Off to Japan Again!

I leave on May 5 and return May 30! The map shows where we’ll be travelling which is all new territory for Cathy Cerny and me. We’ll be more in the countryside (I think) this time. We fly into Tokyo at Narita Airport and soon take off to the north for Nagaoka after one day to visit our most favorite places and regroup. I marked our locations on the map with black spots. You will notice that there will be a lot of area to cover in 3 1/2 weeks. We’ll be staying in 10 hotels including our two times in Tokyo. At the end we have 5 nights in Tokyo for some time to revisit places and a flea market. We’ll be joined by two friends of Cathy for about a week or so and that will help a lot with translating and company. Otherwise it will be just Cathy and me. She did all the research for textile workshops, studios, shops and museums along the way.

I am almost packed to leave in the morning. We can ship our big suitcases ahead to the next town and they will be waiting at our next hotel! This makes travelling in Japan really easy. We only have our carry-on bags with us on the train or when we have a hotel for just one night. Obviously I still wish that I could get a private jet everywhere but we can’t always get what we want can we!

Anyway, I hope you can keep up with us (and that I can, too)!

Japan Tour 2017 – Day 15

Day 15. Another wonderful day in Kyoto and we relaxed after a tiring day with a free drink at the hotel.

Cathy after 3 hours at the flea market on Sunday.

The flea market was really crowded on a hot day.

This booth of textiles was a mess but most were more organized. We had to check out every one–probably 100 or so.

Rolls and rolls of fabrics. Most booths had a specialty. I bought mostly small one-meter fragments of old silk fabrics taken from old kimonos. Everything fit in my suitcase up to the brim. What I will do after the flea market in Tokyo I don’t know.

This is a Starbucks where we thought we’d rest up. It was jammed but it felt good to sit down and watch the people.

Young Weavers on the Way

Camp Weavers 6
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]
Camp Weavers 9
Camp Weavers 3

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.
Camp Weavers 7
Camp Weavers 2Camp Weavers 8
Camp Weavers 4

I Am Inspired    

Peggy's Sleepy Notes

I was greatly inspired by the Kay Sekimachi exhibit and the whole TSA symposium. During the night when I got home I kept getting ideas. There were 30 notes beside my bed when I woke up the next morning! On the bus trip I made about 20 more notes. I’m determined to spend a lot of time now working and working in my studio.


This is a video of a book I had made as my Christmas present to my friend in our Women’s Circle. She loves snowy owls and wolves. I ran into Martha McCoy who had her kindergarten class make this book with a story about owls and a wolf. Martha then made this video of the book. I think it’s wonderful–not weaving, but part of my holiday.

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.