Friday, January 31, 2020


dreaming of spring

We have another dreary day with weather warnings of snowmagedon to come.

The house feels very quiet as Mary left yesterday.  No distractions now, time to think about what comes 'next'.  With retirement from production sales, I am still working through how to shape my days and what my priorities will be.  Thinking about how much longer I will teach. 

Just...thinking...about this and that.  Not coming to much in the way of conclusions, but that's ok, the thought pot can simmer on the back burner for a while longer.  Sometimes you just have to wait until things arrange themselves and reveal what possibilities there are.  I'm a great believer that when the time is right, it will show itself.  And then I have a focus to direct my energy towards. 

Yesterday was pretty much a rest day.  I had been having quite a lot of pain from the treatment, with the next coming up on Tuesday.  I was leery about the next until suddenly the pain diminished a lot.  Mostly I am still hopeful because the pain has changed in nature and somehow that feels hopeful. 

I have also talked to someone who has a spouse also getting the same type of treatment and it seems what I am going through is pretty typical.  Let's just say things seem to be getting better enough I am willing to continue in hopes of further improvement.

When you aren't feeling well, you pare back on what you do, draw in the horizon, hunker down.  The longer you feel poorly, the harder and harder it is to push against that shrinking.  The less energy you have, the less inclined you are to make the effort to get out, attend meetings, go to social events. 

Now that I'm feeling better I am beginning to look outward more.  Anticipating some travel, especially if the classes go ahead.  But also Convergence in July, where I won't be teaching, just drinking in the experience, and hopefully connecting with some far flung weavers.

But more importantly, there are two weaving classes here to prepare for.  So I have a to-be-done list, goals that seem important to me, and today I will begin working on that.

I will also do some errands because the weather forecast is for 'winter' weather.  Mary left just in time.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Dust Settles

The workshop is over and Mary is winging her way homewards.

We had plans - so many plans!  And barely scratched the surface.  Now I'm sitting, working on a jigsaw puzzle (because it needs to be finished so I can clear the table and fringe twist the silk scarf, so...) and thinking about what needs to be done 'next'.

The article, I suppose.  That deadline is coming up quickly.  I do know where my notes are, just need to open Word and start putting them into some kind of cohesive order.

The warps for the weaving workshops.  I wound the last of them yesterday, but now I need to go up to the guild room and start extracting floor looms from the corral they were put in to make space for the dye workshop.

Weave the tea towels on the Megado.

Dress the Leclerc with another place mat warp.

And sometime, soon, sort through the bins and get all the fibres in one place, and all the teaching samples in another place so that I don't have to keep shifting bins of the one thing to get at the bins of the other.  Mary and I did manage to empty three more boxes of 'stuff', but didn't touch the bins.  She has taken the samples home to share with other weavers and study them.

I have been in communication with Olds College and they are working on the satellite programs so word should soon be available on those.  I may not go to the Sunshine Coast, I may not go to Cape Breton, but I may.  They haven't finished crunching the numbers yet.

I can say that I am confirmed for level one at Fibre Week at Olds College in June.  Feel free to share.

OTOH, I did buy my tickets to head to TN in July where Mary and I will take a road trip to Knoxville and I will hang out in the vendor hall and the exhibit areas.  Should anyone want to meet for coffee or a meal...

Too many 'short' nights this week and I'm tired.  So I'm not pushing too hard today.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


The scene a couple of weeks ago.  Today we have spring break up slop with more winter weather to come next week apparently. 

My company leaves tomorrow and it is time to start looking towards February as it is very near now and there is much to be done!

The studio has developed goat trails already as I find out how to work within the space that I have, not offload clutter to the annex.

And to deal once again with pressing on the little flat bed press instead of Puff.

It looks like we have a buyer, Doug is trying to work out the logistics of getting it to them.  They have a busy schedule and missed their window of opportunity to come fetch it due to our bad winter weather with horrible road conditions, and even complete shut down of all of the highways at one point.

So now the mad scramble as Doug tries to disassemble the press and get it onto pallets and out of our space into the neighbours who has offered him a corner to store them.

I have three more warps to wind for the intro to weaving workshops and then dress the five looms needed.   (There is one already dressed with an appropriate warp and lots on the loom, so....)

There is the article for Handwoven to be finished, preferably before the workshops so I can clear that project out of the studio.

Mary and I talked about Convergence and once she is home we will co-ordinate out calendars and I'll book my tickets as early as possible in order to get the 'best' price I can.

I *think* I am going to be teaching at the  Sunshine Coast in April, and as soon as I get confirmation prep will have to be done for those.  I need to email and confirm she got my email with estimated travel costs.  Then figure out housing and such.

This morning I pressed the red/burgundy place mats someone wanted and evenings will be spent hemming.  I'd also like to get those done before the workshop.

I expect Olds homework to begin arriving soon - already marked two boxes with another promised for the end of March.  I hear rumours that others are working on theirs.

And so it goes.  One step, another step, and another...

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Puzzle of Value

Mary and I both enjoy puzzles so in our 'spare' time we have been twiddling bits of coloured cardboard. 

As we were working on the sky and water of the current puzzle, I became really aware of how much my eye has been trained to the nuance of value by working puzzles. 

The blue/greys of both the upper and lower part of the puzzle are very slight variations of the hues and I realized just how much I judge which piece goes where by the value of the hue.

Then I see the subtle changes in the hue itself - more purple, more grey, more pure blue.

If you really want to fast track training your eye for value, maybe a little puzzle challenge might be helpful?

I'm toying with bringing a puzzle to level one classes and just leaving it out somewhere for people to not necessarily make the puzzle but begin to analyse the value/hue relationships between the pieces.

Saturday, January 25, 2020


Someone asked about interlacements and how one would go about changing that ratio.

I managed to get one towel woven yesterday with the finer green linen.  The camera has washed out the colours a bit, it actually looks more interesting than this, but the point of the photo is the twill angle.

If the linen had been a single 16s, 32 epi would have been good for it in the following tie-up:  (with the first number being lifted, the next number the number of shafts left down, etc.)

1:3:1:3:2:2:3:1 or some variation of that.  The lift would have been unequal, putting more warp on the surface of one side of the cloth, more weft on the other.  Only by one shaft, but surprisingly, it does make a difference.

However, the green is much finer, probably closer to a single 20s and the sample I wove was packing in more than 32 ppi.

I changed the tie up to something like:


This creates an equal shed with 8 shafts lifted for each pick.

In the end I rearranged the tie up one more time to change where in the treadling sequence the plain weave appeared but what I've given above is where I started.

It took a few inches to gain a feel for how much to 'beat' the weft in (not much, more of a 'place')  but by the end of the towel I had a pretty good angle.  The photo above was taken with the tension off the warp, but the cotton is going to shrink more than the linen, so there is a good chance the cloth after wet finishing is going to change the ratio and be slightly lower than 45 degrees.

