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Conversational Threads

does anyone weave?

Tish | Posted in General Discussion on

Are there any other weavers here?  There isn’t even a folder in which a weaving thread would logically fit.  I rarely post because most of the posts are about garment making and I stopped making clothes years ago.  As my weaving improves, I will start making myself garments out of my hand-woven fabric.

I took a weaving class at the community college in the fall of 2000, and I was hooked.  I learned that I have a knack for weaving.  Now, that means that I have a good feel for tension and so forth, it doesn’t mean that I’m an “instant expert.”  I went into withdrawal at the end of the semester and my husband bought me an inkle loom.  Last summer my in-laws gave me a very old LeClerc four frame table loom that they had bought at a yard sale and had had in their basement for ten years.  My brother-in-law bought it for my sister-in-law because he’d always wanted a hand-woven tunic for his re-enactments and he thought she’d like to make him one.

(Let us all now chuckle quietly and shake our heads as we consider the things loving spouses do “for” each other.)

The loom was very dirty and needed a lot of repair, so I was repairing it until January of this year.  I’m a full-time student with kids, so loom repair could only go on during semester breaks.  The loom is as basic as a four frame loom can be.  I have a 22 inch reed, so I can make nice scarves, but for a baby blanket I’m weaving now, I’ll have to join two halves with a center seam. I can’t even customize the tie-ups; each frame is attached to one lever and that’s it.  But I’m experimenting with shadow twills and rose path patterns right now.

I would love to know if there are any other weavers reading here.  I could really learn from experienced weavers and from novices like me.



  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Welcome, Tish! How nice to hear from a weaver. I am not one myself, but my mother (who taught me to sew, knit, crochet, etc.) has started weaving, and I recently received a delightful set of hand-woven rag rugs from her. Let's see if any other weavers take your bait here, and if a discussion gets going, I'll start a new folder for you. Meanwhile, I'll ask my mother to have her local guild take a look here and see if they have anything to contribute.

    Carol F

    1. Tish | | #2

      Thanks, Carol.

      I'd love to make rag rugs, but I'm afraid that my loom isn't strong enough to take the hard beating needed to make the rugs tight enough.  You're lucky to have them!

      1. carolfresia | | #3

        Yes, I am lucky! My mother is currently borrowing a larger loom; up till now she's mostly used a table loom (which means I also have a nice sampler scarf showing all sorts of techniques and patterns). She seems to be inspired now that she's got the ability to weave wider, larger things. Although now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure she wove a rag table runner on her table loom, in much the same way as the rugs are done. I don't know enough about the process to say whether you could make a rug on a smaller loom. What interested me is that she says it takes longer to cut all the strips than to weave the rugs! I wouldn't even have thought about that!


        1. Tish | | #4

          I can believe it.  I have a "sun hat" rug waiting to be re-made right now.  It's made of yards and yards of braided cotton muslin strips.  I sewed them into an oval and my family was not at all cooperative about having it taking up space on the dining table, so I did the stitching on my lap.  Hence, the "sun hat" effect; it bulges up in the middle.  I have to undo the stitching and remake it. 

          Fortunately, I now have an eat-in kitchen so I can keep the rug on the dining room table while I stitch it. 

          When I was taking the weaving class I took the rug to my professor and asked about using the braid to weave a rag rug and we tried a few inches on the loom, but the hard beating needed to make each row of weft stay tight against the last was really shaking the loom up too much, so we gave up on it.

          Edited 4/5/2002 6:44:55 AM ET by Tish

    2. rjf | | #6

      Hey!!  I registered and sent a message to Tish and then, lo and behold, I found your messages to her.  It was very strange to read about my self!!  I'm sending this address to the weavers' guild.  But how does one send a message which ISN'T a reply??  A brand new discussion??  Oh, by the way, this is your mother speaking.

      1. carolfresia | | #7

        Hi, Mom! Nice to see you here--we love the rugs, which are now known as the "magic mats" and have become a favorite spot for your granddaughter to stand while I'm "cooking".

        Are you trying to send the URL for just this discussion, or for the entire discussion board? I guess I'd just copy the address of the Gatherings first page, because in any case they'll probably want to register to post. After you're registered you can save the login page as a bookmark or favorite, and then each time you log in your name and password will already be there.

        What are you weaving these days? I've been thinking of ordering some weird novelty yarns for another project--let me know if you're interested in a ball or two of something very shaggy or that cellophane-like fuzzy yarn. Could be interesting to have a single row of that woven in amongst wool...Or maybe that wouldn't work--what happens if you have a very fluffy yarn? Does the fluff get packed down a lot?

        OK--discuss amongst yourselves, as they say on "Coffee Talk"


        1. Tish | | #8

          My weaving instructor warned us against weaving with the super-fluffy wools.  She told us a horror story of warping up a fluffy angora shawl but finding that the fibers bound to each other when she dropped the frames.  She couldn't move the beater, and tried using a razor to cut the warp threads apart.  She finally had to cut the whole thing out of the loom and discard it.  All that lovely angora yarn!

          I have an angora shawl that I got at my church's annual auction.  The donor said that it is hand-woven.  It looks thick, but hold it up to the light and it looks like gauze.  The sett is about 4 to the inch.  I expect that the instructor was trying to assure that her neophyte weavers didn't go out and invest in expensive yarns that we didn't have enough skill to work properly.

          A new weaving studio has just opened near me and I went in to talk to the weaver.  Ira weaves warp-faced scarves of nylon chenille.  He uses standard sewing thread for the weft.  Having seen him working on one of those scarves, I went ahead and bought some Sirdar Snowflake yarn for a scarf for my daughter.  It's a very delicate fluffy yarn.  I'll let you know how it goes.  If I have to take it off of the loom, though, I won't discard it.  There are knitters in my church who make mittens for shelter families.  I'll give them the yarn (in 80 inch pieces!) to knit wrists onto my polarfleece mittens.

          (My dad and I visit on one of the other forums.)

          1. rjf | | #9

            Hi Tish,   Thanks for the inadvertent info.  I have some strange bubbly yarn to make into a scarf and couldn't decide whether to make it warp or weft.  It would look better as warp but I didn't know what to use as weft.  How many picks per inch for the sewing thread? 

            Also I came across directions for a mop cotton rug that looked great but the directions called for a reed with a 1 INCH dent.  Can you imagine?  But it makes some sense since I've been weaving on hairy linen and really it takes a lot of effort to move the beater.  I wanted it to be very close and well-packed and I now know to be careful what one wishes for.      Thanks for getting the conversation going.

          2. Tish | | #10

            Dear RJF, I really don't know about the weft.  The warp on Ira's scarves is 24/inch in a 12/inch reed.  There must have been at least 18 threads of weft to the inch.

            When I have had to work something out like that for myself, I have wrapped my warp yarn around a piece of sturdy cardboard and needle-woven in the weft.  I use a big tapestry needle and beat with it.  I have been able to get a very accurate count that way.

            Am I confusing the meanings of sett and picks?  I hope you don't mind, but if you use terminology that I am not familiar with, I'd like to ask what you mean.

          3. rjf | | #11

            Dear Tish...What a good idea!  I've been thinking I need a sample loom but a piece of cardboard would work just fine.  My weaving vocabulary is shaky but I know how to use e.p.i and p.p.i., the second being "picks per inch" which I think is equivalent to "sett".  I wonder where that word come from.  It's very interesting how activities have their own vocabularies,  the vocabulary we use with the outside world and the one in our brain which uses "pink gizmo" and "the other one" and other strange words(?).  You can ask me anything but I think you know way more than I do.  If I can't make a guess, I'll refer it to one of the guild members.  At least one has visited the site  and she is very helpful.                    Have a nice weekend.    rjf

          4. Tish | | #12

            Weaving terminology is kind of funny, isn't it?  I suppose it's because it is archaic.  I understand "beater" and "reed" sort of makes sense, but where does "sley" come from?  In order to dress the loom  you have to sley the reed.  My professor said that we'd just have to memorize it.

            Maybe women told eachother bad jokes while they helped each other dress their looms.... "Oh, stop it!  You sley me!"

          5. rjf | | #13

            I keep thinking "one-horse open......"

