In an instant…

Funny how life changes in an instant with such a few simple words… There have been a few times like that, most memorable was probable finding out i was pregnant after thinking we couldn’t have kids. That simple test changed my life irrevocably. and it happened twice! But that was 30+ years ago, and the resulting changes to my life were some of the hardest times and some of the best times my husband and had to navigate.

I’m sorry, its cancer… Those couple of words were said to me 20 years ago this February. I had to cancel many scheduled commitments, endure a year of painful surgery, chemotherapy, and disruption in our kids lives. But it was only a year, and there were some really positive things that came from it. Mostly about how I saw life…

I’m sorry… Those two words were said to my by the gastroenterologist who performed my husband’s endoscopy. That was six years ago… Those two simple words told me that in that instant, my life, future, everything we worked for would be changed irrevocably. My husband wasn’t goin to make it. He died 9 months later…

So I know how things can change in an instant… Monday morning I saw the physician for my annual. Everything is perfect. Blood numbers, Covid antibodies, I was in great shape. I had just written out my schedule for the week, other than planning to have my son visit Christmas Eve, (note to self… make up the guest room), I was finally free to play. My hairdryer died, and I wanted to pick up a couple Christmas cards for the kids, so I set out to walk to Walgreen’s, about a 6 minute walk, about 4:30pm. Still light, but I assumed it would be dark on my return. It is a walk I do most every day.

On the way home, I tripped over the asphalt curb at the end of my dead-end street. I tried to recover but ended up airborne, crashing down onto my left shoulder in the middle of the street. I heard the crack. At that moment, my neighbor came down the street in her car, saw me sprawled in the street, attempting to stand up, and not having an easy time of it, the pain was unbearable. She got me into her car, drove me three houses away, and took me home. I live with my daughter, so when I called for her, I knew it was broken. First break ever in 66 years. She loaded me into the car and took me to the ER. The rest is history. I have a CT scan scheduled Monday morning to see if I’ll need surgery. I broke the ball at the top of my humerus, that sits in the socket.

I’m so very lucky in so many ways. My daughter lives with and works for me. It could have been worse, involving an auto, etc. no one else was involved. The local community hospital we went to only had a two hour wait, instead of 12 for the nearest major medical center. The first 36 hours were mind numbingly painful but that seems to be subsiding and I’m mostly just uncomfortable. I can deal with that… There wasn’t anything of importance on my calendar, for the next couple of months, and I had just finished a run of Bronson Lace towels as gifts, washed, hemmed and ready to go, the previous Saturday.

I had just returned from a wonderful visit with my 90 year old mom in Maryland, where I discovered she still had and curled up under a mohair throw I wove for her in the early 1980’s. It is still lush and gorgeous and I snagged a photo.

i had spent the Friday before helping my weaving guild members sort through a large knitting yarn donation. We spent hours, but got it all into the small space we rent from the basement of the church where we meet, when we meet, because the last two years have been all on Zoom.

I brought home a couple of things that appealed to me, like this hand-painted wool. it was a one pound skein, with slight rodent damage, and took all Sunday morning to ball.

I spent all of Sunday planning a warp to go on the loom now empty from the towels. I wound, sleyed, threaded, and beamed a six yard warp, mixed wool and alpaca.

I found some llama I picked up years ago in a yarn crawl, for the weft. I have almost 1000 yards.

I picked a simple 4 shaft Swedish Rosepath draft from Davison and wove a repeat.

This made me smile…

And I’m lucky because we filmed three videos which haven’t launched yet, for the YouTube channel, The Weaver Sews, which if I’m really lucky will take me to when my arm comes out of the sling and I can hopefully and carefully prep for the last part of a three part series in my favorite piecing technique. Parts 1 and 2 were already shot. Right now my cutting table looks like this, layout for a summer dress, waiting for when I can use two arms again.

