Little Indigo Pieces

Indigo Book Pages
Click to enlarge

I’m thinking of making a book with small pages of my own woven cloth dyed in indigo with clamp resist. The cloth is sheer silk I wove in a crepe weave. It is flat when it is woven and doesn’t crinkle up until it gets wet. Sometimes I wet the cloth before dying and sometimes I let it crinkle when it got wet in the dye vat. This is great fun. The pieces are mounted on small pieces of cloth about 4 1/2″ square. I love these little miniature patches and can’t wait to begin stitching them down.

My Own Large Boro

Boro Peggy's Big
I arranged all the cloth pieces I’ve been dying in the indigo vats from Yoshiko Wada’s Boro workshop to make my own large “boro futon cover”. All the pieces are pinned to a flannel sheet on my pin up wall. Now, the hard part comes: how to get it off to stitch it to a backing fabric. I’m thrilled with the whole process and can’t wait to start stitching.

Peggy’s Show at the Larkspur Library

DSC00975Nationally, people have known me for my teaching and instructional books about the art and techniques of weaving for 35 years. Few people knew that I was creating art pieces during this long period of time. Now I fee it is time to share my work with art lovers.

I have been interested lately in weaving sheer cloth. When I went to Japan in 2013, I wanted to make something that would show how sheer I could weave cloth. That is how I got the idea of weaving my bookmarks. I enclosed them in a package because I knew that the wrapping of gifts is very important to the Japanese. I received a lot of very good feedback.

 In Japan, I fell in love with a book that had gorgeous holes in the pages where bookworms had eaten the paper. I treasure that book today. I brought home other books with interesting calligraphy that  I thought I might use somehow with my weaving. It was a long time before I realized that my bookmarks would be perfect with their pages. Some of the pages are poetry and some are practice pages for brushwork for calligraphy.  

I love old textiles for the home, too, and grew up with rag rugs  in my mother’s home. When I saw these rag balls in an antique store on Bleeker Street in New York, I was completely smitten and had to have them. I can image the woman who carefully cut the strips and hand stitched the lengths together and them wound these tight balls. All this was in preparation for weaving a rag rug.

I hesitated to unwind the balls to weave a whole rug, but wove these small pieces. I loved handling the “rags” of old, vintage cloth. I added my personal touch  by weaving in horse hair, a material I have been using in recent work.
[click first photo to enlarge]

My Shawl is Finally Done!

Peggy Osterkamp
Peggy Osterkamp (pattern by Stephen West)


I finished the shawl last night–there were dozens of tails of yarn that had to be woven in. It would have been finished a month ago, but I started another project right after the knitting was done. Since I will wear it tomorrow night I had to address all the tails now. It took a few night’s work.

I’m pleased with it: the color, the softness, and it stays in place so nicely. The yarn is 30% Silk / 30% Super Baby Alpaca / 30% Extrafine Merino Wool.

Back to the loom now!


Peggy Osterkamp
Peggy Osterkamp (pattern by Stephen West)

More “Bookmarks”

Woven Bookmark - Peggy Osterkamp - click to enlarge
Bookmark Hanging – Peggy Osterkamp



Before I left for Greece I wanted to weave off the warp that was on the loom. I decided to make more bookmarks. [see original bookmark post here] I thought they could be given as special gifts in case someone might be interested in a show. You can see the white wefts I made for the cutting lines. Midway through I thought about trying a black weft and brown horse hair then decided I liked the white better.

When I took the warp off, there wasn’t time to cut so I just pinned it up on my wall–then I thought I liked it the way it was–with none of them cut apart.

So much for planning. that’s the way I like to do it–try something I think will work and see what happens.  Then I said “Oh, that’s the way it is.”




Bookmark Hanging 1

Knitting’s Coming Along with Joey’s Help

Knitted Shawl - Peggy Osterkamp
Knitted Shawl – Peggy Osterkamp

Here’s a progress report of the shawl I began on March 1. (This is only the back). It’s 12 inches long and I’m now binding off with an I-cord binding. Then the stitches on the two sides will be picked up and knitted. Joey often sits beside me when I’m knitting before bedtime.
I am having the time of my life–loving it. I can’t believe all this knitting was done on #1 needles!

