Sunday, June 30, 2019

Rest in Peace AVL 181

I wove on an AVL at the 1981 ANWG conference and - after reading Allen Fannin's book Handloom Weaving Technology from cover to cover on the bus home - ordered this loom.

It was more mechanized than the one I'd woven on - I was told I could order an auto-cloth advance and double box fly shuttle.

When it came time to ship it, I was informed that it would not have those two features as they would be coming later.  Thus began my relationship with AVL.

I did get the loom with the double box fly shuttle finally in February of 1982 but the auto-cloth advance didn't arrive until much later - August, as I recall.

It took me a year to get fully comfortable with it.  It had the manual dobby at that point.  I waited until a year after the introduction of the Compu-Dobby before I invested in that.  Then in the late 1990s I added air assist to the treadle and fly shuttle.  And upgraded to a four box fly shuttle because my primary client routinely used 3 or 4 different wefts for stripes.

When the new fly box assembly and air assist were on the loom, I asked Doug to design an air assist to change the fly shuttle boxes.  In spite of everyone telling him it couldn't be done, he managed it.

Long story short, I could not have accomplished nearly as much as I have done if I had not had this loom, this tool, in my studio.  Doug made other tweaks to the loom to tailor it specifically to what I was doing and how I wanted it to work.  There have been - quite literally - miles* of cloth come off the beams of this loom.  It has served (for the most part) well and faithfully.  As we replaced parts when they wore out.  For the better part of 37 years this has been my primary loom and at times my only loom.


The last three years it has not been behaving well.  After multiple tweaks, money spent on replacing worn parts, more tweaks, way more 'seconds' or 'rags' than was really tenable, today I declared this loom not just retired, but deceased.  Dead.

If Doug and I cannot get this loom to run reliably?  It's worn right out.

It has worn right out just as I am fully accepting that I, too, am worn right out.

The loom is large - 60" weaving width - made even wider by the fly shuttle boxes.  It's noisy.  I've always worn hearing protection when weaving on it.  It became even noisier with the addition of the Compu-Dobby and then the air assist.  The compressor is in the next room, but still.

So I have quietly (mostly on this blog) been saying that I was going to get rid of it.  Several people have already contacted me about buying parts and they will be able to do that as soon as we get the loom disassembled and we can arrange for shipping.

There are more things that will be sold, but I don't have a lot of time to shop them around right now so that may have to wait until after the craft fair season is over.

But I have things like industrial fly shuttles and pirns, AVL fly shuttles and pirns, and heddles.  Boy Howdy, do I have heddles.  Probably over 2000 although I will have to go through and count them out in bundles of 50.  I'll get Doug to make me a  jig to do that job.

The wood will be offered to a wood turner.  If he wants it we can deliver it on our trip to Salt Spring in July.  The wood can be dropped off, then the van filled up with the silk yarn I've accepted from a weaver's estate.

Before anyone contacts me about buying this loom?  No.  It is not functioning reliably.  I will not sell a loom to someone that I cannot make work my own self.  Especially a loom that I know as well as this one, having woven on it for 37 years.

So the wood will be offered to a woodturner and the loom can be reincarnated into something else.  Something useful and beautiful.

And as for me?

I have ordered a new loom because I'm not done weaving.  Yet.  I chose a Megado because it has a smaller footprint, is quiet and much easier - less physical - to weave on.  It arrives the end of August.

I am hoping I can make friends with it quickly because I am extremely low on inventory.  Too much fighting with a loom that wasn't working properly, creating seconds I cannot sell.  Even so I don't know how much I can get done given my travel schedule.  However, after today I can switch to the small loom and start pumping place mats and rayon chenille scarves out.  Hopefully.

My hand is still going numb when I hold my arm in certain positions.  Today I concentrated on figuring out how to lessen that and have some ideas to take to the Leclerc and see if I can put them into practice.  Proprioception.  It's a thing.  Apparently I have it.

*During my most productive years I was routinely pulling 240 or so yards off of this loom every month.  For the best part of 9 years.  I wove the samples for Magic in the Water mostly on this loom.  With the standard fly shuttle (single), prior to adding the air assist I was weaving approximately 90 picks per minute as my standard weaving rhythm.  I was averaging approximately 1 million picks per year.  I stopped telling people any of this because I was so frequently met with disbelief.  I can no longer do this, nor do I want to.  Which pretty much tells me I am ready to ease into the next phase of my life, whatever this is going to look like.  Rest in Peace AVL 181.  You have earned it.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Weaving Interlude

Bad photo of what I've got on the loom.

Made even worse because one bobbin had a dye lot 'issue', so right in the middle of the towel is a band of lighter colour.  Guess I'll be keeping that one for myself.

Since the conference I've been dealing with a body that seems determined to make life less than comfortable and I didn't want to stress it further by weaving.  Instead I focused on wrapping up the conference - as much as I could to this point - and dealt with class prep for the level one class in Olds coming up very quickly.

There were other irons in the fire as well - making arrangements to get rid of the AVL (parts), dealing with getting the industrial pirn winder out of the studio (most likely on a truck to the scrap place along with the cast iron steam press), dealing with a minor surgical issue, then - as a result of a connection at the conference - an extension to the trip to Vancouver to see the surgeon - to deal with a few other things.

On Thursday I phoned my family doctor only to be told he was out of town until next week.  I felt I couldn't wait that long so I hied myself off to the walk in clinic, book in hand.  Only to discover no one in the waiting room, and I was shown into an exam room.  Then I waited for a while so I managed to get some reading done.

Long story short the doctor there was adamant that I did the right thing by coming in and not waiting and 'toughing it out'.  I have an infection, but I also now have anti-biotics.  I suspect I've been dealing with a low grade infection for some time, possibly a cause of the lack of energy I've had.

Still not feeling up to weaving, I dug into my bookkeeping and managed to wade through the mess of the last quarter.  Hopefully I've got it sorted but doing a show with items that I only collect GST on plus items that I collect both just made the job that much more difficult.  Add in the Square and their reports I could not make head nor tails of, and it took hours longer than it ought to have done.

Retirement is beginning to look more and more desirable every day.

My hand was feeling well enough that I finally fired up the AVL this afternoon and managed to weave two towels.  I am teetering on the brink of just cutting the warp off and dumping it into the recycle bin.  I've used up the turquoise weft.  OTOH, I'm pretty happy with the old copper brown on the malachite warp, so...

But the loom continues to limp along and I was relieved that I appear to have made the right decision to get rid of it.  So I will likely weave a second towel with the old copper brown for weft, but may cut the warp off after I have a pair of them.  It looks like maybe 5 or 6 yards left.  I just want to stop having this fight with my equipment.

