Monday, October 31, 2022

My Way


One of the challenges of being a teacher is the desire to take *your* successful approaches and try to convince everyone else to do what *you* do.

It took me a while to come to understand that just because *I* do something, that doesn't mean everyone *else* should do the same thing.

Everyone comes with the same parts (pretty much), but they may be different sizes, or arranged slightly differently, have different 'problems' or injuries they are dealing with.

When I finally came to grips with this realization, I began to focus on the principles, encouraging others to learn those, and then how to apply them to their own circumstances.

Short?  Tall?  Long legs?  Short arms?  Physical injury that never quite 'healed'?

Then there are the other limitations.  Space.  Budget.  Personal preferences.

So I tell people what I do.  I tell them how I do it.  I tell people *why* I do it.

And then...I had to learn to step away and let people do what they needed to do.  For themselves.

Wednesday I do the next lecture for SOS on weaving drafts.  One of the things I will address is reading the textile in order to understand how it has been designed.  Because when you understand the draft completely, you should be able to interpret a textile and how it was made.  Understanding a wide range of different interlacements (weave structures) will allow you to grasp how it was made, even very complex ones with lots of shafts.  Or no shafts.

While I may never weave those structures, I can look at them and know the path the designer took to achieve their results, be they woven on a Jacquard, draw or other shaft loom.  But also?  I have a rudimentary understanding of how textiles are woven on an inkle loom, with cards, or other techniques.

What matters to me is this - has the weaver achieved their goals when they set out to make this textile?  Do I even understand their goals?  Or might they have a different goal from what I would set out to use when I design my textiles?

Attending art exhibits that focus on textiles is a great way to break open my thinking about what I'm doing, and what others are attempting.  What they are doing may not be of interest to me, in terms of ME doing it that way, but there is always room for thought.

And sometimes that is the most valuable lesson to be learned - understanding that there are many many different roads to take and just because someone is not using my preferred path doesn't mean they are on the wrong road.  

But knowing how many different textiles are made allows me to look beyond my own preferences, see what someone else has accomplished, and given me something to think about.  Even if I decide that it isn't appropriate for me, I can appreciate what they have done.

Feedback from people who have taken my classes and adapted what they are doing in order to be 'better' weavers than they were are lovely.  But ultimately, I just want people to enjoy weaving.  And if they practice weaving in a way that reduces injury, I'm even happier.

Saturday, October 29, 2022



This is us, in 1995.  Both of us wearing hand woven garments.  Yes, that sports coat is handwoven - 2/60 silk warp with 2/60 silk and alpaca weft.  It was professionally tailored for Doug and yes, he still has it.

While I still have the outfit I'm wearing (also fine silk), I no longer fit it, sadly.

When I rummage in my closet I find a lot of hand made clothing and each garment brings back the memory of making it.  Usually I was trying to be 'clever' and sometimes I was pretty successful at getting the results I wanted.

But not always.  Sometimes my plans went awry and I had to get creative and really work hard to make the fabric 'work'.

It was the sports coat where I learned the importance of a good HARD press.  The first thing the tailor did after reluctantly agreeing to see me and see the quality of cloth I wanted him to work with, was press it - much harder than what I had done.  It was a revelation.  

Having a bit of background in terms of sewing, I immediately saw the subtle but oh, so, important change that extra compression had on a fabric that was ok, but not particularly 'right' for a highly tailored garment.

It was life changing, truly.  After that I would send yardage to the dry cleaner with on site pressers and pay them what they were worth to do the job properly.  Because hard pressing yardage with a hand iron is Very Hard Work.

Until I got my own industrial steam press.  Which I miss dreadfully, but since I'm no longer making yardage for sewing, I can manage.

Here is a close up of the top and jacket.  You should be able to see the tiny butterflies woven into the jacket fabric.  I really enjoyed wearing that outfit, but alas, no more.  I suppose I should take it to a re-sale shop and see if I can sell it to someone who would treasure it.  But in the meantime, when I rummage in that closet, I have lots of memories to drag up.

Bottom line?  Don't save your handwoven garments for 'good'.  Enjoy them when and as you can.  

Friday, October 28, 2022

Better Late Than...


This afternoon I finally cut off the warp of rayon chenille scarves.  There were 9 in total, as expected.  Truth be told I could have woven one more, but it would have been very short, and I just wanted this warp to be done.

Last week got very 'busy', starting with getting both flu and covid vaccines on Monday, then chiropractor, massage and hair cut on the following days.  

My response to the vaccines were minimal, but I did feel achy so wasn't much in the mood to weave until Thursday afternoon.  Doing one scarf yesterday and one today meant less stress to my body, and really, I could still get it off today.  

So all 9 scarves are now in the washing machine and will go into the dryer.  I expect I can begin hemming tonight, although the hems are black so I may not feel like doing them all tonight.

One of the big differences between now and before 'retirement' is how much less pressure I am under.  Being able to listen to my body and give it the rest it needs is a luxury I was never allowed when so much of my yearly income depended on doing well in a 6 week window of sales.

I still have a few tea towels listed on my ko-fi store but if I start running low in the guild booth, they will get pulled from there and delivered to the guild for sale on consignment.

Today I worked on the upcoming beginning weaving workshop.  We should have information on that soon.  I can share that it will be four Saturdays, plus I'll be available to supervise and assist on the Sundays during guild drop ins.  Who knows, maybe I'll finally drag my spinning wheel out.  Because I'm going to sign up for a one day spinning workshop in April.  I need to get back into practice so I don't make a complete doofus of myself.  :D

Next on the loom?  More tea towels.  I'm very interested to find out how the unmerc and merc yarns will play together (unmerc as warp, merc as weft).  Given my previous experimentations, I think it should play nicely as tea towels.  And I already have two warps designed - just needed the time and the empty loom before I could plunge in.

