Wednesday, September 30, 2020



I spent a rather longer time and far more money than I wanted in order to self-publish this book.  I did it because I felt it needed to be done.  That the weaving community needed to hear this information.  And it needed to have actual woven samples to truly bring home the message that every woven thing should be wet finished (unless there were special circumstances).

Over the years I have had people tell me my price was too high.  I didn't do a good enough job to be asking that much money.  But I had debt to pay for so I did not lower my price - I had to stick to my guns in order to pay the bank, pay for food, keep a roof over my head.

In the end I did finally sell all the copies (about 900).  And then people still wanted the information.

So during my time of 'pause' while I was dealing with chemotherapy, I photographed all the samples, and a friend turned the text and photos into a PDF and I started selling those through my website using a Paypal link.

Mostly that has gone reasonably smoothly but every once in a while the internet fails and the buyer does not receive the PDF.  Perhaps their service provider won't allow a file the size of the PDF or they haven't given permission to receive email from me or it gets caught in their spam file, or who knows?

When I launched the PDF of Magic on blurb, I almost closed the link on my website, but sales through my website continued, maybe 8 to 10 a year.  So I left it.


Once again someone paid for the PDF through my website and did not receive it.  Six days later, they lodged a complaint with Paypal, saying that I was a fraudulent account.  They never contacted me to see if I'd sent the file (I had).  They just lodged a complaint.

Before I saw the accusation of fraudulence, I had forwarded the original email with the file attached.  

I just now sent a message through Paypal to the customer saying that I had just re-sent the file, and because she had accused me of being fraudulent, I was also refunding her purchase price.

And then when I went to disable the link, of course I could not find it. After digging around in the bowels of Paypal for 20 minutes, I give up.

I will leave the link for now, and perhaps contact Paypal help/support to find out how to once and for all get rid of the two automatic links for Magic and Weave a V.

I am not hard to find.  If someone has used my website to purchase something, they could have used the contact form to email me to find out if I'd sent the thing.  But they didn't.  They went straight to Paypal and made a baseless accusation.

If someone has a problem with me, I suggest they contact me.  So if you hear rumours of me being a rip off artist or a fraud, please be aware that there is more to the story.

The only thing worse than this scenario is someone having a technical issue with blurb and expecting me to fix it.  There is a reason I went with a third party provider.

So please, if you hear of anyone wanting a copy of Magic in the Water, it is available in print or PDF from  If you are outside of Canada, use

If someone wants a copy of Weave a V, I do still have some left and will be happy to sell you one.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

"Normal" and "New"


Slept in this morning so I'm slow getting in gear.  Have been dealing with emails re: the Seminar Series, reading posts on the groups I belong to, generally ignoring the fact that I am still in my jammies.  

And that's ok, because this appears to be my new 'normal'...

One of the exchanges I had was with someone who just acquired her grandmother's loom and yarn and how much of the yarn is very 'fine'.

I am also facing the prospect of working with 'fine' yarns.  The two shelves in the photo are of the same quality of yarn, extremely fine and much too fine for me and my elderly eyes can cope with as individual threads.

The plan since I brought it home last summer (as in 2019) was to ply the yarns together so that they become thicker.  However, I was dealing with shutting down my business, downsizing and learning a new loom.  And then the pandemic hit.

My coping mechanism was (and still is in large part) to just ignore everything and focus on using up one quality of yarn in my stash.  So I have put on numerous warps of 2/16 cotton, first using up my linen (and then received another weaver's linen stash because SHE was downsizing), then just using the 2/16 for both warp and weft.  

I can still see that fine of a yarn, but this silk?  It's about the thickness of a human hair.  Even more astonishing?  It's actually a 2 ply construction.

Now I could just bundle the threads together and use as one, but it's silk, subject to static electricity and so fine I can't really see individual threads.  So I will be plying it into something I *can* see.

I will steam set the yarn by moving the plyed yarn from the spinning wheel bobbins to the hard plastic spools that Leclerc makes for sectional beaming, then putting them into a pot to steam.  

Last week I dug my slow cooker out to cook the pork loin Doug had found at a really good price, and I realized that if I put the veggie steamer thingee in the bottom I could just place the plastic bobbins in there and let it steam the spools of plyed silk yarn.

As the pandemic gathers strength for a second wave, groups are struggling to find a way to proceed with living, in a safe way.

My idea has been the Zoom seminars, and yesterday I made great progress on those.  I now have commitments from Jan-June.

The guild website maven got an on-line membership page put up late last night so people can sign up if they wish to be on the guild mailing list for updates and be able to sign up for the seminars at the guild membership rate.

This morning, chatting with one of the potential presenters, I mentioned that by running this series, it could become a registry of presenters who can deal with Zoom and give remote seminars.

We are living in the 21st century.  We have technology that was not available for the 1918 pandemic.  We don't need to risk our health in order to have communication and be able to continue to learn.  

Our town is geographically remote and our guild is small.  We can't afford to pay to have 'name' instructors travel to us.  We have the additional challenge of winter weather, which at times will cause winter events to be cancelled because of bad driving conditions.

While Zoom presentations are not ideal, they can be done.  And I have been enjoying myself way too much to stop now!  

It has been great fun to contact people that I either know, know of, or would like to know, and offer them a time slot.  I am really looking forward to 2021 now, and who knows, it might be so much fun that I'll keep going on into 2022.  With six months of 2021 already spoken for, and a long list of folk who might be interested?  This might turn into the new 'normal', especially for groups AND instructors who may live in geographically remote areas.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Difficult Things


Doug and I enjoy tv programs about archeology and history and shows like Antiques Roadshow (UK original).

We wonder at the skill of our forebears, how complex items were made with their technology.  How inventive human beings have been over the years.

(And no, aliens did not do it.)

And I thought about human beings doing 'difficult' things.  Why?  What is in it for someone like me to tackle a 'difficult' jigsaw puzzle?

What will I have achieved when all the pieces are fitted in where they belong?  What purpose was served?

Well, there is the satisfaction of bringing order out of chaos.  The pretty picture is also a reward.

Much of the 21c technology is firmly rooted in an ancestor doing something difficult, then figuring out a way to do it with less difficulty.

I mean, who thought of designing a drawloom?  Why was it important to make a piece of equipment to make complex textiles easier, faster?  Then the dobby?  Then computer assisted looms?

Modern craftspeople continue to push the boundaries of their own crafts.  I did my little bit in the day, and I know people who are now continuing to explore, push, prod at the perceived limits.

Much of North American society is all about the quick 'n dirty.  The disposable.  Those few who persist in taking a different path, the more difficult path, continue to increase our knowledge.

We also watch science programs, like How the Universe Works.  At times we have a hard time wrapping our brain around something as obscure as astrophysics, but we are always amazed at where people are going with their thinking in terms of quantum physics and string theory (and I'm not talking about yarn, here.)