Plus Doug is getting anxious to start disassembling it.  I've sold some things for parts already, to people who want them.  Getting it taken apart so I can clean that end of the studio up will feel like some real, actual progress on re-organizing and beginning to figure out what the rest of my life is going to look like.

But all of these things, happening now, mean that the likelihood of making any kind of significant inventory for the fall craft fairs less and less of a possibility.  If I cut my losses on the AVL, I could be weaving on the small loom and bumping up place mat inventory.  Which I am very low on.  Plus rayon chenille scarves.

I can't remember when my life felt so disrupted.  I suppose it was while I was waiting for by-pass surgery.  And that wasn't all that long ago, come to think.  Oh, really it hasn't felt organized ever if I'm truly honest.  Trying to get the book published, work on the conference, all while dealing with adverse effects to the cancer medication?  It has been disrupted for years...

But the rest of this year is going to continue to be really busy.  I'm hoping that once this infection is dealt with I'll have more energy so I can feel like I can manage what needs to be done.

The goal is to be out of the annex by the end of this year but in order to do that, I need to re-arrange and re-organize the studio here.  Getting rid of the AVL and having a loom with a smaller footprint and getting rid of the industrial pirn winder will help.  But I suspect it will be back to goat trails until I get more of my stash woven down.  Sigh.  I've gotten used to being able to actually walk through my studio, not dodge piles of boxes and bins.

And I'm bringing home a huge stash of silk from that trip in July - another weaving 'estate'.  But silk!  How could I not?  However I didn't promise to weave it all myself.  There may be some stash reduction once I've sorted through it and decided what I will actually keep and what I will try to sell on.

Never a dull moment, it seems...

Currently reading A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay

Thursday, June 27, 2019


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Yesterday I saw a graphic that noted the position of various political parties around the world on a left/right spectrum.  The graphic showed the 'median' political line, and then charted where various parties fell on that spectrum.

The Republican Party in the US and the Conservative Party in Canada are - at the moment - way off to the right side of that median line.

Beau of the Fifth Column is an American political commentator I follow on line.  He issued a challenge to left leaning people to remind those on the right of the core values of their country. 

Tonight people began accepting that challenge.  They are reading the poem that was used at the base of Lady Liberty.  They are using the hashtag #thisisvirtue

I would like to encourage people who have moved off to the right to look back at the middle.  Maybe think about what their core values are.  Maybe take a few steps back to that middle.  Maybe consider that just because someone may have more 'colour' in their skin, they are still a human being.

We have some serious global issues we need to be addressing.  As in extinction level issues.  In the past 10 years there have been more and more super storms.  Ocean levels are increasing.  Temperatures are going higher and higher.  Permafrost is thawing, glaciers melting. 

It won't matter how many billionaires there are once we can no longer grow food because bees and other pollinators have died off.  It won't matter how many gold toilets or yachts the 1% have if there is no more food to be had because floods have wiped out the fields and crops can't grow.  And if they do grow, there are no workers to pick the perishable crops.  It won't matter how many cars or boats someone owns if there is no petroleum left.

Come back to the middle.  Come back to actual Christian values instead of 'prosperity Christianity' and extremely rich 'pastors'.  Come back to the teachings of Jesus - love everyone.  Help everyone.  Raise everyone.  Respect everyone.  Feed everyone.  Keep everyone safe and healthy.  #thisisvirtue

Monday, June 24, 2019

Politics and Textiles

There has been a great deal of ruckus the past couple of days at the popular social platform Ravelry due to it's stance against white supremacy.  (8 million some users justifies the word popular, I think.)

Some people are furious that they should be 'censored' and can no longer post patterns or comments in support of Mr. Trump and white supremacist viewpoints.  They rail against the suppression of 'free' speech (without understanding what the term actually means, assuming that they get to say whatever they please without any push back.)

The comments from some of these people on the more 'liberal' groups has been rude and in some cases downright vile.  And yet we liberals are supposed to roll over and let them say such things without objection.  Because something something free speech.  On the other hand, they object to my using my free speech to tell them what they are espousing is not acceptable to me.

Another segment insists that politics and textiles should be kept entirely separate, that they knit for enjoyment not to be made uncomfortable by politics.

Thing is, textiles have been political pretty much from the beginning of human beings working with fibre.

In the very early stages of human development string or cordage was used for a variety of things, including string skirts depicted on the paleothitic goddess figurines.  Since string/cordage was very time consuming to make (still is, by hand) the fact that these skirts were made most likely had some sort of religious or political significance.

As human beings evolved, textiles continued to play increasingly political roles in culture, from the ceremonial robes worn by 'royalty' or religious leaders, to funeral uses such as mummy wrappings.

Textiles were used as trade goods as were chemicals for dyeing such as alum.  Nothing more political than trade goods between nations.  (Dorothy Dunnett wrote historical fiction and includes this in a couple of her books - the Niccolo Rising series stars 'Claes' as a dyer's apprentice in Bruges, who rises to become a wealthy merchant (Niccolo) in the 1400s, Francis of Lymond series has one book using cloth as a trade good with Russia during the 1500s.  Recently republished they are also now available as audio books.)

Textile workers were a large and important part of any work force of all the cultures.  Fibres had to be harvested, processed, spun, dyed, woven, turned into garments or for other uses.  This all meant enormous numbers of people to grow the crops, harvest them, break the fibre out of the flax or hemp or which ever crop was being used.  In colder climates, shepherds had to tend their flocks, shear the sheep, and then the fibre needed to be spun/dyed/woven.

As cultures evolved even further, restrictions were placed upon the populace about who could have access to certain textiles.  The royal purple dye, silk damasks, gold and silver threads, to list just a few.  You could tell at a glance what level of society a person was by the clothing they wore.  Look up sumptuary laws.

Again the most expensive textiles were reserved for royalty and religious/ceremonial use.

Come the 1700s and the development of the flying shuttle which immediately put half of the broad cloth weavers out of work.  Only one was needed to throw the shuttle once the fly shuttle was developed.

Luddites were sworn to destroy the latest textile equipment to preserve jobs in textile manufacture.

Saturday, June 22, 2019


playing with elastic yarns and shrinkage differential

Inspiration can come from anywhere.  It could be something someone says, or does.  It could come from nature - a walk in the park, the bark on a tree, a sunset, or -rise, clouds roiling in the sky, water falling.  It could be sparked by something someone else has done or by the materials themselves.

The conference was a confluence of all of these things.  A chance to meet and talk to other textile people in real life.  An opportunity to touch the textiles others had made (with permission, of course!)   Workshops and seminars were inspirational in terms of bringing new information and sparking the 'what if I...' question.

The vendor hall had materials to die (and dye!) for.  Jane Stafford brought her silk yarns and the colours were glorious.

