Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Back At It

We got home about 9:30 last night after a long drive with less than wonderful weather and road conditions.  Unfortunately we have a tight turn around and leave again Thursday morning for a weekend workshop this weekend.  It is an almost 600 mile drive so I expect we will stop somewhere along the way, not do it in one day.   This time of year, roads can be dreadful and I'd rather not assume I can make it in one go.

Spent the morning doing bookkeeping, then errands.  This afternoon I pulled teaching stuff but will go up to the annex to pick up finished textiles as examples.  Then the guild room for a few minutes, but I won't stay long.  

With an hour or so 'spare' time, I thought I might be able to finish threading the warp I left half done.  Not sure I can get it all finished, but it will be closer than it was. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Well, Calgary's Art Market is done.  Sort of.  Doug is at the hall waiting for a turn at the loading dock.  We are hoping that he won't have to wait too long because there is a storm front moving in and we would like to get going as early as we can in the morning.  It looks like we will have 'weather' all the way home.  

The show was slow enough that there was time to talk to the neighbours and get to know them a little bit.  That's always a nice perquisite when doing shows.  The public so often has no idea what goes into being a crafts person trying to sell their work.  The other exhibitors are my 'tribe', regardless of their craft.  

I am hoping the weather isn't terrible because I would really like to get home by tomorrow night.  It is going to take a concentrated effort to get everything that needs to be done, done, before we leave again on Thursday.  I really have to learn to say no, but it always seems so...manageable...until reality sets in!

So, teaching next weekend, then the guild sale, and that is the last event of the year.   I need to take a little time off and I'm thinking that stack of jigsaw puzzles might be just the thing to tackle for a couple of weeks.  I'm pretty much caught up on the handwork until I get some more weaving done.  But I also want to dig into the writing so the weaving will slow down a bit.  And that is fine, too.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Day One

Beginning to feel a wee bit like the movie Groundhog Day...except the neighbours are different.  

The craft community really is a community and the big regret as I have cut back on doing shows is losing that community.  

Tweaked the booth display.  It probably doesn't look terribly different but as things have sold...or not...my emphasis has changed.  

So, with fewer place mats and still loads of tea towels, the mats got condensed and the towels spread out more so that they can more easily be seen.  Or at least, that's the hope.  

But there is just no telling because what has sold so far today have been shawls and scarves.  Not one mat or towel.  Tomorrow could be entirely different.  

And it isn't over until it's over. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Done In

Close the Trans-Canada Hwy for 13 plus hours, stacking all the transports that drive through a mountainous,windy, twisty road into a miles long convoy, sprinkle with civilians, some of them fellow craftspeople with heavily loaded vans or trailers, sprinkle liberally with adverse weather conditions.  Let the tractors wear chains (please let them be wearing chains), chewing the compact snow into something approximating washboard, add rain, sleet, at times blowing snow and we were all shaken, not stirred.  

A drive that would, in reasonable conditions, take about five hours, took 8.5.  

We arrived at six am, Alberta time with a loading time of 10-12 noon.  We may, or may not, make it.  

Too much stress, too little decent food, way too little sleep.   I sure hope the trip home is more pleasant, not to mention the 1.5 day drive next week to teach, then home again.  I am about done in.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


We are holed up at the Revelstoke Tim Horton's because the road east is closed due to an accident.  It is snowing wet snow, the road has been slushy and/or full of broken compact snow.  We are still five hours from Calgary...when road conditions are good.  Which they are not.  

There are parking lots filled with all the regular transport traffic that routinely runs along Highway 1.  When the road opens all of the traffic that has been sitting idle since the road closed at 6 am this morning is going to be anxious to get to where they need to be.   Including us.  

I expect there are other craftspeople who are also stuck, but hopefully comfortably ensconced somewhere there is hot coffee and wifi, like we are.  

We have been doing the Calgary show for several years, always in the knowledge that the weather can be nasty.   We have been fairly lucky with driving conditions but after this trip I may decide it is just too stressful.