Knitting with Joey - Peggy Osterkamp
Knitting with Joey – Peggy Osterkamp


Yet Another Color Class

Peggy Osterkamp’s color class watercolor – click to enlarge

I’m taking a color class for ordinary people in an Osher Lifetime Learning class at Sonoma State. It’s mainly for people to be able to put colors together in their own lives–clothes, furnishings, etc. I’ve taken dozens of color classes and hoped this would help mesh all the rules I’ve learned. It has. The teacher is a quilter but she knows how to teach people who have no innate talent for color. Last week we talked about Intensity–and its two aspects. Saturation is how much dye there is (weak or strong) and also how “clean or dirty” the color is.

The page from a book by Gunta Stolzl that I used as my example - click to enlarge
The page from a book by Gunta Stolzl that I used as my example – click to enlarge

When everyone else in the world was watching the Super bowl I went to my studio and tried to paint light colors (unsaturated) as well as a little bit “muddy”–not kindergarten colors. It was fun. I found a page to copy in a book by Gunta Stolzl. It was a challenge to try to mix my paint to match her colors. You can see I didn’t get nearly light enough. Oh well, the next time. My next assignment to myself is to try different values of colors mixed with their complements. She didn’t use the word complements but said they were mixtures of the other 2 primaries. These should be neutrals or colors that are not easy to name.

Photo Shoots of My Weaving

TSA Show Photo John Shooting VeilsOver the holidays I spent a lot of effort getting my entry ready to send to the jury for the Textile Society of America show. There were two photo shoots and much work on getting the entry just right. I submitted two days before the deadline. What a relief! I sent in 3 entries: “Four Veils”, “Heart Sutra No. 1” and “Heart Sutra No. 2” along with details of each.

[click photos to enlarge]

The first photo shows the set up for photographing “Four Veils”. A lot of care was taken to get the lighting just right.

131205-0011 copy

This photo shows me fiddling at the last minute.
TSA Show Photo John with Japanese PrintThe second shoot was for two of the pieces I did on pages from an old, dilapidated Japanese book. Again, to get them to show up in their frames took special lighting. I’m thrilled with how well the two pieces look. Wish me luck with the jurors. I’ll hear in March. The show will be in September in Los Angeles.Heart_Sutra_no2_Osterkamp_55Heart_Sutra_no1_Osterkamp_21

Peggy’s Weaving Snippets in CD Cases

CD Case 1

CD Case 3My holiday gift shopping is done! My first weaving teacher told us to keep every scrap weever wove. I sort of have–at least saved the sheer scraps I’ve woven. I put them in CD cases and voila!  I like to have the pieces seen from the front and the back so you can see through them, but you could put a paper behind them as a mat. I found an inexpensive easel. They can stand alone or be hung on a nail on the wall.

CD Case 2


Sheer Silk Weaving on a Monk’s Prayer

Weaving and japanese page
This is my first piece using one of the books I got in Japan. It is falling apart, so I don’t worry about taking pages from it. I understand it is a book of Monks’ prayers—or it may be just one prayer, I don’t know. I used two adjacent pages for this piece.

I wanted to show how sheer my pieces are. There are two that overlap in the center. The top piece was partially wetted to collapse. The upper part shows how it was woven.

Creating Again: Finally

Pieces on Blue Runner
> click to enlarge

I haven’t created anything since before my trip to Japan in May. In June I had a knee replacement—so finally, I got into my studio yesterday to play around. I’ve been wanting to use scraps of my sheer fabric, but not sure what I would do. I played around, wanting to show how transparent the pieces are. I pinned them up on my wall where my blue table runner was hanging to see what my composition was like. It really looked good on the runner, so I sewed the pieces in place with a few tiny stitches. I had to use the thread I wove them with because sewing thread was too heavy.

I have loved this runner for a long time—finally it can be shown. (It did win a competition many years ago and was in an international show.)

It’s woven with two linen warps used together as one in a dense, warp faced twill. I ironed it very flat using a rolling pin on a breadboard when it was damp from the washing machine. I think you can see the flattened threads when you click to enlarge. I was inspired by Lia Cook’s flattened textiles she made years ago. I think I made this in 1982. (Yikes! That’s over 30 years ago!) It was to be for my mother-in-law but I knew she wouldn’t appreciate it so I never gave it to her!

Weaving with Rose Canes

Rose Canes Woven in Silk Peggy Osterkamp - click to enlarge
Rose Canes Woven in Silk
Peggy Osterkamp
– click to enlarge

I have wanted to combine thorny rose canes with the sheer silk from the beginning of this warp. Kept trying fleeces with no luck and finally I got back to my original idea. I found nice, thin, curvy stems and a few dead blossoms in the bags of cuttings I got when the gardener pruned the rose bushes in January. It looks nice on the wrong side when you see the curved lines through the sheer cloth. From the right side the twigs look fairly thorny and wild. I think it has the feeling of a black and white line drawing. Of course it is a tube.

