Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Dobby.... and not the one from Harry Potter!

I can recall my friend Margaret telling me that when she went to Convergence in Vancouver in 2002 that she decided to buy a Louet Megado loom to play with. She had seen a demonstration  and ordered a narrower width  loom with 16 shafts.   Due to an oversell,  they upgraded her to a '110' 16 shafts. Nice upgrade!   😁

Margaret had many happy years weaving on the loom, when in 2012 it became my loom.   The original dobby box is as shown below.   Nicely crafted wooden box that held all the magic that makes your loom run!

A sign that it was ageing technology was the fact it used a serial port at the box to USB connector at the computer end.  Margaret had used a small Palm Pilot to run it.    She had sent it away to be 'tuned up' and so I wove happily for the most part.  I had issues but that was simply me adjusting to a loom that did all the thinking and I just threw the shuttle.    I'm totally fine with it now.   I realize that I do all the thinking part in advance and so now can enjoy watching the pattern form up and listen to music at the same time. 

That went along well until March 2020 when one minute it worked and next, it didn't. No warning at all. Just up and quit....

There was a big thing happening then called a Pandemic and life had narrowed us down to our 4 walls!   I had discussions about  a repair, and they just laughed.   It was explained to me that no one had any of the parts in the dobby box any longer....  the loom has been purchased in 2002, but the parts inside were designed in the 1990's!   Later after opening up the box, the pitiful pile of wires and such showed they weren't kidding!

I had two choices: a new Version 2 dobby at $5K ..... or a reconditioned dobby version 1 at $2500.00.   Since nobody expects this to happen (well, I didn't 😳)   I went with the reconditioned dobby, which they assured me was one year old or less. The former owner had decided to upgrade to the new Version 2.
So it arrived and I set it up and got busy weaving to pay for it!  💰  The box this time was this black metal thing...

I did have issues but they were related to Fiberworks, loom drivers and Apple messing with their programming but I eventually reached a place where I have that all handled and resolved. I can at least weave. (*someone reading this and having difficulties with their dobby and a Mac can reach me via the email address in my profile*)

Roll the clock to 2024 and Louet is having a 50th anniversary celebration!    They are offering 10% off looms and dobby's if ordered by July 31st.   It was late June / early July and I thought I would look into it and see what the new Version 2.2 dobby was all about.    It has wifi !

But after talking with a weaver who owns one , she basically does what I currently do which is to do design work on one computer with Fiberworks, then, put the new draft on a USB stick and take it to the computer that runs the loom and plug that in and bring it up in Fiberworks  and run the loom from there. 

So I was thinking: "my dobby works, the process is basically the same to run it.... so why spend the money?"

Then in a conversation with one of the staff at Jane Stafford Textiles who are Louet dealers.... she dropped  a bombshell comment that the version 1 dobby is no longer supported by Louet for repairs.     

That got my attention.     I have had my version 1 dobby for four years and it was a year old before that.  So, am I feeling lucky?    Or not?  

If I use it as a trade in, I get 10% off and they can deal with the older dobby.    Selling it privately just went out the window as who wants to buy a dobby that can't be fixed?   I know I sure wouldn't !

So now I'm leaning to buying the shiny new Version 2.2 dobby.      I checked prices at various Louet dealers on line here in Canada and it seems Jane Stafford Textiles has the best price.   I had questions about running the on board proprietary Louet software program so they recommended me talking to another weaver (the same weaver as mentioned previously).  I had a list of questions and we went through those and  had a great chat...

Her:  does your current dobby work?
Me: yes, no issues.
Her: so why get rid of it?
Me:  to get 10% off
Her:  why not keep it as a back up then? That way if the new one needs repairs, you have something to use while you wait.  Its that worth the trade in $$  ?

Me:   😳   Heck Yeah!

Pictures from the internet of the new version 2.2 dobby.

So I have paid a deposit and told that it will arrive sometime in October when they get a big shipment in.   Meanwhile, in the studio I have gone through every book,  all equipment and such and listed them into my Etsy shop and downsizing.    You simply can't do it all, read it all or need it all.....     Besides some extra cash will be nice to help offset my new purchase and as of today's date I have raised $1500.00 which isn't too shabby!

I plan to weave off the two shawls on my Spring loom and once empty, she will be cleaned,  tickled up and made to look pretty.... and then she'll be up for sale.  (Full details, price to come but it will be pick up only)

I lift the loom up to do the tie up's but it still requires bending forward and my spine literally slipped forward off the spinal column and I'd rather not tempt fate again. The pain was simply dreadful and I'd rather not repeat that.   A change in direction and goals happen from time to time and you adjust to the new reality and carry on. 

