Thursday, February 29, 2024

Stops and Starts


It's hard to get a good photo of this design, in part because the motifs are large, but I got the first 14 towels into the washer/dryer and have begun hemming.

I'm not entirely pleased with it.  I could have shaved some more 'roughness' from the transitions from one area to the next, but it's fine.  I'm happy enough with it.

Today I heard from Brassard that the yarn I ordered to use for warp for the linen weft is being shipped today.  OTOH, I have to finish this warp, plus there is enough yarn for two more of this colour combo.  I'm so close to being 'done' with this series, I think I'll stick it out and go ahead with the next two warps in this 'blue' and explore the other 'tile' designs I worked on but haven't yet woven.

The colour isn't quite accurate because my ipad has difficulty with some colours, and this sort of 'cyan' blue is one of them.

The warp is actually two colours - Brassard's Peacock and Bleu Moyen.  I wasn't sure if I was going to be happy with the natural white weft, but I think it works in this 'tile' design.  The next warp will be another variation of the tiles and I'll decide if I do one more once I get that warp into the loom, sometime next week at my current rate of progress.

As I continue to try different therapies, I have to accommodate the reaction to those therapies.  My body isn't always impressed with my efforts to improve function, and sometimes I find myself stymied with a body that just doesn't want to co-operate any further until things settle down.  

After nearly 3 years of the misery of peripheral neuropathy in my feet, it seems like I may have finally found a treatment (if not a 'cure' - I don't know that there IS a cure...)

As a teenager/young adult, I bought into the idea that 'everyone' is healthy and if I wasn't, it must be my 'fault'.  After the first treatment for cardiac blockages, I booked an appointment with the cardiac nurse at the hospital, who went through a very long questionnaire (20 pages?), looking at every aspect of my life.  Since heart disease is generally thought to be a lifestyle disease, I wanted to know what I had done to cause this, and therefore what I needed to do to 'fix' it.

At the end she looked at the results of the questionnaire, and tapping her pencil on the table, said, "Well, you were doing everything right."

There was a moment of silence as I absorbed her comment.  In frustration, I said "If I did everything right, why am I here, then?"  Meaning, why did I just need to have stents installed in my heart, need to take statins, bp meds.  She gave me a good long look and then said "You can't beat genetics."  Oh.

The myth that 'everyone is healthy' - unless they did something stupid, or chose risky behaviours, etc., was suddenly revealed to me.  The more vocal I got, here and elsewhere, about what I was going through, especially subsequent health issues, the more I realized that being healthy is not the 'norm'.  We just pretend to be healthy and functioning - or at least a great many of us do.  

When I was a kid, my mother hid any illness or weakness from her friends.  It was considered to be in poor taste to admit to needing help, needing therapy, for instance, for being unable to function up to the standard of well-being that was being touted as 'normal'.

I am very fortunate that I have been able to surround myself with therapists who are willing to work with me, who help me keep weaving, and generally guide me into better approaches to living with chronic pain.

But there is still that inner me who remembers the body I used to have and mourns the fact that I cannot deny that my body is wearing out.

The goal now is to keep going, as best I can, for as long as I can, because, yes, I ordered more yarn!  And I would really love to be able to bring my fibre dreams into reality.  And who knows, maybe help a few people with weaving questions.  

If that means I take more 'rest' days, then so be it.  Stopping before I hurt myself some more is better than continuing to push on until I harm myself further.  My deadlines are truly self-inflicted.  I can move a task to the next day, or even the day after.

And I can still teach, even if it is 'only' by Zoom.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024



If you remember the 'flying fickle finger of fate' you must be as old as I am...

I had another epidural injection last week and once again my hope ramped up - this time, THIS TIME, it would 'work' and I would have less pain.

Once again, hope has been dashed on the cliffs of reality.

Today is a 'busy' day.  Well, I mean, it wouldn't be considered busy according to past me, the me that had a body that actually worked and wasn't trying to, I dunno, punish me for the abuse I heaped upon it, lo these many years?

So, instead of getting shit done today, I am limping along (literally as well as figuratively), grateful that my teaching these days is remote via Zoom.  Running on 3 hours of restless sleep.

OTOH, I do have a Zoom presentation to do later today, by which time I should be more functional than I am now.

The topic for today is The Goldilocks Zone, and instead of weaving, I'm nursing my second cup of coffee, thinking about what I should do - and what I should not.  Weaving has now been moved from the should to the should not list.  I can weave tomorrow.  Maybe.

Generally weaving doesn't seem to make things worse, but given my rather 'busy' week, I'm not going to push.  Since I *am* retired (for certain values of) and weaving is now my pastime, not my profession, all deadlines are self-inflicted and are then, mutable.

A lesson I am beginning to learn.

Does not make me any happier, but less angry, I suppose.

Since I also ordered more yarn on Sunday night in order to weave that luscious new linen singles that arrived, I really do want to make headway on the current warps in the queue so that I can enjoy the linen once the new warp yarns arrive.  But there is no hurry.  I have no craft fairs or other sales venues that I need to prepare for, and truth be told, I've got *lots* of inventory (check out my ko-fi shop) so when ever I get to weaving more is fine.  Just fine.  

I'd much rather be at the loom than not.  

My hope is not quite dead - yet.  I have an appointment tomorrow with another therapist to see if I might benefit from a new therapy.  It's a bit, um, cutting edge, sounds a bit 'woo woo', but the pain doctor says the literature is showing some promise.  So I'll go talk to this 'new' doctor and see what he says.

The sharp blade of my hope is getting very thin these days, tbh.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Believing in Yourself


There is a certain amount of...hubris...involved in being a creative person as your profession.

I mean, society is quick to tell someone when they have overstepped their boundaries, tried too much, failed in the process.  

The internet seems to have ramped up that dynamic even more, perhaps because when you don't like what someone else has done, you can tell them, but do it from the distance of the internet.  You don't tell them to their face, so to speak, which seems to make it easy to let people know they have 'failed' you in some way.

You don't like what they did, so it becomes extremely easy to let them know of their 'failing'.

I'm old enough to remember Thumper's mom who advised that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Instead, someone will post something they made, something they are happy with, proud, even, and someone will come along and yuk all over their yum, as someone commented the other day.

In the nearly 50 years I have been weaving I have made a whole lot of stuff I have not been happy with.  A lot of my stuff has something not quite 'perfect' about it.  But someone once told me not to let 'perfect' kill 'good', and so I accept that I am not perfect but that I can make good cloth.

I can even write 'good'.  

But even the most confident creative in the world likes to have a little positive feedback.  Fortunately I get enough of that positivity that I find I can keep going.  

Usually I would get that positive feedback when I travelled to teach.  People would approach me to say they read this blog, or had my book (at the time I only had the one), or that they appreciated my input on the online group(s) I belonged to.  

Now that I don't travel to teach anymore, that positive feedback is no longer there.  And at times I wonder if anyone is paying attention.  It seems like I send my words out into the ether, the great void, and see if anyone says anything.  

Sometimes I do get an email, or a comment here, and I know that some of you are still reading.  I can look at page views on this blog and know that yes, I do have a loyal 'following'.  It's not just bots scraping my site so they can spam me, or leave 'ads' in my comments (which I remove).

I have had several people contact me, likely based on my page view count, asking me to tout their products.  They will pay me, they say.   I always turn them down.  I won't 'shill' for someone, especially for products I don't actually use - or want to support.

Maybe it's because I'm old, now.  I no longer feel the need to 'prove' myself to anyone.  I've left most of the online groups because I'm tired of explaining, over and over again how and why things work in weaving, only to have people argue with me or tell me I'm wrong.

I know I can be wrong.  But so can everyone else.  And if someone isn't willing to take in more information and then base their decisions on additional information, I am not going to waste my time or theirs.  

When I wrote The Intentional Weaver it was to fill a need that I saw - a compilation of the kind of subtleties involved in the craft that were not, to my knowledge, between the covers of just one book.  (There may be others - I just wasn't aware of them - so I wrote a book to make it easier for my students to find, all in one place.)

When I wrote Stories, I wanted to expand on some of the things in TIW, and cover other things that were outside of the focus of a weaving textbook.  And the latest, A Thread Runs Through It, to examine the reality of being a professional production weaver.  Or at least, MY reality in that role.

I follow a number of authors on various social media.  Over and over again, they all say the same thing - if you like what an author has done, *LET THEM KNOW*.  Even better?  Let *others* know.

Because I can believe in myself all I like - but that doesn't pay the bills.  Selling books, does.

So, here's the deal.  I'm not the only weaver writing books.  If you really like someone's book, there are a number of things you can do.

Comment about it on your social media.

Write a book review.

Contact the author, let them know you found their book useful, helpful.

If all we get is silence, there is little incentive to keep writing.  And it takes so very little to encourage us to keep writing.

Speaking of which Stacey Harvey-Brown has a new book coming out about Optical Woven Illusions.  I'm sure she'd love to sell a few books...(just saying)...

My books available here and here

Signed copies of The Intentional Weaver only available here

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Quiet Days


I had another epidural injection on Thursday, and everyone says to be 'quiet' for a few days afterwards in order to let the injection take effect.  I'm not very good at being 'quiet' in the way that they mean, but I'm trying really really hard these days to be kinder to my body.

Today I'm feeling less battered, so I am going to go to the loom after lunch and try weaving.  I'm not sure I'll do two sessions, although I'd really like to get this next batch of towels off the loom so I can inspect and repair them, and along with the first 7, get them into the washer/dryer to be wet finished.

OTOH, I did manage to deal with a couple of things I'd been procrastinating over, so there is that.

I have also contacted another therapist at the suggestion of the pain doctor, and will see them on Wednesday, to see if I can get additional help for the peripheral neuropathy that continues to plague me.

I am ever so grateful I got into the local pain clinic as the doctor there seems open and willing to work with me and try to help make my life a bit easier.  All of my therapists know how much I want - *need* - to keep weaving, and they take that into consideration as they work with me.  All of them understand the benefits I get from weaving - the aerobic activity that generates endorphins and actually helps manage my pain, but also?  The mental health benefits.  So I give them all weaving 'gifts' as an additional thank you.  I mean, they are keeping me able to weave, they should benefit from that, too?

Winter is not over here.  Yesterday it snowed some.  Not a lot, but at least a little is better than nothing.   But tonight the temperature will plunge below -20C again.  That may be the last kick of the dying season.

We are hoping for a 'wet' spring - but not *too* wet, or there will be landslides, especially after all the forests burned last year.  OTOH, fire season has already begun with fires that smoldered over winter springing back into life.  I think 2024 is going to be all sorts of shades of 'interesting'.  And not in a good way.

But I think I can at least do one session at the loom today, so I'm going to try and see how it goes.

I have also got quite a few Zoom presentations lined up.  The next one is Tuesday evening.  Then a one-on-one student for bobbin lace on Saturday.  If she has recovered from the plague by then.  The guild room does have an air filter, though, and she will wear a mask - and so will I.  

My goal to remain covid free continues.  But I do still want to teach, so I continue to book Zoom presentations.  

Topics are listed on my website

I'm thinking about raising my fees as a number of guilds have told me I'm not charging enough (some have even sent more than I'm asking for since they said they learned so much!)  However, if a guild books now, I will honour my current fee structure.  

Saturday, February 24, 2024

The Secret to Success


Be a weaver, they said.  It'll be fun, they said.

What they didn't say was that a big part of succeeding at being a weaver in the 20th and 21st centuries was...self-promotion.

As an introvert, I wasn't very good at the 'self-promotion' part.  I found it hard to try and convince people that they needed to spend their hard won dollars on my textiles.  Or on me, teaching.  I spent quite a few years twisting and twirling around the whole dance of 'marketing' myself and my weaving.

It was during a class on marketing that I finally found a way to do the kind of self-promotion that I could live with.  One of the speakers explained that marketing is just sharing what you do.  Advertising is purchasing space in the media (newspapers, magazines, radio, tv, etc. - this was pre-internet days).

Sharing what I do was pretty easy.  I just found that place where my passion lived, and shared my excitement about doing what I do.

When I taught for Olds, some of the students found doing the verbal exercises very difficult because a lot of creative people are also introverts.  So I explained to them that all they had to do was speak from their passion.

As the internet grew and changed and became more...commercial...I was able to 'speak' to people via groups.  I've always loved words, and people have called me a storyteller, so it was an easy slide over into expressing myself through the written word.  

Writing posts - on groups, or here, on this blog - means I can think through what I want to say.  I can craft the message I want to express.  Before I hit 'publish' I can edit, deleting awkward bits, or check for emotional trigger words, change what I'm saying so that I can provide the 'story' without the emotion (mostly).  (Sometimes I leave the emotion in, because I *am* writing from my passion - and that is an emotion.)

