Saturday, May 30, 2015

Piling Up

Four bins of shawls (55) tagged and ready to go into storage for the fall sales.  Well, actually, some of them will come out again next week for the Spring Arts Fair (aka Chilli Cook Off).

But the 'recovery' shawls are now officially done.   They were a nice gentle re-introduction into weaving and served their purpose well.  Not to mention I desperately needed more, anyway!

All the same, I am relieved to have finally gotten them complete to point of sale so I can concentrate on all the other things that need doing.

Thank you to everyone who contacted me about the Olds weaving program.  I'm not sure I can get something organized for this year but I'm going to suggest the week of September 21-25 and see what administration says.  It might just be too soon.  On the other hand, nothing ventured, nothing gained?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

More Wheel Pics

Flyer - wheel only came with one bobbin, which I understand is pretty typical

Tension system - tilt tension with what looks like a hand made wing nut

Typical metal treadle

Mother of All

Happy camper...'Larry' and moi

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Proof of Progress

Colours aren't quite accurate here - they should be more green-ish.

But here it is - about 28 tea towels all in a roll.  I cut the warp off this afternoon and began cutting them apart and serging them.  Doug will go pressing on Sunday and then I will have lots of hemming to be done.

Tomorrow I will begin beaming the rose warp and thread the mat warp I beamed onto the small loom last night.  Also wound another mat warp, ready and waiting in the wings.

All the yarn for the Olds classes is on order and en route.  As soon as it arrives it will be coned (thanks, Doug!) and then I will wind the warps for the students.  Just three weeks until we leave and I have a lot of teaching aids to pack up as well as yarn for sale (some of it also en route, needing to be broken down from large cones to re-sale size cones - again, thanks, Doug!), everything loaded into the van and another trip through the mountains.

After Olds is done, it is time to do the Power Point presentation for the webinar in July and get the house tidy for a guest coming in July.'s August and getting very near to the fall sales.  My goodness, this year is just whizzing by!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New Toy!

Only had a few minutes to try her out but what can I say?  I'm smitten!  This may very well be the wheel of my dreams.  It is an antique - likely made sometime around the turn of the century - and I don't mean this one...late 1800's to early 1900's.  I was told it is a Laurence Canadian Production Wheel.  The drive wheel is huge - I didn't measure it but apparently 30 to 32" is common.

I joined a group on Ravelry devoted to this type of wheel and I've been learning more about the typical characteristics of this type of wheel - the spokes are 'three bead' - I think you can just make out the three bumps on the spokes.

This picture isn't great - cell phone camera, after all.

The wheel will reside at the guild room for the time being.  It really is a very large wheel and there isn't room in my living room for it right now.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Spring Flowers..and a trial balloon

We had a huge thunder/lightning storm last night.  Cracks of lightning felt like they were directly overhead - close enough the house shook from the special effects.  Eventually we lost tv/internet although not electricity, thankfully.

We read for a while, then I decided that - since I was officially over the half way mark on the current tea towel warp - I would work on the draft for the next pink warp.  It felt fitting that some 'roses' would be in order.

The first part of the warp will be treadled with an advancing progression - until all of the cotton/linen pink slub is used up - and then in this as drawn in progression using some of the fine linen in my stash.  I don't know that I will be able to sell that many pink tea towels, but...the yarn has to be used up, so...

As for the trial balloon...

Over the weekend we talked about the Olds College program, specifically the master weaver class.  Olds is a small community college, interested in outreach and as such has had satellite classes of their master spinning program.  I know they are interested in doing the same for weaving.

It might be possible to have the first two levels of the weaving program here in Prince George.  If so, is anyone interested in coming here?  In order to convince the college to try this, it would help if I could say that 8 (or more) people are interested.  So far the people who have expressed an interest have asked for it to be held in the autumn.  They would do the program in Olds except June is not good timing for them due to work, etc.

If anyone is interested, email me laura at laurafry dot com

Currently reading Death of a Scholar by Susanna Gregory

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rolling, Rolling

Not the greatest picture in the world, but shows the pattern off quite nicely, I think.  Click to biggify and maybe see a little more detail of the colours in the warp.

