Wednesday, April 30, 2014


In the past few weeks I've received a couple of just-because presents.  Today I had lunch with a friend I hadn't, due to Life Happening, seen since before Christmas.  At the end of lunch and an exchange of stuff - books we'd read and were passing on, etc., - she casually mentioned that she had something else she wanted to give me.  It was in her car.

So as we left the restaurant, we walked over to her car and she took out a copy of La Dentelliere that she had purchased while traveling in France.  It seemed appropriate since she was the one responsible for getting me started making lace.  :)

I think I have a nice spot for it.  Just need to wait for Doug to get home to put a nail in the wall to hang it from.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Things Happen

I'm blaming the cold Doug so generously shared with me for the brain cramp that resulted in my making a mistake in the tie up of the next set of towels...and not noticing until well into towel number three!

Now I know you can't really see it in the photo, but it will be quite apparent in 'real life'.  So these three towels will be 'seconds' and probably given to friends who don't mind my orphans.

Anyone want a flawed orange towel?  Or three?

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Runner Stumbles

Since arriving home from the coast I had been steadily making good progress and not even working terribly hard at getting what needed doing, done.

And then I caught Doug's nasty virus.  With just days to go before the Big Project!  So I have eased off somewhat, taking things a bit 'easy' (or easier than I would have been doing, given the looming deadlines!) in hopes that I can keep this bug from completely taking over and ruining everything.

Over the weekend I got the demo warp onto the loom.  It is 7 meters long and follows the directions for the Spring Bouquet towels I had published in Handwoven's May/June 2013 issue.  It seemed appropriate, for many reasons.  :)

This morning I cleared the clutter off the table near the loom.  I left some things there because a) there is no where else to put them and b) the studio shouldn't look like it isn't used, right?  (S'my story, sticking to it.)

There is still the counter to the right of the loom to deal with.  But little by little, I'm getting there.

I'm a little worried now that I wove one too many towels and there won't be enough warp left for the demonstrations, but oh well....

Currently reading Blood by Lawrence Hill

Saturday, April 26, 2014


I am blessed with friends and family who encourage and support me.  

In spite of being very sick with a nasty virus, Doug loaded up the van with the boxes and bins we filled yesterday, emptying the end of the studio so the crew can fit in for the Big Project in (gasp!) 9 days. 

Loralee came back today and started by tidying the rayon chenille, then began filling the shelves with some of the 2/8 cotton tubes.  She says she will come back to finish that.  Plus she is going to store the clutter because the annex is full of stuff that needs to be accessible before I can begin dealing with the contents of the boxes and bins of clutter. 

I am grateful beyond words for the people in my life, including you, gentle reader.  My life would be a lot poorer and much less interesting without you all. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Round Tuits and Re-organization

I have been procrastinating about getting the rubble removed from the part of the studio that needed to be cleaned up.  However, this morning a friend with a 'round tuit' arrived to help!

Between the three of us (she brought another pair of arms and legs to help physically remove the boxes) cleared away the piles of boxes and bins on the floor in front of these shelves, then cleared all the rubble off the shelves as well.

And then she vacuumed!  I removed myself during this part of the process as my allergy to dust kicked in.

Even better, she will come back tomorrow to tidy the rayon chenille on the rack against the far wall, and help to put yarn, currently in bags and boxes onto the shelves so that I can actually see what I have and get to it.

The store room is once again a mess after she cleaned it up last summer, so we may even take a little time to straighten that out, although it isn't necessary for the Big Project.

Trouble with re-organizing is that before it can get better, it has to get a lot worse.

I even managed to throw stuff away.  Not nearly enough, but at least some.  I will work on serious clean up after the Big Project is completed.  (Not saying when, just...after!)

Thursday, April 24, 2014


showing both sides of the cloth - one side more orange, the other, not so much

close up

Finally got started weaving the warp on the AVL yesterday.  The colours aren't to my taste particularly, but I think for those people who do like soft earthy palettes, these are looking pretty good.

One thing about being an optimist - one tends to look to the future.  Sometimes far into the future.

And so another Big Project is aborning.  This project has a deadline five years in the future.  What can I say?  I'm excited.  :)   Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Go Gently

Into that good night.

