Saturday, February 29, 2020


Yesterday, not feeling that weaving would be in my best interests, I started working on the level four master weaver class.  One of the things I have is a whole bunch of samples.  Many of these were woven for my own information, for published articles, for class examples.

Developing a class is time consuming.  Even when working to a curriculum developed by others, it is still necessary to make sure I have appropriate samples to show that students can learn from.  Because not all of us process information in the same way.  I know that recently this concept has become somewhat controversial, but I have seen it myself - I talk about a concept and some people understand.  I draw diagrams and a few more get it.  I demonstrate and light bulbs go off.  Likewise having an actual sample of the fabric brings understanding.

It was one of the most valuable things I learned as a new weaving teacher - don't just keep saying the same thing over and over again.  As one student put it, 'saying the same thing only louder doesn't help me understand any faster'.  I paraphrase.

Whether or not I am personally developing a topic, and I have developed quite a few between workshops and written publications, it still takes hours of preparation to go through the documentation to determine what I need to have available for teaching aids and a lesson plan to convey the course content.

Level four is all about colour and design.  As I began digging through my bins of samples, I realized that I have done a lot of weaving that could be used as examples for this class.  While my inventory of textiles for sale is dwindling, there are quite a few gamps, which is what the students will be partially working on for their homework. 

These samples are not meant to be copied by the students, but act as tools to understanding.

I will also (if there are sufficient students) be teaching level two.  For those samples I need go no further than my samples for the Guild of Canadian Weavers, because I had to weave samples of twill, overshot and double weave for those tests.

But I also need to sit down with the manuals and develop a lesson plan for both classes.  I'm focusing on level four first because I have not taught it before.  I have taught level two and have a pretty good idea of what needs to happen when and an hour or so of review will likely be sufficient.  But level four is going to take a lot longer.

Like most teachers, I only get paid for the hours I am teaching in the classroom, not for the many hours that will be needed prior to ever stepping into the classroom.  I'm not complaining, just saying.

People who have never taught really do not know how much work goes into what happens when they arrive. 

I am feeling 'better' enough today that I am going to weave a towel.  And use that shuttle throwing time to think about the level four class and how I might best shape the experience for the students.  And then start gathering the art supplies and samples, check my yarn supply for the group warps (because there will be two for level four) and then hopefully mail early enough for everything to arrive before I do.

To fly out to Cape Breton I have been taking the red eye from Vancouver to Toronto, then to Sydney where a local meets me at the airport.  We then go shopping for food (because the college is isolated and I will not have transportation) and then I fall into bed and Sunday spend the day getting the classroom and studio ready. 

And then the fire hose of information will begin bright and early on Monday morning - and keep flowing until Friday. 

Last I heard, we should have enough people for level four to run, level two, we won't know until one month prior to that class starting.  But I still have to be prepared and ready to send the materials so that they will also arrive in time for class.  Time that may or may not be required, depending on if the class goes ahead or not.

Just one of the realities of offering instruction for weaving (or any craft) - you do your best to offer valuable information, then wait and see if enough people are interested enough to invest in the time and effort to take it.  

Friday, February 28, 2020


Arm Blanket

When photos began emerging showing folk knitting on their arms using roving, I shuddered.  Merino is probably one of the more expensive of the wool fibres and to make a full sized blanket it would take pounds of the stuff.  For example 100 grams of merino roving (plain Jane natural white) would cost about $15.00 Cdn.  For a small blanket, you would need at least a couple of kilos (5-6 pounds).  Once you had it made, it would be extremely difficult to clean because it would be extremely bulky and it would not fit into a washing machine, nor would you want to.  So putting it into the bathtub would be one way to wash it, but fully saturated wool is extremely heavy and how would it be dried?  It could not be hung up but would need to be laid flat somewhere.  And it would take ages to dry.

But that's just one factor.

Roving is unspun fibre.  As such you would be knitting with loose fibre that has zero structure, therefore zero stability.  It would not be able to withstand abrasion and I'm not sure that knitted on something the size of someone's arms, it would even stand up to just laying on the back of a sofa.

The above link sets out in clear terms why someone would not want to arm knit a merino (or any other type of roving) blanket.

Hair type fibres such as alpaca or llama would be even worse.  Those fibres are slippery and would tend to pull apart even faster.

In my opinion, knitting a roving blanket on your arms is a very bad idea.  The very definition of conspicuous consumption, an example of waste.  A waste of your time, your money and a very nice fibre in a format intended to be spun not worked with as is.  Unless you are felting it.  But again, it is the raw material to make something that will have stability, will withstand abrasion, will last for more than a month or two.

So my advice?  Buy the merino.  Spin it.  Knit a lovely blanket with one third the fibre and have it last for years, not a few weeks.  Don't know how to spin?  Buy the spun yarn.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Lesson Planning

And so it begins.

This will be my first time teaching level four so I printed out the file the college sent and am now going through it to see what all is necessary, both in terms of my bringing appropriate teaching aids and a group warp.  For level one and two, the instructor sets up a group warp for the class to use in turn, and I need to find out what the level four group warp entails.

However this morning I woke up with an eye-watering muscle spasm between spine and shoulder blade.  Pain killers are barely making a dent in the pain and I doubt I'm going to be able to weave so paging through the manual seems like a mighty fine idea.

The more I teach this program, the more I appreciate what the course designers have built into it.  I remember filling out a very lengthy questionnaire when they were first working on it and of course I stuck my oar in about wet finishing.  It was years later when I applied for and was accepted to teach the program and was very pleased when I read through the manuals to see what all had been included.

Level one begins with wool as the yarn, plain weave, basket, and twill as the main focus.  (Other variations are included but they all build on those initial weave structures.)

Level two works with cotton, twill, overshot and double weave.

Level three addresses unit weaves and expands to linen and silk.

Level four has a focus mainly on colour and design.

In addition to all that, exercises push students to explore other aspects of weaving, especially in terms of communication - so written work, documentation, photography, and in level four building a portfolio.

There is much, much more - these are just a taste of what is included.

Students sometimes don't understand that all the exercises, yes, even the paper weaving, have been included for very specific instructional reasons.  They all, even the photography, are there to further the students in learning about the broader aspect of being a weaver - in the broadest context - in the 21st century.

It is also a program that is pushing people to learn the basics, yes, but also the principles of the craft.  The sorts of things that rarely get addressed in a seminar or a two day workshop, because there simply isn't time.

Level one also addresses ergonomics.  Me being me, I love this part of the class because I get to tell people in depth about how to protect their body from repetitive stress injuries as best they can.  I love digging into things like how density affects the finished cloth, and the wet finishing.

