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