Sunday, June 30, 2024

Big Birthday Bash Sale (BOGO)


My annual Birthday Bash Sale is now live.  (I got it done early.)  The sale will continue until midnight, July 9, 2024.

All the towels in my ko-fi shop are on sale - buy one, receive two for the same price.

Most of the towels listed are the ones from the Matrix series, but there are a few others, including the latest off the loom using the 'mystery' yarn.  

The Matrix towels are woven with 2/16 cotton warp.  The Mystery yarn towels are woven on 2/8 cotton and, as such, I don't call them 'tea' towels, just 'towels'.

The dimensions of each are listed although my towels are fairly generous in size.  Some are a bit longer, if the motif is large.  All of the towels listed are 100% cotton (pretty sure the mystery yarn is 100% cotton.)

Care is easy - machine wash, warm water, machine (or hang) to dry.  I don't bother ironing them, just take them out of the dryer while they are still warm and fold them up.

I am *almost* finished the beige warp using the mystery yarn, and if I can get them done before the 9th, I will list them as well.

All my designs are now 'limited edition' - I try to keep the inventory numbers up-to-date, and when one design sells out there will not be more.  

Shipping is included in the price listed, via Canada Post.  And for the first time since opening the shop I am willing to ship outside of Canada and the US, if anyone is interested.  

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Instant Gratification

 Well, sort of...

I've been enjoying the (nearly) 'instant' gratification of weaving with thicker yarns AND using up more of my stash, especially that 'mystery' yarn.  I don't know how large/heavy the original cones were, but they were huge.  It looks like when I finish the current warp there will be enough of the mystery yarn to weave most of this next warp.  If there is anything left over, I have some cottonlin that I'll use to weave more towels.

One of the challenges has been knowing if I have enough yarn, so I took my scale, put an empty tube on it and turned the scale on, removed the empty tube then placed one of the tubes with yarn on the scale.

Doing this, the scale automagically subtracts the weight of the empty tube from the weight of the tube with yarn.  This gives a fairly accurate indication of how much yarn is left on the tube.  (Check to see if your scale does the same - it's a great and very useful tool.)

The larger tubes are fine - it was the smaller darker green I was concerned about.  I'll need approximately 560 yards to beam the warp and the smaller tube I weighed has something like 680 yards on it, so there will be plenty.  Whew.  Because I'm quite liking this colour combination.  It speaks of spring and early summer to me.  The colours will be put onto the loom randomly and no effort will be made to put them in any kind of order.  Except if two of the non-green colours are side-by-side, then I'll manipulate them so that they have a green thread between them.

Towels have been very much on my mind for the last, oh, 4 years(!) mainly because I had so much fine cotton yarns I needed to use up.  So, when Robyn Spady asked me to write an article for her Heddlecraft issue on towels, I was delighted.

That issue dropped today, so if you have a subscription, keep an eye out for it.  Looks like lots of great information on making towels.  :)

If you don't have a subscription but would like to purchase this issue, you can do that on the website.

Robyn always does a very thorough examination of each theme issue, so I can say it's well worth the price if you are interested in making towels.

Now I know what I'll be doing 'next', time to get back to the loom and weave a couple more towels on the current warp.  

Friday, June 28, 2024



I've managed to make some progress on this warp, and it should come off the loom in the next few days.

Overall, I'm pleased enough with these towels made using the 'mystery' yarn from my stash.  But I have a lot more of it and will not use it up on the current warp.

Mind you, some of each of the two warps was used to weave samples for the two articles I'm working on.  Even so, I doubt I could have used up all of the mystery yarn.  

What to do?  What to do?

Do I put one more 2/8 cotton warp on and use it up, or switch back to the 2/16 cotton so I can begin weaving the fine linen?

Right now I'm torn between the two.  On the one hand I'd love to use up the mystery yarn.  On the other, I'd really like to go back to the lighter weight cloth that is more suitable for tea towels.  

I wouldn't call the heavier weight 'tea' towel, just 'towel'.  However, I did use up one of the gigantic cones of the mystery yarn, and am making a good dent in the 2nd.  Still, it would be nice to get rid of all of it and free up some more space on my shelves.

This week I started another pain medication, plus I'm reading a book called The Pain Project.  Chronic pain is, in so many ways, mysterious.  It can manifest in different people in so many different, and ultimately personal, ways.  It's hard to get to a solution for everyone.

I feel enormous gratitude that the local pain doctor I'm seeing is willing to *listen* to me, and try to help by offering suggestions.  To have someone believe me when I say I'm having pain actually makes the pain easier to deal with.  And I'm so grateful to be off the opioids and not have the brain fog they caused.  I can tolerate quite a lot of pain if I can just keep my brain!

Since I can no longer travel to teach, or even teach in person anymore, my choices are limited.  If I have my brain I can still write about weaving and teach that way.  So, I'm pleased as punch at the opportunity I have been given recently to write articles.

One will be available shortly - will let folk know where and when as soon as I'm told I can do that.

Three articles for one place are on hiatus for a number reasons, partly because Life Happened to one of the editorial team.

Two articles will appear next year.  The lead time for actual print production is generally 6-12 months, so this is not unusual.  

I'm hoping the new medication will allow me to sleep through the night and generally make my life more 'comfortable'.  And in the meantime, the Pain Project is giving me some insight into what that journey looks like for someone else.  

Acceptance is not giving up.  It is taking a good long hard look at the present reality which then lets me begin to think about how to move forward.  If I can't physically teach in person, I *can* still write.

So I guess that is the direction I will point myself going forward

And in the meantime, keep weaving down my stash as best I can.  


(Birthday Bash Sale begins July 1 running through July 9 in my ko-fi shop)

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Planning Ahead


This warp is being used for multiple purposes.  I needed some plain weave samples, plus I am still trying to use up my yarn stash, making towels.  

Since I knew that the plain weave would draw in differently than the twill, it made a lot more sense for me to weave the plain weave first, then the twill.

The photo clearly shows the difference in draw in from the plain weave woven with 2/8 cotton, and the twill woven with the mystery yarn (possibly 6/2 cotton).

If you don't know this happens, and wind up weaving the part that will draw in more first, then switching to the cloth that will draw in less, the 'extra' width will then have nothing to support it.  This can cause all kinds of tension issues at the selvedge.  (Ask me how I know!)

You can do two things - cut off and re-tie, or as the wider width rolls onto the beam you can add warp packing sticks to help provide the necessary support.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Gearing Up


I have finished weaving the samples I need for the two articles.  I think.  I will know better once I've done the wet finishing if I need to do more.  Perhaps these samples will raise more questions and I want to see if I can find an answer.  Or I will see an angle I hadn't considered before that I want to pursue as part of this exploration.

As it happens, I don't need to weave ALL of the samples now - I have lots of samples from my teaching days that I can drag out to use as examples.  But I had some very specific subtle effects I wanted to really take a very close look at and see if those slight differences make much difference to the cloth.

But there were certain aspects that they wanted to examine that I really hadn't done, in an organized fashion.  I mean, I have opinions!  Of course I do.  But they want to provide answers that are based on some experimentation, not just my best guess.

