Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Farewell to Julia

Over a year ago I purchased a weaving kit, something I rarely do, for a Bronson lace shawl made with alpaca/silk.  It was a good deal from Yarn Barn of Kansas.  The yarn was on the expensive side and the draft was easy enough.  I made it for my best friend.  I should say I cursed, struggled and pulled my hair out over that shawl.  It was my second 8 shaft project on the Julia.  The first, a simple twill bread cloth, was not a success.  I adjusted the 8 shafts, lamms and treadles on my Julia countermarch loom an easy dozen times before I finished that shawl.  It's a beautiful piece.  I'd love to make another one but not on that loom.  Julia and I are parting ways.

After I finished the shawl, I took 4 shafts off the Julia and wove several other items successfully.  I concluded that Julia and I do not work together in 8 shafts.  After a while I began thinking, how ridiculous.  I bought an 8 shaft loom.  I want to weave 8 shaft patterns.  The only conclusion I came to was that I needed to sell the Julia and buy a different loom.

So, after several months and several postings on weaving sales sites, Julia is heading to a new home.  I hope you enjoyed my little video tribute to Julia.

Next week I'll return with some big baby wrap news!

Merry Christmas to all!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

A view of the Lotsaknots Studio

For the past few weeks I have focused on the long warp on the Glimakra Standard that will be 4 baby wraps.  There is a lot more going on in the studio.  I've put together a quick video tour of the some  other projects.

The warps are all designed and wound by Janet who has a fabulous eye for color.  The Sedona wraps that are currently on the big loom was designed by Janet using a painting of Sedona, AZ.  We were visiting Sedona in September and walked into an art and sculpture gallery where they featured the painting Janet used for this warp.  She is very talented and has a great feel for color which can be seen in this and all the warps we produce.

BTW, Janet is the other half of Lotsaknots.  She is a knitter, spinner and occasional weaver.

Enjoy the video:
This warp is featured in our Etsy shop.
Please add your "Like" to our Facebook page.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Trials and tribulations?

Well, it's been a trial, not sure about the tribulations part.  I was making great progress weaving plain weave in the first wrap of 4.  The warp was beamed and the weaving begun.  I wove the middle marker, a brief section of twill patterning, and headed down the road of the second half of the first wrap.  I keep repeating myself because each wrap requires close to 170" or close to 5 yards, 15 feet of weaving plain weave.  It's the easiest weave structure to weave and the least forgiving if you make an error.

You know where this story is leading.  I hit a poorly tensioned section of warp and the weaving went totally wonky.  I thought just a few threads were off and discovered that several individual threads throughout the warp were tensioned poorly.  They probably got hung up in the reed for a second or two during the beaming process as I wound the warp onto the back beam.  That's all it took.  Just a few seconds and that one thread had less tension than it's neighbor.  Creates huge problems when you are weaving.  You're thinking, okay, a bump in the road.  Think 3 foot deep pot hole you cannot avoid and each tire falls in one at a time.  Jolting to the whole system.

I corrected the errors I could find and continued weaving.   I noticed a few skipped threads and unwove.  Then, continued weaving.  I wove a few more inches and noticed several different threads that skipped over several rows.  So, I unwove again.  You get the idea.

By shear determination and some skill, I completed the first wrap.  Okay.  Tension issues behind me.  I wound part of the warp forward to correct some of the errors and re-tension the next section of warp.  Wound it back onto the back beam and continued.

Here is a brief video clip of my progress, if you can call it that.

The weaving continues forward for now.  I'll keep you posted as I weave on.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

And the weaving begins

The warp for the next 4 baby wraps is on the loom and a sample was completed a couple of days ago.  There are numbers on each different color weft.

In addition, I have another video about weaving the first wrap of 4. This is the warp I blogged about last week.  Enjoy the update.
Claudia and Janet

And the weaving begins.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

And the warp goes on

The warp was wound in 4 sections or bouts, threaded or sleeyed through the reed and through the heddles.  Now, it's time to wind it onto the back or warp beam of my loom.  I'm using my Glimakra Standard which is my favorite loom.
Here is a llittle podcast about getting the warp on the loom so I can start weaving!  This will take a little time because the warp iis 20 yards long.  
Feel free to leave commentss after the post and enjoy the video.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Warping the wrap

We are busy getting the next warp on the loom for 4 custom baby wraps.  I decided to record a podcast for this week's installment of Lotsaknots Studio.  Hope you enjoy sharing our weaving adventures.

