Tuesday, January 31, 2023



There is a meme that floats around which essentially says that you can be angry because there is more snow coming down or you can accept it, but either way there will still be snow coming down.  

I paraphrase, but still, the point is this:  there are things that are going to happen and you can get angry about them, which will do nothing to stop the snow, or you can ACCEPT that it is January in the northern hemisphere and you live where it snows and get on with your day.  Either way, there will still be the same amount of snow coming down.

I was reminded about the interview with Tina Turner I heard a bunch of years ago, where the interviewer asked if Tina ever got angry now that she was a Buddhist.  

"When I feel anger, I ask myself if I can use my anger and turn it into action that will solve what is making me angry.  If I can, I take action.  If I cannot, I let my anger go."  (I paraphrase, it's been 20 years, but that's the gist.)

It was an interesting perspective, and one that I try to emulate.

That is not to say that I don't feel anger.  I do.  But now I stop and let myself feel the anger. Acknowledge that something has triggered that reaction.  Ask myself, what can I do to try and bring a solution to the situation that is triggering that reaction.

Obviously some days it is easier than others.  Some things are far too big for my little effort to resolve.  Most times, I tend to write it out in order to find a way forward for myself and change my anger into something more productive.

Right now?  It's tea towels.  May seem bizarre, but a tea towel is useful and generating something that is useful and potentially 'beautiful' is much better than feeling impotent, upset and angry.  Weaving lets me set those feeling aside so I can concentrate on other things.

There are so many things happening right now that trigger anger, exasperation, frustration, none of them I have any power to change on a global level, so I have to concentrate on a personal level.  I understand the concept that being angry is not healthy in the long term.  So I work on accepting that there are things I cannot change, and working on what I can.  

Most days I feel the powerlessness deeply.  Other days, like today as I watch more snow falling (up to 40 cm over 4 days, which isn't a lot in the grand scheme of things but makes things more difficult) I accept that yes, the snow is falling.  No, I don't have to go out in it.  I can, however, go to the loom and weave a tea towel instead of kicking the baseboards in frustration because it's another grey, dreary day, the roads are pretty crappy, accept I don't have to deal with it so there is no point in being upset over something that I have zero control over.

Which is kind of an important lesson for me in terms of other aspects of my life.  

There are a number of things I am (still) dealing with - retirement and an aging, breaking down body, for example.

I could give up and feel depressed and angry because I am having to give up so many things.  Or I can try to find other ways to accomplish things.

So I am struggling to find ways to carry on teaching.  There are two emails from groups in my inbox but I need to work with them to give them something they want while also agreeing to doing something that I can actually deliver.  And right now everything in my life is dependent upon me being able to deliver, six months from now.

So I either email them with a plan to move forward, or I say that I cannot because things change and right now the change is ever diminishing in terms of the things I can do.

This is not a comfortable position to be in.  The tendency to depression is ever present and the grey dreary days aren't helping, nor is the fact that our furnace is still not working and we are having to use space heaters to keep warm.  OTOH, we DO still have power so we CAN keep the house warm enough.

And so I gather up the tatters of my energy and brain power and get ready to go to the loom.  If everything is going well there (which it has been, thank you loom goddess), there will be time to let thoughts about teaching simmer in the background.  What can I do?  What do I *want* to do?  How can I manage to do that which I want to do?

But I need to get back to the two groups soon so that they can book with another instructor if I decide I cannot do it.

And if I decide I cannot do it, I must not get upset, depressed or angry.  I must accept it.  And concentrate on what I CAN do, not on what I CANNOT...a lesson I am still working on learning...

Right now, at this moment, I *want* to do the presentations, so I will be thinking carefully today on how I can make that happen.  Because I still love to teach.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Different Slant


When I began weaving this combination, I wasn't confident that it was a good colour choice.  

The warp is a turquoise and cyan, threaded randomly, the weft a kind of periwinkle.  The day I started weaving was grey and dreary and dull, and the colours also looked dull.

But intellectually, they *ought* to 'work', so I carried on, given the dreariness of the day.

As I wove, the colours began to meld more, the periwinkle began to show more lavender and by the end of the first towel, I felt that after wet finishing they would be fine.  OK, if not fine, then 'ok'.  And I have lots of warp on the loom and lots of yarn to use up so even if they weren't 'great', I could settle for 'ok'.

My ipad takes pretty good pictures, but sometimes it has trouble 'seeing' colours accurately and this was as close as I could come.  

The 'right' side of the cloth will likely be the other face with the turquoise/cyan being the main colour, the periwinkle will be the design line that undulates across it.  Or maybe not.  Perhaps it will be this side.

Mostly in these warps I've been using the warp emphasis side as the main colour, but at least one has been turned so that the weft is the dominant colour.  

It depends.

And sometimes you just have to get up off the loom bench, shine the light from a different direction and gain a different perspective, in order to be able to see.

A whole lot like life, honestly.

We all live in a bubble of our reality.  We assume everyone else lives in the same bubble.  But they don't.

As a child I read, copiously.  As a young adult I took a running leap and got myself to Sweden, had 'adventures', experienced a different culture - several of them, in fact.  I paid attention to the news of the day, knew there was a war going on (yes, another decade, another war), knew that oil/gas was a finite resource, understood the detriment of dumping phosphates and DDT into the environment.  Stopped using products that damaged the ozone layer.

I assumed that we would do better once we knew better.

Seems I was wrong.

But I also live in a privileged situation, as a white woman in Canada.  I have universal health care, which means I'm still alive after a series of unfortunate adventures with my health - plus I'm not bankrupt.

I have a level of comfort I had no right to expect due to another unfortunate circumstance, but which left me financially secure to a level I never anticipated, having been a starving artist most of my life.

As a 24 year old, I understood that learning how to weave was very much a survival skill and if society goes toes up, people like me would be valued because I could make cloth to keep people warm in the cold climate we have for 6 months or so of the year.

And it still is.

But now I'm old, so I'm doing my damndest to teach others.  Just in case.  Because you never know when the next natural or man-made disaster will strike and the level of comfort we have now, here, in Canada, can rapidly disappear.

So when Public Health Officers began telling people to 'do your own risk assessment' when it came to an airborne virus, I was well versed in running the odds.  Because my reality bubble is porous, and I can see beyond my privilege and understand that bad things can, and DO, happen to 'good' people.  And I am not immune from bad things happening to me.

I have also studied history, was well aware of the Black Death(s) in Europe (not so much in other parts of the world, given Canada is pretty Euro-centric in terms of historical references) AND the influenza pandemic in 1918/19.  I truly thought that enough people were familiar with *that* pandemic that there would be little resistance to wearing a mask to reduce the spread of a deadly virus, that might not actually kill you but leave you with lingering deficits, much like polio and other of the viral diseases.

Surely people could see the danger and the very simple precautions that would protect them.

Seems I was wrong.

OTOH, I have worked hard to let people I know what needs to happen, and I am in a privileged position again to push others in my personal physical sphere to do the correct thing.  Wear a mask.

