Saturday, October 31, 2020

Many Elephants


All set up, ready to go again.  I'm finding this new caddy quite useful in keeping my bits and bobs organized.

Yesterday I managed two towels (for a total of 4 on this warp, now) and feeling like I have made a good start.  There is enough dark navy for one more towel with some bits left over.  Then on to the dark forest green.

But every day I am reminded that I have very little energy and it doesn't take long before it runs out.  Things that I used to be able to do without much thought now loom like mountains.  Or elephants.  As in the proverbial question - how do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

I find I have lost my taste for elephant now.  A part of me still wants to do stuff.  But much of the rest of me says 'meh'.

Which is why I settled on a goal of three things.  I try to do three things each day.  In addition to just living, getting through one more day.  I feel that if I can manage to do three things that is enough for a retired (tired) person.

However I did also commit to doing some things that are very elephant-like by their very nature.  And yesterday I agreed to teach level one at Olds next June.  Covid willing and the crick don't rise.

One of my three things yesterday was to open the box of homework that arrived earlier in the week and take a quick look, pulling the written work out.  After weaving two towels I read through the two written exercises, which became my third thing.

Today I will mark the woven exercises.  Then type up my notes, write an email, arrange for the box to be returned next week.

None of these things would have been a blip on my radar a couple of years ago.  Now?  I find them more challenging.

Of course the pandemic isn't helping.  I've spent time and energy getting the guild sale put together - and now with the rising numbers I get up each morning wondering if the plug will be pulled on it.  Because the numbers are growing - exactly like a virus.  Funny that...

I also have to finish preparing my Power Point presentation.  Then testing my ability to host a Zoom meeting.  A friend who has participated in Zoom meetings over the course of the summer has kindly volunteered to help with it.  I have the best friends!

The seminar series also took time and energy, but mostly that was fun.  And registrations are beginning to come in, so there is something to look forward to in the new year.

But now?  Now it is time for another bite of elephant.  I'm enjoying this blue warp. I'm also enjoying seeing the yarn get used up.  

Finished the Louise Penny last night.  Trying to decide on which book to read next.  Probably the Ian Rankin.  :)  

Friday, October 30, 2020

Spark to a Flame


I have always believed that it is better build something than tear something down.  And if you need to tear something down, have a plan to re-build - better than it was before.

The pandemic has required us to shutter so many aspects of our lives.  There has been deep disappointment in having to cancel things - workshops, fibre events, family celebrations.  We have had to find new ways to do things.  New ways to communicate.  New ways to be together - apart.

With the rise in the use of things like Zoom, I saw an opportunity.  Even though I'd never hosted anything via Zoom (I'd participated in exactly one Zoom meeting), I knew hundreds of folk were using Zoom to communicate with groups - sometimes quite large groups - of people.  Even though I didn't know exactly how Zoom worked, I knew it could be made to work.  And I knew a number of fibre folk were initiating Zoom presentations.

And so I decided - if not now, when?  If not me, who?  And started contacting people I knew - or knew of - and asking - would you be interested in doing something via Zoom?

It took just a few weeks to contact people, get an answer yay or nay (because some people have unreliable internet) and move on to the next.  I had a mental list and simply went down the list, checking each one off as we set a date, and moved on to the next.

The guild had other things going on until the end of the year, so I decided to begin in January - a new year, filled with hope.  Seemed about right.

Birthe worked getting the guild website updated, set up payment options, developed spread sheets to keep track of registrations.  My part in this was just the spark.  Hers made it a flame.

A flame of light as the days became darker, colder.  Something to look forward to.  

Registration went live Wednesday night and people have already begun to register for the first three seminars.  As each seminar ends, the next in the queue will go 'live' for registration.

As things get 'worse' here with Covid, I have to accept that our guild room sale may get shut down before it even begins.  But I'm hoping for at least a couple of days where folk can come and buy guild members work.  Time will tell.

In the meantime we have an 'official' covid plan for the sale - and the seminars for those members who either have unreliable internet or don't want to deal with the technology.  All we can do is try.  All we can do it make an effort.  All we can do is hope.  And try to keep that flame alive.

Check out the seminars to see if there are any of interest.  You don't have to be a guild member, although if you want to, you can join as an associate (if you live more than 50 kilometers from town) and you will get the guild member rate and priority registration.

As for me, one tiny bit of  hope for 2021 - I have agreed to teach level one master weaver class for Olds next June.  Let's all wear our masks and beat this virus down so we can get back to in real life classes!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

More Log Jams


Abby Franquemont

Yesterday after writing about log jams, the universe seemed to think I wanted more of them, and I spent way too much time trying to unpick several.

However, I did eventually prevail!  We now have an official Covid plan for the guild sale and hopefully the questions I answered today will seal the deal.  I cannot complain about the necessity of having a Covid plan - we already did - it just took some time to get the 'official' plan in place.  I am actually pleased that everyone here seems to be taking the pandemic seriously, even though our town has been pretty safe.  At least up until now.  (It probably doesn't hurt that the person in charge of the arts facility got covid early in the pandemic and is therefore hyper aware.)

Last night registration for the first three of the Sunday Seminars went live for guild members.   Birthe has made it as easy as possible for people to register and I am pleased to say that Abby Franquemont has agreed to take the lead spot.

The seminars are scheduled for 10 am Sunday mornings Pacific time (whether that is standard or daylight savings is to be determined, but it is easy enough to find out with a quick google search.  Our premier has been dancing back and forth about cancelling the time change and may do so now that he has a solid majority).

I choose a morning time slot so that some of our speakers could still participate without staying up until dark o'clock.  It also means that people living to the east of us can also participate without staying up until dark o'clock.  Because yes, even if you live somewhere else, you can participate.  If you choose to become an associate member, you can take advantage of the early registration and you get a discount on the public registration fee.

The end result was that I spent so much time at the computer I only got one towel woven.  I am hoping to get two done today.

I did pull some additional colours for weft because the dark navy will do about 5 towels.  When value is more important that hue, I was able to pick out a couple of very dark purple tubes and dark hunter green.  Between those two hues, there should be almost enough to finish the blue warp.  If I need more yarn, I have other dark hues that I can use.  Or if it is close enough to the end, I might just sacrifice whatever warp is left at that point.  To be determined.

We have another grey dreary day here.  It rained last night and the roads are a mess.  I am happy to stay home until the weather settles down and we get 'true' winter, not this shoulder season messiness.

