Hokett Looms

My Hokett kit

My Hokett kit

I get questions fairly often from people who know I backpack with a loom and want to know what I take. What I pack does vary depending on whether I am going backpacking or car camping or traveling to teach somewhere. 

As a lightweight backpacker, my total pack weight before food and water is between 13 and 18 pounds. The lighter the better as food and water can add another ten pounds to the total. Hiking becomes miserable with more weight than that. So any craft that I bring into the backcountry has to be both small and light.

The Hokett loom weaving that wasn't

The Hokett loom weaving that wasn't

I had grand plans yesterday. It was a beautiful day in Fort Collins--mid-80s and sunny. We are trying to go hiking on Sundays and it seemed the perfect day to do so. I love to hike high until the snow flies, so we headed up to a trailhead I had been at just a few days earlier with a friend from Michigan.


I had packed my loom and some handspun hoping to get a few needed photos, but alas, this was all I could manage. The loom has naught but warp on it still.

How many days can you go without a shower? The Colorado Trail in 9 days.

How many days can you go without a shower? The Colorado Trail in 9 days.

My hike was wonderful. I was unable to post to the blog from the trail, so what follows is a little photo record of my walk. I hiked for 9 days and I can tell you with firm certainty that this is my limit for not having a shower. There is only so much a little bottle of Dr. Bronners and freezing cold stream water can do. I came to the trailhead at the only major paved road ten minutes before a hail storm and nine days in and that was it. The second car by was a nice woman with two dogs who, though she did turn on her car vent a couple minutes after I got in, did not complain about my smell. Straight to a hotel through a hailstorm I went. Clean clothes, shower X2, pizza... all was well. Though I got off one day before I intended to, it was the unknown shower wall that demanded it. Nine days is the limit.

Stash diving

Stash diving

There comes a moment when I'm getting ready to go on another trip when I feel compelled to visit one of the excellent yarn stores here and buy the supplies for a new knitting project. The voice in my head is very strong.

"You have two long travel days and two weeks among strangers. If you run out of knitting/weaving/spinning projects, you might not survive." --Rebecca's head-voice

Resisting this voice is difficult, but I am determined to go shopping in my own yarn stash first. This is only practical. The stash is threatening to take over all available space in my clothes closet and even I need to wear clothes most days. Certainly I can find an appropriate match of knitting yarn and pattern for the upcoming teaching trip to Penland School of Crafts? Surely I can.

Hokett loom fun!

I am looking forward to a few weeks of vacationing with my family and my in-laws over the holidays. When I travel in the car, I love to bring a few Hokett looms. Because who could bring just one? I like to have an 8-dent loom for my regular sett and I use the 6-dent looms doubled at 12 epi quite frequently.

I like weaving in the car. Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are very big states and the view from the freeway is not quite enough to keep me entertained for 1100 miles. So I weave. I have a spouse who frequently says things like, "I'll drive honey. You need to spin/weave/knit." Isn't that great?

6-dent Hokett loom warped at 12 epi. Project done with handspun.
Those of you who browsed my newsletter last week know that I am going to take a bit of a break from selling all products online. I spend most of my time teaching the online tapestry classes and this is what I love (besides actually making my own work of course!). The time commitment of running a retail shop full time is too much for me. (The moment I found myself printing shipping labels at 11pm while fuming that I hadn't had one minute on the loom that day was when I knew it was over.)

I adore both Jim Hokett and his wonderful looms. I will continue to have them available for my workshop students and I will have a sale or two a year from my website. But I am taking a break from selling them full time from my website starting December 22nd. If you are interested in getting one of these wonderful looms and you aren't taking an in-person workshop with me in 2016, you have a few days left to order one. December 21st is the last day I will be shipping.

I am the only person who sells the 8-dent looms right now. They are tricky to make and Jim very kindly still makes them for me because I like to teach on them (and because he is a stand-up, wonderful guy). I have a small stock of the 9 x 10 inch intermediate 8-dent looms left, a few of the 7 x 8 regular 8-dent kits, and quite a few of the 7 x 8 inch regular 8-dent looms by themselves. I also have a few of the beautiful 8-dent tiny loom kits in birds eye maple. They are the sweetest thing you've ever seen.