But I will remember what I did for this warp because I only used up about 3.5 pounds of rayon chenille.  I had been thinking I had about 50 pounds but based on what I actually used, I suspect the number is more like double that!  So I supposed there will be more rayon chenille scarves coming down the pipeline at some point.  For now though, these 9 will give customers more choice and show up better than just the 5 that were left after last season's sales.

Little by little.  And better 'late' than not at all...

Thursday, October 27, 2022


 You Tube Video

Brains do 'interesting' things, sometimes for no reason, sometimes for a reason you don't understand.  So this morning, half awake, a memory came to me about the time I was hosting Nell Znamerowski (spelling?) as she did a tour round northern BC.  Turned out she was here over Canadian Thanksgiving, and the official local hostess was unable to have her for the holiday, whereas I could.  It was an unexpected opportunity to get to know someone who had a very high profile in the handweaving community at a time when I was quite a new weaver.

So I tidied up the guest room, warned her that my house was always a bit of a mess (an understatement, going into the sales season!) but she seemed to be accepting.

When I picked her up, I let her know I had an early morning physio appointment the next morning, showed her the kitchen, pointed out where the coffee and tea were, and invited her to help herself to breakfast if she got up before I got home from my appointment.

She gave me a long look and asked why I was seeing a physiotherapist.  I mumbled something about having a 'bad' back.  She snorted and observed that ALL weavers have 'bad' backs.

Which is, I think, the spark that really got me wondering about weaving and ergonomics.

If ALL weavers have bad backs, perhaps it was something about weaving that was causing issues?

My background in ballet and sports and being coached meant I had a pretty deep awareness of when things felt uncomfortable and I'd already fine tuned a lot of my processes, but I began to do so with more awareness that there were certain jobs in weaving that could just be made a little bit more friendly to the body.  And I began to question the physiotherapists I was working with, then the massage therapist when I discovered that actually helped more than the physio.  Being a reader, I started reading more about anatomy and physics.  And then applying what I learned to the work I was doing.

Over the years I read about different disciplines and how ergonomics was being applied to those activities, talked to people with degrees in body mechanics, body movement, yoga instructors, and so on.

As I have aged and body parts started wearing out, I adapted myself (first) and then my equipment in order to keep weaving.

Over and over again, the health community emphasizes that staying active in some fashion is critical for people to keep moving and keep going.  Over the years people would earnestly urge me to join an aerobics class, which I did for a time, when I was younger and had more energy/money.  But as I got older (and had little money to spare) I stopped buying such activities and just focused on my weaving.  Because that was how I earned my money.  So it made sense for me to 'save' my body for what was 'important' to me.  An aerobics class was all well and good, but at the end of it all I was was sweaty.  When I wove for an hour on the AVL, not only was I sweaty, I had a couple yards of fabric to show for it.

From time to time someone will contact me and  comment that my advice has been invaluable to them.  They have given me feedback from *their* health providers that my suggestions are sound.  A few have said that they are now able to weave again after having had treatment for physical issues and their therapists have approved my approach as being 'not harmful' - so long as they remember to rest, stretch their muscles, and pay attention to their body and not go beyond what they are capable of doing.

As I age, I have had to adjust my own expectations of what I can do and what I should maybe do less of.  It's been a tough time accepting that my body simply cannot be pushed like I used to be able to do.  But otoh, I'm supposed to be retired.

So I keep my weaving to two sessions a day (or about 120 minutes total) spread out over the day.  Because weaving brings other benefits - a time to shut out the current 'interesting' times and get away from the stress of life in the 21st century.  The intellectual stimulation of designing a new quality of cloth.  The challenge of working - as much as possible - from my stash.  And keeping my skills fresh so that when I teach (or engage online with people having problems) I can answer questions.

But mostly I would like to keep teaching, even if it is reduced in quantity, or online rather than in person.

I have, however, offered to do a four day (four Saturdays) Beginning to Weave class for any local person interested.  The guild has been having requests for such a class and there really isn't anyone else who feels comfortable teaching (yet).  If I am to grow the weavers here, then I need to step up.  

Since I am immune compromised, I've told the guild that it will be only for those willing to wear a mask, even if they are vaccinated, even though the room has a hepa filter, there will be multiple times when I will be demonstrating and the five of us will be crowded close together).  And given the growing 8th wave, there is no telling where we will be given covid in Jan/Feb.

One of the other reasons I decided to teach locally is that I want the people I know to work in a way that will do the least damage to their body.  Given Nell's observation, and my own observations of people weaving, with poor posture/position at the loom, using techniques that are putting excess stress on their bodies, I feel it is part of the reason I'm still here, still doing what I do - to educate people not on just to weave, but *how* to weave without causing themselves harm/pain.

So, hat tip to Nell and her comment.  She helped turn me into a more *intentional* weaver.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022



On Monday I got my flu AND covid shots.  Not sure how I would feel the next day I planned on doing nothing for the rest of Monday and all day Tuesday.  And that was what I did.

I had very little response - sore arms and a headache (which may or may not have been related) and today the soreness is mostly gone so I hope to get to the loom today.

I *think* there is enough for two more scarves, but not likely more and if I can get myself going there is a possibility that I can finish the current warp today.

And if I can't?  There is always tomorrow.

One of the benefits of being 'retired' (from doing craft fairs) is that it isn't nearly as important that I have a great deal of inventory to offer for sale.  One of the benefits of belonging to the local guild is that they have a booth at the big craft fair and will sell members' textiles on consignment.  We have a bigger booth this year (in part because we are in a larger venue and there is more space) so my inventory doesn't overwhelm the booth.  We bring my booth structure as well which the people setting up the booth can use as they see appropriate.

