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Anyone who has woven more than a few weft picks in their life is aware that weaving has been around for a very long time.  Today, we have access to so much information and we’re able to create patterns with a couple of stokes and clicks of our mouse.  In the past century, weaving publications have come and gone.  Some were around years ago and many weavers today may not be aware of them.  This brings me to my latest favorite thing . . . The Weaver magazine. The first issue of The Weaver was published in 1935.  There were four issues a year.  The last issue was published in July 1942.  Fortunately, through the beauty and convenience of the internet, we have access to all 26 issues.  You can access all of them at the following link http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/weaver.html The Weaver cover 1-1 All it takes is a look at an issue or two to appreciate the peek into the history of hand weaving.  The authors include such weavers such as Nellie Sargeant Johnson, Osma Couch Gallinger . . . and the legendary Mary Meigs Atwater.  These are just a few of the weavers that contributed so much to our craft and their articles help continue their legacies for future generations of weavers.

Penland weavers in 1935

Penland weavers in 1935

Beyond the weaving information, there are a number of things that are surprising when I look at issues of The Weaver.  First, the authors (mostly women) are listed by their own names.  If you look back over 75 years ago, women were often listed as Mrs. <insert husband’s name>.  Were weavers over 75 years ago their own contemporaries?  It may appear so.  Another thing I really marvel at is the hand-drawn drafts . . . including the penmanship.  Such beautiful handwriting!  Plus, I can only imagine how much work went into creating one publication since the publishing tools and advantages we have today (namely, computers) were only a dream at the time. In looking through some of the issues, the following were just a few of the articles that caught my attention

Volume 1, Issue 3Miniature Patterns for Hand Weaving by Josephine Estes (below is one of the five pages of the articles drafts) Minature patterns - 1-3 Volume 5, Issue 3Miniature Patterns for Hand Weaving by Josephine Estes (below is one of the five pages of the articles drafts) Minature patterns - 5-3Volume 2, Issue 4 - Lightning Weaving by Elmer Wallace Hickman . . . Before reading this issue I was unfamiliar with Lightning Weaving.  Yes, it’s a Scandinavian tapestry technique . . . but, I love the name and the drawings!       Lighting weave - 2-4Volume 4, Issue 1 - Know Thy Thread by Osma Couch Gallinger . . . If you’re looking for a little guidance on what is the appropriate yarn or thread for your project, there are four pages that may be of help.  Not all of the yarns may be available, but it’s amazing how much of it is still relevant. Know thy Threads - 4-1Volume 6, Issue 2 - Bronson Weave – Four Ways by Mary Meigs Atwater . . . A nine-page article that may intrigue any weaver interested in learning more about Bronson lace. Bronson Weave 4 ways - 6-2Volume 7, Issue 2 - Types of Overshot by Osma Couch Gallinger . . . I thought this was a wonderful look at overshot patterning.  The image below is just one page of the four pages of hand-drawn images.           Types of Overshot - 7-2Volume 4, Issue 4 - How Many Ways to Weave Honeysuckle by Berta Frey . . . Looking for one threading with some versatility?  Check out this article!   How many ways to weave Honeysuckle - 4-4There are even numerous articles that I would consider off-the-beaten-path . . . the two below are just a couple that may capture your attention.

Volume 7, Issue 2 - Finish of Edges by Mary Meigs Atwater Finish of Edges - 7 - 2Volume 1, Issue 3 - New Ideas for Tablet Woven Rugs by Beatrice A. Shephard . . . I’m totally and completely intrigued by the idea of a tablet woven rug.  It’s not a project I would likely undertake, but I can certainly marvel at the work of others. Tablet woven rugs - 1-3The Weaver magazine may lack the visual impact of color . . . but, so what?  Hopefully, some of the above articles will encourage you to check it out . . . and, while you’re looking at your first issue, think retro . . . think nostalgia . . . and then think how incredible these projects could look in color. Enjoy!

