It’s done and delivered!

13 10 2012

The chiengora commission was delivered yesterday. Here is how the final piece looked: 

I wish I could upload a tactile file, so you could feel it! Very soft. And the client who commissioned it picked it up with the fiber donor, Tess. It was Tess’ birthday! Here is Tess and her owner, with the piece made from Tess’ fiber:

She is a precious, retired therapy dog who was rescued rom a puppy mill. As a breeder in a puppy mill, Tess was not allowed out of her cage, but rather, treated like a production machine to pop out puppies and nurse them. She is very lucky to have been rescued. To the right of Tess, is her brother, Toby. One day, I look forward to spinning/weaving Toby also, as his owner posesses his puppy fur! I’ve enjoyed my connection to this family, as with all the chiengora families I’ve met.


Long overdue

22 01 2012

Since closing my studio to travel the US by bicycle, I’ve not been able to sit at a loom often. I’ve been home twice since leaving in April, and each time has been for a couple of months. Each time I’ve been home, I’ve worked on putting a studio in my home into working order. It’s fairly easy to do that with the sewing aspect of the studio, but getting the weaving/spinning/felting aspect of the studio squared away has been nearly impossible.

This weekend has been a perfect opportunity to get my looms more accessible, and my yarns equally so. In preparation for the Rigid Heddle Weaving workshop, I had to re-organize my storage cabinets and closets, as well as locate specific yarns for the class. While doing those things, I got much put away, thrown away and put in working order. Since Saturday at 4 pm, I’ve dressed one of my rigid heddle looms and woven a merino/mohair scarf for my Dad’s wife and picked up threading the large Toika free-standing tapestry loom. Hooray! It’s good to be back at the loom. I’m a long way from opening the studio for group weaving classes, though. There simply isn’t room enough in my house to accomodate that right now. I’ll have to pick up some very compact floor looms again and a few more warping boards. Then we’ll be back in business, right?

I’m thinking about offering a wet-felting workshop on a Sunday in February. We will work on either hats or rugs. Anyone interested? Cost would be about $125 for a 6-7 hour workshop. Maximum # of students would be 6.


Returning to the Studio – Wed. 10/28/09

25 10 2009

Ahhh, we are almost home! We have been on the road since last Sunday at the crack of daylight, traveling to Grand Canyon with all kinds of fun stops along our journey. We found ourselves ‘Standing on a Corner on Winslow, Arizona” just yesterday, gettin’ our kicks on Route 66 the same day! We visited the Grand Canyon, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, toured the Celestial Seasonings plant, and Schacht Spindle and Loom Company in Boulder, and much more.  It has been an awesome trip. We traveled 700+ miles today, and will do the same tomorrow, finishing our trip on Tues…. a day early….. with a little over 600 miles (WHEW!).  Total miles have not been calculated, but it looks like 4000+ miles for the 8 days.

Don’t ask me how few I drove;0)

I’m looking forward to being back in the studio with you all on Wed. and then Thurs and with the folks in the Learn to Weave in a Weekend class on Sat. and Sunday. I still have an opening in the weaving class this weekend, and a couple of spaces in the Wed. night weaving classes beginning in Nov. Hope you will join us in my weaving and fiber arts studio in Richmond, VA.


small loom weaving class – thurs. nights

9 09 2009

I’m beginning a small looms weaving class on Thursday nights from 6:30 – 9:00.

The first session will meet from 9/24 – 10/15.  It’s 10 instructional hours.

This is in the far west end of Richmond, VA.  Contact me if you are interested.  It’s rigid heddle looms, table looms, frame looms, and tapestry looms.

I’ve also posted a couple of wetfelting-by-hand classes. hat-felting, and rug felting, and a weekday and weeknight sewing class.  HOpe this helps some of you that I had to put on the waiting list.  visit the ‘contact me’ page for information on how to reach me if you have questions.  Much love.


Latest commission

4 06 2008

Here are pics of the latest commission.
It’s a memorial. The client sent the fibers from her deceased dog, and I spun them and
wove the piece. I thoroughly enjoy weaving the wall hangings from natural fibers, and fibers from peoples loved pets. Some people choose to honor a living pet by using their fiber, and some memorialize beloved pets that have died by using their fiber.
It’s a joy to get to know these special clients, and have them share their stories with me.
Hope you enjoy.

A Loom Review

6 01 2008

I thought I would do a loom review today. Since I own, or have owned so many looms that I rate many of them for you. Mind you, some of them aren’t made anymore, but many of us/you buy used looms, so I’m reviewing any that I have used or taught on regularly that you might still encounter. If it isn’t here, I haven’t used it, and so I can’t offer you advice on it, OK?

My #1 most favorite loom is my 16 harness, 45″ Macomber. It’s sturdy, never walks around when I use it. I like the tie-up system and for the most part, I like the super clips. The loom is very stable and durable. It can weave linen, mohair, wool, silk, tencel, cotton, qiviut, camel, alpaca, or whatever you can think to throw it’s way, and you can beat the livin daylights out of whatever you are using for weft without ever phasing this loom. It’s a wonderful loom. If we were talking about cars, Macomber would be a Mercedes! (yes, there are more expensive cars and there are more expensive looms, but Mercedes represents both performance and durability as well as stability, so it fits). I would recommend Macomber looms over any other loom available.

