Saturday, January 24, 2009


There are some things of which you can never have enough. For a while, it had been fabric. I once saw a sign in a fabric shop that said "She who dies with the most fabric wins." Since I took up weaving, it has been weaving equipment and yarn.
We went to Nagoya, Japan for a family holiday. My mum and I caught the Shinkensan from Nagoya to Kyoto for the day to visit Avril and this other shop. Now who can go to Japan and not make the effort to get there especially when they have this!

We went to the main office/shop in Kyoto and just like the middle picture. There were just shelves of yarn. It was like a supermarket of yarn - room after room piled high. I also met the lady who looks after all the email orders. It is nice to have a real-life connection.

I didn't really go crazy but you do have to make the most of the opportunity. As the website suggested, I did the research beforehand and got an order together with some of my friends. Yes, there is more than 3 kg of yarn in this photo and we spent 4 hours there.

From left to right: silk/stainless steel core, cotton paper, washi linen with cotton cores, fine linen (grey) and bamboo.

From left to right: natural dyed cashmere (mum is a knitter and the cashmere belongs in her stash), wool/silk mix (white)

Close up of the cotton paper yarn. Yarn from Pine fibre (white cone).

From top to bottom: merino wool/stainless steel core, silk/stainless steel core (black and pale grey)

I don't think there is a name in English for the weaving supply shop. It was in an older area of Kyoto and the shop owner spoke limited English. I got by with pointing (politely of course), very limited amount of japanese and the ability to read kanji from the price list. We were there for more than an hour, looking at different types of boat shuttles: apparently, there are different shapes for use with cotton, silk, wool, etc.

From top to bottom (in pairs): all purpose boat shuttles (with rollers and these beautiful copper tips. The tips are not weighted as fly shuttles. I think that they are there to protect the ends.), medium size shuttle suitable for pick up, small size shuttle for pick up. Note that there is a small hole on one side and a slot on the other of each shuttle. The small round hole is for fine silk and the slot is for thicker yarn.

I think that I will not have to buy yarn for a while now. (You have yet to see what I got when Edith (from Cloth Haven) took me to the wholesale places in Hong Kong! ) It will take me a long time to use up all this yarn. I am hoping that my yarn will not go the same 'obese' way as my fabric stash. My output needs to catch up with the input, and I am a slow weaver......

Saori: clasped weft weaving

The warp was a fine cotton mixed with some metallic yarns on a 2 shaft loom. It was already on the loom so there was no time spent on warping/threading etc. Just the kind of thing for holiday weaving. In fact, the waste yarn section was already done and I went straight in with a nice soft chenille yarn.

This method required a similar yarn thickness for all the colours as the 2 different wefts appear in double thickness in the same pick. Kaz explained it really well in her post and also in a subsequent video tutorial. The cone of dark green yarn sat on the floor and the golden colour was in the shuttle, leading the pick.

Then I progressed to 3 colours. The dark green cone was still on the floor, the white was just a small ball of yarn sitting on the weave, acting as the leading weft with the dark green. The colours on the right were in the shuttle and they were the leading weft with the white yarn. It is the exactly the same method repeated twice in the same pick.

When we got to the end of my sample, I wove with some fine waste yarn to finish off the piece. Then the interesting part. Edith said she learnt this in Kyoto. I allowed enough for cutting off, and then wove a couple of inches with fine waste yarn, I used up odd bits that were left on some bobbins. Then we applied PVA glue to the section while the warp is still in tension. We waited till the glue dried, slot the front rod into the next section and then cut off my sample.
This allow the next section to be secured without any tying of the warp - no knots, no bulk and minimal waste on the warp. I think this method will work well for a sampling warp.

I haven't tried it yet since I got back, but it is something I would like to test out.

Actually, I am already planning a project with this method of weaving but first, I have to finish what is on my loom.....

Cloth Haven

At the end of 2005, I had just finished my first year of (part-time)study in textile design and was on my way to Shanghai for the holidays. I wanted to make the most of the trip and was determined to do as much research as possible. I found out that there is a 'Guide to Asian textile collections' published by the Textile Society of Hong Kong. It was available at a place called 'Cloth Haven'. I went there, had a quick look around, signed up for their email newsletter, bought the guide and left.

In subsequent years, it had been closed whenever I had visited Hong Kong. This year, I was lucky. Edith who runs Cloth Haven was in town. She remembered me and I signed up for some weaving time.

Lobby/Display area:

Loom area:

There are approximately 5 Saori looms in the workshop/studio. I have never used one of these before but have read about them in Kaz's blog. The warps are prepared by participants of the Salvation Army rehabilitation programme.

I spent two afternoons there, learning the clasp weft technique and fell in love with these looms. If I were ever to get another loom, it will have to be one of these.

The interesting part with these looms is that the weaving, the reed and the shafts can be taken out with the warp intact, and another set can be inserted in its place. There are clips in the front and at the base of the loom. Separate warps can be woven at different times with only 1 frame. It also has a built-in bobbin winder! (the top right hand corner of the loom)

Catching up with Edith and learning about these looms was one of the many highlights of this trip.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Belated Christmas

This was the Christmas decoration in the shop window of Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong.........

What a wonderful idea for those odd balls hanging around......or if one had a stack of those Japanese temari balls......or felted beads of different sizes......


It is January and I am feeling behind already. I had intened to catch up with my postings but could not find my password.....after speaking to Kaz on the phone, I decided I had to find it tonight! and get on with it.

I put this warp on towards the end of Nov but did not have time to do any posts before I went away in December.........In fact, not much had happened in terms of weaving on my looms.

I found this 'orphaned' cotton/mix? warp in my stash and decided to try it first instead of the sample blanket idea. I haven't figured out how to use the second warp beam so I have wound the warp onto the sectional warping beam as if it was a 'normal' beam.

I took the reed out and tied the raddle onto the top of the beater. The sectional warping beam sort of acted as a raddle as well at the back of the loom.

I did a straight threading to go with the universal tie-up.

and this is as far as it got.......