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Friday, June 28, 2019

Weaving and Pottery at Viking Festivals

June 22 and 23 this year we went off to Moorhead, Minnesota for the Viking Festival at the Hjemkomst Center Museum.  This is the 3rd year I donned my Viking outfits and Roger and I demonstrated. Roger made his bowls and I tried to learn card weaving.

I made some wooden tablets but still have difficulty turning the cards. I am a band weaver, Scandinavian but a later time period. Vikings would be using the tablets. I brought my gate style band looms as back up.  I figured I can show people what Vikings did not do.

I also carved a small loom while I was at the Festival on the first day with my chip knife. I had previously cut a piece of poplar from Home Depot and planed the two sides with a larger knife.  All I had to do was mark and carve the slots and then drill the holes. I had time to do a little carving on one side as the Norwegians were fond of doing.

The second day, I wove some  plain bands on my new small loom. I used grey wool and red dyed linen. Wool tends to stretch, so many of the old bands had a few threads of linen incorporated in the pattern.
I also make winders from my Home Depot poplar.  These I had cut out at home on a band saw. I like to finished the edges with my chip knife to give them an old look and also smooth the edges so the threads will not get snagged. These winders are a great way to display or sell your bands.

I am also a potter. I specialize in Early American Pottery, but there is some controversy about Vikings making pottery or acquiring it from nearby territories.  The Saxons were making hand-built and wheel-thrown pots throughout the Medieval and Viking period.

With my English background, I decided to try out some early Saxon mugs. South east of London had some yellow/cream colored clay. Early potters used a lead and copper glaze to color and seal their pots. 

Later, in the 1600s, Yellow ware as we know it and what I specialize in, was refined and the Mocha patterns applied. The earlier Medieval pots were crude and to me, more appealing. So I made some mugs in my own style.

The Hjemkomst Festival is a great place to spend a June weekend. Below are photos of some of the goings-on.

You can see lots more photos and get links to the event and "Vikings" involved at their facebook page...

And if you are new to band weaving, you can learn how to weave on these simple portable looms with my book "Tape Loom Weaving...Simplified" at my web site, or

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Warping a Long Warp on a Gate Loom

Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Festival was May 25-27 in Commington.

I was teaching a walk-in class in Band Weaving from 1-3 pm on Sunday.  Saturday, I had set up to sell pottery at the Heirloom Market in Weathersfield CT.  So I came home, unpacked my pottery from the van, repacked for the fiber fest and fell asleep on the couch at 8 pm!

I was up at 4 am to warp 4 band looms for the Sunday class.  Usually, I measure out 4-5' of warp and set the loom between my knees, then warp the threads across my lap carefully so they do not tangle.

However, setting up four 10' warped looms in less than 2 hours needed a simpler, quicker method.
I clamped the loom to the back of a chair as shown to the right. Then putting a crochet ball of cotton in a box, threaded the first hole, ran it across to my door latch, back through the first slot, picked up the ball end and wrapped the two threads around a dresser drawer on the other end of the room. 

Doing two at a time like this saves a tangled mess and the warping of 4 looms went along easily.

Knot the end in a loop at the door knob end and rehook to the knob.

Go to the other end, the drawer pull and snip the ends even, holding them tight and put in a temporary knot.  While the loop is still on the door knob, untie the knot on the drawer end and attach with a weaver's knot around your waist beam and  and you are set to go. Unclamp the loom. Chain the longer warp end to save space later on.

The looms were set up for four to work at once and my walk in first time weavers soon picked up the rhythm of weaving and turned out some nice bands.

Of course learning to plain weave is the "easy" part. Beginners work on their selvages to keep them straight. They work on the turn-around weft from the shuttle, there is no beater and the tail end of  the last row can be bunchy.

And of course setting up and warping the loom is really the most important part!  If you need help setting up a band or tape loom, warping it and working on the advanced pick-up patterns, my book, Tape Loom Weaving.... simplified is available through my web site, or on Amazon.