They won't hit 'perfect' but they will work just fine as the tea towels they are intended to be.

If only four shafts are available, it is possible to change the density of the cloth and the interlacements by weaving plain weave alternately with twill using the same weft yarn.  It will change the appearance of the cloth so a sample would have to be woven to make sure it would be suitable.

So it might be something like this:  (indicating which shafts are being lifted)

1, 2
1, 3
2, 3
2, 4
3, 4
1, 3
1, 4
2, 4

The twill angle will be steeper, except if the weft is much finer than the warp it will beat in more closely and might then become more 'balanced'.

Again, only a sample will show for sure.

Friday, January 24, 2020


While I have been on a stash reduction target for far too long (people keep dying and I keep getting their yarn to add to mine) there are always interesting lessons to be learned from digging deep into the stash.

Now the two yarns in the photo were acquisitions by moi, but one (the darker) was a sentimental purchase and the other was a deal too good to pass up.

Not always the most sensible way to purchase yarn!

Turns out my memory was a bit faulty about the thickness of each of the yarns.  Both are linen, one I bought in Sweden (to be mailed later) because the price was - well, they were getting rid of their yarn inventory!  The price was too tempting to not purchase, so I did.  To the tune of 5 kilos worth.  In the end I didn't get what I wanted but chose from what they had left when it came time to ship and I assumed that all the yarn would be single 16s.  Nope, this one and the dark navy were more like single 20s.  In other words a lot finer than what I had been using.  However, once it arrived, it was mine and I have been using it up.  I'd have to check the chart to find out how many yards per pound single 20s has, but take my word for's lots.

The other yarn was from a LYS and the photo is a bit dark and greyer than the colour actually is.  I'm thinking that if I run out of the spring green, I will try to use up some of the much thicker darker greyed green on the same warp.  Although it may be too grey to fit nicely.

I wasn't sure this bright spring green was going to marry well on the greyed blue/medium blue and fairly deep turquoise green warp, but it looks fine. 

The cloth is not turning out the way I wanted it to, however, because instead of a slightly warp emphasis on one side and a slight weft emphasis on the other, I had to add more interlacements to the tie up so that it would weave 'square'.  However, I think it's turning out ok and the plain weave I added to the tie up is helping to blend the colours together in a way that I think is going to be just fine.

If it looks this 'ok' on the loom, by the time it is wet finished it should be even better.

The epi is 32, with 4 per dent in an 8 dent reed.  That means the reed marks are quite obvious and with linen weft may not come out in the wet finishing.  But I don't really mind.  The reed marks will be consistent and (let's all say it together) if you can't be perfect, be consistent....

Thursday, January 23, 2020

New Draft

One of the advantages of having a computer assisted dobby loom is that you can design and file away complete treadling drafts for a project.

This is my latest warp.  I call it 'lily pads' for reasons which will become apparent once I get started weaving.  I hope!

But I thought it might be interesting to see something of how I approach setting up the loom to weave.

The threading is one repeat of the draft in the above image.  I know it's small I was trying to get the whole - or as much of - the complete treadling as I could.  However the 'important' bit is there.

At the very top of the treadling draft is the hem area.  Notice I have several repeats of straight progression, then a gap.  Then several more repeats of the the straight progression, but in the other direction.

What you are seeing is the hem from the 'last' towel and the beginning of the next towel, with an empty lag to tell me when to weave in a cut line (which I do in a different colour).  It also marks when I stop weaving and take a break.

The threading was repeated for the width of the warp (approx 24") with a couple of straight progressions to bracket the motif and act as a small border.  The motif is balanced, in other words where the motif is on the back 8 shafts, it ends at the other selvedge with the same part of the threading.  So each side will look the same.

So the treadling goes as well.  Beginning with the motif treadled on the 'back' and ending with the same motif, plus the hem area.

In some cases I don't do anything different for the hem, just keep weaving yardage, then measure and cut the cloth up to make the towels.  But having a woven in cut line makes the cutting apart of the process so much easier that I now set up the towels so that job is easily done on my work table, where I serge the raw edge, cut the towel off the cloth roll, then serge the other end, set that aside, then serge, cut, serge, etc.

I miss having the AVL where I could just carry the cloth roll, still on the beam, to the table and have the cloth just roll off the beam in a nice tidy way, but new loom, new processes.  And I don't do 40 or more long warps any more.  I do believe that 20 will now be my max.

Now down to tie on and weave the header, see how it all looks.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Class Prep

While Mary worked on class prep for the Dyes from Nature workshop yesterday, I managed to thread the tea towel warp on the Megado.  However, today she needed to go to the guild room to do further prep that was just easier to do up there.  Since I also have a class coming up fairly shortly, I grabbed what I needed to wind the warps for my class and managed to start winding the class warps.

The photo shows how I deal with multiple yarn packages.  This warp was for tea towels and the warp was the design focus with stripes in a more-or-less Fibonacci sequence using three solid colours and a stripe of variegated yarn.

Over the years I got fed up with cones and tubes tipping over when I wound a warp on the warping board, so one day I stuck a couple of extra pegs in at the bottom of the board and laid a reed across them through which I thread the yarn.  It comes straight up off the yarn package and just makes winding a warp so much easier.

When I got to the guild room today, I did the same thing - extra pegs to hold a reed and thread the yarn from two tubes up through it so that they would wind off the tubes without catching or tipping over.  I also brought my little two peg stand so that when the tubes emptied they continued to stay upright.

In the end I only got two warps wound, but since I need five, it felt like a decent start.  I do, after all, still have to dress five looms.

This class is an Introduction to Floor Loom Weaving and students need have no previous experience at all.  I decided that it would be a lot easier to start them out actually weaving and then if they decided they were interested in going further, I will see about offering another class later in the spring where we will dig into the preparation of the loom, and some of the more subtle aspects of the craft, like figuring out density and such.

Mary says she will be doing class prep pretty much all day tomorrow, so I'm hoping I can sley the reed on the Megado and even begin weaving.

This 'holiday' is mostly 'work' for her so far.  I'm hoping we can go to the park for a walk next week.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Round Tuit

When your friends know you so well...

Over the years I have lamented not having a round tuit.  Or losing it.  Or having it roll away on me.

When Mary arrived, she brought me this lovely that she purchased at the John C. Campbell Folk School Gift Shop.  They have a blacksmith forge and routinely have smithing classes.

It is hefty, and clearly marked.  Heavy enough for a paperweight, mostly it is just big enough to hopefully not get lost on my desk, small enough that if I had pockets I could carry it with me.

