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How to weave a scarf on a 4-shaft loom – Easter weaving course at Anna Champeney Textile Studio (Spain)

The Easter holidays are now over but here you can see some of the photos of the three day complete textile weaving course for beginners here in the Ribeira Sacra (Galicia).   We all agreed that a weaving course like this must be one of the most relaxing – and unusual – ways to enjoy the Easter or spring break.

sample weaving muestras de aida y carmen durante el curso de tejeduría en telar

even on your first day you might invent your own weave patternWe kicked off the course with a quick introductory session to weaving on a pre-prepared loom and discover what terms like warp and weft actually mean and how a loom actually works.  In less than an hour our novice weavers had surprised themselves by weaving their first piece of cloth, creating their own simple designs and patterns.  By the end of the 3 days, we were all talking about warp density, picks, shafts, heddles and weave structure like true professionals!

how to use the in-built raddle of a Louet table loom

how to use the raddle of the Louet table looms - how to set a 4-shaft loom up to weave

Then the real work of the course began.  Armed with the technical project file the looms were set up with a popular threading, romantically called Rosepath.

Over the next day and a half the warp threads (the group of threads on the loom) were measured and threaded up on the loom.  Well done!  Not a single error in the pattern threading and only a couple of easy-to-repair errors in the reed threading.  This meant we were able to get straight onto the next stage which is always fun – sampling different designs, colours and yarns!

Sampling was the next stage and right from the beginning each person unconsciously started to explore their different personal styles and preferences for pattern, colour and texture.  Silk, lambswool and silk-wool mixes were tested out with the gorgeous natural dye colours of the AC Textile Studio.

coffee break under the lime treeWhen the samples were finished we sat down over coffee to analyse the bits we liked best and to see how different colours, yarns and patterns work and work out the design for the final pieces of work – the scarves.

make your own cloth on a loom in a course at AC Estudio Textil

The final proyect under way – pupils work against the clock to weave their own scarf.  We decided that weaving was so relaxing we could all have stayed weaving until nightfall – ending up with 4m long scarves!!!

removing the completed hand-woven scarf from the loomcarmen and her scarf

And the final results – Aida and Carmen´s first ever hand-woven scarves.  Nice work and I hope you notice the perfect colour co-ordination.

If you weren´t able to come to the Easter course and Aida´s and Carmen´s first scarves make you feel inspired then there is still time to reserve your place on the compact version of the course on the 5/6 of June 2011.  The course can be given in Spanish, English or in Spanish with English language support.  No previous weaving experience is necessary.

Thanks Aida and Carmen for being such good fun – I hope to see you both again in the summer!

Latest alpaca collapse scarf from Anna Champeney Estudio Textil

I´ve just finished weaving the latest sample design with alpaca and angora yarn combined with a high twist wool and corneta nylon yarn (from the Danish yarn purchasing association).  Left – on the loom, before washing, the scarf looks like a classic flat fabric.  But right – see what happens with a hot hand-wash;  corrugations form which bring out the soft grey with the orchil and cochineal-dyed yarns form a warmly coloured backdrop to the design.

alpaca scarf Artesanía textil en la Ribeira Sacra

News Update from AC Estudio Textil and Casa dos Artesans (holiday cottage in Galicia)

In brief…

voz de galicia Sunday 10 April 2011 –

Our local paper, the Voz de Galicia, interviews us about working and living in one of the smallest and most depopulated areas of Galicia, north Spain.  The reporter is surprised to find us so upbeat about living in this veritable paradise and had no idea that there were other newcomers to the area – Galicians from big cities like Coruña, Ourense or Ferrol looking to downshift, retired couples from Madrid…

The Eco-Art Flea Market or Rastro in Monforte de Lemos (Lugo, Galicia, north Spain) – Sunday 10 April 2011

This year we have started having a stall in this new concept flea market which combines organic veg, sale of plants and brik-a-brak with local craft like ours.  If you are ever passing by on the second Sunday of each month, you can find us near the Colegio de los Escolapios, in the park by the river……

Improvements to the studio shop area at AC Estudio Textil, Cristosende (A Teixeira, Galicia, Spain)

  • tiendaAs you can see the shop is now looking really nice.  We´ve combined the textiles and baskets now and added a new section for craft aficionados in search of basketry and natural dyeing kits, natural dyed yarns and … cochineal from Lanzarote!
  • Opening hours –  The shop is open during Easter, bank holidays and August (except on Mondays when we close), so if you would like to come outside those peak times please phone us to fix a suitable date/time – (T.669 600 620)
  • We are 35 minutes from Monforte, 40 minutes from Ourense, and just 15 minutes from the historic castle at Castro Caldelas.

New High quality cochineal from Lanzarote now available


As you may know, we organised a special visit to Lanzarote last year to source the high quality cochineal direct from farmers.  We have tried and tested the cochineal and have had good results using just 10 – 15% cochineal.  Our 25g packs currently come with information just in Spanish, but if you would like a written translation just let us know when you order the cochineal and we can include one.

Weaving weekend project suggestion – Summer chair

silla con tapicería artesanalThis is what I did the other weekend when I had a spare moment!  I bought a cheap and cheerful chair (well, it was upholstered in horrible, cheap orange plastic!) which could be dismantled using just a screwdriver.  I wove a piece of rustic sack fabric (inspired by the traditional stripey grain sacks of this area of Spain) about 46cm2, wet finished it, and then stapled it to the seat.  A piece of leftover plainweave rustic handwoven linen was just big enough for the chair back.  The whole project cost me about 45 euros, including the purchase of the chair!  You do need to check if the seat and back of your cheap garden chair can be separated from the rest of the chair structure.

Yarns: I used 13/2NM linen as warp, combined with rustic sack linen in the weft (but you can substitute this for a 12/2NM grey linen).  The stripes are with wool dyed with natural dyes at the Estudio Textil.  Dark blue – logwood, light blue – indigo – red – cochineal, orange – onion.

Pattern: Plainweave stripes with 2 shuttles (one for linen weft, one for wool weft)

New – Craft-themed holidays for small groups and families (minimum 3 people)

cristina vilarIf you´d like to come on holiday with friends or family, stay at our holiday cottage, Casa dos Artesans, and enjoy a short initiation into Spanish weaving or basketry, then you´ll enjoy one of our themed weekends, which have been hailed as something of a pioneering venture by “Artesanía de Galicia”.

You can choose from weaving, basketry or a bit of both, and prices start at 113€ per person for basketry (includes 2 nights accommodation at the cottage and a 4 hour basketry course) or 119€ per person for loom weaving (2 nights accommodation and a 4 hour weave session).  Dates are flexible and you can always extend your stay at Casa dos Artesans to be able to explore this wonderful part of north Spain, just 2 hours from Santiago de Compostela airport.

Collapse Weave – new designs

alpaca collapse weave scarfThis scarf is very light and lofty and has two-colour warp in soft alpaca, wool, angora.  In the weft I have used Handweavers´ Studio 52/2 overtwisted wool and a special nylon yarn available from the Danish Yarn Purchasing Association which gives the scarf a slight glitter.