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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Elegant Threads 2015

This past weekend, one of our member guilds,  the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners held their annual Christmas sale. 

As usual the turn out was great and the work presented was stunning. It is always amazing to see so much talent all in one place.

How fortunate I am to be part of this wonderful group.  If you would like to find out more about the guild or see some of the sale photos check out their blog.

Linda Wilson

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Our Guild Weaving Exchange

One of the most appreciated benefits of being a member of our Guild is receiving a sample with each bulletin.  We owe thanks to each of our member guilds that take on this task! I can just imagine all the excitement once the samples are woven and they get to handle the wonderful samples.

We also have an annual exchange for members to participate in.  In 2015, each member is weaving a lace table runner.  Each participant chooses a structure and researches that structure.  Once the runner is woven, it is mailed to the assigned member.  There is no entry fee.  All written information, drafts, and notes are exchanged to all members via email.  

The runners are sent out in the fall and our spring Bulletin usually features photos and as much information regarding the items as possible.  Members can also request more information regarding the exchange items.

I can hardly wait to see what the members have created this year!

To view previous exchanges, please visit our website Gallery page using the following link:

The Guild of Canadan Weavers

Friday, September 25, 2015

Weaving Opportunity

The following message was submitted on September 19, 2015

Next year is the 250th anniversary of the Steeves/Steves Family move to NB  from PA because, probably, of persecution during the American Revolutionary  War. Around the 200th anniversary, a 'tweed' was designed using 7 colors, each representing the lineage from one of the original 7 sons. The fabric was woven by the now-defunct Humphrey Woolen Mills, Moncton. I have 2 human hand-sized swatches. The senior weaver here in Fairbanks, Alaska,  looked at the swatches & suggested the following:

The fabric is probably a twill variation, 3/1. The weft is dark brown; the  warp is a repeating yellow/green/turquoise/royal/green/  red/yellow/green/turquoise/royal/ green/pink.

The yarn is approximately 224 worsted single ply.

The warp is 32-36 ends/inch

Two questions:
1. I would like to have enough reproduction fabric to make a kilt. At  least 6-8 yards.
2. It is possible, since next year is the 250th anniversary, that the
Steeves Family Inc. might be interested in commissioning a commercial-sized run of fabric (whatever that might be) to offer for sale to the attendees.

Although I live in the USA, it makes more sense to have the fabric woven in Canada to avoid customs costs & to take advantage of the dollar difference.

Can anyone help with either of these needs?

Thank you.

Anyone interested should contact and I will give the persons information.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Information about our bulletin sample submitted by : Pat Zannier
Thank you to Pat for submitting and writing the article and to Nancy for weaving it!

A regular twill, i.e. one without skips, is a good basis for a Shadow Weave draft. For this sample, the Atwater Shadow Weave method was used. This works on the principle of using a DARK end for each thread of the original draft. Accompanying each DARK warp is a LIGHT end which is threaded on the opposite shaft. (Opposite of shaft 1 is shaft 3; Opposite of shaft 2 is shaft 4, opposite of shaft 3 is shaft 1, opposite of shaft 4 is shaft 2.) Here is the original “M&W” twill threading, woven as drawn in:

Following is the above twill draft re-written. The DARK ends follow the basic draft, with the addition of an extra end at each reversal or turning point, plus an empty space is left between each DARK end.

The next step is to add the LIGHT ends. First, determine the direction of the twill line, either ascending or descending (see arrows over the draft). The LIGHT ends are inserted on the opposite shaft of the DARK end, but will precede or follow the DARK end according to direction of draft. Use this chart for placement of LIGHT end. Note, dark is always the same as original twill draft, the LIGHT ends either precede or follow the DARK ends:


