Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Little Stroll down Memory Lane

It was just over a week ago that we laid my Dad's remains to rest and we all gathered as a family.  We shared a meal and reminisced.  Since coming home I have found my thoughts drifting back in time and so I went digging through old photos and I recently scanned some into my computer to share.


Yes, that's a much younger (and thinner)  me above with a lady who's name is lost from my memory. It was fall 1995 and I was buying her forty five inch Leclerc Colonial loom with 4 shafts, 6 treadles and it could be set up as either jack  or counterbalance.  It came with bench, electric bobbin winder, shuttles, bobbins, many books including New Key to Weaving, Marguerite Davison's Four shaft pattern book with the green cover, Burnham's Keep Me Warm One Night, and Peter Collingwood's Rug Weaving book.   All for $500.00 and I was so new to weaving, that I had no idea of the super deal we had found! It did involve a trip from the Okanagan to the Vancouver area to view and collect.   I found out later it was missing the apron rods but had some made at a machine shop.  Not a big deal really...

Summer  1996

Coldstream house 1995-1997
The house we first lived in after our move to the Okanagan was in Coldstream, adjacent to Vernon BC. The Leclerc Colonial filled a small bedroom and I don't have any pictures of her set up. What I do have a picture of is the small loom I agreed to 'store' for the local weavers guild and eventually bought from the owner.  We lived on Tassie Drive and the loom was owned by Libby Tassie. Her husband's family had been early settlers in the area. It was a little slice of local history.   It was called the Tassie loom by everyone for obvious reasons, but what it actually was, was a thirty six inch Leclerc Artisat four shaft loom.  You can see that the  "loom creep" was well under way with a loom in a bedroom and this little one was artfully angled in the large living room.  The stash at this point fit well into a closet. 


I upgraded the heddles to the inserted eye variety and in this picture I'm threading a baby blanket for a nephew (who is now nearly twenty!)    We were renting this house and our landlord decided a leaking roof did not merit repairs and so, with the support of the property management company, we broke our lease and moved after ten months....


 Winfield / Lake Country house  July 1998-2004

We rented another home in a community called Winfield (later changed to Lake Country) and were perched on a hill above Gray Monk Winery's vineyards. There was a stunning 180 degree view of Okanagan Lake.    In July 1998 I received the brand new Woolhouse CM loom and so I sold off all the others to help pay for it.  It was an eight shaft model at the time and the wood is so blonde for being newly made.  My brother Kent came for a visit and took pictures of me weaving on her.



No bedroom for this baby!   We placed her in the formal dining area and angled her so I could also see the lake and all its moods. Here I am weaving snowflake twill for the very first time in silk.

Estamont Beach house 2004- 2006

Another move but this time we were buying a home and we moved to a small community called Estamont Beach on the north west side of Okanagan Lake. Here there was an above ground, walkout basement with a rec room and I set up shop there.  The stash and associated equipment had grown (of course) and I used a small office downstairs to store things there.


We were enjoying a  new lake view once again, and the Woolhouse got the window, while a smaller eight shaft Leclerc Compact loom sat across from it. I bought the Compact loom from a dear friend who had woven many, many yards on her since she was new..... so much that she was actually wearing out!  I was warned she was 'tired'!  The loom needed some repairs and replacements and basically a reinvention of the tie up system as the slots for the cords had widened.   I struggled with it for a time and eventually sold it to a weaver in the Shuswap who's handy husband fixed the treadles and some other issues and she happily wove away on it. 


I found the loom was a bit too low for my height as well. New owner Jenny was of a more diminutive height than me.  It just goes to prove that there is a perfect loom and weaver match for every loom and weaver!


I had also bought a gently used 12 shaft Woolhouse Tools Carolyn table loom. It had only ever had one warp on it!  I got the support table frame and it made it much more accessible for use.  It ended up being too big and heavy for workshops, though it was really nice to stand weave when all set up over standing at a table all day. Eventually it was sold to Theresa of blog "Camp Runamuck" fame in Oregon and I believe she sold it in time to someone in Massachusetts.  That loom certainly was going places!     I love table looms for workshops and smaller projects, but if you are looking for speed, then it a floor loom all the way!



Having said that, here's a picture of me and a friend in 2003 working on a Leclerc Dorothy table loom. Julianne had found it in a local garage sale for $25.00 and thought she'd give it a try.   Well, we worked it and finally got  warp on her, but the heavy clunk action of the shafts and the slowness of the process meant Julianne had her own garage sale in due course.


