Category Archives: Design

Experiments, first to last

This first picture is not really an experiment–yet–but it definitely has possibilities. After sitting at the table looking at some books at the library, I got up and noticed this carpet, which then led to losing my library card. Thank goodness someone found it and turned it in. Love libraries!

Library carpet

Hatching. Ignore what looks black above this image; it’s what was woven before and advanced on the beam.

Squares with hatching

Who knows?

Mostly neutral

The above experiments are mostly self-explanatory, just playing around with whatever yarns are on hand. Directly above was designed to use up the many neutrals on hand, colors that I don’t envision using very much. I ended up throwing in some red in bits all over the piece. Neutrals only can be tolerated for so long.

All cut off

The above pieces have been cut off and are ready to hem. Once they’re hemmed, we’ll see if they continue a life or become extinct.

Below is an experiment terminated. It didn’t fit what was in my head. Using the same colors, a different play on the design. The new weaving has begun, so we’ll see how it goes.

Greens gone bad

Below is the combination of mohair and wool in different shades of blues and purples, stretched on the ikat board. Ask me what I’ve learned about using a singles mohair yarn in this type of situation.

On the board

The same yarns after tying, dyeing, and partially untied.

After tying and dyeing

All the yarns have been untied and skeined. Looks nice, doesn’t it?

The tangled mess becomes a skein

During the untying and untangling process, the singles mohair broke and tangled up with the other yarns. That’s why I skeined the yarn. Now it is time to unskein it and start weaving. Why am I postponing that and continuing the small experiments? Maybe because I foresee more tangling. I don’t know, but by next week I will have a report.

About that retreat

Drawing on Meg’s envelope

Wow! It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted here. BUT I have been busy with studio stuff. First, I want to go back to the retreat idea. I have spent a bit of time on that. My first day was spent in the library, not the one closest to me, but in one a bit farther away. Why? Because it has individual study tables that are conducive to not being disturbed. I did a bit of studying, sketching, and researching. I found a design book by Miró that was interesting, and some books on prehistoric art. 

Because the weather has been so bad, my outside hikes with sketching have not happened. Soon I hope. The few good days we had were spent outside preparing beds for planting later, something that is good for my soul.

One of the things I wanted to explore was the idea of variations on a line. I’ve played with this before, but the post by Meg Nakagawa revived this interest. When I commented on Meg’s post about the book creations on this page, she sent me an actual book! The back of the envelope is depicted above. Lines! 

Contents-the book is in the center left

Book kind of unfolded

I have a whole folder of line ideas, so it’s time to focus. As I consider that, I have been weaving on a Baby Wolf loom in a strictly experimental way. One of the things I wanted to do was use wire or sticks as part of the weft. That experiment was a failure, but one I haven’t given up on. The others have been experimenting with hatching and color, just doing what ever with yarns on hand, and using a bunch of what I consider neutral, boring colors. More on that next week when I take that warp off the loom. By the way, a black warp is difficult.

One of the results from a few years past, experimenting with variations on a line :

©Sherri Coffey-Headin' Home

Headin’ Home, 43 x 30 inches Private collection ©Sherri Coffey


Busy and grateful

It’s been pretty busy around here, and for that, I am grateful. It’s been the just-enough kind of busy.

We had a guild sale at Pottery Barn

The Fort Worth Weavers Guild had a sale, which was both fun and a long day, with the added benefit of great sales. Below is just a portion of the towels we had for sale.

Towel table

Scarves and shawls were hanging here. You can also see my work spread on a nearby couch.

Scarves in the background

Another one on the floor

Here we had baskets, small framed pieces (recognize those?). In the big center basket are bookmarks, key rings, greeting cards, and even buttons.

Baskets, bookmarks, odds and ends


The button covered with small, leftover pieces from weavings.

More towels

The other busy part

I’ve also been busy making sure all the boards for hanging and the corresponding work are together and look good. I don’t know exactly how many pieces will be in the upcoming exhibition, but I want to have more than necessary in case some curating decisions need to be made. As in what looks good together and what doesn’t.

What’s on the loom

This is what I’m working on right now. Although the same yarns as the gradation pieces I just finished are in this weaving, the colors look very different. I planned small holes in the weaving because that’s something I’ve been wanting to do, so why not now in this completely spontaneous piece.

You can see the holes marked in the second pic. They’re only about 1/2 inch long.

Work in progress

With the holes marked

The results are in

Piece that I cut off

First of all, if I EVER think about weaving two things at once, hit me over the head! Hard!

I cut off one of the pieces I was weaving, even though it was intended to be longer, much longer. Here it is in all its un-steamed glory.

