Thursday, 31 December 2015

Thank You 2015, Hello 2016!

There are so many different memories of 2015 for each of us, and so many good wishes going around for 2016. I have to thank 2015 for being so good to me personally, which originated largely through family and friends. Cariboo Handwoven had a very good year, too. Highlights included:

  • Being accepted as a supplier to the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, BC for their VIP gifting program,
  • Continuing as an Artwalk artist in both Merritt and Williams Lake this summer,
  • Hosting a booth for my fourth year as a vendor in the Williams Lake Medieval Market, and  
  • Seeing numerous visitors in my studio.

Cariboo Handwoven saw 91 blankets and 227 towels go to new homes around the world, along with a few more of each provided as donations for fundraisers or event sponsorship.

Alison, Elsie and Doug were key for me in Ottawa with all their promotion and sales at craft fairs, events and at home - thank you so much.

The Station House Gallery, Bloom 'N' Gifts and Dandelion Living in Williams Lake all hosted my work and did really well for me - thank you.

And special thanks to each of you who came to see my work in my studio, especially those who tracked me down and we first met at the door.

Some of my favourites for me in 2015 included numerous shipments to Ottawa:

And a big order of Shetland wool blankets that went to Vancouver in December:

Other wool blankets that really thrilled me this year were:

"Canada's Forests in Winter" for the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, BC 

Sold in Collingwood, ON to local buyer

Sold at Station House Gallery in Williams Lake, BC

Sold in Ottawa and headed to New Zealand

Sold from studio for wedding gift in Vancouver

Sold from studio and shipped to Toronto for a wedding in the United States

SH141 - available

SH142 - available

SH143 - available

SH144 - available

Cotton blankets were my "thing" through the hot summer months, and I made many.

Displayed at Williams Lake Artwalk and sold in December from studio

Sold in Ottawa

Displayed in Merritt Artwalk and available in Jane's studo

I wove way over 200 towels and enjoyed designing each one, often very spontaneously, testing ideas for blankets, and also seeing my older work in the homes of many friends when I visited.

Georgian Bay towels

And what's up for 2016? My second loom will be set up soon, I think I have a new weaver to help along in my studio, and I look forward to more fun and fulfillment with fibres, yarns and friends.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

What's Available on November 25, 2015

I'd planned to post a "what's available" update this week, and now I see it's exactly one month to you-know-what. After Alison's recent open house in Ottawa and Jane's booth at the medieval market in Williams Lake, BC, we know that some people might be interested to know what's available at each location.

Alison has a good selection of cotton hand towels, as well as wool and cotton blankets. A new shipment is on its way to her now, and she'll have a booth at the First Ave. craft sale on Saturday November 28 at the school (73 First Ave). If you're in Ottawa or nearby, feel free to check out the craft sale or contact Alison at for a visit in her house.

Jane has the following available in her studio:

Cotton hand towels - $30 each

Six in blues and greens, two each with a little orange or burgundy:

Three in greens on light tones:

... and a new batch of towels that are woven on cream, beige, yellow and light teal stripes with a wide range of colours, in soft shades:

... and stronger overall colour schemes.

Bath towels - $80 each

I'm down to two after they sold really well at the medieval market. :-)

Wool Blankets

SH079 | $250

SH084 | From the Autumn Storm series | Felted and thick | $175 

SH116 | Wool with about 25% mohair | Peyto Lake blanket | $350

SH119 | (Small flaw running lengthwise) | $225

SH129 | From the Energy Series | $250

I'll be weaving more wool blankets in the next few weeks; please contact me if you have some colour preferences or you're interested in seeing what's new from the loom.

Cotton Blankets - $170 hemmed, $200 fringed

Three general colour schemes are shown below with samples:


Reds, blues and purple

Creams and beiges

Feel free to contact me for measurements, photos or related items to see more of what I have, at or Studio visitors are most welcome if they arrange a time with me (and to check that our driveway is plowed).

Some Cariboo Handwoven products are also available in Williams Lake: wool blankets at the Station House Gallery, cotton blankets at Dandelion Living, and towels at Bloom 'N' Gifts. Check those locations if you'd like and you'll also see more artisan products than simply mine.

Enjoy the season!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Inspiration in Italy

I'm on my way home from three glorious weeks in Italy: Tuscany to be more precise. Pat and I know Italy a bit from previous travels. This time we decided to begin and end in Florence, and stay in two good locations for walking in the countryside while still being able to enjoy town life. We never rent a car, we just take busses and trains. And we walk ...

Staying for a week or longer in a rented flat is perfect for us. Instead of moving on just after we figure out the medieval street plan, the different venues that sell bus tickets for different locations, or whatever other delightful little quirk Italy has to throw at us, we lived in each town for longer and really felt part of it. Of course, we stood out as tourists, but we couldn't beat the daily rhythm we created of long walks and good food.