Blind Bay house  2004-2006

We moved to the Shuswap in 2004 to a larger home and the idea was to find a community that was more temperate.  I was finding the long hot summers in the Okanagan really draining. You seemed to live in an AC house and run to your AC car.   It was August when we moved in and it was 39 degrees Celsius. So much for that idea!    The Woolhouse loom went to a small bedroom in the basement and stash and stuff went to the second bedroom down there.  I can't find a picture of the room just now, but they were both bright and cheery..... but very small and I did not feel very inspired in those spaces.

We literally had someone make us an offer on our home that we could not refuse!  Retiring accountants from the Oil Patch in Alberta who wanted our house on the 13th tee of the golf course. So we packed up and moved again.

2006-2007: A brief one year in Powell River 


The Woolhouse loom and Carolyn table loom stayed in a very large bedroom with excellent light. It was a nice space to weave in on the upper floor of our home.   Our situation there in Powell River changed and we made a decision to move, with our home selling in 3 hours, and went to Vancouver Island in 2007 to our present home.

I had become very proficient at dismantling and reassembling (single handed too) the Woolhouse loom.... which continued to expand and grow over the years and that included to an addition of more shafts, a second warp beam and a  20+ tie up assist.  

There's one more move ahead for us and hopefully in 2016 we can sell this house when my recovery is well under way.  Its time to downsize the size of property to look after.  Our home has the main floor 'up' and so a flight of stairs are required to get to bedroom and essential rooms.  Not ideal for someone with joint issues. I will still have another surgery to come even after the knee so the stairs will be an ongoing issue regardless.

You know, it will feel really strange not to have the Woolhouse to breakdown and pack up..... 

I also found some old photographs of past projects to share with you from 2003 - 2004 before I started keeping samples and better records.  It took me a few years to see the sense in it!



Baby blanket: white 8/2 cotton warp with a linen / synthetic blend; crocheted edging.  Sett would have been 24 epi. I used the draft you'll find in this post


Baby Blanket:  white 8/2 cotton with white #10 Aunt Lydia crochet cotton; hem stitched and hemmed.


Baby Blanket: white 8/2 cotton with beige #10 Aunt Lydia crochet cotton; crocheted edging.
 I was a fairly new weaver still and looking for sources of yarns to use.... Aunt Lydia jumbo 1000 yard cones were then $5.99 at Wal-Mart. It gave the blankets a crisp pattern and lovely shine.  I bought a few cones and still have them in my stash. Its nice to use actually. 



A dear friend Gloria, who is now long since passed on, gave guild members this draft for an 8 shaft false damask. I made some kitchen towels featuring Gloria's favourite colour purple. I still have one towel and its in constant use in our kitchen and still looking good after eleven or twelve years.


So what have I learned from this little wander down memory lane?  (besides the fact we have moved a lot, but all for good reasons).  That I tried and traded up different looms as I grew as a weaver. Some worked and fit right and some were interesting to play with for a time and move them along to another weaver.    The loom swapping slowed down in time as I found the right fit for me.

My later acquisitions of my Louet Spring are documented in this post, and my Louet Megado in this post. 

I also learned that our Province of BC is beautiful, one house move at a time!  I think we're happy being Vancouver Islanders now having lived here for 8 years now. It always feels like home when the ferry is heading for her shores. We might just be finally setting down roots! 



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

17 Years and 10 Days





The last warp on Emmatrude


....and with 6 yards still to go.... I cut this part off.


This multi coloured warp has been on the Woolhouse loom for quite a long time. My information on the digital pictures say they were taken February 14th, 2014.  So long on the loom, that I told weaver friend Wayne that he'd have to come back from Michigan for several consecutive annual visits to complete his towel!   Well, the cloth section is off the loom now but not enough to be a full fledged useful towel.  Its now a nice stack of samples.


The draft is one of my favourites "Breaks and Recesses" or number 47 from A Weaver's Book of 8 Shaft Patterns by Carol Strickler. Nice tidy little boxes and fully reversible.   I used up all sorts of small 8/2 cones of various colours with black bands to bind it all together and make the colours pop.   Great warp to sample a loom for sale..... or weave away on to get acquainted with the loom's personality. 



I loved to treadle away and listen to a book on my iPod or a podcast..... or my favourite playlists. Its a simple treadling.

So new friend and weaver Jill came one day last week to view the loom and after trying her out and spending time with me in the studio for the afternoon, she decided to buy her.  There would be a delay of two days before she could take her home though...


