Where do I begin…

Dearest Readers, there is so much to cover, so many neglected students and classes I haven’t posted, but know that when I’m on the road, I’m devoted to the class of the moment, and when there is a tight turn around, as has been this past six weeks or so, there isn’t much time to leisurely put up a post and celebrate the hard work of all my students.  

That said, I’ll start with the most recent and work backwards.  I just returned from Sievers, probably my favorite place to teach, what isn’t to love about an island in Lake Michigan in September?  I love the people, I love the staff and students, and I adore midwesterners says a Jersey girl who lives in a very different world.

I taught two classes at Sievers, technically three, because the garment construction class was five day with an optional two extra days, and all but one student stayed on for the full marathon.  I swear, if I taught for a whole month they would still be sewing up to the last minute wishing there was more time.  The second class I taught, which is what I’m going to start with tonight, was the inkle class.  It was a three day advanced class, and it was expected that you knew something about the inkle loom, though I had to laugh when I assigned the first warp and all the students looked like deer in the headlights, not completely sure where to begin.  We did a quick tutorial on setting up the loom and they were off and running.  

First up was a complementary warp, 1:1, light alternating with dark.  There are lots of cool things to do with just this one warp, they set up 16 pairs of threads, dropping one pair when the design called for an odd number.

They began with name drafts, a challenging skill that requires a lot of concentration, a couple of the students were repeaters from last year, but soon the whole class was writing their names.

NameDraft2 NameDraft1

We followed that with South American pebble weave featured in Ann Dixon’s Pattern book, the results were beautiful.  All the students owned the book, so they got really excited by the design possibilities.  

Pebble3 Pebble2 Pebble1

Next up was another technique in the Dixon book, which she calls freeform or runic.  I love this because you sort of make up the design as you go along…  The wider the band, the more effective the technique, but they did just fine with the 16 pairs.

Runic1 Runic2

It was during the next lecture, setting up the loom for Paired Pebbles, different than the technique above, that I experienced the power of fiber to recenter us when the world falls apart and there is nothing we can do about it.

Towards the end of the lecture, one of the students, Ginnie, who has become one of my dearest friends, who has taken classes with me for more than 10 years, mostly in garment construction, suddenly cried out, “Oh My God!” I stared at her, and realized that she was holding her phone, and God forgive me but I’ve become so immune to the horrors of the world I live in, between terrorism, despots, natural disasters, and out of control news media outlets, I just shrugged and said, “What now?”

Ginnie told us that someone had just sent her a link to the news, there had been an earthquake of 7.1 magnitude in Mexico City.  She then explained in complete terror and horror that her daughter had just gone there for a vacation following grad school graduation before starting her new job in Massachusetts next week.  We all gathered around the phone and I realized pretty quickly that this was not a good thing, that her daughter might not be alright, and I had a class to control and suddenly I felt an overwhelming responsibility to protect my class and my friend Ginnie as best I could, because more than likely she wouldn’t hear anything from anyone for hours, days, maybe weeks.  The images coming in were brutal.

I got the class moving on the set up for the Paired Pebble, and then sat with Ginnie.  She was in no frame of mind to focus on anything but the safety of her daughter, and here Ginnie was on an island in Lake Michigan, with ferry access only, and there was nothing she could do.  Nothing.  She texted her daughter Amelia, but obviously there was no response.  I asked her to go back to the first technique, the name draft.  She couldn’t think at first, or focus, so I talked her through the first steps to spell out her daughter’s name.  It gave her focus, purpose and reeled in her concentration, and kept her away from the news.  She labored through Amelia’s name and seemed to gain some control, and when she finished she looked at the previous technique, still visible and said, “That looks like an earthquake”.  I responded and said, yes, and Amelia was on top of it.  She smiled.  I then asked her to take a picture of the band and send it to Amelia.  


Ask me how I know about the power of fiber to distract the soul.  I have lived through a number of numbing experiences, and getting lost in something that consumes your brain, and keeps your spirit from diving into the darkest of recesses is how I survived with my sanity in check.  I sent Ginnie across the street to the gallery/store, without her phone, we would keep vigil, and gave her a breather.

Ginnie came back a little more in control and empowered, hopeful and stronger.  Shortly after we heard a scream of joy as Amelia got a text through to her mother that she was OK.  She had been in the Frida Kahlo museum, having just experienced the earthquake drill, something the residents of Mexico City do to commemorate the quake in 1985 that killed 10,000 people.  She thought the Mexicans had pretty clever ways of getting the residents to really feel the power of an earthquake until she realized this was no simulation.

We hugged and cried and the class celebrated the news, and then Ginnie started setting up for the Paired Pebbles, and I gave thanks to whoever was listening for sparing Ginnie’s daughter and protecting my class.  We “Kept calm and carried yarn…”

Here are some of the Paired Pebble samples, they are just lovely.  Lavern Waddington, who teaches this technique on backstrap looms, has a number of pattern books for Paired Pebbles, and in fact, one was just released while we were studying the technique. Click here if you are interested.  

