Category Archives: patterns


Once again, it’s been a month since I’ve posted here, and usually when that happens I’ve been writing posts in my head for weeks and weeks before finally getting to a keyboard.  Not this time–I haven’t even thought about posting.  Old age? Beginning senility?  I’m dancing as fast as I can and the music is still accelerating!

The past month has been quite a confluence of all the facets of my life.  Don’t we all have competing interests and obligations that keep us juggling things to try and get just the right mix?  Too long without weaving and I become cranky; at the same time too much solitude in my studio and my hermitic tendencies start to drag me down.

The two big June events in my life were Bob’s 60th birthday, which he glided through like a swan.  He doesn’t look or act a day older, and he enjoyed getting together with some of his dearest friends to celebrate the landmark.  I still have more than 6 months to go, and I am feeling older and older each day.  Hmmm….

Last week Bob and another local sailor hosted a large sailing event for the Seven Seas Cruising Association.  George and Bob put on a three day conference with speakers and social time, a fancy dinner at a yacht club, and a dinghy raft up on the river.  It was a lot of work, but something both men really enjoy.  I sort of go along for the ride, although I did have a house full of overnight guests and made some breakfasts and one rather large dinner for 12!

Here we are with in our den with two couples who have helped us immensely in getting used to living aboard.  Both of these couples live aboard full time, unlike Bob and I who only live onboard during the winter months.  They are truly nomads.

And here is the young man who gives all the live aboards their daily weather information.  This is the man who kept us safe through hurricane Sandy two years ago, and has kept us safe through many other storms over the past 3 years!  He was our honored house guest for the weekend, and he even used Bob’s office to broadcast his daily weather information over SSB radio.  He had some way of connecting to his radio tower in Florida in order to do the broadcast. The amazing Chris Parker:

While both these events were fun, I have not had any time to work on tapestry or fabric weaving.  I have certainly had some important ‘thought time’ making plans for two projects that I will put on a couple of my floor looms.  Hopefully I can finish weaving at least one of these before we leave again at the holidays.  More on that in a bit….

After the guests left I turned my attention back to the linen fabric I took off the Baby Wolf about a month ago.   I spent some time over the weekend sewing a tote bag.  The linen is a medium weight fabric.  The warp was a mixture of several colors of a rather thick 2-ply wet spun linen.  In the photo below the 3 spools used in the warp are lined up together and the golden colored spool on top is what I used for the weft.


And here is close up of warp threads; you see they are a bit coarse and hairy even though they still have the sheen of wet spun linen.


This is the fabric off the loom in May, drying outside after machine washing.  You can see the cutting lines I wove in to help me in making the tote bag.  The fabric for the handles and top of the lining is at the top of the photo and is woven in plain weave.


And here is the finished bag.


The draft for this fabric is a blend of plaited twill with huck blocks.  It makes plaited huck!  How cool is that?  I got this draft from Laurie Autio when she gave a talk called “Designing for Block Weaves Using Twills as Profiles” at our guild last fall.  This particular design is a 6-Block, 8-shaft structure using huck threading on a base of plaited twill.


My warp was threaded at 12 epi and woven to square.  The fabric is close to burlap weight, but not nearly as open as burlap.  I am very happy with it.  If you weave this structure with a lot of color contrast between the warp and the weft you’ll get a good contrast between the plaited elements, those that go over and those that go under.  I am more a fan of subltety, but the downside is that you probably cannot see the plaited effect in my photos.  I also blurred the woven effect by using multiple colors in the warp.  This is just my preference.  It would be quite dramatic woven in two very contrasting colors.

I plan to write up the procedures for weaving this project very soon.  Stay tuned!

Directions for a handwoven tote bag



 This fabric is based on a well-known huck lace pattern that is available in a number of places.  It is included in the The Best of Weaver’s Huck Lace, edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt, on page 12 in the pattern section (by Ruth Morrison), and in the project section starting on page 51.  This pattern is also used as the end plate on the right-facing page at the beginning and end of the book.

 You can also consult Madelyn van der Hoogt’s informative digital workshop on lace weaves which you can preview here:

Here is my version of this project:

Warp:  16/2 linen (Bockens Lingarn) in five colors:  1 spool each, 125 grams
# 522 black
# 485 purple
# 4060 dark green
# 40 bright turquoise
# 2030 lemon yellow

The tote fabric requires about a yard of fabric, and each napkin requires ½ yard of fabric, so plan your warp length accordingly.  I wove one yard for the tote and 2 ½ yards for five napkins.  I put on a 5 yard warp to allow some sampling and loom waste.