Don’t cry for me dear readers. From what I’ve read from my friends on social media, sharing their stories, this could have been far worse. I’m safe, and am very proud of myself when I manage to do something with one arm… it is the little things… like making bacon and eggs for myself yesterday morning. If you are reading this, it means I figured out how to write a post and process photos all with one arm, tedious but doable… I’m a weaver, I know what the definition of tedious is…

I cannot be more grateful for my daughter, who got up yesterday morning to the smell of bacon. She was stunned but not really surprised. Happy whatever you celebrate, stay safe in this time of never ending Covid. I switched to Tylenol, I’m not a Percocet kind of person. Which meant I could have a lovely glass of wine last night, and was proud of figuring out how to use the spigot on my box wine with one arm… There is always a way…

Stay tuned…

My arm gets twisted a lot…

I admit it. No matter how hard I try, it is hard to say no when people genuinely beg…

I’m not big on holiday gift giving. There isn’t a huge family to buy for, my kids are of the age where they need something specific that only they can pick out, and I write a check. I have two sisters. We decided long ago that gift giving was not necessary. My mom at 90 doesn’t need anything but company. I’m going to Maryland to visit her for a few days in the morning. My daughter will hold down the fort here at home and manage the animals.

A number of years ago I jumped on the handwoven dishtowel bandwagon. I’ll admit that I had never woven a dishtowel prior to that, and it all started when some generous hostess gave me one as a parting gift for teaching at their guild. I put it to use and have never looked back. My drawer is full of handwoven dishtowels, none woven by me, all from guild towel exchanges, my daughter, some purchased because they were really beautiful, etc. But each year I started a tradition that I would weave a run of cotton or cotton and linen dishtowels and give them to friends and family who I thought would love and use them. They also made great wedding and hostess gifts. The list included people who were really important in my life, especially after my husband died. My handyman and his wife. My tech guy and his wife, etc. And when my son moved out last year, his big request was for some handwoven dishtowels. Which I might mention he is afraid to use, they hang proudly from his oven door.

This was a busy fall. I had lots of private students come in, lots of remote teaching, and my life was generally too busy, after a lovely blissful year of quarantining. And more importantly, some of my lovely friends and family were very honest and told me that as much as they loved my dishtowels, they didn’t need anymore. Their drawers were full. And so I hadn’t planned to weave any dishtowels this year.

Word got out that I wasn’t going to have the annual towel and some of my other lovely friends and family threw a fit. I had to laugh. The drama that unfolded that I wouldn’t be giving them one of my prized towels was just too hilarious.

So I was arm twisted about a week and a half ago to see what kind of towel I could throw on the loom, with what I had in the studio, and whip out 8 or 9 towels for those who truly wanted them.

I had a cone of 5/2 and a cone of 6/2 cotton, in natural, that blended well. I wound a 10 yard warp. I looked at structures that would be beautiful in white on white. I found an 8 shaft Bronson Lace placemat from Clotilde Barrett in the Best of Weavers Huck Lace. I adapted it into a towel.

I just finished weaving towel number 7.

I’m enjoying these towels, easy to weave, and hopefully those that arm twisted me into this will enjoy this year’s very limited edition.

Meanwhile…

I’ve had a number of people write to me about how frustrating it is to know they saw a technique or tip on my YouTube channel, The Weaver Sews, and they can’t remember where it is. And some of these videos (there are 67 now) are a half hour long. That is a lot of screen time, and I get the frustration. The requests have been for some kind of index with time codes. Really. You cannot imagine what a time consuming task that is/will be…

I attempted to begin to update my pattern directions for all 12 of the pattern silhouettes I sell in my eShop. Honestly, I couldn’t remember what I covered in which video to try to link them to my directions. Was the alteration to the Y line covered in Sleeve Alterations part 1 or 2?

So a couple of months ago, I started watching my YouTube videos from the beginning. I found a number of typos in the Closed Captioning, which I immediately corrected. Those are easy edits. Creating an index is an enormous amount of time, watching and rewatching videos, noting time codes and figuring how what someone would look for when looking up a specific topic.

