It’s Surprising What You Can Find Out from Mr. Google!

Introduction:
I realize I should explain more about my sale in November.  Online sales will probably be available AFTER the sale is over. The reason I’m talking so much about it here on the blog is that is what is consuming me now. And I’m finding it really interesting and exciting, really, to see things I have stored away and to revisit their stories. I hope you’ll bear with me on this adventure. I’ll also be selling (for very, very little) my own work. I look forward to enjoying knowing who the new owners of my treasures are. I hope to goodness it all works out. For some of my special treasures from my travels I’ve even engaged an appraiser.

I was wondering where in the world my blouse from the Philippines could be because I wanted it for my sale coming up. Well, the big surprise was that it turned up in with my stack of ikat textiles from Uzbekistan!! You wonder??? It was balled up and bound with a rubber band! I guess that was it because was so stiff and took up so much space. I remembered it so well—we found it in a junk shop on the last day of our trip to the Philippines.

It was a mess and I needed to iron it, but how? So, to the internet and of course I found it right away. I think the fiber is abaca (not pina, pineapple fiber). Never iron when dry only damp on cotton setting, and then how to iron the sleeves?? It worked perfectly and was so fun to see this miserable wad turning into something so flashy. My sleeves aren’t perfect, but they’ll do for the first attempt. They are sometimes called butterfly sleeves. I think of them as Imelda Marcos sleeves.

You can see my original post about buying the blouse on the post for March 3, 2016.


Silk is silk is silk – or not? – A Guest Post by Giovanna Imperia

We all love to weave with silk! It is such an incredible fiber: soft, supple, yet very strong
and with great aging stability.
However, not all silk is the same. Starting at a high level, silk can be classified based
on the moth type and the yarn construction. Below is a good way to visualize the
differences:

Muga silk is also produced by a specific type of Antheraea moth (Antheraea
assamensis) exclusively in Assam, India. It is very rare and is highly sought after
because of its warm golden color and sheen.

Reeled silk
Cocoons are placed into hot water and filaments from several cocoons are pulled
together and reeled. This produces a continuous multi-strand yarn. A number of multistrand
yarns are then plyed together to create the desired yarn size.
The filament from the cocoon is covered in sericin — which is a protein gelatin produced
by the silk worm to bind filaments while making the cocoon (Think of it as worm spit). It
is not removed from the filaments being reeled to add strength and minimize breakage.
Both Bombyx and Tussah silk are available as reeled yarns. They are both very strong.
The nice thing about Tussah is that it can withstand high torsion due to its natural
strength. So, it is possible to achieve high TPMs (Twist Per Meter) when creating crepe
yarns. A good example is the Italian silk crepe that Lunatic Fringe currently sells. The
base yarn is partly degummed Tussah silk. The Italian mill that I used to source the
yarn was able to apply 1800 TPMs — making this a very tight over-twisted yarn with a
lot of elasticity that can be used as warp.
One word about degumming. This is the chemical process that removes the sericin
from the silk. Degumming improves sheen and softens the silk, making it easier to dye.
However, degumming also removes the protective layer of sericin that adds strength
and protects the silk from abrasion. Partial degumming is an attempt to take
advantages of both sides of the chemical process: remove some sericin to soften the
yarn, but retain some to maintain the strength needed for high torsion.
In my experience, undegummed or partially degummed silks are the best as warp. The
long filaments rarely break under tension or due to friction. The sericin can be removed
after the weaving process to achieve a softer, more drapeable fabric.
Because reeled silk is a continuous multi-strand yarn, it does not pill or fuzz with use.

Examples of reeled and handspun silk.
Bottom row from left:
2/260 partially degummed natural ivory tussah (Japan, from Lunatic Fringe), handspun tussah (Japan, from Habu Textiles), naturally yellow reeled tussah (Laos).
Top row from left:

two handspun tussah skeins in natural brown (Japan), reeled bombyx in natural white (Japan, from Habu Textiles)

Examples of spun silk with even and uneven ply.
Top: spun handdyed variegated silk with even ply (China, Red Fish).
Top left: hand spun handdyed, slubby uneven ply (US).
Bottom left: tram handdyed organzine silk (Source unknown, dyed by Randy Darwell) . Cone on the left: bleached spun tussah uneven ply (Italy). Cone in the middle: recombed spun tussah organzine (Italy). Cone on the right: silk shantung loose ply


Spun silk
Most spun silk commercially available today comes from China. In Italy, where the
production of silk has essentially disappeared, many mills import the fiber from China
and then ply and dye the yarn in Italy. This allows the Italian mills to maintain their
quality controls while benefiting from lower production costs.
Once the first quality silk is reeled from the intact cocoons, the reminder as well as the
damaged or pierced cocoons are used to produce a variety of styles of spun silk.
Sericin is first removed from the silk waste. Next the fiber is carded and spun.
Generally speaking, spun silk tends to be weaker, more fuzzy and less durable than
reeled silk because it is produced from shorter fibers. It is also important to consider
how the fiber is being plyed: an uneven or slubby ply will make the yarn weaker, and
more difficult to use as a warp.
Not all the spun silk is the same. Since it is produced from the silk waste, different types
of yarn are actually produced. For instance, here in the US we are very familiar with
Shantung and Noil (In Europe also called Bourette due to its knobby appearance).