Stay safe.  Stay well.  Stay covid aware.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Log Jam

 Log Driver's Waltz

When working on a Big Project it can sometimes feel as though you are dealing with a log jam.  There doesn't seem to be any way to make progress, everything is a jumble.  There doesn't seem to be a way through - over or under, left or right.

But you keep working at it, one log at a time.  Deal with this one.  Move that one.  Resolve this other one.

My life has been one log jam after another.  Every warp seems to take on aspects of a jam - until it is free and clear.

Every design, twisted this way and that.  Consider this thing and that.  Choose this over that other.

Eventually?  Eventually it flows again.  It becomes smooth again.

It feels perilous at times.  In the case of Magic, I was asking a pretty big price, but I had to in order to pay the bills.  Would anyone be willing to pay what I was asking?

Initially I thought that the main audience for Magic would be guilds but in the end it was individuals who ante'd up the money and bought personal copies.  One person bought two - one for herself, one to loan to trusted friends.

Over the years I've organized conferences - and dealt with more log jams.  People wouldn't answer questions, or posed them.  Details had to be dealt with.  Other people needed to be called in to help.  Projects that could not be done by just one person so, many hands made light work.

After many years of juggling deadlines, marketing myself, I got tired.  So I finally decided to step back (somewhat) from what I had been doing.

After publishing Magic I declared that there would never be another book.  And yet...

Another log jam.  Worrying away at this detail and that.  I think it was version 13.7 that finally got handed over to a professional editor who took it into the final form.  And dealt with all the technical questions of publishing.

I organized my 'first' conference in 1980.  The second one was 1985, I think.   Then chaired the ANWG conference here in 1995 AND installed the gallery exhibit - textiles by Jack Lenor Larson.  Then 2019, ANWG again.

Each time, poking logs this way and that until the event flowed.

Now my goals are more modest.  I have contacts.  I have excellent guild members willing to pitch in and help shove logs this way and that.  It made sense for me to set up the seminar series.  The guild treasurer commented that doing this was just like organizing a small conference.  She isn't wrong.

But when you have a team you can trust?  You can dig into that pile of logs, knowing that your co-workers have your back - and your front and side.

Fibre folk are a community in the best way possible.  We share a love of fibre, in all its forms.  We share an excitement about working with it, and seeing what other people are doing with it.

And so we come to the place and time when the seminar series will go public.  Registration opens tonight at 7 pm for guild members (including associate members).  You don't have to belong to the guild to register but you need to wait for guild members to sign up first, and you'll pay a slightly higher fee.

On a personal note, I have finally figured out my Zoom account (I hope!) and now that the series is about to flow, with other guild members taking over their part in the waltz, I need to pay attention to learning Zoom myself.  I need to finish my Power Point presentation for my deadline - and test everything to make sure I can do what I *think* I need to do.

One log at a time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020



Mastery isn't about being 'perfect' but understanding your tools and materials - how far you can push them beyond their limits in order to get what you want in the end.

But that's the thing - what is it you want, in the end?

Which is why I call myself a Form Follows Function weaver.

I begin with where I want to end up, then work backwards, checking each choice of materials, design, colour, etc.  Not once but multiple times.

Since I am supposed to be giving a talk next month about being a professional/production weaver, I have been thinking a lot.  Thinking about how I have chosen to live my life.  All the myriad decisions that I have had to make.  All the 'extra' knowledge I had to learn in addition to learning how to master my craft.

Being a business.  How to promote myself (still the hardest thing I do).  Setting up tax accounts to collect and remit the provincial then federal sales taxes.  Balancing debt vs income.  Setting up production schedules based somewhere in reality - just how many yards can I actually weave in a day?  Then how long will it take to do the wet finishing.  The dry finishing.  The tagging/pricing.  Et bloody cetera.

I am not tired of weaving, as such.  I got very tired of dealing with the minutiae of what needed to happen with all the stuff associated with being a business.

And for me it was simple.  I started as a sole proprietor and ended as one.  I had to make sure I had insurance to protect myself from any frivolous suits, theft, loss through fire/water.  Insurance became horribly expensive after 9/11 and I had to up my liability insurance from 1 million to 2 million dollars.  Just in case someone came into my booth, tripped over something, then sued me for injury.

I had to carry extra insurance on the van because I transported inventory - around $40K for the last few years - plus all the booth apparatus - another couple thousand dollars, and that low only because Doug built the last set of shelving we used.

Learning the ins and outs of creating textiles was the fun bit.  Learning how physics within woven structures worked, the mechanics of the loom were interesting.  The rest?  Not so much, but necessary.

And that is pretty much the story of life, isn't it?  We find the fun stuff, then do the necessary stuff in order to be able to do the fun stuff.

How that looks is different for every person.  Some people go get a paying job so they can do their hobby without all of those considerations.  I chose to make weaving  my career and figure out a way to have that bring the money in so I could keep weaving.

My retirement (closing down my business) came at the perfect time.  I got rid of the annex at the end of February.  Closed my business and tax accounts as of Dec. 31, 2019.  Shut down my business banking.  Got rid of as much of the administrivia of being in business as I could.

This year, the year of the pandemic, turned into a perfect 'retreat from the world and just weave' time.  I struggled with the lack of social in real life meetings, found a way to make one happen by offering my carport for the summer months.

As the summer was winding down (it was a rather grey, dreary, wet and depressing summer, tbh) I flailed around looking for something to look forward to - because the out doors meetings were going to stop very soon.  They stopped the first week of October because it turned cold very quickly this year.

And as I flailed I saw the rise in Zoom offerings, and figured why not?  Why couldn't our guild also have Zoom offerings?  

We now have a solid 10 seminars lined up.  The website is being updated with the list of presenters.  It still needs some editing but it will be available within a few days.  Guild members get first crack at registering.  BUT!  We have a provision for 'associate' members - people who live too far away to attend guild meetings but still want the option of maybe taking a workshop, getting the newsletter.  We made the decision to accept anyone who wants to be an associate, no matter where they are located.

Because with the internet, and Zoom seminars?  A person does not have to attend in real life - they can log in from where ever they are.

So if you take a look at the seminar list, and you want to participate?  You can register as a non-guild member for $15 Cdn.  OR, if you think you would like to attend more you can sign up as a guild member for $25 Cdn (5% tax may be charged - I'm not the treasurer and she is dealing with that) and you'll get the member price and get the chance to register before non-guild members.

And now I need to spend some time mastering Zoom.  Because I'm doing one presentation in November, and might be doing a longer 'mini workshop' in the new year.  And I really need to know how Zoom works for that one.

Stay safe.  Stay well.  Stay covid aware.