I don't know how long I can hold the line, and frankly?  I don't want to be the barrier to people 'living their best life' when that means exposing themselves to a real and still present danger.  I am tired.  It is taking all the energy I have, currently, just to keep going.

But a little voice reminds me, I need to keep teaching. After three years of cutting back, cutting back, cutting back, there is little left to cut back and what I am left with is writing.  Perhaps the occasional Zoom presentation.

I have several things on my desk I have been procrastinating about completing, but this week my focus will be to do as much as I can and get them off my desk by week end.

While I have been avoiding doing those, I have been letting the essay collection simmer on the back burner and hopefully when I come out from under the current deadlines I will be able to start plugging away at the essays.

My hope is that once I get truly started (one essay is done, the introduction needs to be re-written with a better 'slant', a better 'perspective') that the essays will roll off the ends of my fingers fairly quickly.  I have beta readers lined up.  The latest update to the ipad presented me with an app that I can use like a whiteboard and then *save* my diagrams so I can even do more of the graphics myself.

It seems the universe is nudging me towards doing this next Big Project, so I feel like I have little choice but to follow the nudges and pokes.  Whenever this has happened before it has always felt like a command, not an option.

And the essays are, indeed, all about a different slant.  A different perspective.  

Friday, January 27, 2023

Pom Poms of Encouragement


As a new weaver I felt all at sea when it came to so many things.  But I had something not every young weaver has - a local guild of very supportive members.

This morning I was emailing with someone and found myself being able to - hopefully - shake the pom poms of encouragement.

One of the things I mentioned was that if they want to sell online, they need to have really good photos.  That the photos needed to convey something of the character of the cloth, because people largely buy textiles by *feeling* them.

Now, I'm no expert photographer, but over the years I've learned a few things and while my photos are absolutely NOT works of art, I do try hard to let the cloth speak for itself.

Mostly my online sales are to other weavers.  Most of them have either seen my textiles in real life at a conference or class, but some buy on my reputation.

I've been weaving for about 4 decades, consistently attending local craft fairs and let's say I have a bit of a 'name' in this town.  For persistence, if nothing else.

When I had my first 'big' health issue, I began gifting my health care providers with my textiles.  The internist who saw me in emerg and, more importantly *believed* me, didn't whiff me away with 'oh you are just having a panic attack' and literally saved my life by arranging a stress test, got tea towels with hearts woven in.

These ones, in fact, shown still in the loom.

Since then, the rest of my health care workers have gotten textiles, including the infusion room at the cancer clinic.

But also?  My hair dresser.

In December I gave her a scarf, and when I went yesterday to get 'shorn' she commented that she had been showing her friends the scarf.  "Wow, did your client buy a Laura Fry scarf for you????"

"No!  My client IS Laura Fry!"

Weaving is one of those crafts that are 'so long to learn', and figuring out how to sell your hand wovens can take a long time, too.

I don't have any magic bullet solutions about how to make it all work for someone.  Took me long enough!  But along the way I had other weavers shaking the pom poms of encouragement.  When I mentioned to one of them I couldn't afford to pay them for all the advice they had given me, the response was 'help someone else'.

I took that to heart, so I try to help others, as best I can.  Not to tell them what to do, because what worked for me 40 years ago probably won't work for someone just starting out now.  

But I also finally got a new listing loaded to my ko-fi shop    in part because I wanted to share an example of how I photograph my textiles for online.  Two birds and all that.

I hope to get one new design uploaded each week and will delete older designs to keep things manageable (for me).

Thursday, January 26, 2023



Once again, I had plans.  They were good plans, too.  Carefully crafted plans.  Some of them with critical 'looming' deadlines.

As usual, I have not yet managed to do everything on my daily to-be-done list.  And it's Thursday afternoon, so stuff I had *planned* to get done this week, in addition to the stuff that I *have* to get done this week?  Well, not faring too well on that front.

Some of those 'good intentions' have gone to pave another bit of that proverbial 'road to hell' I suppose.  OTOH, the only 'deadline' for getting them done was my desire, so perhaps not actually in the road bed yet, just still sitting on the cart?

Having the furnace stop working in January was a definite curve in the road and knocked me off my rails.  Health issues still not resolved contributed.  I can say that while I missed my 'personal' deadline to get some things done the actual critical deadline is still far enough in the future that if I don't get to them today it won't be detrimental to anything other than my ego.

I did manage to get up early enough this morning that I started weaving the next warp.  I wasn't best pleased with the weft colour at the beginning but decided I had enough bobbins wound for two towels so I would weave those two.  But once I finished the first, I decided part of the problem was the very dull dreary day we were having and that once I saw the other side properly I might find myself pleasantly surprised.  So I'm withholding judgement on that weft colour, willing to do more.  Because I have plenty of that kind of periwinkle blue to use up.

Then I went to get shorn and feel enormously better for it, given the beginning weaving class starts on Saturday.  I won't feel so...well...scruffy.  My standards for personal appearance, never very high in the first place, have dropped since the beginning of the pandemic.  

Now I've had lunch, packaged up a copy of Weave a V, and will head to town.  I have several things that sort of need to be dealt with and when I get home it will either be nap time, or I'll work on one of those looming deadlines.  I still have to generate a couple more class handouts, plus the project notes for the class for School of Sweet Georgia.

And by the time I finish all that, pretty sure the day will be 'done'.  And if not the day, me.  

Tomorrow is another day, with another early morning alarm and hopefully I can get lots of stuff done on Friday with such an early start to the day?  Time will tell.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Bringing Light


Yesterday I got the next warp beamed and began threading.

It was a grey day overall so supplemental light was really needed (although I always use supplemental light regardless).

I've drawn a yellow highlighter line around the lamp heads.  I have two lamps at the front of the loom (the British call them anglepoint, can't remember the NA term - I just love the word 'anglepoint'!)  

There is one mounted to the table beside the loom which I use during weaving as it provides sidelight, but when I'm threading I have a second lamp that gets set up on a 'pole' to my other side and each one shines over my shoulder with the light directed *into* the heddles.  You can clearly see in the photo how much light is in the heddle eye area making threading so much easier for me.

There is a third lamp at the back of the loom.  This lamp illuminates the back shafts because there are 16 of them and on a dark day it can get a little dim back there.  Plus it also lights up the taped sections (or the lease sticks if I'm working from a warp wound on my warping board, which I do from time to time.)

When choosing lighting in the studio, think about what it is you need to see and ensure it is *those* places that get the supplemental light.

One of the benefits of using this type of lamp is that I can move them as I proceed with threading and keep the spotlight on the area that I am working at.

The older I get, the more important it is that I have good light on my task.

The 'baby' cataract in my left eye is getting worse, so being able to see becomes more important while I wait to hear if the eye doctor decides it needs surgery.  My next check up is July, so I need to pay attention to things like my vision and how best to cope with vision that becomes 'old', just like the rest of my body.  Because she may decide that July is still 'too soon' for the surgery.  

