Weaving: News, tips and hints by Pat Monié
Moving the Weaving Studio
2017 is shaping up to be a big year. I am moving my weaving studio from Redding, California to Grants Pass, Oregon.
It will be accomplished slowly over the entire year. Most of my looms are actually in a storage unit at the moment (February) waiting for me to find an appropriate place for them to live. I sold several looms, and then couldn't resist buying a couple AVL mechanical dobby looms, so I am back where I started in the area of 'space needed.'
So at this time I am unable to accommodate wearing students, but look forward to having a better studio when I am finally settled-in.
Thank you for understanding, and thanks to all who have come to share a day of weaving with me.
Mini Creel Rack for a Continuous Warp System From an Old Crib
Summer is winding down - It's already the 26th of August 2015
I have had my regular continuous warp system for about three years, now, and it has saved me untold hours of drudgery. I love, love, love weaving rugs on that loom.
Recently I decided to weave a large number of place mats (Christmas is coming, and there are many people to weave for). I didn't need another big creel rack, but I definitely wanted to avoid messing around with my workshop loom. I haven't gotten around to putting a sectional beam on it, and I'm not sure I want to.
I wrapped the warp beam with the same 280 grit emory cloth that I bought for my original continuous warp system. I used the spray-on rubber cement again, and it went very quickly, and neatly.
I picked up a free crib at a yard sale, and found it to be a wonderful hardwood. After drilling 106 holes into it, I pounded eight inch long dowels through each hole. I used quarter inch dowels from an old kite collection - kites had pretty much bit-the-dust, but the dowels were fine. That gave me 212 spindles on which to place the spools. So that the spools wouldn't 'walk' off the spindles as they unwound (since the spindles were horizontal) I placed a large thumbtack into the end of each dowel - which slightly tipped the outside end of the spools up, thus keeping them on their dowel.
So far, so good. The issue I am having after getting it all set up with a trial warp (only 50 yards) is that since I needed 280 threads I tried winding two threads onto each spool.
Furthermore, I had to randomly cross each set of ten threads for a random color run, and although a little crossing shouldn't normally be a problem, I am getting too many tangles here, and have to fiddle with the warp threads every time I advance my warp. Next time I will cut my cardboard tubes in half, so that I can make adjustments if necessary.
All in all it is working out very well. I like the portability of the rack, and the small area I can fit both the loom and creel rack into.
I would welcome hearing from anyone who has done, or thought about doing, something similar to this.
Weave on, Pat
Necktie Hand Woven Chair Seat
It's the 2nd of July and time to be sitting out on the porch. But those old plastic seats and backs on the patio chairs have disintegrated. Sitting on them would be asking for trouble.
Enter old silk, wool, and polyester ties! In just one afternoon I managed to finish the first chair. It looks great; and is incredibly strong. I'm positive it will outlast the plastic by many a year.
There are many ways to weave a seat like this, and many sites on the web that give detailed instructions, so I won't try to do that here, but I just want to encourage anyone whose tempted to give it a try. Go ahead and do it. I didn't follow anyone's directions - just hand sewed the first necktie to the corner of the chair, and after sewing all the ties end to end I simply started going over - under; over - under; over - under...
I did not cut any of the ties, nor did I alter them in any way. Simply grabbed them, sewed them end to end, and started weaving the chair seat. For the back of the chair I folded each tie in half and attached it to the top back of the chair with a lark's head knot. I then took the two tails and brought them around the bottom rung, back up to the top rung (bringing one tail over the top rung), and tying them with a square knot at the back of the chair. I did not trim any of the tails. This could have been done in a number of ways, and I will probably experiment with a different technique on the next chair. The only rule with this kind of thing is that there are no rules. Just have fun with it.
I will admit that I strained some muscle in my hand pulling really hard on the ties. They need to be extremely taut. I'm sure it will feel fine by morning, and I will be able to do the other chair tomorrow. It really was fun.
Have a fun filled, safe summer!
A Link to Enjoy. Vegetable Gardens Anyone?