Weft:  16/2 linen in #522 black, 2 spools (in addition to the one used for warp)

Sett:  20 epi, width in the reed about 17.5” (finished width about 16.5”)

Threading:  There are 7 repeats of the huck pattern with 4 extra plain weave threads in black at each selvedge.  I also threaded two threads together for the first thread at each selvedge.  Total warp threads:  365 ends

Weaving:  to balance at 20 epi

The full pattern repeat is 50 threads.  Each color stripe is 45 threads with 5 black threads at the beginning of each pattern. I placed a stripe of five black threads at the beginning of each repeat to emphasize only one column of the flower motif, as in reality there are two columns of staggered flowers.  (Unfortunately, all huck looks geometric until it is wet finished.  So my flowers look like diamonds in the drawdown.  Consult the detail photo at the end for what happens after wet finishing.)  By having a small black stripe of 5 threads, I minimized the appearance of the staggered flowers so that one straight column of flowers would stand out.  I chose to do this in order to better coordinate with the mug I was using as inspiration for the tote.  At finer setts the staggered floral motif shows up well, but not at the sett I needed for fabric that would be sturdy enough for a tote bag.

Finishing: Off the loom, I machine washed the entire length of fabric in the washing machine on ‘normal’ setting, warm water.  After smoothing the fabric by hand, I let the fabric air dry and then steam pressed it before serging the edges between all the cuts.

Huck Lace Lunch tote final as woven (this link will bring up the pdf file)

Screenshot huck lace tote bag final as woven

In this drawdown I have also included 4 extra plain weave threads at each end of the warp. You might add even more. Huck lace gives a lovely scalloped edge to fabric when it is not bordered by plain weave; however, at such a loose sett of 20 epi I found that the scallops look rather clumsy.  They are lovely at finer setts, but for this project I wish I had used a plain weave border, so I’ve included that here.

The drawdown should be followed until the end of the yellow stripe, then worked in reverse color order back through the blue, green, and purple.

The mug that inspired the tote bag:

Weaving mug exchange


 Materials Needed:

 Tote bag fabric:  15” x 27” plus extra for straps if using this fabric
Lining fabric:  15” x 27” plus more for pockets and possible straps
Pockets from lining:  2 pieces, 7” x 15”
Light Weight fusible interfacing:  14” x 22”
Fusible Fleece:  14” x 22”
Cotton webbing straps if you don’t wish to use handwoven or lining fabric for this

  1. Cut pieces to size.
  2. Fuse the light weight interfacing to the wrong side of your handwoven tote fabric, centering the interfacing so that there is ½” margin on each long end, and 2 ½” margins at the short ends.
  3. Fuse the fleece to the wrong side of your lining fabric, centering the fleece as you did with interfacing on the main fabric.
  4. Sew the pockets:  place right sides together and sew around pieces leaving one short edge open.  Turn right sides out and press, pressing under ½” seam allowance that did not get sewn.  Top stitch around all 4 sides, which will close and finish the edge that was left open for turning. Place the pocket on the right side of the lining fabric about 4” down from the raw edge of one of the short sides.  Sew along the outer edges and bottom of the pocket, attaching it to the lining.
  5. Then top stitch a pocket divider, either by sewing directly down the center of your pocket, or by sewing 1/3 in the distance on the long side.  I opted for the 2nd choice so that one pocket would be larger than the other.
  6. Fold the lining (with attached pocket) in half along the long edge, right sides together, and sew the side seams.
  7. Make a flat bottom for the lining as follows:  with the wrong side of lining facing out, position one side seam so that it is in the center of the fabric, and so that the end of the seam forms a triangle at the bottom of the tote:

tote bag square bottom Measure 2 ½” up from the point and draw a sewing line across the bag that should be 4” across.  Sew across this line.  Repeat this on the other side seam.

8.  Repeat this process of folding the long edges of the main fabric in half (right side together) and sewing the side seam.  Then repeat the process for making a flat bottom for the main fabric.

