Making Kits for the “Weavers Across the Waters” Robe

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Lily checks the measurement of the warp to make sure the length is correct — June 2016

Staying up till 3 this morning, Lily Hope, Deanna Lampe, Miah Lager and Ursala Hudson worked on making the 5×5 weaver kits to be made available for the class later on this morning starting at 9; these are for those who want an easier start for their contribution to the “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail Community Canoe Robe.  (For info on this project, see previous blog entry by clicking here)

These 5×5 kits include:  12 yards of Chilkat warp measured to correct length and width already attached to the “head board” (the ruler), the weft yarns including an ounce of black, an ounce of white, half-ounce of yellow and/or blue, a large-eye tapestry needle, and a 5×5 project instruction sheet.


Measuring the warp by wrapping it around a book and cutting the warp at one end, our natural-born comedian, Deanna questions Miah of why the photographer would want to take photos of this process — June 2016

Two years ago, Lily created the Northwest Coast Weavers Supply to provide Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers easier access to the weaving materials we need.  The merino weft yarns is spun by a company called Louet and not always are they hard to find at any yarn shop; the Chilkat warp is spun by Ricky Tagaban or Alena Mountford and the Ravenstail warp is supplied by Kay Parker.


The precut warp is hung on the weaving loom “header board” made of 12″ wooden rulers

The ingenuity of these kits is this:  because of the rubber band “lashing”, these “looms” can be placed around the back of a chair, around a purse (as shown below), the steering wheel of your car (when you are not driving, of course), and the tray table in its upright/locked position on board the jets.


Secured by a couple of heavy duty rubber bands around the back side and a large paper clip, this “weaving loom” can attach to a leather handbag (The COACH bag for example); the small balls of black, yellow, white and blue weft, scissors, tapestry needle and pattern, are or course conveniently placed inside the bag — These are handbags of Deanna Lampe and her niece, Lily Hope — June 2016

With the convenience of these ingenious “weaving looms” there is no excuse for not being able to weave small projects!  There shall be no excuse for the lack of time to weave Chilkat and Ravenstail in a weavers’ life.


There’s something about staying up real late making kits for the weavers of this community robe project…!

I am so excited about these little “weaving looms” I might have to buy an upright bag so I can weave while waiting for my food at the restaurant, or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, or while I am babysitting and the kids are asleep, or sitting at the beach enjoying the sunset, or out on the boat fishing, or on a camp trip, or, or, or….c’mon people use your imagination…!


The line-up of completed weaving kits for the 5×5 “Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail Community Robe Project — June 2016



Sneak Preview of “Egyptian Thunderbird” Chilkat Robe

Beginning to weave one of the fingers on Clarissa's latest Chilkat robe "Egyptian Thunderbird"

Beginning to weave one of the fingers on Clarissa’s latest Chilkat robe “Egyptian Thunderbird” – August 2015

I dye my own weft yarns in shades of golden yellow and a variety of blues.  A couple of years ago I was trying to dye a beautiful turquoise, however, the yarns were unevenly dyed:  I panicked!  I couldn’t believe it; how come this was happening!?  I did everything by the book:  I mixed the colors evenly, I gave a gentle wash in gentle soapy lukewarm water after I had soaked the yarns for a few hours, I consistently stirred the pot!—And then to top it off, I was so enthralled by the beautiful deepening colors, I just kept stirring!  HELLO!?  Finally, I snapped out of my self-induced panic spell and snatched the yarns out of the dye pot!

And being the resourceful person that I can be, I wasn’t about to throw out dollars worth of yarns, so I saved it for a rainy day.

That rainy day came.  I have used these unevenly dyed weft yarns for this present day robe I have been weaving this year.  Using a Ravenstail technique within a Chilkat form, I am having a blast.  Stay tuned for more close-ups of the robe as I move along with the weave in between all else that I am up to these days!  I am carrying on as usual.

Agnes Called It “Brainwashing”

Clipping a little girl's fingernails

Clipping a little girl’s fingernails

To ensure a young girl to become a good weaver, in the olden days, her fingernails were clipped and woven into the Chilkat robes.  The late master Chilkat weaver Jennie Thlunaut’s daughter, Agnes Bellinger  called this “…kind of like a brainwashing…”  This method was to encourage a straight and narrow path for the girl to grow up to be a strong, talented woman of good character.  Agnes said “You can use this method for anything you want your child to become…”

Adding Sea Otter Fur Trim to Chilkat Robe


1/4″ strip of sea otter fur being looped through the top edge of a Chilkat robe

Sea otter fur is THE, or close to THE most warmest fur in the world with over 100,000 individual hairs per square inch!  Yes, there are tricks-to-the-trade of working with sea otter fur.

TO CREATE A FULLER-LOOKING BAND OF SEA OTTER FUR TRIM (follow these instructions):  After you have cut your 1/4″ strip to loop through your heading cord of your Chilkat or Ravenstail weaving, place your weaving on its front, with the WRONG SIDE FACING YOU!  Depending on the size of your warp, loop through every 2 to 3 warp ends, using an overhand stitch, from FRONT TO BACK.

With your large-eye tapestry needle, carefully, gently, work the fur out of the looped eye of the warp to distribute the fur evenly and cover up any signs of warp or heading cord.

Good luck following directions!