Sunday, April 30, 2023



Today isn't the way I thought it would be - for a number of reasons.  Instead of doing what I thought I would be doing, I have been given a bit of a hiatus.  A bit of a pause from the planned activities.

OTOH, there are lots of things to *be* done.  I just need to load up on the caffeine in order to tackle any of them.

The homework for the Olds class has begun arriving.  The first box is wending its way back home while the next is open on my work table and I will begin looking at the written work today.  A good Sunday 'job'?

And one more will be coming in the next few days.  Seems the post office in their town couldn't find my post office box address.  You know, the one where I've been receiving mail for 50 plus years?  Yeah, that 'invalid' address.  Which makes my decision to stop renting the box all the more pertinent.

On Friday I cut the last warp off the loom, managed to beam and start threading the new one.  It's a very simple threading progression, for which I'm grateful.  I'm having too much brain fog to confidently tackle something more complex.  My goal for today is to finish threading, sley and tie on, as well as read the written work for the Olds class.  I'm going to the post office tomorrow to cancel my box and I'd like to take the marked homework with me to return to the weaver.  (The cancellation has been planned for months, not an annoyed decision made in haste.)  But that's putting a lot of pressure on me, and it can just as easily get mailed later in the week as I have other 'town' errands on other days.  Still, I'd like to get the marks back to the students asap as I know they are on tenterhooks.

This week is busy with a number of commitments, for both of us.  The next SOS Zoom lecture is Wednesday, this one on Twills.  I forget when the lace class launches, sometime in July I think.  The plan right now is to visit SOS the end of June and sign whatever copies of The Intentional Weaver they have in the store.  About the only way to get a signed copy right now.  :)  Unless you bring your copy with you if you should be passing through my town.  Both of my books are still available at Blurb, in both pdf and print copies.  But those aren't signed.

My editor has begun working on the ms for Stories from the Matrix.  I'm still hoping for July 9 launch.  I'm pondering a 'book launch' via Zoom.  I'm also pondering ordering in some copies of the new book to sell myself?  But do I want to drag a bunch of books to the post office to ship?  Cheaper for people to buy them from the website.  OTOH, I could buy a few, sign them and put them on ko-fi...  TBD.

This hiatus has taken some of the pressure off of me and allowed me to think about such things.  I'm not feeling too much deadline pressure.  The beginning to weave class started yesterday.  Three students, one taking the class as a refresher, the other two brand new.  All three are doing well.  Now I just have to make it through the next 3 weekends.

We are well into spring now.  In fact it got warm enough that the a/c will likely get turned on soon.  We needed it for the guild room which turns into an oven on sunny days.  And of course weaving *is* a physical activity so I put the a/c on in the afternoon to make the room more comfortable for all of us.

Friday I got 3 more library books, one of which is brand new (Dana Stabenow's latest) and needs to be read asap.  The other two don't, at the moment, have hold requests on them so I might be able to renew my loan if I don't get them all read.  But I like Stabenow and her writing tends to carry me along so that should go fairly quickly.  :)

The coming week will be 'busy' but not too pressured, once the Zoom presentation is done.  I'm hoping to make some progress on weaving the 'new' warp.  There are two more drafts designed for when this one comes off the loom and I'm eyeing that heap of mercerized cotton which is disappearing so slooooowly.  Lot of play time with fine yarns!  But I have condensed the pile several times now and it is melting away, little by little.

And now my standard 2nd cup of coffee is about gone.  Time to get dressed and head to the loom.  I hear the siren call of a warp wanting to be threaded!

Friday, April 28, 2023



Not whining about my body today, but my technology.

My iPad is about 4-5 years old and has been getting glitchy over the past month.  Not enough to worry about - at first.  But getting more noticeable.

So I did a quick search for how old it might be and what the expected lifetime is.

Turns out they last about 5 years and oops - mine is within the 5 year range of lifetime.  And I do use it, quite a lot as it happens.  I also have stuff filed on it I really don't want to lose - like every copy of Heddlecraft, and my Handwoven subscription.

Links to websites I consult frequently from the comfort of my chair in the living room, not haul my backside down the hall to the 'office' to use the desktop.

My leisure activities (games, I confess, I play games - like Scrabble) but also apps that help me with my weaving - iWeaveit, the camera I now use exclusively instead of my elderly digital camera which doesn't hold a candle to the newer digital cameras on my phone or iPad.

My music/playlist.  Over 300 songs.  We use that on road trips instead of watching tv.  Sometimes I need a bit of a lullaby at bedtime if the thought squirrels are too manic.

Email.  Mastodon.  (I still haven't figured out how to link the desktop to my Mastodon account.  Yes, I've left Twitter.  For reasons.)

And so on.

Just spent 5 minutes looking at new iPads.  Sigh.  What I would like I can't afford/justify.  I mean I could 'afford' it if I could justify it.  But I can't.  So one of the lower quality models will have to do.

A friend will help me transfer my files from the old to the new, then do a factory reset on the old one.  I may donate it to someone, with the warning that it's old and may not last long.  But I will wait and see what my friend says.  She may advise to just send it to electronic recycling.

I find myself as prepared as I can be for tomorrow and it looks like just one or two towels left on the loom to be woven.  So I'm going to go weave one and decide if I play yarn chicken for the last one or sacrifice what is left and start beaming the next warp.  I'm feeling like I really want to get ON with the next one.  And I've woven enough of that mid-value blue that what is left can go to a friend who makes bobbin lace.  I know I could keep it in my own bobbin lace stash, but I also know I can get some of that yarn back if I begin making lace again.  If I can't weave, maybe I can fwip (technical term) bobbins?

If I get my cataracts 'fixed' maybe I will be able to see better - enough that I can see the threads to make lace, anyway.  

So, on to the loom.  Be really nice to get this warp off the loom today, even if I do weave two and won't have time to begin beaming the next.  I can begin on Sunday.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Winter -> Summer


Summer colours

Seems we have jumped almost entirely over spring into summer.  The forecast for next week is temps in the 20s (70s for those still not using metric measures) and yet this morning the furnace is running.  We have a few weeks of 'spring' in which we need the furnace at night, the a/c during the day.  Apparently that begins this weekend.

Yesterday I completed marking the first box of homework and will be heading to town for errands today so the goal is to mail it back to the student along with an order for a tea towel that came in earlier in the week.  There are some other small errands so everything will get done after lunch and then I head to the guild room to set up the last loom for the class beginning Saturday.

Next week is a busy one with appointments and a Zoom presentation, this time on twills.  I'm hoping to have the current warp off the loom tomorrow or Monday at the latest, and the next warp beamed before I have to re-arrange the studio for the Zoom.

