Are you a member of that illustrious “full-size sample” club, feeling guilty that you should have sampled first…but there wasn’t enough time, yarn, or money available, and you were sure your weaving software would figure out everything for you? Listen up! The aim of sampling is to acquire information, not cause guilt or pain! Stop treating sampling as a dreaded disease – sampling IS weaving and can significantly improve your textiles.
An inveterate sampler, Ruby has always tried to extract as much information as possible from each warp. After years of being a closet sampler, she wants to dismantle the negative ideas that the word “sampling” invokes and turn it into an easy habit to embrace. Sampling is more than weaving or not weaving a sample at the loom before embarking on a project. It is a design tool – an easily acquired way of thinking about how to weave and create cloth. There are techniques and strategies for how to extract a maximum amount of information from a surprisingly small investment of time, money and/or yarn.
Ruby Leslie maintains a full-time weaving and teaching studio in northern Vermont, where she designs her own line of handwovens as Ruby Charuby Weavings. Boundless enthusiasm for sampling and experimenting, especially with color and its interaction with structure, has guided Ruby’s creative endeavors from the beginning of her weaving career 30 years ago. Handwoven magazine’s invitation to become a contributing member of their ‘Color Forecast’ series, creating swatches on a regular basis, was the impetus for Ruby to streamline her design process. This fueled her desire to share her insights about how to successfully integrate color, structure and yarn in weaving without having to dye yarn or rely on recipes. Ruby has taught above the Arctic Circle in northern Norway and Greenland, as well as at Convergence, regional conferences and guilds throughout the US. She was one of three weaver/designer teams invited by the Handweavers Guild of America to create a collaborative runway ensemble for the second Design Fashion Challenge at Convergence 2010 in Albuquerque, NM.
A program of images and video by Laverne Waddington on
AN INTRODUCTION TO WOVEN STRUCTURES USED IN SOUTH AMERICAN TEXTILES.
Simple looms do not necessarily mean simple textiles. Weavers in South America use rustic looms to create complex cloth employing a wide variety of techniques using complementary-warp structures and both supplementary warps and weft. Even plain-weave textiles are not in any way ‘’plain’’ when incorporating ikat or finished with intricate knotted fringes, colorful joining stitches and tubular edgings.
In this program Laverne will walk you through some of the various woven structures she has encountered while learning to weave in South America, share stories about her experiences learning them and show examples of how she has used these in her own work on the backstrap loom.
Laverne Waddington has been learning to weave on simple looms with indigenous teachers in South America since 1996. In her home in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, she draws on ethnic design influences from around the world to create pieces on a backstrap loom using the various techniques and structures she has studied in South and Central America as well as with backstrap weavers from Vietnam and Myanmar.
Since 2010, she has published eight instructional manuals on the various woven structures and finishing techniques that she has studied and produced a dvd on Operating a Backstrap Loom.
Her articles on backstrap weaving and indigenous textiles have appeared in Handwoven magazine. Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot and Spin Off as well as in the published proceedings of the 2012 and 2016 Braid Society conferences.
She has shared her skills and experiences with many visitors to Bolivia over the years and now reaches a global audience with her weaving tutorials and travel tales on her blog. She provides online advice and support to weavers through forums such as Ravelry and teaches and speaks at guilds and textile conferences around the world.
Laura Fry has been weaving for 45 years, 44 of those as a production weaver. She shut down her business in December of 2019 and ‘retired’ from making and selling textiles as her primary focus.
She has taught, written about and researched about weaving for all of those years and continues to learn – both from her own mistakes and the journey of others who explore this fascinating craft.
A few years ago she became an adjunct teacher for the Olds College master weaving program, which eventually led her to set down as much as she could about what she knew about making textiles. This became The Intentional Weaver, her second self-published book.
For the past year she has concentrated on weaving down her yarn stash. And barely made a dent in it! But she persists.
October Black Sheep Handweavers Guild program will feature Daryl Lancaster, a handweaver and fiber artist known for her award winning handwoven fabric and garments. Daryl will lecture on how to combine warps and structure for a one of a kind fabric. This will be a Powerpoint presentation. While the focus of the presentation will be on 8 shaft looms, the theory can easily applied to 4 shafts, or more than 8 shafts, if you are inclined.
The lecture will start with some basics on weaving yardage, what to weave and how to sett it. The most important part though, is finding out what you’ve got, and how to make it work for you. Learn how to know what’s on the cone, or in the skein, and see how far it will go! The focus here is on 8 shafts. With 8 shafts you can magically combine structures and different yarns and create some inspiring and truly unique fabrics. Lots of drafts and lots of examples.
Daryl Lancaster, a hand-weaver and fiber artist known for her awardwinning hand-woven fabric and garments, has been constructing garments for more than 50 years. She gives lectures and workshops to guilds, conferences, and craft centers all over the United States. The former Features Editor for Handwoven Magazine, she has written more than 100 articles and digital content, frequently contributes to various weaving and sewing publications and writes regularly for Threads Magazine. Daryl maintains a blog at www.weaversew.com/wordblog Find her at www.Daryllancaster.com.
The September Black Sheep Guild program will feature Carol James, expert in sprang and the would-have-been keynote speaker from CNCH 2020. She’ll talk about the fascinating structure that is sprang. There will be a live demonstration and examples of the tremendous variety of clothing and other items that can be made with the versatile technique. She’ll include examples from history and modern applications.
Carol James has been playing with strings for a long time; she learned to embroider and to crochet before she entered kindergarten. Since the 1980s she has been exploring a wide, flat, braiding technique known in North America as fingerweaving. In the mid 1990s she was introduced to sprang. She is now a world-recognized teacher. She has spent the past 20 years rediscovering textile forms that had been considered lost, resurrecting these ancient techniques and making them accessible to everyone through her publications, books and workshops. Carol believes that textile creation is part of our human heritage. Textile is an amalgamation of threads interconnecting with each other, just as humans work together in order to create the fabric of society. The method used to create fabric in disparate communities around the world is often quite similar. This is a common language of humans: the construction of fabric. Woven together we are stronger.
Carol James’s website may be found at
Carol writes about the image on the right: “I made myself a new sprang shirt, using a 5/2 mercerized cotton from Lunatic Fringe, leftovers from other projects. Inspired by the stitch pattern in a Ukrainian belt, I made vertical stripes in the body. I inserted a weft along the shoulder where front and back meet, it gives stability to the shoulder, bearing the weight of the sleeve.” More information about this piece is on the blog at Carol’s website.
Karen Donde weaves garments, fashion accessories and home textiles for sale and teaches beginning-advanced weaving classes and assorted workshops for guilds and conferences. Teaching credits include HGA’s Convergence 2012, 2014 and 2016 and 2020, Southeast Fiber Forum, the Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association’s Workshop Weekend, Midwest Weavers Conference, Intermountain Weavers Guild Conference and Florida Tropical Weavers Conference. In Asheville, NC, she has taught at Sutherland Handweaving Studio, Friends & Fiberworks, Local Cloth and her own studio.
Photos are used with the kind permission of the copyright holder, Karen Donde.
Long-time Fibershed source of inspiration, color-grown-in cotton developer and
biodynamic grower since 1982, and shepherd and farmer Sally Fox is our speaker for May, 2020. Sally will be presenting to us about her farming life, developing strains of colored cotton over the past four decades.
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 https://www.warpandweave.com , 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: https://www.warpandweave.com/color-articles/ as well as in the most recent two issues of Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot.
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.