Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Magic in the Water


top sample wet finished, bottom sample loom state

Linen example from Magic in the Water

I can usually tell when someone has been talking about my books because I will see an uptick in sales.

Lately it's been Magic in the Water.  :)

It warms the cockles of my heart when I see it - it means people are still interested in knowing more, learning more, about this 'magical' process that transforms a web into real cloth.

I have also been pleased to be asked to write some articles (like the one in Heddlecraft for the June 2024 issue) that talks about the wet finishing processes.  Robyn asked me to talk about the role of compression and I was delighted to do so, because some people don't understand that a hard press is not ironing.  

I used to get into scrapes online because I would recommend to folk that as a part of any fabric they intended to cut and sew (specifically for garments, but any cloth, really) they apply compression.  Inevitably I would get some people who were sewists who would scoff and tell me that if I knew how to sew properly I wouldn't need to do all that.

Thing is, almost all commercially woven fabric comes to the market wet finished - including a hard press.

So, yes, if you are working with commercially produced fabric, especially high quality fabric, it has already *been* compressed.  But if you have woven the threads into cloth and expect to be able to sew it into something that will wear well and hold a seam, you might need to consider that part of the finishing as well.

For years I have been trying to come up with a way to illustrate what happens when those webs are compressed, and I have finally come up with a plan to show how it works.  I have to do some hard pressing today, plus the new warp is ready to weave, so I probably won't get to it today.  But I have the materials I need, I just need to work out the details to make it happen.  I'm trying to decide if I livestream the experiment on FB.  OTOH, if I fail, it will be in public, so maybe not.  :D

Monday, July 15, 2024



I thought long and hard about doing this post, but I decided I am going to put this out there for people's consideration.

Last winter, there was a movement in the entertainment industry to 'save' an actor by going to their performance ***wearing a mask*** to help protect them from catching Covid.

Given the news out of Convergence, where not one, but three individuals (so far) are reporting they attended the conference positive for Covid, perhaps it is time for that ultimate in personal responsibility...keeping our teachers safe so that they can continue to teach in this craft we love so much.

I am immune compromised, so even IF my body was functioning, I would NOT attend any weaving conference because no one is wearing a mask.  (Well, hardly anyone.)  But just consider all of those instructors at Convergence.  Consider how, if they got sick there, the impact that would have on their other teaching dates.  Consider how, if they get Long Covid, their ability to teach would be compromised.

We had a chance when the pandemic hit to recognize that we need *clean* air, but instead our public health officials mealy-mouthed about washing hands and keeping distance between us instead of, you know, mandating cleaning the air, just like we do with water.

The alt-right didn't help by protesting about masks being an infringement on *their* 'rights' to spread a deadly virus.

Not deadly for everyone, true.  But we are only now starting to find out the extent of the damage being caused by Long Covid.

We have to remember that the majority of the teachers we love to learn from are...older...and thus more vulnerable.

If we want them to feel safe to remove their masks while they teach, it would be a boon, a gift, a mitzvah (if I've spelled that correctly) for the participants to WEAR A DAMNED MASK and protect the instructors from getting sick.

At the very very LEAST, wear a mask until people know they are not positive, after sitting in an airplane for several hours with who knows how many people breathing the virus (any virus, come to that) into the shared air of the plane.

More and more people who are knowledgeable about communicable diseases are describing Covid as a mass disabling event.  There are thousands of people now dealing with Long Covid.  I now have to remember when I am answering questions on line that *some* of the people are dealing with Covid brain fog, and what I thought was a clearly worded response might not be clear to the person with brain fog from Covid.

The irony is not lost on me that the film industry STILL has higher Covid protocols than hospitals.  Because the film industry knows that if their star(s) go down with Covid, it will be very expensive for them.  

If we infect our beloved teachers with Covid, pretty soon they won't be teaching anymore.

Maybe some people are ok with that, but I'm not.  

So, please.  Next time all y'all attend a workshop, how about wearing a mask to protect not just yourself, but the teacher.  Send them home without a dose of Covid, so they can keep teaching.

