New Weavers' Corner

Check out the Speed Warping booklet, written by past guild member Janet Nyquist and published
by the guild.  The booklet is typically available for sale at the Show & Sale each fall.

Did you miss the February 2013 program on warping methods?  Check out
short video clips of the

Reviews of Favorite Weaving Books
Alber, Anni, On Weaving. Former member of Bauhaus published this book in 1960s, but it still
offers fresh advice to weavers. Reviewed by Renee Green

Goldenberg and Patrick, Simple Woven Garments. Great ideas for weaving and finishing
garments.  Reviewed by Dane Warde

Osterkamp, Peggy, Series of books including Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle, Warping Your
Loom & Tying On New Warps, and Weaving & Drafting Your Own Cloth. Great how-to books which
troubleshoot for weavers of all levels. Reviewed by Karen Tenney

Brusic, Lucy, A Crackle Weave Companion: Exploring Four-Shaft Crackle, Kirk House, 2012. This
book is a good introduction to block weaves. The thesis of the book is that crackle drafts can be
treadled with many different treadlings- not just “trompe as written”. Brusic shows how treadlings
can be mixed and matched. For instance, she shows how Mary Atwater’s Wild Waves can be
treadled with the Whirling Spindles lift plan. As she transcribes those traditional Atwater and
Dawson drafts into simple ABCD blocks, she corrects errors in the originals. Whether you favor
traditional or contemporary designs, this lavishly illustrated book is a terrific resource for the four-
shaft weaver. I recommend that the library purchase this book. Reviewed by Nancy Ross

Collingwood, Peter, Rug Weaving. She recommends reading from beginning to get an
understanding of Collingwood’s use of language. Wonderful rug finish-ing techniques are given
in the back of the book. Reviewed by Nancy Sharples.

Robson and Ekarius, Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, Storey Publishing, 2009. This book was
recommended by Mary Jeanne Packer of Battenkill Fibers at our October 2015 meeting. It is as
she says- a beautiful coffee table book that is an encyclopedic review of more than 200 breeds of
sheep and the fiber they produce. The book is divided into seven sections, each featuring a family
of sheep: Blackfaced Mountain, Cheviot, Dorset, Down, English Longwool, Feral, and Merino. The
introductory chapter outlines the benefits of wool vs. other fibers, provides a glossary of terms, as
well as a starter guide to breed-specific wools, categorized as soft, reliably versatile, sturdy, and
“to spur your creativity”. Each breed is listed with history of the breed, facts (fleece weight, staple
length, fiber diameters, lock characteristics, and natural colors), and suggested uses for wool.
There are photos of animals, as well as close-ups of yarn, a woven swatch, and clean and raw
fleece. While I think this book is aimed primarily as shepherds and spinners, it would be a good
candidate for the Guild library.  Reviewed by Nancy Ross

Doyle, Tracy, Patterns from Finished Clothes, Sterling, 1996— HMWG online library catalog does
not list  this book, but I’m sure I’ve seen it on the shelf. I have successfully used this book to make
patterns from some of my favorite garments—without having to open a single seam. Doyle begins
by showing how to make a shirt pattern by pinning the garment to a cardboard sheet and tracing
the outline onto paper using a special tracing wheel. She shows how to manipulate the garment
to capture darts and curves, and other areas that will not lie flat. She also shows how to make a
pattern from skirts and slacks, and how to make waistbands, cuffs, pockets, and facings. The
instructions are clear and easy to follow. Reviewed by Nancy Ross

West, Virginia M., Finishing Touches For The Handweaver. This book is a study of finishing details
for handwoven articles. Divided into six sections, this book discusses ways to secure fringe,
decorative fringes, weaving fringe on the loom, details for bags, joining widths of handwoven
materials, and embroidery techniques as finishing touches. This is my “go to” book when I want to
put a special finishing touch on my handwovens. The directions are clear, the techniques are
outlined in steps and demonstrated with graphics and or photographs.  Reviewed by Mary Ellen

Yarn Count
by Steve Ableman

At our November Guild meeting the topic of yarn count was inquired about at the table I was
seated at. Yarn design information is not easily located. Having a good library that has texts
related to mill production I located information regarding such and thought that it should be
shared with the Guild membership at large. So what does a cotton yarn called 8/2 really mean?  
Historically when cotton yarn began being produced in England a standard hank or skein of a
single ply (ready for the plying process) was
determined to be a length of 840 yards. I cannot locate any reason for the exact length but 840
yards is the standards listed in many early yarn production manuals. The first number in yards in
our example (the 8) indicated that the number of skeins or hanks at 840 yards to weight a pound
was eight. The second number indicates the plying process and the number 2 indicates that our
yarn is a 2 ply yarn. If it was a 3 we would have a three ply yarn. So completing the mathematical
calculations it would look like this:

8 skeins @ 840 yards of singles = 6720 yards

6720 yards of singles plied two ply or

6720 divided by 2 = 3360 yards per pound

Let’s try that again for 10/2 cotton yarn:
10 skeins @ 840 yards of singles = 8400 yards

8400 yards divided by 2 = 4200 yards per pound.

