Wednesday, March 29, 2023


With a quiet day scheduled I brought hemming along.  Haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked, but some is better than none…

These still need their final press to be considered done, done, but even so they don’t look too bad.  

The blue green is pretty close but the gold isn’t as washed out as the photo makes them look.  One of the challenges trying to get accurate colour photos of textiles.  

What interests me is how much the weft moderates the colour of the warp.  The warp in the loom now is the last of this particular colour combo.  It will be back to natural white for five warps.  Then I will have to decide if I do something else colour wise, but also weave structure.  Will I have explored this one enough?  Or will the next few warps spark other ideas?  TBD.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Coming up Daisies


A little hard to see underneath the breast beam, but I wanted to show how this one is turning out.

I had a long hard think about what colours I had left and the drafts I'd designed.  There are three in the queue, but rather than weave them in order, I decided this particular colour combination would look better in this draft so swapped which one I put into the loom 'next'.

Since I am trying really hard to use up my stash, and especially the colours/yarns that are not my favourites, once I got started on this bleached white for weft I wanted very badly to get it used up.  Not that there is anything particularly 'wrong' with the yarn.  It's just twisted a little bit more firmly than my other 2/20 mercerized cotton yarns, which means these towels feel a little bit coarser than the rest.  Not a deal breaker - they *are* towels, after all.  Rather than leave it for 'later' and never getting to it at all, it seemed like a really good time to plunge onwards.

This warp will not use up all of the bleached white, but I'm thinking I might do some on the next warp which is going to be natural white cotton.  Or maybe I'll ask a bobbin lace making friend if she wants the yarn.  It's a bit thick for bobbin lace, but can still work.  Or else I could drag my own lace stuff out and use it myself?  TBD.

So far everything seems to be going well with the loom, thankfully.  I got four towels woven so far and the rest should come off fairly quickly once I get home.  Except!  April is turning into a busy month, so we'll see.  If the jab goes well I can get off the heavy duty painkillers and will have less pain and less brain fog.  That is my hope, anyway.

I wasn't entirely idle while the loom was being dealt with or waiting for parts.  I've written a few more essays, told a few more personal stories.  And I have one more topic planned - the development of the above draft from the first spark of inspiration/questioning to wherever I am when I finish writing.

My editor is busy with other things until the end of April, so that's my deadline - get whatever I have written by then to her.  I have two that need major re-writes but those have to wait until I get home and hopefully have more functional little grey cells.  Plus my alpha reader needs time to read and correct the typos/grammar she spots so my deadline to finish writing is April 15.  Ish.  

Today I printed out all of the 'new' essays, hole punched them, put them into a 3 ring binder and added a highlighter.  I can read through the essays in the van, correct the Word files when I get home and then send the lot to her.  

In many ways I feel like I'm 'rushing' through this project.  My other books took 5 *years* from concept to publication.  This is taking more like 6 months.  But initial feedback is that the information is good and needs to be shared.  So I'm going to take the gift from the Muses and see if we can get it all put together for a publication date this summer.  

We will be away for 5 days, but will have email/internet in the hotels so if anyone needs me for anything I can be reached that way.  I will answer when I can.

Fingers crossed for a good drive each way and for spring to be a little more advanced by the end of the week - but not, hopefully, flooding!

Saturday, March 25, 2023



Thinking about the trip to Vancouver next week, knowing there really won't be time (or energy) to visit Sweet Georgia.  My life seems to be focused entirely on keeping this body going.  

Thinking about the essays.  Brain fog is pretty thick right now and the Muse is quiet.  For now.  For which I'm grateful as I try to gather up my thoughts to keep going.  April is going to be a busy month.  I'm glad the trip is happening now instead of mid-April.  That should take some pressure off of me.

We have four signed up for the beginning to weave class.  At least one is taking it as a refresher, so they may get co-opted to help me if I need it.  They have taken classes with me before, but many moons ago.  Pretty sure they will begin to remember things once we get started.

The class will again be masks required.  The guild room isn't huge and during demos we will be close together.  The building is used by other people, none of them wearing masks that I've seen and covid is NOT over.  People who are immune compromised are still at risk and one of the students has had covid once.  (That I know about.)  Every time a person gets caught, the risk of long covid increases.  It isn't just me I'm thinking about, but everyone.  

The next lecture for School of Sweet Georgia is May but there are a few more guild presentations that have been added to my calendar.  HGA has been blasting emails out asking for keynote speakers and workshop leaders and that's just a huge nope for me.  I refuse to fly anywhere when no masks are required.  I cannot chance being cooped up in a metal tube for hours or sitting confined in a crowded airport, not knowing how many people in the crowd are positive, not just for covid but other airborne illnesses.  My gambling days are over and frankly I never wanted traveling bugs either.  Too many trips sitting next to someone hacking and coughing and me getting home sick as can be.  

So nope, not in the cards.  Besides, I've done keynote speeches.  I don't need to add another notch to my resume - to mix a metaphor.

Instead, whatever grey matter I have will be rubbed together to try and write a few more essays.  

Learning how one's limits have reduced and not getting upset or depressed is one of life's Big Lessons.

The next class for SOS will launch in a few months.  In the meantime I hang out on the SOS forums or sometimes a few other online groups.  Just refused another invite to join a FB group.  If people want to know what I think they can come to me.  Considering I am 'retired' (for certain values of) I don't feel like I need to help every single person out there (waves hand).  Part of me thinks I'm well enough known I shouldn't have to hang out in every single public forum.  The rest of me knows that is a rather ridiculous level of hubris.  Of course not every weaver in NA knows anything about me!  

But I no longer concern myself with getting hired by guilds.  I do have a 'fan base' (if you will) and if those people think what I'm doing is valuable, I'm sure they are capable of hitting the share button.

As for the essays?  No idea how many people will be interested, but enough people have indicated that they are.  And hopefully those who find them interesting will spread the word.  It used to be called word of mouth - now it's words by keyboard?

At any rate, if people want to learn from me, SOS isn't terribly expensive and they have other teachers as well.  Click on the link or scan the QR code.  (I think I've copied the code correctly!)

This old dog is getting too tired to learn new tricks. 

Friday, March 24, 2023

Minimal Spoons


View a few days ago - the driveway is now clear and the snowbank a couple of feet away from the concrete, daintily showing the 'ankle' of green grass between it and the driveway.  Spring.  Such a tease!