Truth be told, I only ever saw my booth and Jane's.  I was wearing 77 hats and never did manage to go shopping.  Not that I need more yarn, mind you.  I have a basement full as well as more in storage.  On the other hand I have dug deeply into my own stash over the past few years and made a credible hole in it.

But I am making new/different conscious choices about my life going forward.  Somehow my 69th birthday seems...momentous.  Of course it is just a confluence of health issues and a number, but there seems to be a significance to this birthday.  One where I will spend it at Olds during Fibre Week, amongst a community of textile folk.  It seems right.

As I contemplate what the next few years will be like, I am steadily working towards reducing stress in my life by saying 'no' to more things.  No to dark o'clock flights, arriving at midnight.  No to worrying about lost luggage.  No to deadlines.  No to road trips through the Rocky Mountains in winter driving conditions.  No to doing expensive shows, not knowing if I will do anything but recoup the cost of doing said shows.  No to business expenses that drain me because I need to keep doing those long trips and shows to generate the income to hopefully cover them.

All of these things have been a constant in my life for too long and I need to get rid of those thoughts and concerns so that I can free up brain power to think about my weaving practice.

I have mulled over the concept of writing more articles but have not settled on anything.  I have mulled over the kind of things I would like to make versus the ability to actually make them.  My eyesight continues to deteriorate, plus I was told last year I have 'baby' cataracts so at some point choosing colours is going to become more of a challenge until they are 'ripe' enough to be removed.

The new Megado should reduce the physical effort of weaving while still allowing me to weave 'fancy' cloth.

Plus I will be picking up the entire silk stash of a weaver who died recently.  I have no idea what that stash consists of, but...SILK!  If the yarns are very fine I can bundle them or even spin them.  I do have a spinning wheel after all!  If they are undyed, I could even dye them, although I did get rid of all my dye stuff when I stopped dyeing yarns to sell.  However, there are dyers in the guild and a trade could be effected.  Confluences!

I have several very tight deadlines and trips coming up so I am focused on those right now.  The Olds marking from last year is done - just waiting for one more thing from one person and then I can submit their marks to the college and cross that off my list.

Yesterday I started winding skeins onto cones so I can wind the warps for the level one class coming up.  I need to check how many Harrisville brass hooks I have and order enough for the class.  Tomorrow I will go to the annex and fetch the rest of the bins of teaching samples and start a pile to be packed up to go to Olds.

In the meantime I am not pining over what I will do next year when my deadlines are complete.  I am just nose to the grindstone, plodding through the deadlines, confident that once I am through the next six months something will come to me.  Just like the silk.  Out of the blue, completely unexpected.  And will no doubt bring inspiration as I contemplate and consider what to make with it.

Inspiration comes in many ways.  Sometimes in a blaze of glory, sometimes on quiet feet, slipping into the nooks and crannies of your mind, quietly waiting until you take notice.  Sometimes you need to quiet your mind to discover it has been there all along...

Friday, June 21, 2019


I weigh more now than I ever have before in my life.  I don't feel comfortable in my own skin.  It's too tight.  I can't bend the way I could before I got this big.  I'm quite sure my feet, knees and hips would be much happier with me if I could just shed some weight.

But here's the thing.  I weighed exactly the same weight - given slight variations - for nearly 20 years.  And then I took a medication with the adverse effect of weight gain.  I gained almost 60 pounds and when I was done with that medication, I only lost 30.  So my 'normal' weight increased by 30 pounds.  I wasn't happy, but I had got 'me' back again, so accepted the new 'normal' and moved on.

Another 20 years went by and failing bodies need additional medication so I started a new drug to help deal with chronic pain, neuropathy from two partially collapsed discs, both pinching my spinal nerve.  I gained those 30 pounds 'lost' - and then a few more just for good measure.

Am I happy?  No.  Not at all.  I know I'm overweight and apart from starving myself, the weight will not shift.  If I could be more active, that might help, but my body is not co-operating with that variable, either.

According to society I am 'fat'.  According to some standards I am 'obese'.  According to the cancer clinic, I have 'resources'.  When they ask if I've lost weight since last time, they are not concerned about my being 'fat' but that one of the primary indicators of my cancer is sudden unexplained weight loss.  So not losing weight?  Is A Good Thing so far as they are concerned.

Even my cardiologist never seemed particularly worried about my weight so long as I stayed active and took the cholesterol medication (not statins, Praluent) and kept my blood cholesterol levels down low.

I eat 'healthy', which for me means fresh fruit and vegetables, plain meat.  I have followed a (very) low salt diet since a child.  I eat too much sugar, but it's not hidden in baking or processed foods.  I eat lean cuts of meat and drain the fat off.  I have fish almost every day.

I have consulted with the cardiac nurse about my lifestyle and - when she assessed the results and said that I had been doing everything right?  I asked why, then was I dealing with cardiac blockages.  She looked at me and said that you 'can't fight genetics'.

None of us gets out of here alive.  We will all, at some point, some sooner, some later, die.  That is the way life goes.  You are born, you live, you die.

I'm aware enough that I want my being here to mean something.  I want to share my love of textiles with others.  I want to encourage others in their journeys.  None of us know the extent of the potholes in someone else's life - just know that everyone has them.  I have wonderful people in my life who show me, sometimes daily, what it means to navigate those potholes with grace and a generous spirit.

I want to be like those people, not the ones who are never satisfied, never grateful - it seems - for anything.  I want to live in peace, not anger.  Anger takes too much energy and I have so little energy - I want to keep it for doing the things I love, helping the people around me as much as I am able.

As I turn 69 in a few weeks, I work towards retiring from production weaving.  I have worked hard, long hours, scrambling to make and sell my textiles for a long time.  This year marks 44 years since I made that fateful decision to quit my job and become a full time production weaver.  Turns out I also became a part time teacher of weaving - either through workshops or writing.

Travel is becoming more and more difficult for me so it is time to give up that baton and pass it on to others.  Time to stay home.  Have quiet, not chaos. 

I am not 'fat'...I am...'substantial'...

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Dust is Settling

The dust from the conference is settling.  We had a wee meeting tonight and wrapped up a few things.  I have some conference errands to do tomorrow, plus my final report to start writing.

I made a mighty effort today and dug deep into the pile of homework to be marked.  One last box, with two others to send additional info.  But I should be mostly done tomorrow.  And then I start doing class prep.  I leave in exactly two weeks!

I also need to deal with my own business bookkeeping - GST, PST from the conference sales, plus submit the GST I owe, preferably before I leave.  I am on a very tight schedule from now until - well - the end of the year.  That retirement I keep talking about?  Beginning to look more and more attractive!

