Posted by: lavernewaddington | July 3, 2013

Backstrap Weaving – East and West


The problem with not blogging…stuff builds up!! But not as much stuff as you might think this time.

Not blogging indicates that I have  been way too busy having too much fun.

But that also means that I haven’t been able to take as many pictures as I would have liked. Can you believe it? There I am with camera in hand ready to shoot anything that moves but, on this trip, I have been moving too much to keep up.

Fortunately people have sent me pictures and allowed me to use theirs. The one above was taken by Marge on a visit. I am modeling the Bhutanese inspired scarf that I wove recently using supplementary wefts to create the patterns.

indonesian textile ikat backstrapEAST AND WEST…the title of this post.

This refers to the fact that I started “back east”, as people in here on the west coast say, in Pennsylvania and then headed over to the west coast, or the “wet” coast, as some people say, to Washington and now, California.

It also refers to the  flow of wonderful eastern textiles that has occurred during this trip into my western hemisphere area of study…textiles from Timor, Laos and Indonesia as well as Central Asia. I have pictures of amazing textiles to show. They have me thinking about tripping off to Asia when next I visit Australia but, every time I think about that, one word pops into my head


and I realize that there is a lifetime’s worth of things yet to be seen on this side of the world.

Above is a picture of a backstrap-woven ikat (yes! that’s ikat) piece from Indonesia, a shoulder scarf from Batuisi, West Sulawesi from friend Judith’s collection. That is just a wee tease and hint of things to come in my next post.

So, here I am in a west coast heat wave on my backstrap weaving friend Janet’s berry farm…


Blueberries! Lovely to be out picking in the cool of the morning. Yes, those are strawberries on top of that pizza. That was brought to the recipe competition by a neighbor who attended the annual Strawberry Jam party that Janet and husband Larry throw. I arrived just in time for that. As you can imagine, there was lots of strawberry based foods and lots of jamming by local musicians. But… more about all that in the next post.

For now, let’s stay EAST.

It all started at the Mannings in Pennsylvania with their annual Spinning Seminar…the 45th one, no less!! I have been to the Mannings in the spring….ah, idyllic!


and in the fall….

mannings snow borderedwoven inside and outside on the beautiful lawn down by the creek…

backstrap weaving at The ManningsHere was a first…a chance to set up my backstrap loom in a shady spot down by the creek on a lovely summer’s day and just hang out chatting with people.

Ravelry and Weavolution friends dropped by. I have known Trisha, aka Coolsticks, from the early days of Weavolution back in 2009 and we finally got to meet…

trisha and april at the mannings spinning seminarThere is Trisha on the left with guild buddy April .

Down by the creek things were pretty laid back! I had lots of time to spend with people.

amanda backstrap weaving at the manningsThat’s Amanda having a go at the basics of backstrap loom operation on a narrow band. The tree was adorned with straps and bands and one of my wide projects. Several people could be weaving with warps extended spoke-like from the tree. l liked over-hearing hushed comments while I wove on the big warp…”she isn’t using a chart!” (I smile thinking how I have woven items with that particular motif at least 50 times and goodness knows how many repeats of it there are in this one piece I am currently weaving!) And then there was…”Oh. So, it’s slooooow!”

spinners at the creek mannings spinning seminarSpinners set up camp, grabbing shady spots by the cool water to enjoy a day of spinning and conversation.

Picture by Pinar Miski

Picture by Pinar Miski

And for those who wanted to be in the heart of all the action, there was room to park a whole gaggle of wheels on the shaded front porch of the Mannings store.

Picture by Pinar Miski

One of my sample tables. Picture by Pinar Miski

And, at his point, I am going to hand over to the pictures of Pinar Miski who got to visit almost everybody and took the most wonderful pictures. She has allowed me to share them here. It was late in the day when I finally managed to make my way uphill to the shop to see what was going on. Shadows were long over the outdoor demo area at that hour and the crowds had thinned in the dying day. My pictures didn’t come out well. So, thank you, Pinar for sharing your shots!

Things were anything but laid back up at the store…happy shopping and browsing in yarn paradise. Pinar subtitled her photo album …”and then I died and went to heaven”! I think that says it all.

But, apart from the shopping, there were oodles of things to be touched, explored, and experienced with a wonderful selection of fiber artists and educators both indoors and out. I demand a do-over! I didn’t get a chance to see much of it!! But, I was having a lot of fun chatting with people about my passion…the backstrap loom.

It all starts with fiber. There was this…

Photo by Pinar Miski

Photo by Pinar Miski

Ron Bostek demonstrated sheep shearing. He brought Border Leicester and Cormo sheep to the Seminar.

Picture by Pinar Miski

Picture by Pinar Miski

Here is cotton spinner and teacher (and my fun roommate), Joan Ruane, showing one of many implements with which she spins cotton with ease. For me, who goes to the store to buy cotton for my backstrap weaving, Joan’s comment when she saw me at work at my loom was pretty funny…”oh my god, it’s WORSE than tapestry!”…a comment on the slowness of my weaving. And there she is patiently creating cotton thread!

