Classes at Northwoods Community College

I taught three classes at Northwoods Community College just over a week ago.

The leather tooling class went really well, and I completely forgot to take any pictures.  I was pleasantly surprised by how smoothly paced the class was, and how much I was able to move around and help all the students with questions.  The handout, like all my handouts, is linked to in the SCA tab on this website - scroll down to the classes section!  I had nine students in this class, and everyone seemed like they learned something.

I did take a couple pictures of the Advanced Inkle Weaving Techniques class, which had three students.  I warped two looms for this class: one for basketweave/baltic pick-up, and one for basic stripes pick-up, so students could see the difference.  I also brought my stash of pick-up weaves that I've done, along with some other forms of advanced inkle weaving (tubular weaving, brocade, and double-warp weaving).

In my handout for the class, I stated that the weft thread color should match the background color of your weave, so that it blends in when you drop warp threads beneath it.  One of my students made the brilliant observation that you could deliberately use a contrasting weft thread to create a different pattern effect entirely.  I have now tried this, and it is really beautiful!

The blue horizontal lines are my weft thread showing through where I dropped the silver threads to the other side.  I am so very excited about this - it allows for a lot more pattern variability than I even had before.  I haven't even finished these weave yet, I was so excited to share a photo of it.

I will be updating my handout for this class soon - I need to add this contrasting weft example!

I also learned another new technique from the wonderful weaver Bryn.  She weaves beads into her inkle weaving by pre-stringing them onto a warp strand!  Above is the gorgeous beaded inkle weaving she did for the Baroness of Northwoods (attached to her gown).

I haven't tried this yet, but for anyone interested, here are her additional comments:  Don't use beads that are too large/heavy, as they can snap the warp threads.  Leave slack in the warp thread with the beads, as it will need the extra length to go up and through the beads.  This is potentially a period way of making beaded designs - it's impossible to tell from portraits whether the beads were hand-sewn to the garment, or woven into the trim.  Weaving them in like this also has the additional strength that if one beads breaks off, the others won't all fall off, too, as the weave will secure them (unlike just sewing them to the gown with a long running stitch, for example).

She didn't mention this, but I also imagine that you want to make the beaded warp thread to be a non-heddle thread - I can't imagine getting the beads through a heddle easily.  So keep that in mind when designing beaded patterns.

That's all for now!  I will be posting more soon about tanning the deer hide (and how that class went).  ~Birke

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