Weaving Wednesday – Krokbragd

140819 Krokbragd

I started weaving camp last week.  This is a short course for the month of August on a technique of my choice (although it was really with the help of my instructor Pam that the decision was made).  We decided to do a rug technique since it is something new to me.  This will be a 24″x 36″mat done in  Krokbragd, a Norwegian rug weaving techniques known for its color and design.

I don’t know what my problem was the past week but getting this project warped has been an exercise in frustration.  It’s 4 doubled epi, so it should have been quick.  Between threading mistakes and a heck of a time sleying the reed (missed all kinds of threads, did it over TWICE) it took me about 8 hours to get to the point of throwing a shuttle.  8 hours – to wind and warp – there must be something wrong with my brain that doesn’t allow projects to happen in August.

Finally, towards the end of class yesterday I began to weave.  I’m using Harrisville Shetland yard so it doesn’t work up as fast as it would with a thicker yarn but oh, is it beautiful.  I chose Shetland because of the colors that were available to me (and I had a lot of it).  I have to say I’m very excited about the possibilities in color and pattern for this.

Another woman in my class woven a runner over the summer and brought it in last week for me to photograph.  It is stunning.


She started out with a couple of muted tones and then took off with color.  It’s so much fun to look at and so exciting to think this is something I can do that isn’t terribly complicated.

I love it when I’m learning a new structure.  The drive home from class is always filled with thoughts of how to use this new-found technique.  I’m thinking of color combinations and patterns the whole way.  I can’t wait to get back into the studio with a serious block of time devoted to weaving.  Let the magic begin.



Even though the garden is nowhere near what it should be right now I have spent the majority of the day putting up what has been taken out of it.  I had a large basket of tomatoes ripen on the counter that I wanted taken care of before the fruit flies were out of control.  I picked more to ripen this morning but have a feeling piccalilli is in my future (not that I mind, I haven’t made it in a few years).

I canned what few green beans I have harvested this year.  The yellows should be coming in mid-week.  They’re a month behind – mind you I had to plant them 3 times this year due to cold weather.  You can’t always go by the calendar when it comes to gardening.

I also dug some potatoes and it would appear that this will be one of my best years ever for those.

With the spoils of the garden waiting on the counter I decided to make a five mile meal.  Shepherd’s Pie made with fresh dug potatoes, newly pulled onions, fresh corn, newly cured garlic and beef grown in Heath by our good friend Russell. Now I know Shepherd’s Pie is sometimes considered a lowly meal but is a favorite of some of my family members and making it with ingredients this fresh takes it to heights never achieved with corn coming out of a can.  It’s five miles to the corn stand, hence the name.

I also made backyard sauce and canned that as well.  Everything grown here – even the herbs.  Heaven.

There’s something about the feeling you get knowing you have grown everything you are eating.  There’s a sense of pride and a feeling of security that grows a little each year.  I can also send food home with family and friends and know they’ll eat and enjoy not only something good, healthy and local but also made with love.






140812 Back Forty Rain

Today is the kind of day weatherwise where time is spent (at least initially) regrouping.  We have been fortunate to have had a lot of rain over the course of the summer and most of it happened at night.  The gardens and even the potted plants needed little attention as far as moisture is concerned which left that much more time to pursue the heavy gardening that I wanted to get done.

Well, we are almost to the middle of August and there is sooo much more to do in the next week or so.  That is what is in the back of my mind but also this little voice is saying, regroup.  Tackle those indoor projects that can be done in less than an hour.  You know the ones – clean the refrigerator, wash a floor, scrub the stove.  No matter how much I don’t like these jobs they have to get done and no one else is going to do them – sigh.  Where are those elves when you need them?

This rainy, indoor day is also a blessing.  I need to get my things prepped and ready for the Heath Fair.  They need to be dropped off tomorrow night and there is still some finishing that needs to be done.  Three things are going in this year, weaving and a photograph.  The weaving needs to be pressed, the photograph framed (I printed it last night).  I’m not as confident in my blue ribbon prospects this year but it’s always fun to see your stuff on display.

Photographs are something I never, ever enter into anything.  I think they are so close to my heart that I don’t want to know that they aren’t as good as I think they are.  I guess I’m thin-skinned when it comes to opinions of how I see.  Be brave, take a step, just do it, what’s it really going to hurt?  So in it will go.

My weeks have suddenly filled with a weaving camp that I’m taking until the end of August.  Tuesday and Thursday mornings will be filled with rug weaving, a new skill. This is great for my brain because I’m a morning person, not so good for the other projects I wanted to get done by fall, choices will need to be made.

Now back to my lists. Maybe, just maybe that refrigerator will get cleaned out today . . . but there’s a warp on the board that is calling my name.

Hand Made


Yesterday the weather wasn’t conducive to gardening, or much of anything outdoors.  Although there was plenty to do in the house (like vacuuming) I decided to finish up the project on the loom.