One of the benefits to the anglepoint lamps is that they come with clamps that allow the lever part to rotate, the elbow bends as well as the base and the lamp head itself can be adjusted, so it is easy to get the light to where I need it.

I don't mount lamps to the loom - which is a hold over from weaving on the AVL.  I wove at such speed on the AVL that the lamps I mounted to the loom would vibrate and break very quickly.  So now nothing gets mounted to the loom, even though the Megado vibrates much less (because I have to weave more slowly on it as well as being engineered differently).  But using these lamps in this way works well for me, so as 'they' say these days, this is me doing me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Symptoms and Solutions


I ought to be working on something more productive, but I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my brain and the best way for me to deal with the thought squirrels is to write them out.

After three years of pandemic isolation, NOT going out if I don't absolutely have to, avoiding crowds, staying home, entertaining myself (not a hardship when you are an introvert), it is obvious that things are not really going to change much for me, given my compromised immune system.  

As part of the pandemic response, I bought into Zoom, then crafted lectures for my Olds students (and then expanded them to anyone who wanted to join in) and began learning new 'tricks' - ie how to do online presentations.

I learned the limitations, but also how I could stretch my tech chops (as they say) and came up with a series that I feel were valuable to students who wanted to know more.  Do more.

Then I was approached by Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia, asking if I would be willing to offer classes on line, specifically things that I felt were within my wheelhouse.  After the first two launched I talked them into offering the lectures to their community as well, and we are about halfway through presenting those (every two months, two hours of info packed weaving talk.)

Now there are two more classes in the works, the first one launching early summer, the other to follow.

And I have been encouraging guilds to hire me to do Zoom guild programs and lectures, which - so far - have been working out for them and me, given I have zero desire to ever get on a dark o'clock flight, jump 2 or 3 time zones, expose myself to a pandemic that is now endemic at far too high a level for MY comfort.

As I sink further into this 'retirement' thing, I find myself less and less inclined to spend much time outside of my house, my studio, my own thoughts.

And, as mentioned above, the best way for me to deal with the thought squirrels raging in my brain box is to write it out.

It is also the best approach to my continuing to teach, given the brain fog induced by pain/painkillers.

I am also still wanting to help others.  

If I have a 'super power' it would appear to be the fact that I have made So Many Mistakes that I can intuit what the actual problem is when someone writes a vague description of what is going 'wrong' for them. 

The thing with weaving is that a symptom (just like with a body, to be honest) can be caused by a variety of issues.  Until the actual problem is solved, the symptom will persist.

To understand what the actual problem is means a deeper dive into the science, the physics, the mechanics of what is happening in the loom (and then later in the wet finishing, but that is another topic and one I've already written about.)

So these essays I am planning.  They are all the things I wanted to include in The Intentional Weaver, but weren't appropriate for a 'textbook'.  People tell me I'm a story teller and that I write well.  And I have stories.  Lots and lots of stories, which I use to illustrate principles when I'm teaching 'in person' (which means Zoom these days.)

Not everyone is interested in peeling back the layers of the onion of knowledge, but there are some.  Some people just like a good story.  And a book of essays doesn't need a story arc or a plot or anything that a novel needs.  All it needs is a flash of insight into a specific aspect of the overall topic - which will be how threads get turned into cloth.

After talking to a few people, I have an approach (thank you Syne), I have had encouragement to continue.  I understand that few people will be interested, but that's ok, I can self-publish like I did with the other two books.  I have a bare bones outline and specific topics I want to address.  I even have a first essay written, just needing to let it sit and then polish, add illustrations.  I even have a new app on my ipad that makes creating illustrations a lot easier for digital purposes.  (When the student is ready and all that?)

At this point I have no publication date in mind, in part because it depends on the level on brain fog and other deadlines on any given day.

But, here's the thing.  If there is some aspect of weaving that you would like me to tackle?  Let me know.  Because I won't think of everything.  I don't even *know* everything.  But I can research.  And I can learn, too.  

You know how to contact me.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Lighting Candles


I use this image at lot, as you know, in no small part because it is a core belief.  No one gets through life without help from others and essentially, our job (if you will) is to help others as much as we can.

So when other weavers give me feedback that lets me know I am on the right track when I'm planning on doing something, it means the world to me.

People have told me I'm 'intimidating'.  Which always kind of stops me dead in my tracks.  Intimidating?  Moi?  

A few years ago a high school classmate reached out and connected with me and as part of our reminiscing they mentioned that other classmates assumed I had my 'shit' together (I'm paraphrasing).  The reality was so far from what *I* felt in high school, I was a bit taken aback and simply burst out laughing.

The first time someone referred to me as an 'expert' I literally cringed because I am well aware of how much I do NOT know.  It took me years after getting the 'master' certificate from the GCW that I was finally able to feel at least a little bit comfortable in the role of 'master'.  And I did that by recognizing that a 'master' simply does not know 'everything' but just knows enough to begin to fix mistakes and chart a path that will lead them to success (however one defines that) more quickly than someone with less experience/knowledge.  And maybe, because they have made so many mistakes themselves, they know the potholes and can avoid them.

Over the last few days I reached out to a few people who I trust to tell me the truth about my essay project and so far?  The response has been positive enough that it is now a 'real' project.  I do not, at this time, have a deadline by which I want to have it ready, but I feel comforted enough by the feedback I asked for, plus unsolicited feedback from another experienced weaver whose opinion I trust, to begin to be more serious in my objective of peeling more layers off the onion of knowledge. 

As usual it will be a niche book for a very niche audience. It will not appeal to all weavers because not everyone wants to understand the nuts and bolts of the craft in the way I did - and still do.  And frankly, in the 21st century, there is no need to worry about the size of the audience for such a publication because I'm not a 'real' publisher and online publishing makes it economically feasible to offer such a small market a 'book' tailored to them.

In large part my desire to do this is based on the fact that travelling long distances is no longer in my future given my health and covid.  As I deal with the roller coaster of brain fog, writing is much better for me than trying to be 'on' even for Zoom presentations.  Saturday I felt pretty good and the usual jolt of adrenaline did the rest.  The brain fog wasn't too bad and I don't know that anyone realized that at times I was mentally scrambling to find the word(s) I wanted to use.  And at the end, the chair of the St. Louis guild let me know that the in person crowd gave me a round of applause.  :)  

So, to the people who lift others up?  Thank you.  To those who lifted *me* up over the past few days?  I cannot tell you enough how much it means to me.  

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Another Challenge, Done


Today was a full day, even if it 'ended' at 1 pm my time.  (Not really.)

I had agreed to do a guild program, then a lecture for the Weavers Guild of St. Louis, which meant getting up at 7 am, needing to be functional by 8:30.

After the last week, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do it, but it would appear that the epidural injection may have finally kicked in and I'm feeling 'better'.  Not to mention that once I get started talking weaving, I'm pretty much running full steam and everything else gets shoved aside until later.

