal what's been happening behind the scenes.  :)

*Teresa will have a booth at ANWG in Bellingham, WA this June.  On this side of the border, Doug will have some of Teresa's hand dyed yarns for sale at the Olds Fibre Week in Olds, AB.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


scarf #5 - the first on the second painted warp

My camera doesn't seem capable of capturing the subtleties of colour in the cloth.  This glimpse may give you an idea of some of the shades of colour....

Hand weavers in North America are not just competing against each other when they try to sell their textiles, they are also - in a way - competing against the textile industry.

With employees in developing countries making pennies per hour and the mills close to cheap material supplies it is next to impossible to compete with industry in terms of price.  So what can hand weavers do?

We must rely on our creativity to produce things that industry either can't or won't do.  We must appeal to the segment of the population with the disposable income willing to spend more on something unique in the marketplace.

It took me a long time to come to grips with working with boutique dyers.  It was when I realized that I was using commercially dyed variegated yarns that the penny dropped.  If I was buying variegated yarns from commercial suppliers, why on earth couldn't I use yarns dyed by hand?

Since making that decision I have worked with 3 different dyers.  Each has had their own approach to colour and I have learned so much from each of them about how colour works together.  I am so grateful that each of them has been willing to dye yarns/warps for me, work with me to produce a palette of yarns that I can use to make pretty scarves, etc.

Industry can (or does) not at this time do painted warps.  By using warps specially hand painted, I have cloth that is totally and completely unique from what is commonly available in the shops.  So far people seem to feel that my scarves are worth the premium I charge for them.  I am hoping the 'fashion' for scarves lasts for a while longer!!!

The best way to appreciate these scarves is in person because obviously a photo simply cannot do them justice.  The scarves are intended to be ready for the fall sales - here in Prince George, Seattle Weaver's guild sale, Circle Craft in Vancouver, Art Market in Calgary.  Or via purchase from me directly, taking a chance on the reality instead of the pale imitation in a photo....

Monday, May 20, 2013


Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy...

scarf #2 just begun - #1 is visible below 

scarf #3 -  photos do not do the colours justice

Sometimes having SABLE is a good thing.  The first of the painted warps is a bit pastel and I wasn't sure I had the 'right' weft for it.  But a good rummage in my stash turned up several good candidates.

Scarf #1 was woven with a fairly bright almost (but not quite) bubble gum pink.  Scarf #2 used a medium violet (just visible in the shuttle).  Scarf #3 is begun and lurking at the back of the shelf was the perfect darker pink, just the right shade to go with the warp at this point.

I do have bright white but there is just enough white in the warp that I didn't want to go that route.  Areas of white on white would dominate the scarf in a way that I would not find pleasing.  So, to find the darker pink plus a deeper brownish pink means that I have just exactly the right colours to go with the first two warps.  The second warp is similar to this one but has some interesting brownish/violet areas and I think the brownish pink will be perfect for weft.

I ought to be doing some more writing but I got so excited about the painted warps that I just jumped onto the loom and ploughed onwards.

Doug is pressing the samples for A Good Yarn: LandH.  The cloth got a bit scrunched in my suitcase so a tidying press will make the cloth easier to cut and staple.

The weather has not improved - it is chilly and overcast.  For a long weekend where people traditionally open their summer cabins, it is fairly depressing.  Here's hoping we get some nice weather soon.  Winter stayed far too long and spring is taking much too long to arrive....

Trip Recap

large cauldron - not sure what they used it for - scouring?  dyeing?  at Masson Mill

Jacquard loom at Masson Mill

Paradise Mill - had lots of spare loom parts stored - here are a stack of beaters with fly shuttle boxes attached

Docent at Quarry Mill explaining how a hand loom works

One of the 'jobs' awaiting me when I got home was to write a travelogue for Fibre Focus (the provincial weaving magazine for Ontario).  It was good to go through my photos and write up the journey so soon after I got home as it doesn't take long for daily life to take over and memories to fade.

I don't know what the huge cauldron was for at Masson Mills, possibly dyeing.  There was nothing explaining what it was for - it just sat in the courtyard, very imposing!

There were lots of Jacquard looms to be seen, some of them still in running order.  We also saw quite a few shaft looms with dobby mechanisms and of course fly shuttles.  The loom minder at the Quarry Mill said that one operator would mind 4 looms at a time.

