Sunday, December 31, 2023

Time Marches


We are now beyond the winter solstice (in the northern hemisphere) and already we see the return of the sun beginning.

Today we actually see the sun, finally achieving a clear blue sky - mostly.  We are also well into the throes of climate change where it is becoming more and more difficult to deny that the climate HAS shifted - and not in a good way.

BC, nominally on the 'wet' coast is also deeply into drought.  The 2023 wildfire season was made much worse because of the drought, with the forests tinder dry (literally) and every t-storm that rolled through lit up more fires until we were breaking records constantly with ever more fires.  Given that much of this part of the country is nearly vertical, trying to put the fires out became a game of whack-a-mole.  Truth to be told, I'm not sure all of the fires are actually out even now because there is barely any snow, anywhere.  (Just went looking and there are still wildfires burning.)

Even so, people are still denying that the climate has changed to the detriment of every living thing on this planet.  

But today we are on the cusp of a new calendar year.  Will things change?  Oh, indeed.  Things *will* change.  It remains to be seen if that change will be to the better.  Or not.

I don't 'do' new year resolutions.  Haven't for a very long time.  The majority of my life has been based on long range planning.  Not just a few months down the road, but at times, years.  You don't publish a book requiring thousands of tipped in samples in a few months.  It took the better part of 3 years just to get the text written and the samples woven, then years more to finish assembling the books.  I could never just think about the coming year, but had to be constantly looking ahead.  What I needed for Nov/Dec sales had to be started by April, at the latest.  Weaving is labour intensive and you can't create thousands of dollars of handwoven textiles in a few weeks.  The process itself requires weeks.  If I waited until the deadline 'loomed' I might as well forget it.  So the process of designing, ordering in the yarn, then putting one warp after another through the loom, then dry finishing, wet finishing, prepping the inventory for sale...needed to be done throughout the year.  All the financial outlay happening months before the sight of any income always a factor in my planning.

Other things, like writing articles, teaching, had to be fit into the nooks and crannies in my weaving schedule.

'Retiring' from doing the shows was a huge change in my schedule.  That didn't mean I was done weaving, though.  The ideas keep coming, clamouring to be made manifest.  The yarn never seems to diminish (although I've made inroads into the boxes and bags of yarn, truly I have, although you'd never know it based on how much is left!)

The first presentation I do in January is on 'stash management'.  After thinking about it for the past few days, I decided that I can't just talk about stash management.  I need to talk about my studio - how and why it is set up the way it is.  Because that is also part of managing my stash.  Where does it go?  

Today I'll take a walk through my studio and take photos.  I am making zero effort to 'prettify' the studio.  It will be exactly the way it is.  And I will be honest about what I do.  

Having a 'pretty' studio is not my main goal.  I have worked all my life in chaos, in part because I have done what I have done in a space that had to do triple/quadruple duty.  For many years there were goat trails through the space and many people would be taken aback at the disorder (to their eye) and apparent chaos.  

I can say that since retiring and stopping doing things like craft fairs, travelling to teach, reducing my teaching generally, I have been able to divest myself of much of the support stuff that goes along with those activities.  The shipping boxes, the individual stashes for the various workshop topics, the inventory of books, not yet sold.  I used to make kits, which was another layer of chaos and stash required.  All of that stuff is now pretty much gone.  I even have room on my shelves to store other things.  And nearly all of the boxes of yarn are gone.  (Not quite, but getting close.)

As this year comes to a close, I look back and take note.  Empty space on this shelf and that.  A reduction in yarn that I finally felt able to give away because I realized I truly would never, in what is left of my life, use it.  Some yarn was given away because I knew a younger person who *would* use it, when my eyesight simply made it too difficult to see, let alone try to put a warp into the loom.  That person may well get more - because I have more.

So as the new calendar year begins, I have no resolutions.  I have goals.  I have long range plans.  I have determination to keep weaving.  I have intentions.  But mostly?  I have the desire to keep encouraging new weavers.  None of those are 'resolutions'.  They come with flexibility to keep going.  Keep trying.  If I can't manage to do any of that on a day, they are not set in stone so I can pick them back up again another day when I feel able to do so.  

Marie Kondo had it right.  If it doesn't bring you joy, get rid of it.  But you don't need to do it today.  Like everything else about life, it can be done in stages.  When you are ready.  When you are able.  When you find the way to make it happen.

Most of all, I hope to keep weaving, keep writing, even if it is only for this blog.  Keep helping those who want my help.  My hourglass may not be full, but there are still grains of sand in it.  And I still have yarn to weave, ideas to bring into material form.

Wishing you all the very best for the coming year, in hopes that it becomes a little bit less interesting, a little bit boring, a little more calming, and a lot more creativity to brighten our lives.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Keeping Track


Someone asked how I keep track of threadings, especially when they might be complicated, and lots of shafts.

Over the years I've worked out ways to try and avoid threading errors.  (Don't always work, but tends to reduce issues.)

First of all, I number my shafts.  On the AVL, the shafts were wood and fairly thick - thick enough I could write the numbers on the top of the bottom part of the shaft.  I used a fine nibbed permanent marker and could then easily identify which shaft was which.  The Megado has wooden top and bottom shafts, but they are thinner so I used a pencil to number them.  The numbers are written on several places along the length if the shafts because as I thread the heddles will obscure the numbers.  So about every 7 to 8 inches I wrote the numbers 1-16 so I could easily see them as I thread.

Simple progressions aren't too hard to manage but things tend to get complicated when more complex threading orders are required.

After I got Fiberworks weaving software, I could print out the threading only, tape the pages to the side of the AVL and then mark off each section.  The progression would get broken down into manageable units, and as each group of ends was threaded, they would be marked off on the print out.  If I got interrupted or needed a break, I could see at a glance where I left off.  Each group gets tied into a slipknot so I know that group is complete. 

With many threads needed for a motif, as in the draft above, I also tie a slip knot when each motif is complete.  

The current weave structure I've been playing with is twill based, so I tend to thread 4 or 8 ends at a time - until the twill line changes direction;  then it might be 5 or 7 ends in a bundle.

The draft prints out with numbers for the shafts, my shafts are numbered appropriately, and I find it easiest to read the numbers off the draft, select the heddles on the appropriate shafts and 'stack' them in order, then select the number of ends needed for the group and thread them.  As I tie the slip knot, I lift the bundle up to see if I can spot any threads that are 'wrong' - maybe I missed the eye of the TexSolv heddle, or I mis-threaded the sequence.  It's a quick self-check to try and spot any errors.

That doesn't mean I don't make mistakes, of course I do!