Here is the painting that inspired the warp

From this painting, Janet created a mock-up or sample to follow while winding the warp.

The next step is to move the warp from the warping reel to the loom and tie it on to the existing warp which I explain in this little video.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Who or what is Lotsaknots?

Simply put, Lotsaknots is the company formed by Claudia Segal and Janet Dykstra in 2002 when we realized we were producing more textiles, knitting, weaving, crochet, spinning, than our family and friends could use.  We both enjoyed the creation process and we decided to enter a couple of crafts fairs and sell our stuff.

That's the quick and dirty explanation.  But what's the rest of the story.  Janet and I share a lifelong passion for textiles.  We both learned to knit and crochet at a very young age and have progressed over the years to creating our own designs.  Janet's first knitting project, at age 7, was a sweater.  I started with smaller projects, choosing to outfit all my dolls with hand knit and hand crocheted outfits.  Most fit very poorly but I enjoyed the process and it was fun!

Many, many years later we enjoy creating shawls, sweaters, vests, hats, fingerless mitts, scarves and anything else.  The list is extremely long.  Some things are featured on our website, Lotsaknots.net and we will feature our designs for sale in our Etsy shop soon.

In 2003 I took my first weaving class and was hooked by the third week.  Despite being blind in one eye and having almost no peripheral vision in my other, I love handling the yarn for every process of weaving.  I often find myself daydreaming about the calculations for my next project.

Janet's mother used to say that knitting was her therapy and cost less than a psychiatrist.  We both agree with her and we have the added advantage of working together on most projects.  Since we live together, it's so easy exchange ideas.  Last night, Janet handed me her current warp plan and asked my opinion.
We went downstairs to the studio together and checked out the options for a few additions together.  It's a great system that works well for us.

Our current focus is on weaving baby wraps.  Janet and I are winding the warps together.  Janet has helped me thread and beam the warp and she has worked on every part of the weaving process except actually throwing the shuttle and weaving.  She leaves that to me.  I have been weaving for 10 years now and find each warp, each project has its own thrill.  I love watching the fabric form and thinking about its use and the things that inspired the warp stripes.  It's different for each warp and that's what holds my interest.  Even for 20 yards! or is it 20 meters?  I'll have to check my project sheet and make certain I'm following my own guidelines.

I am almost fanatical about writing everything down on paper.  I'd love to convert to the computer and iWeaveIt is almost good enough for planning my projects.  The project planner is still missing a few essentials.  Hopefully, they will continue to improve this program.  So, for now, I rely on the weaving calculator in Weavolution and my printer.

That's the history of Lotsaknots and an introduction to our studio and weaving.  I have many people to thank for teaching and encouraging me to be a good hand weaver.  Sue Helmken was my first weaving teacher, Tom Knisely from The Mannings has been a teacher and a mentor, Marsha provided transportation and friendship to get me through the early stages.  The list is very long and there are many weavers who has inspired me and have given me guidance.  I am grateful to everyone of them.

Next blog post  I will write more about our current projects and the hand made items on sale in our Etsy shop.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What's on the loom?

I never seem to have just one project in process but I just finished 4 rugs, including the best one I have ever made:   It's an 8 foot long runner that will hopefully go somewhere in our home.  The colors are almost perfect for our main floor and I am very proud of the result.

Both my floor looms are currently empty and I have been sampling for my first baby wrap.  What's a baby wrap?  It can be many things but the ones I am planning are long (4 - 6 yards) pieces of fabric used to hold a baby against your body.  The wrapping process is quite elaborate as the fabric wraps around the wearer, the baby, over the shoulders and around the body of the wearer a second time.  Instructions can be found all over YouTube.  Here is one I find quite helpful:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RPWUV0CZ2o

I received a request for a custom baby wrap about a month ago.  I read everything I could find and consulted with my client to learn she wanted a handwoven baby wrap.  I started, as I always do, with a little sample to see which weft my client preferred with the striped warp I wound using the colors of her choosing.

The top half is the green weft separated by the silver and the bottom half is the pink weft.  The pink is very bright and cheery and that's the color my client chose.  She has 2 daughters and the wrap will be large enough to hold both her toddler and her 6 month old.