9.  Put the lining inside the bag, with the right side of the lining facing inward and the right side of the main fabric facing outward.  Turn the triangle flaps on both lining and main fabric so that they face into the bottom of the bag.

10. Fold down the top edges of the lining and main fabric toward the inside of the bag, and so that each fabric is now folded along the edge of either the interfacing or the fleece.  Match the edges and pin.

11. Make your handles.  If you are using the handwoven fabric your handles will only be about 16” long.  Take the hand fabric and press ½” in on the long sides.  Fold in half and top stitch along the pressed edge and then around the entire handle to finish.

12. Insert the handles into the pinned top edge of the tote bag so that each end of each handle is about 1/3 in from the end of the bag.  The finished bag is about 13” wide.  Divided in thirds (4 1/3”), you would place your handles to center on 4” and 8 ½” roughly.  Pin the handles in place with at least 1 ½” down in the seam.  Top stitch around the top of the bag.


I wove 18” of huck lace pattern with 2” of plain weave at the end of each napkin.  I wove two picks of a contrasting color of weft in plain weave between each napkin. I turned under a hem at each end so that the plain weave was not showing on the face of the napkin, and hemmed the napkins by hand with black thread.


Creative Outlets

Sometimes while we are hiding out from storms the waters are actually calm enough for me to work.  It hasn’t been often!  On good days, we tend to set off sight seeing and shell collecting, but on others I manage to get a bit of work done!


I started my tapestry idea (a shelf of spools) a few weeks ago by doing some sampling, and learned a lot by the time I unwove the whole thing.  I’d done about eight spools at that point and had worked out that I wanted the circles to be all different sizes and different shapes, and the little cardboard tubes and empty space inside the tubes to be fairly (but not perfectly!) consistent.

This is the first tapestry I am making without a cartoon!  …. it is very freeing! Archie Brennan is always talking about the ‘open journey,’  by which he means not making too many decisions ahead time, letting the work at hand determine what should come next, and this is my first attempt at that.  I’m doing the same with color choice, choosing colors based on what has just been done.  Naturally, I wish I had a lot more choices onboard with me, but so far I have not been disappointed to make do with what I have.

I am facing my blank warp and creating as I go.  I do ink on a freehand circle or two before I weave, and each circle I draw is based on the circles that have come before them, and each color choice for the circles is based on the colors I’ve already used as well as the loose ‘plan’ of where I hope to go.  This is really a fun journey…..I would call it a tapestry vacation!  A little side trip along an untraveled road (for me) with lots of beautiful scenery!  A playland!



My other big project onboard is a sweater that was posted on Pinterest with a link to Ravelry.

knitting kauni rainbow on ravelry

When you click on the floral sweater photo on Pinterest you get directed to this sweater on Ravelry.

Kauni rainbow squares

The floral sweater is far more appealing to me than the little squares version!  Finding the origin of this sweater was a bit challenging, but when I get focused on something I can be a bit maniacal.

The little squares pattern is by Ruth Sorenson, and her directions call for 480 grams of Kauni Effekt “Rainbow” (EQ).  I had planned to use traditional Shetland Fair Isle construction for a loose fitting jacket with front opening, and I decided to increase the amount of yarn to 600 grams. With a little searching for the thistle pattern I found this designer, who used the thistle pattern for a shawl she calls “Mrs. Barrista,”  which was available for purchase in English.  Bingo! (I don’t know if she is also the designer of the sweater, but it’s not on her blog.)

After doing a gauge swatch and determining that I’d use 10 repeats of the thistle pattern for the body, I cast on for corrugated rib and steeked the front opening, and have just been zipping along up to the armholes.  Now I am at the armhole openings and thought I’d better make a plan.


While traditional Fair Isle construction makes for such easy knitting, it is not the most flattering look on me.  I look better in sweaters that have a bit of armhole shaping, and even more importantly I need sloped shoulders.  These two issues that are quite important to me will necessitate some fiddly knitting.  Here is my sketch.

