Friday, December 27, 2013

Inkle Workshop in February 2014

I am excited about Inkle, and about the Staten Island Makerspace. In February I will be teaching a workshop: Build your own Inkle Loom + Learn to weave on it!

Two 3-hour session workshops Sundays February 16 and 23

1 to 4 pm

SI MakerSpace Members $85* Non-members $115
Materials fee: $15
Ages 12 and up. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
No fee for children with a paid adult, but parent/child team must work on one loom together. Class size is limited to 12 students (or parent/child teams). Minimum 4 students.

Session one: Intro to weaving/Build a loom/Setting up the warp and heddles

Session two: 3 hour weaving intensive; creating patterns and designs, how to cut off and remove a finished piece.

Inkle weaving is a type of warp-faced weaving where the shed is created by manually raising or lowering the warp yarns, some of which are held in place by fixed heddles on a loom known as an inkle loom. Inkle weaving was referred to in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost. It was brought to the United States in the 1930s, but predates this by many centuries in other countries. The term "Inkle" simply means "ribbon" or "tape" and probably refers to a similarly structured woven good that could have been made on different types of looms, such as a box-loom.

Inkle weaving is commonly used for narrow work such as trims, straps and belts.

Class Goals:

Our first goal will be to learn about weaving in general; different types of weaving, types of looms, weaving vocabulary (ex: what the heck is a heddle?) and the processes involved in a simple weaving project. Then we will build looms out of wood. This is a very easy woodworking project and you will take home your own loom which would easily cost $75 to $100 to buy. After the looms are built, we will learn how to set up the warp and heddle yarns and practice making our own straps or belts.


*Members use promotional code inkle25 to get the discount.

Any questions please email or call (718) 273-3951.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Have you heard about ARM KNITTING

this from the Wall Street Journal... arm knitting thanks to Carol A for sharing

Schacht Variable dent reed

Cruising thru my email today, came across this....Schacht Variable Dent Reed. Variable dent reed Way cool! The latest and greatest thing in the world of rigid heddle weaving is Schacht’s new variable dent reed. Now you can mix and match dents in your Schacht Flip or Cricket loom. An assortment of rigid heddle reed sections in a variety of dents which include 5 dpi, 8 dpi, 10 dpi and 12 dpi can be inserted into the special rigid heddle frame for different setts within the same reed. Check out Schacht’s handy chart to see the number of reed sections available with each model. The Variable Dent Reed is a great tool for creating different densities in a fabric as well as using thick and thin yarns in the warp. How fun! Let the creative juices flow.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Our best boy passes over the Rainbow Bridge

Two Seasons Royal Deluxe... We received the shock of our lives on Sunday Nov. 11 when Rudy was diagnosed with spontaneous pneumothorax. We had to put our beautiful buddy Rudy down. Our hearts are broken. A rescue who had been through so much trauma and loss — Rudy was such a beautiful, happy boy. He won his way into our hearts and we will miss him so much. Rudy was extremely special. He was so smart and so loving. It was a joy to have him in our lives. His personality was huge. We are grateful for the wonderful vacation we shared with Rudy and Rennie on an island off the coast of Maine in October.

On Nov 12, 2013, at 10:42 AM, Tim wrote:

Rudy was a true character...
Rudy nicknames...Big Dog, Mr. Rudy, Big Puppy... Rudy Pudy... should have been Rudy Pooti.. tooting all the time.
A most comfortable sitter, knees splayed
The longest tail, most active tail wagger in the business
Sniff everything, stretch my nose into the air and take long sniffs
Chase the cats out of the yard
I know so many commands, stand, sit, kiss, lie down, wait, go, leave it, eat, hungry, pee, poop,
I am going to eat dirt, and if you say no, I'll grab some and leap away with a mouthful
I stood still for a bath and loved the toweling afterwards...
Scratch my chest
Enough drool before a meal to make Pavlov's dogs jealous
Sniff Rennie
I'll answer the door, no that's wrong, Rennie will
Take the lead position on a walk...
Rub bodies with Rennie along the walk,
I always want the left side of the sidewalk, that's where I walk.
Pay attention human or I'll nip your elbow
Don't forget my favorite white fluffy bone
I'll mouth your arm until you do something for me... feed me, especially.
Swallowing whole is the only way to enjoy a meal or a treat.
Oh, do you have any food? I'd like that!
Can you believe I taught you humans all this in a year? Good human.