And would they want to look at the topics by video, or a complete listing alphabetically by topic, with the video and time code. The only way I saw this as realistic is to do an Excel spreadsheet. And though I can create a PowerPoint presentation with my eyes closed, and write anything and everything in Word, and I’m a pro at Adobe Photoshop, I’m pretty poor in my Excel skills. So this has been a labor of love. A gift I got arm twisted into…

I’ve indexed about 25% of my videos. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is. So today, I spent the day figuring out ways to actually generate the index. I have a couple of really trusted friends who weighed in and told me honestly how readable it was and how easy it was to navigate. Initially it wasn’t. The jury is still out, but this is as much as my skills allow at this point. And my daughter keeps yelling down the hall, “You owe your free fan base NOTHING!”

So as I hit my 2000 subscriber mark, this is my holiday gift to all of you, an incomplete index, for my YouTube channel, The Weaver Sews. Know I’m still working on it, in the perfect world I’ll update it weekly but don’t hold your breath. I just got in about 50 pounds of yarn from various sources, R&M, Peter Patchis, and Silk City Fibers, and a huge box of new Procion dye colors from Dharma, and a kit of acid dyes from Greener Shades. I bought the kit from the Woolery. There are a couple more Structo looms that have come in in the past couple of months. I have looms calling to me, videos to record, yarn to dye, and ways to be creative. So many ideas…

And so dear readers, I yielded to the pressure, and because I can’t even remember what I recorded and when, and my holiday gift to all of you is this index, a work in progress.

For a PDF of individual videos with their topics and time codes, please click here

For a PDF of topics in my YouTube channel, please click here.

These indexes will live on my website under EXTRAS, right next to the directions for all of my patterns. There is a date on the page with the links to let you know when the index was last updated.

I’ve been blogging now for 13 years. I’m fast approaching 900 posts. It has been my pleasure to have shared my life in such a way and I’m continually grateful for all those who subscribe and follow me regularly. You are and what will keep me going into the next phase of my life, more yarn, more dyes, more looms, more garments, more articles, more to explore.

I love you all! Stay tuned…

On account of I was dusting…

When I traveled on the road, I had a woman who would come to clean the house every couple of weeks, which was really important. The last thing I wanted to do when I’d get back from a long trip was to clean my house, mow the lawn, and take care of all the things houses need. Mostly I was just getting things unpacked and repacked for the next trip.

When Covid hit in March of 2020, and my entire teaching schedule was erased, of course my housekeeper was the first to go, since it wasn’t safe at the time to even come to my house, as we didn’t know how this dreaded pandemic was transmitted.

My yard crew kept coming, they were outside, and though I tried hard to get out there and weed and do general yard and pond maintenance, I found it impossible to do all that and have a life.

But my house…

I remember talking to my mom in the early days of the pandemic. I might even have written a blog post about it. She is 90, and at the time was dealing with a husband who was gently slipping away, in fact he passed in December a year ago. The facility where they lived could no longer safely send people to clean, make beds, etc. She said to me, “I’m a pro at keeping house. Did it my whole life. I can clean a room a day and keep on top of this place. Piece of cake…” Yay mom!

My house is a lot larger, and I have animals, lots of them, and I have those studios, with lots of looms and stuff. But still. Not being proactive would mean I’d drown quickly in animal hair, dust, yarn bits, clutter, and did I mention animal hair?

So I got a plan. I print out a weekly schedule of my life, and pencil in one room a day, to vacuum, dust and otherwise scrub depending on what the floor surface is, tile, carpet, wood, or a combination thereof.

I’m a tidy person. I have to be. Clutter not only messes with my brain and focus, but it also means I’m endlessly loosing stuff. Not a thing you want to happen when you are packing for a trip to teach. When I shut down the house and head off to bed each night, everything is back in its place.

