Monday, June 1, 2015

A blog with 3 chapters


  Table of contents
Chapter one-This and That,
Chapter two-Small Format tapestry
Chapter three- Getting from A to B

  But,first an announcement of an up coming class! I will be teaching  I am going to do more teaching in my studio and having others teach master workshops in my studio. So I am letting everyone know that I will be teaching Tapestry, Soumack and Friends in my studio on August 29—31, 2015 and for anyone who wishes to extend the class for 5 days for further study of Soumack and friends. Cost is 275 for 3 days or 400.00 for the full 5 days. Please contact me at if you are interested.

front of loom
Chapter one--The end of a fairly long project is in sight! I
back of loom
wanted to see how close I could weave to the top heddles and how much of a circular warp I could use on my Mirrix loom. I
will be cutting off 6 new pieces by the end of the week or not. Seems like I won't quite finish before I leave the first of June.

BUT, they will be by July 1 ending a 2.5 year period of work.
I am having an exhibit of 8 of my new pieces that have never been shown  at the ETC or the Eugene Textile center in Eugene, Oregon.  Minus one piece-Metamorphic transmutation 7x7x7+infinity.

Metamorphic transmutation 7x7x7+infinity
But,  Before that I will be in the South and South west I am traveling down to visit with friends in Arizona, New Mexico and other places. Finally ending up in Natchitoches, Louisiana for the opening of the 8th ATA Small Format Exhibit-Honoring Tradition , Inspiring innovation for which I won the Tietalbaum award.
Minus one piece-Metamorphic transmutation 7x7x7+infinity that will be at the 4

  The first venue of the exhibit  will be at is Orville Hanchey Gallery, NSU, Natchitoches, LA. Starting June 8th. The opening is June 11th. My husband and I have decided to attend so I’ll be driving cross country-Almost 3,000 miles and visiting friends and galleries along the way.


Thus ending  a 1 year hiatus of exhibiting my work.
The reasons I choose -several-- I needed a break from deadlines and break away from the exhibiting mentality. My break started from a question that Yael Lurie asked me. Why was I still entering shows? I couldn’t thing of a reason other then because they are there. Definitely not a good reason
with the time and expense of entering shows. It was never about they jurying aspect or whether I got in. I inherited a gambling gene and entering shows feeds that.

I  did enter the ATA show, but only because small format tapestry is close to my heart and I’ll always support it by entering good well thought out exhibits with catalogues.
 In the process I realized what I really want to do is tell stories in my own ways… SO I am… Which leaves me with 8 pieces to finish before the first of July. They will all have the same birthdate. Teaching and writing will always be a given in the process of telling stories with my weaving.
Another clarifying event or reason - I help put together 2 Tapestry Topic issues On small Format Tapestry- One has been published and the other will come out this fall. Not that it took so much of my time, but it started me to really thinking about issues and what I want to do.  I realized that I was being consumed by the need to enter and not so much by the weaving and designing. I realized I was feeling burnt out. So I took a break. Made a bunch of life changes. Did a lot of journaling-lost over 100 lbs.(no, I am not sick.) and now I am only doing those things that I want to do, when I want to do them,  for why I want to do them, knowing when to let things go, letting go and new goals-see chapter 3, if your interested.

Chapter 2-What is small format/ small scale tapestry?

The term format deals with size and shape-- plain and simple. Sometime in the near past a French tapestry designer by the name of Lurçat(of course we shouldn't forget about Wm. Morris's and the British weavers in all of this.) decided rather arbitrarily that tapestry wasn't tapestry and could not be defined as tapestry UNLESS it was larger than a square meter, at least 10 epi, wool, architectonic and muralistic and Eurocentric. Making void thousands of years tapestry history and tradition in the name of fine art and revitalizing the tapestry industry-perhaps-or not-and very related to William Morris earlier try and perhaps the Bauhaus...etc., etc. etc. and of course US weavers followed suite for all of the usual reasons...

In the US until not too long ago- the 90's.-his definition and opinion of tapestry defined who and what tapestry was in the US.

