Saturday, July 22, 2017

2017 Learn To Weave

Tracy's loom with the weaving in progress.
Can you actually learn to weave with a four day class from the Reno Fiber Guild?  Well, we think you can.  We have an intrepid group of volunteer teachers who have worked hard to put together a comprehensive class directed at students who want to learn to weave.  This year's class had six students, each with their own mentor.  Before the class started, each student was able to pick three yarn colors they liked that would go along with the natural colored warp for their beginning projects.

Student, Tracy Doren, said this about the class:

I have wanted to learn to weave since I was a teenager.  Finally at 53 I've taken the Learn to Weave class and absolutely love it.  Everything about it intimidated me but as I went a long with each step all that went away and now I have so many ideas for projects and am really excited to move forward.  All of the mentors were so great and patient with us all. The only downside is that I didn't learn this earlier.  I'm so pleased with what I did in the class.  

Here are more samplers and towels woven by the students this year.  Hip, hip hooray for the bunch of them.  The teachers and mentors are almost as happy as the students to have had such a great bunch to work with. 

If you are interested in the Learn To Weave Class for 2018 - check out our informational page.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Great Handwoven Towel Challenge Continues!

Weaving towels is a bit hit with many RFG members.  Some of the towels have been woven for months, and are just now surfacing, but there are those that have a continual towel warp on their looms and are planning for the sale season this fall.

So, we are going to continue this thread for another couple of posts because it is interesting, we are learning new things and who doesn't like a handwoven towel in their kitchen or bath?

 Shelley dyed some warp chains of white Lily yarn at the Kathrin Weber workshop over a year ago.  She had downloaded a free set of directions for these towels from Handwoven (the e-book is still available here).  The article was entitled "Towels as Gamps" and gave instructions for 8 different towels on a straight draw threading.  The article states that the different tie ups are available in the Strickler 8 Shaft book and I suspect there are also available from other sources too.  These are all 8 shaft designs.

 Shelley followed the instructions given in the e-book which indicated that the width in the reed would be 12.5" and the sett for 6/2 cotton, 28epi.  Shelley was disappointed that the towels are so narrow and will add width to them if she weaves this series again.  However, they will make fine hand towels for the bathroom and the array of different weave structures is fun to examine.

 Laurel sells her towels during the holiday season and now has people requesting certain colors and patterns.  The following towels came from her studio this summer.

The plaid towel to the left is one that a customer ordered.  The colors are plain, but are just what she wanted and so Laurel obliged with this elegant plain weave towel has just added a new collection of weaving drafts to their already astounding online resource.  Laurel picked one of the drafts 68026, to weave the turned twill squares within squares.  A timeless design from 1825.

 And, Marguerite Davison still has surprises after all this time.  Here is her "Myrtle Westola" draft on page 69 and Laurel's interpretation.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Great Handwoven Towel Challenge Part 2

This is the second part of our towel challenge photo gallery. 

The following towels were woven by Rae S. as Christmas gifts for her family who live in Ecuador. The colors were chosen to go with the family's kitchen. These are a two block twill on 8 shafts.  8/2 cotton sett at 20 epi.  
And what do you do with the ends of towel warps?  Rae has a great idea for you.  Make potholders. 

Lorene S. wove a series of huck lace towels and used a different colored weft and treadling sequence for each one.  One of the nice elements in these towels is that the huck lace is used as borders and the main body of the towel is plain weave.  Very elegant.
  Beryl M. wove a series of 16 towels on one warp with neutrals in mind.  This one is on 40 shafts using a shaded twill tie up which was  manipulated  to distort the pointed twill threading and treadling.  Warp is 10/2 cotton.

40 shaft tie up

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Great Handwoven Towel Challenge - Part 1

Late last summer, RFG weavers formed a study group to find out what makes a good handwoven towel and how to design and weave one (or many). In our research to find possible design and structure possibilities, we put together this document with many links to many different approaches.  You may download a copy here for your own towel weaving research.

We are now celebrating the towels that resulted from that challenge.  I am always amazed and gratified how these challenges result in a grand variety of ideas and resulting textiles. To make this post more readable and allow for ample photos, there will be another post about more weaver's towels in a few days.
Anni B. wove this towel  and the next in photo directly below.  Simple structures, but so much pizazz.  And, they will make very useable towels in soft unmercerized cottons. Love that texture in the soft green and lilac towel.

 Kathy R. designed a 4 shaft overshot pattern and wove a series of towels in astounding color combinations.  The warp was 10/2 cotton and she graded it in colors  of soft yellow to darker orange and back again.  Then she kept this same gradation in her tie down weft which was a 16/2 cotton.  The pattern wefts were a variety of colors in 8/2 cottons making each towel an individual. 

Laurel has a real flair in designing with stripes.  In the photo directly below, she used a 4 shaft 2/2 twill tie up and an interesting treadling sequence.  The resulting structure causes the little scallops in the black stripes. See the draft here.

