Finally Announcing the Big Sale! …and a little one the week before

Whew!! Finally I feel like we are close! I could count the days, but I’m afraid to because I know I would have a panic attack. The big sale as you can see above is November 19 and 20. But I am going to have a nice booth at the Textile Arts Council Bazaar the week before on November 12. More info on that at the end of the post. Saturday, November 12, 10 AM — 4 PM, St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1111 Gough St. (at Geary), San Francisco.

I’ve had so much help with this enormous project. I think if I realized what I was getting into, I would never have attempted it. I’ve hired a person who has textile sales professionally and she helps with pricing, setting up, everything else including psychotherapy when I go berzerk.

Before that I had an appraiser of Asian Art to help me understand what I have accumulated in my textile collection. Now, when I look at a treasured piece, I remember all about how I bought it and in what country. Of course Japan (many trips) but also India (3), China (3), Uzbekestan, Philippines, Mororrco, and Bhutan.

Besides downsizing my collection (no heirs), I want to part with my work. I’ve had a couple small shows, but haven’t sold the majority of my work. I wonder if people ever sell much at shows! I have lots of weavings but also a lot of dye work that I did during the pandemic.

My tech guy, handsome Bob, has designed so much, as well as offered good advice along the way. We made hang tags, 2 flyers so far, and a large banner. The photo above is of the hang tag. At the sale he will show images of a large obi I have that is made of precious linden bark with sumi ink drawing. It is one of my most precious pieces. It hangs in my apartment and measures about 14″ by 24′.

Another very special piece is an under kimono. Jaspanese ladies liked to wear red underneath their subtle outer kimonos. The red was dyed with safflowers and is fugitive so it has faded over time. That’s how we know the kimono was dyed with safflower–because of the way the lining has faded.

My friend, Cathy arranged a trip for us to go to Amami Island in Japan to see a very special textile being woven. Kimonos would be woven of the cloth and the textiles are known as Oshima Textiles. We went to a special Oshima shop in Tokyo once and all the kimonos were very unattractive to our eye. However the mud dye and the weaving is extraordinary. We went to Amami Island and saw them weaving what I’d heard about: TWICE WOVEN cloth. That means, at first the threads would be woven for the RESIST when the threads were dyed. AFTER THAT the threads would be put back on a loom and WOVEN again.

I brought home quite a few pieces of beautiful cloth; each one is amazing! And to imagine and realize that each and every thread had been woven twice! In future posts I can show diagrams and pictures and you can see my pieces in my collection for the sale at my new website in the Oshima section: PeggyOsterkampCollection. Click Here

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Bazaar and at Building C (Room C 205) at Fort Mason.

Uzbekistan Ikats: Part Three: An Interesting Weft Ikat

We saw this scarf and marveled how the ikat was done.

Upon looking at it closely we could see that the weft skeins had just been tie-tied randomly. We never saw a pattern develop, just random horizontal lines. Just 2 colors.

Then I saw the color blanket aspect of the whole scarf and the few and interesting colors that were used. For example, the warp had only red threads and green threads.

Many of us know that you get iridescence when you mix complementary colors which red and green are. So, in the areas where red and green crossed we do, indeed see iridescence.

It got too much for my brain to figure out all the wonderful combinations that were achieved in this scarf.

Then we discovered another scarf with the same type of weft ikat—where the weft threads are randomly dyed (and resisted, hence: tie dyed). This gave a completely different look to the regular warp ikats that we normally saw around Uzbekistan.

Another view of the scarf with the same wefts going all the way across the ikat patterned warp threads.

How interesting it was to travel with weavers on that trip. And I love re-living those days while getting these ready for the sale. Almost everything is numbered and photographed and, in the database, now. And everything around my apartment has Post It labels with numbers. The number for this scarf is 865. The hang tags are at the printers. That’s a next step and I have to decide on the prices! This is a huge job. All needs to be done by Nov. 19 and 20.