The older I get, the more tired I feel, the less inclined I am to tax my brain with difficult things.  But that doesn't mean I can't recognize innovation when I see it, and celebrate those who are doing it.

One of my friends constantly sets herself challenges and I am always amazed by what she does.  

As for myself?  I have no idea where I am going with my textile practice.  Right now it is enough to make simple fabrics, cloth that will provide service.  Hopefully I will be able to continue making them for some time to come.

Because I am still working on weaving down my stash.  And for now?  That is enough.  And my 'difficult' jigsaw puzzle will provide some challenge for now.  I continue to pick away at it a few minutes at a time.  So long as I continue to find a few pieces to fit in, I will keep at it.  Because difficult doesn't mean impossible.  It just means it might take a bit longer.

Sunday, September 27, 2020



As a kid, one of the highlights of Sunday night tv watching was the Ed Sullivan Show.  Sometimes he would have 'circus' acts on and I remember several times there would be a performer who would set up sticks, then balance plates on the sticks.  The job then would be to keep the plates spinning in order to keep them on the top of the stick.

Throughout my life I have felt as though I was madly trying to keep plates twirling, trying to keep them from falling to the ground and smashing to pieces.

This time of transition to 'retirement' has meant a new way of spending my days.  A time of letting go of all the sticks, all the spinning plates atop them.  

So far I have managed to not let any of the plates smash to the ground, but rather slowly remove sticks so that I have to keep fewer plates in the air.

A lifetime of priorities has had to be re-thought and set aside for a time or discarded entirely.

I haven't been sleeping well and this morning I slept in.  I had intended to weave my goal of two tea towels but plans were adjusted so that it looks like I may not even get one done.

At first that routine dose of guilt pricked me - a kind of psychic plate smashing to the ground.  

On the other hand?  It's Sunday.  It is the one day a week I get to go out - in a safe way - and spend a couple of hours with friends.  It just won't be here, so travel a short distance will be required.  Which means it isn't looking like I will get to the loom today.

On the other, other hand?  There is no reason why I can't take a day 'off'.

I am, after all, 'retired'.  

That doesn't mean I don't want to get things done.  It just means that I can choose to stop the spinning of the plates and do something else.

I don't know how much longer the Sunday visits will be able to continue, so I have decided that   taking some time 'off' is A Good Thing.  Sleeping in was also A Good Thing.  Having a day without weaving might also be A Good Thing.  

So I will take my knitting and work on that while I sit and visit with a few friends, at a safe distance to protect us all, and enjoy a late summer, early autumn Sunday.

It's all about balance.

Saturday, September 26, 2020



Voila, slightly blurry photo from under the loom.  I was trying to get a close up and must have ever so slightly moved the ipad as I took the photo.

It is very much in the 'raw' as it is still on the loom and the reed marks plainly visible.  Once into the water to be wet finished, those thin black lines will resolve.

The colours are the ones I kind of mulled over using for a rather long time, then threw caution to the wind and went with them anyway.  I think they are going to be fine.  Fine enough that I'm not changing the weft colour and will use up the last of the black 2/16 cotton, which I estimate to be about 14 to 15 towels on this 18 towel warp.  

But 'slightly blurry' is a pretty accurate description of my day yesterday.  Best laid plans and all.

I had a 'bad' night and slept 'in'.  Then when I went to fire up the laptop I was confronted with a vanished validation code for Fiberworks.  Then when I got the code (thanks to Bob and his speedy customer service), my liftplan had also vaporized.  Fortunately I had worked out the details on the desktop so was able to recover the file and finally begin weaving.

And then I was fighting with sheds that were nasty.  What the heck now?

Turns out I'd run the warp up and over the tension rail and that 3" difference in path made a huge difference in how the shed opened.  Fortunately the rail is only held on with a couple of bolts, but it still took time and added frustration to a day that had already had enough obstacles already.

In the end, once everything was finally working, I did get one towel woven.  But I had aimed for two, so I did feel somewhat annoyed about how the day had played out.

However, a day is rarely 100% awful (yes, I know, some of them are) and the silver linings I can look to are finishing my library book, and a nice visit with a friend.

We talked about covid and the precautions we each are taking.  She is limiting her interactions by working from home and keeping her bubble very small. 

Doug and I are keeping our bubble small, visiting with physical distance, wearing masks when we do have to go out.

My friend and I don't often get a chance to visit, and with winter approaching we talked about how we can make that happen.

I suggested that we can go down to the studio where we can maintain distance but if either of us shows any kind of symptoms we will visit virtually.

While a Zoom or Skype call isn't the same as in person, it is preferable right now.  Our health officers are beginning to get Very Concerned about people going to bars, pubs, collecting in large groups.  It won't kill us to stay at home and visit safely.  Unfortunately meeting at large gatherings could very easily turn into covid hot spots.

When I learned about the 1918 influenza pandemic, I shook my head at the people who refused to wear a mask or insisted on attending large public gatherings.  

Seems like humans as a species still aren't learning much from history.

The numbers for covid continue to climb.  Almost as though it was growing virally.  (Yes, that's a pun, I know covid IS IN FACT a virus!)

Stay home if you can.  Wear a mask and maintain safe distance if you need to go out.  Keep your social bubble small and pay attention to symptoms and stay home if you have any.  Now is not the time to spread colds or flu, which are also both viruses.

Friday, September 25, 2020



As was rightly pointed out, what has been traditionally accepted can be changed.

We are exposed to something - like a 'traditional' craft and tend to follow along with what is the 'norm'.  So for me, bobbin lace has always been fine work (in the respect of using fine threads).  This quality of cloth was appealing to me, in no small part because I tend to weave with what are traditionally (in weaving) considered fine threads.  Bobbin lace took 'fine' to a whole new level!

When I started making bobbin lace in 1995, lace makers were still primarily using white, mostly linen, sometimes cotton, more rarely silk threads.  As the 1990s rolled into the new century, more and more lace makers began incorporating coloured threads into their lace, which I thought was an excellent move.  Because I had a lot of 2/20 mercerized cotton in my weaving stash, I jumped into working with colour immediately.

I watched lace makers come to grips with how colour moved through the lace, noted when more and more of them began to use colour in untraditional ways.  Which ones 'worked' and which ones didn't.

But we all have our 'normal' and the comment yesterday broke me out of my mindset of working with very fine threads.

Not that I will stop using them - I have a rather large stash of threads!  My own purchases, gifts from my lace making friend, my mom's quilting threads.  But now I'm thinking about lace making with thicker threads and considering what I can do with the craft in a different way.

I doubt I will come to any conclusions any time soon.  Instead I will probably make a bunch of the little birds that I made a number of years ago.  They are small, don't take up a lot of thread, can be inserted into Xmas cards (not that I send many these days).  I made about 3 dozen and experimented with colours, adding metallic threads and just generally enjoying making a small project.  For some reason that appeals to me right now.