This year I am teaching level four and two in Cape Breton and level one at Olds College Fibre Week.  Even if someone isn't interested in taking the entire program, I would like to encourage people to at least take level one.  It is the foundation upon which the rest sits.

If someone can't take the class, then I recommend Jane Stafford's on line guild.

If you sign up now, you get all the previous lessons as well as joining the current content.  Jane and I do some things differently, we have had different experiences and different teachers.  But she will give good information and I suggest that if you want a good solid foundation of weaving knowledge you won't go wrong taking her on line classes.  Some of the things she does may resonate better than what I do.   Choose your expert.  Learn enough to become your own expert.

Someone asked me if I was going to teach on line now that I'm retired.  The answer is no.  Jane is doing a fabulous job and there is no need for me to join in with one.  If someone wants to learn from me there are resources - my books, the DVDs I did for Interweave which are now available from Long Threads Media as on line 'workshops' and my humble attempt at short video clips on You Tube.

Or Olds College.  This year in Cape Breton for level four and two, or level one at Olds Fibre Week.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Shaft Envy

When I started weaving in 1975, most people had four shaft looms.  Some few had 8 (this was in North America - Europeans had looms with more) but more than that was very rare.  There were a few 12 and 16 shaft looms but they were not particularly common.

What drew me to weaving was being able to make complex patterning.  As such I got an 8 shaft loom fairly soon after starting to weave, but the loom itself wasn't a good fit for me.  As I learned more, I discovered dobby looms - the Llangolyn from the UK but also the AVL which was fairly new on the market.

As an aspiring production weaver, I was looking for lots of shafts, but also a level of efficiency that would make it easier to actually earn some money.  After reading Allen Fannin's book Handloom Weaving Technology, I settled on the AVL.  The deciding factor was that it was available in the US and it had a shorter height which would actually fit into my basement studio.

The AVL served me well for the better part of four decades (1981-2019) but Life Happens and it was time to get rid of it.

I found myself mourning the loss of the 16 shafts, sectional beam, computer assisted dobby.  I could live without the fly shuttle - hadn't actually used it for nearly 5 years - and the auto cloth advance (although that one really is lamented!)

After a few days of trying to figure out what I was going to do, I remembered weaving on the Megado not long after Louet rolled it out.  The lasting impression was how little physical effort it took to weave on, something that was getting more important to this aging body.

Over the years the number of shafts available on the Megado had grown to 32.  I looked at the website, considered upgrading to 32 shafts, thought about my poor eyesight and what it would take to actually thread 32 shafts...and walked away from the thought. 

How many shafts did I need?  I had been weaving with 16 for 38 years and while there were times when a few more would have been nice, they were too few to really make spending the extra money a reasonable expense.

So how many shafts does someone need?  That is, and always will be, a personal choice.  So I tell students to buy what they can afford and can fit into their environment.  They might begin with four, but if there are more shafts available, they might find they want/need them in the future.

One of the things that happened this past weekend is that I was dressing a small lever loom for the loom dressing demo.  I had offered to weave a sample for someone and it required six shafts.  So I had borrowed a small 8 shaft lever loom.  It happened to have two warp beams, which meant we had a discussion about why one would want/need to have two warp beams on a loom.

I had samples I had woven showing using two beams and we had a good talk about what is possible and why one might want additional mechanical assistance - like more shafts, double beams, a computer assisted dobby.

If more mechanical assistance can't be justified in someone's budget, then it is time to get creative - how can someone exploit the equipment they have to be as creative as they can be?  As a new weaver learns more about how threads interlace to make pattern/design, the better able they are to bend the rules.

So things like weaving using pick up can be done.  Like in my brother's jacket.

The pattern on the jacket was woven in pick up.  To weave this design using a shaft loom would have required way more shafts than any hand loom comes with.  I would have needed, at best, a draw loom or ideally a Jacquard.

But using a pick up stick, I was able to weave this design over the course of a few days, an hour at a time.  Probably why the beat isn't perfectly consistent (which bothers me, but not a lot).

The thing is, if a loom isn't a good fit, it can always be sold on and a different one purchased.  I have been through a lot of looms over the years.  It's kind of like a car - as your needs change, a different car might be a better fit. 

It depends.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

One by One

Now that the two local Intro to Weaving workshops are over, it is time to work on The Next Thing.

That is the level four (and two) Olds classes in Cape Breton the end of April, beginning of May.  I got the manuals a few weeks ago, but for me retirement means focusing on one thing at a time, not trying to juggle six.  So I concentrated on the local workshops and now that they are out of the way, it is time to look at the level four manual and work out a lesson plan.

Doug is nearly moved out of the annex, so shutting down my business is nearly complete.  I still have to go deal with the insurance for the studio.  Not having a separate space, not driving long distances to do shows, I can adjust how much insurance I actually need now.  Which means that sometime before my appointment next week I also need to do an estimated inventory.

With every inch of available wall space converted to shelving, I can more easily set out my yarn so that what I have can be seen, not dumped in boxes where it remains anonymous until I dig it out.  There is something rather pleasing about the yarn neatly lined up, tempting me to work with it.  :)

This week will be 'light' duties for a few days as I go in for my next pain treatment this morning.  A good time to look at the manual, take a note pad to the studio and crunch numbers. 

Yesterday I wove the first tea towel on the current warp.  Since it is being woven 'up-side-down' it is hard to see how it looks.  I'm using warp and weft yarns of very similar hue and value, so until I can get it off the loom I won't really know how successful I have been.  However, the yarn needs using up, they are tea towels and will dry dishes regardless. 

I am also weaving a small sample for another weaver on a borrowed loom.  That won't take long - I just need to do it.  Hopefully Thursday evening at guild drop in.  I have no room here currently to work on it so left it at the guild room.

There are also things simmering in the back of my mind - I'm seriously thinking of plying some of Ingrid's extremely fine silk so that I can see it to weave with it.  Plying will take forever - because THIN!  But I'm retired.  I can do things that take all sorts of time.  :)

Yesterday we had a lovely sunny day - today is overcast.  The sky is white, the ground is (mostly) white.  It's a very bland sort of day, but beautiful in its way.  And February is almost over, spring isn't far away.  The seasons cycle through and onwards we go...

Monday, February 24, 2020

Up and Running

In between preparing for classes, trying to weave or at least do something productive in the studio each day, running back and forth trying to get the new cpu on's been a week.

However, here she is!  Thank you to those folk who helped by contributing my my ko-fi account.

I bought my first computer in, um, 1988?  I took the system requirements for Fiberworks in to the computer store, handed the sheet of paper to the sales person and said "Sell me a system that will run this software program."