Pictures by Pinar Miski

Pictures by Pinar Miski

Yet another fiber on display ..Mandi Elliott Bird used antique tools to show how to process flax to the point where it can be spun.

Picture by Pinar Miski

Picture by Pinar Miski

Ron Tyler spun wool on a Great Wheel or, Walking Wheel, hoping to encourage people to take the beautiful inherited piece that may be sitting and simply decorating a corner of a room and actually use it.

Picture by Pinar Miski

Picture by Pinar Miski

One of my neighbors creek-side was Carol Ireland with her hip spindle.

Picture by Pinar Miski

Picture by Pinar Miski

This table was a-buzzin’ at day’s end when I went for my walk. It seemed that folks were invited to grab a bit of this and that and create their own batt. That looked like lots of fun. It was Sally Jenkins who demonstrated fiber blending with drum carders.

And boy, does this look like fun. I bet there were people jostling to get a position for this…

Picture by Pinar Miski

Picture by Pinar Miski

I am copying and pasting the description from the Mannings’s newsletter for this one…

Tartan, Tweeds & Waulking the Wool – When wool tweed or blanketing comes off the loom, it is not yet ready to use. The traditional Scottish method of finishing woolen cloth was a social occasion involving a group of neighbors, a large table and probably a little whiskey! The cloth was wetted and passed from hand to hand in a thumping rhythm kept going by suitable songs. We will skip the whiskey at our wool waulking but have lots of songs! Melissa Weaver Dunning will also have a display of her many woven tartans and tweeds.

Apparently it takes three songs to finish the process. Here is inspection time after the first song…

Picture by Pinar Miski

Picture by Pinar Miski

Again, Pinar captures a great moment!

Picture by Pinar Miski

Picture by Pinar Miski

Ah, now here is something a little closer to my heart. Susan Weaver brought along a large selection of tape looms on which she encouraged people to weave. I believe that all the tape looms for sale in the Mannings store went home with new owners that day. Susan and I know each other. She wove with me a while ago and lent me a Mexican band to study from her collection. So, I was eager to connect with her to catch up and return the band.

Picture by Pinar Miski

Picture by Pinar Miski

Mushroom dyeing! Hmmm…wondering what kind of aroma is coming from that pot. This is fascinating. Who knew that you could get such a range of colors from mushrooms and now I know that someone who studies mushrooms is called a mycologist. Susan Hopkins’s interest expanded from mushroom identification to dyeing.

Look at the colors…

Picture by Pinar Miski

Picture by Pinar Miski

Picture by Pinar Miski

Picture by Pinar Miski

Susan’s face says it all…she’s passionate about dyeing with mushrooms. Check out her t-shirt.

Anne Marie Decker was probably not around at the particular moment when Pinar went by. As Pinar says in her album caption, she still doesn’t know what nalbinding is, and neither do I! I have to say that it looks like something I would enjoy.

Picture by Pinar Miski

Picture by Pinar Miski

Indoors, Ron Woolcock gathered spinners to tell them how to keep their wheels happy and there was a display of the stages of silk production and processing. Thanks again, Pinar  for the use of your pictures! Take a look at the entire album here. Pinar’s concise captions are fun.

coil stitch ad pom pomsOne day to rest, and then my Ravelry friend, Julia, came by to weave and sew..

We wove a lot!. I was starting to crash by 4pm with all the things we got into. It’s so much fun putting those finishing touches on things!

We wove tubular bands, sewed and wove tubular bands to edges, sewed coiled stitches, edged and lined pieces with decorative stitches, warped for more bands….phew!

But, rather than get into all that now that she is home, Julia has been practicing the supplementary-weft inlay techniques which I show in tutorials on this blog.

Here are a couple of her projects…

julias supp weft backstrap weaving

The butterfly is one that I charted from an inlay motif on a Huave weaving of Mexico. The pattern on the right is one that I adapted from a motif woven with weft substtution, if I remember correctly, on a textile of Central Asia. I think that it is charted here on my blog. Loving the soothing colors Julia used.

Caroline also used weft inlay techniques to decorate her backstrap. I love how people are taking to this technique!

caroline sacramento supplementary weft inlay backstrap weavingI adapted this particular motif from one on an Indonesian piece of fabric. The backstrap itself is beautifully woven and put together!

More fun weaving with friends that I have met online…Bands got finished with ends braided and all.  Here’s Kathy practicing the four-strand braid on her warp ends.

Kathy braiding backstrap weaving class the mannings

If you have been following my blog, you will know about my recent experiments with weft inlay where I have been filling negative spaces with weft to outline patterns in the ground cloth. Some of the weavers were keen to try this. Another fun thing was combining strands of different colors for the supplementary weft which created interesting effects. Kathy and Bettes put together blues and other jewel-like colors while Nancy put together a very festive, sunny Mexican type of combination.

supp weft class mannings backstrap weaving

Marge came over for a day to weave and try a bit of double weave on her inklette and a touch of intermesh on the backstrap loom…

She brought her band box to show some of the things that she has been weaving on her inkle loom…straps for her musician friends. She plays in a band called Tater Patch and gave me a cd!

Marges bands

marge and her bands backstrap weaving class manningsThere’s the double weave band that we started on the inklette next to a nice knot-work pattern in pebble weave. And then we did a wee bit of intermesh.