On the other hand, I still have a bunch of other things that are occupying me, such as stash reduction in my weaving yarns, setting up the Sunday Seminars (two now officially booked, two more to let me know date they can do it, several more on my list to contact).

I am working on one more puzzle, then the puzzle board will go away and I'll bring out the spinning.  I have decided on a new item I would like to make with handspun - cowls.  Knitted, not woven.

Yesterday I sleyed the warp and last night just before bed I tied on and wound bobbins.  It looks like there is enough black to weave maybe 15 towels.  The rest of the warp will be woven with the same green as what went into the warp.  I have a bunch of very close to empty tubes of that and would love to get them emptied and the tubes into the recycle bin.

Then there is the blue/purple(ish) yarn, and then perhaps another white warp, then another beige warp.  By the end of those, I don't know that there will be enough selection to do any more tea towels.  Yay?

But all of that said - that takes me into 2021 - nearly.  So with the new year, I will move on to something else other than tea towels.

Speaking of which, the three orders of tea towels I mailed to the US appear to be heading to their recipients safely.  One has already been delivered, one seems to be circling the block, and hopefully the other will soon arrive at its destination, too.

So for anyone in the US willing to chance the USPS being able to deliver a parcel, I will mail to the US, but only with a tracking number - which costs more, but I won't send without it.  Email me with colour preferences and I can send photos of what I have on hand.

And if you've made it this far, thank you for reading.  

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Bobbin Lace


bobbin lace supplies

Someone moving contacted me about their bobbin lace supplies and asked if the guild would be interested.  Doug went and picked it up and it now resides behind the Leclerc loom until I have the time and energy to go through it.

There is a stack of books that might get sold as a fund raiser, but I suggested to one guild member that between the pillows that were donated and my own, I could potentially do a small (4 students max) class and teach torchon lace.  If we all wore masks, kept good distance, we could make it work.  In the new year.  After our guild sale is over.

I've been saying for years that I want to get back to making lace and this might just be the spur to finally do it.

I've been having a hard time trying to justify making bobbin lace.  It isn't much in vogue these days and is very time consuming.  To make good lace, you really need to use fine threads.

But what constitutes 'good' lace?  What may have been true before, may not be true now.  So while I let the packages of books and supplies sit, I am simmering thoughts of what lace is and what it might be now, in these pandemic times.  

Trim for masks?  Possible.  I suspect we are going to be advised to wear a mask for quite a while and why not make them pretty?

Things change and morph, depending on what is happening at the time.  And adding beauty is never a bad thing.

Plus the advantage to teaching beginners is that I can use nice big fat yarn (as in 2/8 cotton size - that's fat for lace).  

It seems the universe has a way of showing me the direction I should be going - like when weaving kept showing up in my life.  Spinning wheels.  Now bobbin lace.  I sense a trend.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020



next warp beamed, ready to be threaded

Yesterday was a prep day.  I had cut the last warp off the loom Monday, cut/serged the nine towels and run them through the washing machine.  While the wet finishing was happening I set up the loom for the next warp to be beamed, which meant before I could press the towels I had to finish beaming the warp.

So my order of priority Tuesday was to get that warp onto the beam.

Having very little energy it took a while before I got to the loom, but managed to beam just over half of the warp before stopping for lunch, then finished the beaming afterwards.

Once that was done, the spool rack got rolled out of the way and the press was put back on the work table and the drying rack was set up.

I finished pressing around 4 by which time I was struggling to stay awake, having had a 'bad' night and lacking in sleep.

After an 'early' dinner, I went to the guild where I met with guild members to discuss the Zoom seminar series I'm organizing for 2021, and once I got home from guild spent some time tweaking my contacts.

One of the benefits of having been involved in the weaving community for as long as I have is that I know a lot of people.  If I don't know someone personally, I usually know someone who knows that someone.  

Plus I'm not afraid to ask and willing to take no for an answer.  Because people have reasons for their no that may have nothing whatsoever to do with me.  Life happens and sometimes people might want to but simply cannot.

On the other hand, I am getting 'yes' so far.

There are a number of benefits for doing Zoom.  No, Zoom isn't ideal, but it can be made to work.  I took my attitude from the multitudes of people who are working from home via the internet and decided that it could be made to work for us as textile folk.  When the focus is on learning, we can figure things out.

I'm setting up one hour (ish) presentations with people who have broad ranging experience, particularly with crafts and culture and how they intersect.  (I will look at other approaches, but that is the theme I am working with.)

By scheduling for 10 am on Sunday mornings, I can reach into other time zones, sometimes rather far away, and still make it work for us and for them.

Since no one is travelling, we don't have that expense, plus we can invite people that we could never afford to bring here in person to share their love of textiles with us.

So far I have booked a date in January, and am working with some others to set their dates.  I'm not going to contact a whole pile of folk, then try to juggle scheduling them.  Instead I am contacting just one or two people at at time, getting them set up, then adding one or two more.

This also limits my time on the computer - I kind of had enough of juggling large numbers of people all at once, for the conference.  This is a more 'intimate' process, and so far I am enjoying it very much.

So what do I have so far?  Someone in the other hemisphere, 3 time zones away.  Someone in this hemisphere, also 3 time zones away.  Possibly two people in Sweden, 9 time zones away.  The names of a number of other people, local and distant, whom I will contact as I hear yay or nay from those I have already reached out to.

Once I have the schedule, it will be posted on the guild Facebook page (and probably here).  Guild members will be charged a fee (because we ARE offering to pay these folk), and non guild members can also register for a higher fee (or they could become associate members of our guild and get the guild member rate - just saying).

With Covid being very tricksy, we may be dealing with limitations on travel and meeting in groups for the next couple of years so we have to find a way to continue learning and interacting with others in a positive way.  

During the current political climate, I think it is also timely to focus on how we are more alike than not, and let our love of textiles bind us together.

Stay home if you can, keep 6 feet (2 meters) distant if you go out, wear a mask, wash your hands.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020



I started to title this post 'Difficult Decisions' but if we agree that the language we use shapes how we think about things, then 'Challenging' is a more appropriate word, I think.

I am not an intuitive colour chooser.  I have had to work hard to get to the point where I can usually choose a suite of colours that will weave together nicely.  But my yarn stash is going down, and getting enough yarn in appropriate colours is getting (again, changing from 'harder' to) challenging.

These colours are not 'pure' but shifted slightly.  The picture doesn't portray them accurately.  The green and blue are slightly greyed, the peach is more of a pale adobe.  The 'bright' green is probably the most accurate, being only slightly blued, but not greyed.  If you can catch my meaning.

In the end, because I needed four more spools, I added in the brighter green because it is only just two ends on either side of the pale adobe and will act as an accent amidst the more greyed colours.  I will again not keep the colours in strict order but allow them to blend/blur the edges of the stripes because I am quite liking the effect in the other warps I have done this with.