However, in Europe spun silk also includes another grouping called “Schappe”. This
type of spun silk is actually a higher quality than Shantung or Noil. In fact, Shantung silk
is typically produced with whatever is left over after the production of Schappe silk.

All three types of spun silk can be used in a similar fashion. The difference between
them is mostly in terms of sheen, and smoothness of the yarn — with Schappe being
the smoothest, most consistent and with the greatest sheen.


Let’s summarize:
• Reeled silk is a continuous multi-strand yarn. Very strong. Smooth with no
imperfections. Bombyx is high sheen. Tussah is more rustic. Reeled silk does not
fuzz or pill. If undegummed, unlikely to be affected by abrasion.
• Spun silk is produced from the silk waste. Short fibers that are always degummed
before carding and spinning. Some are spun with intentional imperfections. Not as
strong. Not high sheen. More sensitive to abrasion, and over time it fuzzes and pills.
• Warp yarn:
• Tight and balanced ply
• Undegummed or partially degummed yarn
• Spun silk with longer fibers
• Weft yarns:
• Unbalanced ply with slubs
• Loose ply such as tram silk
• Spun silk from very short fibers
Shantung
• Originated in the Shandong province in China
• Spun from whatever is left over
• Purposely stubby and uneven
• Often confused with Dupioni
• More refined texture than Dupioni with smaller slubs and
less stiffness
Schappe
• Spun from the higher quality short filaments after the
cocoons have been reeled, and from cocoons where the
moth has emerged thus damaging the continuous filament
of the cocoon
• Irregularities are removed from the fiber yielding a smooth,
regular, high sheen yarn


Bio
At a very young age I became fascinated by the textures and visual and tactile
experiences provided by certain materials such as fiber and metal. Over time, I also
became intrigued with the possibilities created by the interaction between structure,
techniques and material manipulation as a way of creating texture and threedimensionality.
In my most recent body of work I have taken the tactile experience a
step further by creating work that can actively involve the user as transforming agent.
This is achieved by allowing the viewer to manipulate, reshape and reconfigure the
work. Thus, transforming wearables and non-wearables into unique personal
statements.
My work has been shown in many juried and invitational national and international
exhibits. Selected work has also been reproduced in textile and jewelry books, and
can be found in private and museum collections.
Over the years, I have written articles for Ornament Magazine, Strands, Handwoven,
Shuttle, Spindle and Depot, and a variety of international braiding conferences
proceedings. And, of course, I am the author of the book “Kumihimo wire jewelry.”
Published by Potter Craft (Random House), 2011.
Many of the yarns discussed in this blog are available from Lunatic Fringe Yarns (https://
lunaticfringeyarns.com). As I have been sourcing yarns in Italy over the last decade or
so, I have built a collection of interesting spun silk. If you are interested in expanding
your collection, I can be reached at giovannaimperia@mac.com


CNCH Vendors Post

Introduction:
CNCH (Conference of Northern California Handweavers) was last weekend. There was a whole lot of excitement and energy for the exhibits, Tableau (fashion show), classes, and vendors. I had a booth and bonded with the other vendors. Here is who else had booths and enticing things to sell. I didn’t sell anything but visited with a lot of weavers, friends, and enthusiastic new weavers. It was thrilling to meet up with so many who knew of my books, blog, and also my name!

Amazing Yarns is located in Redwood City in the Bay Area. The shop specializes in unusual hand spun and hand painted yarns and classes. They also have hand dyed yarns for knitting, weaving, crocheting and roving and fleece for spinning, dyeing and felting.  www.Amazingyarn.com. Phone 650-306-9218


Carpool showed a lot of beautifully dyed yarns and fiber. I asked about the company name: a lot of travels caused it. They can be found on facebook.com/lisamendezmakesthings. Lisa dyes all the yarns! 773-507-8582


Ephemera Creations had beautiful “small batch hand dyed yarn”.  They are dyed in Humboldt County, California. The photo of the booth says it all. www.ephemeracreations.com. Instagram & Facebook: @ephemera.creations.


Eugene Textile Center had a large booth that looked just like a store. You name it, they had it: Yarns, books, looms, spinning wheels, tools, and everything a fiber person would like. The store is at 2750 Roosevelt Blvd., Eugene, OR  97402.  Phone: 541-688-1565. info@eugenetextilecenter.com     www.EugeneTextileCenter.com


Featherweight Finery sold vibrant handcrafted Jewelry all made by Sue Toorans. ”Elegant enough for a night on the town, comfortable enough to wear all day.” Sue@FeatherweightFinery.com . www.FeatherweightFinery.com  on Facebook and Instagram as Featherweight Finery.


Lunatic Fringe Yarns. “Unique Yarns for Unique People!” They are known for Tubular Spectrum yarns in all the colors on the color wheel. Their newest line is “GevolveYarns. They are from the unique collection of Giovanna Imperia. www.lunaticfringeyarns.com. Phone: 800-483-8749


Peggy Osterkamp. I had my booth to visit with old and new weavers, colleagues, and students. The large pieces on the back wall are examples of textiles in my collection which I will be selling in the future. www.PeggyOsterkamp.com. Instagram at PEGGYOSTER and on Facebook.


There is a Big Chapter on Adjusting Looms in My Back in Print Book

Order your copy of Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps HERE

Introduction:
The chapter is comprehensive, but I want to give a glance at what is there. Much more information is required to fully understand how various looms work and are adjusted. This is just a short introduction.