Now that I'm feeling so much better, this round tuit is going to let me dig in and get stuff done.  Because now I'm going to be able to get around tuit...

Charting a New Course

The photo is of the tapestry I wove as part of the level four Guild of Canadian Weavers master weaver certificate.

For many years I have used the image of a butterfly as a personal icon.  In many societies, the butterfly is used to represent change, growth, development.

The warp was linen, the background a wool/silk blend (if I remember correctly - the tapestry is put away...somewhere...) and the warp was used doubled for the background, but singly for the butterfly which was woven with silk, in order to get greater detail.  All the yarns were dyed by me.

Since I am not an artist of the drawing kind, I chose to go with a rather 'naive' style of imagery.

After last year with the book launch, conference, shutting down my business, I feel as though once again I am in the process of metamorphosis, changing from one flavour of weaver to another.

I feel as though I am still in the 'soup' stage of changing, not quite sure what I will be when it is all done, not quite sure how or where I will be in a years time.

Change can be painful, difficult, challenging.  So it has been as I try to work out what comes next.

There is an observation that doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, is a kind of delusion.  There have been times I have used that approach and pretty much proven the statement.  It was only when I stepped back and then tried something different that I was able to get a different result.

And so, when the wheels seemed to be falling off my 'wagon' again, I knew intellectually that I needed to chart a different course.  Take a different road.  Try something different.  Even though I didn't really want to.

So I struggled.  I did.  I won't pretend that the past few months have been anything but challenging and uncomfortable.

I am not 'there' yet.  But I am changing.  And I am beginning to feel more comfortable about what I chose to do, the different path I set my feet onto.  The burdens are being set down and I am moving on.

During my years as a weaver I have learned many things.  I have begun to see why weaving/textiles have been used in so many fairy tales, which are all morality tales when you look beyond the obvious.  A thread runs through them.  A thread that society of the time fully understood and could relate to.  One that remains in our DNA, I am quite sure.

It is one reason I continue to write about textiles and teach it as much as I can.  Because learning how to create cloth can be a powerful lesson for how to live life.  

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Scissor Solution

Since weaving was, first and foremost, my business/profession, I was very quick to realize that my time was the most valuable commodity that I was investing into my textiles.  As such, it became quite easy over the years to figure out when the time I needed to invest in a warp was becoming unreasonable.  When I needed to invest so much time that I could not ever hope to recoup the time and materials I had put into completing it and bringing it to market.

It is one reason I sample so much.  I'd rather invest a little (a little time, a little materials) to prove that a concept is going to work.

Over the years I have invested a great deal of time in just making samples to investigate new weave structures and new yarns.  While I am happy to take advice from other weavers as to density, the only way to know for sure if that is going to work for me is...weave a sample.

Sometimes the sample is a warp of its very own.  Sometimes the sample might be the header at the beginning of the warp.  Sometimes a sample woven on a narrow warp won't translate to a warp that is much wider, so that last chance header sample is necessary before committing to the entire wide/long warp.

Sometimes conditions change.  Having a different loom means that what I did before on the AVL might not translate well to the Megado, which has a different kind of engineering and a much lighter beater.

Sometimes you start a warp with a certain relative humidity and by the end, that may have changed drastically.  As happened on this silk warp.

The first scarf wove up beautifully.  Then Life Happened and it was about five days before I got back to the warp.  Not realizing the delay would be that long, I had not released the tension on the warp (20/2 silk).  I knew the relative humidity would drop, but in the end wound up having to turn the small humidifier off because the house windows were beginning to ice up, quite significantly.  And the warp sat for those days with the tension on and the relative humidity dropping like a stone.  (This morning it was registering at 18% in the house according to the little weather station we have - and that was with the humidifier back on since yesterday morning.)

When I started weaving yesterday afternoon, I noticed the right hand selvedge was not behaving well.  Loops were forming at the edge and to make the weft sit 'properly' I was having to stop and give the weft yarn a slight tug to make it lay properly.

That cut my weaving speed further, but mostly?  It was annoying.  I carried on until the third broken end happened, in the space of 12" woven.

I was happy enough with the way the cloth was building in the loom, but I looked at the selvedge.  Considered how many more  broken ends I might have to deal with, took a break and thought about whether or not I really wanted to carry on.  Or if it would just be a really good idea to stop now.  Before I invested any more time or weft yarn in this scarf.

The first scarf looked to be good, and that was the one intended for publication.  It was a matter of quite literally cutting my losses.

The yarn was 'inherited' so my financial investment wasn't great (shipping to get it here).  I had not carefully selected each and every skein with a lovely vision of what it would turn into - I was working from someone else's stash.  (Don't get me wrong - I have done this before and I consider it a great honour, it's just that I don't have the same sort of emotional attachment to it.)

The warp was six meters.  When I cut the warp off the loom, it looks like I do have a lovely scarf to write up and submit.  I'm very pleased with how it looks prior to wet finishing, and I think a good hard press will bring the silk to the lovely lustre we associate with silk and I will be happy to submit it for consideration.  Out of a six meter long warp I have apparently achieved one scarf that meets requirements.

The thrums (about 2.75 ounces) will go to a friend who takes them and incorporates them into her 'art' yarn, so the yarns won't actually be 'wasted'.  I just won't be spending any more of my time trying to make it behave when it so clearly does not want to.

So I applied the Scissor Solution.  And I feel fine about it.  The next warp is already planned (mostly) and I am looking forward to getting that into the loom and enjoying weaving it off.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Ticking Boxes

Continuing to tick boxes on my journey to retirement. 

The cold 'snap' is over, the temps have warmed minus 23 when I got up this morning.   Felt positively balmy when I went out this morning!  :D

This week broke record low temperatures for our town.  Talking to someone this morning, he mentioned having cabin fever.  I told him I was content to look out the window, see the glorious sunshine we had, note the temperature, and curl up inside.  A form of hibernation - because I felt no urge to do much of anything other than just make it through the day.

However, I did get the two boxes of Olds homework marked, the marks submitted to the college, and one box is on its way back to the student.  The other will wait until I hear when she is back in Canada from her adventure and if she wants it returned immediately or is willing to wait until June and pick it up at the college, saving the postage. 

My company arrives tomorrow and we have class prep to do so most of what I have been working on will be set aside while she is here.  If there is time she wants to dive into my rayon chenille stash and make a scarf.  Or two. 

I am hoping to finish the silk warp by tomorrow and start writing up my notes.  They will have to be fringe twisted and wet finished, but the deadline is March 8 so if I can get them woven, I can easily make that.  (She says, perhaps over confidently!)

The next warp on the Megado will be another tea towel warp.  I still have a large cone of singles linen to use up and I pulled the yarn for the warp last autumn.  All I have to do is clear the Megado off and get the next warp beamed. 

