Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rebecca Mezoff - Tapestry Artist

I added another blog to the blog list.

Rebecca Mezoff is a tapestry artist. I added her blog because she has made a video showing how to execute the weft interlock technique devised by the late James Koehler, another tapestry artist.

I appreciate she spent the time to make a video to help other artists. Bravo!

You can see the technique at her blog.

You can see my blog list at my blog, down on the right side of the home page.

Have a good day!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

SWSG Saturday Dec 2012

Dec 1 2012, meeting of the Saturday Group, Sacramento Weavers & Spinners Guild. The topic of the day is Angora Rabbit with speaker Erin Maclean. Because of the rainy weather, Erin did not bring a rabbit to show off. So above is a picture of some Angora rabbits that I used to have, just so you know what kind of rabbits we are discussing.

Because of the rainy weather, we had a small turnout. Here is Erin speaking to the group.

 Here is some of the items Erin explained and described. Erin raises German Angora rabbits. The wool is sheared regularly. Above Erin has brought some of the yarn she spins. There are felted hats and mittens, knitted scarves and socks. The angora wool is slick but has a lovely "halo." Blending with other fibers can add stretchiness.

 Felted fingerless mittens.

This knitted scarf was made with "blue" angora blended with grey leicester sheep wool in blend that Erin calls Silver Blizzard. 

 Erin shows off a felted scribble lace scarf made with angora wool.

It was a nice presentation on a rainy afternoon in Sacramento.

Erin Maclean's website is Bungalow Farm

The next meeting is January 12 (Sat) 1-4 pm at the Arcade Library
Linda York will show us how to read a weaving draft.

 You can follow our schedule at

It was a good day!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Need More Fiber

Another blog: Need More Fiber
Interesting reading and lots of pictures

Have a good day!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Structo Tips From Daryl Lancaster

Daryl Lancaster's blog relates how she rounded up 9 Structo looms to give a class in weaving. Structo made the little 4 harness looms that students would use to learn and test weaving patterns.

See some details on how she tunes up the looms for work.

Have a good day!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

SWSG Sat Sept 2012

Sacramento Weavers and Spinners Guild Saturday Group met on Sept 15 2012 at Arcade Library on Marconi St. We opened the meeting with a review of the upcoming events. We also had a visit from club librarian Cheryl who brought some weaving books that were being culled from the club library as duplicates or not much demand. She also brought some rental equipment that members had reserved. Cheryl has been bringing things out for us in the Saturday Group since most of us cannot make it to the weekday meetings.

Today is also "Spinning 101" day for the library! We are giving free spinning lessons to the patrons of the library. We are teaching drop spindles. We got started and I put the camera down and forgot to pick it up again until we were almost finished so I do not have many pictures. So the library promoted the event and we had about 14 visitors with us. I had some drop spindles I made from dowels and wooden toy wheels. Linda Y brought some drop spindles made from CDs and dowels. Linda also brought some brown wool roving and some white wool roving. So the students could see how the brown and white twisted around.

 A couple of young women tried their hands on the drop spindles.

These women also learned a little bit about spinning today. We also had spinning wheels for them to see.

It was fun for the Saturday Group members to work with new spinners. Members just floated from person to person helping them by answering questions or showing how to hold their spindle.  It was also fun for our Guild to give back to the library which lets us use their meeting rooms every month.

Please visit our website for upcoming meeting announcements.

It was a good day!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Egyptian Sprang Cap

 Egyptian Sprang Cap - CE 400 to 699 AD, Whitworth Art Museum, Manchester UK

So this is how a fiber adventure starts. Somebody created a Pinterest page of Sprang pictures

I post the link on the yahoo group Sprang_List

One of the questions asked was "does anyone have a clue how the yellow is incorporated into this Egyptian piece? seen alone here:"

Which is the cap pictured above. I would like to see the bottom edge but it is cropped out of the picture. I was poking around the the picture and it seemed like the yellow is a supplementary yarn.

If you would like to see how such a cap is constructed you should download this document (1.3MB MS Word Doc format)

It shows construction of common pieces of traditional Egyptian clothing. Including a sprang cap with twined edging. It even shows the gathering at the top and the rope securing it. So if twining is common maybe the yellow is supplementary yarn.