You've never seen a dog prance like Rudy on a walk.... so happy go lucky.

On Nov 12, 2013, at 10:10 AM, Tina wrote:

Random Rudy Memories
RoooRoooo ROOOO!
I want a rawhide,
I am HUNGRY, I need to poop, I need to pee
I'm gonna make myself (all 90 lbs of me) really small and sneak into the bed at 4am
I am going to snuggle as tightly as I can into a really small space next to you.
I am so hungry!
I'm going to wait until you open the food bin and grab a bit of food so fast that you can't stop me.
I'm gonna eat dirt, no matter what you say.
I'm going to eat a rawhide EVERY DAY! Yup, the whole thing.
I like antler, but the ones cut in quarters, not the whole thing.
I'm a good kisser, and I like to kiss a lot!
I like the fireplace.
I am really patient about getting my harness on to go for a walk.
I am afraid of thunder, but with my Thundershirt I can conquer all.
I will bark at Thunder to make it go away.
I love to go in the bushes! none of this mown grass for me. I am a HUNTER!
I will pee on all your flowers!
I do one giant pee, not of this squirt here and there stuff! I am confident.
I am going to make note of everything you do.

 "Good Job!"


No words can express all the joy he brought to our lives, no words can express the tremendous loss we feel.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Things wear out... and this is my re-placemat

I love my placemats. I have had them for as long as I can remember. I think I bought them in the 1990s from a small shop in Roscoe, NY. I remember vividly the day... a bright, sunny summer day. It was a roadtrip that probably included a visit to dear (now departed) friends Mark and Wanda. I have used them at least once a week for all these years, and sadly they are looking a little tired. (As am I).

With my new-to-me 14" Structo I warped with colors as close as I could get. Who knows how much the colors have faded over the years... and this is my latest project. The weft is Mop Cotton and they go rather quickly. 2 down, 6 to go. Just realized though that I don't have enough room on the beam, so I either have to make an unexpected cut, with some warp loss, or try to figure out a way to add an extension on the beam....

I am thinking that if I find a really long screw I can add an inch in height??? yeeks... it may be better to cut.

With each new project comes a new problem, learning as i go.

Memory lane

Taking a trip, and exploring found objects, memories woven into cloth...
Old daisy lace, old DAT tap, and my first attempt at spinning wool.

Four Kitchen Towels

Finished weaving my first real project, a kit of classic striped dishtowels designed by Joanne Hall using 8/2 unmercerized cotton. This kit came with the warp already pre-wound and ready to put onto the loom. Discovered the problem with kits, if you have a warp problem, and I did, there is no extra! and the end was a trick as I was short on the red. Found a similar red and wove that in, hopefully no one will notice!. Great practice for my selvages. and I used a temple for the first time. The temple helped a lot!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gowdey Reeds for Structo 600

It took a while, but my new reeds have arrived. After struggling with cleaning a very old and rusty reed, I ordered three new stainless ones from Gowdey Reed Company, 6, 12 and 15 dent (many thanks to sarah(at)sarahhaskell(dot)com for all her help with the order. Here the 12 is in the Structo, ready and waiting for the RED cotton warp! Unfortunately the beater is not adjustable, and the reeds were a little short in height. I had to shim them in place with strips of cardboard, so if I ever do this again, I'd spend a little more and have them 1/8 inch taller. The shims work, not a big deal. Many thanks to the advise from various blogs online, especially the all_things_structo Yahoo Group.

IKAT adventures

This July I trekked to Brooklyn (car/ferry/bus--bus/ferry/car) for an IKAT workshop. Measured a white cotton warp, enough for 4 placemats. Learned to tie off the resist area patterns. Here is link to Indonesian process. Mixed the PreProcessed Indigo into 10 gallon plastic garbage pail that has a cover, let soak for 15 minutes. Rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and then hung warp to dry for next week. Dry fibers then warped back to front on schacht 4-harness loom. Weft is worsted handspun teal wool and chunky light blue accents. Using Glimakra Temple that I bought at The Mannings to help to get even selvage. We used toilet paper to start the weaving instead of wasting fiber! way cool.
and here is the final result...