This is a 72″ runner with a linen warp and wool weft.  I made it for a friend of mine who has been one of my weaving cheerleaders since the beginning.  She has an older home and her love of blue and white traditional overshot drove the project.  I told her last year that I would make her something and that’s what lead me to the linen warp.  It was an experience.

These are my favorite projects, the ones I make for particular people.  It’s a different kind of effort.  As I said before it’s really the process not the project. Once it was off of the loom, fringed and wet finished I photographed it and then folded it and got it ready for presentation.   The gifting is my favorite part.

The end of last year I was weaving some beautiful twill towels with the intention of gifting one of them to one of my biggest cheerleaders.  The intent was Christmas as he wondered how he could get on my Christmas list.  Well, as usual, life got in the way and they weren’t ready by Christmas, or by January.  His health took a turn for the worse after the holidays and in my heart I knew this was the end.  It all but stopped my progress on that project.  It came to a screeching halt actually.  He passed away in March and with that I had to change my entire mindset on those towels.  I did finish them and gifted them to my oldest daughter – they were her colors.  In weaving the last of the warp though he was constantly on my mind.

I don’t know how to explain what happened when he died honestly.  The week after his death I was a total mess, trying to find meaning in what had transpired surrounding it.  After his memorial service I was at total peace.  Not just peace with his passing, peace with everything.  It was as though the moment he died he took all of my lifetime crap with him when he left.  I just had to be quiet enough to see it.  Now I always knew we had a connection and over the past year or two he was more than ready to lend an empathetic ear but this was unexpected.  There is no other explanation, the calm with my life came when he left.  Thank you.

The loss of a dear friend, in the middle of a project like that gives urgency to finishing things when they are made directly for someone.  I really want this to go to its intended home.  Although I have never seen her table I imagine it laying there and the pleasure it will give to its recipient.

Last year, after winning a blue ribbon on an overshot throw at the Eastern States Exposition, Paul wrote on my post about it.  “Hands made this. Hands were used by a person. A person made this. It holds and conveys the sense and feel of those hands and the spirit of that person. Yes, it is beautiful.”  There are people who intrinsically understand this about things that are hand-made.  Maybe it comes from making art of your own because I know many people who don’t get it.

I will continue to weave and create beautiful things and giving many of them away.  I think a little piece of my soul goes with them most of the time and I gift to those that can see it.

Lomogram_2014-07-31_03-28-54-PMThe bonus on most weaving projects is I always warp a little longer than required so I can play at the end.  The photo above is a small table runner I made in a variation of the pattern and that one stays on my table.



Weaving Wednesday

Runner (2)

I surprised myself with the short amount of time it took to weave this runner.  I wound and warped my loom last Wednesday and took it off on Monday morning to fringe and finish.  There were a couple of rainy days but I don’t think I spent more than a few hours a day on it and not at all during the weekend.

This table runner is 18″by 72″ with a tencel warp and cotton weft with tencel tabby. This particular overshot was easy to do although I must confess I had to make two string heddles to fix a threading mistake.   That’s when weaving lessons pay off – I’ve been taught how to fix some of my mistakes without taking it apart and starting all over again.

I have one class left for the year and some of us will be doing some other fiber related craft since our weaving projects are finished. Meanwhile I’m thinking about what to put on my loom next.

Weaving Wednesday – The Huck Experiment Continues

Huck treadling

Last night this is what I did at the beginning of class.  I had to decide how to weave my third towel in the series.  What I had initially thought I was going to use for treadling was not what I ended up doing.  The pattern for lattice didn’t take into consideration that I have 2 inches of plain weave on either side of the towel so I ended up with very large weft floats with them caught on the edge with a floating selvage.  My brain just wasn’t willing to figure out a way around it (or even if I could) so I just switched to the lacy huck border.  It was only a little confusing.

After finishing the requisite 28 inches of pattern (and 3 other towels) I’m finally getting a feel for what this is doing.  I read the article about making warp and weft floats with the plain weave involved but somehow it always takes me to the end of the warp before I figure it out.  That’s the advantage of a long warp I guess.

The structure of huck is beautiful but it really can’t be appreciated until the weaving is taken off of the loom.  The release of tension allows the cloth to pucker in the most wonderful geometric ways.  One more towel to weave next week then they will be hemmed and washed.  That’s when their beauty will really shine.

Huck Lacy Borders

Weaving Wednesday – April Fools

140401 April Fools (1)

Last night’s weaving class was one disaster after another it seemed.

My towels were tracking funny in the loom, the more I wove the worse it got until the weft had taken on a decidedly diagonal line.  I asked Pam if I should take off the toweling and tie the warp back on but we started out trying to see if we could just start over again and make it straight.  We checked all of the mechanics of the loom, tightened every screw, nut and bolt.   A few picks into it the problem was still there and it became obvious that the tension was more loose on one side than the other.  I had to unravel a good amount of weaving to save the warp length.  Wasn’t as bad as it sounds, once I got going it was almost relaxing.

