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Monday, May 20, 2013

10th Annual Jason Collingwood Workshop at Vavning Studio - Day Three (finale)

Sunday came and went SO FAST!

I wandered around the classroom area while everyone was up at the lecture portion and snapped pics of each workshopper's loom sample.  This may be boring for the non-weavers reading my blog today... but for the weaver's this is "eye candy" to look at all the variations!

Please ignore any of the loose threads on the surface, as they are needle woven into the sample as we go along... and some get them all done right away by needle weaving them in downwards at the fell line, and others wait till they have woven a few inches more and needle weave them upwards.

Non-weavers, please scroll down to read the rest of the blog???

It is amazing that all of these weave designs are created on only 2 harnesses with plain weave (tabby) structure.  The variations are almost endless.  Four basic patterns are horizontal stripes, crossways stripes, aligned dots and staggered dots.  But it's all in "how" you combine and put together those four patterns that allows you to make such interesting rug samples!

  (you can right click on each photo for a close up in another window) 

and here is mine:

As the morning went on, Jason was wrapping up the final instructions to the rest of the weavers... while I was busy flitting in and out of the kitchen.  (doing my Kitchen Wench duties)

I simmered up a big ole pot of homemade veggie soup... it smelled great!   I made it without any meats or meat broth base to allow the vegetarians in the group to enjoy the soup too.  We accompanied it with an array of deli cold cuts, breads and other "go withs" to make sandwiches.

If you would like to read a story about how I got this big blue soup pot...
 go to this blog post and scroll down towards the end to read about it... 
it's an "awwwww" love story! 

As the class time wound down, the looms were hauled out and stashed in cars and vans.  Everyone helped grab tables and chairs to set up for our luncheon....

we went from THIS:

to THIS:   

After everyone had their lunch... that sweet Norma (wife of workshopper Jim)  brought a birthday dessert of a pistachio pudding cake as a surprise to Steve and Jim .. who both celebrated birthday's recently.  Well, then we found out Jason is having a birthday coming up too, but he didn't want us to sing to him.  LOL

Afterwards, Norma gave a demonstration on how she cuts up blue jeans for making rugs. 
All that is left after she is done with a pair of jeans is only enough for a biker chick's G string! 

We did a little "show n tell" of items we made.. not necssarily just weaving rugs.  I showed my towels and my socks too.   Karen York, a fellow weaver and friend of Juanita's, and me too, came for the luncheon (and get some socks) ... she brought the newest jacket she had woven with lovely colors in mohair.  Juanita had helped her plan the jacket.  Karen does such fine work!  She even modeled it for us and did the "cat walk"  hahahaha  Karen, you are rocking that denim mini-skirt quite well too!

Karen helped me clean up the kitchen afterwards as folks hugged and goodbye'd and went on their way.  Soon it was time for Steve and I to hit the road.  We stalled a bit and gabbed with just Juanita and Norm before we left the studio.  Boy oh boy are we ever glad we did!  Because as soon as we pulled out onto the highway to head north on I-90 there was a horrible accident that had just happened!  Perhaps if we had left a bit earlier and not visited with the Hofstroms, we might have been in the middle of it!  

It was a travel trailer totally mushed upside down on it's roof~!   The tow vehicle was upright and okay.  We can only assume something happened to the trailer either the hitch came loose, or high winds, or a person cutting them off, or too fast for towing safely or whatever.  But I saw a crushed doggie crate between the floor and ceiling surfaces of the trailer.. which were now compressed together!   We drove past slowly... and just hoping their happy doggy was up in their truck with them and not being towed back in the trailer in it's crate where it would have been crushed to death?

As we drove along, we were getting some pretty funny looks from people passing us on the interstate... especially children???  Boring riding in the back seats of their parent's cars ... we were giving them something funny to notice in our Tracker, being towed behind our motorhome.

Seems we had a "barely new driver" in our Tracker???  Hmmmmm 

This is one of the bears Norma bought at the auction and sent home for our grandtots

The winds had kicked up from the south and were gusting as we drove northeast... but we were getting a pretty good tail wind on the way home. Helps with the mileage too, ya know.

There were bad storms to the south and west of us... and some tornado warnings too.  I kept close watch on the weathermaps on Wunderground as we drove along in our motorhome.  High winds and a big rectangular shaped box zooming down the road are not a good combination.  We rode ahead of the storm all the way home....  and made it home without any bad weather. Not even a drop of rain. Actually the storms passed over and around Chilton, so once we got home it was pleasant.. but muggy warm and in the mid 80's outside.

Imagine our pleasant surprise of going into our new-to-us home, which had been closed up all weekend... to find the inside temperature was a comfortable cool 67 degrees!   With the garage blocking the hot sun to the west, our home seems to stay naturally cool, even on hot days?   What luck!  Being our first spring/summer in this home, we may find we don't have to run the central air as often as we thought.  This is our first home with central air, so that is another added budget expense we hadn't had before.

I had a nice big box waiting for me in the front porch. YAY!  It's my new warp yarn order from Chris Gustin at http://www.homesteadweaver.com   Time to warp up in one of my favorite patterns...

