Welcome to Peggy’s Website
Share my passion > Explore, Browse and Learn
Welcome to Peggy’s Website
Welcome to Peggy’s Website
Share my passion > Explore, Browse and Learn
Lease sticks are important in my weaving at so many stages. Shown here they are holding the crosses in both a new warp and the old one in preparation for tying on a new warp. The illustration is from my book, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps” which is no longer in print. (However it can be downloaded as a PDF.) This is the subject of my next eBook which will be coming soon. Then you can have the process on your devices right at the loom as you proceed. I found it more convienient when I was hemstitching to have my iPhone at the loom, rather than the whole book.
People mostly know of lease sticks used in threading the heddles. Do you know why they are called lease sticks? Because what we now call the “cross” is officially called the “lease”. So these are the sticks that hold the lease.This image is from my book Weaving for Beginners. I like THIN lease sticks–the thick ones are cumbersom and take up too much space in my opinion. Jim Ahrens (the “A” part of AVL) made lovely thin, narrow ones. They are now available at AVL Looms.
We just made the cover today. Remember it’s not available yet–but coming soon! This is always an exciting time of the process–seeing the cover!
I needed to hemstitch the other day and had to get out my big book, Weaving for Beginners, which was so big that it made it impossible to do the stitching. So I got out my Mini iPad and opened up my Kindle book on hemstitching. Perfect–then I taught myself again how to make the stitches. I was all thumbs at first but when I got it, it was quick and easy.
Then I got out my iPhone and it worked better than ever. What fun! I learned to hemstitch way late in my weaving life so on one piece I even forgot to use it.
So, I got it! Since this will be on the hem on the back of the piece, I didn’t need to be careful about having every group of threads the same size. The reason here is to keep the last wefts from unravelling. You should leave at least an inch of warp on the piece before cutting it off the loom.
You can get a copy of my Kindle Hemstitching booklet for just $2.99 HERE.
Next month I’ll publish my third booklet. This one will be about a unique way of “Tying On New Warps”. FYI: the second booklet is “Weaver’s Knots“.
Now my studio really looks like a weaving studio. My newest loom is in the center. All my looms except this new sweetie were built by Jim Ahrens. Now the new one was made by AVL looms—the “A” stands for Ahrens, so all the engineering is related. The ‘V’ stands for Jon Violette, who began the company with Jim and the ‘L’ stands for looms.
Are you wondering what the other looms are that circle the new one in the center? Starting with the loom on the left and going around clockwise: 10-shaft, side tie-up, 4-shaft loom, 40-shaft dobby built by Jim Ahrens in the 1940’s, and my love, the 4-shaft loom made of bird’s eye maple wood which I have used exclusively for years and years. Going to 12 is a giant and exciting step for me!
Here she is—a real sweetie. I’ve been trying to reduce and give away things but this loom from Jan Langdon I fell in love with years ago. When she decided to down size, she said I was the only person who had longed for it. It is a 12-shaft dobby about 36” wide. Note that in the photo, my 10-shaft loom with a side tie-up is back behind the new loom. Small in a way but the dobby will increase my capacity for new structures greatly. I’ve been wanting to weave a structure for years and finally decided to do it until I realized I would run out of treadles. The dobby solves that problem. Two treadles work the mechanism to raise the shafts. Notice it is on wheels—that has been very handy already. I just need a pillow on my bench.
Here’s the back of the loom. The dobby mechanism is on the left side in the photo.
This is the dobby mechanism. Each bar represents one shed or row of weaving.
A close-up shows the pegs in the bars. A special tool makes it easy to ‘peg’ each shed. The holes without pegs are the shafts that will go up. Since there are 12 shafts, there are 12 holes in each bar. When the right treadle is pressed, the mechanism raises the shafts for one bar—one shed. When the left treadle is pressed, the shed closes and the mechanism readies itself for the next shed. When all the holes are filled nothing will go up. It’s a way to mark the end of a repeat.