But I made it up and was at the laptop when I said I would be and I had a wonderful time talking to the St. Louis weavers and answering their questions as best I could.  

It's a lot easier doing it in person when you can see the body language to know if you are on the right track, and then see understanding light up their eyes, but...I did my best.

Frankly I had been questioning whether or not it was time to finally actually 'retire' but after today I'm feeling more hopeful that I can carry on, at least for a little while longer.

After that, though, I needed lunch and then a nap, and by then the day was nearly done.  I did manage to clean up the 'clutter' - putting away the samples I had pulled to share, getting the books back onto the bookshelves, getting ready for the zoom in the morning.

We have been hit with a string of dreary days and warm(er) weather.  I would welcome somewhat colder temps and clear skies, but the weather gods are ignoring my requests for such.  

On the other hand, the days are getting noticeably 'longer' with dark settling in later in the afternoon.  Spring is definitely on it's way.  (I did a 'typo' and typed defiantly, which, considering all the things going on might have been just as accurate?)

Next week I need to go through my emails, re-read the two requests for Zoom presentations, see if I can cobble together a proposal for a 'workshop', then think if I am willing to do everything necessary to make a 'workshop' happen.  

I think I can, I think I can...once again, hope blooms.  We will see how things go as the Roller Coaster of Life keeps rising, then dropping.  It's not how low it goes, but whether or not it can rise again...

Friday, January 20, 2023

Wrestling with Decisions


I spend a fair bit of time wrestling with decisions, of one sort or another.  Once I have thought things through, I then make a plan and march forward.

Turns out, Life frequently has Other Plans.

Over the winter I wrestle with deciding what I should do for the coming year, winter being the usual time I think about the future.

Having lived a reasonably long life, I have realities that I must face and deal with - like a body that is slowly breaking down.

But I also still have dreams - things I want to do, things I want to make, things I want to promote.  And so on.

What I am wrestling with now is the reality of this breaking down body and what I might actually, physically, be able to do over the coming months and - hopefully - years.

Reality bites, as they say.

I had really hoped (really hard) that the last injection (one week ago now) would bring me back to a more functional body.  A less pain filled body.  But the injections are not a guarantee, and so it appears to not be - so far, at least.  Plus eventually even the temporary relief the injections provide will stop being any kind of effective.  However, it is less than before and I am able to function without the heavy duty pain killers and that alone is worth the trip to Vancouver to get the jab.

My course forward is to delay the deterioration as much as possible.  But my desire to prevent further degradation of my damaged disc and my desire to Get Stuff Done are at odds with each other.

In many ways the only reason I am still able to weave is because I spent so many years weaving ergonomically.

So when I see yet another photo online of someone weaving on a loom, sitting too low (no it really is NOT a good idea to sit on an ordinary chair at a loom), elbows below the breast beam, shoulders hunched, back curved...well, I wince.

It may not hurt today.  It may not hurt tomorrow.  But if someone does that long enough it *will* hurt.

But people will do as they please and I no longer comment or offer any kind of suggestions randomly to people I don't know (even sometimes to people I *do* know) because these days 'you do you' seems to be the guiding principle of personal interaction.  Even when I *know* that person is going to be hurting - if not today, soon enough.  Sometimes, people just do not want to know.  They may already have ingrained habits that will create discomfort if they try to change.  So they donwanna hear about doing anything differently.  More ergonomically.

In the meantime, I continue to wrestle with what the future holds for me.  I had thought that getting these shots would make it possible to continue teaching remotely, but now?  Now I'm not so sure.

So what is left?

Well, writing.  Writing can be done at my own pace, when I'm feeling 'better' and the brain fog isn't too great.  I can ask others to proof read and make sure that what I am saying makes any kind of sense.

So I'm going to talk to a friend today about various options (she may be blindsided by this, but she's pretty helpful and supportive) and explore some things that I might be able to do - with technology and potentially with writing.

Because I've already self-published two books.  After declaring that I was written out, there was no 3rd book in me, I find that perhaps there might be.  A very niche book for a niche market, truth be told, but if I self-publish I can invest what I need to invest and publish online like I did for The Intentional Weaver and the costs are pretty minimal.

In the meantime, it may take another full week for the jab to take full effect, so I will try to keep my hope alive that better days may yet be in the offing.  And if not, well, I'm an introvert so I can pretty much keep my own company and if I need personal interaction, I have a couple of local friends I can visit with and blow off some steam.

Tomorrow I have an all day (pretty much) Zoom appointment with the weavers of St. Louis, MO.  And then it will be back to the loom.  Looks like four more towels to weave on the current warp, then get #3 into the loom.  Yesterday I wrestled #4 into shape and while it didn't go where I was expecting it to go, and I wasn't sure at first if I liked it because it was so very different from what I had been planning or expecting, I decided that it was just one warp in a series and the towels will still dry dishes.

So I think I will keep that draft, too.

Then a week Saturday I have 3 beginning weaving students to indoctrinate - er, teach.  And I WILL be monitoring their posture and position at the loom and try to keep them from hurting their bodies.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Back in the Saddle


Today I managed to finally get to the loom.  

We were only gone for five days, but a lot happened during those five days, things that I needed to address, change, accommodate, answer, very few of them easily done with limited internet and my ipad.

So yesterday and today was a fair bit of dealing with said stuff, and just dealing with returning from such a rushed trip.

This morning began in the same fashion - something that needed to be dealt with before an appointment on Thursday, then add in a few more zoom connections, shift things around, doh-see-doh and here we go.

So I wasn't entirely sure I could make it to the loom, but my appointment today is a bit later than I usually book it, and I 'forgot' my 2nd cup of coffee in my focus on getting to the loom and finishing the last rose tea towel on the current warp.

Tomorrow I have no appointments or commitments, but there is far too much warp left to finish it in one day, even if I were inclined to weave more than two towels in a day anymore.

I have other deadlines that need addressing, too, plus lots of planning and thinking about my way forward, given everything that is happening - or not - in my life.

However, I did have enough surface attention left that I could think about warp #4, and I have come up with a plan, just need to open Fiberworks and mess with it, see if it will produce anything that I might like to dedicate an entire warp to setting up.

Warp #3 is ready to go into the loom, early next week, from the looks of my calendar.

The beginning weaving workshop has three students.  When I had to shift the beginning day by one week, one person had to drop out.  So far, no word on a fourth, but I'll go with three and that will be fine.  There are also three signed up for the April/May workshop, and we are holding dates in September, which is also beginning to get filled up (potentially) if the things I managed to address while travelling come together.  I have to sift through my emails and capture the dates each group wants and make sure there are no conflicts.  Again, something that was difficult to do while on the road.

When you are a bear of little brain due to drug/pain reactions, life just becomes that much more difficult.  So far the injection looks like it is going to help and I've managed to NOT take the heavy duty pain killers since Friday night.  Hopefully my brain will be functioning again by tomorrow although that may be optimistic.  It takes a few days for the drug brain fog to go away and of course, I'm still tired from the trip, so who knows when I'll feel more alert.

