Monday, 20 April 2020

Mexican Stripes - an inspiration

Last year I visited Mexico for the first time.  We spent a week in Mexico City and then had a short tour of the south.  We wanted to see the mural art in Mexico City. These huge murals are on the walls in various buildings so can only be seen in situ.

What is so stunning in Mexico is the use of colour.

 Our hotel was conveniently near the National Monument and we had a delightful walk to the Archaeology Museum which is in a huge park.  On Sundays. the main road up to the park is closed to traffic so everyone was out walking, running, strolling and generally socialising. The park was full of stalls, entertainment and families out for a social stroll.

These security straps were for parents. The crowds were so great that to have your small child attached to you by a strap was reassuring.

Even the place settings in one restaurant had beautiful stripes on the table runners.

Even place settings are colourful

This is a wonderful bag stall.  I bought a few to give to friends.  I love the way that the warp ends have been made into a handle.

Woven sashes in warp faced plain weave using one colour only.
This is a group of woven belts - all warp faced but in one colour only.  Together they make a lovely bright display.  So many colourful stripes everywhere.


I am running an online workshop for the Braid Society on the Braids and Bands io group and these blogs are part of the workshop. The workshop will start on May 1st and will run for three weeks.

My blog for each week of the workshop will give more band patterns for you to try.  The first post will be on May 1st, the second on May 8th and the third on May 15th.

Do check out my YouTube video about weaving this type of band.

YouTube:  Five Ways of Weaving Narrow Bands.  


The workshop starting on May 1st will be examining simple stripe patterns in warp-faced weave bands.  No pick up is involved so the bands are easy to weave on a variety of equipment.  We will be looking at some easy ways to design your own patterns, so look out for striped pictures for inspiration.
I have a board in Pinterest called Stripes.  I put any picture of stripes that I find on this board.  There are lots of similar boards devised by others.  Why not do some exploring yourself?  Find some striped patterns that you like. They will be sources of inspiration.

Books about simple band weaving

Here are some books which look at plain weave warp-faced bands .

The Braid Society has books for sale .

Unfortunately, book sales are suspended due to the coronavirus but do check them out later.

Steve Kennett     The book is available from his site.

Making Inkle Braids An introduction to weaving inkle braids

ISBN self published, Steve Kennett, 2017

The book starts with an introduction to inkle looms and basic instructions.  It then progresses to warping for patterns, then pick up and drop down for patterning with some ideas for use. He also looks at the pros and cons of using different types of yarn. The book is clearly illustrated with diagrams and photographs.

Annie MacHale has her book In Celebration of Plain Weave, for sale on her site.

It is also available as a PDF download.

Here is her blog.  This month she is offering a tutorial about pick up patterns.  Its great - do check it out.

Annies enthusiasm for inkle weaving is infectious. The book has over 100 patterns in the  most glorious colour combinations for 39, 59 and 79 warp threads. I could hardly wait to try one of her patterns.  The layout of the book is very user friendly and the patterns are large and clear to read. 

Check out my review on my blog. 

Susan J Foulkes  The Art of Simple Band Weaving 

My self-published book The Art of Simple Band Weaving covers bands like the Sanada Himo bands.  It is available from in print or a ebook version for the IPad.

Check out my blog at:

Happy weaving and stay safe.

Susan J Foulkes  April 2020

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Jokkmokk Marknad 6 8 Feb 2020

Jokkmokk Market 2020 was a wonderful event. If you followed my blog whilst I was there you will have seen such glorious images.

Jokkmokk is within the Arctic Circle.  We stopped to take photographs of the sign.

One of the Arctic Circle stopping points.

We arrived a few days before the Market opened as I knew that there was going to be so much to see and so many people to meet.

Practically next door to the hotel was the Sami Doudji Centre.

Sami Doudji Centre near the hotel

Here I met Juhan for the first time having only corresponded by email. He was very busy because two exhibitions were being assembled in the Centre.

Juhan and I in the Sami Doudji Centre
The Sami Doudji Centre was very busy for the whole week and had drafted in additional help.  There was a great selection of beautiful Sami handicraft for sale.

Just one corner of the room!
I was very excited to find that three books on Sami weaving, which had long been out of print, were now for sale.

A selection of the books on sale

Here are two of them. Stoorstalka might be selling them soon.  I mention them on my blog on the page about weaving books from Sweden.

Here are the three books  which are now back in print.

(2000) published by Sameslojdstiftelsen Sámi  Duodji ISBN 91-631-0498-9

Girjjit Samisks vavmonster  Karesuando, Jukkasjarvi och Gallivare  (1999)  ISBN 91-630-9564-5
This book is excellent. The patterns are very clear and I understand that it was written by local weavers. 