Monday, October 26, 2020



blue warp ready to thread - my job for today

It is the end of October and we are into transition season - from autumn into winter.  Last night we got about 4" (10cm) of wet snow, but it's not certain it will stick.  According to the weather forecast I saw a couple of days ago, it could warm up and the precipitation could turn to rain, which would then melt the snow.

And driving conditions will be ugly.

It's a good day to stay home.

OTOH, during a pandemic, every day is a good day to stay home, if you can.

Canada is officially in the 'second wave' of Covid-19.  Almost every province is showing leaps of numbers of cases.  Some speculate that the recent Thanksgiving holiday (Canada has it in October) may possibly be the cause.  Too many people meeting in too large a group, not wearing masks.  Talking moistly.  (Thank you Justin Trudeau for the phrase!)

Or it's just the growing numbers of people gathering (pandemic fatigue) or refusing to wear a mask.  Gathering in larger numbers, in enclosed spaces, with little ventilation.  Because it's almost winter and the weather has been colder, sooner, than we anticipate.

Tomorrow we will get our flu shot.  The local pharmacies are administering them, by appointment.  Masks required.  I will also pick up my prescriptions for the next 3 months so that neither of us has to make another trip in a week - when I actually run out.  My meds are 'standard' and after a short conversation with my doctor on the phone, he did the routine refill of what I need.  

We are going ahead with the guild sale, until we hear that the building the guild room is in is under lock down again.  

Mr. Trudeau urged Canadians to stay home for Thanksgiving so that we could have Christmas.  Seems not enough people listened.

And here we are.  As of this morning, Canada has had 217,763 cases, 9962 deaths.  Cases per million population:  5754.  Deaths per million population:  263.

Doug and I are well supplied with masks, both cloth and disposable, thanks for Doug shopping early for the disposables, and to family/friends for the cloth.  Our needs are few.  I have a big bag of books from the library - and literally dozens of my own.  I could even re-read some of them - would like to, if I had more mental acuity.  I admit that the pandemic fatigue is also affecting me.

I am getting very tired of the conspiracy theorists who say the pandemic is a hoax.  43 plus million people around the world would like to disagree with them.  Masks do not take away a person's freedom, but gives them the freedom to move around doing what is necessary while reducing their risk of catching Covid-19.  

'Naturally acquired herd immunity' isn't recommended.  The unintended consequence of approaching the pandemic that way is killing off a whole lot of people.  One only has to look at the Black Plague (or Death) and the something like 7 million people who died to know how well that works.

Everything is uncertain right now.  But the simple action of putting a mask on, covering both nose AND mouth will go a long way towards knocking the virus out.  As bored and tired as we are of it, the virus is not tired.  All it is doing is looking for a host.  Any host.  Doesn't matter age, gender, race.  Political views.

As mentioned previously (here or on Facebook) I follow for Covid numbers.  They list pretty much every country in the world.  It is sobering to see the numbers increase, daily, and how out of control some countries are with their case growth.

Right now during this time of seasonal transition, there are two reasons to stay home if you can.  The road conditions.  And the Pandemic.

Stay home if you can.  Wear a mask if you need to go out.  Maintain physical distance.  Meet in small groups in well ventilated spaces.  Wash your hands.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Begin Again


set up for the next warp

Yesterday I managed to finish weaving the beige warp but it was late in the day when I did so I left it at that point.

This morning I cut the warp off the cloth beam, cut/serged the towels and got them into the washing machine.

Then I set about getting the next warp ready to beam.

I have a lot of this dark blue left, so I'm thinking that the next warp will have the aqua replaced with rose and then I'll do another with that combination.

Beaming two 20 yard (ish) long warps won't use up a lot of the blue, but I can also use it for weft, once I run out of the dark navy blue on this warp.  It will most likely weave up most of the warp, but not all of it.  There are three tubes half, or more than half full.  So, a lot of weaving can be done with that much yarn.

I didn't count how many nearly empty tubes I emptied on the last warp but it had to be close to 20, so I feel a great deal of satisfaction with that progress.  This warp won't produce that level of empty tubes - there is just too much of these colours left, but using up some is better than having it sit on the shelves.

Once I've done the two blue warps, I have a pale grey/blue warp ready to go.  And then?  Then I think it will be time to stop with the tea towels and try to use up some of my other yarn.

This year has been...different...that's for sure.  It took much longer than I hoped to get comfortable enough with the Megado, although I'm pretty ok with it now.  Changing the habits of four decades took way longer than I hoped to do.  But never mind, there were other distractions that took my focus away.

With each tea towel warp taking about two weeks (or a bit more) to weave off, these three warps will take me into December, especially with the guild sale coming up.  So my goal is to have the tea towels done by the end of the year (I *might* be able to pull one more warp once these are done - will see) and start the new year with a new category of textile.  

Talked to Doug this morning and I think it's time to do some scarves again, this time trying to use up some of the rayon I have in quantity.

I keep looking at the silk, not entirely sure I want to tackle it - yet.  But the fact that I keep coming back to the shelves to look at it means I'm not ignoring it, just letting it simmer on the back burner.

Time to go transfer the towels to the dryer and begin beaming this blue warp.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Progress Tracker


empty cardboard tubes

With the stated goal of using up/emptying tubes of yarn, it seemed to be taking a very long time to get significant progress happening.

So far, on the current warp, these tubes were emptied.  I didn't count, but it is a satisfying pile.  A confirmation that I have made progress, that stash is being used.

There will most likely be another 3 or more tubes emptied before I've finished the current warp - today, I hope.

It was supposed to come off yesterday, but I had some volunteers to assist with getting the guild room prepared for the upcoming sale dates, so instead of weaving, I spent a few hours at the guild room.  

By the time we left, the room had been re-arranged, things cleared out of the front half of the room, display equipment set up, ready to receive inventory.  I'm hoping for another helper on Nov. 6 to put out the textiles ready for customers.

I look at my shelves and see years more of weaving without ever needing to buy more yarn.  But I am beginning to weary of the endless tea towels.  Several times in the past few months I have concluded that I was 'done' doing these tea towels, viewed the quantity of yarn still sitting on the shelves, found more colour combinations I could love enough to weave...and pulled more warps.  But I'm thinking that the two in the queue, plus one more with a darker blue base, might just be The End.

I am making progress on the jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table, and I think that by the time I'm finished it, it will be time to pull out the spinner and start spinning some of my fibre stash.  Because I also have more than a little fibre!  And those rolags I made two years ago really need to be spun into yarn.

