Thursday, April 30, 2020

Tentative Spring

Took this photo a couple of days ago - the first sign that spring really was on its way. 

It seems appropriate that the camera would not focus on the tiny furled leaves on the potentillia bush because that is how life itself seems right now.

You know spring is coming.  You know that things are stirring. You just can't really see it right now.

Yesterday on my walk (I'm trying to get out as many days as I can - the rain the past few days have discouraged me from doing it daily) the furled buds on the trees had opened to the point where you could see there were actual leaves there, not just the promise of leaves.

People, like plants, are feeling...restless.  Maybe someone is financially insecure.  Food insecure.  Going batty stuck at home with young children with no relief in sight. 

For those of us who are able, it remains important to stay at home.  I am privileged that I have someone else in the house to talk to, vent at, do the outside errands. 

A friend has promised masks but they haven't arrived yet.  I'm thinking of wearing one on my walks, not because of the virus, but because of seasonal allergies.  There are many reasons to wear a mask and maybe more people should wear one more often and stop spreading things like colds or the flu, not just this virus.  Something to think about going forward.

The increase in infections is worrisome in light of the financial hardship many are going through.  Our society (here and elsewhere - this is, after all, a pandemic) is being upended with the inequities being revealed.  Frankly expensive flybys by jets really isn't very helpful.  I couldn't help  but think of bread and circuses when I heard that the US was doing flybys to 'honour' their essential workers - instead of getting them PPE.  Or raising the minimum wage for workers now deemed essential, but woefully underpaid for their labour.

We have our challenges here in Canada, especially getting aid to remote communities.  I hope this time of emergency will wake the powers that be up to work on the awareness of who is in need and what they need, then get it to them.

This spring time of our awareness could lead to great - and in my opinion - positive change bringing benefit to those who need it most.  Or we could sink back into our complacency. 

Only time will tell.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Pandemic Winter

Plants produce seeds that wait patiently for the correct time to germinate and grow.  Generally we call this time of waiting, pausing for the correct conditions, winter.  Seeds can wait patiently for quite a long time and still germinate and grow.

Human beings right now are in this time of pausing.  Waiting.  Some are more patient than others.  Some are in a holding pattern in an environment that is comfortable.  Some are not.

Some are less patient than others and long for the time to open, ripen, grow.

Unfortunately the current situation is not conducive to surviving if we burst forth too soon.   The virus doesn't care about you.  (Much like some politicians, but I digress.)

The virus is only looking for it's own time to grow, replicate, using you as a host.

The internet can be very cruel.  All those posts about how if you don't make a grand work, time was never your problem.  I got news for those people.  Time is a slippery concept and so is the ability to deal with stress.

I just read a long post from a creative person who has been struggling with multiple things all on the top 10 list of life stresses.  Moving, illness, financial insecurity.  And yet?  They carry on, trying to make a life for their family.  There are plans and they are working on moving forward, as best they are able.

Tiny steps of progress are still progress.  Some people will write the great English language novel.  Most will not.  Some people will invent something earth shattering.  Others will work their 3D printers to make tiny bits of plastic to save the ears of health care workers.  And as usual an army of (mostly) women will carry on sewing, knitting, crafting.  I read about a nunnery who turned their sewing room into a way to help by sewing gowns instead of just their own habits.

Right now we are in a time of waiting.  Pausing.  Some of us get up, get dressed and manage to do something, be it baking our own bread or cutting our own bangs.  Some of us - many of us who worked from home anyway - manage to maintain pretty much our 'ordinary' schedule.

For me this time is not greatly different from before.  I have worked at home for four plus decades.  My days aren't greatly different - other than not meeting friends in real time for coffee. 

Closing my business means I don't have to scramble to pay the rent, get myself into a tizzy because my classes have been cancelled or postponed, or that sales of my books pretty much dried up beginning mid-March.

My heart goes out to my friends who I know are in financial straits and no one, not one of us, knows what things will look like once this time of pausing, hunkering down waiting for the pandemic to flow over and around - and hopefully by - us.

Here in BC Dr. Henry is already working on when and how to begin loosening the restrictions.  She has been open about the fact that it won't be all at once and it will be a slow, tentative, process, closely monitored to try to prevent a catastrophic second wave.  She advises caution and for those, like us, to maintain as much as possible, a quiet life.

In the meantime, I keep weaving.  The next warp is ready to be tied on and the liftplan generated.  That's my next 'job'.

Currently reading Rough Music by Robin Blake

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Stronger Together

colours are more green in real life

Yesterday the next warp was beamed and the threading started.  The goal today is to finish threading, sley, tie up, and wind bobbins.  Whether or not the weaving will commence is to be determined.  It looks like I might be able to walk today after several days of intermittent rain and more in the forecast for the coming two days.  While I haven't gone walking every day, nor tackled the steep hill, I do feel like my legs are slowly getting stronger, so I'd like to continue to work on improving muscle strength.

The warp is made up of three yarns, blue/green, mid-range values.  From a distance they don't show up as individual colours, but instead lend a subtle richness to the cloth.  The weft is a lighter green and the draft a fancy twill, similar to others I've done previously.

Last night we watched the CBC program Stronger Together.  It was 90 minutes (ad free - thank you!) of mainly Canadians, not all of them celebrities, not all of them singers/musicians, expressing our collective thanks to the essential workers and sending love to Nova Scotia.

It was a reminder that we are all going through this, even if our individual circumstances may differ - we are all being impacted by the pandemic, one way or another.

There were uplifting stories of people helping, songs to lift the spirits, too.  A reminder to be kind during this time and - if at all possible - stay home and out of the way of the virus.

We live in 'interesting' times.  But we also have a level of scientific knowledge and medical treatments that have never been available before.  We understand the biology of viruses like Covid-19 even if we don't yet understand precisely what it does or how to defeat it.  We do know that isolating ourselves from it will help to stall the growth of it.

The pandemic has shown us where we need to do better, be better.  Pointing fingers and blaming the 'other' is not helpful right now.  What is helping is small acts of #covidkindness as Cindy Blackstock has labelled them.  A friendly word.  A heartfelt thank you.  A small service to make things easier for someone.

And when this is over, perhaps systematic change to lift all, not just a few.  As someone said on the internet the other day, we may all be weathering the same storm, but we don't all have the same boat to do it in.  

Monday, April 27, 2020


Novel:  of a new kind or nature; strange; hither to unknown

Right now we are in the midst of a novel pandemic.  Covid-19 is a new virus, never been seen before.  Medical practitioners and researchers are scrambling to figure out how to treat it, how to cure it, how to prevent it.

But.  But!  It is new.  No one has had it before and no one really knows what to do about it other than treat the symptoms.

Unfortunately the symptoms are varied and wide ranging and manifest in different people...differently.