Woven Bookmarks by Peggy Osterkamp

Woven Bookmarks  - Peggy Osterkamp - click to enlarge
Woven Bookmarks
– Peggy Osterkamp
– click to enlarge

Here I am again with more tubes. I needed gifts for my upcoming trip to Japan and wanted to use the warp I’ve been working on. This time I wove in horse hair. I tried black but liked the creamy white better. I also have brown horse hair but didn’t think I would like it. The challenge or inspiration was how to make bookmarks when the warp is about 4 inches wide. Each one is woven about 2 ½” high. The supplementary warp holds the horse hair inside the tube and it floats inside when not securing the horse hair. What fun it was when the inspiration struck when I had 5 minutes of quiet in our hot tub just before water aerobics class.

My New Weaving (part 2)

Peggy Osterkamp - Rose Buds - click to enlarge
Peggy Osterkamp – Rose Buds – click to enlarge

More things I’ve inserted in my weaving. The rose buds and canes I collected when the gardeners pruned the roses where I live. The buds were dried on the stems.

Peggy Osterkamp Pomegranet Twigs - click to enlarge
Peggy Osterkamp
Pomegranet Twigs
– click to enlarge

The twigs were trimmings from a pomegranet tree. I thought the lichen on the stems went with the pink sewing thread wefts.

More tubes and supplementary warp. This type of supplementary warp I learned to call “split broche”. The threads lie in the middle of the sheds just like floating selvedges do. You put the shuttle over the threads if you don’t want them on top of the cloth. You put the shuttle under them to put them on top. And I usually weave with them in the middle of the layers and only bring them up when needed for tie-downs.

I wanted to try some color and thought the pinks would blend with the white warp threads. I used light, medium and darker pinks to try to create depth in the cloth–a la Randall  Darwall.

My New Weaving (part 1)

Rose Hips 2
Peggy Osterkamp – Rose Hips – click to enlarge
Moire with Rose Hips - click to enlarge
Peggy Osterkamp – Moire with Rose Hips
– click to enlarge

Finally I’ve woven something I like! After my show in January, it’s been hard to get going again. I’ve been trying to weave “out-of-the-box” and for February and March nothing pleased me. I was trying to incorporate locks of fleece. Everything was ugly–oh, one small part looks all right but it isn’t a composition…yet.

I cut lots of rose hip stems and really like them. In the second piece I was interested in the shapes of the stems–then I looked at it from the back–voila! Lovely shadows plus the moire that I’ve been trying for.

I’m still weaving tubes on my 4-shaft loom. I have a supplementary warp that is threaded between the heddles. Those are the threads that hold the rose hips. They are weighted separately so I can slip extra things under them as needed.

I love making the tubes and only using 4 shafts. For the moire, I need certain shafts for the top and bottom layers. When I want one side to be a different color from the other I use other shafts for the top and bottom layers. 4 treadles: I just dance a different dance.

Optical Mixing in a Woven Table Runner

ALO Runner - Close Up - Peggy Osterkamp
ALO Runner – Close Up
Peggy Osterkamp
click to enlarge

A few weeks ago our guild had a speaker who explained the theory of optical mixing. When I got home, I noticed I’d been doing that without knowing it for a long time. I kept finding pieces that were examples of taking two colors and mixing them to form a third color. I was excited to see several examples so decided to do a study group after our next meeting to discuss optical mixing and show some examples.

I’m also going to talk a bit about using complementary colors. The table runner is woven of oranges and blues.

ALO Runner - Corner Detail - Peggy Osterkamp
ALO Runner – Corner Detail
Peggy Osterkamp – click to enlarge

There is so much to learn about color theory that I get overwhelmed easily and not much sticks in my brain so I just want to talk about these two subjects.

This runner I wove for my mother-in-law but I knew she wouldn’t appreciate it so I never gave it to her. It’s one of my very favorite pieces. The linen fabric is thick because I put together the two warps from a previous double weave project into a single layer.

ALO Runner - Peggy Osterkamp
ALO Runner
Peggy Osterkamp
click to enlarge

I ironed it hard with a rolling pin on a bread board while it was damp. I love the weight, the sheen, and the subtle colors.