And figure out how I'm going to thread it! 

We are nearly out of the annex but the super cold weather has caused delays on that.  Nothing to be done for it except get through it. 

The really nice thing is that the daylight hours are getting noticeably longer.  As quickly as it goes, it comes back. 

In the meantime, it is back to ticking boxes.  And that means weaving the silk.  I'm excited to see if the treadling is going to look as I hope it will.  After lunch I will be jumping right on that.  This is what keeps me weaving - having a vision, not knowing how close I can come to making it come into material form (pun intended!)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

It's a Journey

This morning I met with my accountant who helped me chart out the next steps in retiring.

Notification has been sent to both taxation arms that my account is closed because my business is.  We also discussed what needs to happen in order to file my income tax for 2019 and she has my books to balance (better her than me!)

The weather has warmed up (for certain values of 'warm') and since we both have errands to run, I am grateful.

Yesterday I marked two boxes of homework and this afternoon will return one.  The other student is on an adventure and not home, so I will wait until she is back and see if she wants her stuff now or is happy to save the shipping and pick it up from me at Olds.  Given the level one class fills.

The college has also been in touch about a satellite class, but may not contact me until the cut off date to confirm.  Or may choose someone else.  There is a roster.  :)

And that is all part of celebrating the class - watching some of the first students complete their final level and be taken on as teachers to help perpetuate the knowledge.

I told a friend a couple of years ago that I want to teach myself out of a job.  Because that is what needs to happen.  We need to keep growing our base of informed instructors, instructors who can look at the craft as a whole, convey principles, encourage analytical thought and ergonomic practices.

When I see a photo of someone on line sitting far too low I worry about their backs, their shoulders.  When I see people with warping boards mounted too high for comfortable working, I worry about their shoulders and necks.  Thumbs down?  Not good. 

So I hope to continue to teach for Olds for a few more years, as long as I can make the journey and hold up under the intense 5 day class.  While it may feel to the students as though they are trying to drink from a fire hose, I am the one directing that stream of information.  And it is just as exhausting for me to oversee the students, make sure they are understanding, make sure that people with diverse backgrounds and wildly different levels of experience either don't fall behind, or don't become bored because they already know all this stuff.

On the other hand, it is immensely satisfying to get the boxes of homework, read the letters they frequently include outlining their journey and how much they have learned and how excited they are to learn more.  They may continue with the program, or take the level one information and build on that, in their own way, in their own time.

But it's all good.  And I am delighted to be the level one teacher at Olds again this year.  Retirement does not mean not doing anything, but not doing what no longer felt right or healthy.  Today I took a couple more steps towards that goal.  By February, I should be pretty much done with closing down the business end of my life and able to focus on what comes next.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Cold Snap

I grew up in this town and cold temperatures were not uncommon.  When the temperatures would plummet, there would be ice build up on the windows.  We have not had much in the way of really cold temperatures in the past few years, but this week we do.  This morning our little weather station recorded -37 in the carport, colder in higher elevations, I hear. 

This morning we are continuing with self care and I decided not to go to stitch this morning.  Instead I sat in the recliner with the heat on my back and watched the ice fog slowly being burned off by the sun.  Ice fog?  That's when the humidity in the air gets so cold it turns to fine ice crystals and just hangs in the air until the sun can burn it off.  It goes from solid to gas and will cover most surfaces with a layer of hoar frost until that happens.  Very pretty, but it is cold out there.

We keep the thermostat set around 71F and today the furnace is running almost constantly.  Both vehicles are plugged in (block heaters help protect engines from the cold) but neither of us has any plan to go anywhere today.  If we do we will be wearing our cold weather gear, including toques and gloves.  Frost bite is nasty and at these temperatures, it doesn't take long for fingers and toes to lose circulation and then all sorts of problems can happen. 

But we are 'old' and have lived here for a long time.  We know the dangers and don't take them lightly.

I am on light duties today and won't likely spend much time in the studio.  If I do I will plug in the little space heater.  The studio is in the basement and routinely runs several degrees colder than the main floor.  But electricity is more expensive than natural gas, so I try not to use it more than needs be.

When I was a child we had wood heat in the form of the wood cook stove.  When natural gas became available, my parents installed a natural gas space heater in the basement.  Then, when they could afford it, installed a furnace.

Our home has a natural gas furnace.  We don't build fires in the central fireplace for a number of reasons.  We have looked at a heat pump but they are very expensive.  Solar panels would help, but unless we have a big bank of batteries, we only have daylight for about 7 hours in the winter, and many days there is fog like today, or overcast.  Or it's snowing like crazy.  I would love to get off the petroleum product dependency, but so far alternatives are too expensive, or won't work particularly well.

So I continue to use natural gas to heat my house, gasoline to run my vehicles.  And keep waiting for viable alternatives that will work and won't cost an arm and a leg.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Self Care

Create Joy is what the textile says.

Today is a day 'off' for both of us.  We each have health related things to do plus when I got up at 8 am the little weather 'station' we have that reads outside temps said it was -31 C.  At that temperature nose hair freezes and frost bite is not far away.  Instead of parking in the shopping mall and walking up the hill to the clinic, I will be paying for parking.  :-/

But I am pleased to note that the pain treatments I have been getting appear to be improving my quality of life.  The chronic, crushing, pain is less.  I have more energy and the desire to get things done is being transformed into actually getting stuff done. 

Yesterday I finished weaving the first silk scarf and while it isn't quite what I had imagined (yes I see images in my mind when I think of them) it is Good Enough.  For me.  If it is Good Enough for publication, we will see.

I even managed to finally settle on a design for scarf #2 and went so far as to generate the liftplan.  I won't be weaving today, but if I feel up to it I can begin tomorrow.  If I have the energy after the treatment I will wind my bobbins and get them into the humidor, and maybe even wind one more place mat warp.  I will most likely also begin writing up my notes for the article, if my brain is clear enough.

But for today, the primary focus will be self care.  I want to enjoy my 'retirement'.  I want to create joy.  As best I can.

Monday, January 13, 2020


1:3 twills will curl

draft shows the path of the weft and warp

It is a fact that - like stockinette stitch in knitting - a 1:3 twill fabric will curl at the edges.  There is really nothing that can be done to prevent this.  Not a floating selvedge or temples.  It will curl.  A 1:3 twill will curl upwards as in the top photo - a 3:1 twill will curl downwards.

It is in the threads.  What the draft above does not show is that the weft thread will curl around a thread three in from the selvedge, then two, then 1, then will catch the outermost selvedge end.

This is not a problem because during wet finishing, including a good hard press, the selvedge will resolve and everything will settle.  When this cloth comes off the loom and is wet finished, the selvedge will be pretty much straight because it is all woven with a 1:3 twill.  (I prefer to lift the least number of shafts so the other side is actually going to be more interesting and considered the 'right' side of the cloth.)

