Sunday, 1 January 2023

Happy New Year

This year starts with an online workshop about weaving tubular cords with a disc.  I have rediscovered this technique and I will be demonstrating how these tubular cords can be woven. 

Braid  Society Online Workshop January 2023

 Weaving a tubular filled cord with a disc.

Susan J Foulkes

This technique is not well known so I hope that participants will share their experience of weaving and their own exploration of how these cords can be used. The article in Strands October 2022 outlines my own experiences in learning to weave with this equipment. 

weaving a tubular filled cord

The workshop will be available to members of Braids and Bands:

I hope you join us. 

I wish everyone a happy and peaceful New Year.

Susan J Foulkes  2023

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Japanese Lotus bags.


A Japanese Lotus bag with drawstring cords

I have made a few Japanese Lotus bags.  These are very simple to make and make lovely presents.  

I found this lovely tutorial on the web.  This sort of sewing I can do. Very easy and uncomplicated.

Take two pieces of cloth and put the wrong sides together.  Sew around the edge leaving a small space so that it can be turned inside out.

Now, sew around the edge. Do refer to the web instructions for detailed instructions.. 

Here I have used a small piece of Japanese cloth with a grey silk for the lining. The next stage is to turn in the four corners. These must be accurately measured and pinned in place. 

Here are two bags ready to be sewn.  Sew a straight line across each of the corners.  These form the channels for the drawstring cords. 

The next stage is more difficult to explain.  The corners are folded together and sewn. Then another line of sewing produces the shape of the bag. Be careful not to sew across the openings for the drawstrings. 

Turn the bag inside out so that the lining appears at each corner. 
Sewing a seam from top to bottom 

Three sewn corners.

Now turn the bag inside out so that the lining is now on the inside. 

Completed bags waiting for the drawstring cords. 

I made several drawstring cords using an unusual method. These cords are woven and have a filling so they are very sturdy.  The Braid Society is running an online workshop in January 2023 about weaving tubular filled cords. Do join in if you want to find out more about this mystery weaving disc method.

Here is one of the silk cords.  I used 60/2 silk with several strands for each of the 13 warp ends. I used two colours of silk with 13 warp ends.
 2 yellow / 1 blue / 3 yellow / 2 blue / 1 yellow / 1 blue / 1 yellow / 2 blue 

Here is the drawdown with the pattern.  The warp ends are threaded into a circular disc with an additional central core thread. The weft is silk. 

Close up of one of the woven filled silk drawstring cords

The pattern spirals around the cord. I used a different pattern for the second cord. 

Japanese lotus bag with two woven silk cords. The blue material is Japanese and the silk lining is from China.

This type of weaving is unusual and although more time consuming than simply twisting a cord. It can produce an interesting variety of patterns.

Festive greetings

Susan J Foulkes December 2022.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022


 At our last Guild meeting we had a 'beanie' event.  Members were invited to bring their collection of hand made hats - knitted and crocheted.  I had not heard of an event like this but they are popular around the world.  It all started in Australia. I quote the web site - 'The event began with a 'beanie party' organised by Adi Dunlop.......  The festival was organised to sell beanies crocheted by Aboriginal women in remote communities.' 

Read more at this web site.

Our event was more modest but people brought their own 'beanies' and what a lot of stories emerged. 

The hats spread out over several tables and hung on an imaginative stand.

Members who brought hats, talked about the design, method of making, and why they were made. It was fascinating.

Here are some close up pictures.

 I loved this purple creation.

If you have not read this book - do - its a celebration of the older woman.

This was a lovely event and we are thinking of having it every year.  it gives a chance for members to talk about their work and for others to appreciate the creativity and the care in making.  Plus, there were many useful tips for knitters. 

Susan J Foulkes 1st November 2022

Saturday, 1 October 2022

Nordic and World Braids and Bands 2022

 Busy Hands  (and feet)

The conference was a wonderful experience.  Do think about the next conference in 2025 in the USA.  The skills taught in the week ranged from beginners classes to extending the more experienced.  The participants learned from their tutors but also from each other. I always find that I learn from my classes as well as teaching them. 

Busy Hands

Here are a selection of images showing working hands (and feet). This is only a selection of the classes. I am sure that you will identify the skills being displayed.  

The conference was amazing.  There were two lectures in the morning before classes commenced and generally one lecture afterwards, before the evening meal.
The conference proceedings are now on sale. 

The Proceedings are now for sale at £38 plus postage and packing on the website, under books.   This book which is 234 pages with 45 contributing authors is a fabulous book and worth every penny.   If you don't purchase it now, why don't you put it on your Christmas list.

Alternatively, you can  email  stating:
Which book(s) you require
Where in the world the package should be sent
Whether you will pay by Paypal (preferred) or alternatively by cheque or direct bank transfer.

Overview of contents


Bente Skogass – A glimpse into tablet weaving from early Viking times

Ulla Mannering & Charlotte Rimstad – The Danish Prehistoric Cord and Band Tradition

Randi Stoltz – Band weaving in Norway over 2000 years

Ragnheidur Thorsdottir – Table weaving in Iceland

Sonja Berlin – Why choose Tablet weaving?