This week has continued to be challenging and I have had few spoons to spend each day.  However, the loom maintenance seems to have gone well, although there is more to be done.  That one can wait a bit, though, while I test what we've done so far.

Spring appears to be arriving.  In this part of the country it can take a while.  The snowpack levels are dropping and snowbanks are receding from the middle of the roads closer to the curbs.  Mostly the sun has been shining more and that is always a welcome sight as the days grow longer.

Progress on everything slowed this week after a stressful time last week.  But I did get the warp cut off the loom, beaming the next one yesterday.  Threading has commenced and my goal for today is to finish threading, press the last of the towels that were wet finished on Wednesday, and if there is time/energy left, perhaps even sley the reed.

Editing has slowed down as I face the challenge of a major re-write of two of them.  One more essay did get written this week, which put the count over 30, with at least one more in the wings.  That will likely have to wait until I get home as it will be a long one with lots of visuals to illustrate the development of the current series I've been working on for the past couple of months or so.  Don't know if there will be much interest in what I've been doing, but sometimes I find it useful to see how others approach an exploration of a new-to-them weave structure.  And it's all very fresh and current, so...

We have begun packing for the 'rush' trip to Vancouver where we will spend 4 days in the van for about 36 hours in Vancouver.  Hopefully with less pain/pain killer brain fog afterwards.  For a while.  And with more daily spoons.  For a while.  In the meantime we have no idea what the drive down and back will be like.  Anything goes, this time of year, including blizzards.  

In April I've signed up for a spinning workshop so when I get home the spinning will come out and I'll practice some.  It's been at least 4 years since I've touched the spinning fibre stash.  That needs to be used up too, so it's time to get better at it?  I even have a couple of bins of blending board whatsits made.  Not quite rolags, not quite punis.  If there isn't an accepted term, maybe there should be?  If I were more of a spinner, I might know.  

Anyway, since my goal is stash reduction, I need to add spinning into my nightly routine, so I've put the jigsaw puzzles away, just as I acquired a bunch of new ones.  They can make next winter more pleasant, perhaps?

Monday, March 20, 2023

Kick Ass


Wasn't feeling great this morning when I opened my email and found a friend had called me an inspiration and kick ass.

I told them I didn't feel like it but was just too stubborn to stop.

They said that being 'too stubborn to stop' was the very definition of 'kick ass'.

Well, I suppose I had to concede that is one way of looking at it!  

My mother used to call me bull-headed, wondering where I got my stubborn streak from.  My mother a French Canadian, growing up in the depression in Little Italy in Montreal because her father had gone bankrupt.  My father, from a culturally German immigrant family, fought in WWII in spite of being suspected of being a German 'sympathizer'.  He was on Juno Beach on that June day - and never forgot it.

And she wondered where I got my 'stubborn streak' from?

There were many days when she would fuss at me about being 'bad' because of my bull-headedness and I wanted so badly to ask her if she had ever looked in the mirror.  But that would not have gone well for me, so I never did.

OTOH, they also gave me a good 'puritan' work ethic.  Both growing up during the depression meant they knew want and they knew work.  And they made sure both their kids also knew work so that we didn't have 'want'.  As best they could.

Having dreams and goals has been lifelong for me.  Even now, even retired (for certain values of) I still have them.  I have daily goals, weekly goals, bigger goals, sometimes goals that take years to complete.  Like the GCW master weaver certificate.  Writing not one but two books, each of which took about 5 years to publish.  And now?  Another one.  Smaller scale.  Less ambitious.  But still.

Last week Life made me stop weaving until the loom was fixed and while I fussed and fumed, I also recognized that it was an opportunity to do some things I'd been procrastinating over.  Getting the essays written (so far) into some kind of organization happened.  Once it did, my muse began feeding me more topics.  :D  

We studied poetry in high school and I still remember the Dylan Thomas poem

The first 'verse' especially:  

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

That sounds pretty kick ass to me.  

Friday, March 17, 2023

Cautiously Optimistic


After a week of stress for a number of reasons, I am feeling cautiously optimistic this morning.  

The fact that we have had a couple days of sunshine has surely helped while I adjust to daylight 'savings' time.  (What we are 'saving' I've never been sure and would be delighted to be on standard time year round.  DST year round means it will still be dark at 10 am here in the middle of winter.)

Anyway, the TexSolv pegs arrived yesterday and the adjustments were made.  I was able to finish the towel that was half done when everything went pear shaped, then one complete towel with zero issues.

Then I got an email from the second alpha reader and based on her comments my inner critic is currently quiet.

With the organization I completed while waiting for the loom parts to arrive, and a muse also currently quiet (although I did ask first alpha reader about a topic to see if she thought it was a good one to include) having some time to do the tedious task of sorting and filing what has been done into something I could now begin to analyze for content and begin to sequence, means I feel a lot more confident that this is a project worth doing and have a road map to see me to completion.

Normally (ha!) I have the end goal in sight and do everything I can to get myself to that end goal.  This project just started bursting out with no real end goal in mind.  It wasn't even originally a book but articles I would try to find a venue for - magazine, website, whatever.  They are too long for a blog so some other way to get them out would be needed.  A newsletter?  I could start a Patreon, or do something for subscribers only via ko-fi as they allow for that option.  It all seemed like a whole lot of on-going work and frankly I'm trying to reduce my daily quota of 'work'.  Being 'retired' and all.

As the essays came tumbling out it seemed 'right' to collect them and offer them as a 'book'.  I talked to a couple of friends who were all encouraging, then asked two people to alpha read.  I could have done the polishing to find the typos and grammar issues myself - and I did do a pass through before sending them to the alpha readers, but I wasn't hunting for the problems; my sub-conscious was too busy pumping more content out.  What I mostly wanted from them, apart from the obvious editing polish, was an honest assessment of the content.

They have both been very supportive and now that personal issues are in the process of being resolved, the loom appears to be fixed, things are calming down chez nous.

I have settled on Stories from the Matrix for the title and am now pondering a cover.  The book will be paperback to keep the cost down as much as possible, but everything is more expensive now so it will be offered as a pdf as well as print version, just like Magic and TIW.  My goal is to keep writing up until my editor tells me when to give her the files.