I think the Lace class with School of Sweet Georgia launches in July (above photo is one of the samples I wove for that).  And I am falling down the rabbit hole into looking at crepe yarns/cloth and came up with a 'test' I can do fairly quickly once I clear a few more things off my desk...and floor...

My 'office' is tiny and sometimes I run out of flat space (mainly because I'm 'messy' and tend to 'file by pile' so there are stacks of things in progress - until they are complete.  And sometimes I get so excited by a new project I don't clear away the old...)

My editor has begun working on my file and we've discussed a few things about the formatting and will talk again at the weekend.  I'm trying to *not* be a control freak, but...

One of the things we are talking about is doing a 'book launch'.  Now that we have the internet and Zoom, I don't have to stump around the country promoting my new book, I can do it online.  So stay tuned for an announcement in the coming weeks.  Scheduled publication date is July 9.  Yes, it's arbitrary.  I work best to a deadline.

The snow is gone, the trees are leafing out, the grass is turning green.  Hopefully we won't see anymore snow but we have had snow in May before.  It doesn't stay long but it can come with one last reminder that we live in a part of the country that can - and at times - get snow much later than other parts of the country,  Hard to believe that mid-summer isn't all that far away.  It still feels like winter is peeking over our shoulders.

Never mind.  I have a class to teach, homework to mark (another box is ready to be picked up) and a warp that is nearly done on the loom with three more in the queue.  


Wednesday, April 26, 2023


One thing about being as old as I am, doing this craft for as long as I have done it, is that I have resources.  Lots of resources.  A wall full of resources.

Nothing like getting hooked by an 'obscure' technique in a craft with so many variables!

I took the spinning workshop on Sunday because I wanted to be a better weaver.  If I don't understand the nature of my materials, if I don't understand the subtleties of how they are made and consequently how they behave, I won't understand the nuances of my cloth.

Crepe is a cloth that isn't very popular or top of mind for most people.  I've been aware of it for a long time, but everything I read about it said that 'true' crepe cloth had to be made with yarn spun with special aspects to it.  Since I had little time to spin, I kind of ignored that whole category although I did use some of the drafts in Olesner and other books that had sections on crepe weave because of the textures.

During the class we looked at compound plying structures, crepe being one of them.  Taking the time to understand how the yarns were put together has renewed my interest in crepe *weaves*.  But there is very little information that looks at the details of making crepe yarns.  Most of the things I've found have been pretty general.

But here's the thing.  I have a wide circle of friends and acquaintances who are more knowledgeable than me about things like spinning.  It didn't take long after contacting a few to start getting more resources.  And I haven't even exhausted my own - yet.

As usual there is the typical 'it depends' when it comes to nearly everything about weaving (and spinning).  There is a spectrum of advice on what needs to be done.  But one thing pretty much all of the resources I've read so far state the yarn needs to have twist energy built into it.  That twist energy causes the plane of the cloth to contract and develop more 3 dimensional texture.  Some refer to crepe as 'fragile' while others refer to how strong it is, due to the high twist.  One warns that the higher the twist, the closer the yarn comes to reaching its tensile strength and therefore becomes more prone to break due to the tension in the yarn.  I've seen this in action in my own spinning.  A little bit of twist makes a soft yarn, a moderate amount of twist can make a nice pliable co-operative yarn, high twist can make an unruly yarn that requires careful tension control, too much twist overcomes the integrity of the yarn and it snaps.

So, me being me, I am going to look at that spectrum of things and maybe do some experimentation.  I am even contemplating using some commercially spun yarn to pair with handspun.  I do this with my own yarns all the time - spin a singles then ply with a commercially spun yarn.  I think I might give this a try.

Learning how to control how much twist I apply to the singles and then the ply is going to be the hard part.

Will I do anything but make a few samples?  Probably not.

But the point is this - it will add to my foundation of knowledge and help me understand cloth better.  Taking things to the extreme lets me know where the boundary of functional and not functional lives.  

And besides, it's interesting - to me.  I don't have to earn an income from my weaving anymore (although I'll never say no to something in my ko-fi tip jar!  Because there are things that need buying to feed my 'addiction' to yarns/fibres!  And things like ink cartridges, boxes of paper, not to mention yarn...)

There may come a day when I will find I can't weave anymore, but I should be able to spin and knit.  So I'm not going to be too hard on myself if I don't dig my teeth into crepe yarns/cloth right away.  Sounds like maybe a winter project.

In the meantime, it's information gathering time.  The more I discover, the more information I feed into my thinking, the better able I will be to make choices when I get to the point of actually doing something with it.

My story, sticking to it...


Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Good Intentions


I had good intentions for today.  Yes, I did.  And yet...

A few days ago I messed around on Fiberworks and came up with the above, which is about half of the width of the warp so that some detail can be seen.

The weave structure is twill blocks.  The blocks are not discrete, but overlap.  That causes interesting(?) half tones, much like overshot which is also a type of overlapping block weave structure.

The effect is very textural and the lines are blurred.  The cloth itself is very pliable and feels like a great quality for tea towels.  Woven with 2/16 cotton for warp and 2/20 mercerized cotton for weft, there is also a very subtle interplay of matt and shiny that I like quite a lot.

I'm finding new things to note as I play around with the threading progressions, some I like better than others.  In the image above, there is a short stretch of straight draw in the treadling at the very top, which I think I will tweak further to use for hems.  One repeat isn't going to be visible as it will be folded over for the hems.  OTOH, if I leave it as it is, the motif will end part way through without the distortion of changing from the blocks to the straight.  So, I'm still pondering on that.

There are 3 drafts ready in the queue and I'm nearly done the current warp.  But this week is busy with other stuff - class preparation, Olds marking, 6th Covid jab today which may leave me feeling a bit 'off' for a couple of days.  

On a bright note, I've managed to condense my mercerized cotton stash into fewer boxes/bins.  The 3 drafts/warps won't finish it off, though, so I'll keep exploring this technique for a while.

Once I'm done the mercerized cotton, I will have to decide if I make more tea towels and try to use up the 2/16 cotton - I kept finding more mini-stashes around the studio so instead of being 'done' with that it appears that I will need a few more 2/16 cotton warps to weave those off.  And round and round we go!  It feels counter productive to buy more yarn to use up what I have, but there you have it.

Anyway, time to get dressed, see if I can weave a towel before I get my jab.  The advice is to not do anything physical right after, so perhaps weaving when I get home isn't the best thing to be doing.  OTOH, there is all that class prep to be done, a book that needs reading and a jigsaw puzzle that wants building...

