January 2023 Round-Up: Not Much School

The kids were supposed to go back to school on January 3rd. But between heating fluid leaks at the school, extreme cold closures, and professional development day, the elementary school has been open a grand total of 11.5 days this month. Subtract another couple of days for illness, and the fact that I don’t make the kids wait for the bus when it’s below -35 and our car isn’t running, and they went to school more like 9 days. And don’t let me get into the car, or Jared’s traveling. I had a couple of pretty Karen moments, I have to admit.

It’s just been very… January.

And that’s not to throw shade on the beginning of the year. I really got all of my fresh-start new-year joy in December, so that was mostly spent by the time January started. I do like a lot of things about this time of year. To an extent, I like being stuck indoors, with lots of time to make. I like the wee bit of permissiveness that comes with the cold, treating ourselves to nice things since it’s dark and cold, rejoicing in our coping mechanisms a bit.

The hard part comes when I get so busy avoiding the loneliness that I forget how to connect with my kids. Or when we all spend so much time on screens that the kids are demons at the end of the day. Or when my fuse is just really short, because with my self-control at a low ebb, the kids’ self-control is even lower.

But that’s January. And we’ve had lots of beautiful things to carry us through the month as well.


A beautiful surprise has been the weaving I’ve gotten done this month!

I already shared about the faux-ikat weaving I finished, and the finger-manipulated weave sampler. They’re still in a pile, untrimmed, on my dresser. But the plain sock yarn arrived to weave more fabric to make a garment, so I am hopeful that will happen in the not-too-distant future.

I love this cloth.

My next endeavor is a bit of a thing. It’s been a dream since I started weaving to get a third heddle for my Glimakra Susanna and do some four-shaft twill patterns. I don’t even remember now what pushed me over the edge to order it. Maybe Woolery had a sale? Anyway, I had it sent to my mom, and she kindly mailed it up to me.

In order to use three heddles, I needed extra uprights, to be able to separately put each heddle in the neutral, up, or down position. I used my existing uprights to produce these, which sort of match the originals. It took me a few hours (and a rather sore back), but I eventually threaded my three heddles in a 1-2-3-4 twill pattern.

Now I have to get my engineering hat on. It isn’t enough that the heddles all have up, down, and neutral positions they can sit in. Those positions have to be at the right position relative to the neutral threads such that when their hole threads pass through the front heddles, they make a shed. That does not appear to be happening right now. I think we’ll get there, but it’ll take some braining, which I haven’t had the capacity for in the last day or two.

Because my braining is being used up by something even more delightful…


I’ve been dyeing. This has been the thing to bring so much colour and joy to my January! I’ve been writing up my experiences, filming a bit, and generally keeping notes. But I probably won’t release most of that until the summer. I’ll share this much with you, that I’ve been experimenting to produce a “crayon box” of 48 mixed colours I can experiment with, and I’m working through the handpainting exercises in Deb Menz’s Color in Spinning chapter 3.

And here’s a sneaky peek to share the joyful colours that have been bringing lots of happiness to the house!


The spinning has been toodling forward. I’m in between filming Wool Circle episodes, so I’m working away at my superfine merino. I’m very pleased to report that I’m about 3/4 of the way through my singles.

I also got a diz for the first time, so I’ve been messing about with it.

We released another bonus episode of the Wool Circle this month, for your viewing pleasure! If you enjoy colour, and watching people colour and paint, you will probably find this to be a very soothing half-hour for you.

And just today, a new episode of Wool n’ Spinning Radio came out, in which Rachel and I chat with her mom about all kinds of interesting artsy stuff. You can find Wool n’ Spinning Radio wherever you get your podcasts. Rachel has also been uploading older episodes of Wool n’ Spinning Radio publicly, so if you enjoy that sort of thing, look her up. You probably wouldn’t want to listen to every episode, but there are some really fun interviews and chit-chats on there. We’ll keep producing them once a month.


Just today (so technically in February) I cast off my qiviut blend socks.

The yarn came out so fine, you guys. I kept knitting them and saying, I can’t believe I spun this yarn. It’s a 4-ply cabled yarn, and it’s so fine that I was knitting it on US 0s (2mm), 72 stitches to the round. They were pretty boring, after all those colourful socks, but I leaned into them. This is a once-in-a-lifetime sock yarn. And I had the dyeing for when I needed colour!

I’ll do a post gathering all my eleven pairs of socks together, because now the wear-testing begins! No more talk of colour, it’ll be all about the structure and durability from here on out!

The one more nice thing that happened? My friend found a treasure trove of expired espresso beans that the store had gotten rid of. And I taught myself how to make a latte using two french presses.

I hope your January wasn’t too January, and that your February is looking bright. At the very least, February is on the shorter side. Happy making. Winter isn’t forever!

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