Tag Archives: Woolery

A Fibery Start to 2014

IMG_5272Later this month, the Woolery will be heading to the Fiber Frenzy Retreat in Lexington, KY (February 21-23) ! We’re excited for this fiber-tastic event – it’s a great way to start the new year! If you’re new to the fiber festival scene, you may want to check out our  blog post from last year which has some great tips for getting the most out of your fiber festival-going experience.

When you’re not immersing yourself in fleece and fiber, we highly recommend checking out some of the excellent classes offered to build your skills! Three members of Team Woolery will be teaching workshops at the retreat, so we’d like to take a moment to introduce you to some of the friendly faces you’re likely to see at the Fiber Frenzy Retreat:

nancyreidNancy Reid
Nancy has been knitting since the age of 5; since then, she has added spinning and weaving to her repertoire. For the last 12 years, she has taught spinning and weaving classes at festivals and retreats as well as privately. Nancy’s expertise is a valued asset on Team Woolery: she even has Blue State Fair ribbons for weaving, spinning, and knitting!

Nancy will be teaching a free workshop demonstrating how to safely and effectively use a wool picker to process fiber.

taeviaTaevia Magee
Taevia first started playing with yarn when she was six.; since then, she has learned  how to knit, spin yarn, weave, tat, and hook rugs. As a part of Team Woolery, Taevia combines her love of fiber and teaching to help others learn about rug hooking so that they will come to love wool and other fibers as much as she does!

Taevia will be teaching an intermediate class on spinning cotton with a Tahkli Spindle.

annaAnna Latek
Anna is fortunate enough to have been taught sewing, knitting, crochet, and embroidery by her mother and grandmother. It’s no wonder that a career in the textile and fiber arts was a given, and Anna studied costuming and textile history in college to enrich her fibery pursuits. In recent years, she has explored felting and loves to share the magic of the fiber arts with the world at large.  

Anna will be teaching a beginner class on Kumihimo braiding, an ancient Japanese weaving technique used to create lengths of beautifully-detailed cording for the Samurai, geisha, and every class in between

If you’re lucky enough to be in attendance, be sure to say hello to Nancy, Taevia and Anna if you see them, or stop by our booth to say hello!

The Woolery strives to be a part of the fiber arts community and it is part of our mission to strongly support guilds and its members, who work so hard to keep the crafts alive for future generations.

In support of these efforts, the Woolery offers the Woolery Guild Rewards Program (WGRP), which has two main components:

1) Participating Guilds will receive a yearly cash reward based on purchases made by its members.

2) Participating Guilds can receive a Grant from the Woolery through our Woolery Humanitarian & Community Outreach Grant.

Click here for more information or to apply!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team


Artisan Spotlight: Joanne Hall

julia-joanne-cmWe’re pleased to feature acclaimed instructor Joanne Hall on today’s blog post. Joanne is a weaver, teacher & author of Tying up the Countermarch Loom , Learning to Warp your Loom and Mexican Tapestry Weaving. She has a masters degree in Textile Design from the University of Minnesota. After teaching at the University of Montana and Cal Poly, she started the Elkhorn Weaving Studio where she weaves and teaches weaving as well as distribute looms and weaving supplies throughout the U.S and Canada.

Joanne will be returning to the Woolery this fall to teach Beginner’s Tapestry Weaving, a 3-day workshop which will cover the basics of tapestry weaving. We took a few minutes to chat with Joanne about weaving and her upcoming class with us. Enjoy! 

When and how did you learn  to weave?

I studied textiles at the University of Minnesota and I began teaching weaving at the University of Montana in 1971.  Later I traveled to teach weaving workshops for guilds, for conferences, art centers and for weaving shops.  Most of the workshops are tapestry weaving, but I also teach many different weaving techniques with a specialty in Swedish design.

What are your favorite weaving projects?

Today I weave mostly for the workshops I teach.  In the early 90s I purchased a drawloom and began weaving images which reflect my Swedish heritage.  After a couple years I purchased another drawloom and I teach classes in damask and other drawloom weaves.

Do you do any other crafts?

If you call fishing a craft, I do that on my time off.

Beginning weavers may feel intimidated by tapestry weaving techniques. Tell us about the workshop you have planned at The Woolery for this November – what can they look forward to learning from you?

Beginners are always welcome in my classes.  I like beginners and I can always find the time to help someone who need some extra time.  I like small classes with time to weave and that gives me time to work individually with each weaver.

Tapestry class Day 2For tapestry, I start beginners on a frame loom, as the techniques are easier to learn on a small scale.  In some longer workshops we then weave on looms with treadles, which let your hands be free to weave. Most of the tapestries I wove for galleries and for commissions were large and so they were woven on a large four shaft floor loom with a hanging beater and treadles.

Here is a tapestry sampler I wove while weaving along with students in a two day beginning tapestry class.  We start at the bottom where you can see some very basic stripes, diagonals and vertical shapes.  On the top, each weaver works from a simple cartoon.  In this case, I wove a pear, which was from a cartoon in an older Swedish tapestry weaving book.