(light end precedes dark) (light end follows dark)
3 1 3
4 2 4
1 3 1
2 4 2

Adjustments at turning points: First, an extra DARK end was added at each turning point in the original twill draft. To keep the symmetry of the DARK / LIGHT order, when inserting the LIGHT ends at the turning point either add or delete a LIGHT. When changing from Ascending to Descending, use only one light end between the two darks. When changing from Descending to Ascending, there will be three light ends to accompany the two DARK ends. Always keep the DARK / LIGHT order and be consistent when making adjustments at the turning points.
Here is the complete “As Drawn In” draft showing DARK & LIGHT ends:
It is difficult to see the threading and treadling pattern with this type of computer draft. I usually write or print out the original draft with the extra ends at the turning points to get the threading for the DARK ends, leaving a space between each end. Then I write in the LIGHT ends with a pencil or different colour:
With this method, the pattern of both the DARK and the LIGHT ends is clearly visible and logical.

To weave, use the standard tie up. The above draft starts with DARK on shaft 1 = DARK pick lifting shafts 1&2. Next, LIGHT on shaft 3 = LIGHT pick lifting shafts 3&4, etc.

Alternate two shuttles, DARK and LIGHT throughout and treadle as drawn in to get the “M & W” pattern. If the pattern is written out and DARK and LIGHT ends marked clearly it is easy to weave with above tie up as feet will alternate from left to right.

Any twill treadling draft without skips can be used with good results. Follow same procedure as with the threading, first writing out the treadling pattern adding extra ends at the turning points, leaving a space between each dark pick, drawing in ascending or descending arrows and then filling in the LIGHT ends according to the chart.

Nancey Orosz was the weaver of this sample.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Evolution of Lace Weaves by Frances Schultz

Please note that this document is supplied by our Guild member Frances Schultz and is copyright to her. This document should not be used without Frances Schultz's permission. Thank you for sharing this Frances.


Basket Weave
There are interesting connections to be found between the various lace weaves. One can look at a progression of complexity developing through the different structures. Lace weaves are weave structures which open up from plain weave, i.e. the structures produce some kind of openings in the web. They progress in the following order.

1. Basket weave is the simplest. It is created by having groups of warp floats alternating with groups of weft floats. A weft float is stopped by the immediately following warp float. This is the only way that the floats in either direction are stopped. Note that there are several adjacent warp threads and weft threads with nothing separating them. Note that there is a limit to how many threads you can repeat on a shaft. Moving to the next shaft changes from weft to warp floats and stabilizes the fabric.

Canvas Weave
2. Canvas weave is a simple extension of a 4 thread basket weave. It is the basic structure of aida cloth for needle-point embroidery. There are two key features of the structure - it still has opposing warp floats and weft floats, but is it is made more stable by the addition of plain weave on each side of the floats. Also, because plain weave doesn’t beat in as closely, there are obvious ‘needle’ holes at the intersection pounts. There are pairs of adjacent warp threads and weft threads with nothing separating them, but unlike basket weave, the plain weave threads on each side confine them. Plain weave threading can be added on each side, or between blocks (if you wanted) by using shafts 1 and 4. Again, you can not repeat the threading unit without alternating with the second block unit.

3. Huck lace is an extension of canvas weave. Separate the pairs of adjacent warp or weft pairs and insert a plain weave weft and a plain weave warp. This creates even more stability in the weave structure. This is illustrated with a five thread huck, but a seven or nine thread huck just has more plain weave warp and weft inserts. Also look at the tie-ups. They both use the same tie-up to weave lace. Notice that now a threading unit has five threads in it while canvas weave only has four. Also notice that the treadling is identical in a repeat except for an added plain weave shot in the middle. Plain weave areas can be threaded on shafts 1 and 4. They can separate units ( then you’d get a spot) or surround areas of lace. The second draw down shows huck spots with plain weave in the alternate block. Again, you cannot repeat the threading unit more than once. The second block unit adds a stop to the float length. The plain weave area is exactly the same size as the lace block. Also characteristic of huck is that the plain weave areas spread out into the lace areas creating circles of plain weave when washed.

