Wednesday, May 31, 2023



I took a few days 'off' to clear my head and start prioritizing what needs to happen.  The days are going to very quickly fly by until launch day and I need to be ready.

I've been testing images for the cover and I think I might go with this one.  I used it for the FB event listing for the launch and it's feeling 'right' to me.

This was a photo I did for the colour gamp kits I used to make and it appeals to me as a 'nice' photo for a book cover.

The bibliography is building and I'll start on the index key words soon.  My editor will get the next iteration to me, maybe tomorrow.  By then I will have had a few days of quiet and time to weave.  Always a good thing when I'm spinning my wheels.  Sitting at the loom treadling and throwing the shuttle brings me back to balance, my 'centre'.  Yesterday I got two more towels done - today I'll weave one more then cut the web off the loom, then tie the warp back on and weave one more.  I have appointments/meetings for the rest of the week but this warp should come off the loom by next Monday?  And then I will put the next one into the loom and continue with stash reduction.

One of the things I've been ignoring is my ko-fi shop, in part because nothing much has been selling.  And most of my brain power has been focused on getting the ms ready to publish.

I also looked at the drafts in my queue and decided I didn't like the last one I did.  It's too static, boring.  So I will work on another one and see if I can come up with something I like better.

The guild has several sales events this spring and I have inventory there.  Hopefully some things will sell.  My new iPad cost more than I had planned, but apparently buying the more expensive one means it should last longer.  One benefit is that the battery doesn't drain nearly as fast. 

As soon as the ms is done I will focus my attention on getting the workshop in the fall ready.  Right now I still have all the ms files on my desk as well as the SOS classes.  The lace class launches on July 6, I think.  So, a busy time coming up, including a trip to Vancouver the end of June.  We both have medical appointments and it will be good to have those things dealt with.  But that means a week away the end of June, so I really want the ms all ready to go before I leave.  Plus I'm getting files from SOS for the lace class to proof.  

When I said I was retiring, I didn't say I wouldn't be carrying on, in some fashion.  As usual I didn't plan on everything happening at once!  

Anyway, I'm mostly thinking about what needs to happen to finish the ms, then getting the files uploaded to blurb, then sharing the launch info.  

In the meantime, we march steadily on towards midsummer and the inevitable 'turning' of the earth back towards winter.  

Next warp:

this will be the 'right' side of the cloth although I will weave it with the 'back' side facing me in order to lift the fewest number of shafts

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Too Much


 Missing my trip through the mountains - just one more thing I have had to give up in a long list of things I have had to give up...yes, I'm feeling sorry for myself - give me a minute, I'll get beyond that...

The world has been too much with me and yesterday I needed a day.

The continuing political unrest and ongoing covid issues have left me feeling restless.  Yesterday Alberta re-elected a right wing (far right wing leader) government which means a big chunk of the population have voted against their own interests while believing the party cares one iota about them and instead will work to dismantle social safety nets leaving the very people who voted for them worse off than before.  OTOH, they have a handy scapegoat and will be blaming the federal Liberals, in particular PM Trudeau for anything and everything that goes 'wrong', most of which isn't in the federal purview but caused by previous right wing governance.  I find it distressing to watch the right wing in action.

On Sunday my bridesmaid died.  We hadn't been close in a long time, but any time we got together it was like we had never been apart.  She was my 'best' friend for some years and a very important part of my life for that time.  She was the same age as me, appeared to be healthy and then - suddenly - she was gone.  It hit me hard.

My appointment with my doctor went well, but it's still a balancing act - not actually wanting more surgery, knowing that at this point a repair is really my only hope.  Not knowing enough to even begin to anticipate what will happen or what recovery will look like.  

All these things left me feeling unsettled and at odds with myself.

I had planned on weaving my 'usual' two towels, but couldn't.  Instead I did a few other things.  I worked on the bib for Stories, decided to take the list of the indexed articles for Handwoven to the guild on Friday and check the rest of the list because I couldn't find all of the issues listed in my own library.  I suspect some of them are not articles I've written, but perhaps just mention me, like the one on the American snowflake draft.  Plus one that looks like a review of The Intentional Weaver.  Before I list those as being written *by* me, I want to double check.

Then I cleared off the work table, set up for pressing and tackled the 12 towels I'd wet finished.  Which shrank given I found two more with skips from that pesky shaft that kept raising when it wasn't supposed to, then one towel where there was something 'wrong' with one of the tubes of weft yarn.  The two red towels will go to a friend who adores red and white, the blue one will go to someone else.  OTOH, the new warp is weaving up very nicely and I'm please to say I'm happy with it and even happier to see another colour with a big dent in it.

Once I finished pressing I came up for a snack, then checked my email and found several that needed to be dealt with, all of them needing some time to collect the information needed.  By the time I'd finished with all that, a nap was in order.

This morning hasn't begun well.  I got a few hours of sleep then woke up at 4 am and now it's 9:30 and I'd like to get a towel woven before I go see the chiropractor to get my neck back in line.  And let her know I'm investigating the possibility of surgery.

While I wait I have to keep going, even if it is just a step at a time.  Giving in to anxiety over what may - or may not - happen won't help me.  Quite the contrary.  My best course of action at this point is to continue to do what I can, when I can, while I can.  And hope the next injection the end of June helps enough to get me through to the assessment at the spine clinic and then see what they have to say.

Monday, May 29, 2023

All In Good Time


public pathway near my house

When I used to walk for physical fitness one of my little pleasures was walking down this public pathway where one of the homeowners had planted white rose bushes.  During summer they would bloom continuously, and it was always a delight to see them.  Sadly someone cut them all down in 2018, so I didn't bother walking down that way anymore.  

Then my back started getting worse and walking for long distances (define 'long') became pain inducing and I stopped walking, choosing instead to preserve my body for weaving.  I still get some aerobic exercise in, but less stress on my back and feet.

Over the past few years I've tried a variety of things to - if not get better - keep going with my 'usual' activities.  I didn't want to have surgery for a bunch of reasons, but treating the symptoms isn't working all that well, and frankly?  My quality of life has been a slippery slope from which there seems to be no recovery.

My options were the epidural injections, painkillers with adverse effects, or surgery - if a surgeon will accept me as a patient.

When the doctor in Vancouver who does the injections suggested I consider surgery, my initial response was 'no'.  But him asking meant I had to think about it.  I had to weigh up how I was coping (not well) with the knowledge that if left to get worse (which it was) the end result was disability.  As in not able to do much of anything that I loved to do.  Up to and including weaving.

So far I've managed to keep weaving in part because it was never the actual weaving that was the problem.  If I look back on my life I can pinpoint areas that probably contributed - carrying heavy cartons, for one.  It was a matter of course that I would pick up and move 40+ pound boxes of yarn and cloth.  Pick up and carry heavy suitcases.  Up to 70 pounds when airlines still allowed suitcases to weigh that much.  Then 50 pounds.  Inevitably I would wind up staying with someone who put me in a lovely guest room up a flight of stairs and I would have to carry my suitcase up - and down - those stairs, lift it into the trunk of the car, lift it out again and drag it through huge airports.