Here is the first thing I’ve woven! I wanted to shade the 12-shaft satin weave to go from only the warp showing graded to only the weft showing. The white warps are shiny spun silk (2 different yarns) and the weft is handspun silk from Bhutan that is not shiny.Then I dyed the piece lightly in black walnut dye. I was hoping the shades of the color would contrast more, to go in shades from light to dark–but that is what I’ll work on next. I thought the two yarns—one shiny and one mat would contrast more when in the dye. Lately I’ve been weaving cloth for the dye pot—really fun to weave and get my creative juices flowing.
Here I show the iron I used on this singles linen piece I made. I love the sheen on the linen.
Here is the iron stipped in its cradel to show the bottom with the holes for steaming. It has great steam and spray and holds its heat. I place it in the cradle when I shift the cloth. The cord to the cradle is plenty long and retracts easily. It can even steam or spray with the iron held vertically.
The carrying case is surprisingly handy. Sometimes I even carry it to my kitchen counter and iron a small piece on a towel.
I am reminded fondly of the special squeak my mother’s ironing board made.
Below you can see the link to the iron on Amazon.
Here is my current warp on my loom! Just what I taught my students to avoid–unevenly handspun singles yarns that are lumpy and sticky for warp threads. This is silk yarn I brought back from Bhutan–mainly to show the tour group what handspun yarn looked like. I did use plied threads for the 4 selvedge threads on the edges and weighted them separately. I used 5/2 cotton but a plied silk might have been a better idea.
From Linda Heinrich’s linen workshop at Convergence in 1994 and from her book on weaving linen I learned how easy it is to size a warp on the loom. Before now I’ve always been afraid to size anything. Her recipe is 1 tsp flax seed (any kind will do) to 1 cup of water. Simmer 15 minutes and strain. Refigerate and use within 2 weeks or freeze.I brush on the sizing then strum the threads and then open the shed to dry. Don’t apply too much–sort of like dry painting but pat the threads to get the sizing to go through to the bottom of the threads.
This is the yarn on the skein. I’ve shown it before to show the cross made in the skein. The threads are horribly sticky but with the cross the threads are coming off perfectly. There are plenty of soft-spun lumps and thin areas where it is twisted tighter. I knew from winding the yarn off the skein that the threads were strong–that’s what convinced me to try them for a warp. The stickyness would have prevented the sheds from opening without sizing I realized.
Here is the cloth off the loom and wet finished. I got the cloth really wet in the sink then blotted with a towel. And ironed until dry I love ironing and ironing until dry and I love the sheen I got with the totally mat yarns.
Here is the cloth I just dyed with black walnuts I collected last week. What frun all this is. I can’t wait for the warp to dry and begin weaving again.
Here are pictures I took at the fair over the weekend. Don’t miss it–rain or shine–it was glorious to be around a variety of crafts people. Most people don’t get to see this part of Petaluma–a real farm with animals in gorgeous countryside. The last day is this Sunday, Dec. 2 from 10:00-4:00 at 2263 Chileno Valley Road, Petaluma 94952. www.windrushfarm.wordpress.com
Yarns of course from the farm’s sheep as well as a booth with unusual yarns from Japan. The ball of yarn in the photo is made from fiddlehead fern fuzz and the brown skein is made from the stems of wild silk cocoons. This is a small sample of the unique things not found in yarn shops.
These fibers are hand dyed ready for spinning or making felt.
Here are a variety of goodies made by this happy woman.
Delicious pizza was made to order and baked in the outdoor oven. I had two!
Fun for the kids, too. These LEGO experts were having a grand and vigorous time on a bench where they found a box full of pieces.
These boys are having a great time on a wood structure.
Here’s a curious cow wanting to know what I was doing as I left for home.
The fine silk warp at 125 ends per inch stymied me and I walked away and left it on the loom for a year and a half. I thenbegan dyeing. I knew there were enough threads left unbroken to weave so I began weaving with some heavier handspun silk from Bhutan. When I took off the entire warp, This piece is what I found had already been woven–and I loved it. Originally I was weaving a tube but had decided to weave two separate layers–hence this piece was formed! [click photos to enlarge to see detail]
Here is the cloth woven with the silk from Bhutan. I decided just to weave off the warp with it so I could cut it up to dye later with the natural dyes I’ve been playing with.