There are 12 registered (the max) for level one at Olds.  There are 7(?) for level one in NC.  I emailed today to try to find out about level two.  Also emailed the folk school about September.

I have a trip to Vancouver and Vancouver Island when I get home from Olds and before I leave for NC.  I need to finish the warp on the AVL, then we can dismantle it and figure out what can be sold on, clean the studio up in preparation for the Megado to arrive sometime the end of August.

In the meantime I am VERY low on inventory for the upcoming craft fairs, but have been having problems physically.  I'm hoping to feel well enough to finish that warp before I leave for Olds.

Once the AVL is moved out of the studio, I'm hoping my floor cleaning elf can come but she may have gone off to her dad's for the summer by then.  I'll have to do it myself if so.  But I can slam some place mat warps through the Leclerc while I wait for the Megado.  I started winding rayon chenille warps, but I'll begin with place mats.  Then see about the rayon chenille.  I'm very low on those - like maybe a dozen?  Too few.

Things seem to continue to be 'complicated' with on going health issues, but I'm hoping the trip to Vancouver will provide a solution for at least one of them.  My next cancer clinic appointment isn't until after the last craft fair so unless something seems totally 'off', I can ignore that for a few months, at least.

Right now I'm focused on meeting each deadline 'just in time' - because there doesn't seem to be any 'extra' time.

But at least the dust from the conference is settling...

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Textile Science

Understanding your materials when you work with yarn is one of the cornerstones of being a textile artist.

I discovered this book (the first edition - it's all you really need, not the 2nd edition which is a lot more expensive) back when it first came out in the early, oh, 1980s?

The format appealed to me because the information was given in concise clear language and there were lots of diagrams/charts illustrating various points.  The fact that it was then, and may still be now, a textbook for textile science classes and that the two authors were, at the time, teaching textile science at the U of Manitoba just made it all that much more appealing!

There are other textile science books.  I even own some of them.  But time and again I return to this one.

So when people offer opinions, especially when they are incorrect, this is the book I point them at.  When I'm teaching I always give the title and authors to my students.  And I consult it regularly.

There seems to be such an emphasis on someone's experience or opinion and a de-emphasis on actual science these days, textile science is not immune.

For the Olds master weaving class especially, the whole point is to steer students towards actual, factual, information, not my opinion or someone else's opinion, but facts.

The book has great charts which allow me to compare the characteristics of one fibre to another.  My experience at spinning allows me to understand how the spinning of yarn from the fibres can be used to modify the behaviour of fibres in thread, then how to further modify them during weaving.

I have also learned as much as I can about the actual production of fibre - how animals are raised, plants are harvested and how each are prepared for spinning.

I know that sheep are not routinely killed for their fibre, but shorn.  Some animals that are killed, either for meat or because they are ill may possibly have their hides shorn to harvest their fibre, but the whole point of sheep and other animals that produce fibre is not to kill them for their fibre but to keep them as a renewable resource - producing at least one crop a year.  Shearing is not harmful and it is not traumatic when done by an experienced shearer.  Most shearers can complete the job in a matter of minutes and then the sheep are free to return to the flock.  There might be a nick at times, but I've had a hair dresser snip my ear or poke me with scissors and I was just fine afterwards, too.

There are ads for 'vegan' fibres, by which it is meant that the fibres do not come from animals.  Fair enough.  Cotton, linen, and other plant fibres can be lovely.  I admire people who have the courage of their convictions.  But by and large, and most especially small holdings of rare or 'exotic' sheep breeds are not mistreated.  Domestic sheep pretty much must be shorn because they don't shed their fibres anymore and the burden of several years of grown can actually be harmful to their health.

My opinion is that I want to use fibres that will degrade back to dust, just like I'm going to one of these days.  I prefer to not use synthetic fibres.  I do still have some acrylic yarns in my stash, and I will use them.  They might as well be put to use since they already exist.  But I don't buy them and prefer to not use them.

But that is my personal line in the sand and I don't insist that everyone else follow me.  When it is a moral issue, we each have to decide how to approach our textile practice and work accordingly.

However, I do strongly suggest that people find out facts, not react to a meme they saw on social media.  Those memes are designed by media folk, they rely on emotional trigger words/images, and may not be the best thing to be paying attention to when facts are out there, readily available when you take the time to look for them.

When doing a web search, pay attention to who is sponsoring a web site.  If the web site is paid for by the cotton council, they may not be telling the whole truth about bamboo, for example.  I'm not saying bamboo is 100% wonderful - like every other fibre, it has issues!

It is because I think this information is so important that I included some fibre info in my book.

And listed A Guide to Textiles for Interior Designers in my bibliography.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

All Done But the Clean Up

Sunday the facilities were emptied of the equipment that was delivered there on Tuesday.  One trailer came here because I feel like I dragged half my studio to the conference!  The other trailer had things that were carried on up to the guild room.

Monday Doug and I went to the guild room to collect more of my things that did not have my name on but that we needed to remove from the guild room so there was space to move up there.

Birthe has spent most of today finishing the documenting of the Awards, which are now - all except the People's Choice ribbons - listed on the conference website and the conference blog.

On Sunday I had the able assistance of many hands which made light work of dealing with the worst of the mess in my studio.  Yesterday Ruth went home and today Cindy and Mary are on their way.

I had every intention on jumping right in on things today, but of course more organization needed to be done!

However, I did sort through the boxes of homework and even opened one.  Got the essay/research paper read and crashed and burned. 

Since getting up from a rather lengthy 'nap' I've been catching up on messages and emails and now, here it is, half way through the afternoon and I feel like I've accomplished nothing much at all.  Except I have.  It's just not anything concrete that I can point at.

One of the things simmering in the back of my mind is the wrap up report to go to the ANWG board.

I intend to write that up in the next couple of days while it is still 'fresh' in my mind.  But not today when I'm still so tired.  Plus homework to be marked.  Class prep to start for Olds level one happening in ack, three weeks!  LESS!  17 days until I hit the highway!!!  Yikes - my how time flies when you are having fun...

So - we aren't quite done, done, but getting there.  I think most of the committee will drag themselves to the guild room tonight for a quick meeting and reminder of what else needs to be done.

For now?  I need to go do some marking.  I've promised five students to get their homework done and the marks to the college by Monday.

Any future 'big dreams' are going to be rather smaller in nature...I'm getting too old to be having this much fun!

Sunday, June 16, 2019


Mary Lessman at the Ancient Forest

There will be no time to drive Mary out to the Ancient Forest this trip but when choosing a photo for this post it seemed to sum up so much of the last few years.