7 June 2015
We had a fun, and informative gardener from Canada spend a night with us. She writes wonderful veggie gardening articles, and answers people's questions about organic gardening. Here is what she had to say after our visit:
Thank you, Catherine!
Potholder Rug Weaving Workshop - What Fun!
18 April 2015 and we had a great class on hand weaving pot holder rugs.
We started with several looms and a huge tote of old t-shirts.
After choosing the correct size t-shirts and cutting them into 3" loopers, the weaving was fast and easy. See my previous article on how to make yourself a potholder loom.
The workshop was held at a fun little shop here in Redding called All I Wanna Do Whatever Shop Art Studio (on Lake Blvd):
The rugs turned out great, and a good time was had by all. We will schedule another potholder rug class in the fall.
Quick & Easy Potholder Rug Loom - old t-shirts = rugs!
Here it is the 4th of March 2015, and I turn 67 tomorrow - ooh, that's a big number.
What does that have to do with potholder rugs? Just that they are great for both the young, and the old. No gender/age/any-kind-of discrimination here. Let's all have a potholder party!
First you need a loom. Which turns out to be fancy talk for a large old wooden picture frame. I see them at thrift stores frequently. If you want it to be absolutely free, then grab some 2x2s (I used 1x2s 'cause that's what I had, but a sturdier frame would have been a little better) from the wood scrap pile (that's where mine came from).
You may make the loom any size you prefer. Mine was determined by the size of the scrap wood I had on hand. Two sticks about 40 inches long, and two sticks about 30 inches long. I happen to have a miter saw, so my corners are mitered (and then glued & screwed together), but that is totally not necessary. You just need to join the corners in a sturdy fashion, and, hopefully, get them fairly square.
In the end you will have 2 inch finish nails all the way around the frame (spaced about 2 cm to an inch apart) - sticking up about an inch. See photo.
I chose to place the nails before I glued the corners, but that, again, is a matter of preference. Obviously, if you picked up a frame somewhere you will be putting the nails in as the last step.
I chose to use a drill press, and pre-drill the starter holes for the nails. By clamping a simple block of wood to the drill table I managed to get all my nails in a straight line - which was important for me since I was using 1x lumber, and had a fairly narrow area for placing the nails into the frame (I pre-drilled so that I wouldn't split the thin wood).
It came out so nicely that I decided to paint it to cover the old, dirty wood. This whole process took me about two hours before the painting. I did let the corners dry overnight before painting the frame.
Now you have your loom, and here is where the t-shirts come in. Take the t-shirts and cut them horizontally into 3 inch wide strips. They should end up as a big loop. Like the little loopers used with little potholder looms, these are big loopers for your large frame. If you made a fairly large loom like mine, you might need size L to XL t-shirts for the long side of the loom, and size M to L for the cross pieces.
I have 38 nails along each of the long sides of my loom, and 28 nails on the short ends. Add those numbers together, and I know I will need 66 t-shirt loops to make one rug. I usually get about 6 or 7 loops from one t-shirt, so I will need 10 to 11 t-shrits for a rug.
At this point you proceed just as you would on a potholder loom - placing loopers all across either the long side of your loom, or all along the short side. You will need only your fingers to weave the remaining loops into your rug, but it is handy to have a large crochet hook for taking it off of the loom when you are finished weaving. You can watch youtube videos to see some actual weaving, and taking-off.
Here's a link to a great page: (you may have to copy & paste the address)
And here are great photos of a potholder rug workshop:
I hope that this article helps to inspire someone to give this fun project a try. I will send additional photos to anyone who contacts me. At this time I can only add two photos to the article.
Weave On! Pat
Weaving With a Two Harness Table Loom, and a 3-Year-Old
14 January 2015
My older grandson turned three just before Christmas this year. Definitely time for him to get to work weaving! And he couldn't get enough of it.