I am looking forward to doing many more wraps in the future and have found a pattern I am hoping to try soon.  I will probably sample it first to learn more about the colors and design.  Here is a small sample of one of my favorite patterns:  

This pattern allows for a different color at each edge or rail as they are known in the baby wrap lingo.  It makes it easier when using the wrap to have some differentiation between the two edges.  I am looking forward to sampling this design on one of my other looms.  Winding the warp may be complex or I may wind half the total number of ends in each color and divide them in the reed.  Then, I will warp the loom front to back and the threads will fall into place as I beam the warp.  I will do my best to take photos as I move along.

We currently have a waiting list for handwoven baby wraps but will be moving full steam ahead now that vacations are over.  I expect the waiting list will diminish quickly.  

Feel free to contact us with any questions at lotsaknots at msn dot com.  You can also leave a note on our Facebook page.  

Happy weaving!
Claudia and Janet

Sunday, August 25, 2013

And the beat goes on

The studio has been buzzing with many changes and lots of news.  Our Etsy shop has been flooded with unusual requests lately.  It started with a request for a baby wrap, a shawl warp (on the warping reel on the left), more baby wraps, baby warps and it's been fun sorting it all out.

My children (who are now in their 30s) all spent part of their infancy in packs and wraps of various sorts.  The goal was to be able to have hands free and offer comfort.  I often used one to get housework done when the boys were infants.  They both found vacuuming noise very soothing and fell quickly asleep in the pack/wrap I borrowed from a friend.  Baby backpacks were common in the 80s and wraps were rare.

It seems that wraps are very "in" right now and hand woven ones are considered the best.
 I'm thrilled.  I love weaving long pieces that enable me to thread and warp the loom once for a long project.  I was very excited when we received a request for a baby wrap and very surprised when i discovered how many weavers are making them.  Many of my contemporaries have changed the focus of their business to producing nothing but wraps.  One friend has a waiting list from now until Summer 2014!

I'm studying all the ins and outs of this new field of weaving while I work on my first wrap.  I'll keep you posted as we progress.  Threading the loom starts tomorrow.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

Wild warping derby!

It's been a busy time in the study and today I took time to wind two warps for new projects.  First, is a warp for overshot placemats.  The placemats are heading to the new home of my son and daughter-in-law who moved back to the east coast after many years of living all over the world.  It's great having them back.
I finished winding the white warp and have taken it off the rough sley before beaming on the loom.

Once the white warp was finished, I began direct warping my 20" Schacht Flip with a 2.5 yard warp for more placemats.  These will be a natural warp and a cocoa brown weft placemat pattern I designed for the rigid heddle loom.  More about that in a future post.

I plan to finish beaming the rigid heddle loom tomorrow.  I will also start weaving the placemats then.

Although it's great fun planning and starting two weaving projects, I assure you I stop to smell the flowers.  Well, I stop and take pictures of them at least.

Featured here are the state flower of Maryland, the black eyed Susan.  We had a huge batch of them in another part of the garden and when we move the butterfly bush, a few came along for the ride.

I couldn't resist a photo of these flowers although I am uncertain if they are hollyhocks or gladiolas. I believe they are gladis but would appreciate any help you have to offer on identifying these lovely orange beauties growing in a neighbors garden.

Happy weaving!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I love yarn!

It's true.  I love yarn.  I enjoy touching it, spinning it, weaving it.  I enjoy any and all things that involve working with or creating yarn.  I've known this for many years but it was recently reinforced by the completion of yarn I was spinning.  It took 4 bobbins to create the two ply yarn you see in these pictures.  It's a soft gray with white slubs interspersed throughout the yarn.  I purchased the fiber from a local mill, Singleton Fiber Mill, in Frederick, MD.  It's one of their "house" blends called Romoca; a mix of romney, mohair and alpaca. It also has touches of angelina for shine.

I'm planning on weaving a long scarf on my Schacht Cricket and giving it a half twist before I join both ends to make it a mobius infinity scarf.  I have a sketch in my project journal.  Hoping to start this weekend.  Step 1 is to McMorran the yarn and see how much I have.  Step 2 is to plan the project on paper to see how much I need.  Step 3 is to pray the two numbers (amount needed and amount spun) are close.  Fingers crossed and pencil sharpened!

 Here's a little pic of the Schacht Cricket.  This is one of my favorite looms.  It super easy to warp, weave and move around the house or car with me as I weave.
This photo shows both the 10" and 15" Cricket.

