Nothing stays the same…

This is the season of light, but it has been some of the darkest times this generation has experienced. The promise of a new year, a new administration, a new vaccine, and in 13 days, daylight will begin to build again, all give a sense of hope and possibilities.

After more than 800 blog posts, I’ve had a bit of a glitch, that started humorously and then turned wicked serious as I blew up the hosting company server with one of my posts. The post was called, That’s not why I did it… I wrote it after lots of sturm und drang, summarizing the post with the peace and serenity of making order out of chaos. I thought it was a rather clever post, and then moved on.

Within a week, I got an email from my hosting company, shutting down my blog site, for nefarious activity, and hogging more than 55% of the shared server my site is on, slowing everyone else down. I panicked, called them, had a lovely person talk me through a few things, what I could do on my end, transferred me to their security team, and in the background they updated my site to the newest and latest version of WordPress.

Turns out, a relative, who is a software designer/developer liked the post so much, he posted it on a forum specifically for software designer/developers, and the post went viral. If it wasn’t so devastating, it would be hilarious. This relative forwarded me the string of comments posted by the developers, and truth be told, I almost fell out of my office chair laughing.

There was a bit of weaving language in that post, assuming that it would be read by the weaving community, but the gist of the post could be understood by everyone. The developers’ comments included things like “I googled Differential Sett and came up with nothing. (That’s because my daughter made up the term for her lecture for the Pioneer Valley Guild remote lecture she was working on). There were comments like, “Gee, is this what we sound like to non computer people?” And then following the comments as they tried to take apart the technical jargon I used, so they could more clearly understand the nuances of the post. As of today, there are more than 42,000 views. And you can read some of the comments here. It is enlightening…

The downside of all this once my hosting company updated everything and gave me a list of what my own tech support needs to do to add plugins, etc. is that I opened WordPress to type in this blog, and everything, I mean everything has changed. I am not even sure how to add a picture. (Though I eventually figured that out, I don’t see where to add keywords.) There are all kinds of updates I need to do to plugins that completely confound me, and nothing looks like it did for the last 12 years. This is not my strength, and I don’t want to spend the time to make it my strength.

My strengths lie in my creativity, my hands, and my mad sewing/weaving skills. They have taken a lifetime to perfect, I’m still learning, making mistakes, and I will continue to learn and make mistakes until I can’t do this anymore, my body quits or I die. The future is never guaranteed. Though it looks like 2021 is promising, we are still in a pandemic, we are still in a divided country politically, and winter is just starting. A beloved relative is in the final days of life. I cannot be there beside him. We cannot gather as a family, and that just sucks. Once he passes, we can’t hold a funeral, we can’t hold each other, and all I can do is make the best use of each day I’m given.

The new Youtube channel The Weaver Sews is consuming a lot of welcomed focus. I start thinking about what I want to film the next Friday as we finish filming the previous installment. I keep thinking that future videos should be getting shorter, less theory, more “this is how you do it”, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. I think of more and more things to say. I feel as though I’m taking my half century of knowledge and documenting it so that it can live on even if I don’t or can’t. My daughter, who is my editor, director, producer, videographer, and caption writer, is getting better and better at this, and we have even come up with a way to make my Surface Go act as a teleprompter. I think the dialogue is cleaner if I actually use a script.

Since some of the next content I want to cover, is actually construction techniques, I decided to cut out two jackets, from my 200 Jacket Pattern, one from handwoven (the leftover from my wool/mohair swing coat) and one from a Harris Tweed, given to me by the husband of one of my guild members, deciding he wasn’t going to ever have a jacket made from it. I think he would appreciate that it is being used for educational purposes as well as making a stunning jacket. And it will read better in a video.

And yes, that’s a caviar leather skin in the photo above, I’ll use it for the upper collar, the welt pockets, bound buttonholes and maybe even elbow patches.

