Thursday, January 28, 2010

We’ve redecorated at sutherland

Barb and I (with Pattiy’s assistance) were busy rearranging the furniture at our studio today to make the shop more comfortable for shoppers and make room for more looms and students.

Even stripping a screw that held our scarf rack to the freestanding wall couldn’t stop us. Pattiy and her vise grips to the rescue. Then we hoisted the large, heavy angled wall through the studio, out Pattiy’s door and into the CURVE space next door that will soon be occupied by encaustic painter Constance Williams. We moved the bookcase of yarn to the open corner, the secretary (our office) into the corner where the bookcase was and a new three-sided wire display rack into the space where the secretary was.

A little vacuuming and merchandising later and our new look was ready for business and classes. It’s a good thing, because three new looms are on the way for the three Weaving I students who will start class on Monday afternoons this month. Whew!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So, as Karen and I so often do, we were working away in the studio several days ago while throwing around ideas for new projects. I, for one, am pretty consistent with the work ethic of warp the loom, weave 6" of the project, and start planning the next project. Works for me every time.
Karen mentioned her husband, ever the trusty sales guy, thought having a "theme" scarf quarterly or seasonally might be a good idea. we tossed it around, decided we liked the idea, and promptly shelved it on the to do list in our collective brains.
Last week I put on a warp at home on my wonderful Harrisville loom with enough length for two scarves: one for my dear weaving friend Walker, who turns 60 this week, and the other to sell. After I wove, wet finished, and pressed it I brought it to the studio for Karen to critique.
She loved them as much as I did. That's when she mentioned Jeff's idea of the seasonal scarf. I started thinking about it and told her i agreed. Almost in unison we said what about doing a tone-on-tone piece. I have successfully started warping my Baby Wolf (back to front no less) with this gorgeous 60/2 spun silk. Tomorrow I will start threading and can hardly wait! It sits at 40epi with a weaving width of 15". Just so you don't have to do the math, that is 608 warp ends, taking into account the floating selvedges. Got to love a weaver who loves tedious! That's me.

I am now continuing this blog entry several days after the above portion. Why, you ask? First, let remind you I am just past 50 and the mind is not like it used to be. It happened like this: I sat down to thread this lovely silk and as soon as I did I head-slapped myself. I had wound the warp on a 4 shaft and not an 8 shaft loom; hence I would not be able to use the planned pattern discussed at length in the above section.
Never daunted, I sat down with Anne Dixon's 4 Shaft Pattern Book and found just the one. And boy oh boy did I ever hit the jackpot.
I carefully threaded and tied the warp to the front beam and started to weave late this afternoon using 60/2 Tussah silk. Karen was in the studio and was able to share with me the beauty of the cloth beginning to take shape before my eyes. Is there any better time for a weaver than when he/she sees the magic of the warp and weft coming together to form something beautiful. Well, this cloth is giving me chills.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

And We’re Threading…

It’s the second session of the Weaving I Three Warps Three Towels class at sutherland, and three of the four students are here threading towel 1 today in a straight draw.

We hope to get these warps wound on the beam, and tied onto the front by the end of the day. Our students could even be weaving later. Welcome to Lennie, Donna and Martha. Our fourth Weaving I student will rejoin the class in a few weeks after a little vacation.

006 001 002 003 004

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another Milestone-Curvelinear

I think I can speak for both Karen and myself on this--already in this New Year we have reached several milestones we had not dreamed possible this quickly.
First, we have had the great honor to be included on the Haywood County Arts Council exhibit in Waynesville, NC called Curvelinear. The show opened January 12 and will run for about 6 weeks. We dragged along the Mr. Weavers (aka husbands) with us to the Artists Reception last Friday night and even they had to admit they were impressed. We have to give a big hand to the phenomenal efforts of our curator Greg Vineyard. He spent much time setting up this beautiful exhibit and everything about its presentation exudes his care and artistic ability. These few photos I have posted do not really do his hard work justice, but I have tried.
Secondly, Karen's 8 week Beginning Weaving class is overflowing. Not only did she fill the 3 Baby Wolfs we have for class, she added Hardy, a very enthusiastic new weaver who has his own table loom to bring to class. And just when we were celebrating this achievement, we had not one but two others express serious interest in class as well. So here we are with the delightful dilemma of having students and not enough looms! We are hoping this is not a fluke and the interest continues. It is infectious to see Karen's enthusiasm for teaching new weavers.
Thirdly, and this is very much related to the previous topic, we are already busting at the seams. A problem, but another delightful one at that.
With all these things, in the next few days we will be in serious discussions concerning how to work towards getting these new students all taken care of as well as setting up a dealership with Schacht ASAP.
We have met so many new friends on this new venture who have all helped add to our enthusiasm. Thanks much to all of you here in Asheville and beyond who have encouraged and assisted us. Karen and I are both grateful.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

CURVEilinear reception invite, revised

A little clarification of the directions to Gallery 86 is in the following. Hope to see you there.

