Friday, January 1, 2016

2015: a Year in Review

Happy New Year!    

Start of a fresh brand new year!  I'm hoping that this one is brighter and colourful, and more productive than last year.  A nice clean slate.

Many weavers like to show what is on their loom on New Years Day, which is a great idea, but I like to show what was going on in the studio for the entire year. A review of sorts.

2015: Not a stellar year  production wise as I was slower at weaving due to recovering from hip replacement surgery, then dealing with pain while waiting for another surgery.... and the resulting recovery interval once more.  Some of you have told me that you wished I posted more often but trust me when I say there was nothing to really share with you!  I did manage to get some cloth off the looms and I made some big changes to the over all arrangement of the studio space.

January to March

There was a time delay getting things started due to recovering from hip replacement surgery but the first project came off the Spring loom during this time period.  I started weaving again slowly at six weeks post operative.  Sadly my father took ill again with mini strokes at this time too and was hospitalized.  (Looking back now, he never really went home again.)

The scarves below were on the loom before surgery and waiting to be woven off. They are all silk and in fact a variety of silks!  Bombyx, silk- yak, tussah, silk-cotton....some home dyed and some commercially dyed.  36 epi and an eight shaft draft.  Light and soft and very nice hand to them. It took a lot of 'tromping' to get them done with the weft so fine. I'm not sure I thought that through too carefully before hand!

March 10th saw our new grand daughter Madison Ava born. Even now her big brother Ethan is still trying to work out if he wants to share the centre stage with her. Fortunately she is a patient, happy baby and is growing like a weed.

Then we had the engagement and marriage of my daughter Carrie and her sweetheart Colin. Their wedding was March 13th. I must say they are very well suited to each other and we have gained a son. They are making their home in the Denver, Colorado area.

April and May

We had a couple of visits over to Vancouver to see my Dad who now was sporting a new pacemaker  but still hospitalized.  The doctors finally told us that there was nothing more they could do for him. The search for a hospice began...

Meanwhile, this project was perfect in its simplicity. Four shaft plain weave with three thread lace.  I got the draft from Handwoven's Design Collection 16 and must say that if you decide to weave this yourself, be prepared for a lot of draw in and beat the heck out of it. It all settles down in the wash and I do recommend a good *hard* pressing to set the pattern.  It would make a lovely table runner.

I acquired a new tool / toy for the studio! I found standing to wind warps on the traditional warping board hard on the new hip joint and equally hard on the old knee.  I found a sale at Woolhouse Tools and had it in my hands in three days. I was amazed how fast it arrived.  First warp on it was 8/2 cottons for some plaid towels. Again an easier project to treadle and I wove it as one continuous length and then cut apart for seven towels.  A large and bold pattern and I'll be making more tartan towels in 2016.  Next ones will be an authentic tartan...

I also tucked into working out and fixing what ever was wrong with the Megado loom. The meant looking into getting the software all worked out and remedying some hardware glitches with shafts and solenoids.   All fixed and doing fine now!

It was during this time period that I found out my friend Gudrun was battling cancer and not doing very well.  


I fell in love with some silk at a European based Etsy shop and soon was winding a warp of 20/2 equivalent hand dyed rich violet and a bronzed green silk.  I used an eight shaft draft from  My sett was 28 epi. It produced this neat striped effect.

We were over to Vancouver again for a visit with Dad.... I knew when I left it was most likely the last time I would see him so the good bye was very hard.  

Shortly after we got home we heard from my cousin that my great aunt Bessie had died. Bessie was almost the same age as my Dad. She had come to Canada as  war bride and settled in northern Ontario.

My daughter and her new husband came from Colorado and she had a good visit with her grand father over two days and then they came over to the Island to stay with us.  The time flew by and it was so good to see them. (They promise to come back in 2016 to see us again.)

Then in late June, Gudrun died and I was unable to go to her service because my father died a few days later.    Then a few days after Dad passed away, the hospital called to give me my surgical date for my knee.  

An amazing friend and Master Weaver, Gudrun Weisinger. 1941 - 2015


My Dad, Frank Waterfield.  1930-2015

I spent lots of time in the studio alone weaving, making plans and getting ready to tidy up the studio ahead of my surgery. It was a good place to simply 'be' and I really needed that. 

 I placed an order for a flyshuttle for the Megado and was advised it would be mid September before it would arrive.  The one shown below is not mine but simply a demo model at the Louet web site.  {It did arrive in mid September but had some issues with sticking so it was shelved for the time being. I hope to set it back up and get it busy again soon. }

My Woolhouse Tools countermarch loom finally found a new home in Sooke, BC which is at the southern end of Vancouver Island. Jill was a happy new owner  and we have become weaving friends.  She had it all together and weaving away on it in record time!   Before they left with the loom in their truck, Jill and her husband helped Bruce to move the Megado to spot where the Woolhouse once stood.  

Now the Megado has 'pride of place' next to a window and patio door for good natural daylight.  It also camouflaged where the loom's big feet has stood!


After coming back from Dad's service in Vancouver, I completed getting the Megado all set with a towel warp. Bobbins  all wound; draft chosen and tested for errors.

I also decided to sell my Louet Jane table loom and stand. It wasn't being used and only ever had two warps on it.   It quickly found a new home over in the Vancouver area.

September ( and a very quiet October)

I wasn't actively looking for a loom to buy but had a notice come into my inbox about a loom for sale in the Lower Mainland (as we call the overall Vancouver area)  It was a 45" Leclerc Tissart tapestry loom. It was made in January 1967. Normally a loom that old would show its age but this one had only three owners in all that time, and the last two had basically just stored it.   Pictures showed it to be in very nice condition!   I could hear Gudrun telling me in my ear to "go ahead and buy it."  I had actually got into weaving with the purpose of doing tapestry and was sidelined by regular weaving for um, twenty years!  Gudrun managed to do both and maybe I can too. 

