weaving olympics

February 20, 2022  •  8 Comments

The 2022 Olympic Games concluded on Sunday in Beijing.  Having watched many of the events, and witnessed the near perfection and incredible physical prowess of the athletes, I continue to be in awe of what they do with their bodies.  But I also know that regular people do extraordinary things.  From doing home and road construction, and building fences in sub-freezing temperatures, to stocking store shelves and keeping gardens and streets tidy and free of litter, most people are doing their own Olympic Games every day.  Not to mention those in the health care fields who are into their third grueling year of caring for patients during the pandemic.  So here's to those who do their very best in amazing ways every day.

Weight and balance is essential in many sports and it reminded me of what Fred does for five to six hours every day at the loom.  In a way, he is doing his own sport, shifting weight from one treadle to the other.  For him and all weavers, the weather is not the variable but the wool with which he weaves. Depending on the quality of the warp and spin of the weft, he has to make adjustments. In the spirit of the games, here is the weaving game. Notice the impeccable equipment, the loom with a few extra bolts and the sandbags as ballast.  He is shifting his weight between the treadles as he throws the shuttle.







And the weight changes continue.


Here is a detail of Fred's new arts and crafts style rug, in what is known as the Glasgow Style.  Charles Rennie Mackintosh was among the designers, architects, and artists in the Glasgow School movement.  

Rug 363 detail.jpgRug 363 detail.jpg


As I mentioned earlier, when a material like four-ply warp becomes one or two ply in spots, the weaver has to catch that and compensate, so there are no breaks in the body of the rug.  Sometimes, instead of doing rugs that are 60+ inches in length, he makes square rugs, like Rug 362, shown below.

Or he gets creative and weaves something totally new, like the bags or bolsas here. He wove two designs side by side.  They are all eleven inches high.  The two on the left are 11" x 7".  The two on the right are 11" x  9".  They are handwoven, hand-knotted, and hand cabled with no lining or clasps, and are open at the top.  All of his work is 100% Navajo-Churro wool, both warp and weft.    

Bolsas 1, 2, 3, 4Bolsas 1, 2, 3, 4


Fred's feet continue to shift from treadle to treadle as the weaving olympics continue.


Thanks to Barbara, Victoria, Dianne, Wayne, Ann A., Orlando, Lisa, TTT, Steve, and Ingrid for commenting this week.  

Feliz Cumpleaños, M. Fred and Diane!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


I was sad when the Olympics ended, but I'll just come over and watch Fred!
Steve Immel(non-registered)
What a compelling treatise on the sport of weaving, soon to be an Olympic event. Somehow, I didn't know that weaving was done barefoot though it makes perfect sense. I suppose there's a feel to the skill of moving back and forth between the treadles. I also note that Fred's feet are sometimes off one of the treadles. That's another new realization. Oops! He's got shoes on in one of the photographs. Is that because he's doing a different step in the process or because he can weave shod or barefoot? It would be fun to see the dance in motion, too.

Fred has mastered the process. As I've said before I'd recognize one of his rugs across very large room. Simply the best!

Oh, and I love the bolsas and the Glasgow style rug.
Wayne Gesterfield(non-registered)
Just absolutely amazing.
Great design, color and workmanship.
I especially like the pattern and colors of the bags.
So cool to see Fred creating. I love the bags. But I do have a question is competing barefoot allowed?
Renaissance Man
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