As one pundit put it: an author does not finish writing a book; they *stop* writing a book.  If my sub-conscious keeps feeding me more topics when this one is ready to be published, I can always do what so many other books have done - add the content and keep going?  Mary Black did that with Key to Weaving, which became New Key to Weaving; Allen Fannin with Handloom Weaving Technology; Jackson and Dixon with Textile Science for Interior Designers, and so on.  Or if there looks to be enough content, a volume 2?  Who knows.  I never really know what the heck my sub-conscious is up to!

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Loom Maintenance Update


the back plate of the dobby removed for inspection - the top edge of the plate is damaged, especially at shaft #7  (the plate is laying flat on the top of the loom - hook for shaft 7 is obviously higher than the rest of the hooks)

the back plate of the dobby in place while shaft #7 is 'locked' on the knife - showing the damage to the top edge of the plate which is in place in this photo

The Louet Megado is a very refined, highly engineered piece of equipment.  Small changes in the alignment of the various pieces can cause havoc and prevent it from working well - or at all.

When the loom was new and I was just getting to know it, the TexSolv cord for shaft 7 jumped off the pulley at the bottom of the shaft and not realizing what had happened kept on treadling.  It didn't take long to see something had gone quite horribly wrong, stop and examine the loom, then put the cord back onto the pulley.

Since then I've woven on the loom without issues, but the cord had been abraded so when I realized it was shaft 7 that was the culprit in the current shenanigans, it wasn't hard to put two and two together.  But had I actually got the right answer?

Since the loom is rather expensive and quite 'new' at 3.5 years, I really did not want to do anything until I was positive about what the problem actually was.  Of course by the time we did some trouble shooting, made some adjustments and I test drove them, it was very late on Friday afternoon when we had to say, stop, it's time to contact Louet support.

We had read through the trouble shooting items, I asked on the Megado owners group on Facebook, we did anything suggested that we hadn't already tried before and I phoned Jane Stafford Textiles quickly before they closed for the weekend and ordered the TexSolv pegs we *thought* might be needed to fix the issue.  We had zeroed in on that damaged cord for shaft 7 as being the likely culprit and if Dave at Louet confirmed that, I wanted the pegs already on order because they were going to take a few days to arrive.  (Shipped on Monday, arrived this morning at 10 am.)

Dave spent some time with Doug checking this and that, and then asked for a photo of the back of the dobby while it was 'locked up'.  Doug had already spotted that 7 was not the required 2-3mm away from the top of the back plate, and that the edge of the back plate had been damaged by the screw digging into the plate.  That 'spike' is a piece of the back plate that had been gouged out and was standing up.

Then Dave asked for the back plate to be taken off so that he could see the back of the 'hooks' and we noticed the damage on the flat surface of the plate.  Dave told Doug to rotate it 180 degrees which would give an undamaged surface again.

Dave sent a video showing how to adjust the TexSolv cord when/if it stretches.  We hadn't expected it to be such a small and very simple fix, and Doug did that last night.  The screw for shaft 7 was now in a much better position.

The cord is still abraded, however, so the plan now is to finish weaving this warp and replace the abraded section of the cord.  This morning we took another look and there were a couple of other cords underneath that looked loose.  When the pegs arrived this morning Doug crawled under the loom and managed to insert pegs into the cables that were 'sagging' a little bit.  It was a lot easier to put a peg in and make a 1mm adjustment than take the dobby off to do that tiny adjustment at the side of the shaft.  The 2mm adjustment at the side worked well, and 7 now looks like it is in a good position.  

Taking hope in my hands, I started weaving, but at a slower pace than my 'usual' weaving rhythm.  I wasn't sure it was actually fixed so wanted to watch what was happening and be ready to unlock the knife if it happened.

The towel wove without any problems whatsoever, so I stopped for lunch, then wove another towel.

I might have tried to weave one more, which would have finished that weft colour, but apparently I ran out of spoons.  

Things we did:  give the dobby a thorough inspection and a cleaning; attach the tension springs to the back beam (I had not been using them for the first 3.5 years, but they worked to reduce bounce on the back beam return to neutral and did not significantly increase the amount of foot pounds to treadle so I'll leave them on, now); examination of the cords noting damage on shaft 7, slight sag on some others; examination of shafts to make sure that when I treadled they were not sticking on anything, or hanging up on a neighbouring shaft; heddles were not bunching up anywhere; some repair heddles not needed for this warp were cut out - the rest (currently being used) will be removed and additional heddles added to shaft 7 so that repair heddles are not needed if I run out on a shaft; check of the dobby head mounting to the loom and sensor/magnet alignment (which were correct); check of the tension on the shaft cords to the dobby head - with no tension on the cables I gently pulled each 'hook' forward and let it 'snap' back.  #7 was slower and felt 'soggier' than the rest - an indication it was under less tension/looser than the rest.

I have a much better understanding of the mechanics of the loom now and an even greater appreciation for it, and hope I can keep weaving on it for a few more years.

There is still so much yarn that needs to be used up!

Press Pause


A few weeks ago I was at a bank and spotted one of these 'easy' buttons on the desk of one of the employees.  I like the sentiment, but unfortunately even if I had one it would most likely be disconnected.

This week had 'pause' pressed on it as we tried to deal with some life issues, plus the loom not working reliably.  The thing about change is that it happens and we just have to learn to roll with it or adapt to it.

The loom MAY get fixed today.  We have made some adjustments suggested to us by Dave from Louet and a couple other weavers and the pegs to adjust the length of the cables arrived this morning. We are just getting ourselves functional - something that seems to take longer and longer the older we get.

The Life Stuff is coming together, the loom has had a thorough inspection, some cleaning and some tweaking and hopefully once the cables are adjusted it will happily weave for another 3.5 years.  Or more.  Hopefully.

During the time of pause I finally dealt with some things that had been nagging me so those are well underway, too.

The next step in the essays is to go through each binder, note the topics in that binder, consider if there are any 'holes' in the content for that category that really need to be filled.  Or not.

The essays are not intended to be The Compleat Thoughts on Weaving by moi, but things that are subtle and that some people don't observe right away because as new weavers they are completely overwhelmed with the breadth of the information that has to be learned.  There is little time to look deeper in many cases.  When things go pear shaped it's usually in the middle of a project (of course it is, you wouldn't be weaving if you weren't in the middle of a project!) and if you don't understand the mechanics or physics at play it might be difficult to see a solution.  Because there are many ways for things to go wrong, especially when your loom has lots of mechanical assistance.  It can be difficult to zero in on the cause of the problem.