So my Megado and I are to become a closer team, a slower team.   I will be weaving for fun and not letting the pressure of filling a shop push me to over do things. 


Then in this morning's emails.... I got a notice UPS shipping notice.  The dobby is being delivered this Friday!

So.... a bit sooner than I was expecting.... but hey!


Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Abstract Amethyst

 The colour purple.... just the colour, not the movie ..... is one that seems near and dear to many.  So I fell hard for this exotic melding of many shades called "Abstract Amethyst" by Fellview Fibres (UK).  Its glorious! 

I quote:  used 7 shades of violet, lilac and purple merino (21 micron), and added lashings of gold tussah silk. When these were not sparkly enough for me, I added gold Angelina into the mix in the second batch.

It does not disappoint!

If you haven't already, you should really visit the shop and enjoy the yummy goods on display.

So, not as romantic as the web site pictures, but here's the rolags on my tacky desk. It was a lovely spin up!

Plied,  time on the niddy noddy and then a gentle bath.  Hung to completely dry. Some wound into cakes (with yardage taken at the same time) and one left as a skein to show the colour changes.

I spin for relaxation and not technical about it in the least, but with my spinning being a daily effort in the past 5-6 months, my skills have improved and some of my latest efforts (not show here as yet) are looking like something to be proud of. 


It's been a busy time here at the house!   I found new drapes for the house, on sale and no delivery charge!  A lovely ivory shade and so bought enough to do five windows. I just couldn't take a chance they would run out if I only bought a trial set.   So there was a LOT of time spent at the ironing board and getting them hung. I took 2-3 days to get the job done and I must say they look fabulous and change the whole feel of the home.  It looks and feels more open. More light.  We changed the more private areas such as bedroom and den to a medium blue this past late winter / early spring.

Our gardener Kari has been working away at the flower beds and over hauling them.  a large tree stump was dug out (Hawthorn and must have weighed 70 pounds!) and flowers now bloom where it once stood.

We are now on the hunt for some interesting yard ornaments / statuary as we have a shady spot under two trees where we have hostas  and other shade plants, and  something unique would look nice there.   A bird bath was suggested, but they require daily cleaning, filling, and can be a great mosquito 'hot tub' and I'd rather not have them that close to where we like to sit.    There is a large pond behind the yard where the birds can get water, and the local fish and dragonfly larvae can eat the mossies!   The pond is also full of frogs.

I'm feeling much better in myself lately but the back is still an issue by mid afternoon.  I can now see a day coming when I'll be weaving again. Just more physiotherapy to do yet.....


some pictures to share.... the hawthorn tree stump and pond behind the house.

Then a sampling of some of our gardens flowers

Friday, May 31, 2024

German Beauty

 I have had this 100 gram fine merino roving in my stash for some years now and 're-discovered' it again.    It came from an Etsy shop in Germany called "All the Pretty Fibers"    It was pretty stiff after being stored for so many years but I gently teased it out and got this lovely soft pile of colourful floof. 

I divided it into two 50 grams piles and had a lot of fun spinning this up.   It's much like weaving a hand painted warp where you can hardly wait to see the next colour change.     

It even looked pretty on the bobbin!

 Here's a skein and the yarn on the niddy noddy.

.... and the final skein all complete.  The other braid is of a similar colour way but this one has a darker wine.   When I spun that up, the wine dominated the rest of the colours a great deal and not as effective as this skein.  I will get the yardage once I wind it into a cake. 

Work continues here at home. We had all our paving such as driveway, sidewalks and patio all power washed this past week. Its astounding how much brighter it all is and gives the place a more  tidier appearance.    The guy who did this job for us spotted a large basket ball sized wasp nest high up under our eaves.   At our age and stage in life, we don't do ladders anymore and so were prepared to call a pest company to come and deal with it, but he said if we were to get a can of high powered wasp spray,  he'd do the rest.

A tall ladder, can of wasp spray and high pressure water hose...... and it was literally down and gone in under ten minutes.  🐝

We have engaged a new lawn care company doing our grass cutting and we couldn't be happier!  Same price, a cheerful person does the work ......and no aggravation like before.

The work in our garden flower beds is continuing and it's looking so good!   We are experiencing a cooler spring so the work can proceed with out the plants gasping due to high temperatures.    The last of the irrigation system upgrades also happened this past weekend and now we have a reliable watering system that gets the water to  where it's needed.  That will be important soon when the heat wave  called summer arrives.  🔥

Personal health front has been busy too with eye exams, a CT scans to see where and what kidney stones remain in Hub's kidneys....  and dermatologist appointment as well.   Medical appointments apparently are our social life now but we are coming down to the end of a long list of doctors that were all put on hold last January.

