Saturday, August 31, 2013

Exotic Marigolds

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I rarely watch movies these days.  When I do, I prefer to watch them at home where I can hit 'pause' and move about.  Too much sitting and I tend to stiffen up.  Not to mention most movie houses have the volume up so high my ears ring for ages afterwards.

But this movie (click on link above for trailer) was highly recommended and since I will watch almost anything that has Judi Dench and/or Maggie Smith in it, I bought it when I saw it for sale at Costco a few months ago.

Several people have commented to me about my great attitude.  Believe me, I'm no Pollyanna.  I have those dark moments when the niggling worms of fear raise their heads.  I've learned that I need to vent and get them out of my head into the light of day.  The light will always show up those fears for what they are, and after confronting them I can chop them down to manageable size.

Acknowledging my fears takes away their power, I find.  (And bless my friends who let me vent!  You know who you are!)  And since fear is just an emotion, allowing it to evaporate in the power of light is the fastest way to encourage a different emotion, a healthier emotion, to take root.

Recently I watched the movie again with a friend.  There is one line that I want to remember because it seems to sum up everything I feel about life.

It goes something like  - Everything will be all right in the end.  And if it isn't all right, it isn't the end.

Life is a journey.  Everything will be all right in the end.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Bonus Time

It is now 24 months since I finished the last dose of chemotherapy.  I am well into Bonus Time as the 'norm' for this type of cancer is 18 months.  But we all know I'm not 'normal', right?  :)

Even though two oncologists have been less than supportive of the 'up to 6 year' remission quoted by oncologist #1, I am going to go for it.

At times I worry a bit about booking teaching dates a year or more into the future - will I have to cancel?  But I refuse to live my life worrying about and fearing what is to come.

Let's face it, no one knows their 'best by' date.  There are no guarantees.  I could get run over by a bus tomorrow, never mind anything else that may happen.

So it means I may have to take another year 'out' while I do chemo again.  That means I'll still be here.

The thing with entering the world of cancer treatment is that you find out just how many people are on the same journey.  Some get cured.  Some live with it daily.  Some, like me, get a reprieve.

In the meantime I will enjoy each day as it comes.  As the poster on Facebook says - do not regret growing old.  It is a privilege denied to many.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


When I say I don't get bored weaving, I do mean that.  But I can and do get tired.  I have been pushing myself hard - essentially since January - what with all the travel, teaching and production weaving.  And I am getting tired.  It is getting harder and harder for me to go to the loom.

But I am almost finished the painted warps.  There are 3 more on hand with 3 more to come later in September.  The end - at least for now - is nearly in sight.

What I ought to be doing is using up some of that rayon chenille.  But I really don't want to!  I am so over and done with rayon chenille and the colours I have on hand are limited so to do a really good job of designing and producing a line for sale would mean....buying more yarn.

So instead, what did I do?  I bought silk.  Not too much to start with, but enough that I should be able to get a few different warps done with the hand dyed variegated I already have, that Doug spent hours putting onto cones, and have something else ready for the shows coming up all too soon.

Since the yarn is silk I have decided that rather than fringe twist the ends I will either hem stitch on the loom or hem.  I will do one of each on my prototype warp and see which I like better.  This will be faster than fringe twisting and give these scarves a very different look from the painted warps.

But first I must finish the painted warps on hand before I reward myself with the carrot.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Numbers Game

Keeping track of numbers is how we access our progress.  I guess I'm a little OCD because I count stuff.  I count picks, steps (especially now I have Fitbit!), scarves woven, fringed, wet finished.

Today I wove scarf #161 since May.  The dyer has three more warps to return in addition to the three I have on hand plus the one on the loom and I'm wondering and worrying whether or not I will have sufficient inventory for the rapidly approaching shows I'm booked to do in Oct/Nov/Dec.  The other side of the coin is worrying whether I will sell enough to pay for the expenses of doing the shows....

Keeping track of numbers is also how our society measures success, generally by counting how many dollars someone has to spend.

Since a 'starving artist' usually doesn't have a whole lot of those, I count other things.

There were 50 AGY: Linen and Hemp.  There is now one.
There were 140 AGY: Cotton.  There are now 10.
There are considerably more AGY:  Rayon, but I'm hopeful that they will sell.  Eventually.  Just like Magic sold.  Eventually.

