Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I'm getting ready to head off to Olds College, for Fibre Week.

"Getting Ready" involves walking myself through every day, making sure I have the necessary supplies or that I requested them, making sure I have the right samples, the right equipment, making sure I have the right clothing (the right clothing for a dye day is different from the right clothing for a weaving class), and last, in this case, making sure I have the right slides for any presentations.

silk May 2005

I will give a couple of lectures: one for the Nickel Arts Museum, in Calgary, Friday, for their lunchtime lecture series, and one for Olds, as the keynote lecture for Sunday evening.

Olds Fibre Week revolves around the Master Spinner Program. This program is rigorous, and very impressive. After 6 years of classes, spinning different fibers, using a variety of equipment and with lots of documentation, spinners receive a Master Spinner Certificate, a credential. There is grading involved, judging, weighing and measuring. It is humbling and astounding to see the workbooks produced in those six years of study, and I am envious of the people who can take advantage of the depth and breadth of the program.

silk dec 2006

This year, the first year of a Master Weaver program is also beginning at Olds, and I would love to eventually see the binders of samples, the products these new weavers will produce in their quest to Master Weaver certificates.

I am (and I know I repeat myself) envious of those weavers, of the choices they will be competent to make once they have tried so much of what there is to know in weaving. I found my own path through trial and error, and, while I do not wish to change direction, wonder if things might have been different if I had a programs such as these in the beginning years of my learning the crafts.


As weavers, we have very few University credentialing programs, and those few usually produce artists who have little or no interaction with the guild system that I belong to, and to the conferences I attend. One of the rare exceptions is my friend Bonnie Tarses, a graduate of RISD, and a longtime professional weaver, who came reluctantly to the guild system and happily found her place among us.

Most of us, on the other hand, learned to weave from someone, who learned from someone else, who learned from a book and a few classes, or from an elder in the family, etc. We take classes at conferences and guild workshops, share with our weaver-friends and get feedback from them and from the work itself over the passage of time.

Then we practice for 10, 20 or 30 years. We pass on what we know to new weavers, who (yay!) seem to be increasing in numbers recently.

My *slides* are now digital images. I have been poring over images of spinning, dyeing, knitting and weaving, looking for a common thread (heh) for people to catch as they listen. It is fun, if somewhat akin to navel-gazing, to look over years of textiles.

The work I have produced comprises my credentials, so to speak. No neat and tidy piece of paper with a date on it, to prove competence or familiarity. Just a body of work, reflecting many years of fascination, effort and exploration.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Clothes

I've been throwing the shuttle for a week and a half now, with good results:
fabrics June 2009

Three fabrics (well, four, more on the top one in another post), three garments. There is a shirt, a vest and a jacket in there; all that remains is the sewing. I might add here that I finished some silk fabric last Fall for another shirt, and all that remains is the sewing. Ahem.

I am sure no one is surprised at the colors.

So what prompted this wardrobe extravaganza? Some of you might recall SOAR in the Poconos 2008. Maggie Casey was being introduced Sunday evening, and Amy Moore put up a slide of Maggie, me and Cindy Lair from the year before.

Cindy was not on site yet, but there, in full glory, were Maggie and I, Wearing The Exact Same Clothes As The Year Before.

Obviously, we had One Good Outfit.

The truly funny part was later in the week, when Cindy showed up and She Also Had The Same Shirt On As The Year Before. No, we did not warn her.

Needless to say, Amy took another photo of us.

New Clothes are in order. It remains to be seen this Fall whether Maggie brings new clothes too. Cindy? The choice is yours.

Friday, June 05, 2009


I went looking for Maggie's book on the Interweave website, to give someone on Ravelry a link.

I found this.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Making Things

I've been doing a little silk knitting and kumihimo:

This is a class sample, 4-ply bombyx silk yarn, knitted on 00's. I have knitted with 2-ply for lace before, but had not tried a solid fabric. It looks nice, and feels fabulous, a success.

The kumihimo band is made with reeled silk given to me by Michael:

It's threaded through holes in the knitting:

And then doubled back:

Sharp people will notice there is also crochet at the top of the bag; I'm not adept at it, but I can get the job done. It does make a nice finish, and looks fine on both sides, so it is good for flop-over tops.

Lots of people make things, of course, and we went to San Mateo last weekend to see some of them at the Maker Faire. This is our second year going, and people have asked just what is the Maker Faire, so ths year I took some photos.There were foodies of various sorts, including cheese makers:
cheese makers

mushroom growers:
mushroom growers

Chocolate makers:
chocolate makers

Local food advocates:
local food advocates

There were blacksmiths:

A cooper:

Welders and sculptors of all kinds:
welded tree
welded trees: fire safe, and tres cool.

Rocket makers and makers of other things launchable:
potato gattling gun
This is a potato gattling gun. I'm just glad my boys did not think of this when they were in the potato-launcher stage of growing up...

There were Art Cars:
whirly car2
Whirly Car

radio flyer car
Radio Flyer Car

A car with actual bras:
car bra

Inside the buildings were all sorts of robotic cars:
robotic cars

A chair made from corrugated cardboard:
corrugated chair

There were things for yarnies too: Tactile had a nice booth inside the Craft building, and I talked with Brooke a bit about how her business and life have changed with a new baby. She will also be a vendor at SOAR this year, yay!

Outside, there was a solar dyed yarn purveyor:
solar yarns

Primitive Arts booth:
Primitive ways

with felted hats and boots, baskets and tools:
primitive ways2

mineral painting agents:
primitive ways3

The Maker Faire has just about anything you could imagine, booths with helpful people teaching things. Spindles and Flyers Guild had a booth teaching spinning, there were several yarn companies teaching knitting and crochet, sewing and quilting, all sorts of crafts, not to mention the electronics guys, and the mechanical guys, solar stuff, electric cars, rainwater collection systems, you name it. If you can make it, it was there, with lots of happy people of all ages playing, demonstrating, talking about what they make, and learning things. It's reminiscent of the 60's, with new century variants.

It is crowded; there are various strategies to cope with parking, crowds, eating, whatever, but the fairgrounds is a big place, made to handle lots of people, and it never seemed overwhelming. This coming from me, who is crowd-averse.

All in all it is a fun day, with too much to see and do, and we arrived home Very Tired!