Summer Reading

School’s out, so it’s time for some Summer Reading.  If you don’t have your reading list yet, here are a few suggestions. I’m sure you can figure out the thread.

Atwood, Margaret, The Penelopiad. New York, Cannongate, 2005.

Chevalier, Tracy. The Lady and the Unicorn. New York: Dutton, 2004.

Lawrence, Margaret. The Iceweaver. New York: William Morrow imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.

Lowell, Elizabeth. Moving Target. New York: Avon Books, imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2002.

Lyon, Steve, The Gift Moves. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.

Park, Linda Sue. Project Mulberry. New York: Clarion Books, 2005.

Sayres, Meghan Nuttall. Anahita’s Woven Riddle. New York: Amulet Books, 2006.

Thurlo, Aimee and David. The Spirit Line. New Youk: Viking, 2004.

Whitesel, Cheryl Aylward. Blue Fingers: A Ninja’s Tale. New York: Clarion Books, A Houghton Mifflin Company imprint, 2004.


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Repairs and Tune-ups

All looms need a little care and feeding, and sometimes a repair.

I suggest that weavers check with loom manufacturers for manuals and instructions, along with tips for the best use of each particular loom.  If the loom company no longer in business, check with The Weavers Friend for some resources.

Establish a regular maintenance schedule for your loom, to clean lint from the working parts and check for loose

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I read Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto several years ago, but, I didn’t think much about applying those concepts to weaving…

However, in spite of small classes with individual attention, sometimes your returning students will make mistakes.  And even advanced weavers sometimes miss details.

Last week, we had another student remove the lease sticks before threading the heddles. I heard my co-teacher call out, “No, not yet!” and I knew we were in for some trouble. All experienced weavers know we can thread those heddles without a cross if we must, but it is much easier to do with help from the tools.

checklistSo I have decided to revisit my idea for a warping checklist. I hope my weaving students will test it out and give me some feedback.

What’s on your checklist?

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I declare

I encourage my students to weave a strong header, and even to sample (!) for sett and color before starting to weave their final piece.  But sometimes the header or samples or early selvedges become a distraction.  We weave in a marker, to indicate where the “weaving to keep” will begin, and declare that we are ready to weave.


“I declare, I’m ready to weave.”

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Safety: No Job is so Important…

I used to work for a large company with a well-publicized safety policy.


One must also be aware of safety in weaving: being careful near the looms and cutting tools.

I encourage my students to practice safe weaving habits, and I often warn them about storing scissors on the tops of the shafts.  You certainly don’t want them to fall and cut your warp!


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Pilgrimage: Tours

The Convergence® conference tours gave us a chance to see exceptional textiles in the conference area, at a relaxed pace, while visiting with old and new friends.

On the Past to Present tour, we viewed a unique private collection of textiles from tribal cultures from Africa, Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. We heard about the travels to tribal societies and the special textiles and garments that commemorated special events in the life of the wearer.

This headdress –

This piece….

… with a surprise on every layer.

This tunic….

…. with this embellishment detail.
More than just viewing the textiles, we learned about how these products of tribal societies were used as communication rather than adornment, linking the world of the living with that of the ancestors. The stories connected us to the people who produced these exquisite textiles.

We continued to the home and studio of artist Aaron Kramer who considers himself part weaver, designer, artist, and inventor.  We saw his birds,

Aaron Kramer

bathroom wainscoting made from rescued molding,

Aaron Kramer

an interesting cage-like sculpture,

Aaron Kramer

and his signature cork chair.

Aaron Kramer

And now we understand his mantra: “Trash is a failure of the imagination.”

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Pilgrimage: Shopping

More on the summer pilgrimage —

At HGA’s Convergence® conference, vendors from all over the world set up so shoppers can try out looms, spinning wheels, and accessories.  One can find books, yarns and fibers, dyes, buttons and trims, ethnic textiles and handmade art wear… you name it!

I tried to restrain myself, but I just could not resist a few new tools and specialty yarns.Convergence shopping

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