Which I never gave a second thought to, because one just did it.

Then I fell.  I slipped on a patch of black ice and made a one point landing on my lumbar back, right on the SI joint.  I spent a week getting the pain from that calmed down and felt fragile for weeks afterwards.   Then I was diagnosed with *more* cardiac blockages and a specialist who insisted I begin taking statins again.  I didn't want to, said they caused all sorts of muscle and joint pain, but he said my heart was in danger of throwing a heart attack and I HAD to take the statins because I needed by-pass surgery.

So I took them, and within two weeks was having increasing lower back pain, then shooting pain down my right leg.  I stopped the statins and started taking anti-inflammatories in an effort to stop the pain, but nothing worked and over the course of six weeks, with multiple trips to physio, with no end to the pain, my doctor ordered a CT scan.  On the following Sunday I insisted on an ambulance ride to ER because I couldn't stand, walk, sit or even lay down.  The pain was off the charts.

Now, I have had any number of doctors tell me the statins had nothing whatsoever to do with any of this.  I'm just telling the timeline.

After being 'screened' for 'drug seeking' 3 times (twice by the paramedic, one by the nurse in ER) the doctor came in and started in on me again screening for drug seeking.  I was at the end of my patience and stopped partway through my response to him and finally said "I had a CT scan on Thursday.  Maybe you could check and see if that's been read yet?"   

Long pause.  "Why did you have a CT scan?"

"Because my back has been hurting so damn bad!"  (through tears I could not by then hold back any longer)

He was back in about 15 minutes to let me know my L5 disc is partially collapsed, pressing against the spinal nerve.

Since then I have managed the situation with exercises, physio, massage, tried Gabapentin (and gained 30+ pounds, because of course I did), and now epidural injections and stronger pain meds.

And it is doing nothing but getting worse.

There are nights I can't sleep for the pain, most days I block it out, best I can.

I have given up travelling (except to Vancouver for medical appointments).  I have given up teaching in person (one last workshop in October and then I'm done, hopefully with enough new weavers go seed the pool).  I gave up walking for exercise a couple of years ago.  I try very hard to NOT lift anything heavy (which has put all of the workload on Doug's shoulders) and try very hard to NOT bite his head off when the pain is awful and it doesn't take much for me to lose my composure.

Because every minute of every day is a struggle.  Mostly I win, but sometimes I don't.  And it doesn't take much extra stress for everything to spiral from managing to not managing.

Once I accepted the whole trajectory of what was happening and saw that this roller coaster was going nowhere but down, I had to accept I needed to see if surgery was an option.  In spite of my reluctance.  In spite of the risks (every surgery comes with risks).

I had to grapple with the fact that the pain clinic here is beyond coping with anything and not going to see me any time soon.

So I went to see my family doctor this morning with a suggestion of a clinic in Vancouver.  They specialize in spines and they do an intense assessment to determine what is the best course of treatment for a patient.  If nothing else, I would like that assessment, even if they say no to surgery.  

I need to know.  Because knowing is better than not knowing.

And I need to understand what quality of life is ahead for me.  

If my pain can't be effectively treated, then I need to know if a repair is possible.  If a repair can't be done, then I need to know what I CAN do to keep going.

The MRI booking has been sent and now I wait.  Hopefully I can get that done in a couple of weeks, and then see if the clinic will accept me as a patient.

I'm not a patient person, but I also know that I have been inordinately fortunate in my health care professionals.

The doctor who 'caught' me in er and believed I had heart issues and arranged for a stress test.
The doctor who 'caught' me at the cancer clinic and fought to get me on the Rituximab maintenance protocol.
The doctor who 'caught' me at the cardiac clinic when it was determined I needed by-pass surgery and he pioneered the technique of doing that without using the heart/lung machine, which he did on me.
The doctor who arranged for me to be on Praluent instead of statins.
The doctor who arranged for me to have Ibrutinib instead of another round of chemo, and which appears to have granted me an almost unheard of remission.

Now I have to have faith that the right doctor will see me in regards to this situation and allow me to have SOME quality of life for whatever time I have left.

It's just going to take some time.  And knowing how the universe has provided for me for the past 15 years, I can cope.  I may not be very gracious about it, but I CAN do this.

Because I still have way too much yarn I need to weave!!!!


Sunday, May 28, 2023

Sunny Sunday


Once again I was awake far too early, but that allowed me to see the refraction of the light coming through the fan light again.  A little reminder that we are only about 4 weeks away from midsummer and the daylight hours will begin to shrink again.

And so it goes.  The earth turns, the days grow longer, then shorter, carrying us along for the ride.

I am also about 6 weeks away from another anniversary of my first trip around the sun.  There has been much to think about and reflect on over the past few weeks.

I live in a neighbourhood where the population has been very 'stable'.  We have lived on this street since 1975.  There are others who pre-date us.  There are a few rental houses where the tenants change every few years, but mostly the same people who come to live here tend to stay here.  It's not far from downtown, and even though the highway isn't all that far away, it's pretty quiet.  It's 3 streets tucked into the foot of a large hill and most people have no idea our little pocket neighbourhood even exists.  For me that's just fine.

But one of our neighbours is putting his house up for sale.  He has reached an age where taking care of the snow and grass is becoming too much for him.  A reminder that he isn't all that much older than us.

And why I try to get to the loom every day that I can.  In spite of my steady picking away, I still have Way Too Much yarn.

Otoh, the heap of 2/20 mercerized cotton has gone down significantly, which makes me very happy.  There is still enough for a few more warps, so I will continue doing this approach to tea towels for a while longer.

This one will be next, I think:

It vaguely reminds me of several things - squiggles drawn in the sand, design elements from various different cultures, trailways found in sedimentary rock dating from millenia ago.  I didn't try to make this design actually look like anything, just played with lines until I had something that pleased me.

Again the design is symmetrical left to right and repeats along the length.  I fussed over the centre, then decided it would be fine.  Tea towels can get folded in half lengthwise, or in thirds.  Either way, the design would 'work'.

After thinking about this design and the colours I have left available, I think I'll weave it in dark brown weft on the natural white warp.  I have a pound or so of a chocolate brown from Robin and Russ (easily 20 or so years old - long past time to use it!) but I also have a dark reddish/brown, and lots of it.  I think it will look good.

The upper image is how it will look as it is being woven, the one below is how the 'right' side of the cloth will look.

I like the graphic nature of it and I think I'm going to be pleased with it when it is done.  And I weave it 'upside down' to lift the fewest number of shafts.  Because I am that 'lazy'.

But that's the thing - you never know until after it is woven and wet finished.  Until then it's uncertain.  A Schrodinger's towel?  

In the meantime, I still have over half of the current warp to weave, so best I get at it and keep on weaving down my yarn stash...