On the latest warp, as I sleyed I spotted something 'wrong' with one group of 8 ends.  I had threaded the sequence the wrong way.  As in I threaded the progression / instead of \.  (If something looks wrong, it probably is!)  I checked the previous threads, saw which direction the twill line was going, realized I'd reversed the threads, so they got pulled out, the heddles stacked in the correct order and re-threaded.

On the previous warp I'd made a similar mistake - instead of threading a point progression 4,3,2,1,2,3,4 - I'd threaded 5,4,3,1,3,4,5.  Again spotted during sleying because it looked 'wrong'.  A quick re-thread after tying in two 'repair' heddles on shaft 2 quickly solved that issue.

I approach threading a complex pattern with the 'how do you eat an elephant' approach - one bite at a time.

As for the printed out draft, the Megado doesn't have a place to tape the draft so I dug out an old typists clipboard thingee and it gets set on a table beside me.  The draft gets printed out in a larger size font than when I was younger, which means I generally have about 5 pages of draft.  Fiberworks does indicate the page numbers so that makes it easier to tell where I am as I complete each page.  The clipboard has a little 'tray' so a pencil gets set on that and each time I complete a group, that group gets checked off on the draft so I know where I am in the sequence.

I find that threading needs a lot of concentration, so it becomes particularly important to set any distractions aside.  If I can't do that, it usually means I make mistakes.  I also find that the best approach for me is to play instrumental music, not songs where I might sing along (in my head!)  I need to pay attention and focus.  I need to take breaks.  Threading is usually an uncomfortable position and staying in that position for 'too long' means I start to lose concentration.  Far better to stop after a while (eg when the cd ends), take a break, clear my brain, go back and do another section.

The method of threading I learned from Norman Kennedy makes threading twill progressions very efficient and ergonomic.  Small moves, not large ones, means less fatigue and stress on the body.  

Threading is one of the tasks involved in weaving where you need all of your focus and attention, and distractions need to be kept to a minimum.

My advice?  Try to see the rationale of the pattern.  Try to see how the threads march through the pattern.  Try to sense the flow of the design line.  Set up self-checks, in whatever way works best for you.

For me, keeping the data in the same format (numbers in the draft, numbers on the shafts) helps me process the information in a way that makes sense to me.  I try to break the design down into manageable units.  If I can't find a way to do that, then 4 ends at a time is a manageable unit because I can easily hold 4 threads in my left hand (when threading a four shaft loom - I can do up to 8 when I'm working on the Megado with sectional beam.)

Think about what it is you need, then give yourself the tools to do the best you can.  Then do your best to stay in the moment, focused on the task and not let your thoughts wander.  As soon as that begins to happen, take a break, then come back after a rest.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Eye Candy


colours are not 'true' - the blue weft is darker value than it shows in the photo

After what seems like weeks of grey dreary days my eye was growing weary of the very dark blues I had been weaving.  Last week I finished the last of the dark blue warps and immediately put this warp into the loom.

I like most colours, some I just like better than others.  As is the case with most people, I think.  I still struggle to work with some colours, like the dull 'earth tones', although I can make the colours work in a way that is pleasing to me.  Usually.  But still, some colours just perk me up.  Such is the case with these blues.

(If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know how often this kind of colour appears on my looms!)

With the grey dreary days and not feeling particularly well on the day I beamed this warp, it didn't go onto the beam as 'perfectly' as I would have liked, so there are some minor tension issues.  Over the years, I've learned that these tension issues won't cause much of an impact on the cloth once it's been wet finished.  I do have to be a lot more careful about throwing the shuttle and watch to make sure I don't submarine the shuttle and pick up ends from the shed floor creating skips. 

As I've been sitting weaving (what I've done so far), I am making a mental note to adjust how I fill the tension box.  I'll 'skinny' the ribbon of warp going into the box by one dent, and that should make it a lot easier to lay the ribbon into the section 'flat'.

OTOH, I really am enjoying seeing this warp in the loom, so I'm not terribly bothered about the tension issues knowing it should resolve.

The new weave structure is working very well in this new draft, and I am liking it well enough that I may manipulate the motifs to create 'sister' designs.  Or I may try to make a completely 'new' draft, based on what I'm learning from working with this one.

And that's the thing with weaving.  The possibilities are nearly endless.  As we end one year and begin the next, I will float into that new year on the nice 'eye candy' in the loom and enjoy the return of the sun and the longer hours of daylight.  Just hoping that we get actual sunny days instead of this dreary overcast murk and far too warm temps with too little precipitation.  Or next summer is going to be brutal for a lot of people.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

New Year, New Warp


Over Christmas and Boxing Day I did what I love - dressed the loom with the next warp.

Things did not go...smoothly...however.  There were some minor issues, but nothing that will negatively impact the cloth in any significant way.

However, it put me in mind of all the new weavers who lament all the mistakes they make, declaring that they can't wait until they don't make mistakes anymore.

Um, about that...

The first issue with this warp was that one of the tubes of yarn broke a couple of times.  I assumed it was just settling in issues, and didn't worry about it too much.  Mistake on my part because at some point the yarn broke again and I am 'short' some ends.  How many?  Didn't bother to try and find out. 

Instead I edited the draft to reflect that there were fewer warp ends.  No big deal - all it means is that the selvedges are not identical.  However, the difference will be slight and only another weaver would notice.

Christmas day here was a very dark and dreary day and in the end, the sections are not filled as 'perfectly' as I would wish.  However, the slight differences will be unnoticable once the tea towels are cut/serged and wet finished.  There may be a slight impact on the actual weaving, but again, a little extra attention and care as I weave ought to let me ignore them.

Recently I saw a thread somewhere about poor tension on warps.  I read through the responses, but the answers pretty much covered anything that was needed to be said, so I quietly left and didn't add to the conversation.

It's all well and good to aim for 'perfection', but truth be told?  Minor issues can sometimes be worked around.

As weavers we have to remember that what counts is the cloth after it is *finished* - and by that I mean wet finished, not just the myriad steps to get us to an interlaced web.

Mastering a craft is knowing how to work as perfectly as possible, but when things happen that are less than perfect, knowing how to fix the issues or if it even really needs to be 'fixed'.  Because hand weavers weave at a much slower pace than industrial looms do.  As hand weavers we can adjust ourselves, as well as the loom.

But once again, weaving has delivered a generous helping of 'humbility' (as Hercule Poirot says) and reminded me that I may hold the title of 'master', but essentially all that means is that I can usually identify a problem when it arises, when it needs to be fixed, or when I can create a 'fudge' fix-it.

Because the other thing that happened over the holiday was that my tiny little 'danger radar' voice urged me to check the brake cable on the Megado.  Sure enough, one of the strands in the metal cable had broken.  (You'd think I weave a lot, or something...)