And of course, now I hit the 'wall' of indecision, of doubt.  

I spent some time drawing up forms so that I can record the details of what I do.  I just need to clear the decks so that I have room to work.  Plus it will take some time over several days because of course the samples will have to dry.  They also need to be clearly labelled/identified, and I've come up with a way to do that so I can keep track of them.  Because they don't *look* very different and once wet finished I suspect they are going to be difficult to tell apart.

(I'm not saying who or when until I finish the work and have it approved...)

In the meantime, I'm examining an aspect of textiles I've noticed but not pursued in an organized fashion.  And that feels good, to finally have the time to set aside, weave the samples, then wet finish them, and then sit down to really examine them to see - if I can - what has happened.

Wet finishing is such a magical process.  There are all sorts of ways to carry the process out, and all sorts of variations, given how many different fibres there are to weave with.  I won't try to examine them all, but I will look at the 'major' ones.

And then people will have to do their own 'research', their own 'experiments' and see what happens when...

The side benefit to doing this series of samples is that I finally thought of a way to explain in a clearer way how compression works in textiles.  As usual, the effect is generally quite subtle, and in many cases not really seen - unless you look really closely.  

Once I've got this writing behind me, stay tuned for a tutorial on compression, hopefully in a way that clearly shows what happens when you interlace three dimensional 'rods', then compress them and how that affects the textile as a whole.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Road Less Travelled


My parents were not 'well educated', not because they weren't intelligent, but because they grew up in a time and place that didn't allow for it.

It seems hard to remember that it was just my parent's generation who rarely finished high school, never mind went to college.

My father was born in a tiny village south of where I was born and continue to live.  When he was six years old there was no school in that village, because it had burned down.  He got home schooled by his elder siblings and wound up with a grade 2 level of 'schooling'.

My mother was raised in Montreal, but it was the depression and then war time, and her family had no extra money so she left school in junior high in order to get a job and contribute to the family income by paying her own way for what she needed (clothing, etc.)

It was only when I was in high school that she determined to go to college as a 'mature' student in order to get her Early Childhood Education certificate.

Both parents encouraged (insisted!) that both of their children at least finish high school, even if it meant dragging my brother through grade 12 kicking and screaming.  

I discovered reading at a very early age; he discovered it when dad was sick and he needed to be 'quiet'.  We shared favourite books from time to time.  

I don't know if it was the wide ranging reading I did as a kid (anything and everything, pretty much) or just the nature of my personality, but I was never too much bothered about what everyone else was doing.  My interests were wide ranging and I soaked up knowledge like it was water and I was a sponge.

When I decided to learn how to weave in order to earn an income by weaving, my father was in the last few months of his life.  If he had been healthy, I'm quite sure he would have considered my decision with grave misgivings.  But he was fighting for every day, every week, consumed with pain that would not stop.  I doubt he gave much thought to my future security, at that point.

As I look back on making that decision, I still wonder how on earth I managed to even consider it, given how much I wanted, *needed* security.  And living the life of a professional/production weaver was anything but 'secure', in terms of income.

But here's the thing.  It never mattered too much to me what other people thought.  I didn't care if people thought I was foolish or strange (warped?).  Something, somewhere, was moving me in the direction of that choice, and once I sat at the floor loom for the very first time, shuttle in hand, it was like I had finally come 'home'.

And I knew I'd made the correct choice.

Oh, it wasn't 'easy' - far from it.  But nothing worth doing is, really.  Or at least not in my world.  

Do I have regrets?  A few.  Usually for persisting too long in something that was clearly not working.  But I learned.  I learned when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em.  And that is a very useful thing to learn.

One of the biggest attractions to becoming a weaver was discovering a discipline where the learning never stopped.

And so it still is.  As I organize my thoughts and approach to the experiments I am about to run, I find myself fully engaged with the craft, again.  I find myself excited to see if my conclusions are actually correct or if there will be more new information to add to my foundation of knowledge.

Just because I have a certificate that says 'master weaver' doesn't mean I have all the answers.  It simply means I have asked enough questions to gain a degree of knowledge that lets me ask even more questions, then go looking for the answers.  It means I have an open mind and am willing to take on more information, and even (gasp!) change my mind!  Or adjust what I teach or say to others.

I think the term 'master' gets confused with knowing 'everything' when there is no way to know it all, because change one thing, and everything can change.

And sometimes I find myself wandering off the known path into the unknown.  Or following the known path but arriving at a different destination (conclusion) than others before me have made.

Leaving myself open to what happens and then trying to figure out why, is a constant in my work of trying to figure it all out.

So, while I am aware of what others have done, I also repeat their experiments and see if I get the same results.  If not, why not.  If I do, do I draw the same conclusions?  Or do I dig further to find out more?

When I set out to write my books, I wanted to write something that added to the foundation of knowledge, not just repeat what others have said.  When I set out to write Magic in the Water, there was very little literature available for the handweaver about wet finishing.  When I set out to write The Intentional Weaver, I wanted to write the weaving book I would have liked to have had when I set out to learn how to weave.  Because so much of what is necessary to creating cloth for a specific purpose simply isn't covered by 'most' other how-to-weave books.  In order to weave 'better' I felt that the 'missing' information needed to be made more available.  When I wrote Stories from the Matrix, I was wanting to add to the general body of knowledge, look at some aspects of weaving in more depth than is usually presented.  And the last book was written to help others who might like to become 'professional' in the craft.

As I look back at my life, I find that I spent a lot of time on the 'road less travelled'.  I was aware of many of the 'standard' books available, read most of them.  But they didn't always answer the questions I had.  So I set out to try to find those answers.

And as I review my life, I don't regret any of that part of what I did.

First three books available here

Last book (memoir) available here  ko-fi

Sunday, June 23, 2024



in process...

Yesterday I beamed the next warp and started threading it.  Last night I had a 'bad' night and finally gave up on trying to get some sleep, went down and finished the threading.  This warp is for samples, and the first samples will be on 18 epi.  Then I'll cut off and re-sley to 20 epi (which is the intended density for the rest of the warp.)

I don't much like re-sleying because all my neat bundles of groups of threads are gone and sleying takes longer, and is more prone to introducing sleying errors, but...needs must.

Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do.

I'm testing a theory that density will make a difference in a result.  I could take the word of the author who did this previously, but I'm always interested to do my own 'research', because change one thing and everything can change.

While I beamed and threaded yesterday, I also ran the 14 towels that came off the previous warp (once *those* samples were woven) through the washer/dryer.   They are now in a plastic bin waiting to be pressed.

Today will be prep work for the article, then pressing.  If I have spoons left after that, I will re-sley the warp and get it ready to be woven tomorrow.  The actual weaving of the first set of samples won't take more than about an hour and I'm keen to get these samples woven so I can begin the wet finishing.

I've worked out a form for documenting the results, and which samples I need.  Some will come from my rather copious sample 'stash' because I kept so many for teaching aids.  But I also feel I need to do the same experiment the previous author did, to see if I get the same results.

Because that is what 'science' is - running the same experiment and getting the same results.  Or, if not, trying to figure out why.  Because change one thing, and everything can change.  I won't be using the same yarns as they did, but I can follow their 'rules' of engagement and see if the principle holds.

It is something I've been telling weavers for a long time, now.  Change the density and change the nature of your cloth.  This time I'm not just doing that, I'm keeping records so that I can 'prove' the statement.

It seems like a 'worthy' thing to do with the rest of my life.  FAFO, but this time keep the receipts.

Saturday, June 22, 2024



If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Last autumn I began to be 'harassed' by an anonymous...person...posting comments on this blog urging me to 'DIE DIE DIE', repeated endlessly.  When I got the first one I was shocked.  I mean, what had I ever done to this person to want to wish death upon me?

I thought about how easy it is for humans to harass others in this day of the internet.  In the 'olden' days it might be a threatening phone call, nasty words whispered over the line, accusations, insinuations, especially chilling when they used my name.  I had no idea why that person, then, had mounted a harassment campaign against me, but eventually they got bored and gave up or moved on to someone else.

But now, 40+ years later we have the internet and anyone, anywhere, can poke their nose into your business on line and be nasty.

So, I know making comments moderated is a bit of a pain for the majority who wish me no ill whatsoever, but I don't want that garbage to spill out into anyone else's day so while I love getting your comments, please understand why I continue to moderate comments before allowing them to be posted.

I don't know if the person doing this actually reads my blog or just jumps into the comments to type in their command for me to die, but I will continue to post.  I will continue to help others.  I will continue to share my experience, in both weaving and in life, here.

I am not unaware of the current political situation.  But I will continue to live as I always have done.  And when I die it will be up to someone other than that person who must be living a truly awful life if the best thing they can do with their time is wish death upon a stranger.  

Friday, June 21, 2024

Round and Round


A cone, tube and cotton boll against a background of woven cotton sample

Cotton.  One of my favourite yarns to weave.  

Not everyone knows where fibres come from, and sometimes it's good to dig a little and find out more about the materials we work with and tend to use frequently.

Cotton is versatile, comes in a variety of thicknesses and formats.  The fibre itself comes from the seed pod (or 'boll') and the fibre staple is fairly short, ranging from 3/4" to 1 5/8" for textile purposes.  Anything shorter goes into other products - paper making for one.

Cotton is cellulose and has many characteristics in common with other cellulose fibres, although there are differences.  The most obvious one is, perhaps, linen and the other bast fibres.  While still cellulose, the fibre comes from the bast fibres in the stalk of the plants, not the seed pod.

And then, of course, there is the regenerated cellulose yarns - rayon (collectively), but sometimes identified by their trade name, like Tencel.  Or Bamboo.  (I understand that it is possible to get the un-regenerated bamboo fibres, but that is rare - what is most commonly available now is the 'rayon' bamboo.)

Rayon comes in a variety of different formulations, so just getting 'rayon' might mean something quite different if you buy a different brand.

And of course, it all depends on how the fibre has been prepared for and spun!

I've been weaving cotton samples for an article I'm writing, and it's been interesting to explore cotton in a more organized fashion to look at one specific thing.  Since different yarns do behave differently, I've rummaged in my yarn stash and come up with a variety of different cotton yarns, and woven samples which I can use for the article.

Today I hope to cut the current warp off the loom and begin weaving the samples for article number 2, which will look at a completely different subtle effect that happens at times in weaving.  Once again I'm looking at a variety of different yarns and how they behave.

Over the years I've encountered both of these topics and have opinions.  But this is the first time I've actually sat down and studied them in a more organized fashion.  A 'proper' experiment.

I can't begin to tell you how much I'm enjoying this.  :)

Thursday, June 20, 2024



Grief is a funny thing.  You experience a loss, maybe several, maybe a whole lot of losses, and you deal with each one as they come.  You compartmentalize the emotions until the rawness of the loss begins to lessen.

But it never really goes away.  It just gets filed away in a dark corner of your mind, your heart, and you carry on.

The loss that nearly 'broke' me was my younger (and only) brother.  His sudden and very unexpected death from massive cardiac issues kickstarted a roller coaster journey for me as his dying saved me from the same thing.  And, because I was going through it, my spouse finally recognized *his* symptoms, and he got 'saved', too.

Mostly when I think about my brother now, it is not terribly painful.  But I had to go through survivor guilt and make a way forward wondering why him, not me.  I was older, after all.  

After I had the angioplasty that 'saved' me, I talked to the cardiac nurse and spent a good hour going through a questionnaire to find out what I had done 'wrong', given cardiac issues/high cholesterol (which mine wasn't, actually) had been discovered and are generally accepted as a 'life style' issue.  In the end, she tapped her pen on the paper and said "Well, you were doing everything right."

I looked at her and said "Why am I here, then?"  Meaning why do I have cardiac issues.

She gave me a long look an said "You can't beat genetics."

It was the same when I was diagnosed with cancer.  I don't have the gene that most people who develop this cancer have, plus I have multiple allergies, which the oncologist said was 'protective' against this type of cancer.

Again "Why am I here, then?"

"Bad luck."

And sometimes that's all it is.  If it isn't genetics, it's bad luck.

Bad luck that I've had injuries - double whip lash, a fall that injured my SI joint and probably led to the damage to my discs when I hit the concrete making a one point landing on my lower back.  I suppose I should be glad I have a thick skull and didn't wind up with concussion on top of it.

The problem now is that I remember my previous body.  I remember what I used to be able to do, and now cannot.

And I have to deal with that every single day.  I am trying really hard to NOT complain because other folk have way worse things they deal with daily.  

But the fact remains.  I cannot any longer do what I used to be able to do.

Tuesday I had errands to run.  At one point I dropped my car keys when I was fumbling in my purse preparing to pay for a purchase.  I stood there and sighed.  And then muttered "The floor gets further away every year."

The young clerk gave me a startled look and I bent over and managed to pick the keys up.  But squatting down?  Beyond me, now.  Thankfully I am still flexible enough that I can bend over and (just barely) touch the floor.  

But never mind.  I *am* still alive.  My brother isn't.  I vowed that because he couldn't live his life to the fullest, into 'old age' and I can, I will.  In spite of injury.  In spite of loss.  In spite of challenges.  I will live.  Until I don't.

And so I will go back to the loom and weave another towel.  I will finish setting up the experiments for the article I'm writing.  And I will keep on, keeping on.  

Acceptance isn't giving up.  It is staring reality in the face, finding out what is possible, and what, sadly, is not.  Acceptance allows me to continue, to find ways around, in order to accomplish what I want to do.  Because just because I can't squat down and stand back up doesn't mean I can't bend over and stretch to pick up my keys.  I *can* still do that.  I just have to do some things differently, is all.

Time passes, things change.  Doesn't mean I don't miss my younger body and sigh a little when I can no longer do what I used to do without giving a second thought about doing it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024



When I decided to retire from doing craft fairs in 2019 and then in-person teaching (because of Covid) some of my friends wondered what I would do instead.

I had no ready answer for them, other than that I thought I might like to take a deeper look at weaving.  Deeper than I had been able to do for a while.

I'm no stranger to sampling, and experimenting; I just wasn't sure what route I would take in that exploration.