Uzbekistan Ikats: Part Two: The Heddle Maker Comes to the Weavers

The very most interesting part of seeing the ikat weavers in Uzbekistan was finding out about the heddle maker. I saw the weavers working and I saw them making the warps, but I kept asking “How do you thread the looms” and I would never get any answer. Only,“it happens.” Finally, after really, really insisting, they understood that I was asking about the man who comes to the loom when needed and makes the heddles for the warps—ON THE LOOM! They had him come to show us how he did it which was fabulous! This is a page in a large picture book for the region and I saw the picture of the heddle man and was overjoyed. (Simple things can make me very happy!) So, I spent $40 and bought the book. I always thought I could cut out the page and save it and make nice calendar pictures out of the rest of the book but none of that has happened.

Weavers know that the warp threads on the loom must be evenly tensioned and lined up. Every warp thread needs to be threaded through a loop, in our case loops of string. The loops are called heddles. You can see they all need to be the same size.

The complete heddle for each thread consists of two loops. This is not unusual in the world but not the way our American heddles are usually made.

The heddle maker brought his jig so that each loop is the same size. I loved the jig and wish I could have bought one. I am very sure I tried.

He found a cross that I’d never seen used before. I think it came from the regular weaver’s cross plus something like what we call the false cross. That way he picked up the threads for 4 sets of heddles. We would say for 4 shafts.

Here he is picking up his heddle string with a needle that is on the jig to make his loops of string. Probably a blunt needle.

All the string heddle loops for one shaft are on the needle, ready for a bar to go through to make the top of the shaft from which the tops of the heddles hang. Remember this is repeated for the bottom heddle loops forming the bottoms of the heddles.

Here he pulls the heddle bar through.

Now, 4 shafts worth of heddles are in place, the registration lines are lined up, and the weaving can start.

Wonderful Ikats in Uzbekistan: Part 1

I unearthed my pile of ikats from Uzbekistan when I found the Philippine blouse in the previous post. I’d forgotten how vibrant and beautiful the pieces I brought home were.

I also found my photographs that show precious aspects of the process of weaving these ikats. Here is a photo I took of men tying the warp threads. When they are dyed, what has been tied will resist the dye. When all the colors are dyed, they will be put on the loom and the pattern will loom into view as the cloth is woven. What a marvel! Here it looks like all the threads were first dyed yellow. Here they are tying the areas of the pattern where the yellow will be protected from the new dye colors. In so many techniques, it’s the way of resisting the dye that is the technique to make the patterns. This is sophisticated “tie-dye” for sure!

Here is a photo I took of a warp on a loom. Notice the woman in the back of the photo doing something. There you can see where the end of the warp is. The warps are tremendously long. In the previous photo the threads are folded several times on the tying frame so the pattern is repeated over and over for the very long warp when the length is stretched out.

The line across the pattern is so they line up perfectly. It’s called the registration mark. It would be at the ends of the warp shown in the second photo—where a repeat would be. I sought out fabrics where the registration lines showed because that interested me. Notice the mirror image of the design –that happens when the warp is folded back on itself on the tying frame.

Here’s a registration line visable on the warp on the loom.

Here is another photo of a long warp. Check out the remainder of the warp in the back corner.  So, for the entire length, the pattern has to match up.

Here’s a shot of the weaving room in one of the studios we visited.

Another shot of some of my fabrics.

More to come about my Uzbekistan textiles in posts to follow as I get them ready for my sale.

The Cloth Behind My Fine Weaving Hanging

This is a hanging I bought in Okinawa in a shop that was all textiles. I loved it the minute I saw it at the far end of the shop.

The dyeing is so special; however, I can’t tell you much about it. It’s been hanging in my window for a year at least and the black is still as dark as ever.

You can see the careful placement of the colors and the ikat pattern. Planning this for the colors to hit precisely in the warp as well as the weft just right was skillfully done. Double ikat at it’s simplest and most beautiful. I also like the slight irregularities in the yarn.

Scrolls Project Ending!


I began making scrolls a year ago. Now I’ve made 55 or more scrolls in four collections. The first was dyed linens, the other three about putting texties together. The first two collections were in two shows in the gallery where I live. The last two groups I’m photographing now and are in this and some future posts. I must admit everything in the last half of the project has its art pinned onto the background fabrics! It’s like they are the first drafts to me.