There's been no weaving (still) but I'm slowly sorting through the various bits and pieces that will go with the Louet Spring loom.  I hope I can weave off the shawls I have wound on but it depends on if I can get the tie up in place. If not, someone will get a bonus warp to start off with! 

With all the 'sorting' I have been building a pile of books, magazines and tools that can be sold off.  I will likely be adding some yarn to that pile as well.  What I will actually need and use going forward  will be much less.   🤞

It's actually a liberating feeling.....

Our large chestnut tree is in bloom.... and it's full of bees and hummingbirds. It's raining pink petals everywhere!  

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Night Stalker 🦉

This is a Barn Owl     They are silent on the wing and all you might hear is a slight swoosh of air through the tips of their flight feathers.  How do I know this?   It was some years ago and we lived near the dyke in Richmond, BC. We went for an evening stroll along the dyke to Steveston  (an old fishing village and home base for fishing boats.)   We walked back home in the darkening evening light and paused by a notice board and post to watch the sunset. Suddenly, I had something fly close to my head and I felt the breeze of something against my hair and looked up to see a barn owl settling in on the top of the post.   I never heard a thing!    It was absolutely gorgeous  and showed no signs of leaving so we watched it and then moved on up the dyke to home.    That experience has never left me. 

So when I saw the "Nightstalker" rolags at Fellview Fibres (UK) with all the colours based on the markings of a barn owl, I ordered some.   Spinning it up was like working with a cloud !   Its a blend of superfine merino, baby camel, muga silk, eri silk and penduncle silk.

All done and spun up, wound up! I would order this again in a heart beat and perhaps ply it with creamy bombyx 20/2 silk?

At home we are busy with irrigation system tune up including replacing the manifold, the programmer and many of the old spray heads. We will be on strict watering orders this year and we want to get the best use of the watering system.  No one wants to be that person watering the sidewalk.   😥

Since we had issues with leaky skylights this past winter, we are getting some minor roof / vent issues dealt with and a natural spray treatment for moss on the shingles done. That was awful this past Dec / Jan with roof issues!    The contractor said our roof is basically in great shape but it seems who ever did the replacement back in 2010 took some shortcuts and those are showing up now.  We bought in 2016.... and no one went up to check it over. It was only 6 years old then, and 13 years old now. 

I started my first physio appointment !  Just small 'seated' exercises designed to increase my range of motion in my lower back.  My lower back is pretty rigid and it's going to take some coaxing, with resulting increase in aches and pain as we pry it loose.    Baby steps for now.    I will be getting an MRI sometime in July according to the diagnostic booking nurse.

I also saw an orthotist and we discussed my poor feet and I had plaster casts made of my feet.  They looked like little ballerina shoes when all done.   I was born with flat feet and so this is more about supporting the bones into a better position and more like cradling my feet.  It will be  3-4 weeks before I get them and then we'll see how they fit and feel and make adjustments as needed.

I'm being good and getting all my adult stuff lined up and ticked off: had a mammogram done, booked eye exam appointments and seen my opthalmologist too.    Care and maintainance of this older model human is extensive ( and expensive 💰), but the pedicure and time spent at the hairdresser was pleasant. 

Long weekend here; Victoria Day and the semi official start to summer.  I've made potato salad and Hub is busy cleaning the BBQ.     🍹 ⛱️

Friday, May 3, 2024

Just William


So when you buy a batch of rolags from Fellview Fibers, Carol slips in a complimentary rolag to tempt and tease you!    She added one of these beauties and what could I do?     I ordered some more!  😁  I was a total push over as I fell for the jewel colours. 

I don't know the story behind the name "Not Just William".... I'm sure its a good story.

I got busy and soon had three skeins of plied yarn. Here's a skein to show the colours and two have been wound into cakes. 

There's a variety of blues and turquoise, a dash of green and some black.   I'm very pleased with it and would order again.  But after I've tried some others of course. 🤩

On the personal front:  I'm waiting for a MRI  for my lumbar spine (which will take months to get) but in the meantime I have a physio appointment scheduled and also to see someone to talk about orthotics.   According to the orthopaedic surgeon "your feet and ankles are a mess.... and sadly there is not much that can be done".

So.... I will be making some changes in the studio and so have started making a list of what is going to find new homes and owners  down the road.    I knew this day would come sometime, I just thought it would take longer!