Thursday, August 8, 2019

August 2019

Is it mid-August already?  It is my looms and weaving projects that keep me distracted from writing about them – unlike ‘normal’ weavers, it is not easy to write and post pictures about what I’m doing, when I’d rather be actually doing.
The loss of two dear weaver friends has made It a painful early 2019.  Erica deRuiter, mentor, colleague, collaborator, of Malden, Netherlands passed only days after a cheerful email to me - though she had been on Oxygen for months and was accepting of the reality, it was nonetheless painful for me. Then the sudden passing of Aussie weaver, dear friend, mentor, also genius, but still-young, Kay Faulkner, Brisbane, Australia, was a more painful shock. See previous Blog postings for images and references to these friends.  Kay and our mutual Ontario friend Jette Vandermeiden were to be John’s and my guests in July.
        A couple home maintenance projects kept me out of 'high society' as well.  Cleaning and staining our 1,400 sq feet of deck plus railings & stairs last season was quite satisfying though painful blisters from the knee pad straps were not welcome. They healed fast and did not interfere with weaving.

from the back door, partly-stained deck leading to the drive

Staining the front deck working when wood is dry and in-the-shade.

 Intriguing, tile-sized stones offered up by ice and waves, led to a stash from months of shore walks and carrying home 3-4 at a time. Finally, here was a practical way to cover the raw cement-block wall under the windows of our retreat-room that had shamed me for 20+ years.  Having my hands on the plastic Thin-Set mortar and the hard stone is not unlike my tactile love of wool and flax. 

With one bucket of Thin-Set per day, one section at a time, the ugly wall was transformed with the God-made tiles

Then with cooler temps I retreated to the shop and studio to restore a (not-family) antique sofa, rather one purchased for 20$ in 1967 and then dressed in my first handwoven upholstery.  After 50 years, two kids, two dogs, multiple cats, it was looking somewhat shabby – and the joints had about all popped open.
Glue and peg multiple joints, re-tie springs, strip and re-finish wood....

Here is the restored old sofa with new clothes to compliment the family settee, restored a year before.
It fits all four kittens - counting John– khaki-colored Morag is behind John’s R knee, Fiona on the far arm and Greyfur wondering where he will fit.

To co-ordinate with the settee, I used the same blue dye formula, but wove plain panama with the 20/2 wool/mohair but this weft of dyed and doubled 22/2 100% mohair  from my stash – (only half as old as the sofa possession). 

Just finished a blues warp for birthday napkins to go with John’s favorite placemats and included a runner incorporating sedge grass and flower.
On a variety of blues cotton warp some napkins woven with linen weft, then after re-sleying, a runner in linen and sedge grass with blossoms.
 Then the last bit of warp with the flax chenille showing-off the Wall-of-Troy twill. [Look for Erica de Ruiter’s “Helen’s Rescue” in the soon-to-appear Complex Weaver’s 40th Anniversary Book Eight Shafts: Beyond the Beginning.]

Who can tell me of the history of this elegant weave?  My first encounter with the draft was in Margaret Porter Davidson’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book, published in 1944, where there is a reference to a Swedish draft. 

                Enough for now.  Back to a tablet-woven border for a piece inspired by an article in Väv  Magazine  Kati 8-8-19

Friday, December 21, 2018

Happy Winter Solstice 2018!  The days will now be getting longer - well, the minutes of daylight should be getting longer, at least.  Afraid that at this stage of my weaving life, the apparent length of days is continually shortening.
   After the curvy-back settee’s completion late last year, the sofa upholstery to replace the first I did nearly 50 years ago, got underway. This is for an old camelback sofa. The 14 yards of simple panama, dyed to compliment the setteeupholstery, was cut down, wet-finished and roll-blocked, waiting now for the dyepot to complete the 38-yard gimp warp. That will go onto the Baby Macomber  loom for speedier weaving than the inkle would manage.
Red Sun Rising, handspun, hand dyed, wool on linen - transparency.  Won second place in Art in the Loft's show "RED" came with $! prize
Thunder Bay Sunrise  Gagnefkrus with linen on cotton plus a wee bit of metallic

My newest loom - an ERICA with three shafts has a transparency study done at Timmins, Ontario with Jette Vandermeiden at OHS WASOON conference.  The loom is a treasure and honors my genius-friend Erica deRuiter.
  A warp is newly dressed on Bene Toika, ready to weave damask towels with multi-colored leaves, and another warp is ready to go onto the drawloom where, as soon as I remember/figure out how to weave it, I will invite guild mates to bring their handspun to weave their own runner using the shaft draw system.