When I first began to weave small format tapestry small format weavers weren't allowed to exhibit in tapestry shows/exhibits because of the way tapestry was being defined. One
not tapestry less then a square meter?
example of many, In 1991 at the Fine Line Conference it was also decided by some very prominent tapestry weavers- Marc Adams included- and teachers, etc. that tapestry had to be no less then 10epi, wool, over 36 by 36 inches in size, only four sides and that things                       that were shaped such as Dragon robes couldn't be tapestry.(for more  info-check out the last issue and the issue to come on  small format tapestry.) "They", also,  decided Navajo and SW weavers were also not doing tapestry because the items that were produced were utilitarian rather then "fine tapestry art".  "They", also ruled out Middle Eastern weaving, Coptic and most traditional
Coptic smaller then a square meter-not a tapestry?
Scandinavian tapestry as not tapestry, because they were utilitarian and or too small. These ideas began to change in the mid 90’s and with the rise of good small format looms, the internet, exhibits for small format and the erasure of size requirements attitudes are changing and Small format weaving is becoming a growth industry and much more acceptable in the tapestry world. Organizations such as ATA and others have removed size restrictions from exhibits and held to the definition that tapestry is a weft faced unbalanced plain weave with the possibility of a discontinuous warp.

Not  tapestry-woven in silk not

Since then, and amid great controversy, Small format tapestry has come to be defined in two ways-well actually 3 ways-15 by 15 inches,  under  10 inches by 10 inches/100 square inches. There is also a sub category where the pieces can be no larger than 5 by 5 inches.

My personal druthers is that there should not be size limitations on any tapestry exhibit. Even though I am grateful that there are exhibits that have size limitations just so we can exhibit which are helping do away with the built in systemic prejudices against small format tapestry.

There is a but- Mary Diederich a well know small format/small scale tapestry weaver in the 90’s once said that by doing this we need to be careful that we don't create a barrio or ghetto that would then limit where small format tapestry could be shown at the exclusion of large format tapestry- Again creating a rift between the acceptable and not acceptable tapestries .

Small format weavers were often told in the very near past they were weaving samplers or in one case dish clothes-and in a polite way mixed media or fiber art.

(Slight aside-- I often wondered if instead of being a size issue if it wasn't really originally a
Marc Adams
gender issue. I was often told that small format tapestry and it's designers were to feminine-granted many of my designs included flowers- also perhaps to feminine and one had too look past that feminine quality to find meaning. On the other hand there's whole traditions of males painting flowers in Europe. And, of course Marc Adams designed many florals, So, maybe the issue is still just size with just a hint of gender issues.) 

Okay that said.

The other thing that really needs to be said is that there  is a difference between scale and format.

Format only defines the physical nature of the tapestry. Example the edges of the tapestry are  or maybe 5 inches x 5inches or 5 foot x 5 foot. Format defines the size  and shape of a given piece.

Scale/scale   is determined by warp size and weft size, number of picks or passes in an inch. Example-- I weave at 20-22 epi. Epi or sett is determined by the size of the warp and how far apart or how close the warps are together on the loom. Mostly 38-40 passes per inch(a pass is an over and a back) Picks or passes are determine by how large the weft bundle is. So one of my tapestries “And he…” is 28 inches by 20 inches  at 22 epi. Should be considered to be large format, but small scale.

A piece woven at 22 epi but 15 inches by 15 inches or less would be small format even if woven at 8 wpi  and maybe 10-12 passes per inch, but would be large scale and small format.


   Same cartoon woven in two different formats and scale. Difference one is twice the size or half the size of the other. Only real change is one is upside down with a shell removed and a nautilus added.

Okay that said-why is it important to know this?

"And He who tells a bigger tale will have to tell a lie"
The biggest complaint I hear all of the time about small format tapestry is one can't get enough detail in small format work, which is probably true, if you are trying to weave a small format design at a large warp sett or scale.
Detail "And He..." 22 epi.
"And He..." 10 epi

My biggest complaint is that often I weave small scale at too large of a format-more detail and way more time then I need to expend on a given piece. Good example was my piece –(not that I don’t love the piece) “and he…” at 165 days of weaving time. Instead of 40 to 60 hours of weaving on an average sized small format/small scale  piece-8 times bigger then my average piece. It was a large format designed to be 4 feet by 6 feet that I shrunk by about half so that I could weave it in a small format/small scale size. Consequently,  it did help me make a life decision. I sold both looms-my 6.5 Shannock and my  Mirrix Zeus so that I would never be tempted to do that again! Life lesson learned- I am a small format/small scale  weaver, always!