            What did you use for texts in your weaving course?  Do you know a book called "New Key to Weaving" by Mary E. Black?  It was published in 1949 so it's a golden oldie but it has all kinds of good stuff, in particular, lots of overshot patterns, if you like that kind of thing.  The other book that helped me before I took lessons is Deborah Chandler's "Learning to Weave".  There's a good section on how to solve problems you didn't anticpate. (Well, of course, if you had anticipated them, you wouldn't have allowed them to be problems.)  The latest weaving project is giving me great grief;  it's about 3/4 done and one whole section starts sagging!! Arrgh!!  DChandler's book told me to stuff a towel in the warp on the beam.  It sort of works but it gave me the courage to try tying the sagging warp to the warp beam the way I tie to the front beam.  I'm not quite through that procedure but I'll let you know how it works.

            That episode suddenly made me realize that this loom doesn't have a back beam, just a warp beam.  I think not having a back beam means the warp doesn't go on smoothly and this particular warp was wider than I'm used to.  Oh well.  It's like golf...there's only a finite number of bad shots and so whenever you make a bad shot, it's one less to worry about

            Edited 4/8/2002 7:21:44 AM ET by rjf

          6. Tish | | #14

            Dear RJF,

            I'm sorry that I have taken so long to get back here.  You've asked me what books my weaving class used as texts; we used "Weaving: A Handbook of the Fibre Arts" by Shirley Held.  It is really excellent in its overviews of current weaving and in weaving history, but I don't think I could have ever warped a loom from her diagrams if I hadn't had a live teacher walking me through the steps.  I would read the material, come to class, see the demonstration, and think: "Oh, so THAT's what that meant!"

            One thing I wish I had is a book on "All the parts of your loom and how to repair or replace them."  If you ever hear of such a book, please announce it.

            We've had a major disruption in our family over the last few weeks; a very dear friend's final illness.  With making sure that I kept up with my own schoolwork while taking care of my kids and my friend's sons, I've not had time to weave.  Whenever I have a time-management crisis and start to go ditzy because I have too many things that have to be done right away, my husband says, "Why don't you just go and weave for fifteen minutes?" 

          7. rjf | | #15

            Hi Tish,

            I thought you were studying for exams but you probably have that still to worry about.  Your husband has a good thought there...go weave for 15 minutes.  That must be why we need two looms so there's always one warped and ready to weave.

            I've gotten several books from the library, most of them quite elderly, that have some mention of the parts of a loom but they're so old-fashioned that they're not really useful.  It seems to me that they each make it sound as is "This is the only way" but if you talk to some weavers, they have all come up with unique solutions for problems that are never mentioned in the books.  It's one of things I like about weaving. 

            Good news!  My new loom arrived and it's all set up and warped.  Yippee! So much easier than the clunker I was struggling with but I will keep that for rug projects and because I don't want think it got the best of me.  The new one is a Louet David 70.  It's a sinking shed but not a counter-balance and it's so smooth and quiet that it's a pleasure to use.

            Today my guild is putting on a "Sheep to Shawl" demonstration at a local fair.  We'll pick, card, spin(not me!), ply and weave.  It's a nice day so it should be fun.

            Hang in there

          8. Tish | | #16

            Lucky duck to have a quiet loom!  My old LeClerc clacks and rattles and bangs.

            The Maryland Sheep and Wool festival is coming up in two weeks.  I have a required fossil-hunting trip that weekend, but I hope to have an afternoon for the festival.  I have never gone before.

            I hear that the MD S&W Fest is one of the largest in the country, and it has been going on for any years, but until I began weaving, I never heard if it.  In the last year, I've met lots of people who insist that they'd never miss it, and many of them aren't fiber artists.  Some go for the food and some go just because their children have lots of fun.  I told my husband that I would be buying handspun wool for weaving.  If I get a chance to go, I'll report back.

            Finals are in another month.  I can't wait .

          9. rjf | | #17

            Hi Tish,

            The new loom is quiet!---I did some weaving after the Sheep-to-Shawl because I couldn't wait anymore and it seems to work just fine.  But at the S-to-S, I met the woman who lent me her stuff so I could get started last fall and she offered to sell me the whole kit and kaboodle which means I can have an 8-harness table loom and a floor loom!!  I'm feeling very lucky.  The table loom is a Leclerc like yours, I think, which came as a 4-harness, but Marilyn says she has the expansion parts to make it an 8-harness.  It does clunk, but it weaves nicely.

            There was a lot of spinning and plying yesterday.  It looks like a nice, quiet activity.  One of those satisfying jobs where you get out more than you expend but I can see it requires a good touch and understanding of what is makes good yarn.  We had a sheep shearer there and it's the first time I've been close enough to see and hear what's going on. 

            Where in Maryland is your Sheep and Wool held?  It seems strange to me that your finals won't be for another month.  Aren't they usually over by the middle of May?  Well, now that I look at a calendar, I see we weren't done until May 20 or 21 so that is another month.  And how soon you get your degree?  In what?  It's not easy when you have a family but some of my favorite and best students were women in exactly your circumstances.  It's amazing what they accomplished (and you must be the same!)

          10. carolfresia | | #18

            Hi, RJF! I'm glad to hear the new loom is up and running. When did this happen? Did you do it while the grandkid was there? And what are you making as a first project? Should I get you a nice spinning wheel for your birthday?

            I just spoke with someone the other day about "roving" wool, or something like that. I gather it's merino wool that's kind of combed into a ropelike shank but not twisted. Am  I correct? Can anyone explain to me what this is, and where you'd get some? I figured weavers and spinners would know more about this than sewers...

            OK, time to find something to eat around here--the natives are gnawing at my ankles!


          11. rjf | | #20

            Hey Carol!

            Hi Carol,

            Arrrgh!  It's 36 degrees, they're predicting snow showers and golf should start tomorrow.  But I've got my loom to keep me warm.  It got here Monday afternoon and I finally gathered my courage to open the box Tuesday morning.  Everything was in good shape except one harness had popped off and dribbled its heddles all over.  It took me three tries to get them back on.  You can tell it's from Europe....the right-side-up sign is a half-full wine glass.

            I think roving is what one calls wool when it's between carding and spinning.  Some yarn sites on the Web sell roving either dyed or natural.  It's a long rope of parallel wool fibers ready to be spun but some weavers use it as is.  Rovings are very appealing, like your very own cloud and you'd want to own one just for that reason and when they're dyed, it's like having your own technicolor cloud.

            I'm making a veggie bag mat for the back porch.  It seemed like a good first project, no big investment and very fast.  It takes 5 bags per 2inches.  I thought I had plenty but I ran out after 17 inches. I was considering getting a lot of individually bagged grapes but they were very nice to me at Stop'n'Shop and gave me 25 or 30 without even asking what they were for.

          12. carolfresia | | #22

            I told the guy I was talking to about rovings that I'd like to have one, and he sounded puzzled--that they don't really do anything and you can't knit with them or anything, and I said I'd just like to have one around to stroke as I walk by every day. See, trust my own mother to get it!

            I'll be sure to start buying grapes more often and save the bags. I'd love to see how this mat turns out--sounds like it could be a large pot-scrubber, too.

            Tish, good luck with the end of the semester. Having kids and going to school has to be harder even than working and having kids. It's mystifying to me, though: my own mother (the renowned rjf!) both worked AND went to school for her master's degree when my sister and I were kids, and it never looked all that hard to me. She has awesome powers of concentration, of course, and her children were exemplary, too, but I can't even imagine doing it.

            ENjoy the cold and rainy Monday!

          13. Tish | | #19

            The Maryland Sheep and Wool festival is in Frederick County, not very far south of Ghettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Not many people know where Frederick is, but most Americans have heard of Ghettysburg!  About an hour and a half drive from Washington DC.  That area is the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge, and lots of Md's sheep are in the northern and western counties. 

            I'd like to learn to spin, but I'm afraid that if I did, I'd never leave the house.  I chaperoned my son's field trip to the Agriculture School at the University of Maryland last spring and we saw a sheep being sheared.  They had bags of fleeces for the kids to touch and I was putting my son's hand in them in turn, when we put our hands into one and I said, "This isn't sheep's wool, this is lamb's wool!"  The grad student leading the tour started talking about the different wools from the different breeds, and which lambs' fleeces she liked best.  Do you suppose she was a spinner?