Normally by now I'd be scrambling, trying to get more, more, more done, but I don't need to do that anymore.  I have worked steadily all year and have a decent amount of inventory, enough that if things start to diminish,  Doug can deliver more during the sale.

Plus the guild has other sales opportunities following the big craft fair.

I'm pretty sure I can finish weaving the scarves on the loom today or tomorrow, wet finish them, then hem them, and have them ready to be delivered to the venue in a week.  Hemming takes a lot less time than fringe twisting, and will make a 'better' finish on these scarves than fringe twisting, anyway (imho).

For 40 years, I knew that I *had* to have a large enough inventory for the Xmas sale season to get me through to the spring.  Running a business costs money, money which sometimes needs to be spent months before the income begins again.  Now, my needs are modest.  I still pay for insurance for my studio, try to cover the costs of any weaving/teaching travel, pay for shipping things (sales via my ko-fi shop, etc) purchase books, magazines, etc.  And of course any yarn I might need.  Even trying to weave from my stash means that sometimes I have to buy more yarn to use up what I have.  (I know, I know!)

But mostly?  I weave because I still love it.  Weaving provides me with aerobic exercise (if your heart rate increases and you break a sweat, you are, actually, doing aerobic activity!).  Weaving continues to provide me with mental stimulation as I work out new designs and qualities of cloth.  Teaching weaving keeps me on my toes as I think things through to answer questions.  Craft written responses to online groups.  Take photos to illustrate what I mean.  And provide me with some 'meditation' time - a time where I stop thinking about the world and all the problems we are currently dealing with.  

When we listen/watch the 'news' at the end of the day I realize just how broken we are in so many ways.  At times I despair at how self-centered and yes, selfish, our species can be.   And then I see acts of bravery and compassion and my faith in humanity is restored.

And if this is the collapse of current society?  We will need weavers (and spinners and shepherds) in order to clothe people.  So I will continue to try to teach weaving for as long as I can, even if that means from time to time I need to take a few days to re-charge and find the fire to light my candle again.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Little Pieces of Done, part II


how it started

how it's going

The 'how it started' photo isn't really accurate because it 'started' long before I got to that stage of creating a bibliography.

This book was the one I didn't want to write.  Actually I swore I would never write another book after I finished producing Magic in the Water.

And yet.  

And yet.

I was teaching and more and more I was focusing on issues of ergonomics and efficiency and understanding the principles of the craft.  Not to tell people what to do but to show them that what they did would produce certain results.  And if they wanted different results, perhaps they needed to change what they were doing.  And what they needed to do was affected by things like physics and anatomy.

If it hadn't been for a student who asked for a recommendation of a book for the techniques I had demonstrated for a class I was teaching, I probably would never have written the book at all.  Because I knew how challenging it would be to try and put into words phenomenon that in many cases needed to be demonstrated.

I had done the video for Interweave Press and thought that would be the end of it, but...a video can only show so much.  And what needed to be shared went far beyond just the demonstrations of posture, position and shuttle handling.  Because the craft is more than 'just' the physical activity - as important as that is.

If a person is going to master the craft, they need to be open and receptive to analyzing their results, and then changing what they are doing to meet the needs of their equipment, materials and skill.  And sometimes we get set in our way of thinking and need a nudge.

So I began.

And then life happened.  Repeatedly.  And I kept putting the effort on the back burner, vowing I was going to cut my 'losses' (loss of time, energy and brain power already invested) and let the manuscript 'die'.

Until something would happen and I would open the Word file and peck away at the keyboard again.

But truly, I did not want to write this book!

Over and over again, I was shown that it was necessary, and I kept at it.  For the best part of five years.

Until I realized I had done the best I could do and really needed professional guidance, so I contacted someone I knew who does technical editing and asked how much they would charge to help me complete the task of bringing this book, the one I didn't want to write, into final form.  From the time I contacted her until publication date was about 14 months.  During the writing of the manuscript my mother became sick (again - she'd been having health issues for 5 years) and died, and I was chairing a conference committee as well as travelling to teach and production weaving.

And I was having my own health issues.

If it hadn't been for Ruth Temple and her encouragement, support and keen editing eye, this book would have never seen light of day.

So when Facebook showed me the 'memory' from this day 4 years ago, it all came flooding back - all the little pieces of 'done' that got this book 'born' and into the wild.  

If you think the book is of value, you could review it for your guild.  I don't sell on Amazon, but there are other sites, like Good Reads where it could also be posted.  And you can buy it from blurb or if you want a signed copy, I left 15 signed copies at Sweet Georgia Yarns.  And if you want to learn from me, my classes on School of Sweet Georgia continue with two more in post production AND my lectures every two months, plus feedback and questions answered on the forums.

The greatest gift you can give an author is a good review posted somewhere.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Little Pieces of Done


Scrolling through Twitter just now, saw a tweet from someone saying that their life was 'full of little pieces of done'.  And I thought wow.  That's my entire life!

You can't weave (or do anything with lots of steps, with a high level of complexity) without becoming accepting of how long it takes to get to done, done, and begin to celebrate the 'done-ness' of the individual steps along the way.

So I tick off when I beam a warp.  Done!

Thread the warp.  Done!

Sley and tie on (usually done in one go).  Done!

Weave for a session (one towel, one scarf, one 45 minute session, whatever)  Done!

Wet finish.  (washer/dryer)  Done!

Press.  Done!

Tag and price.  Done!

These levels of done get 'done' over the course of days, sometimes weeks.  So I live in a constant state of little pieces of 'done' so that by the time I'm done, done, I'm already working on the next project.

Same with writing.  Same with teaching.

Same with life, really.