I don't know what the people hosting the webinar were expecting for registrations but the moderator seemed pleased with how it went.  And of course people can still sign up and view the recorded version which should be available in a couple of days.

I am reminded almost daily how many students I've had.  It's a warm and fuzzy feeling, especially when they say how much I've helped them understand more about the craft.  It's what keeps me climbing back onto planes, shifting time zones, sleeping in many strange beds.

Recently, I counted how many of the US states I have been in.  Not for plane layovers, but actually took step out of the airport and stayed a while.

It was 30.  In October I'll add one more to the count.

I have been to 8 of the 10 provinces and none of the territories.  I hope one day to fix that.  :)

Last month I reached another birthday.  And counting.  There is a poster on Facebook that says something like - do not regret growing old.  It is a privilege denied to many.  Like my brother.  My father.  And now, in the senior years of my life...some of my friends.

The webinar is done.  I survived.  As a friend says, much nicer to say "I have done" rather than "I will do".  Now it's back to focusing on the up coming deadlines so that soon I can say I have done them, too.

My Friend, Fear

In our society we are taught to be afraid of feeling fear.  Fear is not something to be afraid of.  It is just an emotion.

Fear is actually good for us - to a certain extent.

Fear is what keeps us from doing foolish things - like crossing the street without looking right and left.  Or starting our car without fastening our seat belts.  Or checking what lies beyond the precipice before we leap.

Fear only becomes a problem when we don't take the next step.  The one that takes us a step back, analyses the situation and does a basic risk management.

So when I'm asked to speak to a large crowd, my ego says "whoa - that's risky!  What if they don't like what you have to say?  What if you botch the speech?  What if....they laugh at you!?"  At which point my analytical self says "so what if they do laugh at me?  I'll probably laugh at me, too!"

Fear only becomes an issue when that emotion blocks you from doing something you would actually like to do.  Something for which there is a slight risk of being seen as being a little bit silly, a little bit foolish.  When fear becomes paralysing, that is when we feel frozen and unable to act.

But when fear is just a way to asses a situation, think through what can go 'wrong' so that you can take steps to make sure you've covered the bases?  Then fear becomes a friend.  Fear also releases stress hormones that make you more alert.  We usually call this fear 'stage fright'.  And most people who do public speaking or performance of any kind take that fear, channel it into energy and use it to springboard into a lively presentation.

So it is with this webinar in the morning.  Yes, I am a little bit afraid I will stammer and verbally stumble.  I'm a little bit afraid that the technology will not work smoothly.

But! I have had not one but two rehearsals.  I think I can handle the technology on my end.  I'm pretty sure I can speak reasonably articulately about a topic I've done live several times in various formats.  My biggest fear right now?  That I won't cover the entire topic in the time allotted.  But I've got a clock right in front of my face, I know how many slides there are and I am pretty sure I can pace myself to cover everything I can in the 60 minutes.  The seminar won't be as extensive as a 3 hour format, but that's ok.  The webinar is just meant to be a 'taste', hopefully inspiring people to find out more.  Ultimately it is a way to guide people to greater knowledge.  Because when you don't know what you don't don't know that you don't know it.

Just a reminder - if you can't take the webinar live tomorrow, you can still view it in the recorded version. You get 3 months to view it as often as you like from the time you register and I will take email questions at a later date.  Registration can be done at Weaving Today

And if you think it was a good seminar, worth taking?  I do hope you'll share that opinion with your friends.

Currently reading Possession by Kat Richardson - just realized it had been a while since I included the current book

Monday, August 26, 2013

Feel the Fear

and do it anyway.

That's the title of a book I've never read, but the title resonates throughout my being.

I have lived much of my life afraid.  Afraid of failure.  Afraid that people won't like me.  Afraid that I will make huge mistakes.  Or even just tiny ones.

The secret to living is to feel the fear and do it anyway.  So you fall flat on your face, so what?

There are very few mistakes in life - or in weaving - that are terminal.

Am I afraid that this new scarf line I've invested so much time and money into won't sell?

You betcha.

Am I afraid that, after spending all that money booking booths at various shows, I won't sell enough to cover the costs of doing the show?