Sunday, July 14, 2024

State of the Studio


Here's a teaser - one of the samples I wove for one of the articles I'm writing.  And yes, I did sort of expect that to happen - it's all part of what I will be looking at in the article.  :)

Right now my studio is a bit of a shambles.  I'm back to juggling too many balls, trying to keep too many plates spinning on their rods.

Truth is, I'm only juggling 3 balls, spinning 3 plates these days, but some days that's still 'too many'.

I keep trying to 'get better', but the fact is, I'm not going to.  The best I can hope for (and I *know* I'm not alone in this) is to delay further sliding down.

Funny thing about finally accepting the reality of my situation.  It is allowing me to make decisions.

What truly matters to me?  What do I really want to accomplish?  Is doing this, or that, important enough to spend my energy spoons on?  Or do I need to save them for the 'important' stuff?

Accepting my reality is a great mind cleanser.  Do I spin my wheels moaning because I cannot do certain things anymore?  Or do I get on with what I *can* do?

I have one more obligation to the guild, which I have been putting off because a) the very long set of stairs up to the guild room is more than I can manage some days and b) it's been too damned hot and the guild room gets to be an oven.  Dressing a loom in that hot box is not in any way appealing.  And, because the guild goes 'quiet' over the summer, I'm not stressing myself over it, even though the loom does need to be 'tested' before the guild can offer it for sale.  But that little obligation is on hold at the minute.

In the meantime I *think* I have now woven all the samples I need to, for the 2nd article.  The first is essentially 'done', the text sent to the editor to see if I've covered all the essentials of if they want something more.  I'm trying very hard to get these articles done well before their deadline so that I can move on from there.  If the editor approves, I will seal the box of samples, which I tagged/labelled and carefully packed up, ready for the mail, and send that to the person doing the photography.

Am I hoping to write more?  Well, yes, but there is always here if no where else.

Yesterday I cut that green warp (above) off the loom, started working on the prep of the samples for article 2, pressed the towels, got the two pieces of yardage ready to be wet finished.

But today the goal is to beam the next warp.  I'm going back to 2/16 cotton and the linen weft.  I took the natural linen bobbins left over from the last warp and put them into a humidor, then started winding bobbins with white.  In the course of doing the samples, I wound up with bobbins filled with yarn from the sample weaving.  Now to decide if I strip them of the yarn, or see if the 2 dozen bobbins I have available, will be sufficient.  In the meantime, I can empty some of the 'extra' bobbins using that yarn for headers and weaving in the cut lines between towels on the next warp.  

I do like to steep the linen for several days before weaving with it, so I may give in and strip the 'mystery' yarn off the bobbins so that those 6 can be used for the linen.  TBD.

In the meantime, I'm reading that book of essays on knitting Knitting Yarns.  I think the essays are pertinent to anyone who makes things by hand, not just knitters.  So if that is something you think you might enjoy, I do recommend it.  I've promised to write a book review for my local guild newsletter.  If I don't have the spoons to edit the newsletter, I can help by writing entries for the editor? 

It is halfway through July, and with the current hot spell, the bush is drying out after the too little, too late precipitation we had a couple of weeks ago.  Fingers crossed things don't 'blow up' any more than they currently are.  

Where ever you are, what ever you are doing, I hope you find some peace in your making (if you make) or joy in the nature around you.  

In the meantime, my studio will continue to be a shambles, because that's just the way I roll...

Saturday, July 13, 2024

A Different Perspective


This is not a black and white photo.

I was awake most of the night (yes, pain flare) and around 6:30 am I decided if I was going to be awake I might as well get something done rather than sit around and accomplish nothing.

Since I had a bin of towels ready to press, down I went.  Around 7 am the sun was shining directly into the window of my studio, but with the curtains closed, this was my view.

As some of you know, I worked as a sales person for a custom drapery house, assisting people in their choices for window coverings.  As part of that job I learned a lot about fabric for curtain/drapes.  I also learned about 'railroading' your fabric.

So, in this photo, the warp is running horizontally.  Knowing I could do this meant that I knew I could set up my loom to weave fabric just wide enough to make my curtains without seams in them.  Since this was a bit on the heavy side for curtains, not having seams was A Good Thing.

