Indigo Blues Rose & Star Fashion

I’ve been painting with the paints I made from Indigo powder. I began with these block designs. Look for more compositions in future posts. I’m having lots of fun. Each pair of photos was painted with the same paint but maybe lighter or darker. Each one is about 3” square. Can you identify which are the roses and which are the stars?

My first and second Rose and Star paintings. All the paintings are about 3” square. This was my comfort zone for compositions when I began.

The third and fourth ones. I always painted the Rose first so the Star often was in response to how the rose came out.

The last set. All these paintings were using special paints that had egg yolk or egg white for binders. I never could get a smooth water-color look from those. Next, I’ll use the paints that were made using gum arabic. I hope the look will be a lot different from these, but I’m not complaining.

Box Update: Three Months Later

Just in case anyone has forgotten, here is the box I am trying to duplicate. It is in Kay SekimachiI’s show. I see I first posted about it on June 21st! (see it here). I knew it was months ago that I got smitten with it. The post shows other pieces in the show. It closes in October. Information is in the post.

The open box shows the inside black layer. Making the top and bottom in double weave is what makes weaving it need 4 layers. She had some simpler plans, but I hope I can accomplish the 4-layer plan.

Here is my mock-up.

Here with the box open.

Here is how it is to be woven: flat, of course, and in one piece.

Here is an update of my mirror installation. I need it to be close to the shed. I don’t want any mistakes that will prevent the layers from separating. That means every shed must be clear. I didn’t have very many mistakes in the sample I cut off, thank goodness. Controlling the shuttles is a big issue as well so the layers stay separated. I see Kay only had 3 layers in places in one plan, so I’m trying new tie-ups to try it. It will be weeks given that I don’t work on it all day, every day. I’m enjoying the process and telling myself that there’s no hurry. Maybe I’m procrastinating just a little.

YPP a Big Help in Finding Appropriate Yarns – Box Update

I’m not completely satisfied with the warp yarn I have on the loom for my box project: i.e., samples. I’ve been constantly consulting the Sett Charts in the back of my book, Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle for other possibilities.

Here is the sett chart for linen. There are a total of 14 pages of charts. Half are for plain weave and half are for the same yarns for twill.
What has consumed me this time in checking the charts is comparing the sizes of yarns to see what I can find that will be a good size but also can work on a very, very dense warp. Since there are 4 layers, the sett (ends per inch, epi) will be 4 times what it would be for a single layer. If one layer is 16 epi for example, the total sett will be 16 x 4 = 64 epi. Ideally, I’d like something around 1500 ypp (yards per pound).

The part of the sett chart that I’m interested in at first is how many yards per pound because that can give me the information I need to know the size of the yarn.

In my case it doesn’t matter if I look at the Plain Weave or Twill charts because I am mainly interested in the size of the yarn, the ypp. However, it is important that I’m looking at the charts for linen. The numbers and sizes vary greatly with the different fibers. See my previous Tip on Yarn Count. (Sept. 24, 2011)

I have a nice yarn I might like in my stash. With this Yarn Balance, I can find out how many ypp and go from there. This valuable scale used to be called a McMorran Balance. Here’s an example of how the balance works. Say the length of the yarn that balances on the scale is 21 ½”. Multiply that number by 100 to get the number of yards there are in a pound. In this case, you get 2,150 yards per pound (21.5 x 100 = 2,150). Another balance is available for meters/kilogram, too.

You can compare two yarns quickly to see if they are the same size by hooking them together as if you linked your two index fingers together. Hold one set of yarns between your thumb and index finger. Twist the other two ends so that both sets twist. If they both feel the same, they are close to the same size.

Note: The term grist is sometimes used when talking about yarn size. For example, one might say, “I want a yarn of the same grist as this other yarn for my project.”

This worksheet to find the yards per pound is in my book, Weaving for Beginners.

This chart is helpful and is also in the beginner book.

These calculations were worked out using Ashenhurst’s Rule. The rule and exceptions are in both books, Weaving for Beginners and Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle and in several of my previous tips.