The days are getting longer and longer.  When I got home from guild drop in it had stopped raining, so I went for a walk.  This picture doesn't do the sunset justice but it was a perfect evening to take a walk.

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

No Boredom Allowed

Just cut the four scarves I wove yesterday and today off the loom.  Unfortunately my camera really didn't want to do the colours justice so this photo doesn't show what the scarves actually look like.  But what I wanted to show was that, just because you are weaving a 'long' warp, the items don't have to look the same.

This painted warp was pretty consistent in terms of colour and value - by simply changing the weft colour different looks are the result.

No, I don't get bored.  I do get tired, but that's a different thing entirely.

Someone once asked me if I didn't get bored winding a long warp.  "No warp, no weaving, no food."

Winding a warp, dressing the loom, throwing the shuttle - all are necessary to bring my fibre dreams into reality.  Each part of the task is necessary.  None can be left out or skipped over.

Weaving - the physical part of it - is as much a mind set as anything else.  If someone truly finds one part of weaving 'boring', there are several things that can be done.

Give it up.  If weaving isn't something that is enjoyable, find something else that is.

Find a weaving buddy to help with the parts that are 'tedious'.  Help each other with the parts that aren't as enjoyable as the others.  Company always makes things more pleasant, I find.

Pay attention.  Boredom is giving up paying attention to what is happening and allowing one's thoughts to wander to future (or past) events.  Stay focused on the task at hand.

Attempt to become more efficient at what is being done.  In other words, take something that is slow and tedious and speed up how quickly it is being done.  Less time for boredom to set in if the task is done more quickly!

Use it as a working meditation.  Feel the physical act.  Be at one with what is happening with your body.

Above all, remember that how we feel about something is a choice.  We can choose to be bored, or to engage ourselves fully in the task at hand.  We can choose to dread doing something (beaming a warp) or figure out how to make the task less of a mountain and more of a molehill.  We can choose happiness in spite of the things life dishes up.  We can choose to stay entangled in something that isn't working, or cut our losses and move on to something else.

In the end, I absolutely refuse to be 'bored'.  Now that truly is a waste of time!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Allergy Season

Winter has loosed it's hold on us and with it...allergy season appears to have arrived.  Another really bad nights sleep left me lethargic again today and the grey dreariness outside didn't help.  But I did manage to weave off a scarf and then threaded the AVL over two sessions this afternoon.  Tomorrow I'll weave the last of the scarves on the small loom and finish setting up the tea towel warp on the big loom.

I was already fast at threading when I switched to the method learned from Norman Kennedy - which, in effect - doubled my productivity.

But all that means is that I am faster than I was before, not that I am always fast.

Speed of threading will be reduced by many things.  The complexity of the sequence for one.  The fineness of the threads, for another.  How co-operative the threads are (i.e. how much twist energy is left int he yarn), too.

So while I can thread faster than what I did this afternoon, given the complexity and fineness of the threads I was working with I'm quite satisfied with my productivity.

After all there is the ideal.  And then there is reality.

Currently reading Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr

Sunday, April 20, 2014

No Contest

scarf #2 - weft is actually a 'pure' yellow, not the green/yellow it looks on my monitor

Rolling along, here is scarf #2.  The weft for #1 was a deep red, almost brown.  The next scarf will be woven with a dark chocolate brown weft.

Quite often when I demo how I do what I do I will hear a voice in the background exclaiming that they will never be that fast.

Thing is, weaving isn't a competition to see who does what faster than anyone else.  So much depends - on your own personal physical skills, your equipment, the yarns you are using and last but not least, what you are doing with all of that.

So why do I offer to demo when I am teaching?  Do I want to show off?  Brag on my skills?  Taunt the audience with my expertise?


Absolutely not.

What I am hoping is that people who are struggling might find an easier more ergonomic way to work with their own equipment and tools.  That something that feels awkward can be streamlined.  That injury from repetitive stress motions might be reduced.