Ads tell us that if we have thing X our life will be complete.  Society tells us we need to do Y for our lives to be complete.  

No.  Life is a series of little pieces of done.  We are done, done when we die.  Until then, keep doing the little pieces.  Can't weave for 4 hours a day?  Do one.  Can't write a book in the month of November?  Do a chapter.  Or a page.  

Measure progress not by being done, done, but what you have accomplished, even if it is only a step or two.  Celebrate the little bits of done-ness.  

As I get older, success is measured by a much different scale from when I was 30.  And that is entirely ok.  It is 'enough'.  I look back with some admiration for what I used to be able to do.  I long for the days when that WAS my 'normal'.  But I'm no longer 30, and it's ok to not get to that level of done-ness in a day.  The point is, I am still here.  I am still doing things, making things.  Hopefully I will be able to keep teaching for a while longer.

And when I am done, done, I hope I will have left something worthwhile behind.  And if not, oh well.  I tried.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Sudden Pivot


"Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em" Kenny Rogers sang.

Well, yesterday I folded.

I'd put a rayon chenille warp on the Fanny intending to begin weaving down that portion of my stash but the warp was 1300 yards/pound, not my 'usual' 1450 and...change one thing...

It was awful.  Literally awful.

Oh, I could have nursed a scarf or even two out of it, but at the cost of an enormous amount of time and what little energy I have.

I fussed and fumed over a couple of days while I also dealt with the blue/grey warp and running out of reasonable options for weft on *that* warp.  Again, I could have dug and found something that would 'do', but there was mounting pressure to get some rayon chenille scarves done.  I'm very low on inventory and I have All That Yarn that needs to be used up, every bit as much as the fine linen.

What to do?  What to do?

I also dislike fringe twisting rayon chenille, so as I let my thoughts roil in the back of my mind, the pieces of the puzzle began to rotate, change places and suddenly it all became very clear, just as I was finishing the last of the cotton slub on the towel warp.

Instead of weaving the rayon chenille on the Fanny, I would beam a warp of 2/16 bamboo rayon on the Megado and use the rayon chenille as weft.  Instead of fringes, I would use the bamboo to weave hems.  I wouldn't be stressing my feet so much, nor my hands, and I could actually weave some scarves and maybe have them ready for the big craft fair the weekend of Nov. 5.

When I finished the last of the cotton slub, I cut that warp off the loom recycling about 9 ounces of warp, set up and beamed a 24 or so yard long warp on the Megado, and today I threaded, sleyed and tied that on.

The white yarn is the 2/16 cotton I was supposed to be beaming next, was time to fold and get a new hand.

The 8 dent reed was in the Fanny, so I also cut that warp off and about a pound of rayon chenille went into the recycling bin.  What got woven will go into the rag bag, or maybe even the garbage.  Yes, it's that awful!

So when people ask me when you stop making mistakes, I laugh and say 'never'.  

Perhaps in the new year I'll go through the 1450 rayon chenille and weave some warps of that.  To be determined.  In the meantime, this is a quick way to accomplish more scarves with the least stress to me - physically and mentally.  It's all good.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Endings, Beginnings


Well, the last Sunday Seminar has happened.  It was a delightful series, and I'm pleased so many agreed with me, with especial thanks to instructors who dared to give it a go.  Some of them wrote presentations especially for the series, for which I thank them.

In the meantime, other organizations have begun doing similar events, and I have run out of spoons to do more, so the seminar with Linda Hendrickson on tablet weaving calligraphy (the art of beautiful writing) will be the last.

However, Linda does do Zoom lectures, so if anyone is interested in having her do a presentation for their guild, she would be interested in hearing from you.  

What could be better than beautiful writing in beautiful cloth?  Take a look at her website (link above).

As one thing ends, another begins.  

Yesterday I received a copy of Beverly Gordon's book Textiles, the whole story and took a quick peek inside.  This looks like the book I've been looking for with an emphasis on textiles and culture.  It's a weighty tome, and I don't know when I'll be able to sit down and savour it, but I'm pleased I bought it.  It's not cheap, so try to get it through inter-library loan.  I decided I would get myself a treat and I'm pleased I did.

Since 'retiring' at the end of 2019, I've worked with a single focus - weave down my stash!  The challenge is that I have an awful lot of very fine yarns, and you get a *lot* of play time from fine yarns.  For example, a 2/20 cotton yarn has 8000 yards per pound.  And I have pounds and pounds of the stuff.  More than I realized as I dug down to the bottom of the pile of boxes, then discovered cones of the stuff purchased from Robin and Russ decades ago.  Those cones have now been added to the pile.  Then, at the back of a shelf I 'found' 3.5 more one pound cones of bleached white.  Those are now in the pile as well.  

But it felt like I'd barely made any progress on stash reduction when I realized that much of the mercerized cotton, poorly stored, had weakened enough that it wasn't suitable for warp anymore.  I can still use it for weft, but I needed to buy more yarn for warp to use it up on.

That led me to working out a new design using 2/16 unmerc and 2/20 merc cotton, one warp, the other weft.  A combination I had never done before.

After several weeks of rummaging around in the back of my brain, I think I've come up with a combination that will work, but only weaving it will tell me if I've done all the calculations, considered all the things that are variables, and chosen the correct combination.

However, that first warp of 2/16 cotton intended for the merc. cotton will *also* be used to weave off two other yarns that just weren't going to work on the current 2/8 cotton warp so the bonus is both of those will get used up and if the combination for the 2/16 and 2/20 doesn't work well, I won't have an entire warp 'wasted' with a bad approach.


In the 'beginnings' column is also the guild activities.  After being very quiet for the past 2.5 years, we are carefully planning small events - hands on activities including dry and wet felting, spinning prep, and in the new year I've agreed to teach a 4 day beginning to weave class.

