still casting away…

This time, it’s looms that I am casting away. Mme. Leclerc was never a good fit for me and I am happy to have found her a new home with a kindly weaver. I hope they will be able to form the partnership that I never could find.

Nonetheless, we parted in the way that we always got on, struggling to work together. I really believe that the spinners on the team carried us through the fleece-to-shawl competition. I did not weave my best cloth, struggling with a sticky warp, and never having time to correct a few persistent floats. The shawl came out pretty, coarse, interesting, and sloppy. Maybe that’s how it is supposed to be?


I had no expectations going into the competition, other than to weave a 72-inch shawl and convey my love of weaving to the public. I had a hope that Mme. Leclair would find her forever home. That’s what happened, and I am joyful. That we also won the competition, well, that was a pleasant surprise.

Water flows across the rocks, it’s path shaped by the surface below. At the same time, water shapes the path that it flows across. Being open to new experiences is much like that–we are shaped by the experience as much as we give shape to it.

a little math goes a long way

You’ve heard of some of my adventures with math for weavers. Like the 10 yard warp that was actually 14 yards long…or the elusive number of ends in the shawl that I’m weaving right now…168 at first count…then 156…and finally, officially…162.

And then there’s X, that weaselly little variable. I have X yards of that 14 yard warp remaining. Since I only need a small amount of it to finish the patchwork shawl, I am weaving the rest of it for the joy of making cloth, and I’ll decide what it can be when I’m done weaving it.

That absolves me of knowing precisely how much weft I need.  I need Y, more or less.

Maybe this math thing isn’t so bad when you leave the actual numbers out of it.

One thing I do know is that I need 33 yards of weft to weave 5 inches of fabric. Give or take.  More or less.

taking stock

One of the joys of unpacking is finding out what I really have. At Sparrow Hill, things were stored very haphazardly in a studio room that I seldom used, and I had the supplies for my current project in the room that I used as a working studio. Here, everything is going in the same studio.

One thing I’ve realized is that I have too much unspun fiber. I won’t buy any more until I can spin my way through what I want to keep, and give away what I no longer want. How much is too much? I have about two footlockers worth of fiber. I think I would be comfortable with one quarter of that.

My weaving yarn is in much better shape. Other than 6 cones of alpaca/silk and mohair, all of which are a bit too hairy for comfort, everything else I have is either for a handful of planned projects, or leftovers from past projects. I guess I am disciplined when it comes to buying cones of yarn, but not so good when it comes to fiber for spinning.

I need to get spinning. Here’s my priority list:

–For the Dreaming cloth I’m working on:
Loop clouds in 3-Ring Circus colorwayIMG_2675
Loop clouds in a bright purple colorwayIMG_2674
Both purchased at Rhinebeck in 2013. At least I’ve already spun and woven the first batch of this from 2012.

–For use in a throw that matches the color scheme in my library:
Tintagel Farms roving in Starry Night colorway
DSC02466Purchased at Rhinebeck in 2009

–To be combined with some other orange and yellow hand-spun for Saori clothing fabric:
18 oz. Party in a Bag from Puckerbrush Farm
DSC02467Also purchased at Rhinebeck in 2009

–For something soft and luscious:
32 oz. Creatively Dyed merino/sea silk in Ocean colorway
DSC02469Also from 2009…

That list tells a story, doesn’t it? In 2009, I was starting to think in color again, finding my way out of the white cocoon that had sheltered me after my mother’s passing. I went a bit overboard on colorful fiber, didn’t I?

fulfilling promises


This is what I promised myself, that I would weave the fabric for my home. I wove this linen table square at Vavstuga, racing the clock to finish it. Becky wove a small section of it so that I could go enjoy a session with a massage therapist, so necessary after four long days of weaving.

Today, I sewed the hems and gave it a wash and press.

This is the fourth handwoven piece for my home. There’s a fingertip towel in the guest bath, and my old favorite rainbow runner on the dining table. Potholders galore in the kitchen. Soon, there will be kitchen towels.

On this Mothers’ Day, this is all a gift of reassurance to my mother’s spirit. She always despaired of my housekeeping, but she would be very proud of these simple and useful cloths.

something like that

20140509-101510.jpgA web of towels, folded to look like the finished object.

Barbara Elkins, who designed this draft, folds her towels like this, so the main emphasis in her designs is usually in the middle section of the towel, rather than along the edge. Since I plan to sew in a loop in the center of the top hem and hang them from it, the design will be visible no matter what.

In my last post, I created quite an impossible scenario. I can’t thread the shawl draft on Honey.  I need an eight shaft loom for that, and she has but four. I suppose I could thread it as stripes rather than blocks, but that’s as close as I can get.

I have such a stack of hemming and finishing to do, and have no idea which box contains all the sewing thread. It may be time to sacrifice the half-functioning studio in favor of the total chaos of unpacking everything. Once I get through that and put everything in its rightful places, i will be able to settle down and sew some hems.

I feel the same way about meditation. My sitting practice has been a bit haphazard at a time when I might benefit from it most. I find myself to be reasonably in the present moment as I go through my daily activities, but not quite able to settle down for longer periods of time.



The black and teal towels are officially cloth. They’re off the loom and they look much better than I had expected. The tension issues had a slight impact on the first two towels. They are a bit off square.

No one will mind when they are hanging from a hook in the kitchen. Towels are useful; perfection is not required.

My weaving plans have gone a bit sideways. I may tie up the remainder of the Dreaming warp on Honey (Schacht Standard) and audition the draft I want to use for Fleece to Shawl. That would be productive and practical. You know I really want to weave the placemats on the Glimakra.

In the meanwhile, I have given Justine (Leclerc Compact) a complete cleaning and going over. I think she is a bit easier to treadle now. Isn’t it ironic that my least friendly loom should end up as my partner for this next adventure?

sheep to shawl…meep.

I am excited, and completely terrified, to be the weaver on a sheep to shawl team at an upcoming sheep and wool festival.

The excitement springs from the challenge of doing something completely new.  I’ve woven shawls before, but never by following contest rules nor under a time limit. I am also excited to be thinking about what draft to use, what way to make the interplay of warp and weft look fresh and interesting, yet not be too complicated to weave in front of curious passers by.

I’m terrified by…the challenge of doing something completely new…

Interestingly, I’m not worried about the stamina it takes to weave steadily and quickly. I’ve been in training, without realizing it, since taking Vavstuga Basics in February. We wove hard for at least eight hours a day that week, and I survived it. This is a mere three hours.