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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




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

Museums, Churches, More

Venice Four  2

Canals On Friday when I walked day we visited some museums and lots of churches. Of course we couldn’t take pictures in the churches but they were spectacular. My partner had a list of places to visit and photograph that took us criss crossing Venice.

Venice Four 1The first picture is of the sign for the museum, Ca’ Rezzonico which had many interesting period rooms, as well as a lot of paintings (which I didn’t pay much attention to). Then we saw a marvelous exhibit of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci at the Gallerie dell Accademia showing 52 drawings showing 10 areas that he was interested in. There was the famous drawing of the man with all the lines showing proportions, weapons, studies for art work, and battle strategies, among the 10 topics.Venice Four  4

Next stop was San Marco Square. We were surprised at the crowds, it being October. The colored marble on the Doge’s Palace interested me.
Venice Four  5

I think I have here a picture of the Bridge of Sighs, where prisoners were led off long ago.
We stopped in a small church where the columns were covered with velvet cloth which we had been told was done on occasions.

[click on photos to enlarge]


The last church was the Basilica San Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. It is huge and magnificent. The late afternoon sun was streaming in through the windows.Venice Four  3

Looms, Oh My!

Looms Oh My 1Today we visited the Rubelli weaving mill in Como. The modern mill was awesome beyond words. This picture shows one aisle of huge looms weaving fast and loud. The cords going up to the ceiling are the cords that lift the individual warp threads at lightening (?) speed. One woman “manned” all these at once, watching to see that all were going all right. Occasionally a loom would be stopped and needed tending. The looms in the aisles were faced inwards where the women could tend them. I can’t remember how many looms there were–maybe 30 or 40.

They still use an old technique used early on in power looms to stop the loom by cutting off the power if a thread breaks. This is done by having every warp thread go through a metal thing. If a thread breaks, it goes slack and the thing falls down which breaks the current. It was interesting that the old technique is still in use. An order takes 6 weeks from start to finish with the actual warping and weaving taking 4-5 days.

Looms Oh My 2


This picture is of an old hand woven velvet loom. Rubelli mill had 3 or 4 but only one weaver who wove for us. These are wonderful looms and make beautiful velvet cloth.

[click photos to enlarge]


pLooms Oh My 4

Then we went to the Museo Studio Tesuto to the Ratti Foundation to see their huge collection of fabrics. Mr. Ratti collected fabrics and samples from dealers and by buying old mills themselves and their archives. He was interested in them to use for inspiration for designing textiles. At the foundation we were taken back behind the scenes inside to the storage rooms and shown fine examples of old velvet fabrics.

Looms Oh My 3The Foundation is right on Lake Como. The picture here is from their building. There is another Ratti center at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Both very well funded. It was dark with a bit of a moon over the lake when we left in a small bus to take us to our hotel in Milan.Looms Oh My 5



It was a busy day with 3 trains to catch to get to Genoa, Milan, then Como. Another good day.

My Woven Art Pieces are on Exhibit

RAG Show Room

Peggy Osterkamp’s Woven Art Exhibit > click to enlarge

My exhibit is up and I’m very proud of it. If you can’t make it to the opening on the 8th, remember the show is up until the end of January and the gallery is open Tues.- Sat. from 11:00 to 5:00. I’d love to see you at the reception or maybe we can make a date to meet at the gallery and  have coffee or something. It’s in a wonderful location in downtown Mill Valley, California, across from The Depot and next to Pete’s Coffee. Here are a couple photos. I’ll have more of the reception.

Using a Paddle with a Warping Reel

I received a comment asking about how to use a paddle with a vertical warping reel. In my Book #1, Winding a Warp and Using a Paddle I do discuss this. Here is a clip from the paddle chapter.

paddle and reel

paddle and reel

You want the paddle to be easy to reach, so when you get to the lease pegs, you can easily make the lease and put it onto the pegs.
Other than being clamped to something
approximately at the center of the warping
board as in Figure 118, below, the paddle can be clamped to the bottom of the warping board itself if the height of the board is convenient for you.
Clamping a paddle at a height close to the
pegs on a reel is shown in Figure 119a.

paddle and chair

paddle and chair

Clamping it to the back of a chair works well, too. See Figure 119b.

Also, see below where to place the paddle at a warping board.

Paddle and warping board

Paddle and warping board

Lark’s Head Knot:: My Computer Problems .

I can’t upload the pictures of the Lark’s Head Knot. My computer is acting up and driving me crazy. I’m sorry that I can’t fulfill my promise to put up the information right away. How to make and use the knot is in my book, Weaving for Beginners on page 352. I hope to get the image up today. Please send your good thoughts to my computer and to me.

More on Weaving with Rose Hips

Rose Hips

Rose Hips

I planned my weaving on a woven piece that was so uninteresting I relegated it to a scrap. This gave me the dimensions for the new piece. And it allowed me to play with various stems of  rose hips to get a composition I liked and that would allow me to use the supplementary purple warp to attach the stems. As I wove the new piece, I unpinned the stems as needed and wove them in. It also helped that I’d taken a photo of the composition so I could replicate the placement in the new weaving as I went along.

Weaving with Rose Hips, 2

Weaving with Rose Hips, 2

This photo is of the woven piece. The color is more like the top picture.

Weaving Sewing Thread Warp Update

Woven Cloth for Ruffle, 2nd view

I’m weaving another in my Ruffles series now on the sewing thread warp. I’m pleased that it is sheer–you can see the treadles through it. It’s slow going because the weft is very fine–like hair. Weaving double cloth is also slow. I maybe did 3 or 4 inches today in 45 minutes. It’s easy and meditative. I’m loving just weaving and weaving–it will take many sessions before it is long enough.