And I do want to BE more alert because I have some writing projects I want to begin working on.  Not sure yet what will become of them, but it feels 'important' for me to get them down in words, not just in my crazy muddled brain.

But I am determined to do some things in the coming weeks while continuing to weave down my stash.  My story...sticking to it...

Monday, January 16, 2023

Home Again, Home Again...

 jiggity jig...

We got lucky on the trip to Vancouver.  The forecast had been warning of sleet/snow in the north and rain in the south, but it was very 'mild' and the drive went well enough.

There are still spots on the highway under reconstruction after the devastating floods of 20 months ago, in one spot there is still 'just' a bailey bridge.

But we thought about how impacted we are by such a disaster, how hard the crews who struggle to keep the roads passable work, and memories of my father who did that work for 20+ years of his life.

This photo is from the late 1940s I think, showing the standard of equipment available at the time.  Notice the open cab?  Heat?  Heat wasn't an option, let alone keep the wind out.

I remember him in the early 1950s getting ready to head out to the highway getting dressed against the cold, given there was no heat in the front end loader or grader, or plough or which ever piece of machinery it would be his duty to drive that day.

He would don a set of wool Stanfields, two if it was really cold.  He had a 'boiler' suit that was insulated - an adult version of the one piece snowsuit kids wore to play outside in.  Two pair of wool socks, wool felt 'packs' inside his insulated boots.  He had a felt hat that had a flap that folded down to cover the back of his neck and ears and a bill to protect against the oncoming snow/sleet.  Lastly he had wool gloves and a pair of thick insulated mitts, leather exterior to cut the wind.  I don't remember a scarf, but expect that mom would have knitted him one.

And off he'd go for his 8 hour shift, which sometimes extended beyond that if the roads were really bad.

Because even in those days, people travelled mostly by road, whether it be by individual vehicles or bus.  And they had to do their best to keep the roads clear for as long as possible.

I think about how uncomfortable all of that must have been.  How awkward.  And how my dad (and every other man, for it *was* only men in those days) were facing the same danger - hypothermia - and what they needed to do to protect themselves against the elements.

I have never forgotten or lost the 'respect' I have for cold weather.  Even though the weather wasn't supposed to be terrible, even though we had heat, even so, we both tucked our winter parkas with heavy mitts, scarves, hats, into the back of the van, even though we both had lighter winter coats we wore.  And we wore winter boots for the drive, not just shoes.  

We never set out on a long winter driving trip without protection.  And we never let the gas tank go below half full, especially along the stretches where there are few options to refuel.  Because you never know when a rock or snow slide will cut the road, or the weather conditions worsen to the point where it becomes too dangerous to press on.  Or, oops - you hit a patch of ice or slush and wind up down an embankment.

I feel the same way about covid.  I know that it may not happen.  I know that I may continue to be lucky.  I know that not everyone is infected.  But I also know that luck favours the prepared, and so I continue to be cautious.  I continue to isolate from crowds as much as possible.  I continue to mask.  And I will continue to set Terms of Service for in person teaching - *everyone* must wear a mask.

Stay lucky everyone.  Increase your luck by being prepared.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Friday 13th


The trip down was long and mostly ok given January.  But 500 miles is still 500 miles and my body really doesn’t want to do those anymore.  

I kept thinking about how many times I have white knuckled my way to the coast over the years, and now…I just donwanna anymore.   

OTOH, I will be down again early April for another shot.  After that I’m hoping the local pain clinic will have a spot for me, although that may be optimistic.  

Didn’t get much hemming done at the halfway stop because the motel room had really bad lighting, but the hotel room is bigger with better light.  And a lot more expensive, given Vancouver prices.  So I dug in last night.

But the jab today seems to have taken better than the last time so I’m hopeful it will be less of a struggle to do things, and I won’t need the heavy duty pain meds for a while.  

The doctor and X-ray person each got hand woven scarves today as a thank you.  They were puzzled, I think, but I told the X-ray guy (who I talked with more than the doctor) that they are a gift from my heart and that I give to all my health care team because without them I don’t know that I would be weaving much, if at all.   

The scarves were wrapped in tissue and slid into a wine bottle gift bag. I’m sure they thought it was wine, but surprise!  Scarf burritos.  😁

We head home tomorrow. The weather is going to be not great, but heading home is so much better.  My bed.  My kitchen.  My loom.  And the next warp ready for when I finish the current one.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Little By Little


I had plans for today.  Goals.  I was motivated.

Until I got knocked off my rails early, for a number of reasons.

Oh well.  The goals can be held over and plans recycled.

The current warp is over half done now, and I have the next warp planned.  I knew I couldn't finish the current warp before I left, so the fact that I didn't get to the loom today really isn't all that big a deal.

It was a pleasant day, weather wise - a bit too warm, but lovely sunshine.  And we were visited by flocks of birds, coming to dine on the neighbour's mountain ash berries.  They would swarm the tree, over and over again, fluttering here, there, round and back again.

I don't know if it was the same flock, or multiple flocks, but they were happy about the berries.  Who knows, they may even be a bit drunk if the berries are fermented - as they will do.

After my initial disappointment that my plans were not going to happen, I did a mental reset, thought about what I could do instead, and finally decided that I could probably press most, if not all, of the currently hemmed towels that needed their final press.

I didn't force myself to work more than my body would allow, just took it in three sessions.  And since my studio window faces the mountain ash trees, I had a great view of the feasting going on.  (I think they might have been Bohemian Wax Wings, but I'd have to look them up to be sure.)

As they flitted and fluttered around the tree, I managed to get all of the hemmed towels done over the course of the afternoon.  They are now on the drying rack to finish drying and will be ready to fold up and put away when I get home.  And who knows, get listed in my ko-fi shop.

My suitcase is nearly full, just a few more things to toss in it, plus my 'activity' bag.  I have another bin of towels that need hemming, so those will come with me as there will be time in the evenings to sit and hem while I listen to music.  I find that we watch tv less when we travel so my ipad gets pulled out and we listen to my playlist.

The rest of the month and on into February will be 'busy' - according to a 'retirement' schedule.  But frankly I don't have a lot of energy most days, so having lower expectations, fewer things on my daily job list is not a bad thing.

But I find myself wanting to write more (I know, more than a near daily blog?  Who knew?) and I have a plan and a possible place to 'publish'.  Ultimately, it will be a collection of essays, about what else but weaving.  

When I finally finished putting Magic together people asked when my next book was going to be.

"Not in this lifetime!"  And I meant it.  At the time.

About 20 years later, what should I do but publish another book.  This time I told my friends I was done.  I was written out.  There would be no 3rd book.

Um, well, maybe?  Maybe not.  Who knows.  Never say never...

Anyway, I keep writing.  On School of Sweet Georgia, where I am teaching classes, so I write project notes, answer questions.  And now?  The Handweaving Academy.  I'm not presenting classes there, but I am hanging out, answering questions, writing blog posts.  And who knows, maybe an essay or two.