These subtle colour differences will get obscured as the cataracts develop so I am happy to use up this yarn now, while I'm still seeing this kind of difference.

Getting cataracts done is an exercise in patience.  They have to be 'ripe' before they get removed, so they have to get to a certain point of development before you can get on the list to have the surgery done.  And with covid, such surgeries have been delayed even further.

So I am going to go to the optometrist again next year, just so mine can be checked again, not wait for the standard two year check up.

We live in such interesting times and for most of us, as we age the things that start to go 'wrong' can be addressed.

In addition to eye glasses to correct eyesight, I now add hearing aids, and soon cataract surgery.  Not to mention all the other stuff I've had fixed or take medication for.

Science has given us longer lives, not just because we have such devices, but because we have medication, vaccines, understand how diseases are transferred amongst communities and know how to protect ourselves.

I am grateful to modern medicine for making it possible for me to continue to live and weave.

We are now pretty much well into the development of the 'second wave' of covid that was predicted.  In spite of people hitting The Wall, now is not the time to give up but to renew our efforts to prevent covid from entering into our lives, our bubble.

As such I have begun booking speakers for the guild to do Sunday Zoom programs.  Tonight I will present some more suggestions and see how much interest there is.  Our first speaker has been booked for Jan. 17 and I'm hoping for one a month for the first half of 2021.  OTOH, as more and more people get comfortable with Zoom (I had a tutorial on what can be done via Zoom yesterday - amazing!) we might continue to avail ourselves of the chance to bring instructors to us on the internet rather than physically.  At least for the balance of 2021 - and maybe several times a year ongoing.

Covid may continue to make our lives 'challenging' for several years.  One of the Black Plagues lasted 7 years, after all, and killed thousands and thousands around the world.  Covid is shaping up to be at least as contagious at the pneumonic form of the plague, so we are going to have to get comfortable with finding new ways to continue with our lives, our learning.

In the meantime?  You know the drill - stay at home if you can, wear a mask if you need to go out, maintain at least 6 feet of distance, wash your hands.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Another One Bites the Dust


I had intended to finish this warp yesterday, but I had a crap night and slept in, then felt lethargic all day.  

In the afternoon several people from our casual stitch group came for distant socializing, and I managed to hem 3.5 towels while sitting in the carport, as the weather went from mostly cloudy to raining and back again.  It wasn't particularly cold out, but after sitting outside in the smoke free out doors (yay, rain!) I was cramped and chilled and the last thing I felt like doing was going to the loom to weave the last towel of this warp.

So I didn't.

If 'retirement' means anything, it means NOT pushing myself when I'm not feeling well enough physically.  It has been a hard lesson to learn, but I think I've got it now.

Ultimately I have more towels than I can shake a stick at and no idea if I can sell any of them.  I'm hoping the guild sale does well, but who knows.  People have been out of work and feeling financially fragile.  The last thing on their minds might be hand made textiles.

Or maybe they want something 'special', seeing as how they are staying home as much as possible.

Impossible to tell.

Last week Doug mailed several parcels to the US with tea towels.  I made the decision to get tracking numbers, which meant that instead of the small packet price it is costing the expedited price.  Since I said my price included shipping, that means I'm paying twice as much as budgeted for postage, but oh well.  I just wanted the extra security of a tracking number in case any of them disappeared into USPS.

But the recipients have not so far been very affected by the USPS issues and were confident the parcel would arrive, so...

My local guild is trying to get back on track in a covid safe way, so I have slowly been contacting people about presenting Zoom guild programs.  No firm bookings yet, but we will begin in the new year so I'm not pushing too hard - yet.

Seems I know quite a few people and if not personally, I know someone who knows the someone I want to reach.  :D  Nothing like being in this community for 40+ years and having the internet at my fingertips.

But Zoom presentations are new to most people and there are wrinkles to be ironed out and it is taking time and energy many people just don't have.  While I have time, I don't have much energy.  The wildfire smoke last week was kind of the 'final' straw for me and my goal for the day went from three things to just two - there just wasn't more energy (or spoons) for more.

However, heavy rain has helped wash the smoke out of the air and hopefully this week will be better - for everyone.

But today the current warp is going to be finished.  Last night I set out the yarns for the next warp.  I'm not entirely sure it is going to look good but I have to stretch to get enough yarn to beam a warp which means I have to be bold in putting the colours together.  There are two warps in the queue, the next one will use up the last of the black for weft, and whatever warp is left I can use up more of the nearly empty tubes, freeing up more shelf space.  

After that I have a mostly blue warp planned, then it will be back to a white warp, then a mixed beige warp.  But I have no idea what design those will be.  They are at least a month, perhaps more away.  So they can simmer on the back burner for a while longer.

In the meantime, we have a lovely partially cloudy sky, sky which is actually blue, not a milky smoke filled one.  

Time to get to the loom and finish the current warp.

Sunday, September 20, 2020



One of the great pleasures I have enjoyed over the years is meeting people who have traveled and generally lived in interesting places, and in some cases, collected interesting textiles.

The above is a photo from the textile collection of someone I met and subsequently stayed with, in no small part so that I could see her collections of ikat and batik from Indonesia and area.

Last night I couldn't sleep, and as is my wont when such happens, I got up and was scrolling through the internet.  I follow a number of textile folk on Twitter and frequently come across nuggets of information that I didn't know about.  

So I came across the term 'intentional bleed' in reference to ikat.

The height of ikat proficiency is to create in the dyebath designs through the resist technique.  The textiles above are examples of the kind of proficiency that dyers/weavers can achieve.  (See the work of Laverne Waddington for her ikat textiles for the height of exactitude.)  There is also a technique where the blurring becomes more of a design element - an intentional bleeding of the coloured areas, one into the other.

I thought about my latest series of warps, where I intentionally blurred the colours of one stripe into the other to make the stripes less rigid, more fluid.

And that's the thing with textiles - and life, to be honest.  How rigid are those lines supposed to be?

When do we stick to the rigid and when do we allow the blurring to happen?

I thought about the hundreds of scarves that I have woven that purposely used the bleeding of one colour into another to create soft subtle shading.

I thought about how I have used weave structure to create subtle shading moving the threads so that some areas showed more warp, some more weft.

I thought about how sometimes a yarn will 'run' colour and stain parts of the cloth that we didn't intend, having intended to have nice crisp stripes.  And how we then judge that effect to be a flaw.

Sometimes we have to embrace what happens, magically, at times without our intending it to happen.

We have to learn when something will be a mistake and when we can embrace it, accept that it isn't perfect, but still functional.

Like each and every one of us, to be honest.

Just some middle of the night musings.

Hello darkness my old friend...