Monday, July 08, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Following interesting footsteps

When I received the Structo Artcraft 240 in a double boxed package from Florida, it came with very old weaving on it. I think it was a sampler and if the paper is a hint to the year, it was from 1948. There is a piece of tape on the top of the castle frame...with a name in cursive... Marie Earll , or maybe Marie Carll? If only the loom could talk. I would love to know more. shows listing for both spellings, hmmm.
There is color work that I am not certain about... is it woven or embroidery while on the loom?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Structo heaven

I first learned about Structo looms at FIT. I took the TD 131 Woven Design class and got intimate with a Structo Artcraft 240. And then I was obsessed. I joined the all_things_structo yahoo group, with a wealth of information.

Searched eBay and found one! It had a weaving on it, there was a newspaper wrapped around the cloth beam that referenced 1948. I carefully photographed everything before I removed the very old and brown weaving. The famous structo warp spools had a lot of warp left, so I unwound until I got to clean fiber and re-tied the warp. I am on my way.

A couple weeks later I got a message from all_things_structo there was a "600" on eBay that looked pretty good. I checked that it was close enough (70 mmiles) and hit the "Buy Now". 4.5 hours later I had a very dirty and rusty Structo Artcraft 600. I spend the next week taking it apart, cleaning, painting, refinishing and reassembling. And she's a beauty.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Audrey, a sweater for my Mom

After attending the NY Sheep and Wool Festival last October, my view of yarn has completely changed. This was the first time that I considered the animals that provided the fiber of my life. I LOVE wool in every shape and form. It must be in my Scottish blood. I met face to face with Blue Faced Leicester, and it changed my life.

I bought "The Audrey" kit in Celadon sport weight from Lisa Souza Knitwear and dyeworks. It was candy for the hands and the eyes. Soft and gently hand dyed with a delightful leaf border on the sleeve, collar and bottom edge. It was a dream to knit, although I have to admit that I altered the pattern. I did not like how the top of the sleeve turned out, so I ripped it back and reworked.

It took about 3 months to make, and I finally met Mom in Rhinebeck at the Beekman Arms and gave it to her over a delightful lunch. I hope she likes it and wears in good health!

The weather was perfect, so we explored a bit and ended up at Wilderstein Historic site for a lovely tour of the restored home of Daisy Suckley, a little piece of heaven overlooking the Hudson River. The tour guide was very interesting and knowledgeable. It was an peek into a lifestyle of another time. I am glad I got to share it with Mom.

The Hudson Valley Antique Auto Association had there show the same weekend, so there was eye candy of another kind in the parking lot, a 1931 Ford (not in original colors). It was the source of great interest. Unfortunately I was not fast enough to get a photo of the 50s pink Cadillac.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Fiber events

Here is reminder of year-round fiber events!

From chickens to cloth, almost

My weaving journey continues, with side trips. Last weekend we stopped at Lenny and Kathy's house to see their new chickens, the Marys. (long story) It was a beautiful day and we just talked the afternoon away. Knitting and weaving came up, all of a sudden Kathy's daughter Paulina brought out from their stash a box of novelty yarn and beads. A perfect solution to my next FIT class assignment.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

With a mistake comes success

my Basket weave mistakeLast year I acquired a countermarch Harris Folding Loom, sans instructions (see July 4, 2011 post). This put me on a part-time quest -- between life's tasks and work and other distractions, like knitting -- to figure out how to put it together! Oy, the diagrams for the treadles just did not make sense.

I joined the NY Guild of Handweavers, where I attended a talk by David Van Buskirk — My Weaving Education at Handarbetes Vanners, Stockholm with Age Faith-Ell. It was an inspiring lecture on his time studying weaving in Sweden with Age Faith-Ell, and the place of women in design in the early 20th Century. I spoke with him after, he suggested I take a course at FIT, and that was a game changer.

At first I was skeptical that I would find the key to my loom problems in class. But I put my head down and started weaving again, a series of samples for presentation, due April 2.