The thing is, when you get good at marketing yourself, people assume you don't need any help.  But the thing is, my voice (so to speak) can only reach so far.  If my message is to go beyond my reality bubble (my followers), then others picking up the message and relaying it onwards is imperative.  If my knowledge only ever reverberates inside my reality bubble, it's just an echo chamber.

For example, A Thread Runs Through It has sold a few copies.  But that book has a limited appeal and I don't know everyone who might benefit from the lessons I've learned as a professional weaver.  So if you, dear reader, know someone interested in making an income from their weaving (or other creative endeavours) let them know that the 'book' is available in my ko-fi store.  

If you think what I have shared might be of value to others, you might consider recommending it in your guild newsletter.  Or online, if you belong to weaving groups.

Back in the 90s, someone opened a business selling fibres from New Zealand.  Since I knew her, I shared her business info on line.  Later that day she emailed to say that she didn't realize that what she needed was a Laura Fry to help her business grow.

Helping other creatives expand their reach is easy-peasy.  Extend a helping hand.  Share a website.  Recommend the book(s).  Let people know that you think something is valuable.

That's marketing.

Books available here in both pdf and print

A Thread Runs Through It, Weave a V and tea towels here

Seminars/guild programs listed here  (yes, I'm still taking bookings for 2024 - just booked Calgary Heritage Weavers guild for this spring)

Classes here  and here

Friday, February 23, 2024

The Final Step


It has taken me months to finally do the final act of a 'real' author - get two copies of their book ready to pop into the mail to the National Archive.

It is one of the requirements of getting an ISBN number - that copies be lodged with the National Archive.

It has always been a source of grief to me, how many libraries have been destroyed over the years.  When I learned about the destruction of the library at Alexandria, I was heartsick.  As the years have gone by, I have learned about more libraries that have been destroyed throughout history.

Currently reading The House of Wisdom, finding out about more libraries, destroyed.  And I wonder, if that knowledge had been preserved instead of destroyed, what we might look like as a society, today.

But all I have to do is pick up the 'news' to discover that groups of people are, once again, not just banning books, but destroying them, firing librarians, closing libraries.

And for what?  Why?  (Rhetorical question.)

I have enough of an ego to think that there might be some people who are interested in learning what I know about weaving, maybe even a little bit about life.  And so I don't mind that the National Archive wants two copies of my book(s).  It gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, what I know - or at least, have learned to the date of publication - will live on.

Going through the donated books, I remember some of the authors - because I actually knew some of the authors of those books.  I met Peter Collingwood, Allen Fannin, Linda Heinrich, and so on.  I know many of the current authors of the weaving world.  Which is a very small 'world' all in all.

So when two boxes of books were donated to the guild, I took it as part of my 'responsibility' to the weaving world to try to place those books into the hands of people I knew would value the knowledge in them.  

Ultimately, I hope that my personal library will also go to others.

And that the chain of knowledge will continue.

We don't know what the future will hold.  In some ways, I'm glad.  Not knowing what will happen allows me the freedom of hope.   Hope that people will continue to play with string.  Hope that people will be knowledge keepers.  Hope that people will find solace as well as joy in the exploration of how threads can be manipulated into cloth.  Hope that we will survive as a species...

As always, my books can be found here for Magic, The Intentional Weaver and Stories from the Matrix, and here for two signed copies of Stories as well as A Thread Runs Through It

Signed copies of The Intentional Weaver are only available here

From time to time I hear rumours that the original Magic in the Water is for sale, usually a 'dead weavers' library being sold off.  Sometimes someone gets a copy for a very low price, but generally it seems that that book is valued.  And when I hear of a copy being snapped up for the same - or even higher - price than what I asked for back in 2002, it tells me that all the work, all the effort, all the money that it took to birth that book was worth it.  It makes me feel like I did 'good'.  And if I accomplish nothing else in this life, at least I did that.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

From the Archive


Sweden 2002

Sweden in the winter can be grey, but the warmth of the people makes up for the short days and gloomy aspect of the countryside.

My trip to Sweden in November/December of 2002 came about primarily because of the wedding of my studio assistant, Karena.

Karena's mother is Swedish, married to a Canadian, and Karena determined to marry in the same church as her mother and father. I could not overlook the opportunity to go!

As it happened, a group of Swedish weavers were also trying to get a Vadmal "party" happening, so it seemed a perfect opportunity to learn more about this interesting woolen cloth. Unfortunately, the vadmal making fell through, but it may happen at another time.

I arrived on Tuesday, November 19 late in the evening. Taking it easy on the Wednesday, Kerstin spent most of the day getting a wool warp onto the AVL. We did make an excursion to Tynnsryd to visit a weaving studio.

Folke has spent many hours thinking about how to make looms and weaving more efficient. After problems with his neck, he was finding it more and more difficult to weave on a standard draw loom with overhead pattern cords, so he worked out a way to place the cords in front of the weaver. Other tinkerings with the loom have made it possible to have a shaft draw loom without the long body or extension necessary to get a good shed. It was most interesting to see the modifications and watch the weavers at work on a couple of large commissions.

On Friday night, Ingrid Hanssen arrived and we spent Saturday weaving on the AVL. Kerstin had installed the new auto cloth advance, and we were having some problems with it, but eventually sorted it out and were able to weave off the wool warp.

Sunday we set off west, visiting a Hembygd museum where a vadmalstamp was on display.

 Vadmalstamp (hammer mill)

These hammer mills were used extensively for making vadmal cloth – a heavy, serviceable fabric used by outdoor workers such as farmers, tree fellers and so on. Vadmal was a densely woven, heavily fulled fabric that stood up to the heavy use demanded of it. In spite of our present understanding of how fulling works, this fabric was not loosely woven, but set tightly, and beaten in firmly. Fulling took hours of intermittent compression by heavy hammers, traditionally operated by water wheels.

 Close up of hammers

 Axle to lift hammers

As our need for such a heavy duty fabric in this day and age is much reduced, modern "vadmal" is being made with more open sets and looser webs. This opening up of the cloth means that fulling in the vadmalstamp takes much less time, and produces a softer cloth depending on the fibre and weave structure used.

From the vadmalstamp, we carried on to visit the producer of a specialty yarn made from peat moss fibre blended with wool. The peat moss fibre is made from the left overs of another peat moss industry. The fibre is sifted and sorted until the large chunks of wood are removed and the fibre that is left is of a uniform coarseness and length. Due to the ability of peat moss to hold moisture, it has to be run through the dryer twice before it is finally blended with wool, made up into bales, and then sent to the spinning mill to be spun or felted for filters and boot insoles.

