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Patternfish .com, the home to the seven e-books plus five foreign language versions that I have published over the years, is closing for sales on MAY 31ST, 2019.

Purchased files will continue to be available for download until JUNE 30, 2019.

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I have bought only a handful of e-products myself over the years and I downloaded them right away. However, I know that many people have not done this and have been using the convenient Patternfish ‘Pattern Stash’ feature to store their purchases. If you are one of these people, you need to download your stash and store it somewhere safe now. I have been told that using your computer hard drive as the only storage place is not advisable and that you should consider places like Dropbox and other cloud-type services as back-up.

Please pass the word on to anyone you know in your fiber guilds and/ or in your social media circles so that everyone has a chance to save the knitting patterns they have bought as well as my e-books by JUNE 30, 2019.

Don’t forget that the last three books I published:

The Eye-pattern Tubular Band and other Decorative Finishing Techniques,

The Eye-pattern Tubular Band of the Peruvian and Bolivian Highlands, and

Andean Pebble Weave on Inkle Looms

also have video files. Make sure you download those too.

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I will be re-housing my e-books on another site for new purchases after the May 31st close of business of Patternfish and making what I expect will be a very smooth transition. I will also be attempting to update all the links I have posted to them in this blog over the last 9 years! Phew! Expect an announcement with details soon!

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Announcements about the Patternfish closure in the various languages in which I have published follow. I so appreciate that my weaving friends Caroline, Lidia and Michèle who also act as my translators are always more than willing to help out. 

Thank you for all your support during the Patternfish years! And I would like to add a special thanks to Syne Mitchell who published my very first book on WeaveZine and who was responsible for getting me set up on Patternfish in the first place. It has been an awesome site!

A blast from the past….my very first WeaveZine edition of Andean Pebble Weave back in 2010 at Convergence Albuquerque NM.

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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Some of you may have heard about the fact that Patternfish.com that hosts my ebooks is planning on closing at the end of May. Patterns, e-books etc that you have bought along with any accompanying videos will be available for downloading and saving until the end of June and I urge you to do so. I will be making a separate blog post about this in the near future once I have investigated my options. In the meantime, if you have concerns about your ability to save your purchases, please contact me via a comment on this blog post or via private message on Facebook or Ravelry. I have an awesome team of customers who have been willing to provide technical help to those who may be having trouble downloading or finding places to store their purchases. Let’s work through this together. We have two months to get your purchases safely tucked away. It’s sad news. Patternfish has been a wonderful home for my ebooks but it’s time to move on and new things are coming!

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Certains d’entre vous sont peut-être déjà au courant que la fermeture de Patternfish.com, le site qui héberge mes livres électroniques, a été planifiée pour la fin du mois de mai. Les patrons et livres électroniques que vous avez achetés ainsi que les vidéos d’accompagnements sont disponibles pour télécharger et sauvegarder jusqu’à la fin de juin, et je vous encourage à le faire le plus tôt possible. Je vais écrire un article à ce sujet sur mon blogue bientôt, quand j’aurai fini d’explorer mes options. Entretemps, si vous avez des doutes quand à votre habilité à sauvegarder vos achats, S.V.P. contactez-moi en laissant un commentaire sur l’article dans mon blogue ou en m’envoyant un message privé sur Facebook ou Ravelry. J’ai une équipe formidable de clients qui sont prêts à fournir de l’aide technique à ceux qui pensent avoir de la difficulté à télécharger ou à trouver un endroit sécure pour sauvegarder leurs achats. Travaillons donc ensemble pour passer à travers ! Nous avons deux mois pour sauvegarder de manière sécure vos achats. C’est une triste nouvelle. Patternfish a été un site formidable pour mes livres électroniques, mais il est maintenant temps pour un changement, d’autres choses s’en viennent !

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WICHTIGE ANKÜNDIGUNG: Einige von Euch haben vielleicht schon gehört, dass Patternfish.com, die Webseite, die meine E-Books im Internet vertreibt, Ende Mai schließen wird. Muster, E-Books usw., die Ihr, evtl. zusammen mit den dazugehörigen Videos, gekauft habt, werden nur noch bis Ende Juni zum Herunterladen und Speichern zur Verfügung stehen und ich möchte sichergehen, dass Ihr diese rechtzeitig speichert. Ich werde in Kürze einen gesonderten Blog-Post schreiben, sobald ich Genaueres weiß. Falls Ihr Probleme mit dem Speichern Eurer Waren habt, sagt mir Bescheid in einer Antwort auf dieses Posting oder kontaktiert mich bitte mit einer privaten Nachricht auf Facebook oder Ravelry. Ich habe ein fantastisches Team von Kunden, die gerne technische Hilfe leisten, wenn jemand Probleme beim Herunterladen oder beim Finden von Speicherplätzen hat, um bereits gekauften Waren zu sichern. Wir können diese Probleme gemeinsam lösen! Wir haben zwei Monate Zeit, um Eure E-Books zu speichern. Ich bedaure, daß Patternfish schließt. Es war ein wunderbares Zuhause für meine E-Books, aber das Leben geht weiter und es gibt bald Neues zu berichten!

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Annuncio importante: Avrete forse sentito che Patternfish.com, il sito che ospita i miei libri, ha deciso di chiudere a fine maggio. I libri, gli schemi e relativi video che avete acquistato potranno essere scaricati entro fine giugno e vi invito a farlo.Vi aggiornerò con un post apposito non appena avrò capito quali sono le mie opzioni.  Nel frattempo se avete dei dubbi per il salvataggio dei vostri acquisti non esitate a contattarmi tramite un commento su questo blog o con un messaggio privato su Facebook o Ravelry. Ho una formidabile squadra di clienti che volentieri offrono aiuto tecnico a chi possa avere problemi nello scaricare o nell’archiviare i propri acquisti.  Lavoriamo insieme per superare questo momento. Abbiamo due mesi di tempo per archiviare i vostri acquisti in modo sicuro.  E’ una triste notizia,  Patternfish é stato un magnifico ospite per i miei libri, ma ora é tempo di andare oltre, nuove mete     all’orizzonte!

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ANUNCIO IMPORTANTE: Algunos de ustedes deben haber recibido las noticias de que Patternfish.com que hospeda mis libros electrónicos, está planeando cerrar a fines de mayo. Los patrones, libros electrónicos, etc., que usted haya comprado junto con los videos que los acompañan, estarán disponibles para descargarlos y guardarlos hasta fines de junio y les recomiendo que lo hagan. Yo haré una publicación separada al respecto en mi blog más adelante una vez que haya investigado mis opciones. Mientras tanto, si usted tiene alguna inquietud acerca de cómo guardar sus compras, por favor, contácteme por comentario en esta publicación de blog, o por mensaje privado en Facebook o Ravelry. Tengo un equipo fabuloso de clientes que están dispuestos a proveer ayuda técnica a los que puedan tener problemas al bajar o encontrar lugar donde almacenar sus compras. Trabajemos juntos en esto. Tenemos dos meses para guardar sus compras en un lugar seguro. Son noticias tristes. Patternfish ha sido un maravilloso hogar para mis libros electrónicos pero es hora de continuar y ¡nuevas cosas vendrán!

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Posted by: lavernewaddington | May 4, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – Woo hoo! Going Wide!

Some people have noticed the lack of recent blog posts and commented with concern. Others know to expect a period of silence once I mention that I am about to travel. Some may even be relieved to perhaps have a chance to catch up on some older posts.

I took my new weird two-tone hair look out of the hat and boldly faced the public! I’ve had some twenty-something-year-olds tell me that it is a cool look. I would actually like to keep the two-tone look. It has taken nine months to get to this point and I quite like it! I have also had some weaving friends tell me that they have decided to join me in this cold turkey trip from dyed hair to natural grey.

There’s plenty to tell but I will limit this post to sharing with you what some of my particularly hard-core backstrapper friends did when we spent a weekend together.

We decided to try going wide together.