Monday, April 24, 2023

Step by Step


Not entirely sure I'm in love with this design, but I think it will do.  That centre stripe is a bit overwhelming when seen in full width, but generally I tend to fold my towels in half lengthwise, in which case the side 'stripes' then become framed with the zig-zags which would then reduce the visual 'noise' of that centre stripe.

My story, sticking to it.

I messed around with this draft after the zoom presentation on Saturday.  As usual I went 'over'.  There is just So Much to be said about, well, everything.

Sunday I took a one day workshop in spinning.  I hadn't touched my wheel in about 5 years.  For a number of reasons I got out of sync with spinning as other things claimed my time and attention.  The wheel was not forgotten, as such.  It did, in fact, live right out there in plain sight, but I've become good at ignoring things I don't want to, or can't, deal with.

As my physical body continues to decline, I have to accept the fact that some day, sooner or later, I won't be able to weave anymore, so spinning might become important to keep myself occupied and continue my explorations into textiles.

I told the instructor (as I have told other spinning instructors) that my goal in taking the workshop was to become a better weaver.  Which takes them aback, but still, if I don't know my materials, I can't truly know my cloth.  And spinning my own yarn gives me a much greater understanding of the dynamic the various permutations of yarn construction can have on cloth.

As part of the class we looked at crepe yarn.  I knew that crepe cloth was woven with yarn specially spun for that quality of cloth, but hadn't ever spun it for myself.  I've become intrigued, especially when I discovered that - like pretty much everything about textiles - the way crepe yarn is made can vary.  

Now I'm thinking this might justify a dip into that rabbit hole, but with my own particular spin (ha) on it.  I may not wind up with 'true' crepe yarn, but it might prove to be an interesting exploration.

I am also considering using a very fine 2 ply instead of my own high twist singles for the final yarn, which would likely cause such a yarn construction to not qualify as 'crepe', but it would mean I wouldn't have to spin that very fine yarn.  I could even add twist to the commercially spun yarn to have that extra twist energy.  I do, after all, have an espinner so it wouldn't take much effort to run that 2 ply through and add twist to it.

Having had a taste of what it takes to deal with some high twist yarns, I have a better handle on what I would do if I were to take on such an exploration.  

It may all come to naught, but who knows?  Another unexpected rabbit warren to dive into, it seems. 

PS - I am taking zoom bookings for 2024 but still have room on my calendar for the later months of this year.  My topics are posted on  Plus, of course, there are two new classes being launched this year for School of Sweet Georgia.  

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Safety Equipment


a hearing trumpet

I talk a lot about not injuring yourself while weaving, but usually that is in regards to repetitive motion injuries.  There is another kind of 'injury' that can happen and that is in the area of hearing loss.

When I first got the AVL with the double box fly shuttle I was a bit astonished at how noisy the high impact plastic hammers were, hitting the shuttle.  Or rather, the shuttle hitting the hammer.

Doug was working at an industrial supply place at the time, with a special interest in safety equipment so he brought home a decibel meter and quickly determined that I need hearing protection for high impact noise.  I asked if he could find something that I could hook up to my boombox so I could listen to music.

When we added the computer assisted dobby, the noise of the solenoids firing added more noise to the general decibel level and I continued wearing hearing protection to weave pretty much all the time when I wove on that loom.

When I 'retired' the AVL and replaced it with the Megado, it took one time activating the solenoids to realize that hearing protection was necessary for it, as well.

The audiologist was astonished when I said I'd worn hearing protection to weave.  She said most people didn't realize what was happening until they had lost a big chunk of their hearing.  But, I hadn't worn it for other pieces of equipment - the pirn winder, bobbin winder, cone winder.  While their noise was a lower level than the impact noise of the fly shuttle hammers and solenoids, cumulatively they obviously took a toll and in the end I now wear hearing aids (part time).

I have 'lost' part of the ability to hear soft consonant sounds, and especially during the pandemic, aids were even more helpful when I couldn't lip read.  

I'm not the only one who has experienced hearing loss.  On a chat group a much more famous weaver spoke up and said that she had just that day returned from picking up her hearing aids.  That weaving on the AVL with *no* hearing protection meant that she now needed aids to hear.  So yes, wear hearing protection if you are weaving on a loom that is noisy.  Not all of them are.

Hearing loss can be insidious.  You don't notice that you are losing sounds, especially when it is not across the hearing spectrum, but just a portion of it.  You can still hear ok and as it begins to get worse you adapt, usually by reading lips and/or body language.  Until one day you realize you can't hear the stove timer going off in the kitchen, or an alarm on your ipad when you are in the bedroom.  Even so, the tendency is to crank the volume not think about the fact that the problem might be *your* ears.

My first clue that something might be 'off' was not being able to follow conversations when there were many happening, in a noisy environment - like a busy restaurant.  I started to tune out instead of trying to follow the general chatter.  

So, tomorrow, I will wear my hearing aids when I go to the spinning workshop.  It is supposed to be 'masks required' so I need to put my ears in so I can hear what is being said.  

Friday, April 21, 2023

Busy Times


Yesterday I met with my editor and the files are now in her hands.  We discussed what *I* thought needed to be done, but am willing to listen to suggestions.  Book design is not in my wheelhouse, after all.

She had some suggestions which I had not considered and she is now exploring options.

It is with a great sense of relief that I handed the project off to her because the next few weeks are 'busy' with one thing and another.  Deadlines that I ignored while I concentrated on the Next Big Project.  My inner demon(?) was so insistent I get the essays written and launched into the wild that there wasn't a lot of brain power left for anything else.

That doesn't mean time stopped still for me, though, and personal 'interesting' things happened which took what was left of my energy spoons.

After my editor left, I deleted all the original files, keeping only the most recent iteration, knowing that there will likely be more polishing to be done but a project that big gets confusing if you have too many versions in your document file.  (Ask me how I know????)  With two copies of the project on thumb drives I figured it was just organizational sense to literally clear the decks.

I also took all the printed out copies that I had done my edits on and tossed them into the paper recycle bin.  There is another stack of the various versions in my office bin.  I usually keep my rough drafts for 'scratch' paper for when I'm working out things I need to do by hand, not on the computer, but the heap of paper far outweighs my need for that kind of paper pile.  So that will go into paper recycle soon, too.  (Get a computer, they said.  It will save paper, they said...)

Now I have to get ready for the Beginning to Weave class beginning the end of this month.  Class handouts need to be printed out.  One more loom needs to be dressed.  After that, a two day 'class' for Beyond Beginning to Weave, tentatively scheduled for sometime in September needs to be put together.  I found the binder with all the samples and the drafts, so all that I need to do is generate the class handouts.  Something I can work on once the class in April/May is done.