 Treehouse Studio is out of stock on  Warp with a Trapeze and Dance with Your Loom Trapeze is now available from Becky' Väv Stuga.  Go to:  to order, rather than from here.

The 'big book' Reflections from a Flaxen Past is still available here for a limited time.  It includes the basic information from 'Trapeze' PLUS textile history, flax growing & processing, projects inspired by the Lithuanian research.....  I'm told it is a beautiful and valuable book.

Peace, blessings, Kati (and 'teenager' John) Yule 2018  

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A weaving-filled 2017

The week before Christmas 2017 saw the completion of a decades-long project, the restoration of the ‘curvey-back settee’ that Mom knew as a child and we have had since Aunt Ethel and Uncle Harve willed it to us.  The design and weaving of the upholstery only took three years and the structural restoration took the talent of a local woodworker, but 17 yards of gimp came off the loom on the 21st , was wet-finished and applied to the settee in two days, giving us a nice Christmas present to share with daughter Zella. 

The gimp, a narrow plain weave band usually is woven on an inkle loom but I much prefer my 4-shaft 36” with beater removed.  I weighted the warp directly and wound the woven gimp onto the cloth beam.  It is pretty easy to keep the tension even this way and the band consistent width with the aid of a folded card.  I was able to use many of the leftovers of the 20/2 custom-spun wool/mohair yarn that I had hand-dyed for the upholstery so I hope the entire will wear well.

The family 'curvey-back settee' fully restored and in its new handwoven clothes - at last!

The Rosary Society’s commission for a pall kept me and my looms busy for much of the year and that piece, Stars of St. Mary Pall, may be included in the Complex Weavers 40th Anniversary book.  Here is a peek only, as I may not 'publish' the piece lest that disqualify it for the book.


After the blessing of the new pall
Now the Rosary Society has given me a new commission for a cloth to cover the table holding an urn. That is now underway, using the same weave structure but with a tapestry technique shaping a 12-peaked crown. Here is a miniature where I’ve practiced the technique for Crown of Saint Mary cloth and learned what to allow for shrinkage and take-up. 

practice-piece for the 'Crown of St. Mary' cloth for the table holding the urn

With suggestions from fellow weavers via WeaveTech List I chose Sigrid's lace-lettering and wove a portion of the Hail Mary 1-up/1-down, then reduced the scale and wove a more compact version for the Crown of St. Mary cloth 
John did most of the driving in June for my teaching at Midwest Weavers Conference in Indianapolis and again in August for the Weavers Guild of Minneapolis trip to lead a Lustrous Linens weaving workshop.  What great people to have as students for what I have declared are my last travels to teach.  I love teaching because I learn so much, but I no longer like the traveling.

A couple pieces were accepted into  a local juried show themed “Forgotten Spaces”.   One gave  me some fun using honeycomb to  provide nests for Devonian-era fossils found on the shore .  The other was woven with a variation on Moorman technique to secure a few of the thousand perfectly crafted but totally useless metal, (4-inch long!) eyed  heddles that a friend found in the stash of a passed-on weaver.

Beneath the San and Under the Waves - honey comb with fossils. (Tip your head to the right to view it as intended.)

'Exquisitely Made and Totally Useless', a triptych with inlaid too-long-eyed wire heddles.
In early November as I was in the studio and John was cleaning up after breakfast, there was a tremendous CRASH and I when I had dropped down the ladder from the studio I saw John, stunned but standing, looking at the Grandfather clock, laying on its face.  He had seen it just before it landed, with Greyfur scrambling away, unhurt but quite obviously the cause, as he chased a fly (or something) behind the clock from the nearby lampstand.  Who could imagine?

Though the case popped many joints, splitting the oak frame multiple places, breaking off the door... all of the glass is intact and John has it running again and keeping good time.  We will seek professional repairs in the Spring.  And none of us got hurt!


Our new associate priest Father Scott, is from Glasgow and when he saw me in my State of Michigan shawl, told me he his mother liked shawls and thought she might really like a Michigan tartan shawl. Knowing that his mother actually had raised four boys to the priesthood, I wanted to acknowledge that amazing feat, so made borders in white and embroidered four simple crosses in the corners.  I chose Zephyr for the shawl, but had to over-dye their ‘mushroom’ color to get a good 'sand'.  She has promised me a picture, but here is a detail. 

Michigan tartan shawl in silk/wool with embroidered corners
In July I had a delightful surprise when I saw, for the first time in over 20 years, the green scarves I designed, dyed, and wove for St. Anne’s church in thanks-giving for my confirmation.  I had feared they were discarded or moth-eaten, but our new priest, Fr. Joe, said he just found them in a drawer.

