VavStuga Basics Class, Part 3 ~ Handwovens

Wool blanket warp using Swedish Tuna wool, doubled.

After the blanket warps were made and beamed, we could choose to weave on either the red or blue warp.  As tempted as I was by the red, I chose the more calm, peaceful blue, shown above.  For weft I used a muted blue (see Part 1 for photo of blanket in progress).

Blanket after fulling.

A bit closer, and showing fringe.

We were shown how to twist and tie the fringe, and later than evening I stayed up quite late to finish the fringe on my blanket.  The next day, fulling was done, by Becky, using a washer and dryer.

I always say weaving should be used and not put away, and now that these photos are done, I will use mine.  I had to wait, though, because if I had put this blanket down on my bed, I would never have gotten the cats off of it!

Weaving of two other students, using color for weft.

The next weaving I did was the two block, 8 shaft damask in broken twill, using single linen warp, 2 ply linen weft.  Other students used contrasting colors (from the warp) for their squares.  I decided to go for a more traditional look, almost tone on tone, so my weft choice was just a shade or two different from the warp.  This also makes it more challenging to photograph, especially at night, using my phone, after dark!  It definitely needs more spritzing and pressing, since it had thoroughly dried overnight near my woodstove.  A cold mangle has become very high on my Wish List, or should that be Need List?

My traditional look damask piece.

Towel warp.

Next came this cottolin towel warp, 4 shaft, straight twill threading.  We used 8/1 tow linen for weft.  I liked the brighter green and red, it made me think of Christmas, so I wove it using a bright green tow linen, which highlighted the green (and red) in the border, and the other warp colors toned the green down a bit.  A new weaving friend in the class wove hers in bright red. 

My Christmas towel (brighter in person than in this pic).

Towel hanging just left of my kitchen sink.

You can’t tell from this photo, but this towel is hanging from a small section of tree branch, cut, trimmed, and fastened to the cupboard with a screw.  I’ll have to put a few photos up of different parts of my home, which has been described by visitors as “unique.”

Warp for a tablecloth.

My last piece of weaving was this small tablecloth, 8/2 Bockens, both warp and weft.  I was the last person to start weaving at the beginning of the week, so I was the last person weaving at the end of the week, as I had to wait for a loom to be free.  Not to worry, this gave me a bit more time to browse through VavStuga’s amazing library. 

Finished small tablecloth, just fits the island in my kitchen! 

I started this piece at almost 11 AM and had been told shuttles would be put down at 3 PM whether we were finished or not.  I really wanted a finished piece, not a sample, so likely wove faster than I ever had.  I finished at 2:50 PM, ten minutes to spare, Whew!!!    

My pie plate, by potter Anne Appel, goes well with this cloth.

I think this piece turned out very nicely, except in my haste to actually finish this piece before we had to stop weaving, I forgot to put the “light sections” in as in the warp.  At home, if I make a mistake in warping or weaving, I always stop and fix it as I don’t want to look at my error forever.  This day, though, I had a time crunch and decided to just go with what I’d done.

I had to laugh when I had woven several inches and then noticed it.  Becky walked over, I said, “I forgot…”  She said, “I thought you did it on purpose!”  Then I flashed back to the beginning of the week and talking about designing symetrical and asymetrical warps, laughed and said, “oh that’s right, I was tired of all that symetry!”  (Not!)  Every time I look at this piece, I recall my error, ut still, it’s nice as is, and I can always weave another.  Meanwhile, I will enjoy this one!

New weaving friend Diane, of St. Paul, MN.

Myself, out on the warping porch.

Weaving my tablecloth.

Flying home, I kept thinking what a great week I’d had.  Two months have gone by and I still feel exactly the same way.  I had heard from other students that things run on schedule, and they did.  I don’t know how else you could get all of that in five days!  I’d heard (online) from at least four other weavers, and all said I would have a wonderful time there, and so I did.

Becky is a wonderful instructor, very knowledgeable, clear explanations and demonstrations, and has more energy than anyone I’ve seen in a long, long time.  And, the handwovens she kept pulling out, whether for this class or future classes, are fascinating.  If you are interested in Scandinavian weaving, and traditional methods, this is a wonderful place to learn. 

Susan, who has a smile that lights up a room, is there keeping everything running smoothly, answers questions, and at the end of the week, takes care of your purchases, bills, and ships anything home you don’t take with you.  

Gentle Sara, apprentice at VavStuga, took care of our breakfast each morning, worked on her big loom, weaving wide lace curtains, and still had time to chat a bit or answer a question.

The loom/school space is wonderful, filled with countermarche and counterbalance looms, a great library, wonderful warping equipment, the shop is close by in another part of the building, and accommodations are upstairs.  

Lunch and dinner, served on the porch overlooking the river and scenic view, were delicious!  At each meal, the table is set with completely new handwovens, amazing!  And how I wish I’d kept my camera with me at all times.  There was a lot of laughter and stories told over those meals.  After lunch we would have 20 minutes or so to go for a quick walks and dash into local shops and galleries.  

We wove from 9 AM to 9 PM, with time out for lunch and dinner.  After dinner, we would go back to our looms and weave until 9 PM.  Then, running up to get a jacket, some of us would go out for a short walk, just to be outdoors for a bit, get a little exercise in, then go up for more chat, perhaps some knitting or weaving on a bandloom, then rest up for the next day.

I have to add, the lighting in VavStuga class area is wonderful, something I need to have someday.  I say “someday” because I will likely be moving at some point and will not be adding a lot of fluorescent light fixtures now in my weaving studio (what is really a good-size living room) wood ceiling!  But that lighting is also on my Want/Need/Must Have List.

I had a package sent home, with three new books, Becky’s “bead” tie-up system for my countermarche, five tubes of cotton, a threading hook and a band knife (both made locally), along with a few other bits & bobs.  And, a bandloom was shipped to my home, something I had wanted for a good 16 years or more since seeing once in a Glimakra catalog and a photo of something similar in an early issue of VAV.  How nice to have been able to do a bit of weaving on one before making a purchase! 

The bandloom will likely be appearing soon on this blog.  VavStuga can be a very dangerous place to someone, like myself, with no weaving shop within a couple hundred miles.  All those handwoven curtains that week made me want to go home and weave curtains and valances for my windows, and of course, I’ll need tiebacks (bands!) for them.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it!  

I am back weaving at home now, incorporating a lot of what I learned as it comes time to use it.  I am so looking forward to September when I will be back in Shelburne Falls, attending the Basic Drawloom class.  Meanwhile, I’ll be here, weaving and learning. 

(Disclaimer:  I am not affiliated with VavStuga, except as a student and customer.  I did check with Susan before using interior photos.)     

2 thoughts on “VavStuga Basics Class, Part 3 ~ Handwovens”

  1. I'm exhausted just reading about all of what you accomplished!It certainly sounds like a wonderful time. So glad that you were able to go and thank you for sharing the experience with us.

  2. Excellent summaries, and much better pictures than I took during my week in October this year. It was like satisfying your thirst by drinking from a fire hose! So much, in so little time, so fast, and so wonderful. Thanks for your thoughtful series. It brought back wonderful memories.

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