Empty Teaching Studio

Empty studio used for photo shoot

Monday was the last day in the old teaching studio. I had a big photo shoot of much of my work while the space was empty. It was a good way to end that era and begin the next. Photos of the “new” space in a future post.

More of the photo shootIt was a grand way to close the studio. Photos of the "new" space in a future post.

Sheds Too Small?

One day a student complained that the boat shuttle I loaned her was too big for the sheds on her table loom. I suggested that she throw the shuttle closer to the heddles and advance the warp often. The reason is that the shed is bigger the closer it is to the heddles (shafts). It’s obvious that the shed is small when it is closer to the fell of the cloth (the place where the last weft is woven). A made this into the weaving tip: Sheds Too Small.

Weights and Croc Clips, Continued

Croc Clips (click on to enlarge)

Here is a welcome response to my post about how much weight to use for using croc clips instead of a temple to hold out the width of the warp. You can read a summary of  my post, below. Read more about temples in the tip section.  The illustration here  is from “Weaving for Beginners” on page 312.

Thank you so much! I have 3 lbs on each side right now, weaving with JaggerSpun Zephyr. It seems to be just right. I started with a temple, but it is one of the new Glimakra ones, these have mean thick teeth that no matter what seem to damage the cloth. The older ones have nice small teeth that cause no damage. That is why I am using the clips. I was uncertain, it was working, but…..was it right? Now I know it is for sure. thanks again!

Here’s a summary of my post.
“I have a question on the weight to put when using the crocodile clamps in place of a temple. …”
I’m not sure of an amount of weight to tell you. You want plenty of weight, that’s for sure–probably more than a pound on each side. What you want to achieve is to have the warp spread out to the width it is in the reed. You need whatever it takes to accomplish that. So much depends on the situation, such as, how wide is the warp and how much does the cloth draw in? I have a lot to say about draw-in in my new book, “Weaving for Beginners“–over 12 entries in the index.  (Too much tension on the warp can cause too much draw-in, for example.)
A weaving friend suggested that if you have a very wide warp it probably would be better to use an actual temple to be strong enough to hold out the warp wide enough. (There is a limit to the amount of weight croc clips can hold.)

better to use an actual temple to be strong enough to hold out the warp wide enough. (There is a limit to the amount of weight croc clips can hold.)

How Much Weight for Croc Clips?

I received this question. “I have a question on the weight to put when using the crocodile clamps in place of a temple. I heard once it should be at least a pound on each side. Is this so? I have used fishing weights and it does not work, I know it needs more than that, but how much?”

Here are my thoughts. Does anyone have more information to tell us?

I’m not sure of an amount of weight to tell you. You want plenty of weight, that’s for sure–probably more than a pound on each side. What you want to achieve is to have the warp spread out to the width it is in the reed. You need whatever it takes to accomplish that. So much depends on the situation, such as, how wide is the warp and how much does the cloth draw in? I have a lot to say about draw-in in my new book, “Weaving for Beginners“–over 12 entries in the index.  (Too much tension on the warp can cause too much draw-in, for example.)
A weaving friend suggested that if you have a very wide warp it probably would be better to use an actual temple to be strong enough to hold out the warp wide enough. (There is a limit to the amount of weight croc clips can hold.)

Think about Ashenhurst’s Rule

I use Ashenhurst’s rule to take the mystery out of sett (warp or weft-wise). Check this out in my Book #1, Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle” and also in my new book, “Weaving for Beginners“. In both books I’ve devoted a chapter to determining the ends per inch (epi) or sett. Book #1 has more details. In upcoming posts I hope to explain it and say why it’s so very, very useful. If you can read the book(s), you’ll be ahead of the game.  I’m swamped with getting my room in my studio emptied–more about sett next week or so.

A Home for the Curtain Stretcher

A home was immediately found for the curtain stretcher! I couldn’t bear it just going out there to anyone. We call yarn and stuff like I’m giving away, “dead weaver’s yarn”. I’m glad I could pass on so much on my own steam. Today I took a workshop about silk–degumming and shrinking with overtwist yarns. It inspired me greatly. I’m glad I kept some of my overtwist yarn–but I gave away pounds of it. People were astounded that I wove my own cloth! I showed them the photos that are in the blog’s gallery. I know the silk in those pieces collapses a lot–so that with degumming and resisting parts of the cloth by clamping, I’ve got a lot of ideas swirling around in my head.