You may remember the skein from Bhutan from another post. The skein was unusual because there was a cross in it. Even this extremely sticky thread came off the skein perfectly.
Here is my latest peice–5 yards to try the new silk/retted bamboo thread I saw in Handwoven Magazine. I love it. I the twill warp face on one side and weft faced on the other so when I dye it I’ll have two choices of tones of color.
They are beautiful in of themselves but to see them sewn into a long obi is mind boggling.
Here is a detail. Can you see some of the tiny stitches?
This is a fragment of an obi that was given to me years and years ago. I always thought it was from silk cocoons but could never figure out how. Now I see that it is also made of Minomushi.
A detail of the obi fragment.
Do not miss this show in Davis, California. It features textiles from the collection of my travel partner, Cathy Cerny. UC Davis Design Museum, Cruess Hall, September 24 to December 9, 2018. See hours on the invitation image. Closed on Saturday.
Here is Cathy in the entrance to the show featuring her textiles from Japan. The show is absolutely wonderful.
The show is about techniques used in Japanese textiles. It is beautiful.
Not only beautifully done but also informative with cases of samples and tools.
Here is Cathy with Alicia Decker, the curator (center) and Bronte Blanco, the designer of the show.
Here I am with Cathy and two friends that came from Japan just for the opening of the exhibition.
Last year we were surprised to find that my most popular weaving tip on my website was the hemstitching tip. To date out of 94,000 views of the list of tips, 47,000 are for hemstitching alone. That’s why about a year ago we published our first Kindle book called Hemstitching. It is really a reference/instructional booklet. We decided people were needing more on the basics.
Now we are about to publish our second Kindle book called, Weaver’s Knots. There are 6,000 words and 67 illustrations. showing every step in the tying of each knot. Of course there will be directions to tie a weaver’s knot, but did you know there are several different ways to tie it? How to tell you have made it correctly and equally important, how to undo them. There is also a double weaver’s knot included. Special knots are given for slippery threads, hanging and adjusting shafts, tying up treadles. There is a chart for different situations and what knots to use. I’m very excited about it. When my technical proof reader finished it she was amazed that even though she had a big fear of knots, she could do every one successfully. I’ll let you know when it is published.
In the mean time you can check out my Hemstitching book by clicking it’s cover below.
Today I started to weave again after over a year. It takes two swifts to hold the skein.
This skein of raw silk from Bhutan has a cross in the middle of it! I’d never seen such a skein before. However it really makes it easy to ball off the yarn because of the cross. This is definitely hand spun and sticky.
Here’s that hand spun yarn woven with my fine silk warp at 125 EPI.
I decided to try a fatter weft so the weaving would go faster. I may have a dog on the loom. I’ve spent so much time already with broken ends I can’t quite give it up yet. I think I’ll use the cloth to dye with my dyes I brought back from Japan. I’m weaving two layers at once. Well since I’m going slowly anyway, why not?
Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 19 (final) – This is to snow you how far north we were for the last half of the symposium. We were on the way to Tsuruoka where the stitching exhibit was.
One of the last images of the trip. At a museum was this exhibit of paper threads and cloth woven with paper threads still on the loom. I couldn’t resist including it.
The pond and garden In Tsuruoka. Our last serene moments.
We stayed an extra day in Tokyo and visited a fantastic shop called “Pigment”. This is a photo of this elegant fascinating and unusual architecture shop. All the colors came from pigments. A must see.
Our final dinner. It was sad to think of us all going separate ways. At the dinner there was a demonstration showing how the bow of this obi was tied. The dresser used several large clips to hold things during the 1/2 hour job. So interesting.
At our “last breakfast “ I took pictures of my new friends. The woman on the left is from Ohio near where I grew up ( in Copley) and her friend is from Korea.