One more thing!  Summer classes are starting NOW.  I am booked for June and have openings on weekdays and Saturdays in July and August.  Contact me at lotsaknots@msn.com for details and prices.  Learn to weave this summer!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Season of Festivals

Sure Spring is the season of renewal.  The trees are flowering and leaves are turning green.  Forsythia and lilacs have blossomed and are now green bushes.  Flox, rhodedendron, peonies and tulips are entering peak in my neighborhood and fiber festivals are popping up EVERYWHERE.

I recently had the opportunity to attend one of the largest and oldest fiber festivals in our area, Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (MSWF).  It was great.  I was so distracted by the many fiber, yarn and equipment offerings that I neglected to take any photos of the event.

Instead, I offer a brief list of the vendors we enjoyed along with links to their websites and a few tips.
Just Our Yarn or JOY for short is where we spent a lot of time.  After all, how do you resist beauties like their River Run shawl kit
River Run kintted shawl

Their kits are available at shows and you can visit their website to contact them for a list of shows they are attending.  There is a brief list on their website here.

Next stop was Bullen Woolens, a fiber favorite of ours.  They never disappoint and they were sharing their booth with Von Strohm who had some lovely fiber for sale.  Pat Bullen is so busy dyeing yarn and vending at fiber festivals that she hasn't had a chance to construct a website.  Her contact information can be found here.
Here is a photo of the fiber I purchased from Von Strohm.  Their website is here.  They have a fiber and quilting shop in South Bloomfield, Ohio.  Here is the fiber I bought
 I love the purple and shades of grey with the natural of this Columbia wool.  

I also purchased a couple of cones of yarn for the studio.  I love both and hope to add two dark shades for a shadow weave fabric for a jacket or sweater.  I have some vague ideas.

I highly recommend attending a local fiber festival if you can find one.  The Spinning & Weaving Group (SWG), part of TNNA (the National Needle Arts Association) has a list by state of local festivals HERE on their website.  They also have a list of teachers who teach weaving and spinning HERE.

You can follow SWG on Facebook HERE.

Have a great Spring!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Everything's coming up Cherry!

In the world of Schacht, the word of the year is CHERRY! or cheery if you ask me.  I love wood and cherry is on the top of my list of great woods.  Schacht is now offering their top looms in cherry with the Barry Schacht medallion on the side.
This medallion commemorates founder Barry Schacht's special birthday and will appear on the Matchless spinning wheel, the Wolf Pup LT, the Baby Wolf 8 shaft loom with stroller and the Mighty Wolf 8 shaft loom with stroller.  All looms can be ordered NOW for delivery beginning in August.
Interested?  Please email me at: lotsaknots@msn.com or leave a comment to this post.

I am enjoying spinning on my cherry Matchless with a romney, mohair, cormo mix fiber that has a very tiny amount of shiny angelina.  Here's how it looks on the bobbin:

The variegation is a nice surprise along with these slubs of mohair that add texture to the yarn.  It should be ready for plying soon.

Next blog post will focus on weaving.  I am working on a pattern for placemats which I hope to publish on Patternfish.  I'm still sampling and trying different weft colors now that I have decided on the warp.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Winding one kit a day

I found something I enjoy creating and I'm planning on doing it daily.  I vow to wind one weaving kit every day, five days a week for the next 8 weeks to fill our Etsy shop.  I wound this one yesterday:
The weaving kits are all 176 ends, 2.5 yards long and include weft of 925 feet of the main color.  In this case, the weft is the same natural color as the selvedge stripe.  I love this springtime warp and think it would make a perfect table runner.  Or fabric for a bag.  Or towels.  The warp is 100% mercerized 3/2 cotton which is a great yarn for household items.  I include printed, detailed instructions to warp your loom, weave and wet finish the towels, table runner or fabric.

Check out our Etsy shop!  A new weaving kit will appear every day!  

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Very Barry Cherry Wheels are coming!