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Launch Plans


One of the challenges of being a self-employed introvert is the necessity to 'sell' yourself.  Because when you are working in a creative field, that is essentially what you are selling.  You.  Your designs.  Your ideas.  Your words.  Your knowledge.  It's

For so many years I felt I didn't really have anything worthwhile to sell, on the one hand, and on the other knowing that someone, somewhere, might be interested.

The breakthrough for me was taking a course on marketing and having the speaker explain that marketing is just sharing your 'story'.  Since I already knew I was, at heart a story-teller, that explanation resonated with me and I was able to begin 'selling' myself more effectively.

Not that it didn't continue to be a 'drain' on my energy.  Not that my inner critic shut up about being 'not worthy'.  Now I had an ally - my story teller self who managed to quiet the critics and allow me to keeping going toward my goal(s).

This latest Next Big Project was less something that *I* decided to do and more the insistence of my inner muse to write it all out.  Even after writing/publishing two previous books, there were still things that I hadn't yet written about in long form.  Although essays aren't necessarily 'long', they tend to be longer than a blog post, which I consider short form writing.  

The more health issues I was dealing with, the higher the pain, the less ability I had to shut my inner critic up, so then a tussle between my 'muse' and 'inner critic' ensued.  Knowing the lies my inner critic tends to tell, my inclination is to always put more weight on my muse than my critic.  Good angel/bad angel kind of thing.  But it can be exhausting.

After a couple of 'bad' days I woke up this morning feeling 'not too bad' and so I decided to go ahead and book a Zoom meeting to launch Stories.  

We have made significant progress and we have a time frame set out which indicates that all should be in place in time for the July 9 date.  And if not?  It can be a movable feast.  Or, I can still do the reading and answer questions and announce the date at which the book will join the other two on Blurb.

Sometimes you have to leap and have faith the net will appear.

So here I go:

If you are on Facebook I've created an 'event' with the link.  If you are not on Facebook, copy/paste the above link on July 9.  It begins at noon Pacific time and I've said two hours, but OTOH, my inner critic is wondering if this is going to be a case of throwing a 'party' and no one will show up...

But if that happens the only thing damaged will be my ego.  And that I can live with.  OTOH, since I am self-publishing and I have to sell myself, I must go ahead with this 'party'.  And, just in case people *are* interested but can't be there in person I will record and post to my You Tube channel for later viewing.

Funny/fancy hats welcome.  Just saying.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Still Waters


After several very busy weeks, this week is somewhat calmer.  And a welcome calm it is, to be honest.

Next week is going to be busy with appointments pretty much every day, so I've been trying to get a few things done this week and I've made progress so that feels good.

The edits are back with the editor and I should get them back next week for another pass through.  Today I'll be working on the bibliography.  I mention a number of books in my essays, and it is a good idea to include a bib with title, author, etc., in case people want to refer to them, themselves.  At least *I* always appreciate that information, so I assume some readers will, as well.  Once I've done that I will begin on the index key words.  Given the essays are in alphabetical order by their respective title, finding a particular topic will be a challenge if there is no index.  So, indexing I will go!

The next warp appears to be weaving up nicely and I'm pleased with how the web looks in the loom.  I've got 4 towels done (out of a potential 20) and plan on one more today which would make that warp about 1/4 woven.  

We have clear skies today, but the smoke is coming back after a day and a half of some nice steady rain.  My allergies are confirming that it's getting worse again.  

It looks like we continue to be on track for the July 9 launch.  Once I do the next read through, that should take care of the worst of the typos etc.  I *think* the words are ok, but still mulling over commas.  As a friend said, keep the necessary ones, get rid of the unnecessary ones.  But to decide which is which?  That's the 'work'!

At any rate, we are pretty sure, like 90% sure, July 9 can be the official launch.  Pardon me while I struggle with impostor syndrome.  Once I've wrestled that beast to the ground I will schedule the Zoom launch date...

While the title is firm, we still have to get the cover designed.  The editor is busy with other work so hopefully by next week.  Other decisions about formatting have been made, it's just going to take time to do it.  However, there is a clear month in which to finalize the files and get them uploaded to Blurb, so it's looking good.  Nothing in life is certain, however, so I'm on tenterhooks, waiting to see if my plans will go ahead, or...require a detour, or something.

Anyway, the swan seemed like a good metaphor for what's happening right now.  It may look serene and calm on the surface, but we are paddling like mad below the surface.


Wednesday, May 24, 2023



True to form, life continues along it's roller coaster like path.

Today we have no rain but the temps are more 'seasonal' instead of August level hot.  It's lovely to see the blue sky after the dark dreariness of yesterday, except I haven't checked the various websites to see how 'bad' the smoke is around here.  I know it's still bad in Alberta and will remain so for the coming months.

I'm taking a bit of a break after the marathon editing done yesterday and dealing with a few distractions, but I did just now finish towel #2 on the current warp.

Overall it seems to be weaving up nicely and - fingers crossed - I won't find a lot of skips on the 'back' of the cloth - which in reality is meant to be the front of the cloth.

As I wait to talk to my doctor, I've pretty much talked myself into having the back surgery - if I can get an appointment with a surgeon and *if* they think I'm a good candidate and *if* they can fit me in sometime soon.  No guarantees the way things are going with the health care system.  But I'm tired of the downward trajectory of my quality of life.  As the doctor in Vancouver said, I 'present' healthy.  I'd like to believe that I still have some productive living ahead of me given my mom lived to 90.  

In the meantime I have made a few decisions about the next book and am about to contact someone about co-hosting the book launch.  It's kind of like being a teenager all over again - if I throw a party, will anyone come?

Ah well.  I won't know until I try, right?  

Tuesday, May 23, 2023



The weekend was busy with the last day of class Saturday, then assisting the students on Sunday.  I had cut the warp off the loom Friday, then beamed the next one and threaded a few inches, but I didn't have much energy over the weekend.  Sunday morning I did get a bit of threading done, but didn't get it finished until Monday.  By the end of the day, it was tied up and ready to go.

However, on Monday I got the files back and it was my turn to tackle editing again.  

This morning dawned dark and dreary with a steady rain falling.  It mostly continued all day but it was a very dark day and staying glued to the desktop with a detour to the loom to get the first towel woven before heading back to the edits seemed like A Good Thing to be doing.

In the end I managed the edits, except for some clean up of commas, but I'd run out of steam and before I started wrangling more commas, I told my editor I was going to send the file back to her (after I make a copy, because copies are A Good Thing) and I'll deal with the comma situation once she's incorporated the word edits from today.

It's nit picking, checking each comma to see if it is necessary (imho) and if I want to keep it or get rid of it.  And every comma needs to be considered because I'm sure some of them are necessary and I want to aim for clarity.

While my editor does the next step, I will work on the bibliography and I can work from my copy of the ms to start recording key words for an Index.  I had intended to do that on the read through today but I needed all of my little grey cells to stay on track with getting the words corralled.   My ducks in a row.  My butterflies to fly in formation.  

