Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Dog On the Loom Part 2

A few months ago I wrote about "the dog on the loom",, and explained what that meant. I was weaving a liturgical stole for my husband for the 40th year celebration of his ordination.  Well the day came and went and the stole was not completed. The celebration was in May and since we were entering the common time in the liturgical calendar he was not going to need the white stole until later in the year. Much later in the year - Christmas Eve!  Guess what! He needed it for tonight!  I am happy to say that the "dog on the loom" became the beautiful white and gold stole that my husband wore tonight. It was transformed - like magic (with a lot of patience and help from me)! Kinda like the transformation that happens on Christmas Eve.  To put it simply, a baby comes into the world in a lowly state and transforms it.  What a mystifiying and magical night! May the world and all who live in it be transformed once again.  O Holy Night!

Handwoven Stole - Christmas Eve

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Scarves

I just finished four new scarves.  They are in the Collapse Weave technique. I wrote about this in previous posts. Check out & to get more information on how these scarves are made.  I love making these scarves!  Better yet I love how they feel after they are finished.  The weaving on these scarves is very labor intensive!  It is slow and exact in order to have the technique work effectively but the results are wonderful.  The time it takes to weave them is worth it. The wool/silk yarn that I use is beautiful and soft and I love working with it.  It is like butter to the fingers! At shows I always get the comment that wool makes people itch.  Some wools many times do because of the processing the yarn has gone through at the mill.  Unless you are allergic to Lanolin, the itching is most likely due to the shortness of the wool fiber in lower grade wools or the chemical processing that the yarn has been exposed to. That is not the case with the wool/silk yarn I use and believe me I would know as the yarn is always going through my hands and fingers through out the whole process.  I never itch once! And I love to scrunch up the scarves and feel them in my hands.

In making any handwoven item, the yarn must be measured before going onto the loom.  This process is called warping.  While warping it is important to make a cross in the yarns so the sequence for threading is there and the yarn does not tangle. When all the yarn is measured it is removed by putting it into a chain.  When in the chain form it can be stored safely without tangling until ready to be put on the loom.

Here are a few pictures:

Warping Mill measures the warp

Warp Cross

Warp Chain

After weaving the scarves look like this.  They have a stretchy quality to them due to the technique I use and the over spun wool crepe yarn which is the second yarn used in these scarves. 

Four Scarves

Close up of four scarves 

During December you can purchase one of my Collapse Weave scarves at Guilford Art Center in Guilford, CT,, Some Things Looming in Reading, PA,, or my studio in Plymouth, MA.   

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Designing a Shrug

I'm getting ready for a show in Reading, PA at a gallery called Some Things Looming.  I am a follower of their Face Book page and receive their e-mail newsletters.  I recently visited STL and was impressed with what this mother and daughter team have put together.  They are devoted to Fiber Arts and that in itself is rare.  There are very few places that have devoted their space entirely to Fiber Art. Some Things Looming's mission is to work with fiber artists, exhibit their work, and bring  Fiber Art to the forefront with the public by education through classes and exhibits. I use to work for a gallery in West Chester, PA called Woven Fiber Art House.  Woven had the same mission but sadly had to close.  I am so happy to see STL pick up the mantle.  For this reason I am happy to be a part of the Handmade Holidays 2 show which opens Dec. 3 and runs through Dec 24. You can go to to get more information about the show and what's happening at STL.

This show has inspired me to work on a new shrug.  My shrugs are all one of a kind.  They are made from extra fabric I've woven and various embellishments from my "stash of stuff ".  My stash is BIG so there is plenty from which to choose!

After careful consideration and playing around with the various choices I have, here is a picture of the elements that I gathered for use in this new shrug.  It consists of my handwoven fabric, some hand dyed samples from a workshop I took on "Art Cloth" with Jane Dunnewold, hand dyed yarn, some polymer beads that a friend made and gave me, and some glass beads.

So the first step was to make bias trim from the hand dyed silk pieces which were only about 8" x 10" big.  From this 2" wide strips were cut and sewn together to form bias binding.

These bias strips became the binding on the neck edge and the trim on the sleeves, the beads were hand sewn on and the shrug was ready to be worn.

Front view

Back view

So I have a chance to send 12 pieces to this show. Should this be one of them?



What other pieces of my work do you think I should send?  I welcome comments.