The night before the loom was due to leave I spent time unpegging all 384 clips on the 20+ tie up assist cords and labeling all major beams and parts. I also put the cross back into the warp and secured the lease sticks to the  sectional beam. There's enough warp to weave at least 5 towels so Jill will be off to a flying start. 


I couldn't take the 20+ cords off as they are attached to the upper and lower lamms and I needed help with that. I thought to bundle the heddles together but pulling them together in the centre of the shaft sticks makes the shafts sticks unstable and collapse. So the balance of work had to wait until the morning.



10 am the next morning: once the heddles were bundled and secured top and bottom and off the loom, things progressed quickly!  Off came the shafts sticks and next thing, the lower, then  upper lamms were off in neat piles.  A decision was made to leave the treadles attached to the lower rail and so Jill secured the treadles so they wouldn't be an entirely swinging mess. There were four of us working and so things moved along smartly. With the sliding patio door right there, every newly released part started to be stacked out side on the deck prior to loading in their truck.



Everyone was busy!


Suddenly all the outer 'peripherals' were off the loom and it was down to the basic frame structure. This frame is what needs to be in place to rebuild her up again in her new home.  There is also a very detailed manual to help Jill from when the loom was brand new and also my many pictures, and my little green labels!


The main action shifted to the deck and loading up their vehicle and I was left with an empty spot and a herd of free roaming dust bunnies. (Actually more like buffaloes!)  So out came the vacuum and I gave the carpet a good going over! I didn't want any of them to get away, and besides I was of no use for the loading phase. 


Soon a quick scout around produced no more 'body parts' to go to the deck for loading and it was all over and done. Just the foot prints were left behind. 

  Then a group effort had the Megado shifted down to the spot where the Woolhouse had sat for seven years in this home. I was so grateful to have the loom moved into the spot so quickly.  No staring at an empty carpet!   There is a light fixture and fan assembly above the loom and two sets of windows so lots of light.


The Spring was sitting mid room and it was also shifted left to be under the other light and fan fixture at the opposite end of the space. There is all kinds of room now and it feels very open and airy.  The dog, Calli, went and got some of her toys and left them around the room!


Here's another looks at the Spring in her new spot where the Megado used to sit.  The studio ended up with a very thorough vacuuming in the next few days. I pulled things out and dug deep into corners. 

Today I just sat and enjoyed the space and puttered at odd jobs and continued with clearing things away.  I even just sat and wove on the Spring for a time!



Here's myself with Jill the new owner. 


Jill already has her new loom together and is now working on the slower process of setting the 20+ up and the fine tuning it requires.  The loom stayed local on Vancouver Island which I really like, and the sale and move was done quickly and painlessly.  Its hard to be sad when you see how loved the loom is.  I'm looking forward to seeing all the great weaving to come off her in the near future!



My name and the date she came to me was on the top of the jack frame for seventeen years and ten days before I wrote the final end date in.  I see Jill has carried on the tradition and added her name too.  As one friend said "we are simply their stewards for a time".  It was simply wonderful making beautiful cloth on her.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Getting my Ducks in a Row


You might remember this studio line up photo from a few posts ago?  Well, this is all about to all change.   I believe the Woolhouse CM loom has found a new home and so will be leaving shortly.  More on that in another post okay?    

This means this rather crowded space is about to open up. I plan to get the Megado relocated down to where the Woolhouse is now but that may have to wait until we have some extra bodies to help lift her over.  The day light is better down there and where the cords have to run to power things will be out of the way.

 I think the Louet Spring might just move over a bit so we have more elbow room.  No new floor loom is coming so the extra space will be nice. I might just set up the table loom on its stand and show her off, rather than having her stuffed into storage.    

Back to the Megado loom.... I have just ordered a fly shuttle attachment for it and also one Louet end delivery fly shuttle (plus pirns) which may come as soon as the end of August from Holland, or, if not in that shipping container then in the next in late October.  There aren't any available in North America so its a wait no matter what.   


This is what the kit looks like and the instructions look straight forward.  If it comes in August, I hope to get it set up and give it a try before my knee replacement surgery on September 28th.  I'm busy winding a twelve yard warp of 8/2 cotton  to warp up before the operation so its ready to go later when I am.  The one treadle has a light action and so I hope to be able to weave with one leg, while the other rests on a box or some other prop.  

Its the Louet Spring that will be all dressed and ready for double leg action, but will be waiting until I can bend the knee and move it. I hear this can take as long as six months so its a good thing she is very patient!   Actually, the table loom on its stand is also a good option too.    Hhhmm, better plan up a good warp for the Jane too.  Nice to have all your options open!