So recommendations are being made and at times they appear contradictory.  Such as stay at home.  But essential workers need to go to work.  Wear - or don't wear - a mask.  Now we have a prominent politician musing aloud at a press conference if drinking or injecting bleach would cure the problem.  Well, if a dead person can be counted as 'cured' I suppose that is an option.

Yes, bleach in very tiny amounts is used to treat water, but that is still no cure for Covid-19.

When the computer age began, it was widely touted that we were entering the Information Age.  Unfortunately now that everyone's uninformed opinion counts as much (if not more in some minds) as scientific facts, I think we need to remember what facts are.

For people like me who are able to stay at home, the recommendation remains.  Stay at home.

There is a chart showing how masks can help.  I like the version that includes at the very bottom someone wearing a mask and someone else staying in their house equaling zero transmission occurs.

I recognize that my ability to stay home is a privilege.  I am 'retired'.  I am not financially insecure (right now).  I have the internet and can stay in touch with friends through email, messaging, or even an actual landline telephone.

I can remove myself from the spread equation.  We are not currently in lock down, no matter what some people are calling this.  An actual lock down would mean that you could not leave your house except to go get groceries or to the pharmacy.  An actual lock down would be everyone staying home with very few people going to work - because all businesses would be closed except food and medication.

And so on.

Instead we are being asked to - if at all possible - shelter in place.  But we can still go for walks.  We can still climb into our cars and go for a ride.  We can still get to the store and buy things.

We may not - yet - have a case in the town I live in, but how do we know?  There has been testing, but it is still not every person.  The logistics of testing every single person in the world would be impossible right now.

In the meantime, medical people helping those who are ill with Covid-19 are discovering that the disease progression can vary greatly.  At first it was thought only (only?) old people or those with compromised immune systems were at risk.  As time goes on, younger people are presenting with a different range of symptoms.  People are carriers - showing no symptoms themselves but shedding the virus for others to become infected.

Researchers are working hard on treatments and vaccines.  Even so there is no data on how long immunity lasts once the patient has recovered from the virus and no data as to how effective a vaccine will be - because we don't have one.  Yet.

The case load, last time I looked, was set to roll over 3 million people.  As responsible citizens of the planet, if we possibly can we need to stay safe at home and let that virus die out, not continue to let it breed by socializing with our friends and family.

We will get through this.  Together.  Apart.

If you need to vent, contact me.  Lean on me.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Carrying On

towels cut and serged, ready for wet finishing

In this time of uncertainty we must have hope.  Hope that things will get better.  Hope that things will settle.  Hope that we can, at some point in the not too distant future, begin to make plans beyond this moment.

It is said that if you want to make god laugh, tell her your plans.

What power do I have in this time, this moment?  I have the power to focus my attention.  It may only be on the little things, because that is the only thing I can 'control'.  So I keep weaving.

We find ourselves at what is, for us, for now, in a period of containment.  Confinement.  For many of us this is a time of inconvenience.  We can't go about our 'normal' activities without endangering ourselves and others.  Our best strategy is to stay home if at all possible.

Our long range goal is to first of all, survive.  Once we have come out the other end of this :waves hands: we will be able to figure out how we go forward.

In the meantime the climate continues to worsen.  I heard of catastrophic flooding in Kenya where people, already burdened by the pandemic, have now lost their homes, their animals, their crops.  I have no doubt some also lost their lives, due to the massive flood event.

Here at home we are not even out of April and already there are flood warnings in effect to the south of us.

So we need to be asking ourselves - once we are through :this:, how do we proceed?  Do we go back to over consumption?  Single minded reliance on petroleum products?  Using up the planet's resources until they are gone with no Plan B?

We have been given a time to pause and reflect on what is truly important and what we should be focusing on.  What we need to be addressing as a society.

I have no answers.  Only questions.

In the meantime I do what I do.  Weave.  I will work on what comes next when we are through :this:.

Saturday, April 25, 2020


wooden rattle dad carved for me out of one piece of wood

great grandmother

There have been lots of posts on the internet about how if you aren't doing great things during the stay at home recommendations you aren't really trying.

No.  I don't buy into that.  None of us are required to do 'great' things at any point in our lifetimes.

Late last year I had toyed with the idea of joining Ancestry and digging into my family history.  I'm mostly interested in learning more about my father's family.  My mother's family tree has been well documented by a cousin and I know the broad story - how two brothers arrived in the Gaspe region of North America in the 1700s from France, one staying in what was to become Canada, the other south to what is now the US.  From there family members moved west, eventually settling mainly in the area of Montreal.  Several of mom's uncles bought land in Saskatechewan and there are cousins there, still.  A few came to BC and here I am.

I know very little about my father's family.  Much is shrouded in mystery although I have learned a few details.

But I find myself unable to dredge up the energy or enthusiasm to do the work of digging through records to find out more.  I am also not reading much because I have little concentration.  So instead of spending what mental acuity I have on reading fiction, I hold it in reserve to use in marking and designing the next tea towel warp.

I have pretty steadily been working my way through the yarn wound on pirns that need to be delivered to the new owner.  I have been answering questions from students and staying in touch with friends near and far.  I have two warps more or less ready with another in the simmering on the back burner stage.

The series on Ko-fi is taking up a certain amount of my mental faculties, too, but that is just an extension of my desire to teach and drawing on decades of knowledge.

But that's the thing during this time.  Try to stay active doing things that do not overly tax you, but give you the stimulus you need to get up, get dressed and do something that you enjoy.

You are not required to do grand things - write the Great Canadian Novel, invent the next best thing, discover a new galaxy or anything really.

What you are required to do is listen to the medical professionals.  If you can, stay home.  If you can't, keep physical distance, wear a mask (but don't think it is a guarantee you won't get it - keep the physical distance), when you get home wash your hands, mask, keys, phone, bags.

And be kind.  Everyone is stressed right now.  People are out of work, out of money, some may be worried about feeding their families or if they will have a home next month.  Don't start bad mouthing Asians.  Don't swallow conspiracy theories.  Don't drink or inject poisons based on the babbling of someone who seems intent on doing the worst possible thing Every Single Day.

Love and light to you all.  Stay safe.  I want a giant hug next time I see you in person.  When  it is safe to do so.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Tiny Steps

There is enough warp left on the loom for two or three more towels.  I may decide that two more is sufficient and sacrifice whatever is left.

It is time to work on the draft for the next warp.  I don't need to decide today or even tomorrow, but by Sunday I should be able to begin threading.

The last couple of towel warps were woven in twill blocks for a number of reasons.  For one thing that is easy to thread (usually) while fancy twills can be more difficult to get right.

A warp with a variety of hues/values can begin to look visually busy and the block of solid colour will dampen that busyness down.

But the next warp is three yarns that are very close in both hue and value, so it will be back to a fancy twill.

