Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Weaving Courses Offered

Woohoo! Time for a Big Honkin' Announcement! As I may have alluded to once or twice but never really expanded on, Mom and I are offering two five-day weaving courses at her studio on Vashon Island, WA in January of 2010. Now that the madness of the latest craft market is over, I've finally had enough time to put together a respectably complete prospectus of what we'll be doing.

(I had intended to do up a spiffy web page on my Weavers Palette site to announce this but, woe is me, my mad webskillz were not up to the task. Or not up to making it as pretty as Blogger can, at any rate, so to the greater and prettier wisdom of Blogger I shall yield.)

Here is Thee Scoop, for your viewing pleasure:

Beginning & Continuing
Weaving Courses
The Weaver's Palette
& Willingham Weavery

Mother/daughter weaving tag team
Sue Willingham and Janet Dawson are offering two five-day courses in January 2010: Weaving 101 – Beginning Weaving (January 11-15), and Weaving 102 – Continuing Weaving (January 18-22).

Courses run from Monday to Friday and include an hour or two of “class” each morning and afternoon plus several hours of time at the looms with two (2!) experienced instructors close at hand, for a total of 6 hours of instruction and supervised weaving each day for five days. In addition, the studio will be open before and after scheduled class times from Monday to Thursday; students are welcome and encouraged to weave on their own as much as they like between classes. Students who complete their first project with time to spare may plan and weave a second if time permits (additional materials fees may apply in this case).

There is a maximum enrollment of eight students in each course and there will be two (2!) instructors on hand at all times, so students will receive plenty of individual attention and assistance.

NB: Sue's studio contains looms made by several different manufacturers so students will have an opportunity to meet and test drive jack, countermarche and rigid heddle looms made by Ashford, Glimakra, Harrisville, LeClerc, Macomber, and Schacht – an invaluable experience for anyone considering purchasing a loom for the first time. The Weavery also has a nearly complete set of Handwoven Magazine and many other weaving texts that students may make use of during the week.

Course Descriptions

Weaving 101: Beginning Weaving ~ January 11-15, 2010

Topics covered:
  • Loom meet & greet: the parts of a loom and how they work
  • Other weaving paraphernalia: what it's for and how to use it
  • Planning a project: choosing threads, set, structure and size
  • Reading and creating drafts for weaving
  • Dressing a loom from front to back
  • Introduction to simple structures: plain weave, twill and basket weave
  • How to actually weave: filling bobbins & shuttles, treadling a pattern, throwing the shuttle, maintaining an even beat and tidy selvages
  • How to avoid and correct mistakes made while weaving
  • How to stop weaving: hemstitching, hems, knotted fringes and other methods of securing your fabric
  • How to wet finish cloth

Each student will wind a warp, dress a floor loom and weave a sampler in plain weave, basket weave and a variety of twills, then use the skills learned from the sampler to weave a set of tea towels in her choice of colours on the same warp. Additional looms will be dressed and ready for students to weave samples of variations on plain weave and twill: warp faced, weft faced, twill gamps, and/or finger manipulated weaves. Students may plan and weave a second project if time permits.

Beginning Weaving makes use of the book Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler; students are required to bring their own copy of the book to class. Students should also bring their own small, sharp scissors, blunt end tapestry needles, and note taking supplies. All other materials and equipment will be provided (though students who have their own shuttles and bobbins may wish to bring these as well). A materials fee will be charged.

Weaving 102: Continuing Weaving ~ January 18-22, 2010

Topics covered:
  • Review of topics from Weaving 101
  • Dressing the loom from back to front
  • How to read a profile draft
  • Moving beyond plain weave, basket weave and twill
  • Mixing fibres together successfully
Each student will warp a floor loom in different structures and fibres, using warps and drafts provided by the instructors. Once the looms are dressed, students will rotate among the looms1 and weave a project on each warp. Structures will vary from three to eight shafts, including krokbragd, waffle weave, lace, fancy twills, block weaves, unit weaves, and/or two shuttle weaves. Projects will include scarves, tea towels or table runners as appropriate for the fibres, structures and sets being used on each loom.

NB: Continuing Weaving (Weaving 102) is designed for students who already have some experience in weaving and dressing a loom, reading a simple draft and planning their own projects. It focuses more heavily on loom time than Weaving 101 so that students have ample time to weave each project with instructors nearby to offer assistance if required.

Students should bring their own small, sharp scissors, blunt end tapestry needles, and note taking supplies to class. All other materials and equipment will be provided (though students who have their own shuttles and bobbins may wish to bring these as well). A materials fee will be charged.

The Instructors

Janet Dawson (that's me!)

"I've always loved yarn: the colours, the textures, the feel of it in my fingers... As a girl, I used to spend hours sifting through my grandmother's yarn drawer and winding up the tangled skeins into tidy balls, then unwinding them so I could do it all over again. Gramma taught me to knit when I was nine and to crochet a little later but when I moved to Cape Breton Island in 1994 and took my first weaving class, I knew I'd found my place: at the loom.

Though I've always longed to create beautiful things, my strengths run more toward math, computers and mechanics. This makes weaving perfect for me because it combines structure and beauty, balances planning with creativity, and allows exploration within a clearly defined framework. In short, it lets the arty-farty right side of my brain and the techy and mechanical left side of my brain cooperate rather than compete for my attention.