The thing is, we think we know stuff and so we write about it.  But then?  Then we learn more stuff, and somehow, it seems honest to let people know that.  How I do that is by writing.  

So part of this trip will be me, thinking about stuff.  Considering writing.  What will I write?  How will I write it?  How much research will I need to do?  Can I make the illustrations I need to illuminate the text?  Which topics?  In what order?

And reading.  I have buckets of books, books that I had expected to read when I retired, especially when covid hit.  Surely I would have lots of time to read then?  Perhaps, but I also had health issues that included brain fog, and frankly trying to read and comprehend complex plots or information was beyond me.  But it's a new year, and I'm feeling a bit 'better'.  It's a roller coaster ride as the injection takes hold and reduces my pain and need for heavy duty pain killers.  But here's the thing - it's temporary.  And this roller coaster will only continue for as long as my body gets relief from the injections.

So I feel an urgency.  I feel the need to gather my thoughts, as mundane as they may be, and write them down.  Because eventually I will not be here.  But perhaps, just maybe, my thoughts will continue to inform others.  

I feel very egotistical openly saying that, but...here I am, thinking again.  Trying to work out a way to keep on, keeping on.  Just in case I can be of help to someone, somewhere, in some time.  Imagine, if you will...

Monday, January 9, 2023

Counting Down


This very 'bad' photo is bad on a couple of counts - my ipad doesn't like to 'see' some colours, and the pink is more 'rose' than it is bubblegum pink.  Plus what I wanted to share was mostly in shadow and at an awkward angle to try and get a photo of the underside of the cloth, which is what will be the 'right' side.

I had hoped to finish off the rose weft, but tomorrow I have massage (early!) and then packing to do, so I doubt I'm going to get to the loom again before we leave.  Never mind, the loom is patient and will be waiting for me when I get back.

Since we are on a mission to avoid covid, we are bringing food with us (and can buy more if needed),  taking a kitchenette at the hotel, and we will be eating in the van on the way down/back, or in the hotel rooms for the short time we are away.

I have cancelled all plans for anything else I might have been tempted to do in face of the concerning news about the new covid variant, which is officially in Vancouver now and is highly contagious and evasive of the vaccines.  The bivalent *is* more protective than the older vaccines, and we both have a bivalent on board, but I'm still immune compromised and catching ANY version of covid will not go well with me.

And it would be ironic indeed to go all the way to Vancouver (about 500 miles by road, in the winter) to try and feel better, and then get exposed to the Kraken (XBB1.5 is the number, I think.)

I have far too many plans to risk getting sick with anything.  I have classes to teach, Zoom lectures to give, articles I want to write, people I would like to help.  Not to forget there are some students who may be expecting me to give their homework a grade sometime soon.

The PHO tells me to do my own risk assessment, that I don't need to wear a mask, doesn't give me the numbers of cases so I know how many people are potentially walking about breathing out a highly transmissible virus, so all I can do is be cautious - so we continue to wear a mask anytime we are away from home, don't go to public spaces where there are loads of people not wearing masks, and there is zero to no filtration.

Paranoid?  Perhaps.  But we have just had the holidays were people were gathering in large groups, laughing, eating, hugging and oh look, the wastewater signal indicates that cases are growing.

So, caution it is then.  So I can keep weaving.  Teaching.  Writing.  

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Step by Step


This is the draft for warp #3 (for now).

There are times when I can make great leaps of imagination, other times when I feel the need to go more slowly, more thoughtfully.  And so it is with this weave structure.

It's a fairly simple concept, but I'm finding it makes more sense to me as I think carefully about how I want the lines to move within the cloth.

There are some challenges and other areas that I could make changes to, not just the threading, but I want to feel as though I have a better grasp of it before I begin tinkering with the tie up - the area where there could be much larger changes made.

There is little pressure on me to 'hurry' now that I'm no longer dependent upon selling my textiles for a large chunk of my income.  My state pensions actually about equal, if not exceed what I used to make from weaving.  But now my income is monthly, not compressed into the final quarter of the year.  And my needs remain modest - because as a 'starving' artist I never had much leeway in my budget.

This is giving me all sorts of freedom I never had, removed the monthly worry about how I would pay the bills, buy more yarn, replace equipment or repair it should it break.

Frankly the life of a 'starving' artist is a detriment to doing thoughtful work. 

'Drive' was never missing from my life - I seem to have been born with an internal drive.  When I became a weaver, that drive materialized (heh) in terms of creating cloth.

And really, that's been the biggest challenge for me in my 'retirement' - where do I point that 'drive'?

What is it I want to do now, in the twilight of my years?

Three years ago, I remember thinking, very clearly, that now I didn't have that perpetual requirement to bring in money to feed the business, I would be able to take a more intellectual approach to textiles.  

And then the pandemic hit and the whole world was turned topsy-turvy.

On top of that, my personal health issues continued to worsen and three years on my life, my dreams, my ambitions have had to be radically adjusted to accommodate the new reality.

Fortunately I am, at heart, an introvert, but one who writes.  So the new reality of my hermitage is that I can stay at home and reach out to the world at the end of my fingers (so to speak).

I am able to adjust my schedule to meet the new demands of my body and take naps if needed, or sit up in the middle of the night to wait for the painkillers to kick in, if needed.  I can come to the desktop and play in Fiberworks, or sit with the ipad and play games if the brain fog is too great and thinking not possible.

Since most of my communication is via the written word, if I have a brain cramp and can't think of the word I want to use (I *know* it's in there somewhere, dammit) I can usually write my way around the blockage - and still (I hope) make some kind of sense.

In the meantime, I carry on.  I'm not entirely sure what warp #4 is going to look like.  Will I feel confident enough in my understanding to begin tweaking the tie up as well as the threading/treadling?  Perhaps.

The pressure to produce is off.  But not my desire to continue to learn.  Explore.  Experiment.

And what more can one ask for in a life?

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Time Passes; Things Change


Last year I was sick enough I couldn't cope with much of anything and never did send out holiday cards.  Naturally the few that I generally receive dwindled this year, probably because those who did not get a card from me last year thought I'd moved (or died!) and didn't send this year.

I thought about not sending cards, but there are still some people from afar I like to send a greeting to, just to let them know I do think about them, even if we are not in touch via the internet on a more regular basis.

So I thought a lot about it before I wrote out a 'letter', addressed the envelopes and got them ready to send.

I thought about my mother who had, at one time, about 400 people on *her* Christmas card list.  And how much it pained her to cull that list when postage kept increasing, year over year.  Even so, when she died she still had a full to overflowing address book, which I used to contact family and friends to let them know.

She also had a bunch of postage stamps, which I kept, because they still had value.  Of course I send so few actual 'letters' these days, those stamps have been languishing.