I am still processing the experience of helping organize the conference, still processing the amazing experience of being involved with a group of women who came together (a confluence of women is mighty!), still mulling over the all too brief contact with such an amazing group of people, yes, men too, but mostly women.  Fibre arts are, in the 21st century mostly the 'preserve' of women.

Each tree in a forest stands tall and is impressive.  Putting many trees together in a forest becomes awe inspiring.

And so it is when a group of people get together to share their love of all things textile.

Each tree grows from it's roots, reaching towards the sky.  Mother trees shelter and protect saplings.  All the creatures of a forest live together to make an environment.  A community.

Textile artists came to Prince George from many different locations - north, south, east and west.  One instructor came all the way from the southern hemisphere.  Truly a global gathering.

Textiles can reach across cultures, across time zones, across continents.  Textiles have been part of the human experience since time beyond written history.  The archeological record of the impression of textiles in pottery shows that even though the textile has transformed back into 'dust', they existed, they made things 'better' for the humans in that community.

I have so many thoughts swirling in my mind right now.  It will take time to find the loose end of my thoughts and begin to tease out the sense of them.  

But in the meantime I am grateful beyond words to the local people who put shoulders to wheels and gave a mighty push every time it was needed.  The instructors, many who came in spite of challenges, willing to share their knowledge and encourage others to learn and grow.  The attendees who frequently also saw a need and willingly offered to help - especially as I was setting up the exhibit.  Their help shaved at least an hour or more off set up time.  Many hands do make light work!

Since I set up the exhibits I got to see the entries up close and personal.   There were many items that were unique, creative, intriguing.

There were garments in the fashion show that were amazing in their concept, their execution.

I was able to catch brief moments with most of the instructors, but as always, it's hard to do more than just touch base at such a busy event.

I wish there could be more personal interactions with people, but cherish the time I did have.

Confluences of thoughts, ideas, plans for the future are tentative, but they are the seeds that produce the trees that make that forest.  No seed?  No forest.  It all has to begin somewhere.

There is still the clean up and once again the committee has already taken care of moving out of the facilities.  From there the borrowed things will be distributed to the loaners.

On a personal level, I have to clean up my studio, which got ripped apart, tossed like a salad, and is in even more than the usual disarray.  But Mary says she will help, so we will begin by sorting through samples, getting the ones that are important to me (the GCW samples) and put them away.  We might even get to the point of sorting and putting away yarn that got pulled and never put back.

One has to find a loose end and begin to tease it out of the jumble.  One has to begin.  To take that first step.  

In the meantime, I will continue to process this experience and wait to see what the future will bring.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Rising. Lifting

Last night was the keynote presentation.

Abby and I had talked at length two years ago when we booked her to teach and speak at the conference.

Last night she talked about how she had written and re-written the presentation over and over again while she thought about the concept of confluences.

To me it seemed as though she had spent time peeling the layers away to reveal new truths with each layer.

When she talked about a confluence as sometimes being tumultuous, chaotic, energetic, it was as though a light had been lit.

As she explored how, in so many ways, change can be challenging, difficult, and amazing, I thought of all the times change had come to me, usually in the form of a person coming into my life to be a teacher.

At times this new direction, new energy, new person, were challenging and I was forced to change - my thinking, my life direction, my attitudes.  Perhaps 'forced' isn't the right word, although I didn't - at the time - feel I had much control over what was happening - I just knew it was going to be an exciting 'ride'!

And while I 'shot the rapids' of this energetic meeting of two 'rivers', I always, always, came through it to a deeper understanding, a greater body of knowledge.

Conferences are unique vehicles that bring disparate people together, sometimes literally from across the globe.

But we are all human beings.  We have similar dreams, hopes, desires. 

People in the craft community sometimes lament about 'politics' getting in the way of their crafting.  But throughout history textiles have pretty much always been about 'politics'.  The sumptuary laws, banning certain classes of people from wearing 'royal' purple, velvet, silk, etc.  The Luddites, trying to prevent automation from throwing thousands of weavers and spinners out of work.  The word sabotage comes from the French weavers heaving their wooden 'sabot' (clogs) through the windows of the weaving mills, trying to damage the new dobby/Jacquard looms.

Confluences of ideas can be volatile.  They can also bring light.

Thank you Abby for a thought provoking presentation and a greater understanding of how textiles are held in esteem in another context.

Friday, June 14, 2019


One of the fun things about conferences is being able to connect with other like minded people.

As a co-host of this event, it has been fun watching the delight of friends catching sight of each other, the hugs, the laughter.  It has also been fun watching people get introduced to people they may have heard of, but never met in real life.  The connections that people are making, some of which will no doubt carry on with the assistance of the internet.

There has been much to inspire already, and the best thing about all of this?  Is that people are enjoying themselves.  They are sharing their love of textiles/fibre with others who completely understand it, even if they might not work with exactly the same methods.  It's all fibre.  It's all making.  It's about creativity.  It's about making connections.  The experience of attending a conference is just the tip of the iceberg - it's all that follows that becomes important.  Many things coming together.  The confluence of meeting people, discovering resources that were previously unknown.  The interchange of ideas and concepts, directions that may have not been known before, and now are.

Personally I've already made a few connections, things that will inform my practice going forward.  Opportunities that I hadn't known were there.  The gift of friendship from acquaintances.  A deepening of a relationship that was unexpected.  But welcome.

I am excited to see where a new loom, new yarns, new directions will take me going forward.

Conferences.  Confluences.  If you've never been to one, try to go and see where the journey takes you.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Coming Together

Image may contain: indoor

We are on day two of the workshops and the vendors have moved in and are ready, willing and able to help people with their shopping.  Shopping started at noon.

The guild booths are excellent - only a few, but really nice work to see.

The exhibit hall is coming together.  Also some really lovely textiles - felting, spinning, knitting, weaving.

This afternoon the award ribbons will be readied in preparation for the jurying.  The Tzouhelem Guild has done a magnificent job making really lovely ribbons.  Many guilds have been very generous in providing cash awards.  Some of which may make their way to the vendors?

There are People's Choice awards and I'm getting that ready while I have lunch.  Ballots for the guild booths will be near them in the vendor hall.  There will be no People's Choice award for the fashion show as the conference ends with the fashion show and there is no opportunity to vote on them.  A few people finished garments 'late' and they have been invited to wear their garment to the fashion show.

The instructor's exhibit opens at 7:30 tonight.  I've managed to peek into a few classrooms and some interesting things are happening.

The fun thing is randomly encountering friends as I buzz from one location to another, collecting hugs.

Better finish eating and get back to the hall.  Once the exhibits have been juried, I can focus on the seminars I'm presenting on Fri/Sat.

Lots of really good energy flowing, connections being made, learning happening.  A couple people have commented that they think their brains may have exploded.  In a good way, I hope!

