Where it all started (long post!)

My 3 year Youtube channel anniversary came and went without my noticing back in August. I was looking through my list of 159 (!!) videos tonight and noted the date of my first video, way back in 2015.

While these years have flown so fast and so much has happened since I hesitatingly uploaded that first video, I thought it a good time to reflect and share a bit more of my journey with you, particularly if you have only found me recently.

Some of you have been with me almost since that first video, and I believe that I have most to thank you for. It is the first viewers who encouraged me to make more videos, who threw amazing compliments in my direction, and who have shown me so much love these past 3 years.

So, lets go way back to the beginning. Before weaving, I had many, many crafts under my belt. One of them was knitting, which I used to indulge in a great deal until a painful shoulder Repetitive Strain Injury reared it's ugly head and left me just a "sometimes knitter". Anyway, I had learned an immense amount of helpful knitting techniques from kind people on Youtube. When I had been weaving for some time and was really excited about what I was doing and learning (still am!) I had the idea of contributing to the Youtube craft community by sharing a little of what I knew. I borrowed my son's little camcorder, and, with pretty poor visual and even worse audio, I recorded this Waffle Weave on a rigid heddle loom video.

I didn't expect that many people would watch it, and that was fine by me, I just wanted to share with anyone who may be interested. It wasn't long before I started getting comments and very positive feedback. People were asking me to make more videos and I couldn't believe it. Me? Introverted, dull as dishwater housewife me? I was pretty astounded at the response!

I made some more videos and I discovered something about myself. I loved teaching! I had taught my kids at home for a long time (my oldest homeschooler is now 18!), but this was teaching adults something I was really passionate about and I wanted to keep doing that!

As I made the videos, the cost of materials started adding up and I had no job or real income at this time. Youtube had a "paid channels" feature and so, I started one. I charged roughly $2 per person, per month and this enabled me to keep going because people joined and paid. 

In my "spare time" I started putting together some weaving designs to sell in my Etsy shop. I now have 10 designs, and once again, I've been amazed at the response. I also love designing and look forward to continuing doing that. 

Back to Youtube, where it was abruptly announced that the paid channel platform was closing. This left me with a quandary - should I try to find another platform or is this a sign that I should close down. Well, my students came to my rescue and begged me to continue. A short time later, I found a great hosting platform - Teachable and have been with them ever since. Youtube closing the paid channels was a HUGE blessing in so many ways and has allowed to go forward in ways I could not have imagined. If you haven't seen my Online Weaving School, please check it out to see what I'm talking about! 

I now have 40 classes available, including my first floor loom course. Being on a professional platform has challenged me to do better and construct my classes to give students an optimal learning experience. I must be doing something right, because the school continues to grow and I continue to get awesome feedback. Some months I now earn a full time income, which is a dream come true.

All of this has been made possible because people like you support me in so many ways. You support me with your enthusiasm for weaving and learning. You support me financially, which allows me to continue to grow this little business. You support me on a personal level with your kind messages and many prayers over the years. 

A topic that is often discussed in business circles is "success". Success to many, seems to be when you reach 6 figures, as though there is some magic monetary value that means you have made it. Well, if success comes down to 6 figures, I'll leave it, thanks all the same. Am I successful? Yes! Do I earn 6 figures? No, and probably never will. I earn a living (maybe not a lavish one by the opinion of many, but it helps to feed and clothe my family!), I get to do what I absolutely love, and I'm surrounded by wonderful, supportive people. 
Am I successful? Heck, yeah!

I want to thank you all for making this happen. I had no idea that I was capable of running a business that began with a hobby and a passion. My hope is that I can continue to do this for the rest of my life, and with all the plans and ideas I have for my online school for the future, I shouldn't have too much trouble achieving that goal!

God has blessed me abundantly through this venture, I pray He blesses you too!

5 Steps to Successful Weaving!

It is my belief that anyone can be successful in weaving. The following steps are my essentials to becoming a successful weaver.