The first towel seemed to go smoothly and I'm pleased with it.  I have a bazillion (not really, just feels like it) tubes of this mid-range value blue so I'm trying to empty the ones that only have some yarn on them, not the nearly full ones.  So far it looks like the dozen or so smallest tubes have enough yarn for one towel each.  So I should be able to empty all of those, then perhaps a few of the fuller ones.  And that should make a good dent in that colour.  I have three more drafts ready to go, so I've got lots of chances to use up more of the 2/20 mercerized cotton.  

Little by little, things are getting done.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

You Tube, etm

Weaving on a floor loom - video

holding the shuttle in preparation to throwing it again

The above video (click on link above) continues to be the most watched of all of the videos I've posted.  The one showing beaming a warp with the warping valet is 3rd, I think.

I did both of those videos before it was a 'thing' and there weren't a whole lot of weaving videos available.  And if there were, some of them were not (IMHO) very helpful.

My goal for decades has been to reduce the frustration and irritation involved in getting a warp into the loom and successfully off it again.  Or, at least, to increase the success rate.  And to decrease injuries.

There are times when things just go 'wrong'.  The warp that got cut off the loom Friday is a case in point.  It was me, pushing the boundaries of a new-to-me technique and I pushed too far.  The entire warp was an exercise in frustration and in the end very few of the tea towels I wove are salable.  A couple of locals will get the rejects.  They will still dry dishes, I just cannot in good conscience put my name on them and sell them.

Yes, it was frustrating and it wasn't much fun weaving.  I'm hoping that as I edge away from the precifice of 'too far' that things will go more smoothly.  

Yesterday was the last day of the beginning weaving class.  I explained to the students that everything I do is meant to reduce stress to the body, but that their body is different so they may have to do things differently.  I pointed out that they need to pay attention to the signals their body will send - does something feel awkward or even painful?  Then they must stop and analyse why that might be and work through how to make it more comfortable.  More ergonomic.  Less painful.

But I suggested that they try my way, especially if they like my results, then adjust from there.

This past month I had to make another difficult decision.  That class will be the last beginning to weave class I will teach in person.  As for learning from me?  There are resources on line.  My You Tube channel, of course, but Handwoven has two on-line 'workshops' and School of Sweet Georgia will have four by the end of this year.

When I began weaving I had no clue where this road would take me.  I certainly never expected it to turn me into a published author (magazine articles and actual books) or to the places I travelled to in order to teach.

Today I will spend the afternoon in the guild room to assist two of the students (the other will come here for some tutoring before I leave for guild).  Once the book of essays is published I will re-tool the beyond beginning workshop (thank goodness I kept the binder with samples and drafts!) and I have pencilled in a tentative date in October.  We are hoping to attract weavers from the region to come and join us.  Will post details when they become available, hopefully mid-June.

Can't take a workshop from me in person?  Here are links to the two on-line places:

School of Sweet Georgia   (you get access to the lectures I've been doing plus the workshops, two of them live, the next one arriving in July, the last one in November of this year)

Handwoven  (look for the wet finishing class as well, listed separately)

My books are available at Blurb   We are still working towards at July 9 official publication date, and a Zoom book launch.  Stay tuned for details on that.

For those of you who continue to read this blog - thank you for joining me on my journey.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Hello August - er May...


I had forgotten that the USA and Canada use a different numbering system for things like pollution.  Since most of my readers are USians, I'm using the US scale for these posts.

The smoke situation is somewhat better today, although it still isn't great.  More yellow, less red. The Weather Network has been giving out weather quality alerts for most of the province for about two weeks now, warning how dangerous prolonged exposure to wildfire smoke is for our lungs (and presumably animals, but they don't have access to masks, so...)

Since I've not stopped wearing a mask against covid, it was a no-brainer for me to wear one against the smoke.  

I had several trips to town this week, and I was consistently the only person I saw wearing a mask. While I heard lots of complaints about smoke, no one seemed aware of the fact that if they just grabbed one of their N95s they would be protected against both.  Even if it wasn't a good fit, less smoke (or covid) in your lungs is less smoke (or covid) in your lungs.

Andrew Kurjata gave some space in his Northern Newsletter to the UNBC prof about baseline assumptions this morning, and yeah, pretty soon this new 'normal' is going to be just that - accepted as 'normal' - and no mitigations or efforts to stop climate change will be taken because human beings are so incredibly adaptable we will just let the vulnerable go ahead and die already.  Darwinism at its finest?

Since I am one of those 'vulnerable' I can't say I'm best pleased to be tossed into the climate change soup of continuing plagues and climate change and told to sink or swim.  Knowing full well that for me, sink is the end game.  Literally.

Prof. Huber warns that if we accept that this 'new normal' is just the way it is, that it is inevitable, and we make no further effort to stop climate change we are in for a bumpy ride.  (I paraphrase.)

Thing is, I was told there would be hand baskets.

I see no hand baskets.  

Just more of (waves hands) this...↑

If it is like this in May, I shudder to think what it will be like come August.  So far *we* are in no direct danger of wildfires.  But we have 3 more months of summer.  Things could change, and not for the better.

Time to make choices.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023



I had booked all my appointments - or as many as I could - for one day so that only one day got 'ruined' for weaving.

Then the middle appointment cancelled due to illness.  I could be weaving now, but I just had part two of the Shingrix vax and the general advice is not to do anything physical afterwards.

This morning the smoke is worse than it has been - so far this year.  We've certainly had it 'worse' in the past, but right now?  It's bad.

Were any other people out and about wearing masks?  No.  I was the only one I saw.  In spite of more than a week of air quality advisories recommending people wear masks to protect against the smoke.  You'd think after covid more people would have masks to hand and pay attention, but apparently not.

I wear a mask rated to N95.  It's not a really tight fit, but it's pretty good.  But the smoke is everywhere, not just outside.

We are running the hepa filter on high for nearly all of the day.  If the smoke gets worse we may run it on high 24/7 and just turn the tv up louder in the evening.  :(  We also have the furnace fan running 24/7.  With the filters on the furnace, the hepa filter in the living room, we are doing everything we can to filter the air.

Because I am allergic to smoke.  Already I have been experiencing the 'usual' effects from that allergy - increased pain levels (oh joy, yet *more* pain), sore throat, sinus irritation and this morning the nose bleeds started.

And it's only MAY.  This could go on until September.

The fires are devastating Alberta, and now we have serious fires in the north eastern part of our province.  There are other smaller fires elsewhere as well, but so far most of them are being controlled (which does not mean out - they can continue to smoulder for a long time until they get a big enough dump of rain - preferably without lightning arriving with the rain.)

It all feels very overwhelming.  I feel stymied on every level.  Yes, I could go weave, but perhaps at the risk of a much bigger adverse reaction to the vax that will take longer to resolve.

So I am practicing staying in the moment.

In this moment I choose to NOT weave.  In this moment I choose to NOT be upset or anxious.  In this moment I CAN do something else - hem those tea towels, build a puzzle, who who knows, read some of my books.