Once again I am producing a publication that only a small niche of a niche community will actually be interested in.  Trying to interest a 'real' publisher is an exercise in futility.  They have large businesses to run, costs to be covered, printing a book has never been cheap and is even more expensive now that the pandemic has affected supply chains and material availability.

Plus we have the internet and 'vanity' publishers like Blurb who can provide the service (and deal with customers).  Blurb isn't truly a 'vanity' press - those used to make the author pay for all the printing costs up front, but I kind of lump them into that category because it allows authors like me who cannot convince a big publisher to print my writing to do it themselves with taking point on dealing with customers, only printing out a copy when it has been ordered.

Just the way I like it, now that I'm 'retired' (for certain values of!)

Ultimately we don't know if what we have done is going to fix the loom.  We have made the adjustments suggested to us and right now what we have is Shrodinger's Loom.  It is both fixed and not fixed until I start weaving and find out which it is.  Fingers crossed...

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

A Little Organization


One of the things that comes in handy when working on a big project is space enough to get organized.

Lacking the space, I have to make do with what is available.  In this case, the floor of my office.

With edits beginning to come in, I was needing to get more stream-lined in how I was handling those edits.  

I've mentally been working with 5 'rough' categories (subject to change).  Today I decided to sort the essays into the most appropriate of those rough categories, in part to see where the holes in content are, in part to make them easier to find.

At this point they are not sequenced (because I keep adding to the pile) so they have no page numbers.  It was becoming cumbersome to sort through and update the unedited file with the corrections that were being sent.

Obviously I also update the file on the desktop, but I find for sorting content (chapters?  Sections?) hard copies work better because I can quite literally physically shuffle the essays around.  For the time being they have been filed in their own 3 ring binder alphabetically.

Eventually some of the titles will be changed to better reflect the content, but for now they are still in rough draft stage, so that can be done later as a final sweep through and polishing.

I have put a 'tab' on the first page of each essay so I can go through the tabs, not every single page, to find the essay I'm looking for.  I bought the tabs for a different project and had lots left - which has come in very handy while I'm doing *this* project.  

The first alpha reader has been quite encouraging in both her observations and in the low number of actual 'mistakes' that need to be fixed.  

This project is beginning to take shape and to feel like an actual 'book'.  

She also sent a suggestion for another essay, but last night was a 'bad' night and I think I might need a nap before another friend comes over at 4 pm.  

Once the alpha readers send me their feedback, I have a couple of people who will beta read.  I am thinking that if (and that is a gigantic IF) things go smoothly, I could be in a position to publish on July 9.  Why?  Because it's my birthday.  It might as well be a book birthday, too.

In the meantime, if anyone has suggestions for topics, let me know.  You can reach me laura at laurafry dot com  I can take suggestions up until March 30, 2023.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Writing Books


On a chat group I belong to someone asked about 'good' books for a new weaver.  Many of the 'classics' were mentioned and then one person said this:

"Another vote for Deborah Chandler’s Learning to Weave book since it’s the book I learned from as well. And Laila Lundell’s Big Book of Weaving because it’s very clear. And ’s Intentional Weaver because it gives the nuanced and experienced guidance that other books don’t have."

I feel privileged to be included with such books.  

Over the past month, as I was struggling with my inner critic, several people took the time to contact me and thank me for Magic in the Water.  The Intentional Weaver is newer and fewer copies have been sold - so far.  But I did my best to explain the sciences of weaving and make them more understandable.  We rarely talk about all of the different sciences involved in the creation of cloth - the math, physics, mechanics.  Understanding how those work are, perhaps, less important that understanding what is happening when something is going 'wrong' and dealing with the actual issue, not just the symptom.

A bandage might help, but won't cure the underlaying problem.

I follow a number of writers online and it helps to see them all dealing with the same sorts of issues that I have, and am once again, dealing with.  Clarity of thought.  Explanations that dig deep into issues, trying to shed light where it is dark.  Growing knowledge.  Sharing the best information possible.

When I wrote Magic, one of the things I asked an alpha reader to do was let me know if I had the science right, or if my results were unique to me and not actual principles of wet finishing.  The feedback was positive - I had even explained something to them that they had never consciously recognized as being 'true' - and once they thought it through realized that I'd nailed it.

So far the feedback from the first alpha reader has been positive.  They are catching mostly minor issues, like tense, singular/plural, straight up typos, minor grammar issues.  The 2nd alpha reader should be able to start sending their feedback soon (life is busy right now for a lot of people - I can't express my gratitude to those people willing to assist to make this the best I can.)

Since sending the first 25 essays to the alphas I've managed to write six more.  Once I get all of their feedback for the first batch I will begin sequencing them.  Right now they are like a filing cabinet that has had its contents spilled out on the floor.  I think I need to have them 'organized' in some fashion or it will be jarring to read.  I think.  OTOH, when I wrote TIW, people just wanted me to dump the contents of my brain box out - and this has been pretty much what I've been doing.

In the meantime the troubleshooting continues.  The loom is still not weaving reliably.  Doug will send more photos to Louet today and we will wait for more feedback.  Yesterday SOS asked me to write an 'article' for them, so I did that this morning.  I was sent a list of questions to answer and since most of what they asked has been top of mind while doing the essays it didn't take very long to write.  Pretty sure I sent a much larger word count than they were expecting!  What can I say - I seem to have a lot of words in me demanding to come out.  

In spite of my inner critic, I will press on.  My inner critic isn't the one who needs to know this information.  It has been heartening to see the weaving community grow again after is contracted in the mid-80s and 90s.  My goal is to get the very best information I can out and hopefully prevent frustration because people are having problems they aren't sure how to solve.  

I have to admit I'm pulling on a great deal of hubris right now and the nagging of my inner critic is doing what such negative feedback has always done - made me more determined to do this and do it to the best of my ability.  It will be up to others to determine if I succeed.  Or not.

Anyway, when the essays are 'done' they will join TIW and Magic on  Rest assured I will let everyone know when it does...

Monday, March 13, 2023



The more technology, the more things that can go 'wrong'.