1. Basics first.
Start out simple. Acknowledge that, as a beginner, leaping into a difficult project straight away is probably not the best way for you to get started. If you do, you may end up feeling discouraged and that you're "no good at weaving". When learning something new, it is rare for anyone to jump into an advanced level, you need to take the baby steps, then walk, then run!

2. Patience.
You see the images from weavers on Pinterest and Instagram. They look so fabulous that they inspire you to try weaving for yourself. That is natural, that is how I started. But to get to the point of being able to weave anything like the beautiful images, it may take quite some time, and it may not be easy. Mistakes are an important part of the learning process. Know that you will improve, if you practice and give it time.

3. Persistence.
Would you believe me if I told you that I have almost given up on weaving a number of times? There were times that I was so frustrated and had no one to help, that I thought surely I must be just too stupid to learn this, or that I felt I was wasting my time. I'm so glad I never did give in though! Imagine where I would be now - a beginner level weaver with too much equipment gathering dust, and a feeling that I had failed. Keep going. Get stuck? Go back to the basics. Find help. Buy that new book you need, some online classes, or find people in your area with similar interests. There is a way. You can do it!

4. Resources.
I could say that I am a self taught weaver, but realistically that is not really true. I have learned this craft through reading many books, studying articles, drafts and discussions online, and by taking online classes. When I got my first loom, I had no idea where to start. I didn't know any weavers. I was too busy caring for my family to be able to attend a guild. So, I found the right resources that helped me get going. As I improved, I found more resources to help me level up. Resources are out there - lots of them, you just need to find the right ones for you. 

5. Community.
Funny for an introvert like myself to have "community" as one of the keys to success. I'm the type who avoids social settings wherever possible and hates the idea of group meetings or activities. Like many other typical introverts, social occasions are physically draining and just mostly not enjoyable. However, that doesn't mean that I hide in a hole and don't see or speak to anyone! 
I never would have realised the importance of community until I started weaving. My community is online and I am so grateful for it. I have daily contact with hundreds, if not thousands of weavers across the globe and of all different levels of ability. We teach and learn through one another, share information and discoveries, and most importantly, we inspire one another. It's a beautiful thing to have the support of others who are just as passionate about weaving as you are. 
So, whether you love real life interaction or virtual interaction, find the people who are going to help you succeed in weaving!

I hope this article was helpful to you! Perhaps you are looking for some new resources? Here are a few to get you started:

My Youtube Channel

My Online Weaving School

My Weaving Lessons Facebook Group

What is Clasped Weft?

Just when you think you've tried everything in weaving, you come across something different, like Clasped Weft. The title pretty much summarises the particulars, but to break it down, the clasped weft technique uses 2,3 or 4 interlocking weft colours. If you have done any tapestry, you will be familiar with the interlocking concept.

We mainly use a plain weave structure (though clasped weft can actually be used in other structures, such as twill). It is a perfect technique for a rigid heddle loom, because, although it's simple, it looks special and has big impact.

Lets look at some (rather poorly drawn, sorry about that!) diagrams to get a clearer idea of how this works. The drawings are over simplified, as I haven't drawn in the warp and weft interlacement, but I have drawn in the edge warp threads:

Clasped weft with 2 weft colours.

Clasped weft with 3 colours.

Clasped weft with 4 colours.

A few recommendations for better results.
1. Use contrasting colours. Light and dark will make the weaving pop.

2. Use the same weight yarn for both warp and weft. You will get better results and avoid the not so pretty lumps and bumps that can occur at interlocking points.

3. For the 2 colour technique, a variegated yarn with a contrasting yarn looks really cool! (See photo below).

If you like the look of clasped weft as much as I do, I have some great news for you! I have 3 free Youtube video tutorials that will teach you each of these techniques. Start with video 1 so that you can practice the technique, before moving on to the others. 

Try it out and let me know what you think. Leave me a comment here or under any of the Youtube videos, I love to hear from you!

Weave Along Round Up

The Krokbragd Mug Rug Weave Along (try saying that with a mouthful of cake!) has been a great success! While many students are still working on their mug rugs and some have yet to start, I have been seeing so many wonderful photos of their work, that I couldn't wait to share.