Mention the word tapestry in the company of weavers and at least one person will proclaim they dislike tapestry (sometimes even stronger and more passionate language arises).  In fact, I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said something disparaging about weaving tapestry.  I could have a pretty good dinner with a nice glass (or two) of wine.

I think I started thinking about tapestry recently when I realized my friend and amazing tapestry weaver, James Koehler, passed away three years ago this week.  He was incredible!  Not only as a tapestry weaver, but also as a teacher and friend.  He once watched me give away awards for a bath towel exhibit at the ANWG 2007 conference in Red Deer, Alberta wearing nothing more than a bath towel.  Nearly every time I saw him after that, he would would say Robyn.  I didn’t recognize you with clothes on.  The chance he would say it increased with the number of people that would hear his comment.  Talk about watching heads whip around.  A former monk saying something like that sounded rather shocking.  One can’t help but love someone with a sense of humor like that!

To learn more about James Koehler, you can watch a short video of him describing how he became a weaver.  The video was produced when James received a New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2007.  http://www.nmartmuseum.org/governors/awards/video.php?select=231

James Koehler

James Koehler

James Koehler tapestry

One of James’ amazing tapestries

Fortunately, James left behind many inspired weavers to share his techniques with other weavers.  In fact, Rebecca Mezoff was kind enough to post a video on YouTube of his tapestry join technique.  You may see her video by clicking on the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TwNVX3nPGc

Koelher tapestry join by Rebecca Mezoff

For years I avoided tapestry.  Why?  It was slow and time-consuming.  Then came my decision to complete HGA’s Certificate of Excellence in weaving (COE-W).  Three of the 40 woven samples required in Level I of the COE-W are tapestries (albeit, small ones).  If I wanted to complete the COE-W, I was going to have to tackle tapestry.  I went forward kicking . . . but, not screaming . . . and guess what?  After developing my skills, I was able to weave a nice little tapestry.  Below is one of them.

Cherries by Robyn Spady

Cherries by Robyn Spady

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I didn’t abdicate from my floor looms in favor of weaving tapestries; however, I developed a new appreciation for tapestry techniques and tapestry weavers.  I also pursued incorporating tapestry techniques into my regular weaving.  For example, I sometimes use a clasped weft technique to create a bi-colored weft effect.  Below is an example of clasped weft in the weft pile picks used while weaving corduroy.

DSCN0443

Corduroy weft piles picks woven using clasped weft (uncut)

Corduroy weft piles picks woven using clasped weft  (half the pile weft is cut - notice the shift in color)

Corduroy weft piles picks woven using clasped weft (half the pile weft is cut – notice the shift in color)

Tapestry techniques are just one set of skills I think weavers should develop . . . at least to some degree.  There are even some resources available.

First stop for more information, should be Weaving Today.  They have a free tapestry ebook available for download.  Just click on the link http://www.weavingtoday.com/tapestry-weaving/

Handwoven tapestry PDF cover

When you’re ready to move on, head on over to the American Tapestry Alliance’s website http://americantapestryalliance.org/.  There’s tons of information and inspiration just waiting for you.  There is also a significant collection of tapestry-related articles listed under the Education tab.  Below is an image of the top of the list.

AMA articles images

Interested in more on tapestry???  Cool!  Check out the on-line PDF available from Archie Brennan and Susan Martin Maffei.  http://www.brennan-maffei.com/images/TapestryWeavingTechniques.pdf

Brennan's technique

Also, there’s a wonderful 16 minute video made available by Debbie Herd that introduces the viewer to tapestry techniques that may get you inspired to purchase Archie’s 8-disc DVD set.  http://debbieherd.blogspot.com/2013/07/woven-tapestry-techniques-with-archie.html

If you need a little more to inspire you to learn more about tapestry techniques, I’ve included some images from some of my favorite tapestry artists.

