A few weavers recently met at Cecilia Frittelli’s weaving store in Saratoga Springs to discuss the upcoming Hudson-Mohawk Weavers’ Guild 44th annual show on Saturday through Monday at Pat’s Barn in North Greenbush.
Surrounded by cones of colorful threads, looms, shawls, scarfs and men’s garments that Frittelli’s husband, Richard Lockwood, creates for the studio, the women had plenty to say about weaving.
“Weavers have a yarn addiction,” said Colleen Kelly, laughing.
“We’re fiber junkies,” she said.
But weaving is a different sort of hand craft from those who knit or crochet.
“It’s the tension that I had a problem with,” Kelly said. “That’s why I got into weaving.”
In knitting or crochet, how tight or loose you wrap the yarn around a needle or hook can alter from day to day. It can take years to produce a really finished garment. But not in weaving, which relies more on the loom to handle that tension.
That’s why Wendy Scheening said she found weaving relaxing. In the three years she’s been weaving, she’s been able to create wonderful shawls and even her newest project, a 27-inch by 60-inch rug.
“It was because of COVID,” Scheening said. “I took a few classes but I learned a lot from YouTube videos.”
Ann Diller, though, has been weaving for years. She showed the women her beautiful colorful shawls, one in an iridescent pale green bamboo, that she said she made up in less than a few hours. And her selvage edges were perfectly in line, something the other women said showed how expert Diller was as a weaver.
“Setting up the loom is the big part,” Diller said. “The scarf itself took only about 30 minutes.”
As for the show, all the women were excited and will be selling their projects along with at least 30 other weavers, said Megan MacBride, one of the organizers for this event.
The guild, which is celebrating its 50th year and is sponsoring the show, has 125 members, who come from all over the Capital Region, parts of New England and even one who comes up from Virginia.
“We have members from novice to expert, professional to hobbyist and some who have been weaving for decades and others who have just bought a loom,” MacBride said. “But in talking to other guilds, and there are hundreds of guilds nationally, it’s rare to have a three-day show. Usually they are only one day.”
Customers will find everything from all types of clothing, like jackets, vests, shawls, accessories, 300 scarves, homegoods, rugs, pillows, afghans and 600 hand towels, many with original designs.
“Anything that can be handwoven,” she said, adding that the biggest seller are the handtowels, which can go for up to $40 each, but are bought in bulk.
There will also be ongoing weaving and spinning demonstrations, which is one way to learn what loom might work for a prospective weaver. There are many different kinds that range from small upright portable looms good for kids that are called inkle looms, to floor looms that can cost in the thousands. And for weavers, that is like what knitting needles are for a knitter.
“I have a rigid heddle loom, a four-shaft floor loom, an inkle, a bead loom for bracelets, and a 1970s peg plastic loom,” Scheening said.
Aah…where to put all of them.
“Loom accumulation is addictive,” Kelly said with a laugh.
Hudson-Mohawk Weavers’ Guild 44th annual show
WHEN: Nov. 26 Saturday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Monday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
WHERE: Pat’s Barn in Rensselaer Tech Park off Route 4, North Greenbush
HOW MUCH: Free
MORE INFO: www.hmwg.org