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Scrap Happy March

March 14, 2019

thrums are the waste threads left when it is no longer mechanically possible to weave the warp

they are unavoidable and they really add up

it is a shame to waste them, many of mine are handspun and naturally dyed

they get used for stitching but that barely makes a dent in the stash


I warped the tapestry loom to weave two pieces 2.5″ x 6.5″

using the “Fringeless” technique the only finishing required is threading in all the ends

best done in the evening in front of the fire

and sewing on a button

 the warp is linen picked up from the guild “free” table

the weft is all thrums – wool, silk, alpaca and cotton

what are they? – wrist bands or cuffs

the pink one is wedge weave, a Navajo technique, which creates a scalloped edge

the blue one is split tapestry, woven as a sample for a larger tapestry still on paper

designed to resemble Japanese boro fabrics

buttons are an old mother-of-pearl and a pottery one purchased in 2012 at Fujino train station

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen and Connie

See you again, same time next month!



March 12, 2019

oh Joy! – signs of Spring

a new warp – on the backstrap loom

Sarah Swett mentioned linsey-woolsey in a post

(and look at her fantastic paper yarn cut from coffee filters)

linsey-woolsey is plain or twill weave using linen warp and wool weft

it was popular in colonial America before wool was plentiful

it must have been uncomfortable to wear – I want to see how it washes

both yarns are handspun, 2 ply – hemp warp and Icelandic/silk weft

it still took me a couple of hours to get the warp on and the tension even

 can you see the weaving problem already starting?

if you wiggle or move even an inch – to sneeze or reach the scissors, the coffee etc. the entire warp moves with you

and I’m not beating on a straight horizontal, hopefully I will improve

on the floor loom

bleached linen warp with a stripe of European hemp – it is a lovely silver colour

shifu/kami-ito weft

can you see the colour change at the bottom – weft starting with linen and changing to shifu

with an 11 harness twill pattern – and another 2 harnesses for a plain weave selvedge

I’m much better at this than the backstrap plain weave

it is going to keep me busy for some time

Marching on

March 4, 2019

finally there is a hint of Spring – the sky is blue, the sun is shining

but the temperatures are well below normal

I’ve been out in the garden pruning and cleaning up

ready for the municipal pick-up on the 19th

spinning in the evenings

top skein is a sample of alpaca/silk heather-y blend

below it is the same fibre, colour “silver moon”

and the pale grey is Icelandic/silk blend

they are all 2 ply, wheel spun – testing weights for use specifically as tapestry yarn

the alpaca is softer and lofty, the Icelandic a little firmer – both work nicely

woven at 10 epi

the first wrist band/cuff is finished – 8.5 inches long

 Fringeless warping means neat, finished ends

wedge weave created a scalloped edge

a buttonhole slit is woven in (on the left)

 the button was backed with a tiny square of twill tape so it wouldn’t pull out

a mother-of-pearl button is all the finishing it needed

it has taken a week of designing and changing my mind to finally decide on the next floor loom warp

linen and silk warp, shifu (paper thread) weft

the shifu/kami-ito thread takes so long to prepare and spin that it is critical to get it right

better go wind that warp before I change my mind again


end of the month

February 27, 2019

time flies when you’re having (fun) – getting older!

when time and opportunities are slipping away never to return

so much to experience, so much to learn

and on that note, I’ve decided that back strap weaving is taking too much of that precious time

the month started with a new rigid heddle – 12 epi

definitely not my favorite tool

and a colour and weave warp

the white is 2/8 cotton and coloured is 4/8 cotton

what was I thinking – “keep it simple” would have been more appropriate

and after some not very happy weaving ended with this

I’m not keen on producing rather ugly, useless scraps

but I have learned something

and a nice surprise is that it didn’t bother my back like I thought it might

a least the tea towels started in early Dec. are finally finished

they were intended to be companions to the red towels woven in the same 8 harness advancing twill

Christmas-y – just a couple of months late

with the floor loom naked, again I’ve developed a bad case of shifu-itis

what to weave with this precious yarn?

different weights, papers and colours

taking my time to come up with a plan

happy to say good-bye to a cold and snowy February


fibre joy

February 24, 2019

Saturday was the annual Spin-in

with over 70 eager spinners the line up of wheels is impressive

connecting with people you only see once or twice a year is a big part of the pleasure

fibre-y temptations abound

you can literally drop everything to make a purchase

Jane from Tideview Farm with her Icelandic fleece

of course I had to buy some – and spin it immediately

Tracy from  with alpaca fibre and yarn

I love this natural colour “silver moon” – it is a dream to spin

it is a pleasure to purchase top quality local fibre

now I’m going to spend a Sunday afternoon spinning

on my Jonathan Bosworth Journey Wheel –


winter blahs

February 21, 2019

too many things on the go – nothing gets finished

still weaving 8 harness advancing twill

changing weft colours keeps the process interesting

using handspun/natural dyed woolen thrums

tapestry weaving wrist bands/bracelets

two at a time – with a buttonhole slit woven  at the beginning

hoping the wedge weaving, on the left, creates a scalloped edge

sampling on the right for a larger piece in the design stage

spinning hemp in the evenings by the fire

when plied, two small balls gave 60 yards

simmered with a tablespoon of washing soda for an hour

and in plain water for another hour the colour lightened

the water from the first wash was a dark orange/yellow

with a strong, unpleasant smell

my student has reached the weaving stage

coping with a floating selvedge and two shuttles

her hem stitching is very nice – way to go!

now it is off to finish the tea towels


Scrap Happy Valentines

February 14, 2019

my scrappy creations are getting smaller

I’ve made – and collected – buttons since childhood

when I was a child the treasures in Grandma’s button jar were fascinating

for this month’s scrap happy I gathered some Japanese and indigo dyed scraps

plastic rings from someone’s collection I bought at a garage sale years ago

cut a circle of fabric

turn in the raw edge and gather

add a pinch of quilt batting to soften the plastic

pull up and stitch on the back

add a broach pin or stitch a buttonhole loop

stitch, add beads or leave the front plain

while gathering materials I came across these buttons made a few years ago

perfect for Valentine’s Day or small granddaughters

and then the prayer flag for February 2016

made from handwoven scraps

be kind to each other

love and chocolate to all!

afternoon update

1/2″ buttons (the smallest ring I have)

maybe they are small enough for my Hitty friends

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen and Connie

another update – I’m surprised that there is so much interest in buttons

this is an excellent book for making many different types of buttons

author is Nancy Nehring