The design is stripes of twill and a lace weave.  If I remember correctly I set this up to weave on a double two tie threading so I could easily weave twill, then lacy.  The yarn has a slub in it and I didn't particularly want a very open cloth.  What I did want was for the light to come through while blocking the actual sunshine.  

As I sat at the press this morning looking up and through the cloth on the window, I was reminded about how much the threads shift and move to areas of least resistance.  You might have to biggify the photo to really see the threads.  I got as close as I could to the fabric, but since I have shelving and worktable against the wall below the curtains, this was about the best I could do.  But if you click on the photo, I think it will open in a new window and give a larger view.

What is really interesting to me is that in the twill areas, it doesn't look like the yarn has moved very much at all, but in the lacy areas, you can clearly see the rounded plain weave area, and even trace the undulating path of the threads in the lacy areas.

This yarn had some twist energy in it, and it's obvious that the twist energy is still playing in the cloth in the areas where there are longer floats/skips.  The twill keeps the threads more effectively corralled.  But just because we can't see the twist energy at work in the twill stripes, doesn't mean it wasn't playing on the threads in those areas, too.  It's just a lot more subtle.

Sometimes it's a good idea to let go of what you know in order to take new information on board.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Magic of Colour


end of the yellow, beginning of the blue/green

Yesterday I finished the yellow weft and started on the blue/green weft.  

I chose to weave plain weave for a number of reasons.

The yellow would blend more evenly with the warp colours and *appear* to be a bright green.

The epi on this warp was set for the thicker white weft I was trying to use up, which meant it was a little too 'sparse' for the 2/22 cottolin for anything else.  OTOH, 20 epi was perfectly fine for the cottolin woven in plain weave.

Plain weave is a bit 'thinner' and since I wasn't sure how much fabric I would get out of the tube, I didn't want to weave the yarn to 'measure' with hems.  Besides, my friend might like to make something other than towels with the cloth.  Plain weave would be more versatile, I felt.

Since I have a couple of different tubes of cottolin, weaving them off in plain weave seemed like a prudent thing to do.

But, as I was weaving, I was thinking ahead to the next article and wondered if I could weave some samples with that singles 6 with high twist energy in it, and if it would do some 'interesting' things?

I've used it before and it has loads of twist energy in it - it was spun to be plyed, so all that twist is still in the yarn.  It's just old enough it's gone 'quiet' but will re-awaken when it hits the water.


So I looked in my storage area, and sure enough I've got loads of the stuff.  So instead of switching to the blue cottolin (only about 1/4 of a tube left), once I've done with the teal cottolin, I'll wind some of the singles 6 and weave some samples.

I don't know how much warp I will have left when I've done that, but I might be close to the end.  Once I'm done weaving the samples, I'll take a gander at the warp beam and decide if I keep weaving or cut off and re-tie.  There is still that hemp to be used up and it would work nicely on this warp.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Simple is not always Easy


I've been weaving a lot of plain weave lately, in part because I need plain weave samples for a couple of the articles I've been writing.

It has been good to get back to 'basics' and hone my skills.

Because 'simple' does not equate to 'easy'.

I frequently see beginner weavers confidently stating that they are going to begin with  something easy, like plain weave.

Well, it may be 'simple', but it is not easy to do *well*.

Plain weave will show off every inconsistency in beat, especially when woven with contrasting colours in warp and weft.  OTOH, if the beginner can 'master' weaving plain weave well, every other weave structure will be a lot easier when they try those.

So I stifle any comment I might make and let them figure it out.

By the time I got to this, I'd already woven several yards on 2 different warps, all in 2/8 cotton.  With this warp I finished off the 'mystery' yarn in that 'fancy' twill I've been weaving, then grabbed a rather obnoxious yellow cottolin to use as weft on the blue/greens with accent colours of yellow, pink and peach.

The yellow had been sitting in my stash for quite literally decades because it was SO 'loud' I couldn't think what to do with it.  However, I have a friend who adores bright green, the brighter the better, and I thought the yellow would shift the mid-range blue/greens further into the green and be fairly bright.  Since she also likes turquoise, I figured this would be welcome in her kitchen - or wherever.  The tube was full because I hadn't used any of it, not quite knowing what to do with it, so I'm weaving it in yardage.  If she wants to make a table runner or something else with it, she can do that.  Or cut it up into towel lengths.  I'll leave it up to her what she wants to do with it.

