Monday, December 28, 2009

Weavezine: Rodrick Owen - Kumihimo & Peruvian Braids

New Weavecast Posted on
48: Rodrick Owen
Produced by Syne Mitchell, 27 December, 2009 - 12:02

250 Patterns from Japan, Peru and Beyond

This episode we chat with Rodrick Owen about kumihimo and Peruvian braids. If you’re not familiar with kumihimo, it’s a Japanese style of braiding that creates beautiful and strong braids. The most common form of kumihimo is woven on a marudai, essentially a small round table with a hole in the center.

You can access the podcast at:

Have a good day!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Harrisville Lap Loom - Size A 12" X 16"

Here is the Harrisville Lap Loom Size A 12" X 16" that I have. The pointed flat sticks are the shed sticks. If you don’t have them in your kit you can go to the hardware store and ask for a couple paint stirring sticks. They might cost 50 cents to a dollar each. You might buy some sandpaper to sand a point on the sticks.

As for yarn, the loom is built with pegs spaced every half inch, pegs are 3/16 inch thick. When you warp with yarn that is 8 or 10 wraps per inch in thickness (WPI) your warp will be spaced about 1/2 inch. But there will be a lot of open space between the warps. If you weave with the same yarn, your weaving will be very weft faced, that is the weft yarn will cover the warps. If you are not careful, the weft will pull the warps closer together and spoil your spacing as you weave, so be sure to watch the spacing as you weave.

The instructions have directions for making bags, pillows, placemats or wall hangings.

I wove a single panel out of cotton vari-colored yarn (sugar and creme). The panel was a little too small for a wash cloth after I machine washed and dried it, but I folded it, stitched around two sides, put a drawstring on the open side and made a little pouch to hold soap for the shower. It’s a good way to use up those little bits of soap, especially handmade soaps.

You can also sew together small pieces to make larger ones.

You could even do tapestry with it, I would recommend getting some fat yarn to weave on it.

If you have the “Wonder Wand” which is a square toothed comb looking stick, that is supposed to push down every other warp to make your shed (warp opening) easier. It works if you are very careful not to let the weft (horizontal) threads pull the sides of the weaving in. Once the warp is out of alignment and the spacing is changed, the Wonder Wand does not work.

So be prepared to use one of the pointy sticks (shed sticks) to pick up every other warp to create your shed for weaving.

Have a good day!

Friday, December 25, 2009

A tale of three scarves

3 scarves made on Cricket Rigid Heddle loom using 10 dent heddle. All 6 inch wide and 72 inch long plus fringe. Made with acyrlic yarn, variegated yarn and solid white. Twisted fringe finish. (you can click on photo for larger picture)

This woven with alternating half white, half color warp and woven with two shuttles, one white, one colored. This spread the color change along the scarf.

This yarn was chosen for its earth tones. It's warped alternating half white, half color. I was worried about running out of white yarn and so I wove 4 picks of color yarn, 2 picks white, 4 picks color, 2 white. This did a good job of move the color sequence and the scarf looks different from the first one.

This scarf was made from two skeins of black and grey variegated yarn. I organized the warps into runs of color. I noticed that the color pattern was based on 11 inch sections and seemed to repeat every 88 inches, so I warped 88 inch long. The warp seemed to change to a different shade of color every 11 inches. I wove one shuttle on the weft. When it was time for new yarn, I made sure I cut the yarn at the same color change to preserve the weft color sequence.

I'm really impressed with how well it came out.

Have a good day!

edited to correct: warp on first two scarf is alternating half white, half color, not all white warp.
That is two strands white, two strands color.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tamales in My Corner of the World

It is traditional to make tamales at Christmas. To save time we bought a kit from the supermarket. For $30 you get everything you need to make your own tamales!

Sure is a lot of stuff here in this box! There is masa (corn dough), corn husks, cooked pork and red chile sauce, cooked chicken and green chile sauce, refried beans, salsa, and chips! You have a holiday meal in a box.

Although the kit comes with cooked meat, my lovely wife is a fan of cheese and green chile filling. We spread the dough on a corn husk, put fiilling, wrap the tamale with another corn husk and will steam it to cook.

Here is some of the red chile and pork.

First batch of 16 tamales in the steamer basket for about an hour. The second batch was only 9 tamales when I used up all the dough, so I guess we'll only have 27 instead of the 36 as said on the label.

I didn't even open the chicken and green chile packets. I'll freeze those for use on another day.

And that's what's going on in Sacramento, Calif.
Have a Merry Christmas!
Franco Rios

4 Harness Conversion for Rigid Heddle Loom - Cheap!

(from files of the rabbitgeek - Oct 2008)
4 Harness Conversion for Rigid Heddle Loom - Cheap!

If you want to try twill weave with your rigid heddle, you will have
to add heddles or harnesses. A neat trick was just posted on the internet a few days ago.

Leigh Dudenhoeffer added string heddles and harness sticks to her
rigid heddle loom. This site shows pictures and description of the

Build a Loom Frame and How to Use Your Table Loom As a 4 Harness Loom!!!
(two short articles on the page, large pictures)

There is also a VIDEO of weaving on the modified loom 10/09/08

The RH actually sits in the holding slot. The string harnesses go
behind the RH since the area in front of the RH is used for the shed.

Be sure to make the recommended visit to
Marla Mallet's website for instructions on primitive loom
construction, heddles, and heddle bars.

Don't put warp through the little holes in the RH, put two threads
through each slot. The RH is used as a reed to maintain spacing. A
comb is used beat/place the weft.

The process is not as fast as using multiple rigid heddles. Advantage is
the cost is low and it uses your existing rigid heddle loom frame. It
give more possibilities to existing equipment.

It is a very clever application.