Happy Weaving!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

It is Fiber Festival Season!

Here in New England, all six states have Fiber Festivals.  I go to quite a few.  I bring sheepie pottery, my mini pots and my weaving supplies to sell. I also demonstrate weaving on my band and tape looms.  Some times, Oscar the satin angora rabbit comes with me.  Sometimes, Roger plays his banjo with the dancing man. Sometimes the grand children come and help. Sometimes I set up my canvas tent, sometimes I am in a building.

But it is all fun. Fiber Festivals are a nice place to spend a day. There are sheep, llamas, alpaca, rabbits and goats. Sometimes they are sheared and clipped right before your eyes. There is raw fleece to hand dyed skeins for you to buy.  There are yarn related tools you can buy. There is spinning, weaving, knitting, felting and crochet going on all over.  CSA people are at some of these events to teach and entertain you in their Medieval costumes. There is really good foods.

You all missed my first Fiber Festival last weekend. This is a new one for me. In Oxford CT, there is an old home that has become the Oxford Historical Society. This was small event, but one with great people, vendors and some of the best sheep and goat shearing I have witnessed. And this festival has a flax demonstration... yes, there is flax being grown and processed into linen right here in Connecticut!  Be sure to search this one out next year.

Meta at the Barn Loom

Walking Wheel
Shearing George

George after his shearing
Spinning Flax
Needle Felting

There is a Festival coming up next weekend. The Connecticut Fiber Festival is held in Vernon, April 27th. This one is a great place to see critters and buy fiber stuff. I will be set up outside with my looms, rugs, bookmarks, my "Tape Loom Weaving, simplified"  for sale and lots of bands.  I will be demonstrating weaving on my band looms. Roger will be busking with his banjo and the dancing man, AK.

This year, a lovely Fiber Festival I have attended for a few years, has moved from April to May 4th.  Although not technically in New England, I am close to the Clermont Fiber Festival is in Germantown NY. Located due west of the northwest Connecticut border, the festival is just north of Redhook directly on the east side of the Hudson river.   I love the drive through the winding back roads at the foot of the Berkshire mountains. My dad's family came from this area, and as I drive through the small towns, I try to imagine what house they lived in or what fields they worked in. I can see them driving down dirt roads like the movie "Grapes of  Wrath." From the time they had a large farm in Pawling NY in the early 1800s till they moved to my mill town of Torrington CT for better jobs during the great depression, my grandfather and great grandfather worked as migrant farmers with their brothers and cousins, moving from town to town to pick fruits and vegetables along the Hudson river farming corridor.  It is a sentimental trip for me every year. But back to the Festivals....

The festival takes place at a historic site, the Clermont Mansion, learn of our early history and tour the mansion while you are at the festival... or just walk the lovely grounds!

There will be sheep shearing, herding (usually ducks), great food, live music and of course, lots of fiber experts and lots of demonstrations going on. Roger will be entertaining crowds of children and adults with his banjo and dancing man, I will be weaving. Buy some wool, picnic on the lawn and have a peaceful day on this lovely property.

Adelaide with sheep and friends


Roger carving a loom
Shearing the Sheep
Mini Pots!
The Great and Beautiful Hudson River, 100 miles north of NYC

I have to miss the Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont festivals this year due to conflict with other events, but I will be up in Commington for the Massachusetts Fiber Festival May 25 & 26 this year.

Out in the middle of know where, another nice country drive, Commington is between Pittsfield and North Hampton. Only 62 miles north of my town, the winding roads take you through forests, past lakes and over streams. About 2 hours later, after stopping here and there and getting lost yet again, I arrive at the fair grounds.

This is a two day event and there is plenty of room to sleep over. People bring tents and campers. I usually slept in my truck (!), but this year I can only attend on Sunday the 26th. The exhibitors are great. There is judging of critters, shearing, herding and demonstrations going on. There are exhibits of work done by attendees. There is great food including home made ice cream and a feast put on by everyone bringing a dish on Saturday night if you plan to stay over.