(I dare you to not sing that!  And if you can't, you must be a lot younger than I am.)  

Saturday, September 19, 2020

No (Wo)man is an Island


the beauty of a snowflake in magnification

There is much sorrow with the news of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

RBG (as she came to be known, or the Notorious RBG) was not someone on my radar until very recently, in no small part because I'm not an American.

But as eulogies are published about her, I see a woman to be admired for much.  And that her passing will leave a gigantic hole in American life, given the present state of politics.

While thinking about the impact RBG has had on people, I also thought about the impact that each and every one of us has on the people around us.

In so many ways people create ripples in the water of society.  Our actions, or inactions, cause others to react.

As an individual, we cannot know the effect we will have on others.  We cannot know when something - small to us - means a great deal to another person.

We cannot know the value of our input to society and when people tell us, it can and frequently does, take us by surprise.

This morning I thought about some of the people I have come to know, primarily through the fibre community.

I thought about how much some of those people have made an imprint on me, on my life.  Friends I stay in pretty much daily contact with, via the internet.  And how much poorer, greyer, my life would be without that contact.

I thought about the individuals in my local guild who problem solve, support and encourage by their words and deeds.

I thought about the women who have gone before, making my life easier, like being able to get financing with my own signature, not be dependent on a spouse co-signing.  

I thought about the people who try to make things 'right' for all, not just for a few.  And how their speaking up has, over the years, given me the courage to also speak up.

I thought about how much it means when people find out they are valued and loved.

Right now things are uncertain and scary.  People are grieving the loss of a woman who didn't set out to become 'famous' but wanted to make things 'right'.  And what will happen now she is gone.

Today is a time to grieve.  But it is also time to recognize that we all can take up the mantle of problem solver, helper, supporter.

And tell your friends how you value them.  Sometimes they have no idea how much they are valued.  Don't wait for a 'special' day - make any day special by letting them know you value them.

While I am not of the Jewish faith, I understand the appropriate phrase is May her memory be a blessing.  

Friday, September 18, 2020

Both Sides


One of the things I really enjoy about weaving is that cloth doesn't always look the same on both sides of the cloth.

Last night I got started hemming the latest tea towels.  This one still needs the final pressing, but yes, I do hand hem all my towels.  I just happen to prefer doing it this way, for a number of reasons.  If someone prefers to do it by machine, that is perfectly valid as well.  (It depends.)

This is one of the drafts from The Fanciest Twills, a little booklet of the twill drafts done on a point progression, developed by Fred Pennington and put together by Irene Wood (I think - I'm going by memory here.)

It's a simple draft, using 16 shafts but only 8 treadles, woven in a point progression over those 8 treadles.  This creates a stripe in the woven structure.  I arranged the colours so that they were also in a stripe that - more or less - matched the woven structure.

The threads were not kept in strict colour sequence, however, as that can tend to look a bit repetitive, so I allowed the edge of the stripe to be 'blurred' by taking the threads slightly out of sequence for some of the stripes.  If you magnify the image, you might be able to see that.

The weave structure is such that one side is slightly more warp emphasis, the other slightly more weft emphasis.  The weft was black and the dark value of the weft tends to emphasize the colours in the warp, so that side became the 'right' side, even though I wove it with the weft emphasis side 'up'.

We are experiencing some of the smoke from the wildfires in Washington State, and combined with our rapidly shifting sun making sunset come earlier every day, I'm having trouble seeing these towels because of the black weft making the cloth hard to see.  I'm going to have to step up getting these woven and hemmed before our daylight hours become even less.  

Which means I need to get the rest of the warp woven.  Because the next warp will also have black as the weft!  I'm determined to use up as much of the black as I can, as quickly as I can.

Goals.  They keep me focused and going back to the loom.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Political Compass


an easy button for when it is not easy

Today Beau of the Fifth Column uploaded a video to You Tube talking about people and their political leanings and how it is easy to feel alone if you live in a community that is predominantly out of step with what you believe.

I grew up in this town which has almost uniformly sent a Conservative Member of Parliament to Ottawa for as long as I can remember.  It might have sent a Liberal once, but I'd have to check.

Having grown up here, the child of people who were largely conservative in their beliefs, it still kind of amazes me that I continue, even after all these years, align more with Ghandi than anyone else on the Political Compass 'test'.

For those people who have never taken it, I've put the link into the paragraph above.

The first time I took it, I was, oh, 16 and scored pretty much in the same quadrant.  A little less Libertarian, perhaps, I can't really remember.

Over the years I have taken it a number of times and continue to score in that lower left quadrant, showing that my beliefs about what human beings and society can be hasn't changed much over the years.

Beau kind of put me in mind of the test this morning when he talked about red and blue states, and how few states really are majority one or the other colour.  Most states are red or blue by just a few percentage points and even in his town, which is primarily red, when he stands in line at Wal-Mart, there will be several people in that line who are Democrats as well as Republicans.

He urged people to speak up, especially if they feel like they are out numbered and alone.  That the divide is never as extreme as people like the current occupant of the Oval Office make out.

So I am speaking up in clear terms.  Although I'm pretty sure most of my loyal readers are well aware of where I stand, today I say it out loud and clearly.

I am a left leaning liberal.  I belong to no party.  I hold every politician to account, even the ones I mostly agree with, when I don't agree with them.  I do not unquestioningly follow any politician, but urge them all to do better, be better, especially when they know better.

Just like I urge my students to also do better when they know better.

In my childhood home we were raised to not speak out, not to cause a fuss.  I routinely got into 'trouble' because I did ask questions.  I did speak out when I saw or heard something I thought was 'wrong'.

Now that I am retired and old enough to no longer be much worried about offending people, I find myself in alignment more with the Raging Grannies, who I thought were very brazen when they first formed.  

So I will continue to vote for the political candidate who most represents my beliefs, even though I pretty much never get a 'winning' candidate to represent me to parliament or the legislature.  It's a reminder to the current office holder that not everyone in his/her riding is a Conservative (or in the case of the provincial representative, conservative, even though their party is currently calling itself 'liberal' - they are actually conservative in their platform.)

In my life I surround myself with people who embody the same principles that I hold - compassion, problem solving, encouraging.

I work to break down my reality bubble so that I can understand what someone else's reality looks like and when it is unequal, try to support them.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020


empty tubes being collected in a plastic bag

Thinking about the things that I have made, I wondered how full the box I collect the empty tubes in had gotten.  I had just recently sent a large bag to a friend with a young person in their home for art/crafting.  But I've made progress in emptying more of the partially full tubes.

Turns out the box is filling nicely.  There must be a couple dozen (at least) empty tubes in there.

I keep the tubes to give to pre-school teachers and when they have their fill, they go into recycle. 

I like the Brassard yarns for a number of reasons, but one reason is that when the tube gets empty enough I can just weave off of it as they fit perfectly into the Leclerc shuttles.  I do have to be careful because if they are too full they don't weave off nicely, but otherwise they act like a paper quill.