Everyone wove samples in preparation. Realistic expectations also needed to be set. This weekend was not going to be about weaving the super-wide project of our dreams. It would be about  warping, setting up and beginning a project that was significantly wider than the bands that we had previously been weaving together, yet not so wide as to take all weekend just to set up! The new skills could later be transferred to even wider pieces.

Some of the samples that were created before the gathering.

The samples were essential. From those we would take measurements and make calculations for the ”real” project. We had samples in the pick-up structure that we wanted to weave. All except Tracy went with complementary-warp pick-up. Tracy chose a structure that creates warp floats on only one face of the band so that she could replicate some beautiful patterns that are woven into yurt bands in Central Asia. Aunt Lydia’s size 10 and size 3 crochet cotton were the yarns of choice with a beautiful range of colors (there are a lot more colors in size 10 than in the thicker size 3). Tracy again was the exception in that she chose to weave with her hand spun wool. The other required sample was a piece in plain weave.

Tracy’s hand spun wool alongside one of Allen Berry’s gorgeous swords.

Nancy’s ”samples” were awesome in their own right! and enabled us to calculate the number of ends she would need for her project and plan layout.

Nancy was planning a woven cover for her daughter’s journal and it needed to be a precise width. We took measurements from her pebble weave and plain weave samples to calculate the number of ends she needed as well as the layout of the pick-up patterns and areas of plain weave.

Number-crunching with Tara for her wide project calculating warp requirements based on her samples. She planned a length of patterned fabric that could be folded into a box shape.

The wide warps were wound in sections as they were too wide for our warping stakes. I often choose to wind in sections as I don’t like having my warps climb too far up my warping stakes. I have found that even the sturdiest of stakes can lean when they are holding many bouts of yarn. Good, even tension on the warping stakes is critical. These warps will not be cut and threaded through heddles and then re-tensioned as they would be for floor and other kinds of looms. We are basically dressing the loom as we warp and the tension we create while doing so is what we must live with for the life of the project.

Ann removes one of sections from the stakes . She placed each section on loom beams and cross sticks that waited on the floor in another room…out of the way of feet and curious kitties!

Off comes one of Tracy’s sections. Each person decided how large they would make their sections depending on how far they trusted the sturdiness of the warping pegs under their particular warp tension. Some people wind tight warps, others not so much.

Nancy stops to check her count. Her notebook lies nearby with warping plan. There was much chatter and laughter which made me nervous. No one can come anywhere near me when I am warping and I need silence!

I stopped now and then to amuse myself with the cats and take pictures of the projects that the ladies had brought to share.

Above you can see the spindle bag that Tracy made using some of the beautiful pieces of fabric from the Bolivian co-op that we all support. Tracy covered the seams with cross-knit looping stitches and added a round base. On the table you can see a collection of spindles also made by the talented wood-working friend Allen Berry.

This is the band that Ann had been weaving the last time I saw her. She used my favorite leaf motif in spring-to-fall colors.

And here are some lanyards for name tags woven by Tara and Nancy. They combined patterns that had been woven into Bolivian bands that they own.

Lanyards in cotton and tencel made by Nancy and Tara.

Here are more amazing swords by Allen Berry. The ladies knew that they would need longer swords for their wide projects and Allen Berry created these. Each has its own unique pattern.  You can  view his products via his allenrberry Instagram account and make direct contact with him there.

Tracy was using this shoulder bag. I had last seen this as fabric on the loom made from Tracy’s own handspun wool a year ago. It was great to see the finished product with its eye-pattern tubular edging and strap. It feels gorgeous!

And, as I photographed all these beautiful projects and played with the cats, completed warps started appearing!

Phew! The warps are on the looms and they look great! Now to make heddles.

Tracy’s hand spun wool is even more stunning all stretched out like this!

Aunt Lydia’s size 10 crochet cotton has some bold and beautiful colors and Ann has combined them so nicely.

Stacy starts her heddles on a beautiful red, black and white piece for which she planned a knot-work pattern in pebble weave….

Some moments of hush while heddles are made. It’s funny because that is the part of the process when I can actually talk to people. These ladies, on the other hand, got very quiet during this part.

Tara’s warp with heddles in place. She included some sparkles in the warp which unfortunately don’t show up in the picture. This piece will be for her daughter. It is beautifully tensioned…so exciting to see a fresh warp on the loom!

Are we done yet? Getting there slowly with the heddles!

Woo hoo…time to start weaving!

Stuff happens when big projects like these are warped and set up. I won’t say that every warp came off the stakes ready to roll. Some threads had to be removed when the count was wrong. Some threads needed a little adjustment for uneven tension. That’s all to be expected. I remember sitting with my teacher in Ecuador and learning how to wind a dove-tailed warp for a hammock while her family watched. She made three errors in the warping and how she laughed and laughed when she discovered them. Everyone joined in! Maybe it’s not so funny when you are on your own but we were all there to help each other. With my Bolivian teacher we chatted as we rolled the balls of yarn back and forth to each other as we warped. Only when we finished we discovered that the stripes we had warped were totally asymmetric. Hilda laughed it off but I was determined to fix it!

Consulting with Nancy above as she throws her first passes of weft.

Tracy is counting out her first row of pick-up. The first row is critical as all other rows will be picked relative to that foundation. It’s always a relief to get that first row and in and confirm with subsequent rows that all is well.

Getting each and every warp end settled in its place at the very base of the warp is something I like to do.  Tara shares my feelings about this and is using a pointed stick to separate the ends and create as neat a start as possible. In some projects this selvedge will end up hidden in a seam and this much attention to neatness may not be necessary.

Tracy’s yurt band pattern takes shape.

Classic Andean hooks start to appear in Ann’s turquoise beauty … with another Allen Berry sword.

Nancy’s journal cover will include bee and hive motifs among others. She wove in her daughter’s initials in supplementary weft using lettering of her own design while I was there. You can just make out part of the lettering in progress below her right hand.

Margarite was not part of this group of friends but she did show me this weaving when I visited with her. She had started it back in the 1970’s when she was learning Guatemalan-style patterning. It had the two patterning sticks in place that I know well and we were able to set it up to finish off the motif she had started working on all those years ago. I was able to show her how to continue and put the pattern sticks to good use for creating other motifs. This is one of my favorite things to do…reviving a long forgotten warp that has been languishing in some dark corner unfinished. This one is between forty and fifty years old!

Let me leave you with an important announcement about Patternfish, home of my e-books….

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Some of you may have heard about the fact that Patternfish.com that hosts my ebooks is planning on closing at the end of May. Patterns, e-books etc that you have bought along with any accompanying videos will be available for downloading and saving until the END OF JUNE and I urge you to do so. I will be making a separate blog post about this in the near future once I have investigated my options. In the meantime, if you have concerns about your ability to save your purchases, please contact me via a comment on this blog post or via private message on Facebook or Ravelry. I have an awesome team of customers who have been willing to provide technical help to those who may be having trouble downloading or finding places to store their purchases. Let’s work through this together. We have two months to get your purchases safely tucked away. It’s sad news. Patternfish has been a wonderful home for my ebooks but it’s time to move on and new things are coming!

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | March 15, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – Tiny Tapes

The time to pack up and hit the road is approaching and so I decided to pack away the five months of creative chaos that has accumulated on my bedroom floor…pattern charts, sticks of various sizes and lengths, swords, shuttles, cable ties, metal rods, pick-up tools, heddle string, sewing thread, yarn, cardboard strips, needles, string. Everything went back in its proper place and I could see the rug again and I didn’t need to play hop-scotch on the way from my bed to the door.

But then I decided that there was still time to weave some tiny projects and I started planning a lanyard that a friend has been asking me to weave for her for some time. I also want to weave a strap for a pouch that I have been thinking about for years as well as a bookmark that I promised another friend. And, with just that, wouldn’t you know it, I am back to Square One and can’t see my rug any more! The books, and charts and yarn and worksheets are all over the place along with the shoulder-bag project that I continue to sew.

