May 2021

Iceland, studio news, Gist blog

Hello, it’s May! You will find in this newsletter:

  • Iceland memories

  • Studio news

  • Gist blog news

Maybe it’s this ongoing lockdown here in Ontario (7 months and counting!?), but this month I’ve been digging through my archive to do some fantasy travel as I let a recurring bit of tendinitis have some R & R.

I am really grateful to have had the opportunity to learn more about textiles while travelling to fascinating places, and my (digital) shifting of papers has brought me back to May 2015, when I spent a month as artist in residence at the Icelandic Textile Centre.

I went to study block weaves and give myself some dedicated time to skill up and dig into drafting. I was, and still am, interested in how pattern translates across textile media, so I made good use of old Istex pattern books and used knitting motifs to play with and learn about block design.

The best advice I got about doing artist residencies was to not to take it super seriously and work like a dog, but to give yourself the permission to relax and be open to the experience (I believe you told me that, Betty?). I went swimming every morning in the Blönduós pool and spent a lot of time walking around town/hills/the beach and being present to the weather. It is fair to say I was obsessed with checking Veður, the Icelandic Meteorological Office’s website. I think some of that came out in the two small blankets I wove there.

The Textile Centre is right next to the Textile Museum, which has a number of really interesting exhibitions on the Icelandic national costume, wool production, and knitting and weaving. My photographs aren’t great, but I particularly loved this stack (it makes me want to weave more monks belt ASAP).

I’ve recommended the experience to a number of other friends and textile makers, and I think everyone’s loved it — so maybe after this coronavirus is a distant memory you too can go? I would love to re-visit Iceland and do some hiking… And meet more cute lambs.

Studio News

There’s been nothing new and exciting to share — I have been weaving very slowly due to the aforementioned tendinitis. I’ve been working on some commissions and two upcoming patterns that I will be sharing more about come fall (when I’ve actually woven them), but for one of the commissions I used some randomly-tied indigo linen that I dyed a few summers ago. It was enormously exciting to untie my knots and see the crisp line where natural linen and indigo meet.

Gist blog

This month’s weaving how-to is how to wind a warp and will be published on May 28th on the Gist Weaving Resources page. I sometimes struggle when writing these blogs — I have a strong desire not to be seen as a Knowledgeable Expert (which is sort of an unintended consequence of writing about something) because I still think of myself as a learner and certainly nowhere near expert status. When it comes to weaving there are SO MANY different ways of doing things, so please take what you will from how I do it and come up with the best system that works for you. If you missed last month’s blog on How to Read a Weaving Draft, you can find it here.

Now, the sun is shining and my garden needs weeding (always), and I have warp chains to make and probably lunch to eat too.

be well,


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