Sunday, 15 October 2017

The Weave Fair, Vaxjo, Sweden 2017

Weave Fair 2017


The Weave Fair was held in Vaxjo, Sweden in September.  The Weave fair is a fantastic occasion to meet other weavers from around the world and see an astonishing range of equipment and yarns.  There is a comprehensive lecture programme including some lectures in English.
The town of Vaxjo had displays of weaving and the longest rag rug every produced.


It led past a display by the local craft guild who had looms where they demonstrated their skills.


Another long rug led to a local shop where more woven goods were displayed as well as another loom.



The rug led to a shop.
Lots of woven goods on display
The local museums also had a colourful display of both contemporary and old examples of weaving.


To get to the Weave fair, I had to board a bus in the town centre with the destination SamarkandSo I took 'The Golden Road to Samarkand.'  The Weave Fair seems like a caravanserai, although not a place to rest but to meet and buy.



The bus to Samarkand

I attended all three days as there is always something to do and see. All the major loom makers were there and the weaving equipment was very tempting. I like to arrive early so that I can take alook around  before it gets too busy.

Toika Finland




Yes the loom equipment did stretch this far!


Glimakra USA
All the yarn was very tempting.  A rainbow of colours in wool, linen and cotton.




There were plenty of weavers demonstrating their skills. Local guilds gave their time to bring their looms and show a variety of weaving techniques from tapestry to draw loom weaving.

 At the Weave Fair in Boras in 2011, I attended a inspirational lecture by Andreas Moeller.  He is an accomplished weaver/designer as you can see from his web site.  He spoke about the 8 shaft countermarche loom that he had designed for weavers in Africa.  It is an amazing loom and here he demonstrated its capabilities.   Here is his web site  http://www.moeller-hamburg.com/c/English
I have uploaded a video onto my Facebook page. 



I have posted a video of Andreas weaving on his loom on my Facebook page.  It is astonishing how quickly he can weave.

Here is a piece from his blog about this remarkable loom.
In 2009 he constructed the Personal-Flying-8 Workshop Unit, a loom and all the equipment that is needed for weaving. It can be built easily by one person, without the use of electricity, without the need of drilling holes and without metal parts like brackets or axles.
The building instructions for the Personal-Flying-8 loom and the book Flying-8 Das Weben can be ordered from Andreas.


The Selvedge magazine stand
Selvedge magazine was also represented. I have been interviewed for an upcoming edition of Selvedge along with a tapestry weaver, Matty and spinner, Amanda.  It was a wonderful opportunity for us all to talk about our passion for craft and the role the the Association of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers has for us and other like minded craft practitioners. http://www.wsd.org.uk/

I have a new article due to be published in the next edition of the Journal published by the Association with an accompanying YouTube video. (yes, it is about band weaving!). Amanda's work in Tibet is in the current Autumn edition of the Journal.

I was looking forward to seeing the stall for the Leksands Heml√∂jd.  In Leksand it was the first outlet outside of Stockholm to sell local crafts and was founded in 1904. This was a must go to destination for me every time I visit Sweden.

At the Weave fair, I bought a pattern book of bands as well as a stunning band from Insjon near Leksand.

The busy Leksand stall.


This is the beautiful hand woven band that I bought. 
I had an amazing time at the Weave fair. I met weavers from around the world. The stand for the Swedish Weavers Association was of particular interest. http://www.riksvav.se/   I bought one of their practical large bags which was very useful for all my purchases. I will write more about this in a future blog.

An excellent bag for carrying lots of 'goodies'.
The Skane region is famous for its embroidery.  The stand gives an idea of how colourful they are.


The cushions are glorious.


These bags came as kits so that you could make your own.  The bands were all commercially woven.  

We also visited other places in Sweden.  We went back to Orebro and found other sights to explore including the iconic water tower.   There is a small open air collection of old houses in a lovely park.
Lovely old buildings to explore. This shows Siw's shop.

Here I met Siw Norup who had a small shop selling her handmade items.





 She was selling her collection of woven bands as she does not weave them any more. She wove simple warp faced bands and was selling her heddles and band locks.



