Monday, January 1, 2024

2023: A Weaving Year in Review

 Happy New Year to you all..... where ever you may be!  🎉

It's become a custom here at my blog to do a weaving year in review. To see what I was able to accomplish in my studio. I will admit right now that my looms are very quiet.  The smaller Spring loom is waiting for me to resume threading on two huck lace shawls and two lovely painted warp scarves are just under way on the Megado.    

About mid December my left lower SI joint started to ache and I ignored it to my peril and now I have terrible back pain and hobbling through my day. Gel ice packs and pain meds are my main stay right now until this subsides.

In good news, this means I have much more time to use my Hansen e-spinner and have been enjoying the heck out of that. 

We were hit with an atmospheric river of rain, combined with high winds on Christmas Day night. The rain was literally coming in sideways. Late that night as we were heading to bed, we discovered one of our skylights was leaking.   So we put buckets under the drips and went to bed.   

I must have called every roofing company on our part of the island over the next two days and not one has called us back..... even to today as I write this.   We end up calling our house painter Glen who cheerfully came, went up and recaulked the skylight and said that come the better weather he'd reseal the other three skylights for us.   What a guy!    Both of us are under the weather right now so not able to do much of anything so his help was fabulous!

All the details and even drafts for some of these projects are in the archived months of 2023......


So this month was a bit of a bust as I was healing a muscle spasm in my right shoulder.   Apparently I'm not aging all that well.  I hope this doesn't get to be an annual thing! 😳


My dear friend Margaret passed away. She was instrumental in setting my feet firmly on the weaving path and then gifted me her loom. She's with me every day.

I placed a large 8/2 cotton order for the first time in 5 years.  How do I know it was 5 years? Because Brassards had given up on me reordering and gave my customer number to someone else.   So much of that was used in towel warps later in the year.    I also ordered some new 3D printed warping assist bits from Ginger Locks Handwovens to try out on the Megado.  I like to see if I can streamline the process and make it easier for me.   Out of this bunch of 3D printed parts, the beater lifter is great and the rest I will have to try again at some point and see.


Apparently this happened again.....sore back...  and no weaving.   Seems there is a pattern huh?


Finally some weaving! Three table runners in a fancy 16 shaft twill. 10/2 cotton, sett 28 epi.

I signed up for a towel exchange with two weavers and also started an intense search for some dusky peach silk. I had a very request by a client to reproduce a scarf and didn't have any of the weft yarn any longer. I eventually found it at Treenway Silks with owner Susan's help.  It's "spiced cognac" and almost a perfect match!


More gadgets:  3D printed Helping Hands warping assists from Lofty Fibers for my Spring loom. I have to say they work great and I have kept it up as part of my warping routine!   So I ordered a set for my Megado too.

I also completed two shawls that feature a soft pink Rose fiber warp and one shawl has tencel weft in taupe and the second has dandelion fiber weft yarn. The sett was 24 epi and featured an 8 shaft draft from

My friend Hilary was selling off yarn from a very large stash she acquired and so I bought some silk / yak in an ivory colour.  I kept some for myself and sold about half of it and that paid for the entire purchase! Some of it will be used with the huck lace shawls currently now waiting for my cranky back to settle down again. 


I got (too) adventurous and tried incorporating a painted warp with solid shades and a 16 shaft diagonal pattern.   The black weft  one turned out okay but the second shows even I can get things wrong!  *sigh*  😳   I think parts of  the second purple scarf is destined to become greeting cards..... or ??

The commissioned scarf order was finally completed and delivered, so that's two more Abalone Shimmer scarves. These feature the 20/2 spiced cognac silk weft. I wove one for me too.  I have nothing to wear with it but I now have one too.


Finally, a chance to set up and warp using the new Helping Hands Megado version and I wrote three posts on the process. It's become easier each time I use them and it was a worthwhile purchase.  Of the other  parts I purchased first? I use the beater lifters all the time when threading.