Anna Sjursen – Sami weaving, traditions and techniques

Noomi I Dali – Faroese cords bands, braids and garters

Katia Johansen – After the Vikings: The decline of hands in Denmark


Kumihimo – articles by Shirley Berlin (Canada), Makiko Tada & Masumi Tada (Japan), Diane Watanabe (Japan), Bob Galivan (USA), Yuko Yoshida (Japan)

Kuteuchi, Loop Braiding – articles by Masumi Tada (Japan), Jacqui Carey (UK),  Jean Leader (UK), Joy Boutrup (Denmark)

Cords, Whipcording, Lucet – articles by Annette Herbst, Ziggy Rytka (UK), Georgia Olsen (USA)

Ply Split Braiding – articles by Julie Hedges (UK), Katoko Kitade (Japan), Erroll Pires (India)

Rigid Heddle, Inkle – articles by Shahla Amini (Iran), Susan Foulkes (UK), Ane Rasmussen (Denmark), Dee Sayce (UK), Tamaki Takagi (Japan), Laura Thode (USA), Marieke Kranenberg (Netherlands)

Sprang – articles by Carol James (Canada), Bodil Dago (Norway)

Tablet weaving – articles by Inge Dam (Canada), Bente Skogass (Norway), Rasmus Jorgensen (Denmark), Cathy Smith (UK), Randi Stoltz (Norway), Louise Strom (Sweden), Keiko Kusakabe (Japan), John Mullarkey (USA)

Other techniques – articles by Anna Sparr (Denmark), Ilta Hamari (Finland), Gil Dye (UK), Lena Bjerresgard (Denmark)

Thursday, 22 September 2022

national exhibition of Weavers Spinners and Dyers

 The National Exhibition of the Association of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers was held at Leigh Spinning Mill in September.

Here are some photographs about the exhibition.

The unprepossessing entrance

The heritage lift was over 100 years old

Entrance to the exhibition space

Leigh Mill is undergoing a transformation.  The renovation project is very ambitious and will provide a wonderful outlet for creative talent. It is very much a work in progress.

Alison from the Lancs and Lakes Guild welcomed visitors. Alison's wonderful bed spread is next to her. The whole exhibition was set up by five volunteers. 

Two general views

A wall of discs - the fascinating interpretations using a disc.

Unfortunately exhibitors had asked that images of their work are not shared on social media so I cannot add the rest of the photographs that I took.  However, one member from Durham Guild had a disc on the wall display. Anne is one of our oldest members and a founder member of the Durham Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers. 

Anne Evans

 After viewing the exhibition we walked along the canal to Leigh town centre. 

It was an interesting walk and we passed two boat yards and some canal boats. 

A great day out from Manchester.

Susan J Foulkes September 2022

Thursday, 1 September 2022

The Red Thread

 My piece for the exhibitors exhibition was entitled The Red Thread.

All the sayings are from different Nordic countries.  The border for each saying is in the colours of the national flag. The motifs at each end of the band were chosen to link to the particular country. 

  The Swedish saying is: Den röda tråden  - The red thread.

In Sweden the phrase, 'the red thread' is used as a metaphor to describe the 'thread' running through something or underpinning a lesson, conference or a dialogue that gives it unity and meaning. As one person has written 'The red thread is live, clear, powerful and connective.' The red thread seemed a suitable idea that underpinned the conference in Denmark bringing together crafts people from around the world with a common love of creating narrow wares. 

  The Icelandic saying is Að komast í álnir - To become rich. This is an old saying and refers to the trade in textiles from Iceland which was important for about 1,000 years.

 The Norwegian saying is: Øving gjør mester  -  Practice makes the master.

   The saying from the Faroe Islands is: Altíð bagir illum barni okkurt.  A bad workman blames his tools.

  The saying from Greenland is: Uppertunut ajornartoqanngilaq.  Nothing is impossible for one who believes.

     The Danish saying is: Gennem livet går der en usynlig tråd. An invisible thread goes through one's life.  This lovely saying is attributed to Hans Christian Anderson and originated with Goethe. 

The Sami saying is: Vuosttaš maid meašttir dahká, lea oahppat. The first thing a master does is to learn.

   The Finnish saying is: Mestariksi tuleminen vaatii kaikkien virheiden tekemistä. To be a master you need to have made all the mistakes. 

The red thread around the sayings is a lucetted woollen cord. 

On the display is a Sami belt woven with the Sigga heddle, a tasuki cord in red silk, a handfasting band woven in red and gold silk and a marriage band from Sweden.  

The Sami belt woven with the Sigga heddle

A Japanese tasuki cord woven in red and gold silk

A tasuki cord is used in Japan to tie up the sleeves of a kimono or wide sleeved jacket. It is used by men and women.  

A handfasting band in red and gold silk with the eternal knot symbol

The Swedish marriage band with 101 different motifs. My initials and date are woven at one end. It is over 4 metres in length.

The Japanese lotus bag with two woven filled tubular silk cords. 

Exhibitors displays

There was an exhibition of work by all the workshop providers.  Here are some

of the displays.

Exquisite work

I love these colourful bands.

The cushion cover is beautiful.

I loved the participants who wore something that they had made.
Carol's sprang trousers

Steve's inkle woven braces

Ziggy's colourful laces made with a lucet.

The next International Conference will be held in the USA in 2025.  I hope to see you there. Perhaps we should all try to make something to wear. 

Susan J Foulkes September 2022