            I am a history major at the University of Maryland at College Park.  I expect to graduate in December 2003.  After that, who knows?  I will probably begin looking for work right away, but I haven't ruled out graduate school yet.  This semester seems very late to me.  We didn't start until the last day of January, we had spring break two weeks later than usual, and I've got finals until the 21st.  When I was at the Community College I was usually out of classes by Mother's Day.  That's just the way it goes.

            I do look forward to the month when I am out of school and my boys are still in!

          14. rjf | | #21

            Hi Tish,  Did you feel the earthquake Saturday morning?  They said "from Maine to Maryland".  I thought a truck was going by but there was no sound and then the computer started shaking.  Very weird but not scary.

            I guess lambs' wool must be very different from sheep's wool.  The fleeces I saw sheared on Saturday were pretty grubby and dirty and I hear that washing them is a very tedious, messy job.  The fleece I worked on that day had been washed very carefully so picking was not too bad...just getting out bits of straw.  It's mesmerizing to pull out the long strands, almost one by one, and watch the grubbies fall into your lap.  And every picker has a different style, some more efficient than others and some more paranoid about getting every last imperfection gone and some more interested in what's happening outside.  Then you can hear the spinners "tsk-tsk"- ing when they get some not quite perfectly clean wool.

            How old are your boys?  It's a real juggling act when they're in school and you're in school.  But to me, it seemed worth it in the long run.  I remember well the feeling of relief after the last final.  I traded that in for the feeling of relief after turning in the last set of grades but I always felt not quite sure I'd gotten those right.  I love teaching but I never forget the "other side of the desk".  What is your area of concentration?  How do you keep up with the reading?  How do you know when it passes over from history to non-history? 

          15. JuniperSun | | #23

            There've got to be more specific forums for weavers, but since I've stumbled on this conversation I'll add what I know.  I'm really checking into Threads because Elizabeth Zimmerman is one of my favorite knitting  book writers & I remembered she had some connection with Threads when it first started.

            It's been a while since I had my loom set up, & I'll have to get my books out to look up some answers.  I remember being told one of the reasons New Zealand wool was so prized was because it was so clean (free of straw etc).  My experience in knitting with handspun wool that hadn't been picked clean:  The resulting garment is so scratchy no one wants to wear it.  So if you are going to go to a lot of effort in weaving with handspun, be sure it is clean yarn.  One brand of handspun I liked was Manos del Uruguay: also helped 3rd world women support their families.

            I wove a "naptime" blanket for my kindergartner on a 24" loom by using a plain weave set twice as dense but treadled so I could weave it in 2 layers connected on one edge.  i.e. if threaded 1,2,3,4; Harnesses 1 & 3 would be top half, harnesses 2 & 4 would be bottom half. start at right edge,  Raise Harness 1, then harnesses 1,2,3, then harnesses 1,3,4, then harness 3.   You are sort of weaving in a "C" shape, carrying the shuttles around the left hand edge to join the top & bottom halves on that edge only so that when you cut it off the loom you open it up & the cloth is twice as wide.  I used a soft wool with lots of different colors in the warp to make up for the lack of pattern.  This is  harder to explain than I thought, I'll have to pull out the real directions.  I'm writing from the library so don't have direct access to my notes (& my login will be sporadic)

          16. Tish | | #24

            Dear Junipersun,

            The last issue of Handwoven has an article about weaving this way.  I'm going to try it this summer.

            I haven't found any forums that are specific to weaving, but I haven't really looked.  It still bothers me that Threads stopped serving us non-garment fiber workers.  I used to sew for money and now I hate making garments.  Going pro ruined it for me. I know that there are people doing more than fitting jackets; maybe if we become more visible, Threads will return to its old ways and cover a spectrum of arts.  I still just plain expect Threads to have a place for fibre arts.  That's what it was begun for.

            About fleeces, in the early days, Threads ran an article on working with wool fleeces and the author recommended washing the fleece with shampoo and finishing it with creme rinse.  I tried the shampoo and creme rinse combination on my daughter's shearling rug and it worked like a dream.  The crispy bits that didn't wash out just combed out.  There is usually a "break" in the fleece where the sheep's wool parted along her back and hung down on either side of her body.  The author recommended discarding the wool from the break because it was weathered and damaged already.

          17. rjf | | #26

            Dear Junipersun,

            That was a great description of double weaving!  (If that's the right term)  The only thing I'd add is sley the reed twice as dense.  Whoops, I just reread your letter and there it was.  Sorry! And welcome to the group.

          18. Tish | | #25

            Lets see, lots of question here; My boys are 8 and 5.  I also have a daughter who'll be 20 on Mothers Day.  I get a lot of help from my amazing and supportive husband, and I get up at 4 am to read.  Do you know about that degree women used to joke about; the PHT degree?  my husband deserves a PWT.

            I haven't tried your side of the desk yet, except as a volunteer tutor.  I'll be an undergraduate teaching assistant next fall, so I'll have a chance to see what it's like.  My area of concentration is US History, just changed for pragmatic reasons from Women's History.  I'm also in a citation program (that's a mini concentration, not quite a minor) in Religious Studies.  Where I can, I focus my US History studies on women and religion.  My boys think that I should take them to class with me.  They are sure that my school is more fun than their school. 


            PS, undergraduates don't have quite as much reading to do as graduate students!

          19. rjf | | #27

            Good Morning,  No, I haven't heard about the PHT but I'll be making up phrases all day until I hear from you tomorrow (I hope).

            Wow, I've been reading Threads since 1985 (6?) but don't remember an article on fleeces.  I'll go back and look for it.  In the beginning days of my subscription, the articles were often about knitting which made me very happy.  I learned some great techniques for starting and finishing garments.  You didn't get a "pattern" to knit from but ways to invent your own designs.  The other great benefit I got from Threads was a way to fit pants.  I had the best-looking wool trousers; they fit perfectly and were bend-overable but I had to travel a ways to get good men's wear fabric.  Now, unfortunately, the body has developed a mind of it's own and is going it's own way.  Ah well.

            It's snowing.

          20. carolfresia | | #28

            Snowing?!! How are you going to see your golf ball?

          21. rjf | | #30

            By the time we got through the meeting in an unheated clubhouse, no one cared about playing golf. 

            The veggie bag mat is actually very flat except for its darling ruffled edges.  It has a pearly sheen...weird.

            So today I'm going to warp with Red! and Purple! and Orange! and ocher for golf towels.  That way I always know which cart is mine.  Also today, Mrs Lamont (remember Mindy?)is bringing the parts of the table loom that make it an 8-harness and I'm going to buy that loom and all the rest of the equipment she lent me over the winter. 

          22. carolfresia | | #31

            I'm really glad to hear that weaving will always be there for you when golf is out of the question. I'm beginning to get the feeling that I ought to plan on moving that piano out of the basement soon to give you more room for your looms, though.

            For all readers: I think there's a way to post photos on the site if you'd like to share pictures of your projects. If you don't have a digital camera, take a picture and either scan it or have it processed onto a CD or diskette, and you can put it up for all to see. I haven't tried it recently myself so I forget how--I think you do it as an attachment. But if you'd like to and need help, contact me or the SYSOP. I'd love to see what you're working on.

          23. Tish | | #29

            PHT is "Putting Hubby Through."  It originated after the GI Bill sent great numbers of men to universities and graduate schools at later ages than ever before.  Lots of veterans returned from WWII, got married, then went to school.  Their wives worked and raised the kids on the understanding that the whole family would benefit later from the higher earnings hubby would command with his degree.  Later it was used more by wives of medical and law students: "He's getting his MD and I'm getting my PHT."  It was once such a common phenomenon that some university officials even congratulated "the wives in the audience" at graduation ceremonies.

            OK, so my "hubby" is getting his "Putting Wife Through" degree.

          24. rjf | | #32

            Hi Tish,

            Did the tornado bother you, I hope not?  The weather begins to get scary. 

            How could you tell a sheep fleece from a lamb fleece?  Is it really that different in texture?  I suppose it is when I think of baby hair and teen-age hair.  That must have been a good field trip.