One of the three scarves woven for St. Anne's last century. This one, in a place of honor, under the tabernacle. 
This joy was somewhat sustaining when, in December, I found another of my liturgical weaving gifts, carelessly abandoned in a drawer. Through friends and through responses to a posting on WeaveTech List, I’ve gratefully received some needed sympathy for the pain I experienced when I discovered the draw-loom woven linen altar cloth, gifted to our parish church 20 years ago, somewhat wadded, in an unlined drawer under other cloths. Friends have also provided some possibly useful suggestions. Abuse and neglect of any fine textile is painful to witness.  This cloth was featured on pages 151-152 of Reflections from a Flaxen Past. 

Photo from 2008 when the linen cloth was still in use at St.Mary's, showing the handspun gold silk draw-loom-woven border.

detail of the white draw-loom patterning side of the linen cloth
Hard lesson learned! Please, please never give an important and valuable piece of weaving to any institution without finding a ‘sponsor’ in an individual or group.  Such work needs someone to feel a responsibility to provide continued care and respect. Churches often depend on volunteers who are difficult to supervise without giving offense. 
Now, back to the loom and the cloth that the Rosary Society has commissioned me to weave – wonder if they would consider ‘adopting’ the linen altar cloth?

Wishing everyone a healthy and fiber-filled 2018  as I weave and prepare the new edition of Warp with a Trapeze and Dance…  [It is imperative, as the current edition is all but sold out.]  Kati 1-21-18

Thursday, January 5, 2017

I am re-draw-loomed And having a blast!

...Thoroughly consumed, enthralled and excited about weaving damask on the drawloom. Now, I have a big, complex loom that does not require electricity. Eight years ago I sold my first drawloom to Kay Faulkner and this 'new' one is a Myrehed combination - having unit draw as well as shaft draw. The learning curve has been steep and challenging - including figuring out how to make the counter-marche tie-up possible for this arthritic body of mine.

Here is a picture from Kay of her version of the top-controlled CM tie-up with some color-coding for easier, accurate changes mid-warp.


Kay has dyed the cords to help distinguish the treadle positions from the top.  Each cord is anchored under the treadle, threaded up through the hole in the lower lamm, the upper lamm, and then a large knot is tied with the treadle at floor level so the cord will not escape. Treadle tie-up is accomplished by lifting on the knot then placing a peg above the lamm needed for lifting or lowering of the attached shaft following the tie-up draft desired.

Convergence in Milwaukee was too near to stay away, and besides, I wanted to bring our Aussie, Kay Faulkner, back with me to play a bit. The drive across Big Mac began the trip ‘over the top’ as we say - far more pleasant than Chicago traffic.

Big Mac - the 5-mile-long bridge across the Straights of Mackinaw, is always under maintenance, but such a view! 
I gleefully accepted my sister Diane’s invitation to have supper and an overnight, as I was able to have some play-time with her in Gulliver, and her daughter/my niece Deb, visiting from Italy. Well, my BiL Bob is fun too.

Not only did I get to see and play with Kay who was teaching at Convergence, but I made new, and renewed old friendships, including Anne and Rex Dixon, Jukka Yrjola and his partner/son Jarko of Toika, Art Elkins of Webs, Richard of Ashford, and Barry and Jane of Schacht.

Photo op with Barry and Jane.  First time in a long time, they too attended an HGA Convergence.
This Convergence so very much impressed me with the weaving exhibits, the cheerful mood around the HGA booth and the quality of the conference details... that I renewed my membership in Handweavers Guild of America after many years of protest.

Milwaukee enchanted me for the small-town atmosphere and friendliness, the old-world architecture with big-city goodies like buses, restaurants and a great museum.

Couldn't resist this invitation to capture the old German architecture reflected in the modern neighbor.
Shortly before the riots broke out (as it turned out), we left Milwaukee on ferry-boat Badger steaming back east across Lake Michigan.

Kay and Kati on the lounge deck, toast the slightly sooty but sunny sail on the S S Badger Ferry, east toward Michigan.

Kay admires our welcoming Southern Cross Australian flag.

Kay tries to capture the grasses on the shore of our relatively-tiny inland freshwater sea, actually Thunder Bay on Great-Lake Huron - home of Treehouse Studio.