8 Shuttles! Oh My! – More on the box project

Four layers and the warp is divided in half besides. I wound 4 shuttles, 2 black and 2 white, then realized I needed 2 more, then 2 more than that! A good rule helped a lot. “Wherever the weft changes from one layer to another, we get a fold: wherever the weft weaves back in the same layer, we get a selvedge.” Since I want the layers separate and not joined, I needed to have 2 shuttles for each layer. The layers are divided in the middle at this point which requires more shuttles. “Double Weave on Four to Eight Shafts” by Ursina Arn-Grischott has been a big help.

I realized there would be a lot of tie-ups required for the box so was glad I could tie-up the treadles sitting on a stool. Even that was a chore. However, I’m glad my loom can give good, clean sheds even when 7 shafts are lifted, the 8th will stay down.

I soon realized I needed too many treadles even though I have 10. I made a skeleton tie-up, and it is easy to treadle. I don’t use a computer program, so I listed the lifts for each shed on adding machine paper and pinned it where I could see it.

I’d heard of using a rear-view mirror to see if the sheds are clear so went to Amazon and found these very cheap ones with a sticky back.

I even installed it myself! Just stuck it onto the loom by the shuttle race. It can even be adjusted up and down and sideways!

Here’s the mirror showing a clean shed.

For the top and bottom of the box the warp is further divided. It was a big exercise for me to figure out both the tie-up and the sequence of shuttles and colors.

I put colored threads in where the divisions are so when a shuttle dives in and out of the warp it goes in the same place each time.

The colored threads are at the back of the loom and can advance as needed and I don’t have to worry about them.

Box Update: Beaming the Warp

The warp needs to be wound tightly onto the warp beam. Think of a spool of sewing thread.

I’m trying out warping with a trapeze. I think I’ll like it a lot I could get consistent weight as I wound the warp.

Here’s the trapeze from the front.

It looks like a white warp thread is caught in the raddle. Watch out for this problem. It is a loose thread getting into a tangle.

When I got the warp straightened out you can see it belonged in another raddle space. Because it was so loose, it began to migrate into another dent. That will prohibit the whole warp from moving until the tangle is undone.

The extensions allow you to wind the last bit of the warp, up until you get to the cross to set up for threading.

Presenting My Dye Project

After putting my favorite colors in my mobile for the China BoND exhibition, I wanted to have more of them. I began dyeing more silks in the same way as before.  (Using old recipes along with information in the book “The Art and Science of Natural Dyes”.) I cut different silk fabrics and put them into bundles. That way there was a variety of tones and shades coming out of one dye pot. My plan is to exhibit them a little distance from a wall and have a light fan gently fluttering them.

I hung a few with Japanese obis behind them. The orange was madder I think (that greatly disappointed me because I wanted red). The browns were from oak galls. The one on the left was in the same dye pot as the blacks. The difference was that the organza ones (undegummed) dyed black, and the silky silks dyed brown. It was interesting to me that always the undegummed ones took the dyes much darker. The white ones were how everything started out.

None of these made it for the mobile but I loved the subtle colors. The lavenders were using different shades of indigo overdyed with cochineal. The oranges were madder. I was disappointed greatly in them until I put them together with the others. The greens were from indigo and weld then some were after-mordanted with copper or iron. The greenish tone one in the middle was a cochineal disaster (it did nothing) after-mordanted with copper.

The purples are from cochineal and the blues from indigo and woad. I strung all the swatches on monofilament (fish line) and made blobs with a glue gun to keep the little bunches in place.

The reds were from cochineal. The reddest one used the recipe for scarlet and the others for crimson. One recipe asked that first dye with turmeric, then mordant with tin before finally dyeing with cochineal. The yellows were dyed with weld and the lavender with indigo and cochineal.

Here they are hanging in my hallway outside my door. The ruffles I wove years ago are hanging in the background.