I think they thought they'd died and gone to heaven (there were two on duty and I was the only customer.)

Since then I have looked at other programs but because I learned Fiberworks first, pretty much know how to make it do most of what I want it to do, one way or another, I've stuck with it.  Also, excellent customer service, Canadian product, I see no reason to switch.  Other programs are equal to and may have different features, try the free demo versions and decide which is best for you - if you choose to use weaving software.  Not everyone wants - or needs - to do that.

The political climate is very negative right now.  I am a left leaning liberal (small 'l' because I do not belong to the Liberal party) and my religion taught me to be kind - do unto others, and all that.

I do not understand the current trend to 'othering' folk.  I worry about the climate, the way some people want to deny services based on their perceived 'worthiness'.

I find it difficult first of all to ask for help, then, when it comes, I am humbled by the good will of people.

My ko-fi account was started because some people had specifically asked if I was going to be ok in my retirement (it will be challenging), some wanted to express their thanks in a more concrete way for the help/assistance I give freely on line, some wanted to help but didn't know how or couldn't afford much.

I heard about ko-fi on Twitter, looked at their site over several days and decided that it seemed like a good thing that would meet the needs of people who wanted to give and those that didn't could easily ignore.

Patreon was also looked at but I had heard that they had been changing their terms of service, plus I didn't want the obligation to provide material exclusively for Patreon supporters.  I'm supposed to be 'retired', not setting myself up with a new set of deadlines/obligations.

So I started the ko-fi account.  And then my cpu started to die.  So I asked for help with the desktop computer on which I do the majority of my teaching on line.  And people helped.

I am so grateful, saying thank you seems completely inadequate.

Now I am learning how Win 10 is different and figuring out where my files have gone, how to move files between programs, etc.  It's another learning curve, but it is early enough that I will have time to do that before I need to begin lesson prep for Cape Breton the end of March when I get word if the level four class will go ahead (it most likely will) and level two.

The manuals for the classes were updated last year so all I need for level two is to review the manual - except it looks like I might have lost the file that was sent due to the computer transfer.  All my previous emails were wiped out!  Well, that's one way of cleaning out your inbox!!!

OTOH, I have email stored on my ipad, so before I panic about that I will scroll through and forward the file to me to pick up on the desktop, then print out the homework pages so I can see if those parameters have changed, and if so, print out the entire manual to make sure I'm prepared for the class - in hopes that it will run.  Still looking for a few more folk to ensure that it runs.

I know I said I wanted to retire, but that was just from producing to sell my textiles, not the teaching!

So - THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU   I am back up and running again.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Done and Dusted!

Well, we wrapped up the second Intro to Weaving class this afternoon.  As usual, I forgot to take any photos, so you'll have to take my word for it.  :)

We had 6 people last week, had an oopsie with the 6th loom so that person was invited to return this weekend to make it 5 (one person had to cancel). 

This weekend we had one person from out of town, the rest were all local, three of them guild members already, the fifth is local but had not been a member of the guild previously.  She signed up by the end of the day.  :)

They stopped weaving by 3:15 or so, did their hemstitching, cut their samples off and then we started the final lecture on wet finishing.  We finished at 4:29 - not because I didn't have more to say, but because we were all tired and it was good to go home in the daylight, which is now lingering until around 5:30.

As usual, several people cleaned up our mess and helped me carry my bins out to the van and we were gone by 5.

Doug is tearing Puff apart with his helper and they are determined to complete the job and move out tonight.  They ate when it was convenient for them, and I had left overs when I finally pulled myself together.

Overall, I have to say my pain levels are responding positively to the treatment - I get the next one on Tuesday.  I'm still fighting feeling tired all the time, and I ache when I stand for 'too long', but I feel hopeful that I will be able to deal with the 5 day Olds classes ok.  I may not hang out in the weaving studio or class room for very long in the evenings but leave them to it.

Speaking of which, now that I'm done with these workshops, I will be digging into the level four manual and beginning my lesson plan, then reviewing level two.  I have to be ready to mail the class materials as soon as I get the go ahead, which should be March 27, and level two go ahead which should be April 4.  I expect to send two boxes so that I can get four into the mail as soon as possible.

It looks good for level four to go ahead, level two, we don't know yet. 

The Gaelic College has a fully loaded weaving studio - you don't have to bring a loom or reeds, etc.  You might want to bring a favourite shuttle, a notebook, art supplies (pencil crayons, water colours) and so on.  The housing is basic but comfortable for all that, and the cafeteria accommodates my allergy diet.  If you have never been before, bring layers, warm woolies, and wet weather gear - the wind barely pauses to take breath and it can rain at any time.  But we will be snug in the weaving studio and that is just a short walk from the classroom - enough time outside to take a breath and clear heads.

Register at the college - you can do it on line or phone.  Sign up for housing/food with the Gaelic College.

Saturday, February 22, 2020


Image may contain: 5 people

Teaching, talking, sharing.  This class is from a few years ago, but I'm still talking.

Last weekend there were six, this weekend 5, all great folk, willing to laugh, not take themselves too seriously, but seriously interested in learning about weaving.

This Saturday went much like last, with most of the day spent with me talking.  Sharing language, concepts, processes, focused on ergonomics.

By end of day today everyone was beginning to weave. 

I warn students that I'm going to sling a lot of information at them, that they won't all catch it all first or even 10th time.  Because there is a LOT to learn.

Change one thing and everything can change.  If you can't be perfect, be consistent.  Never use a knot where a bow will do.  My same old routine, but it is new to them (mostly).

There was a lot of fumbling, a lot of 'what is the called again?', a lot of confusion.  And it is all normal.  Familiar.  Standard.  When there is a lot to learn, it takes a while to learn it.

I don't know how many of this lot will continue, but knowledge is never wasted, understanding is to  be desired.

It's all good.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Head Aches the new computer back today and now the 'getting used to Win 10' headaches.

Seems my digital camera is 'too old'.  I tried to download new software so I can download the photos I have taken over the past few days and...nothing.  

So then I tried to use the features of Win 10.  The camera appeared to download to a file called 'photos', but do they show up in my file called 'pictures'?  No.  No they do not.

In the end I had to re-take the photos for the Handwoven article because the ones I took with the digital camera were a) too low resolution then b) 'not great'.  They asked me to take photos with my phone.  Apparently phones now take photos of better quality than my ancient digital camera.  

Other programs no longer work the way I want/need them to, so I have to learn how they actually work now.  I have lost not just my photo editing software, but other graphic type programs that were known and familiar.