Maximo Laura - http://www.maximolaura.com/about.htm

Maximo Laura

Sarah Swett - http://www.sarah-swett.com/

Red Nuns by Sara Swett

Red Nuns by Sara Swett

Cecilia Blomberg - http://www.ceciliablomberg.com/

Cecilia Blomber - Multnomah Falls

Cecilia Blomberg – Multnomah Falls (1998)

Margo MacDonald – http://www.margomacdonald.com/

Margo MacDonald tapestry

Kathy Todd Hooker – http://kathetoddhooker.blogspot.com/

Kathy Todd Hooker

 

If you’ve shrugged off or even runway from weaving tapestry, give it a try.  It’s easy to get started.  A piece of heavy cardboard with some notches cut into the top and bottom can made a good little loom to warp up.

Enjoy!

My latest favorite thing has been referred to as many things . . . Needle weaving, teneriffe embroidery, pin weaving, and more.  What I’m trying to do is encourage weavers and fiber artists to think small and scale down their weaving.  This makes many forms of needle weaving portable.  It may not be the quickest way to produce a large piece, but I like to think of needle weaving techniques as helping to accomplish the following:

  1. Make use of those moments when your waiting, watching, listening, etc.  Like when you’re at your guild meeting and listening to the various committee reports, watching your kid’s or grand kid’s ball games, or indulging yourself in the latest episode of Downton Abbey.  I’ve even been know to needle weave while waiting at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  2. Use small amounts of yarn.  Weavers produce thrums.  Then it seems as though they breed during the night while we slumber away dreaming of interlacing yarns into fabulous projects.
  3. Experiment with ideas.  Experimentation and playing with color, texture, and weave structures is something that can be time consuming and costly when we work on our larger looms.  Big ideas can come from working on a small scale.
  4. Produce something quickly.  While we’re working on our larger projects, it’s nice to have something that comes to an end quickly.  Plus, you may find needle weaving produces projects, like jewelry, you can sell later on.
  5. Have fun.

Needle weaving has been around for a long time . . . a very long time.  If needle weaving is new to you . . . or you haven’t revisited it for a while, I would like to share a few resources available on-line.  then I want to share my ideas for creating a weaving etui.

In 1904, Earl & Co published Teneriffe Lace Design and Instructions.  In this publication, you will see some traditional patterns, but if you think about changing to different shapes . . . especially, irregular shapes . . . there is some wonderful inspiration within its pages.  http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/books/archive_012.pdf

Teneriffe Lace cover

The Knot

 

Teneriffe #2

Teneriffe

In 1903, The Proctor Teneriffe Lace Wheel Co published the booklet Designs and Instructions for Making Teneriffe and Filet Lace.  Like the publication above, it shows needle weaving in a circular shape that makes me think of the flower looms many of us wove on as children.  http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/monographs/proc_tener.pdf

Proctor Teneriffe Lace cover

At Tenar’s Cave, there are some wonderful tutorials on needle weaving.  http://tenar72.wordpress.com/all-about-needleweaving/

Tenar's Cave

 

Even Threads magazine has shown needle weaving in a new light.  http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/11225/create-intricate-fabric-with-pin-weaving/page/all

Threads #2

Threads online article on pin weaving

There are a number of small looms on the market ready to get you started on needle weaving.  Weave-It/Weavette looms, potholder looms, and flower looms can be readily found.  Schacht Spindle Co., Inc. is producing a Zoom Loom.  Many of us started weaving on a piece of cardboard with notches cut in the ends that held warp in position.  If you’re a weaver-on-the-go, another option is to make your own needle weaving etui.  (If this seems familiar, I wrote about this in July 2010 on this blog.)

An etui is a French term (pronounced é-twē) dating back to the early 17th century.  It refers to a small ornamental case used for small articles, such as sewing needles.  The first time I remember seeing an etui was in an antique store over 30 years ago.  I was captivated.  It was brass and had a beautiful filigree design around the outside.  Inside were items that could be used for sewing, including a small spool of thread.  I was a poor college student and couldn’t afford such an extravagant item, but I remembered it as being remarkable for its size, beauty, and functionality.