So, that would appear to be my winter sorted!  Not to mention my stack of books that wants to be read.

Somehow I don't think I will have much trouble staying home (because I can), wear a mask if I need to go out, maintain safe physical distancing.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Textile Science


When the coming of computers was touted as delivering us into the Age of Information, what the pundits failed to mention is that not all information is 'good' or 'helpful'.  

There is a lot of poor information that floats around the internet with people seeming to rely on what they have been told instead of looking at the actual science of fibres and textiles.

In my younger days, I would leap into every fray, trying to let people know actual facts instead of the myths that were being perpetrated.  But it seems a certain subset of humanity wasn't all that interested in facts but wanted to cling onto their perceived knowledge.  They could never be 'wrong' about anything, did not suffer any kind of additional information with any kind of grace, or admit that someone else might actually know more than they did.

Over the years (I entered the world of the internet in 1994 so I've been around for a while) I got tired of being told I was wrong, that my factual information was suspect, that their source was more accurate than mine.  Fair enough.  If I am wrong, tell me how so I can adjust my information.

One of the confrontations that about did me in was the soap/detergent controversy (for the umpteenth time).

I explained how what you used depended on the quality of the water you were using - if it was highly mineralized, the soap will bind with the minerals creating a grey skuzz (technical term) on the surface of the water, in which case you will want to use a detergent.

I had a pile of people tell me I was WRONG - that you should never, ever use evil detergents on your wool.  Then, much to my amusement, some of them would highly recommend Synthropol or Orvus Paste as being The Best Thing Ever!

Both of which are detergents.  But that information seemed to go right over their heads.

So a recent discussion on a group had people highly recommending using ammonia on wool.  This is not something I would recommend, and if it is used, should be used in a very light solution.  

In terms of wool, the book pictured above has really great scientific information.  There are other books but I prefer this one because it breaks information down into 'just the facts, ma'am' and also has comparative charts.

For wool, which is a protein fibre, it lists wool has having low resistance to alkalis - in other words, alkalis can damage wool.  It has medium resistance to acids.  Again, light solution, limited time.  It has high resistance to solvents.  Poor resistance to sun and microorganisms and insects.

When using soap or detergent, use a light solution for a limited time.

The optimum range for wool is pH neutral - around a 7 on the scale.  There are times when - for special purposes, pH can be shifted either end of the pH scale, but not to the extreme ends.  Alkali will begin to damage wool over10 on the scale.

I did an experiment with my guild - asked them to bring whatever they use for soap/detergent and got some pH paper.  We then tested each of the products to find out where they fell in the pH range.

In light solution (and those words are critical) every single one fell within the safe range of pH for wool.

Another problem that crops up with wool (or any fibre for that matter) is mould.  What do you do if you find you have mould in your yarn stash?

There is a product called Concrobium Mold that actually kills mold.  Bleach is not the best way to get rid of mold, and used in quantity isn't good for human beings, either.

Boiling it is not best practice for wool, either.  Wool + moisture + agitation = fulling.

When in doubt, find some science.  I highly recommend The Guide to Textiles for Interior Designers.  This book has been used in the textile science classes at the University of Manitoba - the authors are professors there - and is now in it's 3rd edition, I think.  Since it's a textbook, the latest edition is very expensive, but can routinely be found in 1st and 2nd editions for cheap.  Worth every penny, imho.

Currently reading Louise Penny's latest - All The Devils Are Here.

Thursday, October 22, 2020



The internet has done a great job of promoting pithy comments, sometimes quite eloquently.  I think my faourite is 'Don't hang onto a mistake just because you spent a long time making it'.

For me the break through was using something called risk assessment and deciding what was most precious to me - my time, or my yarn.  Which was I going to risk?

With my father dying at the tender age of 56, I came to the craft knowing that life is short.  That while I could always make more money, I could never make more time.  And bottom line?  We don't know how long we have, anyway.

When I ran into an obstacle - whatever that might be - the question was - is this going to take more time than it is worth to fix?  If so, then remove it and move on.

I know, I know, not everyone has money to buy more yarn.  I was, after all, a starving artist for 4 plus decades.  Money was always, always, tight.  But saving a few dollars in yarn preventing me from putting my time and effort into creating something that I could sell?  Writing an article I would get paid for?  The yarn got sacrificed.  Because I could always get more of that.

Some people hang on to a project because they have a notion that they are not allowed to 'fail' so they must pull a success out of a situation.  Sometimes people have been told that mistakes are not allowed, so they have to fix what is going wrong.

But what if the problem isn't with them, their processes or anything else they can control?

Like the silk warp I was working on in January.  I wove one scarf, then something called my attention away from the studio for a week.  A week during which time humidity dropped like a stone.  And I hadn't released the tension on the silk warp because I was going to get right back to it.  And then I didn't.

When I came back to the loom - same warp, same weave structure - threads began to break.  And break.  And the selvedges were no longer behaving.  I might have been able to weave the second scarf, but it would have taken me days.  And I didn't have days.  I was on deadline to submit the article.

And so I emailed the editor, said the second scarf would not be forthcoming, but I had the first one - the one I had promised - done and would mail in the next couple of days.  Because I also had company coming so I needed to get the scarf and article ready before then.

So that silk warp?  Went into the recycle bin.

Yes, it was silk.  Yes, it was probably $20 worth of yarn.  Maybe a bit more.  But $20 worth of silk had become a huge obstacle and it needed to go.

Recently I listened to a podcast with Sara Lamb and she talked about yarn not being precious. 

I agree.

But we all get to choose.  We choose to invest the time in fixing a mistake.  Or removing the obstacle, if that is what it has become.  Just don't hang onto it because you've spent a long time making it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020



two towels from latest warp - left - beige weft; right - white weft

Today is a grey day and it was hard to get a photo of these two towels to show the subtle difference the change in weft colour is making.

In real life, the beige is a bit darker, dull in appearance.  The white isn't quite this bright but still seems livelier, cleaner.  To my eye.  Which may be becoming suspect depending on how quickly the cataracts are developing.  It's one reason why I'm trying to get this series done, this yarn used up.  

And I have been thinking a lot about 'boredom' and 'fatigue'.  

In my life I have experienced very little 'boredom' - at least since I left childhood behind - but a lot of fatigue.

It was one reason I latched onto weaving in the first place - I could see the scope for constant learning, constant studying, constant experimenting.  Constantly being surprised - sometimes in a good way, sometimes...not.

This warp has provided some of those surprises.  The sleying error that turned the first towel into a piece of cloth that may wind up as dish rags.  Oops.  Still not perfect!