Because I'm immune compromised I've said I will only do it if everyone wears a mask.  We have agreed that an instructor gets to state their preference for mask/not mask and if someone doesn't want to wear a mask to protect the teacher, they can wait and take a different class.

Covid is killing the elders of our communities and quite frankly, our elders are the keepers of the knowledge.  If we want to protect the future of the craft, we must protect our elders.

For me this is personal, of course it is.  I'm immune compromised.  For me covid won't be 'mild'.  But we also have a number of guild members who are compromised in one way or another - age, other medical issues.  It won't do us any good at all if we don't have mitigations in place.

So we carefully begin planning guild events.  Living with covid means protecting guild members (and their families) from illness, not ignoring it.

The guild is beginning to get very busy with sales events coming up for the fall/winter season.  I won't do public facing jobs because far too few people are masking, but I will continue to work in the background and try to help the guild keep going.  My goal has always been to share knowledge, keep the craft alive and vibrant.  That won't end although I may choose to tackle it differently than previously.  Most of all, I will keep weaving for as long as I can.  

Saturday, October 15, 2022



Such great plans I had for when I got home.  Such lovely plans.  Goals all identified and a plan to achieve them.

Unfortunately the universe (or whatever) decided I needed to deal with other stuff.

Stuff I had been largely ignoring.  

Plus personal maintenance that needs doing - like dental, like flu/covid vaccines (sooner than expected, thankyouverymuch), like just day to day stuff that I've been studiously ignoring for far too long while I coped with elevated pain and painkiller levels.

Fortunately I do feel 'better' now the brain fog has been significantly reduced, but still.

They were such lovely plans.

So I have been forced to stop.  Take a breath.  Think.  Prioritize.  I'm not at the end of my list - yet - but making some headway.

Yesterday I finished the last of one of the linen yarns I wanted to use up, changed my mind about the next yarn I had planned to use and pivoted to something else - which also needs to be used up, so it's all good.

The cotton and linen plyed slub will get used on the next warp where it will look much better than on this nice pale grey/blue.  I realized that the beige linen/white cotton marl was just going to make the blue/grey look 'dirty' so it will be woven on a natural white 2/16 cotton warp instead.  And then I'll use the lime green 2 ply linen to make towels for a friend who adores lime green.  :)  And then those two tubes will also be used up.

Once those are done, I'll begin on the 2/20 mercerized cotton in earnest.

In the meantime I also dressed the Leclerc Fanny with a rayon chenille warp.  While my pain levels are reduced, I'll try weaving on that loom and see how much of that I can tolerate.  

If I don't try, I won't know my limits.  

The injection appears to have taken full effect now, and I'm hoping/counting on two full months of relief before it starts tailing off.  My next appointment is already booked, even though it means a drive to Vancouver in the winter.  We'll take two days to drive down, two to drive home.  In January we would be leaving in the dark and arriving in the dark because we only get around 9 hours of daylight that time of year.  Plus you never know what the weather is going to throw at you and the condition of the roads.

We are being lulled by a very mild autumn.  It may come at the expense of a very nasty winter.  Only time will tell.

But for now, I will continue picking away at the things I've ignored for too long, deal with looming deadlines (of all descriptions) and work on stash reduction.

And try not to feel like I've been hit by a tsunami of tasks that need to be done *now* and cannot be pushed off until later any longer.

Friday, October 14, 2022


" Keep in mind, however, that frequent repetitive bending or twisting beyond what is comfortable can lead to discomfort, which in turn interferes with weaving"

The photo is of me, showing how I hold the shuttle to 'throw' it.  The quote is pulled from the latest Handwoven which is running an article on ergonomics.

Twisting or torqueing the body leads to fatigue and can bring on pain.  The authors talk about good posture and proper bench height as well, taking micro and mini breaks and so on.

All things I have been advocating for, so I'm pleased to see them presented within the pages of Handwoven.  I'd also like to remind people that I cover a lot of these things in the class that Handwoven (Long Threads Media) offers as an on line course.

If you are interested in more interaction with me, I'm currently presenting this and much more via the School of Sweet Georgia.  

My goal has always been to help people prevent pain and injury.  It is a lot easier to prevent injury than it is to recover from it.

Pay attention to your body.  If you are experiencing discomfort, fatigue or pain, immediately stop what you are doing.  Stretch.  Rest.  Do something that requires a different position or posture or different muscles.

Weaving is a physical activity.  When I get into my zone, my Fitbit thinks I am swimming (guess they don't know about weaving!) and records that as aerobic activity - because it is!

I try to get to the loom for at least 90 minutes every day (broken up into two sessions).  If I'm away from the loom for lengthy periods, I begin to miss it and look forward to getting home and being able to weave again.  Because for me, weaving isn't just physical activity, it is also good for my mental health.  I shut out the cares and woes of the world and just be for a while. I come back refreshed mentally, able to deal with the vicissitudes of life more easily.

Weaving can be good for the entire body - if it is done ergonomically.  

As always, if you have questions, you can email me.  Or sign up for my class on SOS and ask in the forums.  If you have the question, no doubt others may have as well.

Weaving is a community in so many ways.  I am privileged to be part of it and very happy to help people if they are having difficulties, if I can.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Going With The Flow


I'm usually pretty hard to knock off the rails - or used to be.  Lately?  Not so much.

Aging and injury have taken a toll and pain/pain killers create brain fog which pretty much wipes out executive functioning ability, so I've been riding the roller coaster of being more - or less - functional for a few years now.

It's been a bitter pill to swallow, frankly.