Now, for the results of the ikat experiment 

As a reminder, I dyed the tied ikat section and then put it back on the board. You can see how it’s uneven where the two colors come together. That’s a problem to be solved for next time. I’m pretty sure how to do that.

Back on the board

second dyeing

This is where you can see the consequences of that unevenness on the board.

Two different colors

When I dyed the second time around, I didn’t tie all the green sections. The darker areas are where it was dyed over the green.

What will I do differently next time?

The main thing is to maintain the order of the threads more carefully. And if that doesn’t happen, to err on the side of overdyeing the green, so that there won’t be areas of white between the color sections.

I always twine the section with a warp thread on each side to maintain order, but that will need to be done more carefully from now on.


A mistake, but at least I caught it early


Do you see it? The mistake. It had to come out because the dimensions of the piece would be affected.

Despite having to take out an inch and a half of the black and white piece, one of my goals for the week was to actually take scissors in hand and cut into the Color-aid paper. The design above is not what I started out to do, but I found that once I had some shapes cut out, it was fun to move them around and see what would happen if

I kind of like it; maybe I’ll weave it.

Design with Color-aid paper

Commitments, commitments

Something else that I committed to for the week was to finally overdye the rest of the greens with turquoise. (I did the overdye with blue weeks ago.) I’m not sure that these greens are going to be a great deal different from the ones overdyed with blue. Anyone need some really pretty greens?

Green samples



Because of several upcoming events, I need to get to the finish work, steaming, making hanging boards, Velcro, etc. so that they can be photographed. So this is my day: weave a few hours, do finish work a few hours. At one time I timed the finish work, just to get an idea of how much time to estimate for a job. I have since forgotten that number, but maybe I’ll do it again.

However, I think I’ve finally decided on the type of finish to do now. Everything has been tried, but I’ve settled. While on the loom, I do one round of soumak, then six picks of warp, reversing that when I’ve come to the end of the weaving. Then I do a woven edge, using five warps. This leaves the ends up towards the body of the piece. Then those ends have to be needle woven in.

Getting started. The right side has the woven edge done.

Needle woven into the piece.



Which Size














Which size?

So, here I am, just happily weaving along, when I reach a length that mathematically speaking is supposed to be pleasing to the human eye. That’s the drawing on the left. It was not pleasing to me, so back to the drawing board. I added enough inches to the drawing to equal a dynamic rectangle size. That one pleased me, but I put it out on Facebook and Instagram. The majority agreed with me, so weaving continued.

By the way, since the first drawing seems to be in the land of the missing, I scanned the photo, increased the canvas size to add the simulated inches, then filled in with color. This solution came to me during my morning walk.

While doing the weaving, I filled my quill and measured to see how much weaving this quill could handle. The piece is 36 inches wide and this filled quill wove three inches. My bobbins for the other shuttle will only weave about an inch, so this is a good thing.

Filled quill

The piece is off the loom, the warp is ready for the next project, a black and white piece. Below is a picture of just a bit of the mess around my loom bench, times three. Why times three? Because this image is representative of the studio clean up that has to happen, if sanity is to stay intact.

The mess


Butterfly Weed

More morning walk

Above is a picture I love, but it was not taken during my morning walk. Below is the morning walk picture. The consensus is that these are puffballs.



Running in place


Maybe I’m a bit out of control with the red right now. This was done on the small 5-inch Mirrix Lani loom.

I learned some lessons here, but I’m don’t think I will ever apply them because I didn’t really enjoy weaving this very much. You can tell by the ribs of the warp the direction this was woven. Curves are a bit wonky, as is size.

One of the most important lesson I learned from this is to not mark the warp with the design until the first element is finished. I ended up with so many marks I couldn’t tell what was what.

When I decided on doing this little piece, I was thinking maybe a color word for each color, or the same word in different fonts. Now I know that the idea of weaving words is better than the actually weaving words is–for me.

What’s going on?

Do you ever feel like you’re not getting anything done until you look back at the week? That’s my place right now.

I’m always trying to figure out where I put my reading glasses. They’re usually on my head or hanging from my shirt. I’m trying to get rid of the carpenter bees, but they keep multiplying. Whack-a-mole, anyone?

Interruption after interruption, but then I look back over my bullet journal and see how many things I got done and how many items are no longer on my to-do list. (That’s kind of useless, since more things are added to the list all the time.)


Here’s what I dyed last week

Red dyeing

And here’s what I’m dyeing right now.

Mustard yellow

Both of these are two of my favorite colors to dye and use. The mustard, at 1.5% is at a slightly higher percentage than my usual 1%. The red is 2%. I use Sabraset acid dyes from ProChemical.

Mustard Yellow and Deep Red

I think the next up will be a purple of some kind, and finally some black. I do still have that black and white piece to weave!

