Thursday, March 8, 2012

How To Wash a Rag Rug & Share on Face Book & Internet.

How it all happened for me to write a blog about how to wash a rag rug was when I read a comment from a weaving group that I joined couple of weeks ago on face book. The weaving group has an open concept and open for the public,it is a great place to share photos of  weaving projects, videos, and the many questions about weaving. One of the group members a weaver who shared a photo of her rag rug with inlays of small bows asked how the inlays would hold up after the rug had been washed, there were many comment over how pretty the rug was and well woven, I happened to answer the question about how the rug would hold up, and from my own experience having washed rag rugs in a washing machine  my comment to her was not to wash the rug in a washing machine since the bows would then come off, or unravel. Shortly after my comment another comment was posted, a comment that made me feel very offended and contradicted after have given my comment and recommendations," was too not wash a rag rug in a washing machine", to this all I have to say is, after the many years of weaving and reading up on history on weaving I have come to learn: rag rugs that has been preserved and cared for has always been washed by hand, with this I am not to state if anyone feels that in these times when most people are busy with all kinds of work it would be an easier solution to wash a rag rug in a washing machine, but keep in mind a rag rug can not hold up for too many years, and especially if there are inlays in the rug as of the rug I have mentioned here on my blog from a weaving group on face book!

In Sweden in smaller urban areas as of a township there are often what is called a wash house a place were people can bring their rag rugs to be washed on a stone floor were the rug can be placed flat during scrubbing and rinse off the rug. There is also a place were the rugs can be hung in fresh air to be dried, and during the waiting time it takes for the rug to dry often people bring their lunches and have an opportunity to meet with new friends, how great is that to spend an afternoon to chat with others who are there for the same purpose to care for their rag rug. Swedish people are known to take pride and joy over their  rag rugs and aware of all the work it takes for the planning before the final step to weave the rug, not the least to be mentioned it also takes many hours to weave a rug before the rug is finished, for this reason and with confident it would be to big of a risk that most people would avoid who owned a hand woven rag rug, it would not be worth the risk to have their rag rug once again turning to a big pile of rags!

I have added  photos of rag rugs with inlays before they were washed and when  bows came off, or unraveled. The rugs were woven for my grand-children and I also wove pillows that would match the rag rugs with the same inlays as of small bows.


Sharing Weaving on Face Book and Internet.

Since and when I open an account with face book and had my website designed to share weaving and Swedish culture I have learned the many ways there are to share and the work involved. I had to put my thinking cap on to enable to do the many steps to plan and organize  a website before I had the website  up and running to be viewed on internet and face book. Firstly, I had to figure out what would look nice and explained the purpose behind my website, secondly, I liked something that would define Swedish weaving, and thirdly, I contacted two artists from Dalarna in Sweden, Åse Larsjos, and Slotts Barbro, who are the very best in their art Kurbits Painting. My decision was clear, the logo for the web site would be painted in the artwork "Kurbits", on a linen canvas that was hand woven  that had been provided by Slotts Barbro who did the art work on the logo for SwedishWeaving. The pieces I have added on my website under Kurbits have been designed for me by my request to have it custom made, Slotts Barbro provided me with ideas on designs before the final work would be done! 

Sharing my website and blog has been a joy by posting on face book, and the internet! I would like to share two stories what happen when sharing and caring. The first story happened a few years back when I talked to Åse on the telephone and then she told me news that she was to have someone from US who had read my website and ended up to contact Åse to have it arranged to have a class in Kurbits Painting in her home in Dalarna, Sweden, I then felt a comfort feeling  coming over me for such happy news. Since then just a week ago I had an e mail from Åse who to let me know she added my  website address to hers, and I feel very much honored by this, thank you Åse!. 
Åse is truly an artist, and not just in Kurbits, but also an artist in free hand oil painting and water color that she has on her website  I would also like to have it mentioned that Åse and two other artist from Sweden has merged into one website  Lastly there has been many wonderful comments from people who have been visiting SwedishWeaving and read about well known artist in Sweden, Åse Larsjo, and Slotts Barbro!

Couple of weeks ago I had another e mail from someone who had read my website and asked if I would be interested to give a weaving demonstration in an upcoming event in May of 2012, for 50 young girls who are having an American Doll Tee Party, with the theme Marti Gras, and of course who would give up such an opportunity and of course accepted, and I am now in the stage of  planing the weaving projects that is going to be  in the colors Marti Gras, Green, Gold, and Purple. I will be posting a blog with photos after the event in May, and I am looking forward to meet all the small fries, there are so much one can learn from sharing and demonstrate weaving to all age group. 