I brought a small two harness table loom for him - securely attached to a base of plywood. He tends to get a little exuberant at times, and securing the loom to a base turned out to be a very good thing. I had the loom pre-warped with a 13 inch wide warp of cotton rug warp (8/4). The weft was an extra heavy yarn - about the weight of rug yarn. This insured that the weaving moved along fairly quickly, and kept him engaged for about 8-10 minutes at a stretch.
I kept the praise going, and he kept the weaving going at a good clip. He was a master at the beating process. Cutting the placemat off of the loom all by himself was the frosting on the cake - he was absolutely thrilled.
His sister, aged five, had graduated to a bigger, heavier loom that I had warped up for a small rug. Her first weaving (at age three) had been a doll blanket (see my article on weaving with very young children). Her loom was also a two harness table loom, and I was able to set the two looms up right next to each other on the same coffee table - I did need help from another adult to enable both children to weave simultaneously. They couldn't get enough weaving in, and enjoyed every minute of it. - Of coarse, I did keep the weaving sessions short usually under ten minutes.
Their weavings were definitely 'Show & Share' items back at preschool. Such a great confidence-builder for a small child.
If you have a young person in your life, please don't hesitate to give weaving a try with them. The rewards will be many for both of you.
A side note - This year the 5-year-old's favorite thing was unwinding the balls of weft rag. She was so excited when it was time to wind rag onto an empty shuttle. She would walk backwards across the room turning the ball of weft - fascinated by the long strip of rag that was appearing before her. She also wanted to unwind the shuttles - often ending up with too long of a tail. Yes, each child needed their own adult!
There is a wonderful African proverb I love, and live by: "Each one, Teach one."
Reviews from Visitors & Customers of Hand Woven Rugs Studio
I try very hard to tailor my lessons to each individual client. I have never had a person come to weave that I did not enjoy. It is always so much fun seeing the weaving experience through another person's eyes. I also very much enjoy the people who just come to take a tour, and talk about the looms and weaving. There is always time for a visitor!
Here's what people had to say after visiting, weaving, or buying a rug from me:
OH, PAT, PAT, PAT!!!
The rugs are ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT!!! I can never thank you enough!! Thank you so very much for your efforts to make the rugs for me!! They are just GREAT!!!
Your card was so beautiful as well and I agree-it does seem like we are old friends!!
28 April 2015 - I truly don't know how to say thank you for all your time, hard work and efforts to create rugs for me! I am so thankful to find a gifted rug maker willing to look for my colors! What a generous sacrifice. Thanks again, Pat!
What wonderful productivity, chat-chat and good fun I had
at your "House of Looms" Thank you so much.
Your gentle teaching, stories and modeling produced two
beautiful rugs out of a bag of scraps. Amazing!
Thanks, it is so much fun working with you!!!
Thank you Pat for taking the time to take pictures for me. They are all beautiful. You are a dear and I am very happy to have bought from you and I look forward to getting the rug. Blessings to you,
I so enjoyed touring all your loom rooms on Saturday.
Pat, What a treat to get a tour of your weaving looms. I especially enjoyed seeing your Rio Grande walking loom. I will be back to give weaving a try!
Pat, You are such a patient teacher! I love my rug. Thank you, thank you!
Sabrina Northern California
Re-weaving an Old Rag Rug
Honestly, you only need to reweave one old rag rug to learn a lot. If you are lucky the strips of rag in the rug will all be sewn together. If they were originally all just 'laid-in' then you would be wise to sew them together as you pull the rug apart. Of coarse this is only important if the original design of the rug is to be preserved.
In most cases, surprisingly, the weft of the rug will be in very good condition. It is the warp threads that wear out and break, making the whole rug look as though it is ready for the trash bin. These old rugs will look good as 'new' when rewoven, and give many more years of service.
The first step in attempting to keep the original design of the rug to be rewoven is to get several (depends on the size of the rug) paper bags that you can number boldly. You will carefully deposit the weft you are taking out of the old rug into the bags - dividing it fairly equally amongst the bags.