Today I will be pressing the last batch of towels which I finished hemming last night.  A towel will be mailed to someone, and more towels will be set out in a box in the carport (we have a work table in there for things like putting parcels or for Doug to work on that is out of sight) for a local to come and select a couple of towels for her mom.

And I will open another box that needs marking and begin going through that.

Life goes on chez nous pretty much as usual.  Life is for living, whatever that means to the person doing the living. 

Stay home if you possibly can.   If you must go out, wear a mask, maintain physical distance, disinfect your hands, mask and parcels when you get home.  Do not, under any circumstance, drink or inject the disinfectants.  

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Shape of Things to Come

This was the fabric that at last hooked me on weaving.

It is double weave, the motif is of bumblebees.  The insect that isn't supposed to be able to fly - but does.

When I made the decision to quit my job in order to become a weaver, I had no idea what my future would look like.  Could I make enough money to pay the bills?  What would success look like?  Because success isn't always about how much money we make.  How many vacations to exotic places we take.  How much we have in material goods or how big and fancy our houses/cars are.

Success is accomplishing our goals.  At that point in time I wanted a job that had some element of creativity in it.  Something that I could learn that would keep on revealing more information, more layers of knowledge to dig into.  I wanted to set my own deadlines and my own goals, not work at the behest of others.

I wanted to choose my life, not have others dictate what I had to do.

To be honest, I really had no idea what I was going to do or, frankly, how I was going to do it.  Because at the time I really knew very little about weaving.  All I knew was that it looked intriguing and that I would learn lots by doing it.

After that fateful decision it was a bit like being at sea in a very small boat, being flung about by every wave and wind that came along.  An exercise in flexibility and problem solving.  And hanging on for dear life.

Life, in all it's complexities.

Right now the entire world is going through that buffeting.  We are afloat in a dingy on the giant pandemic sea, no idea where land is, or how long the voyage will be.  We have no idea what the world will look like when the journey is over. 

It is scary, especially for people who are deemed 'essential' and must continue to go to work and interact with other people, not knowing if the unseen virus is lurking.  It is difficult for folk with young children who cannot understand why they are not allowed to go play in the park with their friends.  For people who are immune compromised, the fact is that people are dying from this virus in numbers that are beyond comprehension.  Last time I looked 2.2 million people were sick with it.  And that's just the ones we know about.  A great deal more probably have it but aren't being tested for one reason or another.

So I urge you to hold on.  Ride the storm, as best you can.  Stay at home as much as you can.  Do what calms you, gives you some happiness.  Some people are deep cleaning their homes.  Others are learning how to bake.  Some are able to get into their gardens now.  Me?  I'm weaving.  I will keep weaving for as long as I can.  I will worry about what to do with those endless tea towels later.

If you can, stay home.  If you must go out, keep physical distance.  Wear a mask but remember that it will be contaminated, like your hands/gloves so clean them as soon as you get home.  Maintain social connections through the internet/phone/letters.  Check in with friends.  Together we will get through this - with the appropriate physical separation.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Trying Times

I pressed 'Pause' on March 23rd, the last time I did an 'errand' (picking up my hearing aids).

Since then I have only left the house twice - two days last week I went for a walk in the neighbourhood.

Since then I have been in contact with a number of people as we share our concerns about the future (Olds classes, mostly) and participated in one Skype call with two friends I am used to meeting with regularly in person.

Our guild has begun Zoom 'meetings' which I have not yet participated in but could join if I wanted to do so.

During this time I think a lot about the meaning of life (What's it all about, Alfie?) and how I want to spend the rest of mine, both during this time of pausing and afterwards.

I'm old and who knows how much time I have left?  OTOH, no one is guaranteed any particular length of life, especially during a pandemic.

So I think about my friends, both geographically near and further away.

Every day I send them my thoughts and prayers (so to speak).  If thinking about someone positively is of any use at all, I think about them and hope they are coping with the current circumstances.

With my limited resources I have donated to a couple of causes, purchased a few items on line.  One was a CD of a musician new to me but I ordered just as the pandemic was crunching down hard and yesterday I got an email with an apology saying they would send as soon as they were able. 

Never  mind - I have lots of music on hand.

And where would we be during this time without all of our creative people to feed our souls while we shelter at home?  If we didn't have authors, film makers, musicians?  If you can spare any money, a lot of them are struggling with gigs that have been cancelled.  Many have Patreon or other ways of accepting donations.

I work creatively and I love music in the studio.  I enjoy reading.  I do watch tv in the evening and hem or do other handwork type activities.  Or build a puzzle.  The puzzle board will get put away soon because I have other things I would like the table for - like starting to ply that uber fine silk to make it fat enough to see.

My hair is growing and getting unruly, but no one but Doug sees it and he doesn't seem to mind.  If he does, he hasn't said anything.  :)

I never did do manicures. 

I do miss my massage therapy and I'm trying to stay physically balanced enough that I don't need a chiropractic adjustment.

I will need to renew my prescriptions soon, but they are 'standard' and docs are doing phone interviews and renewing by phone.  My pharmacy might even do deliveries but if not, Doug can go pick them up.

I am in the compromised group three times over so Doug has declared that he will do outside errands.  Yesterday a friend emailed saying she is trying to get some income for her students and did we need someone to do our shopping for us?  I thanked her for thinking of us, but so far we are fine.

Another friend has made us masks and is mailing them.  I am thinking that walking with a mask might help filter out allergens.  I am not going anywhere that there are groups of people.

My staying at home may seem onerous.  But it is something I can do.  I can remove myself from the line of transmission.  I can - as the flight attendants recommend - put my mask on first before trying to help others.  So I am figuratively putting my mask on by staying home and not inadvertently spreading the virus - or catching it myself.

If you possibly can, stay home.  If you must go out, wear a mask (even a cloth one will help), maintain physical distance, wash your mask, hands, keys, etc., when you get home.

Stay safe everyone.  I want to give all y'all a big hug when it is safe to do so.  In the meantime, here is a virtual one...(   )   (insert yourself between the brackets)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Ground Hog Day

This isn't the first time I have had to isolate myself, but it is going to go on longer, plus there is no visiting with friends in real life.  When I broke my ankle and could not go out, friends could come to visit me.  Ditto the by-pass surgery and chemo.

The last time I left the house to go on an errand was March 23.  (Last week I went for a walk twice, just around the neighbourhood.)  That is just over four weeks, now, and the days have reached a level of sameness that is akin to the movie Ground Hog Day. 

I keep track of which day it is because I have a pill dispenser with the days written on it.  When I take my morning handful of pills, I am reminded of the day of the week.  My Fitbit reminds me of the date.

My life has settled into a routine.  Get up, take my pills with a glass of juice, read through Twitter, Facebook, have my 'breakfast' of coffee and some Wasa rye crackers.  Get dressed and write a blog post (usually vice versa). 