Then several years ago, I was thinking of ways to make weaving more portable and the memory of the sewing etui came to mind.  Why couldn’t I fashion a weaving etui.  It needed to be a small case to contain some simple tools and items I could toss in my bag and take out to do a little weaving when time permitted.  About the same time, I used the last tea bag from a small tin and realized this was the perfect container to create my first weaving etui.  I selected some small items I could use to do some simple needle weaving and I was on my way.  I’ve had so much fun with them and find myself frequently reaching for one.  Below I’ve provided the basic step-by-step to create your own weaving etui perfect for the weaver on-the-go!  Remember neatness doesn’t count; having fun does!

Step One – Select a container

There are a wide variety of possibilities for a container.  The image below shows a selection from mint and tea tins to eye glass cases and metal gift card boxes to old digital camera cases.  I’ve even used old CD cases.  One key in choosing a container is it should close securely to ensure your items don’t fall out..  If you have any doubt about how well your container will remain closed, wrap a rubber band around it.

Etui containers

Step Two – Prepare your weaving etui case

The first thing I do with my case is make sure a small pair of scissors fits inside.  I then include one or two tapestry needles.  I prefer metal tins because I can put magnet inside.  These are handy for keeping the scissors and needles from falling out.  If the case is too small for a pair of scissors or if you would prefer to avoid attention from TSA security personnel, you can include a small thread cutter.  For example, in the image below the small red mint tin was too small for a pair of scissors so I put a ladybug thread cutter inside.  This is the kind of thread cutter designed to be applied to the side of a sewing machine.  It had a sticky back on it and was perfect for the small mint tin.  Magnets come in different shapes and sizes and can be found at craft stores, including magnetic sheets with a sticky back which can be easily cut down to size and applied to the inside of the case.

Tins w magnets #1

 

Tins w magnets #2

Step Three – Make your “loom”

Perhaps “loom” is not quite accurate, but you can easily make a small frame to weave on.  I use heavy wire and often cut wire coat hangers up using a pair of heavy wire cutters.  One wire coat hanger can creates 3-5 different shapes, depending on the size you make your frame.  If you use wire smaller than 18 gauge wire (the larger the number, the smaller the wire), I recommend doubling it.  This will reduce the chance of the shape becoming distorted while you weave.

After I have cut my length of wire, I then take a pair of pliers and bend it into a shape.  (Note:  don’t forget to make it small enough to fit inside of your etui case)  I like irregular shapes, especially triangles.  Don’t worry if the surface of the wire is a little rough or you gouge it while bending it because you’re going to cover it. It helps if the ends overlap a bit to hold the shape together after you’ve wrapped it.

Wire hanger

Step Four – Prepare your yarn

Wrap your yarn onto something that will help you control it.  Below are the most common methods I use.  I often use knitting bobbins or embroidery floss cards.  If the frame I created is too small to allow these to pass through, I will make a small bobbin from a strip of coverstock paper folded up and cut notches out of each end.

Bobbins

Step Five – Cover your loom’s frame

Keep tension on the yarn and wrap it around the wire frame.  I often start where the wire frame ends overlap.  This covers the raw ends and ensures your shape is what you wanted.  You may find it necessary to push the yarn wraps against each other as you wrap them around so they won’t slip and slide.

Wrapping #1

Step Six – Warp your loom 

After the frame has been wrapped, go back-and-forth with the yarn to create your warp.

Wrapping #2

Step Seven – Weave the weft yarn(s)

Using a tapestry needle, weave your yarns through the warp.  To beat the weft into place, use your tapestry needle or a very small fork. 

Weaving

Step Eight – Finish your project

When you’ve completed weaving, tie off the yarn on the backside and Viola! . . . you’re done!  If you like, you can embellish your woven piece.  The two items below were embellished by sewing a small number of beads onto the surface.  The item on the left was made with a loop in the top so a cord could go through it and it could be worn as a pendant.  The item on the right had a pin back sewn to the backside to create a brooch.

