Thursday, June 25, 2009


When you lose a friend, you tend to remember previous losses. In 1996, I lost a dear weaving friend named Kay, from the Compuserve Crafts Forum online community (perhaps the first of those.) We had a weaving swap in her honor - the goal being to move out of our comfort zones and learn something new - to use a new piece of equipment, a new fiber, a new weave structure. My contribution was my first network draft design, woven on my new at the time Louet Magic Dobby Loom, using linen, which I had never woven with before. The design looked like little angels to me. I actually wove this without the mirrors in the threading and treadling, so it looked more like a grid of angels. If I ever weave this again, I like having a ring of angels with a diamond in the middle. :-)

In addition to sending samples, I also sent a poem which I wrote, a poem about loss and love.


I weave my life
on a warp of friends and family
using weft threads of joy and pain.

A warp thread breaks.
I sadly replace it,
glad that it will always remain,
firm in the fabric of my life.

And I remember to delight
in the pattern unfolding before me now,
and treat my warp with care,
cherishing its bright shining possibilities.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Farewell Verda Elliott

Verda Elliott passed away Monday morning. Her daughter Barb said her death was peaceful and calm. I'm so grateful for that.

I first met Verda in the early 90's when she moved to San Diego. Shortly before that, her articles on symmetry had appeared in Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot. I was absolutely fascinated with those articles, and ecstatic when I found out she was moving here. I emailed her to welcome her and invite her to join the local guild. I tried not to gush too much - to let my enthusiasm come through without putting her off. She was charming and kind - sold me a copy of her wonderful book. She did become an active member of our guild, giving several programs (I think my favorite was on moiré patterns) and she attended many, if not most, of our guild meetings. For several years, she was active on the program committee.

Verda was one of the most knowledgable weavers I've ever met. She was a member of a small study group in our guild called Warped Explorers. Frequently, when we were choosing new topics to study or discuss, Verda would offer to bring notes and samples from classes she had taught. She was always willing to answer questions or to help solve problems. And what I'm remembering right now is that she almost always had a smile on her face. I'm a big hugger, and was always tickled that she was such a joyful hug recipient.

Verda, in spite of how much she already knew, was also always interested in learning something new. In the picture above, she's working on a project in a ply-split braiding workshop that Linda Hendrickson taught in San Diego a few years ago. She and I chose slightly different colors, and were amazed at how radically different the results were.

Verda hasn't driven in a while, and often we got to enjoy her presence at our meetings thanks to Gay Sinclair and Rosemarie Dion, who would give her rides to the meetings and then take her home afterwards. Gay and I each visited her last week - I could always tell when Gay had been there, because there would be a vase of her roses with the loveliest scent. On the wall were pictures of her family members - the kids, the grandchildren she adored, and her husband Jack who passed away last year. Her daughter even brought in one of her framed weavings. We had a long chat the last time I saw her. In spite of her physical discomforts, she still had her sense of humor - telling me a story about a weaving friend who had been hospitalized and was trying to let someone know about things to take care of and let them know that the dogs were in the closet under the stairs. They weren't actual dogs, of course, but what we weavers refer to as the failures that get cut off the loom before completion because we've given up on them. :-)

I am glad that she is free and peaceful and unencumbered. I know that when she moved to San Diego, there were friends she left that were happy for her, but were sad and missed her. That's how I feel now - happy for her, glad to know she is with Jack and so many other loved ones, but sad for myself and her daughters Barb and Jan and her son Dan, and for those grandchildren who will miss having such a fun grandma. And I miss her.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Blogs are usually used to report what we have "done", so I'm going to try to use mine to shame me back into action. I seem to have completely stalled.

I can't blame it on life demands. My husband was in the hospital last week for surgery on his foot - he's home now, on crutches, and no longer needs much help. I don't currently have a full-time job. My kids are 24 and 18 and I don't really see much of them. There's always a ton of laundry to do, but that doesn't count since I actually like doing laundry.

Maybe the May Gray / June Gloom that we get in San Diego contributes to it. Maybe it's having recently learned about Spider Solitaire and the subsequent addiction. Maybe it's just a fallow time. Who knows. It matters less what has caused this than what I can do to snap out of it.

So... here I am setting a goal for myself. By next Saturday, I intend to post here that I have woven the first tea towel and finished the inkle warp. I will also finish assembling the kits and samples for the Tabletwoven Shoelaces class I'm teaching in July.

If I have not done these things this week, my next post will be a ridiculously silly picture of myself. There... that should do the trick. I've often said I need the threat of humiliation to get anything done....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

An Explosion of Sorts

Wow, it's been a long time since I last posted. I have always thought Nov/Dec is the busiest time of year, but this year, May/June has been hopping! This picture of an agapanthus blossom in my front yard captures the feeling - an explosion of budding flowers. This year, the buds started appearing back in May. That's pretty early - I've always thought of these as my "fireworks" flowers, since that's what they look like, and they usually bloom around July 4th.

I got the David loom all warped up for the next project - TaqueTea Towels. I will be weaving taquete towels with a teapot/teacup design (posted previously). But.... things have been so busy that I haven't had a chance to sit down and actually weave, so the loom is waiting patiently.

So.... what have I been up to? Well, although I don't really have any pictures of the event, I demoed inkle weaving and spinning at a local elementary school for their Gold Rush Day event. It was a lot of fun - the kids were ecstatic that I actually let them try both weaving and spinning. These were 4th graders - the perfect age for learning fiber techniques. A friend who teaches at the school said spinning and weaving were the hit of the day. :-) Never miss an opportunity to help create a new spinner or weaver. Here's my floor inkle loom, with about half of the warp woven.

And here's a closeup. You can see it's a super simple pattern.

My best spinning buddies - Mary and Taryl and Dawn - came over one Sunday afternoon for lunch and wine and an afternoon of spinning. Here's a picture toward the end of the afternoon, when we had stopped spinning and were oohing and aahing over the cool stuff on Taryl's iPhone.

And here's the CVM I've been spinning.

Last weekend, the four of us got all gussied up in our costumes and demoed at a lovely event in Old Town called Ladies Day, which is held the first weekend in June each year. From left to right - Dawn, Taryl, Mary, and me.

A woman came by doing period authentic hairdos - here she is working on Mary's hair, with Taryl watching.

And here's Dawn, wearing a bonnet and a big grin, and spinning away.

Let's see, then there was the chanting activity I led at a retreat in Descanso for the Unity Center. Ommmmmmmmm.......

And just to show that *some* are still at leisure, here's my beloved poodle Joy, luxuriating on the sofa like the queen of the castle that she is. She's doing pretty well for 13 and 1/2 years old!