Part 2: Preview of How Looms Work

Variations of Jack and Rising Shaft Looms

These looms have shafts that only move up when treadles are pressed. The top of the shed is made by lifting shafts and the bottom of the shed is where the warp threads rest and remain unmoved. Any number of shafts can be lifted: from on to all-but-one, making this loom favorite of American weavers because of this flexibility.

Often, but not always, the mechanism for lifting the shafts is a “jack”—a lever with a pivot in the middle. The levers work like a balance scale in that when one side of the lever (jack) is pulled down by a treadle, the other end goes up and lifts or pushes the shafts upward. Jacks can be under the shafts or above them. Usually there are two jacks for each shaft, one at each end. 


Sinking Shaft Looms

A few looms are made so the shafts go down when the treadles are pressed. The weight of the foot on the treadles keeps the bottom of the shed flat. I’ve only seen one sinking shaft loom: it was my first loom, and it was homemade.


Counterbalance Looms

When shafts on counterbalance looms are tied to a treadle, the shafts go down when the treadle is pressed and the untreadled shafts automatically go up like a balance scale.


A counterbalance Loom with Horses

There are rollers, pulley, or short bars called horses that are attached so every shaft has a balancing shaft. The action is like a balance scale in that what goes down with the treadle forces a matching set of shafts to rise. Only the shafts that are to be lowered are attached to the treadles.


A Counterbalance loom with Rollers

The weight of the foot on the treadle keeps the bottom of the shed down and forces the top of the shed to stay up. With gravity working on your side to lower the shafts and with the counterbalance action, the shafts can be very lightweight, and you can weave faster and easier. If the loom is deep enough it can make large, clean sheds with the warp under high tension.


A Countermarch Loom

Countermarch systems vary but all of the systems are designed so the shafts are both raised and lowered. The shafts work independently rather than being connected to each other like in counterbalance looms. Between the shafts and the treadles there are two sets of lams, which are levers or bars. The upper set of lams is usually shorter and the lower set of lams, longer.

Most countermarch systems have above each shaft a jack or a pair of jacks (levers with pivots in the middle). When one end of the jack is pulled down, the other end goes up.

The lower set of lams is attached to the jacks overhead, and the upper set of lams is directly attached to the bottoms of the shafts. Think “Long lams lift; short lams sink”

The sheds are made by tying up the treadles so all the shafts that are to be lifted are connected to the lower set of lams, and all the shafts that are to sink are tied to the upper set of lams.

Usually, the lams pivot at the side of the loom (like railroad gates); however, some countermarch systems are designed with lams that are not attached to the side of the loom.


Knots, Knots and More Knots

Introduction:
A couple of years ago my tech guy suggested we make a Kindle booklet on hemstitching since it was the number one inquiry in my weaving tips section on my website. I use it at my loom every time I do hemstitching. The second booklet is on knots—something I thought really would be useful right next to the loom on an iPhone, or other devices.

The slip knot is my absolute favorite knot. I can remember the days when how to tie it was so elusive. It was shown to me over and over but I just didn’t “get” it for a long time.  I guess I learned it by trial and error until it became as familiar as my right hand; my hands knew how to tie it.  It was a big part of the motivation to include a knots chapter in my book, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps.  I wanted to SHOW how it was tied so others could learn it. I’ve included it below. (The whole knots chapter is in the Kindle booklet. See below.)

Slip knot
A slip knot is a temporary knot that secures a single thread or groups of threads. Its  reatest asset is that it can be quickly untied with a jerk with one hand. It’s often used to tie groups of warp ends after they have been threaded in the heddles so they won’t slip out. Every weaver should know the slip knot because it is used so often—whenever you want to secure something temporarily. It’s my favorite knot, and it’s the one I almost  always automatically tie—just in case I’ll need to undo it.

To make a slip knot: To make the first loop, you can use either the tail or the standing end, whichever seems easier to tie in the situation. In this example I’m using the standing end, but you could just as easily make the loop with the tail and proceed as follows.

  1. Make a loop. (I take the standing end over the back of my left hand or over a few fingers and cross the standing end on top of the tail of the string.) Hold where the  hreads cross in a pinch between your thumb and forefinger.
  1. Reach through the loop with the right forefinger and thumb and grasp the standing end and pull it through the loop, so that it makes a loop within the first loop. (If you were to begin the knot with the tail making the first loop, and the tail were being drawn through as the second loop, make sure you pull the tail only part way through, not completely through. If you pulled the tail through, you wouldn’t have the second loop.)
  1. Be sure to tighten the knot until you feel it bite. To do that you pull the loop and the tail in opposite directions.

To release the knot: Just jerk on the end you made the loops with, in this case the standing end.

I made this little booklet so you could have it on your iPhone or other devices. Want to know how to tie a weaver’s knot? There are 3 ways shown as well as “how to undo a weaver’s knot. Of course, square and granny knots are included, as is the lark’s head knot, and other knots for weavers. I like it because you can have it at the loom up close when you need it. The cost is $2.99 and you can order from Amazon.

