All posts by Penny Peters

Maybe by Next Christmas?


Really?  some people don’t like the internet? or at least the technology that it entails.  Ah, but what a joy this last month.  I have heard from several people since I wrote about these potholders, including the lovely Gretchen Mueller whose potholder was the impetus for this whole project.

There was a lot of thinking through to be done. What yarn?  Erica did not say anything about size when I posted to her. I thought 5/2 was used and believed I had some, but no,  on inspection, it was 10/2.  But I did have a stash of varying amounts of 8/2.  Maybe a double strand would work.  In fact Gretchen used a 8/4 carpet warp.  Sett,  go with experience, so I adapted the numbers Erica gave me.   Now how to get it on the beam.  No way was I going to put the draft from Photoshop into a weave draft.  I printed out the PS design and marked it in 7 card sequences for each inch for beaming with my warping wheel, back to front.  If you think I came to this as quickly as I wrote it… how I wish!

See previous post for what it looks like today, still a lot of progress to me made before I start thinking about all the problems I should have already solved!

A Day in the Life of Looms 2015

Only one loom, I don’t know how other people keep track of more than one!  I had a treadle loom once upon a time, but when I started weaving with the electronic lift I found I could not go back and forth from loom to loom, kept losing that  kinesthetic memory.

What will it be?  Good question.  I hope those potholders I mentioned earlier.  Been a slog to get this on the loom.  A new respect for Gretchen Muller and Erica Pfister!

Happy New Year from ever sunny California, may your looms sing/zing/ all year.



Experimenting, not my thing

Many years ago, (20?) I bought some potholders from Gretchen Muller.  I have had no contact with her since that purchase.


Grody! Of course!  I have used this for all those years, happily.

Then, for some reason never to be remembered, as I surfed the web, I found these:



Really?  Can’t be just happenstance.   And in fact, Gretchen taught Erica Pfister how to weave these. and she has them for sale.  Go buy!

I was enchanted, I want to weave them myself.  So I emailed Erica. She has graciously given me some hints and i have done a little research.  The patterns came from Mary Meigs Atwater, Byway in Handweaving, and I have found them also in Le Tissage aux Cardons.  The translation is available here from Barbara Shapiro, an incredible San Francisco artist.

So the problem is how to move them from a four hole card weaving draft to a shaft loom draft.  There are hints.  Erica gave me a few, as did an article in Handwoven.  Nov/Dec 1999  First Dinner Party, Cardweaving Patterns for Placemats by Triinu Kartus.

You can see that color is the key.  Another use for Photoshop! Who knew?  So I have designed, or rather emulated a design, from the masters and came up with this.

ankh in 90 cards reduced



Now I have to translate this diagram to a weaving draft, figure the sett, very very close, and see if the loom will lift the shafts.  Now, did these wonderful weavers worry about the direction of the threading, 1-2-3-4 vs 4-3-2-1 or not?  and the warping will be a royal annoyance with all the color changes.  Hmmm.

Stay tuned.  It could take awhile.


For Luddites

Complex Weavers library is a great source of information.  I know nothing about Beiderwand and most of the folks I know don’t have a clue either but!  CW has a treasure trove of samples and even a pamphlet devoted to that structure.  I have had the materials for more time than I should have, but the time has allowed me to absorb the information (I think, I have not woven it yet),  There are two sets of samples, one from 1980 and another from 2010.   So what has happened in the interim?  Computers!  Computer weaving programs, computer driven looms.  No more point paper.  No more dobby bars.  Freedom, well relatively speaking.  I tried copying just a small part of one of the sample pages.  Really.  It was painful and this little piece took me about 15 minutes.  Remember I was copying, no original thought.

photo (2)

I left a lot of the little erasure marks for your edification (and mine).  There is no threading here, no plan to show how is is made into Beiderwand.  It must have taken hours to prepare drafts.  I can appreciate profile designs on a new level now, so much easier to just fill in a profile and define the blocks. etc etc etc.

Redone in a computer program it looks like this

computer profile

and it didn’t take as much time by half.  Plus!  now all I have to do is ask the program to put it into Beiderwand.  What’s not to like?  It looks neat to boot.

But that does not mean I don’t see a need for pen and pencil.  My friend Carla Gladstone spends hours doodling to come up with wonderful designs with just lines.


In Between, or what to do next

The warp is off the loom, 2 scarves, and 1 piece that will become a small bag, are washed, pressed, waiting for finishing.   I was trying to recapture a piece woven in 2006. It was a fluke that it was ever woven.  Really, would you try this?  Looked totally ugly and I only had a small amount of warp left.  What could I lose in just trying it?  It’s the background in the header above.  Loved it.