I'll be posting pictures on Face Book of possibilities.  You can go to my fan page without having an account on Face Book.  Just follow the link on the right hand side of my blog. If you have a FB account, don't forget to "Like" my page and then let me know what I should send to Some things Looming for the show.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pricing work

It's always a challenge to price handmade work. Number one it takes far longer to produce than commercially made goods and number 2 it takes an appreciative and educated audience to understand the value of the work.  Many artists tend to devalue their work by pricing it low just to make a sale.  I have friends who do this.  What they do not understand is it devalues not only their work but also the work of all artists.  A buying public gets confused and then perceives the value of handmade work as something less than it should be.

I recently came across a blog which talks about this.  It encourages artists to price their work by honoring not just the material costs but also the labor and value of making the work.  I whole heartily agree.  I know many artists who don't charge for their time.  What business person would not get paid for their time? Just because we are artists and that has romantic implications, doesn't mean that we should not get paid a decent wage for what we do.  I share this now for those of you who read this blog and sell your work.  I also share it for those of you who buy handmade work and wonder how work is priced.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Craft Show Artists are "Jacks of All Trades"!

So what's it like to be a craft show artist?  You travel to many places.  You meet interesting people.  You have friends in many cities. You see artist friends and are inspired by them. Days of preparation lead up to exhibiting your work to hopefully an appreciative audience who will fall in love with your work, purchase, and enjoy it everyday. Halt!!! That's the romantic side!

The unromantic side is you are exhausted from staying up late and working hard to have enough choices for customers.  Your body aches from packing up the car and then unpacking the car at the show (not to mention that this happens on the other end when you go home).  You have to set up your tent and display pieces.  You have to get up early to be at the show to finish displaying your work. As inventory changes your booth display changes.  It is always a challenge to create an effective and interesting display which will draw the customer into your booth.  If you not a morning person as I am not, you have the added challenge of trying to wake your brain up to complete all these early morning tasks.  And if I don't have my high test tea, I am in trouble!

So this past weekend when I set up my tent at the Wheaton Arts Show, I was able to set up the day before. This is always a blessing. My friend, Bette, was there to help me.  Everything was going along fine until I went to look for the bottom leg extensions for the poles to my tent.  They were no where to be found! "He who shall remain nameless" forgot to put them in the car. "Uh Oh" was my thought (actually that was the mild version!).  I am in trouble.  My tent will only go up less than 6 feet high without the extensions and this is not an item that the local Home Depot carries.  While we started setting up the tent, I began to think.  What might be a tempoary substitute that would raise the legs of the tent?  BINGO - bed risers!  Would they be high enough, sturdy enough to work?  So off we went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond to look for bed risers.  Thank goodness they had them in stock!  So for a $15 fix, I bought them and crossed my fingers that this was going to work.   It did! WooHoo!  My creative leg extensions were the talk of the craft people around me.  I was amazed how well it worked and much to my surprise it didn't look bad!

Here are a few pictures:

Not bad, Huh? I may just always keep these in the car just in case......................................


Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Fall Scarves

Four 14 yard warps for 24 chenille scarves
I've finally been able to get back to the loom to do some weaving.  Before my mother died I had made four rayon chenille warps for 6 scarves each totalling 24 scarves.  They have been sitting in a basket ready to be woven and I was finally able to do the the first warp this week.  Here are the results -------

Weaving scarf #1

   6 finished rayon chenille scarves

Next warp to go on loom - six more scarves!

New warp being put on the back beam

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weaving Silence

To my faithful blog followers I apologize for being silent for so long.  It's been a rough summer except for a brief time away to Sweden and Scotland.  You see my mom had a heart attack in May and never really recovered from that experience.  She died on August 23, the day of the earthquake on the East Coast and then her memorial service had to be delayed because of Huricane Irene.  Family and friends attended the memorial service on September 1 and then family traveled out to Indianapolis on September 13 to entomb her next to my father. My summer consisted of traveling back and forth to NJ where she lived to visit her and to oversee the care she was receiving.  Since she needed additional care, I also had to move her in and out of apartments in the care facility which had been her home for the last 3 1/2 years.

I am trying to get back to business as usual but some days are good and some days are bad.  I haven't been able to write on the blog but hope that in the next few weeks it will get easier to talk about my work and what I am doing.  Please dear blogger stay connected.  I will be back.

For those of you who looked for me at the Mad River Valley Show, I am sorry if you were disappointed to discover that I was not there but I had to cancel at the last minute.  If you had a specific item you wanted to purchase from me, please let me know.  I can always send you pictures and send you the item you would like. 

Meanwhile I am trying very hard to get ready for my show at Wheaton Arts, October 1 & 2 in Millville, NJ.  I'm sure it will be a difficult drive back to NJ as I always visited my mom when I did this show.  I will be with friends and that will be comforting. 