I asked my in-house loom doctor to take a look and he agreed - it needed to be dealt with.  This morning he ordered a couple of 'thimbles'.  These are little gizmos that fit inside a cable loop and prevent wear on the cable itself.  I could have ordered a new brake cable from Louet, but I don't know that they carry such in stock or if I'd have to wait until one arrived from Holland - at who knows how much cost?

The metal 'thimbles' cost 61 cents each, so he ordered two.  The shipping is a lot more than the value of the parts, but well worth it to protect the cable and prevent the expense of buying a new brake cable.

My lesson going into 2024 is a familiar one - be not dismayed by things going wrong.  Look instead to the solution, the 'fix'.  And above all?  Pay attention to that little inner voice when it urges you to look at something, check it out for wear and tear.

The goal for today is to sley the reed and tie on.  (I finished threading yesterday.)  I have to cut/serge the last of the towels I cut off the loom on Dec. 24, then wet finish them and press tomorrow.  Then add them to the never ending hemming pile.  I'm hoping to at least get weaving for one session today, but we'll see how my energy holds out.  I had a bad night (I suspect an allergy - now to try and figure out what to) and I don't know how much energy I will have for weaving.  But I'm also really looking forward to seeing how this draft (one of the 'tile' variations) looks when woven.  

Keep weaving.  Keep learning.  

Monday, December 25, 2023

Old Year, New Year


And now the sunlight hours increase (in the northern hemisphere).

As we march forward into a new year, it is time to think.  We have a few days with few obligations, time off work (if you work), time with family and friends (if you are able to do that), but generally we have a few days for reflection.

Gratitude is always high on my list when I find myself thinking.

Goals.  This is a time when I pause and reflect and think about what I want to do, what I can do, and what I need to do.

I 'need' to take care of a few things that I have been procrastinating over, but cannot do during the holidays.  So those will wait for the new year.  

Otherwise, goals remain the same.  Weave down my stash.  Keep learning.  Keep exploring.

Gratitude.  Remember to thank people who have been helpful and supportive.  I have one more person I want to give a gift to - just trying to think what I would like that gift to be.

Gratitude, for the people who have been encouraging, who have been kind.  Who have let me know they appreciate this blog and my efforts to share my knowledge.  There are times when I feel like I am posting into a vacuum, and feedback lets me know that I am reaching some people.

Keep working on regaining strength and mobility.  It's been such an awful roller coaster ride the past few years and adjusting to the new reality of what my body can - or wants - to do has been, well, challenging, let's use that word.

I appreciate others who are open and honest about their own challenges.  They give me strength to renew my determination to keep going.  

Now that I'm feeling 'better' (for certain values of) I am more aware of what a mess my house is.  I am hoping that the injection on Jan. 10 and the new pain meds will give me the spoons to start to clean up some of the clutter.  It's all part of the stash reduction effort, just on a personal level instead of just the studio.  Because for the past few years all the spoons I had were spent on weaving.

I would like to grow old gracefully, but I suspect that it will be somewhat less graceful and more, um, 'warped'.  At least, I hope so...

Sunday, December 24, 2023

By the Numbers

 Just logged into blogspot and discovered that page views for this blog rolled over 2.6 million just since I got up this morning.

Now I don't for one second believe that all of those page views are by people who actually *read* the blog.  Too many folk out there 'phishing' for me to believe that I have that many actual page views.

But still, making allowance for the scam artists and phishers amongst us, that's still a lot of page views.

There is a certain level af angst out in internet-land because so many various and sundry social media sites are pretty bad, right now.

OTOH, our social media sites reflect what is happening in our lives.  And yeah, things are not great right now.  There are way too many people fomenting anger, celebrating selfishness, urging others to distrust people who don't look like them, think like them, love like them, worship (if they do) like them.

I try to not get political on this blog, but it is also a reflection of - and by - me and my life.  And I cannot ignore the ways of the world and the inhabitants, many of whom seem intent on destroying anything they don't 'like'.  Instead of living in peace, as pretty much every modern day religious leader has advised, too many humans seem focused on controlling others.  That seems to be the only way they can find to live - do as I say, or else.  Usually waving their holy book, which clearly says love is the way.  

I was raised Christian.  Went to Sunday school every week.  Got certificates for 'perfect' attendance more than one year, joined an adult bible study group at the age of 12 and was baptised again as a full member of the congregation.  (So when evangelicals tell me you have to be baptised twice to get into heaven, yes, sir, I have been.  And frankly, I don't want to go to *your* heaven, anyway.)

We are poised to 'celebrate' the supposed birth of 'our lord and savior Jesus Christ' and yet I see people who loudly claim to be 'Christian' ignoring the hungry, refusing to help the refugees, demanding that everyone follow *their* version of religion instead of what Jesus actually said.

Several people have recently asked me if I'm 'ready' for Christmas.  My usual response is 'oh, is that soon?'  Because I don't wait for once a year to live like a Christian.  Normally I don't even mention that is my upbringing because I left the church a long time ago.  

That doesn't mean I left the lessons I learned at Sunday school behind.  As a moral code they work well, and I try to live them every day.

Feed the hungry.  Heal the ill.  Accept the strangers amongst us.  Don't live to make money but to  help your fellow human beings.  

So, on this Christmas eve, we do not have a Christmas tree (other than the metal one I bought from a fellow craftsperson a few years ago - which stays out all year on the mantel).  We do not have a heap of gifts to open.  It is just the two of us and we have pretty much everything we need.  

Our gift to each other this year (and for the rest of our time in this house, truth to be told) was a new HVAC system.  Next year we will replace our elderly Ford Ranger with a Ford Maverick hybrid.  (And if anyone wants to buy a lightly used Ford Ranger...)

Because we want to do what *we* can to use less of the finite supply of fossil fuels.

We cannot solve the climate crisis all by ourselves, BUT!  We don't have to make it worse.  And less gas burned is still and all, less gas burned.

For all of you who have come along with me on my journey since August 2008, I thank you.  I promise I will continue to limit politics on this blog.  But that doesn't mean I don't know what is happening in our world.

I will continue to weave and share my weaving journey.  Beyond this blog I will continue to encourage and support others in my social network.  I will continue to donate funds to individuals and organizations, when I can.  When emotional support is needed, I will try to provide that, too.

But mostly, I will continue to weave as much as I can.  Learn as much as I can.  Share what I learn as much as I am able.

Over the past few years I've spent quite a lot of time and energy providing online content and books, both digital and actual print.  I have one more book that is simmering and if all goes well will appear in the coming year.  Another niche topic for a niche market.  If it sees light of day.

As I continue to deal with health issues, I have had to change my expectations, and downsize my goals and activities.  This has not been an easy transition, but it's that or give up entirely.  And I have way too much yarn and way too many ideas simmering on the back burner to stop now.