There are other 'housekeeping' things that need to be dealt with in the studio and of course on-going steps in changing thread into cloth.  My inventory of finished tea towels grows, but next month is the Gourmet Fair and last year the guild sold quite a few of my tea towels, so I'm hoping the same happens this year.

I'm halfway through the current warp, but finding myself unable to get to the loom two sessions a day due to appointments and other personal things.  Today I don't have to leave the house so I'm going to work on several fronts, including getting the studio ready for the Zoom presentation to the Vancouver guild tomorrow morning.  For that, one of those 'housekeeping' tasks needs to be completed.  Which means I will only get one towel woven this morning.  But never mind, I am halfway way through and hopefully next week I will have some time to get serious about weaving.

After this warp is done I'm going to try that heart motif so I also have to finalize the draft for that.  I'm not happy with the spacing on the motifs and need to tweak the treadling some more.  Then do a backup in case I'm not at all happy with how it looks when woven.

My stash never seems to get smaller, but I know that it is.  I just have So Much stash and much of it fine threads.  And you get a lot of play time with fine threads!  :D

Spring has arrived and we are seeing the daylight hours lengthen, the trees are leafing out, the grass turning green.  The world turns, time flies.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

40 Plus Years


Someone posted today that they were going to do something that made them anxious but they were going to do it anyway.  Then asked if 'you' were doing something that made 'you' anxious today?

Happens that I read that post right after making an appointment to meet with my editor at 11 am.  As I sat there with a ball of 'sick' in my stomach, I thought about the previous times I'd self-published.  Both of the previous books had been a hell of a lot more work and took a hell of a lot longer to pull together than this one.

But I'm older now and I have those two other publications, live and in the wild, and this time?  Was a completely different experience.

One of my alpha readers commented how quickly it had come together, then mused that it had been 40 years in the making.  I agreed and said that I felt like I had been taking dictation.

So.  My hat trick consists of Magic in the Water; wet finishing handwovens; The Intentional Weaver; how to weave better, and now?  Stories from the Matrix.  Those two thumb drives are two copies of the essays, one of which will go with the editor today, the other will be kept by me as a backup copy.

Stories is not meant to be The Compleate Book of Weaving, but simply MY stories.  Things I've learned along the journey.  In some cases I have nothing to back up my conclusions but my observations and experiences.  Not everyone will agree with me, nor will some of the things I suggest be appropriate for everyone. Some of the essays are simply telling my tales as I journeyed through the past 40 plus years.  Some of them are humourous, some of them are tales of gratitude to those I met along the way.  Some of them scrape another layer off what I know about weaving and may be of value to someone else.  Even someone who might be experienced?   

Like everything else about weaving, whether or not Stories will resonate with another weaver will depend.

OTOH, both alpha readers have commented that they learned something by reading their portion of the essays.  And I think that says everything I needed to hear, and why I will keep going with this.  Even though I am nervous of the reaction when the essays are released into the 'wild'.  Even though I am sure not everyone will like it or agree with me.  Even so.

Ultimately my purpose, right from the beginning, was to help others, as best I could.  I hope to live for a few more years to see what other things I might learn.  Perhaps schedule more Zoom presentations so I can continue to reach out to the weaving community to share my stories.

I look back on my life with no small sense of wonder.  A life I had no idea would open for me.  A path that was far from clear when viewed from the other end, but appears so clear from this.

The plan is to officially publish July 9, 2023.  It's my birthday and I cannot think of a better way to mark another trip around the sun.  

Stay tuned for details.  There is still a lot of work to be done, but the majority of my work has been accomplished and now I turn it over to other hands.  

In the meantime I will continue to weave.  To learn.  To grow, if I'm lucky.  And write this blog for those who are interested.  

Twice now I have published a book and said 'that's it, I'm done' and twice I've had to eat my words.  So I won't say 'never' but neither do I know if there is anything else I have left to say that would warrant an actual 'book'.  

Guess I will find out?

Tuesday, April 18, 2023



These are the latest towels off the loom and wet finished, now being hemmed.  I have enough I can offer them for sale on ko-fi, so they were posted.  I forgot to say how many were available, so I'll go back and edit the posting when I'm done here.

Today I had massage and chiropractor back-to-back.  I was later getting going than I wanted to be in part because I started doing my 'final' edit read through before handing the thumb drive with all the essays to my editor.

Sometimes I don't feel particularly like weaving after a 1-2 crunch, and so it was when I got home this afternoon.  I looked at what I'd accomplished this morning and how many more were left to do and wondered if I could finish them all off.  Most just required very simple 'fixes' and minor re-writes of a sentence to fix a pronoun or tense.

After my snack (I found a new cookie that might be ok with my allergies - we'll see?) I went back to the desktop and continued going through the essays, one after the other.

No effort has been made to sequence the essays, and frankly, alphabetical by essay title might be how they are sequenced, in the end.  Other than the Introduction, of course.  I'm still pondering if I write an epilog, or bibliography, or provide an index.  I still need to do an acknowledgement and dedication but that's not an essay and best done once I see the shape of it all.

It's almost stunning how something can be read several times, even with different pairs of eyes, and a typo will sit quietly waiting to be discovered. Or not.

But I can only do that kind of thing for so long and even though there are still 12 left to do, it's better I leave those for tomorrow.  I have dental hygiene tomorrow afternoon and I suspect weaving will be the last thing I want to do after that.  So I'll try to get one towel woven in the morning, then see if I can finish off the last dozen essays afterwards.

The files are being loaded on a thumb drive one by one so I can easily see what has been done and what needs to be done yet.  And they automagically go in alphabetical order so I don't even have to think about that part of it.

I find I am becoming tired of this project.  I've basically done what I can do and need to turn it over to someone else to fuss over.  OTOH, I have a class to prepare, and a workshop to pitch to the local guild.  And tea towels to weave.  Time to move on...

Monday, April 17, 2023



if it were easy, everyone would be doing it...

It seems I have written all the essays my 'muse' insisted I write.  My alpha reader has returned the edits, which I have used to update my copy.  And now?  


In spite of the original writing, my initial editing, my alpha reader editing, now that I am preparing the files for my final editor, I am reading through them all *again* - because enough time has passed I have a little perspective - and editing *again*.

That's right.  I am editing them all *again*.  

The point is clarity and enough time has passed for me to have forgotten what I wrote initially, and I can better see the inconsistency and any lack of clarity.  It's not a huge change anywhere, just a word here or there, an errant apostrophe or comma to be cleaned up.

I'm quite sure my official editor will have thoughts as well.

It was important to me to have editors who knew how to weave and the correct spellings of weaving terms.  I have had a couple of books 'spoiled' when the word 'dying' was used when it was clearly the word 'dyeing' that was the correct word.