That evening we stayed with Ingrid and worked on her loom trying to get her fly shuttle to work more efficiently. But we were all too tired and gave up until the next morning when Ingrid wove without difficulty.

 Portion of 8 meter long cold mangle

We set off from Ingrid's to visit another Hembygd museum where an enormous cold mangle was on display. This mangle was part of a system of linen manufacture where the weavers were assigned their warps,

Web being transferred from cloth beam to dowel for cold mangling

then returned the completed webs to the mill for wet finishing and mangling. This mangle is 8 meters long and weighs in at a hefty two tonnes (approx. 4500 pounds).

The motive power for this mangle was a donkey or small horse, not a water wheel.

Leaving the mangle, we set off for Ekelunds, a weaving mill that makes household textiles in cotton and linen. In the lobby of the mill factory outlet they have one of their original Jacquard looms from the 1800's on display.

Jacquard loom with Kerstin Fröberg

Part II

Attaching bout of 288 ends to beaming machine

The tour of Ekelunds mill is self guided, and the first thing we happened upon was the beaming operation. I had always wondered how industry beamed, and we got to see their brand new (three week old) beaming machine.

Unlike the tour of Pendleton Woolen Mill I had taken last year, we were allowed close inspection of this and other areas of the mill.

Warp being wound (gathering reed in is upright blue stand operator is leaning on)

430 meter long warp ready to be transferred to warp beam

The two men beaming the three colour warp were quite happy to answer our questions, and it was amazing to watch 288 ends at a time rolling onto the beam at enormous speed and high tension.

bouts being attached to warp beam with flanges

In very short order the warp was completely beamed, and we were allowed to watch the transfer of the warp from the beaming machine to a warp beam. The operation went smoothly and quickly. By the time we made it to the loom room, that same warp was being installed into a loom and we watched in amazement as the knot tying machine delicately selected the next pair of ends to be tied together, then made the knot.

Warp sheet being transferred to warp beam

From beaming machine to warp beam with rock hard tension in about 10 to 12 minutes

The looms at Ekelunds were all Jacquard and rapier and almost faster than the eye could see, the looms wove off two or three tea towels at a time. Each tea towel had a selvedge that was formed by taking the loose end of the pick and weaving it back into the cloth.

Once off the loom, the fabric went through the wet finishing department where they were hot mangled, rather than the traditional Swedish finish of cold mangling.

With darkness descending, Kerstin and I set off for Bergdala


Once back at Bergdala, Kerstin made the necessary adjustments to the auto cloth advance and we put on a test warp. After determining that it was, indeed, working, Kerstin tackled her double weave sample for the study group and managed to get the warp on and the first sample off by Thursday.

Friday morning, very early, we set off for Falun, where she dropped me off so I could attend Karena's wedding.

Sunday afternoon, I took the train to Hudviksdal where Kerstin and her friend Karin met me. We stopped in at a Julmarket (Christmas craft fair), but unfortunately they were just ready to close up for the day. We did see some weaving, tho – mostly rag rugs.

Monday morning we set off for Helmi Halsinglands, and spent an interesting hour touring their plant. They do much of the dyeing of linen, cotton and wool for many yarn suppliers in Sweden. It was interesting to note that they dye linen as singles and then ply it, for maximum penetration of the dye.

From Helmi Halsinglands, we took a jaunt further into the countryside to visit Växbo. Unfortunately their museum is not open in the winter, so we could not see the whole process of linen fibre preparation, but again a self-guided tour of the mill allowed us to see the drawing operations and the weaving up close. The spinning frames were not in operation as the operator was just setting them up to begin spinning.

The looms at Växbo are shaft looms, most of them with shuttles. It was quite amazing to hear the pirns being changed when they ran out of weft. You could not see the operation happening it was so fast, just hear the bang as the new pirn punched the old one out of the shuttle. It happened so quickly that the loom did not miss a beat in the weaving rhythm.

Växbo weaves only linen, not cotton, and has a line of table textiles and yardage that at least one designer is using for garments.

We had hoped to stop in at the textile school at Uplands Vasby, but weather conditions deteriorated, and we cancelled that side trip and went straight on in to Stockholm where we stayed the night with Kerstin's mother. In the morning the weather had improved, and we set off for Bergdala in dry conditions – a vast improvement over the previous day.

The last few days were spent quietly. We visited another Julmarket, but saw little weaving. We also stopped in at a studio and visited with the artist.

On Saturday evening, we went to a Hyttsill at the Bergdala Glass Works.

Hyttsill are based on the fact that during the 1800's itinerant peddlers and workers would be granted the freedom to use the annealing chamber in the glass works to cook their dinners. The Hyttsill at Bergdala Glass Works is considered one of the best ones, partly due to the configuration of the works themselves. The six glory holes are centrally located which means that those attending the Hyttsill can visit in the area around the glory holes.

The glory hole is kept at 1100 degrees C; the annealing chamber is kept at about 350 degrees C. The traditional country diet of potatoes, salted herring, and the local sausage would not take long to cook. While waiting for dinner to be ready, these travelers would share news of the region with each other and the villagers, story telling and singing keeping all entertained.

As an added bonus, we were given a demonstration of glass blowing. The workers are in teams of three, and for a simple glass, each team can produce 50 or so an hour. More complicated designs requiring more working of the glass would reduce their production to 25 an hour. The glass master giving the talk allowed some of the audience to try blowing. It is apparently very easy to blow the bubble – extremely difficult to produce glass that will actually function!

He ended his demo by making a glass pig which Björn asked if I could have. He was instantly christened Boaris in honour of the wild boars that still live in the forests of the area (and which are quite delicious!)

And so ended my 2002 trip – it was time to go home and get back to work……

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Magic in the Water


Digital microscope view of loom state cloth woven in the 'new to me' weave structure.  Reed marks are clearly visible and the threads are pretty much straight on the 'grid'.  There is little curvature or bending of the threads.  The warp and weft threads are clearly distinct.  The web looks very 'thready'.

Same weave structure (different cloth) after wet finishing.  Reed marks have been reduced enormously, although they are still visible if you look closely at the cloth.  But the threads have 'bloomed' and shifted closer together.  Slight curvature can be seen as the threads go through the weave structure and in some cases, it gets hard to follow one thread through the cloth without very careful tracking.  This can make fixing errors a bit challenging, but once the needle is in the grid, it gets easier to follow the path of an individual thread.

Some new weavers get very confused when they first begin weaving - and wet finishing - their webs.  There is a phenomenon called 'tracking' that appears, primarily in plain weave.  But, the new weaver says, why doesn't it happen in other weave structures?