This is where I was with the bag project when I last posted. The zipper is in place and sides have been installed. On my weekly visit to the supermarket I was happy to find a long table runner that I could use as the lining material. It looked like it was just the right width and I loved the color and subdued pattern. This seemed to be a safe bet for me who knows nothing about fabric and I was happy to pay a bit more than it would have cost me to just buy fabric in the street market. I doubt that I would have found anything that I liked as much in the market stalls.

That un-ripping tool got a workout as I sewed and re-positioned over and over. Now it’s done. This is the opening for the quirky pocket…the one that sits on the outside but is accessed from the inside. I got to use a beautiful button that one of my students made by hand as a closure for the pocket. The loop around the button is an eye-pattern tubular band that I wove.

I edged the pocket and the sides with plain-weave tubular bands in blue. Tubular bands are such wonderful finishes. The pocket and sides are so sturdy with those nice firm bands in place. And that is where this project sits until I can get more blue yarn for the straps. I was hoping to use this bag on this trip but that won’t be happening. I’ll come back home with the yarn and weave some nice sturdy straps in the intermesh structure.. The bag is the perfect size for my books!

As for the tiny tape projects, a friend asked me to weave a lanyard for her name tag using the cat motifs that I designed for my book of 100 Patterns. My online weaving friend Andrea had designed cats with intertwined tails which she allowed me to adapt to more closely match my own three cat motifs. All four motifs are charted in the book. The lanyard needs to be 3/4”- 1” wide.

Here’s the first little guy on my width-sample warp which confirmed that I had enough ends to get 3/4”. I am going to continue weaving this sample and make it into a wrist band for myself while I plan the layout of the lanyard. I’ll probably mix the cat motifs with some paw prints, the charts for which are also in the book of 100 patterns.

At the same time, I am getting a start on another band that has been on my mind for several years. I have been collecting the word “weave” in various languages which I would like to weave into a strap for a pouch. Many years ago I wove and constructed a carry bag for my backstrap bits and pieces and I used weft twining to decorate the strap with just a few words in different fonts.

I am using the intermesh structure this time and using just the one font to weave my words.

I have about twenty-four words collected now from online friends ranging from Cherokee to the Yoruba language of Nigeria.

Here are the cats in guitar-strap size woven by Julie Beers for her husband’s guitar…

Kathy King combined patterns from the book of 100 patterns (Complementary-warp Pattern Book) and my very first book, Andean Pebble Weave. She calls her band The Birds and the Bees. I love the blue and brown together.

Margo wove this wrist-cuff combining various patterns that are charted in my books, as well as designing some of her own and giving it all an original twist to create a cycling-inspired theme for a friend. I love this!Colleen Turner added a strap that she wove on an inkle loom to a shoulder-bag. The pattern is charted in the Complementary-warp Pick-up book which also gives step-by-step instructions for those who use any kind of loom to weave warp-faced bands.

Marsha’s band in 20/2 silk is spectacular. The red and blue are her own hand-spun threads. She has combined patterns from two of my books and the result is gorgeous!

And here is Kristin’s latest piece of awesome-ness in her own hand-spun wool. She has named this “Celestial”. The star pattern is one that was created by Kurt Laitenburger for tablet weaving and which he allowed me to adapt to the Andean Pebble Weave structure for my More Adventures book. I like to call the smaller pattern that Kristin used on the sides “Sunrise, Sunset” and this piece makes me think of a sunset with the evening star rising. The red, orange, blue and yellow all come from natural dyes. Kristin is going to sew this into a long zippered bag for for her backstrap loom.

One of my weaving teachers, Maxima, took a liking to this same star pattern when I was up in the highlands. Of all the samples that I took to show her, this was the one that she wanted to learn. We wound a warp and Maxima took over after she watched me weave a few rows. I was able to show Mr Laitenburger how his pattern was being enjoyed on the traditional leaning loom in the central Bolivian highlands. He was very pleased.

Kurt Laitenberger does beautiful work with tablets and I really appreciate his allowing me to adapt some of his patterns to the Andean Pebble Weave structure for my books.

Speaking of tablet weaving, I was looking through some of my old folders on my desktop about which I had almost completely forgotten and I re-discovered some awesome pictures that Taylor had sent me of tablet weavers in Bhutan. Taylor and I had been corresponding by email while she was living in Bhutan and we were able to meet up once in the USA when I was on a visit. She gave me an incredibly fine and stiff tablet-woven band and told me about how some of the tablet weavers use x-ray film to make the tablets for the extremely fine thread that they use. After our get-together, she sent me these photos that she had taken f a family of tablet-weavers.

It’s fascinating to see a classic backstrap loom set-up being used with the tablets. I am guessing that the structure that is used for the bands that are woven using this set-up is one in which the weaver does not have to deal with built-up twist in the warp threads.

Taylor had been working on a project teaching women to construct tote bags from strips of plastic cut from soda bottles. I think that you can just make out the green handle of one of the bags in the foreground of this photo in which the weaver is preparing her warp with the thin film tablets.

I love the rocks and the weights that she is using to hold her stakes in place. I managed to scavenge an old paint can filled with cement that I sometimes need to use when I warp using certain set-ups.

Until next time, let me leave you with this message: A limited number of hard copies of all my books in English will be available while I am traveling. Please leave a comment on this post, if you are interested, and I will get back to you. 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | March 1, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – Sewing and Warping

A bag in Intermesh structure with a shaped and edged flap. It includes some patterning in weft substitution.

I always get a bit nervous when my weaving friends who are skilled at sewing start picking up my weavings, many of which have been sewn into bags and small  pouches.  It’s when they start un-zipping, looking inside and inspecting seams that I get all wriggly. I am not great at sewing. My things hold together and look nice on the outside. However, I always fear that the inside might look a little unconventional to those who know something about sewing!

I sew by hand and I have to admit that I find sewing really relaxing. I love to put on a good movie and just sit and sew. Learning to make clothes is kind of a bucket-list thing. I always joke about one day being the best-dressed 79-year old you have ever seen.

Several of my weaving friends have kindly offered to help me make my first item of clothing. One of these days I will take advantage of those offers.

I dream of being able to find a pattern that works just right for me and then go to store knowing something about all that gorgeous fabric. I’ll be able to choose the right kind for the project I have in mind and a print that takes my fancy.

A yurt-shaped bag in reeled silk.

In the meantime, I’ll weave the fabric and sew my bags and pouches.

The fabric that was most recently on my loom was meant to be made into a bag. The black one you see above, which I named Tales from the Sub-continent and Beyond, has been traveling with me for a few years now and really isn’t quite big enough for the stuff I’d like to carry about when I am on the road.

To be honest, the final product is never of great importance to me. My main objective for this project was to weave something that included one of the little pockets that my Bolivian teachers weave into their coca-leaf bags. They are usually tiny pockets just big enough to to insert two or maybe three fingers. I wanted to have a large-ish bag with a pocket big enough to perhaps hold a folded boarding pass, baggage receipts and other bits and pieces that I need to have on hand when I travel.

Weaving that large pocket into this large project was really what this project was all about.

A bag I made for my sister-in-law in 8/2 cotton with Andean Pebble Weave patterns.

Once I had completed the pocket section of the bag, there was nothing new or challenging about the project and it was just a matter of weaving, weaving , weaving….until I decided right at the end that I needed to place the two weaving ladies under a tree.

Out came the charting paper and just I dove in and wove the tree without first sampling as I usually do. I am thinking that if I had wound a warp to first sample the pattern I would still be adjusting the charting and fiddling around with it today! I am quite happy with my tree. If I use it again in another project, I would make some small adjustments. In any case, designing and adding the tree to the project gave it just that extra bit of challenge that I enjoy.

I was determined to make it work because un-weaving wool is not fun. The hairy weft makes itself very much at home next to its hairy warp companions and does not want to be removed! I had already had enough experience un-weaving this wool at the start of this project when I decided that the green stripes  I had included in the warp had to go.

Almost at the end with the ladies waiting for their tree.

I had seen this tree picture shared on Facebook and tried to follow it back to its source. Unfortunately, it seems that the photographer’s name was never mentioned. I was quite taken with this grand tree shading all those people and wanted to include something like it in my project.