Thank you for reading my blog,
Margaretha Fletcher

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Be Careful How to Use Words & Advice, You Might Have to Eat Them!

Rigid Heddle Loom
It was at a craft fair in Woodstock, Vermont during October 2011 where it all happened. The vendor's booth's were filled with many different products and services, from hand weaving to dog grooming. After walking around admiring what the vendors had brought with them, I especially admired the weaving projects that were for sale. I asked the vendors of these products what kind of weaving techniques they used in their weaving. At one booth, I purchased a lovely scarf, woven with chenille. The striking colors in the scarf reminded me of the bold colors red, yellow, and blue that are often used in weaving from Sweden. I was pleased with my purchase. When I arrived home after the long day at the craft fair, I took a close look at myself and wondered if I also should begin to weave scarfs. I was not entirely pleased with my own thoughts, mostly because of being reluctant to put  a long warp on my big loom "just to weave a scarf". That was when the "light bulb" flashed in my head to purchase a "rigid heddle loom".

When I finally tried the scarf, I examined it with care to see how it was woven. I then looked at my large 12 shaft, 160 cm wide, Oxabeck loom from Sweden. This was a loom I purchased to weave projects on for use in the home. Thinking of the larger loom, I knew at that moment that I was going to be pleased with my decision to "purchase a rigid heddle loom". 
Oxabeck loom from Sweden
A few weekends before the fair in Woodstock, two girls and I, both members from Vermont Weaving Guild, held a demonstration in weaving at Sheep & Wool Festival in Turnbridge, Vermont. One of the members had brought her own rigid heddle loom. I  asked her about the loom, and she told me several interesting things when I asked about the loom. What struck me the most was when she told me that there was very little waste of warp when one weaves on a rigid heddle loom. This is especially so when compared to the warp waste when dressing a floor loom. When dressing a floor there is always a larger amount of warp lost, this is what is called in weaving terms, "take up". Usually, 10% extra yarn (sometimes more depending what kind of floor loom being used), has to be counted in the warp. This extra yarn is used to tighten knots to a rod, and to weave a heading before the actually weaving can begin. Measuring the warp for a rigid heddle loom requires 6 inches of yarn on each end, front, and back of the loom for the take up, versus 10% yarn for a large loom as the Oxabeck loom from Sweden. This was the main reason that I purchased a rigid heddle loom, for the weaving of small projects.                                                      

Pick Up Stick on Edge
After the rigid heddle loom arrived from Halcyon Yarn I assembled it, I opened the instruction book that explained the operation of the loom. It was from another book, " by Jane Patrik", is an encyclopedia on weaving for anyone who is serious to learn more about weaving. In addition to a history of weaving, the book contains projects for weaving on a floor loom and the rigid heddle loom, understanding conversion on weaving drafts is made simplier. The book explains how conversion to weave on a rigid heddle loom is done with a pick up stick and how to obtain weaving drafts written for floor loom. More important, the book contains weaving techniques when using a rigid heddle loom. Whatever you choice of loom, or if you are new to weaving, I believe that you will find "The Weaver's Idea Book", by Jane Patrick as interesting, handy and helpful in your weaving adventures.

I have already woven 14 scarfs, with two still  to be completed. A scarf for each now belongs to my two grand-daughters, and one to my daughter-in-law. Each scarf was carefully planned as to the kind of yarn to use, and the weaving technique that would look the best for each of my scarf projects.

I have used various yarns in my projects. This include 100% wool, Baby Alpaca yarn, Angora yarn, silk thread and cotton thread to name just a few.

It has been a fun learning experience. If you haven't already-Try it!

Woven in double windowpane, mock waffle weave.
Scarf  for a doll or cuddly doggy
 Mock Waffle Pattern using two repeat in pattern on a child's loom.

Scarf woven on a rigid heddle loom


I have created a Motto- for weaving," inspiration". Traces of weaving can be found in many civilization. You can find it in ancient Egypt. Since prehistoric times, woven fragments have been found in Necropolis sites from 4200 B.C., and early Islamic 641 A.D. Weaving is no different than any other craft. Ever since weaving has developed it has been studied and improved by the past generations. It my privilege to share my weaving knowledge with you.

Today, videos about weaving contain comments from the presentor encouraging the practice of weaving and the learning new methods, and use of materials from many sources. A sampling of suggestions on weaving have included weaving projects found in books and magazines. All generally are reliable sources for determining what yarns to use and learning new weaving techniques for your future weaving projects.