And so, a couple weeks ago, it was the day where I planned to dust and vacuum the studio. I think it was a Sunday. Personally, as tedious as dusting and vacuuming are, there is a lot of creativity that tends to happen when I just stay in the moment, and concentrate on what I’m dusting. There is always WQXR, Classical public radio station from NYC playing on my Alexa, and I just take my Swiffer on an extension pole and dust every horizontal surface I can reach. It takes about an hour for the weaving studio, more or less depending on how lost in the moment I get. I’ll be dusting a loom and stop and think, gee, I really need to get that warp off… I’ll be dusting a shelf of yarn and think, gee, what would happen if I combine these two together… I’ll be dusting a shelf of mixed fiber tools and supplies, and think, wow, I haven’t done any needle felting, kumihimo, lace making, inkle weaving, wet felting, basketry, water color, etc, in just ages…

There is something zen like about dusting and staying in the moment.

And so as I rounded the perimeter of the studio, before working in the interior on the floor looms, I started dusting the top of the right hand cabinet over my dye sink area. On the top of the right most cabinet is a bag. In the bag are a bunch of 10 yard white warps, give or take, that my son wound for me years ago, for warp painting. I remember being mad at him for some errant teen stupidity, and as punishment, I made him spend the day in my studio winding white warps.

The warps were badly wound, on a mill, but there they were, just collecting proverbial dust.

I thought, gee, I need to dig those out and do something with them…

The next day one of my local guilds was having a presentation by batik artist and ice dyer extraordinaire, Jessica Kaufman of Waxon Studio. Jessica gave the absolutely best presentation on ice dyeing for the MAFA fiber conference last summer and I was immediately hooked. I wrote a post about all the cool things I ice dyed. She taught me to “trust the muck”.

Anyway, I listened to her lecture again, through my local guild, remote of course, and thought, you know, there are those white warps. Why can’t I try to ice dye one of those warps?

I picked a shiny rayon, 10 yards, 512 ends, and found the biggest container in the studio. It wasn’t that deep, but with my trusty turkey baster, I could syphon off any excess muck as the ice melted.

I used a lot of dye sprinkled over the ice. I presoaked the warp in soda ash solution as per her instructions.

I let it sit for 24 hours after the ice melted.

I dumped it in the sink, muck and all and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and was pretty disappointed. There were a lot of white areas that never got the dye. The exposed part of the 10 yard warp was lovely, but the entire back side, the part soaking in the muck, was still white. Trust the muck.

Once it dried, I resoaked it in soda ash, and then did the whole process all over again. White side up. 24 hours after the ice melted I dumped the whole thing in the sink and there were still large amounts of white areas that just looked like mistakes. I know it was too much to dye at once, this whole process should have been on a warp a quarter of the size I was using, but I’m resourceful…

I didn’t take any photos of that second version because it was still in the stainless dye sink and I remember rinsing and rinsing and then just getting pissed, stopping up the sink, pouring the rest of the soda ash over it, pulling up any white areas I could find, draining the soda ash right out the bottom of the sink, and then just sprinkling dye directly over any white areas my gloved fingers could find. At this point I was figuring the warp as a failure, so whatever…

The next morning, everything looked like a complete grey/black disaster, but I opened the drain, and started rinsing. And rinsing. And rinsing and soaking and rinsing some more…

When I hung the warp to dry, I couldn’t believe what I had. I’m sorry the photo is blurry.

It took three days to dry, and even then, there were spots I just couldn’t get dry so I draped the whole mostly dry warp directly under the split ductless heating system.

I was so excited by this warp, that looked like a complete mess, but the dye chokes held, that I immediately dropped everything and started figuring out what to do with it. I settled on a simple Twill Crackle from Davison, which would use a black weft as pattern and tabby. With 10 yards, I wanted this to be a single shuttle warp.

I sleyed.

I threaded.

I started beaming.

I tied on

And I wove. Can I tell you that this thing, that I can’t reproduce is just smiling at me, no shimmering at me, and that this is a lovely happy accident that happened all on account of I was dusting…

As a matter of fact, once I post this blog, I’ll be heading back to the studio because today’s room to clean is once again the studio… I’m going to see what other trouble I can get into…

Stay tuned…

Drunken Looms…

I haven’t forgotten you dear readers, life is full of whirling crazy days, I’m busy, sometimes too much, but I have no complaints. I’m never bored…

My last blog post, I talked about a draft I’ve been mulling over for quite awhile. It seems to be the draft du jour, and all of my friends with multi-shaft computer assisted looms are just knocking it out in record time.