I have begun playing Scrabble on line and when I wake up there are usually several games to take my turn ready, and I check in through the day to play my turns.

Right now I have marking to do so I try to spend some time working on that but my main daily goal is to weave two tea towels.  I judge my progress by how thick the roll becomes on the cloth beam.

I have also taken to keeping a post-it note on the castle and make a mark for each towel that is woven so that I can keep track and only wind as many bobbins as needed for the warp.  While I have lots of bobbins, I don't want to fill them with yarn that isn't going to be used soon.

As is my habit I check on my email frequently during the day, although over the past few years I have noticed that people use email less frequently.  Now my inbox is mostly 'junque' mail, but once in a while someone contacts me with a question - like last night.  The question forced me to think a bit about how to answer and I love that I get pushed to figure out what to say.

I find myself still not reading as much as I used to do.  In the evening I work on hemming and the jigsaw puzzle that sits on the dining room table.

At the end of the day I have two friends I communicate with as a wrap up to the day.  A nice reflection of what is happening - even if it is pretty much a repeat of the days before.  A reminder that it is not actually Ground Hog Day, but a day that had things happen, progress occurred.

As I hit the halfway mark on the current warp yesterday, it is time to begin working on the threading draft for the next warp.  And carry on with the marking.

I may be in a rut but right now?  It's a comfortable one.  I will stay safely at home until :waves hands: this is over.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Good People

"In a place where there are no good people, be a good person"

We are, right now, going through an historic time.  In the years to come, human beings will mark their lives as 'before' or 'after' this pandemic.

It is really hard to imagine this experience we are going through - although science fiction writers have been doing just that for decades.  I stopped reading post apocalyptic fiction a long time ago.  The final straw for me was John Brunner's The Sheep Look Up.  See?  Decades later I not only remember the title but the author and the nightmares I had afterwards.  

I really want to live in a world where people pay attention to the science, the medical professionals, focus on helping each other through this time.  Unfortunately there is a certain segment of the population of North America that seems bent on having their own way and I suspect that once the pandemic is over, that loud - shall we say obnoxious? - segment of society is going to try and make things go back to exactly what they were 'before'.  

Workers now deemed essential that have been underpaid will be expected to continue to struggle on wages that are too low to survive on, never mind thrive on.

Red hats are demanding that society be opened up, are staging 'rallies' that block hospitals and hurl abuse at nurses who try to make them see what they are doing is not only not helpful but down right harmful.

People who screamed about being pro-life are now screaming it is their choice to do what they will with their bodies.  Unfortunately if their bodies become infected they will spread that infection far and wide and people who were not any part of that movement will become ill.

In the US if you lose your job you pretty much lose your medical coverage.  The pressure on people who now have a job and therefore health insurance is to keep working.  In other countries who have universal health many of those same countries are scrambling trying to provide actual financial support to their citizens.  If we are not in danger of starving or dying without health care, there is a lot more incentive to stay safely at home.  But even here in Canada, there was at least one 'rally' to 'open the economy' by a very small number of (I'm trying to be charitable here) misguided folk.  

It is all extremely puzzling to me.  But then I have some idea as to how viruses work and how we are woefully unequipped to deal with this one because it is 'novel'.  It is brand new, never been seen before, therefore there is no herd immunity and medical researchers are scrambling to try to find a cure or at the very least, an effective treatment.

Nurses, doctors, hospital staff are scrambling, working long hours, being affected by the numbers of deaths they are having to deal with on a daily basis.   And yet they show up for work and try to help.  The very least that could be done is get them the PPE they need, but even that seems to be being bungled in some locations.

And in the midst of all of this...over the weekend there was a mass shooting in Nova Scotia that has killed many.  

It is inconceivable and we are left wondering why...

So I looked up at the sign that is on my kitchen wall today.  I saw it at a craft fair and requested it as that year's Christmas present.

It reminds me that I cannot control what other people do, I can only control what I do.

So today I will put my big girl panties on and I will try to be good, do good.  It is the only thing that I can do.

Sending love and light to all who need it on this sad day.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Another Week

I see some of my friends on line expressing their frustration with the physical distancing that is currently required.  I want to rush to them and surround them with all my love, physically hug the stress out of them.  But I can't right now.   Right now we need to stay apart physically.

The thing with the Covid19 virus is that it is completely new (hence the 'novel' designation) and no one really knows much about it.

We know that it belongs to the coronavirus 'family'.  We know that it is highly contagious.  We know the symptoms of it.  What we don't know is how to treat the actual virus, only the symptoms. 

We don't know how many people have it because there isn't enough testing happening.  (There aren't enough tests to go round.)  We don't know if, having had it once, that conveys any immunity to getting it again.  So we don't know if herd immunity is even possible.

We don't know how many people have it and have no or very mild symptoms.

So the best, the only, really, strategy is for as many people as possible to Stay Safe at Home.

As the pandemic continues, it is now being discovered that the virus not only causes damage to the lungs, but also potentially to other organs in the body.

It is disappointing to see long anticipated events cancelled.  It is difficult to face loss of work, income, educational opportunities, travel plans disrupted. 

But right now?  We need to stop the virus the only way we can.  Stay home if possible.  If not possible, disinfect yourself as soon as you get home.  Wearing a mask is only a partial barrier so maintain physical distance from others. 

The goal here is for us to survive this time.  It will be one for the historical records. 

And at the end of this (waves hands), how about we pay 'essential' workers a living wage instead of a barely surviving wage.  Getting more income into the hands of the low income workers will work faster to stimulate the economy than any corporate bail out.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Queue

I have always had a queue of warps.  One way or another, they have tended to stack up.  Now that I have the loom dressed again and it seems to be weaving up nicely (shh - don't say that too loudly!) it is time to start thinking about the next.

I pulled the rust/rose tubes a while ago but the grouping isn't sitting quite right yet.  I looked at it last night and I think it needs to be adjusted some more.  The value differences are too great and the visual 'texture' is going to make a fabric that is very 'busy' to the eye.  Unless I resolve that busyness by making small stripes.  Which is a possibility.  But it needs more simmering on the back burner so it will wait.

The blue/greens are fine and for that warp it will be back to a 'fancy' twill.  The values are very close and the much lighter value weft will make a good contrast to set the twill motif off nicely.  She says, optimistically.

But I looked at the box of pirns I'm currently working from, and there are enough pirns for weft for not one, but two warps.  However, I will use up as many of them as possible on the warp and move on to the next.

Yesterday I read through the written work from one of the boxes to be examined.  Today I will take the samples out of the box and continue with the marking.  There is another box on its way and hopefully more Olds students will be sending their boxes, too.