The night after almost everyone had left a few of us met at the hotel restaurant for dinner. Here is one woman trying to teach the Japanese waitress how to make her favorite cocktail. It was a riot. After a few unsuccessful tries the bar tender brought over the bottles to be shown how to make the drink. When it still wasn’t right our friend said, “oh, maybe it should have been sweet vermouth !! I think this took about a half an hour of trying to explain “equal parts of …” to the poor flustered waitress only to find out it wasn’t what she’d said it should be. Seemed hilarious at the time but maybe we were wound up before catching our planes in the morning. Here is a sketch of the scene with the correct recipe for a “negroni”.
On the way to Narita airport we passed hundreds of huge and interesting buildings. This is was my last goodbye to Tokyo!
Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 18 – We took a 2-hour bus ride in the gorgeous mountains to the town of Tsuruoka to see a extraordinary fine exhibit of Japanese stitching. One type is called shashiko which is running stitching with white thread on indigo blue cloth using a regular pointed needle. The other type is Kogin done with a blunt needle that is worked between the threads. Again white patterns on dark indigo cloth. When the white gets dirty they over dyed the cloth in dark indigo.looks all dark blue but the stitching patterns can be seen. The show was moving to us all with so much “heart” stitched in every piece.
At the stitching exhibit.
More stitching. This is the back side of a sampler. So good that it was shown to show how good both sides look.
A futon cover or bedspread of different stitches.
A bit of humor.
Often done on clothes.
Interesting how she works the needle gathering the cloth ten smoothing it out.
Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 17 – This is woven with Linden bark and the cloth is called shinafu. Cathy and I had visited a shop so I knew what I was looking at. It was way too expensive for us to buy any because one had to buy a whole obi length at 5.3 meters at great expense. When my workshop teacher showed us this piece of his work I just had to have it. I told myself I would share it with others. If anyone is interested let me know. 5 centimeters would cost about $30 for a ballpark figure. It is rare cloth made of linden wood bark. A meter would be a nice length to appreciate the sumi ink painting as well as an example of the cloth itself.
If you can believe it, this cloth is woven with the fuzz on the fiddleheads of fiddlehead ferns. Again it was too rare and precious and only available for a whole length of an obi, 5.5 meters. The more I saw it in my workshop teacher studio, the more I just had to have some. So I have shared a bit with other trip people. The cloth looks boring perhaps but it has been very moving for several people besides myself. More information follows. This cloth is slightly less costly than the bark cloth and I do have some left to share.
The fuzz on these fiddleheads is what the cloth is woven with. Zenmai is what the cloth is called.
This is what I wove in the workshop on a small frame loom. The warp is hand spun silk and fiddleheads fuzz. Our teacher started us out weaving “Mt Fuji” at the bottom then we were on our own. He had some examples which gave us ideas for the hour we had to weave. The fuzz is so short it couldn’t be made into a thread so it had to be mixed with silk. We had silk fibers as well as the fuzz to work with and I experimented as I “wove” trying everything. The top is just the fuzz laid into the warp since it was impossible to weave it in. I found it interesting to handle the silk fibers and how hard it was to pull them apart to try to mix in the fuzz.
Here is the silk and fuzz fibers that I tried to mix together. The little brown spots are the fuzz alone. Again the cloth is called zenmai.
This close up of the zenmai cloth doesn’t quite do it justice but is is close. You can see the tiny bits of the fiber mixed with the silk. The warp is plain white thread. Silk?
Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 16 – Textile Student exhibition at Tohoku University of Design. The show was terrific. This is Raindrops by Sawai Miyou.
The Galaxy by GO Ryosetsu. A favorite.
“A Civilization” by Riddhi Jain. Follow her work on Instagram. I met her a few years ago on a trip to India. Her contemporary saris are fantastically gorgeous. She was on the trip and a lovely friend and wore a sari to the ending dinner that was more beautiful than any I have EVER seen. Do follow her. She has a business of designing original saris on commission.
BE SURE TI CHECK OUT THE DETAILS OF THIS LARGE PIECE. At first I thought this was an old Japanese screen when I saw it on the cement wall at the University of Art snd Design. Boy was I surprised when I walked up close.
Detail of big piece.
Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 15 – The whole purpose of having the symposium in hot Japan July was that the safflowers would be ready to pick for dyeing. We left the hotel at 5:20 am in the rain. These are pictures of the harvest and our dyeing.
Pounding the flowers after we got back to the campus.
Preparation for safflower dyeing.
More preparation. We are about to make little patties out of the pounded and strained petals.
Little patties to use for dyeing.
Two of the colors.
This is what we were after.
Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 14 – Here is my travel vest to date. Usually I don’t have to add any patches until after a trip is over. This time I’ve had two emergency repairs to do.
I worked on a big patch while on the bullet train going to northern Japan from Tokyo. A friend snapped this photo of me working. I’d bought needles in Tokyo. A new friend gave me some fabric she had dyed and thread. Thank goodness I had my scissors that were in My knitting bag.
We visited a studio where this type of patterns they made by dying the threads before weaving. These patterns are made with many carved boards in a little known form of ikat called itajime. When Cathy and I were in this town of Shirataka we visited another studio using this old technique. The dye was made from logwood. A few years ago the owner got this from South America ( if I remember). The family is still working off that stash of logwood, a natural dye plant.
Our symposium began tonight with registration at Tohoku University of Art and Design In Yamagata. This is our final destination before going back to Tokyo. The university building is really modern.
The front of the main building seems to float on a large expanse of water and is quite beautiful. I imagine it changes often given the weather and time of day. This is an outdoor theater where we saw a Noh play tonight.
We watched the noh play in a light rain for awhile then snuck out and our bus took us to our hotel.
Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 13 – I’m spinning paper thread! We learned how to fold paper so we could cut very long strips of paper to spin. Took some practice and concentration but felt so good to be able to do it in a workshop today. [ click on any image to enlarge ]
At the loom weaving with paper thread. It felt good to be weaving again.
These are bobbins wound with paper thread. I choose one that had bits of red.
This is the cloth I wove with paper thread for wefts still on the loom. I love the bumps or slubs. Notice the bits of red. The paper we used was from an old Japanese accounting book. The black spots are where the writing was and the red one where the paper was stamped with the “signature “ stamps.
Spinning paper thread is tricky until you get the hang of it!
Here is the paper cut in preparation for spinning. Actually we are twisting the paper rather than actually spinning it.
The paper needs to be folded and cut properly. So it can be unfolded to get a long length piece to spin.
Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 12 – Yonezawa. We are now in the north on the main island of Japan in mountainous countryside. Cathy were here in May and we saw some of the same things today but had more in depth information with dignitaries and Yoshiko Wada telling about things. Our first stop in Yonezawa was at the Sake Brewing Museum Toko no Sakagura. [click any image to enlarge]
This beautiful garden at the Saki Museum had big trees pruned just right. In the winter the snow is deep and comes up to the eves. To protect the precious trees from the weight of the snow structures like T-pees are built around each tree. The framework is covered with smooth wood so the snow would slide off. All this effort shows the value placed on this garden by the people in Yonezawa.
The beams inside the museum had to be reinforced with poles in the winter to keep the roof from caving in. That’s a lot of heavy wet snow! I’ve just now put seeing this area in the wintertime on my bucket list!!
In the old days to time how much how longbto give each process in the saki making the workers sang songs. There were songs especially for each step in the process. This man was retired but came in to show us around. When it was discovered about the songs he sang some for us. What a treat.
Almost at the end of the day we stopped at this shrine. This was our view as we came upon it in a wooded area.
It was gorgeous with a thick thatched roof and lots of wood carving under the eves. So beautiful all by itself with other small shrines on little paths nearby.
Our last stop was to stop at the shop of a wood carver and basket maker. He make beautiful baskets as well.
Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 11 – Tokyo Tower reflected in a nearby building near our hotel—Shiba Park Hotel. One day here to do everything there is to do in Tokyo. We all spread out after Yoshiko gave us tips on where we might like to go.
My first stop today was to the Amuse Museum in the Asakusa area that is well known for its exhibitions on “boro “ — old cloths with patches of rags and scraps of cotton. It was done in northern Japan where cotton was precious and warmer than the hemp cloth that they made. The rags were shipped from the southern regions where the climate was warm enough to grow cotton.