This is what I've been dealing with since Thursday.  Shaft #7 hook/finger is standing proud and preventing the knife from returning to the up position so that the next shed can be generated.  We worked through the trouble shooting advice from Louet, changing just one thing at a time and this, or variations of this, kept happening.  Until it was late enough on Friday that I knew we weren't going to be able to contact Louet over the weekend.  Most likely.

We had zeroed in on a possible cause, but I asked on the Megado owners group on Facebook and got some more suggestions.  We tried the ones we hadn't already tried and it continued to happen.

But we were beginning to focus on one possible cause, for which we did not have the pegs to implement so I phoned Jane Stafford Textiles and ordered pegs.   Of course it was too late in the day to get my order into the mail so hopefully that is being done today.  But that means they won't arrive before Wed or more likely, Thursday.

Then Dave contacted Doug (Doug is my in house loom tender) and they exchanged some emails and it is beginning to look like our suspected problem might well be the issue, but Dave wanted video or photos.  Since the issue is intermittent, capturing it happening on video is impossible.  But once it locked up Doug was able to get a photo to send to Dave.

The loom has mostly behaved very well with minor issues now and then.  However it is my main loom right now and I have weaving projects planned and I'm trying to get to my happy place for a couple of hours every day (that I can).

When my happy place becomes my unhappy place, I become a very irritable, unhappy camper.

I am trying very hard to accept that this is happening right now, and rather than give in to my frustration, stay focused on figuring it out and get over this hump.

This is not to criticize Dave in any way - he has been extremely helpful, first during set up when I could not get my desktop to link to the loom, and now when he answered Doug's email during the weekend, something he didn't really need to do and we didn't expect him to.  But we are grateful to him for being attentive and offering more information and suggestions.

I'm hoping that this photo and the additional detailed information I sent last night will allow him to confirm our suspicions and that the pegs we ordered will allow us to resolve the problem and get me back to weaving. 

I had hoped to get this warp off and the next one into the loom before we leave for Vancouver, but that may not happen now.  We will see.

And yes, TexSolv cord CAN stretch.  Says so right in the list of trouble shooting things to look'd think I weave a lot.  Or something...

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Lemons -> Lemonade


While we wait for word back from Louet (it's the weekend - Patience, Grasshopper!) I cannot sit idle, so I started making a list of things I *could* do.

One of the things that popped to my conscious mind was the marketing for the essay collection and then I started thinking about my other books.

Since the new year I've done a few guild Zoom presentations and as a result there have been more sales of Magic in the Water and a few of The Intentional Weaver.  When the essay collection (tentatively titled Stories from the Matrix) is published, it will join the other two books on

I'm up to 28 essays now, but with the loom not working I'm too distracted to think about writing more so I'm giving that project a rest for a few days while I sort out my feelings about being stymied about the lack of progress on the weaving front.

On the other hand, after sleeping we discussed some other tweaks that might help (and won't hurt and aren't needing the loom to be taken apart to do) and now I have to test the first one.  Following the principle of 'change one thing at a time to see which is the solution'.

The thing is I weave pretty much every day.  For the past year that means about 2 hours or so of weaving almost every day.  Since I was self-employed for over 40 years, every day was a potential 'work' day and that is now ingrained into me.  Weekend?  I weave.  Holiday?  I weave.  The only days I don't weave are if I'm too sick, have too many necessary appointments out of the house, or I'm travelling.

Speaking of which my appointment for the epidural injection got moved two weeks sooner, so now we are also scrambling to re-arrange the travel plans for April to two weeks from now, plus set up the trip to the coast for June when (hopefully) both of us will have minor medical procedures done.  There was a lot of hurry up and wait before we found out when his was and it just happens to be the same time my next jab (after this one) ought to be.  But of course co-ordinating two different medical specialists might prove to be a challenge.  

There are lots of things going on in this household and I have little stamina or spoons to keep juggling them all, and yesterday completely knocked me off my rails when my happy place became my unhappy place.  

I'm just finishing my coffee and will go down and begin pressing the towels that managed to get hemmed.  Once those are done I can select the next design for my ko-fi shop to post on Monday.  

Right now I'm treating this morning's 'tweak' like Schrodinger's cat - it's fixed until I try it and find out it isn't.  So I'm hesitating to test it in case it is not, in fact, fixed.  Instead I will focus on the pressing and then winding the warps for the next beginning weaving class.  That should take me through until Monday when we should hear back from Louet.  But at some point I will test the 'tweak' so we can tell them we have tried that and that it did - or did not - work.  

That's the thing with looms that have more mechanical assists - lots of things that can, and do, go 'wrong'.  

In the meantime, it's lemonade making time...

Friday, March 10, 2023



Today is a good day to remember this statement.

The Megado is 'down'.  I got about halfway through a towel yesterday when the dobby started behaving badly.  I tried to keep going but it was pointless.  It was late enough in the day that I couldn't bear trying to fix it, so we left it to this morning and with Doug observing while I tried to (and failed) to weave, he suggested a minor adjustment.  Once that was done, it looked like that might have fixed it.

Should have known better because the fix was 'too easy'.  Within a couple inches of weaving the faults had begun all over again. and rather than start trying to address the symptoms, I wanted to talk to Louet.

Doug couldn't get through on the 800 number on the website, so I phoned Jane Stafford Textiles to buy the pegs we *thought* we would need to fix the problem and the staff person was able to give us an email address to contact Dave for support.

I ordered the pegs, just in case, but they can't mail them until next week, so it looks like I will be unable to make progress on this warp for some days.

It's annoying, but the thing is, more mechanized looms have more ways to go 'wrong' and when they DO go 'wrong' the fix may not be obvious.

So.  Here I am.  Not happy.  Stymied.

I've even tried to think of more essays to write, but I wrote one this morning and I'm tired and frustrated and the words are not coming, so obviously I need to not be writing just now.

There are other things I could do, but like I said, I'm tired and disheartened.  Not to forget to mention highly distractable, so I don't want to do anything that requires concentration.  I also have a sinus headache (so, SO, tired of winter and low relative humidity).  However, we did get news on a personal front.  It requires another trip to the coast but it looks like we can twin that trip with another epidural jab for me, so there is that.  

I am trying really hard to get myself back on the rails instead of feeling DE-railed.  Mostly I've been sitting in the recliner scrolling through the 'net.  And now the afternoon is nearly over so it seems pointless to even try to do something with what is left in the day.  Perhaps a Benedryl will help with the sinus headache, especially if I go lay down for a while and try to focus on what I CAN do instead of what I cannot. 