Small format project-a place to
 grow ferns for weaving
  So, I have a couple of things that should be considered when designing a tapestry or if you would a “modest proposal”(J. Swift) for designing and weaving tapestry-if you would.

1. Free your creativity-approach each design with an open mind. Just because you were taught to weave at a certain size,  specific materials, or tradition, or warp sett, weft bundle size doesn't mean you have to weave tapestry with the materials you were taught to use.

2. Design your tapestry- first-THEN DECIDE on the size you wish the final tapestry to be and how

Coptic woven slippers and a belt!
you want to use the finished tapestry or the function of the finished tapestry. It is easy to take a design to a lazerquck or UPS or copy shop or use your computer programs to create a size you want a design to be and have it blown up to the size you wish it to be.

Choices--Wool, embroidery floss, silk rayon,
 cotton seine twine, Dual duty craft thread

3. Decide-The hand of the fabric-how drape-able, stiff, fabric-like,

Caladium Lakes that was eventually
woven at five feet 38 inches, but here is a 12 inches by 16
4. Look at the design and decide how much detail you want in a square inch. Detail is a question of how many passes and how many warps in a given inch. Consider how much detail is in the design. Then decide on warp sett, warp and weft materials and format taking
into consideration what you want the end product to be. Not every design should be woven or size determined by warp sett.

fewer wefts-white shape is halfed  in size
 and the amount of weft in each shape. 
5. Learn to scale your materials to what you want in the design. IF you want more detail in the weft passes in a given space. Use fewer strands in your weft bundle. This allows you to do more passes in a given space. On the other hand if you plan ahead you can double up the warps and work the warps in groups for larger scale within a given area. (use

On left 5 strands of Avl to begin each section
 is one less thread in the weft bundle.
 On right paternayan 4 strands with descending
 number of threads in weft bundle.
soumack on the fell line so you don’t end up with lice where the
shed goes greater or smaller) You can eve use a supplemental warp that floats on the back until you want to increase the warp sett for more detail and them float it on the back again when not needed.
sampling using 5 and 10 epi-doubled
warps. The eye uses  both doubled warps at
10 epi and lines are done and hatches with only one thread in weft bundle.

5. This is also the time to think about what could limit the size you want to weave-One’s body, ones loom(s), eyesight and Time limitations. If you try to weave a small scale/ large format piece it could take a very long time as I discovered in one large format small scale piece.

6. Now make a decision based on your answers!  Have fun with it! For me it takes just as much time to weave the same piece at any format. 10 epi or 22 epi is the same technique, same skills. The format is just different. 10 epi will be twice the size as one woven at 20-22 epi. Scale is the determining factor at a given format as too how long it takes.

Chapter 3 Getting from A to B

I am tired of the grind of trying to keep up with internet things. I am finally realizing how much that time/energy involved does away with what I truly want to do-Tapestry, writing about tapestry and even teaching tapestry. To be happy I need to weave 4- 6 hours a day for 6 hours a week, but will settle for 5. (just trying not to be excessive-LOL!) .
How much time I can afford away from the loom and still be happy!

I am so tired of trying to learn new things. Things that change faster than I can keep up. At what point does one say stop and get off and stay put. New computer programs drive me up the wall let alone creating new webpages, business forms, and etc. Seems to zap my energy. But, I am still maintaining my 4-6 hours of weaving a day.

SO I have been re-evaluating how I spend my time and energy. I am really excited about the blogs I am planning on doing . I have a 40 page lexicon of tapestry terms that I have compiled over the last almost 40 years which will be the first document in the Tapestry compendium blog.

But-This blog is about wants and moving on. I am going to do more teaching in my studio and having others teach master workshops in my studio. So I am letting everyone know that I will be teaching Soumack and Friends in my studio on August 29—31, 2015 and for anyone who wishes to extend the class for 5 days for further study of Soumack and friends. Cost is 275 for 3 days or 400.00 for the full 5 days.