3-20-14b 004

I will bind off an inch or so of stitches at the beginning of the armscye and start the steeks.  When I start the sleeves I will pick stitches along the armhole opening, and I will work back and forth (HORRORS!) until I fill in that 1” of bound off stitches, and then I can resume knitting in the round down to the sleeve cuff.  It will only be fiddly for about a dozen rows or so…maybe less…

The other fiddly bit will be making my shoulder line sloped.  I have not yet settled on a definite plan for that, but I think that may also require working back and forth for the last several rows at the top of the body.  It shouldn’t be that bad!  I’m forging ahead with the sweater since I don’t need to worry about the shoulders for a while.  Maybe something else will occur to me by the time I get to there!  I am thinking of making a short row plan…

If there are any knitters out there reading this, please weigh in on what you’d do if you were making this sweater!  I could use some input!


I wonder how many of us use cooking as a creative outlet, especially when we can’t do what we really want to do!  I enjoy the challenge of cooking down here, where getting food is a hit or miss scavenger hunt.  Thursday, I happened to hit the pink store in Staniel Cay as they were bringing in fresh produce from the mail boat.  I got both fresh mushrooms  and a head of cabbage on the same day!  (Only someone traveling down here can appreciate the rarity of fresh mushrooms in the Bahamas!)

Cabbage, which I hardly ever eat at home, is quite a staple down here, and it always brings back great memories of cooking in college with my brand new edition of the Moosewood Cookbook.  It had a catchy name I no longer remember, but I do remember that the Russian cabbage pie was one of my favorite meals from that book.  Thank you, Molly Katzen! I’m sure I could have googled the recipe if only I had internet.  Since that was not an option, I had to do the best I could on memory alone.

I remembered the pastry crust had cream cheese as well as butter.  So I made a crust with 4 TB butter and 4 oz. of cream cheese.  I made 4 hard cooked eggs, sautéed the mushrooms and set them aside to sautee the cabbage that had been salted and left to wilt for about 20 minutes.  I seasoned everything liberally with dill and a little salt and pepper.  I layered all this in my pie shell, along with the other 4oz of cream cheese left in the brick.

Since I do not have a pie dish onboard I made this dish in my 9” springform pan.  It has come in very handily as a substitute for many other pans.  I’m glad to have it with me!


Dinner was delicious!  Who knows how far from the original I have strayed, but we enjoyed it just the same!  It does take a bit of doing to make something like this on a boat in a galley that is smaller than a NY City apartment kitchen.  If not for the space it takes to pre-cook all the separate parts of this dish, I would definitely say this would become a staple meal on Pandora.  It may become a staple in spite of the space challenge!

Tackling My Toika

In spite of that pep talk from my son, in spite of Su Butler’s excellent website with extensive information, including photos (!) about tying up a Toika, and in spite of perusing every forum post about Toikas I could find on Weavolution, I could not get my loom to work.  When I opened a shed I had such a jumble of threads at differing heights, there was no way to throw a shuttle! And I won’t even mention how hard it was to depress the treadles.

This is a warp I made somewhat over a year ago, before I knew for certain that we’d be moving.  As soon as we decided to put our house on the market, the real estate agent we used insisted that I take this loom apart and put it in storage.  She thought my studio would show well as a second family room.  We rented a storage unit and I put both the Toika and my 40″ AVL in it, not to mention lots of other studio equipment.

The project I have on the Toika is 8 shaft boundweave threaded in rosepath at 10 epi.  I’ve used some precious tapestry warp that is hard to get these days, and I put on about 6 yards, 24″ wide to make several boundweave wall hangings.  I’m envisioning a little story board of my family.  For me I have charted out a floor loom, a castle style spinning wheel, a drop spindle, various garden flowers, and maybe a bucket for dye!  For my husband I’ve charted a boat, and anchor, and a car.  My head is brimming with ideas to include our two sons, along with various cats and dogs…. and yet…. I could not get the loom to work.

Today I came close to tears.  It wasn’t pretty….  I became obsessed with talking directly Su Butler because I believed that she was the only person left in the world who could sort this out for me.  Either she had some advice or it was time to get rid of this loom.  Shame faced, I sent her an email.  Within moments she wrote back and recommended we talk on the phone.  Hallelujah!

My Toika works like a dream now! What a relief….

So, what did I do wrong?  Well, first (and probably most importantly) the distance between the bottom of the shafts, the top lamms, bottom lamms and treadles should be about the same.  Not knowing exactly what that meant I had them within 2″ of the same distance apart.  Su said I needed to get all these within a 1/2″ of the same distance.  Bingo!  The other dilemma was my treadle height.  Doing it as described on her website didn’t give me the necessary position when the locking pins were removed. My treadles ended up slanting upwards toward the bench, and that was no fun for trying to depress them!  She was familiar with this little quirk on some looms and explained to me what to do.  Now everything is in great working order!