Start at one end of the rug (you might want to tie a bright colored scrap around the very end of that first strip), and methodically pull about a fourth of the rug's strips into Number 1 bag. Continue with the next fourth into Number 2 bag, and so on.
Be careful as you wind onto your shuttles that the strips go on in the way that you want them to end up in the rug (I.e. that bright colored bit you tied onto the beginning of the rug will be wound onto the final shuttle first so that it will be the last part woven into the new rug - or, if you are going to start the new rug with that end of the old rug, you will wind onto your first shuttle with that bit hanging off the end of the first shuttle, so that you will be able to begin with that strip, and that end starting the new rug.
There is something very gratifying about preserving these old rugs. Oh, if they could only talk to us. Or, maybe it is just as well that they keep those secrets to themselves. Who knows what went on in that room with that rag rug!
Happy St. Patrick's Day 17 March 2014
Converting a Loom to a Continuous Warp System April 2013
One year ago I bit-the-bullet, and invested in a creel rack from Leesburg Looms (totalrug.com) and 320 spools of rug warp. That's 256,000 yards of rug warp. Yeah! My goal was to set up a student loom that I would never have to warp. This was going to be a continuous warp system that I learned about online.
Once I was started, there was no turning back. I found a small, hand-built, very sturdy little counterbalance loom, which I converted to a simple two harness loom. The next step was covering the warp beam in fine emery cloth so there would be no slippage of the warp threads. I had to order a spool of emery cloth online, and it was way more than I needed, but cheaper than anything else I could find, and it came in one long strip so I was able to wrap the beam like a barber's pole. I used spray-on rubber cement for that job, and it worked quite well.
The instructions that came with the creel rack said that I needed to mount a reed at the back of the loom to keep the warp threads in order as they approached the warp beam. I chose to hang the new reed a small distance out from the back of the loom because the loom had a warp beam that wound the opposite direction from most looms, and the reed simply would not mount in a good place for the threads to feed freely. Here's where two closet rod supports came in handy. That's what you see in the second photo.
I needed for all this to fit into a fairly small space, and the more distance you have between the creel rack and the loom, the better. I think I managed to get a good minimum space at just short of 3 feet - from the back beam of the loom to the base of the spool spindles on the creel rack. It took some adjusting, and some fiddling around, but it was so worth the effort. Turns out that I love to weave on this little loom myself. It is set up for a 26'' width, which is a nice comfortable reach. With only two harnesses you always get a nice clean shed. The only drawback has been that the weaving area is not very deep, and so you must advance the weaving often when you are weaving rag rugs, as they go so quickly. In a way that is a good thing because it saves your back from bending forward constantly. Pro and con to just about everything, I guess.
For anyone contemplating setting up a continuous warp system on their loom there is one important factor to remember, and that is that you must live with the color warp you have chosen for a long, long, time. That is why I chose the unbleached white, and it is good for many rugs, but not all. If you have the luxury of owning other looms this is not a drawback. Of coarse, you do have the option of simply tying-on a new color - I do this to add stripes to a rug.
I will be happy to send more photos to anyone interested, or answer any questions that you may have concerning the continuous warp system. Just email me through the contact page. Although it took days to get the creel rack assembled, and days more to get all the warp going, it has been well worth the effort.
16 April 2013
J L Hammett Rug Loom
Here it is the second of April, and I am looking back at March, which takes my breath away.
I put 1,500 miles on my car driving up to Washington state to buy an old J L Hammett rug loom for a weaving program I volunteered to set up at a day center for developmentally challenged adults.
It smelled pretty badly - must have been sitting in a barn for many years. Smelled like a combination of 'cat' and farm manure. My good friend with whom I was staying in Seattle, WA helped me wash it down with Murphy's Wood Soap so I could drive with the windows up while it was raining. It was hard to breathe with that smelly loom in the car before we cleaned it.
Once I returned home with the loom I took it directly to the center where I would be setting up the weaving program. There was still a lot of work to do on the loom. It soaked up almost a pint of wood re-furbisher (oil). After that I started applying coats of Howards bees wax and orange oil.
