Keep on Keeping on!

Years ago I knew an editor who said that we must all find a rhythm in life that we can maintain for at least 30 years.  I’m still struggling with that.  My last birthday put me into a new decade, and at this age I’m not sure I will ever learn what speed I can maintain.  So must settle for the mantra to just keep on keeping on….

This was an excessively busy week which seemed perfectly do-able when I first signed on to participate.  First came a 2-day workshop on rep weave with Lucienne Coifman who recently published a book on this subject.

Setting up my Baby Wolf for this project was rather daunting.  A pre-workshop on Lucienne’s method for warping a rep weave project should be a must-do in order to have a stress-free experience.  I think that’s entirely possible if you take an on-going class with her.  This was her traveling 3-day workshop crammed into 2 days for our guild’s annual November workshop.

There were 18 participants in a round robin class, where each of the looms had a different rep weave structure, from traditional Swedish designs to Lucienne’s designs. It was impossible to weave all 18 designs in the space of 2 days, so it was somewhat stressful.  Most of us skipped breaks of any kind, including eating lunch.  But look what we got!

This is Lucienne’s sample of the structure she gave me to put on my loom.  This is in her new book.


Other designs we wove:



The little tags were for identifying different treadling methods.


There were more wonderful designs choices to weave than there were hours in this class.  As the last hour approached we all had a moment of disappointment at the designs we did not get to try.  When we cut off the yardage on our looms we brought them all to the front table.




Lucienne gave a number of lectures during the two days.  It was hard to tear myself away from weaving to listen and take notes, but all the information was important so I had to do it!

I still have a bit of warp on my loom with which I will weave some samples for the women who did not get to my loom.  And I sure hope there will be enough warp left over for me to weave a little something useful–perhaps a book cover–for myself!

So Friday evening we all packed up our looms to leave–no simple feat.  I unloaded my car and then reloaded with the tapestry paraphernalia that I needed for the next morning’s talk at the state guild meeting.  I was to give a program for the morning open lecture that is part of our regular meeting agenda.  My talk on images in contemporary tapestry was well received.  I was quite nervous about doing this talk, mostly because I had almost no time to prepare for it.  But I slept well the night before, especially after two intense days of weaving rep weave on strange looms!  I woke up Saturday morning calmer than I’ve been in months for which I was very grateful.  A couple of good friends promised to attend to give me moral support, and nothing beats that!  Quite a few people signed a list to receive more information from me on how to get started learning how to weave tapestry, and that was the point of the whole thing!  So I guess that means it was successful!

The afternoon program this month was given by Norma Smayda about her experiments weaving ondule fabric with a fan reed.  Schiffer Publishing will soon be coming out with Norma’s new book on this subject!  I can’t wait to get it.

Norma took us through her entire process, and that gave me quite a bit info for doing my own experiments.  I have almost bought a fan reed from Sara von Tresckow of the Wool Gatherers twice but balked at spending so much on something I had no idea how to use well.  Look what Norma has been doing with it.

If you plan your stripes you can accentuate the movement of the reed.  You can also get undulating selvedges or straight selvedges, depending on how your thread your reed.


After buying a reed that had fans going across the entire width, Norma then ordered some fans she designed herself with straight pins for part of the width and fanned pins for the rest.  It allows her to have areas of straight weaving and areas of undulation.  Quite beautiful! The blue/orange wall hanging is all one piece, with straight weaving on the left and undulations on the right.  Try to ignore that bit of another woven piece in red at the right edge of the photo.  I did not want to touch Norma’s work so I could not get the red wall hanging out of the way.


And here is the red piece from the corner of the previous photo–it’s so graphic it vibrates!


Norma is wearing a vest that she designed.  I don’t remember who sewed it for her, but she did a fabulous job!  There is a placket at the back of the jacket where the seamstress inserted one repeat of the ondule fabric…such a wonderful touch!



As you can see, I’ve had quite a week!  I went to bed at 8.30 last night because I could not keep my eyes open any longer!  My head is full of ideas — now just to find the time.  I just have to keep going, even if it’s slower than I’d like.


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