The other side of my hallway. In front is a gorgeous silk dyed by a friend in India. Look her up on Instagram under “Medium”. They do exquisite shibori works. The framed pieces on the floor were my first projects using different fabrics in the same dye pot. The round piece on my door is a fan I brought back from India. The piece with the little squares I dyed with black walnuts and played with the grain of the silks. The blue circle is a Japanese print and the square piece above it is by Lia Cook.

The little sculpture is a kitchen tool to shred things, I think. Another treasure from India.

I Got into the China BoND Show: Next I wanted to reproduce the colors!

I wanted more of my favorite colors for another idea for presenting them. Besides, I loved the colors. This post is about getting the purples again; all with cochineal. I was using both old Chinese recipes and the ones in the wonderful book by Ellis and Boutrup, The Art and Science of Natural Dyes.

These are my favorite purples that I ended up with. It was really hard to reproduce them. I had photographed the original colors; then took the bundles apart for the mobile.

I started trying for the purples on July 1st. I had copious notes, but it was hard to be patient and decipher them. Since I had the mobile, I knew I had gotten the purples but my first attempts were disasters or near disasters—definitely not the purples I wanted again.

I got some really terrible results and thought maybe the problem was that I was using cochineal extract powder instead of the actual bugs. But when I post mordanted some of them, the original results weren’t so bad. I used iron and also copper.

I got another batch of uglies but realized it was the mordant that was the problem. I was using the old Chinese recipe and the dye just wasn’t taking. So the recipe in The Art and Science of Natural Dyes was the one I realized I’d used before. In the meantime, I liked the greens a lot that came when I post mordanted the bundles with copper.

These were dyed using the Chinese recipe for scarlet. But I had to improvise and work hard to get these real reds. I’m glad I had enough left over because my notes were useless.

All the purples began with the Chinese recipe for “crimson”. Here is a batch of early trials, trying to use fter mordants to get purple out of the pinks without success.

These were the scarlet trials just in case they would turn into purple by some chance.

When I was photographing them last night, I couldn’t resist putting everything out on a card table. It was a long journey. Today I’m dyeing another batch of PURPLES just so I’ll have a nice supply of them. The pot looks great this time.
Each “bundle” was composed of a variety of silks. That made for a lot of nice shades and variations from one dye pot.

Trying for Purples: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I’m trying to replicate the purples in my mobile, my entry for China (no word). I’m spending the weekend working with cochineal trying for purples. The reds were first—I went the wrong way with the pH but really got a red red which I wanted at first. Then I dyed another batch for the pinks. Now, for the purples. Before that I mordanted everything in alum.

Here are the reds and then the after-processes I tried: copper, iron, ammonia with more or less time in time in the baths. I have some asparagus pots which are perfect for sampling small bathes.

Here are the purples I got from the reds. I have more I can dye but want to decide which colors I want to dye for real.

Here are the pinks and the resulting shades using copper, iron, ammonia again in after-baths.

A closer look at the samples. Next, the decisions.


In the light of day none of these are what I want. I’m starting over making a new batch of dye working with the Chines recipe for cochineal crimson instead of scarlet.

As usual the undegummed samples dyed darker than the silky (degummed) silks.

Galls Post

My mobile for the China entry took all the pieces I’d dyed of those colors. I wanted to have more for myself so began dyeing with galls (oak galls) for the brown-grays and blacks. I spent most of the week recreating the dye which meant practically starting from scratch even though I had lots of notes from the first time. These silks are all degummed which is the way we usually think of silk. They were in the same dye pot as the blacks in the next photo! I pretty much used the old Chinese recipe that called for a handful of sumac at one stage.

These sheer and not-so-sheer but stiff silks are all undegummed. That means the sericin from the silkworm when making the cocoon has not been removed. Organza is an example. “Silky” silks are all degummed like in the photo above. In all my experiments the undegummed silks took the dyes extremely stronger. That surprised me. I got blacks on these and the brown-grays on the degummed silks. Both dyed exactly the same.

Here is a close up of the black silks. The backgrounds for both are Japanese obis.