I've had interactions with people who confidently declared that 'dying' was a perfectly good word.  I told them that yes, it was, but when you mean adding colour to a yarn, dyEing was the correct spelling.

It was quite amusing because for months afterward they used exactly that - dyEing - in their posts which really brought attention to the correct spelling and probably did more to raise awareness than my pointing it out in the first place.

I suspect there are still a few things my editor will adjust but I'm trying to give her clean copy - or as clean as I can make it.  This effort will take about 6+ hours, and I can't do them all at once.  I've just completed 3 and find myself starting to glaze over.  It is time to go do something else for a while.

Editing isn't something that can be rushed and doing it while brain fog is present is an exercise is futility.  Or at least, frustration.  

So I'm going to go to the studio and weave a towel and clear my head.  I have a number of 'deadlines' coming up and I need to stay focused.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Time Flies


old photo showing the preparation of 'board worms'

I have been ignoring the passage of time and only realized in the wee dark hours of the night that the spinning workshop I signed up for is in exactly one week.  Oops.  Am I ready?  Hell no.  

Oh well, the workshop is how to be the boss of your wheel, so if nothing else I should come away with a better understanding of my e-spinner.

Will this realization spur me to finally spin in earnest?  Time will tell.

I also have a Zoom lecture on Saturday to present, plus work to do on the essays - clean them up for sequencing/formatting and just generally put lipstick on the pig.  Is it a good pig?  I think so.  But anything that someone tries to sell these days has to be 'attractive', too.  Doesn't matter how good the information may be, it can no longer pass muster if it looks like something produced in the 1950s on a spirit duplicator.

Initial reports from alpha readers are that these essays do need to be released into the 'wild'.  Even experienced weavers are saying that they are learning things.  

I suppose I have reached that stage of life when a person begins thinking about their 'legacy'.  I know I'm not the only person interested in the nuances of the craft and if I can shed some light, then my job here will be done?  

Of course I will continue to learn new stuff.  It's one of the reasons I chose weaving as my career.  I could see that I could weave for a lifetime and still be learning - and so it has been and will, no doubt, continue.

But the clock is ticking.  The pull to use up all my energy at the loom is strong.  But that is not the totality of life, of living, and I need to pull my boots up and deal with the other things on my list, not just throwing a shuttle.  

I take a lot of inspiration from poets/songwriters.  Bonnie Raitt, who sings about time being more precious the less of it you have.  Yup.  Indeed.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

The Urge to Create


This is the latest in the series I've been working on.  Have I come to the end of the exploration down this particular rabbit hole?  Dunno.  I have the heart motif that I'm not particularly happy with, but given the nature of the weave structure I don't know if I can improve what I've done.  In the end I'll probably put the warp into the loom - with a back up plan in case I really don't like the way it weaves. OTOH, I can see where it might be tweaked a bit here and there so I may continue to work on it and see what happens.

The above was a shift from a primarily vertical development of the design line to a horizontal one.  It went through several iterations to get to this point.  The bit at the top is the hem area which will be repeated at the end.  While it doesn't actually *need* a hem, I use it as a visual marker that I'm nearly at the end of a towel and that it will be break time soon.  It's kind of like (mentally) coasting to the finish.

But where *does* the creative urge come from?  Why do some people have it and others don't?  Researchers have been studying this for decades and while they can answer the question of where in the brain the work of creation is being done, they don't seem any nearer the answer to the question of 'why?'

I also don't know why it drives me so, this desire to jump down rabbit holes, just to see what is down there.  An idea presents itself and then curiosity kicks in and I want to find out more.  Will it work?  How can I make it work?  What steps need to be taken to get from point A to...end point?

Sometimes the idea is a bust, it just won't do and I can't make it.  But usually, along the way, other ideas present themselves.

People sometimes fuss about what they are going to do 'next' while I have a queue and the hardest part is deciding which one to tackle.

When I shared the above draft to a group I belong to someone commented that it looked like sound waves.  I agreed that they had been part of the equation, but also geography - the bends and folds and striations that I see in the mountains.  You can see them in the blossoms of flowers, too.  In fact you can see inspiration everywhere, if you stop and look.  

Some people find a camera helpful.  Something about looking through the lens puts things into perspective.  You can enlarge a photo and see in greater detail.  Or just isolate something to reduce the 'static' of too much information coming in.

Right now I feel the imperative of limited time and the desire to do as much as I can for as long as I can, because I have that queue of ideas clamoring to be brought into material (ha - you saw what I did there?) being.

I am now at the polishing stage of the essays.  There are still some edits to be done and a couple of photos that I'm not happy with and need to either cut or improve.  Those are minor.  No doubt more editing will be done because every single time I do a read through I find more areas that are lacking in clarity (not to me, I know exactly what I intended to say) and need to be improved.  I think we have caught all the typos but there are still grammar issues that could be improved.

One alpha reader commented that I pulled this together very quickly - and then amended that to say 'but it's been a lifetime of preparation to write it'.  I agreed.  It is the culmination of what I know  to this point - and, in some cases, a sharing of some of the experiences I have had in a rather long career that has brought me greater understanding.

I know that *my* story is not the only story and it may have little value to someone else.  But I have had the privilege of being able to take a very deep dive down a number of complex rabbit holes.  I'm hoping that there will be something for everyone, even though not everything will actually *be* applicable to all.

My life is unique.  There are others who have done similar things - earning an income largely by and/or through weaving - and their stories are also of value and interest.  

But as a child growing up in the 'back woods' of central BC far away from the madding crowds, I had desires and dreams that I didn't even want to acknowledge because it was just too far fetched for someone like me to do any of them.  And yet...

I don't know why I need to create things.  Yes, I was born into a family where people making things was normal.  But none of them earned an income by being creatively self-employed, and certainly not in a field with so much uncertainty.  It wasn't until my mother went back to school as a 'mature' student and set up a business teaching pre-school that anyone in the family had dared to be fully self-employed.  Both my parents worked hard so I knew how to do that.  I tried the more traditional route of a 'regular' paycheque and found myself a very unhappy person.  Until I found - or should I say - weaving found me.  And then I just set out to do...something...related to creating cloth.  So I did it all.  

And now I'm tired.  I'm (sort of) retired, but the creative urge is still there.  It remains eternally 5 years old, wondering what if?  Spotting a shiny new idea and sparking even more.  

At some point this body isn't going to be able to physically weave anymore.  Perhaps I'll do more writing.  Or contentedly make jigsaw puzzles and read?  Dunno.

In the meantime I *can* still weave, so I'm going to do that.  They say you get 'old' when you stop playing.  The thing is, my body is already old.  But my inner self is not.  And right now I will dance my way to the end of this life doing what I can, when I can.  Celebrate the days when I can get to the loom.  Be grateful for my friends and family who make it possible for me to keep going.  Feed on the encouragement of the weaving community to continue to teach and share my stories.

