Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Arahne Releases New version of ArahPaint

ArahPaint  is a great free alternative to Photoshop CC for designing.  It’s a paint program designed specifically for textile professionals. Features and more information on ArahPaint can be found here. It’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux systems and can be downloaded for free here.

ArahPaint is also included with all editions of ArahWeave, a textile design software for dobby and jacquard weaving.  We have ArahWeave PE and ArahWeaveSuper PE available in our online store.  Want to try it out first? Click here for a demo version of ArahWeave.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Partners in Weaving—Barb MacIntyre and the Importance of Giving Back

I recently had the pleasure of connecting with Barb MacIntyre, a longtime AVL customer and friend.  Barb is a retired production weaver with a passion for making a difference.  Even though she’s retired from production work, Barb still enjoys weaving in her home studio on her Little Weaver and 60” Production Dobby Loom, which she has outfitted with a double beam, fly shuttle, and compu-dobby.  She also loves her AVL warping wheel.  She has found that her AVL equipment has allowed her to challenge herself to weave more complexly with her design, skills which are reflected in and assist with her new focus, paying it back.  Outside of her studio time, Barb has been teaching weaving to an unlikely group of people—residents at an assisted living facility in Poulsbo, Washington.   Her self-appointed challenge after getting her mother-in-law settled into the facility, was to get the seniors out of their rooms during the day and challenge themselves to interacting with each other and enjoying life other than breakfast, lunch & dinner. 
Back in 2010, Barb helped to identify an unknown piece of furniture an employee at Brookdale Montclair Poulsbo had found in the sprinkler room. Turns out it was an abandoned 4 shaft floor loom.  Barb cleaned the loom up, rethreaded it with the warp that was found on it, and set it up in Montclair’s Great Room.  Residents were invited to come-by and throw a couple of shots on the loom.  The rag rug that was woven now is displayed in the Great Room.  Sadly, the loom had to be re-homed, as it was too difficult for the residents to treadle.  Montclair and Barb struck a deal, providing Barb with a dedicated space within the facility to house the Kitsap Weaving School if Barb would provide looms & teach the residents how to weave at no charge.  Barb had been looking for a way to give-back in some way, and was pleased when this opportunity presented itself.

For the last seven years, Kitsap Weaving School has been teaching free classes for Montclair residents once a week for two hours and the room is open to residents twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  Barb also teaches day workshop classes and private lessons to the general public. She has furnished the school with several 1970’s tabletop looms, many of which she’s picked up from yard sales and reconditioned over the years (as well as a few which were left over from her previous weaving school in Montana), and instructs attendees on all aspects of weaving. She utilizes her laptop and WeavePoint software as a teaching tool to allow students and residents to visually understand structure, complexities of color and how the overall look of a piece changes when changes are made.  She also utilizes WeavePoint to prepare drafts for the students so they can see what their project weave is going to look like to assist in their selection, as well as taking complex weaves and translating it down to four harness patterns. 

When it comes time to work on a piece, residents perform all steps of the process.  They select a draft from the options Barb has prepared, choose from the available yarns and are responsible for measuring, beaming, threading, weaving (including manually tracking the treadling), and wet finishing.

Barb encourages her students to push themselves, and enjoys seeing the many benefits weaving provides them.  As you know, weaving involves a lot of physical exertion as students have to stretch and raise their arms to warp, treadle, and operate the beater bar.  Over time, they often experience an increase in stamina and their range of motion.  Weaving is also a mental exercise, as students are responsible for math applications, and manually tracking threading and treadling as they progress, keeping their beat even and recognizing flaws (once they identify a flaw, they work backwards to fix the error).  Barb has also noted some important emotional benefits her students are experiencing from weaving—many students have shared with Barb that the class has helped to give them purpose again, as it provides an opportunity to leave their rooms and work on a meaningful project. 

One thing that struck me while listening to Barb describe teaching at the Kitsap Weaving School, is that as a teacher she’s really tuned-in to her students and meets them where they are at.  If someone has a hard time manipulating the loom to advance to the next pick, she’ll come over to assist.  If someone has a difficult time sitting/standing for a long time, she finds a way to modify the seating arrangements to make them comfortable, allowing for longer stretches of weaving.  In my experience, having a teacher who is attuned to their students’ needs and abilities, is key for an enjoyable learning experience.  I was also impressed with the level of involvement Barb elicited from her students. 

In talking with Barb, I found her passion surrounding this project to be both palpable and inspiring. She greatly enjoys giving back through her teaching at Kitsap Weaving School, and her commitment to making a difference is infectious.  Recently, in the banter of conversation among the residents, they indicated a desire to have more meaning in their lives.  Barb, after listening to their discussion, started asking herself what she could do to make that possible.  After much thought, a brilliant idea came to her.  What if the weavers could produce scarves that were of high quality, both in materials and skill, that could then be donated to the Kathleen Sutton Fund.  The scarves could then be auctioned off at the foundation’s annual event to raise funds to assist cancer victims with their transportation costs during their treatment visits.  What a win win scenerio!  The weavers loved the idea and six months later, they presented four beautiful scarves to the Kathleen Sutton Foundation to be auctioned off.

