Archive for the ‘process’ Category


October 25, 2012

pirtti handwoven portrait

This past weekend I had a photo shoot for my scarves. It was an incredibly exciting day. I had an awesome team (and it took a team!), a great photographer, a lovely model and a beautiful day. At the very end we snapped a few photos behind my house. Above is an out take by iphone. An exhausted but thrilled Mama Pirtti. I can’t wait to share the new photos with you!


September 19, 2012


The countdown is beginning. The second to last set of scarves is on the loom. One more round of measuring warp, dressing the loom and weaving and the collection of scarves will be complete. I am so looking forward to opening the shop again. I even have a few surprises planned as part of the celebration…

plant dye

June 12, 2012

dye bath - pirtti handwoven

This past weekend I had the privilege to participate in a workshop with Rebecca Burgess, author of Harvesting Color. I am a complete novice when it comes to dyeing. What better way to start than to learn how to dye from plants like coreopsis and oak galls? She taught us about the effect the modern textile industry has on our planet (not good) and how we can make our clothes sustainable and ethical. It was mind-blowing and a lot to take in.

dye samples - pirtti handwoven

My dream is to eventually source my yarn locally and have it dyed naturally. Easier said than done, as there are a lot of important details to be worked out. It is not easy to find weaving yarns that are truly from the U.S., but I believe it is possible and something I would like to work towards. I am very excited to learn about Fibershed and where it will lead me in both resources and inspiration.

new warp

May 31, 2012

pirtti handwoven - blue green warp

I’ve tweaked my  design and the next step is to weave a sample. Not wanting to waste cones of yarn for a one sample scarf, I chose colors from vetoed yarns. The warp is turning out quite pretty and now I’m rethinking the veto!


May 21, 2012

collapse weave - pirtti handwoven

Weaving involves a lot of calculations. So many, that it often seems like there are more calculations than there is actual weaving. Even after you calculate, it’s still one big experiment that could turn out fantastic, or crash and burn. One such type of weaving experiment is collapse weave.

Collapse weave is essentially weaving with fibers with different levels and/or directions of twist. Once the woven piece meets water, the yarns with more twist shrink, causing the other yarns to pucker.

collapse weave - before and after

This past weekend I attended the Conference of Northern California Handweavers with my primary focus being to take Peggy Osterkamp’s class on collapse weave. It was a great session to learn all the calculations and tips and tricks. It was amazing to flip through all of Peggy’s samples* (like the one above) and see so many beautiful projects using this technique. It has opened my brain to so many ideas…

habu yarn - pirtti handwoven

And of course resulted in a rather abundant yarn harvest! I can not wait to test out this technique and see what comes of the ideas floating in my head.

*Peggy Osterkamp is my weaving hero. The guru that I seek when I’m stumped or have a question, or when I have an idea that I want to talk through. Someday soon I hope to dedicate a proper blog post about her work and why I seek her influence in mine. In the meantime, have a look at her gallery here.

studio time

May 2, 2012

cones - pirtti handwoven

I love it when a plan comes together.

process … process …

April 9, 2012

I’m having one of those days where I am looking at my designs and deciding that it’s wrong. All wrong.

But it’s not wrong. I’ve just organically grown into a new idea. It’s one of the pitfalls of working slowly. Without mistakes or troubleshooting, we would never grow. So I’m keeping that in mind as I swear under my breath and deal with the disappointment of feeling like I should start from scratch. Who knows, after a walk, some fresh air, a rest, I may feel it is worth it to keep trudging along. Either way, a new thought bubble has appeared which means that my creative brain is still working. And that is a good thing.

color story

March 20, 2012

color story

After a particularly rainy week, I took a much-needed long walk in my neighborhood. Upon returning home, I saw this beautiful leaf in a pot outside my front door. This got me thinking about color and how it can be seen.

It’s like tasting wine really. The first sip you get the obvious. Fruit and alcohol. Once your taste buds settle, you taste more. If you slow down and don’t rush, you can taste everything. Cherries, chocolate, even dirt. It is the same with color. There is very little flat color in this leaf. The green grey bleeds into a deep rich purple which then stretches into shades of burgundy and hot pink.

Hot pink may be beautiful on its own, but is highlighted even more by the purple. It is the same with wine and cheese. Spices in cooking. To bring out the best in a color, it helps to pair it with other colors. That is what I try to do with my work. At first glance, you may see teal or burgundy, but upon closer inspection, a variety of colors are waiting to be found.

So today, while out and about, find something and take a closer look at the colors. Let me know what you find. Better yet, send a photo to @pirttihandwoven on twitter or @amkav on instagram and we’ll keep the conversation going!


February 10, 2012

warp knots 1

Thank you all for the comments you left on my earlier post. These last 6 weeks have been quite something. It’s been a time to reorganize, focus and take lots of walks. Luckily, I’ve also taken some time at my loom. Above is a progress shot of many, many, MANY small knots. I am in the process of tying a new warp to the old one. It’s a process that is very time-consuming, but easy to get in the groove.

I have been thinking a lot about what I want pirtti to become, and the realities of how much time I have to spend. I’m happy that I’m coming up with ideas, and happy that my ideas give me nice long deadlines so I can progress parallel to my life as a wife and mother. But slow-moving also means slow blogging. I don’t want to keep showing pictures of knots. So, I’m taking suggestions for what you’d like to see here on the blog. More tutorials? More about inspiration? Thoughts on world peace? (Just kidding.)

If you have any questions about weaving, ask away. Or anything, for that matter. I need  a break from tying all those knots.

expect the unexpected

December 6, 2011

As summer drew to a close, I narrowed down my designs for fall and put a plan together for my scarf production. As usual, it’s a small number of scarves, suited for my availability to work in my studio uninterrupted. As you can imagine, putting together a schedule when also parenting two small children means running a tight ship and having a great babysitter. And with any plan, there are always hiccups, and my plan had its share. It is to be expected that there will be roadblocks and you simply have to figure out a new way to accomplish your goal.

The babysitter has to leave for two weeks, two weeks before my deadline.

Back up babysitter announces she is moving to L.A. the day after first babysitter goes out of town.

Daughters school announces mandatory volunteering for school fair that involves crafting, baking and manual labor.

Solution: Channel that innermost, ultimate Type A side of yourself that lives for situations like this and pull it together and make it happen.

But there was one thing that was completely unexpected that combined with all that is mentioned above that put a screeching halt to the best laid plans.

Expect the Unexpected

In September, we found out that we are expecting.

My babysitter is back, the school fair is over, I’m well into my second trimester and the nausea has passed. Every spare moment is being spent at the loom and I imagine my blog posts will be few. But by golly, there will be scarves! Barring any more hiccups, I am hoping for smooth sailing as I focus on weaving. I will update as to when I think the shop will be ready. I’m hoping in time for Christmas…

I love weaving and am very happy to be back at my loom. It’s a nice respite from these last 2 months!

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