Archive for the 'off loom' Category


I blinked and time has passed! I’m afraid this post will be a rough-and-ready mix, catching up.

The major focus has been finding appropriate residential care for my mother-in-law. She had a rotten year with several long hospital stays – returning to her own home was not an option. She’s now close by getting the care she needs, and while not happy she is making an effort to accept what became inevitable. I feel lucky to live in Australia where aged care is heavily government regulated – complex and hard to navigate, but available (eventually), good quality and affordable.

There was also a weekend trip to Canberra with my mother to see the
MASTERPIECES from PARIS – wonderful artworks which transcended the crowds and queueing. The season has been extended to 18 April, but make sure you pre-purchase tickets and be prepared to be patient. If you have children, there is a wonderful room of activities available inside the exhibition as well as a child-friendly audio tour.

The March ATASDA NSW meeting was fun. The Maharajah’s Garden pieces were all there, though difficult to see in the crush of people. I bought these “weaving sticks” from another member. The warp yarn is threaded through the base of the sticks (see insert top left of the photo), the sticks provide a rigid form to wind the weft around, and as the sticks are covered you push the weft down over the warp.

There has been other weaving. (Sorry for the bad photos – time is crunching!)

This is one of the warps I dyed in Linda Coffill’s class in January. It’s 20/2 silk sett at 40 epi. Weft is 60/2 silk. Plain weave, with warp dominant but weft still visible. The result has a lovely drape, hand and shine. I’m really happy with it.

One interesting thing is the impact of the weft colour. It was dyed coral, the same as parts of the warp. The little dots of the weft showing intensify the colour where the warp is also coral. They dull the blue areas, and particularly the lighter greenish-blue. Overall the balance of colour is not what I planned. I don’t mind the result, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind in the future.

Another spin-off from Linda’s class was the formation of a new colour study group within the Guild. We’ve started meeting once a month in the Guild rooms – other members are welcome (we’re not meeting in April due Easter and holidays). At our first meeting we had lots of show and tell and talked about what we want to do. At our second, we brought dyed fibres, a couple of people brought their drum carders, and we played with colour blending. I experimented with blending the same colours (not necessarily the same proportions), creating rolags using hand carders and a layered bat in the drum carder.

I spun the results without plying, but was very rough when finishing the yarn so that it would felt up and not cause too many shrinkage problems when weaving. It became weft in part of my latest weaving class sampler – crackle.

The section above the dividing line was the drum carded part – texturally more evenly mixed and the brown dominant (it was the outside layers of the sandwich).

The lower part was the handcarded rolags. Lots of variation and interest. I really like that section.

I’m not going to attempt an explanation of crackle here. There’s lots of information available – Peg has a huge amount in her blog, and there are heaps of articles on

This is another section of the same sampler. The right third of the warp was plain brown, threaded to show each of the 4 blocks. The left side was a fairly random mix of 6 colours in the warp, and the threading jumped around between blocks. I did quite a bit of playing with different pattern and tabby wefts. Lots of potential to return to another day.

For today, sorry about the jumbled rush but at least that brings me almost up to date. It’s progress 🙂

Off loom weaving

June to September was tricky time-wise for me, and  for a couple of months the looms were empty. However it wasn’t totally without weaving.

20091106_bagThis little treasure pouch is about 9 x 15 cm (say 3.5 x 6 inches). It was made on a piece of cardboard with some notches cut in to hold the warp, using instructions in Kids Weaving by Sarah Swett (on Amazon here). Rather than using a yarn needle to weave in the weft, I wrapped some tape around the end of the yarn to stiffen it and just used my fingers. I took the pouch and a bag of supplies to a family lunch as an activity for my nieces and nephews, but the cousins were having so much fun running around together that we didn’t get to it. Perhaps another day – one in particular I think might enjoy it, though the others might find it a bit slow.

20091106_feltcardsThe second off-loom project was really more felting – but still with a weaving element so I’m counting it! I needed to send some thank you cards. I used some merino wool top that I dyed and carded a year or two back. Each colour fibre was laid out separately and made into sheets of pre-felt (meaning the fibres are lightly tangled/felted so it holds together, but there’s still a lot of shrinkage and toughening up to go). Then I cut up each sheet into strips, and it was like weaving with paper in primary school. Finally I carefully finished felting each woven square – you can see some bits went a bit haywire.

The cards went to thank fibre-y folk  who had donated prizes for an ATASDA raffle. Diane Groenewegen is a very accomplished textile artist (her ATASDA member gallery page is here), and when I visited her studio on an open-day my card was pinned up on display (reflected glory!). Another recipient of my little cards was Beatrice Jackson, also an ATASDA member and a wonderful weaver – Beatrice and some of her work can be seen here. ATASDA is lucky to have members who are not only incredibly gifted in their own work, but also willing to support the group plus encourage relative newbies like me.


Something about me and directions. Class sample on the left, my version on the right.

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