Knit Flix

Monday, May 21, 2012


The Conference of Northern California Handweavers (CNCH) was in Oakland this past weekend. I had heard of the show, but hadn't been able to attend until this year. I took BART up on Saturday and spent a few hours at the Market Place.

Maintenance on BART meant delays to and from the Oakland Convention Center. Thank goodness I was only shopping. But in all fairness, Spinnity took BART to and from the same stations and didn't experience delays. It's all in the timing folks, and mine was perfect (not).

The Market Place had some vendors I'd seen at Stitches West, and some that I hadn't seen before. But even the ones I was familiar with had their weaving products prominently displayed, so the familiar booths looked a bit different.

I saw a familiar face in the Knit Cook booth, Darlene Hayes. Earlier this year she told me about the new direction she was heading in, so it was exciting to see her designs in person. Knitting patterns & recipes, how could I resist? She had samples of her designs--sophisticated and wearable sweaters--and pieces of Lemon Lavender Shortbread for tasting. Delicious. I liked Empire and thought it would be a perfect sweater for work, so I bought that pattern which included a recipe for Apple and Walnut Scones. There's minimal seaming in the sweater construction and she uses notations similar to Japanese patterns. I think this will be a fun project. It was great seeing Darlene and I wish her all the best with Knit Cook.

One booth that I spent quite a bit of time in was Glimakra. I purchased a temple from them online a few months ago so it was nice to see what they had to offer in the booth. They had multiple looms set up with various weaving kits warped and ready to go. I was watching a girl weave Elin Towels. I like the traditional Swedish colors of yellow, blue, and natural, so I bought a kit for Anna Towels in 100% cotton. Having a warp chain done and ready for sleying was very enticing and I can always use the pattern for more towels in 8/2 cotton or cotton-linen. Gosh, I really need to finish the project on my loom so I can start a new one.

From there I went to Carolina Homespun and bought a Schacht Inkle Loom and a belt shuttle. More about that later. I walked the rest of the show floor but didn't purchase anything else. It was interesting to see the Gilmore booth because that's the manufacturer of the floor loom that I have at home. I liked the shelf/lamp units they had on their looms.

Part of the show floor was dedicated to a juried show with pieces submitted by attendees, a section for the teachers at the conference to showcase their work, and an exhibit by Peggy Osterkamp. Peggy happened to be there when I was, so I had the opportunity to chat with her. I was familiar with her work through her blog posts, so meeting her--a weaving celebrity--was a bit of a thrill. She was scheduled to give the keynote speech for the conference that evening. Her work was amazing and inspiring and it was nice to be able to tell her that.

Spinnity was taking a cotton spinning class that day and she found me in the market during her lunch break. We viewed the juried show of pieces submitted by conference attendees. Being relatively new to weaving, the variety of pieces displayed was eye opening. There were yards of fabric, garments made with handwoven fabric, quilted pieces, woven baskets and sculptures, woven art pieces, etc., etc.. Putting that display together has to be a ton of work for the conference organizers and I'm glad they do it. It helped me see examples of what's possible with weaving and the fiber arts, and viewing it with a friend made it that much more enjoyable because we could bounce comments and ideas off each other.

I brought the Inkle loom home safely and loaded it with a project the next day. Let me back up. A couple of weeks ago, I had the urge to start a new project in a new medium, tablet weaving. I remember tablet weaving when I was a kid. Was it something that the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts learned? I wasn't either, but my sister & brother were. Or maybe I learned it in school, I can't remember... it was so long ago. ;)

I searched the internet and found Basic Tablet Weaving. I picked the design from their Sample Threaded-in Patterns--second row, right. I found a pack of playing cards and punched holes in them and used 8/4 cotton carpet warp for the warp and weft. Tying the project to something, anything, to tension the warp was not that easy or convenient. Here's where the Inkle loom comes in. As a kid, I also made an Inkle loom for tablet weaving. I don't remember where I saw a photo of a loom, but I used a piece of plywood for the frame, then drilled holes and inserted cut pieces of a broomstick for dowels. The tension was controlled by a hunk of 2x4 that pivoted on a bolt in the back. I had no idea that it was a real loom let alone had a name. Needless to say, I never did Inkle weaving on it, just tablet weaving.

Soooo, that was my inspiration to purchase an Inkle loom at CNCH. I wasn't sure how difficult it would be to put the current project on the loom. In the end, I took each group of 4 warp threads which were already knotted together, wrapped them around the warp pegs, and had enough to tie the beginning and end of the group together. Success!

You can see the knots at the bottom of this photo, under the cards/tablets.

Tablet weaving on an Inkle loom

Here's the strap under construction.

Tablet weaving

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  • I sure had a great time visiting CNCH with you, too! And dang, girl, that inkle-loom woven strap is beautiful!

    By Blogger spinnity, at 5/21/2012 4:28 PM  

  • Sounds like you had a great time. That woven strap looks gorgeous.

    By Blogger Ann, at 5/21/2012 5:02 PM  

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