Bruce set sail on the ferry for Vancouver and delivered the Jane table loom over to its new owner and then picked up my 'new' old tapestry loom. We sure had fun putting that together! Took two days but we did it!  Most of it was guess work too.   There was only one bruise on the wood (front right side near the tray) and some furniture oil helped to have it blend in and be less noticeable.  Its coming up to being forty nine years old in January....its allowed to have some character marks. I know I sure do!

I also ordered some fine wools for tapestry to come and 8/2 cottons for towel warps for the future.  My colour selection was getting rather slim!

I finally wet finished and trimmed up three linen and cotton book marks featuring a small fancy twelve shaft twill with a sett of 50 epi. They are two inches wide. 

With time running short, I got the guest towel warp off the Louet Spring and prepped them for hand sewing the hems sometime in October. I also got a new warp onto the loom asap and made a brief start to see what it looked like.

More on these below!

Tencel in three shades done as a colour gradient

Then suddenly it was September 28th and my date with the surgeon!

My old knee

My view for a few weeks.

my new knee!


Eventually I was able to focus again after  the anaesthetics and pain meds and actually enjoyed hand sewing the hems. These were  a 10/2 mercerized cotton warp, sett 24 epi and a fine bamboo weft and each towel has five rows of hem stitching for these huck lace towels.


I came into possession of my entire family's photographs and documents via my Dad's Estate and spent two to three weeks sorting and organizing them.  I had started to weave again but it was painful the day after so this diversion was helpful. It gave my knee time to heal some more and I did something productive with my time.   This will be ongoing for some time to come. There are hundreds of photographs as it covers my parents years together, also both sets of grandparents, my father's sister and her two marriages, plus my mother's older sister and also her identical twin.   
Yeah, it will take a while.... 

Next thing I knew it was Christmas!

So that makes a final tally of:
3 scarves
3 book marks
13 kitchen towels
12 guest towels


5 trips to Vancouver, 3 funerals, a wedding,  a new baby
... and a new knee. 

I'm hoping to have a much improved list next January 1st.   More weaving, less drama!

2016 is off to a good start with a fresh warp now on the Spring, and I plan to be weaving on the Megado today and see if we can move the towel warp along some.  

Now, in my previous post before this one, I announced a  blog anniversary draw due to be made January 8th.  All you have to do is write a comment and tell me what keeps you coming back to read my blog and it would be great if you could tell me briefly your level of interest in weaving. Please be clear with your name and a way to contact you.

The winner of the draw, made by collecting names from the last post and this one, and then drawn from a hat, will win a huck lace guest towel.  To be fair, I must tell you that its a 'second' and has a treadling error but is still pretty and functional. 

If you get this post via email subscription   you will have to come and visit the blog web address to enter the comment as its not possible via the email format.


Anonymous said...

Susan, you have had a very eventful year! I am wishing you a quiet and productive weaving year for 2016!

Beth said...

My, what a year! Here's to calm in 2016!

Linda said...

I am an intermediate weaver, still working so that limits my weaving time but I enjoy reading you blog! Summing up the year is a lovely idea, nice of you to post some of the drafts you used too. You have managed some lovely pieces despite the rough spots you have had this year. Losing your father and a mentor are big blows but how lovely to have a new baby in the family and a wedding! Good luck with that new knee!

Dianne said...

An eventful year and, understandably, not so much weaving happening.
I look forward to your blog posts as the work is so inspiring and the quality fibres used shine through, the photos give a depth to the projects and you share techniques so generously. You write as if we are all part of a big fibre festival catching up with friends.

Rachelle said...

I'm a fairly new weaver and have had to put my weaving on hold due to health issues which are hopefully now resolved after surgery (hysterectomy and bowel resection) and once I'm healed I'm planning on getting back into things. My teacher was Anne Field, who is very much missed. I've got a lovely 4-shaft countermarche loom made by the Bartletts from here in NZ. I come back to see what you've woven and looking for tips as well, but mostly inspiration. My name is Rachelle and my email is sable[@] (extra [] added in to help prevent spam bots)

Janefrogged said...

As a beginning weaver, I find your blog inspiring. I love the colours and patterns. Thank you for sharing details of your life with us; the photos make us feel as if we belong. I look forward to seeing what you make this year.

Anonymous said...

Good grief--what a year you've had! I'm glad that there was great joy to somewhat balance the awful losses and I'm glad you had your weaving to provide some solace, too. I read your blog regularly but, since I'm on Wordpress, and cross-pollination (so to speak) is cumbersome, I don't often leave comments. I keep coming back because, as a new-ish weaver, I love seeing what experienced weavers are doing--your work inspires!

Anonymous said...

Greetings.thank you for sharing your experiences with the world ,my name is Sharee i am a new weaver currently restoring a 46' weaving with 1970 loom with no markings it has 8 harness and 10 treadles .I enjoy seeing the progression of your work and how you email

Michelle said...

Thank you for your blog. I love seeing your creative process and appreciate that you post the drafts. I'm in the process of warping some tea towels based on your twill striped towels from a few years ago.

I look forward to your posts. Enjoy 2016!


Angela Coldewey said...

Really enjoy reading your blog. Such inspiration. I am brand new weaver with a 6 harness, 8 treadle macomber loom
With 20" weaving width. I hope your New Year is happy and healthy.