So for those of you who are celebrating this week, I wish you peace and contentment for the coming new year.  To be grateful for what you have, if you have 'enough'.  To encourage you to keep learning.  Keep changing.  Keep growing.  "Do the best you can.  When you know better, do better."

Season's Greetings - whatever your religion (or none) - from the both of us.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Pressing Pause - Again


Bodies are not static.  They change, grow, get injured, heal.

Well, mostly they heal.

The older we get, the more wear and tear we inflict on ourselves, the more injuries pile up...the longer it takes *to* heal.

And sometimes we inadvertently injure ourselves in the pursuit of 'recovery'.

So it was this week.  I've been slowly trying to recover from the latest round of body hurts and one of my stretches, well, I overdid it and injured my knee.

Not a serious injury and one that will heal - eventually.  But it is a set back, not just physically, but mentally, as well.

Yesterday I didn't go to the loom at all, but today I think I can manage.  The injured knee is not doing the 'heavy' work of weaving, and right now I feel like I need to at least make an effort to do some physical activity.

I'm very close to being finished with this dark dark blue warp, and I'm really looking forward to the new colour combo and some of the new drafts I've fiddled with.  And it would be really nice to tie up this year by finishing with the very dark colours which have been challenging to work with during the (so far) dreary winter we have been having.  Hard to see the very dark values at the best of times, but when the light is poor, even harder.

So with the returning of the sun (in the northern hemisphere) I would love to begin the new year with the new, brighter colours.

I tried using my phone to get a photo of the dark blue, but while it fared better than the ipad, it still doesn't do the dark values justice.  When I post the different designs to my ko-fi shop, try to picture the colours as being much darker.  Like this one:

It looks pretty in the photo, but the photo is deceiving because the towels are way darker in real life.  Imagine a very dark, nearly black navy blue (three different shades in the warp) and in this towel a mid-range blue for the weft.  These are currently listed in my ko-fi shop.  I still have several others that I despaired of ever getting a decent photo, but we have - for once! - a clear sky and sun.  So perhaps getting photos will be more successful.

Sending best wishes for the solstice and a better/brighter new year to everyone.

Friday, December 22, 2023

'Like' is Good


Yesterday I spent some time at the desktop and messed around with another draft after I printed out the threading for the next warp.  Given I'm on the downhill end of the current warp, it's time to prepare for the next.  

While I had Fiberworks open, it seemed like a good time work on additional drafts.  I'm not 'in love' with this one, but for some reason it appeals to me, and - if I use warp and weft of similar values, I think it will look 'good' (enough, at any rate).

One of the things I've learned over the years is that I don't have to be over the moon in 'love' with a draft in order to weave it.

What I see on the monitor is only a facsimile of what it might look like once woven, given that the threads are going to shift and move.  And sometimes, once the web has been wet finished I like it a lot.

Sometimes, it's just 'good enough' and when I'm making tea towels, someone usually likes it enough to buy.  My taste is not the same as everyone else's and something I think is 'meh' might be someone else's 'fabulous'.

But that's the thing about weaving primarily for other people.  *My* likes/dislikes are less important than if I were only weaving for my own satisfaction.  I don't need to aim for 'perfection' in all things, but make textiles that will serve their purpose.  Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder (as is said), what I make doesn't have to be drop dead gorgeous (to me) every single time.

So, I try things.  Some things I like.  Some things I love.  Some things don't do much for me, but they are ok.  Usually I will reject drafts for reasons - they may have longer floats than I want in a textile for that purpose, or I think the design is 'too busy' - which this one nearly qualifies for - or I don't like the symmetry (or lack of it) and this one is both symmetrical *and* asymmetrical, something I've been playing with in this series. 

While this draft has been saved, it may go into the folder and never come out again - as have a number of other drafts that I've worked on since I started messing with this weave structure.

And that's perfectly ok.  

Computer software to create drafts did not reduce the time I spent designing, but allowed me to work through way more iterations until I found something I really liked.  The ones I only sort of like sit in my files and from time to time I might open them, then tweak them.  And sometimes after enough time has passed, I can see how to tweak the draft to make something I like more than what I did initially.

To learn is to change.  If we get mired in what we have always done, we may not change things.  If we are not thinking about what to change, we don't learn.  And so I go back and tinker with drafts, then think about what I want - and what I don't - and keep generating more drafts.  

Since I'm now in my 'senior' years, all the advice is to keep your brain active, to think.  To learn.  To be open to new ideas.  While the usual advice is to do crossword puzzles or other mental 'games', I continue to play the 'what happens when I change the draft this way?  That?' game.

And to be satisfied with 'good' and 'like' instead of being constantly disappointed that I did not, once again, arrive at 'perfection' and 'love'.

Some days, that's enough.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Managing Expectations


Today marking the turning of the sun - the solstice.  I saw this for about 5 minutes before the sun rose high enough above the clouds that all we are left with is another grey dreary day.

Which kind of matches my mood, frankly.

I've been struggling - again - with my body and pain levels that are difficult to manage.  Yesterday I sent an email to the pain clinic outlining the past weeks, bringing the doctor up-to-date with the changes that have been happening.

While I didn't get to this place in an instance through sudden injury but a lifetime of wear and tear, I still feel like I am 'young' enough to heal and recover.  My body disagrees.

However, I have a telephone appointment for tomorrow morning to discuss things with the doctor and the clerk has already booked me in for another SI injection for early in the new year.

So, Jan. 9 I have dry needling (ouch) and Jan 10 I have the SI injection (less ouch, but still need to do light duties for about 3-5 days afterwards to let the injection work).

I was going to tell them I could wait, then decided if I'm going to need to do 'light duties' for each of those procedures?  I might as well get the double whammy and recover from both at once.

After the first two dry needling treatments (and if you can't take pain, I don't recommend them, because OUCH) I was beginning to see improvement and hope grew making me feel like I was finally (FINALLY) on the road to, well, recovery would be too big a word, but improvement was great.

And then I had an allergic reaction that knocked me right off my feet and I was even worse than I had been.  It's been a couple of weeks of me, following Nike's advice to Just Do It, putting my head down, putting one foot in front on the other, stubbornly getting through each day.

I increased the naltrexone dose to 3 mg a day, then found out the pharmacy would not give me more than the prescription called for in a month, which meant I would run out of meds before I could get more.  Having gone through the transition from opioids to naltrexone and not wanting to repeat that period of no pain mitigation whatsoever, I wrote up the pain diary/update and sent it.

Given the state of health care generally, I didn't want to wait until after the holidays to get things moving, and imagine my surprise when I received a return email this morning giving me a telephone appointment for tomorrow morning, and a date for the injection.

If I weren't so damn exhausted from playing whack-a-mole with pain flares, I could weep.  Instead I just gratefully mark the dates in my calendar and hope like hell the tiny improvements I have been seeing over the last few days will grow into bigger steps towards some kind of functionality.

