As The Days Grow Longer

We've past the solstice and the days are slowly growing brighter longer. We are also noticing a shift in temperatures, although, I see that many of you are still in the deep throes of winter.

This winter has been mild, with a cold snap here and there, but nothing major. As much as I am glad not to have snow, having shoveled my share in the past, it is worrisome when we go a length of time without precipitation. Please, please, rain or snow, we'll take it.

Sometime in the beginning of December I checked out on technology/media other than Instagram. I needed to just BE with my family, and be with me. I did do a lot of reading, of the weaving kind!

I've been struggling to find time to be with my camera, but finally carved out time to photograph my woven key fobs and opened my etsy shop! And I've been sampling, studying and taking notes on weaving. I've wanted to keep a notebook, for instance, when I look at the tablet-woven bands I've made, I have no idea what I've done. Fourty pages of notes have been written so far!

Intermesh Samples

I'm still sampling Intermesh (lol, I'm still sampling a whole lotta techniques). I want to come up with a project that will really show off the double-sided nature of the fabric. I've settled on a guitar strap, but need to decide on a pattern that I will enjoy.

Backstrap-woven small bag in progress, with Yurt Band Motif

I have been sampling ALOT, and feeling the need to make a small project. I joined the ravelry backstrap weaving group weave-along for the Olympics. I decided on a cell phone bag. I had my heart set on doing a tubular woven edge, but I'm not quite confident yet that it'll come out looking all that great. I made an Inkle loom band that ended up too short for a strap, so I am working on another one!


Finally, I started looking at the Weaver's Journal PDFs that are available online. You must take a peek at these! I have started with the tutorial on Andean Crossed Warp Techniques for Woven Trim and I love the weaving. It's done by finger manipulation, and the instructions were a bit mind boggling at first, but I figured it out.

In the book this is called pebble weave but I consider this speckled background.

I've been working my way thru the Inkle Weavers Directory and I will share some sample photos. I can tell you, I did not like doing Monk's Cloth at all, and will most likely never try it again. It's so funny how some weaves resonate, and some don't!

I also think we also underestimate how beautiful plain weave really is. It's fun to do complicated pick up patterns, but sometimes my favorites just end up being plain weave.


Sopa de Papas

Note: working on a better photo, I don't like this one. I am not a good food photographer!

And on the stove or in the oven at a New Mexico Kitchen.......

Sopa de Papas

This recipe is loosely based (to be milk-free/gluten-free/nut-free) from an adorable little gem of a cookbook called Flora's Kitchen, Recipes from a New Mexico Family, by Regina Romero. I think this was the first New Mexican cookbook I purchased the first time I moved here. I may have mentioned this before, New Mexican cookbooks are more than just recipes, they are history, a coming together of family with the staples of New Mexican cuisine.

We eat this because, well, it is just down right economical and it tastes good. I will be the first to say that I love creating fancy meals when I have time, but lately, the trip to the grocery store is just killing me. And with the crazy food restrictions we have going on in our household our food bill is driving me a little crazy!

I caramelize the onions while the veggies are cooking. If you don't want your soup to have a pink tone, remove the carrots before processing.

This is my version of her recipe. Yields 4 servings.

Print Recipe

Sopa de Papas

Course: Soup & Stew

Cuisine: New Mexican

Serves: 4


  • 4 medium yukon gold potatoes peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1/2 quart water
  • 1 1/2 cups rice milk (optional)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 small onion peeled,and cut into thin cresents
  • Olive Oil (or other fat)
  • Herbamare to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • Roasted New Mexican Green Chile (optional)


Put potato, carrot, celery and water in pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until veggies are very soft. Strain and reserve liquid, puree veggies and return to stock. Add the rice milk and beat in the egg yolks, heat gently and season with Herbamare. Saute onion in olive oil to your liking, lightly browned or caramelized, and add to the soup. Serve. Of course we add a dollop of roasted green chile.

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Beginning With Intermesh

There's nothing like a new technique to make you feel like a beginner again! But that's part of the fun for me (or occasional frustration, lol). I am also getting reacquainted with my backstrap loom set-up.

There is some thing very profound about working in a backstrap set-up. With minimal, inexpensive tools you can weave beautiful cloth. And for me, there's a connection in thought, as I think about all the people who have woven this way for generations in the past. Not only are these textiles beautiful, but generally they had physical function and spiritual meaning in away most of us take for granted. Cloth woven for clothing we now mistakenly call costumes. Those thoughts drew me to fiber arts years ago, that we must try our hardest to not lose these precious, traditional ways. Anyway, that's what I am thinking about while I am weaving.

I was first introduced to Intermesh in Laverne Waddinton's first book, Andean Pebble Weave (2010). In this book it is not introduced as Intermesh, but rather a technique to weave a thicker, sturdier border. Intermesh is a two-heddle weave that produces a sturdy, thick fabric that resists curling and lies flat.

A fellow IGer posts amazing photos of textiles and I saw a few motifs that I thought would look amazing using this technique. And I needed a reason to get back into my backstrap! After trying a backstrap sample (the yurt band motif), my toddler has been really great about not pulling on the sticks.

I got Laverne's second book, More Adventures With Warp Faced Pick Up Patterns (2012) as soon as it came out, and holy cow, what an amazing book! Until now, I've only been reading it, and as much as I want to dive into the Andean Pebble Weave patterns, I know my sons will not tolerate me staring at large pattern charts!

Anyway, in this book, Laverne goes into the Intermesh set-up. If you read her blog, there are pictures scattered among the posts where she has taught this technique at workshops.

So using the back of my Navajo loom, I set up my warp (it was a pain in the butt - I need to wrangle together a different way to warp). I used size 3 cotton, the blue color is not my style, but works for the sampler.

I will resist doing pick-ups for now. I just want to weave it plain, concentrate on the rhythm of weaving, getting reacquainted with tensioning and the whole backstrap process.

I love seeing the two sides, different colors! Some things I found very helpful while weaving. At Laverne's blog she has a great video/s about dealing with sticky warps. I had a terrible time with opening the sheds about half way thru weaving the band. I also took her advice about weaving the stick shed in one direction and the heddled sheds in the other. As I continued weaving I was able to distinguish which heddled shed I was to weave next. I think if I had jumped into patterning, I wouldn't have concentrated on these basics.

a shed saver cord - 4 strand braid

At the very end of the band I couldn't help but try a horizontal and vertical line. I am going to warp on for another sample in size 3 cotton and start the tutorials for creating horizontal and vertical lines.

Weaver Speak and Tags: Intermesh, Intermesh Warp Floats, Two-Heddle Intermesh, Plain Intermesh, Two-Heddle Complementary Warp Weave, Complementary-Warp Weave, Double-Faced Complementary Warp Weave.


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