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Archive for October, 2009

John Denver said it for me . . . sort of.

Approximatley 25 years ago I attended a John Denver concert in Portland, OR . . . it was one of many of his concerts I attended.  During this particular performance he was talking to the audience about writing songs and how touched he was when people would share with him how his songs had integrated into their lives for a wedding, birth of a child, etc.  He then went on to tell us one of the biggest frustrations of being a song writer was when someone else wrote a song that made you think “I wish I had written that song!” . . . Well, that’s how I feel about the entries I recently judged for the Woodstock Weavers Guild in northern Illinois . . . on more than one occasion I thought “I wish I had made that!” 

I’m always honored to be asked to judge the work of others . . . It’s also a tremendous opportunity to get intimate with items that others seeing the exhibit don’t get to handle.  There were so many items that left me impressed . . . so much so that I ran out of words to express myself . . . a rare occurence.  Below are just a sampling of the stunning items I was priviledged to thoroughly look at . . . and I left inspired and full of new ideas. 

Shuttle Fever – A new one for my collection

I have an obsession with weaving shuttles . . . shapes, sizes, exotic woods, etc.  I just can’t help myself!  It’s as close to an addiction as anything I’ve ever experienced in my life.  If you want to get an idea of my love of shuttles, in the next issue of Handwoven magazine will be a picture of the peg board that I hang my shuttles on.  I’ve reached the point that a shuttle needs to be relatively unique to pique my interest. . . usually it’s some exotic wood that was transformed in to a shuttle too gorgeous to pass up . . . and a new one, exceptional in its design, has followed me home.

Recently, I was teaching a workshop in Victoria, BC.  Like all weavers, I’m always interested in the looms, shuttles, yarns, etc. that people bring to a workshop.  One workshop participant had a shuttle I had never seen before and she raved about how nice it was to weave with . . . even on a table loom.  The shuttle is made by Louet and is called the Flying Dutchman shuttle.  Even though I had never seen one before. with such an enthusiastic endorsement, I knew I had to have one.

Louet describes the shuttle as follows:  This shuttle, designed by Jan Louet has a few unique features. First, the metal wire bowed across the top of the shuttle, spreads apart sticky warp threads. Second, the plastic guide in the front allows for optimal unwinding of your bobbin.  Here’s a pciture of my shuttle.

Louet's Flying Dutchman shuttle

Louet's Flying Dutchman shuttle

The gal in my workshop told me she had purchased her shuttle from Knotty by Nature, a weaving shop (not an S&M shop) in Victoria, BC.  After the workshop ended on the first day, I persuaded my host, Christine Purse, to head over there.  (Thank you, Christine!)  It’s a wonderful shop and has been in business for about a year.  They had one Flying Dutchman shuttle . . . and it was being used to demonstrate weaving on a rigid heddle loom and the person weaving with it also raved about it . . . and they even let me buy it!  Woohoo!  I was excited.  Plus, the shuttle has already gone through that pesky break-in period.  If you’re interested in knowing more about Knotty by Nature, their website is www.kbnfibres.ca . . . plus, they have a fun blog that you can find at http://knottybynaturefibres.blogspot.com/

This shuttle really does weave well and I’m sure it will find itself frequently used.  I find the design really helps the weft roll off of the bobbin at a good even rate, which helps selvedges.  The only question I have is Why is the shuttle called the Flying Dutchman?  If anyone knows, I’d love to hear from you!

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