The next step in the process was repairing/replacing broken wooden parts of the loom. I also made some small modifications. The main change was replacing all the harness and treadle cords with chains. I wanted to make sure that the loom would not need any ongoing adjustments. This required some creative changes to the loom, but nothing major. The loom is a simple two-harness, counterbalance loom, and so lends itself to this type of program well.
There was an existing warp on the loom when I bought it, and I did not want to waste all that rug warp (probably about 30 yards long). It was extremely time consuming trying to re-warp the cut warp - threading the heddles, and sleying the reed. We will have to deal with crossed warp threads as the weaving progresses. So far, with the first rug nearing completion, there haven't been any crosses showing up. With over 400 warp threads I know that kind of luck cannot hold, but, so far, so good. Once this warp has been used up I will repair the dowels on the warp beam. To my delight the original warp beam crank was still with this loom, and so to keep it that way I installed a special screw with a knob on one of the back uprights. The warp beam crank is securely attached to the loom now.
In concluding this tale I want to say how rewarding this has been. The thing I have enjoyed the most is being around a group of people who show so much respect for one another. I am humbled by the way they treat each other. So supportive. So very respectful. We could all take a lesson.
2 April 2013
Interview for Date magazine - Dec 2011
Below is the interview with the newspaper reporter who did my profile in our local "Date" magazine, which comes out with our local newspaper once a week. It starts with my biography.
The Art of Rug Weaving
Gallery 833, Redding, CA 10 December 2011
About the Artist: Pat Monie
I was born in Utah, but my family moved to Las Vegas, NV when I was four years old. That was in 1952, and Las Vegas had a population of 30,000 people. A nice small town - a fun place to grow up. I married my husband in Las Vegas in 1969.
After finishing school (and more school) we moved to Redding with our four children. That was nearly 30 years ago, and it has been a great place to raise a family.
When asked what drew me to weaving I can only think, as a child, how jealous I was of my friends they all seemed to have those little square looms that you could make potholders on. I never had one. I must have grown up with potholder envy. I now have five floor looms in my home, and two more in the garage, waiting to be restored. Each one is special to me, and nearly all of them are warped for weaving continuously.
I love recycling textiles, mixing fibers/colors/design elements. I am not a big fan of fringe on rugs, but some rugs demand it. I often feel that I allow the rug to design itself. Sometimes I will start weaving, and just add whatever textile calls to me as the rug grows on the loom. It never gets boring. For me there is such satisfaction in creating something out of waste that is so useful, and has its own history. My motto is, "Use it up, wear it out. Make it do, or do without."
As a weaver I believe in the African proverb: Each one, teach one.
Do you work in other mediums? What separtates weaving/textiles from other forms of art? Similarities?
My only other medium is soil. I love to garden. Vegetable garden. I can't let go of practicality.
Rug weavers, I believe, tend to be very practical people. Rag rug weavers like myself, were probably raised by someone who went through the Great Depression, or by someone who knew hardship. It is painful for us see something 'go to waste.' Our world is too fragile to recklessly use our finite natural resources. This, I think is what makes weaving so different from painting, photography, jewelry making. It's more in a class with cabinetry, masonry, handcrafting surfboards. They are all similar in an artistic sense, but they serve different basic human needs - physical/spiritual.
Favorite artist living or dead? Why?
That's an easy one. Any two-year-old who has stood on a sandy beach with a stick or spade in their hand. Their artistic spirit has not been corrupted.
Tell me about your work.
My work consists of gathering textiles: old clothing; old bed sheets; shrunk-up, moth-eaten sweaters; factory scraps; mill loom waste; you get the idea. It consists of preparing mounds of this for weaving - long strips that can be wound onto a shuttle. I also wash wool in hot water before preping so that my rugs will all be machine washable. Everything is sorted by texture/fiber content/color/weight. The loom is dressed - this can take a couple full days of work depending on the type of warp used, and the complexity of the loom tie up - for the pattern in the finished rug. At last the fun part comes - the actual weaving. Once the rug is woven, it must be cut off the loom, and the ends finished - hemmed, tied, braided... Finally, you must find a home for your rug where it will be loved.