The idea of putting two warps together as a single layer happened when I was sampling for making some table runners. I ran out of color combinations to try, so just wove the warps together for a warp face structure where the warp was completely hidden. It still made a thick cloth which I wanted and I loved the way the two warp colors mixed.

My New Knitting Project


from "Ori Ami Knits" © 2010 Vanessa Yap-Einbund [click to enlarge]
from “Ori Ami Knits”
© 2010 Vanessa Yap-Einbund
[click to enlarge]
I’m having fun knitting this necklace out of the stainless steel/silk yarns (threads?) from Habu Textiles in New York. The pattern is from a book using Habu yarns: “Ori Ami Knits”. I had to learn to do “short rows” and it is fun learning something new (and easy). I had yarn left from my sweater then needed a second strand of another color for the necklace so needed another cone. I guess this is how a stash begins.

A Weaver’s Knitted Sweater

Peggy Osterkamp’s Knitted Sweater
> click to enlarge

I love to knit mindlessly (or nearly so). This sweater I knitted using stainless steel and silk thread and cotton yarn. The yarns and pattern are from Habu Textiles in New York. If you don’t know them, please check the web for amazing things. I thought it would take a year but I’m now sewing the pieces together having begun the knitting in September. It was easy—all stockinet and easy to keep track of the rows for shaping. I hope to wear it to the opening of my show which is on January 8. We’ll see. At first I thought it would be too small, then too large. You can’t tell anything until you start sewing it together and trying it on the body. I think it will be just fine. I can’t decide yet whether to sew the side seams or let them loose. The stainless steel/silk yarn has a wild mind of its own. Any thoughts? Also, I’m not sure if I’ll block the stainless part—so far I only blocked the cotton areas.

A Weaving Failure

A Weaving Failure –
Peggy Osterkamp
-click to enlarge

This is going to be the first time I’ve given up on a project. I was careless again and let the find threads tangle again. I spent a lot of time working on a few tangles, then when more appeared, I decided to give up. I think I’ll keep the warp—10 yards and see what I might do with it off of the loom. If I wet it, it will shrink and shrivel and tangle more—I may try to control the tangles. Anyhow, I want to get another ruffle warp going and can’t wait to fool around anymore with this “thing”.

A friend who is a writer mentioned the value of fallow time—I think that’s what’s going on with me. I’ve been working a lot on the show and the holidays so have given up going to the studio and working at the loom everyday. It’s quite a relief not to push every minute. This is something new for me and I rather like it.

Remember: “The only thread that can’t tangle is one under tension!”  I won’t let it happen the next time!

Weaving with Weighted Selvedge Threads

I weight my selvedge threads separately almost always. I learned from Jim Ahrens that you could use stronger threads for the selvedges when you want to weave with fragile warp threads. I’ve shown the knot I use to hold the weights in many workshops and in two of my books, but it is wonderful to have a video so you can see the motions of my hands. You might still need the diagrams in the books, but I think this is a big help. The books are: Weaving for Beginners and Weaving & Drafting Your Own Cloth. Both have a whole chapter devoted just to selvedges.

Weaving the Ruffle

Weaving the Ruffle – Peggy Osterkamp > click to enlarge

Here is a close-up of what the ruffle I’m weaving is supposed to look like. Who knows, I may vary it, but this is the plan. I’ve woven ½ of it so far—74”. I’m enjoying it and the patience needed as well. I have to check for symptoms pretty often to catch a broken thread or let down the selvedge threads, etc. (I usually weight my selvedges separately.) The weft is so fine that it breaks when I pull the shuttle out of the shed fairly frequently. I thought about putting in a colored thread to mark all the weft breaks, but it became too cumbersome. I do repair the warp threads with a blue sewing thread. It gives a little variation, but it makes it so I can see what I am doing.

Peggy Weaving a Sheer Ruffle

Peggy Weaving a Sheer Ruffle – click to enlarge

The weaving is going along slowly. The fine, fine weft breaks, a warp thread breaks. But the warp is OK and didn’t tangle, thank goodness. There are 491 ends in about 5” width for 96 ends in an inch. The threading photo shows most of the threads treaded through the heddles. It was a 10-hour job. I was careful and there were no threading mistakes! Hooray! The 12-dent reed has 8 ends per dent. Repairing a broken warp thread is a serious issue. It would be impossible if I didn’t have the lease sticks in behind the heddles. They allow me to track where the thread belongs and find the exact heddle required.