This is how I made my strings of the silks. With a glue gun I made blobs on the monofilament to hold the pieces in place.

FINISHED! My entry to the China Exhibition

I sent in the photos and entry papers on Friday! What a relief to see everything DONE! The photos, the statement and finally, SEND. To see the mobile in motion, check out my Instagram video below. I’m happy with the colors. They are what I think of as “old Chinese colors”. I used old Chinese natural dye recipes and that was a challenge and a big journey. I had 48 bundles with 15 different silks in each. That’s 720 swatches. There are lots I didn’t select; available now for something else!

This is me at the photo shoot for scale. It is my entry for the Contemporary Art and Design Exhibition: Reconstitution of the Past Colors at the BoND Biennale of Natural Dyes in Hangzhou, China. I went last time but it’s not possible this time. I commissioned my tech guy, Bob Hemstock to make the mobile and be the photographer.

This is the mobile I sent 2 years ago with natural dyes. It got into the show and the China National Silk Museum bought it! Right now, I just want to get into the show. That year the mobile was Bob’s idea!

More Double Weave Tubes

I think these veils came after my ruffles in the previous post. I thought I should make something large so these are long. The warp is the same high twist silk from my stash. (Same threads as the ruffles.) Since then, I have shortened them by rolling up the bottoms a bit.

I was wanting to weave sheer cloth. I wove double weave to dense up the warp a bit so the wefts wouldn’t beat down too close to keep the cloth open, sheer, and still have integrity (not sleezy). And weaving tubes meant I only needed one shuttle.

A friend with a little farm gave me some of her cow’s tail. I’m not sure it’s the right thing but it is what it is.

The two layers made moire! I was thrilled. When I tried to repeat it, I didn’t get the moire which provoked me no end. But I love this success.

Here is a blue one. I sold this one to a woman whose husband had just died. It reminded her of his last breaths.

A detail of Blue Veil. I had some fine silk on a skein that I gave up on putting on a spool. I just cut the skein and then had nice, long silky threads to lay in.

More of the silk fringe on one of the other veils.

More Double Weave

While in the throes of getting my entry ready for the China exhibition, I thought I would continue with some double weave projects and ideas.

I made these ruffles several years ago and had post cards made to give out on a trip to Japan. They came about by surprise but then I made a few. They hung in the windows of two galleries. The Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles and a Gallery in Mill Valley. I was very proud of them.

The first ruffle began as a tube woven in very fine silk. Probably around 95 threads per inch in the warp. I was after moire. The moire didn’t work so I thought about turning the tube inside out to see if it would make moire then. About half-way through turning it inside out (like turning pants inside out) when it was all ruffled up I stopped dead. I thought this is something!

Here I was fussing with one during the photo shoot. I put tiny stitches here and there to keep the ruffles in place.

Here is the bottom of one of them.

Five Dyes Selected

Here are the 6 dyes I have chosen for the entry for the BoND exhibition in China. I made hundreds more nice colors, too. Variations came from different silks, different mordants, and different post mordants. Working with old Chinese recipes, I had a great time figuring out what a bucket or a handful etc. meant.  And I learned that 2 ”loots” equal 1 ounce. The Art and Science of Natural Dyes by Boutrup and Ellis was a lifesaver.

I am already thinking about using the “extra” colors for future projects in different ways.

These are the reds. Probably cochineal. Now I’ve separated the bundles with their precious labels and grouped them according to which colors work together.

Here is the group from my woad vat. I had to order the woad from Scotland. Michele Garcia’s indigo Workshop At Home at Slow Fibers Studios explained the chemistry, so I knew what ingredients in the woad recipe related to his 1-2-3 indigo vat. The woad vat has indigo in it. You make dips in the vat like you do with an indigo vat.

The blue purples. There will be 6 groupings.