One reason I do this is because one time a new weaver came to me after the demo and said, in effect, that she was struggling so much she was about ready to give up her dream of becoming a weaver.  That if it was always going to be slow and tedious and down right painful, she didn't want to continue.  But after seeing me at work, she knew that it didn't have to be that way forever.  That things would get better, she could become more efficient.  And that some of the techniques she'd seen were so very obviously an improvement over what she had been doing she was going to incorporate them into her learning curve.

And if I do show off once in a while?  Forgive me.  I'm only human.  ;)

Saturday, April 19, 2014


With just over two weeks until the Big Project things are going to start moving very quickly, very soon.

So what did I do today?  Nothing.

Well, hardly anything.  I did unpack, dealt with some email queries that had come in while I was away, visited with my mom because there won't be much time in the next little while.

I did go into the studio and look at the warps on the looms, neither of which are threaded.  And came back upstairs.

Although I arrived home last night by 7 pm-ish, I was extremely tired.  A good night's sleep has helped, but this morning I still found myself very low on energy.  And so I decided a day of rest before leaping back into the fray was necessary.

Fortunately I had written a second Craftsy blog post before I left so I shot that off this morning as well.  But since I'm not feeling at my best mentally it's best the 3rd be left for another day.

Currently reading Peacemaker by C. J. Cherryh

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April Showers

Another rainy day on the wet coast.

I'm not a big fan of driving in the rain, but all my stops are in a fairly small radius and so far I've found off street parking.   Not an insubstantial savings in a big city!

Had a successful meeting with the designer I've been working with and she will email an order for me to deal with when I get home.  It will take a couple of weeks to order in the required yarns, which fits right into my schedule.  There is a 30 yard tea towel warp on the AVL which has to be woven off, a scarf warp on the Leclerc, ditto, and final prep for the Big Project to be done by May 5.  By the time I'm done with the BP, the AVL should be empty, or very near, and if Doug uses the other beam and gets the warp wound using the stand it is a simple matter to swap the beams and get the order under way.

With more and more difficulty crossing the border generating more of my income in house, so to speak, has enormous attractions.

It is beginning to feel as though my road through life is beginning to smooth out.  I have accomplished many of my goals, with several more in train.  Just about time for something major to happen?   Boring never seems to last very long!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Currently in a Timmy's in Langley, contemplating what happens next.  Not in a large, sweeping philosophical context, but as in, what do I do next?   The next stage of my journey is to head into Vancouver where I have my next stop.  Another 'stranger' offering a billet while I prepare to present the program for the Vancouver guild.  Just a tad nervous about whether or not the technology will work because it is a Power Point presentation.  While I can still do something, the images will enhance understanding.  So, fingers crossed.

However, it means I am facing driving in a big city, something which makes me very uncomfortable.

This life I have chosen has brought me plenty of opportunities to explore well beyond my comfort zone.  I don't have to go sky diving or bungee jumping when I routinely get up in front of groups of people to speak.  To drive in metropolitan areas where I have little idea of where I am and where I am going, printed maps and sat-nav systems in hand.  Launching Big Projects, hoping people will purchase once I've invested the time and money to create the products.

For now I'm facing getting back onto the freeway in the rain and finding my hostess.  I think I need lunch first.

Currently reading Peacemaker by C J Cherryh

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Next Stop

Left this morning, heading north.  Crossed the border, noticing flags at half mast.  Not sure what happened but no doubt I will find out when I find a newspaper or tune into other media.  

Drop in yesterday was lovely.  The weather was mild, the company pleasant.  The hostess was happy to share her lace collection (I had brought my pillow to fwip some bobbins).  

She also had a spinning wheel with an unusual distaff.  I commented on it and she explained it was for tow linen, which has a much shorter staple than line linen.  The picture isn't great but hopefully you can see it. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It's Over!

No pictures, sorry.  You will have to take my word for it that we had a great time.  ;)

The weather has been absolutely delightful.  It was almost a pity we were inside, but the studio windows opened so we did have some fresh air.  And a person or two did go for a walk at lunch time.  I should have, but somehow kept getting distracted.  (Oh look, yarn/loom/weaving!)

I'd met a few of the people before but had a chance to get to know them better and to get to know some 'new' people, too.

As always, a delight to travel somewhere to experience the joy and enthusiasm of other weavers.