So, here are the ladies sitting and weaving and chatting under their tree. The bones for the weaver pattern were created by Maja, my online weaving friend in Germany. She allowed me to include her pattern in my Complementary-warp Pattern Book . She was also fine with my making adjustments to it so that I could have two versions in my book. This is my tweaked version. I doubled it and added the tree.

I was so happy with the tree pattern, that the pocket kind of took a back seat for a while.

Then I edged the pocket with the eye-pattern tubular band that I teach in one of my more recent books.

I doubled the thread so that the tubular band would stand out a bit more and added an extra edge thread to each side of the warp so there would be more solid blue in the tube right next to the pebbles. It looks nice enough in this picture but I have since unpicked it all! It just seemed too busy next to the pebbles. I realized that I usually sew these patterned tubular bands onto a solid-color edge. I’ll probably end up attaching a solid-color tubular band instead or some other variation that has more solid color than pattern. The addition of tube was lovely all around the edge. It really strengthened the pocket.

I wove a couple of bands to make the sides of the bag. This comes even after having asked for bag construction ideas in one of the online groups and being given the very wise advice to hand this off to someone who knows what they are doing! However, being someone who is always more interested in the process than the product, I decided that I would push ahead and see what I could come up with on my own. I think that in the end, I would rather have something, even though it may be quite clunky, that I have made myself. It’s a shame that I don’t have enough of the blue yarn left to make the straps.

Zipper and sides are in place.

The sides will be edged with a patterned tubular band which should look nice against all that solid blue. The`straps, once I get the yarn to weave them, will flank the central pattern and go all the way around the bottom of the bag.

In between periods of sewing, I have been in a warp-winding frenzy preparing for up-coming travels. My living room is a yarn jungle. And, with warping very much on my mind and with memories of my online encounter with Megan and Li backstrap weaving which I wrote about in a recent post, a wonderful video came to my attention. Created by Yan Zhang, this is the most beautiful film of backstrap weaving I have seen. It shows the backstrap weaving style used by the weavers of the Li minority group in China. Yan Zhang is the younger lady that you will see in this video winding a warp and then later sitting at the loom and weaving.

This is the first time that I have seen a warp for the backstrap loom wound this way. I contacted Yan Zhang so that I could be sure that I understood what she was doing. I will show a screen shot here of the warping frame to further entice you  to click on the video and watch it. In her reply Yan Zhang told me that “this frame is one of the most traditional tools of Li Brocade with 3000 years of history“. I have certainly never seen a warp wound this way before.

I like watching this video last thing at night so that I can close my eyes with the music still playing in my head. (ETA…unfortunately,it appears that the video has been removed from Youtube).

I haven’t been so excited about seeing a warp being prepared since I found this picture of two ladies preparing a backstrap loom from the website of Woven Souls. Jaina Mishra allowed me to share her image of the two ladies warping directly onto the loom.

Weavers in Arunachal Pradesh using the traditional back strap loom to weave skirts, shawls and loin cloths.

And then there was the thrill of winding a warp with Montagnard weaver Ju Nie. With Ju Nie I learned how to create the heddles as the warp is wound (as well as use the wonderful coil rod).

Ju was kind enough to let me try warping. I would never let anyone touch my warp!! She however, took control of the heddle string at each pass but I was slowly coming to understand what was going on.

Oh my gosh, there are so many exciting things still to learn and experience on this continent where I live. I am so grateful that while I am here I am still am able to enjoy these small amounts of contact with weavers from the other side of the world.

I hope that if nothing else grabs your attention in this post, that you will at least pause and watch Yan Zhang’s beautiful film. It is just over 5 minutes long.

I’ll leave you with a reminder, if I may, of my two latest publications….

The Eye-pattern Tubular Band.

Andean Pebble Weave on Inkle Looms.

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | February 15, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – Andean Pebble Weave on Inkle Looms – a new ebook

I am taking a step away from the world of the backstrap loom in this post to tell you about my new e-book, Andean Pebble Weave on Inkle Looms. This is a book that I have designed specifically for those who use what I would call a “standard” inkle loom, whether it be a one-of-a-kind home-made model or one of the mass-produced kinds. By “standard” inkle loom, I mean a frame with pegs that has some kind of system that allows adjustments to be made to warp-tension. The threads in half the warp are held in individual string-heddles while the weaver lifts and lowers the threads in the other half to create the two basic sheds.

And, I have provided instructions on these looms that are suited to BEGINNER pick-up weavers….those who have found that, although there are unlimited possibilities for weaving beautiful bands in plain weave on inkle looms, they would now like to add some little motifs to their bands….geometric patterns and little animal figures sitting on an attractive “pebbly” background.

With the experience of warping, setting up the loom and weaving plain-weave bands behind them, they can now venture into the world of pick-up patterns with methods that have been designed specifically for this kind of loom and their level of experience.

The methods I present take into account the particular characteristics of the inkle loom.

Firstly, I sort out some terminology. In my wanderings around the internet, I have found that there can sometimes be a little confusion over the terms pick-up, complementary-warp, pebble weave and Andean Pebble Weave. I welcomed the opportunity to talk about those terms in this book.

I present three different methods for creating Andean Pebble Weave patterns, two of which are aimed at beginner pick-up weavers. The third method is one that you can try, if you like, when you have gained a little experience and are interested in perhaps adding some short-cuts to speed up the process. You can try just one of the methods or all three of them.

All three methods produce the same pretty results! You can decide which one best suits your weaving style.

There is a method for those who enjoy getting their fingers in among the threads. The only tools that are required are those that you would normally use to produce plain weave, that is, something with which to beat and carry the weft.

Another uses a few additional tools which are as simple as two pencils and a pointed stick!

The third requires some additional materials to set-up the warp, no additional tools for weaving, and is for those who are interested in making a little extra effort in the set-up to enable them to see the patterns appearing on their bands faster. Additional string heddles are used in this third method and I cover, in pictures, text and video, the instructions for making them and the tips and tricks for operating them on inkle looms.

I use my Ashford Inklette throughout the e-book and in the videos to provide instruction. My friends Ruth Mitchell and Bradie Hansen also contributed with their full-size Ashford and Schacht inkle looms.

In order to cater to as many learning styles as possible, I have presented the instruction in various forms. Dozens of step-by-step pictures are used. Detailed text accompanies each and every picture. Instructional video clips take you through the steps all over again and there is an additional set of video clips called “Just Weaving” where you can enjoy watching the flow of each of the three methods, uninterrupted by instruction.

The .mp4 video clips can be viewed on all kinds of devices…iPhones, Android devices, iPods, iPads etc….

Tutorials cover how to recognize mistakes and un-weave, finish a band, lay out patterns, weave two different kinds of borders, and manage chart-reading. Tips for left-handed weavers are provided. The book finishes with twenty-two Andean Pebble Weave pattern charts for small motifs which are perfectly suited to beginner-level. Plus, there are two surprise bonus charts with patterns I know you will love!

If you already own and are using my e-book, Complementary-warp Pick-up, for your inkle loom, you won’t need this new book….unless you are curious about adding a couple of other methods to your pick-up weaving repertoire on inkle looms. The second kind of border structure that I teach in the Appendix of this new book might be new to you too.

Which method do I prefer? It very much depends on a number of factors which take into account the kind of material I am using for warp, the weight of the yarn I am using, as well as the number of threads. I love to have different methods up my sleeve to use in all kinds of situations, just as I do for my backstrap loom. If you have seen me or other weavers using additional string heddles to create Andean Pebble Weave patterns on inkle looms and have wondered about those, the third method in this is book will answer all those questions…all the why’s and how’s of making them, as well as using them.

ANDEAN PEBBLE WEAVE ON INKLE LOOMS…..!https://www.taprootvideo.com/preview_class.jsf?iid=3&cid=13

And now I shall return to my pocket-bag fabric which is so very near completion. The second two weaving ladies are now happily seated at their almost-finished looms and I am about to add my newly-created pattern for the tree which will shade them. I suspect there will be some un-weaving for adjustment because I am being naughty and weaving the tree without first sampling!