The current warp is over the halfway point and should come off the loom by next week.  I do have some other things I need to take care of - like the latest box of homework which arrived yesterday.  The student emailed the written work when the box was put into the hands of Canada Post so over the weekend I did read through that.  The written work generally takes the longest so the actual woven samples should not take too long.  I just need to clear the work table so I can spread things out.

On a personal level, however, I have been feeling a bit...empty.  Over the winter I was in so much pain it was all I could do to drag myself through the day.  I didn't have the energy to do much, so I didn't really miss the drive and energy I had been used to for all of my life.

My new massage therapist told me that it was beyond time for me to stop pushing through the pain, and this time I was ready to listen.

I do still have pain, but it's mostly pretty low level stuff.  Even so, because I'm no longer ignoring it, it does tend to suck what little energy I have out of me.

But I do miss the energy and drive I used to have.  I miss my uninjured body.  I miss being able to leap down the stairs and onto the loom and whap off 5 yards of fabric and not think twice about it.

However, when I start to feel sorry for myself, I try to remember that I have had a (mostly) good life.  That the negative things are outweighed by the positive.

Over the weekend I told some younger friends that I like being the age that I am, with the memories that I have, the experiences I have been privy to, the knowledge that I have acquired.  I just don't like the 'broken' body I currently reside in.

However.  This is where I am.  I have made the most of my life in every way that I could.

When the time comes, I think I can sum up my life as my mother did.  It's been a good life.

I'm just not quite ready to let go yet.  I've got all this yarn, all these ideas.

So I will learn to be content with a slower pace, less energy, less drive.

And I will continue to stay home as much as possible, wear a mask when I go out, wash my hands.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Pandemic Towels

I would have to go back to March posts to figure out if these are all of the towels I've woven since Covid-19 became a reality here, but it is pretty representative of what I have been doing.  There might actually be more in the other room - on the shelves where we have run out of room to store more.

Each stack is a warp and some of the towels no longer live here, having been given away or sold, but it is safe to say that each warp has been taking 14 to 20 days to weave.  Some were slower than others because of pain.  However, I am much improved now and generally manage one or two towels every day, then three days to set up the loom with the next warp.

It doesn't look like much, but then, I am supposed to be retired so productivity isn't as much of an issue any more.

This morning I thought about someone I knew, a long time ago.  She was quite a bit older than me (nearly all weavers were, in the beginning) and had been living with cancer for a very long time.  But through it all, she kept weaving.

After a very bad winter one year, a group of us stopped in to visit with her as she was too poorly to attend the conference we had all been to.  She told us the story of nearly dying in February of that year but rallied when she remembered all her yarn stash, wondering what her husband would do with it!  And so she came home and was weaving again.

We went to look at the loom and we spotted some 'mistakes' and basically swarmed her loom to fix them.  She stood back, looking a little oddly at us, doing what we thought of as a kindness, fixing the issues we could clearly see.

I think I understand now.  Those mistakes?  They weren't important.  The fact that she was, at the ripe old age of 80?  Using up her stash?  That was what was important.

She stood aside and let us fix the problems because clearly it was important to us to get them fixed.  And I'm sure that when we left she might have appreciated that they had been done.  But I wonder now if they just didn't matter much in the grand scheme of things.

As I go through my own weaving, I see issues.  These towels are far from perfect.  The selvedges are not always straight, the beat isn't always consistent.

But I find that I can't bring myself to care overly much because the important thing right now?  I'm weaving.  I'm using up my stash, including some yarn from Dorothy's that I bought after she died. 

These tea towels, as imperfect as they may be, will still dry dishes or hands.  I hope they will add some colour and brightness to someone's life.  That they will be...useful. 

The fact that they are not 'perfect' just doesn't seem to matter much any more.

Monday, September 14, 2020


reality bubbles...

The other day I posted about my experience with cataracts and shared it to my social media, I had some people urge me to get the surgery sooner rather than later.

Thing is, the surgery is not done until the cataracts have reached a certain state of development, determined by the ophthalmologist, not by me.  They have to be deemed 'ready' before the surgery is done.

Yes, they will be a pain.  Yes, they will limit my ability to see clearly until they are ready.  No, I'm not going to rush into it or pressure my doctor to hurry it up.

All surgery comes with risks although this one is so common now as to be barely a blip on the statistical radar.

But, and here's the thing.  The people pushing me to hurry the surgery up?  Were American.  They urged me to talk to my medical insurance company to get me the surgery sooner.

That is their reality bubble.  They forget that not everyone on the internet is an American, dealing with for profit medical care.

In fact, Americans are the *only* 'developed' nation in the entire world who has this particular struggle with boards of directors and share holders making a gigantic profit off of their health, well or ill.

I'm Canadian.  I am alive because we have universal health care.  When I needed it, I always got my health looked after, broken bones, cardiac issues, cancer treatments.  And none of it - NONE OF IT  - bankrupted me nor was withheld because I didn't have a fancy medical insurance policy.

No, my medical care does not cover everything, but not once was I put into the position of fearing for my life because my insurance would not cover the basics - and even beyond.

I am alive today because I got the care I needed - quite expensive care, I might add - when I needed it.

I did not have to choose between having the surgery that repaired my ankle, or just leaving it in a cast without the metal screws and plate that gave me most of my mobility back.

I did not have to choose between getting the angioplasty or just dying from cardiac blockages.

I did not have to choose between having chemo or dying - slowly - from cancer.

I did not have to choose between keeping my house or having triple by-pass surgery.  In Vancouver.  With the pre-eminent cardiac surgeon in the province.  The one who pioneered doing by-pass surgery without putting his patient on a heart/lung machine.

For my cancer, I have been given cutting edge treatment, given hugely expensive drugs, that I could never have paid for.

Except that we have universal health care and patients are treated according to the disease they have, not the money they don't.

So my dear American friends - do not accept the lie that universal health care is somehow inferior.  Do not accept the lie that universal health care is 'too expensive'.  Yes, I pay higher income tax than you do, but I don't pay thousands of dollars a year for a medical insurance policy that over charges and puts huge dollars into the pockets of share holders.

For those of you who expressed concern for me?  Thank you.  I appreciate your good wishes.

But I'm fine, truly.  It's just going to be a bit annoying for a while.

(gracefully descending from my soapbox, rant over)

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Cataracts, Colour and Vision

Two years ago I was told I had 'baby' cataracts.  This year the optometrist observed that the one in my right eye was growing and that I could expect to have it removed in two to three years. 

I know from friends who have had cataracts and then had them removed that as they grow, a yellow cast is given to colours viewed.

What I didn't know is that at times a cataract will not grow consistently, but will have areas of thick and thin, which adds distortion into the mix.  While I don't *think* there is yellow (how would I know?) I do have the distortion.