Tomorrow we will attend a drop in and get to visit with yet more weavers/spinners, etc.  It will be a day 'off' before I hit the highway on Tuesday and start heading north.  Not too far, though, as I'll be visiting the Langley guild Tuesday evening, and then the Vancouver guild on Thursday evening.  Friday (Good Friday) I really will turn northwards, home to my own bed, a list of 'chores' that need to be accomplished before May 5.

I have managed to do some reading.  Finished Donna Leon's By its Cover and started Dana Stabenow's Everything Under Heaven.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Good Yarn

This morning I spent a lovely time at the Tacoma Weavers Guild talking about yarn.  It was a gorgeous day and what can be better than discussing yarn and cloth with like minded individuals?

When we got back to the house I had an email from Craftsy saying that my first blog post had gone live.  I must say, it looked pretty good.  :) 

Not sure when the next will appear but I have seen the list of upcoming topics and I'm sure there will be something of interest.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring - Found!

In spite of my trepidations the drive down yesterday was lovely.  Just a few sprinkles near Hope where the clouds bunch up against the mountains, but otherwise it was broken clouds and sunny.

By the time I got to the lower mainland, driving west directly into the sun I had to turn the a/c on!

Traffic around Seattle was surprisingly light and I made it to Betty's in good time. 

We have a 'rest' day planned before a busy weekend.  We talked a lot about ANWG (Association of Northwest Weavers Guilds) and the conferences held every two years.  More questions than answers at this point.  :-/  

One of the things that is important to me is to foster communication between weavers (and spinners etc.)  The world has changed in ways unforeseen by me, just in my lifetime.  The biggest change is, of course, the internet.  There are many ways for weavers (a tiny population - knitters count in the millions, weavers in the thousands) to connect on the internet - chat groups being the first. 

Now there are websites devoted to spreading the word about weaving - Weaving Today, Weavolution, Craftsy.  Individuals can get in on the act via blogs. 

But textiles are, well, tactile.  There is nothing quite like getting together in person to share what we have done with threads.  OTOH, I hear via Kerstin that work is happening on a matter transmitter.  Who knows, maybe we will be able to teleport one day rather than drive for 14 hours, or fly a similar length of time half way round the world?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


This warm orange glow is another painted warp for scarves.  It is the last of the warps on hand, but I will be picking up three more and some custom dyed yarn for scarf weft on this trip.  Once the Big Project is over the priority will be to finish off the last of the painted warps and clear them out of the way.

With the next four weeks being super busy and stressful (in a good way, but still) I decided to take things a bit 'easy' for a few days.  That isn't to say stuff hasn't been happening.  When I labelled this photo Aprilwarp3 I realized that it was actually warp number 4.  I did a turquoise warp yesterday.

This morning I have been packing and taking care of a few things that I don't want to come home to - tagging towels, an empty loom - getting the small loom set up with another scarf warp - some administrivia.  I worked on a 3rd blog post for Craftsy but haven't gotten very far on that.  I may not finish it before I leave..

Since I'll be in Vancouver area for several days, as usual I have crammed some 'extra' things into my schedule.  Picking up the dyed yarn and a spinning wheel (for someone else - I got voluntold to transport it since I was going through) in Langley, some shopping, visiting with friends.

Spring is sloooowly arriving here.  I'm hoping that by the time I come home it will truly be here.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Beige, Not Bland

Next, up, this lovely beige warp.  Lovely, you ask?  What is so lovely about beige?  Beige is bland.  Beige is boring.  Beige is...not any sort of colour at all!

Beige doesn't have to be boring or bland.  Beige is a nice neutral colour which can set off other colours quite nicely.   A beige warp can be a nice 'neutral' backdrop for all kinds of colours from white all the way through to black.

This particular beige warp isn't just beige though.  Take a closer look.  Yes, the majority of the threads are, indeed, beige - several different shades in fact.  But what else do you see?  Why peach and a pale mint green.

One of the things weavers need to take into consideration is the distance at which their cloth will be viewed.  It's a good idea, I think, to make them interesting from a distance, but also from close up.