You can always get in touch with me by writing a comment on this blog or visiting my website, and sending me an email.  I am also on Facebook.  The link to my FB page is on the right side of this blog.

Thanks for being a loyal follower.

Friday, August 19, 2011

"The Dog On The Loom"

Sampler for Liturgical Stole
Those of you who are weavers who read this blog, probably know what "the dog on the loom" means.  For those of you who aren't weavers, it doesn't mean that cute little pooch who sits beside you waiting to be petted has jumped on the loom!  What it does mean is a warp (which is the group of yarn threads which make the lengthwise of the woven fabric) is "mis-behaving"!  And not only mis-behaving but giving you so much trouble that you are ready to rip it off the loom, say a few expletives and throw it away!  Now what could cause such a temper tantrum?  Well ------ when threads stick together in the shed (opening when weaving) making it difficult to weave without skipping over threads or when threads keep breaking while you are weaving.  It could be that the tension is all wrong and can't be easily fixed.  In any event the warp gives you lots of problems and it takes you alot longer to weave the piece and your patience wears thin.

Recently I had a "dog on the loom".  I started a project in May.  It was to be a stole for my husband who was celebrating the 40th anniversary of his ordination. The first problem I had was running out of the gold yarn that I was using.  It was an older yarn that I had pulled off of my shelf and I thought I had enough to do the job.  So when I ran out and I knew I could not get any more of this yarn, I had to go back to the drawing board and be creative. This should have been my first clue that this was not going to go well. But being the "let's make lemonade out of lemons" type I perused my shelves for an answer. I found another yarn on my shelf which after a little redesigning of my original plan worked fine.  I actually liked that yarn better.  So part of the gold threads were made up of the old thread which was a white cotton thread with gold wrapped around it and the new gold thread which was all gold.

Gold threads going onto the beam

Close up Gold threads going onto the beam. White threads are already beamed.

Two beams are wound with yarn

OK, I thought I was good to go until after my first 12 inches when the gold on the gold/white thread broke!  One repair didn't bother me but when it kept happening over and over again, I was annoyed and frustrated.  Why were they breaking?  This didn't happen when I did the sampler. Was the yarn too old and the rubbing against the reed was causing it to break? Again, this didn't happen in the sampler.  So what was going on?

After this happened several more times, I realized that one big reason it was happening was I had forgotten to add one piece of equipment to my loom that I needed while using the second beam.  I had put the gold yarn on a second beam because I knew the tensioning of it would be different than the white tencel.  What I forgot to do was add the second back beam so the two yarns would be separated as they traveled from the back of the loom to the front.  This caused alot of friction on the gold threads causing them to POP!  Hence "the dog on the loom"!

Second back beam

Well, I was unable to finish the stole for the anniversary, we went away to Florida for 2 weeks, and then life invaded my weaving time, we went on vacation for 3 weeks, and life again invaded my weaving time until finally a few days ago I was able to finish weaving the stole and take "the dog of the loom"!  A few Hallelujahs were said along with some dancing and the warp was off!

Now I just have to finish repairing all those broken threads (ugh) and sew the stole in time for my husband to wear it the next time the liturgical color of white is worn which I think is Christmas.  Can I get it done?  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

T-pins hold the broken threads

Close up of broken threads ready to be repaired

Wish me luck! When it's finished I'll post a picture.  Stay turned.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Doors and Weaving!

While traveling through Sweden, I was struck by the designs on doors!  As a weaver I am always looking for weaving designs and color sequences in architectural structures and in nature.  I  can't help it!  My eyes and brain are always seeing things from that prospective.  I was not disappointed in Sweden.  The doors were amazing and much to a weaver's delight could be translated into weaving patterns. Just take a look..................(if you are a weaver, what weaving patterns do you see?)

Door at
Sätergläntan craft school

Door at Jons Anders Garden (a hotel)

Can you see the twill diamond  and point twill diamond pattern?

Door in
Orebrö Castle

Door in
Orebrö Castle

What about here? Might these be broken twill patterns?

Door at
Orebrö Castle
OK, here's a tough one.  Could this be networked draft or an overshot pattern? Any ideas how this could be translated?

Door at
Wadköping, Orebrö

Barn Door, Orebrö
Some more variations on the diamond pattern.

As you can see, these doors are not just functional. There is a beauty about them. I was totally fascinated.

I'd love to hear what you think. If you weave, what weaving patterns do you see? If you are not a weaver, how do you see these patterns translated in the environment around you?