  1. Alternating Units of Lace
    Warp and Weft Float Lace
    Swedish lace is based on the huck base threading, but by adding one more thread in the warp (and weft), floats can now be tied down so that repeats of the same block are possible. Notice that the only change was in the insertion of an opposite tabby shot that allowed the treadling of a lace block to be repeated. Notice again that the plain weave area is the same size as the block, and that the floats of one block are cut off by the first warp thread in the new block. Also note that the extra tabby shot is only used to repeat the weaving of a block, but not used when moving to the next block treadling. The second sample shows that instead of alternating units of lace as in huck lace, now blocks of warp and weft float lace can be woven together. This is however the only way all lace can be woven in Swedish lace. Because of the plain weave threads between repeats in a block, these visually stay straight , and form window panes, while the floats move together and open up spaces or panes.

5.  Bronson lace is a true unit weave lace, but is still based on the huck idea. This time, a single unit is ALWAYS six threads. In huck and in Swedish lace, the first lace unit uses shaft 1 as the base (threading 12121) and the second uses shaft 4 (threading 43434). Swedish lace is able to be repeated because the base of one lace unit is used as a tie-down for the other so that a lace unit can be repeated, i.e. 12121 4 or 43434 1. That extra warp thread that acts as a tie down, stopping the weft float, is key. Bronson lace is developed to use this idea with a few changes. The first change is that ALL Bronson lace blocks use the same shaft for the base, and the same shaft for the tie-down. Shaft 1 is traditionally the base for all blocks, and shaft 2 is the tie-down shaft. Block A would be threaded 13131 2, and can be repeated as many times as wished. Block B would be 14141 2. Again repeatable. Key strucure feature is again the window pane between repeats in a block. The result? Bronson looks identical to Swedish lace except for two things. At the change from one block to the next, instead of the tie-down of one block being the first thread of the second block, there is a complete tabby warp that ties down the floats of one block and ties down the start of the next block, as well as a tabby weft shot that does the same. The other difference is that all-over lace in Bronson is all weft faced because the blocks can be combined by only lifting shaft 2 which is the tie-down shaft.

6.  Spot Bronson looks similar to a huck spot, but unlike a huck spot, which consists of 5 warp threads, spot Bronson only has 4 warp threads. Because it always has plain weave beside it , it looks complete, but is actually sharing with the next block. The other difference is that the same shaft is used for the base of all blocks, i.e. shaft 1. Because of this, there are 3 shafts available for blocks., hence 3 blocks are possible on only 4 shafts. Threadings are 1212, 1313, 1414. Like Bronson lace, spot Bronson has half of the warp threads on shaft 1.

While they are all related, each structure has its own characteristics that can be used to your advantage to get different or similar effects. One obvious thing to notice is that certainly the Bronson weaves are much easier on a jack loom than on a counter-balance. On the other hand, Swedish lace gives much the same effect and works on a counter-balance. By looking at the tie-ups, you can see that several of these structures can be combined for more complex effects in one piece of weaving.

Copyright Frances Schultz

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Lethbridge Handicraft Guild News

Lethbridge Handicraft Guild will have their 120 foot “Woven Ribbon” installed at CASA Lethbridge (230-8th Street South, Lethbridge, Alberta) from September 4 - October 2. This large scale installation stretches from the main foyer of the community arts build leading viewers to our studio space on the second floor. We will also be hosting an opening “Fling Event” on September 19 in the evening. Please visit for pictures and updates on the project. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Just a Few of Laura Fry's Samples from our Guild Testing Program

With today being Canada Day, we are featuring one of the Guild's Master Weavers.

I just got back from Olds College and was fortunate enough to be able to get a few pictures of some of Laura Fry's samples from her various levels of testing.  She also had samples from her research. Laura brought the samples so that students could see what was involved in our Guild testing.

It was so exciting to see so many tables filled with her wonderful work and I thank her for sharing her work with us here on our blog. The first table had a variety of samples many of which were created to match.

This butterfly was a double weave pick up created in pink and blue.  It was beautifully framed with the same blue.

Below that there were several samples woven in pinks and grays. If you click on the picture above, you will be able to see these samples a little better.

Laura also had a wonderful overshot woven in the same shade of grey but this time on a white warp.

The sample next to the overshot is a Summer and Winter.