This morning I used some of them.  The 'permanent' ones were easy, no math required.  But I didn't have any 'permanent' ones for the US so I went online, found out how much a letter to the US cost these days (that much?  Wow.) and worked out how many of the set value stamps I needed to lick (yes, they were that old they needed licking!) and cram them onto the face of the envelope.

I'm still left with a fistful of stamps, but at least some of that money won't have gone to 'waste'.

I have been thinking a lot about how it 'used to be' and how much my childhood and the expectations I held growing up have changed for younger folk.  

Most of my life was made up of 'moveable feasts' in part due to circumstance - bad weather, poor transportation options or a lack of money - birthdays, funerals, weddings, etc., were frequently missed altogether, or acknowledged at a time other than the societal scheduling.

One of my early jobs was long distance telephone operator.  (Yes, actual people used to route your phone calls, along wires, not the ether) and the phones could not be shut down just because it was Thanksgiving or Christmas (or any other holiday everyone else was enjoying.)  Since I was young and 'hungry' (saving up for a trip to Sweden) I grabbed every 'holiday' shift I could because it was a union job and we got paid extra for working those days.

My father worked for the highways department (it was a government operation in those days) and if the weather was bad, dad was at work, regardless of holidays.  He got time off when it was too cold, but I don't think he got paid - he just got to stay home and not freeze his fingers and toes off.  It was only when I was a teenager that they unionized and they finally got benefits like paid time off for things like extreme weather.  But by then they were also getting equipment that had enclosed cabs, and...*heat*.  I have a photo of my dad from the 1940s with his 'grader' - open cab and the snow piled high.  He taught me how to dress for cold weather and respect weather conditions be they too hot or too cold.

I think a lot about weaving and how it has changed over the years.  How much technology has given us the ability to make things more quickly.  There is nothing done on a Jacquard loom that can't be done on a frame loom - if you have a pick up stick and the time and inclination to pick up every thread that needs to be up to form a shed.

So I get exasperated when people talk about our 'ancestors' as though they were not intelligent, how they couldn't possibly have made the ancient artifacts that clearly exist.  They were 'too primitive', 'too ignorant', 'too simple' to have made them - it must have been aliens.  Or some white guy, bringing 'civilization' to folk who clearly were extremely skilled long before they were 'discovered'.

The explosion of 'technology' in the past few decades (by which I mostly refer to computers/digital/internet) means that there is now a great divide between those of us who used to make do with vehicles with no heat or enclosed cab and highly engineered equipment like articulated front end loaders, those of us who learned how to type on a manual typewriter, and those who only know computers, iphones, etc., those of us who used to pick up a receiver and talk to an operator to place a long distance call, and those of us who assume that little pocket computer will do everything including sending 'movies' around the world, let them stay in touch with distant family at the flick of a switch, those of us who couldn't afford to take the train (never mind fly, because hardly anyone could afford to fly) across the country to be with family for important events, and the assumption that if you buy a ticket on a plane it will get you there when you think it will, personal belongings waiting for you at the carousel, never mind the fact there is a pandemic felling employees left, right and centre or weather extremes happening with greater frequency and higher extremes, high *and* low.

My reality bubble was formed under very different conditions than the reality bubble of younger folk.  It's not their fault that they get disappointed because the systems fail us.  Frankly we have failed them by ignoring things like climate change and a devastating pandemic that is leaving millions dead and many more disabled to the point of not being able to work.  And then telling them everything is fine, pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  Stop being paranoid. 

On the other hand, we all need to break down our reality bubbles, and see what is actually happening around us.

I am turning into that old person who shakes their fist at the sky.  I feel helpless much of the time.  I see what is going on, am aware that we are living in 'interesting' times and hope that they will soon be over.  

Because I could use a little 'boring'.  A little 'peace'.  A lot less of the 'interesting' would be nice.

But I don't get to fix the circumstances of what is happening to society when it needs society as a whole to fix what is 'wrong'.

So I will continue to go to my loom and make handwoven tea towels and maybe some scarves.  Do my best to stay optimistic and enthusiastic about what I *can* do.  And when the time comes, vote for people who are trying to fix the problems, and have more than one plank in their platform, and that plank is to 'burn it all down'.  

My life is inconsequential for the most part.  I am a very tiny cog in the 'machine' we call society.  But I can do my best to keep my part of that 'machine' working.  And for me that means to keep on teaching, as best as I can.  To do that I need to keep learning.  Keep breaking down my reality bubble.  To change my mind when I learn more.  To encourage others to keep growing, learning.

Plus ca change, they say - the more things change, the more they stay the same.  It feels futile.  But even if I can't help fix society, I *can* help individuals.  And so I will keep doing that for as long as I am able.

Friday, January 6, 2023

When Life Intervenes


Here is a nice photo of an elk taken along the road on a trip to Alberta a few years ago.

Why?  Because sometimes we get so focused on where we are going and what we need to do and all the deadlines 'looming' we don't look around us.  

And sometimes Life Happens and we have to set aside what we planned to do, and just do what needs to be done, in the moment.

The one thing I am learning is to not hold too tightly to my plan for the day, but to relax, sit back, take a look around me.  When we do that, sometimes we see little 'surprises' off to the side.  Much like this elk, calmly browsing by the side of the road while the cars sped past.

One of the things I have committed to doing is continue as chair (or president) of the local guild.  As such I need to attend meetings.  Because that's how groups work - they meet at times to brainstorm, work out details, plan events.  And it all seems to happen much more easily if several people can get together and give their input.

Today was such a day. 

With the pandemic clearly not being over any time soon, we needed to address the fact that we were going to have to live with the presence of the virus and how we could still provide service to the guild members, as safely as possible.  

One of the things we talked about today was how we were going to proceed with classes/education/inspiration.  We are privileged insofar as we have our own dedicated space for equipment, library, and space for small 'classes', but we also have to pay the rent on said space.  

We discussed ways of dealing with the reality of budgets and guild member services.  

The group is fortunate in that we have a number of people willing and able to shoulder some of the work and responsibility of keeping the guild running, and who are open to feedback and suggestions.

So this year, 2023, we are booking small educational events.  Some are more informal, some are more structured/formal.  We have booked teachers for workshops/classes, and guild members who will lead smaller groups in techniques that can be done in a shorter time frame.

It took a couple of hours, but I feel like we got a lot done, and forged some solid plans for the coming months.

What it meant for me, personally, was a complete lack of energy to get to the loom and do any weaving.  But instead of going to the loom, I managed to do a few other things I had been procrastinating about.  Things I wanted to get done before our trip.  Things I didn't want to have to be thinking about anymore other than the satisfaction of getting them moved from the to-be-done list to the *done* list.  

There are still a few more things that need to be dealt with, but the day is drawing to a close and I'm out of spoons.  

I have two more scarves to hem, which I expect to get finished tonight, then press them tomorrow.  And then I need to sort through my samples to see if there are other samples to go to School of Sweet Georgia for the upcoming lectures/classes.