What I really love is the variety of mug rugs I'm seeing and the range of interpretations of my original design.

Charlotte, who has been with me a long time, and is a very prolific weaver, came up with several variations on the original design. She even figured out how to weave sheep and then shared the draft with the other students, several of whom were inspired to weave their own sheep!

Mary went with some darker colours and white highlights. So lovely!

This is one of Kelly's (a different Kelly!) interpretations. I love that she included many different colours, but that they all work together so harmoniously.

And another, different rug from Kelly. You can see Charlotte's sheep and my tulips (from this Youtube tutorial).

And finally, these beauties from Connie. So lovely!

Robyn decided on a bold and traditional design for this mug rug. Love the colours!

Perhaps you're looking at all these gorgeous mug rugs and wishing you had joined in? No problem, you still can! 
All the details are here.

Thanks to everyone who joined in and threw themselves into the challenge with such gusto, it has been so exciting for me to see.

This weave along leads beautifully into the next class, which will be a krokbragd bag with two heddles. I'm working on that right now, it should be ready in a couple of weeks.

Until next time....

Happy Weaving!

Monk's Belt Magic!

Sampling can be a sensitive topic among weavers. Why, when it takes you so long to set up and weave a piece, would you subject yourself to dressing your loom "just for a sampler"? 
Believe it or not, as a newer weaver, those were my thoughts exactly. When I read or heard a teacher recommending sampling before beginning the actual project, I would secretly snicker to myself "yeh, right, as if that's ever going to happen, I just want to get to the REAL weaving!"

But if there is one thing that weaving has taught me over the years is patience! Oodles of patience. And, I've messed up enough times to know that, at least for some projects, sampling is a super good idea.

So, that brings us to my recent Monk's Belt sample. Monk's Belt is a very old weave structure and has been used in a variety of ways, according to time period and types of looms available. 

My sampler used 4 shafts and 6 treadles. The threading is quite simple, as you thread in blocks, which means there is plenty of repetition. My warp is 8/2 cotton, sett at 20 epi. The finished sampler measures 7 x 44". Tabby is used throughout.

Monk's belt designs are usually instantly recognisable, due to the bold, geometric shapes created by series of floats (these are where the block threading comes in). My aim in doing a relatively long sampler was to give myself plenty of time to experiment with treadling, but especially with yarns. I started out with yellow, mercerized cotton. I quickly found that this was not ideal, as it tends to sit quite straight as a float, rather than blooming and blending with itself. I also found that a single weft was not sufficient to make the pattern pop, so for each subsequent yarn type, the weft was doubled, to a much better effect.

The blue in the above photo is bamboo, which I found to be one of the most optimal yarns due to the thickness, sheen, softness and beautiful bloom.

The multicoloured weft above is hand dyed tencel, which gave a lovely effect, but like the mercerized cotton, doesn't quite stack up in the "bloom" department. 

Bamboo again, and you can really tell the difference, it's as though it was made for this! I had been following some standard treadling, but for this one I started branching into my own treadling, writing it down as I went.

I had been using single colours and decided to try 2 colours for the blue/green part above. I love the effect of 2 colours! Technically, I was using 3 colours if you include the purple (warp colour) I used for tabby.

Ah, silk! I combined orange and magenta 60/2 silk and my own treadling pattern for this one. Even though the silk is very fine, as a doubled weft it gave very good coverage. The blend of colours is also very eye catching.

For this one, I went back to my green bamboo for the pattern weft, but instead of using my purple 8/2 cotton for tabby as I had previously, I changed to my 2 strands of silk. This gives the effect of cute, luminous dots among the main pattern.

I have had some gold chenille sitting on my shelf for a while, and thought "aha!" Perfect time to try it, this will look brilliant. Except it doesn't! I had pictured something quite sophisticated looking, but instead got strange. furry caterpillars that look slightly "off" in colour.
Not that I mind, this is the beauty of sampling - now I know that I don't like chenille in a block weave!