I also love to teach! I come from a long line of teachers so it's in my blood and discovering a new way to explain an old idea so that it finally clicks for someone who's been struggling is a particular delight. That I can combine my two passions for weaving and teaching into an actual job is a constant source of surprise and wonder for me. That I can do it with my mother? Priceless!”

Janet learned to weave at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design in 1994 and taught the weaving program there from 2000 to 2009. She has been a member of the Sydney Weavers' Guild since '94 and was the HGA Rep for the Maritime provinces for four years. She has had articles published in the Ontario Spinners & Handweavers magazine, Fibre Focus, and twice in Handwoven Magazine, most recently in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue. Janet has her own weaving business, The Weaver's Palette, and is one of the founding members of Mixed Media Artisans Co-operative, a retail gallery showcasing the work of artisans from across Cape Breton Island and mainland Nova Scotia. Her handwoven blankets, scarves, table linens, garments and other items have been sold in shops in the Maritimes for 15 years and now grace the homes and wardrobes of customers across North America, Europe and as far away as Australia and the country of Georgia.

Janet is also active in the online fibre community. She writes two fibre related blogs: Scarfaday, which is almost entirely devoted to scarves, and High Fibre Diet, which covers fibre topics of all stripes. She also broadcasts live on Weaving In My Jammies (access code: jammiecam), where viewers can watch her weave and ask questions in real time about what she's doing or anything else related to her high fibre diet. Janet goes by janetdawson on Twitter, on Ravelry, and on Weavolution and by Janet Dawson on WeaveZine.

Though Janet has experience weaving and teaching advanced, multi-shaft structures, her current passion is for colour and texture in simple structures like plain weave and basket weave, and twills both plain and fancy.

Sue Willingham (a.k.a. My Dear Ol' Mum)

"Weaving has become the focus of my life since retirement, a way to be creative and to be involved with creative people. I especially enjoy helping people learn to weave and to explore more about weaving. My students never fail to surprise me with their individual flair -- I always learn as much as they do!

Sharing a love of weaving with my daughter is, of course, a very special gift. Her enthusiasm is the reason I took my first class. Since then sharing and consulting together has bridged the miles between us. I am really looking forward to teaching these workshops with Janet!"

Sue learned to weave in 1996 at the Weaving Works in Seattle – and via phone consultations with Janet! She moved to Vashon Island in 1998 and after retiring in 2001 had more time to focus on weaving. In 2005 she was asked by friends to teach them to weave. Her living room wasn't big enough so she converted her garage into a studio and later in 2005 opened the Willingham Weavery there. All of her looms were used when she acquired them. Currently there are eight floor looms and several table looms. During the workshops two more will be added temporarily for participants to use. Sue's weaving interests are eclectic -- she likes to experiment with new weave structures and various yarns. As looms have been added to her studio, new opportunities arise because of the size and number of shafts.

In 2003 Sue was one of the co-founders FiberNet, a group of Vashon fiber enthusiasts who share, teach, and learn from one another and, in 2008, mounted a show in Vashon Island's Blue Heron gallery. An outgrowth of FiberNet and of Sue's weaving classes is Vashon Weavers, a group of island weavers that meets regularly and enthusiastically to share and learn.

Sue has been a member of the Seattle Weavers' Guild since 2002 and is currently serving a third term as recording secretary. Next door to her studio is Vashon Island Alpacas; Sue works with the owners to produce and sell spinning batts and yarn from the luscious fleece of their animals under the name Vashon Alpaca Fibers. For several years she has participated in the Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour the first two weekends in December; other island weavers also show their work at her studio during these tours.

Sue and Janet: Mother/Daughter Weaving Duo Extraordinaire!

Together, Sue and Janet are an international, east-meets-west, island to island, border hopping, mother/daughter weaving duo extraordinaire! They may live on opposites coasts of two different countries but they visit one another as often as possible and, due to the wonders of the interwebs (and a couple of webcams and hands free phones!), they weave “together” almost as much as if they lived down the road. The two of them live and breathe to weave and are often in consultation with one another on projects, on teaching, and on life in general.

Collectively, Janet and Sue represent almost 30 years of weaving and teaching experience. Their shared enthusiasm for their craft will inspire you and their mother/daughter antics will entertain you while their breadth of teaching experience and subtle (or not so subtle) differences in approach and technique provide you with a solid foundation of weaving theory and skills that will enable you to weave confidently on your own for years to come.

The Willingham Weavery

Sue's studio, The Willingham Weavery, is located on beautiful Vashon Island in the Puget Sound between Seattle and the Olympic peninsula. There are several places for visitors to the island to stay and to eat; anyone coming from away to take the workshops may contact us and we'll provide you with suggestions.

The Weavery is also right next door to Vashon Island Alpacas (where my niece and nephew live!) and Sue sells alpaca bats for felting and spinning as well as spun fibre that weaves up beeeooootifully. If there's interest, arrangements could be made for a tour of the farm. We may even be able to arrange a special yoga session for Madly Weaving Weavers if there are folks who'd participate - always a good idea to give your body a break after weaving for six hours a day!

1. Weave on one loom and then another and another, that is... as opposed to, you know, standing in amongst the looms and spinning round like a dervish. Though you're welcome to do that too if it makes you happy!


Susan R. said...

OMG! I want to come! ;)

Janet said...

You can! Everyone needs a week of vacation in January, right?

There are lovely places to stay on the Island, or we might even be able to find a weaver to stash you with. :D

Marshallparents said...

I am interested in the beginners course. I need to know how much it costs and where to stay and so on. Please pm me on rav. thanks Earlady