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Sowing seeds for a future generation of weavers…

My last on line journal was about Josie and Pam, both 88 and creating absolutely stunning fabrics. We thought it would be fun to look at the other end of the spectrum.

Three young ladies who have had a chance to try out weaving on 4 shaft looms with good quality yarns in colours of their choice. They are 3, 6 and 12 years old and they have all jumped into the weaving world with a big splash. Children learn so quickly, unlike adults they are undaunted by the process. Given the chance, little fingers stiff at first with indecision are transformed into flying, exuberant and deftly joyous instruments of pure creative expression.
Saraphina is 3. Her mom Rachel weaves and works here. Saraphina is curious, independent and capable. She really really wants to weave.
After wanting to take over her mother’s loom we decided to give her one of her own that we weren’t using anymore. She chose the colours for her first warp. While her mother warped the loom and threaded it, Saraphine sleyed it all by herself. She throws the shuttle with gay abandon, marveling at the process and excelling at beating the weft ‘nice and tight’! Her mama loves to see her creativity nourished.


Amadea is six. She came to the studio with her grandma Arlene and was so interested, I just had to give her a scarf kit of her own. Her face lit up at the possibility of weaving. She dressed the loom with her grandma and look at the wonderful result. A perfect chenille scarf, She is going to “put it under her bed in her Tommy Hilfiger box where no one can find it and if they want to wear it they have to ask first”.
What a gift to give to the next generation – the gift of experience from a cherished person – her grandma! Grandma jokes: “A six year old and her grama, at the same level!”


We have another young weaver on Salt Spring named Zoë and she is 12. She is weaving with a mentor – Jane MacKenzie, and the result is magic. Jane told us a little of the story and here it is. Unfortunately we do not have any photos of Zoë’s weaving yet.

“Zoë and I first began working together a few years ago when her mother asked me if I could help her get started with weaving. Her idea was to weave material to sew a cloak. She was reading a novel and the main character had a blue cloak which she wanted to create.”

We used silk and silk/cashmere, yarns she chose from my studio supply of both Treenway and The Silk Tree yarns. We spent a day dyeing the yarn with real indigo to create a lovely shade of pale blue. She worked with 20/2 yarn at 36 ends per inch and once the loom was set up she wove all the yardage herself. I think it was about 6 meters, which is a lot for a 12 year old but she persevered! She then created a pattern with her mother and they sewed the cloak. It was a beautiful and well done job.

Zoë and I are presently working on another small project of three solid color silk scarves as she is keen to keep working and wants to create gifts for several people. We also have in mind a larger project with a painted warp which we will do when the scarves are complete. She will create the warps in my new studio, Knotty Threads, in Fulford and weave the project at home on her new loom. Zoë is determined and creative and has great parents that seek out others to help facilitate her goals and ambitions.”

Here is a girl who has no restrictions on her creative possibilities and she is producing beautiful fabric and handwovens already – winning at our 2008 Fall Fair and poised to be a great weaver.

These children have all been given a gift – a seed has been sown and hopefully it will continue to grow throughout their lives.

Why don’t you consider planting a garden…


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May 28

Well, everyone thinks I should have a blog. Apparently I am entertaining, inspirational and best of all, funny. Even the guy who is trying to optimize my website says it is a good idea. Last night as I thought about it, I had brilliant ideas that flowed effortlessly as I sipped my wine. Obviously my brain is like a toilet in a public urinal, flushing every 5 minutes, because this morning I can’t think of a darned thing. I plan to keep a pad of paper and a pen inside the liquor cabinet from now on!

I think a weekly blog is something I could manage and that will give me 7 evenings to be witty and informative. I’ll start taking notes tonight.

This week I’d like to tell you about my new DVD – done for Louet North America. You can see the ad on page 18 of the May/June issue of Handwoven or go to It is a 2 disc set that demonstrates warping a Louet Spring loom with a second disc running through all the wonderful attributes of Louet looms. If I may say so, it is pretty darn good.

Talk to you next week.