My Box Project – Seeing Progress, Finally

Introduction:

To make sense of the progress on the loom, check out the post on September 20, 2021, where I show the mockup of the layout for the loom and the box put together. LINK HERE

To see if I could see any progress, I had to take off all the shuttles. It was a challenge to have all 8 shuttles going. And it goes VERY slowly. Just finding which shuttle is next and making sure it enters exactly the right place and isn’t entangled in any of the other wefts is a challenge of patience. When a shuttle falls off onto the floor, it requires some cussing. (When was the last time you heard the word cuss??)


Most of the time two sides are woven separately as I go. The left side has 2 layers. The right side, 3!


To keep track of the weaving I put the sheds on pieces of adding machine tape. For the black and white bands, it takes one piece to weave the white stripe and another for the black. Besides, there is a third layer underneath. The left side has only two layers.


Here you can see where I’ve moved the pin each time a shed has been made. The pin holes help a lot especially when one side or layer gets ahead, and I have to weave only what needs to catch up.


To keep the layers so they all can be beaten in, I needed to be sure the beater was at its perpendicular-to-the-fell position.


Many of the sheds needed clearing. I used a weaving sword a lot to clear. Often, I cleared a shed behind the reed to see which warp threads should be up and which down. Did I mention this went VERY slowly? Checking each shed carefully, keeping track of both sides weaving different things, and getting the proper shuttle took an amazing amount of patience. I guess one gets into a zone and just goes along. I felt this must be what a tapestry weaver does.


The biggest shed is always closest to the reed. That helped a great deal.


My Box Project Has Begun! Two Warps on Kitesticks

Introduction:

One previous post shows how to wind the warp onto a kitestick rather than make a chain. Check out the post which was published on May 29, 2020. Whether you warp back to front like I do, or the other way doesn’t matter. A kitestick keeps the threads under tension so they can’t tangle.

Today I feel that my box project is really underway. I made the two linen warps for the 4 layers I will need. They are waiting to be loaded into a raddle, then beamed onto the warp beam.


For this linen warp I don’t want to play around with twist, so the spools are positioned horizontally with the thread coming off the sides of the spools.


I like to use this counting string that comes out fast with a quick jerk. See the next illustration.


Here is an illustration showing how to crochet the counting string so it will come out quickly. It is from my book, Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle.


Here I’m getting my strings out to tie all the crosses and make choke ties. My students will remember the string box!


I like to color code the ties so one color is on top and another below the pegs. The crosses at the ends of the warp do not need to coordinate in any way. This avoids twists in the warp.


Here I’ve taken the end of the warp off its peg in preparation to wind the kitestick.

What end of the warp to begin winding on the stick depends on whether you warp back-to-front or front-to-back.
If you warp Back-to-front: You start winding from the top of the warp—where the threading cross is. (For me, the bottom of the warp is where the raddle cross is.) You want access to the end for loading the raddle and beaming so it should end up on the outside of the bundle.
If you warp Front-to-back: Begin winding at the end opposite the one with the threading cross. Then the cross is available to you for threading. (The cross  end is on the outside of the bundle.)


My fingers are in the end loop of the warp ready to put it onto the kitestick.


With the loop at the end of the warp, form a lark’s head knot over the stick. Be sure to include the loops of the first and last warp threads when you begin to form the lark’s head knot. Look carefully where my forefinger and thumb are in the illustration. To form the lark’s head knot, reach with your finger and thumb through the loop and grasp a portion of the warp coming from the warping board. Make a new loop out of the warp itself by pulling some of the warp through the loop and put the newly formed loop onto the stick. Pull up as big a loop as you need to go on to the stick. It’s a little like crocheting. The illustration shows making the knot on the stick. Immediately pull the warp against the lark’s head knot to make if firm.


A Big Mistake Turned into a New Idea

On my last night of scroll making I was working with three fragments of cloth heavily coated with indigo. The cloths wouldn’t iron flat, so I got out my iron-on interfacing to keep them flat. It was late and my last piece of the night. I ironed the interfacing on the RIGHT SIDE of the fabric!! This was precious stuff each piece was different and this was the best one! Good Grief!!


I ran to my computer to see what to do on the internet to remove the interfacing. Steam and iron on to another fabric. I got some thin cotton and tried on an area. This is the result after pulling off the cloth.  It didn’t come off but left this interesting texture/pattern. So I scrunched up the cotton fabric and steamed the rest of the area and yanked it off. A new technique is born!


Thankfully, I was using a scrap of interfacing so not all of the beautiful cloth was covered. This is what the original looked like. The dimensions of this scroll are 6” wide x 18” long.


This is one of the indigo pieces backed properly with the iron-on interfacing. The background is double ikat—ikat in both the warp and the weft. The long scroll is 5 ½” wide and 27 ½” long.


The detail shows the heavy coating of indigo.


The third indigo coated piece with its interfacing on the correct side is the background for this small scroll. The scroll is 4” wide and 15” long.


I made the felt pieces after a workshop at Slow Fiber Studios in Berkeley.