Thursday, March 9, 2023



It is coming to that time of year when the sun shines through the fan light in the front door, casting splashes of sunlight on the floor.

It turned cold again this week but the gift is the clear skies (mostly) and brilliant sunshine glaring off the heaps of snow.

It has been no hardship for me to stay in and plug away at the loom and the desktop, looking up and out the window at times to drink in the view.  We don't have the prettiest view, we live in a subdivision after all, but it's been our view for over 40 years now.  We watch the seasons roll by, the trees coming into leaf, then change colours, then be draped with snow.  A reminder that we live in a cycle and nothing lasts forever.

I reached a point where I realized I had to stop and do some organizing and part of that was to begin editing.  Each essay had been printed out, in all its roughness, so I finally got the hole punch, punched holes in the pages and then 'filed' them in a three ring binder.  The binder was pretty much full and the number of essays (including the introduction) was 25.

It seemed like a good number at which to stop and begin to take stock.  Even my sub-conscious seemed to agree as it did not insist I write another - until I was almost half way through reading/editing those.

Not wanting to be distracted I refused to go write more until those were done and then the whole lot sent to two alpha readers.

It was satisfying to read through what I'd done so far and discover that the only editing was mostly just correcting typos and clarifying vague statements.  I mean, *I* know what I meant, but the meaning would be less clear to someone else.  So a few sentences got some minor surgery.  

While I know there are other things I could write about, I'm not sure I should, given how much I've already said about processes, plus the online classes where I not only talk about but can demonstrate the techniques.  Will an essay actually add anything?

Instead I found myself combing through memories of trips, workshops I've taken, weaving instructors I've learned from.  I may continue in that vein although it wasn't my primary thought when I started writing.  But if I'm going to completely embrace the storyteller in me, perhaps those are the stories that most need to be told?

At any rate, with one 1" binder 'full', any further essays will go into a separate folder on the desktop and be filed in a second binder.  Still have no idea how many there will be and frankly I'm not sure how many more there *should* be.  

I keep remembering the comment one writer made somewhere - an author doesn't finish writing a book - they simply *stop* writing a book.  With a collection of essays, I can see that being especially true.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023



By yesterday afternoon I was feeling the pressure of the growing Next Big Project.  It was now large enough it was feeling cumbersome.  Before I continued generating more essays I needed to review what I had already done.

(Some people may wonder why I am sharing so much of the creative process of writing.  I'm doing it because I want people to know that every single book they have in their libraries, especially books about a craft, go through the same steps:  does it need to be written?  How does it need to be written?  Am I being clear enough?  How should the information be presented?  Photos?  Diagrams?  Etc.

As the process grows, imposter syndrome tends to kick in:  have I done the right thing?  Could I do it better?  How could I do it better?  Is this worth my time?  Will anyone but me care?  How many people will be disappointed in what I'm doing?  Other than me, that is.  Every Single Writer I follow on line, whether they are doing fiction or non-fiction seems to go through the same things.  I am not alone in this.  And I think it's good for the reader to understand that writing is also a skill, a craft, and subject to the same creative decisions and angst as any other creative endeavour.)

After putting the pages into a binder I began to see just how MUCH I have already done and knew that I'd better start in on the next stages of bringing a written project into material being.  Editing.  This would also allow me to review the content so far because I've been letting my sub-conscious choose topics, not following an outline.

I opened the binder, pencil and highlighter in hand and began reading.

So far edits are minor.  Mostly typos or small grammatical issues, adding a word here, a phrase there for clarification.  My mind knows what it meant when it wrote those words, but other people won't necessarily understand.  Some clarity is required.

But mostly?  It's ok.  I think it will do.  It is somewhat repetitive, but I doubt anyone will sit down and read all of the essays in one sitting and since it IS weaving I'm talking about, examining the same things from different angles, a little cross pollination is bound to happen.

The creation of cloth is both linear and non-linear.  Some repetition is going to factor into the equation.

Once I am done this initial review, I am going to send the lightly edited essays to someone I trust will give me honest feedback and see what they say.  This is one of the scary bits - finding out if my writing, my stories, are of interest to more than me and one or two of my close personal friends.  (Although most of my close personal friends ARE close personal friends because they are gently honest with me.)

But still.  I have already invested hours of my time in this project and I need to know now, before I invest much more, if it is worthy of being thrown into the wild.  

You may notice I am still fighting my inner demons - that interior critic.  Someone posted on line about wishing their inner demons would stop beating them up.  I posted saying that I wished mine would stop tying my shoelaces together to trip me up...

The more rational part of my brain is beginning to think that this project could go together a lot faster than anticipated.  (Remembering that Magic and The Intentional Weaver each took years in the making.)

So, first step?   Find out if the project is worth continuing.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Name Dropping


Much of my weaving journey has been about popping my reality bubble.  Well, I don't actually use 'bubble' as a metaphor much - because for most people what they live in isn't very transparent.  It's more like an onion.

I have been peeling layers off my reality 'onion' for years.  Decades.

Perhaps it is because I started reading at a very early age, an activity encouraged and supported by my mother and father.  (My father was functionally illiterate - just never had an opportunity to go to school.)

As I look back on my life, I remember some of the people I've met along the way.  Some people I got to know better than others.  Some became friends, or at least friendly acquaintances.  Some I am still in touch with, others have gone.  Sometimes gone as in no longer living, sometimes just taken a different path and I've lost touch with them.  When I think about those, I remember the good times and send them positive thoughts, hoping they are happy and well on their journey.

Today's essay was more about the people I have learned from and in it I decided to go ahead and Drop Some Names.  Because I have had the opportunity to learn from some Big Names in the weaving world.  I even got to know some of them well enough to shoot them an email if I had questions I thought they might be able to answer.

Some are local, some regional, some across the country, some in other countries.

The internet has been a boon for small communities like weavers.  Daily I see posts from people in the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.  Sometimes from South Africa.  There are a few in other places in Africa and some from Asia.  

All these different locations and experiences remind me to peel my eyes open, maybe another layer needs to come off my reality 'onion'.

Today I decided to share some of my learning experiences.  As I wrote about my learning journey, I realized how many of my teachers/mentors have died now.  It was a bittersweet morning as I thought about each person, the impact they had on me and how I have grown because of that.