Perhaps there will be a finished bag to show next time I post!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | February 1, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – Crossing Woven Paths

Since I last wrote, I had the luck to cross woven paths with a lady who lives on Hainan Island in southern China. She found her way into my inbox via my blog after she had spent time with some backstrap weavers on Hainan Island from the Li minority group.

I imagine that it had been a very intense time watching the weavers at work trying to absorb and make sense of everything they were doing. Megan told me that although she speaks Mandarin, the weavers speak a local dialect. They were only able to communicate using some very basic Chinese words. It reminds me of weaving with Quechua-speaking ladies here in Bolivia and Peru. One of my teachers had the habit of throwing a word in Spanish at the end of long sentences in Quechua hoping, I suppose, that it would somehow give context to what she was saying. Believe it or not, it sometimes actually did help me to get the gist of what she was saying! None of it was instructional, though. It was basically chit-chat and the way that we tried to bond talking about our families.

Here’s Megan observing one of the Li weavers at her foot-tensioned loom.

She told me that the loom had been warped and fabric had been woven before she arrived and so she was able to watch the steps to creating the patterns with the supplementary weft threads but had not had a chance to see the loom being set up.

She took home a loom with its partly woven fabric but was understandably a bit confused about the process and unable to sit and continue the weaving on her own. As she was about to travel to Europe and wanted to take the loom with her, she did not have a chance to return to the weavers and have her questions answered. I am glad she found me! She sent me a brilliant high-resolution photo of the loom with the parts numbered and an email in which she named the parts as best she could. I love to trouble-shoot but I can’t do so without good pictures that I can enlarge. I couldn’t have asked for more from the pictures that Megan had sent me. The piece is decorated with supplementary weft.

It was exciting because I had seen Li backstrap looms when I was at Convergence in 2010. Pam Nadjowski had a booth in the Vendor Hall with textiles and weaving implements of various Chinese minority groups and the Li loom was one of them. That’s it pictured below. I was tempted to buy one because the pieces were so beautiful  However, I eventually settled on buying two fine bamboo reeds instead that have served me very well in my weaving projects.

Pam had sent me and allowed me to use pictures of the Li weavers that she had taken during the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market one year. Clearly they use several different kinds of techniques to decorate their woven cloth, not only supplementary-weft inlay.

I love the paddle-like ends of the beam against which the weavers place their feet. Megan’s loom is much simpler. I like how a piece of plastic tube has been used in hers as the shed rod.  The caps on the ends are handy for helping to stop the rod from sliding out of the warp. Weavers in Peru often use pvc pipe for the shed rod in their backstrap looms. They thread a safety string through the hollow pipe and tie the ends together which helps to stop the pipe from sliding completely out of the warp. You can see how beautifully the paddle ends on the Li loom are decorated in my photo from Convergence.

When I examined the photo with the numbered parts that Megan had sent me, I was excited to recognize the set-up as one that had been taught to me by two of my weaving teachers in Guatemala in 2008. That’s one of my teachers, Carmen, in the picture at left. I have even written a tutorial on this blog for the set-up and technique.

So, I was able to help with an explanation. Because Megan had named the loom parts in her email to me, we already had a common vocabulary with which to work. I could point her to my tutorial which also has video and, with those prompts,  she was able to remember what the weavers had been demonstrating and she was on her way! She too remarked on how much fun this connection was. In her words…

This was exactly the advice I needed, as now everything works PERFECTLY! I am so happy, not only because I managed to move on my own, but also because a lady on the other side of the globe, who works with native people of different culture, was able to give me solutions. I find this very awesome 🙂

Here she is contentedly weaving at her loom….I have to say that she seems to have the right toes for this.

Now we can take another look at the picture Megan sent me with the numbered parts and I can name them for you. The rods hold a circular warp which are, as far as I know, far more common in Asian backstrap weaving than single-plane warps. In South America I have only seen circular warps used by backstrap weavers in Ecuador and I have read that they are also used in far northern Peru. The Vietnamese hilltribe weavers with whom I studied also use circular warps as did the Burmese weaver that I spent some time with one day.

#1 and #10….the warp beam and cloth beam…or near beam and far beam as I usually call them

#2 coil rod or rolling stick

#3 patterning shed stick 2

#4 shed rod

#5 patterning shed stick 1

#6 heddle rod

#7 and #8 patterning swords

#9 main sword

Half the black warp threads lie on top of the shed rod. The other half are enclosed in heddle loops and are raised when the weaver lifts the heddle rod. Patterning shed stick 1 holds certain threads from the shed-rod shed. Patterning shed stick 2 holds certain threads from the heddle shed. It’s these threads under which the supplementary weft is passed to form the patterns. The patterning sticks raise groups of threads and the weaver selects threads from these groups according to the pattern she is creating.

Here’s the video that I created a few years ago to show how to set up a warp with these patterning sticks. I am using heavy cotton thread and a really narrow warp just to demonstrate this. The second part of the same video shows how to operate the loom and use the sticks to create patterns. You can pass the supplementary weft from one edge of the cloth to the other as Megan’s weaving friend has done or you can create smaller discontinuous patterns by passing the weft back and forth just from edge to edge of the motif itself as I demonstrate in the video. My Guatemalan teachers use both techniques.

 

You can see the rest of that tutorial here. This is the cloth that my teacher and I wove together in Guatemala. The X patterns used continuous weft from edge to edge. The little figures were woven using the discontinuous method. Simple inlay as well as wrapping and soumak-like techniques are used to create these kinds of patterns. The blue checkered pattern is supplementary weft passed through the two unaltered patterning sheds. I used these methods to weave this cotton scarf some years after that trip….

Every now and then a student will bring me a warp that they bought in Guatemala with partly-woven cloth and I get to play on it! You can see the two patterning sticks in the warp just to the left of the shed rod….one on top and one below. Guatemalan weavers use single-plane warps rather than circular ones.

I am not sure what kind of system the Li weavers use to clamp and roll up their circular warps. The warp does need to be secured before weaving can begin or it will slide around the beams every time the weaver beats. I own an implement that I got from Dar Ku, a backstrap weaver from Myanmar, that I was able to spend some time with. It’s a split beam, the two pieces of which are placed above and below the unwoven warp ends and then joined and rolled to secure the circular warp and stop it from slipping around the beams. So far, I have only used it in more unorthodox ways.Right now, I am using it to secure to my current piece of weaving…

I found that I could no longer roll up the woven cloth around two beams as I usually do, as the little built-in pocket is bulky and was creating a bump. That was messing with the tension on the unwoven warp threads. So, I removed the cloth beam and had to find another way to attach myself to the piece so that I could continue weaving and be in comfortable reach of the weaving line and heddles. I have clamped the cloth between the split beam. I add another beam and can roll the cloth around both. Two rolls get me to a good position where I can start weaving again. That is working well.

Now I am on the home stretch having passed the half-way mark and have finished the diamond section of the pattern. Now I will weave the two weaving ladies again. This time I get to weave them the right way up rather than standing on their heads! I am thinking of trying to design a tree under which they can sit and weave in the shade.

Progress hasn’t been as fast as it could have been because I am working on another book. I realized that it is not often that I get to spend this much time at home and that I really need to take advantage of that. Too many of my book projects have been started and left standing with the interruption of travel. I am also very buzzed about the fact that I can include video clips with my publications on Patternfish. This is highly motivating!

Here are some projects from students and online weaving friends…..

Christine, who came to weave with me in Maine, is using a Harrisille Designs band lock, in much the same way as I am using the split beam, to clamp her band. She took this project away with her and reported that this was the easiest way to bring weaving along on her trip in carry-on luggage.

Caroline designed and wove this cute snail motif on a warp-faced double weave band that we started together.

Gonit Porat in Israel wove a fabulous band with several patterns from my book of traditional and original Andean Pebble Weave designs. She uses the two-heddle method which is just one of several ways to set up a loom for this structure. Click on her name to visit her website and see the amazing work she does with hundreds of tablets.