Pitcher blants about to bloom!
I am redoing my blog(s)There will now be two perhaps 3. One being the creation of something called a Tapestry Compendium(and more). This blog will morph into one that will still be about teaching answering questions and making tapestry information and lists available to everyone. Hopefully, but not promised it will or portions of it will morph into a tapestry zine about technical stuff, bibliographies list of blogs, suppliers book reports or reviews of tapestry books. . I want to create a more interactive blog where people can ask questions about tapestry and get answers to problems-- A place where technical articles-old and new- can be placed and available and easily obtained by all.

Earth stars or fossilized nautilus.
Relic from my Gramma's beliefs.
There will also be pages of tapestry tools and their uses and looms as I and others gather info-eventually-I am hoping for this to contain tapestry loom manuals. I have had some generous contributors over the years. Many of the terms have come from places long forgotten. Another page will be a list of blogs that I have gathered through Tapestry 2005 which actually began in 1996. This will be an extension of a blog list attached to the list that yahoo will not allow me to update-SO, I'll find a way to make an updatable blog list available to all connected to My Tapestry2005 yahoo group list. My hope is that others will contribute and it will become more and more over time.

This blog here at this address- This blog will be about what I am doing in tapestry. The third blog when the new webpages are finished will be attached to my former business that will be morphing in to a business called Between & Etc. Fine Fiber Press will still be part of this new business.  It is just taking time to put all together mainly-because I have been stymied and passively refusing to learn new programs. True luddite that I am-instead of learning new programs-I am going to use what I know how to do and just start.

And if you've read this far- Here's kinda cool trick that I use. I started doing this when some my older students kept pulling the knotted threads used to sew cartoons and stabilize slits would pull through
and snag the weft on the way out. The thread is doubled through the holes of the button.

Enuff of this for now!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Circling Around

