All posts by Gudrun Polak

April 16, 2020 – Tien Chiu – Designing with Painted Warps


People often find color in weaving to be so complicated that it feels downright mystical. But it’s not. Color in weaving follows rules, and once you understand the underlying rules, you can design beautiful work.
Painted warps are beautiful. But they can be difficult to design with. Painted-warp colors can change radically when woven, depending on your weft yarn colors and your choice of design. This program explains the basics of how color works in weaving and then covers how to choose weft, weave structure, and sett to showcase the colors of your painted warp – either by preserving the original colors or by blending them with a carefully chosen weft color to bring out their beauty.
For those who don’t know me, I’m Tien Chiu, a long-time member of Black Sheep, and the Guild webmistress. I’ve been weaving since 2006, and have had my work featured in Handwoven, Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot, and Complex Weavers Journal. My handwoven wedding ensemble won Best in Show at CNCH and is currently part of the permanent collection at The Henry Ford Museum. I teach color in weaving online, at , and I take an “art science” approach to color – which is to say, I approach it in an analytical fashion, looking for underlying rules. You can read some of the articles I’ve written about color in weaving on my website: as well as  in the most recent two issues of Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot.

Show and Tell, April 2020

Johanna: 8-H Shadow Weave top in cotton from the Structures Group

Gloria: Scarf in 4 shaft shadow weave with chenille yarn picked up at guild sale.

Gloria: Samples in 16/2 cotton for towels in turned Monk’s Belt (supplementary warp).

I wanted to check the sett (30 epi), colors and size of yarn for the supplementary warp. I like the finer version. Now to plan out the colors!

Ann: Handspun for a woven value study.

John: Sashiko Mending.

John: 3-color Runners in six-shaft spot weave

Teddie: Rep Weave Placemats

Gudrun: Reviving a Double Weave Design from 2012

Two scarves are woven simultaneous, then separated after fulling.

Face Masks: The Token of our Times


Barbara: Five Twisted Boxes 

The paper is from a stack of prints by an artist friend of my mom’s that I inherited years ago. She acquired a good quantity of his first print edition. I suppose this was 50 years ago. I had cut some of these into strips with a manual pasta cutter (Ulla helped!) They were intended to be used by my students at CNCH 2020. It is a bit thinner than the heavy water color paper I usually use for plaited paper baskets, but it still worked fine. Every here and there, you see a little face looking out at you.


Betsy: Finished Rep Rug  – first shown in February                                             


Betsy: Shadow Weave



Ulla: Split-Ply Twining – Small Rug and Braid

I am working on a small rug in wool, Willamette wool 5,600 ypp, old yarns I got from Gisela Evitt and Cathryn Coleman many years ago. I make the cords out of 16 strands of the wool, using a cord maker I bought at Lacis (one of the advantages to living in Berkeley). Cordmaking is crucial and quite time-consuming. This rug has two hundred cords and is only 13 inches wide. I meant it to make it bigger but gave up. I am looking at other ways to make them.

I took a Split-Ply class from Linda Hendrickson last fall and learned several different techniques. This one is called SCOT = Single Course Oblique Twining. I find the way the colors interact and move wonderful and can’t wait until I see what comes next.


The second braid is done in 50/2 linen 7,500 ypp, 16 ends, 48 cords.  It is 2 1/4″ wide.  I finished the braid by sewing the cords together and then painting them with Matte Medium so that they would not unravel. I felt that a bushy fringe would distract from the pattern.

Marjorie:  Vest project on my 8 harness Mountain Loom using the first six skeins I spun on my Alden Amos wheel back in 2015. 



Show and Tell – March 2020

Gudrun’s message:  

Kathy: scarf in shadow weave, jaggerspun zypher

Kathy:  crackle weave scarf in 3 colors of 20/2 silk.



Gudrun: grey-white scarf with burgundy selvedge in deflected double weave, zephyr

Gail:  Honeycomb Variation of Wandering Vine from the Marguerite Porter Davison book in tencel and cotton

John – Placemats in six-shaft spot weave. 

Donna: Space dyed Tencel warp and cotton weft.  The swatch is Tencel warp and weft.

Johanna: waffle weave vest in cotton on an 8-H loom.



Betsy C: inkle woven strap to use with fabric to make gift bags




Sharolene:  Crocheted shawl,  Felted and embroidered needle keeper




Mar 19, 2020 – Wedge Weave and Me : Postponed

This presentation  is postponed.

Due to public health concerns, we have canceled our March meeting and will postpone Janette’s presentation on wedge weave to a future date. As the folk dancers say, now is the time to do what we do best, and take care of one another.

What is wedge weave and why is it so much fun? Janette Gross will talk about her growing love for the technique and share some of the many ways it can be played with. Open slits, closed slits, traditional zig zag design, little scalloped edges, big scalloped edges, in combination with other techniques and more. She will also talk about how she develops a design from the initial idea or theme to sketches, color choices, sampling, final project calculations and then what happens on the loom. Pieces of Janette’s and others will be available for touching and discussion. If you have a piece you’ve done, bring it to share.


                                                         Ice Break 34 X 27″    – Photo: R. R. Jones
Ice Break and Vanishing Glaciers are currently in the IMPACT show at the Mills Building in San Francisco until mid-March.

Janette began weaving in 2003 after retiring from 30 years of full-time employment in the business world. She fell in love with weaving on a trip to New Mexico with a workshop at the 2002 Taos Wool Festival. She followed up with weaving classes and workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2005, she moved to Santa Cruz, California. She sought out and met the well known rug weaver Martha Stanley, who became a dear friend and mentor. For over ten years, she has been weaving at least once a week in Martha’s studio under the redwoods in Watsonville, California. There are now five other weavers who dye yarns in an outdoor dye area and weave together in the studio. The group supports one another through encouragement, critique and friendship.

Janette’s passion for the Navajo (Diné) style of weaving called wedge weave has kept her engaged for many years. She enjoys exploring the many ways she can push wedge weave and yet stay true to the technique. Two of her pieces are currently included in the IMPACT tapestry show at the Mills Building in San Francisco and another has been accepted to the American Tapestry Alliance’s ATB13 to be shown in Massachusetts this summer and at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in the fall.

When she is not traveling or weaving, Janette also derives a lot of pleasure out of working with weavers who are blind or visually impaired. She has been involved in the Santa Cruz guild’s program for the weavers for many years. She is a member of the Santa Cruz Textile Arts Guild, Tapestry Weavers West, the American Tapestry Alliance and the Textile Society of America.

Events nearby

February: Black Sheep exhibit at the Redwood City Library!

There’s a small show of items made by guild members at the Redwood City Library during the month of February. A big thank you to Carto for sharing his photos!

Black Sheep Handweavers Guild #BSHG, 2020

February 20-23: Stitches West in Santa Clara

Primarily a knitting conference, also includes classes on other fiber related crafts and plenty of opportunities to grow your stash.

March 21 and April 18: Farm Days at Deer Hollow Farm in Cupertino

Come tour the Deer Hollow Farm and meet the new lambs and kids! Admission benefits Deer Hollow Farm.  There’s often a local guild spinner or weaver there showing off our craft.

April 3-8 2020:  CNCH 2020 in Burlingame

Yearly conference for Northern California Weaving Guilds: tons of classes, vendors, and a whole convention center full of people who speak your language!

April 25 2020: Homestead Days at Hidden Villa

Sheep Shearing, Sheep to Shawl demos, and so much more!

October 1-4 2020: in Dixon

Lambtown is a yearly sheep and wool show; activities include a  sheep to shawl competition, fleece judging, and two fabulous vendor halls.