Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The State of Michigan has its own TARTAN

A small scarf showing the stripe pattern in the warp on one end, and the exact same stripe sequence woven into the weft with a 2/2 twill interlacement, producing the tartan pattern that is now accepted as the "State of Michigan Tartan", on the other end.

Building a warp, one thread at a time, counting the color stripes carefully and keeping the thread order with a "cross".

Weaving in the weft with one shuttle each for the five colors. I find that playing Scottish Country Dance music is perfect for keeping the rhythm of the counting/treadling/shuttling/and laying in the weft, without losing track of the color sequence.

The "sett" of the Michigan Tartan (the color sequence and thread count that describes a named tartan) is BG18* W2 BG8 W2 T8 DG2 T4 DG24 DR4 DG4* (* = pivot points, double the threads for full stripe width) BG-blue green for the Great Lakes and many inland lakes; DG-deep green for Michigan's forests, rolling hills and meadows; T-tan for the sand dunes, Petoskey stones and roads for the model T; W-white for our snow, fruit blossoms, lake ice and summer clouds; DR-deep red for the autumn maples, cherries, apples and red-top grass.

After years of work by many Scotish organizations and individuals the especially designed plaid, now called "Michigan Tartan" has been declared the official state tartan with signatures of Governor Granholm and Lt. Governor Cherry.
Detroit St. Andrews Society (past president), Scott David was especially committed to this effort.
Thank you so much for everyone's interest, efforts and energy that led to the final, official declaration giving our beautiful state its own tartan! I am honored to have been involved in the design, but without the efforts of many, many people, Michigan having its own tartan would never have happened. I am a textile designer, not a promoter, nor do I have any political connections. Others efforts were absolutely key to this final adoption.
The original design began many years ago with an October morning view of Lake Huron with sun on the whitecaps, red-top grass in the sand, all emerging from the cedar forest. Through the following day, weeks, and months a cloth design emerged as a tartan (striped warp with matching striped weft). I wove up a scarf using the pattern and liked it. This was over 10 years ago.

The design was refined with input from others involved in Scottish Societies, Pipe Bands, Highland Dance, and weavers of tartan around the state. As I was an active member of the Scottish Tartans Authority with another design to my name, I recorded it as "Michigan Up North". (A tartan may not be a 'state tartan' without the official consent of the state. ) The energetic and well-connected Mr. Scott David began the process of finding official approval. Last Saturday I received a copy of the Certificate declaring that this design was now officially THE STATE OF MICHIGAN tartan.

I am very pleased that our beautiful state of Michigan finally has its own official tartan. I am honored that I was involved in the design. Now the tartan mills of Scotland and handweavers everywhere can weave their own copies. I hope that handweavers in states still without their own tartans will learn the joys of tartan weaving and design a plaid to represent them, then find citizen support to have it made official. Many countries around the world have their own tartans. Many organizations and all the provinces of Canada have their own tartans.

Now, MICHIGAN (my Michigan) has its own tartan. Hurrah!
Kati on Thanksgiving, 2010 eve. Revised 12-4-10

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 2010 update

Wow, it has been a busy summer and autumn, too busy teaching, weaving and spinning to update my blog - bad blogger.

Working backward from the most recent: Teaching at John C Campbell Folk School during Scottish Heritage Week was magical! I had a great group of students who came from Maine and California, Michigan and Virginia, Ohio and Georgia. They worked very hard, learning how to design tartan, warp with a Trapeze and sley and resley for a samples series to discover all the types of cloth that can come from one yarn. Their display of finished sample sets and rosettes of handwoven tartan impressed their teacher as well as Mr. Kennedy (above).

Tartan class in front of a few of the looms at John C. Campbell Folk School.

One student, Lois Foerster, had spun and vegetable-dyed her own yarns and designed a tartan for her spinning guild. Her sample and rosette at left. Lois has already passed on some of her learning to her young granddaughter, Trinity. Isn’t she cute - and knows how to hold a shuttle properly!

The weaving studio at JCCFS is a marvel of equipment and materials on a campus in the wooded foothills of the Smokey Mountains. It is out of a fairytale, as were the other studios, guest instructors, students and special guest, Norman Kennedy, who is looking and sounding far, far younger than his 77 years should allow. He mingled, he told stories and sang before breakfast, sang in the weaving studio, sang for a waulking, then gave a full concert with stories.

Complex Weavers in Albuquerque was an exciting adventure of connecting with old friends and making new ones in the heat and beauty of the Southwest US. Modeling my linen jacket/blouse while Bob Keates modeled John's black shirt (from the same warp) was much informal fun among other weavers wearing their creations.

Away from the conference centers I was enchanted with the adobe walls around old churches, the spicy food, the talent of the local potters and weavers. At Convergence I enjoyed meeting visitors to Weavolution's booth, signing books and exhibiting a bit of my weaving.

In between, I delivered Kay Faulkner to Michigan League of Handweaver's (MLH) Workshops. While there I took a course in Tied Weaves from Su Butler and got to hang out with a fine collection of great teachers.

Left to right John Mullarkey -Tablet Weaving; Rita Hagenbruch, Scandinavian Linens; kay Faulkner, Woven Shibouri & Velvets; Su Butler, Tied Weaves; the runt in front hanging out with the greats.

I was encouraged to submit something to the up-coming MLH Juried Show. There, my linen jacket/blouse Rod og Sort took First Place Functional Fiber plus the HGA Award of Excellence. Another piece, Coverlet-turned-scarf, also shown at CW in Albuquerque in Jette Vandermeiden's Skillbragd/Smaalandsvav Seminar (where it was deemed nothing but a supplementary warp weave) was awarded Honorable Mention. A third piece, a linen runner/shawl with button fringe, Hanging out at the Long Branch got into the show... (Well, I like it.) Very pretty ribbons, a bit of cash and the honor are all gratefully accepted. I seldom enter juried shows anymore, but this was certainly rewarding.

Rod og Sort detail showing some of the old Danish pattern in the body, the decorative twisting, the tablet woven sashand the antique jet buttons. There is / through the o in Rod, but the system will not let me show it properly.

Now,with some pictures in here, it is a good start at coming up to speed with my blog and I can get back to weaving the 40/1 linen waffle-weave and see how my handspun Pygora/silk makes into a scarf for my daughter who gifted me with the Pygora fiber.
Treadle with Joy, Kati 10-18-10

Monday, May 31, 2010

Flax spinning and linen weaving book specials

Flax spinning and linen weaving book specials
"June Special" (now through June 30th) of $45.00 (+ $5.00 s/h) on Reflections from A Flaxen Past, for Love of Lithuanian Weaving. It is hard cover, full color, (usual price is $48.00 + $5.00 s/h). If you are interested, e-mail me for a "PayPal Invoice" at the special price.
Additional special Warp with a Trapeze and Dance with Your Loom ($19.95) can be included in the same envelope, saving the $4.00 s/h on the smaller book, total savings then becomes $7.00.
A Flaxen Past includes directions for growing, processing and spinning flax, historical photos from pre WWII of flax harvesting and processing, spinning and weaving, sieve looms, and beating the laundry at the stream side. There are tiny Jacquard looms, tapestry weaving and making leather toggles. There are many charted Lithuanian folk designs for weaving, knitting and needlework. There are numerous examples of band looms and band weaving from Lithuanians and Lithuanian/Americans. There are also directions for making a simple band loom and some drafts of the traditional patterns in various widths. There is even one photo of a poor little black lamb being shorn with hand shears.
The photo above shows a corner of a linen altar cloth I wove for Saint Mary's, Alpena, using a Lithuanian technique described in the book. The band finishing the edge is woven with 4-hole tablets. Treadle with Joy, Kati

Monday, May 10, 2010

Narrow Samples; Closet Cleaning; Poison Ivy

Narrow samples on a very wide loom

Sometimes we need to run a very small test warp on a very big loom. Here are some pictures from a couple recent experiments with multi-shaft waffle weave. The warp was 2.5-yards long and 6 inches wide. I dressed my 48-inchToika with a variation of my warp-weighting system. It is fast and easy to run such tests. By-passing the beaming steps saves a lot of time. The narrow warp is simply tied to the weight-bar that resides at the back of my loom for the fixed-tension stage at the beginning. Then a group of weights (7 pounds total) gave me good tension for the actual weaving. A small raddle riding on the warp spread it nicely so I was able to weave the sample run with very little waste.