Well, it does.  But the dynamic is different because in plain weave the latent twist energy has no where to go as the threads go over and under each other, so the yarns can tend to poke up and out causing weird lines in the plain weave.

In other weave structures, those areas are longer, so there is more room for the threads to shift and move without causing such structural evidence in the finished cloth.

Cotton and other bast/cellulose fibres do NOT full.  They do, however, bloom.   The fibres swell and will shift and shuffle themselves around in the weave structure.  Some weave structures will encourage this effect more than others.  Bedford cord, honeycomb, lace weaves, pique,  and others, rely on this shifting of the threads to develop their final state to it's maximum effect.

Twills generally don't seem to change appearance much, except when you get up close and personal, as in the two photos above.

The loom state sample is quite 'thready' but after wet finishing the motifs resolve and become more cohesive.

And this is why I always recommend that a new weaver does a sample and *wet finish* it to find out what will happen when the web hits the water for the very first time.  

Many new weavers are anxious about the 'washing' of their brand new cloth.  But the thing is, it isn't truly 'cloth' until it has been wet finished.  

Why do I call it wet finishing and not simply tell folk to 'wash' their webs?  Because frequently the wet finishing process will use hotter water and more vigorous agitation than regular 'washing'.

Anyway, if people want to know more, Magic in the Water is still available    You can purchase a print copy (magazine format) or pdf (digital).  Or I'm available to do guild programs/seminars on this (and other topics which are listed on my website   Yes, I know I don't have the s on the URL.  I'm hoping to get that fixed at some point but I don't have the skills so I'm waiting until my web master has a few free minutes to deal with it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024



Happy Tuesday to me.  :)

I am blessed with enablers who send me yarn (and books).  On this snowy Tuesday morning, a kilo of fine singles linen arrived from Lithuania.

It's a bit finer than I had envisioned, which means I will have to re-tool my plans for it, but never mind, anticipation is all part of the fun of weaving.  Thinking about what to do, how I may need to make adjustments to achieve the desired results is all part of the fun!

The company sells this yarn either singles, or 2, 3, or 4 ply.  If the singles is anything to go by, it should weave up very nicely, and then wet finishing with a good hard press ought to produce a really nice quality of cloth for things like tea towels.

I'll be pairing this as weft on a 2/16 cotton warp.  I needed more of that yarn to finish off the rest of my 2/16 cotton weft yarns anyway, so it will all come together quite nicely, I think.  Giving the singles the eyeball test, it appears to be a wee bit finer than sewing thread and is labelled Tex 56.  They convert that to 8854 yards/pound.  It has slight texture, and a lovely subtle sheen.  I think I'm going to like the results! 

They also offer it dyed, but I chose the natural colour which is has a bit of a golden glow to it.

So I won't get to this yarn right away.  I have the current warp of blue/peacock to finish weaving, then two more of that colour to finish up, which will give me time to cogitate on how to use this lovely yarn and then order what I need from Brassard.

Thank you to this particular enabler who has given me the gift of anticipation and being able to work with a new-to-me yarn.  

Monday, February 19, 2024

Second Hand Bobbin Lace Books for sale

 The following books are from a non-smoking household, and generally in good condition.  Shipping rates apply to addresses in Canada or the US.

Chart for Lace Identification and the Meshes of Handmade Lace by Lolita Eveleth asking $10 plus $6 for postage

Lace for Dolls and Dolls' House by Ann Collier asking $20 plus $20 shipping

Special Effects in Bobbin Lace by Sandi Woods asking $45 plus $20 shipping

The Book of Bobbin Lace Stitches by Bridget Cook and Geraldine Stott asking $30 plus $20 shipping

Practical Skills in Bobbin Lace by Bridget Cook asking $35.00 plus $20 shipping  SOLD

Complete Book of English Bobbin Lace by Pamela Nottingham asking $40 plus $20 for shipping

A Manual of Hand-Made Bobbin Lace Work by Margaret Maidment asking $20 plus $20 shipping

Lace in the Making by Margaret Brooke asking $10 plus $20 shipping

The Bobbin Lace Manual by Geraldine Stott asking $30 plus $20 shipping  SOLD

If someone wants more than one item, I can check to see what the shipping would be for a 'bulk' order.

There is just one copy of each, first person to contact me will get the book(s).  They will be sent via Canada Post.

Lace Books


I have done a search on line for the books I'm offering for sale.  The above pamphlet appears to be highly sought after, but I have put a low price on it because I really have no idea if anyone is interested.

Most of the books are 'classics', still commonly in use and valued, although some are older publication dates.

The books are from a non-smoking household, and while they are used (and some of them quite old) are in decent condition.

Here is the list.  The price listed does not include shipping.  I will be adding $20 each for shipping in Canada and the US.  

I'm not going to run an eBay auction (just don't have the spoons for that - been there, done that, know exactly how much effort it takes).

I will be listing these books on my ko-fi shop, which will simplify payment, especially buyers outside of Canada.  The listings should be up later today or tomorrow - I have to get photos first.  I'm just posting the information here in case anyone is interested, or know someone who might be.

Bobbin Lace Books

Chart for lace Identification and the Meshes of Handmade Lace by Lolita Eveleth  $10

Lace for Dolls and Dolls’ Houses Ann Collier $20

Special Effects in Bobbin Lace Sandi Woods $45

The Book of Bobbin Lace Stitches Bridget Cook and Geraldine Stott $30

Practical Skills in Bobbin Lace Bridget Cook $35

Complete Book of English Bobbin Lace Pamela Nottingham  $40

A Manual of Hand-Made Bobbin Lace Work Margaret Maidment  $20

Lace in the Making Margaret Brooke  $10

The Bobbin Lace Manual  Geraldine Stott  $30

Sunday, February 18, 2024


 The Dance 

Watch the feet as they step and slide in perfect time, they find their place and never miss a beat 

Watch the hands sure and deft, no wasted motion as they sweep on their appointed path 

Watch the eyes watching: they observe the placement of the hands, the threads, the tools. 

They watch and help to dance the dance 

And when the music ends the dance is done, the cloth is cut the loom left bare then, yes, then the dance lives on a static record left to prove the dance begun 

This solitary dance goes on unseen, a private act seen only from within. 

And if one other sees within the cloth one half the joy felt in the dance, then I have danced for them as well. 

Laura Fry, 1983

This was a poem I wrote for my first (and only) solo exhibit at the local art gallery.

Tasked with writing an artist's statement, I got stuck and could not think what to write.  Then one day, while I was weaving (and everything was going smoothly), these words came to me.

Even though it was not time to stop, I stopped anyway, because I knew I needed to write those words down before they floated away on the river of time.

I used this poem as the dedication for A Thread Runs Through It.  

Today I spent several hours going through boxes of books from a dead weaver's estate.  Although she was older than me, we were in the same weaving class in 1975, so I felt like she was a contemporary.  As she aged, her body began to fail her and eventually she had to stop weaving, but could not let go of her books, looms, yarns.  So, when she died a few years ago, her spouse and children began to give, sell, get rid of things.

The local guild benefitted receiving some of her things - yarn, mostly.  Eventually her spouse also died, and now the children are needing to get rid of the rest.  Hence the boxes of books and some small tools that arrived at the guild room last week.

Since the guild was founded just as we were beginning our weaving journey, the guild already has many of the books in her carefully kept library, so we are selling the duplicates or the ones that are very specific that we don't think the guild members will be interested in.  Some of her books date to her home economics education, and I'm hoping to find someone who really wants one particular one, because a quick search online indicates that it is still prized amongst seamstresses/tailors.  There are a few other 'precious' books that I hope people will be interested in having - a signed Peter Collingwood Rug Weaving, Allen Fannin's Handloom Weaving Technology (2 copies, like new).  No Common Thread - with handwoven samples, by Dini Moes and ? Heggtveit.  Two copies of Linda Heinrich's The Magic of Linen (like new).

As I look at my book shelves, I find that I still cannot part with what books I have left (after purging my library on at least two occasions).  I suppose someone will be tasked with getting rid of what is left in my studio when I move on to...where ever the weavers hang out.  

Anyway, if the guild decides to run an eBay auction, I will be sure to let folk know.  

Down Sizing


It's taken me a while to get to this point, but this morning I decided to finally begin downsizing my bobbin lace stash.

I will keep two pillows and all of the handmade/painted bobbins made by my friend Jacqui Southworth (Larkholme Lace) because, well, she (and Eric) made/painted them.  I will keep my original cookie pillow because I prefer it over most others.  It was purchased from my first bobbin lace teacher, made by her spouse and is filled with sawdust.  It's just the best pillow I've worked on (imho).  But it isn't the best for some applications, so I'll keep one of the others which is a little bit more versatile.

The rest I'll offer to my lace student if she is interested in continuing, although she may find that she doesn't 'love' it enough to invest in the equipment.  Or she can make her own.

I've sorted the bobbins that I am willing to sell into packages.  Most of them are spangled, but not all.  I'm not interested in investing in beads and wire to get the unspangled ones spiffed up so I'll offer them as well.

Then there are the books.  I've 'inherited' a bunch of lace books and have duplicates of some, and some I'm not interested in, so those will get listed and hopefully sold off.

I'm old enough, and my eyesight is not great, so I'm not going to work with anything very fine.  I'm using sewing thread right now and managing, but I certainly don't want to go any finer.  And I don't want to invest too much time into a 'big' project.  So I will work on small items - ornaments for xmas trees, or window decorations.

In the photo above, there are 3 pillows - one roller pillow, the others are cookie or square with foam.  The two bags are full of books.  This coming week I'll be looking for where to list these for sale and try to figure out 'fair' prices, given shipping is so expensive now.  

I hope the pillows will stay in western Canada due to the cost of shipping them.  However, I would be willing to ship via courier *within* Canada.  Especially if someone buys a pillow and some books or bobbins, for example.  

If anyone knows of a sales site for bobbin lace makers, let me know.  I found 3 groups on Facebook, but none allow sales.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Not Done


Latest 'tiles' design, loom state

Yesterday I cut the first seven towels off the loom so I finally got a good look at what is intended to be the 'right' side of the cloth.

It's still not 'finished', so it will change when it hits the water for the first time, but the photo shows it pretty accurately.  

When it is finally 'done' (wet finished, including a hard press) the warp and weft threads will shift into their final place and the overall design will resolve and become more cohesive.

And this is why I keep banging the drum - it's not finished until it's wet finished.

Right now the cloth feels loose and not structurally sound.  Individual threads can be pulled or shifted out of place.  When I cut into it, the raw edges will fray.  Which is why I use a serger to protect the raw edges.  

After wet finishing, this cloth can actually be cut and not have it fall apart.  Yes, it will fray somewhat, but it will not disintegrate before your eyes/in your hands.

One of the intriguing things about this weave structure (whatever it might be called) is the textures that build which add depth to the look of the design.  It has been quite fascinating to push and pull the design lines, this way and that, and watch how the weave structure changes the overall look of the design lines/areas.


Friday, February 16, 2024



Re-learning bobbin lace is almost like starting over again, from scratch.  OTOH, I have been a bit surprised - and very pleased - that if I just trust my hands, they actually remember.  Quite a lot, to be honest.

I made dozens of these little birds about 20 years ago, so I got pretty good at making them.  Now, I'm having to re-learn how to move the bobbins through the pricking (the pattern) and come up with something that doesn't totally 'suck'.

This little bird is several skill levels higher than I'm currently at, so it's been a bit of an exercise in frustration as I pick my way through making each.  And there is plenty to improve upon.  However, I have a very large spool of a very bright lemon/lime, a friend who adores that colour and has no interest in learning how to make lace, so I'm re-learning how to do it by making her what will likely turn into a flock of these little birds.

The design actually comes with a separate 'tail' which I'm ignoring, because she is a quilter and may want to use them to embellish a quilt.  Or hang them in a window, make a mobile, or...whatever she may choose to do with them.  

They are serving a purpose - I'm getting comfortable with moving the bobbins through each other, and studying the results.  The bottom bird was the first I made, using option A but I really didn't like the 'logic' behind that one so I'm now using option B and finding that a lot easier to work.  I'm not working it the way the pattern says but using my own approach.  Which, when it comes to lace, is pretty standard, from what I understand.  

I'm not going to starch them, as per the instructions, because I don't know what my friend will want to do with them.  The thread I am using isn't very stiff so they are pretty flexible.  But if she wants to spray starch them. I'm pretty sure she knows how to take care of that.

We have another sunny day today.  I may try to get photos of the rest of the Matrix towels.   They are dark navy warp with dark weft colours and don't photograph well so I've left them on the back burner for a sunny day.  

Looks like today is the day.  Check my ko-fi shop for the new towels with more coming, perhaps later today.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Feeling the Love


Yesterday I finished the peacock blue weft and started weaving with the natural white.  

