Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Misleading Simplicity of "Evacuate"

My last post was about British Columbia's war on fire but our love and understanding for each other. Thanks for all those pageviews, I loved to see every one. :-)

But when things get really smoky and imminent, you make the voluntary decision to leave before it's mandatory. There's not much I can do to prevent my house from burning, but to get out of the smoke and risk as easily and safely as possible is probably a good idea. My studio essentials were packed last weekend in a handmade grass bag from Ghana - which represented about 1% of all the material there. Here's that special 1%:

Twill Thrills, edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt.
I think I'm almost ready for this, so better take it!

Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland is a classic among artists.
I've read it several times and highlighted all over it.
The View From the Studio Door is not quite as essential, but it's worth taking.

The recent Susan Point show Spindle Whorl at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
This book has a lifetime of inspiration for me.

Carol Strickler's contribution to the weaving community is a new classic.
There's even a Facebook group for weavers to post their projects using drafts from this book.
They give the page and number for the draft to share with other weavers.

As well, I brought:
  • My big hardbound notebook with notes like randomly entered projects, heddle counts on each harness for the two looms, price comparisons for different yarns, some recent thoughts and observations on differences between 3-3-1-1 and 3-2-1-2 treadle tie-ups, various lists and other critical information to help me get back on track later
  • Personal photos of special people in my life
  • Handwoven wall hanging from Peru that Pat brought back from one of his trips
  • Wooden cash box that Pat made - it's perfect for craft fairs and I'm kinda proud of it
  • Chequebook and 2017 files for expenses, vehicle, bank
  • A likely lifetime supply of Cariboo Handwoven labels to sew onto finished items. Even a small box like I have will last a long time (you know how when you order anything printed and for about another $10 you can get another, like, 500 - so why not?)
  • Two skeins of recently finished handspun wool from local fleece ready for handwashing

Then things then got bulky after what I next crammed into my car:

  • Three big bags of local Icelandic roving, the last available from a friend's flock, one bag with me and two stored in the city - I cannot bear to let this stuff go without a struggle
  • A few bags of wool blankets
  • One bag of cotton blankets
  • Armload of 70 or so towels in a big bag
  • Bag of hemmed but unwashed towels
  • Standing rack - currently a great clothes hanger in our Prince George bedroom
  • Short blanket rack - another item made by Pat that I won't let go of easily without a struggle

The interesting thing about evacuating is how personal it is.  After the obvious essentials like some clothing, toiletries, important documents and any medication, each of us makes countless decisions as we roam through our house. (And ruminate in the middle of the night with a promise to add one more small thing in the morning.) I've had an evacuation list ready each summer probably since the fires of 2003, but this one got more serious.

Some people focus on memories, others on having what they need for the future.  I think I'm in the middle. :-)

The actual simplicity of evacuation though is really how little we need when we have each other.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

War on Fire, Love for Each Other

This blog post has little to do with weaving, but of course I will find any opportunity I can.

I live in the midst of a current wildfire inferno, brought on by high forest fuel loads from decades of successful fire suppression and augmented by an incredibly dry late spring and early summer. June is typically pretty rainy where I live, at times exasperatingly so, but we had only a few millimetres of rain this June and none yet in July.

On Friday afternoon, dry lightening hit my area and new fires were being reported too quickly to be recorded at first. The local fire centre at the airport was closed because the forest on the other side of the runway was in flames.

And no one's life has been the same since.

I know it's not really war on fire. Wildfire is natural and we humans have become too successful in putting out almost every one of them, to the point that when exceptional conditions permit, a fire burns exceptionally hot and erratically. We can't do much in response until we have significant rain, even though British Columbia has some of the best personnel, expertise, perseverance and equipment anywhere. And everyone out there is working hard and doing their best now, I know that. Thank you from each of us to each of you.

I've met friends who aren't sure whether to evacuate to a distant, safer community or stay put in maybe higher risk but where they know they belong. One dear friend just lost his home, he was told while quite far away. Everyone wants to help each other out, we need that important job to do. We are all on our best behaviour and our best manners because we care for each other and we're being kind and courteous. And loving.

I've said good-bye to my weaving studio and I hope to say hello again, but we'll see. My best blankets and a heavy armload of towels are as safely stored as I can hope for. Until we know more, take care and stay safe, my friends. Love.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Cariboo Handwoven Makes the Top 100 Weaving Blogs

Imagine my surprise to check email first thing one recent morning and find the amazing news that Cariboo Handwoven's blog was chosen as one of the top 100 weaving blogs by Feedspot. There we are at #63. (Or find the website at

Thank you to Anuj Agarwal, Feedspot founder, and the blog selection panelists. Perusing the list of blogs, I feel honoured to be in such good company.  There's Laura Fry, my neighbour north in Prince George, at #27; Susan Harvey on Vancouver Island - she also does amazing work - at #49; and Dianne Dudfield in New Zealand at #93 - my sister saw her work when traveling in NZ and I've been a big fan of Dianne's since. And there are other good ones that I also subscribe to or check regularly.

