Adapting weaves for a new arrangement.

I have moved into the next phase of work. Hard at work, hardly dressed I have been drafting new weaves for my new warp.

My new set up is a black and white warp (1 and 1) set at 90 epi (36 epc). My weaves are built to enhance optical mixing. Last year, I worked at 60 epic (24 epc) with weft backed satins. I use 8 shuttles and leave two spaces in my weaves for supplementary weft insertions. I’ve been calling it brocading because these wefts are not going across the entire warp.

I tested a variety of satins and realized I should have paid more attention in math class. Drafting satins requires that you know prime numbers, factors and multiples if you step outside the usual 5, 8 and 12 end satins. Seems like I’ve been weavsplained the way to do it many times. If my intuition isn’t signaling I yank out the books, and yank  and yank until I feel I “get it”. This book was given to me by a friend~ Lois Kane. I really only took it because frankly- it looked cool. (judged it by the cover)

IMG_4885Somehow- the grammar spoke to me.

I am now weaving color blankets that use either the white or the black warp as a face bind. (made that up).  I use base colors that are pretty bright and primary /secondary. IMG_0994

For some reason my blanket is devilishly hard to shoot. Hopefully it can be seen that while the color blends are not strikingly different- the sum seems to be greater than the part. Meaning- the black warp yields a richer color and seems as though there is more texture there. I figured out a way to draft many weaves using visibility in layers in photoshop. Once everything was in place- I was able to draft – this seems crazy- 152 x 2 weaves. (152 using the white 152 using the black) I did this in a couple of hours- actually I had to redraft most of them twice because of a rookie move. The learning curve was days…the finesse happened pretty quickly. (yeah. that was bragging…sorry). After tomorrow- I will post a picture that will I hope will demonstrate my hopes more than my chagrins.



Warping the TC2

This is one of those posts that I hope will operate as a kind of reference post.

Every studio situation presents special benefits and challenges. In my case, the challenges I face are low ceilings and a smaller space. My last loom was an AVL compu-dobby with sectional warp beams. For this loom, I needed to develop systems that are efficient and functional and from scratch. I never was one to collect looms or tools- so when I sold the loom- I sent all with it- so the guy who bought it could get going.

The benefits? I can weave in my pajamas…if I am disciplined enough to wear them.

IMG_3978 I  wind my warps with a paddle, wind the warps on from back to front, and wind many bobbins with multiple threads for end feed shuttles. Peggy Osterkamp has written 3 books that should be on everyones shelf. The relevant one here is: “Winding a Warp and Using a Paddle”.  Get it.


Gilda…undressed. Ikea carts that I am loving more and more each day.


So, as I am putting on the first warp, I am building and testing systems that I can operate by myself (or teach others to use ) that are inexpensive easy to store and adaptable. Doing these tasks are more fun with others- and when I get that studio assistant- we are going to soldier on together. But for now…..

First step meant I needed to develop a cone and feeding system to the mill. It is interesting to me that I could possibly have anything to add to this multi century long development. But, apparently, after searching, and researching and finding either very expensive and/or not quite right tools…it is possible. At least it seems so.

Because of the small space, I need to be able to dismantle or repurpose the set up for the various process stages. So. The rack I devised is using my photo lamp tripods. The rack slides down onto the uprights. The rings are huge and easy to thread. IMG_4317I think it will work for the threads for the bobbins although I may need to make a minor modification when I get to that point.  I wind back to front. I can tie on from the front- and do so in other situations, but, in the past I have made a pretty mess of that – with my particular warps and etc, so until I change the type of warp I use…this is the rule for me.


cones sitting on a shelf that has cute little legs and rods to keep the cones from toppling. Smaller spools will stay in place when I get to that point.


You? You’ll have to make make your  own rules.

So, I prepared a raddle to space the yarns. I screwed in about 90 eye hooks 1/2″ a part onto a board.

42″ / 1/2 ” Because they are in a line, the wood began to split a bit (even with pre drilling.) So I filled the split with wood glue. This worked well. I really wanted to make a copy of the fabulous ARM loom raddle. I tried and tried, but I ended up with bloody fingers.

I wind no more than 440 ends per bout. I used a warping mill. My mill is too small- it holds barely 15 yards- so I may (probably will) be doing something else next time. I experimented with vertical and horizontal mills – in the end the one that took up the least amount of real estate won. The veritical.  Which was too bad – because I got pretty clever with the modifications.  No romantic “but I spent so much time on it ” rationalizations!

My loom has 2640 ends. In TC2 speak- this is 12 modules. I have 2 back beams. I set up the loom at 90 epi. So I can weave 29″ wide. I am winding 2 colors- black and white. The following images depict me winding 1 beam at a time @1320 ends each- so 3 bouts of 440 ends. It turns out, that getting even tension across the span needed me to split the bouts. So- I had to get six 5 lb weights to tension the warp. To spread the tension over the length of the warp, I needed to stretch the warp as much as possible.


Note the 3 bundles- rising over the loom. After past struggles, I’ve determined never to wind more than 440 ends. BUT- the bundles are too broad for even tension.