And it turns out that this 30 yard warp isn't going to be long enough to use up all those cones of cotton/linen slub!  Once I'm done weaving these, I will see how much is left.  I may give the left overs to a friend who also liked the yarn.

This afternoon I pulled the yarns for the next warp.  You see I have a huge cones of this same yarn - in rose.  I'm so happy with how this is turning out that I'm looking forward to weaving the rose.  The two colours should display well together, too.

Once I have them finished, finished, I'll do a glamour shot.  I'm also investigating an on-line marketing site.  If I decide to pursue that, I'll post a link.  Just one more thing on my to-be-done list, which only ever seems to grow, not diminish...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Forest Part Deux

It took a bit of looking, but with the rest of the warp secure, I was able to pick through the repeat more easily than if all the threads were just 'loose' in the heddles.  By having them through the reed, there was less room for them to tangle and get out of sorts while I rooted through the threads...sure enough I'd missed a heddle on shaft nine which threw the entire sequence out of sync.  Here is where I've pushed the heddles to each side to free up the field of attack...

A quick tying of a repair heddle on shaft number nine and a 'spare' end inserted into the proper place.  The end will dangle off the back of the loom while I weave off the 30 yard warp.  Actually it will dangle off the rod in the ceiling, installed specifically for that purpose many moons ago, and which has since seen double duty as a warping valet.  After each two towels I will take a break, let down another couple of yards of yarn so that for my next session I'm all set to go.  At the same time I will take up the tube with the 'spare' ends - I'd wound a few extra ends just because it was easier than making that one section 'short'.  And besides, my narrow goods friend will be happy to take it off my hands so it won't go to waste.

And here it is, all sleyed, tied up and ready to go.  Since I'm weaving with a slubby cotton/linen yarn I'm not sure how many picks per inch the cloth will be until I weave a sample.  Then I'll set the auto cloth advance appropriately, generate the treadling for an entire towel and away I go.

After lunch!


700+ ends in 700+ heddles...and somewhere in the last 6 inches is a threading error.

Everything was going tickity-boo until the second half of the last full repeat when - instead of an even number of ends at the end of the repeat, I had an uneven number of ends.  So, somewhere in that forest of heddles, I made a mistake.

Now I could have rooted through all those heddles searching for it but instead I chose to continue to the end - I was nearly there, after all - and see if I could find it during sleying.  If I can't find it during sleying, I will tie on and start weaving which will pretty much pinpoint where the error is.

If it was a smaller repeat and fewer shafts, I would have taken the time to find it before finishing the threading stage, but I've been here before and frankly it is a royal pita to find a threading error when I don't know exactly where it is in a 180+ end repeat.  Far faster to just continue and - knowing that there is a mistake somewhere - be on the lookout for it in the following stages.

If I get to the point where I'm tied on and weaving, it is close enough to the edge that I don't mind - too much - having to deal with it at that stage.

With any luck at all it is as simple as two ends in a heddle.  The fix would be simple - just pull out the 'extra' end and let it dangle off the back beam.  With a 30 yard long warp, I wind any surplus ends onto a tube and just wind the yarn onto the tube as I weave.  These 'extra' ends are then donated to a friend who weave narrow goods.  She can make good use of a tube with 30 or so yards on it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Onward Stash Reduction!

Yesterday I wove the special order of place mats, re-tooled the warp for the AVL and this morning started beaming it.

The beauty of this warp is that I not only didn't have to order more yarn in, I actually emptied some spools.  I have 15 of the cones of cotton slub/linen and I'm hoping the 30 yard warp I beamed will not only empty all of those cones, but maybe even whittle away some of the fine linen in my stash.

I have to confess I re-jigged this warp three times before I decided I was content with it.  Not 'happy', you understand, but content that it was going to look ok.  Originally the warp was blue/green, but some of the blues were too dark in value and they were going to really stand out, while the other blues were too similar to the weft and were going to just disappear in the cloth.

So the tweaking proceeded and now I think I'm going to be happy enough with this combination.  The beige threads are mostly lighter in value than the proposed linen, so they should not disappear when - if - I weave with that.

The draft is another large twill variation.  The cotton/linen slub will be woven with an advancing twill treadling; the linen with 'as drawn in'.  The two different cloths will look quite different and most people really won't be able to tell they have been woven on the same warp.