CURVEilinear2FLAT (3)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

CURVEilinear exhibit includes sutherland

How exciting. We just opened our handweaving gallery & teaching studio in CURVE Studios & Garden in Asheville’s River Arts District, and we’re just in time for an exhibit at the Haywood County Arts Council’s Gallery 86 featuring all the artist at CURVE!

The exhibit runs Jan. 11-Feb. 6, 2010. Gallery 86 is at 86 North Main St. in Waynesville, NC. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm. Greg Vineyard, one of CURVE’s artists, is curating the exhibit. He stopped by one day last week to pick up pieces from both Barb and Karen.

The artists reception will be Jan. 16 from 6-9 pm. Everyone is invited!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Web Chats AT sutherland on Monday

Just a reminder that the inaugural meeting of Web Chats AT sutherland – face-to-face networking for weavers—will be this Monday, Jan. 11 from 4-6 pm. Area weavers and weaver wanna be’s are invited to join us in the sutherland handweaving studio for conversations about what you are weaving, why you’re not weaving, what you’d like to show off and what you’d like help with.

We’ll keep everything informal and casual, but hopefully you’ll go home with a tip or lesson you didn’t know before. If you can join us, just contact Barb or Karen at so we know how many to expect.

Hope to see you Monday afternoon!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Just do it

Sometimes we get so sure of ourselves, we forget the basics our weaving teachers taught us. Take sett for example. I threaded a l034ovely variegated alpaca and tencel blend on the studio loom for two scarves. A little stretchy, it was hard to get a good reading by winding on a ruler. Looking similar to Zephyr (JaggerSpun’s merino/silk blend), I decided to start with 24 epi for a broken twill. For the first scarf I chose a purple wool/kid mohair yarn that was thicker than the warp. I beat it very lightly, knowing it would full and not wanting it to hide the warp colors. I struggled a bit to keep the beat even and selvages nice, but I liked the overall look. Here it is on-loom.

For the second scarf I wanted to try another treadling with a weft that would weave more balanced. In my stash I found a wonderful blue untwisted cotton I had found during a visit to Habu Textiles in New York. It is just slightly thinner than the warp. The tension was working well, so I just rolled the first scarf on the cloth beam, left some fringe and started the blue one. About three repeats in, I noticed my beat was getting harder, even though I was trying to keep it balanced. I took out the last repeat and tried again, then kept weaving, checking the ppi after each repeat. After weaving about 8 inches (at what was averaging 28 ppi), it dawned on me what I should have done, sett the warp closer.

Yes, I knew this. Yes, the need to sometimes adjust your sett is one of the first things I tell new weaving students. But the prospect of cutting this Habu weft out, cutting the first scarf off, resleying and retying was just not appealing. I ate my ltwill scarf zoomunch and walked around for a while, before finally deciding that I would be much happier weaving this scarf if I followed Nike’s advice. So I just did it. Here’s the purple scarf after being cut off and the warp ready for resleying. It’s now sett at 28 epi and is weaving much easier. However, if I use this yarn again for twill, I’ll probably try it at 30 epi.

Lesson RE-learned. 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

sutherland in the News

We’re introducing sutherland to the local media and received a nice story in The Laurel of Asheville announcing our January classes and events. Scroll to page 25. For those unfamiliar, Barb is in the picture foreground and Karen is behind her.  Asheville has welcomed us warmly. We even had a story on the local TV news during our grand opening in December. I’d post a link to that, except while they found us interesting enough for the Sunday evening news, we didn’t make the website. It was nice, nevertheless.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Happy New Year! I'm not much for resolutions, since the only one i have really ever kept is to floss daily; but I have made one for this year. I am going to to do a better job of weaving documentation. If you are a weaver, you know all about this. Every teacher I have ever had has stressed this point, along with sample, sample sample. I'm still not a convert to sampling for sampling sake, but I am resolving to be so for documentation's sake. My method may not be a perfect one, but it is mine and I like it.
As part of the documenting process, I have been taking photos of my pieces to help jog my memory and to post on this blog.
So, as the New Year is being rung in, I am starting my resolution. This piece is being woven with 60/2 tencel hand-dyed in variations of lovely steel greys. The weft will be 120/1 silk by Habu, with a finishing touch of seed beads on each end. I have 40 epi with a width in the reed of 15 inches. I had quite a blast dressing the loom and loved the feeling of the tencel while I was doing it.
So, here is a toast to every weaver who struggles to document well. May everyone's New Year be full of love, laughter, and happiness.

Treadle on...