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.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Learn to Weave

Beginning Weaving on the 4 harness loom!

This weekend, Saturday and Sunday April 13 & 14, I'll be teaching beginning weaving in my studio in Camarillo.  This morning I had a cancellation, so have a spot available if anyone is interested.  Don't miss this opportunity to learn to weave!  It is so much fun!!!

We'll be working on table looms like in the top picture, so don't be intimidated by the big loom on the bottom.  However, once you learn on a table loom, all the steps easily translate to a floor loom!

If you're interested or have any questions, please email or call me at 805-404-2090.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Southern California....

Even though I live in Southern California, it is not often that I visit our popular vacation spots.  During this past week, some of my family from Ohio came to visit me and I've had the best time doing lots of tourist things.  We went to Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Universal Studios and City Walk, and the Hard Rock Cafe.

We've also been to the Santa Monica pier and the beach...

Even though it's been what I'd consider cool (mostly in the 60s), it was snowing last week in Ohio.  I guess I've gotten really spoiled by the beautiful weather here!

And of course, we've been to Disneyland and California Adventure.

And today we took a whale watching cruise out of Long Beach.  Even though I didn't get a photo, we saw several whales - and one even jumped high out of the water while we watched.  What a treat!

I think it's really true that I've come to see Southern California through the eyes of others and appreciate it that much more!  What a great place to live.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring projects


The pillow I posted last month now has a couple of companions.  This is an easy project that is very forgiving of mistakes, so Liz at is going to publish the pattern.  We wanted to offer some color options and so I got busy weaving up a couple of different color ways.  Here's a sneak peek at what I put together.  Of course, some good photography with decent lighting will help show what they really look like.

These are lots of fun to make and they do look great on the couch!  The Brown Sheep Lambs Pride wool felts beautifully.  And both the Trendsetter and Prism Yarns I used make a lovely fabric.  I've got one more color way on the loom that is purple wool and blue/green/purple filler.  It's a thick rayon slub yarn so I'm not sure if it will work or not so it will be interesting to play with.  After warping the loom I realized the slub yarn might just be a bit too thick in places to go easily through the holes.  Seems like every once in a while I do something like that when I know better, but there are some lessons that I guess I need to learn repeatedly!

One of my students, Carol Whitney, sent me some pictures of the log cabin scarves she made.  What a great job!

Also this week I've been working on a design for a woven scarf with a knitted trim.  It's a submission for a magazine, so I can't show images, but combining knitting or crochet with weaving is an area I'm going to be exploring more.  It's exciting to think about combining my fiber skills to show off the beautiful yarns in new ways.  

This Sunday at Anacapa Fine Yarns in Ventura, CA, I'll be teaching a class on making a scarf with a leno detail.  We'll be using lace weight yarns to make a very light and airy fabric.  If you're interested, there is still space!

Monday, March 11, 2013


Pattern for Sale!!!!

My first pattern with is for sale on Craftsy (click on Craftsy to see the pattern) and I'm so excited about it!  For the past few weeks I've been working with Liz Gipson to develop some of my designs into patterns.  Liz was the wonderful producer for my class and has excellent experience in many areas of fiber, marketing, editing and lots more.  So when she asked me about working with her and her new venture to promote patterns for rigid heddle looms, I was honored to jump on board.  The official site for Yarnworker will be up sometime in May, but I'm just too excited about the pattern to wait till then to let you all know about it.  

Meanwhile I've been working hard on some additional designs so keep on the look out for those as well.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March begins

back to work...

Stitches West was a treat again this year.  I enjoy seeing friends, catching up with previous students, meeting new people and teaching weaving.  My classes were sold out so I'm delighted there is continuing interest in learning to weave!  My friend Julie Kornblum attended Stitches for the first time and helped me set up and warp the looms before class as well as pack them up after my classes ended.  No matter how much fun it is to teach, it really is a tremendous amount of work getting ready for classes.  Julie and I worked for about 5 hours getting the equipment ready for class.  

Julie warping looms

The room is ready!

I also got to do a demonstration in the Craftsy booth. I'm continually impressed with  They are such a pleasure to work with and offer such great classes!  If you haven't checked out my class yet, you can still get 50% off by entering the code

It was over a week ago since I got home from Stitches West and I've been working hard since then.  The trip home from Santa Clara was lovely as we came down Highway 1 along the coast so I could visit The Coast Gallery in Big Sur.  They have been selling my handwoven rayon chenille scarves for several years and it's always fun to stop in and say hello.  And a new manager started on January 1, so I wanted to meet him.  This is a great gallery and a beautiful place to stop if you're driving on the Coast Highway.

Coming down the coast.
During the past week, I've been working on some patterns.  Within a couple of weeks, some of my patterns will be available on line at Patternfish and Craftsy through Yarnworker Patterns.  This is an exciting endeavor!  More information to come....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

More log cabin

Log Cabin continues...