These all were from oak galls with iron and sumac additions. The undegummed silks took the dye much darker and make black for one of my groups. (these are stiff silks). The shiny silks make lovely greys and brown greys as they all were dyed the same as the blacks. Consistently the organzas, etc (undegummed silks) dyed significantly darker than the “regular” silks we are used to.

The red purples.

What’s the Matter with My Madder? – Dye Project Update

Here are swatches of dyes I had done before the weekend Indigo and Cochineal are what’s pretty much here. I was trying for two kinds of red: scarlet and crimson. I’m using old Chinese dyes as much as possible. One interesting set of silk bundles was dyed with various shades of indigo then overdyed with cochineal. For lavender and greys. I still had weld, woad, galls, and madder yet to do.

I worked all weekend on madder. There were several different mordants to be used. I had 3 pots soaking at a time.

This was taken Saturday night after a dye of mordanting. What I had to show for a day’s work. Still left to do were two bundles of iron mordant. (Mordanting is a process often done before actual dyeing.)

At the end of Sunday (2AM) I had these swatches of madder. I am disappointed but will try again. The reddish ones were with madder extract. The undegummed silks took the red, the regular silks were titty pink. The yellows were from roots I’d received as a gift in Japan. I guessed what type of madder the roots were, and I think I guessed wrong. Also, I realized a bit too late that madder could NOT be cooked above a certain temperature. Then I read that chalk would be good. Why wasn’t that said sooner? Anyhow, got the chalk and will re-do the madder this week and hope I get reds. I’ll change the way I extract the dye from the roots, keep the temperature correct, and add chalk. Any suggestions? The Ellis book says not to heat madder over 150F (65C). A person I met in the indigo workshop said not over 120F. I kept to the 120F. I think I’ll go with the 150F and keep it at 140F so as not to exceed the 150F.

Dye Project Update Number One

Here are the results of the weekend’s work on my dye project. There are 4 bundles drying in the photo. All the pieces in a bundle were in the same dye pot. In other words, a bundle represents one dye process. The pieces on the string were in a bundle. On the rack are 3 bundle’s worth. All variations on cochineal. More on cochineal to follow.

The undyed bundles have been mordanted with alum and will be dyed later.

The status of my kitchen after the weekend.

Here I Go Again: Clearing the Decks

If you miss my posts, you can also see what I’m doing by following me on Instagram. Go to Tap Sign up. Enter email address. Create a username and password. My Instagram name is peggyoster.

Here is the last view of my kitchen before the dye pots come in and my dish drainer goes on the floor. I’m working on a project to submit to a show in China. Deadline is June 16. YIKES!  However, now I’m loving the smell of the lilacs I found at the florist this week!

This is clearest this “counter” has been in a long while. Before long, it will be covered with dye notes, etc.

It’s taking a lot of organizing and I’m not finished yet. I have 48 envelopes for 48 bundles. Each bundle is designated for a different dye or dye process.

Each bundle has 15 different silks. That way, there will be 15 slightly different tones from a single dye pot. Organizing it all and getting all the ingredients and planning all the preparations is a big job and I’m still working on this stage. 48 x 15 = a lot of swatches.

Making the bundles took all of the surfaces in our lounge to collate.

I’m counting on this label maker and Tyvek and Sharpie pens for making 48 very specific labels. Some need some processes done before mordanting, during, or after dyeing.

I’m using old Chinese recipes along with the Boutrup/Ellis book.

My Own Fine Weaving

Now that life is getting busier, I’m planning to post less often. Maybe weekly or so. I want to get to my looms and experiment and do some fine weaving again. And I have a dye project I want to start. If you still need something to have breakfast with, try reading the posts I began a year ago when the pandemic began. I still love getting comments.

This is my 125 ends per inch silk weaving. I had big plans, but it was almost a “dog on the loom”. I wanted sheer fabric and I didn’t want to beat in the wefts too hard. I wove a double weave tube so there would be more resistance on the beater to prevent beating too hard and still be sheer. A tube meant only one shuttle, of course. I made so many threading errors, I thought I had lost my mind! It’s really not hard to thread so many ends when the cross is right there to guide you. Sometimes I crossed threads and sometimes it was in the heddles. I already had made several fine silk tubes before at 96 epi. This shouldn’t have been so difficult. I’ve got more  fine silk threads from Junco Sato Pollack so am eager to weave them up.