A few detours arrived and I enjoyed the journey.  They allowed me to examine certain things in more depth, which I enjoyed very much.  I also wrote 2 books(!) because it seems like I hadn't said everything I wanted to say in the first two.

So much of my energy has been needed to just keep going lately that there hasn't been a lot of time nor energy for anything beyond the mundane.  But I *can* still weave, so there is that.

I've been on the naltrexone since November and it takes the edge off the pain - not completely, but enough I can (mostly) cope.  The more important thing is that I have my brain back, now that it isn't clouded by opioids, and I can think again without trying to peer through the drug haze.

A few months ago I found myself stating, quite firmly, that I wasn't going to 'pitch' articles to publications but only write what I wanted to write.  I'm old, I'm fairly stable financially (for reasons that are beyond my control, but for which I am grateful), and with covid NOT over, I won't be traveling or teaching in person any time soon.

So I mostly just sat with my thoughts and did the best I could to get through each day.

Time passed, and I waited to see if my muse was going to appear with a whip and insist I needed to write more - what that might be, I had no idea, but they had shown up previously so I was confident that if they wanted me to write, they would bring the seed of an idea that would spark my interest.

Well, my muse didn't show up, but 3 different publications contacted me in the space of 4 weeks, asking for articles.  They were very specific about what they wanted me to write about and every one of them was right in my 'zone' of wanting to write about those things.

Two of the articles were so specific I had to come up with experiments to make sure I could write about them.

One was a very short deadline, and I tackled that one first (it will appear soon - will let folk know where and when), one had a very open deadline but two of the topics were things I knew well and didn't need to weave any actual samples for, and the third was very specific in what they wanted.  And for that one I needed to weave samples and do some experiments.

So I shuffled my weaving schedule and piggy-backed the samples onto warps that I had planned to do 'down the road', and instead brought them forward to do immediately.  Bonus for having enough yarn on hand to weave the samples (and enough samples in my teaching boxes for the rest).

Both of those topics are, shall we say, broad enough to require some digging, but specific enough I needed to produce examples to illustrate the topic.  Both are wet finishing related, but aspects that I had never had time to really, thoroughly explore.

The first set of samples (topic 1) that I needed to weave are done, with one sample started for topic two.  I've decided on my approach to the experiment I will run for topic 1, counted up how many samples I will need to explore the options, and purchased a product that I haven't used, until now, but was recommended and which I will try, to see if it works as advertised.

In the meantime I am weaving off the rest of the warp I used for topic 1 samples, have pulled the yarn for topic 2 samples and will throw that at the loom as soon as the current warp comes off.  I have enough yarn for a 3rd warp if I find, in my actual experimenting, that I need more samples.

And then the rest of the samples should already be in my teaching bins, so I need to collect the bins and sort through them to see what I have.

I have written down the first experiment and just need to do the wet finishing and run the experiment.  For the second topic I finally figured out how I would go about doing it, worked out a way to document the different samples and be able to identify each one so I can make comparisons.

Because only after the wet finishing happens can I begin to examine the results, make comparisons and then possibly come to some meaningful conclusions.

In the meantime, I keep weaving, even at a slower pace than I would like.  I have mixed feelings about what is happening to my body, but since I can keep weaving, that is what I will do.  And when I can't weave anymore, maybe I can keep writing?

As for when the articles will appear?  There is usually a 6-12 month lead up time from when someone is asked to write an article and when it will appear.  Stay tuned!

Monday, June 17, 2024

A Close Look


This is a 'linen tester'.  Why is it called that?  No idea.  But it's a really useful tool if you want to take a closer look at your textiles.

I have one that is a little bit different.  It has the inch scale, but it also has a 1/4" and 1/2" scale.  The viewing area is 1" by 1/4" by 1/2", which is helpful when working with finer threads.

I also have a digital microscope.  I wish I'd bought the higher resolution one, but the change in price between viewing at 5 times and higher than that was a significant price difference.  And, not having a whole lot of money at the time, I went with the lower resolution.  Much to my regret, at times.

Not everyone wants to get so up close and personal with their threads, but I find that if I am to truly understand my cloth, I have to understand the materials - the threads - I am weaving.

When we scale up - or down - things change.  The dynamics of the threads in the weave structure change, just like changing the weave structure will change the results.  Just like changing the density will change the results.

And, because I always want to know more, to know why - if that is even possible - I like to take up close and personal peeks at my cloth.

Especially now.  Why?

Because just in the last 3 months I have had 3 different publications ask me to write about weaving.  Deep dives.

I'm stoked.  Truly.

My body may be breaking down, but I still have my brain (in no small part due to the fact that I am NOT taking opioids for pain relief right now).

Truth to be told, the last injection doesn't seem to have done much and I'm still living with pain.  But it doesn't seem to matter if I weave or not, so I will keep weaving.  And for so long as I can keep thinking, I'll keep writing.  I guess...

Sunday, June 16, 2024

A Little Progress


Having made some progress over the past couple of days, I decided I'd better get the next draft ready.  I'm not sure I'll actually do this one as it is very similar to the other one, so I'll think on it for a bit.

In the meantime, I've decided to do one more warp with 2/8 and the 'mystery' yarn, partly because it weaves up so quickly, but mostly because I can weave the rest of the samples for the articles I'm writing on it.  And then I can do the wet finishing, analyze the results and write the articles.

Besides, I'm enjoying how quickly 'fat' yarn weaves up!

It will also give me a little time to think through how many samples I will need, read some resources and then get cracking.  My goal is to have both articles written, proof-read (if my alpha reader has the time), finalized and mailed off by the end of August.  That will give them plenty of time to do their end - the editing, photographing, formatting, etc.  And then get the galley proof (as were) to me for a final read through.

Just like with weaving, the prep work in publishing is all iceberg - what you get to see is only the tiny tip of the effort involved.

I have been given permission to say what magazine these are for, but Impostor Syndrome popped up and quashed that suggestion - at least until after they approve what I submit!  So, one more reason to get them done 'early', because I don't want to say anything until I know for sure they like what I do...

The stacks of books are in my office, but I think I'm going to bring some of them out to my chair in the living room.  Maybe read them instead of playing Scrabble Go or doom scrolling on the iPad.

We have had several days of grey weather, and bouts of rain.  Everyone is trying really hard to not be upset at the rain, we so desperately need it.  Yesterday another small town in the northern part of the province was issued with an evacuation order.  So far we have not had much in the way of smoke, in no small part due to the rain.  I won't actually be too disappointed if we have a cool, wet summer, after the awfulness of last year.


Saturday, June 15, 2024

No Hare, Just Tortoise


My days of frantically keeping the plates spinning are pretty much over.  These days a typical day will consist of a leisurely morning, a couple of hours of weaving, then puttering, dealing with other things.

Lately, that 'puttering' has been mostly writing - thinking about, researching, weaving samples where required, then getting words generated.  

I find that this is a schedule I can get behind!

There are other things that need dealing with, life being what it is.  But in the 'golden' years of my life, I think I can be more-or-less happy if I can keep getting to the loom a couple times a day, then maybe write some articles.  Getting paid to write articles is nice.  It covers the cost of the sampling, but mostly it keeps my mind thinking, picking through options, trying to understand how the craft 'works'.