Here it is!  The Special Edition Very Barry Cherry Matchless spinning wheel
The plaque distinguishes the new Cherry Matchless Wheel from every other cherry Matchless ever made.
Here's what the wheel looks like:
These wheels will sell out quickly. For a full description and to place a deposit on yours now go to our Etsy shop .  
This wheel is called Matchless because it is!  It spins with ease and is a wonderful choice whether you are a beginner or experienced spinner,  Feel free to contact me if you want to try it out.  The Lotsaknots Studio carries spinning wheels, rigid heddle looms and a variety of other Schacht products.  Contact us at lotsaknots@msn.com

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A variety of projects in one kit

We have an Etsy shop where we sell weaving kits.  Included in each kit is a pre-wound warp and weft wound onto bobbins ready for a boat shuttle (or wind the yarn onto stick shuttles for use with a rigid heddle loom).  The warp in each kit is long and wide enough to produce 2 towels, or a table runner, or 2 placemats or a market bag.

A warp is an empty page.  You have color, width and length.  What you do from there is up to you.  When we designed these pre-wound warps for sale in our Etsy shop, we envisioned towels.
Striped towels from weaving kit
The printed instructions that come with the kit include all the information needed to weave 2 towels.  You can use a table loom, rigid heddle loom or a floor loom.  These towels could also double as placemats.  They are wide enough, long enough and the fringe can either be tied or you can sew a hemstitch at each end while the towels are still on the loom.  Again, the instructions include information to do either.

You may choose to weave the entire length of the warp and you will have a lovely table runner.
Table runner made using weaving kit

Imagine using the woven length of the warp as woven for the table runner, and fold it in half, sew a seam on both sides, add handles and you have a bag.  You can add a tuck on the bottom to create the perfect reusable market or grocery bag.  The cotton warp is strong, durable and washable!  Great properties in any bag.  Plus, it's lightweight so you can fold it up and carry it in your handbag.

We create new kits weekly so stop by our shop often and check it out.  We also sell hand knit and hand woven items that we have made in the past year.  We currently have 2 ponchos which are a signature item for Lotsaknots.  We started creating the poncho in 2004 and have knit dozens.  The poncho showcases 11 different yarns and usually includes wool as the main yarn.  These ponchos are warm, fit most and are great for changing seasons.  Easy to slip over your head, easy to wear while driving, walking, shopping, strolling through town.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Is there a cherry Matchless in your future?

Cherry Matchless double treadle
This is my spinning wheel. I thought I wanted the Schacht Reeves saxony style wheel but several people told me it was not the type of wheel I was looking for.  What did I want?  Something versatile, attractive, double treadle for sure and that's where my list ended.  I am not a great spinner.  I have only been spinning sporadically for 5 years and, until last year, was more comfortable with a drop spindle than a spinning wheel.

The Schacht Sidekick changed that.  A close friend bought one and let me use it often.  I spun 500 yards of merino yarn on it and I was hooked.  But I wanted something different from what she owned.  So, I continued to read, research and talk to experienced spinners.
Sidekick protable wheel

It was soon obvious that the cherry Matchless was it.  One problem.  Schacht made a limited number of cherry Matchless wheels in June 2009  and it was almost impossible to find a new one. A friend who happens to be a Schacht dealer (Schacht sells it's products through its dealers and you can find one  HERE).  Fortunately, my friend had one cherry Matchless unclaimed and I bought it.

The story doesn't end there.  I love this wheel.  I believe it's name truly describes the wheel, it is matchless.  And now, for a limited time, Schacht is offering its cherry Matchless spinning wheel.  I only have 2 available and you have until April 15th to claim yours with a $750 deposit.  Let's talk about the special features on this amazing wheel.

The Schacht Matchless Spinning Wheel offers double drive and bobbin lead (Scotch tension) modes of operation. Wheels come with two flyer whorls (medium and fast); four additional flyer whorls(purchased separately) offer spinning ratios from 4:1 to 22:1. This limited series cherry Matchless will have a special marking (soon to be announced).  This mark will distinguish the cherry Matchless from previous versions.  Also included with each wheel are 4 bobbins, a  threading hook, a cherry Lazy Kate and a carrying strap. 

The 19 1/2" drive wheel and flyer shaft are supported by self-aligning bronze bearings for precise action. Each flyer is individually balanced and the bobbins and flyer whorls are trued on center for long and superior service. The wheels I am offering are double treadle and I have also ordered the stroller for both wheels which makes it very easy to take your wheel with you.  More details on the wheel can be found on the Schacht Spindle Co. website. All Schacht products are manufactured in the US and are shipped from Colorado.