This is a shibori hankie I dyed and gave as gifts on one of my trips to Japan. One man immediately put it in his shirt pocket which was fun. The background is a piece of a kimono found at a flea market in Japan. The narrow width tells us it was part of the collar/borders on the front. It is precisely done double ikat. That’s why the pieces were saved.

I folded the cloth then wrapped it on a pole for the resist. It was then dyed in indigo. The folding I did after taking a workshop in shadow folds with Chris Palmer at Slow Fiber Studios in Berkeley. I used silk handkerchiefs from Dharma Trading Co.

I wove the background with a deflected double weave recipe some of my weaving friends were doing. It’s from the book, Double Weave with a Twist. The square you may remember from a Chines boutique. I love the stitching, so this is a way for me to get to enjoy it rather than have it stuck in a drawer or under a mug.

This shows the stitched piece. There are layers of cloth. Ms. He Haiyan, in her boutiques in Beijing and Shanghai, uses scraps for lots of lovely projects and keeps her sewers busy. You may remember the post, “More Ideas for Projects” November 15, 2020.

1. I did the shibori
2. I dyed the background black walnuts
3. Close up of bag on previous scroll. I love it. The squares are the skins of cocoons from tent worms or something similar from Japan. I also have an obi made of them. And a collection of them framed.
4. I dyed the scarf. The purple is an old piece. The dye precious.

Both are felt pieces I made on cloths with heavy indigo coating (I think).

This is another felt piece on the indigo background. By mistake I ironed on the fusible lining on the front side late last night. I quick went to th internet for how to get it off. Steam and a press cloth. I was desperate. It didn’t come off but I decided it was interesting with the press cloth wrinkled up when I pulled it off. Thank goodness I was using a scrap of the interfacing so some of the original pattern of the indigo coated cloth was still visible. Whew!! If I had more cloth I might try it again. Or on something else. How ideas are born I guess.

A Very Old Double Ikat that I Treasure

This is a fragment of a cotton Japanese summer kimono called a Yukata. I must have gotten it at a flea market in Japan. The cloth is 13” wide, selvedge to selvedge—the common width for many Japanese textiles. The length of the piece is 48”. It is so soft to handle that I’m loving handling it again for this post.

The reason I’m thinking is it a piece of a Yukata is there is an area where the cloth hasn’t faded over time. It probably was inside the area around the front opening.

It is so soft because it is extremely worn. In fact it has holes in it where the cloth wore out. It is almost tissue paper thin. This cloth was salvaged and re-useable because another fabric was added as a backing.

The indigo dyed cotton backing is also what makes it have a lovely body as well as being so soft.

The entire piece and I assume the entire yukata was stitched to attach the backing and back the holes. The rows of stitching are consistently ¼” apart. The stitching and the ikat pattern work beautifully together, I think, which is another reason I love the piece.

I was showing it to a friend and she immediately thought it was a lovely piece even though she is not a textile person. The more I looked and talked with her, I began to think about the double ikat pattern. It isn’t precise like in my previous posts. I think the cloth was dyed, woven, and re-purposed by a farmer’s wife. Cathy and I visited maybe the last farmer’s wife to grow and dye her own indigo in Japan. Traditionally, the women would grow the indigo and weave the family’s cloth while the farmers tended the fields—could be rice paddies.

I love the hit and miss of the warp and weft pattern yet the tiny areas of the threads in the pattern cross exactly in the right places throughout. Once in awhile I could find where the weft ikat pattern really crossed the warp in the right place. This close-but-not- exact gives a real soul to the cloth, I think. It made me think of the woman planting and growing the indigo plants. Then making her vat not with heat, but with cold water. Her son told us that to make the ash for the alkali, they burned the wood for two months which kept them home. Then she tied the warp threads and the weft threads in the ikat pattern. Then the threads would be dyed in the indigo vat and finally woven. I doubt that she minded that the pattern wasn’t precise and thought it was fine the way the threads hit pretty much perfectly. I wonder if the original cloth was a futon cover—a larger piece—or was it always meant to be fabric for a yukata. After the weaving, would be the hand sewing. When washing, the pieces would be taken apart and then put back together again. Probably there were many washings before the cloth was stitched so carefully to the handwoven backing cloth.