            I'm weaving red, purple, orange plaid golf towels.  I threaded the warp for point twill but wove the first in tabby.  For the second, I'm using white weft and doing an inch af tabby and 3 repeats of point twill.  It's producing a shadowy plaid with a lace-like stripe.  Not sure about what to do with third but it's fun to think about while I'm weaving the second. 

            And you're studying as hard as you can for finals.  It seemed to me that it was much easier to do after I was married and had a family than when I was an undergraduate.  The spirit was willing and there were enough hours; they just weren't always convenient.  But it certainly does help to have a supportive husband.

          25. Tish | | #33

            Dear rjf,

            My parents live in LaPlata and theTornado's path was a few hundred yards south of their home.  Those are their neighbors' houses in those photos.  My folks were very lucky, and they were not hurt and their house was not damaged. They lost a few trees, one of them a beautiful oak tree in its prime--about 300years.  This is an area that is not supposed to be a Tornado area, but my daughter was on campus when a Killer tornado swept through the University of Maryland last September.  I've had it with close calls.

            It wasn't hard to tell the difference between sheep's wool and lamb's wool when I was feeling them one after the other.  The lamb's wool was much softer and finer.  The field trip was fun.  My son's school serves a very diverse neighborhood.  The farm guide was showing them the cow with the window in her stomach and made a joke about how she wasn't like your ordinary neighborhood cow.  None of the kids laughed.  He said, well you don't see cows in your neighborhoods very often, do you?  The girl from India and the boy from Ethiopia said, yes, we see them in our grandmothers' neighborhood every summer. The guide was stumped.  Later there was a gap in the tour and the kids were just sort of milling around in a small grass lot outside of the horse barn.  The teachers were talking about how to make the rest of the schedule fit together until the busses came and the kids sort of spontaneously sat in a circle and started playing "duck-duck-goose."  My son's teacher turned to me and said, "This isn't in the plan, but I don't think I should stop it!"

            Your towels sound fun.  One of my favorite pieces is the sampler I wove in class when the professor had us get three yarns of contrasting weights and colors and just play with patterns.

            I just finished a baby blanket for my husband's neice, born March 5.  I underestimated the take-up and the loom waste and the blanket is more square than rectangular, but it looks nice.  I wove a rose path pattern in sport-weight cotton with royal blue warp and lemon yellow weft.  My husband nixed pastels.

          26. rjf | | #34

            Hi Tish,

            Wow! That must have been scary for your parents.  And you too, when you heard about it.  Dorothy can have Kansas.

            The baby blanket sounds great.  What brand yarn did you use?  Sport weight cotton sounds useful.  Weaving is like knitting....there's either too much yarn or too little.  At least, with sewing, you pretty much knew exactly how much to get.  I've tried knitting to use up left-overs but I always end up needing more of one color.

            Someone had the nerve to take out my favorite weaving book in the library but I tried another and it's been quite rewarding.  I love overshot but stars and tables, and crosses and roses have never quite settled in my head (although I use them without names)  This book began to make sense and I could see the connection between stars and roses but I'm not sure how rose path fits in.  There was a whole page of rose path patterns in the other book but I never could determine why they were so designated.  No one ever says:"This is the definition of....."  Or gives you a principle by which to classify.  At the Guild meetings, everyone talks as if everyone knows what it's about.  I think they're being polite; an explanation would assume ignorance and that might be misconstrued as impolite.  Oh my. 

            I'm working on the third towel now so while weaving I'm thinking about the next project.  Since I purchased the table loom with its extra 4 harnesses, I can try the doll house coverlet in an old "Handwoven". (Tauton could avoid this negative adverstising by producing their own magazine...hint...hint).  It warps the pattern yarn with the tabby background and then one can weave the entire piece with one shuttle.  It sounds like a good idea except you need to plan on doing at least three or four to make it worth while and this way you're stuck with one pattern color.  So I'm thinking "white pattern on colored background"  and then change color for each piece.  The directions call for sewing thread and sley 3-6 in a dent.  I think something a little bigger will work with adjustments.  Not quite ready to tackle anything so teeny tiny.

            Let the sun shine.                                                   rjf

          27. Tish | | #35

            Dear rjf,

            The cotton I used for the baby blanket is Reynolds Saucy.  The label doesn't say sport-weight; it was the thickest and fluffiest 100% cotton yarn I could find in good bright colors.  I've used another fluffy cotton on my inkle loom, I think it was Coates and Clark Cotton Candy, but I've never seen that in anything except pastels.  For this blanket my husband specifically requested bright colors and bold contrast.

            The Reynolds Saucy is really more of a cord than a yarn, but it worked very well. 

            I do not know what differentiates a rose path from any other shadow twill.  I just went through a pattern book with my husband and we picked one that we liked.  After the semester ends I will actually read the book and perhaps I will learn a bit.  (I often suggest to the students I tutor that they try this approach during the semester. Read and you may learn a bit.)

            My loom came with a 12 dent reed, which seems to be standard.  I can get more reeds, but I am curious about other weavers' experiences.  What are the reed sizes that are most useful?  are there one or two that you find yourself using all the time?

          28. rjf | | #36

            Good Morning,

            And it actually is...after a week of rain and cold.  My new loom came with a 10 dent reed but I also ordered a 16 dent which just came yesterday.  I think that might be enough for awhile.  The golf towels (all done!) were 20 epi so the 10 dent was perfect and the next project will probably be more epi than that so I might try the 16.  I wonder whether it's better to sley more per dent or skip some dents.

            It sounds as though you have some good yarn shops to buy from.  We have Walmart but there is a Michael's 20 miles south and a real yarn shop, "The Naked Sheep", 20 miles north and, of course, the Web!  But I like to see and feel before I buy. Actually, when I think about it, during the time I knit many Fair Isle sweaters, I used to buy yarn from the Tomato Factory Yarn Store in New Jersey.  Really nice 2-ply Shetland in zillions of colors.  That wasn't the Web though, but real people on the telephone.  That store closed about five years ago before I ever got to visit.  I'll have to invest in a sample book from Halcyon Yarn.

            Isn't it weird how students will pay a fortune for textbooks and then never open them?  And then there are others who highlite everything!  I used to chose texts based on what I intended to teach in the course and never remembered to ask the price.  It was painful to find that the 147 page text cost $93.  And the bookstore wouldn't buy back texts unless they were to be taught the following semester but our courses typically ran every other semester or even year. 

            My husband just made me an inkle loom!  It's really good looking.  Now I have to find the book that explained weaving on it.  His next project is a loom bench which he really wants to be adjustable up-and-down and which I really want to slant.  We'll see.

            Have a good one

          29. Tish | | #37

            I've got one really good yarn shop nearby.  They know nothing about weaving, so I have to figure out for myself whether a certain yarn will work for me.  The new weaving studio in Silver Spring has a small selection of yarns, but the colors are good and they are all excellent weaving yarns.  The Mannings, in Pennslvania, has a wonderful yarn selection, but I don't like shopping from them.  They have a strange, uninviting attitude.  They are on the web, though, and you can buy yarn cards from them.

            If there are no good independent yarn shops in your area, perhaps your weavers guild could help members buy directly from manufacturers.   If the guild will process the orders, you could order direct when there are enough members who want yarn from a specific manufacturer to make a minimum wholesale order.

            With the Inkle loom, you need a wooden bobbin that also acts as a beater.  One side is tapered like a blade to beat down as hard as you want.  It has a real name and I can't think of it.  One of the books my professor brought to class had beautiful tote bags (knitting bags?) made by weaving a length of rag rugging, doubling it and sewing side seams to make an envelope, then reinforcing it and adding straps by sewing inkles down the side, under the bottom, back up the other side, looping over to make the handle, and back the other way.  They were very handsome.  Especially the ones made in the style of Shaker rugs.

          30. rjf | | #38

            Your description of the inkle strap sounds just about what I want to do with the hairy linen bag.  I've been through three or four music bags because the straps wear out.  Maybe I can figure out a way to make the straps replaceable...that's an interesting idea.

            Abby Hatton, who taught me to weave and is "facilitator" in the Guild, maintains a studio in a nearby artists' center (euphemism for "old factory") where she sells odds and ends as a convenience to members.  From conversations at meetings, the usual way to shop is to gather a carful of people and drive to Web's, shop and have lunch.  That's a good way but I don't usually plan projects far enough in advance to know exactly what I want and I get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff to look at.  I want it all and end up buying very little.  When I get more familiar with the materials, I'll be able to order from Web's or Halycon with some chance of success.

            Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to put a supplementary warp on the loom without a second back beam.  The book says "hang it with weights".  It's for "Monk's Belt" or a version of it.  There are directions for a doll house coverlet which is has converted a pattern with weft overshot to warp "overshot" and you just weave tabby with the ground thread.  It uses 6 harnesses but the threading directions are very fuzzy and then there's the "hang with weights" business.  So I put myself to sleep at night thinking about it.  Very useful.

            The sun is shining. Enjoy.

          31. Tish | | #39

            The textbook that my class used had a diagram of warp threads hanging off the back beam by weights.  The author said to use 1-gallon milk jugs for the weights because you can add or remove water to get the tension that you want.  There was nothing special about the method; the warp was just tied to the handle of the jug.

          32. rjf | | #40

            Thanks, Tish.  That sounds easy.  I'm going to rethink this project and maybe in the meantime hem the last project and/or tidy up the work space.     rjf

          33. rjf | | #41

            Hi Tish,

            I haven't acted on the gallon jug idea yet...haven't even finished winding warp...but it occurs to me that a supplementary warp will need a cross and lease stix.  There are two 2in sections.  What do you think about chopsticks for lease sticks? 

            You're probably in the middle of getting ready for finals.  I hope you don't have too many papers and such but maybe you're looking forward to being free!  Good luck.


          34. Tish | | #42

            Hello, rjf,

            Yes I am in final-week crunch.  I have one paper still to write and six tests, because two classes will have unit exams on the last day of regular class, plus the final exams themselves.  Fortunately I can treat one of those tests pretty lightly; my final grade will take the best three out of four test grades and my first three are good.

            After classes are over, I am going to try to learn how to play with photos on my computer.  I don't have a digital camera, but I can get my negatives processed in a diskette.  The other fora have pictures.  Gatherings needs pictures

            In regard to the chopsticks, it sounds like it ought to work.  I'm trying to think now of what else can be taken from the kitchen to use on a loom! 

          35. carolfresia | | #43

            Tish, you can post pictures, by scrolling down to below the message inputting box, and using the "attach files" button. I don't think the pictures just pop up on the screen, but they can then be opened by readers. I've tried it and it worked, although I didn't have any pictures that could actually stay up so I deleted them!

            OK: I just tried to attach a file, and will post this message as an experiment so we can see if the picture stays. We're supposed to do these test things in the "Sandbox" forum, but this seems as good a place as any, since you guys are talking about it. Plus, if the picture comes through, you will enjoy a lovely image (I hope!) of rjf's one and only granddaughter. Woo hoo.


          36. rjf | | #44

            Hi Carol,

            Hey!  Look at that!  The one and only certainly did pop up in living color.  I'm most impressed.  We certainly look forward to seeing her Sunday and also Sky, of course.  So I will bring my golf towels and maybe you can get them in Gatherings so Tish can see.  I'm taking them to the Guild meeting Thursday since the topic is "Color Schemes that Worked (or didn't)".  I'm also taking the blue fair isle sweatersince I think it really works, especially since it wasn't really planned  until about half way up.  If I have a few minutes tomorrow, I'll also dig up a couple of the night-blooming primroses that came from Cathy.  See you then.

          37. Tish | | #46

            Thanks, Carol.  It looks like posting pictures is pretty easy, but I have to get 'em into the computer in the first place.  That's what I have to learn about.


          38. carolfresia | | #47

            RJF, I'll have a digital camera to use this weekend, so bring along anything you'd like me to photograph. Can't promise professional results, but I'll do my best, and eventually burn you a CD or email you the pictures or post them for you from here. If you've got other weaving projects you'd like records of, pack them up and we'll just do a quickie shoot on the lawn or something.  Note to others: special treatment for rjf because it's Mother's day on Sunday!

            Now, imagine that kid with much shorter bangs and hair cut up to her ears: she looks exactly like Dolly Dingle.

            Tish--did the picture come up for you as well, or did you have to open an attachment? In any case, once you can get your photos from the diskette onto the computer as a file, I think posting them should be straightforward--but I'm working entirely within the Taunton framework, so that's easy for me to say! If you have any questions, our New Media folks know all about it and can help you out. We're looking forward to seeing what you've been weaving too. And if you just want to post a photo of your final exam with a big red A on it, that's OK too.


          39. Tish | | #48

            Carol, the picture came up as an attachment.  Prospero has a little yellow flag thingie (my husband is a computer guy, you see, I learn all of that technical jargon from him) and when I click on it, the picture comes right up.  Some folks over the fence have learned how to put the pictures directly in, but the yellow flag is the most common form I see.  One of the regulars at Over the Fence and Cooks Talk is a real wiz at this.  I think the TNM folks ask HER for help!

            Your daughter is a doll.  My little girl turned 20 yesterday. 

          40. carolfresia | | #49

            Hi, weavers! I'm going to try to attach a photo of rjf's very impressive golf towels. They are actually much nicer than the picture suggests, since the color is a little washed out by the flash. The weave patterns or whatever you call them are gorgeous. I can see how easy it would be to get caught up in weaving as an art form--both the process, which seems pleasing to do, and the design aspects.

            Let me know if the picture doesn't appear.

            It's a very dark and rainy Monday here: the streetlights are still on! Yet apparently this won't improve the drought problem all that much, since that's due to lack of snow cover all winter. I was so grateful for an almost snow-free winter, and now look...


          41. carolfresia | | #50

            I don't see the picture attached in previous message, and I don't seem to be able to make it happen again. Will see what I can do about that...check back later!


          42. carolfresia | | #51

            Hello, weavers! I just took up about an hour of Gathering's guardian angel's time (that's Rita, over in New Media) trying to figure out why I couldn't post the golf towels. Well, it's partly because the photo is ultra-high resolution and simply huge, so even if I had posted it, you'd have seen about a 1/16th of it on your screen. Rita has resized it so that it's more normal, and then the computer claimed I had exceeded my limits for attachments. So I had to sacrifice the baby picture to post this, but still that didn't work...then suddenly my slot cleared and I again have room to post. I have tried to attach the picture, but can't tell if it worked. Let's give it one more go here...


          43. Tish | | #52

            Oh, those are terrific!  I especially like the two with the point twill and shadow twill bands!

          44. rjf | | #53

            Thanks, Carol,  I'm honored that you replaced Penelope with my towels.  Annie visited the site and liked them and I told Cathy how to get there.  They looked nice and tidy and I really need that since the current project is giving me fits and starts.  I hope Tish is finishing up school in style.   

          45. carolfresia | | #54

            Beware. You'll be getting requests from all of us now! I have these two windows that could really use some custom panels, perhaps with a little openwork for detail...

            And what about the golf ladies? Do they all want individualized towels now?

          46. Tish | | #55

            Well, I had my last exam yesterday and moved most of my daughter's things back from her dorm last night. I'm not exactly free because a research paper I wrote last semester has been accepted for publication in an undergraduate journal, so I'm working on what the editor wants rewritten.  Some easy and some tough.  Don't you hate it when an editor tells you that your perfectly turned phrase is "vague?" LOL-- If I'm going to write I just have to learn to live with it!  Anyway, if a phrase or term isn't clear to the editors in my field, it's not going to be to a general reader, and that's who I most care about writing for.  So I must bow to the comments of the editor and re-write!

            But, on to weaving.  I'm going to wind the warp today for a scarf of soft fluffy chenille-like stuff.  It will be warp-faced with a weft of sewing thread.  I mentioned it in some earlier post.  When I have it going and have an idea of how well it will work I'll post a report with specifics.

            Did I say how much I liked the towels?  One of these days I'm going to warp up a color-chart shawl of plain tabby with a couple dozen colors plaided together.  (Is plaid a verb?  can colors be "plaided?")

          47. rjf | | #56

            Welcome Back!  I've been thinking you would surface soon but I'm sorry to hear you have the editing job hanging on.  On the other hand, it's nice that some one in your field thinks it's worth working on.