Finsihed

 

Not every weaving project has to be ambitious.  Sometimes it’s the small simple projects that can lead us to our next great idea.

Enjoy!  Oh . . . and by the way . . . Happy 2014!

In 1972 I embarked on my first macramé project . . . an avocado hemp plant hanger.  With assistance from my mother, I diligently worked away on making knots and trying to keep my strands from tangling.  In the end, I was very proud of what I produced. I’m sure if I saw it today, I would shudder at its appearance . . . but, hey . . . the 70′s were certainly not the pinnacle of aesthetics and good taste.  Remember leisure suits, bell bottoms, and really bad polyester?  Yeah, I too want to forget about those fashion statements.  I’m just grateful we didn’t have digital cameras back then since there’s virtually no evidence of my attempts to be fashionable.  And . . . oh, yes . . . I attempted Farrah Fawcett’s famous windblown feathered look with my fine straight hair without success.  Fortunately, there is no evidence of this indiscretion and you only have my word that it didn’t turn out very well.

Okay, back to macramé . . . the 70′s didn’t do a lot to promote the possibilities of macramé.  Macramé is believed to have originated with 13th-century Arab weavers. These artisans knotted the excess thread and yarn along the edges of handwoven fabrics into decorative fringes on bath towels, shawls, and veils.  I started reacquainting myself with macramé several years ago since I like to do fiber-ish things that are portable and require little more than an old-fashioned clipboard.  So, here I am hoping you will give macramé another look.

Macramé became popular during the Victorian era when Sylvia’s Book of Macramé Lace was published in 1882.  This 178-page book may be downloaded in its entirety at https://archive.org/details/sylviasbookofmac00lond.  Below are a few images from the book.

Sylvia's Book of Macrame Lace

Umbrella with macrame fringe

Insertion macrame lace

Macrame passementerie

Another resource available to learn more about macramé is the DMC Library book Macramé.  It may be downloaded at https://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/books/macrame_dmc.pdf.  I highly recommend this book for getting started.  Scale down the cords by using embroidery floss and the results bear little resemblance to my 1972 attempt to be mod and groovy.

DMC Library Macrame Book cover

DMC Library Macrame Book #1 DMC Library Macrame Book #2 DMC Library Macrame Book #3 DMC Library Macrame Book #4 DMC Library Macrame Book #5 DMC Library Macrame Book #6 DMC Library Macrame Book #7

The third resource you may be interested in checking out is The Imperial Macramé Lace Book published by the Barbour Flax Spinning Company in 1878.  You can download it at the following link –  http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/books/mlb_1878.pdf

Macrame Lace Book cover

Macrame Lace Book #1 Macrame Lace Book #2 Macrame Lace Book #3 Macrame Lace Book #4

Now, if these images don’t inspire at least a wee bit of intrigue in macramé, check out the following modern day applications . . .

Macrame pod chair

Macrame chairOne thing that really got me interested in re-visiting macramé was stumbling across Joan Babcock’s book Micro-Macramé Jewelry: Tips and Techniques for Knotting with Beads.  This was macramé I could really get into!  A couple of years later I had the privilege of meeting Joan at a women’s artist party I attended with Jennifer Moore in Sante Fe, NM.  I can’t remember squealing like that before and I think I may have embarrassed myself a bit when I met her.  Ah, well.  Shortly after buying the book, I purchased her DVD.

Joan Babcock book and DVD

I get more inspired by macramé when I look at images of Joan’s work on her website - http://www.joanbabcock.com/. Some day I hope to be able to take one of her workshops.  Check out a few of her spectacular pieces . . .