It was after being told that the cataract in my right eye had these areas of thickness and thinness that I realized my ability to thread a needle and repair things in the cloth was being adversely affected.

It is getting harder and harder for me to see, to focus at close range, due to the distortions.

This will be an additional challenge because these distortions can also cause increased halos around lights making driving at night more and more difficult.  I am already noticing these halos getting worse.

So in this pandemic year not only will I be self-isolating due to that, I will also not be driving after dark.  Which will make winter all the more challenging.

It will also impact my weaving practice as I begin to observe the effects of the cataracts and work around them as best I can.

It is one reason I'm working so hard to use up my 2/16 cotton stash - making colour selections while I am still confident that I am seeing what is really there, not through a veil of yellow.

As they progress, I will go back to more simple arrangements - solid colour warp, solid colour weft, and use more 'fancy' twills.  Things I know will work together well when I can't rely on my vision to give me accurate information.

I am working on my 'last' puzzle (for now) and when that is done, the table will be cleared off and the spinning wheel will come out.  It is time to start spinning more yarn.  I have worked my way through the majority of my orphan yarns knitting shawls and now I have a gigantic stash of shawls to get rid of.  One way or another.

So my goal with the next hand spun yarns will be to knit up cowls.  The weather forecasters are predicting a wild winter and something to keep necks warm, something that can be pulled up over the lower part of the face, if necessary, seems like something that might come in useful.

As life circumstances change, we must change as well.  The medical/scientific community is saying that a vaccine might be possible for Covid by next summer.  It will then take time to distribute that vaccine and get it to the general population by 2022.

In the meantime, life goes on.  Cataracts grow.  Other health issues do not go away just because the world is dealing with a viral pandemic.

Stay safe at home if you can.  If you must go out, maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet.  Wear a mask if you can't.  Wash your hands. 

Friday, September 11, 2020


latest towels on the loom - notice the nice straight selvedge

after wet finishing, selvedges develop a 'scallop'

Sometimes things turn out the way you want and get a surprise.

So the latest warp is turning out quite nicely.  The colours in the photo aren't quite accurate - there is also a turquoise blue in there which isn't showing much in the photo.  The other side of the cloth shows less black and more of the turquoise blue so I haven't yet decided which side will be the 'right' side.

The weave is the same as the red/black that I'm currently hemming.  Due to the weave structure, during wet finishing as the threads move to areas of least resistance, the selvedge has shifted to create a soft waving line instead of the ruler straight line on the loom.

Am I bothered about this?  Nope.  Not at all.  It is, after all, consistent.

And I wonder, who sets the standard for 'perfection'?  When did a perfectly straight selvedge become the default?  And why do we work so hard to make the selvedge 'perfect' when during wet finishing the threads will do what they will, move, shift, create curves?

We need to understand the dynamic of all of our design choices when creating a cloth, not just the arbitrary 'perfect' that we think means perfection.

Over the years I have had the chance to examine a number of historic textiles.  Not all of them would stand up to our present day standard of 'perfection'.  Not that we shouldn't be aware of the 'ideal' and work towards that.  But sometimes that standard doesn't have much meaning when it comes to mundane uses.  (Mundane as in 'of this world' or 'routine' definition.)

I have seen cloth that was creative and expressive, but would not stand up to any kind of daily use.  I have seen cloth that pushed the parameters of what we normally think of as cloth.  Cloth that made an artistic or political statement.  Cloth that wrapped the human form in ways that comforted, physically or emotionally.  

Some cloth makes a political  or economic or religious statement (look up sumptuary laws).

In many of those fabrics, the selvedge was no longer even there, having been cut away.  In others, the waving selvedge became a design feature of its own (differential shrinkage effects).

So while I always strive to do the best work I can, I also recognize that sometimes my cloth will not fit into the definition of 'perfect' according to some. 

These tea towels are fairly sturdy, have a slight texture, and should provide service for quite a long time.  They have a decorative edge courtesy of the loom and the wet finishing goddesses.

And the colours of the current warp appeal to me and makes my heart a wee bit happy when I sit at the loom.  

What could be more perfect than that?

If you can't be perfect, be consistent...

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Ready to Go


I was going to title this blog 'Raring to Go' but that wouldn't be quite right.  The warp is ready to go, and my goal today is to start weaving.  I have enough bobbins wound to weave one towel, and rather than go gung ho and wind a bunch more, I'm going to weave one towel using the black for weft and then see how I like it.  I do have other options for weft so if I'm not happy with the black, I can use something else.  But not if I have already filled my bobbins with black...

Yesterday Doug started tagging the towels that I've woven since, oh I don't know, February?  It was a good reminder that I have not been idle during the pandemic, nor do I have plans to stop.  

In addition to the warp on the loom, there are two more in the queue that will be woven in the same stripe design.  Not shown are the red/black towels I'm currently hemming.  

My chiropractor asked if I 'need' to weave, if I can't just take some time off.  I told her that right now my weaving is as much for my mental health as it is anything else.

I am well aware that my body is aging and injuries acquired over the years are piling up on me.  But while I can still weave, I intend to do so.

Over the past six months I have asked myself over and over why I continue to make handmade textiles.  Who am I doing it for?  Well, for myself, of course.  And for that small number of people who appreciate the designs I come up with, the colours I choose.  And who are willing to pay a premium for something hand made.

When life seems very dark and dismal, for whatever reason, being creative and focusing on the positive is my way - my only power, if you will - of keeping light and love to illuminate my little patch of this world.

At the guild meeting we agreed on having a sale in the guild room.  A number of our guild make things to sell and with craft fairs cancelled, we wanted to provide those members with a venue.  And the guild takes a small fee so it is a fund raiser to help pay the guild room rent and hire presenters.

I will not flood the room with my stuff, but I will have things for sale.  And yes, I will do mail order - but not to the US until they get their mail system functioning again.  I don't want to mail any more parcels to the US and have them disappear as one already has done.

So I am also holding onto the box of homework for the one US student, whose parcel actually arrived.  She has her mark and will wait to see how things go.  She may opt to use a courier but in the meantime, her box can join the other one from another US student who sent hers in Feb.  I actually have a few shelves with space on them to store their boxes!

Because that is also a priority for me.  I'm trying to use up my yarn stash and rather than hop, skip and jump around using different yarn for every warp, I chose to focus on using up the 2/16 cotton.  It's taking a long time, because I have a lot of yarn!  But it is going down.  Tubes are emptying.  Towels are materializing.  (pun intended)

Stay safe everyone.  Keep creating.  As Margaret Atwood (author of Handmaid's Tale) said recently, the future has not yet been written.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Guild Business

Last night the local guild had the first meeting of the coming year.  It was a subdued affair with just a few people in attendance and a couple more joining in via Zoom.