The bands were very colourful and I bought one as a souvenir. It uses different weights of wool and has an interesting asymmetrical pattern.



woven band by Siw

I hope you have enjoyed this trip to Sweden and the Weave Fair.  The next Fair is in three years time.
One area of the exhibition hall was partitioned as a private area for the people running the various stands.  I spotted these two patient dogs - I felt the same after three days.



The free online workshop for patterned band weaving starts today.  See my blog for details.

I will be writing future blogs about the other places I visited in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland.

Happy weaving

Susan J Foulkes





Sunday, 1 October 2017

Online Guild Annual Challenge Lace for All Seasons

I decided to take part in this years annual challenge with the Online Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers  http://www.onlineguildwsd.org.uk/

The title of the challenge was 'A Lace for All Seasons.' The brief was broad - any techniques and skills as long as spinning, weaving or dyeing were included.

When I first started to learn to weave, I wove a silk stole on a table loom in the weaving class I attended.  It was a pattern by Sharon Alderman.  I loved her patterns and always looked out for any ideas and articles by her. This pattern appeared in Handwoven in Jan/Feb 1989 page 106

The silk lace shawl was woven in 2/20 white silk and is very long. the treadling sequence is 72 picks. For the class table loom, I had to have a detailed list of sheds and keep track of them very carefully.  I think that there is one small mistake in the treadling which I noticed when the shawl was off the loom.  I know the mistake is there but to most people it is invisible. In the weaving class we were encouraged to keep accurate records.  I have noted that the warp took me three hours to make, the threading on the loom took 4 hours and one pattern repeat took 25 minutes to weave! The final length was 79 inches and the width 23 inches.




The shawl is very long, warm and rather stylish. The pattern has open work areas but with a plain weave trellis in between.

I remembered that many years ago I bought some 2/30 gold silk which I had never used. The silk was very shiny and smooth and I did not know how it would weave. I realised that I would have to sample before I could be sure of the sett.

But first of all, I needed to design a lace pattern.  I wanted something that would have a lacy pattern but also have some areas of plain weave to hold the structure of the fabric together. The Best of Weavers: Huck lace was a good place to start. On page 8 there is an 8 shaft draft for a scarf. It was woven in 2/30 silk with a sett of 24 epi.  The huck lace pattern is in blocks of 5 ends where the base threads are alternately threaded on shaft one and shaft two.  I liked this idea but not the pattern.
I looked back at the 8 shaft version by Sharon Alderman.  I did not want to repeat the pattern and I wanted something a little different. The Fibreworks PCW program is very useful for designing patterns. I tried a number of different variations and the one on 9 shafts seemed very attractive. I wanted a pattern that would emphasis the open work areas.

Publisher: Alexis Yiorgos Xenakis  2000
This is a wonderful book edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt.

I devised a 9 shaft pattern of open work triangles inside a lattice. Here is my own draft. The treadling repeat is 60 picks.

Two pattern repeats showing the plain weave on the left side




One pattern repeat to show the threading and loom set up.
I was not sure that the sett of 24 epi would be suitable for this very shiny, slippery silk.  I made a warp long enough to weave a sample. I decided to use of sett of 27 epi using three ends per dent in a 9 reed.

Width at reed:  18.4 inches  approx 46.6 cm
Sett: 27 epi
Treadling is approx 25 - 26 ppi.

I wove a sample and cut it off the loom.  I washed and ironed it.

The sample and weaving on the loom
I was pleased with the result.  Although the sett was slightly closely than I would  normally have used, the open pattern displays well.  The lattice in between keeps the lace areas stable.  On the loom, the open lace areas do not open up.

Here is a close up of the weave structure.

It wove like a dream.  The tension and even beat seemed easy to do. The colour in the picture is rather too yellow,.  The silk is pale old gold.



close up of weave structure
The lattice surrounding the open lace area sets off the pattern and I think makes it more dramatic.
I found it very difficult to get a good picture of the actual colour of the silk.  It changes according to the lighting conditions.  In sunlight it seems to sparkle gold. On a dull day, it appears somewhat washed out, as you can see on this photograph.