Of course I am.

Do I worry about standing up in front of a crowd to speak?


But I do these things anyway.

I have published books that no 'real' publisher would have touched with a 20 foot barge pole.  Was I scared spitless?  Yes, indeed.

I have travelled far from home to give workshops, seminars and keynote addresses.  Written magazine articles and other publications.  Gone to conferences with a booth of yarns, textiles, books, hoping people would buy.

And always, there was a little niggling worm of doubt, a fearful spasm, a breath held until it went away.  Or at least retreated to the back of my mind instead of the forefront.

Wednesday I try something new and different.  That little niggling worm of doubt is alive and healthy.  But come 11 am Pacific Time I will go ahead and do it anyway.

 a field of flax in bloom - photo courtesy of Linda Heinrich - part of the A Good Yarn webinar

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Warp Packing

From time to time I get emails from new weavers wondering what is going 'wrong' with their projects.  There are so many ways for things to be 'wrong' and sometimes it is a matter of scale

Many people use warp packing that is simply too weak for a longer warp.  While light weight paper or Venetian blinds work just fine for shorter warps, longer warps may exert too much force and the packing material simply cannot withstand the pressures.  When this happens the warp can start to spread, the beam becomes cigar shaped, the outside ends no longer roll on the same length/circumference as the middle of the warp and bad things can start to happen.

If you find yourself in this position there are two ways to deal with it.  If the difference in length of the outside ends and the middle ends isn't terribly great and you are weaving short items (tea towels, place mats) you can go ahead and begin weaving to see if the difference is going to make that much of an impact on the cloth.  A yarn with a certain amount of elasticity will cope with a slight difference in circumference and when it starts to impact the cloth you can just cut off, straighten the ends and re-tie.  This is much faster than the second option but may cause issues if you are trying to weave longer items (scarves, yardage).

If that is the case the only real option is to roll the warp forward and re-beam using a more sturdy type of warp packing.  Many people use sticks.  Unfortunately wood has become increasingly expensive and inserting individual sticks into a long warp takes time.  They often don't unload very well and you have to get up and go to the back of the loom to remove them or the weight of them building between the warp and the beam as they come out of the layers of warp can cause issues with advancing the warp.

Long time readers of this blog will know that my preferred warp packing is bamboo blinds with the hardware removed.  I leave the header on but remove all the metal bits and string for raising and lowering them.  The blind goes into the warp intact and simply rolls on as the warp goes round the beam.  The added benefit is that instead of inserting a dozen sticks I only add one blind and roll on.  Quite often they are also self-unloading as well.

I have 5 blinds which generally is sufficient for the up to 11 meter long warps I routinely beam.  Some of them are getting quite old in terms of number of times of use and I'm thinking I may need to replace some of them.  Generally buying one blind is cheaper than buying the number of sticks to put into a warp although sticks never need to be replaced.  But most people don't weave nearly as much as I do and therefore are unlikely to need to ever replace the blinds like I'm think I may need to do one of these days.

And last, a picture of some of the scarves cut off the loom since I got home.  Not a vanity shot because they still need their fringes twisted and to be wet finished.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fit. A Bit at a Time?

FedEx came through (I paid for expedited delivery) and delivered both boxes today.  It took a bit of finagling to get everything set up, but it's working and stats are being generated.

I guess I'm just enough of a geek that I like data.  Data means a clear picture of where I am.  And once I know where I am, I can choose to change what I am doing in order to get myself closer to my goals.  I have done this over and over again in terms of my weaving.  It is now time I do this in relation to my over all health.

Actually, I am about as healthy as I can be right now.  What I'm actually looking to do is to become more comfortable in my body.

As I mentioned in a previous post, health and aging issues have seen an increase in my body weight.  I knew I weighed too much but seemed powerless to peel some of it off again.  Since my weight has been stable for the last four years (including all through chemo - the clinic staff were so proud of me, not losing any weight while I was disappointed, hoping for at least a 10 pound reduction!) I figured the only thing left was to take a much more analytical look at caloric intake/output.

The Fitbit will hopefully give me the information I need to increase my output while decreasing my intake.