I started this blog in 2008 after a major life upset and health issues.  As an introvert, writing is the 'best' way for me to communicate with others.  I can do it when I feel focused enough to string words together to share.  I can park a post in the 'draft' file and come back to it later to edit.  Or just accept that there will be mistakes/typos and post - warts and all.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the blog.  It feels longer ago than that, in some ways, like yesterday in others.  

For those of you who have come along for the ride - thank you.  

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Life Got Busy


Instead of a week with only one trip out of the house it has turned into a string of trips out of the house, which means my plans for this week got tossed, like a salad.

However I DID manage to finally get the next warp weaving and wove one towel before lunch.  I also found the draft I wanted for the 'last' essay, carefully saved - to the thumb drive instead of my desktop.  Oh well, I don't have to reconstruct that one, at least.

Today I will begin setting up the loom for the beginning weaving class that starts April 29 and which will run for 4 Saturdays.

At the executive meeting I was asked to run a 'beyond beginners' class and after we discussed it decided the best approach would be to do it on two consecutive Saturdays, likely in late September.  I'd like to have it done before Thanksgiving, because after that we start getting busy with our sales events.

To that end I discovered that I had not, after all, tossed ALL of my workshop binders, but kept one which will be perfect for a beyond beginners class.  All I have to do now is completely re-format the workshop handouts.  Which I pretty much did every time I taught the class anyway, so not a big deal.

If I get done at the guild early enough I'd like to finish the last essay so that I can send it off to my alpha reader/editor and then go through and re-name the files to more accurately reflect the content and once that is done, copy all the files to a thumb drive to hand to my editor for a final copy edit, then format, then give her time to figure out how the blurb website works in order to upload the file and create the two formats - pdf and paperback.

Next week is full of appointments - in fact the rest of the month has numerous obligations so it's important I get started on the warps *now*, not assume I will have the spoons over the next couple of weeks.  I am also signed up for a spinning workshop and yesterday I got the wheel running, so now I need to spend some time at it and practice.  I am so *out* of practice!  

Anyway, thank you to the people who responded to my question in the last post.  The essay on the development of the above technique is nearly done.  At some point I have to say 'enough' even though I can see other things I want to do to this series.  It won't be over just because I stop writing.  Because you know what they say - a writer doesn't finish writing a book, they simply stop writing the book...

Tuesday, April 11, 2023


 It's said that the word 'queue' is just a q with a line of ue's after it.  

So here's the latest draft in the queue.  It's not 'done' yet.  I started with one of the other drafts and messed around with the elements in it and in 30 minutes arrived at this stage.

Now that I can see it the full width, I can see parts I don't like - like the transition from the waves into the selvedge 'border'.  I'll smooth that transition out.  I may also try fiddling with the treadling, although I'm not sure I can do much with that, that will actually appeal to me.  However, I may increase the repeats, which will enlarge the thickness of the wave line and make it more dramatic in a larger scale.  I didn't do it at the time because the timer on the stove went, telling me the soup needed attention and I haven't made it back to dealing with it since.

Instead I finished off the warp on the loom, beamed the next, then began threading it.  It's 1/3 done and should get finished today.  I also ran the 20 towels from the last warp through the washer/dryer, so they are ready to be pressed.  And then I'll have a stack of hemming to do.  Again.  :)  And I final pressed all of the hemmed towels so they are now on the shelf in the storage area.

Currently I have 3 warps designed, including the above which needs a final tweaking.  I'm hesitant about one of them because I'm not sure I'm going to like it.  So I'm trying to think of something else I can do with the simple point progression of the threading.  I have two options - abandon it or figure out a backup design that can be done on the same threading.

What I do not have is a void, an emptiness, about what to do next.

Each warp sparks ideas for another.  If the warp is long enough, I may come up with several 'new' ideas, or at least directions to explore.  I am seldom 'lost' about what to do 'next'.

All the written essays have been edited and corrected.  I am still considering writing a final essay on how I have developed this series, in case it is something people would be interested in.  I'm not sure it will be of much use, so I'm weighing the time/energy it will take to go through the iterations I've done - so far - and how many people might actually find it interesting.

So, what say you, dear reader?  Does following a (not quite) step by step development of this series appeal?  Or nah?

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Shed Geometry



The Louet Megado has been highly refined so that a loom with quite a 'short' distance between breast and back beam creates a rather large shed.  The above photo is the warp at rest, under tension.  The shuttle race is slightly 'off' level when it is at rest. (This is not a 'fault' - it's how the loom has been designed.) The warp is resting at about the bottom of the reed, and just grazes the front tip of the shuttle race.  

When the shed is opened, the back beam rises to about the same height at the breast beam.  The warp then rises as well so that the bottom of the shed is now slightly above the reed bottom and well above the shuttle race.  THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM.  The shuttle does not ride on the shuttle race but on the shed floor.  

The shuttle race is ONLY necessary if you are using a fly shuttle.  The shuttle race was developed to make a fly shuttle possible - a bridge to get the shuttle from the fly shuttle box over to the shed, then out the other side and into the box on the other side of the loom.

This is the schematic provided by Louet in their owner's manual.  It clearly shows how the warp is being raised to create the best shed possible.  However, it shows the shed opening from the maximum points in the loom - the outside edge of the breast beam to the outside edge of the back beam.  The warp at rest slants downwards as the breast beam is about 37" or 94 cm in height while the back beam is about 32" or 81.5 cm.

When we weave, the shed does not form all the way out to the outside edge of the breast beam but to the FELL.  This alters the shed geometry as it changes the angle of the threads as they travel from the back beam to the fell.  The angle of the warp from the heddles to the fell becomes more acute as weaving builds.  As the fell approaches the reed as weaving proceeds, that angle becomes even more acute.  This increases the tension on the threads and is one of the reasons why new weavers are urged to keep the fell in the 'sweet spot'.

If the warp yarn is 'tender' weaving beyond the sweet spot can begin to stress the warp and is often when breakage will begin happening.  Selvedges can begin to develop weft loops as tension on the selvedge ends increases.

Where is the sweet spot?  Depends on the loom.  The Megado has a gigantic shed and a very large sweet spot.  I have been able to (carefully) push the weaving area to about 3".  This is not something I recommend for every weaver, loom or warp.  It works for me, but I know it's part laziness.  I might be very close to finishing an item and rather than advance the warp for the matter of a few picks, I will continue weaving, even though I know I'm pushing the loom and the warp to its limit.  But I also know the yarn I am using very well, and know it can handle the extra tension.  BUT I have to be very careful with my shuttle handling and not add any additional stress.