Inktense colors

And last …

Because I was going to do some design work, I got out the Inktense pencils, but then when I looked at them all, I decided a color chart might be helpful. Here you see the fruits of my labor. They still need a wet brush going-over, but that’ll come later. Maybe something like paint chips would be better? At least they’re in color groups!



Razzle Dazzle

Overdyed greens


One of the tasks on my list last week was to overdye the greens below. You can see the results above. I’m not thrilled, as I was hoping there would be a bigger difference in the colors. Yes, they are nice greens (and a blue), but now what? No matter, I’m overdyeing the next batch, which is very similar in color with turquoise. The blue one is the second from bottom in the picture below.

Green yarn

Another goal

… was to get this off the loom. It’s done, although it hasn’t been steamed or anything, but here it is. Makes me dizzy, so the working title for now is Razzle Dazzle.

Razzle Dazzle (horizontal)

And here it is flipped. 

Razzle Dazzle (vertical)

Warp, 36.5 inches

My next two pieces have been planned, one black and white and the other a bright stripe. I’ve increased the warp to 36.5 inches, a real pain. The back beam has 48 inches of warp beamed, but I never let loose the extra inches. So, I had two unwind three inches on each side to get the extra inches needed. It is now tied on with the header woven, ready to go. Now I need to do some dyeing of reds and 3 more skeins of black. Woo hoo! I’m excited to get started! I’ve also got a bitty project going on the Mirrix.

What’s everyone working on?



You may have guessed that I have been traveling. One of the things I did before leaving was to make a list of what I wanted to do when I got home. When I travel, even if it’s just for a long weekend, I have a hard time getting back into a routine. Frankly, I’ve been a little restless about staying home and working, so this list was extra helpful.

On my list is getting some dyeing done. So far that hasn’t worked out so well. I’ve had appointments, and well, a social life. Lunch out two times in one week? Unheard of. There’s also a coffee date already set up. What’s with this social life thing? Oh well, it’ll be over with next week.

My body clock is not back to normal, though, so I am getting some weaving done. Progress is slow. The goal for the above piece is to reach 30 inches (only 20 inches to go!). I’m hoping to get it finished soon, because another list I made is of the pieces I want to weave in the next few months.

Traveling always brings inspiration in one form or another. Mine seems to be spirals and pattern, as usual. Below are examples from the British Museum in London. I already posted a picture of spirals at the Underground station.


Egyptian spirals in British Museum

Handweavers Studio

One should always find the local weaving shop, right? I was told by a friend that this is one of the best she’s visited anywhere, so a visit was definitely in order. My friend was right–it’s a great shop! Handweavers Studio and Gallery

A bit about the trip

My daughter, son, grandsons, and I traveled to London. One reason we did this is because my daughter said that when we took them back when they were in high school, it was a life-changing event for her.

We decided to rent an apartment in the Bloomsbury area, which turned out to be an excellent decision. We were only a couple of blocks from the Russell Square tube station, so getting around was easy. When I first started looking for a place, I was looking at how many beds there were. Then I realized that I should also look at bathrooms. Five people, one bathroom? Not an ideal situation. 

We really loved being to stay in one place and visit when we made our way back after a long day of sightseeing and walking miles. 

Back to the schedule

After over 17 hours of trains, planes, airports, and auto, I got home after 9 pm, had a bit of dinner, and headed to bed. When I woke up in the middle of the night to make my way to the bathroom, I was disoriented in my own bedroom. Weird. But all is well now, and I’m back to work. It was a great trip, and we all had a good time. The list I made ahead of time has served me well.


All but the steaming


This piece is finished, a long haul for me. It’s at 6 epi, and the ends were really difficult to weave in. Plus, this is such a boring task. So boring, in fact, that I did the first end watching made-for-TV movies of Perry Mason. And while doing that finish work, I was mulling over my sett and whether I wanted to continue that, or go back to my roots of wool warp at 4 epi. No matter–there’s still lots of warp left on that back beam for now.

All that’s left is the steaming and a real photo.

While deciding on that weighty issue …

This is what I’m weaving right now, totally spontaneous, with no plan. On a whim, I decided to add the red “stripe” before starting the next bit. The multicolored part is 5 inches and the red is 1/2 inches. Below, I manipulated the image with various rotations to get an idea of how this would look as a full sized piece with both the red and without the red. I still haven’t decided. Frankly, the red bit was just a way of breaking the monotony of deciding colors and making sure things were changing up. The final piece is to be about 30 x 30 inches.

Red border    


 Wanna help me decide? Let me know what you think.

Maybe I should just go outside and work and let this bounce around a bit.