Marking Time 3.10.15


"A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses." –Chinese Proverb



It's been a bit of a whirlwind around the Studio. Finished the six-week Grant Project banners with the entire fourth grade class at State Street School on Thursday, and left for two days of teaching at Black Sheep Yarn Shop in Baltimore on Friday.


With the time change, I've been thinking we shouldn't say, "spring ahead," but "sprint ahead," because it feels like the sound of the gun cracked, and I've been racing the clock ever since. And then I realized it's Tuesday, and I haven't shared a tip here in quite a while.


The folks in Baltimore were amazing; so generous, eager, excited—more than I ever could have dreamed or imagined. So to return the kindness, here is my tip on weaving on a SAORI loom with chunky, thick, incredibly-spun art yarn!


Anna and her mom were in my first class on Saturday morning. Both of them spin and have lots of fiber fun together. At the end of their class, they gifted me three balls of their funky art yarn!!! (Anna also just opened an Etsy shop, if you care to show her your support).



On the way home, I dreamed about this yarn. What could I do with it? How could I honor Anna's generosity? How could I use this art yarn…in a warp???


The yarn's too thick to go through a reed. And then, in a moment of clarity, I remembered seeing Kenzo weaving…without a reed. Yes, that would work!


But what about the heddles?


I couldn't wait to get home (which wasn't until Monday). After unloading all my stuff (people couldn't believe I got six looms, cone yarns, treasures, etc. all in my Honda Fit!), one of the first things I did was to grab a harness and a ball of the yarn to see if I could feed it through the heddles. No go.


So I searched the internet, and found this tutorial on making your own string heddles.




On the left is the "jig" I made using a piece of styrofoam and a couple of nails marked off against one of the SAORI heddles, but with a larger eye. On the right, is my string heddle. So I made a bunch of these and tied them top and bottom onto my harnesses.




Like so.




Warping the chunky funk.




Kenzo's new SAORI heddle hook worked great with the art yarn! I just found a narrow place on the yarn to hook, and used my fingers to help it through the eye of the string heddle.




Here we are, all threaded, and ready to tie on! (Heart starting to palpitate quickly)!




Let the weaving begin!


Usually, when weaving without a reed, you use your shuttle as a beater. But because the bobbins were so full with thick, heavenly goodness, I just passed the bobbins back and forth and used my fingers as a beater! Just another opportunity to get my hands on the fiber and fondle!




Here's another fun thing about weaving without a reed, and especially with the string heddles: You can bunch them up, or space them out, to create really cool comb-reed like effects.




Like this!




I'm easily bored…time to move the heddles around again!




I wove in some slots and holes, too.




When it's time to wind forward to create more weaving space, the harnesses will pull forward a bit.




You just have to help all those little blobby globs work their way through the eye of the heddle. A bit fiddly, but I think it was worth the effort…




don't you? (I especially love the twisted fringe)!



So there you have it—how to use up your great art yarn stash on a SAORI loom. Let me know if you try it! Would love to see your lovely art yarn creations!





Art yarn beauty

Karen you are Amazing. What joy and talent and happiness. You have no idea how much your class at Baltimore helped Anna and I refocus and restart. I am looking forward to an intensive class with you and purchasing our loom :-). Thank you so much for the beautiful way you showcased Anna's work. Your blog is inspiring an I write daily in a journal so now I have new favorite quotes to add. Be in touch soon. -K-

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