Once I tried the Schacht cherry Matchless, I knew it was the wheel for me.  If you want to give it a spin, contact me at lotsaknots@msn.com and we can arrange a time for you to stop by my studio.  I am available 3 days a week unless there is a class in session.  The studio is located near Washington, DC, about 30 miles from Frederick, MD and 15 miles from Leesburg, VA.  You can try the Matchless, a Sidekick and various looms.

Happy Spring and happy spinning!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Projects, classes and product

I have a wonderful knitted toy to show off.

This was a fun project to knit and it shows.  The pattern comes from Susan B. Anderson  book Itty Bitty toys  She is one of my favorite designers.  She will be signing her new book, Topsy Turvy, at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (MSWF) on Saturday, May 4th.  

I also finished weaving a lace shawl that didn't photograph as well as the toy.  Here is one photo that shows the flower pattern that appears at regular intervals throughout the entire shawl.  I had lots of problems with weaving this beauty but it was worth it in the end.  I'm not sure if it was the Atwater Bronson lace pattern or the alpaca/silk yarn but the combination of the two made this quite a challenge.

 I have openings in both my beginning and intermediate weaving classes and in all levels of knitting and crochet.  In addition, I am now teaching spindling.  What's that?  Spinning on a drop spindle.  We'll start with wool and graduate to other fibers from there.

We have several new weaving kits in our Etsy shop along with hand knitted and hand woven items.  Have something special in mind?  Let us create a special scarf, bag, shawl or sweater for you.  We love custom orders.  Contact lotsaknots@msn.com.

Looking for Schacht spinning and weaving products? We have everything you need.  Come sample weaving on Schacht rigid heddle looms, spin on a Matchless spinning wheel and try out the Sidekick portable wheel.  Contact me at lotsaknots@msn.com  or leave a comment to this post.  My studio is located near Washington, DC and convenient to Frederick, MD and Leesburg, VA.  Hope to see you soon!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Classes and more

Many new classes are now available at Lotsaknots Studio.  We have developed a new format and most classes are taught 1:1.  This gives the student the benefit of being able to learn more in a shorter time since there are fewer distractions.  

We have added Rigid Heddle Weaving: Using Pick up to create texture.  This class covers the proper use of one or more pick up sticks to create warp and weft floats or both in your project.  We will work on a sample piece and each student will learn how to incorporate the use of pick up sticks in everyday items such as placemats, table runners and towels.  
Another new class is Weaving Fabric on your rigid heddle loom.  This is a class for the advanced beginner or intermediate student who is interested in learning more about various uses of the fabric you can create with your rigid heddle loom.  We will discuss how to plan a project for the right length to create a vest, top or jacket.  You will need basic sewing skills.

In addition, we have created a new kit which will be appearing soon in our Etsy shop, Lotsaknots.  This kit is designed for use with 2 pick up sticks and can be used to make 2 placemats or a table runner.  It can be purchased with matching warp and weft or with a contrasting weft color.  Here is the finished  product with matching warp and weft:  
In this view you can see  the warp floats.  This is similar to the techniques being taught in the Pick up class mentioned above.  This kit will be priced at $25 for 2 placemats and $40 for 4.  

More new kits will be arriving soon.  All kits are designed to be woven on either a rigid heddle loom or a floor loom.  Each description gives details about the width of the loom and size of heddle or reed required to complete the project.

Happy weaving!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Where it begins

We celebrated Valentine's Day on Sunday with brunch at a favorite restaurant, Normandie Farm.  It's an old fashioned place.  The type where most everyone gets dressed up and popovers are served shortly after you are seated.  It was delicious.

In our Lotsaknots Etsy shop we sell pre-wound warps and my warping mill makes it easier.  Determined to accomplish something yesterday, I wound two new warps for sale in our shop.  The first is a 2.5 yard striped warp of mercerized cotton that would be nice for towels or a table runner or a reusable bag.  I often photograph the warp on the warping mill because it's easier to see the colors in the stripes.  You can read all the details about the kit here.

The second warp is a 2.5 yard warp of unmercerized variegated cotton in my favorite color, purple.  I failed to photograph it while on the warping mill and it's a bit harder to see the different colors in this fun yarn.  Purple, green and off white combine to make an interesting yarn which I believe will create great towels or a table runner.  More details can be found here.

Brunch was here at Normandie Farm

Friday, February 15, 2013

So, what about a rigid heddle loom?