Truth to be told, I don't even have a 'hard' goal in mind.  I just want to lose some weight.  Take some of the load off of my feet, knees and hips.  I want to feel comfortable in my body again, like I did 40 pounds ago - although I will quite literally be happy with 10 pounds off.  I'm not looking to crash the weight off.  I also know that increased muscle may mean no decrease in actual weight - which is why I bought the Fitbit scale - it tracks % of body fat.

The bad news is that while I knew my body fat ratio was poor, I didn't realize just how poor.  :(   So my goal is to work on improving that, even if it means no actual change in the number of pounds I weigh.

I do have a goal in terms of when I would like to have lost 'some' weight - for the next Big Project in May.  If the project doesn't materialize that's okay.  There is many a slip betwixt cup and lip after all.  But feeling more in tune with my body?  Priceless.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


It's official.  The webinar is written, tweaked, proof read (thanks Cindy!) and the technology tested.  Thankfully, the technology is fairly intuitive and I didn't have any problems downloading the program or understanding how to use the control panel.  The headphones (thanks Allan!) worked beautifully and Laura Esposito from Interweave said the sound quality was good.

We will have a final 'full dress' rehearsal on Monday, but the date for going live is...ta-DAH! - next Wednesday.  For details of how to register click here.

A note of explanation.

This is not a live video feed.  The presentation is in the form of a Power Point presentation with live voice.  Questions will be accepted during the presentation.

The topic is A Good Yarn and will discuss fibre and yarn characteristics.  Illustrations similar to the above will be part of it.  For those of you who may have not have seen this photo before, it shows two qualities of cotton yarn.  The top skein is ring spun 2/8 cotton.  The bottom skein is open end spun 8/2 cotton.

Even though they are both about the same grist (diameter) and both are made from unmercerized cotton, they look and behave quite differently.  If you buy one expecting the other, you will be disappointed....

Part of the seminar will address why they are different and how they are different.  They will make fabric of similar but somewhat different qualities....

Some people have commented that they won't be able to view the presentation 'forever'.  On the other hand, if you attended a live presentation of this topic at a guild meeting or conference, you would only get to see/hear it once.  With the webinar, you will be able to access the presentation as often as you like for 3 months.

When the internet was first conceived, I don't think anyone dreamt of the way the technology has grown.  To be able to take a class remotely, at your own convenience (you don't even have to attend the live presentation, just sign up and listen/watch when you want to), seems like a small miracle to me.

So while the format may not be ideal for everyone, I notice that there is a growing movement on the internet for more classes similar to these.  With more young people who are internet savvy coming into the craft via rigid heddle weaving, this approach seems like a reasonable way to embrace these new, younger people into the craft.  For us oldies, the experience of signing into the webinar was relatively painless.   If *I* can do it, so can anyone else!

This morning Laura E and I discussed the possibility of other topics that might work in this format.  If you have any suggestions, remember that it is a Power Point presentation - i.e. slides, no video - I am open to hearing what they might be.

PS - I've been told that the presentation, once taped, can be purchased into the future, not just next week.  And you still get 3 months to view it from the date of purchase.  You won't be able to ask questions live unless you sit in on the live presentation, but I will answer questions by email.

(Any errors in this blog are mine - check the link or the blog post on Weaving Today for details about system requirements, etc.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


It isn't autumn quite yet, but it is not far around the corner.  And the autumn shows are coming up rather more quickly than I would like.

The photo of the trees was taken from my front window a few years ago.  The warp at the top is what is on the loom right now.  I think the dyer has captured 'autumn' rather well.

It seems synchronicity is playing a rather large role in my life right now.  Events are morphing and coming together in ways that seem rather convenient.

One of my goals this year was to try and take some weight off.  Through a succession of health problems, adverse drug reactions, aging and slowing of my metabolism, I currently weigh a few (quite a few!) pounds more than I would like.  I am quite sure my arthritic feet would be delighted to be lugging around less of me, and who knows, it might even help my quirky blood pressure.

My friend had recently got a Fitbit  One and generously shared her experience with me.  Not only that, she had a 'spare' that she loaned me to give it a try while I visited.

The tiny device (anyone remember Dick Tracy?) records how many steps you take, stairs you climb, estimates caloric output and even  monitors your sleep to see how restive you may be.

Since my weight has been stable (although way too much) for several years now, about the only thing left for me to do is increase my activity level while reducing my calories.