That said, Bob was excellent in responding to my request for a new validation code and even suggested I upgrade Fiberworks as I am running a (ahem) rather old version of the program.  I thanked him, but said that I already had a 'fighting with the computer' head ache and if I decide to tackle that later, I'll get back to him.

In the end I wound up paying more for the new computer than I'd planned because other programs were 'too old' - so I had to buy new Office Works, new security, upgrade the memory, as well as pay for the tech support to transfer the data and tell me all the things that I had to spend more money on.

All this while I'm trying to get my head wrapped around the two day workshop beginning tomorrow.

I 'wasted' a couple of hours today trying to sort out the computer, deal with Win 10 setting up an outlook email I didn't want, but in the end needed.  It isn't something I will be using in the future as I already have three email addresses.  A fourth was overkill.

I also made an appointment to adjust my studio insurance for the first week in March.  Doug says he will be out of the annex by the end of this month.

In addition to all that, he has been dealing with plumbing issues.  Nothing catastrophic, just us trying to avert a bigger problem.

We both have tension headaches.

For now I'm going to go wind bobbins so that I can actually weave - maybe - on Monday.  Except that I have three 'health' appointments next week - deep tissue massage on Monday, pain treatment Tuesday and chiropractor on Thursday.

Getting decrepit sucks.  OTOH, I'm still  here, still able to weave.  So...

And if anyone wants to help keep me going, the link to ko-fi is under tip jar.  I think.

(edited to add link:

Thursday, February 20, 2020


Started hemming the towels that came off the loom last Friday.   The warp is 2/16 cotton, the weft a fine linen single.  The colours on my screen are pretty accurate, with three different colours in the warp - a medium blue, a greyed blue and a greyed green.  The linen is a much lighter value spring green.  

It was also much finer than the cotton so I added some plain weave into the tie up which resulted in a more stable fabric and a greater blending of the colours.  

They are for sale.  Somewhere.  Here if no where else.   I still haven’t figured out how I will proceed in selling my current and planned inventory.  

Yesterday I squeezed my credit card tight and it only whimpered rather than screamed, so I plunked it down and bought a new cpu.   The old one is at tech support with the new.  For those who contributed to my ko-fi fund, thank you.   If there is interest in purchasing these or other of my tea towels, I can post photos once I get my desktop up and running.  Trying to do a sale using the iPad just doesn’t work very well.  

Email me if interested.  Or use the ko-fi link to help with the new cpu.   

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Cruelest Month

Today we woke to low hanging fog and spring break up conditions.  Too early for spring break up (for here), but climate change is not a myth, it is happening and here we are.

February has always been a difficult month for me.  It is usually the dead of winter conditions and people are sick - literally with cold/flu (or when I was a child diseases that we can now vaccinate against but couldn't then and death was a real spectre as children or old folk dealt with illness that their body could not protect them from) or virtually - sick of the cold, sick of the snow, sick of shoveling, sick of slip/sliding on icy or compact snow rutted streets.  The only saving grace was the visible returning of the sun - a promise that spring would come, maybe not today, or next week, but maybe, if we were lucky, in March, surely April!

February has become cruel in another way because that is the month my younger (and only) brother died, suddenly, unexpectedly, at work from a massive heart attack.

I have been thinking about him a lot lately, not sure why.  When Facebook reminded me this morning of the date, it kind of hit me like a ton of emotional bricks.

For most of adulthood we didn't see each other much because for many years he worked out of town for the railroad.  He would be gone for six weeks at a time and when he managed to get back to town it was only for a few days and he would be back to work again.

He had a quiet sense of humour, stood up to bullies, was a visionary who seemed able to inspire others to hop onto his 'train' of thought.  At his memorial a friend described Don as a catalyst.  For the last years of his life he poured all his time and energy into the local railway museum, which is where he died that cold February night, 12 years ago.

The museum contacted me the end of January.  I had donated a jacket I wove for him to their collection but it had been listed as long term loan.  I had intended it to be part of their permanent collection so I need to go in and sign the updated papers.  Maybe that is why he has been so much on my mind this month?

Anyway, the pain does go (mostly) away, the missing does not.

Iconic photo of the Royal Hudson (steam train) and jacket I wove from his design based on the photo.  I have been asked to get close up photos of the weave structure and will try to get better photos.  These were taken at his funeral service.

Don Holzworth 1956-2008

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Change One Thing

beaming the warp for the next project

still some 'goat' trails

With my retirement from production weaving and selling my work, the move out of the annex, the disbursement of production equipment, there have been many, many changes in my life and my work space.

With the acquisition of someone's silk yarn 'estate', space had to be made for the seven (!) boxes of yarn, much of it extremely fine.  

Moving everything from the annex back to here meant gigantic upheavals, daily, as my studio got snowglobed and things got put where ever they would fit.

Doug is in the final stage of finally (finally!) moving the last things out of the annex and pretty much everything that needed to come here, is here.

One wall of the laundry area was turned into a gigantic wall of shelving.  There are bins of spinning, lace and teaching stuff there along with all my finished inventory (what is left) and the goal is to clear all those bins out from there and put them...somewhere else...and then what isn't finished inventory will be pantry.

Our house is modest and one of the things that has made living - and running a business - in this house challenging is the lack of space.

People don't realize that in order to be 'organized' you need to have the space/room to do that.

For about 40 years I have had goat trails in the studio as the boxes of yarn and such were stacked here and there.  Not to mention I wasn't just weaving, but teaching, spinning (at times), lace making, knitting, writing, self-publishing small run publications - and not so small run.  I not only wrote it, I - and Doug (and various family and friends) - assembled and shipped it.  So, shipping boxes, labels, unsold copies - all had to be stored somewhere.  Which is where the annex came in, for a while.

The top photo is the Megado.  Changing the AVL (60" weaving width with fly shuttles, two beams, air assist et al) to the smaller footprint Megado helped enormously as it freed up quite a bit of space.  Every inch of wall space that could be was converted to more shelving.

My goal was to be able to see my stash so I knew what I had in order to use it up.  We have done fairly well in the main area of the studio, but there are still some piles of rubble - things I'm not quite ready to get rid of, things that haven't yet found a home while Doug keeps trying to get them into the hands of people who might want them, teaching things I desperately need to sort through and decide if they are applicable to the Olds program - or not.  And if not, what do I do with them?  I also want to get back to spinning, but just haven't found the right time/place/motivation/energy.  And then there is the lace.  

Since December I have mostly been making a serious effort to become friends with the Megado.  Mostly we are.  But it is a different loom, engineered differently, and requires a different approach to things.  In the end I kept the AVL tension box and had Doug mount the tension box rail to the loom.  I looked at the Megado tension box and kept balking at actually using it.

