Monday, May 26, 2014

Out In The World

book cover

Book Giveaway! There were 22 total comments on the post about Tom's new book, including a few duplicates, and one person who already had the book. I excluded those, and then numbered the remaining 17 in order of receipt. I used this number generator and got: #16! Tobie :). I've sent an email requesting a shipping address, Tobie, and as soon as I have it, Tom Kniseley's new book Weaving Rag Rugs goes out to you in the mail!

Teaching people in person is a lively and energizing event: you see the spark as it is ignited, you see the glimmer of understanding, and on a good day, people leave the class fired up with ideas and plans, ready to apply what they have learned.

Writing about the creative process, whether in articles, online or in books, is an extension of that personal connection one step removed. We may not see the spark of inspiration, the aha! of understanding, but it is out there, and it begins to show in the work of others.

We try our best in text and photographs, in live or recorded video, to get across the information that is really a tactile experience, with some of the hand and body movements very subtle and not necessarily conscious. We struggle with the words: and it is a struggle to analyze in detail all the steps we take. To see the instructor as he/she speaks about the process can clarify what the words we use are trying to mean.

One of the best things about teaching is seeing the work taken up by someone else. In the best circumstances, teaching is passing on what we know, what we have done, how we got here, and how you can too. And to see words in action, techniques and ideas moving out into the world, in someone else's wholly new work, is a gift indeed. It's why we teach!

Feedback is fabulous, especially when the information is handed out into the world in print, and we know not who it is that has taken it up. Send a letter :)! Send an email! Ask a question! Ask for clarification, and better yet: show us what you are doing. We love to see that you use and pass on the information we have tried so hard to get out to you!


This has been book week here: I have sent out the new silk books ordered directly from me, and will ship a few more tomorrow that have been ordered once the online buzz started up: thank you to all and sundry! I am down to my last few books, and have to order more: a good problem to have indeed.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

In this day and age those words are a catchphrase, and meant to encourage us all and make us think about ways we can live more lightly on the planet.

But they are not new ideas, and people who lived and wove before us have known many ways to re-use and recycle cloth: hand-me-down clothing, clothing re-sewn and made over for extended use, quilts made of scraps from leftover fabrics or from old clothing, rag rugs, and the most humble: rags used to clean, caulk and polish.

We were not always such a disposable society. We were not always so eager to bundle our old and out-of-date, broken or used up things and donate them or discard them. We had rag-bags and scrap piles, and things saved "in case they would be useful".

True, we had fewer things. In general. Which makes each thing more valuable: too much of anything, food, clothing, houses, cars....has made us jaded. Also less capable: people in cultures all over the world still use up more of their (and our!) scraps in sakiori weaving, rippsmatta weaving, and yes, humble rag carpets, rather than throwing so much away.


Tom Knisely has written a comprehensive and approachable book all about this simple weaving technique. The book starts with history, moves into tools needed, then warping and weaving techniques, and finishes with projects. It is beautifully presented, the many photographs illustrate each step clearly, from setting up the warp:


through weaving tips:


and finishing techniques:


The weaving information would be useful beyond rag rugs: some of Tom's tips and methods are simply good weaving technique. And the projects!


Over half the book is step by step information on weaving with new and used textiles, making rugs and table runners with every conceivable type of fabric as weft. The projects are all illustrated with the before and after photos of the weft fabrics: a great tip for any weaver wondering just how this fabric will look when woven!

In this day and age of instant information on the internet, why would anyone want a book like this on their shelf? Because Tom has put all the information here, in one place, no searching, no internet connection needed, available 24/7 even when the power goes out! And this is weaving information you can trust, from someone who has done it, and shows you how. He is not just talking about it: he demonstrates it all.

If you are interested in having this copy, please leave a comment on this post, a number generator will choose a winner, and I will drop this in the mail to you! Blogger does not give me your email information to contact you or respond to you, so please do so your comments, camouflaged by leaving spaces where none should be, and spelling out dot, so bots don't find you. Good luck!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Best Laid Plans

gang aft agley.

(favorite Robert Burns quote of my mother's. She is now long gone, but not forgotten, this Mother's Day weekend.Happy Mother's Day, Mom)

The latest Grand Plan started with this:
yurt yarn

Full shelves, mostly 5/2 cotton yarn I do not use much anymore, and an idea to clear space: pull out bunches of cones of similar colors, and weave Big Things. 1st up? a cotton blanket:

blanket center panel yarns

It is to be three panels, the first two here on the loom:
blanket warp

Weaving with some unknown unlabeled cotton, but red! the perfect weft:
blanket on loom

In the midst of weaving this, it occurred to me that I could use a few baby gifts, the first for a new boy (not in my family, but close friends!) so I did not weave the center blanket panel but instead ran another warp and wove the baby a new cotton blanket:
blanket 005

Two smaller panels, to be sewn up the center. Now done, washed and sewn:


and I am back to the center panel of the larger blanket, which is ready to weave: threaded and beamed:

This will be for our guest bed, a nice cover/lightweight summer blanket, and is simple and quick to weave: 5/2 cotton yarns, sett at 20, woven with heavier cotton weft (plain 2 ply in the bigger blanket, a cotton flake in the baby blanket). The binding is cotton fabric, rather than satin blanket binding, for these first two.

First two? Yes. The best laid plan was to use up some cones of yarn. These two used a total of 3 (!) partial cones....the shelves are still quite full. So I see more blankets in my future, and tablecloths and napkins and towels... I have 5/2 and 8/2 and 10/2 galore, time and a loom. Bounty!

More bounty? Breakfast of eggs and honey biscuits! made with grandpa Kurt's homegrown honey:
honey biscuits

Hmmm. Perhaps a big PINK! blanket should be next up :)!