The raddle made from eye hooks spaced 1/2″ apart. 1 cm would be time.










yup…that is a board broken like Bruce Lee or the Hulk. Probably that weight caught under the crossbeam (as shown)

I built a frame to stretch the warp out. The first frame failed.

Yea- it was a lot of trouble. I have figured out – the simplest solution is the right one.    The second one was a model of minimalism: 2 boards and a pole. It is attached to the loom at the breast beam using bolts and washers. I did’t think I could attach anything to the loom, which is why I didn’t first build or buy Katie Meeks excellent trapeze.

I have also raised the loom on wood blocks. I saw a video of me weaving last year and saw myself as a bent woman. It looked painful and unflattering.  And as we all know – we must always look pretty and perky- even while weaving 11 hours at a time. In Norway, they kindly made this accommodation- raising the loom up just a couple of inches- which made a world of difference to my neck and upper back.  I had a fantasy of doing something more elegant for my own loom- but it is done and good enough.

I posted these some of the following images to Facebook, but I wanted to post here – as a kind of wrap up and record of my activities.

To wind the warp, I struggled with slip knots hand weights

IMG_4840and zip ties to weight the bouts – but felt there had to be a better way- the yarns got yanked. Sometimes the slip knots wouldn’t release easily and it was scary to yank and yank at them. After a late night inspiration I visited a store that sold climbing supplies (R.E.I.). I learned 2 new knots: double fisherman and prusik (a loop that is employed to hoist ) and upgraded my old approach.


2×4 boards screwed with washers into the loom frame.


plumbers pipe – note there are now 6 bundles. Height is 78″ (my “studio” has an unromantic low ceiling)



Threading the loom presents a different set of requirements (behaviors ) because of the fixed nature of the heddles which are secured with springs- one can’t simply shove heddles to the side. After much fiddling, I devised a simple way to hold onto threads while I reach for the next thread without rubbing the previous and causing wrapping and tangles etc. Although this may not be a problem for others, I have found that I spend a lot of time tidying yarns and fiddling and rearranging my fingers, etc as I grasp yarns while I thread.

It is a spring and a cord. wrapped around a bunch of heddles to create an opening.IMG_4862

The S hook

You know those funny things you always find yourself using- and can’t have too many or too much of? Some people use a lot of duct tape. (Maybe not for securing yarns)  but for everything else – others use windex or…rubber bands..or vodka. Me? I go for the S hook.  So, as I thread, I  collect bundles of 6 (in my case) until I am ready to move the whole set up down. Then I make a slip knot, and grab an S hook and hold the bundles by hooking it onto heddles. (as shown).   I have switched to threading without the motor on. I used to thread with a file that would lift one thread at a time, but, I have found I make less errors when I thread “by hand” so to speak. It is quiet and meditative.

Threading is what it is- must be done correctly and you can’t do anything without it.

So- I have decided to live while I thread- not just try to get through it.

I grab 6 heddles, 6 threads- thread a heddle, push the thread into the spring to get it out of the way and repeat till all 6 are threaded. I snap the threads out of the spring, pull up to make sure my threading is correct, make a slip knot, loop it onto the S hook and repeat- until I need to change the music, find a new podcast or make some more coffee..or…..  The spring needs to be supple but firm, when you snap the thread into it – bend it ( by slipping your thumb behind it-to open the coils) when you release- the coils close around the thread. If the spring is too firm- you have to yank too hard and that can snap threads.


Here is the nifty, “can it get simpler?” tool that really helped me out. I made up a kind of release knot- that I couldn’t explain if I tried….and I also learned a new knot: the bowline.




It was a really amazing year- followed by a hard landing (mostly time management and the realities of reality). After sitting for several hours, I think I have finally worked out how send notifications to Facebook that I’ve posted to my blog.  I have been not so secretly updating my nearest and dearest via a photo stream….and I aim to consolidate that as well. IMG_3556

Making work. Part……. ?

The super sleuthy will notice that I split my post in 2 parts. This is the part about what I am doing….fairly literally.


Incipe: ” the one who begins things”
My apologies for being coy….this piece is not quite ready for the big reveal. The weaving is completed- it is hanging over the breast beam ready to be cut off. It is 43″ by …..oops….forgot to measure it….52? 62?


This pictures shows the total number of shots and the number completed for the first piece. 11,390 pics…completed in 4 1/2 days. For me – this was kinda epic.
Can I get a, ” WHOOA!”

As of today, actually as of last Friday at 11:00 P.M. or 23:00…. I have completed 1 piece.

As I write this I think …hmmm…. what HAVE you been doing? I reviewed my previous posts and see that I have written about warping and a little about weaves and a lot about my experience.

What I have been doing is LEARNING. And weaving.

When I first came, I had a set of weave structures (think of them as colors) that worked well on the loom at home. (45 epi) But, I am now at a higher resolution (60 epi) and so I had to tweak them – sharpen their focus. This meant- redrafting something like 80 weaves- and I am still finding ones that I didn’t re draft as I work on the 2nd and 3rd piece.