Unfortunately the spinning mule at Quarry Mill had broken down the morning we arrived so we didn't get to see it in operation.  But the man who operated it said that they hoped to have it up and running in a few days as they had 'spare' parts in storage.  The mule is not original to the mill but of the same vintage.  Quarry Mill is extensive and presents the textile industry very well, generally.

Paradise Mill and the Silk museum was interesting, too.  We managed to arrive in time for the guided tour so we got to see some of the equipment being operated.  The museum was well laid out and gave a good history of silk weaving in the area.

I'm still jet lagged - no real surprise there!  But I am managing to get a few things done.  What I really need to do, quite urgently, is to review the two conferences coming up rather quickly and get my travel arrangements sorted out.

Hopefully Doug will get the samples for A Good Yarn: LandH done in the next couple of days so that I can get them cut apart so he can then start stapling them.  Once I've got the sample pages done I can do the lay out and start generating the text.

Juggling.  It's all about the juggling.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Diving In

Out of focus shot of the box of warps!

First painted warp rough sleyed with potential wefts...

Home again, home again, jiggity jig!

I collapsed into bed almost as soon as I came in the door so exhausted was I from the long flight and lack of food.  With my food allergies, I decided not to eat anything they were serving on the plane and made do with some dry rye crackers, a serving of protein powder I'd prepared ahead of time (and just added water to) and some fruit I bought in the airport.

Yesterday I did ease into the studio weaving one session of place mats, clearing off the table (Doug had dealt with most things but some were left for my return) and started on my inbox.

The trip was great and I don't know if I'll ever be able to make such a journey again.  Fibre Focus asked me to write up a 'travelogue' so I'll be jotting my thoughts down today and once the article has been published may add it to my web site.  Or here.

The box of warps was waiting for me so the incentive is high to get the mats off the loom today so I can throw the first of the warps onto the loom.  Two were still damp when the dyer packaged them up so I'm starting with them.  They are more on the pastel end of the value spectrum so I had to kind of dig for suitable wefts.  I think the three in the photo will work just fine and will give me some pale scarves which I've not really had previously, having stuck to the darker shades.

There is just a month until the Olds Fibre Week and ANWG conferences.  Doug will be doing Olds by himself while I'm in Bellingham.  Really hoping I can attend Fibre Week next year, I've heard so much about it.  :)  We need to pack up all the yarns, making sure everything is priced, ready for him to sell...

While I was away I had my usual stack of reading material.  I read one of Kelley Armstrong's books (title forgotten but it was a mystery, not one of her urban fantasy series), Ian Rankin's latest with both Rebus and Malcolm Fox (from the Complaints).  Turned out I'd already read the Robin Hobb I bought so I wound up buying some books in England.  Kjell Engstrom, Iain Banks (Stonemouth) and still reading Karen Maitland's The Falcons of Fire and Ice.

I'd seen recommendations for Iain Banks but this was the first title I'd read.  I will go looking for more.  Maitland is a good writer but the topic of the Spanish Inquisition I find - disturbing.  That she does too is what is keeping me reading.  The Inquisition is apparently the back drop to an 'adventure' the heroine is to have.

I have let my request list at the library dwindle because I was going to be away so much in the early part of this year.  I will be spending some time searching out the titles of some of my fav authors who have had new titles come out (or will shortly) and build up my reading list again.  I was tempted to buy Lindsey Davis' new title in England but it was only in hardback - expensive and heavy to pack.  So I will wait until the library gets that one in.

Spring is slowly coming here.  Apparently we had some 'hot' weather earlier but it is cool now again.

All in all, good to be home, good to have done the trip, good to have the memories.

Friday, May 17, 2013


Almost.  I am back in Canada, at any rate. And the first of the dyed warps are already in the studio waiting for me and I have a long list of writing stuff to be done.  And I have a jet lagged brain more similar to mush than anything else

But I'm home.  Almost.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Skyline. The weather today was perfect for travelling. Sunny, mostly blue skies, not too hot. Homeward bound in the morning. Just have to figure out the Stockholm public transit system. Thank goodness for a native speaker!
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Last Day

Driving to Stockholm we stopped at Soderkopping for a break and late lunch. The east/west canal runs by.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mission Accomplished...

