Thursday, June 29, 2023

Todays Thoughts

 Yesterday a huge t storm rumbled through the northern part of the province, lighting up more fires.  At the moment the wind is blowing the smoke more or less northeast, but of course wind is fickle and things could get smoky again.  If people hated masks against Covid, I suggest they get over that against smoke.  At least smoke is visible, so who knows, maybe more people will get over their aversion.  I know it’s hot, and masks are uncomfortable, but smoke is bad for lungs, surely we all know this by now?

Apparently climate denialists have selected their scapegoat and are beginning to mount a campaign to blame Canada, ignoring the wildfires around the world, including California.  I guess we didn’t rake our forests enough, or something.  

Western Canada has been battling increasing wildfires for years, while climate change denialists poo-poo’d the increasing risk to life and limb, then the ramifications of too much forest devastated, followed by floods because a scorched earth can’t absorb much water.  And round and round we have been going.  Now?  BC is experiencing drought conditions, so fires will light more easily, burn hotter, range over more hectares and be harder to put out when they start.  Fighting the symptom instead of the cause will be far harder and way more expensive in the long run.  

What to do?  We could stop burning fossil fuels for one thing.  Not just individuals but industry.  Solar is finally gaining a toehold.  We are seriously considering a hybrid vehicle to reduce our gas consumption. We already drive the most fuel efficient vehicle we can, do circle routes when we run errands, group errands by location.  We have composted since the 1980s, recycle what we can, reuse, repair.  We wear our clothing out, buy natural fibres as best we can. 

Someone posted the new seasons in Canada, fires, floods, heat domes and freeze. Right now BC isn’t faring too badly but almost all the other provinces are struggling to put fires out and smoke blankets the east side of the continent.  Not so easy to ignore when the smoke covers the higher density population areas?  But this is not the fault of Canada alone.  This is a global problem and it’s going to need a global response.  Can we do it?  Dunno.  It might already be too late.  But dammit we have to at least try?

Tuesday, June 27, 2023



I try to explain how large warp winding equipment is when you scale up.   Here are a few photos from the weaving studio/mill we visited in Roberts Creek today.   And this one isn’t the biggest.  The photo above shows the back where the warp is transferred to the loom beam.  And the threading ‘library’ at the top with the warp left in the heddles on the shafts so that you don’t have to rethread every new warp.  

Fun trip.  So glad I finally got to see the operation.  Macgee Cloth at Roberts Creek, BC.  

Sunday, June 25, 2023

On The Road Again


These days, it feels like a simple quick trip to Vancouver is more like mounting an expedition to Mount Everest.

Since I'm immune compromised, we book hotel rooms with microwave and fridge, bring our own coffee pot (because hotel room coffee pots are pretty awful), bring food I can eat (food allergies), and make our own breakfast and lunch and bring in take away to eat in the hotel room for dinner.

That means bringing dishes, therefore the drain rack, soap and tea towel.  The air filter comes, too, because hardly anyone is wearing a mask anymore and frankly, I can do without a summer cold, never mind covid or any of the other viruses floating around.

On the one hand, we are told that covid is 'no big deal' but on the other, that immune compromised people have to fend for themselves.  Fortunately I have a spouse willing to protect me and continues to wear a mask and is willing to drag our air filter along for the hotel room.

This trip is 'easier' insofar as I'm not teaching so we don't have to load the van full of teaching stuff, too.  But we have some other 'errands' that can be done while we are in the lower mainland, so there are those things to remember.  

My state of health continues to be...well, 'fragile'...I suppose you could say.  But the appointment last week has given me some things to follow up on, and I'm hoping the doctor in Vancouver will have some further input as what to do in the coming months.  Like that punching bag I mentioned previously, I have risen to fight again.

With a long drive there and back again, I have packed 3 books, my knitting, two bins of hemming.  Heaven forbid I run out of things to do while sitting in the van or the hotel room.  Because my days of going to the theatre, art galleries, MOA at UBC, or any other crowded indoor event are over.

"Oh, just live your life, don't be living in fear all the time!"  Um, yeah, I'm old, been there, done most of the things I care to, I can survive 'sacrificing' having 'fun' in order to avoid getting sick.  Am I afraid?  OK, if that's someone's opinion, I'll say I'm afraid.  Mostly I'm stubborn.  I don't want to get sick.  I don't want Long Covid.  I don't want to die from a virus I could have prevented by taking some simple measures to avoid catching it.

Last night I saw the latest iteration of the ms and frankly?  It's looking good.  Will it be good enough?  Dunno.  Others will have to weigh in on that.  But my editor is working hard to polish it and we discussed a few things for her to be working on for the coming week.  

The new 'deadline' is to have the review pdf ready by July 4.  If that is ready, she can be uploading the file to blurb, I can order the 'sample' copy to preview, and once I've seen that I can order in the print copies for the pre-publication offer.

Thank you to those who have contacted me to indicate interest.  The pre-pub offer is good until midnight July 4, 2023 (Pacific time zone).  Indicate your interest in purchasing a signed copy from me (the only place you will be able to get one - unless you come visit and bring your copy with you!) and you'll get a tea towel (of my choice), free.  The price will be $68 (Canadian) and payment can be via ko-fi or Paypal.

If you email me, use the subject 'lagniappe' so that I can easily find them when it comes time to contact you re: payment.  (And you thought I was being silly using a rare word!)  :D  

We are off in a few minutes.  I will have email when we have wifi.  And Sweet Georgia Yarns will have signed copies of The Intentional Weaver as of Wednesday afternoon.

Stay safe.  Stay well.  Stay weaving (or spinning or whatever it is that makes your heart sing!)

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Under Pressure

 Under Pressure

To be alive is to be 'stressed' in some way.