Sjnjissjkot ja lahtat  Samiska band fran Arvidsjaur, Arjeplog och Mala  (2000) published by Sameslojdstiftelsen Sámi  Duodji ISBN 91-631-0499-7

There were a number of exhibitions in other venues both before and during the market.
The Old Pharmacy
The Old Pharmacy is on the central street and sells locally produced handicrafts.  There were several rooms and lots of interesting items for sale.

Inside the Old Pharmacy
The town was practically deserted for these few days, that is apart from the snow clearing and the officials marking out the spaces for the stalls.

I loved the ski baskets that people used when they were out shopping.

Laponia Adventures.  

We had booked the market portion of our holiday with Laponia Adventures.

Mirja from Laponia Adventures in the hotel lobby.
Here is Mirja who was our guide for the adventure part of the holiday - dog sledging and snow mobile,  a trip to see moose and meeting a reindeer herder.  It was excellent, as was the hotel which was in the centre of town.

Here I am dressed for a dog sledging trip.  I have two coats, a sleeveless warm fleece,  shirt and thermal vest with a thermal buff and hat and two pairs of trousers and leggings! On top of that I was given a ski suit to wear and very warm boots.

Very cosy
 The dogs were amazing.   There were two sledges with 12 dogs each.  We were driven for 12 kilometres and then we stopped for coffee and a bite to eat in a tent. It was minus 27 degrees centigrade!  I really needed the extra layers.  Unfortunately I forgot that camera batteries cease to function in the cold so it was difficult to take pictures.

Setting off after our coffee break
I did not go with the group to find moose as I wanted to spend more time in the museum. Martin and the group found over 30 moose and were able to take pictures.

Three moose

The Jokkmokk Market

The Market opened on the Wednesday evening and the market was open from Thursday to Saturday.
Juhan was part of the opening ceremony.

Juhan trying out the microphone before the opening ceremony

Part of the opening ceremony

Once the market opened,  Jokkmokk became very crowded.

 A busy day on one of the market streets
 Everyday at noon there is a paraded of reindeer.

One of the reindeer in the parade.

This is eagerly anticipated and very colourful.

There were a number of exhibitions of Sami handicraft including many colourful textiles.

Part of the exhibition of the work of students at the Sami handcraft school
Well, there is so much to show that I think  will write another blog about some of the exhibitions I saw.

Do check my Facebook page for more pictures and videos.
While I was in Jokkmokk I wrote a daily piece on Facebook.

Keep well and safe.

Braid Society Online Workshop

I am running a workshop for the Braid Society online starting in May.  The workshop is about weaving narrow warp-faced bands in stripes. It is free to join in. It will be hosted by the Braids and Bands groupsio site.

I hope to be able to make the workshop booklets more widely available. Check out my blog later this month for further details.

The equipment needed is the standard heddle.  The bands are simple warp-faced plain weave with no pick up. A pattern slot heddle like the Sunna heddle is not suitable.

Here is an outline of the sessions.

Week 1  An introduction to Sanada-Himo bands from Japan. Sanada-Himo are the traditional woven bands from Japan used to tie scrolls and boxes, and used in making samurai armour. Tamaki
Takagi wrote an interesting article about sanada-himo bands for her workshop in Tacoma., in 2016. It
was through her workshop that I became interested in these bands.
I will also introduce some other simple striped bands from around the world. The week will give you
a range of patterns to try if you want. The striped band seem to be used everywhere. These are the
ties that bind us all together in a community of handweavers.
You do not have to weave all of them. Just choose one that takes your fancy.

Week 2:  Simple ideas for designing your own stripe patterns.
This session and the next may be of interest to weavers, particularly those who like to weave plain
weave scarves.
In this session we will be looking at very easy ways of varying a striped pattern.

Week 3:  Further ideas for creative stripe designing
This session will give you ideas on how to design your own stripes from scratch. 

The equipment list has already been posted.  Anything will do from a standard heddle and backstrap, inkle loom, two shaft floor or table loom, tape loom, rigid heddle loom. As for materials, again cotton, wool, cottolin etc would be fine.  Why not reduce your stash!

I thought that it would be fun to share a workshop of easy-to-weave bands with some added exercises in making your own stripe patterns to weave.



Stoorstalka is open for mail order.They sell the Gepha shuttle and the standard heddle. The large white, the medium white and medium gold are suitable. The large white has 103 and the medium heddles have 63 slots and holes.  Most bands in the workshop have up to 60 warp ends but a few have more.  They can be woven on an inkle loom or a two shaft table or floor loom.

Woolery, USA

The Woolery is open for mail order as is the Woolery.
Standard heddles .and the Gepha shuttle are stocked by The Woolery in the USA
go to  They have a great selection of yarns for weaving and a variety of band weaving equipment which would also be suitable for the workshop including, band looms and inkle looms.

Happy weaving

Susan J Foulkes  April 2020