Her tapestry sample, once again features the butterfly.  The brilliance of the butterfly ensures that it is the dominant feature against the subtle yet patterned background.  Truly a marvelous piece.  The last photo is a photo of table 2.

Such diversity of work from a great Canadian Weaver!

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Member Profile - Susan Harvey

The following is a response from one of our members to submit information for posting to our blog. The profile has been written by Susan Harvey, a long time member of our Guild.  Thank you so much Susan!

I saw my first loom in the summer of 1995, through a window, at the Brighouse Library in Richmond, BC. I could see into and around their bright studio space and they had left the loom right under the window like bait. I went downstairs to the library and found a video tape on “how to beam your loom”. I watched that tape a few times and it was full of names like reeds and castles, lease sticks and heddles. It was a foreign language to me but somehow I knew I had to learn. The difficulty was I had just missed the monthly meeting by two days. I had to wait. Things were further complicated by the fact my husband only a few days later announced his transfer by his employer and we were suddenly moving to the Okanagan Valley. We arrived with our U-Haul truck in the fall and before you knew it the snow was falling and winter settled in.

By spring I was thoroughly bored with myself and recalling that loom in Richmond I went searching to see if there were any guilds in the area. That’s when I found out that that whole region has weaving guilds in every town, a local yarn store or two, and even a loom builder in Armstrong with Woolhouse Tools. I had fallen into weavers heaven!

We lived in various parts of the Okanagan and the Shuswap in the intervening years and I was a member of three guilds and president of one for a time. I met and made many friends and it was very hard to say good bye when we moved back to the coast again and we now live in the Cowichan Valley, on Vancouver Island. I have a large studio space in our home where I have three looms (four if you count my table loom too). A 45 inch, 12 shaft Woolhouse Tools countermarch (currently up for sale), a Louet Spring 90 loom with 12 shafts, and lastly, a Louet 110 Megado with 16 shafts and a compu-dobby. I find that I prefer finer threads, and fibres such as silks, cottons, linen, bamboo and exotic blends and also tencel. I weave scarves, shawls and household linens such as towels, runners and guest towels. These I sell through my Etsy shop Thrums Textiles.

My favourite weave structure is complex twills and I love to see them grow as I throw my shuttle. What is currently on my looms is 2/40 linen for fancy guest towels towels in lace, 2/20 cottons for miniature twill book marks and 2/8 cottons for kitchen towels. I always keep a warp or two pre-wound and ready to load as I like a ‘no naked loom policy’ so something is always ready to go. I’m not a production weaver as I get bored quite easily and have found that I enjoy the design process and once I get it on the loom and a few inches woven, then my mind is ready to move onto the next project. So I weave short limited runs of 2 or 3 scarves or 6 or 7 towels. Where I like to get really creative is with my shawls and play with colour.

I joined the GCW back in 1997 and it helped me to feel connected to other weavers across the country. I was intrigued by the Weaving test program and completed my Basic level the summer of 2003. I hand delivered my box of test samples to Test Administrator (and GCW master weaver) Sandra Fearon in the midst of a forest fire on the edge of the city and she was being evacuated! Such dedication…

Margaret Hahn was the GCW Mentor at the time (and a GCW Master weaver) and also a nearby neighbour. She was there the day my new loom arrived and made sure I was sitting at the right height and being ergonomically correct with my posture. Margaret had been an occupational therapist after World War Two. I was still fairly new to weaving but I can recall watching Margaret take my simple overshot threading and ‘dance’ on the treadles and created a whole new pattern other than the one I was slavishly coping and it hit me that there was so much more to this and I could do it too.

Margaret said some things that really stuck with me over the intervening years: “To get good selvedges, weave a mile.” “There is no wrong way or right way to anything in weaving….try them all and work out what works best for you and your loom” and “Get yourself in front of as many teachers as you can.”