The biggest (good) surprise was how much I liked the white as weft.  Which was a good thing because I had quite a few nearly empty tubes I wanted to use up and I'm going to use up a lot of them.

There might be enough white for four more towels leaving a bit of warp left for maybe using up some more beige.  Just a different shade of beige than the one used first.  There are two I'd like to use up - one is more brown, the other more peach.  I doubt I'll use up both, but it would be nice to use up some.

People shake their heads at me, wondering if I don't get bored with my 20 yard long warps.  The honest answer is no.  There is very little boredom in my life.  Boredom is when you think of something you'd rather be doing.  If you'd rather be doing something else then perhaps what you are doing doesn't need to be done.  Or it might be changed in some way.  Sometimes people cope with a long warp by changing the tie up after every item.  Or they change the weft colour.  Or both.

And as for the selvedge on these towels not being ruler straight?  They were on the loom.  But during wet finishing, physics took over and the tiny scallops developed due to the threads shifting and moving to areas of least resistance.  The more resistance at the selvedge, the less the threads drew in.  

Do I consider the selvedges on these towels to be imperfect?  No, I don't.  It is the threads doing what they will do once off tension and relaxed during wet finishing.  They are consistent.  And that's good enough for me.

I'm not bored yet with this series of warps, but perhaps I'm ready to move onto something else soon.  However my desire to use up as much of the 2/16 cotton keeps over riding my interest in anything else as I pull yet one more combination of colours off the shelves and put it into the queue to be woven.  

Right now I have two combos waiting in the wings, with a possibility of one more.  We'll see.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020



chart tracking Covid-19 cases in BC

I have been following two main websites for information on how many Covid-19 cases there are, one counting numbers worldwide and the other breaking down the numbers for Canada.

The above is the chart for BC that was posted for today.  

Yesterday Dr. Henry officially declared that our province is in the second wave.  The chart makes it quite clear that numbers are growing and we need to address those growing numbers.

I know all y'all are tired.  I know you're bored.  I know you are disappointed that things have been cancelled - things that you were looking forward to.  Jobs are being lost and uncertainty is high.

Add to that the fact that there are elections happening and some politicians seem bent on sowing discord, not bringing people together to work out how best to survive this pandemic - not just economically but physically.

BC was hit hard right at the beginning when the virus got into long term care homes, plus a very large convention happened before people know what was happening.  

Dr. Henry swung into action and started advising people to stay at home.  Since there was not a lot of protective equipment, we were warned to leave masks and such for health care workers, and to stay home, maintain distance and wash our hands.

Now that protective equipment is more readily available, the advice includes wearing a mask.

Wearing a mask provides a barrier to transmission.  Herd immunity is being touted as the fastest way to protect people but unfortunately the rate of transmission is high and vulnerable people will suffer and many may die.

So experts are saying that politicians recommending that we all just get sick and get it over and done with are being reckless with people's lives.  Because this virus is NOT 'just the flu'.  We don't know the full extent of the damage it causes in many people - the so-called 'long haulers'.  The ones with never ending fatigue and organ damage.

Some countries did actual lock downs, not the voluntary 'stay at home' recommendations we have had here.  Some work places were shut down, but we were not confined only to our homes.  We are simply being asked to wear a mask when we go out.  

The number of people who cannot wear a mask is tiny.  For the rest of us?  It's the very least we can do.  The sooner we stop the spread of this virus, the sooner we can go back to our classes, workshops, guild events, weddings, graduations, etc.

Stay at home if you can.  Wear a mask if you need to go out.  Maintain physical distance.  Keep any groups small, preferably within your 'bubble', preferably in a well ventilated space.

Stay safe.  Stay well.  Stay Covid aware.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Silver Linings


view from my back window this morning

It started precipitating yesterday around 3 pm - right when my weather app said it would - and turned into wet snow that came down pretty much all night.  I woke up to this sight this morning.

It's a bit early for winter to set in, in any serious way, but it's not unheard of to have snow in October.  Whether it stays or not, time will tell.

Both vehicles have their winter boots on (snow tires), Doug dug the shovels out of the shed the other day.  And while I don't feel 'ready' (I never do) for winter, it might just have arrived.  Time to dig my winter boots out and put away my summer shoes.

While I'm not particularly happy about an early winter, especially after our very damp and dreary summer (which didn't feel much like summer), I can't help but appreciate the beauty of the fresh snow draped over every surface.

Yesterday someone posted a bit of poetry which essentially said that no matter how dark it is, look for the joy.  The worse things get in the world, the more important it is to find some spark of beauty, some tiny flame of joy.  Some hope that we can get through this (whatever 'this' is in the moment).  Because nothing is forever.  Things will change.  The bad stuff will eventually end.  As will the 'good'.

And that's the thing.  We might not control the big things in our lives, but we can work on the little things.  Appreciating fresh fallen snow - safely from inside the house, if nothing else.

I can go to the loom and, if not joy, have satisfaction in doing something that makes something to counter the things that seem broken.

If I only focus on the broken, on the things I cannot change, I rob myself of being a creative person.  I drain myself of hope.  I go to the loom, not just to weave a towel, but to send positive, creative energy out into the world.

The good thing about the internet is that I can see interesting things, beautiful things, and I can amplify those.  I can share things of interest.  Focus on the creative work on others.  Share the mic for people who are doing good work.  Making good trouble.  Trying to bend society towards justice for all.

So while I had a wee twinge when I saw the 'early' snow this morning, I also saw beauty.  The reality of winter and isolation wasn't welcome.  On the other hand, I'm isolating due to Covid-19.  So I might as well focus on the beauty.  Appreciate the wonder of nature.  What a wonderful world we live in.

I also acknowledge that I am living a pretty safe, pretty privileged life right now.  I share what I can, when I can, with people I can.  I choose to build a bigger table.  And if I can't manage that, I can at least set another place and we can metaphorically squeeze together a little closer.

Stay safe.  Stay well.  Stay Covid-aware.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Value Matters


beige and peach warp with white weft

Yesterday I managed my 'usual' two towels and counted up the tubes so far emptied.  It was a satisfying pile.  I'm pretty sure that a nearly equal number of tubes will be emptied by using up the white as weft on this warp.

As mentioned, I'm not really a 'beige person'.  It's not a colour that excites me much.  But I'm really pleased with how the white is working on this mostly beige warp.

In fact if I don't manage to use up another colour as weft on this warp, I won't be disappointed.