In the above diagram I have added a red mark showing approximately where the fell needs to be for proper clearance of the beater and the breast beam.  It may not seem like the change in angle is important, but it becomes important in terms of being consistent in beat and to make sure the shuttle race isn't scraping across the web below, especially if the web is loosely woven.  The rubbing of the shuttle race can shift the picks so that the picks are no longer consistent, creating areas of much less and much higher density.  

Bottom line?  Understand what is happening.  If your loom is a counter balanced or counter march loom and doesn't have a shuttle race - that's because it doesn't need one.  No need to add one.  If you want to add a fly shuttle, then you *will* need to add a shuttle race.

Get to know the sweet spot on your loom and stay within it unless you know the warp can tolerate the extra stress of weaving beyond the sweet spot.

Get familiar with the signs of weaving too close to the reed - the loops that suddenly appear at the selvedge, for example.  

Get comfortable advancing the fell and re-setting the tension.  I've written about this extensively (and have an essay on that in the Next Big Project for those that haven't come across the info - yet).

And for those who haven't seen it yet, here is the link to the You Tube video I posted to Facebook.

Saturday, April 8, 2023



There is a philosophy of embracing imperfections/flaws in Japan called Kintsugi.  Broken pottery is mended with gold as the mortar.  It is a reminder of the fragility of both life and 'things' and that just because something broke doesn't mean it can't be mended and made whole again.  Perhaps even beautiful.

Leonard Cohen voiced that in the song that goes 'forget your perfect offerings, there is a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in'.

As I get older I become less concerned about being 'perfect' and the little 'flaws' that used to bother me become less of an issue.

Am I perfect?  Of course not.  So why would I pretend that I am?  That doesn't mean that I am happy when I make a mistake, but now I ask myself if that mistake reduces the 'value' of the textile I am making.  Will it interfere with the cloth doing the job it is supposed to do?  How much of an effort will it be to fix the problem?  If it's a small threading or sleying error, I'll generally take the time to fix it.  But I also work with fairly fine yarn and sometimes a minor threading error doesn't make itself known until after I've cut the web from the loom and wet finished it.  

In that case I will sometimes offer the item(s) at a discount, rating them a 'second', not 'first' quality.

On the other hand, the idea of kintsugi and the visual of the gold mortar offered some inspiration to me and I used a gold mercerized weft yarn on a 2/16 cotton warp and produced these:

The colours aren't 'true' - they are in fact more intense than the photo shows, but they come close.  They will be listed in my ko-fi shop today.

Friday, April 7, 2023



Woke up this morning with spring well advanced after the warm wind from the south yesterday.

I suppose I feel the stirring of the sap, the rising of life coming back, because I am feeling decidedly restless.

For the past few years I have been on a mission to weave down my stash and mostly what I've done is tea towels with an occasional warp of scarves or other 'samples'.

My fine cotton yarns are 'best' suited for tea towels, however, and I've been producing a steady stream of them.  

This morning I woke up feeling at odds with myself.  Yes, I want to, *need* to, weave down my stash, but I'm getting tired of 'just' tea towels, I suppose.  

The current dive into a new-to-me weave structure has been interesting, but now I'm thinking about how my other fine yarns (rayon) would work with this weave structure for scarves.  OTOH, I also have depth of stock in scarves, too.

Even at just two hours or so a day my ability to produce is out stripping my sales.  As the shelves fill with completed textiles, the yarn barely seems to go away and I feel like Sisyphus rolling that damn rock to the top of the hill only to have it roll back down again.

I could weave shawls as I'm sold out of those, but that means fringe twisting and I truly don't want to do that.  

As I contemplate what comes 'next' I wonder if I keep going or if I take a break, a respite from towels and do a warp of scarves.  

My spinning wheel is set up and despite all my best intentions, I still haven't started spinning down my fibre stash, either.  What I would rather do is build more jigsaw puzzles, but I know I need to focus my energy on doing something more productive than fiddling with bits of coloured cardboard.

Today I am going to do that other thing I've been ignoring - take another look at the essays that need surgery.  My alpha reader says the rest of the essays will be back from her next week, and once they are, I need to write the last one.  So that is also on my list of 'to be done'.  

Now if I could just harness this restless energy - and chose a path - any path will do, just do it!

Thursday, April 6, 2023

A New Day


For the longest time I have been working to break down my 'reality bubble' only to come to the conclusion that I must now live in a 'protection bubble', given the state of the world and the rising levels of infectious diseases.

Just this morning two more friends report that they are sick.  Again.  Covid?  Who knows.  It doesn't matter.  I don't want whatever crud they have, so my policy of NOT attending in person events unless everyone is masked will stand.  Since I can't dictate what other people do, that means I withdraw from society as much as possible and make sure that I wear MY mask at all times when I DO need to go out in public.

I think a lot about the term 'disabled' and wonder at the effect Long Covid will have on society as a whole, when we find out the real toll of having so many people get sick, some of them repeatedly.  And how society deems what is a 'disability' - or not.

I am 'disabled' on several fronts.  I've always had a visual disability, starting to wear eyeglasses at the age of four.  As an adult I have acquired a number of other 'disabilities' - hearing loss due to working in noisy conditions, as well as injuries that now limit me in terms of physical activities.

My 'disabilities' are by and large invisible so most people have no idea about them.  And just like my personal disabilities are invisible, too many people dismiss the disability being caused by a virus which wipes out major organs, or the vascular system which are *inside* the body, therefore also invisible.   I wonder if the virus were visible if people would pay more attention.  Kind of like a mosquito - they wear insect repellant at the very least in order to avoid being bitten.  But because the virus is invisible, they whiff it away with 'no big deal' or 'it's inevitable, just get it and get it over with' ignoring the fact that you can have Covid multiple times, and with each infection the risk of Long Covid increases.  At the very least, your immune system becomes overwhelmed and you can't fight off any other illness, either.  Given my compromised immune system (another invisible 'disability') even a 'mild' Covid infection might well kill me outright, or leave me with Long Covid, increasing my level of 'disability'.

So we have a new day, same problems.  I feel myself withdrawing more and more from social interactions, turning into that grumpy old lady that lives down the block.  As each day becomes more of a struggle, dealing with my invisible disabilities, I have less energy to expend on being 'sociable'.  I save my spoons for the things that bring me contentment - weaving mostly, although I have to limit the time at the loom now because of the aforementioned physical disabilities.  Two hours a day is the most I can manage; some days I don't manage even that because Life takes spoons and sometimes there aren't any left for weaving.