I will be demonstrating tape loom weaving and putting on a sort of class. Come try your hand at weaving, visit all of the weavers, spinners and exhibits. And meet some great fiber people.


Sheep Dog Trials

Emma with Oscar
And that will be the end of my Fiber Festivals for me this year... until the great New England Fiber Festival in November at the Eastern States Fairgrounds. That will be a whole different event. Big, inside and usually a little cold.

So come to any of the Fiber Festivals. People who raise the critters and grow the flax, people who spin, weave, knit, crochet, felt, sew are selling or demonstrating. There is plenty to see and do for adults and children. Live and learn! What a great way to spend a day!

New to Band or Tape Loom Weaving? Have an Inkle loom and want to try box or gate looms?  Come talk to me at one of my events. Check out more information, charts and ideas on this blog search. Buy my book, "Tape Loom Weaving... simplified" at one of my events, on my web site... or on Amazon.

And have fun with your Fibers!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Tapes, Bands and Winders

I have bundles of simple bands that I weave at events. I bring along my box looms and one of my granddaughters demonstrates how simple weaving on a band loom is and encourages visitors to try it out.

Now what do I do to store yards and yards of bands? I have seen them bunched into bundles, wrapped into balls and  wound onto winders.

The winder idea is a nice way to display your bands and sell them too.

I buy thin poplar planks at Home Depot, cut them into a variety of shapes and sizes on my daughters band saw and smooth down the edges with my chip knife.

A coating of stain or varnish and they are ready to go.

New to band weaving?  You can search my bar above for more patterns, ideas and bands on this blog. Check out my book on or Amazon.... Tape Loom Weaving... simplified  or come to one of my events listed on my web site.

This spring, April 10, 2019, I will be doing a slide show on the history of band looms and teaching a basic class at the Boston Weavers Guild.

I do several classes in weaving. Basic set up and plain weave, advanced pick-up and also a special 2-day event for couples. The couples class is two part collaboration. One of the couple learns to carve a gate loom out of a single slab of wood, the other partner learns to set-up, basic weave, pick-up, weaves a belt and designs their own pattern.

Check out my web site for more details on Classes and how to set one up.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Suzanne Jameson Kramer... A group of excellent early Scandinavian looms

A Visit to a Scandinavian Antiques Dealer with Scandinavian Looms and Bands.

Finally, I got to take a trip to River Falls, Wisconsin this summer to see Suzanne's collection of old Band Looms. Suzanne has a lovely shop out in the middle of corn fields. I had met her a few years ago at Norfest, a Norweigan festival in Decorah, Iowa at the Vesterheim Museum. She always seems to find those treasured antique looms that are hard to find.

She had several at her shop. You can contact her to inquire about purchasing an old loom and also see what she has available.  Her 2" x 3 1/2" business card is encluded in many of the photos for you to see how small the looms are.  Looms were individually carved usually by a husband or son, and some were better at carving than others. This does make them all warm and personal.  I have carved many myself. You need a thin piece of wood and a chip knife. A friend of mine made a nice one using a utility knife and a sheet of poplar from Home Depot. Mark the lines on both sides, flip back and forth while carving deeper to make each slot and drill small holes last. There are new folks carving or using laser cut looms available on line.

Or give Suzanne a call and purchase an old one. They are quite durable. You will see below how some have been repaired in the old ways of saving and repairing.

I found she has several older bands. They seem to be woven of very fine linen background threads with wool pattern threads and very tightly woven.

This is the band that I purchased and a threading chart.

Please visit my other blogs using the search bar above for more bands, free download blank charts and info or my web site or my pinterest page for more looms and bands.

Want to carve your own? Contact me at my web site to set up a class or be put on our list for upcoming classes.

New to band/tape weaving or do you inkle weave? Check out my book for beginners on Amazon or my web site: Tape Loom Weaving... simplified.

And have fun!