Yesterday I also started doing an inventory of my tea towels, preparing for my big sale in July.  Sales of everything, everywhere, seem to be very slow.  I'm not the only creative person to notice this.  All my friends trying to earn an income from making stuff are scrambling to keep the wolf away from the door, food on the table and a roof overhead.  

One thing about being immune compromised and wanting to avoid crowds, we don't spend much money on concerts, dining out, travelling hither and thither.  Given my progressing physical issues, staying home is looking pretty attractive, to be honest.  So I spend money on small things - this week I received my latest order of jigsaw puzzles, and a couple more books to add to my to-be-read pile!  

Today's not-weaving tasks include trimming the fringes on the 3 shawls ready to be done, running the next three through the washer/dryer, dealing with a personal 'problem' which requires me to get online and register for a service (I really don't like doing that sort of thing, but hopefully it won't require a lot of effort to accomplish!) and then start listing the rest of the guild books I'd like to see re-homed.

None of these things has a hard and fast deadline, just my own desire to get them done and out of my hair.  Like I said to my spouse this morning, I can't wait to the last minute before a deadline because there is no more hare, only tortoise left in me.  Slow and steady wins the day.

In the end, I suppose that is going to have to be 'enough'.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Draw In


top layer hem is 20/2 cotton, bottom layer is 2/8 cotton

Using up as much of my stash as I can, sometimes I run into issues that I need to make adjustments for.

In the case of the 'mystery' yarn I'm weaving on this 2/8 cotton warp, I needed to weave a sample to test for how the hems would react.

The mystery yarn is a tad thicker than 2/8 cotton so I decided the best approach would be to weave in plain weave hems.  The fabric would be thinner and once hemmed, the hems would not be super thick.  But I needed to test a couple different yarns to see how they would play with the mystery yarn.

Since I was weaving samples for an article I'm researching on the front end of this warp, it was easy to weave a test piece to check which yarn was going to work 'best' as hem weft.

I wove one hem with 2/8 cotton (one of the colours from the warp) - about 3 inches, which is what I tend to allow for hems - wove about 12 or so inches of the towel body, then wove the second hem with some 20/2 white cotton I got from the same person who had the mystery yarn.

In the loom the 2/8 didn't look like it would be too 'off', while the 20/2 looked like it was going to draw in more - although that wasn't a deal breaker.

It was after wet finishing that the true picture emerged.  The 2/8 cotton did not draw in nearly as much as the towel body.  The 20/2 drew in the exact amount needed to keep the hem the same width as the towel.

Once I had the sample wet finished, including a hard press and complete drying, I was able to work backwards to determine how long to weave in the loom to get the size of towel I wanted.  Then I edited the treadling to reflect this information and began weaving.

I found it interesting to note that both the 2/8 and the 20/2 yarns tracked in the plain weave, but I don't consider tracking any kind of 'flaw'.  Besides, once the hem has been folded up and sewn down, I doubt anyone will notice.

I have two gigantic cones of the mystery yarn, and two kilo cones (I think - maybe just two pounds) of the 20/2 white.  Since both need to be weft (imho) it looks like there will be more of these at some point.

Today I need to inventory my tea towels, clean up my my ko-fi shop and get ready for the sale next month.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 13, 2024



In this day of mis- and dis-information, starting up a new magazine is a vote for the future.  

Humans have been playing with string since the dawn of time.  The craft is vast, and broad, and deep.  To try to encapsulate the bones of the craft in a periodical is brave and bold, and honestly?  I wish I were 20 years younger so I could really dig in and participate more than I am able to do.

I have been around since the time of Interweave.  And by that, I mean the magazine.  I loved that magazine and was very sad when it went away.  I wish now I'd kept those magazines when I downsized my library.

In the Kickstarter video Jacey and Lisa say they want to collect as much information as possible and make WEFT a kind of 'encyclopedia' of weaving knowledge.

When they said that, I thought about the folk who have attempted this before - S. Zielinski, Elmer Wallace Hickman, Mary Black, Russell Groff (by publishing so many 'monographs'), Shuttlecraft (who also published monographs) and Heddlecraft (there are likely more, but those are floating around top of my mind.)

But things change.  Knowledge and understanding grows.  And I'm pretty sure that WEFT will find a place in the weaving world of value and add to the foundation of knowledge.  Small publications go out of print, or become difficult to find.  Or the information gets 'stale' because new innovations come along.

I well remember when I let my friends know I was buying an AVL with fly shuttle, dobby and auto cloth advance.  And how I would be told I could no longer call myself a 'hand' weaver.  Then when weaving software was developed and people who used it were 'cheating'.

But things change.  Acceptance grows, and look at us now...40 shaft computer assisted dobby looms, even small(ish) Jacquard mechanism looms, all part of the larger hand weaving community.

I think what excites me about WEFT is that they say they want to look deep into the rabbit warren of the craft.  Because if you don't know *what* you don't know, you don't know *that* you don't know it.

So, while not everyone will be excited about the deep dive that will happen in these pages, at least they will know that it exists.  And that is the first step to learning and understanding.

I, for one, could not be more excited.  

For my own particular deep dives, my books remain available at Blurb (Magic, Matrix, Intentional Weaver) and my ko-fi shop for my bio as a production weaver (and the lessons I learned, which is probably worth the price I'm asking for the pdf, all by itself!)

In the meantime, I have articles to write which requires some rabbit warren diving, some sample weaving, a lot of thinking and a bunch of wordsmithing.  I will have to be patient and wait until April 2025 to see what WEFT will contribute to the world of weaving knowledge.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Marking Progress


Progress happens slowly enough in weaving that sometimes I post things just to remind myself that I actually have been getting stuff done.

Truth to tell, these shawls came off the loom fairly quickly.  It was the fringe twisting that has taken so much time.  Usually I allow the same amount of shuttle throwing time for fringe twisting, but shawls are a lot wider than scarves, so the fringe twisting actually takes longer than the weaving.

However, here are the first three shawls.

They are a nice quality (I think) and I'm pleased enough with them.  

The next warp is beamed, threaded, sleyed and tied on.  Today I will weave the samples for the first article I'm working on.  Once I have the samples woven and the 'experiments' done, I can begin writing the text.

It's been fun digging through my resources, then the internet, (figured out how to access Google internet searches by turning AI references off - yay!) and then thinking about the topic.  Rather than weave all of the samples, I'm going to dig through my teaching samples and use some of those as more examples.

The next warp is 2/8 and it should go fairly quickly once I've finished the required samples.  And then I will put another 2/16 cotton warp into the loom and start using the bleached white linen for weft.  I still have to do an inventory and bring my ko-fi shop into some kind of order for my birthday bash sale the beginning of July, plus deal with the rest of the guild books.  

Some of the guild books just aren't all that saleable, I guess, so I may dump them into the 'sale by donation' pile in the guild room.  But some of them are quite 'rare' and I'm sure someone, somewhere, would like them and I hate to just toss them.  So, I'll try once more.

