Category Archives: Tools

Having a great time!

On the loom

Love the colors!

The colors on the loom are really exciting to me! Even though it’s just throwing a shuttle (which has the ability to be boring), the colors are fun. Here’s a picture of some of the yarns I dyed and balled up lately.

All balled up

The reddish violet one was originally a reddish magenta, which I overdyed with violet and polar red. Not only do I like the color, it turned out as expected. The yellows are dyed with Sabraset Mustard Yellow at 1.5%.

Winding needs improvement

Now, back to that throwing the shuttle thing. For whatever reason, no matter what I do differently, the two strand of yarns are not rolling off the bobbin correctly. You can see the problem below. That’s how much slack there is between one strand versus the other.

Extra weft

Then I remembered the new shuttle that I had, the one that uses quills. Tah dah! 

When I first started to weave, many centuries ago, I used quills. However, I’ve slept since then, so winding the weft onto the quill takes a bit of practice. I’m using a 1/4 inch dowel to hold the quill, and dug this driver up from a long lost box. Wonder if I can also find the charger? 

And all is working now! I have not wound a huge amount onto the quill, although the shuttle-maker (High Desert Weaving) says that it will hold over 45 yards of a bulky yarn.

Quill in shuttle

Winding weft onto the quill

So, I’m a happy weaver again. Nevertheless, I’ll have to solve the winding problem at some point. It’s funny how sometimes there is no problem, but now there’s a huge problem.

Now, what are you working on? Do tell!

Again and again

63 inches and counting

What’s that quote about insanity and repeating actions?

I’m insane, according to that definition, because I’ve done it AGAIN! Now whether this is really a mistake in my ikat-tying or another kind of mistake, I’m no longer sure. However, a lesson has finally been beaten into my head…I have to do a better job with the cartoon to make sure that the wrong sections aren’t tied or not tied.

Label, label, label!

I haven’t quite decided what the best process is for that yet, but it has to happen. The cartoon above is for ikat. The one below is for a tapestry. As you can see, they are black and white outlines. Should I label the ikat ones with color ID like the one below? Or should I color in the cartoon with felt tip pens?

Cartoon with color ID

I could use some ideas for a prevention technique.  Or maybe this piece on the loom really is the piece from hell, and all will be better with the next one. Whaddya think? (And did you know you can actually find many Google entries for that word?) Or should it be whatcha think?

Is it already Wednesday?

waste basket of untied ikat tape



Is it Wednesday already?

Seems I can no longer keep up with what day it is in the week. Yes, it’s Wednesday. Yes, my blog post should be ready. No, it is not ready. What’s going on here?

Ikat untying

Just in case you were wondering,untying ikat tape from the yarn takes almost as much time as untying it. And then there’s the winding onto shuttles. Over the years I have learned that I prefer certain shuttles for this, one called a poke shuttle. I always overfill them because there does not seem to be a good place to cut the continuous weft. 

Filled shuttles with section one


Someone asked me about keeping up with which shuttle is which. It just requires labels, many labels. When I’m measuring the yarn for ikat, I label where I start with “bottom left.” When I end the section, I label it “top right.” When I wind onto the shuttles, I start with the top right end, so that I can begin weaving with the bottom left. You have to weave in the direction you measured the yarn, or the pattern will not match up.

You can see in the image below that I am using a ski shuttle. I really don’t like it very well for this, but my other shuttles were full, and there was still a bit of this section of weft left to wind.

Ikat in progress

Weaving ikat

The actual weaving part of ikat goes fast, plus it keeps my interest because it requires attention to matching the pattern and the selvedges. This means that quite a bit of the piece is already woven.

This is such a close-up that you can see how the edges of the color don’t seem even near the right spot, but when it is seen without enlargement, the edges look fuzzy, but not so extreme as this detail.


Maybe I’ll be finished by the next time Wednesday rolls around.

Last week

Fall Series: l-r: Fall 2, 29 x 4", $232 Fall, 24 x 7.5", $360, Zig Zag Fall, 28.5 x 4", $142

Fall Series: l-r: Fall 2, 29 x 4″, $232 Fall, 24 x 7.5″, $360, Zig Zag Fall, 28.5 x 4″, $142

I frantically finished the three small pieces above to get them ready for the open house on Saturday. They turned out pretty well, didn’t they? I’ll probably do some more while I decide where I’m going next. These are completely freestyle, some that I don’t do often, but still the finish work is consuming. Maybe I haven’t found the right system for this kind of work yet.