As usual when we work on the outside of the house its decided to rain. But, the colours are right! The house is a light turquoise the studio darker both with plum coloured trim and and beautiful blue doors for luck. The metal gatesDSCN5387 will each be a different colour.
I have so much to do this week. I have a student coming to stay a week in the studio for tapestry lessons-exciting one of my favourite things to do.
I am working on a new piece about my two radically different Grandmothers. I am also trying to get together a book called--- of course--
 Soumack and friends.
When my student  leaves. I leave the next day to teach in Prescott Arizona at Mountains spinners and Weavers guild. I understand there are still a few spots open.  Then I’ll spend several days weaving with DSCN5378friends in Santa Fe and move on to the next weekend teaching at Village Wools in Albuquerque, N. M. I am teaching a class called Soumack and Tapestry Friends.  Yes it does deal with using Soumack architecturally to control angles and curves and circles-well any geometric shape.It’s one of my favourite classes to teach-I think because it has so much to do with drawing in tapestry. I love making lines go any direction I want, the architectural nature of soumack and friends,  and of course, rya and related techniques.
DSCN0214I have been asked several times if I will ever teach an on-line class on these techniques. My answer is no. I don’t enjoy teaching on line and there are others such as Rebecca Metzoff that enjoy it and do it well. I doubt she will offer this specific class, but I am sure she has many fine classes. I just prefer to do it in workshops, one on one, and face to face. So if you want to take this class from me you’ll need to travel to a workshop or my studio. I am offering this class on Valentines day in my studio in Albany, OR. Private students can even stay in my home while they study at the studio. 
Okay- here’s my promise kept on writing about circles and stuff. . One caveat there is much more information in Tapestry 101. Much more about trouble shooting circles and more about technique.
First a couple of Caveats-There are two things I tell my students constantly.
One- there are no tapestry police.
If you do something oddly or differently no one is going to take your loom away and tell say you can’t weave tapestry. There are a hundred different ways to do most things and none is right or  wrong if it gets the job done and you like the end results. BUT,
Secondly don’t dumb down and make design decisions because you think you can’t do something.
If you want to simplify a design  or misshape something, do it because you choose too. Not because you have to!  Figure it out and weave what you like. Look up techniques, ask questions, but don’t say-o, well, it’s just the nature of tapestry. It’s not! Tapestry is about fooling the eye. Tapestry is all about how  to weave DSCN5374your design and make it look like what you want. If you want round circles without stair steps it can be done.
don’t make or justify decisions by saying it’s kelimesque or that your copying another cultures design sensibilities to make up for mistakes in the design and weaving-especially when it comes to circles that culture very seldom if ever uses. Very view kelims have circles-ever.   Own up and fix it and then choose to it the way you want to make it look!
That said, I want to write about circles, curves and angles without teeth or stair steps.
1. Know the geometry of the shape or curve  or angle you wish to weave. If you need to draw the shape out on graph paper. Do it! It’s not cheating!  Because you are afterimg068 all weaving on a grid. Once you reduce a geometric shape to a drawing on graph paper you become aware of how it works if you weave straight passes. You’ll see the stair steps and the sizes they need to be.
Lets use a circle as an example. Use a template to draw aimg069 circle on a piece of graph paper. You’ll see that the sides raise with a variety of different sized stair steps and pass widths.
Quarter the circle . You’ll have 4 pieces of a pie. What you’ll find is each of those pieces equals the other the other 3 pieces of the pie.  AND, will be almost identical in the way they ascend  or descend in stair steps.      You also should note that because your working on a grid that there are 4 areas that will  be basically flat-top,  bottom and DSCN5377the two sides. if you look carefully they each equal about a third of the width AND/OR length of the circle.      
 Then, look again, the next step over will be about one/ sixth of the flat area. The steps become smaller as you move over and up.  At about one half the the climb of the first quarter of the pie you start to duplicate in reverse the sizes of the stair steps of  the climb until you are matching in the rise the size of the beginning stair steps. The last stair step before the side flat area on each side is 1/3 of the the bottom and side flat areas. The two bottom sides of the circle are identical.
Each of the 4 pieces of the pie will be woven in the same way with the simg071ame number of stair steps and overs. The possible exception  that one passes dimg074oes not always equal another pass in a turn. IF you turn on a hollow thread it will take more passes to equal those then turns on a full thread.(Hollow or Valley thread and full and hill are often used interchangeably when describing this Phenomena)
The top half of the circle is usually woven about 5 percent higher so that as the circle is beaten on and over it doesn’t squish the circle into an oval. In a perfect world a circle would always have an uneven number of warps. But the world isn’t perfect so just remember it might take an extra pass occasional on a hollow or valley thread.
Now that you have a fairly good idea of what makes a circle works. It’s time to weave the circle.
So, to begin. It’s always a good idea to ink the circle on the warp. Ink at the last minute. With the types of warping processes that most of us are using if you ink to soon the img072ink circle can become distorted as the warps shift and turn in the weaving process. So,  keep the cartoon close or make a template that you can check the circle against. Also, there are right ways and not so good ways to ink. You always want the finest line possible and the ink to go all away around the warp. Use a very sharp pen-hold only the very tip against the warp and turn the warp in your other fingers to get the ink around the warp. Do not use a juicy pen as the ink and wick up or down the warp. Use only tested water proof markers.
To begin to weave- Weave the base half way up each side of the circle and stop. Make sure that you use the same pattern of turns and stair steps on both sides. If you change the number of passes using fewer or more the circle will no longer be round.
Now you have a couple of decisions to make especially if you don’t DSCN5376like stair steps or teeth in your circles. You can chooseimg069 to split the weft or use soumack to smooth everything out. I generally use soumack. My soumack weft is usually one half of the weaving  weft bundle because I don’t like ridges on my tapestry. You caimg073n choose the weft to be in the colour of the base colour or the colour of the circle. If need be to continue the coloured soumack weft one can lace up the sides of the slits. But,  One can only soumack so far up the sides and across the bottom before the distance the soumack weft travels  across the warps and up begins to look loopy.  At this point I stop the soumack and then pay attention to full threads and hollow threads as I weave. I often jump up with the weft img070turns to pull offimg071 the tooth. I weave the first half of the circle.
To end the circle or do the last half one weaves the inner circle in the same way or reverse the stair steps-BUT it is the same pattern of climbs that
I began with the first half of the circle.
I will also weave the circle slightly taller. About 5 percent above the cartoon to take into account the squish factor. I then outline the circle in soumack and fill in the out side bases of the circle paying attention to the hollow and full threads as I ascend up the sides   and over the circle. Once the soumack happens at the top  it will round the circle and get rid of any teeth or stair steps.
DSCN5375A couple of things to be aware of  as you weave and beat the bottom part of the circle it will have a tendency to widen out while the top of the circle will have a tendency to pull the warps in. Once you reach the top half of the circle you no longer have the base or out side to follow. You will be dependent on the cartoon and inking to keep the circle round.
Don’t stop checking the circle.  Trust your eye rather then your markings which can shift and stretch as the warp relaxes from being worked. Generally weave slightly over the the inking. The other thing-- this is not a good time to tighten or mess with the tension of the loom. Begin with the tension being tight.
The other thing to remember is that circles have a tendency to loose height when the tension is taken off of the weaving so compensate accordingly. Remember that circles do have a tendency to pull in as the top half is woven. Watch for consistency in the bubble of the weft while you are weaving. Use more weft if it starts to pull in. Less weft in the bubble in the areas next to the area that is pulling in. A major error that I see all the time is as it begins to pull in the weaver suddenly begins to use way to much weft in the pulled in area and they get vertical ridging, If this happens use less weft in the weft bundle and more in the areas next to the pulled in area to it will correct easily. Those vertical ridges will not go away with ironing etc. And if you can get them out they leave a blister or bubble in the tapestry.
Weaving circles is much more detailed in my book tapestry 101. In my Tapestry 101 book I actually describe several other methods for weaving circles without stair steps  and teeth.  There are also some DSCN5382weaving corrections for making circles rounder by using the inside or circle weft passes in different ways to force the circle to be more round. The illustrations in this book were done by Pat Spark. Please do not abuse the copy right of these pictures.
Guess that’s all for now!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My summer of reconstruction and other things!