It would be difficult to weave from a basic draft given in a weaving book without prior experience. The same is true in other crafts, like knitting for instance. A first time knitter should at least have acquired some basic knowledge of knitting skills before attempting a major project. In a weaving project, the hand weaver will have to choose a weaving technique and the tie-up  that goes with the technique,- threading, and the treadling for the chosen weaving technique. I might add that just following the comments I've posted here requires amodest number of basic weaving skills.

A tie up can be changed from an original draft in a certain weaving technique, as well as the threading to obtain a different look, this can be time consuming and a good idea is to use a weaving program  to be able to view what the new tie up and threading would look like in a weaving project. Even a tapestry loom has its own history. A loom of this kind is where the first weaving began. The warp threads on a tapestry loom are picked up and manipulated by hand, or a pick-up stick.

One of my favourite weaving techniques is to weave rose-path. Rose-path has many possibility in the  ways to explore how to obtain many variations of patterns by using many different colors that interchange with each other. For example, the treadling is almost countless depending on how many shafts are being used in weaving project or when using the one treadle opposite another versus when weaving rose-path with one plain weave in between each pattern. I prefer to use pattern and treadling that is already developed, but also by using my own variations in treadling.

Most weaving books from Sweden use rose-path in their weaving projects. These are the wonderful traditional rose-path patterns that originated in our past generations and will surerly  be woven for many generations to come. And, these traditions are why I try to be careful to only give advice to those that wish to design their own patterns and not use the patterns of others.

Be careful how to use words & advice, you might have to eat them!

Lastly, I highly recommend the rigid heddle loom, a loom with versatility, easy to weave on, and to try out a new pick up lace weave, or a double pick up weave. A wonderful loom to weave sampler, and try out new yarns to find out how the yarn behave, before starting the new weaving project to be woven on a floor loom, or a rigid heddle loom.
The rigid heddle loom would make a wonderful gift for someone, or for the whole family on those cold and rainy days when not knowing what to do, it is an easy loom to learn on, and there is always information on were to begin a first weaving class, try to look up a Weavers Guild in your own community.

                                            Happy Weaving
                                       Margaretha Fletcher

scarf woven on rigid heddle loom.

Scarf woven in Rose-path on a small floor loom.




Monday, October 10, 2011

Apple Festival Woodstock, Vermont October 8-9, 2011

                                                             Woodstock Inn, Woodstock

A glorious autumn October day Saturday-Sunday 8-9, 2011, the peak for most all the wonderful festivals that takes place in Vermont during this high season has reach it's end, and when state parks and festivals are closing it's many doors. Already preparation for the  winter arrival, a sign that it is not all to end the wonderful activities, but getting ready for ski lovers, and all the winter wonders that Vermont has to offer during the winter season.

A yearly event in Woodstock,Vermont, the well known Apple Festival, a huge field on the outskirt of the wonderful small town of Woodstock, VT, were vendors, not just from Vermont, but other states as well, busy setting up tents and getting ready for a two day event that takes place yearly during a week-end in October. Each year, usually I make sure to visit some of the festivals. My wish would be that there would be a department stores that would carry hand crafts, the demands to buy gifts that has beauty and quality is becoming more difficult to find in department stores when it is time to choose a gift for someone, to shop in some of the larger department stores and always looking to buy something with a special meaning is hopeless for me, the same items on the many shelves seems never to change with the displays from the last time I went shopping, I always find myself shop in a small stores were I can find hand crafted items ,knowing then it will always be appreciated whenever a special occasion such as birthday, or a any other celebrations  when it is time to choose a gift for someone,and it gives me truly a great comfort to know at least once a year I can also browse for presents when visiting craft fairs.

This year I went to the Apple Festival after had read a post from a face-book friend who is a hand-weaver that she was going to be at the Apple Festival. The opportunity to visit Nancy O'Connor and  to see her wonderful hand-woven on display that I have seen on pictures on her wall was to great to pass by, so I went, it takes half an hour to drive from my home to Woodstock, VT, it was so much fun to meet a friend from face-book and to look at all that Nancy had on sale, a photo of Nancy above shows a scarves that I purchased, and later in the afternoon gave me an inspiration to finally weave a scarves, when most of my own weaving are geared to be used in a household, I have already over the weekend dressed a small loom with a short warp 3 yard in all, and began weaving a wool scarves, and found it to be very inspiring to weave a small project, and  I can't wait until I have it all done to see if the scarves will be fluffy and soft after it has been washed. I am always in look out  to see new photos posted on face-book by Nancy, and other face-book friends who are not just hand-weavers, I love to share with other cultures as well, and read with great interest what is being posted on face-book. It was with  great pleasure to meet someone from face-book, thank you Nancy for all the wonderful inspiration you give to all of us weaver, or not hand-weaver, what kind of a world would it be if just weavers went to festivals to find out about weaving, it is my believe that sharing all kinds of arts on face-book and festivals has been from the beginning of time and will continue to spread even more in coming generation. So thumb up for festivals and sharing all kinds of cultures around the world.

