Would you be interested in attending the Olds Master Weaver class in Prince George?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Crunch Time

Down to the final crunch before the first show of the season.  The van will get loaded next Wednesday, and set up begins Friday at 4 pm.  

The first show is not exactly small, with over a hundred booths, but it takes place in the corridors of the university.  The building is attractive, lots of natural light in most areas, and it has a more...intimate...feel to it, much like the craft fairs when I was just starting out 40 some years ago.  

It is just two days, over the weekend, and then we have three days before we set up for Studio Fair.   This show has around 70 booths and takes place Friday through Sunday. 

Once we pack up Sunday night we will have one night of exhausted sleep, then a 450 or so mile drive to Vancouver.  If we get up and onto the road early enough and arrive before 6 pm we can drive into the hall to off load.  If we don't, we will have to offload onto the loading dock, then carry everything to our booth from there...a much greater distance.  Tuesday we will do actual setup and Wednesday the doors will open. Circle Craft runs for five days, always incorporating Remembrance Day in their show dates.  At 11 am on the 11th of November, a minute of silence is observed to remember the men and women who have fallen in service to our country.  

We are trying to get the shawls I wove last spring ready, plus the new scarf design.   The white place mat warp still isn't threaded.  I'm going to try to get it woven, but they may not make it through the finishing...wet finishing/pressing, hemming, final pressing.  

There is little time left and all I can think about is how glad I will be to get the next four weeks behind me!   Not that more deadlines aren't following close behind, but...

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Craft of Writing

When I was much younger...(do you hear the music?)...I dreamed of becoming an Author.  I even took English Lit 101 in hopes of honing my writing skills.  But my stories were stilted, my characters lacklustre.  Instead I turned to writing long rambling letters, first by hand, then on my old Bison 8086 computer, using Wordstar as my word processor.

I found changing from writing longhand to composing on a keyboard a real brain twister.  Composing on a keyboard seemed to draw on a different part of my brain and writing these long rambling letters helped hone the process of getting from thought to words on the paper.

As I became more adept at composing on the computer keyboard I started writing more articles that I would then submit for publication in various magazines.  Much to my amazement, some were accepted.

In 1994 I got access to the internet via a Freenet portal.  I immediately joined a Usenet group for textiles and started writing long detailed responses to questions, particularly about wet finishing, partly because it was obvious to me that the lack of knowledge about how and why wet finishing needs to be done was...vast.

Out of the back and forth discussions, first on Usenet, then weaving on quilt.net, then Yahoo groups, the idea of doing an actual book grew.  Not just an article here and there, but a real book.  One with covers, table of contents and index.  And samples.  Lots and lots of samples.  Because the purpose of wet finishing is best seen and felt.

It was a very expensive proposition.  In the end 900 copies were made, plus 100 with limited samples as they began to run out.

This month the very last copy of Magic found a new home.  I had been hanging onto it because it was 'missing' one sample.  But with the renovations at the house, trying to downsize stash and reduce expenses, reduce clutter, I was faced with the reality that this last, lonely copy needed to go live elsewhere.  And so it found a home with someone who has been greatly supportive of my writing - gradually taking over more and more of the alpha editing tasks required for someone trying to write technical articles and, yes, books.

So now Magic in the Water is truly Out of Print - in a hard copy presentation.  It is, however, still available as a digital file with photos of all the samples, both before and after wet finishing, included in the file.  It can be purchased through Weavolution

Purchasers need to 'join' the site but it's free to do so.  Then go to the Magic in the Water group and follow the directions.

I am now down to the nitty gritty of my next publication.  The bulk of the text has been written, a group of beta readers have provided valuable feedback and I am now trying to consolidate the suggestions, including re-writing several opaque passages.  I am also recruiting people to work through some of the weave structure information and design/weave projects based on the included weave structures.  No, I'm not doing all the weave structures; mostly I'm concentrating on those included in the Olds College master weaving program.

A technical book such as the one I am trying to provide does not happen overnight, or easily.  Technical writing means writing with the greatest degree of clarity possible in order for the majority of people to understand the principles and theories.  If I were to do all the projects myself this book would take not two years but more like double that.  I am grateful so many have stepped up to offer their help and support.  I am all too aware that this book will not satisfy all.  But as has been famously said, (and I paraphrase) You can satisfy some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

Anyone interested in contributing a project should email me laura at laurafry dot com

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Planning Stages

Hard to believe, but I'm already working on my 2017 calendar...