Here are a few more of my tapestries.  The Snapdragons tapestry is a small tapestry woven in plain weave.  It is from the flowers in my mother-in-law’s garden.Snapdragons

Poppies is a larger tapestry woven from the flowers in my garden.  It is woven on a four shaft floor loom with a rosepath threading.  It is a technique I developed for weaving large tapestries.


We look forward to exploring tapestry weaving with Joanne this fall – we hope you’ll join us!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team

Handspun Heaven

Many handspinners raced to the Tour de Fleece finish line on Sunday with several beautiful skeins of handspun yarn added to their stash. Below are just a few from Team Woolery – click here to view more in our Ravelry group!


Do you find yourself wondering what to make with your handspun creations? We have a few suggestions in today’s blog post, and there are also some great reference books such as the Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs or Spin to Weave to come to your rescue! 

We’ve come across some lovely weaving projects using handspun yarns on Weavolution recently – below are just a few ideas to inspire you!


L-R: Sofa Pillows, Saori Scarf, Twill Blanket, Ruana.

For handspinning knitters, Knittyspin is a really excellent source for free patterns – you can view all of their pattern archives here!


Ravelry is another great source for patterns and inspiration. If you’ve only spun a small amount yardage-wise, look for small projects such as scarves, hats, mitts, or baby items:


L-R: One Row Handspun Scarf, Handspun Slouch Hat, Handspun Fingerless Gloves, Crochet Handspun Baby Socks.  

You can also mix small amounts of your handspun with a commercially available yarn for colorwork and stripes, or use it as an accent edging on a special project. Finally, if you’ve spun enough to make a sweater or socks, there are patterns for that, too!


L: Handspun Sweater; R: Simple Handspun Socks.

Plus, you can always sub in your handspun yarn for any pattern if you are able to calculate WPI correctly. Not sure how to do that? Don’t worry, we’ve got an easy video tutorial on our YouTube Channel!

Now that you have a little inspiration, we can’t wait to see what you’ll create with your handspun yarns. Happy Spinning!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team


Simple Ways to Welcome Spring + Upcoming Events

Spring is Just Around The Corner!

We’ve got spring fever at The Woolery! Hop over to Pinterest to see what’s been inspiring us this season on our new Welcome Spring inspiration board. There are plenty of ways you can spruce up your home decor with simple projects to knit, weave, felt or hook, ranging from practical projects to whimsical accents. Bright colors and lightweight, easy-care yarns such as cotton, bamboo or linen are perfect choices for your next ‘home improvement’ project. Below are just a few ideas that will give you a bright outlook for spring!

To view all of these projects (and more!), click here to visit our 'Welcome Spring' inspiration board on Pinterest!

To view all of these projects (and more!), click here to visit our ‘Welcome Spring’ inspiration board on Pinterest!

Upcoming Fiber Events

We’ve got plenty of exciting classes and workshops happening at The Woolery in 2013, but now we’ll be keeping you updated about the latest fiber events happening throughout the country (and beyond!) with our new Upcoming Festivals page, too! Though The Woolery will not have a booth at the festivals listed,  we are providing this information as a service to the Fiber Arts Community in our efforts to support guilds, festivals and the fiber arts people who work so hard to keep crafting alive for future generations.

If you have an upcoming festival to promote, let us know! Simply email webmaster@woolery.com with the dates, location, a short description, image or logo along with a link to your website to be included on our page. There is no charge for this service; click here for more information!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team

Help for Beginning Weavers: Avoiding Common Pitfalls

As a beginning weaver there are some pitfalls to be avoided. While getting in over one’s head comes right to mind, the reality is that you can make great choices and have success without these dismaying situations.

Yarn choice can have a major impact on the warp tension. While stretchy yarns used for knitting projects are soft and lovely, they are challenging to make into a warp. It is very easy to pull some strands at a different rate than others, often resulting in one side or a part of the warp being tighter that the other. Sometimes, this doesn’t become apparent until well into the weaving. Be extra careful to wind the yarn with an even tension across the whole width of the loom (see the last note below about your physical approach to warping for more on this issue).

Tactile yarns woven into a mobius cowl.

As a beginning weaver, you may be tempted by all the glorious, tactile, fuzzy, curly, and 3-dimensional yarns that are available. Test the stickiness of the fibers. Try unwinding it off the ball or cone. If it sticks together, use caution as to where you will use it. While a fuzzy yarn may be SO tempting, it has a tendency to glom onto itself, like a tangle in one’s hair, making a fusion between warp threads. The same is true for the dimensional fibers. Use these yarns for the weft – show them off by making a loose sett – creating a weft-faced fabric.

Another tempting but challenging choice is man-made fiber with metallic threads. Here the yarn can be so slippery that you can’t hang onto it, or it curls to the point of total scramble. While winding them onto a shuttle, keep the ball or cone inside an open length of panty hose or netting. Again, these yarns can be used for the weft by carefully winding them onto stick shuttles and highlighting their beauty as a weft.