Back in the early days of internet chat groups, there was the attitude that if you had a fly shuttle, or lord forbid, a dobby (then a computer assisted dobby), you were somehow 'cheating'.

I pointed out that I had two looms.  When I wove something the selvedges were straight and my beat was consistent.  Unless I did a fancy twill using all 16 shafts, no one would know which loom I had woven the cloth on.  And yes, I do weave plain weave over 16 shafts, like this bright green.

I no longer have a fly shuttle or auto-advance cloth system, but I can, and do, weave plain weave on all 16 shafts at times.

When I'm done with the yellow, there is a half tube of a blue/green, slightly darker than the darker hue in the warp.  That should also look good.  Again, I'll weave yardage, then decide what to do with it.  I might give it to my friend along with the brighter green.  TBD.  OTOH, I like the darker blue/greens so who knows, I might keep them for myself.  

I've finished the rough draft of the first article, and processed the samples for it.  My alpha reader says she has time to maybe read through it today.  If she does, I'll send the file to the editor and ask if she's satisfied with what I've done or if she wants something more.  I'm not sure how many words I've written, but I've got 7 pages (using a large font - because old eyes!)  (Just checked, and I've got just over 2200 words.)

In the meantime I am enjoying weaving this plain weave on the 'fatter' yarns.  But I am also getting antsy wanting to begin using up the white linen.  Hopefully I can finish this warp off over the weekend and start beaming the next.

Summer has arrived, the sun is currently shining, we don't have any particular wildfires bothering us (most are to the north, with one a little bit too close to the south and east, but no smoke from it - yet).  We are hoping that the recent rain has dampened the bush so that we don't have too many wildfires, but the province has issued a campfire ban for the entire province.  I really hope people pay attention and don't risk starting a fire while they are out enjoying the great outdoors.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Another Roadblock


When I went to the eye doctor yesterday, it was in expectation of being cut loose.  My last appointment showed nothing wrong with my eye, and the shingles appeared to have retreated to...wherever it goes when it goes 'quiet'.  (Yes, I had chicken pox as a child - I do NOT recommend anyone doing that - get your kids vaccinated and save them from...this...)

Instead, I was told that it had come roaring back and I now had extensive scarring to my cornea.  

It was *not* the birthday 'gift' I had expected walking into the examination room.

When counting 'blessings', all I could do was be grateful that it was my 'bad' eye, not my 'good' one.

I'm back on medication, primarily a salve that she hopes will beat the virus back and heal the, so far, light damage to my cornea.  She doesn't want to put me onto the anti-viral drug because she said I would need to be on it for literally years - and it is 'hard' on the rest of my body, which is already dealing with far too many other...things.

She also recommended adding Lysine to my vitamins and other meds as it has been seen to help reduce the herpes virus (shingles is in the herpes 'family').  No studies yet, but anecdotal reports that it helps.  I'll take it and hope it will.

Yes, I'm vaxxed with Shingrex, but I'm also immune compromised, and the shingles virus will use any opportunity it can to start growing again.  Because it *is* a virus, and that is what a virus will do - grow, when it has the opportunity.  My compromised immune system is, apparently, not well enough to keep it in the dungeon.

Needless to say, that news in the morning knocked me completely off my rails so I did what I usually do - I went to the loom and wove a towel.  

If I felt pressure before, I feel it all the more intensely now.  Between my eye and my back/legs, I have no idea how much longer I will be able to continue to weave.  So I *must* do it now, while I still can.

I did work on the experiment for the first article I'm doing and got the samples tagged and organized so that I can go ahead and run the experiment today.  My alpha reader has been warned that the text will be ready in the next couple of days.  And then I'll send the text to the editor, see if that's acceptable, or if they want more.  But I think I've covered the basics.

The second article is going to take a lot more time and effort to work through, both in terms of research, and expanding my theory into some kind of reasonable conclusions.  And the deadline is October, so I really need to stay on top of things.