The blue at the top is bamboo once again, but this time I swapped out the purple tabby for green bamboo. It gave an interesting effect but the green bamboo was a little too thick and kept my weft floats apart more than I would like. However, the texture is pretty cool and really changes the look of the weave.

The versatility of Monk's Belt is awesome. Because you are set up for plain weave (tabby) as well as the pattern, you can break them up and just use the pattern as a border if you wish. I think plain weave towels with a border such as the one above would be really striking.

More treadling and yarn experiments, there is just so much you can do!

The big test was how the fabric would feel after wet finishing. I suspected that it would be quite stiff and more suited to cushions, bags etc. But, happily, I was wrong. The fabric softened up wonderfully and has a lovely drape. It looks great on the back too. It struck me that a sampler like this, with a bit more length, would make an amazing scarf!

I hope you enjoyed this post. I have made a companion video just for my Weaving School members, where I go over this blog post in more detail. If you are a member already, you will find the video HERE.

If you wish to join up, I would love to have you! Monthly and Yearly memberships are available and include hundreds of hours of classes, access to a private Member's group on Facebook, giveaways, live videos and a wonderful community of weavers.

And, just before I finish up, I have a couple of book recommendations for you. These are affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you click through and purchase, but I do actually own and love these books.

Anne has a couple of pages on Monk's Belt, different threadings and treadling options, as well as excellent photos to show you how the weave looks.

Marguerite has quite a few pages on Monk's belt with a lot of different drafts. The drafts in this book can be a little more difficult to read if you are not accustomed to reading older drafts.

Lacking inspiration? Do this!

We all have those days, usually when we're overworked and overtired, when we want to do something but don't know where to start. We don't feel inspired and we wish an idea would just magically come.

Let me tell you my failsafe method for getting rid of the "no inspo blues"! 

My kids actually taught me this one. Every time I want them to do a big clean up of their bedroom or play area, they start to get busy but within a short amount of time I hear. "Mum, look what I found!"  "I actually forgot I had this!" And eventually, it becomes a battle to keep them focused on the task of cleaning up because they're excited about rediscovering old games, toys and books.
Once the clean up is finally done (this whole process can be similar to having teeth pulled) they are much happier. Not only have they found things that they're excited about, they now have a clean, uncluttered space to use those things in.

See where I'm going with this?

When I feel tired and uninspired I often find myself wandering into my studio, looking around, sighing, maybe working on a couple of unfinished things half heartedly.
But, once I get out the duster, pull everything off the shelves, clean and rearrange, then the change within my head starts to happen.
I'm reminded of all the beautiful yarns and threads just sitting there waiting to be used. I put these yarns into order so that they are better displayed and I can easily find what I want. I start to get ideas for new projects. I restack my reference books. Hey, I haven't looked at that one for a while, let me just have a flick. Ooo, I love those colours, I wonder how I could incorporate that into my weaving! And once I've done the shelf, I notice how messy my big storage container has become, so I tackle that next. Oh, and what about the table? How can anyone get any work done on a table that is covered with stuff and getting dusty? 

It's not too long before my messy place is clear and clean. In turn, my mind now feels clear and clean. I have mental plans for my next steps forward and I know it's going to be all the more enjoyable because everything is in it's proper place.

So, next time you're lacking inspiration, get into your creative space and get organised! Then, get making!

Krokbragd Weave Along coming soon!

Have you heard the news? I am currently working on an exciting weave along! The project is Krokbragd Mug Rugs for rigid heddle loom and I feel like a pig in mud (if you know me at all, you will know how I love krokbragd!)

Because I like to accommodate for weavers of all levels, the weave along will include two methods for weaving the mug rugs. One class will be for those who want to use one heddle, a heddle rod and a pick up stick. Class two will be for those who want to use two heddles. The finished mug rugs will be just the same, but the different methods will give you choices about how to weave them.

The mug rugs are minimal on the yarn, you only need small amounts and limited colours. Because of the interesting designs, you get something pretty awesome looking for a small investment. If you are interested in reading more about Krokbragd, I have written another blog post on this beautiful weave structure. 