So then these things happened:

–the printer stopped working, and I had things to print for the open house
–ran some errands, including getting a new printer at Costco
–came home to discover that my electric miter saw and other important time-saving electric      tools had been stolen–needed the miter saw to cut display boards
–the temporary bridge fell out of my mouth (I stuck it back in)
–after researching the Costco printer, returned it because it doesn’t do images well
–bought new printer just like my old one (it did a good job, and I had had it for a while)
–went to dentist to get temp bridge put in place again (while I was there, the permanent bridge  arrived–Yay!)
–returned printer to Costco
–bought a new miter saw

Scenes for the studio open house


Panorama Photo credit: Carolyn Bernard Young


Carolyn taking a break alongside her pottery

Beaded collar

Guest wearing a beaded collar-isn’t it amazing?


Just thinking



Yes! Finally warping! You would think that after so many years of putting on warps, that I’d have this down. Nope. However, I think maybe it’s happening now. I am putting on 33 yards at 6 epi, using the warping wheel set for 3 yards per revolution. Since I have plenty of warp spools, I’m warping six ends at a time, 11 revolutions, placing ends in the reed, and repeating to get a two-inch section. Gee, I hope my math is correct!

A friend posted the picture below of Brownies lined up for summer camp. Dresses? Really? I know we each didn’t a uniform for each day of camp, but what did we wear otherwise? Even the counselor is in a dress. Geez! I asked my mother, but she said we didn’t wear pants, so I guess shorts were out also. I know, growing up in Texas, fashion trends took a couple of years to reach us. Of course, this was before instant communication. I don’t think I wore pants to school until I was in college. Mother said she was fourteen when pants “came in.” The main thing I remember about this camping experience was riding the very early school bus to “town” and having swimming lessons there in the public pool. I remember this whole camping experience with great fondness. We were in second or third grade and spent the night at camp for a week.

Brownie camp

Brownie camp

Yesterday I took my mother on an errand, and couldn’t resist this building. Even though I grew up in this town, I don’t remember noticing the knight in shining armor or the crenellations at the top.

Crenelated roof

Crenellated roof

The Churro Club

Churro club

Churro club Love these colors!

If you don’t know about the Churro Club from Weaving Southwest, let me explain. Every month you receive a box of yarns with colors that are not available in the usual product line. If you want more of the colors, you have to order them before the month ends. I have no idea what I will do with these yarns, but I love getting the new colors each month. It’s like a surprise gift for adults! Aren’t the colors that arrived today wonderful? Teresa and Joe are doing some really innovative things with their business, including the Churro Club and Yarn Bales. Check ’em out.

And then there’s the weather

So, okay, talking about the weather is boring, but … Friday it was 107, the hottest it’s been in ages, maybe years. Then a front came in, bringing a bit of rain, lots of clouds, and temperatures in the 80s. Glorious! Energizing! Maybe I’ll even finish that warp!

It’s a green day

27 skeins of balled up green

27 skeins of balled up green

Have you ever spent a day balling up skeins of yarn? Except for the tangles in the new yarn I’m trying, a pretty boring experience. I tried doing it while listening to a book. Works most of the time, but then the squirrel cage gets to going so fast that it rattles noisily and I can’t hear the audio. And about those tangles…all that glorious kinkle that I wrote about earlier, just doesn’t seem to want to disappear, no matter how many times I pop those skeins. I start winding and all of a sudden, my winding yarn is under another strand and just won’t release. So, I cut and tie and move on. Until the next time, which means that balling up 27 skeins of yarn took a looooong time. Now, those skeins that I wound myself? Perfect. Even though they are with a singles wool, perfect. Love my skein winder.

More yarns, more kinkiness

More yarns, more kinkiness

Here’s the weaving so far. Sorry about the head shadow, but at least I caught that I took a picture of my thumb! You can barely see the new color I just started on the right. Now my fear is that all these greens, although they look so distinct in balls, won’t look that way in the final weaving. Gotta have something to worry about, right?