On some of my tea towels, woven in designs that exchange twill blocks of 1:3-3:1 twill, the selvedge may not be ruler straight, but over all will keep a straight edge as the twill blocks change from weft to warp emphasis.  Since this slight waviness does nothing to prevent the textile from doing its job I do not consider it a 'flaw'.

With so many commercial fabrics being woven without a woven selvedge we sometimes forget that the selvedge is just the edge of the fabric and we can create textiles to purpose to a specific width and have it sport a woven edge, not a 'raw' one.  

(Why is it 'raw' or 'unfinished'?  Because with the rise of newer technology looms, each weft is cut from the cone and laid into the shed as a single thread, not a continuous one.)

I find it somewhat amusing that raw edges are so common now that a woven selvedge is sometimes referred to as a 'tartan' selvedge.  What they mean (in regards to a tartan) is simply a woven 2:2 twill has been woven with continuous weft (multiple weft colours are run up along one selvedge in loops.  This selvedge is then used for the kilt waistband and no effort is made to cut them and tuck the end into the cloth.  With many colour changes, there is a possibility of that selvedge building up further than the rest of the cloth.)

The further from the breast beam, the more the cloth will curl.  Another good reason to keep the fell in the 'sweet spot'.

Extreme Cold

This week winter has arrived with a crunch - so to speak.

We have 'extreme' cold warnings and the temperature is forecast to dip well into the minus 30s.  C.

However, since C and F converge at -40, just understand that it's cold.

Temperatures of this degree are not unusual for us.  What is unusual is how seldom they have arrived the past few years. 

Doug and his helper are going to do some work in Doug's workshop, which is going to be cold work.  It has heat, but he uses it sparingly.  Yesterday they spent hours at the annex, in unheated parts of the building, pulling wire.  But that is done, and one more step along the way to moving out of the annex is accomplished.

I have no appointments to deal with today, so I am going to see if I can finish weaving the first scarf on the Megado.  And enjoy the sunshine - the gift we get when it gets really cold.  One of the reasons it is cold is that there is no cloud cover and so we have brilliant sunshine reflecting off of the fresh snow and it is truly beautiful.  As long as you can, like me, see it from the comfort of a warm place.

I hope all the people who need it have found safe shelter, that those who don't need to go out, don't, and for those that do?  Safe journey to where you are going.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Final Throes

We called it Puff.  It served us well, pressing hundreds of yards of textiles in the time we had it.  We are still hoping to find a new home for it, but things have gotten complicated.  As in...the weather.

Suddenly it's winter and it's wintering hard.  First we (the entire province almost) got slammed with one long winter snow storm.  Roads were closed.  Avalanche mitigation was done, closing more roads.  We now have a respectable amount of snow cover which allays some fears of not having enough snow pack in the mountains to get us through the summer.

And now it's getting cold.  As in harsh cold.  At this moment it is minus 20C.  The forecast is predicting temps down even further as the week progresses as in the minus 30C range.  (F and C converge at -40)

And today Doug and his helper go pull wire.

When Puff was installed, there was no heavy duty electrical panel and the boiler needed one to run.  So we bought one and hired an electrician to hook it up.  However, it meant running a heavy duty wire from the big box up into our room.  Since we bought and paid for that, and the landlord has assured us he doesn't want it, Doug is removing it and will try to find a local buyer.

But some of the places the wire runs is in unheated areas.  So the guys are dressing warmly and will take breaks to prevent frost bite.  Working in heavy gloves/mitts will be a challenge and so the whole job may take all day as they may need to go warm up.  Repeatedly.

In the meantime I continue to work on weaving.  I pressed a run of place mats on the little press and need to contact the person who wants them that they are now ready.  I finished weaving the burgundy mats and need to wet finish them.

But I also finished dressing the Megado with the silk warp, filled bobbins and stored them in a humidor.  Because with the drop in temperature, the relative humidity also drops and the new humidifier is having a tough time keeping the relative humidity high enough for weaving with something like silk that tends to generate static electricity.  And I want/need to keep the computer assisted dobby happy.

But I'm anxious/excited about getting started on that warp this morning.  The first scarf will be the 'easy' one - intended for publication it will be a four shaft version.  The next one, intended as a gift, I will get to play around a bit.  Fun times!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

More on Ergonomics

catching the shuttle - shuttle tip slides between index and middle finger, thumb can provide braking action to the bobbin.  Index finger than moves to the point to return the shuttle the other direction

ready to throw the shuttle from right to left.  I have large hands but some shuttles have 'points' that are too long even for my fingers.  If you have small hands, some shuttle makers produce smaller shuttles with quite 'blunt' points that may fit your hand 'better' than this standard Leclerc in the photo.  Most of the motion of the throw comes from the push of my index finger with a small flick of the wrist.  The wider the warp, the more 'flick' may be required.  But I can easily throw a shuttle across a 60" wide warp using this motion.

Brief look at wrist positions

Almost all on line references about 'neutral' hand positions are in relation to computers - keyboard and mouse use.

So instead I am going to elaborate a bit on general ergonomics.

Generally speaking, the muscles work better when they are straight, so a straight line from joint to joint is the recommendation.  I just watched a video that talked about being able to use 100% of ones strength in the 'neutral' alignment and how strength drops off when that straight alignment is not used.

(Want to Google yourself?  I found the 'best' results by using the key words 'neutral hand position')

The lower arm has two bones, which are parallel.  The body is wonderfully flexible (when it is healthy) and part of our range of motion comes from being able to rotate our arm between the elbow and the hand.  The thing is, as we rotate our hand from a thumbs up to a thumbs down position, we do that by twisting those two bones and the muscles are no longer in straight alignment from elbow to wrist.  The more extreme the rotation, the more muscles, from neck/shoulder to hand, are used.

(Remember the children's song - about how every joint is connected to the next joint.)

The twisting means that muscles that were relaxed are now engaged.  How much will depend on how far the rotation goes, and how much strength one needs to use to do the task.

Once all of the muscles from neck, through shoulder, upper arm, lower arm - plus the small hand muscles - are engaged, we are working under load.  When we then do the same motions, over and over and over again?  Muscles tire.  If they get really tired, inflammation may begin and if that inflammation lasts for any length of time (how much depends on the particular body), muscle tissue can become damaged.

This is referred to as 'repetitive stress injury'.

This principle applies to all of the muscles in our body, not just the shuttle throwing ones.

Things to watch for are turning your body at the waist repeatedly, using your right hand stretched out to your far left (like in winding a warp on a warping board - one reason so many people recommend a mill or other warp winding device.  Of course each of those tools comes with caveats.)