I am also- (don’t hate me for being so lucky) – inventing new ones. (kinda)….because I have THE TIME to try new things now!!!!!  This is so amazing. In the past, I could learn something new and try something new- but….not so much dig really deep into something I am doing and refine and refine and redefine without loosing track of where I was because that was 6 months ago that I had that brilliant idea.


There is another post due regarding bobbin winding and selvages.

My work right now, is based on weftbacked weaves and includes areas of brocade. I now use 8 shuttles and a variety of brocade shuttles.

I was using 6 shuttles +B areas until….like….June or something and then I went over to the dark side….or the bright side. I posted about having to dye the yarns myself a bit ago.

I also needed to learn the rate at which my digital image would build in threads. For you sports fans out there….. I currently multiply the number of pixels in height of my original image by 2.65 (and I think I will go to 2.75 for the next one). This was achieved somewhat gradually by me…which meant that I redid certain aspects of my file more than 2x over. I felt like an amateur- because I know how to do this efficiently….I just didn’t.

Why?? I am sure there is an excellent explanation. Suffice it to say, no student of mine in the future will lack from the benefit of this experience—if I can impress this well enough.

JacQCad does exactly the opposite…divide not multiply…and I got caught right between the eyes with something I knew the dangers of well.) For the last pieces, I was at about 2.25 It is significant- trust me.

One piece of the puzzle is the tension devices on the 2 looms. The TC1, excellent as it is- uses a tension belt. One time, I left it a bit loose….and wove pieces that measured one dimension. Then, I discovered my error and tightened the belt and wove pieces that measured another dimension. Guess who ALWAYS checks the belt now.  The TC2 has a sophisticated warp tension system with an auto advance – so my pick rate for more than one reason is different. Currently,  I am around 190 picks per inch. I was at pretty darn close to 180 before. Still on the list of things to verify, cause the math suggests more like 200.

The silver lining of this incremental resizing of an already complex image- is that I was able to create better work flows- as the lightbulb slowly went on about better ways to go about re composing and inserting weaves in photoshop. The brocading areas were the gnarliest.

For the work I have done so far in this series, I have used an excellent piece of software JacQCad. It is still available – FREE…but, it requires either a G3 mac or an emulator on a current system. I have the G3.


I still admire the coolness of this piece of hardware. I can’t tell you how many amazing moments we have shared.

This same G3 was once doused in a sweet cappuccino (not me – not telling who). It was revived and has served me well…until lately when it seemed to be loosing track of itself and causing me some stress. (“some” HA! HA!). I want to be really clear that the software was okay and the support I received from Garth – the  mastermind that wrote this piece of genius- has been beyond kind and generous as well as excellent.

But….I had to bail because I couldn’t risk losing the work. The number of weaves that I have saved in that format was awe inspiring as I began retrenching and seeing what I would need to collect.  So, sooner than I anticipated, I had to move my method into photoshop. I have used photoshop a lot before….but, I stuck to fairly straight up stuff …only one time including brocade work.

24x100.ExpSo it went like this…redraft weaves from 8/15 to 12/24 end satins in JacQCad…discover the ship is sinking – convert the weaves to tiffs and define them as patterns in photoshop.

 It took a minute or two to do this.

The way I compose my images is totally dominated by the excellent color management in JacQCad. So, I also needed to relearn ways to do this-  am still working through methods published by Schlein, Ziek, Vestby and Williams.Untitled-1

It is not so much the clicking with the magic wand and creating a layer…as the part that comes before…..what color exactly will be here….and no others…especially no hundreds of other colors. How does one reduce the colors and color areas? Who gets combined with whom- and I want to pick -not you Photoshop!   Luckily, I am not a novice in Photoshop or Illustrator…but still…it’s the 80/20 thing all over again.

I wove some test strips to see color and ratio and they looked amazing.

Something so cool is happening with color blending – I can’t really take credit for it-even though all those hours glued to the chair with my pen tablet really makes me yearn to grab at it. I think you know what I mean.


And one more thing… …I am now weaving with 8+ shuttles and whatnot….the loom is operating so much faster…I am literally dancing around in tank tops (in Norway) and – get this- SWEATING while I weave. The Tc1- again- great, but I wouldn’t say I was working up a sweat- just  invigorated. You know, 6 shuttles is 6 shuttles- you gotta move.

Do I have to weave like that?

Noooo…..but now I can.







Sunday Morning- a letter home


My brilliant husband moved the lamp behind the desk while he was here and VOILA!!! A new space emerged! It looks all dorm roomy now.

Dear Auntie M,

I am sitting at this desk- which looks a bit grim and dark- but remember that I live in the woods. I am def NOT in Kansas anymore.
This morning I drove my husband to the airport. He was over here off and on for 3 weeks and is returning home. Back to eating standing up. (Ramen and cookies).

I am in one of those Sunday morning moods- which is great considering my history with time and orientation…and so this letter may or may not culminate in a point or a theme.

I’ve rented a “wreck” for the duration of my stay.  What a brilliant decision. It also means that I am not riding the bicycle at all now. I will have to find another way to get some exercise.


As I walked in to “work” at 7:30 or so I turned and took this shot. Yup…I wrote 7:30. That is A.M. Things start early and although I could show up whenever I wanted, I like to do as in Rome. I still frequently stay until 9 or 10..that is 21:00 or 22:00 – but whose seeking credit for being such a hardworking girl?