The other day I was chatting with another weaver, about the same age as me, going through much tougher health issues than I'm dealing with and her strength to keep going has given me encouragement to keep going, too.  If she can keep getting to the loom in spite of all her challenges, well, so can I.

But I no longer aspire to do what I did even 3 years ago.  That ship appears to have sailed.  So I draw the horizons of my life inwards, let go of aspirations to weave more than I currently am, wave goodbye to friends who travel, claim my space in my home, my studio.  When I can help others, I will.  But it will have to be on my terms.

Because my body has said 'no'.  That's it.  Just...'no'.  And after decades of my body saying 'no' and me saying 'yes, you can', I now must listen to it.

There was a cartoon strip called For Better of for Worse and at one point the mom, Elly, decides to go back to work.  She finds it extremely difficult to manage work and keeping her house neat and tidy and all the other family members fed and to their various activities.  As she rails against the fact that she can't do it all, her spouse says that maybe she should adjust her expectations.

So, time for me to adjust mine...unfortunately, easier said than done...

Monday, December 18, 2023

A Gift of Learning


throwing the shuttle supported from below

Welp, I'm seeing places reminding folk that giving the gift of learning is a nice gift to give.  No wrapping, no packaging to recycle, so space required on the already full shelves.  (I'm not talking about bookshelves, obs.)

So once again for old time sake:

School of Sweet Georgia

Handwoven/Long Thread Media

My books

And if you want textiles my ko-fi shop where I also have a couple of signed copies of Stories from the Matrix, and lots of Weave a V by Kerstin Fröberg.  No time to get those to you in time for Xmas, but yes, there are lots of towels to choose from, with maybe more coming soon.  I have several designs not yet photographed, and if I can find the spoons, another batch to give their finishing press to and put 'away'.

I'm officially over the halfway mark on the current warp and looking forward to the new year and a new colour of warp.  :)

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Shoulders of Giants


Continuing to explore the weave structure I went back to something simpler.  I call this one 'twinkle star' and it seems in keeping with the season.  

I still have no idea what to call this weave structure.  Maybe it isn't important that it has a 'name'?  We 'name' things as a kind of short hand.  Instead of saying 'twill blocks shifted a half block at a time', which is cumbersome, it needs a 'name' that conveys what it is.  After mulling it over for a year or so, I've kind of settled on shifted twill blocks.  Advancing twill blocks didn't seem quite...right.

Have I ever seen this particular weave structure before?  Can't say that I have.  That doesn't mean that it hasn't ever been done before, though, just that I've not seen it documented.

Is this weave structure 'mine'?  Nope.  No one 'owns' a threading sequence.

It may not have been recorded in a resource I've seen before, but that means nothing.  Humans have been weaving, in one form or another, for millennia.  I'm quite sure I'm not the first weaver to stumble across it.

How did it come to me?  When I look back and connect the dots, I had been exploring similar things for 20 or so years, dabbling a bit, then setting them aside as deadlines roared and I had no time to explore.

The first time I did something similar to this was with Summer and Winter, when I used double two tie unit weave to make more detailed designs in that weave structure.  The units were stepped in just the same way as the twill blocks - shifted by half a unit.  This allowed me to create designs that had curves that flowed, that were less 'block-y'.

How did I come up with doing that?  I'd been weaving Bronson Lace in pick up, based on a workshop I took with Mary Bentley doing pick up Summer and Winter, and realized I could do other unit weaves in the same pick up technique.  As part of my exploration of doing Bronson Lace in pick up, it occured to me that I could weave half units for details.

Prior to that, I'd taken a workshop with Peter Collingwood who explained his shaft switching technique and it was a revelation that just because a yarn was on a particular shaft, that didn't mean it was permanently controlled by that shaft.  By extension, I saw that unit weaves could be 'shifted' in their threading/treadling.  The options were more limited, but there was less 'fiddling'.

The challenge is to remember that in the treadling each block is controlled by four different treadles.  When I design the treadling, therefore, I can't just get the software to generate the treadling.  Or at least I don't see how I could do that.  I could try customizing block substitution treadles, but so far, I haven't bothered.  Because I am still learning how the lines 'work'. How they flow.  How far I can push them, here and there, and create a motif I'm happy to weave.

But none of this would be possible without the work done by other weavers before me.

I first heard "we stand on the shoulders of giants" from Judith MacKenzie.  Since then I've seen it elsewhere.  Every time I hear/read it, I think about my ancestors, the weavers who worked with threads, explored the possibilities, laid the groundwork for me, my generation, to carry on.

And I think about all the teachers I've had, some now sadly gone on to the great loom room in the sky, and I nod and send a thought of gratitude to them.

This weave structure is treadle hungry, so easiest done with a computer assisted loom.  But if anyone is interested in exploring it, I documented how it worked in Stories from the Matrix.  I even provided a skeleton tie up so that others don't have to work it out for themselves.  If you play around with it, I hope you'll share.  I'd love to see what others do with the idea.  

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Many Thoughts Converge


My hemming 'station'

I do hemming in the evening while I 'watch' tv. 

Nothing new about this.  As a kid, mom and I would knit while we watched tv.  Or I would make a puzzle on the coffee table.  Mom and I rarely just 'sat'.  I suppose knitting was - for me at least - my 'fidget spinner'.  I always find meetings more bearable if I can knit while the business proceedings unfold.  Unless I'm chairing the meeting.  

Hemming is pretty 'mindless', requiring just surface attention, but it keeps my hands busy so the loveseat is permanently set up with my bin of sewing supplies beside me (about 30 spools of thread in a range of colours, pins, extra needles of various sizes, scissors, etc).  And the seemingly (for now) endless supply of tea towels wanting hemming.

Lately the hemming has been going more slowly because about a year ago I started having pain in my hips and if I sat in one position for too long (define 'long'.  define 'too long') I had trouble standing and walking.  So I chair hopped between the dining room table and the loveseat.  Things have been getting 'better', but still not great, so my routine is to continue to chair hop.

But I also think about the nature of 'making'.  How, in the 21c our (NA) society seems to be intent on having everything in life present us with instant gratification.  How doing something time consuming - be it making things in terms of handcrafts, or just building a puzzle, are not sufficient.  We can't 'wait' for anything.  Results have to be *now* and they have to be *perfect*.  No room for learning.  No room for 'mistakes'.  (Not all, of course I know, not all!  I am one of that 'not all', after all!)

Instead of learning how to knit, people buy 'fidget spinners' when they could be using a drop spindle and actually creating something (yarn) by twiddling something.  Or knitting, crocheting, get the drift.

Instead I am questioned as to why I don't machine sew the hems on my towels in order to get them done faster.  Because I am the 'efficiency queen'...

