Young Weavers on the Way

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Camp Weavers 5When people come to my studio, they usually comment on the seven Structo looms sitting on a high shelf. I always thought I was collecting them to teach classes in my studio—to the adults I am comfortable with. Instead I took them to an outdoor day camp a week ago. I was completely smitten by the little boys and girls and they were smitten with weaving. Setting up the looms was done ahead of time in my studio by campers and young counsellors. It was amazing to me how the little ones could follow directions and do what I showed them how to do. They measured out the warps (3 yards), threaded the reed and heddles (You won’t believe it but we warped Front-to Back), beamed the warps, even tied on. Some of the small hands couldn’t push the levers for 1&3, 2&4, so did 1&2 and 3&4 which worked out just fine. One or two began thinking of other combinations.
They took their weaving home in CD cases I had on hand. [click photos to enlarge]
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To set up the looms Front-to-Back, I had to have a couple of my books open to certain pages placed around the room. Patricia Townsend who teaches that method to high school students wrote the chapter and planned the illustrations. I have to say all my questions were clearly answered and the steps clearly accessible and understandable. I can now see why it is easier to teach. For these little looms and short warps, it was the right way to go. Her chapter is in my book, Weaving for Beginners where there are also a chapters on rigid heddle looms and hand manipulated structures—all written by experts because I only know Back-to-Front thoroughly. The computer chapter was written by Nancy Alegria and Debra Holcomb.There is another camp coming up this week. You can think of me under the trees with these great kids.
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Helen’s Double Weave Afghan

Helen’s Afghan and Joey on Peggy Osterkamp’s Couch
> click to enlarge

Another “Helen” treasure is this afghan she made for me. These were her specialty and she always made two on a warp–each as different as she could make them. They were always made for someone and given away. You had to ask for one unless you were family and got one automatically. She had these on her loom when I first knew her until a short time before she died–probably 40 years. She tied on the new warps and never threaded but the first time. It was really complicated; I helped her fix some broken threads once. It took 15 shafts.

Woven Bookmarks

Helen Pope’s Bookmarks [click to enlarge]

As the days get dark earlier, different things show up in my apartment when the lights are on. I noticed this piece shimmering with the light from my floor lamp. It looked beautiful and more dramatic than ever before.

These are bookmarks woven by my mentor, Helen Pope, when she was around 93 or 94. They are all on one warp. She loved threading an overshot pattern and experimenting with as many different patterns as she could think of. The warp is 20/2 cotton and the pattern wefts are a couple of strands of embroidery floss. She was a beloved member in my weaving class and she brought this arrangement along with evergreen boughs for the table for our Christmas party one year. I was bold enough later to ask her if I could have it. She said, “Peggy, you ask for too much.” But she did give it to me and I treasure it.

Click HERE for more on Helen Pope.