All posts by Penny Peters

Ala Alice Schlein–Jacquard sighting

It was used as a padded half wall in a restaurant to dampen the noise level.  Worked fairly well too.

Techonology Overload

We had to buy a car, I mean we really had to do something.  I loved my little Volvo for 14 years but it was time.  Looking at the new cars after driving this 14 year old sweetie was like walking into a new century.  Really??? I have to put my foot on the brake to get this car started?  And what is that little black button on the door handle ?  etc. But the killer was that I also needed a new phone.  The darn car would not work with my old phone, just too old.  Clearly you can see the issues here…

The technology push extends to the weaving world.  I have been working on learning Pro Weave with Dini Cameron who conducts online workshops to teach this very different approach to designing drafts.  Also I finally splurged and went with Photoshop Creative Cloud and got a new version of Symmetry Shop by Artlandia.   There were not big changes but at this point…. I think I was muttering something about “don’t move my cheese”, clearly chaffing under the self imposed “new”.

Onto happier thoughts… the loom is warped with two different variegated yarns from Just Our Yarn.  The threading is two interleaved advancing twills.  Ah, the wonderful Pro Weave Twill Databank, it is a large black hole of time but so much fun.  I used the threading on the vest shown in an earlier post and the twill databank to create drafts.  I  wanted to see what would happen with the variegated yarns.  I also wanted to see if this fancy new phone could take decent pictures.   I had thought I was going to use the gold and silver that are the first two samples.  Nope.

My daughter breezed through, looked at the samples and said it had to be the blue, so Maxfield Parrish.

I don’t know how people work with the small samples.  I never know if I will like something till I take if off the loom, finish it and let it sort of sit and look at me for about a month.

Happy to be weaving!



On Impulse buying and Bateman

I have belonged to the Complex Weavers Bateman Study group since its inception some 7 (?) years ago.  Before that I had explored Bateman’s Multiple Tabby on my own, but that is  ancient history. The group was only supposed to be in existence for 5 years but there were many who wanted to continue as well as a number who wanted to join, so a new group was started two years ago.  I continued, thinking I will never understand Bateman, maybe one more try will do it.  I am sure the years looking over the Virginia Harvey manuscripts were a big help but even better was working with Linda Davis.  Her new book, Bateman Weaves, the Missing Monograph is what I now use instead of the monographs for reference.  I love Linda’s book because it encourages exploration and creativity.

Our samples are due in October for this years crop of Boulevard weaves.  In an never ending quest for elegant and subtle, I chose 20/2 cotton and a 60/2 variegated silk for the warp, and an analogous color for the weft also in 20/2 cotton.  This will hopefully be a blouse by the time we meet in Reno at Convergence   You can’t see the silk at all,  but it did look good on the loom while I was weaving it.


Not the best picture, I agree.  It really isn’t that blue.

The impulse item–purchased some years ago from Yarn Barn.  I had a problem:

In case you can’t quite tell, the texsolv cord completely frayed, causing the shaft to sink almost to the floor, causing long floats on the back on one side.  But I had 

my impulse buy!  So glad I had it!


But I didn’t mention what I should have talked about, that I only got a yard of the blue silk and then decided to use that for the binding  as well as the one side of the front and cut the binding and found that I could not work with that narrow a piece and went back to the store and they were all out but the proprietor liked it too and had made a shirt out of it and had some scraps left and brought them back to the store and gave them to me whereupon I could finish the binding.  hahhahahaha and I never once despaired.

Almost all Handwoven

I did it, I took the plunge and decided to learn to sew.  Over the past few years I have made a number of muslins for a blouse, a tunic, and this vest.   The yarn for the warp was dyed by Janet Stollnitz, 4 luscious colors of silk.  The weft is black.  The weave is an interleaved twill, tromp as writ, with a very standard use of twill blocks in the tieup.  There is just enough variation in the two twill lines that there is no exact repeat anywhere.


I really like the back as it shows the weave off very nicely.   Oh, the front?

Guess who didn’t have enough handwoven material.  But you knew that.

A fellow guild member, Eve Connor, offered to teach me how to sew several years ago.  Every Monday we meet at her home in her wonderful studio, and together work on a project.  Sometimes I am able to carry on independently, sometimes I require a lot of hands on.   She is patience personified and I have been very fortunate to have her “hold my hand” through this.  Lots left to learn, lots.  There is no way to adequately say thank you except perhaps to turn to someone who might need mentoring and pass on what I know about weaving as Eve has helped me with sewing.

Continue reading Almost all Handwoven

Is the Hiatus Over?

Its been a while.  My SIL ( my font of knowledege of all things internet)  emailed me recently asking if he should delete the blog.  Coincidentally I was thinking about restarting it.  The question then becomes why should I.  Are blogs outdated?  Is there a serious reason to take the effort and time to post?  Hmm, I think I asked this when I first started.  As I looked back at what  I had written in 2014 and 15 I was amazed at what  I had forgotten that I had done, some of it not bad.  Also coincidentally, I had a short email conversation with Alice Schlein who just published a new monograph on Lampas— Lampas for Shaft Looms ( I highly recommend).  She said she would like to read my blog!  So, Alice, thank you for the encouragement.  And I know I will like having a better (read that any) record of what I have been doing in the weaving realm.

