Happy new year! We rang ours in with my Mom on a working visit with us, and hit a snare of challenges in the good thereafter. Having time + head-space to post is a sweet spot in the month.
January in Ontario often feels like this croton coming back from 100% leaf drop. Let’s not put too fine a point on how I managed to capture beautiful croton regrowth, it’s a metaphor. She has my apologies.
The turn came after I got postponed chores sorted, and declared a Family Day last Friday. We had a spaghetti & meatballs dinner to cap that suspension of expectations off, and each day has built on that so well.
We all got out in blowing snow the next morning. Racing with Ty a creek-side trail was still safe fun before the storm really came in. Later, while N & Ty shoveled snow, I sat with a small sample that I had started weaving. More about that idea is to come here & now.
Special thanks to those who showed appreciation for my last post. Hands have reached out, and I am glad that the idea of connecting resonated for you too. As things straighten again, I will reply to you properly.
Ducks in a row
That which was 34.5″ in the reed is now a finished 30″ x 38.75″ baby blanket on its way to my friends in Jamaica.
The draw-in + shrinkage (widthwise) in wet finishing was around 13%. If you didn’t follow the weaving posts, I used a Glimakra temple for that on-loom reed width of 34.5″.
The slub cotton (Monte Cristo, 1,150 YPP) carries up the right side were an issue visually & with wear in mind. I rolled the 4-end plain weave edges, and all hemming was by hand.
The hems are sewn with 100% mercerized cotton quilting thread (Mettler) doubled. Gail is excited, and I loved weaving for her 3rd daughter due very soon!
Daytime at the loom on this project was such a joy that continuing to sit at my looms & learn is my main 2019 craft intention.
Laura Fry’s work in encouraging all weavers made it easy for me to ask N very seriously for her book as a Christmas present. Her Preface ends with the same encouragement I knew to expect, and it is to:
… learn as much as possible about all the variables involved in weaving, determine how those variables affect their cloth and choose strategies that will enhance their experience.
“The Intentional Weaver: how to Weave Better” Laura Fry, 2018, p. vii
She didn’t tell me to buy yarn in the year-end sales but I did! Ty found this book joy a little confusing. He’s right, I do have other weaving books but understood when I pointed to Laura’s Efficient Weaver video that he watched with me one day, and that she is a Canadian professional weaver.
“Okay, Mom,” may also serve to end the soliloquy but I think he got the drift.
Another astute weaving move is also paying dividends – I registered for Jane Stafford’s online ‘guild.’
The videos demo Louet looms, and I quickly wanted to finish & install my Erica loom shaft extensions. Two became four! The aim was to use this 30 cm loom to sample Swedish lace for a small set of napkins.
Several boring mistakes later, I was putting Jane Stafford’s advice into practice with this 2/8 white cotton warp. It is a traditional 17-end per A, B blocks repeated across 4 times.
From the blue colour as weft perspective, I much preferred alternating blocks of weft & warp lace skips. After all the blue is Ty’s special request, and his buy-in is key. The project threads will be in 16/2 cotton.
Now that I cut the cloth & took all tension off, I saw just how open the full-on lace blocks will be. Washing is to come but it’s so very obviously in need of more plain weave sections for napkins.
Growth in another also serious sense
The past couple of weeks have been difficult in yarn communities on the internet. By accident of opting out of a large platform, Instagram, I missed developing stories. It was this thread retweeted by @DahlingDaughter, Jasmin Knitmore, that both raised my awareness and gave hope. Much more reading followed but I am not caught-up.
There are relevant stories that I choose not to share publicly some brought to my ears by raw visible privilege. Others are inherent to my family background in North America & the Caribbean. None is taken lightly, and I work to grow by not just listening, research but also by stepping all the way back into my feelings.
We can treat the growth factor as having a table loom & letting my son throw the shuttle with me this past Saturday. However, in this moment it would not feel right. The impact of racism, colonialism, exclusion in the craft industries is real. These are serious forces for creators, consumers, business people already operating in niches that are under economic, social pressures.
I do not expect the spaces that I have exited to change on a dime when I am clear about why I am leaving. They on the other hand cannot expect things of me such as lending support to values of “non-political discourse” that are anything but non-political in the aggregate for example.
Burnout risk in community is also very real. For the voices that I admire and hear, I hope the joy outweighs cost however you are able to share openly.