Home Is Where the Weaving Is

I arranged, added, and swapped until I had eleven different colors to blend into a courageous wool warp. I had more fun pulling out skeins of yarn in Vävstuga’s shop than a kid in a candy store! The yarn is for a double weave blanket that has been on my mind for a few weeks. Yesterday, I finally had a chance to wind this wild warp! Dressing the loom is next!

Winding wool warp on warping reel.
Yellow will be the center color of the double weave wool blanket. The symmetrical way the warp is wound on this warping reel might fool you, though. These are only a few of the eleven colors that will be blended across the warp.
Winding Tuna wool for weaving a blanket.
Second bout wound on the reel. I check and double-check my written notes to make sure I get the correct color order and numbers of ends.

Away from home, I can only think about weaving on my looms. As much as I enjoyed the experiences of Vävstuga (Vävstuga Autum, Vävstuga Autumn II) and New Mexico (Pointers for Exploring New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails), I have been eager to put my hands to the tasks of weaving here in my own little studio. Winding the warp, feeling and smelling the soft Tuna wool, getting over-excited about the blending colors on the warping reel, handling the fat warp chains… Ah, I am where I’m supposed to be!

I love fat warp chains of wool!
One layer of colors for the double weave blanket.
Warp chains for wool blanket, and what's left of eleven skeins.
Basket holds what is left of the eleven skeins of Tuna wool. These two warp chains will be the other layer of the double weave blanket.

Come home. Do you ever hear that? …as if you have been away too long? The nudge is to return to your faith roots. Enjoy the refreshing that comes in the presence of the Lord. It’s good to be where you know you belong.

May you be where you flourish.

In living color,

Pointers for Exploring New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails

Do you know that New Mexico has a guide to rural fiber arts destinations across the state? Last week, Steve and I dusted off the New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails, driving 1,100 miles through mountainous deserts and lush Rio Grande River valleys. We reveled in views of God’s creation, like cottonwood trees in brilliant yellow, and the Sandia mountains turning purple and watermelon pink in the setting sun. We visited interesting studios and shops all along the way, and encountered weavers who are true artisans.

Cottonwood trees in New Mexico at their golden peak.
Cottonwood trees at their golden peak along the Rio Grande River.

Four Pointers for Your New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails Adventure:

1. Call ahead. Some of the stops are one-person studios, attached to a residence. Some places have changed their hours or days of the week that they are open. We drove two hours one day to visit a special shop, only to find a note on the door that said they were closed that day of the week.
2. Ask good questions. I like to ask a weaver a question that only another weaver would ask. Instead of introducing myself as a fellow handweaver, I like to let them figure it out by the questions I ask.
3. Wear something handwoven. My handwoven cap opened the door to conversation with other weavers.
4. Resist adding to your stash. I knew that I would have the opportunity to purchase beautiful yarn, but I decided in advance not to add to my stash. I gathered information instead; and now I have more resources to choose from when it is time to order yarn.

My Favorite Stops:

Sacramento Mountain Weavers (not listed on the Fiber Arts Trails), Kelly Stewart
Located in historic Old Town, this shop has a Glimåkra Standard loom (like mine). Among other things, Kelly has woven rag rugs from strips of soft leather.

Majestic mountains and colorful cottonwood trees in New Mexico.
Majestic mountains and colorful cottonwood trees set the scene for exploration along the New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails.

Robin Pascal Fiber Artist
Robin’s studio is nestled in a scenic hillside covered with trees and wildlife. Her handspun yarn proved irresistible to me. This is where I broke my own rule of not adding to my stash.

Handspun and hand painted yarn by Robin Pascal.
Too pretty to pass up, I came home with some of Robin Pascal’s beautiful handspun wool/silk, and a little skein of her hand painted cotton flake yarn.

Arroyo Seco (just north of Taos)
Weaving Southwest, Teresa Loveless
Amazing tapestry weavings on display! Teresa is the granddaughter of acclaimed tapestry weaver and author, Rachel Brown. Teresa carries her grandmother’s legacy by teaching tapestry techniques to interested students. There are Rio Grande walking looms in the teaching studio, where you do all the weaving standing up, not sitting. Who knows? You may see me taking a class from Teresa. Her passion for tapestry weaving is contagious.

Weaving Southwest in Arroyo Seco, NM. Beautiful tapestries, yarns, and looms inside!
Enjoying the cool air in Arroyo Seco, Steve and I stand outside one of our favorite stops on this adventure.