So far all dates are tentative, subject to change, but here is what is in the planning:

(November 26/27, 2016 - Mug Rugs and More, Prince George Fibre Arts guild room)


May 13-18 Olds Level One, Prince George
May 20-25 Olds Level Two, Prince George

The Olds classes* are usually five days, but I prefer to do them in six.  This gives an 'extra' day to the students to absorb the very dense information 'dump' during the class(es).  The classes in Prince George are also smaller - max of 10

June 5-9  Olds Level One, Gaelic College, St. Ann's, NS (on beautiful Cape Breton Island)

June 16-22 Olds Fibre Week.  I'm not sure if I will be teaching there yet, but hopefully Level One

June 28-July 1 ANWG conference Treadle Lightly at Victoria, BC  I'm booked to present two seminars

October 21-22  Lace Weave workshop with Olympia, WA guild.  Looking for another group to book the weekend prior in order to share travel costs

*Remember that if you pass a level, you can take the next level at a different location if it is more convenient for you.  You do have to pass the level in time to register for the next level.  Check the Olds College website in the new year for registration information.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Inside AND Out

After two plus years of trying to get work done on the exterior of the house suddenly it is happening.  Not one, not two, but three different sub-trades showed up this morning.

It is doubtful that everything will get done before winter brings a halt to working outdoors, but we should be first in line in the spring to get the rest done.  What that means, however. Is that we will be living in a construction zone until the weather co-operates, sometime in March or April, until it all gets done.

It seems I have been trying for ten years to get my stash under control, excavate Clutter Mountain, feel better organized in a space that has too little room for that to happen.  Now the chaos has been ratcheted it up even further.  Hopefully by the end of next year we will be able to set the house to rights.  Of course I also have an extremely heavy schedule next year with weaving for sale, teaching (especially if all the Olds classes I've set time aside for, go) and finishing The Book.  

Wish me luck!

Monday, October 10, 2016

What A Mess I'm In

Before I left we cleared as much as we could from under the windows and left the studio heaped with clutter.  Now that I'm home, I have to clear everything out of my way so I can work.  While almost everything needed got woven, I'm low on white place mats, so I need to get a couple of warps woven, wet finished, hemmed, final pressing done, then tag/price them.  

The van needs new winter tires installed before it gets loaded because we have three shows, back to back, and a 460 mile or so trip to Vancouner and then back again, in November.  

I also have a workshop the end of November to teach.  And 2017 isn't looking any less stressful.  I may build a blanket fort in December and retreat to it with Fiberworks...until, oh, I don't know, July?  Maybe the work on the house will be done by then?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pushing Boundaries

The workshop with Bonnie Inouye finished yesterday and in order to cement some of the techniques we learned I have been working on a series of drafts that may very well find its way into my production schedule for next year.  

There are many things about weaving that make my little heart go pit a pat, and this workshop kind of rang a chorus of bells...fine threads, smooth fabric, complex looking cloth, all variations that can be woven on one threading.  Just changing the colour (hue or value) can drastically change the look of the design.  

I also have a huge stash of fine threads that need using up, so I can reduce stash and not even buy more yarns (or at least, not much) to weave with.  Truth be told, I may have to buy some yarn for warps, but weft?   I've got so much, and you get such a lot of play value when using 2/20 or finer threads!

The trip has been great.  I actually know people in the Nashville guild so it was great to see them again, plus make new friends.  I hope I can make it back again.  

On the home front, the basement windows are being replaced this week, so the studio can be put back together when I get home.  I've still got 60 yards on the AVL that needs to be woven before I can even think about this new direction.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The 'Sweat Shop'

Workshop preparations are going smoothly.  Mary has got her loom set up and just started weaving her heading.  I just finished threading and have begun sleying, but feel the need of a back break.  I have been away from the loom for too long...if you don't use it, you lose it...and I can feel how much muscle tone I have lost.  Fortunately it does come back, so I just need to pace myself.  

We have been working through the Fiberworks tutorial in order to acquaint ourselves with Fiberworks.  Even though I have used the program for literally decades, some of the more, shall we say advanced, features have eluded me.  So just for that alone this workshop was well worth signing up for!

The temperatures, which have been high for here at this time of year, have come down somewhat.  Maybe tomorrow we will go for a walk.  

In the meantime, I have a loom that needs setting up...and hope I didn't make too many threading mistakes!