Väv Immersion Class – Week Eleven continued…

Vavstuga Basics – What a surprise to have not one, but two Swedish fiddlers entertain us after lunch. There was a bit of dancing and foot tapping too!  And here are a few photos from this week’s Basics class…


Rölakan – We continued our designs of the rölakan with inspiration from various books.  Here are a few patterns that inspire me and the books they come from.  Along with the square pattern grid we have for our design.  The most difficult part is keeping this project simple, as we each will create only a tiny sample!


tammy weaves – A new band on the rigid heddle and the humble beginnings of daldrall (overshot).  You’ll see the tow linen table cloth warp I share with Vickie further below.  And this week Celeste continued to advised me as I worked on the designs for my yardage, blanket and rölakan!


Vav Immersion – Kira’s rosepath and Kate’s yardage.


Out in the barn… most of the larger looms are out in the barn and with the spring weather, we are working in the barn to dress looms for our personal blankets and yardage, and our tow linen tablecloths and the rölakan tapestry weaving.

Kira threading the tow linen warp she shares with Kay, Elizabeth’s blanket warp, and Vickie with the two linen warp she and I share.


Rep Variations Class preview…this display of samples for the Rep Class were sitting out today at the end of Basics class – what a delight of weaving options – all from the same loom set up!



Vacation Week – we have our second week of vacation from weaving.  It is bittersweet to leave projects waiting for completion while knowing we all need a good week of rest.  I’m off to explore Massachusetts and hope where ever you are you have a lovely week too!  And if you really miss our weaving adventures, please consider taking a peak back at some of your favorite weeks to savor and enjoy again!!! See you in a week!

p.s. Several of us used the serger  just in case we find time during the vacation to do some hemming!





Väv Immersion Class – Week Eleven!!!

Bridge of Flowers – I took a walk on the Bridge of Flowers (which is located beside Vavstuga) to discover what flowers are blooming this week.  I am always amazed by the variety of flowers and enjoy watching other people delight in them as well.  Today a mother and daughter ask if I would take a photo of them next to the beautiful pink magnolia.  After taking their photo, they insisted upon taking my photo too!


tammyweaves – I was able to weave two pieces with the Rosepath pattern  with plans to create a bag to hang on the side of the loom bench to hold my shuttles and a cushion cover for the bench.  I enjoyed playing with colors and patterns on the first piece and being a bit more intentional with the second.  You also see one-half of the warp for a tow linen square tablecloth that Vickie and I will both weave.  She measured the other half and soon we will “dress” the loom with this beautiful sunrise morning colored warp.


Rölakan – Celeste introduced us to the rölakan weave – a type of tapestry weave that we began to design this week and will soon  have the opportunity to each weave a lovely pattern.  Here are a few samples which inspired our design. Note the photo on the right of Becky’s painted design with yarn samples and the finished product – woven while she was in Sweden.  Also that the incredibly beautiful tapestry with the birds has elements of rölakan (in the black chickens and the horizontal stripes across the piece) along with a variety of other tapestry techniques!


Damask Tablecloth – we all had a hand in preparing this 10-shaft loom with damask pulleys for our warp of fine linen.  Many “learning opportunities” were experienced, including discovering a threading error soon after the weaving began.  Becky was able to share her expertise and demonstrate her wisdom as she carefully cut, re-threaded, and corrected the error with as little change to the whole piece as possible. Elizabeth is the first to weave her tablecloth and you will see below it looks lovely!

Satin Weave – to help us understand the satin weave in our damask tablecloth, we studied and drew satin weave drafts.  And discussed what makes a true satin, an irregular satin and a false satin(broken twill).  Satin weaves are known to be smooth, even and shine in appearance.   All of the weaves we are studying are found in the book Weave Structures The Swedish Way – volume 1 – and I find the satin explanation especially helpful.  Weave Structures – the textbook used in Becky’s class 36 years years ago in Sweden – she translated and adapted it to go along with her classes.