Mother's Day Closet Cleaning
I think fiber afficionados have a pretty universal phobia for moths. Light and air are the best defenses, as well as doing the double freeze-thaw treatment for all incoming animal fibers. But even with that, sometimes we see evidence or simply get suspicious that the wee buggies have taken up residence in our treasures. We cleaned the closet yesterday. From 10 in the morning until after 7 at night, all 24 feet of clothes-on-hangers went out onto the deck where John had installed iron pipe rods under the eaves, all shoes, all drawers-from-dressers, all, everything, out of the closet. Vacuum, wipe down, shake and brush everything in the fresh air and sunshine. Then we put everything back. Whew and uggh! It is a great relief and considerable comfort to have it done.

Poison Ivy

My first case of poison-ivy in many years is nearly healed. I usually neutralize any suspected contact with the poison urushiol with vinegar. The alkaloid poison has plagued me since I was a small child. It goes systemic on me quickly and sets medical people scrambling. A few years ago, I learned that plain, white, 5% vinegar in a spray bottle by the back door will neutralize the toxin on my skin, boots, gloves, tools and clothes. I know that I am hyper-sensitive to the poison, but two weeks ago the leaves were not yet emerged and I was very tired after the first day of landscaping for the season. I simply forgot the vinegar. The worst was the loss of sleep from ‘crawling’ skin and the revulsion of feeling so unclean. Bet I won’t forget again soon.

Treadle with Joy, Kati

Saturday, April 24, 2010

CNCH report

I’m back and unpacked from CNCH, a well-run conference with exciting exhibits and great students. There is some serious weaving talent in Northern California! My chauffeur from the airport, Ulla de Larios, gave me a tour of a few pieces on exhibit and I was blown away by the power and beauty of her large format weaving, as well as her S & Z spun sweater. Will, a student in my tartan class brought a kilt he wove. I met Tien Chiu and saw her model her spectacular wedding dress/coat ensemble. I chatted with Judith MacKenzie McCuin and got an autograph on her Intentional Spinner. I became enchanted with the new mini-spinner from Hansen Crafts and came home with one - in cherry. I visited with Lillian Whipple and Gudrun Polak . I roomed with Susan Wilson of Crackle fame. I gave a program in the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles , surrounded by the Navajo weavings of Lucy and Ellen Begay. I ate Mexican fire, I ate Japanese sushi, I stayed up on the mountain-top with Anne Dunham webmistress for Glenna Harris guild . I touched redwood trees. I picked oranges. I sailed on Joyride across San Francisco Bay with Jenn and Jim my post-conference hosts .

I worked hard and played hard, but flying to teach is getting to be agonizing. What’s an old teacher to do?

Thought you should see a picture of my ‘teenager’ who handles shipping your book orders. (He thinks I’m sloughing off if no order come in for a few hours.)
Treadle with Joy, Kati

Must be there is something about weights and loom and me.

I am now exploring the ancient warp-weighted loom and trying to come up to speed on current explorations. The WWL is/will be a means to an end. My ultimate goal is to reproduce "a garment with no seams" in linen, on the WWL,(as prescribed in ancient scripture, according to, Nahum Ben-Yehuda, CTexATI, of Bar Ilan University in Israel) in waffle-weave. Last year I became captivated by a question from the Rabbi, and, after getting Erica deRuiter involved, ended up weaving 3-shaft waffle weave on an improvised warp-weighted loom, in 6-ply linen. [Handwoven plans to run a related story in the M/J issue- waffle weave on a rigid heddle loom.] I now have an additional challenge from the Rabbi to reproduce a 'seamless robe with reticulations'. [the waffle weave seems to satisfy that requirement, though I know from the research I have already done, that just about any structure can probably be woven on the WWL]. I appreciate the simplicity and sophistication of the WWL and look forward to assembling and practicing on one.