What is important is that we as weavers know that the more skeins or the higher the number of
skeins the finer the yarn. This assumes that the ply count remains as a constant. Comparing an
8/2 yarn and a 20/3 yarn is quite a different

For a bit of added information let us consider wool. Wool is spun in two very distinct methods
referred to as woolen or worsted. Traditionally the woolen method which is a carded preparation
was used by knitters and is usually spun with less twist and therefore has a softer hand. The
worsted system in which wool is combed and not carded is a weaving style yarn with higher twist
and has a less soft hand than woolen yarns. Within the confines of the United States worsted
wool mills to avoid confusion
with the cotton standard altered the yarn count numbering system. An 8/2 cotton yarn and a 2/8
wool yarn are about the same size but the inversion of the numbers, ply being indicated first and
the yarn size following, was to indicated that the yarn the weaver had in his/her hand was wool
and not cotton.

Hopefully this information clears up the question or better yet creates more questions.

Weave on

— Steve Ableman

Copyright 2013.  Do not reproduce without permission.

A history of the Hudson-Mohawk Weavers' Guild
As current president of the Hudson-Mohawk Weavers' Guild, I was asked to write the foreword for
our book. We have a fascinating binder full of Guild history which I was going to use for research
until one of our members told me that several past newsletters contained a history of our Guild.
Margaret McKinley, one of the founding members wrote the history articles and graciously sent
them to me to excerpt parts of them. The history articles were written in two parts titled "In the
Beginning........” a reprint of February 1998 and "Guild History......Part II", written sometime in the
winter of 1998.  Below are some excerpts lifted from her articles. There isn't any interpretation of
what she meant since the articles were so well written. I eliminated many sentences for the sake
of brevity.

The Hudson-Mohawk Weavers' Guild had its roots in the Schenectady Handweavers which was
formed in 1972, by Peggy Wilkins and some of her weaving friends and a few sessions were held
on Peggy's front porch. An organizational meeting was held February 24, 1972 and dues were set
at $3.00. The group thrived and met monthly at various locations including a bank community
room and members' homes while trying to locate a permanent home. In October, the group finally
found a home at the Schenectady Historical Society with all programs presented by members.
Chris Lipo started a newsletter and Gail Winters organized a small display of weavers' work at the
Schenectady Public Library in 1976.

By 1977 attendance at meetings had dropped to about 6 members and a decision was made to
put all the treasury money into a one-day workshop which would hopefully rekindle interest and
recover some of the old membership. Jan Nyquist was hired to teach Double Weave and that
work shop attracted 14 weavers. Attendance at meetings was still low and the group decided to
change the name to Hudson-Mohawk Weavers' Guild since it was no longer Schenectady
oriented in the hopes of revitalizing itself. Sister Ignatius joined and offered the craft room at Our
Lady of Hope residence as a meeting place. Finally, a home! In the fall of 1978, there was a large
influx of new weavers with various levels of expertise.

With some trepidation plans were made in the summer of 1979 for a sale of weavers’ items. The
November sale was a learning experience for all who took part. Little did anyone realize how big a
part the annual Guild Sale would play in the future! Also, in 1979 the computer age crept in and by
1982 came a computerized newsletter and mailing system. It was sent to all members and
weavers that Peggy Wilkins met through her shop. This caused the membership to jump to 108.
The computer has made it possible to keep and up-date Guild records and mailing lists. The
records for the years 1980 to the present show a very active Guild, from monthly meetings,
workshops and member program presenters and other weavers outside the Guild. Also, there
have been field trips and our annual Show & Sale which is still continuing with exploding growth.
None of this could have been accomplished without a lot of hard work and the enthusiasm of all
members, but especially from those who volunteered their services as Board members.

In 1983, there developed a good deal of interest in daytime meetings and the Saratoga area
started monthly meetings in their homes. this became known as Guild north. albany County
weaver then decided to have their own day time meetings and they became Guild South.
eventually, Guild north disbanded and South Guild became Day Guild and is still in operation.

We continued to meet at Our Lady of Hope residence and in 1985 it was decided that we needed
a logo. Jan Baucom's design was the winner with computer refinements in 1996. These
refinements were made by Carol Hammer. The Spring 1988 issue of "Weavers” magazine ran a
three-part article titled "Where have all the weavers gone?" It is interesting to note that at this time
the Hudson-Mohawk Weavers' Guild was actually gaining members. We were ready for
computerized weaving, fine threads and beautiful cloth, after the '70s craze for "Big Hairy Wall-
hangings and Granola" had passed.

Once again, I thank Margaret for her interesting early history of the Guild. As the years go on we
continue to evolve. We have firmly entered the computer age with an e-mail newsletter and now
our web site. The annual Show & Sale probably couldn't exist without our tech savvy members
keeping on top of mailing list, inventory and finance. Some of our members do other shows and
demonstrations at other venues. This exposes us to a wider audience and brings in new

We now meet at the Calvary United Methodist Church in Latham, NY. The speaker and workshops
continue. We hold a popular yearly auction of members’ yarns, equipment and some house hold
items. The Guild is strong thanks to members who work hard to keep it moving. Without them,
who knows where we would be. To those members, I can't give you enough praise.

- Susan Wood
Copyright 2014.  Do not reproduce without permission.
Hudson-Mohawk Weavers' Guild