Patience, Grasshopper.  I have a feeling it is going to be a very long summer...

Monday, May 15, 2023



I am feeling weary.  

I am tired.

I am concerned about what is going on in this world.

When I look around for someone who sees what I see, I find a few others and it's a relief.  I'm not batshit crazy like some who deny what is happening accuse me of being.

Yesterday I read an article about the imminent 'collapse' of our civilization, our 'world'.  The author suggests that we begin developing communities, groups of people who will help each other.  Beau of the Fifth Column has been saying the same thing for years.

It is a suggestion that I can identify with, given I have spent much of my life teaching others what is, essentially, a survival skill.

A few weeks ago I was standing in line at the post office, knowing that covid was at an all time high in my province and me the only person in there wearing a mask.  Until one other person came in and stood in line behind me, also wearing a mask.

Somehow, I don't remember how, we started chatting.  Turns out she is a gardener and we talked about climate change and all the things that appear to be crumbling, yearly.  She said that when it all fell apart she could at least feed herself and some others from her garden.

I smiled (behind my mask) and said I'm a weaver.  I can weave you cloth for clothing and you can feed me.

Her eyes got wide and she said "I never thought about that!  Yes!  We can trade!"

And last month the level of carbon in the air jumped up another X points bringing us so very close to the tipping point of no return.

The author of the article I read didn't say it would be a quick collapse, more of a 'crumbling'.  

I watch the news, see the gigantic issue with wildfire all around the globe, spewing yet more carbon into the airshed, the destruction of yet more forests, farmland, the animals in the path of the flames fanned by ever higher temperatures.  I see the sea levels rising and the weather events becoming ever more severe.  So much so that entire new categories have had to be created for hurricanes and now tornadoes.  "Once in a lifetime event!" the announcers cry - as if every climate scientist everywhere hasn't been ringing alarm bells for literally decades.

This morning someone posted a quote from Kurt Vonnegut - I paraphrase - Dear future generations, I'm sorry.  We were drunk on petroleum."

And again, yesterday, I read an article about the very specific circumstances that allowed oil and gas to develop and how there will never be more because those specific circumstances no longer exist on this planet.

Also yesterday, I saw a video clip by Dolly Parton singing about climate change - "Liar liar, the world's of fire!" she sings.


Maybe people who need to hear this will listen to Dolly.  They didn't listen to Midnight Oil (the beds are burning) or Joni Mitchell (pave paradise, put up a parking lot) or any of the other singer/songwriters who have tried to tell us.

In the meantime, I guess I keep trying to teach people how to weave.  Because when civilization goes this time, all those survival skills are in danger of being out of reach of far too many so having at least some people know how to weave (and spin) means we can at least clothe ourselves, maybe trade with gardeners for food?

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Wording is Hard


Wove this scarf a while ago - it says 'create joy'.  Yes, the letters are woven in.

This morning someone commented on a sentence they were reading that pertained to making yarn and wondered if the description they read was accurate or if there was a nuance the description was missing.

And I remembered again that wording is hard.

It was part of the struggle I went through trying to write my first two books, and what I am currently going through with this book of essays.  For every article I submitted for publication, the technical editors generally found grey areas that needed fixing.  And I thanked them for their service.

With so many it dependses and nuances in terms of bringing loose fibre into woven textile, have I been clear enough so that people can understand?  Or could I have done better?

Well, the short answer is, it depends.

It will depend on how much brain fog I had when I was trying to string the words together.  It will depend on the reader - if they can grasp the point I was trying to make.  If they are willing to accept that there are so many factors that the results hinge upon.  It will depend on how accurately I have observed what is happening and if I've chosen good metaphors or just plain descriptors to explain what I have seen happening in the weaving of the cloth.  It will depend if I've drawn correct conclusions.

Once the words have been published, they are there for anyone to see/read and comment on.  Agree with, or not.

Will I succeed or fail in getting across the complexity of the subject?

Personally I've struggled with knowing that not everyone will agree or even understand what I am trying to get across.  Because someone, somewhere is bound to take exception and will let me know in no uncertain terms that I'm *wrong*.  And I may well be!  Because it depends!

I have had to accept that this will happen and do what I feel needs to be done, anyway.

Most of all, I have to accept that I don't know everything, and sometimes I need to learn more my own self.  

But that was part of why I chose weaving to be my career - I wanted to do something with my life where I would continue to learn for the rest of my life.

Weaving has been all of that - and so much more.

I have had fantastic people come into my life because of weaving.  I was young, 25 when I made that choice, so most weavers of the day were older than me.  They took me under their wing(s), encouraged me, questioned me, pointed me in the direction of resources.  They celebrated with me when I had successes.  Some lent me equipment, gave me rides to conferences, gave gentle feedback, held me to account in terms of the decisions I was making.

On this Mother's Day, I can do no better than to remember all those people (most of them female, but not all) who 'mothered' me.

With grateful thanks to the weaving community which has become my 'family'.  Wording is hard, but I can say a heartfelt thank you to all who have encouraged, supported and cheered me and others on.

PS - I have decided I will order in a few of the new books and sign them for anyone interested.  I know this is a huge ask, but if you are interested in a signed copy of Stories from the Matrix, email me

laura at laurafry dot com

I will put your name on the list and you will get an email once I know the price and shipping.  No obligation.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

A Matter of Value


My plan C is a very simple point progression, in threading and treadling.  However, it is being done with a tie up that creates a type of value scale due to the 'block' nature of the weave structure.

The tie up is 1:3:1:3:2:2:3:1

Where one shaft is up in the block the block shows mostly weft.  Where the tie up is 2:2, the two colours are equally present on the face of the cloth.  Where the tie up is mostly 3 up and 1 down, that area shows mostly warp.

Since I routinely tie up my loom to lift the fewest number of shafts, then, this face of the cloth is mostly weft 'dominant'.  The other side will show more of the warp and will be mostly 'white'.

Even though the 'hem' area (at the very top of the cloth) won't be visible, I will sometimes include a different treadling as a cue that I am nearing the end of the item, in this case a towel.  It's a little 'trick' I play on myself.  Since I know that the cloth will tell me when it is nearing the 'end' I don't start fussing wondering when I'll be done.  I can usually tell from the time on the clock approximately when that will be and then when I see the hem area coming up, it's like that sprint to the end runners sometimes use on marathons.  They will keep back a little energy to see them across the finish line.

Even though this is a very simple motif, because it has 3 different values being woven there is a bit of a 3D effect happening.  Dark colours 'recede', light colours 'advance'.  Same with values.

So all in all, while this wasn't my first choice, or even my second, it's fine.  I'm happy enough with it that I'm not getting anxious to change it to see if I can do something else.  I know I will be doing something else on the next warp.

I'm now about halfway through this warp.  Unfortunately next week is busier than last (which was supposed to be a quiet week, and then wasn't) so I won't likely get this warp off the loom before next Saturday.  But that is the last day of the beginning weaving class and things should become less busy once it is done.