An Old Curtain Stretcher

Today while cleaning out my studio I found an old fashion curtain stretcher that I think my aunt used to use. I hate to part with it, but I only used it a few times many years ago, so it must get passed on. It has wooden “sticks” that unfold to form a big rectangle the size of a curtain. The whole thing stands up (wobbly) or leans against a wall. There are pins on all four sides. I used it when stretching and drying some large pieces  I did when I was beginning to weave. There is something else–sticks that make a frame and some metal rods–perhaps it is an upright quilting frame. It is going out into the world, too. I used it once–perhaps to stitch hems on a piece, I can’t remember exactly.

Warping Paddles

Slot and Hole Paddle

For many weavers, “paddle” is a mysterious word. Perhaps they’ve tried and never quite figured out how to make it work. It may have seemed awkward, confusing—but always seductive. How liberating to be able to warp multiple ends at once! But keeping one thread organized and moving freely onto the warping board or reel can be a challenge—how much

All Holes Paddle

more dexterity it must take to manage four or six or a dozen! But that is exactly the advantage of using a paddle. The paddle lets you measure many threads with every pass up and down the board or reel. Becoming proficient with the paddle need not take any special dexterity—in fact, its use has developed precisely because it acts as an extension of your own hand. See the Weaving Tip: Why Use a Paddle?

See Chapter 1: Using a Paddle, in my Book #1, Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle.

Rigid Heddle Loom Weaving

Rigid Heddle Loom (click to enlarge)

Do you know that there is a whole chapter on rigid heddle weaving in my new book, “Weaving for Beginners”? These looms are very popular with knitters and would-be weavers. I’m mentioning it because a friend told me he had gotten a rigid heddle loom and hadn’t realized I had included it in my book. Also, I want you to know it so can have it in mind so you can recommend it to others.
They are really fun to use! Warping takes minutes instead of hours or days.

Fan Reed Solution

Fan reed

I decided that the way straight wefts could be woven with the fan reed is to have the middle of the reed be in place when the wefts should be straight. Moving the reed up and down during weaving will make the

Obi woven with fan reed (click to enlarge)

wefts wavy. Any thoughts?

A Weaving Teacher’s Happy Day

Double Weave: Two Separate Layers (click to enlarge)

Today a weaver (former student) and a student (a super beginner) came to see my show. The now-weaver, former student brought me wonderfully gorgeous things he had made! Was I ever proud! What pleases me greatly about being a weaving teacher is that none of the students’ work ever looks anything like what I weave. Each one does interesting and original projects. That is thrilling.
Now he is learning double weave and I wondered if he had read my chapter about it. He hadn’t realized it was in my new book, Weaving for Beginners. I always loved to teach double weave to what I called, “virgins”. I wanted to be the one who introduced them to the subject. See my tip about double weave.

Doubling Stand

My other visitor is a motivated “beginner”. She bought a small floor loom that I found in a second hand store. Today she went home with some of my “stash”–it was wonderful to find such a good home for my extra equipment. I gave her a warping board, an electric bobbin winder, a wooden swift, a ball winder and best of all–a doubling stand. I think two boat shuttles went home with her after her previous lesson.  See the tip about the doubling stand.

A Weaver’s Stash

I got an email  from a weaver with too many books who hoped that my books were available in PDF format. When I replied that they weren’t she answered, “I think I’m probably just going to have to shuffle up some space on the bookshelves and hope my husband doesn’t notice!”

Before my divorce 11 years ago, I hid a warping reel in our guest room shower stall. Whenever we had a guest, I would sneak  it over to my neighbor’s garage. This week some of you know that I am emptying 1 of my 2 studio rooms and by now I’ve given away over 500 pounds of yarn. And today, some equipment went—I found about 5 or 6 temples stashed away! I think it will feel so good when I get settled into my one room with just the yarns and tools  (and looms) that I think I’ll really use (and those that I couldn’t part with yet!). I hope I don’t have to sort through the books  just now. I’m embarrassed to tell people how much stuff I had stashed away–but many say that they, too, have big stashes!