What was the first thing you remember creating that had an impact on your work.
When I was in kindergarten we wove little mats to sit on out of newspaper that we had folded into long strips. I was fascinated by this wondrous feat.
Do you display work often? What do you like about showing your work? What do you dislike?
I am really a neophyte in the world of art. I've been weaving almost two years, and the current showing of my work at Gallery833 is my first such adventure. It's been exciting - everyone has been so supportive. I haven't disliked any part of it so far. The gallery owners are wonderful.
Any special projects you are working on that you want to highlight?
I make Memorial Wall Hangings (or rugs) out of neckties from a special person - someone's grandfather, dad, uncle. I also make, and donate, these same necktie rugs, made from surplus neckties from A Second Time Around thrift store, where they are raffled off as a fund raiser. I have one in progress right now.
What are you working on right now?
Like most weavers who are bitten by the weaving bug - I have let the looms take over our home. I currently have five floor looms in the house, and two waiting to be restored out in the garage. Therefore, I usually have several projects going simultaneously. Each loom being warped for a different width rug - or a different weave structure. Sometimes I will have 30, or 40 yards of warp on a loom so that makes for quite a few rugs of the same width. That's why it is so nice to have so many different looms.
What do you plan to do next?
I plan on opening my studio (which is the better part of our house at the moment) to the public so that anyone can come and weave a rug without having to go through the drudgery of dressing the loom. They may rent by the rug, or by the day. It is an instant gratification service. You may see some of my rugs, and learn about my studio on my website: www.hand-woven-rugs.com
Weaving With Very Young Children
Weaving with very young children can be extremely gratifying. It can also be a disaster. Here are some tips to make your experience with your young child successful and fun for you both.
Size the equipment to the weaver. If you try to get a 3-year-old weaving on a full size floor loom you may spoil the desire to weave forever. Set the child up for success, not failure. A small table top loom, or a small rigid heddle loom is a good choice. To enjoy the experience they need to be able to reach all parts of the loom. Let them feel in control.
Choose a project that can be finished in a short amount of time. Match the length of time it will take to finish the project to the child's attention span and age. With my three-year-old granddaughter we did several 10-15 minute sessions over two days. That was just right for her. She was so excited to wrap her baby doll in that little blanket!
Stick with them every step of the way. If the child is very young, or easily frustrated, it may be a good idea to 'divide the chores' - the adult may want to pass the shuttle through the shed for the child, letting the child 'catch' the shuttle, and finish pulling it through. My barely-three-year-old granddaughter was able to finish pulling the shuttle through the shed and then take the trailing weft and pull it the rest of the way through the shed. She then grabbed that beater with two hands and went to town beating that weft into place. I also manipulated the rigid heddle for her, creating the sheds as needed. I released the braking system for her, but she wound the weaving onto the cloth beam all by herself. She loved hearing the click, click, click of the pawl against the ratchet wheel. I moved quickly so that she would have very little 'down' time. She was a full participant, not a spectator.
Give plenty of praise. Don't be stingy with your compliments. You can't tell them too often how well they are doing, and how much you like their work. Vary your comments: "Wow! What a good weaver you are." "I like the way you beat that weft into place." "You really did a nice job pulling that shuttle through." "Are you sure you've never done this before? You are so good at it." "Look how beautiful your weaving is!" etc.
To ensure that the project will move along quickly choose a fairly thick weft so that progress is easily seen. In my case I used a 10 dent rigid heddle and tore my rag weft strips about a half inch wide. My three-year-old was able to weave about 4-5 inches of cloth in about ten minutes.
Remember to stop each session while they are still having fun, so that they will be excited to return to it the next time. It's a good idea to stop weaving before they get tired of it. Keep the weaving session short. They will then associate weaving with excitement, not fatigue/boredom.
Tell them how special and wonderful they are!
28 December 2012