Doug will go pressing again on Wednesday so the place mats will be ready to hem by Wednesday evening, then hopefully get their final press on Friday.  Steady progress, tortoise style.

Just finished reading Under an Afghan Sky by Mellissa Fung.  Currently reading Abbatoir Blues by Peter Robinson.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Never Ending

So I wove the 'last' shawl only to discover there is enough warp left to weave one more. 

The temptation to simply call this warp 'done', cut it off and sacrifice the rest was powerful!  But sanity prevailed...I'm nearly out of shawls and having one more is actually A Good Thing.   So I am going to weave one more today and then call it done.

This warp has taken a lot longer than usual because I'm still taking things slowly.   But I am now up to 35 minute sessions.  My goal is to get back to my usual 45 minutes, maybe by the end of this month.   

It will take a few days to dress the loom again, partly because I have a special order of place mats to do on the small loom.  I promised to get them done mid May.   And that's now.

Although I got the yarns for the next shawl warp, I decided to do a tea towel warp next.  I'm out - or at least low - of them, too.   And once they are woven I will have hemming to do in the evening.  I've been knitting and feel like I need a break from that.

After spending the morning knot tying it is time to fire up the AVL and get to work.  The year is almost half over and there are just five months to the first of the craft fairs.   No pressure!   (Much)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Distracting Deadlines

My goal for today was to finish weaving the last shawl on this warp.  I'm pretty sure there won't be enough warp left for anything more and I was looking forward to the end of this one and the beginning of the next.

But...deadlines.  While my goals are a form of deadline setting, there are other, outside, forces at work.  For one thing I'm trying to live a more balanced life, not hide in the studio being a, well, introvert.  So I have been attending knitting drop in Wednesday mornings for a while now and I've gotten quite enamoured of sitting in public, drinking a nice (decaf) Americano and knitting.

Then my library book was nearing the end so instead of heading down the stairs to the studio after lunch I finished that book.  There were also a stack of emails (do emails 'stack' or is that just snail mail?) that needed to be dealt with, one series of which is the much anticipated visit from a friend.

Finally I could not procrastinate any longer and forced myself to go deal with some admistrivia.  That is mostly done - just need to file some papers but that can actually wait until morning when I will - hopefully - be a little more alert.

Tonight is our monthly guild meeting.  We will have a short business meeting, then show and tell from the weaving workshop.  It should not be a very long meeting but I have a feeling that by the time I get home I will be done for the day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Job List

Got home to a mail box filled with parcels, including this 'bunny eared bag o' goodness' as Janet Dawson calls them.  Apparently someone forgot to put the invoice in, though.  If it doesn't come under separate cover today I will have to email them because I know it isn't free!  OTOH, there may be a second bag.  Yes, I ordered in a lot of yarn in spite of having SABLE...seems like I never have what I need on hand!

The trip to HWSDA went well.  It wasn't very busy so there was time to visit with friends, new and old.  It is what I will miss most, 'retiring' from vending yarn - the fellowship of like-minded people.  But neither of us is getting any younger and yarn is heavy, in spite of what some people think.  Or at least, the yarn I most like to work with and have been selling.  Cotton, linen, Tencel/rayon - all are fairly dense yarns so a lot of weight in small packages.

Also came home to the realization that various deadlines are (pun alert) looming.  Another show contract arrived so that needs to be returned today.  Still one more show to hear from.  I guess I need to nag them and find out if that show is going ahead - or not.

There is prep work to be done for Olds.  I'm teaching Level 1 this year in tandem with another teacher because they manged to fill two this year.  New topic means another learning curve for me.

There is also prep work for the webinar with Interweave Press in July.  This one will be on lace weaves and I will let people know when registration will be open for that.  I just happen to love lace weaves but I need to do a Power Point presentation, get some crisp photos of samples, generate drafts, etc., etc.  I figure at least 10 hours to get it ready.

I'm nearly done the shawl warp and after selling so many tea towels in Alberta decided my next warp will be a run of those.  I need to use up more of Lynn's fine linen yarns, plus that will give me some hemming to do in the evenings while watching tv.