The weaving went terribly with a huge number of stops and starts to correct broken or mis-threaded ends. I properly repaired many threads and replaced many warp threads with colored sewing threads so I could see what I was doing. I had to throw away a lot but managed to get 40” woven as a tube.

After the 40” I decided to just weave off what I had left and not bother with corrections. I managed to get a hanging out of it. It hangs in front of an ikat hanging I got in Okinawa.

In the end, I gave up weaving the sheer cloth and decided to just weave off whatever I had left of the warp. Probably the warp was on the loom a few months before I made up my mind to get it off. I wove the layers separately.

I used the handspun cotton from Bhutan for the weft.

I couldn’t snug up the wefts at the selvedges so just let the wefts all hang out.

The handspun cotton on the fine silk. I think it looks OK. I do like where the cloth splits into the two layers and divides to hang on either side of the “single layer” the tube.

Scraps and Patches Make for More Scrolls

I mounted this piece wrong-side-up because the mending was so interesting. Notice the ikat patterns and stripes in both the warp and weft.

Here is a close look at the patches on the wrong side of the silk fabric. Notice all the stitches on the big patch.

Here is the right side. Up close, the pattern doesn’t match at all, but that wasn’t the point. A patch is a patch. I bought this fragment at a flea market. Probably it was part of a kimono that was taken apart and sold in fragments. I am lucky that someone cared to pass it along.

This is a scroll of my weaving and dyeing. I think I was wiping out the last drops of Japanese green persimmon (kakishibu) dye and liked how it turned out.

Here is the piece up close. It’s small: 4” x 12”.

Remember this “fancy twill” from a previous post?

This scroll has another scrap I saved from my persimmon dyeing period. The background silk was dyed with clamp board resist technique in Japan.

Detail of above. My piece is 4 ½” x 17”.

I just discovered another scroll with a persimmon dyed piece mounted on a piece of the same fabric as the first photos. It’s small, too 5 ½” x 7”.

Odd Scrolls but Interesting

I loved this little bag the minute I saw it in a tiny shop in a neighborhood in Japan (Tokyo?). While Cathy did her shopping in another shop, I went back and got it. I’m so glad I did. I put it on a scroll so I could look at it whenever I liked. It’s really small 6” x 7”.

I love the delicate weave of the cloth on top. The bottom is made up of the cocoons or skins of insects. More about them next.

I found a sheet that had these “skins” glued on which I had framed when I got home. I think the insects are a bit like tent worms, but I don’t know how these cocoons or skins are formed. They are like the paper in those big wasp’s nests. A friend in Japan said she had them in the trees in her yard as a child.

Here is a close up of an obi I got at the same Japanese antique textile dealer’s shop in Tokyo. Imagine all the work trimming each one and then the piecing.

My mother-in-law gave me her mother’s collection of baby caps she collected in Germany. There were two caps like this one in with some scraps of lace she gave me. They are covered with tiny stitches.

I took one apart and mounted the pieces on an indigo blue background. They aren’t impressive as a scroll but when you look closely at the stitches, you become impressed!

These two pieces were sewn together to form the sides and the top. It was a pleasure to unpick the teeny tiny stitches that seamed the pieces together and enjoy the designs stitched on the cloth.

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.

Tying a Weaver’s Knot when One End is Very Short

With warp threads likely to break at any place, you might need to tie a weaver’s knot with one end very short. Another time might be when tying on new warps if the old warp behind the heddles is very, very short. Here are the steps and a word of caution.

1. Make a slip knot in the long thread—that will be the worker thread.
2. Slip the loop over at least 3/8” of the short warp thread.