Yesterday we had positive news.  Cases of covid19 appear to be tapering off in our province and tentative plans are to begin loosening restrictions sometime in May.  But only if the numbers continue as they are, hopefully heading downwards.

In the meantime I continue working on stash reduction.  The stack of towels ready for their finishing press will get done today.  I need to tag/price all the towels I've finished over the past couple of months.  I made the difficult decision about pricing and they will have to go up somewhat.  This run of towels is 100% cotton, but made from 2/16 cotton warp/weft and therefore take longer than the towels made with thicker yarns. 

I have been thinking about offering a towel a month via ko-fi as my sale platform.  Prices will therefore be in multiples of 'coffees'.  So a towel would be 10 coffees for $30 (Cdn) for example.  Shipping included.

Stay tuned. 

Friday, April 17, 2020


April showers bring May flowers is the usual chant this time of year.  The snow is melting, trees are showing the hint of leaves starting to appear.  But this year is somewhat different.  This year the chant is April distance brings May existence.

So far we seem to have manged to dodge the coronavirus bullet in our town.  However, that could change at any minute.  But for some it seems pointless to be keeping distance, staying home, limiting activities, dealing with businesses closing, some forever, losing jobs.  For extroverts it is very difficult to not have the social interactions they are used to, in fact need, for good mental health.

I get it, I really do, even though my more natural inclination is to be by myself.  I am also a hugger and understand full well the benefits of human touch.  So I feel for my extrovert friends who are now going stir crazy after several weeks of isolating themselves.

But the thing is, the virus is here.  Maybe not here, here, but it is in the human pool, it is highly transmissible, and most importantly - there is no treatment or vaccine.  Yet.

For many folk, the disease is mild and some may not even realize that they have it.  Or they are laid low for just a few days.  But we don't yet know when the virus begins shedding before symptoms appear, or for how long after symptoms abate.  We do know that people who have health issues can get very severe cases, sometimes leading to their death.

People who have lung issues are particularly vulnerable.

People who are older, have heart problems or immune system diseases are also more vulnerable.

There is a hue and cry that society doesn't shut down for flu deaths so why are we shutting down for this?  The simple answer is that flu deaths are spread out over the year.  So far the coronavirus has killed thousands of people and could kill thousands more, all in a very short period of time.  To the point of mass burials because the coffins are stacking up.   Literally.

For people saying the economy is going to tank?  If people start dropping dead by the tens of thousands, there won't be an economy left, much like what happened in Europe after the Black Plague ran through.  (Don't know what that is?  Look it up.  Or the Spanish flu in 1918-19 - you might have g/g/parents who died because of that disease - that's pretty recent in the scheme of things.)

For people saying the advice they are hearing is contradictory, I would like to remind them that the advice can be summed up in a nutshell - if you possibly can, stay home; if you have to go out - wash your hands with soap; while you are out do not touch your face because your hands may be contaminated with the virus.

If you must go out, maintain physical distance of six feet, cough into your sleeve.  If you wear a mask remember that it can be contaminated, carefully remove and dispose, or if it is a cloth mask, wash with soap and water.

If people are finding it difficult to remember these simple instructions, we could make it more clear by having an actual lock down like some countries.

Like, say, Peru.  And if you want to know if it is working to have such stringent measures in place, I suggest you take a look at a world covid tracker and compare Peru and Canada.  Peru has about 30 million people while Canada is about 36M.  Compare the number of cases, but more importantly, compare the number of deaths per million.

We do not know who will succumb to the virus.  Let's not make it you and me.

heading back to the loom and some nice sunny tea towels...

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Best Medicine

During times of stress, sometimes the best medicine is to find something funny and have a good laugh.

There is a well worn chestnut that says if you can laugh at yourself you will be endlessly entertained.  Let's just say I find plenty about myself to laugh about!

Recently our prime minister was doing one of his daily briefings.  Now Mr. Trudeau is bilingual and I have seen how sometimes people who know more than one language will sometimes have a mental hiccough and forget the word they want to use and stumble a bit verbally until they find a word that will do.  I rather suspect this was the dynamic at work when he used the phrase 'speaking moistly'.  He immediately recognized that he had mis-spoke and later that same day, someone made a video of him using the phrase.

Lately people are becoming bored, restless, wanting to get back to 'normal' and showing their irritation at the advice to stay at home.  They have been looking for loopholes and wanting to get together with friends, get back to work, stop the financial worries.  I get it, I really do.  But honestly?  If we don't stop and prevent the virus from continuing, we are going to be in this pandemic boat for a lot longer than if we just paid attention to the medical professionals like Dr. Henry (not the quack silver bullet, drink this magic potion folk) and stay home.  If you must go out, keep physical distancing.  When you get home, wash your hands, disinfect your keys, phone, parcels/bags, etc.  Maintain social contacts by phoning, messaging, whatever.

There is a lot of confusion about wearing masks.  The best use of masks is to keep your germs to yourself.  Wearing a mask carries the danger of a false sense of security.  People will think the six foot distance no longer applies because they are wearing a mask.

But yes, it will help - a little.  But again, disinfect the mask as soon as you get home.  Don't touch the outer surface - assume it's contaminated.

Wearing gloves won't protect you if you then touch your face with contaminated gloves.

People get lazy.  Complacent.  The very best advice, especially for immune compromised people is to Stay Safe at Home.

However, if you must go out, wearing a mask may possibly help.  Given masks are in short supply, home made masks can be used to cover the medical mask.

A friend who designs knits has made a mask cover using the speaking moistly quote from Trudeau.  She is offering it for free and is allowing me to share it.  It is a PDF file and if you are interested, email me and I will send it.

Or go to her Facebook page   You might like some of her other knit designs which she sells on Ravelry.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Persistence of Hope

Yesterday I got the next warp beamed and started threading.

As my eyesight gets worse, I am having to make sure I can see what I'm doing.  Over the years I worked out processes that were efficient for me, and when I changed looms, had to adapt some of those processes but by and large, they remain about the same.  They differ only in details.

The Megado is different from the AVL in a number of details.  The sectional beam is much smaller, smaller even than the AVL small beam.  It is also placed much lower than the upper AVL beam that was my preferred option.  The back beam is slanted and the Louet tension box is different, so I asked Doug to mount the AVL tension box rail to the Megado and I continue to use the AVL tension box.

The space to work in is much smaller so I have had to make some changes to how I get the warp onto the beam.  The rest remains much the same.

Once the beam is filled, I tape each bout to a stick and the stick then carries all the bouts to just behind the heddles and gets taped to the loom frame.

At the front of the loom, the reed and beater top and the breast beam get removed.  I use a shorter height stool to sit on to thread.  It's not ideal, but I have yet to find a loom where threading isn't cramped or uncomfortable in some way, so...