Saturday, June 8, 2019


Last week I ran around (as did the other committee members) polishing off some more 'rough' edges.

My goal is for the attendees to not be aware of what has gone on to make this conference happen, but be able sail through the event smoothly.  That is, with the fewest number of 'issues' as I can.

Of course my constant blogging about it kind of negates that goal, but not every person attending reads my blog!

If you have ever organized a single workshop?  Multiply that by 22.  Workshop of 20?  Multiply that by 10.  You'll maybe have an idea of what goes into organizing a conference.  And this one isn't particularly large.  Imagine conferences with 10 times as many attendees as we are having.  The task is immense.

On the other hand, the benefits of being able to attend such an event?  Priceless.

We live in a very interconnected world, with the internet.  I started weaving long before the internet was a 'thing', long before personal computers were a 'thing'.  In fact I saw my first weaving programs at an ANWG conference back in the early '80s.  Can't remember which one now, but it might have been 1981 or 83.  The Seattle Weaver's Guild booth had computer generated drawdowns and the fabric woven from those drawdowns on display.  I remember an older weaver (remember I was in my early 30s) sniffing as she exited the booth that that wasn't really weaving!  Me?  I was intrigued and saw the possibilities.  I bought my first computer in 1988 by going into the computer store with the system requirements for Fiberworks, telling the guy to sell me something that met those requirements. 

They did.  They also treated me with curiosity, and ultimately respect, I think.  (No doubt delight as well as the sale was, um, significant.)  I don't recall being mansplained or denigrated.  I think having the system requirements all laid out and the fact I was buying the whole shebang to create textiles stirred their interest.  So thank you, Bob Keates, for your very clear documentation about what was needed to run your program, and the time and effort you take keeping your software up-to-date and responding to requests from weavers as quickly as you can.  Fiberworks was the first software program that was graphics oriented - when it opened it looked like graph paper.  I took to it immediately.  There are others now, but I have stuck with Fiberworks, partly because I can make it do what I want.  There is so much more to learn, though, and maybe next year I'll have it.  :)  And my interest was piqued by that exposure to computers at the SWG booth at an ANWG conference.

So, conferences.  You can meet people in real life.  Thank them if they have inspired you.  You can see - and in some cases actually touch - the textiles.  While photos are nice, they never, ever, do the fabric justice.

You can attend workshops and learn more about a technique.  Seminars can be 'tasters' for something to find out if you want to pursue that aspect of textiles further, or just become more informed generally.

Impromptu meetings over meals can bring unexpected delights.  Study groups can meet and share their specialized interests.

Immersing yourself for a day or four in something you love can be a welcome break from whatever is going on in 'real' life.

I have had so many delightful exchanges at conferences.  People have been kind and generous.  I think it might have been Convergence in '78, walking down a hallway when I spotted a group of people passing around samples and chatting.  I came to a dead stop, inching my way closer and closer.

They didn't shoo me away, in fact inched over to allow me to join their circle.  I think two of them were Kim Malloy and Eleanor Best, the then editor of the Complex Weavers newsletter.  The fact they accepted me without question was pretty amazing to me.  The fact that they included me as they passed the samples around?  Priceless.  And I got an answer to a question I had been puzzling over.

Some of the people I met at conferences became friends.  They have enriched my life as a weaver, but also as a person.  Being able to connect face-to-face every once in a while is a real perq of attending conferences for me.

This isn't my first time at organizing a conference.  I have in fact done it several times.  I've participated in conferences as attendee, instructor and vendor.  This is the first time I've worked so much on the workshop/seminar aspect, making sure instructors have what they need.  I hope we've covered everything.  Once people get here, see their rooms, get their requested equipment, we can further fine tune things.

I have, as much as possible, kept the teachers in the same room throughout.  We had to make some adjustments once registration closed, but only a few teachers have to move around.  When I typed up the personal class lists for each attendee, I noticed that some of them are in the same room for the entire event, too! 

The staff at the venues have been great,  The meetings this week were to sieve any last nits out of the event.  I'm sure there will be a few more - but we will do our best to deal with them.

The first instructor is en route, should be arriving this evening.  She is coming early to help with the conference set up.  The next arrives on Monday, and they can get into their workshop rooms after 6 pm Tuesday.

After 5 years in the making, it's here!!!  (Well, almost...)

Friday, June 7, 2019

I Win!


In the 'if it can go wrong, it will'?  This warp went 'wrong' so many times I can't even count.

Of course all of the 'wrong' was operator error.  Of course it was.

Threading issues, reading the draft wrong issues, running out of heddle issues (multiple times), sleying issues (multiple times). 

That really short last bundle?  Yep.  Left two groups of four sitting on the table instead of in the reed.

Distraction level was the scale.

I'll be honest, weaving is not difficult, but getting yarn into cloth is a complex process.  If I'm not feeling well because I'm ill, or stressed and therefore distracted?  Guaranteed to have to deal with errors!

My mother used to pinch her lips, shake her head and wonder aloud where I got my stubbornness.

With a French Canadian mother and German father, gee, I wonder!!!!

I am also a control freak, which I discovered when I started weaving.  Weaving is a long list of steps that must be taken in order to have good results.  That kind of methodical 'control' suited me to a T.

No, I'm not a perfectionist.  But I love the process of taking individual threads and putting them into order.  Order out of chaos.  It's very satisfying.

But sometimes?  Sometimes I'm distracted and I flub.  In this case?  Repeatedly.

Now this warp is done and dusted, ready to be loaded up into the trailer parked in our driveway.  Yes, we have a trailer.  Plus Birthe has another for the other stuff to be moved from the guild room to the venues.

Order from chaos.  Yes.

Brought to you by 'my mama didn't raise a quitter'....

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Fred William Holzworth 1919-1975

my father aged 10 or 12 in the small photo; wearing his army uniform about age 22

My father, Fred William Holzworth, born in Red Rock (a village about 20 miles south of Prince George), died in Prince George 1975.

The Holzworth family, his branch of it, followed a brother to the United States in the early years of the 1900s.  I'm not exactly sure when.  I have been thinking of digging into to find out more, but I have to pay for their services to get the records I want to see.  Even then, there is no guarantee I'll find anything.  Family myth was that the family arrived by boat in San Francisco.  I'm doubting that story as the more usual route was Europe to New York, then train across the country.  My mother's memory was frequently embellished with details that she would have liked to be true because it made for a better story!

All I know for sure is that my father's parents were named Peter Holzworth and Wilhelmina (Stephans or Stevens, or some such variation).  Two of the daughters were born in Canada, so at some point they headed north, first to the prairies where Emma and Edith were born, then my father here in 1919. 