Joan Babcock necklace #1

Joan Babcock necklace #2

Joan Babcock earrings #1

Joan Babcock bracelet

Kids are being introduced to macramé through instructions for making friendship bracelets.  Few of the instructions I’ve seen use the term ‘macramé’ . . . If you have kids or grandkids around, you may be able to get them initiated into the fiber arts through the making of friendship bracelets.  Below are a couple of examples of the beautiful things these kids are making.

Friendship bracelets #2

Friendship bracelets

To see the multitude of friendship bracelet instructions available on-line, just Google “friendship bracelet instructions” and you will have your pick . . . Macramé is not just for kids.  A couple I liked are http://friendship-bracelet-patterns.myfbm.com/# and http://friendship-bracelets.net/.

If that’s still not enough to get you going, check out Sherri Stokey’s macramé blog at  http://www.knotjustmacrame.com/ or the website Micro-Macramé Jewelry for inspiration, supplies, and instructions. http://www.micro-macramejewelry.com/index.html

If previous experience with macramé turned you off, consider getting knotty in 2014 and give it a try.  Happy New Year!

As 2013 winds down, I wanted to share one of my favorite sources of inspiration . . . Chanel jackets made with Linton tweed fabric. I spend quite a bit of time with sewing enthusiasts.  One of the ultimate projects many of them share is the desire to sew their own Chanel-style jacket.  Unfortunately, many struggle to find the right fabric.  This is where being a handweaver comes in handy.  We can make our own fabric!

Coco Chanel in Linton tweed

Coco Chanel in Linton tweed

I’ve been fortunate to spend time with authentic Chanel jackets.  Every time I am amazed that people will spend in the neighborhood of $5,000 for a read-to-wear version.  I doubt if I will ever own an authentic Chanel jacket, but I can continue my love of deriving inspiration from them.  Before I share some images and links on Linton tweed fabrics, here are some images and links on Chanel jackets.

The link below is to a 3 ½ minute long video that provides a brief history of the Chanel jacket.

http://inside.chanel.com/en/jacket/video

If you find that intriguing, you may be interested in the video showing a brief look at the making of a Chanel jacket for The Little Black Jacket exhibit.  This exhibit has been traveling the world for over a year-and-a-half and is currently in Singapore.  It’s interesting to watch . . . and, I have to admit, there are fewer people in the world that evoke cool as much as Karl Lagerfield!

http://thelittleblackjacket.chanel.com/en_US/thejacket/video/1

Exploring the rest of The Little Black Jacket exhibit website is fun and makes me want to weave some black textured fabric for a jacket of my own.

http://thelittleblackjacket.chanel.com/en_US/home?loader=0

Okay, enough about Chanel jackets . . . only because I want to move on to Linton tweed fabrics.

Linton celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012  The company began when William Linton started Linton Mill in the Caldewgate area of Carlisle.  Not long after that in the 1920′s, Mr. Linton’s friend and Parisian couturier, Captain Molyneux,  introduced him to a young French designer, Coco Chanel.  Hence, a brilliant pairing of British fabrics with French fashion design was born!

Linton Tweed weaver #2

Linton Tweed weaver

Business for Linton, like all businesses that have been around for a while, has had its share of ups and downs.  In the late 60′s, dramatic changes were made to revive their business by incorporating exotic yarns and even manufacture some of their own yarns.  Below are a couple of jackets that I found particularly interesting.

Linton Tweed jacket

Linton Tweed jacket - orange
Just looking at Linton fabrics inspire new ideas for me.  Check out the fabrics below and hopefully one or two speak to you.

Linton Tweed sample - black and white

Linton Tweed sample black and tan

Linton Tweed sample blue and red

Linton Tweed sample pale apple and blue

Linton Tweed sample pink

Linton Tweed sample purple

Linton Tweed sample red & yellow

Checking out the Linton website at http://www.lintondirect.co.uk/ can introduce you to even more fabrics that may inspire your next project.  Or . . . you may even find inspiration in their yarns.  Below are several yarns that you may find similar to something you already own.