So I ordered my own Fitbit One and the scale that records weight and % of body fat (bleh!) when I got home and am impatiently waiting for delivery.  I'm a little annoyed at the company - they only use FedEx and they sent the two items as two separate items.  Which means that I will wind up paying brokerage for not one but two parcels.  It also means a delay as the parcels are dealt with at customs so instead of waiting a few days to receive the items, it will be a few weeks.  :(

In the meantime I went out and bought slightly smaller 'plates' (they are actually shallow bowls) to make sure I start taking less food for dinner.  I'm pretty good at smaller portions for breakfast and lunch - I do tend to go a little overboard filling my plate at dinner.  OTOH, I've never been one to do 'seconds' much, so I am playing this little trick on myself in an effort to reduce my caloric intake.

In the meantime I am back at work.  Today much of the day was spent on more administrivia and finalizing the Power Point presentation, but I did get the first scarf woven on this lovely autumn colour warp.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reality Check

Welcome to my world.  This is a view from one end of the studio to the other.  And yes, that is a narrow pathway between the two ends of the studio, made narrower by the line of boxes and bins to the left.

If everything comes together, I am confronting the fact that by next May my studio is going to have to be cleared out of all (and I do mean all) clutter.  All those boxes, bins and piles of....stuff....will need to go elsewhere.

I am in the midst of organizing Another Big Project.  Much too big for just me.  It will require a team effort.  And a team effort means several additional bodies will have to fit into my studio, along with their equipment.

For years I have arranged and re-arranged the various boxes and bins and piles of stuff to reflect the current big project.  When creating Magic grew bigger than my studio could contain, my brother generously allowed me to take over his rec room for the assembly and storage of the nearly 1000 copies of that massive missive.
I no longer have that option but I do still have the annex where Puff, the industrial steam press lives.  And so my goal for the next few months has to be to use up as much of all that yarn living stored in boxes and bins because the easiest way to store yarn is to weave it into cloth.  It takes up much less space that way!

The silk skeins that took up a 1 x 1 x 2 foot space have been coned and now require 7 bins.  Obviously that yarn has suddenly become a priority in terms of use it up and use it up now.

I came home last night determined to hit the ground running.  Instead I took one look at the reality of my life and work and hit a slump.  What to do?  Heck if I know!

Well, obviously the answer is, just do something.  Anything.  It all needs doing, why fuss about which job you tackle first?  So I am going to head to the loom, finish weaving the place mat warp I left on it, then begin one of the 8 painted warps I picked up from the dyer on the way home.

Fussing about these things won't accomplish anything.  Doing something?  Yes, that works!

Saturday, August 17, 2013


My holiday is over.  The alarm will go off at 5:45 in the morning and my plan is to be on the highway by 7.

The weather, here at least, is supposed to be fine and I'm hoping that is true for the entire journey.

We went to the Nordic Heritage Museum for Viking Days.  There were some interesting booths with craft demos.  Mostly we took it easy, talked some, quietly enjoyed each others company.

The drive home will give me time to ponder more on the possibilities that may come next year, how best to prepare for them and get comfortable with tackling something I could not accomplish on my own.  There will be a lot of preparation involved, but should be sufficient time to do what needs to be done.  I am going to have to make very good use of my time, though.

It is a bit sobering, but also a challenge I think I am up to meeting.

I will have to hit the ground running on Monday.  There is a great deal of weaving yet to do, plus the Power Point presentation to finalize.  

It has been great to connect with friends and get to know some new people better.  But now it is time to head home and begin to make some dreams become reality.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sitting on the patio

Its a lovely day here and while Syne works I am enjoying the patio hemming place mats.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Just finished some solid meetings in Portland and my time away is almost over. 

I can't say much yet, but remember the whining about my empty calendar for 2014?  Well, all that may change very soon.  I have been discussing a couple of projects and after the lunch meeting today, those projects may grow into even more extensive presentations.  Details have to be hammered out, dates set, other people's calendars consulted.  This is not me doing something all by myself but requires a team effort.  It feels a bit strange to have a team instead of it just being me or me and Doug.

I am very excited at the possibilities.  And who knows, maybe even the prospect of a little income, although that is never guaranteed....