Another of Laurel's towels.  This one woven in twill blocks and 8 shafts.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Jette Vandermeiden Workshop - The Four Shaft Weavers

Jette really arranged two workshops at the same time.  One for the eight shaft weavers and one for four shaft weavers.   

Here is what Cheri said about the workshop.

The "All Tied Up" workshop was phenomenal. Jette taught me much about drafting, and the relationship between threading, tie-up, and treadling. She offered tips that will allow me to become a faster and more efficient weaver. The warp on four-shaft looms was composed of four threading patterns, each in a different color. We used a variety of treadlings (twills, rosepath, huck, lace, M and W, etc...) to observe the texture and patterns created in our sampler. The results often astonished us, proving that mixing threading and treadling patterns can produce interesting outcomes.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Jette Vandermeiden visits the Reno Fiber Guild

What better way to spend the gloomy days of late February than to have a three day workshop with Canadian weaver/instructor, Jette Vandermeiden.  There were two workshops going on simultaneously, one for four shaft weavers and another for eight shaft weavers.  The eight shaft workshop is called "All Tied Up" .  All samples were woven on a straight draw threading and with a straight draw treadling.  So, the magic was in changing the tie-up. 

Here is Nancy B's sampler.  Nancy says

"I had a wonderful three days at the workshop with Jette Vandermeiden. Jette was a fantastic teacher and a lovely person. I learned so much about all the variations of weaving that can be done with just one basic threading. It was eye-opening!"

Shelley was working with a new Schacht table loom.  Here is what Shelley says about the workshop.

"I really enjoyed the class. She is a good teacher. I learned a lot about different weave types, (satin, canvas, etc.) and how to use tie-ups to achieve different structures with only a single straight draw threading. The course also gave me an idea of the possibilities for creating my own drafts and using other drafts turned to change design and structure. I will refer to my notes going forward when I want to create my own projects."

Here are some comments made by Suzanne about the workshop.
 "Over the course of 3-days in Jette Vandermedien's workshop,  "All Tied Up",
Jette proved to us that  that ..." tie-up is your best friend!  Thread the
loom with one versatile threading and learn how to re-arrange your tie-up so
you can weave many, many different structures and projects without
re-threading. Discover how integrated twills, layered double weave, summer
and winter, plaited twill, breaks and recesses, M’s and O’s, waffle weave
and so many others can all be woven with small changes to the tie-up."
While this workshop was originally designed for 8-shaft looms, Jette
re-designed ours to include weavers with only 4-shalf looms.  The 8-shaft
looms were dressed in a straight draw threading, and the 4-shaft looms were
dressed with 4 threading's, Straight Twill, Rosepath, and M's & W's.

Our time spent with Jette began with a short refresher into drafting and
quickly progressed into in-depth lessons to understanding the tie-in between
threading and tie-ups, translating weave structures, and creating with first
the use of both paper & pencil and then weaving on our looms.  True to her
word, if you're persistent enough, the possibilities could be endless!
*Confessions of a floor loom person who loves her treadles...with the
endless possibilities for tie-ups, after day two, I had table loom envy!

In this photo of my washed sample warp, where I could only win an award for
having and using the most colors of leftover 8/2 yarns in a stash, I have no
less than 40 woven samples before I ran out of warp, approximately 3 1/2
yards.  Albeit not so attractive, this "washed" warp of woven samples along
with the lessons and information gleaned over the 3-days spent with Jette
provides many future fun, thought provoking projects using my stash! "


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

From the Hands of our New Weavers

This is a little photo gallery of the pieces woven at the Nevada Museum of Art in January.  Children and adults were busy at the looms and we loved what they did and wanted to share the eye candy with everyone who reads our blog.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

"Hands On" Weaving at the Nevada Museum of Art

For several years, the Reno Fiber Guild has been bringing the art and craft of handweaving to public locations and letting everyone get first hand knowledge about how cloth is created.  In January, we were invited to participate with the Nevada Museum of Art at their second Saturday "Hands On"  event. 

There was lots of preparation involved to get enough of our cardboard loom kits made because the museum draws far greater crowds to this event than the guild is accustomed to handling.  Luckily, the museum was a great partner and helped us with many details including help making and assembling several hundred loom kits.

The morning of the event found us bundled against the freezing Reno temperatures.  We headed up to the third floor of the museum with warped looms, kumihimo stands, display pieces and boxes of cardboard looms.  Everyone pitched in and our display and loom set ups came together in an hour, at which time we started receiving our first eager visitors.

Throughout the day, kids of all ages worked their way around the weaving stations. Many started at the cardboard loom table with our able volunteers helping them to get their yarn over and under the warp threads.  After that experience, the next choice was a warped loom.  Each loom had its own mentor to show the public about shuttles, treadles, weaving patterns and much more. 

A real attraction was the Kumihimo braiding station. Who knew you could use a little foam disc to make colorful and elegant braided cords? 