Linton yarn - chenille

Linton yarn - mohair

Linton yarn - multi

Linton yarn - purple

If you’re interested in learning more about Linton, they have a blog you can follow http://lintonloves.blogspot.co.uk/.  You can even follow Linton on Facebook.

Whether you or someone you know ever tackles sewing a Chanel-style jacket, keep in mind it’s quite a bit of work.  If you’re a weaver and don’t sew, find an exceptionally talented sewing enthusiast and see if you can arrange a trade of services . . . you weave enough fabric for two jackets and they construct the jackets.  Below are a few blogs that can give you an idea of the steps and work involved in creating your own one-of-kind jacket.

Ann Rowley’s step-by-step photo gallery of making a Chanel-style jacket using Vogue pattern 8804 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/7370831@N07/collections/72157618442974041/

Pauline’s Chanel jacket blog - http://psewing.blogspot.com/p/making-of-chanel-type-jacket.html

A Classic French Jacket:  70 Hours to the Dream! - http://www.burdastyle.com/blog/a-classic-french-jacket-70-hours-to-the-dream

Enjoy!  And the best of everything as 2013 comes to a close!

 

Well, weaving friends . . . it’s that time of year!  While some of you may be preparing for tomorrow‘s Pins and Needles Day . . . (Which sounds like a fiber-ly kind of event, huh?) . . .  I’m getting ready for Thanksgiving.  (By the way, Pins and Needles Day  really does fall on November 27th and its purpose is to commemorate the opening of the pro-Labor play Pins and Needles on Broadway in 1937.)

Anyway, this year I want to share with my weaving friends a weaving book I’m thankful for . . . G.H. Oelsner’s book A Handbook of Weaves.  This book was originally published by the Macmillan Company in 1915.  Best of all, its content has held up beautifully over the years.  It’s a book I turn to frequently as a reference when I’m weaving and writing.

Oelsner cover

This is a book for weavers serious about learning about weaving.  It contains over 2,200 patterns; however, there are no projects and only a handful of drafts that can be readily embraced.  Never fear . . . later in this post I’ll tell you what you can do to help clarify the multitude of patterns inside its pages.

Why do I like this book?  Well, it explains a lot about weave structures and the terminology.  For example, below are a few examples:

Basket Weave

Ribbed Weaves

Crepe Weaves

At first glance inside this book, you may not think there’s much to intrigue a weaver to keep reading.  There are some drafts in the book that are fairly straight forward.  Here are a couple of examples:

Broken Twill

8-shaft drafts

But, what about the other patterns that need more time and effort to understand how to weave them?  Well,  you can head over to www.handweaving.net.  (Another great resource for weavers with nearly 60,000 drafts on-line.)  Anyway, if you want to look at the Oelsner drafts in a more familiar format, you can search for them.  You can even specify a minimum and/or a maximum number of shafts and treadles.  The image below shows you what the search screen by book, category, or keyword looks like.

Search on Handweaving.net

I remember slogging through Oelsner as a young weaver.  With access to complete drafts, I could have accelerated my learning by compare-and-contrast.  So what looks like this in Oelsner . . .

Twill draft in Oelsner

Can be easily viewed at handweaving.net

Twill draft

Here are a couple more examples . . .

Draft 1090 from OelsnerDraft 1090 in Oelsner

Draft 1090 from Oelsner as it appears on handweaving.net

Draft 1090A

Draft 1715 from Oelsner 

Draft 1715 in Oelsner

Draft 1715 from Oelsner as it appears on handweaving.net

Draft 1715

Hopefully, I’ve intrigued you enough to download this favorite resource of mine and start working through it.  The entire book is 414 page long, so I hope you have a good internet connection.  If not, there’s also the choice to download it in sections.  Below is the download link.

http://handweaving.net/DAItemDetail.aspx?ItemID=3043

If you don’t have a great internet connection, this book (along with others) may be purchased on CD from handweaving.net.

Enjoy!  Happy Thanksgiving!