Both last Sunday at Newtons in Anaheim and today at Anacapa in Ventura, I taught classes on log cabin weaving.  This will also be the subject of one of my classes at Stitches West next weekend.  Each of the classes has been a bit different project, but all on the same general subject of how to weave the log cabin pattern.  I love this pattern because it really does look complex, but is fairly easy to weave.  It is after all, just plain weave.  

But the tricky part comes in because two shuttles are used and keeping the yarn from the two shuttles to act properly along the selvedge edges is sometimes difficult.  It's a real challenge for me to explain this in a way that's easy for everyone to understand.  But I've been working on it and think I may be getting a bit better at it.

Since there are two shuttles involved, every other pick brings the second shuttle out the same side of the weaving as the first shuttle, so they are both on the same side of the loom.  If the selvedge thread where they come out is in the up position, then the second shuttle should be placed up, or closer to the reed than the first shuttle.  If the selvedge thread where they come out is in the down position, then the second shuttle should be placed down, or farther away from the reed than the first shuttle (or closer to your stomach).     This sounds simple, but seems very confusing when learning this new technique.  I think there's just a lot going on when starting this pattern and it just feels like too many things to think about at once!  It does get easier as you practice it.

Pam Harwood took the class at TNNA in Long Beach earlier this month and was nice to send me an image of her finished scarf.  She used a variegated yarn for one color and so the effect is a bit different than when using just two contrasting colors.  I think it's lovely!

Yesterday I finished a sample for a new class I've been developing for a woven and felted pillow.  For the wool, I used Brown Sheep Lambs Pride because it always felts so easily.  It's combined with some of Trendsetter's Orchidea, which does not felt.  So the Orchidea gets puffed up in little "pillows" inside the grid of felted Lambs Pride.  I had lots of fun working on this project and plan to do several more colors!

Thursday, February 7, 2013



Last week I attended and taught at TNNA in Long Beach.  I got to stay at the Hyatt that is adjacent to the convention center.  This is the view from my window!

Nice view from the hotel!

 This conference is for the trade, so all the yarn shop owners and employees come to see what new yarn and tools the yarn companies are offering this season.  Teaching to shop owners is really a treat because I know there will be a ripple effect as they share what they learn with their customers and students at their shops.  And they always come up with great questions that allow me to improve my own techniques and how I teach.  Foxglove Fiberarts Supply (Ashford distributor for the US) sponsored the two full day classes and provided looms for the students.  I think it's always nice to take a weaving class and not have to tote a loom along when you travel.  

When I got to the classroom before class started, the tables weren't set up the way I wanted them, so I started moving things around.  Shortly, a nice man came to the room and advised me I couldn't move the tables, only the convention center people could.  So after several phone calls, they finally got the ok and the tables were moved.  Seemed like a bit of a production, but those are the rules they have to follow.  It just seemed very interesting.....

The tables waiting to be moved.

On the third day, I taught an introduction to rigid heddle weaving class that was sponsored by Foxglove, Schacht, and Glimakra looms.  During this class people get to weave on the three brands of looms to see how they differ and what features each one offers.  It's lots of fun and interesting to see how different people favor one loom over another.  Sometimes it's the weaving width, or the finish, or the carry bag, or how cute the loom is that speaks to them.  And of course, sometimes it's the price.  

We had lots of fun in the classes and there were some beautiful pieces woven.  Here are some happy students!

Everyone did such a great job.  Thank you all for making my teaching so easy!

After teaching I walked around on the convention floor checking out all the beautiful yarns that are available.  It makes choosing yarn difficult when there are so many fabulous fibers to see.  

And the Craftsy team was there and so I had a chance to talk with them some more.  I'm very happy with my class Rigid Heddle Weaving Beyond the Basics.  If you haven't gotten it yet and want to, you can get a 50% discount by entering

Stitches West is coming up in a couple of weeks and I always enjoy teaching there. My classes are sold out, but I think there is a waiting list if anyone still wants to sign up.   I'll also be demonstrating at the Craftsy booth on Friday, February 22 at noon.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Oh my, time flies.....

I see it's been two weeks since my last post and I can't believe how the time got away from me.  Last week the entire week was so much fun as we had adult art camp at Studio Channel Islands Art Center.  In the afternoons, I had a wonderful class with 5 new rigid heddle weavers and 3 new 4 harness weavers in the evenings.  Generally my classes are much larger so it was a relaxed atmosphere and we all got to know each other.  Everyone took to weaving and it was a great time.  Being away from the normal routine at art camp was like a vacation!  It was a special treat for me to spend time with these creative people and help them discover weaving.  Here are several images from the rigid heddle class.

Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures in the evening class, but they worked on samplers.  It's so interesting to me the way the same stack of yarn can come out looking so different depending on who is using it.  Each person uses the color and texture in a unique way to produce an individual piece.  Some favor thin smooth yarn, while others like sparkle or fuzzy or fat and stretchy.  So many choices!

I'm already thinking about what to offer at the next adult art camp.  If you have any suggestions, just let me know.