We have had plenty of heartwarming stories to share since our day at the museum.  We were exhausted after our six hour adventure, but satisfied that everyone had enjoyed themselves and also learned something they didn't know about weaving.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Remembering our friend and mentor, Hazel Ryland

"I can't do math, but I am gorgeous!" - Hazel Ryland
Aug. 20, 1925 ~ Nov. 28, 2016
 Reno Fiber Guild's dear friend and long time member, Hazel Ryland, passed away in November.  She was a mentor and teacher to many present and past members of the guild and will be missed by all that knew and loved her.  You can read Hazel's obituary here.

Hazel was born in England and entered the military while still a teenager during WWII.  An article  about her military service appeared in the Nevada Appeal newspaper, Jan. 2016 . In 2014,  she was the proud  participant in an Honor Flight to Washington DC.

As I gathered stories about Hazel for this post, I talked with Gayle V. who had been a good friends with her for many years. Gayle remembers that Hazel would reveal some of her past, but not everything all at once, leaving you wondering "what happened next".  Photos of  Hazel revealed that she was a strikingly  beautiful woman in her youth and the quote under her picture above, is  very typical of Hazel's wry sense of humor.  In another anecdote, Hazel said she was asked if it was difficult to learn to drive on the right side of the road when she came to America.  Hazel's answer was no, it wasn't difficult.  Later, to friends she admitted she hadn't learned to drive until she came to America!  When you read the article  below, you may appreciate this addition to the story.   Hazel was crewing on the Duke of Malborough's yacht with her husband and when winding warps, found that she could make a cross using the sailing masts.

In 2013, Hazel was an honored weaving mentor at the CNCH conference at Squaw Creek.   What follows is the article that appeared about Hazel in the registration booklet and was written by her dear friend Jennifer de Jung.

Hazel Ryland was born in Biggenhill, Kent, England where she grew up with her parents and older brother. Claiming an unremarkable childhood the life that followed was anything but! Lying about her age, she entered the British Army in 1942. She was assigned to the Royal Heavy Artillery and stationed in London and South Hampton. Hers was a mixed battery of men and women. As a spotter, she learned the silhouettes of American, British, and German planes. Reassigned, she used a “predictor” in a pit located nearby the 3.6” guns to guide the gunners’ aim. One of the highlights of the war years was dancing to the Glen Miller Band.

She was given a loom by her father when she was 11 years old. After leaving the service in 1946, she, her father, and brother taught themselves to weave. She still has that little four-shaft table loom (converted to a floor loom by her father) on which they learned. She crewed racing sloops for three years, a remarkable accomplishment for a woman at the time. She married and she and her husband lived for a time on a “very old” pilot cutter. In 1959 she came to the US via Cuba on a 12 passenger merchant ship. Her first job was in a textile mill where she tied on new warps. No wonder that she can tie a weaver’s knot in her sleep. She then went to work at the Allied Arts Guild for Custom Handweavers in Menlo Park where she was mentored by Nancy Felsovany whose photo still graces Hazel’s home.

Prior to coming to Lake Tahoe in 1966, she trained as a Cordon Bleu chef and put those skills to work in the Bay Area and Carson City. In 1970, Hazel began to teach weaving classes. She has woven almost everything from pillow cases to coverlets and tapestry to rugs. For the past several years, her companion Mick at her side, she has focused on pile carpets woven on a beloved Fireside Loom using handspun and hand dyed warp, weft, and pile yarns. She can now do a Giordes knot in her sleep.

The number of weaving students and friends she has influenced is great and in recognition of that, she has been granted lifetime membership to the Reno Fiber Guild. Hazel will always be known for her insistence that we “Sawmple” and many students have been endeared by her oft stated, “I’m lousy at math, but I’m gorgeous!”

This photo is of Hazel receiving the mentor award at CNCH 2013 from her good friend, Jen.

To end this remembrance of our dear friend, here are a couple of personal memories about Hazel by Reno Guild members.

When I met her, Hazel was the youngest 90 year old you are ever likely to meet. She had the wisdom of freedom of her years and experience. She did not hesitate to speak her mind or share her opinion. And had the delight in life that she shared generously. She noticed the details and she helped you see that the world was a brighter place than you thought it was.

I met her a few weeks after she had hip surgery. She would be so frustrated that steps were still difficult or painful, then 3 minutes later delighted that her flowers were blooming and she could walk out with her "stick" to enjoy them. When I came for visits, I was just as likely to find her sitting in the spring sunshine as reading in her easy chair with her cat supervising. And I'll never forget her grin when she drove me around the short block in front of her home for the fist time - knowing that she had taken a little more of her independence back.

I miss her.
Melissa G.

I met Hazel at a meeting of the Carson City Weaving Guild here in the 1970's. I had woven on a cardboard inkle loom making belts, sashes and tapes. I wanted a loom and needed instruction on that scary piece of equipment. I signed up for a beginning weaving class with Hazel. We met at her home and enjoyed the outside patio area for our first steps on this adventure. When Hazel got to the drafting I was totally lost .... tears were in my eyes as I tried so hard to understand ... Hazel patiently went over it and over it until I felt a glimmer of hope and enough confidence to stay with the program. She gave me several mini catch-ups during those first years. She will always be loved and missed.

Nisha K.