In an exhibit case in the Amuse Museum. Something other than boro but made and used by poor farmers. Guess what they are.
I thought this was very interesting, especially the fins on the bottom.
Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 10 – Mt. Fuji from the bullet train to Tokyo. My best view ever. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it completely and it always seems to sneak up on me. This time I had a window seat and was on the correct side of the train! [click on any image to enlarge]
We went to the International Contemporary Shibori Exhibition at Tama Art University Art Museum. This was my favorite piece in a terrific show. It’s by Lucy Arai who is from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has just become a special friend on the trip.
Lucy Arai beside her piece on the exhibition.
Another favorite at the show. The artist has been on the trip with us and is one of the people I hang with. I was thrilled to see her work in the show. I only know that she is Carolina (Caro-Leena) from Chile.
I really liked this one. I’m not absolutely sure it is a garment.
I really liked this one a lot.
Of course I related to this one.
I’m proud of this Bay Area artist—Ana Lisa Hedstrom. I adore anything she does and I own a couple of her art to wear clothes. These are paper—something I plan to begin exploring soon.
Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 9 – (Facebook + email readers must view the videos on my website – just click the link) This woman was dressed in the stage for us on stage at a reception for our last night in Nagoya. This would be the dress for a very high up person indeed. It was fascinating to see how each layer was added. The model only moved her eyes for the 20or 30 minutes it took for to women to dress her—one on front on her knees and one in back putting on the layers. Both worked together to get everything arranged perfectly.
Here you can see her from the side. Perhaps you can count the kimonos that she has on. Every sleeve had to be tucked as a arch layer was added. I forget how many kilos we were told the outfit weighed but she could walk around on the stage. No on was to see her face; that’s why it’s covered.
Here is a 1 minute video showing the women adding a kimono and how the sleeves are put in place.
This performance was at the reception. Notice the puppet moving and the person manipulating it underneath it.
This big arrangement had a puppet on top and you can barely see its arm is moving. All the action (slow and subtle) was controlled by the group of men below.
Here’s a bride and groom all dressed traditionally along with our previous aristocrat. It was a lovely show. The bride and was the climax after 10 or so lovely women in gorgeous kimono modeled on stage.
Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 8 – Here is Shibori. This is what we came to see and learn. Today we took a bus in to Nagoya to 3 museums—all different and very enjoyable. This old kimono was in a shibori exhibition in the Nagoya castle. [click any image to enlarge]
Another magnificent old shibori kimono in the Nagoya castle exhibit. Shibori is many forms of tie dye. Where the cloth is tied it resists the dye. With this one a whole lot of tying was required to cover so much of the cloth to get all the white undyed area. The tied cloth is immersed in the dye so it took a lot to resist being dyed blue in an indigo dye vat.
Here is a large piece of cloth tied before dyeing. It very likely a whole kimono length.
Another shibori dyed kimono. I think this is the scarce purple dye Cathy and I saw. Too tired to think of the name of the dye.
Another fantastic one.
Yet another type. All these have been in exhibitions we’ve seen.
The fine scale here meant finely spaced ties. For this one and the previous one cloths were wrapped on poles and scrunched tightly to resist the dye.
Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 7 – The real symposium began with me taking 3 workshops. This was dying with akane which is Japanese madder. Lovely color. I tied a knot in the cloth before dyeing to get the variation in the color this was dyed using alum as a mordant.
More akane. The darkest color used camellia ash for the mordant. The lightest had no mordant. Medium color used alum.
Kakishibu workshop. That means dyeing with green persimmons. I learned some more but it was a basic workshop.
Here is paper we tie dyed and dyed with the persimmon dye.
Workshop to dye with bengara a pigment that is red ocher in color usually. Our artist figured out how to get many colors. We folded the cloth like a flag is done and clamped wood shapes to make the patterns when dyeing. This was my second piece which I was happy with.
My first bengara pigment piece. Came out better than I expected. We were in a hurry to get something in the dye. I had no idea what I would get. I manipulated the small triangles which makes them fuzzy rather than crisp.