But I'm also a Cancer (if you believe in any of that) and therefore a 'water' sign.  So the way I deal with obstacles in my way is to try to find a way around, over, or under them.  Even water will wear away stone.  Eventually.

I had hoped to hit the ground running when we got home, but it was more of a stagger.  And of course, Life has a way of Happening even when you have plans.

So this week has not been as productive in the studio as I had hoped, but things needed to get done outside of the studio and I have been chipping away at those.

One of the realities of being 'retired' is that I don't have as many pressing deadlines for my studio work, so if I don't get two towels woven in a day, it's not actually that big a deal.  Or so I keep reminding myself.

But weaving isn't just about making money, it's about health.  My physical health and my mental health.  I go to the loom, find my centre, find my zone, and weave for 45-60 minutes to regain my focus by emptying my mind of whatever is currently bothering me.  And it works, so the incentive to keep getting to the loom is definitely high.

Today wound up being a day of appointments.  I had booked two before I left (massage and chiropractor) but found myself concerned about something else, phoned the doctor on Tuesday and they squeezed me in for late today.  All of which means I'm not going to be weaving much.

Instead I have a rayon chenille scarf warp that I wound before I left, then rough sleyed on Monday, so I'm going to beam that and who knows, maybe start threading in the between appointment times.

The down side of seeing the eye doctor is that she is usually running late by then so I've been warned it will likely be two hours of sitting in the waiting room.  The up side of sitting in the waiting room for two hours is that I will have two whole hours of reading time.  

There is always a silver lining, even if you have to dig really deep inside that cloud.

And as for weaving?  I have no appointments for tomorrow, so the goal will be to get back to the loom.  And keep on keeping on with the stash reduction.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Best Laid Plans


Some autumn colours because why not...(several scarves, fresh off the loom, not wet finished yet)

I had headed home determined to plunge into my stash and really tackle weaving it down, but apparently life had other ideas.

While I made a good start, after shoving things aside for weeks, I was faced with now having to actually come to grips with at least some of the more critical things.

One of those things is the impending municipal elections.

Thankfully some local folk had taken the time and made the effort to gather as much information about the various candidates and try to make sense of the sundry statements and get them into order so that it was possible to sit down and review the information in a more organized fashion.

Right now attending a forum was simply not in the cards (way too few people masking, folk crowded into small spaces, who knows the quality of the air/filtration) so being able to access this information online was a huge benefit.

I admit I tend to hang out with other left leaning (political) people but I didn't want to just ask them for their opinion, I wanted to make up my own mind and for that I needed to be a good citizen and try to winkle out the folk I did not want on council or school board because generally I vote to try and keep people out of power who I feel would not use it in a benign way, elect people to provide help for all, not just their buddies.

So I vote to keep more centrist or left leaning in the halls of power, even if those halls are just my own city hall and school board.

It took far longer than I'd hoped and before I knew it the afternoon was used up - and so were all my spoons.

I also spent some time doing guild 'business' (I am, after all, President or Chair or whatever you want to call it, again) and things needed to be dealt with.  Fortunately there is core of really solid members I rely on (too much at times) so it was more a matter of fine tuning, a bit of course correction, and my right hand person making sure we were on the same wave length.

What it meant, however, was I only got to the loom once instead of three times.  But I kept reminding myself that, like Stonekettle (Jim Wright) says, if you want a better world you have to be a better citizen.  So I made sure I carefully considered all the candidates and weeded out the ones I felt had too narrow a vision of who was 'worthy' or who were obviously clueless as to how city council or the school board actually worked.  

There is one more early polling opportunity today and since those are generally less well attended than on official voting day, we will don our masks and head over to the polling station and cast our votes.  And get our official 'right to bitch' cards.  (I jest.  Sort of.)

I don't expect all of the people I am voting for to do everything I want them to do.  For one thing, these boards/councils need to work on building consensus.  What I hope is that they will be made up of people willing to work on consensus, not ride roughshod over the rest in their hobnail boots.  And work for the good of ALL, not just a few.

Like I said to Doug, I can weave later.  Elections are this week and I cannot let them go by without doing my best to insure good people sit at the table to work in good faith to support everyone in this community.

If I am a citizen of this country, this town, then I need to be a good citizen.  I need to inform myself.  And I need to make the effort to vote.  As the meme says, if it didn't matter so much, they wouldn't try to prevent you from doing it.  

Monday, October 10, 2022



This photo is from a previous year, but I love how 'lit' the tree looks in the late afternoon sunshine.  A perfect example of autumn in all its glory.

So, today it is Thanksgiving Day.  We don't have any immediate family left, it's just the two of us and frankly for 40+ years Thanksgiving Day was just one more day to scramble to get ready for the upcoming holiday craft fair season.  My mom used to insist we stop for a meal together, but otherwise, it's never really been 'observed' in this household.  Now I'm just too old to bother and with just the two of us, who needs a big bird anyway?  Plus this year turkeys are in short supply due to avian bird flu.  So we, once again, didn't bother.

That doesn't mean we aren't aware of the day, or the sentiment.  

To show gratitude.  To be thankful for what we have.  Even when we had little, we managed to scrape enough to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.  And that was enough.  Because we knew that others didn't have even that much.

We are in a 'better' place now.  We both have our (meager) state pensions, our house is paid off as are our vehicles, and we don't carry any debt.  We worked hard (bloody hard) to get to this state at this point in our lives, and we are grateful beyond words that we are house and food secure.

We even have a bit 'extra' so during covid we began donating funds to people and organizations - a bit here and there.  We choose to donate directly, as much as possible.  When we need to donate to an organization, we choose ones that we know are doing effective work.  When we have become aware of an individual who needed a bit of a hand, we have donated directly to that person.