Barb encourages all weavers to look for ways to give back in their communities.  She’s found that the rewards of making a positive difference in someone’s life to be heartening.  If someone is interested in starting a program similar to what Barb has created, she suggests seeking out a facility who is amenable to the idea.  If you’re unable to find an independent/assisted living facility that is a good fit, she also recommends checking with Senior Centers as a secondary option (secondary only because 24/7 access might not be available and transportation may be a barrier for some interested seniors who would like to attend).  If you’ve not taught before, Barb suggests to keep it simple and have patience.  Having an interest in people is also beneficial.  If possible, having a teaching partner(s) would be ideal.  It can be difficult running the show solo—if you’d like to take time off, there’s no one to give instructions and solve problems.  If you do take this project on as a partnership, she suggests that you take steps to ensure you’re teaching consistently (decide together your approach to teach the different stages of weaving, then commit to teaching that way, even if it’s different from your own practice).

If anyone is interesting in supporting the program and their efforts to create more scarves for the auction this fall, Barb is seeking yarn donations.  For more information on how to send yarn donations, please email marketing [at] avlusa [dot] com, and we will connect you with Barb.  (If someone would prefer to support the nonprofit directly they can send their donation to Kathleen Sutton Fund, P.O. Box 727, Kingston, WA, 98346.  Please mention Kitsap Weaving School as you donate, so they know how you heard about them.)

Submitted by Ashley, Marketing Manager

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

AVL Winter Artisan Sale

AVL Artisan Winter Sale

Celebrate the Artisan within.

'Tis the season to gear up for a Winter of Weaving! Whether you're a production weaver making studio samples or gifting the entire family scarves for the holidays, hop on these great deals to make time at the loom this season wonderful.
Artisan Loom
15% OFF
Learn More
All Warping Accessories
15% OFF
Code: WARP15
Buy Now
Pre-Owned Looms
20% OFF
Buy Now
Copyright © 2015 AVL Looms, Inc, All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

AVL Summer Sale!

We're hosting a huge summer sale now through the end of July!
Use the coupon code: AVLSUMMER to save big on all of these deals on the AVL Looms website, or give us a call and mention this blog post to save on your phone order. You can call us 530-893-4915 or toll free at 800-626-6915 and place your order today!

Sale Items

Looking for an upgrade? More shafts, E-Lift, or a new compu-dobby? Call this month to place your order and we'll give you 10% off! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

AVL Interview: Linda Lamay

Today we're excited to feature a weaver and the owner of one of the very first Little Weavers. This compact looms is a fully-integrated, computer-crontrolle table loom that features 8, 16, or 24 harness capacity. The Little Weaver has a 16" weaving width and folds right up without losing your warp for easy pick-up-and-go portability. Linda owns a Little Weaver with a 24 shaft loom and has woven many beautiful pieces on her Little Weaver as she travels around the world!

How long have you been weaving, and how did you get started?
I have been weaving for 8 years. Out of the blue one day an old high school friend sent me a tea towel she had woven and I was astounded by the intricacy of the structure and the interplay of the colors. Of course I had no idea how she had managed to do it, and that was the start of my exploration into this wonderfully creative world of weaving.

How long have you had a Little Weaver? What's your favorite aspect of the Little Weaver vs. a larger loom? 
 I have had my Little Weaver for about 2 ½ years. I originally bought it because we spend time in the summer on our boat and travel in our truck camper in the winter, and I wanted the ability to continue my multishaft weaving while away from the studio. Little Weaver is a 24 shaft loom which matches my Technical Dobby Loom. This facilitates the use of Little Weaver as an ideal sampling loom for planning larger projects on my big loom. I enjoy creating tied weave motifs, and using Little Weaver to test drive the designs is extremely helpful. Because she is so much fun to weave on, the samples generally end up the length of scarves!

Do you own any other AVL Looms? How do they compare as far as capabilities to the Little Weaver? 
I weave rather fine yarns. Generally my warps are 20/2 pattern and 30/2 tie down yarns. The Little Weaver can handle these finer yarns without a problem. I can easily explore proportion, design and fiber selection options on the narrower Little Weaver warp, and then proceed to set up my 48” loom correctly. The only limitation with Little Weaver is width, but I can use the fabric produced on Little Weaver to create panels for clothing, as well as scarves. I have found that tying on a new warp is very easy with Little Weaver which helps make changing my mind a lot easier!

Linda's campsite with her weaving studio tent
We know you like to take your Little Weaver with you on the road, any tips or tricks for traveling with the loom? 
We traveled to Baja Mexico with Little weaver last winter. The trip is 2000 miles each way. While in transit, Little Weaver sits in the back seat of our truck. I have a cloth bag cover, and then we strap a large plastic box over the loom. When we got to Mexico, we set up a large sturdy water proof tent for my studio. The Little Weaver was strapped to a table, for security reasons. We used a heavy duty surge protector, which I turned off each night. The tent kept direct sunlight, sand, dust, critters, and moisture away from the loom, and was a wonderful place to weave as well. When traveling on the boat, we find a nook for the loom, and strap her down for the time we spend underway, again covered with her cloth bag. On my previous boat, I spent time weaving in the cockpit, as well as in the cabin. We now have a new (to us) large sailboat that my loom will be traveling on for the first time this summer!
Linda in her weaving studio tent

What's been your favorite project you've made with your Little Weaver? 
My favorite project so far has to be the array of scarves that I wove on the beach in Baja last winter. As each scarf was finished I hung it up in the tent, and by the end of the trip, 9 scarves decorated my work area, a great feeling of accomplishment.
Linda's woven scarves and her Little Weaver