When I've got the updated list I will post here, and then start listing them on sales groups (in Canada only), or I might see if I can post the really 'rare' ones to other sites like ANWG, or maybe Complex Weavers, if they allow sales.  TBD.

We are approaching the solstice and soon the days will begin to shorten their daylight hours and we'll be back to winter.

And so the cycle repeats as we go round the sun one more time.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024



Yesterday I shared this draft online, referring to it as 'simple'.  Several people commented that it didn't look 'simple' (I paraphrase).

But here's the thing.  You can make something 'simple' look 'fancy' - if you have enough shafts, and understand how the weave structure(s) work.

If you look closely at the threading, you can see that the progression is a V and an inverted V - with 'bumps'.

The straight line up and down the shafts advances with reverses - point progressions within the larger point of shaft 1-16-1 then flipped over 16-1-16.  No further modification was done to make something truly 'fancy'.

The motif is just 67 ends, flipped to create the opposite version for another 67 ends, and those two repeat across the width of the cloth with some straight draw at the borders to make up the rest of the width of the cloth, providing 'borders' at the selvedge.  The towel will be woven with a hem area of straight progression treadling to mirror the threading.

The tie-up is also 'simple' - a twill consisting of 1:3:1:3:2:2:3:1 and then doing the thing that twill does - move over and up by one step.  The treadling for the towel body is 'woven as drawn in' (or woven in the same progression as the threading).

I did almost no thinking for this draft (unlike the matrix series which required megawatts of thinking!), just following the twill lines and let them resolve in the simplest way possible.

The cloth is not 'balanced' insofar as you will see more warp on one side of the cloth and more weft on the other.  When I do this, I weave it with the weft side up so that I lift the fewest number of shafts.  The other side of the cloth will look like this:

In this particular cloth, there won't be a dramatic difference - the warp is a combination of various shades of very pale blue/grey/slightly darker blue, and the weft will be white.

This is my first 2/8 cotton warp in well over a year - maybe two!  And I'd forgotten how much faster working with a 'fatter' yarn goes.  

Yesterday I beamed the warp (about 24 yards) then started threading and managed to nearly finish threading before I ran out of steam.  Just 5" left to do (about 100 threads)

It has been a nice reprieve before I go back to 2/16 cotton and that very fine linen.  For that I will be playing with more 'fancy' twills again.  The linen is thinner than the 2/16 and I'm going to stick with 36 epi, which means the tie up will have plain weave in it to help stabilize the cloth.  

The beginning of this warp will be woven for samples - in plain weave - so I needed a draft that would produce a plain weave cloth.  Whatever is left over will get woven in this design using that mystery yarn I posted about a while ago.  Given the mystery yarn is slightly thicker than 2/8 cotton, and stiffer, giving the cloth a hard press during wet finishing will be critical.  The towels will be thicker than what I would call 'tea towel' quality, but they will still dry hands - and even pots - not so much smaller items like glasses.

I may need to put another 2/8 cotton warp into the loom to weave the rest of the samples for the second article I'm working on, but I have enough yarn to do that without needing to order more in.  I will make up my mind once I'm done researching article 1 and can then give my full attention to article 2.  But I have an Oct. 1, 2024 deadline, so I need to get going on this part - the part that takes the most time - the research part (or in the modern parlance, the FAFO part).

I'm looking forward to faffing around and finding out what happens when I do this, then that, then think about my results.  Then moving to the next step.  The actual writing will take a lot less time than the thinking about and then doing the FAFO part.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Carrots (not Sticks)


Yesterday I cut the shawl warp off the loom and started setting up for the next warp, on which I will be weaving samples to illustrate an article I'm writing.  Actually, I'm thinking I could weave samples for two different articles, so I'm thinking about how many samples I need and what needs to be shown.  

That doesn't mean I won't weave more later, but both articles have a deadline of Oct. 1, so I'd like to get started on them now.

Both articles are on topics very much in my 'wheelhouse' (as they say) since both have wet finishing as a factor.  I've just not done much experimenting in the particular aspects that are wanted, so it's a learning opportunity for me - one that I'm very much looking forward to exploring.

The thing is, when I was in high production I didn't have the time (or energy) to dig deeply into some aspects of weaving.  Now that I'm 'retired' (for certain values of) I have less urgent need to produce at volume so I can afford to take the time - and the yarn - to experiment.  I think I'm finally finding my 'retirement' niche!

In the meantime, the yarn from Brassard arrived this morning.  This yarn was ordered in specifically to be warp for the fine singles linen weft.  I have a plan for it but still need to design the actual weaving drafts.  But the concept is formulated in broad strokes - just need the fine detail.

Weaving with the natural linen was so lovely that I'm really looking forward to working with colours that are more attuned to my personal 'taste' - beige is not really my favourite colour!  But I'm pleased with the results of the cloth and am very much looking forward to getting to these colours.

We are nearing the summer solstice and soon enough the daylight hours will begin reducing as we slide towards winter.  With this box of yarn I will have plenty of weaving to do in the winter months.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Stash Mysteries


blue - Brassard 2/8 cotton, white - US 8/2 cotton

In preparation for doing some experiments I dug through my cotton stash looking for appropriate yarns.

I was pretty sure I had yarn that was designated 8/2, even though I routinely work with the Brassard yarn which used to be designated 2/8 on their colour cards and then, sometime in the 1980s they switched the numbers to 8/2 without changing the quality of the yarn.  If you peek at the French side of their website, their yarns are still noted as being 2/8.

When I first met Americans, some of them would recoil in horror when I said I worked a lot with 2/8 cotton.  It wasn't until I met some US 8/2 cotton that I began to understand their aversion to weaving with it - as warp, at least.

Because the two yarns shown above are very obviously NOT the same 'quality'.  

I have tried - for decades - to explain the difference to people but the prevailing attitude is that the numbers infer quality, when all they refer to is the number of yards per pound.  They are not interchangeable for reasons that may be apparent once you see them up close and personal.

So, here I am - again - pointing out the obvious - 2/8 and 8/2 cotton is not the same quality.

When I was researching the concept of why these yarns are not the same, I pestered various suppliers until I finally got the answers:

The blue cotton is combed and ring spun - which would be roughly equivalent to 'worsted' in hand spinning, while the white cotton is carded and open end spun - which would be roughly equivalent to 'woolen' spinning.

Yes, yes, I know that whole worsted-woolen thing is a spectrum and there are all sorts of variations, but I'm just trying to explain how the above yarns are far from the 'same'.  And it is all to do with how they have been spun.

The blue yarn is denser, smoother, and thinner than the white yarn, which is loftier with trapped air in it, has more fibres poking out, and slightly thicker than the blue yarn.

Which of these is the bad yarn?  Neither.  Each has been spun with a purpose in mind.

The blue will be less absorbent (slightly), stronger, and withstand abrasion better than the white yarn with its trapped air to make it more absorbent, but it is weaker and will not withstand abrasion as well as the blue yarn.

If one is looking for the purpose of these yarns, one could simplify it by saying to use the blue yarn for warp and the white yarn for weft and derive the benefit from each in terms of a stronger warp, but a more absorbent cloth, if absorbency is something you are looking to achieve.