If I can't weave, I hope I can still write.

I keep thinking about Emily Carr, who when she could no longer paint, took up her pen and wrote.

I told a friend the other day that I am a 'true' Cancer in that when I run into an obstacle I will go around it, under it, or simply rise above and over it.

In the meantime, I will take the pills (mohr pills!) and use the salve.

To the three friends who phoned yesterday to express birthday wishes, thank you for letting me vent.  I may not be on an even keel - yet - but you helped get me anchored and not thrashing around trying to figure out what I could do.

To the folk who bought towels on my ko-fi sale, thank you.  

Monday, July 8, 2024



Last Monday I cut the beige/brown warp off the loom, then spent the next couple of days beaming, threading, sleying and tying on this warp.  It's now Monday again and 5 towels are woven, with about 13 or 14 left to do.  (I also worked on the articles I'm researching/experimenting/writing.)

Each warp does around 18-20 towels, depending on how long each towel is woven.

At the rate of two towels per day (on 'good' days) that means another 7-8 days of weaving until this warp is complete.  (Finer yarns take longer to weave.)

I don't get 'bored' with weaving.  I know a lot of people can't stand to weave more than 1 or possibly 2 things identically.  They don't usually put 20+ yards of warp on their looms, and that's perfectly ok.  We each weave for our own reasons, and mine are not appropriate for someone else.

The more I read of the Pain Project, the more convinced I became that finding a way to keep weaving was important for my body in more ways than I had fully realized.  And I am once again aware and appreciative of how my current health 'team' have rallied behind me in order to help me keep weaving.

While I don't get 'bored' weaving, I do get 'tired', so the current warp was a pleasant switch before I went back to warps that are more muted in colour.  Not that I don't like pale hues, just that sometimes I like to see things a bit brighter.  Something a little bit 'different'.

So for the up-coming towel warps, I did something a bit different.  I ordered four different colours all very close in value.  As I weave each warp, I will change the combinations.

For the first warp I've chosen grey and green.  The next will be two values of blue.   And then I will start switching the combinations.  Pale grey and pale blue.  Green and blue.  And so on.  By keeping the hues very close in value and mixing them 1:1, the warp will have slight variations and will be more 'interesting' visually than a solid colour warp.

I have enough of the white linen to weave at least 5 warps, quite possibly 6.  Once the linen is used up, I will look at what other yarns I have on hand and continue the efforts to reduce my stash.

On the current warp the rest of the white 'mystery' yarn will weave about half of the warp, maybe a bit more.  Then I will work on some cottolin I have on hand and whatever warp is left will likely get woven with the Brassard natural coloured hemp.

I am no longer weaving like the hare, but the tortoise can still get stuff done.  

Don't forget my ko-fi shop BOGO sale ends midnight July 9, 2024.  There are 14 different designs to choose from.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

New Addition


While these towels are not actually hemmed - yet - they could be!  So I've added this design to my ko-fi shop and the BOGO sale, which ends at midnight July 9, 2024 Pacific Time Zone.

Yesterday I worked on one of the articles and am just about ready to send the text to my alpha reader for her eagle eye spotting typos and/or grammatical errors.

In the meantime I've also made a start on the new warp to use up what is left of the mystery yarn.

I have also made a decision on which colours to use for the warp after the current one, and there are two drafts to choose from to weave.  I'm sure I'll play around with them some more, but at least I'm on my way.

We are heading into a week of 'hot' (for us) temps.  I have two appointments to go to, but otherwise I intend to stay in as much as possible.  I'd really like to finish the current warp off this week and get back to working with the fine linen.  This interlude has been nice, especially since I will have used up both of those ginormous cones of 'mystery' yarn.  I may even use up some of the cottolin lurking in the shadows.  It depends on when the mystery yarn actually runs out.

And, as soon as I'm done with the first article, I will need to deal with the second one.  The October deadline will 'loom' soon enough.  Besides, I'd like to clear all the clutter away - all the books I've pulled from my library, all the samples I've woven, and of course the actual experimentation that still needs to be done, which includes clearly identifying the samples.