So far

So far

I’m curious — How many of you belong to a guild of artists/artisans? Weavers, potters, painters, quilters, etc? Do you belong to a group that meets and has programs? Do you have a guild sale? My guild, Fort Worth Weavers Guild, has finally obtained non-profit status and we are now allowed to have a sale again. We used to have a sale along with our biennial show, but the lack of non-profit status and the state sales process caused us to stop. We’re back! We will have our first-sale-in-a-long time April 27. But for now, I’d like to know about public events your guild/group has. Shows? Sales? How do you plan it? Carry it out? Share and maybe inspire and/or help all of us.

Another week, another lesson, and success

Rice paper-Who knew they had an attractive weaverly design.

Rice paper-Who knew they had an attractive weaverly design.

Things did not go as planned last week, except for improving my diet. Success in that area, well except for one meal. Tasted good, but not pretty to look at. I made the shrimp summer rolls from Skinnytaste. It was the first time I have ever used rice paper, and I was not very successful. I think, because I reduced the servings for the recipe, I over stuffed the rolls, so a knife and fork was necessary. One of the things I’m trying to accomplish with this healthier food project, is to be able to put some things in the freezer. That way, when it comes to dinner time, and I don’t feel like cooking, I can grab something homemade from my freezer. It’s definitely a work in progress.

The plan had been to dye every day, thus finishing up all the yarn needed for the upcoming project. But before I moved forward with that, I decided to test some yarns on the warp I’m using. Lone Star Loom Room has Mobelatta, a very tightly twisted 2-ply wool yarn with a nice sheen. I really like the way it wove up; my only complaint is that the ties on the skeins are too tight for dyeing, so first up was to redo all the ties. I plan to use three strands at once, so I decided to combine the Mobelatta with a singles of the type of yarn I use all the time (2-ply Crown Colony). That meant I had to use the skein winder because all the yarn of this type is on a huge cone from R&M Yarn. They don’t have it on the website currently, so I hope it will be available again. But that huge cone leads to the next step.

Yarns clipped to arm

Yarns clipped to arm. Notice the curves on the arms to “hold” each skein?

So to backtrack a bit–In 2010 I bought an electric skein winder from Crazy Monkey Creations. My fuzzy mind seems to remember that there was a wobble when I tried it out, then life got in the way, and I didn’t get it out again until a couple of weeks ago. This was THE week to use it! I balled up some of the yarn, because this thing can make three skeins at once! My third skein was coming from the huge cone on the floor. Notice those clips for the ends of the yarn? The guides to place them in the correct part of the arms? A thoughtfully designed machine. The operator, however, was not so clever. Singles yarn kinks. Coming out of those center-pull balls did not mean there was smooth sailing of unkinked yarn. It just kind of went back on itself until there would be a clump of yarn finding its way to the skein.

Counter works now

Counter works now

Then there was the next problem: the counter didn’t work. I had no way to know how big my skeins were in terms of weight for dyeing. So I contacted Benjamin, the genius behind this machine. He suggested that a new battery was necessary. I carefully laid the thing back and removed the counter, took out the battery, and went to town for a new one. Glory hallelujah! The counter worked! I then took one of those disastrous balls of yarn and wound it onto a spool and made a skein electrically. The conclusion is that when the arms are set for a two yard skein, 250 revolutions will produce a 100 g skein. Perfect! Now I just have to warp the loom. Not a problem, right?

So, all in all, a good week. Didn’t get everything done, but learned a couple of things, and I’m back on track with dyeing and warping. And I love this skein winder! By the way, the design for it looks to have changed a bit since I got mine, along with the price.

What’s going on in your world? Accomplishments? Lessons learned?


Random thoughts

Wildflowers (detail)

Wildflowers (detail)

I have a full week of dyeing ahead of me. My spreadsheet is ready, skeins are labeled, dyes are on hand…time to get started. The mornings are a bit cold for it, but oh well, the colors need to be dyed.