I love lace!  It’s beautiful!  I love weaving lace!  It’s pretty!  I love wearing lace!  It’s romantic!  I love looking at lace!  It’s gorgeous!  Well . . . you probably get the idea . . . I love lace!  (I know I already wrote that, but I had to emphasize it.)

Years ago, just about everything I wove was a lace weave.  It’s about as close to an obsession or an addiction as I’ve ever had.  Then in 1999, I conducted an “self intervention” to get myself out of my lace rut and initiated work on HGA’s Certificate of Excellence in Handweaving (COE-W) . . . however, that’s another story . . . and I want to get back to this fun lace resource.

The adventure begins with me flying south.  I try to get to Berkeley, CA every once in a while to see my friend, Penny and enjoy some of the wonderful things the Berkeley/San Francisco has to offer.  One of the not-to-miss destinations is LACIS, a retail store in Berkeley with an extensive selection (I’ve heard it’s the largest in world) of threads, ribbons, tools and supplies for the textile arts, including lace-making, embroidery, knitting, tatting, crochet, bridal, and much much more!  They have vintage lace textiles for sale.  If I were ever to get married again, I’d make beeline to LACIS for my entire bridal trousseau.

Best of all . . .  is the LACIS Museum of Lace and Textiles.  It’s located way in the back of the store and you have to ask to be escorted back to the exhibit . . . but, it’s so worth it!  The room itself is modest and about the size of the kitchen in many homes; however, I’ve never seen an exhibit there I didn’t love or fail to inspire me.  Best of all, you can enjoy the exhibit without having to leave the comfort of your home (or place of employment . . . or wherever  you access the internet from).

The current exhibit is Early Italian Needlework and will be in place until February 8, 2014.  Even thought I’ve have the pleasure of visiting LACIS many times and seeing their museum, this is the first time I had the honor and privilege of being escorted by LACIS‘ owner, Jules.   What an experience to have a such a knowledgeable guide to walk us through the exhibit.  The stories, explanations, and answers to questions were so insightful!  If you are not fortunate enough to be in the Berkeley, CA area in the next three months, I highly encourage you to check out their on-line images of the exhibit at http://lacismuseum.org/current_exhibits.html

LACIS - Enter to see on-line exhibit

After entering the online exhibit, the first image you will be introduced to is of a beautiful jacket and table cloth

LACIS - jacket and table cloth

The online exhibit has 105 images to intrigue and inspire.  I know . . . images don replace actually seeing the pieces in person . . . but, hopefully you will find them attractive and inspiring.  Here are just a few of them.

LACIS - wall display #2

LACIS - wall display

LACIS - lace piece

Close-up of the image directly above

Close-up of the image directly above

One thing LACIS does that I really appreciate is the availability of a multitude of magnifying glasses available to take a closer look at the items in the exhibit.  The naked eye . . . especially my rapidly aging eyes . . . just can’t see the incredible detail you need to see in order to appreciate the pieces and excruciating detail of the techniques used to create them.  Fortunately, some of the items are shown in detail on-line.

LACIS - display item

LACIS - display item #2

The pièce de résistance is a small piece in the display cabinet.  Had I not had the piece pointed out to me, I never would have appreciated and understood it.  The lace piece is not much bigger than my hand . . . and I don’t have very big hands.  Below are images of the piece in the case and some other images, including a close-up.  It’s a truly exquisite . . . AND . . . according to Jules . . . it took 10 years to make!

LACIS - 10-year lace project

LACIS - 10-year lace project piece

LACIS - 10-year lace project piece close-up

If you’re interested in learning more, there’s even an exhibit catalog available on-line http://lacismuseum.org/exhibit/Early%20Italian%20Needlework/Catalog%20Early%20Ita;ian%20Needlework.pdf.  Below is an image of the cover.

LACIS - exhibit catalog

I hope you enjoy the online exhibit if you’re unable to see it person . . . The next exhibit is on smocking and I’m looking forward to seeing when I’m back in the area in April!.

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