Friday, October 17, 2014

My seven year old grandson visited me this summer and asked if we could make a blanket for his friend. So together we warped up a small rigid heddle loom and then he did all the weaving.  I've been meaning to share this image since then, but misplaced the picture.  It was so much fun to do this together!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Beginning Weaving Workshop

This past weekend I hosted a beginning weaving workshop in my studio.  We've been putting up signs around the studio grounds to point out where our individual studios are, so I thought in preparation for the weekend, I'd get mine up.  I wove this one and used a warp like the one for the workshop, but wove a 2/2 twill using plastic bags as the weft.  It's fun to see the bag edges blowing in the breeze!

 It is always lots of fun to help people get started weaving on a harnessed loom.  Most everyone used an Ashford table loom.  Those looms are so easy to tote around as they fold up flat and don't weigh too much so I really like using them for classes.  

As usual, the first day was spent preparing the warp.  Everyone wound a warp of 72 threads to be put on a 10 dent reed for a 7" wide sampler.  In this class, I teach front to back warping.  Most everyone used 3/2 pearl cotton so the warp would be easy to work with.  First, they wound their warps.  This is always more challenging for some people than it is for others.

Then by the beginning of the second day, everyone had sleyed the reed, threaded the heddles, and tied on the to back beam.  By the time we get to rolling the warp on the back beam, the fun really begins.  You can see the warp chain laying in front of the loom all ready to be tidied up and rolled to the back.

Here is a warp all ready to go.  It's always a good feeling to see all the threads lined up properly, with the tension just right and set up for good weaving.

Although most everyone was weaving plain weave and twill, a couple of students chose to thread a rose path threading and weave interesting patterns.

Here are a couple of samples that were finished and taken off the loom.

The final step in class is putting knots in the fringe to hold the weft in  After everyone goes home, they will wet finish the fabric and trim any overlapping threads.

Welcome, new weavers!

Monday, June 2, 2014

In the studio

Last week I did a live web seminar for Interweave on rigid heddle weaving and making a stash buster scarf.  The whole thing came together in about 3 weeks from the time I started working on it until giving the presentation last Thursday.  It was lots of fun in spite of how nervous I was and I was pleased with the final result.  If you'd like to check it out, click on the link above.

It seems my weaving life goes back and forth from teaching endeavors to production weaving, which keeps it interesting for me.  So this week I'm concentrating on getting things woven for the Contemporary Crafts Market in Pasadena on June 20 - 22.  Here are some things I'm working on....

Baby blankets

Narrow ruanas


Rayon and silk scarves


Warping for rayon chenille scarves

Selecting yarns for more rayon chenille scarves

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Road to Teaching at Convergence

Convergence is a wonderful weaving conference that is held every two years.  Ever since I began weaving, it's been a high point for me to attend, hang out with friends, and see what's new and exciting in the weaving world.  As a weaving teacher, it is great to teach at Convergence.  I get a special thrill when I get my name badge that says "Leader" on it!  It makes it worth all the work it takes to get there.

When I've taken classes in the past, it hasn't occurred to me how much preparation might be involved for the teacher.  I thought it might be interesting for you to see the process for  presenting a class at a conference.

I will be teaching 3 rigid heddle classes at Convergence 2014 in Providence, Rhode Island. My classes will be a two day workshop on Pick Up Pizzazz, or using pick up sticks to create patterns in the woven cloth, a second 2 day workshop on Double Heddles and Double weave to explore patterns, layers, tubes and pockets in the cloth, and a 3 hour seminar on Taste of Rigid Heddle to introduce the curious to the wonders of weaving on a rigid heddle loom.

Pick Up Technique

Double Weave

Preparing a teaching proposal can be a daunting task and takes lots of planning and organization.  Here are some of the steps involved:

  • Proposing an appealing class description with defined goals for the class
  • Making a complete supply list for students
  • Determining any audio/visual needs
  • Setting materials fees for anything I supply
  • Creating images for the project or technique being taught
  • Planning for looms to be supplied or if students can bring their own
  • Thinking about shipping supplies to the venue

Sometime during the next year after the class is accepted I need to:

  • Write the handout for the technique or project
  • Then go back and make the project or do the technique strictly by following the handout
  • Clarify things, correct mistakes, and add anything I overlooked on the first pass
  • Take pictures of my project so I can insert some in the handout where images are helpful
  • Re-edit the handout and set it aside again
  • Coordinate with the loom manufacturers to supply looms for the class

Glimakra, Schacht and Ashford rigid heddle looms
A couple of weeks before Convergence I'll need to:

  • Print the handouts
  • Gather samples
  • Review techniques
  • Ship everything

Class Samples

When I finally get on the plane to travel to Convergence, I'll be so happy that really, all the hard work is behind me. Teaching is the fun part, seeing everyone learn a new technique or get excited about what they are weaving is the reward and the thrill that makes all the preparations worthwhile!