Stress is generally portrayed as being 'negative' or 'bad', as is tension.  But over the years I have learned that tension, particularly in weaving, can be a force for 'positive' outcomes.  The trick is to get the balance juuuuuuuuust right.

I have a tendency to go plunging into the deep end of the pool.  Repeatedly.  As I said in a previous blogpost, publishing this book isn't my first ro-day-o.

It is the same with 'pressure'.  

Unfortunately, getting that 'balance' just right is a tricksy thing.  Then when Life loads up the lemon cannon and starts taking potshots at you, things can get down in the curse 'may you live in interesting times'.  Which sounds pretty innocuous until you start to think about what constitutes 'interesting'.

At times I would mentally see myself as that weighted punching 'bag' my brother got when he was little.  It was a clown and when you smacked it on the nose it would fall over, but the weight in the base would work with gravity and it would right itself, ready for the next smack on the nose.  The down side of getting older is that I have less energy or interest, for that matter, in wading back into the fray.

OTOH, there is still a part of me that wants to do things.  Inevitably those things require me picking myself up, dusting myself off and doing just that - wading back into the fray to see what fresh hell Life is going to lob at me.

I will meet with my editor today at some point - a last consult before we hit the highway tomorrow.  While I will be available via email or text/messenger, that will largely be at the whim of internet access along a very long highway with little connectivity.  

This trip is necessary, not just for me but for Doug who is also going to have a minor medical procedure done.  Plus a side trip that was delayed due to Covid but pretty much has to happen now or not at all.  Plus another side trip as we head home, to visit with family not seen since before Covid.  We are *all* getting older and who knows when there will be another opportunity.

It looks like the weather is going to be hot and dry.  Preferable to cold and wet, but the downside of that is that the risk of wildfires will grow as the bush dries out further.

So, we are bringing N95s with us, not just for covid, but in case of severe wildfire smoke.  And hoping that things stay calm until we get home.  Because this summer has the potential to be brutal if the bush catches fire in any further significant way.  So far the worst fires have been in the north east of the province, but it wouldn't take much for the southern part to go up in flames, too.

Climate change.  It may not be responsible for the fires, but it is responsible for the increasingly devastating growth in spread and degree of destruction.  And of course, the more the bush burns, the more carbon is being released into the atmosphere.

I'm hoping that the majority of the 'work' on the ms is under control and when I get home all that I will have to do is weave some, do some marketing, and prepare for the zoom on July 9.  The pre-publication offer will be available until midnight Pacific time zone July 4, 2023.  Once the books arrive, they will be shipped out as quickly as I can get them signed and packaged up.  On July 5 I will know how many padded envelopes to purchase.  I have plenty of address labels, and the dining room table will be turned into a shipping 'department'.  (Remember, email me with the subject 'lagniappe' to express interest in the pre-publication offer.)

But as of tomorrow, I have a week of 'respite' from most things.  A time for quiet.  A time for wrestling with impostor syndrome (made easier with each email that comes asking to be on my contact list).  I have two bins full of hemming to be done in the evenings, a library book and will choose another just in case I finish that book, plus my knitting for in the van.  With the many hours we will be spending in the van, I've even set a bunch of CDs out to be packed so that we will have plenty of music to keep us company.  (Yes, I still listen to CDs.  I even have a huge stack of cassette tapes I listen to when I weave.)

Goal for today?  Two towels woven, meet with editor, pack.  Easy-peasy.  No pressure.  :)

Friday, June 23, 2023

Making Mistakes


fixing a threading error


We all make them.  Yes, yes we do.  Sometimes they can be fixed.  Sometimes they cannot.  Sometimes we choose to NOT fix them.  Some are even made on 'purpose' so as to not offend the loom goddess.

That last one?  If you are making a 'mistake' on purpose, it's not actually a 'mistake' is it?

(scratches head, moves on)

So this week has been particularly fraught, for reasons.  I've needed more heavy duty pain killers to keep the pain manageable, but with that comes brain fog.  I mean, it's either brain fog from pain, or brain fog from pain killers, and frankly?  Less pain is less pain, so...

Anyway, I've been scrambling for the past 10 days and one of the things I was trying to stuff into my allotment of energy was threading the next warp.

Wednesday I finished threading and realised that oops, I had threads left over.

Well, shit.

Seems the first day I started threading was Monday afternoon, late in the day. I took a break and when I came back to it Tuesday morning, I wasn't paying enough attention and skipped over a design element.

Which means these towels either had to be completely re-threaded - because the mistake was right at the beginning, about 5 inches in - or I accepted that - once again - I am not perfect, and the only thing 'wrong' with the towels is that the design will not be symmetrical.

So that's it folks - once again Laura produces something with a built in 'flaw' in order to not offend the Loom Goddess.  My story, sticking to it.

I have a small amount of purple left to use, so I'm going to start with that and the towels will go to someone who adores the colour purple.  I know she won't care my towels are not 'perfect'.  They will still dry dishes.   And for her, the most important part is that they will be *purple*.

The rest of the warp will be woven with very pale colours.  There is some pale sage green and a pale cream.  Using a very light value weft on the white warp means the woven design will not be particularly visible.  They will still be asymmetrical, but it will be less obvious.

And they will still dry dishes.

Will I sell them?  Tough question.  The perfectionist in me says no.  The pragmatist in me says to call them 'seconds', even though there is nothing faulty in the cloth.  They are still perfectly functional as a towel.

So then what?  I don't need a dozen or so 'flawed' towels.  Another thought is to use them as a lagniappe or free gift.  That, I may follow up on because I have a book to sell.

Ah yes.  The book.  So, how goes the book?  Well, the print version may be more expensive than I'd hoped.  Let's face it, inflation has happened everywhere, including in the book industry.  Right now I'm looking at $48 Cdn for the soft cover book.  With shipping of $20, that would make $68 to purchase Stories from the Matrix from me, personally.  It would come signed, and the first purchasers would get a 'flawed' towel.  Potentially 16.  Won't know until I'm done.  OTOH, I have lots and lots of towels, so...

There are something like 3 dozen essays.  Some are 'stories', pure and simple.  Some are hints/tips.  Some are adventures that I have enjoyed, travels to 'exotic' places (for me - your definition of 'exotic' may differ!), some are musings on the craft.  As one person put it, they are the kinds of thoughts that Laura thinks about while she is at the loom.  And that is true.  It's as close to 'dumping my brain box out on the table' as I could honestly provide.  

The essays are ordered according to title.  A bit like trail mix.  You won't really know what's in the next handful until you start eating it.  I briefly thought about titling each essay Chapter One, like in the Dancing Wu Li Masters, but discarded the idea as having already been done, and much more appropriately given that book is about quantum physics.   

My editor did an in depth search and found some of the articles I've had published over the years, but also?  Places where people referred to work I'd done that they then used as inspiration.  Frankly, I had no clue and was very humbled when I saw the list.  She is including that list in the Appendix.

She is also inserting lots of photos of textiles I've woven over the years.  (Beware of sharing your entire photo album with an enthusiastic editor!)   As she pointed out, I have woven a life, so I needed to show some of what I've woven.  All of that means more pages, and more colour photos.  But if this is the last book I will write (I'm not saying never - look how that's worked out so far?) then maybe I do need to have some of my 'legacy' left behind?

Anyway - here's the deal.  

Email me laura at laurafry dot com with the subject lagniappe and say you are interested in purchasing a copy of Stories from the Matrix from me when they are ready.  I will keep a list and when the books arrive and get signed, I will contact each person in the order the email arrives and give right of first refusal.  Payment can then be arranged - either through my ko-fi store or through Paypal.

I will take orders until July 4 after which I will need to send the order to the printer.  The books generally take about 2 weeks to arrive after which we will package them up and get them to the post office, so orders should arrive before the end of July.

The lagniappe towel will be added to the book and what you get will be a surprise.  

If you are not in North America, I suggest ordering directly from  They appear to have printing facilities around the world so you won't have to pay international shipping.  You won't get a signed copy or a towel.  However, international shipping is almost as much as the book costs, so it's cheaper to order off their website if you are interested.  

Lastly, the book will also be available as a pdf at a lower price.

I've done a fair amount of rummaging looking at various books and this pricing is pretty comparable to other books of a similar nature - a niche topic for a niche market.  If it's out of your budget, I commiserate.  

So far I've had one interview about the book (and my life) and would be willing to be interviewed by others for podcasts or whatever.  I will be away next week, but home by the 4th of July.

I can be contacted by email while we are away and will answer as internet access allows.

This pre-publication offer will stand until July 4, 2023.  Actual price for the book MAY change once the files are completed and uploaded to  Remember, the only way to get a signed copy is to purchase directly from me during this pre-publication offering.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Solstice Day


Today is - hopefully - going to be a 'quiet' day.  A small hiatus in what has turned into a rather over the top busy week.  

Life is like that.  We make plans.  Life Happens.  We adjust.  Deal with it.  Move on.

And meantime, the sun keeps rising in the east and setting in the west.  About the only guaranteed thing, these days.

Yesterday I had an absolutely lovely chat with Michelle Boyd (spindleprincess).  I'd asked her if she would like a review copy of the essays and she agreed with alacrity.  She not only spins, she weaves, and she's been writing a lot for the publication Digits and Threads.  

One of the things we talked about was impostor syndrome, and yet neither of us has ever hesitated to reach out to someone to ask a question.  I think it's because I'm not too bothered if the answer is 'no'.

On the one hand, my name has a certain recognition level in the weaving community so I didn't hesitate to contact people to teach at conferences our guild organized, up to and including Allen Fannin, Jack Lenor Larsen, Abby Franquemont and other 'names' in the weaving/spinning world.  

As Michelle and I talked we realized that in many ways we had the same approach to being in the textile community - feel the fear and do it anyway.  We talked about making mistakes (yes we have both made tonnes of them) and how some of the best lessons learned are from trying something and finding out what happens when you do.  That there is almost nothing that can go 'wrong' in trying something new that will make a blind bit of difference - other than giving us more data.

It was really hard to say 'goodbye' after 2.5 hours.  There was so much more we each wanted to say, but we each had other things that needed doing.

Meanwhile, work on the ms continues.  One of the 'dangers' of self-publishing - you keep tweaking right up until the very last minute.  

This morning I am taking it 'easy'.  It's the solstice and the sun begins it's journey back south (or north if you are in the southern hemisphere).  We are 'officially' in summer here, now, with many more weeks of potentially hot and dry weather, which will push the wildfire situation even further into the critical zone.

After being evacuated due to wildfires, Edson, Alberta is now being evacuated because there was a huge dump of rain on the town and now, after the fire?  Flood.

This is our new 'reality'.  Climate change is not a myth, it's real, and we are now dealing with natural disaster after natural disaster.  Not just in Canada, but everywhere around the globe.

It seems more important than ever to grow more weavers/spinners, keep the craft alive.  Just in case it all goes pear shaped.

But no matter what we humans do - or don't do - the sun will keep rising in the east and setting in the west, regardless of if we are around to view it.

So today?  I'm beaming the next warp.  Who knows, I might even start threading it.  My goal is to leave the new warp in the loom ready for when I get home.  Because come what may, I will be weaving for as long as I can.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Monday, Monday


Yesterday was the most Monday of Mondays.

The whole weekend was a scramble of trying to get The Book sorted through the valiant efforts of my editor grappling with software and new/different websites with varying protocols.  The 'finishing' for the birthing of a book is a trial of perseverance.

