Category Archives: Fiber Crafts

Recently Completed Weaving Workshop with Joanne Hall


Joanne Hall

Joanne Hall

Recently, Joanne Hall, nationally known weaver and USA distributor of Glimakra counterbalance/countermarche looms, gave a 5-day workshop for advanced weavers at our Fiber Crafts shop.  Several years ago, we were able to purchase a 63” wide Swedish countermarche/counterbalance drawloom with a  Myrahead  attachment for damask weaves. Our sturdy draw loom of golden Swedish pine  has given us a deep appreciation for its simplicity of design and function. For nearly 500 years, counterbalance looms have been in continuous use for cottage industries, production weaving and weaving sustainable goods. In addition to our jack looms, we have begun purchasing several countermarche/counterbalance looms for our classes so that our students can experience weaving on them.

The workshop was held by invitation, and our instructors, apprentices and several advanced students attended, 13 in all.  Joanne shared her extensive knowledge of warping and weaving on the counterbalance and countermarche style loom.

Prior to the workshop, she helped us choose 8 different weaves, which we pre-warped on the looms for the following projects:

  • Havdrall table-topper — a 2 block weave that looks similar to overshot
  • Fingertip towel in Crackle — traditionally used for linens, draperies and upholstery
  • M’s and O’s — a four shaft pattern also known as “poor man’s damask”
  • Swedish Lace bread cloth — a similar weave to huck lace
  • Monk’s Belt runner — useful for decorative borders
  • Rep weave table runner — traditionally used for rugs and thicker fabrics
  • Smalandsvav runner — Picking up the pattern threads with half heddle sticks, we were able to create drawloom style patterns on a counterbalance loom.

We appreciate Joanne giving this workshop, and we learned a lot from her during these 5 days.  Below are a few photos from the workshop. Click any photo to see a larger view. If you want more information on any of the above weaves, please leave us a comment.

What Makes Weaving “Fun”?

One of the contributors to a weaving magazine described her recent project as the “most mundane piece [she’s] ever undertaken … non-creative and repetitious beyond belief,” yet later in the article, she goes on to say “it’s one of the most engaging projects” she’s ever undertaken. This project, she tells the reader, is cloth for a pair of colonial breeches her brother will wear as a blacksmith at a living history museum.

She is discovering something we get to experience every day in our weaving shop.  Every project on our looms is either for a particular person or for the furthering of our skills as we teach and support and exchange knowledge with each other. This gives meaning to every project and task, so we would never be able to describe any project as “mundane.”

One of our apprentices wove a 4 yard sample of cotton cloth. She did this in preparation for weaving 9 1/2 yards of fabric to be made into a dress for her cousin to wear at the rehearsal dinner of her upcoming wedding. The 9 1/2 yards included enough fabric to make a shirt for the groom.  In the “tedious” job of threading the heddle, she was assisted by her sisters, age 10 and 18 and a number of friends, who handed her the more than 1,800 warp ends to be threaded onto one of the 6 shafts of our Dobby loom.  We were excited about her progress every step of the way, and when the beautiful dress and shirt were completed, we all felt a sense of fulfillment.

Yohanna, one of our weaving teachers,  just finished a commissioned piece on our drawloom.  (We purchased the drawloom 3 years ago and are still exporing its potential.)  Yohanna was asked to design an upholstery fabric to match some unique Italian tiles in peach, green, and beige tones.  On the drawloom, you can replicate any pattern that can be drawn on graph paper.  Yohanna warped up 45 pattern shafts to produce 3 different patterns simultaneously.  One of the patterns was threaded in straight draw, and two of the patterns in point, at 51 warp ends to the inch.  In creating this lovely cloth, Yohanna pushed the limits of all of her knowledge of the draw loom, and at the same time, the project opened the way for all of us in the shop to see new possibilities for this loom.

Our “work” here at Fibercrafts is never boring.  It’s a joy to wind the warp, beam on, thread heddles, adjust tension, weave within a limited time frame, deal with minor (and sometimes, major!) setbacks, put on the finishing touches, and get ready for the next project. Knowing that each project has a purpose or that we’re making it for someone we care about — that’s what makes weaving fun.

New one-day class!

New one-day class for the rigid heddle weaver: RH107 Queen Anne’s Lace Dish Towel. Bring your own loom and learn how to weave a multi-colored, striped, cotton dish towel using a slub yarn for the weft. Contact us for more details.

New Rigid Heddle Classes!

Announcing an exciting new series of half-day classes for the rigid heddle weaver! At the request of our students, we are introducing a new mini-series for beginning rigid heddle weavers. To take these classes, all you need is the experience gained in RH100 (introductory class). This series of half-day classes will assist you to develop the skills introduced in the rigid heddle introductory class and will teach you a variety of skills and patterns that you will use in weaving attractive scarves – perfect for the fall and Christmas season. The classes will be on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00.

RH101 Buffalo check scarf, Sept. 24, 2011;

RH102 Houndstooth scarf, October 8, 2011;

RH103 Brooks Bouquet scarf, October 15, 2011;

RH104 Chenille scarf, October 29, 2011;

RH105 Simple Pick-Up Stick Pattern scarf, November 5, 2011;

RH106 Spot Weave lace scarf, December 10, 2011.

Cost for each class will be $50 for tuition plus materials fee. You will bring your own loom so that you can finish your projects at home. (These projects require different sized reeds. You will need to check each class description to see what size reed you will need. If you do not have the particular sized reed for the project, you can purchase at the time of class but please let us know ahead of time that you wish to do so.)  If you do not own a loom, then you can use one of ours and you will take home whatever you have completed by the end of class but you may not finish the full-length scarf. If you wish to use one of our looms, please let us know when you sign up for the class. For full description of these new classes, send us your email address and we will email information to you. Contact or call School of Fiber Crafts 254-754-9680 and we can mail you the information. Better still, come by and see us and we will give you the details! We look forward to seeing you soon.

New multi-colored yarn!

Also, we will soon have a variety of vibrant new colors in Mochi and Taos multi-colored, self-striping yarn in stock. We are excited to see that this yarn weaves up into beautiful scarves when you use different colored warps. The finished fabric appears to have complex patterns even though it is a simple plain weave project. Come and check out the yarns and see the scarves we have woven!

Notes from our dyers

Today we’re preparing to natural dye our merino/alpaca yarn. We are mordanting the yarn, then weighing and preparing the dye to use tomorrow. We are soaking and simmering cochineal, madder roots and osage orange to make the dye liquid. Tomorrow is the fun part when we will use the dye liquid we made today to create rich, heathered colors from our gray yarn.

New Cottlin Hand Towels!

At the end of August look for our new fingertip towels for sale in the shop and in the gift barn. Woven in earth tones with a Cottlin warp and Cottlin boucle weft, with a touch of Dara’s hand-spun pima cotton for the borders, these make very attractive and absorbent hand towels.

Natural Dyes

Dara and Nicole have started overdying our own grey alpaca/merino blend wool with natural dyes producing lovely heathered jewel-tone colors. Next week we will have photos of their work in progress. We are hoping to have our natural dye class ready for this fall. Keep watching our website for more details.

New half-day classes coming soon!

Make a scarf

Get the most out of your Rigid Heddle loom (or purchase one from us at the time of the class and get a 10% discount)! Try our Rigid Heddle Mini series, weave a different scarf each class. Call Fiber Crafts @ (245)754-9680 or email for more information.