We were both raised Christian and we both believe that when you have 'enough' build a bigger table, not a wall. WWJD?  We try to do that.  Neither of us goes to church.  We live our values, every day.

That doesn't mean I'm 'perfect'.  Far from it.  I'm human.  And I make mistakes.  I'm still learning about all the ways our society has hurt others and while I will never, *can* never atone for that harm, I can be aware of it and try to mitigate any harm that I might do given my position in this society - a white woman in a land that was colonized and did great harm to the original peoples of this land.

We go to the polls on Oct. 15 for municipal elections.  I will be carefully going over the information the candidates have put out, looking for alt right dog whistles.  Unfortunately there are plenty.  The alt right currently is in the minority in the population of Canada, but they are poised to take over positions of power and influence in our governance.

So part of my gratitude is for the people who have tried to be fair, to serve all the people, and do my best to elect more people with that attitude and none with an alt right bent.

Life is not perfect.  But it is less perfect for people in Canada who are not white.  As the saying goes, rights are not pie.  Making sure all have rights does not mean less for me.

Gratitude is not keeping all the privilege for myself.  Gratitude is working to make sure all people have rights.  Light a candle.  Build a bigger table.  Offer a hand up to others struggling.  

Sending love and light to all on this day of culturally observed gratitude.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Not Accurate


The colours in the photo aren't exactly accurate but as close as I could come given the very pale blue/grey of the background.  The lavender/lilac is actually pretty close.

This warp is 2/8 cotton at 20 epi with a 'fancy' twill weave.  The reason I opened the density was to accommodate the linen yarn I'm trying to use up.  This warp should use the remaining linen of this size, and perhaps some other dribs and drabs of yarns.

The last warp was the same combo, and I'm pleased enough with the results after wet finishing, so I'm confident that I will be happy enough with these.

The yarn for the next warp(s) arrived while we were away so I'm feeling the pressure to get this warp off the loom.  At the rate of two per day, that will be around 10 days from now.  However, it takes a lot less time to weave one of these than the finer yarns so we'll see if I feel able to do 3 per day.  

The next series of warps will be 2/16 cotton warp at 36 epi with 2/20 merc. cotton for weft.  I knew I had a lot of the 2/20 - then last night I 'found' another 3+ pounds of bleached white.  Sigh.  I'm going to be weaving tea towels for a very long time!!!!

The jab did provide some help with the pain and I'm off the dilaudid, but still experiencing the effects of the trapped spinal nerve - muscle weakness, pain.  Weaving doesn't seem to make it 'worse', so I will continue to weave as much as I feel able.

I have work to do for the documentation for the classes, but I'm giving myself some time to recover from the trip before I put my thinking cap on.  I promised to design a couple of projects for the lace weave class but my thoughts on what to do may take some simmering on the back burner.  Right now I'm considering 2/10 merc cotton, in part because SOS carries a line of that yarn and I have some on hand so won't need to order yet more yarn in.  I may buy some of the Sweet Georgia yarn once I've come up with the technical details, just so I can use yarns in the colourway they carry, so that new weavers can just buy the yarn and do the project as is, if they wish.  

Another weave structure I've been thinking about, just because I have too little to do(?) is waffle weave.  It's a fun weave structure, not well understood by people and given my 'fancy' twills and tendency to weave them in various ways, I sometimes get areas of small waffles in addition to huck lace in my cloth which is actually beneficial in a tea towel.  It's been fun watching the waffle areas develop.  :)  But I tend to weave with 16 shafts, and if I'm going to do something for four shafts, I need to put my thinking cap on.

The thing with waffle is that there can be enormous dimensional loss once the web is wet finished and if people don't know that is going to happen they wind up with a much smaller finished textile than they were expecting.  For them it may be an unpleasant 'surprise'.  So it might be useful if I were to design something, document it, and make people aware of the the degree of 'shrinkage' so they are forewarned.

Anyway, apparently my brain thinks my body is still capable so I will continue to weave for as long as I can.  Still have way too much stash that needs using up.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Little by Little


I intended to jump on the loom this morning and start weaving.  I've been *not* weaving for far too long - for my mental health and my physical health.


While I did get about half of the hemmed towels pressed yesterday, there were still some left to be done.  And all they needed was their final, finishing, press.  And then I could tick them off as 'done' done with just their tags needing doing.  And we tend to do the tagging in batches and I've been adding to *that* pile over the summer.   They will need to be tagged soon, but honestly?  I still have loads of tea towel inventory and there is absolutely no rush to get these ready for sale.

I will likely start adding them to my ko-fi store next week and refresh my offerings there with some of my new work.  But I'll decide that tomorrow.

In the meantime, the towels ready for their final press are done and as soon as they finish drying they can be neatly folded and put on the shelf for when ever they get tagged.

Some of these blue and white ones will be used as gifts, too, so it's good to get them finished.  One person who will be receiving two of the blue/white towels has a birthday coming up in about 3 weeks, so they are ready to be packaged up and given to her.  :)  Two more will get popped into the mail soonish.  Two more may go to a third person.  

But the big thing is, the decks are now cleared (for a while - I have 2.5 bins with more waiting for hemming) and after lunch I can head to the loom feeling like I made actual visible progress today.  Once we get the van unloaded (yes, it's still got a bunch of studio stuff in it!) I will feel like I'm back to 'normal'.  Or as 'normal' as it gets around here.

I also ordered a book I've been trying to find for several months.  I had a bit of a windfall over the summer selling tea towels at guild pop-up sales events.  Decided I would pay the much higher than I would have liked price to get a book I am hoping will provide me with some information on textile history I have been looking for.  Money for knowledge is never wasted.

Friday, October 7, 2022



I had intended to leap into the fray this morning, excited to get back to the loom.

Instead?  The pause button got punched.