White silk stole and new old gold silk huck lace scarf. 




close up showing the pattern of the stole and scarf

Finishing the scarf 

To finish the scarf, I hemmed the ends and then made short plaits along the width.The scarf was then washed.  The fringes were trimmed after washing.

The length of the scarf is 209 cm  82.25 inches
The width of the scarf is 41.5 cm 16.25 inches
The twisted fringes are 5 cm  2 inches.

I was very pleased with the result. I shall enjoy wearing this scarf.  The challenge was 'A Lace for All Seasons.'  This scarf can be worn as a dressy evening accessory or wrapped around the neck to keep warm.  It looks very good with a dark coat.


Happy weaving for all seasons.

Don't forget that my online workshop for the Braid Society starts in two weeks.


I have just returned from the Weave Fair in Vaxjo, Sweden.  I was thrilled to meet Madelyn van der Hoogt. The book about Huck Lace is one of the many invaluable books that she has written.



As you can see, I am wearing my lovely new silk scarf, after all, it was a Weave Fair!


Susan J Foulkes October 2017




Friday, 15 September 2017

Fashionable Woven Belts 2

Sash Belts

I saw a fashion article earlier this year with an illustration of a lovely sash belt.

Close up of sash belt

Here is another sash I saw in a shop window.




I remembered that I had bought a Peruvian sash belt many years ago.

Peruvian sash in warp faced plain weave. 

It is  163 cm  in length and 7.5 cm( 3 inches) in width.
Here is a close up of the material.  It is in warp faced plain weave and uses very fine cotton.

Close up of sash belt from Peru

Of course, sash belts are part of the folk costume in many countries. They are made using many different techniques; finger weaving, tablet weaving, sprang as well as patterned band weaving.
Norwegian belts



Russian belt




Sash from Guatalmala.




Assumption sash, Canada.


Here is another traditional Ukrainian Belt, called krajka, handmade using the old traditional weaving loom in Western Ukraine. There are some lovely designs shown in the Etsy shop WovenSlavicBelts.


Ukrainian woven sash


Weaving a warp faced plain weave sash.


Sash belts are easy to weave and wear.  I thought that I would try to weave my own sash as I love stripes and warp faced plain weave is such an easy structure. I was not sure of the sett for 16/2 Swedish cotton.  I decided to use a high sett and weave a short sample.

I used three colours of red, white and blue, with a darker blue for the border.  I used a 14 dent reed with 6 ends per dent.  Weft is white 16/2 cotton.

Sett at 84 per inch

width 3.75 inches / 9.5 cm     =       324   ends

Dark Blue 30
Mid Blue              1       25               1
White            41                       18
Red                          25        1                 Centre  40 red  then reverse the colour order.


Belt on the loom

It was easier to weave than I thought it would be. The Swedish cotton is good quality and strong.

close up on loom showing dotted edging to the solid colour areas
I tried using a dark navy weft so that the edges of the band would be a solid colour. This made the white stripe darker so I switched to using a white weft.  This was better and did not show up in the red and blue striped areas.  It makes a white dotted edge to the belt which echos the dotted edges of red and blue.

Here is the finished belt. It is 9.5 cm in width which I feel is slightly too wide. The feel of the woven material is smooth and flexible.  The cotton has a slight sheen.  The colour is more natural than on the close up on the loom. Artificial lighting alters colour values.


This is the finished belt. 

I am not sure I will wear this as a belt.  The material is lovely to handle and I thought that I could make a small bag with it.

It was a good learning exercise.  I now know the sett for weaving warp faced wider bands and the type of material that 16/2 cotton produces.

Happy weaving

Susan J Foulkes  September 2017





Friday, 1 September 2017

Traditional handtowels Cat Track and Snail Trail

The first book that I bought when I started to learn to weave was A Handweavers Pattern Book by Marguerite P Davison.  It was first published in 1944.  It is a treasure - lovely to browse and full of traditional patterns with wonderful names such as Gothic Cross, Queen's Delight, Batchelor's Fancy, Wall of Troy, and Saterglantan.  The last name felt very exotic and it was many years before I discovered that Saterglantan is a weaving college in Sweden.