I also had the pleasure of calling guild member Linda Heinrich, author of The Magic of Linen, (GCW master weaver) as friend and teacher also. Through her, I learned the beauty of linen, its properties, and to not be afraid of it. I took her intensive workshop and later I participated in a study group she hosted. She also showed me that if you spent that much time planning and weaving it, then finish it well and be proud of it. Her lovely well finished projects were inspiring and so hemstitching and embellishments entered into my personal weaving too.

A house move later to the Shuswap and I was most fortunate to find another weaving mentor in Gudrun Weisinger ( Masterweaver , Meisterschule fuer das Weberhandwerk, Stuttgart Germany). With her help and friendship I have learned tapestry weaving, Theo Mormon technique, Lace, cloth analysis and how to make the best darn schnitzel ! You simply could not wish to meet a more caring and sharing person. I have been very fortunate in the teachers I have met along my 20 year road of weaving!

My experiences with the Guild of Canadian Weavers is also one that is memorable to me. From my early days as a new member in 1997, to becoming the BC Provincial Representative in 2001. From there I became the GCW president in 2003 and served two terms until 2007 and a final active year and a half as a past president participating in board meetings. I recall the friendships I made across the country, albeit mainly by email but I would also call occasionally as it was a more personal way to be in touch. We were (and still are) all volunteers with busy private lives and all working hard behind the scenes to keep the guild alive, active and relevant to the members. I was very mindful that the Bulletin is the public face of the GCW and we brought back an annual weaving exchange, introduced a colour centrefold, and more stories about actual weaving. Behind the scenes we worked together to develop board meetings by way of emails and and so closed the Guild’s long history of using ‘snail mail’ to conduct business. There was much more done but I feel these were the key points of my tenure as president. I could see the future was to embrace the information highway and have a presence there for the GCW. I’m delighted to see the changes to the web site, Facebook page and I’m sure there is more to come. Now the vast distances between Canadian weavers won’t matter a bit!

After I stepped down, I carried on as a regular member and even applied for and was successful to receive a scholarship (my first one ever) to attend a local workshop that covered “Finn weave, double weave pick up and mock satin damask” with instructor Alison Irwin and later I wrote my article on the workshop for the Bulletin to share with members in appreciation of the opportunity.

I started a (mostly) weaving blog after my ‘retirement’ as past president and began to share my weaving adventures and tips via my blog Thrums since 2008. Part of that journey has to be also
discuss house renovations and new grand children but also my ongoing osteo arthritis and Lupus and joint replacement surgeries. It is possible to have arthritis and still continue to weave! Weavers have good ways to work around problems and this is no different. I have now have two artificial hips and currently waiting for a new knee this summer or fall (and then onto foot surgery in time), but through out it all is my end goal of getting back to my looms. I may have to do something differently, or weave shorter periods but where there is a will there is a way!

If weaving gives you pleasure too, then consider sharing it with a friend or family member. As life speeds up, its important to slow down and touch more textiles than computer screens!
Best regards,
Susan Harvey

To see more of Susan's work, check out the following links. “Thrums” “Thrums Textiles”

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sample of Summer and Winter from Level 1 Test

This week I am featuring one of my samples from my Level 1 Test.  The sample is a 2 block Summer and Winter.  I love the fact that the back has the opposite colouring from the front of the sample.

Each section is treadled differently and is described from left to right.  The first section is treadled in pairs, the middle section is treadled in singles and and the third section is treadled as overshot (also known as Dukagang).

Cotton 2/16 was used for the warp and the tabby. A sett of 30 ends per inch was used.  The pattern weft is a very soft light green Orlon 2/16.

This sample was woven in the 80's and is traditional.  The weight and hand of the cloth is super and it is a piece I am really proud of.

If you have a piece from one of your tests that you would like to share with us, please send us a little blurb and the picture!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Calgary Weavers Profile

Marilyn Shea

Marilyn has been a longtime member of Heritage Weavers and Spinners Guild.  She weaves, spins and dyes, but her passion is spinning.  All kinds of fibre interest her, but silk and wool are her favrorites.  She uses her handspin yarn to weave scarves and blankets.  For tea towels and baby blankets she uses commercial cotton yarns.