Slow Fiber Studios Presents ~ Conversations with Cloth

A note from Peggy…

“I have absolutely loved every one of the many workshops I’ve taken with Slow Fibers Studios. Check out the video and you’ll see why. The workshops are deep in many ways: culturally, artistically, and creatively. I’ve taken classes with both Yoshiko Wada (and taken trips with her) and Ana Lisa Hedstrom and they always give a wealth of information as well as the tools to understand how to make things. I find each one has inspired me and Yoshiko has praised me for being “uniquely creative”. Whether you want to make your own creations, become more knowledgeable, or love seeing wonderful textiles, this is the place for you. Yoshiko and Ana Lisa’s depth can’t be surpassed. Yoshiko wrote the big book on shibori—in fact, she re-introduced shibori to the Japanese themselves. Ana Lisa’s fashions sell at Bergdorf’s in New York and are wearable with great pride and pleasure in the Bay Area as well—timeless, unique, stunning. Her creations are truly  conversations with cloth. I own two stunning, unique pieces that I wear to the fanciest places as well as on just nice occasions.


Conversations with Cloth

A four-part presentation on SHIBORI hosted by 
Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada with Ana Lisa Hedstrom

STREAMING SERIES ON ZOOM
10/28, 11/18, 12/9, 1/6

Conversations with Cloth – Fall/Winter 2020 Series Teaser from Slow Fiber Studios on Vimeo.

Conversations are streamed talks with esteemed textile artists and artisans, specialists, scholars in the field of textile art including in shibori, natural dyes, sashiko and quilt, weaving, fashion and costumes, delivered through Zoom webinar. 

The program will be interactive with Q&A after each presentation/conversation. We welcome participants to forward questions in advance using the online form

You may sign-up for the full streaming series at a discount or pick and choose episodes to attend. If you miss a specific episode you registered and still wish to see it later, we will send recordings for you to watch, for two weeks after the event date.

Guest Presenter: Ana Lisa Hedstrom

Ana Lisa is known for her signature textiles based on contemporary adaptations of shibori. Her textiles are included in the collections of museums such as the Cooper Hewitt, the Museum of Art and Design, the De Young and her work has been exhibited internationally. She has taught and lectured at numerous international Shibori conferences and schools, her awards include two NEA grants, and she is a fellow of the ACC.

Host: Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada

Yoshiko I. Wada is an artist, curator, and textile scholar, president of World Shibori Network, founder of SFS, producer of the Natural Dye Workshop series, and co-chair of the 1st – 11th International Shibori Symposia. She is the author of pioneering publications on kasuri and shibori. Today she continues to lead a wide range of workshops, lectures, tours, and symposia internationally, emphasizing sustainability & tradition.

Knots, Knots and More Knots

Introduction:
“Linda Doggett’s knot” in my previous post led me to this post on more knots. A couple of years ago my tech guy suggested we make a Kindle booklet on hemstitching since it was the number one inquiry in my weaving tips section on my website. I use it at my loom every time I do hemstitching. The second booklet is on knots—something I thought really would be useful right next to the loom on an iPhone, or other devices.

The slip knot is my absolute favorite knot. I can remember the days when how to tie it was so elusive. It was shown to me over and over but I just didn’t “get” it for a long time.  I guess I learned it by trial and error until it became as familiar as my right hand; my hands knew how to tie it.  It was a big part of the motivation to include a knots chapter in my book, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps.  I wanted to SHOW how it was tied so others could learn it. I’ve included it below. (The whole knots chapter is in the Kindle booklet. See below.)

Slip knot
A slip knot is a temporary knot that secures a single thread or groups of threads. Its  reatest asset is that it can be quickly untied with a jerk with one hand. It’s often used to tie groups of warp ends after they have been threaded in the heddles so they won’t slip out. Every weaver should know the slip knot because it is used so often—whenever you want to secure something temporarily. It’s my favorite knot, and it’s the one I almost  always automatically tie—just in case I’ll need to undo it.

To make a slip knot: To make the first loop, you can use either the tail or the standing end, whichever seems easier to tie in the situation. In this example I’m using the standing end, but you could just as easily make the loop with the tail and proceed as follows.

  1. Make a loop. (I take the standing end over the back of my left hand or over a few fingers and cross the standing end on top of the tail of the string.) Hold where the  hreads cross in a pinch between your thumb and forefinger.
  1. Reach through the loop with the right forefinger and thumb and grasp the standing end and pull it through the loop, so that it makes a loop within the first loop. (If you were to begin the knot with the tail making the first loop, and the tail were being drawn through as the second loop, make sure you pull the tail only part way through, not completely through. If you pulled the tail through, you wouldn’t have the second loop.)
  1. Be sure to tighten the knot until you feel it bite. To do that you pull the loop and the tail in opposite directions.

To release the knot: Just jerk on the end you made the loops with, in this case the standing end.

I made this little booklet so you could have it on your iPhone or other devices. Want to know how to tie a weaver’s knot? There are 3 ways shown as well as “how to undo a weaver’s knot. Of course, square and granny knots are included, as is the lark’s head knot, and other knots for weavers. I like it because you can have it at the loom up close when you need it.
The cost is $2.99 and you can order from Amazon.

Knots, Knots and More Knots

Introduction:
“Linda Doggett’s knot” in my previous post led me to this post on more knots. A couple of years ago my tech guy suggested we make a Kindle booklet on hemstitching since it was the number one inquiry in my weaving tips section on my website. I use it at my loom every time I do hemstitching. The second booklet is on knots—something I thought really would be useful right next to the loom on an iPhone, or other devices.