 So I enlarged and digitally enhanced the picture using a program called Photoscape. Above you can see the red/green creates the open mesh familiar as sprang. The yellow yarn seems to fill the gaps in the mesh created by the red/green yarn. I expect there are knots on the inside where the yellow yarn circles are made.

 Looking at enlargement near top of the cap you can see yellow stripes are part of the design. The top of the cap in this case is the "middle" of the sprang. So maybe the yellow yarns are carried along the inside of the cap, kind of like stranded knitting. It also looks like the yarns are somehow twined together then interlinked. This is a fascinating possibility of technique.

 Finally, I enlarged the right side edge to see how the side was sewn up. I can't see it very well, except that it appears to be less organized in that area than the rest of the piece.

So that is a short adventure in sprang. If you have any theories to share, feel free to comment.

Have good day!

Sarah Goslee gave us this link on Sprang_List,
the yellow yarn kind of floats on the back side of the piece.

Collingwood describes it, and see also here:

Whitworth Art Musuem, click link below and enter "sprang" in search box

Sunday, August 12, 2012

SWSG Sat Aug 2012

Sacramento Weavers and Spinners Guild Saturday Group met on Aug 11 2012 at Arcade Library on Marconi St. We opened the meeting with a review of the upcoming events. Then we went around the circle with our "show and tell" period to catch up on each other's projects. I forgot my camera and had to use my phone camera. My apologies.

Upper left: Ardeth brought a rep weave made with rag weft. Upper right: Betsey brought a shawl she finished weaving. Lower left: Stephanie brought a cotton baby blanket she wove. Lower right: Lynn brought some little baby booties made with handspun angora rabbit fiber.

Then Connie gave us a class on Crochet basics.  Upper left: Connie in front of her multimedia presentation with computer videos to assist. Upper right: Lisa is experienced at crochet and cranks out the pattern easily. Lower left: Stephanie and Betsey work on the pattern. Lower right: I am making this look much more difficult than it is. I need a lot more practice. Also in attendance was Tanda, who could not stay long but she stayed long enough to learn how to crochet a simple edging for a dress she has knitted.

Connie also brought many samples of items crocheted as inspiration and evidence of the versatility of crochet. Also noted was the fact that crochet uses a lot of yarn making pieces weigh more compared to woven pieces of similar size. And yet crochet also creates fine lacy fabric.

One picture I did not get was of the awesome christening gown Connie is making. It is almost complete.

It was a good day!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sprang Class Lambtown

I am scheduled to present a sprang class at Lambtown USA
Oct 6 2012, Dixon Calif.

We had a "test class" at my Saturday group and I'm confident I can get beginners started with a little sprang bag.

D-2 Sprang – A Twisted Adventure(2 hours)
Franco Rios
Saturday 9 am to 10:50 (pending)

Class description: “Sprang – A Twisted Adventure” is an introduction to the old string craft known as Sprang, which is a technique of interlinking yarns on simple frames to create an elastic fabric. Sprang was commonly used for different kinds of headgear, such as caps, hoods, bonnets, hairnets as well as for stockings, mittens, collars and sashes. Also for bags. Students will be introduced to the technique and shown how the sprang technique is worked on a small frame. At the end of the class student will have the makings for a small sprang bag. Materials for class will be provided. Students do not need to bring anything. All levels of experience are welcome.

Cost: $25
Experience: none .
Materials to bring: none

Class size limited to: 8, Will take walk in students up to the max of 8 students in class

See more classes at:

Go here to get application:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

SWSG Sat July 21 12

(Note: Click pictures for larger images)
Saturday July 21 2012 - Members of the Sacramento Weavers and Spinners Guild - Saturday Group met at the library in Rancho Cordova, Calif. Above from left to right: Ardith tidies up some inkle loom bands, Vonnie talks about spindles, Janelle crochets with plarn, Linda S spins on drop spindle, Connie crochets a christening gown.

 Linda Y twirls and shows off a shrug she wove with yarns she dyed at our dye party at Cathy's house, while Susan W, Lynn, and Connie watch in background.

 Connie showed us the christening gown she is crocheting. She called it an "Irish Rose" pattern. Connie with also be teaching us crochet at our Saturday meeting in August.

 Left:: Janelle is crocheting a shopping bag with "plarn" made from plastic grocery bag strips, It sounds strange but the shopping bag she crochets will be many times stronger than the bags they come from. Center: Green yarn is handspun by Vonnie and you can see the texture you get with handspinning. Right: Ardith brought some bands she wove on her new inkle loom. These are just practice but I see some real potential in where she is going with this.