I decided to weave one of the patterns - Cat track and Snail trail which I saw in an Interweave Press booklet.  In Marguerite Davison's book it is known as Wandering Vine.


 This is a design that can be played with and new combinations discovered.

Another variation for cat track and snail trail.




Here is another version. The cat track is more distinct and the snail trail is narrower. Remember that there needs to be a plain weave tabby in between the pattern weft.


A variation of the pattern



I decided to adapt the pattern to make four shorter cat tracks surrounded by the 'snail trail'. Perhaps it should be christened kitten track and snail trail

weave chart for cat track and snail trail


The hand towel warp is 16/2 cotton and the weft is 16/2 cotton and the pattern weft is 16/2 linen doubled.
The sett is 24 epi for the 16/2 cotton stripes.
The ppi is approx. 40 because of the tabby overshot.

The warp is in stripes 40 ends in white and 40 ends in colour. I used five stripes of white alternating with six stripes of green.

Here is the weave chart with the tabby weft included. It does seem a little more complex but it is easy to weave.

Weave draft with tabby weft highlighted in blue.
The draft may seem a bit confusing but it is easy to get into the swing of using two shuttles. One shuttle has the plain weave weft of 16/2 cotton.  The other shuttle has a doubled 16/2 linen yarn.


Adapted cat track and snail trail.
The handtowel is very sturdy and absorbent. On the loom, the cloth will seem very stiff and rather hard.  Do not worry. Once it is washed it becomes soft.  This cloth is very absorbent.

I decided weave another version using blue and white stripes.

Weaving on the loom
Of course, the design can be varied by using a blue or white tabby yarn and a blue or white linen pattern yarn. Once threaded the pattern can be woven with either two small footprints or four smaller ones.

I  made a long warp for four towels. This warp had been lying around for some time so I used it for the online workshop with the Online Guild for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers for January 2017.  the first workshop of the year is always UFO  (Unfinished Objects)  This is a chance to look through your projects half finished or as in my case not even started and make a good effort to complete them.
I really like this workshop and each year I have managed to find the extra effort to complete long abandoned projects.  It is such a good way to start the year.  Even owning up to what you would like to do is an added incentive to really achieve your goal.  I am so pleased that I finished this before the end of January.  i really found it difficult to get up the enthusiasm needed but once started and with encouragement form other Guild members, I was away.

In between each towel I used a few picks of yellow cottolin. This is where I cut the long fabric after weaving. At the beginning and end of each towel, I wove 10 - 12 picks using 16/2 cotton in plain weave.  This is to make the hem less bulky.  The white cotton is folded underneath and will not show when the handtowel is hemmed.


Here you can see the difference when using a blue linen pattern yarn with either a white tabby weft of a blue tabby weft.

For the pattern yarn of a doubled 16/2 linen I use my large shuttle which can take two spools of yarn.

A two spool boat shuttle. 
Whenever I need to use a double yarn, I always use this shuttle.  I have tried winding two threads together but I find that there is always some slack in one yarn.

Once the fabric is off the loom, cut it into the towel lengths.  I iron the top and bottom of each towel to press the material for the hem.  I tack the hems and add the hanging tags and press again.  Then I sew the hems using a zig zag stitch.  The towels are washed in a normal machine wash.


Hanging tag.


I wove a hanging tag for the towels.  There are 35 warp ends in two colours.  i used 16/2 cotton doubled for the warp ends.  The weft is blue cottolin.







I like the effect of the dotted pattern and the horizontal stripe in the centre.

Here are two finished towels.

Two handtowels one with a two footprint cat track and the other with a smaller four footprint track.
Measurements of the two towels before and after washing.

Two track pattern

Width before washing: 45 cm                    After washing:  41.5 cm
Length before washing: 64 cm                   After washing: 61.5

Four track pattern

Width before washing:    45 cm                After washing:  41.5 cm
Length before washing:  64.5 cm              After washing:  62 cm

The towels look really lovely and are very absorbent.

Happy weaving

Susan J Foulkes May 2017