3. Pull the tail and the standing end of the worker thread away from each other (in opposite directions from each other). This capsizes or flips the knot inside out.
4. Tighten by holding the tail and standing end of the short thread between the thumb and forefinger of one hand; pull on the remaining standing end with the other hand.

One word of caution from Vince Webers of Wilmington, Delaware: If you make the slip knot too tight to start with, this weaver’s knot won’t “upset” (capsize) in Step 3. He says you soon learn how much you should pull on the two threads. If you want to test this, try it with two ropes.

Angavasthram Part 3

I thought it would be a good idea to show several Angavasthrams and to make sure you could see the length of them. And to emphasize the narrow width when they are all pleated and ironed. I have 7 and they are all gorgeous fine white cotton. Some have gold thread warp brocade for the outside fancy part and the red and black ones seem to have a red or black silk warp stripe with gold brocade.

Here you can see the outsides of them again. The middle one on the hanger measures a full 47 inches wide when opened out. It is 1 ½” wide when worn. I haven’t found anything about these narrow ones on the web so if anyone has any information, please send it in a comment or email me. Next time the subject will be: IRONING!

Angavasthram Part Two

My angavasthram textiles are priceless and national treasures. Bob remembered the man at the weaving shop told us. At any rate, I, too, treasure them and am hoping to find out more about them.

I thought the inside was so beautiful and interesting that it needed a second post. I think the inside might be that famous Indian muslin that’s thin enough so the cloth would go through a wedding ring. At any rate, it is beautiful. One of the wider ones was 2 ¼” when folded and opened out to a full 45”! I assume servants did the ironing.

This pattern was woven in near the ends on several but not all of them.

Here is how I saw them. I had no idea what was inside or at the ends.

Three of them were 2-sided—black on one side and red on the other. The others are white with gold patterning. Some were wide and some narrower when folded. I think if I ever show them, I’ll let them hang as they are folded in a group with one opened?? Now, I hate to get them mussed up.

A “Find” in a Junk Shop in SE India: Angavasthram

On the wall at The Bangala Hotel (A Traditional Chettinad Home), Tamil Nadu State, Southern India

A year ago I went with my tech guy on a photography tour to SE India—an area called Tamil Nadu. Up until then I had only used point-and-shoot cameras on my travels. I had a lot to learn; it was for serious photographers. I was the only textile person; however, we did visit a silk weaving business that had jacquard looms weaving silk saris. I bought a simple one that is wonderfully iridescent.
One day we had free time and Bob and I hired a “took-took” to take us to a village to look in the antique shops—more like junk shops—so they were interesting. In a cabinet with a glass door, I saw what looked to me like a bunch of decorative tapes or ribbons. There was a lot of gold patterning on these very long things. I asked to see them and thought they would be great for my scrolls that I was going to make when I got home. There was a large, framed photograph showing how they used to be worn which interested me mildly. Bob did the bargaining, and I came home with 7 different ones.
When we got to the hotel, a woman told me that they were called angavasthram. I wrote down the word and that was it.
The owner of the little weaving factory knew more and said that they were special, and I could not cut them up. That was that.
At the hotel outside our room were a few old photographs of men wearing the angavasthram! We took pictures of the photos in their frames, so they aren’t very clear but enough to see how important men wore them. I haven’t found much on the internet, except that it seems that this was unique to this area of India and worn by Brahmin.

This is what I saw in the junk shop.

So, I did make a scroll after all. I discovered that the inside was as interesting as the outside.

On the wall at The Bangala Hotel (A Traditional Chettinad Home), Tamil Nadu State, Southern India

This photo looked like a family photo with only the men wearing the anvagasthram.

On the wall at The Bangala Hotel (A Traditional Chettinad Home), Tamil Nadu State, Southern India

Another family photo I presume. I wonder if the different arrangements mean anything other than “taste”.  I also wonder about the bands on the foreheads, shoulders, arms and chest.

On the wall at The Bangala Hotel (A Traditional Chettinad Home), Tamil Nadu State, Southern India

Even this little boy gets to wear one. Notice that it is dragging on the floor in the back.