Working with your hands over shoulder height (for example a warping board that is mounted too high).  This becomes very tiring.  I have linked to a rock climbers blog with more info on this in a previous post on ergonomics.  He makes the case that when the hand is held above the head for a lengthy amount of time, it becomes harder for the heart to pump blood upwards to the hands, causing muscle fatigue.

Working with your hands stretched out in front of you.  This is a huge no-no for me with my whiplash injuries.  It only takes a couple of minutes of using a loom with levers arrayed across the castle of a loom for my neck to begin objecting.  If I don't stop, the objections become louder and louder (as in increased pain).  Or using a lever loom with levers at the side of the castle.  Same thing.

I've talked at length elsewhere about sitting 'properly'.  My teeth gnash when I see weavers sitting in chairs (ordinary chairs are generally 'raked' - as in your bottom tends to be somewhat lower than level - which is fine for ordinary sitting, not good for weaving.)

Recap on sitting - elbows higher than the breast beam to prevent lifting shoulders, hips higher than knees, sit on sitz bones, not coccyx, engage abdominal muscles.  Exactly how you sit will depend on the loom.  Front hinged treadles and back hinged treadles will take slightly different positions.

Now all of these recommendations are based on the assumption that a person is able to do them.  Not everyone comes to the craft in the peak of health.  Some people use weaving as physical therapy.  (My physiotherapist was delighted with my recovery from a badly broken ankle because I had begun weaving even before I was given the green light to put my full weight on it.  Which broke most of the adhesions, giving me better range of motion than most people who don't have a floor loom to force them to do that.)

Not everyone comes to the craft uninjured.  Like with my whiplash injuries.  Some people are more prone to inflammation than others and need to be very careful they don't set off a chain of events that can become debilitating.

Everyone must work within the limits of their body.  As we age, things like inflammation can crop up more quickly.  Or we acquire yet more injuries.  Or like me, an adverse drug effect that attacked my muscles and joints.  Kept me alive, but...

Bottom line?  If you feel pain, STOP!  Yes, I'm yelling.  Weaving is not a 'no pain, no gain' activity.  It is a 'stop before you hurt yourself'.  Go do something that requires different muscles.  Or just plain rest.

My recommendation is this - if there is a more ergonomic way of doing something, start doing that before you set habits that will be extremely difficult to break if such time comes that you do have an injury or need to change from that habit to something friendlier to the body.  You may be young and uninjured now.  That may not last.  Or it may.  We don't know what the future holds.

As always, YMMV.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Free Advice

Is worth what you paid for it.

Over the years, I have woven a lot.  Dealt with physical injuries and ailments, but had to weave anyway so needed to work with a variety of health professionals to keep me going.  I talked to them, listened to their advice, learned how the body works.

Since the rise of the internet I have belonged to many different groups, heard the complaints from dozens of people about pain, discomfort, frustration.  Having addressed many of these problems in my own studio, I had advice to give.  And I have given it on groups and now mainly here, for years.

Having taught all over the place, I have seen hundreds of weavers trying to weave using 'bad' ergonomics.  There is nothing quite like seeing someone from all angles to see how they are using their body and knowing the potential for damage they are courting.

Not everyone agrees with what I have to say - about anything, apparently.  And that is fine.  We all must come to our own best practice.

All I can do is offer facts and principles.  How anyone else applies them - or not - will be up to them.  Everyone needs to find their own way.

If you (general you, not you specific, but whatever) have found my free advice helpful, you can do me a favour by recommending the things that I do expect to be paid for - i.e. my books and DVDs as offered now as on-line workshops via Handwoven

I frequently see people recommending 'just toss it in the washer/dryer' as the 'best' approach to wet finishing.  Which is fine as far as it goes.  It's free advice. 

I frequently see people recommending particular processes in weaving as the 'best' approach.  Which is fine, as long as they are getting the results they desire.

I frequently see people saying they don't want to work 'fast' when all I recommend is working ergonomically.  Work at your own pace, but please, be aware of body mechanics and try to not damage your body in the process.

You may never cause yourself injury doing what you are doing.  But some of us come to the craft already injured.  We need to work with our bodies, the way they are, and not damage them further.

Don't just take my word for it.  Consult a medical professional.  Make sure you are working in a way that promotes a long time in the craft, not a painful one.

Thursday, January 9, 2020


shuttle held 'overhand' sometimes referred to as The Claw

shuttle held from below or under hand

There are several 'hot' topics in the weaving world.  They come round, regular as clockwork.  People give their opinions.  No minds are changed.

So I offer this simply as information.  Do with it as you will.

When I started weaving, I recognized that some positions and postures were more ergonomic than others.  Over the years I have consulted with physiotherapists, massage therapists, people who have degrees in body mechanics.  All confirm - the thumbs down position is 'bad' for the body.

Maybe not today.  Maybe not tomorrow or next week.  Maybe not even in a year or 10.  But it puts additional stress on shoulder, neck, pectoral muscles, to repeatedly make a motion with the thumb in the downward position.

Now, it all depends on when or even IF someone might develop physical issues.  Your genetics for one.  Previous injuries for another.  A person also has to take into consideration their own physical limitations, whatever they might be.

But the principle remains.  Thumbs down is generally not recommended.  

The two photos above kind of illustrate the point.  Thumbs down, the lower arm is rotated, the elbow raised and away from the body, shoulder raised.

The thumbs or palm up position, the shoulder is in more neutral  position, the elbow closer to the body, the lower arm is not rotated.

Which way someone holds their shuttle is a matter of personal preference.  All I can do is state the principle and let people choose which method they will use.

On The Other Hand...again just a month ago I had a weaver approach me in my booth in Calgary to thank me for my videos and all the preaching I do here about using 'good' processes.  Seems she had been plagued with chronic severe neck/shoulder pain for two years, trekking from doctor to doctor, taking copious pain killers, unable to weave.  She finally got to a specialist who frowned and said the only time he had seen such injury was in people who (and made the motion of throwing a shuttle).

She told me she said, 'you mean like throwing a shuttle?'  "Yes!" 

"I'm a weaver."

After that the doctor was able to zoom in on the muscles that were injured, recommend exercises, and she bought my DVD, which she said fit right in with her treatment.  After several months she was once again able to weave.

Other people have contacted me to let me know that once they adopted the palm/thumb up way of holding the shuttle, their selvedges improved and their weaving rhythm became more efficient.  It was not what they had expected, but they felt that was a positive outcome.

So for anyone contemplating how they hold/throw the shuttle, think about the effect the thumbs down position has on your body.

We only get one.  Let's take care of it.

(And if you choose to continue with thumbs down?  Take frequent rest breaks, massage your lower arms, shoulder and neck.  Apply heat/ice as required.)