Doug is still unpacking all the food and personal stuff that we took down for the 10 day stay in Vancouver.  Given covid, we did not eat in restaurants as we would ordinarily, but brought food for breakfast, lunch and snacks, then brought in take away food for dinner.  That meant that we brought dishes and cutlery along as well given neither of us enjoys eating out of Styrofoam containers.  More eateries are moving to paper boxes but anything 'wet' leaks through so we brought large cups and plates to put the food onto.  Which all means there is a lot more unpacking to be done before we even get to the studio stuff, still in the van.

I also had some guild business to take care of, some of which is reaching priority status so I didn't want to let that slide by.  Some people are waiting for information/answers before they could continue.

To be honest, I'm still tired.  

Getting 'old' is a steady increase in lethargy, and increase in just not wanting to rush around anymore.

Frankly I'm getting to the point where I'm looking for a local who will do the weaving teaching, but right now we seem to be all out of people who feel like they know enough. or confidence to take on a teaching role.  Teaching is not for everyone.

When I was first beginning this journey, I had decided I would be a production weaver for 25 years, then teach for 25 years.  Putting me still 'working' at 75.

Instead I did both, concurrently, along with volunteer work for my local, regional and international groups, write articles, weaving almost every day (including designing and loom set up, wet finishing, marketing, retail and wholesale sales, shipping orders, et bloody cetera) and working on the Guild of Canadian Weavers master weaver program.  Out of that I wrote Magic in the Water, then The Intentional Weaver, self-publishing both, therefore needing to do all the marketing and shipping for both of them as well.

I led study groups on line, then during covid, developed Zoom lectures to continue the teaching.  And now?  Teaching for School of Sweet Georgia.

Maybe it's fair and only to be expected that after numerous health issues that have quite literally taken me to the brink of death, that I'm tired.  

I hope to make it through to 75 still teaching, even if it is 'only' on line.

But I've just offered to do a four day (four Saturdays) beginning to weave workshop in hopes of growing more weavers, hopefully one of whom will take on the role of teaching weaving locally.  Or where ever they want to go and do it.

I was helped by older, more experienced weavers all along my journey.  I hope to help others if they wish to take this particular road.

But today?  I'm tired.  If we can get the van unloaded and everything put away, that may well be the limit of what I feel capable of doing. 

And if you are interested in learning from me on line, the QR code on this blog will bring you to SOS and the information to join me there.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Unpacking Fun

 Just rolled in the door from Vancouver.  

The weather held for the entire trip, which was lovely.  The drive each way was nice.  We were stopped several times for road construction so the trip down was 12 hours.  There were fewer delays and not very heavy traffic coming home so the return trip was about 10 hours.   

We are both tired and will finish unloading the van tomorrow.  For tonight we just brought in our personal items and food.

Autumn advanced while we were gone.  There is a lot more yellow and orange on the foliage now.  There may have been frost while we were away, it’s certainly chilly enough the furnace is running.  

But I have a new warp on the Megado, and a rayon chenille scarf warp for the Leclerc, so I’m hoping to at least get started on those in the morning. 

I got release dates on the classes, but they may change which one gets done first.  Let’s just say that the editor is going to have fun with the rough footage.  So glad I don’t have to learn that skill and can leave it to a professional.  :)

It takes a village, in so many ways.  I’m pleased to work with such enthusiastic folk.

For now it’s back to the usual.   I’m looking forward to just spending some time with my looms.  And keep picking away at my stash.  

Monday, October 3, 2022

Lace Weaves Class


Today we did the lace weaves class.  By the time they edit out the brain freezes and verbal stumbles, it should be ok.  I think people are more flexible and forgiving of such missteps live so I’m glad they have a good editor to remove them from the recording.  

Tomorrow we will begin the sectional beaming, which is going to run over to Wednesday.  Photos will be taken of the samples I brought and I will add more info to the drafts I used today so they can be captioned for the website.  Still lots more post production that has to be done.  

The photo was the set up at 10 am.   After lunch everything was reset again for the ‘lecture’ part.  By the time we left, looms had been rearranged and new camera angles will be decided upon for the demonstration part of that topic.  Coffee breaks?  Who had time?  We sure didn’t!

Yes, it’s a juggling act as we get all the info needed, doing it out of order at times to make the recording more efficient.  If we did it all in real time, in order, it would take a lot longer.  Not to mention, being willing to sacrifice some yarn to illustrate a point or three.  

When we stopped for lunch we ate outside.  It’s the first week of October and it’s still very mild, and not raining.  It looks like the weather will continue like this until we get home.  It’s autumn, but so mild it’s easy to forget winter will soon be upon us.   I will be glad to get home before it arrives.  

I’m looking forward to weaving off the last of the heavy linen, maybe that cotton and linen ply yarn.  I keep finding more yarn tucked away in corners!  But that is partly because some of the boxes are now emptied and I can see what is on the shelves behind the boxes.  So I’m not discouraged, yet.   Going to be making more tea towels for a while though. 

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Some Progress


Over the past few days I have picked away at the hemming pile.  Two more and these blue and white ones will be done.  But never fear, I have two more bins filled with more.  

These look like they are all the same, but they are not.  I used four different wefts, three linen, one 2/20 mercerized cotton.  Two are woven with a thicker linen, and visually different.  The other three are woven in yarn much closer to the same thickness and are harder to tell apart.  

I’m going to try and keep them separated because there are two friends I want to gift the ones with the very fine linen to, and will charge less for the 100% cotton ones.  

It’s a pleasant day and we have quite a nice view out of the hotel room window.  I would much rather be at home but there are three more days to work through.  The good news is that it looks like the weather will be nice until we get home.  

Little by little, I pick away at the pile.