...sort of.

I had several things I hoped to accomplish on this trip.

¤ Cold mangle the samples for A Good Yarn:LandH.

That got done even though it did take two days instead of one.

¤ Sew two summer tops.

Well, one got done, the other is cut out and the pieces serged.  It was good to go through the layout again because cutting the pieces on the bias is not exactly straight forward!

If I can I am going to try and get the rest of the tops cut out and serged asap when I get home while it is still fresh in my mind.  OTOH, the work is piling up so I don't know if that is going to be possible given the approaching set of deadlines.

¤ Tour England and Scotland's textile mills (as many as we could fit in) and try to see their wet finishing equipment.

Well, we found some mills, some of them in better nick than others, but none of them had wet finishing to see.  Over and over again we discovered that the wet finishing was done 'elsewhere'.

So that was a disappointment.  And probably means another trip, another time?

¤  Meet some of the weavers known only on the internet. 

It was grand to meet the weavers in Scotland at Belinda Rose's studio, Cally at her studio (even though the pics didn't turn out), Andrew and Stacey.  We were near a couple more but didn't connect, so again, another trip, another time?

I just wish the commute wasn't such a killer.

Tomorrow we drive to Stockholm (about an 8 hour trip) and then on Friday at noon my flight leaves for Munich.  From there to Vancouver is an 11 hour flight.  I should walk in the door of my home before midnight.  Don't remember actual arrival time, if I get home on time, but essentially 12 hours plus the 9 hour time zone difference.

Anyone working on that matter transmitter yet????


Why there are so many and such wide/deep stone fences. Plenty of raw material laying around for the picking.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Stone Fences

Typical stone wall fence.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Looking Westwards

With just a couple of days left here in Bergdala, I am beginning to look towards home and what will await me when I get there.  I had hoped to do a little more sewing before I left, but I have had a sewing tutorial and am pretty sure I can carry on at home.  Whether or not I will is another question.  In order to sew I have to totally rearrange the studio and quite frankly I am missing the loom time and am quite anxious to get a shuttle in my hands!  And after all, I do have one new summer top!

'Then there is writing the text, cutting samples, assembling and so on that needs to be done to complete AGY:LandH....

There are also two conferences coming up very quickly that I need to prepare for.  Three if you count the Alberta conference which Doug will do on his own.  And that means I have to get everything ready for him so that he can cope with the booth at Olds without my input.

Two major projects are also beginning to come to reality. (More details when I have them.)  Both will require buckets of preparation and both are scheduled for this August. 

So when I get home, I need to finish the mat warp on the small loom first.  The painted warps should arrive shortly and they need to go onto the small loom lickety-split so that the fringe twisting can be done (twisting takes as long as the weaving) and of course, the wet finishing, I should get a tea towel warp onto the big loom and think about what else needs to be woven (and finished) in time for the fall sales.

It seems odd to be so concerned about events several months down the road when my objective in terms of living is to stay in the present moment as much as possible!  But that is the nature of the life I live.  I have long term deadlines (goals) which can only be met by concentrating on what needs to be done to make those goals become reality.  And that is only accomplished by staying in the now, doing what needs to be done every day.  Weaving is like eating the proverbial elephant.  One bite at a time.  One thread at a time.  You cannot get to 'done' without the intermediate steps.....

Monday, May 13, 2013


Spring has advanced somewhat since we left but this evening it is damp and chilly.

Another hour or so to go.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Wet Welcome

Danish bridge looming up out of the rain.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Colchester Castle

Adieu England.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Last Night

It is our last night in England.  Tomorrow we will leave St Albans and start heading towards the ferry.  It has been just great.  Although we didn't get to see everything or meet everyone we would have liked to, we did see quite a lot.  It would be fantastic to have seen more of the wet finishing aspect, but most of that is done in separate places from where the spinning and weaving gets done.

A few more days in Sweden and then I will head home.  Things are starting to pile up there and I am beginning to feel the pressure of an extremely busy schedule when I get back.  

Some of the opportunities that have presented themselves are beginning to come together and all of them require time for preparation and organization.  Not to mention the dyed warps should be coming soon, too.  Or at least the first of them.  The dyer has promised that she would have some ready for me when I get home.