Lastly, more health issues, not mine this time but my mom.  I have to accompany her to her doctor appointment.  It doesn't sound like good news.  :(

Currently reading Martin Walker The Children Return

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Over the Hump

Again, colours not 'true' to real life.  The red is darker and redder, not so orange.

I have completely lost count of how many shawls I've woven.  I think this might be number eight.  With an expected 12 shawls for this warp, that means I'm very nearly 2/3's of the way through this warp.  It won't be done before we leave, but it will come off fairly quickly after we get back.

In the meantime I've ordered more of the 2/16 bamboo in order to do another warp but this time all blues and greens with no black in the warp.

I was starting to panic a wee bit wondering if I had enough yarn for weft when I suddenly remembered a special order of hand dyed 2/16 rayon.  Some of it will get used on this warp but I will save most of it for the next.  It's mostly blues, a teal green and black.

There is also the fine Bambu 12 that is currently packed up ready to go to the Alberta Conference - whatever doesn't sell there will be assigned to the next warp.  I'm getting quite low in terms of colour options but over all I've been pleased with the results so far.

Quite often this is when I make things that are more exciting than my usual - I choose things I wouldn't ordinarily consider, just because I have fewer choices.  And I'm almost always pleased.  Not to mention I learn more about colour interactions.  I wasn't entirely sure the above burgundy red was going to work (and I wish the photo was closer to the actual colour) because it is turning out quite well.  By the time it's wet finished and given a good hard press to bring up the shine, I think it's going to look really good.

It has finally stopped raining - for now - the van is loaded and other than packing our clothes and personal items we are about ready.  It's going to be a whirlwind trip and very tiring.  I'm glad I don't have much in the way of appointments next week.  I may need some quality time with my stack of library books.  

Monday, May 4, 2015


This is a view of the AVL with dobby.  The black box is the original Compu-Dobby I - yes, I'm still using 'antique' equipment - and the silver cylinder is the piston that has opened every single shed since it was installed in...ta-DAH! - 1998.  I believe I picked up the parcels in May so pretty much exactly 17 years ago.  Of course it took some time to get everything installed, but...

Last summer the piston began leaking a bit of oil.  It didn't seem to be causing any problems, so I just cleaned it off after every weaving session and carried on.  I've had a few other, more pressing, things on my mind.

On Saturday I noticed that it wasn't leaking a little oil but the whole wooden panel behind the cylinder was drenched in it.  Doug thought it was the intake valve and replaced it, but it turns out it's leaking from the rod (piston) itself.

Naturally this revelation occurred on a weekend when there was no hope of finding or ordering replacement parts so we rigged up a 'bib' to catch the spray and I've carried on weaving.  Hopefully Doug will be able to order a new one today but the soonest it will be here (unless they have one in stock, which is highly unlikely) will be Wed.  We leave on Thursday for HWSDA in Red Deer, AB.  So I'm keeping fingers crossed that it will continue to work until it can be replaced.

The first year I had the air assist I did a rough and ready calculation of how many picks I was weaving - it turned out to be round about a million picks.  Since then I haven't been weaving as much on the AVL, dividing my loom time between the big guy and the little one.  But most of the weaving for Magic in the Water was done on this loom as well as much of my ordinary production.

A conservative estimate of total picks activated by this cylinder is very likely over 12,000,000.  Yes, that is 12 Million.  Probably more.

All in all, stalwart service.

Currently reading The Lost Abbott by Susanna Gregory

Friday, May 1, 2015

Moving Right Along

The cloth is actually darker than this but this photo shows the weave structure quite well.  It might actually be iridescent once wet finished although the weft is more blue than purple in real life.

This is the end of the second shawl on this warp.  I'm really feeling how weak I've gotten over the past few months so I'm pacing myself slowly allowing my body to build strength again.  Most people don't realize how much physical effort it takes to weave the way I do, and how fit I used to be.  I may be an old lady but I have done physical labour in one form or another all of my life.

Today I've done two sessions at the loom.  I'm going to do one more and then work at extending those sessions from about 20 minutes upwards until I'm back to my usual 45.  That is going to take a while, but that's ok.  I'm back to weaving and that is A Very Good Thing!