Local members of NorthEast Michigan Weavers and Spinners Guild show off to Kay the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts) works on display in Alpena.  This, one of 12 pieces around town, is J.S. Copley's "Watson and the Shark" along the river bi-path behind NOAA, our Freshwater Shipwreck Sanctuary.
Way too soon we had to carry Kay over the bridge to Ontario for her visit with  Jette Vandermeiden (check out her amazing weaving videos at "Weaving with Jette" you-tube" and and to teach a workshop for the Huronia Guild. Find our Kay and see an exciting report on the Australian High Court handwoven robes by herself, at 

Meanwhile, back in Alpena, Father Charlie’s mother/my friend Maxine asked me if I would consider weaving a special pall for the Rosary Society members’ funeral Masses. The budget was not generous, but I am a member and may end up under it myself, so I said ‘yes’ for the challenge of it. The draw loom arrived at a perfect time for this, and so far, though my courage is strong, technique and concentration need work. Here is a portion of my explorations.

Simultaneously learning how to weave damask with unit draw and shaft draw, testing the sett and fiber for proper drape, the colors and values for effect, drafting and weaving readable lettering, oh, and testing for shrinkage and take-up.  This three-yard test-warp is not long enough to make all the necessary mistakes!
We had a most welcome visit from our son BJ, his wife Teresita, and two of her sisters, Lourdes and Lett, all from San Diego area. The girls were equally enchanted with ‘shopping’ the shore for stones and fossils, and my stash of yarn. Tess immediately began coaching her sisters on how best to crochet with weaving cotton.


Yarns and hooks and kittens - Oh My!

With encouragement from weaving friends Julie Hurd and Linda VanAndel, three pieces were submitted (and accepted) into the Jordan River Arts Council’s "Rare Threads: Ancestral Inspirations" - and two sold! Here are two of the show’s organizers modeling their acquisitions "Michigan Tartan Glitz" on Linda and "Ingrid Bergman’s Style" on Julie. What greater honor could a weaver ask?

Julie and Linda in Treehouse Treations (I just made that up). photo by M Waara
And at the opening reception I spotted a Michigan tartan shirt across the hall. Yes!, on a distinguished visitor..

Linda and husband John VanAndel (US Navy WWII pilot, Ret.)  in Linda's handwoven-handtailored Michigan tartan shirt.
It seemed to be a year to submit to shows and the Art In The Loft’s first ever juried show ‘Black & White’, accepted two pieces, with the photographer-juror giving ‘Shadow Play’ a money-bearing third place! It was a chance encounter with Sprang-master Carol James,
outside the vendor hall at Convergence, that refreshed my primitive sprang skills and Kay suggested it would be the perfect technique to use on the exposed warp between the two panels. All these honors, I am rolling in it! ‘Fiona’ is my personal favorite. She is now in the collection of my DH as the cat is very much his ‘special’. She is terrible-cute and sweet, also the proverbial scaredy-cat.

Fiona, 23 x 32 in, woven wool on linen
Shadow Play 16 x 46 in, woven, sprang, cotton, w/ wood & bamboo

The Besser Museum’s annual juried show accepted two pieces and Big Bluestem won an honorable mention award.

Colony: Big Blue Stem 30 x28 in, handwoven linen, cotton, grass.  Organics III Early Spring 36 x 23 handwoven wool w sprang.

Our Vet called mid-November to ask if we would consider adopting a rescued cream-colored Persian. Three cats is enough. But then our daughter Zella, in for Thanksgiving, heard the story, said we must inquire... Ambrose (amber-points, but a boy-cat) is a beauty, sweet, and a lover, but four cats IS a LOT of cats and there are still some hissing matches on occasion.

Newly adopted Ambrose, Fiona under the chair, Greyfur of the magnificent tail, and Morag learning to play mice, er...nice.
Near the beginning of the school year the upper grades at All Saints helped spin colored cinctures for the altar servers’ robes. Here are some of the students at work with the Incredible Rope Machine (with an added handle), working on the wool and wool-blend warps.

All Saints students with the two-handled IRM making colored-rope cinctures.  32 three to 4-yard ropes takes a lot of cranking.
Midwest Weavers Conference June 12-17, 2017, at Butler University in Indianapolis has contracted me to lead a Maxi Session: "Trapezes and Weights and Whackings - Oh My", and a couple Mini Sessions of: "Through the Long Eye of the Heddle or Drawloom in a Bag".

A contract with the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, , August 17-20, 2017 will have me offering a program: "For the Love of Lithuanian Weaving" and leading a 3-day workshop "Lustrous Linens - Weaving Linens with Success" .

World-wide weaving friends make my life so rich - but so does having a weaving studio on the Northern shore of Lake Huron with DH and FOUR cats.  Did I say four is a lot of cats? 

A crescent moon, Venus (upper L of the moon) and wintry sunset over Thunder Bay, Michigan

Wishing all handweavers a thread-full, healthful, joyful 2017, Kati

PS, yes there are still some ‘hurt book’ copies. A stack of cases fell over and bent corners on (too)many copies.  KRM