I embarked on this adventure with the hopes of bringing home some new ideas for my weaving, possibly a new collection inspired by what I saw and felt in Italy. Here are some of the ideas I have to develop. They're not necessarily good photos, but they each give me some inspiration to consider and maybe apply later.

Ciao, Italia - arrivederci e grazie!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Passion and Piñatas

I’m writing this blog because I have a bit of a problem with the word “passion” and I’m ready to talk about it.

Passion is regarded as some mysterious thing that we are nevertheless expected to find and use to guide our lives. We are told that it’s there for each of us, we just have to find it.  And then it’s all passion this, passion that.

I’ve always cringed at the word because I think it’s misleading. The whole discussion about passion expects each of us to know our passion and take it from there. As if we wake up one morning and declare our passion, then single-handedly pursue it and follow our destined life path.

And if you can’t find your passion, then it implies you cannot face such a basic aspect of life and truly know yourself. You must have a problem!

To me, all of this is like the blindfolded person hitting the piñata and hoping to strike it in exactly the right place the first time to receive its riches inside. There’s really no clear tactic involved, but you’ll eventually get your reward if you just bash away long enough without seeing or thinking much.

No, to me passion is not necessarily a distinct calling in life. It’s something you kind of like and feel an affinity for, and maybe you receive helpful encouragement when you begin, then you find yourself investing your time and energy in pursuing it. That feeds on itself in a wonderfully positive spiral, so that as you improve and feel more proficient, your passion grows.  Part of the passion is not necessarily the “what” but the “how.” And I suppose the “why.” The “where” and “when” don’t really matter as much.

The essence of passion is the day-to-day joy in just doing it. It’s not truly work, it’s more like play, even a privilege for each hour spent on it. But it does mean putting up with the problems and hurdles while keeping the joy in sight – whether it’s finishing a project that is fraught with stupid problems, or getting through all the business paperwork and administration for a deadline, or just continuing to reach a little goal no matter how tired you are.

A big part of my passion for weaving is my individual approach to it. I own it, it’s mine. (PS Same goes for blogs!) I truly believe that if you’re good at something because you’ve invested a lot of heart and soul, then you’ll be happy with your passion. You’ve created it and crafted it, so it’s yours. That’s the beauty of passion: it is so individual.

I also find that there’s no knowing where a passion will take you. You can’t plan for much, which is fine with me especially at this stage in my life. There’s plenty of room for spontaneity, surprises, being open to others’ ideas and suggestions, and in general just hanging on for the wild and wonderful ride.

Passion also involves a lot of learning, and learning is exciting and makes me feel really alive. I’m learning tons about my weaving business, from new designs and weave structures, to interpreting nature in different ways, to becoming more comfortable with selling my products and feeling less shy and inhibited.

My passion now in my life is weaving, but I didn’t find that from sitting around naval-gazing or doing any of this on my own. I’ve actually had a lot of individual encouragement from people who mean a lot to me (thank you all), and I’ve taken pride in a lot of what I’ve created (but not all). I’m learning lots and I feel very alive, with too many ideas to pursue in the rest of whatever the length of the lifetime I’ll be granted.

Those are my thoughts on passion …  any others out there?

Friday, 23 October 2015

20th Set of Shetland Wool Blankets

Another set of Shetland wool blankets is ready for presentation, my twentieth. Three of them are available in Ottawa (noted below); the rest are in my studio in BC. The seven blankets represent a diverse set of ideas and fit into some of my ongoing series and collections. Here they are:

SH119 | 100% wool | 173 x 130 cm (68" x 51") | Small flaw running lengthwise,
can provide photo | $225

SH120 | 100% wool | 173 cm x 128 cm (68" x 50.5") | From the
Georgian Bay collection - water, rock and some fall vegetation showing in photo | Sold

SH120 | Photo shows sky and trees (upside down) 
SH121 | 100% wool with approx. 50% handspun | 180 cm x 132 cm (71" x 52") |
$325 | Sold
SH122 | 100% wool | 173 cm x 130 cm (68" x 51") | From the Autumn Storm series | $250

SH123 | 100% wool | 190 cm x 130 cm (75" x 51") | From the Georgian Bay collection - water, rock and fall vegetation showing in photo | Sold

SH123 | Photo shows sky and trees (upside down)
SH124 | 100% wool | 183 cm x 130 cm (72" x 51") | From the Autumn Storm series

SH125 | 100% wool | 170 cm x 131 cm (67" x 51.5") | 3 shades of blue | Sold

For more information on the blankets in Ottawa, please contact Alison at The rest - please contact me at More blankets to come this fall!