One of them sent me a picture of her version, a few yards, accomplished easily and quickly on her 32 shaft loom. She wove hers with a black weft. It was really cool. I only have 8 shafts, and spent months figuring out how to accomplish it with so few, and I was really proud of myself for making it work. But I really liked her black weft.

So I went back to the drawing board, so to speak, or in this case my computer weaving software, and realized that this had real possibilities. So I wove a block repeat with a black 20/2 cotton weft. The tie down thread is a dark brown linen.

I loved it and wove another block.

I called my daughter down to the studio and showed her how excited I was. She looked at it, now that there was a clear line between the black and white wefts, in relation to the breast beam and said, without missing a beat, “That’s cool, but it isn’t weaving square.” I looked carefully at the two sides of the cloth in relationship to the breast beam, and sure enough, the cloth was off by nearly half an inch. I just sat there in stunned amazement while she moved over to the left of the loom and said, without missing a beat, “Well there’s your problem, the ratchet on the cloth beam is on the opposite side of the brake, so when you tighten the warp, it throws the loom out of square. It is a torque physics thing mom…” She rolled her eyes and walked away.

I’ve been weaving on this loom since the very early 80’s. Mostly I make my colorful warp striped scarves, which are only 10″ wide, and the max width of this loom is 25″. I love this loom. How could I not have noticed that?

I turned around to the loom behind me, a recently acquired 32″ 4 shaft, also a Tools of the Trade, but one of the really early ones, because I’ve had problems with it weaving square since I bought the loom. Turns out, the ratchet and dog on the cloth beam are also on opposite sides of the brake.

Now what…

This haunted me for days. I had a student coming for a five day weaving class, and I just couldn’t get out of my head that my looms were drunk and though I had yards of warp on each one, I couldn’t see weaving it knowing the loom was off and why.

I laid awake as any good weaver will do trying to figure out how to trouble shoot this seemingly impossible situation…

The only solution was to cut off what I’d woven, flip the entire cloth beam mechanism, including the side supports that held it, and put the ratchet and dog on the same side as the brake.

With a glass of wine, and a huge sigh, I removed the yard of cloth I had already woven on each of the two drunk looms. I got out tools, and started to work. It was challenging getting to all the internal screws holding the side supports with a still intact warp, tied off at the reed, but surgery was the only option here.

I slowly reassembled the parts on each one, and realized that the ratchet also had to flip, so the teeth would face in the correct direction, but the metal ratchet was counter sunk on the wrong side, so I will eventually have to investigate different screws since I can’t really counter sink the metal from the opposite side and trust that the hole won’t break away. Meanwhile, I just wanted to weave again.

So both looms have “sobered up” and I’m happy to say that they are weaving square. Perfectly. I am pretty proud of myself.

And I had also corrected, before I put the Harvest warp on, a split warp beam on the 32″ loom, that happened when my strong as an ox daughter was trying to tighten a rug on it. And this loom did not have a friction brake which drove me nuts.

I pulled that beam, glued it and clamped it with a permanent pipe clamp, and taking a page out of the Macomber loom playlist, which has a mechanism with a cord and chain that creates a drag on the warp beam of a loom without a friction brake, I rigged up a couple of bungee cords which works perfectly!

Meanwhile, my student came, and spent five days in my weaving studio designing and weaving off four yards of pretty complicated fabric, with combination structures and supplemental warps. She brought all of the yarn with her, and was able to use most of it.

Because there was a lot of time just hanging while she sleyed, threaded and wove the four yards of fabric, I sat at neighboring looms and just wove, on the simple stuff so I could always be available for questions.

I cleared the Zanshi fabric, woven from tying all the thrum ends together of my leftover warps, which I did while watching endless Zoom presentations for the last couple years. There might be 6 yards. I haven’t cut it off and washed it yet.

And I cleared the other loom that I had performed surgery on, just the morning before I picked her up at the airport. Another 6-7 yards probably.