You can find all the options on my website HERE including photos.

I ship USPS Priority Mail so if you live in the USA, there can still be a loom under the tree this year.

Little looms, great burgers, and some amazing students...

My classes are rolling along at Convergence 2014 in Providence, Rhode Island. The sun came out yesterday and everything was much less damp.

Yesterday was my new class, The Mobile Tapestry Weaver: Weaving Tapestry on a Hokett Loom. If you don't know, Jim Hokett makes some beautiful weaving equipment. Much of it is small--for little looms. I sold all the looms I brought and wish I had brought twice as many at least... or better yet, that Jim himself had been able to be at the conference!

The classes are classic conference center ballroom style. Deep skinny rooms, horrible lighting, no windows (though we could hear the rain hammering on the roof), and that special sound-deadening quality those rooms have which make you feel a little drugged by the end of the day. Despite all that, the creativity swelling around all the classes on the fifth floor this week has been astounding.
The class working on their Hokett looms.
I had several sizes of looms in the class, some 6 dent and some 8 dent. This allowed me to present various warping options. Here was a beautiful example in progress of using the loom warped double with part of the weaving in a finer sett. I can't wait to see Karen's piece finished.
I was fortunate in both of the classes I've taught so far to have amazing assistants. The Handweavers Guild of America offers scholarship to fiber students to come to Convergence in return for some very hard work on their part not only helping teachers like me, but setting up shows and generally making things run smoothly. A HUGE thanks to Mandy and Abby. You two were miracles.

Here are a few more explorations from the Hokett class. I can't wait to teach this class again somewhere. So many ideas!
I loved the effect in the yellow/orange bar in the piece below. This student was using some pearl cotton for weft and she changed the sett in the middle of that bar. The cotton was shiny and the sett change made that texture change look so beautiful. I'm thinking silk... (Didn't I see that RedFish was in the vendor hall?)
I wish I had photos of everyone's work in my classes. There were some beautiful color gradations done in the Hokett class and the blur of 52 students in three days sort of washed out the names that went with the tapestries that I can still see in my head. I woke up thinking about a beautiful orange/yellow one where the weaver had used bits of demi-duite which gave the piece amazing variety and interest and made it glow. Maybe she'll send me a photo.

And after three intense days of teaching, I stumbled out into the Providence night and with the help of some good friends, found some tapestry shows to enjoy... and a good burger.
Today is vendor hall and exhibition day. I have a one day break from teaching and I intend to use it well.

Magic carpets and Hokett looms

I am teaching a new class at Convergence 2014. It is called The Mobile Tapestry Weaver: Weaving Tapestry on a Hokett Loom.

I proposed this class because it was a way to play. And as I've worked on the class the past year, I've been able to live in my imagination a little more.

Despite the background studded with upstanding members of the Dutch Reformed church, a bevy of professional-type relatives, 17 years in healthcare service, and a fair amount of innate perfectionism, I still dream of magic carpets and tree houses.

I still believe my grandmother had garden trolls--I saw them in her Tulsa garden when I was 6.
I remember riding on the bathmat in the orange and green bathroom at home when I was 8. It was green shag. (The bathmat is new but the bathroom is still orange and green... maybe I can ride the new bathmat)

And I loved the huge dollhouse we had when I was little (Yes, Auntie ML, I know it was yours when you were a kid)... the perfect spot for magic carpets and little mouse-house inhabitants. Now that I have little looms to weave on, perhaps I should weave some doll house magic carpets.

So creating tiny tapestries, not small format works of art, just tiny tapestries on beautiful little looms appealed to me suddenly. This is a place I can make things that don't have to be sold to a gallery. No one even has to see them. They are just little things to play with... tiny magic carpets for garden trolls perhaps. And the loom fits in my backpack.
Jim Hokett's small looms and tools are beautiful and a lot of fun to work with. If you ever get the chance to go to a conference where he is a vendor, make sure to stop at his booth. It is a treasure trove. You can find out more about him on his blog: http://wouldworkifhewantedto.wordpress.com/
Yes, that is "Hokett Would Work". He is a funny guy, that Jim.