 Cathy has been away for a while and she brought some of the yarns she has dyed and plied for upcoming sweater project. She has been living in the Sacramento Delta area, a major waterway in Calif. She tells us the mineral content of the water in the sloughs changes the way her dye behaves. She also brought her book of "samples" of dying. She puts them in a book and labels them for reference so she can duplicate a color in the future.

Also present but not pictured Guild Librarian Cheryl  visited with us to swap out equipment we borrowed and bring us our Guild name tags. And Lisa is a guest who found us on the internet! She was looking for a Saturday fiber group.

 Our topic this month was Sprang! I want to give a Sprang class at Lambtown in October and so I practiced on my patient associates in the Saturday Group. Top pic: At home I prepared some sprang frames using plastic baskets, wood dowels and cotton yarn. I wound yarn around the cardboard 9 times and then cut it. That's how I measured yarn to have 8 turns and a little more to tie on with. Bottom pic: This is my larger version frame to use for demonstrating. Note: Little dogs are not impressed by sprang.

Above is some of the product of our sprang class. We had 10 people and I had 10 frames all made up ready to get your fingers into. We focused on basic sprang, nothing fancy. So I learned some things to overcome in future classes. Having the frames wound in advance was a great choice so people can get their fingers into it right away. The sticks to hold each row came from an IKEA placemat that I cut apart.

I am glad to have the opportunity to try this out on a group before I charge people to have a class with me. Not that I would charge a lot of money. Part of the class fee goes to Lambtown USA to support the event and I want folks to get their moneys worth.

NEXT MONTH: Connie is going show us how to CROCHET! But you are welcome to bring your spindles, wheels, and looms to show us what you are working on.

Visit the Sacramento Weavers and Spinners Guild web page for updates, meeting times, and places.

Lambtown USA
Dixon, Calif

Other places mentioned:
A Verb For Keeping Warm
Oakland, Calif

Purlsecence Yarns
Sunnyvale, Calif.

It was a good day!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fast Sprang Frame

Testing an idea for a fast sprang frame. At the 99 cent store I bought a plastic basket
 (13.5 inch x 11.5 inch x 3.5 inch) , a bag of square dowels, and a ball of acrylic yarn.

I tied the dowels to the basket and wrapped yarn around with figure 8 wrap. The string on the left will the "safety string."

Sprang. Test complete. Cost of materials $3

NOTE: Try using loops of elastic to attach sticks to frame, but allow elastic to stretch. That would allow sticks to pull closer together as work progresses.

Have a good day!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Carding wool with dog rakes and slicker brushes

*Carding wool with dog rakes and slicker brushes.*

I have used dog slicker brushes as hand cards to process wool and it can be done, if you are patient. Carding is a great excuse for sitting in front of the TV or watching DVDs.

I would sit down with a paper grocery sack of washed wool on one side and empty paper grocery sack on the other side. Make little mini batts with the slickers and put those in the empty bag. Be sure to have 3 or 4 empty bags on hand because the fluffy mini batts will take up much more room than the washed wool.

If you are really in need of obsessive compulsive activity, use dog rakes to pick the wool first, then use the slickers to make mini batts.

You can use a c-clamp to attach one rake or slicker to a table, to reduce the wear/tear on your hands.

Do not do this activity on the good sofa or wearing good pants. Put down a cloth if you do it over the carpet. Much dust and Vegetation Matter (VM) will fall out of your wool no matter how well you washed it.

It was this activity that allowed me to whole heartedly give my lovely wife Tracy permission to shop for a drum carder when she asked. We now have a Strauch Petite.

But I still plan to use my rakes and slickers just to keep my hand in. At least I have been using rakes to pick the wool before putting through the carder.

Dog rakes can cost less than $10 each. Slickers cost around $10 to $15 each, compared to $50 to $100 and more for a pair of regular wool cards and/or combs.

Have a good day!