And I sat in the back corner of the studio, within earshot and wove a substantial amount of my doup leno structure on the table loom from hand dyed cashmere, while looking out the window at the beautiful lush November rain falling on the pond.

I was wishing I had more days where I could just sit in the studio and just weave. My days are full of stuff that doesn’t allow me to be in the weaving studio. I’m always at my desk in the 2nd floor office, like I am now, or in the basement sewing studio, prepping for another YouTube video, The Weaver Sews. Things are coming along there, as I build a tunic from a beautiful hand dyed and hand woven wool.

And the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ is finally having an in person live performance at their theater, first since their production of A Christmas Carol December of 2019. I volunteer as a stitcher in the costume shop, which is just gloriously fun for me, and they called and asked if I’d come again. With a mask, and my sewing kit, I head there once a week. I hem pants and sleeves, move buttons and add snaps, just easy stuff that gives them an extra set of hands, and I love seeing the behind the scenes look at a very professional costume shop.

To all of you who celebrate some kind of seasonal gathering with family, like Thanksgiving for my American friends, stay safe and wear a mask. We aren’t out of the woods yet. I’ve had my booster and my flu shot. I’m staying local and visiting my son, who will make his first Thanksgiving meal.

Stay tuned…

Mea Culpa…

Please Forgive me dear readers, no wonder I’ve been getting letters to make sure I’m still alive… I remember well Saturday night Catholic Church confessional when I was a kid, “Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been six weeks since my last blog post…”

At the beginning of the month I caught this horoscope in my newspaper. Once in awhile I’m brought up short.

I need that reminder frequently.

I’d love to say that life in retirement is blissful and easy and boring. Yeah, no. I only retired from teaching on the road. I didn’t stop my calendar from filling up. I wanted to avoid this photo below, a photo I shot before I loaded my car to teach 8 classes at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival 9 years ago. It popped up on Facebook as a reminder…

I need these constant reminders that as chaotic as my life is now, it was much much worse…

I did take on a number of private students this fall. I’m pouring a lot of money into producing the YouTube videos, and paying my daughter a salary to make them happen, and I could use the income. (No, I don’t make anything off of YouTube, I’d need a couple million subscribers.) And I wanted to see what it was like to be in my space, using my equipment and supplies to do what I love.

And I’m enjoying the experience of having students in house. Cooking for different types of diets is a bit daunting, but I’m managing that, good skills to develop. But the calendar is rather full, one group leaves, another one comes in. That should slow up in another few weeks, but I also, in my quest to learn all the things, signed up for things I didn’t really have time to fit into the schedule. They were remote right, so they should be able to just fit right in… Between the student on Saturday, and teaching in Michigan on Monday and Ontario on Tuesday… I’m finding the need to print my schedule out hourly. That’s a first.

Still, no regrets… My guild was sponsoring a workshop with Jennifer Moore, whom I adore, the expert on double weave structures. For those that aren’t weavers, double weave means you are weaving two (or more) layers of fabric simultaneously, one over the other. There are advantages to this, but our focus was on weaving blocks, where the layers could change place, side by side. And the warp was her famous Rainbow warp, I used 4 ends of 8/2 Tencel as I moved through the color wheel.

Though I did have experience with double weave, this was a fun and challenging workshop, and I finally was able to get a warp on the new to me 25″ Macomber that I rescued and rehabbed. It wove like a champ…

And while I listened to a guild presentation last week, a different guild than the one that sponsored the double weave workshop, I sat and made cordage from leeks (the green parts), which I had sliced very thin lengthwise and let dry, giving a little spritz to soften them up when I was ready to use them. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to make cordage for basketry.