But for now, I am going to go weave, and think about all that other stuff later.


Saturday, July 6, 2024

A Good Yarn


This morning PLY magazine posted the above on their Facebook page.

This is something I have been trying to explain to weavers for, quite literally, decades.  I even did a whole series of publications, *with samples* to show how yarns with different characteristics will create cloth with different characteristics.  Sadly, now out of print with no intention to republish.

Just because you know the 'count' of a yarn, doesn't mean you know everything there is to know about the yarn.

This was a photo I took for A Good Yarn: Cotton.  

As I travelled all around the US, I constantly ran into people who would grimace when I would say my favourite yarn was 2/8 cotton.  In their mind what they saw was the yarn in the bottom of the picture.

Believe me when I tell you: while these yarns may have the same count, they are NOT the same.

How a fibre is prepared for and spun can create a myriad of different qualities of yarn.

But industry does not set out to make 'bad' yarn.  We, as weavers, can (and do) make inappropriate choices.

I'm not saying every weaver needs to be a spinner.  But what they do need to do, imho, is to look closely at the materials they are working with.  They need to understand the nature of the fibres *and of how the way they are spun* can enhance or diminish certain characteristics of those fibres.

To have people whiff away the fact that there is a quality of cotton with a count of 2/8 as being identical to a count of yarn with 8/2, is to ignore the fact that these two yarns have been spun differently.

When people tell me that the 'proper' way to write the count is 8/2 I point out suppliers like Jaggerspun who spin worsted wool yarns labelled 2/18, etc.

Maurice Brassard, who used to label their cotton 2/8 now, on the *English* side of their website call their yarn 8/2, but if you look on the *French* side of their website - voila, their yarn is still labelled 2/8.

The *count* only ever tells us how many yards per pound (or metric equivalent).  It tells us nothing about how the fibre was prepared for and spun.  For that we need to look more closely at the yarn itself.

Brassard's 2/8 cotton is ring spun.  The fibres are combed, and the twists per inch in the ply is tighter than the US standard 8/2 cotton which is open end spun with the singles tightly twisted but the ply less than Brassard's.

Why is this important?

Brassard's 2/8 cotton is stronger, smoother, and slightly *thinner* than the US 8/2 cotton, which has more air trapped in it so it is weaker, slightly thicker, and feels more textured.  The 8/2 ply presents a more 'saw-toothed' appearance that can feel rough to the touch.

This is NOT to say the 8/2 is 'bad' yarn.  It is what it is and if a weaver tries to use it beyond it's nature, there might be tears shed.  

So I happily use 2/8 cotton for warp, and will use 8/2 for weft.  However, when I do that, I know that it will shed a lot more 'lint' than 2/8 cotton.  

I wrote about absorbency for Handwoven a while ago.  People may find it helpful in understanding that aspect of yarn.

I also strongly suggest people get a fibre or textile science book to learn more about the nature of their materials.  My personal favourite is A Guide to Textiles for Interior Designers.  This book can be found second hand with prices ranging from under $10 to $100.  You don't need the most recent edition, which can sometimes be discounted as the newer editions are published.

Knowing your materials will help you make better decisions.  Just saying...

Friday, July 5, 2024

Begin Again


It's hard to get a photo of the towels on the loom because the 'right' side is on the underside.  In the photo it looks like there is a change in colour, but that's just the area where the light can shine through the warp, making it look lighter/brighter.

I'm very pleased with this warp.  The towels are quite thick but good for hands, or a good rub down after a long hot tub soak.

The sale on ko-fi is going well.  Several designs are officially sold out.  (Anything with just one towel left has been pulled from the shop.  I can use them for gifts.)

Yesterday I wet finished the beige/brown version of this design so I may post those tomorrow.

We are having a hot spell for the next few days.  I'm glad I don't have anywhere to be until Tuesday, when I see the eye doctor.  The optometrist told me that I have damage to the cornea from the shingles, and as such the eye doctor will likely monitor me for the rest of my life (or until she retires).  However, she told me the baby cataract isn't impinging my vision yet, so I won't likely need surgery for a while.  Since I'm not a big fan of someone poking my eyes with sharp objects, I'm fine with that!

