Sunday, 9 December 2018

Weaving for Christmas

This year I decided to weave some designs to make my own Christmas cards.

Drawdown without tabby

This design is an overshot pattern.  This drawdown does not show the tabby.

Christmas tree design

Here is the drawn down with tabby inserted.

Drawdown with tabby
This pattern uses 8 shafts. Use a floating selvedge to catch in the threads at the side.


I used 2/20 cotton for the background and tabby

The green is three strands of embroidery cotton and the yellow is some gold yarn I found in my sewing box.

On the drawdown,  the blue indicates the white tabby. If I had used white on the drawdown, it would have been difficult to see the pattern.

On the loom.

Here is the weaving on the loom.

I also wove some snowflakes in silver.

Snowflake design

Here is the drawdown with the tabby inserted.

Drawdown with the tabby weft

The drawdown shows the snowflake in yellow and the tabby and background in blue.

snowflake on the loom

I wove each design in groups of two. The plain weave section before and after enabled a hem to be sewn to keep the weaving from unravelling.  I left space of unwoven warp in between each piece.

Off the loom, the strip of weaving showed reed marks.  These did become less after a day or two but I decided to wash some of the pieces.  The loom marks disappeared.

I hemmed each piece of weaving at the top and bottom.

Christmas Cards

Here are 6 of the Christmas cards on display. I cut two slits into the front of the card and threaded the weaving through top and bottom. For the inside of the card I printed messages on plain white paper.

Yes, they did take a long time to plan and weave.

Decorations for the Christmas Tree

If you  want a quicker project for Christmas, what about weaving some Christmas decorations for your tree.

My friend Nancy in the States sent me some lovely woven hangings for my tree.

Christmas tree decoration
Here is one of them. It is just under 4 inches in length and sparkles in the Christmas lights.
Thank you Nancy for a lovely present.

There was a lovely article in the Guardian recently about Advent Calendars.

'In simpler times, the thrill of Advent calendars involved finding a picture of a Christmas tree or holly sprig hidden behind the cardboard door. But then the tradition was hijacked by upmarket retailers, and you came to expect a craft gin miniature, artisan cheese or mindfulness tips. This year, though, traditionalists are fighting back.'

The article was about crafting your own calendar.  A kit is available but it would be so easy to make your own; for example, a  hanging mobile of little bags each with a number and containing simple things. It does not have to be expensive or complicated.

It is so easy to click and buy but so much more satisfying to make and give.

with very best wishes to everyone for this festive time. 

Susan J Foulkes December 2018


I belong to Durham Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers.  One of our wonderful members has just written this blog for the web site.  I would like to share it.

Craft is a wonderful way to bring people together - old and young - experienced and learners.  Soo reflects on two Guild events.  Do read it - and share. 

'It was simply the happiest of days'. 

I have just been reading Theo Moorman's book 'Weaving as an Art Form'. She has a lovely quote at the beginning.

'..what constitutes the dignity of a craft is that it creates a fellowship, that it binds men together...'

Another Postscript

This year I taught two workshops at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford about Sami band weaving.  Sharon attended one of the workshops and sent me this lovely photograph of bands she has woven.

Coffee bags made by Sharon with handwoven ties. 

She makes coffee bags out of leather and wove the beautiful straps to tie the top.  She tells me that she really enjoyed the workshop. The look of these wonderful woven bands shows that she has learned all the skills needed. They are so colourful.
Thank you Sharon for letting me share this photograph.

Happy Weaving

Susan J Foulkes December 2018

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Hakata-ori textiles


19 November 2018 – 31 January 2019

In November I went to see an exhibition at the Embassy of Japan in London. There is one room filled with beautiful examples of weaving. I had not heard of the Hakata-ori before and I was delighted to be introduced to another woven belt design.

Two handweavers were mentioned. Ogawa Zenzaburo and his son Kisaburo Zenzaburo.

If you have time, do go and visit this lovely exhibition.

'Protecting the heritage and customs of the past whilst preparing for the future is essential for any traditional craft to prosper in modern times.'

Unfortunately, photography was not allowed but I have searched the web so that you can see some of these lovely woven pieces.

The stripes separating the pattern stripes are also important. There are two main designs; nakagomochi and ryogomochi

Hakata-ori are wide warp faced belts woven in a very fine silk thread. The colours and patterns are traditional and have particular meanings. Go-shiki Kenjo   go-shiki means five colours and Kenjo means a gift for the emperor.
Righteousness: purple is a noble colour and represents repose and grace.
Benevolence: green is the colours of spring and represents calmness, tranquillity and peace.
Courtesy: red represents true sincerity and symbolises happiness and wealth
Wisdom: navy is a powerful and dignified colour and represents confidence.
Trust: yellow is the colour of earth.
Here is an example of the Go-shiko Kenjo design.

Go-shiki Kenjo: A close up of a belt showing the traditional patterns and stripes.

This foundation promotes Japanese traditional culture and has an interesting page about this type of weaving.

Two YouTube videos

Here is a YouTube video with more information.

This video shows hakata-ori being woven in a college.

Susan J Foulkes December 2018