But efficiency doesn't mean to always and forever do something faster.  It means doing it with the least amount of excess motion.  To reduce the harm to the body.  Not *just* to make something 'faster'.

And I don't actually prefer machine sewing for the hems on my towels, but if you do, then you should do that.  I've had customers comment on my hand hemming, and appreciate that I take the time, and the attention to detail.  But again, that's *my* personal preference.

I think about how much society has changed in my 70+ years.  How things used to be, and where they are now.  And wonder where they will be in another 20 years.  I doubt I'll be alive by then, but you never know.  My mom made it to 90.  But my dad and brother didn't make it through their 50s, so the odds are that I probably won't see 90.

And I think about the state of my studio.  How much yarn I still have, even as I weave it down, as best I can.  I can celebrate that the linen is *mostly* gone (barring the linen I unearthed last month in the latest snow globing of my yarn storage area), the mercerized cotton is gone (to the point that the rest has gone into my bobbin lace stash).

I wonder how much longer I will be able to weave, and hold onto the hope that while things are getting better, every gain is hard won and I'm tired.  So, so tired.  Is this what 'old' is?  Just, tired, all the damn time?  (For anyone contemplating telling me I'm only as old as I feel, I feel old.  Tired and old.  Doesn't mean I'm ready to give up, give in - too much yarn in my stash.)

I think about the state of the world and despair that humans will ever, even just once, actually listen to their religious icons and live in peace and harmony.  Because every major religion says pretty much exactly the same thing, and yet...

As we face another year ending and beginning, we ride this grain of sand in the galaxy and live our lives, to what end?  What is the purpose of our lives, anyway?  We determine our purpose by the choices we make.

I choose to encourage, support, teach.  I choose to be creative and make things, even when they take weeks to complete.  Not everyone chooses the same things, and that's fine - because we choose.  We choose to live with the status quo or to try to improve things, as best we can.  So I take my resources and spend them with companies that appear to be responsible towards their employees, pay them reasonable wages.  At least act inclusive, even if it is just on the surface.  I vote for politicians who at least attempt to help, not hinder, who have an actual platform, even if I don't agree with everything on it.  I refuse to vote for politicians who are full of hot air and stand on - or for - nothing, but foment outrage based on 'fake news'.  

I choose to live as frugally as possible, with the smallest carbon footprint I can manage, given I live in the 'north', in a small community, far away from metropolitan areas.

Does me buying a new HVAC system to use less natural gas solve the climate crisis?  No, but using less natural gas is still *less*, not blithely continuing to use more...

And so my thoughts go - round and round and round.  Until I go to the loom and shut the door on my thoughts, my worries, my concerns, generate some endorphins, a little dopamine, give myself a couple of hours (or so) a day when I stop fretting about the state of the world and humanity.

If nothing else, my weaving is a form of mental health care, so based on that alone, I will keep weaving for as long as I can...even when it takes me weeks to 'complete' a batch of towels, even when industry can outproduce me every day of the week and no one *needs* a hand woven tea towel.  *I* need to keep making them.  And so I do...

Friday, December 15, 2023

The Returning of the Sun


This year the solstice falls on Dec. 21, at 7:20 pm.  

At this time of year, especially when we are having a particularly grey, dreary time, I remind myself frequently that as quickly as it goes south, the sun will come back.

This year seems particularly fraught with so many things causing stress to so many.  And yet, we go on.  Because what choice do we have?

I keep my Winston Churchill magnet on the fridge to remind me to not stop.  After all, who wants to stop while they are *in* hell?

I continue to struggle on with chronic pain.   The new treatments are beginning to help but change is never comfortable.  OTOH, I'm not taking opioids anymore and the brain fog is less.  So that's a plus.

I find myself considering (only *just* considering at this point) what I need to do to clean up my mess(es).  The yarn seems to be never ending, and that is a good thing - up to a point.  But also a bad thing.

Some of the yarn I inherited and frankly?  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it.  In the meantime the ideas for the new weave structure continue.  Since I still have 2/16 cotton to use up, plus that (I hope) last stash of linen, I expect I'll be weaving towels for a while.

The latest towels are really hard to photograph.  The dark blue gets washed out into a faded, unattractive greyed blue.  They look SO much better in real life!  But I'm also tired of weaving dark wefts on dark warps.  Once the current dark blue warp is done, I'll move on to the much brighter blues next in the queue.

The 16 pounds of yarn for warps will do 5 warps, yielding around 18-20 towels each, depending on the length (and if I make any boo-boos).  So over the course of the next months, another 100 towels or so will be coming off the loom.  Since we seem to be locked into a very dreary, dark and depressing winter (so far) the much brighter colours will be welcome.

I have kind of fallen in love with the idea of tiles and can see myself spending more time down that burrow in the idea rabbit warren.  Once the brighter blue warps are done I expect I'll go back to white so I can weave that bright red linen singles I 'found' when I cleaned up the yarn storage area for the HVAC installation last month.  I'm not sure I can weave the rest of the linen on a 2/16 warp as most of it is heavier.  But I also 'found' some more gigantic mill cones of fine cottons, and a couple that *may* be a cotton/linen blend - I need to do some burn tests.

At some point I have to address the rayon stash.  I have a lifetime worth of fine rayons suitable for scarves - and shawls.  But right now I'm focussed on weaving down the cotton, so the rayon is just kind of there, in the corner of my eye.  I'm ignoring it - for now - but I really need to deal with that, too.

I don't 'do' new year's resolutions.  If I need something to guilt me into doing something, I will very quickly give in and not do it.  Because I don't 'do' guilt trips.  Guilt has never been an effective way to entice me to do something.

Instead I make plans.  I set goals.  But I don't set up punishments if I don't achieve all my goals.  

So, this year I will do the same as I always have done: wait for the returning of the sun, keep weaving as much as I am able, keep working on stash reduction, keep exploring new ways to play with string, keep encouraging others, as best I can.

Keep on, keeping on.  It's what I can do, so I will.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Step by Step


Initial draft (after working with this weave structure for over a year, I think I'm beginning to understand how it works...)

Next variation - not entirely happy with this, but had some interesting things happening that I wanted to explore some more.  OTOH, it would be fine as it is, as a tea towel.  Just not really calling to me unless I play with it some more.

This one is better, and might go into the loom as well as the first one.

A small change to the previous version which may - or may not - get put into the loom.  I may also play around with the initial iteration some more based on these further developments.

OTOH, I may switch to a different tile design and play with that, instead.

For those interested, I wrote about this weave structure in Stories from the Matrix as I was starting to explore the possibilities.

In the meantime I need to finish the warp in the loom before I can begin to work on the next.  I have two other designs I worked on before these, and I may set them aside for now and go straight to the first one of these, see how it weaves up.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Presenting Information


One of the things I tell my students is to always read the beginning bits in any weaving book they are using.

