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Question your Swifts

It always seems a battle for a weaver to get skeins to yarn packages and back again. This has been a constant struggle for me over the years mainly because of a lack of variety and choice in coloured yarns for weavers in Australia and the finer yarns I tend to be attracted to. Many of the swifts on the market are designed for knitting yarns that are thicker and won’t tangle as much in the unwinding.

windmill swift

Windmill swift with ball bearings for smooth rotation and adjustable pegs

I have spent many, many 3 hour sessions unwinding a  2/60 hank of silk into a ball which then fails to run and gets knotted continuously when warping. I have tried the little ball winders that are great for 4ply knitting yarn and up – no good. I’ve tried winding cones on my electric bobbin winder – poor. The tension of the wind is also badly affected and leaves the yarn package in a poor starting state for nice loom tension. Read more

Why weave Saori: revisited

weaving studioWhy be inspired and motivated by the Saori aesthetic?

I have just written a post for Craftsy on Have you heard about Saori Weaving. It made me think again about why the Saori concept is so appealing to me.

Ten years ago I wrote about Saori weaving for the Complex Weavers in the US. Reading this again the other day made me feel invigorated anew about the possibilities of weaving with a freer and irregular approach. Unless you have a loom with many shafts or do tapestry weaving  it’s not that easy to develop curves, rounds and irregularity in loom determined patterning. Saori offers us the permission to weave outside the ordinary. And although the general rules and processes of handweaving apply, once we’re weaving through those warp threads we’re free to do what we like. Read more

Scone Saori

Scone - New England Highway

Kelly Street,  Scone

Barrington landscape

Barrington landscape over the tops

My most recent Saori gig was at Scone in the Upper Hunter valley.
The scenery and trip to Scone from Old Bar was simply amazing. What a wonderful environment we live in. The Australian landscape has something that seeps into and under your skin. Very different to European scenes but one that totally takes over your senses in a way that you have to surrender to. Wild, natural and….unfortunately for the upper Hunter, full of mining and continual coal trains! However disturbing these are to this lovely town (and everyone else)  it doesn’t define it and the surrounding landscapes are magnificent.  Coming home we went over the tops high up in the clouded mists. These mountains seem huge to us but Australia doesn’t do huge in mountains like other countries because the land is so ancient and worn down. But for us, although a modesty,  it seemed a huge mountain!
The weaving group was also inspiring. Lunch was included which I always get excited about for some reason. The workshop ran for one day and at first I was a little scared because the collective skills of the group was enormous. Especially in knitting. Honestly what could I give them. I learnt alot on the day from everyone and saw some of their work. Only one participant had woven before on a rigid heddle and she began that in her 80′s! Read more

The Old Clasped Weft Trick

Clasped weftI just can’t get enough of the clasped weft technique! And neither can others. I’ve never heard anyone say “please don’t show me that one as it bores me senseless”.

Easy and rhythmical, it can be done with just two yarns or many more, can introduce an auto pick on pick shading or solid blocks of colour.  Find out how to do it in my new blog post at Craftsy – Clasped Weft Weaving – Easy High Impact Designs to Try.

clasped weft ideas in weaving

You can see here two photos of different ways of using an extension of the simpler technique outlined in the Craftsy blog.  To have an independent patterning in the middle three different yarns are used and this technique is the next step up from using two yarns. See too, how colours and even additions of inlay add to the mix in designing to create a very lively and alive textile.

As the technique revolves around the locking of two yarns/colours together it allows for very high impact designs just by changing the position of that lock on every row. You can plan and play on paper first or just go straight in and build a row by row stepped pattern. I’m fascinated by that locking point – so much potential. See a this previous blog entry and this one on the technique.

Speedy Saori? What’s happening?


What’s happening? Is it climate change, something in the water, or just plain May motivation? I don’t know but the weavers through my workshops lately have been really going for it. At first I put it down to a group which all knew each other and being so comfortable were able to weave much more without that settling in period when you do something new. Especially when its only for a day. But no, this group didn’t know each other and did the same thing. Maybe it’s the phases of the moon. Read more

Garden Grub Cafe Saori Weaving

Saori Weaving for Everyone at the Garden Grub Cafe – 21 June

So excited to be at the Garden Grub Cafe in Bent Street, Wingham NSW (behind Delinquent Funk Store)  - 21 June, 10:00am – 12.30pm. Come along and grab some extra deliciousness for a snack or lunch at have a go at Saori weaving.  I will introduce you to Saori free style weaving – $10.00 for 15 minutes of weaving which includes materials and you get to keep what you weave. Bring friends and you can all have a go.

Starting the winter warps and weaving

Winter is nearly here so the studio is busier as people see more time for creating and the possibility of being indoors. Even though the winter in Old Bar is the very best of weather for getting about it still has a crisp air at times, making it the perfect season.

My week was filled with inspiration with a weaver who stayed on to learn more and more! Carolyn’s logical and studied approach produced some wonderful ideas and experiments. She had previously woven one Saori cloth but then just took off with three different pieces. This first clasped weft piece shown was her own ‘painted’ design flowing along as each row developed. Very beautiful I think.

Dominique also joined us to learn how to wind her own warp. As a dyer and spinner she was armed with a lovely selection of very fine cottons which become a colourful warp. She threaded her new warp on her inside set on my loom then we just tied up the set, took it off my loom, and she went home to put it on her loom to weave off. This has to be the best feature of the Saori looms. Read more

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