In my copy of H. Ling Roth's "Studies in Primitive Looms", page 122, there is an illustration from "Johannes Braunius Vestibus Sacerdotum Hebraeorum 1680" showing a woman at an elaborate WWL on which she seems to be weaving a garment without seams. The weft of the upper body extends to both sides around the loom sides, these weft extension to later become the warp for the sleeves. The text reports that "the loom is one designed for making a seamless garment." There is also comment that this loom may be an illustration of the transition from a weighted warp loom to a beamed warp loom. Roth's 1918 book is available via PDF, but here is the illustration I referr to.

If any of you can lead me to one who may already have done something like a seamless garment, especially on a wwl, I would be grateful, and again, generous with credits. Treadle with Joy, Kati

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The first two print runs of Warp with a Trapeze and Dance with your Loom are gone, shipped out to many corners of the world, breaking all records and expectations. Thanks, fiber friends. We are expecting the next 100 copies in a day or two, so new orders should ship soon. My "teenager shipping clerk" (actually, my 70-year old husband) is learning the ropes very quickly and he will be totally in charge for the next week as I will be at CNCH playing tartan, flax, and linen with fiber folks out there. Feel free to ‘talk’ with him. When he is not shipping books or keeping the books, (or waiting on me hand and foot), he plays silver flute, NA wooden flute, and the Great Highland Bagpipes.
The Gift of Life Foundation Great Kilt is finished and on its way to the tartan’s co-designer, Nicole. Until I have a picture of her wearing it, here is a look at 60.4 square feet of a new tartan design. Treadle with Joy, Kati

Friday, March 26, 2010

UK shop carrying Warp with a Trapeze and Dance....

London shop is offering Warp with a Trapeze and Dance with Your Loom
Visit,call or use Wendy's web site.

Wendy Morris
The Handweavers Studio & Gallery
140 Seven Sisters Road
London N7 7NS
020 7272 1891

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tartan Report

This tartan great kilt has reached the half-way point! This is a physically demanding piece of cloth. It is 18/2 JaggerSpun set at 36 epi. Very dense for this yarn. The live-weight tension is 60 pounds and I have lashed a 10 pound weight bar to the overhead beater in order to get it to pack in at 36 ppi. I am wishing I had it on the Glimakra or Toika where there is a little more 'swing to the sley'. The antique Leclerc is marginally heavy enough for this dense, 30-inch wide warp. The loom 'walks' about an inch every foot of weaving, even with all the weights hanging on it and sticky-pads under the feet. I use an oak dowel as lever to lift it so I can clean the pads and move the loom back into place. The colors are flowing beautifully and it is rewarding to watch the cloth-roll grow fat. You can see the hemstitching half done on the end of the first panel.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Still learning the ins and outs of the blog.

The new printing of Warp with a Trapeze and Dance with Your Loom is flying out to all corners of the continent.

If you are a shop and interested in quantity discounts, please e-mail me for rates.

I received a question asking if information on using live-weight tension was in the Trapeze book. The answer is YES! Applying and using live weight tension is covered in the second part of the Trapeze book - "and Dance with Your Loom".

Treadle with Joy, Kati 3/20/10

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wow! The books came, they are beautiful, and they are going like hotcakes. It seems that offering them with a PayPal link is easy for folks and easy for me. Thank you for your confidence.

I was teaching a workshop on linen weaving last week at Heritage Spinning & Weaving in Lake Orion, then came home to find a contract to teach at Midwest Weaving Conference at Finlandia University in Hancock, in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan, June 20-25, 2011. This is an exciting opportunity because I love tartan weaving and because this is the first time ever that Midwest Conference has been held in Michigan.

April 8th I fly off to San Jose where I am teaching tartans, flax spinning, and linen weaving at CNCH - Conference of Northern California Handweavers.

Kati 3/19/10

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This is a damask napkin that I wove a number of years ago.