Thursday, August 29, 2013

weaving updates

I found a great suggestion in one of my new weaving books on how to make a loom; it was basic and I did it myself. Its a good size (3 x 4) for small pieces, but I can use it for more than just samplers or coasters. It is easy to assemble/disassemble for storing, but once it is warped it will be in my living room for a long time so I need to figure out a way to protect it from the cats!

A friend ordered some hand-dyed Churro wool from New Mexico; I had saved their web address as I was planning to order from them myself! I will get some more yarn plus warping wool and tools.

Went to a nice Native art store in Michigan last weekend and bought a small sampler just to keep myself focused...the shop owners buy directly from Navajo & Pueblo artists. Its a simple piece and wasn't expensive....just needed a little something to remind me of what I'd like to try and achieve one day!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

more thoughts on learning to weave...

I'm still considering my idea about learning how to trying to go slow, learn as much as I can and consider if I have the time and the money to begin a new project. I bought 2 books to get some basic information: Caroline Spurgeon's Weaving the Navajo Way and Noel Bennett's Navajo Weaving Way. Both are helpful but I like the Bennnett book as it has more on the culture; but they both offer good descriptions and pictures of how to set up a loom, warp and weave.
I have considered making a loom or buying one. Most instructional websites show students starting out on a small one, making "samplers" a miniature rug perhaps 20" x 20." I understand the need to begin small and learn technique, then gradually move to larger work, but I'm impatient and don't know what I would do with samplers except to make them into small pillowcovers. On the other hand a small loom is portable, easier to store and its going to take a long time to learn technique. But I think a medium size would offer more possibilities for subsequent use...on the theory I don't get discouraged and give up immediately!

My original idea was to make something I could attach Kaya's beaded whale strip to.....and a better understanding of 1st Phase Chief's Blankets seems to offer a good possibility! Interestingly 1st Phase blankets made in the mid-1800s were white & blue striped...this would offer a great background for a beaded strip and I can slowly learn how to weave while at the same time as making something useful. The Bennett book notes it is traditional for the first weaving to be stripes instead of intricate patterns, a good plan!So I think I can move ahead with this possibility...

Saturday, August 3, 2013


In a high school art class I wove a new seat for an old folding camp was such a fun project but that's all the weaving I've even done, so I decided its time to learn a bit more. I plan to get a Navajo style loom; found some basic plans on the internet and thought to either make it myself or to have my neighbor who does furniture refinishing & cabinetry make one. I found several web sites for weaving classes; students use a small table size loom to learn warping and basic techniques. They also had some book recommendations, so I will start this way too (but without the benefit of classes taught by experienced weavers). 2 books are ordered and I found a weaving supply website that carries looms, tools and wool (actually I found several good sites) so I know how to get started. It looks to be a good activity for cold winter days stuck inside except I should be doing bead work on those days, with plenty of projects waiting for my attention!
Part of this desire to weave is my frustration at not finding an affordably priced blanket to use for baby Kaya's whale blanket strip...the closest is the Pendelton whale but its too would be the Hudson Bay white with blue stripes but its out of production; vintage HB blankets can be expensive but I'm trying to snag one! Alternatively I can make one, or a wool wall hanging of some kind anyway.

But I'm not vain enough to think I can ever produce something particularly grand, still I can try and in doing so learn about the history and traditions of SW weaving plus have a better appreciation of the art form by understanding it more. So I'll start small and see how it goes...I'm sure the cats will enjoy the wool yarn!