This is intended to be the 'back' side of the cloth, but weaving it 'upside down' means I lift just 6 shafts, not 10, so that's what I do.  (Some people call it 'lazy', I call it 'efficient'.)  

Yesterday I also launched A Thread Runs Through It.  Some people have already purchased, for which I want to say a heart felt thank you.  This book is probably the most 'personal' I have written, hence the tag 'memoir'.

One of the things I didn't really touch on in this book is the fact that I made the decision to become a weaver as my father was dying from multiple myeloma.  He was diagnosed in 1969 while I was in Sweden, and for the next 6 years lived through some pretty brutal health issues.

My father was a hard worker, took his duties as husband and father seriously, and was a man of few words.  But his words, while short, were to the point, and I'm quite sure my sudden pivot to taking up weaving was confusing to him.  All his life he had worked to provide for his family, provide them with as much security as he could manage and, while he never said anything, I could sense his doubt at my decision to make weaving my career.  Especially in the 1970s when women didn't actually have careers, unless they fell into extraordinary circumstances.  Getting married and then pregnant was usually seen as the top priority and so women were not given opportunities to advance in most professions since everyone knew they would soon stop working to become care givers for their children.

Then the fact that I was leaving a rather well paying job with a steady paycheque for something as insecure as being a self-employed weaver?  I'm sure he had many many doubts.

As it happened, the night he died I was teaching my first ever fibre class.  There was a group of people who wanted a spinning workshop and the instructor at the college was asked to teach it.  She refused, saying that she was teaching full time, she wasn't interested in doing even more 'work' outside of her already full schedule.  The person approaching her then asked how they could learn if she wouldn't teach?  My instructor's eye fell on me, sitting quietly in the corner and, bless her heart, she pointed at me and declared "Laura will teach you!"

I, who had taken weeks to finally figure out how to get fibre twisted into yarn?  That Laura?  

It was easier for me to say I would teach the class (along with another of the weaving students) than it was to say 'no' to my teacher.

And so, that Wednesday evening, in the unfinished basement of our new home, a group of students and my co-teacher gathered to begin to figure out how to turn fibre into yarn.  

Halfway through the lesson, the doorbell rang and my 'best' friend arrived to tell me she had just come from the hospital where she and my mother and my mother's friend, plus the minister, had been present to send Dad on to...whatever comes next.

My co-teacher offered to tell the students to leave, but I said no.  My father would not have wanted that to happen.  He had always instilled in me (and my brother) that you did what you said you would do.  That you would finish your obligation.  That your highest priority was for the living.

It was no surprise that dad was dying; we'd known that for years.  I just found it interesting that he would leave the one night that I could not be present with him as he passed.  

The days and weeks afterwards, I spent at the weaving studio because I had decided that weaving was going to be my job.  And I needed to learn as much as I could to become the best weaver that I could.  So I treated that year at the college as though it was my job.  And it was during those quiet days in the studio when no one else was there that I felt the constant, steady presence of my father's spirit.  He now understood.  And while he may have still had doubts, he respected my choice.

Or so I like to believe.

I hope that whatever is left of 'him' has watched me live my life.  I hope that my brother is also watching.  I hope that they have not been disappointed in me.  In how I have tried to learn, but also to teach.  I know that I have grown in ways I had no way anticipated.  I hope I have become a better person, not just a better weaver.

When my brother died in 2008, I had to deal with survivor guilt.  In the end, I realized that Don had left me with a level of security I had no right to expect, and certainly never anticipated.  Don lived his life to the fullest, but now he was gone, and I wasn't, it was up to me to grab whatever life was going to give me, live the best life I could manage.  And so I decided to talk about that aspect of my life that I rarely discussed - being in the business of taking thread and turning it into cloth.

It has not been an easy life.  Far from it.  But I have no regrets that I made that decision.

Wayne Dyer talked about the different phases of life.  I do believe that I am fully into 'mentor' now.  If anyone can take any lessons from my life, then I must share what I have learned.  All of it, not just the 'good' stuff.  Because we learn the most effective lessons from the mistakes that we make and how we correct them.

And yes, I've made mistakes that I regret.  But I also learned.  And that is what I will focus on now, inner critic be damned.  

I saw a meme yesterday to the effect that an artist needs to make their art.  Others will 'judge' if that art is good or bad.  The artist must continue to make their art.

The above warp is quite likely the last in this series.  I feel I have explored the technique as much as I want to - for now.

It is time to move on.  I will likely go back to something 'easy' for a while and continue to work on stash reduction.  

Today the sun is shining.  I will soon go to the loom and weave some more.  Will there be another book?  I honestly don't know.  If I write one, will anyone want to read it?  Maybe.  But even if there isn't one more book, my childhood aspiration to become a writer came true.  Four books, now.  My inner child is kind of gobsmacked I actually did it.

To all who have purchased any of my books, or my textiles.  Thank you.  From the bottom of my heart.

For my Ko-fi shop - two signed copies of Stories from the Matrix, A Thread Runs Through It, and lots and lots of tea towels

For my first three books, both pdf and print versions.

Classes at School of Sweet Georgia

Workshops at Handwoven

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Experiment Time


Well, it's done.  I'm still not exactly tech savvy, so I hope I've done it correctly.

This is the fourth 'book' I've written.  (Well, I've done one other, which may never see light of day.)

It is the most personal, and I share more of my life's journey than ever before.  This book looks at how choosing to be a professional/production weaver has shaped my life.  It chronicles some of the challenges and how I approached them.

So, I've uploaded the file to ko-fi, in part because ko-fi doesn't take a share of the sales price (just Paypal fees, but I have to pay those as well as blurb's fees for my other books).   It is *only* available as a pdf to keep the price as low as possible.

Since I figure there will not be a whole lot of people interested in knowing more about my life, I wanted to keep the selling price low, in part because those most interested are likely also trying to earn an income from making things and probably don't have a very large budget.  So, ko-fi says a cup of "coffee"  is worth $3.  This approximately 200 page 'book' should give you several hours of reading, and a lifetime's worth of my journey plus the lessons I learned along the way.  The final chapter is probably worth $12 (or 4 coffees) all by itself.

If uploading the file to ko-fi doesn't work, I can always email a dropbox link directly to you.

In my bones I suspect this will be the 'last' 'book' I write.  OTOH, I said that after Magic in the Water, and yet, here I am...

Ultimately, this publication is a kind of love song to weaving - and weavers.  Surrounding myself with so many talented (mostly) female (and male) people has given me a gift I had no idea was waiting for me when I made that fateful decision, just about exactly 49 years ago.