I didn't name everyone, just alluded to them in some cases, because some people are very private and may not feel comfortable with my naming them.  I tried to respect privacy as much as possible, but did name some people who I felt wouldn't mind my naming them as a positive influence on me.

The recent messages I've had (reinforcement from the universe I am doing the right thing by writing these stories down?) means that I think some of the people I name might appreciate hearing that I remember them and still appreciate the time they gave to me and my questions.

At the same time I am finishing Tyson Yunkaporta's book Sand Talk and feeling the connection to others and this earth we live on.  So it felt right, at this moment in time, to acknowledge the people who have touched me and provided energy and information for my journey, my growth as a person and a weaver.

Each one, teach one, was the phrase I heard as a new weaver.  That seems to encapsulate both my feelings about weavers and Yunkaporta's observations that we are all one.  

We are stardust.  We are the stars.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Proto 'Book'


I've lost count but I think I'm up to 20 essays now...

This morning I took all the printed out copies of the essays written so far, put holes in the pages and labeled each so I could find the individual essays more easily, and put them into a three ring binder.  There are enough of them now that I am having trouble remembering which things I've already written about and rather than 'waste' my time covering the same thing all over again, thought I'd best do a review of what has been written.

Plus all those essays have no page numbers and the stack of paper would have been extremely difficult to sort out if the heap had been knocked onto the floor and scattered.  And I could see it happening!

You can maybe see from all the stickers along the edge of the binder that I have written quite a few!

Most of them are only a few pages long.  Some of them will have photos inserted later but for the moment, unless the photo is crucial and I have one in my file, I'm keeping them to a minimum.

My eyesight isn't great (growing cataract, advancing age?) so I've been writing them in a larger than 'usual' font just to make it easier for me to read both on the screen and on the paper.  I do my 'best' editing from the printed page - still - so a printed copy is going to be important.  I can do 'easy' editing, like for this blog on the screen, but I still find 'serious' editing is best done in print.

I have no idea whatsoever how many pages there will be because the number of pages printed out is deceiving.  I will not use a tiny font for publishing because I figure I'm not the only one who is, um, advancing in years, but it won't necessarily be the size I'm using for my own comfort.

As for the information written up so far, it is all over the map, so to speak.  I am making zero effort to work in any kind of linear fashion, bowing to the non-linear reality of how designing a textile (matrix) works.  But it will result in somewhat 'chaotic' reading, I think, so I have four rough categories and I may group the essays into those categories for easier access.  OTOH, everything about weaving tends to overlap so maybe I should run with the non-linear approach?  Dunno.  Will decide when my editor begins to smooth the rough edges off.

At this point I have very little perspective, which is normal.  Almost every writer I know of struggles with assessing their work in any meaningful way at this stage of the project.  And frankly I need the input of other weavers to let me know if what I'm doing is actually assessible or too chaotic for words.  Or concepts.

But it felt good to do even this tiny amount of organization.  It is beginning to feel 'real'.  And that a 'book' may result.

Maybe I'm just tired, or maybe even my sub-conscious realizes that it is more efficient to have a tiny amount of organization for this project, but they seem quiet this morning.  So I'm going to go down to the loom and keep threading the new warp.  Until they poke me again?  Or maybe they will wait until I have a list of topics and we can both 'see' what needs to be addressed.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Tiny Steps


This morning I wove the last tea towel on the warp, cut it off and then had lunch.  After lunch it was time to strip the old warp off the warp beam and set to beaming the next.

As I filled the sections I started wondering if I really was going to have enough yarn left for one more warp, so at one point I stopped, grabbed some scrap paper and did the math.  And it looks like I should be able to do one more warp so now I know what I will be doing for the next month - weaving more teal/turquoise tea towels.

I also went through my bins of 2/20 mercerized yarn and realized I had a lot more of that highly twisted Astra white - as in more than 3 cones!  Since I don't really want to use it on the white 2/16 cotton, I am going to see how much of it can be used on the next two warps.  But!  I also have that gold to use up and there has to be at least a pound of it, too.  Maybe more.  I will weigh them tomorrow.  I don't mind using the gold on the white warp, though so I'm not going to be too bothered if the white takes up most of the next two warps.  The goal here is, after all, to reduce my stash!

After I took the picture I decided I had a few more spoons, so I started threading and got about 1/4 of the way through the draft.  The rest should go fairly quickly tomorrow.  It's a pretty simple threading, all in all, and it is fairly easy to follow the draft.  Of course this confidence could be hubris if I later find I've made threading errors!

It is still new enough into March to feel like progress is happening - new month, new warp.  With any luck at all, I might even get the other warp woven, although that is likely wishful thinking.

In the meantime my hemming pile grew by 14 more towels with another 6 that just came off the loom this morning.  They will get wet finished with the first batch that comes off the new warp, because I will use the same weft - the gold.

Tomorrow begins a new week, and I need to think about another towel to post to my ko-fi shop.  I sold some towels last week, which was great because my yarn order came in on Thursday.  Even though I'm no longer in business, I try to reserve my weaving income and use it to pay for my materials and other expenses (shipping, padded envelopes, hang tags, etc.)

Just to put the cherry on top, I managed another essay even though I couldn't think of a topic. But when I got up to get dressed and go to the loom my subconscious tapped me on the shoulder and said 'you should write about *this*'.  So I sat down and wrote about 'that'...


Saturday, March 4, 2023

Bored? Or Restless?


the public path before someone cut down all the rose bushes...

When I was healthier I used to walk my neighbourhood nearly everyday, partly for the exercise, partly to be more physically active in a more balanced way than weaving on the AVL, partly to just get out of the house.  Now, walking 'too much' hurts so I gave up walking last year when I was recovering from shingles and the peripheral neuropathy ramped up.  These days I conserve my energy for the weaving and reluctantly say goodbye to my walks.

Over the winter I began to feel restless.  Maybe a bit 'bored'?  Except I don't really truck in 'bored' because there is always something else I can be doing to engage my mind.  This restlessness grew as I started working with the 'new' weave structure.  It's not particularly 'new', others have done similar things.  When the time is 'right' and all that.

And yet. 

And yet.

It has been too 'interesting' for the past while.  Too much stress.  Too much worry.  I would like to ignore the outside world but I can't because I live in it.