I also have 2 baby Macs, which are very good looms and I enjoy them tremendously. For my studio, they are very versitile, and fold up to an incredibly compact state. Once, I even got one in a rolling suitcase:0) There are drawbacks, however. These looms tend to pop the pins used for tie-up. I have taken these looms for demos, and not been able to weave because the super hooks, would not stay on the loom. Similarly, you can’t fold the loom up with the super clips on, as they fall off easily. The loom doesn’t have as much stability as Leclerc’s Compact 24 and although I love them (they are Macombers), I do recognize their failings. My students don’t like them as much as the Leclerc’s because they are so small that they seem like miniature looms. In general, Macs are my favorite looms.

Next, I have a Lillstina, 6 Leclerc Compact 24’s, an AVL 12 harness mechanical dobby and 2 students in my Roseneath studio have hand made looms by private individuals. Once is fashioned after the HD looms and the other is a lot like a hardwood Norwood loom. I have taught on Hammets and Leclerc Fanny’s.
So let’s discuss them.
I love the Lillistina. It’s very light despite the fact that it weaves 45″. I can push this loom across the floor with a finger. It doesn’t walk as I weave with it, and it can be folded up and packed away fairly easily and flat. I like most Scandinavian looms. They are just SIMPLE! The harnesses are raised and lowered by balances, not rollers. Think of drilling a hole in the 6″ mark of a 12″ ruler, and hanging weights on it so you could tilt one side or the other to raise. It’s like that. I keeps a nice tension and fits my personality. Problems? If you crank the tension too tight, the hooks that hold it together release and the loom collapses into it’s folded position, which I believe could break your warp not to mention the fright that it gives the weaver.
Oh well, some things we love simply because we have chemistry with them. I have chemistry with my Lillstina.

My AVl I loved and continue to love each time I use it. I just don’t use it that much. It’s a great weave. It was wonderful when the kids were little and I needed to be able to set it up in the middle of the night while everyone was asleep, and then I could weave mindlessly during the day. Now, I want to think about my weaving more, and watch what is happening, trouble shoot, and even alter the treadling as I go. Yes, I can be a rather stream of consciousness weaver sometimes. The AVL has a great built in raddle, which I love. I has a friction brake, love it, has texsolve heddles, is a little noisy, folds compactly, and is light. Similarly, I like the beauty of the loom. It’s designed very differently than most looms. It’s not great for anything that needs very tight tension and I like to weave linen, so it’s not my favorite, but it’s a very good loom. Bear in mind that mine is maybe 20+ years old.

Hammetts, I think are simple looms and very useful. I definitely have taught on my share of them. They have a few problems, ie., the lamm pins slip out of the harnesses a lot, but I conquered that fairly early on. These looms are very stable, but a bit blocky. If I had the space and a free one found it’s way into the studio, I would keep it for a while, but would eventually have to have Macombers or Leclercs instead.

I would hope to never own a Herald loom. I taught on one for years, and it created misery in my life the whole time. When we finally sold those looms and bought new ones, I wouldn’t give that one away. It had caused me so much misery that I wanted to burn it! Instead, I decided it would pay for the misery it caused and I took it apart and used the various parts to mount fiber art for sale. It would pay me back!!!!! The first piece that I mounted that way was burned up in a fire. The gallery it was in, was arsonized. Can you believe it? Anyway, stay away from Herrald looms.

Leclerc Looms…..Hmmm, I have always considered Leclerc as the Chevrolet of looms. It is a sturdy loom that can go the distance. It’s reliable. It’s well thought out, but would never make you feel special weaving on one. They are for the most part functional looms. That’s what looms are for, right? Well, sometimes, you can weave on a loom and know that the designer was a weaver. Although I know that Msr. Leclerc was a weaver, his looms don’t reflect that to me. I just don’t see the innovation that I see in Mr. Ahrens’ looms, or in Louet looms, or even the Macomber’s looms. But they will do the job and probably never let you down (I can speak from the perspective of one who has owned or woven on the Artisat, Nilus, Compact 24, the Dorothy, the Fanny, and the Bergere). So the Leclerc is a very good buy for someone who is on a budget, and wants to never regret the money they have spent to get a functional loom. I would also group the old Union rug looms in with these since the roller type counter-balance looms are all quite similar.

For tapestry, I am developing my own loom. I don’t like the rigid heddle looms much, and don’t think you should have to pay a fortune for a tapestry loom. Hopefully this loom will be out in late Feb.

Hope this helps you. If I mentioned one, but didn’t review it, I’m sorry. My tendonitis is starting to hurt.
Talk later.

Spinning and weaving in Richmond,va

5 01 2008

I have been advertising my spinning and weaving classes on several online venues, trying to boost enrollment at the Visual Art Center of Richmond. We have pretty good response to the “learn to weave in a weekend”, but are still waiting for enrollment to increase for the regular and ongoing weaving class. It meets on Thursday nights, right here in Richmond, VA. We meet from 6:30 – 9:00. I have room for 8 students. I think I’m offering 4 or 5 sessions of it this spring, so you could actually learn a great deal just this spring alone. You don’t have to have your own loom. Floor looms are provided by the art center. There is also plenty of open studio time, so you can come in outside of class and do various steps outside of class, so you can maximize your instructional time. No previous experience is necessary. If you can’t make it, you can e-mail me, as I frequently have openings at one of my own studios for private lessons, or in one of my studio classes (Wed. nights, or Sunday afternoons).
I sell looms, spinning wheels, fiber for spinning, and yarn for your projects in class. If you are looking for someone to do loom repair, or spinning wheel repair, I do that and sell parts.
The looms I carry are Louet, Leclerc, and whatever used Looms I might have for sale at any given time. Currently, I have a 12 harness mechanical dobby loom by AVL that is for sale. You can e-mail me about that if you are interested. I also have a horizontal warping mill/reel for sale. It’s a floor model, but folded up, it fits behind a door.