When people talk about 'seeing' in their mind's eye, I am one of those people who can visualize.  But it's never 100%, just close.  And frankly, this combination is turning out much nicer than I expected.

Theoretically I knew it would work because the values are close.  there are a few darker ends for contrast but the beige and peach are pretty close in value.  What you are seeing is the contrast in hue.

And this is an error that many people make, especially if they might be partially colour 'blind' or if they can't visualize.  They don't understand that hues can make contrast while being the same or similar value.

If this photo was changed into a black and white photo, the stripes would be quite hard to see because the contrast in value is low.

With ipad and phone cameras, it is easy to turn a colour photo into black and white and sometimes when you do, things become a lot clearer.

So here is the same photo converted to black and white.  

Remember I said that a few ends were a darker value?  Now you can see them clearly.  It only takes a few ends to make it all work.

Value is more important than hue.

Saturday, October 17, 2020



the door of anticipation - light on the other side

I know I've been teasing about the upcoming seminar series.  I just got so excited I wanted to share that with everyone!

But the infrastructure needs to be put into place and my guild mate is working on that.

They say if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it and she is one of the busiest I know!  In our guild alone she wears multiple hats, including treasurer and newsletter person.  Along with other roles as they come up.

Late last night she emailed saying she had been working on the website but it was proving more complicated than she had hoped, made a suggestion about how to go about doing the registration, and said that the newsletter with the info about the series would be sent out shortly.

So we are nearly there, folks!

If you have joined as an associate member, you should be getting the newsletter with the information.  Otherwise, the info will be posted to the website after the newsletter is sent out.  Only fair that guild members get the news first.

In the meantime I worked on my own Power Point file yesterday, then realized that I needed to add a caption to all the photos I had already added.  Which means going through right from the beginning to edit each slide in order to add them.  What can I say?  I'm a novice at this kind of thing.

But I am also learning.  The past year I have begun to understand the importance of making my teaching materials more friendly in terms of people who need things like captions.  It's a small enough thing to do and will help everyone.

Last winter I saw a meme with a group of students waiting for the access to a school to be cleared.  The person in the wheelchair pointed out that if the ramp would get cleared first everyone could use that, but the person clearing the snow insisted on clearing the steps first.

The point is, when society is made accessible to people with mobility or other issues, society as a whole benefits.

So I am trying to be mindful of things like captions for photos. 

I'm still not doing it on the blog as often as I should - and am going to scroll up and put a caption under the photo at the head of this post, because...becoming aware is an incremental process.  

I've come to realize that that reality bubble that everyone is talking about is more an onion than a bubble.  Because as you remove one layer of being unaware, another presents itself.  There is no magic bullet, just long hard assessment of one's own attitudes and changing of one's behaviour.

So I go to peel another layer now...

Friday, October 16, 2020

First Day


It won't last.  It's just the intimation of winter.  The promise that it's coming.

I have lived here all my life and I enjoy the passing of the seasons.  Some more than others, to be honest.  

I don't mind winter, as such.  I actually dislike spring break up a whole lot more, with it's grey dreary days, the slush, the sloppy roads, the drying up, then hello, here's another dump of snow!

But winter?  I don't mind too much.  As long as it doesn't get too extreme.  Not too cold.  Not too much snow.

But my preferences don't matter.  The weather will do what the weather will.

I find it comforting to see the seasons come and go.  The constant cycle of renewal.  The spring green, deepening into summer.  The sometimes gaudy autumn.  Then the quiet of winter, when snow blankets everything.  Sounds are subdued.  People seem to draw in on themselves.  Take time to reflect at the ending of the year.  The cycle complete.

For many years now the most important day of the year for me is not the 'official' calendar new year but the winter solstice.  That is the day when the true new year begins.  The sun stops it's journey south and begins to return.  The returning of the light.

People living a lot further north than I do have actual endless dark.  For me it's just a very short 'day'.  And often times, like today, that 'day' is pretty dark.  Gloomy.  On those days, the snow helps as it amplifies what light there is.

And so must we amplify what light there is.  Dig for those silver linings.  Light candles, actually or even just metaphorically.

Time to lift each other up.  Until the returning of the sun.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Imposter Syndrome


Not so long ago, someone I went to school with commented that other students assumed that I was confident and in control.

I blurted out a HA!  Imposter Syndrome!

I never know why people think that I am confident or in control of anything when I have never felt that of myself.  Behind whatever public persona people are viewing, inside I have dealt with the anxiety of not knowing if what I was doing - most of the time - was even possible.

Could I teach?  Well, I was able to muddle through.  And the more I did it, I suppose the more competent I looked.  Thing was, I *wanted* to teach.  And I wanted to be good at it.  So I kept trying, this, that and the other, until I finally felt that most students eventually got something out of what I was doing.  Not all.  And the dissatisfied ones always made sure I knew they weren't satisfied.  It took a long time for me to squash the guilt that I hadn't been the 'right' teacher for them.

Name any other thing I've done and the same dynamic has always been in play.

Can I do a keynote lecture.  Um, ok, I think so.  

Can I write articles?  I can try.

Can I run a business?  Successfully?  For certain values of.

The thing that I never let happen, though, was to let my anxiety and fear stop me from doing what I really wanted to do.  And perhaps that is what was resonating with the people around me.  Maybe that is what they were seeing.  My determination.  My persistence.  My stubbornness.  Because I wasn't ever confident or felt in control of anything beyond what I could put into doing what I wanted to do.

Was it ever enough?  I hope so.  I think so.  I did the best I could, is all I can say.  At times I probably failed, too, but learn from your mistakes and continue has been my motto.

When I 'retired' I was doing so for a number of reasons, none of them having to do with not wanting to write or teach again.  So when I was asked to do a Zoom presentation, I was like um, well, I guess.  Because I knew it would be a learning curve.  On the other hand, I had already begun working on the Sunday Seminar Series, and I thought ok, by giving a presentation, I will have a better idea of how to help those speakers who are feeling just as unsure, just as trepidatious as I am.  If I go first, I can help them.

Several of the speakers are new to Zoom, too, and feeling nervous so if I can do it, I can assure them that it can be done and that I will be there to help them.

But that's the other thing - the seminar series.  I came up with the idea because I knew everyone, particularly my local guild members, were feeling the isolation.  And I knew going into winter it was going to just keep on getting worse as I saw the second wave beginning to build in September.

I wanted to give them something to look forward to.  As I thought about it, I realized the potential of doing this, not just for local guild members, but local folk who might be interested in general topics about textiles.  And then I realized that we didn't need to constrain it to just locals, but anyone who had internet, which meant pretty much anywhere.  When that realization came, I got really excited.