So yes, holes were drilled.  It's a tool, it needs to work the way I want it to.  Or as closely as I can make it.

Am I happy I bought the Megado?  Let's say that at this point it was the correct decision.  There are things about it that I wish it had - like auto-cloth advance - but it doesn't so...

Do I wish I could weave faster on it?  Yes, but it won't go faster than it will go, so I must adjust to it.

Do I like that it is quieter?  Yes.  I also like the fact that much less physical effort is required to weave on it.  But it is still noisy enough when the solenoids activate that I will continue to wear hearing protection - because I already have documented hearing loss and would like to keep what is left.

I wish it had a bigger circumference warp beam, but Doug and I looked carefully at it and the loom is so tightly engineered I decided I would just have to get used to the smaller diameter.  And in the end, a 20 yard long warp is plenty.  I am no longer a production weaver, I am a retired production weaver.

So what does retirement mean for me?

Mostly it means not having critical deadlines by which time product must be ready to be sold.  It means no longer doing business tasks such as balancing books, collecting and remitting sales taxes.  It means not having to juggle multiple deadlines daily.

It means sitting in the sun soaking up the sunlight.  Making jigsaw puzzles.  (Still not reading much - my brain still feels incapable of absorbing much - even though I have stacks of books I do want to read.  And will.  Eventually.)

It means not beating myself up when the energy drains out of me and I don't feel like doing anything in the studio.

It means I am learning how to focus on what is important to me - and what isn't.

At the weekend I led an Intro to Weaving class and it was a delightful group of six who got that they needed to understand principles, gain knowledge, practice their physical skills mindfully.  I am hopeful they will continue, but mastering weaving is a lifelong pursuit.

Learning how when you change one thing...everything can change...

Monday, February 17, 2020

Under Pressure

This morning I pressed the towels that were cut off the loom on Friday, and run through the washing machine last night.

The top photo shows the compression line fairly clearly - the bottom half of the cloth is smooth, while above it is not.

The middle photo shows the blue ridges of the weave structure standing proud from the rest of the cloth while the lower photo is after pressing.  You can still see faint blue lines, but the cloth is now flat.

When we discussed wet finishing yesterday, I reviewed how the threads will move to areas of least resistance in the cloth.  This aids in helping develop weave structures that require the movement of the yarns as in things like waffle weave, lace weaves, any weave structure that relies on the deflection of the yarns from their grid like warp and weft positions.

In this cloth, the centre of the motif is actually a small lace weave area.  When held up to the light there are tiny 'holes' that allow the light to come through.  The floats that create those holes make the cloth more absorbent - something desirable in a towel.

After compression the cloth will have increased stability.  Cotton and linen will not, can not, full, so the compression of the warp and weft threads into each other will add stability.

In addition to all of that, the yarns we associate with shine, such as linen, will develop more shine.  In the top most photo, you can just sort of see that the bottom that has been pressed is slightly shinier than the top half which has not.

And last but not least, wet finishing is a benefit because if the beat isn't completely even, or you have reed marks in the cloth, those will be reduced and in some cases eliminated altogether.

Lots of benefits involved in wet finishing.

Rabbit Holes

Over the weekend, six people attended the Introduction to Weaving class at the local guild.  I began by explaining that we would discuss language, equipment, fibres and then I would demonstrate how to dress a loom.  One warp and loom had been reserved for the demo.

I talked about the depth and breadth of information in the craft and warned them that while they would be weaving, their results would be a sampler, not a 'thing', and that while weaving their sampler, exploring the possibilities of a very simple threading (straight and point progression woven in twill variations) what they would be mostly working on was their physical skills.

Two days barely scratches the surface of what someone needs to know to weave successfully.  Weaving - like many other crafts - is not something that can be picked up in a day or two, but can be practiced, explored and investigated for a lifetime.

This morning someone posted about teaching a class and someone being vexed because they didn't get perfect results the first time, and when asking for suggestions was offended when the suggestion was that more practice, of the mindful, analytic kind, was the only way to gain the skills required to get close to 'perfection'.

My six students embraced the fact that they were making weavers, asked good questions, accepted their clumsy hands and feet, worked to weave with more...let's call it grace.

They saw the potential, their eyes lit up, they smiled, they laughed, they helped each other.

I am quite sure they are at least as exhausted as I am but I hope they will all continue.  Because they got it when I said they needed to make weavers.  Those weavers would then be able to go make textiles.

Photo below of the demo I did showing how to regulate beating the weft in:

No photo description available.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Upcoming Auction

A guild member donated a copy of my original monograph, done for the master level of the Guild of Canadian Weavers, to the Prince George Fibre Arts.  The local guild already has a copy, so it was decided to auction the donated copy off as a fund raiser.

The monograph consists of four ring binders filled with samples of cloth in loom state and wet finished.

There are dozens of samples, with epi and yarns used, how the cloth was wet finished and in many cases, several wet finished samples showing the effects of 2 minutes, 4 minutes (or for some, more) has on the wool used.

There are some yarns that are not wool, but the focus was on creating cloth to make cold weather garments so they are predominantly wool.

Part I includes the write up of how I set up the experiment in order to control the fulling and be able to compare from one set of samples to another.

The auction will be open in the next few weeks, once Birthe has got her system set up.  Shipping is estimated to be approximately $45, so any bid needs to include that as the shipping cost.

This document is 'rare' insofar as only 9 copies were produced.  One was donated to the Guild of Canadian Weavers, one to the local guild, I kept two copies, but the fourth binder from one set went missing while on a round robin.  The rest were given to friends.

It was out of this work that eventually Magic in the Water grew.  That book sold for $195 Canadian and did not have as many samples as this has.  What it did have was a greater variety of yarns, and more detailed documentation.

I even had garments made from some of the cloth from the samples in part 4:

I still have this jacket and do wear it occasionally.  It has no pockets.  :(

I wore this jacket for about 10 years or more, eventually wearing it out.

my mother wore this coat for years

If anyone is interested in entering a bid when the auction goes live, stay tuned here or my other social media for contact info for Birthe and the dates the auction will run.  

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Balancing Act

The towels actually look more green in real life than in this photo, but the warp is cut off, the towels cut apart and serged.  I forgot I'd woven dish cloths at the front of the warp in order to use up the previous lots of linen so my friend will wind up with four new ones.  I don't know if she has worn any of her old ones out yet, but she may well wind up with a lifetime supply!  However, I am almost done with the fine single linen yarns I inherited so there may not be very many more heading her way.