Then there were two scarves woven after an initial cranky start.   I had a draft in mind and once I started to weave it up, I hated it.   So I cut out the weft, rolled the warp back and rethreaded, and resleyed..... but kept the same tie up  and got this unique  pattern. Thank heavens for's special search features!  One scarf has a multi fleck, part alpaca, part silk weft.   The second is all tencel.  (*I always leave the lease sticks in place, pulled to the back of the loom and tied in place until I'm sure of no mistakes, and now additionally, that I like the draft.  I do remove them when everything is fine*)

At the very end of July, my younger sister passed away. She died on my parent's wedding anniversary and my father's birthday.    She was 58, so much too soon.   That's her with the bow in her hair, many years ago in New Zealand.    That's me as the eldest at the back.  I think I'm about 15 or 16 here. 

There was also another sad loss for me that day too and it's one I'm still coming to terms with. I'm not sure if that story will have a happy ending or not.  That's all I can say for now. 


The towels and small gift exchanges rolled in in August and helped to cheer me up.

My husband says our kitchen towel drawer is full to overflowing and we may need to cull some oldies to be able to close the drawer!   I think I'll sit the next annual Padre Wayne towel exchange out.....

Having said that, I have 5 towels warps planned, but there will be for Christmas thank you gifts and to sell in the Etsy shop.  The first batch of eight are based on 16 shaft point twill, 8/2 cotton warp and a variety of drafts from


Second batch are the "Everything Everywhere"  towels and feature 10/2 cotton, sett 28 epi and turned twill.   I got six towels.


Next up was # 728 towels from Carol Strickler's "A Weavers Book of 8 Shaft Patterns". This was a modified version and featured blues, magenta and peacock 8/2 cottons from the Brassards yarn order earlier in the year. 

Then we discovered our roof was leaking above the garage attic. Eventually, some wider flashing and caulking fixed it but I learned all about insurance claims, adjusters and roofers.  Our roof is only 13 years old but it seems someone back when it was being replaced took a short cut and used a piece of flashing too small for the job, rather than go down and bring up a new one......   


The next towel batch was my "Kitchen elegance" towels.... and there were six towels and one table runner.  They are 10/2 cotton, 28 epi and a sixteen shaft twill.    I have a lot of 10/ cottons and decided this year to use it more.   It means more work winding, threading and weaving, but the cloth is so nice in the hand!


Last batch of towels was a repeat of the happy "Herringbone twill". They were such a hit last time I wove them and so this time I used natural cotton and another arrangement of doubled coloured ends.   This means you have many choices for wefts!  As you can see with the seven towels all stacked up here.

At the very end of November, my mother in law Lorraine passed away quietly in her sleep.  She was 100 1/2 years old so it wasn't unexpected, but sad none the less for her son and daughter. Bruce had many more years of conversations with her than most adult children get with their elderly parents.   She was an elegant lady, fierce Canucks hockey fan and loyal Blue Jays baseball fan.  She had jerseys for both teams. She celebrated all the events on the calendar, but her favourite holiday was Christmas and sadly she missed this one.

This is Lorraine as a two year old holding her doll while climbing up on the pilot of a steam locomotive 98 years ago.

So despite some back pains and heart aches I did manage to get some weaving done and the totals are"

towels 33

scarves 6

shawls 2 

runners 5

deaths 3

dental surgeries 2

roof leaks 2

towel exchanges 2

bad back spells  3

Sunrise at Willow Point, south of Campbell River, BC
Then a few hours later in full daylight.

I hope your coming year is healthy, happy and with smooth warps and swift shuttles!

Sunday, December 24, 2023

🎄🎁 Merry Christmas to all my Readers

I found this Nordic Santa today on FB (no  photo accreditation sadly).    This is what Santa should look like!   Not that one made popular by a certain soda pop many years ago.  Anyhow, this gentleman's hat, coat and  boots look beautiful and functional.....  He's ready to fly tonight!