Mult tabby draft

Not that I keep records but I was pretty sure the 60/2 silk was sett at 48 epi, so I just launched into weaving, testing colors.  Settling on a 60/2 slate blue (the reds just were soooo dominant) I slogged through ten inches and thought, my, this is taking a long time.  Details.  The 60/2 was weaving at 70 picks per inch (dominant reds, duh.).  Yea, that takes awhile.  Determined, I did finish that one scarf.  Did I want to resley?  No.  I just used a fatter yarn, this time a cashmere in black, and I changed the treadling.  Then, for the last stretch of the warp I chose a 10/2 cotton, knowing it would be a much less drapable fabric.  There was just enough warp to make a small bag.  Did it turn out as I pictured? No, because there was not enough warp that Nancy Roberts had dyed for me  a black silk was used as every other warp thread.  That really toned down the warp colors.

Black cotton weft
Black cotton weft

Cashmere weft
Cashmere weft

Slate blue weft
Slate blue weft

Should I finish the bag?   That means getting into inkle weaving and I am a pure novice.  Black hole of time.  How about ignoring the finishing for now and instead turning to kumihimo and make a braid for the lovely ornament I bought on Sunday–the yarn is from my beloved stash.


Or…. I could work on the ??? projects that are sitting on the work table waiting for idle hands, the lampas pillows, or the silk cardweaving, or the cotton top in 4 color double weave……

I think I’ll eat lunch.

It Looks Frustrating

The warp was on the beam for a week before I had the stamina to sit down and tackle threading and sleying.  Still new at blogging, I forgot to take a pic of the warp behind the heddles.  It was gloriously chaotic, those pesky ends from the knitted blank love to curl and tangle.   I did manage to get a shot once the warp was threaded to give you a sense of the task.


Yes, I use the “threading via treadling”  threading method ala Ingrid Boesel and I did have a one by one cross.  As the threads hang on the lease sticks at the back,  waiting for their turn to slip into the correct heddle, they rather like to “talk” to each other.  Then once through the heddles, they can easily curl back, wind around the adjacent heddle or thread, all kinds of mischief.  That means that sleying has to be done slowly and carefully, making sure the order is maintained.  Peggy Osterkamp says “The only thread that cannot tangle is one under tension”.  I am not sure if that is original to her, may have been a Jim Ahrens maxim, but I heard it from Peggy.   I think of it every time I work with one of Nancy Roberts’ knitted blanks.

Slow and steady, eventually conquering the warp, feels empowering.  (OK a bit of an exaggeration but not my much!)


Staving Off Dementia

I have been glued to the computer monitor this week.  In an effort to change work habits, a bit of pot stirring effort to  prod some creativity, I purchased ProWeave .   It is a wonderfully different program from my beloved WeavePoint  and WeaveIt .   Additionally, Dini Cameron is currently leading an online study group to help us newbies learn the intricacies of designing with ProWeave.

How is this staving off dementia?  Well for one thing, with drawing!  We have to draw!  I don’t draw.  When I learned to use Photoshop some years ago I thought I would have to learn to draw, but no, I learned a number of clever ways to cheat, to develop pattern without drawing, you understand, sort of work arounds.  I have not yet discovered how to do that in ProWeave.

This is my first attempt with the some of the drawing tools.  It makes me think dementia has already inched in.


Learning new software is a challenge and it is frustrating.  More important for me though, it is fun.  It’s a new tool and I love tools.  New tools force me to think differently.  They change what I do, how I do it, and the end point.

Wonder if all the hype about keeping your brain active, learning, etc, to avoid mental deterioration has any basis in reality.  Don’t think I will tempt fate.


Working with others is not common in our weaving world, usually a loom only wants one weaver.  Producing a quality textile requires many skills though, the spinning of the yarn, the sewing of the garment, the dyeing of the yarn, you get the picture.  I feel lucky if I can master one part of the process.  I choose to weave.  My friend, Nancy Roberts has chosen to dye.

Nancy lives just down the street but it took a guild meeting 15 miles away before we really connected.  Nancy has done some weaving, knitting, spinning, but her real love is Machine Knitting and Dyeing, thus her web site

We have worked on a number of projects together.  This one took a year in 2009 and a third collaborator, Loretta Warner ( www. ) .

Double Weave Coat


We have since worked on a number of different projects, some good, some not so successful.  The current project is based on a warp I did a number of years ago.  With 4 cones I was able to go from black to a sort of periwinkle in the center.  It took many changes of cones throughout the warping, lots of counting.

Multiple tabby with dbl weave tieup (14-4)

With Nancy’s expert dyeing of a very narrow knitted blank, I was able to wind this warp directly onto the beam, no switching out of cones of yarn, endless counting etc.   It isn’t woven yet but just looking at the warp on the beam makes me happy.