She enjoys entering her handspun and woven items in the Western Showcase at the Calgary Stampede, Heritage Park Fall Fair and the juried show at the Handweavers, Spinners, and Dyers of Alberta conferences.  Marilyn has won many ribbons over the years and her handspun yarn has been shown in Spin Off magazine.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Spotlight on a Member Guild - Midnight Shuttles Spinning and Weaving Guild

I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet some of the members of the Midnight Shuttles Spinning and Weaving Guild twice so far this spring.  The Guild invited me to their meeting on April 1st.  They are a small guild of 20 to 25 members who meet at Sybil Andrews Cottage in Campbell River. The history behind the guild meeting place is fascinating and you can learn more from the link to the cottage or an internet search.

Although a small group, the members do alot to promote weaving in their community and beyond. In 2003 this was the Guild that took on the task of creating stunning samples for the GCW Bulletin. This past weekend the Guild sponsored a Saori weaving workshop at the Campbell River FiberFest . Guild members also set up a display of their member's work and demonstrated weaving to the general public and attendants of the FiberFest.  Unfortunately I did warn them about my photography skills and my camera somehow got changed from photos to a video.  So much to my dismay,  I do not have a photo of their lovely work or members.

Thank you to the 3 members who allowed me to photograph them and maybe next time I will do a better job!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What is on - Heritage Weavers in Calgary Alberta

The Heritage Weavers & Spinners have started a program of displaying the weaving of  their members.  Here are some pictures of weaving done by Jean Wilson. 

The inspiration for the weaving is taken from her trip to India and is shown in the blankets displayed with the T-towels.  

Excellent example of how the use of colour  and plain weave mix together.

Great way to inspire other weavers and make us aware that plain weave is not so plain!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

In Our Library - The Home Workshop Series

Over the years he Guild of Canadian Weavers has certainly had many great weavers in their membership. Many of these weavers contributed to our weaving community through the guild as well as sharing their knowledge by writing. Winifred Mooney and Nell Steedsman are two such ladies.

They created a series of booklets entitled “Home Workshop Series”. They created a total of 8 booklets, assisting weavers to learn about different techniques. Each booklet focuses on a particular technique and begins with a definition. Full instructions are given for each set of samples and weavers are encouraged to continue exploring the technique in their own creative way.

No. 1 The Gauze Weaves, Leno Scrollwork
No. 2 Crackle Weave
No. 3 Four Lessons for New Weavers
No. 4 Two Blocks – Four Frames
No. 5 Perception: Key to Design in Weaving
Inspiration from Nature

Photos and Swatches
Pattern Layout
How-to Section
No. 6 Perception: Key to Design in Weaving
Inspiration from books and Photographs
Photos and Swatches
Line, Shape, Size, Hue
How-to Section
Colour Notes
No. 7 Perception: Key to Design in Weaving 
            Inspiration from Man-made Articles
Photos and Swatches
Borders and Interlacing
How-to Section
No. 8 Perception: Key to Design in Weaving
Ecclesiastical WeavingGlossary and Bibliography
Photos and Swatches
Perception in Drafting
How-to Section

We are fortunate to have this series in our library for members to borrow!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

What is happening in your area in the month of May?

On Vancouver Island the 2 events for the month of May that I know of are:
1.  Vancouver Island Fibre Fest in Campbell River (May 1 to 3)
2.  100 Mile Fleece and Fibre Fair 2015 (from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm Sunday May 31)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Welcome to our new blog!

Welcome to the new blog for the Guild of Canadian Weavers!

The executive has decided it would be nice for our members to have a place to share information.  Also potential members will find information about our Guild and learn more about what it is we do.

Our hope is to cover a variety of topics:

1.  Favorite books from our library
2.  Preview information regarding the production of the bulletin samples
3.  Information regarding sample exchanges and study groups.
4.  What is on your loom, favourite drafts or projects of members and member guilds
5.  Museums, places, and events
6.  Information on member guilds

Members will receive information in the next newsletter regarding sending in items for posting. We look forward to your contributions and hope we can promote an exchange of information across our great country.