First - you might have noticed this newsletter looks a little different. That’s because I’ve switched to Substack from Mailchimp. I think it’s going to offer just a little more flexibility for me in some ways and is a little less “buy my stuff” and more “chat with me about craft” — or so I hope. I’m sorry if this switch means you’ve received a few extra emails, I always worry people are going to feel cranky about that. The good news is that with Substack you can leave all manner of comments at the bottom of this post, so please chat with me and other readers (but still also buy my weaving/patterns too, if you’d like, please).
Now that we’ve got that over with, here are a few studio updates…
After a brief break for January*, my series of how-to articles with Gist Yarn is continuing in February with an article on how to hem your hand wovens — either by hand or machine. It includes my TOP TIP for machine hemming, which is using a walking foot! This ‘invention’ was a revelation to me and made hemming marginally more enjoyable (not my fav task). You’ll be able to read it on their weaving resources page when it’s published.
*in January I was busy helping Gist reformat their free weaving pattern archive! They’ve got a whole new visual identity, and I worked closely with their Creative Director to transfer 30+ projects over to the new format. The patterns are now extra clean and easy to understand - if you use a screen reader, you’ll be happy to know they’re also accessible. You can get a .wif file now too! It was a big job and I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity to work with them.
I recently supported my first Patreon account, that of Swedish handweaver Miriam Parkman. For the last few years I’ve been enjoying her work with Studio Supersju, her book with Arianna Funk Att Väva (coming in English in August 2021!!), and following her work on Instagram.
Miriam’s recently joined Patreon and is posting all sorts of interesting process work, rya and tapestry samples, and other very inspiring things that I think other weavers will really enjoy. It’s only $4 (CAD) a month to support her, which is what I figure a fancy cup of coffee costs (right? I don’t drink coffee but I imagine…), and this is an easy and small way I can support a colleague, since I won’t be able to afford her amazing rya Sage any time soon (it is worth clicking on that link, trust me).
I thought you might be interested in supporting her too! Take a look at Miriam’s Patreon page by clicking here.
I love weaving (I mean, it is my job, but I’ve certainly had far worse jobs) but what I truly deeply love without any reservation is reading. I read a lot and annually compile a book list that I share with friends - a sort of annotated bibliography/best of/read this/don’t read this. This year my top non-fiction book was Eula Biss’s On Immunity. An Inoculation - it was so good that I read it a second time, months later.
I mention it here because as vaccines for COVID-19 have appeared, I have been hearing, seeing, and reading more about the complex conversations people are having about vaccination. This thoughtful, well researched, and very human book is from 2014 but could easily have been written for today’s pandemic. For me, at least, it answered questions I didn’t even know I had about vaccines, and unpacked some of the powerlessness, fear, and anxiety that comes along with disease in a very wonderful, non-judgemental and curious tone. I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know - now you know too. (read a review here)
There are a few patterns coming down the pipes in 2021 - I know it’s nuts to still talk about Christmas, but yarn people like holidays, so I’m waiting longer than expected to get some materials.
In the meantime, I’ve been spending the beginning of this new year making lots of small samples, trying out structures or yarns that have been at the back of my mind. I love sampling, and I’ve decided to make more space for it this year — I try to leave Sundays for doing not-work creative making, and while sampling is technically work… WHY NOT.
To that end, I’ve been considering making a fun club for weavers. Substack has a paid subscription option, and I was thinking for a teeny fee (like… $3 a month. Canadian!) I would publish a members-only post containing a picture of a recent sample and a draft — just the basic material information and sett and the like. The Sunday Sample would come every few weeks and be a little dose of weaving inspiration in your inbox. I have more ideas than I have time or space to make into patterns — why not share some of my process with you and maybe inspire your own sampling practice? I also am challenging myself to work with non-me colours this year, I think I’ve been stuck in a rut. So expect some weird stuff (maybe).
Interested? Let me know what you think and if it would be something you’d been keen on joining by replying to this newsletter or leaving a comment below.
My friend Megan at Live Textiles is starting an artist in residence program for weavers!! While it won’t be accepting residents until 2022, the plans for building an off-grid loom shed and AiR in Katalisksipu, Ktaqmkuk or Codroy Valley, Newfoundland are in the works. Megan will be launching a fundraiser to help fund the studio build in February 2021, so I wanted to share this with my subscribers too - I’m sure some of you will be interested in attending, but some may be able to help in other ways too. Read a little more about this exciting project here, and subscribe to Megan’s newsletter to find out more about the fundraiser.
And lastly, because this newsletter is getting way too long, I’m looking forward to virtually attending the Crafts Magazine talk Soft Power - How Textiles Can Talk Back on Wednesday February 3rd at 13:00 EST. This talk will “explore fibre art’s relationship with politics and activism, and the makers and artists – both historical and contemporary – who use it to call for social change” and will be a discussion featuring a number of artists, like Anya Paintsil, whose work is on the cover of the latest issue.
I hope you are well and taking care of yourself. As always, please reach out if you have questions about my patterns, anything I mention in the newsletter, or if you’d like to work together!