I have supplemental light to illuminate the area where the heddles are.  I don't mount lights onto the loom itself because that doesn't seem to work for me.  Instead I have long arm lamps, one of which I use during weaving, mounted to the table that holds the laptop and one on a movable stand.  I can move the lights to where they are needed as I thread.

The point is not specifically what I or someone else uses, the point is illumination so you can see is A Good Thing.  Keep looking at options until you find what works for you.

As my stack of tea towels grow, there is a little voice niggling in the back of my mind - why am I continuing to weave more?

Partly it's a form of therapy.  I feel better for getting to the loom a couple of hours a day.  Mentally, that is.  Physically?  I seem to be managing two hours but don't feel like I can push beyond that right now.

Partly it's a persistence of hope.  That this too shall pass and things will get better.  That at some point people will want to buy hand made items again and small indulgences to brighten their lives.

Partly it's because I have All This Yarn and it needs to get used up.  Having dealt with now four weaver's estates, I'd much rather I get to have the enjoyment of turning that yarn into something useful, maybe even attractive, than leave it for someone else to deal with.

Partly it's because I have been using them as gifts or items to trade.  One friend supplies me with jam and puzzles but she doesn't weave.  She does cook - a lot - and seems to enjoy having my towels in her kitchen.  I also give my textiles to my health care 'team' as a thank you for letting me continue to do this thing that I do.

If I stopped weaving it would be because I had lost hope that things will get better.  So I persist.  And I  hope.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Done (For Values Of)

view of towel showing part of the large motif and the hem area.  If you look really really closely you might be able to see the cut line - two picks of a pale green where the design reverses, near the right hand side of the photo

Yesterday did not go exactly as planned. 

Doug set about fixing my headphones (hearing protection with a cable that plugs into my boombox so I have music to weave by) and quickly discovered it wasn't the cable that needed fixing but the jack itself that was broken.

We then set about trying to find a new jack but no such luck.  And, it being Easter Monday, very few stores were open.  We aren't sure how many stores that might sell replacement jacks are even open during the pandemic, so I was feeling very out of sorts at the prospect of not having music to listen to while I wove.

We then set about trying to find some other cable that might have the right size of jack that could be used as a spare part, but none of them would work for one reason or another.  However, I did find a bag with a couple of very old headphones (not hearing protection, just stereo headphones).

Unfortunately they each had the large size jacks, not the little ones that my boombox needed.  On the other hand, in my search for a small jack, I had found an adapter that made a big jack into a little one, plus extra cable so that I could actually connect the headphones to the boombox and still sit at the loom to weave.


Once that was sorted I had lunch and wove a towel.  It went fairly well so after taking a break I wound a couple more bobbins and wove another.  I might just possibly have been able to squeeze one more towel out of the warp except I was down to the nitty gritty of the broken peach ends and decided it was too close to call and didn't want to deal with any more of the peach ends.

To make sure I didn't try to eek one more towel out of the warp, I immediately cut the warp off the loom, declaring it 'done'.

This warp was made up of yarns that were very similar in colour and value and the beige weft only very slightly darker in value.  On the loom it looked very bland.  However, now that it is off, the light strikes the areas of warp and weft at different angles and shows off the design much more clearly.  Instead of 'bland' it is 'subtle'.

Today I have some organizational stuff to do but the big goal is to see if I can get the next warp beamed.  It won't look like much because it will be white.  Sometimes dramatic is good.  Sometimes subtle is just the thing.

Just like life.  Everything in moderation - even moderation. 

Right now I'm very close to making my goal of emptying the pirns and even though I won't get them all cleared off, there are a significant number that have been.  My goal is to continue with the pirn clearing until the end of April and then see how things stand.  I do have other things I would like to work on, after all.

At the end of April we will mail the box(es?) of empty pirns promising the rest at some point in the future.  And then I can look at working on some of the other things I need to do.  But another box of stuff will have left the studio and stash reduction is happening.

Monday, April 13, 2020

The Crux

When I beamed this warp, I was trying to use up some tubes of yarn.  I remembered that two of the lighter peach tubes had given me fits in the past - breaking as they were being beamed - so I carefully set those aside and used only the other four that I thought were 'good'.

Within a couple of turns of the beam I realized my error.  Apparently all of those tubes were not suitable for warp. 

Stubbornly I continued for several more turns with each of them breaking in turns until I realized they needed to be set aside for weft and started adding in more beige to replace them.

Well, I'm down to those initial turns of the beam and beginning to have issues at the selvedge as those broken peach ends are revealed.

I think I have enough for two more towels on this warp but I am at the crossroads - do I push through to weave those two towels?  Or do I cut my losses and get rid of the warp?

I would love to use up more of this light peach yarn so that I don't make the mistake of trying to use the yarn in a warp again.  But do I really want to fight through the rest of this warp?

Last night I wound three bobbins - which is what it is taking to weave a towel - thinking that I would jump on this warp first thing and finish at least one towel.

But morning arrived along with another sinus headache and stress dreams (no idea why I would be having stress dreams - sarcasm font) and I am finding the thought of wading into the fray less than appetizing.

Plus I'm waiting for Doug to fix my headphones - a minor repair which will likely take longer to set up to do than the actual repair.  Thank goodness for in house tech support!

I could start dressing the small loom, but I don't really feel like doing that either.

So I will go get dressed and contemplate what to do.  It might just be to cut my losses...

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Playing Around

With the 'death' of my old computer I lost some of my tools that I'd learned how to use and make work for me.  One of them was the ability to copy a draft in Fiberworks, paste the draft into a graphics program, and then save that to my photo file.

That graphics program went away and I'm still trying to work out how to make images that I can post here and elsewhere.  So, not sure if this will work or not, but the draft is showing here in the editing portion of blogspot, so hopefully it will actually appear in the post!

I'm coming down the homestretch of the current warp with several more in the queue.  The one that was supposed to be next isn't calling to me so I'm going to let that one slumber and skip over to the next.

The goal with all this tea towel frenzy is to weave up as much yarn as possible that was wound onto pirns for a previous order that fell through and left me with boxes of pirns filled with 2/16 cotton.

I promised to ship the empty pirns in April so I've been working my way through as many of those pirns as I can.  Well, I won't get them all emptied, but I've done a great job, even if I do say so myself.

The next box has a variety of hues in the pastel range of value.  I have just enough white on hand (by using both natural and bleached white) to wind a warp and the pastel colours will work on a white warp very nicely.  Plus - spring!

I took the 'rose' (or cats paw) motif out of the Snails Trails and Cats Paws design, changed the size for the alternating rows and framed it with a few repeats of a straight progression.

The 'right' side of the cloth will be the side with the roses in colour with a white background.  But I will weave it 'upside down' in order to lift the fewest number of shafts.