Of course there are other linen yarns, I even have some single 12s - and know where to get more...  :D

While I wove today I ruminated on the classes coming up.  They were billed as being an introduction to weaving, no previous experience necessary.  As such I thought long and hard about how to make the experience as valuable as possible to the students and finally decided on the 'give them the fun part' to hopefully hook them on learning the 'hard' part (dressing the loom).  I will demonstrate getting the warp into the loom Saturday morning so they at least know the steps involved.

So the looms have been dressed for them with natural 4/8 cotton, with the threading being half straight and half (approximately) point progression.

The weekend will focus on teaching weaving terms so that future communication will (hopefully) go smoothly.  Everyone speaking the same language helps in getting information conveyed.

I couldn't find my glossary that I drew up when I routinely taught beginning classes, and rather than re-invent the wheel, I pulled up the 'definitions' that were included in Magic in the Water - two pages worth - and printed them out.  Not all the terms are there, but we will also go over a loom and point at and name the parts.

Then I thought about the things I feel are important - position and posture at the loom.  I will do the presentation I have done for years, both for guilds (at their request) and for the Olds program (part of the curriculum).  It is a lot easier to learn the ergonomic positions than try to unlearn unergonomic ones later.

Once that is done, I will demonstrate on one of the looms including hemstitching.  I might photocopy the diagram out of Shirley Held's Weaving to hand out on Sunday, but I'm hoping that everyone will be able to begin weaving before end of day tomorrow.

I did print outs of a draft with plain weave, then 12 twill variations.  Just one repeat of each, with a divider between each and then will suggest to people that they weave at least 6" of each so that they can get a feel for what the cloth will look like, how to read the draft, and get comfortable throwing the shuttle and beating as consistently as possible.

Sunday I will discuss wet finishing.

And I think that might be enough to plan for, leaving time for questions and further demos as needed.

The Olds level one is geared towards people who already have the basics, so they get blasted with a great deal of 'it depends' scenarios.  I warn them they will feel like they are trying to drink from a fire hose - and I am not wrong.

I think I'm about as ready as I can be.  Much of teaching this is being flexible and reacting to the needs of the students.  And those can be very difficult to anticipate.  Part of the fun of teaching.  

Friday, February 14, 2020


This is a photo of heart tea towels on the loom, which is why they look like they are receding into the distance.

I follow several folk on line, one of whom is Beau of the Fifth Column.  He did a video this morning (well, I saw it this morning) about Valentine's Day and the origins of the 'celebration'.  He had some interesting comments (he usually does, which is why I follow him) about the origins of traditions and how sometimes it might be time to stop.

So that had me thinking about culture and the traditions of that culture.  Then I started thinking about how different cultures 'other' each other.

I understand how and why human beings band together.  The world was - still is - a huge and scary place.  If we have allies, things don't seem quite so dangerous.  Things seem safer.

Long time readers will know that I also read a lot and my choices are eclectic and wide ranging.  Right now I am working my way through Gods and Robots by Adrienne Mayor.  It's slow going as I read and ponder.  And wonder at how little human beings have actually changed over the millenia.

Petty squabbles.  Jealousy.  Greed.  Othering people not in one's own circle of influence.  It all seems so very familiar.  And so very, very old.

Valentine's Day has changed from it's beginnings.  It is now an excuse to send silly cards, give gifts of chocolate and flowers.

Frankly I'm not a big fan of the 'special' days our society celebrates.  To me they are a marketing ploy, an excuse to buy things we don't need.

As for one day of 'love'?  I try to make every day a day of 'love'.  Love of my family.  Friends.  Neighbours.  All people.  Even the ones who exasperate me.  Even the ones who make it difficult.

Someone pointed out that St. Valentines' is also the saint of intervention from plagues, though, so there is that....

If you want the draft for the hearts, I posted it to my ko-fi page.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

New 'Tip Jar'

A few weeks ago I learned about a new way to contribute to creative folk.  It's a website called Ko-Fi and the premise is that people can contribute to the person the equivalent of a coffee (or units thereof).

I have gone and looked at the site several times and after mulling it over I'm going to give it a try.

The link to Paypal to 'pay me' never did work and since I'd rather be weaving than fighting with websites, I gave up and ignored it.  (I will remove the Paypal link.)

I looked at Patreon, but the whole point of 'retiring' was to reduce my deadlines and lift obligations from my daily activities.  So after thinking about starting a Patreon account for a couple of years, then not finding myself willing to create separate work just for Patreon supporters, I ignored it.

Since I create content on this blog daily (sometimes more often, sorry - not sorry!) this fund raising site kept calling me back.

So this morning I opened a ko-fi account

I am still setting up my profile and such and will adjust the links on my blog later today.

But if you enjoy my blog posts, my posting to social media sites like Facebook and Ravelry, want to buy me a coffee, this is one way to do it.

For those of you who contributed in other ways - I thank you.

And if you will be at Convergence?  I'll be hanging out mostly in the vendor hall at Teresa Ruch's booth or at the exhibits.  Let's have a coffee irl.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

It Depends

Thinking about things like drape, stability, wearability - all the variables that go into the creation of cloth.

I belong to a few groups and as the membership changes and new weavers join (which is great, love to see new practitioners!) the same sorts of questions come up.

New weavers want to have perfect results and are anxious about 'failing'.  First of all, get the notion of 'perfection' out of your head. 

Weaving is a skilled technology (as are other crafts) and it takes time to understand your materials, equipment and gain the physical skills necessary to obtain good results.  (Note - I did not say perfect results.)

It is really hard sometimes to get across to new weavers that I cannot tell them what to do.  I can only give them guidelines. 

So how do they learn?  They have to do the work. 

They can read.  They can buy kits and follow the instructions to the letter.  They can weave samples.  But doing these things will mean little if they don't also engage their analytical thinking and take a good long hard look at what their results are.  Then think about what needs to change if they want different results.

Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results won't actually achieve anything different. 

I've posted before about the variables involved in the creation of cloth.  I won't repeat them again today.  But there are many people who teach the same things as I do.  Because they are principles of the craft, not because we are some martinets or weaving police.

I am not trying to stifle anyone's creativity when I point out how density affects the nature of the cloth.  If someone wants to make fabric that has great drape but may not wear well, that is their choice.  (See the above photo - a prime example of a loosely woven cloth for a shawl - I wanted excellent drape but because it was intended for a shawl, it did not have to be constructed as densely as, say, a place mat.)

So, we get to make choices.  It just helps if we understand the impact our choices will make on our cloth before we set up for a big project.

If someone is new to the craft, does not have access to local teachers/weaving guild/resources, I highly recommend Jane Stafford's on line guild   She is currently doing a module on twill but once you join you can access all the previous lessons.

You can come to Olds and take level one with me in June.  

You can buy my books where I set out many of the variables that need to be considered.