DSCN0549This is about the 3 summer  months

that I decided to have a tune up. This is also the last of the reconstruction onDSCN0562 the house. Gale is busily painting the house and the studio and hanging the last 3 doors. I have been spending a lot of time reorganizing the studio,painting floors and reorganizing yarn, storage and gifting my DSCN0561unused larger yarns to friends and students. I will be done with that in the next day or DSCN5351so.  

Every so often one needs to have one or at least a time of reassessment. This has been both for me-Cataract surgery on both eyes, wrist hand surgery and a few other tweaks that should produce some lasting great results. The cast are off. I 340have 20/20 close up vision, but will need glasses for distance. I even get to start driving again on the 20th.  My colours  back to what they should be-no more grey staining the colours that I see... I am now off insulin. I am back to my Better Bones and balance. I have added tai chi-maybe- depending on the nerve in my leg and the PPS. Perhaps, I have done enough reconstruction to make it work. We’ll see. So all that said….It’s time to weave and write. Not that I ever quit-Just fewer walls to go up, over and/or  aroundDSCN5370d.

I finished weaving my Grandfathers piece yesterday-except for the finishing. I am not in a great hurry to finish them up as I am trying to come up with a new body of work for an exhibit I am have next June at ETC in Eugene, OR. My next piece is started even as speak. I am in the process of laying it out. The drawings take time. I can only use drawing utensils  only so many hours at a time. Just like I haven’t been able to use bobbins because of having worn the cast for so long.

These are my new best friendballss as I try to reclaim the muscles in my hand and forearm that were forced to hibernate and atrophy from lack of use. The nerves become less numb day by day and the hand stronger and less prone to shakes and charley horses.

3 Promises to keep-


An announcement that I hope everyone will consider and write for. I think that it is really important that small format/small scale  tapestry weavers step up and make themselves known. So I am looking for writers about small format/small scale tapestry that can help to document the process of our being accepted as tapestry weavers in the tapestry world.

Tapestry Topics

I am seeking articles for the American Tapestry Alliance Tapestry Topics
Small Format/Small Scale Tapestry: Subversive, Destructive, or...? Deadline: Jan 15, 2015
What is small format/small scale tapestry? Is it "tapestry," or isn't it? Why are so many people weaving
small format/small scale at this particular time in the history of tapestry? Ideas to think about:
The history of small format/small scale tapestry past, present, and the future....
What excites you about small format/small scale tapestry?
What can the format do? What can it not do?
What are the technical advantages, or restrictions, for this format?
Coptic weaving, K'o-ssu, Kesi, 16th century lowland small format, devotional tapestries
Exhibits of and about small format/ small scale-past, present and future.
If you plan on submitting an article, please contact Theme Coordinator,

There's got to be a orning afterAThere's got to be a morning afterA


as promised!




