My summer of reconstruction and other things!

DSCN0549This is about the 3 summer  months

that I decided to have a tune up. This is also the last of the reconstruction onDSCN0562 the house. Gale is busily painting the house and the studio and hanging the last 3 doors. I have been spending a lot of time reorganizing the studio,painting floors and reorganizing yarn, storage and gifting my DSCN0561unused larger yarns to friends and students. I will be done with that in the next day or DSCN5351so.  

Every so often one needs to have one or at least a time of reassessment. This has been both for me-Cataract surgery on both eyes, wrist hand surgery and a few other tweaks that should produce some lasting great results. The cast are off. I 340have 20/20 close up vision, but will need glasses for distance. I even get to start driving again on the 20th.  My colours  back to what they should be-no more grey staining the colours that I see… I am now off insulin. I am back to my Better Bones and balance. I have added tai chi-maybe- depending on the nerve in my leg and the PPS. Perhaps, I have done enough reconstruction to make it work. We’ll see. So all that said….It’s time to weave and write. Not that I ever quit-Just fewer walls to go up, over and/or  aroundDSCN5370d.

I finished weaving my Grandfathers piece yesterday-except for the finishing. I am not in a great hurry to finish them up as I am trying to come up with a new body of work for an exhibit I am have next June at ETC in Eugene, OR. My next piece is started even as speak. I am in the process of laying it out. The drawings take time. I can only use drawing utensils  only so many hours at a time. Just like I haven’t been able to use bobbins because of having worn the cast for so long.

These are my new best friendballss as I try to reclaim the muscles in my hand and forearm that were forced to hibernate and atrophy from lack of use. The nerves become less numb day by day and the hand stronger and less prone to shakes and charley horses.

3 Promises to keep-


An announcement that I hope everyone will consider and write for. I think that it is really important that small format/small scale  tapestry weavers step up and make themselves known. So I am looking for writers about small format/small scale tapestry that can help to document the process of our being accepted as tapestry weavers in the tapestry world.

Tapestry Topics

I am seeking articles for the American Tapestry Alliance Tapestry Topics
Small Format/Small Scale Tapestry: Subversive, Destructive, or…? Deadline: Jan 15, 2015
What is small format/small scale tapestry? Is it "tapestry," or isn’t it? Why are so many people weaving
small format/small scale at this particular time in the history of tapestry? Ideas to think about:
The history of small format/small scale tapestry past, present, and the future….
What excites you about small format/small scale tapestry?
What can the format do? What can it not do?
What are the technical advantages, or restrictions, for this format?
Coptic weaving, K’o-ssu, Kesi, 16th century lowland small format, devotional tapestries
Exhibits of and about small format/ small scale-past, present and future.
If you plan on submitting an article, please contact Theme Coordinator,

There's got to be a orning afterAThere's got to be a morning afterA


as promised!




These two pieces together  on my blog. There’s got to be a morning After part A and B.

Which in away lead to this post card and exhibit and catalogue-img055This was the tenth exhibit small format exhibit that sprang from The It’s About Time exhibit inimg059 1996 in Portland, Oregon. this is a great catalogue and I think can be purchased from ATA.There is another coming up. Hope you all will start planning for the next one!


LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT WEAVING WITH A CAST! No bobbins and placing the weft

I have learned and reinforced  a lot of information  about weaving with and without bobbins. I am not fond of the chaos created by not using bobbins even played with using butter341flies to keep down some of the chaos-339never again. Butterflies are two fragile. So, the solution was to use fairly long weft bundles-18-24 inches and tie an overhand knot every6-8 inches. Biggest lesson was to make sure that there were no loops in the end of the tail below the last knot. Leaving them in always created a knotted chaos of caught threads every time I pulled the knot through the open shed. I have gone back to using my smallest brassy bob’s that are about 3.5-4 inches long. At this point they are easy to hold in my hand,leaving the point out just enough to use as another finger- but, I am still using long wefts at this point. My hand tires too easily form putting the nob through the shed.

Since I was unable to use the side tip of my bobbin to scrape the yarns in I usedDSCN5374 the tips of my fingernails to beat in the yarns. My nails started looDSCN5373king like some one had taken pinking shears to the tips.(OOPS, I am dating myself-does any one use pinking shears anymore?)  My manicurist made a bundle applying gel nails as I wore down into the nails with the tight warps. I was able to get about 2 weeks from each application and replacement of a gel nail. After talking to my PT specialists I was able to come up with a solution they would damage my nail beds. The Japanese weavers have used this solution for hundreds of years. Most all of my instructors had told me never to use my finger nails to scrape or beat wefts into place because because the pressure of the beating could lift the nails from the nail bed or quick. This is true if it’s done wrong.

THE MIRRIX  SPENCER-Another new best Friend!DSCN5348One of the things that made weaving so much easier during this time was that I switched from my regular titter totter treadles to a a new Spencer treadle. It has a sort of  neutral that holds the shed open until I step down and change the shed. Notice the DSCN0552difference in size between my old treadles and the new Spencer which is under my foot.  Not only does it take less effort the neutral that holds the shed open is really great. So I purchased a second Spencer. It will be so much easier to travel with and pack. I am not getting rid of my old treadles either. the only draw back is that the Spencer needs to be plugged in to electricity, which sometimes isn’t possible  in some of the places I teach.  Perhaps, some one could design a battery pack or a a solar system for it-pretty please!


I think that I have finally come up with an easy solution to what I DSCN0567call Spring DSCN0570Spread on my mirrix. This is a problem that drives me nuts…Spring Spread is what happens when the springs become older and start to fatigue. One can go from weaving 22 epi to 18 as the spring spreads. The problem with this is it can cause the tapestry ridges to spread and in some cases shrink. It also makes it very difficult to control the edges of the tapestry. DSCN0564Note the bulges on the two side edges that I was constantly correcting.

So the correction for Spring thread is easy. I always twine when I begin a tapestry and tie a knot at the end at the exact width I want the tapestry img061to be and then space the warps accordingly.So now I am just doing it at the top of the mirrix directly under the spring. I larks head on to the first thread, twine all the wayimg062 across and tie the ending knot at the exact width of that spring should be or end.Please note that the loom is balanced up side down to do this. Makes it much easier.If you look closely you can see my two twiners.  If I want to turn the warp around the loom then I just pull everything down and around. I can theDSCN5376en beat the twining at the top back into place along the bottom of the spring channel. Solves the whole problem was Spring Spread!


Guess this is enuff for now. Chene is trying to tell me something important and grabbing papers!


Cheers and all,



  1. Kathe Todd-Hooker on September 11, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Hey, Susan, long ago in one of my textile history classes a professor told me to remember there is no such thing as independent and less is often more. the spring spread issues just drive me bonkers.
    Oddly enough, the surgery is great and doing everything it's suppose to do. The hard part is getting the tendons and damage/immobility issues caused by the cast to heal and get strong again.
    cheers and all,

  2. Susan on September 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for a solution to "Spring Spread". You surprised me with the post. I was floating around our pool the other day pondering that exact challenge. I came up with the same solution, but thought it too easy. I guess "less is more". Also nice to hear your muscles are gaining strength. Thank you for the new post. We missed your thoughts and comments.