And in my spare time, I’ve been mulling over a draft I got from a friend, it has been making its rounds. This one is for something called Drunken Squares. It is a wicked cool fabric, and the draft was sent to me in the form of a profile draft. If you aren’t a weaver, skip this paragraph, it won’t mean anything to you. If you are a beginning weaver, this is a profile draft, meaning it isn’t something you can weave. You have to substitute each block in the threading and treadling with an actual structure. Each block is a unit. What you put into that unit depends on what structure you want. And since this is a six block structure, I thought I could do it with my 12 shaft loom. I tried, for a month. I got it to 10 shafts, and then when I spent another week or two I realized I could actually do it on 8. Most of my friends have done the draft effortlessly with 16 shafts. I don’t have that many. I plugged the profile draft into my weaving software (Fiberworks) and went to the block substitution tool. I worked for hours. I ended up with a tied weave, on 8 shafts, but it needed 14 treadles. I have 10. So I worked for hours more… In my spare time.

I got something I thought would work, 8 shafts, 10 treadles using more than one at a time. And no, I’m not ready to share the draft. I worked too hard on it.

I wound the warp, and went to my small 25″ 8 shaft Tools of the Trade floor loom, and looked at the treadles, and decided that this poor little loom, which I’ve had since probably 1982, could use a really good treadle scrubbing. I used a magic eraser, they are amazing for removing years of gunk, and gave the treadles a good polishing with my go to loom feed, Howard’s Feed and Wax. Even though my poor little loom still has its nose a bit out of joint since the acquisition of the Macomber, my treadles are very happy.

I beamed my warp. This is 10/2 perle cotton, in colors I had on the shelf. I had to drop one stripe to fit on my 25″ loom, but that’s OK.

And I got everything working and started to weave. I did it. There is such a personal triumph when you focus on something really challenging, determination keeps me going. I refused to admit defeat. And it worked. I did it. The drunken squares are really drunken rectangles, but I didn’t care.

While I was working on the loom next to it for the doubleweave class, I glanced over and thought, duh, just change the size of the blocks… ’cause that’s what we were doing in the doubleweave class. There are days I’m freakin’ brilliant, and there are days when I think, where did I leave my brain?

So I did another block of the repeat, and now I have real drunken squares. I remember years ago working on a two shuttle structure and having the shuttles constantly falling in my lap. And I designed a fix… This is a small loom with a small weaving area. So I took the second back beam (there is a second warp beam which automatically comes with a second back beam) and I slipped the cover on it I had made years ago, inserted a 5″ wide plastic ruler, and slipped the whole thing on the front to make a shuttle rest. I’m amazed I found all the parts considering the studio move.

And we are back to filming videos again for my YouTube channel The Weaver Sews, after a 6 week hiatus. Each video takes about 20-25 hours a week between my daughter and me, to produce. In my spare time… hahahahahah!

I finished filming the videos for my summer shirt. Just in time for fall, which has been delightfully summer weather… Handpainted skeins circular wound into an ombré effect warp. I sell this draft on my website… Also, the pattern is my 1000 swing dress cut into a shirt length, with the neck and in-seam button-down placket (no buttonholes to make!) from my 700 or 1700 Tunic. Those patterns are available in my eShop. Videos will soon be released on how to do the collar and armhole facings, last week’s video drop featured the in-seam buttonhole placket.

I planned this fabric from a few handdyed skeins while my husband was dying, worst week of my life. Took everything in my brain to focus on anything but what was happening to our lives. I’ve held onto this fabric for five years waiting for it to tell me what it wanted to be. I can’t tell you how proud I am of this shirt. I did add shoulder epaulettes, since I couldn’t get the shoulders to match. It is one of my favorite cheats. The contrasting fabric is a heavy weight linen. Here is a photo of the original skeins I used to create this fabric. I called the fabric Chaos. Fitting…

And so my retirement life isn’t any less chaotic. And as I vacuumed and dusted my weaving studio this afternoon, I thought about how much, as chaotic as it is, I love my life. There is always something calling to me, wanting to be designed, engineered, played with, created, or even cleaned, cooked or washed. And now as I cook I think, gee, can I use this for making a basket? Will it make cordage? And the animals always demand time. I’m never never never bored. There is a lot of life to cram into my remaining days and I want every minute I can get. Because we never know. I want to learn all the things, do all the things, and be all the things, in my spare time…

Stay tuned…

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