Posted in weaving

Another Friday, Another Finished Object

This is the little weaving that I had started as an example for my fiber arts students. A few weeks ago, I was cataloging a list of my unfinished objects. Spying it lying around, I realized that I needed to count it as one of the dirty dozen UFOs.

Today I can announce that this weaving has moved to the finished pile. After working to the top of the warp, I cut off the yarn and worked the loose ends into the back of the weaving. There was still a lot of looseness on all four edges of the piece. I decided to machine stitch around the sides. After that, I slipped the top and bottom loops onto a pair of knitting needles and considered it done.

I call it Blue-Orange Duet.

Image showing machine finished edges.

Mulling about what to do with it…….. Hm, I noticed that the weaving’s colors worked very nicely with my origami installation piece on the east wall of the studio.

So up it went. It looks quite at home amid the pinwheels and the birds. Sort of like a punctuation point, a period at the end of a sentence.

Welcome to the studio, Blue-Orange Duet. Make yourself at home.

Posted in knitting, sewing, weaving

Back Home

Yesterday we arrived home after spending a week in Wisconsin. The trip was undertaken to help our daughter and her family prepare for a move. It was a weird and wonderful trip. With constant changes implemented by the authorities in the states we traveled through, we never knew what to expect from day to day. Thankfully, many businesses on the interstate highways remained open to provide for the necessities of travelers. All the staff we encountered along the way were both kind and helpful.

The trip was a success. While we stayed with the kids, daughter and son-in-law found and put an offer in on a suitable house in Madison. That’s a big hurdle accomplished.

I discovered a new travel craft – weaving on the little 8 by 10 artists’ canvas loom. All the materials fit into an average size project bag, and the motions of the fiber artist do not ever distract the driver. You see in the photo above my attempt to create an S-curve out of two colors of yarn.

I received two items from daughter that will inspire future fiber objects:

The Vogue Knitting book is a delightful compilation of the best of the Vogue Knitting magazine, from the 1980s through to 2011. Lots of inspiration is here. I have my eye on a couple of patterns found within. Of most value to me are the charts of various lace stitches.

This little book is called omiyage, by Kumiko Sudo. It was purchased by my mom, who passed it to daughter, who gave it to me. The Japanese have a thousand-year-old practice of making and giving small gifts. Back then there were strict rules and a great deal of formality surrounding this ritual. The author re-interprets omiyage for modern times, using fabrics both traditional and modern. As she is a quilter, she pulls fabrics from her stash of quilting cotton, and incorporates bits of silk and wool as well. I plan to try making some Good Luck dolls.

Traditionally these dolls were the focal point for a festival called Girl’s Day. I think they would be wonderful made from some of my hand-painted fabrics. Because they are small, making one should be a fun, inexpensive and quick project.

Well, I am keen to resume my making. The Just Trees mini quilt is still unfinished and I would like to get that weaving off the loom soon.

Until next time, keeping making and be well.

Posted in weaving

Fun, Kid-Friendly Fiber Art Lesson

Dear friends: Due to travel plans I will not be able to post blogs for the next week or so. So today I have for you a project that you can do at home, with your kids or with yourself. This is the last lesson I did with my fiber arts kids, ages ranging from eight to fourteen. They all enjoyed it. I call it:


After spending weeks looking for some inexpensive frame looms that were more than just toys, I decided to make them myself. I found a package of ten 8 by 10 inch stretched canvas artist frames for $13 at a local Walmart. I bought a box of 1 inch panel board nails and a tack hammer at the local hardware big box store. After marking every 3/10th of an inch across the top and bottom of the frames, I tapped the nails about half-way in. ( I used the needle nose pliers to hold nails in place. That was a tip from my husband) Voila: loom. After a few hours of hammering I had made ten looms for less than 25 dollars.

Next I fashioned some shuttles by cutting 8 inch by 1 and 1/2 inch rectangles from matt board. You can use any sturdy cardboard you can get your hands on. I made a few from posterboard which worked okay – just tended to bend too much. Cut each narrow end into arrow shapes, then slice straight down into the center of each end about an inch. I removed a narrow sliver from this slot. Here is my finished shuttle. Make more than one so that you can have multiple colors of yarn ready.

You will need the following materials and tools to get weaving: cotton yarn or string for making warp, yarn, string of other fiber stuff for weft threads, wide craft sticks about 8 inches long, scissors, tapestry needles and a plastic fork which serves as a beater and of course, your home-made loom and shuttles.