So while I concentrate on weaving, designing, reading a little bit, making puzzles and mostly ignoring the hemming pile, I feel that restlessness.  I wonder if it is just 'spring', but this started just as winter was settling in so there is something else going on in my brain.  Something I haven't resolved.  Something I can't quite pin down.  

Perhaps there is a bit of Imposter Syndrome mixed in there as I write my essays.  A part of me feels driven to write them, but a part of me says 'you'll only disappoint people with your pithy comments'.  There is a push/pull going on in the back of my brain on top of everything going on in the 'real' world.

I wonder if that is also part of this restlessness.

But I have stories I want to tell.  Mostly they are stories of and about weaving, acquiring knowledge and sharing it.  Personal revelations as well as craft centred ones.  There are 18 now.  Some of them may get rewritten, but the kernel of each?  I hope to keep those.  Separate the wheat from the chaff.

Yesterday I wrote about a trip to Sweden and remembering the day brought me comfort and even a little joy.   That I had that experience.  That I learned so much from the day.  That some of my conclusions were validated.  And I wanted to share that experience and that learning.

That's what these essays are really all about.  Me, sharing some of the things I have learned over the decades.  Abby Franquemont's comment about the responsibility some of us have who have been 'chosen' to hold the thread of knowledge need to ensure that the thread remains unbroken resonated with me so much I can't get the vision of a line of elders receding into the past, all holding and supporting that thread.  Part of me pooh-pooh's my place in that line.  Who do I think I am to believe that I might deserve a place in that thread, that line.  And that, dear friends is Imposter Syndrome to the very molecule!  

Because it is not up to me to decide I am part of that line.  All I can do is try to help others, the best I can.  It will be for others to decide my place in that line - or not.  

As I wrestled with these ideas, the universe gave me validation.  Sideways, as always.  Over the past couple of days I have received messages from several people who have let me know Magic in the Water remains a prized resource for wet finishing and thanked me for the time/effort of getting the information out there and available.  Some people have referred to it as a 'classic'.  Some guilds won't let the book leave the guild room in case it never comes back.

So I think about all of that and wonder if this restlessness I feel is me fighting the Imposter Syndrome, trying to do what the universe apparently wants me to do - keep going.  Keep writing.  Keep telling my stories?  

Yes, some people will find my stories lacking.  That's fine.  I'm not everyone's cup of tea, as they say.  But enough people have contacted me about what I'm currently doing with my essays to say they want to see them, see what I want to share.

If that is the case, the only 'cure' for this restlessness is to get them written and out into the wild.  And then maybe good old Impostor Syndrome can go hibernate again for a while and leave me alone?

Thursday, March 2, 2023

That Old Wet Magic!


loom state - alpaca

wet finished - alpaca  (samples from Magic in the Water)

The other day Sharon asked on an on line group for some advice on wet finishing her alpaca-silk shawl so I discussed things that could be done and encouraged her to be more 'aggressive' in her fulling.  Here is her report on what she did (with permission):

"Laura, Thank you again for all of your advice! A “bit more” aggression with the agitation and the temperature brought the threads together nicely at 20epi. Oh, but when I followed your directions and pressed the cloth while it was still damp; the cloth came alive! 

The cloth looked okay when it came off the loom. After my first attempt to full it, I thought I would have to increase the sett to have the pattern come together and not look like individual threads. The fabric looked bedraggled when it was wet. From it’s first washing, I knew the fabric would look better when it dried, but still wouldn’t look as good as I hoped/expected; I was loosing heart. 

Then the pressing! Voila! The pressing “set” the structure of this pattern, made it look crisp, and really brought out the sheen. I had forgotten everything I’ve read about pressing different fibers and your instructions in your video. Thank you for the reminder! I now see the beauty of just using the alpaca/silk yarn. Again, thank you!"

It truly IS magic when it happens - all the individual threads come together to become 'one' - whole cloth.  Suddenly all the individual threads join together and become 'real' as a different thing.  Cloth instead of threads.

Life is like that, too.  In so many ways we (I'm talking about 'my' culture) trudge along thinking that we have to do everything for and by ourselves.  But when we work as a community things generally go a lot better.

We see it here - we just had about 60 cm of snow fall over the past week and each household has been struggling to get their driveways cleared.  But there are some people who help each other - neighbours with snow blowers will do the neighbour to the other side who doesn't have one.  Some people even clear the snow off the roads in front of their house, which makes driving a lot easier.  (While others simply dump ALL the snow from *their* driveways ONTO the road making it that much harder for others to navigate the street.)

I see it in the weaving world at times with students wanting (or not) feedback or suggestions for improvement.  I had a person refuse to let me 'help' them by offering suggestions telling me that they were very intelligent and they could figure it out for themselves.  I had to quietly back away and watch them struggle for several days when they had my experience and resources right there - all they had to do was be receptive to additional information.  I was made to feel like my 20+ years of experience were of no value because THEY were smart enough to figure it out for themselves.  

And then I offer to help someone like Sharon and see success and the delight at finally achieving the effect they wanted for a very special textile.  And I keep offering to help people because the Sharons make up for the others.  

So I keep plugging away at writing my essays in hopes that they will receive a receptive audience, that they will help a few people who are struggling and maybe don't know why but are willing to open their minds and try, sometimes on blind faith.

It's a responsibility that I feel - to help others so they don't have to struggle or be disappointed.  

Another student another time took a workshop on wet finishing and the warp she had didn't look like much on the loom but would magically transform in the wet finishing.  She remained dubious during the weaving and I kept reminding her the magic would happen in the water.  She continued on faith that what I was saying was 'true' and on the last day we did the wet finishing and that light came on - the one behind the eyes.

"I get it!  You don't make what you want to see in the loom, you make it so that it can happen in the wet finishing!"


Creating cloth is a kind of magic.  Our distant ancestors began the process by figuring out how to make string, then manipulate it into something else, something useful.  Something beautiful in some cases.  And how when that assembly of threads was exposed to water, it could transform into something greater than the sum of it's parts.

For anyone wondering, the original version of Magic in the Water is sometimes seen for sale at estate sales or from weavers downsizing.  The pdf version is available via blurb.  It can also be purchased in a 'magazine' format.  It doesn't have the samples, but close up photos (as above) are included.

After another grey dreary windy day yesterday, the sun has just now poked through a cloud.  Must be time to get to the loom and weave a towel.  

And think about the next essay...