The trip has been exactly what I needed.  After such a concentrated effort in terms of production over the past several months, I badly needed a break from the pressure of deadlines.  And that is what I have had.  A lovely visit with friends, seeing her loom get tweaked and working, long talks with another friend, putting my two cents into a board meeting, and finally, seeing a dream start to become reality.

Tomorrow I begin trending northward, stopping to visit with another friend and her family and then Sunday - home.  Refreshed.  Re-energized.  Excited about the coming year.

Can we say 'squee!'? 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Peach Arch crossing

Sixty minutes to get to the arch. Who knows how much longer to get across the border. And the van has lost its sound system. Again. At least it is off not on. Right now I'm listening to my ipad. :)
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Duke PoinT

This is the first time I have taken the ferry from Duke Point that I remember.

Made good time so I am here early having a cup of coffee. I was a bit dismayed when I ran into a downpour right after hitting the highway but it quickly cleared up and it is quite pleasant. I'm hoping the rest of the trip is dry. :)
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Weaving is happening! The loom is behaving just fine after a few tweaks by the resident computer expert and adjusting the auto cloth advance. Sheila is playing with twills, using up some stash. I have essentially Vegged for the afternoon. Suppose I should actually dig into my bucket of hemming or at least knit a bit.

The temps have dropped so it isn't quite so warm, much cooler than at home actually. After such a long winter I am trying to soak up as much sun as possible. And not complain about the heat after whining so much about the cool weather earlier in the year!

One more day here, then head back to the mainland on Monday, south to Seattle and Portland. The days slither by so quickly...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer Vacation

What a great start to my summer vacation.

Managed to hit the highway before 7 am.  Traffic was amazingly light given it is summer and I made good time.   Instead of driving all the way south through Vancouver I turned off and went via Lilloet and Pemberton, a route that qualifies for ultra scenic.  Unfortunately since I was driving I could not fully appreciate the scenery, nor could I take pictures so you will have to take my word for it!

As I drove through Squamish I noticed signs for their music festival and was doubly glad I'd taken the interior route or I would have been battling festival traffic north out of Vancouver.

I had made such good time I was actually too early to check in for my sailing (on the advice of my friend I'd made reservations) so I wound up in the holding pen for an hour until I could check in.  Another hour in the sun reading before we boarded and we were under way.

By the time the ferry docked in Nanaimo it was nearly full dark so I didn't get to see anything on the drive north but I did eventually get here shortly before 11 pm.

It had been a very long day!

My friends let me sleep in so we were a bit slow getting started but after a tour of their new house and grounds we made it to the studio and started dressing the AVL with a test warp.  Sheila wanted me to go through dressing the loom using a valet.  Then I threaded, sleyed and tied on, making a few adjustments and suggestions of things she might consider to make things a bit easier.

We had stopped for lunch at a local restaurant, then gone for a drive, visiting a local farm store so it wasn't just all work and no play!  By dinner time, however the loom was set up ready for final adjustments.  After dinner ( halibut, brown rice local carrots and yellow beans with sorbet for dessert) we watched Lincoln, which took us to bedtime.

Tomorrow we will fire up the computer and Compu Dobby and see how much it needs to be tweaked.  Who knows, maybe it will work perfectly.  Or maybe it will need some TLC.  Either way Sheila will be able to start weaving tomorrow.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Horseshoe Bay

At the ferry terminal hoping to get on an earlier sailing. Traffic was light and I made good time. :)
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Photographic Evidence

In spite of spending most of the day getting stuff organized for while I'm away and packing, I did manage to squeeze in enough time to finish getting the loom dressed and even weave one mat.

In years gone by we made place mats and table runners on a production basis.  Each warp was 40 yards, 49" wide and produced place mats 3 at a time which were then cut apart, sewn round the four sides and wet finished.

When I started making place mats again a few years ago, I decided I didn't want to go into production at that level so I started weaving them on the small four shaft Leclerc.  Instead of fringes on four sides the mats are hemmed at each end and woven individually.

Each warp produces a dozen mats and I tend to wind each warp with a different combination of colours, usually close in value.  Unless I am doing an all white warp.

This warp is two shades of blue and I chose to weave the hems with the darker of the two blues.

