Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Back on Track

This time of year is always a challenge. Old friends appear from all over the country and bring new friends with them. This year I let the swirl capture me more than I have in the past. It was a beautiful ride - singing, dancing, laughing, crying. But now I've stepped back outside the magical circle and the calendar has advanced without me.

Today is a big day of production, setting the tone for the next few months: hard work balanced with care for myself and my home, seasoned with time for friends.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New View

GeoTagged, [N37.75921, E122.42744]

I like to begin and end each day in San Francisco with some quality time under the California Pepper trees in Dolores Park. It's a beautiful, relaxing way to keep in touch with nature and the cycles of weather.

Tonight, however, it's a huge women's festival. Contrast the picture above with the picture I posted a few days ago. It's amazing to see do many beautiful women gathering to celebrate. Truly moving.

Beam Rack

GeoTagged, [N37.75940, E122.41700]

(Sorry for the closeup photo. There's no room to back up any further. This place is TINY!)

I pulled everything out of my room yesterday and built myself a storage system for beams and yarn. Now I can have 6 beams at a time in my studio, warped up and ready to go. This is necessary right now as I do production for a company that's 8 hours away. Sometimes it's a couple months (400 yards of weaving) between material swapping trips.

Today I'm building more yarn storage above my loom, moving my possessions in from their living room exile, and steeling myself to actually sort that crap once and for all.

Oh, I suppose I should set up a bed, too. Bother!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Change of Plans

My poison oak is healed! Well, it's good enough that I can use my hands for real work again, anyhow.

I have been planning to rebuild my loom room before I dig into the huge amount of weaving that's waiting for me. I can't really trash the entire house that I share with my roommate, who's working from home today.

So, after my "morning constitutional", a few hours in Dolores Park enjoying the fresh air and bright sky, I'm going to perform a miracle. Without filling the living room, I'm going to move hundreds of pounds of yarn around and make space to get around the loom. Then I'll spend the rest of the day weaving.

There are just 60 yards or so left on the cardinal red warp. I should be moving on to jasper green by Woden's Day next week, including the room rebuild that's rescheduled for tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


My fingers are still covered in poison oak blisters. This makes me unhappy because there are two things I'd rather be doing: rebuilding my loom room and weaving. Either of these activities would be too much working with my hands and I'd end up with ruptured blisters which take even longer to heal.

The last few days have allowed me to catch up on computer work. I've set up a web store, a new blog platform, and completely revamped my portable inventory and point-of-sale system. I've done my financial projections for the next few months, and begun my research on yurt design and construction. I've measured and designed the new rack I'll need to store a quantity of warped beams and yarn. Here's a quick rendering of it:


Today I'll go and price yarn storage containers and continue my yurt research. With any luck, tomorrow will be the day that I build the new rack and revamp the rest of the loom room. And after that, I've got weaving to catch up on!

Monday, June 22, 2009


Last year I made a big choice. My friends were encouraging me to start a new landscaping company, but I wanted my new business to be more portable. It's tough to go away for a few months with no income while clients' gardens languish in neglect.

Weaving, on the other hand, is much easier to relocate.

This was all a distant theory until this week. My friend, Cobb, is having a hard time finding a dependable cast for a puppet show he is scheduled to do at a big summer faire. I realized that there is really nothing keeping me from packing up my loom and moving it to Portland for a few months. I'd be able to keep up my production quota and work faires with Cobb on the weekends. I might even be able to sell there and make even more money!

Then I started thinking, "why not do it, anyhow!?" I could bring my weaving business to Portland or Wolf Creek for the Summer. It might give me the fresh perspective that I need to continue enjoying San Francisco. If I could get it together to sublet my room for a month or two, the extra income wouldn't hurt me, either...

Hmmmmm... Something to think about.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Blog Platform


Yesterday I made a big change of blog platforms. I did this for several reasons.

Last week I was away in the woods all week. My goal all along has been to make my blog posts more frequent and less verbose. I haven't managed to do this, partly because writing a blog entry has required me to set time aside at the computer. When I'm traveling, which I hope to do more often, blogging stops entirely despite the fact that it's when the coolest stuff happens.

Yesterday I had a mixed blessing: poison oak between my fingers prevented me from rearranging my loom room and gave me time for software fiddling. I set up a web store and completely revamped my blogging platform. This new platform lets me write posts on my phone from wherever I happen to be. Today it's Dolores Park in San Francisco, enjoying the sunshine on the longest day of the year.

I believe that this new software will continue to serve people who subscribed to the old platform. With any luck, you will notice no difference whatsoever. If this isn't the case, please let me know.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Selling Excitement!

I've been weaving for a few months now, and just had my first experience of selling. For the Naraya, I borrowed a truckload of handwoven garments from my weaving mentor, Annie Fischer. She and her husband run a company called Shuttle Creek in Lowell, Oregon. She is the real brains behind the beautiful weaving that you've seen me producing in the last few months. I'm still just an apprentice, especially when it comes to designing and producing things from scratch.

When I arrived at the dance, I found that my intuition was right: the Radical Faerie and Naraya communities are craving beautiful handwoven clothing. I knew I couldn't be the only one! I sold a few pieces, but more than just selling, I watched people becoming excited. They were excited about the idea of making things from scratch, excited about supporting someone who's doing that, and excited about the idea that they could do it themselves. This is exactly what I had hoped for.

Y'all have probably heard me talk about my long term vision for a monastery built on the foundation of a sustainable crafts business. I believe that this is one of the primary difficulties of the Wolf Creek Sanctuary. The people living there have no independent way of supporting themselves and end up trying to serve the community without the resources to do it well. It's my goal to show the community another model and demonstrate that it can be done. We can truly take care of the people who give of themselves for the community. I think that people are becoming ready to hear about this and to see it done.

Today, I got permission to start selling weavings from Shuttle Creek online. As time goes on, I am weaving more and more of her inventory. By the time Winter rolls around, I will have woven most of the garments that she has in stock.

Now you can help to support me by purchasing Shuttle Creek's handwoven garments from my website. Annie pays me a commission for every sale on top of my per-yard wage to weave the cloth.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Last of the Firsts

At last, I’ve finished my first beam. 150 yards of peacock blue. Whew!

Here’s a little list of firsts that I’ve survived in the last few months:
- First full-width project
- First full-size beam
- First cloth delivery
- First invoice paid
- First broken loom part
- First project-end data analysis session
- First time mounting a beam with threaded harnesses and reed

So now, I’m on to my second beam, this one cardinal red and only 75 yards.

I like this picture because it shows exactly how the loom fits into my room, which is to say barely! This view is looking in through the door from the kitchen. Notice how there are boxes strapped to the top of the loom for yarn storage and the next beam is tucked neatly underneath. Somehow I have to fit three more beams and their yarn into this room when I return from Oregon in two weeks. Ha!


What you’re looking at here is a beam taken from another loom with the harnesses and reed still attached. I was waiting for a friend to come over and help me lift it into place. I got so wrapped up in the ensuing hours of untangling that I completely forgot to take pictures. Good thing, though, because it was a 12-hour day even without stopping for photo breaks.