Weaving is a complex technology.  Different authors will present their information in different ways, especially if they are dealing with weave structure theory.

In NA, the 'standard' form is to have the threading at the top, with the tie up to the right (a recent standardization, given the rise of weaving software), and the treadling down the side.

In Scandinavia, the threading is at the bottom of the page.  Which makes a lot more sense since we weave from the bottom up, so to speak.

Some authors will include every tie up variation in the tie up area, which confuses a lot of people because they may only have 6 treadles.  Then ensues much gnashing of teeth, as they protest that they 'can't' weave that design because it 'requires' 12 treadles.  

But the options don't require 12 treadles.  The author has simply given 12 options for tie up, and the weaver chooses which option to actually weave.

Or sometimes, what they need to do is use a liftplan, or direct tie up - ie, one treadle tied up to one shaft, and then use two feet to depress two or three treadles.

For this waffle weave, more than 6 combinations are required, so the weaver can achieve this by using the liftplan and two footed approach - or weave it on a lever loom and follow the liftplan to select the levers required.

Usually the problem is that the person complaining just doesn't know enough.  They may not have learned the vocabulary, so may not understand the directions.  Or they may not understand how a weave structure works, or how to use the tool (the loom) in order to get the desired results.  Or they simply misunderstand what they are seeing.

The common one I hear is that a tie up with 12 options shown 'cannot be woven on a four shaft loom' when the threading draft is clearly four shafts - it's just that the tie up shows All The Options available.  If they just read down the treadling, they might notice that those options are used in groups of 4 or 6 treadles.  It may mean re-tieing the treadles - OR, use the direct tie method and use both feet to open the appropriate combination.

Adult human beings seem quick to assume that they know 'everything' and then when they don't understand, it's the fault of the author or teacher, when really, it's just that they need to take a step back and add to their knowledge.

When I wrote The Intentional Weaver, my target audience was not the raw beginner, but someone who already knew the vocabulary, had an understanding of how to read a draft, but wanted to refine their techniques, increase their knowledge.  Stories from the Matrix was based on the same audience because I wanted to dig deeper into some facets of weaving that I hadn't felt able to include in TIW.

There are many many teachers who can get people started on the basics.  But in the end, the students must do the work of learning in order to develop understanding.

As always, my books are available in both print and pdf formats here...  still time to get at least the pdf in time for Xmas?

Monday, December 11, 2023



In 2017 we went to Sweden, in part to attend Vav conference.  Of course I hit the vendor hall!  And while I bought some linen yarns, I also bought this tea towel, 100% linen, woven on a Jacquard loom.

I loved the simplicity of the design, a kind of 'pencil sketch' of birch trees in the winter (on one side, birches at night on the other).  They had woven them on a white warp and used a number of different colours, but coming from a place where winter happens and we have birch trees in abundance, this one caught my fancy and I paid about $30 for it.  A bit of a bargain, frankly, given 100% linen!

As you can see, I have yet to use it.  For the years following I tucked it into my teaching bin as a 'sample' and shared it with my students.  However, now that I'm no longer teaching in person, I'm thinking it is about time to take the tag off and put it into the tea towel drawer.

There are many things to love about this textile.  The fine linen singles warp and weft; the satin weave; the special handling of the selvedges (because fine linen singles warp!), and the design.  

The yarn is not perfectly smooth but varies in thickness and there are little 'lumps' of fibre that add a subtle texture to the cloth.  The satin weave varies in how many interlacements there are in order to create shading, from nearly all white, to various shades of grey, to almost black.  And they credit the designer:  Lena Hellström.

So when I hear that old trope "all commercial textiles are bad" I cringe.  Because they are not.  Yes, there are poor quality textiles being made, but there are also excellent quality textiles being made.

I have so little wall space anywhere in this house I can't even pin it to a wall.  Unless I move some stuff around, which may yet happen.  So I think I'll keep this towel tucked away for a while longer.  Because every time I 'find' it when I'm searching through my bins of samples I feel a frisson of delight.

My current warp is in part inspired by this textile.  Not that my design looks anything like it, but!  The idea of bare branches against a winter sky?  Yes, I thought of this textile while I was designing my version:

Sunday, December 10, 2023



upcoming warp - unless I change my mind

One of the comments I've heard over and over again is how patient I must be to do such 'tedious' work.

Um, no.  Something is 'tedious' if you really don't want to do it but need to.

Weaving is time consuming.  Attitude will determine whether that time being consumed is tedious, or not.

I learned a long time ago - no warp, no weaving, no food on the table.  So I focused on becoming as efficient as I could be.

Rather than spending the time required to thread each thread in a warp (currently 760 for the upcoming warps), or getting upset at throwing the shuttle about 1200-1300 times to make a tea towel, I look on that as a working meditation.  

I sink into the process rather than fight it.

Someone commented that they couldn't imagine how many picks were in a towel - I was able to tell them right down to the exact number.  Because I use a computer assisted dobby and the software tells me those numbers.  

Yesterday I wove the first towel in the new warp, but I'd miscalculated how many picks were needed to make a towel the length I wanted it to be.  Happens that I'd also made a sleying mistake, which I was finally able to see once I started weaving.

So, I cut off the first towel, fixed the sleying error and added more picks to the treadling to make the towel longer.

That first towel will likely get given away because I don't want it in my inventory.  But shorter, and with a sleying error?  It will still dry dishes.

So I didn't get particularly upset about it.  Just sat for a moment and thought - do I 'fix' the sleying error?  And the answer was yes.  It was a simple fix, it was just going to take some time.  But that warp should yield 20 towels and now that I knew precisely where that sleying error was, I couldn't see myself weaving another 19 towels when I could - relatively easily - fix the problem.  Especially given the towel was shorter than I wanted it and I needed to edit the weaving file for the rest of the warp.

But also?  Now I have a better idea of how many picks I need, I can edit the above file and make sure those towels will be long enough before I begin weaving those.  And all the rest of the towels to come, in this particular weave structure, at this density.

The first warp in a series is the proof of concept, and tweaks like changing tie up or treadling are expected, so accepted as part of the process when they happen - as they generally do.

While I don't like making mistakes, I accept that I am human and *will* make them.  How I react to them is part of becoming a better weaver, a (hopefully) better human.

Saturday, December 9, 2023



I love weaving.  

I love all of it - the dreaming, the designing, the physical processes.  I like the 'tedious' bits as much as the rest.  Because without doing all the 'bits', there is no weaving, no cloth.

Learning all the limits, up and down the spectrum of what is possible.  

I must confess, I'm not a fan of the 'mistakes', but they are part and parcel of the process, and mistakes *will* happen.  The 'trick', if you will, is to learn how to fix them - when they can be - and leave them if they aren't going to adversely affect the cloth.

