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Braid Love

braidBraiding is so relaxing yet stimulating at the same time. I’ve just written a Craftsy post on Braids every Weaver should know. The post is an overview, with links to tutorials, of a few different braid structures that fall into a weavers journey. The slentre or loop braid, lucet braiding and the wonderful Kumihimo braiding.

The best instruction for accessible Kumihimo that I have ever seen is by Shirley Berlin in Handwoven Magazine May/June 1999. She shows you how to set up a 16 strand braid on a circular cardboard disk, emulating the traditional Japanese Marudai stand,  then it is followed with a very direct and easy way of designing your own 16 strand patterns by Alison Irwin.  I have used this tutorial repeatedly over the years to young children and teaching teens. SO easy to produce a very impressive and complex braid. Read more

Removing and replacing a SAORI Inside Set

Inside setsRemoving, replacing and generally just having the availability of a Saori inside set is wonderful.

But the words “inside set” aren’t really descriptive of the function or process of the whole thing. When I first came across this, it was a very new concept to me, at least for a small craft weaver. I know that similar things are used in Asia and have heard of it in production weaving in Europe for saving patterns, but not for us ‘little’ people. It just makes so much sense. No need to buy several looms to run several different warp types or widths to weave when you feel like it. One loom can become many looms.

The main attraction for me too, was how I could use one floor loom to teach others but still do my own work. It really makes sharing and teaching possible where other looms are too dedicated to the one owner weaver. Read more

Morisset Weavers

The best way for me to describe the wonderful two day workshop with the Morisset weavers is with images of their work. Absolutely beautiful creations and all so very different from each other.  The group was voraciously interested in weaving and creating which is great to work with. Thank you so much to Lorraine, Ann, Nerida, Miffany, Margaret and Gill.

Inspiration Pack Packing

MorrisetGetting inspiration packs ready for the next big workshop tomorrow here in Curiousweaver Studio.  A great group from Morisset are travelling up to be infused with weave and designing their own unique weaves over the next two days. Many will be weavers and certainly spinners amongst them. The studio is expectant with all the looms ready to go…just waiting for a person to work their magic on the treadles. The sun is shinning and the small earth tremor from yesterday can’t be verified so all is good!

For cake I’ve got the Nigella flourless Chocolate Brownies  Can I go wrong with that?


The Emotional Lure of Paper Yarns

Cutting paper

Cutting the folded paper

There is a magnetism in paper yarns for weaving and I have had many goes at it.  I am probably more interested in actual spun paper yarn than the rolled or folded paper approach but they all have their particular benefits in creating a woven structure.

When I was in Kyoto last year I bought a few sheets of Kozo paper for creating spun thread (kami-ito) for weaving (Shifu). In Japan this is considered the very best handmade paper for this purpose and the traditions and skills attached to the whole papermaking and yarnmaking process are formidable and quite different to the traditions of paper twine from Europe. For more info on the tenacity and dedication to creating Kami-ito (paper threads for weaving Shifu) see “A Song of Praise for Shifu by Susan J. Byrd. Another good recent publication is “Kigami and Kami-ito  in English and Japanese. Also a great book for a broader overview of European paper yarn history and the comparison to Japanese thread making with ideas for creating paper thread textiles in Paper Textiles.

paper strips

The paper cut and opened out, showing how the strips are joined and ready to be separated.

Sometimes reading too much can make me thoroughly daunted and ‘scared’ of attempting such a feat on the most perfect paper you’ve ever seen and unlikely to ever see again. But then it’s a step closer to understanding the process than having exquisite paper sitting in my studio cupboard.

I was pretty happy with the resulting yarn considering my fears, and I must say that working with paper of this standard was amazing. As any spinning is – it gets you closer to that real source of the natural. Read more

No Anonymous Characters

tidalSandStrirationsOk! Another wonderful weekend Saori workshop with a great group, weaver houseguests, sunny warm days, warp rescues, beach magic and cake! What more could anyone ask for in life. The images here were connected by Amanda and her image of tidal sand striations at Manning Point. The weave is the final demo of the weekend – weaving without a reed.

No reed usually means no weft in that the warp threads crowd up much too cosily hiding the weft. But it can be overcome by forcing the heddles into a cramming and spacing situation. I did this with clothes pegs as used at Saori central. If you don’t have a Saori loom or similar with clearance at the top of the shafts you could certainly rig something up. Afterall that is what weaving is all about – adapting and thinking, thinking, trying, sampling.

Hover of the weavers

hover of the weavers

One of the most delightful aspects of weavers is the ‘dance’ they do regularly and always in my workshops! It’s a ‘hover of the weavers’. When a piece of cloth handwoven from the maker comes out, we hover, touch and show a bit of our hearts so easily. We try to imagine it was us creating that cloth and we see a window into the maker and make an instant connection. I just love it. I know it can sound soppy as I write it but it is such a powerful feeling. Cloth surely unites us in some small way and creates an instant injection point to connect with others. Read more