They identified as German - spoke German, talked of family left in Germany during WWII.  I only really knew my aunt Elizabeth who was the eldest daughter.

She died in 1965 or 6, my memory on that is hazy and again, I'd like to dig into the family history further to understand the family time line better.

My father was the youngest child and again my mother told stories about the family dynamic which I have no way of proving one way or another.  I do know that my father's mother died when he was 10 and that apparently his father was withdrawn and 'cold'.  Maybe because he was left with wrestling a farm out of the 'wilderness' and 8 children to provide for?

The village school burned down before dad was old enough to attend, and the two eldest children took over a rudimentary 'education' of the younger ones.  My father had about a grade two level in reading.  He was very intelligent - just never had an opportunity to educate himself.

When WWII began in 1939 men were encouraged and then required to report for duty.  Family myth talks about my father being asked if he was ready to go fight the Hun and his equivocal response.  When I requested his army records, no mention was made of a psych evaluation to find out why he wasn't raring to go to war as mom used to contend.  They did mention he was 'dull', probably because he couldn't read very well due to a lack of schooling.

Because of his ties to family still in Germany (I suppose) he was sent to the Aleutians for the first part of the war.  But when they were preparing for D-day, he was sent overseas to England.

He did talk about the ocean voyage and the sea sickness and how he managed to get through it with the generous assistance and encouragement of the merchant seamen - tips he passed on to me when I set off for Sweden via a freighter in 1969.

He fondly remembered England and the generosity of the people there who had been dealing with war rationing and so on for years by this point.

In the 1960s the BBC (I think) commissioned a documentary series called The World at War.  The CBC ran it and repeated it at times throughout my teen years and every time it was on the schedule, my father would sit in his recliner and watch intently.  When the program was on, we were to be quiet and not make noise, dad was watching 'his' program.  He would sit, hands usually clasped, index fingers steepled, resting on his lips, elbows supported by the arms of his chair.  He would watch intently, saying nothing, until a certain scene showing the D-day beaches.  When a particular beach was shown, he would move his hands toward the screen with his fingers pointing at the tv and quietly say "I was there."  My brother and I would gaze at the screen, watching the men jumping into the water, running as best they could up the beach, dodging bullets, some falling, never to get up again, wondering which speck was him, wondering how he survived, how he was able to come home again faced with such an event.

He was part of the force that went to Holland, and if he talked about the war, he expressed the desire to see the tulip fields without the bomb craters.

We learned to never ask him about the war.  But he showed us by his attention to that documentary what war was. 

Lately I have been wondering what he would think about what is happening now, today.  And if he would talk about the war, why it happened, what lessons he would share about the rise of white supremacy and the neo-Nazi movement here and elsewhere in the world.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A Good Whinge

The photo shows the textile that is, by and large, responsible for my leap into the deep pool of cloth construction.  You know, the bee, which isn't supposed to be able to fly, but does?

I live my life in much the same way as I weave.  (How apt!)  I pick things apart, looking at every little nit - er, detail - and examine it.

When I'm working on a big/complex project I process it by writing it out.

In the olden days I used to do that in letters.  Old fashioned pen-to-paper letters, to friends who understood that sometimes I needed to get those thoughts out of my head, somehow, and writing was the way that worked for me.  Or venting to friends over a coffee, but sometimes writing just more easily allows me to process the threads tangled in my thoughts and straighten them out.

When computers became more common, I had to learn how to write as I typed.  It's a completely different experience.  For me, at least.  Handwriting and typing seem to come from two different places in my brain and it took me a while to get the hang of it.

Being a touch typist meant that I at least had proficiency on a keyboard, not 'hunt and peck', but I still found myself floundering with the new way of setting my thoughts down.

And then I discovered the ease of editing and I was off to the races!

Internet chat groups were good for me to set my flow of thoughts about the process of weaving down and eventually led to my writing more magazine articles.  Plus my teacher handouts.  Plus my letters until email became a thing.  (Yes, I'm that old.)

In 2008 I started this blog.  It has served as diary, where I process what I'm dealing with in my life.  It has served as a platform for me to express my opinions (and boy, howdy, do I have opinions!).  It has been a way to communicate with others, receive and - hopefully - proffer support.

Because as human beings, we all go through challenging times.  We all go through things that are difficult.  We all grow - if we decide to open ourselves up to doing so.

Through the opportunity of this blog I have shared - probably Too Much Information at times - and you have responded with love and encouragement.

The conference is just another challenge.  It is a complex event that requires much checking, checking, tweaking and checking again.

And so I have been venting - as I do - because that is how I process working through complex projects.

I want to make clear that I am most certainly NOT doing this alone.  It's just that you are only hearing my part of the story.  The rest of the committee don't blog and don't complain.  They just dig in and do stuff.

But I need to complain and vent so that I don't hyper-focus on stuff.

So y'all might want to scroll past my blog posts for the next few days.  Because I sense more whinging so that I can let go of the compulsive/obsessive squirrel raving thoughts.

And now Birthe's husband is here with the trailer and he is helping Doug carry the Baby Wolf up from the studio and into the trailer, which will be left parked in our driveway so that the rest of the stuff can be loaded up, then delivered to the venues on Tuesday afternoon.  Of course that means I still have to finish dressing that loom, then sift through MY seminar stuff so that it CAN be loaded.

We got this.  I just need to vent a little stress from time to time.

ps - if it weren't for the rest of the committee and their positive attitudes and willingness to shoulder big loads, the conference would not be happening.  These women are beacons of positivity and strength of character.  I count myself lucky to know them and have them pitch in so willingly.  I am just one cog in the wheel of this event - just a more vocal one!!!!

Monday, June 3, 2019

When Things Go Wrong

I'm trying.  I really am trying.  But right now life - and conference planning - is at the really messy stage.

For the past few days I've been worrying away picking nits, polishing as many of the rough edges out of our plans as I can.  Yesterday and today I was determined to get the two looms needed for a workshop dressed and cross those off my list.  One of my lists.  Because I have multiple lists.  I could make a book out of my lists.

Yesterday I ran into an issue with the heddles on the larger Leclerc table loom.  One of the flat metal heddles had gotten jammed into the hook that holds the shaft onto the lever that lifted it.  Try as I might, I could not get it unjammed.  Finally got a tool and cut it out.

Got it beamed, and started threading, only to realize I'd wound only two ends instead of the four indicated in the draft to divide the sections.  And then I ran out of heddles on one shaft.  Well, that's easy-peasy - just tie in more.

But all of that meant that instead of getting that loom ready to roll before end of day yesterday it was after noon before I lifted that loom off the table and set it aside.  Onto my foot.  You know, the one with the severely arthritic toe.

It was time for lunch.