Plans got changed, then changed again.  By Monday it was looking like everything was on track after some 'adventures' with corrupted programs that totally messed up the formatting and the mad scramble was on to get a copy of the ms to my first(!) reviewer so that they would have an inkling of what the book was going to look like.  And I started my 'final' read through to comb out any more 'nits' I could find.

In the midst of all that, my other July deadline was looming and my SOS team was needing their updated information so that they could complete their launch.  It felt like a tsunami of deadlines was washing over me.

Partway through the day I wondered how on earth I used to be able to do this sort of thing and still get to the loom.

Well, there's a reason I 'retired' (for certain values of)!

It was 2 o'clock before I finally finished the read through and notified my editor of the last nits that needed to be combed out of the ms, grabbed some lunch, got dressed(!), got the info to SOS and headed to the loom at 3.  By then I was running on adrenaline which meant I did actually get one towel woven, not the two I'd planned.

Needless to say after all that, I needed a nap!

But it's beginning to take shape.  Now the problem is, will people be willing to pay the price for a print copy?  My editor is adding lots of photos, way more than I'd planned, and quality photo reproduction in print isn't cheap.  

OTOH, does anyone even actually want a print copy?  Or will a pdf be acceptable?  I'm Old School and still prefer to have a 'book', but maybe most people are fine with 'digital'?

I mean, I'm not even sure very many people will want to buy these essays with my pithy comments, let alone buy one that is pricy...(Yes, impostor syndrome is A Thing!)

Anyway, the review copies are not yet ready to go out and may not be before we leave.  But that will give my editor another week to work out the kinks and the file can still go out when I get back.

In the meantime, I have my first (only?) interview this afternoon, and there is enough warp for one more tea towel so I'm going to finish that off.  My goal is to have the next warp set up ready to weave before we leave so I can get started weaving the next design as soon as we recover from the trip.  I want to get the current warp wet finished so that it can go into the bin with the rest of my hemming and see how much I can get done while we are away.

My ko-fi shop badly needs updating and I have A Plan for that - once I'm home.

Anyway, today is a lovely blue sky day and if I get dressed now, there is just enough time to finish off that warp before I have a lovely chat with the interviewer.  She is someone I know and respect and I'm on tenterhooks to hear if she thinks the essays are worthwhile.  

After the read through yesterday, I can honestly say - I'm happy enough with it.  It's 'me'.  My opinions.  My attitude.  My voice.  Is it enough?  That will be for others to say.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Life With Lemons

In the wee hours of this morning, my editor discovered she was working with an editing program that was corrupted and which meant that the entire manuscript was not going to work 'properly' using that corrupted program.

After hours of trying to find a work around, she phoned to extend her apologies and let me know that she wasn't going to meet the deadlines we had laid out.

OTOH, the essays themselves were looking good - it was just going to take longer than planned to get it ready to upload to the online publishing company.  It might even take beyond my proposed launch date.

After discussing the situation with her, it seemed to me that I could still do the launch 'party', even though the files might not actually be ready on blurb.  We should, by then, have a firm date by which they *would* be ready.  

We made some changes in what we had planned, and she has gone back to her computer to begin re-doing the formatting for the ms from scratch.

First she has to 'rescue' the finalized essays from the corrupted formatting program.  Then we discussed the other issues that needed to be addressed and we have a new plan.

In the end, it's actually taken a weight off my shoulders, given the sudden addition of appointments for the coming week, plus the video review for the lace class that I'd completely forgotten about in my scheduling, but which I managed to complete this morning.  So that's a huge sense of relief because the launch date for *that* is July 6 on School of Sweet Georgia.

My plan to have the review copies ready this coming week is now on hold until after I get home from Vancouver.  That means that if the new format is ready by July 1 the review copies can go out on July 2 or 3, plus there is still a chance that the July 9 launch date is valid.  But I am very familiar with 'moveable feasts' and rather than re-schedule my 'party' I'm going to do as planned and have the Zoom event anyway.  It IS, after all, still my birthday.  :)

And who doesn't love a party?

Bring your lemonade.


Saturday, June 17, 2023



After several months of working on the manuscript, it is beginning to pull together and I am finally beginning to see glimpses of what it will look like - soon.

Last night my editor sent the edited version of one of the essays I was having trouble polishing myself (that's what editors are for, amirite?) and I got a glimpse of how my words are going to look in book form.


Just because one weaving machine or handloom is more complex than another doesn’t mean it isn’t still a handloom.

A machine is just a tool with lots of mechanical assistance, which means less labour for the operator.

When I ordered the AVL Production Dobby Loom in 1981, I excitedly told my weaving friends, expecting them to be as excited as I was. Or, if not excited, to at least understand why I felt such a loom was necessary for me. After all, from day one, I had made my intention to earn an income from weaving and selling my textiles clear.  It only made sense to me that I weave with the maximum amount of efficiency.

The reception to my ‘news’ was cool, to say the least.  Fly shuttle?  Dobby??  Auto-cloth advance???

Several of them flat out told me I could no longer call my textiles hand woven.  I was crushed, but I’d already decided that such a piece of equipment was the correct one for me, and I stoutly maintained that I was every bit as much of a weaver as someone on a more ‘usual’ handloom.  I pointed out that I still had to design the cloth, wind the warp, thread, sley and tie it on.  Every single pick had to be laid in by my stepping on a treadle and throwing the shuttle.  I had to understand the weave structure completely because I had to peg the dobby bars and ‘program’ the design before I could weave.

None of these arguments swayed anyone’s opinion until I discovered that the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (of Canada) had an actual definition of hand weaving: each and every action of the loom must be initiated by the weaver.

The above is just a snippet of that particular essay.  

But as I read through my polished up prose, once again I felt the unease of impostor syndrome.  Do I really want to say these things?  Out loud?  In public, so to speak?  Who am I to hold such Opinions?