I have some denim rugs to get done for a customer. The pattern really compliments the denim fabric. She also included some big cones of sock yarns that I am anxious to try out too!  So it was fun opening up a box of good weaving stuff.  It's like Christmas!

Steve started cracking the whip and we unloaded the fridge and food and clothes from the motorhome.  We left in the loom and supplies until tonight when we have more time to unload.  As it was so hot and muggy, we didn't want to be outside any more than we had to.

About 8 p.m. a front came through, the winds changed to cool breezes from the east, off Lake Michigan. We put on our shoes, and took a walk up to Dairy Queen for a sundae.  Our lilacs are just starting to open here, and we were enjoyed the scents and smells of new blossoms all the way there and back.

Today I am heading up to the greenhouse to get some flowers to start planting in my beds and the clay urn pots I prepared on the front steps. I hope the danger of frost has passed... in Wisconsin, you never know!

We are not going camping this upcoming Memorial weekend.  Instead we are staying home and invited the kids and grandkids to come over.  Seems the Memorial Day parade goes right past our house!   This is the first time we lived in a home where the parades go by, so we are going to be the lucky ones with lawnchairs on our front lawn which is a bit raised from the sidewalk... and we can watch the parade go by, grill out in the backyard, and watch the grandtots enjoy the holiday weekend!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

10th Annual Jason Collingwood Workshop at Vavning Studio - Day Two

Whew... another day has passed and I am totally worn out!~  

But inside of me, my mind is buzzing with new patterns, more ideas and combinations and thinking thinking thinking... I should go unlock the studio and weave into the night?  

It's very hot and humid tonight down in Shopiere, WI so we are sitting in the motorhome with all the windows open and it's still 80 degrees outside!  Whew!   I am going to blog a bit, then do the dishes, maybe hop in the shower and perhaps get some shuteye.  Hard to do when a weaver's brain is buzzing!

Early this morning (I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and couldn't sleep)  so I boiled up a dozen of Melanie's farm fresh eggs.... she is Juanita's daughter.  Each morning I make a tray of deviled eggs for a bit of "breakfast on the run" for the fellow weavers.  A tray of brownies, a pile of donuts, a pot of coffee and a few deviled eggs and we are good to go till noon!
Fellow weaver, Linda's husband, being a "city boy" hadn't seen these country eggs from free ranging chickens.  So he had to come and see for himself!  Ahhhh freshness, golden and goodness.

We are parked right next to the side door of the studio, so I am able to slip right in and get to work....

After I got the eggs made, coffee and tea going, it was time to settle down for some early morning quiet weaving time for me me meeeee....   I got all cuddled into my little weaving corner and started figuring out my patterns, lifts, shuttle sequences and paid close attention to my selvages....  If you are a weaver, you understand each and every bit of that.  It takes a lot of concentration.

About 8 a.m. other weavers started trickling in... ready to start day two of the workshop.  After catching up a bit on their looms, checking their notes, and grabbing their pattern sheets... we all went up to the sanctuary at 9 a.m. to get our "lecture portion of the morning".  

It's by no means a dry boring lecture... no siree, not from Jason.  This lecture includes little quips and stories, and demos on his handy dandy display rack where he builds some of the patterns using thick ropes to show the correct placement of various rows of weft pattern yarns and the upright dowel sticks simulate the warp threads of the loom. He explains things very well, with a patience of a saint to get through our thick skulls.  LOL . 

So what does my hubby do when I am busy weaving in class???   Steve had a "date" all morning with fellow weaver Jim's wife, Norma!  They went out to an auction, a couple rummage sales, and then out to lunch!   He found me some wonderful treasures, including a metal plant trellis, a glass pyrex percolator coffee pot, some gas cans, and then ... then... a huge garbage bag full of teddy bears!   (it was an auction and he got them for a whole dollar???)

We wove at our looms the entire morning, only taking a lunch break and back to the studio.  Juanita asked us to all pose for the obligatory Class Photo....   We are all in our places with sun shiney faces....  
 We are at Juanita Hofstrom's studio in Shopiere, WI  called vavningstudio.com

Jason had woven a wool rug for Juanita so we got a nice pose for that, and we also posed with hubby Norm...  what a crew! But soon Jason cracked the whip and back we went in for the afternoon lecture and more ---- you guessed it ---- weaving!

I took a break and walked around.. snapping random pics of the folks at work.  Weaving, figuring, visiting and resting a bit.  Jason makes his rounds of all the workers at their looms, giving advice, helping with problems, admiring the good stuff and compliments on the completed pattern sections or good selvages.  He is very encouraging and from time to time he will sit down at someone's loom and demonstrate a tricky part or show an alternative or technique to help.

And of course, we help each other too.  Jim would get help from Jason, and then I would go and copy Jim!   LOL

Although it was getting hotter and sweltering outside, the lower level of this old church was nice and cool and comfortable.   Juanita hopped on John's loom for a while to give it a bit of attention.