This blog welcomes discussion so share your thoughts and ideas. Let's see what we can come up with and design together.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Artistic Inspiration

I have been traveling throughout Sweden and Denmark and will be on the road to Scotland tomorrow.  This will be a short post but wanted to say that my mind is filled with inspiration and so many impressions.  Due to limited internet access I have not been able to upload pictures.  When I get back I will share some of those pictures with you.  We have seen many wonderful things including great artwork.  We have visited many wonderful places including Skagen, Denmark where the famous Skagan artists painted on the beach. We walked that beach and I can see why they loved painting there.  The light is fabulous.  We visited my favorite Swedish artist's, Carl Larson, home.  Who knew his wife Karin was also a wonderful painter, fiber artist, and furniture designer!  Her fiber art was way before her time - very contemporary in design - and is throughout their home.  So my journey will continue.  There is much more to see!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Sweden on the 4th of July

I had the experience of being out of the country on the 4th of July. It's a strange experience to be away on a special national holiday. The funny thing was we did celebrate in a very special way.  We have friends who live in Sweden and they have been our hosts while here.  Our families have stayed connected through the years. We have visited with each other (they have come to the US more times than we have gone to Sweden). We have met their friends and learned about each other's lives.  So on the 4th of July we had a picnic!  One of Ingemar and Kristina's friends is a transplanted American who is married to a Swede.  We went to their house and had a little touch of America in Sweden!  We had grilled hamburgers, chips, and strawberries along with some wonderful elderberry juice that they made from the flowers on the elderberry tree in their yard (that's the Swedish touch).  We played Bocci (not quite an American game) and had a great time.  What a special time to remember.

One of the highlights for me was seeing our Swedish friend's loom and her weaving. Elisabeth has a large (maybe 60") countremarche loom and she was weaving a beautiful blanket of yarn's she had hand dyed with natural dyes. It's interesting to me that weaver's share a common language and it doesn't take long to begin to talk pattern design, thread counts, and yarn diameters. (The world is not so big!) A weaver's signature is always there in the weaving hand of each person and is what makes each weaver's work special. It's so much fun to see another weaver's work and learn about their process.

So I share here some pictures from my wonderful 4th of July.  Hoping that you can share special holidays in new and interesting ways.

Elisabeth's Loom

Close up of Elisabeth's blanket

International Friends Celebrating

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Weaver's Picnic

Diligently weaving paper hearts at the CCW picnic!

So what do weaver's do on a picnic?  Enjoy delicious food, show and pass around our latest creations, and talk warp and weft! Today was my weaving guild's annual picnic. It's the last meeting until September when our new year of programing begins.  We met in one of our members home and sat on her lovely deck in her back yard.  it was a beautiful day and believe me, here in New England it couldn't have been more welcome!

It's always fun at this picnic to connect and see what wonderful creations people have made or are working on. We do a show and tell and pass the items around for all to see. It's fun to hear about others plans for the summer, and it is wonderful to share good food.  Did you know that weaver's are generally good cooks also?

Today, our host had a fun little project for us to do - weave a paper heart!  Now this might look like it would be an elementary process for a group of weaver's but it was interesting to see how challenged some of us were over a simple project.  We laughed, we joked, we felt silly, but all did complete their woven hearts. The hearts made a lovely little basket to put candy or "what nots" in.  So we all took home a picnic favor, joyful hearts, and warm memories of another year of weaving camaraderie.

I look forward to this group.  I am always inspired by the sharing that goes on. I'll look forward to seeing everyone again in September.  I'm sure there will many summer projects to see when we start again in the fall and I can't wait to see what other's have done.

What groups do you participate in that give meaning or inspiration to your work or living?  I encourage you to write about them in the comment section and share how important they are in your life.  Take a few moments to be grateful for their influence on  you.  Better yet let them know how important they are to you.

I know if I couldn't go to the Cranberry Country Weavers' meetings anymore, I would feel like something very important in my life was missing.  Besides they understand my language!!!!!

Visit for more information and pictures about this group.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Siesta Key and Rest for the Weary!

Sunset on Siesta Key 

I just got back from vacation on Siesta Key, Florida.  What a beautiful spot.  The beach named Crescent Beach is pure white due to the fact that it is made from tiny particles of Quartz. For some reason the Gulf currents dump this type of sand on this beach.  You can go to the end of the island and the beach is made from shells not Quartz.  When you step your foot on the beach it is cool because quartz does not retain heat (little scientific fact!). After having spent summers on New Jersey beaches and running through the hot sand, I am always surprised when I step foot on this beach.  My brain is prepared for HOT, HOT, HOT (this is Florida were the sun shines strong, right!) but that doesn't happen.  My brain says this doesn't make sense.