            I'll be interested to hear how the chenille shawl works.  Wide dent to keep the fuzz intact?  You must not be able to beat too hard...how to you keep the weft evenly spaced?  Do you just get a feel after a few inches?

            Thank you for the gallon jug idea for my supplementary warp.  It turned into gallons of paint which move back and forth but I'm not sure now that it's worth it.  I unwove(?) about four times before I figured out the treadling sequence.  Then a warp broke.  Then I discovered that one selvedge warp was only getting caught about once every two inches.  Arrrgh.  So I am just now hemstitching the first one (whatever IT is) ((too big for a placemat, too small for a dish towel)) but I think I'll remove the supplementary warp and, for the next two, weave plain with a few stripes of white overshot since it's been threaded for that.

            Today is the golf towel debut!!   At our last meeting, one of our members showed us her color sampler.  Such a beautiful thing that it doesn't need to be useful.  She got it as a kit and the colors are really bright and clear.  It must have started with at least twenty different shades.  I think "plaid" should be given verb status.  After all, "plait" is a verb and we could make a case that  a plaid and a plait are very similar objects (since they're both the result of intertwining threads, strings, hair etc.) so their associated verbs should be similar. 

            Glad to have you back.               rjf

          48. rjf | | #57

            You're right!  Now I remember...and wasn't there something about dying yarn to produce Ikat work?  Well, I'm going to look anyway because the issue I'm thinking of had something else in it that I used quite a lot.  Knitting, I'm sure.

            I see what you mean about needing to sew again.  There are only so many flat rectangles one can deal with but it's very satisfying to take something off the loom and have be almost ready to use.  The linen bag for my music is taking forever to finish because I don't want to fuss with hand finishing and lining and that nonsense.  But I will.  It has an inkle strap made on a loom my husband made.  Really pretty! and nice feeling, the loom that is.  It's going to take me a while to get the hang of weaving on it and to get nice smooth edges and even width but I seem to be not nearly so fussy as I used to be.

            We're supposed to have rain today which means I can wind warp with a clear conscience.  Yippee.                                                           rjf

            Thought I'd send this reply on the weaving network just to keep to going.

          49. Tish | | #58

            Yesterday I cut my Snowflake scarf off of the loom.  I've been saying I'd report on weaving with this stuff.  I mentioned to the saleswoman at the shop that I'd woven with this and she told me that knitters complain about how hard this stuff is to work with.  I had trouble, but worked with it and liked it.

            The materials: The warp is two skeins (50 grams each) of Sirdar "Snowflake" double knitting 100% polyester yarn.  Snowflake has a very fine (but stronger than it looks!) two-ply core with a single row of fluff spun in.  I don't know the tecnical term for the fluff.  Imagine velour, but only 1 row of fluff, and the fluff about twice as long as velour (almost 1/4 inch and not even).  The fluff is tightly bound to the core and doesn't shed when the beater scrapes it.  The weft is Mettler "Metrosene Plus" 100% polyester sewing thread.  Mettler uses long narrow spools that fit perfectly into my boat shuttle.  NO BOBBIN WINDING! (yea)

            Sett: I warped 24 picks to the inch in a 12/inch reed.  There was almost no take-up loss in the width of the finished scarf at that density.  The weft turned out to be 17 - 18 picks per inch.  I didn't know what to plan for, but measured it as I got it going.

            I threaded the heddles for tabby, with frames 1 and 2 through one sley in the reed, and 3 and 4 in the next sley, etc.  I began weaving tabby, but had problems and switched to 2/2 twill after about 2 inches.  I cannot see the difference in the two weaves.

            The problems:  This stuff binds to itself and it doesn't move smoothly through the loom.  Dressing the loom was complicated by the threads' tendency to lock to itself and by the fluffiness that made it hard to see if I was picking up the next thread in the cross and hard to see if an individual sley had been threaded. 

            Winding the material forward was difficult because the thread didn't slide smoothly through the eyes of the heddles. It tried to pull the heddles out of the frames.  I learned to forward the warp beam manually, slowly forward the cloth beam with one hand pressing the heddles into place, and repeat until I had brought the cloth forward.

            When two threads passed each other (One up and one down) in the reed, those in the same sley stuck together.  That's why I switched to twill from tabby.  The beater sometimes had to be forced down. 

            When the shed was long, right after winding it forward, the threads were more likely to bind.  I put the shuttle into the shed, drew it forward like a beater to open the shed, then pulled it through. Then I beat with the beater.  The weft couldn't be tightened until this point because until it had been beaten into place it would not slip over the fluff.  If I tightened before beating, I had to tighten again after because there would be slack beaten into place.

            I developed a nice rythm, however.  I'd drop the frames, pull the beater down, pass the shuttle through (beating with shuttle) beat once, adjust weft tension, beat again and drop the next frames.

            Because of the difficulties of tying, I'm finishing the ends with a machine zig-zag and cutting the fringe short.

            The finished scarf is incredibly fleecy and fluffy, and it's machine washable.  I will weave with this again, but I will dress the loom with each sley serving the heddles of only one frame.  I will probably will weave in a basket weave.  The weft thread does not show at all, and the fluff disguises the weave pattern.  Two skeins of yarn is exactly enough to make one scarf 51/2 inches by 5 feet.  Next time I'll try for a four foot scarf and more width.

          50. carolfresia | | #59

            Tish, the scarf sounds wonderful--worth the effort, I hope, because it also sounds like a lot of trouble. But I figure that when you sew or knit, you sometimes deal with difficult materials because the result is great, so I suppose it's the same with weaving. I wonder if I could request a fuzzy scarf for Christmas from rjf?

            I forget what the fluffy yarn was that you used; you say it's washable. Have you tried that yet? Do you expect the texture to change?

            I need the fluffy scarf now! I've got a cold wind from the ventilation system blowing on my head, and am wearing a cotton scarf (shibori dyed, so it's kind of nice) wrapped around my head. My coworkers think I'm nuts, but hey, my ears are delicate!


          51. Tish | | #60

            Dear Carol,  The yarn is Sirdar "Snowflake."  I used the Double Knit weight, not the chunky, but still, this is the clearest picture I could find:


            A few years ago I went to "student night" at the Smithsonian's Museum of African Art, and there was a Camaroonian woman demonstrating African style headwraps.  We all got a piece of heavy cotton fabric with a metallic gold print on a royal blue background.  When my head gets cold, I wrap it Camaroon style! 

            You're right about difficult materials.  We never know when we try something new quite what we're getting into.  But, "that which does not kill us makes us strong." ;) Now I have a better sense of how to work with the Snowflake yarn and I won't have as much trouble the next time.  I am going to use it to make some scarves for children.  Washability is everything in children's clothes.  I haven't tried washing it.  Fulling this scarf seems superfulous.  I expect good results, though because my experience with acrylics has been that they take what I throw at them pretty well.

          52. carolfresia | | #61

            That Snowflake is really nice! I was picturing something more like mohair, but this does look as if it would wash well. I saw some wonderful novelty yarn last fall that looks like faux fur when knitted. I wanted to get some and make my daughter a sweater in light blue, but knowing how slow I am getting things done, it didn't seem like the best idea to start a whole garment. Perhaps a scarf would work, though, or just trim for the collar and cuffs of a polar fleece jacket.

            We're having a somewhat unsummery day today, hence my thoughts of fluffy, furry clothing!


          53. rjf | | #62

            Hey Ladies!   Aol finally let me back in.  It's been a terrible two days....all we heard was "Goodbye".  If it weren't a weekend, we might be calling for another server.

            The scarf does sound terrific.  Tish, you must be a miracle worker.  I think I saw that yarn last summer.  It certainly jumps up and grabs you in more ways than one.  It was in the closest yarn shop we have..20 miles away in Bennington, Vt.  The Naked Sheep is its name and the young woman running it has a good eye for what is fashionable and good stuff.  BUT she didn't know the basic cast-on from your thumb!  It's hard too imagine someone without basic knowledge attempting such an endeavor but she certainly has courage.  So, Carol, perhaps we can organize a road trip over the 4th.

            My golf towel absolutely glows in the sun!  And you can hardly see the grass clippings or mud on it.  But no one even mentions it.  It's funny how what I think are the better things I've made don't get noticed but the ones that are a little clunky or not quite right are admired.  Ah well.