We talked about plans for the coming months and agreed to put one of the guild looms up for sale in an effort to provide more space for safe distancing in the room.

It's a Leclerc Nilus, 45" weaving width, four shaft, six treadle.  It comes with some 'extras' - in addition to a plain warp beam, a beam with sectional rakes (1/2 yard circumference), tension box, a spool rack with a few spools, plus four (rusty but could be cleaned) reeds.  It came to us used but is in pretty good shape.  There may be a few shuttles and other small tools (I didn't check when I was in the guild room last week)

We prefer to have it picked up and are offering it at the very low price of $600, all included.

It was also agreed that a couple of looms that had not previously been allowed to be rented and taken home could be.  The guild website will be updated in the next while with rental equipment, including the guild spinning wheels.  We may also be offering a couple of spinning wheels for sale.  They will need to be looked at first.

The building is going to be getting improved internet so we are also looking to book presenters for Zoom seminars/lectures.  I have a list of people who are working on doing presentations but if you do that sort of thing, email me and I can add you to the list for consideration.

Nothing much will happen before the new year because we will be hosting a guild sale in the room every Saturday for six weeks beginning Nov. 7.  Guild members can bring items for sale and the guild will provide the space and do the sales for them.  The consignment rate is just 20%.  Posters will be ready soon and we are counting on guild members to get the word out to the community.  (Masks will be required for the people attending, both workers and shoppers.)

We have also been informed that we can continue to use the larger meeting room for our Tuesday evening drop ins for the winter.  We usually have around 6-8 people show up for a couple of hours to enjoy each other's company, work on current projects, share what we have been doing.  We are beginning to socialize, but with safe distancing in the larger room.

The time for 'pause' is coming to an end, but we must still be aware that the virus is not gone.  Not yet.  So we need to proceed cautiously and carefully.

Feel free to share the information in this blog post - loom for sale, guild room sale, etc.


With the arrival of a very late summer, I have promised myself to spend some time outside each nice day.  I've been taking my hemming out to the carport where Doug has tables set up for safe social distancing for visiting with friends.  I bring my ipad so I can listen to music and a cold drink and my bin with tea towels, pin cushion and thread.  I enjoy the gentle breeze and the not too hot temperature (it was 76F yesterday) and work on the black/red tea towels.  Altogether pleasant.  And a much needed soaking up of the sun.

Well, I'm sitting in the shade, but...

Yesterday I also finished threading the rose/teal warp and today's goal is to sley and tie on.  I received the written work from another Olds student, so today I might sit outside and read through them.  The weather is supposed to stay like this for the week and the black/red towels will soon be done and it will be a while before any towels come off the new warp.

But I was thinking about how life is full of cycles.  These cycles are not circles but spirals.  Every warp I put on the loom I work at doing it better, getting more 'perfect' results.  And every time?  I fail.  There is always something that isn't quite 'right'.

None of it is a deal breaker (so far) but rather than being dismayed by this lack of perfection, I keep working at it.

Some of it is just because it's a new loom (even at one year old, it's still 'new') and some of it is because I know that the slight 'not perfect' will not, in the end, very much affect the finished result.

So yes, there are tiny differences in the sections, not all are perfectly flat.  Some of the threads are shorter, some longer.

As a new weaver I would fret about such things, but eventually I learned that for most of what I was making those slight differences 'came out in the wash' - so to speak.

Slight imperfections in beat.  Slight tension differences.  They didn't actually matter when all was said and done.

But that doesn't mean I don't try.  I do.  I try very hard to beam a 'perfect' warp.  And don't ever quite make it. 

At some point in life I have found that I just have to get on with it.  And trust in the process to provide something that is close to what I want.

And really that is what life is all about, not just weaving.  We do the best we can.  We try to do it better than before.  We continue trying.  And the same lessons seem to come round to 'test' us over and over again.

One of my 'failings' as a person is my lack of patience.  Over and over again my patience has been tested.  And when I think I've got it?  It comes around again.  Something else will happen that will require patience.

Have I finally mastered it? 

Only partially.  There are things that I can be patient about now, finally.  Things that I have absolutely no control over, like a pandemic.  I think I have learned that one during the several times I have needed to self-isolate due to health issues - broken ankle (non-weight bearing), chemo, by-pass surgery.

All of those things needed me to just let them play out. 

And so it is it with the pandemic. 

I'm not saying it is easy, of course it isn't.  We all have things we were looking forward to - be that jobs, family events, travel, education.  All had to be put on hold - or people had to find other ways to fulfill their wishes.

We live in the age of the internet and now we have things like Zoom meetings.  Not perfect, far from it.  But I can continue to blog, to reach out to whomever wants to read what I say.  I can message friends.  I can have visits with friends via Skype. 

I can take seminars or classes if I wish (or people can take from me via Long Thread Media!). 

Books might not be possible but both of mine are available in PDF format.  Or people can check the video clips I uploaded to You Tube.

Human beings have managed to survive pandemics throughout history.  We will survive this one, even though our plans may suffer while we do it.

My focus is to stay as hopeful and positive as I can.  I will continue to try to help people as much as possible through the internet.  I see people providing services/products that I feel are valuable and will share those resources when ever I can.

This is a time to help each other.  It is the only way forward, as far as I am concerned.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020


There are things in life that aren't much fun but are necessary.

There are things in life that aren't very comfortable but must be done anyway.

So I have a love/hate relationship with threading the loom.  So to speak.

I find it physically uncomfortable, but also exciting because getting the loom set up with a new warp holds the anticipation of finding out if what I have visualized will actually come out the way I want.

With burgeoning cataracts starting to interfere with my sight (so far not too bad, but beginning to notice little things) having good light has become even more important than before.

This is my 'usual' set up for the Megado.  The Megado is a different loom than the AVL, and it's a bit more challenging to get light where I need it.

I don't put lights under the castle of the loom but rather try to get light to shine into the heddles so I can see both heddle eye and thread.

My eyesight has slowly gotten worse over the years and I just can't really see clearly enough anything finer than a 2/16 cotton.  Unfortunately I still have a box of 2/20 mercerized cotton that I used to use, but dark colours, fine thread meant I was having too much trouble seeing, so I stopped using it.

I'm thinking of maybe using it as weft on something a bit thicker - like the 2/16 cotton.  The contrast of shiny/matt can be quite effective.

However I'm so low on 2/16 cotton now, I would probably have to buy more yarn.  So...maybe not.

Some people try to put on the longest warp they can, others like to just do enough warp for a single item.  I tend to put on longish warps, but that's mainly a holdover from being a production weaver trying to sell my textiles.  Or because I really want to use up yarn - and I have so much yarn to use.  Not to mention the set up time for the loom is the biggest investment of time and effort there is and I'd much rather be weaving than setting up the loom.

But I don't mind setting up the loom.

Because no warp, no weaving going on...