Proud and happy students 

You can join my classes at Convergence by going to, or see all the places I’m teaching by looking at my website at  On May 29th, I’ll be giving a live web seminar for Interweave on Beginning Weaving for Knitters which you can find by checking my website.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

starting again

Seems like a long time since I blogged.  And even though I thought about what I wanted to say many times, I just never got around to putting it down.  Soooooo here we go again.

Last week I got home from teaching in Chicago at Stitches Midwest and then visiting my family in southern Ohio.  It was a welcome break from my normal routine here at home.  The previous month was completely taken over by working on the Grand Opening event for the gallery at Studio Channel Islands Art Center where my studio is.  The gallery moved from across the street to now be on the same campus as the studios.  A great move and the gallery is certainly beautiful.  Planning the gala celebration and getting the move accomplished was lots of work and I'm glad it's over and things are back to business as usual.  The gala event was sure fun....  

A couple of days after getting home I was off again to teach a one day workshop in Palm Springs to a lovely group of weavers.  This was on using double heddles, something I've been thinking about quite a bit lately.  It's a challenge to thread the rigid heddle loom for double heddles and there are several ways to explain it.  Seems tricky to say it the right way for each person to understand.  The class went well and the group is very enthusiastic to continue with more double weaving.  

Driving to Palm Springs I was reminded how much I love the desert colors.  They are so subtle and understated.  I enjoy the pale pinks, beiges and greens that you see there.  And once I got out of the Los Angeles basin, there were the many wind generators.  They are lined up like soldiers all in very straight rows.  I always wonder why some are spinning away and others are still.  Are those broken or turned off?  They seem to be facing the same way as others that are rapidly turning, so I am mystified.  

They are also HUGE.  Each pole is so much bigger than a telephone pole even though that's hard to tell in the images.  I don't think I could encircle the pole with my arms, but of course I didn't get out of the car and try that!

Between teaching, traveling, and helping out in the gallery, I did not get to spend much time in the studio actually weaving this month.  I'm looking forward to weaving this week!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Camarillo fires

It's been smokey

This week there's been a big fire near Camarillo.  The fire is referred to as the Springs fire and has received national news coverage.  The experience of a large fire nearby is hard to explain to people that don't live in an area that gets wildfires.  Sometimes you can see flames on the hillsides.  Most of the time there are just huge plumes of black smoke where the fire is burning and grey smoke all around it.  The plumes can be seen for miles.  I live about 20 miles from my studio and could see the plume of dark smoke while driving to Camarillo.  There have also been strong winds gusting and blowing that fan the flames and spread them quickly.


The studio is in an area that was never threatened by the fire, but the smoke has been very unpleasant.  The winds move the smoke around and soon the entire area seems overcast.  Yesterday afternoon I had the studio door open and realized that not only had lots of dried leaves blown in, but the floor was covered with grayish white flakes.  It looked like the carpet had giant dandruff flakes (about 1/4" in diameter) all over it.  I realized they were ash flakes.  Outside it looked like a very light snow was falling.

From the studio parking lot

A few people I know had to either evacuate their homes or get ready to evacuate.  So that means gathering up all important papers, photos, and the few possessions you consider most valuable.  What a difficult decision to make. Fortunately, no homes burned down in this fire and most everyone is back at home now.  But the fire is still burning and so many firefighters are still hard at work.  Fortunately, the winds are stopping, the weather is cooling and the onshore flow is bringing some moisture into the air.  All good things.

What is most frightening about this fire is that it's only the beginning of May.  The fires don't usually start until September or October after a long hot summer.  It makes me wonder what the summer will bring......

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Warping the Loom

Getting the warp on

I'm working on a commission for a Methodist church in Ohio, making long green banners for the wall behind their altar.  After working on it for about a month, today I finally got the warp on the loom.  In early April I had all the cones spread out on the counter to select the colors.  And although I never actually think this takes much time, I do agonize over exactly which colors to put in what order.  In all, this piece has over 35 different yarn colors in the warp and getting them in exactly the right order did take a bit of time.  Then I went to Disneyland and was out of the studio for a week.  After getting back to work I got the warp chains wound and spread out on the front of the loom.  Then I had several teaching jobs that took time to prepare for and do.  Finally, today the loom is warped and I started weaving.  I hope to get the panels finished and on their way by the end of next week.  We'll see how that turns out!

Here are some images of the process...

Some of the warp chains on the floor in front of the loom.

Rolling on the warp.  Some of the warp yarns are in the bucket to the left of the loom.

Let the weaving begin!

It always makes me so happy to see a warp lined up neatly on the loom with all the threads in perfect order, under tension.  I want to pet the warp and admire all the colors before I begin weaving.  I guess I'm truly a weaving geek!

I plan to concentrate on weaving in the studio during the next month.  We have a Summer Market at the Studio site on June 1st.  Then the Contemporary Crafts Market is in Santa Monica on June 7 - 9 and I want to have lots of finished pieces to show and sell for both events. 

Meanwhile, my pillow pattern will be published in a about a week, so look for it on my website, the Yarnworker website, or Craftsy.