Greens spreadsheet

Greens spreadsheet

I have finally decided it’s time to make that appointment to visit the doctor. I am just not feeling very energetic, and that bugs me. Now which came first, not energy or no healthy diet, but that has to be addressed too. So, healthy menus have been planned with the hope of freezing extras. I’ll let you know how that goes. I plan, but then don’t want to cook or eat what I’ve planned. I think rigorous discipline is needed. Wonder how long it will take to develop and if I have enough time left to actually do that? Anybody have any hints?

a picture of the read

a picture of the reed

A couple of weeks ago, the program at Fort Worth Weavers Guild was on the ondule reed. I only knew vaguely what it was, so this was an interesting program. One of our members, Margaret A, has begun what seems to me as an in depth study of fan reeds, experimenting with different reed configurations, setts, weave structures, the depth that the reed is held as it beats, etc. She has compiled a very nice notebook with samples of all her efforts, some more successful than others, as would happen naturally with experiments. I always admire the many different and talented weavers out there and the kinds of weaving they do, even though I don’t want to do it. A couple of sites that may be interesting are: and A more informative site is here===>

An example of the weaving from the above reed

An example of the weaving from the above reed

I was looking at some handmade weavers tools by Alexandra Iosub on Etsy and saw some nostepinne. Now I’ve seen the word before and knew it had something to do with preparing yarn, but not what exactly. So naturally, I looked it up. The low tech way of winding a center pull yarn ball. Hmmm And just in case you wondered, here’s how to pronounce it. Isn’t the internet a wondrous thing?

Gearing up

Gearing up. Getting ready for December, even though it’s already here. The studio MUST get cleaned up, as well as the adjunct studio (AKA dining room). So, it’s a bit of this and a bit of that around here.



This is what I found when I went out for the newspaper this morning. I frequently find the paper in this position, but not usually floating in water. The water is because I have had 8.77 inches of rain beginning on Thanksgiving and ending on Sunday. Actually it’s surprising that it is still floating since it was so waterlogged. The depth of this ditch is really deceptive. If the newspaper is not visible from my porch, I get the grabber ’cause I know it’s in the ditch and I don’t want to crawl down into it. Too early in the day for that.



Below is my latest effort at wedge weave. I will learn how to do this, I will learn how to do this,I will learn how to do this….. This was woven on the tiny Lani from Mirrix.  I don’t have the shedding device on this loom, but might consider it later. Right now I’m just using tapestry needles as shuttles. As you can see, there are issues with this bitty weaving, but overall I am pleased. The selvedges are wavy as they are supposed to be. You can see too much warp the the “line” where the weft changes directions, which is not aided by the amount of draw-in–both solvable, I’m sure. Embroidery floss allows for almost infinite colors. For this I used the six strands as they came out of the package. I did blend colors on a couple of the Christmas trees I wove, which gave the color more depth. Once I feel better about weaving wedge weave, I want to try some silk. Gotta think about that draw-in. How do you fix that?

Wedge Weave, embroidery floss, 4 x 3 inches

Wedge Weave, embroidery floss, 4 x 3 inches

I have had these inexpensive boxed bookshelves sitting on the floor for a while, but finally tackled the project. Yes, the instructions say it’s a two-person job, but I am just one person. The boxes are too big for me to move, so I cut one open and moved the parts individually. I am looking forward to organizing my art and weaving books. Maybe I’ll be able to find something more easily now. Have you heard of’s Word of the Day? Bibliotaph came in the other day. Scary. I’m not going to think about that.



This is the time of year that I get a new calendar, I guess like everyone else. Even though I use the calendar on my phone (and love it!), I still like to have a paper calendar. I have decided to try a new one this time. It’s called the Week Dominator from Neu Year. You can see the one I usually get here and here. What I like about the usual calendar is the yellow column on the right, where I can write down goals or whatever for the week. With the calendar I’m trying this year, you can write those goals down below the day but above where the hours begin. I also like the dot format as opposed to lines. We’ll see. I may go back to the tried and true.

New style calendar

New style calendar

My treat for myself this week. A workshop totally unrelated to weaving, except for what’s floating around in my head. We’ll see…. More about that later.


Prepare now

I rarely prepare for Christmas early, but just in case you haven’t seen it, Mirrix Looms has a free e-book about weaving a Christmas tree ornament. They even have a kit for it that looks just beautiful! Including are the silk yarns, Ultrasuede for the back, cotton warp, and beads. Since I get a new ornament for each of the boys every year, I’m thinking this is the one for this year. Which means planning ahead. Take a look at the tree and get the book here. They have even got the tree kit/loom package ready to go. This will be a project for me to try out on the new Lani loom. And I am a distributor now, so contact me if interested.


Phone: 817-781-1717

Address: PO Box 123305, Fort Worth, TX 76121