These two pieces together  on my blog. There’s got to be a morning After part A and B.

Which in away lead to this post card and exhibit and catalogue-img055This was the tenth exhibit small format exhibit that sprang from The It’s About Time exhibit inimg059 1996 in Portland, Oregon. this is a great catalogue and I think can be purchased from ATA.There is another coming up. Hope you all will start planning for the next one!


LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT WEAVING WITH A CAST! No bobbins and placing the weft

I have learned and reinforced  a lot of information  about weaving with and without bobbins. I am not fond of the chaos created by not using bobbins even played with using butter341flies to keep down some of the chaos-339never again. Butterflies are two fragile. So, the solution was to use fairly long weft bundles-18-24 inches and tie an overhand knot every6-8 inches. Biggest lesson was to make sure that there were no loops in the end of the tail below the last knot. Leaving them in always created a knotted chaos of caught threads every time I pulled the knot through the open shed. I have gone back to using my smallest brassy bob’s that are about 3.5-4 inches long. At this point they are easy to hold in my hand,leaving the point out just enough to use as another finger- but, I am still using long wefts at this point. My hand tires too easily form putting the nob through the shed.

Since I was unable to use the side tip of my bobbin to scrape the yarns in I usedDSCN5374 the tips of my fingernails to beat in the yarns. My nails started looDSCN5373king like some one had taken pinking shears to the tips.(OOPS, I am dating myself-does any one use pinking shears anymore?)  My manicurist made a bundle applying gel nails as I wore down into the nails with the tight warps. I was able to get about 2 weeks from each application and replacement of a gel nail. After talking to my PT specialists I was able to come up with a solution they would damage my nail beds. The Japanese weavers have used this solution for hundreds of years. Most all of my instructors had told me never to use my finger nails to scrape or beat wefts into place because because the pressure of the beating could lift the nails from the nail bed or quick. This is true if it’s done wrong.

THE MIRRIX  SPENCER-Another new best Friend!DSCN5348One of the things that made weaving so much easier during this time was that I switched from my regular titter totter treadles to a a new Spencer treadle. It has a sort of  neutral that holds the shed open until I step down and change the shed. Notice the DSCN0552difference in size between my old treadles and the new Spencer which is under my foot.  Not only does it take less effort the neutral that holds the shed open is really great. So I purchased a second Spencer. It will be so much easier to travel with and pack. I am not getting rid of my old treadles either. the only draw back is that the Spencer needs to be plugged in to electricity, which sometimes isn’t possible  in some of the places I teach.  Perhaps, some one could design a battery pack or a a solar system for it-pretty please!


I think that I have finally come up with an easy solution to what I DSCN0567call Spring DSCN0570Spread on my mirrix. This is a problem that drives me nuts…Spring Spread is what happens when the springs become older and start to fatigue. One can go from weaving 22 epi to 18 as the spring spreads. The problem with this is it can cause the tapestry ridges to spread and in some cases shrink. It also makes it very difficult to control the edges of the tapestry. DSCN0564Note the bulges on the two side edges that I was constantly correcting.

So the correction for Spring thread is easy. I always twine when I begin a tapestry and tie a knot at the end at the exact width I want the tapestry img061to be and then space the warps accordingly.So now I am just doing it at the top of the mirrix directly under the spring. I larks head on to the first thread, twine all the wayimg062 across and tie the ending knot at the exact width of that spring should be or end.Please note that the loom is balanced up side down to do this. Makes it much easier.If you look closely you can see my two twiners.  If I want to turn the warp around the loom then I just pull everything down and around. I can theDSCN5376en beat the twining at the top back into place along the bottom of the spring channel. Solves the whole problem was Spring Spread!


Guess this is enuff for now. Chene is trying to tell me something important and grabbing papers!


Cheers and all,