Here is a close up of some of the work we are doing.  Ignore the loose strands hanging down.. those are needle woven in later to hide among the thickness of the rug sample.  For the experienced weavers reading this.. this is ALL done on PLAIN WEAVE.....  you can weave all these lovely patterns with just TWO harnesses!  Can you believe it?  (guess you gotta take the next class to learn how--- heh heh)

The room gets very quiet at times, as everyone is concentrating on the patterns they are working on.  Each person can work at their own pace, and try to do whatever they wish... but we are given plenty to choose from during the lecture portion.  We get back to the looms and try more and more ideas and patterns.  The techniques and tips help us make neat even edges and sharp crisp patterns.

Here is one section I worked on this afternoon.... it's a diamond shape, filled in with staggered dots... flanked by a background... not just any solid background.. noooo it's a background of vertical stripes with tiny lines through every third row to make them kinda like boxes stacked up one on top of each other.  Again... for the weavers reading this, it is all done on two harnesses.  Amazing, isn't it?

There are so many variations and patterns to try to emulate or adapt to your own as you work along the guidelines you learn throughout the three days.  Using Ipads and digital cameras, a weaver can record certain processes, or snap pics of the other weaver's progress for more ideas to take home.  Also, Jason has a large variety of samples on hand of various patterns we can all look at, photograph and use for future ideas once we get back home.

Each person works on their own loom with their own yarns... and chooses their own patterns and ideas to try or not try or rip out and re try! We wove on our looms up until 4 p.m.  Then it was time for taking a break.

My wandering husband came home from his long date with Norma.... and I found him relaxing in the lawn chair with a "beverage of choice" ... and manning the grill to make us supper.. yes, right in the parking lot at Vavning Studio!

 Yummmm steaks, a salad, and a bottle wine.  Life is pretty danged good, don'tcha think?

Oh, and one last shot... yesterday I mentioned how Juanita made each of us a special hostess gift to each participant to take home?  Well, here is mine!   Made to match my cobalt blue accents in my new kitchen!

It has grazing sheep all around it's perimeter, 
and one black sheep in the bunch too is on the back side!   
That is my own handwoven towel in the background.   

Oh, tomorrow I will snap a pic of the lovely shuttles Juanita makes... one of which spoke deeply to my heart.  Each year I buy one from her to go home with me.  I counted and I think I only found 8 in my batch... I am wondering if I left 2 at home, or perhaps some went missing?  I might have to buy a few more before I leave to complete my "set".   Again, I will snap a pic of them tomorrow because it's getting late... I am tired... and I think I might just fall asleep.


dreaming of


nighty night

Friday, May 17, 2013

10th Annual Jason Collingwood Workshop at Vavning Studio

I am here, reporting from Vavning Studio, located in Shopiere, WI  (just east of Beloit)  hostessed by Juanita Hofstrom.  For the tenth year now in a row, she had offered various classes by famous Great Britain weaver, Jason Collingwood. (son of the late Peter Collingwood).

This is the tenth year I have attended these wonderful weaving conferences.  The subject deals with weaving wool rugs...  shaft switching, twill, block weaves and plain weave rugs.  It's an intense three day workshop which we are all working our fannies off weaving, learning and discovering new things!  

But in between we are laughing, lunching, and loving the wonderful studio that Juanita Hofstrom has created in this tiny sleepy town of Shopiere, along the banks of Turtle Creek.

We got here later thursday evening after a nice ride down in our motorhome from Chilton.  The ride was pleasant with great weather and we were cruising along in style in the motorhome with the doggers along and toting our Tracker behind.

We got set up in the parking lot, and hauled in my loom and tools and set up my work area.  Because I help Juanita with kitchen chores...  (I am her "Kitchen Wench"  but she calls me her "Aide De Comp")    This is my Tools of the Trade table loom, clamped down onto a rolling bench with all my supplies ready to go.

Friday morning everyone assembled for our classes to start at 8 am with lecture at 9 upstairs in the sanctuary.  Jason starts each morning and afternoon session with a lecture, notes, examples and displays to show what we are going to work on next...

At some points during the lecture, the particpants are encouraged to take photos of the notes on the board before he wipes them off for the next segment.

Juanita's studio is situated in an old church, and the upstairs area works out perfect for the lectures.... and the looms and workshop and kitchen area is in the lower level.

Juanita's husband Norm was hanging out in the back.. he is a new weaver now too! 

Juanita had lovely hostess presents for each of us, and I will take a pic of mine for tomorrow's blog.
I am sooo tired after our first day of classes, I am not going to write much, but instead post some pics.

At some points during the morning and afternoon, while working on our looms... Jason will demonstrate various techniques on one or another's looms.  Here he is showing how to "twine" a section as a weft protector to start a rug.  The room was busy with the buzzing of little weaver bees, working on their samples.  I will take more pics tomorrow of some of our progress.   (my progress was little, as I ripped out THREE times before I got something done right...argghhhhh)

Tomorrow I promise to blog more and write more, 
but I am pooped out and going to bed....