It depends.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Growing Community

I have been weaving for long enough now to see interest in learning how to weave wax and wane.  It would seem that right now the interest in weaving is on the upswing.  At least locally.

But I have also seen growth in wanting to learn on the internet as well, so I don't think it is just a local thing.

This week I am spending very little time at my loom because I am prepping for not one but two Introduction to Weaving classes.  The guild has looms so people can come and learn without having to actually invest in a loom right off the bat.

So I have been dressing looms for the students to weave a sampler on.  One of the warps will be used to demonstrate how that happens, but mostly I will focus on the physical skills involved in weaving - because I am, after all, me. 

They will learn the language of the technology so that they can better understand when and if they decide to carry on.  They will learn ergonomic position and posture at the loom.  They will learn how to read a draft and be encouraged to explore variations of twill. 

The warps are 4/8 cotton, each warp threaded half straight progression, half (approximately) point progression.  They will get handouts based on the variations set out in M. P. Davison's book.

There is a lot to learn in order to weave and get results you desire.  These classes are just a taster to see if people enjoy it enough to go ahead and learn how to dress the loom and carry on.  And of course we will discuss wet finishing!

Since the first weekend class sold out (six places) we offered a second and had 5 more sign up, so what I have done is made 7 meter long warps with the hope that there will be enough warp left after the first class that I won't have to dress the looms all over again for the second.

Time will tell. 

And just in case someone catches fire and wants to carry on, the guild even has a couple of looms for sale.  Plus a couple more in the community looking for new homes. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Knock On Effects...

...or the law of unintended consequences.

I am currently reading Adrienne Mayor's Gods and Robots and it is illuminating.  She begins with the myth of Talos, a made being, not a born one.  It is a story I was not particularly familiar with although I knew of the Jason and the Argonauts tale.  To have her dissect the story in greater detail, especially the section on Talos, has been fascinating.

Over and over again human beings have done amazing things, surprising things.

I am an avid reader as regular readers of this blog will know.  My first dip into science fiction was I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, so the concept of artificial intelligence has long been a staple of my background awareness.

Other authors have explored the consequence of automation, both modern and in antiquity.  Lindsey Davis has done a masterful series set in early Roman times, and much of the technology she details turned out - much to my surprise - to be completely accurate.  Metered taxis, dispensing machines, and the automatons included in temples and just for show.  Guy Gavriel Kay also includes levels of technology that I found surprising for their sophistication - levitating thrones, musical/mechanical birds?  Yes, they were part of our historical record.

So it is with every decision a human being makes - consequences.  Some desired, some completely not.

I made up this chart in an effort to explain to students how the different aspects of cloth construction can be adjusted.  Tweaking one of the areas will, like a bug caught in a spider's web, reverberate around the entire diagram.  Because change one thing, everything can change.  We just anticipate it and further adjust, or we don't know and our results may not be entirely what we were aiming for.

So it is with climate change.

I am old enough to have carried wood and coal from basement to the wood cook/heat stove upstairs.  We burned carbon in it's rawest form and pretty much every house in town did as well.  Some had furnaces that burned sawdust.  A few had oil.  But we all burned carbon in one form or another.

Today?  Still burning carbon, but in the form of natural gas, for the most part.

We got rid of the smoke pall from burning wood that hung over the town, but we didn't reduce the carbon load being dumped into the atmosphere.

As the 50s rolled into the 60s and on into present day, oil/petroleum products became more and more prevalent.

I am old enough to remember that food came wrapped in paper or in glass or metal containers.  Now?  Plastic.

I am old enough to remember wool clothing.  During the winter we were all wrapped in it.  Now?  Polyesters of various degrees (iow, petroleum product).

I am old enough to remember being told in the 1960s that oil was a finite resource, unlike wood.  And that the oil industry suppressed the development of alternate energy sources.  (Blowout by Rachel Maddow)

Last night we watched a NOVA program called Polar Extremes.  The presenter Kurt Johnson (I think was his name) did a pretty detailed summary of where we are now in terms of the effects of climate change due to heavy carbon loading in the atmosphere.  No, climate change is NOT a myth.  The data speaks and speaks loudly.  If we don't do something soon, like in the next few years, we may be facing some pretty grim scenarios (witness Australia and the bushfires, flooding in Indonesia, etc.)  Monsoon rains are now unpredictable and food sources are at risk.  Sea levels rise, permafrost melts, glaciers fade away.  The knock on effect is going to be disastrous.

So what are the alternatives?

Many countries are transitioning to wind turbines.  There is research being done to harness wave action to create electricity.  Solar power.  Some individuals have been installing heat pumps, drilling down deep into the earth to access the stored heat there.

Not everyone can make good use of solar power unless they also install huge battery banks.  Unfortunately the manufacture of batteries has detrimental effects to the environment.

Not everyone can install a large wind turbine - and again battery banks.

Much of society has become tied to gasoline powered vehicles.  People push for more transit, but when living in remote areas, transit is not always reliable.

I have been looking at hybrid technology, but that is only a stopgap as it still relies on gasoline and again...batteries.  But as an individual, all I can do is try to mitigate my impact on the environment with what resources I have at my disposal.

So I recycle.  I compost.  I do not buy 'fast fashion' and look for 100% cotton clothing.  (Which also has knock on effects, but at least isn't fueling the polyester market.)

I wear my clothing until it is worn out, sometimes taking years to get to that point.  I spend little and want for little.  Mostly what I buy is yarn to weave with.

I have been limiting my travel, partially for personal reasons, partially because of the cost to the environment.  So no, I won't be going on any cruises any time soon, or flying unless it is for 'work'.

I don't know what the answer is.  All I know is that we have to do something.  

Sunday, February 9, 2020


A few years ago (quite a few now) a scholarly publication called Ars Textrina was produced in which articles about textiles were offered.  It was a Canadian publication through the University of Manitoba and in spite of the price being in US dollars (with a really horrendous exchange rate) I made the point of buying every one.

Then when I was really hurting for money, I culled books from my personal library and offered them on eBay.  People who knew about Ars Textrina rushed to buy the ones they had missed out on the first time, or just had never heard of until they stopped publication.

But I kept these two.

Patricia Hilts went through two old weaving manuscripts and rendered the drafts as thumbnails, with the original threading and tie up information.  By cross referencing the keys to the threadings, tie ups and looking at the draw down of the weave structure you can replicate what those weavers did a couple hundred years ago.

I use these books much like I use Oelsner's book.  A reference library of possibilities that I can pick and choose, adapt and rearrange, without starting from the very beginning.

You can see from the multiple post it notes that I use these books frequently in my design work.  Oelsner gets used less frequently, although I do use it as well.