Finished the book The Pain Project today.  It was helpful, informative, and I'm glad I read it.  It's helped me understand what is happening in my body, better.  Given another pain flare last night after several nights of no flare, meant I was more accepting of it happening.  And it will continue to happen.  That's just fact.  

As long as I can keep weaving, I will continue picking away at my rather too large stash, and try to enjoy the process as much as possible.  And if I need an afternoon nap?  So what.  I'm retired.  I can do that.

If I have the spoons today (maybe not given the lack of sleep) I will do the final prep for the first article I'm writing.  I might even start the FA part of the process.

WEFT has surpassed their kickstarter goal and are underway getting the first issue organized.  And I can now tell you I have been asked to contribute.  I really hesitated saying anything in case it all falls through, but...the word is out and my name is on the list, so...

Time for lunch, then back to the loom for the 2nd session. Then see how many spoons I have left.

Thursday, July 4, 2024

14 years


This morning Facebook showed me this photo from 14 years ago.

(my gawd have I really been on Facebook for *14* years????)

As I looked at the photo I thought, hmm, I think I still have some of those towels in inventory.


Doug suggested that if I do, I should add them to my current BOGO sale, but I've already got plenty of inventory on sale and to add more would become cumbersome.  So I told him, maybe for the December BOGO sale.

By then the autumn sales events would have happened and who knows, maybe some of them will sell during one of those.

Today is a 'light duty' day.  I have massage and usually feel like I've been run over by a truck afterwards.  When you go for therapeutic massage, it is NOT like having a spa massage.  At all.  Not one bit.  But it is necessary to keep this body from breaking down completely, so I go and hope that things will continue to get better.  Or, at least, not worse.

As a young(er) weaver, I saw an interview about massage and a patient on the table who was asked about why she went for massage.  "I'm a weaver" she said, which caused my head to whip around to pay more attention.  She explained that weaving was very physical and massage helped to keep her functioning in a way that allowed her to keep weaving.

It wasn't much later that I found myself on the table, beginning a decades long practice of getting a regular massage.  I credit my continuing ability to weave partially on doing this kind of personal maintenance.

So, today I will go for massage, pick up a book at the library I put on 'hold', then come home and finish sleying the current warp, then press the towels I wet finished two days ago.  Because yesterday got derailed and I ran out of time and spoons to tackle the pressing.  I don't like to leave damp towels in the bin for more than two days, though, so it works out well that I have massage today and try not to weave right away after that.

The weather forecast says hot weather (for us) is coming.  I'm glad we have a/c.  Not everyone this far north does.  But I needed it in order to keep weaving during the summer, so we installed it then and benefit from it now.  Even though I'm no longer weaving like I used to do.  With climate change, increasingly causing massive wildfires and the smoke pall (of which we have had little so far this year, thankfully) we keep the house closed up and stay comfortable during the hot - and cold.

I am currently reading The Pain Project by Kara Stanley and Simon Paradis.  For anyone dealing with chronic pain, there is a lot of information about what pain is, how it gets treated, and ways to manage it.  And lots to think about.  It is well written.  I'm finding it helpful, although mostly it is cementing my belief that I needed to get off the opioid.  The new medication (*not* an opioid) I'm taking *appears* to be helping.  I'll know more as time goes by.  I'm told that it takes two weeks to fully kick in and I'm at day 8.  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Favourite Colours


I cannot tell a lie - I have 'favourite' colours.

After weaving with beige warps for most of the spring, then the pale blue/grey, then beige/brown, this nice blue/green warp with pops of peach, yellow and pink is just the ticket.  I did something similar but with a variegated yarn with those accent colours in it and quite liked the result.  I still have a bunch of the variated yarn left, but it was faster to work directly from the tubes than deal with winding the variegated onto spools.  I have very little energy and I can't stand for long periods of time anymore, so I've had to adjust what I do and when.  What can I say?  Working with a body that is 'breaking down' is full of challenges...

The plan with this warp is to finish off the mystery yarn, then work on some of my other odd ball, odds and sods stash.  Like the yellow cottolin that I've owned for, oh 30 years?  In my stash, a little yellow goes a long way!