This is a different kind of Santa too. More earthy tones and rather polished appearance.  He seems to be doing quite well and can afford a better suit of clothes  I find it interesting that many cultures who don't normally celebrate Christmas, now embrace Santa and even put up a tree.   It's about peace on Earth and good will to Man.   Sadly, its in short supply with wars raging and people fleeing. 

This is where we all live. I can see no boundaries, no walls. We all breathe the same air that circles the globe.  We have no other place to go to and so we must focus on global warming as if our lives depend on it, because they do.   Everything else is a distraction to this goal.....

I'm not a religious person and  lean heavily towards embracing Nature's cycles and so the Solstice was my big day.  The days are slowly but surely getting longer.    No matter what you follow and celebrate, here's to shining a light in the darkness....

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Herringbone towels 2 ....Why?... because they're fun 🎉

This is most likely the last finished project for 2023.... or maybe I can squeak out a couple of scarves before months end?  Christmas sorta slows things down for a spell!

This draft shown below may look familiar and yes I have done it before. It's a fun and easy weave and a great way to use up small part cones and play with colour.   They also make great gifts and people snap them up.   I gave a friend a choice of all the towels in my Etsy shop and she chose one of these as her gift, even though she got one last year.   So this has me thinking that us weavers perhaps over think what appeals to people? 

Last time I used white as the main colour and this time I used natural.  The colours popped just as well and  they looked somehow a bit softer when paired with weft colours.  Below is Brassard's cinnamon and periwinkle as weft yarns.    The bright colours in the weft are: royal, peacock, orange, magenta, limette, salmon pink, purple. Double ends though one heddle and one reed slot.   If using 8/2, then 22-24 epi, and if using 10/2 cottons then 26-28 epi.

The weaving is very straightforward, just hit treadles one through to six and start again.  Sometimes I'd miss number six and a slight but obvious line would appear and so after some UN-weaving I'd pay closer attention and count in my head.  It was a bit too complicated some days.....  

This is the mass of the cloth warp after just being taken off the loom. It was a satisfying armload!

So I did a rough fold up and placed it on the scale and it was 2 pounds and 13 ounces!

I serged the towels apart and then gave them a nice long soak and brief wash. Toss in the dryer for 20 minutes.

Trimmed off all the little tails and then gave them a good steam pressing. This helps to save my hands as I have arthritis. Thy do get a regular pressing when I'm turning the hems for sewing but nothing like what the press does. 

Once the hems are sewn (by hand while we watch TV), the hems get a final 'squeeze' in the press to compact the hem and smooth them after being worked.

Then the clouds rolled in and rain started and our house was dark enough at midday to have all the lights on.   Yesterday the sun came out and I quickly grabbed the camera (before my first coffee I might add.... so how's that for dedication?)

So from the top down, the weft colours are: stone ( a light grey), limette, cinnamon, taupe, blue green, ivory and periwinkle

Individual towels; I got seven towels and some samples from my 8 yard warp. The finished towels are 22" by 29.5".

periwinkle blue

Stone Grey

Limette, or what I prefer to call Key Lime

Cinnamon, or Pumpkin

This is taupe or a soft kaki green

Blue green and I must say this one is my favourite.

Ivory or I like to call it Devon Cream

Two are gone already and the rest won't last very long.  Give them a try and make a batch.


 🌹  Lorraine ~  July 1923- Nov 2023   🕯️

This is Lorraine my mother in law taken 20 years ago when we gifted her an all silk snowflake twill scarf for her 80th birthday. She was thrilled and wore it every chance she got. She even bought a new outfit and shoes!
Sadly, she recently passed away but at over 100 years old, Lorraine had a long and amazing life.  I had a 40 year relationship with her and  she welcomed me to the family by telling me "He's all yours my dear, I don't want him back!" A very gracious and elegant lady.