There are four or maybe five towels left to weave on the current warp.  Better get up and at 'em!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Pushing Boundaries

close up of two different yarns, taken by me

The world of archaeology was all agog at the news that the making of cordage was much older than previously thought.

cordage, possibly made by Neanderthals

Recent finds have pushed back the date of humans further and further.  With the news of this find, that date is now in the region of 57,000 or so years.

The field of archaeology, long dominated by white males, has considered Neanderthal people to be less intelligent than homo sapiens.  A lot of people have been working to recognize the intelligence and skill of our ancient forebears.

I read Chariots of the Gods when it was first published.  I did, honestly.  I read (and still do for the most part) everything.  So I read Eric von Daniken's book.  And pretty much dismissed it. 

There is pretty much zero evidence that aliens have ever come near our planet.  So far there is zero evidence that there is even a space faring other planetary civilization. 

Over and over again, archaeologists and anthropologists have connected the dots of humans, interacting and sharing knowledge with others.

I read Clan of the Cave Bear and several sequels until I got tired of that one woman inventing everything.  Our ancient ancestors were not white and it wasn't just one person who had the smarts to invent what was needed to survive.

We participated in the National Geographic human genome project.  The scientist running the project traveled the world round, collecting DNA from as many different population groups as he could.  Then the project was thrown open and people were invited to participate by providing their DNA to add to the project.  (Last I checked there were over 600,000 people who had participated.)  As it happens, my results were/are a mix of homo sapien, Neanderthal and Denosovian. 

I had never heard of Denosovian ancestry before and I was intrigued.  It would appear that my ancient lineage began in what we now call Africa, moved out of that continent, a branch went east, then changed direction and migrated west, into what we now call Europe.  In more recent history, my mother's forebears left France, sailing to the now Gaspe area and then further into Quebec.  My father's came more recently from somewhere in Europe to North America.  They met here, married and voila, here I am.

But as for using fibre?  I do accept that humans were working with fibre for a very long time.  The science will continue to evolve on the dates because fibre degrades back into the soil and actual finds are extremely rate.

Never underestimate someone from a different culture.  Just because you don't understand their culture or the technologies they use doesn't make them 'less' anything.  White folk have done this over and over again to their peril. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Self Care

These are troubling times, right now.  Difficult times.  We don't know what lies ahead of us, but it probably isn't going to be a lot of fun as we navigate the peaks and valleys of the coming days, weeks, months.

If you are the kind of person who gives and gives, you will need to take some time to recharge.  Re-energize.

There are many analogies that set out to illustrate what is needed.  One is the spoon theory.  It was articulated by someone (I forget who, I'm sorry) with chronic illness.  She likened it to being given x number of spoons in a day.  On a good day, it might take only a few of those spoons to do what she needed to do.  On a bad day, she might run out of spoons just getting out of bed.

I saw another yesterday on Twitter.  Again, I forget the person's name, but if I can find the tweet, I will add it.

She likened life as being a sponge filled with water.  Over the course of the day you might wring a little bit of that water out here and there.  On a bad day, you might run out of water by noon, at which point the only way to continue was to stop, rest, absorb more water, then when you had more to give, carry on, wringing out a little water here, a little water there.

It was a perfectly timed tweet as I found myself plum out of spoons and no more water to wring.

Every single flight I have ever taken, the flight attendants have stood at the front of the plane and advised the passengers that, in the event of the oxygen masks being deployed, put yours on first, and only then help those around you.

So I withdrew from the internet - from Twitter, Facebook, Ravelry, and wallowed, just a little, in feeling overwhelmed.  Until I could let that feeling go, until I could find more spoons, soak up more water, breathe the oxygen.

As for the memes saying that during this time you need to work on a 'great' work, be hyper productive?  No.  No, you don't.  You need to survive.  That's it.  Survive.

We will do the 'great' work when we are through this and out the other side.   Or not.  There is no requirement whatsoever that anyone, anywhere, be 'great'.  We just need to be human.  And help each other.

She says it so much better than I could

Thursday, April 9, 2020


These are unprecedented times.  There is uncertainty and panic.  Students want to know when their classes will run and what they need to do to be prepared.

So I am posting a synopsis here for future reference.  I have posted this info piecemeal so many places, and people still keep asking, so obviously it is time to put it all in one place.

Level One

Covers Wool as the fibre.  Weave structures are plain weave, twill and twill variations.  Value and Hue  If you take level one from me, you get a big chunk of ergonomics and efficiency.  Reading drafts.

If students are interested in taking level one, focus on your processes and practice your physical skills - getting the loom dressed, shuttle handling, working on consistent beat.

Level Two

Covers cotton as the fibre.  Weave structures are twill and twill variations, overshot and double weave.  Colour wheels in saturated hues.  Backstrap weaving (or if taking from me, other body tensioned types of looms)

If students are interested in taking level two, work on physical skills - consistent beat, selvedges.  (This is an on-going focus because as different yarns are used, how they will be woven may change.)

Level Three

Fibres are silk and linen.  Weave structures are unit weaves, profile drafting, weaving software, colour and weave effects.  Understanding profile drafts and how to convert them into weave structures - once you understand how that works, the actual weave structure used doesn't matter so much so long as you understand how THAT weave structure works.

Students interested in taking level three should make sure they understand profile drafting and understand how silk and linen are the same and how they are different from each other and wool and cotton.

Level Four

The focus is on design principles.  Colour and weave effects, design tools, how they apply to weaving.

Students interested in taking level four should come prepared to explore those design principles and apply them to the cloth they want to make.

I understand the disappointment of students who assumed they would be able to get their next level this year.  Believe me, I was looking forward to teaching!

But these are unprecedented times.  That doesn't mean students can't continue their studies on their own.  Most cohorts have Facebook groups to stay in touch.  I would hope that they are acting as support groups for each other, encouraging each other, helping everyone keep their spirits up as much as possible given the times we are experiencing.

While Olds Fibre Week has been cancelled for this year, Level two and four are scheduled for Cape Breton in September.  As things progress I will try to keep everyone informed.  But I am trying to communicate to too many groups and information is falling through the cracks.  So I urge students to follow this blog.  Use the OldsCovid label for updates.  And please, pass information to YOUR group as it comes available.  I will also attempt to post updates to the Ravelry group for Olds that I moderate.

It is time for everyone to step up and help each other.  We are community.  We are family.  Let's help each other get through this.  I cannot be repeating the same information over and over again.  There are too many groups and I am losing track of who wants what, where.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Making Changes

Since Life Goes On, one way or another, so changes continue in the studio.

For decades, I wound bobbins by standing up at a counter.  Unfortunately that wasn't the best posture and with my current body issues, I was finding standing to wind bobbins less and less comfortable.

The other day Doug cleared the cone winder out of the other end of the studio and I had a chance to do some rearranging.  Again.

