VavStuga Basics Class, Part 1

VavStuga in Shelburne Falls, MA, Nov. 6-12, 2011.

My journey to VavStuga began nearly a year ago.  After 20 years of putting my life on hold for husband and children, I now had an empty nest and decided,… It Is My Turn!  I would now focus on my weaving and fiber interests, and a very real need, hunger, to learn new methods and techniques.

My paternal grandparents emigrated from Norway, so I have long been drawn to things Norwegian/Scandinavian, including weaving.  VAV Magazine had long been an inspiration as were my growing collection of Scandinavian weaving books.  It seemed to me the best way to merge my weaving and the need to learn would be to take classes at VavStuga where traditional Swedish techniques are taught. So I called, paid my deposit, and waited nearly a year for this class. 

My dream was to take a drawloom class at VavStuga, but I found out that first I would need to take their “VavStuga Basics” class, required before taking most of their classes.  That was fine, I had no doubt I would learn a lot, and so I did.  The class was Nov. 7-11, 2011. 

VavStuga classes are taught by Becky Ashenden, and Susan Conover, her business partner, keeps everything running smoothly. 

Becky Ashenden

Susan Conover

Wrap samples.
Monday morning began with a table covered with dozens of tubes of cottolin, a rainbow of colors, and we were to experiment with color, stripes, symetrical and non-symetrical designs.  Two looms were warped up with the group favorites. 

After the “wraps,” we were off to the warping porch, with warping mills, cone/spool holders, large electric ball winder, and more.  We took turns working on the blanket and towel warps.  A blanket warp was used to demonstrate warping with a trapeze.  With no extra hands at home to help warp looms, that is next on my “must have now” list.

Wool blanket warps on two looms, threaded for twill.

My first weaving at VavStuga was a blue & green blanket, also my first time weaving that wide with wool.

My blanket, in progress.

Tan and black cotton tablecloth warp.

Blue and white cotton tablecloth warp.
Looms were beautifully warped!

Next came threading all the looms we would be weaving on,…

…followed by weaving.

Weaving completed and off the looms.

In one week, each student completed a blanket, a towel, a small tablecloth, and a two-block 8 shaft weave.  If anyone had time and inclination, they could also weave a floor mat (bottom, center in pic above).  I was the last to start weaving and the last to finish, completing my fourth piece 10 minutes before we were to put shuttles down.  Whew!  One evening we made braided fringe on our blankets, and the next day they were fulled.  All other pieces were serged and brought home to finish hemming.  Photos of my completed pieces will be in another post.

L to R:  Becky, Janice, Maggie, Jody, Amanda, Diane, Nikki, Margo, and Sara (Becky’s apprentice).
I wish I could say I have photos of every technique and new-to-me thing I learned that week, but I do not.  Rather than be distracted by taking even more photos, I wanted to focus and hopefully be able to remember what I was seeing and doing when I returned home.
Parts 2 and 3 will be up this week.  A drawloom class?  I will be back at VavStuga in 2012 for Basic Drawloom!

3 thoughts on “VavStuga Basics Class, Part 1”

  1. I, too, experienced the week of a lifetime's dream by attending VavStuga Basics. As a new weaver, this new world is fascinating, creative and filled with the most wonderful people with exceptional talents and ideas. The details of the sessions, coupled with the extremely well organized week of not only class time, weaving time and immersion into Scandinavian hospitality was awesome!

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