Several of the beginning weavers want a beyond beginning class and, while I don't really want to, I have agreed to do Mug Rugs and More.  This is a workshop where they can try out a variety of different weave structures and experience a larger variety of things all at once, so to speak, with a focus on textiles that are geared towards table textiles.

Bad news is that I tossed all my teaching notes earlier this year when I decided I was finally done with teaching.  However, I kept the binder with all the samples for this topic and the drafts.  I have to update them, but I always did every time I taught the class.  So I'm trying to get the ms published, and then drag the binder out and begin re-doing all the class handouts.

One of my students has requested an October date, so I will talk to the guild executive and see if they are ok with a workshop between (our) Thanksgiving and the first craft fair.  It means I would do it over a Sat/Sun but that means weavers in the region might join us?

Otherwise things are going well enough.  In this class one student is already winding her third warp, one student is threading her second and the third will decide what they want to do - there are several options they are considering.  They have the use of the looms until the end of the month and can then rent a loom.  There are 5 guild looms, one is already rented, but that means four more they can use.  

Our guild has a good number of spinners; I'm hoping that the two beginning weaving classes will produce some more weavers.  :)

Friday, May 12, 2023

Be Kind


"In a places where there are no good people, be a good person."

When I saw this piece of calligraphy at a show I was doing, I told my spouse that could be my Christmas present.  When we got home, it was hung on the brick wall in the kitchen, and I remind myself frequently that it is better to be kind.

The past few years have tested that desire to be kind in the face of so much unkindness.  During an airborne pandemic, when people were asked to wear masks and refused because their inconvenience was more important than other people's lives made me very sad.  

It felt...unkind.

So I tried to use logic.  I tried to reason with people.  I tried to just make them see that covid wasn't a nothing burger for me and others.  But nope, nope, nope, some people simply would not be swayed.

And yes, I know that a mask isn't foolproof.  Neither is a vaccination.  What a vaccination does is try to mitigate the seriousness of the disease if you should catch it.  

But then we found out about Long Covid.  Surely the naysayers would see the wisdom of reducing the viral load in the air then?

Apparently not.

Now we are being hit with a heat wave which makes wearing a mask even more uncomfortable, so I get it.  I am not exactly comfortable in the heat with my mask on, either.  But just like I wear my seatbelt when I get in the car, I put my mask on before I exit the car.

Because less smoke, or a virus in my body, is A Good Thing.

All mitigations against covid are being dropped even though covid hasn't gone away.  I, and other immune compromised people, are still at risk because covid is still, even now, raging through our town.  But, because fewer people are dying, we are told to suck it up, stop living in fear, masks aren't covid proof, so why even bother wearing one?

Because LESS viral load in the air is better than letting it rip.

People tell me to stop wearing my mask because it won't stop covid.  No, but it will reduce my odds of getting it.  And I'll take a lower risk of being sick for the discomfort of wearing a mask over no protection at all.

Now we have wildfire smoke 'season', starting early, in the midst of a heat wave.  Temperatures in the high 20s, low 30s in May is simply unheard of, at least for days at a time.  The coming 10 days is going to be temperatures more typical of August.  I shudder to think what August will bring.

But this mindset of not doing small things to reduce risk because they won't solve the larger problem?  Of not bothering to do anything because one person cannot fix a global issue?  I understand.  But if enough individuals each did their part, some 'small' thing, AND advocated to their governments to do the big things?  Maybe, just maybe we would have a chance.  A chance to at least slow the steady march towards a future that is looking a whole lot like hell in the making.

This week of temps in the high 20s, low 30s, in MAY is what the scientists have been warning about for literally decades.

Yesterday I found a clip on You Tube of Midnight Oil's 1987 song Beds are Burning.  We knew then.  We knew in the 1960s.  We turned a blind eye and now?  Here we are.

So.  I will continue to wear a mask.  I will wear it for me, yes, but I will wear it so that I don't catch it and share it with others.  I will wear a mask against the smoke pall.  I will continue to compost, recycle, watch my gas usage.  And our next vehicle will, in all likelihood, be a hybrid.  

No, a hybrid is not the best answer.  But it WILL reduce how much gasoline we need to get around.  

Small acts.  They may not 'save the world' but less of a problem is better than more of that problem.  

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Looking Forward.


After the 'failures' of the current warp, I was becoming 'tired' of this design approach so of course I had to make some more designs.  (Mostly I was getting frustrated because I was doing all this 'work' and not getting results I was liking.)

Yesterday I did one, then this morning did this one.

This one reminds me of photographs I've seen of sound waves expressed through the medium of sand on a resonating plate.  Where people will spread loose sand on a thin metal plate that is supported in a way that when a bow is drawn down the side of the metal plate - or in some other way sound is applied to the plate - the plate vibrates and the sand takes shapes according to the vibrations the sound makes and how the metal plate visualizes that for our eyes.

So no, I'm not replicating anything, here, just taking those patterns as inspiration.

Waves occur in many ways in our physical world.  One design reminds me of waves lapping against a shore.  That one is next in the queue.

The design I did yesterday is reminiscent of mosaics from the middle east, or other motifs that regularly appear in their designs.  Again, I'm not replicating anything, just playing with the way lines can form shapes.

I am particularly taken with making curving lines within the grid of warp and weft interlacements.  A play on how we perceive things.  

Weaving has many ways to express this - colour and weave is a particular favourite with many weavers.  You might see a design or pattern because of the colour, but take the colour away and what you have is...plain weave.  Or a 2:2 twill.  Or some other twill ratio.

Tapestry is, of course, the most recognizable way we weave design into cloth.  Weavers can get extremely fine details in tapestry.  Nowadays smaller computer controlled Jacquard looms are more commonly available and some handweavers are doing quite incredible work with them.  I think Lia Cook was one of the first I knew about.  Patricia Williams and Sandra Rude, now sadly gone.  There are others who are doing very interesting work in that direction.

My brick wall has a Jacquard image woven by Sandra Rude when she found out I had cancer and was dealing with the potential loss of my hair (didn't quite go bald, in the end).  It was a gift that had me in tears because we didn't know each other well, and I knew how much her woven images were selling for.  It is a gift that still brings me much needed encouragement in no small part because her note said that 'even without her crown of leaves the mighty oak is beautiful'.

Today, especially, I am thinking of that because I head to the cancer clinic in a few minutes to find out if I am still in remission.  An extremely rare remission, that was totally unexpected and has lasted far longer than I had any reason to expect.  There are oral drugs now, but of course they all come with adverse effects, and my body seems to love to adopt at least one or two of every drug I take.

Yesterday the doctor that has been giving me the epidural injections to try to help control my back pain observed that they won't last forever and they didn't seem to be helping much, and that because I'm fairly young and very healthy had I considered surgery?

I laughed and said that I'm not all that healthy given I'm living with cancer and have had triple by-pass surgery.