In spite of the time off after surgery in January I managed to get quite a lot woven.  If I do one less major show next year, I won't have to work quite so hard at the weaving, which would give me more time for writing.  Plus I'm booked to do some teaching (in western Canada) next year.  

I am going to have to think long and hard about what direction I want to go and where I need to put my attention.  Driving through the Rockies in November isn't really very high on my list right now.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Well, we are 3/4's of the way through.  This show is five days, followed by a two day drive through the mountains, then set up all over again with a four day show.   The schedule is a tad gruelling and I really don't know how many more years we can continue.  Otoh, the customers are generally appreciative, sales were ok (one always hopes for more!) and I still have way too much yarn and ideas I would like to bring into material form.  

So I have already applied to return to Circle Craft next year. 

We will leave in the morning after rush hour is mostly over (like most big cities, traffic is always heavy here) and drive as far as we can, stopping somewhere along the way.  Right now roads are not great, but hopefully by the time we get to the mountains the ploughs will have done their work and we will have a good drive.  I'm hoping to see the Rockies...the last two years the mountains were shrouded in cloud.  But it's November, and we will just have to deal with whatever Mother Nature delivers. 

Time to get ready for bed.  We aren't done, yet. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Day Four


A little different angle so that the corner display can be seen.  The mirror is on the inside of my booth.  When it was on the outside, too many people who were not customers were using it, preventing my customers from using it.  Sometimes you have to be a little 'selfish'.  You always have to bear in mind human behaviour.  

Doug had offered to set the corner rack up with four lights instead of two.   I think next year I might do that.   The rack really isn't lit well enough. Live and learn.

Usually Saturday is pretty busy at this show but there are no guarantees.  So far, today has been extremely slow.  I don't know if that is a reflection of the events in Paris or not.   There are always a million reasons for someone to NOT buy, especially something considered a 'luxury'.

But the event isn't over until it is over.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Day Two

This morning I changed the 'corners' of the booth.  Yesterday I was in a 'blue' mood but upon reflection felt that made the display a little dark.  So the front corner got made over with a dark magenta shawl and somewhat softer pink scarf. 

The shawl at the left got changed from the dark teal to a brighter blue.  

As sales happened yesterday the scarves got changed out.  Some of the mat colours sold out so that set of shelves got switched around, too.

Today it was a fairly typical Vancouver November day...rain.  It was much quieter than yesterday but sales have been ok for a weekday.  Traffic may pick up when offices close.  several of my shawls have sold.  People may be thinking before they buy, but they have been spending.  While one always hopes for more, it's not over until it's over.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Circle Craft

The shawl is more of a teal, less yellow.

Day 1 is nearly done, just four more to go.

I slept really poorly last night.  Show jitters combined with ambulances roaring out on calls all night long made for a restless night.  Just what you want for show opening.   Not!

The weather was quite nice and we had decent crowds earlier in the day, some of whom were inclined to purchase.  But there is a big weather system moving in and rain predicted for the rest of the week.  Hopefully not so nasty to prevent people coming downtown.

The show is lovely, as usual.  I've only walked some of the aisles, but there are many familiar faces.  This show has a fairly high percentage of clothing designers due to the fashion programs in the area.  But there are also plenty of the more traditional crafts, pottery, wood, glass, jewelry, etc.  this year there is only one other weaver, so it was good to catch up with her.  It will be interesting to see if the new younger weavers get to the point of production before us oldsters completely give up and/or give out.  I know my body is protesting years of production weaving.

But I have all that yarn....

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


We got the booth set up relatively quickly this morning.  Returning to the hotel around noon, Doug took the opportunity to nap, so we had a late lunch.  And then he napped some more.  I read my library book.  It started raining, so there wasn't much incentive to go sight seeing.  

Wednesday is Remembrance Day in Canada, and there are still employers who close for business so traditionally November 11 is a busy day for this show.   For the first time the show will open at 9 am instead of 10, so it is going to be a very long day.