Bottom line is that the count numbers only tell you the number of yards per pound - not how many twists per inch (apparent that the white yarn has higher twists in the singles, fewer in the ply, than the blue), the grist (thickness) and why how many epi 'depends', how well it will perform in terms of absorbency or abrasion.

Want to know more?  I discuss fibre characteristics in The Intentional Weaver...

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Beige - Boring, or Subtle?


2/16 cotton warp, Lithuanian linen size N56 (if I remember correctly)

When seen from any kind of distance, this cloth simply looks...beige.

The warp is Brassard's 2/16 cotton in two closely related hues and values of beige, and the weft is the singles linen from Lithuania I received as a thank you from a student I helped.

It took me a little time to get to it.  I had to order more cotton in as I had pretty much woven down my 2/16 cotton stash and didn't have anything near enough to create a warp, never mind a colour I thought would be good for the natural coloured linen.

Coming to the end of the warp, I decided I could tell it was going to finish up nicely, so I then took a look at the seller's website and decided to get some bleached linen.  

Why, when I'm *supposed* to be downsizing my stash did I decide to buy yet more yarn - for which I then had to order more cotton to use as warp?

Because I found this warp very satisfying.  In spite of the 2 threading errors and the 3 sleying errors, once the warp was weaving it was trouble free.  The linen, steeped in humidors for at least 3+ days behaved beautifully, and even in loom state it felt like there was great potential for it to be a really nice tea towel.

And, since I recently, consciously, decided to only weave things I wanted to weave, buying more yarn that was going to bring me this much satisfaction seemed like the right thing to do.

The shawl warp should come off the loom tomorrow and then the warp for sampling (and more stash reduction) will go into the loom.  I still haven't decided exactly how much I need to weave for samples, but I'll put on my 'usual' 60 turns (about 24 yards) and crunch numbers later.

The yarn from Brassard should arrive on the 11th, so that will be here ready to go into the loom as soon as I get the samples/towels woven.  I will design another 'fancy' twill, make sure I have some plain weave in the tie-up so that I can keep the epi at 36 and not push it to 40.  The weight and feel of this combination feels quite lovely - and I know that as they are used they will improve.

So, it seems that sometimes you *can* get satisfaction!  (Take that Rolling Stones...)

Friday, June 7, 2024

Marking Progress


missing from the photo is the small pair of embroidery scissors I use to cut the waste yarn

The past few weeks have been...challenging...

However, I have made some progress.  The photo shows my fringe twisting set up.  The shawls are in a bin so that I disturb them as little as possible.  The web is fragile, and I have the fringe set up so that I can easily do that job.

You can see the waste yarn at the beginning of the cloth.  There is similar waste yarn at the 'cut mark' in order to easily separate the shawls from the next.  That waste yarn also acts to corral the fringe so that the warp ends stay secure until I pull them out of the weaving in order to twist them together.

I use a heavy book to anchor the web so that I can pull (slightly) against the web to keep the two bouts co-operative until they are removed from the fringe twister (on the book for ease of use) and knotted together.

So far I have 3 shawls removed from the loom, one of which is ready for the washing machine.  This red one has one end twisted; the other end I will do tonight while I 'watch' tv.  On the loom I have one shawl woven, one half way woven, and one after that, left to weave.

The first three shawls will get wet finished together.  I don't like to cram my wash/wet finishing loads too full or creases can be set.  Recently reading through a very old industrial book on wet finishing, they make that point, too.  Don't cram the web too tightly in the 'basin'.  Let there be enough room for the web to be able to move around easily.  Because once creases are 'set' into the cloth, it is very difficult to remove them.

Happens I have been asked to write an article about creases (not saying which publication - yet - still waiting for a contract/confirmation - but the topic interests me and if that publication doesn't want it, I'm sure I can find another outlet) and after digging around on line decided the only way to tackle the subject was to make some creases, then try the various hints I found online that suggest they work to remove 'permanent' creases.   

Once I have enough woven to run some experiments (and send the results to the publication to illustrate the article), the rest of the warp will be woven off using that 'mystery' yarn I posted about a couple of weeks ago.  

The yarn from Brassard for the white linen should be arriving on the 11th, so I'm eager to get this warp and the next woven so I can start on that yarn.  :) 

Nothing like some deadlines to get me out of bed in the morning.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Singing My Song


Saw a post on social media the other day where 'artists' were told that they need to be their own marketing team on top of everything else.  

As if we have time to spare for self-promotion.

Well, some of us make a point of doing it, even when we really don't like tooting our own horns, so to speak.

But if you think of 'marketing' as simply 'sharing' what you do, well, sometime that helps get over the aversion to doing the thing.

Since I've been doing some in-depth articles for publication for the past few weeks, I thought about the books I've written/published.  Time to share them again, I guess.

I've always loved words and stories and I love weaving, so writing Stories from the Matrix was kind of 'easy' for me.  It only took about 6 months to write (mainly because I had a great alpha reader who helped me clarify what I meant to say and at times offered suggestions to help make my words make better sense to others.)

Magic in the Water and The Intentional Weaver each took - quite literally - years, and lots of money to get out 'there'.

The one thing about the internet is that a number of sites offer print on demand options, and that was the road I chose.  It allowed me to have full control over my content.  I had editors who also knew something about weaving, so I didn't have to explain terms or even some processes in order to have them edit the books in the way I wanted them done.

All three of those books are available here

My bio is available in my ko-fi shop, digital pdf only (to keep the price as low as possible).  Weave a V is also in my ko-fi shop if anyone is interested.  Plus tea towels.  Got lots of tea towels.  

And of course, the classes at Long Thread Media and School of Sweet Georgia.

We have been having rain the past couple of weeks.  Unfortunately that rain usually comes with lightning.  So far I haven't heard of any serious wildfire threats near us.  Still a couple of bad ones further north.  But if we can keep getting some rain, this summer should not be as horrendous as last year.  Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I have more topics to research, weave samples for, and write up.  Time to get to the studio and start working on my to-be-done list.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Looking Close


Sometimes it's good to see close up what is happening.  To this end I have a digital microscope and a linen tester.  Each has its function, depending on what it is I want to see.

The digital microscope is great for getting a really close close-up, usually so that I can see the individual fibres.  The linen tester is better for seeing the cloth itself rather than the fibres.  It's not something I drag out very often, but there are times when it is perfect, especially this one which provides a scale to refer to as you look at the threads.

Right now I'm exploring something that has been in the back of my mind for a while - that is, draw in.  In my experience, it *appears* that there is a higher degree of draw in nearer the selvedges than within the centre of the cloth.  But the only way to know for sure is to take a closer look.

Yesterday I dug through my studio and finally found my linen tester (it's small so can 'hide' easily!) and took a look at the shawl that just came off the loom.  I wanted to see if I could prove - or disprove - my assumption about how draw in works in the cloth.  

But the warp on this cloth is black and it is just too hard to see, although I was able to estimate the number of ends per inch.  The warp is 2/16 bamboo from Brassard in black, with Silk City bambu 12 as weft.  The web is still loom state because I need to do the fringe twisting, and that actually helped because the reed marks are still visible and it was fairly easy to count groups of 4 (4 ends per dent in an 8 dent reed for 32 epi.