So, these are not the best looking trees by any stretch….but the loom is working well, and I don’t mind working on my little graphed charts to improve the image.  I’ll give it another go shortly.

8 am next morning…. I have better trees!

I was compensating for my graph paper squares too much in my first attempt and therefore elongating the trees too much.  Now I think I’ve got it!  So I will weave a header and begin the first actual wall hanging!  Can you imagine me doing a happy dance around the loom??….punching the air!  Yippee!

Better looking trees shortly….

A Knitter’s Memory Lane…

Sometimes early in the new year I perform an “Airing of the Stash” where I get all my yarns and spinning fibers out and have a look.  I will be doing that as soon as I step away from the computer today.

Earlier today I did something that I rarely do: an airing of the stash of knitted garments.  I opened my cedar-lined, cherry chest which my husband made 35 years ago as a wedding present to me.  This chest holds three decades of my adult life in the form of knitted garments.  It holds every sweater I’ve ever made with exception of the ones I no longer own.  All the baby, toddler, and youth sweaters that my sons wore, all my own sweaters that I do not currently wear, and all the sweaters I’ve made for my husband in past years before I realized that he was never going to wear a sweater of any kind.  There are a few precious sweaters that were knitted by my husband’s mother and one of his two delightful and eccentric great aunts.  One of her sweaters is a cream wool Tyrolean-style cardigan with vertical columns of beautifully embroidered flowers between the columns of cables, bobbins, and eyelets.  You probably know the style.  No one does this much anymore because of the labor involved.  It is a gem.

Aunt Ruthie's Tyrolean Sweater

Then there are about a half dozen sweaters that I obviously knit in the 80s… they are painful to look at!  During that same decade I was knitting the baby and toddler sweaters that are so classic and timeless, but somehow, for me I was knitting sweaters with styles that could never stand the test of time.  I have removed these sweaters from the chest and am contemplating either throwing them out or donating them somewhere.  It’s hard to imagine donating them….they are truly awful, their single attribute being that they are at least made from natural fibers.

In the chest is my very first knitted garment which must be from the mid-70s, a textured vest pattern from Tahki that was made from their Donegal Tweed yarn in brown with rust colored flecks.  I have a clear memory of knitting this vest during numerous evenings, sitting on a metal bar stool in my future-husband’s woodworking shop in order to spend time with him while he worked on a project.  Also in the pile is my first attempt at lace knitting….not a shawl or scarf, but a lovely lace Chanel-type jacket that was a Phildar pattern for which I used Phildar’s mohair blend yarn.  Sweet, sweet memories!
 The children’s sweaters bring back a flood of memories.  In particular there was one spring when my small community held a fashion show, and I decided to participate by modeling my first Marion Foale’s design, “Badminton,” while both boys joined me on the runway wearing matching cabled vests and coordinating knickers that I sewed for them. (I wore a store bought skirt with a print of ships’ signal flags on a sky blue background.)  We were all in shades of daffodil yellow and pale sky blue.  This memory is hilarious to me….my sons modeling in vests and knickers….how cruel!
 I am sorry to say that the Marion Foale sweater, while classic, has not made the cut for staying in the chest!

 This trip down memory lane is prompted by our hard decision to leave our current house and move out of the NY metro area.  We hope to go back to a slower pace and quieter lifestyle that we used to enjoy when we lived in New England.  I know that times have changed everywhere, but we hope to downsize both our possessions and our frenetic pace.  Hence, the airing of not only the stash, but everything we own!

Knitting and Fabric Shops in Coastal Maine

Several of our usual ports have surprised me with wonderful knitting and fabric shops!  Our ‘guest room’ is quickly filling up with my treasures!

Bath: Halcyon (the photo on their homepage is that Ecobaby sailor pattern! Ha!)  I have to admit that I’ve never been to Halcyon by

Halcyon Yarn

boat, but I have been going by car for 15 years.  You could get there by boat if you wanted to go that far up the Kennebec River and brave its challenging currents.  In all the years I’ve driven over that bridge I’ve never actually seen a sailboat moored in the river near Bath.  That’s not to say no sailboats ever go, just that I haven’t seen them on my yearly visit.  And what can I say about Halcyon, other than it is a weaver’s and knitter’s Mecca, not to mention spinners, rug hookers, crocheters, braiders, felters, etc…etc… If you do anything related to fiber, this is a great resource! Halcyon is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.  I had a wonderful shopping spree there!