Handweaving by Nancy O'Connor
The Heritage Weaving Studio is one of several programs supported by the Bridgewater Sustainable Earth Foundation. BSEF, a not-for-profit organization, is committed to providing opportunities for environmental initiatives, historic preservation, and sustainable living. At the Heritage Weaving Studio contribute to revival of rag-rug making, using recycled clothing and fabric from BSEF's Thrift Store. Rag-rug making is a custom that has deep roots in the culture of New England
Vassie Sinopoulos from Woodstock,Vermont is one of the many volunteers and a expert weaver and novices alike who carry on this centuries-old weaving technique at the Heritage Weaving Studio on the outskirt of Woodstock, the location and premises for the weaving studio, The Bridgewater Mill in Bridgewater,VT
Open to the public Thursday 11am-3pm, Friday 11am-3pm, Saturday 10am-4pm, and on Sunday 11am-3pm

Scarf new and fresh on loom, Silky wool- 45% wool, 35% silk, and 20% nylon, color- black and grey, 
Scarf off the loom 
weaving width 72" finishing 7"x 66" woven in huck-lace
Huck Lace Weave 

God Bless Everyone!
Margaretha Fletcher
A web site for an educational purpose.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sheep & Wool Festival in Turnbridge Vermont October 1-2, 2011

Fall is full of endings and beginnings, Autumn outings, days of Indian summer, when the air is crisp, and the vibrant spirit of the season when all the harvesting as it's best, the blend from apple picking, vendors of all kinds displaying there gods, it can be anything, wool, knitting, sheep, or as the Vermont Weavers Guild did to participated in the sheep & wool festival in Turnbridge Vermont to take part in demonstrating weaving.

In picture above a member from the Vermont Weavers Guild demonstrating weaving on a rigid heddle loom
We were four members from the guild who participated taking turns to talk about weaving to those who showed an interest to know more about how to use a loom, and learn the many functions a weavers guild has to offer. Often the phrase is used- in rain or shine, well, this year for everyone  who visited the many wonderful vendors at the grounds in Turnbridge, Vermont, it was a rain on both Saturday and Sunday, people are amazing they are truly a great sport to visit the  many harvest festivals that takes place during this wonderful foliage season in Vermont.

Driving both days on Saturday and Sunday when expecting to see spectacular fall colors, this year with all the rain in early spring and a cold summer Vermont had to endure, much of the leaves turned to yellow and brown, the wonderful Maple trees with leaves that normally shifts in brilliant reds and orange seem to blend in with the brown and yellow colors. The 45 minutes drive from were I live to the fair grounds in Turnbridge, I drove thru small Vermont villages, a new site for me was to learn that Joseph Smith, the founder of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was born in South Royalton, Vermont, I was lucky to also pass a covered bridge that are so well known in Vermont made this trip well worth it.

 It is with wonder to learn what an interest there are amongst kids willing to explore weaving, it is with great fun to see there expression, and many questions asked during the time while trying out the looms, from floor looms to looms made out of card board, or small looms geared for a child.

As much fun it is to take part of  the weaving, there is also time to visit friends who takes part in other events as my friend Carol whom I meet one year in Shelburne Farm in Burlington, Vermont during a weaving demonstration. Carol's passion is to spin and also gives classes in spinning.

Carol showing her wool from her own sheeps.

It is truly a learning experience for all who comes in rain or shine to visit all the wonderful fall festivals during this wonderful season of Autumn.

  Until next year have a good one, and don't forget to share weaving with your friends,
  Margaretha Fletcher 


Monday, September 12, 2011

Dukagång and Halv Krabba. Art weaves

I recently had my first weaving lessons in Dukgång and Halv Krabba. I have been studying the history of Swedish weaving, and  I am from the province Skåne in Sweden, the name dukagång is a dialectical denominations from Skåne that has been universal widespread. 

In dukagång the pattern may either be threaded or laid in on a stick in front of the reed, generally under 3 threads and over 1 thread throughout the warp, it is then raised against the reed and a new stick is inserted in the shed that has come up behind the reed. Rase this and move the shed behind the heddles where a broad lease stick weaving sword is placed. When a design is to be laid in this weaving sword is raised on edge quite close to the heddles, and one sees the shed that has come up in front of the reed where the inlay is made. When tabby shots are called for the weaving sword is pushed to the rear in a horizontal position to permit the treadling of tabby sheds.