One can just show a drivers license – pay to rent a car and get in and drive merrily down the road.  First- there are round-a-bouts, then there are mystery signs, then – and probably first there is this Kilometers thing. And also lest I forget to mention-the narrow and curving roads through very diverting landscapes. And also too, I shouldn’t neglect to include the fact that I haven’t driven a stick shift in 20 years.
All of these things together = AWESOMENESS!!!  What a fun adventure just moving through space at will….at whatever speed that is. I am starting to like round-a-bouts.


Susan – in front of Kunsterness Haus. (The Artists House)

I have moved beyond  thinking about being strange here. I just am here. And still strange (I hope) but…that is not the first thing. Which means I forget to take pictures because I am engaged. And I know my way around (in my special way). I have whizzed through the grocery store- and snagged my supplies and decided which one to go to on purpose. You may laugh- I am not too proud to reveal the many times I have ended up somewhere and thought- huh! okay well…I ‘m here now so…..(that includes not a few times at home as well).
I hosted a dear friend- Susan Gregory and her Nephew Jim ( gosh!…I don’t know  his last name).

This was kind of cool- taking care of a friend in a foreign country. (The visit was far more than kind of cool….fantastic.) It was hard not to walk around looking like I was wearing big girl pants- but also kind of droll to “remember” my first impressions of this strange place oh sooooo long ago.
We took a weekend trip into Oslo and rambled around a bit. There were TALL buildings and loads and loads of great shoes and really nice shoulder bags walking around the city. (on very good looking people..) I am in the country. Well, the gentile country so the urban environment was like….POW!

How exciting to drive up a street the wrong way, (only for a second before I swerved swiftly- only slightly dislocating my pasengers) getting nearly squashed by the biggest bus in the world, and finding  parking and feeling as though I deserve a medal for my courageousness and wiley ways.


This is an art shot of the panels from the Opera House located on the Oslo Fjord. The same architectural firm that built this…built the headquarters at Tronrud. We clambered over this building.


Another “art” shot of the Stave Church in the Folk Museum….in?…hmmm it is an outdoor museum.

Here are a couple of shots from those couple of days.







Norway is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch.   He was prolific enough that his body of work has been split in 2 parts- we saw the first part at the National Museum…which included The Scream.  Because I am so involved with colors and backgrounds right now- that was almost ALL I could see.

It was like a rich, rich mind pudding. YUM. I would have bought a postcard or something but UGH! They just ruined the colors- I couldn’t bear it!


The Opera house




We stopped in on a street celebration for the Norsk Theatre and ate Elk burgers and bought some heather honey as well as a big pancake that we smothered in jams. We also went to the Olso autumn art exhibition.  This exhibition had about 94 artists.. An excellent weaver Arna (again!!!! no last name???) was in the show. Arna met us at the gallery. I met her at Convergence Handweavers Guild in Long Beach California. She came with Vibeke and the tech team to work the vendors stand. (me too!) Her work was already sold. Her loom is being prepared now in the factory.

The breadth of work at the show was challenging for me- a lot of the work struck me as lacking in depth….but this can also be a result of only seeing one piece of a persons body….one word from a sentence….it’s hard to “get it”.

Arna’s work however did not  suffer from this. It was woven on the TC2 (btw). I could’ve taken a picture of Arna right next to her piece…but, I only thought of it just now. I felt so connected. Especially since I communicated with her on Facebook to make the date.

We also visited the Vigeland Sculpture park.

I didn’t take any pictures there  because I had been to this park before- on an amazing crystal blue sky day the first time I came to Norway and, have many stunning images- and so I thought I would cheat and just use those- because although it may seem as though I don’t think about writing to you, you are ever present in my mind….I just don’t sit still enough to compose….any way…..where ARE those images? ? You should google it. It is crazy cool.


The Firmament

The weather here so far has been- beautiful. I would compare it to San Francisco….cool mornings with fogs and frosts, warming up in the afternoon with blue skies- cooling down in the evening and basically clear- I can see so many more stars in the sky here- it’s kind of confusing. (thank goodness for the big dipper.)

Before My husband left we took a walk out on the Ski Track behind the barracks. This is a groomed path with little hills and smooth terrain as well as lighting…’cause I guess it gets dark early and stays that way. When there is no snow, you would think it is just an “ordinary” (see pix from previous post) trail. The lighting is changing- the sun is rising later and sinking earlier. It is very striking.IMG_1067

We wandered around a bit and I wanted to show him the Oatfield I had found..It was completely sheltered and surrounded by trees. I felt like it was a secret field. When we got there it had been completely harvested and the earth turned. The angle of the sun revealed that the ground was covered with shimmering spider filaments. It was really amazing. But, I didn’t take a picture cause I didn’t think I could capture it.

So, I am doing great- grateful for everyday- even though my back was a bit sore from the weaving of last week- the chocolate is good here and I really like fish, it turns out. I also bought some new socks too, so don’t worry  if I am warm enough- so far so good..

Hope you all are doing well.

Hugs and kisses





Go WEST!!!