            I'm weaving fabric for a summer purse (to be sewn at a later date).  It's a subtle overshot with the tabby and pattern weft the same color and I'm finding that I can't tell where I am so every time I stop, I have to be careful to mark the row I've finished.  But mistakes won't be noticeable.  Hey! "unnoticeable" has all five vowels.  If I've spelled it properly, that is. 

            Well, I feel at lot better now that AOL has let me back in.  Keep me posted.

          54. rjf | | #63

            Hi Tish,

            I'm just writing to keep "the weavers" at the top of the list.  Have you done any waffle weave?  I'm thinking about mug rugs in waffle weave but because my loom is a counterbalance I'm having truble visualizing what is happening to the warps and wefts since their "up" is my "down".  I want to put in a contrasting color for the outline of the waffles so that involves both warp and weft.  And do you have a good method for getting a piece off the loom and tying the fringes before it all falls apart?


          55. Tish | | #64

            I have never done waffle weave, so I'm of no help there.  As for finishing before the fabric unravels, my teacher insisted that we stop after the first inch and stitch the leading edge, then that we not cut from the loom until the final edge had been stitched.  The last couple of things I have made, I have sewn a zig-zag along the edge first thing after I cut off the loom.  With a matching thread the zig-zag doesn't show at all.

            I can store a cloth that I've stitched like that and then tie the fringe when I have a sitting activity--like during family video night.  Last winter I was so anxious to wear a new scarf to church that I wore it with just the zig-zag stitching.  Then during the sermon I tied the fringe. 

          56. rjf | | #67

            Hi Tish,

            Do you mean hemstitching? Or is it some other (hopefully) faster method?  I think hemstitching looks great but it seems a case of overkill just to stabilize before fringing.  I'm smiling thinking of you tying fringe during the sermon.   rjf

          57. Tish | | #68

            Yes, hemstitching was what the instructor wanted us to do.  It is like a blanket stitch that wraps around two to four warp ends and goes up over three or four threads of the weft.  I think that it is worth it for a scarf or shawl.  If I'm going to go to the trouble to to tie a really pretty fringe, especially a netted fringe, I like the very finished look of the hemstitch.  However, when I was hemstitching a piece of fabric that I knew was going to be made into a pillow cover with the edges inside seams, I decided to try the zig-zag, and I'm very happy with it.  I will probably not hemstitch on the loom any more except where I want an especially polished finish.

            But instructors have the moral authority to require no shortcuts!

          58. rjf | | #70

            Hi Tish,

            Thanks for the info and also for the characterization of instructors.  I've hemstitched a few things, dollhouse rugs and an occasional towel and I love the way it looks but too much work just for a fringe.  I've done machine zigzag and my teacher also recommended elmer's glue but it's not easy to tie fringe or even hem.  Did you read the note from MindMade?  She suggests what I think is a crocheted slipstitch across the row.  If it's mug rugs, I can afford to experiment with both ideas on samples.  Okay!                                              rjf

          59. carolfresia | | #65

            rjf, did you happen to notice the half-hour jacket in Threads issue #100, p.88 (the issue with the quilted, kiwi-colored jacket on the cover)? It's an ingenious wrap design devised by Judy Neukam, one of our editors, and it is made, basically, out of a long rectangle of fabric. I've been thinking of making one to wear in this overly-air-conditioned office, but haven't yet found a good fabric for it. Don't you think this would be a great opportunity to weave 2 3/4 yds (25 in. wide) of fabric in some luscious mohair or alpaca or reasonable facsimile? And the selvage can become a design element, so you could do interesting things there (contrast warp thread?).  Does it take forever to weave something that long? Do I sound too self-interested?! You could get your weavers' guild to do this as a challenge, experimenting with fibers and patterns, etc. And if you all make jackets and get a picture of yourselves, we will put it on the web for everyone to admire!


          60. Tish | | #66

            Carol, I've been thinking of doing something similar, and I don't think it will take too long to weave the fabric.  It's the weaving that I enjoy.  Winding the bobbins will take some time, though.  I wind by hand.  I plan on doing it pool-side while the kids are swimming this summer.

            Then again, I'm weaving for me, not for my daughter!

            I'm ordering Kool Kids Chunky in black with bright slubs (#932) for the weft and J.P. Coats Luster Sheen for the warp.  They are both all-acrylic and washable.  I'll use a matching bright for the jacket lining.


          61. rjf | | #71

            Hi Carol,

            You can disregard the frantic phone call.  I got back in, whether under the some name, I'm not sure.  Or why that happened anyway. 

            I do remember that garment because it reminded me of the irridescent red thing(?) I made once for you.  Except yours was gathered up the seam and I think the one in #100 was sewn flat.  And the other coincidence is that yesterday I got a catalog from Halycon (who sent me my loom)  and on the back cover was a lovely knit shawl in "Zephyr wool and silk".  It's the first time I've thought knitting since I started weaving.  But it would be more fun to weave and my loom will just take 25 in. Maybe Tish would make suggestions about pattern and weft.

            What the weavers are going to try next fall is a friendship sampler.  Everyone weaves an overshot pattern, one square for each participant.  Then each weaver is in charge of putting together her squares.  And they would be happy if you wanted a picture.                      rjf

          62. mindmade | | #69

            That waffle weave is a challenge but check out some older books of instruction, being a fiber artist using my sewing,knitting and loom causes me to overlap the skills, I had a master weaver give a class on difficult issues of weaving for today and had a great time,  if you knit you will know what I am telling you, I now latch on my first two rows and then the coming to a state of a pile of threads is gone, this latching is a continuus chain stitch with a hook over the warp sometimes not in the material that will be included and do not forget to latch over the end, for a mug coaster I would do all of them before I cut the project off my loom

          63. rjf | | #72

            Hi MindMade

            How could I have forgotten the chain stitch!!  I think because I tried it once in the wrong place.  But for mug rugs it would work, I think.  Weaving is new to me, less than six months so far, but I've done lots of sewing and knitting and there is a lot of overlap....or maybe it's a habit of mind that transfers to other fiberry activities.  With sewing and knitting, I knew exactly how the garment would look when done but with weaving, it's always an adventure and sometimes, a pleasant surprise.  I can see that it will take a lot longer to get to the point where it won't be a surprise.  But will that mean it won't be fun?


          64. Tish | | #73

            I took a roll of pictures of my summer projects and had them developed on a CD.  The quality is not too good.  My camera has "auto focus" which means I can't tell if it's focused or not.  All the close-ups I took of my weaving textures and details are pictoral mush.  however, I am trying to post a few of the better pictures here.  There is a Chenille scarf still on the loom, a baby blanket woven in yellow and blue worsted-weight cotton, a scarf woven of Sirdar's "snowflake" eyelash-type yarn, and a shadow twill plaid scarf woven in Brown Sheep's cotton-merino wool blend.

          65. Tish | | #74

            I've got one more.  This fabric is four inches wide and about 8 1/2 yards long.  I wove it to make matching stoles for our co-ministers (they are a married couple and she told me she'd always wanted matching stoles.)  I'm taking it to a sewist tomorrow night.

            Edited 9/4/2002 4:46:36 PM ET by Tish

          66. carolfresia | | #75

            Nice work, Tish! I love the baby blanket and also the fluffy scarf. It's also interesting to see the piece on the loom--the last time I visited my mother, she didn't have anything on her loom so I didn't get to have an action demonstration.


          67. rjf | | #76

            Oh Tish!  Your weavings are gorgeous!  I especially liked the plaid shadow twill thingey.  Would you give me the threading and treadling?  I think it must be 1,2,3,4,3,2,1 sort of.  I'm hoping it wasn't on 8 harnesses because although I've got them, I'm not sure I'm ready to cope with that much treadling.  Two basic colors for the warp with two single warps for accent?  And the weft is two different colors with the same accent colors?  My golfing buddy is going to get golf towels to match her golf bag!  Will she ever be spiffy!!