Yehudit is making striking key fobs using patterns from my Complementary-warp Pick-up book. That book shows another way to create Andean Pebble Weave patterns without using additional string heddles. And this is what Lenora is weaving using the same book. It is amazing how a little imagination in the  arrangement of colors in the borders can give a band an extra bit of zing. I love it.

Lausanne finished the wool band with its aquatic patterns that she started during my visit to Vermont last year. She also used the two-heddle method for these Andean Pebble Weave patterns that are charted in my Pattern Book.

And, I was right in guessing that Kristin would be the first one to show me a project in which she wove and sewed the eye-pattern tubular band as an edging for her hand-woven cloth. This was all made with her own hand-spun alpaca yarn. It’s a beautiful finish for this piece.

Some feedback from an online weaving friend on these tubular bands and my most recent book, in which she compares the bands to potato chips, brought a smile to my face and really made my day  🙂

Oh my, these little bands are just like potato chips, but way healthier. I just can’t stop at one! I was in a bit of a weaving slump, but now I’m dreaming of things I can weave, just so I can add this lovely edging. I can hardly wait to finish one band so that I can try another in a different colour combo. I’ve been waiting for a book like this for years, down to earth and easy to understand. Thank you Laverne!

Lizzie Ruffell has been weaving bands using some of the knot-work pattern that are charted in my second book. She says that she is now completely comfortable with the spotted charts, has managed to adapt a tablet-weaving pattern (the dragons) to pebble weave and chart it, and is keen now to create some designs of her own.

While my northern hemisphere friends huddle indoors away from some of the coldest temperatures in decades, and Australia recovers from its recent heatwave, I am enjoying a few days of cooler temperatures here. I was filming video clips during a stretch of particularly hot days last week (I still can’t get a tech to come out and look at my broken air conditioner!). I have to get myself into some pretty awkward positions sometimes to film and give people the weaver’s view of what I am doing. At one point I had to stop filming because sweat from my forehead was dripping onto the band I was attempting to weave. I can tell you that holding some of the positions is doing my abs a whole lot of good!

I will leave you with a bright band and some spring-like images to brighten up your cold days, or soften some brutally hot ones. I call this band Birds, Bees, Butterflies and Blooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | January 18, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – A Pocket-Guide to Pockets

 

Happy 2019 to you all! New Year’s Day for me was more about celebrating finishing my latest e-book. And now that that project has been put aside , I am back at my loom and working on a large piece of fabric. This will be sewn into a shoulder bag. Don’t ask me what shape or form that will take. I am not skilled at sewing and I’ll have to figure that out later! I have worked on this for more hours than you might imagine. If you compare the first and second pictures, you might notice that the green stripes that flank the center pattern are missing in the second picture. They were begging to be removed and so I spent one evening un-weaving back to the start and cutting them out so that I could get up the next morning to a fresh warp and pretend it never happened! That left me much happier with the project.

Of course, I will be finishing the cloth with decorative stitches and tubular band edgings. How could I not after finally getting the instructions down in my latest e-book, The Eye-pattern Tubular Band and Other Decorative Finishing Techniques.

This bag will have a built-in pocket. If you look closely at the picture above, you will notice that I began by weaving across the whole width of the cloth. Now I am only weaving the center section. You can see that the weaving there has advanced far beyond the side sections. In that center section the warp is longer than the two side sections and this is what will form the pocket.

This is the warp for the black pocket bag that I recently wove. You can see how the center section of warp extends all the way to bottom of my bed, which is my usual anchoring spot for my warps. The two side sections don’t extend that far. They are suspended on a separate beam which is extended on rope (my lovely braided llama-fiber rope from Peru :-)) away from the bed. I guess for me that is the trickiest part of the set-up….having the two shorter parts of the warp sitting at just the right distance from the bed so that tension is exactly equal the whole way across the three sections.

That involves a lot of sitting in my backstrap to feel the tension across the warp and then laying the warp down so I can go to the far end and guess how much the rope needs to be adjusted…back to my backstrap….back to the far end, another minute adjustment…and so on! You can try to feel for tension differences all day and night but they will only really show up once you start weaving. Ridging, or corrugation, in the plain weave is the warp’s way of telling me that it is unhappy!

It was a lot easier to equalize the tension when I learned this technique in Potosí, Bolivia back in 1997. We used a horizontal ground loom and wove a very small piece. Adjustments were made by simply shifting a stake within easy reach that had been whacked into the ground.

My teachers Julia and Hilda discussing how to create the warp that includes the pocket. It had been many years since either of them had woven one of these bags.

I wanted the pocket on my current project to be 10cm deep. That means that the center section of warp is 20cm longer than the rest of the warp. I wove the center section, as I am doing in the second photo in this post, for 20 cm. Then I placed the entire warp together on just one back beam, put the llama rope aside, and anchored the beam directly to my bed as I normally do. The long piece of pocket fabric then gets pulled toward me and folded back and out of the way so that I can continue weaving across the entire width of the warp once again.

The next challenge is folding the pocket and somehow securing it so that I can once again put tension on the warp.

That was easy in Potosí when I was learning and relatively easy on the small pocket pouches that I have been weaving lately. In Potosí we just used a long needle and pinned it to the rest of the cloth. We were weaving with re-spun acrylic. It had a lot of twist added to it and it was tight and firm. Added to that was the hard beat on which my teacher always insisted. My cloth, like the yarn, was stiff and firm. I could just pin something to it and it would not budge.

The 20/2 wool that I am using, on the other hand, has a bit of stretch to it and the cloth that I am weaving is not stiff. After trying many ways to secure it, none of which were satisfactory, I ended up using crochet cotton to sew the folded pocket down. The stitches can be removed once I have finished weaving.

 

It’s a quirky little pocket. It sits on the outside of the bag and is accessed from the inside. I have been wanting to weave a large piece with one of these pockets for years. Now that the exciting pocket part is done, the rest of the weaving will be less technically challenging. Maybe some warp threads will break to provide some additional challenges…ha ha. Actually, that’s quite unlikely. I am not needing to do any strumming on this piece to get sheds to open and so the 20/2 wool should remain in excellent shape. The bag will be 30cm long and so I am quite near the half-way point where I can start working on what will be the back.

These patterns, by the way, are all charted in my Complementary-warp Pattern Book.

I am also working a bit on another book while I weave this piece (I have a lot of started book projects on my laptop!). I am actually always working on something like that when I am not at my loom.

I have seen a few eye-pattern tubular bands being woven in my online groups since I launched my latest e-book on the topic earlier this month. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. Nancy, aka yarndragon, was the first to post a picture of hers which she made on her inkle loom..

I wonder who will be the first to post a picture of one they have sewn to cloth.  I am pretty sure I know who it will be but I won’t reveal that here!

But, you don’t need to wait until you have woven a piece of fabric to which you can attach an eye-pattern band. One of the happy discoveries I made while writing the book was that the tubular band can be attached very nicely to store-bought cotton cloth. I had actually planned this to be a sample that showed how light cotton cloth cannot support the spiraling energy of the tubular band when it is simultaneously woven and sewn to the edge using the weft as the sewing thread. Light cloth can buckle and get distorted with all that spiraling energy.

The eye-pattern tubular band used to dress up a simple pouch made with commercial cotton fabric.

However, after having folded the cloth to make a little pouch and seaming the sides, I was actually sewing to four layers of fabric and that was more than enough to support the tubular band. I had bought interfacing to use but didn’t need it in the end. I am very tempted to make a bunch of little pouches now as gifts using lovely Japanese cloth pieces that I bought at the indigo exhibit we visited as part of BRAIDS 2016. Tubular bands along the sides and cross-knit-loop stitching along the top are nice finishing techniques. The legs of the cross-knit-loop stitches completely cover the hem at the mouth of the pouch. The strap is braided ( a 4-strand round braid) and there is a simple snap closure in the center. The button, or rather, pendant, is just decorative.