So now this week I'm getting ready for TNNA.  It's in Long Beach so I don't have to fly anywhere, just get up really early on Thursday and drive down to teach a class starting at noon.  I love teaching at TNNA because it's mostly yarn shop owners or employees and they're always wonderful to have in a class.  And I'll get to see many friends and check out the new yarns for the summer.  I love my job!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Ok, here are the images.  I tried to post them before from my iPad, but I obviously don't have that completely figured out yet.


All the scarves for the order for the Coast Gallery in Big Sur are on their way.  So the warps I showed hanging on the loom in my post from the January 2 post are all woven!

I'm so happy with how they turned out.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Where does the time go?

A week ago, a group came up to my studio from Anaheim and Los Angeles to hang out for the afternoon and have some informal instruction on the rigid heddle loom.  Helen from Newton's Knits is great about arranging classes and field trips and I certainly thank her for putting this group together.  A couple of ladies were finishing their their stash vests from the class we had at Newtons in December on that. The class project is the stashbuster vest that was published in the September/October issue of Handwoven magazine.  But Mary Still had finished not one, but two stash vests!  Here are her beautiful pieces.  The pictures don't do them justice as she incorporated lots of mixed yarns to give the fabric great texture.  What a great job.

The last week went by in a blur.  I stayed at the studio most evenings until 9 or 10 pm getting lots of weaving done.  Tomorrow I'll take pictures of all the scarves I finished and post them. It's been a weaving frenzy, but I finished 25 rayon chenille scarves during the week!  Tomorrow morning I go up to Ventura to pick up my pieces from the exhibit at Fox.  They had several of my scarves for sale in the window, so between getting a few of those back and the new ones I finished last week, I will have some scarves for sale in my studio again.

Saturday and Sunday I taught a beginning rigid heddle class at the Southern California Handweavers Guild.  We had such fun.  On Saturday afternoon everyone made an open weave felted scarf for their first project.  The project for Sunday was the stashbuster scarf.  I'm always amazed and delighted at how beautiful and different all the pieces turn out.  We had 17 in the class and each piece was unique.  It's wonderful to see the creative ways each person interprets the same project.  Here is an image of some of the class members and some of their projects from the open weave felted scarf class.  The stashbuster scarves were mostly still on the looms at the end of the class on Sunday, so I didn't get an image of those, but hopefully I'll get some photos emailed to me.

My course on is giving me the opportunity to interact with weavers from all over!  It's so exciting to answer questions and chat with people I otherwise wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet.  And people are posting projects on the site so I can see what they're working on and how they're using the lessons to make their own designs.  The more interaction I have with Craftsy, the more impressed I am.  They offer a great way to learn things in the comfort of your own home!  If you are interested in my rigid heddle weaving course, remember you can get a 50% discount by using the link

This week I hope to get more samples done for the Great Wall of Yarn at TNNA and for some new Trendsetter Yarns I have.  And I'll be preparing for Adult Art Camp at the studio January 21 - 25.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Leno with silk

Working with some of the Trendsetter Yarns has been wonderful this week.  For one project I used a ball of their Lotus Yarn "Silky Cashmere" to make a scarf with some leno detail on the ends.  Oh my, I just love  it.  The yarn is 55% silk and 45% Mongolian Cashmere, so the piece has a fabulous hand.  It's light as a feather, soft, and has a beautiful luster.  It's such an easy project that is mostly plain weave with just one row of 2 x 2 leno a couple of inches from each end to create a bit of a border.  I used a sett of 12 ends per inch in a balanced weave structure.  This is one of those projects that gave me a lot of result for minimal effort.  

I enjoyed this one so much, I decided to weave another one using a ball of silk I also had on hand.  This one is using Sweetgeorgia yarn "Spun Silk Lace" 100% silk in amethyst sett at 20 ends per inch with 13 picks per inch.  It has the same leno detail on each end for a border.

There might be several more of these so I can use them both as class samples and to wear myself!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year

This afternoon I spent a few hours in the studio getting organized.  I was able to get several warps wound for rayon chenille scarves and lay them out in preparation for being put on the loom.  The first one I'll be working on is purples and it's now on the loom ready to weave.  The warps are all long enough to make 5 scarves.  Generally I weave each one with a different weft color so the scarves are all unique after they're finished.

I wound 4 additional warps and draped them over the front beam of my biggest loom which isn't being used right now.  It is so satisfying to see the warps all lined up, waiting to be worked on.  For these scarves, I've wound 5 warp chains for each total warp.  The buckets hold all the cones of yarn that I used in the warp so if I break a warp thread, the replacement is handy and I don't have to search for the right color.  And there is a nice sense of completion when I put the cones away after finishing working on that warp.

I'm also looking forward to working on a warp I put on the loom right before Christmas.  The customer wanted a ruana with colors suggesting a Monet painting.  Here's the warp on the loom.  I did get the ruana finished and sent off before Christmas, but still have more to weave as I put on enough warp for an additional 2 garments.

So part of getting organized is deciding what to work on first!  I'll be weaving the chenille scarves so I can get a dozen shipped off to the Coast Gallery in Big Sur during the next week.  At the same time, I'm working on some patterns with some beautiful new yarns from Trendsetter Yarns.

I love my job!