            The chenille scarf looks so soft and flowing.  Great color!  And the snowflake scarf looks like a cloud....or maybe a baby seal.  You've really been busy.  THe stole material looks wonderful...good colors for husband and wife.  I hope you get a floor loom sometime soon; it seems much easier and faster AND easier on the back.  On the other hand, the table loom can be put near the TV instead of hiding in the basement.                                                          rjf

          68. Tish | | #77

            rjf, I LIKE the fact that my table loom is in the basement!  I take the boombox down there and pretend to be a great singer, singing harmonies to my favorite songs.  My kids don't beg me to stop the way they do in the car.

            The shadow twill scarf is four-frame stuff.  The threading is point twill 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-3-2-1-4-3-2-1 and the treadling is 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-1, 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-1, 3-4, 2-3, 1-2, 4-1, 3-4, 2-3, 1-2, 4-1.  It's just a 2/2 twill that reverses itself on the eighth row.  The color pattern is symmetrical.  There are six picks of light blue, one of ecru (almost white), then six of blue.  Then there's one of tan, six of mint green, one of sage green, six of mint green and one of tan.  Then the pattern repeats itself.  It is easy to see on a graph how it works.  The single strands of color should be at the point in thr weave where the pattern reverses itself, so the first and last repeats of the light blue have and extra blue pick.


            The weft is the same pattern.  The difficult part was dealing with the loose ends of the colors that only showed up once every inch in the weft.  I didn't want to carry four extra threads along the selvage, so I wove them back on themselves about an inch and cut them. The finished scarf as a row of zig-zag stitching about 3/4 inch from the selvage to help secure the ends.

          69. rjf | | #78

            Thanks a lot, Tish.  The shadows in the picture made me think the warp was a different color from the weft and actually, that would be a good idea for these towels.  My friend's bag is sort of tapestry, black and gray, with pink roses and some olivey green foilage, all fairly muted so maybe warp of black, gray and green and weft of pinks and gray and a shot of green will be close in appearance without actually trying to weave as tapestry.  A handwoven golf towel is bad enough but a tapestry towel is really overkill! 

            I'm wondering what your favorite songs might be.  I only sing in the car where road noise can drown out the sound but I have a CD player to use while I'm weaving.  It really does seem to make weaving go more smoothly.

            So I'm going to wind warp!  Yippee!  I'd still be trying to decide what to weave if I'd hadn't seen your pictures.  THanks.                          rjf

          70. Tish | | #79

            My favorite songs are anything I can sing along to.  I love the CDs of rounds and chants by Libana, and there are a number of women folksingers I like.  One of my favorites is a bluesy cover of "Somewere Over the Rainbow" by a DC area folksinger who died of Leukemia several years ago.  After her death, one of her CDs became a hit in England, then Americans began listening to her stuff too.  In this area, her fan base never faded.  I also have tapes of parlor songs that I like to sing with.  They're odd things that my ex-mother-in-law sends me from time to time.  She loves finding rare recordings of way-off-the-mainstream stuff, and I'm the only one she can share it with because it's mostly operatic and her friends and family are pop music people.

          71. rjf | | #81

            For some reason, I didn't get notice you had sent a message so I'm way late in responding.  That's an eclectic selection of music!  None of sounds familiar to me but I bet I would like the rounds and chants....must be good to weave by.  My favorite is a CD of Incan music called Inktari played on panpipes and other obscure instruments, well, actually there's a guitar in there somewhere.  I heard them in Florida at a street fair just floating over the crowds like a will-o-the-wisp but they can really move in places and it really helps when weaving.  On the other hand,  I also like the Village People...great to vacuum by.  I haven't yet wound the new warp.  I need to put in more colors than you used and can't quite decide what order, especially since I'm learning that what you see (in your mind's eye) is not what you get when you weave.  I don't have enough experience yet to visualize what happens when the weft goes in.  Sometimes it's fun to be surprised but I'm trying to make this look like her golf bag a little and that's a blocky tapestry where not all the colors get together.  Oh well, I can keep thinking it's a learning experience. 

            Do you start school soon?  It seems about time.  I think I'm really retired now.   It's the first time I haven't missed it because there are so many other things to do.  A weird sense of freedom...I keep thinking there's something I should be doing...and then I realise, I can do anything I want.                           rjf

          72. Tish | | #83

            School started last week.  I'm taking two history classes that have a heavy reading load (over-all, my reading load is very heavy this semester) but that compliment each other.  One is a survey of Religion in America.  I had a private chat with the instructor yesterday and I think that I will try to do my research project on one of the 19th century women who founded or substantially influenced religious movements.  The other class is America in the Revolutionary era, approx. 1765 to about 1815.  Already I am finding much support for my belief that we were not at all Americans at the time of the revolution, but were intensely British, only to become American after the war.  I am also taking a class on Chinese traditions and literature.  This week Confucious, next week Lao Tzu.  Whoosh!  The whirlwind tour of the great works of the planet's oldest living culture. (One of them, anyway.)

            And I'm teaching as an undergraduate teaching assistant.  I have Freshman journals to read, respond to and grade, and two classes to prepare and lead.  So far it is not too bad, but I'm not writing papers yet!  It intensifies as the semester goes on. 

            I look forward to having your choices sometime in the future.

            And I'm really glad that I measured the warp for three new projects before school started.  I don't know why, but winding the warp is the part of the process I like least.

          73. rjf | | #84

            That's sounds like a fascinationg semester and I think the freshmen might be fun although there are usually a few that really need prodding along.  Are you going to do Mary Baker Eddy?  My mother was a Christian Scientist but after I left home so I didn't get a lot of exposure.  It seemed to make her happy and secure.

            What a good idea...winding the warps!  I like that part, not best, but enough so I don't mind.  I do it in the living when there's a golf or tennis tournament on.  My husband has become aware that I'm counting and he's good about not talking to me.  But I still don't have the next project firmly in mind to know how to warp.  Maybe I'll hide this afternoon and get that squared away.

            Keep calm.            rjf

          74. rjf | | #45

            Hi Tish,

            I guess I was a meany because I counted every exam but would forgive one lousy quiz or homework.  But I scaled like a son of a gun.  One advantage to being a non-trad is that you keep up (as well as anyone can)  and that makes it much easier at the end.  On the other hand, the nontrad certainly expects much more of herself.

            I did photos from a disc once.  I was taking a computer graphics course and had use of Adobe Photo Shop.  It was a great program...anything you could imagine, it could do.  Unfortunately, it was for Mac's and we have now switched to PC.  I have PaintShop Pro which seems fairly similar but I don't have the same intuitive feeling for it tht I did for Adobe.  But it's lots of fun.

            I just finished winding the supplementary warp and I think toothpicks are more appropriate.  They're only an inch wide.  Nothing I've read even mentions lease sticks for this warp but I can't imagine that it could be ignored.  How else would one get the right threads in the right heddles?  One of the things I learned quickly was how to make a string heddle rather than undoing a whole bunch to correct a mistake.

            I'll hope for rain next week so you won't be tempted away from studying but I'm going to ask for a good Tuesday because that's the first golf that counts.     rjf

  2. rjf | | #5

    Your weaving career sounds just like mine and at exactly the same stage! (Except I'm retired (I think)). I used to be a sewer and a knitter and weaving seemed a natural next step.  Fortunately there is a very friendly weavers' guild in town and between them and a good teacher, I got a jump start . It certainly is obsessive and requires much space and time.  It really helps to have someone to talk to about problems and possibilities so I'm going to send this address to the guild members and maybe get some more discussion going.

  3. BonnieM16 | | #80


    I'm not a weaver, but I have woven.  It's not really my thing.  There is a very good magazine called Shuttle, Spindle and Dye Pot that some of my weaving friends have shown me and which I think would help you and inspire you.  I can spin wool but mostly just make balls of yarn.  I'm still working and mostly just spin once a year at a reinactment that I go to.  I made my brother a voyagers hat ( like a stocking hat) to wear with his outfit from my homespun.

    1. rjf | | #82

      The weavers' group I belong to is planning a spinning workshop this year which I'm looking forward to.  Last year we did a Sheep-to-Shawl demonstration and the spinners looked so relaxed and fulfilled with their foot treadling and their fingers going.  And all that glorius yarn!  It really was nice to weave.  But it might be kind of scary to try because if I like it, I'll need to acquire more equipment and I think I've  filled the house already.  Maybe an addition would be good.  Keep going; it'll be there when you're ready.                            rjf

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