The slip knot is my absolute favorite knot. I can remember the days when how to tie it was so elusive. It was shown to me over and over but I just didn’t “get” it for a long time.  I guess I learned it by trial and error until it became as familiar as my right hand; my hands knew how to tie it.  It was a big part of the motivation to include a knots chapter in my book, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps.  I wanted to SHOW how it was tied so others could learn it. I’ve included it below. (The whole knots chapter is in the Kindle booklet. See below.)

Slip knot
A slip knot is a temporary knot that secures a single thread or groups of threads. Its  reatest asset is that it can be quickly untied with a jerk with one hand. It’s often used to tie groups of warp ends after they have been threaded in the heddles so they won’t slip out. Every weaver should know the slip knot because it is used so often—whenever you want to secure something temporarily. It’s my favorite knot, and it’s the one I almost  always automatically tie—just in case I’ll need to undo it.

To make a slip knot: To make the first loop, you can use either the tail or the standing end, whichever seems easier to tie in the situation. In this example I’m using the standing end, but you could just as easily make the loop with the tail and proceed as follows.

  1. Make a loop. (I take the standing end over the back of my left hand or over a few fingers and cross the standing end on top of the tail of the string.) Hold where the  hreads cross in a pinch between your thumb and forefinger.
  1. Reach through the loop with the right forefinger and thumb and grasp the standing end and pull it through the loop, so that it makes a loop within the first loop. (If you were to begin the knot with the tail making the first loop, and the tail were being drawn through as the second loop, make sure you pull the tail only part way through, not completely through. If you pulled the tail through, you wouldn’t have the second loop.)
  1. Be sure to tighten the knot until you feel it bite. To do that you pull the loop and the tail in opposite directions.

To release the knot: Just jerk on the end you made the loops with, in this case the standing end.

I made this little booklet so you could have it on your iPhone or other devices. Want to know how to tie a weaver’s knot? There are 3 ways shown as well as “how to undo a weaver’s knot. Of course, square and granny knots are included, as is the lark’s head knot, and other knots for weavers. I like it because you can have it at the loom up close when you need it
The cost is $2.99 and you can order from my website. 

More Surprises at the Silk Factory


This gorgeous irridescent sari caught my eye immediately. I brought it home with me and hope to make collages where the light plays on the fabric in different ways. So inspiring! It would be lovely as a garment with gathers but I can’t think of anything I would wear. [click photos to enlarge]

THIS IS A SKEIN HOLDER! I asked about the bamboo pieces with “feet” that were laying on the floor under a loom. Immediately a skein was produced to show the purpose. The threads came off beautifully. I would like to think it could be put up on a table.

If you look closely in the corner of the photo the weaver is winding the thread from the skein on a wicker cage-like tool with a stick for a handle. He is winding very fast and the fine silk thread is coming off like magic.  I wish I could make skeins that well.

This close-up shows a stack of the cards for the Jacquard loom and the “cage thing” that threads are wound on. They could  twirl the cage fast and wind up the thread really fast.

I watched this weaver for a good while while he was separating warp threads so he could move the lease sticks. I thought I was the only one who needed to fiddle to move the sticks sometimes. It’s VERY important to keep the sticks in. The reason is that if a thread breaks you will know exactly where it belongs.

The woman in the sari is weaving along with a fly shuttle that works when she pulls the handle on the cord. (It shoots the shuttle across the warp.) I  visited a factory once in another part of India where all the Jacquard weavers were men because lifting all the threads with their weights took a lot of muscle. I was very surprised to see one woman. The others were men but not beefy types.

Shibori Beautifully Explained in CBS Video

This was forwarded to me by Yoshiko Wada–my textile guru who I adore. I’ve been on several of her trips to Japan and taken wonderful workshops at her studio in Berkeley. Slow Fibers Studio is her website. Her trips anywhere are fabulous and she is enormously knowledgeable about so many things and people where ever she goes. She gives classes on many of the techniques you see on the video. I took one by this master in Japan in the town of Arimatsu where the video is located. The town is a lovely town with traditional Japanese architecture everywhere. It is south  of Nagoya. Nagoya itself has a fantastic museum: the Toyota Museum–Toyota first was a loom manufacturing company and there are wonderful old and modern looms working on display. There also is a huge and wonderful automobile section.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 7


Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 7 – The real symposium began with me taking 3 workshops. This was dying with akane which is Japanese madder. Lovely color. I tied a knot in the cloth before dyeing to get the variation in the color this was dyed using alum as a mordant.

More akane. The darkest color used camellia ash for the mordant. The lightest had no mordant. Medium color used alum.

Kakishibu workshop. That means dyeing with green persimmons. I learned some more but it was a basic workshop.

Here is paper we tie dyed and dyed with the persimmon dye.

Workshop to dye with bengara a pigment that is red ocher in color usually. Our artist figured out how to get many colors. We folded the cloth like a flag is done and clamped wood shapes to make the patterns when dyeing. This was my second piece which I was happy with.

My first bengara pigment piece. Came out better than I expected. We were in a hurry to get something in the dye. I had no idea what I would get. I manipulated the small triangles which makes them fuzzy rather than crisp.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Day 1


Shibori Symposium – Day 1 (Facebook Viewers – Go to my blog to see the videos) – I led a group of us on the train to Nagoya to see an utterly fantastic museum. Toyota originally was a loom making company. Old looms complete with guides/weavers to work them are there and it’s totally wonderful.

This old loom was run by peddling. It was great to have guides hanging around to run the various looms and explain how they work.