I did do a little pre-planning during the flight over for one 'job', but I very quickly saw that I needed my big computer not the iPad to juggle the vast amount of information.  The notebook that comes with the iPad just doesn't have the word processing capability I am now used to in order to edit large word files.  But an outline is prepared and once I'm over the jet lag should be able to polish the presentation sufficient to send off for consideration.

And, well, I'm missing the loom.  I did leave a very simple mat warp on the small loom but the AVL is empty.  Not sure what to put on there.  Perhaps some tea towels.  I do have a lot of cotton...

Of course I also have the rest of A Good Yarn: Linen and Hemp to finish.  Can't forget about that!   June will be here very soon, so soon I may not get it done before the ANWG conference.  So many little time!

Coffee Break

In the garden of the V and A.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Friday, May 10, 2013

Day in London

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network


At Shepherd's Bush and fabric shops along Goldhawk Road.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Thursday, May 9, 2013


One of the themes that comes up at times when weavers (or any creative folk, no doubt) is that of 'succeeding' in our chosen field.  

I don't call myself successful at anything except not giving up.

If you take society's definition of success (I. E. making pots of money) I am such a failure.  In fact for many years my definition of success was to make enough money that I would have to pay income tax.  :-/

But.  But.

IF you define success as having a life I chose, with all it's ups and downs, all the challenges inherent in running a home based business where the only over worked underpaid person was myself?   Yes I have done that.

IF you define success as choosing my goals and following the path to completion as best as my talent and determination could take me?   I have done that.

IF you define success as keeping body and soul together with a supportive partner?  I have been blessed to follow that path.

IF you define success as not letting societal expectations if wealth push me into places I did not want to go?  I have (just barely) managed that.

There have been plenty of failures along the way.  But in the long run (and by that I mean since 1975 when I chose weaving as my life/career) the thing I have done best was, quite simply, not giving up my dream, of trying something else, taking a different path or approach when things weren't working out.

Success?  Failure?  I'm just doing the best I can.  Ultimately that is all anyone can do....

London Ahead

We won't drive all the way in to London but will try to find a place to stay outside, hopefully on a train or tube line.

The weather is variable. If you don't like it, wait a few minutes.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Derby's Museum

Closed. The gate is pretty and the sun came out for a while at least.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Derby Dales

Starting to trend southeast towards London.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Quarry Bank

Map of the Quarry Bank cotton mill site.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

43 Years

May 9 marks our wedding anniversary and once again I am away from home.   Not that we make a big deal of it, usually.  But I would like to publicly say a big thank you to my other half for the support - financial, emotional and in the studio for so many years.

Happy anniversary, Doug.  Here's to many more.  :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Making our way round Manchester. So many roads! So many places we could go to see! So little time....
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Monday, May 6, 2013

Galashiels Scotland

A walkway in Gasladhiels and sheep in the fields.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bank Holiday

We were unaware that today is a bank holiday in the UK so although we have been able to connect with Andrew the college is closed.  Pity, but there you have it.  People are far more interesting to me, anyway!  ;)

It is a drizzly chilly day and we may toddle round in the car to see if any of the mills in the area are open.  We will meet with Andrew this afternoon then probably mosey south.

Firth of Forth

And south heading towars Galasheils

The sheep are in the fields looking like they will be sheared soon.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Castle at Dundee

Had a tour of Cally's studio this morning. Check on Kerstin's blog in a day or two for pictures.

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

The Summit

Cairn o Mount summit. Looking south east towards the North Sea.

Brisk wind with patches of snow still in sheltered areas.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Banchory, Scotland

Got so caught up in the day I forgot all about taking photos.

Belinda has a lovely studio and the weather even cooperated. After rain nearly all day yesterday it was quite nice although the wind felt um, brisk!

We finally found a restaurant that wasn't booked solid with reservations and enjoyed a leisurely dinner.

I will enjoy remembering the people I met here in Scotland.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Friday, May 3, 2013

Kirkby Lonsdale

Stopping for coffee at the market square near Jingling Lane
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Halifax, England

Lots of stone buildings.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

The Peaks District

On our way from Glossop to Haworth
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network