Procedure: Using a cotton of other sturdy thread, tie one end to lower right nail. Begin wrapping by stretching yarn up to corresponding top nail, then back down to next bottom nail, up, down and so on until all the nails are wrapped. Be sure to keep the yarn moderately taut. Tie the end of the warp thread securely to the final thread. I used a surgeon’s knot, but a double half-hitch will also work. Wind your shuttles with about three feet of yarn.

Use the craft sticks as weaving sticks: weave one stick in and out of warp threads all the way across your loom. Push this stick to the top of your loom. Now work another stick through the warp going the opposite way, that is, the over threads are now unders and the unders are overs. Push this stick up next to the first stick. To open a shed, you just twist the lower stick. Run your shuttle through the opening, spreading weft thread evenly. Drop the stick and remove it. Now mash your first weft thread evenly down to the bottom of the loom. Open the alternate shed with the remaining stick and run your shuttle back through. You can leave the top stick in place, but you will need to reset your bottom stick every time. Such is the fate of a weaver using a primitive loom. If you don’t like using the shuttles, you can weave with yarn and a tapestry needle. The down side is that you will use shorter lengths of yarn and have to rethread often.

There’s lots of little techniques you can use to vary your weaving. To carry the first color up the side of your weaving, wrap the second color around the first before the next pass of the shuttle. With each pass of the shuttle the yarn will be covered as it moves along to the location of its next use.

Have fun. I am attaching a pdf file with the complete lesson. Since I have never done this before, I hope that it is useable.

Posted in weaving

Weaving Workshop: Lesson 3


LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Students will learn the basic process for designing and making a woven fiber object. Students will practice transferring their designs to scrim, tying knots, and using a tapestry needle to weave various patterns.

VOCABULARY: Tapestry, scrim, cross stitch, subject, background, transfer

MATERIALS AND TOOLS: Paper, pencil, crayons, markers, scissors, yarn, tapestry needle, rug canvas, masking tape. Optional: String-like objects such as ribbon, cord and fleece.

Step One: The design phase. Students will choose two yarns in favorite colors from the yarn bowl. Using a pencil and paper, they will draw a picture of an object or thing that has these colors in it. Place the scrim on top of the drawing to check that the subject of the drawing is within the margins of the scrim. Once students are comfortable with their drawings, they can color the subject using crayons.

Step Two: Transfer the design. Students will lay the scrim over the drawing, centering the design’s main subject. Masking tape can be used to keep the paper and scrim from sliding around. Using matching crayons or markers, students trace the outlines of the subjects’ shapes onto the scrim. Transfer each part of the shape. (see example)

Step Three: Weave the design. First, students will choose any additional yarn colors that will be needed to complete their designs. Starting with the center of the subject area, they will use yarn threaded onto a big-eyed tapestry needle to weave over each area. Students can weave in any direction that works for them – vertically, horizontally, diagonally, or a combination of all. The objective is to cover the entire surface. This example shows diagonal weaving in the black area and a wrapping technique with the blue yarn.

When the subject area is completely woven, the background can be covered in a contrasting color yarn. Alternatively, the background scrim can be left plain or colored using crayon or marker.

In Lesson 4 the class will finish weaving, add additional materials to complete image details and frame the completed weaving.

Posted in recycling, sewing, weaving

Fiber Fun at the Lake House

While I and my family were soaking up the sun and splashing in the water at the Lake House, my daughter proposed that we work on a fiber project together. The family lake house, which was built in the 1950s, contains random pieces of furniture and what nots from several decades. The object of attention is a floor lamp with a silk shade that had disintegrated completely. Used in its present condition, the unshaded light got into everyone’s eyes. She thought we could solve this problem.

Of course, the Lake House Challenge is to make it work with limited materials and tools. After a bit of brainstorming, during which we rejected piecing panels together and shirring or gathering fabric, we came up with a weaving concept. We had on hand a few bed sheets and a ball of cotton blend yarn.

Yarn is left over from the Luna Moth baby dress project.

Fortunately, Daughter had brought her sewing machine.

I took on the task of warping the yarn over the lamp shade frame and she hemmed and turned the strips of white sheet. They were about 2 inches wide. We thought we would need six rounds. Here is the shade with the warp in place and the first round of weft weaving.

It took a few days because it was possible to work only while the baby was sleeping. She sewed together the two ends of each strip and trimmed up the yarn.