The lining for the handwoven jacket is a kimono, which I purchased in pieces from a lovely shop on Whidbey Island, the Jan McGregor Studio. Jan carries all kinds of Japanese items, vintage Japanese textiles and furniture, and it is the most delightful shop I’ve ever been in. I hope it survives the pandemic. The kimono was taken apart carefully, and placed in a bag, which I purchased, and so I was able to use the cloth as a lining. I’ve since ditched the rust which I wanted to use for piping.

In the meantime, looking for hand dyed skeins in my studio for a particular project, I came across a number of skeins of the same very fat silk, all of which I had dyed in different colors at different times, that I thought might be fun in the Confetti draft I developed for using some Silk City Fibers yarns. The draft is free in my eShop.

I did a lot of planning and calculations, and used weaving software to figure out a layout, that would be stripey, but minimally. I’m hoping to eventually play with miters in upcoming garments, so this can help mess around with that option. I spent the weekend winding all the warps…

…sleying, threading and ultimately beaming the warp, and testing out a couple of different wefts.

Meanwhile (Everytime I write that word, I can’t escape Steven Colbert’s segment called “Quarantinewhile” he features on A Late Show.) I’m progressing nicely on the 15 yard warp of towels, which will be my holiday gifts. And then of course, I hit a snag. Something that almost never happens

I had a couple of new cones of Webs 8/2 cotton in black, which I used for the weft, and probably didn’t have enough, but didn’t take the time to actually do the calculations, because there was another unmarked mill end cone of 8/2 in black behind it. And after pulling that cone from the shelf, and doing a quick test, I decided it was probably dry rotted and not a good idea to use, black yarns can be problematic anyway, black dye is so harsh, so I have an order out to WEBS for more 8/2, but it may take a week or two to get it. So the towels will just have to wait. I’m guessing I have about 4 yards to go…

I’m carrying on, texts are flying regularly updating me on family situations, and all I can do is keep busy. Just a couple more weeks and we will pass the shortest day of the year, and we will start moving towards the light.

Stay tuned, stay safe, and stay busy…

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Alice Sharick
Alice Sharick
December 8, 2020 6:18 pm

So sorry about your relative and all the restrictions that COVID-19 places on families in these circumstances.

Alice Sharick
Alice Sharick
December 8, 2020 8:00 pm

I shared your post with Andy because I thought he would appreciate the humor in your blog “problems.” He ended up reading the entire blog and said he really enjoyed it!?

Lotus Baker
Lotus Baker
December 8, 2020 10:57 pm

Question on your picture of the loom with the various warps. Looks like you have fastened them onto the front beam with a loop of string on each one?
When you sley are you in the back reaching through and the same for the heddles?
Thanks!

Judith Larsen
Judith Larsen
December 9, 2020 12:56 am

So sorry about the illness of a family member. Illness is mind consuming when you are so far away. Love the new warped loom and both wefts.

Karen Anadol
Karen Anadol
December 9, 2020 7:06 am

Everything has been so topsy turvy and challenging. Words can’t convey the heartache and heartbreak we’ve all experienced. Thank you for all the videos, posts and sharing you do!!

Brooke Logan
December 9, 2020 9:00 am

I’m surprised you didn’t get forced into the new block version of WordPress sooner! I did enjoy the programmer discussion. Anyway, there’s a workaround for you…..when you start a new post, there a + to click on the right of the editing field to choose a block type, then choose Classic which appears under an icon of a keyboard (if you don’t see it immediately, choose ‘browse all’ at the bottom or search for Classic in the top ‘Search for a block’ box.) This will give you a block with the tools at the top that you already know how… Read more »

Laurie Carlson Steger
December 13, 2020 5:05 pm

So sorry about your family member. We went through it as well. Surreal.
But because of your studio tour during weaving week, I took note from you and bought a few packages of Irish Spring. Now everything I sniff in my studio space is leprechaun scented magic. And I am reminded of your good advice, guess what? no mice! Stay well.