    HALV KRABBA, with simple geometric shapes are usually stars, diagonal squares, and a few men women more often woven in a dukagång technique. The pattern is picked up on a close shed and alternating with a tabby on a opposite shed. 

On wall hangings that has been preserved and kept in archives at Stiftelsen Skånsk Hemslöjd, combinations of weaving techniques are being used as of dukagång, halvkrabba, röllakan and krabbasnår. These art weaves are very time consuming and they are becoming increasingly rare. In their present form they lack the opulent character of the original weave. Both are fill out techniques that approach röllakan in richness and variety of design. The preserved wall hangings, bed covers, or bench covers are very handsome, their surfaces completely filled in with richly worked designs. In our modern world the weaving are done with spaced designs that cry out to each other across an otherwise filled surface.

A wonderful weaving book by Gunvor Johansson Stiftelsen Skånk Hemslöjd,
Väv Skånska Allmogeävnader, this book is being translated into English and soon will be published

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A New Day.

It has been a busy day, and a day I have had time to reflect on. It is about sharing and completion of a mission. It all started a long time ago, it does perhaps not seem very important, but I have always wanted to see my kitchen counter filled with jars of cucumber I have pickled myself , but nothing ever become of it, until last week when the aroma from dill and vinegar came from a kitchen that I happened to pass by, I was hooked this time I was going to complete a mission from long time ago.

I live close to a farmers market were local farmers brings there home grown produce to the market. During the much to short summer season the market starts the day as early as 9:00 AM every Saturday, until the closing of the summer season that takes place in the beginning of October when the farmers market closes for the season. I love to browse going to each stand to learn what each vendor has to offer, it might be jam, pickled cucumbers, cheeses, fresh produces in bundles, there are also vendors who sells wonderful hand made baskets, and all kind of arts and crafts.

This blog is about sharing, and I will begin to write about my sister Linda. My sister Linda pasted away during Christmas of 2010, and it will never be recovered why she is no longer with us who knew Linda and loved her. My sister was strong headed and with lots of will power, she would most likely shake her head if she knew I liked to have done my own pickling, but never fulfilled a mission I much would have like to do.
Today I will call Linda's day, after strolling at the farmers market and purchasing what I needed to attempt a first time home pickling I went back to my home with bags filled with all I needed to do my own pickling of cucumbers.

The morning did not exactly start out the way I had planned, I ended up running back to a store to purchase larger jars for the cucumbers, I started to look around as I normally do when going to stores. I went to a shelve were there was cook books, I really did not need to buy a another cook book but I did! The title of the book Flavors of Morocco, delicious recipes from North Africa, and it so happened to be I was glad to be the owner of a cook book filled with wonderful recipes, and wonderful exiting spices I am not use to in my own plain way of cooking. And so it went on I went to another store to buy some of the spices I needed to try out a new and simple recipe "Spicy potato omelet",(Mhemmer) name for the African potato omelet.

After much shopping I finally was home to start preparation for not just one mission to do pickling, a promised I had made to my self, but also to prepare for a new recipe.

Finally some time for my self, my legs had start to begin to hurt after many hours of preparations and was relive to have the evening to my self. I now had time to reflect and my mind went back to the farmers market with all there vendors. 

Nothing comes easy, whatever it might be I am well aware it takes will power and work! It was a glorious day, very summer day, hot, hot, but even so it does not prevent people to be faithful to there Farmers Market, knowing all the hard work the farmers does to make it possible to present all kinds of gods and wonderful fresh vegetables.

 A blog is all new to me, and I have read a few blogs and I have found it to be a good way of sharing. I like to share on this blog a photo of a heart My sister Linda crochet, she crochet  two hearts as a birthday present. Linda loved to do needle work and her passion was to crochet, she was able to design while she worked with her needle and yarn and it brings me back many years ago, our grand-mother sister Olive used to crochet my dolls clothes, with such as talent as hers I am thankful my day was unorganized otherwise I would not have gone from here to there in my home and found in my closet hiding in the dark Linda's birthday present she crochet. From this day on I will think of Linda since I have the wonderful heart next to my computer, but foremost Linda will always live in my heart, as I know she does to each one of us who knew Linda and loved her!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

With Flowers.

South winds jostle them, Bumblebees come, Hover, hesitate, Drink and are gone.
Butterflies pause On their passage Cashmere; I, softly plucking, Present them here!