We stand on the shoulders of giants.  While we can begin from scratch every single time, there is no need when we can begin with the seed of an idea, then build on it.

It would be like a cook re-inventing the recipe for a basic cake every time they wanted to make one.  Instead there is a basic cake recipe that can be modified.  So too can weaving drafts.

A motif can be expanded, contracted, repeated, mirrored, flipped on its head.  Borders with elements of the motif can be incorporated, or just a straight or point progression can be used.

The drafts can even be used as profile drafts much like I have taken four shaft twill motifs and changed them into 16 shaft twill blocks.

We are limited only by our imaginations and understanding of how the threads move through the cloth.  So I suggest that new weavers do drawdowns, by hand if they don't have weaving software (although iWeaveit is not terribly expensive and can be used on an ipad without much difficulty) and do enough drawdowns that they begin to understand how various weave structures work.

As a newish weaver I spent hours upon hours doing drawdowns (by hand, this was pre-personal computer days) of lace weaves until I thoroughly understood how lace weaves work.  Once I understood the usual threadings, I could see how other threading systems could also be tied up and treadled to make lacy cloth.

Not everyone needs to understand every weave structure.  There are plenty that I haven't tried, for various reasons,  But I have a grasp of the basic structures and how the threads move through the cloth.  This gives me freedom to use as is or adapt from the historical records.

If someone is new but wants to understand the craft more fully I can recommend Jane Stafford's on-line guild.  This year she is discussing twill, but once subscribed it is possible to go right to the beginning.  If you don't have a guild or good weaving teacher in your area, learning on-line is now a realistic possibility.

Publications like Heddlecraft delve deeply into different weave structures.

If you are just learning and feeling confused about how to get the loom dressed and learning the language, there is also Janet Dawson's on-line class

And of course there are my things.  (Link to the wet finish DVD.  Link to blurb and my books at the bottom of the page.)

The point is, we live in the 21st century.  We now have access to an incredible amount of information.  There are many many resources and all of the above will lead you to more.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Another Day - and thoughts on politics and the human condition

After a few overcast and dreary days, today dawn brings us blue skies and a sun that is noticeably moving through it's cycle back towards the north.  A few weeks ago, the sun was coming up in that gap further to the right, a couple of houses down the street.

Politics has been much on my mind of late. 

When I was a child, my elders would talk about the world going to hell in a hand basket (or sometimes cart, depending on who was speaking).  So it seems this premonition of impending doom I have been feeling is nothing new.  It does seem to have worsened over the past few years - or maybe it always was this bad and I'm only just now noticing.

Journalists were supposed to be the eyes and ears of the world, although that romantic notion ignores the roots of 'yellow journalism'.  Seems people always need something to be enraged about and a certain subset of journalism is more than happy to provide it.  I only have to glance at the racks of magazines at the check out tills at stores to see it - oh the horror!  This person was mean to that person!  This person is nasty!  That person is (gasp!) fat!  (Usually a woman.  Men seem somehow immune to comments on their degree of 'fatness'.)

I'm old enough to remember Disney's Bambi and Thumper's mom saying that if you can't say something kind, don't say anything at all.

I remember Sunday School and that Jesus loved the little children of the world, didn't matter their colour.  I remember 'turn the other cheek'.  I remember 'feed the hungry, heal the sick'.  These were all tenets of the branch of christianity I was raised in.

It seems a certain slice of society, not just here but everywhere, is bent on grabbing as much 'pie' as they can for themselves while denying any to others.  Especially others who are a different religion, colour, sexual orientation.  They pound the bible and I wonder which bible they are referencing because in my bible, there was nothing about LGBTQ+ folk going straight to hell.  Any negative mentions were in the old testament, not the new, which as far as I am concerned supersedes the old where they diverge, philosophically.

Jesus gave us the example of caring for others, from washing the feet of other people, feeding the hordes who had no food, healing the sick.  He did not ask if they 'deserved' any of those things.  He saw their humanity and loved them through his actions.

And that was the biggest lesson I learned as a child - go ahead and pray, but sometimes the answer is 'no'.  Go ahead and pray, but not for god to magically answer your prayer with what you were asking for, but pray for the strength to do what is necessary.  Because in our house god helped those who helped themselves.

Late last night after thinking about many of these things I posted a long comment on Facebook.  I was tired and there was so much I wanted to say and to say it?  One of the things I learned in school was the power of emotional trigger words and I wanted to very carefully discuss some of the issues I was seeing in action without triggering instant anger in those who would disagree with me.  There is no point in trying to discuss things if people who need to hear the message cut you off without even considering what you have to say.

Shortly after posting it, someone posted a meme about planting seeds.  That you never know which seeds will take root and grow.  But that doesn't mean you shouldn't go ahead and plant them.

I took some comfort from that thought.

It is kind of how I feel about all the 'rants' I post here (and elsewhere) about weaving principles.  Not everyone will hear my message.  Not everyone will agree with me.  Not everyone will change their minds.  But I am not trying to reach those who already have their minds made up.  I'm trying to reach those who do not yet have an opinion.  And I don't insist that they do things my way, just that they think about what they are doing and maybe change their approach if what they are doing isn't working for them.

While I was raised christian, I no longer go to church.  But I cannot remove the basic principles I was taught in Sunday school, especially since those core tenets are central to pretty much all the major religions of the world (except some which seem to think some people are more deserving than others.)

If you are white in North America (and elsewhere), you have benefited from colonialism and - whether you recognize it or not - a level of privilege.   When people stand up to say they are being racially profiled or discriminated against, you cannot say they were not simply because you have never been.  In fact you have been racially profiled to your benefit.

If you do not understand how a reality bubble works, you can begin by reading Ziya Tong's new book The Reality Bubble.  It will be uncomfortable.  Read it anyway.

Here are some examples of a reality bubble.  "I cannot see the curvature of the earth so it is flat."  or  "I don't know anyone who has even had polio, so I'm not going to get my children vaccinated because vaccines aren't necessary."  "I am a man who has never raped a women, so all those women are liars when they say they were raped."  There are ways to see beyond your bubble of reality to the larger truth.  But you have to know that the bubble exists in order to see beyond it.

Your reality is not someone else's life experience.  Therefore to understand what other people are experiencing, you have to set aside your lived experience in order to understand theirs.

I think that because I read voraciously, indiscriminately, my life experience became more than my own.  I am willing to listen and hear of other lives and accept that they are living their truth.  Sometimes their truth makes me uncomfortable, but that is my burden to bear, not theirs. 

Toni Morrison's quote comes to mind frequently - do the best you can and when you know better, do better (I paraphrase).