I may weave a few more after dinner.  We'll see how it goes.  It's hot here again and being down in the studio is much more attractive  because it's cooler than on the main floor.  :)

Checking the weather forecast it is supposed to be hot and dry everywhere I am heading.  So glad I've got a/c in the van!

Palate Cleansing

warp for blue/white place mats

stuff piling up for the trip

Since arriving home on May the what?  18th?  I have woven off the place mat warp I left on the loom, 36 painted warps (4 scarves each warp), the 10 yard warp on the AVL and beamed the blue place mat warp which I may or may not start weaving today.

I need a palate cleanser and what better than a road trip?  This one mostly pleasure with just a couple of items of 'business' sandwiched into the 10 days.

It will not be entirely 'holiday' from work though as I have a couple dozen mats to hem plus my worthy cause knitting to keep my hands occupied.  There is also a big stack of books to be read.  The ferry ride is 90 minutes one way, just over 2 hours (?) the other because I'm not retracing my original route but taking a different ferry, again in an attempt to by-pass the Vancouver traffic.  While I can drive the route through Vancouver, I prefer not to if I can possibly avoid it.  I do still have to drive through Seattle, and one large metropolitan traffic snarl is enough in one day!  :^)

On the way home I will stop at the dyers' and pick up whatever she has ready for me - warps and skeins, if she has time - so once I get home the mat warp will get woven off and then it will be back to the painted warps until they are all woven.

I prefer to weave in 'batches' because once I've worked out the length, width, epi, warp and weft combinations, there is no more thinking to be done, just the doing.  It's not boring, it's relaxing because I know I will get the quality of cloth I desire.  I enter the zen of weaving - there is no 'try', there is only 'do'.
(Thank you Yoda!)

The further complication this week has been that Doug and I have both been working in the studio.  At times we both need the same work space so I have had to be aware of him, what he is doing and then co-ordinate so that we aren't tripping over each other.  Too much!  But he's nearly done coning off all that silk and I have been turning some design possibilities over in my head.  Which means purchasing more yarn!  Solid colours for weft on the variegated yarn used in the warps.

But I am getting really tired of slithering through the pathways between stacked boxes so I am determined to start using up some of this yarn.  I just don't know when that is going to happen!

Currently reading - not sure - have to choose the books for the trip - Stephen Booth, Iain Banks, plus a big stack of pocketbooks given to me by a friend that are disposable - I can bring, read and recycle as I go.  :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Rambles

When I published Magic in the Water, I realized I would need to attend fibre events in order to show people the book in order to sell it.  Since having just one item to sell wasn't going to pay the expenses of renting a booth space never mind travelling to get to the event, I decided to sell yarns as well.  I tried very hard to stock yarns that other vendors did not carry.  Which worked, sort of.  I wound up importing yarns that I thought were special and nice to weave with in hopes that others would be attracted to them, too.

In order to make my yarns even more different, I stocked a lot of hand dyed yarns, some dyed by others, some dyed by myself.

This yarn is one of the ones I imported and dyed myself.  It is a 2/20 silk, quite nice, dip dyed variegated.

After going through not one but two major (and not a few minor) health issues, I decided that now I was in my 60's I needed to stop doing so many things.  It was taking up far too much time, space and budget to order in cases of yarn, skein it off, dye it, attach labels, store it and then schlep it across the country in hopes people would buy.

So for the past week Doug has been turning these skeins into coned yarn.  Because in order to weave with it, it needs to be taken out of skein form into something more efficient.

This is the 3rd bucket he is starting to fill and there are enough skeins for at least two more.  That's a lot of silk scarves coming up!

And once gain the issue of selvedges has raised it's head on one of the chat groups.  If you want to know my thoughts on selvedges click on the label to the right hand side.

But here are a few shots of some of my textiles and their selvedges.  All of them are some sort of twill and none of them have been woven with a floating selvedge or an end feed/delivery shuttle.

It is not necessary to use a floating selvedge to get a 'good' selvedge.  As I've posted before selvedges are not that simple.  While some people may find that they get better results with them than without them, they are not 'necessary'.

As always, if you use them and like them, carry on.  If like me you don't, try to find out why your selvedges are not good and then fix that problem (or problems).