This Louet picture shows the fly shuttle in place so you can see where having the extra room in the studio will come in handy.  The catch boxes do sit out like wings and I suspect colliding with one of those could be expensive to fix.  Loom placement will have to be well thought out!


Again, a Louet picture of their EDS shuttle.  I do have some AVL shuttles and I'm fairly certain they will work in the shuttle race.  But what if they don't?  I think it would be awful to get the fly shuttle all set up and then have no way to weave and use it. There would be another two month wait!  So I'm hedging my bets.  



Most pictures show the shuttle sitting well back in the catch box and its only viewable from directly overhead.  I found this image on line that shows the shuttle clearly (but I suspect it sitting on the flyshuttle cord doesn't normally happen when in use). The shuttle has synthetic rollers underneath so its scoots along quickly!



Here's another Megado (32 shaft model) with the catch boxes in place.   My loom is quite golden in colour now being an older model from 2001 and the new parts will be very blonde. Hopefully they will show up clearly to any persons walking around the studio! 

I'm quite excited about the new 'toy' coming, and also for the extra room. I'm not a big fan of clutter and find it distracting.   I must also keep on sorting and weeding out my equipment and books and carry on with the downsizing. You can't do it all, or take it all with you so that will be ongoing.

Surgery: yes, I just had one and yes, I'm having another. (To be truthful, there will even be a third down the road as well.)  I have been in touch with two women who have had full knee replacements, one of which is a weaver and her (sweet) day job is at Glimakra USA !   What they tell me jives with what my surgeon has said and that its a tougher operation to bounce back from.  Its basically double the time for a hip replacement and a lot more intensive in the physiotherapy department.  It will take a full year.  Well, I don't have much choice in the matter so it is what is....

I will have to get very creative writing posts for you!

Its been a very warm and dry summer here on the south end of Vancouver Island so far and only two days of rain and clouds.  Today things got a bit more exciting when a brush fire started just south down the road of our property. The breeze brought the smell of smoke into the house and soon after we could hear aircraft doing water drop runs over the fire zone.  Fire trucks everywhere, and the road was blocked off.  We later heard  that the trucks came from three or four different nearby  communities to help as the local firefighters were also fighting a grass fire near the golf course west of us too.   I started putting together a grab and go bag of our valuables and paperwork just in case!

Strange weather times we live in now.... they are predicting another mild, almost snowless winter for us later this year.   2016 will be another hot long summer.  I really hope they got it all wrong....like they used to do back in the good old days!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Labours Rest




Frank Edwin Alfred Waterfield
July 31st, 1930 - July 7th,  2015



Stop the Clocks
by W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
doves, 
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

~*~***~*~


My grandparents Reginald and Louisa on their wedding day March 15th, 1930 at Tyldsley Church.
Grandad was a plasterer and Nana was in domestic service.



Four generations:  Baby Frank on his christening day September 21st, 1930 in Ashford, Kent. Seated is his mother Louisa Emily (Aug. 3rd, 1907  - May 13th, 1996), her father directly behind her Edwin Barton (March 15th, 1882-1952) and his father, Alfred Barton ( Oct 19th 1848- Feb 28th, 1932) 




Hyde Park 1931


A perfect little gentleman  1931 or 1932



At the seashore 1932 (take note of the boat)


Nana with Dad on left, and unknown friend and her children 1932


Cub scout, with badminton racket


Joined HMS Ganges in Portsmouth, England as a 'boy seaman', age fourteen, approx 1944


A bit older. A real cutie

Home on leave from HMS Ganges.  Sister Diana in front, Louisa and Reginald, Uncle Albert, his wife Dorothy, Grandfather Edwin and Nan Elizabeth Barton. Circa 1946




Circa 1949


Then Dad served  in the far east: through the Suez Canal, around the horn of Africa,  Malaysia, Bangkok, Singapore and many smaller islands.  Circa 1954-1958



Dad worked with ordinance:  depth charges, mines etc.



Petty officer


Parent's back garden, posing with sister Diana


Chief Petty officer (two stripes!)


Dad in his civvies looking dapper, approx 1954.


Dad and Mum on their wedding day July 31st 1954 (which was also his birthday)


On their honeymoon in Bournemouth


Dad and me, March 1956


Four generations:  Me, Dad, his mother Louisa and my step great grandmother  Elizabeth


Dad loved his cars...