Off the loom it appears the web is 34 epi, which seems about right.  But it's really hard to see due to the very dark warp so I'm going to try doing this with a cotton warp/weft at 32 epi and see what I can see.  I have a loom state sample and plenty of finished towels, so I can take 'readings' from several areas in each and try to discover if draw in is consistent across the cloth, or if my observation of there being more at the selvedge is accurate or...not.

I found it quite difficult to try and see with my 'naked' eye, so I took a photo setting my ipad camera on the eye piece, and discovered that worked quite well.  Plus that will give me consistent readings to compare.

This information may - or may not - find its way into an article in the future.  But I will give a synopsis here, too.  Stay tuned.  (I have created a label for easy reference in the future.)

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Step by Step


Yesterday I finished weaving the 3rd shawl and cut those off the loom.  

They are woven from rayon (bamboo), and as such the threads are fairly slippery, so the cloth is, shall we say, fragile?  I didn't want to mess around with the web very much so carefully pulled the web off the loom by folding it (Z folds) into my lap.  My plastic bins are not long enough to hold the shawls in their full width, so when I had the bundle on my lap I carefully folded it in half, then carried it over to my work table and put the bundle into the bin.

I need to clear off the dining room table before I can begin fringe twisting.  

The warp was 30" in the reed, but the draw in brought that down to around 27".  After wet finishing I expect the shawls to be around 24" finished.  I'm weaving them approx. 88=90" in length, which should come down to around 78-80?  Plus fringes.

The woven design is the same for all of the shawls, but I'm using 6 different colours.  So far I've emptied two small cones and will possibly empty at least one more.  It looks like each shawl is taking around 6-7 ounces of the bamboo rayon weft.  (Silk City bambu 12)  The warp is the Brassard 2/16 bamboo.  I've used this combination previously and was pleased with the results, so I'm looking forward to getting these finished and move on to the next warp.

However, fringe twisting takes about as long as throwing the shuttle.  In this case, about 2 hours of shuttle throwing.  If I remember correctly, it takes about an hour per end to do the fringe twisting. I calculate that it takes me about 10 hours to finish, finish the shawls, maybe 11.  If I were to bill my labour out at $15/hr, that would make the sale price on these at $150-165 just for my labour, plus the yarns.  But I'm fast and most weavers would take a lot longer to weave shawls of this type of cloth, and there is still the yarn to be added in, plus the overhead (the expenses of running the studio regardless of what I'm doing.)  So my *wholesale* price for these shawls would be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $200.

Retail traditionally marks up from the wholesale by doubling, so a 'fair' market price for these shawls would be $395.

But I'm no longer in 'business' so I don't have to watch the price points as carefully.  Plus I live in a smallish town, where higher prices don't usually garner much interest.  So I expect that when I offer these for sale, the retail price will be around $275.00.  Although I think I sold my last shawls at that price so I might go up to $295.  Will see.

I sell through the local guild which takes 20% commission, takes the GST and remits it to Revenue Canada and deals with the booth set up and manning it.  

I'm happy to pay the guild their commission for this service, especially given covid and my compromised immune system.  Plus we are in our 70s now and doing a show like the big craft fair locally is getting to be beyond our ability to participate in person.

I'm hoping to get this warp off the loom by this weekend, then put the next one into the loom.  I need to do some thinking about what, exactly, I need for the samples for the two articles I'm working on, then the rest of the warp will get woven in towels.  These will be heavier, woven from 2/8 cotton warp and that thicker mystery yarn I posted about a few days ago.  I might use 2/16 cotton to weave hems in plain weave, with the towel body in a simple twill.

I find it interesting that just as I was feeling restless and wanting to write, but only stuff that I want to write about, I'm being offered chances to do just that.  And since the people who want the articles are asking me to do specific topics that are narrow, but deep, I find I'm quite excited about digging deeper and pursuing thought squirrels I never nailed down before.

So, last night I dug out my linen tester, and I will be using the shawls to see if I can see if the draw in is greater at the selvedges than the interior of the cloth, as the industrial website stated.  It is something I have suspected for a while, but never took the time to actually sit down and count the threads after weaving and wet finishing.

Rabbit warrens.  You never know where they will take you.  

Monday, June 3, 2024

Deadlines. Goals.


If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

I don't remember the first time I heard this observation, but it has stuck with me.

The thing is, I like 'easy'.  'Easy' means nothing is going 'wrong'.  Everything is flowing.  Stuff is getting done.

But life is seldom 'easy'.  And weaving, while not difficult, *is* complicated, and sometimes things are not 'easy'.

However, I've never been one to back away from a challenge, especially if it is standing in the way of my getting something I want to do, done.

But the fact is, I'm not in my 20s anymore, I'm in my 70s and some things are just not as 'easy' as they used to be.

My mother used to wonder (aloud, in my hearing) where I got my 'stubborn' from.  So, so tempting to tell her to look in the mirror!  Knowing the consequences if I did, I never once said it, just thought it.

The fact is, I've always worked 'better' to a deadline.  It gives my day(s) shape.  If I need to accomplish 'this', I have to do 'that' - today.

It's how I've always tackled big projects.  Figure out when the job has to be done, then break down the steps that need to be taken in order to get the thing done before deadline.

What has had to change is how I factor in the time required to do the thing.  Because the fact of the matter is, I no longer have the well of energy to draw from I used to have.  I run out of steam quickly.  I cannot do what I used to be able to do.

But neither can I let go of the structure of working to deadline.  It's what keeps me getting up out of my chair and going to the studio.

So, today the goal is to finish the grey shawl, cut off what I've woven so far, then re-tie.  Who knows, maybe even weave the header.  

Tomorrow I have massage, so I have a bin of towels that need their final press to do as 'light duties' afterwards.

On my task list right now, I have two articles to write, both of which require some research and experimentation.  That digging will take time, and since I don't know how long it will take, the urge to dig into my books, and yes, the internet, is pretty strong.  Nothing like having a question I don't *know* the answer to (although I have opinions!) to get me interested and enthused enough to try to find answers!

But I also have my routine weaving to do.  So I try to balance my energy levels so that I can do my two sessions a day, and still have some energy left over to write (like now), but also think and plan how I will set up my experiments to find out the answers I'm looking for so that I can write the two articles.

I am also pleased to see that WEFT is about halfway to their Kickstarter goal.  I'll be honest here - I'm hoping to submit some articles to them for publication, because it looks like their goal is similar to mine - dig deeper into the craft in order to bring better understanding of the craft.  Since it didn't exist when I was a new weaver, I'm hoping I can contribute to it now.  Time will tell.

My Brassard order has been shipped and should be here June 11.  So I'm trying really hard to get this shawl warp off the loom, put the experimental warp into the loom and get it woven so that I can put the new yarn into the loom in order to start weaving off that 5 kilos of fine linen.

And, because there is less than a month until my 'birthday bash' sale, I need to inventory my towels and set up the special sale on ko-fi.

But first I need to take care of a few things.  And that means I need to finish my 2nd cup of coffee and go do the things.