This weave along will be for members only. To become a monthly member, visit this link, or to become a yearly member, go here.

Once you are a member, you have access to the Member's Community group on Facebook. 

The best way to stay updated is to join my email list.

A full materials list will be available prior to the commencement of the weave along to give everyone the best chance of starting together.

I'm hoping to commence the weave along early to mid August.

I really hope you can join me for this one, it's going to be so much fun!

Kelly's hand woven, perfectly hemmed technique.

I won't tell you how long these towels have been sitting on my creative table waiting to be hemmed. What is it with final techniques and me? I go to all that trouble to weave something beautiful and then let it sit there for who knows how long before I get around to hemming!  Anyway, lets focus on the positives. The towels ARE hemmed now, and I'm going to share my simple but effective hemming techniques with you!

Firstly, always weave a little extra where you intend to hem, and don't forget to factor in hemming allowances to your overall calculations. I like to make a little contrast weave at the beginning and end of a piece that I'm going to hem. Here I've woven plain weave borders at either end. There are 2 advantage to this - 
1. The contrast looks nice.
2. The border is less bulky and therefore makes a more crisp and pleasing hem.
You can see that my raw edge is secured on a serger to prevent any unravelling during the wet finishing process. It is helpful to give the whole woven piece a good press before beginning, it's always easier to work with pressed fabric.

This is what I call my "dog ear" technique.  Fold in a corner on each side of the hem and press down with an iron. There are 2 reasons for this also - 
1. The corners can get ugly and a bit ragged in the washing process - I want to hide them!
2. Towels have a tendency to be wider at each end. This reduces a little of that "flaired out" look.

Once my dog ears are pressed down neatly, I take the raw edge and fold it over, usually around 1/4" but more if it's particularly raggy. Press with the iron.

Now I fold again, this time 1/2" or more and press. Now all raw edges and corners should be completely encased and hidden. Once pressed, you can also place pins along to hold everything in place if you wish.

Take it to the sewing machine (different towel in this photo but the same process). Sew with a straight, medium stitch close to the folded edge (roughly 1/4 - 1/8"). You can use a different stitch if you want to, I just like the professional looking finish a medium straight stitch gives. Don't forget to reverse stitch at the start and finish.
For an almost invisible finish, you can hand hem with a needle and thread, perhaps I will go over that another time.

Seeing as we're on the subject of towels, if you're on the hunt for your next towel project, you may want to try one of my classes or patterns.

Online class:

PDF Patterns:

Drop me a comment to let me know if this post has been helpful to you, I love feedback!

Until next time...

Happy Weaving!

I have a rigid heddle loom, why would I consider buying a floor loom?

I was asked this question in one of my Facebook groups. I started to type a response, then decided it would be better answered in a blog post as it's not a simple question!

It is true that the Rigid Heddle Loom is capable of a lot (even an 8 shaft pattern if you really want to) but there are many reasons why I love to have both a RHL and a floor loom. 

I wrote a series recently that compared different types of looms that you may wish to review:

The Rigid Heddle Loom

The Table Loom

The Floor Loom

Now, I said the rigid heddle loom is capable of weaving 8 shafts, but does that mean that I would actually want to? To achieve that would mean multiple heddles, multiple pick up sticks and a pretty painstaking process that would have me leaping on to my floor loom in no time. Because the floor loom is made for this, it's set up for more complex weaves, that is it's job. So, while the RHL can be utilised for more complex weaves, that doesn't mean that it's the ideal choice.

Next, the RHL has yarn size limitations. The smallest dent heddle currently available is a 15 dent by Ashford. Yes, you can still double threads or use extra heddles to increase the available sett, but that is another difference to a floor loom and a consideration if you like to weave with fine threads.

Finally, the floor loom is a full body experience. That sounds a bit weird and new age doesn't it?! But what I mean is that you are using your head (eyes to read the pattern as you weave, if you need to), your hands to throw and catch the shuttle (your body naturally sways slightly from side to side as you get into the rhythm) and your legs (as your feet move or "walk" the treadles to operate the shafts). It's actually a bit of a workout!