PS There are “before” photos of my two rooms on my blog posted on January 28th. 

A Review of My Weaving Show

Silk Pieces in my show (click to enlarge)

Here is a review of my show which goes until February 13, 2011 at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae, California. This is just what I would want a reviewer to say. You can see more of the silk pieces in the blog gallery.

“Many a critic has discussed where the line is drawn between art and craft.  Peggy Osterkamp has crossed that line into the arts in her current show at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae. Her work ranges from richly textured, tapestry-like hangings to “critters” fashioned from her woven pieces immersed in water to shrink them into whimsical little pieces, to soft, pale, gossamer pieces which seem to float on the wall.

Small Pieces Mounted in Plexi boxes

Peggy’s reputation as a teacher and author of numerous books on weaving is enhanced by her skill as a fine artist, and we look forward to more of her magnificent creations.”

I’m Still Teaching Weaving

Someone wrote to ask if I was giving up teaching weaving when I give up one room of my studio. I still teach privately in my weaving studio. There is still space for that. I love seeing people one-on-one. When I retired I decided a book for beginners was necessary for my good methods to get out to potential weavers. My new book, Weaving for Beginners, came out mid June and has been a huge success. I’m hoping that it along with my other three books will take the place of my teaching classes and workshops. Also, my DVD on setting up the loom is helpful. So, you see, you can not have me and have me, too. See descriptions of all my books and DVD here on the blog or order on my web site: http://www.weaving.cc. Let me know if these suit you. PS There are two  wonderful reviews of my new book here on the blog. Use the Search button to find them.

Two Weavings in My Show

Pink Creature (click to enlarge)

My show has been a huge success and I’m thrilled beyond words. People are blown away by the work–they have no concept of weaving, let alone what I’ve done. This is my first one-person show and I really do feel like an artist. I’ll post more photos of some of the pieces. The show is at the Life Care Community where I moved in April. I hope to get people here interested in doing some handwork soon.

Cloth as woven for Pink Creature

Here is “Pink Creature”–a piece woven with high twist wool thread and sewing thread. It was woven as a flat piece in an open weave then put in water–Pink Creature is the result of these two steps.
Photos of the installation are in a post dated January 6. Also, see photos in the gallery.

Weaving and Teaching Studios Update

I’ve decided to give up one room–my teaching studio. I think I began to notice how much I had accumulated when I posted the photos of my studios in December. I realized that both rooms were filled with stuff that I no longer needed. So, I gave notice and will give up the teaching room on March 1st.
Today I gave up 400 pounds of very good weaving yarn! There is a bit more to go, plus magazines and other stuff. It felt good. Now I know what I’m likely to want and it is time to pass on what I thought I might need someday to younger weavers who can actually use it (or keep it for their own “someday”).

Fan Reed Mystery

Obi woven with fan reed (click to enlarge)

Last night before my head hit the pillow I had a solution to the fan reed problem. I wonder if anyone else came up with it? I’ll wait awhile to see, and then post my solution. The problem was how can straight selvedge-to-selvedge wefts be woven as well as the wavy wefts shown
in my obi.

Fan reed

Obi woven with a fan reed (click to enlarge)

More About the Fan Reed

Fan reed (click to enlarge)

Lauri asked how the fan reed works to make wavy wefts and well as straight-across ones. When the fan reed is raised and lowered, the spacing in the reed changes to cause warps to be more dense or less dense in areas, making the weft wavy.  The waves occur this way: where the warps are close together, the wefts can’t beat down as much so the wefts will be higher so-to-speak. Where the warps are sparse, the wefts beat down significantly more. At first I just thought that if the reed were stationary the wefts would be straight, but there is no place on the reed where the wires are evenly spaced. I, too, wonder how the obi was woven with mostly straight wefts and areas with wavy lines. Any ideas? The obi hangs in my living room, across from the computer where I look at it everyday. I’ll be pondering this question. I hope someone will have the answer.

