Japanese Spool Winders

Old Japanese Spool Winder (click to enlarge)

I have had this old spool winder for years–but the arm to guide the thread onto the spool was missing.

New Arm on Old Winder

A friend made a new arm complete with tiny wooden pegs to attach it. When I bought it I loved all the gears. I tried to use it a few years ago, but without the guiding arm it was almost impossibly tedious to both turn the crank and guide the silk onto the spool.

New Spool Winder

So, I bought a new one from Habu Textiles in New York. It’s that winder I used for the skein that took a month to spool off. (see previous post) In the end, I sent the remaining skeins to Habu to spool off. I have several old wooden spools. they look lovely with silk thread wound on them just as they are.

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.

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.”

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.


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.


Silk Cocoons (white and colored)

Silk cocoons (click to enlarge)

Since I’ve been working with silk threads, people have asked about silk worms and silk cocoons. Here are some cocoons I brought from my studio. You can see one where the silkworm escaped leaving the cocoon so it can’t be unwound because it isn’t intact. The others are whole. The colored cocoons were dyed at a place I visited in Japan. We reeled the silk off of blue and yellow cocoons and the company knitted up the thread

Colored cocoons, green scarf

into the green scarf in the photo. In another post I’ll send pictures of mereeling green silk from blue and yellow cocoons. The gold  silk I previously unwound from a skein onto a Japanese spool is the natural color of the cocoon. A friend sent it to me from Cambodia. One fine strand of silk is made from unreeling many cocoons together at once. These fine threads are what I used in the pieces in the  gallery.


Joey played with my silk thread!

Joey investigating spool (click to enlarge)
Joey scratching his cheek

I have two cats–this morning  I heard scratching noises by my spools of silk thread. I have wound two more spools and each one has a thread sticking out from it. Joey was trying to get at one of the threads! Yikes, I said and covered them up. He kept hanging around, wondering where his precious thread-toy had gone!. After all my work, having a cat snarl the threads up again would have been awful. Molly is seen investigating the first spool on a previous post.

I’ve been winding more of these lovely Japanese spools from cones of fine silk. They are so nice to look at–“thread-sculptures”, really.


Silk spools are the thing!

Silk spool (click to enlarge)

I’ve been showing people the  spool of silk thread that I made from that skein which took a month to unwind. (See a previous post.) They love the full spool as it is–as a work of art. I’m beginning to love it, too. I’ve been worrying about what I can weave that will be as beautiful as the silk. Now my thinking is to weave something, but leave a lot on a spool because it’s beautiful that way. The silk came from Cambodia–the gold color is the color of the cocoons–the threads are c9omposed of 20 or more filaments (cocoons). The thread is slightly slubby and many were stuck together with the sericin from the silk worm.  This is what makes it so lovely, I think.