There was a quiet moment, then a very subdued 'oh'.

And then he said "But you present very healthy!"

I told him I bluff well.  

Then this morning I read a response to a post I made on a chat group.  I had been posting my progress as I wove this current series, and said I was eager to get to the next warp.  The comment said that they loved how excited I was to do the *next* warp.

And that's pretty much it, isn't it.  In spite of everything, to keep looking forward.  To keep trying.  To keep learning.  Growing.  

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Yeah, It's Real


It's May 10 and already the wildfire 'season' is well advanced.  This year it appears to be Alberta's turn, which will then turn into Saskatchewan's, turn, then Manitoba's, and then Ontarians will be complaining because of our smoke.  While we may have been living with it for weeks, or - given it's only May - months.  For me, personally, the smoke became an issue yesterday with high pollution indexes for the entire city, during a heat wave (seriously, in early MAY?)

Yes, we have wild fires.  Never this bad, this early.

The photo is from last night and shows the smoke dispersion over Alberta.  The red is the very high concentrations of smoke, most likely over the actual big fires burning.  The mountains are holding some of it back, but we have our own fires and yesterday the skies here were yellow with it.

This is one of the faces of climate change.  The next face will be after the rains come and there is no vegetation left to help the water soak into the soil, and then the water runs off with the topsoil.  In Alberta, especially, this is going to be a disaster for agriculture.  And lord help us if the fires get into the tar sands and that lights up.

There is already too much carbon in the atmosphere and this smoke?  Is full of it and increasing an already overly burdened atmosphere with yet more carbon.  And round and round we go.

The disaster of wildfires is not just the land that burns, it's the smoke in the air, harmful to everyone's lungs, yes, including other animals.  It's the increase in carbon.  The soil erosion.  The landslides as steep slopes devoid of trees get washed downwards, taking out roads, homes, and in some cases lives.  And not just human lives, the lives of any of the animals who ALSO call this planet home.  And then, of course, the flooding because the water comes down from the clouds, isn't captured in the soil but enters the rivers, and rushes downwards to the sea.  And then places that are closer to sea level, like the entire southwestern corner of our province, you know, the one with about 3/4s of the population of BC, floods and wipes out the agriculture in the Fraser valley, killing the chickens, pigs, cows, etc., killing the crops, destroying billions of dollars of the economy.  Instead of tackling climate change, politicians simply budget for more disasters, ignoring the fact that these disasters will increase in number and severity the longer we ignore climate change.

Just like we are now ignoring covid.

When you know better, do better.  Every single person needs to hold governments and businesses to account as well as doing better themselves.  This is a complex problem, and will not be solved by simple measures.

Just saying...

Tuesday, May 9, 2023




There comes a time when the words stop being generated and the polishing begins.  There comes a time when the pages in a binder begin to take shape in the form of a 'real' book.  There comes a time when someone who is self-publishing needs to take off the 'author' hat and don the 'marketing' hat.

That time is now.

While the manuscript is being polished by the editor, *I* have to begin thinking about the part that I - an introvert - like the least:  marketing.

What is marketing?

Advertising is when you buy ads in media.  Marketing is 'sharing' information.  Since I can't afford to buy ads in media, welp, I'll be doing some 'sharing' - soon.  I will be hoping beyond hope that people who like my effort will share the word with their friends.  Word of Mouth.  It's real.  And it's invaluable for someone like me.

It's one reason why I like and share so many of my colleagues posts on Facebook.  They, too, are marketing.  Their workshops.  Their classes.  Their publications.  I know that every like/share will go into Facebook's algorithms which will give them a little extra 'boost'.  It's like the prayer wheels in the Himalayan mountains - every person passing a prayer wheel gives it a little spin, and more prayers go out to the gods.  It's community support of the best kind.

And priceless to people like me, working mostly by themselves, doing all the jobs, wearing all the hats.  Except the ones we know are best done by someone else, like the final edit/polish.

Since publishing Magic and TIW, we now have Zoom.  So I'm planning on a Zoom 'book launch'.

Anyone want to come to my 'party'?

Stay tuned for details.  So far, July 9, noon Pacific time zone.  Watch here and on Facebook for invite link.  I just don't want to jump the gun too soon to make sure we can make that deadline.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Win Some, Lose Some


Turns out version 2 didn't weave up nicely.  Which is why you can't just go based on the drawdown, you have to actually weave the cloth to see if it is going to work.

Abandoning that line of approach entirely, I replaced the tie up with a 'traditional' twill combo, changing nothing else, and started weaving again.

This time it is working well enough I will continue with this set up.

The half tone effect is giving a blurry look to the diamonds, which is fine.  Sometimes it is nice to have something less 'hard' edged.  

I expect the quality of the cloth to change.  The interlacements are likely higher with this tie up, although I haven't done an actual count.  However, it isn't just the number of interlacements but the way they interact that will affect the drape of the cloth, so until this is wet finished it may - or may not - have the same handle as the ones I've been making so far.

Last night I pawed through my reducing stash (finally!  I can see the heap is smaller!) and I think there is enough of this red to do 6 or 7 of this design, then I think there is enough of a very dark, almost black, navy that might finish the warp off.  To Be Determined.  But weaving down two more colours will feel like an accomplishment, and will likely allow me to condense the boxes from 4 to 3.  Right now I'm keeping the almost black navy separate from the navy blue because they are so close they are hard to tell apart.  Until you weave them next to each other.  And then they look very different.  (Ask me how I know.)

But I am finally to the point where I am beginning to see the end of the 2/20 mercerized cotton.  Not this month, but this year.  Hopefully before the end of the year, but mostly I am just trying to get to the loom every day - if I can - and not thinking too much about what comes next.  

I have reached the stage of life where I just donwanna do a lot of things.  I suppose it is a form of patience?  Or maybe it is just acceptance, which might be the same thing, all in all.

As the northern hemisphere moves into summer, I am hoping everyone can stay safe from the worsening effects of climate change.  Right now our neighbouring province is dealing with about 100 wildfires, about 1/3 of them not controlled.  We are also seeing more wildfires here.  Stay safe everyone.

Sunday, May 7, 2023



We are halfway through the 2nd Beginning to Weave class and I wonder - am I doing my students a disservice blasting them with So Much information?

I think I have reached the point where I am no longer a good teacher for complete beginners.  There is too much to convey and I want them to be exposed to all of it.  To understand the complexity.  How everything affects everything else.  To understand how much there is to learn.  But most of all, to accept that Mistakes Will Be Made and to not let those deter them from continuing down this path, if they choose to do so.

And so my decision to make this my last beginning level class is, I believe, the correct decision.  In fact the next one, which will be a 'beyond beginner' class will likely be the last in-person class I teach.

Instead I will focus on other things.  What are those things?  Dunno.  Yet.  The universe has always provided a path when I reach this sort of impasse.

If there is one thing I have learned in this life, is that it will continue.  Until it doesn't.