Me and my Dad, 1957-58


Then in September 1960, we emigrated to Canada. After a short stay in Timmins Ontario where Dad worked in a gold mine, we moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where he became a police officer.
This was their first little house.



This is the same house in 2012.... my bedroom was the bottom right basement window!





Dad became a member of the Canadian Naval Reserve and below he is receiving an award.


We were in Canada 1960- 1970.  Then we emigrated to Dunedin,  New Zealand. We were there 1970- 1975.   I had also acquired a brother and two sisters by then too.


Dad enjoying the view and fresh air at a friend's beach cottage. Back of the house was on land and front of the house was on  supports in the ocean.


Dad, me at fourteen or so and Mum  approx 1975



Dad worked as a 'costing clerk' for Cadbury's (yes the chocolate people!)   This is a work social party for Christmas.


Dad returned to BC, Canada in 1974. Here he is posing beside a tree on the Malahat, just north of  Victoria, BC. 


Dad Christmas 1975

Dad early 1977




Dad and my siblings,  1975



Dad in his 'mole hole' as he called his computer room. He had won a Commodore 64 system and he learned to use it extensively! He loved computers....



After my mother died in 1995, Dad did some trips to England. Here he is standing outside Commander William Bligh's home (of Mutiny on the Bounty fame) some time between 1996 and 1999



Visiting with his sister Diana .... good, no... great friends!


Dad and Diana took a side trip to Tuscany. Here's Dad is enjoying his dinner and glass of wine.


Dad outside at Tyldsley Church where his parents were married in 1930.





Dad and Diana in Boulogne-sur- Mer


At Diana's home in Charleton Village, Middlesex, England
Sadly Diana passed away in 2012 at age 77.



Dad by a large Ponderosa pine in the Okanagan when he came to visit us there in 1998.



Dad would love to drive out to the Pitt Lake area and then take a long walk along the dyke. He would snap photographs of birds, scenery and enjoy the quiet.   A bit closer to his home was Lafarge Lake and he could reach it with his motorized scooter. 


Here's an example of his photographic work.



Dad, brother Kent and myself enjoying the gardens at the Crow and Gate Pub in Yellow Point, south of Nanaimo, BC. in 2011.  Its a traditional English pub out in the country side and a real delight. 



My snap of Dad as we waited for breakfast.  March 2012


Every Sunday, Dad and Kent would go out for supper. It was their weekly ritual with few exceptions.



Dad modelling his new silk and yak herringbone scarf woven by me. March 2013



Dad had more than his fair share of health issues, including two open heart surgeries, and a hip replacement, but he always bounced back and had a smile. Here he is goofing around with my sister Melinda.


... and here when out for supper, doing selfies. 


Big thumbs up after heart surgery at St Paul's hospital in Vancouver.



Dad became a great grandfather April 2012 when my son and his wife had our grandson Ethan.


Dad meeting Ethan for the first time. He did meet his new great grand daughter Madison but he was in the hospital when she was born and he couldn't hold her unfortunately.

In late 2013  Dad was back in hospital for a hip replacement and generally from that point onwards, his over all health took a slow decline with each return to hospital.

There is no doubt that my Dad had a huge influence on me.  Right from the very start as he raised me for the first six months of my life as my mother was ill.   I can remember coming to Canada as a four year old and walking the SS Empress of Britain with Dad holding my hand.... seeing the large train engine that took us west.    Dad as a police officer giving me rides to school in his patrol car in Saskatoon.  The journey to New Zealand and our later return.

What ever job Dad undertook:  Royal Navy officer, policeman, costing clerk, prison guard, Sheriff,  Fraud Investigator or just learning his new computer, Dad did it well.  His life long hobby of nature photography  meant some nice upgrades in camera equipment, but he would use it to its best performance. His love of computers meant that right until the end he had his iPad handy and he could read emails, and surf the web.

There's a big hole in my life that he used to fill. He didn't really understand my love of weaving but he enjoyed the pictures, handwoven gifts and was very supportive.  He always said it was a shame Mum never saw my weaving as she was an amazing sewer and she would have made beautiful garments from my cloth.  I agree.   It was my mother's love of fabric, and knitting that started me with cross stitch and crochet at age fourteen.   Parents shape you in so many ways. They are also the longest relationship you have with another person (even if you don't know them!)

 I have many memories of Dad to keep me company in the days and years ahead.  I have been working on the family's genealogy for the past year using my Dad's notes. My brother and I plan to do it together now. I think it will be good for both of us....