Big trees, Big Hill and a couple of weaving gatherings entitled Thinking Big. That’s what’s been going on here in the gold country of California. I passed through a town which holds an annual frog-jumping contest which attracts international competitors, enjoyed the sunsets from the summit of Big Hill where I wove with a group of ladies from Sonora, and walked amongst the big trees that line the historic gold mining ditches.
The Thinking Big, or the ”Go Wide or Go Home!” gatherings, as Jane liked to call them, were about creating a project using techniques that had already been studied in other get-togethers. The challenge was to take those skills and go bigger in terms of width, length or warp ends. Not everyone chose to weave a product. Some people used the class as a chance to sample or refresh their memories of techniques they had studied long ago.
Here are some of the things that were on the looms at Diane’s place in Grass Valley…
Jan and Shan measure their warps for backstrap projects. Jan’s is complete and Shan is securing the cross on hers.
Diane got a head start by warping while I was staying with her prior to the class. Here is her warp, heddled for Andean Pebble Weave, and ready to go. Her project is inspired by the natural dye colors on the Bolivian pieces I had brought to show and will be a pouch for her long swords.
Jean makes heddles for her red-and-black backstrap project. She wove the band in plain weave and decorated it with a supplemental weft.
Those who were weaving plain-weave pieces, like Sara in this picture, inserted a coil rod to prevent corregation. Sara is using reeled silk that she dyed herself and inserted two hand-painted sections.
Kathy used wool from a natural dye workshop she took in Cusco, Peru. The wool was handspun by ladies in Chinchero. As she had not woven a sample with the wool, we had to guess at how many ends to wind for her project. We measured a pouch she had bought from the weavers in Peru which I now suspect was made with much finer yarn. Kathy’s project is coming out way wider than we had expected! Here I am giving her some tips on how to clear sheds with this rather sticky wool warp.
This is Stephanie’s Andean Pebble Weave piece which is flanked by plain weave.
Janet is weaving an Andean Pebble Weave piece with thick borders.
Jan wove a complementary-warp pick-up technique which required her to pick up the pattern in every single shed. Nevertheless, she zoomed along!
I gave Diane some tips on how to open the sheds on a wide two-heddle piece.
Here is Shan’s piece with its Andean Pebble Weave pattern in progress. This is a knotwork motif which I charted for the Andean Pebble Weave structure.
Jean’s supplementary weft pattern, which she adapted from a pebble weave motif in my second book, is progressing beautifully. Kathy’s Andean Pebble Weave motif is emerging while she learns to work with the wool. Diane is operating her two sets of heddles smoothly. Jan shows her progress on her pick-up patterned band and Sara’s reeled silk look luscious with its stranded silk supplementary-weft pattern.
I stayed on longer in Diane’s home and got to watch her progress…
Before all this, I had ventured even deeper into gold country and and found myself at the summit of Big Hill with its glorious views and sunsets. My hosts, Anne and Gary, had a group of beginner backstrap weavers in their home from the Sonora area. The evenings brought visits from flying squirrels and a bear while wild turkeys strutted about with their chicks during the day. While the ladies sat and wove, I got to gaze at the view out over the deck.
Sunset view from the deck on Big Hill.
The Sonora group.
And then it was onward to the place I have visited most on these weaving safaris over the years…Santa Cruz, California, and another Thinking Big session. Some people went big while others did some guided study of techniques we had studied in previous years or used my books and online tutorials to study something new.
The new venue was fun. We had our warps tied to handrails. Here are five of the eight people in the group. Jane came over from Grass Valley and Marya came up from San Luis Obispo.
Yonat, Peggy and Anne working on a variety of techniques…Yonat chose to study Guatemalan supplementary-weft with patterning sicks, using a tutorial on my blog. Peggy created a stunning warp with some ikat-dyed sections flanked by Andean Pebble Weave. Anne wove what would make a fabulous hat band using the intermesh structure in 10/2 and 20/2 cotton with an adpated Mexican motif.
Yonat’s Guatemalan pattern stick supplementary-weft sampler. Jane making heddles for her wide piece after having completed her sample. Ingrid brushed up on the intermesh structure from a previous gathering. Peggy’s beautiful ikat and Andean Pebble Weave piece…couldn’t take my eyes off it!
Dorothy wove a bird motif to practice the Andean Pebble Weave structure. She has a warp prepared with three columns of birds flanked by plain weave which is gorgeous. You can see Anne’s green and white intermesh band . The white is 20/2 cotton and the green 10/2 which gives the piece a lot of texture.On the back of the band the green motif rises above the white background. Marya took her first steps in Andean Pebble Weave while Barbara chose fine thread to weave a series of viscacha motifs and refresh her memory on the Andean Pebble Weave structure.
Peggy’s hands at work picking up threads for her pebble weave pattern.
Did I mention that Jane had woven a sample in preparation for this project? Here it is! This sample showed her the width she could expect from a number of ends in this weight of thread and also helped her decide the arrangement of colors and width of stripes for her wider piece.
This is where Jane was at with her wide piece after having finished her sample and planned, warped and made heddles for the ”real”project.
It’s been a very rewarding couple of weeks!
And here I am saying goodbye until the next post, happy as can be, as Sara gave me one of her reeled silk warps with some of her own hand-painted sections to play with….
Many thanks to Diane for sharing this and some of the other pictures that appear in this post.
I did walk along the cliffs this morning to enjoy the big trees and ocean before sitting inside on this pretty day to edit pictures and write all of this!