The next few posts may seem erratic and a bit jumbled. And details……arghh….they are rapidly slipping away…just like the dream you want to tell someone…and the moment you start…it seems to dissolve . In this case, the longer I write, the more I realize, I am not including.

So here is a synopsis of some of my adventures.
I went to Western Norway. I helped to assemble and install a loom. I came back worked some more then returned to the West- tweaked and trained-came back again….worked again until I was silly.

What does this mean? it means…I woke up one morning and it seemed as though ALL of my devices were screwed up. They all “said” it was saturday. But that was just absurd. I was even kind of mad about it. DARN APPLE PRODUCTS!!!!

But then…..I learned….slowly… through my powerful powers of observation (gate to the factory closed…NO PEOPLE.) That indeed…it was Saturday!

This was a sign. Time to stop. Take a walk. Do laundry…sit at the kitchen table and drink some tea and do nothing….just hang.  Overworking isn’t really working. Then I got the brilliant idea to take in some fresh air.


practically right outside my barracks door was this crazy place. Just there- waiting to bring a person back to life.














on my walk I encountered all kinds of amazing and readjusting flora.
like this.
I dub thee…”fairy fuzz” moss .















I had been told there were blueberries…and from what I could tell they were blanketing the landscape. So on my walk, I picked some and ate them.









I even got rained on a little, got lost, found an oatfield, (yup)  and found home again. From a pretty rough start, confused and pitiful…I found myself again…and felt revived.  Just one of those stories we get to make and keep.

Now back to the other story…jumbled as advertised.

Here are some more details about the loom installation.

Jolster Designs is located in Jolster. ( I apologize… I am misspelling this …I need a keyboard with the additional 6 letters.)Honefoss to Jolster

This was a 5 1/2 hour drive. On the map it seems so close! But….Norway has what many places lack: topography….lots of it. Also the roads are narrow.  To get there we had to drive through some beautiful terrain, go over a mountain above the tree line, through mountains, and ride a ferry across a fjord.  I think one of the tunnels went under a glacier as well. 


Along the way there were so many waterfalls, I got tired of pointing and saying, “LOOK! a waterfall!!” This one was pretty nice though.













A valley at the top of the mountain. Seriously, this place is just there…while you were where ever you were.






This one was kind of funny for me. It was wednesday…i think… the ferry for a landlubber like me was like WOW!!!! a BOAT!!!! Cool water!!!!
For everyone else, it was like, – okay…now we cross the fjord, hope it doesn’t take too long….wonder what’s for dinner?…etc…”















I travelled with the excellent and talented Egil Kristiansan. He is the tech guy at Tronrud. He is known far and wide.

The first trip in we took an assembled loom – dissambled it and reassembled it in the workshop. When someone buys a loom, it comes partially assembled and is shipped with major, major documentation- videos etc. So you don’t need a team to assemble the loom if you get one- just a friend of two for a couple of lifting moments. Some places and people prefer the tech support…and so when it is possible,(and can be afforded) it can be provided.











Here is the loom in the truck upon arrival.



I was siting in the loom dis-assembling the heddles…and was listening to waves lapping at the shore of the lake..and the metallic reply of the heddles as the wind gently blew in. It was so ridiculous cool- the beauty, the sounds, the location and the total (OMG! am I really doing this!!!) I had to stop and take a picture.

Jolster designs focusses on Liturgical garments and textiles, but they also weave other work.IMG_0811
This is a quick picture of work they had hanging in the show/workroom. It was just lovely.







Behind the lovely and energetic Irena – is a garment they specialize in. Irena is the weaver. She is sleying a reed in preparation for the arrival of the TC-2. She taught me the word in Norwegian for the reed.



IMG_0817They had 2 TC-1s.   One at 29″ inch weaving and another at 52″. They employ one full time weaver, and also have a designer to develop the pieces. They have really worked hard to create both functional and beautiful pieces that utilize the power of the looms. It was inspiring to see so much handwoven work hanging everywhere.

The TC-2 is a lot faster than the TC-1. It also has a number of really nice features that will make weaving easier and more accurate. (cloth advance, warp tension setting). I spent some time introducing Irena to the new driver, the loom  and winding on a warp.  It was really fun. It is easy to forget how good it feels to do the thing I was meant to do.

The studio is beyond inspiring in location and in conception, and it also seems as though they are willing to put the effort into making the space functional, beautiful and productive. I really appreciated the way they organized the working space. I also really enjoyed my time there…and would go back ANYTIME.

Here is their webpage and they also have a facebook page as well. I don’t feel that I did their work justice here. So, I invite you to visit their page and check out what they have done.

Something about technicalities

A word about this post… was written ready for proofing and then…..
I use my ipad in my room, but have been leaving my laptop at the factory near the loom…the ipad app doesn’t work as well as an editor….and then…well…..suddenly time had passed. I am going to update and update to get this all caught up.