Finding the Courage

I have talked about learning to sew for several years and I kept putting it off.  It would be an investment in time, money, and I would have to find yet another space for another craft.  Our CA bungalow only stretches so far!  I had some very good excuses.

My friend Bettes came through Berkeley not too long ago and stopped for a day to visit, a total delight.  She wanted to make a pilgrimage to the local fabric store and I went with her.  I dunno, I was there, I wanted to do it, I finally signed up for classes.

After starting the first project, thinking that this vest was going to cost in the neighborhood of way too much, I began to have second thoughts.  I am too old to learn a new craft.  It takes a good ten years to become proficient, blah blah, blah.

Then I came across this article in the New York Times Magazine.  Scroll down and you see a picture of an elderly woman  intent on a canvas.   Hmmmm, she started selling her paintings at the age of 89.   But I read too fast and thought she started painting at the age of 89.  No matter.  She started something.  If she could start at 89, well, surely I can start at 70.  It was inspiring.

First vest is almost done.  I even think it will fit.

Trial and Error

I thought I was putting on 4 yards for potholders.  I mean, how many does any person need?  After winding on a few sections and winding and winding, I finally looked at the warping wheel.  oh.  I failed to move the arms to a different position so the warp became a 6 yard warp.   Well, the purpose of the project was to use some excess 8/2 cottton.

Trying to visualize the drawdown in a computer program was near impossible.  The color rotation was annoying to create, and because the fabric is sooooo warp faced, I could not see if treadling would produce the pattern I wanted.  Too many little white areas.  Just didn’t work.

First attempt


OK, first attempt at treadling what I thought would work, um, no.

Second Attempt

Better, but not what I had in mind.

Hmm, maybe I should actually look at what the threads are doing on the loom instead of random guessing.  This is the one time I wish I were working on a loom with treadles instead of the computer driven loom, just a bit easier (read lazy) to improvise treadling sequences.

Final pattern

Ah, that was the key! Looking to see what threads were actually being lifted on any given pick.

Several wefts were tried, several ways of beating it in were also tried.  I finally ended by using two shuttle of mop cotton and beating once both were inserted into the shed,  I was very concerned while weaving these that they would not be thick enough to be useful potholders but that was not the case, they work fine.

With a 6 yard warp I thought I would have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 potholders.  Another oh.  I forgot about take up.  That thick weft took the number down to about 18.

I have some happy friends but I don’t want to weave these again.  If you want one, buy it from Erica Pfister, she does a great job on them.

Weaving with Friends

This is a post about organizing regional gatherings for weavers, specifically, members of Complex Weavers.

It must have been sometime in August when I learned that Bhakti Ziek would be coming to the San Francisco area in January.  I started a conversation with Bhakti immediately about subject matter, target audience, etc.  We decided on a two pronged approach, one for experienced Photoshop users and one for those who are curious about the process.   I then needed to alert and lure as many as possible to take these workshops to cover the cost of the venue, the teacher and travel.  I provided housing for Bhakti, one of the best advantages of organizing!  I had the membership list from CW, access to the Yahoo list for Northern CA, the CW website and newsletter, and our guild newsletter.

Finding a venue in this area is not for the faint of heart, especially at the prices we want to pay, but I did find one, 5 minutes from home for the 2 day advanced class.  That venue needed to be close to a hotel, restaurants, transportation.  The one day event took place at our regular guild venue in San Francisco, no special requirements. All that is left to do is set the price based on a simple budget, and then follow up with details..

The reward?  A great class, learned a lot, brought a wonderful group together who mentioned the possibility of the “first annual…”.



The one day group was in fact two groups, AM a larger number who were introduced to Bhakti’s work, the PM group, a subset of people who wanted to see how Photoshop works for weavers.  They were too busy to get a photo!

One more reward, woven by Bhakti.

Bhakti's weaving



Several months ago I decided that I wanted to know if it was practical to use the structure Beiderwand for my fine thread warps.  It is not a commonly used block structure and does not appear on every block substitution list in weaving programs.   I knew it was a compound weave, used extensively for bed curtains in Germany centuries ago.

Rummaging through my own books I found a number of definitions of Beiderwand (which is why I am not attempting to define it here), but not that little clue that I wanted.  The answer! Complex Weavers Library.  Of course!   It is an amazing resource for members.   The librarian, Tim Flint (yet another incredible Complex Weaver volunteer!), sent me a marvelous box, 2 sets of samples and a monograph I would not have found elsewhere.


Now, who could not be fascinated with what is beyond a cover like that?  And the samples were equally as interesting.

I have not decided on if or when I will use this structure.  I am busy procrastinating on threading the darn potholder warp.