Now that we will be ready to launch in the next few days, my anxiety is kicking in again.  I've booked people who are well known, and some who are not but who have valuable insights to share.  I've booked people with a large social media presence, and some who don't.  I've booked people from other countries, other continents, heck, the other hemisphere.  And it's been lovely and delightful and energizing.  But that inner doubter has risen and tapped me on the shoulder sowing doubt.

And I will do what I always do - kick that demon out of my way.  Because I feel right about this project.  Whether or not it becomes a fund raiser for the guild to help pay the room rent, only time will tell.  But in the meantime, I have provided some income for the speakers, most of whom are dealing with income fragility due to events being cancelled.  And while the fee for the series speakers isn't going to make up for all the things that have been cancelled, it is something.  And if the ones who are feeling doubtful about being able to do a Zoom presentation find that it's not horrible, and more guilds find that Zoom programs are actually better than nothing, maybe more speakers will join in, more guilds will join in, and we can beat back the isolation we are all dealing with and learn something new.  Together.  But safely distant.

Stay home if you can.  Wear a mask if you need to go out.  Stay safe and well until we can meet in person safely.  {{{hugs}}} to those who need one

Wednesday, October 14, 2020



Once again I was reminded that I need to check ALL of the sheds to make sure they are clear before I jump in and begin weaving.

What this photo doesn't show is the repair I had to make due to a sleying error.

We are now advanced enough in the season that it is beginning to get dark by late afternoon.  We will get a reprieve when the clocks get turned back in a few weeks, but I took this quickndirtyndark shot under the loom to show someone inquiring about the latest warp what it would look like on the 'right' side.  Because I'm weaving it 'upside down' in order to lift the fewest number of shafts.

I got about 1/3 of the way through the first towel when my eye finally picked up the 'odd' thing happening and I stopped to try and figure it out.  I'm still not sure what was happening, just that somehow a couple of threads got wrapped around their neighbour threads and had to be cut out and re-directed.  Either I will keep this towel for me, or it can be cut up into dish cloths for a friend who prefers my oopsies rather than commercially made ones.

Or I'm quite sure a friend will take it off my hands as a 'second'.

I could have finished the towel as it was because frankly it was still weaving, just with a weird subtle thing happening.  But I didn't want to forget when I went back to the loom for the second towel so went ahead and fixed it.

And thought about the adage:  Don't spend a lot of time on a mistake just because it took a long time making it.

Mistakes are just that.  A miss-take.  They are not a character failing - unless you fail to own up to it and fix it.  The world will not end if you make a mistake in your weaving.  So when a miss-take happens?  It's just proof that you are human.  Mistakes happen.  Fix it and move on.

Last night I connected with the guild I'm giving the presentation to in Nov.  They approved of my approach so over the next few days I will begin pulling samples, sorting through my gigantic photo file looking for photos to illustrate my talk, and begin to build a Power Point presentation.  And then we'll do a quick run through.  Because I'm a Zoom newbie and nervous.

Hubris.  It's a thing.  And I still make mistakes.

(I am working on becoming more comfortable with Zoom and willing to do guild programs.  Also willing to tailor the topic to the guild interests.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Autumn Days


A few years ago I worked with indie dyers to create painted warps for scarves.  I had resisted doing this for a long time, but realized I worked with commercially dyed yarns all the time.  So much better to work with a dyer personally, to get yarns I wanted instead of working with something much more anonymous.

Opening my mind and attitude towards such a collaboration was kind of, well, mind blowing.  It was an awakening of sorts, insofar as I realized, yet again, that no, I do not need to Do It All, All By Myself.

If my role, my life, is defined as being a weaver, it is fine for me to understand the other textile arts, but I don't need to become proficient at all of them.  Just having the understanding of how they work is enough.  I can respect what they do more deeply, but I don't need to have the full blown studio and equipment required.  I can support other textile artists by paying them to provide my materials.

But it took me some time to come that understanding and realization!  I'm nothing if not stubborn.  Or persistent.

Right now I am beginning to percolate my thoughts and ideas for the Zoom presentation I am booked to give in November.  I had to think about what I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say it.  Yesterday I came up with an over all 'theme' and I think it fits in with what they have asked me to talk about.  Essentially what it is like to be a professional/production weaver.

It is half way through October, and the leaves here are past their peak in terms of autumn finery.  Sn*w is officially in the forecast for this week.  Autumn is nearly done.  The seasons of the year continue to roll through, no matter what we humans are dealing with.  

Soon enough it will be winter.  Hopefully progress will be made re: the pandemic but in the meantime, it may mean that we will have to isolate for the winter months before we see a true 'beginning of the end'.  Health officials here remain optimistic but warn that we must not become complacent.

My way of coping with it all is to turn to the internet.  I message with friends.  I blog, something that seems to have become a daily occurrence, not just when I have something 'important' to share.  I truly did not have 'pandemic diarist' on my Life Bingo Card.   And yet...

On a personal level, the next warp is ready to weave.  I might get two towels done yet today.  Or I might not.  When I look at the shelves I see dozens and dozens of tea towels ready to go.  We are hoping that people will come to the guild room sale.  It would be nice to sell some of those tea towels.  I know other guild members have things to sell - hand spun yarn, woven, knitted, felted items.  If nothing else, staying home and away from social events means some of us have made a bunch of things.

I am hoping that we get this pandemic under control well enough that the Olds classes can go ahead in Cape Breton - still the lowest case numbers in Canada.  But it means those of us outside the Maritime Bubble need to also be free of the disease in order to go there.  I am NOT complaining about that - just hoping that the rest of the country can it's act together, too.

Stay home if you can.  Wear a mask if you need to go out.  Maintain safe social distance.  Wash your hands.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Interesting Times


challenging jigsaw puzzle


hemmed towels, ready for final pressing

One of the challenges of 'retirement' is the new approach to my day.  One of the reasons I stopped production weaving and shut down my business was my increasingly challenging health issues.  In the past few months I have managed to resolve some of those issues, but not all.  And coming to grips with my new 'reality' has been emotionally challenging.  Dealing with a pandemic hasn't helped either, as many health services were highly curtailed which meant delays.

Coming up with the idea of the Sunday Seminars has proved a tonic and I'm feeling much more interested in doing things, especially when they can be done remotely and therefore safely in this time of Covid-19

But there are days when I feel as though I'm making very little discernible progress.  I don't remember when I started the puzzle, but this is as far as I've gotten.  And I do try to work on it a little every evening.  But even water will erode rock, so...