Once again I had to let the emotions flow through until they stopped and I was able to clear my head.  I wrote the essay for a number of reasons.  

One of the motivating forces of my life as a weaver was constantly trying to find my way.  Defining my goals.  Charting a path to get to them.  My life is not the same as others, and so I had to find my own path to meet my expectations and, yes, ambition(s).

When that meant choosing tools, I had to select the ones that would help me meet my goals.  To then be told I was not, could no longer be, part of the handweaving community, stung.

Recently I advised someone to do much the same thing - figure out what they wanted to accomplish then set their course so that they could follow through.  And to not be swayed by others who would disagree with their choices.

Right now the quandary seems to be if simple looms are 'real' looms or not.  Um, yes!  One type of loom is not 'better' or more 'real' than any other.

One of the discussions I had about whether or not my 16 shaft AVL with fly shuttle, cloth advance and compu-dobby was 'hand' enough for the 'hand' weaving community.  I pointed out that I have two looms.  A Leclerc Fanny 4 shaft counter balanced loom and the aforementioned AVL (now Megado).

Once the webs were cut off the looms and wet finished, there was nothing much to distinguish them from each other - given I have a pretty consistent beat, can manage decent selvedges on either loom.  And yes, I have been known to weave plain weave on the AVL and Megado.  More telling would be if the cloth was woven with a structure with more than 4 shafts required.  That would be a dead give away that it had been woven on the more complex loom.  OTOH, I have used a pick up stick to create a cloth that required far more than 16 shafts if it were to be done loom 'controlled'.  

Not a great photo - it was taken as a quick snapshot with my Blackberry at my brother's funeral service.  He designed the chart based on the photo of the steam locomotive (The Royal Hudson), I cleaned the chart up to make it weave-able, then wove it using pick up in a form of Beiderwand.

It is not the equipment you use, but what you do with it.

Rigid heddle looms are quite popular right now and are finding a home amongst weavers who are using them with creativity.  They are every bit as much a 'hand' loom as my Megado.  As are warp weighted looms, inkle or band looms, or even tablet weaving.

I think that we, as members of the human family, tend to want people to want what we want, do things the way we do them.  In reality we are much better suited to each finding our own pathway through life.  Diversity is better than conformity.  

Holding respect for everyone, no matter what loom they use, (or any other thing that could be used to divide us), is far better for humankind than trying to make us all into the same cookie using one cookie cutter.

So it was as a fairly new weaver that I began advocating for acceptance of any loom that would hold thread under tension so that it could be interlaced with another thread.  It didn't hurt that I'd seen a variety of complex cloths made on simple equipment to help me understand that it is the *weaver* not the equipment they use that is the important part of any woven cloth.

As I began teaching I wanted people to use 'my' methods, but I very quickly learned that not everyone could, sometimes not even the people who would have liked to use them.  Instead, I began urging them to find which processes, techniques and tools would be best for them.  I could explain the reasoning behind why I do what I do, but if they didn't have the physical capacity to do it that way, then fine tune the process to meet their requirements.

Inclusivity meant accepting ALL the ways thread can be woven, not just MY way.

In the end, the book of essays may offend some, but I hope it will shed some light, as well.  Acceptance is better than rejection.  Including different ways and means is better than shutting some things out of the community.  Respect is better than disrespect.  And ultimately?  Respect is a two way street.  Holding up one way as the One True Way isn't helpful (imho, of course!)

Will everyone agree with me in my very opinionated essays?  I doubt it.  But perhaps they might spark some discussion.  Shed a light on something that may have been puzzling.  Certainly just writing the essays has opened some things up for me.  Will these essays be my 'final' word?  I doubt it.  Recently I adjusted my thinking about something and have moderated my opinion.  I'm sure it will happen again.  Why?  Because I am not welded to my opinions but leave myself open to learning more, willing to admit that I have adjusted my thinking, am willing to change and learn.

Does this make me a better person than someone else?  No.  Of course not.  But if people want to take what I do as an example of one way to approach the craft, I'm ok with that.  Impostor Syndrome notwithstanding...

Friday, June 16, 2023



Yesterday I got one of the nicest compliments!  The video editor for School of Sweet Georgia said that even though she isn't a weaver she enjoys editing my work because my voice is so 'chill'.  (!)

I do the class(es) extemporaneously because first of all I don't want to be memorizing pages of script, but also because I don't want to sound 'wooden'.  I'm showing a process and I need to be able to make adjustments on the fly so that if something goes 'wrong', or *might* go 'wrong' I want to be able to point out how I'm adjusting the situation I'm demonstrating.  (And yes, there are times when things go pear shaped and I explain on camera what is happening and what needs to be done to fix it.  Because none of us are perfect and knowing how to fix 'mistakes' is a valuable lesson in itself.)

One of the challenges right now is the level of brain fog I'm dealing with and as I viewed the little clip she shared, I knew immediately where I had 'glitched' and was fumbling (mentally) for the word I wanted to use.  But she assured me that only *I* could tell.

I've done several taped classes now, 2 for Handwoven, 4 for SOS (two are launching this year, the next one on July 6), but I thought about the times I've been interviewed and suddenly remembered the time Felicia Lo interviewed me for her 'podcast'.  This was long before she asked me to do classes for School of Sweet Georgia, and I enjoyed her interviewing style very much.  You can still find it if you google Episode 064 Masterful Weaving.  

I have also been interviewed by Syne Mitchell for her WeaveCast.  Syne was also a great interviewer.

Another interview was with Shelagh Rogers of CBC Radio, one year when I was participating in Circle Craft.  I have no idea if that interview is archived anywhere.  But it was a delight being interviewed by such a renowned journalist.

Shaw TV did a short (2 minute) profile of me, which can be found on You Tube.