140401 April Fools (2)

As I’m unravelling my mess, Jan, to my left is having the exact same problem.  It was hard to believe that both of us, doing completely different projects had the same thing going on.  It was true.  After tightening up her loom and measuring and remeasuring to see if it could be anything else she had to unravel her project as well.

As we were rebeaming my warp we found a problem with the brakes on the loom that might have been a factor in my whole fiasco so we had to pay attention to that before I continued.  All in all a rather stressful night for Pam.

While we were talking about warp tension she told me I should post a few photos of another project that has turned into what I would consider a nightmare.  A class member decided she wanted to weave yardage for a jacket out of chenille.  The pattern is lovely and they thought they had beamed her warp perfectly until she began weaving.

140401 April Fools (6)

In the process, while moving the warp forward, all hell has broken loose with her warp. This may be the nature of chenille since none of us has ever woven anything wider than 10 inches.

140401 April Fools (3)

The only way to salvage this was to use lease sticks in the warp while weaving.  This holds the tension evenly (although I couldn’t tell you how at the moment).

140401 April Fools (4)

Every time the lease sticks get to the heddles everything behind it has to be untangled as the sticks are pulled back.

140401 April Fools (5)

I’ll be honest with you – this might just be the project I would walk away from.  Or it might have turned into yardage for a vest instead of a jacket.

All in all last night was the first night I might have thought for a second we were the biggest April fools of all.

Weaving Wednesday – Huck Lace

140325 Huck (1)

This week in weaving class I continued to work on my huck towels.  I finished the requisite 33″ on the first draft discussed last week – not without an issue that was causing me no small amount of aggravation.  Occasionally my shed would not open properly and I would miss threads on a pick.  Ugh.  The worst part was when I didn’t notice it until I had woven and inch more.  Un- weaving is not something I enjoy I have to say.  I want it perfect the first time.

I had a lot of trouble getting into the groove of things with the last pattern.  I never really did and had difficulty seeing where I was in the draft as I wove.  If I lost count or my place I couldn’t figure out where I was.  This happens normally in the beginning of the project but not usually to the end.  I was very happy to see that towel finished.

This pattern is huck squares and it’s very obvious where you are at any moment in the weave.  Whew!  The shed problem seemed to correct itself and I was really moving along with this one.  I’m pleased with how even the weaving is and my edges look good so this is turning into a pretty exciting adventure.  It’s not so complicated that I can’t get into my zen mode yet looks amazing when it’s woven.  Just look at this structure, wow.

140325 Huck (2)Once the tension is taken off of the weaving the towels will pucker – each in their own way.  So it’s another project that amazes me while I’m weaving it and will thrill me once again when I take it off of the loom.  What more can you ask of any craft?

Weaving Wednesday – Huck Warp

140304 HuckWow, what seems like months was finally finished last night.  Between illness, snowstorms and other cancellations I haven’t been able to work on this at all.  Finished the warp last night and am proud to say only one little threading mistake.  I fixed that and will be throwing a shuttle next week, finally.

Tonight I’ll be reading up on what exactly I’m doing, try to understand the structure.  Hopefully that will free me up to just enjoy the weaving next week.


Weaving Wednesday – Huck Warp

140211 Huck warpThe newest project in class for me is Huck lace.  I was threading the warp last night with 10/2 mercerized cotton.  The pattern is simple although a little time-consuming with so many ends, there are 552 in the warp.  Fortunately it’s easy to stop and pick it up from week to week.  I left class last night with about 50 or so ends left to thread, I stopped there because there weren’t enough heddles on shafts 1 and 2.  I just wasn’t going there once I figured out there weren’t enough to finish threading.

Adding heddles isn’t difficult to do.  I should have counted first and had everything set before I started threading them.  Once you’re in a rhythm in threading you just want to keep going until it’s done.  This is what I love about weaving, there are defined steps that are taken in sequence for the set up to be right.  There are little nuances that make it better or worse and knowing your particular piece of equipment helps.  It’s a long process learning this craft – there is so much information, so many ways to screw up.

Each project I do, whether on my own or in class affords me the opportunity to learn something new (sometimes many things).  I think this is why I love weaving so much.  Other crafts afford challenges but most of the challenges for me have to do with perfection and not actually the mechanics of the craft itself.  With weaving the perfection enters a little but it is really the mechanics that I love.  There are so many things that can go wrong – or right.  When it all comes together I really feel as though I’ve conquered something.

Having an instructor like Pam feeds right into this for me – each project is about a different structure in the weave.  I could see myself doing overshot or twill for the rest of my life because they are comfortable and there are a million ways to change the project within one of those structures.  The classes push me outside of my comfort zone.  It also allows me to do finer work which is a challenge in and of itself.

At the moment I have three looms with wildly different projects on them. Depending on where I am I work on what’s available.  That can be a challenge in itself, but a most welcome one.