Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Weaving demo in Nanjing, China

Brocade loom, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

I was fortunate enough to see some interesting demonstrations on my trip. At the Confucious Temple marketplace in Nanjing, we went into the museum of historical crafts where we discovered a fully operational silk brocade loom being manned by two weavers. The number of spools the weaver was keeping track of was mind-boggling. She had an assistant sitting up in the "rafters" of the loom, counting out some threads for either the warp or heddles, not sure quite what they were.
See all the loom photos

Silk Factory Tour in Beijing

Cocoon spinning, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

We were taken on a tour of a silk factory where we got to see how the cocoons are unwound and the threads spun into silk thread. Double size (with two worms inside) cocoons are stretched and layered into small, round flat shapes, almost like felting, then stretched out onto a bed-size table to create quilt batting.
After seeing the process, the tour guide then ushered us into a room filled with displays of beds dressed in dazzling silk quilts. Most of our tour group bought quilts then we went into the large showroom where the shopaholics were let loose among the thousands of silk products. I purchased half of our Christmas gifts here.
See the whole silk factory tour

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Favorite Fiber Art non-profit saved by pledge drive

The Springwater Fiber Workshop, a mainstay of the Washington, DC region's fiber communtity, almost went under last month and 22 years of operation. After a frenzied pledge drive brought in over $100,00 in pledges, the non-profit will be able to stay open. Read more about it