After lunch I headed for the guild room where I found a reed of the correct size for the second warp/loom - both length and dpi.  Yay!  I could maybe finish off the second warp today, too!!!

Um no.  Got side tracked by a couple of things - emails/questions both personal and conference.

Finally finished rough sleying the warp and beamed it.  I'm not a huge fan of table looms, but they serve their purpose, so just gotta bear down and deal with it.  Eventually that warp was beamed and the cross transferred, the reed removed from the beater. and started threading.

Got about an inch or so into the threading and realized that, in installing the warp into the loom, I'd swapped selvedge edges.  Which would not ordinarily make a difference except these are gamp warps and not symmetrical.  So the coloured stripes are to be in a specific sequence lined up with the threading.  Which is also different from one selvedge to the other.

Pulled the threads out and started again.  This time I started in the 'wrong' place in the threading draft.  So that got pulled out too.

By then it was 5 pm and all hope of threading the loom today vanished.  When I make that many mistakes I'm too tired/distracted and there is no point.  But I did figure out what needed to be done (no I'm NOT going to pull the warp off the beam and flip it over) and I let Janet know and she will change the draft to reflect my...customizations...

Just to make things really interesting the mail server that both I and my co-chair use went down on Friday.  My email came back by around 4 pm on Saturday, but our conference website is also hosted by the same company and the info/contact emails were not being forwarded to Birthe.  The dam finally broke around 7 tonight and last I talked to her, she had 200 emails downloading.

Tomorrow is another day.  I WILL get that loom dressed.  I WILL go through the rental agreement outlining the room set ups in the Civic Centre, which I downloaded and printed out around 4 pm.  I will address the other things on my job list - I had to start writing down my daily tasks because I was bouncing from one thing to the next, never seeming to finish anything.

However, we got the good news from the hotel today - there will be a concession area in the hallway across from the ballroom with extra seating down the corridor.  This should reduce congestion at the hotel restaurant.  I've asked for gluten free and vegan options be provided.  Was also able to confirm with one teacher that the white board we are renting for her is size XL.  (I've taught workshops with tiny flip charts or minimal access to a black/white board - it isn't fun!)

I've let a couple of people know about the guild offering to have consignment sales of used equipment plus there will be bulletin boards in the lobby of the Civic Centre where people can post notices.

The Civic Centre has already printed out the classroom signs and will post them, while I have found out the orientation of the sign 'frames' at the hotel and will print those out and put them into teacher's packets so they can post.

There will be a computer and printer at the check in desk at the Civic Centre in case instructors need to print out additional class hand outs.

We will have floor plans posted so people can orient themselves - or at least we've requested them.

And so on and so forth.

But when things start going wrong, it's time to stop and rest - and start again in the morning.

Sunday, June 2, 2019


One of the reasons for choosing weaving as a career was that I could see that it would be a life of learning.  That I would never dig to the bottom of the knowledge.  That there would always be something new to learn.  Something new to discover.

For years, decades even, I felt very much Not An Expert - because there was so much I didn't know.  So much left to learn.

The first time someone on the internet referred to me as an expert I literally cringed.  I wanted to duck and protest that no, no, not me, I didn't know enough to be considered an 'expert'!!!

It took a long time for me to confront my impostor syndrome and get comfortable with the fact that I do actually know quite a bit.  Not everything.  Not nearly everything.  But quite a lot.

As I contemplate 'retirement' I begin to consider how to build on what I already know.  A friend asked me if I would be doing on line classes and immediately impostor syndrome roared to the front as I protested that others were already doing that, was there really room for another, and I didn't have the skills to produce such a thing anyway!

After thinking that reaction over for 24 hours (I try to let myself consider major thoughts over time while my brain processes the various aspects of a 'large' project such as on-line teaching), I find myself rejecting doing anything like that.

I have done enough video production to know just how difficult it is to do well.  I'm wanting to dial back my efforts, not leap into the deep end of another pool.

I also have body issues.  I'm old.  I've been rode hard, put away wet, and I weigh a lot more than I'm comfortable with.  And cameras visually 'add' pounds making people with extra mass look even bigger.  There is a reason I dislike having photos taken...

But I also find myself experiencing - just recently, as in the last couple of years - a level of confidence in what I know and how well I can convey it.  Which is kind of a new and interesting thing to be feeling.

As I wend my way through the final throes of getting the conference together, there are thoughts percolating in the back of my mind.  Such've written two books, several monographs, do you want to do more of that?  What else can you say?  Didn't you pretty much say it all, already?

What aspect of weaving do you want to explore?  There are so many and several people are doing great work digging into them.   Can I build on what I have done before?  Such as shrinkage differential?  Pick a weave structure and pull it apart?  Do I want to write for magazines?  Which ones?  Who are their readers and what might they be interested in?

When Birthe and I were interviewed last week, the reporter asked if either of us blogged.  I said I did.  He asked about page views and then said I needed to write a book, then.

Hmm.  I sort of did that with The Intentional Weaver, pulling heavily from the things I share here for that book.

OTOH, I have stories.  Great stories.  But most of them need to be told, not read, I feel.

A few years ago, after doing a workshop and guild program, the person driving me to the airport to go home commented that I was a story teller.  When she said it, I recognized the truth of that statement.

Now that I am 'ending' (or at least reducing) my career, in the fits and starts that I seem to be capable of, I wonder - what stories will I tell?

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Side Hustle

I'm thinking I could start a 'side' hustle, dressing looms for others.  Why not?  It's the part that most people complain about the most.  It's the most time heavy part of the process.  I could hire myself out, like itinerant fruit pickers, visit weavers, dress their looms, then move on.  Like the tooth fairy, but better...

I have already done that, here and there as I've visited with people, getting their workshop looms ready because they ran out of time.

This warp is for Janet Dawson's workshop.

Through a comedy of errors (so to speak) we confirmed her workshop, then had people drop out due to Life Happening.  Having already confirmed, we decided to go ahead, but three people, three looms, wasn't going to do the class material justice.  So I asked how many looms would.  We settled on a number, I asked for the loan of looms and in the end one other guild member will dress her loom and loan it to us.  I'm doing two more.

One of the reasons I wanted to complete all the registration data crunching was because I still have those two warps to get ready.  Here is one - 2/8 Tencel which will be set up in an 8 shaft deflected double weave.

One of the local participants is borrowing my 'table' loom and will set up the loom with the colour and weave warp, which I wound for her.  I think the last warp is a twill gamp.

After not touching a loom for almost two weeks, I'm happily winding this warp.  The colours appeal and it's not so complicated that I can't just go with the flow of winding, four threads of each colour.  A nice repetitive mantra of 1,2,3,4, change colour, 1,2,3,4, and follow the cheat sheet.