Last night I moved a small folding wooden table into that corner and set up the bobbin winder and a chair so that I could sit while winding.  The table is not very large, but big enough I can put a small box with the pirns that needed emptying, plus the small plastic box with the empty plastic bobbins.  There is an overhead lamp (out of frame) so the fact I am sitting with my back to the window and the room's central light means I still get good light in the work area.

Since I sit so much at the looms, I have always tried to do other tasks standing.  More and more, my body is objecting to standing for any length of time, especially in awkward postures.  So far warp winding is ok, but standing to serge things and wind bobbins was really beginning to hurt. 

With the goal of being able to continue weaving for as long as possible, I need to start thinking about ergonomics, more than ever. 

If it means sitting more?  I can do that.  If I have to stand, I will have to do those jobs in smaller chunks.

'Acceptance' does not mean capitulation.  It means figuring out what my new 'normal' is and working within that.  Sometimes you can't fix what is wrong, you just have to figure out work arounds.

And onwards we go...

The Prize

With plans for the year crumbling around our ears, it is very difficult to remain positive and hopeful. 
We are disappointed, of course we are.  It is completely normal that something we looked forward to being cancelled makes us sad.  We are allowed to grieve for the events that are cancelled, the opportunities we were looking forward to, being lost.

Some people manage to find the silver lining in every cloud, even when there doesn't appear to be one. 

Right now I am balancing my hopes and dreams against my disappointment.  As I get older, I feel the running of the sand through my personal hour glass.  When I chose to retire, my plan was to keep teaching and I had three Olds classes scheduled that I was very excited about.  Especially the level four class in Cape Breton.  I had seen most of the people who intended to enroll in that class through level one and two, and it felt 'right' to see them through four.  Complete the cycle, as it were.

But Fibre Week is cancelled for this year, as are many other fibre events.  I expect Convergence will also be cancelled, and even if it isn't?  I don't think I am going to go, even if I can't get a refund on my ticket.  (Some airlines are giving vouchers, not actual refunds.)

I am in the compromised category three times - my age and two underlying health conditions that make me more vulnerable to dying from the virus.

Over the past 12 years I have had to Press Pause on Life several times - cardiac issues, broken ankle, cancer, back to cardiac, cancer again (still).  And now?  Pandemic.

I have had to learn to let go of my desires in the face of things I cannot control.  I won't sugar coat it - it's hard.  It is especially hard when it is happening to everyone, all around the globe.  So many people are getting sick, so many people dying.  So many people losing their jobs, their business, their goals on hold, maybe never to be attained.

As the size of this impact on humanity begins to be seen, people are rightly concerned about what happens after.  Well, that kind of depends on the leadership of the politicians currently in charge.  Some are working tirelessly to try to mitigate what is happening, and I am quite sure are well aware of the kinds of things that will be required when the stay at home directives are over.  They will be looking at how to begin reopening the economy and supporting their citizens while it happens. 

Others?  Appear to be actively harming their citizens in a quest  Power?  Both?

For us, the 'ordinary' folk, I believe that the best way to deal with this is to keep our eyes on the prize - surviving.  Some events are postponed in hopes that the disease will be better controlled later in the year.  Some are outright cancelled.  This morning I heard that Vav in Sweden is now moved to next year.

Fibre festivals all over North America are cancelling in hopes of coming back next year.  Classes are cancelled until next year.

In the meantime, we can continue to learn.  To grow.  To be supportive of each other.  To hold each other in light and love.

Love to you all.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020


When you're weary...

People are getting weary.  The stress goes on, day after day.  No one knows how long the self isolating is going to need to last.  Jobs are being lost.  Businesses are closing.  The economy is crashing around our ears while every effort is being made to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus.

I have the privilege of staying at home, so I am doing that.  According to the medical experts, it is the best thing for people who are immune compromised to do, to protect themselves from the virus.  Nor would I want to spread it.  So I stay home.

As an introvert, it is no (or little) hardship for me.  I have my toys - er, looms - and I have a stash.  As it diminishes, my choices become harder insofar as I have to work harder to combine colours in a way that is pleasing to my eye.  But run out of yarn?  Not for a very long time.

OTOH, my inventory is growing.  More slowly than 'usual' but there is no need to fret because I am retired from doing shows.  When I question why I bother making more because who will be able to afford to buy hand woven/made anything?  I take it as a poke in the eye to the pandemic - take that, virus, you can't stop ME!

A friend commented that my timing to shut down my business was impeccable.  But at the time it didn't feel like a choice but that I was being forced into it by my body protesting decades of hard physical labour, and other outside pressures.

However, she was correct in that my business shutting down the end of 2019 meant that much of my business expense is now gone.  The biggest expense was, of course, the annex.  Doug moved the last of the things out just before the end of February, and just before the pandemic hit our shores.  So I am relieved I do not have the rent to pay on that.

As teaching gigs got cancelled, I saw any hope of income from that quarter dry up.  Since I do still want to teach I am hoping that those events will come back, but there is no guarantee things will be as they were before.

No one knows what awaits us the other end of the pandemic tunnel.

In the meantime, tempers fray, relationships break down, jobs are lost, income dries up, not just for me but millions.

The faster we flatten the curve, the sooner we pay attention to the medical professionals guiding us through this, the sooner we can begin to socialize again.

In the meantime, people have taken to services like Zoom to have virtual meetings.  People are working to help those in need.  I have read so many stories about people, not just celebrities, but everyday, ordinary folk, working hard to bring help to those who need it.

People are finding PPE for hospitals - dyers, donating their masks and gloves.  Preppers, delivering boxes of N95 masks.  Well known people offering to collect and distribute PPE to where it is needed.  Using their high profile in society to gather goods to help hospitals and medical staff.

What I am not seeing are a whole lot of billionaires, who have more than enough for entire countries, stepping forward.  Oh there are a few, here and there, which is all well and good, but honestly?  Not enough.  Not nearly enough, considering how many people with very little are doing more with their little than those with a lot doing next to nothing in comparison.

Mr. Rogers used to tell children to look for the helpers.  I would like to add my voice to that.  Pay attention to those who are helping.  And those who are not.

Pay attention to who is profiteering and stuffing their pockets full and who is giving their last dollar to help others.

Listen to good advice from actual medical professionals, not politicians with pseudo information who are not just not helping, but actively hindering in the efforts to get PPE to the people who actually need them.

See the companies who pull out all the stops to re-tool and make PPE and do not price gouge in the process.

Yes, it is overwhelming.  Yes, it is depressing.  No, the system is not supposed to work that way (I'm looking at a certain someone who tweets from an oval office) - it is supposed to actually provide relief, not make things worse.

So look for the helpers.  Help when you can, if you can.  Lend a listening ear if you see someone struggling.  Provide a shoulder - virtually, of course.  Build bridges.