Mr Toyoda got the idea uto motorize a bicycle in 1930 which led him to make his first car in 1933. 1936 was when he made his first passenger car.

Here robots are seen at work. This was so fascinating.

Getting an old power loom going. Wait until it gets started and notice all the pulleys in the museum. Each one ran a loom. Notice too the metal things going up and down slightly behind the shafts. If a thread breaks it’s metal piece will fall down and break the connection and stop the loom. Now I understand why videos need editing! The stuff is truly interesting but making a video of it is hard to keep in mind where the camera is. Or to remember to stop the video.

Be patient a little then you will see how a modern power loom used forced air to move the weft across. The weft thread is red in the video. There are several air jets across the loom that continuously force the weft along. Again at lightening speed. Air is used for cotton weft threads and water for weaving with polyester. Interesting isn’t it?

This close up shows how a power loom today moves the weft between the warp threads by force of water. The display was set up so you could push a button to start the action. The water forces the thread through and the it is cut and the next thread is shot across the warlords. All st lightening speed.

A Master Weaver, Ethel Stein

Ethel Stein. The Three Graces, 1995. The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Ethel Stein. © Ethel Stein – click to enlarge

When I was living in New York in 1983 I began volunteering in the Textile Department at the Cooper Hewitt Museum (now part of the Smithsonian). Milton Sonday was the curator and a wonderful mentor for me. He introduced me to Ethel Stein and I visited her home and studio one day. She taught me the secret for using the warping paddle and was friendly and generous with her time .

Ethel Stein. Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange III, 1995. The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Ethel Stein. © Ethel Stein – click to enlarge

She had just finished building her drawloom after figuring out the mechanics to make it work. She began with a countermarch loom and converted it to the drawloom after studying damask fabrics at the Cooper Hewitt with Milton.

thel-Stein-Moon-Wall-2008-The-Art-Institute-of-Chicago-Gift-of-Ethel-Stein-c-Ethel-Stein – click to enlarge

Her woven work is beautiful and especially so given that she didn’t have a computer or computer generated drawloom at that time.


I was thrilled to find this video of her working and think you’ll love it. I hope  to have a video of me working to play at my memorial some day! Other weavers might consider doing the same thing. 

Japan Tour 2017 – Day 5



Day 5 Naha Okinawa. This is glorious cloth woven by Michiko Uehara an artist/weaver who has exhibited in New York as well as in Japan. She reels the silk threads off the cocoons herself and weaves the most sheer cloth I’ve ever seen. This piece is double woven as a tube.



Another silk woven by Michiko Uehara. She dropped it from the sir and it simply floated down. She showed us maybe 20 large pieces–each one more thrilling than the last.



One piece was woven both warp and weft with threads that came from single cocoons. Always several if not 10 or so are reeled off at once to form fine threads. I held the cloth and was amazed that is was light as a feather. What you see here are the warp threads. If you look closely you can glimpse the cloth.



One of Michiko’s daughters is a potter and made these tiny containers for the tea in the tea ceremony. These are what I’ve been so interested in. Michiko herself wove her fine silks for the bags for the containers made by a contemporary potter in a joint exhibition.



We also went to Haebaru Village to see kasuri cloth being tied, dyed, and woven. Here a man is painting the lines on the threads instead of tying and then dyeing them.



Here two sets of fine warp threads are being put into the reed.



These are warp threads that have been starched before weaving. The warp looked like straw.


 

Threading Without Mistakes – Tip No. 2 – Stagger the Heddles

This is an excerpt from my book, Weaving for Beginners, on page 67 in the threading section. I find it invaluable and use it every time (I’m threading around 100 ends per inch usually).


Stagger HeadlesStagger the Heddles
Push all your counted-out heddles to the left (for righthanders) and stagger the heddles on the shafts so you can find which one you need easily as shown in Figure 178.
Left-handers would stagger them the same way, but have them over on the right side of the shafts.

Read Tip #1

Peggy’s 2015 India Trip – Day 15

If you are viewing this in an email you may not see everything I put in this post, for example, a photo gallery. Please click the post title above to see the whole post.


Kolum: White Designs in Doorways

15.4 dots and boy - Copy
These patterns, called kolum, were in doorways many places: for good luck and to attract  ants so they won’t come into the house. The powder is rice powder. We watched women making them and more women watching. The little boy captivated us: everyone took pictures of him. He was darling. The patterns start with dots and then the lines drawn in with a finger dipped in the powder. The last drawing was done by the man who sat beside me on the airplane. His mother taught him. He is in the textile business as the technician for big spinning machines for factories—very up to date machines made in Italy. His grandfather was a weaver. It was so nice to talk with him about his business and our tour of weavers and textile people. He has a little boy about 1 ½ years old. His village is in Madurai and there are looms in most of the houses there, he said (I think).  [click first photo below]

Peggy’s India Trip 2015 – Day 5

If you are viewing this in an email you may not see everything I put in this post, for example, a photo gallery. Please click the post title above to see the whole post.

A Few Photos from India
5.1 girls on the grass teaching us embroidery

O5.2 henna designs on Palmne afternoon we went out to the country to a house surrounded by fields. It was delightful to be in quiet, peaceful surroundings. After lunch some girls gave us embroidery lessons while sitting in the yard. My teacher had henna designs on her palms that were very elaborate.