I received a request this week from a woman looking for beginning weaving classes.  We exchanged a few emails and by the third response it was clear she was only interested in learning on a floor loom.  I gave her the following information:
I teach beginning weaving using rigid heddle looms.  If you would like to rent or purchase a floor loom, I am happy to assist with the loan or purchase.  In reply she wrote "No, I do not want to learn on a rigid heddle loom.  I want to learn on a real loom".
Houndstooth scarf woven on the rh loom
What can I say?  Rigid heddle looms are real looms and if Jane Patrick ,Creative Director of Schacht Spindle Co., can write an entire book about weaving on a rigid heddle loom, what further endorsement do you need. In fact, Jane wrote "This is what I mean about the power of the rigid heddle loom.  It is simple and complicated at the same time." (p. 88 of The Weaver's Idea Book).

There are three words in that statement that stand out, power, simple and complicated.  Those three words describe the rigid heddle loom.  It is a powerful loom because it is both simple and complex.  You can weave simple plain weave or you can design patterns incorporating complex lace structures.  There is so much you can do and so many projects you can make with this very simple, inexpensive tool.
Plus, a new rigid heddle loom is one tenth the cost of the average floor loom!  What better way to learn to weave.

So, back to my insistent emailer.  What to do?  I want to teach and I enjoy working with people who have enthusiasm for weaving.  I don't own a floor loom I can rent or teach on and it's not in my budget at this time to buy one.  I encouraged her to consider the rigid heddle loom and gave her several good reasons why it's a great way to start your weaving exploration.  I don't believe I'll hear back from her.  I hope she finds a teacher who can meet her needs and requirements.  It's a shame she is not open to a different possibility.  Several people I have taught to weave on a rigid heddle loom have purchased and enjoyed weaving on floor looms.  After their experience on a rigid heddle loom, they felt confident about how a loom functions and had the skills to weave on a different loom.  It's a shame so many people discount how versatile a rigid heddle loom is and what an excellent tool it is for a beginning weaver.

I  offer classes on weaving on a rigid heddle loom in my home studio in Poolesville Maryland and online via web conferencing.  Please feel free to contact me if you are interested.  My email address is lotsaknots@msn.com.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I'm back but from where?

Yes, it has been two months and I could spend the entire page explaining why I haven't posted anything.  Here's the flash version of where I've been and what I've done.  We celebrated Christmas, did a whole lot of cooking, sent the last batch of brownies to Afghanistan, ate lots of good food, enjoyed a brief snow fall and spent a week eating and walking in New Orleans. And now it's time to talk about spring.

I am really excited about spring because I am expecting 2 Schacht Matchless Cherry special edition spinning wheels in April.  These are phenomenal spinning wheels!  I can speak from personal experience.  This is a great opportunity to own a fabulous wheel that is a true one of a kind.  The special edition Matchless Cherry wheel will be the only Matchless with a unique design by the manufacturer, Schacht, which will differentiate this wheel from any other Matchless.

I have ordered 2 wheels and with a deposit of $500 it can be yours.  Feel free to contact me at lotsaknots@msn.com or weaveonstudio@me.com for more information and to schedule a time to try spinning on this wheel.   The remaining payment will be $950.  In addition, I have ordered the matching Spinning wheel cart to make it easier to transport your wheel.  The cart is $65 and if you purchase both you will receive the cart for $55.

Here are all the details on the Special Edition Cherry Matchless double treadle spinning wheel:

The Matchless Spinning Wheel is the most responsive spinning wheel available today. With the double treadle you will appreciate this wheels' matchless capabilities. 

Also included with each wheel: 4 bobbins, threading hook, matching cherry Lazy Kate and a carrying strap. 

The Schacht Matchless Spinning Wheel offers double drive, an updated tension system, and bobbin lead modes of operation. Wheels come with two flyer whorls (medium and fast); four additional flyer whorls offer spinning ratios from 4:1 to 22:1. This limited series run will also have a special marking (though what it will be exactly has not yet been announced)

The 19 1/2" drive wheel and flyer shaft are supported by self-aligning bronze bearings for precise action. Each flyer is individually balanced and the bobbins and flyer whorls are trued on center for long and superior service.

Treat yourself to the only spinning wheel you will ever need or want, the Matchless special edition cherry wheel.  

I'll be back next week with lots of weaving news.