I’m making a scroll with the fabric so that I can have it out to look at. The soul of it touches me. I’ve pinned the pieces on top of the fabric for now, but I think I’ll move them up higher.

Weft Ikat Revisited

One way of making weft ikat seen here is to stretch out a guide thread and paint or stencil the design for the weft on it. Then it would be stretched out along beside a long bundle of yarns needed for the weft for the entire warp. Where the dark pattern hits the bundle is where the bundle would be tied to resist the dye. I would die to have one of these weft frames with a weft pattern on it.

This shows the areas on the weft where the pattern was to be tied to resist the dye. (The resisted areas resisted the dye and remained white.) Here the wefts are woven on a traditional dark warp.

Here the same wefts woven on a white warp.

Remember this tote bag from a previous post? The egret could have been put on a frame like in the first photo and that pattern thread used to mark the weft for tying and dyeing. Note that white wefts were woven on the dark warp for the light area where there was no pattern.

Remember this pocket I made from an earlier post? Did you see the horses?

Here are the horses! The stencil for the horses was made by the creative young weaver in the previous post. Note that she chose to use a white warp with the stencil for the ikat weft. Her name is Butsusaka Kanako.

What a Difference the Warp Makes (and the weft, too): – Inspiration from a 2-shaft lesson

Slide the vertical line in the photo back and forth and see the difference the color of the warp makes on this weft ikat cloth. We visited a young weaver in Japan who made these 2 different cloths using the same weft threads she ikat dyed.

When I turned back to see what the first lesson was in the 2-shaft book, I liked the idea of one warp color with different colored weft stripes. Weavers with any number of shafts should not forget about this possibility. Often, we weavers sample different wefts to see which we like the best, but seldom make stripes with different colors. Even though the warp changes all the weft colors a bit, many combinations of colors can make good-looking fabric. Using the example from the previous photo, the same idea could apply with a dark warp. This is what inspired this whole post.

This is the traditional way we are used to seeing these cotton weft-ikat fabrics in Japan. White threads for the weft are tied and then dyed in indigo. This results with the pattern being white with a dark background when the warp is also dark.

A close-up of the dark warp with the ikat weft.

I only saw one other example of using a white warp with indigo dyed ikat weft patterning at one other studio—It was a piece displayed on the wall designed by the weaver’s wife’s mother who was an artist. Our young weaver used the non-traditional in the same unique way: using a white warp instead of the traditional dark one.

Almost New Year’s Eve

A Textile to Celebrate New Years’ Eve.

17” x 54”
This began as what I thought was a “scarf” that Indian women wear over their chest for modesty sake. I planned to wear it as a scarf. However, it was huge, and the silk taffeta was slippery and not crushable. I tried to wear it but was always swallowed up in it; or it was slipping off. I later found out it was a scarf to be worn over an outstretched arm. It would look nice that way, but I wonder how one would do anything but pose with it.

I loved it so decided to make it narrower and shorter by making some wide pleats. I tacked them down with red tailor’s tacks. As it progressed, more and more pleats were made until it came to scroll size. I discovered the back side had these nice ruffles.

Here you can see why I had to have it. Think of all the tying for the ikat to make the border.

The border all the way around was ikat-tied as well as the red parts!

Here’s a side view.


A New Scroll: Finally Finished

I finished this scroll today but I started it weeks ago. It hung in my hallway all this time with its art pinned to it and draped over a rod and hung with clothes pins. Yesterday I got the urge to finish it and solutions presented themselves. More about the process in the next post.

