Thursday, October 23, 2014

25 Steps

Deflected doubleweave scarf in 18/2 merino woven by Jennifer McDermott. 

Recently I saw a wonderful video about the (jacquard) weaver/fibre artist Bhakti Ziek. I loved how slowly she spoke and though I've been teaching weaving for over 25 years, I never really thought about how many steps preceded the moment of actual weaving until I watched this short video on her, describing her process and a commission for Princeton University. Bhakti Ziek on weaving:
Rep weave placemats in 2/8 cotton by Michelle Kortinen. Michele was inspired by another matt she had in her possession and copied the design almost perfectly. She has launched her own handweaving business and you can check her out at or at She has created fresh and enticing marketing campaign for her new venture. 

I first heard of Bhakti Ziek when I became interested in Jacquard weaving. She co-authored a book with Alice Schlein, The Woven Pixel. This was one of the earliest books to be written on jacquard weaving. Though she is known today as a jacquard weaving fibre artist, in the early part of her woven path she studied backstrap weaving instensively with Mayan women  in Guatemala where she lived for 4 years, which resulted in her co-authoring Weaving on a Backstrap Loom. As many weavers do, her practice evolved, endlessly exploring and investigating different weaving techniques and applied them to her fibre art and wallhangings.
A beautiful soft alpaca scarf that has irredescence perfectly capturing the colours of urban living in winter. Woven by Jane Tucker. 

So, I decided if I could come up with 25 steps and could not. Many of the steps though would be taken up with the design process, especially if it is jacquard weaving, where considerable time would be spent on the computer, and if it was a commission, more time and steps taken with the client. 
1. Research
2. Deciding on what you will make
3.  Design 
4. Experimentation, exploration, sampling (most weavers bypass this)
5. Deciding on the materials to be used
6. Choosing weave structures 
7. Calculations of yarn amounts and sett. 
8. purchasing / ordering materials 
9. Preparing the warp 
10. threading the reed 
11. threading the heddles 
12. tying onto the back 
13. rolling the warp on 
14. tying onto the front 
15. adjusting tension 
16. testing 
17. correcting mistakes 
Lann Smyth created this vest with a mohair and ribbon rectangle that she wove. The softness of the picture seems to mirror the mohair! 

What's Happening at the Toronto Weaving School
Colours for the colours samplers are ready!

This week we received 2 loom donations. Above, the Klik loom, a Louet version of the knitters loom but with 16 shafts! you can weave those complicated patterned scarves you always longed to, though it will be slower than a regular table loom. Below, a 22" Leclerc tableloom donated by Burr House, a weaving guild in Richmond Hill. a very BIG THANK YOU to all and thank you for thinking of us and making that effort!!!!! 

Textile Talks and Exhibits
At the ROM
Islamic Textiles

Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre St, Toronto
From Ashgabat to Istanbul: Oriental Rugs from Canadian Collections

Looking for irresistible yarn and the latest trends in knitting yarn (many good for weaving) ? Go to and if you buy a whole bag will give you 25% off. 

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