Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Visit with Jochen Ditterich at Sage Weavers


 Sage Weavers was a week later than usual this month so that we could spend  time with Jochen Ditterich who was in town visiting his son.  Jochen has been teaching weaving for many years and was recognized this year by Handwoven as one of their two handweaving teachers of the year.

 Jochen showed us a rug he wove for his son when he received his PhD.  The technique he used is called shaft switching and it allowed him to get the involved pictorial image of his son bicycling.  Unfortunately, the dog made his mark on the rug - but otherwise it has stood the test of time well.

Jochen tells us he has many hundreds of pounds of wool in his studio and from the video show we watched, he wasn't exaggerating.  In order to weave the basketweave rug shown above, he combined several ends of slightly different colored yarn.  This gives the rug a much more interesting color effect than using just one color.

Here is an airy scarf woven in silk using bead leno as the weaving technique.  Note the nice little picot edging along the scarf.

Another sumptuous piece - this time a shawl woven in cashmere.

And, then on to Jochen's standby scarves - rayon chenille warp and weft.  No two are the same and there are usually many different warp colors in each scarf

A friend made this jacket using 8 of Jochen's chenille scarves.  A real luxury piece.

We enjoyed the afternoon talking and sharing with Jochen and hope that he will let us know when he is in Reno again so that we can get together again.  We had hoped he would be moving to Reno, but he tells us not now.  He has too many looms and too much yarn to move.   I guess most of us can identify with his dilemma.
Read more about Jochen here at his website and take a look at this video made by a friend of him in his home studio in Grand Rapids, MI.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

God Jul - a Scandinavian Holiday party.

Reno Fiber Guild had its annual Holiday Party this past Saturday.  The tradition is for members to bring a themed gift for the big basket (Scandinavia this year), sell raffle tickets for the basket and then the winner takes all.  This year's basket was overflowing and it looks like we may need to expand into two next year.

 We also have a pot luck (this year a Smörgåsbord). These photos were taken early on before most of the dishes had arrived.  It was really a "Groaning Board" with such a wide variety of foods that you could hardly try everything because there was so much. Included were some traditional Scandinavian foods like "Swedish Crescents" and a pickled herring appetizer, but it had been decided earlier that people could just bring their favorite dish to share without worrying about it being Scandinavian.

Beryl won the raffle for this year's basket and the bounty of gifts were passed around for everyone to inspect and appreciate.  The wonderful thing about having a theme for the basket each year is seeing how people interpret that theme.  Some gifts are handmade like the pillow, tote bag and scarf.  Some are there to inspire a new project (Swedish linen yarns).  There was a bookmark woven with a Swedish 4 shaft technique, Christmas ornaments knitted with traditional Scandinavian patterns, a woven wheat heart!  And then, there were the funny little trolls, Christmas ornaments of Scandinavian skiers, and lots of good things to eat.

 A couple of recipes were shared with the gifts - so they are being passed on as our special gift to you, our readers,  in this season of giving and sharing.  God Jul!

Swedish Crescents
1 cup salted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2/3 cup ground blanched almonds
1 2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Oven 325°  Use mixer on med. to cream butter, sugar and extract for 1 minute.  On low, add ground almonds, flour and cardamom until soft and dough forms.  Roll dough into 1" balls & shape into crescents.  Place 1" apart on baking sheet.  Bake 14 to 16 min. or until set and lightly browned.  Let cool and sift powdered sugar over the cookies.

Swedish Pancakes
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup flour
2 TBS sugar
1 dash salt
4 TBS butter

Place all ingredients except butter in blender.  Blend until combined, but don't over mix.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Melt some butter in large skillet.  Pour 1/4 cup batter and cook.  Flip pancake when edges look like golden lace.  Cook a little longer until golden.  Top with jam or your favorite topping.