A friend posted a deep introspection of her own life this morning and it resonated deeply.  I too have experienced loss(es) and needed to find a way to go on.  At first I needed a justification:  when my younger brother died suddenly I questioned why him instead of me.  I was older than he was.  He was beloved in this community, I wasn't.  (*MY* community is outside of this town, my memorial service won't be standing room only.  I had to get comfortable with that idea.)

In the end I realized that I must go on because my brother's journey was done.  By his dying, he 'saved' me from the same fate (a genetic condition that severed his life far too soon for a great deal of people - and I was nearly there myself.)

And now here I am, 15 years later, still here, still weaving, still trying to educate that far flung community to which I belong.  I find it difficult to accept it has only been 15 years since my brother died.  I look at everything that has happened in those years, without him being a quiet steady presence in my life.  I think of him frequently, wonder how he would have managed during these years of pandemic.  What things he might have accomplished had he only had the time.

But he didn't, and I did.  So I had to keep going.

I don't know what the future holds.  But I will keep going.  I just need to make some changes and leave the door open for whatever comes 'next'.

In the meantime, the two classes for School of Sweet Georgia are in the can, the first launches this summer, the second in November (I think).  My editor is working on the ms and hopefully there will be a July 9 publication date and who knows, a book launch?  I still have a Zoom account and July 9 is a Sunday.  Could be a good day for a partay?

Time becomes more precious the less of it you have.  Sometimes I think it's a really good thing we don't know our expiration date.  But we should never forget that we have one.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Letting Go


Yesterday I finally got to the loom and started weaving the heart motif I spent a very long time generating.

It wasn't looking good.  In fact, there were 'errors' in the tie up that created a very long 'skip' in a particular pick.  At first I thought it might be a mechanical problem with the loom, but when I looked more carefully, it was designer error.  I tried to fix it and just wound up with something even less attractive than ever.  I kept trying to fix it but it kept getting 'worse' instead of better.

It was time to 'fold 'em' and give up.

I knew going in that there was a distinct possibility that this would happen, so I had a backup plan, a Plan B, if you will.  It was simple and I wasn't sure how it would look, but about 5 minutes at the keyboard in Fiberworks and it was...okay.

Nothing dazzling.  Nothing technically difficult.  But 'good enough' for tea towels.

I could have spent more time trying to figure out something else, but frankly it's been a long time of too many other things happening and I just didn't have the spoons to expend more of my time and energy on this warp.  It's taken me all week just to get TO the loom; I didn't want to spend even more time on a mistake just because I'd already spent a lot of time getting to the realization that it WAS a mistake.

You know what they say - don't stick with a mistake just because you've spent a lot of time making it.

And it wasn't a 'failure' because I learned a lot about this weave structure and how the half-tones were going to look in something other than a 'line' design.  Valuable information.  Now I know that isn't a road I care to follow.  Instead I will go back to my 'etch-a-sketch' approach and play with twill lines. 

I'm actually quite pleased with the next two weaving drafts which go back to that approach to designing so I'm now eager to get this warp woven off so I can go on to the next.  And I will think some more about where I can take my line 'drawings' within the woven structure.

It's a good lesson to learn, I think.  Explore, but be willing to go back if the trail peters out or you wind up in a bog.  Sometimes the fastest way forward is to go around an obstacle, not stubbornly carry on, just because you decided to go that way.  Take the lessons, add them to the mix, and try something else.

In life as well as weaving.  That's a pretty good lesson to learn.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Beginnings. Endings.


From time to time I see (what I assume to be) new-ish weavers lamenting that the yarn package they are working with has a knot in it.  Or they try to come up with a way to make 'endless' warps so that they don't have to keep re-dressing their looms.

Generally I sigh and scroll on by.

But the essays I've been writing means that I've been thinking more about attitudes and techniques and this one keeps coming back.  I've probably written about this before, but my 'muse' can't seem to let go so I'm here - again - to muse about beginnings, endings and the existence of knots.

Weaving has so many similarities to living a life that pretty much any advice I give for coping with problems in weaving can be extrapolated to living, but for now I'm just going to write about weaving.  If anyone wants to see anything useful beyond weaving, well, that might be A Good Thing.  It depends.


Knots in yarn.  Yarn is not endless.  To make a longer string/yarn, it has to be joined to another length of string/yarn.  There are ways that can be used that do not entail the use of a knot, but some of them simply don't work for every circumstance.

So, a knot it is.

To then get into a bit of a tizzy because the yarn you are using has a knot in it isn't very helpful.

Because a length of string can, and will, contain a knot. Sometimes more than one, depending upon the length of said string.

There is literally nothing helpful about taking a photograph of a knot in a string and posting it to the internet expressing a deep sigh at the 'poor quality' of said yarn.  Instead learn how to deal with it.  If it is weft, cut the knot out and overlap it, just like you do when you are joining in a fresh bobbin.  It's a knot.  It happens.

If it is in the warp, and you wound that warp, it should have been dealt with while you were winding that warp, not complaining about it when it appears in the loom.  If you didn't fix it during winding/beaming because it slipped your notice, there are ways to replace the knot.  Learn how.  Lamenting the loss of a few inches of yarn is really not a good attitude.  In My Humble Opinion, of course.

I've seen photos of setups where people set up a creel and mount full cones or tubes on it and then just drag the fell forward which feeds more yarn off the yarn package as each yarn is tensioned so that it doesn't pull forward during weaving, but will come forward when the fell is advanced.

But guess what?  All of those yarn packages will eventually run out and they won't be at the same place because yards/pound is only ever an approximation.  So you either replace one end at a time and wind up with knots in your warp anyway, or you 'sacrifice' the tag ends of the cones/tubes when you replace all of them at once.  If you can use them for weft, great, but maybe you can't.

I relish the end of a warp because it means I can try something different, something new.  But I get that not everyone wants to take the time to become efficient at dressing a loom.  Sectional beaming will allow for longer warps (in some looms, up to 100 yards long, depending on the thickness of the yarn).  God knows, I did 100 yard long warps for literally years.  We got good at replacing any knots noticed during beaming, using glue that would wash out and overlapping the yarn, gluing it into place, using a hair dryer to dry the glue quickly so that the beaming could continue.  The glue dissolved during wet finishing and it looked like a 'regular' needle woven in repair.

If a knot got missed during beaming, I got good at replacing it, using a replacement yarn to 'by-pass' the original with the knot in it until the original was long enough to bring back into the web.  Then needle wove the ends in during burling (inspection and repair).

Same with broken warp ends.  Repair/replacement yarn hung off the back beam until the original was long enough to bring back into the web, needle weave in during burling.

Weaving is a labour intensive activity.  Learn how to get proficient (and efficient) at doing it.  Accept that every string has a beginning AND an ending and learn how to deal with it.  Warps will frequently offer challenges with knots in the warp or warp ends breaking.  Learn how to fix those.

Don't let a minor inconvenience become a bigger issue than it is.  And don't let 'perfect' spoil 'good'.