Yesterday we met for the last time this year out of doors for the small stitch n bitch group I am a part of.  It was only 10 or 11C and we got thoroughly chilled sitting out in my carport for a couple of hours.  I figured I would warm up quickly and I could continue threading the next warp, but it took a lot longer than expected and finally I decided that threading was not on the cards for that day.  I did however, finish hemming the towels from the warp that got cut off on Friday.  Today they will get their final press and four will be packaged up to go to their new home tomorrow.  Today is a national holiday so the post office isn't open anyway, so tomorrow is shipping date.

I also worked a bit on the Seminar Series and should be getting info on one of the seminars today.  If the info gets posted to the guild website this week, I will begin promoting the seminars.  In the meantime, anyone who wants to join as an associate member, the cost is $26.25, you get the newsletter, can participate in other on line guild offerings, and get the guild member rate for the seminars.

I've stopped contacting folk for now because I'm waiting for feedback from guild members about who they would like to hear from, but there are speakers booked from Jan-Sept so far.  And I have not come close to running out of options.  We really do have a community with talent to draw from!

The field of textiles is endlessly fascinating.  I follow several historians on Twitter who specialize in clothing or the history of textile manufacture in some way.  I am constantly intrigued and delighted to learn more.  I also follow the Ashmolean Museum which frequently posts photos of items from their collection, including textiles.

We live in 'interesting' times, in more than one way.  

Human beings are incredibly adaptable.  We need to be aware of how to safely navigate through this pandemic (and who knows how many more to come) and we have the technology to do this remotely.  

In the meantime, stay home if you can, wear a mask if you need to go out, wash your hands.  {{{hugs}}} to any who need one.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

An Open Mind


Recently I saw a tweet from someone in a different discipline say "It depends!"  So, not just textiles, then.

One of the reasons I finally buckled down and finished* (for certain values of) writing this book was the people who simply did not know what they did not know.  Therefore they didn't know the questions they needed to ask in order to add to their foundation of knowledge.

I also saw on line that there was poor information being shared.  Solutions rooted in the 'magic bullet' way of solving anything.  Applying Bandaids instead of understanding the principles of the craft.  There were solutions rooted in 'tradition' (we always do it this way!) as if we aren't adaptable and can come up with other ways of doing processes, or devising new tools, but must constantly fall back on old ways of doing things.

Not that the 'old' ways are bad, just that maybe there are other ways.  It depends.

As mentioned previously, the kernel for finally writing this stuff down was an Olds student who, after my doing my 'thing' about selvedges and ALL the considerations that affect them, asked if there was a book where they could find this information.  All in one place, as it were.

After thinking long and hard, I realized that there was no such book that discussed the nuances of the processes.

I responded to a tweet this morning that the onus is on the instructor to explain things in many different ways (because not everyone processes info in the same way, but also because not everyone is on the same page in terms of foundational knowledge - but didn't say this bit because it's a tweet - and how much can you actually put in a tweet? - not much), BUT that the onus is on the student to keep an open mind in order to receive new information, absorb it, and put it into their practice if they find it might be helpful.

And not everyone does that.  There always seems to be one in the crowd who falls back on 'tradition'.  The "I've always done it this way and I'm not changing, because this is how I do this thing."

Fair enough.  But my question then becomes - it you didn't want to learn something that you didn't know, why are you here?  Never asked out loud, of course, because that then becomes adversarial and I have a class to teach.  But I do wonder...

My approach has always been to go on to the others in the room who are interested in learning new things and let the traditionalist do what they prefer to do.  As long as they are happy, it's none of my business.  (One student came to me after a class and commented that she should have researched me better before coming to class - said in a way that indicated that she wouldn't have bothered if she had known.)

There is much knowledge in tradition.  Many times the traditional way of doing something in a culture is the most efficient/ergonomic way of doing the task with the level of technology that was available to them.

The fact that all the cultures in the world were built on what our ancestors were able to do is quite frankly, amazing.  The fact that a certain sub-set of 'white' people insist that our ancestors couldn't possibly make the things being found in grave goods or at digs, that aliens must have visited (usually some sort of white messiah alien) makes me cringe.  As if human beings didn't evolve and develop and make wonderful things because something in the human soul needed roses as well as bread.

Human beings are puzzling creatures.  On the one hand they can be incredibly kind and compassionate.  At others, hurtful and harmful.

If people could just open their minds all the way up, accept that they may not know everything, that maybe the indigenous cultures might know more than they do and should accept that fact would be a great first step in moving forward.  

Today is turkey day in Canada (Thanksgiving, but I've come to accept that the whole myth about 'thanksgiving' is based on a colonial history I'm no longer wishing to promote), and while I recognize that an official day to show gratitude is A Good Thing, I am also aware of the racism still being used to suppress others.

The way to grow as human beings is to keep an open mind.  Some people talk about 'beginner' mind.  I would like to acknowledge that kind of attitude as an open mind - a mind willing to take on board new information, add it to what is already in long term memory, find out how it enhances what is already in there, figure out how and when that new knowledge might be applicable in my practice.

Having an open mind means learning new things about society and history.  Recognizing that the 'winner' writes the history that gets passed down, and perhaps it might be a good idea to read accounts written by the 'conquered'.  Find out more about the actual society that has been displaced instead of assuming that my immediate ancestors were the 'gold' standard of culture.

Personally that means reading books written by aboriginal people - not just in North America but other countries/continents.  That means listening to archeologists who are amplifying the actual history of the people they are learning about, and respecting the local folk they are working with.  Listening to performers - singers, dancers, poets - of different cultures.  Reading history that tells a more complete story.

So on this day of gratitude, I say thank you to the ancestors, the giants on whose shoulders we stand.  I recognize and accept that my DNA goes back to the original people.  It includes (according to the National Geographic genome project) Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA.

We are all cousins.  We all come from the same ancestor.  We are one people.  What matters is what is inside the heart, not the colour of the skin.

*It is said that an author never finishes writing a book, they simply stop writing the book.  So it was with this.  I am quite sure that I will continue to learn because learning to work with textiles is a lifetime of exploration and learning new things.  Revising previous information based on the new thing I have learned.  Recently I referred a friend asking a question about tablet weaving to someone who actually knows something about tablet weaving.  I know just enough about tablet weaving to understand just how little I know about it.  Saying "I don't know" is not a character failing.  It is just a statement of fact.  So while I tried to make this book comprehensive, I do not claim to know it all.