Boothbay Harbor:  You need a car to get to Onboard Fabrics, but it is really worth it!  It’s a barn on Rte 127 (and their address is Edgecomb but my point of view is the harbor where a sailing seamstress might disembark), not far off Rte. 1 on the way to

On Board Fabrics, near Boothbay Harbor

Boothbay Harbor.  They have lots of nautical fabrics, inweights from upholstery to cotton lawn.  This year I bought fabrics to make aprons for gifts.  No sewing machine on board Pandora, so these projects will have to wait ’til I get home (meanwhile, my husband does have his sailrite sewing machine on board…but it will only sew heavy canvas and sail materials!).


Rockland: Quilt Divas.  They have fabric and yarn!  And the selections for both are great!  It is walking distance from the harbor

Quilt Divas in Rockland also has a large selection of yarn and knitting books

for us sailors!  I bought the Debbie Bliss “Ecobaby” book here as well as the yarn for the sailor sweater that is currently challenging me to re-design the collar!  I also bought more fabric for aprons here.  Now I’m going to make a lot of aprons for gifts!




Camden: The Cashmere Goat is new this year, in a good location right in the center of town (what used to be a shoe store).  The shop

'The Cashmere Goat in Camden

is not yet full, but they do have some wonderful yarns.  I bought Manos del Uruguay’s “Serena” (kettle dyed, 60% baby alpaca, 40% pima cotton) in a handpainted colorway (#9796) of watery blues and greens.  I’m going to knit a lace shawl from one of the free patterns at Interweave Knits


Belfast: Sock Heaven.  This yarn store has been in business for about 10 years now, but I haven’t been to Belfast in about 15 years,

Heavenly Socks in Belfast

so it is new to me! There is an entire wall of yarns produced in Maine, including Hope Spinnery and Done Roving. My big score here was Louet “KidLin”(49% linen, 35% kid mohair, 16% nylon) which I’ve been hoping to find during all my yarn store hunting.  It was hard to choose a color for Louet’s “Cia” Pattern, but I finally settled on “Mexican Orange,” a fun blend of gold and warm pink.

There is also a beautiful fabric store on High St. in Belfast.  I did not note the name yesterday, but I hope to go back today to spend more time there.  I will take a photo and get the name!


Other places.  I’ve been to the guild shop in the center of Blue Hill, as well as the yarn shop slightly out of town that has since gone out of busines (sigh…), and I’ve been to Shirley’s Yarns in Hancock (where I bought Dale microfiber years ago for a tank top I never finished because it was so unflattering on me!). Now I understand there are two shops in Blue Hill that I may not know: Blue Hill Yarn shop on Ellsworth Rd. and  String Theory on Beach Hill Rd.  I don’t know if we’ll get to Blue Hill this year, but now I hope so! And a google search shows two promising shops on Mt. Desert, one in Southwest Harbor (Lilac Lily Yarn Shop) and one in Bar Harbor (Bee’s, Inc.), so I hope to visit both of these since we are on our way there for the weekend.

I am putting aside the Debbie Bliss sailor sweater for the moment.  This is quite a disappointment to me, but I do want to give some thought to that collar.  The knitters on Ravelry did not have any solutions that appealed to me, so I will take a look in my library of knitting design books when I return home in September.

Here is my next knitting project, Louet’s “Cia.”

Louet's "Cia"

Louet's KidLin Mexican Orange

First I will finish my own design that uses Tess Designer Yarns’ micofiber ribbon.  I’ll be writing up that pattern to share here and on Ravelry.  It’s a very simple pattern, and I’m almost finished!


>A Weaver’s Legacy


An amazing turn of events last week brought three weavers together after three years…

About three years ago, a good friend of mine died from complications related to breast cancer.  She was a very artistic woman, someone I admired.  She wore her handwoven clothes with enviable flair, and she knew how to accessorize.  When she could no longer sit at the loom she continued to knit accessories that were as striking as her woven items.Bonney Ford crop

(Well, this is not the best photo to demonstrate Bonney’s fashion flair, but do notice the t-shirt on the sheep                commemorates National Spinners and Weavers week!)