The Feedspot list is a goldmine of 99 more weaving blogs that interest me. Thank you for adding me to this esteemed list!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

More Cotton Blankets for Summer

This is the time of year to laze in the shade, enjoy the long days with their early mornings and late evenings, and weave with cotton. After my last batch of eight big cotton blankets, I soon warped the loom for more. They are hemmed, can be machine washed and dried, and are useful in summer - both outdoors and in.

Here are six of the latest cotton blankets:

C303 | 100% cotton | 190 cm x 133 cm (75" x 52") | $170

C304 | 100% cotton | 217 cm x 135 cm (85" x 53") - extra long | $180

C305 | 100% cotton | 193 cm x 138 cm (76" x 54.5") | $170

C306 | 100% cotton | 188 cm x 135 cm (74" x 53") | $170

C307 | 100% cotton | 192 cm x 135 cm (75.5" x 53") | $170

C310 | 100% cotton | 155 cm x 135 cm (61" x 53") | $140

Interested in any?  Just let me know.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A New Georgian Bay Blanket

My latest presentation of new wool blankets omitted the last one which was waiting to be fringed and finished, but it is ready to show now. This one depicts the colours and scents of Georgian Bay, a special place for all my family as well as many Canadians and others.

The blanket's design emulates the blue waters with whitecaps, the grey rock with orange lichen, Georgian Bay's windswept white pines, and the deep blue sky and puffy clouds above.

SH187 | 100% wool | 175 cm x 127 cm (69" x 50") | $350

SH187 Detail | Water and rock in the Georgian Bay blanket design

As with the other six blankets, the blanket's weave structure is lengthwise stripes of plain and advancing twill which give a nice contrast of distinct and wavy lines.

My Georgian Bay blankets and towels have been much-appreciated and admired in the time I've been making them. They remind the user of those special fragrances of the sun-warmed granite and white pines, and many carefree summer days.

Let me know if you're interested in this one.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Shetland Wool Blankets in Browns with Colours

I've lost count of how many Shetland wool blankets I've woven but this latest project is probably somewhere in a batch in the twenties. These are my classic wool blankets and I love designing, weaving and finishing them. This project incorporated wide lengthwise stripes of regular and advancing twills to produce contrasting straight and fuzzy-lined diamonds. After weaving, fringe twisting is a portable activity and two of these blankets accompanied me on some recent local travels.

One blanket of the six below (SH184) was woven with my handspun white wool, making it a little thicker than the others. Any of these blankets would make a really special wedding, grad or retirement gift.

Here they are:

SH183 | 100% wool | 170 cm x 127 cm (67" x 50") | $290

SH184 | 100% wool with approx. 50% handspun | 175 cm x 138 cm (69" x 54") | $375

SH185 | 100% wool | 168 cm x 127 cm (66" x 50") | $290

SH186 | 100% wool | 178 cm x 128 cm (70" x 50.5") | $290

SH188 | 100% wool | 186 cm x 125 cm (73" x 49") | $290

SH189 | 100% wool | 199 cm x 125 cm (77" x 49") | $290

As always ... let me know if you're interested in any of these and would like more information or photos.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

New Cotton Blankets for Summer

Eight new cotton blankets are ready to present. These are all large (except for the last one) and meant for lazy summer afternoons and evenings on the hammock or chaise lounge, through the night as light warmth, or year-round for wrapping up in. I love these blankets and so do many owners from what I often hear.

We have five in our household, and I washed them today and dried them on the line.

Sometimes a guest falls in love with one of my blankets and it leaves to a happy owner. That is a huge compliment. However, I can only let mine go that way, no one else's. ;-)

OK, here are the eight. They are all hemmed, and machine wash and dry. They are cozy and soft and last for years.

C295 | 100% cotton | 196 cm x 137 cm (77" x 54") | $170

C296 | 100% cotton | 183 cm x 137 cm (72" x 54") | Sold

C297 | 100% cotton | 180 cm x 137 cm (71" x 54") | $170

C298 | 100% cotton | 188 cm x 136 cm (74" x 53.5") | $170

C299 | 100% cotton | 182 cm x 137 cm (71.5" x 54") | $170

C300 | 100% cotton | 173 cm x 136 cm (68" x 53.5") | $170

C301 | 100% cotton | 188 cm x 138 cm (74" x 54") | $170

C302 | 100% cotton | 132 cm x 132 cm (52" x 52") | $115

As always, let me know if you're interested in any of these blankets.