I pulled out examples of my eye-pattern tubular bands used as edging so that I could photograph them for my book. I completely forgot this quirky piece that I wove some years ago. It lives with my travel bags as I only use it as slip-cover for my laptop when I am traveling. Hence , it was forgotten and didn’t make it into the book.

I made the circle shapes in ikat and then filled them in with pick-up patterning. The piece is edged with the tubular band as are the circles. My ikat circles which were quite round (I was very proud of them) got slightly flattened as I wove because silly me forgot to consider take-up!

I am very fond of this piece because of its quirkiness and the somewhat unconventional application of the techniques I have learned to do while living here in South America. I love that I have created something that can travel with me everywhere.

Knowing how to turn corners while attaching the tubular band is something that will open up even more possibilities for adding decorative finishes to bags and pouches. I have covered the various ways that the bands can be placed on these kinds of projects in the e-book and there is a tutorial and supplemental video clip on turning corners.

Now I am thinking….wouldn’t it be nice to have a laptop bag with a pocket for the cable….hmmmm.

Until next time I will leave you with a reminder of my new e-book….

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | January 4, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – A New Year and a New E-Book!

Happy New Year to all of you! I usually let December 31st slip on by but this time it was a little different because it marked the finish of my latest e-book on the eye-pattern tubular band and other decorative finishing techniques. It really did feel like a big finish and, as the fireworks boomed outside (we tend to only have the noisy ones here and not so many of the pretties), I almost felt as if they were cheering for me. I guess the end-of-year means something different for each and every one of us. This is what it meant to me at that very moment, and on and off until 2am! There are no official public displays of fireworks. People buy them in the market and let them off in their back yards. It can go on all night!

So….about the e-book. You may know this pretty eye-pattern tubular band by its Quechua name, ñawi awapa. I have seen it woven in various places across the highlands of Peru and Bolivia. Because I know of at least one other local name that is used for it, I decided to simply call it the eye-pattern band in my book.

Weaving the eye-pattern tubular band in the central Bolivian highlands.

I have been happily applying it to my small woven pieces ever since I learned it. The novelty of seeing those little eyes appearing along the band never wears off! Used as an edging, it is the perfect finish to my woven pieces. In the highlands it is used for both decorative and practical reasons as it protects the edges of the fabric which are often the first parts to wear out.

Here’s my latest finished project using a simple two-color eye-pattern band as the edging on my Andean Pebble Weave wrist-cuff .

The tubular  band is woven and sewn simultaneously to the perimeter of the cuff using the weft as the sewing thread.

When I was learning to weave a coca-leaf bag with my teachers in Bolivia in 1997, I realized that removing the cloth from the loom did not mean the end of the project. It actually signaled the beginning of a whole new process that involved embellishing the piece with various decorative finishes. I saw that the eye pattern has different levels of complexity in different regions and that the methods used to create it can also vary. These kinds of similarities and differences have always fascinated me.

And, I have since learned that the eye-pattern tubular band is fun to weave on its own rather than purely as an edging. It makes lovely necklaces on which to hang pendants, sweet bracelets and bangles, and can be used in a variety of ways in accessories….fobs for keys and tools, lanyards, eye-glass holders, shoe laces, straps and drawstrings…. From my own experiments, I show you how to create straight, curved and spiraled versions of the tubular bands. They all have their particular charm!

One of the many fun things about this pattern is that you can make it as subdued or as lively as you like. I am generally limited to using only two colors at once in a pattern when I do most of my basic pick-up weaving techniques. The eye-pattern band allows you to use up to five or even more colors in the pattern. My favorite combination is usually with only three but you can make them as colorful as you like!

 

The traditional way to weave these tubular bands is by having the narrow warp attached to the weaver’s waist or belt with a piece of string. String heddles are not used at all and so the weaver’s body is simply suspending the warp. The weaver is not required to move the body back and forth to add or relax tension on the warp to help operate the heddles.

You should at least be familiar with weaving terminology…warp, weft, beat, shed etc…before you approach this.

Because heddles are not used at all to create the sheds, the warp can be easily set up and woven using an inkle loom or any other loom or frame that allows you to adjust tension for take-up. Full instructions on how to set up and weave the independent band on an inkle loom are included in both versions of the e-book.

Here I am weaving one on my tiny Ashford Inklette.

My e-book is available in two versions. One contains the instructions for weaving the eye-pattern band as an independent tube and then goes on to show how to weave and sew it simultaneously as an edging along the two sides of a project, or around corners, covering all edges.

I used a two-color eye-pattern tubular band to dress up a simple pouch that I made with commercial cotton fabric. The cross-knit-loop stitch decorates the mouth of the pouch.

Other decorative sewn finishing techniques such as the coil stitch, pictured below, are included with dozens of step-by-step photos as well as drawings.

The other version of the e-book is for those who only want to weave the band as an independent tube, perhaps for using it in jewelry and accessories, and aren’t interested in the sewing techniques. Both books provide ideas, instructions and suggestions for finishing the bands and for using them in such projects.

There are links to both versions in each one’s product description on the Taproot Video page.

And, let me tell you about something new for my e-books……

Both e-books include access to supplemental video clips. These are not stand-alone tutorials. They were designed to allow you to see “in action’’ some of the processes. The techniques are thoroughly explained in the books using over 140 photos, drawings and diagrams and so the videos really are optional supplemental material. With these additional materials I hope to be able to cater to a greater variety of learning styles. I had a lot of fun making those video clips and I am thrilled with them! Links to the videos are provided in the ebooks where they can be viewed and/or downloaded, if you like. They are better viewed after you have read each tutorial. Little video camera symbols in the book will let you know when there is a related video clip to be viewed.

For my left-handed weaving friends, I have included instructions in the Appendix on how to adapt the weaving technique to suit. You will notice that I said for my left-handed weaving friends. I am sorry, but for the sewing techniques in the book, I have left it up to you to adapt.  My left-handed students have always been so awesomely good at doing that in my classes!

I will leave you with this picture of me with one of my teachers, Maxima, spending a tranquil afternoon together. I weave as Maxima sews a decorative edging to a small pouch. The pouch on which she taught me to weave and sew a tubular band, lies on the ground between us. This was on my birthday back in 2011….a lovely way to spend it.

So, I hope that you will enjoy the e-book and I look forward to seeing what you create using it!

I wish you all the best for 2019!

(Hair update, for those who are interested…. I now have a blunt-edged chin-length hair cut with a good five months of grey growth!).

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | December 21, 2018

Backstrap Weaving – A Leafy Retreat

Anyone who is familiar with my work will know that I like weaving leaves….creeping leaf-laden vines, fallen leaves lying among berries or on the snow, shadowy leaves floating on a background of translucent cloth.

I have used them in a variety of structures: using supplemental weft on a warp-faced plain-weave ground, in intermesh, in double weave, in Andean Pebble Weave, and, more recently, with supplemental weft on an open mesh-like ground. I like to consider them my signature patterns.

 

Leaves on the snow and leaves among the berries in silk.

Leaf patterns in two very different cotton projects that both use supplemental weft threads to create the motifs.

A band with a leafy pattern is the one I chose to be my ”reward” weaving whenever I decided to take a break from writing my latest book. Right after I wrote my blog post ”Taking My Own Advice” in which I talked about the importance to me of having these little rewards, I set about choosing thread and planning a small project. I wanted a wrist cuff but one that was a fair bit wider than others I have woven. I also wanted one in black and white to go with a necklace that I often wear. I have a lot of DMC #12 perle cotton and decided to go with that. It is silky smooth and strong in contrast with the sticky wool and delicate hand-spun cotton singles that I have been weaving with lately. Oh my, how those sheds just pop open with the lightest touch!

I chose my pattern, one that I included in my latest book of 100 patterns…Complementary-warp Pattern Book…….leaves, of course, this time in pebble weave.