But we also need to start packing.  We will be four days on the road (two there, two back) and exactly one day in Vancouver.  But we also bring a lot of stuff with us because we are still dodging covid and will be eating in the vehicle or the hotel rooms, not dining out.  

I won't make as much progress on the current warp as I'd hoped, but I can get some weaving done before we leave, so there is that.

Ultimately my goals are just goals, my plans can be tweaked, I can be flexible in what I get done.

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can...

Thursday, January 5, 2023



Was reading Femina by Janina Ramirez and she talks about King Alfred (the Great) and how he encouraged literacy by sending out 'pointers' with manuscripts and it started me thinking about books, and reading, and thinking - my brain has been a bit of a 'stew' recently as I dig around in my brain box examining this attitude and that 'known' thing, wondering if I actually 'know' that thing or have just accepted it as 'gospel'.  About myths, not just the 'fairy tales' of my childhood but societal 'myths' we tell ourselves without ever examining them very closely to see if they are 'true'.  Or not.  Or if circumstances have changed since we learned those things all these many years ago.

And I thought about how we 'bookmark' events in our lives - before this or after that.  So much of lived experience rotates around wins - and losses.  Around the grand decisions, but also, the small ones that seem too small to be very important, but in hindsight become milestones on our journey through our lives.

At my age I have a plenitude of them.  Some I knew were huge at the time, some seemed of minor importance.  But as I look back, they were all stepping stones.  Milestones showing my journey on this earth.  

On a whim I took a bobbin class class, not expecting it to be much, then found I'd slipped down a rabbit hole.  I stopped making lace a few years ago because life got overwhelming and I just didn't have the time or mental wherewithal to do it.  But instead of getting rid of my lace supplies I hung onto the pillows, bobbins, books.  They take up a substantial amount of my space, secreted here and there, in corners.  Out of my way, but not out of my sight.

Every once in a while I contemplate digging everything out but so far have not managed to carve out time to do it.

About once a year I think I really ought to get rid of it.  All of it.  And I just can't seem to manage to do that.

I did sell on one of my lace pillows in 2019, but when it came time to sell the rest, I couldn't.  

What do I want to make in lace?  Dunno.

I've been so focused on weaving down my stash I really haven't had much time to think about making lace.  But as my body slowly breaks down and I can see an end to weaving - not now, not this year, maybe not for several years - I think about the lace.  I can't see all that well anymore, but there is no reason to only use really fine yarns.  

But then, when I make it, what do I do with it?  I'm not a 'lace' kind of person when it comes to garments.  But other people are and while I wouldn't dream of trying to sell it, I could gift it.

I made a lot of bookmarks when I was first learning how to make lace.  Small items, quickly done, on to the next, usually with a new technique to learn.  Samples, but with a purpose.

But hardly anyone reads a physical book anymore and if they do, would they use a handmade lace bookmark?  Who knows.  

So my lace supplies sit, here and there, and I think about them now and then.  And move on.  For now.

Sort of like life.  We pay attention to the noisiest things, ignore the quiet ones.  Until the time is 'right'.  So I guess I hang onto the lace stuff and who knows, maybe next year I'll dig it out again.  Maybe even offer a beginner's introduction to lace making.  I've got several pillows and loads of bobbins.

Time will tell...

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

When Things Get Hard


Life gets tough at times.  Difficult.  There are many reasons that things are so...challenging...and no way to explain to others how or why that might be.

One can point to physical injury, or emotional turmoil, or the state of the world but it's difficult to really know or understand the toll of the baggage someone is carrying around.  Even if you have your own baggage, your own weight.  

Facebook does this thing where it will notify you of when a friend is having a birthday.  A number of years ago I stopped wishing people a happy birthday and instead just sent them a note saying 'have a happy'.

Because life isn't always 'happy'.  Sometimes people are grieving a loss (of something or someone) and happiness seems impossible, especially happiness at a life event where the missing someone isn't there to share in it.

I watched my mother go through the loss of her husband (my father), and did not truly understand the enormity of the life change she was enduring.  Of course I was, at the same time, mourning the loss of my father, dealing with my own grief.

At the time I made the change in my 'wishes' I was going through my own challenges and being 'happy' was a fleeting thing.  But no matter how dark the clouds, how impossible it seemed to be happy for even an entire day, I knew deep down that I could comb through the wreckage of my thoughts and remember that there were still nuggets of 'happy' to be found.

White roses on a local walking path.  The 'rainbow' cast on my floor and walls when the sun hit the fan light in my front door just 'so'.  Managing to create a cloth that met my expectations, sometimes even exceeding them.

They were fleeting moments, but they could be found nonetheless.

As we dig in for another year of covid (no, it's NOT over - not for some of us, no matter what the talking heads might be telling us) I have been struggling with a whole bunch of things.  Things that I have very little control over, but am doing my level best to mitigate.

As I scroll through Facebook, I very much collect the little nuggets of delight I see - this morning a tiny finger puppet dancing, a poem by Mary Oliver.  

They don't erase the pain I am having, both physical and emotional (for reasons), but for a moment or two I feel - if not exactly 'happy' - a tiny frisson of contentment.  That I am still here.  Still able to weave albeit at a much slower pace.  I can try to help people learn about weaving.  I can still think and even change my mind about things.  This last - changing the way I think about things - isn't easy, isn't comfortable, but once I've let go of old approaches, old thought patterns, I feel I see more clearly.  And at my age, that's not a bad thing.

So yes, life IS hard.  No, it's isn't always possible to be 'happy' all the time.  But I can keep rooting through my brain box and find little pieces of happy that light up my life, even if it is only for a moment or two.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

New Year, New Warp


Not the best picture as it of the end of the towel as the motif transitions to the hem, but so far?  I'm pleased.  

There are areas that I'm not entirely pleased with, but it may just be because it is still in the loom and the threads once they move and shift into their 'proper' position will clarify the design.

But I'm pleased enough that I can see where I want to go 'next'.  

And that's the thing with weaving - and life, for that matter.  Sometimes you have to go step by step, not look too far ahead, but keep your focus and attention on what that next step might be.  Could be.  Should be.

Weaving is an exercise is staying in the now.  It is labour intensive enough that it doesn't do to get too far ahead of oneself because you need to pay attention to the here and now.  Don't rush.  Don't worry.  Just think.  Carefully.  Slowly - at times.  Quickly change at others.

I believe there is a reason textiles have been used as a metaphor in the cultural language - there are so many ways we can look at the creation of textiles as a whole and see how to approach living.  Life.

Life is not made up of endless ah-HA moments, but multitudes of tiny sparks - of oh *this* is nice.  Then gentle nudges.  Tweaks.  Tiny steps in one direction, then another if I don't get results that please me.

There is an uncomfortable truth that we tend to ignore - life is precarious.  It is precious.  As I learn to stay in the here and now I am learning to savour the moments that bring me contentment.  Joy comes, now and again, but I find that I can foster a slow steady trickle of contentment.  And really, at this stage of my life?

That can be enough.

Best wishes to you and yours for the new calendar year.