PairedPebbles2 PairedPebbles1

The last full day, we rewarped our looms with turned Krokbragd, also in Ann Dixon’s book but her directions for setting up this technique are a bit vague.  I love this technique, because once the set up is accomplished this three shaft technique weaves easily, no picking anything up.

Krokbragd4 Krokbragd2

What surprised me was the curiosity of the students when they experimented with what would happen if you didn’t do an A, Heddled, B, Heddled, A, etc rotation but repeated the A or B shed rows.  Like A, H, B, H, B, H, A, H, A, H, etc.  They had a blast seeing what they could some up with, running back and forth from each other’s looms squealing in delight.  I even took my own loom to play.  The only drawback is the longer floats on the back, but that shouldn’t be an issue if the band will be stitched down on something.

Krokbragd1 Krokbragd3

Late that afternoon, one of the students who had not done basic supplemental warp or weft or Baltic pick up before, one pattern to two ground threads, rewarped her loom again to try those techniques.  She was all smiles at the possibilities.

Supplementary2 Supplementary

Like all my classes at Sievers, I loved this one, but I will remember this one for a long time, because fiber can heal, and distract, and soothe the soul, and this was a challenging three days, both in technique and in distractions, but the class stuck with it, cheering each other on, and we got a wonderful photo at the end, each holding their loom like a musical instrument.  It was fitting.


I will be giving a Turned Krokbragd on the inkle loom lecture in Reno at Convergence next July, and teaching a five day inkle weaving class at John C Campbell next September. 

Note: is seems that in the latest update of WordPress, I am no longer able to put smaller thumbnails in the body of the blog, only full size images.  I apologize for this, it makes one heck of a long blog…

Stay tuned…

Comments (11)

Mary EhrlichSeptember 26th, 2017 at 9:04 am

I do not care how long the blog is, I enjoy each photo and every thing you say.

Cheryl ReedSeptember 26th, 2017 at 9:57 am

Really like the larger photos. I have a friend who has been overwhelmed by a year’s worth of tragedy. Like you say, it’s sitting at her loom and producing lovely things that calms and centers her.

Nancy WeberSeptember 26th, 2017 at 10:18 am

The larger photos are just fine with me — relax and take a breath! Glad you had such a good time with the group at Sievers; it’s almost like your own little mini-conference for you!

elizaduckieSeptember 26th, 2017 at 10:39 am

I have anxiety and have recovered from a few years bout of depression. During the really trying times I revert to what I can most easily do. When warping my simple rigid heddle, or the minimal effort required to set up my spinning wheel is beyond me I pick up my needles and plain knit a scarf using a yarn with colors that soothe, and that under normal conditions would delight me. If I can manage to make a decision on a bead color I throw them in randomly. The sparkle helps. Bits of light shining through the dark. My boat is rocking in some turbulent seas right now, and I’m taking a “swing knitting” class, using a pattern based on “stanzas” and “pauses”. There is something wonderfully symbolic to me in that. And yes, it’s emotionally helpful to have an instructor who is calm and centered, guiding us through. I’m sure you (and the class) were a blessing for your students at that crucial moment!

Carmella CrandellSeptember 26th, 2017 at 10:50 am

You..are… Amazing! Love you Daryl! Sometime I will take another class from you and get a chance to tell you about my traumatic year of 2017. When it is over!

Janice ZindelSeptember 26th, 2017 at 11:08 am

I love long, interesting blog posts, with full-size photos, and this post was great! Always look forward to reading your adventures, whether at home or your classes/travels.

MarciaSeptember 27th, 2017 at 1:55 am

Fascinating – and inspirational, as I find all of your posts. I have an inkle loom which has been sitting unused for too many years, and these lovely photos remind me I need to dust it off and give it another try! Thank you!

Joan AhernSeptember 27th, 2017 at 11:42 am

2017 seems to be an “interesting” year for so many. Thank goodness for something to ground us all.
Love the news of your 2 upcoming classes. Definitely something to think about. Hope to see you soon

Nann MillerSeptember 29th, 2017 at 6:23 am

I too like the larger images, and I appreciate hearing your news. We all seem to be experiencing some form of distress, and it helps to have a community–even onlline, with people we don’t know face to face–to share it with. We all need that shared experience to persevere. Thank you.

MelissaSeptember 30th, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Always love your posts, Daryl, and always worth the wait! 🙂 Image size: I clicked on the smaller images to enlarge them anyway (love seeing the weave up close). Larger photos are ok with me! Beautiful work, ladies!!!

Although I don’t know you, Ginnie, it is a relief to know your Amelia is safe and sound. There’s is nothing more terrifying than knowing your child might be in harm’s way, with little to no means of communication! I’ve been in your shoes! Blessings. ~Melissa

Carolyn FossOctober 3rd, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Daryl, thank you for being part of the Sievers family! We so appreciate the energy, talent and positive message you bring to each class. Take good care and see you again!

Leave a comment

Your comment

Read previous post:
Yes I’m still alive…

Dearest readers, I'm sure you've been wondering... Or maybe you live in one of the places in the United States...