So yes, I've had my share of 'mistakes' over the years.  But I never let making a mistake be career ending.

Because weaving, like life, is full of lessons and we learn from our mistakes.  We learn what a mistake of that nature looks like, how it will affect us, when to let something go, or slog on 'fixing' the mistake when it is needed.

Yesterday I spent an hour or so inspecting and repairing the 18 towels ready for wet finishing.  The kinds of 'mistakes' that needed repairing are best done before wet finishing (although floats/skips *can* be repaired afterwards, it's just easier to do it before).

I put on some music, put on my 'extra' lights so I could see (dark blue on dark blue is kinda hard to see) and carefully went over each towel, fixing broken warp ends (yes, I flub the shuttle and break ends) and floats/skips.

When a new weaver tells me they can hardly wait until they don't make mistakes anymore I bite my tongue, although at times I can't stifle a laugh.  Being experienced just means you recognize a mistake and know how to fix it.  Or know when it can be left.

Yesterday I wove the header in the new warp and looked and looked at the cloth.  It looked 'wrong' and appeared I'd made several 'mistakes' threading - although I had been really careful.  So I went back to the draft and carefully examined the draft and no, there was no mistake.  This weave structure is...complex, I guess I'd say, and the light reflects off the warp and weft floats differently, which makes the cloth more 'interesting', but also tends to make it look like there are problems.  When I carefully looked at the drawdown in Fiberworks, focussing on the details instead of the overall appearance, I could see more clearly why it looked 'wrong' in the loom.

And of course, in the loom it is still 'raw' and after wet finishing, many of the 'wrong' things will resolve, as the threads shift and move and take their final place in the whole.  Because right now, reed marks are distorting the cloth, too, and those will be gone after weft finishing and pressing.

So I set my concerns aside and will carry on, knowing that I cannot judge the cloth yet, before it is finished.  I have to trust my instincts, my careful scrutiny of the draft and have faith that it will all fall into place in the end.

And if not?  They are tea towels.  They will still dry dishes...

Friday, December 8, 2023

Never Ending Stash


Got this draft threaded yesterday, then noticed what looked like 'mistakes' in the cloth when I wove the header.

Came back and looked at the draft again, and nope, I didn't make a mistake.  It's part of the nature of the weave structure, given the half tones and the changes in the twill lines and how the light strikes the cloth, emphasizing the warp in one direction and the weft in the other.  And it looks...odd.

It is one of the reasons I've been captivated by this weave structure and keep finding new ways to play with the lines.  Even something very simple takes on a complexity when in cloth form.  I'm looking forward to seeing this after wet finishing.

However, thinking I was very close to finishing off the 2/16 yarn, I started 'celebrating' too soon, because a deep dive into the hidden recesses of my yarn storage revealed...yet more yarn.  Some of the cones I will need to do a burn test.  They are from a friend's stash (she bequeathed her yarn to me when she died) and there are no labels to identify the fibre content.  Plus I remembered I had some mill cones tucked away and 'found' them.  Each cone is about several pounds - not sure now, how many.  And I have 5 of those.  I will have to think about what colour I will buy next for tea towels to weave those cones of yarn as weft.  Good thing I'm not bored with tea towels????

Since each warp takes about 3 weeks (when I'm feeling well) to weave off, well, it looks like I'll be making tea towels for a long time to come.

OTOH, I got an email from someone this afternoon thanking me for the generous size of my towels, how nice they feel, and how happy she is with the towels she chose from my ko-fi shop.  :)

I'm anxious to finish this warp because I have a new colour to play with once it's done.  And I'm sure some nice bright colours will be welcome as we travel the dark days of winter.  The solstice is coming soon, and our days are getting very short now.  I console myself with the reminder that as quickly as the sun goes 'away', it will come back.

And today I scored a couple more puzzles.  I got a $5 discount coupon from the local book shop, one that carries some puzzles, and went in to see what they had.  What I found was a huge selection of puzzles, like tables and tables of them!  I managed to curtail myself and only chose two (because I have some at home already) and when I got to the till, discovered that I had more discounts and came home with puzzles that were a lot cheaper than expected.  Happy Solstice/Merry Xmas to me.  :)  

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Holiday Gift Giving


The sale in the guild room appears to be going well.  Most of my 'discounted' stuff has been sold so I am delivering more again today, in preparation for the coming weekend.

We still have little to no snow, although we woke to a 'winter wonderland' with all the trees coated with hoar frost.  We may yet have a brown Christmas, though.

Yesterday I beamed the next warp in the never ending series of the new and yet officially unnamed weave structure.  As I work through various ways to design with it, I'm thinking shifted twill blocks comes closest to describing what is happening with it.

So far I've kept a 'twill' progression, although I'm thinking that just like with actual twills, it should be possible to break the progression.  Haven't felt quite ready to try that, yet.  Still way too many options working with the twill 'lines'.

But, and here's the celebratory thing - the mercerized cotton is officially 'too little to weave with' and the tag ends of the tubes/cones have been binned (as in stored in a bin) and moved to the bobbin lace stash.

I'm still mostly working on jigsaw puzzles in the evening.  One of these nights I may feel tired of it and consider what to work on 'next' - there is, after all, the spinning stash as well as the bobbin lace stash.  And, if I ever get to it, shawls to make, which means fringe twisting to do. 

But I'm not there, yet.  Instead when I do feel like handwork, there is that stack of never ending tea towels that wants hemming.

I do pick at the pile, now and then, usually when there is a tv show that needs 'watching' not just glancing at now and then.  So I sit and hem, with no particular sense of urgency.  Because I still have beaucoup des towels, not just in my ko-fi shop, but sitting on my shelves in the storage area.  If I can get decent photos of the dark blue warps, there may be more posted there in the new year.

In the meantime, I still have one more warp of the dark blue with merc. cotton to wet finish - hopefully today or tomorrow.  2/3s of the warp still needs to be inspected and repaired before that warp can go into the washer/dryer.

And the warp just beamed is *also* dark blue, but at 32 epi instead of 36.  The weft for that warp will be the tag ends of natural white 2/16 that I stripped off the pirns before they were delivered to the new owner of the pirn winder.  She had no use for the yarn, and I did, so I used the Silver Needles cone winder and wound the yarn left on each pirn to a cone.  Enough yarn to weave, oh, 10 towels?  Well worth 'saving'.  After clearing off those 20 or so cones, the rest of the warp will be woven with the tag ends of the tubes from the white warps I did over the past year.  The tubes are empty enough they can go into the shuttle as a 'bobbin'.  Win-win.

So, just in case you are looking for handwoven towels, let me remind you of my ko-fi shop

And my books, available at blurb

And my seminars/guild programs available on my website   Taking bookings now for 2024.