Vav Immersion – around the studio this week….columns  top to bottom:

  1. Kira’s hand woven and dyed linen daldräll, Kate’s threading of her yardage, Tanya’s drawloom deer with fish
  2. Vickie’s monk’s belt, Elizabeth measured a warp for the single unit drawloom, Elizabeth’s blanket warp, Vickie measuring 1/2 of the warp for our tow linen tablecloth
  3. Kira’s monk’s belt woven with her hand spun and dyed wool,  Tonya’s yardage with beautiful wool tulips – each one added by hand


Old Swedish Weavings from North to South – When I complimented Becky’s beautifully woven band today she quickly opened the Old Swedish Weavings… book that she translated several years ago to show us the pattern of the band.  We were all thrilled to see the photo of the pattern next to the finished product.   Each time she opens this book, which I purchased upon completing Vavstuga Basics Class,  I am thrilled to discover that I understand so much more about weaving than I did prior to this Vav Immersion Class.  I could now open this book and weave these beautiful heirlooms from Sweden with an understanding I didn’t know to be attainable in such a short time.  Yes, I am very grateful each day that I am here.  Thank you to all who have supported and encouraged me in so many ways.  And thank you Becky for sharing your love and wisdom of weaving each and every day!

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Väv Immersion Class – Week Ten continued…

Flax into Linen…Becky taught us to hackle flax and dress the distaff.  And then she demonstrated how to spin linen.  Soon we will be spinning our own linen thread.  And with the warmer weather, our flax seeds have begun to sprout and last year’s flax was turned to continue retting! (photos 1,2,3,4, &7 by Becky Ashenden)


Vav Immersion – we continued winding warps, pre-sleying reeds, and setting up looms for tow linen tablecloths, striped yardage,  damask table cloth and daldrall(overshot) .  And we had some fun outdoors as the sun began to shine and bring us warmth.


tammy weaves – I completed the linen rag rug.  I enjoyed it more and more as I wove.  And even though I have experienced some physical aches and pains, weaving a rug on a Glimakra loom did not aggravate my condition – this is amazing!  And on my dresser, a towel and lavender wand I wove at home in Ann Arbor,  some paper circles for paper quills, a bit of thread left from the upholstery project and fruit from the lovely food co-op.


What a Wonderful Weekend!

My weekend started out with my friend Renee…  This amazing friend told me about Vavstuga years ago and I am forever grateful.  On Friday Renee  invited me to join her at the Young at Heart Concert in Northampton.  If you don’t know of this internationally known group of singers whose average age is 80, take a look at their website or go to Netflix to see the movie Young at Heart created about them!

Then on Saturday Renee took me to Berkshires to visit the Pine Cone Hill Outlet Spring Tent Sale.  Full of beautiful textiles and rugs, it was a delight to see all of the beautiful colors and designs. And choose a few to take home with us too.   I haven’t had this much fun shopping for decades!  Thank you Renee.


On Saturday evening daughter Allegra returned for another visit to the Vav Immersion Farm House to create a bit of  bobbin lace.   We had a great time together and joined Renee the next morning for brunch!   The only thing missing from this wonderful weekend was remembering to take a photo with Renee.

Väv Immersion Class – Week Ten

Week Ten already!?!  We had sunshine all day!  I took a glorious walk down the dirt road along the babbling brook.  The coltsfoot were out in full bloom with a  honey bee busy buzzing atop.  This brought a huge smile to my heart.

tammyweaves…Now the weaving of my rag rug begins and as with all weaving, it is completely magical to see the pattern appear and grow before one’s very eyes.  I hadn’t planned to twist the purple and lavender together,   yet there wasn’t as much purple as I had designed for, and so wah-lah, the twisted look I so enjoy in the historic Shaker rugs has now become part of the rug’s design.  The purple was a linen shirt of mine, the lavender and green were my mother’s linen dresses, and a bit of cotton snuck in with the white cut from one of Dan’s old shirts.  These colors needed a bit of orange, which I found in the rag pile here at Vavstuga.  Like a quilt made from old clothes, the rug now holds happy memories.


