off the loom

March 19, 2023  •  6 Comments

Many artists - including weavers and photographers who live in colder climates - use winter as a season for indoor work.  Whether it is the art itself, organization, bookkeeping, or public relations, artists continue to work during the darker season.

This is the case for my husband Fred, who weaves six hours a day, using 125 pounds of Navajo-Churro wool, and producing 20-24 pieces of weaving (mostly rugs) annually.  Between the beginning of January and the Ides of March this year, he wove four rugs.


January brought Rug 380 from the loom room.  The rug's field is oatmeal grey, dyed black, cobalt, and chile colorado.

Rug 380Rug 380

For Rug 381, a piece where arts and crafts tradition meet the Southwest, Fred used a light natural grey wool as the field, dyed black for the borders, and Ganado red.  It appears to the eye that he used a dark grey, but while weaving, he alternated light grey and dyed black, which produced the look of dark grey. Here it is in progress on the loom.

Rug 381 detailRug 381 detail


Below is an image of the completed rug.

Rug 381Rug 381

In the detail below, notice the single line or shot of light grey just beneath the top of the black border.  It is the last line of light grey, a way out, as it were.  This is used historically in Navajo or Dine' weaving, and is frequently called a "spirit line" or "weaver's path", according to Navajo historian Wally Brown.  In Navajo or Dine', ch'ihónít'i - a weaver's path - is added to a bordered rug in order to keep the weaver's mind from being locked up inside the rug by the solid border.  You can read more about this and other traditions at Mr. Brown's website here.

Rug 381 Spirit line detailRug 381 Spirit line detail

In the third piece of 2023, Rug 382, Fred used a very dense and luscious natural charcoal grey, along with dyed wool in cobalt blue, chile colorado, and Tierra Amarilla.  It feels supportive and spongy underfoot.

Rug 382Rug 382


The quartet is completed by Rug 383, with wool dyed at Tierra Wools in brown heather, red heather, rust heather, calabasa, Tierra Amarilla, turquoise, and iron springs.  

Rug 383Rug 383

I brought the pieces together with some of the wool used in them.

Rugs 381,382,383 and wool 1Rugs 381,382,383 and wool 1

A slightly different angle

Rugs 381,382,383 and wool 2Rugs 381,382,383 and wool 2

Today is the spring or vernal equinox, a time of emergence.  I hope it is also a time of unbridled creativity for all of you!  Thanks to Barbara F. R., Melissa M., Terry T., Steve, Catherine, and Robert for commenting this week!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©










Heather Herd(non-registered)
These are so beautiful!! Excellent reporting on your part, Daryl! This was an invitation into Fred's creative space these past months. Thank you!
Steve Immel(non-registered)
Just stunning. The master keeps surpassing himself. And I don't use the master lightly. I hadn't thought of it, but Fred's weavings do evoke an Arts and Crafts aesthetic. Using black and light gray to create the appearance of dark gray takes the rug to another level of detail and elegance. The charcoal gray in Rug 382 even looks thick and spongy under foot. And Rug 383 could be an abstracted landscape painting replete with its reflection.

The rugs are breathtaking, and your photographs are perfection.
amazingly gorgeous rugs n photos. yes, i’m a close personal friend of Fwed and Daryl
Terry Thompson(non-registered)
Fred's designs and precision work are simply amazing and beautiful.
Gorgeous colors and patterns. They will brighten any room.
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