(from rabbitgeek notes July 2008)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Caught On The Web June 2012

Caught On The Web - June 21 2012
Links saved while exploring the world wide web

Art of the Ancient Americas - Princeton University

Early plant domestication in Mesoamerica (with cotton references)

Aztec clothing - some pictures

Aztec Textiles, article Medieval Textiles reprint (pdf)

Aztec Garments:From Birth to Fulfillment, Andrea Ludden, U of TX Austin (pdf)

Aztec clothes

Weaving with art art yarn (video)
What to do when you have art yarn, a picture frame and a staple gun

Japanese temari balls
Balls are covered with thread to create intricate patterns

Luke Jerram describes himself as a "color-blind installation artist, who fuses his artistic practice with scientific and perceptual studies." So step away from the color a little and view the form.

In this podcast, the 2010 Rakow Commission recipient, Luke Jerram, discusses his work on the "Glass Microbiology" project.

The Shepherds Rug blog - braided wool rugs

One of the largest rug looms in the world

Youtube - How to use granny's old rug loom

Tea and Carpets blog - oriental rug articles

loom knotted rugs

Woven miniature rugs for dollhouse

Mende loom near Kenema is shown in blog

Tripod loom in Africa

Lady Virag's Blog

Nomadic looms for SCA

Weaving - Russian Academy of Sciences - Navajo loom picture

Glossary of textile terms - Smithsonian Textiles of North American Southwest

Upright loom with warp weights - Norway, with link to video

vertial loom africa

video: Al Sadu, traditional weavings skills in United Arab Emirates
Duration/time: 10:06

Twining Edge Finishes Marla Mallet

Weaving in Chile 

Knotted Shag Rug Loom how-to

Picture of Knotted Shag Rug

Information on agriculture and fertilizers at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico USA

Chaco Canyon National Historic Park

Have a good day!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Like This on Facebook

I have started a group on Facebook for Franco's Fiber Adventure which will be an echo of this blog.

Please go to the group and "Like" this on Facebook.
Franco's Fiber Adventure on Facebook

Have a good day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Treasures at the Book Sale

Last Saturday I went to the warehouse sale of used books sponsored by Friends of the Sacramento Library. I found a couple of treasures. "The Comfortable Arts, Traditional Spinning and Weaving in Canada" by Dorothy K Burnham (1981, 238 pages, $2), is a historical perspective on fiber arts in Canada. With lots of black and white pictures carefully notated and diagrammed, it's a real adventure as we follow the exhibits from various sources and styles.

Here are twined bags with a diagram of the of the technique. This is NOT a how-to book but the diagrams give the student an appreciation for the structure. These bags are representative of weft twined weaving as practiced by the native peoples.

These are bands woven in the manner of the native people and the French. This craft is popularly known as "fingerweaving" in USA. Although I already have 3 or 4 books on fingerweaving, the historical perspective provided by the text gives me insight into why fingerweaving is such a big deal in Canada.

With the immigrants came looms. Fully half the book is filled with examples of the cloth and patterns as contributed by the various immigrant groups. The wedding shirt and shawl are just two of the examples. The only weakness of this book is the lack of color pictures. Otherwise I spent 4 days on the daily commute escaping to Canada!

"A Millennium of Weaving in Chiapas" by Walter F. Morris Jr., (1984, 56 pages, $1) is a short book that focuses on a small region in Mexico. The book discusses weaving in ancient times, colonial times, and into modern times.

Here the text explains how the snake pattern can become the corn pattern, feeding the saints accompanied by toads (singers of the rain) and more. It's a treat to peek into folklore. Patterns like the snake, the toad, monkey (upper right), vulture (middle right), father and mother pattern (lower right) reach back to earliest days.

There is a good balance of black and white pictures and color pictures. I like these pictures with the backstrap weavers at work. I really want to weave some gauze soon.

This is just two books of the books I bought. I bought 9 books for $13. I checked Amazon and it would have cost me over $80 plus shipping to buy these books in used condition. Most of the books at the warehouse sale are library books taken out of circulation plus a few that are donated by book lovers hoping that others will enjoy. All the proceeds help to support the public library.

It was a good day!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Twine Sampler

My twining sampler based on Collingwood's "Techniques of Rug Weaving" chapter on Weft Twining.
Tested on the commute bus/train.

Have a good day!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Twining on the commute

I am working on a twining sampler based on “Techniques of Rug Weaving” by Peter Collingwood Chapter 13 Weft Twining.