There is no telling if the people who come will be inspired to purchase my work but I have good booth placement right on the main aisle, the booth is full of colourful things, and we are as ready as we can be.  

Show time!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Going 'Dark'

Well, we are off tomorrow - two craft fairs, back to back with a two day drive in between - through the mountains - to get from one to the other.  Then home for two days and off again to teach at Grand Forks.  Another 1.5 day drive there and back.  Not sure how much time or energy I will have to post from the road.

The house and studio will be left in the capable hands of a new weaver who gets to play in my studio while we are gone.  :)  She came today to beam her cushion warp (based on Janet Dawson's Craftsy class).  There wasn't time for her to do more than that but I'm confident she can do the rest on her own.  She also got to use the warping valet, which I think she is liking a lot.

It has been very mild here so far with no idea of what we will come home to - it is November, after all!  I just hope we have good driving conditions.  It's about 450 miles to Vancouver, 660 miles from Vancouver to Calgary, then about 480 miles from Calgary home again.  Most of it through mountains, or high elevations.

It is the traveling that is the least attractive part of doing this - or at least the traveling in November part - because you just never know what the weather is going to toss at you.  The older I get, the less inclined I am to do all this road tripping during the winter.

We are almost ready to leave.  Just a few more things to deal with - packing, cleaning - and the alarm will go off at 6:30 am.  We will be leaving before the crack of dawn!

Currently reading Jim Butcher's latest The Aeronaut's Windlass - volume one of the Cinder Spires series.,

Friday, November 6, 2015

Never ending

Just cut a blue/black chenille warp off the loom with two more scarves woven.  Unfortunately weaving chenille scarves is beginning to feel like a never ending story.  The next warp - black and grey - is ready to be rough sleyed, six more warps are wound, ready to go, the next colour is at the warping board with four more colour combinations pulled, waiting in the wings.  

I guesstimated I had about 50 pounds of yarn before I started this production run.  I'm thinking now that it was probably closer to 75.  With each warp taking about 12 ounces of chenille, I have a lot more weaving before I see any appreciable reduction in my stash.  


Thursday, November 5, 2015


The studio has reached a level of controlled chaos that is getting a little uncomfortable.   On my work table are yarns pulled for more rayon chenille warps which will not get done in time for this year, but which will get wound, ready for me to work on next month for next years sales.  When I emptied the box and bin of yarn, I vowed to keep all the chenille on the shelf and in order to do that I'm going to have to use up more of it.  

In addition, the workshop in Grand Forks is going ahead, which means I have to get the drafts and yarns into the mail tomorrow at the latest.   Fortunately it only needs a few tweaks per request.  Mostly it is just take care of the details...about a two hour job, maybe three.

The AVL has sat, neglected since September.  There is a 40 yard shawl warp on it, also destined for next years inventory.   I had high hopes of getting a few shawls woven, but didn't.  It still needs to be threaded, sleyed and tied up, which may, or probably not, get done before we leave. 

 Friend is going to house sit in order to play in the studio.  I have just let her know it will be available longer than expected.  We will have just two days to turn around after the Calgary craft fair and leave for the workshop.  

When you are self employed, it is really hard to turn down work because you never know when more will be offered.  I'm so grateful Doug is willing to do the drive because that will give me some time to reset my brain from selling to teaching.   I always enjoy the being there.   It is so often the getting there that isn't much fun.  Especially in the winter, going into the mountains.  All the more reason to get The Book written!

Currently reading Badlands by C J Box

Monday, November 2, 2015

End of the Line

See that rats nest of yarn in the foreground?   I reached the end of my patience fighting with the rayon chenille yarn at the selvedge and as soon as I finished one scarf, cut the rest of the warp off.  Life is too short to be fighting with yarn.  It's not a great loss...less than six ounces of yarn. 

My problem is that I think the next warp is going to be equally challenging.  The black I used at the selvedge was stiff and felt pretty nasty.  It may suffer the same fate.

Snip, snip!