Marge went home to finish that double weave sampler with some of her own designs. Guess what instrument she plays in Tater Patch?!

marges double weave bandMeanwhile over in Tom Knisely’s Mannings teaching studio, there was lots of overshot loveliness coming off the looms. Here are a few examples. It is nice to be able to stay on the premises and get to see the weavers working late at night on these pieces.

overshot class manningsSpeaking of Tom, he gave me a wee gifty. You may have seen this before on this blog. Tom showed me this on one of my visits last year and  has now decided that it really needs to belong to me :-)!!


More Ravelry group projects to show…

Cindy tried out the “palma” braid…nice job!

cindyI finally got to meet Cindy on this trip. More about that next time…that’s a “west side story”.

Laura has been practicing pebble weave…

lauraI love the color flips and how she has joined the three single motifs into one long continuous one.

And just to finish and lead into Chapter 2: “West Side Story”, which is largely based on the ANWG conference in Bellingham, Washington followed by fun with my friend Betty at her home in WA and then with my friend Janet in northern CA, let me show you the weavings that I submitted to one of the conference exhibits.

This series is a work in progress. I have many more panels in mind to add. It is entitled “Textile Trails” and each has its little “traily” story to tell. It won the Committee’s Choice Award at the conference. I was thrilled! Thank you to Linda for taking this picture. The beautiful black wooden hangers were made by Terri of Magical Moons. Terri makes the custom swords and other implements that I often show on my blog. By the way, she is making spindles now. They look exquisite.

backstrap weaving Laverne WaddingtonThe fact that I am wearing a black top and a red jacket is just a happy coincidence, I swear!

Here’s the lovely handwoven ribbon…

hangings backstrap weaving Laverne Waddington

See you next week. I am back on top of the blogging now…I hope!


  1. So many wonderful pix. I can’t wait to see your coverage of ANWG!

  2. Wow! Such a whirlwind blog!! I’m tired just from reading it!
    I can’t believe that is ikat!
    Strawberries on pizza?? Hum, maybe not.
    I hope I get to meet Julia at Mannings in 2 1/2 weeks!
    I met Joan Ruan at a spinning workshop. Great instructor, what a hoot she is.
    I can see that I missed a lot of fun in PA. But ANWG was pretty great.
    Always wanted to try dyeing with mushrooms.
    Love Julia’s weaving and color sense.
    Note to self: get case of Pepsi to hold pieces for braiding. Drink slowly.
    Nice sword! Lucky you!
    You deserve that ribbon. Those pieces are even more lovely in person.
    Thanks for the great blog!
    I’m so glad I got to meet you at ANWG. I now have two new friends thanks to you. Julia in Pennsylvania and Betty in Minnesota. Oh and YOU! that makes three!

  3. If you ever do come visit Australia by way of Indonesia and Timor and the rest, please please visit Melbourne.I could manage to get up to Sydney at a pinch… but, truth be told, I’d be heading to Mexico too 😉

    PS. No surprise you earned the ribbon. Those weavings are beautiful.

  4. Been thinking of you and good to hear of your wonderful adventures and awards! Beautiful weaving! Worse than tapestry hugh? Guess I have found my challenges. Thank you for continuing to share!

  5. Congratulations with your ribbon,I think you earn that! What a wonderfull blog you write with so many wonderfull pictures! I should like to experiment with dying with mushrooms! Thank you for let us enjoying your stories!

  6. It WAS a great day at the Mannings, wasn’t it? I love your pictures–you and Pinar got the shots I wish I had taken!

  7. Hey Laverne-
    Congratulations on your well deserved award! Your weaving is awe inspiring. I’m so happy the hangers worked out to perfectly compliment your beautiful weaving and not overpower it. Terri

  8. Whew!! Where to begin? CindyQ’s reply above does a great job! (she is a great new friend I’ve made thanks to you, Laverne!)

    If scientist took a DNA sample of Laverne it would probably be in the pattern of the 40-key-fob-marathon motif. Isn’t it funny that we are perfectly happy to spend lots and lots of time on the activities we love, but are amazed at the time others spend on the activities they love. People are funny.

    HA! I was working like mad to keep up with you during our day together! I see now that I was extra specially fortunate – I had you all to myself for a whole day!

    How happy it makes me to see all of the artists and craftspeople that are brought together to share and enjoy each others’ work. Thank you, Laverne for allowing us to participate on some level!! So much beauty and creativity! I had no idea such colors could come from mushrooms!

    And you certainly deserved that award! And Terri, too. Seeing you standing next to your wall hangings gives a better sense of their size! That is some amazing weaving. Really amazing! ~Julia

  9. How busy! I will have to re-read this entry a few more times to have all this information sink in. There are so many pretty pieces and the group get-togethers look so fun. Do you ever get up to the Chicago area when you are in the US?

  10. I love Joan Ruane – I once asked her if she knits, and she said “No, it makes my jaw hurt.” 🙂 She’s a fun lady, and a great spinning teacher (and my youngest son thought for a while that she was secretly his grandmother and we’d forgotten to tell him.)

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