I am learning a little about moving a production… artwork to a new environment. I prepared somewhat before I came, actually the longer I am here, the less I feel I prepared.
I have the opportunity right now to weave on the most sophisticated handloom I know. So, I want to make the most of this. This means, that I can push myself and expand what I know and know how to do…rather than just “simply” making art.  So after some back and forthing, I decided to move up from 45 ends per inch to 60. It doesn’t sound like much of a jump (think resolution in a digital image).  But to me, the more  nuanced detail and articulation is beautiful to see in my weaves.  I could have gone higher, but…no….not for this work, I think. I wound a warp, and of course found that I did not have enough yarn to make the extra long warp…so we “bent it” and in doing so doubled the number of ends that I had and it worked out magically.

This is how I got the threads- the warp onto the TC-2. Vibeke was extremely generous with her time, helping me get this on….the loom makes a huge difference……we just pushed the foot pedal to make the beam roll the warp on. At home we use a frame called a trapeze ( we got it from Katie Meek) that attaches to the TC-1 frame. This is a way of working in a tight space where you cannot extend the warp. The truth is, one could do this by oneself…and most of us do have to. (do this by ourselves…I mean.) Being transplanted here without a garage/studio worth of stuff to grab makes friends and colleagues more than priceless. If I had a choice, I would hang a beam and stretch the warp like we did here… went amazingly well.

I am standing behind the loom at the warp beam shooting this shot. Weavers know how beautiful this looks. A warp is a beautiful thing. The genius move that Vibeke brought into this dance was to use an extra warp beam to weight the warp bouts. What was great about this was that we put equal weight on all bouts. You can also see some belts were used to extend the warp, but they also function to prevent us from snagging the warp as we reposition it as it shortens while we wind it on. The usual way- which is also fine, is to use hand weights.

Winding the beam on was achieved by stepping on a foot pedal. The beam rolls slowly and steadily. Not to complain, but after winding on a warp on the TC-1 my hands and lower back are usually red and sore.
The next step is to thread the heddles. The TC-2 allows one to remove the breast beam and the cloth beam so you can get in really close to the heddles, thus saving your back and move as quickly as works for you. I am threading 2640 threads… one inch I will have 60 ends/threads. I am very excited about this. Although I have had plenty more on industrial looms, I have not had the ability to weave at this density by hand at this width….44 inches.
Of course, every opportunity presents adjustments….nothing comes without a price……

The weaves that I use work nicely at 45 threads per inch….but are not as wonderful when there are 60. SO…….I had to sit back at the “drafting board” aka :my laptop and redraft my weaves so that they behave in their new space (so to speak).

Here I am after spending some hours reworking the structures and seeing the results……
Which…some may not really see….but take my work for it… is pretty cool.
Since I have been here, I have been pretty diligent…..sleep, work, eat, sleep. And ……although this may seem like the magic recipe….it can make one not so productive as the days and nights begin to blur. So…when the opportunity came up to assist in the delivery of a loom to western Norway….I accepted…which is why there isn’t more woven just yet.


Are you trying to tell me something?

Sometimes when I am driving I get this crazy, almost panicky feeling if I try to pay TOO much attention to everything happening around me. It’s like my brain suddenly realizes just how many intersecting paths, actions and possible interactions are occuring in front of me- and then before I just about freak out- my brain intercedes and tunes the extra stuff out so I can focus again on the key things happening around me.

How about this other experience? Occasionally while I am weaving, I will start out excessively clean in my regard for each and every special, special throw of the shuttle. I am, “oh so” aware of the way I am positioned, how the yarn is behaving, how the cloth is developing , my hand motions are spare, precise even artful, and I start kind of having fun, yeah….getting in the groove, you know…

I start thinking, “…I am so awesome, the music is perfect…ah! what a nice day!   This rules! Checkitout! …whooo HOOO….yea! UMM HMMM!!…my back doesn’t hurt at a……”
“WHAT?!! what is THAT….have I been doing that all along?! ….ugh. jeez.” (when I come to my senses I realize I have been doing some cray, cray thing….and SHAME descends upon me.)


I finally learned how to make a weavers knot. I have been taught this many times, but not by a left handed weaver (Vibeke). I got really fast….and of course thought I was way too fancy for words..and… know..hence the inclusion here…..anyvays…..1320 knots..BAM! Done.

Luckily, I am not skiing downhill or skateboarding, so I don’t end up with broken bones…just annoyed that I made a bit of a mess.

Attention and focus is one of those miracles of the human mind. One has to constantly recalibrate and tune in to the environment that you are in.  So then…what happens if you jiggle things up a bit, such as leave home and go somewhere else?

Usually when I travel, I am mostly passing through….my trips haven’t been more than a week or two and I am constantly shifting around. So, I don’t exactly have to use the environment- as much as perform in spite of it.
It helps to be able to find your way out, find your way in, and find the bathroom.IMG_0650

Exit- google translate says: “output”….how logical.




IMG_0652Entrance: actually….I have no idea really….my investigative explorations got me pretty much nowhere with this one….but I can tell you that:

a. this is on a door inside the barracks where I am staying.

b. the little text there says: “exit”

3. um… to admit that, that letter…the one that looks like a “DON”T” sign…fools me…and what is the fun of asking someone?  (the hidden theme of this post is speculation…and the fun of guessing what it happening before I become familiar enough to actually understand.)