I have high hopes for this warp.  There are several candidates for weft, one of which is a mid-range kind of burnt orange.  If that doesn't look good there are 3 or 4 other yarns in my stash which ought to look good.  It's a 30 yard long warp.  I should be able to do a little bit of stash busting.

Currently reading The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill

Friday, April 4, 2014

Here We Go Again

There are 4 days left until I leave and a stack of stuff to do before I go.  Instead of doing them, I'm getting another painted warp ready to weave.

Well, that's not quite true - I have managed to whittle away at the stack of paperwork and we put more lipstick on the pig covering up the hidey-hole behind the warping board.  It's a temporary fix but will do.  Also casting a baleful eye round the studio looking for other things we might do to make it look more presentable, but until I get home and we simply load up all the clutter?  There really isn't much more we can do.

No word from Craftsy about my proposed list of topics but the first one is scheduled for April 11.  The second is in the queue waiting for the magic that the staff do in terms of Search Engine Optimization, editing, scheduling, etc.  I've opened a file for a third - figure I can start and then change things when I hear back.  But I know when I get home I'll be 100% concentrating on the Big Project with little time to think about anything else until we are done.  I'd like to have a backlog before then.

The warp is rayon and since it is slippery I prefer to lash on.  I got this far when my stomach decided it was lunch time, so I'll eat, think about a few of the papers on my desk and see if I can quickly deal with them and then go weave a scarf.

Or maybe I'll read.  :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I'm not much of a housekeeper.  I'm not any kind of housekeeper, come to that.  When it comes to a choice between cleaning and weaving?  Weaving will win every time, hands down.

But I have a powerful motivation for my studio, at least, to look, um, presentable.  With a blue/green shag at one end of the studio and a green/brown shag at the other end, getting something in the middle that didn't look butt ugly was actually easier than expected.

My studio will never win any House Beautiful awards but at least I'm less embarrassed about how it looks now.  In the course of getting this new piece of carpeting down an anticipated 2 hour job turned into a two day job (they always seem to grow like topsy, don't they?) and I have 'new' piles of clutter from where we moved the 'old' piles of clutter - but at least the floor looks better than it did.

Today I have a bunch of re-organization type things I'm going to ignore in favour of cutting and serging the cloth from the AVL, weaving on the small loom and maybe getting the next warp for the AVL set up.

In order to accomplish the Big Project we will clear all the extraneous clutter out of the studio and store it in the annex.  Who knows, maybe once I see my nice uncluttered studio, I may work to keep it that way?

And pigs might fly, too!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Blue April Spools

Meg started a tradition of showing your spools/bobbins on April 1.  Just finished winding off these lovely blue bobbins to go onto the next painted warp for scarves in shades of dark royal/Bristol blue.

I mentioned last week that I had closed the door on vending at fibre festivals and lo and behold, a window of opportunity opened.  Given my current schedule it was a little bit of madness that caused me to agree and sign the contract, but it was an offer I simply could not refuse in light of my desire to do more 'remote' teaching.  Teach more, travel less, as it were.

Beginning next week (probably, date isn't confirmed yet but since I'll be out of town thought I'd do the reveal now) I will be doing blog posts for the Craftsy website.

My first post has been submitted and approved, I've begun the second and today I hope to sit down with pencil and paper (because I still think better, old school) and draw up a list of future posts.

Committing to doing 2 posts per month (to begin with - we'll see how I do and if they want more) for the next three years was a bit daunting.  But then I looked at this blog - since August of 2008 I've posted nearly 1500 entries.  A bit embarrassing, except so many of you say you do read them.

A blog really isn't very long in terms of a piece of written work.  It's difficult to cover anything in depth, so my approach - at least to begin with - will be to discuss concepts over in depth technical information.  There is another opportunity dangling in front of me which would allow me to cover technical aspects in much greater depth so I'm hoping that materializes.

Nothing in life is certain.  We can only continue to try different things.  When one avenue closes, due to unforeseen circumstances, there is always another option - turn back, turn aside, find a detour.  But don't stop trying, never give up your dream.  My dream of being a professional weaver has been an amazing journey.  It has taken me places and introduced me to people I'd never have dreamed of.  So happy it isn't over yet!