Posted by: lavernewaddington | July 15, 2016

Backstrap Weaving – Leaves on the Snow

I can’t tell you how much fun I have been having with the tiny natural dye silk samples I was given on my last trip away! As the temperature here fluctuates every few days from the 60s to the 90s, I find myself buried in cool purples, warm golds and soft cheery spring-like greens and blues.

First I would like to show you what is going to become of the ”Leaves Amongst the Berries” piece that I showed in my last post. I am going to make it into a journal cover. I have woven journal covers before where I first found some suitable journals, wove a width sample with my chosen yarn….supplementary weft leaf pattern journal cover backstrap weaving and then wove fabric to fit…

journal coversThis time, I have done things the wrong way round having first woven the cloth and then deciding to use it to cover a little book. I needed to find a journal that was just the right size and I got lucky…

book cover natural dyesThen, I dove into that lovely heap of naturally dyed silk and picked out some purples and golds for the next project…

purple and gold natural dyesThe center has purples, rusts and greens mixed with off-white in what I planned to be a section of double weave. I wanted to have multi-colored naturally-dyed silk leaves on a background of solid off-white.

purple and gold natural dye with double weaveHere it is getting started on the loom. Only the center is double weave and it is flanked by warp-faced plain weave…”embedded double weave”, as I like to call this technique, which requires the use of two weft threads.

embedded double weave with natural dye silk samplesOf course, the back shows off-white leaves on a multi-colored background for an entirely different look. I am calling this one ”Leaves on the Snow”.

Now I have to figure out how to use this in a finished item where both faces can be seen. I had initially planned it as a book cover but it seems a shame to have the other face permanently hidden. Hmmm….I should have switched the background and motif color halfway. That would have made an interesting book cover with front and back covers being different.  And this is one of the many things I love about writing this blog… ideas come to me as I sit here typing. I’ll weave another one that shows both possible faces!reverse of double weave

So, here are both pieces showing off all those luscious natural dyes colors…

On to the next one….this time using greens, blues and golds with a few dark greys tossed in here and there…

blues and greens

This one has been planned for a book cover. I have bought the journal and I want to have a sort of ”leaf and creeper” pattern down the center of the front and back covers…

leaf and creeper pattern on natural dyed silk

Between these larger projects, I sewed a wrist cuff from some of the sample fabric I had woven for my conference pouch and edged it with a ñawi awapa. I love it when my samples can also be turned into a finished item.wrist cuffs with nawi awapas

I made the one on the right some time ago with my hand-spun llama fiber. I dyed the fiber with cochineal and spearmint leaves and used that along with some natural brown. I was wiser this time with the blue cuff as I started and ended the tubular edging in the spot that would be covered by the button. It is pretty hard to finish it neatly.You can see the start and finish on the llama fiber cuff on the lower left-hand side where there is a noticeable bump.

yurt design cell phone pouchMeanwhile, many of my backstrap weaving buddies have been in Santa Fe at the annual International Folk Art Market and have been sharing pictures and video. Marge Sume has kindly allowed me to use the video she shot of a gentleman from Kyrgzystan weaving a narrow band and I want to put together a post on these simple kinds of looms that have what I call ”raised” string heddles. Mapuche weavers here in South America use a similar system. I was particularly interested in seeing that weaver at work as I have woven several replicas of motifs of Kyrgyzstan. But, that will be for next time!

Other weaving buddies around the word have been sending me pictures and sharing what they have been creating on their looms. You may remember that Adem, in Turkey, was weaving a poncho for his niece as a surprise gift. Here is the fabric in progress on his vertical loom…

adem (1)

And here is the delighted Hazel showing it off! What a fabulous job Adem did.


Anne has been enjoying some summer outdoor weaving of complementary-warp bands on her porch with its spectacular views…


Aśka Kucharz, in Poland, sent me a picture of a double weave piece she created after having followed my tutorial.  She used her piece as part of the exam to obtain the title of Master Craftsman in Poland as an external student of the Folk University of Artistic Crafts (ULRA). You can see more of her beautiful work on her blog.


I still have lots of the naturally dyed silk left. I have rolled all the tiny skeins into balls and sorted them into color groups. What a lovely sight they are and I have to thank Sara, Eileen and Diane who were responsible to getting these skeins into my hands. They are giving me a lot of joy.

naturally dyed silk

Let me close by sharing this cute wool promotional video by Woolmark…







  1. The leaves are beautiful. I look forward to seeing maple leaves!

  2. […] Laverne makes gorgeous backstrap woven panels and today there’s a cute video at the end. […]

  3. I loved the little video, and the colors of the silk work so well together. The leaves,color and I imagine the feel is so peaceful and pleasant it would make you want to use the journal.

  4. Your weaving is wonderful, as always! And thank you for the Video.

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