When I hung it originally I saw a wonderful thing: moire! I knew I needed 2 layers to accomplish it so I decided to hang it doubled with the hems at the bottom. Then the layers could hang freely.  Moire pronounced mo-ray occurs when 2 layers of plain weave are seen together. Perhaps you’ve seen it when 2 screens are together and in other situations. See the wavy pattern showing up in the hanging? It is ever changing when you move it around with light behind it.

This shows the two layers and some moire can be seen.
The background fabric is a loosely woven linen I bought in Tokyo at a BIG fabric store. I bought it for another idea but the moire pleases me greatly. I wove it once with a fine silk in a tube. I tried it a second time with no luck. Now I think it’s more a function of the amount of space between the layers.

The art is a silk ikat fabric from Oshima, Japan. I probably made a post about it before, It’s where the resist is woven on a loom. Then taken off the loom, dyed, and then woven on another loom. It’s very expensive but we found a shop that sold pieces of the bolts. I like the whimsy here

A close up of the weave. See how finely detailed the design is and how exactly the warp and weft patterns cross precisely? I love it.

Making Art Out of a Beautiful Silk Taffeta Shawl – That was Much Too Big and Slippery to Wear

I’ve been wildly putting together fabrics the last few days. Seems every time I turn around I get out more fragments and not-so-fragments that I’ve stored away. I find them exciting and then excitedly look around for background fabrics for them. Last night I was getting ready for bed at midnight and I kept getting more and more ideas that it was 1:00 before I turned out the light. For example, I found places on a table mat from Japan for the tiny velvet pieces that I had left. The most exciting idea was to put together a white wool felt pleated cape from China and a handwoven skirt also from China that had woven strips for fringe. I thought to put the fringe at the top of the cape instead of at the bottom where fringe normally is! It will take a good while to get all the pieces made up. I’m also in the throes of writing another Kindle book. The days are not long enough!!

A closeup look at the gorgeous silk taffeta shows fine ikat detail where the borders begin. I bought this “dupatta”in a shop in India years ago. I loved the fabric because of the edges of the borders. I thought it was to be worn over the chest for modesty sake. The internet says they are 2 meters long and can be worn over one shoulder. For years I’ve tried wearing it in a variety of ways. Finally I asked a well-dressed Indian woman what to do and she said, “That isn’t for the body.” What a relief, but a disappointment that I couldn’t have it to feel and look at. I got the inspiration to make it smaller but save the borders for a wall hanging (scroll). I pleated it vertically then horizontally and made small tailor tacks to hold the folds in place. It took a few more iterations to come to what it is now—an official scroll.

Here is a view of the middle section of the wall hanging/scroll. When friends saw me working on it (took a good while over the past week) they thought it was 2 pieces of cloth—not one single fabric.

The bottom. More border. The whole fabric is ikat—warp and weft wise. Looking at the tiny red dashes, I can’t imagine doing the tying for the ikat. Ikat means that the THREADS were tie dyed BEFORE the cloth was woven! Such precision and the care in making the tiny blurry edges of the borders!

Here is the top again and I hope you can see the ruffles that happened when I pleated up the middle section. One neighbor thought the ruffles very elegant and feminine. I think I love the black ruffles as much as the ikat blurry edges. And the center part seems to really set off the very black borders. It is very white with the red dashes.

Here is the result. It started out 98” long plus fringe and 24” wide. Now it is 50” long and 13” wide plus fringe

Off Again: to Japan

Here are all the places we plan to visit together. I am going again with my friend Cathy Cerny. She has done all the planning just like in many previous trips. I counted 9 hotels in 21 days so we’ll be moving right along. I hope I can do a post every day! – Click photos to enlarge –

Our first trip is a flight to Amami Island to the town of Oshima. (it is way south and off my map.) We want to see a particular type of ikat called orijimi. The resist is done on a loom forming a mat with the ikat warps or wefts to be woven in. Then the mat is unwoven to reveal the resisted places (dots) where the warps on the original weaving resisted the dye. The dye is also a special mud dye from the area. Oshima fabrics are expensive and have been imitated. We will look at the selvedges to see the tiny white dots to be sure we are getting the true orijimi technique. A friend and expert sent me this precious fragment so we would know what to look for.