Because of this "full body" approach on a floor loom, you are able to operate many actions at once. And that is the real beauty of floor loom weaving, the harmony of actions that allow you to work fast to achieve sometimes quite amazing results.

Don't forget that there are pros and cons to all types of weaving and I try not to promote one over the other because I believe each weaver needs to find the right fit for their particular needs. If it seems that I am promoting the floor loom in this article, it is only within context of answering a question.

To recap, why would I buy a floor loom? 
1. Intricacy of pattern
2. Finer threads
3. Speed and efficiency

I hope this article helps you, thank you for reading!

Baby Blanket Project

I finished my baby blanket just in the nick of time, the day after my gorgeous new nephew was born. I already knew the baby was a boy and chose the colours accordingly. 

I told Nicky from Thread Collective what I wanted to weave and she recommended Venne Organic 8/2 cotton. I'm so glad I went with it, it may be a little more expensive, but for good reason! It is soft but I didn't have a single broken warp thread, it was strong and just lovely to weave with. 

I warped with the royal blue. I'm not sure why, but I started discovering errors from this point on. Too many distractions perhaps?

Error 1: I missed a part of the threading sequence in one spot. 

The fix: I had missed threading 3 heddles, so I made the missing heddles out of tapestry cotton and inserted them in place. Then, I measured out the missing warp threads, threaded through my string heddles, and weighted them over the back of the loom. Not ideal, but it worked!

The weighted threads.

Error 2: I re-sleyed the reed 3 times (yes, 3!!) because I kept missing a slot or doubling up. This was really frustrating as I just wanted to get weaving at this point. Even after the 3 re-sleys, I still ended up with one slot doubled up with threads. So, the blanket has a fault running through vertically. Rather than go back and re-sley again, I decided to just live with it!

 My idea for weaving was to experiment with the weft, initially I thought I would do one shot of turquoise and one of green. I didn't like the way that looked though. I experimented further (this is why it's always great to warp a little extra for sampling) and decided on 3.5 inch stripes of blue, alternating with 1 inch stripes of green. It has a nice balance.

Here you can really see the hearts, aren't they cute?! This is one side.

And this is the other side. Originally I had planned to back the blanket with flannelette once it was off the loom, but in the end I couldn't decide which side of blanket I liked better, so no backing. It will be a light blanket instead :) 
You can find a copy of this draft here. It is also pinned to my Weaving board on Pinterest. 

The weaving draft is very easy to follow, both the threading and treadling follow repetitive, simple to memorise sequences.

The dimensions of the finished blanket are:
Width - 27.5"
Length- 44"

The approximate cost of the project:
I used almost a whole 250 gram cone for warp. For the weft, I alternated between the turquoise and green cones, using less of the green. I estimated the total cost at around $55AUD, which covers the threads, postage cost on the threads, sewing supplies and label.

What I learned:
*I don't work well with deadlines. On one hand, needing to be finished by a certain date is a good motivating factor but on the other hand, rushing causes stress and mistakes. 
*I learned that I definitely want to work with Venne organic cotton again.
*I would also like to use this draft again and I think it could be adapted to all sorts of projects. 
*I already knew this, but this project reminded me that weaving with quality threads is expensive!
*Perhaps most importantly, I learned that, once again most mistakes or errors in weaving are totally fixable if you can just find or think of a work around.

If you are interested in floor loom weaving or are a newbie floor or table loom weaver, be sure to check out my Introduction to Floor Loom Weaving course to get you up and weaving!

This pattern draft is not from a book, but if you love to weave baby blanket's, I recommend 

There is a huge selection of blankets, from 2 to 8 shafts and many different yarns and colours. It's a lovely and inspiring book. Please note, this is an affiliate link, meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through this link, but I do actually own and love this book.

Where it all started (long post!)

My 3 year Youtube channel anniversary came and went without my noticing back in August. I was looking through my list of 159 (!!) videos to...