While I'm on my soapbox...sit high enough - hips higher than knees.  Sit up on your sitz bones, not rotated onto your coccyx.  Engage your abdominal muscles to protect your lower back.  Sit up straight, not hunched over.  Sit perched on the edge of your bench so that you don't cut off the circulation to your legs.  Bend from the hips.  Again, as your ability to do so allows.  Not everyone has good range of motion for whatever reason.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020


I used to beam the AVL with a wound warp but wasn't sure if I could make it work on the Megado.  The warp is silk, fairly fine, and it's for a proposed article for Handwoven.  I have already had some...oopsies...with this project so I was foot dragging on getting it beamed.  Not to mention the studio got snow globed again and I could not get to the loom to work on it for several days.

However, late last night Doug got the last shelving unit assembled (it was too big to fit down our winding stair case) and that got put into place - against the wall behind where I sit at the loom. 

Moving the Megado far enough away from the wall for the shelving unit to fit means I now need my supplemental lights moved so that I can see properly to thread.  Sigh.  Dominoes.  Again.

The Megado is a different loom from the AVL and it quickly became apparent that this process was going to go a whole lot more smoothly if I had help, so I asked Doug if he had time to assist.  He did, so we jumped in.

It went smoothly enough - sort of.  It is only a six meter long warp, so the small amount of difference in build up of the yarn should not be enough to cause too many issues.  If it does, the warp is long enough I can cut/re-tie after the first scarf.  But silk does have some elasticity, so we will see how it goes.

Then when I was transferring the cross I got impatient and instead of waiting for helping hands, I forged ahead.  The lower lease stick fell out of the cross.  So then I had to carefully pick it up again.  When we did the actual cross transfer, somehow not all the threads made it to the correct place.  Not enough that I can't fudge it.  But still.  One more oopsie on top of too many.

But the warp is beamed.  Now that is done, I'm going to go weave on the small loom which I got dressed yesterday.  A little carrot for bulldozing through the obstacle the silk warp had become.

Another lesson in humbility...


There is a meme I've seen on Facebook that says something to the effect that so far 'your ability to survive a bad day is 100%'

Or words to that effect.

Today is a difficult day.  For a number of reasons.  We all have them.  Some have them more frequently than others.  Some have worse days than others. 

There is an old proverb that says that if everyone gathered in a circle and tossed their problems into the middle and were allowed to select one to take out?  We would reach for the one we threw in.  The devil you know, and all that...

So it is with me at the minute.  I am so tired of the business shut down.  The moving out of the annex.  The constant snow globing of the studio.

Late last night Doug put the last shelving unit back to together.  When he asked where it would go, my response expression of frustration.  I am tired of making decisions.  Tired of tweaking.  Tired.

I want it done, and I want it done now.

Well, obviously that isn't going to happen.  Things will take place in their time.  Next week is the appointment with my accountant, which should clarify a few things and let me know how to properly shut down business tax reporting accounts.  That will be a big step towards closure.

Doug is doing prep work on the steam press disassembly but the potential buyer wants to help take the system apart so he is leaving the actual press and working on the electrical and venting, leaving the press until we find out more about the purchase.  And then the weather.  We have had snow storms, dumping large amounts of snow on the mountain slopes and today the highways are closed as they do avalanche mitigation.  So even if they were prepared to come, the roads are closed.

Next week the temps are supposed to drop to 'normal' winter temps.  IOW minus 20C.  That means the road conditions should improve, but the cold will make things more difficult.

So while I would love to race to the finish like the hare, I will have to make like the tortoise and keep plodding.

At least there is no snow here today.  A welcome respite which will allow road crews to clear pathways. 

This too shall pass...

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Patience, Grasshopper

Lots of reflecting going on in my life right now.  Here is Mary, standing in a beam of sun, her hair aglow.

This was an emotional day for me.   We were both on a quest, testing ourselves to see if our activity horizons were actually expanding.  I was about 5 months post op from triple by-pass surgery.  We tackled walking up the boardwalk trail in the Ancient Forest.  This stretch had rough ground, and I chose not to go to the little bridge, but got to see Mary triumph.

Life is not a straight line of progression.  There are plenty of detours, rough ground, pot holes.  In this case you can also see the devil's club which covers the ground of the forest.  Surely an apt metaphor for the journey through life we each take.

I feel like I am nearly at the 'top' of this hike through closing down my business.  So close, yet significant things still to be done.  So, not quite there, but within reach.

Yesterday I rearranged the Megado end of the studio so the last shelving unit could be installed, but Doug and his helper spent the day dealing with the electrical and vent pipes of the boiler.  I'm hoping the shelving can come over today so I can put that end of the studio back into shape so I can beam the silk warp and get started on that.

In the meantime I do have the Leclerc Fanny and the burgundy mat warp that was beamed yesterday.  I can thread/sley it this afternoon, maybe get started on weaving it.

My goal was to be done with the shutting down by the end of December.  Then realized that was unrealistic, and extended that to the end of January.  Now we may need to extend that a little bit further as winter weather is not co-operating with us.

The ramp to the annex loading dock is very steep and right now it is extremely icy.  So much so that the truck to remove Puff may not be able to safely navigate it.  However the weather forecast says it will get a lot colder next week and with the colder temps and no snow falling, road conditions may improve.

Time will tell.

In the meantime, I grit my teeth and try to stay focused on what I can do, not on what I wish would happen.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Wet Finishing Woolens

This fabric was woven and then taken to Sweden, then to a vadmalstamp in Norway to be wet finished.

The round piece in the upper left was finished in the stamp for 90 minutes.  Kerstin then turned some of the cloth into a German berger's hat.  (German merchant)

Going to the stamp was experimental, exploration, educational.  We took some of the cloth that had been put through the stamp and then ran it through her front loading washing machine on the most extreme cycle it had for a further 10 cycles to achieve the background cloth.

It is hard to describe a vadmal stamp, but Kirsi Frimanson has posted a video to You Tube showing her visit to a stamp and how it operates.

Vadmal (or vadmel) is a heavy duty woolen cloth that was kind of like the blue jeans of the middle ages.  It was still being used well into the 20th century, although by then it was mostly commercially produced.

Think wool melton.

I didn't do a traditional quality of cloth, nor did the others.  We each brought a length of fabric, all woven from wool, ranging from very open (think window screening), to fairly dense, either woolen or worsted, and mostly we just wanted to see what happened.

It was a once in a lifetime experience, but if you are thinking of traveling to Sweden, you might contact Kirsi to see if there are any group vadmalstamps that you might participate in.  Or attend Vav conference.  She had a booth there at the last one in 2017, speaks English very well if you don't speak Swedish (like I don't!)