Vav Immersion – threads going on the looms and weaving is happening!

top row – 10 shafts of heddles are being threaded with natural linen for the damask table cloth,  Vickie’s rosepath

middle row- white linen being sleyed for the dradall (overshot),  Elizabeth’s leno lace and monk’s belt, Elizabeth’s monk’s belt almost finished!

bottom row – Kate’s yardage pre-sleyed at the table,  a sample of the 10 shaft damask tablecloth we will soon each weave!, Vickie’s rosepath continues


Vav Immersion – at the draw looms. The photos keep shifting as I type so…look and you will find the following….

Tonya’s deer with fish drawloom project, Tonya’s single draw loom unit design as she pulls the cords to set the pattern for the next row, Tonya at the single unit draw loom – you can see her design and the weaving below

Kira’s diamond pattern Opphamta design just finished – from above, Kira’s Opphamta design – from the side,  Kira’s single unit draw loom dragons –  grey, Kate’s single unit draw loom dragon’s – greens

And…lingo (weights) for the Opphamta drawloom,   grey  blue threaded onto the shaft draw loom


A delight for the eyes…this beautiful little band is found securing the drawloom attachment on the Opphamta loom.  I find it simply stunning!


Väv Immersion Class – Week Nine continued…

tammyweaves…cut linen rags with the design I’ll use to weave my rag rug, linen bath towels that Vickie shared are my inspiration for my yardage which will become my personal bath towels, possible colors for the yardage, and a new bobbin lace pattern with a turned corner and new weave structures too!


Meet Kim (in handwoven apron)  who beautifully sets the dining table and prepares meals for all of the Vavstuga classes and two of the four weeks each month for Vav Immersion, Becky and her sister Kate(also know as Kit) enjoying lunch together and the Friday afternoon Basics Class celebration of projects.


Vav Immersion – winding on the warp for the damask table cloth, Kate’s shaft draw, Kira’s opphamta, Vickie’s spring flowers, Kate’s warp, Kira’s rigid heddle band, Elizabeth’s spring flowers, the upholstery samples hanging in the stairs with Kay’s rag rug on the top landing and Becky’s rep rug at the bottom, and Kate measuring her warp on a warping mill.


Saturday’s Wool Combing Workshop with Gina Gerhard – Gina shared her knowledge of wool combing, the history, benefits and current uses to create the most beautiful lush worsted wool yarn.  The large combs are a bit intimidating at first, though soon gain a huge respect by giving us the most amazing wool fiber.  They are long, but not as sharp as they appear. And yes, wool combs must be used with great care!


Attic Party – at Becky’s house (note Becky’s handwoven cloth on both the ceiling and walls) to celebrate completing nine of the sixteen weeks of class at Vav Immersion.  Orkestar Banitsa provided beautiful Balkan music. There was yummy food, folk dancing, great conversation and an amazing amount of fun with jigsaw puzzles!   (photo by Tonya Jones)20160409_211625.jpg


In and around Vav Immersion – last weekend’s snow by the barn, opphamta -threads through two sets of heddles, flower buds with snow, and it takes a village to wind a warp. (photos by Katherine Jane Kirk- aka Kay)



Väv Immersion Class – Week Nine

Upholstery Samples…just off of the loom – from top to bottom – Kira, Vickie, Kate, Tammy, Kay, Elizabeth – 2 blues, Tammy, Tammy, Tammy (there was extra warp at the end and Elizabeth and I volunteered to “use it up!”).


Rosepath – a weft faced weave – the warp is completely covered by the weft pattern of two alternating colors.  Rosepath is very popular in Sweden and also found in weavings around the world.