I had first created this pattern for a piece that became the cover for a journal in which I combined colors using small skeins of naturally-dyed silk that I had been given. This pattern of leaves is included in the Garden set of patterns in the latest book. The garden set includes various flower motifs, a butterfly, a humming bird and of course the leaves with a flower bud. And, there is whole other set that is made up of just bees.

I made my heddles on my wrist-cuff warp and then, there the warp sat for two weeks, tied to the bottom of my bed and stretched out across the floor. I can’t say that it sat there untouched because I stepped on it, tripped over it, and even got things tangled in it as I sat on the floor next to it, tapping away at my computer keys, writing my book and studying my samples. My bedroom floor is my weaving studio and my desk! I am afraid that I was a little impatient with that warp and would just shove it aside. The thing that had become entangled in it would be favored over the fine threads in the warp. I was almost convinced that I had abused it so much that it would be beyond recovery for weaving. I was so absorbed in writing the book and taking photos that I guess I just didn’t need time out for ”reward” weaving. The book itself required a certain amount of weaving and I guess those projects alone gave me enough loom time to keep me very happy. I would often be typing with the sample I was currently weaving still attached to my waist!

Now I am in a period between two major parts of the book-writing project and I decided to take a break and enjoy my little leaf pattern. A little leafy retreat. As you can see, the abused warp survived and I was able to weave enough band to make a cuff. The fineness of the thread allowed me to weave two columns of the pattern and I enjoy the mental gymnastics of flipping the pattern in my head as I pick my way across the threads.

As for the book on which I am currently working, you might be wondering what it s about…well, I like surprises…and I’ll let you know soon!

This is what Kristin has on her loom. She is making cloth for a bag project using her own hand-spun alpaca yarn and using the pattern from a piece I wove many years ago and photographed for my very first book. Seeing her project made me fondly remember that old wool weaving of mine. I turned it into a pencil case for a friend. It was tragic when one of his pens leaked ink onto it! Kristin is an awesome spinner of all kinds of fiber and she is handling what must be a sticky and tricky piece on her backstrap loom with two sets of string heddles holding her precious hand-spun thread. Her photo has me admiring her yarn as much as the weaving.

Maria Leticia Galve in Argentina sent me a picture of the band she wove using one of the six cat patterns that are charted in my latest pattern book. It is heart- warming seeing these patterns being enjoyed by people around the world. I love the colors and the way she has flipped the cats back and forth.

The cats are just one part of the Animal set of patterns in my book.

Katrina Michaels is using one of the smaller patterns from my instructional book, Complementary-warp Pick-up, to create a guitar strap. That’s a lovely set of tools that she has there on her inkle loom. Her swords are placed within the picking cross ready to help her select threads for the next row of pattern. This is a technique favored by many who don’t want to fiddle with extra sets of heddles or whose looms don’t have enough space for them. This picking cross method is the one I teach in the Complementary-warp Pick-up book. Kristen, on the other hand, is using the two-heddle method, as am I, for the leaf pattern on my cuff. Each weaver decides on the method they prefer, or choose the one which best suits the pattern they are weaving and/or the equipment they are using.

The fabric for my new cuff is off the loom. I see that I have enough length for the two ends to overlap. I can use simple snaps to close it. But now I want to edge it with a patterned tubular band. This is weaving and sewing combined, and I find it so relaxing.

You can see that I have just started the tubular edging on the upper right. I get a kick out of turning corners when I do this sewing!

I wont have a button under which to hide the start and finish ends of the tubular band. I can, however, hide the join beneath the part where the two ends of the cuff overlap. But, let’s see how neatly I can manage to connect the two ends together. I have been trying this with increasing levels of success with heavy-ish wool. I don’t know what my chances are of achieving neatness with this DMC #12, though! I’ll keep you posted.

As I said earlier, if you are a follower of my blog, you will know my love of leaf patterns. You will also quite likely know that I don’t really do Christmas. However, I had fun last year at my brother’s place designing a bunch of Christmas-themed patterns in pebble weave. The feedback from my sister-in-law as I wove and re-wove them, making little adjustments along the way, was very helpful.

I loved the way they turned out. Then I put them aside to await their publication in my pattern book in March this year. It has been a long wait since then to pull them out for Christmas this year. I think they do look very jolly and, with these, I will wish you all a joyous and peaceful time whatever you choose to do this holiday season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | November 30, 2018

Backstrap Weaving – Taking My Own Advice

This will be a very sparse blog post, I am afraid. But, the exciting thing is that I have been spending almost all my time working on my next book. I am on a roll! I am weaving samples, washing and pressing them, taking photos, wishing for clear days with good natural light to re-take photos, and writing, writing writing. There have been some very exciting and surprising discoveries along the way. There’s always something new to learn.

October was supposed to be what I considered to be a well-earned ”play” month after two-and-a-half months away from home on the road. Writing was to begin promptly in November.

Well, that didn’t happen. I was having way too much fun weaving, spinning and even knitting. But, by mid-November the books I had started writing earlier this year were calling for attention. I do, after all need to earn a living! Getting everything set up to start is the hardest part. I tell myself to just get over that hump and everything will start to flow. Well-taken advice. I cleaned up my chaotic creative space and set up for writing and photographing just before I went to bed one evening. It turned out that the ”hump” had been the cleaning. I woke up to a clean, organized space and happily jumped into the writing the next morning.

As for my play-time weaving experiments, I took my own advice again and stopped spinning cotton to weave a sample. It would be no use continuing to spin if the thread I was producing was not suitable for the kinds of cloth I want to weave. I am, after all, very new at spinning cotton. What I am producing now is clearly beginner stuff and I don’t expect to be able to produce anything consistent until I spin my way out of this beginner phase and improve my skills. That just takes mileage….lots of it…..and, hopefully, some advice and tips from experts.

I was curious about how my beginner efforts in spinning singles for weaving would hold up. I created a warp for the kind of sheer cloth that I recently wove using the hand spun Guatemalan cotton I had bought. I wanted to spin thread that was finer than that.

Well, my hand spun cotton is finer in most parts, less fine in other parts and shockingly thicker in others…you know, typical beginner stuff! But, I was determined to weave with it anyway. I didn’t use a reed, as if one challenge would not be enough!

There was a fair bit of un-weaving and re-weaving in the beginning as I messed around trying to get the sett right. I didn’t have a sample from which to take measurements. This was the sample. My hand spun didn’t really care for all that fiddling about and a couple of threads broke.

And then I ran out of weft and that is where it stands. Is it worth spinning more thread for weft to finish this or has the sample already told me what I needed to know? You might know by now that I like to make things from my samples if that is at all possible. I’ll let it sit there while I think about it. What I do know is that I have much to learn about spinning cotton.

The other thing I wove, before I got my nose buried in my writing, photo-taking and sample-weaving, was the strap for my little pocket bag. When I use the ñawi awapa tubular band as the edging for a piece, I like to weave a strap with a design that resembles the ‘eye’, or diamond shapes on the edging. A simple pattern like that is easy to set up with four sets of string heddles.

Here’s the finished bag with its strap…

Weaving can zoom along when I use those extra heddles. I have used up to eleven of them when I have needed to quickly knock out a strap or lanyard.

It’s fast and could almost be boring if I didn’t have to busy my mind with remembering which heddle came next in the sequence. I found color coding useful.

And then there’s this…! Those are all heddle rods. This lady certainly knows how to weave a complex pattern without having to do pick-up.

I spent a lot of time watching this lady weave and realized that figuring out the next heddle in the sequence was not a visual thing for her but rather a matter of ”feel”. She could tell by the way the sets of heddles moved along the warp which one was next. The  heddle sets she had already used would slide freely. The next one in the sequence would resist.

Now I am going to take my own advice again and set up a couple of small weaving projects that I can play with as ”rewards” for time spent at the keyboard working on the book. I have been advising a friend who is moving house to take time out and reward herself during the tedious packing-up process. When you live alone, like I do, and don’t have encouragement and support immediately around you, the rewards system seems to work well. I might weave the fabric for some hair barrettes (yes, the going-grey plan is still in action) and add some new pieces to my woven jewelry collection.

Until next time….

 

 

 

 

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