Bathroom….IMG_0657this sign is in the basement of the barracks where I am. One difference in my stay here is that most of the time, I am in a work environment. The factory here has ISO 9000 certification ( i hope i heard this correctly). So there are many requirements for signage, safety and etc- for an example,  that are not typical for the tourist. I am not sure how this effects the signage in the barracks. It is all very professional…and artistic.





So, the picture on the is the bathroom and the signage on the door indicating that this is the ladies room at the factory.  It’s lovely isn’t it? There must be some requirement that there is segregation of the sexes…because I peeked into the strange and scary room behind the “guy” bathroom……looks exactly the same.   This was exactly the same case for the bathroom in the barracks, except for this:


I am pretty sure I know what this means. And in case anyone is wondering if I have an obsession with bathrooms or something….really? When you travel….what is one thing you end up thinking about more often than you are used to?  The REAL purpose of this image is to focus in on the “underscored text”. 

If it is underlined… must be important!! Which kind of makes it funnier(or stress inducing) when you can’t read it.
(water rose)

This is a note that I found on the kitchen table.

hmmmm…. emphatic underlining of the word, “BRUK BLOKKBOCKSTAVER”. Because there are posit notes nearby…my super powerful brain intuits that this word must be related to them…the postit notes. However, what is the emphatic underlining trying to say to me? I turn around and see this in the corner….IMG_0655

Obviously, someone is quite the cut up. I have still only very briefly seen anyone else in this house…they are all guys..some younger..some less so. And, I will share this. I have snooped (!) in the fridge to see what they are eating….it’s sausages. Lots of sausages. Okay..slight exaggeration for dramatic effect. There is also swedish milk.  Okay…okay…there are also containers of home made food..but, I haven’t stooped to snooping in those.  Anyway,  I don’t see any postit notes anywhere.  Full disclosure: Vibeke did tell me that the note said, “you can use these postit notes to label your food”…or something like that. But then, I had another dilemma, if I am the ONLY one doing that, do I become that annoying roommate that labels everything..or should I be in the cool kids club and just copy everyone else’s behavior? I didn’t take a picture of the overflowing trash bags in the kitchen.   Roommates are basically the same EVERYWHERE...truedat!

How about this….? Right outside my door.IMG_0020






monolopoly man

I apologize for the blurriness. If I wait till I go back to the barracks to retake this shot, I will never get this blogpost out….but um…is that son of the monopoly man?

These look like rules of behavior to me…..

That is a bag of money. He looks as though he is just chillin’ and dreaming….’bout his do-ray-me.(?)





I decided to move my desk to the window side of the space where I work..which is where I am posting from right now. When I stay till early evening, the moon rises in front of me.












I took a few other pictures of kitchen signs with !!!!!exclamation !!!!! points that I couldn’t figure out…and etc, but I am feeling now as though I have kind of made my point. I wouldn’t want to beat and eat a dead I will move on.

Check this out…


I left it nice and big so you can read the numbers.

The exchange rate was something like: 5.65/1 dollars…round there…doesn’t matter….585.54 in any currency seems alarming…AND….AND….it looks as though I paid $4.35 for a chocolate bar ( a good one- cause basically you have to look hard for bad ones). and I’m like,  “well…..I ain’t giving up my chocolate so…..”

So, food is more expensive here. There is a breakdown of the taxes or whatever at the bottom of the receipt….I will probably ask about that..(speculation: not so fun if chocolate is at stake)..some of the items have + signs next to them some don’t…IDK. Also, you can buy beer at the grocery store until, I think 7 0r 8….that is 21:00 or 22:00 (yeah….i did wake up at :34 at night…what a kind of time is that?). I don’t drink beer really, so, I have been medicating with tea and chocolate. Wine and alcohol is sold in special stores and they haven’t been on my agenda so far.

I have a kind of an addiction to 1/2 &1/2 in my tea and/or coffee.  They don’t do that over here. Nope…it’s black coffee ALLLLLLL day.  So at the barracks, I think I am set up okay, and here, I have been using the healthful milk provided in the lunchroom. Today, I spotted a dusty box WAY up on top of a cabinet in the coffee area “at work”. IMG_0023 cremora


I totally climbed up there to check it out. (hope I don’t get in trouble).










It’s creamora or close enough.

So, after a week, I am kind of set up, I’d say. I did laundry last night.  I used to have a Bosch washing machine, which finally broke, and was probably too small, but after washing my clothes last night I realized, how much I miss it. Our washing machines aren’t as good in my opinion. I wound most of my warp this week and have been preparing files to weave. I have also been studying the new looms.  I have to confess, I didn’t bring enough yarn. I haven’t been able to be this ambitious before..I think that is my excuse…so I am waiting for another delivery to finish winding.

So basically, the days have been fairly predictable. Work starts around 7 here,

I have been riding a bike to work. I ride right across an airfield and runway.

Everyone lunches in the lunchroom. (pics another day)

The day ends earlyish  by our standards. Then – I ride my bike back to the barracks.


This is me taking the long way back for some exercise…I am going around the airstrip. I am counting on my decades old skill on the bike to take a picture while riding on a bumpy surface.


All is good.