Many Swedes do speak English very well.  The exhibits were interesting and the vendor hall had lots of linen and different quality of wool yarns from those commonly available in North America.

I also met people from Australia, Lichtenstein, Germany and I think England if I remember correctly.  Glad I made it at least once because I never thought I would be able to.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Winding Down

More steps towards closing down my business.

Yesterday Doug went pressing one last time, then started taking the heavy duty wiring apart in preparation for disassembling Puff.  I will really miss the ease of hard pressing my textiles, but on the other hand, I used a small flat bed press for about 20 years before acquiring Puff, but with my new reduced production as a hobby weaver, I am really really glad I kept the small press.

Mine is an Elna, but Singer and other sewing machine makers like Pfaff are apparently making them.  They are more expensive than an iron, but press about 4 times as much area.

Today he will go back to the annex and continue to work on preparations to take Puff apart.  His helper is available tomorrow, he thinks, so a lot of what he does today will just make their work together tomorrow easier.

This morning I submitted the sales taxes - GST (federal) and PST (provincial).  That is the last time I will have to deal with collecting/remitting those.  My appointment with the accountant will help me close down those accounts so that both government agencies know my business is in fact shut down.

We have given the landlord notice that we will be out of the annex by the end of January.  Since I doubt he can find a new tenant to move in Feb. 1, we may ask for a week's extension if necessary, given the weather and the icy loading ramp which may make moving Puff out problematic.  But we have contacted someone with a self-loading flat deck and will have to work within their schedule as well.

I took yesterday 'off' from weaving, first having a long brunch with a friend.  She has been very busy so it was great to catch up on all that she has been doing.  Then I tackled my Dec. ledger, got that balanced, reconciled with my cheque book and with the filing of the taxes this morning am well prepared for my appointment with the accountant on the 16th.

We are nagging the landlord to cash the January rent cheque so I can close my business chequing account as soon as the last two cheques I wrote clear the account.

It took me years to build my business into what it was - taking 7 months to get it all shut down is not unexpected.  I'm just so tired of the constant juggling, rearranging, remembering more things that need to be dealt with.  My business telephone number will be closed on Jan. 11 so at least we won't have all the spam phone calls that line gets.  And no, I couldn't list my business number on the Do Not Call Registry - any business may call any other business.  So we just had to put up with it.  Since we rarely get any phone calls for us, the interruption to what we were doing to answer yet another spam call was annoying to say the least!

Doug has some more people to contact re: AVL parts and will work on those soon.  If you haven't heard from him, he's been a bit busy.  As soon as his list gets updated, I will post here just in case anyone else is interested in anything that is left.

Today I am going to ignore the looms and start clearing clutter out of the guest room, remove a pile of clutter from the living room floor to pile somewhere in the studio.  I fear that goat trails will begin to appear as we do the final push to move things out of the annex.  I just don't have the energy to start diving into boxes to see what is in them, stirring up decades of dust as I do.  (I'm allergic to dust, so every box sets off more sinus issues.)

There is one more set of shelves to be moved from the annex.  They couldn't be moved last week during the snowfall, and now the ramp to the annex loading dock is akin to a luge run.  Doug will try to back the truck up today so that he doesn't have to walk up the slippery slope.

Anyway, that is where we are and what we are dealing with.  Thanks for letting me vent...

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Keeping Track

I have two planning calendars - one for the current year, one for the coming year.  Early in January I wipe last years calendar off, post the now current one where I can easily consult it (door of my office) and set up the calendar for the next year which I also keep in the office.

This year I don't have to track craft fairs, but I do have to keep track of teaching.  Already I have two weaving workshops in Feb, am holding dates for two weeks in April then in May in case Olds assigns me to those satellite classes, Olds Fibre Week, where I'm booked to teach level one again, then Convergence in Knoxville TN, where I plan on hanging out (and giving Teresa Ruch comfort breaks from her vendor booth).

I have also said I would help with the guild exhibit at the fall fair so I need to sort out when exactly that will be, plus help at the guild booth at the craft fair, then lastly, the guild sale we routinely have in December.

So all of those will get entered into the 2020 calendar.  2021 will be blank for now as I no longer teach for guilds.  Other than my own, of course.

January has gotten more complicated than expected, but I'm feeling much improved and managing to get some work done every day.  (Still think of weaving as 'work' - that may take a while to change!   Is it still work when you don't really expect an income from it?  House work is still called 'work' and if you do your own, you don't get paid money, just the satisfaction of getting it done.  My payment for weaving will now be enjoyment and satisfaction.  Hmmm....)

We are having a far too warm January.  We had about 6" of snow, but the temps rose to +0 C and then it rained - hard - on top of already nasty roads.  With more precipitation and equally warm temps for the next while, driving is going to be done very carefully - by me, at least.

My goals for the next while are to stay on top of the marking for Olds - I have one box in hand, another en route.  I need to prepare for two Intro to Weaving weekends.  If they want to continue, I need to figure out a date for a further workshop for those interested.   I'm not sure when I will find out if it will be me teaching the two satellite classes, but I am heartened by the growth in the program.

The Gaelic College in Cape Breton is scheduling all four levels this year.  Fibreworks Studio is offering level one and two.  The college website has not been updated with the 2020 course offerings yet, but you can check in a week or two.  There is a button on the far right for off campus listings.

For the class at Madeira Park on the lovely Sunshine Coast, you can reserve your spot by contacting Alexis directly.

If I teach I plan on driving so I can bring a van load of stuff with me, plus potentially two classes.  :)

The drive from Vancouver up the Sea to Sky Highway is pretty amazing.  The Coast Mountain Range drops almost directly into the sea.  Long fjords line the coast and the highway hugs the thin strip of land between the two.  In April the weather could be cool and wet.  Or it could be glorious with spring bursting forth.  Cape Breton in May will most likely be windy with the winds blasting off the Atlantic.  The advantage to Cape Breton is that the studio is fully loaded and you don't have to transport a loom.

Today I will be tackling that silk warp while Doug goes pressing.  We are waiting for word on the sale of some studio stuff and slowly the rubble is being removed.  Several trips to the thrift shops are planned and Doug has been filling the recycle bins, including his scrap metal bin with various things.  Yesterday the fan on my ancient humidifier died so that will be added to the pile.  We haven't been able to buy the 'proper' wicks for that for years so we'll get a new one.

With the warmer temps and the precipitation, the relative humidity isn't terribly dry but I don't like weaving with silk when it's 'dry', so hopefully we can replace the humidifier quickly.  We just have so many things on our respective to-be-done lists!

For this morning, however, I am meeting a friend to deliver her Ashford order and have brunch and a catch up.  I'll deal with the silk warp this afternoon.  Or my ledger.  Or who knows?  Maybe both.