Reference book “Techniques of Rug Weaving” by Peter Collingwood
Chapter 13 Weft Twining, available for free download in PDF

Go to this page

This is 9.6 MB file is #4 out of 5 files that comprise the entire book which was posted for free download with the permission of Peter Collingwood's sons. It has clear diagrams, is available for free.

I'm working on my bus/train ride commute to work when I can tear myself away from the stupid "Solitaire" game on the cell phone.

I am also reading "The Ravens Tail" about a twined robe technique from the Pacific Northwest, an craft that is earlier than the Chilkat twined robes. It came to me in a gift box of goodies from Bonnie in Alberta, CAN. I've heard of this book and I admit that when I first skimmed through the book the hair on my neck stood up. I was electrified by the pictures. I already have some ideas for my next twining projects.

Visit Cheryl Samuel's website:

That's my corner of the world, Sacramento, Calif.
Have a good day!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

SWSG Sat April 2012

(click pictures for larger image)
The Saturday Group of Sacramento Weavers & Spinners Guild met on April 14 at Arcade Library. Our topic was "Spinning." Here's a review of our "Show & Tell" period.

On left Debra L. is blending and spinning alpaca. She has 18 alpacas and is always spinning. There is a shearing party at her place on April 29, see the Guild "Events" webpage

On right Connie is showing us her brand new wheel. She bought it unassembled and unfinished. She put it together mostly by herself. She stained it blue. I think it looks warm and comfortable like a favorite pair of blue jeans. I hope she has many happy years with her new wheel.

Connie also showed us some "plarn" she spun. Plarn is "plastic yarn" spun from strips of plastic. She showed us a shopping bag she crocheted from grocery bag plarn. Connie went to the Stitches West show last month and had high praise for the show. We'll have to try that one next year.

On left Linda Y. is showing the yarn she dyed last month at our dye session. Vonnie is spinning on a supported spindle.

This is a close up of the supported spindle. The bottom sits in the little cup.

On left Cathy is spinning on her castle wheel. On right Linda S. is focusing on yarn she is spinning on a drop spindle.

Cathy brought out a shawl she is knitting and we insisted she model it. She also showed us a couple of items she is entering in a fiber show. One is a felted purse and the other is a "rug doll" named "Bigfoot". 

Linda S. showed us the yarns she has spun since her last visit with us. She is a very productive spinner.

On left Ellie is showing her knitting made from hand dyed yarn. On right Sue A. is spinning cotton on her wheel.

Sue A. also showed us the yard sale bargain she nabbed. She found a "Weave-It" loom in the box with instructions, needles, and a sample already woven for 25 cents! If you find one on Ebay plan on spending $20 plus postage.

On left Ardith is telling us about her trials with a yarn that won't come out right. She calls it "blue hairy wool." She has "un-spun" this yarn and re-spun it. Still doesn't like it. On right Stephanie is using park and draft technique on her drop spindle.

Stephanie also brought a cloth she wove with the yarn she dyed at last month's meeting. It is very soft and the stripe colors go together well. 

On left Janelle is spinning on her wheel. On right Sue W. is spinning on a wheel.

On left is guest Candace who wants to learn about weaving. She also got a chance to try spinning on the charkha. On right is guest Debra LP from San Mateo showing us the little sock loom she has been working on.

Here is a little sock she knitted and the loom she is using.

Above is an Indian box charkha (spinning wheel) that I just received as gift from Bonnie of Alberta Canada. I am showing members how the double wheel (accelerator) delivers a high ratio of twist in a small box.

 Above is Vonnie trying out the charkha.
Here is Sue W.  trying out the charkha.

It was a good day!

Schedule of future meetings:

May 19 (Sat) 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm at Fair Oaks Library
11601 Fair Oaks Boulevard , Fair Oaks , CA 95628
Same weekend as CNCH, but if you are not going there, come here!
Topic: UFO & YFH - Bring your UnFinished Objects and Yarns From Hell

June 30 (Sat) 1-5 pm At the Arcade Library
Topic: No Heddle Required: Stick Looms, Peg Looms, Twining Looms, Nail Looms
Bring your oddball little loom projects.

July 21 (Sat) 1-5 pm at the Rancho Cordova Library
9845 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento , CA 95827
Topic: To Be Determined

August 11 (Sat) 1-5 pm at the Arcade Library

Please visit the website for meeting updates

Other links of interest:
Purlescence Yarns, Sunnyvale, Calif

Stitches West