I'm thinking ahead to the book launch, which will be a Zoom event (check FB for event invite or check back here closer to the day - July 9) although suddenly my calendar has been filled with personal maintenance appointments.  All of them welcome and a relief to finally get them.  And perhaps get some help with the aforementioned brain fog.  

But the editor brought up something that I had never considered before - with my 'chill' voice I should do a podcast.  Hmm.  That sounds like an awful lot of work.

Instead let me just say I am happy to be interviewed should any podcaster be interested in having me and my 'chill' voice on theirs?  :D

Thursday, June 15, 2023

In the Fullness of Time


Got the notice this morning that the Lace Weaves class with School of Sweet Georgia will launch July 6.  Looks like July 2023 is going to be...eventful?  

It's been just about 9 months since we drove down to Vancouver to tape the class (and the one on Sectional Beaming, due to be released in November 2023).  

SOS is very busy creating content for their members/students and it all takes time.  

I wove the above scarves (plus several others) for the class, but also for the last of the lecture series on Colour Considerations.  That one happens this September and then I think I'm done.

For me, as a new weaver, colour was very confusing.  I'm not a 'natural' when it comes to picking and choosing colour and since weaving it is different from, say, water colour or oil paints, it seemed like the colour 'rules' didn't work very well in textiles.  Until I realized that it was more pointillistic, not blending.  

Then I learned a few 'gimmicks' that helped to determine what colours might work together.  Michelle Whipplinger explained how 'value is more important than hue'.  Which I found confusing until I started working with the colours based more on their value than their hue.  And realized that 'light value advances, dark value recedes' really was a 'thing'.  And therefore a little yellow (or other very light hue) goes a long way.

The colours in the above photo are not 'true' - in fact the purple is a darker hue than it shows in the photo.  The hues are all pretty close when it comes to value, but the brighter, almost cyan blue, looks as though it is a lighter value, so it was kept to the smallest of the stripes and acts as a kind of frame.

I did four warps in total - one was monochromatic, (a grey scale from white through grey to black), one was with colours opposite each other on the colour wheel, one with adjacent colours (yellow through orange to red), and this one which is different hues, same value.

Since I was weaving samples for the lace class I wove two versions of each colour, one in all plain weave, one with a 'gamp' at one end of the scarf.

I particularly like this photo because shows so clearly how the threads will shift and migrate in the lace weave, how they take up differently, and why I will frequently include areas of plain weave in order to help maintain a 'good' beat.  When weaving lace, there is less resistance when the lace parts are being woven and there is a tendency to beat the weft in too tightly.  Having warp stripes of plain weave is a good visual reminder to maintain a 50:50 ratio (as best you can).  If you can't be perfect, be consistent.  :)

For this particular sample, I didn't do an all plain weave version, but changed the density and wove the two scarves in order to compare the results of the densities.  They were my first 'samples' for the class and lecture, and once I knew which density I preferred, I did the rest at that density, weaving one with the lace, one with all plain weave. 

My mother always said that after she 'retired' she was busier than ever.  I won't make that claim, but I will admit that I do seem to find myself filling up the days well enough, even with reduced energy and inclination.  The coming month is going to be a bit, um, fraught.

I'm trying to complete the warp currently in the loom, then beam the next warp before we leave.

We get home on July 1, hopefully my editor will have been able to upload the files for Stories, and I can get my 'test' copy, perhaps even before the launch date, the lace class launches July 6, marketing for Stories will be ramping up, then the actual book launch on July 9.  I expect to order in around 20 copies for gifts for people who have helped (alpha readers, friends who have been helpful and supportive) and maybe have a few to sell.  Mostly people will find it cheaper to purchase directly from blurb (which appears to have printing facilities they can use in Europe and Down Under, therefore no international shipping), but I *may* be convinced to order in a few to sign and sell directly via my ko-fi shop.

And of course, there will be that warp waiting for when I get home.  I designed a variation of the warp I planned on doing next, so I have two ready to go, two I'm lukewarm about and may trash.  

For today?  The smoke was 'bad' this morning, although improving as the day goes on, but there is little incentive for me to leave the house.  So it's hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to the loom I go!

Wednesday, June 14, 2023



The smoke is back.  It was worse this morning than it is now but it is coming in from the north and managing to catch us in it's 'skirts'.  It could be worse further east and definitely worse further north which is where the current smoke plume is coming.

So far we've been lucky, here.  Most fires are distant enough that we are not under any kind of actual fire threat, but the smoke blows where the wind takes it and today?  It's here.

Yesterday I met with my editor and we finalized some formatting issues.  She will come back on Sunday with those implemented.  Then, if there are no major changes to be made, I'll make one last read through and get the files back to her.  The plan is to have the completed pdf ready by the 20th so that I can start sending out my promo copies to the list of people I want to give one to.

Since we leave on the 24th, I need to do my promo marketing before I leave.  It takes time and people have lives to live, natural 'disasters' to deal with.  Ultimately my launch date is *my* deadline, and marketing will continue long after the launch - just like I do for Magic and TIW.  (Sorry, not sorry, self-publishing means marketing, too...)

This morning I was contacted by someone I had asked to review the pdf when it's ready, hoping they would/could do a book review and get it placed with a publication.  The answer was a resounding *yes* and an indication that the publication would welcome an interview.  The interview has already been booked.

I confess that when I read the positive response my first reaction was...fear.  All the inner critic comments washed over me in a wave and I had to take a deep breath and let them go by.  I closed my eyes and felt the fear and carefully did not reach out to grab any of it - just...let it flow by.

What can I say?  This is not my first ro-day-o.  And my inner critic is a familiar (and very unwelcome) voice that I have learned to shut my ears to as soon as I recognize it.  But still - the fear was there.  

"Feel the fear and do it anyway".  