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Challenge

This project has been on the back burner for a rather long time.  I was asked to make a particular textile by a shop in Vancouver and I've finally taken up the gauntlet to see if I can.

Since this is for a specific person I won't say more than that I'm pleased with how the cloth is turning out although it will, of course, depend on how it looks once wet finished.

As anticipated the loom isn't behaving very well.  I rather suspect the hoses for the air system have dried out.  While I've been increasing the oil delivery I have been doing so very conservatively because if you add too much it 'floods' and oil gets everywhere, most especially on my shoe as it blows through the air switch activated by my foot (instead of the usual treadle).

So I am having to kind of cajole the loom into working.

However, I am gaining enough knowledge to decide if I am going to go ahead and quote to the shop.  And then see if they are willing to pay my price.

If I'm too expensive I will simply add these 'samples' to my inventory and see if I can sell them myself at the craft shows.

It's a calculated risk management.  I learned, much to my cost, that if I stay too focused on one type of product when the market drops out from under me I'd better have something else in the wings or risk having my income disappear, almost overnight.  So it's a good idea to explore other avenues for different products, different markets.  A kind of safety net, given I don't have a 'day job' other than this.  Weaving.  Or teaching weaving....

Speaking of which, as of today there are just 3 copies of A Good Yarn: Linen and Hemp left.  There are about 12 copies of AGY:  Cotton, and around 30 copies of AGY:  Rayon.

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Little Respite

My shoulder has been 'bothering' me since my back went 'out' last March.  It wasn't helped by my powering through all the scarf warps on the Leclerc Fanny - all that cranking on the handle to bring the warp forward and reset the tension.  About 40 times per scarf.

This morning I went to the massage therapist and she decided that digging into my armpit and shoulder was a priority so I realized just how much battering that whole muscle group had been receiving from all that weaving.

And so, even though I'm only half way through warp #35 it seemed like a really good time to turn my attention back to the AVL.  At least on that loom I don't have to keep cranking on the handle to bring the warp forward as it has the auto-cloth advance mechanism.

Before I left for Boston I had started threading this warp and had about 3/4's of it done.  So this morning I continued to thread.  It is almost finished - had to stop and shift heddles about - and I will carry on with this warp until I leave next week.  I doubt I'll get it all woven, but you never know.  It's only 10 yards, after all.  I may very well get it done before Thursday.

I will be picking up more warps from the dyer on my way home and then I'll get back to weaving those when I get home, hopefully before the end of August.  I still have a very long list of stuff that really must get done by mid-October when the first sale of the season takes place.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Helping 'Hand'

Sommar asked for more information on how I use the warping valet.

No, you can't just have a single anchor point.  If the dowel isn't anchored at each end, it will pivot or rotate at the centre and be a real nuisance.  So whether you have solid braces or chains hanging from the ceiling, there needs to be one at each end of the dowel for stability.

How long the braces/chain are is dependent upon how high your ceiling is and how tall you are.  If you don't want to mount something permanently to your ceiling you might check Kati Meek's book Dance with your Loom for how you can mount an apparatus to your loom by clamping it in place.  You then need to remove it after each time you dress the loom but....  She calls the device a warping trapeze.  I learned of this tool in Sweden (prior to Kati's book being published) and it was translated into English as a 'warping valet' so that's the name I learned for it.  :)

As for how I attach the weights, I don't use a chain but a loop of string.  4/8 cotton - not rug warp, but a softer spun yarn that is a bit 'grabby'.  The loop goes around the warp chain, pull the knot through the loop and attach an 'S' hook to the loop.  The water jug also has a cord attached to it with two loops, one near the jug, one about 1.5 yards away.  

To begin with I use the loop nearest the jug.  When the warp is almost beamed, I use the loop furthest away from the jug so that the long cord will go up and over the valet so that I can beam the warp almost it's entire length using the valet.

When the warp and cord are too short, I take it off the valet and then hang the weight off the warp over the breast beam for the final couple of feet.

I'm sorry, but I didn't understand the question about the warp lease.  Email me with more details and I'll try to answer.  laura at laurafry dot com

Check the label 'warping valet' as I've posted about using this tool quite often.  Or check my You Tube channel as I have at least one video clip showing the beaming using the valet.  User name lauraannfry1