Since I was weaving to sell for most of my life, I had to get comfortable working with colours that were NOT to my personal taste, and weave them in such a way as I found pleasing.  But every once in a while I need to break out and give myself the pleasure of working with colours I *do* find appealing - on a personal level.

Today the plan is to finish threading, then start pressing the beige/brown towels from the last warp.  I have a few more sale orders to package up, but I'm not heading to town until mid-afternoon, so if any more come in this morning I hope to get them all processed and into the mail.

Yesterday I messed around with the draft I posted and changed where the plain weave happened in the repeat and may do that one instead of the first one I did.  My computer files are rife with drafts I've generated, then rejected.  But I never seem able to trash them.  Sometimes that makes finding something a challenge.  Usually I just make something 'new' rather than try to find something I did a while ago.  Just easier to begin fresh!

It's not raining today, just cloudy.  But that means it's not super hot.  The hot weather we were warned about has yet to arrive, and frankly I'm grateful.  Neither have we had to deal much with smoke from wildfires - yet - this year.  So I'm working on maintaining an attitude of gratitude.

Still lots of inventory in my ko-fi shop and the sale continues until midnight July 9, 2024.

Tuesday, July 2, 2024



variation on yesterday's draft

Messed around with the tie up and quite like how it looks this way.

Not sure which I will use since both are potentially useful, although I'm leaning more to this one.  OTOH, I won't really know until I start weaving.

The weft will be very close to the warp in value.  I purposefully chose paler hues to make the warps.  With such fine yarns, I could have gone with a higher contrast, but what I did was buy 4 different colours and I plan on mixing and matching the four to produce a range of towels that look different but play nicely together.

I suppose it doesn't really matter much since I no longer do craft fairs, but with each colour combo enough to beam 5 warps, I found I was getting tired of the same colour warps.  Mixing and matching will provide some visual 'interest', I think.  

With 5 kilos of the white linen, each kilo weaving about 20 towels, that's 100 or so towels ahead of me.  I'm hoping to get some done in time for the craft fairs in the fall, but I also still have to finish writing the articles I've committed to writing.  However, Thursday will be a 'light' duty day, so I expect to work on the wet finishing, then 'testing' (experimenting) for the first article.  As soon as I can, I want to get it to the editor in case they want more, or something different.

Plus my sale is on until July 9 and today I need to hit the post office with the bag of packages to mail.

It's a grey dreary day, but honestly?  Better to have rain clouds overhead than thick wildfire smoke pall.  I'm working hard to be grateful and not complain.

Monday, July 1, 2024

Thinking Ahead


Not a great image, but Fiberworks can only do so much in terms of showing the weave structure, especially when it has to be 'reduced' so much.

The motif is 1/3rd the width of the warp, at 36 epi.  This cut/paste image shows the selvedge and one repeat.

It is based on the snail's trails and cat's paws motif, which is usually woven in overshot, but can also be done in block twills.

Here I've interpreted it as point twill repeats.  At 36 epi, the tie up needs to have some plain weave in it, so the motif is not as clear cut as with twill blocks, but nonetheless, I think I'm going to use this for the warp after I'm done with the 'mystery' yarn.  I may play with the tie up some, try placing the plain weave in some other part of the tie up sequence, but that remains to be seen if it will improve anything much.

The warp and weft will be close in value, so whatever I decide to do, it will be on the subtle end of the range of things possible, so I'm not too bothered about having the motif not stand out.  

The tie up is not 'balanced' - iow, one side of the cloth will show more warp, the other more weft.  This is referred to as warp emphasis or weft emphasis.  I like doing this because it can give the two sides of the cloth quite different appearances.

My Birthday Bash sale went live yesterday.  It was ready, there wasn't much point in waiting.  Orders will begin being shipped tomorrow because today is a national holiday and the post office is closed.  I will attempt to keep the inventory numbers updated on the ko-fi website, but if something sells out and someone else wants to buy the item, I will let them know what is left and arrange a substitution.

There seems to be some confusion about how the sale works.  

You order one towel - I will ship two.  Buy one, get two for the price of one.  

Thank you to those who have ordered already.