We agreed that it was pleasing to the eye in a bohemian kind of way.

Posted in weaving

Button Loom Weaving: Finished Object

I finished up the weaving on the button loom yesterday. Today I spent a fair amount of time making a backdrop for the weaving. I used silk triangles.

After sewing together enough triangles to cover the frame backing, I attached the silk to the backing with spray adhesive. In retrospect, I should have used non-woven interfacing behind the silk before attaching it. Wrinkling was a problem.

And here is the finished object. I call it Escape from the Tower. In case you are wondering about the story behind the title, rest assured that everyone was able to get out. It’s fortunate that the artist thought to attach a coppery rope to the tower. Those on the top floors used it to get to safety by rappelling down the wall.


Here is a closer view of the top section.

Posted in weaving

Button Loom – Weaving Progress

So I have been weaving on the button loom for the past two days. I thought that I would have finished today, but it is not to be. I did take of photo of my progress after the first day of weaving:

After day one, I was happy with the way the piece looks. I chose a color scheme of dark red, turquoise, pale blue and ivory white. It seems to go well with the black frame and the brass and silver buttons. The weaving pattern is pretty basic, but I did use a basket weave effect with the white yarn, to show off some of the warp threads.

If all goes well, I will have a finished object for you by tomorrow.

Posted in recycling, weaving

Button Loom

When thinking about all things fiber, I occasionally ponder the role of objects associated with fiber. Buttons come to mind very quickly. Who doesn’t have a handful (or jarful) of these tiny essentials? While they are often mundane adjuncts to your cardigans, coats and jeans, is it possible for buttons to step out of the ordinary? Let’s make something that gives them a stellar role. I am designing and building a button loom. This loom won’t handle the work of any serious weaver. But it can hold the warp threads for a modest tapestry. If positioned artistically, the buttons can become a key design element of the finished object.

Among my collection, I have two dozen metal shank buttons that were saved from various worn-out blazers and jackets.

The pretty silver ones came from my mom’s stash of vintage buttons.

If I sew them very close together on sturdy upholstery fabric, and then wrap the fabric around a wooden frame, it could start to become a loom.

The button-covered fabric rectangles were wrapped around the short sides of the black frame and stapled in place. I used the glue to prevent fraying.

Here is my finished frame with warp threads in place. I have used cotton and acrylic yarns for the warp, pulling and tying them together at the lower edge of frame.

Next time I will weave the tapestry.

Posted in recycling, weaving

Boho Basket

I’m staring at this really ugly wire basket which has been pressed into use in my studio. You may know the kind – available through Container Store. While it is commodious, it isn’t pretty.

Poking around in my linen closet, I identified several cotton woven placemats that are refugees from the eighties. We really liked these colors back then – peach, mint green, mauve and pale blue. They haven’t seen the light of day since I moved them sixteen years ago to our present home.


I decided that the wire which ran the length of the basket would be the warp, and the cut-up placemats will be the weft. The opening between wires are 1 and 1/4 inch.

I cut up the placemats parallel to the warp, and across the weft. It is my hope that the full-length warp threads will keep the strips from fraying. I sewed two strips together so that they stretch down both sides and across the bottom of the basket. Here is the color sequence that I settled on:

After a bit of sewing and weaving, my new Boho-style basket is finished. Here it is, put into service holding yarn:

I like this . And it feels good to re-cycle stuff that’s just taking up space in a closet. However, I must admit to you, dear reader, that this project produced a bunch of lint!

Posted in weaving

Weaving with paper

I first learned about paper weaving when I was creating lesson plans for my fiber arts students. I teach a class of home-school students every Friday. We explore lots of fibery things, including weaving. Paper is an excellent medium for a beginning weaver. It’s abundant, cheap, and easy to manipulate. The students worked with colored craft paper, but I like using magazine clippings and photographs.

I came up with an idea of weaving together photographs and letters. The photo could be of the sender or the recipient. I imagined that the photo would increase the sentiment of my words. For this project, I decided to write a letter to my daughter. Here are my warp and weft paper pieces:

Here are the papers after weaving: Use tape to secure the paper strips on the back and a glue stick for loose bits of paper under the front edges.

Be sure to weave around the faces. It’s also good to show the hands.

To go with the color scheme of pink and blue, I chose a blue felt-tipped pen.

Finished Letter

I think this was a successful experiment. Now I need to find a super big envelope!