Much applause to Leigh Dudenhoeffer for sharing her loom conversion
trick on the internet.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sprang 3 and Sprang 6

Here is sprang #3, with more practice, my eyes and my fingers are getting used to movements and patterns needed for this basic weave pattern.

Here is sprang #6, becoming more familiar with the movements and where the strings need to overlap for the weaving to work. I have 24 warps on it now. Will start some wider pieces with a long board soon.

I've used string to pull the weaving wide for taking the photo. I've also drilled some holes in the clipboard to anchor the sticks.

Here are some more sprang links

Wikipedia - Sprang - Sprang info

Regia Anglorum - Anglo-Saxon and Viking Crafts - Sprang

Middle Kingdom Textile Artisan Guild
Click on the various sprang articles

Doni's Coptic Bag Sprang Project

Ellen Shipleys Weft To My Own Devices sprang article

Ronald and Blue's Web Site with Sprang and Nalbinding
English Version - Click on pictures to read about Techniques

Jen's Coptic Sprang Article
with links to other articles

Sprang Article from House Ebarra Early Period #7

Edited to add:
I found another sprang book online at
Egyptisch Vlechtwerk [Sprang], Holkema & Warendorf, 36 pages.
Part 1 file size 4.2MB
Part 2 file size 11.6MB
Description from Anne Blinks
Van Reesema, E. Siewertsz, Egyptisch Vlechtwerk [Egyptian Lace], V. Holkema
& Warendorf's, Uitg-My.N.V. Amsterdam, N.D. 48pp. [Instructions included,
with photos. Also photos of currently interlaced pieces from classes.
This is what we now call Sprang.]
I don't read Dutch, but there are dozens of excellent pictures. The book was scanned as picture so I can't put the text into a translator without typing it all in.

Add this web page to the list of links

Have a good day!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dress Like An Egyptian

Found a very cool doc while searching for "sprang" and "egypt"

Information Pack on Textiles in the
Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology for Students Studying Textiles at Key Stage 4.
Produced with the support of the Sharing Museum Skills Awards


Introduction: The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and its Textiles 3

Section I: Examples of garments and other textiles in the Petrie Museum
Tarkhan dress
Deshasheh dresses
Gurob sleeves
Bead-net dress
Beaded headband
Sprang-cap (finger woven netting)
Socks (single needle knitting/nalbinding?)
Household textiles
Soft toys
Painted shrouds and Mummy wrappings

You've got to check this out! Good overview with some interesting drawings!

Have a good day!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Sprang Begins

I've been dying to start on this sprang project and so here it goes.
This is the first attempt. This is a very sad sprang.

This is second attempt. Much better looking. Still sad.
Stay tuned for more!

Have a good day!

Autumn Red Scarf on the Cricket

(click for larger picture)
This is a scarf woven for my son's friend at school who happens to be a girl. Since they've already exchanged gifts it's not a secret so I can post it. The scarf is about 4.5 inch by 72 inch. The yarn is Caron Simply Soft "Autumn Red" acrylic with a couple of strands of white acrylic for accent.

Here is the scarf on the Cricket rigid heddle loom. My son went with me to select the color and yarn. I warped it, started the first two inches and then he started weaving. He did a good portion of it over a couple of evenings, not bad for a kid who is 13 years old anyway. I had promised him we would not miss the deadline so I finished it for him when he had to go to an evening program at school.

So the next night we finished it, washed it, steam ironed it, wrapped it and put a bow on it. He gave it to her the next day. He says she liked it.

I promised him it would not look lame and I think we did good.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Backstrap Weaving blog

There is a new blog on the net

Laverne Waddington in Bolivia has created a blog focusing on Backstrap Weaving.

She already has posted a new idea for a project - double weave mug rugs

Go visit the blog for more info

Have a good day!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fingerweaving in December

I've been taken my clipboard and fingerweaving on the train the last couple of days and here is more things I'm learning. (click photo for larger view, back to return to blog) From the book Finger Weaving: Indian Braiding by Alta R Turner, the above is Peruvian Rep Braid, where one set of strings (the yellow) is always a warp that covers weft and the other set (the blue) is always a weft going through the warp. It create a zig zag pattern. The fringe is 4 string braid.

This next pattern is Peruvian Cross Rep Braid, where the yellow strings are always a warp that covers the blue and also covers the yellow where it crosses in the middle. The blue never covers the yellow and covers the blue in the middle cross.

The yarn is Sugar and Cream worsted cotton 4 ply yarn, 12 WPI.

Have a good day!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Self Stripe Washcloth on Frame loom

I did some washcloths for a friend on my little frameloom. The yarn is Sugar & Creme self striping worsted cotton yarn. I lost the label and don't know the name of the color. I arranged the warp & weft so it looked like a color gamp sample. Woven size is 12 x 12 inch.

Here is the finished cloths, color not so good in this pic. Size came out 11 x 10 inch.

Folding table legs set up for warp the yarn at 12 inch.

After warping 120 threads, tables were no longer in line. Will put weight on tables next time.
I could not use this warp so I started over.

This time I am continuous warping the dowels on the frame. Starting continuous warp.

After warp is done the edge is twined then lashed to dowel/loom beam.

A metal tooth comb is used as a beater.

When things get tight, the flat shuttle stick is traded for a chopstick with a hole drilled in the end.

Have a good day!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Youtube: Spinning yarn on a pencil

Anybody who has read my blog for any length of time know how much I love primitive, simple tools. So when I saw this link posted on I know I had to pass it alog.

Spinning yarn using a pencil as a makeshift spindle
Zaftigwendy shows how to spin and how to ply by rolling a pencil on the thigh.

I love simple fiber tools. I've never seen this technique before but it makes so much sense.

Have a good day!