Vacation didn't make sense this year as 2 days after I got there, I had to leave to visit my mom in the hospital in NJ.  She suffered a heart attack and in dealing with Doctors and hospitals over the phone I realized that she needed someone to speak for her and connect the dots.  Her primary care doctor was on vacation and no one knew that she saw a cardiologist on a regular basis (who was on staff at the hospital but the other team started treating her).  They did not know her history.  Why that information was not transferred to the hospital from the home where she lives, I do not know. Since I am the only child, my job was to connect the dots for everyone and get her cardiologist on the case.  Everyone needs an advocate or someone to connect the dots when you become critically ill.  I discovered that health care is a vast wilderness. Not much information is passed from agency to agency. I was able to help staff and doctors understand more about who she was and her on-going medical problems. What do people who do not have family do to navigate this wilderness and get the appropriate care?

Mom At Christmas 2010
My mom is now in rehab and hopefully getting stronger so she can go back to her apartment.  I headed back to Florida and spent the next week resting around the pool and reading escape books!  Family is in Florida, so I felt well taken care of. My husband and I walked the beach and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Being there is so different from our New England environment.  The surrounding colors of water, sky, sand, and vegetation are so different, it is refreshing.  The sunsets are gorgeous! I am always inspired by the colors I experience while there. The pace of life is different.  My time there was cut short but the time there, even though short, was exactly what I needed.

I will head back to NJ on Sunday for a few days to visit my mom and see how she is doing in rehab. Decisions may need to be made for her long term care but I have all those wonderful warm colors from Siesta Key to keep me going. I just need to pull up those pictures in my mind and relax!


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Habitat for Humanity Auction Update

Friday night the Habitat for Humanity "Salvage Art" auction was held in the Plymouth Center for the Arts.  Many artists participated in the challenge to take something from the Re-Store and make it into a work of art.  I have to say that the artist's came through on the challenge. Some pieces were more creative than others but on the whole the center was filled with wonderful art.  Habitat for Humanity is a great organization.  It is a global organization and it provides affordable housing for families who are in need.  Families do not just receive homes gratis.  There is an application process and review that occurs.  They must be able to pay back an interest free loan and they must put at least 250 hours of "sweat equity" into the building of the home. Habitat states it as "providing a hand up rather than a hand out".  Two of the families were at the auction and it was heart warming to hear their appreciation for this gift.  If you want to know more about Habitat for Humanity go to

I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the featured artists for this event.  The article was published online by The Patriot Ledger, a Boston newspaper.  Here is the link, I thought it was very well written and thank Teresa Dollfuss for writing such a great article.  As a side note, I discovered that her mother has family who live in Lewistown. PA where I spent my teen years. It's a lovely small town in the mountains of central PA. (Actually it seemed like a small town when I lived there but I think it might be bigger population wise than Plymouth where I live now.) It's rare to find someone who actually knows Lewistown let alone has relatives there and lived, herself, in a nearby town.  We discovered that we frequented the same pizza parlor, the best in town! Small world for sure!

So here are the photos of the finished pieces that Mike Ritter of Ritterbin photography took. (See post of  to read about the photo shoot)  He took some great shots.  Thanks, Mike.

Front view "Warm HeARTs Make a Home"
by Judy Connor Jones

Back view "Warm HeARTs Make a Home"
by Judy Connor Jones  

"The Cottage"
by Judy Connor Jones

 "Beach House"
by Judy Connor Jones

Detail of "Beach House" 
  Once again I want to thank all the people who donated aprons for this project.  You made this a very special project.   I  received a few stories related to the aprons.  One woman wrote: "As long as I can remember my mother always wore some kind of an apron while doing her cleaning and cooking. In case company comes, just take off the apron, you always look clean and proper, she used to say". Another friend wrote," My mom spent a lot of time in the kitchen - she loved to cook.  She always wore an apron over her 'house dress'. She spent alot of time planning and preparing our evening meals. She passed away 2 months before her 90th birthday" and  "I know she would have been happy with your project. She was a woman of great faith and the thought that something of hers would be used for the less fortunate would be something she would totally agree with. She was always generous whenever there was a need".

The "Warm HeARTs Make a Home" piece is still available. It did not sell at the auction.  Unfortunately there were more art pieces at the event then art collectors or philanthropists.  The piece is valued at $1400.  I don't know what Habitat is planning on doing with this piece.  If you are interested in this piece and making a donation to Habitat, you can contact the local Plymouth chapter at or call 508-866-4188.

All work is copyrighted by Judy Connor Jones,
All Photography is copyrighted by Mike Ritter,