While I may regret some of the things that have happened in those 49 years, I do not regret making that decision.  There are things I would, upon hindsight reflection, do differently.  But that core decision?  I have no regrets at all.  My life has been far richer and I've met more talented people than I ever had any right to expect, growing up in a small 'northern' town in central British Columbia.  I have travelled to places I never expected to go, met people I had no right to think I would get to know.  Explored more, learned more than I ever anticipated.

And here's the thing.  The learning continues.  And more people enter my life, even if for a moment, just because I made that decision.  

So, if you go to ko-fi and purchase A Thread Runs Through It and have any problems at all, let me know.  I can email a Dropbox link to you directly if the ko-fi link doesn't work (because I'm not great at the technology!)  But hopefully it really is as simple as ko-fi makes it look!

Happy Valentine's day.  Sending love and light to you all...

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Ko-Fi Updates


The current towels are difficult to see, in part because the repeat is bigger than the space up on top of the loom, in part because I'm using one of the warp colours as weft.

I have managed to update my ko-fi shop with four more 'matrix' designs, and I am feeling a bit, well, restless, so I think this will be the last in the series.  

The gift linen yarn from Lithuania is already in Canada and in customs for clearance.  It might even arrive before the weekend.  So I'm already thinking about what I want to do with it.  :)  

A kilo of linen yarn should produce quite a few towels and the natural beige of the linen should look nice on the peacock/bleu moyen yarn that is still on the tubes.  There should be enough for two more warps which ought to use up the linen.  Whatever is left will get used up with more of the natural white, of which I have plenty to use up.  Sure feels good to see those tubes go away.

As for the warp currently on the loom, the design is a variation of the 'tiles' I've been playing with but I got 'clever' and found a way to expand the design creating different versions of the 'tiles'.  I may have gotten too clever for my own good, but we'll see.  Since the weft and warp are so similar it's really hard to see the design, but I only have enough of the peacock for 4 towels, so the rest will be woven in natural white, which will be a much greater contrast and show off the changes in the tiles more clearly.  

It might look 'nice', it might not.  Guess I'll find out tomorrow when I run out of the peacock weft and start using the natural white?

Monday, February 12, 2024



draft for heart motif

Well, here we are, nearly the middle of the shortest month of the year.

We have sun today, which is lovely, a welcome change from the string of grey dreary days we have been having.  But the weather is not...'normal'...far too warm, and already the slumbering wildfires that never got put out last autumn are re-awakening.  

I learned about the 'curse' "May you live in interesting times" when I was in my 30s, and while I thought I understood why it was actually a 'curse', I never actually thought I would live to see this level of 'interesting'.

When I was in my 20s I was preparing for the Cold War to heat up and nuclear weapons to be used bringing about nuclear winter.  I didn't expect that humans would bring the apocalypse slowly, rather than quickly and that it would be heat/drought.

And yet, here we are.

There is going to come a time when people like me, and others who either grow the fibre, prepare it, spin it, then turn it into cloth, are going to become necessary again.  If that happens, I hope I will have left enough good information for people to learn how to do the cloth making part.

Human beings have been playing with fibres and string for nigh on 40,000 years.  We may see a resurgence of interest as things continue to get more difficult in terms of supply of necessary items.

Today we have sun, so I'm going to try to get some decent photos of the latest batches of tea towels made since the last time I updated my ko-fi shop.  

So, shameless plug:

Tea towels and two signed copies of Stories from the Matrix (and lots of Weave a V) available in my ko-fi shop.   Check later this week to see the new listings.

My books are still available on blurb in both pdf and print versions.

Classes on School of Sweet Georgia are available - four different classes.  I hang out in the forums and answer questions.

Workshops on Long Thread Media are still available.

And my lectures via Zoom.  I'm still taking bookings for this year (and started filling in dates for next).  I've even customized topics for a couple of guilds.  

Last but not least, you can always email me laura at laurafry dot com if you have questions.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Bobbin Lace


setting up the lace pillow

So, what is bobbin lace?

Well, it's kind of like weaving, where you build your loom as you make the textile; where warps can turn into wefts, and back again; where you can tie knots, or twist threads together, creating holes or plain weave (whole cloth) or any number of combinations to create different textures and holes.

People look at all the bobbins and shudder, but honestly?  You only (usually) work with four bobbins at a time.

There are only two things you can do - cross or twist.  It is in the order you do those two actions that the design begins to grow.  Working the bobbins is logical, too, as you follow design 'lines'.  (There is, of course, free-form lace, but that's not what I'm doing right now - I'm trying to re-learn the traditional Torchon lace stitches.)

Bobbin lace, like every other textile craft, has grown up in various locations, using different tools, and different approaches.  The complexity is in all those different approaches.  But when you break it down, it all comes from crosses and twists.

As I re-learn the craft I am also confronted with the variety of ways different instructors present the information.  Each one has their own approach to beginning a piece.  Some methods I find more helpful than others.  And then when I change sources, I have to figure out what each designer intended to happen, because the notation is simple and open to interpretation.

I think, however, I have learned enough to do an introductory session with someone who wants to learn.  Today I am challenging myself by upping the degree of difficulty again.  (Too soon?  Probably!)  I'm trying a bookmark I obviously made previously because the pricking has holes in it.  The problem is, I don't remember doing it, and I really don't remember how it was supposed to begin.  So, I fudged.  

The bookmark has areas of 'rose ground', which is fairly complex as it takes a longish series of pins, twists and crosses to complete.  But I like the look, and since the areas of rose ground are small, I'm going to give it a try and see if I can do it.

But I'm also working with sewing thread, not 2/16 or 2/20 cotton.  This is much finer and it's a much bigger challenge than I wanted, honestly.  However, the rose ground won't really show well in a thicker yarn, and I really want to see if I can produce something even close to the intended cloth.

After this, I think I'm going to tackle that little bird I made a couple of decades ago, from the design by Eeva-Lisa Kortelahti.  She is Finnish and has a number of books out with a large variety of traditional and modern designs.  I like her work, although most of it is far above my skill level.  But I do remember making a flock of these birds a long time ago and enjoying them.  Every one was different as I tried (and tried) to make them the way they were intended.

Once again textiles reminded me that just because something isn't 'perfect' doesn't mean they are 'bad'.  In the end, I doubt anyone (who doesn't make lace) would know (or care) that my little birds weren't entirely the way they were intended by the designer.  

And bobbin lace is something else I can do quietly during the night when I can't sleep.  Making lace provides enough distraction I can more or less ignore the pain.  And that, all by itself, is worth my fwipping the bobbins quietly.