Cotton Chenille Yarn

A yarn with a life of its own is chenille. It will actually spit out “worms” i.e. loopy kinks on the surface of your woven fabric! Wait ‘til you have more experience under your belt before trying one of these. We don’t want to scare you (though Halloween is just around the corner!) but it’s important to consider what kind of yarn you will use for your first warp and weft.

Mixing yarns in a warp is another pitfall. Using more than one type of yarn in the same warp, or mixing a smooth yarn with a lumpy one is problematic. Because yarns with different weights are taken up by the weaving at different rates, unevenness develops in the warp strands. This makes for bunches of loose warp threads. Looms with double back beams are designed to manage this issue. One kind of yarn is wound on one of the beams and the other yarn is wound on the other beam. With a smooth warp, alternate these fancy yarns with plain ones in the weft.

Mercerized Perle Cotton Yarn.

So what’s the best yarn to begin warping? Perle cottons and rug warp are very even and smooth. They are easy to manage and slip through heddles and reeds. With a myriad of colors and weights, it could take years to explore all the possible combinations. After working with these “training” wheel yarns for your warp, you will easily manage some of the more exciting yarn choices above.

Finally, patience is the key to an even warp tension. While measuring your yarn, slow down and keep an even hand while winding. Begin with a calm sense; if you’re tense and thinking of something you need to do, you’ll find your tension changing. Take a break, make a note of the niggling little job or idea that popped into your head, and maybe even take a little walk to resolve your stress. If you are interrupted, try to create the same frame of mind upon your return. If you can, find a helper – a second set of hands to assist you with the juggling required. If you don’t have a helper, click here to read our blog post sharing our best  weaving book and DVD recommendations to get you back on track.

Join Us for the 12 Fiber Toys of Christmas
It’s Toy Season! It’s week 2 of our 12 Fiber Toys for Christmas. This Friday, we’ll be featuring a new favorite fiber toy with a special deal and a chance to win that particular toy (tool) – click here for more details!

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team!

Speaking Loom

There are four types of learners: Auditory learners lean toward lecture-style formats; Visual learners like seeing a demonstration; Read/Write learners learn best by studying the written word; and Kinesthetic learners are hands-on learners. If you are teaching yourself to weave, knowing what kind of learner you are can help immensely. Equally important is to offer yourself more than one way to learn, as we rarely fall cleanly into one camp or another. Most important of all, be patient! Learning to ride a bike didn’t happen in a day and neither will learning to weave.

There are a number of go-to resources we at The Woolery turn to when we get that all-too-familiar call asking, “I want to learn to weave, but there is not shop, guild, teacher, or any other weavers in my area.  What should I do?”

To learn floor loom weaving, our first recommendation is to pick up a copy of Learning To Weave by Deborah Chandler or Weaving for Beginners by Peggy Ostercamp.  No matter what kind of learner you are, you will need a good reference book.

Books are particularly good for read/write learners, but if you are a flipper who jumps about and isn’t prone to sit down with a book and study, you may want to check out one of Madelyn van der Hoogt’s DVDs, Warping Your Loom or Weaving Well. These help those who like lectures and like to see hands-on demonstration.

You might think that Kinesthetic learners would have the hardest time, but since they learn by doing, mistakes are engaging rather than discouraging. Those folks do really well with our learning to weave kits since they have everything they need to get going.

If you are a rigid heddle weaver, consider Weaving Made Easy by Liz Gipson or Hands-On Rigid Heddle Weaving by Betty Davenport. If warping is a stumbling block, Liz also has a DVD Slots and Holes: 3 Ways To Warp a Rigid Heddle Loom. Crafty also have a course on rigid heddle weaving that owners of the Kromski will particularly find attractive because it goes into detail about how to use the built-in warping board and other features of that particular loom. If you are looking to strech your wings, check out Jane Patrick’s book The Weaver’s Idea Book or her DVD Weaving on a Rigid Heddle Loom.

Get weaving off your “someday” list and make it happen today.  All you need is the right teaching tool and you are off to the races!

Join Us for the 12 Fiber Toys of Christmas
It’s Toy Season! Every Friday beginning October 19 through January 4, 2013, we’ll be featuring a favorite fiber toy with a special deal and a chance to win that particular toy (tool) – click here for more details!

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team!

The Joy of the Season

All this talk of toys makes us feel like kids again. We love Michele White’s comment, “When I was a child, the Sears catalog was our  ‘wish book’ but NOW The Woolery website and catalog is my dream!” We, too, can remember the days when you would pour through our favorite catalog circling all the things we wanted.  Michele’s comment makes us proud to be a part of customers dreams and making them come true!  (If you haven’t used it before we do have a Wish List function on our website.  It makes it easy to keep track of your day dreams–no pen required!)

There are 7 days left in our Joy of the Toy seasonal promotion.  Keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook, Twitter, and Ravelry groups for giveaways and discounts.  We love hearing about all your favorite fiber toys.

Christmas is a time for family, friends, faith, and a bit of fun.  We hope you will be able to take some time for yourself, your family, and your community this holiday season.  And, make plans to visit us real soon.  Check out our new You Tube video and add a visit to The Woolery on your wish list!

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team!