As I see the end of the Next Big Project looming (pun alert) I begin to feel restless - a sure sign that this project is beginning to wrap up.  My 'muse' isn't feeding me any more topics, so I'm not being too distracted from the polishing/editing.  I caught up to my alpha reader yesterday except for the re-write of two of the essays that need some 'surgery'.  Not sure I have the brain power to do that today after a 'bad' night of pain, requiring a heavy duty pain killer, which means I have brain fog today.  

None of us knows the number of our days here in this earthly existence.  At this point in my life, I am content to 'coast', to rest on my laurels.  Imagine my surprise when I opened an email this morning of a publication to find an article in which I am quoted alongside well known spinner Rita Buchanan.  I felt shocked, then a bit overwhelmed.  OTOH, getting people to understand about about wet finishing might be 'my' legacy?  And maybe it is time for me to step back and let others pick up the thread...

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

In the Dark of the Night


This photo is from a few years ago and I am hoping that this will NOT be the view from my studio window come the 14th of March.

Last night I could not get to sleep and wound up getting up to take a pill around 2 am.  I was a bit surprised at how light it was outside given it was 2 am, so I looked out the window to see the nearly full moon brightly shining.  Of course the light was being reflected off the rest of the snow that is still lingering on the ground, which magnified it and made the night very bright.

As I looked around at the neighbourhood, I noted movement across the street.  Wondering if my neighbour was also awake and out and about (early morning shift?) the movement turned into a fairly large deer coming from the gap between the two houses.  Then a second deer appeared.  Two full grown deer - it's too early for a fawn.  As I watched, fascinated, the two reached the street then sauntered away, not a care in the world.

I didn't think to take a photo until they had gone too far away for the camera to pick them out.  If I'd thought quickly enough I could have had a really good photo of them as they passed under the street lamp.

This town is no stranger to animals in town, but two full grown deer, here on my street?  I've seen a coyote strolling down the centre line of my street at high noon, and a grey fox at night.  Bears are fairly common when they are bulking up to hibernate, raiding garbage cans or helping themselves to apples.  While I've see tracks of deer, this was the first time I'd seen them on my street.  We live near a green belt and it isn't unheard of to be notified of a cougar in the area and people warned to keep their cats indoors lest they turn into bigger kitty kibbles.  Moose have strolled through the green belt as well.  We have a variety of hawks that sometimes build nests in the trees, but frequently the crows will drive them away.  Or try to.

When I grew up this town was much smaller than it is now and animals in town were common, less so now that it is more densely developed and a much higher population.

But I can never forget that we live *with* animals and some of them are wild.  They are NOT to be approached and certainly should never be harassed.

The First Nations people refer to the animals as their relations.  I try to remember that they are living beings and deserve to live in peace.  And I think about the damage humans are doing to this planet assuming that none of that damage will affect them.  And then curse the increasingly devastating weather disasters.  We had a reminder of how devastating weather events can be on our drive to Vancouver and back, where there is still a bailey bridge in one place, and a level crossing for a train track where there had been an overpass, and places where the road is slumping, or still damaged from the landslides and flooding.  

It's not just the animals we are hurting.  We are hurting ourselves, too.  And in the dark of the night, I feel sad for what we are doing - or not doing - to help every living thing on this planet.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

A Woman of 'Stature'


Another old photo of myself at the loom, pre air assist.  

I hated the original centre pull activation of the fly shuttle and eventually got Doug to help me change the system over to the kind of cording shown in Laya Brostoff's book Production Weaving on the Fly Shuttle Loom.

The AVL was 60" weaving width and I routinely wove the full width, or as in the above photo, very close to the full width.  I believe my production warps for placemats/table runners were about 50" in the reed.  I could, in fact, throw the shuttle that far by hand because I was tall with long arms, but using the fly shuttle was just So Much faster.  The original set up was for two boxes which made doing things like weaving in a cut line or the space to be left for fringes really easy.

In this photo you can see the shuttle exiting the shed heading for the box.  My hand is on the box changer and I always used my right hand for the fly shuttle.  I never did take the time to figure out how to change hands which put all the 'load' onto my right hand side.  Never mind I knew I should get comfortable using either hand, I never did.  I got really good at finessing the shuttle using this system.

It looks like this photo is from before the Compu-Dobby, so sometime in the late 1980s early 1990s.

Weaving rhythm on this loom with a single fly shuttle was about 90 ppm.  Of course part of that speed was due to the auto-cloth system because all I had to do was change pirns, not stop to advance the warp and reset the tension.  The auto-cloth system is probably the one assist I miss the most on the Megado.  Not that I can't advance and reset - just really miss the fact that I can't just keep weaving until the bobbin runs out.

I removed the hearing protection that I always wore for weaving for the purpose of this photo.  It was used as a 'promotional' photo.  I paid a photographer to come to the studio to take some photos of me at work which were used as part of a magazine article.  I even went and got my hair done 'fancy'.  :D  Not sure you can see the 'highlights' in my hair but yes, I was already turning obviously grey.

My hair has remained essentially the same cut since I started seriously weaving.  At my peak production I would sweat because when you do something resembling ditch digging in the hot sun for 5+ hours a day, sweat happens.  So I would shower every night and didn't want long hair that would take ages to dry.  A wash and wear haircut was just the ticket.

I also stopped wearing a watch because the constant 'hammering' from the beater hitting the fell was breaking mechanical watches.  I only recently - as in about 2014 - started wearing a Fitbit.  The digital fitness trackers seem to stand up to weaving better than mechanical watches used to do.  And now Fitbit monitors my heart rate (a feature I wanted after my by-pass surgery to make sure I was taking it 'easy' recovering from that) and now it gives me updates on my aerobic activity.  It thinks weaving is swimming, but never mind.  :D

If you look at the sectional beam, there are sections that have colour in them.  They are not part of the woven cloth, but markers for where the cutlines were and where I needed to pull threads to create a 'ditch' to sew in.  Then the 'excess' ends and picks were pulled from the cloth creating a textile with fringe all the way around.  

This is a different design from that on the loom, but used the same technique.  Doing this allowed me to weave 3 mats/runners at once, then process them into individual units during inspection.  The coloured threads for the ditches remained in place until I was sat at the sewing machine because the web is pretty fragile until it has been 'finished', both dry and wet.

This photo shows me separating the mats using an electric Chickadee rotary cutter, using the cut lines to separate one group from another.  Then the three would be cut apart and the selvedge cut off in preparation for the four sided fringe.

One thing about writing the essays is that they are dredging up a lot of memories.  Do I miss those days?  Not much.  I do miss the 2" or so that I've shrunk - who knows it may be more by now, it's been a while since I checked my height.

I DO miss my stamina and ability to weave for 4 or 5 hours a day.  But never mind, I'm still weaving, and that is all that counts...