All posts by ADR

Yarn Storage

…is always a monster with which to deal.  The more you weave, the more yarn you need, or at least seam to accumulate!  Yesterday we got up a stairway to the storage area located above our weaving shop.  It was a long and hard day to get the landing built and stairs put up.  But this will make access to our yarn stored above the shop much easier!


Weaving Shop Update

Building a weaving shop inside a shed provides storage above the shop.  Over 1″ lumber I applied rolled roofing and sealed the seams.  Wool and cotton are already stored there, but will be more easily accessed with stairs.  And a laminated maple top rescued while on its way to the dump and restored is now a workbench that will serve as a place for planing and finer loom-related projects…

Cotton Yarn Storage

These bins will hold 10, 4# cones of 8/4 spun cotton yarn…or 40#’s.  They measure 29 x 20 x 15 inches and hold 102 litres.  They cost $12/ea.

This is the pattern of how we stack the cones inside the bins.


We could use mothballs.  It is toxic to both insects…and humans.  But cotton is not susceptible to attack by moths.  There may be other reasons to use it such as its repellence to mice.  Mothballs need to be used in air tight containers and containers need to be stored in a location outside of human occupation.  We will keep an eye on our containers and see if we need to use them, although we doubt it.


I’m unloading the back of my truck today directly into these bins and then these will be hauled to the back of our shed and await placement in our weaving shop once it’s completed.

4,400 Miles For Cotton Yarn (…And A Dog)

It started two months ago and about a dog.  A three year old yellow lab had been bounced between homes.  I have trained labrador retrievers to hunt test standards since 1992 – junior, senior, and master levels.  My teacher, knowing that my current retriever is 12 years old asked if I wanted to take this one?  Now a professional field trailer he thought that my manner would bring the best out of him.  I said, Sure.  After that I started phoning cotton mills in the Carolinas.  One of them had what I was looking for, 4/8 / 8/4 warping fibre.  And what a surprise at its cost.  In the end I bought four cartons, amounting to ~700#.  In Canada this would cost me $7,350; in the US at the mill it cost me $1,500.  Even with the monetary conversion ($2,000), GST, and diesel fuel for my pickup ($400), it was less than 1/4th the price as here, by the time I would have added GST and shipping in Canada!  (And my first $800 was non-taxable since I had been out of the country for 12 days.)


I drove through the Dakotas, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, and the Carolinas.  The Great Smokey Mountains were shrouded in mist and mystery.  I stayed in friends’ homes all along my route and meandered…they are each tremendous people.


These were great people with whom to deal.  The yarn is on 4# cones and is great quality.  As I write my wife is on the way home with 16 large bins in which we will store this treasure.  And from it we will weave 400 – 500 blankets, much of which is for free distribution to homeless and those who have less access to the necessities of life.  It filled the back of my truck.

And I also came home with a free, handsome, homeless dog that shows tremendous tractability and field potential, and has already become tremendously loyal to me.  Of what more could I ask.  I feel truly blessed.


Flying Shuttle

A friend learned of my wanting to build a flying shuttle on our Leclerc Nilart weaving loom and gave us a flying shuttle that she had…




This is the shuttle after a light sanding with fine sandpaper and then a coat of boiled linseed oil…we do not know its manufacturer…


…we are very thankful!

Charkha Means Wheel

Gandhi with book charkhaTake to spinning to find peace of mind. The music of the wheel will be as balm to our soul. I believe that the yarn we spin is capable of mending the broken warp and woof of our life. The charkha (spinning wheel) is the symbol for nonviolence on which all life, if it is to be real life, must be based.

 Mahatma Gandhi
Harijan, April 27, 1947, p. 122


Charkha is India’s generic term for any spinning wheel or hand-cranked spinning machine.  Gandhi designed and perfected the box Charkha.  He promoted spinning and weaving as a way of self-reliance and self-government.  He called it the Khadi movement.


boreal weaver

There are many places to buy a box charkha and many sites that show How to Spin Cotton on Mahatma Gandhi’s Spinning Wheel.

Fashioning Fabric: The Arts of Spinning and Weaving In Early Canada

In 2007 Adrienne Hood published her book, Fashioning Fabric: The Arts of Spinning and Weaving In Early Canada.  Ninety-nine pages long, it gives a general overview of weaving from the the arrival of Europeans through the initial establishment of factories.  It includes a list of functioning, period-farms across Canada today in the back.  A nice bedtime read with lots of photos, it’s a nice addition to my library, and at $.97 plush shipping I can’t complain!