And we have lift off.

I am in Norway. I got on a plane and departed- and then arrived.
An expression I often use usually as an excuse for the crazy things I think up is:
“If you don’t USE your imagination you LOSE your imagination.”
And so it was. I tried to imagine what it would be like to be here, what I would need, what I would want, what I might miss and what I would not miss.
One of the things that I have been blessed with (I think) is that I am able to be present when I travel. I may not catch everything that is going on- but, I am not always half home half here (or wherever). I have learned that not everyone is like this. This means that most of the time, I can travel pretty light. I am not constantly trying to protect myself from the environment that I am in.
The preparations for this trip clued me in that something was a bit different- and I found myself packing and packing and packing and packing and
good heavens…still packing.
At any rate, the last few hours before I left for the airport were a bit exhausting as I eliminated one crazy item after another in order to make the weight restriction.

All of these parts arrived safely with me and I was met at the airport by my dear friend, colleague and host Vibeke Vestby of Digital Weaving Norway.
She told me apologetically that a guy would be coming to talk with her about a small aircraft for a short while and then we would…..etc.

When we got to the industrial campus Vibeke’s husband Ola and “the guy” were already there. We sat and had the first coffee and I listened to them speak…in Norwegian. I realized that the roots of this language were not obviously romance (like French or Spanish) and basically except for the occasional borrowed word…I got nothing. Hmmmm…..even if I relaxed my mind (a secret trick that usually gets me somewhere.) I better get on those “Learn to speak Norwegian” youtube videos. The truth is – I find it amusing that most of everything else here is fairly familiar- easy to figure out- and the language…..nada…nada word. Unlike China- which I enjoyed but, found it utterly foreign- so much so that I even didn’t recognize familiar things occasionally. I existed in a little bubble which seemed often impenetrable. Here at least, I can read a few things (food labels and a few signs) again- unlike China- for example.

After the first coffee, we stepped out to the airstrip
and after some more talk and gassing up, Vibeke stepped into the little plane and flew up into the sky. (Of course, I am eliminating details for dramatic effect…but, that is what happened.

After a moment Ola turned to me and said, “Would you like to ride in the helicopter?”
“ummmm….okay?” I replied.
I was a little bit stupid and am still a bit slow from jet lag.
I really didn’t have time to get nervous. I watched incredulously as he pulled the helicopter out of the hangar, IMG_0005
opened the door, signaled for me to step in, handed a stunned me a pair of headphones (JUST LIKE ON TV!!…jk) and then powered it up and lifted us up into the air.

I sat mostly silent (mouth agape) my hand held aloft for the most part- holding my iphone- a bit like a child showing her little dolly the landscape- only I was trying to video what was happening. It was, as they would say, “ridonkuluous cool”

So, it turns out, I am in a beautiful river valley that seems to be formed by glacial moraines.

After this, we, oh so casually, strolled over to the headquarters and manufactory (I am not sure what to call it).

Really…I couldn’t have imagined that I would be walking around with a blown mind as I prepared for this experience. It’s trippy.


I will get better pictures of these. The colorful graphics along the back wall are weavings- designed and executed by Grethe Sorenson-a Danish woman. All of the upholstery in the main building- all of the office chairs, conference chairs…all of them- have custom made fabric- each one is unique- it is amazing.

I am going to be situated mostly here
But I have also been given access and use of this space

I am sitting at that desk right now as I type this out.
(I brought speakers with me….they smoked when I plugged them in. One of those funny things you feel certain is a brilliant idea- only to realize….nope. It was dumb. Now I have to decide how much to be bothered by it. I’ll get to that later.)

This is the smaller loom. It has a warp on it from an event in Saudi Arabia. Another really skilled and talented weaver from Finland, Katja Huhmarkangas wove off several yards there and the rest needs to be woven off so a more versatile warp can be put on. So this is my first job.
after one day- I have only a little bit more to do. I wove 1400 pics. Not bad for a jet lagged chick from the midwest.
It felt solid to do something I know how to do well as I make the adjustments to settle in. The new looms are quiet, accurate and extremely smart.
The new looms do not use a compressor. Compressors are amazing- they can also jangle your nerves. At home, after about 8 hours- sometimes far less -I find I have to recite a mantra, “the compressor is my friend, it enables me to weave this piece”. Sometimes my teeth are gritted as I speak this, sometimes they are chattering as I also have to run an air conditioner to keep the room at an optimal temperature. It turns out that nearly every “present” contains at least one form of discomfort- it just depends on how much attention you are willing to spare on it.
At any rate, the weaving was great. It is great. It will be great.

This is a shot of my room so far.
This is the hallway in the barracks.
Not bad. I am sharing this building with a number of guys who are working for an electric company on the industrial campus. They rise very, very early…so far I have only glimpsed one or two- and very briefly.
I have no wrap up here….there is no theme—this is more like a journal entry….and so much is missing…and so much is in front of me.
Unlike most trips I take, this one offers me the luxury of imagining what will come next. Usually I am so intent on squeezing everything in….here…I can relax and expand my mind into really just about anything. I mean when you start off by floating up into the sky and squinting down at a shimmery meandering river what is