How can I manage that?  I found having a very clear goal helps.  If I can hold onto that goal, remind myself that it is important - to me, if no one else - I can grab onto that goal, that anchor point, that goal 'post', if you will - and hang on until the fear finishes rushing by.  If I keep my hands in my pockets (or firmly around my goalpost) and not grab onto any of that fear, it will go by faster than if I start examining all the negative comments that swim in that wave of fear.

I confess to a certain level of wanting to please people, then when they aren't I feel like I've somehow 'failed' them.  But I also know that not every person is the correct teacher for someone and if they are disappointed in me, their best course of action is to find a different teacher.  

Life, like weaving, like learning about weaving, is an 'it depends' kind of thing.  And sometimes the lessons the student learns don't make sense until later.  Sometimes much later.  How do I know?  Because I have had that experience from the student point of view.

And sometimes the lessons we learn are not the one(s) we were expecting, but the one(s) we needed to learn.  And yes, I speak from personal experience about that, too.

Sometimes it is only in hindsight that we suddenly have an ah-ha moment and realize *that* was what the teacher meant when they said x, y, z.

The editing dance continues.  More of a waltz than anything - step, step, side, pivot, step, step, side, pivot.  And the music plays on...

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Passing the Torch


Today I am marking one more box of student work.  It's a bittersweet time, given how much I have enjoyed teaching the Olds program, and that I officially 'retired' after last year's class and am now marking the last student boxes that I will ever do.  So far the 'return' has been pretty good, given that usually not all of the students will submit homework to be marked.

But Life Happens, and sometimes things just don't align for some; some discover the program isn't really what they wanted or were looking for.  Some find that they learned far more than they expected - or even wanted, if they had thought about it beforehand.

That's the thing with weaving - it's a spectrum and it depends.

Out of the 6 beginning students I taught this year I am hoping that at least four of them will carry on.  Time will tell.

And that's the thing - weaving can be practiced on so many different levels, in so many different ways, it's hard to know if what you've given them in a class will resonate or if they will discover weaving really isn't what they thought it was and they move on to something else.

Or they sustain an injury that makes doing a very physical, hands-on activity difficult enough that they try something else.  I know that as I have aged I have had to change what I do and more importantly - how long I do it for.  Instead of about 5 hours of weaving a day, I try to do about 2 hours.  But even that is stretching it, some days.

I keep weaving in no small part because I still have pounds and pounds of yarn to use up, much of it on the finer end of the scale, so a little goes a long way.

And I keep writing about weaving in hopes of inspiring other weavers to keep going.  To keep learning, even when the lesson isn't what you thought it would be.

Tonight is the meeting with my editor and I'm on tenterhooks about it.  Is it 'done'?  Have *I* done enough?  Am I good enough, explaining things?  Will anyone be interested????

Writing a book is not unlike weaving.  I take the threads, order them, try to make something out of them that someone else will find appealing, attractive or at the very least, useful.  Writing a book I take a bunch of words, order them, try to arrange them so that they make some kind of sense that someone will find helpful, informative, potentially inspiring.  In both cases, I won't know if I've done a good enough job until I offer them for sale.

Ultimately I hope to leave enough of a 'legacy' so that others can find what I've done helpful, useful, potentially inspiring when they need it.

A pretty egotistical thing, truly.  Except that I know that one teacher is not THE teacher for every single person out...there.  I just hope to find the few that want to learn what I have observed, experienced and dare I say it, know.

When the student is ready the teacher will appear.  If I don't leave something behind for the student to find when they are ready?  Well, it's a long shot, not knowing if what I'm doing will ultimately be useful to someone, somewhere, someday.  

So I keep going, keep writing/weaving and let the powers that be (whatever power you might believe in) determine that when a student needs to know that I know, think, believe, they will be able to find me, even now that I am 'retired' and not stumping the workshop circuit.

Some of my students assure me that they value what they learned from me.  Some of them even say I have inspired them.  So I rest assured that I have made every effort to pass the torch.  And for as long as I can, I will keep trying to light more more torches, more candles.  Because more light is better than darkness.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Holding Opinions


If there is one thing I've learned over the years is that if someone holds an opinion, it's a good idea to be able to 'defend' your position.

Over the years I've had to 'defend' (explain) the reasons why I hold my opinions about a variety of things.

The first was in teaching.  When I showed people a particular technique, I had to explain why the students might want to consider learning a new technique - that investing the time to become proficient was going to be worth their while.  If they were interested in the particular benefit of using that technique, of course.  Not everyone was (or is).  And that is their choice.

When I started teaching at conferences I would sometimes be asked to jury exhibits.  There was more than one where I was approached by someone asking me why I had - or had not - given a ribbon or prize to a particular exhibit.  I always respectfully explained my reasoning.

I even overheard someone questioning why on earth a piece I entered in a juried exhibit got 2nd prize.  In their estimation my cloth wasn't worthy.  While the comment stung, they weren't the juror, and I happily cashed the prize cheque, secure in the knowledge that the juror (a 'name' in textile design) had seen my cloth to be worthy.

One of the things about posting videos to You Tube is that not everyone will comment on the site, but from time to time I will become aware that people are viewing my videos and not everyone sees benefit to what I'm doing.  

Sometimes I ignore the discussion.  Sometimes, I comment.  If I comment it is usually in response to a direct questioning of why I bother doing x, y or z.  If people are going to poo-poo what I do, I feel I have the right (when I want to) to respond and answer their question.

Right now I'm about to launch another book with *opinions* galore.  Part of me is wondering how many people will question what I'm doing and why.

What I *hope* is that people will ask me directly, not make suppositions about why I am doing something they think is pointless.  If they ask me directly, I will tell them - for free - exactly why I do the thing they think is useless.  It's not like I'm hard to find, or anything.  :D

For them it may remain useless if it doesn't appear that doing it 'my' way is going to be of any substantive benefit to them.

But don't just question my decisions behind my back.  Got a question?  Ask me.