Ranchos de Taos
Old Martina’s Hall Restaurant, Tapestry Exhibit (not listed on the Fiber Arts Trails)
Art Through The Loom Weaving Guild Show, August 20th through February 28th, 2015
This outstanding tapestry exhibit is not to be missed if you are anywhere near the vicinity! Downstairs and upstairs, every room in this restored, old dance hall is adorned with exquisite pieces of traditional and contemporary woven tapestries by nineteen different artists.

San Francisco de Asis, serene historic chapel in Ranchos de Toas, New Mexico
Serene historic chapel, San Francisco de Asis, is across the street from the renovated old dance hall, Old Martina’s Hall. We enjoyed an impressive tapestry exhibit at Old Martina’s Hall.

Trujillo’s Weaving Shop (not listed on the Fiber Arts Trails), Carlos Trujillo
The first thing we saw when we entered the shop was a huge, rustic Rio Grande walking loom. Carlos was at the loom, weaving. He clearly loves designing at the loom, using unique color combinations in traditional designs. His grandfather built this impressive loom. Two women in an adjacent room filled with looms allowed me to watch over their shoulders as they wove traditional Chimayó patterns. One of the women showed me the small, narrow loom they now use for weaving coasters, and told me, “This was the loom Carlos learned to weave on when he was a little boy. As he grew, blocks were added to raise the loom to fit him.”

Chimayó weaving is a craft carefully handed down from one generation to the next.
Chimayó weaving, a skilled craft, is passed on from one generation to the next.

Centinela Traditional Arts, Irvin Trujillo
Irvin allowed me to watch and ask questions as he wove in the massive weaving room in the far end of the shop. It was inspiring to watch this master weaver at work. I found Irvin to be unpretentious, even though his expertise is astounding. You should see his intricate tapestries that hang in the showroom of the shop! Weaving is second nature to Irvin, who has been creating with wool on a loom since he was a young boy.

Rio Grande River in New Mexico.
Rio Grande River in New Mexico is the subject of many woven tapestries. Artisans often find creative ways to interpret this beauty.

Cat Brysch Creations Studio
Cat’s nine looms are clothed in colors that describe the terrain and sky of this beautiful mountainous desert. She took the time to explain each loom’s fabric to me, as I marveled at her skill of blending colors in the warp.

Weaving studio in little sleepy town in New Mexico.
Surrounded by mountains, the little sleepy town of Magdalena is home of an active weaving studio. The scenic views that Cat enjoys every day influence her selection of colors and textures in her weaving.

Pie Town
If you go as far as Magdalena, you might as well go another 56 miles to Pie-o-neer in Pie Town, New Mexico. The green chile stew is fantastic, but if I had known how good the hot-from-the-oven double cherry (tart and sweet) pie would be, I would have skipped the stew and ordered two slices of pie! Steve said the same about his slice of warmed peach pie. It was a great way to end our Fiber Arts Trails adventure.

Pie Town, New Mexico - best pie ever!
Nothing like a really good slice of homemade pie!
New Mexico scenery.
Scenic desert after dessert.

May you go on explorations and adventures.

Your traveling weaver,

Quiet Friday: Just a Little More Yarn, Please

Cotton, linen, wool. Thick, thin, slick, rough, smooth, bumpy. Yarn comes in so many shapes and sizes. But, oh, it’s the colors that draw me in. I love a wall of yarn! I don’t need to have it all, I just want to look at it. Thread on tubes looks spectacular, piled up in cubbies. Yarn in skeins looks inviting. Yarn, thread, fiber… Whatever you want to call it, may I have just a little more, please?

Wall of Thread at Vävstuga!
I love the circles of colors and the “O’s” of the tubes! It’s as if they all have their little mouths open.
Working with colors at Vävstuga.
Class time at Vävstuga often means playing with colors.
Tubes of Linen Thread at Vävstuga.
Decisions, decisions… Which linen color would you choose?
Dahlia on the Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne, MA
Dahlia on the Bridge of Flowers, just outside the Vävstuga weaving studio.
Wall of Thread at Vävstuga! Isn't it pretty?
Cotton, anyone? This is a fun wall of color! It is the backdrop to the table where we wind our quills at Vävstuga.
Bridge of Flowers at Shelburne Falls, MA
Another Dahlia that caught my attention! I like the raggedy edges. Imagine blending yarn in these colors.
Skeins of Wool at Vävstuga
Yarn on skeins will be wound into balls to be prepared for weaving.
More Thread Tubes at Vävstuga!
What can I say? I never get tired of seeing the thread color circles!

Please come back next week for the lively conversation I had with Swedish weaving expert and founder of Vävstuga Weaving School, Becky Ashenden, in her living room. Find out what makes her tick!

May your days be filled with color!

Just a little more yarn, pretty please,