 


We saw these two turbaned men lounging. We were told they were wearing what herders wear. I didn’t see any animals around, however.
5.3 man in turban

Man in turban 1

 

 

On Our last night in Ahmedabad we had this special Indian dinner on the roof top of our hotel. We will sorely miss it : The House of MG. Next stop Kochi in southern India.
5.5 special Indian dinner

Peggy’s Weaving Tips > Tips for Hemstitching

While I’m up to my neck getting my book ready for it’s 4th edition as an eBook, I will be posting some of my favorite tips here on my home page. I plan for this series of tips to use the ones that beginning weavers might want to know. However, hemstitching was something I learned after many years of weaving. I always thought it was too complicated and I wouldn’t be albe to do it. Sharon Alderman showed me this easy way. She said there are many ways to do it.


HEMSTITCHING ON THE LOOM

This is one of the hand manipulated weaves in my new book, “Weaving for Beginners”

This hand sewing is done while the cloth is still on the loom and is easy to do while the warp is under tension. Many weavers prefer to do it then because they don’t have to hand- or machine-stitch the cut ends after the cloth is off the loom (and before finishing the cloth). They may or may not cut off the stitches later, depending on what the edge is to look like when the fabric is complete. It’s a big time saver when you want to have fringe on the edge because there is no knotting of the fringe needed-all you need to do is to leave enough unwoven for the fringe(s). Note: The instructions for hemstitching at the beginning of the cloth are a little different from those for the stitching at the end of the cloth.

When you are weaving several pieces, hemstitching the edges to be cut later saves a lot of time because neither hems nor additional stitching needs to be done. Placemats, for example, can be hemstitched on the loom and then cut apart and finished right after they are off the loom. Hemstitching the edges of your samples on the loom can save time too.

Use a size thread that will be unobtrusive for the hemstitching. Often, the weft thread is all right to use, but I’ve seen hemstitching that was too bulky because the thread for the stitches was too heavy.

HOW TO HEMSTITCH

Many stitches are called “hemstitches.” Besides different ways to do the stitching, the stitches themselves can be different. Here is one that does the job of holding in the wefts and is quick and easy. See Figures.

The process is only slightly different at the beginning of the fabric and at the end of it. The instructions are given for right-handed people who will always work starting at the left selvedge and work toward the right. Work from the right toward the left if you are left-handed.

AT THE BEGINNING

Hemstitching on the Loom A

To hemstitch the beginning of a fabric, on the first weft of the fabric, leave a long tail of weft hanging from the left edge of the cloth. The tail should be 2½ to 3 times the width of the warp. It will be threaded into a tapestry needle and used to do the stitching after a few more rows of weaving are completed. See Figure 1a.

Hemstitching on the Loom B

After weaving an inch or a bit more, thread the weft tail into a tapestry needle. The blunt point on the needle prevents you from pricking your finger and piercing the threads. Some methods prefer to pierce the threads to make the stitching more secure. See Figure 1e.

Hemstitching on the Loom CBegin stitching by holding the weft taut at the selvedge with the left hand. With the needle in the right hand, hover over 1/4″-3/8″ worth of warp threads, then go straight down between the warps and come out at the selvedge. Tug this stitch so that it wraps around the warps and cinches them up into a bundle.Hemstitching on the Loom DPoint the needle straight up (away from you) along the selvedge for 3 wefts, take the needle down through the cloth there, and come out again through the opening you just made by cinching up the warp bundle. Read below for what to do with slippery threads.Hemstitching on the Loom EContinue on with the next stitch. Hold the weft in the left hand taut and go around the next group of warps (coming out again in the previous opening), tug the stitch to make a bundle, go straight up three wefts, poke the needle down through the cloth, and come out at the opening you just made by cinching up the bundle. Repeat until you reach the right selvedge.My left hand holds the weft taut and does the tugging. It is engaged at all times while the right hand works the needle.

At the right selvedge, darn (needle weave) the tail into the cloth 1/2″, so it doesn’t show, and cut off the remainder of the tail flush with the cloth.

At the end

Hemstitching on the Loom F

At the end of the fabric, make the last weft come out at the left selvedge. Leave a long tail on the last weft (2½ to 3 times the width of the warp) and thread it through the tapestry needle. (Figure F.)

Hemstitching on the Loom G

Begin stitching by holding the weft thread tail taut in the left hand, and with the right hand, go around 1/4″- 3/8″ worth of warps, coming out at the selvedge as you did at the beginning of the fabric.

v

Point the needle straight toward you, for 3 wefts into the cloth; then poke the needle down through the cloth and come up in the space just made when you cinched up the bundle of warps. Notice that now you’ll be poking your needle into cloth, which will be toward you. When you were stitching into the cloth at the beginning of the fabric, the cloth was away from you. See Figures.

Hemstitching on the Loom I

For slippery threads, stagger where you dig in your needle, to make the stitches more secure. If they always go in after the third weft, the whole hemstitched edge could fall off during finishing. You can dig your needle in alternating between the third and fourth wefts-it looks deliberate, and the stitching doesn’t pull out.

 

THE ABOVE TIP IS AN EXCERPT FROM  BOOK 3: “WEAVING AND DRAFTING YOUR OWN CLOTH” AND “WEAVING FOR BEGINNERS”

 

WOLF AND OWL ARE FRIENDS

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.