In fact, come to my Zoom book launch and 'ask me anything' on July 9.   Here's the link.  Share it freely.

Sunday, June 11, 2023



12 more towels pressed, ready for hemming

This morning I spent about an hour pressing 12 more towels.  They came off the loom last Friday, got run through the washing machine on Thursday after burling (inspection) and mending, then finally got pressed today.

As I pressed the thought squirrels rampaged through my brain.  Not a lot of thinking required to press, so my mind...wanders...

Top of mind these days is Stories from the Matrix, so of course I thought about that, mostly.  

After running this way and that, up and down the neurons, I thought about 'ego' - what that means and that we all have one.

So I looked up the definition, just to make sure I understood the meaning of the word.  One dictionary says that 'ego' is 'a person's sense of self-esteem or importance'.  

Do I have an ego?  Of course I do.  I couldn't do what I've done for the past 40+ years without thinking that someone, somewhere would like my stuff enough to buy it.  Textiles, workshops, articles, books.

Am I 'egotistical'?   I guess that depends on what you think of me and my 'worth'.

I have been accosted by more than one person who literally said to me 'who do you think you are charging for your (insert product)?'

People can be very forthright about their opinions about other people's worth.  

Anyway, here I am, poised to launch book three.  Not a trilogy, but a 'hat trick' perhaps?  

You can't call any of my books 'best sellers', nor do I have any inclination of becoming a 'best selling' author.

Magic has become a 'classic' in the weaving world, I'm told.  The Intentional Weaver is probably too 'new' for much feeling for its 'worthiness'.  Both were very niche books for a niche market, not the mass book market.  I'm grateful to the people who have purchased both.

So, why on earth am I writing *another* book?

When I said I was doing TIW several people told me to just dump the contents of my brain box out on the page, but I knew that would never work.

In order to discuss a linear process, you have to address the information in a linear fashion.  

However, weaving as an endeavour is not linear!  And there are still too many people out there who don't understand the principles behind the craft, the layers and layers of 'it depends' considerations and how those considerations need to change as different choices are made in that linear process.  How the designer/weaver keeps circling around back to the 'beginning' as changes are made to the different qualities of the cloth - fibre choices, density, weave structure, design, wet finishing...

Plus I have stories.  Some of them do well to illustrate these principles.  Some document my growth.  Some of them speculate about the history of this craft in the face of almost no evidence barring extremely sparse physical finds that are only lately being valued.  The 'story' of textiles was, in fact, passed on by word of mouth and demonstration for millenia - do this, that happens.  Don't want that?  Do this instead, maybe that will come closer to what you want.

This whole project has come together very quickly, although as one person put it, it is all built upon 40+ years of experience.

I am in the twilight of my life and frankly I am wanting to leave something of what I know behind, in hopes of  helping others understand weaving on a deeper level.  To encourage them to dig deeper themselves, find the appropriate answers for what they want to do.  I see others (in other fields) talking about their 'legacy' and I guess I would like to think that I have one, as well.  (Yup, ego.)

But that 'legacy' is based on everything that has gone before.  And I want to acknowledge the people who have inspired, encouraged and supported me.

Some of my stories are personal growth.  I name some names, but others I do not name.  They will (if they read the essay they are referenced in) probably be able to recognize themselves.  I had to make some choices about who I named and who I did not.

If they are dead, I name them.  If they are people I know are providing good information and still active teaching, I largely name them.  Some I have asked permission to name them and they have graciously agreed.  But I didn't have the spoons to contact *everyone* who has ever inspired, encouraged or supported me and get their permission - so I did not name them.  Plus?  I didn't want the essays to be simply 'name dropping' when what I wanted to focus on was their part in my story.  Their impact on me.

The essays are...not linear.  They are about as close to taking the contents of my brain box and dumping it out on the floor.

I was tempted to title each essay 'chapter 1' like the Dancing Wu Li Masters.  Instead I gave them titles, hopefully indicative of their content, and then ordered them alphabetically by their title.  The intention is not a book that one sits down and reads cover to cover in order, but perhaps picks and chooses.  Maybe they want to learn more about me?  Several give my personal story.  Maybe they want to know about designing or being creative?  Several essays look at that.  Maybe they want to know more about fibres/yarns, or different types of equipment and which I prefer?  Some of those, too.

Why have I written these essays?  Largely because they are my stories and I wanted to tell them.  I've been told by enough people who read and leave comments on this blog or other social media that what I have to say resonates with them.  

So far two people have read all of the essays, several others have read one or a few.  Since it takes very little encouragement for me to continue, the positive response from these people has been enough to keep me going.  Despite the impostor syndrome.  (Who do you think you are, charging for your product?)

We are far enough along in the process now that my editor will come on Tuesday and we will make another sweep through the ms.  Pretty sure I want to do one more proof-read before we commit, and then final formatting will take place.

We are exploring the possibility of providing the pdf with a dyslexic font.  I know several of my students who deal with dyslexia, so if we can, why not?  I am not entirely sure that the print copy can be rendered in that font - it will be something my editor will have to find out when we get to the point of uploading the files to blurb.  And if we can't publish with the dyslexic font?  I can provide that directly via a Dropbox link.  But that will be Plan B.

Closer to launch date I will blast out the invite to the Zoom event again.  If you are on Facebook I made an event.  If you are not on Facebook, I will include the link here and on my ko-fi page.  Please feel free to share to your weaving friends.  The more the merrier.  It will be a book launch in which I will read one or two essays (tbd) and then you can ask me anything.  I won't promise to answer, but you can ask.

And if you find Stories (or my other books) valuable or even just interesting, do feel free to share that with your friends too.  I'm not a publishing house with a big advertising budget.  I will be sending copies to a few places in hopes of a review, but there is no guarantee they will be interested, so I have to plan on just me, tooting my own horn.