Daldrall (Overshot) – the same pattern treadled in either “star fashion” (on left) or “rose fashion” (on right) will give a slightly different/opposite look. Weever Woman’s Blog has an informative page with great details about overshot and star vs. rose fashion.


Dye Pots…Kira continues her dying with plans to weave this beautifully dyed wool.


Vav Immersion – Kira cutting off her yardage, Kay preparing the Dradall warp to be threaded, Kate’s monk’s belt, Becky’s demo of setting up the Opphampta Draw Loom.


tammyweaves…I joyfully finished the monk’s belt weaving enough plain weave to fold over to create a place to hold a rod for hanging.  And here are two of the extra upholstery samples – designed at the loom.  Very fun!  What is next?  Working with others to set up new warps for new projects and starting my rag rug!


Väv Immersion Class – Week Eight continued…

tammyweaves…the center of the monk’s belt pattern below shows the “flowers” created by mixing colors together.   The design process is complete.  The piece will be finished when all the patterns have been recreated in reverse order to create a symmetric balance.  The lace with “gimp”(the rounded part made by weaving in a thicker thread) continues to grow.  On Saturday my daughter Allegra came for a visit and enjoyed her first bobbin lace lesson – the last inch shown is her work.


Linen Retting – We had our first visit to the flax house, located just behind the family farm house.  We were each given a bundle of flax grown last summer to place into the grass, roots lined up evenly to begin the retting process.  Kira  and Kate are straightening the flax Kira (on right) grew last summer in PA.  Within two to three weeks, the sun, rain and dew will allow the stocks to dissolve enough that we can use the flax fibers inside to spin into linen threads


Dying and Plying Wool – Lisa shared her wool dying experiences and started a dye pot of lac which created the deep fuschia wool.  She also brought in her wool newly dyed with lichen which was a beautiful light green and had a lovely scent. (sorry no photo)  Kira continued the dying process using the dye exhaust(what is left in the dye pot after the first dye batch) to create the light pink and then continued with other dyes to create these beautiful colors she plans to spin and weave.  And Elizabeth began another dye pot Sunday evening…new colors are springing up!

Lisa also gave us a lesson on creating 2 and 3 ply yarns and taught us the Navajo ply which creates a lovely 3 ply from a single strand!

Myrehed single unit drawloom – Becky introduced us to a new draw loom this week.  These draw looms have individual control over small groups warp threads.  Several patterns can be “saved” with cords that the weaver pulls down one at a time to create the pattern shed.  The photo on the lower right shows Vickie’s dragon weaving!

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Vav Immersion – Kay’s band on a rigid heddle, Vickie’s drawloom polar bear(did you guess from the previous post?), Kira’s yardage, and Kay weaving her band (photo by Kay Kirk).


Sett and Finishing Textiles – Becky instructed us to use guidelines and formulas to create a sett (the distance between the warp threads created while warping the loom and with the reed).  The creating a sett allows a fabric to be light and airy OR thick and strong.  And we learned how to wash and cold mangle (800 lbs of pressure) our bread cloths which we wove during our first weeks of class.


Saturday Fun!  Daughter Allegra came to the Vav Farm House to learn bobbin lace on Saturday morning. We were having so much fun, there is no photo of her working on the lace.  My husband Dan’s sister Julie and her husband Fritz joined us for a tour of the Vav Immersion studio, lunch, a fabulous orchestra concert at Mount Holyoke College and dinner with several of Allegra’s dear friends.  I couldn’t resist sharing a photo of Allegra visiting with a bunny earlier this week at MHC – a special activity they offer each spring!   (Saturday photos by Fritz Holznagel) (bunny photo by Sheila McIntosh)


Winter and Spring are playing tag!  We awoke Sunday and Monday mornings to snow! It was such a contrast to the 70F weather we enjoyed on Friday afternoon.  My special treat this week was seeing coltsfoot (bottom right) blooming – a first for me to see this sweet sun-shiny plant. (daffodils in snow photo by Kay Kirk)