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High Fiber—Classy Clasps and Shifty Shafts

Last weekend was the rug weaving class with Jason Collingwood, "Four-end Blockweaves." 

We met at the Officer's Club at Ft. Douglas in Salt Lake City. The class was sponsored by the Mary Meigs Atwater Weavers Guild.

Jason Collingwood is a world-renowned rug weaver and teacher located in Colchester in Essex, England. For a month or two every year, he travels the world and teaches rug weaving. He also sells his rugs and will weave them to order. He's the son of another famous rug weaver, Peter Collingwood, who authored and coauthored a number of books on weaving. Have a look at his gallery!

The class started on Saturday, November 9th, and ended on Monday, November 11th, Veterans' Day. I was afraid that much of it would be way over my head, but the hardest parts were just barely over my head, which made it possible to just about get everything. Jason is not only a wonderful weaver; he's also a fantastic teacher. 

Here are a few of the things we learned:

Jason showed us how to start a rug with twining, and we got to practice at the beginning of our own rugs. 

Here he demonstrates starting a new yarn:

And here, weaving in ends:

We learned the correct way for placing a temple:

These rugs are double thickness, with the upper layer thrown through the shed alternately with the lower level. Block weaves create a pattern on both sides, with the pattern on the back appearing in the opposite colors from those on the front. With my rug, the brown will be the background on the back, and the beige will be the pattern. Here's what I had at the end of the first day.

It doesn't look like much progress, but some time was spent with lecture, questions and demonstrations. Of course, the fact that I had to pick out a lot might have something to do with my lack of progress. At least I wasn't the only one who had to do that. 

Here are the students ready for day two.

There's lots to learn. Jason wrote out the "formulas" for various patterns on the board and drew diagrams to illustrate what he was talking about. 

We learned how to clasp two yarns in a pick to get three colors in our pattern without adding another layer. Here he shows us how to get enough weft in the shed using the clasp. I had actually tried this before, after reading about it in one of Joanie's magazines, so I caught on to this technique quickly. 

What I didn't remember (although I could have read it, but didn't understand it because I had no idea that you could weave with two layers) was how to hide the connection where the two yarns clasp. If you place it where the background is, it doesn't show. 

Here's my progress at the end of day two. I used the clasping technique to get the orange color into the rug.

On the last day, we learned some more sophisticated techniques. Jason showed us how to set up the loom for shaft-switching:

This allows for more flexibility in patterns with the same warp by allowing you to move individual warp threads from one shaft to another one simply by pulling the thread closer either to one heddle or an adjacent one. (Jason has levers for this on his own looms.)

Using a pick-up stick can accomplish the same thing as shaft-switching, but takes longer.

Here Jason uses this nifty tool to demonstrate how to create a number of different finishes for a rug.

Margareth finished her rug with twining similar to the twining she began with.

Here Jason is taking Margareth's rug off the loom to demonstrate how it's done:

Here's my three-days' work: 12" using a variety of different techniques. The embossed technique is called "Summer and Winter," because it makes it thinner but denser in some areas. The thinner parts are reversed on the back.

I'm continuing to work on my little rug at home, so I can solidify what I've learned. The most challenging part? Using the technique for being able to weave a greater variety of patterns and still alternate colors, which gives you a better selvedge. That was a real brain-twister!

Vintage Stitchers met on Thursday. Rebecca brought out the scarf I wove for her with her Koigu yarn. She was very happy with it. 

Here's Rebecca's baby quilt. She had been invited to a baby birthday party. Julie said she would make her a photo-transfer label for the back, based on the invitation to the party, which featured photos of the one-year-old little girl, whom her family refers to as "Monkey." 

She based this quilt on this one of Julie's, which has a turtle in the lower left-hand corner. Turtle is what they call Julie's granddaughter. (You may have seen this quilt in one of my previous blogs.)

Rebecca's finished her wall quilt, and here it is, installed above her bedroom door. She needed a ladder and help to put it up. 

This week's cuteness: Daphne needed to have an unpleasant invasive procedure at the hospital, but she was a trooper. Her reward was a lolly, something she doesn't get often.

We had several days of snow this week, but I'll spare you the photos. I'm already dreaming of taking the trailer to Southern Utah for a holiday!

What's on my needles: Green Pastures cardigan for Daphne, first sleeve done. Dogwood Blossoms, Christmas Waffle sweater and Green Tea socks with the heel almost done. 

What's on my loom: Little progress on the Christmas present scarves. The smaller loom is the one I took to the class with Jason Collingwood. Finishing up the warp, so I can return the loom.

What's on my wheel: Full Circle Roving in "Wolf". First bobbin finished. No progress this week. 

What's on my Sewing needles, Featherweight: Delectable Pathways, piecing the Delectable Mountain block panels. Appliqué panel #3, No progress this week.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: I was listening to The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore on the Overdrive app, but got busy because of the class, and it expired. Someone else has it, so I've reserved it again. In the meantime, I'm listening to Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer. Still reading Cry of the Peacock by V. R. Christensen on the Kindle App, purchased through BookBub. Intriguing story. Listening to the Fiber Hooligan podcast and the Knit Picks podcast.

What's my app of the week: Turner Classic Movies has an app that allows you to watch right on the app. It's called "Watch TCM."

What's in my wine glass: Crane Lake Malbec 2011. One of our favorites. 

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

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Comment by Peggy Stuart on November 18, 2013 at 4:26pm
Joanna, if you have a weavers' guild near you, you might be able to have access to rental looms, classes, vendors, that will give you an idea about whether you'll like the process. Rag rugs can be made using strips of cloth (quilting scraps or from old clothes from a thrift shop). You might find a used loom for sale. Let me know if you have questions.
Comment by Joanna liguz on November 18, 2013 at 3:36pm

Peggy, your rug is beautiful...I am so amazed by what you do....Daphne is so cute. I love the coneflower quilt. It is so much fun to read your post..How expensive is it to start your own weaving?Want to start doing something like that but thinking it is way to much money...


Comment by Peggy Stuart on November 18, 2013 at 9:25am

The X-ray showed Daphne's kidney reflux has improved, and they have reduced the antibiotic maintenance dose she's on. They're hoping she will outgrow it, and so far, it seems to be going that way.

I finished the weaving. The rug is now 16.25" X 11.5" from twining to twining (lengthwise) and selvedge to selvedge. After I take out the header and finish off the warp threads, it will be a little longer. I'll post photos next week.

Rebecca: Pant, pant, pant! LOL! I get bored easily, so I have to do stuff that's interesting and learn new things.

Comment by Pam/NY on November 18, 2013 at 9:05am

To start out learning from the master is quite an opportunity! You were so lucky to live near by to take an advantage of the class. Daphne is growing into quite the little lady!

Comment by Rebecca Sundberg on November 18, 2013 at 9:04am

As always, your blog posts are fascinating!  What a wonderful opportunity - to learn with the best - and I'm sure your finished rug will be stunning.  I really don't know how you find the time to do all the things you do - I'm blown away by all of it. 

Daphne is a doll!

Comment by Barb/WI on November 18, 2013 at 8:35am

What an opportunity you had with that weaving class!  You must have come home just pumped up to do more.  Love the purple coneflower quilt.  That little Daphne sure is a cutie - looks way sweeter than that lolly!

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