  • Plain weave
  • 2/2/ Twill -Right Hand
  • Reversing 2/2 Twill
  • 2/2 Broken Twill
  • 1/3 Filling-faced Twil
  • 3/1 Warp-faced Twill
  • 3/1 Reverse Warp-faced Twill
  • 1/3 Reverse Filling-faced Twill
  • Combination Stripe: 3/1 and 1/3 Twill
  • Basket Weave (oy!)
  • Double Cloth (very cool)
  • Rib Weave (my fav)
  • Basket Weave and Rib Weave
  • Reversing 2/2 Twill in 2 colors
  • Combination Stripe: 3/1 and 1/3 Twill with chenille) and...
  • "Not" Basket Weave…it is a variation of Plain weave! (I actually like it a lot, and a very happy accident)
weaving on Harris Folding Loom

I spent hours getting the sample cards hand lettered and samples cut apart and affixed. Then I discovered a huge mistake… My basket weave sample was WRONG! The weaving did not match the draft chart. Oh no!

With no time to return to the studio and do another (I think I had removed from the studio loom the warp to start the next assignment) I looked at my loom and decided that NOW was the time to conquer the treadle problem. I had to weave another basket weave sample that was the correct structure before class.

I took a deep breath, pulled out all my found-on-the-internet instructions and my scribbles of what I thought the treadle chart meant, got down on the floor and started to make sense of all the sticks and strings. Step one to treadle success. (They probably need some tweaking… but I had to get to the next step of warping on the loom.)

I wound my first very short warp out of old pearl cotton that I had in a stash in the garage (yes, the garage). Took a deep breath and tied it onto the loom, sorted thru 120 thread heddles on 4 shafts with the required POINT DRAW, END AND END and STRAIGHT DRAW as per the original assignment. I prayed that it would work. It did. I wove my first sample on MY loom. I will always remember what BASKET WEAVE is, and how to chart its structure. I am thrilled. With panic I found the courage to face the demons that held me back. I can now start weaving. I am so excited.

Monday, April 01, 2013

What I learned about Harris Tweed at the last NY Guild of Handweavers meeting

Eco-designer Lusmila McColl of McColl & Clan spoke at the March meeting of the NY Guild of Handweavers. What a fascinating and inspiring woman! She relayed the story of Harris Tweed.

to learn more about the fiber drama of the 21st century, watch this 3-part Tweed BBC documentary on Vimeo
Part 1: Trouble Looms -
Part 2: Harassed Tweed -
Part 3: Hanging by a Thread -

Lusmila handed out a flyer: THE PROCESS OF MAKING HARRIS TWEED FABRICS (see below)


The creation of Harris Tweed begins with fleeces of pure virgin wools which are sheared from Cheviot and Scottish Blackface sheep. Although most of the wool is grown principally on the Scottish and UK mainland, in the earl summer the island communities still join together to round up and sheer the local sheep to add to the mix. The tow types of wool are blended together to gain the advantages of their unique qualities and characteristics.

Washing & Dying

Once sheared the wool is scoured before being delivered in large bales to the mills of the main tweed producers where it is dyed in a wide variety of colors for blending.

Blending & Carding

The freshly dyed coloured and white wools are weighted in predetermined proportions and then thoroughly blended by hand to exact recipes to obtain the correct hue. It is then carded between mechanical, toothed rollers which tease and mix the fibers thoroughly before it is separated into a fragile, embryonic yarn.


This soft yarn then has a twist imparted to it as it is spun to give it maximum strength for weaving. The spun yarn is wound onto bobbins to provide the ingredients of weft (left to right threads) and warp (vertical threads) supplied to the weavers.


This vitally important process sees thousands of warp threads gathered in large hanks into a specific order and wound onto large beams ready to be delivered, together with yarn for the weft, to the weavers.


All Harris Tweed is hand woven on a treadle loom at each weaver's home usually a single width Hattersley loom or newer double-width Bonas-Griffith loom. The weaver will arrange hundreds of heddles to a specified pattern before the beam of warp yarn is tied to the loom by hand.

The weaver will then set up the weft threads, pulling bobbins of yarn through a series of guides to be woven into the warp threads by flashing "rapier" or shuttle. Once ready, the weaver begins to weave, always observing, correcting, mending and amending their creation until complete. All Harris Tweed is woven by hand, using a manually powered loom driven by a simple pedal mechanism.


The tween then returns to the mill in its "greasy state" and here it passes through the hands of darners who correct any flaws.

Once ready, the cloth is finished. Dirt, oil and other impurities are removed by washing and beating in soda and soapy water before it is dried, steamed, pressed and cropped.


The final process is the examination by the independent Harris Tweed Authority who visits the mills weekly, before application of their Orb Mark trademark which is ironed onthe fabric as a seal of authenticity.


Harris Tweed Authority: