The wonderful Kay Harris came into our life a couple years back, purchasing large amounts of our 2-Ply Tapestry Yarn to weave afghans on a Weave-It Loom . Though I have been weaving since I was a kid, I had never seen the possibilities of a loom like this. A simple peg loom used to create beautiful throws? This opened the door in my mind to the immense possibility of simplicity.
Kay weaves small squares on this peg loom, stitches them together to create a blanket and cross stitches beautiful designs on them, following instructions from a patten book she acquired in her youth. Our 2-Ply Tapestry Yarn works perfect for these afghans, allowing for a subtle change with each band of color.
Kay’s pattern book
Shortly after I met Kay and fell in love with the peg loom, Schacht Spindle Co. came out with the Zoom-Loom …a modern and very sturdy version of the Weave-It Loom. These looms are great for travel, making it easy for weavers to weave in any place they are. They are perfect for knitters, trying to use up scraps left over from large projects. And, of course, they are great for children. These simple looms are a great way to fall in love with weaving.
I would like to thank Kay for introducing me to the possibilities of the peg loom! Meet the wonderful Kay Harris…
Kay’s first afghan
I grew up in Denver and have lived in Taos for fourteen years. After I graduated from college I joined the “Friendly Skies of United Airlines” as a flight attendant. It was at that time I discovered the 4″ Weave-It Loom and made a couple of afghans. And then, when I had a family, I did needlepoint for 40+ years.
Two years ago (now I am in my 80s) I found the loom and rushed to Weaving Southwest.
I am working on my third afghan and have yarn for three more! I guess you might call me an optimist!!
One of Kay’s afghans hanging at our Town Hall exibit. Photo taken at Weaving Southwest @ Town Hall.
PS What do you think of Kay’s afghans? Have you wove on a peg loom before? We would love to hear from you! Leave a comment to share your thought…
And then there’s Jack, one of the youngest student’s I’ve taught. He came to Taos a while back to visit his aunt, a local fiber icon and all around wonderful woman. Over the last few months, he has fallen in love with the wonderful world of fiber in Northern New Mexico. He took his first class with us a couple months ago. Within his first few inches of weaving, I could tell he was a natural! A couple classes later, Jack had every technical aspect of Southwestern-style tapestry down. Just before we hung the show at Town Hall, Jack spent a couple days dyeing several beautiful shades of yarn and hopped on one of our looms to weave a larger piece. It was his first large rug and, in my opinion, it came out very well! However, Jack is a perfectionist and was not happy with his edges, so he didn’t enter the piece in the show. I believe, with a little more experience weaving large pieces, Jack has the potential to become an incredible weaver! So here you go, meet Jack Moody….
Jack Moody, 23, is a young man from the Sandhills of Nebraska. He came to Taos to learn about the Fiber Arts. Not only has he started to learn about weaving, he has also delved into dyeing, spinning, knitting, and crocheting. The three pieces of his that are featured are from classes he took at Weaving Southwest in Arroyo Seco, with Teresa Loveless. Tapestry has been the focus of his weaving, but he also plans to try backstrap and tablet weaving, and rugs are sure to follow.
Jack’s first weaving, from our class Neptune, A Study in Building. Photo taken at Weaving Southwest @ Town Hall.
Jack’s second weaving, from our class Habitat, A Study in Vertical Joints. Photo taken at Weaving Southwest @ Town Hall.
Jack’s third weaving, an experimentation in design, from our class Interweave, A Study in Design. Photo taken at Weaving Southwest @ Town Hall.
Teresa and all of us here at Weaving Southwest
PS So, what do you think? Does Jack have what it takes to become a professional weaver? I think so! Leave a comment to help encourage him to weave another large piece. I am sure he will either way, but a little love always helps!
Not long ago, Michal Anne Pepper came into our lives. From the first day we met, she showed a true enthusiasm for weaving. In less than a year from when she bought her first loom, she came by our shop in Arroyo Seco with her first large weaving (all woven with our yarns, of course).
Michal Ann’s first large weaving
She chose another run of colors that day. A few phone conversations later, she had dove into weaving her first tapestry… this was the start of her Cabezon Series.
I would like to introduce you to the wonderful Michal Ann Pepper….
Michal Anne Pepper
Michal Ann Pepper
In January, 2011, my partner and I were visiting Taos from Santa Fe and were walking to dinner. We passed the erstwhile Taos Weaving Southwest. I was captured by the colors and demanded that we go in and explore. I was enchanted. I was stunned by the wealth of colors, the gorgeous rugs and the designs. I had never seen Modern fiber art pieces before. Teresa Loveless was there and let me finger every rug and poke at all the different color yarns. She showed me her wonderful looms. Finally I asked “Do you think I could learn to weave?”. Teresa sold me a small Schacht school loom and a book on tapestry weaving and told me to go buy some cheap yarn and practice.
The first of the Cabezon Series Photo taken at Weaving Southwest @ Town Hall.
My partner didn’t say anything, but later during dinner she asked me whatever had gotten into me to buy a loom. I have never done crafts nor shown any inclination towards knitting or crocheting or any other crafty-type thing. A few months later, my brother (who is a real artist), hesitantly asked me the same question. The two people who know me best, my brother and my partner of 32 years, were flabbergasted that I would start weaving at this stage in my life!
Cabezon Two on the loom
Later I bought a Mighty Wolf Schacht floor loom at a garage sale. I was excited that I would finally get to weave something with the wonderfully rich rug yarns from Weaving Southwest. Teresa talked me through the ordeal of warping my first loom and helped me pick out some colors. I bought Rachel Brown’s out of print book* on Amazon and it has become my bible. It sits on the coffee table in our great room.
The second of the Cabezon Series. Photo taken in Michal Anne’s home
I am intrigued by the old Taos Modernists. I look at their paintings and wonder what the Taos Modernists might look like in fiber. After several small floor rugs, I started a series of wall hangings with Cabezon. I am almost finished with the third rug of the Cabezon series. Meanwhile I have moved to Phoenix for a new job, and have become fascinated with the Grand Canyon. My next series will use those colors and shapes. I think it will be less representational than the Cabezon series.
The sketch for Cabezon Three
I told my brother that the reason I am fascinated by weaving is the colors–it gives me the opportunity to touch and fondle pure color. I love the colors Teresa makes at Weaving Southwest from her grandmother’s dye recipes. I don’t get to weave as much as I would like, but I am enchanted by my effort to translate a landscape into a Modern fiber art piece. The other aspect of weaving that I love is the community. I have met all kinds of weavers, and enjoy being part of a group of people who are as passionate about color and texture as I am. No, I am not the “crafty” type, and I am not the artist in the family. But I love weaving, talking about weaving, studying the work of great weavers, rubbing richly colored yarns and being part of a community who likes to do all the same things.
*We are working on getting Rachel Brown’s The Weaving Spinning and Dyeing Book printed again.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know one of the wonderful people that works with our yarns. It just goes to show how a little inspiration, enthusiasm and a good book can change your life.
Teresa and all of us here at Weaving Southwest
PS Are you a self-taught weaver? (My Grandma Rachel Brown was, too.) Do you love Michal Anne’s work? Do you enjoy using our yarns? We would love to hear what you think! Leave a comment to let us know…
Welcome to our second installment of Your Work, Our Yarns! A few weeks back a young woman named Heather came into the shop looking for some yarns for her mother-in-law, Sandy. Specifically, she needed the same yarns that Sandy had picked up a few weeks prior, to complete a project. Heather did not know the names of the yarns, so she decided to show me an image she had, on her phone, of Sandy’s work. I took her phone in my hand and adjusted my glasses and… “WOW! This is beautiful!”, slipped out of my mouth. On the screen was a gorgeous circular weaving… like something I had never seen before! I said to Heather, “This is a perfect example of why I am so curious of where our yarns go after they leave our shop! I would never have expected this!”.
Immediately, I thought Sandy’s work would be great for Your Work, Our Yarns… so, Heather put us in touch with each other. As it turned out (and I could already tell this from the photo), not all the yarns used were ours. In fact, only about 20% or less of each piece was made up of our yarns. So, I decided that maybe this wouldn’t be the best fit for the blog.
Then, a few days ago, Sandy followed up with an email about how she came to visit our shop in the first place (story below)…. and I decided to take another look at her website… and WOW! There they were, over 20 incredible circular weavings! I was sold. What an honor to have our yarns included in such unique and beautiful artwork. So, here it is… the second installment of Your Work, Our Yarns: Circular Weavings by Sandy Bot-Miller. Enjoy! And make sure to read to the end to see Sandy’s great review of our Churro yarns and our shop.
My weavings most often reflect abstract or abstract expressionistic attempts at capturing the energy from specific geographical landscapes, while others are semi-realistic narratives that arise from my inner landscapes. I love weaving within the shape of a circle, as I resonate with Rainer Maria Rilke’s statement, “There is nothing so wise as a circle,” and feel very connected to several ancient spiritual traditions when weaving in the round. I use a three inch metal tapestry needle and now a beautiful six inch wood tapestry needle purchased from Weaving Southwest (!) to weave within a circular gold metal frame. My weavings usually utilize an enormous variety of wool, wool blends, cotton, silk and linen fibers.
How I came to get Weaving Southwest Yarns
I visited Weaving Southwest in June of 2013 while traveling from Minnesota to Taos to celebrate my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding. While the rest of my family were enjoying ice cream cones next door one warm afternoon, I spent about two hours drooling over the gorgeous array of hand-dyed color-tone variations gracing the shop’s walls. I entered the shop determined to “just look,” because I have such a large stash of yarn back home. I succeeded, but was not able to let go of thinking about several of the subtle earth-toned skeins. Three days after the wedding we were in Albuquerque and about to head back to Minnesota with no plan of returning to Taos, as it would have been out of our way. My obsession fantasizing about the beauty of the yarn won over, however, and thus we made our way back to Weaving Southwest just before closing time, and I returned to Minnesota with a lovely new wooden tapestry needle and six beautiful skeins of yarn. I was thrilled to incorporate these wool fibers into new two weavings I created over the summer months. I must add that after returning home, I still regretted not buying one more particular skein and was brave enough to ask my new daughter-in-law to visit Weaving Southwest the next time she visited her parents in Taos. She did, and although this particular yarn was no longer available, I received a surprise gift in the mail–three new skeins of colors she thought I would enjoy working with—what a delightful daughter-in-law!
Taking a Peace of New Mexico Home with Me by Sandy Bot-Mller, Weaving 27” in diameter
TECHNIQUES: Tapestry weaving, a predominantly plain weave with dovetailing and interlocking.
In addition to offering quality yarns, my time spent mulling over color choices was a very meditative experience. The atmosphere in the shop is very hospitable and while help was given when I wanted it, I was allowed and even encouraged to walk outside with yarn to see them in outdoor as well as indoor light, so I could best make my color choices.
Make sure to check out the rest of Sandy’s weavings and other artwork at:
We hope you enjoyed this post!
We would love to hear from you! What do you think of Sandy’s work? Have you used your Rio Grande Medium Weight Churro before and have a review you would like to share? What’s on your loom? Leave a message in the comment section to let us know what you think!
We put a lot of love and hard work into creating our Rio Grande Yarns. Over the last 50 years my grandma, Rachel Brown, developed several hundred beautiful color combinations/recipes, allowing for us to dye a beautiful array of colors. When our yarns leave our shop, we are always so curious where they go an what they are used for. Leading to our latest series of blog posts: Your Work, Our Yarns!
We are excited to bring you the work of Ann Roantree! Below is her bio and several photos of her work. Each photo is followed by a description, given by Ann, providing a complete rundown of her process and techniques. We believe this will inspire any weaver or collector that has a true interest in what goes on behind the scenes of the creation of beautiful textiles. Make sure to read to the end to see her wonderful review of our Rio Grande Rug Yarns! Enjoy!
Ann Roantree is a Philadelphia-based designer-weaver who specializes in the design and weaving of one of a kind and limited edition contemporary handwoven rugs, runners, wall hangings and interior textiles. Ann has a modern eye and draws design inspiration from a wide spectrum — ancient and contemporary — that includes the Bauhaus, Abstract Art, music composition, Modern Art and Architecture, and the anonymous weavers of the American Southwest, Silk Road and Cusco.
“LM1″ handwoven by Ann Roantree; 3′-4” x 10′; Side A (reversible)
NOTES: The finished woven piece was mounted on a 50” square frame stretched with coarse Belgian Linen. Frame construction + linen stretching by Roantree. Off loom 2” wide Velcro strips were hand sewn onto the back of the weaving and the linen.
“Ocher Accent” handwoven by Ann Roantree, 4’ x 6’; Fully reversible
“Weaving rugs is particularly exciting as it gives me design freedom to explore at many scales deconstructed color blocks and bold graphics. I have been weaving with Rio Grande Rug Wool for several years. The Weaving Southwest Rio Grande Rug Wool is a perfect match for me. I love working with the wool for many reasons:
The wool is consistently spun, very predictable in how it measures, lays in and beats.
The wool is soft, easy to work with yet it creates a very durable end product.
The natural whites + grays and the dyed color palette are fantastic. The selection covers the color spectrum and works for my pieces which can range from subtle to quite bold.
With block weave, colors both abut and travel under one another. The surface color is always influenced by a color beneath. The Rio Grande rug wools blend beautifully together in block weave. I can darken, lighten or influence the tone of the color by what I place behind.
For block weave rug design at 6 EPI, I estimate 6 – 7 ounces of rug wool per square foot when ordering wool. When I work at 4 EPI, I estimate 8 ounces per square foot when ordering wool.
My only regret is I don’t live closer to Weaving Southwest. Teresa and Joe are great to work with. I go back to Weaving Southwest not only for the product but for the personal service as well.”
We would love to hear from you! What do you think of Ann’s work? Have you used your Rio Grande Rug Wool before and have a review you would like to share? What’s on your loom? Leave a message in the comment section to let us know what you think!