Her daughters held a sale before selling her house, and I got some precious items which always make me think fondly of Bonney’s friendship.  I have two shirts, commerically made, that look deceptively handwoven, a sterling jewelry pin of a castle-style spinning wheel, and Bonney’s 8S  Baby Wolf.

When I got the loom it had samples on it, lovely samples of what looked to me like a ‘Sharon Alderman’ fabric.  There were several small samples, separated by unwoven warp.  The warp looked like 20/2 mercerized cotton in a medium grey.  The weft was the same size cotton in ‘rust’ or ‘burnt sienna.’  The color difference between the warp and weft made a lovely iridescence in the fabric, giving the finished cloth the look of silk.Ruby Leslie workshop 042010 044









I thought of weaving off the rest of the warp, but when I went searching for what the treadling might be I did not find this pattern. Also, I did not have the weft.  Eventually I cut the fabric off the loom so that I could warp it for a weaving workshop.  I thought I might serge the fabric samples and give one to each of Bonney’s good friends in my guild, keeping one for myself.

But I never did it.  The fabric has lain on top of my serger now for three years….

During these three years my path has occasionally crossed the path of another New Jersey weaver from the Jockey Hollow Guild.  I heard her name numerous times through mutual acquaintances, and I finally met her during her guild’s holiday sale last December. 

Last week when I had again warped this loom in readiness for a weaving workshop from the Jockey Hollow Guild, Sally was the organizer, so our paths crossed again. 

At one point during the workshop Sally offered to tweak my loom into better working condition.  I mentioned that this loom had belonged to a good friend who had left this life.  I asked if she had ever known Bonney, who had on occasion attended meetings at Jockey Hollow.

Well, Sally did know Bonney. In fact, some time before Bonney’s final days, Sally had visited her to weave off some samples that were part of an exchange (indeed, a Sharon Alderman design). Shortly after that visit Bonney died, and Sally did not know what became of the samples or of  Bonney’s loom.  The participants in that exchange never got the samples.

Isn’t it interesting that I had wanted to give those samples to some of Bonney’s friends, but I just never could bring myself to cut them apart and serge the ends?…. and equally interesting that I kept hearing about Sally from a couple of friends.  I, too, had visited some meetings of Sally’s guild, but I did not met her until recently….  And it is interesting that we did not get to the subject of Bonney and her loom on our first meeting, but obviously it was meant to come about at some point.

I think Bonney knew it would happen, all in good time, and I think she smiled when it finally did.  I will miss seeing the yardage in my studio, but I’m immensely happy that it will go to the recipients who were always meant to have it.  It’s a lovely length of finely woven cloth.  Good weaving endures, friendship endures.  It’s all good.

>Knitting Pattern


Two years ago I started a knitting ministry group in my area. It was not about religion per se, but about the power of knitting to heal us and others. I think the act of making anything by hand and wearing it or giving to someone to wear or use is a powerful totem for good health and protection against bad things. There just has t be a lot of good karma in something that you’ve made stitch by stitch for yourself or for someone you know. I’ve made it a point for many years now to wear something handmade everyday. I was surprised at how easy it is to wear some little something made by real hands, mine or others, each day.

So, I figured there were plenty of people in my community who would want to learn to knit now that knitting is so hip and there are so many LYSs (local yarn shops) cropping up again, and so many mega craft stores carrying yarn. I also figured there were plenty of past knitters out there who wanted to start again and just needed a little impetus. So I decided to offer knitting lessons for free and to focus on knitting for others. I was happily surprised at the number of people who have joined, and very pleased at how they each help each other. Even the new knitters now help others. I’m awed by what they do!

Most of the group knits shawls since fit is not an issue and since they don’t require any complicated shaping. Some people have moved on to interesting stitch patterns and/or triangular shawls, and some have just continued to knit, knit, knit! Some of the members have learned to make socks, and some have rekindled their talents at making sweaters. Everyone has felt the healing power of just going through the motions of knitting.

So here’s one of the shawls for which I’ve written a pattern. It’s not complicated; it’s based on the traditional Faeroese triangular shape that starts at the neck edge rather than the bottom point, and makes a shape that stays nicely poised on one’s shoulders. Hopefully later today I’ll have the PDF!