Read more about fan reeds in my post on January 18, 2011.

Heck Block for Warping Reels

Jennifer asks for a quick way to warp multiple threads at a time. The most available method for weavers today is to use a paddle. I have a chapter on using various types in my Book #1, “Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle.”

Jim Ahrens’ warping mill which I use in my studio has a heck block–a marvelous (and old) mechanism that he made. I am warping 10 ends at once while  making a thread-by-thread cross (lease).

This is from Page 16 of my Book #1 ,” Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle.” I don’t know if anyone makes them now, AVL did for awhile. You might look them up in old weaving books from Europe.
The heck block

Heck Block (click to enlarge)

The heck is a mechanical way to spread your warp at precisely spaced intervals along the frame of a warping reel. It moves up and down on a vertical support that stands next to the reel, or if the reel is horizontal, it moves back and forth on a support alongside the reel. The central
support of the reel extends beyond the reel and turns with it: a cord wound around this support is attached by a pulley to the heck.
As you turn the reel to measure out your warp, the cord unwinds, and the heck block moves along the length of the reel. As you turn the reel for the return trip, the cord winds back round the pipe, drawing the heck back along its support. Multiple warp ends, which are threaded
into a leasing and tensioning device on the heck block, are carried with the heck
and so are laid down on the reel automatically.

Jim Ahrens’ Warping Reel

My Weaving Studio (click to enlarge)

In my photo of my studio, Jennifer Hill noticed my warping reel which Jim Ahrens built and used. She wrote: “Is that a warping mill attached at ceiling and floor in the back? Can you give whys and wherefores of having it so tall, but having only a smallish section to wind on the warp? Or am I totally mis-identifying the tool?”

It is indeed a warping mill or reel. It is so tall because Jim was tall. He liked a vertical reel (gravity helps when winding) so made his to be attached at the floor and at the ceiling.

There are two reasons why the section for winding the warp is small. First, he used fine silk threads like the ones I’ve been using–at around 100 epi or so. The threads are so tiny they don’t build up much on the reel which allows for more spirals that can be made closer together.

The other reason is that he only wound one section for his sectional beam at a time. This is a technique he talked a lot about because a lot of spools aren’t needed. He called it “Combining Sectional and Plain Beaming.”  You see, you wind one section’s worth on the reel just like normal. Then take it off and put it in a section on the beam. I’ve described his method in Chapter 12 of my Book #2, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps. In a post to follow I’ll talk about a modification of this technique that is more weaver friendly.

Fan Reeds Fascinate Me

Regular Fan Reed (click to enlarge)

I’ve always been fascinated by illustrations of fan reeds in books.  In Japan, I purchased an obi woven with one. I also saw another style which I am calling a “special”  fan reed.

“Special” Fan Reed
Obi Woven with Fan Reed

The reed must raise and lower to accomplish the variety of spacing. Overhead beaters are ideal. I’m still trying to figure out a way to use one with my underslung beater. At any rate, I do love the wavy lines in the

obi that are caused by the reed. Only a portion of the obi is woven this way; most of it is woven with the wefts going straight across from selvedge to selvedge. Maybe someday I’ll get to my photos from the Japan trip and show cloth woven with the “special” fan reed.

Solid Colors in Rep Weave

I received a question about weaving the Rep Weave portion of the sampler in my new book, Weaving for Beginners, on Page 127.

QUESTION: “I’m not clear on how to weave a few rows that cover exactly the same threads.”
ANSWER: Remember, in rep weave, there are two sheds and they always alternate. There are never two consecutive rows of weft that cover exactly the same threads. The look of the cloth is a solid color, but the 1,2 shed ALTERNATES with the 3,4 shed. The solid color is achieved when you use the same color weft for BOTH sheds. With this weave the wefts pack down so you can’t really see the two rows because they appear as one row. So, just remember, always change sheds  and alternate them–never repeat the same shed twice.

See two important tips for Rep Weave in the weaving Tips Category.